Spam E-Mail at Its Best

Back in a distant time, I used to get irritated and annoyed with e-mail spam. However, over the years I have lightened up and my ire has gone to more pressing problems such as Twitter spam, Instagram spam, and Snapchat spam. In all honesty though, I don’t think e-mail spam bothers me as much anymore because I am too busy laughing.

You see, the e-mail garbage I get these days is so far-fetched, so elementary, and so blatantly bad that it makes me chuckle. The best ones are the e-mails that make it through the spam filter and end up right in my work account inbox. Many of these correspondences are complete pieces of work. So, for your comedic pleasure, here are five recent actual e-mails sent to me along with my imaginary responses.

A Charitable Request

Brother Paul and I go way back.

Brother Paul and I go way back.

Dear Brother Paul,

Even if you did send me an initial e-mail as you erroneously claim, you still would not have heard from me. I could care less about your jumbled code and I will absolutely not send any e-mail to an address that ends in qq.com. You should learn about proper capitalization and join a charity that teaches young kids grammar.

- Brother Brent

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Construction Machinery

Did I ever tell you that while in college I was a "Construction Machinery" major for two weeks?

Did I ever tell you that while in college I was a “Construction Machinery” major for two weeks?

Hi David,

You got my “contacts from internet” and claim that one of my interests is construction machinery? I don’t even know what that is, let alone consider it one of my interests. You must have pulled the information for another Brent Reser…or just lied because I am actually the only Brent Reser on the planet (true fact). There is actually no attachment for me to see so you are out of luck on that one. I am scared to click on your website link so unfortunately you will not be receiving my “kindly feedback.”

Thanks,
Brent

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Bots and Spammers

I am not a bot!!

I am not a bot!!

Dear No Name,

Did you invent a new type of poetry meter? The way your text breaks is pretty random. No need to worry though, I am not a bot and this account is not “being used by spammers to promote spam remotely.” Over three weeks later my account is still sending out and receiving e-mails just fine so I think your lock down threat was a little unfounded. I guess I must be a human who can verify my account’s legitimacy.

Don’t Blink.

——–

I Need to LOGON

Well, I am definitely an e-mail user.

Well, I am definitely an e-mail user.

Sherif –

You were so close! If only you correctly spelled “log on” as two words I might have clicked on the link (if I had been hit in the head by a baseball bat first).

Take Care,
Brent

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My All-Time Favorite

The prequel to the sequel!

The prequel to the sequel!

Greetings Salim,

Following my e-mail address are there parentheses that read “send this person spam because he is the absolute dumbest person on the planet”? Although this scheme has to have a 0% success rate it must bring a tiny bit of humor to stressed out, gloomy office workers. When I read your masterpiece I literally laughed out loud. This mess literally took the cake…even Brother Paul is envious.

I think you should stick with using the word “sequel” when it comes to movies and books, not e-mails. Also, just a tiny bit of attention to spelling, grammar, and/or spacing would be nice. Finally, I can’t reach you “on” an e-mail address, nor would I want to. So, to answer your question, I will have to politely decline to execute the charity project on your behalf (even though you sound like a really cool guy).

Best of luck,
Brent

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Much thanks to Brother Paul, David, No Name, Sherif, and Salim for brightening my day. I know I can expect many “sequels” to these e-mails down the road. Don’t Blink.

Twins or Not?

***Please CLICK HERE to view the 30 second video that this blog post is about.***

Recently, some talented twin sisters graciously provided me with a testimonial about www.brentreser.com . The energetic and attractive duo gave an honest and descriptive review of my blog. But while they were honest about my blog itself, there possibly could be something that they aren’t so honest about.

These twin sisters did a great testimonial for my blog.

These twin sisters did a great testimonial for my blog.

When I received the video I didn’t think twice about the fact that I was watching twins. It didn’t even cross my mind. But when I excitedly showed Sidney my newest sparkling testimonial she cried foul.

“Those aren’t twins! That is the same girl, she just has a wig on!” my girlfriend immediately exclaimed.

Sid thinks this girl has a wig on and that she is really the girl with the dark hair.

Sid thinks this girl has a wig on and that she is really the girl with the dark hair.

It caught me off guard. Like I said, I just assumed they were twins because that is how they advertise themselves and they appeared together on screen more than once in the testimonial. I mean come on, technology isn’t advanced enough to place the same person on screen twice, right?

If there are two girls on the screen, there has to be two girls in real life, right?

If there are two girls on the screen, there has to be two girls in real life, right?

I have always believed identical twins to be identical. Okay, that is obvious. What I mean is that one twin sister is expected to look exactly the same as her other twin sister. In a way, just from a video, you kind of just have to trust that they are twins. Unless of course there is a way to identify a fraud.

Is this girl a "twin fraud"?

Is this girl a “twin fraud”?

This is where I want my readers to come in. I am hoping some of you have experience with twins, are a twin, or just have a really good eye and can tell me if it is people or a person in my video. It would help me relax and it would also settle a debate between Sidney and I. Oh, if you do reply with an insightful response I will include you in my Thursday night blog post.

Is this twinning or not? Please tell me. Thank you for your help. Don’t Blink.

One Impressive Sand Sculpture

Growing up where I did, I never had the opportunity to view something quite like this. Starting early this morning, talented artists started to construct a very cool piece of art out of an interesting medium: Sand.

Artists converged at the entrance of the HTC Center this morning.

Artists converged at the entrance of the HTC Center this morning.

Coastal Carolina University is the proud host of the Big South Conference basketball tournaments. The college that I proudly work for doesn’t have the opportunity to host just the men’s tourney or just the women’s tourney, it has the distinct pleasure of hosting both. Because Myrtle Beach is such a travel destination with an awesome chamber of commerce and because our athletic department is the best when it comes to putting on tournaments, CCU is the predetermined host of both tournaments for the third year in a row.

Coastal Carolina University is hosting both Big South Conference basketball tournaments. (Photo courtesy of my intern Jada Bynum).

Coastal Carolina University is hosting both Big South Conference basketball tournaments. (Photo courtesy of my intern Jada Bynum).

In order to properly welcome the visiting universities, student-athletes, and fans, this sand sculpture is being constructed. This morning when I arrived at the HTC Center for my workout it was just a clump of sand. When I left work this evening It had turned into this.

How cool is this?!

How cool is this?!

Around 11 a.m. this morning I had my intern go over and take photos of the progress. By that time it had already transformed from nothing to a pretty cool sand castle. This afternoon when I went over it was nearing completion.

Me in front of the sculpture.

Me in front of the sculpture.

I enjoyed watching the artists work. They moved fast but they all paid very close attention to detail. I observed as they sculpted with tiny tools, crafted out letters, and spray painted.

The artists were extremely precise.

The artists were extremely precise.

My favorite part of the sculpture is how sharp looking it is. Take a look at the social media icons, they are absolutely perfect. The structure just looks so strong and powerful.

These social media icons are spot on.

These social media icons are spot on.

Included in the sandy piece of art are logos of all the participating schools. You then have sand basketballs devoted to Coastal Carolina University, the city, and the Big South Conference. The centerpiece reads “Big South Conference Championships.” Completing the front side of the structure is a striking red, 3-D ESPN logo complete with a welcome greeting and the tournament hashtag. The back of the structure is currently under construction but will have similar markings.

The ESPN/Welcome to Myrtle Beach portion of the structure.

The ESPN/Welcome to Myrtle Beach portion of the structure.

I wish I knew the science and logistics behind sand sculpting but I don’t. All I can offer is that this thing looks super sweet and I am glad it will be sticking around for a whole week. Don’t Blink.

Our “Bar Rescue” Tour

This weekend I decided to feed one of my minor obsessions while at the same time seeing some new towns in the South. In the past I have written quite a bit about my favorite television show, “Bar Rescue.” Those who read Don’t Blink frequently and those who hang around me know that my fandom for “Bar Rescue” is strong. While watching the latest episode last Sunday, I started looking up all the locations where Jon Taffer has converged on to rescue struggling bars. It just so turned out that last season he transformed three establishments in North Carolina. With a free weekend on the horizon I made plans for a little road trip.

Yesterday, Sidney and I hit the road to visit three different North Carolina bars that were showcased on “Bar Rescue.” Our Saturday tour would take us to the great North Carolina towns of Hope Mills, Garner, and Raleigh. Don’t think we were traveling all day, however. Raleigh, the furthest of the three towns from us, was only a three hour drive. Hope Mills was just a mere two hours away with Garner right on the outskirts of Raleigh.

Friday night Sidney and I sat down to watch the episodes of the bars we would visit. Surprisingly for an avid “Bar Rescue” watcher like myself, I had never seen the Hope Mills or Garner episodes. But after watching them I was filled with excitement for the next day’s adventure. Soon I would be walking on the same ground where Taffer once roamed.

22 Klicks (Hope Mills, N.C.): This bar in the sleepy town of Hope Mills kicked our tour off. In the “Bar Rescue” episode, Jon Taffer takes a place with little identity and immature employees and turns it into a patriotic-themed, well-ran bar. The aim was to make the bar resonate with the heavy military population of the area that sits just 13 miles from Fort Bragg. A military inspired look with American flags, old photos, and a tank was installed.

This is what Klicks 22 looks like from outside.

This is what Klicks 22 looks like from outside.

We arrived at 22 Klicks at 12:30 p.m. We walked in and immediately went up to the bar. We were the only ones inside the establishment besides the bartender and the cook. The bartender was a hilarious Irish young woman who talked with us and joked around the whole time we were there.

Our bartender on the left with the bottle display on the right.

Our bartender on the left with the bottle display on the right.

The whole place was really cool. It was spotless and the theme was presented perfectly. I really felt like it was a fitting tribute to those in the armed forces. The bar itself was top of the line and comfortable but it was so much smaller than what I expected based on watching the show. I would say that probably 12 people could sit at it. But it really had that homey feel to it and I immediately felt welcome and at ease.

Sidney and I in front of the tank at Klick's 22.

Sidney and I in front of the tank at 22 Klicks.

We ordered lunch. Although the gator bites were prominently advertised (as featured on the show), we passed on those. I got a meatball sandwich and Sidney got a Philly cheesesteak sandwich. Both sandwiches tasted great but the French fries stole the show. Without telling our friendly bartender that we were at 22 Klicks solely because we saw it on “Bar Rescue,” we subtly encouraged her to talk about it. Although she didn’t appear on the show nor was employed by the bar at the time, she offered us some great insight:

This was my delicious meatball sandwich.

This was my delicious meatball sandwich.

* She said that her co-workers told her that Jon Taffer is extremely nice. She said that Jon fully explained that he would chew them out just so the full impact of the show could be delivered to the television audience.

* She said representatives from the show returned to the bar a couple months ago to film an update. She mentioned her co-worker was featured and that she particularly became annoyed at how close the camera would get right up in her face. She also added that the “Bar Rescue” crew directed this co-worker to go up to tables and introduce herself, solely so they could use it for the update.

I was given a Klicks 22 card!

I was given a Klicks 22 card!

I enjoyed my time at 22 Klicks! The Bar Rescue team did a fabulous job. It definitely stands out from your typical bar.

Dual Ultra Nightclub (Raleigh, N.C.): This bar went out of business! All I could do was get a photo near where it used to be. Although disappointed that we couldn’t truly visit it, I loved checking out Raleigh. The area we were in was covered with restaurants, shops, and bars. Right next to where Dual Ultra used to be was an Irish basement bar called Napper Tandy’s. We went downstairs for a quick visit. It was as if we were in a cave (in a good way) and the bar itself seemed to extend for a whole mile!

Dual Ultra Nightclub is now closed.

Dual Ultra Nightclub is now closed.

Moonrunners Saloon (Garner, N.C.): Sidney and I had to backtrack from Raleigh to Garner. This was an arrangement we purposely planned though because our hotel was in Garner, just a short walk from Moonrunners. I am extremely happy we worked it out this way because Moonrunners was definitely a place where I was happy to spend my whole night at.

Before leaving town this morning I took this photo of Moonrunner's Saloon.

Before leaving town this morning I took this photo of Moonrunners Saloon.

The bar was originally called Characters Quarters. It was a place where employees would literally dress up in costumes and serve families. Taffer came in and made it a prohibition moonshine themed bar. In the episode the relationship between a brother and sister is prominently displayed. “Bar Rescue” chronicles the way the brother (Guy), who is the owner, interacts with his sister (Alex), who is a waitress. As the show tends to do, this relationship was magnified and portrayed them both as polarizing characters.

It was "Bar Rescue" night at Moonrunner's last night.

It was “Bar Rescue” night at Moonrunners last night.

When we entered Moonrunners at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday night it was absolutely packed. In fact it was so busy that we couldn’t even get a seat. It worked out perfectly though because as we were waiting two seats opened up at the bar. We quickly took the chairs because that is where we wanted to sit all along.

I took this photo as we were leaving Moonrunner's last night. When we arrived earlier in the evening, there was not a seat to be had.

I took this photo as we were leaving Moonrunners last night. When we arrived earlier in the evening, there was not a seat to be had.

We immediately saw both Alex and Guy. Alex was busting her butt serving the packed place and Alex was doing his job managing. He came over to us a couple times and asked us how we were doing. It was cool to see two people we watched on television the night before in person less than 24 hours later. We observed Guy’s managing style and he definitely runs a very tight ship with his employees. The way he holds his workers accountable though is definitely paying off though because like I said, the place was packed.

I snapped photos of both Guy (left) and Alex  (right) in action last night.

I snapped photos of both Guy (left) and Alex (right) in action last night.

In addition to Alex and Guy, Moonrunners probably had eight other staff members working last night. Every one of them was as friendly as could be. Our bartender Summer was incredible and even asked Sidney if she wanted to wear her sweatshirt as she mentioned that she was a little chilly. Whenever one of the waitresses would come behind the bar they would talk to us. The highlight of the night came when a manager named Thomas gave Sidney and I free drinks. I had tweeted a couple times about how much I was enjoying Moonshiner’s and he gave us the free beers as a sign of gratitude for doing so. I thought that was really cool.

Sid and I enjoyed our time in Moonrunner's last night.

Sid and I enjoyed our time in Moonrunners last night.

The food was phenomenal. I had the Runner Burger that came with two patties, bacon, three cheeses, onion rings, French fries, and onions. The flavor of the patties tasted amazing. It was fresh and fun to eat. I very well could have ate the whole thing but wanted to feel decent the rest of the night so I stopped halfway through. I would love to eat that burger again. Sidney enjoyed her chicken sandwich with blue cheese crumbles. She also raved about her fruity moonshine drink she ordered. It was so memorable that Summer gave Sidney the jar she drank it out of.

This was my incredible burger at Moonrunner's Saloon.

This was my incredible burger at Moonrunners Saloon.

Moonshiner’s had a great vibe. I watched several basketball games on the TVs and Sid and I even played Bingo later on. It was a lot of fun. Because it was so busy and the staff was always tied up I didn’t get the chance to ask about “Bar Rescue.” But it didn’t matter because just by being inside the place I could feel the show’s presence. Moonrunners is a machine now and a testament to the fact that “Bar Rescue” works.

————-

I had a tremendous time on our “Bar Rescue” tour. Thanks so much to Sidney for going on one of my nerdy trips. My love for “Bar Rescue” has increased even more and I can’t wait to watch the new episode at 9 p.m. tonight. After visiting a couple of “rescued bars” this weekend, I can say that Jon Taffer does an amazing job. Don’t Blink.

Sweet Way to Start the Thursday Rundown

It is the last Thursday in February. However, no matter if it is the first or last, any Thursday means it is time for the rundown. Time to get started.

#CCU Director of Athletics – Today news came down that our university now has a permanent athletic director. The man officially in charge of our sports program is Matt Hogue. Not a stranger to this huge responsibility at all as he served as the interim athletic director for the past several months, I couldn’t be more thrilled for Matt now that it is official. He was one of the three members on the committee that decided to hire me. When I came for my on-campus visit almost one year ago he was so welcoming and professional. Since I have started working here at Coastal he has humbly reached out to me several times and has even asked for advice whether it be about social media or about how we would do certain things at Montana. AD Hogue has already done a great job in his interim role and will continue to move Chanticleer Athletics forward now that he is the guy.

This is a photo I took of Matt during summer commencement.

This is a photo I took of Matt during summer commencement.

Recognition for #CCUSocialMedia – Yesterday I received word that our summer #CCUSA campaign was recognized in the Educational Advertising Awards. Entered in the “Social Media: 4-year Institution, 5,000-10,000” category, it received the bronze award. Although I am much more interested in winning gold awards, earning any type of national recognition is a cool deal and a great starting point for our social media program. Thank you to Kevin Olivett and Jon Fernandez for their great help assisting with the conception of the #CCUSA campaign.

#CCUSA earned some recognition through the Educational Advertising Awards.

#CCUSA earned some recognition through the Educational Advertising Awards.

Very Interesting App – Last week my brother drew my attention to an app called Fling. Here is the concept: You take a photo or video, hit send, and then the app will transport the media you created to 50 random people worldwide. My brother likened Fling to a cross between Snap Chat and Chat Roulette. I personally like it because I can broadcast my blog to 50 new people at a time over the whole planet. Sadly, I have found out that not everyone is as enthusiastic about my website as I am. You see, people who receive your “Fling” can respond. I have had a couple people tell me in not so nice terms that they don’t really care about www.brentreser.com and that they rather see a hot girl instead.

This is the Fling logo.

This is the Fling logo.

Silly Weekend Planned – Saturday will be a lot of fun! I am not going to release the exact details now because I am going to write about it on Sunday night but I will say this: It has to do with Sidney and I traveling to the area of Raleigh, North Carolina. It is a typical “Brent Being Brent” trip. Stay tuned to www.brentreser.com for a recap at the end of the weekend.

Words of Wisdom– Exactly one year ago today, these words of wisdom appeared on my “Life’s Little Instructions” calendar. This definitely goes down as one of my favorite pieces of advice. Personal disappointment is tough, but nothing helps remedy the pain more than by lifting someone else up. I have tried to use this remedy as much as possible as I have faced my own setbacks. With these words appearing exactly 365 days ago, I knew I had to share.

Great Advice!

Great Advice!

———————-

Have a superb weekend, everyone! As always, I am very appreciative of your readership. Don’t Blink.

Shutting Down Because of An Inch of Snow

Ten months since moving to Myrtle Beach I am still learning ways in which the south is different from out west. I love observing and experiencing the ways in which the two cultures differ, it is very interesting and fun to me. This week I have come across another major contrast.

Growing up in the northwest, getting around and dealing with the snow was just a fact of life. From at least October through March we knew that snow would fall and driving would become a little more hazardous. Sometimes, when the white stuff would come in accumulations of a foot or two, maneuvering a motor vehicle would get especially tricky.

Another part of growing up was hearing stories about far off lands that rarely had the blessing of snow or ice. You would hear about towns shutting down, motorists abandoning vehicles, and people freaking out. Because these measures seemed so drastic and so over the top, the question of whether these things actually occurred always went through our heads.

I can now say that they do…to a degree.

On Monday, the threat of a winter storm loomed over the Grand Strand area. The local media ran with it and forecasted snow and ice! The major school district in our area raised the white flag immediately. At 6 p.m. on Monday the district’s leadership cancelled school for the next day. This decision came before even one snowflake could fall, let alone one raindrop. The technical college in the area followed suit. We here at Coastal decided to wait until 6 a.m. on Tuesday to make a final decision.

Oh, I guess I wasn’t very specific when I noted that the forecast called for snow and ice. Let me fill you in on what was expected: The weather service warned of up to a HALF INCH of snow accumulation with periods of possible freezing rain. Armageddon.

Come Tuesday morning the forecast had not materialized. However, because the threat still loomed for later in the day, Coastal made the move to cancel classes. However, campus was still open and employees were required to come to work. As someone who hates snow days (or “threat of snow” days in this case), I was very happy that campus was still left open.

The snow never came. The dangerous road ice never made an appearance either, although icicles did form on cars which looked kind of cool. For people not from the South and even for those native to it, it seemed a little strange to walk around in mild temperatures and just rain while knowing that schools and services were closed. Perhaps the weirdest moment for many came this morning. As another precautionary measure to miss the threat of a storm, most of the Myrtle Beach/Conway area didn’t start classes/work/life until 10 a.m. today. With the temperatures pleasant and no precipitation at all, the delay seemed rather wacky to some.

My license plate was frozen and icicles formed!

My license plate was frozen and icicles formed!

But don’t count me as one of them! Although I do admit that I was a little shocked at first with the reaction to what constitutes June weather in Montana, I did come to realize why such decisions are made.

People in this area of the country are not used to snow and ice. Not only are folks not used to it, but necessary equipment for the removal of such hazards are not readily available either. Thus, even with the threat of a snow dusting, closures can be necessary because if it does materialize, there would not be an efficient way to remove it. Even a miniscule amount of snow can make roads dangerous. For those not accustomed to driving in it, the chance for accidents increase.

So it is not about being brave or macho. It is about being safe. Different areas of the country are accustomed to different climates and patterns. I am sure my hometown of Spokane would freak out and collapse if a hurricane warning came. A little perspective and background can go a long way when understanding why different areas respond to weather situations like they do. Don’t Blink.

Bone Chilling Nightmare: Mall Terrorism

Yesterday, another terror threat delivered by an immensely deranged group made news. Only this call to violence caught my attention a little more. To be honest it sent a chill up my spine and gave me a bad feeling. Some bastard terrorist group called Al-Shabab used their primitive ways to issue a type of warning you don’t always hear.

It seems like terror threats usually zero in on airports, landmarks, and streets of big cities. However, very rarely do you hear of plots to disrupt shopping malls on American soil. Yesterday, video of some P.O.S with an ugly bag wrapped around his face and head warned of attacks in shopping malls, specifically the Mall of America in Minnesota. This made me feel a little uncomfortable.

This is the scum that sent out the threat of an attack on the Mall of America.

This is the scum that sent out the threat of an attack on the Mall of America.

To me, it seems like a shopping mall is the most vulnerable/mass casualty prone area to pull off a savage attack. If you think about it, places like airports, stadiums, tourist hot spots, and even schools all have metal detectors and law enforcement personnel located at the entrances. At malls you have numerous entry points where people are free to come and go without any sort of check. A polar bear could pretty much wander inside any American mall undetected, let alone some terrorist strapped with explosives or carrying automatic weapons.

Of course it just isn’t the undetected entry that makes me worry. Once inside a mall, it is pretty much a playground for someone who is up to no good to stake out, hide, and wreak havoc. Even with no plan at all, a maniac could run into a mall, randomly shoot twenty people, and then go run to a vacant store space or disappear into a corner of a department store. Even scarier, a terrorist could stroll to the middle of the food court and blow himself up. These are the things of nightmares.

Could you imagine a sophisticated attack? A terrorist cell could send lunatics on every level of a mall and then at the designated second let loose. Mall cops receive an unfair reputation but there is no way they could compete with a choreographed attack against automatic weapon yielding psychos. Now I know the Mall of America has a much more aggressive law enforcement fleet than your typical shopping center but it is these less prominent malls that I am especially worried about.

To me it just all seems way too easy and way too scary. What can we do against these agents from hell who will do anything to kill innocent Americans? I have thought a lot about the mall I grew up going to and the Coastal Grand Mall here in Myrtle Beach when it comes to ways in which they might be attacked. It is chilling.

I am fully aware that many of these terror organizations put out these threats as a way to scare us and to make us alter our routines. Hundreds of specific threats are just that…threats. They never physically materialize. But jackasses like those in Al-Shabab also inspire loner jackasses unaffiliated with any terror ring to do stupid things.

I hope I never see a mall terrorist attack on American soil. However, the threat and possibility is very much there. Don’t Blink.

The Major Supermarket Inconvenience

Something really refreshing happened to me when I was in Spokane over Christmas. I paid a visit to Albertson’s, a western supermarket chain that I grew up going to. I picked up a few items and headed to the checkout line. After the cashier scanned my items and the total price appeared on the monitor I locked eyes with the teenager and asked him the question that would drop my total price by ten dollars.

“Can I give you my phone number?”

“No sir,” the courteous young worker said, “We don’t have a loyalty program anymore. Everyone receives the ‘preferred’ prices now.”

Hallelujah! With that said he hit a key and my grocery tab dropped like a rock. I didn’t have to hand over a key card, I didn’t have to type in a on a key pad, and I didn’t have to recite my mom and dad’s landline telephone number that they have not used in ten years. The sale price that was noted on the aisles was no longer a price that only “preferred” or “valued” or “loyal” shoppers with a ridiculous barcode on a piece of plastic could use. It was a price that applied to all customers, a price that wouldn’t waste time at the cash register because of an unnecessary swipe, a trivial spitting out of ten digits, or the major delay of signing up for a program.

I really wish other supermarket chains would follow suit. I think it is time to put to rest these stupid programs where you need a store card to cash in on the discounted/sale prices. If the item is on sale, just let it be on sale for everyone. Supermarkets holding on to these loyalty programs do nothing but waste time. Instead of just honoring the discount for everyone, an additional step must be taken no matter if it is asking someone for a phone number or having someone type something/scan something into a machine. It is complete asinine.

It is time to put the kibosh on grocery store loyalty cards.

It is time to put the kibosh on grocery store loyalty cards.

But let me take one step back because I think I am being too hard on just supermarkets. Pharmacies and discount stores have them as well. It doesn’t matter what store I stop at on my way home from work, each one (except for Wal-Mart) will ask if I am a “club member.” Lowe’s, CVS, Rite Aid, Food Lion, Bi-Lo, etc. all pull this card (pun intended) on me. It gets so irritating because I am not a “VIP” shopper at any of them. Because of this, I pull the same dumb, time draining stunt at each one:

Cashier: Are you a ________ member?
Me: No I am not, can I become one please?
Cashier Response #1: I will just swipe our card for you.
Or….
Cashier Response #2: Yes, here is your card (hands me a worthless piece of plastic that I will not use). You must call the number on the back to activate.

I do this because heck yes I am going to get the store discount, usually it is significant. My hope is that I will get the first cashier response and he/she will just swipe the store’s card for me. If I get the second response I still get the savings because they swipe my new card it is just that I have another chunk of material to add to my graveyard.

At my apartment I have all kinds of unactivated cards hanging around. I probably have like six alone just from Food Lion. I see no need to activate these cards because I am not going to keep them in my wallet, I would have way too many of them. What, just activate the card and use your phone number at these stores? Sorry, the activation process is usually wackadoodle.

It is time to do away with these loyalty clubs. In this day of advanced technology, high tech cameras, social media, and credit/debit cards, we don’t need these types of programs to track the buying habits of customers. Let’s save time while including everyone. Don’t Blink.

“Fifty Shades of Grey” and “Kingsman: The Secret Service”

In honor of the Academy Awards tonight, I thought I would briefly review a couple movies I saw in the theater this weekend. Mind you, neither of these movies will be up for an award soon, let alone an Oscar, but since both are bringing in the cash at the box office I thought I would give my two cents. By the way, if you do want some throwback Oscar literature from yours truly, click here.

This weekend I enjoyed two movies that were both released to quite a bit of fanfare. Last night I watched “Fifty Shades of Grey” and then this morning I saw “Kingsman: The Secret Service.” Let me tell you what I thought.

“Fifty Shades of Grey” - Yesterday evening, Sidney and I went to see the movie that garnered gasps from women when the secretive teasers were shown in theaters months before the release date. I swear these same women came back for our showing yesterday. Besides them, many couples around the ages of Sidney and I also took up room in the theater. But even with these two groups, the auditorium was only about 75% full, making it very puzzling why an older gentlemen climbed all the way to the top row where Sidney and I sat and decided to sit down in the unoccupied seat right next to me. Hmmm…Fifty Shades of Weird.

My ticket for "Fifty Shades of Grey."

My ticket for “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

For everything I have heard about the “Fifty Shades” franchise over the past couple of years, I was preparing myself to see something completely graphic, taboo, crazy, and sinister. When the movie concluded, I was honestly asking myself what the big deal was. I really didn’t find the film that offensive or shell-shocking.

I was pleasantly surprised that the film took place in my home state of Washington. I did not know this detail prior to last night. I enjoyed the shots of Seattle and I took pleasure in seeing the great promotion of Washington State University, the college I grew up cheering for and where I thought I would one day attend. The institution is where the lead female character, Ana, went to school.

As for the movie itself, I thought it was well-done. I think it had a very interesting plot, one in which the dilemma of Ana is very captivating. I loved the acting job of Jamie Dornan, the man who played the title character of Christian Grey. He did such a superb job of making himself a man of intrigue, someone who might really qualify as “The Most Interesting Man in the World.” He played his role so smoothly and did a convincing job of portraying the secret life his character must live. The ending absolutely sucked but I guess that is what is expected when a sequel is to follow. Even though the movie ended with me on the ropes, “Fifty Shades of Grey” exceeded my expectations.

“Kingsman: The Secret Service” - The plot for this movie is much too complex to explain so I won’t try to do so. However, I hope that by describing what the movie is like you might have a better idea on whether you want to see it or not.

My ticket for "Kingsman: The Secret Service."

My ticket for “Kingsman: The Secret Service.”

“Kingsman” is a mix between a thriller/spy/comedy film. Although the movie is very humorous and on the lighter side, you must be tuned in from the beginning to the end to understand everything that is going on. Although Samuel L. Jackson stars in the movie, it is very much a British film. Because of this, at times it is hard to catch everything that is said because of the English accents.

It is a very clever movie with lots of twists, killing, and crazy ideas. Dialogue is quick and witty. There is actually a moral dilemma that is at the center of the film but it is purposefully overshadowed by the action and humor. For me the movie lasted a little too long and I became really annoyed with a few of the characters who reappear throughout the whole feature. With that said, if you like comic books and enjoy spies, you will most likely enjoy “Kingsman: The Secret Service.” I was entertained, but like I said above, this movie will not be taking home an Oscar.

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Enjoy the Academy Awards! I will be turning back and forth throughout the evening. As I said on Thursday, my fingers are crossed for “American Sniper” to take home Best Picture. Don’t Blink.

The Return of the Thursday Countdown

Thursday, Thursday, Thursday! When you think of Thursday, do you automatically say to yourself, “I can’t wait, it is Brent’s random rundown day!”? I didn’t think so. Let’s get to the topics.

Boom, Clap, the Sound of My Tires – This morning got off to a rough start. As I was driving to campus for my workout, I rammed over what looked to be a good sized log in the middle of my lane. Driving in the dark and maybe zoning out about the day ahead of me, I didn’t even see it until it was too late. A loud crashing sound went through my car and I knew I had at least one flat. Roadside assistance came to tow my car and Sidney came to the rescue and picked me up.

Later in the day the repair shop called me. They delivered the unfortunate news that not only was the front passenger tire toast but the back one was as well. This morning when I got in my car I had little idea that I would run over some random object that would force me to shell out $172 for new tires.

It’s Going Down, I’m Yelling Tinder – Last month I was interviewed by WPDE to give an expert opinion regarding online dating, specifically with popular apps such as Tinder. I decided to take the advice I gave in the interview and expand on it for my latest Coastal Now segment. To watch me give my best advice on how to play safely with Tinder, click here. Additionally, I would like to announce that I have started my own personal YouTube channel. If you would like to check that out, click here.

In my latest Social Circle segment I talk Tinder.

In my latest Social Circle segment I talk Tinder.

You’re As Cold as Ice – This past week Myrtle Beach has seen record cold temperatures for the area. Believe it or not, temperatures have dropped to (gasp) 20 degrees. No, not -20 degrees, just 20 degrees. However, for people who are not used to those temperatures it is cold. Believe it or not, the local school district actually delayed classes by two hours. Of course the schedule went on as normal at Coastal. Speaking of my work place, I took this photo of one of our fountains at the start of the week. There is your proof that it occasionally does get cold in South Carolina.

The fountain in the Edwards Courtyard was icing over.

The fountain in the Edwards Courtyard was icing over.

Short Stay - Catholic priests usually don’t stay at parishes for too long. Dioceses move around personnel every few years or so. However, this past weekend I saw an early exit that was especially brief. A few months ago at St. Andrew we received a Polish priest named Fr. Filip Wodecki to serve as our parochial vicar. This man, probably in his forties, loved to joke around and had a very sharp wit. The only problem was that his humor didn’t translate with everyone simply because they couldn’t understand him. His accent was sometimes difficult to decipher, even for me. Nonetheless, he was still a great guy who was committed to his job. It came as great surprise last Saturday evening when he said he was moving on. The bishop had assigned him to a new parish. I wish Fr. Wodecki the best of luck!

The front of St. Andrew Parish. This is the church I attend in Myrtle Beach.

The front of St. Andrew Parish. This is the church I attend in Myrtle Beach.

My Oscar Pick - So obviously you all are anxiously awaiting my Oscar pick for Best Picture. Having seen half of the nominees, I have to go with “American Sniper.” The story, the themes, and the acting make this film the best of the year. I will tell you this, there should be no way in hell that Bradley Cooper doesn’t win Best Actor. His performance as Chris Kyle is one for the ages. Dear Academy, please give him the award.

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You made it through another rundown! I hope you all have a great weekend and thanks again for reading. Don’t Blink.