Bring on the FCS Playoffs

This morning the bracket was released for the 2014 FCS Playoffs and I must say I am more excited than ever. I have always enjoyed the FCS Playoffs but I have been partial to the bowl system. The latter just appealed to me more because of the matchups, tradition, and prestige that came about from the postseason of the FBS. However, this year I think the FCS tournament has me more jacked than what the FBS has to offer.

The 2014 FCS Bracket (thanks to the @NCAA_FCS twitter account).

The 2014 FCS Bracket (thanks to the @NCAA_FCS twitter account).

But before I talk about the 2014 FCS Playoffs a quick recap from yesterday: Unfortunately Coastal Carolina came just a couple points short of an undefeated season. With the Chants leading the whole second half, Liberty kicked a go-ahead field goal with 1:20 left to take the lead, 15-14. Then, with no timeouts, CCU went on a gustsy drive that set them up for a chip shot game-winning field goal. But it wasn’t meant to be as Liberty busted through the line and blocked the kick. The day didn’t go to complete waste though. I had the pleasure of watching the Montana Grizzlies annihilate and embarrass the Montana State Bobcats in the 114th Brawl of the Wild, 34-7. It was very nice to see Mick Delaney and Jordan Johnson, two great individuals, end their Brawl of the Wild careers in such dominating fashion.

It was Senior Day yesterday at the Coastal game.

It was Senior Day yesterday at the Coastal game.

I am especially excited for the FCS Playoffs this year because I have a few rooting interests. First and foremost, I want to see Coastal Carolina University steamroll through the bracket and win the national championship. The Chants received a #7 seed and a bye. They will play the winner of this Saturday’s Morgan State vs. Richmond game. Yesterday’s loss proved to sting a little today because if Coastal wins on December 6, most likely the team will be traveling to Fargo to play North Dakota State. But you know what? It is definitely a winnable game. The Bison fell once this year and I watched Montana nearly defeat them this season as well. Coastal is definitely capable. But first things first, there is a playoff game in Brooks Stadium in 13 days and I can’t wait to watch it!

Coastal Carolina received a #7 seed and first round bye.

Coastal Carolina received a #7 seed and first round bye (Thanks to the @NCAA_FCS twitter account).

On the other side of the bracket, Montana received an unseeded/at large bid. The Grizzlies will face San Diego next Saturday in Washington-Grizzly Stadium. The winner of that game will travel to Cheney to face Eastern Washington on December 6. If the Griz advance, it would be a rematch from earlier this month when the Eagles defeated Montana on the red turf, 36-26. Hopefully the Grizzlies will get revenge on Eastern. If somehow the same result repeats itself, I will definitely cheer for Eastern throughout the rest of the playoffs (until they potentially meet Coastal).

Montana will host San Diego on Saturday (thanks to the @NCAA_FCS twitter account).

Montana will host San Diego on Saturday (thanks to the @NCAA_FCS twitter account).

One team I will not cheer for is Montana State. After the pathetic display of football that the team presented yesterday, I was really hoping the selection committee would have left them out in the cold where they belong. But alas, they will host South Dakota State this upcoming Saturday. I really hope the Jack Rabbits demolish them. Coastal could potentially meet the Bobcats in the semis but I don’t think that will happen solely because of the ineptness of MSU.

Of course what I would love to see is a national championship between the Coastal Carolina University Chanticleers and the University of Montana Grizzlies. How much fun would that be for me? Although I have obvious ties with both schools and would love all the buildup to the game, I would definitely be rooting 100% for the Chants. If I don’t get my first national championship game pick, I would like to see another Big South vs. Big Sky matchup with Coastal and Eastern Washington battling it out for all the marbles. To watch Alex Ross and Vernon Adams (the best player in the FCS) go head-to-head would be a real treat.

The playoffs are here and I am stoked! I look forward to the next several weeks and am anxiously hoping for deep postseason runs by both the Chants and Griz. Don’t Blink.

The Week Before Thanksgiving

Just a week away from Thanksgiving, are you excited yet? I sure am. With Turkey Day on my mind I present to you my weekly Thursday rundown blog post. How about we jump right in?

Buffalo Wild Wings Visit: Only in my blog would you find someone ramble on about an ordinary BWW dining experience. This past Saturday, Sidney and I went to eat after the Chant football game. In a rare move for me I ate something other than wings. I ordered the Italian burger and let me tell you, it was loaded. It was two patties, pepperoni, garlic sauce, AND mozzarella sticks. It was a miracle that I didn’t die from a heart attack right then. It was probably even more of a miracle that I managed to keep my food down after I watched the women’s UFC fight between Jessica Eye and Leslie Smith on the restaurant’s big screens. Eye almost took off Smith’s ear as blood splattered everywhere. My hatred for UFC will be for another blog post.

This was my Italian burger that I ate at Buffalo Wild Wings on Saturday night.

This was my Italian burger that I ate at Buffalo Wild Wings on Saturday night.

Newspaper Love: Our student newspaper here at Coastal Carolina University is called The Chanticleer. Over the past couple of issues, #CCUSocialMedia has had a focal point in both. In the issue that came out a couple weeks ago, Wyatt Davies did a story on our Yik Yak Takeover. You can read it by clicking here. This week the newest issue came out and I had the honor of being the feature in a piece by Dylan Cordaro. You can read it by clicking here. While I enjoy coverage from the professional media organizations, it is nice to have the work I am doing  featured by the population I am trying to serve the most, our students.

A photo of the physical copy of the latest story that dealt with #CCUSocialMedia.

A photo of the physical copy of the latest story that dealt with #CCUSocialMedia.

Football Saturday: I am beyond excited for college football this Saturday. I will be on the sidelines as the Chanticleer football team goes for an unblemished 12-0 season as they face Liberty at 1 p.m. in Brooks Stadium. As it is a rivalry game with a lot at stake I expect a hard-hitting and intense contest. A win for Coastal will cement a top seed in the playoffs, a Big South Conference championship, and a regular season #1 ranking. After I finish up my work from the game I will be off to my favorite bar to watch the Griz-Cat football game. I will be yelling hard as Montana looks to improve its already lopsided edge in the Brawl of the Wild Series with another victory over Montana State. I couldn’t say it when I was working for UM but I can say it now: Grizzly Athletics in every single facet is so incredibly superior to Montana State! I never tire seeing that point made time and time again. I can’t wait for kickoff.

Brynn and I on the field after another #GrizCat football victory in 2013.

Brynn and I on the field after another #GrizCat football victory in 2013.

Hair: Tonight I have the pleasure of attending my first play in ages. I will be attending Coastal Carolina University’s production of “Hair.” I am looking forward to seeing our talented students act and sing on stage. A big bonus is that Robin Russell is directing the production. Robin is the host of “Coastal Now” and has provided me with tremendous support and encouragement since I started my “Social Circle” segment on the show. I am thrilled that I have the opportunity to send some of that support back her way by attending tonight’s play.

This is the door that leads to the Black Box Theatre at Coastal Carolina University. As you can see, it is decorated for "Hair."

This is the door that leads to the Black Box Theatre at Coastal Carolina University. As you can see, it is decorated for “Hair.”

I Meet My Niece Next Week: This latest update on Mikayla is special because it is the last one I have to make before actually seeing her for the first time next Tuesday. Now 11 weeks old she is flailing her arms and kicking her legs like crazy. My family says she is just as excited to see me as I am her. Counting down the days!

Here are the latest photos of Mikayla. I meet her soon.

Here are the latest photos of Mikayla. I meet her soon.

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Well folks, I am off to a play. Thanks for your readership. Because of my Mick Delaney tribute post on Monday, this has been one of the best weeks ever for Don’t Blink. Make sure to cheer hard for the Chants and Griz this weekend. Don’t Blink.

Gloria Gaynor and the CCU Gospel Choir

This evening I took on some overtime work at the last minute and made my way over to Lackey Chapel, the nondenominational worship space at Coastal Carolina University. Inside the chapel was a woman by the name of Gloria Gaynor. Wait, who? Okay, I am going to ask you to go back to the 1970’s. Do you remember the disco hit “I Will Survive”? Well, Gloria Gaynor is the artist of that famous track.

Earlier she had toured campus but she wanted to make one more stop to cap off the day. That stop was to Lackey Chapel to watch our Coastal Carolina University Gospel Choir practice/perform. Before the group started to sing I approached her and asked if I could take a photo. She kindly obliged. The choir then started to perform as Gloria sat several rows back. After the Coastal students had performed a few numbers, Gaynor rose to her feet and went up to the podium to say a few words.

This is the photo I took of Gloria Gaynor before the practice started.

This is the photo I took of Gloria Gaynor before the practice started.

With all attention on her, Gloria told the students that they had beautiful voices. She then talked about the importance of singing and the importance of faith. After her brief address, she invited the crowd to ask questions. During the Q&A, Gloria discussed such topics as her rise to fame, the struggle she faced deciding whether to sing secular or spiritual music, and premarital sex. After she concluded up at the podium, the delighted students gathered around her for a big group photo.

Gloria Gaynor with the Coastal Carolina University Gospel Choir

Gloria Gaynor with the Coastal Carolina University Gospel Choir

It was cool seeing a former star such as Gloria Gaynor tonight but to be honest, I was more impressed with our Coastal students. In my life I had never really been exposed much to gospel music, let alone a live gospel choir. At a couple events this year I had the pleasure of listening to the CCU Gospel Choir perform but it was either in a big venue or outdoors. To stand among them today in the small Lackey Chapel and hear them absolutely belt out a few songs was a great experience.

Photo I took from tonight of the Coastal Carolina University Gospel Choir performing.

Photo I took from tonight of the Coastal Carolina University Gospel Choir performing.

What I noticed right away was just the joy they sing with. Even if you can’t understand one lyric they are singing (even though the words come out crystal clear) the beautiful melody of love and happiness that is so obvious in their voices make your ears rejoice. The clapping and swaying adds power and enthusiasm. The mile-wide smiles that open up on the faces of the students while they perform are contagious. As I stood there watching and listening I said to myself in a satisfied and approving manner, “So this is gospel music.”

The students took selfies with Gloria.

The students took selfies with Gloria.

What I got tonight was something that I definitely couldn’t get at the University of Montana. Sorry Gloria, I am talking about the gospel choir. The passion I heard and felt in that chapel was special. I felt bad waltzing through the doors with a camera but I thank the choir and Ms. Gaynor for accepting me. This evening was definitely an experience. Don’t Blink.

A Tribute to Mick Delaney

I remember the chaos vividly. The athletic director and head football coach at the University of Montana had just been let go, victims of a sucker-punch that no one saw coming. The community was outraged. Things were uncertain. Inside the office of Sports Information Director Dave Guffey both Bob Beers and Scott Gragg, two men rumored to possibly be named the interim head coach, admitted to us they had no idea who would receive the appointment. It was all a whirlwind, it felt like maybe the wheels were starting to fall off. But then came news that Mick Delaney would come out of retirement and graciously take over as the interim head football coach at the University of Montana. Finally, some stability.

That first practice with Mick at the helm was unlike any practice I had ever attended during my employment with Griz Athletics. The atmosphere was charged. Besides the regular beat reporters on hand you also had sports media from across the state present. Mark Holyoak, the face of KPAX News at the time, had come out from behind the anchor desk to cover the spectacle in Washington-Grizzly Stadium. Staff members from inside the athletic department stood on the sideline to support Coach Delaney. It wasn’t just a practice that day, it was a major event in the historical fabric of Grizzly Athletics.

Mick Delaney came in and saved Griz football.

Mick Delaney came in and saved Griz football.

That day with all the microphones pushed in his face, Coach Delaney said he would do all he could to give the media, the athletic department, and the community everything he had. It is now some 32 months later and he never waivered on that pledge. Ask any media member about working with Mick, they will all say he was accommodating and kind. Quiz any athletic department staffer on whether Coach Delaney was a team player who held his players/staff accountable while supporting the other programs and they will nod yes in a heartbeat. Ask Mick’s wife Cheri about the long list of community causes he aided and she will rattle off an endless list. Pretty good for someone who was yanked out of retirement and placed in the most scrutinized position in the state, right?

It definitely wasn’t a walk in the park for Mick. He had to deal with the crippling repercussions from the President’s decision, the unfair suspension and trial of his star player, and unrealistic expectations/unfair criticisms from fans. During his inaugural season, I served on the travel advance team for Grizzly football. On those road trips I could literally see the stress hanging on his shoulders during that challenging 2012 campaign. I watched him smoke a lot of cigars on those trips, his only chance to provide himself with a little relief. However, even with the stress and setbacks, Mick always kept his integrity and always came out a winner.

The 2012 season was a tough one. I took this photo at Eastern Washington, a game the Griz would lose in the fourth quarter.

The 2012 season was a tough one. I took this photo at Eastern Washington, a game the Griz would lose in the fourth quarter.

I debated going about it this way because I didn’t want to turn this post into a list. However, I feel it is the best way to highlight his character. I want to quickly offer my five favorite personal Mick Delaney moments that really illustrate the leader and special person that he is (listed in no particular order):

Mick Sacrifices Time for Small Marketing Event - In 2013, Monte had earned yet another spot on the Capital One All-American Mascot Team. The competition to crown the Mascot of the Year that season depended partly on fans photographing or videoing themselves completing weekly challenges and posting the content to social media. One particular week the challenge was to capture the celebration you thought your mascot would do if he scored a touchdown.

I planned an event in Washington-Grizzly Stadium where fans could run around on the field, catch a touchdown pass, and then celebrate with Monte. I didn’t even bother asking Coach Delaney to come out because it was right in the middle of the week and the team was traveling the next day. But lo and behold, when I escorted the participants through the Adams Center and out the tunnel into the stadium there was Mick standing at mid-field. On a cold Montana day with plenty of wind and sleet, Mick did his own touchdown celebration with Monte. He then stuck around and took photos with the fans who showed up, many who never had the opportunity to watch a game inside Washington-Grizzly Stadium because of the ticket availability and cost. I was so humbled that he would show up to something that I didn’t even know was on his radar. For him to then go the extra mile and make sure everyone else had a memorable experience made it that much sweeter.

Mick does his touchdown celebration with Monte in September of 2013.

Mick does his touchdown celebration with Monte in September of 2013.

Mick Surprises 102-year-old Lady - Toward the end of last football season, Mick made the day of one hardcore Griz fan by paying a surprise visit. However, this University of Montana supporter wasn’t a testosterone-driven message board poster covered in maroon and silver body paint. Instead it was a sweet old lady named Emma Lommasson, a 102-year-old Griz diehard who once served as the Assistant Registrar at Montana.

When Coach Delaney walked into the lobby of Emma’s retirement home her eyes lit up and her mouth dropped open. The two held hands and had a lively conversation for about 30 minutes. This wasn’t a photo op or a publicity stunt (only our storied play-by-play guy and myself were present), this was just Mick being Mick. They would have talked all day long but Coach had to hustle back to campus to start practice.

Emma Lommasson held tight to Mick's hand the whole time they were together.

Emma Lommasson held tight to Mick’s hand the whole time they were together.

A Hand-Written/Hand-Delivered Thank You Note - When the head coach of a major program brings you a card with a personal, thoughtful message you know you are dealing with a man who is truly down-to-earth and humble. Just a couple days before offices in the athletic department started to clear out for the holidays, Mick walked around to members of the support staff and handed out Christmas cards and boxes of chocolates. When I read what he wrote, I could undeniably say that I felt truly valued and appreciated by one of the most well-known and recognized men in the state.

A few different shots of the card Mick Delaney presented to me.

A few different shots of the card Mick Delaney presented to me.

Road Trip - In August of 2013, a year-long sponsored rivalry competition was introduced to spotlight the Griz-Cat series across all sports. The press conference was held in Butte (a location in the middle of Missoula and Bozeman). I had the opportunity to make the drive with our athletic director, our associate athletic director, and Mick Delaney. During the drive there and the drive back, I just relaxed and listened as Mick talked about football. He discussed players, coaches, FBS, FCS, conferences, past games, war stories, and more. It was a totally uncensored look into a 50-year vault of pig skin richness, also known as Mick’s brain. I ate up every bit of it and even managed to have some of my questions answered.

This was the press conference in Butte. They made this year-long competition just to draw even more attention to how bad the Griz embarrass the Bobcats in athletics.

This was the press conference in Butte that I rode down with Mick for.

Pre-Game Speech: Before the Appalachian State game in 2013, Mick Delaney addressed his players while our video guys caught it on camera. This video was created for an in-stadium feature and when we played it at the second home game of the season it was extremely powerful. It wasn’t a “yell at the top of your lungs” rant or a psychological, well-planned lecture. Rather, it was just Mick speaking from his heart. Those last 30 seconds represent everything he tried to instill during his three seasons as head coach at the University of Montana. That is the Delaney Gospel right there, and the best way possible to end this list.

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As he preached in the speech I just highlighted, Mick Delaney did things the right way. At times, critics complained. But you know what, who cares? Coach Delaney made a selfless decision to step in when things were toxic. He oversaw the program for three seasons, ran a clean ship, and won more games than he lost. He will pass the torch to a new coach who will inherit a solid program with a strong incoming recruiting class. Thank you Mick Delaney for your amazing leadership. You will be forever remembered for what you did to help Griz Nation when it needed help the most. Don’t Blink.

Why I Went and Saw “Dumb and Dumber To”

My friends and I discovered “Dumb and Dumber” when we were in the sixth grade, a good five or six years after it was released in 1994. But once we discovered it, we treated it like it was God’s gift to film. Although these days I don’t watch movies more than once, we watched “Dumb and Dumber” probably 200 times…no stretch. That doesn’t even count the thousand other times we stopped and watched it on TBS.

My friends and I could quote that movie forwards and backwards. We would be engaging in a normal conversation and then one of us would slip in a “Dumb and Dumber” reference and we would take off from there by playing out the whole scene. It went way beyond the “Big Gulps” and “Kick his ass, Seabass” lines that have become a fabric of our society. When the “Dumb and Dumberer 2: When Harry Met Lloyd” prequel came out I saw that train wreck of a movie on opening night. If I remember correctly, we even tried pretending that it was good.

Today I went and saw "Dumb and Dumber To."

Today I went and saw “Dumb and Dumber To.”

About the time I was a junior or senior in high school my maturity level improved. No longer did I think “Dumb and Dumber” was the truth. When I passed by the movie on TV I didn’t stop and watch it anymore. No longer did I think imitating Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels to a T was a badge of honor. I had grown sick of the movie.

When the previews for “Dumb and Dumber To” started to come out only one word came to mind: STUPID. It didn’t even look “funny” stupid to me, it just looked “don’t waste your time, this looks awful” stupid. I trashed the movie to everyone I knew. I was being serious though, to me the previews made the film look horrendous.

So even though I thought it looked terrible and even though I took every chance I could to blast it, I still wanted to go on opening weekend. I wanted to pay tribute to my boyhood fandom of the original while also having something to write about. I admit, I was curious to see what the Farrelly brothers had up their sleeves twenty years later. Today I went to the 11:30 a.m. showing of “Dumb and Dumber To” at the Grand 14 Cinema in Market Common.

My ticket for "Dumb and Dumber To."

My ticket for “Dumb and Dumber To.”

“Dumb and Dumber To” is more disgusting, more sexual, and more mischievous than the original. I want that to be my bottom line on the movie. With that said, I did find the film pretty darn funny. I laughed from start to end. The film is incredibly stupid, but it was more of the “funny” stupid that I originally thought the film would lack. Some of the jokes are absolutely tasteless, I am talking vomit in your mouth inducing. The actual plot is far-fetched and dumb. Some parts get pretty annoying.

But to me, the aspect I liked most about the movie was Jim Carrey. He still has it. He has something that just makes him different from other comedians. The way he moves and let loose is comedic gold. In this sequel he is much more edgier and sinister than the Lloyd in the original movie. However, I still enjoyed his performance for the most part, even if he did participate in almost all of those annoying parts I just made reference to.

If at any time in your life you were able to quote at least five lines from “Dumb and Dumber” I say give “Dumb and Dumber To” a shot just for nostalgia purposes. If you aren’t a “Dumb and Dumber” fan or have never (gasp) seen the movie before, I suggest you stay away. Sidney went with me to the movie and waited until the end to tell me that she had never seen the first one. She thought “Dumb and Dumber To” was awful. Although I laughed quite a bit, when it comes to the movie I can’t pull a Lloyd Christmas and say in that voice of his that “I LIKED IT A LOT.” Don’t Blink.

How Social Media Got Our #TEALnation Sign Back

As a digital marketer, I love to share the success stories that this medium creates, especially when it deals specifically with social media. Very recently I had the pleasure of helping out with something pretty cool.

Yesterday at Coastal Carolina University we discovered that a welcome sign next to one of our entrances had turned up missing. This wasn’t just any sign though. It was a newly installed board that had one of our key marketing brands on it. The “Welcome to #TEALnation” sign added personality and flavor to one of our most heavily trafficked entrances. Our campus community identifies with #TEALnation and to have the new sign removed in such a savage nature was unsettling. We knew we had to get it back.

Our #TEALnation sign had been completely removed.

Our #TEALnation sign had been completely removed.

During the morning on Wednesday a brief meeting was held between our Vice President Bill Plate, Director of News and Public Affiars Martha Hunn, our Chief of Police David Roper, and myself. We wanted to decide how we would get word out about the jacking of the sign while asking for its return. After mulling over ideas such as a campus wide e-mail or an actual video we decided to go with a different approach: Social Media. The decision was made to do this outreach solely on a social level. All the other traditional avenues be damned, we were going to rely completely on social media to bring our sign home.

Chief Roper gave me some key words he wanted included in what we sent out but then I was free to compose the social media posts myself. After getting the “okay” from Bill I posted variations of the sign theft news on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I then watched the Coastal Community go to work.

Our Facebook post generated lots of shares and fired up the community.

Our Facebook post generated lots of shares and fired up the community.

The tweet was retweeted like wild fire. The Facebook post was shared like crazy. The Instagram image was commented on and reposted. A local news station even picked up on the story. People were outraged by the theft and wanted to make sure that the sign was recovered. A distinguishing and prideful piece of University property was not going to be missing for long!

The tweet we sent out was rapidly retweeted.

The tweet we sent out was rapidly retweeted.

And it wasn’t. By 3:30 p.m. yesterday, Chief Roper notified Martha and told her the sign had been recovered. An individual had called in and given the location of our stolen property. When she told me the great news my face lit up. We had rallied our community via social media and we had received the best result we could have possibly hoped for in a matter of hours. Because of the investigation and recovery effort we had to sit on the good news for the night. However, this afternoon we were able to inform Teal Nation that the sign was back in good hands. A heartfelt thank you was given to our social media audience for coming to the rescue. Our announcement was met with enthusiasm and joy.

It felt great to send out the good news tweet.

It felt great to send out the good news tweet.

File this one under “Social Media Success Stories.” We knew that this conundrum would touch a nerve with our community. When people are urked by something, it goes viral. This was exactly the case with our #TEALnation sign disappearance. Instead of concentrating on methods that would require lots of resources and time, we utilized the absolute best weapon we could call on in the given situation. Social media and Teal Nation to the rescue again! Don’t Blink.

Memorable Movies in the Theater

This afternoon I was standing out on Prince Lawn at Coastal Carolina University talking with my co-worker, April Betsch. We got to talking about “Dumb and Dumber To” and one thing led to another. Pretty soon she brought up the subject of shared experiences in movie theaters. April explained how cool it is to go to a movie theater and really feel connected with the rest of the audience during the film. I knew exactly what she was talking about but had never so eloquently put that movie-going experience into words before.

With April’s inspiration, tonight I want to write about the five movies I can easily rattle off the top of my head where I had a “shared experience” with the people in the theater. These movies are listed in no particular order. In the brackets after each title I have the city where I watched the movie and the year I saw it.

“Lone Survivor” (Missoula, MT – 2013) – The theater was completely packed when I went to this film on opening night. As I watched people walk in all I can say is it looked like they had their game faces on. You could just tell that no one would be talking or texting during this movie. Throughout the very well done film, you could feel the nervousness of those around you during the fighting scenes. You could feel the tension when the Taliban was in hot pursuit of the SEALs. Everyone laughed out loud together in relief during the very well-placed humorous lines. You could then feel the appreciation and pride of everyone in the theater when the air support came in and lifted Mark Wahlberg’s character to safety. The moment he thanked the tribe that sheltered him was indescribable. The second before the credits started to roll someone yelled out “YAH!!” and the whole theater erupted in applause, to this day the loudest ovation I have ever heard after a movie.

“The Ring” (Walla Walla, WA – 2002) – I saw this movie with my sister and when we walked out into the parking lot we were literally shaking. But it was what took place inside the theater that I really remember. “The Ring” ushered in a new era of horror movies so a lot of people were not really exposed (myself included) to what we were about to watch. Throughout the movie you heard a lot of shrieks and noticed most people with their hands over mouths in disbelief. The images of the girl really terrified a lot of people. The grainy video that was the kiss of death and center of the movmie made people uneasy. Then of course there was the final scene that had everyone in the theater crying out in horror (and of course approval…what an awesome ending!).

“Passion of the Christ” (Spokane, WA – 2004) – Walking into the theater for this movie I could sense from everyone else in the theater that they knew it was going to be a tough one. You could just feel the somber aura in the auditorium during the whole film. People were not there to be entertained, they were there to watch the most gut-wrenching aspect of their faith. When the movie ended, people just didn’t exit the auditorium in silence, they exited the movie theater itself in silence and proceeded to walk to their cars in the parking lot in silence as well. Ironically, because of the fact that everyone was so silent and so disconnected from everyone else, it actually made it seem like everyone was intertwined somehow.

“The Mask” (Spokane, WA – 1994) – You might think I am crazy for remembering a movie I saw in theaters 20 years ago this month but it seems just like yesterday. We hosted Thanksgiving at my parents’ house for my dad’s side of the family. They all came from out of town and on Thanksgiving night we went to the theater to watch “The Mask.” As my dad has a very large family, we had about 20 of us Resers in that theater. From start to end, my family was in tears they were laughing so hard. This energy transferred to everyone else in the auditorium as it was just a circus as Jim Carey put on a complete show. My aunts and uncles still talk about that night to this day.

“Fault of Our Stars” (Myrtle Beach, SC – 2014) – I wrote about watching this movie in June and the absolute tear bath that ensued inside the Myrtle Beach theater. Until that night, I had never heard such a collective cry from strangers inside an auditorium before. You could sense a thick cloud of agony inside the theater from the tears, sobs, and nose blows from the predominately female audience. Another movie I saw on opening night, you could figure that most people in the seats were diehards of the book. It was definitely an experience.

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I hope to have more shared experiences in the movie theater in the near future. However, I don’t think it is going to come when I watch “Dumb and Dumber To.” Although a must see for me as I loved “Dumb and Dumber” as a kid, this new sequel looks utterly stupid. Don’t Blink.

B+R Hand Soaps

Every now and then I like to share ideas that cross my mind regarding new services or products. Now the last time I went out on a limb and did this I thoroughly embarrassed myself as I pitched an idea that was already implemented in varying forms in several supermarkets. But after a thorough Google search this evening, I believe I have a true original idea for an exciting line of products. Let me present to you my latest scam…uh…I mean…idea.

With crazy new flavors for everything from potato chips to soft drinks hitting the shelves, I want to take this idea to a non-edible product. It is with great excitement that I introduce Bizzare+Random Hand Soaps. Made to look like my initials (the “+” is to serve as the word “and” but look like the letter “t”) , B+R Hand Soaps is an innovative concept not yet out in the market. I would package the most intriguing, outrageous, and good smelling soaps that have ever made contact with human hands.

We use liquid/hand soap everywhere. We have several bottles in our homes stationed everywhere from the kitchen sink to the bathroom. Unless they utilize that disgusting powdered soap, every single business stocks their restrooms with hand soap. Whether used in automatic dispensers, nice porcelain containers, or the plastic bottles themselves, the stuff is used in every restaurant, stadium, locker room, etc. So I have to ask, if this type of soap is so prevalent, why are the scents so boring? If you go to a store you will have a selection of about ten different options. Cucumber melon, lavender, coconut, cherry blossom, gold flavor, and tropical/Hawaiian scents dominate your choices. I am so sick of these uninspired choices.

I have an amazing idea that will transform the hand soap industry. Say goodbye to boring scents such as lavender.

I have an amazing idea that will transform the hand soap industry. Say goodbye to boring scents such as lavender.

At B&R Hand Soaps, we would offer absolutely wild flavors. I am talking cookie dough. Or I am talking macaroni cheese. Or how about hot fudge sundae? Can I get a YES PLEASE for a buttered popcorn hand soap? Or, to take another Jelly Belly classic flavor, how about a Dr. Pepper version!? But we wouldn’t stop there. How would you like to wash your hands with Butterfinger soap? What if we introduced a spaghetti and meatballs scent? Or what about an Oreo cookie mixture?

We would never have to worry about kids (and adults) not washing their hands again. People would make excuses to go lather up. Hands would become incredibly clean because people would rinse their hands several times just so they could apply more soap. Moods would improve because when you have a scent lingering on you throughout the day such as cookie dough or buttered popcorn, how can you not be happy?

I would sell a long line of different scents to mass retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target. But then I would also sell exclusive flavors to big time restaurants, marketing it as the best branding decision you could ever make. Could you imagine if B+R Hand Soaps developed an Asian Zing or Jammin Jalapeno soap for Buffalo Wild Wings? The specialty soap would be woven into the fabric of BWW. People would be fascinated with it and make trips to the restaurant not just to eat but to also use the restroom. Or what if B+R Hand Soaps made a lemon cheesecake soap for the Cheesecake Factory?! Oh man, talk about a slam dunk! What if we reached out to the Seattle Seahawks and created a Skittles soap to be used exclusively inside CenturyLink Field in honor of Marshawn Lynch? Can you tell that I am just a little excited about this?!

Ladies and gentlemen, B+R Hand Soaps! This would turn the industry completely upside-down. It would promote hand washing and instill identity both in individuals and companies. Time to turn the floor over to you. What do you think? Would you invest? Would you purchase the soap? Let me know what you think and also throw out any scent ideas you have. Excuse me while I go wash my hands. Don’t Blink.

Coastal Football Earns #1 Ranking

Today a very exciting milestone occurred at the university I work at. In the early afternoon, the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Coaches Poll came out and revealed that the Coastal Carolina University football program had been voted the #1 team in the nation. Not only was this the first ever #1 ranking for the CCU football team, it marked the first ever #1 ranking for any team in the history of Chanticleer Athletics.

Immediately social media blew up. The tweet we sent out announcing the accomplishment received 147 retweets, earning the distinction as the most retweeted tweet in the history of our @CCUchanticleers account. Our other social media accounts posted big numbers as well. In no time our Facebook account generated 600 likes and 224 shares. The Instagram image created for the occasion garnered 286 likes, a new record. It was definitely a fun afternoon for #CCUSocialMedia.

This tweet has already garnered 147 retweets.

This tweet has already garnered 147 retweets.

Even though the response on social media was exuberant and powerful, the top spot ranking wasn’t a surprise. With back-to-back-to-back FCS champion North Dakota State suffering a rare defeat on Saturday, it paved the way for Coastal to grab the premiere spot. You might reason that NDSU deserved the respect of remaining #1 after 33 straight wins and three national championships but here is the thing: Coastal has cruised to a 10-0 record in impressive fashion this season. The team has obliterated opponents while doing most of its damage on the road. Playing only five home games this year, the Chants have already posted an undefeated 7-0 road record. The final two games on the schedule will take place in the friendly confines of Brooks Stadium.

Here is the new FCS Coaches Poll.

Here is the new FCS Coaches Poll.

Here is where the story turns a little personal. Coastal Carolina is the second school I have worked at where the football team has earned the #1 FCS ranking. When I worked at the University of Montana the Grizzlies owned the prestigious top spot for varying lengths of time during two different seasons that I worked there. I do wonder how many people can say that they have worked at two schools that reached the number one spot in the FCS during this young decade (2010-2019). While I feel more connected to the accomplishments of the football team at Montana simply because I worked in the athletic department, it is still a source of pride that my current university is now the top gridiron team in the FCS.

Two schools. Two mascots. Two #1 FCS rankings.

Two schools. Two mascots. Two #1 FCS rankings.

Big congrats to the student-athletes, the coaches, and the Chanticleer Athletics staff on this big accomplishment. The next two weeks the Chant football team will be playing for an undefeated season, the Big South crown, and a top playoff seed. I will get to watch it all play out from the sidelines. CINO! Don’t Blink.

Changing My View on Kids Movies

Early Sundays are a great time to go to the movies. Here in Myrtle Beach, one of the really nice theaters next to where I live offers matinee showings for only $5. To enjoy a show at a really cheap price while at the same time winding down the weekend in a relaxing and fun way is ideal for me. The past two Sundays I have taken advantage of this option.

When you are only paying $5 to see a movie, you can kind of put your selectivity to the side. If I am spending $10.50 for a movie on a Friday evening, I want to see a heralded blockbuster hit on its premiere night. However, if you are paying half that amount on a lazy Sunday I am more inclined to take chances. This was definitely the case today.

Sitting at breakfast this morning, Sidney and I chose to see “Big Hero 6″ over “Interstellar.” We chose the animated kids flick over the popular sci-fi movie mostly in part because we could bring Sidney’s nephew and niece. With their parents gone for the week, we could release some of the burden off of Sidney’s mom and dad who have the babysitting duties. Even though I am not a big cartoonish children movie fan, this seemed like the right thing to do. We brought the kids out to the Grand 14 Cinema in Market Common for the 11:30 a.m. showing.

I saw "Big Hero 6" today. You can't beat that ticket price.

I saw “Big Hero 6″ today. You can’t beat that ticket price.

After watching “Big Hero 6″ today, my opinion of kids movies is that some of them (well at least “Big Hero 6″) are more complex and more entertaining than your typical R-rated thriller/action movie. I was more intrigued and interested in today’s show than I was with “Gone Girl,” which we watched on Friday night. I wouldn’t even call “Gone Girl” a bad movie, either. Today’s movie was just so fresh, clever, and humorous…even if it was done by Disney and rated PG.

For those of you who don’t know, “Big Hero 6″ is about a boy who invents a sophisticated robot type chip that allows someone’s mind to create magnificent structures, anything from high-tech buildings to transportation systems. Because his creation is so incredible, a villain sets fire to the institute where the boy (named Hiro) introduced his invention. While the fire raged on, Hiro’s brother went inside the building to save his professor. An explosion occurred and the brother died. The rest of the movie follows the quest of Hiro to avenge the death of his brother. With several plot turns, the villain isn’t who Hiro originally thought.

The plot of “Big Hero 6″ is more developed and provides more surprises than most grown up movies. The animation is beautiful and some of the particular scenes are especially aesthetically-pleasing. It is funny throughout and the ending is great. A faint applause circulated throughout the child-filled theater when the credits started to roll. The adorable little people we were with, Harrison and Russell, enjoyed the show too. Although Russell (Sidney’s niece) said her favorite part was when Hiro’s brother died, I am sure she liked the other not so morbid moments as well.

The gang from "Big Hero 6".

The gang from “Big Hero 6″.

About 95% of the time, I would immediately write off watching an animated kids movie. However, I need to start re-thinking these urges. Films these days, especially ones made by movie giants such as Disney, are marketed towards children but are made to appeal to everyone. What makes a book, movie, TV show, etc. is a good story that is told well. While you can maybe spice it up a little by adding violence, sex, colorful language, and superstar actors if it lacks an engaging plot it will fall flat. This explains why a movie such as “Big Hero 6″ triumphed while a film such as “The Expendables 3″ bombed.

Don’t be afraid to watch an animated movie. Take some young people out for a fun treat and be amazed in the same way that I was. Trust me, these days you won’t be watching “Sesame Street” up on the big screen. Don’t Blink.