Recap, Flashback, Update

Happy Halloween Eve my friends! I hope you have all had great weeks so far and that you are looking forward to the big day tomorrow. You know the drill, it is Thursday so I will quickly run through five topics. Trick-or-Treat!

#CCU Yik Yak Takeover Recap: Today we held our Yik Yak Takeover at Coastal Carolina University. We experienced some good results but I wouldn’t say it was a complete success. When it came to the positives, our table that we staffed for four hours was always very busy. Students came to our table to send out positive yaks in our presence in exchange for a gift. According to how many yaks they composed and sent out in front of us corresponded to the prize they received (i.e. chapstick was just one yak, a pair of sunglasses was two yaks, and a t-shirt was five yaks). These yaks really started to build up and positivity definitely beat out negativity.

However, we battled angry and sarcastic yaks all day long. Although they were outnumbered, I would have liked to see fewer of them. Also, some yaks got really personal and mean to some individuals on campus. I hated to see that as a result of something that I created. So even though we successfully took over our Yik Yak feed today I don’t know if I would ever do this again.

Our Yik Yak table was busy most of the day and packed at times.

Our Yik Yak table was busy most of the day and packed at times.

Halloween Throwback: It is Thursday and it is the day before Halloween so how about a Throwback Thursday Halloween montage of myself? Here are some of my costumes from past Halloweens. I always enjoy dressing up.

I am a big fan of Halloween and dressing up.

I am a big fan of Halloween and dressing up.

World Series: I loved the fact that the World Series went seven games. I enjoyed watching quality baseball and witnessing the incredible pitching of Madison Bumgarner. But my favorite part was the television production. The replays, angles, and technology of this Fall Classic blew my mind. I only wish I would have watched the games on a large high definition set. Fox did an excellent job this year and I enjoyed listening to Harold Reynolds. While I usually pull for the American League, I am not too upset that the Royals pulled it off. However, I do hope that next year whoever wins it will do it on their own home field.

Update on Car: On Tuesday night I told the bizarre tale of how a mechanic I visited told me to put Everclear in my gas tank to turn the engine light off in my car. I took his advice but as of Tuesday night my light was still on. Here we are on Thursday night and I am disappointed to report that it has still not shut off. Although frustrated with the problem not getting resolved, I am very thankful for the help I received from friends, co-workers, and social media contacts. I am going to let my current tank of gas expire before I put new chemicals into my car but now I have a lot more product options and mechanic options than ever before.

Weekly Mikayla Update: My niece is now eight weeks old. On Saturday she wore the Chanticleer outfit I sent to my sister right before she was born. She looked so cute in it as she sent good luck to the Chant football team as they improved to 8-0. The next day I shared her photo on the CCU Facebook page and our audience loved it! I am now only 26 days away from seeing Mikayla for the first time.

Mikayla at the eight-week mark.

Mikayla at the eight-week mark.

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I want to wish my readers a very Happy Halloween. Be safe and have some fun. I am stoked for my first Halloween in South Carolina. I have definitely never enjoyed 70 degree temperatures for it before but I can definitely live with it. Photos of me in my costume to come soon. Don’t Blink.

Fractured Prune Doughnuts

The best way to take your mind off car troubles? Go get doughnuts of course! Last night after the Everclear failed to turn my engine light off, Sidney and I went to the nearby Fractured Prune doughnut shop for a unique experience you don’t get at normal pastry joints.

For those of you who don’t know, Fractured Prune is a fast expanding doughnut chain that takes Krispy Kreme’s fresh out of the oven reputation, combines it with Which Witch’s ordering style, and grabs inspiration from Chipotle’s cafeteria-style set up.

A look inside Fractured Prune.

A look inside Fractured Prune.

That description might sound a little complicated but Fractured Prune really is as simple as it gets. In line you receive a card that lists on one side the signature doughnuts (called “Favorites”) that are offered. If you want one (or a dozen) you simply mark in the appropriate place. On the reverse side is the option to create your own doughnut. You have the freedom to choose from a bunch of pretty wild glazes and an intriguing list of toppings. You mark what you want and hand the card over to the employee.

Our menu card that we ordered off of.

Our menu card that we ordered off of.

Once the handoff is made, you watch as your doughnut is prepared. The employee grabs a fresh doughnut out of the machine and then dips it in your preferred glaze. From there the delicacy is then dipped in the toppings of your choice. The doughnut is then wrapped in parchment paper and placed on a tray. You pay and then go to a table to enjoy.

The fresh doughnut machine. Doughnuts are taken right from this machine and garnished in front of you.

The fresh doughnut machine. Doughnuts are taken right from this machine and garnished in front of you.

These doughnuts are the real deal. Then again, it is hard to go wrong with a fresh baked, hot doughnut. I devoured mine and ate most of Sidney’s. Ordering off the Favorites portion of the card, Sidney got the Morning Buzz, a doughnut that contained a mocha glaze with cookie crumbs. I opted for creating my own doughnut as I chose a banana glaze with carnival sprinkles and cookie crumbs. Other glazes included key lime, maple, mocha, blackberry, and many more. Interesting toppings include bacon, sea salt, and vanilla wafers.

The toppings/glazes that the doughnuts are dipped in.

The toppings/glazes that the doughnuts are dipped in.

For me, the pricing isn’t that bad. It will run you about a $1.70 per doughnut. You see, I am someone who would just go inside the shop and purchase one or two doughnuts to eat for dessert. When you factor that out, that is less than what you would spend at an ice cream shop. However, if you were to purchase a dozen so you could bring in a box of doughnuts to work, that would be a little on the expensive side.

Me with the delicious doughnuts.

Me with the delicious doughnuts.

You aren’t going to miss out too much if you don’t get out to Fractured Prune soon. But if you want a unique doughnut experience, I suggest it. While I don’t believe these are really the type of sweet treats you buy by the dozen (just stick to your local grocery store or Dunkin if you want to surprise your office with doughnuts), it is a fun dine-in stop. If you do go, try the bacon…I really want to know how it is! Don’t Blink.

You Want Me to Put WHAT in My Car?!

Last night I was driving without a care in the world when something happened that made me groan and worry just a bit: My engine light went on. Knowing that I really couldn’t do anything about it at the moment I just crossed my fingers that my car wouldn’t break down. My car made it back to my apartment without any major catastrophe and it got me to work this morning (with the light still on).

After my workout I drove a little off of campus to find a mechanic that I could hopefully take my car to. Because I needed a place that wouldn’t be too far for me to walk back to campus once I dropped it off and when I went to pick it up, my options were limited. My little search yielded only one real possible place. Called Conway Wrecker, it was a junkyard for wrecked cars. However, underneath the main business sign was an added on wooden plank with the words “Mechanic on Duty.” This was going to be the only feasible option.

This is the sign at Conway Wreckers. Notice the "Mechanic on Duty" sign.

This is the sign at Conway Wreckers. Notice the “Mechanic on Duty” sign.

As Conway Wrecker didn’t open up until 8:30 a.m., I had a nice little trip to look forward to later that day. Right at the start of the lunch hour I drove back to the place, parked my car among all the chaos, and approached the guy hard at work. Picture your typical mechanic with a wireless phone device attached to his head. I explained my problem and he said he could help me. I walked off the premises and made the stroll back to campus I kept thinking about how bad my car could be potentially messed up.

Welcome to Conway Wreckers.

Welcome to Conway Wreckers.

At 2 p.m. I noticed my phone ringing with an unfamiliar incoming number. Knowing it would be the mechanic I held my breath, took the call, and waited for the bad news. Well, I ended up not hearing any bad news…but that was because I didn’t really hear any news at all. Between the noise in my building, the noise at his shop, and the mechanic’s deep southern accent I had a lot of trouble deciphering the conversation. All I heard him kept saying was “water in the gas tank” and “Everclear.” Giving up on understanding what he was saying I told him I would just see him soon.

I made the walk back to the Conway Wrecker. It was a short delay because the mechanic was on his wireless headset. When he concluded his call he was able to tell me face-to-face the issue with my car. He explained that the o2 sensor was messed up because my gas tank had water in it. He said that this commonly occurs in the South because of the humidity mixed with the heavy spurts of rain. He then told me what I needed to do to fix it:

“You are going to think I am crazy but you need to put Everclear in your gas tank. I have been in this business a long time and I know that will work.”

Hmmmmmm. Okay. After a walk to the ATM of the nearby convenient store to withdraw cash since the mechanic wouldn’t accept my debit card I hopped in my car and went back to work. At a traffic light I had Googled putting Everclear in your gas tank. Only a few results came up and the people posting in these forums all said it was a wasteful idea. However, when I arrived in the parking lot at work I quizzed a co-worker on the advice I had been given. He backed the advice of the mechanic and also said Conway Wreckers had a solid team working there. I reasoned that I since I had paid the man basically for his advice, I was going to heed it.

After work I went and picked out my Halloween costume and then went to a liquor store. The mechanic told me to only put a pint in. Unfortunately, the store only had liters. Before you start thinking that I should think positive because it would mean that I would have leftover alcohol for myself, think again…I don’t touch that stuff.

The lady behind the register tried to make small talk with me on how I planned to consume the Everclear. After a couple questions I just looked her straight in the eye and told her I was using it to put into my car. She had definitely never heard that one before.

Me getting ready to put Everclear in my car.

Me getting ready to put Everclear in my car.

Sidney and I went back out into the parking lot, I opened up the bottle, and I poured half of it into my gas tank. It seemed so wrong. I turned on my car and the engine light was still on (to be expected). However, after driving my car around a little bit the light is still as bright as ever. A complete waste of time, money, and alcohol.

Yep. I put Everclear in my car. Complete waste of money and time.

Yep. I put Everclear in my car. Complete waste of money and time.  

Who knows though, maybe the light will go off when I drive home from my girlfriend’s place tonight. It is several miles back to my apartment complex and maybe that will give the Everclear more time to work its magic. I sure hope so, a story like this is too good to not end with a happy outcome. Don’t Blink.

#CCU Yik Yak Takeover

One month ago I questioned aloud on this blog how I could utilize Yik Yak effectively in our Coastal Carolina University social media strategy. At the time I didn’t have a concrete game plan. Well, after thinking about it a lot and reading about how other universities are handling this hot social media app, I realized two things: 1. I wanted to do something about Yik Yak. 2. I didn’t want to do what the other universities were doing.

This Thursday, October 30, #CCUSocialMedia will host a #CCU Yik Yak Takeover. From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., the whole campus community within the 1.5 mile set radius is encouraged to send out positive yaks throughout the day. While many universities are attempting to block it, Coastal Carolina University is taking a big step to embrace it. This is a completely original idea, one that will catapult Coastal Carolina into the discussion of universities who came up with a plan to maximize the possibilities of Yik Yak as opposed to those who wanted nothing to do with it.

The #CCU Yik Yak Takeover will take place this Thursday, October 30.

The #CCU Yik Yak Takeover will take place this Thursday, October 30.

The #CCU Yik Tak Takeover is the brainchild of our “Social Media Dream Team” on campus. I have the privilege of working with a group of six other fellow staff members* who in addition to their university jobs are also social media leaders on campus. We have meetings and we talk often. At last week’s meeting we all committed to taking this on. Come Thursday, we will do what we can to generate positive yaks. Students will have the opportunity to find us on Prince Lawn (our campus gathering place) and send out an inspirational yak in our presence. If they do, they will receive a Coastal prize.

But make no mistake about it, the #CCU Yik Yak Takeover is not about, nor dependent on, the seven of us staffers. It is entirely a deal that will be driven and executed by our students. We could “Yak” until our thumbs turn blue but we would still be outnumbered 10,000 to 7. If our students buy-in, this will be one of the most successful social media feats seen on a college campus. So will they?

The #CCU Yik Yak Takeover caused a lot of buzz on Yik Yak today. As you can see, some of it was positive and some of it was in a mocking nature. The portions of text that are blocked out contained bad language.

The #CCU Yik Yak Takeover caused a lot of buzz on Yik Yak today. As you can see, some of it was positive and some of it was in a mocking nature. The portions of text that are blocked out contained bad language.

I bet they will.

When we announced our Takeover at 4 p.m. today, we had a lot of excited students. Many voiced on social media how much they love their school for doing something like this. Don’t get me wrong though, we also have some students who are going to oppose it as well. Just minutes after the announcement, the Coastal Yik Yak stream was buzzing about October 30. Lots of users voiced support, while other completely mocked the idea. Going in we knew that we would have people who would fight what we are trying to do. However, our plan come Thursday is simple…overwhelm the negative with the positive.

Some of the positive response we received on our #CCU Yik Yak Takeover.

Some of the positive response we received on our #CCU Yik Yak Takeover.

Wait one second though and throw strategy out the window. Sure we plan to outnumber bad yaks with good yaks. However, one thing is forever on our side: Pride. The students here at Coastal Carolina University are passionate and protective of their school. They know a big opportunity exists on Thursday to let that passion shine through for the social media world to see. The majority of students that make this campus great will show up on the day before Halloween and make the #CCU Yik Yak Takeover an epic success. Trust me, those of you outside of the CCU radius will want to “peak” on our community beacause we are about to do something pretty cool. Don’t Blink.

 

* Thanks to the Social Media Dream Team of April Betsch, Erika Pomerantz, Jeff Stone, Jennifer Sellers, Kevin Olivett, and Travis Overton for making the #CCU Yik Yak Takeover possible. Thanks to the #CCU student body in advance for making it successful.

Best Sports Marketing Promotion

Having once been in the business myself, I love sports marketing. I still follow trends and I especially love watching how it plays out on gamedays in stadiums and arenas worldwide. However, for the recent cool promo I really like, I had to look no further than the athletic department at the school I work for.

Chanticleer Athletics has partnered with a local Bojangles restaurant on a very engaging and interactive halftime promotion. Once the halftime presentations and acts are through the public address announcer directs the attention of the crowd to the video screen. A message then comes up and fans are told to tweet it as fast as they can. The PA guy notifies the crowd that the first person to tweet out the text will win a $100 gift card while the second place person will receive a $50 gift card. Of course the message is a Bojangles advertisement that includes the local Bojangles Twitter handle (@GSBojangles).

This was the message that you had to tweet out at yesterday's game.

This was the message that you had to tweet out at yesterday’s game.

Once that message appears, you can pretty much hear the entire stadium deep in thought tapping on their phones. I participate and put myself under great pressure to tweet it out as soon as possible. Any little type of error while I type that impedes my progress causes me great frustration. When the message disappears from the video board, you can hear a collective groan from the crowd.

You bet I participate in the promotion! Sadly, even having a great vantage point on the sidelines didn't help me to win. (Thanks to Kevin Olivett for taking the sneaky  photo).

You bet I participate in the promotion! Sadly, even having a great vantage point on the sidelines didn’t help me to win. (Thanks to Kevin Olivett for taking the sneaky photo).

The winners are announced over the public address system…both real name and Twitter handle, a big deal for people who are obsessed over building their followers. At the first game where this promotion was ran, the winners were even recognized in an on-field presentation with the Bojangles mascot. The social media leverage for Bojangles increased even more as the winners sent out Tweets and photos saying how cool the experience was.

At the Chant football game on September 27, the Bojangles promotion had its debut. This is the winner of the $100 gift card.

At the Chant football game on September 27, the Bojangles promotion had its debut. This is the winner of the $100 gift card.

If I was a business owner, what the Grand Strand Bojangles is doing right now is exactly how I would be spending my money. I would partner with a sports team or another entity that draws big crowds and do whatever I could to promote my social media networks. The fact that Bojangles is getting word out on their #1 social channel in such a creative and high profile way makes their investment even more impactful.

Seth Horton (left), Bojangles representative (center), and the Bojangles chicken (right) look on as tweets start to pour in at the September 27 game.

Seth Horton (left), Bojangles representative (center), and the Bojangles chicken (right) look on as tweets start to pour in at the September 27 game.

I tip my hat to Seth Horton and Kevin Olivett of Chanticleer Athletics and the Grand Strand Bojangles team for thinking up and executing such a great promotion. I love seeing this type of stuff. By the way, the Chanticleer football team won again yesterday and now boast a record of 8-0. When the polls come out tomorrow, the Chants will be the #2 team in the country (FCS). Purchase your tickets now for the next home game (11/15 vs. Monmouth) and not only watch some great football but also participate in the @GSBojangles Tweet-Off. Don’t Blink.

Dr. Screams Haunted House in Myrtle Beach

You know how much I love haunted houses? Enough to go through one by myself! Last night I satisfied my craving to tour a South Carolina haunted house attraction by driving to Dr. Screams, one of the major players in the haunted house biz here in Myrtle Beach. Let me tell you a little bit about it.

This year the location for Dr. Screams was in a closed down retail store. For me, the structure that a haunted house takes place in is almost as intriguing as the content of the attraction itself. I walked up to the entrance of the haunted house by my lonesome and paid the $15 admission price. This marked the first time I had never had to wait in line for a haunted house. After I received my ticket I was ushered to the side of the building with 10 other people.

My ticket for Dr. Screams.

My ticket for Dr. Screams.

After about two minutes of standing outside the side door, we were invited inside. We huddled into a dark, small room where a haunted house worker gave us the ground rules. We were then able to proceed. Because I was unattached to the other 10 people and because I was standing near the entrance of the maze, I was appointed the leader. I walked in as everyone else followed behind me.

It became apparent the moment I started walking that the dude behind me was a “funny man.” He was commentating throughout the duration of the tour and using expletives when actors would jump out. It didn’t really bother me, it did seem like he was having a good time. Anyway, the funny guy had some buddies with him and then there were a few girls and a few additional guys in the group. The girls had already started freaking out from the moment they had purchased tickets.

I liked the layout of the haunted house. I didn’t feel too much pressure leading the group because it flowed in a way in that you knew where you needed to go yet you had no idea where you were at physically in the structure. There was one time where I led us into a dead end dark corner and I had to whip my phone out for some light so I could backtrack just a bit. I actually liked that brief feeling of not knowing where I was going.

The front portion of Dr. Screams Haunted House in Myrtle Beach.

The front portion of Dr. Screams Haunted House in Myrtle Beach.

In the haunted house the actors were pretty plentiful and seemed motivated to give a good scare. Unfortunately, because I was the lead in the group, the actors tended to wait to jump out at the people more in the middle. The one costume that really jumped out at me was an evil clown. Yes, I am definitely on one of those kicks.

As for the scenes depicted in the haunted house and the other decorations, I thought they were about average. Here is a stupid moment of mine: I totally missed the boat on the Dr. Screams name.

When Sidney asked me about what I saw in the haunted house I replied, “A lot of scenes depicting surgery gone wrong.”

“Well yeah, that’s why they call it Dr. Screams.”

I didn’t put the twisted medical doctor theme together. I thought “Dr. Screams” was just the general name of the haunted house, much in the same that Dr. Pepper is a general name for soda with no ties to an actual medical doctor. So with that said, it makes sense that the attraction was filled with graphic failed operations and mutilated corpses on gurneys. I understand the theme and appreciate it, but I was hoping for maybe a little more variety. I would have like to seen cemeteries, murder scenes, and vampire lairs.

When we exited the building we were ushered onto an ambulance (another “Dr.” theme that I didn’t realize until Sidney brought it to my attention). I thought this was awesome and unique! The 11 of us piled in and we were driven around to a few different scenes. For example, at one stop the doors opened and there was a fire burning with actors around it with chainsaws ready to scare us. Of course they made the ride anything but smooth and creepy music/hospital sounds played inside. I appreciated this component to a haunted attraction that I had never experienced before.

When they told us to get out of the ambulance, one of the girls in our group had had enough. Scared to tears and disturbed, she said she couldn’t go on. We left her behind as workers showed her out.

The conclusion of the attraction had us walking down this wooded trail. Actors lurked in the trees and it was a guessing game of what side they were going to jump out from. A girl in my group clutched the back of my pullover the entire time we were on the trail. Apologizing profusely, I laughingly told her not to worry about it. At the conclusion of the trail, the attraction was over.

I really enjoyed the different components of Dr. Screams in that you got to go through a traditional haunted house, ride in an ambulance, and then walk through an outside haunt. I also thought the actors did a good job and were professional. My critiques would probably be the admission price being a bit steep ($15) and the mediocre scene creations. But overall it got me into the Halloween spirit and it was so nice not freezing my butt off waiting in line. I am happy to say that I have gone through a haunted house attraction in the South. Don’t Blink.

Pumpkins and Etiquette Lesson

I have a confession to make: This might be the most lame Thursday Rundown ever. I don’t have any significant developments to write about but if you know me, you know I am good for carrying on about the most uninteresting and pointless topics. As per Thursday usual, I got five of them for you tonight! So how about we get this disaster of a blog post started?

Today’s Dining Experience - It took me all of six months to do so, but I finally ate in Coastal Carolina University’s main dining hall today. This following bit of information will puzzle all of you even more on why I hadn’t dined at Hicks Dining Hall sooner…for staff members, the admission price is just $5 for the delicious all-you-care-to-eat spread. Today was the Mongolian grill lunch and even though I stood in line for 25 minutes, it was great to get a bowl of the stuff. Interestingly, Mongolian grills aren’t big in the south so I made sure to get it while I could. I also had a slice of pizza and a brownie.

Pumpkins - I talk a lot about how I love Halloween. However, if there is one part of the holiday that I don’t care too much for it is pumpkins. I don’t really like carving them, I hate cleaning them out, and I don’t care for eating the seeds. Nothing is worse than when pumpkins start to rot. However, there are two aspects I do like about pumpkins. I love pumpkin pie and I also enjoy taking a couple seeds from a carving session and then depositing them in the ground. The seeds sprout really quickly and even if you have no intention of letting/watching them grow, it is funny to plant seeds in random spots and see them poke through the earth in just a couple days.

#CCUfamily Update - A quick update on the #CCUfamily campaign I launched at the beginning of the semester: As of the end of today I have featured 48 students. That is 48 interviews, 48 write ups, 48 videos, and 48 web editing jobs. It has all been so worth it. In just the past couple months I have had the opportunity to connect with almost 50 students here on the CCU campus and develop small relationships. The “hellos” I get from them on campus and the e-mail notes of gratitude I receive have made me become that much more invested in Coastal Carolina. To check out the #CCUfamily website, click here.

Coastal Carolina University Student Body President Eliana Padron was today's #CCUfamily featured student.

Coastal Carolina University Student Body President Eliana Padron was today’s #CCUfamily featured student.

Etiquette Lesson - I feel this issue should be reserved for a Dear Abby column but I do want to briefly address it. If someone gives you an item for you to personally use such as tickets or a pass, use it for yourself or kindly give it back. I have recently seen people I am close to get burned by this. They will make a very nice gesture and give someone something and that person will in turn just hand it off to someone else to use. If you are the recipient of someone’s nice act, let them perform the nice act again (give back the item) if you don’t plan to use it for yourself.

Mikayla At Lucky #7 - Put another tally mark next to the amount of weeks that my niece has been on this planet. Can you believe she is seven weeks already? That is 49 days! I am now at the point where I am getting antsy to see her in the Coastal Carolina little dress I got her when she was born. She is almost to the age where she should be big enough to wear it.

Here is this week's montage of Mikayla photos.

Here is this week’s montage of Mikayla photos.

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Last Friday was the busiest day of the month for Don’t Blink by a significant margin. Thank you readers for all your support! I enjoy writing for you. Don’t Blink.

A Twisted Story That I Love

The mysterious/creepy accounts started to occur in Bakersfield, California, a couple weeks ago. Now the sightings have spread to Florida and New Mexico. We aren’t talking UFO’s, bigfoot, or Ebola though. Instead, we are talking clowns; and not just any type of clowns might I add. Turning up when night time falls during this month of October are gruesome, blood stained clowns. Oh, did I mention they are carrying machetes with them?

Call me a little twisted, but I love this story. It is dark, unsettling, and sinister. Just the whole idea of evil clowns coming out when the sun goes down really catches my interest. The fact that little is known about them and that they have managed to get into the heads of citizens just adds fuel to the fire. Social media has done its part to blow this story up a few degrees and we now have a national phenomenon.

One of the Bakersfield clowns.

One of the Bakersfield clowns.

Now I personally think this whole thing is a brilliant publicity stunt by the people behind the demented face paint and masks but I got this question: Why haven’t alpha male vigilantes gone berserk on these clowns?

My understanding is that while the clowns are often showcased on social media, they are also actually seen preying the streets at night as well. With the reputation of these people now established, why hasn’t a car pulled over next to one and let these clowns have it?

This photo of a clown wandering up to a random house makes me smile.

This photo of a clown wandering up to a random house makes me smile.

I expect this violent response because I know personally how people react when they see a somewhat disturbing sight that they know doesn’t belong. In my early years of high school, just for fun, my friends and I would have fun with an alien costume. It consisted of a stereotypical alien mask with this long purple hooded robe complete with an intergalactic belt and a space thing you wore around the neck. Most often it would be me who would get inside it. During random days of the year I would stand on the side of the road and wave to cars that passed by…sometimes I would even stop them in the middle of the street. While many people would just laugh at the idiot in the alien costume, I did experience a couple times where the person or people in the car became very hostile toward me. In one instance, the guy threatened to do bodily harm to me. Looking back on it, I don’t blame him.

I guess my point is if people got so worked up about a dude in a corny alien costume, I can only imagine how bad some want to get their hands around the neck of a clown that very well could be giving their kid nightmares. Why haven’t there been any “revenge on the clowns” stories yet?

I am curious to see if the evil clown population spreads to even more states. South Carolina is real close to Florida, maybe we will get some roaming our streets. Let me make this proclamation: All clowns are welcome at the Alexan Withers Apartment Complex…the only stipulation is that you must take a selfie with me. Hope to see you soon. Don’t Blink.

Taste of the Town

Tonight I went to a food extravaganza. Billed as Myrtle Beach’s “largest culinary/social event of the season” I attended the 31st annual Taste of the Town event. Held at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, over 50 area restaurants set up booths and brought some of their best dishes with them.

It was originally my girlfriend’s idea to attend Taste of the Town. Coincidentally, the parish I attend, St. Andrew Catholic Church, puts the whole event on. After mass this past Sunday I purchased a couple tickets on the church’s steps for Sidney and I. I mean how could I go wrong?: Girlfriend wanted to go + Church fundraiser + Lots of good food = NO-BRAINER.

Me holding the Taste of the Town tickets in the car.

Me holding the Taste of the Town tickets in the car.

Today after work I dashed over to the convention center and met Sidney. We walked inside the facility, went right to the ATM, purchased food/drink tickets, and then started to sample. My strategy at first was to walk around and scope everything out before hitting up the various booths. That lasted all of two minutes. The moment I heard someone say chicken macaroni and cheese I was passing over tickets. Yep, the first dish I enjoyed was mac and cheese from the Hard Rock Café. It was the start of many different entrees to come.

Here are some of the dishes we had. The upper left corner is the chicken macaroni and cheese. The top  right hand corner is a fried green tomato. The bottom right hand corner is buffalo chicken dip and the bottom left hand corner is a burrito with rice.

Here are some of the dishes we had. The upper left corner is the chicken macaroni and cheese (The Hard Rock Café). The top right hand corner is a fried green tomato (Sea Captain’s House). The bottom right hand corner is buffalo chicken dip (Remedies) and the bottom left hand corner is a burrito with rice.

In a pure gluttonous rage I also had a burrito, buffalo chicken dip, deep fried mac and cheese, a Philippine dish called palabok, and a cheeseburger. Those are just the entrees. For dessert I had a peanut butter cupcake and molten chocolate cake. To wash it down I had an American wheat beer and a Mt. Dew. Talk about delicious/irresponsible eating!

Here is a montage of some more of the items we ate. The top left hand image is the deep fried macaroni and cheese. The top right photo are the cupcakes...I had a peanut butter cake while Sidney had red velvet. The bottom right hand photo is a cheeseburger (River City Grill), and the bottom left image is the

Here is a montage of some more of the items we ate. The top left hand image is the deep fried macaroni and cheese. The top right photo are the cupcakes (Coccadotts Cake Shop)…I had a peanut butter cake while Sidney had red velvet. The bottom right hand photo is a cheeseburger (River City Grill), and the bottom left image is the

It was a pretty cool event. I have been to many like-minded events in the past that took place in similar convention centers and outdoor public areas but there was one difference: Those events were always beer or wine fests. Instead of passing over tickets for liquids all day, I was handing them over for solids…nice little change if I do say so myself. It was also nice because the crowds weren’t too overwhelming and the lines weren’t too long, something that you usually run into at events like these.

Sidney and I ate ourselves silly.

Sidney and I ate ourselves silly.

Tonight I spent $40. The first $20 of tickets went super fast, especially since we each got a beer. However, we had our second $20 worth of tickets last us forever. We hit the wall at about the time we purchased our first entrée with the second round of tickets. We became so full and miserable that I literally gave my last four tickets away because we weren’t going to use them.

At the end of the night, I was giving my tickets away.

At the end of the night, I was giving my tickets away.

I enjoyed doing something a little different in my community that I have now been a part of for almost six months. It was nice to see/sample many of the restaurants I drive by to work each day. Next year if I go I will eat less and make sure to hit up at least one of the several BBQ restaurants that had a presence. Don’t Blink.

Surrendering A Part of Me

Today my weekly trips to the DMV in Conway, South Carolina, came to an end. Please, don’t feel bad for me. Registering my vehicle and obtaining my South Carolina driver’s license proved a bigger ordeal than I originally thought. Showing up to the place when the line stretched long, not having a measly single signature on a piece of paper, and not thinking about carrying my birth certificate everywhere I went resulted in me making four different trips to get my state driving privileges in order.

And when it comes to DMVs, if you have seen one, you have seen them all. I am a nice guy and I would never wish four trips in less than 40 days to the DMV on my own worst enemy.

Today a lady decided to bring her dog inside the DMV. I guess he was getting his driver's license?

Today a lady decided to bring her dog inside the DMV. I guess he was getting his driver’s license?

During today’s lunch hour when I walked out the door completing my encore DMV trip, it should have been a joyous occasion. Unfortunately, I trudged out with my head hung low. While I had gained a brand new, spiffy looking South Carolina license, I had lost my treasured Montana license.

Check out my new South Carolina driver's license!

Check out my new South Carolina driver’s license!

When I presented to the lady my Washington state birth certificate with a Montana driver’s license, she looked at me like I was an alien. “Well that’s a first,” she said in astonishment. For however long she had been working at the DMV she had never seen a Washington birth certificate nor a Montana license. I aced the vision test and paid the fee. She then told me I could go sit down and wait for the camera desk to call me up. She said this while still gripping my Montana license. Seeing my license clutched in her hand tipped me off that things in South Carolina are different and that I wouldn’t be getting my old license back. I still made a pathetic plea in the form of a question: “Um, you can’t just punch a hole in that and give it back to me?”

No luck.

I will never see this license again.

I will never see this license again.

I know it shouldn’t be that big of a deal but I have a semi-weird obsession with my old driver’s licenses. They tell the story of where you have been and how you have aged. My Montana license told a big part of that story and now it is most likely shredded in a South Carolina DMV waste basket.

Because I am weird and because I plan for worst case scenarios, I did snap a photo of my Montana license before I got called up. I was hoping I would get to delete it when I left the DMV but now it will hold a permanent spot in my iphone’s memory. In case you are wondering, Montana issues the coolest/most durable licenses followed by South Carolina. Washington is the cheapest state with flimsy/uninspired licenses.

For your viewing pleasure, here are some of my past licenses.

For your viewing pleasure, here are some of my past licenses.

A connection to Montana removed but a root in South Carolina planted. Even if I don’t have the license to validate that I lived in the Big Sky state I still have the memories. Man, that sounded corny! Don’t Blink.