Two Great Days at Work

At work this time of the year it is really nice. June is basically our “slow” month of the year and a lot of us use it to go on vacation, attend national conventions, catch up on everything from the past year (it is the last month of the fiscal year), and do a lot of P.R./outreach type work with all of the great fans of Griz Nation. Every June, our department stages two wildly successful events that usually take place on consecutive days. These two events, Huddles and Heels and the Montana Grizzlies Conoco Golf Classic, always make me realize what an awesome job I have.
Huddles and Heels is a football clinic for women put on by Griz Marketing (yes, my department). The brainchild of my boss, Christie Anderson, Huddles and Heels gives our women participants an all-access pass to our coaches, players, and facilities. On Thursday, we held our fourth annual clinic.

                                           My boss Christie and I after Huddles and Heels.

The whole agenda for the event is beautiful. The women check in and we give them a bag with a t-shirt, wine glass, football glossary, and other goodies. They then go up to the Sky Club, our arena suite that we use to entertain boosters, and the fun begins. Waiting upstairs this year we had a full tailgate dinner ready for the women. Of course, once they got into the Sky Club they first breezed right by the food spread and went to the bar where we had wine and beer tasting available. As the participants ate and drank, our Athletic Director welcomed them and our cheerleaders and dance team members gave tours to anyone who wanted to see our facilities.
Once everyone had a nice buzz going, we started the actual clinic. Our whole football coaching staff and about 25 of our players ran the clinic. The women were divided into teams and we rotated them through different stations. These stations included everything from classroom sessions dealing with terms of football/officiating 101/a day in the life of a Griz football player to weight room crash courses to on field drills. We had our big inflatable helmet set up right outside of the players’ tunnel so the women got to feel just like a Griz football player does on a Saturday. As they ran out of it and onto the field, music that I play for the Griz games filled up the stadium. Despite the rain, the women had a great time. I could not stop laughing as I was sitting up in the press box watching from high above as the women gave it their all on the field. It was so much fun playing music for them as they would break into dance for each song, coaches included.
After the clinic portion of the event, we ushered the participants back up to the Sky Club for more drinks. All of the Griz players in attendance then went up to the front of the suite and participated in a Q&A session with the women. Next, Coach Pflugrad used two of our standout players to model the full uniform that a Griz football player wears. The players started with full uniforms on, and as Coach explained each piece, they would take it off, drawing huge cheers from the crowd (he stopped once they were in their shoulder pads). After another drink break, Coach Pflu conducted our live auction. I guess I should probably say that Huddles and Heels is a charity event. Each year, we choose a charity to donate half of the proceeds to. This year, our charity was Big Brothers, Big Sisters. Anyways, the live auction items were big hits. Of course we auctioned off the typical signed footballs and helmets but we also included packages with many of our coaches. For example, you could bid on an all-expenses paid happy hour session with our very popular defensive coordinator, Mike Breske. Or you could bid on a BBQ at the house of our charismatic linebackers coach, Ty Gregorak. You get the picture. Our coaches were more than happy to donate their time, money, residences, etc. for a good cause. A silent auction followed the live auction which was then followed by more drinking. At around 10pm, the Fourth Annual Huddles and Heels was in the books.
Yesterday, we had our 31st Annual Montana Grizzlies Conoco Golf Classic at the Canyon River Golf Course. This event is put on by the Grizzly Scholarship Association (GSA) and the whole athletic department volunteers for the day. I was assigned to hole 16 where I was in charge of grilling hot dogs and making sure all  the beer was cold and stocked. My partner at the hole was Heather, our accounting services manager in the department. We had a blast cooking for the golfers and BSing/drinking with everyone who came to the hole. Golfers ranged from coaches to University officials to long time boosters to die hard Griz fans. To add to the enjoyment of this day, the weather was perfect. Honestly, there is nothing better than sun, good music, cold beer, hot dogs, and golf. Yeah, not a bad way to spend the work day.

                                         Heather and I cooked about 1,000 hot dogs!

The reason why I love work in June and why I love these two events in particular, is because I get to hang out and have fun with all of my co-workers in a much different light. During most of the year, people are busy and stressed. Nerves and tension flows readily. It is just the nature of the business. However, come June, everyone is much more relaxed.
This is no more evident than with the coaches. I will blog about this down the road in much more detail, but the amount of pressure that is put on coaches is incredible. You would not believe some of the unreal expectations that the community puts on these individuals. Coaching is one of the few professions where random people who have absolutely no business/experience/knowledge will constantly come out of the woodwork and critique your job performance. It is no wonder then why it seems like some coaches are always walking on pins and needles. Over the past two days it was so nice to see many of these coaches having a great time. I got to talk to them as people in a relaxed situation rather than in a stressful work environment where they have everything on the line. It was nice.
I love my job. The past two days simply reinforced it. Don’t Blink.


So my favorite mainstream female artist out right now is definitely Nicki Minaj. Besides making great music she is also versatile, controversial, and hot. This adds up to a special artist. How can you not like someone who can blow your socks off with her rapping skills but still sing like an angel? How can you not like someone who is unafraid to be herself and even snap back at high profile critics (I am talking about you, Lil’ Kim). How can you not like someone who has a bomb body and can do all sorts of attractive tricks with her eyes?
It is hard to believe that Minaj has only been on the music scene for a short amount of time.  I definitely see her staying hot for a while. She has the talent, she has the image, and she definitely has the connections. Minaj is unique and can offer so many different things, all but guaranteeing  she will not wear out anytime soon. For this post I want to countdown my top ten favorite Nicki Minaj songs/collaborations. Enjoy.
Song: Your Love – Nicki Minaj
Why I Like It: This song is catchy enough. It features Minaj showing off her singing and rapping skills. Maybe a bit on the repetitive side though.
Favorite Line: “Shawty imma only tell you this once, you’re the illest.” 
Song: Moment 4 Life – Nicki Minaj f. Drake
Why I Like It: This is a good song with an “on top of the world’ type attitude. It does not get higher on my countdown though because I am not a Drake fan.
Favorite Line: “I believe that life is a prize/But to live doesn’t mean you’re alive.”
Song: Right Thru Me – Nicki Minaj
Why I Like It: I actually really like this song. I love the opening, I love the beat. There is no other song where Minaj shows off her vocal talent as much as in Right Thru Me. It is kind of a more depressing song than anything but it is not bad.
Favorite Line: “And you say no you, and I say screw you.”
Song: Bedrock – Young Money (Lil Wayne, Gudda Gudda, Nicki Minaj, Drake, Tyga, Jae Millz) f. Lloyd.
Why I Like It: Despite getting overplayed, this is a great party song and really was the start of Minaj’s mainstream career. Being the only female in the song that included like 8 other people, she really stood out. Not only did she stand out, but she definitely delivered. Her famous “bestest” line is now part of pop culture.
Favorite Line: “He say ‘Nicki, don’t stop you the bestest’/And I just be coming off the top as bestest.”
Song: Check It Out – Nicki Minaj and Will.I.Am
Why I Like It: Very fun song that uses samples of “Video Killed the Radio Star” in it. Minaj sings the opening and then in the middle of the song delivers a part where she half sings/half raps in what seems like a Jamaican accent. She uses a lot of non-words in it as well. It definitely works though. Be sure to watch the music video, plenty of Minaj eye fluttering in it.
Favorite Line: “Man, I can’t even count all of these hundreds!!!”
Song: 2012 – Jay Sean f. Nicki Minaj
Why I Like It: I love this song!! I think it kind of flew under the radar when it came out. I am a big fan of Jay Sean and it goes  without saying how much I like Minaj. Anyways, these two worked great with each other. Minaj’s rap in it is awesome. Yes, it is short, but she just comes into the song and pounds it home. The original recording of this song did not have Minaj included in it. With her part added in, it made the song 10 times better.
Favorite Line: “Uh, days of our lives/You wink it goes by.”
Song: Monster – Kanye West f. Jay-Z and Nicki Minaj
Why I Like It: As we get closer to number one, the raps by Minaj keep getting more and entertaining/funny/outrageous. In this song, Minaj goes nuts after Kanye and Jay-Z have both delivered their initial contributions. It is vintage Minaj. She again uses an island type voice for her rap and goes much slower than her other work.
Favorite Line:Ok first things first I’ll eat your brains/Then I’m gonna start rocking gold teeth and fangs.”
Song: Knockout – Lil Wayne f. Nicki Minaj
Why I Like It: This song as a whole has such a different sound to it. I say this in the most complimentary way. The opening absolutely rocks. I serve as the resident DJ for all Montana Grizzlies athletic events and the opening to this song is so distinguishable that I would routinely play it at football and basketball games as the teams would come back onto the field/court following a timeout. Lil Wayne does a good job with guitar and vocals and Minaj sings both the chorus to the song and has a rap sequence. She sings the chorus really slow and once she hits her rap part, she progressively gets faster, only to slow down again once for the chorus. Pretty good stuff.
Favorite Line:Baby 1-2-3/ Get the referee/ Cause he can, get the knockout.”
Song: Bottoms Up – Trey Songz f. Nicki Minaj
Why I Like It: Perhaps this is the song Nicki Minaj is most known for…and it should be. She is absolutely ridiculous in this song. She goes from rapping at a 100mph pace back down to a slow pace and then right back up to a fast pace then back to a slow pace then…..well, you get the idea. There are numerous times in the song where you have absolutely no idea what she is saying but it works. Even though there are several instances where you don’t know what she is saying, there are still so many quotable lines in her rap sequence. If there is any song that can personify Nicki Minaj and all of her different personalities, it is Bottoms Up.
Favorite Line:Can I get a margarita on the r-r-r-r-r-rocks??.”  “Could I get that salt all around that rim rim rim rim?” “I don’t say ‘Hi’, I say ‘Keys to the Benz. Keys to the Benz? Keys to the Benz!’”   “I’m sorry, I’m really such a lady!”
Song: Where Dem Girls At? – David Guetta f. Nicki Minaj and Flo Rida
Why I Like It: And to think that Nicki Minaj almost decided to pass on this song. In a high energy, fun, addicting song, Flo Rida and Minaj provide the verses to Guetta’s beat. Minaj’s part in this song is just as ridiculous and crazy as her part in Bottoms Up but I gave Where Dem Girls At the number one spot because I think it is going to smash the success that Bottoms Up had. Yes, it will be a summer anthem. In this song, Minaj raps in a BRITISH accent. Although her part is short, it fits so well.
Favorite Line:LILLY?! LILLY?!?! LILLY?!?!?!? LILLY?!?!?!?!?!”
I can’t wait to see what Nicki Minaj comes out with next! Best advice I can give to anyone worried about missing out on Minaj’s next hit: Don’t Blink.

USC Football: The Necessary and Hurtful Results of Reggie Bush

Yesterday, the Bowl Championship Series stripped away the football national championship that USC won in 2004. The reason for this decision resulted from Reggie Bush receiving extra benefits while at USC. The decision to do this can be argued fiercely from both sides. In this post I want to give my opinion on why I do feel the punishment is necessary. I will then transition into talking about how much the punishment in itself totally sucks for anyone involved on the 2004 team.
A Necessary Result
I will be the first to admit it. Where is the justice when ninety players, fifteen coaches, and a whole athletic department have their crowning achievement of their careers taken away because of the actions of one player? The actions, I should remind you, had absolutely nothing to do with his on field performance (Bush and his parents received financial backing from a sports agency that was going to use him as their star client. Click here for a great background on what exactly transpired) . It really is hard to accept why this punishment is necessary, especially when USC has already been severely punished with the loss of multiple scholarships and a two year postseason ban. But while it might be hard to accept, it is necessary to accept.
To spell everything out as clear as possible, here is the heart of the issue: In the NCAA, athletes can’t receive any extra benefit that is not available to the general public or the general student body. This extends to the family and friends of the athlete as well. If the athlete accepts extra benefits, they are no longer eligible to compete. If an institution plays an ineligible athlete, they are in direct violation of NCAA compliance.
Like it or not, this is the rule. I will not get into my opinion of it. It is not necessary. As a person who has a full time career in intercollegiate athletics, I see each day the temptations and mirages that college athletes encounter. This is not to say whether I believe the opportunities to receive extra benefits are too great for an athlete to resist. I just want to put it out there that college athletes are internally tested frequently and that it is a very real issue for many….not just Reggie Bush.
Back to the issue at hand. If you read Bush’s timeline of his received benefits, you would see that he committed enough violations to insure that he won’t be able to play college athletics for about 8 more lifetimes. The guy turned the compliance system into a joke and made a handsome profit for himself. Yes, Bush had to relinquish all of his personal accomplishments at USC. All of his records were wiped out and he even had to return his Heisman trophy. So Bush paid the price personally. Why does the school have to get hit so hard? Simply, they played an ineligible player for 3 years. Obviously, this goes in direct contrast to NCAA rules. Again, do you feel the rule is legitimate? Whether or not you do, at this point in time with the rule in place, the BCS had little choice. What could USC have done to prevent this? As asinine as it sounds, they could have not recruited Reggie Bush. Character and trustworthiness have to be top priority right along with talent when recruiting athletes. Of course I am not that much of a dummy to realize that USC might be just fine with their decision to recruit Reggie Bush and the trade off that resulted. Despite the sanctions the football team is under right now, Bush brought prestige, exposure, and money to the university before the violations were exposed. Who knows how many students decided to attend USC after watching the football team tear it up on Saturdays and in national championship games while watching the surreal athletic exploits of Bush. Interesting to say the least.
 Taking Away a Title After the Fact Still Hurts
A lot of people when they hear that a team has been stripped of a title that they won several years ago kind of just laugh and question what the point of doing it is. What’s been done has been done. They won the championship and experienced all of the glory that came with it. Besides, in their heads they will always know that they are champions. Yes, I concede these points but I still feel that having a championship taken away, especially something as big as a national championship in football, is a huge slap in the face. Forever now, there will simply be the word “vacant” next to the year of 2004 on the list of national football champions. No mention of USC at all. It is a total erasing of the history books.
 On the ninety man roster that won the BCS National Championship in 2004, one player tarnished the accomplishment of eighty-nine players who did nothing wrong. Sure, the players from that 2004 team got the thrill of euphoria immediately after the game and the last 7 years of their lives to enjoy the accomplishment of winning a national championship but now many of them will have 60+ years of not being able to take ownership of the title. If you were on that team, could you imagine the disappointment of not having the opportunity to take your kids to the USC campus and show them the national championship trophy? (USC vacated the trophy). Whenever the team is mentioned on television/sports talk radio/newspapers, it will always be mentioned that their title was stripped. The delight rivals such as UCLA and Notre Dame have right now must be incredible. Other schools can call USC cheaters and fans of USC can’t use the 2004 season for bragging rights because it will just get thrown back into their face that they won it illegitimately. Reunions, hall of fame inductions, and recognition at football games that schools hold for teams of the past that did spectacular things will never occur now for the USC football team of 2004. Even the strongest minded of the 2004 team, no matter how much they tell themselves that they won the title on the field and have nothing to be ashamed about, will always have it stuck in the back of their heads that their accomplishment is badly tainted.
Please don’t tell me that stripping a team of a title they won years after the fact means nothing. When you take a piece of someone’s identity, someone’s pride, it hurts.

Reggie Bush, you owe about eighty-nine former teammates an apology.
Don’t Blink.

Getting Pulled Over

This past Friday I was making the drive from Missoula to Spokane for my sister’s wedding. I was very anxious to get to Spokane as the wedding rehearsal was that night and I did not have a lot of time to spare. About 70 miles into the trip I ran into road construction that ended up costing me a lot of time. There is nothing more infuriating than when you are stopped in the middle of the open road in what seems like an endless stream of cars. Anyways, we finally got moving but the damage had been done to my schedule….I had no choice but to go a little faster than the posted speed limit.
As I was hauling westbound on I-90, a cop zoomed by me going eastbound. Even though there was a 5 foot tall concrete median that separated the westbound and eastbound traffic, I did not have a good feeling about the situation. I pumped my brakes and held my breath. I had my eyes glued on my rearview mirror. Thirty seconds passed…no cop. I looked down from my rearview mirror for just a second and was about to let out a sigh of relief when I sensed a fast moving car approaching. I looked up in my mirror and sure enough an Idaho State Trooper with its lights flashing was suddenly just a 100 feet away from me. I yelled four-letter words and pulled over to the side of the road.
How did this situation end up for me? You will find out below. For this post, I want to write about my top 3 “getting pulled over” stories. No, none of the three stories are too crazy but each one deals with a different jurisdiction and a different situation so I figured why not share? In my 9 years of driving (got license when 16, I am 24 now), I have been pulled over 9 or 10 times. That is getting pulled over about once a year so I must say that my driving record is not bad! I am at about 50% when it comes to receiving a ticket.
My philosophy when talking to cops, whether it be for a traffic/speeding infraction or in a non-vehicle situation, is to be as reserved and polite as possible. Let the cops do the asking of the questions.  Do not interrupt, do not protest, do not be a jerk. It amazes me how many people treat cops like crap right to their face. This really bothers me. Of course it is dumb to act like an ass because the cop could very well throw you into the slammer or might give you a ticket that he intended not to give you in the first place, but mostly it is just in bad taste. Police officers are providing society with a very important and noble service. Their lives are on the line each day. They are protecting us. Show them some class. So that covers my “be as polite as possible” advice. But I also said to be reserved. When a cop approaches your drivers’ window, don’t be the over-the-top, “I’m your best buddy”, funny guy. Jokes/clichés/ice breakers need not apply. Convey to the officer that you are dialed into him/her and give them complete respect. Cops see the comedian/buddy act every single day. They cringe at it. Obviously, you are getting pulled over because you made a mistake. Just be as respectful as possible to the cop and make the process as easy on him as possible. It will get you a lot further than trying to win over the cop with your fake BS.
Okay, now that I got my two cents in, here are my top three moments of getting pulled over:
#3 Best Story
Law Enforcement Agency: Idaho State Troopers
Reason for Getting Pulled Over: Speeding
The Situation: As I outlined at the start of this post, I was running late for my sister’s wedding rehearsal and had to make up some time by going above the posted speed limit. I was right outside Wallace, Idaho, when I noticed a cop going in the opposite direction as me. Despite a 5 foot median separating us, he managed to find some opening and pulled me over. The cop comes up to my window and asks why I am in such a hurry. I tell him my reason. He asks if I know the speed limit. I told him, “Yes officer, 55 miles per hour.” He says, “Well I understand you have to be at your sister’s rehearsal cause those things are big deals, but I clocked you at 79 MPH. That is a little too fast. Hold tight bud.” Well obviously my fate was already sealed, the question was just how much the fine was going to be. Thankfully the trooper did not take long running everything. When he stepped back out of  the car I immediately saw the ticket. He comes up to my window and says, “I hate to pick on you buddy but you were going way too fast. That is why the fine is so much. Please take care of it as soon as possible.” I did not look at the ticket until the cop  turned away to walk back to his car…yikes.
Time it Took Cop to Run License and Registration/Produce Citation: 10 minutes
Professionalism/Fairness of the Cop on a Scale of 1-10: 10
End Result: $150 ticket
#2 Best Story
Law Enforcement Agency: Spokane County Sheriff’s Department
Reason for Getting Pulled Over: Suspicion of Drunk Driving
The Situation: It was during the summer five years ago. I was driving my P.O.S. 1989 red Nissan sentra. It was around 2:30am as me and some friends were driving to a casino. I turned onto a main street from one of the smaller side streets. The main street had 3 lanes but instead of pulling into the closest one I pulled into the middle lane. Suddenly, like a snake in  the grass a Spokane sheriff deputy squad car pulls out onto the street with its lights flashing. It is always way more nerve wracking to see flashing cop lights at night rather than during the day. Anyways, this cop comes up to the window and asks if I knew why I got pulled over. I honestly did not have a clue but I took a guess anyways and said speeding. The cop told me I was wrong and told me to guess again. I responded by asking if one of my tail lights was out. Thankfully he just ended the guessing game right there and told me I had made a “wide turn”. In other words, he was looking to bust someone for drinking and driving. He asked if I had been drinking that night and I told him no. And let me tell everyone this right now, I had not had a single drop of alcohol all day long. It was funny though because for some reason I was still nervous. Anyways, he asks for my license and he takes it and says to me “Dude, what is going on with your hair?” My license photo was taken when I had a dirty mop of hair that went down to my shoulders. I gave the cop a courtesy laugh. He went and ran my info. My friends in the car are just telling me to relax and go with it, as I had nothing to be afraid of. The cop comes back, He asked again “have you been drinking?” I responded no. He then asked me questions about where I had been and what I was doing. He then asked again, “Are you sure you have not been drinking?” I said again, no. He then administers the pen test on me. He says “You have very active eyes son. Mind stepping out of the car?” I comply and he asks me to walk the line, putting one foot in front of the other. I give him absolutely no reason to continue the charade but he then asks me if I would consent to a breathalyzer. I said “YES PLEASE.” I was more than happy to have the opportunity to objectively prove my innocence. He had me blow into the straw and I look up at him and say “zeros?” He nods and says, “Sir, please watch those wide turns. Here is a souvenir for you to show your parents,” as he gives me the straw that I blew into!! Cool.
Time it Took Cop to Run License and Registration: 15 minutes
Professionalism/Fairness of the Cop on a Scale of 1-10:  6
End Result: I got to take home a breathalyzer straw.
#1 Best Story
Law Enforcement Agency: Ronan Police Department
Reason for Getting Pulled Over: Reckless Driving
The Situation:  Two years ago I was driving back from Kalispell to Missoula with a friend. Sure, I may have been passing a few cars on the way but nothing out of the ordinary. When you make the drive from Kalispell to Missoula, you go through a bunch of very small towns that all of a sudden just creep up on you. One second the speed limit will be 70 MPH and the next it will drop all the way down to 35 MPH. No joke. One of the small towns you drive through is called Ronan. It is located on the Flathead Indian Reservation so they are their own jurisdiction independent of any state or federal government. Well I hit Ronan and the speed limit drops. I did not slow down fast enough because now I have cop lights flashing behind me. I pull over into this run down shopping area parking lot. It takes the cop 10 minutes just to get out of the car. He comes up to my window, “We have received complaints that you were driving recklessly 20 miles back. You are also speeding through my town. License and registration and I need your I.D. too” (as he addresses my friend). He takes our stuff and goes back to his car. The waiting game then begins. Ten minutes go by, twenty minutes go by, it hits a half hour. By this time, everyone in the  shopping center is standing outside watching this all unfold. My friend is freaking out, thinking there must be some warrant out for him if the cop is taking so long. I am nervous as hell too. He finally gets out of his car and comes to the window. He says, “Well Brent, I got some good news and some bad news for you. Good news is we can’t verify the claims that other motorists made against you (I doubt there were any). But the bad news is that since you were going over twenty miles the speed limit here in town, that constitutes reckless driving. Do you have any cash on you?” I answer “Um, $40.” The cop responds, “Well I am going to need $140 from you or I am going to have to arrest you since you are from out of state” (I had a Washington State drivers’ license). I am absolutely beside myself and my friend yells at the cop. I really can’t believe this is happening. Knowing that there is no way I am going to spend a night in the Ronan jail if I can help it, I ask the cop if I can use the ATM machine that I can see inside the grocery store in the shopping area. The cop looks over and agrees. I walk across the parking lot while everyone is watching and the cop is following me in his squad car (is this really necessary??) to the ATM. I pray to God that the machine is functioning and that it accepts my card. It does. I take the seven $20 bills and hand them off to the cop without saying a word. I honestly do love cops and have total respect for all law enforcement but that guy was not a cop. He was not out to protect and serve. He was out to rip off poor college kids and take advantage of patrolling a reservation. Bush league.
Time it Took Cop to Run License and Registration/Produce Citation: 35 minutes
Professionalism/Fairness of the Cop on a Scale of 1-10: 1
End Result: I handed a cop $140 in cash
Please feel free to tell me any good pull over stories you have had with the law. Please remember to respect law enforcement and Don’t Blink.

Summer Travel Continues This Weekend

I am on the road again this weekend!
Tomorrow I head to Spokane for my sister’s wedding. The rehearsal is tomorrow evening and then the wedding is on Saturday afternoon with the reception to follow. I imagine the house is going to be absolutely crazy when I stroll in but it will be crazy in a good way. My parents have poured every ounce of their energy into this wedding. I can’t wait to see their hard work pay off.
The reason why I bring all of this up is because most likely I will not post on Friday or Saturday as I will be engaged in wedding activities. But I will be back ready and better than ever on Sunday night. To the dude who is marrying my sister: You better treat her and your new in-laws well. Don’t Blink.

Comment Feature Now Enabled

So in my first ever post on this blog, I said I wanted to make it interactive. My goal was for all of you to have the opportunity to react and comment on what I wrote. Well, I learned today that my goal was nearly impossible as long as I had the comment block feature on.
I apologize for my stupidity. I went back and fixed this problem. Please realize now  that anyone can comment on my posts. Thank you and Don’t Blink.

StubHub: Ticketing in a Modern Age

Tonight I decided to blog about a service that many of you have most likely heard of, StubHub. I personally think Stubhub has transcended the ticket buying/selling industry and has opened up the door to many more people who want to see live entertainment. I am an enormous fan and a frequent customer of this service.
StubHub is an online marketplace where members buy and sell tickets from/to other members. Tickets for games, concerts, plays, and much more are all available on the site. StubHub makes money by charging buyers 10% of their ticket purchase while charging sellers 15% of the ticket purchase. Yes, these types of fees can be annoying. But believe me, for the service provided, it is well worth it.
I have never been the type of guy to spend my money on flashy material type possessions. I hold off on buying new cars, wait until my phone upgrade date has arrived to get a new cell phone, am fine with a 40 inch TV as opposed to a 52 inch TV, and am still content with the lap top I got as a high school graduation gift (although it was nice getting a brand new home lap top computer for work). You see, I am much more into spending my money on experiences. Athletic events, concerts, trips, nice dinners, and shows are things I don’t think twice about using my income on.  I use StubHub to purchase more than half of the things I just listed.
The number one reason why StubHub is a superb service is because you can always get a ticket to any major concert or professional sporting event regardless of whether it is sold out or not.  One of my pet peeves in life is standing in line. It drives me nuts. I once stood in line for over 5 hours to get Elton John tickets only to never get them. Buying tickets online through the venue or through the specific act’s/team’s  ticket service can turn into a real cluster also as many times traffic is so busy on these sites that you are kicked off the server before you even have a chance to put your ticket order in. Of course once you do, the tickets are already sold out. Don’t even get me started on calling in to purchase tickets.  With StubHub, you can get yourself a ticket while bypassing all the above crap that does not even guarantee that you will get a ticket in the first place.
Of course, by buying off of StubHub you are going to be paying a price that is slightly marked up. However, that marked up price is more than worth the time, frustration, and sacrifice it takes to obtain a ticket the more conventional way. When I buy  tickets off of StubHub, my thinking is that the extra money I am paying is rightfully compensating an individual (the seller) for being a much more savvy, motivated, and smarter person than myself. He/she either somehow manipulated the conventional ticket system, got on some type of ticket priority list, or braved out standing in some long line with a bunch of morons to purchase tickets with the knowledge that they were going to turn a profit on StubHub. These  individuals are making a buck while at the same time making people like me happy who want a ticket to the hottest show in town without going through the bullshit. What a reciprocal transaction! I love America.
Of course I should mention that sometimes the tickets you buy off of StubHub are even below face value! An example of this that happens all the time is with sports teams. Many times, sellers on StubHub buy blocks of season tickets for professional sports teams and sell those tickets throughout the season for  a certain rate. However, if a team turns out to suck, no one is going to pay top dollar (or average dollar) for these tickets. Thus, the sellers have to cut their asking price.
The second reason why StubHub deserves your time is because it can accommodate any premium seating desires you have. As I said earlier, I think of live entertainment/live sporting events as experiences. After attending such an event, more likely than not you are going to have life long memories. Why not make these memories as positive and as vivid as possible? To put my philosophy into a cliché, when I go to an event, I’d rather go big or go home. I love going to events and having one of the best seats in the house. If I am going to see a team, band, act, etc. live, I want to see them up close and personal. What’s the use of seeing your favorite ball team play if you are up in the third deck of the outfield and you are not able to make out what is going on the field? Might as well just watch the game on TV. What is the use of going to see your favorite band play if you can’t even decipher their faces and you have to look at the giant projection screens the whole time? Okay, I know, I know,…there are plenty of good seats in between the cheap seats in the upper deck and the front row V.I.P. seats. The point I am trying to get across is that if you do have an appetite for an all-star view, it is now possible to satisfy it.
It used to be where people who were season ticket holders of the team, members of the act’s fan club, groupies, or people with strong connections got the premium seats at events. These people got their tickets and the only real option they had was to use them or give them away to friends. Then StubHub came along and these people saw an opportunity to make some money and decided that they could pass on going to a few games a year, realized that they did not need to see Kenny Chesney perform for the 7th time, figured that sleep was a better option on a weeknight rather than a hangover the next morning. So they started making their tickets available to the general public, regular people like me, and very quickly front and center access at live entertainment was available to everyone. Sure the prices are dramatically marked up but many people don’t care. An extra $200 is not going to deter someone who is presented with the chance to see their all-time favorite team or singer perform within a few feet of them. As a single dude with no commitments, no debts, and a good job, you better believe that I am going to shell out top dollar so that myself and a guest can have the time of our lives (that new car can wait).
Through StubHub I have seen Keith Urban’s tour and Gary Allan’s tour from the front row. I have been less than a foot away from Tim McGraw and Lady Antebellum. I have seen shows from Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood, and Taylor Swift from a few rows back. I have seen countless Major League Baseball games from the closest and best views in various stadiums. And I have only been a regular StubHub customer for about two years now. This service rocks.

                                        Dan and I front row in between sets of Gary Allan

                                              Gary Allan performing right in front of me

Tim McGraw concert
Finally, StubHub is great because receiving your physical ticket is a breeze.  For many of the tickets you buy on Stubhub, you redeem them by printing out your own tickets! The seller of the tickets transfers the bar code of the ticket to a template and then once you buy the ticket, the seller transfers the ticket to you. This method is used quite a bit, especially for Major League Baseball games.  I have also got the actual hard tickets mailed to me as well. Whatever the situation is though, the tickets are always delivered to your house (via either e-mail or FedEx).
Obviously I am a big proponent of StubHub and I only explained the benefits through the angle of the buyer! I know there are many sellers on StubHub who use the service and love it. If you have any questions about StubHub please do not hesitate to ask me. After you buy your tickets from StubHub and go the event venue remember: Don’t Blink.

HELP! My Face is a Disgrace

My face is a disaster.
As I have mentioned a couple of times, I was in Arizona this past weekend. I really never paid attention to how hot it was. During my stay, there was a constant wind that provided relief from the 100 degree temperatures. This wind gave me a false impression that the brutal desert sun must not be as powerful as long as it was blowing. Couple that with an awesome pool and plenty of alcohol and you can see how I probably spent way too much time out in the sun.
I am not a person who burns. I think it is my Italian heritage that always allows me to get dark. I say I am not a person who burns, but I must concede that the few times I have burned, it was usually my first major exposure to the sun of the year. As the weather in Missoula has been absolutely dreadful this spring, this was really my first time under the sun. I should have had this in mind before I started my Memorial Day Weekend but the factors I listed above pulled me in a different direction.
When I got back to Missoula on Monday I was dark. Very dark. I thought I was in the clear. When I woke up on Tuesday and got ready for work I was still pretty dark but a red tinge had crept in a little. I noticed throughout work that I was getting redder as the day went on and some peeling was visible. Later that night after my workout, I noticed it was getting worse.
When I awoke this morning I looked in the mirror in shock. My face looked awful, there was peeling all over. I wanted to go back to bed and not go to work.   Of course, that is not acceptable. At work I watched in horror as every hour my face got even worse! I went to the bathroom probably 8 different times to wash my face with cold water and look somewhat presentable. It really was no use though. It would have been one thing if I could have dodged people but not today. I gave an interview, conducted a tour, and had to give a little girl a Monte (the mascot of the Montana Grizzlies) souvenir . Probably scared the daylights out of her with my two toned, splotchy face.
 My most embarrassing moment did not come until the end of the day though when my face was at its worst. Our newly hired soccer coach needed to ask me a question. It would have been really nice to provide a decent first impression. Well, that was quickly squashed when one of my co-workers provided him directions to my office by loudly exclaiming and pointing in my direction “he is the guy straight ahead with the big red face.” Thanks.  Anyways, Coach walks into my office, takes one look at me, and says, “What happened to YOU?” Great start.
You know what? I can take a few days in the office with a hideous face, that is fine. My big problem? My sister is getting married this Saturday. I am serving as an usher.  I am going to see everyone and their dog at this wedding who I have not seen in years. Relatives, friends, former neighbors, teachers, randos, my sister’s hot friends. There is no way I can look the way I look right now. I am terrified. The rehearsal is on Friday evening and most likely I am going to look like a clown.
If anyone out there has any suggestions/miracle remedies at all on how I can look halfway presentable come Friday, please text/Facebook/e-mail/comment/call me. I would be forever indebted to you. Even when I look in the mirror, I am still following the golden rule…Don’t Blink.


The day after I finished 8th grade and graduated from middle school, I was in my high school gym lifting weights. This would continue throughout my high school years as I was an athlete and lifting/conditioning was mandatory. Not that I minded though, I quickly became addicted to it. After I graduated from high school I got a membership at Gold’s Gym in Spokane and lifted there during that summer between high school and college. Once enrolled at the University of Montana, I quickly became acquainted with the Rec Center and got up at 5:30am every Monday-Friday so I could be the first one at the door when the gym opened at 6am. Since graduating from college two years ago, I still hit the gym five times a week.
During this long time of hitting the weights and working out, I never once experimented with supplements.  In high school they were frowned upon and even though many of my teammates used them, I refrained, mostly in part because I did not have the access or money to purchase them. Despite being around the roid raging, muscle flexing meatheads  who always carried around their milk jugs full of whatever shit they were putting into their bodies that summer I worked out at Gold’s Gym, I never seriously thought about taking supplements then either…basically because I didn’t want to be like them. While in college, money and lack of desire was again a factor in my choice to abstain from supplements. Come post-college life, I simply had never used them before so I did not need to use them now.
My close friend and roommate is blessed with the type of body every guy wants and every girl loves. Big, muscular, and toned, Dan is the type of guy who Snooki would pounce on, her classic “guido-juicehead-gorilla” (well, minus the guido, he has absolutely no Italian blood in him). Dan is a Health and Human Performance major and he adheres to a very strict diet so based on his background and his shear physique, he is someone I listen to when it comes to fitness/strength training. Dan and I would always talk about supplements but I never really displayed much interest and he never really pushed the issue on me.
 This Spring, him and I have both been on diets trying to get ready for the Summer. As we grinded through our programs, Dan told me I should experiment a little with what is out on the market. I agreed, having really no idea what type of effect it would have on me. Dan gave me a regular serving of Jack3d, a powder supplement that you mix with water that contains creatine, Beta Alanine, and caffeine.  Before I took it, I overly guarded myself against any possible placebo effect. My mind was set to skeptical. After I downed the drink, my mind went from skeptical to WOW!!
Jack3d put me in a totally new dimension. It was as if my peripheral  vision was shut off and all I could see was straight ahead. I was that focused. My first workout on Jack3d was amazing. I breezed through it while enjoying every minute of my workout. The people at the gym who always seemed to get on my nerves were a non-issue.  I was in a great mood. I always do the anaerobic part of my workout first. It went great. I then always do my aerobic part of my workout second. It went even better. I could not believe it. Suddenly, it became so clear how over the years all of these dudes who I observed at  the gym were able to display so much energy and strength day in and day out.
My first thought after my workout was, “How is this stuff legal?” My second thought was, “Why did I not take this stuff sooner?” Of course I went out the next day and bought my own tub of Jack3d. Now, every day at work when 4:30pm comes around, I mix myself a drink. By the time 5pm hits, I am running out the door to the gym. I know I will most likely develop a tolerance sometime soon but right now I am enjoying great workouts in a way I never have before. Today I was sore from head to toe. The Arizona sun did a number to my skin and I was still feeling dehydrated. After a serving of Jack3d and a few advil though, I had a great workout and then more than enough energy to climb the M. It is incredible stuff.
Have I looked at the possible side effects and long term consequences of taking a caffeine-loaded supplement like Jack3d? To be honest, I have not. It is something I need to do though.  I mean there has to be some sort of tradeoff to taking something like this that makes you feel the way that you do. If anyone out there does know anything, please pass it on. Until I hear anything incriminating though, I am going to be JACK3D!  Don’t Blink.