Taking Away the Magic of the Olympics

By this time now, everyone following the Summer Olympics has probably gotten just a little tired of the constant complaining on the one issue that has defined the first several days in London: The games are not live! Due to social media, the reality that the games are not shown on television as they are happening has added a gigantic barrel of fuel to the fire. Different SM outlets, especially Twitter, has both spoiled the games for fans and then served as a sounding off platform for these same people to express their outrage at the delayed coverage. Many people are upset with NBC.

Despite all the unhappy viewers, NBC could not be more happy. The network has brought in large ratings for London 2012 thus far and even though people are complaining during the day when results are revealed, they are still tuning in later at night for the replayed primetime coverage. Not only does NBC have the numbers to back up the decision, they also have experts applauding it as well. Darren Rovell, the most recognized sports journalist in the world has strongly defended NBC’s coverage map even though he is now an employee at ESPN.

So while I completely understand the reasons why NBC has chosen to broadcast the Olympics in the given format and while I also completely understand that there is no amount of tweets, angry letters, or protests that viewers can stage to reverse this broadcast model, I can’t help but personally hate it.

I love sports because of the unpredictability. I get my kick from the unfolding live action, the feeling that what I am seeing with my own eyes is the same thing that everyone else is seeing across the world at the exact same time. When I watch a sporting event, especially a major one, I feel connected to everyone else watching and participating in the competition. I relish the fact that I am on the same level as players, coaches, referees, broadcasters, and fellow fans in that we all have no idea what is exactly going to happen in the next twenty minutes. Basically, a sporting competition shown live is a shared experience for everyone tuned in.

When I watch a sporting event that has taken place eight hours earlier, most of the magic for me is gone. I mean how can I stand up from my couch and cheer when I know that the French will eventually make up the lead in the pool that the American relay team had developed and snatch away the gold? Or even in a positive outcome, how can I get too excited to see the American gymnastics team win gold when everyone at work was already talking about the feat at lunch time? Watching the Olympics during primetime is just like watching a movie you have already seen…you know exactly how the script is going to play out and what the outcome will be. Sure, just like if the movie is really good you will probably still get enjoyment out of watching it again but it still won’t compare to the first time you saw it, before you knew how everything would occur.

We have all heard of and know the people who DVR their favorite team’s games or their favorite reality show and then will cover their ears for the rest of the day so no one will spoil the outcome for them. They will then watch it at a later time with the element of surprise still intact. Many people are trying to take this approach with the Olympics. Even if in this social media obsessed world I was somehow able to shield myself from the results before the primetime showing I still would just have an empty feeling watching the broadcast. As I said above, the shared experience element is completely gone. Even though the event is completely new to me, everyone else has moved on with their lives. Most likely, the participating athletes are sleeping in the Olympic Village, the announcers are prepping for their next assignment, and the fans filling the arena have gone their separate ways. While some people can shake that “left out” mentality from their heads, I can’t.

It is pretty much like showing up to the biggest party in the world eight hours late. Instead of partaking in the excitement, surprise, and enthusiasm of the moment, you instead get a watered down recap of what happened. I just feel that the greatest sporting event in the world should be shown live on TV. Go ahead and replay it during primetime but please give all of us non-traditionalists who don’t huddle around the television at night the opportunity to watch a competition that was meant to be shown live. We don’t care if it is at 3am or 12pm, people will stay up/get up to watch the pinnacle of world competition as it happens.

I know all of this is wishful thinking. I also know that NBC is doing what is best for them. I just want a better Summer Olympics experience. I want to agonize and triumph with the athletes in real time. I want my Olympic magic back! Don’t Blink.

Bringing Back the Phone Conversation

As different communication methods continue to gain in prominence and usage, other older ones are consequently on the decline. By far, the medium that has taken the biggest hit is good ol’ traditional face-to-face communication. Wait, why did I take the time to plug the seemingly unnecessary word of “traditional” in front of face-to-face communication? Because these days with video conferencing, Skype, Face Time, and a whole slew of other services, you can technically achieve “face-to-face” communication without getting anywhere remotely close to the vicinity of the other person. But I digress…

Another communication method that seems just about extinct is the fax. At work, I have to familiarize myself with how to operate the fax machine each time I send something just because I use it so rarely. Correspondence via letters is just about a lost art too. Some would even argue that e-mail is just about on its way out as well. While still vitally crucial in the workplace, e-mail chains between friends and family members are quickly decreasing.

While all these forms of communication are taking the backseat to the “language of today,” namely text messaging and social media, there is another communication method that is on board the ship of declining relevancy: The traditional phone call.

Who really spends that much time talking on the phone anymore? Most people I know consider a phone call a nuisance. For me at work, I will usually opt to conduct basic correspondence via e-mail rather than over the phone. In my personal life, I always preferred text messaging to talking on the phone. At times I would silence my phone if it started ringing to avoid answering the call, even if I was perfectly capable of answering it. I would then immediately follow up with a text. Even in my dealings with important people such as my parents or significant others, I would try to convert as much of the conversation into text messaging as possible.

Lately though I have started to revert back to old school and have started touching up on my phone skills. As different people have entered my life, the need to engage in true real time audio correspondence (fancy term for phone conversations) has risen. With the minutes racking up on the time I have spent on the phone, I have definitely realized why we tend to avoid phone conversations but I have also rediscovered the joys of the device as well.

To sum it all up, phone conversations are challenging. First off, they take a lot out of you. Constantly talking-listening-talking-listening-talking-listening can really take its toll on a person. There are times when I will get off the phone and say out loud, “Man, that was exhausting!” Phone convos are also hard to develop a consistent flow. Without the luxury of seeing the person’s face, the common occurrence of interrupting someone or starting to talk right when the other person starts to talk happens all too frequently. This can lead to frustration and awkwardness, a good enough reason for most people to give up on phone conversations all together. Then there is the dilemma of finding a suitable spot to have the chat. I personally can’t talk on the phone in front of others. I think it is rude and I get embarrassed. I also have a tough time dealing with background noise as well. Unfortunately for me, even in a perfectly quiet place I am still asking the person who I am talking to if they could repeat what they just said. Obviously, if the conditions are not conducive to my less than stellar hearing and my need to be by myself, my phone conversation is not going to be successful. Finally, telephone correspondence can go wrong simply because of other external factors. The connection can be bad on one end, someone else might try calling you when you are already on the phone, or your device could run out of power.

All of these above reasons turned me into an exclusive texter over the past few years. I tended to shut out the people who wanted to have an actual conversation where we could hear each other’s voices. Not only did I do almost completely away with talking on the phone, I wouldn’t even consider leaving a voice message. However, it just takes someone special to change your take on phone conversations.

I am starting to get my phone talking skills back. Yes, it has been hard. When I take a phone call or make one now, I tell myself to be patient. I try to visualize the other person on the other end of the line and make my best guess on when they have finished speaking or if they are about to start. Going into the call I remind myself that I am invested in the conversation and that I am going to give that person 100% of my focus. Using these tips has allowed me to rediscover the joys of talking on the phone. You can get so much more content and dialogue into a 10 minute phone conversation than you can in an hour texting back and forth. You can also prevent against anything being taken out of context. With the phone you can detect emotion, sense attitudes, and immediately ask for clarification. What you say on the phone just means more too. It is so easy to type anything into a text message. You can say things you never would say if you actually had to use your voice. Telling a girl she is beautiful over text messaging is one thing, telling a girl she is beautiful over the phone takes a lot more conviction and strength. With phone conversations you put your personal stamp on what you say to a much higher degree than other mediums.

But really, what sets phone conversations apart from everything else is just the comfort and familiarity of the voice on the other end of the line. To actually hear the sound of someone makes the line of communication so much richer. It is amazing that I did not use my telephone for its intended purpose earlier.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love my text messaging and my social media. However, I am going to make a more conscious effort to talk a little more and pound my screen a little less. Time to not hide behind text and emoticons. God gave us all a voice, might as well use it. Don’t Blink.

Let The Games Begin!!

After enormous buildup and anticipation, the London Summer Olympics officially opened up last night with the Opening Ceremony. I skipped out on my beloved Missoula Osprey to sit at the house and watch the tape delayed proceedings. Although London’s version of the Opening Ceremony could not hold a candle to the spectacle that Beijing pulled off in 2008, I still got that humbling sense of world unity that has invaded my soul since the first time I actually remember watching the Olympics sixteen years ago during the 1996 Atlanta games.

I am a big Olympics fan,  especially the summer ones. For seventeen days, the world is captivated on London. The best of the best from every corner of the planet is meeting in a common place to compete for national glory. It does not get much better than that.

Besides the competition itself, so many other things about the games appeal to me. I can’t help but appreciate the rich expression of culture that engulfs the games. I feel all geography and social studies classes in our schools (if school was actually in session) should stop the traditional lessons and turn on the games during classes. The amount that can be learned from observing where the athletes are from and how they conduct themselves is immense. I also enjoy the athletes who rise to the top over the 2+ weeks and make a name for themselves. The Olympics routinely creates new heroes and they are usually always wide-eyed, humble, and young.  Yes, whenever the Olympics come around, the number of positive sports role models skyrockets. Additionally, I just marvel at how the whole world seemingly shuts down in the name of competition and good spirit. There is no escaping that the Olympics are going on. Every restaurant, store, bar, waiting room, etc. will be tuned in. It will be all what people talk about. Political candidates, pastors, and professors will all make a point to reference something from the Olympics during their speeches, sermons, and lectures. The Olympics definitely unites, and that is beyond cool.

Besides the cultural, hero-building, and uniting aspects that the Olympics always deliver, I revere them so much because they seem to really define time. Throughout the past sixteen years, I can look back at each summer and winter edition of the games and pinpoint exactly what was going on in my life. You could just yell at me something like “Nagano 1998”, “Athens 2004”, or “Vancouver 2010” and I could rattle off to you the exact state of my life during those two weeks when the games took place. I could immediately tell you what activity I was most engrossed in at the time, where I was living, what television I watched most of the games from, who I was hanging out with, who I was dating, what job I had, what song was popular, what my goals were at the time, what I was thinking about mostly in my head, etc. It is kind of funny that an event like this can really time capsule so many memories that have absolutely nothing to do with the games themselves.

By now you can see that I love the Olympics. But what makes me like them even more in 2012 as opposed to two years ago in Vancouver?! It is the SUMMER games of course!! While I love the Winter Olympics to a great degree, nothing beats the summer games. The Summer Olympics are the traditional, history-laden games. They are much more inclusive of the whole world, both in athlete participation and from fan connectivity. When you think Olympics, you think universal type sports such as swimming, track and field, and weightlifting. The Summer games just produce more imagery too. Without equipment and helmets covering the faces of pretty much every athlete and with the absence of snow everywhere, your brain just registers more with the sights and sounds of the summer games. Athletes are much more likely to garner a name for themselves during the summer games as opposed to the winter games simply because of direct exposure. And who am I kidding?  I am just a summer guy in general. I want to see rays of sun rather than mounds of snow. I much rather see athletes competing (especially the women athletes) in uniforms that showcase the awesome physique that many of the competitors have rather than seeing them all bundled up in ten different layers. Yes, the Summer Olympics is where it is at!

I am very excited for the next seventeen days. I plan to publish a couple more posts that are directly related to the games. I hope all of you enjoy this special world event as well. Let the games begin!! Don’t Blink.

Bad Time For Twitter to Crash

At work, I live for days like these. Yesterday, we announced a press conference for 10am the following morning (making it today!). With people outside the department not knowing what to expect from the mid-morning announcement, speculation was rampant. Media and fans alike wanted to know what was going down and everyone wanted to be the first to break it.

One of the duties I love best about my job centers around working with the sports information department to relay information to the general public. Because we work inside the organization, we are the first ones to learn, and then distribute, information. I get an adrenaline rush out of the buildup that comes with a major announcement and then I bask in the awesome feeling of the weight lifted off our shoulders once we deliver the announcement and the baton is passed onto the media to take our info and make their stories.

As I have mentioned several times in previous posts, Grizzly Athletics is king in the state of Montana. Because of this, our department attracts an enormous amount of media attention. This is both a blessing and a curse for obvious reasons. When the times are good, the coverage is favorable….when times are challenging, the coverage is not favorable.

But that is the nature of the beast and the press has to do their thing. Yesterday I said I have a high degree of respect for teachers. My level of respect is at the same level for people in the local media business, especially the broadcasting realm. Talk about a tough, cut throat business. Competition is high, hours are crazy, and pay is less than satisfactory. I have become friends with several of the former and present news personalities in the state of Montana and I root for them. There is an immense amount of pressure to cover the story and, very crucial here, to be the first to report. In this day and age, many depend (and rightfully so) on social media.

Remember that press conference I told you about that was held today? Well, our special announcement could not have carried with it much more good news. Our interim head football football coach signed a two year contract to become THE head coach of our program. Come early this morning, most people knew that the announcement was going to relate to a contract of some sort for our football coach but no one knew specifics. At around 9:15am, a reporter’s worst nightmare occurred: Twitter crashed.

Up in the Canyon Club where we held the press conference, basically all of the news media in the area were starting to gather. The minutes edged closer to 10am and Twitter was still down. So much for any tweets that these journalists wanted to send out regarding the atmosphere or attendance of the impending press conference. Five minutes before 10am there was no miracle, Twitter was still down. At around that time, we sent out the breaking news. The details of the contract signing hit our website, our social media outlets (besides Twitter of course), and the inboxes of all the reporters cramming the podium where Mick Delaney was about to chat about his sweet new deal.

As the media sat up in the Canyon Club when we broke the news, they had little chance to relay the information as they only had their phones on them. Besides posting to Facebook, they were unable to send out any 140 character messages summarizing the contract stipulations. A reporter’s best friend in this day and age had viciously disappeared when they needed it most.
After posting everything, I hustled up to the press conference just in time to see our interim athletic director announce Mick. His words were short and to the point and by the time he had finished and the press conference was over, Twitter was still down. About an hour later, the service was finally resurrected from the dead and tweets started flying left and right. I got a kick out of the good natured tweets that many members of the media sent out regarding the unfortunate time that Twitter decided to take a break. They had a good laugh at it after the fact but you know at around 10am this morning you were not finding many smiles.

It is amazing how much we depend on social media to get by these days. Not that it is a bad thing at all, I love social media and make a career out of it. It is just fascinating to see how the times can change so much over the years. Twitter will crash again and it will come at an absolutely terrible time for groups of people elsewhere around the world. However, I feel it is safe to say that the state of Montana paid their dues in the bad luck department this morning. Tweet on! Don’t Blink.

Most Relaxing Vegas Trip Ever

You know, it seems like I have already done this blog post about six times before…wait, that is because I have! Oh yes, time for another Las Vegas trip recap. I know these trip summaries can get boring to most of my readers but the reason why I continue to report on my visits to Sin City is simply because each experience is different. As I have done in the past I will just point out a few overarching themes from my time in the desert but first some background.

I went to Vegas this past Sunday via Delta and as I compose this it is Wednesday night and I am on my return voyage to Missoula where I am currently sitting in the Salt Lake City airport on a brutal three hour layover. I once again stayed in my favorite property on the strip, the Flamingo. I can’t express what an enjoyable and relaxing time I had this go around. I traveled solo with my only excuse for going on the trip being that my friend, Erik, was down at the same time for a work conference. Basically, I just needed to satisfy my urge to get back down to my favorite vacation spot.

All and all, it was a very low key trip for me. I hung out at the pool and gambled…that is pretty much it. The weather was 100+ degrees each day, just how I like it. Poker tournaments and Blackjack kept me more than entertained. This trip I actually got some sleep too, even if my schedule was a little messed up. For the three days I was there, I hung out at the pool in the morning, gambled in the afternoon/early evening, slept from 11pm to 3am (you know, when the fun stuff happens in Vegas), and then gambled again from the early morning hours and transitioned right to the pool right when the gates opened at 8am. No clubs, no bottle service, no wild stories. So what if I was a loser this go around? I still had a great time.

So without further adieu, here are the three things I am taking from Summer Vegas Trip 2012:

1. So Much Respect For Teachers: I met three teachers over my three days in Vegas. You think that is odd? Well, I did too until they reminded me that it is of course summer and school is not in session. I met one guy  this morning my age from Atlanta, Georgia, who is a high school math teacher who also happens to coach football, wrestling, and track. After he found out about my occupation he could not stop talking about the Griz and watching the football team play on ESPN this past season. Playing Paigow while the luck was good for both of us, we found we had much in common despite living on other ends of the country.

I also met a middle school teacher on my shuttle to Vegas on Sunday. From Oregon, she also coached basketball. We talked from the shuttle all the way through the registration line about standardized testing.

Saving the best for last, I made a new friend from Minnesota, a second grade teacher who blogs just like me! Eric and myself met her and her group of friends at the pool. Shoutout to her friends: Wendy (not the fast food restaurant), Molly (she is small but don’t mess with her), and Nicole (Snookie-Pink Panther-Booty contest champ). We got to hang out a couple times throughout the trip and we had a blast as she played Blackjack for the first time! I respected her so much because of the unique classroom composition she has and the fact that she works a different job during the summer. Really cool girl.

Teachers are taken for granted. They are underpaid and underappreciated. I am glad that I became more aware of this over the past few days.

2. Best Blackjack Talk: I definitely did not leave Vegas on the plus side this trip. Interestingly enough, I have never made money in Vegas despite all the times I have gone. But what made my losing bearable was the awesome cast of characters I played with at pretty much every table I sat down at. I can’t even count all the funny, bizarre, and intriguing conversations I had with players and dealers alike this trip. You see, when you are in Vegas and you are playing the low limits that I play, everyone for the most part is relaxed.

There was never a dull moment at the tables no matter where I played, what game it was, or what time of the day it was. I played in three poker tournaments over my trip and all the people participating were champs as well. I just the love the opportunity to banter with people from all over the nation (and world) in a relaxed, fun atmosphere.

3. Economy Friendly/Tourist Friendly:  This time around, I noticed something a little different. It seemed like prices for everything from food to drinks to gambling limits to cabana rentals were much lower. I could find $5 tables at pretty much every casino I walked into. Maybe the reason was because it is late July and the city is entering its “slow” season but I was just pleasantly surprised. It is always nice when your buck goes that extra mile.

One thing that hasn’t changed and one of the reasons why I continue to return to Vegas time and time again is because of the great customer service I always receive. I think Vegas gets a reputation for being intimidating and snobby but that is hardly the case. Dealers, hotel clerks, vendors on the street, pool attendants, etc. always treat me like a king…and keep in mind, I am what you would call a “low-roller.” It is amazing what a simple $1 tip will do. I have nothing but compliments for the people who slave away in sweltering temperatures serving us clueless tourists day after day.


Usually when I come back from Vegas I am READY to come back. Not this time. It was just so relaxing and laid back over the past few days that I really would not have minded staying for a few more. But time to suck it up and get back to reality. Can’t wait for work tomorrow and the big news that is to come. Don’t Blink.


A little over two years ago, the Macy’s in Missoula went out of business. The downtown store hosted a clearance sale and towards the last official day of business, the prices of many items were dramatically slashed. People roamed through the store like scavengers, snatching up all the off-shoot sized clothing items and pieces of household junk that they could find. The store had been picked apart, it was going out of business and no one, including employees, cared about the shabby condition it was in.

In more of just a “farewell gesture” by myself to say goodbye to an iconic business in the Missoula downtown landscape, I went down during the last days to stroll through the store one final time. Feeling a little disgusted by the zoo-like conditions inside the store I planned to make it a quick trip. Pretty much none of the passed over merchandise remotely interested me except for one item: a change counter/holder! Located on one of the shelves, it was a large plastic tub with an intricate top. The top enabled you to drop loose change through a slit and the slit had a sensor that would register the type of coin entered. The sensor would determine the type of coin and add its value to the total amount inside the jar. Desperately needing a way to organize the large amount of loose change that dominated my dresser and filled up random cups, I bought the item for $15, saving 75% off the retail price.

The coin counter was one of the best investments I had ever made. It immediately cleaned up my room, it made me value change more, and it gave me a fun little hobby. No longer would I just throw my change on my dresser, or in some cases, throw it away in the garbage. Now I actually looked forward just a little bit to getting home and depositing coin by coin my accumulation from that day. I watched as the jar started to fill and the weight of it get heavier and heavier.

Ask any person who collects loose change why they don’t redeem it for cash and they will tell you it is just a hard thing to do. Just like when you collect anything of value such as baseball cards or stamps, folks will hold off onto the monetary reward just so they can hold onto the item. It is just hard to let go of something. About fifteen months after first purchasing my money container I went back and forth on whether to cash in on my large sea of loose change. As someone who rarely throws away anything, the notion of parting ways with my shiny collection of copper and silver currency did bring me some uneasiness. But hey, I was going to Vegas and wanted to supplement my spending money fund. It was time to go to Coinstar!

I made the mistake of going to Albertsons to use the Coinstar machine during peak hour for the grocery store. No, this was not a mistake because the Coinstar machine had a line trailing from it (in fact, not one person was within five feet of it) but rather it was an ill-advised decision on my part because of the attention I drew from it. When you pour change into the Coinstar cage, it is very LOUD. The combination of the money the hitting metal cage in conjunction with the annoying sound effects the system uses when coins are fed into the machine results in a loud and head-turning noise. As the kiosk stands just beyond the checkout lines, everyone purchasing their groceries, checkers included, were treated to this cacophony for about ten minutes as I dumped my change into the cage and fed it into the counting slot.

When I had finally emptied all of my coins into the cage and after the Coinstar machine counted each one up, the counter on my jar proved spot on accurate. Coinstar was within one dollar of what my coin counter had registered. The discrepancy of the dollar were a few Canadian coins that I had mistakenly entered into the counter. My grand total? $133 (give or take a few cents). The final payout? $122 (once again give or take a few cents). Coinstar takes a counting/service fee out of all sessions so that is why I did not get equal value for my change. Before I cashed out I was given the option to redeem my change via a gift card and not suffer the service fee but I declined. I also declined the option Coinstar gives you to donate your coin savings to charity…heartless bastard. I took my receipt voucher and redeemed it at the customer service counter. The lady made some remark about all the commotion I had made but then laid off a little by noting that my receipt was impressive, by far the highest one she had ever paid out. I took that money she gave me and promptly blew it all in Vegas the next day.

Yesterday I cashed in on my coins once again. This time around it was the product of ten months of saving. Only this time the final amount I was to receive was a bit of a mystery to me. My constant use of my change counter has produced some wear and tear. No longer does it display the total amount on the top of the jar anymore. However, by looking at how far the change went up on the jar combined with the ratio of big and small coins and silver and copper coins, I had an estimate on how much I had saved. And you know what?! My estimate was pretty spot on. I fed the Coinstar at Safeway $78, taking home $70.55. Time to start from ground zero again!

I received $70.55 after cashing in my coins at Safeway yesterday.


I encourage everyone to save their change. It is a good practice of discipline and it is fun to see your quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies build up. Also, if you have a soul unlike me, you can actually donate it towards a good cause. What really opened my eyes the most about saving is that coins actually are money. Instead of tossing it out, throwing it in your car cup holder, or giving it to a bum who is only going to waste it on booze, you can actually use it for the greater good. Go ahead, start saving your change today. You and I can race to see who can accumulate the most money! Let’s check back in a year. Don’t Blink.

Big (Better) Blogging Changes

The time finally came. After dabbling in way too many conflicting practices regarding my personal brand and social media I decided to tighten things up. The changes I have made don’t necessarily constitute a rebranding of myself but rather just a better expression. I know change is hard, but in the social media world it is also a constant. I am confident that the changes I have made will help me out 100% as I move along. With that said, I would like to present to you the new tweaks to the Don’t Blink – Brent Reser brand.

If you are reading this post right now you can see my biggest, and most important, change. After over a year and roughly 200 posts on my most recent blog, Don’t Blink, I have moved it over from Blogger to a Word Press template. With the amount of people I have reading my blog each day and with the frequency that I post, I needed to switch over. After purchasing my domain name and accepting the generous offer of my friend to host my blog, I am at this point now. I am excited.

No longer do I have a long, eyesore of a URL that I did when I was still posting to Blogger. Now, I am simply at www.brentreser.com . My blog now carries with it more professionalism, more legitimacy, and more credibility. But really, brentreser.com is not just solely a blog now, it is a website. Make no mistake about it, the site is definitely a work in progress. While I have successfully transferred all of my posts over to my new site, much work must be done.  Just within my posts I have a lot of reformatting and relinking to complete, kinks that inevitably showed up during the transfer between Blogger and Word Press. Beyond the blog part of brentreser.com I also have to develop the “stuff” that will make it into a website. In time I will add several pages, such as a bio page, a multimedia page, a guest page, a professional page, and much more. In addition, I will introduce interactive options so that all of you will have a better chance to participate in dialogue with me other than just through the generic comment feature.

You might be asking yourself why did I decided to debut brentreser.com before I had most components up. I struggled with this dilemma but in the end I decided I needed to start sending my followers to the new site. For some of the people who read my stuff, especially my older fans, redesigns can take some getting used to. I thought, why not start that process sooner than later? I also wanted to showcase my site before I had it all the way done so I could get feedback from all of you on what to add/design. Please, your feedback is very much needed and appreciated. Again, I know this is a big change but in two weeks I can assure you that you will be used to it. Thanks for sticking with me!

After four years and 13,400 tweets on Twitter, I did something that I thought I would never do: I changed my Twitter handle. I have ditched the old one and now you can subscribe to my tweets/tweet at me by using @BrentReser. This change was much more overdue than my blog switch. For sentimental and paranoia reasons, I held onto my old Twitter handle for way too long. But with the debut of www.brentreser.com and with my desire to streamline everything a little bit more, I knew I had to let go. Also, many people would kill for the chance to be able to use their own name as their Twitter handle (many times it is taken) so I thought I should cash in on this opportunity that my somewhat unique name affords me to. Let me tell you, the process of changing your Twitter handle is the easiest thing in the world. You just type in your new name in the settings panel and click “save changes” and you are good to go. You don’t lose any followers, you don’t lose past mentions, and you don’t lose any formatting or background traits. After switching to @BrentReser I knew I should have done it sooner.

Finally, I am moving towards a new consistent image of myself. I am through with using cheesy pictures of me in a sombrero or of me Tebowing. Time to look a little more professional. I now have a common image for both my Facebook cover photo and for my website header. The image is clean, organized, and informative. But who am I kidding, I couldn’t have done much worse than some of my past ventures.

Thanks for your support during this process. The motivation I have to make these changes does come from my desire to increase my personal brand but more so it comes from the dedication and love I get from all of you. Whenever I get a comment, a text, a call, or a face-to-face compliment about my blog or another social media outlet of mine I take it to heart. These expressions make me want to present my content in the absolute best way possible. Please keep reading. Have a great weekend! Don’t Blink.

NACMA Board Retreat 2012

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to venture over to Whitefish, Montana, to help out my boss, Christie Anderson, with quite a big deal she had arranged. Starting July 15 and running through July 18, Grizzly Athletics hosted the 2012 National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators (NACMA) Board of Directors Retreat. Wow, what a mouthful. Referred to in the condensed version as the 2012 NACMA Retreat, it served as a great way for me to see the top people in my industry while at the same time getting to visit one of the most gorgeous spots in Montana.

The NACMA Board is made up of individuals from all across the country who serve as marketing directors, or in other equivalent roles, in their respective athletic departments. When I say all across the country, I am not kidding. We had representatives from the west of us (University of Oregon, Boise State, University of California – Riverside), south of us (Texas A&M Corpus Christi, Arizona State, University of New Mexico), and a whole host of schools from back east (Xavier, Kansas State, Northern Illinois, several Florida schools, etc.). Not only were our guests from diverse geographic locations, they were also from diverse institutions as well. While the board contains reps from powerhouse schools such as the University of Oregon and the University of South Carolina, several colleges in smaller conferences such as Embry-Riddle University and the University of New Hampshire also enjoy representation on the board. While geographic location/conference affiliation might differ, the goals for most of these people are shared.

I joined Christie in Whitefish to help her with transportation. Joining in the effort to haul the NACMA board around the area was our assistant athletic director for business operations, Jimmy, and one of our interns in the department, Tim. As we did not attend any of the meetings or do any of the “official” board stuff during the conference, the three of us got to hang out with each other quite a bit.

Tim and I drove to Whitefish at 8am on Sunday (7-15) morning. With me behind the wheel, we made the two and a half hour drive in a University of Montana 2010 Dodge Caravan. We arrived in the Whitefish area and started shuttling people from the very small Glacier Park Airport to the retreat headquarters at Whitefish Mountain Resort on Big Mountain. As the members of the board all came in at different times, the three of us drivers made several trips back and forth between the airport and resort. As most of the board members had never been to Montana before, many of them asked interesting questions as we took them on the thirty minute drive that took them down an old Montana highway, through downtown Whitefish, and then up a big mountain: “Are there really Grizzly bears here? What kind of place is the Blue Moon tavern? General stores really do exist? How hard is it to work for Christie? Do you actually know where you are going?”

Up on the mountain, our guests could not resist taking pictures.

The first day centered mostly around getting the whole board to the retreat spot. As people arrived, we took them to the lodge at the resort where they hung out and chatted. For the first night, a progressive dinner was held. To buy supplies, we transported the 20+ person group to the Whitefish Safeway where they pretty much took over the store. The board members made sure to buy all the necessary items that would make the dinner a smashing success, so you can probably understand why this resulted in the blocking of several aisles, the forming of long lines, and the irritation of locals who probably just wanted to pick up their milk and bread. I don’t think anyone could really complain though…the Safeway had to have made a killing during that half hour of chaos. Tim, Jimmy, and myself all got to participate in the progressive dinner and the food was delicious. I had never had better pigs in a blanket in my life.

The NACMA Board took a picture together on the roof of the resort.

The next day the board strapped down and went to work. The three of us drivers transported everyone from the resort rooms to the lodge where the meeting room was. After getting everyone there, Jimmy, Tim, and myself moved from our previous living headquarters at the Hibernation House to the Morning Eagle, the place where the board was staying. Because the three of us were missing three days of work, we did as much away from the office that we could in the early morning. We then went back into town where we made a trip back to Safeway and then ate lunch at the local Taco Del Sol. Soon enough, it was time to pick up the board after the long day of meetings and take them back to their rooms so they could get ready for the night’s activity. What was the activity you might ask? A beautiful boat ride on Whitefish Lake. With the weather absolutely perfect, we took three boats out onto the lake for a two hour cruise. We had amazing tour guides who told our guests every single detail about the lake itself, the residents who lived in the giant lake houses, the exact value of each property, and anything else they could possibly ask. After the boats docked, we all got to enjoy the breathtaking Montana sunset on a warm summer evening. The whole night was probably the shining moment of the retreat.

Several members of the NACMA Board on one of the boats.

Christie and I after the boat cruise.

The next day started with the same thing. Jimmy, Tim, and I transported the marketers from Morning Eagle to the lodge. We then went to town where we ate breakfast at the Buffalo. We returned to our room and I did work for the rest of the morning and early afternoon. The time quickly came for us to pick up everyone from the long day of meetings. After bringing them back to freshen up and change for the evening, Christie and Nick came up to the room to hang out with the three of us drivers. Now, I have neglected to talk much about Nick in this post. Nick was one of our interns who recently received a prestigious internship with NACMA. In addition, he also earned the opportunity to attend the retreat as well. It was very nice for the five of us to take a little bit of time and hang out. We sat out on our room patio and chatted and joked around for about an hour. That night we took the board to downtown Whitefish where they got to eat at a nice restaurant and then explore the town for the rest of the night. Just like at the lake, you could tell that the attendees were genuinely enjoying themselves and really taking in a way of life that was dramatically different from their own.

After the meetings on Tuesday the business part of the conference was officially over so that meant Wednesday was departure day. We returned from town late on Tuesday night and because I had to transport two of the members to the airport at 4:30am I just stayed up. That initial venture out to the airport signaled the start of a very long day for me. It seemed like I was driving back and forth between the resort and the airport (and many places in between) nonstop. After dropping off some luggage to a couple of the attendees at Whitefish Lake, I made the trip back to Missoula. I dropped off the van at motor pool a little after 5pm and went home. After not sleeping for thirty plus hours I fell down on my bed and slept.

The three vehicles we utilized during the trip.

Although I did not participate in the content portion of the NACMA Retreat, I did get to meet some of the top marketers in the nation who are doing some really cool things at their universities. Most of them were down-to-earth, nice, fun people to be around. I even met a few who I looked at and told myself that I want to be like that guy (girl) as I advance in my career. Although all of the people at the retreat come from different backgrounds and situations, they all battle with the same issues in their respective positions. Because of this, there is a tremendous level of respect shared between every single member of that board. This was something that I envied and really made me want to be on a board of a similar nature in the future. Aside from observing people who I didn’t know, I also got to have a great time with the people who I do know. Jimmy, Tim, and myself worked together to do the best we could to serve our guests and help Christie out. The instances that the three of us got to spend time with Christie and Nick were very worthwhile, especially since I will probably not see Nick for a very long time. The NACMA Retreat was an exciting adventure that I will look back on fondly. Don’t Blink.

“I Don’t Have Time”

We all know those driven people who always get things done, never waste a minute, and live very productive and efficient lives. Many of us are lucky to know these types of people by way of our parents. Others of us know them because they are our teachers. Some of us know them as a parish priest or pastor. Yet, some of us just need to look at our own peers as examples of motivated people.

However, some don’t have these positive examples around them so they understandably don’t develop these strong traits. Others do have plenty of good examples around them but choose to look the other way because if they followed that type of lifestyle it would make each day too hard and “inconvenient.”

I think the number one excuse of people today is the tired, cliché response of “I just don’t have time.” No other excuse serves as a greater cop out from doing anything worthwhile or productive than this one. Yes, people use this excuse because they are lazy but they also use it because they have no idea what busy means. They don’t realize that there are actually twenty-four hours in the day nor do they understand the value of will-power.

I believe you can pretty much do anything you want. If you have the desire to get something done, you will find the time to do it. A perfect example of this is working out.  I can’t stand it when people say they can’t make it to the gym because they “don’t have time.” Baloney. If you can’t find an hour early in the morning, during your lunch break, or after work to improve your fitness than you can always look at the 24-hour gyms that are available in every area and find an odd hour to get your workout in. If you are still not working out, please don’t say it is because you can’t fit it into your schedule, just be honest and say it is not a priority for you.

People also use the “busy” excuse to explain why they don’t take up personal projects/hobbies that they always say they would like to do but simply can’t get around to it because of time constraints. Reading a book series, applying for a job, taking a class, starting a blog, or volunteering are all examples of productive endeavors that we all could do on a regular basis but so often  these good intentions succumb to the “don’t have time” trap.

Perhaps the greatest sin with the “I don’t have time” excuse comes with relationships. Whether it is a friend, relative, or significant other, if you are willing to truly work it out, you will find a time to hang out with that person. Telling someone else that “you don’t have time” to meet with them is a slap in the face. One of the reasons why I hate the excuse so much is because it makes the person using it sound like they are much more important than others. No, you are not the pope, the President of the United States, or Santa Claus…you are not in that high of demand so please don’t act like it. Make yourself available. If indeed your schedule is as stretched as you claim then make a sacrifice and honor a relationship before yourself.

Okay, that last sentence just revealed my remedy to everyone who feels they are “busy”: Sacrifice. Honestly, many of the things you can do to become more efficient and make time for more important missions really are not even sacrifices, they are just life’s annoyances that we let get in the way. But for lack of a better (or weaker) word I will say sacrifice. Cut out the crap that is keeping you from achieving loftier goals, better health, and stronger relationships. If you can’t get everything done to make you a better person with all of the time-wasting activities incorporated into your life than you have to let it go. Start with the time wasted on Facebook. Move on next to the countless television shows and movies watched. Put down the iPhone. Quit texting. Stop taking naps. Cut back on partying. If you do all of these things and say you don’t have time to work out, see an old friend, or start a blog then I am going to call you a lazy bum.

Behind all of this is one additional factor that I really feel cuts into the productivity of people and that would be sleep. I am amazed at the time and productivity wasted by people who go to bed before midnight and then sleep in right to the point of when they have to be to work or, when they don’t have work, right up into the early afternoon. As a society we put way too much emphasis and value on sleep. Some of the best hours for productivity take place during the late night and early morning. To spend these hours unconscious is a waste. Sorry, I just don’t buy into the notion that a healthy adult needs 7-8 hours of sleep a night. If we slept 8 hours every single night, we would spend 33% of our lives in slumber. Don’t say you don’t have time to do something when over 30% of your day is devoted to an activity that isolates yourself from the whole world.

Think long and hard before you make the excuse of “not having the time.” Think about how ridiculous, untrue, and conceded such a statement sounds. Instead, just respond with honesty. Whatever it might be….laziness, non-priority, fear, indifference, etc., just tell it how it is. Remember, you can always make the time to do what is important. Don’t Blink.

Time to Take The Fall: Spokane Law Enforcement Exposes Asian Spas

Media Account #1 – KREM TV
Media Account #2 – Spokesman Review

Today in Spokane, several law enforcement agencies participated in a raid of eight Asian spa/massage parlors that were suspected of running a prostitution ring. Officials also raided private residences as well. Several arrests were made.

All of this happened around noon today when the raids were carried out simultaneously so details are still coming out but I couldn’t help but feel intrigued by such a bust. Asian spa/massage parlors are notorious across the country for not really offering their publically advertised services but rather sex. I have watched a couple of great investigations conducted by Dateline in other cities where these places are exposed but to see it occur in my hometown really grabbed my attention.

With the Airway Heights Police Department leading the investigation, officials worked on this case for fourteen months. The investigation included several officers going undercover as johns at Northern Quest Casino (a meeting place for prostitutes in the Spokane area), arresting the prostitutes, and then striking a deal with them to become informants in the investigation. The arrested individuals were able to give law enforcement an inside look into what was going on inside the walls of these Asian spas. I love this stuff. I have always had an interest and appreciation for police/detectives, especially the ones who devote most of their time to the vice unit. The fact that this investigation was so planned out and coordinated with precision makes this a pretty cool story.

Some interesting (and by interesting I mean mostly sad) information did come out immediately after the raids. Every single establishment that operated as an “Asian spa/massage parlor” in the Spokane area (8 total) was implicated in the sting. For all the legitimate Asian spas out there in the country, this has to serve as a slap in the face. A very unsavory stereotype of these businesses is picking up steam each day. In many of the establishments raided today, not even one massage table could be found. Incredibly, the owners didn’t even bother to make the smallest effort in trying to give off the appearance that they were practicing what their storefronts claimed. Officials estimate that 200-250 women have been involved in this operation. Wow. This was not some small scale crackdown. This ring was established and seemingly very profitable.

I wonder if the area agencies brought in some outside source (such as a Dateline type outfit) to help document this investigation. Personally, I will be following this story as the gritty details start to really unfold. I would watch with interest any in-depth report or coverage that a national media outlet might produce. I want to see deals made, I want to see the layouts of these parlors, I want to see what the owners look like, I want to see what the girls look like, I want to see what the johns look like, I want to hear monetary figures, I want to know about the culture, I want to know everything I possibly can. I know this can sound creepy or weird to some but under all of the disgust I have for these dirty brothels and the people who run them, I just can’t look away.

What a victory for law enforcement agencies in Spokane today. Yes, everyone is innocent until proven guilty but judging by the length of this investigation, the informants, and the early numbers on people impacted, it seems like the city got a whole lot better off this afternoon. Time to watch the aftermath. Don’t Blink.