15,000/1,500 Club


This morning I hit a huge milestone for myself when I simultaneously sent out my 15,000th Tweet and my 1,500th Instagram picture.

This morning I pulled off my biggest social media milestone to date as I managed to hit the 15,000 Tweet mark and the 1,500 Instagram mark at the exact same time. It was truly a day of celebration for me as I managed to coincide these two accomplishments with one tap of the “share” button on my phone, putting a successful end to a personal campaign that I started to eye last week.

At around this time one week ago, I became aware that I was approaching my 15,000th Tweet and my 1,500th Instagram. Upon this realization I immediately thought it would be pretty cool to hit both of these marks at the same time. However, a week ago I was at around 14,800 tweets and 1,425 Instagram pictures, thus I was 200 and 75 posts away respectively from the big milestones. It was at this point where I decided that I would just continue to post as usual to both Twitter and Instagram, knowing that by going at my regular pace I would naturally come upon both marks at around the same time.

My strategy roughly worked. On Monday of this week, I found myself about 20 Tweets out from 15,000 and 25 Instagram pictures out from 1,500. Well, if you know me, even though I Instagram like it is going out of style, I am more known for my prolific Tweeting. Also, Tweeting in general is just something that is much easier to do than posting pictures to Instagram. For most people who utilize both social media services, one Instagram picture is equivalent to about four Tweets. For me, the ratio is a little lower, probably one Instagram picture to every three Tweets. Even at that ratio, I knew I needed to slam on the brakes when it came to Tweeting and amp up my Instagramming if I was going to hit both milestones at the same time.

Yesterday came and I found myself 10 tweets away from 15,000 and 19 Instagram pictures away from 1,500. Now was the time where I really needed to buckle down and force myself to tilt the scale towards Instagramming more. But I couldn’t control myself…I tweeted a few times when I didn’t really need to and then mindlessly replied to my followers via twitter as well. When I got to my 11 a.m. meeting I realized I was three tweets from 15,000 but 15 pictures away from 1,500. Now was the time more than ever to get serious.

I put myself on a “Tweeting Freeze.” I mapped it out and made a plan. I told myself that I would only tweet once that night to promote my blog post, once the next morning (today) to send out my daily “Life’s Little Instruction,” and then finally of course my dual Twitter/Instagram post that would commemorate the benchmarks. So obviously I had the Twitter half of my plan but what about the Instagram half? Well, that part was very simple…post like crazy!

I get annoyed when people Instagram continuously in a short amount of time, filling up the feed with several of their own pictures in a row. However, when it came to Tuesday and today, I became a hypocrite. I started posting the most insignificant content possible. Oh, is that a milk truck? Let’s Instagram it! Should I take a second picture of our office’s blown up dinosaurs? Definitely. Go take a picture of my boss’ mini Christmas tree? You bet! How about snapping a picture of my key chain? Trashy, but I better do it anyway! It went on and on like this until at about 10 a.m. this morning I had caught up and was finally ready to send out my ground breaking post. I was at 14,999 Tweets and 1,499 Instagrams.

I knew exactly what I wanted to do to commemorate the milestone visual wise. I have always laughed at the Wilt Chamberlin photo of him marking his 100 point game by simply holding up a piece of paper with a hand written “100” sloppily depicted on it. Although extremely tacky for such an amazing feat, the picture has lived on in history. In a tribute to Will, I wanted to go for the same thing. On a piece of printing paper I jotted down “15,000 TWEETS” and “1,500 INSTAGRAMS”. Off to the side in small letters I wrote “Don’t Blink”. My co-worker Jerek snapped the picture for me and then I drafted the text to go with it: Thank you for your support! This is my 15,000th Tweet and 1,500th Instagram. Don’t Blink. I then sent it out to the world via my two favorite social media outlets, successfully completing my 15,000/1,500 campaign.

I apologize to everyone who follows me on Instagram. I cluttered up your feed simply for the pursuit of my own personal milestone. Rest assured that I will go back to posting at a more normal rate. As I said in my post this morning, thank you all so much for following me through social media. It has and will continue to be a fun ride. Don’t Blink.

Confrontation at the Gym

Last Wednesday, a tense situation occurred at the gym that I work out at. Maybe this confrontation took place because everyone was anxious to get their workout done and move onto the Thanksgiving holiday or maybe it was because the aggressor I am about to talk about is just a jerk but either way, the situation I witnessed added a little excitement to what was looking to be just another routine day at The University of Montana Campus Recreation Center.

As I just mentioned, I work out at the campus rec gym located on campus. Sitting literally right next door to my place of work at the Adams Center, it is a two second walk from my office to the gym’s locker room. Besides being extremely convenient, the facility has everything I need, the rates are the best in town, and it is a nice way to stay involved in the campus community. The main drawback is that on a campus of roughly 15,000 people, the gym many times gets very crowded and quite frequently equipment that people would like to use is occupied. This dilemma led to the run-in on Wednesday.

Obviously for some reason I was meant to witness this little spat because it occurred in its entirety right in front of me the second I got off the track from my daily run. A guy probably a couple years younger than me who just happens to be ripped out of his mind needed to use a squat rack. At the campus rec, there are only two such squat racks, a definite disadvantage considering the popularity/necessity of that certain piece of equipment. On this day, of course, both squat racks were currently utilized, putting the agitated guy on the outside looking in. One of the squat racks had the person who was using it, a fit and cute young woman, working admirably as she punched out squat after squat. Although occupied, the other rack, however, did not have a person using it at that specific time. Instead it was just fully loaded with someone’s water bottle sitting right in the middle of the rack. About ten feet behind the squat rack and about five feet to the right are mats used for people who want to do abs, stretch out, or work with the medicine balls. This mat area was where a tall guy who was about the same age as the ripped guy but much less built was sitting at. The water bottle that I just mentioned? It belonged to the tall guy who was trying to work in his squat workout while alternating it with some ab work. This did not sit well with the ripped guy who marched right over to the tall guy to tell him what he thought.

Ripped Guy: (In an angry, accusatory voice) HEY, how many sets do you have left over there.
Tall Guy: (In a respectful, earnest voice) I just have two more.
Ripped Guy: (In an angry, pissed off voice) There are only two squat racks in this whole gym. If you are going to use it, USE IT!
Tall Guy: (In a peacemaking, somewhat surprised voice) You can work in with me, I am almost done.
Ripped Guy: (In an even angrier voice) The weight you are using does not work for me. You gotta move faster, man.
Tall Guy: (Defensive voice, getting angry) I said you can work in with me!
Ripped Guy: (In his angriest voice yet) There are only two fu@#$%^ squat racks in… **I intervene**

At the point that I intervened, the ripped guy was still giving the tall guy a respectable amount of space so it was not like a fight was about to occur but the argument had gone on long enough and voices were escalating. As much as I hate to get in other people’s business I needed to do something at that time, people in the gym were starting to look over and I was by far the closest person to the incident. The least I could do was show a small amount of leadership and step in.

Although I had never said one word to the ripped guy prior to my intervention, we always see each other on a daily basis at the gym so there was that mutual respect that two guys who work hard have for one another. I simply just told him to give the tall guy five more minutes and walked with him down to the other end of the floor.
Point of this post is not to talk about my mediation skills though. It is not to talk about roid rage either. Rather, I just want to get the discussion going on gym etiquette for this particular situation. It is my belief that it is acceptable for a person to occupy two stations of a gym (whether it be a machine, a bench, a mat, a bike, etc) as long as the person is making an above and beyond effort to work back and forth between the two stations in a short amount of time. For example, the tall guy who was doing the squat/ab combo…he should have worked at a pace where after he finished his squat set and moved over to the mat he should have returned to the squat rack for his ensuing set in a time that took no longer than the break someone would take if he/she simply stayed at the squat rack for every set. So, to quantify it, if the guy was leaving the squat rack unattended for no more than about two minutes at a time, there should not be a problem. If he was taking more time and basically letting the squat rack sit idle and neglecting other gym users the opportunity to use the equipment then he was definitely in the wrong and the ripped guy had a very valid point. However, that does not justify the classless and confrontational attitude that the ripped guy took on…he was simply just being a bully.

Like any subculture, life at the gym has its own intricacies and unwritten rules. Everyone who goes into this type of environment should have a basic understanding of how to act. Most people who go to the gym go with the underlying motivation to improve their body and health. This is a very noble goal and something that is especially needed in this country. While achieving this goal for ourselves in the gym, we also need to do whatever is possible to make sure we are allowing others to do the same. Don’t Blink.

My Holiday Message Tradition

About 5 years ago I started a holiday tradition that I still carry on to this day. Fed up and annoyed with mass texts that people would send simply saying “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Thanksgiving” I wanted to do something that would distance itself from the superficial crap that other people were sending out while at the same time giving my friends and family something to look forward to, laugh at, and maybe even enjoy.

Many of the people who will read this blog post have had the honor (or the horror) of receiving a holiday text from me. Some of you have consistently gotten them over the years, some of you may have just gotten your first one this Thanksgiving, and some of you may have received them before but not anymore. I estimate that I probably send it out to 75% of my current contact list. I try to leave off people who I barely know, people who are easily offended, and people who probably don’t want to put up with my BS. But all in all, I try to share my holiday spirit with everyone.

So what exactly is a Brent Reser holiday text? Well, as I said, I completely despise the impersonal mass texts that people lazily send out during the holidays. So what I decided to do was still reach my friends and family with a holiday greeting but do it in a way that took a little bit of effort. Thus, each major holiday I started to dress up in some ridiculous seasonal garb that matched the specific holiday, choose a cool setting to be in front of, take a picture, accompany the picture with an over the top message, and then send the picture/message out to my contacts.

Although my holiday texts are very goofy and ridiculous, I do take them very seriously. I start thinking about what I want to do several weeks in advance of the holiday. Then, as the holiday draws near, I will go to a party store and purchase supplies for my costume and props. I always spend more money than I should on stupid things that I will only use once for the sole purpose of the picture but I don’t really care. After doing something for five years, you have to keep coming up with different gags and ideas. I usually always take the picture on the actual holiday although a couple times in the past I have taken it the day before for the sake of time such as if I was traveling or if I would be at a place where I could not get my desired setting. My two main photographers of my picture over the years have been either my mom or my brother. I have driven both of them NUTS with the numerous takes I have them do, making sure I get the perfect picture. I mean I am sending it out to 200 people, I got to make sure it is looking good!

I always send holiday texts out on Easter, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. In the past, I have also sent out holiday texts on New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, and Halloween. Everyone who has received my texts knows that each one will ALWAYS contain a couple of elements. I like to keep the integrity of my holiday messages within the friends and family that I send them to so I won’t disclose fully what those elements are over this blog but I will say it centers around a certain facial expression and a certain beverage. For most of the holidays, my messages will be on the goofier side but I do send out a classier one for the Christmas Day version.

Wow, I have not even got to the actual text part of the message. Accompanying the picture I send out is also a heartfelt, rather long, special holiday greeting from myself. Take the generic “Merry Christmas” text message and multiply it by a thousand to get what I put into it. Although the length of my message might be likened to a book and although many people probably exit out of the message after reading the first sentence, I just like to put the effort into it. As with the picture, there are a couple of constants that I make sure to always include in the text portion. Again, I won’t say exactly what those constants are but I always try to add some humor along with a genuine message. Oh yeah, I also like to include at the end a certain phrase that I am very fond of using…any guesses on that?

Over the years, my messages have evolved a little bit. With the amazing invention of the iPhone, no longer does it take 4 hours and a whole life’s worth of battery to send out my message to my contacts. The process goes much quicker now since the iPhone is much faster and I have the option to send it out to more than 10 people at a time. It is interesting to note, however, that I mostly still send my message out in groups of 10. With the ability of group messaging, I just don’t want to send out a message to 50 people and have a bunch of them replying back to everyone. Let’s just say that not everyone responds to my holiday cheer in an appropriate manner. In fact, the holiday message I sent out this Thanksgiving was the first one where I literally put a disclaimer at the very end reminding people that it was a group message they were receiving and to please take that into consideration if they decided to respond. One drawback of using the iPhone is the inability to insert music with my messages. In the past, I would always have a song/music accompanying the picture and text. It really added a lot to the overall message but unfortunately that option is no longer available.

I know many of you right now are wondering if I am going to include any past holiday message examples in this post. I am not. Again, these messages are reserved exclusively for my dear friends and family through their mobile devices. If you would like to see an example of one or if you would like to get on the list for future holiday messages, please text me to apply.

In closing, are there any other reasons why I continue to do these messages besides the fact that I hate the generic ones that people send out? The answer is yes. Believe it or not, many of my contacts who receive these messages actually enjoy seeing me make a fool out of myself. Many say that each holiday they anxiously await my special message…I am not making this up. Some say that it helps make their holiday. Others say they take it and immediately forward it on to their friends and family. As long as I can continue to add a little more joy to someone else’s holiday, I will continue to keep producing these messages. Don’t Blink.

The Magic of Santa

Christmas means so much to little kids for so many reasons including: One of the most important times at their church, days off of school, Christmas tree hunting and decorating, specials on television, presents, lots of special sweets, and just that general holiday spirit that fills homes and communities. Probably the biggest part of Christmas though that makes the season so special to kids in a way that adults can no longer feel is Santa Claus. But let me get a little more specific. Kids just don’t enjoy Christmas as much as they do because of Santa Claus himself but rather because of the magic of Santa Claus. Sure, the physical presence of the big fat man in a red suit with an overflowing white beard carrying a big sack of toys is very significant but it is more about the legend and mystique of Kris Kringle that makes the holiday so special.

To this day I still love Santa Claus.

Yes, I used to be one of those children who cherished Santa Claus and who really held a special place in my little kid heart for him. As I grew older and as I stopped believing, Christmas was never really the same to me. Even though I gained a better appreciation for what the holiday truly is meant for, that magic that I am going to keep referring to throughout this post dimmed quite a bit. For tonight, I wish to recall the five aspects of the Santa Claus experience that I still look back on today with very fond and distinctive memories. Why tonight? Maybe because with the conclusion of the Thanksgiving weekend it is now officially Christmas season. Or maybe it is because I just saw“Rise of the Guardians” and am in the Santa Claus mood. Or maybe it was the fact that tonight at church they had the Giving Trees set up, a wonderful opportunity to pass on the magic of Santa to those who are less fortunate. Most likely, it is combination of all three of those reasons. Thank you for letting me share my Santa experiences with you.

1. Santa Letters: Each year once December would hit, I would sit down at our kitchen table and write a letter to Santa. In the very early years I would tell my parents what I wanted the letter to say and they would draft it for me. After I learned to write, I would compose the letter myself with my mom helping me with spelling. I would try to butter Santa up with as many compliments as possible, ask him a couple questions, and then hit him with my list. I would then put the letter in an envelope, simply address it as “Santa Claus – North Pole”, and place it in the mailbox.

Little kids don’t forget. I checked the mail every single day after I sent my letter. Although I would grow impatient, I would always get a response from Santa. Arriving in a Christmas themed envelope and composed on special Santa stationary, I would read the letter over and over (or my Mom would). Having that personal correspondence with Santa made me feel so special, something that I could show to my friends and brag about…until they got their own letter of course. You see, at school we would always write letters to Santa as well. This would come after I had written my first letter to him. Nonetheless, I still loved doing it and still waited in anticipation for a response which also always came. Usually, our response at school came from one of Santa’s elves, making it so Santa wouldn’t contradict himself in the response he had already given me.

As I made my way through elementary school, I later became one of those “Santa’s elves.” Having the opportunity to respond to the letters that had as much love and awe as the ones I sent just a few years earlier provided me with quite a bit of joy. I took the task very seriously and tried as hard as possible to pass the magic on.

2. Fire Truck Santa: When I moved out of Spokane, I felt a sense of shock that not all places paraded Santa Claus around in fire trucks through neighborhoods. One of the most special Santa memories I have was when the Spokane Fire Department would come by my street during their December food drive. With about three Christmas decorated fire vehicles in line (with one carrying Santa in the back), the procession would go through neighborhoods, stopping to let kids sit on Santa’s lap in exchange for a can or two of food.

Santa would always hit my neighborhood when my brother, sister, and myself had been put to bed. My parents would awaken all of us, excitedly telling us that Santa was in the neighborhood. They would quickly dress us in our winter clothes and take us outside where we would join all of our friends and their parents as we waited for Santa to get closer. As the sirens grew louder and we could hear the public address system on the truck announcing Santa’s arrival, we got very excited and a little nervous too. Then, it truly became a sight when the procession would turn onto our street as the flashing fire lights combined with the Christmas lights attached onto the vehicles made for a beautiful Christmas scene.

The unique experience of seeing Santa on a fire truck late at night after already going to bed and spending it with your friends who had also already gone to bed as well will always be fondly engrained in my head.

I try to give as much respect as possible to Santa, even if that means Tebowing in front of him.

3. Santa at Church: The Sunday before Christmas, Santa Claus would always visit my church after all masses. As a kid, it was my understanding that the Santas I saw at the mall, ringing bells outside the super market, and even the one on the fire truck were all “Santa’s Helpers.” I knew they were not the real Santa, just people working for him. However, the Santa who visited my church was different. My parents told me that he was the real Santa and I took my visit with him very seriously. Sitting in his chair in the old community center of my hometown church, he just seemed different and more important than all the other Santas I saw previous to him that year…I knew he was special.

A few things stuck out about the Santa at church. First, he was always the same guy for all the years I attended church there (just a nice, loyal member of the Knights of Columbus I would later learn). Second, I would always get a free polaroid photo with him. I loved getting the photo and shaking it, anxiously waiting for the image to appear. Those polaroids are the only Santa pictures I have growing up. Third, he would always give us a LARGE candy cane. No, he did not give us the miniature candy canes that are always broken, he gave us the big ones! Church Santa was always special and he received a much different level of reverence from me.

4. Awaiting Santa: To go along with my point that this post is more about the magic of Santa rather than Santa himself, perhaps I didn’t get any more excited and involved in the holiday season than during Christmas Eve. Even though I didn’t see him or get correspondence with him, nothing beats the anticipation of a kid on Christmas Eve. I will never forget scoping the skies coming back from our Christmas Eve gathering with my dad’s side of the family to my grandparents’ house where we were staying. Looking for Santa’s sleigh with my brother and sister in the Walla Walla sky was something we always did. When we arrived at the house, we put together a plate of baked goods and wrote Santa a letter. My parents would urge us to go to bed so Santa could come and deliver the gifts. Although I knew in the back of my mind that he would always come, I still felt a sense of nervousness that he might skip us over that particular year. But my excitement definitely overshadowed those nerves and I always went to bed a very happy boy.

5. Christmas Morning: Waking up on Christmas morning was exhilarating. My brother and I would run up the stairs and into my grandparents’ living room where we were lucky enough to see large packages that were not there the night before. We would then look to the fireplace where the plate of cookies/candy had been. The plate would be empty and a reply to our note would be there. Too dumb to know that it was my mom’s handwriting, it would talk about what good kids we were, how more presents would be waiting for us in Spokane, and how he had given the peanut brittle we left him to his reindeer. Knowing that Santa had taken the time to hit our house and deliver gifts while also taking time to write a note absolutely made my Christmas morning and strengthened my belief in him, especially during those early years. Kind of weird, but I would always want to keep the wrapping paper from the gifts that Santa had delivered, thinking it was sort of sacred since it had to have come from the North Pole. I also scoured the area, trying to see if Santa had mistakenly left anything behind or if any strands from his suit had fallen off while in our residence. Although my searches for “extras” went to no avail, I always had a deep appreciation and awe for the amazing Santa.


Every once in a blue moon I will dress up as the fat man also!

To this day, I am very sensitive and joyful around kids who still believe in Santa. I know I have already said this word numerous times in this post but it is just that magic that exists that brightens a whole kid’s outlook on life. Although I obviously still don’t believe in Santa (ever heard of a 26 year old guy who does?) I love everything about the mythical legend of Santa Claus. I love Santa movies, Santa crafts, Santa ornaments, and people who can tastefully and believably dress up as him. You can bet that I have already been searching #Santa on Instagram. Have a great Christmas season everyone, HO HO HO! Don’t Blink.

Scoring 138 Points

Well the Thanksgiving spirit is definitely in the air. I am back in Spokane at my parents’ house and I am hanging with my brother and that warm feeling of being at home has engulfed me. Because I am enjoying myself so much and because my bro and I are just about to go out, I am not too much into the blogging mood. However, I do want to touch real fast on the big story in sports from last night.

Jack Taylor from Division III Grinnell College scored 138 points last night in 36 minutes as the Fox Squirrels (no joke there) defeated Faith Baptist 179-104. This accomplishment blew up social media last night and was the dominant story this morning on talk radio. By now, pretty much everyone has analyzed the difficulty of such a feat and made known their opinion on what occurred in Iowa last night.

If you are angry about what transpired, please be angry for the right reason. Please, just a couple points.

First off, don’t get upset because a kid shot over a hundred times. In Division III, there are several colleges that run offenses that rely entirely on running up and down the court, cherry picking, mass substituting, and then throwing up shots the second certain players touch the ball. This is not a new concept. In fact, it is a well-established offensive scheme that I have known about since the fifth grade. In these types of offenses, a single player is usually designated as the shooter. The game plan is for that player to take as many shots possible. Listening to Stuart Scott and Stephen A. Smith moan and whine over the lack of team play made me sick. Understand guys, this is not Division I and it is definitely not the NBA. It is an entirely different brand of basketball. In fact, it is team basketball because the other guys have bought into the scheme and have followed it in a way that has made them successful. I mean how obvious is it? Just because certain players don’t produce the scoring surely doesn’t mean that they don’t contribute.

Secondly, don’t get angry at Jack Taylor himself. While I give the media credit for not really jumping on him that much, I got really annoyed with the casual idiot fans who definitely had some choice words and caustic tweets over social media. Don’t penalize the student-athlete for following his coach’s game plan and doing what was asked of him. Taylor executed his coach’s plan, brought his “A” game, and made history. Don’t get on him for showboating, going against unwritten basketball rules, or for trying to make a star out of himself. While in the real world we shouldn’t accept excuses for bad behavior such as “I was just following orders,” in college athletics it is different. You do what the coach tells you…you put complete trust in him. Jack Taylor performed admirably.

Thirdly and finally, if you want to get angry at someone, get angry at the coach. Don’t get angry at him for the system he runs or because of the general fact that he let his player score 138 points, but get upset because he ran up the score and he let his player score 138 points when scoring 138 points was not necessary. Grinnell defeated Faith Baptist 179-104. There is never a need to beat another team by 75 points. In some cases, the talent level between two teams is so large that such a lopsided score might occur but that is after the superior team has subbed out all starters, especially the star player. Jack Taylor had no business staying in that game. Oh, he should have stayed in so he could break the record? Sorry, I don’t buy that. Keeping in a player who is killing the other team for the sake of a record goes against every sports etiquette rule in the book. Complete bush league. You want to say that the point spread differential in the brand of basketball that these two teams engaged in is different than a normal basketball game? Okay, fine, I will give you that. But let’s just say (and I am being very generous) that a two point lead in a regular basketball game is analogous to a one point lead in the run-and-gun type game that many Division III teams engage in…that is still a 37 point lead for Grinnell. Again, absolutely no reason why Jack Taylor should have still been in that game to break the record. I hate running up the score more than anything and that coach should take heat for the way he humiliated Faith Baptist so his kid could capture a record.

I understand that teams at the Division III level will very rarely get the national exposure on ESPN and in Sports Ilustrated that schools at higher levels receive. I get it that these lower level schools have to do extraordinary things, pretty much unheard of things, to garner this type of attention but you can’t sacrifice the integrity of the game to receive it. After all, players AND coaches who are at that level to begin with should know that they are participating for the love of the game rather than for the offhand chance that they will get a couple seconds on Sportscenter. Congrats to Jack Taylor, shame on coach David Arseneault. Don’t Blink.

Where Do I Go To Get My Haircut? GREAT CLIPS!

Sometimes I wonder if I am missing out on something but I think I always end up telling myself that I really am not.

Yesterday, with the Thanksgiving holiday looming and at the urging of more than just a couple of people, I put an end to 5 months of growth and I got a haircut. My hair doesn’t grow straight as a board and long as someone like Fabio. Rather, my hair grows extremely curly and it grows out. Yep, I rock one ugly version of a white man’s fro. People see it in its true glory after I work out or if it is a humid or rainy day…it poofs out and looks, well, depending on the person, either awesome or hideous. While I no doubt have plenty of critics, for some weird reason women have always seemed to like my longer hair and jumped at the chance to touch my curly locks and ask if they are natural (they are). However, there always comes that time when enough is enough.

At this point, it is time for me to get a hair cut.

For my whole life, I have gone to a low budget hair cutting chain to get my ears lowered. For the majority of these times, I have gone to the classiest of them all, AKA Great Clips. Yep, I have gone into Great Clips many times over my twenty-six years and gotten my hair soaked down with a spray bottle and then chopped off with scissors and electric clippers in the short time span of about fifteen minutes. Growing up as a kid in Spokane, I sometimes elevated my haircut experience one notch and went to rival hair chain Fantastic Sams. It was there that for about a buck more, they would actually wash my hair and give me the faint impression that I was getting a more professional cut. Talk about trickery and deceit.

Glen, me, and my locks.

The thing is, I am totally fine with going to Great Clips to get my hair cut. In fact, although I do make fun of its ghettoness, I really am unconvinced that if I went to a high end salon and got my hair cut that it would make my hair turn out better. It seems like every city is highly populated with professional salons, staffed by well-trained and cute girls who would be more than happy to cut my hair. And even though I have several friends who work in these types of salons I have always neglected to enter one, opting to walk in and walk out at my local Great Clips.

I have several reasons for sticking with Great Clips, starting with the one I just mentioned. Would my hair really look better if I went to a high end salon? I mean really, how much can someone do with my hair? I am a guy, I go in and get the exact same cut every single time (a #7 on the sides and blended in up top). I don’t need special treatment, I don’t need color, I don’t need a weave, and I don’t need a perm…that one comes naturally for me. Again, please tell me, what can someone at “Holier Than Thou” Salon do for me that someone at Great Clips can’t.

This is me after my oh so classy hair cut from Great Clips yesterday.

I think I also get my hair cut at one of these budget chains just because I am so easily accepted. At Great Clips I am surrounded by other guys getting their hair cut who have the same degree of carelessness as I do. I feel at ease. I think it is fair to say that I am a little intimidated by the elegance, set up, classiness, and overall femininity of a professional salon. I fear feeling out of place getting my hair cut in a girly salon surrounded by staff and customers who all happen to be women. Sure, I guess I could go to a barber shop but that whole idea turns me off a little too. I find it awkward getting my hair cut by a dude. Remember, I have gotten my hair cut by women for the past twenty-six years, I am too far along to change that. Besides, aren’t barber shops pretty much extinct nowadays anyway?

Maybe most important in my decision to frequent Great Clips is just the convenience. I can walk in Monday through Sunday and get the job done. If I want, I can even check in online and have a seat in that chair the second I walk into the place. At Great Clips, they keep all your hair cutting information in the computer. I don’t need to explain anything to my stylist, she knows exactly what I want. They don’t take a long time (which could be a bad thing, I guess), they just get down to business, cut my hair, and ask if I am happy. I always know what it will cost me too ($13 exactly). As long as I don’t look like Lloyd from “Dumb and Dumber,” I give the stylist a $20 bill for putting up with my locks. I can definitely handle paying $20 every four to five months for the upkeep of my hair. Honestly, could I get this anywhere else?

So there you have my long winded explanation on why I go to Great Clips. However, I want this to be a more interactive type blog post. All of my beauty industry friends out there, please tell me what I am missing out on. What can you offer me that Great Clips can’t? I do put a decent stock into my appearance so I can definitely be swayed one way or the other. Where will I be going for my next hair cut four months from now? I think I am putting my money on Great Clips. Don’t Blink.

The Holiday Season

Although I would prefer to have summer year-round, my second most preferred time of the calendar year starts tomorrow and stretches through the first day of 2013. I am talking about the fast paced, joyful holiday season starting with Thanksgiving week and running through New Year’s.

Let me just start by telling everyone to wake up tomorrow feeling rejuvenated and excited! We are entering a fun time of festivities, celebrations, days off, family, good food, and terrific sporting events. So hold onto your seats, get some discipline, and get your holiday game face on because it is time to get rolling!

Tomorrow is the start of Thanksgiving week. The work/school week goes by in a flash as many people just have to work Monday through Wednesday (including yours truly this year). The anticipation and excitement of seeing family and having a few days off is enough to put almost anyone in a good mood through the brief three days. After clocking out on Wednesday, it is time for the Turkey Day holiday to begin. Many people, especially the younger crowd, take Thanksgiving Eve to have a good time both reuniting not just with family, but old friends, as many community bars have celebrations that bring lots of folks together. Then of course Thursday comes and it is Thanksgiving! Definitely a great day to just relax, watch football, and partake in a great feast. I love Thanksgiving because it is just so relaxing and chill. I love the aroma that fills up the house and the peace that engulfs me.

I love Thanksgiving and I love my mom!

Then, in a complete reversal from the low-key, stress-free day of Thanksgiving comes Black Friday. Although I shake my head at the shameless commercialization of the day after Thanksgiving, I do usually find myself going to the mall just to be a part of the craziness and to kind of laugh at the people who really do treat it as if it was the last day in the world to ever shop again. Although I like to be part of the mania, I can only take so much of it before I become bored and irritated…thus the reason why my brother and I always find ourselves in one of the mall’s bars watching football while the rest of the family shops.

After Black Friday comes the holiday weekend. Most people just take this Saturday and Sunday to chill out, watch more football, and eat leftovers. This year, I will leave Spokane on Saturday morning so I can return to Missoula early enough to prepare for the men’s basketball game we have that night and then to work it at 7 p.m. Kind of a nice mix….spend half the 4-day weekend in Spokane with family and then the other half in the Zoo working Grizzly basketball and hanging with friends.

Once the Thanksgiving weekend concludes, it is time to enjoy the Christmas season. From late November to December 23, it is truly a special time of the year. Christmas music, Christmas parties, Christmas treats, Christmas decorating, and plain old Christmas cheer dominate the several weeks leading up to the actual eve and day celebrations. During this time, my brother and I take our annual holiday trip to Las Vegas. Nothing beats seeing Sin City decked out for Christmas! If you have never experienced Las Vegas during this time of year, I recommend it. The weather is cooler, the crowds are not as big, and everyone is just more chill. But let’s keep moving on, I can save this for another blog post.

Everyone should go to Las Vegas during December.

After all the Christmas build up, it is finally time for the holiday itself! Christmas Eve and Christmas are two very special days. Many people count Christmas as their favorite day of the whole year. Family traditions make these days so special and fun. But besides the unique things that go on inside each individual household, it is comforting to just sit back and realize that the rest of the nation is celebrating the holiday as well. The country takes a chill pill and shuts down a little bit and everyone takes time to enjoy the very special and meaningful day. I leave work on December 23 and travel to Spokane to my parents’ house. After hanging out with my brother and our old friends on that night, we travel to Walla Walla, Washington, on the morning of Christmas Eve and spend that day and some of Christmas there with our extended family. We then travel back to Spokane and open gifts on Christmas night.

For me, Christmas is all about family.

Many people take the week between Christmas and New Year’s off….well at least all of my favorite sports talk radio hosts do! Personally, I work that week but I am still in holiday mode! Besides working the Post Christmas/Pre New Year’s week, I watch A LOT of football. All of the less prominent bowl games are played on these week nights but I love the match ups and watch anyway. Also, many shows air that countdown everything that happened in the past year. The year of 2012 has been HUGE and I can’t wait to see all the recaps and lists that will commemorate it. This in between week is just nice because people take it a little easier, knowing that it is still the holiday season and a good time to recover from Christmas and to gear up for one last hurrah.

Finally, it is time for the New Year’s Holiday. I don’t have a set routine that I do for NYE or for New Year’s Day but I always make sure to have a great time. I don’t think I have done the same thing for New Year’s Eve once over the past six years but I always make sure to spend it around people who are special to me. When it comes to New Year’s Day, I just got one word for you: FOOTBALL. I love watching all the college bowl games that day, especially the Rose Bowl game, my all-time favorite college football game! I also use it as a day to diagram in my head what my goals are for the new year and to just feel fortunate for what I got.

So I hope I got you excited for the holiday season. I mean it though, enjoy these upcoming weeks. The holidays are a great time to create memories, do special things for others, enjoy family and friends, and to patch up any rifts you might have with others. I know that many of my readers (including myself) are fortunate enough to have a place for the holidays with people who love and support them. Let’s not take this for granted! Starting tomorrow, make 2012 the best holiday season ever. Don’t Blink.

Live Tweeting Athletic Events

As a person who loves Twitter, eats/sleeps/breaths sports, and works in an athletic department, I took great interest in a story that broke at the University of Washington today and quickly spread across the nation. The story came about because a reporter broke a certain policy held by UW’s athletic department. Surprisingly, most people (including me) did not know about this policy until the reporter broke it, got reprimanded, and then, quite appropriately, tweeted about it. Funny how news travels.

A journalist for the Tacoma Tribune, Todd Dybas, broke policy on Sunday night when he tweeted over 50 times during the Washington-Loyola basketball game. Dybas, a credentialed media member for UW basketball, broke code by over 30 tweets…the athletic department sets the in-game tweeting limit at 20 for basketball. When it comes to UW football, credentialed media members are allowed to tweet up to 45 in-game updates. Throughout the day, people lashed out at the University of Washington for limiting the press, shutting out fans, and going against freedom of speech. Of course, many of these “people” are on Twitter and because I follow mainly athletic-related accounts, many of them were sports writers. Even with all the anti-Twitter restriction tweets and blog posts I read, it still couldn’t convince me that the University of Washington was in the wrong with implementing such a policy at the start of the 2012-13 season. In fact, I believe it to be a stroke of genius.

In this post I don’t want to get too deep into the economics of why such a policy is important but as a person who understands, let me briefly lay it out.  Athletic departments and their partners pay lots of money on official websites, streaming capabilities, broadcasting deals, and social media platforms for fans to engage in. Fans can watch live, interact, follow along, and really immerse themselves in the action. The products offered (at least at The University of Montana and I am sure at UW as well) are top-notch and highly informative. When a reporter is live tweeting, he/she is taking some of the audience away from these sources and/or making it so the fan never even finds out about these special tools. You might say tough luck to the athletic department, the reporter is winning the fan over with informative and witty tweets and should be commended but this is not fair to say.

First off, athletic departments need to protect their investments. Money spent on cutting edge technology, gametrackers, up to the second statistics, and crisp broadcasts must take priority over the guy in the press box tapping 100 miles per hour away at his iPhone to notify his followers that someone just ran for two yards. An athletic department can’t get beat like that with everything that is at stake. But besides the investment issue, it also just comes down to quality. Frankly, many of these electronic tools/services that athletic departments have (including the University of Montana) are just much more dependable than what you can get from someone who is live tweeting. When you are watching a live stream of something or following an event on gametracker, you are getting a spot on, accurate portrayal of the game whereas with live tweeting you are prone to get mistakes along with needless commentary depending on the reporter’s point of view.

Even if you don’t believe that universities should have the right to promote their technology and give fans not attending the game the best coverage possible, when it comes down to it, athletic departments have the final say on what is permissible for credentialed media. Members of the press who receive credentials get premium seating, access to players/coaches, freedom to roam the playing facility, and a decent environment to produce their work in. With all of this provided to the fortunate ones who receive media credentials, rules must be followed. If journalists desperately feel that they are cheating their followers by not having the freedom to over tweet during a contest, they need to just turn their credential in. As of right now, many journalists don’t have to make this decision but as other departments see what UW has in place, I think we might see some adoptions of this policy. Congrats to the University of Washington athletic department for standing its ground. Don’t Blink.

Brawl of the Wild 2012

Some might mistakenly believe that last week was the biggest week in Montana with several crucial elections taking place to decide our state leaders. However, people who actually live in the state and realize what’s up know that this week is by a large margin the marquee week of the year. Welcome to Griz-Cat week.

This Saturday, the Montana Grizzlies will host the Montana State Bobcats in the 112th Brawl of the Wild. I am not writing this post to say that this rivalry trumps other rivalries in college football. In fact, I know there are several rivalries that are longer-standing, more important to the NCAA football landscape, and more people-encompassing. Likewise, I am not writing this post to throw out rivalry clichés and tell terrible rivalry jokes. Everyone can say that “anything can happen in a rivalry game,” and to “throw out all records come Saturday” and everyone can uncreatively insert Team A into a space and Team B into another space to retell some of the lamest, most overused jokes in sports. Make it be known, I am not writing this post to signal out this rivalry amongst others or to get cute.

I am writing tonight to convey two things: First, I want to briefly touch on how important this game is to the state of Montana. Second, I want to explain how this is one of the best weeks to be part of Grizzly Athletics.

Again, as I mentioned above, I am not going to rank this rivalry or match it up against the countless others in the country. Rather, I just want to talk about what it means to the people who actually experience it, the people who live in the great state of Montana. With no major professional sports teams and only two major state colleges, the annual Brawl of the Wild is a match up between the two powers of the state. Fans bring their Grizzly/Bobcat allegiances that they have developed over the years from their family, friends, and geographic location and pour it all into this week, culminating in a football game on Saturday. People in this state grew up to like one school and hate the other. This is not Texas or California where numerous universities battle for state supremacy only in the end to have no clear victor. In Montana, it comes down to one game at the end of the season…every single year. It is completely black and white…your team either wins the game and gains state supremacy or loses the game and is the #2 team for the whole year. With both Montana and Montana State, much more is at stake than just a win or loss for the football teams. Attached to the final score, each school has its own politics, ideologies, and culture riding as well. The Brawl of the Wild is not going to attract ESPN College Gameday and it is not going to have BCS bowl implications riding on it but to the people of Montana, it is the event of the year.

Personally, I am as psyched as any sports fanatic can be for this week. As I said, this football game is the event of the year in Montana and how lucky am I that I get to have a hand in making it happen? Our Grizzly Athletics staff does this game right and Saturday is going to be a blast. Nothing beats the buildup in our department that occurs as each day passes getting us closer to kickoff. Right now, all eyes are on Missoula. Making this week even better, we have two basketball games as well. The Lady Griz play tomorrow night and the men play Minot State on Wednesday. Not a bad week at all on the campus of The University of Montana! When it comes to this blog I have become a broken record but I am truly blessed to have the great job that I do.

Christie and I at the 2011 Brawl of the Wild in Bozeman. The Griz dominated the Cats, 36-10..

Griz-Cat means a lot to me. Last year I had one of the best experiences in my time with Grizzly Athletics. In the 111th Brawl of the Wild, our football team marched into Bozeman and demolished Montana State, 36-10. Ranked #1 at the time, the Bobcats had no answer for the Griz. Standing on those sidelines and watching the joy on the faces of our student-athletes and the coaching staff in the winding seconds of the game brought a great sense of pride to me that I still carry today. The Montana Grizzlies currently hold a dominating advantage in the series with Montana State at 70-36-5 and have a great shot to get win #71 this Saturday. Have a great Griz-Cat week everyone! Don’t Blink.

The Griz celebrating with the beautiful score visible in the background.


A Terrible Cable News Snafu

A hobby of mine is to follow the media. From the local level to the national level, I like observing how different organizations and people cover certain stories. Although I take a special interest in the sports media, I also follow closely the news media as well. With the Presidential Election last night, it was prime time to take note of what various stations and news personalities were doing on their biggest evening.

A fact of the media is that it is left-leaning. While the major networks all adhere to more of a liberal identity, the cable news network landscape is saturated with outfits that don’t just lean left, they weigh themselves down completely on that side. They make seemingly no effort to shield the fact that they embrace a democrat philosophy. Of course, there is a network out there that does give viewers another point of view, Fox News. Notorious for running with a conservative agenda, Fox News sits on the other end of the political spectrum. When I want clear, unbiased information on what is going on in the world, I will watch either C-SPAN or PBS. However, like I said above, I do like to follow the more controversial members of the news media and I do like to test my own thinking against much stronger and different opinions so I do watch all the various cable outlets.

When I watch MSNBC or when I watch Fox News, I very rarely take the anchors and news personalities seriously. They are on our televisions to stir up emotions, make bold statements, and produce high ratings. On all of these different networks I watch and listen as personalities say one stupid thing after the other. I watch them cut guests off, inflate their egos, make outrageous claims, and put the opposing party down. Instead of getting worked up about it, I really just get a kick out of it. I understand the game, I understand that it is much more about entertainment than news.

As I watched election coverage last night flipping through the channels, pretty much everyone stayed in character. If you tuned into a certain program and a certain anchor team, they pretty much held true to the same type of reporting they had done for the hundreds of days leading up to the election. I watched as predictably certain stations acted bush league in victory and another station pouted in defeat. That was all fine and good…I expected that, America expected that. Unfortunately, at the very end of the night, someone had to go completely off the deep end.

Chris Matthews is a political commentator for MSNBC. Before coming to television, Matthews had a career in politics serving the Democratic party in many different capacities. On MSNBC, he has his own show on the station and contributes to many other shows as well. Always angry at Republicans and always negative in nature, he is quite the polarizing figure. Chris Matthews is the Stephen A. Smith of the news media. Always yelling at the top of his lungs while on air and way too overexposed, his act tends to wear on a lot of people, including me. But while his act wears on me, it never pushed me over the edge because I understood he was just doing his job in the business…until late last night.

After President Obama had secured his re-election and the coverage on MSNBC was wrapping up for the night, Matthews was unfortunately given the opportunity to offer his closing thoughts of the evening. Beginning his comments by going on and on about how happy he was that Obama won the election, his tangent quickly turned ugly when he addressed Hurricane Sandy and his perceived role it had in the President’s success by saying: “I’m so glad we had that storm last week.” As someone off camera could be heard questioning the moronic comment, he tried to clarify by adding, “No, politically I should say. Not in terms of hurting people. The storm brought in possibilities for good politics.”

Excuse me?

Matthews’ misguided opinion was that Hurricane Sandy proved to be a good thing because it showcased Obama’s bipartisan skills and helped him rebound from his poor debate showing. It is unfathomable to even conceive how a disaster that caused billions of dollars in damage, negatively impacted millions of people, and took the lives of many could be constituted as a positive occurrence. To put it in the context of politics is even more sickening. MSNBC’s coverage ended for the night, countless hours ruined and tarnished because of a comment so boneheaded that not even a station that is based on the bold and controversial could shake it off.

Again, I understand the dynamic of cable news. I get it, the stations need to bring in viewers, they need to fire up the audience. But there is a line and it was crossed last night. Cable television gives the commentators more freedom to express their views but it does not give them the freedom to make irresponsible and hurtful comments. I will never call for someone’s job because I have no business doing so but MSNBC and all other news organizations can’t let its talent get away with snafus like this. Chris Matthews owes millions of people an apology, and I just don’t know if a couple tweets and a quick on-air apology will be enough. Don’t Blink.