That Time of Year Again: VEGAS

Probably one of the reasons why I have written some 320 blog posts in a couple short years is because I have written this very similar post about six times now. Yes, it is time to go to Las Vegas again.

Today I embark on the summer half of my bi-annual Vegas getaway. Maybe I tried too hard to find a deal this time because instead of my usual non-stop two hour flight from Missoula to Sin City, this time around there are a couple more obstacles. I will fly out from the Garden City at 1 p.m. and land in Denver at around 3 p.m. I will then sit through a FOUR HOUR layover and then finally board a plane that will take me to Vegas. With the two hour flight and the change from mountain time to pacific time, I will be at McCarran Airport at 8 p.m.

Besides the roundabout way of getting to Vegas, I know this trip will be a blast. Accompanying me this time around will be my girlfriend, Paige. Except for a very short time ten years ago, Paige has never really experienced Las Vegas so I can’t wait to show her around the crazy city. Staying true to how I always arrange my summer trips to Vegas, we will stay at my favorite hotel, the Flamingo. This trip is mainly to explore the city, lay by the pool, and eat some good food.

Taking advantage of the Memorial Day Weekend, I will be in Vegas from today through Wednesday. As is custom when I go on trips, I will not be contributing to Don’t Blink. But it never fails, whenever I come back from Vegas I always have one or two good stories to write about. Enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend, everyone! Don’t Blink.

Always Keep a Checklist

One of the few good habits that I have developed is constructing checklists. Growing up I always remember my dad writing out a checklist of tasks to do the next morning before work. Before going to sleep that night he would put the list at his head spot at the kitchen table. When he would get up for the day the list would be waiting for him and he would get to work doing what he needed to do before he set out to the office.

I emulated my dad in a lot of ways and this was one of those rituals that I adopted from him. In fact, when it comes to this particular task I latched onto it from a young age. In my late elementary school years I too was scribbling out checklists and placing them at my spot at the dinner table to await me the next morning. Most of them just reminded me to bring simple items to school but a lifelong habit was formed.

It is very important to keep checklists.

It is very important to keep checklists.

Throughout my high school and college years I used checklists to remind me of components to include in presentations/papers, questions to ask when I visited with teachers, different study items to go over, and daily tasks to complete throughout the school day. However, utilizing checklists during my academic years definitely did not constitute a unique idea on my part. Creating and working off checklists might possibly be the most popular study skill that any teacher, counselor, or planner might give you. Take heed all of my school aged readers, always make lists to help keep you on track.

But I think outside of the classroom and outside of the studying atmosphere, checklists lose importance to a lot of people. I want to get across that I don’t think checklists should vanish when we age but rather they should stay as prevalent as they were during our school years. Right as this moment I have three active checklists. I have one lying on my desk at work right now with a big heading that says “Friday” on it. It will be waiting for me when I get in tomorrow morning. I have a second checklist to the left of me as I type this that has all the tasks lined out that I want to accomplish tonight. Finally, I have a third checklist on the top of my refrigerator that has items I need to buy and items that I need to pack for my trip to Vegas this Sunday.

Besides my active checklists, I have way too many inactive checklists from days, weeks, and sadly, even years ago lying around in my junk drawers, storage unit, and my work files. Although I do like to pick up some of these old crumpled lists every now and then and glance at what I had on my plate 16 months ago, I do want to do a better job of disposing of them. After all, I already have my journals to fill me in on my past.

Apologies for the irrelevant last paragraph.

Checklists are important for all of us to use. In the same ways that they helped us when we were younger (sorry if I keep assuming that everyone used them in school), they help us in the same way today. They keep us on task, they help us feel accomplishment when we mark items off, and they save us from forgetting important details that could negatively impact us. If you use checklists you will never: not call someone back, miss a meeting, not pack your cell phone charger, wonder what you have to do next, forget to pay rent, not pick up milk at the store, lose track of an important date, neglect to update something, etc. etc.

While it is definitely effective to pull up a chair and create a checklist in one sitting there is always the fear that you might miss something. That is why the key is to have running checklists so that whenever something comes to your mind you can jot it down. The notepad option on my iPhone works wonders for this. I type notes into my iPhone non-stop throughout the day. Then, when I do have time I sit down and transfer those notes to an actual hand written to-do list. Because I am constantly typing notes into my phone about everything that comes to my mind (even the very trivial) I tend to have quite long checklists. But for the security and peace of mind that comes from knowing you are covered it is well worth it.

Always keep checklists. Taking the small amount of time to make them will always pay off in the long run. If you know someone who might not utilize checklists but could definitely benefit from using them, purchase him/her stationary that is printed for such purposes. Well, time to mark off the third item on tonight’s checklist that says Write Blog Post because this baby is done. Don’t Blink.

My Fascination With Cemeteries

I have met one other person in my life who shares the same little fascination that I do. Well, I think she considered hers an “obsession” but let it be known that my intrigue with this subject is just a fascination. To some of you who might read my blog regularly this might not come as too much of a surprise as I have subtly alluded to it a couple times before (here and here), but many others might find this interest of mine a little weird, and yes, maybe a little twisted.

For at least 20 years of my life, I have had a fascination with cemeteries. It started when my grandma took me on annual Memorial Day trips to Mountainview Cemetery in Walla Walla, Washington, to visit our departed relatives and past parish priests. As time went on and I visited more cemeteries my level of interest grew and grew.

Myself in a very old cemetery in the Harvard District in Boston.

Myself in a very old cemetery in the Harvard District in Boston.

The first reason why I appreciate cemeteries so much is just because of the history. I am a major history buff and I love it even more when I can experience it hands on. Going to a graveyard and having the opportunity to walk from tombstone to tombstone and see the dates, inscriptions, and pictures really paints a vivid historical picture in my head. When I went to Boston last month, I got to view grave stones that were 300+ years old! The language and symbols depicted on the monuments were completely different than today and it was just pretty cool. Getting to reach out and touch something over three centuries old seemed to teleport me back to the revolutionary years in our country. But even modern cemeteries have this historical element. I like nothing more than to visit a cemetery and find a tombstone of someone who was born in 1898 and died in 2001. Just looking at “1898-2001” seems almost surreal like. Thinking about everything that person lived through in three different centuries always gets my head spinning.

A very old tombstone in a Boston cemetery.

A very old tombstone in a Boston cemetery.

This is probably my “weird” reason for liking cemeteries so much but I can’t get over the somewhat overwhelming feeling of walking above the ground where thousands of people have been laid to rest. Don’t you see where I am coming from with my “overwhelming feeling” talk? To think that I get to trot six feet above where people are resting in their coffins rattles my mind a little bit. I can’t help but think what it would look like if my eyes could see through the grass and dirt as I scanned the whole grounds. Thousands of different caskets of different colors, different designs, different eras, and different shapes all lined up in close quarters. Then to think about the remains of the people in those coffins combined with what clothes they were buried in and what jewelry/rings/pictures/trinkets they took with them always makes me just really reflect on that particular earth that I am walking on. When I think about everything that lies underneath my feet when I stroll through a cemetery I never need a reminder to be on my best behavior.

Thirdly, I like graveyards because they are just so peaceful and reflective. They are sad too, but I think that adds to the reflective part. I can go to a cemetery and my thoughts are just so much clearer and I become so much more connected to everything around me. I definitely feel the energy of the dead underneath my feet and it just really helps me to appreciate life and to not take it for granted. I will never forget the feeling that engulfed my whole body when I set foot at Arlington National Cemetery. I was definitely not prepared for the multitude of white tombstones and solemn people walking around. When I finally gathered myself, I just felt so lucky and so spoiled that I never wanted to waste another second of my life again.

Despite never feeling shy to visit a random cemetery for my own historical and reflective purposes, I also like to visit the ones where I have loved ones buried. To have a location to visit the deceased who loved us so much is a great blessing, one that I will definitely take time to think about this Memorial Weekend. Don’t Blink.

National Chains That Missoula Needs

Yesterday it became known that the old and undesirable K-Mart building all the way down Brooks Street would be bulldozed down and up from the ashes would rise a Kohl’s and a Cabela’s. I think most of Missoula is thrilled about this. To get two major national stores right next to each other is great news. Especially to get a store like Cabela’s in the Missoula market has to make this community very happy, in fact I can hear the cash rolling in right now. For me personally, I am pretty pleased about the Kohl’s announcement. I have bought cheap but decent looking work clothes from them for years.

With these two businesses setting up shop in Missoula I really think it helps close the void just a little in terms of retail services that our city lacks. With that said, I certainly think Missoula could use a few other national chains to come in and bridge some gaps.

In this blog post I want to introduce 5 national chains that I would like to see come into the Missoula market. These choices are a reflection of places that I personally like (cause I am selfish like that) AND places that I think would be successful in Missoula. Let’s face it, it is not like any national retailer can just open its doors in the Garden City and expect to make bank. Krispy Kreme floundered here. Golden Corral couldn’t make it. Even Macy’s had to close its doors. Not every business will work. So here is my list and to end all suspense, NO, Olive Garden is not on it.

Panda Express: I wanted to include a fast food restaurant on the list and along with Panda Express I also tossed around Sonic and Jack and the Box. However, I decided to go the way I went because first and foremost, if someone gave me a choice to get dinner at one of those three restaurants, I would almost always choose Panda. Missoula has enough burger places, this city needs a little bit of diversity.

Growing up in Spokane, there was a Panda Express right next to my house. I salivated when I thought of the orange chicken. Besides their signature item though, they have a solid menu with traditional and tasty Asian selections. Prices are very low and if you even just get a 1-item plate (which comes with fried rice or chow mein) you will get full. Because there is nothing like it in Missoula, it would do well.

Nordstrom Rack: Missoula has an American Eagle and will soon have a Kohl’s so I am pretty much set but having a Nordstrom Rack would be nice too. I don’t fool around with high end department stores but I do change my tune when high end department stores send their clothing to their little brother for much lower prices.

Nordstrom Rack offers some great clothing items for both men and women and although still a little pricey, I like buying a few shirts from them every now and then. The selection is stellar and they even have offshoot items such as colognes, sunglasses, and shoes. A Nordstrom would not do well in Missoula, a Nordstrom Rack would.

7-Eleven: I think Missoula has it covered when it comes to quality gas stations but I think a couple 7-Eleven convenience stores around town would be a great addition. I think our city would just benefit from the culture that a 7-Eleven would bring, considering I don’t think there is one location in the entire state.

I just feel like everyone should have the option to walk inside a 7-Eleven on a hot summer day and see 12 different slurpee dispensers filled with crazy flavors ready to give relief on a sweltering afternoon. And even though I hate soda and what 7-Eleven offers is extremely unhealthy, I think we all should get to go inside and find someone with a Big Gulp and utter that famous “Dumb and Dumber” line.

Fred Meyer: I would love it if one day if I got a tweet that said “Fred Meyer Opening in Missoula.” Fred Meyer stores are nice, convenient, and organized. Imagine Wal-Mart and then elevate it two big steps and you have FM. Sure prices are a little higher but the products they offer and the shopping experience afforded is worth it.

Fred Meyer is a grocery store, electronic store, appliance store, furniture store, gardening outlet, etc. all combined in one. If there was one in Missoula, I would definitely furnish my apartment with their furniture. Affordable and classy, they offer some great selections. I would also visit their deli frequently, buy my groceries there, and shop for all my gifts inside the store. I think it would be very competitive in Missoula.

Chuck E. Cheese’s: Although these days I could not step foot in one for a couple seconds before I went absolutely bonkers, I say Missoula most definitely needs a Chuck E. Cheese’s. I mean honestly, how can there not be a place in this city where “a kid can be a kid”? For Missoula not have a location for the most popular children’s fun center in the nation is a little surprising to me.

I will say this…Missoula is a very healthy and fit city and I can definitely see that parents would want their kids engaging in more active entertainment options than an arcade/pizza place. However, in my opinion every single kid deserves to visit Chuck E. Cheese’s a few times a year. If you think about it, there is not a single place in town where kids can dive into a ball crawl or listen to oversized animal creatures play music. Missoula needs a Chuck E. Cheese’s and I guarantee it would be a hit.


Best of luck to Kohl’s and Cabela’s! I think they will make a great impact in the Missoula market. If you have any suggestions on what retailers you think would make a great addition in Missoula please let me know. You know I love interaction with my readers. Don’t Blink.

Do I Spend Too Much TIme on Social Media?

At work today while I simultaneously shot a Vine video of our equipment room, posted a photo on Facebook of our stadium in graduation set up mode, Instagramed an image of a yummy Griz cake, and tweeted out a press release it dawned on me that I can’t escape social media. Definitely not at work, and not in my personal life either….not that I am complaining.

I take care of social media duties at Grizzly Athletics. I oversee 11 different Facebook accounts, 11 different Twitter accounts, an Instagram account, a Vine account, a YouTube account, and very soon a Pinterest account that we are currently developing. I could spend twelve hours each day non-stop just working on this end of job. But I can’t because of the other part I am in charge of that includes: running a website, promoting other forms of digital marketing, overseeing a mascot program, contributing to various special projects, and of course working at pretty much every Griz event there is.

While not at work I become fully engrossed in my personal forms of social media. While I don’t Pin or YouTube, I do spend a considerable amount of time blogging, Tweeting, Facebooking, Instagramming, Vining, Snapping, and doing whatever social app is popular at the moment. I am constantly charging my phone because the battery dies so quickly as the result of my constant usage. A full battery will usually last me from the morning until about 2 p.m.

Do I spend too much time on social media? Just read right below and I answer that question.

Do I spend too much time on social media? Just read right below and I answer that question.

Do I spend too much time on social media? I sure do! This is something that I am well aware of, just on some certain days (like today) it becomes even clearer. Do I regret spending too much time on it? Hmmmmmmmm. I would say that 90% of the time I don’t while 10% of the time I do.

The 10% kicks in when I get burnt out. Or it kicks in when I see people acting stupid on it or when I see spam accounts running rampant and ruining the content of others. I also regret it when I realize that at that certain moment social media is taking me away from enjoying a beautiful day outside, a great game coming down to the final seconds on television, or a face-to-face conversation with someone I love. Those are definitely reality checks.

But the majority of the time I honestly don’t regret it. Social media has opened a lot of doors for me and connected me with so many people. It is a huge reason why I am getting paid right now. I have learned so much and contributed so much by way of SM. I also take solace in the fact that social media is simply the communication tool of our time. One hundred years from now there will be far more advanced forms of communication and I guarantee you that people will remark, “Remember back in the old days when I could simply just send someone a Facebook Message or an eight second snap picture? Today everything is just so complicated.” I don’t let people who believe that social media is corrupting communication to guilt trip me. Everything is relative and people will always have a skewed sense of the past.

So while 9 out of 10 times I don’t think twice about my excessive use of social media I want to get to the point where 10 out of 10 times I never let it bother me. I think I am on the right track because at least I recognize the rare times I do feel like social media gets in the way. I just need to take to heart that I don’t need to document every single moment via some social channel and instead just experience it through my soul…no smart device needed. I am a few minor adjustments away from feeling totally content with one of my passions and when I make them, it will be a great thing. Don’t Blink.

Great Talk From Mike Montgomery

Tonight I attended the Missoula Sports Awards Banquet. Each year the area sporting community gets together and honors both high school athletes and coaches/administrators/volunteers in the Missoula athletic landscape. As is custom, the banquet always features a guest speaker who is well known both nationally and locally for his athletic pursuits.

This year the guest speaker was Mike Montgomery, the current head basketball coach at California. Besides winning tons of games right now for the Golden Bears, he has also held high profile head coaching jobs at Stanford and in the NBA for the Golden State Warriors. With such prominent jobs and massive success on his resume, many people might not know that he got his first head coaching job right here in Missoula coaching the Montana Grizzlies. Obviously, Mike fit the “national and local” criteria perfectly for serving as the guest speaker at the event.

This evening Coach Montgomery’s speech was entertaining, informative, candid, and humorous. As someone who very easily can zone in and out of long winded talks at the podium, I hung onto every word he spoke. The rich content of his speech combined with the confident and clear way he presented it had everyone devoting their undivided attention to him. For this post I just want to briefly go over the main items Montgomery touched on in hopes that I convey to all of you some of the interesting things he had to say tonight.

Mike Montgomery on Wednesday night speaking to the crowd at the Doubletree Hotel.

Mike Montgomery on Wednesday night speaking to the crowd at the Doubletree Hotel.

John Wooden: John Wooden is the undisputed king of all basketball coaches. To this day, coaches and players alike worship the ground he walked on and canonize him every chance they get. Coach Montgomery is no different. He started off his speech by saying how much Wooden meant to him and disclosed that he got to spend a fair amount of time with him during the twilight days of his life. “Monte” then shared the following quote from Wooden: “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”

Time at Montana: Mike Montgomery then talked about his days at Montana. He came to Missoula from Boise State to serve as an assistant coach. Jud Heathcote had just left the school and his longtime assistant, Jim Brandenburg, was elevated to head coach. Monte was the only assistant on the staff and when Brandenburg had health problems for most of the season, Montgomery was left running the team at just the age of 28. He got the head coaching job the following season but one of the stipulations was that he would serve as the Director of Basketball, mainly meaning that he had to hire the new women’s basketball coach.

Mike hired Robin Selvig, the most recognizable and successful man in the history of Grizzly Athletics. I never knew that Montgomery was behind Selvig’s hiring until tonight. At the banquet, Robin served as the Master of Ceremonies so there were many opportunities for the two to joke back and forth with each other. They had the room roaring in laughter as each man poked fun at the other’s expense. But towards the end of Montgomery’s speech, he specifically singled out Robin and called him one of the greatest men he knew.

Montgomery met his wife during his time in Missoula….while she was still a student at the University of Montana!! He said he didn’t think that would be allowed today. He talked about practicing in McGill Hall, working through one year contracts, and coaching some amazingly talented players. He also stressed how much FUN he had in Missoula, a couple times saying he probably had too much fun.

Picking a time to leave: Coach Montgomery talked about his philosophy on when to move on in the coaching world. He said that a coach should stay no more than 7-10 years at a school. He stated that after that time expires, there are just too many intangibles that can lead to your firing. Injuries, a bad season, changes in administration, unfortunate incidents, and other factors can all catch up to a coach. Monte said that it is always best to leave on your own power and then go someplace else where you can give yourself another 7-10 years.

He brought this point up to explain why he left Stanford. Although he came off of a wonderful 2004 season with the Cardinal, he felt he needed a change. He made mention that a new person came into the administration who wanted to implement even stricter admission standards than Stanford already had, thus making it very difficult for him to sign the players that he wanted to. He said he wanted a new challenge as well. So when Chris Mullin from the Golden State Warriors called with an attractive offer, Montgomery took it.

The NBA: Montgomery said that the NBA is full of entitled players. Although profitable, he said he didn’t make the best decision by entering the league. He said in college the coach is at the top of the totem pole and the players are underneath him but in the NBA that totem pole is switched around and the players are on top and the coach is at the bottom. He called the NBA a “player’s league.”

He said that most NBA coaches will never look at players when they come to the sideline after they are subbed out for fear of a tongue lashing or a nasty stare from that particular player. Montgomery said that Rick Carlisle would make a move to the center of the court and look away when he subbed someone out solely so the player could not “MF” him when going to the bench. He said that when players don’t feel like practicing they just won’t practice.

Baron Davis: During the end of Montgomery’s first season at Golden State, the team traded for Davis. Right away, Mike knew his days were probably numbered. He stated that while he coached at Stanford and Davis played at UCLA there was some friction that existed between the two men. When Baron got to Golden State, Montgomery could not bridge that friction.

Despite centering his whole offense around Davis and finishing the 2004-05 season strong, Montgomery never got the respect he needed from his player. Baron Davis decided to sit out the last 30 games of the 2005-06 season due to a sprained ankle. Mike was quick to point out that when he coached at Montana, our legendary trainer Naseby Rhinehart could have a player who suffered a sprained ankle back in playing mode two days later.

The most outrageous story came during the beginning of summer in 2006. Montgomery approached Baron and asked if the two could sit down and hash out differences. Baron told him that “his guy” would get back to him. The next day “his guy” approached Montgomery and told him that Davis was all booked up for the summer and would not be able to meet. Nope, Davis could not even devote ten minutes of his time during the whole summer to talk to his coach. Montgomery was fired in late August.

Future of College Athletics: Monte did not sound too optimistic about the future of the NCAA. He simply said that major institutions are driven solely by money. He said there is an imbalance of goals between the people running the NCAA and its committees (intellectuals focused on academics from smaller institutions) in relation to the large, influential major universities. The people focused on academics from the smaller universities simply don’t understand the millions and millions of dollars available to these large schools. Montgomery foresees the growth of power conferences with many more schools joining the major football conferences already in existence.

He also blasted the one and done rule in college basketball. He referred to it as a “sham” multiple times. He says many of the top players go to college for no reason other than to get eligible for the NBA draft. He says these players barely stay afloat during the first semester so they are eligible and then completely check out during the second semester, giving up on anything school related. He said he favors the role implemented currently in college baseball where you can declare for the draft out of high school but if you go to college you owe that institution three years.

On Montana’s Loss to Syracuse: After giving some good-natured ribbing about the lopsided loss to Coach Tinkle who was in attendance, Montgomery got a little more serious. He said that Syracuse had one of the best defenses he had ever seen. He said that throughout the whole tournament he thought that the opposing team Syracuse was playing might have a chance only to see that chance completely extinguished once the game tipped off and the team’s offense was completely shut down.

Ending Message: Mike Montgomery concluded his speech by asking everyone in attendance to be thankful for the opportunity to live in Missoula. He called his time in this city ten of the best years of his life. He apologized for not knowing exactly what to talk about during his address. After paying tribute to Coach Selvig he ended his speech the same way he started it, with a quote from John Wooden: “You can’t live a perfect day until you do something for someone who will never be able to repay you.”

Don’t Blink.

After Montgomery's speech he shook hands with Robin Selvig.

After Montgomery’s speech he shook hands with Robin Selvig.

Don’t Blink’s Second Year Anniversary

Two years ago today I sat down and wrote my first ever entry for Don’t Blink. As I look back on that initial entry I shake my head at my stupidity for titling it the way I did. I am sure many people looked at it and thought I was writing about something other than just the introductory post to my new blog. Well, you live and you learn.

Over the past two years I have definitely lived and learned quite a bit, both through authoring a blog and through life in general. The best part is that this two year period is all documented through more posts in my blog than I ever thought I would compose. If you took the time to read my initial awkwardly written post, you will see that all along this was my number one goal. I started a blog because I wanted an electronic record that chronicled my life’s adventures as well as my thoughts and opinions. Mission accomplished (thus far). After 24 months, I think of myself as a pretty dedicated blogger.

Thanks to all for supporting my blog over the past two years.

Thanks to all for supporting my blog over the past two years.

Today’s entry marks my 313th post for Don’t Blink. When I started this project back in May of 2011 I didn’t know if I even had 50 things to write about let alone over 300. But as I started to get in a groove, ideas just kept coming and new experiences continued to find me. Throw in all the trips I went on, new restaurants I tried, unique social media mediums I played with, inspiring people I came across, random situations I got myself into, and social norms that I felt compelled to comment on and you can definitely see that I have been very blessed with plenty of blogging content.

But a good blog doesn’t just depend on good content. The quality of writing and the presentation of the site are two crucial factors that will determine whether readers will give your blog the time of day. I try to improve my writing each night I compose a new draft. I am definitely not the best writer (what do you think I am, an English major?) and I like to think I am not the worst either (I have seen some scary things before). I consider myself an average writer with some skills but with a lot to improve on. My pledge to my readers is to get better over the next two years. A year ago I switched from an elementary looking blogger page to my current website. Over the past two years, this change has no question been the most important development in my blogging career. The credibility, readers, statistical tools, and search engine optimization that I have gained from this move will always have me wondering why I didn’t do it from day one.

Enough though about my reflections on the boring things regarding Don’t Blink over the past two years. How about I sum up the last two years using a couple of lists? Everyone loves lists! I first will present my top five most viewed posts over the past two years. I will then provide my top five favorite posts that I have written the past two years. Here we go!


1. Instagram Spam (April 9, 2013): Even though I just wrote this a little over a month ago, I still get at least 70-80 views on it a day. It just goes to show the obsession that people have with social media along with the negative role that spam plays in it.

2. The Feud: Colin Cowherd vs. Dan Patrick (May 8, 2012): Until “Instagram Spam” overtook it, this was by far my most popular post. The sports talk radio industry has a very large and loyal fan base, and many of these people are tied to the internet and blogs. I get comments sent to me from radio junkies referencing this post all the time.

3. Thanks, Jim (April 4, 2012): A few days after our athletic director Jim O’Day was let go I wrote down my thoughts about what he did during his time at Grizzly Athletics. The first full day the post was up it received over 1,500 views. It garnered around the same amount of views the next day as well. Even though the post was entirely for Jim, it picked me up numerous readers who still view my stuff today.

4. #HashTags (February 16, 2012): I wrote this as a tutorial to everyone who felt confused about hash tags and I couldn’t be more pleased that the internet community continues to read it every single day. I did my best to explain hash tags during a time when people did not have the grasp that they have on them now.

5. Serving the Youth (October 29, 2012): One October night, Christie and myself turned the championship game of a youth football league into a Grizzly Game Day production. I wrote about the experience and parents of the kids shared my post like wild fire, resulting in the fifth most viewed post of all-time for Don’t Blink.



1. The $25,000 Man (October 19, 2011): Undoubtedly my all-time favorite post, I got such a kick out of telling the story about the time my brother hit it big and the shenanigans that followed.

2. Naturally Dark (September 3, 2011): I think this might be one of my favorite posts just because of the absurdity that made me write this in the first place. I have a few very outspoken people who challenge me on why I turn so dark during the summer so I felt that I had to write it all down for them.

3. Posting Food Pictures on Social Media (June 11, 2012): What a hot topic this is! I love debating with people when it is okay to post food pictures and when it is not and that conversation grew even more after I wrote this. I literally laughed out loud while composing this one.

4. Treat Your Waiter Right (June 5, 2012): Man, I was on during June of 2012!! I honestly judge people by the way they treat their restaurant server. I have a great respect for the people who wait on us and serve us our food so I tried to defend them as much as possible in this particular post. I think it is in my top five just because I believe in what I say so much.

5. An Amazing Day in Grizzly Athletics (March 19, 2013): On March 16, 2013, Grizzly Athletics experienced a day for the ages and I was right in the middle of it. In this post I talked about what it was like to work a day in which we sent both our women’s and men’s basketball teams to the NCAA Tournament on our home court. It will forever be one of my favorite memories and only natural that it is one of my favorite posts as well.


THANK YOU TO ALL MY READERS! It has been a great two years and I can’t thank you enough for all the support you have given me regarding this blog. I look forward to continuing to take you inside my head on all subjects and experiences. You are the best. Don’t Blink.


Move over Snap Chat, there is a new darling of the social media world. Although not completely entrenched in mainstream use yet, in a couple months I think this little app will be on the iPhones of everyone who happens to own one. I give you Vine.

Vine is a video sharing application for the iPhone that takes six second videos. Yes, a very basic premise and I am sure many of you can rattle off a couple other video sharing apps that do similar things. I used cinemagram for a long time, an app that at first glance might seem like Vine, but not really. Vine differentiates itself because you film your videos in a “start and stop” type of fashion. You have six seconds to film whatever you want but you can space those six seconds over two days or two years if you want.

You see, to start creating your video you push the screen once in the actual app. It will then start filming. You let one second go by and then you hit the screen again and it stops it. You then press the screen again to resume filming…and then stop…and then start again. Of course you don’t have to start and stop over and over, by all means you can let the video run for the whole six seconds and post as is. But Vine is so cool because you can tell a story in six seconds.


This was my first ever Vine video.

This was my first ever Vine video.


Let me just give a couple examples. Let’s say you were cooking homemade pizza. You could take a half second shot of each step in the process of making that pizza. You can create a video that starts with a countertop full of ingredients that goes to a plain crust that goes to a crust with sauce that goes to a crust with sauce and cheese that goes to a crust with sauce and cheese in an oven that goes to a perfectly baked pizza at the end….all in six seconds. Or today I made the early morning drive from Spokane to Missoula. During the drive I shot different parts of the trip, culminating in a six second video that took me from Spokane to the Montana border.

However, not all of your Vine videos have to be so cut and dry and make perfect chronological sense like the two examples I just provided. The best Vine videos are the ones that incorporate random shots, utilize the actual iPhone user himself/herself, and bring an element of humor to the action. But let me not get too ahead of myself, let me explain the app a little more.

When you post a video it will go to a home feed type thing just like any other social media service. You scroll down and you view all the other videos that people you follow have uploaded. Videos are stacked vertically on top of each other with only one video fitting into the screen of the iPhone at a time. Whatever video you have situated in your iPhone screen will play. Complete with full sound, the video will start and finish…and then start again! Videos on Vine loop endlessly and that is a good thing because it takes a few views to capture everything that is jam packed into a six second video. Like other social services, hash tags play a large role. You can search any topic that strikes your fancy and watch endless six second videos that others have created on that said subject. Just another way to pass time on your iPhone.

Glimpse from the Vine video I did on my travels from Spokane to Missoula.

Glimpse from the Vine video I did on my travels from Spokane to Missoula.

As I briefly mentioned, Vine comes with sound. This allows you to narrate your videos. With so many different shots you can produce, you can do some really fun things with narration to make yourself sound pretty cool. If you wanted, you could do a Vine video with 12 different shots and say one word for each of those 12 shots. The end result is a pretty trippy sounding video.

Vine will skyrocket in the social media world because it allows users to be creative. The amount of room that is available for people to experiment and let their artsy juices flow is on the same level as Instagram…perhaps even vaster. The limits are just endless on what all you can do. I know there are many talented and creative people out there that don’t even know that Vine exists but when they do, they will create some amazing content.

While there are many talented and creative people out there who don’t know about Vine’s existence there are also many people in general out there who don’t know about Vine’s existence. Probably about 5-7% of my social media friends (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc) are on Vine. Of that 5-7%, only about half are active on it. I used to be in that half that had an account set up but didn’t touch it but I recently came to grips with the power and intrigue of it. I now post regularly. Just today I created a Vine account for our athletic department. Hear me now, this app will soon explode.

A couple drawbacks with Vine: First off, it is only available to iPhone users so it definitely excludes a large population of people. Secondly, you can only take shots from Vine’s video player. Thus you can’t import footage that you took with the standard iPhone video feature. But this app is so young and promising!! The future is bright and improvements will be made. I recommend that if you have an iPhone you should definitely jump on the bandwagon, download the app, and start Vining! Don’t Blink.

Spot On Navigation

The proliferation of smart phones has delivered to us so many conveniences in relation to everyday life. Easy photo editing, quick weather checks, sports scores, social media, music carrier, and so much more. However, I think there is something else on my iPhone that I value more than all of these things.

I consider the navigation feature on my phone a lifesaver. For me, there is never such a thing as being lost anymore. You just type in an address, and your phone gives you crystal clear directions to your destination.

Everyone my age and older can remember a time when electronic navigation did not exist. You had to rely on directions from someone else or look at something called a map. But getting directions from someone else always posed the possibility of problems. The person could accidentally tell you a single wrong direction (such as a left instead of a right) and you would be screwed. Or when you were jotting down your friend’s directions, you could make a simple error yourself. For many people, following a map proved troublesome too…especially when one couldn’t even get passed holding it the right way and folding it back up. Yep, who knew how pizza delivery people survived fifteen years ago.

Me out on the open road. I love having dependable navigation.

Me out on the open road. I love having dependable navigation.

Then came Mapquest. You could go online, type in the destination’s address, and just like that you would have clearly spelled out directions along with a map. In my high school and early college days I used Mapquest a lot. Sure my car looked a little cluttered with all the white pieces of computer paper I printed out with directions on them but it was efficient and most of all, accurate. But referencing the printed out instructions while driving, especially during the dark, was not always the easiest. Plus, if Mapquest didn’t take into account a closed road or a construction site and you ran into it, you had no way to troubleshoot the problem.

Everything improved with the debut of GPS vehicle aides. Buy one and stick it on your dash and you were good to go. Finally, step by step visual and audio directions that took you exactly where you needed to go. But the one Achilles heel with GPS is that it was just another added accessory, something else that we had to spend money on. It also took up space in the car and looked nerdy if you wanted to take a girl out and she saw that you had to rely on a machine to get you where you needed to go.

But as the iPhone has done to stop watches, voice recorders, iPods, alarm clocks, newspapers, cameras, notepads, and board games it also did to GPS. No longer do we need to buy a GPS or rent one out along with our rental car. Instead, we have the best navigation possible on our smart phones.

The navigation I have on my iPhone 5 is superb. I have never had one problem at all using it. If I am going to a new location for the first time ever, I don’t sweat it at all. Way in advance before I leave, I just type the address in and see how long the estimated travel time is and I leave according to that. No stressing on getting lost, no worrying about a potential wrong turn.

The beauty about the iPhone navigation is I could go out in my car and purposely take 47 wrong turns but my phone would still recalculate to put me on a route that would get me to my destination. That is why I never have to worry about a closed road or some freak accident impending my progress. You see, if I can’t confuse the navigation by deliberately doing all I can to sabotage the route, a simple road block or two won’t either. The visual and audio components are great. I like to follow along with both but if I was sketched out about getting pulled over for using my mobile device I would have no problem putting my phone in my cup holder and just listening to the audio directions.

This past autumn when I was doing football travel, my phone navigation was a godsend. It used to be if I traveled to a city that I had never set foot in, getting around would be a little confusing and stressful. Not with my iPhone. I never felt intimated driving on roads I had never seen in my life because the navigation I had at my disposal was just so spot on and trustworthy. When I travel for leisure and am doing a lot of walking, I utilize the mode on the navigation that gives you directions by foot. Even though I am a pro when it comes to Las Vegas, I still use the walking navigation mode to get me to certain places.

I guess the only negative about the navigation feature on new mobile devices is the robotic voice that you are forced to listen to. After a while, it definitely gets old. But hey, small price to pay for the security and accuracy afforded by these devices, huh? Don’t Blink.

A Boston Dream Sports Weekend

Many people aren’t fortunate enough to see an MLB game, NBA game, and NHL game in their lifetime, let alone see all three in one weekend. A little over a week ago I had that opportunity to experience such a rare “trifecta” and you bet I made sure to take full advantage of it.

The whole basis of the trip that Mike and I took to Boston was to watch the Red Sox play a couple games. We purchased game tickets months in advance, securing seats for night games on Friday and Saturday. I was perfectly content with this, considering it an already pretty solid sports weekend. But as April approached and the NBA playoff race started to situate itself, it became very apparent that the Celtics would have a good chance of making it. Well, the Celtics took care of business and as luck would have it, when the NBA released the playoff schedule, the Celtics were hosting the Knicks in the TD Garden while we were in town. Even better, they would host a game that would not conflict with our prior obligations. A week before heading to Boston, we bought $80 tickets off of Stub Hub for Game 4 of the opening round of the NBA Playoffs.

I had quite the sports dream weekend.

I had quite the sports dream weekend.

The Boston Bruins game was a little more spontaneous. Mike and I actually purchased them an hour before the puck dropped that Sunday night. On fire from the NBA game earlier and wanting another dose of adrenaline inside TD Garden we once again looked to Stub Hub and once again purchased $80 tickets. In what was a delayed regular season finale because of the Boston Marathon tragedy, we saw the Bruins take on the Ottawa Senators.

For this blog post, I want to briefly share with you my experience as a fan at the three different professional sports contests I went to.



Judging from what I had heard from so many about Fenway Park, I was thinking that the stadium was going to be half falling apart when I walked in. From what got to my ears, it sounded like the stadium was really showing its age and that its best days were in the rearview mirror. However, I didn’t think that at all when I first walked in the park. In fact, I found much more beauty to it than wear and tear. The stadium was pretty much exactly how I envisioned it, no real surprises from the millions of times I watched games on TV.

Fenway Park is looking nicer than ever.

Fenway Park is looking nicer than ever.

The first night we sat in the upper deck down the left field line. However, the upper deck in Boston is not as far away from the field as other upper decks in the MLB. They were great seats. But if Friday night’s seats were great, then Saturday night’s seats were spectacular. Sitting in the lower level right off of first base, it was a gorgeous view to watch a baseball game. I guess one way that the stadium does show its age is in the seats themselves. Definitely not a lot of room. But it didn’t matter because we were in such a sacred place watching one of the best games on the planet.

The second night at Fenway Park we had amazing seats.

The second night at Fenway Park we had amazing seats.

The game production is pretty good. They don’t do too much in-between innings (except for “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” in the seventh and “Sweet Caroline” in the eighth) but what they do an excellent job of is running their video board. Out in center field they have a giant electronic video board. To the left is an additional short but very long board as well. The center field scoreboard is crystal clear, it really is so refreshing to look at. Anyway, whoever produces the game does a great job of putting up the best shots available in the stadium and getting everyone involved.

Quick Bits: Boston beat Houston in both games. When I was there they had BOGO Fenway Franks . They also had small cups of beer for $5. Must check out Yawkey Way before the game. Quite a few seats in Fenway have obstructed views. Bullpens are back to back in right field. Various people involved in Boston Marathon rescue efforts were honored during the game.


I had an absolute blast during the Celtics-Knicks playoff game. I had not attended an NBA game since the Sonics were in Seattle so I didn’t know entirely what to expect. But from the time I got my free Celtics t-shirt right when we walked in all the way to the end of the game, my expectations were definitely exceeded. Pregame is like a rock concert. They have loud, remixed music combined with a great light show complete with dancers and cheerleaders while video elements play. It got me pumped up! They had a great entrance video that chronicled the rich Boston basketball history that built up to the present. The national anthem was spectacular and starting lineups were fun.

They put on quite the show at Celtics' games.

They put on quite the show at Celtics’ games.

The game itself was a lot of fun too. It was just cool to see players like Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Carmelo Anthony running around on the court. Even during timeouts there was lots of entertainment on the floor such as a break dance team composed of boys and girls who were probably 7-10 years old. We sat up in the upper level off to the side of one of the baskets but they were still decent seats. It was at this game though where we had the biggest blowhard of the whole trip sitting behind us. The whole game from this guy it was a constant “F— that, F— this,” “You kiddin’ me?!,” “Come on now!!” He went as far as to flip off Knicks fans and routinely called out players on the team he was rooting for. I think the only reason why I tolerated him was because he had an awesome Boston accent.

I had a great time cheering on the Celtics to a playoff victory.

I had a great time cheering on the Celtics to a playoff victory.

You wouldn’t know that the Celtics were down 3-0 in the series. The fans were passionate and loud the whole game. I walked the concourse of the arena and saw so many people on fire for the Celtics. I also saw tons of attractive women in basketball jerseys, several yelling matches between Celtics and Knicks fans, and bathroom lines longer than any others I have ever seen before.

Quick Bits: Boston defeated the New York Knicks in overtime. Carlos Arredondo, the guy who assisted bombing victims immediately after the blast, was in attendance. The cheer squad had both female and male members on it. The Celtics run several video elements featuring their star players urging fans to get loud. The media section is large and everyone in it is constantly on their cell phones. Beer prices were expensive although I got a cool light up souvenir glass. Security had me empty my pockets upon entry into the arena.


Besides going to an NHL preseason game, the Boston Bruins vs. Ottawa Senators game was my first real NHL experience. It did not disappoint. Walking back into the TD Garden for the second time that day it was a complete transformation. When I left in the late afternoon it was an arena with a hardwood floor and a mix of all different colors filling in the stands. When I returned that evening, the floor had turned into an ice rink and a sea of black and gold covered the seating area. Everyone in the arena wore Bruins gear to the game, it was really cool to see.

Bruins fans are pretty rabid in the TD Garden

Bruins fans are pretty rabid in the TD Garden

As it was the regular season finale, they honored a bunch of old-timers as well as current players who had won season awards. Also, in honor of fan appreciation, they gave out several prizes throughout the game to whole sections of people, many of which were in the upper level. I guess I was just in awe that the whole arena was packed despite it being a Sunday night and despite the fact that the game had been rescheduled. It did not take me long to realize how much Boston loves hockey.

Decked out in my Bruins gear for NHL action.

Decked out in my Bruins gear for NHL action.

We sat up in the third level in the second to last row. But again, it didn’t matter, I was just there to enjoy the experience and take in all I could. We were pretty much surrounded by women. I had no idea that hockey had such a strong female following. We got to see a couple pretty good fights on the ice and the game was pretty close the whole way. It was loud in the TD Garden that night but I think it was louder at the NBA game. Just like at Fenway Park and just like earlier in the day, the video board production was great. There was never a dull moment and I always had a smile on my face.

Quick Bits: Ottawa defeated the Bruins. Before that result, the home team had won every game we saw that trip. Bruins have “ice girls”, the hockey version of cheerleaders. Music was much more hard/rock centered than music at the NBA or MLB games. As with the previous games we watched, they honored Boston Marathon heroes at the game.


I had a great time at every game I went to while in Boston. What I will remember the most were the passionate fans with thick accents, awesome video board engagement, and the strong sense of history and reverence that was evident at every game. I am so glad that we made the extra effort to take full advantage of the sports scene while in Boston and I know for a fact that I will be able to tell my kids about the time I saw MLB, NBA, and NHL action live in person over the course of a single weekend. The stories are always the best souvenirs. Don’t Blink.