Random Notes From a Hungry Guy

It is one of those nights where it is late, I am hungry, and I am tired. But it is also one of those nights where I feel guilty if I don’t sit down and write a blog post for my readers. With that said, I want to offer up one of my “slacker” brief posts that hit on a few random topics. The sooner I finish this the sooner I can eat, let’s go!!

You ready for four random thoughts?! Here we go..

You ready for four random thoughts?! Here we go..

Miley Cyrus’ VMAs Performance: I am a Miley Cyrus fan but even I have to say that her performance last night was a little too out there for me. To be honest though, it wasn’t the twerking, the raunchy singing, or the weird bears that did me in. I felt the most ill by watching some of her facial expressions. They made my stomach turn a little bit and had me questioning my fandom for her. I wonder what my mom will tell me about that performance. My mother disliked Miley even when she was just sweet and precious Hannah Montana so I am a little curious to hear what she has to say. Whatever it is though, it can’t be worse than some of the stuff I read on Twitter and saw on Facebook about ol’ crazy Miley.

School Starting at UM: Classes started back up again today at the college campus that I work at and let me tell you, the presence was felt. All the reminders seemed to be a little more intense this go-around. Traffic before 8 a.m. was backed up past the Madison Street Bridge and I noticed many more people walking by the Adams Center than usual (where we have our athletic offices housed at). But where the biggest onslaught of student humanity could be found was at the gym. Of course it happens at the start of every semester that the gym gets slammed for the first couple weeks but today was even much worse than usual. I walked into the rec center at 12:30 p.m. and it was a complete zoo with every machine occupied and pretty much every space taken up. Here’s hoping that many of these kids find other fun college things to do besides work out.

Lamar Odom Missing, Now Found: A report came out yesterday that Lamar Odom was missing and that he had been battling a drug problem. I really don’t think it is a joking matter when a person is uncounted for and at risk. So of course something that I didn’t find funny in the first place wouldn’t make me even crack the smallest of smiles when the jokes are so lame and obvious. I don’t know how many times I heard/saw the “how do you lose a 6-10 black man?”. Stupid, uncreative, and insensitive. If there is one thing that is seemingly impressive it is that Odom’s wife, Khloe Kardashian, posted a profanity laced tweet that over 7,760 people found worthy enough to retweet.

Thank goodness that Lamar Odom has been found.

Maroon Out: I hope to go into detail a little bit more about this huge week for Grizzly Athletics in a couple more days but I do want to plant this seed now: If you are going to the Montana-Appalachian State football game this Saturday, WEAR MAROON. We are going to make this the best and most successful maroon out ever and we need your help. The biggest regular season game in the history of Washington-Grizzly Stadium also deserves the biggest turnout of fans dressed in maroon. Don’t forget!

Hope Monday went well for everyone! Let’s make sure to always count our blessings that we are alive and that we live in such a blessed country. Talk to you soon! Don’t Blink.

Catching Up With Instagram Video

A little over two months ago, Instagram came out with “The Announcement” and introduced video to its photo sharing service. The announcement and subsequent rollout of the upgrade seemed to create a buzz and hysteria analogous to when American troops took out Osama bin Laden. However, although a very important moment in social media indeed, I tried to keep a cooler head. Before proclaiming Insta-Video the savior of the social world, I wanted to wait several weeks and see how people used it and the influence it had. I have a couple observations to make.

Personally, I think video on Instagram has underachieved. Bottom line, I don’t think people are using it that much and I definitely don’t think people are watching it that much.

I don’t think people are using Instagram video that much because it isn’t the easiest platform to use and it can be time consuming. Half the time I attempt to use Insta-Video I get an error message popping up saying I don’t have enough memory to record. The times when I am actually able to roll tape I find my thumb missing the red record button or I believe I am recording something when I am really not. The way the video screen charts how much time left you have to record is not visually appealing and seems a bit primitive. Also, it seems like a lot of effort has to go in to making a decent Instagram video. Now of course to be successful in social media you have to put effort in to all of your content but I think Instagram Video adds a little more labor than necessary. I know you don’t have to use all 15 seconds but when you have a certain amount of time available to you, the tendency is to use it.

While I can’t be 100% certain, I would bet my yearly salary that Insta-Videos receive much less attention, views, and likes than regular pictures. For many people, once they see the video icon in the top right hand corner of the image they scroll right by it. People don’t want to spend 15 seconds watching something. They just don’t have the time. Users want to look at a picture and get all their information right then. They don’t want to wait for the delay of the video to start, they don’t want to be startled by the loud volume of the audio once it finally does, and they don’t want to watch a shaky 15 second video with nine different takes. It doesn’t take a genius to spot the obvious. From looking at the videos that I post and that others post, I would say that videos only receive a third of the likes that a traditional picture does. Maybe it will take some time for video to really catch on but by no means has it transformed Instagram overnight.

I will give Instagram Video credit on a couple fronts. With the ability to film for 15 seconds, you can connect to your followers in a more intimate and expressive way. You can relate your opinions, thoughts, and moods by taking a quick video. I don’t think many people are utilizing it in this way just yet but I think that users who want to have a true impact with Insta-Video should do so. You can really create an interesting little vlog with Instagram now. If you can express yourself in an honest and unique way you could really pull in an audience.

Another way that Instagram has succeeded with its video rollout is that it has crippled Vine. No, it hasn’t completely destroyed it but it has dealt it a big blow. My friend activity on Vine has died down probably 75%. Of the 25% of the activity still taking place, more than half of it is through re-vines…lame. Instagram definitely wanted to accomplish two things: Create a top of the line video experience while knocking Vine off of its rapidly rising social media pedestal. To this point, it has only succeeded with one of those objectives.

I am going to continue to keep tracking the strides that Instagram Video will or will not make in the next couple months. Like I said, it might just take a little time for it to catch on. However, at this point, I have to say that Instagram Video has been a disappointment. Don’t Blink.

The Worst Fundraiser Ever

From time to time, I will be approached by kids at my door, at work, or at the store who are selling various items for fundraisers. I always say “yes” before they have to go through the same old spiel that they probably hate giving and are usually embarrassed to give. Well today I even said yes sooner than normal solely because I was once in the exact same position as the kid who was selling to me.

A few minutes before getting home today, I was approached by a young man trying to sell an item to raise funds for his team. As he started to talk to me I had one of those “some things never change” moments. He was selling the classic $20 coupon book. Well, actually it was a coupon card but it for the most part was the exact same thing I used to have to put under people’s noses. Man, how I hated doing that.

I played high school football at Mead High School in Spokane from 2002-2005. Every single year we had to sell coupon books for $20 a pop. I genuinely enjoyed doing our conditioning sessions out in the 90 degree temperatures more than soliciting people to purchase those coupon cards.

It started at the beginning of football season each year. Before one of our practices we would huddle into our school’s theater and this guy who looked less respectable than a used car salesman would get up in front of us and give some unmotivated, standard talk that he gave to probably 50 high school football teams before us. He would give us his best strategy to sell the books (it sucked), point out the best deals to highlight when talking to people, and then he would explain the incentive program which was the absolute biggest joke in the world. I will get to that incentive program later.

After he gave his slimy talk, our head coach would get up and tell us how important selling these coupon books were to the program. He would then set rather ambitious quotas for all of us to reach. He made it clear that everyone had to sell ten cards. Ten cards! Keep in mind, this was ten years ago. Back then $20 meant a whole lot more than what it does today. He really expected all 120+ kids in the whole football program to be able to con 10 people each out of $20 to buy a coupon book? I actually always made the quota because of a great family and a very generous street that I lived on but not everyone had the same resources. If we sold the ten cards, we were promptly given ten more cards and told to go out and sell those.

I hated pitching these cards to people. The whole “you can save up to $5,000 with this book” is a complete scam. No one would ever in a million years exhaust every single coupon on the book/card. If you did so you would be all of three things: 1. Broke. If you really used all the coupons it meant you spent a lot of money initially to get the extra savings. 2. Fat. You obviously ate out a lot. 3. A loser. Do you have anything more productive to do than use two hundred different coupons within a year?

The deals on the coupons aren’t even that good. In my experience, there would always be a few legit buy one get one free deals that were enticing but all the other ones were only good for $1 off or you had to buy two drinks and a side to get a free item. By the time I graduated in 2005 the coupon book was complete crap because all the decent deals that existed when I was a freshman and sophomore were now discontinued because people actually used those and the participating businesses no longer wanted to offer the discount.

The fundraiser would always end with a big “BLITZ” night. As a whole football program we would get together one night after practice, split into small teams, and overwhelm the north Spokane community with high school boys trying to scheme citizens out of $20. We worked hard for three hours trying to make money for our program while our coaches probably went to a bar and drank beer.

Probably the worst part of this whole thing was the timing. Going through two-a-day practices is exhausting. Trying to find time during that to go out and sell a product that you hate is a nightmare. Let’s see…would I rather lay on my couch and rest in between practices or would I want to hit the hot pavement and go door-to-door selling coupons? That right there just made me want to buy four of those cards from the kid I talked to today. Although of course my bank account would not appreciate it, the thought just briefly ran through my mind because I know how much it sucks.

Oh yes, let me hit on the incentive program we had real fast. We didn’t get cool prizes if we went above and beyond and sold a lot of tickets. We got, get this, coupon books as our reward! Yes, we were rewarded with the same product that I thought was garbage for all of our hard work. This is how the coupon contractor rationalized it: “It is a great deal! Take the extra coupon books that you earn and go back out in the community and sell them and keep the full profits for yourself!” BUSH.

The experience did teach us some redeeming values. It taught us how to sell, it taught us how to talk to people, and it taught us how to work hard and deal with rejection. I just wish we had a better product to give to people, such as something that I didn’t hate and something that didn’t make me feel like I was ripping someone off. I also wish the fundraiser didn’t take place during the most physically draining time of my athletic career. Oh well, I will never have to sell another stupid coupon book again. I just have to make sure to buy them. Don’t Blink.

Happy 32nd Anniversary, Mom and Dad

Today my parents celebrate their 32nd wedding anniversary. Besides it being a very long time, I know the number 32 does not hold much of a significance in terms of milestones but because I have this blog and because I have two amazing parents, I wanted to make sure to write just a little something to commemorate this special day.

My parents, Mary and Tom, both grew up in the small town of Walla Walla, Washington. My mom claims she had a crush on my dad in middle school. However, the crush fizzled as my mom went to the private high school in town and my dad went to the public high school. They also went their separate ways for college too. After they graduated they reconnected back in Walla Walla at a bar. It was there that my dad got my mom’s number and later called her. They started dating and fell in love. On a sweltering August day in triple digit temperatures inside a small catholic church with no air conditioning, my parents got married. That was 32 years ago today.

My mom and dad in their earlier years.

My mom and dad in their earlier years.

You won’t find a better marriage than what my mom and dad have. They love each other and support each other. Many marriages are defined by struggles and hardships that take a toll on the relationship. My parents have never had such tribulations. They simply have always been loyal, kind, and patient with each other. As I have grown up and observed other marriages fall apart, my admiration for what my parents have put together has just increased more and more.

My parents and I clowning around during Halloween.

When I get married, I want to go about it the same way as my parents. I want to have a relationship with my wife that is based on love and trust. I want to be able to talk to her in the morning, while at work, and in the evening. I want to be the absolute best parents humanely possible to my kids. I want to treat the friends and significant others of my kids like gold in the exact same way my parents have always done. I want to build that marriage and that family in a way that everyone else looks at and respects.

My parents have a happy, blessed marriage. In 32 years they have produced so many fruits from their relationship that you would probably need 500 different trees to hold them all. They are the ultimate example of what a healthy and prosperous marriage is and I can’t express how proud and lucky I am to be their son. Happy 32nd anniversary mom and dad, I love you both. Don’t Blink.

At The Gym My Thoughts Are My Music

Yesterday at the gym I finished a set, put the weights down, looked up, and inadvertently made eye contact with another person who was also working out. I didn’t mean to lock eyes with this guy but he was staring at me as I did my set so naturally when I looked up in his direction our eyes locked. I see this guy every single day as he is also a rec center regular and when I caught his gaze I knew he had something to say. Sure enough he walked right over to me and asked a question:

“Hey man, isn’t it bullshit that they don’t have music playing right now?”

The guy was right. Instead of the 70’s rock hits or the assortment of Pink, Adele, Barenaked Ladies, and Jewel they usually have playing, on this day the place was silent. Instead of responding to his question with a question of my own asking him why he just doesn’t use a personal iPod like 95% of the people I see in the gym, I decided to trail off on my own thoughts…

I don’t use a personal music device at the gym. I don’t pay attention to the music that my workout center decides to push through the speakers. I don’t even realize it when the place is dead silent. When I work out, I don’t have lyrics aiding me as I sweat it out. I don’t have angry rock music screaming in my ears or a David Guetta beat sending energy through my veins. Rather, I just have my thoughts.

When I work out, I do my best thinking. I get into a trance, shut off the people around me, focus, and let my mind go wild as I move weight around and run the track. I definitely feel the physical toll on my body as I perform my workout regimen but it is made bearable because mentally I am always engaged in something interesting. When I work out I come up with my best ideas, look at work issues in a whole new light, come up with most of my blog topics, and evaluate my personal life. For me, music just kind of gets in the way.

Not that I don’t understand the value music can have on a good lifting session. In high school we routinely blared loud, obnoxious music during our zero hour weights class. I can admit that it got my adrenaline pumping a notch or two more and may have helped me add a few pounds to my maxes. I know our athletes at Montana like strong, beat dropping music during their workouts, I hear it each time I am within 500 feet of the athletic performance center. Seeing some of the big marks they have hit, obviously it is helping them too. But I am just past that point now.

I no longer need to lift heavy weights and max out every other week. Instead of lifting for numbers, I lift for myself. I lift for the body I want and at the pace I want. Because of this, I find music unnecessary. I just need my state of mind and I am ready to tackle my workout.

During my workout I argue with myself, bring myself down, lift myself up, and just dig deep. I am in continual dialogue with myself and it takes me through the whole duration of my physical activity. I definitely play a game of tug-of-war internally, but by the time I finish my workout and the endorphins are flowing I usually always feel that I have not only succeeded physically but mentally as well.

For someone like myself who is in charge of using music to amp up 26,000 people to ecstatic levels, you would think that I would depend on it for every facet of my life. But I don’t. In one of the most accepted avenues to use music as a motivator (the gym) I have the volume muted. I covet the time I have to really examine myself while working out and I don’t need music to get in the way…

Although the explanation probably took you a little longer to read, it actually only took me one second to give the guy his answer about the lack of the music. Not wanting to get in a long discussion with the guy, I gave him the easy answer so I could get back to my thoughts:

“Yeah man, it totally sucks.”

Don’t Blink.

Missoula’s Big Problem

Missoula is a wonderful city and for the most part I love it. However, there are two things that I dislike about living here. Number one is the cold and snowy winters that run for about 9.5 months of the year. Number two is the transient problem.

My mom, dad, and brother visited me last weekend. As usual they had rave reviews for the Garden City. They loved the farmer’s market, the casinos, the great places to eat, the beautiful church I go to, and the overall culture of the town. But this time they slipped in a critique, a critique that I happen to share with them, a critique that didn’t have to do with the weather as it was in the low nineties the whole time they were here.

My family couldn’t believe how much the transient population had exploded.

After getting hassled by people on the street all Friday night and all day Saturday, my family went public with their realization to me with a culminating event on Saturday evening. As we were walking down Ryman on one side of the street we couldn’t help but turn our heads and watch as an argument was escalating on the sidewalk opposite to us on the other side of the street. Starting at where the Badlander sits, a transient woman started getting yelled at by a transient man. She screamed back. Soon enough another transient man jumped into the controversy and started yelling at the woman as well. Pretty much the only words that we could make out during the argument were the four letter ones. As we walked down one side of the street, the enraged people mirrored our progress walking down the other side of the street even though none of them were wearing shoes. The Jerry Springer On The Street episode ended when we turned right onto Front St. and the transients kept going down Ryman.

This led to my parents expressing that they didn’t remember the street person problem being so bad in Missoula. Of course they were aware that the city had a pretty prevalent homeless population before but this time around the problem had grown considerably. I explained to them about the Rainbow Gathering that took place nearby and I reminded them that it was summer but those were the only excuses I gave. I had to hang my head low and concede that they were right, transients had taken over downtown Missoula.

I am definitely not here to condemn the city of Missoula. I mean what more can they do? There are just so many street people it is hard to control. I think if there is a main reason on why the problem is so bad I would say it is because Missoulians are just too nice. Say what? Am I really complaining about the people in this city being too nice? Well, not really. I would always take a city that was too nice over a city that was mean. The overall impact of a nice town makes the quality of life so much better as opposed to a mean one. BUT, a nice town does have some undesirable drawbacks and aiding a transient population is one of them. Missoulians give street people money, food, sympathy, and attention. While I am not advocating acting like a Scrooge to someone in need, I am saying that “helping” a street person many times just enables them to buy booze, get high, pollute the streets, and feel content about their less than aspiring status

The worst thing about Missoula’s transient problem? At this time we are inundated with a mixed population. Missoula does not just have your typical older homeless man walking around with a big beard and alcohol on his breath. Rather, we have a large group of young people who are living on the streets. As I said earlier, the Rainbow Gathering has something to do with this but I find it both sad and pathetic how many people my age and younger are calling the Missoula streets their home. I can’t walk anywhere in downtown Missoula without them blocking my pathway with their dog, asking for “three quarters”, and/or assaulting my nose with the combination of alcohol, pot, and B.O. They hang out in packs and can be intimidating to some people.

I hope within a couple months this Missoula problem dissipates quite a bit. It is becoming a characteristic of this town, something that out-of-towners can easily notice. Missoula is a wonderful place, it is just that some of its charm and beauty is taken away when you can’t walk ten feet without noticing the presence of the street population. Let’s hope time and some better practices from Missoulians can help make this issue more manageable. Don’t Blink.

My Most Outrageous Fair Food Recipes

On Saturday, Darren Rovell tweeted out a picture of a pretty crazy food item at the Wisconsin State fair. It was a fried hot dog wrapped in french fries. Later that day I went to the Missoula fair and my brother purchased another obscure, high caloric food item called a tater pig. It was a sausage enclosed inside of a baked potato.

This is the infamous French Fry Hot Dog from the Wisconsin fair.

This is the infamous French Fry Hot Dog from the Wisconsin fair.

Fairs are notorious for offering off the wall, over the top, fatty foods. People at these fairs go a little crazy and usually combine popular unhealthy food items together to come up with a heart attack on a stick or a blocked artery in a boat tray. But everyone has an imagination and I am not going to anoint these fair people as food geniuses. I think pretty much all of us can sit down for a few minutes and think up some wacky food creations that would actually land on a website or get a retweet from Darren Rovell if only someone actually took the time to make it and offer it at a county fair.

Well I sat down for a few minutes and thought up some pretty outrageous food items that I would like to see offered inside one of the trailers situated in a dirt lot at the fair. Of course I am using only food items that I like to eat but I bet I can still make you salivate and/or throw up a little after you read my top five fair food creation recipes.

I am no cook but I do have some ideas!!

I am no cook but I do have some ideas!!

1. Reser Mega Quadruple Decker Peanut Butter Sandwich

Because I eat a plain peanut butter sandwich every single day for lunch I knew I had to create something that differed just a little bit from the two pieces of white bread and crunchy peanut butter sandwich I usually devour. Listen to what I got in mind…

The four pieces of bread that I would use for this sandwich would all be made into french toast. Building up, in between the first and second pieces of french toast would be a thick layer of crunchy peanut butter on one of the pieces of bread and then a thick layer of creamy peanut butter on the other piece of bread. Mixed in with all that peanut butter would be Reeses Puffs, one of the best cereals of all time. In between the second and third pieces of french toast would be the contents of a king sized Reeses Peanut Butter Cup package. That is four peanut butter cups spread out in between those pieces of bread. Then in between the third and fourth pieces of bread would be another layer of crunchy and creamy peanut butter with peanut butter M&Ms mixed in.

To finish it off, a big scoop of peanut butter ice cream would be placed on the top of the sandwich and peanut butter dessert sauce would be drizzled all over the ice cream and it would ooze down onto the sandwich itself.

2. BTR’s Atomic Corn Dog

For this one I would get the spiciest foot long jumbo hot dogs that I could find. I would then stuff them with spicy jalapeno cheese. I would then mix the beer batter with the Wild sauce from Buffalo Wild Wings. Once the batter solidified on the dog I would crust the whole corn dog with Tim’s Cascade jalapeno chips. Then taking a cooking brush, I would dip it into a big bowl of sriracha sauce and “paint” the chip outer layer with it.

I would serve the foot long, crunchy corn dog with a side of Hooter’s 911 hot sauce.

3. Brent’s Loaded, Ridiculous Burrito

I got the idea for making a gigantic burrito with random good stuff in it when my girlfriend told me she placed chicken strips in a tortilla and ate it for lunch.

For this monster I would use a fresh 14 inch tortilla. I would layer the tortilla with pizza sauce. I would then put a layer of shredded pepper jack cheese over the pizza sauce. Next I would stay true to my girlfriend’s recipe and chop up four chicken strip pieces and throw them on top of the cheese. I would then drop a quarter pound of spicy tater tots on top of everything. After that was added I would chop up a couple Oscar Meyer wieners and throw those on top. I would then layer on some mexican rice and some fajita meat. Next would come a whole bunch of nacho cheese sauce followed by shredded cheddar cheese. After doing my best to roll it up I would drench it in enchilada sauce and put ground beef on top of it.
Fork optional.

4. Don’t Blink Mac And Cheese Pizza

Now macaroni and cheese pizza is nothing new but my version would be one of a kind and knock your socks off.

This of course would be a stuffed pizza! Inside this extra large pizza would be a layer of nacho cheese sauce. On top of the nacho cheese sauce layer would be four different shredded cheeses. On top of the four shredded cheeses would be four different macaroni and cheeses!! It would contain my mom’s homemade macaroni and cheese, my girlfriend’s homemade macaroni and cheese, a box of Velveeta macaroni and cheese, and a box of white cheddar macaroni and cheese. Mixed inside with all the cheeses and the mac and cheeses would be a pound of sausage.

On top of the pizza I would drizzle some Iron Horse queso dip and more shredded cheese. I would then send it to the oven. Once the masterpiece came out I would pour a whole bunch of the gooey macaroni and cheese from Dickey’s over the top of the pizza and then serve!

5. #GoGriz Biscuits and Gravy

I love biscuits and gravy and can’t wait to share this gem with you!

Although I love homemade biscuits, for this recipe the biscuits will be replaced with three piping hot, fresh glazed Krispy Kreme doughnuts. On top of the donuts would go the thickest and tastiest sausage gravy ever. Even though the gravy would contain plenty of sausage in it, more would need to be added. Three patties and three links would be cut up and thrown on top of the mountain of a breakfast. For good measure, I would also demand that a sausage biscuit from McDonalds also be brought over and chopped up and thrown on top of everything, just so I could say that I incorporated a traditional biscuit in there somehow.

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Anyone ready to take my ideas and use them at your next county fair? I didn’t think so. However, I do guarantee that someone out there would jump at the chance to eat one of the abominations that I proposed. I mean hey, there is always at least one in every crowd. Do me a favor though…if you were forced to eat one of the above recipes, which one would it be? Please tell me, I would like to know. I am guessing everyone goes with the macaroni and cheese pizza. Don’t Blink.

Enter the #GoGriz Photo Contest

A little over a year ago, I participated in a social media contest that consumed my life and brought out my competitive juices. Northern Quest, a resort in my former home of Spokane, held a photo contest in honor of Mother’s Day. The resort asked its social media audience to submit a photo of themselves with their mom to the Northern Quest Facebook page. Once a photo was submitted, it was eligible to get likes and comments. At the end of the weeklong contest, the photo with the most combined likes and comments would get a spa package for their mom that included a night stay in the resort’s ultra fancy hotel.

I went absolutely nuts putting all of my energy into winning this contest. After much campaigning, pleading, and schmoozing with pretty much everyone I knew who had a Facebook account, I ultimately held off the large field and won the prize package for my mom.

This is the photo I submitted that won the prize package.

This is the photo I submitted that won the prize package.

So after having a great experience competing in a fan-voted social media picture contest, you can definitely bet that I am loving the fact that this week I get to run one! On Monday, Grizzly Athletics presented the #GoGriz Photo Contest. Our fans simply have to submit a photo that in some way incorporates our official hash tag, #GoGriz, and then hope that their photo garners the most votes possible. Sounds easy, right?

Well in theory running a contest like this sounds very simple but there actually is a lot of work on the backend that takes place. I am talking about behind the scenes type work such as making sure everyone follows the rules, offering a clear and functioning voting platform, crowning a legitimate champion, and compiling information from our Facebook fans that will in turn help us better serve them through Grizzly Athletics.

Enter a key player in this whole process…Think Social. Because of our contract with our third party rights holder (Grizzly Sports Properties) we have the luxury of teaming with some pretty cool partners. One of these partners is Think Social, a company that specializes in running Facebook contests for intercollegiate athletics departments. Along with our associate athletic director, the two of us sat down in a call with Think Social and we told them exactly what we wanted to accomplish with this contest. I wanted to continue to raise awareness for our hash tag, offer our fans another great social media promotion, and increase our like count on our main Facebook page. Our associate AD wanted to spread word that season tickets are still available, compile a database of some of our loyal fans, and see if this platform could help us in the future. Think Social designed the contest with our goals in mind and only two days into the contest I can proudly say that we have either already reached or are close to reaching them all (contest ends on Monday).

While Think Social facilitates the contest, I get to do all the marketing for it. This includes spreading the word throughout all of Griz Nation, generating enthusiasm for the campaign, coming up with creative ways to get people to submit photos, updating fans on a daily basis, and showcasing the great submissions that our fans turn in. Definitely a cool job.

This is currently the second place photo in the contest (122 votes).

This is currently the second place photo in the contest (122 votes).

But enough of this long story on how the contest came to be. What I really want to do in this blog post is tell you to enter the contest!! Why am I telling you to do this? One reason of course is because it is very simple. Another reason is because it is fun to submit a photo and see who will vote for it, closest friends and total strangers both included. A big reason is also because of the prize given to the person who submits the photo that gets the most votes: 2 Griz football season tickets (pretty much the most coveted thing in the state)!! But the main reason why you should enter is because you can WIN!

I am convinced that any of my Facebook contacts who have at least 500 friends on the network and who have half a brain about how social media works can pull this victory off. All it takes is hard work and some creativity. If you are reading this right now I have faith that you could submit a photo in the next two minutes and by 8 a.m. tomorrow morning you could pull into first place, right ahead of the person who has 140 or some odd votes right now. It just takes some drive and some innovativeness to do it. I know you all are capable of doing it.

This is currently the picture that is in first place (144 votes).

So what are you waiting for? Click here and submit your photo. Just make sure to incorporate the #GoGriz hash tag and remember that using babies or cute cats always seems to work best. Go Griz! Don’t Blink.

Trouble at the ATM

One of those aggravating moments where you try to do something nice for a stranger but it ends up just backfiring in your face just happened to me.

I got off work 45 minutes ago. Coming off the weekend with most of my cash in my wallet sucked dry I made a trip to my bank to use their drive through ATM. I pulled up behind a few cars. Finally the car in front of me got through using the machine and I drove up to perform my business. When I rolled down my window I saw a familiar sight. The ATM screen had two options listed on it: “Return Card” or “Perform Another Transaction”. This person had done their transaction, got their cash, and drove off totally forgetting their debit card.

This did not surprise me. This particular ATM at this particular bank branch had done this to me on a few occasions. Whereas many ATMs will spit out your card or make a loud noise to remind you to grab it, this machine doesn’t do that. Rather, after you answer all of the questions and take your cash thinking you are all done a quiet prompt comes up asking if you want your card returned. Although a couple times I have for a split second drove off without it, I always backed up quickly and retrieved my card, my mind miraculously somehow reminding me.

This particular person did not remember. They drove off and I took her card out and put it on my dash. I made my transaction as quickly as possible because I wanted to pull around to the bank parking lot because I figured the person would soon be coming back to the bank and I would personally give the person her card back. I waited in the lot for 5 minutes but the car did not return. Not wanting to wait I did the seemingly responsible thing and entered the foyer area of the bank where they have an additional ATM and bank slips. I placed the card in an envelope, wrote “CARD LEFT INSIDE THE ATM”, and slipped it under the door into the main bank lobby. For whatever inconceivable reason, my bank’s lobby closes at 4 p.m. on business days. They have employees staffing the drive through windows until 6 p.m. but the main bank area itself is closed.

Satisfied that the card was in safe hands I left the bank and started the commute back to my apartment. Right before I entered the freeway I stopped at a gas station to fuel up. As I always do, I use my debit card for fuel purchases. I parked my car, opened my gas door, and reached into my wallet…my debit card was GONE.

I had done the exact same idiotic thing that the person in front of me had done.

After a moment with myself to express my frustrations I hopped in my car and hauled you know what back to the bank. I drove right up to the drive through hoping that the “Return Card” or “Perform Another Transaction” prompt would still be up from when I was there last since it had only been about 7 minutes. It was not.

Seeing the big line at the non-ATM drive through windows and not wanting to bother them with a non-transaction inquiry I called the branch with my cell phone. I simply got a recording telling me the bank was closed. I listened to this recording twice while watching employees walk all around the office area. Knowing it was no use, I drove in line and waited. Finally, I reached the window.

I told the employee, a girl about the same age as me, my story. I told her about finding someone else’s debit card, pushing it under the locked bank doors, and then realizing that in my frantic attempt to do the right thing I had made the same stupid mistake. I asked her if someone had turned in my card. The employee offered her apologies and then told me the only card they had was the one I had turned in myself. A little unnerved about what had become of my card, the girl told me that the ATM most likely ate the card up when the final screen prompt went unanswered. Unfortunately, the only person who could get my card out would be their ATM Tech who doesn’t come in until the following day.

I hate not having my debit card. I feel worthless and unprotected without it. The employee let me make an additional withdrawal. I wanted to make sure I have enough cash for the peanuts, hot dog, and beer I will be buying at the minor league baseball game I am going to tonight in addition to any other expense or emergency that might come up.

Of course my biggest fear is what if the ATM didn’t eat my card. What if someone took it and has plans to live large on my money tonight? I guess I will find out for sure tomorrow morning. Sometimes doing the nice thing doesn’t always pay off. Don’t Blink.