Not A Fan of Snow Days

Today I awoke at 6:15 a.m. to an e-mail from campus communications informing the community that classes at the University of Montana had been cancelled due to the extreme and dangerous weather conditions. About fifteen minutes later our associate athletic director sent out an e-mail to all athletics staff saying there was no need to come to work today. Similar messages were relayed to most all other staff on campus as well.

Yes, a very rare snow day occurred in Missoula. I think the early morning deafening howls of wind proved the final factor to UM administrators to make the decision on an unscheduled three day weekend. They probably made the right choice.

In the past couple days Missoula has received several heavy snow showers. The white stuff has literally dumped into our valley. But most people who live in Montana can handle large amounts of snow, we deal with it six months out of the year. However the tipping factor was the wind. With gusts over 50 miles per hour and the truest whiteout conditions you could ever imagine I think most people understood and appreciated the closures and suspensions of services.

When I first heard about the news I rose from my bed and informed our social media audience of the closures. I then texted with my direct supervisor who confirmed that it was best to just stay home. A thought then ran through my head: “An unplanned weekday off? This is very strange.”

Not that I didn’t have plenty to do. I had a full agenda of work tasks that I had the full capability to complete right on my cozy couch. I also had a couple personal projects to work on as well. I also realized the perfect opportunity I had to clean around my apartment. So after taking a longer than normal shower I went right to work, keeping busy for several hours. However, even with my brain fully stimulated I still just had a very different feeling. It didn’t seem right sitting on my couch at 11 a.m. on a weekday. It didn’t seem right eating something other than my peanut butter sandwich for lunch that I always have at work. It didn’t seem right turning on ESPN and watching daily shows that I haven’t seen since I was a college student. It didn’t seem right (it actually wasn’t right) that I didn’t have the luxury to finish my week off with a great workout. It just didn’t seem right to be home.

I managed to get plenty of work done from home today but I didn't particularly like it.

I managed to get plenty of work done from home today but I didn’t particularly like it.

Although I know shutting down the town for the day was in the absolute best interest for the community I don’t care for the feeling I get with a free day off. I just feel like I am getting behind, I feel like I am slacking in a way. I feel like I haven’t earned it. With that said I worked hard today to fight that feeling and get as much done as possible. I believe I made progress so I won’t go to bed with too much disappointment. But would I have rather worked in the office today? You bet.

Kudos and respect to all the people out in the Missoula community right now plowing roads, delivering mail, picking up garbage, patrolling the streets, responding to accidents, etc. Also, thoughts and prayers to the people impacted by the avalanche today (yes, we had an avalanche this afternoon). The weather will get better and things will get back to normal…let’s just hope it is sooner rather than later. Don’t Blink.

What I Found Opening a 30 Year Old Media Guide

This morning I went to our archive room at Grizzly Athletics to find something fun for our #ThrowbackThursday Facebook feature. I opened up our file that contained men’s basketball guides dating back all the way to the 1950’s. Because of the glossy photo, scenic background, and incredibly cool/ugly warm ups I chose the publication from the 1984-85 Grizzly basketball season. But instead of just taking the photo, using the material, and then re-filing it I decided to open it up.

This is the 1984-85 Griz basketball media guide that I looked at today.

This is the 1984-85 Griz basketball media guide that I looked at today.

Talk about a history lesson! I found so many cool and interesting tidbits and images that I knew I would be absolutely remiss if I didn’t share some of the content through Don’t Blink. Even if you aren’t a Griz fanatic you will surely appreciate some of the names I am about to showcase. So give me your attention because class is in session! What do you say we travel back 30 years?

Big Time Coaches

The media guide contained some big deal coaches.

The media guide contained some big deal coaches.

The first thing that jumped out to me inside the pages? Legendary coaches! Coaching Montana at the time was Mike Montgomery who was serving his seventh season as the head man. He of course went on to coach at Stanford, in the NBA, and is now the coach of California. I had to do a double take when I saw the mug of Jim Calhoun smiling at me. Unbeknownst to me he coached at Northeastern State. The Redmen (nickname since changed to Riverhawks) traveled to Missoula over December 7 and 8 in 1984 to compete in the Champion Holiday Classic. Finally Don Monson caught my eye as well. Monson coached at both Idaho and Oregon and received National Coach of the Year honors in 1982. His son is Dan Monson. The Griz played his Oregon University team in Eugene on November 29.


Larry Krystkowiak is a Montana basketball legend.

Larry Krystkowiak is a Montana basketball legend.

Gracing lots of space in the 1984-85 media guide was Larry Krystkowiak. Cementing his spot in Montana basketball by earning the Big Sky Conference Player of the Year award three different times he managed to add to that legacy even more by leading the Griz to NCAA Tournament appearances in his two seasons as head coach. In between playing and coaching for Montana he enjoyed a long career in the NBA as a player. After his successful run coaching the Griz the Milwaukee Bucks hired him as head coach. Currently he is leading the Pac-12 Utah Utes.

Bobby Hauck as a Basketball Manager?

Bobby Hauck dutifully served as a basketball manager during the 1984-85 season.

Bobby Hauck dutifully served as a basketball manager during the 1984-85 season.

When you think of Bobby Hauck you think of a successful head football coach with his own special swagger. Would you have ever thought that he once served as a basketball manager? During the 1984-85 season he did exactly that for the Griz basketball squad. Even though he coaches football you have to think Bobby took some pointers from Mike Montgomery to use during his career.

Coach Tinkle

Wayne Tinkle during his freshman year with Montana.

Wayne Tinkle during his freshman year with Montana.

Then you have the Sexiest Coach in College Basketball himself, Wayne Tinkle. One of my favorite people in the department and a very coveted coach, I enjoyed reading Wayne’s freshman profile (back when he had dark hair). In it he cites one of his hobbies as dancing. That definitely makes sense as he has taken the Griz basketball team to three NCAA Tournaments. I love Mike Montgomery’s quote: “If he’s willing to put in the time and effort to work he could be one of the most outstanding basketball players ever in our program”……mission accomplished.

Just for the Heck of It

The 1915 Griz basketball team

The 1915 Griz basketball team

How could I not include the 1915 Griz basketball team that was included on page 32 of the media guide?

Legends in the Athletic Department

Steve Hackney, Dennis Murphy, and Dave Guffey have devoted over 100 years of service combined to Grizzly Athletics.

Steve Hackney, Dennis Murphy, and Dave Guffey have devoted over 100 years of service combined to Grizzly Athletics.

To conclude I had to pay homage to a few legends in our athletic department who I saw in the program. I have worked with all three during my stint with Grizzly Athletics although two are now retired. Up top is Steve Hackney (“Hack”), our longtime equipment manager who retired a couple years ago. To the bottom left is Dennis Murphy, the head athletic trainer for over 30 years until his retirement last year. Finally in the bottom right you got my next door office neighbor and a man I work with a lot, Mr. Dave Guffey. As Dave himself created this media guide I don’t know why he threw himself at the back of the publication on orange paper but I imagine it is just his humble nature. Guff has served as the Sports Information Director for 37 years.


I had an enjoyable time looking through this media guide.

I had an enjoyable time looking through this media guide.

Little did I know that I would learn so much and come up with a blog topic as I entered the archive room this morning. If there is one bigger lesson that comes out of this though it is that Grizzly Athletics has a storied and rich history and I am honored to be a very tiny part of it. Don’t Blink.

An Interesting Interview With Mark Cuban

Last night I watched Piers Morgan. Not because I particularly care for him or his show. Call me insensitive but it doesn’t hurt my feelings that his program is getting cancelled. Rather I tuned in because of that night’s guest, Mark Cuban. As a sports nut I enjoyed watching his exploits and listening to his opinions as an NBA owner. As both his profile and bank account continued to rise I kept my eye on him. I freely admit that I am intrigued by the billionaire because of his engaging personality and business savviness.

Mark Cuban provided a great interview and dished out some great sound bites proving once again that the guy is just flat out made for the public eye. For tonight’s post I want to provide the three most interesting aspects from the interview with a special emphasis on the final one I will share. He said something that should be the mantra for any person working in the digital age.

What’s In Your Wallet? – Piers asked Cuban to take out his wallet and give the audience a peek of what was inside. He obliged and emptied out a wallet that contained a credit card, debit card, driver’s license, a few business cards, and some cash….$700 to be exact. I didn’t know exactly what to make of that amount at first. I mean of course the equivalent of him hauling around $700 in his wallet is on par with me carrying around a half cent in mine but wouldn’t that amount of cash be attractive to a robber? Then again if someone actually did rob him could you imagine how disappointed they would be if he carried no cash at all? Would finding zero cash anger a criminal enough to hurt Cuban when all he wanted to do in the first place was just take his cash? Maybe $700 is the perfect amount! Mark actually said he would have been carrying more if he hadn’t just returned from Las Vegas.


Mark Cuban taking out his wallet on Piers Morgan last night.

Mark Cuban taking out his wallet on Piers Morgan last night.

Cyber Dust – One of Mark Cuban’s companies created an app called Cyber Dust. It centers on the exact same concept as Snap Chat except it deals with text messages rather than pictures. You send someone a text and they have a limited period of time to view it before the message disappears. Cuban says he uses Cyber Dust for the majority of his correspondence with business associates. I think the idea is cool but it has the exact same drawback as Snap Chat…you can screenshot anything. However I do like the opening line in the description of the app (even if it is untrue): There is no record of every word you say. Why leave a trace of every word you text?

I downloaded the Cyber Dust app and had a conversation with my brother.

I downloaded the Cyber Dust app and had a conversation with my brother.

Words to Heed – During the interview last night Mark Cuban described the importance of staying ahead. He explained that he keeps up on all new trends in the digital world because he can’t afford not to. In the best line from the whole show Cuban quipped that “There is always a 12 year old trying to kick my ass.” BINGO! When I look at people younger than me, especially youth in high school, I realize that they naturally already have many of the skills and knowledge that I had to take time to perfect and learn. In addition they are consuming all the new technologies and digital developments the second they become available. But I don’t use these very real facts to get me down, rather I use them to motivate me. The new media industry is extremely competitive but also very innovative and FUN…I want to keep working in it and that pushes me to keep pace with the younger generation, even if it means putting in a lot of extra work. The fact that a billionaire almost thirty years older than me fights the same battle lets me know that I am not crazy.


Mr. Cuban, you are an honorable man. Thanks for giving Piers Morgan the most interesting show he has ever had and thanks for helping to lead the digital charge in this country. Best of luck to the Dallas Mavericks. Don’t Blink.

The Major Question in “Monuments Men”

Usually I won’t go see a movie where the preview didn’t draw me in. Big surprise, right? Well last night I made an exception and went and saw “Monuments Men”. I saw the trailer a couple different times and yawned. In the past when I have gone against my better judgment and saw a movie that didn’t hook me in the previews I ended up hating it. However, “Monuments Men” proved my gut instinct wrong and I actually enjoyed the film very much.

My ticket from "Monuments Men" on Monday night.

My ticket from “Monuments Men” on Monday night.

This post is not a review though. Although I concede that I would give the film two thumbs up I just want to briefly discuss the burning question that opens the film, presents itself throughout, and then is asked point blank again at the end of the movie. But before I reveal that question let me give a very brief summary.

It is World War II and an art scholar played by George Clooney is lobbying to put in place a plan to save art stolen by the Nazis. Clooney’s character gets to plead his case to FDR who reluctantly agrees to authorize a mission to recover the stolen work. Clooney organizes a rag-tag army unit of art scholars and curators to go to Europe to recover the art. The unit embarks on numerous adventures, experiences trials and tribulations, and loses two men. However, by the end of the war they are successful in finding a large amount of paintings, sculptures, stained glass, bells, books, etc. At the end of the movie Clooney summarizes the mission to President Truman.

The underlying question throughout the whole movie is whether it is worth it to devote resources and risk the safety of others in the name of saving art when there is a world war going on. Roosevelt posed the question at the start of the movie, it is brought up time and time again while the unit is in Europe, and even after the success of the mission Truman still has his doubts and must ask it. Although the movie very much implies that it is a noble and true initiative, the viewer still has the opportunity to make his own decision.

I hate to say it but I am still torn. It grips at your heart when you see the Nazis setting ablaze to Picassos but what is the value of one of those paintings when you are in a war that has killed 60 million people? The movie depicts the art unit going through great lengths to recover certain pieces as well as the process it took to return them once they hauled them out of the mines and castles. It was all very risky. The movie paints one of the men who died as feeling very honored for his opportunity to participate in the mission. Adding to it, the father of the fallen is portrayed as supporting his son. But it is Hollywood. Would a parent actually accept the reality that their son died trying to save an altar piece or a painting?

Then again the U.S. did have the resources and luxury to commission such a mission. The war was under control. Also, the group that made up the Monuments Men all willingly took part. They risked their lives because they thought it was the right thing to do. How can I chastise someone for making a decision that they believed in?

I think I can identify which way I lean by asking this question: If I was in Roosevelt’s chair when Cloonney’s character was making his case to send a unit over to Europe would I give the go-ahead or not? I am thinking with the immense stress of the war and millions already dead I wouldn’t have the guts to pull the trigger and authorize something like that.

Even though you will have a dilemma to wrestle with I recommend you see “Monuments Men”. Critical thinking is good and superb acting isn’t bad either. Don’t Blink.


You always hear people arguing about whether others are born with an innate predisposition to feel, do, or act certain ways. Some of these debates center on very emotionally charged topics so I always steer way clear. However, I am beginning to think more and more that there is a certain predisposition that people are born with, one that doesn’t cause bitter feelings and heated arguments.

When we are born I think we have a switch either turned on or turned off in our heads when it comes to the desire to get tattooed.

I am not a tattoo guy. I don’t have a speck of ink on my body. In my life I have never had the slightest bit of interest to get a tattoo. Not to get a cool design, not to stand out, not to honor a deceased loved one, not to forever connect me to a group, not to denote my undying fandom to a certain team. But I don’t have a vendetta against them either. I just don’t really see their appeal and I lack any interest whatsoever of putting a permanent mark on my body.

I am completely ink free and will forever stay that way,

I am completely ink free and will forever stay that way,

But I know when my DNA came together if the coin landed on the other side I might be a tatted up stud. At least half the people I know, well, at least half the people in my generation, have tattoos. Of that half, probably 60% have more than one. If you took a poll of Missoula residents I guarantee that number would be even higher. Just take a walk in the town anywhere during the summer and you will witness a full-fledged ink convention. People like me with boring blank skin canvases are the minority.

This large group of tattoo fans has a fascination with ink that I just can’t relate to. They are voluntarily showing others their tattoos, constantly talking about the next one they are going to get, regularly posting their body art on Instagram, and gleefully texting their tattoo artist. While I don’t particularly understand it I definitely accept it.

It is not like I am strictly anti-tattoo either. While I wouldn’t let an artist’s needle get anywhere close to my body I do enjoy some aspects of ink. I find some women with tattoos attractive, even the variety that sport full sleeves. I find the show “Best Ink” entertaining, one of the few non-sporting programs that I will actually watch. I admire the amazing skill that many tattoo artists possess. I liken my thoughts on tattoos to horse racing: while I would never participate in it, I do enjoy certain aspects associated with it.

So while I might play the “where would I get a tattoo if I had to?” game I would never in a hundred years actually consider getting one. In the same way I know there are millions of people out there who would never in a hundred years think about leaving their bodies ink free. People have different tastes and preferences and that is a good thing…it makes life interesting. Don’t Blink.

When Children Fear Mascots

Yesterday when I wrote about my top five favorite clowns I brought up the somewhat romanticized fear of clowns that adults claim to have. I don’t know if I necessarily buy into the claims of the roughly fifty percent of the people I know who say clowns cause them distress. In my opinion I think it is more talk than fear. Fact of the matter is adult brains can conceptualize that under the paint and wig of a scary looking clown is a regular man or woman. While some folks in our population have serious phobias of such stimuli I don’t believe it applies to the legions of people who make the claim.

Kids are a whole different story, especially younger ones. At an early age children don’t instantly grasp that people dress up in wild and crazy outfits that transform appearance. Minds are still developing and when they see something that can walk and move like a human but that doesn’t look like mom or dad real fears develop. Many young kids have real issues with clowns. Many have issues during Halloween.

Because of one of the responsibilities I hold at work I am exposed first hand to another one of these types of fears that children hold: mascots.

Holding the distinction of mascot coordinator within Grizzly Athletics I routinely see how the most loved personality in the state of Montana can also be the most feared. While Monte, our grizzly bear mascot, has reached rock star status on a national level for his ability to entertain and connect with fans even his one of a kind charm is sometimes not enough to calm the fears of petrified children. At most events or basketball games you can expect to see at least one child ranging in the age of 2-7 meltdown at the sight of him. Kids will cry, scream, run away, or bury themselves in their mom or dad. It doesn’t take a psychology degree to figure out why these young kids are frightened. Seeing an agile, walking bear that blurs the lines between an animal and a human can confuse a toddler to the point of tears.

I get the opportunity to work with our mascots, Monte and Mo

I get the opportunity to work with our mascots, Monte and Mo

Monte doesn’t get selected to the Capital One All-American Mascot team on a consistent basis just because he can entertain, dance, entertain, and tumble though. His ability to connect with children, adults, and the elderly sets him apart. More often than not I have seen him approach those frightened kids right on the spot and win them over. In the blink of an eye the shrieks turn to laughs and Monte and the kid are embracing.

No one is better with kids than Monte (photo courtesy of Todd Goodrich)

No one is better with kids than Monte (photo courtesy of Todd Goodrich)

Of course it doesn’t always happen that way. Sometimes the child is just not ready to enjoy a mascot and Monte lets him or her be. For some children it takes time to outgrow the fear. They will avoid and turn the other way when Monte is in proximity but then a couple years later the fear is gone and the kid, wearing a #00 jersey, is rushing at him to jump in his furry arms. But then there are the extreme cases…

Monte makes thousands of kids smile a year (awesome photo courtesy of Todd Goodrich).

Monte makes thousands of kids smile a year (awesome photo courtesy of Todd Goodrich).

Some youngsters develop a polarizing fear of Monte. Unfortunately that fear doesn’t just end at the arena when the bear is not around. Pictures, mentions, and thoughts of Monte can trigger fear simply when the child is at home or at school. This is when Grizzly Athletics intervenes. Twice since I have worked in the department parents have contacted me about their child suffering from a phobia of Monte. When this occurs I invite the parents and their son (both times it has been a boy) to come to the office and I turn it over to our amazing students who serve as Monte (we employ two talented individuals).

In a calm manner our Monte performer will greet the kid in his street clothes. He will then slowly take pieces of the Monte suit out of his bag and show the child that it is just a costume. Next he will start to put the suit on while talking to the child the whole way through. Once our performer puts the head on to complete the transformation into Monte the kid is no longer having a panic attack and the fear is gone. Both times I have observed this the parents walked out the door with tears of joy while thanking us profusely.

I deal with two very talented and compassionate Monte performers.

I deal with two very talented and compassionate Monte performers.

Back when I was very young, probably four years old, I had a bad dream involving McGruff the Crime Dog. After that nightmare I dreaded seeing him at the parades and festivals my parents would take me to where he would appear. After a year I grew out of it but even though I was very young at the time I can still remember what that fear felt like which allows me to identify with the kids today who are afraid of Monte.

Sorry to my adult friends who are afraid of clowns but I have more sympathy for the five year old girl who is afraid of Monte. Don’t Blink.

Clown Shortage? My Top 5 Favorite Clowns

This past week it became known that this great country could very well be suffering a clown shortage. Yep, a clown shortage. Although the evidence is just based primarily on dwindling membership to the trade’s national organization, the Clowns of America International, it didn’t stop people from having a little fun with it over the last several days. Social media users posted the news on the Facebook walls of friends who claim to be petrified of clowns (still a mystery to me on how people are afraid of clowns) and comedians and columnists had their own hay days. Okay, fair enough.

I guess I am a little indifferent to clowns. By no means am I afraid of them. I would never chastise, mock, or embarrass one. Likewise I don’t have a passion for “clowning” as the industry calls it. I have never aspired to dress up in makeup, don a rainbow colored wig, put on a big red nose, and waltz around public places. But to each their own. In my opinion I think clowns serve a legitimate purpose. Just because I don’t get overly excited about them doesn’t mean that I don’t recognize the joyful impact they have on others…I have seen it countless times.

Just because I could live with them or without them doesn’t mean I don’t have a few clowns who have stood out over the years. In fact when I heard about the possible clown shortage I immediately thought about a few of these crazy jokesters who stick out in my mind whenever I hear the word BOZO. So for today’s blog post I would like to recognize my top five favorite clowns starting with my fifth best and working down to my all-time favorite.

5. Doink the Clown – As hesitant as I am to admit it, as a kid I was a huge WWE fan. Starting from probably the age of seven and lasting through about sixth grade I watched the weekly programs, collected the action figures, and even attended a couple live events when the organization invaded Spokane. For many years the WWE featured a wrestler named Doink the Clown. He filled the demented clown profile with wild green hair and messy face paint. He usually got dominated in the ring and was a running joke within the WWE.

A clown I watched a lot during my childhood...Doink the Clown.

A clown I watched a lot during my childhood…Doink the Clown.

4. Buttons – As a kid on special occasions my family would go out to a restaurant called Swackhammer’s in north Spokane. Think of this place as an earlier version of Applebees. On certain nights the restaurant would have Buttons the Clown go table to table making balloon animals. Of course this trumped the tasty food, the company we usually had, and the cool toy trains that ran on tracks throughout the restaurant. An older heavier-set clown with suspenders and a top hat my first question whenever my parents said we were going to Swackhammer’s was “Is Buttons going to be there?”

3. Scary Clown from Halloween 2011 – I don’t have too much to say about this clown that I met during Halloween 2011 other than it makes my favorites list solely because he didn’t kill me.

I had an encounter with this clown and I am pleased to report that I survived.

I had an encounter with this clown and I am pleased to report that I survived.

2. The Clowns of Mystère – To this day the best Cirque du Soleil show I have ever seen was Mystère at Treasure Island in Las Vegas. Everything about that show is amazing, starting with pre-entrance entertainment. As my family waited to enter the theater some 15 years ago one of the clown performers poked through the door and came out in the lobby area to have some fun. Playing an awkward, goofy angle the clown would come right up to us, look us in the eye, and make a noise while doing other shenanigans. Dressed in a suit that probably cost thousands of dollars and covered in top grade makeup, this was by no means your stereotypical clown. My family laughed hysterically as this Cirque cast member performed for us. As you could imagine, the gift shop didn’t have to twist our arms to shell out the money for the prints that the photographer took of the clown interacting with us.

1. Uncle Curly the Clown – Back when I did all the marketing and gameday entertainment for the Griz soccer team I tried to think up something original that would go over well for the Kids Day game I was planning. After coming up with the idea during my daily workout I decided that I was going to hire a clown to work the stands during that particular game. After putting in my research I settled on doing business with “Uncle Curly the Clown” from Montana Clown Work. Played by Thomas Plovanic I traveled to his home and met with him about the gig. We discussed expectations and rates and had a good conversation. At his home I talked to him in his street clothes but when I met him on game day at the soccer stadium he was in his clown outfit but to my surprise there wasn’t a major transformation. He wore a modest suit, a couple dabs of face paint, and a yellow hat. He still looked very much like the guy I talked to in that living room. But what really changed was his personality! His already outgoing and goofy persona that became known to me at his place had been amped up about ten different levels.

He delighted the crowd, interacted with Monte brilliantly, and kept a great balance between having the attention focused on him and the action on the field. About a week after the game I got a very nice thank you note from Uncle Curly thanking us for having him at the game. To beat out a Las Vegas performer in the best suit money can buy for the number one spot on my clown list is quite the honor!


Me holding the very nice thank you note I received from Uncle Curly the Clown

Me holding the very nice thank you note I received from Uncle Curly the Clown


Although I think this “clown shortage” is a little exaggerated I hope the industry doesn’t go the way of the dinosaurs. Do you have any favorite clowns or, better yet, pictures of you with clowns?! I think I might have to do something special for you if you can provide me with a decent clown picture. Have a great weekend everyone. Don’t Blink.

To Drive in the Snow or Not?

Today something happened in our athletic department that has never happened before since I have worked for Grizzly Athletics: One of our teams had to pull out of a competition because the travel necessary to get to the site was too dangerous. Here is the short summary of what occurred…

The bus transporting our indoor track and field teams to a meet in Bozeman had to put on the brakes just 20 miles outside of town and return to Missoula. Why? The snow and ice covered roads posed too much of a risk to justify trekking the final 185 miles for a chance to compete at the last chance Montana State Bobcat Open.

I guess I should mention it just wasn’t the hazardous roads themselves that deterred that bus from continuing to our rival’s backyard. Also contributing was the forecast for continued precipitation combined with the numerous cars already out of commission on the side of the road and the perplexity of the bus itself getting stuck a few times on the short voyage. In the end the decision was a no-brainer.

However, driving in the winter weather is not always a no-brainer for many, especially those of us who live in the colder, northern states. We were raised driving in the snow and take pride in our ability to navigate through it in our vehicles. To me waking up in the morning and seeing that a few inches of snow fell over the night is second nature. I just get in my car and drive to work. But sometimes we get so confident in our winter driving skills that we fail to see the difference between a few inches of white stuff on the ground compared to much more extreme conditions.

I took this picture this morning. Although the roads were snow covered they were safe to drive on plus it was beautiful out!

I took this picture this morning. Although the roads were snow covered they were safe to drive on plus it was beautiful out!

Last night I drove home from work after the basketball game right when it started to blizzard out. I made the mistake of taking the interstate and found myself in the middle of the freeway on a snow covered road with absolutely no visibility. I turned off the radio, concentrated on doing the best I could to find my exit, and wondered aloud why I didn’t wait a few minutes or take a different route. Although I only had to drive some four miles those were definitely four white-knuckled miles.

Why did I put myself through it? Why have I put myself through it previous times before? Well in all fairness many times we don’t know how bad it is actually going to be. It is easy to look out the window or assess the conditions from where your car is parked at and go from there. Conditions change and surprises await. That is part of the problem. The other part of the problem though is ego. As I said earlier, many of us have it programmed into our minds that we must drive in the roughest of winter storms, even if we own a Toyota Solara. There is pressure to get places and for many people, especially males, using the roads as an excuse is not acceptable.

Although sometimes I think it is. The track and field bus today did not continue to Bozeman because the driver, coaches, and student-athletes were not comfortable. They stopped at an exit, had a meeting, and made a decision to go back to Missoula. I think all of us are capable of identifying that feeling inside of us that says “I don’t feel safe”. At that point we must act on that gut feeling and not test the roads. Sure, we might have to swallow our pride but it is always better than the alternative of driving and not making it to our final destination. Don’t Blink.

When Simplifying Passwords Backfires

Now this is totally a conundrum that you can file under #FirstWorldProblems but do you suffer from this too? The issue at hand is remembering the numerous variations of a once common password to get into multiple online accounts and services. Let me explain.

Once upon a time I would have been the best target for an all-out online hack. Everything from my bank account to my work profile to my Facebook was all under the same password I had held dear since early high school. When I needed to log in to a service I just quickly punched in the pattern of keys on my keyboard that had become second nature to me and I had access to whatever service I needed. I identified tremendously with my out of order phrase combined with my random four digit number that made up my password just because I used it so much to perform basic functions of my everyday life.

However, over the past couple of years with enhanced security measures, real hacks into a couple of my accounts, and my subscription to new services I no longer have one uniform password for everything. Rather I have a variation of my once standard password for numerous accounts and let me just say at this point it is flat out confusing.

Every now and then I have to reset my password for my work computer, my employee account, and a personal e-mail account among other things. Not wanting to totally ditch the password I have used for years I have simply added a number at the end of my original password to satisfy the requirement that I change. This worked fine at first but I started to get a little thrown off when I had to change my password second and third times around, especially because the former passwords all expired at different times. What I started to do (as it actually became a requirement for passwords used in these services) was to add a capital letter into the mix. This allowed me to continue to use a version of my once standard password but has since led to several different versions.

About a year ago my Twitter account and Facebook account both got corrupted a couple months apart. This made it necessary for me to change my passwords. Although of course instead of completely revamping my old password I just added minor edits to my prized longstanding one. As it seems like for work and for personal leisure as well I am continually subscribing to new services, platforms, social media outlets, etc., I am constantly in need of creating new passwords. When creating these pass codes I opt first with the old school, standard password I used to use for everything and if the service mandates that I use a combination of capital letters and more numbers I adjust. After a quick count in my head I have around twenty different accounts/services I utilize that I access based off of FIVE different variations of my once constant password.

The point has come to where I waste time remembering if I need to use extra numbers, a couple capital letters, or both to access different accounts. Trial and error is a method I use very often. On some occasions I will get into work in the morning and even have to try a few times before successfully logging in on my computer because with all the different combos of passwords and with all the different services I access in between work logins I rattle myself. Amazing how a system I used to try to make things as simple as possible has turned into a giant guessing game of confusion.

I know there are certain apps out there that help people keep passwords straight. Maybe I should look at subscribing to one. For some reason though I think it might be more trouble than what it is worth considering one more password is probably involved. Suggestions anyone? Don’t Blink.

The Drugless Methods I Use to Fight the Cold/Flu

I like to say cold viruses hit me really hard but let’s face it, I am sure everyone else experiences the same discomfort and misery that I do. Coming down with a sickness is no fun at all. It can ruin moods, cut productivity, infect others, and make life not as enjoyable. Unfortunately most of us get sick a couple times a year and we just have to deal with it. Everyone seems to cope with their ailments differently, both medication wise and psyche wise.

I used to be the type of person who let my nasty sickness overcome me so much that I wanted to punch my computer screen as hard as I could. Despite taking a drug plan that would eventually get me better I scorned the time it took to bring me tangible results and I became negative. Exactly a year ago at this time I realized drugs alone wouldn’t lead me to a speedy recovery. It became known to me that I could suffer a one week cold sentence and hate life the whole time or I could do my best to enjoy life as much as possible despite my discomforts. I started to buy into the latter option.

Bottom line, drugs can only cure you over time. They lessen symptoms to make you feel a little more comfortable until the sickness has ran its course. It is not enough. In order to truly battle the crud without totally losing out on a week of life you have to take non-medical measures as well. I have a short list of three drugless measures I take to combat cold and flu season to make sure I don’t let the sickness get the absolute best of me. Tonight I would like to share these remedies with you.

1. Positivity: When I mentioned the transformation I went through a year ago with my changed outlook on feeling crummy I really focused on staying positive. In fact, I even wrote a whole blog post devoted to this crucial step of defeating the cold and flu. As I have said numerous times in Don’t Blink, it is all about perspective. At the time a cold can feel like the worst thing ever. But we have to remind ourselves that we aren’t battling cancer, we aren’t on death row, and we aren’t burning at a stake. We have a common virus that will clear up very soon. Life is good.

Besides actually taking solace in having a minor ailment compared to a major ailment I also just think positive in general. I think about things such as fun events coming up, the countdown to summer, the upcoming weekend, and the people I like. As the nose gets stuffier and my eyes get redder I try to visualize these thoughts harder and harder.

2. Stay Busy: If you keep yourself totally busy and immersed on work and projects you can lessen your symptoms to a degree. Lots of people will say that when you are sick it is harder to focus and keep on task. Well yes, that is true, but most of the people who say this will then throw their hands up in the air and say getting anything done is a lost cause…major cop out. If you do put in the energy and discipline into getting as much done as possible you can curb your ailments. At work I try to get even more done than on healthy days and at home I continue to write blog posts and do other self-improvement activities. When I am concentrated on something other than my nagging cold I feel much better.

3. Working Out: Some people tell me I am crazy for this one but I swear by it. Even when I am sick as a dog I still work out. Why? Because when I do I experience the most relief I get all day. For whatever reason when I am at the gym while I am sick the strength of my symptoms dramatically decrease. My head clears for that hour and I am able to engage in a good exercise session. Again, like above, I think it is more of an excuse to say that you shouldn’t work out while you are sick just so you don’t have to work out. If more people actually gave their bodies a good sweat when they aren’t feeling too hot they would experience some nice relief.


So in addition to my DayQuil and NyQuil I am also keeping positive, staying busy, and working out. Before I know it I hope to be back to 100% and talking in a voice that doesn’t sound like death. The common cold is not something I am going to let hijack a week of my life. Don’t Blink.