Visitng a Movie Rental Store

For the most part I enjoy the Redbox system for renting movies. While I dislike the pressure of someone standing behind me in line and I don’t particularly care for the onslaught of questions that come after I select my title the convenience and low cost outweigh my gripes. In fact I am so accustomed to the Redbox way of things that it takes a little bit of a nudge to remember how things used to be.

That nudge came yesterday when I needed to pick up a couple movies that came out several years ago. Redbox specializes in new releases, which is just fine with me as I don’t usually have an urge to watch older movies, but of course with the task ahead of me I needed to turn back the clock and visit a type of business that I had not entered since before I started my twenties. I am talking about a movie rental store.

Although how could I visit a movie rental store when Blockbuster and Hollywood Video bit the dust and entered the corporation dinosaur graveyard years ago? Wait a minute, you mean to tell me that mom and pop video stores still exist? Well you didn’t need to tell me that because I already know…I actually drive by Missoula’s own relic each day on my way to work. Nestled in an old shopping mall area on the east side of town right off from campus is a place called Crazy Mike’s Video. Having frequented it a couple times during my early college years and even making note of its retro nature back then I prepared myself for a trip in the time machine.

A look at the front of Crazy Mike's in Missoula. Photo courtesy of

A look at the front of Crazy Mike’s in Missoula. Photo courtesy of

I don’t know what word to characterize the vibe that came over me when I entered the place other than depressing. When I walked through the shoplifting proof doors of Crazy Mike’s I became the one and only customer. The store was neat and tidy with shelves adequately lined with DVDs but I just had that sense that places like this shouldn’t exist anymore. I felt out of place. This is of course in no disrespect to Crazy Mike’s because surviving with that type of business model in this current era of on demand and kiosk rentals is an extraordinary feat. However, I personally just didn’t feel inspired.

As the only customer I didn’t want to put pressure on the girl behind the counter to get up from her post and ask if I needed help finding anything so I just went directly to her and asked if she had the movies I was looking for. She typed them into the computer and reported that the store had both and I could find them in the comedy section. I trekked to the comedy area, tracked the titles down alphabetically, and went back ten years as I pulled the movie from the shelf. I took the DVDs to the counter and before the employee could say anything I politely said I would need to create a Crazy Mike’s account.

She took me through the process and got me set up. If I could have paid double for the rentals as a way of not having to go through the time and trouble of getting an account created I would have. When it was all said and done I paid a shockingly low $4.50 for both movies and she surprised me when she said I had them for a whole week. As I walked out of the store a faint smile crossed my face as the Crazy Mike’s sticker at the corner of the DVD’s had a “Be Kind Rewind” message on it.

This unnecessary message graces each Crazy Mike's DVD.

This unnecessary message graces each Crazy Mike’s DVD.

Most likely the last time I ever go back to the place will be when I return my current rentals. I react favorably to some nostalgia but for whatever reason I didn’t get a warm and fuzzy feeling with the old school mom and pop movie rental store. Just not my thing. Don’t Blink.

My Insanely Long Hair

This morning on Instagram I threw up a Throwback Thursday picture of myself from when I was a junior in high school. The photo showed me at a giant gold painted rock at the edge of the school grounds. The rock commemorated a weekly award given out to members of the Mead High School football team who worked exceptionally hard. My name happened to be written on that rock. But that is beside the point.

In this picture I wore a black Mead sweatshirt, jeans, and a Texas Longhorns cap. The gold rock clashed brilliantly with the snow on the ground. However my Instagram followers didn’t notice my attire, the snow, or the large gold stone. Instead the only thing they were focused on was the dark, curly mess flowing out of my burnt orange baseball hat.

Yep, this is me. Yep, that is my real hair.

Yep, this is me. Yep, that is my real hair.

Yep, that is my real hair. For the better part of 18 months starting during my sophomore year of high school I grew my hair out. Needless to say, it definitely grew. Although my hair didn’t grow straight it still managed to reach my shoulders. Most impressive was how it grew out from side to side. I had pretty much a giant curly fro/perm mop of hair that would make many women envious. Actually, scratch that, I am pretty sure it would make any female vomit.

My dad was actually supportive of my long hair!

My dad was actually supportive of my long hair!

I didn’t grow my hair out because I wanted to be a punk rocker. Nor because I was a pothead. Nor because I wanted to give a big “Screw You” to society. I was a very straight arrow kid who played sports, got straight A’s, and stayed out of trouble. Rather I just grew it for three main reasons:

1. I could
2. My friends encouraged me to
3. I wanted my hair to flow out of the backside of my football helmet.

This was probably at around the six month mark. Off to football camp!

This was probably at around the six month mark. Off to football camp!

No joke, those are the legitimate reasons for why I decided to go with the long hair look. I will admit that it was also kind of fun getting comments from other people also remarking on the sheer mass and twisted curls of my mane. Speaking of the word mane that reminds me of some of the nicknames people called me. I got everything from lion, Bozo the Clown, Samson, and hairy beast. While I enjoyed the encouragement from my friends and the random comments from people I ran into, I couldn’t escape my biggest critic…my mom.

My mother flat out hated my long hair. After I passed the six month mark I didn’t go one day without her nagging me to get it cut. While I could brush off her desperate pleas to visit the barber as the months went on my hair started to bother me a little bit. I couldn’t see as well because the thick strands would come down into my eyes and it took a lot to maintain. I also started to feel a little dirty too. With my tolerance for my hair starting to drain the last straw came when a football coach suggested to me that I get it cut. All good things come to an end.

It just got out of control.

It just got out of control.

I went to Fantastic Sams and told the mortified stylist that I wanted it all chopped off. I went from a load of hair to a #1 Caesar cut. After she finished I had never felt so free in my life. People either didn’t recognize me when I went to school the next day or they just burst out laughing the second I walked up to them. It was a total transformation.

While I still have incredibly curly hair I don’t have the growing power that I once had. Plus, since I am now an adult with a respectable job I don’t have the luxury of growing my hair out for 18 months. The out of control shoulder length curly hair is a thing of the past, reserved only for Throwback Thursdays and this blog post. It was a good run. Don’t Blink.

**Shout out to my brother, Glen Reser, for providing me with some of these photos.

The Underwhelming Winter Olympics (so far)

I hate sounding negative so please excuse my whining but after the first several days of the Sochi Winter Olympics I am not impressed. By no means though am I blaming my lack of inspiration on the host city, the athletes, the stray dogs, or NBC. Rather I take full responsibility for not doing everything I personally can to make the 2014 Winter Olympics more enjoyable for myself. In the same way that millions of people love “The Walking Dead” and I am indifferent to it, the same can be said for these games.

Although I enjoyed the opening ceremony my attention has since waned. Probably going against me the most is that I am not a winter sports enthusiast. But even with my ho-hum attitude about sports played in the snow and ice in the past I have still enjoyed the competition and pageantry of the games. This year that spark has disappeared for me.

I think I have become so spoiled with the Summer Olympics and the coverage of other sports broadcasts in general that I am a little underwhelmed and bored with the games going on right now. When I get home from work it seems like the only competition coverage I am finding on the Winter Olympics is the primetime package on NBC. This is cool and all but I would prefer to have the option to view the more obscure events on other networks within the NBC family. I just like the choice to watch events more in their entirety rather than watching the flagship station jump in and out of the most popular events.

I also have a tough time connecting with the athletes. To put it truthfully, many of the Olympic athletes lack the powerful and adversity-filled backgrounds and stories that athletes from the Summer Olympics hold. Events in the winter games are more specialized and equipment dependent. Because of this many of the athletes come from more established backgrounds. This privilege, along with geography (it doesn’t snow everywhere), also reduces dramatically the amount of countries participating. I never have a sense that the “whole world” is competing at the Winter Olympics. Speaking of equipment, the helmets, pads, and full body suits cover up many of the athletes. You can’t see faces, body physique, and in some cases, emotion. These things (when visible) are big reasons why I enjoy watching sports.

How can an Olympics go on without Bob Costas? Tonight will mark the second straight night without Bob behind the desk as he faces a nasty eye infection. Rotten luck for sure but not hearing him give his powerful intro, not watching him interact with the athletes in the studio, and not smirking at his dry sense of humor takes a lot away from my enjoyment of the games. Trust me on this one, I like the guy so much that I wrote a blog post about him.

Maybe lacking the most is just the buzz. I don’t feel that people are that engaged in the games, even in the social media era that we live in. I haven’t heard anyone really talk about the games at work. I haven’t received any texts yet from people asking me if I am watching. My Twitter feed is by no means blowing up with #WinterOlympics hash tags. Maybe I am living under a rock and I just don’t know it but the magic of the Olympics is not there.

I haven’t given up all hope yet. The games are still young and a lot can still happen. I will continue to tune into the primetime coverage and give it a chance until boredom overtakes me. The Olympics are just too important for me to write off so I am not jumping ship. But can someone please give Bob Costas a miracle drug so he can get back to that anchor desk? Don’t Blink.

Losing My Keys

Today I learned the stress of something that I have always considered a minor and silly problem that older forgetful people find themselves in. After going through it myself I now know how unsettling the dilemma can be and that younger people are not immune to experiencing it.

As I got up from my desk at noon to go to the gym I patted down my pockets and realized my keys weren’t there. Calmly I looked down at my desk and started shuffling papers. No luck. I went out into our little open space to see if I somehow dropped them on a table or ledge when I went out to greet people. After not finding them I went to the most likely spot I thought I could have left them, our storage closet. More than once I have left my keys in our good-sized marketing storage room. You need a key to get in so I usually take my key chain out, open the door, and then set my keys down on a shelf inside the room while I search for what I am looking for. With the door to the room still open I went in and looked…nothing.

Losing your keys is not a fun experience.

Losing your keys is not a fun experience.

At this time the first wave of uneasiness swept through me. The times I had misplaced my keys before I found them in five minutes. This go-around I had checked the usual places and came up empty. As I had a busy morning I started to think about all the places around the Adams Center I had covered. The upstairs offices, the Hall of Champions, the basketball court, the ticket office lobby, the Sky Club, and even the restroom were all places I had ventured to during the morning. I started the process of retracing my steps.

As I started to go back to these places without success I thought about the ramifications of losing my keys. I first thought about my University key. It gets me into my office, lets me into Washington-Grizzly Stadium, opens up the Dahlberg Arena gates, provides me access to many smaller and important rooms around the athletic department, and unlocks our smaller gym doors. Not only would it pain me personally to go without that access until I got a replacement but it would also pose a huge burden to our facilities staff as most likely those areas would be re-keyed.

I then thought about my apartment. How would I sleep tonight? I don’t get home from work until at least after 5 p.m., well after the property management had left for the day. I would have no way of entering my warm home, fixing dinner, blogging, and going to bed.

But not getting into my apartment was a moot point to begin with because I had no way of actually getting there…my car key and car door opener were both gone now. I knew I had a spare car key in my apartment but without having access to my apartment, well, you know how that goes. Very quickly the numerous negative impacts of losing my keys started to pile up. I didn’t even mention the complexities of also losing my storage unit key, mailbox key, and my lucky Las Vegas key chain.

After about thirty minutes of fruitless searching I made the move to retrace my steps from when I got out of my car, shuffled across the parking lot, and walked into the building. Trekking through the snow, peering into my car to see if I left my keys inside, and moving my head around like it was on a swivel I once again came up empty handed. I was now a little stressed. Our sports information director who could see it in me as I continuously came in and out of our offices looking around asked what I was doing. I told him my problem and he just said they would turn up. At this point I pretty much just took stock in what he said and I left to go to the place I originally intended to got before my unfortunate realization set in regarding my keys.

As I wrote about before, the gym is my refuge. When I am there I think. And think a lot. My mind is cleared and my brain activity is at its highest level. While I was on my wild goose chase I kept telling myself “Just go to the gym and you will be okay…it will come to you then.” But because of my stubbornness I decided to spend almost an hour of negative energy getting nowhere.

At the exact midpoint of my Tuesday workout a giant light turned on inside my head and an even bigger smile came across my face. Without even putting too much pressure on myself to figure out my problem during my gym session I had suddenly realized the solution to my agonizing mystery. I felt light as a feather for the remainder of my workout.

After changing I hustled back to work and went directly to our archive room where we keep all our records, programs, photos, slides, etc from the 100+ year history of Grizzly Athletics. There in the back of the room on the shelf storing our football media guides laid my keys. Forgetting that I helped someone with a project regarding the coaching staffs from the 2008 and 2009 football teams I totally neglected to look there this morning. I grasped my keys in my hand and went back to my desk feeling victorious.

I now have a very familiar idea on the helplessness that accompanies not knowing where your keys are. The contents of a key chain literally open so many doors that to no longer have that access is a crushing feeling. Now one of my readers please tell me, there are key trackers that people can purchase, right? Don’t Blink.

My iPhone 5 Issues

I love my iPhone to death. Behind my journals I can confidently say that if my apartment caught on fire my phone would be the second thing I would go in and retrieve. Because I prize my little piece of communication technology so much I do get a little distressed when it doesn’t give me optimal performance. Because I have owned my iPhone 5 for well over a year now I am currently experiencing a few technical difficulties with it.

Now I am the type of person who immediately turns to Google when I encounter a problem and simply type in my issue. More often than not the solution is formatted out in a neatly numbered list and I just follow the instructions and go on my way. However, these issues that I am currently experiencing don’t have clear cut Google answers directly relevant to my phone issues. My goal tonight is to address them on here and hopefully get some feedback from my dedicated readers. Those who can offer me some helpful advice will surely get a mention in an upcoming post.

Even when my iPhone acts up I still love it.

Even when my iPhone acts up I still love it.

I Need a Charge! – During Christmas my phone wouldn’t charge. I would plug in my charger to my phone and that faithful lightning symbol right next to the battery icon would fail to appear. I ran through my parents’ house trying every single outlet throughout their three stories. I flip flopped the piece of the charger that goes into the phone. I flip flopped the piece that plugs into the outlet. Nothing worked. I finally went out and just purchased a new charger. When that didn’t work either I thought the Spokane electricity just didn’t like my Missoula phone.

For whatever reason after my phone had been dead for about fifteen minutes it came back to life and started charging again. Over the next couple days my phone would sometimes charge and sometimes it wouldn’t charge. The inconsistency drove me nuts. When I returned to Missoula my phone seemed to charge each time I plugged it in. Then in about the middle of January I started to experience the same problem again. Over the course of a few days it would go back and forth between charging and not charging. It snapped out of that phase and started charging normally again until this past weekend. Once again I am dealing with either an iPhone or a charger (or both) that prefers to take time off and leave me without access to texting, Tweeting, e-mailing, etc. Does anyone know what the problem is?

Quick, Take an Important Picture! Dang It, Can’t – Working the job that I do I need to be ready to take photos and videos at the blink of an eye. However these days I am having a tougher time doing so. More often than not when I open up the camera feature on my phone I am greeted with a prompt that reads “There is not enough available storage to take a photo. You can manage your storage in Settings.” To make matters worse when this annoying message comes up I can’t delete photos and videos right on the spot from my camera but rather I have to exit it and delete from the photos icon. This takes a lot of time.

What makes me mad is that I can delete fifteen photos right away and go back to my camera and get the exact same prompt. How does that happen? Two pictures ago I was fine. The storage prompt then flashed so I seemingly overcompensated by deleting a large amount of photos but I still get shut out. Sure I have 1,900 photos on my camera role but not too long ago I had over 2,000. I have done a lot of work to cut back but I am still consistently getting the message. I have minimal music, only a couple videos, and just two pages of apps. What else can I do to free up space?

This message drives me CRAZY!!

This message drives me CRAZY!!

My Phone Indicates I Have Text Messages..Only I Really Don’t: I subscribe to SMS texts for about 10-15 Twitter accounts. While trying to solve my above problem of limited space I went through my iPhone deleting text message conversations. It seemed logical to delete my Twitter text conversation just because with the numerous accounts feeding into it, it fills up very quickly. Although I had two new tweets that were just delivered to my phone I neglected to check them and I swiped away and deleted the conversation.

But now the two unread tweets haunt me forever as they are reflected on my text message icon. When I have no new text messages I still have a white number two inside a red bubble attached to the icon. If I have one legitimately new text message I have a white number three inside a red bubble. If I wake up in the morning and I see that my notification says I have eight new texts I know I really only have six. It gets annoying. People will see my phone and ask why I don’t check my texts and I will have to tell them my situation. I have turned my phone on and off, I have looked up help topics, and I have swiped out of my text message screen. I still have that annoying number two on my phone. I am at a loss.

My phone always has at least a "2" in the text message notification spot.

My phone always has at least a “2” in the text message notification spot.


Even if I get some guidance or a good lead on one of these issues tonight I will be happy. Can any of you nerds (or people who are just smarter than me) help me out? I would appreciate it. Hope your week is off to a great start. Don’t Blink.

Praying For Peace in Sochi

Although I would watch the least significant sport in the Summer Olympics over the most significant sport in the Winter Olympics it doesn’t mean that I won’t watch the Sochi games. Although I have many reasons for liking the summer games over the winter games, what will occur in two days is still a world event that will match athletes across the planet against each other for the chance at Olympic gold. Just because I don’t care for cold, snow, and ice doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate what I like more than anything else…high level competition.

Because I deeply value this special level of competition that only the Olympics can provide please excuse me if I say that I am a little concerned about the Sochi games. For the past six months all I have read about are problems that are plaguing the 2014 Winter Olympics. Issues such as corruption, unready facilities, unsafe courses, inequality for some athletes, lack of planning, and stray dogs running all over the place keep getting a lot of play in the media. These obstacles are serious and could tarnish the games. However, if dealt with head on during the next two and a half weeks I believe Sochi can manage to keep them out of the public eye and make a respectable lasting impression. While it will take a lot of work I think Russia can do it.

What scares me the most is terrorism. With many experts forecasting doubt on the safety and current political climate of Sochi, I have my concerns. And not that the average person living in the U.S. has a superior grasp on foreign security measures but for what it is worth a CNN poll recently came out that shows 57% of Americans think a terror attack is likely at this year’s games. I hate to say it and I never like to overreact but I do have an uneasy feeling in my stomach about whether the games will go on peacefully from the time the cauldron is lit to when it is ultimately extinguished.

Although it happened over 14 years before I was born I have that eerie image engrained in my head of that one masked assailant at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich looking down from the balcony as he helped his terrorist group hold the Israeli athletes hostage. Even after September 11 I still associate that image as the face of terrorism. I still get chills just thinking about. To think of something like that repeating itself in 2014 scares me.

Of course foreign Olympic host countries aren’t the only ones vulnerable to an attack. The bombing during the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta is a tragic event that I remember very well even though I was only ten. These horrific events can happen anywhere at any time and I think that is what worries me most about Sochi…whereas no one thought an attack would occur in Atlanta many people think an attack will occur in Sochi. See where I am going? If a terrorist plot succeeded in an Olympic city that people thought was untouchable than surely a terrorist plot can succeed in an Olympic city that already has grave concerns about safety.

May the 2014 Winter Olympics be safe and joyous. While analysts and former security big shots around the world can point fingers at Sochi right now, we all really have no idea what type of sophisticated measures and tactics are being planned behind closed doors. Pray for peace! Don’t Blink.

My Disdain for the Current Jeopardy Champion

Growing up in my family whenever we all happened to be in the house when it came on we all liked to watch “Jeopardy” together. Actually, I should rephrase that. We all liked to compete against each other. When it came to us kids more than once fights broke out about who answered the clue first, who had answered the most clues correctly, and what penalty should be levied for blurting out wrong answers. We went as far as to participate in Final Jeopardy by writing our answers on computer paper and to reveal them as the actual contestants did. Shoot, our parents even bought us a Jeopardy computer game one Christmas. After a couple months it was pretty much useless because we had played it so much that we had all memorized every single answer in the game.

When I went home for Christmas this past December my brother, dad, and I got to reignite our game show rivalry by watching a couple episodes of Jeopardy. With my brother and I now more caught up to my dad’s knowledge it became a contest of out of the three of us who could read the clue at warp speed and spit out the answer before Alex Trebeck could even get out the first couple words. It got intense.

I bring all of this up to illustrate that I am a Jeopardy fan. I mean come on, if you take the time to read Ken Jenning’s book it pretty much goes without saying, right? Well anyway I want to use my Jeopardy loyalty status to serve as my right to weigh in on the newest Jeopardy champion. His name is Arthur Chu and to put it nicely, he is kind of a tool.

Chu is currently a four day champion with over $100k in winnings. After a special “Battle of the Decades” tournament that started this week he will return on February 24 in an attempt to win his fifth straight game and qualify for the champions tournament. As he has dominated the competition over the course of four nights he has gained haters mostly because of his unorthodox play and arrogance.

Chu’s strategy centers on him jumping all over the board selecting random categories and dollar amounts. This gives him a better chance to find the crucial daily doubles while also preventing his opponents from getting into any sort of a rhythm. Chu’s arrogance hinges on him showing apathy on the set and cockiness off it. In the interviews he has given over the past few days he seems about as likeable as Jim Harbaugh.

I don’t like the guy’s style of play for the exact same reason his opponents, Alex Trebek, the producers, and Jeopardy purists don’t like it: unpredictability. His opponents have no idea what clue is coming next, Alex has to search frantically for the note card he must pull, the producers know more editing will need to be done, and Jeopardy purists have a heart attack when the $200 clue in “American Potpourri” is not followed by the $400 clue in “American Potpourri”. Personally it messes with my Jeopardy Mojo when I am playing along as well. I feel smarter when I can answer three or four consecutive clues from a category that I know rather than get iced while Chu takes a tour around the board. I also just hate the sight of a Jeopardy board that has blank clues in the most random spots rather than orderly blanked out columns.

But make no mistake about It, the guy has a sound strategy and it has won him $102,000. I don’t blame him one bit for utilizing a smart and legitimate game plan to win a lot of money. Well done.

But what I can’t tolerate is the less than respectful way he conducts himself on stage. I don’t have as much of an issue with his comments he makes to the media outside of the studio as I do with what he does on set. You can win a lot of money and stand leaps and bounds above the competition while doing so with class. Ken Jennings did it for 74 nights. Arthur Chu couldn’t even do it through the first segment of the first show he appeared on. He acts disinterested and aloof. He has little concern for his opponents. But what I can’t stand the most is his disrespect for the God of game shows, Mr. Alex Trebek. While Chu calls Alex a “national treasure” you would never know it by watching him during the episodes. Besides speaking over Trebek when giving answers he also had a very bush league moment during a daily double clue that he didn’t know. When Trebek asked Chu how much he wanted to wager on a daily double based on a sports category the four time champ responded with $5. Jeopardy purist or not, that is a very disrespectful bet and should anger even the casual Jeopardy viewer. Then, to make matters worse, Chu responded “I don’t know” before Alex could even finish reading the clue. Pure classlessness.

While I don’t like Arthur Chu’s playing style I respect it. However, no one on this planet has the right to disrespect Alex Trebek. On February 24 I hope Chu loses. In fact I hope he suffers a humiliating defeat. For all I care he can end Double Jeopardy with an incorrect answer that will leave him with a negative amount thus disqualifying him from even participating in Final Jeopardy. No one crosses Trebek. Don’t Blink.