More Than Meets the Eye

On Wednesday night my boss took me out to dinner. We went to probably the most recommended place in Conway, the Riverfront Bistro. During the start of our delicious dinner he looked at me and said, “So do you have any questions for me? It seems like I already know pretty much everything about you.”

My dinner at the Riverfront Bistro. Bacon wrapped pork tenderloin with apples and onions. The side is the macaroni and cheese noodle cake.

My dinner at the Riverfront Bistro. Bacon wrapped pork tenderloin with apples and onions. The side is the macaroni and cheese noodle cake.

Bill reads my blog on occasion so he has a pretty good grasp on how I spend my time, what I value, opinions I hold, etc. After he asked the question I had a good laugh and admitted that I don’t know if it is exactly a good thing that I pretty much tell the whole world everything that is going on in my life. But then again I really don’t…believe it or not I have a small personal life (just like anyone) that doesn’t show up on a nightly basis in Don’t Blink.

But for the most part Bill’s question spoke a lot of truth. If anyone takes the time to follow me on social media or read my blog they are going to pretty much know what is up with me and who I am all about. I am very transparent and I give my audience a very real look into my life. If anyone wants to know how I feel about something they pretty much just need to do a keyword search on my blog and chances are I have already covered it in a post over the years. No need to actually ask me in person.

Since moving to Myrtle Beach, Bill is not the only one who has pretty much said “I feel like I already know you.” Numerous people on and off campus have told me that introductions and small talk aren’t necessary because they pretty much know so much about me. At first I am always flattered that they take the time to read what I have to say and follow me but then that feeling I alluded to above of doubting myself for putting so much out there starts to creep back. However, I am usually always able to shake it.

You see, I think having a solid foundation built by the time people meet me for the first time is a plus. Pressure is taken off, both for me and the person I am meeting, when you feel like you aren’t on ground zero. Like Bill said, he felt like he already knew me and I much rather start a relationship at that point. It also builds confidence to know that if someone is talking to me for the first time and they mention that they read my blog and follow me on Twitter that they have some interest in me. Cause let’s be honest, if you think what I say on my blog is junk and that it makes me sound like an arrogant jerk chances are you will do what you can to avoid me.

So in this roundabout way I don’t have a problem with my transparency over my personal new media accounts. I credit my blog and my social channels for helping me easily connect with lots of people here in South Carolina. Now that the blog reading and the initial in-person introductions are done I am excited to move onto the next phase…showing these people the Brent that doesn’t live behind a computer screen or an iPhone. I will do my best not to disappoint. Don’t Blink.

#CCU Social Media Adds Snapchat

As I am sure many of you are sick of hearing, I thoroughly enjoy my new job. Having the opportunity to develop a social media program at a different university from where I was previously has reignited my love even more for all things social. While I have implemented some of the strategies I used at Montana here at Coastal Carolina I have also had the chance to try some new things.

This week we introduced our #CCU Snapchat channel. Because of my workload and our audience, I never started one at UM. However, at Coastal Carolina University it just made perfect sense. With the mass amount of people using the service, an age demographic that aligns with exactly who we are trying to reach, and many mechanisms to creatively send out information it made perfect sense to utilize Snapchat.

Oh, one additional reason why it appealed to me? Not many colleges are on it. I don’t know if maybe they don’t understand it or if they don’t think they can communicate effectively with it but you don’t see many university Snapchat accounts. To get ahead of other institutions and reach out to the younger generation in the way they are communicating the most these days it was necessary for Coastal Carolina Social Media to establish a Snapchat presence. Thankfully our Vice President for Communication and my boss, Bill Plate, was well ahead of the game and reserved our social media handle (CCUChanticleers) on Snapchat long ago. With that piece already completed I launched our account simply by creating a graphic, doing some quick marketing on our social media channels, and then adding the users that instantaneously flooded our account.

#CCU Social Media opened up its Snapchat account for business!

#CCU Social Media opened up its Snapchat account for business!

I have participated personally in the Snapchat game for a long time now so I am pretty well versed in it but I was surprised by a few things while interacting with our audience. First off, they are YOUNG. Besides the college students that jumped on board with us there is an outrageous amount of kids that look nine years old who are on the service. Secondly, these young adults/kids are creative! I was laughing at and admiring many of the snaps that kept coming into our inbox. Besides the art that many of them can create on their snaps they are also witty and resourceful. Thirdly, they all have great appreciation for Coastal Carolina. I received a fair share of “Go Chant” snaps but I also received snaps from students stating that they can’t wait to get back to campus or that they are counting down the days until they get here for the first time. It was cool to see that pride over a social media outlet where I had never seen it before.

I really enjoy some of the creativity I have seen sent to our Snapchat channel.

I really enjoy some of the creativity I have seen sent to our Snapchat channel (thanks to Admissions)

Over the first few days of utilizing the #CCU Snapchat account I have just had fun with it. I like to send our “friends” (as they are called on Snapchat) generic snaps wishing them good morning or updating them on the weather on campus. I have also sent useful messages notifying them about the posting of grades or how to access our other social media accounts. Last night I ran a little promotion where I asked our friends to snap a photo of any Coastal Carolina logo. The first person who did so would win a prize. We received around 30 responses. Even about two hours after that snap went out our account was still receiving logo photos.

Just a few of the great snaps we got when we asked our friends to send us a CCU logo.

Just a few of the great snaps we got when we asked our friends to send us a CCU logo.

I encourage you to see how Coastal Carolina Social Media is utilizing Snapchat by friending us by searching “CCUChanticleers”. There are lots of possibilities for higher education institutions to creatively connect with their student audience through Snapchat and I am glad that #CCU is on it sooner than later. Don’t Blink.

Still Connected to Interollegiate Athletics

When people in Missoula found out that I accepted a position at Coastal Carolina they reacted in a few different ways. Some saw it as a total out of the blue move. Some wanted to know if it had anything to do with the Montana vs. Coastal Carolina football game in December. Some questioned me on whether I could handle a job outside athletics.

Let me briefly answer the first two thoughts. If it seemed like it came out of the blue then that is no coincidence. Why someone would want to let anyone else besides your current employer know about possible job prospects is beyond me. The “making moves” or “big interview tomorrow” statuses on social media disrespect both your current and potential employers and I think it jinxes your aspirations. And no, me taking the position at Coastal Carolina had 0% to do with the football game in December.

Now to the question that I felt carried the most weight: Could I fully embrace a job not directly affiliated with athletics? While I feel like the question was the most legitimate out of the three for others to ask it never really made me think twice. I love sports with all my heart but I wasn’t opposed to a change. After four and a half years of 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. days, non-existent weekends, and a laundry list of responsibilities it started to wear on me a bit. Add that to the amazing opportunity presented to me by Coastal Carolina and I knew my next career move was set.

But you see, I have the best of both worlds. While I am no longer toiling working inside an athletic department I still get the opportunity to experience intercollegiate athletics. In my job now I cover all happenings and events on campus so I get to take the time and share the good news of Chanticleer Athletics. Luckily for me this part of the new gig is fun and easy because the CCU athletics department has welcomed me with open arms.

Chauncey welcomed me with open arms too.

Chauncey welcomed me with open arms too.

It is kind of interesting because even before I moved to Myrtle Beach I already kind of had my foot in the door with the athletics staff. When I went to the CCU campus in March for my in-person interview Matt Hogue, the Associate Vice President of Marketing/Licensing, was on the hiring committee. About a week after my interview he was named the interim Athletic Director. Also during my in-person interview I had a session where I interviewed with three people who play big roles in the CCU social media landscape around campus. One of those people happened to be Kevin Olivett, the marketing director for Chanticleer Athletics. Even though he was in the middle of running two conference basketball tournaments at the time he still managed to sit in for my interview.

Fast forward to the end of April and Kevin kept in touch with me. He followed my journey across the country and wasted no time reaching out to me and setting up a lunch date. Just my fourth day on the job he took me to downtown Conway where we ate at a place called the Crafty Rooster. Joining us was a play-by-play announcer for the department and a Myrtle Beach sports talk radio host, Aaron Marks. Later that day I sat in a meeting with Kevin, his assistant, and the department’s ticket guy to brainstorm social media ideas. How cool and nice of them to involve me in their social media efforts and value my opinion!

The hospitality didn’t stop there though. I received an all-access pass for the Big South Conference softball tournament. I had a nice time covering and watching the tourney from the brand new softball facility on campus. As the Chants made it to the championship game I got to meet more athletics staff including the videographers and the sponsorship director. All were so gracious and welcoming. It was refreshing to see how another athletic department goes about business and I came out of the weekend just that much more pumped to be a Chanticleer.

I had a great time attending the softball tournament and seeing how another athletic department does things.

I had a great time attending the softball tournament and seeing how another athletic department does things.

So please don’t worry about me if you think I am not getting my athletics fix in. I definitely am! Things are just much more balanced now. I am seeing a much wider perspective of university life while still getting to focus a little bit in the area where I got my start in. Don’t Blink.

Eating at Two Powerhouse Food Chains in the South

On my cross country drive to Myrtle Beach I started noticing something about the time I entered Missouri. Seemingly located every couple of miles of the remaining drive I saw a couple different restaurants over and over. One of these restaurants was Waffle House. I had never set foot in one before but knew of them because of pop culture and Bubba Watson. The second restaurant I kept seeing took me a while before I figured out what it was. Probably after passing the tenth one I saw I made out the name of Bojangles.

Well it took me almost two weeks in South Carolina to do so but yesterday I decided to eat at both of these southern staples. For lunch I dined at the Bojangles location right next to the campus of Coastal Carolina and then later that night I enjoyed dinner at a Waffle House a couple miles from my place. Besides gaining about ten pounds I also gained the experience of eating at these fine institutions. Also, since I ate by myself, I got to really take it all in and make some quality observations. Might as well stimulate my brain if I am killing my body, right?

The full name of the first restaurant I dined at is Bojangles Famous Chicken ‘n Biscuits. As you can probably gather, they specialize in serving fried chicken and biscuits. The restaurant is set up like any typical McDonalds or Jack in the Box. You go in, order your food at the counter, receive a number, and then sit at a table or booth. You pour your own drink and help yourself to napkins/condiments.

A look at the outside of the Bojangles I visited and the view from inside where I sat.

A look at the outside of the Bojangles I visited and the view from inside where I sat.

I ordered the two piece chicken meal. In addition to the chicken I also got a home-style fixin’ (a side item), a biscuit, and a drink. For chicken I received a leg and a wing and I chose mashed potatoes for my home-style fixin’. My food came out less than two minutes after I ordered it. I got my tray and went to my table, looked at my phone one last time, and then started eating.

Me getting ready to chow down at Bojangles.

Me getting ready to chow down at Bojangles.

The chicken had a slight spicy taste to it which I liked. But after that taste dissipated I didn’t really find anything that made it better from KFC. The biscuit in my opinion was just okay, kind of a little dry. So that should say enough; the two items they pride themselves on, chicken and biscuits, both came out as subpar in my book. The mashed potatoes left no impression on me at all. Of course I still ate every bit of my meal. Afterwards I went to the bathroom for a long hand washing before going off to campus to watch softball.

My plate of food. While it looks really good it was average.

My plate of food. While it looks really good it was average.

I had a much more satisfying experience at Waffle House. Although I must say I didn’t go in with really high expectations. It seemed like everyone I talked to at work or the people I have met here gave the chain a less than flattering review. Words such as “sketchy” and “low quality” coupled with sarcastic laughter seemed to predominate. But I love waffles and I want the whole southern experience so I knew I would look past the warnings and give it a shot.

A look at the exterior of the Waffle House I visited and where I sat at the counter.

A look at the exterior of the Waffle House I visited and where I sat at the counter.

Waffle Houses aren’t big places. They are small diners with an open kitchen. You can sit at the counter right in the middle and watch them cook your food or you can sit at surrounding tables. Because I was by myself I sat at the counter. An employee came up to me and asked if I knew what I wanted. I had to tell him I needed to look at a menu because it was my first time ever in a Waffle House. The guy literally thought I was kidding!

Me enjoying my experience at Waffle House.

Me enjoying my experience at Waffle House.

I ordered a double order of hash browns with cheese on top AND a peanut butter waffle. To wash it down I got a tall glass of cold milk. The hash browns tasted great. As I ate I could sense how heavy the browns were. Each bite delivered a heavy dose of butter and grease. To give them an extra little kick I added some tobasco and chowed down. After I ate the hash browns I turned to my waffle. They did a nice job of completely covering it with little peanut butter chips. With the waffle still hot even though I ate the potatoes first I closed my eyes in bliss as I ate. Rich and tasty I ate it wondering how the place gets such bad reviews. Unlike at Bojangles where I didn’t find the signature items all that special I felt the waffles at Waffle House were the real deal. (Funny side story: My server cooked himself up the exact same order I put in because he thought it looked so good).

My meal was awesome! Look at those hash browns!

My meal was awesome! Look at those hash browns!

As Waffle House is open 24 hours and there are about 164,093 of them in this area I will surely eat there again. I will give Bojangles another shot too. But I got to use caution. The risk of gaining a lot of weight in my new home is very real. With me eating at these two places I have added another notch to my southern belt. I think the accent comes next. Don’t Blink.

Latest Weekend in Myrtle Beach

After a great first weekend in Myrtle Beach I went out and did it again. Yes, as this weekend comes to a close I am once again ecstatic with my new life down south. Let me catch you all up…

Actually first off let me back up. My first full week as a Coastal Carolina University employee was AH-mazing. I had the opportunity to dive right into my new job full speed. I had the pleasure to meet numerous staff members, connect with the wonderful students at this university, and cover some great events. All the excitement and adrenaline of the first week seemed to culminate on the final day, Friday, as I got to cover four different events. From an honors induction to a softball game to a convocation and then to a senior celebration I had a blast.

So this of course brings us to the weekend. At 6:30 a.m. on Saturday morning I was in the office preparing for the big Coastal Carolina University commencement. By 7:15 a.m. I was out on the athletic practice field where the graduates lined up to check in. After taking photos/video of the giddy soon-to-be graduates I entered Brooks Stadium, home of the Chanticleer football team, for the first time ever. For the next three hours I ran around the facility covering the graduation the best way I could. On a warm morning in front of a stadium packed with friends and family over 900 students graduated. Utilizing a tag team approach I covered the event from on-site and provided the content through our main social networks while our Vice President for Communication (and my boss), Bill Plate, meshed all of it into Storify. It was a successful formula.

I had a nice time covering the Coastal Carolina graduation from inside Brooks Stadium.

I had a nice time covering the Coastal Carolina graduation from inside Brooks Stadium.

On Saturday night I enjoyed another exceptional southern dining experience. I drove out to an ocean community right outside of Myrtle Beach called Murrels Inlet. The area is covered with awesome restaurants and bars. I went to an establishment called Flo’s Place. Let me tell you, this restaurant couldn’t be more southern! From the greeting you get when you walk in to the alligator fixture on the wall to the menu stocked with all the southern delicacies you could imagine it was definitely the real deal. My friend Mary served me as I ordered red beans, rice, and sausage with a bowl of clam chowder! I enjoyed every bite of my food and relished the very unique dining experience. No, I did not order the Gator Stew (actual menu item).

Flo's Place was great! Take a look at my red beans, rice, and sausage!

Flo’s Place was great! Take a look at my red beans, rice, and sausage!

This morning I attended 9:15 a.m. mass at St. Andrew’s Parish. After a couple weeks of missing out on mass it felt so great to be back in the pew. The church was packed for the service and although I noticed a few differences from the way mass is conducted in the west it was pretty much uniform. The worship space itself was unique with three different sections of seating and a high ceiling. With so many people at the service you might have expected Communion to go on forever but they had a high number of Eucharistic Ministers who went out to the different seating sections and distributed the blessed gift. The priest was very charismatic and funny. Next week I might attend a different parish just to get a feel for what is out there and give me a couple options.

I attended mass at St. Andrew's Parish this morning.

I attended mass at St. Andrew’s Parish this morning.

At noon today the Coastal Carolina softball team hosted Charleston Southern in the Big South Conference tournament championship game. With a berth to the NCAA tournament on the line I went to the brand new softball stadium to cover the action. While talking with the very welcoming athletic department staff up on the media deck I watched the defensive battle transpire for the whole seven innings. Unfortunately the Chants came up short, 3-1. After sticking around for the awards ceremony I left campus until I return for my workout at 6 a.m. tomorrow.

The CCU softball team stands during the awards ceremony today.

The CCU softball team stands during the awards ceremony today.

Of course I also managed to squeeze in the pool, beach, and sun this weekend but since that is the norm for me now I didn’t feel the need to expound on it. My readership has gone up significantly over the past few weeks so I want to thank all of you for taking the time to read Don’t Blink. If you have any suggestions or criticisms please let me know. Have a wonderful week. Don’t Blink.

The Reason Why I Watch the NFL Draft

The NFL Draft is just about to start. After months of hype, analysis, and predictions the drawn out event will finally kick off this evening. But to be honest I am not interested most in where Johnny Football will go, whether Jadeveon Clowney will hear his name called at number one, or even where a couple of Montana football players will land. Rather, my intrigue will be devoted to another man.
Mel Kiper Jr.

Call me strange and question my manhood but I really like the job that Mel Kiper does. In fact, I think he is the perfect example of someone completely exceeding the expectations of a job and separating himself from anyone else in his profession. The amount he knows, the degree to which he prepares, and his talent for relaying the information (even if he is talking 100 MPH) is very admirable to me. In my opinion he is an all-star.

This guy is a stud.

This guy is a stud.

Something about his personality just makes me like him. He reminds me of the overly nice nerdy kid in high school who knew every single detail about sports, of course never playing them, who could talk non-stop about the most trivial aspects of athletics such as the past six bench coaches of the Toronto Blue Jays or the jersey numbers of the 1999 Atlanta Hawks. I always liked that type of kid though and it might explain my fandom of Mel. But let me give the guy a little more credit. While he might have a personality that reminds me of a socially awkward sports obsessed nerd he is a genius with a knack for evaluating talent and a gift for killing it on television.

Ah yes, the work he does on TV. I love it. The intensity he brings to the set along with his trademark hair and glasses makes him a lot of fun to watch. The way he just rattles off information the moment names are announced is fascinating. Watching him on TV during the year shows off his intelligence and talent but the true spectacle really comes during the latter rounds of the draft where he can recite every vital statistic and tendency for the players drafted in the triple digits. I know it is his job to know all the prospects but the detail and promptness with which he talks about them once their names are called is astonishing.

I also like him because he knows more than just football, contrary to what some might think. On Saturday mornings he hops on ESPN radio for a weekly show and just dominates it. He talks about all sports and is precise, interesting, and humorous. Even though he broadens his scope during the Saturday show he will still talk some football. For the past few weeks they have had a segment where they just open up the phone lines and callers ask him anything they want about the NFL Draft. In about two minutes he will go through 15 different callers dishing out in depth information right on the spot. No pauses, no gaps, no asking the caller to repeat.

Kiper doesn’t show ego or a larger than life personality on air. He just goes out and does his job. But he is so much smarter than anyone else that he has developed kind of a “mad scientist” type persona. I wouldn’t say that is a bad thing though. In fact I think it has really molded him into a respected and beloved ESPN talent. Bring on the NFL Draft, I want to see Mel! Don’t Blink.

Bar Rescue

To read an actual account of someone who appeared on “Bar Rescue,” click here.

My common answer when asked about reality television is that I think it is all scripted but that doesn’t stop me from watching some of it. An example of such a show for me is “Bar Rescue.”

For those who don’t know what the show is about here is the very basic premise: A guy who specializes in revitalizing bars visits a failing establishment in each episode. He then works his magic and turns it into a money making machine (supposedly). The show lasts an hour and there is never a shortage of drama, cursing, and yelling.

My brother and I love the show. We text back and forth when it is on. We love it when Jon Taffer (the star of the show) loses it. We compare the bar featured on the given program to bars we have frequented. Whenever we go into a restaurant or a bar area we immediately ask ourselves what would happen if “Bar Rescue” converged on the place. We get a lot of entertainment out of the show that lasts us much longer than just when it is airing on television.

With that said, we don’t take it entirely seriously. In my opinion I think “Bar Rescue” is just as scripted as any other reality show out there today. I mean it doesn’t take much to realize that each show follows the exact same predictable format: Jon walks into a failing bar and notices horrific problems. He chews out the staff and belittles the owner. He brings in his people to transform the bar. He has the staff go through a “stress test” when they bring the public in for a soft opening of sorts…it always ends in disaster. After more yelling and patronizing everything seems to click. Taffer transforms the bar in one night. They have the grand opening and for that evening it turns out to be a smashing success. Rinse and repeat.

Every show is like that. There is always resistance. Terrible business practices and unsanitary conditions are always exposed, Taffer always overreacts, the staff always has a meltdown during the stress test, a magnificent bar makeover is always accomplished, and a lavish grand opening with a great performance from the staff and a record night of sales always concludes the show. If you watch reality TV hoping to be surprised don’t watch bar rescue.

Besides the scripted and predictable format other things just give it away that the show isn’t 100% “reality.” For some reason whenever Taffer is doing a stakeout in his car right before entering the bar the surveillance always picks up the bartenders fighting, an employee stealing, or an owner making out with his girlfriend in the corner. Although he looks like he might have been athletic in his day, I am also amazed that Jon always manages to sneak up on the bar owner before he/she can spot the large man and his camera crew. I also have zero idea how the show can bring the whole staff out in front of the bar and not have them look at their made over business until Taffer gives them the okay to turn around. I have also yet to see one of Taffer’s undercover moles go into a business and return without any incriminating evidence. It all just works way too well.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy watching “Bar Rescue.” But I know it isn’t authentic. So I will continue to watch the show and get my laughs but don’t think for a minute that I think Jon Taffer is working miracles. Don’t Blink.

Loving My New Job Already

Is it too early to say I love my job yet? Although I have only had my gig at Coastal Carolina University since last Thursday I couldn’t be more excited about what I am doing or more satisfied with the decision I made to come here. The welcome I have received on campus has exceeded all my expectations and while I have the freedom to do my work I also know I have the complete support of our staff if I needed assistance. In tonight’s blog post I just want to share a few things that I have experienced in my first few days at CCU.

Finals Frenzy – It is finals week at Coastal Carolina. Last night an event called Finals Frenzy took place in Hicks Hall on campus. Starting at 10 p.m. and going until midnight students could come by and eat a variety of free food, participate in a cornhole tournament, win sweet prizes, and try to make a dent in a giant mountain of ice cream. For me it marked the first CCU event that I got to cover. I really enjoyed interacting with the students and observing them as well. Another highlight was that I got to meet several staff members who play large roles in the CCU social media landscape. Adding just one more plus to the late evening was that I got introduced to the President, Dr. DeCenzo.

This wasn't even the ice cream mountain at full size. In fact, this was what it looked like over an hour into the event.

This wasn’t even the ice cream mountain at full size. In fact, this was what it looked like over an hour into the event.

Exposure to Different Students – Today I went and took behind the scenes photos/video at the taping of the news program that our department puts out called “Coastal Today”. The particular show shot this morning was a special with the graduating Bachelor of Fine Arts students. With the filming taking place in the intimate Black Box Theater of the Edwards Building I had the opportunity to meet extremely talented individuals who hope to make a big splash in the performing arts world. Fresh off a trip to New York where they underwent evaluation, the students had the opportunity to talk on camera about their experiences and upcoming graduation. I absolutely loved working with student-athletes but I find it cool that I now get to work with a wide variety of different student groups.

 

I went on set of "Coastal Today" and met some cool students.

I went on set of “Coastal Today” and met some cool students.

 

Teal Tuesday – Coastal Carolina University has an awesome tradition where the campus dresses in teal on Tuesdays. People take this very seriously, especially the staff, and as you can imagine the participation rate is high. I sported my new teal CCU polo today and really felt part of the Coastal Carolina family. Besides the fact that I like the color teal and that I love the concept in general I also enjoy the fact that my decision on what to wear on Tuesdays is no longer an issue.

Me on my first ever Teal Tuesday.

Me on my first ever Teal Tuesday.

Office Location and Staff – I work in University Communication at CCU. We are housed right in the middle of campus in the Singleton Building. Besides my office (which also includes media relations, marketing/licensing, publications, and graphics) we also share the building with the President’s office, business and finance, and legal counsel. While it is a neat deal to work in the administration building on campus the experience is heightened even more because of the people I get to work with inside those walls. I can’t say enough about how much the staff I am on has gone out of their way to make me feel comfortable and welcome. My boss is beyond awesome and the other people who make up University Communication treat me so well. I have said it before, I am extremely happy I made the decision that I did.

The Singleton Building is where I work in (left) and this is the door to our offices (right).

The Singleton Building is where I work in (left) and this is the door to our offices (right).

Beauty – The campus here is gorgeous. It is vibrant green and the grounds are meticulously well-kept. A pond sits in the middle of campus with a bridge crossing over it. Flower beds can be found everywhere you look. Adding to the beauty of the campus is the fact that it is pretty much always drenched in abundant sunshine. What’s not to like?!

During an early morning stroll on campus I took this photo of the pond while crossing the bridge.

During an early morning stroll on campus I took this photo of the pond while crossing the bridge.

I am on fire for what I am doing right now. I love what I am tasked with and the environment that I get to do it in. Coastal Carolina University is a wonderful place to work and I am very glad that I am here. Don’t Blink.

Time Zone Swap: Living Ahead of Family and Friends

I know now that for the most part people are people and living is living. Although people like to say things are way different in this part of the country or in that part of the country this much is universal: Courtesy, hard work, and intelligence will make you affluent in any society. Yes, there are differences between the west and the south but the truth of the matter is that both areas are populated with people who share basic needs and aspirations.

However, one thing not shared is the time zone. Maybe one of the biggest adjustments I have made since moving to the south is becoming acclimated to the Eastern Time zone. Now I don’t mean I had to become acclimated to it in a body sense. My circadian rhythm or whatever they call it never skipped a beat. When I entered Eastern Time somewhere in Kentucky I automatically made the switch and never let any silly jet leg theories play with my head. I never became tired or disoriented like some people like to claim happens to them.

For me the battle came with adjusting to two things: the start times of sporting events and living ahead of everyone else I know.

I definitely got a funny feeling watching NBA playoff games that finished the FIRST HALF at MIDNIGHT. I mean I totally understand that these games are played on the west coast and must be scheduled that way but it seemed so weird to watch live basketball play into the early morning of the next day. I grew up a Mariner fan and have followed them my whole life. I am definitely not following them as closely anymore. With first pitch for home games at 10 p.m. ET you would be hard pressed to track a game without going to bed before 1 a.m. Living on the east coast really makes sports seem like a much more round the clock thing.

Talking with family and friends is quite a bit different. Living in Montana I was on Mountain Time so I am two hours ahead of most my friends. But my family, who all live in Washington state, are on Pacific Time. As many of you know I tweet out a “Life’s Little Instruction” phrase right when I get up each morning. Besides tweeting it out I also text it to my mom. You need to understand though that I get up at 5 a.m. in the morning so these days my mom is having her phone go off at the sweet hour of 2 a.m. Now before you give me the “Worst Son in the World” award I think the text actually gives my mom a little bit of comfort knowing that her son is doing okay and is up and well.

But in the past week it has been routine for me to wake up in the morning and have text messages from both my friends and my brother waiting for me. I also open up Facebook and have numerous notifications. When I lived out west I usually stayed up later and awoke earlier than most so text messages or social media alerts didn’t get past me. Not the case anymore. While I am dozing others are still interacting with me. Not that I begrudge them at all for doing so…how hypocritical would that be coming from the guy who texts his mom a stupid quote at 2 a.m. each morning?

All in all, I don’t know how I feel about it. At times it seems as if the people I have known my whole life are much further behind than just 3 hours. It seems weird that at 10 a.m. when I have already been up for five hours it is only 7 a.m. back home. Or it seems odd that in the afternoon at 1:30 p.m. my family still has an hour and a half to go before lunch. Or it seems funny that when I am home at my apartment relaxed for the night and it is dark out my dad is just getting off work.

As time goes on it will seem much more normal. However, if you asked me what one of the bigger adjustments for me with the move has been I would probably point to the time zone change. Hey, I must not be doing that bad if that is one of the larger challenges I have had to face, right? Don’t Blink.

First Weekend in Myrtle Beach Down, First Full Week at CCU Coming Up

I find myself in a very content position right now. I am coming off a super nice first weekend in Myrtle Beach and I have a lot to look forward to this upcoming work week.

Let me start first with the weekend. As I mentioned in my last blog post, Saturday started well with a great workout, the completion of some housekeeping issues, and pool time. But it only got better from there. My new friend Veronica and I went out to a great restaurant in Garden City (a small town about 10 miles from Myrtle Beach). Called the Guflstream Café, it is a coveted local steak and seafood place that was built right on the beach. The two of us sat on the upper deck overlooking the water and boats. For dinner we had New York steak and delicious salmon. It is also worth noting that the mashed potatoes that came with the entrees were to die for.

It was a very enjoyable dinner at the Gulfstream Café (clockwise: The view from the deck, the restaurant sign, Veronica with her salmon dinner, my steak!).

It was a very enjoyable dinner at the Gulfstream Café (clockwise: The view from the deck, the restaurant sign, Veronica with her salmon dinner, my steak!).

On Sunday I started the day off right by going to church. As I search for a Catholic church this morning I went with Veronica to her church called New Spring. I feel it is always good to go outside your comfort zone every now and then. After the service I came back to my apartment and spent some more time at the pool. This time though a couple fellow residents introduced themselves to me so I got to meet some people who live at my complex. After I took a stroll on the beach I went to a place called Broadway at the Beach, an area in Myrtle Beach that is full of shops, food, and bars. Although I loved the atmosphere I didn’t achieve my mission of finding a Mother’s Day gift.

The pool at the Alexan Withers Preserve complex is awesome! Great layout and atmosphere.

The pool at the Alexan Withers Preserve complex is awesome! Great layout and atmosphere.

From Broadway at the Beach I went the few block to TicketReturn.com Field, the baseball stadium of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. As a Minor League Single A (long season) team I enjoyed the laid back atmosphere and my seat located in the shade behind home plate. I dominated a bag of peanuts and enjoyed the time by myself…in my opinion, a perfect way to cap off the weekend.

I had a nice relaxing time at the Myrtle Beach Pelicans game.

I had a nice relaxing time at the Myrtle Beach Pelicans game.

I am stoked to get back to work tomorrow! It is graduation week at Coastal Carolina University and I will have the opportunity to work hard and do as much as I can to generate excitement and buildup through our social media outlets. Graduation itself will take place on Saturday in Brooks Stadium, the home of the football team. There will also be festivities prior to the ceremony that I will get to cover as well, just additional chances for me to get my feet wet and connect with the CCU community.

I feel fortunate. I feel fortunate that the staff at Coastal Carolina University has welcomed me so warmly. I feel fortunate that I met someone like Veronica who has taken the time to hang out with me and serve as my “tour guide” so to speak (she hates that term). I feel fortunate that I have the support of my family almost 3,000 miles away. I am blessed. Have a great week everyone! Don’t Blink.