Feel the Teal: Serving Others

Since arriving at Coastal Carolina University I have had the opportunity to go through training unlike anything else I have ever gone through with any other employer. What type of training you might ask? I am talking hard core customer service/employee betterment boot camp type training.

Well boot camp is definitely too strong of a word. The trainings aren’t that intense and our instructor isn’t anything like a crazy drill sergeant. I guess a better way to describe the program offered at Coastal Carolina to get employees at the top of their games might be outstanding service awareness. Or I can just call it what they call it here at CCU, Feel the Teal.

Coastal Carolina University has designed a program called Feel the Teal that teaches employees how to be as effective as possible in all aspects of interactions with others on campus. The program emphasizes showing the utmost respect for all groups whether it be students, parents, co-workers, etc. Made up of eight separate modules, you dive into a lot of issues while learning how you can approach certain situations better.

As of last Friday I have now completed the first three modules titled Service Basics, Attitude of Service, and Civility on Campus. All two hour sessions taught by Director of Service Excellence Eileen Soisson, I have felt like I have learned a lot. In no particular order, topics discussed over my total of six hours in training include how to point, whether it is ever okay to e-mail during a meeting, the distance that it becomes necessary to acknowledge someone, the true definition of civility, sneaky ways of being uncivil in the workplace, ways that detract from work productivity, acceptable time to respond to phone calls/e-mails, proper components to have in an e-mail signature, appropriate ways of addressing others, the power of a good attitude, the importance of going above and beyond, and so much more.

Some of these things you might say are common sense but you really learn a lot more in Feel the Teal because you get to workshop with other Coastal employees and Eileen does a fantastic job of leading the discussion. The points brought up tend to stay with you. The fact that a workplace is devoting so much energy, time, and money to an initiative such as Feel the Teal tells me that I am employed by a pretty special university. Coastal Carolina wants all employees to be outstanding ambassadors for the university and how can you blame them? Well you can’t, cause I think every university probably wants that out of the people they hire. But what separates CCU is that it goes miles and miles beyond what other institutions are doing to make a campus where everyone puts others before themselves.

I never had any idea that programs resembling Feel the Teal existed until I arrived here in South Carolina. I think it is a more than worthy initiative that helps everyone associated with this campus. I invite any of my friends back west to come visit me in Myrtle Beach and we will head over to CCU and you will see the difference. It is pretty cool. Don’t Blink.

I Will Miss You, Uncle Mike

At 1:27 a.m. this morning Mike Reser passed away in Washington state. While he fell just a few days short of his 60th birthday I don’t think the significance of him holding on until Father’s Day can be lost.

My Uncle Mike last July.

My Uncle Mike last July.

The end came abruptly for my Uncle Mike. Last week at this time he was doing fine. A couple days later my dad’s brother was in a coma at a hospital in Walla Walla, Washington. While initially it looked like Mike might recover his heart issue took a terrible turn for the worse and by the time he was transported to a hospital in Richland, Washington, it became apparent that the end was near. Mike’s seven sisters and brothers stood by his bed the whole time, an absolutely devastating blow to a family that is incredibly close. The ventilator stayed hooked up until Mike’s grown children could travel up from Las Vegas to be with him.

As a child Mike was the uncle who you always heard about but never saw. He lived in Las Vegas so I never really spent much time with him until I was around ten years old. It was then that Mike and his wife Theresa and her son Marty moved to Spokane. We went from never seeing each other to hanging out several times a week. My dad finally got an occasional break from listening to me talk sports non-stop and pestering him to go shoot hoops outside because Mike was now there to fill in. Although they only stayed in Spokane for about two or three years before moving back to Las Vegas something significant happened during that time span. Mike and Theresa welcomed a brand new member to their family, a little boy named Mickey.

My parents, brother, sister, and myself visited Mike a couple times in Las Vegas. Then, much to everyone’s joy, Mike’s family moved to his hometown of Walla Walla about a year ago. With most of his siblings living there and my dad only three hours away it seemed perfect that the whole Reser family was in Washington state once again.

Because Mike returned to Washington State he was able to do a lot of fun things with his brothers and sisters, including going to Seahawks games (photo cred to my Aunt Nancy).

Because Mike returned to Washington State he was able to do a lot of fun things with his brothers and sisters, including going to Seahawks games (photo cred to my Aunt Nancy).

The last couple times I got to see Mike can’t be categorized by anything other than pure happiness. Last July I got out of Missoula and went to visit my family in Spokane for a few days. From there we made the trip to Walla Walla for the Fourth. In the town there is a beautiful green area called Pioneer Park. It was here that my dad’s side of the family had a big ol’ Fourth of July celebration. It was such a great day with good food, cold beer, lots of sun, lawn games, and best of all, family. When Mike showed up at the park I had to give him a double take because we were both wearing the same tacky Wal-Mart Fourth of July shirt that we bought at different locations the night before. Between the laughter we had to remind ourselves that great minds think alike.

The next day was my best day of 2013. I had so much fun and felt so blessed spending it with my family. One of that day’s events was a birthday dinner at the best Mexican restaurant in Walla Walla called El Sombrero. We were celebrating Mike’s belated birthday and my dad’s upcoming one. I got to sit right between the two men of honor and will always remember the oversized sombreros on their heads and the oversized smiles on their faces (Click here for six seconds of that special birthday dinner).

If you can tell by the smile on my face, this was a great day. So proud that I got to sit next to Uncle Mike at this special dinner.

If you can tell by the smile on my face, this was a great day. So proud that I got to sit next to Uncle Mike at this special dinner.

Some people might not have picked up on it right away but Mike was a very smart man. He was very intelligent and had a lot of knowledge in his head and if you talked to him for a while it would become very evident. He also had a very unique sense of humor that could make even the most pessimistic and gloomy person smile. Mike served our country in the Marines. He could fix anything you brought to him. He had a love for sports and a dedication to his family.

After such an amazing start to my new chapter here in Myrtle Beach I came face-to-face with one of the harsh negative realities of living on the other side of the country away from my loved ones. While there is Skype and while there are telephones I couldn’t be there for Mike, my dad, and the rest of my extended family this past week. For that I feel very guilty. I just want my family to know that I am thinking about them.

Thank you Uncle Mike for being a positive influence in my life. I will miss you and will try to carry on your spirit as best as I can. Don’t Blink.

Chap Stick. Shattered Light. CCUSA. Sunglasses. Demi Lovato

For the third straight Thursday I wish to ramble on about five totally different topics. So sit back and let me quickly take you through the five things on my mind this evening.

Chap Stick and Pens: It is freshmen orientation season here at Coastal Carolina as the first two of nine total orientations took place this week. In order to advance our #CCU Social Media program I hand out a card I had made listing our social outlets to our incoming freshmen. To make the card a little more attractive I tape either a CCU tube of chap stick or a CCU ballpoint pen to it. Standing outside of the main dining hall during their lunch hour I await for the students to walk out as they march to their next session. Both days I did this it was as if I was giving away cards of gold instead of cards of paper with a writing utensil attached to it. I got swarmed and had to put forth an amazing effort in the hot South Carolina sun to keep up with seemingly a thousand hands in my bubble waiting for a card. I never felt so popular in my life.

A look at the card complete with the chap stick that is making me very popular with freshmen college students.

A look at the card complete with the chap stick that is making me very popular with freshmen college students.

Shattered Light: Last Thursday night a violent storm passed through Myrtle Beach. Angry thunder and constant lightning accompanied a downpour of rain. It was pretty ugly. Trying to stay out of it all I hung out in my apartment while, you guessed it, blogging. All of a sudden another round of ear-jolting thunder rattled the area and I let out a gasp as the light fixture right outside of my bedroom and laundry room completely shattered, producing a savage noise. Now I don’t know if the shattering was caused by the sound of the thunder, the shaking it produced, or a bolt of lightning but it could be 100% attributed to the storm. Although I didn’t get too angry with the glass breaking itself I might have uttered a faint curse word when I cut my finger cleaning it up.

A look at my shattered light fixture. It was not pretty.

A look at my shattered light fixture. It was not pretty.

Update on CCUSA: Last night I wrote about our CCUSA: Fifty States, Fifty Flags social media campaign. I explained the initiative and talked about the crazy response we received. At posting time last night 34 states were represented. As I type this right now we have 45 states represented! Missing are Hawaii, Nebraska, North Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. By tomorrow I think we will have the whole map covered. In between my regular work load today I managed to ship off 25 flags complete with a letter and a couple promo items. By quitting time Friday I hope to have the remaining flags on their way to various destinations across this country.

I spent a lot of time stuffing these tubes with flags today.

I spent a lot of time stuffing these tubes with flags today.

$10 Sunglasses Work Just Fine: Apparently I am very, very out of touch with the sunglasses market. I expressed to Sidney that I wanted a pair. While in Charleston we went inside a Sunglasses Hut to look around. I looked at a pair and glanced at the price…$340!! I went to the other side of the store where Sidney was and she looked at a pair and mentioned it was over $400. Excuse me?!? Why would anyone want to shell out that kind of money for SUNGLASSES? I remember back in the day when it seemed outrageous that a pair of Oakleys ran for $120. To spend triple digits on sunglasses in my opinion is asinine. I know I am tacky and not very hip but I think a $10 pair of sunglasses at Wal-Mart look and work just as well as a $400 pair at some fancy sunglasses shop.

Demi Lovato’s New Song: I admit that I have a low key crush on Demi Lovato. I think she has a great voice and I really like her latest song called “Really Don’t Care.” It is pretty catchy and if you like Cher Lloyd she has a small part in it too. If you care to, listen to it here.

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Everyone in the office seems to have mentioned that this week has seemed really long. I think I have to agree with them. I am excited for the weekend and as is the norm for me in Myrtle Beach I know adventures await. Please remember all the dads this Sunday and you all keep safe! Thanks again for your tremendous support of this blog. Don’t Blink.

#CCUSA: An Explosion of E-Mails

When I worked at the University of Montana I ran a promotion on Facebook where I asked our fans to guess a number that one of our student-athletes secretly chose between 1 and 10,000. They had two hours to respond and there was an incentive for guessing the correct number. In theory the idea seemed like a great way to generate engagement but when I saw that we had 100+ responses within five minutes I wondered if maybe I bit off a little more than I could chew, especially with a page boasting well over 100,000 likes. When the deadline passed and we had roughly 1,000 guesses I felt a little overwhelmed. Going through and checking so many responses over Facebook is neither fun nor easy.

I can say that experience was really the only time I have felt overwhelmed with social media. Even when I was running twenty different accounts with numerous things to post on each one I never felt like I couldn’t keep up. Well today I got a faint reminder of what I felt that day I ran the student-athlete number guessing promotion.

Chanticleer Athletics and University Communication got together at Coastal Carolina University to design a sweet social media promotion. To put faces to it all you had Marketing Director Kevin Olivett and his assistant John Fernandez from athletics and from University Communication you had yours truly. The three of us met and came up with the “CCUSA: Fifty States, Fifty Flags” (think CCU + USA) campaign. We would send a CCU flag to one person in each state. He/she would then have to take a photo with that flag in a place that showcased his/her state. The photos would then be sent back to us for our use on social media. We ran with it. Kevin and John provided all the physical materials for the campaign (poster tubes and flags) while I designed the website, coordinated the design of other creative materials, and launched the campaign. It was also agreed that I would facilitate the campaign by serving as the point person for folks interested in participating.

I give to you the CCUSA: 50 States, 50 Flags campaign (awesome graphic done by Regis Minerd).

I give to you the CCUSA: 50 States, 50 Flags campaign (awesome graphic done by Regis Minerd).

At 1:30 p.m. today I sent out the first posts announcing the CCUSA campaign on Facebook and Twitter. A student worker and I then went to quickly cover a Cold Water Challenge attempt. The water dumping took ten minutes tops and as we made our way back to the office I looked at my phone and saw that I had 17 new e-mails. When I said I was facilitating the campaign I meant to explain that our audience would be e-mailing me to say they wanted to participate in CCUSA. I ferociously started to respond to all e-mails. However, it seemed as if for every one I responded to I got two or three more. Fifty minutes into the campaign and I had already received 63 e-mails. When an hour and a half had passed I reached the triple digit mark.

You see, on something like this you must respond immediately both to make sure the promotion stays organized and to show your audience excellent customer service. I zoomed through the e-mails as quickly as possible, either letting the person know that I would be sending them a flag by the end of the week or that their state already had a representative. Duplicates from states such as South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania came in like crazy. But also inquiries from far off states such as Nevada, New Mexico, California, and my home state of Washington came in as well making my task a lot of fun. While responding to all this correspondence I was also simultaneously updating our CCUSA webpage, making sure that a state was marked off when claimed.

While the volume of e-mails did go down just a tad it has been a steady stream since. Throughout the last couple hours of the day I went back and forth between video editing, social media directory building, and responding to CCUSA inquiries. When I left work I made sure every single e-mail was responded to. When I arrived home after my commute I had ten new e-mails related to CCUSA. As I sit here right now I am responding to flag requests every couple minutes. It seems as if they won’t stop.

Although eventually they will. I might have felt a little overwhelmed at times today but pretty soon the onslaught of e-mails will die down. In just less than seven hours we have 34 states plus the District of Columbia claimed. When the remaining 16 states find a representative I will make it very clear to our audience that the campaign is completely full. As of right now I have received by my best count 200 e-mails. I have responded to each one. I estimate that I will receive 100 more before we have the whole map completely closed up.

Shipping each one of these flags out will be a long process. I am a one man show so getting the tubes stuffed with a flag, a letter detailing the instructions, and a couple goodies will drain some of my time. But who cares? This campaign is going to yield some of the best user generated content ever. In an unrelated closing note, one of the 16 states still up for grabs is Montana. To all my devoted readers in my former state…who wants a Chanticleer flag?! Hurry up and text me already! Don’t Blink.

Participating in the #CCU Cold Water Challenge

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO OF ME PARTICIPATING IN THE #CCU COLD WATER CHALLENGE

For the past four days a great deal of my work has centered around filming and editing videos for the #CCU Cold Water Challenge. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, Diane Fabiano, a staff member at Coastal Carolina started off the whole campus initiative by performing the challenge on our bridge that crosses over Wall Pond. She called out five fellow staff members. The next day I filmed those five people and strung it into a video. Yesterday I did the same along with today.

However, one wrinkle did present itself this afternoon from the routine filming I had become accustomed to. I got to participate! Yep, right after our public safety officers all performed the challenge I bravely responded to my fellow University Communication staff member, Mona Prufer, who called me out yesterday seconds before she got water dumped on her. With my boss filming me and an employee from the finance department ready to douse me with a bucket of water I gave my talk.

This was me participating in the #CCU Cold Water Challenge today.

This was me participating in the #CCU Cold Water Challenge today.

Of course I added my own personal touch to it, how could I resist? A couple things you should know: I really didn’t get hit with freezing cold water. Because public safety brought more people over than arranged one of their guys got the icy cold bucket reserved for me. So the water you see me get hit with is actually from the fountain behind me. I still smell like chlorine four hours later. I am also not exaggerating about the heat in the video, well maybe I am by a few degrees, but it was mid-90’s today. Finally, I admit that I got it pretty easy with the water. Most of it landed below my neck and I was spared the freezing jolt that 95% of the people who take the challenge receive.

After the filming of my Cold Water Challenge I went into the office and edited the clips from that day’s participants to make the latest video. I then had a little fun and made my own personal video. To the people I called out you have twenty-four hours to complete the challenge. I am holding Kevin, John, and Seth to it. I am giving a pardon to Wally the Pond Turtle since he is a fictional character and I am also excusing Panther Kitty because he no longer lives on campus…and most likely is no longer even living on this earth (story for another blog post). So let’s get those buckets dumping again and if you are a reader in the Myrtle Beach area please let me know if you would like to participate in the #CCU Cold Water Challenge and I can get you set up. Don’t Blink.

Tips for Dealing with a Tough Wal-mart Situation

Remind me never to visit the Myrtle Beach Wal-Mart on Monday evening at 8 p.m. again. Evidently the circus came to town and decided to converge on the store. Never before in my Wal-Mart shopping career had I seen such a plethora of aisles completely blocked by clueless people. Merchandise was disheveled, kids were running around like crazy, it was tough to maneuver a cart, and checkout lines stretched all the way into the clothing and jewelry area. It was a complete mess.

In times like tonight I look to my repertoire of tricks I have developed over the years when dealing with Wal-Mart disasters. I have trained myself to be as efficient and rational as possible when dealing with unfortunate shopping situations like I found myself in this evening. Let me share with you my five best tips for cutting losses and making the best out of a horrific Wal-Mart shopping trip.

I found myself in this long line tonight.

I found myself in this long line tonight.

Park in the Boonies- Although almost everywhere else I will seek out and wait for a gangbuster parking spot I concede when I enter a Wal-Mart parking lot I park my car far away. I decide to pass on the cars going the wrong way down the lanes, carts filling up full parking spots, people walking as if they were blind in the middle of the lot, and the less than stellar park jobs that prevent others from safely parking their own vehicles. I usually park to one extreme side of the lot and walk from there. I decide to spare myself the agony and possible death of entering too deep into the madhouse that is the Wal-Mart parking lot.

As you can see, I parked a long ways away tonight.

As you can see, I parked a long ways away tonight.

Be Prepared- It is imperative to bring a detailed shopping list when going to Wal-Mart, especially on nights like tonight. I knew exactly what I needed and never had to second guess myself. When you are in an environment with hundreds of people who are only looking out for themselves and couldn’t care less about your welfare or shopping experience you can’t afford any extra time meandering through the store going down each aisle to see what you need. Have your checklist, zero in on it, and pick up your items via the most efficient route possible.

Ditch the Cart- Tonight I didn’t even entertain the idea of taking my cart down any of the congested aisles. Not only were they packed with people pushing their carts but it seemed as if area clubs decided to hold their weekly meetings in the aisles as well because folks had no hesitation just standing in the middle and talking. To combat this I would just park my cart at the start of an aisle and go down it, grab what I needed, and retreat back to my silver cage on wheels. It saved me a lot of time but more importantly it saved me a big headache.

Get Passive Aggressive When Needed- Sometimes people are completely oblivious. Sometimes all the tricks in the world won’t let you bypass them. Although every effort should be given to shop without letting someone get under your skin there are occasions where you have to send just a little message. If absolutely necessary (like tonight) sometimes I will tailgate the snail-paced person in front of me to the slight degree where they know that they need to pick it up. If someone makes a ridiculous move with the cart or decides to stop in a busy area of the store I will offer a short “Um, excuse me” to let the person know that even though I am using polite language I am not using a very polite tone and I wish they would make better decisions behind the cart. Nonverbal communication gets the message across well too. If someone isn’t thinking or makes a bonehead move in the middle of the store any skills you have at conveying displeasure with your eyes is totally warranted and acceptable.

Just Stay Away – Out of the five tips I have provided, this is the one I neglected tonight. If you want to rid yourself of annoyance, stress, and possible heart attack when shopping the best course of action is to forgo Wally World completely and just go to Food Lion or Piggly Wiggly. Unfortunately I rather risk my sanity and health to obtain cheap items so I continue to go to Wal-Mart.

If you can, just stay away. This is how I felt at the end of my shopping trip this evening.

If you can, just stay away. This is how I felt at the end of my shopping trip this evening.

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I hope you find my tips helpful. Remember to always know your environment and have a good idea of the layout of the Wal-Mart you are entering. Treat your shopping experience like a game and compete as hard as possible to ward off your opponents and obstacles to achieve your goal of getting inexpensive stuff. I wish you all good luck and safety when shopping at Wal-Mart. Don’t Blink.

Our Visit to Charleston

Since I moved here to South Carolina I have had pretty much everyone tell me the same thing on where to go for a day trip: Charleston. Out of all the suggestions I received on where to travel when I wanted to escape Myrtle Beach it wasn’t really even close. Co-workers, friends, and random people I talked to all said I needed to pay a visit sooner rather than later to the historic town. Today we made that happen.

I attended 7:30 a.m. mass at St. Andrew’s and then I hustled home and within a few minutes Sidney was outside my apartment complex ready to take me on an adventure. I hopped in her car and we picked up Kendra and Josh, two dear friends of Sidney, who celebrated their first wedding anniversary today. With the car full we made the roughly 90 minute drive to the city of Charleston, South Carolina.

This was our travel party! Sidney is in the driver's seat and then Kendra and Josh in the back.

This was our travel party! Sidney is in the driver’s seat and then Kendra and Josh in the back.

The city of Charleston is very old, dating back to the 1600’s. The place is chockfull of rich history. However, before we experienced some of the history we decided to experience some of downtown. When we arrived in Charleston we took a water taxi that transported us through the inlet waters of the Atlantic Ocean to the dry land of downtown Charleston. To get to the heart of the downtown area though we had to walk through streets lined with historic houses that pretty much sat on the streets themselves (no yards and very little sidewalk). Mixed in with the houses were restaurants and roof top bars. Every now and then an alley way would open up and you would look down it and see nothing but green vegetation and beautiful ivy.

We used a water taxi to help us get around Charleston.

We used a water taxi to help us get around Charleston.

We explored King Street, the premiere strip in downtown Charleston. Shops, restaurants, vendors, and attractions give the area a unique and colorful atmosphere. Sidney and I watched a man parade around a giant pig in the middle of the street as a crowd grew around it. We passed the crowd and dipped into a restaurant called The Kickin’ Chicken. After watching the French Open awards ceremony inside the restaurant we were joined by Kendra and Josh and we all enjoyed a nice lunch.

From there we walked past downtown and entered a park type area called Marion Square. White tents were set up all around with art work inside. Also in the area was a large pillar with a statue of John Calhoun on top of it. Of particular interest though was the original Citadel building located in the northeast portion of Marion Square. Seeing the history and the 150+ year old building was pretty sweet. But then the rain started to come…

Sidney and I in front of the Old Citadel.

Sidney and I in front of the Old Citadel.

As we went through Marion Square we got caught in some southern rain. After taking cover for a few minutes we braved the elements and walked to a marina where we purchased tickets for the Charleston Harbor Tour. With the rain still pouring we boarded a boat that would showcase some of the most significant history of the city and other points of interest. Probably the highlight of the tour for me was seeing Fort Sumter, one of the most recognizable and important structures of the Civil War. We also got to see a church that George Washington attended, a sweet carrier, and an up close view of the major bridge in Charleston. We also got treated to some wildlife as dolphins swam in close proximity to the boat and pelicans dove into the water.

Fort Sumter from the vantage point of our boat.

Fort Sumter from the vantage point of our boat.

After the tour we took the water taxi back to the area where we were parked at. Sidney and I went to a restaurant called the Fish House and went upstairs to the open air deck and enjoyed flat bread. Kendra and Josh continued the sightseeing and toured a battleship! Soon though we met back up again and jumped in Sidney’s car and made the return trip to Myrtle Beach. While it was the final destination for Sidney and I, Kendra and Josh had to get into their own vehicle and travel a couple more hours to their home of Wilmington, North Carolina. Most likely as I post this they will finally be arriving at home sweet home.

Thanks to Sidney for making this trip happen. I had a great time.

Thanks to Sidney for making this trip happen. I had a great time.

I thoroughly enjoyed making this day trip today. It marked the first true southern city other than Myrtle Beach/Conway that I have actually got to explore. Thanks to Sidney for planning a great trip and driving and thanks to Kendra and Josh for letting us spend their anniversary with them. I can’t wait for the next adventure. Don’t Blink.

The Saddest Movie Ever

Thursday night I drove to the Coastal Grand Mall’s Cinemark Theater where I met Sidney and her friends Kendra and Josh (married to each other) for the 11 p.m. showing of “The Fault in Our Stars.” I had never heard of the movie or the wildly popular book until Sidney started talking about it earlier this week. Coincidentally enough after she said something I talked to a few other people who mentioned it as well. The words “sad” and “love story” were spoken each time I engaged in these conversations.

On Thursday evening I saw "The Fault in Our Stars."

On Thursday evening I saw “The Fault in Our Stars.”

So Thursday evening I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting myself into when I walked inside the theater with my tub of popcorn and Pibb Xtra. I knew I was going to see two sick teenagers fall in love and I knew it would be emotional. However, I was not prepared for how gut-wrenching it would actually be.

I don’t want to get too descriptive with the plot because my main point of this post is just to issue a warning to anyone who doesn’t want to “pay money to cry” (a reference from one of my co-workers) but here is the background. A 17-year old guy and 16-year old girl meet at a cancer support group. The guy is presumably recovered while the girl is battling for her life. The two fall for each other and make it a mission to visit an author in Amsterdam. They realize their dream and visit their hero in that country but he is not what they thought. However the trip is not only a turning point in their relationship but it is also a major revelation as the boy tells the girl that his cancer has returned. The boy, who thought he was in the clear, ends up dying before the girl.

Terrible summary by me but hopefully you get the picture. Honestly though, all you really need to know about the movie is that it is SAD. Real sad. Hard to explain but the movie just hits you in so many ways. Throughout the whole thing you will find tears rolling down your cheek until it seems as if it all builds up into one final emotional earthquake towards the end of the movie when the boy does. Never before in a theater had I seen/heard the reaction that I did on Thursday night. The audience, which was probably 98% female, seemed to break out in a communal outpouring of sobs, gasps, cries, and nose blows. The misery in the theater was thick. It seemed as if everyone in the auditorium had actually lost someone very close to them right at that moment. I understood though because like I said, it hits you hard.

Like I said above, I had a tough time keeping it together myself. I felt incredibly thankful that the darkness of the theater could at least mask my pathetic state a little bit. Usually people say you need to see a movie in the theater if it has a lot of special effects or beautiful imagery/scenery but even though this movie lacks both of those things you still need to see it in the theater to protect yourself from looking like a mess in your living room around your girlfriend or family.

I enjoyed watching “The Fault in Our Stars” because it did touch me and brought out a lot of emotion as well. Not too many movies can do that to me so I have to tip my hat and say well done. If you want to see a wonderfully pure love story and don’t mind crying, I recommend “The Fault in Our Stars.” Just remember to bring along extra tissues. Don’t Blink.

What Five Topics Tonight?!

Last Thursday worked out so well with me doing my multi-topic blog post that I knew when the next Thursday came along I would have to do the same. So here we are today. Same format, same conditions. Time for me to take a deep breath and throw five totally unrelated topics at you. Legggggoooooo…

The Boathouse: Last Friday my friend Seth invited me out to a place called the Boathouse. He told me Joe Diffie was playing a free concert and that it was the place to be. Once Sidney arrived at my place the two of us met Seth at the Boathouse. To say the least, it was an awesome venue. Inside they have a perfectly sized bar/restaurant with attentive service and a very charming country theme. But outside is where it is truly at. You walk out the back door and a grassy hill greets you. At the bottom of the hill sits a stage nudged right up against the Intracoastal Waterway. People pack the hill and overflow to two covered outdoor bars in the back. The vibe is awesome and the atmosphere unmatched. Best of all the quality acts they bring in are free. Everyone says the real party happens during the venue’s “Sunday Funday” series…don’t know if I will be making any of those.

Before Joe Diffie took the Boathouse stage an opening band covered some current Top 40 country songs..

Before Joe Diffie took the Boathouse stage an opening band covered some current Top 40 country songs..

South Carolina Bans Texting: It felt weird driving in a place where I didn’t have to look in all directions before sneakily grabbing my phone to send out a quick text. Both in Washington State and Missoula (the state of Montana actually does not have a ban on texting but many cities in the state do) you would get pulled over immediately if a cop suspected you of talking or texting on your phone. To not have those restrictions here in South Carolina did bring me a sense of freedom even if it did feel different at first. But that taste of liberation will disappear very quickly. South Carolina has become the 49th state to pass a ban on texting (Montana is now the only state not to have one). Although the ban does have an exception that I love: Drivers can still text at stop lights. Believe me, this is a big relief. Myrtle Beach is home to FOUR MINUTE RED LIGHTS and usually in that time when I am stopped I send out at least three tweets, catch up on texts, and respond to e-mails. To not have the option to be productive while wasting my life away in traffic would have been devastating.

Cold Water Challenge: At Coastal Carolina University today we started our own Cold Water Challenge campaign. Chauncey and myself went out and met a staffer who braved the ice water dumped over her head. I filmed, edited, and posted the video. There should be a lot more of that for me come tomorrow as other staffers respond to her call out. Unfortunately, I know my time will come very soon when I have to take the challenge myself. Keep your eye on this blog for an update.

Coastal Carolina University staff member Diane Fabiano took the Cold Water Challenge with an assist from Chauncey.

Coastal Carolina University staff member Diane Fabiano took the Cold Water Challenge with an assist from Chauncey.

“Maleficent”: On Tuesday night, Sidney and I went to the movies after feasting on macaroni and cheese egg rolls at Kingstreet in Market Common. We saw “Maleficent” starring Angelina Jolie. The movie rocked the box office this past weekend and came out with a lot of fanfare so maybe my expectations were too high going in. Whatever the case was, I didn’t get too excited after watching it. I am not a fantasy movie fanatic to begin with, however sometimes I can be swayed. I actually really enjoyed “Snow White and the Huntsman” and thought “Maleficent” might impress me as well. But I just found the movie too slow and some of the characters annoying, although I don’t speak of Angelina Jolie’s title character in that way. Funny to say, but Jolie reminded me of Katy Perry in the movie.

On Tuesday night, Sidney and I saw "Maleficent" at the Grand 14 Cinema at Market Common in Myrtle Beach.

On Tuesday night, Sidney and I saw “Maleficent” at the Grand 14 Cinema at Market Common in Myrtle Beach.

2014 NBA Finals: I thought about writing a blog post about the Finals but figured it would just be the exact same thing I have written for the past three years…I hope the Heat lose. I am not a Spurs fan by any means but my dislike for Miami makes me hope that San Antonio wipes the floor with them. I would love to see a sweep. I admit Lebron has done some great things since making the move to Miami but I still can’t get over “The Decision.” That was a deal breaker for me and I really don’t want to see King James pick up his third title. I want to see the people of South Beach embarrassed by how bad San Antonio beats their team.

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Another movie is in the cards for me tonight (after the basketball game) and a fun weekend is on the horizon. However, that is for another blog post. Have a great Thursday night everyone and a safe weekend. Go Spurs! Don’t Blink.

Walk Off Strikeout? Yawn

Watch the video that is the basis of this blog post by going here.

I heard rumblings about it all day through Twitter. Then, when I finally got home I quickly realized how big this certain play had gotten. First there was the Bleacher Report article accompanied with the news clip anchored by none other than one of my favorites, Beth Beechie. Then I turned on “Pardon the Interruption” and watched Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon debate it. Sportscenter followed with a major tease of the play and then full coverage of it when the program returned from commercial.

This past Friday, Billings West and Big Sky (Missoula) squared off with the Montana state softball title on the line. Billings West needed to defeat Big Sky twice to win the championship. The Golden Bears took care of business in the first game and then won the second game in odd fashion. Thanks to a dropped third strike and a couple of throwing errors the batter who originally K’d rounded the bases on a walk off strikeout to win the state title.

Although blooper filled disasters are funny and people love to see them, I just don’t know if the ending to the Billings West-Big Sky game deserved national attention. Sure it was the state title game and Billings West went through hell and back to win it but tell me if a rather ugly display of softball really is worthy of Deadspin? More perplexing, was it really deserving of the number one play on Sportscenter? Let me answer that latter question…NO!

Side Note: Even though I don’t necessarily agree with the play making Deadspin I do find it incredibly cool that my friend and ABC Montana sports anchor Dominic Shelden called the highlight that the website picked up.

I honestly don’t even think the play was all that unique. Watch a couple innings of any high school baseball or softball game and you are bound to see silly errors and head scratching plays. Did you see the girl round those bases? To me it looked like little league base paths. I think I could probably lay down a bunt and slide in with a triple on that field. I have seen far more wild and crazy plays not even make a SportsNation Top 100 Jeers program to see something like the walk off strikeout earn the number one spot on Sportscenter’s Top 10. I mean even the errors themselves were melodramatic. The catcher missed the mark with her throw to first base. The ball rolled to the fence and an outfielder threw the ball in to an invisible player at second base. By that time the runner had scored. End of game. Yawn.

I guess I really don’t have a good reason to complain about this. I mean it is cool to see Montana get some coverage on the national stage. It is also cool to see the work of my sports reporter friends get highlighted. For some reason though I just don’t think the play itself warranted the acclaim that it got. Don’t Blink.