Alphabetical Order

As per Thursday tradition on Don’t Blink it is time for the five topic scramble. But let’s bring some order to today’s edition and go in alphabetical order. Sound good?

Baltimore – I have my next (planned) trip locked up. Over the first weekend of August Sidney and I will be traveling north to Baltimore, Maryland. What will we be doing there? Baseball of course! We have purchased tickets to watch the Baltimore Orioles play a couple games. Ever since I became a baseball fan I have desperately wanted to see a game inside Camden Yards and in a couple weeks that wish will become a reality. I can’t wait to catch some action inside the ballpark that inspired the building of all the other modern day ballparks. Making the trip that much sweeter is who I get to see the Orioles play. For the first time ever I will have the opportunity to watch the Seattle Mariners in person in a ballpark other than the Kingdome or Safeco Field. Yes, I do plan on wearing Mariners gear to at least the first game.

Bowling – You know what I just realized? Since arriving in South Carolina I have not yet bowled. I guess all the miniature golfing has kind of filled the void. But really, I need to hit an alley soon and show off my famous 50 MPH straight line throw that has steadily gotten me low scores and weird looks for the past 15 years. I can put up with the embarrassment though just because I am curious to see what a Myrtle Beach bowling alley looks like. I am thinking that behind the pins there might be an ocean backdrop, the player tables might be beach chairs in real sand, and the music played is stuck on a Beach Boys loop.

CCUSA – We are now 13 states in on our CCUSA campaign where each day we feature a Coastal Carolina supporter waving a Chanticleer flag in a different state. So far so good! The photos we received have gone above and beyond. Today we featured Illinois and the rep had taken a picture with an Abraham Lincoln statue and a Stephen Douglas statue that commemorated their famous debates. A couple days ago it was Hawaii’s turn and that state’s rep took a photo with the flag UNDERWATER! Heck, my parents even got in on the act. They served as the reps for Idaho, nicely driving the half hour or so from their home in Washington state to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. To view the CCUSA website, click here.

The CCUSA campaign is off to a great start. States pictured in this montage include (clockwise) Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, and Florida.

The CCUSA campaign is off to a great start. States pictured in this montage include (clockwise) Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, and Florida.

Derek Jeter – Pretty much everyone knows that I am a New York Yankees fan. Because I am a Yanks supporter I am obviously a big proponent of Derek Jeter. With that said, the All-Star game on Wednesday went way over the top in making the game 100% about him. I know he has done a lot for the game and has earned a spot in Cooperstown but I thought this year’s Mid-Summer Classic did a disservice by doing every little possible thing to praise him. The interviews, the commercials, the ovations, the introductions, the easy pitching, the 3,587 shots of his family in the stands, etc. seemed overkill to me. But what can I say? All of the Jeter fanfare resulted in big ratings for Fox, the best for the All-Star game in years. It still rubbed me the wrong way.

Planet of the Apes – I admit it, I had my doubts about the new “Planet of the Apes” franchise. I assumed that these recent movies would have human looking apes doing geeky things in a hokey fantasy storyline that only diehard science-fiction fans and weirdos would like. Not so. After watching the first movie last Thursday night to prepare me for the sequel when I went with my co-workers on Friday evening I totally changed my tune. These movies are fabulously done with engaging storylines, top notch acting, and awesome effects. This is not your 1970’s Planet of the Apes! Give it a try and rent “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.” I guarantee you will then want to hit the movie theater and watch “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.”

My ticket for "Dawn of the Planet Apes" from last Friday.

My ticket for “Dawn of the Planet Apes” from last Friday.


Friday is just around the corner and I am excited. No big plans  for the weekend but you know how it is….I will most likely have a story or two to tell by the time Sunday night rolls around. Have a great weekend my loyal readers! Don’t Blink.

Take the Risk…Start a Blog!

Every now and then I have people ask me about blogging. They want to get into it themselves but they have some reservations. They are either intimidated, unsure, or clueless. I like to talk to these people and hear what their vision is for their potential blog. I then ask them what their concerns are. From there I usually tell them to calm their fears and really invest on a blogging adventure.

Listen to me right now: If you are committed and you got something to say, you can start a blog! I am serious. Although please note that the first requirement I pointed out is more important than the second.

If you want to write a blog I say go for it but you must dedicate yourself to it. You have to make a promise to yourself that you will write at least four times a week. You have to condition yourself to the point where if you miss a day of writing you feel sick to your stomach. Missing a day of blogging for me is on par with missing a day at the gym.

If you are in it to win it you are going in the right direction. If you have lots of things to say and you can articulate yourself in a fair enough manner you are golden. Quite frequently people will say to me “I am boring. I have nothing interesting to say.” Okay, but substitute the word “nothing interesting” for “something” and now read what you got. You see, you still have something to say and that fits my second requirement.

Take myself for example. I write entire blog posts on losing my keys, naps, and cemeteries. Talk about lame, worthless topics. However, I still have a large readership that grows by the day. What gives? People don’t mind if you talk about the most mundane things because in most cases they can relate. Majority of us out there live ordinary lives. We go through the same things and share the same experiences. What you term boring is exactly what the rest of us live each day. Relate your ordinary, common dealings in life 80% of the time in your blog and splash some experiences unique to you the other 20% of the time and you will have engaging content.

The key is to just have a voice. If you can express your personality in print you are good to go. Although I encourage most people I chat with to take the big step and author a blog don’t kid yourself…if you can’t write yourself out of a paper bag than save yourself the time, frustration, and embarrassment and bypass the blog idea. I have zero artistic talent…I am not starting a website for my paintings. I don’t know how to cook…I am not submitting recipes or dishes. Play to your strengths.

But if you do have basic writing skills and you meet my two requirements of commitment and content don’t let little things stop you from starting your blog. Don’t feel like you are a copying a friend, millions of people had blogs long before your friend did. Don’t worry about sounding stupid, if you are articulating something in a clear fashion people aren’t laughing at you. Don’t worry about the technical requirements of maintaining a blog, it is super easy. Don’t worry about whether anyone will read your blog, if you put effort into it and you are consistent people will take notice.

If you have any questions on starting a blog please let me know. I would be more than happy to help you out. To know that I had an influence in helping someone start something as meaningful as an electronic memoir we refer to as a blog is very fulfilling to me. Give it a try! Don’t Blink.

Scary Car Collision

The memory of an enjoyable and fun lunch with co-workers seemed very distant only a couple minutes after exiting the Mexican restaurant where we ate to commemorate the July birthdays of several members on our staff. On a day that saw the heat index rise to 106 I was negotiating a right turn out of the restaurant parking lot onto the infamously busy and dangerous Highway 501 of Myrtle Beach. With the lunch traffic heavy I had to swivel my head left to right numerous times to make sure the coast was clear. About ready to step on the gas I looked to my left one final time.

“OH S@#$!!! OH S@#$!!!” I yelled while looking to the right passenger seat where our student worker, Alexandra, just realized what had happened.

I turned left just in time to see a large full size pickup towing a massive trailer plow right into the passenger side of a Honda CR-V. The violent sound that was produced upon collision was bested only by the violent way in which the truck latched into the CR-V and plowed it off the road and into the grass where it ripped up the turf. All that I could see in those first couple seconds after impact was a deployed airbag and an elderly man hunched over the steering wheel.

The collision that started about 50 feet from my vehicle was now only about 30 feet away. I shut off my car right at the stop sign and rushed over to the carnage. As I was going over the man in the pickup truck, who was unscathed, reached the crushed CR-V and opened the driver side door. The elderly man, an Air Force veteran, was still hunched over the steering wheel but conscious. He was withering in excruciating pain and was badly bloodied. People started coming from left and right to try to help.

The man who was the driver of the pickup truck said “I don’t want to move him, his knew is busted.”
A woman quickly responded “Don’t touch him.”

I managed to snap a shot of the carnage.

I managed to snap a shot of the carnage.

Within just a couple minutes a state trooper arrived. Not that he had many options himself but he was of little help. He just told everyone to stay calm and that paramedics would be there soon. By this time I would guess that 15 people were now spread out around the vehicles, including a noticeably shaken Alexandra. With the sirens now audible, the crowd just getting bigger, and the grim reality of the situation setting in I told Alexandra that we should go. With vehicles lining up behind my parked car we hopped in and made the trip back to campus as emergency vehicles zipped by us.

A co-worker asked the two of us if the authorities needed us as witnesses. I didn’t think so otherwise I would have stayed. So many people converged on the scene around the same time I did. Truth be told, I only looked left at the exact second that the brutal collision occurred. I never saw exactly what happened but my guess is that the CR-V pulled out in front of the truck while trying to make a left turn into one of the businesses.

I have witnessed other car accidents before and I have been in one myself but I had never seen one like that. The sound, the impact, the length of the contact, and the crushed vehicles made this one scary. Add in the serious state of the man on a brutally hot day and I can tell you that I won’t forget this one for a long time.

I can’t find anything online that says if the elderly man survived or not. But please say a prayer for him and for the man and his wife in the pickup truck. Cars are very dangerous machines, please remember to drive safe. Don’t Blink.

An Interesting Restaurant Question

This past weekend I was reading Dear Abby and I came across an actually interesting conundrum. The reader asked Abby for her advice about a recent dining experience at a “chic” restaurant (for my Missoula readers think Plonk, Spokane readers think Twigs, and Myrtle Beach/Conway readers think the Bistro). This reader was celebrating a birthday with a large party. The appetizers had already arrived and the entrees were ordered when something happened.

The fire alarm went off. The whole restaurant was evacuated and customers waited patiently in the parking lot for over twenty minutes while the fire department arrived. A small fire had occurred in the kitchen. Upon re-entering the restaurant the reader and her guests had a lively conversation on what type of action should be taken by the business. It basically boiled down to the birthday guests taking one of two sides: The restaurant should comp the meals for all people in the place at the time or, on the other side, a heartfelt apology with other minor concessions would be sufficient.

A real good question! One that had me thinking for a little bit. After contemplating it for about fifteen minutes while driving in my car I came up with my answer: The restaurant should NOT have covered the bills for anyone in the restaurant so long as everyone still received their orders and it was satisfactory. In the long run, the people still received the product they asked for. Just because the restaurant did what they could to keep the diners safe by evacuating them it doesn’t mean that they should have to undergo a night of terrible monetary losses.

What I hope happened was that the manager or owner personally visited each table and genuinely apologized for the inconvenient disruption and updated the customers on what happened. Then, in a humble gesture, I would have advised the restaurant management to offer a free dessert to each person impacted by the fire alarm. Abby answered the question by deferring to one of her restaurant friends in California. This restauranter stated that he would personally apologize to the customers and make an adjustment to everyone’s bill to cover the inconvenience but that he wouldn’t flat out waive the entire check. What would you do?

As we are on the topic of dining out, here are two quick nuggets I witnessed in my own dining out adventures this weekend:

Please Smile: On Friday evening I went with some co-workers to the premiere of “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.” Before the movie we went for food and drinks at the nearby Gordon Biersch. We had a waitress who seemed by all accounts to really hate her job. Either that or she was having an awful day. Whatever it was she seemed very troubled and seemed to have a permanent scowl on her face. About 45 minutes in we had a discussion at the table and agreed that we would enter into a friendly competition to see who could get her to smile first. She returned to our table and our Director of Creative Services made her smile after just a couple sentences. Honestly, even if you aren’t happy please just try to make the effort to seem like you are. People go out to eat because they want to have a nice experience.

Separate Tabs: Last night Sidney and I went to California Dreaming, a popular restaurant in Myrtle Beach. Next to our booth sat a large party of about twenty. When it came time for the crew to take care of the bill we watched mild chaos ensue. The table needed about ten different checks and according to the customers wrong items were put on the many receipts. We watched the poor waitress go back and forth, back and forth as she printed out new receipts to try to make things right. The ordeal kept dragging out and the trips back and forth kept coming. The patient server finally had enough as we watched her snap at a little boy who went up to ask her something in the hysteria of it all. My take away from this disaster is if you must split up a tab a hundred different ways take one for the team and just shut your mouth and pay for the extra side of nachos that incorrectly gets placed on your check.

A look at our meal from California Dreaming. Even with the commotion right by us, we still had an enjoyable time.

A look at our meal from California Dreaming. Even with the commotion right by us, we still had an enjoyable time.


Tomorrow my office is celebrating the birthdays of several of our staff members by eating lunch at El Patio, a famous Mexican restaurant in Conway. It should be a fun gathering but would it be bad if I said I am kind of anxious to see if any blog worthy stories occur during the course of the meal? You can be sure that if they do I will let you know. Don’t Blink.

Random and Boring

It is a Thursday evening so why don’t I run down some random and insignificant topics for you? Okay, let’s do it! Time to go rapid fire through five unrelated discussions.

Which Wich – On Sunday night on our way back from Atlanta Sidney and I stopped in Augusta, Georgia, to find a place to eat. We decided to dine at Which Wich. Now I understand that this place is a very popular sandwich chain with locations in the majority of the states but I had never tried it before. Let me tell you, I had been missing out. I got a chicken pesto sandwich and it was superb. I loved how you placed your order by checking off items on a card and simply handing it to the counter. The large variety of what you could make had me stressing over what I wanted to order. Although it is expensive for the type of place it is ($22 for Sidney and I) the quality of the sandwich will not disappoint you.

Movies, Movies, Movies – On Tuesday night I watched a film called “13 Sins.” Entertaining and disturbing with a very interesting premise I recommend it. Last night I sat through “The Purge” for the second time so Sidney could see it before the sequel comes out next Friday. Tonight the film at the Reser Apartment will be “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.” Of course I am watching it so I set myself up for tomorrow evening when I watch “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” in the theater. Some of the guys from work are attending the show and I have accepted their invitation to tag along.

Perks of the Job – Exactly one year ago today I blogged about the top three perks of my job at the time. Now that I have a new gig I took a couple minutes to think about the different perks I enjoy in this capacity. I thought up about ten but for the sake of congruity here are three:
1. I get to work in a department where news breaks, decisions are made, and the rest of campus looks up to you.
2. I work on a campus with about twelve different fountains, infinite sunshine, and a state of the art gym.
3. On Fridays during the summer we go home at 1 p.m. and we enjoy the whole week off between Christmas and New Year’s.

Lebron: The Decision, Part II – Come on King James, just let us know who you are going to sign with. This whole thing has already spun out of control and I am sick of it. I know you have your mind made up so please just issue a quiet statement through your agent, don’t say anything about taking your talents anywhere, act humble, and go away for the rest of the summer.

Newspaper – As Sidney is fond of saying, I am a “creature of habit.” Besides a million other things, one item I need in the morning is my newspaper. When I arrived in Myrtle Beach one of the first things I did was subscribe to the local periodical. Much to my chagrin the past two months have not treated me too well in the newspaper delivery department. By far, less than half the days since I have paid my subscription has a paper actually arrived. I reported the problem through the paper’s e-mail report service and their automated voice system. I talked to different customer service representatives (outsourced) SEVEN times. I even typed out a letter and sent it to them. Nothing worked. On Tuesday I called up again and just flat out asked for a refund. I guess those words lit a spark in them. The past two mornings my paper has been right at my door inside a bag with my address personally written on it. I don’t want to jinx it but I think I finally got through to them.


Never quit trying to improve yourself my friends. Thanks for reading what I have to say and I wish you an awesome weekend. Don’t Blink.

$103.50 I Never Saw

Do you ever get sketched out using your debit card? I am talking about situations where you think you might get charged extra fees. Examples include swiping your card through the Red Box scanner 50 times, purchasing an item online, or having a small business or mom and pop restaurant run your card through one of those tiny readers. These experiences are unnerving and makes us all worry that we might have much more deducted from our accounts than we should. There is one other big example of activity with debit cards that always makes me uneasy. Unfortunately, I engaged in it this weekend and my fears were realized.

On Saturday afternoon Sidney and I were hustling to get to Turner Field for the Braves game. We took the Marta (Atlanta’s subway system) to the station’s main hub. From there we needed to hop on a shuttle that would take us to the stadium. Between where the train left us off and the shuttle, you had to walk through a portion of the Marta station called the Underground. This certain area was populated with built in shops on one side and then kiosks with people selling random junk running all the way down the walkway right in the middle. It just so happened that off to the side of one of these kiosks sat an ATM.

I needed to get some cash in my pocket for the game. I didn’t want to wait until I got to Turner Field because I didn’t want to deal with lines, exorbitant ATM fees, or the hassle of finding the machines in the first place. Although this rinky-dink, stand alone ATM in the Underground looked sketchy at best I decided I wanted to take the risk in the name of convenience and I swiped my card. I answered the questions, entered my pin, and selected $100 as my withdrawal amount. I hit the final button and the machine made the money dispensing sound effect but no cash came out. Frustrated that I would not receive the convenience I desired and unsure about whether $100 plus the $3.50 fee would erroneously be taken out of my account I stood at the machine for a couple seconds with my mind reeling. A receipt then spit out that reported I had asked that $100 be withdrawn but that no money had actually been dispensed. I thought I was in the clear. Sidney and I went to Turner Field, I used the ATM there, and I forgot about the failed transaction in the Underground.

Here is the receipt  I received documenting that I did not receive any money.

Here is the receipt I received documenting that I did not receive any money.

Fast forward to last night where I decided to check my bank information. Yes, I don’t routinely check my account enough…I know it is a bad practice but I only pull it up about twice a month. I immediately saw two withdrawals stacked right on top of each other for $103.25 and $103.50 and I knew that piece of crap ATM had screwed me over. With it well past midnight and with the receipt that I still had from the ATM documenting that I had not received cash I decided to not get too worked up and just take care of the issue on Wednesday.

The Upper Alambama charge is the one from the Underground and is completely bogus.

The Upper Alambama charge is the one from the Underground and is completely bogus.

Today I called up the Innovus Inc. ATM company to get to the bottom of this situation. After going through the automated menu I was transferred to a technician. After he gave some half hearted mumbled greeting I started to politely explain my problem. He cut me off half way through…

“How did you get this number?” he asked me in an interrogative number.
“Um, it is right at the top of the receipt,” I responded.

After his rude interjection he asked me for the terminal number. Alright, we are getting somewhere I thought. I told him the number.

“That number isn’t in our system,” he snorted.
“Well let me give it to you again,” I responded and then gave him the number a second time.
“No, that number isn’t registered,” he unsympathetically replied.
“Um, okay, can I give you the sequence number or the error number also found on this receipt?” I asked.
“No, the only number that matters is the sequence number. I can’t help you. Call your bank and file a claim.”
“How can you tell me that this ATM isn’t registered? I saw it with my own eyes and I have the receipt right here. It belongs to you guys”
“File a claim with your bank.”
At that I gave him a piece of my mind and hung up.

I called Bank of America (my bank) and told the representative my story. He treated me like a human being and a claim has now been filed. I will know in 45 days if I receive my $103.50 back.

Point of my story is to avoid ATMs if at all possible. Especially ones in large cities in the subway station. The whole ordeal frustrates me to a degree but the Innovus rep I talked to today boils my blood the most. I might have lost a hundred bucks but I didn’t need to also lose my patience and dignity talking to a condescending jerk. I hope the claim wins out! Don’t Blink.

BONUS: More trouble at the ATM

Living in Hurricane Territory

A week ago at this time it seemed like we were heading into Armageddon here in South Carolina. A tropical storm called Arthur was brewing in the Atlantic Ocean and it had a decent chance to wreak havoc on all of us living by the coast. It almost seemed like Fourth of July would be canceled and violent destruction would serve as the only fireworks this year.

Of course we all know by now that the giant catastrophe never materialized. Even though Tropical Storm Arthur got upgraded to Hurricane Arthur we didn’t experience a major disaster. On Thursday the Myrtle Beach area did receive several hours of heavy rain and strong winds but my apartment complex is still standing and by the time the Fourth of July rolled around on Friday one could only see blue skies and a big yellow ball that provided some glorious rays. I survived my first storm of hurricane season.

What I learned last week is that people here don’t take hurricanes lightly. Because this area has been devastated by horrific storms in the past the folks here don’t take chances. Although I received warning when I moved here that I was entering hurricane territory and even though the message was sent when my renter’s insurance went dramatically up, I still didn’t understand the significance of these storms until I actually settled here. A day doesn’t go by in my daily conversations that someone doesn’t mention Hurricane Hugo or any of the other hurricanes that terrorized this region. It is woven into the fabric of this society.

So it made sense to me last week when Myrtle Beach went into hurricane mode. The news stations and newspaper tracked Hurricane Arthur as their top story. Our hurricane specialist team at Coastal Carolina sent out regular updates. My apartment complex sent out notices on what to do in the event of extreme conditions. My co-workers gave me pointers as well as their best predictions on what the storm would do. Many of the local schools shut down. Things got pretty intense.

In the end though Hurricane Arthur didn’t cause too many problems. What it did do though was prep me for the seriousness and possibilities of such a weather phenomenon. All you do is have to talk to a local here about what these storms can do and the tone alone in their voice will tell you that they aren’t to be messed with. Hurricane Arthur served as my fire drill so to speak of these violent storms. I know it is just a matter of time before I witness firsthand the ugly results that hurricanes are capable of. Don’t Blink.

A Weekend in Atlanta

After enjoying the lovely confines of the Atlanta airport probably no less than a dozen times in my life, I finally got to actually enjoy the city this past weekend. Sidney and I went on a short and sweet trip where we had the opportunity to watch a couple Braves games and partake in some other fun Atlanta activities.

On Saturday morning at 6 a.m. sharp we departed from Myrtle Beach to Atlanta. The six hour drive seemed about half that length and by noon we were pulling into downtown Atlanta. We checked into the Best Western Peachtree hotel and then started our exploration of the city. We looked around at some of the downtown tourist attractions and it was busy. A massive Jehovas Witness convention was taking place in Atlanta and many of those folks and their children were living up the city life. With lines much too long for some of the things we wanted to see we just strolled through Centennial Park, walked inside the CNN Center, and relaxed at the bar of an upscale seafood restaurant.

Me hanging out in Centennial Park.

Me hanging out in Centennial Park.

By that time we needed to start making our way to Turner Field. We utilized the city’s transportation system, the Marta, to take us to the hub of the station. From there we boarded a free shuttle that dropped us off right at the stadium. There is nothing in life I like more than walking into a Major League Baseball stadium for the first time. I was like a kid in a candy shop as we walked around Turner Field. We hung out in the center field restaurant/bar for a little bit and then we went over to the visiting team’s bullpen area and watched from that vantage point for a little bit. With the 4:10 p.m. first pitch approaching between the Braves and Arizona Diamondbacks, Sid and I went to our seats just past the first base line. Only a few rows up, we had spectacular seats.

I was so happy to be at Turner Field.

I was so happy to be at Turner Field.

We had an absolute blast watching the game. Although the Braves spotted the Diamondbacks a 3-0 first inning lead the home team buckled down and defeated Arizona 10-4. Although the seats were amazing, Sidney could have done with a little less sun. It was true, we were at the mercy of the strong Atlanta rays for pretty much the whole game. I lost a lot of liquid in the form of sweat by sitting in my seat but it never really bothered me too much because I was having such a good time. After the game we took public transportation back to the hotel and took much needed showers.

The sun beat down on us all game.

The sun beat down on us all game.

We marked our lone night in Atlanta by walking to the Westin Peachtree Plaza hotel. It was there that we took an elevator 73 stories up to a viewing center/bar area. Once on top we enjoyed gorgeous night views of the city. Sidney and I pointed out various buildings and landmarks. After hanging out in the rotating lounge area (it makes one complete full rotation every hour) we navigated the elevator back down to ground level.

Sidney and I were at the top of the city at the Sundial restaurant.

Sidney and I were at the top of the city at the Sundial restaurant.

The next morning I ate way too much of our hotel’s yummy hot breakfast. We then checked out and went back to the CNN Center where we purchased tickets to take the actual tour. At 9:40 a.m. we reported to a security checkpoint where we walked through a metal detector, rode up a huge escalator, and then started a tour of the world’s largest news organization. After the CNN tour we purchased some Braves gear at the team store in the CNN Center and then we walked across the street to the World of Coca-Cola where we took the tour there. Once we had tasted our fair share of Coke products we got back on the Marta and went to Turner Field for the 1:30 series finale between the Braves and Diamondbacks. I purchased a couple tickets from a scalper and we went back inside the stadium.

This photo is at the very start of the World of Coca-Cola tour.

This photo is at the very start of the World of Coca-Cola tour.

While I splurged for Saturday’s tickets, it was cheap seat mania for Sunday’s game. We sat in the upper deck although we were right behind home plate. Sidney and I had a very chill time just relaxing, eating ice cream, and watching baseball. We took the game in from high up and enjoyed all the in-game entertainment. However, we must had done something wrong as Atlanta’s nine game winning streak came to an end as the Diamondbacks defeated the Braves, 3-1. After the game we took the Marta back to the hub station and walked to our vehicle at the hotel and departed Atlanta. Just 42 hours after setting out on our adventure we arrived back in Myrtle Beach at midnight.

A look at where we sat for the second game we watched.

A look at where we sat for the second game we watched.

A little more info about Turner Field, CNN, and Coca-Cola…

Turner Field – As I sat in Turner Field I kept thinking how cool it was that I was in the stadium that housed the Summer Olympics. With that said, the place is completely converted to a baseball facility so it is difficult to picture it as a multipurpose Olympic complex. What will really jump out to you about Turner Field is the video board. It is HUGE, by far the largest I have seen at a MLB park. Although not high def, it was entertaining to watch. Every seat in the park is great and getting in and out of the stadium is a breeze. As for the fan experience the Braves are obsessed with the Tomahawk Chop. Turner Field will cue the chant over and over and over again…but it was fun. The seventh inning stretch song is “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” The team has a stadium host that runs promotions involving fans from a designated spot in the ballpark which leaves a little to be desired. Overall Turner Field is a wonderful ballpark. I am glad I got to see it before the team leaves for a new facility in 2017.

Turner Field is a great ballpark.

Turner Field is a great ballpark.

CNN Tour – As a news junkie who has a fascination with live television, I knew from the start that I wanted to do the CNN tour. A 55 minute guided walking tour we got to see the inner workings of both CNN and HLN. We saw a model control room, studios, newsroom floor, weather forecasting technology, and much more. Throughout the tour we passed large photos of major personalities such as Anderson Cooper, Wolf Blitzer, and Robin Meade. The highlight of the tour came when we got to see CNN anchor Victor Blackwell finish up a segment. When he finished he waved to us (we were standing behind glass) and then he actually came around to where we were at and said hi! It was pretty sweet. Sidney and I got a really cool picture sitting behind the CNN anchor desk.

The CNN tour was very interesting.

The CNN tour was very interesting.

Coca-Cola Tour – Although more of a Pepsi fan myself, I still love Coca-Cola history. During this tour we saw some really cool Coke memorabilia and mementos. We also saw very interesting displays and exhibits including how Coke is bottled. But I would be lying if I didn’t say that the absolute coolest part was the soda tasting session at the conclusion of the tour. Upon exiting you get to enter an area with seven stations where you can drink soft drinks until your heart explodes. The seven stations represent the seven continents and at each station there are several sodas that represent the various countries of that particular continent. You are free to take generous sized cups and fill it with the different sodas. I tried everything from watermelon pop to discontinued Coke products to a blueberry selection. After you passed the continent stations you could enter a section where they had about ten different taps just serving classic Coca-Cola. On your way out they even give you a glass bottle of Coke that was bottled on site. The Coke tour was AWESOME and I highly recommend that anyone who visits Atlanta takes time to do it.

The Coca-Cola tour was a blast. I recommend that anyone who visits Atlanta makes time to do it.

The Coca-Cola tour was a blast. I recommend that anyone who visits Atlanta makes time to do it.


What a great weekend it was in Atlanta. Sidney and I crammed a lot in and really enjoyed the city. I love exploring the South and I don’t intend to stop anytime soon. In fact, I am already planning my next trip. Don’t Blink.

Great Fourth Of July, Now Atlanta

This past week some organization came out with a list of the “50 Most Patriotic States” and South Carolina took the very coveted number one spot. With that designation, you can probably imagine that anywhere in the Palmetto State is the place to be for the Fourth of July. Luckily for me this very red, white, and blue state is now home and I thoroughly enjoyed yesterday’s holiday.

What do you think about the hat I had custom made for the Fourth of July?

What do you think about the hat I had custom made for the Fourth of July?

My Fourth of July started off with me taking my holiday message photo down at the beach at 7:30 a.m. Sidney volunteered to take the photo and showed immense patience with me as I had her take multiple shots while beachgoers gazed at the weird guy in a tacky American flag dry fit shirt sporting an even tackier smile (me). A little before noon I set sail with Sidney, her sister, and her parents. Riding on the very nice boat of Sidney’s dad, we cruised up and down the Intracoastal Waterway for a good six hours in the beautiful weather. I had a great time relaxing on the boat, exploring the South Carolina waters, and spending time with Sidney’s family. We finished our cruise at a little after 6 p.m. and I returned to my apartment for a little rest.

I had a very nice Fourth of July.

I had a very nice Fourth of July.

Once night hit Sidney and I went back to the beach to enjoy fireworks. While sitting on the sand we enjoyed a professional fireworks show off in the distance but we also watched all the amateurs up and down the shore lighting off their own pyrotechnics. It was a cool scene, especially for someone like me who has never experienced fireworks at the beach before. It put a nice cap to a relaxing Fourth of July.

A firework goes off in the distance as Sidney and I watched from the pier of the beach.

A firework goes off in the distance as Sidney and I watched from the pier of the beach.

Today Sidney and I take off for Atlanta! By 6 a.m. we will be on the road heading west 360 miles for another weekend getaway. While we don’t have a set itinerary for this trip one thing is for sure: We are going to today’s 4:10 p.m. Atlanta Braves vs. Arizona Diamondbacks game at Turner Field. I can’t wait to visit another MLB ballpark and to watch a team I grew up watching a lot because of the TBS contract. We will stay the night in downtown Atlanta and then come back at a TBD time on Sunday.

Sidney and I will be attending today's Atlanta Braves game.

Sidney and I will be attending today’s Atlanta Braves game.

What a weekend this is shaping up to be! I had a splendid holiday yesterday and now I get to go off to a major city and watch Major League Baseball. Most likely on Monday evening I will have a recap of our Atlanta experience. Until then, I hope you all have a wonderful rest of your weekend. For updates from Atlanta, follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Snapchat by searching @brentreser. Don’t Blink.

Talking About Social Media Control

A great part about my job at Coastal Carolina University is that I get to meet with diverse groups on campus about social media. One day it could be with an academic department. One day it could be with athletics. One day it could be with a student service organization. One day it could be a one-on-one session with a Vice President. Not only do I get to talk with a wide range of groups, I also get to talk about a wide range of subjects within social media.

This week I had the privilege of attending the monthly staff meeting of a department on campus. I was asked to speak about the handling of negative social media. You know, I am talking about the non-positive posts, the obscene comments, the spamming links, etc. that any social media program will encounter. This particular group that I was meeting with had a certain episode the month prior that sparked the invitation for me to drop by on that particular morning. With the warm smell of just out of the oven cinnamon rolls and fresh donuts teasing my nostrils (they have breakfast potluck meetings) I delivered my opinion.

My message was a simple one and it centered on one word: Control.

I strongly believe that any person or any group managing the social media campaign of an organization or business should run it in a way that gives them complete control. Critics might challenge this by saying that running a tight ship on social media takes “the voice” away from the audience and makes the social media administrator look like a tyrant. Absolute nonsense. You can run a program that gives the audience complete creative autonomy and an outlet to voice their opinion while still remaining at the steering wheel.

First off, I think all business Facebook pages should have the wall post capability for fans turned off. A Facebook wall is prime real estate marketing territory, one of the most coveted avenues of any business. Money, time, and creative spirit has been poured into the creation and maintenance of that page, thus making the wall sacred. To risk giving someone the chance to write a condemning manifesto wall post for all to see while the page administrator sleeps is not smart.

Secondly, just because you invite your audience to comment on any social media channel doesn’t mean they have a First Amendment right to have whatever toxic filled message they compose stay up. If someone writes something that has a curse word, strays completely off topic, or is self promoting then by all means delete it right away. If the person offends again then ban them. Your social media channels are your marketing tools, they aren’t a platform for people to cuss, ramble on, or promote. There are millions of message boards out there for that purpose.

Finally, run your social outlets in a way that you feel comfortable. Don’t let your audience, a social media “guru”, or a third party dictate how you administer your social program. If you have been trusted to make the social media decisions in an organization then most likely your bosses have faith in you. Honor the folks who provided you with such a crucial responsibility to put the best foot of your organization forward in the social media realm. If that means enabling more privacy settings, deleting a comment, or editing a post you made then so be it.

With my social media responsibilities I do all I can to portray Coastal Carolina in a transparent and humble light. We are not immune to criticisms or suggestions from our audience. If someone has a valid point I will make sure we take the heat. The post will stay up and I will address it in a respectful and apologetic manner for all to see. But that doesn’t mean our social media program is a complete free-for-all for people to hurl mud at anything and everything. That is where the control and comfort level must come in. The best social media administrators will find that fine line between what is acceptable and what isn’t. Don’t Blink.