Ladies Huddle

While working at Montana, one of my favorite events we put on was called Huddles and Heels. It was a football clinic offered by the Griz coaching staff for our women fan base. It was always a great time of on-field drills, tours, food, fundraising for charity, and shenanigans. If you read my blog post from three years ago, you will get the picture on the good time that was had by all.

This is me and my former boss, Christie Anderson, at the 2011 Huddles and Heels.

This is me and my former boss, Christie Anderson, at the 2011 Huddles and Heels.

This evening I had the special opportunity to see how my new school does it as the Coastal Carolina football team held its annual Ladies Huddle. I covered the event for our social media outlets and enjoyed every single minute of it.

Although the Coastal Carolina clinic wasn’t as hands-on or crazy as Montana’s version it was all balanced out by one factor: Joe Moglia. This man is the head coach of the Chant football team and by now his story is well known throughout college football. After an initial coaching stint he became an immensely successful businessman, earning millions of dollars. Then, just like that, he got back into football. His path eventually led to Coastal Carolina. If there is one thing you need to know about this man it is this…he can SPEAK!

Notice how I just didn’t say talk. I said SPEAK. I was blown away by how he could relay and articulate information, stories, and concepts. He was motivating, inspiring, and funny. Every single woman in that room loved him.

Coach Moglia at tonight's Ladies Huddle.

Coach Moglia at tonight’s Ladies Huddle.

That room I speak of was the third floor of the Adkins Fieldhouse. Overlooking the football field and with the school’s hall of fame plaques on the wall it was a cool setting. A large food spread and bar was at the disposal of the participants. Joining Coach Moglia was his whole coaching staff. After saying a few opening remarks and introducing his staff, the program really got underway.

A look at the setup of this evening's Ladies Huddle event.

A look at the setup of this evening’s Ladies Huddle event.

Coach Moglia had his Director of Football Operations George Glenn talk for a few minutes. I found this part very interesting because Glenn talked about the trip to Montana and the methods he used to keep the players warm during that December day in Missoula. He mentioned a couple times that it was -28 when the team hopped off the plane and -5 at kickoff. He noted that many of his players had never worn a winter jacket before. He described the number of torpedo heaters used, the way players on the sideline would give up jackets when active players would run off the field, and the layers the team suited up in. He revealed that the team drank boiling hot chicken broth. I found it all interesting.

A panel was held with the wives of the coaches.

A panel was held with the wives of the coaches.

The star quarterback and stud defensive player made an appearance. The offensive coordinator delivered a session on signals used during the game. The wives of the coaches came up for a Q&A session as they fielded questions from the audience on what it is like to be married to men of such a demanding profession. Then Coach Moglia returned and really opened up. He went through the way he recruits his student-athletes. He explained exactly what the structure is for the recruiting visits and shared what he tells the prospective athletes. He then spoke at length on how he treats his own players. He detailed his famous BAM (Be A Man) philosophy. He opened up the floor for questions and addressed everything from the NFL to moving up to the FBS to recruits that don’t pan out. Coach Moglia did all this with charm and confidence.

Offensive Coordinator Dave Patenaude talked about play signals during the clinic.

Offensive Coordinator Dave Patenaude talked about play signals during the clinic.

So what did this evening do for me? It got me even more excited for football season! As a proud season ticket holder I am eager to see the Chanticleers defend their Big South Conference title and make a deep run into the playoffs. The Ladies Huddle was a great way for me to see the men who will be calling the shots for that title defense this fall. August 30 can’t get here soon enough. Don’t Blink.

My Ice Cream Diet

Last night after a round of putt putt at the Cancun Lagoon course, I finally ordered something I have wanted to try this whole month. For the first time since arriving in Myrtle Beach I hit up a Dairy Queen and got my hands on a Chips Ahoy Blizzard. Although I don’t know if the wait was worth it. I found it to be pretty average and nowhere close to my regular Blizzard choice of Chocolate Xtreme. But there is a bigger issue in this all.

Since moving to the South I have started in on an ice cream tear. If I am not enjoying ice cream at one of the many parlors in town, shoving my face with it at a baseball game, or ordering it at a national chain like Dairy Queen or Cold Stone I am pigging out on it in the comfort of my own apartment. As I mentioned before, I am a huge fan of the Breyer’s brand and I have my freezer stocked accordingly. If I am watching a Red Box (which is almost nightly) then chances are I am eating ice cream.

This past Thursday at the Pelicans game, with some help from Sidney, I ate this delicious ice cream dish. The waffle bowl was made right in front of my own eyes.

This past Thursday at the Pelicans game, with some help from Sidney, I ate this delicious ice cream dish. The waffle bowl was made right in front of my own eyes.

How do I rationalize my new habit of going from a special occasion ice cream eater to a nightly ice cream eater? I say it is hot where I live.

Now I know that might be the worst excuse ever but it is all I got. Somehow I have justified it to myself that since I am living in a hot climate I somehow must deserve ice cream 365 times a year. Terrible, erroneous logic…the type of logic that gets people fat. However, I have avoided the extra pounds…for now.

Any time is a good time for ice cream.

Any time is a good time for ice cream.

As the obsessive person that I am, I weigh myself on the same day at the same time every single week. After moving down here I mandated this weekly weigh-in to keep myself honest. Everyone told me that weight gain was a given in the food-crazed South so I have taken necessary precautions to avoid an increased waistline.

Except of course for my ice cream habit.

But so far my ice cream splurge has not caught up to me yet. I have stayed the same weight since leaving the western part of the United States in mid-April. I am crossing my fingers that my ice cream diet doesn’t catch up to me all at once and on my next weigh-in I see a ten pound gain.

You know you live in an ice cream culture when the university you work for makes up creations like this.

You know you live in an ice cream culture when the university you work for makes up creations like this.

However, just because I have not seen a reflection on the scale doesn’t mean I can continue to scoop myself out a bowl each evening, right? Whatever happened to self control and moderation? Maybe I need to re-evaluate and go back to the guy who rewarded himself periodically with ice cream rather than the guy who makes it part of his nightly routine. Perhaps I should drop the “It’s hot” excuse? Don’t Blink.

Where All the Restaurants Taste the Same

If you go out to eat, there is one option you can always choose that will be safe: Mexican. If everyone in your party likes this type of food, then In terms of quality and menu choices you can’t really go wrong with going to the local Mexican restaurant.

Keep in mind what I am talking about. I am lumping together what the industry calls “Mexican family restaurants.” These are the dime a dozen sit-down Mexican places you find sprinkled in every city. I am not talking about Taco Bell, mission burrito joints, or Qdoba…I am highlighting the Fiesta en Jaliscos, El Sombreros, Aztecas, etc. of the world. If this is a place where you sit down, get chips and salsa, and order off a menu that has a heading of “combinations” followed by a bunch of numbers you know what I am talking about. And yes, I think they are all the same.

Now I know some of you might be cursing at your smart device or computer right now saying that I am crazy. Very well, you might have more sensitive taste buds than me. But personally, I find very little difference in the Mexican restaurant located on the side of the street that I am standing on and the Mexican restaurant located on the side of the street across from me.

I think I am semi-qualified to speak to this just because I have stayed consistent in what I have ordered at a Mexican restaurant for the last twenty years or so. I most always get the same thing…two enchiladas…one ground beef and one chicken. Sometimes I might switch it up a bit and get a burrito but in all honesty burritos taste the exact same as enchiladas. Anyway, my two enchiladas surrounded by refried beans and rice have tasted roughly the exact same at the hundreds of Mexican places I have dined at in my lifetime. I try to find distinguishing factors but many times it is impossible.

Not that this is a bad thing at all. Like I said above, it makes eating at a Mexican restaurant a solid choice. Burgers, fish, Asian food, and steak taste different at every place you go. People have different preferences on how they want these particular items to taste so it is always a risk selecting a restaurant. No such dilemma at a Mexican restaurant. You go anywhere and you know you can bank on getting the standard tacos/burritos/enchiladas with rice and beans, a cold Corona, and chips & salsa.

Now that I mentioned it though, I guess I should point out the separating factor that might put one Mexican restaurant ahead of the other: Chips and salsa. I admit that while any combination platter you get will pretty much taste universally the same, a business can shine a little brighter with its chips and salsa. If the restaurant serves warm and unlimited chips that is a good start. If they go the extra mile and make their chips homemade and provide a couple different types of salsas (one better be spicy), that makes it all the better. If I can slightly taste the grease and butter on the chip than that restaurant will definitely have the edge.

Atmosphere also plays a factor as well. For the same price I have ate the same tasting/looking Mexican platter in spacious, well-lit establishments as well as dirty, sketchy dives. When it comes down to it, I will always take my girlfriend to the place with a functioning sign and clean bathrooms.

Stressing out over where to take your relatives or visiting friends to dinner? Simply choose one of the many local Mexican restaurants in your area located in a decent part of town…and make sure the chips and salsa are delicious and plentiful! Don’t Blink.

A Small Way I Annoy People

I have written just shy of 600 blog posts for Don’t Blink. As many of you know who read my stuff frequently, I write about a very wide range of topics. Because I have covered such a vast array of material many times in random conversations I find myself saying, “Hey, I have written about this before!” But instead of acting like a normal, social person and verbalizing my thoughts I sometimes take an easier way out.

I have family members and friends who despise receiving a link from me. It will come after a conversation about something where I usually said very little. However, once they open the link they will find 800 words written by me on the exact same topic discussed. They hate this little habit of mine for several reasons. It shows laziness. It oozes cowardliness. It implies superior intelligence. It assumes that they have time to read my scribble.

In fairness to me I do it for valid reasons of my own. By nature I am a quiet person. I am not too keen on loud and involved conversations. I am also not the most elegant speaker. I rather have my written words talk for me. I also don’t like to waste the time of others. Rather than force someone to listen to my opinion or thoughts I much rather present it to them in a way where they can choose to listen or not.

My girlfriend has already had enough of my links. At least a couple times a day topics are brought up in which I have written blog posts about two or three years back. I will send her the link and she will say something to the effect of “I’d rather hear you say it out of your own mouth.” I pushed her buttons just a couple days ago when I responded to one of her tweets with a link.

Sidney didn't appreciate the link I tweeted at her the other day.

Sidney didn’t appreciate the link I tweeted at her the other day.

Usually I will just send links to people who are close to me. They know all about my blog and they know all about my preference for giving them as much detail through my writings as possible. It is not like I engage in conversations with strangers and then ask for their phone number or e-mail so I can follow it up with a link to one of my blog posts from July of 2011. But sometimes I will send an acquaintance or co-worker a link if we had an especially interesting conversation in which I think a past blog post might add substance or context to it. Also, if I think one of my blog posts might truly help educate someone (take for example the subject of social media) I will send a link their way.

I will admit it, I used to get irked by links myself. Whenever I used to ask a certain friend a question over e-mail or Facebook Messenger he would always send me a link from the internet. Even if the effort was less to just tell me the answer by typing a few words he would always go the link route. But I feel what I do is different. I provide people links to my own original material that I think builds on the conversation.

So if I ever send you a link, please don’t feel offended. I want to communicate with you and express myself in the best possible manner. In my case, that sometimes requires that I share with you what I have previously written in this crazy land of Cyberspace. Don’t Blink.

My Robin Williams Death Coincidences

Now that the smoke has settled a little on the tragic death of Robin Williams I want to say something: I felt a little spooked when he died. Three particular coincidences occurred right around his death that made me wonder just a bit. In tonight’s blog post I want to briefly discuss these coincidences. I will start with the least dramatic instance and end with the most significant one.

Coastal Carolina Commencement Speech: On Saturday morning, Coastal Carolina University held its summer commencement. The speaker was CCU professor Arne Flaten. His speech was titled “Carpe Diem: Of Dead Poets and Epistemology.” Of course Arne referenced Robin Williams, “Seize the Day,” and “Dead Poet’s Society” throughout his address. If you are sitting there thinking what a cliché subject to speak about, please know that Arne beat you to it by taking several shots at himself for picking such a topic. But that’s not the point…the point is that just a couple days after that address everyone around the world was putting “Carpe Diem” in their Facebook statuses.

A photo I took of Arne Flaten delivering his "Carpe Diem" commencement address on Saturday.

A photo I took of Arne Flaten delivering his “Carpe Diem” commencement address on Saturday.

Omitting Gooooooood MORNING: There is an ESPN personality by the name of Jonathan Coachman. Quite frequently he will fill in on the radio show Mike & Mike. Whenever he does so (I listen to the show each morning) he will open by exclaiming GOOOOOOD MORNING in the exact same way that Robin Williams did in “Good Morning Vietnam.” I am talking identical. This past Monday morning Coachman was once again subbing on Mike & Mike. I always look forward to him opening the show with GOOOOOOD MORNING so of course my ears were happily open. However, for the first time ever he didn’t give his normal greeting. I was so puzzled and disappointed that he didn’t start the show in his normal way that I tweeted him. Eerily the exact time that Coachman omitted his normal tribute to Robin Williams was around the same time that investigators said the actor took his own life.

I sent this tweet out to Jonathan Coachman because I thought it was really strange that he didn't open with his usual greeting.

I sent this tweet out to Jonathan Coachman because I thought it was really strange that he didn’t open with his usual greeting.

The Keystroke of Death: Monday evening I was in the middle of composing a blog post on the past ten Redbox movies I had watched. One of them happened to be “The Angriest Man in Brooklyn,” one of the last films that Robin Williams did. I trashed the movie. Five minutes after I finished writing about it the news broke about his death. I felt really weird. I almost considered going back and changing my review of the movie out of respect. I decided against it and instead just wrote a footnote under the review and devoted a couple of lines to Williams at the end of my post.

My quick review I did of "Angriest Man in Brooklyn"....just a few minutes after writing it I learned that Robin Williams was dead.

My quick review I did of “Angriest Man in Brooklyn”….just a few minutes after writing it I learned that Robin Williams was dead.


Have you ever read the Lincoln and Kennedy similarities before? I used to have the poster displaying them hanging in my room. Thinking about my Robin Williams coincidences made me think about that. May the souls of all three men rest in peace. Don’t Blink.

Ten Lousy (for the most part ) Movies

As I have written about before, I watch a lot of Redbox movies. Maybe I should start to reconsider.

Just for fun, I went through the past ten Redbox movies I have watched. For the most part, these films that I have watched in the last 28 days didn’t impress me too much. In tonight’s blog post I will very briefly go through each one and give you a sentence or two on whether you should watch it or not.

Movie: “Heatstroke”
Date Watched: August 10, 2014
Summary: Dad takes girlfriend and troubled daughter on hyena trip to Africa. Dad gets killed, girlfriend and daughter must survive.
My Opinion: The movie did manage to keep my attention, although barely. The scenery isn’t very good, the villains are corny, and the daughter will annoy you.
My Letter Grade: C

Movie: “Divergent”
Date Watched: August 7, 2014
Summary: Girl has trouble fitting into one of the personality factions of society. Joins one where she doesn’t really belong and discovers an evil plot to turn society upside down.
My Opinion: I was disappointed with this movie. It went too long and didn’t really compare at all to the “Hunger Games.”
My Letter Grade: C

Movie: “Angriest Man in Brooklyn”
Date Watched: July 31, 2014
Summary: A bitter, mean man is falsely told he only has 90 minutes to live. The man then goes off to do what he can to right his wrongs.
My Opinion: Although Robin Williams and Mila Kunis star in it, the movie is a disaster. A plot line that sounds interesting is tarnished in a B movie type production that doesn’t respect the pedigrees of Williams and Kunis. Stay away.
My Letter Grade: D

*******Five minutes after writing these words I heard the unfortunate news about Robin Williams. May he rest in peace.

Movie: “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Date Watched: July 28, 2014
Summary: An established hotel concierge befriends a young employee and the two try to cash in on a will while also battling false accusations.
My Opinion: I hated it. Not my style of movie at all.
My Letter Grade: D-

Movie: “Hunger Games: Catching Fire”
Date Watched: July 27, 2014
Summary: The winners from the previous Hunger Games are placed back in the competition in an all-star type version. A revolution is brewing and the ruler of the society is trying to squash it.
My Opinion: Great acting, great plot, and great scenes. Enjoyed this movie even more than the first. The ending will irritate you though.
My Letter Grade: A

Movie: “Heaven is for Real”
Date Watched: July 22, 2014
Summary: A boy almost dies and visits Heaven. His family must deal with the aftermath once he makes a full recovery.
My Opinion: Not a terrible movie but I thought it focused a little too much on the father and his obligation to the church he was the pastor of. The Heaven scenes and descriptions were cool and I wish the movie centered on that more.
My Letter Grade: B-

Movie: “Under the Skin”
Date Watched: July 21, 2014
Summary: An alien disguised as a woman drives around in a van, seduces men, brings them back to her apartment, and then watches them sink to their death.
My Opinion: Super weird, artsy movie. Scarlett Johansson stars in it and does a decent job but I found little meaning or point to the film.
My Letter Grade: C

Movie: “Cleaners”
Date Watched: July 20, 2014
Summary: An organized type crime ring ran by a cunning cold-hearted woman hires her daughter and another girl to do a job. Things aren’t as they seem.
My Opinion: Laughable, low budget movie. Horrendous acting and juvenile storyline. The actresses in the movie are hot but that didn’t even save me from turning it off early.
My Letter Grade: F

Movie: “Simple Plan”
Date Watched: July 17, 2014
Summary: Three guys find millions of dollars in a crashed plane. They take the cash and stress takes over, bad things happen, and a man comes after them.
My Opinion: I got duped…thought this was a new release since I got it from a Redbox but it was made in 1998. Depressing movie set in a snowy landscape complete with depressing characters.
My Letter Grade: D

Movie: “Blood Ties”
Date Watched: July 13, 2014
Summary: A film that takes place in the 1970’s chronicles the relationship between a New York City cop and his brother who was just released from prison. They try to make the best of things but the brother goes back to a life of crime.
My Opinion: Pretty boring and a little too long. Not as bad as some of the other movies but I did have to turn it off about three quarters through because it was 2 a.m. and it wasn’t doing enough to keep me up.
My Letter Grade: C-


Condolences to the family of Robin Williams. As I neared the completion of this post the news broke that Williams had passed. Despite my less than stellar review of the “Angriest Man in Brooklyn” I have always been a big fan of his. Don’t Blink.

My Best Birthday Party

Yesterday evening I attended the birthday party for Sidney’s nephew. The Spider-Man themed bash was held at a swimming pool with palm trees surrounding the area. The kids ate Chick-fil-A chicken nuggets and feasted on a beautiful Spider-Man birthday cake. Of course the adults were welcome to indugle as well as I had two slices.

Sidney's nephew, Harrison, celebrated his second birthday yesterday.

Sidney’s nephew, Harrison, celebrated his second birthday yesterday.

As I watched the children run around and have fun I tried reminiscing about my birthday parties as a little kid. To be honest, except for one certain occasion, it took me some memory jogging to remember my childhood birthday celebrations. After some thinking I remembered various parties at Chuck E. Cheese’s, Laser Quest, a local pizza parlor, and the classic party at home. The one instance that I remebered instananeously though? Let me tell you about it.

I thought I was royalty the October 8 day when a limo pulled up in my driveway to take my friends and I on a cruise through the mean streets of Spokane. After attending a wedding reception the previous summer that gave kids free rides in the limousine used by the wedding party, I couldn’t stop talking about it. Getting a taste of riding in the back of a stretched limo with tinted windows and a phone that called up to the driver had me all kinds of excited. My parents told me after my ten minute ride in the limousine that summer I constantly brought up the “luxurious” experience.

My 8th birthday party was supposed to be just a typical bash at home with games, a Halloween theme, and cake. When my friends had arrived and we were all huddled inside the house my dad told me to look outside. Almost twenty years later I still remember the surprise and excitement that overtook my little body when I saw that stretched limo parked along our curb. We all ran outside. The driver, named Leonardo, opened the doors for all of us to pile in. With the sunroof open he had me stand up through it for a photo op. My head barely made it out. He gave me his driver’s hat to put on as a cool prop.

Me wearing the hat of the limo driver.

Me wearing the hat of the limo driver.

With my birthday party celebrants in the back with me and my dad in the passenger’s seat up front with Leo, we took off. The divider separating us from the adults went up and we used the built in phone to communicate with mission control. For that hour (I think it was an hour at least…could have just been thirty minutes) I got to call the shots on where we went. To be honest, I can’t remember the locations we visited except for McDonald’s. I look back on it now and realize how dumb that stop was. Sure enough we arrived at our local McDonald’s but the limo just drove through the parking lot and back on the road. We didn’t even go through the drive-thru. Dumb decision on my part.

The limo driver wearing his actual hat and me wearing my prized Duke hat.

The limo driver wearing his actual hat and me wearing my prized Duke hat.

Although I don’t rememebr the other details on where we stopped I do remember us rolling our windows down and waving to traffic. A bunch of kids hanging out the window acting like idiots for all vehicles to see…talk about great marketing for the limo service.

It seemed like no time before the limo rolled back into the neighborhood and pulled alongside our curb. We got out and I am sure Leonardo probably drove away as fast as he could. We entered the house and did cake and presents and that was that.

Looking back on it now I think to myself what a miserable way to spend a birthday. These days I am not too keen on spending any additional time in a vehicle…even if it happens to be stretched and stocked with champagne. But at the time it was cool and to this day I still have memories of that birthday. So whatever inflated amount of money my parents paid for that joy ride I can say it was actually probably worth it. Don’t Blink.

Five Reasons Why My Work Week Rocked

The first 100 days of my new job have passed by quickly. However, the feeling of excitement and thankfulness that I had at the beginning has not passed quickly. It is as strong as ever. This week has been great. Staying true to my Thursday rapid-fire topic theme I will once again jump from subject to subject but it will all relate to this week at Coastal Carolina University.

Social Media Dream Team Meeting – One of my tasks in my position is to meet with my fellow social media leaders on campus. After sending out twice-a-month e-mail updates to this group we call the “Dream Team,” we finally had our first face-to-face meeting on Monday morning. I had the pleasure of sitting down with some of the major social media players at CCU including: our athletics marketing director, our dean of students, our celebrity dining services director, the leader of CCU’s student customer service program, and our assistant alumni director. We talked for almost 90 minutes about social media (and some other issues) at Coastal Carolina. Although I was running the meeting I probably spoke the least but learned the most. It was awesome.

CCUSA on WMBF – On Tuesday I was humbled when WMBF reporter Mandy Noell called me up and asked if she could do a story on our CCUSA campaign. Absolutely! It didn’t take long for Mandy to get to campus, take the footage she needed inside our offices, and then interview me outside of the Singleton Building. While I thought that my terrible news interviews ended in Montana they unfortunately carried over to South Carolina as well. No matter, Mandy was a true professional and pretty much washed away my awkwardness on camera with an awesome report, one that was praised by our own media legend, Martha Hunn. I was very thankful for the coverage that WMBF gave us. Click here to view the story.

Mandy Noell from WMBF interviews me about CCU Social Media.

Mandy Noell from WMBF interviews me about CCU Social Media (Thanks to Mona Prufer for the photo).

On Camera Again – On Wednesday, Kevin Olivett of Chanticleer Athletics invited me to go around and help cover a pretty cool deal. Athletic Director Matt Hogue and Chauncey were presenting Big South Conference football championship rings to staff members who were season ticket holders. Along with the video guy from athletics I would take video/photos when we would enter the offices. Well, I was given quite the surprise when the camera was turned in my direction. Before I knew it, Matt was presenting me with two rings. You see, I had recently become a Chant football season ticket holder. However, I thought the ring promotion was just for people who had season tickets during the actual 2013 championship season. Nope! Click here to see my reaction.

My surprised face as I stand between Coastal Carolina University Athletic Director Matt Hogue and Chauncey.

My surprised face as I stand between Coastal Carolina University Athletic Director Matt Hogue and Chauncey.

Board of Trustees Meeting – Today I was invited by my boss, Associate Vice President Bill Plate, to attend his presentation to the Board of Trustees. He told me that he wanted to introduce me to these extremely important individuals. Only he did a little more than just that. After he asked me to stand for the formal introduction he proceeded to build me up incredibly in front of the Board. He explained the whole CCUSA campaign, talked about some of the other things I am doing, and mentioned the increases our social media program has seen in the past few months. I felt so honored! It made my whole week and made me walk out of work with a huge smile on my face.

A photo from today's Board of Trustees meeting.

A photo from today’s Board of Trustees meeting.

Graduation on Saturday – This Saturday morning Coastal will hold its summer commencement. When I started working at CCU at the beginning of May I arrived just in time for spring commencement. I had such a fun time working that event and although the summer graduation is much smaller I am looking forward to the occasion. It will put an exclamation point on a magnificent week for me.

Myself at the CCU spring graduation in May.

Myself at the CCU spring graduation in May.


I hope many of you out there like your job as much as me. I am truly blessed. Have a great evening! Don’t Blink.

Family Text Messaging

Every now and then I will write about text messaging. Well, I want to focus on a certain aspect of that subject tonight. What I am about to center on is a real cool way to stay in touch with your dearest loved ones while having a lot of fun as well.

First off, thank goodness for group text messaging. Second, thank goodness for parents becoming more proficient at texting. These two factors have paved the way for a wonderful technology: Family Text Messaging!

It is very common in my family that the five of us will text each other as a group. From 3,000 miles away I regularly engage in a communal discussion via text with my mom, my dad, my older sister, and my younger brother. We wish each other happy birthday, we congratulate each other on accomplishments, we talk about pets, and we send pictures like crazy. We also text about complete nonsense as well.

Just a typical Reser conversation from a couple days ago.

Just a typical Reser conversation from a couple days ago.

Although our family texts are usually fun and games, when my brother and sister start to “spam” our group texting forum with late night messages or the 36th cat photo of the day, my dad does start to get frustrated. You see, he still has in his own words a “dumb phone,” so he doesn’t enjoy the group messaging capabilities of an iPhone. Instead of all messages going neatly into one single thread he receives each response as an individual text message. Losing track of the conversation and your sanity is very easy in such a situation.

Sometimes it is definitely appropriate to send a selfie locker room photo to the family.

Sometimes it is definitely appropriate to send a selfie locker room photo to the family.

But besides that sometimes uncomfortable problem, we love the luxury of texting within our family unit. It is secure, fun, and beneficial. Sometimes it is even heartwarming. From time to time my mom will send out the sweetest good night messages telling us kids that she loves us and that she is very proud of us. Many times my dad will send out the simple “love u” text when he goes to sleep (which is usually around 7:30 p.m.). This type of communication really helps me feel close to my family even when I am living on the other side of the country.

Many times the conversations are random and pointless.

Many times the conversations are random and pointless.

Of course the Resers aren’t the only ones who do this. I would say that the majority of families with text messaging capabilities participate in dialogue via group messaging. The beauty is that families can talk in their own distinct “language” and communicate through their established brand of humor and sarcasm that has developed over the years.

I am thankful for family group messaging. It allows me to flawlessly communicate with my loved ones while getting a laugh or two along the way. Excuse me now, I must send a picture of my leftover pasta to my family…they should love it. Don’t Blink.

Our Baltimore Blast

This past weekend I had the chance to go to Baltimore to watch my favorite baseball team play the Orioles in Camden Yards. It was a wonderful time, well worth the toil of getting there. Sidney and I traveled 500 miles, drove through monsoon-like pitch dark conditions, stayed the night in a questionable hotel in Fredricksburg, Virginia, and then finally arrived in Baltimore in a neighborhood filled with gang members and costumed weirdos.

But like I said, it was worth it.

After arriving in downtown Baltimore on Saturday morning we went down to the famous Inner Harbor. We walked around the water and watched the numerous joggers run by us. We took a stroll through the Little Italy district. We had drinks at a tapas place. Sitting on the restaurant’s outside deck by the water we had a fabulous and relaxing lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. After we concluded our meal by splitting a slice of vanilla bean cheesecake we went to the place Sidney couldn’t wait to visit…the aquarium.

Here is a look at our view of Baltimore and our Cheesecake Factory lunch.

Here is a look at our view of Baltimore and our Cheesecake Factory lunch.

The National Aquarium in Baltimore is supposed to be one of the top aquariums in the country. But let’s get real, if they charge $35 per person for entry (which Sidney graciously paid) it better be good. You enter the structure and immediately come upon a gigantic pool filled with sharks, fish, and a gigantic turtle. From there you walk up a ramp system to the various levels of the aquarium all the while maintaining a view of the ground level pool. The aquarium houses birds, frogs, snakes, and turtles. And fish. Lots of fish. Big fish, small fish, exotic fish, colorful fish, and really ugly looking fish. Also, the National Aquarium boasts the crowd-pleasing dolphin area. Numerous dolphins swim in a tank that allows visitors to watch them from stands or through underwater windows.

This was the main tank that the National Aquarium is designed around.

This was the main tank that the National Aquarium is designed around.

The aquarium has so much to see, including a rain forest. If you go, give yourself ample time. Also, bring your patience with you…kids take over the place.

Some photos I snapped at the National Aquarium.

Some photos I snapped at the National Aquarium.

After checking in at our hotel we walked the rather short distance to Camden Yards. Upon entry to the stadium we hit up the strip of bars and street vendors outside the stadium’s outfield entrance. Each establishment had an outdoor standing section that filled up with patrons lined shoulder-to-shoulder. We were right in the middle of it. Wearing our Mariner teal in a sea of orange we were treated very well by the Orioles fans up until the moment we left. It was then that one intoxicated individual said some inappropriate things to Sidney.

The bar district right outside of Camden Yards.

The bar district right outside of Camden Yards.

We walked in Camden Yards and admired the ballpark. We took in the center field and right field views. We walked on Eutaw Street, the famous divider between the warehouse and the outfield bleachers. We finally settled in our seats on the lower level of the first base line. On a pleasant night in Baltimore we watched the Mariners top the Orioles. Robinson Cano and Dustin Ackley both hit homers and Fernando Rodney recorded the save. After snapping a few photos to commemorate the win, Sidney and I walked out of that stadium on Saturday evening smiling that the visitors took one from the home team.

Great night, great seats, great win.

Great night, great seats, great win.

On Sunday morning, I went to church at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (called the Baltimore Basilica for short). Located just a block from our hotel it was a great experience celebrating mass in such a beautiful masterpiece. With the 8 a.m. mass only running about 45 minutes I spent some time giving myself a tour of the church when the service concluded.

The Baltimore Basilica is a beautiful church.

The Baltimore Basilica is a beautiful church.

I returned to the hotel and after breakfast Sidney and I headed back to Camden Yards. I purchased heavily inflated tickets from a scalper and then we headed back to the vendor/bar area. Sidney and I sat down in the famous Pickles Pub and had a drink. After scarfing down a hot dog I bought from one of the vendors, the two of us went inside the stadium. In a truly fun part for me, Sidney and I went all the way down to the first row right off of the Mariners dugout and watched the pitching staff go through agility drills. Felix Hernandez and Fernando Rodney both ran right past us and a few other players came by and signed autographs. It was cool to get such an up close view of the actual playing field.

Up close and personal.

Up close and personal.

Instead of going up to our third deck seats we decided to stand on the right field deck. For the whole nine innings we watched over Nick Markakis’ shoulder from one of the best views in Camden Yards. Although the angle was great the outcome was not. The Orioles shut out the Mariners, 1-0. After the game we headed back to the car as a 500 mile drive awaited us. We made it back to Myrtle Beach a little before 2 a.m. on Monday morning.

This was our view from the right field deck.

This was our view from the right field deck.

Camden Yards vs. Turner Field – As I visited both ballparks for the first time this summer, here is a very brief comparison: Turner Field is nicer inside. It also has a better fan experience in terms of video board elements, on-field entertainment, and P.A./Music presentation. Camden Yards tops Turner Field in location. Camden is in a neighborhood that has charm. It also has a vendor/bar/tailgating feel that you don’t get at every MLB ballpark.

Pictures I took from both Turner Field and Camden Yards. Both good ballparks.

Pictures I took from both Turner Field and Camden Yards. Both good ballparks.

BronyCon – Baltimore was the site of the “My Little Pony” National Convention (Called BronyCon) this past weekend. As I mentioned above, we saw hundreds of people dressed in ridiculous costumes…most of them were adult dudes.


Baltimore was great. I had the opportunity to see a city and a state I had never been to, take in a couple games in a ballpark I always wanted to visit, and watch my favorite team on the road. Thanks so much to Sidney for going with me and putting up with my nerdiness. Where will we go next? Don’t Blink.