Why I Don’t Think “Boyhood” is Oscar-Worthy

Desiring just a relaxing night, Sidney and I decided to rent a movie at the local Redbox kiosk and stay in. Right when we got up to the screen and saw the selections on the first page we knew what we wanted: “Boyhood.”

Successful at the Golden Globes and a frontrunner for a big night at the Academy Awards, “Boyhood” is the darling of the movie world right now. Making the movie such a standout is that it was amazingly filmed over an actual 12-year period. That’s right, filming for the movie spanned from May of 2002 through October of 2013. The film follows a cast of family members for over a decade, centering on a boy who starts out in first grade and sees him all the way through high school graduation. It was a no-brainer for me, I needed to see this movie that was so patiently and artistically done.

The nearly three hour movie is smooth. The film begins and it pretty much just glides through the 12 years from point A to point B. It never becomes too slow but it never really climaxes either. The acting is great and the life events experienced by the characters are real and relatable. I laughed quite a few times and teared up once or twice. Although not a bore by any means, the movie couldn’t convince Sidney to keep her eyes open as she fell asleep about halfway in. It kept my attention the whole way through and for the most part I enjoyed myself while watching “Boyhood.”

Before I get to the major issue I have with the film, I do want to give it some credit. The character development over the years is intriguing to watch. Watching the characters physically change before your eyes and knowing that it is completely natural is pretty cool. The way the film depicts the characters changing in a personality/maturity/coming of age sense is equally as rad. The transformation of the boy who stars in the film, Mason (Ellar Coltrane), is fulfilling to watch. The character of the mom (Patricia Arquette) provides entertainment solely on the sense of her different appearances through the years. But who really stole the show for me was Ethan Hawke, who played the dad. The growth his character shows throughout the film was touching and respectable. If you do watch “Boyhood,” you will enjoy Hawke’s performance.

“Boyhood” is a nominee for Best Picture. In fact, it is the favorite to actually take the award home. While it is a well-done, creative movie I shudder at it winning the award for the best movie of the year. I eluded to it above and will circle back to it again, the movie is pretty much about nothing. There is no plot, climax, or major struggle. It follows a family while depicting the challenges and everyday life events that occur during a 12-year period when individuals grow from kids to young adults and inexperienced parents navigate the waters and turn into mature parents. While watching the movie a light bulb never went off in my head, my adrenaline never raced, I was never struck hard with emotion, nor did I ever feel impacted by it.

Now I understand that you don’t necessarily need any of these things to produce a good movie. Heck, “Boyhood” is proof of it. Although lacking a major plot, I was entertained for three hours as the 12 years played out. But while a good movie doesn’t need anything special, an Academy Award Best Picture movie does. “Boyhood” doesn’t deliver the “it” factor. It didn’t come close to blowing me away.

I really respect the approach the filmmakers and cast took to making this movie. To devote 12 years to a project shows complete dedication and vision (not to mention it shows a lot of guts too…major gamble). But just because you create a movie in an unconventional and creative way shouldn’t automatically win you the highest award in the movie business. I needed more from “Boyhood” to realistically consider it as the best movie of the year. Don’t Blink.

American Sniper

Last night, Sidney and I went and saw “American Sniper.” We walked inside the Market Common theater ten minutes before the 7:45 p.m. showing and the auditorium was packed. We had to sit in the front row. It didn’t matter where we sat though because I was so excited about the film. I also like watching movies in full houses.

The "American Sniper" auditorium at the movie theater in Market Common was packed.

The “American Sniper” auditorium at the movie theater in Market Common was packed.

When I walked out of the theater last night, there was one thought more prevalent in my brain than anything else: The acting job of Bradley Cooper. By far the best performance of his career, Cooper played a role that was so unlike anything he had ever done before. The way he played the Texas war hero Chris Kyle was out of this world. Besides having the Texas drawl down pat and being every bit believable as a Navy SEAL sniper could be, Cooper looked very similar to Kyle. He put a tremendous amount of effort into transforming himself for that role. Oscar worthy no doubt.

The movie tells the tale of Chris Kyle, a former cowboy who joined the Navy and became a SEAL. Naturally gifted as a sniper, he became the deadliest shooter in American military history and earned the nickname “The Legend.” He didn’t just stay up on his perch though (and he absolutely could have if he wanted), he went on extremely dangerous village raids with marines as they went to search for bad guys. He completed four tours in Iraq.

My ticket from "American Sniper." It was a superb movie.

My ticket from “American Sniper.” It was a superb movie.

The story is incredibly told with superb acting. It depicts the struggles and emotions of fighting in a deadly foreign country very well, both for the military personnel and their families. The film is authentic and believable, and will undoubtedly go down as one of America’s best war films.

The film does an amazing job capturing war zone Iraq. You get a true glimpse of what fighting was like during the war. It becomes plainly obvious that fighting wasn’t done on some glorified battlefield but rather in crippled neighborhoods and communities. The conditions they fought in were very well laid out and depicted. Director Clint Eastwood did a phenomenal job casting the Iraqi people. Everyone from the little kids to the villagers to the rival sniper to the bad guys (including a chilling portrayal of “The Butcher”) made the movie so real and so intense.

One of my favorite parts of the movie was watching Kyle’s character (Cooper) do his job…sniping. Watching him pick off Iraqi soldiers was intense and exhilarating. The film makers did what they needed to do to make his sniper work seem completely real while also honoring the amazing pure talent that Kyle had. In the last battle scene of the movie, Kyle’s most important and seemingly impossible kill is made. It is an incredible part in the film, one that will have you on the edge of your seat. It was my favorite part over the course of the two hours in the theater. Yes, there is the scene where he takes out a couple of non-military personnel but it will really just make you respect him even more for doing what he had to do.

I had a tough time with the ending. Half of it comes with me just not liking the real life events that unfolded and half of it comes from the way it was depicted in the movie. I don’t want to give too much away about the film so I will just stop there.

“American Sniper” is a great movie, one that most people need to see. Because of the ending and because of a couple other things, I do like “Lone Survivor” better but that is just me. If you are a Bradley Cooper fan get to the theater as soon as possible and see his performance. If you are an American and you like to see our war heroes do incredible things, you should probably get there even faster.

When Chris Kyle was asked whether he regretted any of his kills, he responded in this way: “I regret the people I couldn’t kill before they go to my boys.” Don’t Blink.

I Am an Online Dating Expert and a Published Writer!

Hello Thursday, it is great to see you again! I am all around the board today with my Thursday Rundown as I cover online dating, work, football, and the movies. Let’s get started ASAP.

The New Way to Date – So apparently I am an online dating expert! We get calls from the media every single day asking us to put them in contact with our faculty members who specialize in certain areas. This past Friday we fielded a call from news station WPDE regarding a story they were doing on the safety of online dating. Because the subject revolves very heavily on social media, I was assigned to give the interview. Reporter April Baker came over to the office and interviewed me. I talk to the media a lot but usually it is in relation to something I am doing at the University. This time around I was straight up giving my expertise! I had a fun time doing the interview and April did a fabulous job. Watch the report by clicking here.

A screenshot from my online dating interview with WPDE.

A screenshot from my online dating interview with WPDE.

Published Writer – I love to write and I do it a lot through this blog and other outlets but never before has my work been published in a legitimate, hard copy publication. That recently changed. I was humbled to have the opportunity to write a profile piece for the latest issue of Coastal Carolina University Magazine. Our twice-a-year alumni publication, this magazine is beautiful and glossy with a large readership. I wrote a piece on Patrick Sparks, an important alumnus of CCU. I put a lot of effort into the piece but after three months since submitting it to the editor, I kind of forgot about it . However, I was reminded of it in grand fashion today when I held a copy of the magazine in my own hands. I had a small moment of pride when I saw my own story on that page with my name on it. To have opportunities such as this is a big reason on why I came to Coastal.

The main photo on the right is my article in the magazine. The top photo is the cover, the middle photo is my social media ad in the publication, and the bottom photo is the magazine logo on the inside cover.

The main photo on the right is my article in the magazine. The top photo is the cover, the middle photo is my social media ad in the publication, and the bottom photo is the magazine logo on the inside cover.

American Sniper – For a long time now I have looked forward to watching “American Sniper.” After months of buildup, award hype, and countless previews on television, I am pumped up for the nationwide release tomorrow. I am just so intrigued by the role Bradley Cooper plays. As a fan of his, I am chomping at the bit to watch him take on this character. It is something completely different from anything he has ever done. I will see it at the theater for sure this weekend and I will make sure to let you know how it was.

Championship Sunday – This Sunday the NFL conference championship games will be played. It goes without saying that I will be cheering heavily for the Seahawks to dispose of the Packers in the earlier NFC contest. To see my favorite team get back to the Super Bowl for the second year in a row would be very fulfilling. As for the AFC nightcap, I will be clearly cheering for a certain team as well. I hope the Indianapolis Colts kick the snot out of the New England Patriots. I enjoy Andrew Luck and despise Brady and Belichick so I am crossing my fingers for a Seahawks-Colts Super Bowl. Nothing is better than watching the NFL on Sunday when you have the sweet assurance that you don’t have to work the next day.

Social Media Promotion of the Week – As a fun little social media promotion to start the semester off, I implemented something that I thought of while working out last week. I had Jada, my social media intern, go to Kimbel Library and randomly choose five books from all corners of the facility. She took photos of the books and put a note on the inside cover stating what to do with it when found. Starting on Monday I posted a photo of one of the books on our social media outlets challenging our students to find it, check it out, and then bring it to our office for a prize pack. I repeated this routine with different books on Tuesday, Wednesday, and today. Four days in and we have had a winner each day. Two of the times we had a group of students come in with the winning book. Jada did a great job choosing the selections as she picked books that somehow related to the University and/or the college experience. This promotion will wrap up tomorrow.

These are the four student winners who checked out the hidden books the past several days.

These are the four student winners who checked out the hidden books the past several days.


Did you know that January is already halfway over? How are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions? If you have already fallen off, don’t give up. Hop back on and make good on your goals. The year is still very young. Have a wonderful holiday weekend and enjoy the football games! Don’t Blink.

Why I Love Mini Sodas

I want to recognize the major soft drink companies for rolling out the mini cans and mini bottles of product that you can find on shelves everywhere these days. Containing 7.5 ounces of soda in the can and only 12 ounces in the mini plastic bottles, these smaller drinks contain the perfect amount of beverage for many people. For someone like me who rarely drinks soda but who does like to splurge every now and then, I love the mini cans. Whenever I go back to my parents’ house they always have them stocked in the fridge and I will usually indulge. Not only is the volume of drink great, the mini can feels nice in my hand as well.

Today my local newspaper ran an AP article on the enormous popularity of these smaller sodas. Once just a novelty item when introduced a few years back, mini cans and bottles are now in high demand. To confirm this, all you need to do is go to your nearest grocery store and look at the soda aisle. It will become plainly visible that less is now more.

At Food Lion the mini sodas run across a whole shelf.

At Food Lion the mini sodas ran across a whole shelf.

The article was as blunt as could be when it noted why these re-packaged drinks are so popular (and it wasn’t one of my two reasons I gave above). The small soda mania can be summed up by one word: GUILT. Consumers purchase the smaller sodas because it makes them feel better about themselves. By drinking four ounces less per serving, they are practicing discipline and healthy habits.

This was the actual newspaper article that I read this morning.

This was the actual newspaper article that I read this morning.

Okay, time now for my confession: I actually opt to drink mini sodas because of guilt as well. It was just not until this morning when I read the article that I really came to grips with it. Heck, it took me three paragraphs in this blog post to admit to it in writing. Yes, I do choose the smaller sodas because they quench my thirst well enough and they do feel good to hold but mostly it is because of guilt. I have told myself for so long that soda is sewage for the body; how can I justify drinking a bigger can when I have the choice of a smaller one? For some erroneous reason I have told myself that if I choose the small can and save myself the two extra sips I would swallow with a bigger can, somehow I am saving myself from all the sugar, carbonation, and artificial flavorings. Silly thinking. Sadly, even if you are only taking four sips instead of six sips, you are still putting an awful mixture into your system.

Purchasing these smaller sodas saves me some guilt.

Purchasing these smaller sodas saves me some guilt.

So while the article made me aware of something, it also just re-affirmed what I have known and practiced for a long time now in relation to spending habits. The journalist seemed a little astounded that consumers will pay more for less soda. The volume per dollar of a 7.5 ounce can is much more expensive than the volume per dollar of a 12 ounce can. Why pay more for less product? Once again, it is all about the guilt.

I will gladly pay a couple dollars more for a six-pack of 7.5 ounce cans as opposed to a six-pack of 12 ounce cans. It makes me feel like I am making a healthier and more disciplined decision. It makes me feel better about myself, a feeling that is well worth the extra $2. I have a story about this. I remember back when I wasn’t even a teenager yet. I would go to the deli of a grocery store to purchase a small sized fountain drink. The person at the register told me more than once to not buy the 12 ounce Mt. Dew paper cup drink for $1.09 and instead go out to the store entrance and buy the generic brand 20 ounce bottle for 75 cents. No sir, my mind doesn’t think like yours does. Most of all I want the smaller version for my own sanity but I also don’t want to go outside and risk losing my money in a vending machine, and I sure as hell don’t want to drink a knockoff brand of Mt. Dew. Yuck.

All I have to say is a mini sized can of soda is the real MVP. While I still sabotage my body by drinking it, I save myself some guilt, something I am not opposed to paying a little more for. You will never see me buying a Big Gulp. Don’t Blink.

The Creative Way I am Using Snapchat

Several months ago I wrote about how I made the decision to incorporate Snapchat into our social media strategy at Coastal Carolina University. Fast forward some 200 days later and I am now writing about how I have made the decision to incorporate Snapchat into my own personal branding strategy. To say that everyone supports this move of mine would be a little bit of a lie.

After experimenting with my own personal Snapchat account for quite some time, I finally solidified my plan on how to use it over the holiday break. No longer am I all about snapping random, low quality images like the other billion people on the service. No longer am I taking a photo and using my thumb to scribble a horrendously illegible word or two across it. No longer am I taking a video of the radio blaring in my car. Bottom line, my Snapchat account isn’t about random garbage anymore. Rather, it is about my brand and my blog.

I have changed my priorities when it comes to Snapchat. Now I am using my account to push my personal brand.

I have changed my priorities when it comes to Snapchat. Now I am using my account to push my personal brand.

If you connect with me on Snapchat, and I highly recommend that you do (brentreser), you will notice something. About 90% of the snaps you receive from me will be strictly video messages of yours truly promoting brentreser.com. Hey now, stop making that disgusted face! I can assure you that while I am promoting my website, I am not shamelessly promoting my website. My objective is not to overwhelm and scare you with constant messages telling you to go read my blog. Instead, these snaps will only come each time I publish a blog post (so roughly 5-6 times a week). In the nightly aftermath of publishing my work, I will compose a video snap where I give a quick teaser on the topic for that particular night. I will send it to you personally and I will also post it to my story.

I write, post, and tweet about my blog often. However, very seldom do I get to talk about it. By going this avenue with Snapchat I have the luxury to explain in my own voice the latest happenings with Don’t Blink. I get to reach people who I might not normally reach through my other social media means. For the people who I do already reach and who will get hit again with my snaps it is my hope that this method might get through to them in a different way. If they weren’t reading before, maybe they will now. By composing these video messages I also hope to break up the monotony that Snapchat sometimes becomes. Perhaps people will appreciate a planned out video every once in a while as opposed to an in-your-face blurry selfie.

I already know that some don’t appreciate it, however. My brother and a friend have both voiced their displeasure over my latest tactic. They think it is self-promoting and spam-like in nature. Oh well, you can’t please everyone.

If you are on Snapchat, add me (brentreser). If you have other creative ways for how you utilize this service I would love to hear about it. Keep snapping my friends and always remember that no one is immune from a screenshot. Don’t Blink.

Not Responding to Fan Mail

Today Bleacher Report ran a story about a 12-year-old kid who did something pretty cool (and also really annoying). He sent a letter to all 32 NFL teams asking why he should be a fan of their organization. With all those letters sent across the country, he received only one response. The correspondence came from the Carolina Panthers and it wasn’t just from their marketing guy. Rather, the owner of the Panthers sent a handwritten note with some swag included. Bravo, Carolina.

But I am not here tonight to pat the Panthers on the back for what they did. Instead, I am here to defend the 31 other NFL teams that didn’t write back.

I am sure the “noble” fans of some of these teams will blast their organization for not responding to the kid but I find it hard to blame them. Until you work in sports marketing for a team with a decent fan base you really have no idea about the mail that rolls in.

When I worked at Grizzly Athletics I saw it all. You had the uninspired form letters that went out to 300 other colleges. You had the post cards from super weird collectors in obscure parts of the country wanting pocket schedules. You had people writing in that didn’t know the name of your mascot. You had people requesting swag from sports that didn’t even exist within the department. You also constantly had teachers asking for mementos for their whole classroom, usually not even caring about the shipping nightmare it is to send 30-odd trinkets hundreds (sometimes thousands) of miles. And of course, you have the letters such as the one from the boy who reached out to all 32 NFL teams.

Here is the thing: Many of the people who request these items are frauds. They don’t really care about your team, your college, or your organization. In reality, they just want free stuff. Some have weird obsessions with stockpiling random mementos in their cramped basement apartment. Some hassle teams to try and somehow turn a profit with what they get back. Teams don’t have unlimited swag, unlimited time, and unlimited employees to fill requests. Clearly, I will never get on a department/organization for exercising their best judgment and not responding to a piece of fan mail because they feel it is either a sham or a waste of time.

Now you might question how an organization couldn’t take the time to respond to a precious 12-year-old boy. There are two main reasons why I think the other 31 teams didn’t respond (besides the fact that possibly some of these teams have in fact sent correspondence to the boy, he just hasn’t received it yet). First off, the kid had obviously pitted all the NFL team against each other. He wanted to see which one would come through and send the biggest, coolest package. It is not worth it to engage in a silly battle like that. People like to exploit the competition between rivals for their own gain. Sometimes it is best just not to give in.

Secondly, perhaps, the request might have seemed illegitimate. Dirt bags pose as kids over the internet and through the mail all the time. They also say they have cancer or that they lost all their possessions in a fire. Sometimes if you look closely, red flags start to pop up. It is best not to reward these scam artists.

I sympathize with these sports teams. Even though at Montana we responded to pretty much every single request and letter we received, I know for some bigger entities it is not possible. You have to pick and choose. I am not calling out the kid, in fact, I used to be just like him. Rather, I am sticking up for the other organizations in the NFL who might come under fire for not sending Little Johnny a football helmet. Don’t Blink.

Why I Don’t Like Trivia Crack

Right around the start of December, one of our student workers told me to download a certain game on my smart phone. Alexandra advised me to get Trivia Crack, a quiz app that allows users to test their brains against the brains of friends and/or strangers in head-to-head matchups. I took her recommendation and downloaded the game.

This is the logo for Trivia Crack, a very popular app out right now.

This is the logo for Trivia Crack, a very popular app out right now.

At first I was only playing Alexandra. Then I went home to Spokane and introduced my brother to it and soon enough I was playing him. Then some other people joined in. Later, my girlfriend hopped in on the fun. More random Facebook friends started challenging me. Before I knew it, I had several Trivia Crack games going on at once. During the holiday break I attended to all of the various individual games like I was one of those chess masters going from board to board. But then my holiday break ended and I flew back to the South and work started again. At about this time, I stopped caring about Trivia Crack.

When I went from lots of free time to very little free time, it was a no-brainer to cut back dramatically on Trivia Crack. But even if my holiday break was extended and I got even more time to live like a worthless bum I probably would have still cut back.  Why? Because Trivia Crack just isn’t a very good app.

My Trivia Crack profile.

My Trivia Crack profile.

If you can imagine a cross between Trivial Pursuit and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire smashed into a smart phone app, you got yourself Trivia Crack. The goal is to correctly answer a multiple choice question from six different categories across varying disciplines before your opponent does. To help along the way, based upon the amount of points you have, you are afforded the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire equivalent of lifelines where you can increase your chances of guessing the correct answer. You can chat with your opponent during the match and you can share pretty much every aspect of the game to your social media accounts.

Sounds fun, right? So what makes it not a very good app? Let me start with one word: Ads. Trivia Crack is overrun with long, annoying ads at every corner. Now I used to enjoy Kate Upton in her Game Of Thrones commercials but Trivia Crack pretty much killed that for me. I have been forced probably no less than 1,000 times to watch Kate yelling at the top of her lungs while riding her horse through the screen of my iPhone. It has lost its luster. But this is just one of the ads. Trivia Crack has way more ads than your normal app and these commercials get in the way of the game flow.

Trivia Crack also has the most annoying sound effects you can imagine. If you don’t have your phone on silent and you open up the app you will hit yourself in frustration. The theme music for Trivia Crack is brutal. The sounds produced for spinning the wheel, picking answers, choosing wrong answers, choosing right answers, losing games, and winning games will drive you crazy. Sometimes you can’t escape these annoying sounds because whereas you were considerate enough to silence your phone, your friend (or brother) sitting right next to you playing the game wasn’t.

Additionally, the game zaps the battery from your phone like no other. When I open the app or when I spin the wheel, I can just feel the percent of my charge going down. If you were on a 30 minute taxi ride, you would do your phone’s battery a big disservice by playing Trivia Crack non-stop the whole journey.

But the absolute worst part of Trivia Crack centers directly on what the game is all about…the questions. The word “consistency” is an absolute afterthought in this game. You can go from the most laughable easy question in the world to the most obscure, specific miniscule piece of knowledge that even a genius wouldn’t know. When I was in Spokane, my brother turned his iPhone in my direction to a Trivia Crack question that had a photo of the American flag with the text reading “What country does this flag represent?” At the other end of the spectrum, I have received a question asking me to identify the age at which some random composer started to play the cello with the options being 2, 3, 4, or 5 years. I have had questions asking me for such specific geographic information in some random country that it wouldn’t even make the Double Jeopardy $2,000 clue. I am not kidding you, the questions in Trivia Crack are absolutely all over the board. I honestly think the questions compromise the integrity of the game. I know there can’t be professionals writing them, but maybe the users who submit the questions should get certified in something.

An average question in Trivia Crack.

An average question in Trivia Crack.

Trivia Crack was fun during the span where I had nothing to do for 14 days but it doesn’t deserve my time now that I am a functioning member of society again. If changes are made, I might give it 15 minutes of my time late at night while laying in bed but until then, no thanks. Don’t Blink.

Cheering on the Seahawks in Enemy Territory

Ever since last Sunday, I have been looking forward to this day. Making this Saturday special in the first place is that my Seattle Seahawks will open up their defense of the Lombardi Trophy by playing in a divisional playoff game this evening. Adding a little more luster to this game is the opponent they will be playing.

I am ready to root hard for the Seahawks tonight against the Carolina Panthers.

I am ready to root hard for the Seahawks tonight against the Carolina Panthers.

When the Seahawks kickoff against the Carolina Panthers at 8:15 p.m. ET I will be cheering on my team in enemy territory. Living in the Carolinas has exposed me to a different NFL team that also wears a shade of blue. Throughout this season I have read about the Panthers each day in the paper, watched glimpses of their games every Sunday on TV (thanks to regional coverage), and encountered scores of fans decked out in Cam Newton jerseys. With Carolina’s win in the wild card round last week, this fan base is on fire for its NFL team.

While in most circumstances I would embrace the local team in my area and root hard for the Panthers, this is definitely not the case today. My home state team, the organization that I have cheered on during its lowest and highest points, is colliding with Carolina in a high stakes playoff game and you better believe I am backing Pete Carroll, Russell Wilson, and the 12th Man. There is no straddling the fence on this one.

I will be watching the game tonight in a bar surrounded by Carolina Panthers fans with a Carolina Panthers bartender slinging my drinks. As the Seahawks are defending Super Bowl champs and the Panthers squeaked into the playoffs with a losing record I will “act like I have been there” and remain classy the whole time I am cheering on Seattle. It should be a fun evening with good-natured ribbing and a win for the team from the Pacific Northwest. Let’s go 12th Man, be loud tonight! Don’t Blink.

Southern Cold, National Championship, Legacy, Globetrotters, Quote

Greetings my friends! Tonight I get to present to you my first Thursday Rundown of 2015. A New Year’s resolution of mine was to make these weekly blog posts even shorter than they were in 2014.

Southern Cold – For the first time since I moved to Myrtle Beach, I was cold today. Arctic air managed to find its way down South and made temperatures plummet into the low twenties. Although these freezing temperatures lacked the crushing winds and inches of snow I became accustomed to out west, I definitely didn’t feel toasty walking outside this morning. Now you can imagine that if I thought it was cold the locals really found it arctic-challenging. Tips were distributed on how to bundle up, schools were delayed, and the local news stations reported exclusively on the frigid temperatures. My co-workers made every attempt to stay inside. Social media was flooded with people aghast at the conditions outside. However, I will take this cold over the cold back home in a heartbeat …even with the unusual temperatures the sun still shined brightly all day long.

It was cold today but the sun shined brightly the whole time.

It was cold today but the sun shined brightly the whole time.

Bring on the National Championship! – The College Football Playoff is the best thing ever. New Year’s Day was an incredible day of watching football. Even better, the result that came about from the two semi-final matchups justified the long, tough battle it took to bring about this playoff. By now it is well-documented; if we had another year of the BCS it would have been an undeserved, travesty of a contest between Alabama and Florida State. Instead, we get a true national championship game as Oregon and Ohio State will square off. Look for Oregon to roll as the Pac-12 asserts itself as the best football conference in the nation.

Leave Your Legacy – At many universities you can find certain walkways that are paved with personalized bricks commemorating alumni, donors, and fans. With all the brand new buildings going up around Coastal Carolina University, the opportunity to create such a spot on campus here was made possible. The “Alumni Walk” in front of our recently renovated Atheneum Hall Alumni Center will soon be paved with personalized bricks from the CCU community. A wonderful way to donate back to my place of employment while also leaving my mark, I purchased a brick yesterday. I may or may not have pushed my personal brand when I decided the text I wanted my brick to be engraved with. When the bricks are installed next month I will let you all know what I went forward with.

Pretty soon this walkway will be paved in bricks with one of them containing my special text.

Pretty soon this walkway will be paved in bricks with one of them containing my special text.

Social Media Promo to End the Day – The Harlem Globetrotters will be on campus this Sunday. I requested and was granted some free passes from the group’s marketing director to give out over social media. For today’s Facebook contest I simply asked our audience to tell me why they wanted to go to the game. In two hours I received 60 responses from people pleading their case. Most of the pleas came from parents wanting to treat their son or daughter, thus making my job pretty hard. In the end though I chose a woman who recently had her father pass away as he left a Coastal football game. She stated that going to the event on Sunday afternoon will remind her of when her dad took her to the Globetrotters many years ago. Enjoy the game with your daughter, Mandy.

This was the post that I put up today for the chance to win Globetrotter tickets.

This was the post that I put up today for the chance to win Globetrotter tickets.

Ending Quote – I want to end the first rundown of the year by highlighting the advice that was given today in my Life’s Little Instruction calendar. Every now and then I need to remind myself that satisfying the minimum won’t enable me to achieve greater things in life. I need to do a better job of pushing myself more. In 2015 I want to make a conscious effort to overachieve in all situations. 

This is some good advice for me to remember in 2015.

This is some good advice for me to remember in 2015.


Have a wonderful night, everyone. I am happy to report that this has been a good week. I didn’t know how it would go after having two weeks off for the holidays but I hopped right back into the swing of things. I will have a lot of energy to take on Friday tomorrow and I hope you do too. Don’t Blink.

The Gift of Giving

It really is a fascinating story. A church in Chicago received a large sum of money from a real estate sale. From the revenue received, the leaders took out 10% and distributed it among the 320 church members, resulting in a $500 check for each person. The pastor of the church then told the congregation to take that money and do good.

And do good they did. Church members bought winter coats for the cold, food for the hungry, and gifts for the needy. Some started non-profit groups and others empowered the elderly. Some simply just gave the money right back to the church. Most of the money given to the church members is now gone but the good that was started with it continues to snowball.

I came across this story in the newspaper on Sunday. By then, it was already old news. Christmas had passed and the church members had received the money all the way back in September. However, this interesting and philanthropic act had a familiar feel to me that went back much longer than just a few months ago.

It must had been six or seven years ago. Sadly, one of my mom’s uncles had passed away. In his generosity, he left behind gifts to his long line of relatives. My mom received a little bit of the money. A couple days before Christmas she directed the three of us kids to look inside our stockings. Usually a place to hold a pack of thank you notes for us to use after opening all of our gifts, this time each of the three stockings held a $100 bill. We each pulled out our bill and looked at mom for an explanation. She explained to us that the cash was for us to use on others. She didn’t give us a timeline or narrow down the vast ways in which we could spread holiday cheer with the money. Rather, my mom just let us know that it was our duty to be honest with the money and to utilize it for others.

Several Christmases before this past one, my mom gave my siblings and I a very unique gift.

Several Christmases before this past one, my mom gave my siblings and I a very unique gift.

When you receive a gift such as this you immediately feel two things. First, you feel admiration for the person so selfless enough to give a good chunk of her money to you to spend on others. Second, you feel responsibility. In your conscience there is a force that tells you that you better use every penny wisely to make a difference. I took my mom’s gift very seriously.

Although I had much respect for my mom’s special present to us, I can’t pinpoint exactly down to the very last detail how I spent the money. I do know three of the ways in which I passed it forward though: I donated a portion to the giant Christmas charity fund the local newspaper in Spokane, the Spokesman-Review, collects each year. I dropped a ¼ of the money into a Salvation Army bucket. The last thing I can remember doing with the money was giving $20 to a person at Wal-Mart who was panhandling. I know I made the money stretch for at least one more cause but I can’t think of it. I realize I didn’t do anything truly unique with the cash but I did make every effort to put it to good use.

One of these days when I have kids I hope to do something similar to what my mom did. I commend the church in Chicago for taking the idea and magnifying it. The best present is the gift of giving. Don’t Blink.