Disappointed, Excited, Honored

Tonight I would like to share with my esteemed readers something I am disappointed about, something I am excited for, and something I am honored by. Consider tonight’s post kind of a junior varsity version of the Thursday Rundown. I apologize for taking it a little easy this evening but I am departing tomorrow for a two week trip across the country and I need to concentrate on packing.

Disappointed: I thought I would never fall sucker to a Facebook news story hoax. I believed myself to be way smarter than that. Not so! I totally gobbled up the story that came out yesterday regarding Cam Newton. It stated that the quarterback had been fined for every football he has handed off to a little kid in the stands since entering the NFL. The Facebook post put Newton’s fine total at over $250,000. The photo that accompanied the verbage was an image of Newton with a cheesy quote that seemed to justify why he would do the act despite a hefty fine.

Today multiple stories came out saying the NFL has not fined Newton once for giving footballs to kids. First and foremost, I am most disappointed in my stupidity. Secondly, I am disappointed because my perception of Newton had immediately changed. I have never been a huge fan of his but when I read this supposed gesture my outlook on him greatly improved. Bummed to hear that it was just a tall tale.

I fell for it.

I fell for it.

Excited: I am giddy with excitement for tonight’s Republican debate! To me, this is absolute must see TV. The most talked about man on the planet, Donald Trump, will once again take the stage and battle it out with his fellow GOP rivals. Only this time the buildup and anticipation has surpassed that of the previous debates combined. With Trump’s popularity surging each day and only a couple weeks removed from his controversial bombshell Muslim plan, you can bet that the other candidates will let him have it. As I have said several times, I have not been impressed with how Trump has performed at the previous debates. Can he shine tonight and look Presidential? That is what I will be watching for. It should be a very entertaining evening.

Honored: I received word from my bosses today that our #CCU Periscope Marathon won the Gold Award at the Education Digital Marketing Awards in the social media category. To earn the highest honor given in a category is a great feeling, no matter the circumstances. However, a few things made this award even sweeter…

First, this promotion was done with my #CCUSocialMedia Student Advisory Group. In other words, they (our students) basically won the award. Second, because of our climbing enrollment, we jumped up a division and competed with schools much larger than us. Coastal was lumped in the 10,000 – 19,999 enrollment group. As we had just barely eclipsed the 10K mark this past fall, we were in company with major universities with major resources. Lastly, we got to battle it out with my alma mater and former employer, the University of Montana. I owe so much to Montana and still follow them very closely but it is still fun to go up against them. The Griz placed in the category, earning the bronze award.

Coastal Carolina University received the gold award in the social media category for the Education Digital Marketing Awards.

Coastal Carolina University received the gold award in the social media category for the Education Digital Marketing Awards.


Three words: Pack and Debate. Don’t Blink.

Keeping Meetings Interesting

Every now and then I write about my staff social media group. People who work here at Coastal Carolina University and have proven to be leaders when it comes to social media on campus meet with me each month. We chat about trends and how we can improve the social experience at #CCU. We even organize and work together on events. Heck, sometimes the news even does a story on us.

One way I wanted to make this group stand out while also energizing the meetings was to institute a fun competitive rivalry. This morning we concluded our third #CCUSocialMedia Dream Team competition.

Throughout the semester, the dozen or so staff members in the group have opportunities to earn points. They can pick up these points in one of two ways. The first option is to score them at our monthly meetings. I open up each session with an icebreaker type game. Usually always having a social media theme worked in, the challenge can be classic such as “name that tune” or trivia. Sometimes I present games that depend on chance or that require the group members to use strategy. Whatever it is, points are always awarded to the top finishers.

This is the original group. Our crew has grown over the past couple semesters but here is what the original tally looked like.

This is the original group. Our crew has grown over the past couple semesters but here is what the original tally looked like.

The second way to earn points is via the e-mail update I send out. In between meetings I will touch base with the group by sending an e-mail that details happenings, ideas, and concerns within social media at Coastal. Sometimes it can get quite lengthy. In another effort to foster fun but to also get them to read the whole update, I embed a question randomly in the e-mail. Once a staffer comes across the question and identifies the answer, he/she e-mails me. The first person to respond receives 5 points, the second person to respond receives 4 points, the third person receives 3 points, and everyone else who responds receives one point.

These two opportunities work to develop better engagement within our group. Some people do get pretty competitive. Prior to this semester, a clear winner had emerged atop the leaderboard both times. However, when the dust settled with this most recent competition earlier this month, something I didn’t really expect to happen did.

There was a tie.

These are the final standings from this semester's competition.

These are the final standings from this semester’s competition.

It was a perfect storm with a few different things falling into place that enabled April Betsch from CHANT411 to tie Andrea Daniels from Dining Services, 24-24. I took the weekend to decide what I would institute for the tiebreaker and when we returned to work that Monday I told them my plans…an Instagram contest.

Although I am now retired from participating in such contests, I have no qualms about organizing them. I told April and Andrea to submit a CCU-related photo to me so I could post them back-to-back on our main @CCUchanticleers Instagram account. Whoever submitted the photo that generated the most likes and comments would win the semester competition.

This was the photo that April submitted for the Instagram contest.

This was the photo that April submitted for the Instagram contest.

I had the Instagram contest last six hours and both ladies worked their tails off during the whole duration to win. When the buzzer sounded, April had just narrowly edged out Andrea. After I went through and verified all the comments, April had garnered 510 total likes and comments to Andrea’s 506 likes and comments. For it to come down to that slim of a margin was pretty remarkable.

This was the photo that Andrea submitted for the Instagram contest.

This was the photo that Andrea submitted for the Instagram contest.

Today was our final social media meeting of the semester. As is custom, this particular one takes on more of a festive feel than the others with the main attraction being the announcement of awards. Winners this morning included Alex Souza (athletics) for Post of the Year, Travis Overton (Dean of Students) and April Betsch (CHANT411) for Promotion of the Year, Jennifer Sellers (sustainability) for Most Inspirational, and Andrea Daniels (Dining Services) for Rookie of the Year.

Here I am with today's winners. Moving clockwise starting in the top right that is me with April, then Alex, then Andrea, then Jennifer.

Here I am with today’s winners. Moving clockwise starting in the top right that is me with April, then Alex, then Andrea, then Jennifer.

Of course the announcement of the big victor came last. By winning the semester points competition, April was automatically crowned MVP. For all her efforts she didn’t get much; a photo commemorating her accomplishment, a $15 gift card to a local burrito place, and a certificate. However, as April and the other two MVPs before her will tell you, it isn’t about what you get in return, it is just about saying that you were the best for that semester.

Me with the MVP, April Betsch. She is holding her framed photo.

Me with the MVP, April Betsch. She is holding her framed photo.

I told my co-workers today that I appreciate them playing along. It takes a nerdy person to stage such a silly game in a professional environment. For them to put up with me is pretty nice. Don’t Blink.

Thursday Rundown Part XXVI

Welcome back. It is time for another Thursday Rundown. Can’t say that tonight’s edition will be the best one I have ever done but it is better than nothing. Let’s begin…

End of Semester Already? – Well another semester here at Coastal Carolina University is in the books. Commencement ceremonies will be held tomorrow night and Saturday morning, shortening up my weekend just a little bit (not a big deal when you have a two week vacation looming though). Seems like just last Thursday Rundown I was writing this post about the start of the semester. I now have three full semesters under my belt as a Coastal employee and my blood keeps getting more teal after each one.

Out of Business – I was sad to see that a new donut shop in town recently shut its doors. Fractured Prune, a young donut chain, set up shop in Myrtle Beach right next to Sidney’s house about 16 months ago. As I wrote when I reviewed the place in October of 2014, Fractured Prune “takes Krispy Kreme’s fresh out of the oven reputation, combines it with Which Witch’s ordering style, and grabs inspiration from Chipotle’s cafeteria-style set up.” Basically you got to order a customized donut. Let me say this, the donut business must be a tough gig. I have seen several shops go out of business throughout my travels. I can’t say I am surprised that Fractured Prune went under but I do feel bad for all involved.

Watching an Awards Show Live – Three years ago my brother and I went to the American Country Awards in Las Vegas. We were in Sin City to vacation and the opportunity to purchase tickets opened up. We went to the show and had a great time. Watching so many superstars perform live in a pristine arena was cool. Sadly, the Country Music Awards went defunct a year ago. Don’t worry about the country music awards industry though, I think like three other shows jumped in to take the ACA’s place. While I do love watching country musicians perform and get recognized, the amount of award shows out there is ridiculous.

A look from our seats at the American Country Awards stage as Lady A received the award for Group of the Year.

A look from our seats at the American Country Awards stage as Lady A received the award for Group of the Year.

Mikayla – It has been way too long since I gave an update on my niece, Mikayla. She is now 15 months and can’t keep her hands off things. Her hair is coming in very nicely and when she isn’t crawling at fast speeds she is standing up and attempting her walking skills. I am so excited to see her in just under a week!

This is the most recent photo I have of Mikayla. She is getting so big!!

This is the most recent photo I have of Mikayla. She is getting so big!!

Wedding Update #13 – Tomorrow will be the six month countdown until Sidney and I get married! Speaking of six months, this also means that we have now been engaged for half of a year. As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, we recently finished our marriage counseling classes. Lastly, our initial choice for a rehearsal dinner venue is not going to work out so I have to figure out an alternative. But all is good!!


It is going to be an exciting and busy upcoming week with holiday gatherings and travel. Lots to look forward to for me and I hope all of you have lots to look forward to as well. Thank you for taking time to read my blog. Don’t Blink.

The Best Christmas Investment

Five years ago I had the chance to drive home for the holidays a day earlier than expected. I didn’t tell my mom that I would be making the 200 mile drive from Missoula to Spokane the night before she expected me.

Before setting off to Spokane I went to Wal-Mart in hopes that they still had the $30 Santa costume I had seen a week or two before. They did! I purchased the suit, threw it in the back of my car, and drove to Washington. My brother met me in a random parking lot, I got dressed, and he drove me to my parents’ neighborhood (I didn’t want my car to be spotted and blow the surprise). Glen dropped me off a block before the house and I walked up to my mom’s door and rang the doorbell. She answered the door and was very much surprised and happy to see Brent Claus.

This photo was taken five years ago this month. After I surprised my mom I took a photo with my bro in front of the tree.

This photo was taken five years ago this month. After I surprised my mom I took a photo with my bro in front of the tree.

I highly recommend that everyone invest in a Santa suit.

I may have paid $30 for the rag tag Wal-Mart costume but it feels like I have enjoyed $30,000 of entertainment and joy from it. Over the years I have worn it for my annual holiday message, social media posts, meetings, parties, Facetiming with Sidney, and just standing out in my parents’ lawn waving to cars. My Kris Kringle suit has survived a lot of miles (both physically and metaphorically) and you can bet that it will be back at work on my broad shoulders this holiday season as well.

I love my cheap Santa suit.

I love my cheap Santa suit.

Besides the many opportunities available to wear a Santa suit, I have two greater reasons on why it is good to have one around the house.

I was not kidding, I dress up in the Santa costume for meetings.

I was not kidding, I dress up in the Santa costume for meetings.

First, the joy that is brought to others is uplifting. Like I alluded to above, my outfit would make any seasoned mall Santa cringe but ordinary people don’t care. Even if my beard is straggly and my belt Velcro, folks still see Santa. Of course they do know that I couldn’t hold a candle to the Coca-Cola Mr. Claus but they still sense the spirit of St. Nick when I have the suit on. This causes both young and old to warmly smile when they see me making a fool out of myself in my parents’ driveway or trying to take a photo in front of a random neighbor’s Christmas display.

Of course I act goofy when I turn into Brent Claus.

Of course I act goofy when I turn into Brent Claus.

Second, the special feeling that I get when I dawn the suit more than justifies playing Santa. Dressing up as the “Big Fat Guy” is the one of the best ways to get in the Christmas spirit. It takes me back to my childhood and makes me feel all warm and tingly.

Ho Ho Ho from Brent Claus!

Ho Ho Ho from Brent Claus!

While I don’t encourage you to purchase a suit to participate in SantaCon, I do encourage you to buy one for the sole premise of making the holiday a little brighter. Ho Ho Ho. Don’t Blink.

Trump is Fascinating

There is simply not a more controversial and intriguing man in the country right now than Donald Trump. Look at the media, talk to your friends, or check your Twitter feed to confirm this. Or, just check this blog. In the last few months, Trump has surfaced in FIVE different posts, including one devoted exclusively to himself. After tonight, he will have his second. The only other person who comes close to getting this type of exposure in Don’t Blink is Sidney.

Do you love him or hate him? Most people have an opinion on Donald Trump.

Do you love him or hate him? Most people have an opinion on Donald Trump.

Last night I was shocked. Even though I constantly remind myself not to be surprised by anything Donald Trump says or does, I was definitely saying to myself “he said what?” I know he wants to build a wall and I know he wants to keep the radicals out, but never did I think he would go far as to say, in the third person of course, that “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”

At that second I immediately reached the conclusion that he was done. Not just suggesting, but boldly declaring, that such an aggressive action should be taken in the United States of America seemed like a death wish to his campaign. But after the shock wore off and Trump strongly kept supporting his bombshell statement, I knew I had once again underestimated the incredible thing this man has going.

This post is not about politics. When I say “the incredible thing this man has going” I am not stating that Trump is on a righteous and noble crusade. I am merely saying that what he is doing is unprecedented, calculated, and seemingly bulletproof.

Donald Trump is no longer just intriguing to me, he is fascinating to me. How else could someone who has performed poorly in the debates, insulted too many to count, and launched a war on the media still be leading this race?

Well, I think two of those three perceived negatives I just outlined happen to actually fuel him, especially the latter. The way he has assaulted and manipulated the media has catapulted him to a position in the polls that we never thought a billionaire with no political experience would be in. From his Twitter account to his speeches to his campaign rhetoric, Trump has called the media biased, stupid, and out of touch. Folks wanting to stand up for their newspaper or TV station and write a nasty column or go off on an angry tangent on their cable news programs have done so…many and many times over. But have they won redemption? Hardly.

The anger and backlash from the media has just kept Donald Trump right at the forefront of current American culture. We see his face, hear his voice, and read about his latest stunt every single day. And, supporters and opponents alike, keep reacting. My friend Danny Davis, a newspaper reporter in Texas, wrote this Facebook status.

Danny hits the nail on the head with this status.

Danny hits the nail on the head with this status.

He is 100% correct. Trump’s critics could quite possibly be his biggest asset. I looked at a local Myrtle Beach reporter’s Twitter timeline last night and it was completely full of anti-Donald Trump retweets and angry replies. I then looked at every single national news station that isn’t named Fox News and observed their unfavorable Trump coverage. It just made so much sense. The Donald has the media around his finger at both the local and national levels.

Donald Trump famously complains about unfair media coverage but don’t kid yourself, he knows he is thriving off it. Mr. Trump is a very smart man and he is managing to capitalize on both the disgust of some and the admiration of others. While I might not agree with some of his views, I can now more than ever say that he is a fascinating individual. In July I wrote to “get comfortable” and watch the “Trump Show” play out. While he has definitely made a lot of people uncomfortable, he has provided us with a show. What turn will it take next? Don’t Blink.

Brent’s Top 5 Worst Songs of 2015

Last night I did a Periscope broadcast where I recapped my latest blog post of my top songs of 2015. The broadcast was popular and engagement was high. When I hinted at the fact that I might do what I did in 2012 and also offer my worst songs of 2015, the idea was met with great encouragement. I like to give my social media audience what they want. With that said, this evening I bring you Brent’s Top Five Worst Songs of 2015.

Many of you might disagree with this list. I will be the first to admit that a few of these songs achieved enormous success this year. However, my opinion doesn’t always mesh with the music critic or the typical Top 40 radio listener. Here we go with the cacophonies…

5. “Uptown Funk” – Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars

This song might be the best example of what I prefaced in my introduction. I understand that this song was an instant commercial success but it didn’t impress me; not the first time I heard it nor the millionth time I heard it. I don’t care for funk songs from the 1980’s and I definitely don’t care for artists trying to re-do funk in 2015. While I do appreciate a retro sound in some instances (such as “Shut Up and Dance”), “Uptown Funk” just doesn’t do it for me.

The song actually really annoyed me. Hearing Bruno Mars say “Cause uptown funk gon’ give it to you” or “Girls hit your hallelujah” or “Don’t believe me just watch” over and over got on my nerves. All I wanted to say back was “Don’t believe me but SHUT UP.” A genre of music I didn’t care for and bad lyrics landed “Uptown Funk” on my worst list.

4. “Can’t Feel My Face” – The Weeknd

Never mind the fact that Sid and I still can’t figure out what exactly it means to be with someone who makes it so you “can’t feel your face,” this song was bad enough even without the confusing lyric. I will give it to The Weeknd, the verses don’t sound that bad but the chorus (both lyrics and beat) is just a real downer for me.

If a song doesn’t inspire me or make me feel real emotion, I can do without it. Forced to listen to a soulless song over and over will make me despise it. This happens to be the case with “Can’t Feel My Face.” I hated it the first time I heard it and suffered the continued assault on my eardrums repeatedly for months. The song has no energy, it is just noisy gibberish to me.

3. “Honey, I’m Good” – Andy Grammer

Nah, nah, Honey I’m BAD!! When this song first came out I didn’t know how to categorize it. At first I characterized it as an abysmal country song but then I found out who the artist was and noticed it was receiving air time on Top 40 radio stations. Do you have those songs that are supposed to be upbeat and fun but really end up just putting you in a bad mood? This is what “Honey, I’m Good” is to me!

Supposedly the song has a good message but I can’t get past the cheesy “hoedown” sound and the annoying way Grammer says the word “true” over and over. The song makes me want to avoid the dance floor at all costs. Sorry Grammer, but find your own sound.

2. “See You Again” – Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth

I hate to pick on Wiz especially after I put him on my 2012 worst list, but he offered me no choice. I get that “See You Again” was written for Paul Walker but the nice sentiment doesn’t mean I enjoy it. In fact, I have heard from several other people that their patience has also been tested from the very second that piano intro is played.

The song is way too sappy and the back and forth between Puth and Khalifa doesn’t work. The rhythm and the transition just isn’t there. As with the other songs on the list, “See You Again” just doesn’t strike me. Both artists need to look at Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind” for how a tribute song is done. But let’s be honest here, it doesn’t matter how much emotion you sing with or who is performing it if these are some of the lyrics you are working with:

I have no gift at writing lyrics either, but I think I could do a little better than this.

I have no gift at writing lyrics either, but I think I could do a little better than this.

1. “Girl Crush” – Little Big Town

My readers who detest country are going to hate me for putting a song they probably never heard of in the top spot but I must do it. Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush” is an absolute disaster, a complete bore with an agonizing melody. This was one of those songs where I would literally angrily hit the radio dial the second it came on.

I haven’t been so annoyed and bored with a country song since Sugarland’s “Stay.” Although this song is performed with emotion, it is just overdone. Just like with “See You Again” the lyrics are sappy and unimaginative. “Girl Crush” is just way too slow; it seems to drain your energy. I give Little Big Town credit for making a major comeback to relevance in country music but this song seriously sucked.


You want to know how you can get on my bad side? Create a mash up of these five melodies, hold me down on the ground, and force me to listen to it five times straight. Talk about absolute punishment. Is your opinion as strong as mine regarding any of these songs? Let me know. Don’t Blink.

Brent’s Top 5 Best Songs of 2015

I mentioned last week that with the arrival of December I can start focusing on Christmas. December also means that I can start reflecting on the past year.

For my Sunday blog post I am giving you Brent’s Top 5 Best Songs of 2015. It is something I seemingly do every three years. To be honest, I had to think quite a bit about the songs that would make up this list, and not because I had many to choose from. While I knew my top song, I was a little underwhelmed with the amount of singles that really impressed me in 2015. With that said, let’s do this countdown.

5. “Downtown” – Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

When it comes to the music of Macklemore, it is definitely hit or miss for me. Some songs I enjoy (i.e. “Cant Hold Us) and then other songs annoy the hell out of me (i.e. “Thrift Shop”). In my opinion, he made a winner with “Downtown.”

In the song, I can deal with the rap verses even though they test my patience a little bit. Why would a song that doesn’t “wow” me throughout its duration make this list then? Because it is all about that chorus! I love the buildup to, and then the actual performing of, the main part of the song. It sounds so triumphant and glorious, something that is really nice to drive to. In fact, I will probably have the belting out of “Downtown” in my head for the rest of the day. This song had enough to sneak on the list because the music video was shot in my hometown of Spokane.

4. “Where Are You Now” – Skrillex and Diplo & Justin Bieber

For me, this song is all about the melody. Although I do like Bieber’s vocals, I enjoy the part in the song the most when the performers stop singing and it is just that signature beat. The way the song goes slow on vocals and then fast on the music is a pretty cool and impactful technique.

3. “Bad Blood” – Taylor Swift

I know I risk the chance of having my masculinity questioned by including this artist on my countdown but I can’t turn my back to Taylor Swift and “Bad Blood.” In my humble opinion, this song just brings attitude!

I love the chorus, I love when Taylor says “Ohhhhhhhhhh it’s so sad to….”, and I love the rap insert by Kendrick Lamar. The song just packs a punch and Taylor sings it with conviction. Also, as with “Downtown”, the music video left an impression on me that just adds to my enjoyment of the song. I know she has numerous #1 hits, but I think “Bad Blood” will go down as a Taylor Swift classic.

2. “Sangria” – Blake Shelton

Mr. Shelton delivered my top song of 2012 and he earns a spot on my 2015 countdown as well. The one word I use to describe “Sangria” is smooth.

I enjoy the low key nature and simplicity of the song. It just flows so well and then of course you have Blake’s one-of-a-kind vocals. My favorite part of the song is how he sings “Only thing I want to do tonight is drink you like a Spanish wine.” The way he hits that lyric is just on point. Not an anthem song for Blake by any means but definitely a solid one for easy listening.

1. “Shut Up and Dance” – Walk the Moon

While it took a lot of contemplating to come up with what songs I wanted to include on this list, my #1 song was never in doubt. I absolutely love “Shut Up and Dance” by Walk the Moon and I am actually listening to it right now.

I was immediately grabbed by the up tempo and retro nature sound of the song. It literally made me want to: 1. Shut up if I (or someone else) happened to be talking and 2. DANCE! It was an automatic energy boost for me.

But believe it or not, there is something else about the song that I like most of all…that guitar solo though!! If I was a professional baseball player, that snippet of musical genius would be my walk up song. I don’t jam out often, but when I do, that solo from “Shut Up and Dance” is playing. The song brings back many good memories from this past summer and I will always equate it with fun and joy.


There is my compilation of Brent’s Top 5 Best Songs of 2015. Now please excuse me while I take “Shut Up and Dance” off of repeat and put on a certain Kenny Chesney song. Don’t Blink.

A Thursday Rundown Offer

After a week hiatus because of Thanksgiving, the Thursday Rundown is back. Have you missed it?

Oh Christmas Tree: Last Sunday, I went with Sidney’s family to the Home Depot Christmas tree lot. As we browsed, Sid’s dad and I pulled out and held up trees so the women (Sidney, her sister, and her mom) could pick the perfect one. Wait, I mean the perfect three. We came back home with a trio of trees; one for Sid & Court’s house, one for the parents’ house, and one for the house of Court’s boyfriend. The sisters spent the rest of the day decorating their tree and I must say it looks fabulous. In other Christmas tree news, I also put up my tree in my living room.

Sid's tree is on the left and my tree is on the right.

Sid’s tree is on the left and my tree is on the right.

Offer: I wanted to offer my loyal Myrtle Beach Don’t Blink readers this opportunity before I post it on Facebook next week. On Wednesday, December 16, I will be flying home to Spokane for the holidays! However, my flight originates out of Charleston. Would anyone like to give me a ride from Myrtle Beach to Charleston at around 1:30 p.m. on that Wednesday? I will pay you $100 to do it. Please contact me if you are interested.

Foot in Mouth: Perhaps I should title this “blog in mouth.” Last night I wrote a post about my obsession with Candies cologne. I mentioned that it was a vital part of my personal brand. I said it was the cologne I have always worn and it will be the cologne that I will always wear (until it runs completely out)…

Well, when I published my post, Sidney was over at my apartment. Once it went live she read it. A couple minutes after she finished I could tell that something had upset her. I asked her what was wrong. She at first denied that anything was wrong. However, I continued to push the issue a little bit until she gave me an answer: She had bought me cologne for Christmas.

Teal Shaded Career: Every now and then I like to share my segments that I have the honor of doing for our university news show. This evening, I would be humbled if you watched the latest edition of the “Social Circle.” I explain the social media campaign I executed exclusively for our alumni audience and then showcase the great content they allowed me to work with. To watch, click here.

Take two minutes to watch my latest "Social Circle" segment.

Take two minutes to watch my latest “Social Circle” segment.

College Football Playoffs: If you are like me, there is nothing better than this Saturday. The best college football teams in the land will clash in their respective conference championships. This year, there is much at stake as many teams will be playing for a spot in the four team College Football Playoffs. Here is the thing: I am a Pac-12 guy at heart. Stanford must win and receive some help to even have a shot at making the playoff. I am pulling for the Cardinal. However, I don’t want just any team to stumble so they might get a bid. Experts say that a North Carolina upset of Clemson might pave the way for Stanford to get in. But I don’t want the Tigers to lose! Both of Sidney’s sisters and her brother-in-law went to Clemson. They are passionate fans of the team. That leaves me to root hard against Alabama in the SEC championship. So, with that said… Go Cardinal! Go Gators! Go Tigers! Go Griz!


Enjoy the weekend, my friends. Thank you for your readership. Don’t Blink.

The Scent of My Personal Brand

I preach to students all the time about the importance of establishing their own personal brand. It is crucial to build a digital footprint, establish consistent social media channels, and maintain a distinguishing in-person presence.

That is right, we can do more than hide behind our Twitter account to make others take note of us. When we have interactions with people, it is important to do what we can to reinforce who we are.

People use various “trademarks” or “calling cards” to make them stand out. It could be a watch, it could be a hair style, it could be constant gum chewing. Some folks have a toothpick dangling out of their mouths at all times. Some insist on wearing a cowboy hat. Some would never be caught dead not wearing a suit. These “accessories” all become part of that individual’s personal brand. Keep in mind I am saying all of this to try and justify one of my quirks…

There is something that I have worn every single day since I was 12. Each morning after I step out of the shower and get dressed I pull it out of my gym bag and give myself a quick spray. As it starts to dry on the front of my neck and the familiar scent reaches my nose, I know I am ready for the day.

I have worn the same cologne for almost 18 years. One Christmas, my grandma gave me a cologne kit from a department store that had four different scents in it. Made especially for teenage boys who wanted to feel cool by wearing cologne, you can probably guess the quality of the contents.

Mainly because of the name and the blue bottle, I started wearing a scent in the kit by Liz Claiborne called Candies. I wore it through the rest of middle school. A couple girls actually told me I smelled nice so I used it all the way through high school as well. Hey, the $20 price tag for a .5 fl oz bottle every six months wasn’t going to break my next to nothing budget.

This is the cologne I have worn practically my whole life.

This is the cologne I have worn practically my whole life.

By the time I reached college I didn’t want to stray from what I knew. After all, the occasional compliments kept rolling in. Those first couple years I would get new bottles in the summer and then at Christmas. Just as in high school, my college friends started to associate me with the citrus and spice scent. But then it happened. Candies was discontinued.

I didn’t want to believe it at first. I think I told my mom it was the only thing I wanted for Christmas. She helplessly looked at probably every store in Spokane (bless her heart). It was time for me to realize that I would never purchase Candies over a physical counter again.

Here I am holding a nearly empty bottle of my cologne while sitting behind one of the boxes that was shipped to me.

Here I am holding a nearly empty bottle of my cologne while sitting behind one of the boxes that contained my cologne and a random keychain.

I was introduced to the world of online shopping because of my need for my scent. At first it was easy to buy Candies. There was some large cologne/perfume online overseas company that I was able to buy bottles from that lasted me a couple years. But soon they went dry as well.

For the past couple years it has been an absolute struggle for me to find my prize. I have gone back and forth between Amazon and eBay to find the last few remaining bottles in the world. I am a little selective…I won’t buy anything except for the .5 fl oz bottles. This has caused me to purchase these weird packages. The past couple times the only way I could get my desired bottle was if I bought it in this combo box that came with a keychain. Last night I found a new grouping on eBay. For $50 I am getting my .5 fl oz bottle but it will also be coming with Candies skin cream and Candies deodorant! By looking at this package online, I am guessing it was probably produced 15 years ago.

This is the Candies cologne package I bought last night.

This is the Candies cologne package I bought last night.

Of course the comedy in this situation is that I am putting so much effort into buying a below average, discontinued cologne that was made for teens. It is like I have never heard the words Dolce & Gabbana before. But I want to hold on as long as possible. I feel the Candies scent could really be called Brent Reser Cologne. People associate the smell with me and it really has become a small part of my personal brand. Until the final bottle on this planet has been used, I have every intention of not letting go. Don’t Blink.

The Newest Trend in Christmas Lights

It is December 1 and I now feel like I can talk about CHRISTMAS! I love the holidays so how couldn’t I love the granddaddy of them all? Tonight I am here to talk about Christmas lights (remember this post from last year?).

I am dating myself here, but it was probably 20 years ago when a big Christmas light trend suddenly popped up: ICICLE LIGHTS. They seemed to take the holiday decorating industry by storm as it seemed like every house in my neighborhood put them up within a two year span of when they were introduced.

Yes, my young readers, icicle lights used to not exist. To be completely honest, I kind of wish they never did. I have never found icicle lights overly abundant in Yuletide cheer. I think they are boring. I also think they fail to satisfactorily pose as what they are named after. Yep, even after all these years I am still unimpressed with them.

But did you know there is a new Christmas light trend this year? In fact, I actually kind of like it!

While driving through the neighborhood of our sponsor couple, Sidney and I noticed a new holiday lighting phenomenon. Over the past several nights in her own neighborhood, we have observed other homes with a similar display as well. Although we have only seen about 10 houses using this type of technology so far, we both have a feeling that as we get started with December and more people start decorating, we are going to see it much more. Say hello to laser Christmas lights.

I took a photo of this house in Sid's neighborhood last night. This home is celebrating the holiday season with laser Christmas lights.

I took a photo of this house in Sid’s neighborhood last night. This home is celebrating the holiday season with laser Christmas lights.

When I first saw a house covered in bright colors over its entire frame, I didn’t know exactly what I was seeing. I knew it looked really cool but by quickly driving by I didn’t know how the effect was achieved. All I knew was that instead of a home decorated with Christmas lights on the roof gutter and around the windows, people were now able to deck out the entire outside house area in Christmas spirit.

It didn’t take long for Sidney to do a quick search on her phone and learn that laser Christmas lights are the next big thing. She explained to me that the pretty lights on these houses are projected onto them. Folks purchase projectors, set them up on their lawn, point them toward the house, and flip the switch!

As Sid and I have looked at these homes utilizing the laser lights, we have noticed some look better than others. Well, the reason why one house looks a lot jollier than another house is pretty simple…more projectors. Last night we pulled up to a house utilizing the lights that looked especially good. We scoped it out for a couple minutes admiring the beauty and counting the projectors. This particular home had four of them. Keep that number in mind if you are interested in converting to laser Christmas lights this season.

Part of the appeal for me is that these lights are unique. However, even if every house in the neighborhood used lasers this year I would still think they look really cool. Let me give you this analogy: You can put up string lights and your dwelling will look like the house of an elf. You can utilize laser lights and it will look like you are roommates with Santa Claus.

Laser Christmas lights beat the tar out of icicle lights. I am excited to see how many houses utilizing this new holiday technology will pop up this year. Don’t Blink.