A Sweet Two Years

I really do think there is something to be said about fate. I moved to Myrtle Beach at the end of April 2014 to take a job at Coastal Carolina University. The big relocation was 90% about the professional opportunity and 10% about the weather. Not knowing how long I would be in the area, I never thought once that I would find love and meet the person who I would spend the rest of my life with.

May 16, 2014. Two years ago on this date I met Sidney for the first time at the pool of my apartment complex. Shortly thereafter we went on our first date. After that, well, the rest is history.

This is Sidney and I on our first date almost two years ago.

This is Sidney and I on our first date almost two years ago.

Despite the disorienting hot temperatures of that Friday afternoon and the slight buzz I was enjoying as I tried to keep up with the heat, I knew Sidney was special. What I didn’t know was that an invisible countdown ticker was immediately activated in our hearts. The number was 756.

This was Sidney and I on our one year anniversary in Savannah.

This was Sidney and I on our one year anniversary in Savannah.

Yes, 756, the number of days separating us from that first meeting at the pool to our eventual wedding date on June 11. As the time has ticked away, our love has grown. When that countdown reads multiple zeroes just 26 days from now, we will have made the ultimate promise to each other, a promise that first started developing that great afternoon two years ago.

Today marks the THIRD May 16 we have spent together. We are off now on our anniversary dinner.

Today marks the THIRD May 16 we have spent together. We are off now on our anniversary dinner.

Although we are excited to start counting wedding anniversaries, today’s two year anniversary of being together will do just fine. Sidney, thanks for being my puzzle piece. And God, thanks for our sweet fate. Don’t Blink.

The Battle of the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Creams

For my big Sunday blog post, I wanted to write about a couple of my favorite topics I have covered in Don’t Blink before. One is ice cream (here, here, and here) and the other is taste tests. I combined these two joys of mine to create an intriguing and nerdy investigation.

I once ate seven scoops of ice cream in five minutes.

I once ate seven scoops of ice cream in five minutes.

Besides the three originals of vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry, there is another major player when it comes to ice cream flavors. Can you guess it? If you even care a small amount about ice cream you know I am talking about chocolate chip cookie dough. It doesn’t matter what brand you buy, what parlor you visit, or what gas station cooler you raid, chocolate chip cookie dough will be offered. It is an institution in the ice cream world.

We all know that all ice cream isn’t created equal. Even with vanilla, I could give you three different brands and you would be able to tell a difference between each one. However, with chocolate chip cookie dough, the variations in a scoop of generic product compared with a scoop of the Baskin-Robbins version are numerous. Besides the ice cream itself, you also have the quality of the cookie dough, the amount of cookie dough per serving, the size of the cookie dough, and the quality/amount of the chocolate chips/chocolate chunks.

An incredible cookie dough ice cream sundae Sidney and I once devoured.

An incredible cookie dough ice cream sundae Sidney and I once devoured.

So while the perception is that the premium brand of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream is superior to the generic brand of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, I wanted to test it out to be 100% sure. Today I went to a couple different stores and bought five different chocolate chip cookie dough ice creams.

Representing the generic group, I purchased the Great Value Wal-Mart brand and the Lowe’s Foods brand (for those out west, Lowe’s is a major grocery chain out here on the east coast). Representing the premium brand, I bought Ben & Jerry’s (how couldn’t I?) and Blue Bunny. Representing the middle of the line so to speak, I also bought a tub of the Breyers stuff.

This is the lineup of different cookie dough ice creams I bought this morning.

This is the lineup of different cookie dough ice creams I bought this morning.

Striving to be completely scientific and unbiased, I had Sidney serve as my official taste tester. I served a small scoop of each ice cream to her in an unmarked paper bowl. I then asked for her input!

Going in order starting with the best, here is how Sidney ranked each chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream along with her comments on each.

#1. Great Value (tasted first) – In an absolute shocker, Sidney identified the Wal-Mart brand cookie dough ice cream as her favorite. She said the ice cream was creamy and the cookie dough very tasty. She adamantly thought that the Great Value brand was Ben & Jerry’s. At under $3 per gallon, the Great Value ice cream was by far the least expensive but according to Sid’s taste buds it was the best!

In  the surprise of the century, Sidney liked the Great Value cookie dough ice cream  the best.

In the surprise of the century, Sidney liked the Great Value cookie dough ice cream the best.

#2. Lowe’s Foods (tasted third) – Continuing the surprising results, the Lowe’s Foods chocolate chip cookie dough dairy dessert was rated second best by Sidney. Although she commented that there was only a fair amount of cookie dough pieces in the dessert, she liked the vanilla ice cream the most out of all the selections she tasted today. So there you have it, two generic brands take the top two spots.

Coming in second place was the other generic brand, Lowe's Foods.

Coming in second place was the other generic brand, Lowe’s Foods.

#3. Blue Bunny (tasted fourth) – Although the Blue Bunny brand is third on the list, it is number one for presentation. When you open up the tub, the ice cream is molded into little hills mixed with cookie dough swirls. It makes for easy scooping. Sidney said the ice cream tasted similar to the Great Value version but it just didn’t have enough cookie dough. Also, Sidney thought the cookie dough swirl was a caramel swirl. Additionally, Blue Bunny says the ice cream is cookie dough flavored but it really just tasted like vanilla.

In the middle of the pack was ice cream powerhouse Blue Bunny.

In the middle of the pack was ice cream powerhouse Blue Bunny.

#4. Ben & Jerry’s – If you told Ben or Jerry that their ice cream finished behind Wal-Mart and a couple other brands, neither would be very happy. However, it is what it is. While Sidney gave them points for having the largest pieces of cookie dough, it didn’t make up for the fact that the pieces were too few and far between. But get this, she was less than impressed with the ice cream itself. Sidney said the vanilla ice cream tasted artificial, a major slap in the face to a company that prides itself on being all-natural.

In a million years I never thought Ben & Jerry's would be so low on the list.

In a million years I never thought Ben & Jerry’s would be so low on the list.

#5. Breyers – In the past I have praised this ice cream brand but it didn’t live up to my praise in the blind taste test. Sidney thought the ice cream tasted the most artificial out of them all. She commented that the small pieces cookie dough just didn’t taste very good. She also noted the lack of both cookie dough and chocolate chunks in the dessert. It was a bad day for Breyers.

Bringing up the rear was Breyers.

Bringing up the rear was Breyers.


So now we have four gallons of ice cream plus a pint (Ben & Jerry’s) in the freezer. Brenda and Steph, if you are reading this, please come over and take some ice cream off our hands. Hope everyone enjoyed the review. Again I will reiterate that I was surprised by the results. I guess it is never smart to immediately discredit generic brands. Don’t Blink.

Off to the Races Thursday Rundown

Good evening to you all. You have found the right place for the Thursday Rundown so let’s get started!

Snapchat Strong – Way back in November I mentioned that my mom had created a Snapchat account. Six months later, she is still improving that Snapchat score. Even though she struggles with using the video option, I don’t think I look forward to anyone’s Snaps more than my mom’s. Her “good morning” messages always help to make my day even better. Go ahead, follow her by searching “marykreser5.”

A great way to start your day is with a Snap from your mom.

A great way to start your day is with a Snap from your mom.

Dressing Up For the Derby – This past weekend, Sidney and I attended a Kentucky Derby office party. As most people know, I don’t shy away from a chance to dress up so I went all-in with the derby theme. Although I know very little about horse racing, I did know that Nyquist was a 2 -1 favorite to win the Kentucky Derby. Luckily that is who Sidney picked in the pool we had. However, the biggest win of the night came when I was named best dressed. But this honor would never have been possible without a major assist from Sidney…she was the one who put together my whole outfit!

I brought my horse and everything!

I brought my horse and everything!

Historical George W. Bush Photos – This past weekend I came across this link. The site showcased several photos, along with informative captions, of George W. Bush on 9/11. The images chronicle his expressions and whereabouts throughout the day. Despite the horrific events of September 11, I did find the photos interesting both from a historical and human standpoint. The history you can’t deny but the emotion you feel as a human being is something else. Put yourself in the shoes of a world leader when you are told that one of the most bloody and savage events in the history of the planet just occurred. How do you react and how do you go about the rest of the day? By looking through this photo album you get to see how someone of that stature navigated through the most awful day ever.

George W. Bush visibly shaken on 9/11. Follow the link for more photos.

George W. Bush visibly shaken on 9/11. Follow the link for more photos.

Latest TV Picks – Back in the day I used to watch “Unwrapped” every now and then. Well, lately I have found myself watching the reruns from 2008. The other day I got to see how Red Vines and Cheetos are made! Yesterday I learned about what it takes to prepare lollipops. As for newer shows, Sidney and I started watching the Netflix series “Kevin From Work”. I won’t get into the plot but if you have Netflix and are looking for something to watch, you will definitely get a few laughs out of it.

"Kevin From Work" is the new show Sidney and I are watching.

“Kevin From Work” is the new show Sidney and I are watching.

Wedding Update #31 – Was my month countdown post not enough yesterday? I don’t know if I have too much more to update you on but we are now officially 30 days out from the big day! This weekend, Sidney’s relatives will host her bridal shower. Also, wedding presents have started to trickle in. It is fun to watch Sidney get really excited when she opens them.


Have a great weekend! I have an idea floating around in my head for a fun Sunday blog post but we will see if I go through with it or not. I guess you will just have to check back then. Don’t Blink.

The Pre-Honeymoon

Oh my, where did the month go?! On April 11, I wrote a blog post commenting on the fact that our wedding day was only two months out. Excuse me for the cliché, but that seemed just like yesterday. Today is May 11 and Sidney and I are now only one month away from saying “I do” inside St. Andrew Catholic Church here in Myrtle Beach.

Let me put it this way: the next time the 11th of the month falls, we will be getting married. Crazy!!

Sidney posted this sweet message to Facebook this morning.

Sidney posted this sweet message to Facebook this morning.

Reflecting on this final one month countdown has made me put it in a certain perspective. To me, it is almost as if from now until the wedding date we will be on a pre-honeymoon.

A honeymoon is a time for a new couple to celebrate, go on adventures, and feel really good about themselves. Minus the blue waters of Mexico at our adults-only all-inclusive resort, I feel the next 30 days will pack a lot of the same joyful feelings that our real honeymoon will and that our “engagement honeymoon” did.

We are now just a month away from the big date.

We are now just a month away from the big date.

Our long engagement is now at its final month. For the past several weeks I have already felt giddy with excitement. Now that we have passed this major threshold, I expect this feeling to be even more magnified. How can it not? Over the coming weeks we will make final wedding arrangements, Sidney will have her bridal shower, we will meet with the priest who will marry us, my family will come to town, wedding week activities will take place, and the rehearsal/rehearsal dinner will be held.

So yes, it will definitely be a pre-honeymoon, right? Well, I don’t know what Sidney would say to that.

I am sensitive to the fact that while my excitement level goes up, Sid’s stress level will most likely rise as well. As I mentioned at the two month mark, Sidney and her mom have worked tirelessly on this wedding. I can imagine that even with all the fun things going on, they will be very much focused on the big day, pre-honeymoon be damned.

Perhaps my role in this will be to contain my excitement to some extent and help out as much as possible. With that said, I am also tasking myself with the responsibility of making sure that Sid enjoys this special time as well. I need to maintain a balance where I am not overflowing with obnoxious joy but also doing what I can to keep Sidney loose and relaxed.

The month countdown is here! What an incredibly major time in our lives. We will take each day one at a time and enjoy the ride. We are blessed. Don’t Blink.

Remembering Digits

My memory is interesting. By the age of three, I had memorized the names and order of the United States Presidents. Throughout my childhood, my parents would marvel at details I could remember from years prior. Presently, people ask me to recall how a certain event was arranged or what was served at a specific dinner because they know I am usually spot on.

But then there was the day a few months ago when my debit card pin number vanished from my mind as I was trying to make a purchase. Or the recent unfortunate incident when I got to the gym in the morning and couldn’t for the life of me recall my locker combination. Or just this past weekend when Sidney asked me the name of an instructor and I drew a complete blank.

Needless to say, my memory is sometimes very good and sometimes very bad. I would still say though that for the most part I have an above average memory. However, there is one area where my memory consistently fails me (or perhaps I fail it).

Besides my own personal cell numbers over the years, I haven’t memorized the cell number of someone else since 2004. Why 2004? That was the year I received my first cell phone. Up until that point I would dial the cell numbers of my mom and my best friend in high school from our landline frequently. I still remember those two numbers by heart and I still call my mom using hers (as opposed to pulling up her name and pressing “send”).

Since then, I haven’t logged cell phone numbers inside my brain. Why would I, right? We have contact lists programmed into our phones for a reason.

But perhaps I shouldn’t just blame the lack of 10-digit strings of numbers in my brain on technology. While the person’s name substitutes for the actual number most of the time, we all get glimpses of the physical number every now and then, especially if we are close to an actual person. For example, whenever we open up a contact in our phone their number is displayed. Also, from time to time we all have people ask us for the phone number of the people we are close to. If we don’t just share the contact via our iPhones, this causes us to actually look at and recite/write down the number.

I suppose that if my memory really was worth a darn like I said above, I probably should have memorized the numbers of my brother, sister, dad, and fiancé by now. It is a sad reality that out of these four people, the closest I get to remembering their numbers off the top of my head is the first six digits (area code plus first three numbers) of two of them.

Recently, Sidney asked me if I could take time and memorize her number. She explained that it was more for emergency purposes than anything. By writing this blog post, I know for a fact that I will have it memorized by the time this night is over. Perhaps I will try and cement the digits of some of the other people on the list as well.

Do you remember cell phone numbers? Maybe you are like me and consider it an outdated practice. Maybe you have a little more pride and employ an operator in your head. Whatever your opinion, I think I can admit that Sidney does have a very valid point. There will be situations where we won’t always be able to rely on our personal phones to recall numbers. Don’t Blink.

Nap Rooms

From time to time over the past couple years, I had seen this idea pitched in magazines and newspapers. I thought it was silly and waved it off as far-fetched. However, after seeing the idea featured more just in the last week, including an in-depth article on it yesterday, I thought I would weigh in.

Pushed by the research of experts, some companies are starting to consider “nap rooms” for their offices. In the middle of the day, employees could enter these nap rooms and take a snooze before returning to work. In my opinion, it is a ridiculous idea.

I know the idea of retreating to a comfy nap room in the middle of the day after a night of little sleep and a Monday morning of stress sounds nice. I know research shows that rested minds work best. But just the perception of sleeping at work turns me off.

I believe that if we have nap rooms at the workplace, we might as well have cartoons on the office TV and Batman wallpaper lining the conference room. Kids who go to preschool take naps in the middle of the day. Those who work for a living and consider themselves professionals do not. To me, adults taking naps at the workplace seems incredibly immature.

We all have days at the office where we feel tired. We might close our eyes for a split second and think how nice it would be to fall asleep for a few minutes. But hopefully at that point we snap out of it and overcome our fatigue. Part of being a professional is showing discipline. Naturally our bodies become tired but that is no reason to hold nap time at the office. We owe it to ourselves and our employers to focus and get things done.

The major selling point of the nap room idea is supposedly it will increase work productivity. I would have to argue this. When waking up from a nap, many of us feel cranky and hungry. Could you imagine how these feelings could possibly be even more intense in the office? If waking up on your own couch at home on the weekend doesn’t satisfy you, waking up in an office setting with four hours of work ahead efinitely won’t either.

I feel the nap room idea is a way for us to not take responsibility for our actions. If we find ourselves consistently tired at work, shouldn’t we make adjustments off the clock? Such as going to bed earlier, perhaps? I know there are many people out there who have babies or have extenuating circumstances that deprives them of sleep. However, a large number of people who cite fatigue issues at work do so because of their own lifestyle choices.

Look, I can’t argue with the fact that some of the most innovative and successful companies are starting to introduce nap rooms. I know empires such as Google and the Huffington Post now have them. But I think this idea has “FAD” written all over it. I love it that companies are introducing gyms and relaxed dress codes to make employees healthier and happier. However, I draw the line at nap rooms. Nothing is worse than “sleeping on the job.” Don’t Blink.

The Trials and Tribulations of Going to the Beach

Although I have now lived in Myrtle Beach for two years now, I still haven’t tired of the city’s main attraction…the beach! As more time goes by, I am sure the novelty will start to wear off. However, at this point, I am still on fire for having the Atlantic Ocean within minutes of me.

I took this panorama at the beach this afternoon here in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina,

I took this panorama at the beach this afternoon here in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina,

With that said, it is understandable that someone who has lived most of her life in this area might not be as exuberant about the beach as I am. On this gorgeous Sunday, Sidney and I had a delicious Mother’s Day brunch with her family. After that, we shifted our focus to an afternoon on the beach. We meant to go last weekend but didn’t get around to it so today was payback so to speak. We had a nice time and Sidney was a great sport. As we drove back home, I asked Sid to open up about her reservations regarding the beach.

Sidney was a great sport and went with me to the beach today.

Sidney was a great sport and went with me to the beach today.

After patiently sitting next to me for a couple hours as I basked in the sun as her weekend came to a close, Sidney wasn’t holding back anymore. She told me several reasons why hanging out on the coast isn’t exactly “a day at the beach” for her.

* Sand – What happens at the beach doesn’t stay at the beach. No matter how hard you try, you will always bring plenty of sand back with you. It gets in your car, your house, and your accessories. Tourists rent cars and stay in hotels so they don’t have to worry about the lingering of sand. We do.

* Tourists – Speaking of the devil, these well-meaning folks can raise the boiling point of any seasoned local come the summer months. Don’t get me wrong, most citizens of Myrtle Beach realize that tourists shape and drive our economy but sometimes there are frustrations. As you might expect, tourists flock to the beach. This sometimes leads to overcrowding and a lack of beach etiquette. Don’t get Sidney started.

* Packing – While the beach is just minutes away from us, there is preparation that goes into making sure the trip is a success. You have to make sure to pack the essentials such as beach chairs, drinks, snacks, towels, sun screen, electronics, etc. Usually by the time you leave the driveway, the back of your car might very well be full. If you happen to forget an item just mentioned, you are forced to turn around and pick it up or just suffer through a diminished experience.

* Parking – The beach isn’t like an arena or a casino. When you arrive, there aren’t large parking lots waiting for you. Rather, there are alley ways with limited options to leave your vehicle. So while the parking spots are less than at an arena, some might argue that the amount of people is the same. You do the math. Sometimes parking is rough.

* Music – Everyone thinks they are a DJ. Go to the beach here in Myrtle and you will the people in front of you, in back of you, and on either side of you spinning their tunes. If Sidney had it her way, she would opt for peace and quiet so she could relax and read her book. Instead, she has to channel her best reading comprehension skills and overcome the five different genres of music hitting her from all directions.

* Dogs – Okay, this isn’t Sidney’s gripe but rather it is mine. Sometimes I feel dogs outnumber people at the beach. Some are very well behaved and some are not. I would do just fine sharing the beach with my fellow humans.

* Lack of Bathrooms – Okay, back to Sidney’s critiques. When you are at the beach, it isn’t like you are lounging at the pool or at your lake house. Instead, you are at a very public area with no public facilities in sight. When you make a trip to the beach, forget about having access to a bathroom. If you have a small bladder or if you plan to enjoy some cold ones while watching the waves, this could be a problem.

* The Ordeal – For locals, going to the beach will drain your day for the reasons I mentioned above. You have to pack, you have to park, you have to spend a decent amount of time at the beach to make the sacrifices worth it, and then you have to come home and shower. While the ocean is just a stone’s throw away, the minutes turn into hours pretty quickly. Even the shortest of beach excursions will run you at least three hours.


But despite these trials and tribulations, I know both Sidney and I still admit the beach is pretty dang awesome. No matter how many tourists flock to it, we wouldn’t trade it for mountains or plains. Don’t Blink.

How Did Ben Stiller Make My Thursday Rundown?

Good evening to you all and happy Cinco De Mayo. I feel enjoying a cold beverage while reading Don’t Blink enhances the experience so keep sipping that margarita. Here we go with five topics…

Ben Stiller – For the most part, I am not a Ben Stiller fan. I don’t like the roles he plays where he portrays a seemingly normal person, such as in “Meet the Parents,” “Night at the Museum,” and the “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” However, if he is playing the role of a fitness-obsessed egotistical meathead, I am all about it. I loved his role in “Heavyweights” and I also thoroughly enjoyed the very similar character he played almost ten years later in “Dodgeball.” Much to my joy, the latter movie happened to be on TV this past weekend. I am not a person who laughs out loud a lot so you can imagine that Sidney was giving me weird looks when I was howling while watching Stiller’s performance in “Dodgeball.” He is just so over the top that it really gets me. Nothing beats his “No one makes me bleed my own blood” line.

Coastal Anniversary – This past Sunday marked two years since I started working at Coastal Carolina University. About 12 months ago, I wrote a blog post commemorating my one year anniversary at CCU. In that post I wrote about what a great fit this job has been and a year later I can still echo those sentiments. I am so thankful to work at such a fantastic university.

It has been a great two years working at Coastal Carolina University.

It has been a great two years working at Coastal Carolina University.

My Bet for Trump’s Vice President – As speculation really starts to swirl on who Donald Trump will pick for his running mate, I want to go public with my prediction. I believe he will select John Kasich. I feel that Kasich’s personality will balance Trump’s. He would also bring credibility and familiarity to the ticket as well. Of course the major selling point is that with John Kasich on board, Trump would have a real shot at winning the vitally important state of Ohio. I will have a prediction for Hillary next week!

Little Boy – I always like to insert photos into my Thursday Rundowns and for that reason (plus that it is Throwback Thursday) I offer a photo of myself from when I was a young Brent. I write from time to time about my childhood so I thought I could at least provide you all with a visual. I mean come on, if I want you to have a past image of me in your head, I definitely want it to be as a sweet innocent boy as opposed to this.

Me as a little guy just hanging out.

Me as a little guy just hanging out.

Wedding Update #30 – First off, this is a milestone update in that it is the 30th one I have done! As for the content of the update, I have a few things to share. Sidney received her wedding portraits back (of course I wasn’t allowed to look). Also, with the invites sent out a couple weeks ago, we recently figured out the probable number of guests we expect to have at our wedding. Finally, I was very honored when my cousin Cody accepted my invite to serve as a groomsman in my wedding party. At the last minute, an original groomsman unexpectedly said he couldn’t make the trip, sending me into crisis mode. Luckily Cody graciously answered my request and I couldn’t be happier to have him standing up front with us on our wedding day.

Yesterday in the mail, I received this from my parents. It is so nice to have a framed wedding invitation! Thank you to my parents.

Yesterday in the mail, I received this from my parents. It is so nice to have a framed wedding invitation! Thank you to my parents.


It will be a busy weekend as Coastal hosts commencement ceremonies both tomorrow and Saturday. Congrats to all the graduates! I will touch base with everyone on Sunday. Don’t Blink.

What a Race it Was

With John Kasich dropping out of the 2016 presidential race today, there is now a likely Republican nominee for President of the United States.

Okay, let me catch my breath.

It was an insane primary season for the Republican Party. It was just this past August when 16 candidates declared themselves as a viable choice for the nomination, all with high optimism and strong opinions. From that point on, it was an absolute slugfest. The storylines, the debates, the interviews, and the social media all made this high stakes competition an absolute spectacle. It was better than must-see-TV, it was a real life drama centered on the right to run for the most powerful position on the planet. Of course, there was no shortage of twists and turns.

I admit it, I couldn’t keep my eye off it. I watched a lot of CNN, followed all the candidates on Twitter, and even started reading political blogs such as FiveThirtyEight. The race was just so gripping, so intense, so personal. The craziest part? It just seemed to get better and better.

The reality show elements definitely added a lot of juice to this one. You had eliminations, you had drama, you had manipulation, and, most importantly, you had characters.

It is an understatement to say that no character stood out more than Donald J. Trump. Heck, just look at this blog. It takes a lot for me to write once about a person, let alone FOUR times. However, during the primary season I wrote about how I thought he was intelligent, how I thought he was fascinating, how I thought he was a poor sport, and how I thought he had doomed his campaign. Say what you want about those first three topics, one thing is clear about the fourth one: I was dead wrong.

What this man did was pretty spectacular.

What this man did was pretty spectacular.

But so were a lot of other people. Trump was discredited before he even entered the race and was written off numerous times during it. Love him or hate him, Trump has defined the meaning of resiliency and showed us what it looks like to be a competitor.

To be completely honest, I am a little exhausted from the primary season. It wasn’t for the faint of heart. We are now staring directly at the undoubtedly most bitter and outrageous presidential election we most likely will ever see. That is why I said above that I need to catch my breath. As someone who isn’t that interested in politics, I have definitely gotten my fill over the last several months. Now it looks like I need to prepare myself for something that will be even more extreme.

Donald Trump vs. Hilary Clinton is going to be brutal. We are looking at six months of pure mania. I am excited to see them debate each other and I am interested to see their revised social media strategies but I don’t know if I am ready for the day-to-day grind. But I guess it is one of those things where it doesn’t matter if you are ready or not, it is going to come regardless.

I am not a Democrat nor Republican so I will monitor this race without a dog in the fight. However, I know I will be drawn in and will most likely have a preference come November. Pace yourself, it is going to be a long, bumpy, and CRAZY ride. Don’t Blink.

My Favorite Carnival Game

Last night, Sidney and I watched a movie called “Adventureland.” It is a coming-of-age film chronicling the summer experience of a bunch of teens and young adults working at a dusty amusement park. The main character, James, is put on carnival game duty. Upon his hire at the park, James is introduced to the rigged nature of pretty much every game available.

As we were watching this, Sidney told me that growing up her dad would try to steer the family away from the carnival games. It wasn’t that he detested the fact that most of them were corrupt, it was that he didn’t want to deal with the hassle of carrying around the consolation prizes that were given out. I don’t blame him!

Sid then asked if I had a favorite carnival game growing up. I told her yes I did, but it wasn’t just my favorite carnival game…it was my family’s favorite carnival game.

My dad’s passion for a game that was always at the Walla Walla Fair rubbed off on us. Have you ever heard of the Dime Toss? In a square space area boxed in by wooden tables was a skirted platform that served as the base of a “sculpture.” Glasses, plates, bowls, ash trays, and other containers were piled high and long on top of each other. Participants stood behind the tables and flicked dimes at the sculpture, hoping that their coin would fall on top of a plate or inside a cup. If the coin did in fact rest inside or on a piece of glassware, the item was theirs.

This was the best image I could find on the internet of a Dime Toss that looked similar to what we played growing up.

This was the best image I could find on the internet of a Dime Toss that looked similar to what we played growing up.

We probably came close a couple times to wiping the carny out of dimes. My dad couldn’t be kept away from the game so neither could we. The Dime Toss was cheap and challenging. Having the opportunity to play for ten cents a pop was attractive and even though the game took skill, it wasn’t impossible to win. Just ask my mom…

Now she is probably going to kill me for revealing this, but growing up our most used drinkware in the house came from the Walla Walla Fair. Even back then, I can remember my mom cringing just a little bit when we enthusiastically stuffed under her nose the latest glass we won. Not only would she be responsible for safely packing it for the three hour drive back to Spokane, but she also knew that we would insist it be inserted into the circulation of the Reser Family Glassware Collection. Because she is such a nice mom, she would oblige, and I honestly think they would grow on her.

Okay, I am really pressing my luck now, and I feel an angry text might soon be on its way, but I kid you not when I say my mom still has some of the Dime Toss glassware in her cupboard. Yes, 20 years later, my mom still uses several cups that we won her at the fair. Mom, if you are reading this, I am talking about those glasses with the strawberry design on them that were still around when I visited this past summer.

Of course I don’t think it is anything to be embarrassed about. I love those glasses and they bring back great memories whenever I go home. I just have a feeling my mom is probably more concerned about what her neighbors will think.

But I still haven’t arrived at the best part of the story. My brother and I loved the Dime Toss so much that we replicated it at home. During those long summer days, we would raid my mom’s cupboards and take out glasses we won at the fair and glasses we didn’t win at the fair. We would take our loot downstairs and build our own sculpture. At that point, we would let the coins fly! We would compete against each other to see who could record the most makes and we also invited the neighbor kids over and made them use their own coins to participate. No one got to keep any glasses, it was just done for the fun/challenge of it. Like I am fond of saying, my parents didn’t believe in Nintendo so we had to come up with alternative forms of indoor entertainment.

I haven’t gone to a carnival in years so I don’t know if the Dime Toss is still around, I doubt it. But I can say that game was another memorable sliver of my childhood. As for “Adentureland,” I give it three stars. Don’t Blink.