Q&A About “Don’t Blink,” Part II

A year ago, I engaged in a Q&A session regarding my blog. I receive questions all the time about Don’t Blink so I feel I owe it to my readers to at least answer some of them on an annual basis. Before reading today’s newest installment, I do encourage you to briefly read the first version I did in 2015.

I am serving up another helping of Don't Blink Q&A.

I am serving up another helping of Don’t Blink Q&A.

Q. Oh dang, it looks like we are doing this again. Why can’t you just pull the plug on Don’t Blink?
A. Although I had ten good reasons to do so, I just can’t let go. Blogging is a hobby for me and I enjoy doing it.

Q. What is your biggest criticism when it comes to your blog?
A. Without a doubt, it is that I am too nice! I don’t tread in controversial waters that much and I like to build people up rather than tear them down. The biggest human punching bag when it comes to my blog is myself. Critics tell me I need to put some substance into my writing and develop an attitude. However, it just isn’t in my nature. More importantly, my blog isn’t about firing people up. Some columnists and bloggers make a living getting people to hate them, but that is not me. Sorry for my lameness.

Q. Now that you are married, do you spend less time on your blog?
A. Believe it or not, I am pretty much spending the same amount of time. I still follow the rather intensive blogging schedule I have kept the past few years (writing Sunday – Thursday) but I try to do a better job of getting ahead. On Sunday mornings I plan my blogging schedule for the week as much as possible and even start developing some of the future posts. When I write in the evening during the week I will sometimes start the next day’s blog post right then. I get off work at 5 p.m. and on most nights Sidney and I are sitting down to dinner by 7 p.m.

Q. Have you met any of your readers before?
A. If you mean random people who read my blog in other states and countries, the answer is no. However, when I meet friends of friends or new people at work many times they will tell me that they read my blog. It is the best type of compliment! But when it comes to the randos across the globe, I haven’t met any of them…in person. I am lucky in the fact that I have become friends with many of my long distance readers on social media. When I receive an unfamiliar friend request on Facebook I no longer immediately reject it as spam. I enjoy the social media relationships I have with my dedicated Don’t Blink fans.

Q. Your writing has seemed to get worse and your posts more boring over the past year. Has your readership dropped dramatically?
A. There must be a market out there for bad writing because my readership has done the opposite. I am on pace to smash my readership levels from 2015. While I am not averaging a five digit number of views per day, I still routinely hit in the four digits.

Q. Speaking of readership, which blog post from 2016 has performed the best so far?
A. Without a doubt, it is my “The Truth Behind a Bar Rescue Experience” post. I was fortunate enough to have a person reach out directly to me who had appeared on the show. She gave me exclusive information regarding what went on behind the scenes and I made it into one of my most popular blog posts of all time. It has been featured on the national Server Memes Facebook page, “Bar Rescue” parody accounts, and other blogs.

Q. In general, is there a post your “regular” readers like the most?
A. Yes. Probably 80% of my hardcore readers tell me how much they enjoy my Thursday Rundowns. This makes me feel good because the Thursday Rundown posts are the easiest and least time consuming ones for me to write. Believe me, they aren’t going anywhere.

Q. In general, is there a post your “regular” readers dislike the most?
A. Based on the verbal feedback I have received (especially from my mom) and based on straight statistical evidence, my posts that deal with social media developments aren’t always met with overwhelming enthusiasm. However, I can’t help it. Every now and then I have to talk about my trade. Whenever I write a technical social media post I know I am going to take a bath in it regarding readership. But that is okay because I like to have my thoughts recorded regarding the profession I work in.

Q. Do you have any big blog posts planned for the remaining portion of 2016?
A. Yes I do. Keep reading to find out! With that said, you can also look forward to more takeover blog posts from Sidney. Although it is a hassle to convince her to write each month, her posts always perform exceptionally well. My family continues to tell me that she should take my blog over permanently.

Q. Do you have anything to add?
A. Sure. I am going to stick with my answer from last time….Don’t Blink.

RIP Gene Wilder

With the passing of Gene Wilder yesterday, tributes started flying left and right about the talented actor. I was pleased to see that most centered on his entire portfolio of acting. I guess I expected most of the articles and segments to focus on his role as Willy Wonka.

But that assumption by me was based mostly on my own ignorance. To be completely honest, the only movie I watched of his from start to finish was “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” I remember one time when I was probably 11 or 12 my dad pointed out Gene Wilder to me in a different film on one of those old movie channels. Because of his unique appearance I knew right away that it was him but in the back of my head I kept telling myself “Man, that isn’t right.” Sadly, I only took him seriously when he was wearing his Candy Man suit.

Although not my favorite movie, Gene Wilder does put on quite the performance in "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory."

Although not my favorite movie, Gene Wilder does put on quite the performance in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.”

Just some real brief commentary on “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” As a little kid I loved the movie but as I grew into my teens I hated it. I guess the creepiness factor set in just a little bit. No matter if you are a fan of the movie or not, I think we can all agree that it is just a little bizarre. Watching the different couples of grandparents co-habitat in beds inside the living room didn’t really seem right. The children themselves and how they were eliminated one-by-one always came off as strange and a little dark to me. The soundtrack was depressing. The Oompa Loompas…well…I don’t think I need to add anything about them.

I know the film was based on a book but we all know how directors and producers take full liberties when adapting these types of projects. I think they could have made some changes that would have made the movie age a little better over the years.

So of course that brings us to Gene Wilder. Did the star fit the creepy mold of the rest of the film? Absolutely. However, I think the creepiness of Willy Wonka fit just because it was counterbalanced by the versatility and sarcasm built into the role.

Willy Wonka was so incredibly condescending and sarcastic in the 1971 film that he became a pop culture star for passive aggressive insults in our modern age. Most of us know about the Condescending Wonka meme. If not, you can read this blog post I wrote about the phenomenon four years ago.

But I rather focus more on Wilder’s versatility in the role as opposed to his sarcastic wit. The Willy Wonka character goes through a few very different personas in the movie. The first one starts after he pretends to be a stiff old man and then performs that awful somersault. From there he is a joyful, energized, talk-a-million-words-per-minute-strike-that-reverse-it, witty, fun Candy Man. It is the Willy Wonka that we all imagine!

As the film goes on, however, he starts to become a little more withdrawn and much more sarcastic. As the children start to drop off, he becomes reflective. You quickly find out that Wonka isn’t such a happy guy.

But his character soon takes an even greater nose dive. In one of the most uncomfortable movie scenes I have ever watched, Wilder’s character goes from a cranky older man to a raging maniac. He gives Charlie and his grandpa a piece of his mind in his classic “YOU LOSE” tantrum (I wrote about the mashup of this classic scene in early 2012).

However, the 360 in the Willy Wonka character is completed when Charlie returns the Gobstopper. Wilder goes from rage to euphoria as he tells Charlie that he won. The transformation is incredible as you can almost see bright lights of happiness turn on inside of Wilder. It was certainly a noteworthy performance.

So while I respect Wilder’s acting genius in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” you won’t catch me watching the film the next time it comes on TV. In fact, I think you would have to give me at least 20 golden tickets before I ever give it my attention again. Rest in Peace to Gene Wilder. Don’t Blink.

A Different Walmart Experience

Sidney and I usually do our grocery shopping at the supermarket right next to our house. Those who live around here know what a Lowe’s Foods is but those out west probably immediately think of hardware. Well, for those who don’t know, Lowe’s is a very nice supermarket chain in the southeastern United States. Bakery and deli offerings are well above average, you can make your own peanut butter, and you can sip a craft beer while doing your shopping.

Sidney and I usually shop at our neighborhood Lowe's Foods.

Sidney and I usually shop at our neighborhood Lowe’s Foods.

We purchase the majority of our groceries at Lowe’s because it is convenient and the store is nice in pretty much every way. Because of the convenience and quality of our neighborhood supermarket, we gladly pay the higher price that comes with it. However, every now and then it is nice to change things up just a little.

I don’t see harm in going to Walmart every now and then. Personally, I did most of my shopping there up until a year ago. I still get the hankering to shop there at least every few weeks. With Sidney it is a little bit of a different story. As I mentioned, she likes the products and convenience of Lowe’s. She also prefers the smaller, more intimate atmosphere as well. If you have ever went shopping at a Walmart on Sunday you know there is nothing intimate about it.

Yesterday I pitched the idea to Sid that we do our shopping for the week at Walmart. She said yes on one condition: We go to the Walmart Neighborhood Market.

This is one of the Walmart Neighborhood Markets in Myrtle Beach (photo courtesy of the Sun News).

This is one of the Walmart Neighborhood Markets in Myrtle Beach (photo courtesy of the Sun News).

I hesitated a bit at first. There were certain things I wanted to get that I wasn’t sure the Walmart Neighborhood Market had. I also prefer the location that our local Walmart Supercenter is in. But the Neighborhood Market was both closer to the house and undoubtedly much more low key than the Supercenter so it was only right for me to compromise with Sidney. Off we went.

Let me tell you exactly what shopping at a Walmart Neighborhood Market is like: Envision going to your typical average grocery store such as Food Lion (for my east coast readers) or Albertsons (for my west coast readers). Take that atmosphere, size, and setup but subtract at least a dollar or two from every item on the shelf. That is shopping at a Walmart Neighborhood Market in a nutshell.

It is almost cute in a way. You enter the store underneath big Walmart signage but once you walk in you realize it is just a regular, no frills grocery store. You don’t feel overwhelmed by an influx of people. It is a totally different experience from your typical Wally World. What doesn’t change from the Supercenter, however, is the pricing.

Once you shop at a store like Lowe’s for several months it almost feels like stealing when you return to Walmart. The prices are much lower and it makes you almost want to go on a major shopping spree. To be able to enjoy this refreshing experience at a smaller Walmart venue is very much welcome by people who feel uncomfortable around large crowds or in big stores.

As we were checking out, Sidney turned to me to get my confirmation that shopping at the Walmart Neighborhood Market was much better than the Walmart Supercenter. I couldn’t concede 100% as the smaller store did lack a couple things I wanted but it wasn’t a wasted trip by any means. We saved time inside the store, cut down on driving distance, and enjoyed the same low prices we would have taken advantage of at the regular location.

If you are yet to shop at a Walmart Neighborhood Market, your time might be coming. It seems like these stores are starting to take over. Just in the Myrtle Beach area over the past year we have seen three of them open up. It will be worth your time to at least give it a try.

We will still do the majority of our grocery shopping at the supermarket by our house. After all, I affectionately refer to it as “our grocery store.” However, when it comes to our occasional Walmart visit, we might be going the Neighborhood Market route more often than not. Don’t Blink.

The Hollywood Wax Museum in Myrtle Beach

On Friday night, Sidney and I wanted to do something a little different to cap off our date night. So after we finished dinner we decided that we wanted to act like tourists. How did we do that, you ask? We decided to go to one of the biggest tourist traps (I mean destinations) in town.

Sidney and I ate dinner at an Italian restaurant called Maggi D's on Friday night.

Sidney and I ate dinner at an Italian restaurant called Maggi D’s on Friday night.

The Hollywood Wax Museum in Myrtle Beach is an impressive structure. The exterior is built according to a popular King Kong scene. A version of the New York skyline takes up the outside base of the structure and at the very top is a giant King Kong gripping an airplane from atop the Empire State Building. You see, when you are driving down U.S. 17 Bypass it is impossible not to look. As Sidney and I drive by it almost on a daily basis, our curiosity finally got the best of us.

Before we walked inside on Friday night, I took this photo of the Hollywood Wax Museum.

Before we walked inside on Friday night, I took this photo of the Hollywood Wax Museum.

Believe it or not, the Hollywood Wax Museum isn’t solely a wax museum. It also is home to a mirror maze and a haunted house. The price for out-of-towners for an all-access pass good for all three attractions is $27. However, since Sidney and I are proud locals, we only had to pay $20.

Although I was probably more interested in the mirror maze and haunted house, we decided to tour what the center was named for first. After getting our picture taken in front of a King Kong backdrop, we entered the wax museum. Quickly, for those who don’t know, a wax figure is a replica of an actual person made out of (I am guessing but don’t know for sure) wax. The artists of these figures do their best to pinpoint the physical characteristics and mannerisms of each person.

The Hollywood Wax Museum is filled with replicas of famous celebrities.

The Hollywood Wax Museum is filled with replicas of famous celebrities.

With that said, some wax figures were dead on when it came to portraying the person they were supposed to. Other figures weren’t even close. However, Sidney and I would both say that the accurate ones were much more abundant than the ones that missed the mark. Another thing we can say for sure is that the total number of wax figures exceeded our expectations.

Some of the wax figures depicted certain celebrities right on while others were a little bit of a stretch.

Some of the wax figures depicted certain celebrities right on while others were a little bit of a stretch.

Each wax figure had a screen with a description about that particular person. It contained the name of the person, his/her career highlights, and usually some obscure fact(s). When Sidney and I first entered the museum we started to read each screen. However, as it became clear that we would be there all night if we did, we started to pick and choose.

This isn’t a museum where they encourage you to put your phones away. In fact, it is the absolute opposite. To promote selfies, the museum offered props at several of  the figures for visitors to use. For example, Rocky Balboa and Hugh Hefner each had robes on a hook that you could put on. Harrison Ford (as Indiana Jones) had a hat you could don and a snake you could drape around yourself. It was a nice touch.

Several of the figures came with props that you could use while  taking photos.

Several of the figures came with props that you could use while taking photos.

The museum was set up in sections. In one part you had iconic figures from the 1950s such as Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, and James Dean. Another section had horror film legends. Another had action heroes. One section had divas. Another one had current female pop stars such as Pink, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, and Katy Perry. The museum was very organized, vast, and clean.

Me hanging out with some of the 1950s icons.

Me hanging out with some of the 1950s icons.

When it came to our favorite figures, I especially liked the John Travolta replica. Sidney sided with Justin Timberlake. My favorite section was the horror one but coincidentally it was Sidney’s least favorite. She wouldn’t go inside it with me. Overall, we had a great time “meeting” all of those famous people .

Sidney liked Justin Timberlake and I liked John Travolta.

Sidney liked Justin Timberlake and I liked John Travolta.

After we finished at the museum we took a look at the gift shop and then hopped on an elevator to the basement for the mirror maze and the haunted house. We did the maze first.

A look at some of the figures in the horror section.

A look at some of the figures in the horror section.

We went through the doors and entered a room with a screen. Surrounding the screen were what seemed like hundreds of different mirrors projecting our reflection. After we adjusted to seeing our reflection in so many unique ways the screen turned on and a king gave us our mission. We had to go save the princess. This wasn’t like the mirror maze at the fair we all went through when we were younger. This maze was an expensive production. It was built like a castle. Music played, lights flashed, smoke rose. It almost seemed like it was half reality, half virtual reality. It took some teamwork on our part to get out but we made it. If you want an actual look at Sidney and I navigating through the maze, there is a video on my Facebook page of us doing just that.

Sidney wouldn’t do the “haunted house” with me but she didn’t miss too much. I used quotations because it is officially not a haunted house but rather a “zombie apocalypse outbreak.” The premise of the attraction is that a government experiment went completely wrong and zombies took over. Visitors have the opportunity to walk through the center where the failed experiment went down. I went through with two other couples. You watch a video and the doors open but it is just downhill from there. The whole thing is on autopilot. You go past zombies that are set to move or light up based on proximity sensors. There was only one live actor at the very end of the attraction. For someone like myself who loves haunted attractions, I was not impressed.

But the $20 was worth the admission for the wax museum and the mirror maze. The Hollywood Wax Museum is definitely one of those things that you only need to do once. However, that one time you do it will definitely make for a fun and unique date night. Don’t Blink.

Can I Interest You in a Thursday Rundown?

In one week from today it will be September. Crazy, huh? Here comes your final Thursday Rundown of the month.

End of a Mini Mascot – One of the very first things I did in my professional career while working in the athletic department at the University of Montana was introduce a mini mascot. Sounds creepy, right? Don’t be so quick to judge! Fresh off of graduating from college in 2009, I worked with the mom of a talented boy to create Mo, a miniature version of the University of Montana mascot, Monte. It was borderline magical the day we surprised a wild Washington-Grizzly Stadium sold out crowd with the newest addition to our mascot family. Well, after a great seven year run, Mo will no longer grace the sidelines…at least for now. I want to thank the two kids who wore the costume and represented Grizzly Athletics so well.

I enjoyed helping to develop Mo (right) when I was at the University of Montana.

I enjoyed helping to develop Mo (right) when I was at the University of Montana.

War Dogs – It had been a couple months since I saw a really good movie. However, the bad streak ended last week when Sidney and I went to the theater to watch “War Dogs.” Finally, a movie that lived up to the hype I set for it! The true story was portrayed in an intriguing way and the acting of Jonah Hill was out of control (in a good way of course). Bradley Cooper played a darker role that you don’t always get to see him in. The film also delivered plenty of laughs as well as a recent history lesson. I totally recommend “War Dogs.”

In Front of the Camera – Classes started for Coastal Carolina University this week and it has been a very exciting time. Luckily for me, I was able to share some of my enthusiasm with WPDE (ABC 15) on Monday. The station called wondering if I would do an interview addressing our social media momentum. Thankfully they didn’t have me talk that much. To watch Sydney Glenn’s story, click here.

A screenshot from my interview with WPDE's Sydney Glenn on Monday.

A screenshot from my interview with WPDE’s Sydney Glenn on Monday.

Final Thoughts on Summer Olympics – The Rio Games concluded on Sunday and I must admit that I didn’t watch much of the closing ceremonies. I just find it sad. I love the Summer Olympics and to see them end after four years of anticipation is hard. I feel bad in my heart for all the athletes who worked so hard for their moment in Rio only for it now to be over. On a lighter note, I really enjoyed watching America dominate the games. What I didn’t enjoy was the Ryan Lochte saga. It really took A LOT away from the games and unfortunately it will forever be a defining part of the 2016 Summer Olympics. But I try to look at the positives and I can say that there was nothing better than watching the games with my wife in the evenings.

From the Archives – So, would you like to read about me defending a social media user, reviewing a Darius Rucker concert, or evaluating Instagram Video? On this date in 2015 I came to the side of a typical American who was condemned for giving the play-by-play over Twitter of a breakup on a plane. In 2014 I shared my thoughts on the Darius Rucker concert I attended that weekend. Finally, in 2013 I reviewed Instagram Video about two months after it launched. Pick your poison.

Me with my Darius Rucker shirt after his concert in 2014.

Me with my Darius Rucker shirt after his concert in 2014.


Thank you to my readers for taking the time to read Don’t Blink. Hopefully soon I will be introducing another reader appreciation opportunity for all of you. Enjoy the rest of August. Don’t Blink.

Taking a Photo with the Hardware

For years I have envied others who received the opportunity. I would hop on social media and a former co-worker or a friend would have a grin a mile wide while standing next to a piece of very impressive hardware. That “hardware” was specifically a national championship trophy of some sort, the best indicator a university can have to signify athletic supremacy.

I didn’t know if I would ever be so lucky…

When our baseball team won the national championship this summer, the possibility that I might get near the trophy presented itself. Today it became a reality.

Today I took a photo with the national championship trophy.

Today I took a photo with the national championship trophy.

Our athletic department graciously decided to share the achievement of the baseball team with the whole Coastal Carolina University community in a couple different ways today. First, the trophy was made available in our Student Union from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for students (and staff members like me) to get their photos taken with it. Then, this evening, Chanticleer Athletics invited the general public to the stadium to have their chance with the trophy. In fact, as I write this, the prize is still on display on the boardwalk of Springs Brooks Stadium for all to enjoy.

The national championship trophy was available for students and staff to take a photo with today.

The national championship trophy was available for students and staff to take a photo with today.

As you can see from my photo, I didn’t exactly get close and personal with it. Although everyone was instructed not to touch the trophy, I still had some space available to get a little closer. Perhaps it was a feeling of unworthiness or maybe I was just subconsciously freaked out about accidentally knocking it over. Don’t get me wrong though, I had no shame waltzing right up to the area and turning my phone over to an athletics staff member to take the photo, even though I did absolutely nothing to bring that trophy back to Conway.

Thank you to Chanticleer Athletics for sharing the success with everyone. I really enjoyed the opportunity I was given today. Don’t Blink.

Why I Text Myself

You know what I do to become a more efficient person? I text myself. Like…a lot. Seriously. On my iPhone, I have a text message thread with myself that is so frequent that the only other ones that see more activity are my family group messages (both Reser and Mathis sides) and my thread with my wife. My conversation with “Brent Reser” is always near the top of my messages. Why and how do I use it so much? I will quickly explain five ways.

Ideas – Some people jot ideas that pop into their heads down on paper and many type it into the Notes app on their iPhone. I prefer to simply text them to myself. To me, text messaging is just more accessible and easy. Also, it is ingrained in my head that my best thoughts are located in my personal text thread to myself. Additionally, when you send yourself a text, it pops up in the top bar of your screen. Thus, after you have thought about it and typed it, you then get to see it. Terrific reinforcement.

Preview Texts I Am Sending to Others – You know on Microsoft Word how you can hit “Print Preview” and see what your document will look like once you print it? Well, sometimes I like to see how my texts will look once I send them. To do this, I text myself. I will draft a text I am sending someone else in my own personal thread. I will send it to myself to see how it looks. I will proofread it, examine what the structure looks like, and check off that the emoticons look okay. I will then copy it and paste it into the composition box of the person I am texting with and tap send. Sometimes you can’t afford to mess up a text and this is a great way of preventing that.

Ready To Go Captions – At work, I have the privilege of covering a lot of big events live. When I stream or post from these events, I can’t afford to take the time to type out a description or caption on spot. Rather, before the event I will type out the captions I will be using and email them to myself. I will then copy that text off my iphone and send it to myself. Then, when I am on location, I will go to my text message thread and copy it and paste it into Facebook, Periscope, etc. It is easy and I never have to worry about making an error.

Quotes – I text and tweet out my infamous Life’s little Instruction quote the second I get up each morning. It goes to my Twitter account and to a few other people. I can’t afford for my early morning fatigue to make me stumble and send something out with a spelling or grammar error. So, each night before I go to bed I send the quote to myself, making sure it is perfect. Then, when I awake at 5 a.m., I simply copy it from my own personal thread and send it out.

Grocery Lists and To-Do Lists – While the Notes app is also popular to compile lists, I turn to my text message thread with myself to draft these important reminders. If I am going to the store, I text myself everything I need. If I am packing for a trip, I am creating a list of things to pack via text as well. I like doing it this way because it is also just so easy to add on. If I needed to add milk to my grocery list it is just so much easier to text myself as opposed to opening up the Notes feature, selecting the specific note I want, and then typing away.


Perhaps if you don’t text yourself currently, maybe you will start. However, if you do text yourself, are you doing it for any reasons different from what I mentioned. I would like to know. Don’t Blink.

What I Loved About Stranger Things

I am not a big science fiction fan. Although I might try to save face and say I don’t like it because I am too sophisticated to entertain the fantasy nature of the genre, in reality I shy away from it because a lot of the content goes way over my head. Every now and then I will go to the theater to watch a science fiction blockbuster but if you ask me if my idea of a good time is watching a sci-fi television series I would give you a big fat NO.

However, at the urging of others I recently watched a science fiction Netflix series. Last night I finished the final episode of “Stranger Things.”

"Stranger Things" is a terrific science fiction Netflix series.

“Stranger Things” is a terrific science fiction Netflix series.

I briefly wrote about “Stranger Things” in a Thursday Rundown post. At the time, I said it took me to the third episode to finally get into it. However, from that third show on it was must-see TV for me. Why did I enjoy it so much?

If you are thinking I was able to tolerate it because the producers went light on the actual science fiction you are wrong. Make no mistake about it, the genre title of “Stranger Things” isn’t simply to attract a demographic of dudes who watched the Sci-Fi Channel growing up. What you get from the show is a heavy dose of straight up science-fiction. It pretty much has it all: alternate dimensions, a monster, calculations, nerds, telekinesis, a shady government agency, and much more. As per usual, I didn’t always immediately understand everything discussed in the episodes (the group of 12-year-olds in the movie were all much smarter than me).

I really enjoyed watching "Stranger Things."

I really enjoyed watching “Stranger Things.”

Yes, despite the strong science fiction elements, I still managed to like “Stranger Things.” But the biggest reason for my fandom wasn’t because of the strong and eccentric characters or the addicting music or the fun references to films of the past. Rather, it was because of the incredible and authentic feel I got from watching each episode.

The character of Eleven and Mike are masterful. The performances put in by Millie Bobby Brown and Finn Wolfhard will tug at your heart!

The character of Eleven and Mike are masterful. The performances put in by Millie Bobby Brown and Finn Wolfhard will tug at your heart!

“Stranger Things” takes place in the 1980s. Guess what? You will never forget it when watching the show. Look, I was born in the latter half of the 1980s but I don’t remember a day living in them. However, I can feel exactly what it was like to live in the decade by watching “Stranger Things.”

The series doesn’t just capture the 1980s. It captures the 1980s in a beautiful way. Even though “Stranger Things” deals with a monster and a dark alternate dimension, the beauty still comes out. Everything from the homes to the school to the landscapes to the streets are vintage 1983. Of course the characters talk and dress just like they were plucked from a time machine but it goes much further than that.

Everything about "Stranger Things" screams 1980s.

Everything about “Stranger Things” screams 1980s.

Colors. That is what really sets “Stranger Things” apart. It was as if Crayola made a box of crayons called “The Early 1980s” and the Duffey Brothers used them to color in all the scenes. The shots in the movie aren’t breathtaking or glamorous…they are just real. And, when it comes to a television series, that constitutes beautiful.

Everything from the interior of the houses to the clothing to the hairstyles will make you feel like you are in the early 1980s.

Everything from the interior of the houses to the clothing to the hairstyles will make you feel like you are in the early 1980s.

It is tough to describe the awesomeness of watching the beauty of “Stranger Things” so let me just give you an example that especially sticks out. Last night Sidney and I were watching the finale. Toward the end of the episode, they cut to a shot of Nancy and Joe. They are sitting on a couch next to a Christmas tree. It was absolutely striking. It was 100% pure 1983. It was like watching an actual home video from that year in crystal clear high definition. The shot only lasted a few seconds but I spoke up and said to Sidney, “Wow, that is why this show is so good.”

So is a five second shot in an eight episode series supposed to convince you to watch “Stranger Things”? Hmmm…I don’t know if that would persuade me. So let me try putting it this way instead: If you don’t like science fiction, don’t let it prevent you from watching “Stranger Things.” Instead, give it a shot just for the artistic and nostalgic gem that the series is. You most likely won’t regret it. Don’t Blink.

My Three Best Healthy Cereals of All-Time

For whatever reason, obscure blog posts that I wrote years ago still show up in my daily Don’t Blink analytics reports. One such example of this is my “Three Best Unhealthy Cereals of All-Time” post I wrote well over four years ago. I don’t know if it is because Reeses Puffs has a cult following or something, but that particular post is still read regularly by a healthy amount of people each week.

Although I prefer that the posts I put a little more time and meaning into would receive top billing on my blog reports, it is what it is. I figured the least I could do is use my prior cereal list as “inspiration” and write a similarly cheesy, bad blog post. Thus, today I bring you my Three Best HEALTHY Cereals of All-Time:

Sun Belt Granola – When I was around 11, my family stayed at a Hampton Inn in Richland, Washington, for a baseball tournament. The hotel’s continental breakfast had a granola dispenser. Feeling adventurous one of the mornings we stayed there, I fixed myself a bowl of it. I seriously had no idea what I had been missing for over a decade. When we returned to Spokane I immediately started to incorporate granola into my breakfast routine. Although my mom and I could never find a brand that tasted as good as what we had at the Hampton Inn, we did find something that would become a mainstay in our house throughout my high school years: Sun Belt Granola. Going through at least a box a week, I lived on Sun Belt’s banana granola cereal throughout my teen years.

Honey Bunches of Oats – I must admit that Honey Bunches of Oats might straddle the line between a healthy and unhealthy cereal. However, because it doesn’t have any artificial colors nor a character such as a rabbit or a vampire promoting it, I am lumping it into the healthy category. I loved eating this cereal as a kid. My parents let me eat it during the school week (they reserved sugary cereals only for the weekends) and I always preferred it just a little soggy.

Cracklin’ Oat Bran – This is a cereal that I have not tasted for at least 20 years but one that I remember fondly. I ate Cracklin’ Oat Bran as a tiny kid solely because my dad did. I would be surprised if many of you even know what this cereal is. To be honest, I thought it had probably been discontinued by now but I did a quick internet search and it is still out there! Cracklin’ Oat Bran (we just called it Oat Bran) is a no frills, basic cereal made up of circle shaped pieces of (big surprise coming) oat bran. My dad ate it on the weekends and because I wanted to be like him, I ate it too. Heck, I even grew to like it. However, it didn’t convince me that cereal should always be made without marshmallows or chocolate.


It is Sunday night and I don’t think we are having cereal for dinner but I am almost tempted to pour myself a bowl. Thanks for putting up with this blog post and I hope you have a great week. Don’t Blink.

A Thursday Rundown For Your Reading Pleasure

Let me start off by thanking Sidney for filling in for me last night. I have arrived back in Myrtle Beach after a quick trip to Tennessee, just in time for the Thursday Rundown. Here we go!…

Trip to Bristol – This afternoon I returned from Bristol, Tennessee. If you remember from a couple days ago, I was there with two other Coastal Carolina employees to cover one of our students who races in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. We spent 16 hours at the Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday as we shadowed Brandon Brown as he went through his practice runs, the qualifying round, and the actual race. In between all of that we shot a couple of interviews with Brandon, hung out with his crew, sat through a rain delay, and more. It was a great experience that resulted in gold mine of content for our CCU social channels.

I had a good time in Bristol.

I had a good time in Bristol.

A Memory From Five Years Ago – On August 18, 2011, I met a celebrity. However, I met this country superstar in a casual environment and not some rushed meet-and-greet mess. I attended a Toby Keith concert with my brother and former boss at Northern Quest in Spokane. Keith performed the show at Quest’s outdoor concert venue. A few hours after the concert we were walking through the casino when I spotted Toby Keith and his entourage at a three card poker table. We went right over and met him. What I will say here is that his voice was unmistakable and he was enjoying a Michelob. If you want more details, read my blog post about the encounter by clicking here.

“Suicide Squad” – On Friday night, Sidney and I went and watched “Suicide Squad.” Despite the bad reviews, we wanted to give it a try. To be honest, I didn’t think the film was that bad and I actually really enjoyed Jared Leto’s performance as the Joker. I also give two thumbs up to Margot Robbie for her portrayal of Harley Quinn. What really rubbed me the wrong way, however, was the main villain. An enchanted witch is the nemesis in the film but the special effects used in the main climatic scene to enhance her fell waaaay short. The story itself is intriguing and the dark humor is good. But don’t kick yourself if you don’t make it to the theater to watch it.

Back to School – Sidney welcomed her 2016-17 second grade class yesterday. I saw photos of her 17 students and they look adorable! Fall classes will begin at Coastal Carolina University on Monday. That means Move-In Weekend starts tomorrow as we welcome thousands of new and returning students to campus. It will be a busy next several days for me but it will also be a lot of fun. Best of luck to students at all levels on a successful school year!

Top Seven Movies – Earlier this week, a popular hashtag ripped through Twitter. Called #fav7films, people were asked to name their top seven favorite movies. Of course I bit the bait. I did it without really putting much thought into it so that is why a certain Slyvester Stallone film is included:
Forest Gump
Varsity Blues
Rocky IV
Lone Survivor
Angels in the Outfield


Hope you weren’t too disappointed that I am back and Sid’s next post won’t be until a month down the road. On the bright side, at least you won’t have to hear from me for a couple days. I will touch base again on Sunday. Have a great weekend. Don’t Blink.