People Forgetting How To Drive

Two totally different conditions, one general characterization.

In South Carolina, we get hit with heavy rain storms quite frequently. When I say heavy rain storms, I mean torrential downpours. When the sky opens up and the water starts to fall, locals say one thing: People forget how to drive when it rains.

In Washington and Montana, we had no shortage of snow. The white stuff came frequently. However, whether it was just an October dusting, a few inches, or a whiteout blizzard, people in the area would all say one thing: People forget how to drive when it snows.

Both conditions aren’t particularly fun to drive in. When it comes to some of the summer rain storms here in Myrtle Beach, good luck with your windshield wipers keeping up. This is no joke. The rain falls so quickly and so intensely that it is as if your windshield is obstructed by a permanent screen of giant blinding water spots. You can put your wipers on the highest setting but it won’t matter. The loss of seeing the road is made worse by the unsettling sound of violent rain pounding down on your vehicle.

Driving in the rain isn't particularly fun. I have had a lot of experience doing it since moving down South.

Driving in the rain isn’t particularly fun. I have had a lot of experience doing it since moving down South.

I had not experienced such intense rain storms on such a frequent basis until I moved down south.

When it comes to the snow, it almost feels like Russian roulette. No matter how cautiously you drive when the roads are covered, you never know when you are going to go over an icy patch and your car is going to spin out of control. Additionally, snow presents other challenges such as your vehicle becoming stuck, visibility dramatically decreasing, and harmful objects on the road getting covered and then ran over.

I would drive in rain over snow any day.

I would drive in rain over snow any day.

So although we say “people forget to drive” when it rains or snows, it is obviously not true. People still understand that you use the steering wheel to turn, the little pedal to go, and the big pedal to stop. I think we can all admit that driving in heavy rain or a snow storm is more difficult than driving in clear conditions. The fact that some drivers might be more impacted by deteriorating driving conditions than others causes the more skillful drivers to say “people forget to drive.”

I am here to admit two things:
1. I am not a perfect driver in either of the two conditions.
2. However, I would always choose to drive in rain over snow.

Driving in a downpour is tough. No one likes driving blind. However, when it comes to the snow, there is a more terrifying condition in play. What I am talking about is the fear that you can’t stop. Many times when you are driving on a snowy and icy road, you have to keep going. Even lightly tapping the brake could result in a spin out. At least with the rain you always have the opportunity to just pull over. I would rather fight water than an unpredictable sheet of ice.

I don't miss driving in the snow at all.

I don’t miss driving in the snow at all.

Perhaps the phrase should be changed from “people forget how to drive” to “people forget how to drive safe.” Remember to always stay alert on those roads! Don’t Blink.

A Great Reality Show Idea

Our cable contract is ending this week. In order to take advantage of the best promotional deals for new customers, Sidney and I are switching cable companies. Last night, I called our soon-to-be new provider to cash in on a pretty good package.

About five months ago, I wrote about how impressed I am with customer service agents for major companies. Although the process of actually getting to speak to one might be a little frustrating, once the connection is made I have found the dialogue to be very pleasant and helpful. Since five months ago I have had to talk to other customer service agents here and there about various situations. Each time the agent was completely professional.

Soooooo….how did last night’s experience go?

Great! In keeping with the trend, the woman I spoke with last night offered excellent customer service. She answered all of my questions with thoroughness and courtesy. She seemed to talk honestly. She even showed great patience when I put her on speaker phone so my wife and I could interrogate her at the same time (Sidney needs her DVR!). When the phone call ended we were very satisfied.

It appears to me that the trend of putting value on great customer service at company call centers is not going anywhere. Because of this, I am still very intrigued about the professionals wearing the headsets and providing help to people all over the country.

In my post from April, I asked my readers who work as customer service agents to come forward and tell me about their jobs. The response was underwhelming. With my ploy for exclusive information a failure, I now must try a different method.

For any television executive out there, I have an idea: How about you do a casting call for the best call center representatives out there? With an eccentric and diverse group of customer service agents, you could take a prospective television show a couple different ways.

You could do a talent/situational reality show. I am thinking it would be a mix of something like “The Voice” meets the old MTV show “Boiling Points.” Contestants would go up on stage and have to take a call from an over the top angry or incompetent caller. The customer service agent would then do his/her best to walk the caller through his problem. It wouldn’t be easy. The pressure would be on. A live audience would watch the whole thing.

My second idea is much more general. Simply take a bunch of customer service agents and put them on “Big Brother” or a Real World type formatted show. It would be so interesting to see how these people would interact with one another and whether any shouting matches would break out. In my head I have a vision of company CEOs tinkering with the vocal cords of all customer service agents so whenever they have the urge to raise their voice on a call, their throats are engulfed in pain.

As you can tell, I am still very much intrigued by professionals who are able to hold it together all day talking to people who most likely aren’t very happy at that given moment. I want to know more. Who out there has TV connections? Don’t Blink.

My Top Five Favorite Corporate America Milkshakes

Although I dislike “national days of nonsense” for the most part, I find no shame in using some of them to inspire content for this blog. While reading Parade Magazine, I found out that today is National Chocolate Milkshake Day (it didn’t say when National Vanilla Milkshake Day or National Strawberry Milkshake Day is). Because I love ice cream, you can probably guess I really enjoy milkshakes.

I will never forget going to my family’s restaurant and ordering a milkshake. The thick, homemade shake would come out in a steel malt cup with a spoon. To this day, diners across the nation still offer milkshakes in this old fashioned way. I am sure we all have a favorite hole-in-the-wall location where we always order the perfect shake.

However, tonight I want to connect with everyone as I evaluate the best milkshakes. Thus, you won’t find the delicious shakes made by such places as Ray’s Drive Inn of Dayton, Washington, in this blog post. Instead, I am going mainstream. Tonight I am giving you my top five milkshakes made by corporate America.

5. Cook Out – Sorry to alienate my friends out on the west coast, but Cook Out is an institution out east and the shakes are good so I am letting it crack the top five. Two main reasons why Cook Out makes the list: the shakes themselves are dirt cheap and ice cream just goes great with a bunch of fried food. The flavor list is also the second best on this countdown.

4. Applebee’s – I am not a huge fan of Applebee’s, but I do like their shakes. A frosty cookies and cream shake is a perfect match with the appetizer sampler. Also, the atmosphere of the restaurant usually jibes really well with a good milkshake. With each location usually decorated in memorabilia from its local community, enjoying one just seems really American. It also helps that I have a couple of great memories enjoying a shake at an Applebee’s location with my wife early on in our relationship so it is also a nostalgia thing for me.

3. McDonald’s – Mickey D’s just seems to have it down to a science. Although the shakes are simple, they are also consistent. For the most part easy to drink (doesn’t take a lot of straw power), the McDonald’s milkshake can be described simply as refreshing. However, it is just a tad depressing to order one. Why? McDonald’s makes sure to have calorie counts posted clearly on all menus and I want to say that a shake racks up a whopping 700 calories, much more than even a McFlurry.

2. Carl’s Jr/Hardees – In high school, I would love going through the Carl’s Jr. drive-thru and ordering a milkshake. They would present to you a huge clear container filled to top with milkshake topped with a large dome lid that was filled and completely overflowed with whipped cream. By far it was the best milkshake deal around. Don’t think it was just quantity either. The quality was there and with a large straw it was easy to do some big time milkshake drinking.

1. Sonic – Big surprise, right? I am not just giving the top spot to Sonic simply because this wildly successful chain runs commercials like crazy and is known for its ice cream. In reality, a Sonic milkshake is just as good as advertised. Not only is each sip delicious but the flavor list is about a mile long. Stay with a basic chocolate shake or go for an Oreo cheesecake shake. They both taste incredible. I personally love how Sonic offers two different levels of shakes…you can order a Classic Shake or a Master Shake. Whatever you get, you can’t go wrong. Sonic is the undisputed king of milkshakes in corporate America.


As usual, I am up for any critiques on my list. To make the list fair, please know that I stayed away from chains that specialize in ice cream such as Baskin Robbins and Cold Stone. Other than that, let me know where I went wrong. Don’t Blink.

Standing With Unity

Yesterday my heart was warmed and it came courtesy of my native state’s NFL team. After much speculation by the media on what the Seattle Seahawks would do during today’s National Anthem, Doug Baldwin posted a video on social media explaining what would occur.

Later today when my favorite football team hosts the Miami Dolphins, the players will link arms and stand for the Star Spangled Banner. They will line up in a way that athletes of different races will be linking arms. Baldwin says that the powerful display will signify unity for each other and this country.

This is a screenshot of Doug Baldwin's video he sent out via his social media accounts.

This is a screenshot of Doug Baldwin’s video he sent out via his social media accounts.

Thank you, Seahawks.

I fully support everyone’s right to protest. I recognize all of the individual actions taken in the last few weeks. For that matter, I recognize all of the acts taken in the history of this great country. Because of the bravery of the men and women who defend our country both at home and abroad, we are given this right. It is a beautiful thing.

If it wasn’t for people much better than me, I would not have the right to write Don’t Blink. Along the same lines, others would not be able to engage in other displays of self expression. Sometimes we are mindful of this and sometimes we are not.

Today is 9/11. On this day 15 years ago, 2,996 people were killed because of hatred. Of that number, 71 New York Police Department officers perished trying to save those impacted by the evil act. Thousands of military personnel would later die because they were overseas making sure something like this would never happen again.

On September 11, 2001, this country was attacked. A large amount of our people died just because they happened to live in America. If not for the NYPD and NYFD, thousands more would have perished. If not for our military, perhaps millions more would have perished in future attacks.

Like I said, I am so grateful we live in a country where we are able to practice self expression. However, like I also said, I think sometimes we need to also take into account the context of how we enjoy these freedoms.

This blog post is not a slam on Mr. Kaepernick. He has stood up for what he has believed in and I respect that. He has started a movement.

However, today is 9/11. I am grateful that the Seattle Seahawks have recognized this and will stand with unity during the National Anthem. Today is not about protest. Rather, today is about remembering the civilians, police officers, fire fighters, and military personnel who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Don’t Blink.

Bad Food and Bad Dreams Thursday Rundown

Just imagine, If my blog remained down past Tuesday, I would have missed a Thursday Rundown. Thank goodness that is not the case. Here we go with five topics…

Dinner Mistake – I did the shopping this past weekend and Sidney told me to pick something up for her to cook on Tuesday dinner. For some reason sausages sounded good to me. I figured Sidney would be fine with sausages too. Well, she would have…just not chicken and apple sausages. To me, the combination sounded great! I bought high quality buns and looked forward to eating the unique combination. However, “unique” doesn’t always translate to appetizing. Sidney humored me and let me eat my chicken and apple sausages but my wife and her parents bought regular sausages and ate those instead.

This was my chicken and apple sausage I ate on Tuesday night. It was pretty good!

This was my chicken and apple sausage I ate on Tuesday night. It was pretty good!

Nightmare On Laurel Oak Ct. – I usually don’t have nightmares but I did on Tuesday night (I promise it wasn’t because of the chicken and apple sausages). After dinner I sat down for some television. I watched the newly released and well done “9/11 Inside the Pentagon” documentary. I then watched a program on Chris Kyle that contained lots of killing and lots of scenes from Iraq. I then watched another documentary that looked at conspiracy theories surrounding the death of Adolf Hitler. When I went to sleep I didn’t even think I had set myself up for bad dreams…but then I woke up in the middle of the night. Not to get into the details of the nightmare that I had throughout the night but I kept finding myself attacked outside of a shopping center.

9/11 Vigil – Speaking of September 11, I just attended the vigil our university puts on each year to mark the anniversary. Although I work it, I also get a lot out of it. September 11 is a big deal to me and 15 years later I still try to learn all the information I can about the day while also trying my best to think about all those innocent people who lost their lives. This was my third CCU vigil that I have attended and it was terrific as always. The music was superb and the featured speaker delivered the best address I have heard yet. Dr. Michael Roberts is our Dean of Science here at Coastal and it just so happened that in 2001 he was working at Pace University (New York City). He literally saw the Twin Towers fall. The insight he shared from the day was very interesting and his overall message was moving.

Cheesy Lasagna Dip – The latest food item that has caught my eye off of my favorite Twitter account is cheesy lasagna dip. I mean who ever thought you could combine lasagna with chips?! Talk about creativity! I am already working on Sidney to make it for me. Hopefully bringing home the chicken and apple sausages didn’t ruin my chances.

This was the photo of cheesy lasagna dip that was tweeted out. I want! (photo courtesy of @ItsFoodPorn).

This was the photo of cheesy lasagna dip that was tweeted out. I want! (photo courtesy of @ItsFoodPorn).

From the Archives – I have a few blog posts on September 8 over the years. In 2015 I wrote about the incredible Labor Day weekend I had with my brother in Myrtle Beach. It was his first trip to visit me here and we had so much fun. In 2014 I wrote about how a co-worker kicked a smoking habit via an interesting method. Then, in 2013, I explained a pretty cool Instagram promotion I did with Griz football when I was working at the University of Montana. Any of those of interest to you?

One year ago today I wrote about the great time I had with Glen when he visited me in Myrtle Beach.

One year ago today I wrote about the great time I had with Glen when he visited me in Myrtle Beach.


That will wrap it up for tonight’s Thursday Rundown. Welcome back to the NFL! Good luck to the favorite teams of all my readers. Don’t Blink.

A Scary Moment for My Blog

I had quite the unsettling feeling during the latter part of the Labor Day weekend. As many of you know, my blog was seemingly wiped off the face of the World Wide Web. Depending on the browser you were using, If you typed in you received an error message or other notice stating that the site could not be found.

In the past, Don’t Blink has went offline for a couple hours due to maintenance but the inactivity has never stretched longer than that. On Labor Day I wrote my blog post on my word processing program at around 2 p.m. However, not only could I not access the main site, I couldn’t even access the back-end administration page. Thus, I had no way to post. I would check back every hour (okay, let’s face it, if you know me you can probably guess I was checking every few minutes) for the system to be running again but it was to no avail. As it started to get late in the evening hours, I knew my newest blog post would not be published that night.

When it comes to the hosting and domain registration of my site, I have someone else handle it. My friend from college, Eric, manages it for me and I send him a check on a yearly basis to cover fees. I let him know about the issue. Of course that didn’t stop me from also Googling every possible scenario that could have caused my blog to disappear into thin air.

Unless it is a maintenance upgrade, there is absolutely nothing good about having your website go down. Your readers get confused, your traffic plummets to nothing, and your presence on search engines evaporates. But that is not even the worst part…

I was freaking out that everything I had written for the past five years would be toast. The thought of 1,100 different blog posts, close to a million words, suddenly not being available to me was a little scary. I don’t save my blog posts on my word processing program and with no way to access the back-end of my blog the reality of an enormous amount of content being lost was very real.

I have said before that if my house caught on fire, the one item I would go inside to retrieve would be the box full of my journals. However, the writings I have done for Don’t Blink are about as equally important. Before this past weekend, I had never entertained the possibility of losing my entire blog.

But all of a sudden that horrible scenario was now in play. I woke up on Tuesday morning and my blog still did not exist. I kept asking myself if Don’t Blink would be saved. Eric had responded to me the previous night and said he would look into it. I had a bad feeling in my stomach. Could a site that was not recognized as having even existed over the whole weekend be brought back? If it could, would it look the same and have the same capabilities?

In the afternoon on Tuesday I received the best Facebook Message ever. It was from Eric and it simply said, “Should be fixed in the next 5 hours.” Of course I shot back asking what the issue was. He responded that there was a billing issue resulting from an account update. He said the IT people confirmed that it was an edge case and that they would fix it as soon as they could.

Back at home for the night, I counted down the hours. Luckily for me, I didn’t have to count all five of them. Probably after around three hours, the switch had been flipped and Don’t Blink was in business again. Everything with the site was still intact.

Fortunately for me, this story has a happy ending. But it did give me a scare. If I ever want to write a book, share my thoughts/adventures with my kids, or have something to show for the countless hours I have spent typing at a keyboard perhaps I should look into having some type of a backup. If anyone knows of any solutions or software I should look at to archive my blog, please let me know. I thank Eric for his help resolving this issue and I thank all of you for your patience. Don’t Blink.

My Mom’s First Day of School

Much to the chagrin of my teacher wife and everyone else starting their fourth week of school here in South Carolina, the district I attended in Spokane will hold its FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL today. This is not an oddity or a one year thing. School always starts the day after Labor Day in the Mead School District.

Although the three of us Reser kids have long since graduated from Mead High School, there is still a Reser in the building. My mom began her 15th year working at Mead this morning. Although not a principal, teacher, or coach, she still holds a very valuable position at the high school. If you know enough about an education system to immediately understand what my mom does when I say the word “paraeducator” then good for you! However, if you are like most of us, a quick explanation is necessary.

A paraeducator is an individual who assists in a classroom. He or she usually serves as an aid for the actual teacher. The individual will teach small groups, accompany the class to specialist periods (such as PE), do one-on-one work, give backup to the teacher, and perform a myriad of other tasks.

So yes, my mom is a paraeducator. But there is one more thing I should add: She is a paraeducator in a special education classroom.

It is true, my mom is a superhero! This was her a few years ago right before the Special Olympics for the class my mom works in. Today she begins her 15th year at Mead High School.

It is true, my mom is a superhero! This was her a few years ago right before the Special Olympics for the class my mom works in. Today she begins her 15th year at Mead High School.

For 15 years my mom has helped make the days of high school special needs students a little brighter. She has cared for them and taught them day in and day out. She has used the patience and warmth she bestowed on the three of us kids growing up in the same way with the students in her classroom.

My mom’s job is not easy by any means. Believe me, she doesn’t do it for the pay. Rather, she does it because she has an amazingly kind heart and the desire to make a difference.

You can probably gather that my mom is good at her job. But do you want proof? All you have to do is look at her biggest admirers. On my few trips back home, it never fails that a past parent will come up to her at the grocery store to strike up a conversation. Their appreciation always shines through and it is incredibly apparent that they hold inside themselves a large amount of gratitude for the warmth my mom gave their son or daughter.

I hope you have the best school year yet, mom. Please know that our family is so proud of you. Don’t Blink.

Labor Day Weekend 2016

Note: This blog post was written on Monday, September 5, 2016. Due to website technical difficulties, Brent was unable to post it until Tuesday, September 6, 2016.

As the Labor Day weekend winds down, I hope you all find yourselves satisfied with the past few days. I find myself satisfied to a point where I am not really even ready to get back to blogging yet. So, in the spirit of making this weekend stretch as much as possible, I am going to write just a mini blog post tonight. How mini? Take a typical Thursday Rundown blog post and just about cut it in half. This evening I just catch you up on a few matters with a three item post.

How I Spent My Labor Day Weekend – Most of my holiday weekend was spent at the beach. My brother-in-law’s family owns a condo in North Myrtle Beach. This particular condo sits practically right on the ocean. On Saturday and Sunday, Sidney and I joined Steph and Jon plus their kids and my in-laws for some fun on the shore. We relaxed at a nice spot and watched the kids have fun. After the beach activities last night we ate seafood inside the condo and then went out for ice cream afterwards.

Hurricane Hermine – Gold bless the meteorologists because what they predicted to happen pretty much did in fact happen. As I mentioned in my latest Thursday Rundown, Hurricane Hermine was supposed to hit us on Friday afternoon and then move out by Saturday morning. If you want to get technical, everything probably happened a few hours before it was forecast to happen. The heavy rain came during the late morning on Friday. It rocked our area throughout the rest of the day. If you got a chance, take a look at my Facebook page and view the live broadcast I did from outside our house. However, by the time we awoke on Saturday morning you would have never known that a hurricane had threatened the Grand Strand area. It was blue and sunny skies. It stayed perfect throughout the duration of the weekend.

Football Results – First and foremost, I just want to say I feel bad for my dad and brother. They made the trip down to Pullman to watch Washington State play Eastern Washington. Those two poor Cougar fans made the late drive back to Spokane disappointed as the FCS Eagles upset WSU. What a bitter pill to swallow. In other disappointments, Notre Dame lost that overtime heartbreaker to Texas last night. However, the football weekend wasn’t a total wash. Coastal Carolina played a dynamite second half and won on the road in Texas against Lamar. To add to the good news, Montana opened up with a home victory over St. Francis.

If you had trouble accessing Don’t Blink today, I apologize. It appears that my site was offline for a period of time. Thank you for your readership and have a good short week. Don’t Blink.

First Thursday Rundown of September 2016

Happy September to you all! It is time to kick this month off with a Thursday Rundown.

Tropical Storm Hermine – Once again I find myself in the path of a hurricane. Myrtle Beach is scheduled to meet Hermine (or at least the byproducts of Hermine) late tomorrow afternoon. It is supposed to pass through and pave the way for a beautiful Labor Day weekend by Saturday morning. Since living in the area I have experienced the powerful rains (remember this?) and forceful winds brought on my hurricanes but thankfully I have never found myself in the middle of destruction. I have another great feeling that we will be just fine.

Happy Birthday, Mikayla – On Labor Day, my niece will turn two years old. It seemed like just yesterday I was blogging about her birth and now she is a toddler. Mikayla is closing out her time as a 1-year-old on a tough note, however. Today she was at the hospital to get tubes put into her ears. The hope is that she will start to hear a little better with them in. When she celebrates at her party on Monday, the “Happy Birthday” song will undoubtedly sound like music to her ears.

Mikayla will turn two on Monday. The photo in the top left is of her and I when she was in Myrtle Beach in June. The photo on the right is her at the hospital today right before she got tubes put in her ears.

Mikayla will turn two on Monday. The photo in the top left is of her and I when she was in Myrtle Beach in June. The photo on the right is her at the hospital today right before she got tubes put in her ears.

College Football Is Here – There is no sport I enjoy more than college football. With the opening weekend now here I could not be more excited. At the risk of sounding corny, there is just a special feeling in the air during each Saturday of college football season that I find irresistable. Go Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, Montana Grizzlies, Washington State Cougars, and Notre Dame Fighting Irish!!

Tim Tebow – You can say what you want about Tim Tebow but please admit this: What he did on Tuesday was pretty awesome. The man put on a respectable tryout for Major League Baseball scouts. At 29, Tebow picked up a baseball for the first time this year since last playing during his high school days. The refresher course was enough for him to smash homeruns, hit big league pitching, and field fly balls like a natural. I really hope he continues to improve his skills and eventually earn a professional contract.

From the Archives – One year ago today, Coastal Carolina University accepted an invite to join the Sun Belt Conference. It was such a fun day to work! Later that night I wrote about what the conference upgrade meant and how proud it made me feel. On a completely different note, two years ago I wrote about why I tend to dislike specific third down songs that college and NFL teams use. Go ahead and read the post if you are up to it.

One year ago I posed for this photo as the university I work for accepted an invite to join the Sun Belt Conference.

One year ago I posed for this photo as the university I work for accepted an invite to join the Sun Belt Conference.


It is now time for me to take cover from Tropical Storm Hermine. Hope you all enjoy your September. Don’t Blink.