My Opinion on Jeopardy Champion Austin Rogers

Now that Austin Rogers is a 10-day Jeopardy champion, I feel I can chime in with my thoughts on the way he plays the game and conducts himself. Let me start off by saying that I have watched every episode that Austin has appeared in thus far. I have joked about it before, but Sidney and I watch Jeopardy pretty religiously. In fact, with a 6-month-old and a high fatigue level at the end of the day, watching the show is usually the highlight of our night. But I get off track. All I am really trying to say is that I have become well-acquainted with Austin.

With that said, I hope he loses. You see, I fear that if he continues to win I might actually start to like him.

I am not a big fan of current Jeopardy champion Austin Rogers.

I have cheered against Austin since he was a challenger. Call me a party pooper, but I prefer old school Jeopardy players. Specifically, I root for players who don’t try to make the show all about them. I pull for the players who don’t feel the need to act goofy, crack jokes, offer commentary, and make gestures at the camera. I support the players who don’t try to stand out with what they choose to wear and how they style (or don’t style) their hair. Austin is the quintessential “look at me” Jeopardy contestant. He is the poster boy for the millennial fans of the show.

However, I will say this: Although he tries to act as eccentric as possible, he does have an underlying respect for the game. He treats Alex Trebek and his opponents with decency, a trait that was missing from the last Jeopardy champion I despised.

Besides his wild Daily Double wagering, Austin employs a Jeopardy strategy that is pretty much by the book. He doesn’t jump around the board and isn’t reckless during Final Jeopardy. He capitalizes off his opponents’ mistakes and can comeback from thousands of dollars down in a flash. Too many times I have found myself pounding the pillow after an opponent has opened up a sizeable lead only to see Austin go on a roll and turn the game into a runaway.

I would appreciate his game strategy and talent so much more if it wasn’t for his shenanigans. It is just too much. Or, should I say, for the time being it is too much?…

As I hinted at above, Austin might be growing on me a bit. Perhaps his act is starting to make me smile once or twice per episode. Maybe I am starting to look forward to his mime act during player introductions. There is a chance that lately I haven’t cringed as much during his mid-round interview with Alex.

No! This can’t be happening. Austin, please LOSE. I think tonight is the perfect time to do so. Don’t Blink.

Responding to Last Night’s 60 Minutes Episode

Last night, Sidney and I sat down in the living room to fold clothes. We turned on the TV at 7:20 p.m. and went to CBS. We tuned in just in time to catch the second and third segments of “60 Minutes.” I wish we would have started from the beginning because if the first segment was as interesting as the other two, it was a show for the ages.

The program profiled the digital director of President Donald Trump’s campaign team, Brad Parscale. Predictably, Lesley Stahl asked the hot button questions of whether the campaign colluded digitally with Russia or whether it tried to advertise toward racists, claims strongly denied by Parscale. However, what was most interesting and relevant about the interview was just how important Parscale’s work was toward helping Trump win the presidency.

This man is Donald Trump’s digital guru.

For me, it was a testament to the power of social media advertising. It was also a really cool realization that Brad does pretty much what I do, just on a larger (okay, much larger) scale. He clearly explained that thanks to the advertising options made available by social media channels, the ability to reach audiences that are specific, yet coveted, is a new age reality. He elaborated that he pretty much learned on the job by experimenting and seeking help. Yes, even the digital advertising guru of President Trump’s campaign took advantage of Facebook’s ad development sessions.

I think Brad Parscale did a good job of enlightening the American people that social media advertising is an extremely powerful technique that yields results. It isn’t something that only a few people have access to or something that is “magic.” Rather, it is something we can all take advantage of while knowing exactly how our money is spent due to superior analytics. Like it or not, it is the new way of advertising and reaching people, a method that some (cough…cough…Hillary Clinton’s campaign team) might not embrace as much as they should. As someone who does this type of marketing each day at work, I am fascinated with the creation and execution of social media ads and I appreciated the insight that someone of Parscale’s stature brought to a national television audience.

The third segment of last night’s 60 Minutes episode was a feature on restaurateur Danny Meyer. The piece explored a couple different restaurant trends that Meyer started himself. The first such trend is the “fine-casual” format that is popular with the lunch crowd. Through his Shake Shack restaurant line, people stand in line for 45 minutes on most days to order a gourmet burger. Customers receive the sophisticated taste in an atmosphere that resembles more of a fast food joint than a 5-star restaurant.

This is Danny Meyer, an innovative mind in the restaurant business.

Doesn’t appeal to me. When I eat lunch, I don’t want fine dining. As most of you know, I eat a peanut butter sandwich most days. Also, who wants to spend their lunch hour standing in a long line? I much rather eat my sandwich while surfing

The second trend explored was Meyer’s crusade to end tipping. By raising prices in his restaurants by 25%, he can pay both his wait staff AND kitchen staff better wages. Because servers and cooks are earning much more through their base pay, the expectation to tip is eliminated.

I dislike this trend as well. I don’t want to see inflated prices on the menu. How depressing. I also prefer a wait staff that is motivated by an impending tip. What is the incentive to go above and beyond if the servers have nothing extra to work for?

Thank you to CBS for giving us some riveting television last night. With “Jeopardy” already our favorite program, nothing would make Sidney and I feel even more like a senior citizen couple than if we added 60 Minutes to our TV schedule as well. Don’t Blink.

Not Sweating Another Birthday

Every year since I turned 25 I have marked my birthday with a blog post. Usually I would assess where I was in life and how I hated getting older. However, I changed my tune when I turned 30 last year. When I joined the “three decade club” I had come to a realization that I was happy where I was at in life and there was no longer the need to compare myself to societal benchmarks.

Sloan surprised me this morning with a special birthday wish.

Today I turn 31. My sentiment is exactly the same as it was a year ago. I am content. Did entering my thirties suddenly bring on this change in me? Well, no. My whole outlook didn’t change the second I turned 30 at 8:06 a.m. on 10-8-2016. I like to think I have just gradually matured and realized what is important in life.

As a 31-year-old geezer, I have a beautiful wife, precious daughter, great job, perfect church, strong faith, and a warm home. I am thankful and I am blessed. Honestly, what more can you ask for?

It is hard to add significance to turning 31. It sure stings a lot less than turning 30. Perhaps I can just say it is my 10 year anniversary of turning 21? I don’t think I ever had more fun than I did during that year. Perhaps that is a good omen for these next 365 days.

A photo of me from 10 years ago today on my “21 birthday run.” That year was awesome and this one will be too!

But it doesn’t matter if I don’t have half as much fun at 31 as I did at 21. Like I said, I am more than satisfied with what I have. With that said, my little family is off to mass to pray and be thankful. A little later we will join Sidney’s family for a joint celebration (my sister-in-law had a birthday on Thursday). We will then return to our home and enjoy the rest of our Sunday together. In my opinion, there is no better way to spend a birthday. Don’t Blink.

Still Thinking of Vegas Thursday Rundown

The first Thursday Rundown of October is here! I would like to use it to first wish my sister-in-law, Stephanie, a very happy birthday. I hope it has been a great day for her so far. Let’s start the rundown…

Heroic Stories – Tears stream down my face when I watch some of these stories about people who performed courageous and selfless acts during the Las Vegas shooting. On Sunday night, that music festival had some incredibly brave men and women in the crowd. I know all of us like to say we would do the same thing but we give ourselves way too much credit. We have no idea how we would react when bullets started flying and people started dropping. All I can say is through my sadness I am also inspired by people who are much better than myself.

A Cougar Cub – So this is now “a thing.” When Sloan was born, her Uncle Glen gave her a Washington State onesie. Sloan has worn this onesie each time the Cougar football team has played this year. The team played its first four games on Saturday and won. Last Friday, the Cougs played a rare Friday night game and Sloan proudly wore her crimson to day care. The team won again. As you can imagine, my dad (a WSU alumnus) and brother are a little obsessive over her wearing a certain onesie on gameday.

Sloan wearing her Washington State University onesie.

New President at University of Montana – After a long and very necessary nationwide search, my alma mater recently hired its 18th president. Seth Bodnar will assume the top job at the University of Montana on January 1. He was labeled the “unconventional” candidate because he had no doctorate degree and little experience in higher education leadership. However, I welcome the skills and talents of the 38-year-old and I hope he does great in Missoula. Believe it or not, the biggest talking point on social media regarding his hiring has nothing to do with his background or his plan for UM. Rather, it is all about his looks. Apparently, he is very handsome. Ladies, what do you think?

President Seth Bodnar has “caught the eye” of the Missoula community.

Back on the Speaking Circuit – I gave two social media presentations this week. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of convening my 2017-18 #CCUSocialMedia Student Advisory Group. It was great to chat with this year’s students about how our social media program at CCU is structured. After I finished with my presentation, they gave me valuable feedback on new trends. Today, I had the opportunity to speak with staff on campus about social media customer service. I provided them with 10 ways they could excel at digital interactions with members of the campus community. My presentation was part of our university’s Customer Service Summit, an event closely tied with our Feel the Teal initiative.

Members of my #CCUSocialMedia Student Advisory Group (photo from @ccuchanticleers Instagram account)

Sloan at 29 Weeks – The folks at day care say “Sloan likes to eat!” They aren’t kidding. I have mentioned before that we were starting to introduce baby food but now at this point in the game she is a professional eater. Sidney “cooks” up a few different dishes for her each night and she goes to town as she feasts away on bananas, green beans, rice, peaches, squash, and more. She is also starting to sit up on her own. Her two favorite toys are a ballerina doll and a circular rattle.

This is the 29 week photo collage of Sloan.

Enjoy your Thursday evening and please pray for the people impacted by the Las Vegas shootings. Don’t Blink.

Are You A Blogger Like Me?

It is my belief, well, actually, I know it for a fact, that there are many more bloggers out there than what some might believe. In fact, you might be one yourself.

Okay, take a deep breath.

Are you mortified that I just suggested you might fit a millennial label? Or are you more offended that I suggested you might have something in common with my nerdy self? (If I were you, I would have a bigger issue with the latter!).

Slow down for one second and let me explain.

Although some gurus from a few years back suggested that Facebook would soon fizzle and fall off the face of the earth, the opposite happened. Facebook continues to gain users and the social media giant continues to evolve.

Live video, reaction buttons, and fake news prevention measures are all examples of Facebook continuing to be proactive in delivering a positive social media experience. However, there is one thing Facebook allows its users to do better than any other social media platform or blogging site.

Simply, Facebook allows people to express themselves.

Back in the dark ages (circa 2007), people would “update their status” by writing a sentence about what they planned to eat for lunch. These days, Facebook users have the ability to write essays expressing their opinions and grievances.

Not only can people go crazy with a lot of text, but they can insert emoticons, change the color of words, and actually format their thoughts with paragraph breaks.

How is that not blogging?

In reality, people aren’t writing “essays” like I claimed above, they are writing blog posts. There is no way around it, Facebook is the most popular blogging platform in the world.

Okay, so what? Well, I went on this tangent to pose a question about my blog that I have been asked :

Brent, why don’t you just “blog” on Facebook?

I admit, it is slightly tempting. I would save time by completely bypassing WordPress, I wouldn’t have to pay hosting fees, and I would expose a higher percentage of my Facebook friends to my writing.

But you see, that last point I just brought up is exactly why I don’t “blog” on Facebook. I want my Facebook audience, which is a small fraction of my audience, to choose whether they want to read what I have to write. I want to spare my friends from my random, silly, uninteresting musings that come as frequent as five times per week. If someone has an interest in my teaser I post on Facebook they can click on it; if not, they can continue scrolling.

I also choose to blog on a self-proclaimed “blogging site” because of the advantages. You have specific analytics at your disposal, formatting options are much more abundant, and your work can be consumed by a wider and more diverse audience. Not to mention that building a personal brand is head and shoulders more impactful on a blogging site with your name as the URL as opposed to trying to make gains through a personal Facebook page.

However, don’t think I am looking down on people who share their expanded thoughts on Facebook. I could spend all day scrolling through my newsfeed reading how people are feeling. I learn a lot and I appreciate it. But because I have had my blogging site for several years and because there are certain perks to maintaining it, my Thursday Rundowns and food reviews will continue to live right here on Don’t Blink.


I get up around 4 a.m. these days and this morning the first thing I saw was a breaking news tweet sent to my phone. It reported that two people had died and 20 people were injured in a Las Vegas shooting. I read the link that accompanied the tweet and found out the horrible incident occurred at a country music festival by the Mandalay Bay.

About 20 minutes later as I drove to the new gym I am working out at, the sports talk radio program I was listening to stopped talking about the NFL. Amy Lawerence, the host of the show I was listening to, shifted gears and relayed the breaking news that over 20 people had died and over 100 people were injured in the Vegas attack. The jump in casualties deeply disturbed me.

This was my reaction at 4:52 a.m. this morning when the casualty toll shot up.

Sadly, it would get worst. Back at home a couple hours later I was rushing to get my daughter to daycare. I had the TV on but I was more focused on trying to get Sloan to stay still so I could pull her pants on. However, I stopped fiddling with her clothes when I heard the update that over 50 people had been killed and over 200 people were injured (the toll of the injured would later jump to over 500).

While dressing Sloan, I heard the news that over 50 people had lost their lives. I added to my tweet from earlier in the morning.


I really think living through the news of this awful act of violence will stay etched in my mind just like 9/11. Of course the casualty numbers of the two events are different, but the surreal/sickening feeling I felt from both was very similar.

In no way do I want to make what happened last night about me. But I do want to say that what occurred truly did impact me. Before moving out east, Las Vegas was my favorite vacation destination. After turning 21, I made at least a handful of visits to the city. There is no place in the world like it. As for country music, it is my favorite genre. In fact, just this past summer, Sidney and I attended a country music festival where Jason Aldean was a headliner.

For those of us who have visited Vegas, we know this: It is a fantasy land. Large crowds of people gather and shady characters are able to fly under the radar. For those of us who have attended music festivals, we know all about the dense throngs of humanity that come to enjoy the talents of famous musicians, making mobility sometimes impossible. So, for some people, it might come as no surprise that the deadliest shooting on American soil came at a country music fest on the Las Vegas strip.

Well you know what? It is a surprise to me.

How someone could open fire on an unsuspecting sea of people from a hotel room overlooking the concert venue is a shock to my heart. Innocent men and women had no chance. They paid their hard earned money to watch a concert that featured country music superstars in an electric atmosphere. It was supposed to be the time of their lives.

To know that there are people in this world who would like to not only completely ruin this experience for innocent people but to also TAKE THEIR LIVES or SERIOUSLY INJURE them is completely beyond me. Yes, it surprises me.

It also makes me very angry.

Throughout the day I heard the stories about significant others holding onto each other as one died in the arms of the other. I heard about teen girls, dressed in their best country music concert apparel, realizing they were shot when they looked down at their outfits to see them blood-soaked. I heard about people using wheelbarrows to transport victims out of harm’s way.

How could someone want to inflict so much carnage? How could someone want to take away and destroy so many lives? How could someone be so evil?

I don’t have the answers. All I have is sorrow and prayers for the victims. Today was a tough day, one that we as a country will never forget. The hate must stop. Don’t Blink.

Why I Love October

Happy October to all! My favorite month of the fall is here. To steal a cliché from the Christmas season, when it comes to October, there is just “something special in the air.” The weather is crisp, the colors are beautiful, and the smells are rich. In my Sunday blog post, I want to pass along five reasons why I am excited for this month.

Halloween – I LOVE Halloween. Haunted Houses, ghost walks, candy, and costumes are just a few of the things I enjoy. Halloween is, for the most part, an exclusively October holiday. Although some exceptions are out there, once October 1 hits it is Halloween season and it runs all the way until the last day of the month when the holiday itself occurs. October is synonymous with Halloween and there is nothing I like more than taking an entire month to celebrate the spooky and strange!

I am a big fan of costumes! In this photo from Halloween 2015, I dressed up as an evil clown and Sidney was Wednesday from the Addams Family.

College Football – October is the premiere month for college football. By this time, the major questions about which teams are for real have been answered but the race for conference championships and playoff spots start to heat up. In fact, the first FBS Playoff poll will be released this month. Whereas in November the list of teams with national title hopes is small, in October many squads still aspire for glory. It is fun to watch many of these teams enter the month with title hopes only to see the number of true contenders shrink dramatically come Halloween.

Kenny and I on the sidelines in Clemson’s Memorial Stadium in October of 2014.

Scary Movie Marathons – Usually starting a week or two out from Halloween, a couple stations start airing horror movie marathons. Nothing prepares me more for October 31 than watching the 10 different “Friday the 13th” films or the classic Michael Myers movies. To me, it is just tradition. I like relaxing in bed after Sidney has fallen asleep to watch an hour or two of slasher mania. You see, there is no need to watch an entire marathon. Because of the simplicity of the plots of these movies, you can tune in randomly and feel like you aren’t out of the loop. I can’t wait for the films to begin!

Fall Festivals – Okay, I am not a pumpkin flavor fanatic nor a big fan when it comes to carving pumpkins. However, I am a sucker for a pumpkin patch! Nothing says “October” more than visiting a farm that specializes in fall fun. Hay rides, corn mazes, pumpkin patches, and warm cider are all things I really enjoy. I think it just goes back to the weather, colors, and smells I mentioned at the start of this post. You can get an abundance of October sensory overload just by visiting your local community farm in the middle of the month.

Sidney and I with our niece and nephew at Thompson Farm in South Carolina in 2016.

Birthday – Well, call me biased. I was born in the month of October many, many years ago so the month holds a special place in my heart. How can you not love a month where you get to celebrate Halloween AND your birthday?

October receives extra points because I was born during it.


I hope everyone has a great October! Enjoy each day of this fun month and start stocking up now on candy. Don’t Blink.