Thursday Night Lights Rundown

Good evening and happy National Last Day of September (sometimes I like to make up my own days). If you prefer to celebration National October Eve Day instead please accept my greetings as well. But before I offend someone by not wishing them a happy National Brent Reser Is Awesome Day, let’s get to the Thursday Rundown…

Straight Hair – Sloan is known for her crazy curls and for most of my readers that is how you have always seen her when I share photos of her on this blog. But the other day Sidney straightened Sloan’s hair and I thought you might be interested to see what she looks like when her hair reaches down her back. I prefer the curls.

Sloan sporting her straight hair.

Friday Night Football Magic – Is this pure Americana or what? This is a scene from the Gonzaga Prep vs. Mead High School football game I attended last Friday. As night started to fall at G-Prep’s stadium, these vibrant colors filled the sky. Let me tell you, I don’t think I have enjoyed anything more than attending high school football games this month. With the return of prep athletics and the abundance of beautiful weather, I have found myself soaking in the atmosphere and scolding myself never to take something as simple as a high school football game for granted again.

I took this photo of the sunset at the Gonzaga Prep football stadium in Spokane on Friday, September 24, 2021.

Dollar Tree Disappointment – This is devastating. Dollar Tree announced today that it will be raising prices on some of its items. Yes. Raising prices on its items. It seems inconceivable that a dollar store can raise prices on its stuff. Soon, you will find Dollar Tree inventory selling for $1.25 and $1.50. Now, I know I shouldn’t get too worked up about this but I am tight with the Dollar Tree and I hate that prices are going to increase. It was so comforting to know that you didn’t have to check for price tags when shopping. Thanks, inflation.

This is a tough pill to swallow.

Halloween Candy Map – I have long been skeptical of the United States map presentations that convey “data” by inserting a different visual within each state. A common example is the college football map that places a team’s logo inside the outline of each state. I always ask myself, where is this data coming from? Yesterday morning I saw a new one for most popular Halloween candy. I was going to dismiss it but after reading the actual article that accompanied it, it seems legit (the company behind the data supposedly used 14 years of sales date to compile the below map). Of course I went straight to the states I have lived in. The most popular candy in Washington State is the Tootsie Pop and I actually bought one when Sloan and I walked to the store last Saturday. The most popular candy in South Carolina is the Butterfinger which I found interesting because Sid and I split a fun sized bar on Tuesday. Top candy in Montana is Double Bubble and I am actually chewing a piece of the gum right now. Well, I am lying about chewing Double Bubble but I do like it!

After I could confirm its legitimacy, I found this Halloween candy map rather interesting.

Dr. Pepper Cotton Candy – I want to extend my gratitude to my brother for sending me the photo of this gem last night. I also want to publicly reprimand him for not buying it! That’s right folks, you are looking at Dr. Pepper cotton candy. Although not a big cotton candy fan myself, I definitely would have tried what the Dr. Pepper version tasted like (and most likely given the rest to a certain little girl and a certain little boy). If you have had the rare opportunity to come across this sweet confection and actually tried it, please let me know how it tasted!

This Dr. Pepper cotton candy is very interesting.


Tomorrow is HalloweenGivingMas. I hope the beginning of this exhilarating three-month span sets the tone for one of the best annual stretches on the calendar. Don’t Blink.


I just have one, random question for you tonight: Do you like leftovers?

It seems as if this question polarizes people in the same way that the dressing vs. stuffing debate does. I definitely know where I stand.

I f@#$%^& love them!

If it was up to me, I would make one big dinner on Monday to last throughout the week. I think most food, at least dinner meals, is like wine—it gets better with age. Well, up until a point (let’s say six days?).

Don’t think I am kidding, a main reason why I enjoy leftovers so much is because I do think they taste even better the second and third nights around. Perhaps once you get to the fourth and fifth nights they might not taste as good but they are definitely still edible.

I once ordered a gigantic hot dog from the restaurant in Northern Quest casino and it was so huge that these were my leftovers the next day.

Of course convenience is the other main reason why I enjoy leftovers. Needing not to worry about what you are cooking for dinner is a weight off the shoulders and the lack of a mess in the kitchen is welcome too. Also, let’s not forget about how sustainable it is. Food waste is a big problem and if you don’t respect leftovers chances are that if you don’t stuff yourself silly that half of what you made for dinner will land in the garbage can.

Al leftovers aren’t created equal, I can admit to that. Pastas, rice dishes, casseroles, and Chinese food are all superb the next day. Steak and nachos are better to eat in the initial sitting. Thanksgiving dinner is the Michael Jordan of all leftover meals.

Now it is your turn! What is your opinion on leftovers? Should I save you some of our meatloaf from last night? Don’t Blink.

The Historic Big Brother 23 Season

I can hardly believe it. As a once anti-reality TV crusader, I am just about to finish watching my ninth season of “Big Brother.” I have watched every episode of Seasons 17-22 plus the two celebrity seasons. After Wednesday night, I will have completed Season 23 (count them up…that’s 9!).

Big Brother 23 has been great!

And believe me, I am excited to wrap up this latest season. No, it is not because I want it to be over with but rather because I am pumped to see the crowning of the winner. Well, as long as it is the person I think it should be, that is. But more on that in just a bit.

The best story of Season 23 goes without saying. What the Cookout did was unprecedented and so well executed. For those six individuals to bind together on the first day and achieve their goal some 70 days later was epic. Remember, the game of Big Brother begins with 16 houseguests. That group had a long climb if it wanted to stay intact and outlast 10 other players and that is what it did. So many things could have derailed the plan but because of teamwork, strategy, and a little bit of luck, Xavier, Azah, Big D, Kyland, Hannah, and Tiffany did it.

What the Cookout did was incredible!

I believe another solid story from this season is how civil it was. I know some people might enjoy the Jerry Springer-esque yelling matches that usually occur between the houseguests throughout a given season but that didn’t happen in 23. The houseguests were simply more mature than usual and I appreciated that.

However, despite the absence of yelling, there was a single moment that I found uncomfortable. It came just last week when Kyland was evicted. He stuck around a little longer than he should have to confront Xavier and get a little personal when he brought up X’s nephew. I thought that was of poor taste.

I bring this moment up because back in July, I wrote that Kyland was one of my favorite houseguests. Even during that early juncture of the game I respected his strategy and enjoyed his personality. But as the season went on, especially these last few weeks, I grew a little annoyed with him. His arrogance seemed to grow and so did his selfishness. His actions after Thursday’s eviction was just the icing on the cake.

But that is okay because although Kyland lost favor with me, the dude he confronted impressed me more and more each week. Man, what a game Xavier has played! From displaying discipline by not winning competitions to showing up when he needed to win them, Xavier has excelled in this important aspect of “Big Brother.” But his social game has been just as impressive as his competition game. He has managed complex situations while treating all houseguests with kindness. He has been a smooth operator and embraced leadership throughout the game. There is no doubt that he should win $750,000 on Wednesday night.

My hope is that Xavier wins Big Brother 23.

As for America’s Favorite Houseguest? The other contestant I tagged as being my favorite in July was Derek X. My opinion of him never wavered like it did with Kyland as I cheered for him the whole way up until his eviction. I would like to see the honor bestowed on him. It also wouldn’t hurt my feelings if Hannah is awarded it. She played such a smart game and I was blown away by her command of “Big Brother” strategy coupled with her relative youth (only 21!).

At the very least, despite who wins America’s Favorite Houseguest, Xavier better be walking out under confetti on Wednesday night. I have watched should-be-winners of past seasons walk away in second place and I sure hope Xavier isn’t victim to a bitter jury…but I have a pretty good feeling he won’t. Don’t Blink.

Gary Baskett: One-Of-A-Kind

Do you have a high school teacher you will never forget? Oh boy, I sure do! Mine happened to be a brawny man with jet-black hair who wore neon jumpsuits, sported tinted glasses, and kept a well-manicured mustache. Crazy enough, the only thing that overshadowed the unique external appearance of this larger-than-life man was the massive heart that ticked underneath his signature 1980s-era windbreakers.

It is hard to adequately quantify the accomplishments and impact of Gary Baskett. Oh, the state championships (4) and league titles (18) are easy. So are the coach of the year honors he received (3 state, 2 league) and the state champions he produced (33). But I am talking more about the ordinary young men and women he took under his tutelage over the decades. Those students he molded, much with the same care as his beautiful pottery, to become adults with strong work ethic, unbreakable mental toughness, and solid faith. These are the “accomplishments” and “impact” I am most interested in. However, although I know the number of students he had a positive influence on reaches several times into the thousands, I couldn’t give you an exact number.

But I can give you this: I was one of them.

This photo is the image of Gary Baskett that I remember from my four years at Mead High School. Mr. Baskett was a talented, one-of-a-kind individual


I started my freshman year at Mead High School in 2001. By this time, Mr. Baskett was already a hall-of-famer. He had cemented a rock-solid legacy and was a couple years removed from his wildly successful tenure as the head track and field coach. I suppose he could have just decided to focus solely on his pottery classes during the day while enjoying his evenings and summers to himself but that wasn’t B’s style. He rather be involved in the lives and development of young student-athletes, no matter the role.

As a Panther, I played football and competed in track and field all four years. It would be generous to label me as an average athlete. I lacked natural talent, I didn’t have size, and I wasn’t blessed with speed. But that didn’t matter to Mr. Baskett. The man who groomed All-Americans and state champions went out of his way to give me one-on-one coaching throughout my time at Mead.

I can’t begin to list all the ways Mr. Baskett helped me become a better athlete while maximizing the limited potential that I had. He worked me out in the weight room with incredible intensity. He met me before football practice to work on long snapping. He taught me to run properly. He would pull me out in the middle of class to work on my shot put glide in the hallway (no kidding!). Mr. Baskett was an extremely technical coach who instilled muscle memory. His insistence on doing things the right way coupled with his natural gift to motivate helped an athlete like myself level the playing field with those who were much more talented.


But enough about me, let me focus just for a moment on how Mr. Baskett was revered by his teams. As I mentioned, he assisted with football during my time at Mead. He was the conditioning coach but also worked with the specialists and the offensive/defensive line. B was passionate, honest, and funny. He would lead stretches and you never knew what was going to come out of his mouth. His conditioning sessions were based around technique and heart rate management much more than length and exhaustion. His pep talks weren’t unlike his stretching and conditioning regimens—unorthodox and creative. He could be tough too. Mess around or not give 100% and he might make an example out of you. But if he did, Mr. Baskett would always track you down off the field to clear the air and offer a hug.

Yes, Mr. Baskett was old school. His coaching style was from the same era as his wardrobe but it still resonated with us simply because it was so genuine and passionate. There was a generational divide by the time he was coaching us in the 2000s but it was bridged by the respect we had for him. We truly did love him.

In fact, we loved him so much that we would try to emulate him. Mr. Baskett had a very distinctive voice and a colorful way of speaking that was fun to try and replicate. Many of us tried to master it and few succeeded…but I like to think I got pretty close. Over the past 16 years since I graduated high school, Gary Baskett is the first coach that is always brought up when I connect with my old teammates. When word got out that he passed, the Spokesman-Review article on his life was shared like wildfire among the Mead football alumni family.


For as good of a teacher and coach that Gary Baskett was, he really was an even better man. He cared so deeply about others. Many people might not know that he held a dedicated place in his heart for the special education students at Mead. Or that he was a regular at all of the school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes meetings. Or that he would volunteer his time to pull rope at JV track meets. Or that he would selflessly utilize his incredible artistic talents to beautify areas needing some colorful care. Or that he would gladly mock-up a creative t-shirt design for any cause you were looking to promote. The list is endless.

I do have one regret and it is that I never said “thank you” to Mr. Baskett after I graduated. I remember last year reaching out to my siblings and suggesting that we try to get lunch with B but it never materialized. Now it is too late to express my earthly gratitude to him face-to-face.

Although it doesn’t take the place of an in-person “thank you,” I guess this blog post might be the next best thing. On behalf of the countless Mead High School students who became better men and women because of Gary Baskett, we hope his family knows the immeasurable positive impact he had on us. His one-of-a-kind personality, epic storytelling skills, hilarious one-liners, and his deep devotion to others will be greatly missed. May God bless Gary’s soul and may his memory always shine bright at 302 W. Hastings Rd. Don’t Blink.

Dino Thursday Rundown

Happy Autumn to everyone! The leaves are starting to change colors but we will have 80 degree weather here this weekend so it is like the best of both worlds. Does it get any better? It sure does because here comes the Thursday Rundown…

STEM Activity – We check out these themed STEM kits at our library that contain an activity and usually a few books. We checked out a “construction” themed kit this past weekend and the activity was to build three “houses.” The materials? A bag of straw, a bag of sticks, and a bag of Legos. The book that came in the bag? The Three Little Pigs. On a rainy Sunday afternoon, we built our best houses out of the materials provided and then as we read the book aloud Sloan got to act out the scenes, taking glee in the destruction of the straw and stick houses.

The top right photo shows our stick house. The bottom photo shows the straw house while Sid and Sloan begin to build the “brick” house with legos.

Dinos – On Saturday, my sister and I took the kids to the Spokane Valley Mall parking lot to partake in the Jurassic Empire Drive-Thru. Basically, a section of the lot was roped off and staged with approximately 60 animatronic dinosaurs. We didn’t tell Sloan, Mikayla, and Johnny what we were taking them to until we arrived and they could see the prehistoric creatures. The children loved it and thought it was the greatest thing ever. As for the adults? We were less than impressed. The dinos were showing plenty of wear and tear and they just didn’t look very convincing. The worst part was the price ($80 per car). For what we saw, I believe they shouldn’t charge more than $20 per car. But of course, as I need to point out again, the kids did enjoy it.

Although the kids enjoyed it, I can’t give high marks to the Jurassic Empire Drive-Thru that was offered recently at the Spokane Valley Mall parking lot.

Happy Birthday, Brother – It bring me great pleasure to devote one of tonight’s topics to my own flesh and blood. My brother is celebrating his birthday tonight and I would like to wish him nothing but the best. I think we are at that stage in life where we don’t call out each other’s ages at risk of embarrassment so I will keep mum on that but I will say that I hope Glen is enjoying his steak dinner with his wife. The whole family gets to celebrate this Sunday! I have a great brother and it was a special joy to be his best man this past July. I look forward to many good times with Glen over the course of his latest trip around the sun.

Happy birthday to this guy!

Quarter Century of Listening to Music – A couple anniversary milestones in the music world have made it apparent to me that I have listened to music for 25 years. Alanis Morissette’s “Jagged Little Pill” album is 25 years old and the Fugees album titled “The Source” is also celebrating the quarter century mark. I remember listening to numerous songs off of Morissette’s album and I probably heard “Killing Me Softly” no less than 1,000 times in 1996. Both of those albums produced some of the earliest music I remember listening to. Upon thinking about those tracks, although they bring back memories, I would probably flip the radio station for something else if they came on.

“Killing Me Softly” was a smash and it is playing in my brain as I type this.

RESERved – I am a true visionary! Exactly 7 years ago, I wrote down my epic idea that would revolutionize the supermarket industry. I called the service RESERved and it entailed people placing orders for their groceries and then pulling up at the store’s parking lot to receive them from an employee direct to their car. Have I seen a single financial benefit from this idea that I freely offered to anyone that took the initiative to read my blog? Nope. Do I still claim that I played at least a small part in the explosion of online grocery ordering? Yep!

Before Online Pickup was a thing, I had already thought and written about it.


Hope everyone has a great first weekend of Fall. Let us be mindful of all the people in our world who are missing and for their families. Don’t Blink.

Rolling Out the Modernized WSU Brand

I recently had the honor of being part of something for the first time in my higher education career. Last week, our University Marketing and Communications team rolled out a modernized brand for Washington State University.

On the morning of Wednesday, September 15, we started the soft roll out of our modernized brand at Washington State University.

In my 12 years working for universities, I have assisted with rollouts centered on websites, endowment campaigns, news shows, and more but never a brand. To have a small hand in such a major undertaking at a place with such a proud history is pretty cool.

But let me stress again my small hand in this effort. For nearly two years, a rather small team of my colleagues have worked extremely hard to bring this brand to fruition. Yes, I said my colleagues. Except for some web design help for the new brand website, everything was done in-house. Ladies and gentlemen, that’s quite the feat.

A screenshot of the vertical lockup of our modernized logo. The classic Cougar head is featured prominently.

Credit these hardworking people I get to call my co-workers and bosses for going about this major endeavor in such a smart way. They knew that our incredibly popular and recognizable graphic, the Cougar head, had to be a focal point of the brand. Thus, it is featured prominently in the visual identity of the rollout. The Cougar head is now paired with a more modernized typeface and it looks really good. But my team didn’t rely solely on traditional marks…they introduced a brand new secondary logo too. You can see it here.

A screenshot of our brand new Washington State University secondary logo.

Of course a brand just isn’t about logos—you need to have a narrative that ties everything together. Our brand narrative is centered on possibilities and how they embody our “Go Cougs” rallying cry. The attitude with which we communicate these possibilities can be expressed through five key tone words—spirited, resilient, original, welcoming, and down to earth.

This is the home page of our new internal brand website. The page features the signature Cougar head logo and scratches the surface of our brand narrative.

Additionally, we rolled out important brand assets such as video lower thirds, background patterns, a web developer style guide, icons, typefaces…and…a social media tool kit.

The social media asset folder includes profile badges for the professional Washington State University community to use based on what part of the system hierarchy their social media profile represents.

Ah yes, that is where my small part comes into play. I consulted with Eric Limburg, our creative director, in the creation of new profile badges, headers, and patterns for the WSU community to use. It is my responsibility to make sure everyone is using these assets appropriately and one way I do that is by serving on the brand training team. The group is comprised of the major players who created the new brand so I am very honored to be included on it. Throughout the month of September we have given presentations to WSU faculty and staff. These sessions will continue into October.

The social media asset folder/tool kit also comes with pre-made headers/cover photos that the WSU community can use on their social channels. If you look closely you can see that the “WSU” pattern is applied to the images. I love this use of another brand element! It is slick and adds legitimacy to the social asset because when our external audiences see the pattern overlay on the header they will know it is a true official social channel of WSU.

Whenever I talk to the WSU community members about our modernization, I proudly say that many of them will work with the new brand for the first time on social media and that in turn our external audiences will most likely see the new brand in action for the first time on social media. Because of this, it is important that we are on the same page and get it right. I am happy to lead this charge.

With our modernized brand, I really think our team did the rich tradition behind this timeless logo proud.

I can’t extend enough admiration and gratitude to the following people for their tireless work over the past couple years to make the brand modernization a reality: Holly Sitzmann, Eric Limburg, Larry Clark, Danial Bleile, and John Sutherland. I work with an amazing team. Don’t Blink.

A Night With Magic Johnson

Have you ever written to a celebrity, completely forgot you did so, and then have a letter arrive from the famous person way after the fact? If you were born prior to electronic communication you might have. The feeling of receiving something that you value but long lost hope that it would ever arrive is pretty cool.

A more modern example of this happened to me last week. On Tuesday night I was notified that I had won a retweet contest on Twitter from a week ago. Now, in the social media sphere, waiting one week to hear the results of a contest is analogous to waiting one year for a letter from a famous person.

Needless to say, I had completely forgot about the contest.

On September 7, I had retweeted a tweet from the @SpokaneHoopfest account. Thinking it was a long shot, I didn’t think I would be the lucky winner. But there I was last Tuesday night looking at a Twitter DM informing me I had won two tickets to see Magic Johnson speak the following evening. I worked fast to twist Sidney’s arm to go with me and to secure childcare (big thanks to my brother). A spur of the moment date night with my wife was organized!

This is the @SpokaneHoopfest tweet that I retweeted to win the two tickets.

The Association of Washington Business is the state’s premiere business association. This year, the organization was holding its annual Policy Summit in Spokane at the Davenport Grand. The AWB managed to bring in Magic for its big dinner keynote. If the association had never partnered with Hoopfest on the Twitter giveaway I probably would have never even known that Magic Johnson was going to be in town!

After I finished work on Wednesday, I slipped on a tie and jacket while Sid dazzled in a knockout dress. We drove to the Davenport Grand and were greeted by extremely friendly AWB representatives who gave us our name tags and some delicious peanut brittle.

Sid and I on our way to the AWB Policy Summit keynote address at the Davenport Grand.

Sidney and I had a table all to ourselves. This was nice because if you are familiar with conference dining, it can be a little inconvenient and awkward passing bread baskets and wine bottles around the table with strangers. To just be at the table with Sid made the date night a little more romantic.

We listened to addresses from the Spokane mayor and our area’s power company CEO before the headliner took the stage. As Magic Johnson emerged from behind the curtain I noticed his mile-wide smile while Sidney noticed his “huge hands.”

Magic Johnson on the stage at the AWB Policy Summit (photo courtesy of Brian Mittge/AWB).

But once he started speaking, our attention shifted from his appearance to his intelligence. With unmistakable intuition and an unbreakable competitive spirit, it became easy to see why he has led such a successful life. Confident and personable, Magic used his many experiences, perfect memory, and humor to engage and relate with the crowd.

It was a well-balanced keynote. He discussed at length both his basketball career and his business empire. When it came to his time on the hardwood, he told stories about Larry Bird, the 1992 Dream Team, Jud Heathcote, turning down a Nike shoe deal, and playing against the Seattle SuperSonics. These musings were all very entertaining and of relevance to a sports fan like myself, but I think I might have enjoyed it even more when he talked business.

Magic Johnson talked about both his basketball career and his business career (photo courtesy of Brian Mittge/AWB).

Magic talked about being turned down constantly when he was trying to get into the industry. He stressed the importance of mentors. He highlighted his successes with Starbucks. He chatted about work/life balance and how he tries to take time for himself in the morning. He mentioned a lucrative deal he has with Disney. He related the business opportunities in urban America.

But what Mr. Johnson drilled home most of all was the need to support minority-owned businesses and empower minority professionals looking to begin and advance their careers. He reminded us in the room that many of us have been taken care of and now it is our responsibility to take care of others.

Honestly, it was so relaxing to just sit back with a glass of wine and listen to Magic talk. Sidney and I thoroughly enjoyed his address. After we took advantage of the dessert reception we exited the Davenport right as Magic was getting into his motorcade. We enthusiastically waved him off as he disappeared down the Spokane streets.

Thanks to my hot date for accompanying me to the AWB Policy Summit keynote dinner!

Sidney and I would like to extend our gratitude to Brian Mittge and Paulette Beadling for making sure we had a memorable time on Wednesday evening. What a joy to attend! To all my readers, never be afraid to tap that retweet button. Don’t Blink.

Funnel Thursday Rundown

Don’t look now but we are now officially more than halfway through September! Good evening, friends, thanks for visiting Don’t Blink once again. You have obviously returned for the Thursday Rundown so here you go…

Paw Patrol: The Movie – On Sunday, Sloan and I went to the movie theater to watch “Paw Patrol: The Movie.” Even though we could have watched the film at home, Sloan was itching to do something and didn’t mind spending the afternoon eating popcorn and watching one of her favorite animated series. With only one other family in our auditorium, proper social distancing wasn’t a concern. It was our first time in a movie theater since we watched “Polar Express” back in November and Sloan loved our view from the back row. As for me? I thought the movie was cute.

Sloan enjoyed going to the theater to watch “Paw Patrol.”

Gas…Then and Now – This photo of me at the gas pump was taken exactly 5 years ago today on September 16, 2016. If you look closely you can see that the price per gallon was $1.79. That is more than double what I am paying today (roughly $3.65 per gallon). Dang, I miss filling up for under $30 as opposed to $55.

Gas prices have soared over the past 5 years.

Scenic Commute – I commute to Pullman once a week for work. The 90-minute drive is always beautiful as you drive through rolling green hills and wheat fields. But Tuesday morning was especially serene with the gorgeous sky. I quickly snapped a photo of God’s canvas.

The morning drive from Spokane to Pullman is a scenic one.

My Annoying Habit – Two years ago I came clean. I admitted I had a problem. I conceded it was causing me to alienate my loved ones (my wife). In that fateful blog post I had an about face and revealed that I am a chronic hand rubber. Don’t worry, I wrote those last four sentences in a half-sarcastic tone…but seriously…it drives Sidney bonkers. Take a look into my irritating quirk by traveling back in time 730 days.

I have rubbed my hands together obsessively for a couple of decades.

Falling Cat – By now I am sure most of you have seen the viral video from last weekend’s Miami football game with the free falling cat. If you did not see it, the animal clings from the mezzanine level with its front paws only to lose its grip. Thankfully, alert students were waiting below to catch the cat in an American flag. I know it is just a cat, but I still have a tough time watching that video despite its immense popularity. I must be turning into an old sap because seeing that cat fight for dear life was heartbreaking to me. Watching it fall through the air also gave me negative emotions. I am glad the cat is okay but I would be fine never seeing that video again.

I hated to see this.


I hope everyone has a nice weekend. If you ever have a blog post idea for Don’t Blink, please reach out. Look forward to catching up next week. Don’t Blink.

To Fair or Not to Fair?

This past weekend, Sid and I took the kids to the Spokane County Interstate Fair. You see, we had to make up for lost time. Last year we were able to “taste” just a small “piece” of the experience as we did the Fair Food Drive-Thru. It was cool that vendors made an effort to do that, but there is just something different between eating a corn dog in your car and eating a corn dog on a grassy bench in front of the Ferris wheel.

Sloan got her face painted at the fair.

So as you can imagine, we didn’t take for granted the opportunity to enjoy the Spokane County Interstate Fair in-person. With that said, I must be honest and say that although that we did have a good time, it wasn’t a complete slam dunk. Tonight, I thought I would do a brain dump and rattle off 7 reasons why you would want to attend the fair and 7 reasons why you might want to take a pass. Perhaps this post will help you decide whether you attend the Spokane County Interstate Fair this upcoming weekend or, for that matter, any fair that is coming to a town near you this year.

Beau approaching the Canine Stars show at the Spokane County Interstate Fair.

7 Reasons For Attending the Spokane County Interstate Fair

– The indoor exhibits were diverse and interesting.

– There were free activities at these exhibits that Sloan could participate in. At one of them she made a bookmark.

– The free Canine Stars show was really cool!

– Food selection was very vast with something for everyone.

– We loved the animal exhibits! So many different furry critters spanning a wide variety of species, sizes, and colors.

– Bathrooms all over the place.

– Sloan and Beau were both free admission.

Sloan making a bookmark at one of the booths at the Spokane County Interstate Fair.

7 Reasons For Not Attending the Spokane County Interstate Fair

– You have to pay for parking ($5).

– Many things inside the fair are cash-only meaning that if you didn’t bring cash with you (we didn’t) you need to use the fair ATMs that charge expensive fees.

– Speaking of expensive, although the selection is great, basically every food item is $12 or above.

– Continuing the pricey theme, everything from the rides to the carnival games to the face painting are offered at very inflated prices.

– Some things never change. The carnival games are still rigged or at the very least extremely hard to win.

– After going to Silverwood the weekend before, you realize the major gap in the customer service offered at the theme park compared to the lack of it offered at the fair.

– When you leave the parking lot, you run the risk of getting hit by cars that enter the lot by zooming through the exit so they don’t have to pay the $5.

Although expensive, Beau enjoyed the fair food.


Hopefully this resource will provide you with enough information when deciding whether to attend the fair or not. On the fence? Do it for your kids and GO! Don’t Blink.

Putting Faces to the Victims of 9/11

On Saturday morning, I wasn’t in the mood for College Gameday. Instead, I watched the World Trade Center remembrance ceremony. Throughout the program, the names of the 2,753 people killed in New York City on 9/11 were read aloud.

The two decades that passed didn’t make the ceremony any less gut-wrenching. So many lives senselessly taken away. As a name was read, the lower third of the screen displayed that person’s photo and age. After about 30 minutes of simply watching, I started to do something…

I started to Google.

The names were going by fast and I felt like I wasn’t able to give proper attention to these individuals. It was like they were getting lost in the shuffle. So, I started to randomly type the names of victims into my phone. It was pretty easy to do—I would type a first and last name followed by “9/11” and I would immediately have an obituary or a newspaper article.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t Google everyone. I did have to pick and choose. I found myself selecting people who were around my age or either really young or elderly.

Here are just five people I learned about on Saturday…

Hilda Marcin was 79 years old when her plane was hijacked and flown into the World Trade Center. A German immigrant, she was flying to California to live with her daughter.

Hilda Marcin

Katie McCloskey was 24 years old and had just realized her dream of moving to New York City. She was working as a computer technician on the 97th floor of the north tower.

Katie McCloskey.

James F. Murphy was 30 years old and happened to be in the World Trade Center on September 11 for a trade show. He left behind a wife and devastated parents who loved hosting family meals.

James F. Murphy

Paula Morales was a mother of four and a systems analyst for the AON Corporation. The 42-year-old who had just bought a house was working on the 102nd floor of the north tower.

Paula Morales

Patrick Sean Murphy was a 36-year-old vice president of Marsh & McLennan who loved basketball, whether it be playing in rec leagues or going to Knicks games. He was happily married and a father of a 4-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter.

Patrick Sean Murphy

It is easy to be overwhelmed watching the towers fall and the staggering death toll that came with it. That perspective is important and painful. But a different perspective—just as important and painful—is taking a deeper dive into the individual lives that were taken. For many years I had neglected to examine that latter reality. I started to finally take a closer look at personal stories this past Saturday, even if it was just a sampling of victims who had the last name of “M.” But I am committed to expanding my reflections. I have every intention of learning about more of my fellow Americans who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. Don’t Blink.