A Bohemian Star is Born

Thanks to the magic of Redbox, Sidney and I were able to properly prepare ourselves for the 2019 Academy Awards. In preparation for Sunday night’s awards show, we watched the two movies we had wanted to see since they hit theaters. Although we would have liked to watch both of them on the big screen, viewing them in the comfort of our living room proved more than sufficient.

The films we watched? Best Picture nominee blockbusters “A Star is Born” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Having already watched “Roma” a couple months earlier, I crossed my fingers that out of the Best Picture nominated films I watched that one would win the coveted Oscar. Although all three were denied the statue, they are still winners in my heart. In tonight’s blog post, I wanted to briefly review the movies we watched this weekend.

“A Star is Born” – The first thing that came to my mind when I started watching the first few minutes of the film? How nice Lady Gaga looks without her trademark stage makeup. She is a naturally beautiful woman without all the “Gaga” accessories. She is also a naturally talented actress! She delivered a tremendous performance but what Bradley Cooper did amazed me even more. Not only did he prove his acting versatility with his portrayal of Jackson Maine, but he did something that he had never done before…sing. Although his preparation for the role is well-documented, I was still blown away that he had no formal singing training until a couple years prior to the production of the film. Now that is talent!

“A Star is Born” has great performances from Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper.

The singing in the film is superb and has the power to bring you to tears. For a movie that runs over two hours, it goes fast. I personally think the film could have lasted for another 30 minutes and perhaps built up Ally’s rise to fame a little more OR chronicled the post-treatment relationship more in depth before Jackson’s sad ending. But that would be my only critique. Let me also go on record by saying I really enjoyed Sam Elliot’s supporting role!

One last thing to address…the undeniable chemistry between Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. Obviously it comes across in the film (they are actors, right?) but how about the performance from Sunday night? There is no faking that. Also, listen to Gaga speak about “Bradley” (never Brad) on talk shows. There is definitely a spark there! If you have not seen “A Star is Born” or even if you already have (my student intern saw it three times in theater), make sure to watch it this week.

“Bohemian Rhapsody” – Let me start with this: Rami Malek didn’t win the Oscar for Best Actor for nothing. The way he portrayed Freddie Mercury was simply entertaining. Eccentric, arrogant, creative, and CRAZY talented, Malek emptied his soul to deliver a performance that captured the distinguishing traits of the Queen lead singer. I know the surviving members of the band had a lot of creative control with the project so you can bet that Malek’s portrayal of Mercury was as authentic as it gets.

Bohemian Rhapsody is a rock and roll good time!

The movie itself is a rock and roll singalong blast. It contained all of my favorite Queen songs along with a couple that I didn’t even know they performed. I loved it how the director incorporated scenes explaining the origin of the band’s major hits – if true, they are some real doozys. The actors portraying the band members did great and the wild and hard life of rock stardom was satisfactorily conveyed.

I think another strong point of the film is that there is an established “villain” who will make you want to pull your hair out. “Bohemian Rhapsody” explains the complicated personal life of Mercury but I wish it would have gone further showing the very end of his career when AIDS had taken over his body.

However, if that was to be the case, the triumphant Live Aid concert would not be the ending of the film. The whole movie leads up to Queen’s legendary performance in Wembley Stadium. Basically duplicating the entire set in real time, it was a satisfying ending, even if I wanted a little more.

The movie was good enough to inspire Sidney and I watch Queen videos on YouTube and listen to the band’s music on the way to and from Charleston. Trust me, you don’t need to be a rock and roll maniac to like “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

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Do I need to take the time to watch other films nominated for Best Picture in 2019? If so, let me know! Promise me you will watch “A Star is Born” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” and then let me know what you think. Don’t Blink.

A Sunny Day in Charleston

I know Charleston well. Besides Myrtle Beach and Conway, there is no other South Carolina town I feel more connected to than the state’s oldest city. Charleston is where I took my first road trip with Sid, where I spent time with my family during our wedding week, where a talented doctor cured Sloan of a scary condition, and where we routinely go to hop on planes to take us across the country.

Today I had the chance to visit this special city again. I took the day off from work because Sidney had a couple doctor appointments at MUSC in Charleston. After dropping off Sloan at daycare, we drove two hours to Chucktown for our day trip. Because Sid’s appointments were spread out, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, we had the middle of the day to explore a bit.

We spent today in Charleston. We could not have asked for a prettier day.

With the first appointment out of the way, we went to a restaurant in the West Ashley district of the city called 3 Matadors. The tequilaria offered an eclectic Mexican menu in a rustic setting. We enjoyed a meal together without a certain busy girl climbing on booths and overturning salt and pepper shakers.

We ate at 3 Matadors Tequileria, a restaurant in West Ashley. I ordered a burrito bowl.

We then drove to downtown Charleston and walked up and down famous King Street on an absolutely gorgeous late February day. We popped in several different stores and enjoyed the special and historic atmosphere that surrounded us.

The Charleston streets were sun soaked today.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t soak up the sunny streets as much as we would have liked. Sidney’s second appointment was drawing near and we needed to get to the doctor’s office. Conveniently, this one was at a downtown MUSC office opposed to the one from earlier that took place in a Charleston suburb.

We enjoyed looking at the shops on Kings Street; we even found a really cool Catholic bookstore.

The final appointment concluded and we were almost ready to go home. However, we needed to check an item off our list before leaving Charleston. As we prepared to exit the city, we stopped at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, the mother church of the Diocese of Charleston. Although I have lived in South Carolina for almost five years, I had never visited the cathedral, despite being married and having Sloan baptized within the diocese. To finally walk through the holy doors of St. John the Baptist was special.

Today I visited the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, the mother church of the Diocese of Charleston. I snapped these photos during our visit and was very intrigued by its long history.

Our day wasn’t done just yet. Although technically outside of Charleston, we stopped at nearby Mount Pleasant to visit the Baby Gap. It is photo day for Sloan on Friday and Sid wanted to get her a dress. After finally settling on an outfit, we celebrated a great day by sharing an ice cream cone at Marble Slab.

We concluded our trip with some ice cream at Marble Slab.

Inspired by watching “Bohemian Rhapsody” yesterday, we listened to Queen on the way back to Myrtle Beach. We picked up Sloan and made it home, just a tad bit tired. Regardless of fatigue, it sure was nice to spend a sunny Monday with my wife in a city that means a lot to us both. Don’t Blink.

Resourceful Thursday Rundown

Sometimes these openings to my Thursday Rundowns seem so awkward. Like, why waste time with small talk? You just want the five topics, right? Well, your wish is my command. Let’s get started with the randomness…

Jeopardy All-Stars – For a Jeopardy nerd like me, the next two weeks should be fun. Alex Trebek has invited the 18 best players in the history of the game to compete in three-person teams. It is called Jeopardy All-Stars and a $1 million dollar prize will be awarded to the winning team. The tournament debuted last night but it was more talk than game play. Interviews, flashbacks, and commercials were in greater abundance than trivia as only one round was played. Hopefully the pace will pick up a bit over the next several days. Oh yeah, Sidney now leads our running Jeopardy competition by a 57-54-11 margin.

A look inside our living room as we watched Jeopardy All-Stars last night.

A Wedding Resource – My sister-in-law recently set a date for her wedding. Circumstances are different for her special day than they were for Sidney and I, but I still sent her the blog post I published that chronicled all the wedding updates I wrote the year leading up to our nuptials. I sent the post yesterday morning and I thoroughly re-read it that night. It brought back so many good memories. It also reminded me how much Sidney, my mother-in-law, and our church did to get us ready for that day. If you or someone you know is getting married (especially a guy) and you want a more realistic/humble timeline than what you might find in a wedding magazine, you might want to check my post out.

On a weekly basis, I documented the progress we made with planning our wedding. (photo courtesy of Nicholas Gore Weddings Photography).

A Delight from @ItsFoodPorn – It has been several months since I shared a tweet from my favorite food account so let’s change that tonight. How perfect do these ice cream cookie sandwiches look? The M&M cookies are beautiful and look like they just came out of the oven. The ice cream fits naturally between the two cookies in a way that you wouldn’t have to worry about making a mess. Of course, I am partial to this type of dessert. My mom used to make cookie ice cream sandwiches for me to take to school on my birthday, always a major hit.

These look delightful.

Wife’s Genealogy – For her birthday, my mom got Sidney a premium 23andMe test. This week, my wife got her results back! She has mostly British and Irish blood but there was one very interesting discovery that we didn’t expect…she is 1% Sub-Saharan African! Thought to enter her genetic makeup 5-8 generations ago, it was a humorous surprise. The test also revealed that her muscle composition is common in elite power athletes (no joke, this is something that 23andMe tests for). Also, because she took the premium test, she was given health information, including conditions she might be predisposed to. Because we have both now taken genealogy tests (I took an Ancestry test in October), we have an idea on Sloan’s genetic makeup.

Sid’s 23andMe results came back this week.

End With Laugh – I came across this Dennis the Menace comic seven years ago and it showed up in my Timehop today. Why not share it, right? I always enjoy reading Dennis the Menace and Family Circus because they both feature funny situations of kids either embarrassing or innocently complicating the lives of their parents. Perhaps I won’t be laughing as much when Sloan gets a few years older and starts doing it to me.

Sorry about the punchline being cropped. It says “Oh sure. We’ll be happy to send you a thousand dollars.”

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What’s more awkward than my Thursday Rundown introductions? The endings! Time to put this post out of its misery and sign off. Have a great weekend! Don’t Blink.

The Crazy World of Chinese Buffets

On Saturdays, I usually eat something other than pasta and Sidney eases a bit on her Keto regimen. This past weekend was no exception. After mass, we went to the Myrtle Beach China Buffet for dinner. It had been years since I last went to a Chinese buffet but the concept has not changed. The location we went to on 38th Avenue reminded me of all the other Chinese buffets from my past. Whether it be a booth in Spokane, Las Vegas, Missoula, or even Myrtle Beach, five endearing characteristics of Chinese buffets seem to always register with me.

This is the Myrtle Beach China buffet we ate at on Saturday.

To-Go Boxes – There is no China Buffet restaurant I have frequented more than the one on Brooks St. in Missoula, Montana. When I was a bachelor, I would often drop in and pick up a big white Styrofoam container to fill to the brim. I would go down the buffet line and pack the container with meats, fried rice, and chow mein. Half embarrassed, I would go up to the register and the lady would use a scale to weigh my container. I can’t remember the price charged per unit, but I usually paid more for my to-go container than a regular dine-in buffet price. No matter, I had Chinese food for at least two days. Anyway, point of this story is that all China buffets (including the one we ate at on Saturday) allow customers to purchase to-go containers on a weight system and it is awesome.

Chicken On Chicken On Chicken – If you like all types of Chinese chicken dishes, regardless of how well they are cooked, a China buffet is for you. Imagine if your favorite Chinese takeout restaurant offered a chicken platter…got that vision in your head? You can create it at a China buffet. Before I can even get to egg rolls, potstickers, dumplings, and other fun Asian fare, I have to get a plate full of poultry. It is always a representation of Americanized Chinese at its best as I load up on Generals Tso’s chicken, sweet and sour chicken, almond chicken, and sesame chicken. Last weekend I even got black pepper chicken. A bit overwhelming, huh?

American Food Surprises – You will notice that all Chinese buffets offer a small American section of dishes. Think mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, pasta, and pizza. Most of the time I will pass just because I want to eat what the restaurant actually specializes in. But every now and then, you can find some quality options. I was with my friend in Las Vegas and we stumbled into a Chinese buffet in a hidden spot on the Strip. We liked all the regular food well enough but the dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets really made our meal spectacular (and helped fill our stomachs with something other than booze).

Donuts – It is not a Chinese buffet unless there are donuts included in the spread. No, no, no, I am not talking maple bars and apple fritters. I am talking Chinese donuts. These morsels of goodness are fried dough tossed in sugar. Hot and fresh, there might not be anything better in the restaurant than these. For the sake of my cholesterol, I was going to pass on Chinese donuts over the weekend but Sid brought a plate of them to our table and I just couldn’t resist.

Ice Cream Machine – Typically at the far corner of the buffet floor you can find a rinky-dink soft serve ice cream machine. Usually with just the basic vanilla, chocolate, and swirl options, it isn’t Baskin-Robbins by any means but if you are still hungry after eating heavy, salty Chinese food, it is kind of a nice touch. Don’t get your hopes up because there is always the chance that it is out of order. However, I have found that the old, basic ice cream machine is a hallmark of Chinese buffets.

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Eating at a Chinese buffet is definitely a unique experience and is not for everybody. As I have grown older, I have come to the determination that it is an experience that I can handle about once every five years. Do you have a good story from a Chinese buffet? Let me know! Don’t Blink.

Windmill Playhouse: Feeling Like a YouTube Star

Click here for a video of Sloan at Windmill Playhouse

This past weekend, Sloan and I found ourselves on the other side of a YouTube video. After several months of obsessively watching children’s YouTube star, Blippi, visit brightly hued playhouses in the western United States, we visited one of our own. It was a bit surreal.

Sloan’s best friend, Jacqueline, invited us to play at Windmill Playhouse on Saturday morning. I had not heard about the place until that moment and immediately thought playground instead of a playhouse. Even though it was inside, I still expected more of a jungle gym type setup than a rainbow paradise.

I typed in the address in my Navigation and it took me to the X Gym warehouse located off of George Bishop Parkway. A building with multiple businesses, Windmill Playhouse is located on the side of the building. I parked the car and we walked through the doors and into a world of imagination.

We walked in and looked straight ahead at this.

Like I mentioned, I wasn’t expecting a fancy play area you see in internet videos. But, much to my surprise, that is exactly what we walked into. In front of us was a play oasis complete with slides, tunnels, bridges, a ball pit, and the trendier equipment you see on YouTube.

This is the layout of Windmill Playhouse (photo courtesy of the Windmill Playhouse Facebook page).

We were so busy looking straight ahead that we almost didn’t notice the woman standing to our left at the cash register. She finally caught our attention and I paid the admission price. For Sloan it was $15, a bit pricey if you ask me. But don’t get too turned off – parents are free! Yes, moms and dads are invited to play with their kids at no charge. That definitely makes things a lot more reasonable.

The price per child at Windmill Playhouse is a little steep, but when you figure that adults are included it is pretty reasonable.

I texted Susannah, Jacqueline’s mom and friend of ours, that we had arrived and that we would wait for them before entering the play area. Talk about wishful thinking! Sloan couldn’t resist the vibrant scene in front of her and ran straight for it. Her daddy had no choice but to follow.

How could I hold this girl back?

Sloan had enough time to wade in the yellow, green, white, and brown balls for a few minutes before Susannah and Jacqueline arrived. Once they did, we went back to the register to greet them. The two toddlers then led the way back to the play area where they would go hard for 90 minutes.

Sloan playing in the ball pit at Windmill Playhouse. She couldn’t resist!

The slides are a focal point of the playhouse. There is a smaller slide for two passengers and a larger slide for three passengers. Sloan rode them both but sat on my lap for the bigger one. The smaller slide was flat and ejected you into the ball pit with greater force than the larger, grooved one. The whole time we were there, Sloan kept saying “Slide! Slide! Slide!”

Sloan and I right before we went down the “big” slide.

Multicolored padding allowed for kids (and adults) to crawl up the structure. You also had plenty of netting and regular platforms that also enabled “players” to reach the slides. A balance beam is also placed within the structure to test coordination.

Jacqueline and Sloan crawling up the multicolored padding (in perfect unison).

Some surprises in the main play area await. Ball guns and a ball levitator give you the sense that you are at a sophisticated play place. Although we couldn’t exactly figure out how to make them work properly (could have been operator error) they were cool to look at and Sloan still liked to shift the ball gun around in different directions.

Sloan playing with one of the Windmill Playhouse ball guns.

Those in the ball pit are encouraged to throw balls at a giant TV screen affixed to the wall. When a ball makes contact with the screen, which seems to display video game content of some sort, a digital flame reaction occurs. Also in the ball pit are inflatables for toddlers to jump on and roll around inside.

You can’t forget the trampoline in the main structure nor the swings on the ground level either. Kids can jump in play cars and cruise around in the area under the structure, they just have to be mindful of the other children on the swings.

Sloan and Jacqueline crossing the balance beam.

Aside from the main structure, there are a couple of other attractions as well. There is a roundup type piece of equipment that children can climb inside and be pushed around in circles. Or, they can sit down on the bicycle type seats on the rim and manually move it themselves. There is also a merry-go-round type ride with colorful mats for kids to sit on. There are plenty of other “extras” as well that you will just have to explore and see for yourself.

Sloan tumbling down the padding as Sussanah and Jacqueline watch on at Windmill Playhouse

After an hour and a half, Sloan and Jacqueline were still going strong but the adults were ready to wrap things up. Although definitely no Blippi, I think I held my own on the equipment. When we arrived at 10:30 a.m. we had a lot of the facility to ourselves but by noon it was starting to get crowded. Windmill Playhouse is a hidden gem in Myrtle Beach and I encourage all my friends with young kids to check it out. Don’t Blink.

Native Sons Super Warehouse Sale

You know what I like almost as much as cheap food and cheap beer?

Cheap t-shirts.

Yesterday, I sure scored some cheap t-shirts thanks to Native Sons of Myrtle Beach.

Last Thursday, as I finished my workout at Gold’s Gym, I noticed a flyer taped to the main entrance/exit doors. It advertised the Native Sons Super Warehouse Sale. I was intrigued enough that I took out my phone and snapped a photo of the poster.

This is the Native Sons Super Warehouse Sale flyer I saw in the Myrtle Beach Gold’s Gym.

For those who aren’t Myrtle Beach locals, Native Sons is a screen printing business that has been in the area for over 30 years. In any given year, Native Sons produces t-shirts for countless events along the Grand Strand. Sometimes, not all the product is distributed. Likewise, the company will run extra t-shirts for other purposes as well. As you can imagine, over time, a large surplus is created. This was the weekend for Native Sons to make that surplus available to the community.

As the flyer made known, the Native Sons Super Warehouse Sale would run Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. T-shirts would be priced as low as $1. When I got back in my car after the workout, I immediately followed Native Sons on Facebook so I could track the sale.

I watched the photos and Facebook Live broadcasts published to the page on Friday and Saturday. From those posts I could tell that the inventory was large and the event was as advertised. So, yesterday, after I went to pick up our grocery order, I swung by Native Sons to scope out the sale.

I arrived at around 3 p.m. as the t-shirt blowout was starting to wind down. I walked into the warehouse to do some browsing. Native Sons offered sweatshirts, long sleeve shirts, hats, shorts, and promo items at low prices. However, I was there for the t-shirts. By this time, t-shirts could be purchased at 10 for $10 (earlier in the weekend some shirts were more expensive than others). No arguing with that deal! I made the decision that I was going to purchase 10 shirts.

No doubt about it, I was going to take advantage of the 10 for $10 sale.

With Sidney in mind as well, I started to pick out shirts. I wanted to get an assortment of styles and sizes to allow us to wear some in public, some in the yard, and some as night shirts. I was easily able to cover all my bases.

This was my first glimpse of the sale.

A few events were very well represented at the sale. Merchandise from the Myrtle Beach Marathon, the Carolina Country Music Festival, and the Salt Games were all plentifully available. And, lucky for me, a lot of CCU gear was on hand too.

A look from the back of the sale.

I took my time browsing the tables and racks before selecting the 10 shirts I wanted to bring home with me. Once I did, I took my loot up to the makeshift register and paid the simple, straight up price: $10.

Once at home, I laid out the shirts in Sloan’s playroom. We had a draft of sorts as Sid and I selected which shirts we wanted for ourselves. It all went well as we each got what we wanted along with the satisfaction of feeling like we made out like bandits.

After our draft, Sloan sure enjoyed herself rolling around in our new shirts.

Some sales are better than others, but it is hard to beat the Native Sons Super Warehouse Sale. I would like to thank this area business for letting the community have a shot at its surplus inventory. Don’t Blink.

Valentine’s Day Thursday Rundown

Happy Valentine’s Day! Love is in the air and I hope it is in your hearts as well. I think I just got hit with an arrow from Cupid so before I pass out let me quickly write tonight’s Thursday Rundown…

Before I begin my Rundown, I just want to say Happy Valentine’s Day to Sidney and Sloan.

The Fry Rankings – This is the best thing to come along since the fry chart. A writer for the Los Angeles Times, Lucas Peterson, ranked French fries from 19 different fast food restaurants. His assessment was thorough, descriptive, and hilarious. It just wasn’t accurate. Some of my readers might call blasphemy on me, but I don’t think there is anything more overrated than McDonald’s French fries. They are just too wimpy and lack flavor. But this dude tried to lend legitimacy to the Mickey D’s fry myth with a #2 ranking. Peterson isn’t a complete wacko though – I actually strongly agree with his #1 ranking (you will have to read the article to find out what it is). However, for the most part, I think I am at odds with him. I can’t believe the savage ranking he gave to Chick-fil-A fries!

A visual look at Lucas Peterson’s rankings.

Crafty Wife – Sloan gave her little classmates some pretty cute Valentines today, thanks to her mommy’s handiwork last night. Sid secured coloring books and crayons for Sloany’s friends and added a “You color my world” paper heart. It was a great day for our daughter as Oxford Children’s Academy once again went out of the way to make a holiday special. The toddlers baked cookies, played games, and ate healthy red foods.

Sid made these Valentines for Sloan’s classmates.

What Were You Thinking? – Stupid viral videos don’t always make the Thursday Rundown but tonight is an exception. This past weekend, a Toronto woman decided it was a good idea to chuck a deck chair from the 45th floor of a building. I mean you really got to watch the video to see the stupidity and obliviousness of it all. If the chair had landed on a person, which was a pretty good possibility considering the building is in a busy part of the city, it would be an automatic game over for the unlucky soul. Thankfully the chair found pavement and the pavement found a mangled mess. Oh yeah, the 19-year-old chair tosser was identified and is now facing multiple charges. What goes through the minds of some people?!

I don’t really understand why you would throw a chair off a balcony.

That Sweet Treat – When I worked in the athletic department at the University of Montana, if there was an evening athletic event on a weekday, I would put in long hours. it wasn’t uncommon that I would report to the office at 8:30 a.m. and then leave campus at around 9:30 p.m. after the game concluded. If it was a Friday night, I would treat myself on the way home. There was a Dairy Queen right by my apartment where I would order Chocolate Xtreme Blizzards with added cookie dough. I would get home, sprawl out on the couch, and savor every single bite. This past Friday I stopped by a Myrtle Beach Dairy Queen by our house and ordered one for old time sake. It was just as good as I remembered it.

This was my chocolate xtreme Blizzard from Friday night. It was so good!

Celebrity Big Brother Reaction – I found myself entertained, and frustrated, with the second season of Celebrity Big Brother. I thought the cast was strong and the drama intriguing. I cheered enthusiastically for Tom Green throughout the season and was disappointed when he was evicted this past Friday. I think he was the perfect contestant; funny and competitive. He made me laugh out loud too many times but never ceased to play hard. I wasn’t a fan of the Anthony Scaramucci twist as it made very little sense (odd to say someone is a cast member and then randomly remove them from the show and say they aren’t). As for the winner? After Tom was evicted I threw my support behind Ricky Williams so when the ex-NFL star took Tamar Braxton to the Final Two, I had a clear favorite. Unfortunately, Tamar won unanimously (9-0).

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Class dismissed! Go grab your sweetheart and express your love. I will touch base next week. Don’t Blink.

Predictable Eating

When I saw the below tweet on my timeline, I had to respond. Under no circumstances could I let a Twitter follower have any doubt in his mind that it is shameful or weird to eat the same food over a period of consecutive days. Stepping in was imperative.

No, Steve! There is no such thing as “too much” when it comes to eating the same thing over consecutive days.

I do more than just support those who eat the same thing day in and day out – I wholeheartedly participate in the practice myself!

My wife describes me as a “creature of habit” and in certain instances I would agree with her. Food is one of these instances. I have actually documented this pretty thoroughly via Don’t Blink. It is well-known that I ate a plain peanut butter sandwich for lunch over the span of many years. I once went several months eating a cheap frozen personal pizza every night. I did something similar with Campbell’s Chunky Soup.

I have other examples not as extreme. Sid made me a huge lasagna for my most recent birthday. I ate it every day for over a week…for lunch and dinner. I can eat Thanksgiving leftovers until it is December. As a bachelor, it wasn’t uncommon for me to buy a whole Costco pizza, bag the slices up, and eat a couple each night, providing me dinner for the whole work week.

Currently? I am on a pasta kick. For the past five weeks, I have eaten buttered noodles every weeknight. I prepare two 1-pound packages of pasta on Sunday and feast on it all the way through Thursday, if not Friday. It works out great because I can eat something I genuinely like while Sidney eats her Keto meals.

I ate another delicious bowl of pasta tonight.

Why would I do this? Out of all the flavorful, soulful food in the world, what would possess me to eat the same bland dishes for days on end?

Convenience? Routine? Lack of creativity?

No, no, no. Believe it or not, I eat this food because I actually like it. Some people get bored eating the same thing over and over; heck, some people can’t even bring themselves to eat day-old leftovers. Not me. I can eat something with the same glee and gratefulness on day #1 as day #20. Call me weird or call me easy to please, but I have no problem eating pizza for five straight months, let alone just five straight days.

Jury is out on how long I will continue my carb-loading sessions at dinner. All I know is that my pasta was once again delicious tonight. When it comes to what someone shoves into their mouth, whether it be a different exotic dish each meal or the same microwavable dinner every evening, to each his own. Don’t Blink

A Short Life

It seems too common yet it also always comes as a shock. Someone you know–whether it be a friend, acquaintance, or person from your past–suddenly passes away. Whether it be the result of an accident or an illness that struck with little warning, it always stings. You think of the person who passed and reflect on their life. You pray for them and their family. You wonder why their life had to be cut so short. Then, after a while, you start to think of your own earthly mortality.

What I am briefly about to write isn’t novel You have all heard it before, many different times. Perhaps the words I use might be a little different but the theme is the same.

While on Earth, we don’t have that much time–even if we live the average 78.69 years. As we are reminded more often than we would like, many people won’t even make it close to that United States benchmark. Our time is short.

So, how do we come to grips with this? Well, knowing that a heavenly reward awaits those who follow the Lord is the best answer. But we can also challenge ourselves to do something that will make our time here, even if it is for just a brief moment, worthwhile. In my opinion, that “something” is to just to be a good person.

So simple yet so complex, right? Being a good person can be subjective. But at the crux of it, I think good people can all identify with a few basic tenants they embrace each day.

Humility: Always be humble. Recognizing that other people exist in our orbit is important and deferring to them is key. The world doesn’t revolve around us. Admitting mistakes, saying I’m sorry, and being honest about strengths and weaknesses are all lessons in humility. If we live each day as if we are servants instead of kings, we will expect less and appreciate more.

Love: Nothing is more fulfilling than the feelings we have in our hearts for those closest to us. Cultivating these relationships on a daily basis and always putting our loved ones first will ensure that when we go, our hearts will be full. Good people act and speak with love.

Thankfulness: You can tell good people by the sincere gratitude they display. They are thankful both externally and internally. Never shy about recognizing someone else, they let others know that they are thankful to have them in their lives and are grateful for the contributions that they make. Internally, it is always Thanksgiving for good people. They are thankful for everything they have been blessed with, from their health to their safety. Their gratitude doesn’t depend on material possessions but simply by the God given opportunity to live a good and honest life.

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We have the choice to be a good person each day. It is something that I need to work on. I pray that I, and everyone else struggling to seek and find the narrow way, will be able to figure it out before being called home. Don’t Blink.

Low Carb Pizza Thursday Rundown

Peace be with you! I hope you have had a nice week and that you are fully recovered from your Super Bowl parties. Let’s get started with tonight’s five topics.

Keto Snack – I usually don’t eat anything keto-related, but I made a recent exception. What you see below is tortilla pizza, a dish that Sid made from the keto cookbook that Sloan gave her as a birthday gift. You simply take a low carb tortilla and layer it with sauce and cheese. Sid then cooked it on the stove. Although this is too light for a meal, it sure made for a great snack.

This is the tortilla pizza that Sidney made.

The Claw – This morning I saw a story about a unique situation in Alabama. A toddler managed to trap himself in a claw arcade machine. Do you know what I mean? I am talking those games where you position a three-pronged claw to grab a stuffed animal or other toy long enough so it is dropped and dispensed. The boy crawled up through the dispensing door, finding himself right in the middle of toy land. He required rescue assistance from the fire department.

I remember when I was 7 or 8. I was at a Safeway with my mom. As we were leaving, I watched an adult woman play a claw machine. She put a dollar in and failed at both attempts. She put another dollar in. No luck. Then another dollar and another dollar. Still another dollar. After what seemed like $20 (far more than any of the prizes in the cage), she managed to capture a stuffed animal, the claw successfully grasping it long enough to dispense it. Without saying more than two words, she grabbed her hard earned prize and handed it to me as she walked out into the parking lot.

This boy trapped himself in a claw machine.

Sloan Update – Just the latest ramblings on Sloan…she is turning into an accomplished singer. She has about 6-7 songs in her repertoire that she will perform for us. She has her ABCs down and her favorite letter is S. She can finally say her name after learning the names of everyone else in her life first. Her daycare has taught her so much, including animal sounds and table etiquette. She constantly says “church” but sometimes she can’t stay still once we actually arrive and sit in the pew. She loves cats but dislikes dogs. She lives a good life.

Some recent Sloan photos…the top image is with her friend, Riley.

Getting GIPHY With It – At #CCUSocialMedia, we know GIFs aren’t going anywhere. In fact, we realize they are as popular and versatile as ever. We have plunged head first into the new brand accounts offered by GIPHY. Thanks to our new social media specialist, Anthony Bowser, our presence on the platform has been felt. Anthony created an entire selection of unique CCU GIFs, quickly racking up over 1.4 million views on our account. The best part is that these Chanticleer-inspired GIFs are available for use on Instagram Story and Snapchat. Want to add some teal to your Story? Simply type “Coastal Carolina University” in the GIF bar.

Make sure to add these Coastal Carolina University GIFs to your Instagram Story.

Happy Birthday, Monopoly! – The game of Monopoly turns 84 today. I think all of us have memories of games that lasted for hours. For me, playing Monopoly as a kid made me feel sophisticated and grown up. We certainly didn’t play by all the official rules (we seriously sweetened the Free Parking jackpot) but we grasped the lessons that Monopoly teaches – buying/selling, managing money, strategy. As long as I got to be the cannon game piece and didn’t land on Broadway when it was owned by someone else, I was a happy camper. Happy birthday to this classic game!

Happy birthday, Monopoly!

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I appreciate your time this evening and I hope you enjoy your weekend. Remember that the Grammy’s are on this Sunday night. Don’t Blink.