Making a Holiday Out of the Tuesday Before Thanksgiving

Over the years, my blog has become synonymous with a stupid idea factory. Well, I have another one tonight.

This time of year, we just don’t celebrate Thanksgiving anymore. As I have documented, Thanksgiving Eve is practically a holiday itself. Then, after Turkey Day you have Black Friday. Once that chaos is over we enjoy the Thanksgiving weekend, a time of football, drinks, and leftovers. A new week might start but the special occasions continue as people scramble to their computers for Cyber Monday. Finally, in a way to atone for our gluttony from the past week, some of us try to make nice by participating in Giving Tuesday.

My question is this: Heck, why don’t we just make this string of days in late November run from Tuesday through Tuesday? It only makes sense, right?

Of course that leads us to an even better question: What would we celebrate on Thanksgiving Eve Eve (aka the Tuesday before Giving Tuesday)?

Does anyone have any good ideas? No one? Okay! Well I do. Let me pitch five brief options.

Taco Tuesday – Take the most cliché, obvious promotion every single bar in America participates in and make it an actual national day (not one of those cheesy, gimmicky national days…today is National Stuffing Day by the way). This would be the Taco Tuesday of all Taco Tuesdays. Everyone in the country would go wild scarfing down tacos and bars would be able to count on two incredible days of business in a row. Levels of creativity pertaining to how to prepare a taco would go through the roof!

The Day of Apology – This is a serious, wholesome idea I have. Perhaps the Tuesday of Thanksgiving week should be The Day of Apology. With the major holidays about to take place over the next several weeks, how nice would it be to celebrate them with friends and family with whom you have a clean slate with? Some people hate the holidays because there is so much anger and animosity brewing. On this day, everyone would be challenged to either call, text, or visit someone they have a strained relationship with. Although taking part in this day wouldn’t cost you a dime, it might be the most priceless gift you could give yourself and others during the holiday season.

Pre-Thanksgiving Movie Day – Part of the reason why we get so excited for Christmas is because there are a million different movies related to the holiday that start playing immediately after Halloween. Using the same formula of using cinema to pump us up for Christmas, we would do the same thing for Thanksgiving. On the Tuesday prior to Thanksgiving, networks would play only Thanksgiving-themed movies and movie theaters would offer free screenings of Turkey Day films. This would put people in more of a Thanksgiving mood and generate a healthy buildup to Thanksgiving. This would also place a premium on filmmakers to create movies that actually center on Thanksgiving (because, to be honest, I really don’t think there are that many).

Dress As a Turkey/Pilgrim Day – Most of us work or go to school on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. What better way to boost office morale than to dress up in Thanksgiving-inspired garb? This would get people excited for Thanksgiving while at the same time letting people get creative. Not to mention it would be a hit on Instagram! It would be just like Halloween…but not really.

Americana History Day – If you want to know the trends, culture, and attitude of America in a given time period, all you have to do is watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade during that particular year. Each year the parade is a slice of red, white, and blue contemporary pop culture. During each Americana History Day, a different year would be designated (i.e. 1972). So, if next year we celebrate it for the first time, all schools across the nation would be required to show the 1972 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in class. A discussion would follow. Workplaces would be encouraged to show it during lunch. NBC would show the ’72 parade during primetime and MSNBC and CNBC would show it non-stop on repeat throughout the entire day. Americana History Day would not only teach us a lot but it would garner more viewers for the newest edition of the parade on Thursday.

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What do you think? My personal favorite is The Day of Apology. Although today is not a holiday yet, if your favorite blogger has anything to do with it, that might change in the future. Don’t Blink.

My Vending Machine Draft

This morning, I stood out in the lobby as I waited for a meeting to start. A vending machine caught my eye and I took a long look at its contents. I thought to myself, this machine has some really good snacks! I couldn’t help but take the below photo.

I encountered this vending machine today. Time to hold a draft!

Tonight I want to rank the various snacks according to the order in which I would purchase them. A couple notes: The machine happens to have 57 different spots (my lucky number). Out of those 57 spots, five snack options are offered in two different spots (i.e. you can find Snickers Bites in #702 and #711). Also, as I sit here on my couch, there is one snack option that I can’t identify (#205) from the photo. Rather than leave my home and go back to campus to figure out what it is (my wife would not be pleased), I am just eliminating it from the draft. Thus, this draft will have 51 rounds. Here we go.

1. Lance’s Peanuts – My go-to snack in any vending machine is a bag of salted peanuts. No questions asked. My #1 every single time.
2. Peanut M&M’s – Why not throw a layer of chocolate on those peanuts?
3. Cheddar Chex Mix – I love salty snack mixes, especially ones that have cheese added.
4. Snyder’s Hot Buffalo Wing Pretzel Pieces – These are tasty and have a great crunch plus they pack some heat. You don’t always find these in vending machines.
5. WhatchaMaCallIt – Speaking of rare finds, you don’t find this candy bar that often in stores, let alone vending machines. Chalk its high ranking up to nostalgia.
6. Mike & Ike – These go a long way. Fruity and light, Mike & Ike will keep you snacking for longer than your average candy choice.
7. Plain M&M’s – Can’t hold a candle to its brother (Peanut M&M’s) but still pretty good.
8. Strawberry Pop-Tarts – Did you know I like Pop-Tarts? My first choice out of the breakfast options available in this machine.
9. TGIFridays Bacon Ranch Chips – Used to get these out of the vending machine when I worked for Grizzly Athletics. Satisfying snack.
10. Grandma’s Chocolate Chip Cookies – You get two decent-sized cookies in the pack. If I kept milk in my office I might get them more often.
11. Ritz Bits (Cheese) – Another item that is perfect for snacking on, I loved eating these as a kid and still do as an adult.
12. Twix – My wife’s favorite candy bar. I can purchase it from the vending machine and eat one of the bars for myself and give the other to Sid when I walk through the front door after work.
13. NeKot Lemon Crème Cookie Sandwiches – Reminds me of Lemon Oreos. That’s a good thing.
14. Lance’s Popcorn – Vending machine popcorn is underrated…trust me.
15. Bugles – How can you not enjoy this crispy, salty snack? Only disadvantage of going with Bugles is that the vending machine pack doesn’t contain very many of them.
16. Snickers Bites – I like Snickers but I like it even more when it is broken down into a snackable, shareable option. Although on the expensive side, these are good.
17. Big Texas Cinnamon Roll – Definitely not a Cinnabon but still pretty good. Of course that depends on how long it has been in the machine for.
18. Soft Batch Cookies – Never had these before but if I was craving chocolate chip cookies and the machine was all out of Grandma’s (see 10) I would go with them.
19. Toasty Peanut Butter Crackers – I love peanut butter.
20. Nekot Peanut Butter Crackers – Toasty (see 19) just sounds better than Nekot, okay?
21. Almond Joy – Some people despise Almond Joys but I find them enjoyable. Another choice that you can share.
22. Snickers – Although my first option would be Snickers Bites (see 16), the original bar isn’t a bad alternative option.
23. Extra Watermelon Gum – Who doesn’t want watermelon flavored breath?
24. Skittles – Who doesn’t want rainbow flavored breath? Ah, I will go with watermelon. Although I have no problem with Skittles, I will always choose chocolate candy first.
25. Rice Krispies Treat – I really enjoy any type of rice krispies treat but in the past when I have gotten this out of the vending machine it has been on the hard side.
26. Extra Wintergreen Gum – If I had an important face-to-face meeting with someone, I would purchase a pack of this gum.
27. Pizza Pringles – I love all the different types of Pringle flavors out there. The pizza variety wouldn’t be my first or last choice.
28. Nature Valley Peanut Butter Protein Bar – You had me at peanut butter.
29. Elfin Crackers – Don’t have a passionate opinion one way or the other, would probably just be something decent to munch on.
30. Baby Back Ribs Chips – Every now and then I can go for a bold flavor such as these.
31. Kit Kat – Give me a break and pass me a Kit Kat only if it is the last chocolate option in the vending machine.
32. Airhead Bites – Airheads were fun as a kid…not so much anymore. I just taste pure sugar. The fact that they are bites intrigue me though.
33. Juicy Fruit Gum – Enjoy the taste of this gum even if it only lasts for a minute.
34. Duchess Cinnamon Roll – Looks much less tasty and quite a bit smaller than the Big Texas (see 17) cinnamon roll.
35. Tom’s Barbecue Chips – I enjoy barbecue chips every now and then, just not usually at work.
36. Nature Valley Fruit Nut Bar – This would be my #1 option if I was looking for something healthy.
37. Planters Tropical Fruit and Nut Mix – More expensive than the fruit nut bar (see 35), it doesn’t sound awful but would probably be something I would go for only if I was on a health kick.
38. Lances Cheddar Cheese Crackers – Take them or leave them.
39. Big Red Gum – My lowest ranked gum in the vending machine. I have nothing against chewing it but it just doesn’t stand out.
40. Sour Gummi Worms – Not a fan of sour candy. It is saved from dropping further down solely because I like original gummi worms.
41. Tom’s Sour Cream & Onion Chips – Would never buy these at the store so I would rarely buy them from a vending machine.
42. Sweet Tarts Chewy Sours – Could be a good study snack but you know how I feel about sour candy.
43. Lance’s Cream Cheese & Chives Crackers – Combination is not my cup of tea.
44. Jumbo Honey Bun – Perhaps decent out of the oven at the factory, I prefer to stay away from old, hard, sticky pastries. The cinnamon rolls above (see 17 and 33) have frosting and are more visually appealing.
45. Creamy Ranch & Habanero Chips – I try to stay away from ranch-flavored snack foods. Just a personal preference.
46. Sunmaid Blueberry Greek Yogurt Chips – Do I look like someone who eats Greek yogurt? In all fairness, I have never tried these before.
47. Tom’s Kosher Dill Pickle Chips – Another chip flavor that I am not fond of.
48. Jolly Rancher Hard Candy – I have discussed Jolly Ranchers before and I don’t really understand their appeal. I can appreciate one piece but I don’t need an entire pack.

49. Tom’s Vinegar & Salt Chips – I can’t tolerate the smell of salt and vinegar chips, let alone phantom what one actually tastes like.
50. Wallace’s Pork Skins – A snack that just makes me quiver. Don’t know what it is, but just the sight of pork skins, especially in a vending machine, turns me off.
51. Hannah’s Red Hot Sausage – I will never in my life purchase/eat meat from a vending machine.

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Have I jumped the shark or just come up with a really creative blog post? Regardless, thanks for sticking around for my 51 round draft. What would be your #1 pick? Don’t Blink.

My Thanksgiving Week Blog Post

We are right on the verge of Thanksgiving week and I couldn’t be happier. I am a big fan of Thanksgiving and have racked up so many fond memories from the holiday over the years. Sure, it is Sunday and that means we must go back to work tomorrow but not for long. I think we will all walk into the office Monday morning with motivation to plow through the next few days and then get home to celebrate our blessings.

Over the years, I have written extensively about Thanksgiving via Don’t Blink. Today, to get us all excited for this special holiday, I want to re-share some of my greatest hits. If you read this post and the accompanied linked posts, I guarantee that you will be so fired up for Thanksgiving that you might host your own Macy’s Day Parade smack dab in the middle of your neighborhood streets tonight.

My mom and I both love Thanksgiving. Are you ready for another great Turkey Day?

The Official Start of the Holidays – When you wake up tomorrow morning, it just won’t be Thanksgiving week. Rather, it will be the official kickoff of the holiday season. In my book, I consider the Monday before Thanksgiving the start of the glorious winter holiday season. Starting tomorrow and lasting through New Year’s Day, we will all enjoy 42 days of festive fun. In this particular blog post from over five years ago, I give a preview of the joy and magic that await us all.

The holiday season is here!

Thanksgiving Eve Like it or not, Thanksgiving is associated with the biggest party day of the year. The Wednesday that precedes Turkey Day, AKA Thanksgiving Eve, is notorious for sleepy neighborhood watering holes transforming into party bars filled to capacity with eager college students and other people marking their triumphant returns to their hometowns. The excitement of the start of a long weekend combined with the nostalgia of being back at mom and dad’s brings out the party animal in many. Last year, I wrote about my own Thanksgiving Eve memories.

My brother and I out on Thanksgiving Eve in 2010.

Thanksgiving Traditions – Eating something sweet for breakfast, watching the Macy’s Day Parade, and enjoying ham with the turkey are all new Thanksgiving traditions that I enjoy with Sidney. Of course, before I met Sid I practiced some older traditions with my family. Days before I celebrated my first Thanksgiving in Myrtle Beach, I wrote about some of those traditions we held dear and how Sidney was going to try to incorporate some of them into our east coast celebration. We all have our own unique Thanksgiving traditions and they are a major reason why the holiday is so special.

We all have our Thanksgiving traditions. Growing up, my family would always have lasagna as part of the Turkey Day spread.

TURKEY – Turkey, turkey, turkey, turkey. What is the first thing that pops into your head when someone says Thanksgiving? If you don’t say turkey, I am calling you a liar. Thanksgiving is synonymous with this particular bird that is the headliner of any Turkey Day feast. How much do I love it? Quite a bit! In 2016, I wrote about my favorite holiday meats. How does turkey match up against prime rib and ham? You will have to read to find out.

You can’t have Thanksgiving without turkey.

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Are you in the “turkey” spirit now? Let me be the first to wish you a joyful Thanksgiving week. If you happen to be traveling, please arrive at your destination safely. Thanks for reading Don’t Blink and have a great Sunday.

Pre-Turkey Day Thursday Rundown

Oh my, we are just one week away from Thanksgiving! Who out there is excited? Your old Don’t Blink blogging turkey sure is. Let’s get started with the Thursday Rundown…

Kimbel Library Anniversary – Whenever I can get a photo with our mascot you can bet that it will make the rundown. Yesterday, our library on campus held a celebration. Kimbel Library marked its 40th anniversary with cake, games, and CHAUNCEY. While covering the fun, I snapped this photo with our extrememly unique Canterbury Tales-inspired icon.

This is a photo of me with Chauncey at yesterday’s Kimbel Library 40th anniversary celebration.

#GrizCat Football – The 117th Brawl of the Wild is this Saturday in Bozeman, MT. Some of my best times working for Grizzly Athletics occurred inside Bobcat Stadium after Montana crushed Montana State. Even though extremely lopsided to the point that it is a joke, this rivalry is a lot of fun. I won’t have the opportunity to watch the game with my fellow east coast Grizzlies (and Bobcats) this year but I will definitely be following the action in Myrtle Beach. GO GRIZ!

The Brawl of the Wild has a traveling trophy that stays with the winner. Let’s just say it spends a vast majority of its time in Missoula. This is me with the trophy in 2013.

Sloan At 35 Weeks – Our little girl is getting excited for her first Thanksgiving to the point that she can’t sleep. Seriously. Normally an excellent sleeper, she has woken up throughout the night over the past couple weeks. Because she has needed to be consoled during these episodes, Sidney believes that Sloan is experiencing a regression of her sleeping habits, a condition brought on by milestones and separation anxiety that happens to babies between 8-10 months of age. Ironically, Sloan just doesn’t turn 35 weeks tomorrow, she also turns exactly 8 months. Other than some disruptive nights, Sloan is doing awesome. Last week I mentioned she might be crawling by now – she isn’t – but she is right on the cusp of doing so. Even though she can’t maneuver on all fours yet, she can still move across the living room at a rapid pace using a technique I call “floor swimming.”

Here is Sloan’s photo collage at 35 weeks.

#CCU Helping Out – A popular tournament early on in the college basketball season is the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. It draws marquee teams and ESPN coverage. However, because of the destruction that Hurricane Maria inflicted on the country, it was not possible to hold the tourney in Puerto Rico. Scrambling to find somewhere else to play, the organizers of the event graciously accepted the offer from Coastal Carolina University to hold the tournament on our campus. The games started this morning and eight teams are participating (Appalachian State, Boise State, Illinois State, Iowa State, South Carolina, Tulsa, UTEP and Western Michigan). As in the past for other big basketball tournaments, a giant sand sculpture was made to welcome the squads and fans. A few years ago, I specifically wrote about the sculpture that was created for the Big South Conference tournament.

This is the sand sculpture that is welcoming players and fans to the 2017 Puerto Rico Tip-Off

From The Archives – With NFL Thursday Night Football receiving so much heat these days, I want to remind everyone that I have been against the idea for a long time. Two years ago on this date, I wrote about how the Thursday night games do nothing but oversaturate the product and take all the luster away from the once coveted Thanksgiving games. Three years ago on this date, I wrote about why I forced myself to go watch “Dumb and Dumber To” in the theater even though it looked horrendous in previews.

Outside the theater before watching “Dumb and Dumber To” in November of 2014.

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From the Reser household to your household, I wish you a great weekend. Start saving up your appetite now for next Thursday. Don’t Blink.

Festive or Tacky? Holiday Inflatable Lawn Decorations

So, what do you think about the holiday-themed inflatables all your neighbors seem to have in their front lawns these days? Let’s discuss it tonight!

Today’s “Blondie” comic strip addressed holiday lawn inflatables.

I hate to use another Blondie comic strip in Don’t Blink but the latest installment directly addresses this evening’s issue. For those who can’t see the above strip clearly on their device, let me briefly explain it. Dagwood is in a car with co-workers. As they drive, they pass various houses with Christmas inflatables in the yards. One by one, the co-workers describe the decorations as “tacky.” Dagwood agrees. However, when they arrive at Dagwood’s residence, the folks in the car see that he has an inflatable of a pilgrim saddled on a turkey in his yard. When they question him about this inconsistency, Dagwood responds that he agreed Christmas inflatables were tacky, not Thanksgiving inflatables (hahaha).

In my opinion, I don’t find any of the popular holiday lawn inflatables tacky. Unoriginal in some cases? Perhaps. But not tacky.

Some holiday inflatables are pretty cool, especially ones where a real life elf lives at.

I love Christmas decorations. Although we don’t have an inflatable in our yard yet, we will once again have laser lights projected onto our house. Thus, we do follow some of the Yuletide decorating trends, we just haven’t gotten around to forking over the money for a giant blow up Santa.

I appreciate the holiday inflatables because they show effort and holiday cheer. Those who purchase and install these decorations are boldly proclaiming that they are fans of the holidays. Come on, someone who is a Grinch isn’t going to waste a dime or two minutes bothering with a blown up stable of reindeer, right? When I drive down the street and I see an inflatable in someone’s yard, I think, that person is really in the Christmas/Thanksgiving/Halloween spirit. I like that.

Some holiday inflatables are pretty basic, others are more involved. I took this photo in front of a reindeer stable blow up in my parents’ neighborhood three years ago.

It makes me connect with the person a bit because they obviously have an affinity for these special times of the year, just like I do.

I admit, some of the inflatables do get a bit repetitive. I also concede that they are an eyesore when they are deflated. Nothing is more pathetic than a shriveled up Santa strewn across someone’s lawn. But when they are blown up to capacity in their full glory and it is in the middle of the holiday season, I have absolutely no problem with inflatables.

What is your thought on these decorations? Like them or hate them? If you are a Scrooge regarding this issue, please release your anger by commenting on this post or on my social media channels as opposed to going around your neighborhood with a sharp edge. Don’t Blink.

The Evolution of My Vernacular

When I first moved to the South, I wrote about accents and differing ways of pronouncing words. At the time, some of the terms and the general way of speaking in this part of the country seemed foreign to me. Fast forward almost four years and I feel I am completely fluent in the southeastern dialect (I better be considering I am married to a South Carolina native). In fact, not only am I fluent, but in some cases I speak the “language” myself.

In tonight’s blog post, I want to offer up several examples of my conversion. I will give you five words I used to say as someone who lived out on the west coast and then compare it to either the pronunciation or term I use now.

Old Word: Pecan (pronounced PEE-CON)
New Word: Pecan (pronounced PEE-CAN)
I can’t believe I pronounced this word wrong for so many years. There is no reason why this tasty nut should be pronounced PEE-CON. Obviously I skipped Hooked On Phonics as a kid. Although I was wishy-washy on making the change the first year I moved out here, common sense soon prevailed. I just couldn’t argue with how the word is spelled and how correct it sounds when someone here in South Carolina says it.

Old Word: Pop
New Word: Soda
When I return home and my dad says something like “We need to buy some pop” I can’t help but laugh. Sure I said “pop” for a quarter of a century but these days that word just seems so silly. It really isn’t an entirely Southern thing either. Though I didn’t know it when I lived in the great northwest, not many people in the country use the term “pop” when they want a carbonated beverage. In fact, I have encountered plenty of people who don’t even know what “pop” means.

Old Word: Lawyer (pronounced LOY-ER)
New Word: Lawyer (pronounced LAW-YER)
My sister-in-law says it best: You don’t practice loy, you practice law. This was an even greater lightbulb moment than what I experienced with pecan. How can you argue with that logic? Not only does it make sense to use LAW-YER as opposed to LOY-ER, it sounds so much more elegant as well.

Old Phrase: Miniature Golf
New Phrase: Putt Putt
Myrtle Beach is the putt putt capital of the world. Elaborate courses line the streets. When you read the signs of these establishments, you won’t find one mention of miniature golf. Calling it miniature golf or mini golf for most of my life, it took me about a week of living in this area of the country to completely change my tune. It is putt putt, people!

Old Phrase: Let’s BBQ some hamburgers!
New Phrase: Let’s grill some hamburgers!
Yet another example of something that now seems completely sideways when I return to Spokane. Growing up, my dad used his grill…a lot. However, we called his grill a BBQ and when we cooked items on it we said we were BBQing. I am now enlightened and I understand that barbecue is a sacred type of food in the Carolinas while grilling out is what we do when we use the invention outside that applies direct heat to our meat.

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I haven’t turned my back on my roots. In fact, I think there are words we use out west that make more sense than some of the words used out here. But that is for another post. Until then, I hope to have a day soon where I can play a round of LAW-YER-free putt putt and then come home and drink an ice cold soda while we grill out and enjoy PEE-CAN pie for dessert. Don’t Blink.

Days Are Long, Years Are Short

I have just a very short reflection to share for tonight’s blog post.

Last night, my wife and sister-in-law both quoted an expression that made a lot of sense: The days are long but the years are short.

Both Sid and Courtney used the phrase in context with raising children and I could relate. Sloan is the best baby ever. However, sometimes she will wake multiple times during the night, fuss throughout the day, need us to hold her constantly, and give us reason to bathe her more than once in the span of just a couple hours. These days can sometimes feel long.

Don’t Blink, because the years will go faster than we all anticipate.

However, with almost 8 months already in the book, I know that come March her first year will have seemed like it flew by. I know the days after she turns 1 will have their challenges as well and at points seem to drag. But, just like the initial year, the second year will be over before we know it as well. The process will just continue to repeat itself. Some days will go slow, but the years will go way too fast.

You don’t need to have children to sympathize with the expression. I think any human can relate. We all battle through tough days that seem to never end, but somehow they are put into perspective by how fast the earth moves around the sun.

Don’t let life trick you. Try to savor every moment of the good days, bad days, tough days, joyous days, neutral days, and the loooong days. In the end, they all add up to make short years. Don’t Blink.

My Complicated History With Taylor Swift

In 2007, I watched as a young aspiring country music star warmed up the crowd for Brad Paisley. This moment, over 10 years ago, was the first time I had ever heard of Taylor Swift. A part of Paisley’s Bonfires & Amplifiers tour, she shared the opening act stage with Jack Ingram and Kellie Pickler. After the concert, she literally had a small space out on the concourse where she went to meet fans, no meet and greet passes needed, face-to-face. Although I didn’t stand in line to meet her, I did walk past her. Swift had the largest grin spread across her face and her eyes conveyed genuine happiness. I thought, this girl might be special.

This is Taylor Swift in 2007 (not at the concert I was at). I remember her just like this when she performed in Spokane.

After you see someone in concert, you tend to take a little more stock in following their music and career. After that night in Spokane, I rooted for Taylor Swift to succeed. I like to think the positive vibes I sent her way played a small role in what was to follow.

Yeah, right.

With no help from me, Taylor Swift would take the country music world by storm. With hit after hit and award after award, she was the face of the industry. Through this stretch she remained humble almost to a fault. She would win accolades at these awards shows and go up to the stage with a look of bewilderment on her face, delivering an acceptance speech expressing surprise and astonishment over her latest honor. She was talented, young, and graceful.

Taylor would act shocked and humbled at award shows.

Taylor wasn’t done. She crossed over into mainstream and started dominating the Top 40 chart. She developed a passionate fanbase, a serious social media following, and a strong respect from the music world.

She hit her peak with me around November of 2014. Her latest album, 1989, was released to rave reviews. “Shake It Off” dominated in late summer and then one of my all-time favorite Swift songs, “Blank Space,” broke a couple weeks before Thanksgiving. In my mind, she had set herself apart from everyone else. She had mastered multiple genres of music, won every award possible, and conducted herself with class at all times.

But when you are at the top, there is only one way to go.

A present day photo of Taylor. She has changed over the course of 10 years.

My admiration for Taylor Swift started to wane a bit in 2015. She started to gravitate toward drama. She posted social media shade, engaged in feuds, and burned ex-boyfriends. She released music videos produced to shame others and wrote lyrics meant to confuse and generate controversy. This wasn’t the Taylor Swift I grew to admire.

This behavior has lasted the past three years. It isn’t just about her music anymore. Rather, it is about her feud with Katy Perry, her past relationship with Calvin Harris, her cryptic slights, and her demands she makes through her lawyers. It wasn’t a good look for Taylor this past week when the ACLU mocked her for issuing a cease-and-desist letter to a blogger. Swift’s attorneys attempted to take action against the person behind the blog for writing something that was, for all intents and purposes, false. However, most would agree that Swift has bigger fish to fry than to challenge the first amendment rights of a lowly blogger. When this story broke, my respect for Swift dropped to an all-time low.

Leave it to her to immediately get back into my good graces.

The 2017 CMA Awards took place last Wednesday. Taylor Swift was nowhere near Nashville but that didn’t stop here from stealing the show. When the category for Song of the Year came up, the melody performed by Little Big Town titled “Better Man” was a nominee. However, when it was introduced, there was no mention of Little Big Town. Rather, it was “Better Man” by Taylor Swift. Although it was no secret that Swift wrote the song, it felt funny that such a mega hit was being attributed to her rather than the group that performed it.

But it got better. The song actually won. Taylor Swift was introduced. She wasn’t there. Little Big Town went up to accept the award. An extremely popular country music band was giving an acceptance speech based on the work that a mainstream star, one who has been on earth almost as long as the group has been together, wrote for them. It was priceless.

It was also a testament. Specifically, it was a testament toward the talent of Taylor Swift. Sure, she has transformed from a down to earth country star to a celebrity drama queen. However, she still has unparalleled skill. Her life as a Nashville darling might be behind her but she can still have an incredible impact on the genre. No matter if the superstars of country are bitter at Taylor for turning her back on the music that provided her start, she can still capitalize from it.

Well played, Taylor.

I might not hold Swift in high regard anymore, but I do admire her talent. Don’t Blink.

Thursday Rundown Forever

I want to start the Thursday Rundown by offering my condolences to the folks of Sutherland Springs, Texas. It doesn’t get more despicable than what happened in that church and I just couldn’t get myself to write about it this week. On that somber note, let’s get to the Thursday Rundown…

Jeopardy Tournament of Champions – It is the Super Bowl for the game show that Sidney and I watch every single night. Jeopardy is hosting its Tournament of Champions over the next couple weeks and I like nothing better than watching the best of the best battle it out. It is fun to watch the champions of the past year return for another shot at glory. Of course, this year’s tournament meant the return of my less than favorite contestant, Austin Rogers. The bartender competed in last night’s show and missed his chance to automatically advance to the semifinal round as he finished in second place. I was pleased.

Truth – Today’s Blondie comic made me laugh. However, I got a kick out of it not because it was funny but because it expressed a truth when it was trying to make a joke. In the south, it is very common for a meal to be served between lunch and dinner, especially on Sundays. And, believe it or not, it is commonly referred to as “lupper” (at least in Sidney’s family it is). So, although some might think the boy in the comic is inventing a new concept and a new word, he really isn’t.

Today’s Blondie comic was more of a truth than a joke.

The Shock of the Century: One Year Later – Depending on where you fall on the political spectrum, yesterday was your chance to either reflect on the horror or revel in the sweet surprise you felt a year ago. Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton in the presidential election was a major moment in our country’s history simply because it was such a shocker that left many people at a loss for words. On this date a year ago, the day after the defining result stunned our nation, I wrote this blog post explaining why so many of us got it wrong.

Doesn’t Float My Boat – I want to expand on a Twitter observation I made the other day (before I could tweet with 280 characters). Who out there enjoys ice cream floats? Excuse me for possibly being un-American, but I think ice cream and soda go together like toothpaste and orange juice. This opinion of mine extends even to the famous Root Beer float. Please fill me on what I am missing but I think ice cream and soft drinks should be consumed entirely independent of each other.

Sorry, but I am not an ice cream float fan.

Sloan at 34 Weeks – Sloan is so close to crawling! Despite people telling us to be content with this fact, I think both Sidney and I want to see her take off for the first time. Besides being on the verge of crawling, she is grabbing for everything! Diapers, toys, phones, paper…she wants it all! It makes it very tough to change her. This past weekend, Sidney gave Sloan her first taste of “adult food” by slipping a couple crumbs of cake in her mouth. Below is the latest photo collage.

This is Sloan’s photo collage at 34 weeks.

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Can’t brag about 80 degree temperatures this weekend! A cold front entered our area yesterday and we will be stuck with weather in the mid-60s the next several days. Don’t feel too bad for me though. Have a great weekend! Don’t Blink.

A Twitter Change Years in the Making

FINALLY!!

Yesterday, Twitter made a move that has been years in the making by changing the character count for all users from 140 to 280. With this development, I was finally able to breathe a sigh of relief. I had been anticipating this change for two years and was starting to get antsy. The past month and a half was especially brutal as Twitter gifted select users with the 280 privilege. However, neither I nor @ccuchanticleers received the coveted longer tweet clearance, something that made me feel a bit left out.

But not anymore. The major Twitter overhaul is here and everyone can start composing dramatically longer tweets. With such a drastic change to one of the platforms on the Mount Rushmore of social media, is this a good thing?

Five years ago this month, I sent out my 15,000th tweet and 1,500th Instagram image. Since then, a lot has changed with both social media giants.

Well, it depends on who you ask. As is the case with every social media channel makeover, you will have users who detest any adjustment made simply because it is different. What Twitter did yesterday wasn’t just a minor tweak; it basically nullified the foundation of what the service was founded on. Thus, many Twitter traditionalists trashed the increase in characters, making their opinion known through…well…Twitter.

You also have Twitter users who are more accepting of the change. It is tough to be a 140 character precisionist. The freedom to now cram more words and emojis into a single tweet relieves some of the pressure of attempting to “get it all in.”

As for me? I take the same stance I always do when reacting to social media change. I don’t just accept it, I embrace it. What else can I do? As a social media professional you have no choice but to expect, and then capitalize, on changes. Today I asked our audience what they hope to see from our account with respect to the new character limit. A good percentage wants us to stick with 140 character tweets but the majority would like to see a combination of short and long messages. Also, it is very obvious that the last thing our audience wants is for us to use the max character count for every single tweet we send out.

Earlier today, I asked our users what they want to see from our account in respect to the Twitter character limit.

So I will move forward with using the increased character count when it is to our advantage. There is no need to abuse it. I will go about drafting tweets as if I only had 140 characters to work with and then fill in with more detail as needed. I have quickly found out over the past 36 hours that 280 characters gives you much more leeway than even I had imagined.

From a personal standpoint, I am excited for the change. I think it will vastly improve Twitter dialogue among users and I might start sharing excerpts from my blog when I publish a new post. I will take the same approach with my own account as I am taking with the Coastal account and challenge myself to only use 200+ characters when absolutely necessary. Until analytics say otherwise, I do think tweets closer to 140 characters will have more of an impact than tweets closer to 280 characters.

The transition period after such a change can be tough. But just give it a week or two and I am sure many of us won’t even remember when Twitter was synonymous with the number 140. Embrace the change! Don’t Blink.