Beyond The Lines: SunTrust Park Review

When I watched the Atlanta Braves on television during the 2017 season, I excitedly tuned in to see the various camera angles of brand new SunTrust Park. As a guy who loves MLB stadiums, I become like a kid in a candy store when a new park opens. However, my usual enthusiasm for the debut of a baseball gem was more subdued with SunTrust Park. After a couple games of scouring every shot provided to me by Fox Sports, I tweeted out my thoughts.

Two years ago, I tweeted this about SunTrust Park.

From what I saw, the Atlanta Braves ballpark was just basic. No quirks, no landmarks, no identifiers. Oh well, I thought, its true personality must be hidden from television cameras. It must take an actual visit to SunTrust Park to see how it separates itself from other stadiums in Major League Baseball.

This assumption proved to be both right and wrong.

After catching a game in SunTrust Park this past weekend, I can report that it is pretty much exactly what I gleaned from watching games on TV: It is basic. Not that “basic” is a bad thing. SunTrust is a clean, organized facility with the best Wi-Fi network in professional sports (they say everyone in the stadium could post a selfie to social media simultaneously with no lag time). But it definitely doesn’t stand out from older parks, nor does it have any distinguishing features to give it its own unique personality. To some, it might be easy to look at the new park and compare it to Turner Field and ask did we really need a new stadium in the first place?

A photo of Sidney and I from our seats at SunTrust Park. It is nice inside, but not spectacular.

Here is the truth: Although SunTrust Park itself might be underwhelming, people will quickly realize that they could have just built a giant cardboard box and seen an improvement from the old gameday experience. You see, it isn’t about the inside of SunTrust Park, it is about what surrounds it.

We attended on Military Appreciation Night. Before we went up to our seats, we ate at one of the tables that at the top of sections open to all fans.

By far, out of the many MLB stadiums I have visited, the community district that surrounds SunTrust Park is the best of them all. The Atlanta Braves didn’t move to give fans a world class ballpark, they moved to give fans a comprehensive gameday experience in a safe area.

Some photos I took of The Battery. It is a diverse place that is a lot of fun!

The Battery is an area of bars, restaurants, and shops that anchors the ballpark. Spanning a few blocks, the area leads up to the outfield gates and includes plenty of green space and a music venue. Before and after games, The Battery’s streets are filled with fans, entertainers, and vendors.

Sidney and I enjoying The Battery.

Sidney and I had an absolute blast. We took an Uber right up to the edge of The Battery and then went exploring. We hung out on the rooftop of an entertainment venue/bar called Punch Bowl Social and watched as Braves and Brewers fans walked up and down the sun soaked streets. We listened to a band while carrying our beers wherever we wanted. We stood on a bridge that runs above The Battery and took in some pristine people watching. We enjoyed various juggling, dancing, and singing acts taking place right in front of us.

Sidney looking down at one of the dance acts from the upper level of The Battery.

An atmosphere that mixes a festival feel with sporting passion, we conceded that the situation outside of Turner Field couldn’t deliver an ounce of what we were experiencing outside of SunTrust Park. I can honestly say that the location change, in my mind, justified the need for a new ballpark.

The Battery is a postgame destination too.

Shifting quickly back to the stadium itself, please don’t think that SunTrust Park is a total dump –– it isn’t. Like I said, it is beyond adequate, it just won’t “wow” you. But the effort put forth to make the game enjoyable will. The promotions that take place between innings are fresh and engaging. The food is delicious (I had chicken tenders and fries). The video board is crystal clear and the sound system state of the art. But make no mistake about it, the draw of SunTrust Park is what goes on beyond the outfield wall. Don’t Blink.

A Sunny Atlanta Getaway

This past weekend was…refreshing? Trying to figure out the best word to describe the 50-hour getaway I recently went on with my wife is a little tricky, but I think the one I just used does it justice.

Sid and I both felt very fortunate that we could make our Atlanta trip happen. With Sloan in the caring hands of my in-laws, we were able to skip town and enjoy ourselves with complete peace of mind. We departed for our adventure with a couple items on the itinerary but with plenty of time open to improvise as well. This arrangement worked our perfectly.

It was tough leaving this little girl but we knew she was in great hands.

We dropped Sloan off with Sid’s parents on Friday afternoon and drove to Atlanta. We maneuvered in constant traffic the whole drive but enjoyed our time in the car together. We arrived in the city around 9:30 p.m. and wasted no time going to our first destination (hint: it was not the hotel).

We pulled up to the Cheesecake Factory with the good news that there was only a 15 minute wait. Giddy with excitement, we counted those minutes away as we sat in the waiting area gripping the pager. Once seated, we had our usual incredible meal. We went with our classics (spicy cashew chicken for me and Louisiana chicken pasta for Sid) and split a slice of Oreo cheesecake. Hauling leftovers with us, we checked in at our hotel and watched some late night TV.

We had another delicious meal at the Cheesecake Factory.

For the first time in just over 26 months, we stayed in bed until 10 a.m. on a Saturday. We then slowly got up, hopped in the car, and leisurely drove around the Cumberland area looking at what there was to offer. A small brunch spot called Oy in a tucked away strip mall caught our eye. The two of us enjoyed a nice sit down breakfast with no distractions.

We ate brunch at a cool little spot in Atlanta called Oy.

Afterwards we ventured to TopGolf Atlanta. Yes, it is true that we have a location in Myrtle Beach, but do we ever have the chance to visit it? That is a big N-0. Sidney enjoyed her first TopGolf experience as we had a blast smacking golf balls and sipping beers.

Sidney really enjoyed TopGolf.

Once our hour at TopGolf was up, we went to the Cumberland Mall so Sid could look at a couple different stores. After we were satisfied there we went back to the hotel to shower and put on our Braves gear. We then summoned an Uber and departed toward SunTrust Park.

Us waiting for our Uber.

Our driver dropped us off at what is called The Battery, an area filled with bars, restaurants, and entertainment options that leads into the stadium. Tomorrow I will go in depth about the entire Battery/SunTrust Park experience, but tonight is just about our weekend timeline. We strolled around The Battery for a little over an hour before heading to the main event.

Better photos tomorrow, but this is a photo I took of one of the main drags of The Battery. I took it while we were upstairs in a venue called Punch Bowl Social.

We couldn’t have asked for a better time inside SunTrust Park. As the Atlanta Braves defeated the Milwaukee Brewers in extra innings, Sid and I reclined in our seats and enjoyed every second we had to watch America’s Pastime on a gorgeous evening. We chowed down on stadium food, cheered hard for the Braves, and got a little too invested in the on-field promotions.

A look at the field from our seats.

After the game, we took a cab back to the hotel. Although it was late, we stayed up watching TV and drinking soda. The fun day had put us both in really good moods and we didn’t want it to end.

Sunday started with 7:30 a.m. mass at the Cathedral of Christ the King, the mother-church of the Atlanta Archdiocese. It was special to be in such a significant church with other early morning faithful. Msg. Francis McNamee preached on the necessity of adhering to the commandment that Jesus gave his disciples, love one another.

It was a holy experience to attend mass at the Cathedral of Christ the King.

Back at the hotel, we watched half of “Father of the Bride” before checking out. We made one last stop at Cheesecake Factory and ordered some slices to go. We then hit the road for Myrtle Beach. Although it might be sad for some to head home, we were overjoyed…we had Sloan waiting for us!

I feel it is important for the two of us to get away every now and then. This past weekend confirmed that thought even more. Thanks again to Mr. Sid and Brenda for looking after our little girl, we sure had fun! Don’t Blink.

Parents’ Weekend in Atlanta

I think I have forgotten how it feels. For the first time in a year and a half, Sid and I will not have a child under our roof when we go to sleep tonight. Even crazier, we won’t have one tomorrow night either.

It is with mixed emotions that Sidney and I hit the road this afternoon for a weekend getaway to Atlanta. When you are so attached to your little girl, it is tough to leave her behind. But, on the other hand, to be completely honest, I am so incredibly excited for a special weekend with Sid!

Our time away from Myrtle Beach will center around an Atlanta Braves game. Tomorrow night we will visit brand new SunTrust Park for some Major League Baseball. The Braves will host home run leader Christian Yelich and the Milwaukee Brewers in a primetime National League contest. But we are looking forward to more than just the ball game.

Sidney and I at old Turner Field in 2014.

Besides baseball, a visit to the Cheesecake Factory is in our future. We also look forward to exploring the Cumberland district of Atlanta, an area of the city we have never visited before. Some relaxation in the hotel is another small treat that we are looking forward to as well.

This trip will also celebrate the five years that Sid and I have been together. We have now spent the past SIX May 16s together and this collage shows a photo from each one.

So here we go! Time to have some fun with the wife. Thank you to my in-laws for taking care of Sloan, we are really thankful for this opportunity. Any prayers for safe travel would be much appreciated. Hope everyone has a great weekend. Don’t Blink.

Polarized Thursday Rundown

Good evening to one and all. Thanks for spending some of your time with Don’t Blink. Let’s get started with my latest Thursday Rundown.

Mother’s Day Gifts – Although she picked them out herself at the mall the day before I returned and actually bought them, perhaps Sid was a little surprised at her Mother’s Day gifts? Ha! Yeah right! She did really like them though. Describing herself as a “sunglasses snob,” I got her a new pair of shades (polarized and all). I also got her a bin (edit: Sid told me it is called a caboodle) designed for her cosmetic supplies. With a lot of fun and travel to come in the following weeks, both items will come in handy.

Sid with her new sunglasses and caboodle.

Nursing Back to Health – Last week, Sloan was out of daycare because of a nasty virus. Through those several days, she had some ups and downs as it looked like she was improving only to have symptoms reappear. This past Monday, we took her again to the doctor. Our pediatrician, Dr. Sangtian (HIGHLY recommend), ran several tests, including x-rays. Although the virus was still visible, he could also see the possible early development of pneumonia. He put Sloan on an antibiotic and she is doing MUCH better. As is the case with Sloan’s prolonged sicknesses, I become susceptible as well. After battling a cold followed by an upset stomach, I am starting to feel better too.

Sloan is on the mend!

I Would Drive 1M Miles – This week I read a news story about a North Carolina man who recently surpassed 1,000,000 miles with his 2000 Honda Accord. Well, saying he surpassed the milestone could get some resistance based on technicality––the odometer has room for just seven digits and still reads 999,999. But for those of us willing to look past space constraints, that’s quite the achievement! And to think I thought my car was nearing the end of its road as it inches closer to 200K miles.

The man in this photo has out over a million miles on his Honda Accord.

Walking Anniversary – Today is the one-year anniversary of Sloan walking for the first time. I swear over the past 365 days she has put more miles on those legs evading us than the guy has put on his Honda Accord. Ironically, Sloan was home sick a year ago as well when she took those first steps. I am thankful to this day that I was present for her milestone and that I captured it on video.

This was mere seconds before Sloan walked by herself.

Diet Coke Consumption – I can’t fathom how anyone could drink six Diet Cokes a day, let alone 12. But 28?! What must your mouth feel like when you wake up in the morning if you feel the need to drink 336 ounces of liquid in a day? The fact that it is soda makes the fact even crazier. How does John Daily still have any teeth?

This tweet by Darren Rovell, which is meant to poke fun and to state a fact, is really interesting. How could anyone drink that much soda?!

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Another Thursday Rundown in the books! Thanks for reading and I will touch base with everyone tomorrow regarding out weekend plans. Don’t Blink.

Honoring National Chocolate Chip Day

Today is National Chocolate Chip Day, another bizarre and gimmicky “holiday” to “celebrate.” Despite its cheesiness and my supposed hostility toward days like this, I am appreciative that it gives me something to write about.

In tonight’s blog post I present to you five items I enjoy chocolate chips on the most.

Chocolate Chip Cookies – Big surprise, right? Although white chocolate macadamia cookies are my favorite, chocolate chip cookies are a close runner up. We all know the satisfying feeling of biting into a fresh cookie with the chocolate chips half melted. But chocolate chips in cookies are more versatile than just in liquid form. Chocolate freezes very well and I always liked eating the frozen chocolate chips in my mom’s famous ice cream cookie sandwiches.

Chocolate Chip Pancakes – Nothing is better than going to a hole in the wall diner and ordering a stack of chocolate chip pancakes. Topped with butter and whipped cream, you can’t have a more heavenly breakfast. The flavor of the gooey chocolate chips is always evident, even with maple syrup and buttermilk competing for an impression on your taste buds. You know you were served a good stack if after you finish your pancakes there is noticeable chocolate residue on your fork (at which point you lick it off).

These are some chocolate chip pancakes I had at Plantation Pancake House in Myrtle Beach.

Ants on a Log – Oh please, you put raisins on top of your celery as a kid? In our household, we didn’t adhere to the healthy recipe of ants on a log. After slathering peanut butter on the celery sticks, we topped it with chocolate chips. Whatever it took to get us to eat our veggies, right?

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream – On the third anniversary of our revolutionary experiment, don’t think I forgot to add chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream to this list. Although I think chocolate chips alone in ice cream is a mistake, I support gobs of cookie dough packed with chocolate chips in my frozen desserts. On this date three years ago, I had Sidney blindly test five different brands of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream––everything from generic store brand to premium industry leader. When the test was completed, it wasn’t Ben & Jerry’s that won. Rather, it was a complete shocker.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Sandwiches – For this last spot, I could have went with chocolate chip rice krispie treats or chocolate chip covered donuts. Instead, I wanted to go with something more unique that joined ants on a log as another childhood favorite. As a little boy during the summer, my mom actually granted me permission to plant chocolate chips on the inside of my peanut butter sandwich. We would then put it in the microwave for 20 seconds or so. Call it the start of my chocolate/peanut butter addiction, but it was something I did a lot back in the day. Although I haven’t had a chocolate chip peanut butter sandwich in decades, I remember them fondly.

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The irony of the chocolate chip is that it is good––just as long as you don’t eat it by itself. Chocolate chips compliment sweet foods (or healthy foods for that matter) but they taste rather bitter when consumed alone. Happy National Chocolate Chip Day (can’t believe I am saying that), I hope you celebrate responsibly. Don’t Blink.

Don’t Blink’s Eighth Anniversary

Today marks the eighth anniversary that my blog has been on the world wide web––at least the Don’t Blink version hosted at www.brentreser.com. On this special date last year, I wrote about how my first blog post was quite awkward. Part of me wants to do something a little more significant (such as an all-time favorite post countdown) to mark my blogging anniversary this year, but I thought better of it. The truth is that an eight-year anniversary is no more of a milestone than a seven-year anniversary. So, for at least this year and next, I will mark the date with some basic commentary.

Today is the eighth anniversary of my blog. It was been a pleasure.

Authoring a blog brings with it many benefits, especially after you have established yourself as a consistent writer over a few years. If you write a wide-ranging blog like this one, you get plenty of free stuff, connections with people all over the world, and exposure on different websites/social media channels. People will also know you before you meet them, bring up your latest post as a conversation starter, and suggest ideas for future blog posts.

The ability to market yourself is also an advantage of maintaining a blog. By doing so, you can optimize search engines favorably for your name, showcase the talents you have, and push initiatives or beliefs that are important to you. As a blogger, you control what you publish…the creative freedom is awesome.

Of course a blog is work. Those with half-assed intentions need not apply. Any blogger who has respect for what he is doing will feel the pressure to post regularly, think creatively, and connect with readers. A calendar is constantly in the head of a blogger with topics and release dates. Finding the time to write is usually reserved for early mornings and late nights. No matter how good the intentions, not every post will be a home run.

But every now and then, you hit a grand slam. A post you wrIte resonates not just with your regular readers but far beyond. You might write a piece that effortlessly garners thousands and thousands of views, appears on a Facebook page with over a million followers, or entices a journalist to reach out to you. Those are cool moments.

Sloan has given me inspiration numerous times for blog posts.

But hitting the grand slam was never the reason why I started Don’t Blink eight years ago. I simply did it because I wanted a digital space to organize my experiences, thoughts, and an opinion every now and then. It wasn’t primarily intended for friends, internet trolls, or the person on the other side of the world.

It was for me.

So as I sign off on my 1,639th blog post, I do it mostly for myself. But wait––I am not that egotistical. I also do it as inspiration for anyone else who is considering authoring a blog. Nowadays, vlogs and podcasts might trump this medium in the coolness factor, but never underestimate the power or sustainability of the written word. Thank you to my readers for eight great years. Don’t Blink.

Cream Soda Thursday Rundown

Good evening everyone. I frequently say that the hardest part about the Thursday Rundown is writing the introduction. So, let’s kind of bypass it and just get started with tonight’s five topics…

In the Doghouse – Last Saturday, a play date was organized for a group of young children with CCU parents. Outside, the toddlers had a large backyard with several activities to engage with. Inside, there was a playroom and Playdoh station. What did they want to play with? The dog crate! The kids all conspired to climb inside and shut the gate. Should be a good picture in 20 years.

These #CCU little kids worked together to climb into the crate and slam the door.

The Best Remedy – I have suffered from canker sores my whole life. I even wrote about my problem and asked for remedies. Last week, I developed the most painful canker sore I have ever dealt with on the inside of my lip. Just when it started to heal, I developed approximately 10 smaller ones on my tongue. It was absolutely brutal. Earlier in the week I tried Orajel for the first time. It provided some relief but it wore off so fast. After my tongue outbreak, I tried Orajel mouthwash and it was incredible. Within a day of using it, the annoyance was gone. Where had this been all my life?! If you are prone to canker sores, I highly recommend Orajel mouthwash.

This Orajel mouthwash is the real deal!

The Derby – For three out of the past four years, Sidney and I have attended a Kentucky Derby party in full regalia. The gathering is organized by Lindsi Glass, our associate vice president for marketing and branding at CCU. Although Lindsi is a Chanticleer now, she used to do marketing for the Kentucky Derby before coming to South Carolina. She plans the bash way in advance and goes all out! From official Kentucky Derby plates to cigars to famous Derby drinks, the party has it all. This year was another great time and Sidney picked the winning horse…before he was disqualified. Serves her right for picking the favorite I guess.

Sidney and I in our 2019 Kentucky Derby costumes.

Smooth Taste – Cream soda. That is all. What do you think? Although it didn’t make my list of top five favorite sodas in a post I published two years ago, I have grown to really enjoy it. I find it pleasant to drink with a different taste from most other sodas. It goes down easy and has an old-fashioned vibe to it. Don’t think I am drinking the good stuff either…no A&W for me, it is all about Great Value. You can buy this stuff for cheaper than water and it hits the spot.

These Great Value cans of Cream Soda have been calling my name lately.

Ranky Tanky – What a way to close out my Thursday! Our campus invited nationally acclaimed band Ranky Tanky to perform a free outdoor concert on Prince Lawn and they delivered. I wish I could have stayed longer because the conditions were perfect for a May evening concert and the music was incredible. Ranky Tanky, a group that specializes in funk, is rising each day in profile. The band members recently appeared on the Today Show and are traveling all around the country. If this is the first time you are hearing about them, it won’t be the last.

Ranky Tanky filled the air with soulful music this evening. Wish I could have stayed for more!

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We have another fun weekend on tap. After I finish working spring commencement ceremonies on Saturday morning (congrats to all #CCU grads), I will focus my attention on a party we are helping to throw for my sister-in-law and her fiancée. Hopefully we can do half the job that Lindsi does. Enjoy your evening my friends. Don’t Blink.

The Perfect Type of Mother’s Day Gift

You know what is coming this weekend, right?

Stop, don’t answer that, it was meant to be rhetorical. Of course we all know that Sunday is Mother’s Day. Aside from Easter and Christmas, I don’t know if there is a more necessary date on the calendar. Moms are absolutely invaluable and underappreciated. But don’t get me on my soapbox because I could go on and on (besides, I have written about this before, especially how it relates to one very special mom).

Some memories from Mother’s Day 2017.

This blog post is simply intended to steer you in the direction of how to show your appreciation to the moms in your life, especially those with young children.

For those husbands with wives who are mothers, sometimes it is tough to think of an original gift idea. With Christmas, her birthday, and even possibly an anniversary present (excluding Valentine’s Day because once you are married you don’t worry about that anymore), the pressure to get something unique for each one definitely exists. However, in my mind, a starting point is to identify the type of gift that is appropriate for each occasion. In my world, I think Christmas is great for a material gift (think jewelry, gadget), birthday is ideal for everyday items (clothes, sunglasses, etc.), and an anniversary is perfect for an experience that involves both husband and wife (fancy dinner, weekend away, etc.).

Mother’s Day fun in 2018.

But when it comes to Mother’s Day, I think you can never go wrong with a gift that allows your wife to have some time to herself. It only makes sense to use the day that honors all the hard work moms put forth to give something that encourages them to take a well-deserved break. Last year, I gave Sid a gift card to AR Workshop, a place that lets customers make custom home décor pieces. The amount on the card allowed her to bring a friend as well. When she decided to use it, I took care of Sloan for the night and Sid went out and had a great time with no worries or distractions. With all of these DIY places that now exist, you have a wide variety of options to empower your wife to express her artistic side. A free pedicure is also a go-to gift that your wife will be grateful for. Or think about salon credit for a haircut or a ticket to an upcoming wine tasting event. Speaking of tickets, get her one for a concert that she has interest in attending with friends or perhaps even a play she wants to see (but you don’t).

Sidney and Sloan holding the lazy Susan that was made at AR Workshop. Sid did a wonderful job!

The key is to let your significant other use the gift whenever she wants and to be excited for her to enjoy it. Show interest in her “night out” and ask her to send a photo of her having fun. Whatever you do, don’t bother her when she is doing the activity and give her no concern for the care of her child(ren).

Gifts focused on experiences for moms to enjoy without the whole clan make perfect Mother’s Day gifts. If you go in that direction this year, you won’t be botching it. Don’t Blink.

Another Season of #CCUfamily in the Books

Quite frequently, I accept invitations from professors to speak to their classes about social media. Often, a student will ask me why I love my job. I will reply that I enjoy formulating a social voice for CCU, that I embrace working in an industry that is growing each day, and that I thrive off the pressure of communicating clearly and effectively when it matters most. I will usually end my answer by saying that, best of all, I get to work with college students daily.

I enjoy speaking to CCU classes about social media.

Today we wrapped up filming the third season of #CCUfamily, a social media campaign that I pitched way back in 2014 when I interviewed for my job. The current incarnation of #CCUfamily debuted during the 2016-17 academic year and over the course of those three years, we have featured 270 students.

#CCUfamily has been a very successful social media campaign for our University.

Ah yes, the key word is students. Out of all the ways I have the privilege of connecting with students on campus (internship program, social media advocate council, speaking engagements, etc.), nothing introduces me to a larger or more diverse group as #CCUfamily.

The goal of #CCUfamily is to develop engaging digital profiles of our student body. We publish three profiles per week that are published in unique ways on our website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram channels – an integrated campaign at its best! But of course the content doesn’t create itself. In order to be successful, we need full cooperation from the students we feature. There is a lot of coordination that goes on with the students prior to filming but the interview day is definitely the most satisfying part. This is when we meet our talented Chanticleers and catch them at their best. Connections are always developed that last until they graduate and beyond. It is rewarding.

I would not be able to do #CCUfamily without Geoff Insch. This afternoon we took the below photo after our final shoot to celebrate the end of a great season.

Notice how I keep referring to “we” in context of this project? Aside from our subjects, I don’t do this alone. Geoff Insch, one of our production managers, is the guy who keeps this campaign afloat. He films the interviews and then edits each one into an enticing package. This semester, a third member joined our #CCUfamily team. Anthony Bowser, our social media specialist, does behind-the-scenes work and writes some of the student profiles.

The three of us really enjoy doing these shoots. As I mentioned, meeting the students is awesome. However, it is also fun for our little production gang to converse about the students after they leave. We marvel about how talented they are and how further along (at least compared to me) they seem to be at that age than us (me). Students are nominated to participate in #CCUfamily, thus ensuring that those profiled are high quality individuals. It is a pleasure to meet the best and brightest of Coastal.

It has been a pleasure working on #CCUfamily. Here is an example of one of the profiles we did last month.

After three years of interviewing 270 students, Geoff and I have a lot of stories! Every now and then, we reminisce about the unique moments of our #CCUfamily journey. Good memories have been made and even better work has been produced. On Friday we will release the final #CCUfamily profile of the 2018-19 academic year but don’t get too sad – it will be back in 2019-20. Don’t Blink.

May 2019 Thursday Rundown

Is it really May already? Our family has a packed month and we can’t wait for all the fun that is to come. But for now, let’s just concentrate on the Thursday Rundown. I present to you this evening’s five topics…

Bling, Bling – For those who are curious about the ring my brother got for his fiancé, here it is. I know absolutely nothing about rings (Sidney picked her ring out for me) so don’t expect any commentary from me other than it looks really nice! 

This is the ring that my brother gave to Carrie.

Outdoor Fun – A couple items to report on Sloan. She has progressed nicely with her jungle gym since it was gifted to her about a month and a half ago. Sloan will now go down the slide without needing to hold one of our hands. More impressively, she can now climb up the rock wall with no assistance whatsoever, a feat of coordination and strength! But the biggest current spectacle in our back yard is a rabbit. The critter has been making regular early evening appearances in our lawn, sending Sloan into a frenzy. She likes to call out to it by yelling “Mr. Bunny, come here!” She will sit on our patio and wait for it to re-appear and she loves to leave carrots out for it.

Sloan can climb her rock wall with ease and go down the slide without assistance. She loves “Mr. Bunny” who lives in our back yard.

What’s the Big Deal? – Last night, Sid and I watched the Billboard Music Awards. We enjoy watching the performances and digesting a slice of pop culture. However, I had a tough time putting my finger on the absolute mania reserved for a group called BTS. The cameras switched to them in their seats every minute, celebrities on stage gave them shout outs, and the #BillboardMusicAwards Twitter hashtag was so inundated with BTS references that anything else about the show was practically invisible. Did these kids cure cancer or something? Please, fill me in.

I tweeted out my confusion last night.

Another Five Year Anniversary  My five year anniversary working at Coastal wasn’t the only milestone I was celebrating yesterday. May 1 also marked my five year anniversary of working out at CCU’s gym, the HTC Center. I had nervous jitters my first day of work so what better way to ease them than with exercise? I was blown away by the cleanliness and amenities of Coastal’s facilities. But aside from the state of the art equipment and scenic views, the CCU gym has allowed me to connect with students and staff who I normally would not have the chance to during my regular job.

The photo of me in the top left is from May 1, 2014, and the photo of me in the top right is from May 1, 2019.

Cool Story – Early this morning I was pumping gas. Once I started to refuel, the pump television screen flickered on and started to give a history lesson. This particular segment taught me that frozen treats such as popsicles and ice cream were only consumed by nobility back in the Middle Ages. Because devices equivalent to modern day freezers weren’t widely available, only the upper class had access to them. So, if someone was walking the streets with a frozen confection it meant they were a pretty big deal. I started laughing to myself thinking of an old king with a large crown sucking on a firecracker pop. Ha!

I took this photo while pumping gas today. How does the gas price in Myrtle Beach differ from where you live?

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A weekend that includes the Kentucky Derby and Cinco De Mayo, huh? Sounds like a good time to me. Be safe and enjoy. Don’t Blink.