When Grown Adults Get Weird

Yesterday social media was abuzz with Star Wars Day. More likely than not, you probably observed on either Facebook or Twitter someone posting the phrase “May the 4th be with you.” However, Star Wars Day wasn’t just observed in the cyberspace of social media. Hardly. Rather, it was celebrated with vigor and enthusiasm in gatherings across the country. Adults who dressed up as Darth Vader, Chewbacca, and Luke Skywalker hit the very public streets and swung around light savers as if the word “maturity” didn’t even exist.

This display of grownups acting like little kids reminded me of a weird ordeal I watched play out over a couple days this past summer…

When Sidney and I pulled up at our hotel in Baltimore last August we already felt a little sketched out. Our lodging was in a tough part of the city and the entrance had all sorts of non-guests loitering outside of it. As we scoped out the situation a little more, I saw what I thought was a poor mentally ill person. The lady was dressed in some type of torn pink animal costume that looked like a tattered pajama jump suit. She carried a stuffed animal with her and it looked like she was shuffling aimlessly outside of the hotel. Now this is interesting, I thought.

Despite a slight consideration that we might try to find someplace else to stay, we walked inside the hotel lobby to check in. The lady in the pink ensemble was just a tiny preview of what was to come. A group of “uniquely” dressed humans in brightly colored costumes occupied the lobby. By this time we knew something was going on. We asked the hotel employee at the check-in desk for an explanation.

“It is BronyCon weekend,” she informed us.

She then translated for us that BronyCon was the national convention for “My Little Pony” fanatics. Not only was the hotel we were staying in booked with “bronies” but so was every other hotel in the downtown Baltimore area. It was time to get down with our inner-weird.

The whole weekend while we explored the streets of Baltimore we did it walking side-by-side people dressed in weird suits, colorful wigs, and over-the-top hats. The only time we weren’t around someone dressed as a unicorn or decked out in a one-piece hooded costume was when we were in Camden Yards watching baseball. Other than that, the whole city was overtaken with bronies.

You might think that adults living out their My Little Pony fantasies comprised the minority and the festival was instead attended predominately by tweens. Oh my, you couldn’t be more wrong. From what we saw walking the streets, this convention was 90% dudes in the 18-40 age range. While walking to a baseball game, Sidney and I talked to a mom and her young daughter (probably 12) about the event. The mom told us that she was from California and she was chaperoning her daughter on this once-in-a-lifetime experience. She confirmed that BronyCon was in fact a mecca for adult dudes and that she wouldn’t in a million years let her daughter go alone. We didn’t dare ask how much this excursion was costing her.

Of course the typical questions circulated in my head. What was it about “My Little Pony” that fascinated many so-called adults? What could possess anyone, let alone a 30-year old male, to dress up in a hot, ridiculous costume during a Baltimore summer day? Do any of these people even care what their friends and family think?

But then, just like yesterday, I realized something. We all have some weird in us. Heck, look at me. Although this took away a lot of my scorn, I don’t know if I can completely get over the fact of grown men dressing up as ponies or going on a mythical quest to become a Jedi Master. I think I just need to file this one as an anomaly of our society. Don’t Blink.

Addressing the Baltimore Riots

I didn’t want to write about the Baltimore riots. I am knowledgeable and realize I shouldn’t waste space. I know the despicable acts we are watching play out come from a segment of the population that just wants to cause crime, not from protesters who want to make their point peacefully. I wanted to just let this pass without saying a word.

Watching the looting yesterday made it tough. As I watched folks break into a pharmacy, liquor store, mall, and several other locations I got angry. What right did they have to destroy someone else’s business and take whatever they pleased? Whatever happened to working hard, earning your money, and then entering a store with respect and making a purchase? How does stealing and defacing property adequately address police wrongdoing?

For whatever reason it was the looting that got to me. I could get past the acts of arson and the people who stood in front of the police lines berating the officers who were trying to restore order to the city. Okay, fine. But the egregious theft bothered me.

I still held my ground though and decided not to respond to the riots. I wrote a silly blog post about my terrible grammar instead. But this morning I saw a few social media videos that really troubled me.

Taking place right where Sidney and I enjoyed a couple cold ones before walking to Camden Yards this past summer, shameful events took place. I watched as people on the street picked up whatever trash can, debris, brick, etc., they could find and hauled it at groups of folks on the bar patios. It didn’t matter that these groups were comprised of mostly females nor did the sight of a poor young lady in a wheelchair deter them; it was just reckless violence. As the rioters hollered degrading names to the victims they moved on, looking for the next spot to cause havoc. The targeted group went inside the bar where they tended to a woman who was struck in the face. Other videos showed similar things.

As a society right now we are in a very tough spot. With previous examples of law enforcement not doing the right thing, the officers on the street had to be very vigilant not to screw up again. Even though 99% of police officers are great at their jobs with high moral standards, they were understandably hesitant. But with the deep level of violence plaguing Baltimore yesterday, I wish the police would have been more supported by central leadership to step in and stop some of the really heinous acts before things really escalated. The fact of the matter is that the embarrassment going on right now in the streets is caused by many different races and no one group can be pinpointed for the destruction.

After visiting in August I am very aware that Baltimore is a tough city. The police have a challenging job and many citizens have to live in a rough environment. I just hope that the police force is empowered to do its job and that the people of Baltimore do all they can to stand up for their community. Don’t Blink.

Our Baltimore Blast

This past weekend I had the chance to go to Baltimore to watch my favorite baseball team play the Orioles in Camden Yards. It was a wonderful time, well worth the toil of getting there. Sidney and I traveled 500 miles, drove through monsoon-like pitch dark conditions, stayed the night in a questionable hotel in Fredricksburg, Virginia, and then finally arrived in Baltimore in a neighborhood filled with gang members and costumed weirdos.

But like I said, it was worth it.

After arriving in downtown Baltimore on Saturday morning we went down to the famous Inner Harbor. We walked around the water and watched the numerous joggers run by us. We took a stroll through the Little Italy district. We had drinks at a tapas place. Sitting on the restaurant’s outside deck by the water we had a fabulous and relaxing lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. After we concluded our meal by splitting a slice of vanilla bean cheesecake we went to the place Sidney couldn’t wait to visit…the aquarium.

Here is a look at our view of Baltimore and our Cheesecake Factory lunch.

Here is a look at our view of Baltimore and our Cheesecake Factory lunch.

The National Aquarium in Baltimore is supposed to be one of the top aquariums in the country. But let’s get real, if they charge $35 per person for entry (which Sidney graciously paid) it better be good. You enter the structure and immediately come upon a gigantic pool filled with sharks, fish, and a gigantic turtle. From there you walk up a ramp system to the various levels of the aquarium all the while maintaining a view of the ground level pool. The aquarium houses birds, frogs, snakes, and turtles. And fish. Lots of fish. Big fish, small fish, exotic fish, colorful fish, and really ugly looking fish. Also, the National Aquarium boasts the crowd-pleasing dolphin area. Numerous dolphins swim in a tank that allows visitors to watch them from stands or through underwater windows.

This was the main tank that the National Aquarium is designed around.

This was the main tank that the National Aquarium is designed around.

The aquarium has so much to see, including a rain forest. If you go, give yourself ample time. Also, bring your patience with you…kids take over the place.

Some photos I snapped at the National Aquarium.

Some photos I snapped at the National Aquarium.

After checking in at our hotel we walked the rather short distance to Camden Yards. Upon entry to the stadium we hit up the strip of bars and street vendors outside the stadium’s outfield entrance. Each establishment had an outdoor standing section that filled up with patrons lined shoulder-to-shoulder. We were right in the middle of it. Wearing our Mariner teal in a sea of orange we were treated very well by the Orioles fans up until the moment we left. It was then that one intoxicated individual said some inappropriate things to Sidney.

The bar district right outside of Camden Yards.

The bar district right outside of Camden Yards.

We walked in Camden Yards and admired the ballpark. We took in the center field and right field views. We walked on Eutaw Street, the famous divider between the warehouse and the outfield bleachers. We finally settled in our seats on the lower level of the first base line. On a pleasant night in Baltimore we watched the Mariners top the Orioles. Robinson Cano and Dustin Ackley both hit homers and Fernando Rodney recorded the save. After snapping a few photos to commemorate the win, Sidney and I walked out of that stadium on Saturday evening smiling that the visitors took one from the home team.

Great night, great seats, great win.

Great night, great seats, great win.

On Sunday morning, I went to church at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (called the Baltimore Basilica for short). Located just a block from our hotel it was a great experience celebrating mass in such a beautiful masterpiece. With the 8 a.m. mass only running about 45 minutes I spent some time giving myself a tour of the church when the service concluded.

The Baltimore Basilica is a beautiful church.

The Baltimore Basilica is a beautiful church.

I returned to the hotel and after breakfast Sidney and I headed back to Camden Yards. I purchased heavily inflated tickets from a scalper and then we headed back to the vendor/bar area. Sidney and I sat down in the famous Pickles Pub and had a drink. After scarfing down a hot dog I bought from one of the vendors, the two of us went inside the stadium. In a truly fun part for me, Sidney and I went all the way down to the first row right off of the Mariners dugout and watched the pitching staff go through agility drills. Felix Hernandez and Fernando Rodney both ran right past us and a few other players came by and signed autographs. It was cool to get such an up close view of the actual playing field.

Up close and personal.

Up close and personal.

Instead of going up to our third deck seats we decided to stand on the right field deck. For the whole nine innings we watched over Nick Markakis’ shoulder from one of the best views in Camden Yards. Although the angle was great the outcome was not. The Orioles shut out the Mariners, 1-0. After the game we headed back to the car as a 500 mile drive awaited us. We made it back to Myrtle Beach a little before 2 a.m. on Monday morning.

This was our view from the right field deck.

This was our view from the right field deck.

Camden Yards vs. Turner Field – As I visited both ballparks for the first time this summer, here is a very brief comparison: Turner Field is nicer inside. It also has a better fan experience in terms of video board elements, on-field entertainment, and P.A./Music presentation. Camden Yards tops Turner Field in location. Camden is in a neighborhood that has charm. It also has a vendor/bar/tailgating feel that you don’t get at every MLB ballpark.

Pictures I took from both Turner Field and Camden Yards. Both good ballparks.

Pictures I took from both Turner Field and Camden Yards. Both good ballparks.

BronyCon – Baltimore was the site of the “My Little Pony” National Convention (Called BronyCon) this past weekend. As I mentioned above, we saw hundreds of people dressed in ridiculous costumes…most of them were adult dudes.


Baltimore was great. I had the opportunity to see a city and a state I had never been to, take in a couple games in a ballpark I always wanted to visit, and watch my favorite team on the road. Thanks so much to Sidney for going with me and putting up with my nerdiness. Where will we go next? Don’t Blink.

North to Baltimore We Go

After over three months in the South it is time to go north…for a couple days at least.

In less than two hours, Sidney and I will be on our way to Baltimore, Maryland, for a weekend of fun and baseball. Weather permitting, we will watch the Baltimore Orioles and Seattle Mariners square off against each other in Camden Yards on Saturday night and then again on Sunday afternoon. As a lifelong Mariners fan this is a real treat for me. Believe it or not, I have never seen the team play in person besides at Safeco Field or the Kingdome. To see them on the road will be fun. Sidney and I will both be sporting Mariners gear so hopefully we get treated decently by the locals.

Our tickets for tomorrow's Baltimore Orioles vs. Seattle Mariners game.

Our tickets for tomorrow’s Baltimore Orioles vs. Seattle Mariners game.

As you noticed I did say “weather permitting” above. Forecasts that started early in the week and ran through even as late as yesterday had Saturday night and Sunday tagged for lots of rain. Traveling almost 500 miles only to see the games get rained out would be less than ideal. Thankfully as of today the forecast has cleared a little bit and by first pitch tomorrow there should be no rain. Please cross your fingers.

Besides the baseball we hope to experience the city as much as possible. I have never visited Baltimore before and can’t wait to check out another new city. From what others have told me I know two things: 1. I need to walk around the Inner Harbor because it is really cool. 2. I need to watch over Sidney and myself because it is a dangerous and sketchy town.

Here is the travel plan: We will set out at 5 p.m. today. We will drive until we get to Fredricksburg, Virginia, where we will spend the night. Early tomorrow morning we will travel the remaining two hours or so to Baltimore and check into our downtown hotel. Early Sunday evening after the second baseball game concludes we will travel the full eight hours from Baltimore back to Myrtle Beach.

If you care to do so, follow me on Twitter and Instagram (@brentreser for both services) for updates on our trip. There will be no blog post on Sunday but I will provide a recap on Monday. Have a great weekend everyone and GO MARINERS! Don’t Blink.

Alphabetical Order

As per Thursday tradition on Don’t Blink it is time for the five topic scramble. But let’s bring some order to today’s edition and go in alphabetical order. Sound good?

Baltimore – I have my next (planned) trip locked up. Over the first weekend of August Sidney and I will be traveling north to Baltimore, Maryland. What will we be doing there? Baseball of course! We have purchased tickets to watch the Baltimore Orioles play a couple games. Ever since I became a baseball fan I have desperately wanted to see a game inside Camden Yards and in a couple weeks that wish will become a reality. I can’t wait to catch some action inside the ballpark that inspired the building of all the other modern day ballparks. Making the trip that much sweeter is who I get to see the Orioles play. For the first time ever I will have the opportunity to watch the Seattle Mariners in person in a ballpark other than the Kingdome or Safeco Field. Yes, I do plan on wearing Mariners gear to at least the first game.

Bowling – You know what I just realized? Since arriving in South Carolina I have not yet bowled. I guess all the miniature golfing has kind of filled the void. But really, I need to hit an alley soon and show off my famous 50 MPH straight line throw that has steadily gotten me low scores and weird looks for the past 15 years. I can put up with the embarrassment though just because I am curious to see what a Myrtle Beach bowling alley looks like. I am thinking that behind the pins there might be an ocean backdrop, the player tables might be beach chairs in real sand, and the music played is stuck on a Beach Boys loop.

CCUSA – We are now 13 states in on our CCUSA campaign where each day we feature a Coastal Carolina supporter waving a Chanticleer flag in a different state. So far so good! The photos we received have gone above and beyond. Today we featured Illinois and the rep had taken a picture with an Abraham Lincoln statue and a Stephen Douglas statue that commemorated their famous debates. A couple days ago it was Hawaii’s turn and that state’s rep took a photo with the flag UNDERWATER! Heck, my parents even got in on the act. They served as the reps for Idaho, nicely driving the half hour or so from their home in Washington state to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. To view the CCUSA website, click here.

The CCUSA campaign is off to a great start. States pictured in this montage include (clockwise) Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, and Florida.

The CCUSA campaign is off to a great start. States pictured in this montage include (clockwise) Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, and Florida.

Derek Jeter – Pretty much everyone knows that I am a New York Yankees fan. Because I am a Yanks supporter I am obviously a big proponent of Derek Jeter. With that said, the All-Star game on Wednesday went way over the top in making the game 100% about him. I know he has done a lot for the game and has earned a spot in Cooperstown but I thought this year’s Mid-Summer Classic did a disservice by doing every little possible thing to praise him. The interviews, the commercials, the ovations, the introductions, the easy pitching, the 3,587 shots of his family in the stands, etc. seemed overkill to me. But what can I say? All of the Jeter fanfare resulted in big ratings for Fox, the best for the All-Star game in years. It still rubbed me the wrong way.

Planet of the Apes – I admit it, I had my doubts about the new “Planet of the Apes” franchise. I assumed that these recent movies would have human looking apes doing geeky things in a hokey fantasy storyline that only diehard science-fiction fans and weirdos would like. Not so. After watching the first movie last Thursday night to prepare me for the sequel when I went with my co-workers on Friday evening I totally changed my tune. These movies are fabulously done with engaging storylines, top notch acting, and awesome effects. This is not your 1970’s Planet of the Apes! Give it a try and rent “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.” I guarantee you will then want to hit the movie theater and watch “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.”

My ticket for "Dawn of the Planet Apes" from last Friday.

My ticket for “Dawn of the Planet Apes” from last Friday.


Friday is just around the corner and I am excited. No big plans  for the weekend but you know how it is….I will most likely have a story or two to tell by the time Sunday night rolls around. Have a great weekend my loyal readers! Don’t Blink.