Free Hugs Thursday Rundown

Because of my quick trip to Nashville, this week seems a little out of sorts for me. However, someone told me today is Thursday and that just means one thing: The Thursday Rundown.

Free Hugs – Speaking of Nashville, when I was at the CASE Conference, the keynote speaker was Ken Nwadike. This man started the Free Hugs Project. Ken shows up at hostile situations and tries to serve as a peacekeeper between opposing parties, freely giving out hugs along the way. Lately, this has been in the form of helping ease relations between law enforcement and protestors. He was present at recent events such as the Dallas shootings, Charlotte protests, and President Trump’s Inauguration. Watching him literally stand in between adversaries and sooth tensions is incredible to watch. Despite being on the front lines in very dangerous situations, he is an extremely mild mannered and humble man. It was a pleasure listening to him speak.

I listened to Ken Nwadike, AKA the “Free Hugs Guy,” in Nashville at the CASE District III Conference on Tuesday.

Baby Update – Over the weekend, Sidney and her mom spent a lot of time getting the nursery ready. I have shown pictures before of the area coming together but after they finished with it on Saturday night, it looked baby-ready! My father-in-law helped me provide the muscle for moving heavy items, but it was all the work of Sid and her mom to make it look so nice. In other news, Sid and I had the chance to see our daughter via another ultrasound today. Words can’t describe how beautiful she already is. We are now under two months until she is due.

This is what the nursery looks like now.

Kettle Corn at My Theater – A few weeks ago, I wrote about how I bought a popcorn tub at my local Cinemark theater that grants me discounted refills throughout 2017. Although I already knew I made a good decision by making the purchase, my investment recently got a little sweeter. Last week when I visited the theater, I saw that an entire popping cage is now devoted to KETTLE CORN. I absolutely love kettle corn and although I do prefer regular popcorn at the movies, I can see myself every now and then opting for the sweet and savory option instead (yes, kettle corn is included at the same discounted tub rate).

Kettle corn is now offered at my local Cinemark theater and I can use my refillable tub to get it.

Gold – The reason why I made my kettle corn discovery was because I attended the early bird showing of “Gold” this past Saturday morning. If you don’t know, “Gold” stars Matthew McConaughey as a prospector looking to strike it rich. He travels to Indonesia and teams up with a geologist to find gold in the country’s jungles. As per usual, McConaughey turns in a great performance but the film was just a little too slow for me. I followed it the whole way and found it interesting but I was by no means impressed by it. I would wait for it to come out on Redbox.

I saw the movie “Gold” this past Saturday.

Cool Stationary – Cleaning out drawers the other day, I stumbled upon something pretty cool. A few years ago, Sidney’s mom gave her this stationary for getting organized before embarking on trips. I always write out a manual list from scratch when I go on a trip so this intrigued me. In fact, I actually used a piece of it when I packed for Nashville. I just circled the items on the list I needed to pack and then scratched them off as I packed them. It was extremely efficient and it saved me time. What a useful little gift!

I am a big fan of the travel stationary that my mother-in-law gave Sidney.


There you have it, another Thursday Rundown in the books. Thank you for reading, I appreciate the time you devote to Don’t Blink. I look forwarding to reaching out to you again on Sunday. Don’t Blink.

Making the Big Popcorn Purchase

Almost exactly three years ago, I wrote about a major life dilemma I was facing. In fact, the issue was bothering me so much that I had to ask for help. I did this by writing out all my thoughts and publishing it as a blog post so the entire world could counsel me on a tough decision. In the end, I opted not to make the investment.

In January of 2014, I wrestled around with whether I should buy a $20 tub of popcorn from my local movie theater. Living in Montana at the time, there was a Carmike Cinemas that I would frequent often. The chain offered a tub of popcorn that came with an initial price of $19.75. After the purchase was made, you could bring the tub back throughout the entire year for $3.75 refills.

I LOVE movie theater popcorn....not so much the microwave version though (photo from original popcorn blog post in 2014).

I LOVE movie theater popcorn….not so much the microwave version though (photo from original popcorn blog post in 2014).

After much deliberation and internal struggle, I decided against buying the tub. Although several factors made up my decision, the price was ultimately the one that carried the most weight and discouraged me from making the purchase.

Now fast forward to 2017 and wouldn’t you know it?! I found myself once again perplexed by another movie theater popcorn conundrum. This past Friday, Sidney and I went to our favorite theater in Myrtle Beach for “Patriots Day.” This particular theater is part of the Cinemark chain. I stepped in line to purchase our popcorn and right in front of me was another tempting deal.

For $14 I could purchase a tub of popcorn AND a giant soda, a price that these days usually passes for normal (if not a little cheaper than usual). But there was something that made the offer much, much better. Both were refillable throughout 2017! Like with Carmike, the price per refill was $3.75 on subsequent trips to the theater.

Spoiler alert...I ended up buying the soda cup and the popcorn tub. This is what they look like.

Spoiler alert…I ended up buying the soda cup and the popcorn tub. This is what they look like.

Okay, there was just one thing holding me back. At first glance, the tub of popcorn looked a little small. In fact, it really isn’t even a tub, it is a bucket. However, I reasoned that perhaps a little bit of portion control might be a good thing. Besides, the soda cup was huge, a screaming deal for only $3.75 (after the initial purchase) when your typical soft drink at the theater runs $6-$8.

I knew paying the $14 was the right thing to do. There was just one more obstacle. I had to ask the wife.

“You go ahead honey, it’s your gift card!” Sidney enthusiastically said.

It is true. My sister-in-law and brother-in-law gave me a $25 gift card to Cinemark. I earmarked the gift card specifically for concessions because I also received a couple Fandango gift cards that will cover strictly movie tickets. There was no holding me back, I made the transaction!

This leads me back to my comment about the size of the popcorn bucket. “Patriots Day” is over two hours. By the time the movie ended, we still had a little bit of popcorn remaining. The amount of corn you get in the bucket is more than enough for two people.

The Cinemark refillable popcorn/soda deal is a complete steal. While it probably won’t work for a family, it is perfect for a couple or for the movie watching fanatic who prefers going to movies alone. So far in 2017, this has been our best purchase thus far. Don’t Blink.