September 2015: A Month Worth Recapping

Every now and then when a month ends, I like to quickly reflect on it. These posts typically come just twice a year and usually cover March or December and a summer month. I have never focused on September before. However, there is a first time for everything.

September 2015 was great from both angles. When I say “both angles” I mean work life and personal life.

Even busier this September than last, I have had my hands full on the campus at Coastal Carolina University. The month couldn’t have started off with a bigger bang. On Wednesday, September 1, we announced that our institution would join the Sun Belt Conference. It was a historic announcement that made for a busy and fun day. Speaking of sports, our football team made its debut on the brand new teal turf. I was there to cover that first game as everything that went out socially that night seemed to turn to gold. I was then back on the #SurfTurf the following week for the second home game. Yes, football season entails that we all work weekends and many times don’t leave the office until late at night but I wouldn’t trade it. Lucky for me, the four game football home stand will continue for the first two Saturdays in October.

Me standing in Brooks Stadium on our teal turf after the September 26 game. Moving to the Sun Belt and the first game played on this field with the new turf brought a lot of excitement in September to TealNation.

Me standing in Brooks Stadium on our teal turf after the September 26 game. Moving to the Sun Belt and the first game played on this field with the new turf brought a lot of excitement in September to TealNation.

With September being the first full month of the academic year, things were just busy in general. I got to fully implement the numerous social media campaigns I created for the year and evaluate their performance. I presented to a couple departments on campus, worked with several student groups, met with my CINO Legacy Mentee twice, and visited several different classrooms where I had the opportunity to capture learning in action. I staged the #CCU Periscope Marathon, an exhausting day where we broadcasted live for nine hours straight. I received recognition from a couple publications, including the student newspaper.

But the crowning achievement for the month of September was no doubt the establishment and inaugural meeting of the #CCUSocialMedia Student Advisory Group. This was a long time coming and one of my original goals so to see it come to fruition was the professional highlight of the month for me.

No questions asked, meeting with my #CCUSocialMedia Student Advisory Group was my favorite professional part of the month.

No questions asked, meeting with my #CCUSocialMedia Student Advisory Group was my favorite professional part of the month.

The overall highlight of the month for me, however, was having my brother come and visit me. As I mentioned in a blog post recapping Glen’s vacation here in Myrtle Beach, it can only be described as epic. Sidney and I had such an enjoyable time showing him around the area and just being able to have fun. It will be something that we will always talk about for a very long time.

Nothing was better this month than having my brother visit me in Myrtle Beach.

Nothing was better this month than having my brother visit me in Myrtle Beach.

September was also the month where I finally learned how to formally play golf. Sidney and I completed our fourth lesson last night and have really gotten a lot out of them. Living in Myrtle Beach, it was definitely time that I actually learned how to play. I also watched as my new favorite show came to a conclusion. It was an intense month of “Big Brother 17,” an emotional roller coaster as my two favorites (Vanessa and Austin) both had their ups and downs. Unfortunately it culminated with a major disappointment as Steve won.

Of course I will always have the lasting images of Pope Francis making his visit to the United States. Watching him make the tour through Washington D.C., New York, and Philadelphia was special. The way he conducted himself and the way the American people and media embraced him will always be cemented in my brain.

Tomorrow, October will begin. It is the month of my birthday and Halloween so it can’t be that bad. If I missed you in September, I hope to see you in October. Don’t Blink.

Great, Good, Grand Thursday Rundown

Do you know what they say about the first Thursday Rundown of each month? That it is Great (notice the capital “G”)! With that said, let’s get started.

Glen – Tomorrow my brother will arrive in Myrtle Beach to spend the Labor Day weekend with me. Just like when my parents came to visit me in March, I am ecstatic to show him my home. After almost a year and a half here in Myrtle Beach, he will get his first look at where I live, where I work, and where I hangout. I am excited for him to meet Sidney’s family and for him to get a taste of what he can expect when he returns to MB in June to serve as my Best Man.

Glen and I a couple years ago.

Glen and I a couple years ago.

Grandma – Today my Grandma would have turned 98. She passed away nine years ago. Virginia Fazzari was an incredibly generous and patient woman who loved her family, excelled at cooking, participated fully in the church, and read at a frantic pace. I have many, many fond memories of my Grandma and will always miss her.

My grandma and I before we went to the church for my First Communion.

My grandma and I before we went to the church for my First Communion.

Gas – South Carolina is famous for cheap gas. We are definitely living up to that billing right now. Driving to work this morning I don’t think I saw one station that wasn’t boasting sub $1.90 prices. The cheapest of the cheap I have seen so far is a dirt cheap $1.84 per gallon. I think my brother is going to bring gas cans with him to fill up and bring home to Spokane at the end of the weekend.

It is harder than it looks to take a photo of gas prices when you are driving.

It is harder than it looks to take a photo of gas prices when you are driving. This was taken last weekend at a Myrtle Beach Kangaroo location

Gameday – Today I received my season tickets for the 2015 Chanticleer football season! Although I work all games from the sidelines, I do purchase a couple tickets so Sidney and a guest can attend. This year the home season is much anticipated just not because the team will once again be strong but because of the debut of the TEAL TURF. Also, with the recent announcement about the Sun Belt Conference, folks are more on fire about the program than ever before. Should be a great season!

It is so convenient having your season tickets loaded onto a card.

It is so convenient having your season tickets loaded onto a card.

Golf Update – Because I don’t have a wedding update this week, I decided to bring you a golf update instead. Last night Sidney and I had our latest golf lesson. For me it went well as I had my “ah-ha” moment. I was finally swinging the club well and making solid contact with the ball. It was a lot of fun! Best part was that I was barely able to outperform Sid this time around.


Have an incredible Labor Day weekend, everyone. I have looked forward to this one for a couple months now. Enjoy and be safe. Don’t Blink.

My 2014 Thanksgiving Holiday

I can say without a doubt that spending a long holiday weekend with my family after seven months in a state 3,000 miles away was very nice and rejuvenating. This evening I will hop back on a plane to begin a red-eye journey back to Myrtle Beach. But before all of that happens, I will briefly share what I did during my time in Spokane.

Tuesday: I arrived at the Spokane International Airport at 3:40 p.m. after a 12-hour travel day. My parents greeted me and took me back home. After some quick catching up, my mom and I went over to my sister’s house where I got to see my niece for the first time (I wrote extensively about this in my previous blog post). We then came back to my parents’ house and waited for my younger brother to arrive. Once he did a fabulous steak dinner was cooked up and I savored every single bite. After the meal I chatted with my family for the rest of the night.

The first night in Spokane was great. My mom picked me up at the airport, I met my niece for the first time, I got to see my bro, and I enjoyed a great steak dinner.

The first night in Spokane was great. My mom picked me up at the airport, I met my niece for the first time, I got to see my bro, and I enjoyed a great steak dinner.


Wednesday: Still on east coast time, I woke up at 2:30 a.m. but managed to stay in bed until 5:30 a.m. I got up and talked to my parents while they got ready to go to work. During this time my mom helped me take my Thanksgiving holiday greeting. I spent a relaxing morning watching sports talk programming. I later met up with my sister and niece at their home. We then went to my dad’s work and said hi. From there we went to my mom’s work and also said our greetings. Co-workers at both places were thrilled to see Mikayla and actually happy to meet Miranda and I as well. My mom got off early and after the four of us had cold cut combos at Subway, Miranda and her daughter went home and my mom and I went to run some errands. We braved the Costco frenzy, looked around the mall, ordered a take-n-bake pizza at Papa Murphy’s, and picked up ice cream for a dessert pie at Cold Stone.

We took Mikayla to both the workplaces of my parents.

We took Mikayla to both the workplaces of my parents.


Once back at the house my dad and brother arrived home from their workdays. My mom cooked the pizza and we all sat downstairs and watched “Jeopardy” while eating. After watching the Gonzaga basketball game, my brother and I went out on our Thanksgiving Eve watering hole tradition. We saw a lot of old friends and encountered some new ones. It was definitely a fun night.

My mom making her ice cream pie and my brother and I right before we went out.

My mom making her ice cream pie and my brother and I right before we went out.

Thursday: Happy Thanksgiving! The day started with my brother and I going to the field of our old middle school to play in the 9 a.m. Turkey Bowl (aka two-hand touch football game with former friends and teammates in high school). On a gorgeous Thanksgiving morning, we ran around for two hours playing our washed-up hearts out. My brother and I played on the same team and with him at quarterback we connected on numerous completions. It was a lot of fun and our team came out on top.

My brother and I right before the Turkey Bowl.

My brother and I right before the Turkey Bowl.


We arrived back home and showered up. We watched the second half of the Lions’ win over the Bears and then watched the first half of the Cowboys-Eagles game. Right when halftime hit, it was time for our Thanksgiving feast. My mom once again outdid herself as she prepared turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, sweet potato balls, salad, lasagna, stuffing, and gravy. We chomped away and I must say I don’t think I can ever remember a better tasting Thanksgiving meal. We then watched the Eagles put the finishing touches on the Cowboys. My dad then had the chaplain from the hospital he works at come over for some Thanksgiving cheer and dessert.

On Thanksgiving we had a great feast and got to take some family photos.

On Thanksgiving we had a great feast and got to take some family photos.


We all went down to the basement and watched the Seattle Seahawks-San Francisco 49ers game. A good time was had by all as we ate pumpkin pie and ice cream pie and watched the Hawks beat the 49ers in San Francisco. After the game my brother, mom, and I went to the movie theater and watched “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1.” As with the previous two installments, it was an excellent movie. Despite a huge Thanksgiving feast we still managed to fill our faces with popcorn. We then came home and talked into the wee hours of the morning.

"Hunger Games 3" was a great movie.

“Hunger Games 3” was a great movie.


Friday: My brother and I left the house at 8 a.m. to join in on the Black Friday mania. Although it wasn’t exactly mania. Thanksgiving sales have taken a big bite out of the Black Friday rush. But we still had a good time going to a couple malls, Sports Authority, and Old Navy. Before noon hit, the two of us honored another longtime tradition as we bellied up at the Mustard Seed bar in Northtown Mall to watch football. We watched several games including the Arizona-Arizona State rivalry tilt. The highlight though was when our good friend Siera came and hung with us. I met her at a volunteer opportunity about 7 years ago and we have remained friends since then. It was great to catch up.

My brother and I had our annual Mustard Seed Black Friday tradition and we got to see Siera.

My brother and I had our annual Mustard Seed Black Friday tradition and we got to see Siera.

Glen and I returned home and my mom heated up all the Thanksgiving leftovers. The four of us (me, mom, dad, brother) made plates and had a great meal. After letting the food settle for a little bit, my brother and I went out to Northern Quest, a Vegas-style casino on the outskirts of town. We had a wonderful time hanging in the beautiful sports bar and at the tables. Although I lost a little, my money stretched for a long time. My brother was a little luckier than me and cashed out ahead. The ending table we were at was a lot of fun with some colorful characters sitting next to us. After Quest we went to downtown Spokane and met up with my great friend Jessie and her friends. More catching up was done as both of us have gone our separate career paths since last time we hung out.

We had a great time at Northern Quest in their ultra fancy sports bar and casino and then had a wonderful time meeting up with Jessie.

Leftovers were once again delicious. We had a great time at Northern Quest in their ultra fancy sports bar and casino and then had a wonderful time meeting up with Jessie.


Saturday: I woke up in time to see the 9 a.m. kickoff between Clemson and South Carolina. I watched most of that game while also flipping around to the other early morning rivalry games. During this period I heated up Round II of Thanksgiving leftovers. My brother and I then went to a northside restaurant called Poole’s where we watched the FCS Playoffs. We sat right up at the bar that let us see both the Montana-San Diego and Montana State-South Dakota State games. Both contests were played in snow and both contests had great results. The Griz smashed San Diego and South Dakota State defeated the undeserving Bobcats.

We returned home and watched Florida State barely edge Florida to remain undefeated. My mom, brother, and I then went to St. Thomas More for 4:30 p.m. mass. I enjoyed celebrating mass in the parish I received my first communion in. After church we went to my all-time favorite restaurant, Tomato Street. I love this place so much because the food is great but the atmosphere is top notch as well. I ordered angel hair with pesto sauce and marveled at how good it was. With full bellies we returned home and watched the football game that matters most in my household, the Apple Cup. Although the first half was close, Washington pulled away in the second half to beat the alma mater of my dad, Washington State.

Tomato Street was delicious!

Tomato Street was delicious!

Sunday: So here we are at the present day. My mom made a terrific brunch for us that included biscuits and gravy, hash browns, eggs, and sausage. We then went downstairs and watched a combination of NFL football and “Bar Rescue.” As I sit here at our kitchen table right now I am watching my mom make turkey soup. In a few hours it will be off to the airport but I am sure we will do something meaningful with the short remaining time.

Enjoying the last few hours with my family.

Enjoying the last few hours with my family.


What an awesome time I had here in Spokane. No reason to feel sad about leaving though, I will be back in a few short weeks. Until then I am anxious to get back to the beach and return to work at Coastal Carolina University. I can’t thank my family enough for hosting me and treating me to such a memorable Thanksgiving. I love you all. Don’t Blink.

Sunday Evening Smorgasbord

I hope everyone had a great weekend! I feel like treating my readers to a Sunday evening smorgasbord of topics so let’s get right to it and watch out as I throw five different things at you.

Iowa Recap: Last weekend I visited a friend in Iowa City, Iowa. It marked the first occasion that I actually got to spend time in the Midwest. I enjoyed seeing a different part of the country. I saw my fair share of cornfields and might have felt a little exposed with no mountains around me. I had the opportunity to meet some super nice people and relax a little bit from my hectic life. I enjoyed seeing the Iowa football stadium and driving around a few of the different communities that make up Iowa City.

The Wolf of Wall Street: On Thursday night I finally got around to watching “The Wolf of Wall Street.” I thought the movie for the most part was pretty good, although I wouldn’t want to watch it again. It was just a little too long for me. Also, I must claim ignorance when it comes to the stock market. You could fit my knowledge of stocks into a thimble so a lot of the “shop talk” addressed in the movie went over my head. However, I did enjoy the premium acting. Leonardo DiCaprio killed it and I especially liked the scene with him and Matthew McConaughey in the restaurant for lunch and also the scene on the boat with DiCaprio and Kyle Chandler (he played the FBI agent). Jonah Hill provided some good laughs.

Hosting Glen: This weekend I got to enjoy time with my brother. Glen flew out of Missoula for a job interview so after he returned on Saturday morning he got to spend the day with me. From the wonderful confines of my apartment we had a nice time watching Felix Hernandez and the Mariners dominate the Oakland Athletics and then witness the Connecticut victory over Florida in the Final Four. For the second Final Four game we watched the action at Buffalo Wild Wings. From there we concluded the night bowling with a couple of my friends. This morning we enjoyed a nice breakfast and then watched a couple episodes of “Bar Rescue” before Glen hit the road for Spokane. As it marked the last time I will ever host my brother in Missoula again I am glad we once again had a great time.

Speaking of That Breakfast: Glen and I ate at Stone of Accord for breakfast this morning. Over the past couple of years the brunch offered at Stone of Accord became my favorite. Although I love the traditional breakfast fare of pancakes, waffles, and French toast the Irish themed options at “The Stone” always just hit the spot for me. I became a huge fan of the cow pies offered…meat, eggs, veggies, and mashed potatoes combined together for a filling and unique meal to start the day. Don’t forget the soda bread that comes with each entre either. I am beyond stoked for the southern eating I will soon become introduced to but I will miss Stone of Accord.

NCAA Basketball National Championship: Although I wanted to see a Florida-Kentucky national championship game at least I get to see one of those teams in the chipper tomorrow night. I hope the Wildcats defeat Connecticut. For some weird reason I kind of like Coach Calipari and I love the story line of a freshmen starting five getting the better of much more experienced players. Go Kentucky!


Have a great week! It is going to be a very busy one for me but it won’t slow me down from publishing to Don’t Blink. I will talk to you guys tomorrow. Don’t Blink.

Ready for Thanksgiving Break!

When you work in intercollegiate athletics, getting a single day off between August and mid-December is a rarity. In fact, since September 30 I have had a total of two days off. However, tomorrow will mark the first of 5 consecutive days off that I will enjoy. To be honest, to go from working long hours seven days a week to all of a sudden having a string of days off is a little overwhelming. But believe me, I am not complaining.

Thanks to the Griz football team playing lights out the last four games of the season and earning a first round playoff bye plus basketball schedules that have both the Griz and Lady Griz on the road, I get to enjoy an extended Thanksgiving weekend. Not since college have I had the opportunity to do absolutely nothing from Wednesday through Sunday of Turkey Week.

I made the trip from Missoula to Spokane after work today. I will spend my whole vacation at my parents’ house in the north part of the city. The last time I spent more than four days at my parents’ residence was when I was a college senior back home for winter break in December of 2008 and January of 2009. I am very excited to kind of put my bags down and enjoy some quality time in the house that I grew up in.

Food, football, and fun will be the “three F’s” I live by this Thanksgiving holiday. My partner in crime will be my younger brother, Glen. We look forward to spending a lot of time together and continuing to build on the thousands of memories we have already created together throughout our lives. My sister also has a brand new kitten that I am dying to finally meet.

I most likely will not be posting again to Don’t Blink until next Monday but there is always the chance that I might slip something in between now and then. Have a great Thanksgiving everyone! I am very thankful for my wonderful readers. Don’t Blink.

Horrific Hoopfest Injury

Because I grew up going to athletic events, played sports all the way through high school, and now make a living working in sports, I have seen my fair share of sporting injuries take place right in front of my eyes. With that said, I had never seen anything worse than what I witnessed this past weekend at Hoopfest. The images engrained in my head from the events that occurred on early Saturday evening will forever be with me.

This year at Hoopfest I was a court monitor for a 12 team bracket as opposed to the traditional 16 team bracket. Because of this, I finished my shift early on Saturday at 4 p.m. I became very excited when I realized that I would get the opportunity to watch my brother play in his 5 p.m. game. Not only was it special that I could see him play, it was also a cool deal because I had not gotten to watch a Hoopfest game as a spectator in over six years.

After finishing up paperwork at my court, I walked from my post to my brother’s court between Spokane Falls Boulevard and Main. My brother’s team consisted of himself, two friends from the Ellensburg area, and one guy from Phoenix. The two guys from Ellensburg were staying at my parents’ house with us. Kyle, a former baseball teammate at Central Washington with my brother and a Hoopfest teammate of Glen’s the past couple of years, accounted for one of the Ellensburg boys. The other was a 20 year old kid named Corey who was pumped up to play in his first ever Hoopfest. I had gotten to know Corey the night before when him and Kyle arrived in town. He was excited to be in Spokane and to experience the tournament.

Glen with his two Ellensburg teammates. Corey is on the far left and Kyle is in the middle.

Glen with his two Ellensburg teammates. Corey is on the far left and Kyle is in the middle.

I got to Glen’s court a couple minutes before the game was about to start. The court monitor asked the crowd gathered if anyone could help out and keep score. Because I wanted a prime view of the action and because I know how valuable score keepers are, I volunteered and ran from my curb seat across to the other side of the court and to the scorer’s table.

Saturday evening games at Hoopfest are very competitive. They are elimination games and everyone wants to win and make it to Sunday. This game was no different. Glen’s team and their opponents played each other hard the whole game. Both teams were chippy and both teams were doing all they could not to lose. Just when it seemed like Glen’s team would not make it to see the light of Sunday as they faced a five point deficit, the guys pulled together for one last run. Thanks to some clutch shooting and a very generous timeout call, they managed to tie the game at 16-16 when regulation ran out. Overtime.

The Hoopfest overtime rule was enforced and the first team to 18 would win the game. This was when disaster struck…

In one of the initial possessions of overtime with the score still tied, Corey made a strong move to the basket for a potential lay-in. He left the ground to lay the ball up. As he was in the air, his defender accidentally took Corey’s feet out from under him. This flipped him upside down in midair, making a feet first landing impossible. In the split second that all of this happened I watched in complete horror as he fell head first into the cruel Spokane pavement. Corey was unable to brace his fall with his hands as the complete impact of the crash was absorbed with the left side of his head.

The moment the accident happened I heard a sound I never want to hear again in my lifetime…the thump of the human skull on the pavement. When he hit, it wasn’t like everyone froze and there was a moment of shocked silence, rather there was a collective shriek of sheer terror that came out of everyone’s mouth who watched the incident. About five seconds after he hit the ground Corey’s unconscious body had a seizure. With his body twitching on the court, people all around the court started to lose it. I dashed down the street to find a court marshal (they have radios) to get paramedics and rapid response team members down to the court immediately.

They eventually got Corey stabilized.

They eventually got Corey stabilized (Hoopfest 2013).

By the time I got back to the court Corey’s head was laying in a puddle of blood that turned the rain soaked black pavement dark red. With my brother and his two teammates huddled around him, a good Samaritan had come out of the crowd and tried to do what she could to help. Emergency personnel started to arrive and work on Corey. By the time they got to the scene, Corey had regained consciousness but was totally out of it.

By this time a large crowd had developed all around the court. Every second someone would come up to me and ask what happened. As the paramedics worked on him, players from both teams stood with their hands on their heads and lost expressions on their faces. They brought an ambulance in and parked it inside the court as personnel worked under the basket on Corey. Glen and Kyle ripped into Corey’s bag to get his cell phone so they could call his parents, only problem being his cell phone was dead. Just as my cousin was about to run to the free charging station they had set up at Hoopfest, the paramedics asked Corey a question: ‘Can you tell us your parents’ cell phone number?” Corey knew it! Not only did he know it, but he could recite it as well. Kyle called Corey’s parents to tell them the awful news.

Just a small portion of the crowd that gathered all around the court to watch the scene unfold.

Just a small portion of the crowd that gathered all around the court to watch the scene play out.

From the time the emergency crew arrived it took them about 30 minutes to treat Corey, stabilize him, get him on the stretcher, and load him into the ambulance. As they carried him into the vehicle, the roughly 200 people who were around watching gave him a nice ovation. As the ambulance took Corey to Sacred Heart Hospital the blood on the court was wiped off with a sanitizing solution and the two shook up teams resumed the game. My brother took Corey’s free throw and made it to put them up 17-16. However, the other team nailed a two-pointer to win the contest, 18-17. In what would have been a tense round of handshakes if the incident never occurred, both teams embraced each other and knew that everything had just been put in perspective. No one really won that game.

The point where they loaded Corey into the ambulance.

The point where they loaded Corey into the ambulance (Hoopfest 2013).

I left my spot at the scorer’s table and went to my mom across the street. Just seeing the tears in her own eyes made me wonder how terrible such a situation must be for the parents who actually have their own kids go through such a devastating and violent injury. Glen and Kyle went straight to the hospital. After a stint in the emergency room, they transferred Corey to intensive care. Things started to get a little scary.

Although he ended up getting stabilized while in the ICU, the damage could not have been more pronounced. Corey had sustained a serious concussion, the inside of his brain was bleeding, the back of it was bruised, and he had suffered a skull fracture. To make you squirm a little, doctors had to use eight staples to shut the giant laceration on the left side of his head.

Glen and Kyle spent Saturday night and Sunday at the hospital with their teammate and friend. On Monday, my mom went to the hospital and met Corey’s parents for the first time who were very gracious about her visit. They said although it was Corey’s first Hoopfest, it would probably be his last. They also said they were hoping that Corey would get released from the hospital that day but that it would have to come when dark fell because he was having sensitivity issues with the daylight.

In fact Corey did get discharged from the hospital that Monday night. He is currently in Ellensburg. Corey faces a long road of recovery and he will be unable to do a lot of things for quite some time. I feel so awful for him. Although I only knew him for around 24  hours before the incident you hate to see something like that happen to someone so young and someone so nice. Another lesson in perspective for me. Here’s to a full recovery, Corey. I am sorry this happened to you. Don’t Blink.

A Couple Fun Days on Tap

I always say that June is one of the best months of the year and it looks like 2013 will be no disappointment. Over the next couple of days I will get to enjoy a couple of fun events, some travel, and, if the forecast holds up, plenty of sun. June is here and the good times are just getting started!

Tomorrow the fundraising organization of our athletic department holds the Conoco Grizzly Golf Classic. Held at Canyon River Golf Course, this is definitely one of my favorite days on the work calendar. Starting early in the morning, many of our coaches, prominent community members, and diehard Griz supporters will tee up and play a round of golf on the beautiful course. The golfers won’t be alone. Many of our staff members, myself included, will help out throughout the whole day to make sure all participants have a great experience.

There are plenty of hot dogs served at the tournament (picture with Stacey from last year).

There are plenty of hot dogs served at the tournament (picture with Stacey from last year).

But it is just not the golfers that have a great experience…us volunteers do too! Getting to enjoy a day out of the office around co-workers in a fun and relaxed setting is the best. Getting to see the amount of Griz Pride that our community members and supporters have is pretty cool too. This year my main job will be to shuttle golfers from the third hole to the fourth hole. Worried about my golf cart driving skills? Don’t be. Today a group of us drove four carts from campus to the golf course, a roughly six mile trek over bridges, through a supermarket parking lot, and down a highway. Call me a pro if you please.

Just like last year I will be driving  the golf cart again.

Just like last year I will be driving the golf cart again.

After a tasty Outback catered lunch to conclude the golf tournament, I will get in my car and hit the road for Spokane. The Reser Family hotel will be open as I crash at my parents’ house for the night. Then in the morning, my sister and I will pile in my folks’ CRV and we will travel even further west to Ellensburg, Washington, for my brother’s college graduation.

My brother is graduating from Central Washington University with a degree in recreational tourism. The ceremony will take place in the Wildcats’ football stadium under what are supposed to be sunny skies. After it becomes official that day at 2 p.m. that my bro is a college graduate we will turn back around and return to Spokane. I will return for the night while my brother will return for the summer as he begins an internship with the Spokane Valley Parks and Recreation Department. But before that important internship starts, there will be some celebrating in order that evening. It should definitely be a fun time to commemorate by brother’s achievement.

Glen is graduating from Central Washington where he played baseball.

Glen is graduating from Central Washington where he played baseball.

Golf and Graduation, doesn’t sound too bad, does it? Throw in the sunshine that the weatherman has promised and I am pumped up for an awesome weekend. I hope that all of you have a great weekend as well and thanks again for taking the time to read my blog. Don’t Blink.

Watching the American Country Awards in Person

My brother, his friend Brandon, and myself were sitting at an outdoor venue in Vegas called the Corner Bar. It is right between Bill’s Gambling Hall and the Flamingo and it offers an elevated deck to sit at and enjoy a cold drink while watching the Vegas throngs walk every direction on the strip. Drenched in the December sunshine and getting a kick out of the people that walked by, we were having an awesome time. The hour approached 4 p.m. and even though I could have been content to sit there the rest of the night, I knew I would kick myself for a long time if I didn’t get up and start heading north on the strip.

“Glen, we have to go down to Mandalay Bay,” I told my brother as we sat in our stools. “I will regret it if I don’t see this show. “

I was referring to the American Country Awards, a mega celebration honoring the superstars of the business annually held at the Mandalay Bay. My brother graciously agreed to walk down with me even though it meant that he might have to hang by himself for a couple hours. You see, we had actually ventured to the Mandalay Bay earlier in the day and tried to get tickets. However, most of the only seats available were in the ultra expensive section and the remaining few left in the more affordable sections were obstructed views and were not together. However, the people at the box office told us to come back right before the show and check again as sometimes seats would open up.

I was prepared to just buy a single seat with an obstructed view and watch the show by myself. However, because we had waited so long I thought that option might had even passed me by. The show started at 5 p.m. and we got to the Mandalay Bay box office at around 4:35 p.m. Expecting the worst, I actually received the best case scenario. Seats actually had opened up, and good ones too! I quickly called Glen over and asked if he wanted to see the show and before he could even answer I told the ticket lady that we would take two tickets…Glen was not going to miss this with me. At $75 per ticket to see the people we listen to on the radio every day, I was not going to let either of us pass this by.


Our tickets to the American Country Awards.

We got our tickets and ventured right to the Mandalay Bay events center. First thing I noticed upon entering besides the thousands of cowboys and cowgirls surrounding us? The pristine condition of the arena’s concourse. The place was spotless. We got to our great seats (second level, to the right of the stage) and settled in for the show. Before the show started there were several announcements over the public address system notifying us when it would start, what a great time we were in for, and that the production would be live. The voice also encouraged us to take our seats and to be loud. A few minutes before the show started, a GAC personality came out and gave us a pep talk pretty much echoing what the public address voice had said. He told us to sing along to every song, cheer loudly, and have a great time. He said if we performed all three of these things, we would have a chance to get on television. Finally, the show started…

The voice counted down to the start of the show and Luke Bryan came out and rocked the house, singing “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye.” It got me so pumped up and excited to have a seat at the show. Out of all the performers, he was one of my favorites. Besides Bryan, I got to see all of these other stars perform: Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, Jake Owen, Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban, Lynard Skynard + Trace Adkins, Kip Moore, Little Big Town, and Lady Antebellum. My other two top performances were by the Lynard Kkynard + Trace Adkins combo and Kip Moore.

Kip Moore performing during the ACA's.

Kip Moore performing during the ACA’s.

Trace Adkins and Kristin Chenoweth hosted the show. Although I didn’t know much about Chenoweth going in, I know a lot now, especially that she is small and that she has an unmistakable voice. The duo did a great job hosting and made me laugh a lot. I will always remember Kristin coming out on stage dressed as Honey Boo Boo.

This was my first ever awards show and let me tell you, they got it down to a science. The show started promptly at 5 p.m. and ended right at 7 p.m. I guess I expected to see more chaos and running around with set changes and stage managers trying to direct people all over the place but none of that occurred. The production ran flawlessly and set changes were quiet and quick. When a performance ended, a simple wall would close sectioning off the old set while the new set was constructed in. You ever wonder what happens during commercial breaks for audience entertainment? At the ACA’s they replayed performances on the big screens from last year’s show. At the conclusion of the old video, the voice over the public address system would countdown to the show beginning again and ask for applause.

Lady A receiving Group of the Year honors.

Lady A receiving Group of the Year honors.

One of my favorite parts of the experience was just to look down on all the talent that sat stage side. I enjoyed watching them interact with each other and mingle from seat to seat during the commercial breaks. Of course you had all of the major country superstars but you also had general celebrities there as well. Carmen Electra, Ron White, Penn and Teller, Natasha Bedingfield, and a couple San Francisco Giants players all presented awards. Even though I don’t get star struck, I do get a little caught up in so much talent being under one roof.

I do admit that probably after the first hour, the show started to run together for me a little bit. When you see so many stars perform and so many celebrities present in such a short time span, you get a little overwhelmed. So naturally, when I mentioned all of the performers above, I know I probably left out one or two…same goes with the presenters. I wouldn’t even dare recapping the show in fear of leaving out significant pieces of the night.

What a great time my brother and I had!

What a great time my brother and I had!

The American Country Awards will go down as a very fond memory for me. Of course the reason that predictably stands out for making this event so memorable was that I got to see my favorite musicians perform under one roof. However, it goes deeper than that. This experience was so awesome because I got to see it in my favorite city, view it in a cool venue, and share it with the one person who I would most want to. I feel very fortunate to have made this part of my Vegas experience. Don’t Blink.

A Successful Vegas Trip With My Bro (December 2012)

On Thursday night I returned to Missoula after spending the first half of the week down in Las Vegas. I had a wonderful time and I must say, it turned out to be one of the most (if not the most) successful trips I have had down there. How do I count success? Just by the fact that it was probably the least amount of money I have ever spent on a Vegas trip. When it came to gambling, I am pretty sure with everything added in, I actually came up ahead. Of course with all the entertainment and food we indulged in, it made me return home in the red a little but as I was saying it was not nearly as bad as usual. I would just like to briefly summarize my trip.

Glen and I had a great trip in Vegas with our friends, Brandon and Madison.

Glen and I had a great trip in Vegas with our friends, Brandon and Madison.

If you read my previous post, you knew that Glen (my brother) and I stayed in Bill’s Gambling Hall. I said from the onset that it would probably be one of the least glamorous hotels we would stay in and upon checking in my assumption was correct. I got off my shuttle and went to the registration desk. There was absolutely no line at the pint sized check in area. I got my room assignment….floor 1! In Vegas I had always stayed on some ridiculously high floor. Not this go around. I got on the elevator that was ten feet from the check in area and took the shaky one floor ride. The elevator doors opened and our hotel room was right there! Least strenuous trek to a Vegas hotel room ever! I was quite pleased at this because as I looked down the hallway it looked quite dark and scary. The room itself was outdated and weirdly shaped and the bathroom had strange stained glass in it. But we also got a flat screen television and the beds were very comfortable! The room definitely grew on us and it served as a great spot to hang out, listen to music, and gather ourselves before we hit the town. We will never see Bill’s again because it is closing in February but we would definitely stay there again.


Not a high roller room, but it did its purpose.

Not a high roller room, but it did its purpose.

My brother and I enjoyed the fantastic weather in Vegas. Especially on Monday and Tuesday the weather was sunny and warm and we pretty much basked in it! T-shirts and shorts were the norm. There was a café/bar right in the middle of the strip that overlooked everything that we enjoyed sitting at and people watching as all the Vegas foot traffic would pass us by. During the night the weather did get a little cool but it was a far cry from the harshness of Montana and Washington.

The weather was sunny most of the time we were in Vegas.

The weather was sunny most of the time we were in Vegas.

Glen and I spent a lot of time on the strip and in downtown Vegas but we also spent some of each day at a place called the Stage Door. The Stage Door is a lounge area specializing in cheap drinks, fifty cent hot dogs, and other cheap food. Located off the strip about two minutes from our hotel, Glen and I would walk down and enjoy ourselves with some of the Vegas locals. We made great friends with one of the workers, Brittany, and she treated us very well. With great music, interesting people, and a completely different take on Vegas, we enjoyed our time at Stage Door and have many fond memories.

Glen and I with Brittany

A really cool part of this trip was that we got to hang with a couple of Glen’s friends who live in Vegas, Brandon and Madison. Glen played baseball with Brandon at Walla Walla Community College and met Madison in the town as well. Brandon and Madison started dating and when Brandon moved back to Vegas after baseball was over, Madison went with him. Two different nights Brandon and Madison drove to the strip and hung out with us. We watched sports together at the Mandalay Bay, laughed out loud as we witnessed people trying to sing karaoke, hung out at the Stage Door, met an old rocker, and had an epic night in downtown Vegas. The couple treated us so well and gave us rides everywhere. Thank you so much Brandon and Madison, we had a great time with you guys!


The four of us! (From l-r: Brandon, Madison, me, and Glen).

The four of us! (From l-r: Brandon, Madison, me, and Glen).

There are a few highlights from this trip that I will always remember: 1. While we were down in Vegas, the NFR was going on. I have never seen so many cowboys in my life! They had definitely taken over the city. 2. Thanks to my brother’s amazing eye, we saw Jason Aldean up close and personal as he was playing Black Jack at one of the tables in Mandalay Bay. We watched him keep reaching for money and puffing on cigarettes. As other people started to notice it was him, he got up and left. 3. Glen and I had the opportunity to attend the American Country Awards (ACAs). It was a very special experience as we saw our favorite country superstars perform live. It was also my first ever awards show. I will blog about this exclusively in tomorrow’s post. 4. I cashed at a poker tournament!! In my life, I have never finished in the money at a real casino poker tournament. Glen and I played in one at Bill’s. In a field of about 30 players, I lasted until only four of us were left. After about 20 minutes of the four of us taking each other’s chips back and forth, we made a group decision to chop the pot (split up the prize pool four ways). I felt so accomplished! 5. We participated in a focus group! After eating lunch in Planet Hollywood, we were asked to participate in a focus group. We got paid $85 to watch a 40 minute show and then give our opinion about it. This was definitely something I have never done in Vegas and I will also write a post about it soon.

Can you spot Jason Aldean?!?!

Can you spot Jason Aldean?!?!


Luke Bryan performing at the ACA's to open the show!

Luke Bryan performing at the ACA’s to open the show!


I want to thank my brother, Brandon, and Madison for a great Vegas trip. Of course we have many other fond memories that won’t make it into this post but I think from what I did offer, you can tell that we had a good time. I already miss Vegas and want to go back. Who wants to go with Glen and I next time? Don’t Blink.

Reser Boys Annual December Vegas Vacation

If you start reading this post and ask yourself “Hey, haven’t I read this once before?” you might want to call up your doctor and ask for a psychological exam. I say this because chances are you have read a post similar to this one NOT JUST ONCE but several times. Yes, you guessed it, I am off to Las Vegas again.

I know I need to explore a little more but for me there is only one vacation spot and that spot is located in the desert of Nevada. Each year I take vacation for a few days in June and then for a few days in December and for both of those months I prefer to go to Las Vegas. Because I held true to my schedule in the summer, it was only proper to return to Vegas this December.

Funny story, this trip almost got off to a catastrophic start. I checked my flight itinerary several times and was convinced that my flight departed at 6:10 p.m. I planned my whole day around that departure time and at 3:30 p.m. while I was nowhere near my apartment I got a call from my friend Mike (and chauffeur to the airport) informing me that my flight was to take off at 5:15 p.m. After telling him a couple times that he was crazy I checked my itinerary on my phone and saw that he in fact was correct. I mistakenly kept referencing my arrival time in Vegas as my departure time from Missoula (I gain an hour because of a time zone change). I busted out of my office, hurried back home, packed like a mad man, and hopped in Mike’s car. We got to the airport in enough time for the original 5:15 p.m. departure but I quickly learned that my mad dash was a little in vain as the Allegiant worker announced that my flight was an hour delayed.

So that brings me to where I am at now. Sitting in the Missoula Airport waiting out my delay, I can’t wait to get to Vegas. I am ready to leave the snow covered landscape and icy roads of Missoula for the sunny skies and 60 degree weather of Las Vegas. Making this trip even better is that I get to spend it with my brother. This will be our third straight Vegas December trip together. The two of us always have a great time when we are together and it is amplified even more when we are in Las Vegas. In fact, we have so much fun that it doesn’t even matter that we are staying in one of the, how shall I put it, less upscale properties on the strip. This go-around, we will be staying in Bill’s Gambling Hall. How sad is Bill’s? Well, just two weeks ago, Harrah’s Properties announced the closure of the hotel in February. With closure imminent, who knows what shape it will be in when we get there. But we couldn’t care less, my brother and I love poker and Bill’s offers fun and affordable tournaments.

Besides poker what else do we expect to do? Relax. The atmosphere of Las Vegas is like no other and that is what draws my brother and I there twice a year. We have no set agenda, we just want to hang out and enjoy ourselves.

So while I am in the desert over the next few days I will not be posting to Don’t Blink. However, I will be back posting once I return. Have a great week everyone and get some Christmas shopping done! Don’t Blink.