Living in the Moment

Two Mondays previous I was in DC with The Cheese Puff to see my all time favorite band. I had been supposed to see them here in Cleveland at the beginning of November as well, but that’s a whole other story with a lot of glaring looks and friendly ribbing over Polish beer and an unnecessarily large charcuterie board.

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The Illusion of Luxury

Companies and marketers have often used tricks to make us think that something is more valuable or scarce (and thus more valuable) than it actually is. Psychologists have been studying the marketing phenomenon since Don Draper and his band of Mad Merry Men invented marketing in 1960.

Whether it’s adding useless parts into a product to make it feel heavier and thus more valuable or paying for private clubs or ‘exclusive’ ‘credit cards’ we are drawn to things or experiences that make us feel as if we have something no one else does. As if this moment, right here was made just for us.

Yesterday I got a replacement credit card. Marriott rebranded their rewards program, and thus their co-branded credit cards. Previously the “Marriott Premier Plus” card had been made of metal. It was a normal thickness, had a slight weight to it, and allowed me to use it in exchange for goods and services. This new “Marriott Bonvoy Boundless” is just a flimsy piece of plastic and also has a stupid name.

Until yesterday I did not know that I cared about that.

I’m still not 100% convinced I actually do, but clearly enough of me does to write the previous paragraph.

Accumulated Memories

To fear the world we have organized and led for three-quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems is unpatriotic. American nationalism isn’t the same as in other countries. It isn’t nativist or imperial or xenophobic, or it shouldn’t be. Those attachments belong with other tired dogmas that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history.

– John McCain, “The Restless Wave”

Crushed Like a Fine Wine

One of the most soul crushing aspects of motor sports is that a driver can be knocked out of the race before they’ve even completed the first turn. Or, as was the case for Valtteri Bottas in Azerbaijan, going from first to DNF on the final lap because of a blowout due to debris on the track. Of course it’s part of the sport, but that can be little consolation, even without championships on the line.

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The Cause of and Solution To

The past couple Thursday’s I’ve had trouble accessing some websites on the Rising Star WiFi. Some load just fine, while others (including wordpress) do not. The past couple weeks I’ve just hotspotted my phone and loaded it that way, but today I decided to try and figure out whether the issue was on my computer or their router. Continue reading “The Cause of and Solution To”

It’s the Little Things

While sipping tea atop the Etihad towers and munching on tea food I came across one of the more brilliant minor designs that I have seen. One of the issues that annoys me most about dining in a restaurant is the final bill. Not the paying or the final total (though these too can be issues of annoyance) but in how the bill is presented. Specifically that, when paying by card, there is nowhere to put the pen. When presented in a folder, the pen often prevents the folder from closing. On occasion there is enough room to tuck it in the spine, but while functional, it is less then ideal as it puts added stress on the seam and results in a broken folder (a broken or *gasp* missing credit card holder in a folder sets off a serious neurotic episode, and let’s not even discuss the ‘coin’ problem). Continue reading “It’s the Little Things”