After noting the steady downward trend in the quality of movies hitting the multiplexes for the past couple of years, it's my guess that planning might be the direct culprit. Maybe they don't call themselves planners, and maybe instead of saying it was planning, maybe I should say it's bad planning. I can only imagine that these major studios have hired some kind of research goons to figure out how to make a buck by making the movie that John Q. America wants to see. I can almost visualize the questionnaire that certainly would have questions like:
On a scale of 1-5, what makes your loins tingle at the movies: Guns____ Naked____ Explosions____ Beyonce____ Hi-jinx____
From these kinds of things, you can tell what a consumer thinks that they like, but honestly, most people don't know what they would like. Henry Ford once said "If I asked the consumer what they wanted, they would've asked for a faster horse." There are a lot of planners that would take offense to that quote, but it's true, and I think it's what truly separates planning from research. Digging up data is easy, anyone can learn to do it. Digging up data and then coming up with intriguing ideas is where the meat of the discipline lies. In my limited experience I've found that at their most useful planners are idea people … and at their least useful, planners are just researchers. Anyways, if this is actually taking place in the movie industry, I hope they get their act together soon. I like going to the movies.
There is an article on CNN.com about these two billionaire investors and their thoughts on various oil price scenarios. After I read the article, it reminded me of a conversation that I had with my sister a week or so after hurricane Katrina. What would happen to society if oil suddenly became so scarce and expensive that it wasn't possible to continue its everyday use? Would suburbs continue to exist but turn into self sufficient villages around larger cities? Would there be a panic and mass exodus to the big cities? Would science be able to find a suitable replacement in time before society collapsed? Maybe society wouldn't collapse at all, but watching New Orleans deteriorate into a war zone in less than a week didn't give me much hope.
Of course all of this is completely uneducated speculation…and probably a little silly.
Since my surgery I spent one week completely on a liquid diet and now I'm spending four or five weeks on a soft foods diet. The problem with soft foods and liquids is that they tend to be sweet. My diet is probably right around 70% pure sugar right now with splenda making up 29% of the remaining. The other 1% is eggs and pasta. I'm to the point where I might never want to eat anything sweet again. Ice cream or candy or soda or iced tea…I'm sick of it all. I once loved sugar so…I loved candy and soda so much and now I just want to wretch whenever I think about it. I pine for the day when I can eat salsa and salty chips and steaks and salads again.
In February of 2004, I was minding my own business, working a marketing job at a software reseller, when my gut first struck. At first I was embarrassed because I thought I had a really bad hangover and I was at work, but then after I missed a few days I thought I had a stomach virus. It was a couple weeks later that I finally got in to see a gastroenterologist to find out why my hangover never went away. His guess: an ulcer. Easy enough. He prescribed me some medicine and I was on my merry way. But it kept going on. My mornings were spent belching in the shower trying my best not to vomit. So finally I scheduled an endoscopy. It was a hiatal hernia. Bummer. Those don't go away like ulcers do.
So fast forward two stomach-wrenching years to January 4th, 2006. I was in Georgetown University Hospital (or GUH as their internal publications call it) awaiting surgery at the hands of Dr. Steven Evans, who is chief of surgery at Georgetown and probably an all around rich guy. The surgery I had is called Laparoscopic Nissen Fundoplication. Basically they take the top of your stomach and wrap it around the valve that connects the esophagus and the stomach. It reinforces this valve and keeps all of that nasty stuff from coming back up and imperiling my day to day living.
That was last week, and now my incisions are healing and I graduated from my week long liquid diet to one of soft foods like eggs and pasta. I've lost 18 pounds and counting. But I don't feel like I'm going to throw up all the time now which is good. Now comes the real adventure: how badly will my insurance company try to give me the shaft this time?
I've often been accused of being a music snob. It's true. Sometimes I hate music for no good reason besides I hate the band members (Metallica) or I hate people that listen to it (Dave Matthews). I don't think its a negative thing, in fact, I think its important to have principles when it comes to what you're subjecting your body and mind to. In any case, I recently caught myself in the act of accepting a band, and that's what this post is really about.
I saw my first Coheed and Cambria video on Fuse in September or early october. The video started out with these guys grinding out some hard rock, and this huge guy with dreds and a beard (i think) who looked like he was going to move mountains with some kind of satanic gutteral barking noise. Then he sang, and it was a really odd high pitched vocal. Kind of like Rush. I was annoyed.
About a month later, I was borrowing some MP3's from my room mate (yarg) and noticed that he had some Coheed. I decided that I should download it to check it out. I listened to it a few times. It had some novelty.
Soon after that I found myself waylayed in O'hare International for a 4 hour layover with nothing but my iPod to help pass the time. Coheed was my soundtrack as I tried to distract myself from the bordom that only an airport can weild so successfully. I had bonded with Coheed. I liked it.
And so it grew from there. I love the band now, and it gave me a little insight as to how I go about adopting new music, and maybe about how people adopt brands. People probably tend to be a little more picky about the brands they adopt than they are about the music the let into their playlists. I think that there's a similar path between acceptance of brands by consumers and the acceptance of bands by music snobs. Most brands are going to be automatically hated by a consumer when they initially come into contact with it, because usually that is through the hated medium of advertising. Through a mixture of further exposure, some positive word of mouth, and some positive experiences, brands can make a transision from being a hated invader of consumers lives to making a favorable impression, much like a successful band. Well…maybe…