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…
Thats right, I got a new toothbrush. It's not just any toothbrush though, it's an electric. I am the proud owner of a brand new sonicare e7300. So what.
So what? I'll tell you what. I'm pumped. After living in the technological shadow of my girlfriend and my roommate for so long, I'm now a proud member of the dental technocracy.
I think that the packaging is what has really gotten me jazzed about brushing my teeth, which speaks to one of two things: I'm either the biggest nerd to have ever roamed the earth, or great packaging can do wonders for the consumers interaction with a product. I think it's the latter, but it's probably a little of both. But to prove that it isn't just my nerdery, just think for a minute about what it was like when you opened your first iPod.
From the "no-shit" file: this was widely considered to be the best ad that was made last year. If you're reading this, there is a good chance of your being American (or Canadian), which means you never saw it. Well, unless you are in advertising … in which case you're just going to think that I'm lame. Whatever. I still love it, and I feel like I must post it even if it is way old news. Maybe this concession will break the curse and get that god-damned song out of my head.