Monday, August 24, 2009

The Small Stuff

I get "Tips of the Day" in my work email. Here's today's:

Sweating the small stuff may not be good advice when dealing with daily stresses, but experts say it may be the most effective approach when it comes to weight control. Try setting small, specific goals such as substituting every other soda with a glass of water or committing to a one-mile walk three times per week after dinner. Procrastination also gets in the way of forming healthier habits, so start today! For more useful tips, go to

While I agree with a lot of these weight management tips, maybe I'm just too harsh on myself when it comes to these sorts of things... small, specific goals sure are easier to attain, but is cutting soda out of your diet really that big of a deal? There's no time commitment, no equipment to buy, and there are immediate (relatively) benefits that you can see and feel that are immediately connected to stopping drinking carbonated acid-water.

I don't even want to get started on the whole "I'll start my diet next week" crap.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

an open letter to Blockbuster's marketing team

I got this in my email today... I was a Blockbuster Online customer a few years ago, when they first started the service. I figured I'd try it out and see how it compared. (That story ends with me still being a happy Netflix customer some years later)

One of the things I did like about Blockbuster was that you could return/exchange DVD's in the store - a significant advantage over Netflix since there aren't any Netflix stores. In the offer (below) they state plainly that they're still doing this.

As a direct marketer with an appreciation for the medium, I figured I'd click through the offer and see what they had for me. I was mostly curious about where the closest Blockbuster was, since I've not had to find one for quite some time. Here's what the store locator shows for my ZIP Code:

In looking at the map, I thought that there were quite a few more stores close to me, though I'd noticed that a couple of them had closed lately. I figured I'd search "blockbuster" in Google Maps to see what I could come up with.

Sure enough, there's a bunch of stores that apparently aren't there any more. I recall that there were also stores in several locations (School & Lincoln, Irving & Lincoln) that don't show up on either map.

So, Blockbuster - here's my question to you. What are you trying to accomplish by marketing an overall inferior product (Blockbuster's suggestion engine is AWFUL!) in an area where you've recently closed a BUNCH of stores when your only competitive advantage relies on the physical presence that you just diminished?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cedar Point

My first visit to America's Roller Coast... holy shit I forgot how much I love Roller Coasters!

I went for a ride from our hotel in the morning, what a beautiful morning to ride. Close to the end, I was confronted by the Cedar Point Police (park security)... the guy was yelling something out the window, I kept pedaling and yelling "what!?" at him (I now assume he was telling me to pull over), then asked if he was pulling me over. At that point, he hit the brakes, flipped on the lights and hit the siren. I found a spot to pull over on the side, then he told me that I wasn't supposed to be riding on the causeway. I legitimately hadn't seen the signs, told him this, then he told me he'd "have to escort me the rest of the way" off the causeway. I was on my way back to the hotel so I dialed it up to about 31mph (in a 30mph speed zone, hehe) into a seriously nasty headwind, spiked my heart rate, and got the hell out of there. I know the guy was doing his job, but at 7am who's LEAVING a theme park? Just coaster-loving cyclists.

Tracy was a good sport about trying out a few of the rides, but after a harrowing front-car trip on Magnum XL-200 she decided that her Coaster days were behind her. I'm glad she was willing to wait the lines with me, even if she'd take the chicken exit once we got to the platform.

I took some video of the "Top Thrill Dragster"ride in operation that I'll post in an update later... holy hell it looked like it would be quite a ride, too bad it broke down when I was 5 minutes away from getting on.