Travel and Gamification, NFL 2013, Tacos

August 2013 was the second time in three months that I left a blank monthly archive. Two out of three ain’t bad, unless it’s a non-updated website.

  • I’ve been traveling a lot this year for work. This isn’t always fun, but it has been a tremendous insight into the idea of gamification. I never knew of airline status as anything other than some vague preferential treatment for years and years, but now that I’m on the road all the time, this shit has become way too important.

    I finally made Premier Silver on United two months ago — admittedly that’s a pretty weak boast if you talk to any true road warrior — and the arrival of the silver-ish (in other words, gray) luggage tag tag in the mail felt like that time I got called back for the second round of Jeopardy! auditions. Now I’m one of those people who gets the special security line, Economy Plus seating and envious looks from exhausted tourists who know they’ll miss out on an overhead compartment spot. Whatever, haters: go fly into Charlotte-Douglas and John Wayne Airport week after week and they’ll throw you a bone, too.

    So the gamification part: no matter how trivial a task or a reward might seem, the desire for recognition and achievement is so strong that the people controlling that task/reward can really draw a lot of extra desire and effort out of the rest of us just by enumerating levels and badges. It’s one of the many psychological tactics out there in the world, and while I know appending the words “Premier Silver” to my boarding pass doesn’t mean anything at all in the real world, here I am caring about it anyway.

    I’ll take note of that again when I check in at my hotel tonight. Just eight more nights until Hilton Diamond status!

  • The NFL starts up again this week. Speaking of psychological control, I am well aware that Roger Goodell and the owners get away with a huge amount of ethically despicable behavior, yet I’m already right here eagerly consuming their product yet again this fall. I don’t quite know what to feel about this other than to point it out – if there’s some way to separate the fandom from the naked greed that drives owner indifference to both players’ mental health or the public’s finances, all while wrapped in a soggy blanket of fake down-home American grittiness, then I’m all for it, but I know already my fandom is going to win out anyway. If someone could figure a way out of this moral dilemma before the cheese for my nachos finishes up in the microwave, that would be great.
  • All I know about the tacos out here in California is that they are amazing. Why does a corn tortilla go so well with grilled seafood and lime? I don’t know, but I am eternally grateful to the person who found this out. You could really enjoy a life of tacos and ocean out here without much effort.
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