Amazon knows my life better than I do

For a short period after I moved to Las Vegas, I thought that I had forgotten my shower curtain in California. However, I soon remembered that I never actually had a shower curtain (my apartment used to have a sliding glass door, and the team house shower curtain belongs in the team house), so I went and bought a new shower curtain.

I bought a Volens ruffled white shower curtain because it looked more luxurious and elegant than a regular printed shower curtain, and it fit my apartment’s minimalistic and simple theme pretty well. After it arrived, I hung it up using the included rings, and I had my shower curtain.

Now normally, Amazon gives you product recommendations based off what you purchase. Sometimes it will recommend the same item again in the case of refillable products, but for one-time or big purchases (like televisions), it usually won’t continue to recommend you even more TVs, as it knows you now already have one. In those situations, it may instead start recommending related products, like a TV wall mount.

For some reason, Amazon insisted on constantly giving me additional shower curtain recommendations. Now, if I had purchased a product like dog treats, it would make sense for Amazon to continue recommending dog treats to me, as my (theoretically-existing) dog (for the purposes of this ex­am­ple) would eventually finish consuming the treats and need more. However, people generally don’t eat or replace their shower curtains too often, so I was very confused as to why my recommendations were lined with more shower curtains.

I ended up just ignoring the recommendations, and everything was fine for two months. But recently, my shower curtain started smelling a bit un­pleas­ant – it was actually the smell that clothes give off if they’ve been left out to air dry in a humid and bacteria-prone area, instead of being quickly dried in a machine dryer. This wasn’t a problem, though – I just unhooked my fancy shower curtain from the rings and threw it in the washing machine and dryer.

It shrunk.

For some reason, the shower curtain railing above my bathtub is unusually high, and on top of that, my tub is one of those hybrid soaking tubs that are ergonomically designed in an oval (which requires even more leftover curtain at the bottom to be able to stretch inward and fit inside the tub). My royal shower curtain was already only just barely making it in, but with it just barely shrinking in the wash (because this was made out of polyester and not vinyl), it was hanging above the tub.

This is the moment I discovered that Amazon knew what was going to happen months before it happened, and I began questioning the meaning of life. Amazon somehow knew that, because I had only purchased a polyester fabric shower curtain and no vinyl shower curtain liner to go with it, it should keep recommending shower curtains because it predicted that (1) I needed something vinyl to go inside the tub, (2) I would wash this shower curtain, it would shrink, and I would need to buy a new one, or (3) both.

I picked out a PEVA shower curtain liner and placed my order. The shower curtain recommendations instantly disappeared.

Now Amazon is recommending different kinds of body wash, soap, and toothbrushes to me.

I haven’t replaced my toothbrush in 4 months.

I’m just going to pretend like Amazon doesn’t actually know that, and they just made a lucky guess.

 

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How not to address a letter

I’ve been doing some shopping for collectables on eBay lately. I’ve never really been much of a materialistic person (and I’m still not), but I recently started collecting Absol Pokémon cards for two main reasons – the first reason being that Pokémon has had quite a significant impact on my childhood and it seemed like, if I were to collect anything, cards of my favorite Pokémon would be reasonable.

The second reason is a bit more complex. I often criticize people for being too materialistic and focusing too much on possessions, especially if these are material possessions that aren’t even used that much and serve no real function or purpose. I personally believe in spending a lot of money on items that you use often, then offsetting that extra spending by just straight-up not purchasing items that you don’t really need – this is a pretty straightforward way to enhance your quality of life.

However, I’m also under the belief that it’s very difficult to understand other people’s “strange” behaviors unless you are there in their shoes. As a result, in order to ensure that I’m not “missing out” on something simply because I’m not a collector of an item, and to make sure that I’m not making this criticism out of ignorance, I decided to partake in the activity for first-hand experience.

That explanation got quite a bit more involved than I anticipated, especially for a blog post titled “how not to address a letter.” As I mentioned moments ago, I’ve been buying very cheap Absol Pokémon cards off eBay to try and round out my collection, some of which are only available from international sellers. I found one particular foreign card offered by a German seller, so I purchased the item.

Of course, being from Germany, the seller most likely wasn’t too familiar with United States addresses. However, instead of just copying the address exactly like how I submitted it to him, he decided to apply his own unique twist:

How not to address a letter

I’ve historically complained a substantial amount about the United States Postal Service for leaving my packages in front of random, incorrect doors, or putting my mail in the wrong mailbox, but in this case, I’m genuinely impressed that an envelope addressed to “8SΛCA Las Vegan” somehow still ended up in my mailbox.

 

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Grand opening at Esports Arena Las Vegas

When I signed my contract with my new apartment in Las Vegas, I had a decent range of dates during which I could decide to move in – a range of one month, to be exact. Being a part of the esports industry, I was pretty excited about the grand opening of the new Esports Arena in Las Vegas, so I made sure to pick a move-in date that would allow me to already be in Las Vegas by grand opening day.

If you weren’t already aware, the grand opening date was yesterday, the 22nd. I personally wasn’t too much of a fan of the party that was going on, or of any of the gaming events that were taking place, but I was still curious about the Arena and wanted to be there in person for this historic moment, so I made my way over to the Luxor Hotel & Casino.

Esports Arena Las Vegas

Esports Arena Las Vegas

Esports Arena Las Vegas

Esports Arena Las Vegas

I ended up leaving early after snapping some photos, but I did get a good feel for what the Arena was like. My favorite part was the fact that, because it was in a hotel and casino on the Las Vegas Strip, there were a lot of people, especially those of older generations, who ended up wandering in. Although they looked like they had no idea what was going on, I’m glad that it looked like they were at least enjoying themselves; the fact that the back of the Arena has classic box arcade games helped a bit as well.

Esports Arena Las Vegas

 

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I moved again

A few days ago, I explained that a big day would be coming up soon on the 20th, but like tradition, I tend not to really tell people what’s going on until it’s either already happening, or the event has passed. I do this mainly because I don’t really want to announce things before I am 100% certain they will happen, because I don’t like announcing things then having to announce that the particular thing is no longer happening, but I also do it with security in mind, as I don’t really want people to be able to keep track of what I’m up to.

Well, now that it’s the 21st, I can gladly share what I’ve been up to lately – for the fifth time in the past year and a half, I moved once again.

Back in late November of 2016, I moved from my hometown in the Chicagoland suburbs to Tempo Storm’s first team house in Southern California. From there, I moved to Tempo Storm’s second team house (all while setting them up and preparing them for move-in for our players). Afterwards, I moved out of the team house and into my own one-bedroom apartment. After my lease ended, I moved back into one of Tempo Storm’s team houses, upon which I did mention on my blog that I would be moving to Las Vegas (after I had signed my lease electronically).

Of course, for security purposes, I didn’t want to announce exactly when I was moving, but that day came and passed – it was on the 20th. I am now settled into my Las Vegas apartment (which was pretty easy because I didn’t really have that many belongings).

Because I get motion sickness if I drive for too long, I made a few stops along the way, one of which was in Baker, CA. While I was eating some Subway, I looked up and literally saw a billboard for Esports Arena Las Vegas:

Esports Arena Las Vegas billboard in Baker, CA

I knew that Esports Arena was gonna be huge, but the fact that they literally have a billboard advertising in Baker (and I actually saw a few more on the way to Las Vegas too) made me pretty happy that the esports industry was growing to be this large.

After unloading all my belongings out of my rented minivan into my new apartment, I climbed up to one of my favorite amenities of my new apartment building, the rooftop lounge. This is the view of the Las Vegas Strip from out in the suburbs:

View of the Las Vegas Strip from my apartment's rooftop lounge

 

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Ultra super professional sushi photo blogger Adam reporting for duty

All-you-can-eat sushi buffet

All-you-can-eat sushi buffet

All-you-can-eat sushi buffet

All-you-can-eat sushi buffet

I don’t even remember where this was because I went with my cousin, aunt, and uncle, and they picked out the location, but in terms of sushi quality vs. price, this is actually probably one of the best all-you-can-eat sushi buffets that I’ve ever been to.

All I know about it as of right now is that it’s in Los Angeles County… which is probably one of the least helpful things I could’ve said, considering the size of Los Angeles County.

 

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My first experience with JetBlue, and why I’ll just stick with oneworld Alliance

So I’m back from my eventful trip to the NVIDIA headquarters San José, CA, and I’ve had a few days to settle back in at home. After hearing a lot of positive things about JetBlue (especially from Casey Neistat after he switched his primary domestic airline from American Airlines to JetBlue after American Airlines didn’t reinvite him to Concierge Key), I finally tried them out for the first time. I decided I would share my thoughts and experiences regarding my first flight ever with JetBlue versus my regular airline of American Airlines, part of oneworld Alliance.

 
I have notoriously bad flight experiences. A few years ago, I traveled a decent amount for my job in esports, with my primary trip being from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport to Los Angeles International Airport. There have been nearly non-existent instances where I managed to fly without problems. Very often, my gate was moved around, sometimes multiple times per flight, before they finally decided on one through which we would board. I’ve had some absurd instances where my flights were delayed because of things like a broken toilet, and once even because they somehow ran out of planes and had to send one from Mexico to come pick us up in Los Angeles.

On flights where everything else seemed to work out, there have still been little nuisances, such as online check-in not working, having to check in at the kiosk, and ending up in the final boarding group so I was forced to check my carry-on luggage; all the way to having pre-purchased a wifi pass and having the wifi break on my flight. Even on a flight where I flew first class, everything seemed to be going perfectly until I got to my final destination… first class is supposed to have priority baggage where your luggage is supposed to be the first to come out at baggage claim, but my luggage somehow ended up being the last.

The one time I clearly recall that I flew with zero problems is a minuscule less-than-one-hour first class flight from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, which I imagine was problem-free only because I literally got off the plane and out of the airport before anything could even happen. But interestingly enough, we nearly had a car collision on my way from the airport back home because my driver wasn’t paying attention to the road and nearly rear-ended someone.

However, through all of that, there had not been a single time that my flight was canceled. The longest my flight has ever been delayed was just a few hours, and eventually, American Airlines always found a way to get me to my final destination before the day was over.

And then JetBlue proceeded to cancel my second ever flight with them (first, if you calculate it by round-trip bookings).

 
Although I might have a slight bias because JetBlue introduced me to my very first canceled flight experience, I still think I’m taking a relatively neutral approach to analyzing my JetBlue vs. American Airlines breakdown – at least when it comes to my individual perspective in my personal situation.

  • JetBlue’s unlimited snacks is no different than what is already served with economy fares anyway.

    When JetBlue really marketed their unlimited snacks, I thought it would be similar to my first class experience with American Airlines from LAS to LAX. Because the flight was so short, there was no meal served, but the flight attendant literally came around 4 times with a tray of snacks with such great variety that every single bag of chips, crackers, and cookies was different. I literally ate four different items that day.

    JetBlue goes around with complimentary non-alcoholic drinks and a limited choice between cookies and Cheez-Its (the rest of the supposed available snacks were not available). Nowadays, free non-alcoholic beverages and a choice from two basic snacks is standard (as long as you’re not flying with an ultra budget airline like Spirit), so I’m not exactly sure why JetBlue is borderline bragging about their snacks.

  • The leg room is nice, but irrelevant for me.

    On my JetBlue flight from LGB to SJC, I upgraded to an Even More Space seat, while on the way back from SJC to LGB, I sat in a normal seat. Although the extra leg room on the outbound flight was nice, to me personally, it was next to pointless.

    Even though I’m somewhat tall at 5’10” (178 cm), I’m extremely lean at approximately 142 lbs (65 kg). I’m also pretty flexible, so I end up getting settled in pretty comfortably in small spaces. A lot of people use the space in front of them to stretch out their legs, but I generally am able to nimbly use vertical space to swing my legs around into different positions (and even sometimes cross my legs into the other) to keep the blood flowing. I’m also pretty intense and am able to sit still in the same position for hours at a time without fatiguing.

    The only reason I would imagine the extra space would be helpful is if I needed to pull out my laptop and work on the plane, but I generally cannot do that due to my air sickness. Although I would love to take advantage of that extra time, all I’m able to do without getting sick is occasionally look at my phone and just sleep. Although, sometimes working on my laptop isn’t even entirely possible because of the wifi, which brings us to the next point:

  • The wifi is nowhere near as advertised, and didn’t even work on my return flight.

    On my outbound flight, the free wifi on JetBlue, which is supposedly supposed to be somewhere around 12 Mbps, is nowhere near as advertised. It’s pretty much as slow as any other plane’s wifi, and it took a good few minutes to post photos on Twitter. On my inbound flight, the wifi just didn’t work at all.

    This personally isn’t really much of an issue for me because I’m a T-Mobile One Plus customer, and they provide unlimited free Gogo Inflight wifi to all their clients, so I can stay connected on American Airlines flights for free anyway. Although this is obviously not applicable to everyone, it ends up being a non-factor for me personally (mainly because my only potential benefit over Gogo – the supposed 12 Mbps of JetBlue wifi – seems to not be true).

  • Mosiac, JetBlue’s elite status program, is underwhelming.

    Again, this assessment heavily relies on my own personal situation, and may not apply to others, but I personally don’t care at all about rewards travel. The only reason I work towards an airline loyalty program, such as oneworld Alliance, is for the chance to get free cabin upgrades.

    I hate travel and try to avoid leisurely flights at all costs; the only time I fly is if my employer or a different company pays for the flight, which in that case, my points for award flights don’t matter. Either way, the value of literally one bump in cabin on a decently long domestic flight is generally far higher than any award flight that you struggle to book with your miles in basic economy.

    Mosiac does not offer cabin upgrades at all (I don’t really consider complimentary Even More Space seats to count because just having more leg room in the same exact seat doesn’t matter to me), and if I’m not mistaken, you cannot even redeem your airline points for cabin upgrades. Thus, I feel like I’m collecting all these points with JetBlue to possibly redeem them for a single free flight maybe once a year that has a microscopic retail price of like $60.

  • The aircraft feels a bit on the dated side.

    I’m not sure if I just got unlucky, but the plane I rode looked nothing like the JetBlue photos. The cabin looked old, the seats were a faded gray color and felt a bit tattered, and even the screens are just small TVs that don’t provide interactive show or movie selection. There’s a map “channel” that shows your GPS location, but that also isn’t interactive and cycles through so many advertisements that you only get to see the actual map for about 10 seconds out of every minute.

 
So, what’s my verdict after all of this?

I plan on sticking with American Airlines unless its prices are 20%+ more expensive than JetBlue, or in cases where American Airlines does not offer any non-stop flights but JetBlue does. At this point, I would literally prefer to pay up to 20% more because of AAdvantage and oneworld Alliance’s loyalty program for elite and Million Miler status.

In the case that JetBlue does provide significantly cheaper and more convenient options for a particular flight, I’m not entirely against using them. I think I probably just got unlucky with the canceled flight, and they are still a decent secondary alternative.

 

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The happiest ice cream

My aunt and uncle came to visit me today, and we went to an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant. This is what they gave me for dessert.

The happiest green tea ice cream

And of course, this can’t be a post about sushi if I don’t actually show some sushi, so here’s a photo of salmon nigiri:

Salmon nigiri

I had a lot of that

 

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