02/22 TGIF Quote

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Sit in reverie and watch the changing color of the waves that break upon the idle seashore of the mind.

~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Captive Markets – High Prices, High Experience

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That Bruins game three weeks ago made me ponder about some things.  For one thing, I was hoping that the Bruins are doing well this season (GO BRUINS!).  The other was the shocking increase of food and drink prices showcased on the menus.  I have not caught a Celtics or Bruins game in the TD Garden in a long while, so it was amazing to see how modernized everything looked.  What I wasn’t intrigued about were the ‘modern’ prices set around the area.

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For the record, it wasn’t just the alcohol that was up-scaled.  Burgers, pizza slices, hot dogs, chicken tenders, French fries, and even bags of peanuts were being sold at wildly outrageous prices.  I could purchase these items for half (even more) the prices at other places in Boston.

It wasn’t until a week later that I discovered a term that made all this complete sense to me.  What was going on at the time was simply known as a captive market.

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Captive markets are markets where the consumer face a severely limited number of competitive suppliers.  Their only choices are to purchase what is available or make no purchase at all.  This marketing tactic provides higher prices and less diverse options for the consumer.

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Being that the consumer is captive within a designated area, he/she is forced to choose from what is available to them.  Even with the higher price ranges, the consumer will still make a purchase based on what is available.

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This term right here describes best as to what happened at the TD Garden earlier.  Because there were very limited options to choose from for food and drinks, I was forced to purchase what was available at the TD Garden.  You aren’t able to bring in any outside food or drinks with you since they sell products during the event.  Every type of business was in full swing when the Boston Bruins were playing the Philadelphia Flyers.

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Rather than dwelling on the outrageously high prices, I found this concept quite fascinating.  It’s a perfectly reasonable marketing tactic aimed for the consumer to get the most out of their experience.  Whether it is a sports game or a rock concert, captive markets are always happening to provide the best experience necessary.

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With that, captive markets were happening during the Boston Bruins game I attended a few weeks ago.  At this point, I can only be intrigued by this unique marketing concept.  It is always great to discuss another marketing concept here at MakeSandcastlesNotWar.

Captive markets may cause for higher prices, but you’ll get a much higher sporting experience in the long run.

Lyonne/Polcanco Prison TV Criss-Cross

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There has been a lot of time loops being discussed this week here at MakeSandcastlesNotWar.  First I had my own time loop when I was keeping warm from the cold this past month; then we looked at the new Netflix series Russian Doll.  Nadia and Alan (Natasha Lyonne and Charlie Barnett) go through their own vicious time loops in this modernized Groundhog Day-themed story.  Throughout their loops, the dig deep into their traumatic past to find the real solutions.

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In the midst of discussing these two time loops, there was one other surprising event unfolding during the story.  You see, Natasha Lyonne wasn’t the only actress on the show after being on Orange is the New Black.  Alan’s girlfriend, the one he was going to propose to, is played by none other than Dascha Polanco a.k.a Dayanara “Daya” Diaz.

Lyonne and Polanco. two actresses, appearing in two similar shows.  This calls for a TV CRISS-CROSS!

Ah, yes – we have discovered our first TV criss-cross here in 2019.  Not only is this our first criss-cross of the year, but it goes a LOT deeper than the previous events.  Things are about to real twisted, real quickly.

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Here we go.  Natasha Lyonne and Dascha Polanco first appeared in Orange is the New Black.  Lyonne was Nicky Nichols while Polanco was Dayanara “Daya” Diaz.  They both make up as the main characters of the show.  Ever since season one, Nichols and Polanco have been serving their times in prison for their own crimes.  Not only are they facing problems in prison, but they are wrestling with the prison in their minds as well.

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Fast-forward almost six years later over to Russian Doll.  Natasha plays Nadia Vulvokov, a woman stuck in her own time loop while celebrating her 36th birthday.  She isn’t exactly in prison anymore, but she is trapped in another prison within her mind.

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In the meantime, Dascha Polanco plays Beatrice in the later episodes.  She isn’t stuck in a time loop of her own, but later becomes associated with Nadia during the series.  Nadia explains to her about the infinite time loop she has been raveling with the entire time.  It is then that Beatrice and Nadia fully understand the psychological torture happening.

Two actresses starring in two series about the same type of prison they face.  It’s that kind of content that makes this TV criss-cross truly unique among others.  This is the kind of criss-cross that is set on a much deeper level.

With that, our first TV criss-cross has been discovered for the year.  Who knows what other hidden criss-crosses will be discovered with the media?  Maybe the next criss-cross could go deeper down the spectrum.

Gourmet-Styled Food Science

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I had quite an eventful couple of days last week food-wise.  First, I grabbed some lunch at a restaurant/bar within the North Shore Mall and the day after I had some delicious dinner at a barcade place in Cambridge.  Being that I had a busier schedule than usual, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to dine out while I am at it.

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While the meals themselves were absolutely delicious, it was the bill it that became most shocking experience itself.  After tips, both of meals ended up totaling almost $30.  My jaw could not lift itself from the table after seeing the total price.

Here’s a quick peek at my total purchases:

Tuesday Lunch

1 Regular-Sized Beer – $7.00

Chicken Wings – $10.00

Parmesan Truffle Fries – $8.00

Total: $25.00

Wednesday Dinner

1 Bottled Beer – $8.00

Single Bacon Cheeseburger – $7.49

Side of Truffle Fries – $3.99

$5 of Tokens – $5.00

Total: $24.48

One look at the chart and you’ll notice the obvious expenses such as the up-scaled alcohol as well as $5 of tokens for video games.  But here’s where it gets interesting – the truffle and Parmesan-infused French fries were a unique expense on its own.

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Food itself has become more and more gourmet over the years.  A simple side dish like French fries has now become Parmesan truffle fries, which is French fries dipped in truffle and Parmesan.  More and more ingredients are being infused with our All-American comfort food.

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It’s not just French fries that have become gourmet.  Mac & Cheese is now being served as pasta infused with five different cheeses and bread crumbs.  A classic cheeseburger is being transformed into a grass-fed organic burger slapped with brioche-buttered buns, applewood sugar coated bacon, aged cheddar cheese, and ends with a homemade special sauce.

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Now here’s the thing – NONE of this is a bad thing whatsoever.  It doesn’t ring in as an alarm for a PR nightmare bubbling beneath the surface.  What we are seeing is food becoming more specialized as other unique ingredients become equipped in the dining experience.  Just like the ordinary French fries dipped in parmesan truffle mix, classic staples such as cheeseburgers and Mac & Cheese are getting modern makeovers.

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And those modern food makeovers are a part of why dining experiences cost even more money.  Millennials are dining out more than ever, yet that culinary experience is becoming more expensive.  Gourmet dishes such as five-cheese Mac & Cheese are absolutely delicious, but that taste comes with a hefty price.

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Food used to be simple – bread, water, heat, meat, vegetables, fruits, etc.  As time went on, more unique ingredients came into the mix.  That shift of ingredients created stand-out dishes for a greater dining experience.  It’s not so much about nit-picking a problem with this concept; but rather, observe the experience from a different angle.  This is when we get to the science of the whole idea, solving the mystery of the recent price increases.

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With that, gourmet-styled food is becoming all the rage around America.  If you are looking for cheaper prices, search for places that don’t serve food items with over a dozen ingredients.


Russian Doll – Netflix

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Ok folks — we are just about one month away of winter left.  We are FINALLY at the last leg of snow, slush, and brutal cold temperatures here in Massachusetts.  Even though there hasn’t been as much snow as last year, this winter seemed too long to deal with.  It was like dealing with this Groundhog Day-themed loop where I kept waking up to cold temperatures and snow on the ground.

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For the record, I wasn’t the only one dealing with the psychological effects of this year’s Groundhog Day loop.  This past week, I checked out a series about someone dealing with a similar effect… but MUCH more bizarre.  It tells the tale of a woman who relives her 36th birthday over and over again, only to die each time at the end.  This is Russian Doll.

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Russian Doll stars Natasha Lyonne (Nicky Nichols in Orange is the New Black) as Nadia, a young woman celebrating her 36th birthday in New York City.  She gets caught in this vicious loop where she dies at the end of the night; after each death, she wakes up fully alive the next day.  Throughout her journey, she meets with a man named Alan Zaveri (Charlie Barnett) who is experiencing a similar time loop.  Alan and Nadia discover some shocking truths about how this is happening in their lives.

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The show is a similar take to Harold Ramis’s film Groundhog Day.  This classic 90s movie stars Bill Murray as Phil Connors, a TV weatherman who gets caught in a time loop where he repeats the same day.  Connors relives the same day waking up on Groundhog Day after covering the event while in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.  He works out all the kinks he can to try to escape the time loop.

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With Russian Doll, the themes about time loops become more philosophical.  Symbolic images and figures such as the fish swimming in their tanks or Horse utilize that kind of scientific knowledge to provides a deeper learning experience.  Nadia and Alan’s history become a main key in solving their continuous time loops.  That’s what separates Russian Doll from its counterpart Groundhog Day.

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It’s as if Natasha Lyonne escaped FCI Danbury prison from Orange is the New Black, only to be transported into her own psychological prison in Russian Doll.  Better yet, Dascha Polanco (Dayanara “Daya” Diaz in Orange is the New Black) makes an appearance as well.  Both ladies take part in the mind-boggling torture in the series.

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With that, Russian Doll was truly an amazing series. The Groundhog Day loop stretched to new boundaries while Nadia and Alan looked into the troublesome past to find the answers.  After the dreadful winter time loop, it was certainly entertaining to watch one that was more philosophical.

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Definitely check out Russian Doll on Netflix for the mind-blowing Groundhog Day loop experience.