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Naming rights are weird brought to you by StitchFix Field at Roku Park

Staples Center is now Arena.

I saw this tweet recently and it reminded me of a curiosity I’ve had for ages. Why do companies pay money to put their names on stadiums? Is it to remind us they exist? Do they hope for some goodwill between going to see basketball and buying office supplies (and now Crypto?)

The current home of the Washington Capitals and Washington Bullets/Wizards has changed names a number of times since I’ve lived here. Throughout it’s life, this building has been called:

  • MCI Center
  • Verizon Center
  • Capital One Arena

Have I ever associated the venue with any of these companies? No. Have I ever thought about the company names when I was there? Absolutely not. When I hear other venues and their names, even when it’s a well known and obvious one (Fed Ex Field?) I never associate it with the company behind the name.

Other than changing names on signage, I wonder how many years it takes for people to start calling the venue by its new name. Jiffy Lube Live used to be called Nissan Pavilion. I called it Nissan for years after the name change and still catch myself referring to the MCI Center. Did I ever think about cars when I went to concerts? No, other than the one I used to drive there.

In my head, the name of a place is completely divorced from the company paying to name it. Other than hilariously stupid or weird names (Jiffy Lube Live!)

And I’m sorry, “Anything Dot Com” Arena/Center is a terrible name.

Morning Media

When I wake up, I never know what the world is going to offer up to me. I might laugh I might cry. I might feel emboldened and ready for the day, or ready to retreat to my warm, weighted blanket and hide in a nest of my own making.

This morning was a gut punch.

I ran an errand before work and when I parked in my driveway. I opened Tiktok because of how it feels. As I scrolled through a few things, I landed upon this one.

Now, I’ve seen this question posed before and I love the call-and-response style Tiktok allows for. You never know what the response is going to be. This morning, it was real and it was serious.

Julian Sarafian dropped in to lay down his experience with Harvard Law School and getting out into the world and Making It™. He had the job. The money. The prestige.

But he didn’t have his mental health. He didn’t have a life he enjoyed living. And if you don’t have that, how can you have anything else?

The knockout blow I saw coming. Ear Hustle is a phenomenal show. Ear Hustle is “The daily realities of life inside prison shared by those living it, and stories from the outside, post-incarceration.”

The show started in 2017 and came to prominance when they Earlonne Woods and Nigel Poor won the Radiotopia Podquest. At the time Earlonne was still incarcerated and Nigel would go to California’s San Quentin State Prison to see him and others.

The prison has a media lab and has some progressive policies to rehabilitation. The episode I started today was about people imprisoned abroad.

Going to prison in your home country can be disorienting enough. What about when you’re new to the culture, don’t speak the language, and are thousands of miles from family and friends? Three Americans describe their experiences of incarceration in Japan, Thailand, and Iran.

Episode 65: Counting Lines — Ear Hustle

Getting to the part in the show about reading the transcripts is what got me. The reach of this show and the good it’s doing in the world is immeasurable. Giving a voice and hope to people locked away in boxes for next to nothing…

The show continues to impress me. Coming from both outside and inside the prison (when COVID allows) it provides a well-rounded picture of experiences from people of all walks of life. When we found it, my wife and I listened to the entire first season on a road trip.

The music episodes are always a treat.

Work. Family. Scene. Pick Two.

Work, family, scene. Pick two.

Work—that is your creative output.

Family—that’s a spouse, kids, or any close personal relationships.

Scene—that’s the fun stuff that comes along with success. Parties. Fancy dinners. Important friends. This is the stuff that looks good on Instagram, that you can brag about, that falls into your lap like a wonderful surprise. Offers, invitations, perks.

Work, Family, Scene: You Can Only Pick Two – Ryan Holiday

I love this advice from Austin Klein, via Ryan Holiday. You can’t have it all. You burnout. You’re miserable. You’re robbing someone of time or attention or love or presence.

The two you pick can change as your life does. Your balance may shift from work to family or scene to work. As they all feed each other.

Picking two is important as remembering you can switch the two at any time. It’s not a lifelong choice.

I’ve always found family and work (as its meant here) to be the most rewarding. Sure the scene can be fun. But that’s the part I most readily give up. That’s what works for you. You follow your path and find what works for you.

How to edit custom feed on Reddit

I have a custom feed on Reddit where I collect nerdy topics like selfhosting, docker, Nextcloud and some other nerd fodder. Recently, I decided I to move some of the communities around from one main feed to many.

To do this, I had to figure out how to edit a list of communities in my custom feed.

And for all of the ellipsis (…) menus and pencil icons, what I wanted to do was nowhere to be found.

So here it is.

How to remove a community from your Reddit custom feed.

First, drop down your list of feeds and locate the custom feed you’d like to edit.

Second, look at the list of communities in the right-hand column. Ignore all of the ...s and pencil edit icons. None of those will help you.

Third, move your mouse over the community and a Remove button will appear. Click the Remove button and the community will vanish from the list.

Fourth, you’ll receive a message at the bottom of the page verifying the change.

And that’s how you edit a custom feed on Reddit.

How TikTok feels

The video is 34 seconds long and the camera follows a cat, who carries a tiger plush doll into a tiny clearing in the forest. I think that video is exactly how all good TikToks feels, like the ones Bourgeois makes about trains. You press play and nothing is explained to you, but everything is following its own internal dream-like logic. Like a portal to another dimension opens up, offers you a brief glimpse of something you never expected, and then closes.

Garbage Day

Ryan Broderick, who writes the excellent newsletter Garbage Day, sums up how TikTok feels perfectly.

I used to browse TikTok from the web site without an account for a few months. I’d go there on and off seeking a hit of joy and randomness. It wasn’t until I downloaded the app and created an account that I saw the true power of the app and its algorithm.

I know apps all use their own secret sauce to group you into buckets by their internal metrics. But I’ve never had an app actively try out different content on me to see what I responded to.

One day it was all ADHD.

One day was Books.

One day was girls dancing.

One portal opens. Another portal closes.

It was never 100% one thing or another but I would scroll through the 30-60 second clips, liking some or sharing with my wife, or just watching and seeing what was served up next. There was a definite theme to each session.

Clearly I was being served a particular set of content to see if I enjoyed it or not. As a result, I find myself in a weird little world that has both been completely built for me, but also broad enough I am consistently amused and delighted by what I see.

It’s not like other places that lumps me into a bucket and serves me the same kind of content all day. The Amazon “you bought socks, so we’re going to recommend to you… MORE SOCKS” problem. TikTok was honing in on my weird enjoyment of weird animal content.

And unlike Instagram where every 3rd or 4th post is an ad, there’s hardly any! There’s an ad when I first open the app I scroll past without giving it the time to finish. If you’re on the site too long there’s a video from Tiktok telling you to take a break. But it’s in the form of other videos. It’s seamless. I’m never taken out of the world Tiktok builds for me. Every now and again there’s a sponsored post from a creator, clearly tagged and obvious by the tone.

Despite being absolutely massive in scale, it doesn’t have the feel of a corporate, professional social network. Even the brands there are weird and wonderful. There’s a tone to Tiktok lacking elsewhere in social spaces at scale. The number of weird logos alone are the work of one creator who plays a perfect deadpan logo designer. The entire site is wrapped in whimsy where nothing is really as it seems and you never know what’s going to happen next.

Open a Portal and step through.

The duck (and friends). Pablo and his friends! (@lilquackers)

And the fish guy? Seriously, the first time I heard Bubba I lost it laughing. My wife stared at me like I had lost my mind. The ballad of Bubba and Brad is pure joy. The Goldfish Guy (@lukesgoldies) Poor Bubba. Brad always gets the best of him.

For a dose of comforting, warmth on a cold day, you should meet this buddy. Fritz and Donnybrook (@oldtimehawkey) He’ll make you a treat, share a pop with you and settle down for a movie or campfire.

There’s Stage Door Johnny (@stage_door_johnny) who deconstructs the English language and all of its weirdness. He also has a very pleasing accent.

I love the storytelling of Andrew (@andr3wsky).

Every time Kendahl Landreth (@kendahllandreth) comes up with her mom impression I lose it laughing.

Stacey ❤️ (@stacebookspace) delivers unhinged affirmations with a dose of book recommensations.

Ever seen a man feed humming birds out of his hand? Watch birdperson666 (@birdperson666) greet Hector.

For your Gen X news, look no further than Corrbette Pasko (@corrbette).

For wild and wonderful monologues, run, don’t walk over to Musings of a Crouton (@mr.mosebys_lefttit).

I love people talking about their process and have fallen in love with Jordan Hexem (@jordanhexem). He shows you the location vs. the shot. It’s wonderful!

When I need my Sports Ball news, I turn to Sports-ball news with Taylor! Taylor Page (@trashprince522)

This is a smattering of the accounts I follow and bring me joy. I don’t post. I’m here to watch and enjoy. There’s a culture on Tiktok of showing your work and explaining how videos were made. The ability to stitch (reply within the video) and duet (play multiple videos all together) open up a world that lacks the pristine polish of most social spaces. This allows for “conversations” between separate videos, a group of musicians to perform “together”, and getting to see multiple sides of a story.

The ability to interact with video within the video gives the entire site a more organic and feel. If Instagram is walking into an art gallery, then Tiktok is showing up at a pop-up art exhibit in the middle of a busy city with people on their way to work, stadiums and running out for coffee.

Portal opens. Portal closes.

If you’ve seen mention of a Bones Day / No Bones Day. Yup. The messiah is a 13 year old pug names Noodles who dictates the days.