Diamonds are for Suckers – Why I’m Never Buying Diamonds

I understand diamonds serve purposes outside of jewelry. This post only addresses jewelry.

Are diamonds special?

Yes. Diamonds have a special characteristic – they’re the hardest material on earth. Nothing can cut through diamond. Diamond can cut through anything.

What does society use diamonds for?

diamond_PNG6692For the complete opposite purpose that they’re actually special for. Diamonds are decorative, a symbol of status. They never cut through anything. They stay on your finger, around your neck, or through your ear for others to see.

The engagement ring.

This type of ring is purchased by a guy to tell a girl he wants to marry her. The girl wears the ring. It doesn’t do anything aside from tell other people that she’s spoken for, and make people gush over how pretty it is.

This tradition does not go back thousands of years. It goes back less than a century, when De Beers (yes, the biggest diamond company in the world) started an ad campaign. How convenient. The company who mined 90%+ of the diamonds at the time tried to convince us that we should spend a lot on them for a made up reason, and it worked. Prior to that, diamond rings had some relevance, but not even close to today’s standard.

So how much do we spend on these rings?

The rule of thumb is three months salary. Are you shitting me? If you make $40,000, that’s a straight $10,000 on an engagement ring. What wife would want their husband to WASTE that kind of money on a ring when it could be put towards, oh I don’t know, a house? The wedding? Their future kid’s college fund? Their favorite charity? Retirement? Anything that provides more joy and practical value than an engagement ring (which is basically everything)?

De BeersI would NEVER want my future wife to spend $10,000 (or $1,000) on a made-up symbol of commitment unless we were extremely wealthy. Spending that money doesn’t prove she’s any more committed to me than she already was. I’d hope we’re getting married because we love each other, not because we’re willing to spend an insane amount of money on something that does nothing for the other person.

Also, do you know the number one thing couples fight about? Money. Shocker. Why are you wasting money on a ring if you’re going to fight about it later?

Bonus: these diamond rings don’t hold high resale value. You normally get less than half of what you spent on it if you try to trade it in.

But why do we pay so much for diamonds if they don’t do anything?

Because we’re brainwashed into thinking we have to. The demand for diamonds as jewelry is 100% artificial. It’s a made-up tradition (a $75 billion per year tradition). A couple of great business minds made up a ton of bullshit that said if you don’t buy a girl diamonds, you don’t love her. Generations of people have bought into that philosophy and diamonds are a must in this culture, and it’s bullshit.

Jewelry is a made-up way of quantifying love. If you don’t receive a nice ring, you’re not very loved. It makes those with big rings feel important, and those with small rings feel self-conscious.

What would you guess each of the rings below cost?

Diamond Rings

The ring on the left is diamond and sells for about $3,000 (pretty cheap for an engagement ring).

The ring on the right is cubic zarconia, and sells for about $100.

Would any girl even know the difference? Furthermore, would they even care? Some might care, some might not, but none of them should care. Give me one good reason for caring. Wouldn’t you rather get the $100 ring and $2900 towards your 401k than the diamond ring that looks the exact same?

Why aren’t we giving these cubic zarconia rings to each other? It’s not like people do anything with their diamond rings that this fake one can’t do.

Where does this leave me?

I don’t want to purchase expensive jewelry for anyone. Ever. I’ll spend plenty of money on other things for the people I love, but expensive jewelry is not one of them.

Will my future wife understand? If she doesn’t, would I really throw away the relationship? At the same time, do I want to marry a girl who would refuse to marry me unless I bought her a ring?

The biggest issue would be this – how do I explain to a potential father-in-law that I think engagement rings are a stupid waste of money and I’m not going to buy one for his daughter? I haven’t had to cross this bridge yet.

Could I afford a ring? Yes. But there’s a famous quote, “Be the change you want to see in the world“. This is a change I want to see in the world.

Houndmouth is worth listening to

I’ve been listening to the band Houndmouth the last few weeks. They deserve a toon-time-Monday shout out!

They’re from southern Indiana and released their second album a few months ago. Their song Sedona is getting some radio playtime now, but their other stuff is just as good. I see them as kind of a southern-ish Dr. Dog. You should check them out on Spotify.

Below is their hit, Sedona, and another one from their first album that plays well the first time you hear it.

 

Hunting for Sport – If Walter Palmer was my Dentist, I’d Switch Dentist’s

This is inspired by the recent Cecil the Lion story, where a Minnesota dentist named Walter Palmer lured Cecil the Lion away from his tribe, wounded him with a shot from a bow and arrow, found him two days later, and he or his guides killed Cecil with a rifle.

I should start by saying that I’ve never been hunting or even shot a gun. I never plan on hunting. I’ve been directly responsible for the death of one living creature  – a small bird that I hit in my car about four years ago.

Circumstances where I’m okay with others hunting

  • If you eat the meat – most people eat meat anyway, so if you’re using this for food, go ahead. Nature wins.
  • If the species is over-populated – you may be saving more trouble down the road by helping out the cause now.
  • There may be other valid reasons, but I’m not aware of them. Anyone care to weigh in?

My first thought on hunting for sport – the concept of taking a life for the sole purpose of taking a life makes zero sense to me and is something I will never do.

The primary goal of that type of hunting, like Cecil the Lion, is to kill an animal. Yes, there’s a sort of excitement and adrenaline rush, it’s “fun”, and like all activities it’s something you can practice and get better at. A lion may be your “biggest kill” which makes it extra exciting. But at the end of the day, you want to end an animal’s life.

I’m not convinced that if this generation stopped hunting for sport entirely, the next generation would take it up themselves. To me, killing for fun does not seem like a natural instinct. Cavemen killed because they had to to survive. Put a McDonalds around the corner from the cave, and my guess is they stop killing animals.

The way I make my decision about hunting is the same with every decision I make – I weigh the pros and cons.

Pros:

  • It’s exciting
  • I can show off my good shot (if I have one)
  • Pride – how many people have killed a lion? (Personally, I would be embarrassed to say I did)

Cons:

  • I kill an animal
  • I see no point to killing an animal (those pros do nothing for me)
  • I feel bad about killing the animal

I’d get no joy in voluntarily killing something. You would actually have to pay me to kill an animal.

Where do you draw the line? Lions are okay apparently. Are monkeys? When do you get to humans?

I see no societal benefit to hunting for sport. On a personal level, I disagree 100% with the idea. If Walter Palmer were my dentist, I would choose a different dentist.

The last photo of Cecil

Getting an Early Start

I barely ever stray from my 8:30 – 5:15 days at work. I was at work by 6:45 today which is very unusual.

Say what you want about getting the extra sleep, but there’s something about getting an early start that makes you feel exponentially more productive.

I was one of the first people here today. Throughout the whole day, I’ll have been here for an hour or two more than all of the people I work with – that won’t change. Maybe I’ll leave a little early. Maybe I’ll stay till normal time and get extra work done. Regardless, I’m finding that days as a whole are better when you wake up earlier.

The real question is – if I made this my routine every day, would I still feel more productive? Most things lose their allure when they become common (except for video games and masturbation). I’ll stick with my normal schedule, but it’s good to have a day like this (especially on a Friday) every now and then.

Bill Belichick would be a great poker player

Reporter: Is there something flawed about the system here in the organization that you keep ending up in these cheating controversies? Can you explain why?

Belichick: It’s already been addressed.

Reporter: Could you elaborate a little?

Belichick: No.

Reporter: Why not?

Belichick: Because it’s already been addressed.


Bill

I lol’d just reading that.

Belichick gives similar interviews to Gregg Popovich of the Spurs. However, with Pop, he knows he’s being funny and short with reporters.

I honestly don’t think Belichick thinks he’s being funny. He just hates the media and attention that much.

I don’t know how he can hold it together so well during these press conferences, but he would be a stud poker player if he could keep a straight face like he does during press conferences.

The One That Got Away, Until…

14382146392133When I was in 9th grade, I was a loser. I was short, skinny, and slow. Video games had an inverse correlation to girls, and I played a LOT of video games (see diagram 1).

However, some of my friends were cool. Believe it or not, Jared was actually kind of cool. Alex too. I invited them down the shore with me in 9th grade.

One night Jared was talking on the phone with a girl he met a few weeks earlier on the beach. She was our age and good looking. These are the things that I would never do, but since I hung around Jared, I could act cool.

tips hatWe were drinking a little bit, and I ended up talking to the girl on the phone for like an hour that night. Fast forward a week and her and I actually talked (just us, like, just Sam and a girl, on the phone, talking) for like two or three hours.

After our two romantic phone calls, I never spoke with her again. I never even met her in person. She was lost. Gone. Out of my life forever.

Fast forward nine years. A few weeks ago I signed an ad contract for work. I received an email from the guy I had been speaking to – “Sam, great to have you with us! We look forward to working with you. I’ve copied (insert phone-call girl’s name here), our data specialist who will helping with the ad campaign“.

Wat. No way. A quick Facebook stalk revealed that it was in fact the girl I had spoken to nine years earlier. I couldn’t believe it.

spongebob storyShe emailed me today about work. I don’t think she remembers me. And if she does, she definitely didn’t write a blog post about me. The end.

My Second Guitar Lesson…

You can read my recap of the first lesson here.

The Lesson

The lesson was in a not-that-nice area, and I almost got into a car accident on the way over. I knocked on the door and an overweight guy with long grey hair (he was probably 60) opened the door. The house was very disorganized, and there was no AC. But here’s the kicker – I learned more in the first 30 seconds of this lesson than I did during the entire 80 minutes I was at the first lesson.

This guy was on point. He was a good teacher and incredibly knowledgeable. He was also a beast at the guitar. We went over all sorts of blues stuff in the hour I was there and I left with a couple of things to work on. This is what I was hoping for. I have three more lessons with this guy and then we’ll see.

The “Issue”

The lessons are scheduled through a middle man who matches a player and a teacher based on geography. The emails they send explicitly state that you should not accept cheaper offers from the teacher that cut out the middle man, and should report any teacher who does that.

This is a failing business model.

If there’s a mutual interest by both the teacher and the student to continue lessons, they have NO reason to continue doing it through the middle man aside from moral obligation, because they will basically never be caught. I can say after my four lessons “Hey, I’ll pay you X amount for lessons and I’ll just tell the middle man that I’m not interested anymore.” It’s sad, but true.

We’re not at that point yet, because I’ve only taken one lesson and am not sure if I’ll even want to keep going, but it’s a bridge we’ll probably cross. The middle man has a good idea, but I don’t think it’s sustainable.

Top 3 Overplayed Songs of the Month – July ’15

Pop edition!

Taylor Swift – Bad Blood

Let me start by saying that I LOVE Taylor Swift. She’s #1 on my celeb to-do list right now (one spot ahead of Tom Brady), and the picture to the right of this sentence should explain why.

Recent hits like Style, Blank Space, Shake It Off, etc. are great. Bad Blood, however, sucks. My guess is the politics of this song are the reason it’s being played. Who wouldn’t want to see a T-Swift K-Perry cat fight? I’d pay thousands for that. But the song is just a bit too fake for me, and doesn’t deliver with the pizzazz that the 1989 hits do. I can listen to it just because I love Taylor, but I’m ready for another hit.

 

Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk

This song was overplayed four months ago, and it’s still being overplayed. It’s a shame because this song was an absolutely jam in the winter / spring. It’s catchy, fun, makes a party atmosphere, and Bruno Mars took another step towards being a modern day MJ.

It’s so done at this point though that it will take a year or two for it to be acceptable to play this again. Insta-change.

 

Ed Sheeran – Thinking Out Loud

I’m a fan of this song. I learned how to play it on guitar in hopes of dropping 1000 panties just by strumming the first chord (still waiting). But it’s gotten owned. The issue is that it can be played on those “feel-good” stations AS WELL AS the pop stations where’d you hear Bad Blood and Uptown Funk.

Hayley asked yesterday “How many people do you think chose this as their wedding song this year?” Too many is the answer. It’s too cliche at this point.

Ed Sheeran has made his mark, but it’s time for something new.

Disconnected

I’ve been disconnected the past few days. On Wednesday night, I took an over night bus from Philadelphia to Syracuse to begin a four day vacation. Hayley picked me up at the bus station at 5:10 AM and we drove to Lake Ontario to stay with her family at Henderson Harbor.

The vacation was great. I sent a total of 11 texts the entire time.

Hayley’s family is huge. Unlike my family, her and her cousins/aunts/uncles hang out and see each other regularly, so there were a ton of people there. I think I blended in well and it was good to meet so many new people in a non-stressful environment

The weekend was filled with

  • Drinking beer all day
  • Beach games like Cornhole and Beersbee
  • Card games, Euchre being the most fun / interesting one I learned
  • Snacks that somehow always hit the spot
  • The Office, which really doesn’t get old
  • Reading (?!), I read 180 pages of Think Like a Freak.
  • Shit talking, it’s good that her family likes to talk shit too

The drive home was 5 hours and now it’s back to reality. The older you get and the more you work, the more you realize how important vacations are. This one was a different experience for me but very positive one to say the least. I’m refreshed, and as ready to get back to work after a four day vacation as I’ll ever be.

My First Guitar Lesson…

I just had my first guitar lesson. The package was 4 one-hour classes for $50 each, which is about right. I wanted to get a feel for what lessons are really like.

The guy was a nice guy. He offered me a beer, we talked about our lives a bit, and then got to playing. He could play the guitar well. But…

Holy shit it was a bad lesson. I won’t get into the details of it, but it ended with him saying:

“Yeah you know I’m not so sure teaching is for me. Sometimes I feel like I’m more of a player than a teacher. The one-on-one thing is tough for me sometimes”. 

Again, he’s a nice guy, and could probably teach beginners well enough, but at the moment, I. Am. PISSED.

I’m not committed to one teacher, so I can switch for the next ones, but if I don’t get my money back I’m going to freak out. I haven’t had a chance to bring it up yet because they’re customer service line never gets through to anyone, but I’ve emailed and am eagerly looking into their reply.

 

In other news, I went to the driving range again yesterday and am enjoying the new clubs. At least one of the two investments are going well.