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Things I Learned at the Lake House

August 25, 2008

I hung out with a few friends this weekend at a lake house north of Chicago. I thought I’d share a few crucial pieces of information I learned up there (and at IKEA on the way back).

Beach balls melt. More specifically, if you try to seal a small hole in a beach ball by holding a flame next to the hole and then pinching the molten pieces together, you’ll just end up with a bigger hole. The lesson? Don’t combine fire and alcohol.

Motor-powered paddle boats are a real thing. Yeah, when our hosts told us they had a motor-powered paddle boat, I scoffed at the idea. Who would be so lazy to attach a motor to a paddle boat, much less turn it on? (Answer: Me, after about 15 seconds of paddling. It’s a lot of work to paddle those things when all you really want to do is zip around on the water. Or just float.)

Led Zeppelin is awesome. I think I’m the last person on earth to get this memo. For some reason I thought it was a really heavy metal band, of which I’m not a fan. But no. They’re like the best rock band ever. And apparently the lead singer isn’t named Mr. Zeppelin.

IKEA is way smarter than you are. Whoever thought of the IKEA concept is brilliant. From the cost-saving methods like making everything build-it-yourself to save on manufacturer costs and selling mostly flat components to save on space to clever sales methods like “buy this room” pricing, IKEA has a huge competitive edge over similar companies. Perhaps cleverest of all is the layout of the stores. IKEAs aren’t set up in the aisles-and-rows format that Walmart and Target use—to get from one place in the store to another, you have to walk along a path that weaves throughout the store. That way you see way more stuff than you would if you were able to walk directly to the fjordbloggen (walrus-shaped pillow) you want to buy.

This is what road trips are for. Learning things. Oh, and check this insightful advertising-related blog I found out about this weekend (here; written by an industry insider).

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Regina permalink
    August 26, 2008 5:58 am

    How did you know I wanted a fjordbloggen!?! Please drop it off on Thursday. You got it in the traditional blue and yellow, did you not?

  2. Jamey Stegmaier permalink
    August 26, 2008 11:37 pm

    Sorry, Regina–they only had red and green fjordbloggen. However, I did see blue and yellow cairngevveners (umbrellas) aplenty.

  3. aquavator permalink
    August 30, 2008 8:18 am

    Yep, there is a reason Led Zeppelin is generally considered the best hard rock band of all time. Related, you might also enjoy the album Robert Plant (singer of Zeppelin) did with Allison Kraus. It sounds like a weird pairing, but is excellent.

    (Too bad the video they did for this song kind of sucks.)

  4. Adam permalink
    September 2, 2008 12:20 pm

    Let me guess…Led Zeppelin is a direct result of driving up there with one Mark Pitcher…yes?

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