Thursday Things

1. I do not take my Lollapalooza attendance lightly, and in the weeks leading up to the festival, spend a significant amount of time researching the artists playing during gaps in my schedule for the day to make sure I go see a person or group I would particularly like to hear live. This research last year introduced me for the first time to twenty one pilots. If you’re over the age of 18 and haven’t heard of twenty one pilots, I’ll forgive you, because they seem to appeal particularly to the angsty tween set (leading me to wonder if, between my appreciation for twenty one pilots and Halsey, if I’m having some sort of age crisis, because these are both artists whose primary fan base still has a vertical driver’s license, if they have a license at all, while I’m just over three months away from turning 26). Anyway, due to last year’s thunderstorms during Lolla, I ended up not seeing nearly as much of twenty one pilots’s set as I had hoped I would, so when one of my friends had an extra ticket to their show at the Allstate Arena on Sunday, I jumped on it.


I didn’t take any sort of actual demographic surveys, but if I had to guess, I’d say that my age group was one of the most underrepresented age groups in the entire arena, along with perhaps those over 65. Everyone else seemed to either be a middle schooler or high schooler, or their chaperoning parents. Regardless, I enjoyed the show a lot.


One thing that I thought was really cool: a third of the way through the show or so, twenty one pilots left the main stage and came out to play on a smaller stage on the floor (right across from my seat!). One of the songs they played while on that smaller stage was the sort of song that, 30 years ago, would’ve prompted people to take out their lighters and wave them back and forth, but since this is 2016, and probably well over half of the audience can’t legally buy cigarettes anyway, people nowadays use the flashlight function on their cell phones to substitute for lighters. This made for a pretty visual effect in and of itself, as you can see:


HOWEVER. What I thought was really cool (and also kind of crazy) was when even more people turned on their flashlights:


Do you see how much brighter it is?! I didn’t edit the lighting on either of those photos. When nearly everyone had their flashlights on, it was SO much brighter in there – almost like the overhead lights hadn’t been turned down all the way. I’ve never seen anything like it! Who knew that the collective power of several thousand cell phone flashlights could light up an arena?

2. My new job requires that all employees undergo a health screening to keep the “wellness” level premium on their health insurance. The wellness premium is substantially lower than the non-wellness premium, which is a pretty good incentive to do the screening (though if you’re like me, the non-wellness premium is literally one-fifth the price of what I was paying through the Marketplace, which drives home the insanity of Marketplace premiums, if you ask me.)

(As a side note, I think this health screening this is kind of ridiculous. I understand why they do it. It analyzes a bunch of your biometrics, giving you an idea of where you stand healthwise. The healthier a person is, the more they can come to work, which is good for the company, and the less likely they are to have major medical bills, which is good for the company AND the insurance company. But the health screening focuses strictly on your physical health: glucose, cholesterol, whether or not you have nicotine in your blood, BMI, waist circumference. That’s all well and good, but it doesn’t account for your mental health (and associated costs) at all, and on years I don’t spend six months in physical therapy, my weekly therapy bills amount for the VAST majority of my healthcare costs. We have a high deductible plan, and even so, I’ll still hit my deductible with less than half a year’s worth of therapy appointments. Insurance companies don’t want you to hit your deductible, because then they have to pay money, and they don’t like doing that, because it makes it harder to wallpaper their offices in gold. By my biometrics, I should pose a low risk to both my insurer and my company in terms of insurance payouts – but I don’t, because my biometrics don’t reveal that I have anxiety, and with the prevalence of mental health issues in our world, that seems like something that should be included on a health screening.)

Anyway, this whole getting blood work thing done was a total trip. The girl who went before me fainted, which of course threw me into a panicked mess, and I was pretty confident I was either going to pass out, throw up, or both in the waiting area. Fortunately, I did neither of those things, but it still wasn’t particularly pleasant.

I got my blood work results back yesterday, and was quite distressed to discover that I am, according to those results, officially prediabetic (just barely – my glucose was 100, which is the lowest it can be to call you prediabetic). Diabetes has been an ongoing, low-level concern of mine, as my dad developed Type 2 diabetes pretty much out of absolutely nowhere when I was 11 or 12 (he had no previous family history of diabetes), and my mom is also clinically prediabetic (though she’s just as prediabetic as I am), and her grandmother had diabetes, too. My “lifestyle changes” suggested that I start exercising and stop smoking to lower my risk of getting diabetes. Right, okay. That’ll probably put a cramp in my plan to train for the marathon by sitting on the couch chainsmoking, though *rolls eyes* I’m pretty sure the only “lifestyle change” that would actually help me out would be a “replacement of my genome to recode me so I’m not disposed to developing diabetes,” but I think it’s a bit over 25 years too late to make that happen. But man, let me tell you, it is SUPER frustrating and disempowering to be told you’re on the road to developing a chronic condition typically seen as preventable when you already are going above and beyond the call of duty in terms of chronic-condition-associated-with-poor-diet-and-no-exericse prevention.

3. At long last, I finally got my hands on a copy of Modern Romance a couple of weeks ago, and promptly blew through the whole thing.


I’ve wanted to read Modern Romance for a really long time and was so interested to see what the book would hold. Unlike Love in the Time of Algorithms (which I cannot recommend enough for anyone interested in online dating), Modern Romance is more focused on the overall state of love and romance in the modern world. This probably should not have surprised me as much as it did, given the, you know, title of the book. Rather than diving deep into any one aspect of finding, keeping, maintaining, and losing love in the 21st century, Aziz Ansari provides more of a mid-to-high level overview of what all of those things are like in our world today, both in the U.S. and, to an extent, elsewhere in the world. He also has citation after citation after citation throughout the text, so if you did want a deep dive into any one aspect of modern romance, you have a huge resource in the form of a bibliography in the back of the book to help you with that.

The main takeaways I got from the book: technology has increased our awareness of and access to available singles, putting us in a better position to meet potential partners with whom we feel compatible, and, possibly, someone with whom we feel so deeply connected that we would consider him or her to be our “soulmate.” This has all but done away with the idea of marrying because someone was “good enough,” and most single people in the U.S. today would not even consider marrying someone they didn’t love, which was not the case as recently as two generations ago. Two paradoxes arise as a result of these changed attitudes:

A. Having more options often makes it more difficult to choose, as knowing you have more available options raises the question, “This is good, but what if there’s something better?” (Consider this in terms of dining. In a small town where you have one restaurant available, you’ll go to that restaurant and like that restaurant, because it’s your only option. In Chicago, you have literally hundreds of restaurants to choose from. Deciding where to go to eat in Chicago can easily become substantially harder due to the number of options. What if that place in another neighborhood made better burgers, had better pasta, served food faster?)
B. The idea that you must love someone in order to marry them can make marriage more difficult, as most people in a relationship will first experience passionate love. This typically lasts for a year or two at best and then fades, because that kind of intense emotion is unable to last forever. Companionate love, often found in long term relationships, replaces passionate love, but takes a substantial amount of time to develop. Losing passionate love can cause a person to question their entire relationship (“I just don’t feel the same about you anymore!”), leading to the end of a relationship before companionate love, which continues to grow over time, had an opportunity to take hold.

Fascinating stuff.

I have so many more things to say about the state of modern romance that will have to wait for another blog post, because this is already long enough. BUT. I think Modern Romance is great, and would recommend it perhaps as a precursor to Love in the Time of Algorithms.

Have you heard of twenty one pilots? So far literally no one my age that I’ve talked to has, other than the friend who gave me the ticket in the first place.
Have you read Modern Romance? Let’s get philosophical about love in the 21st century together! I’m so interested in these sorts of things!

9 thoughts on “Thursday Things

  1. twenty one pilots sings that song about how being an adult is miserable, right? I think it’s called “Blurryface” or something. I am horrible with song titles. Anyway, since my go-to Pandora station for working out has “Cake by the Ocean” as its seed song I’ve definitely heard of twenty one pilots 🙂 At my ancient age of 36.

    Jason recently had to do a health screening for work and got the same pre-diabetes result. Of course, he doesn’t exercise and left to his own devices he’d live on McDonald’s sausage biscuit sandwiches and steak so I’m not surprised. But I agree that it would suck to be told that even when you’re already doing the right things! As for the mental health aspect, you make an excellent point. It probably goes along with that whole stigma associated with mental health.

    • Yes! The song is called Stressed Out, but the line, “My name is Blurryface and I care what you think,” comes up several times in it. This makes me feel much better about my familiarity with twenty one pilots. I told my roommates that I was going to the show and only got blank stares haha.

      I was telling one of my friends about the health screening thing and my thoughts on the lack of the mental aspect, and she said the same thing you did – that that they wouldn’t check for that is so reflective of how we treat mental health in the U.S. I suppose I don’t *really* care, because the fact that they don’t screen for that allows me to fly under the radar and keep the company’s premiums low, but it seems like a pretty enormous oversight. I can’t fathom that I’m the only person in the company in therapy – probably not by a long shot, which is a huge risk area whoever designed this health screening is just completely ignoring. But like you said, the whole stigma thing. Heaven help us if we have to confront that fact that people aren’t happy and calm and perfect all the time.

  2. I’ve never heard of twenty one pilots but the concert sounds like it was a blast! Incidentally – what is it about the Allstate Arena that seems to draw so many musical artists versus the UC? I can understand for less-popular artists that might have trouble selling out the UC – but even mega-popular singers like Carrie Underwood and Andrea Bocelli do concerts at Allstate. Anyways, I digress. There’s a cell-phone app that replicates a lighter, just in case you want pretend to be old school and/or use something other than a cell phone flashlight. =)

    The pre-diabetic diagnosis must have been very frustrating. Diabetes runs on my mom’s side of the family, and I hear a lot about how heredity plays a HUGE role in diabetic tendencies. Sadly, since it runs in yours, there is definitely an element out of your control – but the fact that you are living a very healthy lifestyle is ENORMOUS! Think about how bad it could have been if you weren’t a runner!!!

    • I don’t know, but a lot of acts do seem to go to Allstate, that’s for sure! There have been a lot of concerts I would’ve liked to have gone to and didn’t because they were at Allstate instead of the UC (my friend for twenty one pilots has a car, so that made getting there easy, but it’s not so easy without a car!). I’d guess the UC is more expensive? That’s the only logical explanation I can come up with, at least.

  3. I have not heard of twenty one pilots specifically but I do know that blurryface song. So woo I’m not totally out of the loop.

    Another thought on the the health screening and skipping any mental health evaluation is maybe they are only doing the physical evaluation as that is the aspect of health people have much more control over. As in, you can change part of your lifestyle to improve your physical health (of course there are genetic components too) and you can help to improve your mental health too but much of that requires some medical intervention.

    I read Modern Romance and really appreciated it! I like that he also includes the scientific discussion as well. It kind of makes me laugh now that I found my husband a very traditional way. Even though now when I tell others Matt and I met in high school I feel definitely more like an outlier in terms of ways people meet their spouses.

    • Haha yay! Maybe it’s just my roommates who are actually out of the loop 😛

      That’s a good point. I don’t really know what my company does with the results of the health screening – I don’t know if they even SEE the results, or if they just know that I finished it, or if they get an aggregate of the whole company’s results when it gets to be time to figure out the company’s health insurance for the following year. It just seems like a really risky thing to not screen for on several levels: not knowing what kind of mental health issues may or may not exist within your company seems like sticking your head in the sand, and like I said in my post, mental healthcare costs come out of the same insurance as physical healthcare costs, and if you’re not accounting for that when it comes to overall employee wellness, you (and your insurance company) could be QUITE unpleasantly surprised to see how many claims are coming in from allegedly healthy people. And actually, when I went to my doctor for my annual physical, they “screened” me for depression as part of their new standard procedure (by which I mean they asked me two questions, that basically amounted to, “Have you felt sadder than usual for the past two weeks?” But they still did *something*).

      I’m curious: are you and Matt outliers among your adult friends, or outliers among your high school friends, too? In West Michigan, which is not in any way caught up to the state of society as told by Modern Romance, it’s not really that uncommon at all to marry someone you met in high school. Just going through my Facebook friends (which certainly is not everyone I went to high school with), there are eight couples from my class alone that married someone from high school, six of which married someone from my class, so 12 people from my class married each other, and 14 people from my class married someone from my high school. We only had 112 people in my graduating class to begin with, so that feels like a lot!

      • I’m totally guessing here, but I would think your company would only get an aggregate of the results of the health screenings. It seems like it would be a violation of sorts for them to get any sort of specific results for employees. I do think insurance rates take into account previous years claims so hopefully those rates would already take into account insurance costs for mental health coverage and there wouldn’t be any big surprises in claims in the coming year. I do agree that if you are going to do a health screening you should be doing a mental health screening in there as well. It just makes sense (and it wouldn’t likely require a lot more work to do!).
        Now that I am thinking about it I definitely don’t think we are outliers among high school friends. Among our adult friends–especially people that I’ve met post-college–yes I think we are. Eastern Iowa is trending more like West Michigan in terms of meeting people. In my high school class, only 2 couples married someone from the same class (including me, the other couple contains my cousin) and I think only 5 additional classmates married someone from my high school. We only had 56 (I think?! it’s been a while, 10 year reunion is THIS year!) in our graduating class so I do think that is significant. Although I didn’t count, I would venture that several more of my classmates married someone who grew up within 50 miles of Cascade.

  4. That does stink to be told your pre-diabetic but know that there is not much else you can do 😦 I hope your next screening goes better.

    I have a few twenty one pilot songs. I didn’t know I was too old for them. Ha!

    • I’m all for people my age knowing about twenty one pilots, because it makes me feel less weird that I know their music haha. I’ve decided that my roommates must just not be up to date on what’s happening in music and therefore hadn’t heard of them haha

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