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Enjoying the moments with Marriott (and Imagine Dragons)

Lots of different hotel groups around the world have membership rewards which mainly centres upon using one’s points to get discounted rates (even free rooms) or upgrades and even complimentary access to certain services and facilities. Pretty much the same for airline miles.

What if I were to tell you that back on Sept 8, I was one of few who were able to watch an hour-long exclusive Imagine Dragons concert at the Marriott Marquis Bangkok? How did I snag that? Well, for the 40-odd of us, it was because we’re part of the media who received invites. The 400 or so crowd were there only because they were members of a loyalty programme and lucky members of the public (who won tickets after they had signed up for the Rewards programme).

Since Marriott International added the Starwood and Ritz-Carlton stable of properties under their group – 30 brands in total now and counting, members of each rewards scheme could transfer their points and also link their accounts if they have multiple ones. So there’s now Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest (spg) and Ritz-Carlton Rewards.

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Imagine Dragons on stage for their intimate exclusive concert in Marriott Marquis Bangkok. Photo: The Star/S.S. Yoga

So members of the first two were given different options to use their points to bid for various ticket packages under what they call their Moments rewards. No other way could you have attended that concert. No tickets were on sale. Now, that’s privilege!

Imagine Dragons has won two American Music Awards for Favourite Alternative Artist, a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance, five Billboard Music Awards, and a World Music Award. But they added another accolade that night — a memorable, exciting, energetic concert that I’m sure would stick in everyone’s minds for a long, long time. As was the moment they managed to snag a meet-and-greet with the band for some of the packages!

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The super-enthusiastic crowd at the Imagine Dragons concert in Marriott Marquis Bangkok. Photo: Marriott International

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There was even a meet-and-greet and photo session with Imagine Dragons for lucky fans. Photo: Marriott International

Since June 2015, Marriott has struck a partnership with Universal Music Group to feature their acts in select concerts around the world. Prior to Imagine Dragons they have had Ellie Goulding at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel in London; Juanes’ performance at the Courtyard by Marriott Santiago Las Condes in 2015, Demi Lovato and DNCE’s performance at the JW Marriott Los Angeles in September 2016, and James Bay and CHVRCHES performance at The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach, Los Angeles December 2016.

I hear a concert a Dubai might be next. Stay tuned on which artiste or band that will be!

In addition to on-property concerts, members get options to access some exclusive live concerts, theatre performances, VIP access and tickets to sporting events, games and other events, Ted Talks salon; meet and cook with celebrity chefs, attend premiers of movies and many others.

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Fulkerson noted that that plans to consolidate the rewards scheme were underway. Photo: Marriott International/Boat Sukarom

Marriott International vice-president brands & marketing Asia Pacific Mike Fulkerson who was present for this media-trip noted that they are only looking at consolidating the various reward/loyalty schemes under one only in the future, but there was a significant amount of work being done for that.

Also present was global brand management Marriott Hotels, Marriott International vice-president Matthew Carroll who shared that they were looking at expanding even more in Asia with 62 properties to be opened in the pipeline. He added that they were also modernising the look and feel of many of their properties and giving local elements to each property. They are starting with their North American properties first.

Technology seems to be the way to go and Carroll revealed that in addition to some of the innovations already in place, they were exploring more of such with M Beta – a property where they test new innovations and implement on a few selected properties to test in real-life situations.

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Carroll talked about the expansion plans the group has. Photo: The Star/S.S. Yoga

To a question that 30 brands might be a bit too much and would have overlaps, Fulkerson replied that there were many different and distinct groups and preferences and more brands made it easier to fit those groups into a specific property or brand. So the more different groups they could cater to, the better it would be to the satisfaction of their guests.

The concert was held in a Marriott Marquis and if you’re unfamiliar with that distinction it’s because it’s the first in Asia and only given to properties who are in a prime downtown location, have more than 1,000 rooms and 5,000 sq m of event space!

What will happen before the year 2100

It can be hard enough to predict what will happen next week, never mind next decade, or the end of this century. But based on current trends, plus agreements for the future that were set in place years ago, we can at least begin to surmise what our world will look like over the rest of this century. By the time to party like it’s 2099, expect the following to have become reality.

Model Awaits Surgery After Eyeball Tattoo Goes Extremely Wrong

A model from Ottawa, Canada, could have permanent vision loss in one eye after her now-ex-boyfriend attempted to tattoo her eyeball with purple ink.

“The artist, my ex-boyfriend, just kept pushing me until I got it done that night,” Catt Gallinger, 24, told Vice. “We were only together for a month, but I’ve known him for years. It was something I thought I could trust him with because he had a portfolio. I was wrong.”

Gallinger said her ex, Eric Brown, bungled the procedure by using a needle that was too big, sticking it in too deeply and using “pure ink” instead of ink diluted with saline. She said she went to the hospital immediately because she experienced pain and swelling, but that doctors sent her home because they weren’t sure something was wrong.

She went to a second doctor when she was still experiencing symptoms weeks later. The medical professional was apparently horrified.

Gallinger said she is still experiencing pain and blurry vision, and that she is scheduled for surgery next week. (Photos of her eye before and after the procedure are below.)

Brown has spoken out in defense of his work. In an interview with the CBC, he blamed Gallagher for not taking care of her eye after the procedure, and for not using eye drops as he had recommended.

But experts say the procedure is dangerous in general. Opthalmologist Setareh Ziai told the CBC that what happened to Gallinger is an extreme version of possible risks.

After photos of Gallinger’s eye went viral, Popular Science published a primer on how scleral tattoos — meaning a tattoo on the white part of the eye — are supposed to work. The publication noted that even the artist who first performed a scleral tattoo has said it’s not safe because even a minor mistake can lead to major, permanent damage.

A safer option is a surgical corneal tattoo performed by a qualified ophthalmic surgeon, according to PopSci. Corneal tattoos are typically performed as a type of reconstructive cosmetic surgery, or to improve eyesight.

Gallinger told The Canadian Press that the aftermath of the tattoo is also taking a toll on her mental health.

“At this point, every day is different,” she said. “Some days I feel a bit better, other days I kind of want to give up.”

A Stage Prop Fell On Marilyn Manson

Marilyn Manson

As much as Marilyn Manson has done for Satan, it’s sad to see the devil forsake him like this smh.

A statement from the singer’s rep says, “Manson suffered an injury towards the end of an incredible NYC show. He is being treated at a local hospital.” A source close to the situation told Variety shortly after the incident that Manson “should be fine,” but that was not an official comment. The band was about 45 minutes into their set and was performing their cover of Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).” At the center of the stage was a podium, framed by two giant fake pistols, which Manson began to climb. The podium wobbled dramatically, Manson fell backward and then the prop fell upon him — the band kept playing for several moments until they noticed the singer was not getting up. Both the house and stage lights remained down for several minutes; roadies placed a dropcloth over the podium. Eventually the house lights came up and an announcer said that “due to injury,” the show was over.

Manson has already cancelled tour dates, and I guess he’s recovering. I’m not sure. I haven’t looked that up. But if a big gun falling on a white 48-year-old white dude isn’t the real symbol of America, I don’t know what is. Maybe if the big gun was made out of cheese fries.

The untold truth of comedian Mitch Hedberg

Mitch Hedberg was one of the greatest comedians of all time. He might not be a household name like George Carlin or Louis C.K., but he’ll always be remembered for his signature style and incomparable delivery. Although his time here was sadly cut short, here’s a look at the life of the amazing Mitch Hedberg.

Canadian Couple Ends Epic Custody Battle Over Hockey Tickets

The Edmonton Oilers are so beloved by their fans that it took a divorce court decree to figure out how to share one set of season tickets.

If anyone needs evidence of how passionate Canadian hockey fans are, look no further than Beverly and Donald McLeod.

After separating in 2015, the two ended their 35-year marriage in court recently as they finally settled on custody of their beloved season tickets, CTV News reports. The Alberta couple were longtime Edmonton Oilers season ticket holders and apparently couldn’t come to a resolution on who would get the precious seats in the divorce.

Donald was willing to pay his former wife $15,000 a month in spousal support, but he wasn’t going to give up on his team. So Beverly filed for joint custody of the tickets and won.

“The parties shall alternate choices for game tickets with the defendant choosing first the game for which he wants tickets, the plaintiff choosing second for her game, and the parties alternating choices thereafter until all regular season tickets have been assigned,” Justice Ritu Khullar ruled, according to CTV News.

Edmonton Oilers fans are some of the most passionate in the National Hockey League, and season tickets are hard to come by. Some of the more affordable options for tickets range from $2,000 to $5,000, but seats with a better view and added luxury go from $8,000 to $23,000.

People on social media were deeply amused by the situation, which is honestly pretty relatable to any rabid sports fan.

And, apparently, Canadians.

Tom Petty Cause of Death Update: Did The Musician Die?

*This post will be updated with more information as it becomes available.

BREAKING: TMZ’s most recent update suggests Tom Petty is not dead, but is “clinging to life” and is not expected to live much longer. The outlet says earlier reports claiming the singer has died are inaccurate. The family reportedly has a do not resuscitate order on Petty.

Petty suffered a full cardiac arrest on Sunday night at his home in Malibu. He was found unconscious by EMTs, and rushed to UCLA Santa Monica Hospital where sources say he was put on life support, according to TMZ.

Petty rose to fame in the 70s with his band, Petty and the Heartbreakers. The musician recorded a number of hit songs with his band, and as a solo artist. Over the course of his career, he’s sold over 80 million records worldwide. In 2002, he was in ducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Fans and fellow musicians have shared their condolences on social media. Josh Groban took to Twitter to write, “What a horrid day for our country, music fans and music itself. RIP Tom Petty. His songs are always good medicine. Love to his family.”

Meat Loaf tweeted, “Today Just gets worse . The very talented musician , writer Tom Petty has just passed away.”

Boy Swallows Piece Of Pet Toy And Can’t Stop Squeaking

A young boy in Tucuman, Argentina, suffered an unusual side effect after he swallowed a piece from a pet toy: He couldn’t stop squeaking.

The video above was taken in the emergency room of a children’s hospital by Dr. Santiago Gomez Zuviria.

It shows the unnamed 8-year-old boy opening his mouth and squeaking up a storm.

“The whistle was stuck between the larynx and the pharynx,” Zuviria told HuffPost by email.

Using local anesthesia, Zuviria was able to remove the squeaker from the boy’s throat.

“His mother was more scared than he was,” Zuviria said. “It was a tragi-comic situation to be honest. I never seen or heard about a case like this in my life.”

The boy has since recovered, but Zuviria posted the video on Facebook last week to warn people about the dangers of swallowing things.

The video has since received more than 9 million views.

FBI Interns Asked Twitter For Questions, And It Soon Got Out Of Hand

People online took amusing advantage of a live Q&A hosted by interns at the FBI’s branch in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Wednesday.

The session on Twitter was supposed to center around the agency’s Honors Internship program for 2018, but the questions soon spiraled out of control.

While some users did indeed play ball to ask about the program’s application process, the majority just wanted to know about conspiracy theories or the hit TV show “Breaking Bad” ― which was set in Albuquerque.

Sadly, however, only the sensible questions were answered. Check out a sampling of the wildest queries below: