Category Archives: Life

A Honeymoon in Italy?

Day 1 – Depart USA / Overnight flight to Rome.

Day 2 – Arrive Rome / On arrival at Rome Fiumicino airport we are met and transferred to our hotel. After check-in the remainder of the day is at leisure, perhaps to relax or explore. This afternoon, we enjoy a welcome drink with our Tour Director and fellow travelling companions.

Day 3 – Rome sightseeing & at leisure / This morning after breakfast, the first highlight of our day, with our local guide is a visit to the Sistinew Chapel where the works of Michelangelo are brought to life by the guide’s clear and exciting commentary thanks to the use of an excellent audio system. Then we head into St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, to see this amazing building. From here we cross the Tiber into ancient Rome stopping in the Forum to admire the mighty Colosseum, before heading to the Circus Maximus where at one time ‘Ben Hur’ style chariot races took place. The rest of your day is at leisure perhaps to sightsee further or relax with a cappuccino at a pavement café on the Via Veneto. This evening, why not discover the city’s culinary delights and vibrant nightlife? (Buffet Breakfast)

Day 4 – Rome – Pompeii – Sorrento / Today our journey takes us past the Abbey of Monte Cassino en route to the Bay of Naples. Next we will enjoy a guided tour of Pompeii, the town frozen in time when it was engulfed by the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79. Later, we continue our journey along the coastline to Sorrento where we spend the next two nights. Dinner is included at our hotel this evening. (Buffet Breakfast / Dinner)

Day 5 – Isle of Capri Excursion / After breakfast, we witness the art of inlaid wood-working, one of the crafts of the Sorrento peninsula. After we will embark on an excursion by ferry to the Isle of Capri. There’s plenty of time to explore this lovely island. Why not visit the villa of the Swedish doctor Axel Munthe with its magnificent views over the Bay of Naples and Vesuvius? Tonight, we enjoy dinner in a picturesque restaurant. (Buffet Breakfast / Highlight Dinner)

Day 6 – Sorrento – Assisi / This morning’s drive will take us to the province of Umbria and mystical Assisi, perched on Mount Subasio and overlooking a peaceful Umbrian landscape. This city under the protection of St. Francis is still enclosed by medieval ramparts. On our arrival a sightseeing tour includes the Basilica of St. Francis, famous for its fresco paintings depicting the life of this much-loved saint. Later time is your own to do as you please. Why not shop for local handicrafts? This evening we will dine at our hotel. (Buffet Breakfast / Dinner)

Day 7 – Assisi – Ravenna – Venice / We enjoy a morning drive along the Adriatic Coast to the Roman town of Ravenna with its ancient mosaics and Byzantine architecture. Here we will visit the Church of St. Apollinaris in Classe before seeing the Romanesque Basilica of Pomposa. Next we drive to the floating city of Venice for our two-night stay. (Buffet Breakfast / Dinner)

Day 8 – Venice sightseeing & at leisure / This morning after breakfast we will absorb this city’s unique atmosphere on our included canal cruise by private motor launch to St. Mark’s Square. We view the Bridge of Sighs, Doges’ Palace and Basilica. After, we will stop to visit a traditional glass-blowing factory to witness a demonstration of this ancient Art. Then with time on your own you may wish to discover the island of Burano and enjoy a delicious seafood lunch. This evening a gondola serenade would be hard to resist! (Buffet Breakfast)

Day 9 – Venice – Verona – Milan – Lake Maggiore (Baveno) / Our day will start with a drive to the home of Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers, Verona. We stop to admire the Roman Arena and Juliet’s balcony. From here we cross the plains of Lombardy to the fashionable city of Milan. Here we see the gothic ‘Duomo’, ‘La Scala’ Opera house and the famous Galleria. Finally, we make our way to our hotel in the Italian Lake District for dinner and our overnight stay. (Buffet Breakfast / Dinner)

Day 10 – Lugano Excursion / This morning we will enjoy an excursion into the Ticino, the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland, where we stop to visit the beautiful resort of Lugano. On our arrival there’s time to shop or simply relax with a cappuccino in the main square. Later, we return to our hotel for dinner and the night. (Buffet Breakfast / Dinner)

Day 11 – Lake Maggiore (Baveno) – Pisa – Florence / Our morning drive takes us via the Plains of Lombardy and cross the Apennine Mountains to Genoa, Columbus’ birthplace. Next off to Pisa to see the extraordinary Leaning Tower, before arriving at Florence, cradle of the Renaissance. Tonight, why not venture out into the hills surrounding the city for a meal of excellent Tuscan cuisine accompanied by some delicious Chianti wine? (Buffet Breakfast)

Day 12 – Florence sightseeing & at leisure / The Cathedral, Signoria Square and a visit to Santa Croce Basilica feature on our guided sightseeing tour on foot, and enhanced by the use of an audio system. Later, enjoy a panoramic view from Piazzale Michelangelo before free time. Perhaps discover the artistic wonders in the museums or shop for leather and gold. (Buffet Breakfast / Dinner)

Day 13 – Florence – Siena – Serre di Rapolano – Rome / We enjoy a scenic drive through the Chianti wine-producing region to medieval Siena, famous for its exciting Palio horse-race. Here there’s time to explore the wonders of this city before we stop to visit the grounds of the ancient castle of Serre di Rapolano. We arrive in Rome late in the afternoon. This evening, why not discover the city’s culinary delights in a local trattoria? (Buffet Breakfast)

Day 14 – Rome – USA / ‘Buon viaggio’ to new-found friends.

Our Wedding Registry at Amazon

Well, we’ve officially put our wedding registry online at Amazon. Ponzi picked everything, as most of it is what she knows we need. I can’t believe we’ve lived this long without a covered cake pan. Hell, I didn’t even know they made covered cake pans! Oddly enough, she didn’t select any bedding, bath, or decor items. Guess that means we’re going to be living out of our kitchen. I hear Calphalon is quite comfortable, actually.

Setting up a home means different things to different people. Are you homebodies who love to curl up on the couch with a Hepburn and Stewart classic? Or are you always on the go, heading off to soccer practice or serving up a round of badminton in your backyard? Or maybe you can’t wait to mix up cocktails in your swank newlywed pad. From electronics to sports gear to barware, your registry should be all about who you are as a couple, how you like to spend your free time, and what your passions are.

Yeah, but I already have a copy of Joe Dirt on DVD…

A Dog's Social Network

That’s it! Wicket and Pixie are officially online, though I wouldn’t expect to hear much from them. They each have separate Dogster profiles: Puppy 1 and Puppy 2. I was prompted to set ’em up after Ted Rheingold (himself) commented on a recent photo of Wicket. I don’t know what to say, so I’ll let Wicket speak for himself:

Arf woof, woof woof bark woof. Growl, growl, arf arf arf woof bark woof. Woof! Woof bark woof woof woof bark woof woof. Arf, arf! Warf! Ar-ar-ar-ar-ar-woo-woo! Graw, woof woof woof woof woof. Arf, woof woof arf arf woof woof woof. Grow-wow-wow, woof woof woof arf bark bark bark bark FARK bark woof woof woof arf arf, arf arf arf arf arf. Woof! Woof! Woof! Bark bark bark bark bark bark woof woof woof arf woof bark bark woof arf – arf arf arf, bark woof.

Please, no sudden movements or he’ll run away and pee on the rug. Oh jeez, now Pixie wants to say something, too:

Yeah – she’s a bit shy. Are you going to say anything, Pixie? I thought you wanted to say something. Now’s the time, because I’m in the middle of editing the post. Fine, but don’t say I didn’t at least give you the opportunity.

Wanna sell me a car?

Okay, I think I want to lease a 2006 Acura TSX (with a few bells and whistles, like the navigation system and MP3/WMA add-in). My lease with Honda is up in another month, so I have to “scramble” to get my next car lined up before then. There have been fantastic suggestions in my Acura vs. Lexus post, including links to no-dicker resources and/or the idea of getting a car sponsored by any given dealership. I’m wondering if I should reverse engineer this entire car leasing process? Who wants to give me an offer I simply can’t refuse? I’m throwing my business out there – who wants it?

Acura vs. Lexus

My Acura’s lease is up in another month, and I just can’t wait! I love my 2004 Acura TSX through and through, but I’m anxious to get the 2006 Acura TSX. Ponzi says I should look around to see what other sedans are comparable. To my knowledge, the best contender is a 2007 Lexus IS 250 – but it’s ~$10k more than the Acura TSX. At least I’ll have a bit of leverage when I walk into the dealership. I hate dickering. I really do.

Why am I stuck on the Acura TSX? It’s been a great car for me. Plus, the 2006 TSX is just about the geekiest auto on the market today. It’s got an excellent nav system, Zagat ratings, voice controls, live traffic, XM Satellite radio, Bluetooth, audio in jack, etc. I got “hit” by a Geek Car:

TSX Reviews from across the Web are overwhelmingly positive in all the areas that matter most to me – and the car scores quite well on Informed For Life (an automobile safety index). Dunno. I’m going to have to make a decision come October 15th! Never did a lease before, so I’m not quite sure how this will work.

Wreckreational Vehicles

My mom and dad just purchased a new RV. Actually, they returned a recently-acquired (used) RV to get this new one. It’s a Pursuit 3500DS by Georgie Boy, and this one certainly beats the RV we owned when I was a kid. Many summers were spent in “the camper.” I can’t imagine doing that again! Ponzi and I aren’t really road trippin’ travelers. My biggest hangup would be on the whole sewage dumping scenario. Yuck. Seriously, yuck.

Maybe once the whole UndoTV thing gets launched (yes, it’s still rolling forward), I can assemble a few sponsors and take a month-long, cross-country trip with my folks. It would probably be less painful to shove an icepick under a toenail, but that would certainly be an experience begging to be chronicled. Could you handle living in close quarters with your parents… for longer than a week?

Getting New Glasses

Right now, my face is so close to the LCD screen, I can see blues and reds of the sub-pixel font rendering. Why would I be doing such a thing? No, I’m not testing the boundaries of ClearType – I just had my eyes dialated at a long-overdue optometrist appointment. It’s time to get new glasses!

Ponzi has yet to master the art of subtlety, having handed me a “Market Optical” gift certificate for my birthday a few weeks ago. That’s her way of saying I need to update my look to help her avoid further social embarassment. She had done her homework, too – selecting a style-heavy outlet through which I might find new specs.

I flipped on a thick, black rim frame as soon as I saw it – but the covered up my eyebrows (which is a bad thing, apparently). I’ve always been most comfortable in mid-sized, rounded frames – but few of those were to be found on the shelves. It didn’t take too long to find the perfect fit. You’ll see it for first time when I get them in another week or so.

Our Alaska Cruise Schedule

As noted in my cruise ship report, we have a general schedule for our Holland America [ms Oosterdam] cruise:

  • Sat: Arrive at terminal at 1:00pm
  • Sat: Depart from terminal at 4:00pm
  • Sun: At sea all day
  • Mon: Juneau from 11:00am to 9:00pm
  • Tue: Hubbard Glacier from 12:00pm to 5:00pm
  • Wed: Sitka from 7:00am to 6:00pm
  • Thu: Ketchikan from 7:00am to 1:00pm
  • Fri: Victoria from 6:00pm to 11:59pm
  • Sat: Return to Seattle at 7:00am

Anything we “must” do (besides dogsledding, which is happening earlier in the week). I just asked Pluggd if they wanted to do a few Skypecasts – so, keep your ears on for a couple of audio updates!

Pluggd Keeps Us Plugged In

Expect to see plugs for Pluggd in the near future: they’re sponsoring our Internet connection on the cruise next week! As it stands, I’ll be checking in at least once a day from the Holland America cruiseliner – text and photos, guaranteed. I’ll post daily audio experiences as well – so long as upload speeds aren’t capped at 2400bps! Drew Olanoff made the cruise connection for us – and for that I’m damn thankful, period. Alex Castro (Pluggd CEO) and I are getting together at Caffe Vita this evening – and I’m bringing the iRiver Clix podcast recording device with me. The audio quality may not be outstanding, but at least it’ll get the job done.