Sorry for the title, but I had to get everybody’s attention somehow! Enzyte, Semenax, Vazomyne, Viatrex… I think “common sense” is probably the best male enhancement drug around. This week, I really needed more of it. I’ve been under a great deal of stress lately – working more than playing. Despite this, Ponzi remained silent and supportive. For that, I’ll love her forever. She isn’t half as neurotic as I am, so maybe I’m overcompensating? I have a million things racing through my mind right now, and I’m doing my best to make sure they all don’t crash into one another. Oh, and… I don’t know Jack about male enhancement drugs, but 90% of my blocked commenters do.
As revealed in last night’s report, I’m going on an Alaskan cruise in another week or so. Friends tell me that there are breathtaking photographs waiting to be taken of the Alaskan landscape – but can I rent (borrow?) higher-quality hardware for a week? The cruise is already going to be expensive to begin with. Here’s a fraction of the feedback I received this morning…
Connie Devine: Cruises aren’t what they used to be. Forget that shuffleboard stuff. You are going to love it. Holland/America is a fantastic cruise line (yes, I am Dutch). Also I have a friend that works as Tour Director for Princess Cruises and almost every ship she goes on has internet access and sometimes it is part of the package, so check that out. Either way, relax and let them pamper you and drink in the views.
Paul Raven: I loved the Alaska Cruise last summer and wanted to go this summer too. The seas are fairly calm since the land is usually on both sides of the boat. They do have Internet access (yes it is expensive) on the ship and you may be able to get some access from the boat at some ports. Bring your laptop to dump your digital photos. My wife, son and I took almost 11,000 pictures last summer during that week. The scenery is awesome. Wild life is beyond awesome (Whales, Porpoises, Eagles, Salmon, Bears, etc.)
Tom D. Kerrigan: The main thing I have heard from people taking these cruises is to be careful of the food! There is food everywhere all day and all night long. This could wreck havoc with your diet. Are you at the downtown terminal or the one by the West Seattle Bridge? I work across the street (Kind of) from the terminal by the West Seattle Bridge. On my daily walk I go by the 2 Alaska cruise ships every Friday and after working the weekend found out they also have Saturday sailings. I am at the Seattle Lighting Warehouse/Offices there across Aurora from the terminal. Have a great cruise. I am very undecided if I would ever want to take a cruise, the travel plans seem too structured.
Uncle Bob: If you get a chance go fishing, I’ve been only once but would go again even with all the airline security. Take all the side trips you can, I was amazed it wasn’t all ice and snow. Don’t let anyone try and print your pictures for you, I lost 8 rolls of film and see one of my shots quite often in publication.
Dennis Williams: Holland America is a wonderful cruise line, but be prepared to be the youngest people on board. The “average” age is about 72. We’ve taken several with HAL and loved them, but the folks are old for the most part (we are, too, at 64 and 62). Bon Voyage!
Charlie Burkey Jr.: Cheer up! Sounds like a cruise to AK will do you some good. As an AK reader of Lockergnome (not sure I’m ready to claim the title of Lockergnomie – or whatever), let me say what I say to everyone who is thinking about visiting AK: you owe it to yourself to see AK and you won’t be sorry you did. We don’t live in igloos and I’ve been told that a higher percentage of Alaskans have computers in their homes (practically all connected to the Internet) than any other state. We do have Internet in AK. Come on up and enjoy the Inside Passage, you’ll be glad you did.
Bern Muller: Chris, we have cruised around the world with Holland America. They are great. All Holland America ships have satellite internet connections. I take my laptop, and go to one of the hotspots on board, and hook up. But it is expensive. I hope you enjoy Alaska. We did.
Kent: I’m sure that you will find HAL (Holland American) to be a great line. Treat the waiters as friends not slaves and you will have made a # of good friends. If you like bread pudding, go to the lunch buffet on the Lido deck. Great. Good ice cream and cookies there also. You will find a lot to do. If it would make you feel better, you stay home and I’ll go in your place. BW and I have been on 11 HAL cruises and are planning another for Nov 06. Relax and have fun.
Eddie: I really do feel for you being away from your computer for a whole week. You cannot even take your Dell with you as it might catch fire. Azipod propulsion was designed by the same people that developed Windows XP, so you have nothing to worry about. Just go and have a good time, and take your camera with you.
Leland: My focus isn’t Alaska but you can pick up some good cruise tips that are practical from my website. By the way, without the encouragement from Chris’s newsletters over the years, it wouldn’t exist. Thanks!
Ed Accornero: Look at Wikipedia for the definition of Azipod. There are pictures of the propulsion system, showing that the Coast Guard is using the system, and what it looks like and how it saves fuel.
Bill K: Your cruise ship has an internet cafe on board and all staterooms have an internet connection. So don’t forget to pack your laptop. Just don’t tell you know who!
According to Holland America’s site, “Guests can send and receive electronic mail in real-time, via a high speed satellite link 24 hours a day, satellite conditions permitting.” It also says I can use my own laptop. So, I should have Internet access on the cruise (albeit on a limited basis). There’s no access pricing on HollandAmerica.com, but I imagine I’m going to have to find a sponsor to help cover the costs. That way, I can do a check-in every day from the high seas. Or a few recorded Skypecasts, perhaps?
My special email address will be pirillo7071 @ oosterdam.cruisemail.net – but I’m not sure how that will work yet.
We use Hertz almost exclusively for car rentals these days – I think it’s because they’re a premier partner with American Express (which is our preferred plastic). Ponzi and I happen to travel a lot, so we rent cars from Hertz often. We always opt for a GPS-strapped vehicle, too. In the past few weeks, I’ve experienced a few customer service snags with the car rental company:
- When we were in Texas for my brother’s wedding, the Neverlost GPS directed us to the closest airport – which just so happened to be the wrong one. While I’d rather have a nav system than go without, the Neverlost is a usability nightmare compared to more elegant systems that ship standard in, say, the Acura TSX.
- Ponzi had to call Hertz to discuss a discrepancy, and the rep told her that she was privvy to a better car at a lower cost – even though the Web site she registered through didn’t bother to say so. Dumb, dumb, dumb.
- Through our business account, I reserved a Hertz car through the Web last week. The online form wanted to change the reservation name from mine to hers, and I had to re-edit the form before submitting it. When I arrived at SJC as a #1 Gold Club Member, they wouldn’t let me leave the lot because I wasn’t “Latthanapon Indharasophang.” When I walked up to the counter, the agent was accusing me of not using the Web form properly – and that it was my fault. I’m a “#1 Gold Club” member, which apparently means I get treated like shit quicker than non-members.
- I can’t add my name to our account, and it doesn’t look like we can change Ponzi’s name in there without divine intervention. Dumb, dumb, dumb.
- Ponzi jockeyed her car behind mine before leaving to Los Angeles last week, and I can’t move it because I don’t have her alarm fob. I called Hertz to arrange a local rental, and the operator asserted that they’d reimburse my cab fare to the office. When I called the downtown location, the local clerk told me to wait a few hours (again, I ask the value of being in the “#1 Gold Club”). I arrived, paid $15 for the fare, and waited in line. The guy was only able to reimburse only $8 (but made it $10 because he was “feeling like being nice”).
If Hertz was blogging, I’d send ’em a trackback.
The ol’ song says that diamonds are a girl’s best friend. I believe that the entire diamond industry is a racket, and I can’t wait for synthetic diamonds to sweep in and drive prices down. I’m sure our female faves will still lust after the real thing. Nobody’s going to ask you if the diamonds are artificial or not, and if they even have to ask – they can’t see the difference, anyway! We’re not talking about cubic zirconia here. The man-made diamond trade is long overdue for men in love with women in love with diamonds.
Ponzi sang happy birthday to herself this morning. Of course, she does that every morning – but she really means it every year on August 1st. I was using our new digital megastore to search for diamond earrings. I found a few that I really liked – and from that list, I went seeking a local Tiffany’s store. She’s wanted diamond earrings from the dawn of time, ya know.
They’re not gigantic, but Ponzi’s now the proud owner of a pair of diamond earrings from Tiffany’s. They really sparkle, man. Great cut, great clarity, great color – and “great” won’t begin to describe the bill we’re going to see from the credit card company at the end of the month. Oy!
No, I didn’t go to BlogHer – for a few good reasons. It has nothing to do with me being a “him,” though. Largely, I stayed at home for Ponzi’s benefit. I didn’t want to take away from her experience at the event, as the BlogHer conference is ultimately about women in blogging – and she’s a woman who blogs. If I went, I’d do nothing more than (inadvertently) impose my own perspectives on the experience. I really believe she had a chance to learn more without me there.
Ponzi started blogging after watching me do it for a while – but she’s not a geek. I often drag her (term used loosely) to tech-centric events that she doesn’t care much about. BlogHer is a chance for her to mix and mingle with people who don’t eat, sleep, and breathe technology – and yes, those kinds of people really do exist! She’s a very independent thinker, and I have no doubt she’ll come home with several useful ideas and fun stories.
“Gnomedex” is starting to appear in a few BlogHer posts – a couple of them related to how Ponzi and I handle sponsors. Microsoft’s Conference Marketing, Part 2 and Definitely Femtastic should take a look at Microsoft Rewrote the Ã¢â¬ÅRulesÃ¢â¬Â? of Conference Sponsorship. It’s not easy to do a conference – but I must congratulate the entire BlogHer crew for pulling it off. I’ll be picking up Ponzi from the airport at Midnight tonight.
Don’t even ask what it’s going to cost – birthdays come but once a year!
- Scrambled Egg with Lime CrÃ¨me FraÃ®che and White Sturgeon Caviar
- Oxtail and Foie Gras Terrine with Carrot-Cumin Salad and a Bing Cherry Relish
- Diverâ€™s Sea Scallop with Celeriac Puree, Lemon Confit and a Meyer Lemon Nage
- Maine Lobster with Roasted Beets and a Lobster Pastis Sauce with Sea Urchin Roe
- Hudson Valley Foie Gras with Caramelized Preserved Peach and a Klipsun Vineyard Verjus Sauce
- Columbia River Sturgeon with Hedgehog Mushroom, Brussels Sprouts and a Red Wine-Spicy Bacon Sauce
- Green Darjeeling Tea Infused Sorbet
- Venison Medallions with Green Lentils, Roasted Parsnips and a Laurel Bay Sauce
- Symphony Of Desserts
Just like I wrote earlier… it’s my birthday. Birthdays are fun, arenÃ¢â¬â¢t they? On my fifth birthday, I got to fly around in a Cessna plane above the city of Des Moines, IA (thinking I wanted to become a pilot). On my sixth birthday, my parents hired a magician (thinking I wanted to become a prestidigitator). On my seventh birthday, I donÃ¢â¬â¢t remember much because someone spiked the fruit punch (just kidding, but wouldnÃ¢â¬â¢t that make a wonderful story for the grandkids). On my eighth birthday, I stopped keeping track of my birthdays as I was quickly becomingÃ¢â¬Â¦ an Ã¢â¬Åold man.Ã¢â¬Â? Remember the days when “21” was old? Neither do I – and they say that memory is the first thing to go. The only thing I want this year is a bigger chest.
I was just in Colorado Springs for my future brother-in-law’s wedding. While I was there, Aryeh Goretsky sent me an email with a few “local” tips inside. Seems a shame to keep those to myself, so I’m going to post ’em here in the hopes that other people traveling to Colorado Springs will discover them when searching for help…
When I was there last, NORAD, USAFA and Ft. Carson were not allowing tours any more, but they may have relaxed those. If you are still in Colorado Springs, here are some fun things to do while you’re there, in no particular order:
- Garden of the Gods Park (either just to drive through or to park and walk around in).
- The Will Rogers Shrine (kind of like Coit Tower in SF).
- Bear Creek Park (dog park, some walking, also hiking)
- Check out the Starr Kempf kinetic sculptures over by the Starsmore Discovery Center
- See a movie at the IMAX theatre
- Take the funicular rail car up Pike’s Peak
- There are all sorts of galleries, boutiques and eateries in Old Colorado City, downtown Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs
- Visit Woodland Park (about 16 miles W of town, curvy drive up to it)
Things you can probably avoid: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, the Manitou Cliff Dwellings, the Flying W Ranch, the Nicola Tesla museum, and the Cave of the Winds. The Zoo is (or was) very small and the Flying W more of a dinner and “western experience” thing for people who’ve never seen a cowboy. There is an Insect Museum south of town – I don’t know if it is worth visiting. And as far as eating is concerned:
- Broadmoor Hotel (various restaurants, all expensive)
- Craftwood Inn [Manitou Springs] (game, expensive)
- Edelweiss (German food, moderate)
- Giuseppe’s Depot (pizza, kind of touristy but fun, moderate)
- Il Vicino (pizza, inexpensive)
- Marigold (noveau, moderate-expensive)
- Mollica’s (Italian deli, inexpensive)
- Phantom Canyon Brewery (nouveau, moderate)
- Stage Coach (continental, moderate-expensive)
- Swiss Chalet [Woodland Park] (dinner is expensive, lunch is reasonable)
Downtown Colorado Springs is 6,000 feet above sea level, Woodland Park is at 8,500 feet and Cripple Creek and Victor are just over 10,000 feet. This means you may be exposed to more UV radiation then if you were at sea level. If anyone burns easily, bring some suntan lotion. Also, the air is thinner and drier. As a result, your body will dry out quicker. Take bottled water with you wherever you go (e.g., leave it in the car). Chapstick will also be useful. Also, there may be quite a bit of pollen in the air from pine trees and the like. Take anti-allergens if this is an issue. There is a CompUSA and a Best Buy at the north end of town in case of digital emergencies.
Dear manufacturers who place objects in plastic containers that are impossible to open without accidentally slicing yourself: STOP IT, stop it, stop it, stop it, stop it, stop it, stop it, stop it, stop it, stop it, STOP IT, stop it, stop it, stop it, stop it, stop it, stop it, stop it, stop it, stop it, STOP IT, stop it, stop it, STOP IT, STOP IT, STOP IT, STOP IT! Thank you.
UPDATE: I’m not alone:
- Health Hazard or Theft Prevention?
- Packaging Hell – Time to Rise Up!
- Seagate Leaves me bloodyâ€¦
- Blister Pack Attack
- Plastic Blister Pack
Took ’em long enough to say something about it. Guess we have to injure Marc Cuban to get our point across more often?
It’s 200 degrees Farenheit in Seattle today – which is about 130 degrees higher than our normal temperature. Our house was an oven when we walked into it late last night, as it had been completely breezeless for three full days. I’ve been puttering around, taking care of random tasks – but it’s next to impossible to concentrate when your skin is about to melt off your body. You’ve gotta understand: Seattle homes aren’t built for this kind of weather. It’s hot – damn hot. When you blink, you sweat. I’ve had my shirt off (yes, preparing for Rent My Chest 2.0) for the past couple of hours. Ponzi just handed it back to me, soaking wet and wrung dripless. This is supposed to lower my body’s core temperature by about 10 degrees – and I certainly needed it. However, I hate wearing wet clothes – which is why you’ll never find me hanging out at water parks or beaches. Bleah.