The travel blog for people who hate travel blogs.

Are you a fashion whore? Judgmental of others? Consumed with what’s on ‘the outside’? Superficial to a fault? Then you’ll love ShareYourLook.com, a social-networking DIY fashion website started by Melissa Ceria, the wife of a guy I worked for. Users post pictures of themselves and their friends on the site, and write about how they put the look together and where to buy each item. Other people can comment, compliment, and give tips. Seems like a cool idea, especially in an era when fashion trends come and go faster than a Ben Affleck movie.

TripAdvisor

Before you go on your next vacation, cruise or anything anywhere in the world, check your accommodations out by visiting the one website that’s purpose-built to find you accommodations that won’t suck.

I hate paying monthly fees. In fact, I hate paying monthly fees so much that I’m willing to spend stupid amounts of money upfront to avoid them. How stupid? How does $1200 sound? That’s how much I almost spent when I was considering a MythTV box (specifically, the MonolithMC, a kick-ass Linux-based Media PC) to avoid paying Tivo their $13 a month service fee. Sure, in six or seven years I would’ve been ahead of the game, but by then the technology would’ve changed and I’d be stuck with an outdated PC. Biting the bullet, I bought a Tivo DVR for $100 (now they’re free), figuring they would go out of business sooner or later as a result of competition from satellite and cable DVRs and I’d be left with a digital VCR, an acceptable outcome in my opinion—so I passed on Tivo’s $300/life-time fee. Six months later, they won their lawsuit . Crap. By that time, I’d grown to appreciate the Tivo user interface. And so had my tech-phobic wife; the interface was clear enough for her to use it without cursing too much. To be frank, the Tivo interface is very well-designed; but the service is simply not worth $13 a month. Meanwhile, Comcast had been slowly raising the price of “Extended” cable (Basic, plus the channels you actually want) to my breaking point—evidently, $56 smackers a month. With Tivo adding another $13, we were shelling out $69 A MONTH for basic cable and a DVR without one single premium station! I could stand it no more. Yet AT&T—a company whose management is indisputably out to screw their customers at every turn, and whom I loathe—was promoting their DishNetwork partnership at the time, so I called to see what they were offering. A very nice woman told me I could get America’s Top 120 with a dual-tuner DVR for $49/mo., a savings of $240/yr. Plus, there was a $100 rebate; very tempting. Not wanting an 18’ satellite eyesore on my Southward-facing porch, I called to give Comcast a chance to counter AT&T’s promotion. If Comcast had met me halfway, I would’ve stayed with them for convenience’s sake. But...

I just saw the new movie, Casino Royale, starring Daniel Craig, and enjoyed it. Too bad, it’s not a Bond flick. Yes, the lead character is named James Bond, but that alone doesn’t make it a Bond flick ( see Never Say Never Again ). In fact, while the Broccolis think there have already been 21 or 22 Bond films, there have really only been about six: Dr. No, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, and Diamonds Are Forever. In short, the Sean Connery ones. And not because I think Sean Connery is the best Bond. Frankly, I don’t care who the actor is. No, there have only been 6 real Bond flicks because most of the scripts lack the requisite Bond-ness to qualify. But before I get to defining that, I want to point out what should be obvious to the producers, but is apparently not: Bond films are male fantasies . They are the guy equivalent of a cheesy Harlequin romance novel, only without wasting as much paper. Or one of those romantic movies that in no way realistically represent male/female interaction. Bond movies aren’t supposed to be real or believable. And the scriptwriters should stop trying to make James into a 3-dimensional, flesh-and-blood character. If guys want depth and introspection—say, to make a girl think we’re deep and introspective— we’ll watch Ordinary People. These are action pictures, not navel-gazing character studies. Bond represents the quintessential/archetypal masculine persona in its most idealized form. He’s good-looking, strong and silent. Bond is driven only by instinct and self-preservation; devoid of complex emotions. In fact, he possesses the only two essential male emotions: Horny and Killing . As the ultimate ubermensch , his feats and actions are beyond what ordinary men could ever achieve. Like making beautiful enemy spies who want to kill him fall in love with him instead. Or defusing a bomb with exactly 0:07 seconds left on the clock. Or jumping a speedboat off a ramp. During such acts, Bond doesn’t care about collaterol damage to fruit stands. He doesn’t care if he kills an innocent bystander (he does have a license for that,...

Watch this video and then tell me that there is no other life in the universe.

The fine folks at Mankas Hills Vineyards were kind enough to send me a bottle of their 2004 Amelie Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot . For free. Well, they did have one request: that I blog about it.

Here’s a fun thing to do: Go to Al Gore’s Carbon Calculator and see how you personally are responsible for the untimely demise of this planet. TIP : I found that lying will lower your score substantially.

Barring an elaborate hoax , this could be one of the biggest fish stories of recent memory. From the NYTimes : Scientists have discovered fossils of a 375 million-year-old fish, a large scaly creature not seen before, that they say is a long-sought “missing link” in the evolution of some fishes from water to a life walking on four limbs on land. You have GOT to see the photo. Wacky.

As a huge fan of the musically progressive tunes produced by the 70’s band Ambrosia, I was gratified to learn that they had reunited (a seemingly inevitable occurrence for bands these days) and were playing in St. Petersburg. For free, no less. However, upon attending, I was dismayed to learn that they were playing in a small tent at an art fair. (Had I known this, I would’ve taped it…for personal use of course, Mr. FBI agent.) Since none of their albums have yet been released on CD, I brought along a letter inquiring why. I passed him the letter when he came out to sign autographs. That done, I went back to the fair. Twenty minutes later, the crowds had thinned so I ambled back to the stage to see if the band was still there. I found the entire group posing for snapshots like tourists for an older woman I took to be a band member’s mother. Leaping at the chance to act like a total moron, I tried to get into one of the photos with the band. (Fortunately, I wasn’t quick enough.) I did, however, manage to meet David and some of the other guys in the band. When he found out I was in advertising, we talked about working on a project he’s heading up. (Hopefully, this will lead to a job in Hollywood with a salary so obscenely huge that I’ll start hanging with big name celebrities at their beach houses and develop an obscure, yet interesting, drug dependency that will require years of experimental and controversial therapy at the Betty Ford Clinic. I can hardly wait.)

Foie Gras. It’s a kind of food. As I understand it, the term means “goose liver” in, I’m guessing, French. (Who else would eat something like that?) Now, to me, liver is a disgusting, vile substance served with onions and only to pre-Depression era families who can’t afford meat. Likewise, it is unilaterally despised by all to whom it is served. But recently, I learned that it’s also an appetizer/entree at your snootier (read, French) restaurants. Not too surprising, since most horrible food is French. Foie Gras, still in its natural habitat (a goose). Now, I’m not a big fan of French food (as it often consists of things like Foie gras). But Amy likes the weird comestibles and I like Amy, ergo…. It was at the Waterfront restaurant (corner of Broadway and Embarcadero) where we first got a chance to sample this supposed “delicacy”. A friend had invited us to dinner and we gratefully accepted. While Amy and I ordered more traditional yet still French fare, our friend ordered the substance in question. Shortly after we drained a few bottles of vino, the waiter then brought out our food and, without regard for our feelings, placed on our table. Right where we could SEE it. Yes, it was the liver of a goose. A slimy, mushy, organ that filtered God-knows-what out of the goose’s bloodstream (what do they eat?). And we were offered a taste. A once in a lifetime opportunity to experience cannibalism, one step removed. Well, we were pretty tanked on a nice bottle of Merlot, so we dug in. I tried very hard not to dwell on the act I was engaged in. I kept saying to myself that it was just food. But it wasn’t. It was an organ. Not meat. An organ. Like a heart. I was eating the heart of a cute little goose! I felt vaguely like a vampire until I actually raised the fork to my lips and tasted it. My first reaction was nausea welling in my stomach that led me to do a quick mental check of where I saw the men’s room when we came in. But then...

One of Florida’s few hip and progressive traits has to be its music scene. Many of the local bands down here put on some bizarre stage shows. One funk-rock bands’ obviously Jewish lead singer (pertinent only because of his headgear) comes out covered with tattoos, wearing a choir robe and a Pope hat. Gotta love a guy with a sense of humor. On the other extreme is a band who’s main attraction has nothing to do with music. They’re called Gen & The Genitorturers. As the name might imply, they’re not a Christian folk quartet (decidedly NSFW). Rather, they use traditional drums, electric guitar and bass to play Speed Metal—a sort of really loud noise, totally devoid of melody and intelligible lyrics, played as fast as humanly feasible. Their main attraction, though, is their stage show. It involves unnatural acts that I can’t describe here as I don’t know how many of my readers have loose morals and/or weak stomachs. Suffice to say, even Jerry Springer doesn’t prepare you for this kind of stuff. If you’re interested in the gory details, click on the link above, or call me (before lunch) and I’ll elaborate.

One of Florida’s few hip and progressive traits has to be its music scene. Many of the local bands down here put on some bizarre stage shows. One funk-rock bands’ obviously Jewish lead singer (pertinent only because of his headgear) comes out covered with tattoos, wearing a choir robe and a Pope hat. Gotta love a guy with a sense of humor. On the other extreme is a band who’s main attraction has nothing to do with music. They’re called Gen & The Genitorturers. As the name might imply, they’re not a Christian folk quartet. Rather, they use traditional drums, electric guitar and bass to play Speed Metal–a sort of really loud noise, totally devoid of melody and intelligible lyrics, played as fast as humanly feasible. Their main attraction though, is their stage show. It involves unnatural acts that I can’t describe here as I don’t know how many of my readers have loose morals and/or weak stomachs. Suffice to say, even Oprah doesn’t prepare you for this stuff. If interested in the gory details, call me at the number below, before lunch, and I’ll elaborate.

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