Reality TV

Reality TV when the Rubber Meets the Road-Justin.tv An Internet Phenomenon

A camera zooms past some well tended plants, past the well lit exterior of a mansion, and into a well lit glass “closet.” All we hear is a muffled shriek of frustration. Tears dribble down a young woman’s face as she sobs into the phone over the “stupidity” of all the other people she lives with. Something tells us that this may not be “reality” as we know it. Many of us had our share of reality shows such as “Survivor,” “Big Brother” and the countless other spinoffs that pose to be reality shows, but are in essence the concoction of media giants having meticulously designed scripts and editing. Nowadays, the reality show furvor has subsided as fast as we could say “you are voted off the island.”

How then has the recent video account of one typical, tech entrepreneur enflamed viewership upwards of ten thousand people at one time? Especially when this person’s life is utterly “normal,” completely unedited and unscripted, filmed for 24 hours a day and 7 days a week? Justin.tv is a new internet reality TV show that documents the life of Justin Kan for a full 24 hour day. The show differs from previous attempts at reality tv because there is no show editing and the mounted camera on his head enabling anyone to take a look at what is going on in this person’s life at any one time, even while he is sleeping or going to the bathroom. Recent archived clips show Justin talking with friends, eating, or doing mundane tasks like cleaning up empty cans after a party. Why would anyone want to watch someone else’s life when he has his own to live? A recent slogan for the website says it all: “Waste Time Watching Other People Waste Time.”

Kan is the new internet phenomenon and justin.tv a new chat room hub, with people watching the website even while Justin is sleeping for hours at a time. Not all are so patient, however. Much of justin.tv ‘s fame has been fueled by pranksters changing caller ID through their computers to call 9-1-1 on his apartment through his phone, prompting police to burst in the investigate the alleged stabbing. Another time a fire was reported, but the fire trucks were not caught on camera. Now Justin’s telephone number is listed as a potential prank number so that law enforcement confirms if there really is a fire or a crime before dispatching to this phone number. Another prank included ordering 63 dollars worth of pizza hot to his front door.

Other ways to add some spice to Justin’s life to entertain fans is to have “auctions.” For example, a recent bid said that if the website recieved 100 emails within the next 20 minutes, people would jump into a pool fully clothed. The site had 300 emails quite quickly. Other bids include bids for blind dates and an open forum for suggesting Justin to do fan’s requests. Is justin.tv slowly turning from the everyday life phenomenon that made the site famous into the trite “reality” shows on televison that has lost its sense of reality? Tune in to justin.tv to find out for yourself, just be sure its not when Justin is peeing.

On the Way to Amsterdam

On the Way to Amsterdam

As a young pothead in 1999 I had one major thing to look forward to, and that was the Cannabis Cup held in Amsterdam, Holland. This would be my first trip on a plane and just getting there is a story in itself, thus, this travel story.

I awoke at 5 AM, that had not happened in about three years. My bags already packed I go take a shower, and then get my stuff ready. One half of the filthy, nasty, repugnant Anderson Brothers, Jason, picks me up. He receives some bonus money for the trip as do I. My Mommy kisses me bye and then continues to put a damper on the trip by crying, realizing this could be the last time she sees her beautiful baby boy in one piece.

One thing I forgot to pack for my trip were Philly Blunts. I figured they would have them in Amsterdam, and they did, for roughly $15 for two packs.

We eat breakfast at Denny’s. I didn’t have much, getting on a metal tube had me a little nervous even though it was hours away. Jason ate like a hog, he is part hog. I get the squirts at a gas station and use their facilities. Now, we are on our way to Atlanta. Being the spoiled young man with money that I was I would have much rather flown to Atlanta than driven. But the Anderson Brothers are part Jewish, they like to save money.

Three hours later we arrive in Atlanta. We check our bags. I stop and buy one awesome U.S.A. fanny pack that I never wore. A couple hours later and it is time to board. At the time I seen an imaginary line. Once crossing this line there was no turning back. I could get on the plane or not. Before leaving I called my mother like a good little boy, she was crying again, so I’m thinking damn, maybe I shouldn’t get on this plane. That was my choice. Not get on the plane, waste the money I spent, and go back home. Or take a chance, get on the plane, go to Amsterdam, and maybe fall from the sky in a metal tube.

So hell yeah, I got on the plane.

I was a little leery of the takeoff. I had learned by this time that most airplane crashes occur shortly after takeoff and upon landing. So I grabbed my armrests and got ready, it was uneventful, yet scary. From watching movies I heard airline food and the in-flight movies are not great. The movies were right.

Our in-flight movies were Wild Wild West, which is Wild Wild West, no explanation needed. The next movie was Big Daddy. I’m an Adam Sandler fan but Big Daddy just wasn’t good. It didn’t help that I watched the flick a week earlier. The food wasn’t bad. We had a choice of chicken or pasta. I wanted the chicken, I wished for the chicken. The stewardess asked me which I wanted, I said chicken. She said they were out of chicken. I pondered why she even asked.

I couldn’t sleep on the plane, but I could get drunk off the free Heineken. I figured if the plane was to crash it would be my best bet to be drunk. I couldn’t sleep on the plane. Something about closing my eyes and hearing a jet engine doesn’t relax me. I listened to my headphones provided by the airline KLM, “Larger Than Life” by The Backstreet Boys became my in-flight anthem.

The hours ticked by slowly, our little plane on the big screen inched along, across the Atlantic, over Ireland, the United Kingdom. Our pilot informs us we are approaching Schipol airport. We come in for the landing, I pray we don’t crash, we land safely.

Step one complete. I’m now in Amsterdam. The time in Amsterdam is earlier than when we left the states, that will be mind trip one. I wonder what awaits me in this magical city?

Traveling in Cabo San Lucas

Traveling in Cabo San Lucas: What to Do and Where to Go on Your Cabo San Lucas Vacation

Overview

Cabo San Lucas, located at the tip of the Baja Peninsula, was, until recently, a simple fishing town. However, in the last two decades interest in this relatively-unknown Mexican city has been building among adventure-seeking tourists, and, as a result, the city has built itself up to encourage and expand this newfound interest. Primarily a destination that caters to tourists looking to experience outdoor adventures, Cabo San Lucas is crawling with sun-ridden activities for its guests to immerse themselves in. The most amazing site to be seen is Land’s End. Here a huge arching rock separates the Cortez Sea from the Atlantic Ocean, and the rocks that surround Land’s End are the home of a local sea lion colony. Daring tourists may want to attempt to cross the rocks to reach the rock arch, but less thrill-seeking visitors may instead choose to arrive at the arch via the boat rides offered by local vendors.

Outdoor Recreation

Around the marina, you’ll find local vendors offering just about every service you could imagine. Here you can sail out into the ocean in a glass-bottom boat, rent a jet-ski, deep-water fish, scuba dive, bungee jump, snorkel, paraglide, or simply sunbathe. For tourists interested in scuba diving and snorkeling, some of the best spots are Pelican Rock, home to several schools of tropical fish, Cabo Pulmo, the location of a large coral reef, and Playa Del Amor, the location of a sand fall that starts at 100 feet below the sea level and drops more than 6500 feet below. For a more relaxing day in the sun, check out one of Cabo San Lucas’ many golf courses. Best of all, from January to March, the Ocean off of the coast of Cabo San Lucas is the home to whales, and visitors can watch them rise and fall in the water, for a price, of course.

Nightlife

The tourist-oriented restaurants and bars are mostly clustered around the marina, so you’re likely to find a wealth of dining and drinking establishments there, though the prices will be inflated because of the location. For a cheaper night out, head to Morelos. In Morelos, you’ll find Mariscos Mocambo, a fresh seafood restaurant that’s popular among both tourists and natives alike. For authentic Mexican cuisine, check out La Perla, Mi Casa, El Patio, and Senor Greenburg’s. To experience a Latin nightclub, the Giggling Martin should be your first stop.

Parking

Pittsburgh Airport Parking Some Fairly Cost-Effective Long Term Parking Facilities

Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) is actually renowned as one of the best airports in the country today, evaluated in consideration of quality and customer satisfaction rankings. Amenities and services here, like Pittsburgh Airport parking for instance, are the envy of other airports of comparable size to Pittsburgh Airport. Well over 8,000,000 passengers pass through Pittsburgh every year, but even with the moderately great number of passengers, airport parking at PIT is usually pretty adequate.

There are approximately 13,000 PIT parking bays available to passengers on-site. Let’s review your choices.

Airport Garage Parking

Garage Parking is, naturally, the most hassle-free parking choice at Pittsburgh Airport. This is a short-term alternative accessible in the 2 airport garages located right in front of the terminal. At $24 per day ($1 for the first hour, $3 for each additional hour), terminal garage parking is best used for short trips to the airport picking up or dropping off a passenger.

Airport Long-term Parking

Long-Term Parking is also a convenient service and much friendlier to the wallet. There are 3,750 spaces reserved for long-term Pittsburgh Airport parking. These are spread in the lots adjoining the Hyatt-Regency hotel and are connected to the Landside Terminal via a moving walkway. Parking here will cost you $12 per day and may be the perfect choice for passengers on quick trips, guests, and sightseers.

For anybody on a budget, the most practical airport parking solution is Extended Parking at only $8 per day. There are 7,350 parking bays designed for this option found just at the back of the long-term parking lots. The facility is served by cost-free luxury shuttle vehicles working continuously to take passengers to and from the Landside Terminal building.

Off-Site Parking

Like in every busy airport, the airport-operated parking facilities generally be at full capacity at some time during a given week (especially during the holidays), it’s always ideal to have other options in addition to the airport. There are quite a few private parking companies that can assist you in the event that there’s no longer any place to park at the airport. The good thing with these locations apart from the moderate prices is that you can in fact guarantee your Pittsburgh Airport parking space with them prior to your scheduled flight.

To point out one or two sites, Charlie Brown’s Airport Parking place on Flaugherty Run Rd features fees that are equivalent to the Extended Parking rate at the airport. The neighboring FastTrack Garage also offers equally cost-effective rates and both establishments operate their in-house free shuttle services to take passengers to (or collect them from) the airport terminal.

Pittsburgh Airport parking, specifically throughout the holidays, can be a bit of a bother for some people who decide to chance it, without reviewing availability early on with the airport’s website (they do put up real-time parking status in those facilities). Oftentimes, the on-site facilities are already jam-packed and that could certainly be a problem if you’re in a hurry to catch a plane.

If you’re commuting through peak season, the ideal course of action from my point of view, is to plan your trip in advance and reserve your airport parking via internet with the outside companies. Traveling can at times be stressful if you have a tendency to fret about a lot of things. Pittsburgh Airport parking need not be one of those.

Looking for a good Pittsburgh Airport parking space? Get directions for the best PIT and Philadelphia Airport parking spots at BestParking.com. Compute for parking rates fast. Secure your parking, today.

Buck Creek Winery

Buck Creek Winery Will Delight Your Palette

Buck Creek Winery was originally established as Durm Vineyards in 1991 by Jeff and Kelly Durm with the planting of 1500 vines. By 1996 Jeff was producing award winning wines, including ten medal winners at the Indiana State Fair that year. During those early years some grapes from the vineyard were sold to other vineyards and the public, including Korean and Amish church groups.

This enterprising family business had gained a state wide reputation for producing excellent wines and grapes. After Jeff retired from the Marion County Sheriff’s Department in 2004, he and his family were able to realize a long held dream: Opening a winery complete with store and tasting room. The Buck Creek Winery opened in April, 2006. Its growth in the number of varieties of wine produced and awards received since the opening has been remarkable, to say the least.

On the clear crisp January day that we visited Buck Creek Winery we were greeted by Dick and Josette Randolph. (Josette is Kelly Durm’s mother.) Dick gave us a tour of the production and warehouse portion of the winery. Dick explained that when the winery began they only needed four wooden barrels and one stainless vat. Today I counted 37 barrels and eight large stainless vats. Buck Creek employs five people full time and four people part time. Volunteers often help during bottling time. “Many people like to volunteer when we bottle” Dick told me with a smile on his face. “It’s fun to bottle, cork and label the wine, and you get free wine to drink!”

Jeff Durm was kind enough to spend some time with us in the store and tasting room. He talked about their vineyard with its 2500 vines representing 14 different varieties. He described ripping out of one poorly producing variety and replacing it with a more viable type of grape vine. Then he asked if we wanted to do some tasting. “But of course!” was my reply.

Alley Cat, a red table wine is their best seller. Winner of an Indiana State Fair Gold medal, this wine tastes of cranberries and strawberries with a hint of spice. We also partook of samples of red raspberry and blackberry styles. All the wines we tasted were delightful on the palette. And then there was Pleasant View Pink, a wine named after a small burg just down the road from the winery. I asked Jeff what set Buck Creek apart from other wineries. “For one thing” he said, “a full 50% of our wines are made with Indiana fruit. Few Indiana wineries can say that.” In addition Jeff pointed out that “Here you will like most everything you try.”

Last year the winery produced 60,000 bottles of wine, or approximately 12,000 gallons. Buck Creek now offers 34 varieties of wine. In the most recent Indy International Wine Tasting Competition Buck Creek was awarded 22 separate medals, the most of any winery in the competition. After our visit, we realized why they have won so many awards through the years.

Buck Creek Winery is located at 11747 Indiana Creek Road, South, Indianapolis. See their web site for details and hours.

Helpful Tips when Planning a Trip

Helpful Tips when Planning a Trip

Planning a trip is exciting. Just the thought of getting away from routine is exhilarating. But planning a vacation can also be stressful. Will you forget to bring an extra pair of shoes? Will you remember to print out your boarding pass? Will you miss your flight?

Relax. The whole point of taking a trip, unless it’s for business, is to relieve anxiety and tension, so when you decide to take a vacation, preparation will make the trip run smoothly and it will make your life much less stressful.

Some helpful tips for planning a trip follow:

Setting a Destination (U.S.)

Unless you’re one of those people who likes to get in the car and just go wherever life takes you, utilize Yahoo Maps. Yahoo Maps tell you not only how to arrive at your destination, but also how long it will take you to get there.

Along with Yahoo Maps, GPS systems provide a great backup plan to help you arrive at your destination with less stress. However, if your GPS system is more than a couple years old, you will have to update it.

When my sister and I took a trip to Florida recently, we took along my GPS. Orlando’s roads had changed since I got my GPS system, though, so we were routed to a road that no longer existed. Unbeknownst to me at the time, most GPS systems offer update software online. Garmin, for instance, offers updates at Garmin.com (click the link).

Setting a Destination (Abroad)

Utilize the help of the U.S. Department of State. They offer travel information and alerts, and if you sign up for their Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, they will assist you in case of an emergency. Their web site also provides links that will help you become better acquainted with the laws of the country you will be visiting. Visit the U.S. Department of State Tips for Traveling Abroad for more information on how to have a safe trip.

Also, when traveling abroad, check your insurance coverage to make sure you are covered for medical emergencies in other countries.

Military, AARP, and Other Discounts

If you belong to the military or AARP, ask about discounts. Most places won’t offer that information up front – you have to ask. My son, a U.S. Marine, along with his wife and children, stay at the Hyatt whenever they travel. Not only do they get a great break on hotel prices (comparable to priceline.com and expedia.com), but they also accumulate points they can use toward future stays. Right now they have almost enough points to stay at a hotel in Hawaii FREE for a week!

Pack Like a Pro

Before you go anywhere, you have to pack. Knowing what to pack for a trip requires some forethought. Questions you need to ask yourself are how many days you will be gone and what types of events you will be attending.

Start a list. You will refer to it both before you leave and again when you pack to return home. Once you know what types of clothing you will require, pack all necessary blouses, shirts, skirts, dresses, shoes, socks, panty hose, jewelry (you might want to keep your expensive jewelry at home in a safe), hair ornaments, and other accessories. Don’t forget sleepwear, swimwear, and underwear.

One item often forgotten is sunglasses. A second pair of glasses or additional contacts (along with contact solution) could help, too, in case something unforeseen lengthens your stay.

Pat attention to weather changes. Dress for the climate. But also dress for whatever the temperature will be when you return home. I once left a jacket in San Diego that I didn’t remember until I arrived at Midway Airport in Chicago one cold winter day.

The best way to make sure you don’t forget anything is to go through your day from beginning to end. From the time you awaken in the morning, write down everything you need. Items you use in the shower might be available in hotels, but if you have a preference for specific shower items, make sure you pack them.

From razors to makeup to personal sanitary products to hair supplies, continue writing your packing list. If you take medication, make sure you pack enough meds to take you a couple of days beyond the date of your return in case of inclement weather. Most medications can be purchased in drug stores across the country, but if you are receiving aid from the state in which you reside, you will have to pay full price for your medication across state lines.

Pack laptops, cell phones, iPods, or any other electronic devices you might need for yourself or for other family members, and don’t forget the chargers. If you will be driving a rental, don’t forget to pack your GPS device.

And finally, don’t forget your outerwear, boarding pass, passports, visas, photo IDs, day planners, tickets, itineraries, and your packing list.

Allow Yourself Plenty of Time

If you are someone who is notoriously late, the last thing you want to do is miss your flight. Pretend you are leaving an hour earlier. Rushing is counterproductive. The more relaxed you are when you leave your home, and the more time you give yourself, the more likely you will get to the airport on time.

Airport Security  amp; Homeland Security

Before you leave home, check the current threat level through the Homeland Security Advisory System. As of this writing, for instance, the threat level for all domestic and international flights in the U.S. is High, or Orange. The higher the threat level, the longer the time you will spend going through security.

Homeland Security also asks travelers to establish an emergency preparedness kit and to prepare an emergency plan (links are provided for both by clicking on them).

Depending on where you go, you might have to pay an airport security fee. Guatemala, for instance (as of this writing) requires a fee that equals approximately $2.50.

Check with the airline(s) to see how many suitcases you can bring on board and how many you are allowed to check in.

Also, check the contents of your carry-ons. Something as simple as hand lotion may be confiscated at the security check point. You must dispose of water bottles too.

How to Meet Your Friends Halfway

Sometimes travel includes meeting friends or relatives, but finding a midway point is difficult. Even grabbing a map and measuring the distance doesn’t help, because you don’t always know exactly where to meet. Midway points need not be a problem though, due to Geomidpoint’s “Meet in the Middle” tool. Geomidpoint helps travelers find the midway point between two cities. It also offers choices for restaurant, hotels, movie theaters, golf, shopping, entertainment, and more. Just plug in both addresses, or both cities, and you will find your midway point, along with some places to meet.

Bring an Empty Suitcase

If you plan on shopping while you are gone, you may want to bring an extra empty suitcase. Souvenirs take up room and if your luggage is already packed to the gills you won’t be able to accommodate any additional clothing or gifts.

Customs Inspections

Make sure the items you purchase as souvenirs will pass inspection. If you are carrying items that you think other countries might find suspicious, contact the Customs Inspections departments for the country you will be visiting. For information on acceptable entry items into the United States from other countries, go to CBP.gov.

In Closing

Tell at least one person where you are going. While getting away from everything and everybody seems like a great idea, leaving without telling somebody can be a deadly decision. Somebody should know how to reach you. People who love you, if they haven’t heard from you shortly after you are supposed to return, will be grateful for having a way to contact you. Leave behind a copy of your itinerary, and alert at least one person if you expect a delay in your return.

Finally, be safe and enjoy!