Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Oh the Places You'll Go

   With the temperature heating up and all the kids getting out of school, thoughts turn to vacation. We recently saw two places that we would love to explore and experience for a week (or more!).
   The first is the Attrap Reves, an outdoor bubble hotel east of Marseille, France.
Picture property of  Attrap Reves Website

According to their website (you'll want to use a translator tool if you don't speak French) the bubbles are not only eco friendly (they use the energy of a 55 watt light bulb) but give you all the luxuries of a four star hotel mixed with a night camping in the woods (sans bugs). The pods come with a private shower, sink and bath located outside of the pod. The insides of the pods vary with what package you get. The Zen package is decorated in a minimalist fashion and is entirely clear. The Nature package is similar but is decorated with a pastoral theme. The 1001 Nights bubble hopes to bring you the magic of Sceherazade with luxurious colors and a half clear bubble. The Glamour package clearly caters to a romantic evening having only the top dome be clear so you can sleep under the stars. Full linens are provided as well as a access to a telescope and star chart.  It also appears that a jacuzzi is on the premise and you can have food brought in as well as a masseuse. At 109 Euros a stay, this is definitely something we wouldn't mind adding to our travels off the beaten path list.
   Equally dramatic is the "Water Discus Hotel" in Dubai. While the bubble hotel is available now, the underwater hotel is in developing stages by Deep Ocean Technology.
Picture property of Deep Ocean Technology
The water disc located 10 meters underwater offers amenities that most hotels don't have. The hotel offers diving, 3 passenger submersibles for exploring the ocean floor, motor boats, water skiing, fast jet skis, underwater scooters and lessons in how to do all of the above. There are 21 rooms that surround a dive center and bar. The rooms are sound proof, I guess we don't want to frighten the fish, and come with curtains, again with not wanting to frighten the fish. You have phone and Internet in the rooms as well as a macro photography lens to let you see the majesty of the ocean up close. The finest cuisine is offered while you watch a panoramic view of the ocean floor. No price is yet listed, but it's probably going to be well worth the price if you can afford it. 
   The only thing off putting about the underwater hotel to us is the eerie similarity it has with the one in Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters......

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Jump Into a Painting

   Remember that scene in Mary Poppins where everyone jumps into the sidewalk sketches and rides the merry-go-round? Well, now you almost can. Almost, meaning that Geo Coded Art still needs to meet their KickStarter goal. 
  Already available for off-site viewing on their  website, Geo uses existing digital map technology (Google maps) to locate where famous paintings were painted. The goal is to illuminate both painting and geography. On their website you can search by artists, painting or region. Say you search for Achille Carelli's "Gulf of Solerno"; a Google map will pop up and show you exactly where the painting was painted including the artists viewpoint. 
  The hope is with the mobile app, you can be wandering the streets of wherever and your phone will alert you when you are in proximity of where a piece of art was made. You will then be guided to the site. Or, if you feel like it, you could build a whole vacation with the app, going from site to site. 
   This could be an interesting platform for viewing art in social contexts, are the house in Monet's paintings still standing in Norway? Has the Duomo changed since Newman painted it? The sights and sounds of the location could give you insight into what emotions were driving the artist. A downside is, there you are in France, Italy or the UK, standing with your smartphone, looking at it and then at the landscape. If people use this as more as a guide, rather than a defacto map, we can see the possibilities. However, being partial to abstract art and sculpture, how about adding those to the mix? Rothko's paintings for the Four Seasons or the dessert landscapes that inspired so much of Gerogia O'Keefe's paintings? 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Good Customer Service will get you far....

    and Bad Customer Service will get you a snarky blog post (and bad karma). I know Customer Service is *hell*, been there did that. I had to listen to whiny fanboys (and fangirls) who were trying to buy up movie memorabilia complain about how they watched such and such movie 500 times still by still (this is an actual conversation-its too good to make up) and they didn't see the item they purchased.  Or they would want to know if a certain movie actress had left their DNA on the blouse they wore (eww). So believe me I can sympathize, but a general lack of caring and willingness to right something that is your screwup..it will come back to bite you. So, here goes....
   Going against Dorothy Parker's advice that men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses, I go for my yearly (tri-yearly) eye exam and I pick out some lovely glasses, very I work for NASA and can do quantum physics in my sleep. Two weeks later I go to pick them up. I try them on and everything is blurry. "Your eyes are just adjusting", they say. "I don't think so", I say. I try them for about an hour and realize that I cannot wear this super cute and very expensive glasses. I call Customer Service, I'm told that I have 30 days and if I am not satisfied (very not satisfied) that I can get a new pair. I schedule another eye exam since the first was wrong (I find this out during the second eye exam that the doctor  that did the first was way off...I mean going from a 3.75 to a 6?!)
    So, another two weeks and I call to see if I can pick up my glasses...."Oh, we're sorry, but your prescription is too strong for those frames"....ummmm...you guys couldn't have figured that out when I had my last exam...I mean, you're a freakin' doctor, right?!
    So I go back in (the eye store is in a mall..ugh) and pick out a new pair of frames. Two weeks later (this is now TWO MONTHS from the first appointment) I finally get to pick up my new glasses and thank goodness they were right....I also got to keep the first pair of glasses that didn't work.
   So, you see Visionworks...bad customer service lead to me getting a free pair of glasses that I can't use on top of my new workable frames...*sigh*

   What a waste of 2 months....