From the monthly archives:

November 2009

Black Friday Blues

by Alan Rider

Just heard an interview with a women who arrived at a southern California mall at 4:30 this morning because she thought joining the crowds lined up for the traditional day-after-Thanksgiving deals would be an interesting “experience.” I’m sure she’s right on some level, though honestly battling the Black Friday throngs for questionable deals on things I have no real use for is one adventure I have absolutely no interest in.
As a matter of fact, I’ve long been a proponent of the philosophy that we’re all burdened by way too much “stuff.”  All of which will wear out, go out of style, or just plain get ignored at the back [...]

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Give Me Reality Any Day

by Alan Rider

One of our XTRORD.com guiding principles is that “reality kicks virtual reality’s butt every time.”  Which is why I found this new TV commercial promoting travel to the Florida Keys and Key West to be a lot more profound than anybody at the ad agency or tourism bureau probably expected.
You see, as much as I like the Keys—and I like them a lot—what struck me as so right-on about this 30-second spot that spoofs the whole “There’s an app for that” iPhone ad campaign is the idea that all the cutting-edge technology in the world can’t beat getting out there and having a good old-fashioned extraordinary experience.  I mean, really, [...]

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Still Play With Trains?

by Alan Rider

I know lots of adults who’ve never outgrown their childhood fascination with trains. And while I don’t have the patience to sit beside railroad tracks for hours with my camera in hand like some of the hardcore rail buffs I’ve met, I’ll admit that I have been known to go out of my way to watch a passing train roll by.
If you’re equally smitten with railroading (or know someone who is), you’ll want to take note of these three new additions to my growing list of extraordinary experiences:
Northern Nevada Railway
There’s no shortage of scenic excursion trains in the world, but this Ely, Nevada museum is the only place I know [...]

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San Diego: 3 Ways To Stay

by Alan Rider

As someone who’s spent the night in thousands of hotel rooms over the years, I’m not easily impressed. So when I discover places that turn out to be more than just another generic place to lay my head at the end of a long day, I figure I ought to share the wealth.
Which brings me to these hot tips on three great lodging options I discovered on my recent visit to San Diego:
Marriott Courtyard/Liberty Station
Located on the grounds of the former Naval Training Center, this year-old waterfront hotel combines an ideal location with a super-friendly staff, surprisingly attractive and well-kept rooms and public spaces, and an on-site restaurant (serving up [...]

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