SkyMall Monday: Clocks

We’re a culture that’s fixated on time. We schedule meetings, play dates for our kids, parties and dates. We’re hyper-aware of the time. Here at SkyMall Monday, we have our days scheduled right down to the minute. We keep clocks on the walls, watches on our wrists and smartphones handy to check the time no matter where we are in the ol’ HQ. Our lives can get pretty chaotic this time of year, but you don’t have to let the holidays get the best of you. Stay calm, organized and precise and you’ll not only get through the holidays but also get your whole life in order. Thankfully, SkyMall has clocks for every personality and decor. Let’s take a look at some of the best options.We’ve actually covered some clocks in the past here at SkyMall Monday. You can’t go wrong with the Day Clock (unless, of course, you need your clock to tell you the actual time). Meanwhile, the Message in Time Clock allows you to haunt your family members. For coffee drinkers, the TimeMug kills two birds with one stone.

SkyMall doesn’t stop there, though. It has clocks for everyone:

Irrational Numbers Clock (pictures above): Your underachieving middle schooler will be late for school in no time!

Math Clock: See above.

Target Clock: I’ll defer to the product description on this one:

To make it stop or snooze, the sleeper must sufficiently awaken, grab the laser gun, and hit a bull’s eye. Includes 2 other shooting games for target practice.

All joking aside, this is awesome. However, I think we can all agree that it should be a paintball gun and the target should be your significant other who, if hit, has to turn off the alarm for you. The welt will remind her all day that you love her.

10.5″ Reel Clock: Perfect for film lovers who like to roughly estimate the time based on the vague location of the clock hands.

Fishing Effects Clock: From the product description:

Each hour is announced with fishing sounds: line casting, water splashing, and more.

Perfect for the bathroom.

Original Bird Clock: Let’s migrate over to the product description:

The 13″ Original Bird Clock features 12 of the most recognized birds in North America.

A different bird song announces each hour with live recordings provided by Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.

Save your obscure birds for some other clock. I want to make sure I can easily recognize the sound when it’s a quarter past Tufted Titmouse.

Classic Glory Clock: Haunting. Disorienting. Capable of stealing our souls. Isn’t that how we want to describe our clocks?

Peaceful Cosmos Entertainer Clock: See above and watch this video instead.

Anthology Legend Clock: See above, add lights and you have yourself some nightmare fuel.

Check out all of the previous SkyMall Monday posts HERE.

Exploring the Welsh coast: Aberaeron and New Quay

Yesterday I mentioned that Aberystwyth is a good base from which to explore western Wales. On our second day in Wales my wife, son, and I hopped on a local bus and went south down the Welsh coast to the ports of Aberaeron and New Quay. Aberaeron is about 40 minutes from Aberystwyth and New Quay is only about 20 minutes further south from Aberaeron.

While we didn’t have long in Aberaeron, we liked this tidy little Welsh town with its brightly painted houses and fine view of the sea. There are plenty of shops, restaurants, and pubs and we got the impression that it might be a better place to stay than Aberystwyth. Like in Aberystwyth, we heard a lot of people speaking Welsh. Most signs are in both languages. It’s nice to know that the language is surviving in the age of globalized English.

At New Quay we stopped for lunch at a pub on a cliff overlooking a sandy beach and broad harbor. The view was nice but service was slow and the food substandard. Sadly, this was the case with all too many of our meals in Wales, even though we usually followed local advice as to where to eat.

%Gallery-129265%The famous writer Dylan Thomas lived here for a time and New Quay was the inspiration for his fictional town of Llareggub (“bugger all” spelled backwards). Visitors interested in literary tourism can follow the Dylan Thomas Trail.

We’d come to take a boat trip instead. My five-year-old had never been out to sea so we decided to remedy that by going on one of New Quay’s many dolphin tours. Dolphins are abundant in these waters; we’d seen several from the window of the Seabrin Guest House in Aberystwyth. We chose a tour run by the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre, which uses its profits to fund research into the sea life on this part of the Welsh coast. The sea was calm and the sun shone fine so we weren’t worried as we stepped aboard an inflatable motorboat with a half dozen other people.

This good weather was our undoing. The calm conditions had made the fish move further out to sea, and the dolphins had followed them. As we made our way down the coast on our one-hour ride we saw exactly none. Oh well. It’s best to remember that nature isn’t there for our amusement.

This stretch of Welsh coastline is beautiful, with jagged rocks rising high out of the sea. The strata of the rocks is clearly visible, which allowed me to give the kid a lesson in geology, and the cliffs are dotted with numerous caves that smugglers (our boat captain called them “pirates”) used to elude the customs agents. My son was more disappointed about there being no pirates than he was about the lack of dolphins! All was made better when he got to sit in the captain’s chair.

One local told me that New Quay isn’t the most pleasant place to be at night in the summertime. A lot of rough people come into town to get drunk and start fights, and two of his friends got knifed in one incident. We saw a big fight in Aberystwyth too. This isn’t unusual in the UK. When I lived in London, I regularly saw fights on the street on Friday and Saturday nights. It’s just a sad fact of life in this part of the world.

Still, we had a nice day and the kid had a great time and got to experience something new, which is what really matters. Tomorrow I’ll be blogging about a steam train we took through some beautiful Welsh countryside. Unlike my last two posts on Wales, this one will be entirely positive!

Extreme seagull steals GoPro camera in Cannes, treats us to bird’s eye view

Seagulls are annoying bird brained creatures – beach vagrants with a tendency to pilfer picnics and poop on heads. This seagull in Cannes, France goes one step further, making off with some electronics and filming his proud heist. The enterprising seagull thieves a GoPro video camera and absconds with it to his secret hideout. The comedic shouts of an enraged human fades as the bird takes to the sky. Upon reaching his roost, the gull cackles like a madman, perhaps mocking the victims of this theft. And then…he tries to eat the camera, destroying his credibility as a filmmaker. Somehow the owner of the camera tracked down the displaced gadget and retrieved this strange video.

Photo of the day: East Austin graffiti

Austin is my new home. I moved to Austin’s East Side in October and while the differences between New York City and Austin are ever-apparent to me, one common denominator helps to keep it real: graffiti. I’ve always been fascinated with graffiti art. When tastefully done, this art form, one that dates back to 30,000 BCE, adds personality to a city–and I like that.

This photo was snapped by local photographer, Chris Owens. Take a look at his Flickr photos and see Austin in a way you’ve never seen it before.

Interested in submitting your photos for Photo of The Day? Hop on the Gadling Flickr and start uploading.

Scarlet Macaws at Home with Marriott Los Suenos

It’s not every day you find a major hotel chain engaged in environmental initiatives that extend beyond good press. Sure, lots of hotels are actually saving on energy and water, for instance, because of their green policies, but how many are… saving animals? Los Suenos Marriott Ocean and Golf Resort in Puntarenas, Costa Rica has launched a project with animal-saving in mind.

The Scarlet Macaw is currently listed as an endangered species and the hotel has set out to repopulate them. Los Suenos’ Scarlet Macaw project consists of acquiring and planting Tonka Bean (Dipteryx odorata) trees on the hotel premises. These trees are used by the beautiful birds for nesting as well as food.

The objective is clear: bring the Scarlet Macaws back to Pacific Costa Rica by first bringing back their homes. At this time, there are roughly 450 Scarlet Macaws in the Puntarenas area and I was lucky enough to see a couple of them during a recent visit to Costa Rica.

I hopped on a quick American Airlines flight from NYC to San Jose and drove over to this luxurious resort back in June. I spent a few days there relaxing and taking in the serene environment. I was enchanted by these birds, which weren’t at all difficult to spot. Known for their colorful feathers, two Scarlet Macaws in a nearby tree caught my wandering eye and I quietly approached them, clutching my camera.

Lying in an oceanside hammock later that day, I swayed side to side, grateful for the sighting. With any luck, Los Suenos will help revive the Scarlet Macaw population and in doing so, give other hotel guests experiences like mine.