New gadgetry makes beach a bit more fun
Typically, Digital Slobs have a love-hate relationship with sun and surf. In principle, the beach-bum philosophy is a natural fit. But in practice, unless you're lucky enough to have a cabana boy on retainer, reproducing a Slob's required comfort level on a foundation no sturdier than sand and sea water can require as much prep as a moon landing, and arguably even more UV protection.
Thus, as we casually stroll to our favorite beach spot, feeling the warm sand between our toes, our minds are often filled with such peaceful thoughts as, "What's that? Don't step on it! It's a jellyfish. Or snot. Or something David Hasselhoff coughed up in 1999. Either way, you're looking at a three-day rash -- minimum."
So most Slobs quickly come to this seashore realization: Pretending to work at the office can be a lot easier than pretending to have fun at the beach. That said, some of the following gadgets could help take the edge off of taking the edge off at the ocean:
Battery-Operated Blender (smarthome.com, $60): No matter how close your hotel is to the beach, it's doubtful the concierge can hook you up with an extension cord long enough to mix your own umbrella drinks at sunset. But this handy rechargeable appliance offers a solution. Juice up this juicer at home or in your car en route to sandy shores using one of two adapters. Customers report it's powerful enough to crush ice and merge anyone's Triple Sec with tequila and lime.
Inflatable surf boards (uliboards.com, $140 to $450): When it comes to vacation fun in general, Slobs have one barrier to entry: Whatever tools it requires must fit into a duffel bag. Unfortunately for us, this rules out things like jousting retreats, the 2007 American Harp Convention and surfing. Well, the folks at ULI Boards want to move at least one of these back onto our to-do lists. Their Web site touts videos of surfers in action on their soft yet rigid product line, from a 42-inch bodyboard to an 8-foot, 6-inch longboard, all made "from the same sturdy materials used in military/commercial inflatable boats."
Now, if they would just make a blow-up medieval lance and harpsichord, I could finalize all my vacation plans for this year.
Spy Specs Mirror Sunglasses (gadgets.co.uk, about $17): On the beach an unwritten social rule is you can look, but don't touch -- unless you're one of those creepy guys who has no control over his fixed, psychotic stare. If so, then it's likely that someone in a uniform will eventually come over and discuss your condition with you, and how it violates the spirit, if not the unwritten letter, of the unwritten rule. If you fit this profile, one interim step before a state-appointed therapist helps you address your deeper issues might be shades that let you secretly gawk at what's behind you by glancing out the corner of your eye. Touted as a novelty gift, be warned these so-called sunglasses offer no ultraviolet protection, so filling your mind with unclean thoughts for a prolonged period could result in impaired vision or even blindness. Hmm ... maybe Mom was right.
Next week: More beach gear.