Diva redux

No doubt you’ve been waiting with breathless anticipation to read about this man’s first Man-Pedi experience. After over a week of my own anticipation — or should we say trepidation? — it almost didn’t happen! But that particular element had nothing to do with the bubbly.

Breakfast mid-morning was, indeed, immensely satisfying, and a fine way to start a weekend of excessive pampering. Need I list the chicken-apple sausage, the scrambled eggs, the Belgian-style waffles with real maple syrple, the fruit compote (oh, those fat blueberries!), and the strawberry/pineapple smoothies?

Yes, I suppose I should list them.

And yes, too, so satisfying was my first experience pouring a bottle of “J” – my initial sips alacritously fulfilling my expectations. Many of my readers will, I’m sure, agree that there’s nothing like a great fizzy “Wow!” to complement one’s breakfast.

Previously, my friend and fellow hiker, Tami, had made arrangements with a salon in Los Gatos for us each to have a pedicure (again, my first!) this late Saturday morning. By some unfortunate misunderstanding, however, the proprietress had not realized that it would be a problem for her. Could it be that she saw dollar signs but didn’t hear the questions Tami had asked her on the phone? Questions such as, “Do you give pedicures to men?” “Do you take men?”

“Guys, maybe?”

Oh, Tami’s questions were answered, alright. What Tami heard in response was, “We make you very happy!”

And then we actually arrived for our scheduled pedicures. We were met with a too-big smile and a moment of confusion, as the proprietress sized me up and down and realized my maleness. “Oh, we no take man. No room!” After further confusion, shared glances of disappointment, and an “are you sure?” or two, suffice it to say that we exited the salon and walked straight over to the wine shop.

I’m still pondering that “no room” comment, though.

In the meantime, however, with some deft cell-phone networking by Tami, we both managed to score early afternoon pedicure appointments in the next town over.

And so, after procuring a fine bottle of Pinot Noir (Tami’s first!) we went.

For the extra amount that we paid — about forty bucks instead of twenty-two — we soon found that we were getting our money’s worth; our pedicurist, Diana, being knowledgeable, personable, and quite adept at pampering a man’s toes just as well as a woman’s. Her experience, like an overlooked undergarment, definitely peeked through. In other words, we found that we liked her straight off. Especially in light of the fact that nobody had to strap me down to The Throne like an astronaut about to launch. I can’t say that I have the most ticklish feet in the world, but I swear that if you even so much as look at my feet, I might start laughing (nervously). Or you’ll start laughing (tauntingly).

Perhaps it was the (Diana swears it wasn’t from a box) wine that calmed me. Rather “blecchh” on most counts, but it did its job. And I was putty in Diana’s capable hands.

Anyway, after a calm hour of sidecutters, sandpaper, sawblades, assorted goopy clear stuff, and a calf massage, I walked out of that salon feeling like a new man. Tami, too — with proper gender accreditation, of course.

From the knees down, anyway. Sure as grapes bein’ wine in pill form. And we still have ten toes apiece!

And, having picked out the color for Tami’s bright-yet-right pink new tootsies, I felt it almost heretical for us to cover up our radiant shiny feet with big clunky boots for yesterday’s ultimate Mt. Tamalpais 13-miler. Talk about pampering! Mm-hmm.

Ah, but that’s a walk down another foot path.



Buyer Beware: Online Website Marketing Tools

If you have a website that you intend to market on the Internet via search engines (such as Google) and directories (such as Yahoo!), I have a little advice for you.

If you prefer to submit your site the hard way, you can try to find the hundreds of site-submittal pages yourself, or you can hire someone to “hand submit” for you. If you choose the former, you’ll spend needless hours researching, then keying in different data into countless gateway scripts. If you choose the latter, like I originally did with ineedhits.com, you may be repeatedly charged for a subscription that is not mentioned anywhere on their “Buy Now” page.

In the case of ineedhits.com, after I saw the subsequent charge and complained, they refused to reverse the charges, claiming (of course) that I agreed to a monthly subscription. I returned to the site I bought their service from and found no mention whatsover about any subscription, nor any mention about repeated monthly charges. I feel that sort of business tactic is inherently, if not incredibly, dishonest. Unfortunately it is all too common on the World Wide Web.

So, I suggest you make it easy on your time and your pocketbook. But most of all (emphasis strongly implied), do not do business with ineedhits.com, ever. Period.

Now for the good news. I’ve come to learn about a very cost-effective site that helped me. With selfpromotion.com, I was able to submit my website, California Wine Hikes, to a number of search engines and directories without a lot of work, and with very little cost. For a one-time fee of $10, I not only could submit to all the major engines and directories, but I can also track the status of my submittals, optimize for the search engines’ spiders, and much more. There is also a lot of great content on the site to learn from. Using this nearly-free and valuable service, I’ve been able to elevate my page ranking in Google from 1 to 5 almost instantly.

If selfpromotion.com interests you, I suggest you check it out.