It Wouldn’t Be Christmas Without Vegas and Sharks

Well, hello there, good lookin’.

I’m back from the non-stop holidaying extravaganza! As, I suppose, we all are, regrettably. Oh well. #TheStruggleIsReal

My main man-panion XFE took some time off during the holidays so we ate many, many great, decadent, meaty things, and drank many a delicious wine and cocktail (mostly made with gins-of-the-world, a current XFE obsession), and just generally loafed around competing with the cat on who could be more sloth-like.

You know who else loafs (loaves?) around? Sharks! Those guys are totally lazy.

Employee of the month.
Sharks may be lazy, but starfish are apparently hard workers.

You see, I spent an inordinate amount of 2012 deathly afraid of sharks. I thought they were these ferocious, teeth-grinding, people-killing machines. But through scuba diving the last couple of years, I’ve actually discovered that they’re kinda wimpy, and not really all that scary. (Ssshhh. Don’t tell them I said that?)

Just to confirm this suspicion, we went diving in the shark tank at Mandalay Bay over Christmas.

shark marketing

Because….Christmas, y’all. In Vegas. So….of course.

We had been on an aquarium dive before. In October, we went up to the National Aquarium in Baltimore and did the Atlantic Coral Reef tank dive there. It was….meh. We had to arrange and pick up our own gear (wetsuits, masks, booties, flippers), we did not actually get to see any of the aquarium (entry tickets had to be purchased separately for around $35 per adult), and the tank, while certainly nice, was a bit small. Plus, there was only one or two flesh-tearing aquatic creatures about, so it lacked a bit of pizzazz. (Actually, I don’t remember seeing any sharks, but the National Aquarium website says there are some, so I guess there were.)

But Mandalay Bay, my sweeties, is in Las Vegas and they bring a whole showmanship to their tank dives.

First, they take you and up to four guests on a tour of the Shark Reef Aquarium, which features over 2,000 animals. Our guide, Janna, showed us around the 14 exhibits, including jelly fish, piranhas, and a Komodo dragon. And of course, the shark tank, formally known as the Shipwreck Exhibit. The 1.3 million gallon tank has around 30 sharks, including sandtiger sharks, a couple of types of reef sharks, zebra sharks, and a Galapagos shark. The tank also has stingrays, sea turtles, a moray eel, and some crazy-looking sawfish.

Then they give you all the backstage tour, including and explanation of the filtration system and a stroll along the feeding platform that runs all above the shark tank. It’s very James Bond-ish.

That's Janna, our handler on the left. That's a bored shark on the lower right. You can almost see him yawning.
That’s Janna, our handler on the left. That’s a bored shark on the lower right. You can almost see him yawning.

Then Janna whisked away our loved ones (in our case, XFE’s parents) to go back inside the main shark exhibit while you (the divers) get geared up in the locker rooms. And by geared up, I mean, wedge into the wetsuit and booties they provided and then shimmy into a 14-pound suit of chain mail. Yes. Chain mail. Because they want you to think there’s an element of danger here. Pretty crafty.

Once we were suitable geared up, the incredibly patient and kind team helped us wade into the small holding pool near the exhibit and we did a buoyancy check to make sure everything was working. We also had these ear pieces that were supposed to help us hear our diving guide but really just sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher. They did help grab our attention when she (I think her name was April?) was trying to point out something to us.

Meanwhile, they have a videographer recording the whole thing: the divers gearing up (luckily, they don’t include audio so you don’t hear our grunts and cussing), getting in the water, and the view of us from inside the exhibit. In addition, the dive guide had a Go-Pro which she used to record us in the water.

(And I WOULD have posted clips from the final video except WordPress wants me to upgrade my blog plan to $100 a year in order to do that, to which I must say, “hellz no.” Sorry, kids. No MP4 videos on the scrub version of WordPress.)

And, as you can see by the bits of video I’ve posted, the sharks do not give a shit. They couldn’t have been less interested in us. I feel fairly certain there was a greater chance of one of us divers getting some sort of uncontrollable sushi craving all of a sudden and biting one of them than any of us even getting a tiny head nudge from any of the 30 sharks in that tank.

Here’s how the imaginary shark discussion goes in my mind:

Zebra Shark: “Ugh, these guys again.”

Sandtiger Shark: “I know, right?”

Zebra Shark: “I don’t know why they come down here and bother us if they’re not going to even bring us some tasty chum, like a fisherman’s hand or a small child or something. They’re really just wasting our time.”

Galapagos Shark: “And did you see that chick with the googly eyes? What’s her problem? Did you see how she was looking at me, all terrified and whatnot? As if. I can totally tell by that wetsuit that that girl has been eating way to much cheese and everybody knows I’m lactose intolerant.”

White-Tip Reef Shark: “Yeah, and did you see that one dude go right up to Larry’s face when he was trying to sleep? All he wants to do is take a little nap after swimming around in endless circles and what does that moron do? Swim right up and insist on getting his picture taken with him. Geeze.”

Sandtiger Shark: “Alright, I’m out of here. I’m going to go hide out at the top of this ship bow thing until they’re gone. By my limited edition shark Swatch watch, they’ll probably be in here about another 40 minutes, which gives me just enough time to watch an episode of Shark Tank OnDemand. Get it? See what I did there? Shark Tank? That’s comedy gold.”

End scene. 

Cheesepuff in a wetsuit
Cheesepuff in a wetsuit

All told, we were in the shark exhibit for around 45 minutes. It was pretty great. Unlike the National Aquarium where we were allowed to swim around on our own in pairs, we had to stick with our dive guide, but that was no big deal. We got to hunt in the sand for sharks’ teeth, get up close to a sleeping (resting?) reef shark, dodge sea turtles, and wave to the kids inside the exhibit.

When we got out, we unloaded our gear, hit the showers, and met our guests out by the aquarium store.

shark chompers

Even though I didn’t exactly test my mettle or stare down danger, I can’t say enough great things about the fine folks at Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay. It was first-class attentiveness from start to finish. The very thoughtful aquarium staff even had snacks and water set out for you in the locker rooms, which was a nice touch. They also gave us little glass vials of the shark teeth we’d collected (or, in my case, coral because I apparently cannot tell the difference underwater), and certificates to commemorate the day. And, about a week later, an awesome 15 minute video, which includes a very soothing-spa-music-soundtrack.

Maybe that’s why the sharks are so docile. Nonstop soothing spa music.

Totally Random Search Terms – October Edition

Way back in the day, when thePoeLog was just a tiny little sentence fetus and Google played nicely with WordPress, we had a semi-regular feature called “Totally Random Search Terms that Brought Someone to thePoeLog.”

This was inspired by a feature on WordPress that rounded up terms used in search engines like Yahoo, Google and Bing, that somehow led people to your blog.

It was mostly something I highlighted on Twitter, say, for example, when someone found the blog by searching for “rats on treadmills,” I would tweet out a silly little welcome for all those Pied Pipers in training out there who had accidentally stumbled upon my blog.

Happy blogger.
Happy blogger.

But then WordPress and Google got in a fight or something. I don’t know. I’m still waiting for the Taylor Swift song to clear up the details of that particular little spat. But the point is, the Totally Random Search Terms from Google have been mostly replaced by just “Unknown Search Terms.”

EXCEPT, the terms that are used on non-Google search engines. Those are still available for mirth and amusement. While not as plentiful, they’re still pretty funny.

So, without further ado, here is a Q&A using a small sampling of Totally Random Search Terms that Brought Someone to thePoeLog in October.

Could glass covered wetsuit repels sharks? – I have, apparently, written quite a bit about sharks, thereby making me a leading authority on all things shark-fear related. And while this post here ponders the merits of some possible shark-repellant/shark-attracting wetsuits, I do not see anything about glass-covered options.

But, if I had to hazard a guess, I would say that nothing would repel a hungry shark, and in fact, a wetsuit covered in glass might actually result in the diver accidentally cutting themselves, sending spurts of blood bobbing through the water and actually attracting sharks who want to make a little snack out of you. I wouldn’t risk it. (For more aggressive underwater animal avoidance tips, check out this post.)

Shark bite swimsuit, of course.
If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

Why does the ravine committee tell me what I can and can’t build in my backyard? – Ah yes, the dreaded ravine committee. These low-level, volunteer bureaucrats exist to make designer Hilary Farr’s life hell on HGTV’s “Love It or List It.” I wrote about the incredibly formulaic show (and Canada’s Ravine Preservation system here).

As for why they wield such control, I suspect it’s because they are empowered by their neighbors and fellow homeowners to do so. We have a similar group of busy bodies here in the historic district we live in near Washington D.C. It’s kinda like “Mean Girls” – they exist because the rest of the school let them exist.

Busy body cat
“I notice that you’re building a gazebo awfully close to the ravine. You can’t do that without a permit.”

The (semi) good news is that these types of boards are always looking for volunteers to join them in their efforts to stop growth and progress in the name of saving a tree. Go ahead, fight the power from the inside. Join them. Go to their meetings. Be the dissident voice on every single vote. This one in Toronto is looking for volunteers and the term length is FOUR YEARS! Think of all the ways you can be annoying over the course of four years.

What goes with oysters? – Not to be confused with the other oyster-related search term, “porn models eat oysters,” although I do wonder if these two terms were in any way related. According to this post right here, Croatian pasta cake goes with oysters. But I would also argue that fresh oysters are pretty damn perfect on their own and really need no further accompaniment than a squeeze of lemon and a flute of very cold champagne.

Oyster humor.
Oyster humor.

Who is Alex from Million Dollar Listing? – This one is a bit interesting and led to a very intriguing online revelation, once I started digging into it a bit. I believe this question refers to Alex, who was actually a home buyer and client of Ryan Serhant on Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing New York” a few seasons back. He was the “difficult” client with a pet wallaby, which I wrote about here. Supposedly, Alex was a young finance millionaire looking for a $4 million, wallaby-friendly home.

Alex from Million Dollar Listing and his wallaby

But today, while digging around on the Internet, who do I find working at Nest Seekers, aka Ryan Serhant’s real estate firm? Why, our wallaby-loving client Alexander Saks. Only now, he’s working at Nest Seekers as an agent! Isn’t that interesting/suspicious? So, what gives here, Bravo? Are you guys using other telegenic real estate agents as “clients?” Or was Ryan such a great real estate inspiration that Alex just left behind his career in finance to jump into the competitive world of New York real estate? And will we be seeing young Alex on the upcoming season of “Million Dollar Listing New York?”

Bravo disappeared off of channel 62. Where did it go? – I don’t know, but in my house, that would be a major tragedy on the scale of the still lost episode of season 1 of “Below Deck” (which was also another search term query last month: “what happened to episode 3 of below deck?”) As you can see from that example, and the one above, sometimes Bravo plays fast and loose with the facts. That could very well include what channel they are currently inhabiting in your area.

My advice to you is take a good long look at yourself and try to figure out what you personally did to piss off Andy Cohen. And then you better fix it quick, because “Real Housewives of Atlanta” just started Sunday night and it is going to be one hell of a juicy season. You better find your Bravo fast.

Bravo Andy will not tolerate it.

Links: Naked and Afraid of Sharks Edition

Hope everyone had a great weekend. My personal master-of-the-remote XFE and I certainly did. I suppose you heard that we’re having a heat wave up here in the Northeast, so we did the safe thing, and spent Sunday lying on the couch with a couple of pitchers of watermelon-mint-tequila-aqua-fresca watching the first four episodes of Naked and Afraid. Let me tell you: I was Clothed and Stressed Out. That show is nuts! (Pun: INTENDED)

naked and afraid

While we all ponder why exactly the contestants have to be nude, let’s peruse this bounty of links provided by the Internet, shall we?

  • I’m just so genuinely happy that this exists. And it’s in Alabama, of all places. I present to you, the Prancing Elites.
  • Unfortunately, this Cynthia Rowley gold wetsuit being hawked on Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop is already out of stock. Question: Would a gold wetsuit promoted by Gwynnie make me more or less attractive to sharks?
  • This other wetsuit maker thinks they’ve got something to repel sharks. Not nearly as exciting as the Cynthia Rowley option.
  • Speaking of sharks, Discovery Channel’s new commercial for Shark Week had is pretty damn hilarious.
  • This amazing collection of vintage travel posters from the Boston Public Library will totally keep you busy for a while. With this heat wave, Antarctica is looking pretty good right now.
  • What else looks good? Beer. Any type so long as it’s cold. I just noticed the date on this beer map is kinda old, but I don’t care. There’s no expiration on beer. Well, actually, I think there is. But everyone knows expiration dates are just a suggestion.
  • In case you’re ever stuck in a room with one and don’t know what to say, here’s a list of things Texans like to talk about. Although, I’d argue that everyone likes to complain about how hot it is outside. And George Strait IS a badass. Everyone knows that.
  • Carrying on the Texas theme: 34 Things Austinites Love. 11 and 12 crack me up. I would just combine numbers 10 and 13 and say “floating down a river of queso” is my favorite thing. And I did just wait in line for four hours for Franklin’s brisket about 3 weeks ago, so obviously, that’s spot on.

I think I saw that Austin thong guy in those last two links on Naked and Afraid. He sure looks familiar….

Austin thong dude

Friday Links: Freaks in Oceans and Metros Edition

I’ve got back-to-back trips over the next two weeks and will blog when I can. In the meantime, I suppose I should brush up on my R. Kelly lyrics in case I get stuck on a tarmac, and be glad I don’t have to take public transportation in San Francisco. See you soon!

gosling cats

Heather1

  • I’m heading to my home state, aka God’s Country (Texas) for work this week, so this infographic seems timely. My favorite: “Texans are normal people.” Debatable, but I’ll take it. Also: why isn’t “food” listed as a reason? I intend to gorge myself on BBQ, Mexican food and anything battered, fried and drenched in ranch.
10 Reasons Why People are Moving to Texas

 

Friday Linkage: Big Cats Find Love on Metro

  • crowdWant to get even closer to the sweaty intern swaying next to you on the packed Blue line this summer? Now there’s a dating website for DC metro riders. Giving new meaning to “weekend track work.” (I have no idea what I was insinuating there. Doesn’t really work, does it? Look! Something shiny!)

big cat

  • Speaking of metro, I saw the above advertisement on the way home the other night. Apparently, big cats are roaming the wilds of DC and disrupting public safety. Maybe I should alert them about this beastie.

Petunia Garbo

 

  • My super helpful friend Emilia (who’s killing me with her Instagrams of her vacation in Cinque Terre right now) sent me this list of shark-infested waters a couple of week’s ago, with a note: “I bet you’re in the midst of planning your next vacation. Be sure to pass this along to XFE so he can consider one of these & please his loving girlfriend.” Nice. Don’t fall off any cliffs, Emilia.

 

  • It’s only a month till our trip to Croatia and I have not started my packing matrix! Just kidding. Of course I have. And I incorporated a few tips from this packing tutorial on Refinery 29, even though I will obviously NOT be trying to live out of a carry on.

 

  • Life is full of difficult choices. But deciding, NAY, knowing when to drink beer in the shower is no longer one of them, thanks to this handy infographic. Have a great holiday weekend!
Should I Drink a Beer in the Shower?

 

So, It’s Shark Week.

I can tell by the keyword searches that are bringing folks to thePoeLog that the worldwide Interwebs audience is breathless with anticipation to hear my thoughts on Shark Week.

The keyword searches this week have consistently been shark related (well, except for a very odd and brief divergence into Kate Gosselin territory in which someone on Monday searched for news about Kate Gosselin and visited my site for said information THIRTY-FIVE times. Wouldn’t you figure it out, oh, say, after the first five times?)

Anyway, there have been some pretty funny searches, including “sad shark,” “sharks in Australia,” “sharks killing people,” “shark riding bears,” and my personal favorite: “shark week themed appetizers.” Because, honestly, how can you have a pseudo-self-proclaimed holiday or highly marketed week of themed television programming, and NOT have the appropriate snacks to accompany it?

(I’ve actually put a lot of thought into this and have decided that “shark week themed appetizers” should definitely include lots of red food coloring and ripped off limbs of things, like chicken wings. And those Goldfish crackers. You are welcome, Martha Stewart.)

shutterstock/Iriana Shiyan

Thanks to these shark-related searches, Everybody’s a Comedian When They Get Bit By a Shark and Shark Week is Apparently EVERY Week in Australia have been my most popular and visited posts this week.

So, as you can see, my feelings on sharks are well documented and run the gamut from hated to loathed, with more than a dash of fear thrown in. Why anyone would want to watch hours and hours of sharks attacking things is completely beyond me. I find it quite alarming just how much footage there is.

Y’all know sharks are having a big ol’ laugh at our expense, right? They’ve heard about Shark Week. And they think it’s morbid that we insist on watching what basically amounts to snuff films of our own species, all right there on the so-called Discovery Channel. As this guy put it in a very good Huffington Post article on the popularity of Shark Week:

Newsweek’s Isia Jasiewicz mused more cynically, “It’s a sadistic fascination with the horrific misfortunes of cute surfer boys, friendly marine biologists, and… innocent dolphins.”

The guys at Discovery are going all out. There are a truly alarming number of so called “games” on their website, including Shark Week Bingo, Shark Week Chompdown, Shark Munch, and a feature that lets you “shark yourself.”

No wonder the incidences of shark attacks have been steadily increasing. How are you going to have a healthy dose of fear if the Discovery Channel is going to make sharks all fun and playful??

Not helping.

Then, there are the shows. “Sharkzilla,” “Air Jaws Apocalypse,” and perhaps, (OK, no, definitely) the most terrifying of all: “Adrift: 47 Days With Sharks.” Here’s the description for that gem:

During a routine search and rescue mission over the Pacific in WWII, an American plane crashed into shark-infested waters. This is the inspiring true story of two war heroes — one an Olympian, one a pastor’s son — who managed to survive a record-breaking 47 days at sea in a life raft. They subsisted on only the food they were able to catch from the ocean and the water they were able to collect from the rain, all while fighting off a gang of sharks that were their constant companions. But when they finally did reach land, it was only the beginning of their troubles. What happened to these men is one of the greatest tests of faith, will and endurance of our time.

I might have just chummed my pants. “Gangs of sharks?” No, thank you. The only gangs I roll with are one of the 1700 species of shark-killing parasitic copepods or the two pugnose eels that somehow swim their way into a shark heart and kill it (warning: that last website is pretty gross).

Maybe we can convince Discovery to start having Parasite or Eel Week. I’d watch that.

Or, combine Shark Week with the Olympics. That might be “fun.”

On Today’s Agenda

So, we’ll be doing a bit of this today.

It’s a pretty exciting day. I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in weeks. I’m pretty sure I’m going to sleep throughout the entire vacation from sheer exhaustion.

We’ve been planning this 32,000 mile trip for almost a year. We used 320,000 United miles to fly first class, all the way, first on Luftansa and then on Thai Royal Airways. Half the fun is just going to be getting there and back.

I’m really going to miss this munchkin. But even though we both have ginormous rolling duffel suitcases, there just wasn’t room for her. Don’t worry. Petunia Pot Pie will be watched over by Running Buddy Amy, although Her Royal Catness is pretty independent and doesn’t need much attending.

She’s soooo much cuter and only slightly safer than these guys.

What the hell. I mean, seriously. What. The. Hell. Words almost fail me. In case you can’t make it out, that’s one oddly named shark (tasseled wobbegone) eating another oddly named shark (brownbanded bamboo). Not just eating, but swallowing it whole.

That’s just jacked.

Oh, and just guess where this oddity of nature took place? If you guessed the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, you’d be right.

Bon Voyage, indeed.

Do Wild Dogs Like Milkbones?

Apparently, if the negligent scuba buddy and the hybrid sharks don’t kill you in Australia, the dingoes are ready to finish the job.

I thought Meryl Streep already solved this mystery.

Nice Dorothy Hammel cut there, Meryl.

But apparently, the parents of the nine-week old baby that disappeared in the Australian outback 32 years ago are not happy that her death certificate lists the cause of death as “unknown,” and want the certificate to reflect that a dingo killed her.  And they say they have new evidence on just how dangerous these dingoes are.

According to Reuters:

The evidence concerns several dingo attacks on infants and young children since Azaria’s death. Her parents expect the court to declare officially that Azaria was killed by a dingo, rather than by her mother Lindy Chamberlain, a lawyer representing parents Lindy and Michael Chamberlain said.

Hmmm, I’m intrigued. What sort of evidence might there be in a 30 year old case?

The Scotsman reports:

Mother, Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton and her former husband Michael Chamberlain were reunited at the inquest to hear evidence of hundreds of dingo attacks across Australia over the past three decades.

Rex Wild QC, counsel assisting the Northern Territory coroner, gave evidence about three fatal attacks on children and 14 other incidents, most of them on Fraser Island in Queensland. They included that of ten-year-old schoolboy Clinton Gage, who was savaged to death by a pack of dingoes on the holiday island in May 2001.

The court heard from Anne Lade, a former police officer hired by the court to investigate the case. Ms Lade said there had been many attacks by dingoes, which had caused injuries and at least three deaths.

Holy wild dogs! Hundreds of attacks? Hundreds you say?

Good thing we won’t be sleeping in any tents out in the Australian outback.

Now that our departure for Australia is less than 72 hours away, I notice that number of shark-related occurrences in my everyday life is multiplying.

My diving buddy for life and I went to the hardware store yesterday morning. We realized that we had forgotten to order one nifty and useful device that Arnaud had with him during our dives in Vieques: an underwater rattle. It’s a metal tube with beads inside it that someone can shake to get the attention of the other diver. Very handy.

We knew we wouldn’t be able to find one around here or order one online in time, so we went to the hardware store to see if maybe we could jerry-rig something. While looking in the plumbing area for metal pipes and caps, we saw this little brochure.

It was advertising a line of pipe products called, oddly enough, Sharkbite. No idea why.

XFE found this incredibly amusing.

Later in the day, we checked the mail and this lovely birthday card was addressed to me.

Yes, that is a shark with a swimming lady in it’s teeth. No, it’s not another warning from those gangsta Old Town Crafting Mafia ladies. It’s a handmade card from XFE’s mom, along with a very generous check and instructions to not get eaten by the sharks.

Very funny. Dark humor runs deep in the XFE family.

The card now adorns our Australia planning binder, also known as “Put Another Page In the Barbie,” or “Barbie” for short.

We are binder people. I’ve made them for many of our longer trips, including our Ireland trip in 2009 and our Milan/Venice/Zurich trip in 2011.

What? Do you really think a girl who lusts for the perfect packing matrix wouldn’t have a tabbed binder with reservation info, attraction details, and specific maps from our hotel to whatever we happen to be doing that day? Puh-leeze.

Pulling Out the Big Guns

This is an (approximately accurate) excerpt of an actual conversation between me and my personal-chauffeur-for-life XFE at a gas station on Saturday morning, around 8 am.

XFE (getting into the car after pumping the gas): Are you trying to kill me?

Me (peering intently into my smart phone): No, why?

XFE: You’re not supposed to be on your phone while someone’s pumping gas. It’s dangerous.

Me: What? I’ve never heard of such a thing! You’re lying! That cannot be true.

XFE (pointing to a sign outside my window): There are signs everywhere. You’re not supposed to be on your phone.

Me: You’re kidding! I’ve never seen that sign before in my life. When did that start?

XFE: Always. It’s always been the case. You’re clearly trying to kill me.

Me: No, silly, I think that sign refers to the person who’s outside the car. The person pumping the gas should not be on their phone. Not the person inside the car. The person inside the car is free to watch that adorable video of Kristen Bell reacting to a sloth all day long if she wants. (*I did not mention the video, but I have been watching it a lot lately)

XFE: That’s it. I’m calling in the sharks when we get to Australia.

"Sure thing XFE, we're on it!"

And that, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, is conclusive evidence of spousal-equivalent foul play if I’ve ever heard it. You heard it. He said it. He’s calling in the sharks.

There are just so, so many shark images on the internet. Just type in "shark on phone" and you get stuff like this.

 

Going Tribal Drums on Some Sharkies

I have the most awesome friends. They are always looking out for me. They really are.

For example, my friend Emilia recently made me aware of this fine product, along with her astute observation that “apparently tribal techno music is just perfect for shark repelling…??!”: (I’m trying to insert a video here. First time. Let’s see if it works.)

Based on cutting edge research (O’Connell et al, 2008, 2009, submitted), Repel Shark anklets create a permanent magnetic field near your feet that is repellent to sharks. Good in low visibility water and where lemon sharks, southern stingrays, nurse sharks, and blacktip sharks are encountered. Male, female, and unisex styles are available. All feature non-corroding magnets, our exclusive magnet bushings (a total of six magnets per anklet!!), and clasps. Fit is adjustable using chain links.

That’s all well and good but what about REAL sharks, like tiger sharks and great whites. You know, the ones that can eat you? If I’m going to wear some ugly, utilitarian, unisex anklet, I’d like some protection against those other types of sharks too, please.

So, I went in search of better shark repellents and holy sharp teeth there are a LOT of shark repellents out there! A lot of them rely on magnetic and/or electrical pulses, some chemical.

The Sharkstopper proudly proclaims that it is “the first and only acoustic shark repellent in the world.” Every time I read that, I can’t help but picture a shark with a guitar singing that 90s power ballad “More Than Words” by the not-so-aptly named Extreme.

I cannot tell you how much I love this picture. Probably more than words.

Oh, and hey, Sharkstopper is looking for investors, so go ahead and get in there and give these guys some money! You can just fill out the contact us form on their website: Subject: Butt Tons of Free Money.

They’re also very proud of the fact that they were featured on the Discovery Channel’s “Pitch Men.” No word on how they did on the show.

Oh, wait a minute, we got ourselves a shark repellent war because according to our next shark repellent company, Sharkstopper didn’t do so hot on Pitch Men and were actually referred to as “snake oil.” Hmmmm, but does snake oil repel sharks? Cuz if so, I’m still interested.

Moving on, SharkDefense is a sunscreen that apparently uses “semiochemicals” which are chemical messengers or “clues” that sharks may use to orient, survive and reproduce in their specific environments. Apparently, certain semiochemical extractions have the ability to trigger a flight reaction in sharks.

They’re also into these gestation compounds which apparently make you very untasty. “Suction grip bites are released when a gestation compound is introduced directly into the mouth.” While that is a relief, it’s not really “repelling” the shark in the early stages like I’d prefer.

Oh, and hey, these guys are selling a 2012 wildlife calendar for $20 a pop, if you’re interested. Use their “contact us” page: Subject: Take my $20. Oh, and they don’t actually sell their product. Nope, to buy this shark repellent sunscreen, you have to go to the first guys I mentioned at the top of the page (Repel Sharks)

This product has me most excited – primarily because they’re from Australia, home of the Poe-Eating Hybrid Monster Sharks.

Sharkcamo is a low tech approach to preventing shark attacks on surfers. Taken from the principles of Mother Nature, Sharkcamo is a patented copyrighted graphic that applies to the bottom of your surf board and helps neutralise the prey reflex found in sharks that cause them to attack.”

And you can buy it right there on the website. Plus, they’re not asking you to purchase any other items. However, I’m not really sure how I’ll carry a surfboard with me while scuba diving, so this item might have limited usefulness.

Speaking of limited usefulness: I am definitely not going to invest in Shark Shield, which is a device that attaches to a surfboard and uses electrical waves to give sharks some uncomfortable muscle contractions, actually attracted some sharks instead. Including this 12-foot great white that decided to try to eat the surfboard during a test back in 2008. Here’s my favorite line from that Gizmodo story:

The manufacturer claims that it’ll work just fine as long as you aren’t surfing, paddling, or moving at all, however.

Well, apparently they’ve seen me scuba dive because there’s not much movement to that at all.

Maybe I’ll just dress up like a shark and they’ll think I’m one of them.