Food Snark

The Animals of Galapagos Islands

January 30, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

This article was written by Phineas Upham

The Galapagos Islands are home to some of the most diverse wildlife groupings in the world. It’s no wonder the species of the Galapagos Islands helped give birth to Darwin’s evolutionary theories.


The name “Galapago” actually means tortoise in Spanish. The giant tortoises of Galapagos were part of what inspired Darwin’s ideas behind evolution. These tortoises have no natural predators roaming the islands, making them mostly docile and easy to approach. Today, intense conservation efforts are underway to protect this rapidly dwindling species.

Marine Iguana

The marine iguanas of Galapagos are some of the only marine lizards in existence. They take to the sea in search of seaweed for nutrition, and they have special glands in their nostrils that filter out the excess salt from the sea and expel it from the nose.


The cormorant birds in Galapagos are the only members of the species who have lost the ability to fly. The bird has grown rather large as a result. It has also become the target of predators introduced to the island relatively recently, including dogs and cats.


Darwin’s finches helped present some of the clearest evidence that evolution exists. Using these finches, Darwin discovered that most of the islands of Galapagos held different species, evolved to handle different conditions. These finches are currently endangered thanks to a new species of fruit fly that feeds on the finch’s nestlings.


The penguins in Galapagos are some of the smallest in the world. They are also the only penguins capable of living south of the equator. They take after their imperial relatives, forming monogamous bonds that continue throughout their lives.

About the Author: Phineas Upham, is an investor at a family office/hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phineas Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Phineas on his Phineas Upham website

Amazing Facts about Bora Bora

January 25, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

This article was written by Samuel Phineas Upham,

The islands of Bora Bora have a rich history. From its usage as a military base, to the island natives love of American speech, Tahiti’s oasis is one of the best kept secrets on Earth. Read on for some amazing facts about the people, and the island itself.


The people of the island range in ages, but the average is 20 years or younger. Natives are typically quite friendly, and often shy. Visitors will often hear the phrase “ia ora na,” which is how natives of Bora Bora say hello. Tahitian hospitality is also another landmark of the island, with the populous being well known for their good natured attitudes. If you encounter a native, say hello to them and try to break the ice.


The Islands of French Polynesia, where Bora Bora resides, are famous for their beautiful black pearls. The islanders are so proud of this tradition that they maintain the world’s only museum devoted entirely to pearls. For Tahitians, pearls have a place in history and in culture, where they may represent elements of the mythology or religion of the islanders.


Members of the indigenous tribes practice an unorthodox method of fishing. Known as “stone fishing,” the practice consists of dozens of canoes that form a semicircle. Men use stones tied to ropes to beat the surface of the water, which causes the fish to scatter. When the frightened fish move toward the beach, the men leap from their canoes and yell while they beat the water to cause the fish to run aground. That certainly is one method of catching dinner…

Also see some pics from Bora Bora by Phin Upham on Daily Motion:

Phin Upham Presents Bora Bora by dm_52022698b459b

About the Author: Samuel Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Samuel Phineas Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Samuel Phineas Upham on his Facebook page.

For a Taste of the Past, Visit Claude Moore Colonial Farm

January 24, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

There’s so much to do in Virginia, it can be tough knowing where to start. Though many people know it for its historical homes in Richmond VA, there’s more to the state than that. Richmond, VA real estate deserves a look, but so do the state’s many historical sites and locations. One place that will really help put the past into perspective is Claude Moore Colonial Farm.

Virginia is filled with parks, statues and tourist locations that serve to commemorate historical events that occurred there. But Claude Moore Colonial Farm helps show you what it was like for people who lived in Virginia during the 1700s that history has simply forgotten.

When you visit Claude Moore Colonial Farm you’ll immediately feel as though you have been transported centuries back to a bygone era when smartphones and social media weren’t a thing. This living history attraction will show you what life on a farm was like including all the minutia of day to day tasks.

You’ll probably have plenty of questions, but don’t worry you’ll get answers. That’s because Claude Moore Colonial Farm is staffed by professionally trained actors, each with their own part, who will respond to all your inquiries in the first person.

Come see Virginia for all its modern amenities, but don’t forget to check out Claude Moore Colonial Farm too. You’ll have a better understanding of the past and a better appreciation for the present.


Article submitted by Relocate to Richmond. They’re you’re go to company for a Virginia real estate agent that has helped countless people relocate and make the city their new home.

Timeshare scams and how to avoid them

January 23, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Here are 7 things you can do to avoid timeshare scams:

    1. Don’t ever, ever buy (or sell) ‘on the spot.’ Sleep on it, and take the time
      to evaluate whether the deal is a good one.
    2. If you are offered a prize as an incentive, read the ‘fine print’ on the
      prize, and DON’T PAY for anything.


  1. Read the contract and have it reviewed by an attorney. If the sales person
    promised you something that’s not in the contract, don’t sign the contract!
  2. If the presentation is too high pressure, leave. You have every right to
    leave when you want. Simply stand up and politely say ‘thank you very much but
    we’re leaving now.’ Then go — don’t let them argue with you.
  3. Ask for references — and call them. Ask for folks who have been happy and
    unhappy with the previous service.
  4. Don’t ever call a 1-900 number to book a trip — it’s very likely a scam.
  5. Consider a timeshare the same way you’d consider any other real estate investment.
    Do research and educate yourself on the market and the value.

Let’s now talk for a moment about timeshares as real estate investments. A common
question Nolo Press gets asked is “I’ve been told that I shouldn’t buy
a timeshare because it will be hard to sell later. Is this true?”

Here’s their answer:

“Very likely, yes. Timeshare owners face a few difficulties when they try
to sell. The first hurdle is the lack of a strong resale market. Although statistics
vary, all studies show that there are many more timeshare owners wanting to
sell than there are buyers.

“Another problem is the likelihood that you will lose money on the sale
of a timeshare. The original price of a timeshare may have included premiums
of up to 40% to cover sales costs. Also, timeshare properties age and can become
less desirable. So, your resale price may be anywhere from 20% to 60% of the
original purchase price — plus you will have to pay a commission to the broker
(often as high as 20% of the resale price) who sells the property for you.”

Shopping at Causeway Bay

January 17, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Posted By Samuel Phineas Upham

Causeway Bay is one of the biggest shopping centers in Hong Kong, but tourists seem to focus on the overwhelming ocean, and the sea of people hunting for the best bargains from a plain looking shopping center.

The truth is that Causeway Bay has overtaken New York’s Fifth Avenue as the world’s most expensive retail shopping center. This actually forced out many of the smaller shops that had been there for years, ushering in the era of big box retailers from international cities.

But Causeway Bay isn’t just a big tourist trap. There is real value to be found on some interesting goods.


SOGO was opened in 1985, and it is to this day the biggest and most popular Japanese department store in Causeway Bay and Hong Kong. The shopping center consists of 12 stories (including two floors below ground level) that cater to everything from high fashion and cosmetics, to toys and games for children.

Island Beverly Center

About 100 small boutiques dealing in fashion from Korea and Japan are housed in the Island Beverly Center. The mall also features consignment stores that sell goods from the community, and it’s a fun trip through the best (and worst) trends Hong Kong has to offer.


Retrostone got its start by selling second hand t-shirts of American bands. The store is known for selling vintage and imitation vintage that is apparently very convincing. Shirts are still the main stay, but fans can also find leather goods and designs they can’t get in Hong Kong. A rocker’s paradise, Retrostone offers everything that a band’s number one fan would need.

Samuel Phineas Uphamis an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Samual Phineas Upham website or Linkedin page.

Restaurant Lulu 1

January 13, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Both the food and the service left something to be desired. Granted, two out of our party of six was late, but the staff refused to seat us until we all arrived. Considering the restaurant had room to seat us, I considered this unnecessary, but I was determined to enjoy my meal regardless. I went for the rib-eye and while the portion size was right, I’ve had better steaks for the price. I felt I got the amount I paid for, just not the experience. Our server had some great recommendations on food and wine, but we didn’t see her much once the food was delivered.

If you do end up at Lulu’s, I hope you enjoy the food because you’ll be reminiscing about better service from restaurants gone by.


Five Amazing Films Shot in Hong Kong

January 10, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Submitted By Samuel Phineas Upham

The 70s was like the golden age of Hong Kong cinema. Today, movies like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Hero and Transformers can all trace shots back to this Chinese city. The list of well known films doesn’t stop there. Hollywood and Hong Kong share a rich history of incredible films.

Dark Knight

The epic retelling of the Joker’s origin story features a shot in China when the titular hero raids a corporate office for evidence. The building in the scene is located in  Hong Kong’s central financial district.

Enter the Dragon

Enter the Dragon was a return to roots for Lee. The famous scene where Lee discusses the importance of “emotional content” was shot in a monastery that has remained relatively unchanged since then.

The Killer

Directed by John Woo, before Woo’s films become clichéd, this ballet of bullets featured a scene that caused a ruckus in the dockside at Causeway Bay.

Police Story

One of Jackie Chan’s earliest films, and also one of his biggest hits, this film was shot all over Hong Kong. Nicknamed “the Glass Story” for all the fake panes of glass that were broken on set, Jackie Chan wanted the situations in the movie to relate to the locations they shot at. This is contrary to Hollywood style film making where the script writer typically designates locales during the writing of the script.

Kill Bill vol. 1

With a plethora of Japanese cinema references and some heavy handed symbolism, it might come as a shock to learn the “Asia” scenes in the movie were actually shot in Hong Kong instead of Japan. The film also draws from Hong Kong style martial arts films.

5 Foods That are Distinctively New Orleans

January 7, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Posted By Phin Upham

Looking for the true New Orleans experience? You can find it in the restaurants and bars all over the city. For that authentic New Orleans taste, read on for foods that really flavor the region.


The dish originated in Louisiana, and typically features a flavored stock with meat or shellfish, and seasoned vegetables. Typically, these vegetables are celery, bell peppers and onion, but if you add garlic then natives will call it the “holy trinity.” It’s actually the official cuisine of Louisiana, so eat up!

Po’ Boy

A “shorty” is a six inch long version of this popular sandwich, and it’s the bread that really sells the experience. Traditional versions typically come with roast beef or fried shellfish, but you can find varieties with chicken, sausage or even French fries.


Grits is a bit like porridge. It’s traditionally served as a side dish for breakfast, so expect to see a bowl next to your scrambled eggs and bacon.


One of the most distinctly New Orleans dishes, Jambalaya is traditionally made in three parts. The cook first prepares the meat and vegetables, then adds flavored stock and rice to complete the dish. Be careful with this one if you don’t like spicy foods.

Red Beans and Rice

This dish was traditionally served on Mondays, cooked with the pork bones left over from Sunday dinner, but you can find it anywhere in New Orleans. The dish was preferred by Louis Armstrong, who loved it so much he often signed his letters “Red Bean and Ricely Yours.”

Phin Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Phin Upham website or LinkedIn page.

5 Films Shot in New Orleans

January 2, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Posted by Samuel Phineas Upham

New Orleans, often called “The Big Easy,” is the backdrop of many stories and films. Here are some personal favorites from many different genres.

Miller’s Crossing

One of the most powerful gangster films since the Godfather, Miller’s Crossing concerns two rival gang factions during the prohibition period. New Orleans was the chosen location due to architecture and aesthetics, but the cops made filming difficult. Apparently the NOPD routinely stopped by the set to give out citations for permits the crew claimed to have already purchased, mirroring the corruption from the film.


The 1997 version of Lolita was not as critically acclaimed as the Kubrick version, but still has its own merits. The film features the brilliant Jeremy Irons as Humbert Humbert, and a soundtrack composed by Ennio Morricone of “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” fame.  The scenes in Beardsley were filmed on location in New Orleans.

Ender’s Game

This sci-fi epic required epic space battles and large set pieces. The producers chose an old NASA facility, called Big Easy Studios, as their locale for green screens.

This is the End

Though the apocalyptic film was set in Los Angeles, it was shot almost entirely in New Orleans for tax purposes. This becomes glaringly obvious when the camera pans over a CGI version of the Hollywood Hills, or the cast strolls down a fictionalized “Rodeo” drive.


It is unsurprising, but still worth mentioning, that every version of Street Car Named Desire has been filmed in New Orleans. This story tells the gripping tale of one woman’s quest for sanity in an abusive relationship.