Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Sci Fi Tuesday and Margarittaville

Do you remember a ‘Flock of Seagulls’? Weren’t they the group famous for the hair? Oo – found some pics

They are back performing tomorrow at the Hard Rock Hotel’s outdoor poolside venue. That type of arrangement seems to be getting popular for casinos – where the band is up on a stage surrounded by the pool, and the audience stands in the water or sits around the edges. Besides the Hard Rock I know of similar shows at the Palms and Mandalay Bay (pictures of that one down a ways). I guess it’s nice on a hot evening to stand in a pool of cool water and dance to the band. All of the places encourage the girls to wear bikinis, thereby attracting more beer drinking guys. And as our DJs suggest, if you are a beer drinker there are advantages to standing in the pool. (you figure that one out) (Euuuu . . . )

Just read that the Rolling Stones are coming back here on there next tour - tickets from $125 to $450. Maybe they're already sold out.

I saw a new show on the Sci Fi channel this week – Dead Like Me. It’s a little strange, and I don’t fully understand the concept. Evidently when some people die they are selected to hang around on earth and help the souls of other people that die pass on. I don’t know if this week had the first episode, but if it did it was really poor at explaining the back story. – oh, the web site has episode explanations, so it looks like I missed three. Here is what the Sci Fi web site says:

Georgia "George" Lass (Ellen Muth) is an 18-year-old college dropout who has no job skills and seems unable to take an interest in anything, including her own life. She projects an air of cynicism that infuriates her mother, baffles her father, and intimidates her younger sister.

When her mother, Joy (Cynthia Stevenson), insists that George get a job, she applies to a temp agency that sends her out as a file clerk. Her lunch break — and her life — are cut short when a toilet seat from the Mir space station drives her into the pavement.

George does not realize that she is dead until Rube (Mandy Patinkin), the kindly leader of a team of "grim reapers," points out her remains. Rube takes George under his wing and introduces her to the other members of his undead group: Mason (Callum Blue), Roxy (Jasmine Guy) and Daisy (Laura Harris). In addition, Rube explains to George that in order for her soul to move on to its next level, she has a quota of souls she must help remove from those on Earth who are about to die.

The members of Rube's team of reapers are all, like George, people who died with unresolved issues. They still have lessons to learn that — for one reason or another — they failed to learn in life. They move about the Pacific Northwest in the full light of day. They walk the city streets and eat at all-night diners, just like anyone else. They have to find their own places to live, cook, eat and do their laundry. They look just like everyone else, but as "un-dead" grim reapers they appear physically different to the living than they did when they were alive.

Dead Like Me revolves around George¹s adventures as she comes into contact with an eclectic group of people who are about to meet their maker, and as she learns to interact with her fellow reapers, with Rube, and with her new/old boss, Dolores Herbig. She also looks in on her grieving family and must cope with how things continue to change without her. All of these interactions lead her to ask: What if death is not the end? What if it is not even an escape, but an opportunity to accept responsibility? … What if death is a wake-up call?

It was a little hard to get into, but after most of the first episode (they show two one hour episodes on Tuesday evening) I finally started to enjoy it. The main actress (Ellen Muth) is either a little strange herself or does a very good job at acting the part. I would highly recommend it. B wandered through and could not stand watching, so I guess it definitely is not for everyone, it’s the type of show where you have to like the characters rather than the action. No magnificent special effects, no spaceships or dragons, it probably will not get renewed, but I hope it does. The website shows two seasons worth of shows, so at least I get to watch it for a little while.

And now for something completely different: another one of my anti-government rants.

Our local paper yesterday had an interesting editorial on our current defense budget. It stated that the defense budget has grown 40% since 2001, and is higher than it has ever been. I know people use the fact that our military declined after world war one, and we had a challenge in gearing up for WW2, but we did end up winning (didn’t we?). The current budget consumes quite a lot of money, and does not include what is being spent in Iraq – that comes from special appropriations. We are building nuclear attack submarines, destroyers, and several new attack and fighter aircraft. I don’t see the threat. As discussed, the cost of one of the multiple destroyers under construction would pay for vaccines for the entire population, feed the homeless and cover a lot of other social expenses.

Supposedly our military is gearing up for the ‘new’ type of fighting, police actions like we have in Iraq and Israel has in Lebanon. But unfortunately they are doing this in addition to following the old style, with submarines to launch nuclear missiles at the Soviet Union and sink the bad guy’s ships and big ships to sink the other guy’s submarines and fighter planes to shoot down the bad guys planes. But Iraq has no submarines or ships or planes. Why?


Wow, Tuesday already – get to watch the next two episodes, followed by Eureka!. Glad that the Sci Fi channel is producing interesting new shows, the ones on the networks all seem to be either lame sitcoms or some type of contest between out of work actors or singers or chefs or something.

I’ve been busy at work – yes, more than usual. Last Thursday night one of the computers went down, two of it’s hard drives just burned up. It’s the computer that holds all of the collection data; the collection system is the one I am mostly involved with. Ended up sending all the collection agents home on Friday, didn’t come back on line until the Saturday shift. I’ve been getting calls every night from the night operator when problems come up. Sunday morning it was calls at 1, 3:10, 5:05, 5:20, and 8. Followed Monday morning by about the same set of calls, preceded by one at 11:30, which killed the little run of sleep I was getting. Plus heavy work during the day to recover lost data – of course the machine died at 9:26pm, right after the callers all went home but before any of the backups started. Which means that most of what work was done on Thursday is lost, except for bits and pieces that get moved into other systems. So I’ve been pulling those bits back, along with still finding files that were not restored, and processes that need new security settings because of the change in computers. Oh well, that’s what I get paid for.

Two weeks ag we went down to the strip one evening. Hit the Belagio (pics somewhere below) and had burgers at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville. This place is located in the Flamingo, near the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo Boulevard. (which came first, the street or the casino? Don’t know). The Barbary Coast is right on the corner – that’s a little place that several of the big casino companies are trying to buy out, just to get the strip frontage.

The Flamingo is one of the few ‘old’ casinos that still has it’s big old neon.

They tried to carry the tropical theme into the casino floor as well, with artificial palm trees and workers in Hawaiian shirts.

Guess that’s why Margaritaville kind of fits in. It’s from the other direction, but still tropical. It is a multi-level conglomeration of bars and seating areas. Even on a Tuesday night (ah, that’s why I missed the first episodes) the place was packed. We registered, picked up the now common hockey puck pager devise and hit the bar on the top level.

There were lots of fans and misters, so even though it was over 100f it still was relatively comfortable. And you could look over the railing down on the Strip and see all the stupid pedestrians crossing over to the Coliseum across the street, dodging cars. Much better to take the time and walk to the corner and use the many overhead bridges. I had ginger ale (designated driver) but B said the special Margaritta was pretty good. I could tell, she ended up being really talkative during the meal, a sure sign that the drink was also strong.

After about a half hour the puck started to sing and blink, indicating that our name was up. We worked our way down three flights to the hostess and were eventually seated on the balcony overlooking the main floor. The inside is made up in a tropical fashion, with palm trees, galvanized steel roofs, an erupting volcano and a seaplane overhead. Three guys on stilts walked around and made balloon hats. Going there for your 21st birthday seemed popular (or at least saying it was your birthday was), as one of the guys went over and made a big ‘21’ balloon hat and everybody sang happy birthday. But with all that metal and space it was REALLY NOISY. It is probably a great place to go for burgers and beer (or margaritas) with a crowd and party, but not the place for a quiet meal.

But the Cheeseburgers in Paradise were pretty good, if skinny. We had seen the restaurant down at St. Bart’s in the Caribbean where he wrote the song when we went along on our daughter’s honeymoon, but that’s a different story. (I think I told it before somewhere).

After eating we hit the conservatory at the Belagio and headed home.

Oh, sorry, missed my E Friday. Here you go VG.

Oh, go watch Sci Fi tonight and let me know what you think (those of you on cable)

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