Monday, December 31, 2007

Party time!!

Just a few thoughts on why Vegas is now listed above NY Times Square as the place to party on New Year’s Eve: 303,000 people expected to visit for the weekend, but in addition to locals the four miles of the Strip will be closed to cars and open to party, much more room than in Times Square; 10 new nightclubs opening around New Year’s Day (the new tower of the big hotel next door opened yesterday, so JayZ’s 40/40 Club can be open tonight, $700 to get in the door but Beyonce is supposed to be there too); fireworks from the roofs of seven of the big hotels all along the Strip, with more sparks than just about anywhere else in the world. Of course, it will be about 35f out there tonight, but no wind expected. It’s about time to make reservations for next New Year’s if you want to party then, for now; I think every hotel room in town is taken this year.

Other big club venues include: The Bank at Bellagio ($250, packages start at $5,000 for four including two bottles of liquor and one of Dom Perignon and some mixers); Body English at the Hard Rock has Backstreet Boys ($500); Moon/Playboy Club at the Palms ($300) hosted by Jaime Pressly; Pure at Caesars ($250) hosted by Pamela Anderson (no word on which husband or ex will appear); Tangerine at TI ($300 VIP) hosted by Kevin Federline; Mariah Carey at Tao ($250), the Hilton sisters at LAX ($278.88 - don’t ask me), Avril Lavigne at Prive Planet Hollywood ($200), Jet at Mirage will have a James Bond theme, dress as your fav Bond character ($200), plus dozens of others at assorted prices, including the big party downtown on Fremont Street ($60) with several big bands including the Doobie Brothers and the Bangles. Shows not at parties include Earth Wind & Fire, BB King, Tony Orlando, Goo Goo Dolls, Kanye West and Debbie Reynolds, so there is something for everyone.

So, too late for this year, but you can plan ahead for next.


Here is what it looked like this morning - images taken from the web site of the Las Vegas Review Journal, not by me.

That was over eight minutes of sparkles from seven strip resorts, all synchronized to music blasting all over the strip. We turned on our TV to hear it and stood out in the front yard to look down at part of it. Even three miles away our windows shook from the concussion of all of those explosions at times.

In our local paper, read the RJ article directly. If you wanted to go downtown to the Fremont Street Experience there were probably a few more people per square foot, but I hear NY Times Square had a million. So with less than half that on our four mile long Strip it was probably a lot more comfortable here.

Oh - all those parties - they go on like that all year round. They just don't charge as much to get in, and don't close the street for fireworks. So if you want to come to Vegas to party, yes, bring money. Most of the clubs don't open until 10:30pm, and the real party doesn't start until after midnight, but you do get out to take advantage of those big breakfast buffets.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Video Monday

One of my favorite songs from the Muppet Show is Mahna Mahna.

Don’t know why, perhaps because I can remember all of the words, and it’s fun to sing along to. And it’s got Kermit in it, so it has to be good. Recently I came across a version of this with Sandra Bullock, and yes, Kermie again. But this time it sounds like she’s saying phenomena. Oh well, she dances along like I do.

What’s that you say, I missed E Friday? Well, looks like you are correct. Sorry. But with not being able to post from work, and running around doing other things, I have been a bit remiss. Did almost make all of November though. OK, here you go.

Yes, that is 2 1/2.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Holiday prep

What did we do to prepare for Christmas? Well, the weekend before was rather windy, resulting in the last of the leaves to be blown from our trees, so we spent Christmas Eve raking and bagging.

The evening before it was rather cold, the first time it was below freezing for more than a few hours, and we had our first ice on the courtyard fountain. Granted, it’s not much, but it is hard water.

Down on the strip the new $6,500,000,000 MGM City Center is coming along, haven’t heard when the projected opening date is, but it looks at least a year away.

And at the big hotel next door to where I work, the new tower is done on the outside and in the midst of county fire inspections, with hopes of opening the new 40/40 night club for a big party tomorrow, and an even larger one on New Year’s Eve. Beyonce is due to help with the opening.

Work has started on the new condo tower, no idea when that one will start taking tenants.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Books books books

Last week I received an unexpected package in the mail from somebody in the UK. It was all full of literature on the area around Nottingham.

Now, my only experience with Nottingham is in watching movies about a band of guys that live in Sherwood Forest and are continually chased by a sheriff that supposedly comes from there. But it looks like I will be learning a lot more about the area. Hopefully someday soon I’ll get to return to the UK and visit some people scattered around the countryside– I have a growing list.

I also finally received something I ordered from Amazon a month ago – it’s a book about living with a Twat. It gets added to my pile of books written by bloggers that I read on line, and have made the transition to publishing on paper.

Clockwise from the top right, there is One Stop Short of Barking by people related to the Underground, then comes Diary of an Unlikely Call Girl by Belle de Jour, two books from Deana’s husband Martin about life in the south, the new arrival, My Boyfriend is a Twat by Zoe, and the Dying of Delight by Clare, who also has moved into live storytelling and also directly distributes her short unique stories, two of which are also pictured.

Soon to come is another book by Clare and a third one from Martin. I have found all of these to be interesting reads, and am looking forward to more stories about the Twat as I get into that one, along with learning a lot about an area of England I am unfamiliar with. Thanks all for expanding beyond the electronic word.

Friday, December 21, 2007

E Friday - swings

In following the tradition of Clare we return again to E Friday, where I post three photos of my darling granddaughter E, because VG really likes to look at these pics. Well, I like to look at them also.

Today let’s do E on the swing. She really likes to sit in the two swings we have in the peach tree out in the back yard, as well as the swings at the park. Unfortunately she is just not big enough to sit up comfortably in the bigger kids swings, though she tries. Usually she lays in it looking at the ground.

That’s our typical southwestern playground, lots of stuff to climb on, shade over some of it, sand and the concrete is covered with two inches of something made out of ground up rubber so that it’s soft to fall on.

Out in our back yard it’s about the same.

But she likes swinging back and forth, and can stay out there for quite a while, just swinging and looking at the grass. She can put her feet down and push off to keep swinging on her own like this. But if you help her sit in it she can hold on to the ropes and stay up. Hasn’t learned to pump her feet to keep going so somebody has to be out there pushing, but she likes this too.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


When flipping channels I stopped to watch a county planning commission meeting on the public access channel on our cable tonight, because the name of the big hotel next door came up. There is a proposal to build a new version of the convention center that I work at about a block to the east, further away from the strip. This is because of the huge increase in property prices on Las Vegas Boulevard. The most recent large purchase was of the New Frontier last year, that property going for about $34,500,000 per acre. This is much higher than past prices, bringing the land that our center is on to a much higher value. By moving the convention center off strip the current property is then available to flatten and put up several new hotel towers and a bigger casino space.

The big corporation is applying for a waiver in order to construct fewer parking spaces than required by law. Listening to the planning discussion it was apparent that no property has ever been held to what is required by law, and everyone has gotten waivers on everything. This leads me to wonder why we even have these laws, if no one is held to them. The request of a waiver seems to be a big farce, with every one granted after long discussions and much money spent on lawyers. Needless to say, the corporation got their parking waiver.

One of the problems is that the Wynn Hotel, located right across the street, has constructed an employee parking garage between our current site and our new site, making the two properties ‘non-contiguous’. The Wynn has constructed a bridge over Sands Boulevard so that employees parking in the garage do not have to cross the street to go over to the Wynn resort. This doesn’t sound like a big deal, until you realize that this is about 10,000 employees crossing the street, with most of them going to work in the morning and getting off in the evening at about the same time. There are three shifts, in order to keep the place running, but the night shift is much smaller than the day shift. Here is what that bridge looks like.

This is Sands Boulevard looking west, with the garage to the left, the Wynn resort off camera to the right, and the pedestrian bridge crossing the picture. Overhead is the tracks for our monorail. Visible under the bridge is our convention facility, with the tower of the big hotel next door behind.

The new convention center will be behind the photo, off to the left behind the Wynn parking garage. A new pedestrian bridge will be build connecting the new facility to the old one. This will run over the sidewalk on the left side of the photo. The main problem is that the Wynn bridge is right where this new one will have to be, so it seems that there will be an overhead intersection where the two bridges will meet up in the sky, causing big pedestrian traffic jams in the morning when Wynn employees cross to go to work and convention visitors cross them to get to the new convention center. Better than another thousand cars at this intersection.

Here is what it looks like from the other direction.

Totally confused? OK, but it matters to me because I will be walking back and forth on this new bridge every day, and am wondering what it will look like. Of course, this is two years in the future, if I still work there, but it is something to think about.

For something completely different, the yucca in our front yard has just finished blooming again.

And a few weeks earlier the sage was also looking good.

But I get up in the dark to go to work, and get home near dark. Not as bad as Iceland, but I am ready for it to start turning into Spring, looking forward to longer periods of sunshine and warmer weather. Yes, I know it’s not officially winter yet, but it’s cold.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Monday videos - Christmas

Back to our videos on Monday, let’s go with Christmas songs to match this time of year. I try to pick out old historical videos to enlighten you youngsters and show you what things were like back in the old days.

One of the most widely recorded is The Christmas Song, written by Mel Torme and first recorded by Nat King Cole in 1946.

An old cartoon classic is the Christmas Song as sung by Alvin and the Chipmunks. This used to be one of the ‘classic’ cartoon shows played during the holiday season, but I haven’t seen it on TV in a while.

Finally for the politically incorrect, there’s ‘Holy Sh*t it’s Christmas’ by Red Peters and his hamsters. Probably best not to play when the kids are around or you’ll have the little ones dancing around the house singing it.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

E Friday

In following the tradition of Clare we return again to E Friday, where I post three photos of my darling granddaughter E, because VG really likes to look at these pics. Well, I like to look at them also.

Let’s go with the smiles today. She seems to smile all the time – but then, I’m not around for those grumpy periods.

For Lisa, let’s go with some subdued stripes

And drawing with crayons in the restaurant.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tuesday videos

It’s been a semi-quiet week at work. The only show going on is Cowboy Christmas, in the downstairs hall. This comes in every December, matching the National Rodeo Finals taking place in town. The hall is full of boots and big buckles and black hats. I thought only bad guys wore black hats, but now it seems that almost everyone does. So I thought I would present you with some of my favorite quiet songs. First is Louis Armstrong singing What a Wonderful World – not much trumpet, but he does have a voice that fits.

As long as we have Louis, here is one with a little more trumpet, from 1967 Hello Dolly

I was going to switch to something completely different, but why not stay with Mr. Armstrong. Here is a much earlier movie short featuring him, Rhapsody in Blue from 1932.

Boy, talk about black stereotypes from that period, dressed in leopard skin and everything.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

E not really Friday

In following the tradition of Clare we return again to E Friday, where I post three photos of my darling granddaughter E, because VG really likes to look at these pics. Well, I like to look at them also.

No theme today, these are just some of the random shots I’ve got piled up marked as not yet posted. If you have seen them before, well, here they are again.

Out in our back yard we have this little push car that E likes. She fits inside, but hasn’t yet got the hang of moving forward very fast.

Doesn't she look like she's ready to take on those vicious Vegas drivers? Look closely, if you are familiar with these cars, and you will notice that her feet are not down there pushing her along - she has learned to pick her feet up and wait to be pushed, but not the scooting along stuff.

And back on the grass is a small climbing box with attached slide that she has gotten very good at sliding down on.

But most of all I like the hair.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


Well, evidently due to changes at blogger and security settings at work I am now unable to post from there or put up any comments on all of your places that use Haloscan or other log in comments. Sorry, but all of my immediate fun responses have to wait until I get home, and thus are forgotten. Oh well, I still come by to read.

Presents away

Well, finally finished up the woodworking, boxed it up, and shipped off E’s Christmas present.

I did the cutting and gluing, B did the nice sanding and finishing. Yes, the top lifts off so all the animals can ride inside. The boat is about 24" long. Unfortunately, I wanted to use a nice hard wood and picked up some red oak at our local HD to make it from. I say unfortunately, because it was hard, and a real chore to cut and sand. And it probably weighs so much that it will be years before she can pick it up. But it probably means the animals will last just as long. We’ll hear how the basement floor works out after she launches it down the stairs a few times.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Wheelie bins

There is a fellow blogger who shall not be named that seems to be having a problem with wheelie bins. Well, not really wheelie bins themselves but employees of a company that manufactures wheelie bins. For some reason these employees of the wheelie bin manufacturer are out to search the web for sites that mention wheelie bins in the hope of somehow obtaining information on their company or other employees at their wheelie bin company. (well, did I say wheelie bins enough to get Google to put me on their wheelie bin search list?)

So I thought I would join in the effort to flood the blog-o-sphere with wheelie bin posts in the hope of confusing all employees of wheelie bin manufacturers who search Google for wheelie bin postings.

Our daughter lives in Portland, and there all residents are required to use wheelie bins supplied by the rubbish company that has the contract for trash pickup. She has three, one for trash, one for greens and one for recyclables such as paper, aluminum and glass. Unfortunately the city is trying to force recycling; Portland is well known as a modern productive city that believes in such things; and thus the wheelie bins are rather small. They are picked up weekly, and our daughter and family have no problem in confining their weekly trash to one bin. They do not subscribe to a newspaper, and do not drink much so the recyclables bin is usually fairly empty. They do have a yard, and in Portland, with all the rain, things grow very well, so the greens bin does tend to get filled up. The problem they have though is in home improvement.

They have been in their house since May, and are trying to make it a better place that fits their lifestyle. This means a different place that what the previous tenant had in mind. This requires modification of the house and garage, which sometimes entails the removal of walls and other hard items as well as the installation of new walls and things. The result of removal and insertion is some amount of construction rubbish. The only place to put this rubbish is the one small trash bin, which is already filled with their house trash. This means that they must cut this rubbish into small pieces and keep a pile in the back yard and then slowly put it into the empty space in their bin prior to each week’s pickup. This they have been doing for the past several months, with not much of a diminution of the total pile. Yes, they could request a large construction dumpster and put their pile into it, but unfortunately their pile only requires about a fifth of a dumpster, which would have to sit in the street in front of their house for three days. I say unfortunately because you pay a base dumpster fee, plus the trash is weighed and you pay a per pound fee. As they have seen, any dumpster left on the street will be used by other homeowners wishing to get rid of their old refrigerators, mattresses, and their construction debris. This means that our daughter would end up paying a lot of money in order to dispose of other people’s trash. A full dumpster with disposal fees costs over $1,000, depending on weight. This seems rather excessive, as the total costs of their remodeling effort is less than this, thus resulting in the disposal fees being several times higher than the construction costs. Plus, there are some additional yard modifications that they wish to do as well.

I understand the desire of large cities to reduce their trash, what with an increase in population resulting in an increase in trash, with no corresponding effort made to increase the landfills into which this trash is placed. The city refuses to permit her to get additional wheelie bins for her trash, stating that a house of the size she is in only rates one bin, and her family should reduce their outgo in order to meet what is specified.

Down in San Diego we had to convert from normal trash pickup to wheelie bin pickup several years before we moved. Each family was given one large bin for trash and a smaller one for recyclables, and labels to put on the old bins to mark them as greens only. The trash company reduced their truck staff from two individuals, one to drive and one to toss, down to one, who drove and then directed an arm out of the side of the truck to pick up the wheelie bins. In concept this was nice, but it did not result in a decrease in our monthly trash fees. The result was a decrease in services. Where before we could put anything out on the curb and it would be picked up we now were restricted to what fit into the one bin we were given. This meant that if you purchased a new mattress there was no one to take away the old mattress. If you purchased new furniture or appliances you could no longer put the old ones out on the curb for pickup. We were also told that since it was a mechanical arm that picked up the bin instead of a person we could fill it up and not worry about the weight, which might cause a person to injure themselves while the arm could handle quite a lot. This worked for about the first year, then the trash company started adjusting the controls on the arm, so that it no longer lifted heavy bins. This weight adjustment was reduced each year, until we eventually were finding our wheelie bins at the end of the pickup day still full, but with notices attached that said they were too heavy. Well, if you are putting your trash into the bin and it is too heavy there is no other place to remove some of it in order to reduce the weight. Fortunately the owner of the house next door was older and alone, and thus had very little trash in his bin and he permitted us to put some of ours in with his, thus reducing our wheelie bin weight down to what the adjusted arm said was acceptable. However, this did not provide any recourse to the removal of trash that was too big to fit inside the wheelie bin. Fortunately we had an old pickup truck, and thus could fill that up and drive to the dump (sorry, the sanitary landfill) directly and dispose of the items.

Well, the trash hauler for Las Vegas is now trying to convert to wheelie bin receptacles, saying of course that it is for our benefit. But, as in San Diego, they would reduce the truck staff from two to one, and no longer pick up large items curbside. And I am sure they would eventually start adjusting that pickup arm until it barely lifted an empty wheelie bin, much less one filled. As we no longer have our old pickup truck we would not have any way to haul away our larger items. We did have the truck, but recently sold it, and did drive some stuff up to the landfill, but that is about a forty mile drive up to the canyon that is being used. Many people are in support of the trash company’s efforts to move to the wheelie bins, buying the line that it will reduce labor costs and thus keep them from increasing rates. However, many of us that have lived through such a conversion have no faith in the corporate line and just feel that rates will continue to increase while service will decrease, thus are opposed to the great wheelie bin conversion effort.

One of the reasons given for conversion is that it would be easier to recycle. Right now we have four square plastic bins, one for paper, one for glass and one for metals. The trash company proposes one wheelie bin for everything so that we would not have to sort, and a weekly pickup of this instead of the once every two week pickup that we have now. However, with larger wheelie bins being provided they would reduce our twice a week trash pickup down to once a week. Well, most houses in Las Vegas do not have a large garage in which to keep a large wheelie bin in addition to a car. Many houses are in areas with homeowner associations, which have rules requiring all trash containers be kept out of sight, either in a garage or behind a back yard fence. Since land costs are so high most newer homes are on lots that extend only a meter beyond the house to the property line on the side, and about three meters to the rear. This means the wheelie bins would be kept in the back yard, consuming a part of the small area available, and being visible. Now smaller plastic containers are used, that fit on the sides of the houses. Plus, reducing pickup to once a week would probably result in the increase in trash odor, as putting items into bins in the summer, when temperatures normally go over 110f (43c), and keeping it there for a week in the enclosed wheelie bin would result in some rather dramatic odors.

So, there are our wheelie bin stories. Are these of any interest to the employees of wheelie bin companies? I’m not sure, but if you are a wheelie bin employee and you have arrived here from a Google search of wheelie bin stories, please leave a comment and let me know.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Video Monday - for fun

Back to my non November don’t post on weekend style. Sorry guys, it was just too much and I think next year I’ll join the Queen in the non-NaBloMo whatever event.

And for DM: sorry, again I did not make the annual Santa run, even though over four thousand people here did. Maybe next year. And I was playing trains down in Boulder City and missed the regular marathon on Sunday. This year saw over a hundred couples get married during the run, and 215 running Elvi also participated. I tried to link to photos over on our local paper, but they are tightening up on their copyright policies and just will not let me do it, so you will just have to picture standing in the middle of 215 of them in white and gold jumpsuits and big hair running down the street.

As long as we are doing funny things, let’s do some interesting videos. More blasts from the past, that also feature our favorite characters over at Star Trek. First it’s our young Mr. Spock doing his ballad about Bilbo Baggins.

And let’s not forget the captain’s venture into audio legend. Here’s William Shatner doing Lucy in the Sky, in a pretty hokey video.

OK, let’s move on to something completely different. Lisa passed on a reference to this absolutely brilliant stop motion video of two friends. It's not music, but please click on and watch this one, very well done.
Tony vs. Paul

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Friday, November 30, 2007

How ya doin'?

Feel like trying out your reaction time, eyesight and short term memory? If so, or even if not, go try out the Quick test, passed on from that New Zealand radio station I'm litening to, Zed M.

J just came down to our basement office with his jacket wet. He reports that it supposedly is raining, something that usually does not happen here in Las Vegas. He's probably just makeing fun of me. After his report I walked out to the front lobby (about a 1K walk) to see, and yes, the ground is wet out there but I found no evidence that it came from the sky. A street sweeper has been coming by, to clean up the white snow from nextdoor where they are sanding some styrofoam applied to the outside of the new building, and the water might have leaked from that. After all, it's the last day in November and so far this year we have had 1.7 inches of rainfall, so it must not be from the sky, you think?

Toy books and singing

In following the tradition of Clare we return again to E Friday, where I post three photos of my darling granddaughter E, because VG really likes to look at these pics. Well, I like to look at them also.

When E was out we started to receive the Chrismas toy wish books from some of the larger toy and department stores. I don’t think that E yet regards these as wish books or potential shopping lists, but she did enjoy looking through them.

The one from T@rget seemed to be the most enjoyable, probably because it had the most Thomas articles, and she currently loves Thomas and friends. Even though they are made in China and mom has a deep fear of lead even though the ones being sold now are supposed to be OK.

Now that she is talking pretty well she has also learned how to sing. Mom evidently does the nursery song thing while they are together, and Grammy got a bunch of CDs with kids songs (even though half of them are religious, why indoctrinate kids so early?) She knows some of them fairly well.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Movie review and around town events

We went to the movies last night – don’t do it very often, guess we are getting old and it’s just fine sitting at home. And the cost – movies in Vegas are now up to $10.00, 10.25 on Friday and Saturday. We just got one medium popcorn and coke and that was $10.50. Kids are less, but not much, so I can see how a night out at the movies has been decreasing. But a hint, at least here; Costco sells tickets for one of the bigger movie chains at $6.95 per ticket, good any time. They aren’t actually tickets, but coupons that you just exchange at the box office, no expiration date. I always keep a half dozen or so in my wallet just in case we do wander over.

Almost all of our theaters are located at casinos, we go to the ones at the Orleans or Texas Station, but recently have been hitting the Red Rock cinemas – sixteen screens, all stadium seating, and a nice food court off the casino for that ‘fine dining experience’, yea, we usually do Rubio’s fish tacos before the film and save some money on the popcorn. But you can’t see a movie without popcorn, with that nice buttery tasting oil and lots of salt.

We saw the new Disney film Enchanted. I really liked it and would recommend it. Any of you with princess aged girls, yes, take them, but also take along hubby as there were enough outside jokes for the adults. The story starts out with a typical Disney cartoon, with a young girl in a house in the woods with all of her animal helpers, looking for the Prince that will be her one true love. Of course, the prince hears her singing and finds her, but then the evil stepmother throws her down a wishing well and she pops out of a manhole cover in real life New York City, with the prince following some time later to rescue her. The prince and princess actors fit the roles very well – she looks and sounds like a Disney cartoon princess, and Susan Sarandon as the evil stepmother looks pretty good in that black witchy outfit. The stepmother’s henchman is the guy that played Peter Pettigrew in the Harry Potter movies; he does a great job with the poison apples (of course) and chipmunks.

Around town: the National Rodeo Finals are due next week. Most of the events are sold out far in advance, but the city will be filled with hats and boots. There is a big show; Cowboy Christmas Gift Show over at the convention center, and we hold the competing Country Christmas, with the lower hall filled with little booths selling all kinds of junk (sorry, of course I meant Fine Holiday Items). For music fans, there are a lot of country type acts in town, including the Charlie Daniels Band, Trace Adkins, Lee Greenwood, Big & Rich, Terri Clark, Ronnie Milsap, Brooks & Dun, Clay Walker and Bill Engval and Larry the Cable Guy. For the non-country crowd Bjork will be here at the Palms, and Van Halen (with David Lee Roth) at the MGM, Marie Osmond with her Holiday show and even Johnny Mathis. Those of you coming out next summer, Donnie and Marie just announced some show dates then, together again (still). The big Santa run is this Saturday, with over 4,000 Santa’s expected, followed by the Las Vegas Marathon on Sunday, with the running Elvi again, last year over 100 couples were married in the run-in chapel with similar numbers expected this year. Something for everyone.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Daniel, the member of the housekeeping staff here at work that cleans our office, just came through on his morning rounds. He was all excited today – he had just come from cleaning the vault and the manager there let him hold $30,000 in cash. It was rather funny; he couldn’t stop grinning and laughing about it. I have never thought about money as bringing pleasure like that, just by being there in itself, I view it more as a vehicle to get other things. But then, I’ve never held a stack of cash like that either.

This led to a discussion about John Kenneth Galbraith, and his theories on money. Yes, the guy that empties our trash also reads Galbraith, and sticks his spare money into the stock market. But I guess his stock market picks aren’t that tremendous, as he is still here emptying our trash. Evidently JKG views money in a rather arbitrary fashion, while holding a stack of bills imparts more of a concrete feeling into the value of cash.

The woman that works with him could not stop laughing. All she talked about was the look on Daniel’s face as he held that money, and the way he was talking about it all morning. So here we had the two of them, Daniel talking and her laughing, providing us with our morning entertainment.

Working on computers, and not in the vault or teller cages, I have not had much of an opportunity to work with big stacks of cash. I see lots of money flowing by, but for some reason digits on a screen is not the same thing as a pile of greenbacks, at least until the US changes its currency and starts making some pretty colored money that is. Since Vegas has started going to paper chits in the slot machines, and the IRS requires withholding on big payouts, many of the big winners here are also not handling big piles of bills but just single form checks. It is nice to see that big pile of cash piled up in front of those poker winners, but in the end it all goes back to the vault, forms are filled out, and a check is cut for the correct amount. Perhaps there are some big time gamblers in Vegas that walk around with stacks of cash, but usually they are drug guys just trying to launder the small bills into something they can deposit or transfer to that account in the Cayman Islands.

So I don’t really know what I would feel if handed a thick wad of bills. I think I’d be more afraid of theft, and wondering how quickly I could get to the bank to change it back into little electronic symbols on the computer. Of course, if you work in one of the casino cages or counting rooms you're handling millions of dollars every day, and probably fairly used to dirty money.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Local signs

My morning drive to work takes about fifteen minutes. I drive due east on Desert Inn Road, go under the Strip, around the Wynn golf course and into the Team Member Parking Garage out back. Along the way I drive past one of the fancier Gentlemen’s Clubs in town, Vegas has quite a few. This one used to be something else but is now owned by Score’s, the NYC place that Howard Stern seems to love. I haven’t been inside (any of them) but the outside looks like a fantasy version of a Roman palace, with big columns and lots of marble. There is a big billboard out front that sometimes advertises their place but quite often has ads for the competition. Usually there are some semi-dressed young women pictured.

For the past week this sign has advertised something else. It offers secure confidential storage lockers. I am amused by the listings of why you might want to take advantage of it: Divorce, Lawsuits, Theft, and Seizure are listed across the bottom. Along with telling you that no id is required, you can pay in cash, and the rental of such a locker is untraceable. So, let’s see, that means they are looking for people getting a divorce that want to hide assets from their spouse, people that are being sued and again want to hide assets, for the theft part it might be people that don’t want their things stolen but more likely it’s for the thieves as a place to stash the stolen goods safely, or people that haven’t paid their bills or the IRS and want again to hide what they have. Sounds like a good business model to me, there must be quite a market for these services out there.

The next billboard down another block is for one of the aforementioned Gentlemen’s Clubs. This is near the off ramp from DI where the speed picks up, so I haven’t taken the time to read what club is for, plus I am a little distracted by the image. (sorry, traffic is a little much at this location for me to take photos of the signs) This portrays a young woman on her hands and knees crawling toward the viewer, wearing just a thin white low cut drape. I know in any other city the advertisers would be required to put more clothes on this poor girl, but here skin is just skin. From the low cut front of the outfit it appears that some plastic surgeon has made a great deal of money. Howard Stern has talked about how each extra inch equates to several thousand dollars a year more in tips for this type of entertainer, and if that’s the case this woman must be making millions. What goes through my mind as I drive past are visions of a cow, but they probably have smaller udders, and only one. The sign has been up for several months now, maybe if it stays up for a while longer I will eventually look up and finally see what her face is like.

Other local news – a large article in our local paper this morning talked about the death of Kevin DuBrow of Quiet Riot. Kevin is a local resident, and was found last night in his house. It seems like a lot of performers choose to live in Vegas. I guess it is close enough to LA, but yet provides a little quieter environment (at least off the Strip) with entertainment close at hand. I know I did videos yesterday (yes, Linda has a much nicer voice), but here’s looking back to 1982’s Cum On Feel the Noize.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Video Monday - old songs

Posting D’s Tennile song last week made me think of the ‘old’ songs that I remember. Back when I first hit college besides the psychedelic stuff this was one of my favorite big songs. I think Linda Ronstadt has one of the prettiest voices ever, but in this live clip the band sure seems to be playing a different song than the one she is singing.

A few years later she had another big hit with Blue Bayou. (fine by me, if it’s OK bayou)

But before Linda, the first concert I ever went to was back in high school (don’t say how old you are Joe) was the Beach Boys. Growing up in New Jersey, it was different to hear these songs about California (perhaps why I moved there). The one that had just come out was Good Vibrations.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Holiday shopping crowds

I was able to avoid going shopping on Friday, supposedly the busiest shopping day of the year, but was not able to avoid going out today. I don’t really like crowds, but put up with them during the holiday season just because it’s the holiday season. I remember going shopping with a friend many years ago; Christmas was on a Sunday, and we went out on Saturday, Christmas Eve. It was in New York City, and we hit all the big stores: Macy’s, Gimble’s, and several others. We ended up seeing what she wanted back at Macy’s, which was our first stop to start the day. We spent two and a half hours in the checkout line. Yes, quite a crowd.

This morning we got out of the house a little late. On Friday several stores opened at 4am to catch the early crowd. We got to the shopping center at 11am, and evidently missed the entire crowd. If this is any indication of how our economy is going then I predict a rather dismal holiday sales season for the retailers.

This was at Boca Park, a nice shopping center close to the high dollar Summerlin area on the west side. This lot was in front of Linens & Things and the Great Indoors. There is a big Target around the other side, and that lot had a lot of cars. Not much more than a typical Sunday though. We also hit Meadows Mall, one of our few indoor malls, and again the crowd was a typical Sunday crowd, nothing dramatic. Perhaps Friday was busy, but not Sunday.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

E almost Friday

In following the tradition of Clare we return again to E Friday, where I post three photos of my darling granddaughter E, because VG really likes to look at these pics. Well, I like to look at them also. Of course it’s E Almost Friday, I was remise in not pulling together some stuff yesterday, sorry.

E likes eating fruit, and one of her favorite items is blueberries. For some reason her mom got her hooked on blueberries in her morning breakfast, and each morning E looks forward to her cereal with them. We always keep a bag of frozen ones, and buy fresh ones in season. Last time they were out we just got used to starting with a base of blueberries in the bowl before adding anything.

One of the days she was here I decided to make blueberry pancakes, as she likes granddad’s pancakes as well. Not satisfied with just having blue berries inside of the pancakes, I figured we should have blue pancakes as well.

Since we usually read the paper while eating breakfast she also has taken to reading the comics while waiting for her breakfast.

But she did seem to enjoy eating the end result, and Grammy made a face out of bananas on top of the pancakes as well.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Vacation Friday

Friday after Thanksgiving – I hope all of you had a nice family day together yesterday. My employer gave us all a four day weekend, the past two made us work the Friday after, so it is nice to have a long weekend. I could get used to three day work weeks with four day weekends. And this is my favorite holiday - I am looking forward to many days of turkey sandwiches.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


I’ve been thinking about the dress code around here lately. This job is my first conversion to the ‘dark side’ of Vegas; working for a casino related company. We aren’t a casino, but being next door to an unnamed big hotel/casino/resort (soon to be the largest in the world) and under the same parent company we kind of are related.

Casinos and hotels here in Las Vegas are really strict in their dress codes, and very class conscious. What job you have indicates what clothes you wear, and what you wear indicates how you are treated. I sit at my desk in ‘business casual’, no tie but looking fairly decent. I guess down at the bottom layer in this industry are the uniforms – the housekeeping crew in black pants, white shirt and blue vests, the penguins in their tuxedos with bow ties, and the maintenance crew in blue jumpers. Then come those of us office workers in business casual, with our managers wearing shirts and ties (no jacket). Above them are the people in full suits and ties. So you can walk down the hall and see who you are supposed to nod your head to and who you step aside for. Yes, it does sound rather old fashioned, in supposedly a classless society. I think if I started to wear a tie to work people here would look at me strangely, wondering why I am trying to dress above my station.

What brought this to mind now was our lunch yesterday. We went to the upstairs food court at the Big Hotel Next Door that shall remain unnamed (they also have a downstairs food court with softer chairs and more expensive places) for lunch. There used to be a pretzel place at the end of the food court, but it closed a few months ago and was replaced with a temporary wall hiding construction, with a sign announcing Johnny Rocket’s Hamburgers opening soon!!!. Well, they just opened, so we thought that we’d give them a try.

Several of the places in the food court offer half off for employees; we have a list posted so we know where to eat on what day. The BHND has a nice Team Member dining room where team members can eat for free, but we are not part of their team so we can’t go there. I work for the convention center and not the BHND. But, back to the food court; we sat at the counter at Johnny Rocket and ordered hamburgers. It’s billed as an old fashioned burger joint, with shakes and malts and counter service. (the Original Hamburger Restaurant). The sound system plays old rock and roll, and about every half hour the staff comes out from behind the counter and dances the twist in the food court.

That's the manager up front, the assistant shift manager behind him, and the counter workers behind.

We were talking to our waitress and asked why she didn’t have one of those cute white caps on. Turns out she was one of the shift managers, so she did not wear a hat, had on a beige shirt and long tie while the servers wore white shirts, bow ties and hats. There was another girl in a white shirt without a hat: well, she was the assistant shift manager; no hat, short sleeved white shirt and long tie. Also there was the general manager, long sleeved beige shirt, no tie and no apron. I asked about someone on the grill dressed in black; he was from corporate out to teach the cooking team, so he was dressed in black. That made five different outfits, each designating a different level.

Out on the casino floors it is about the same, dealers in ties and vests, depending on the casino, managers in suits and ties, floor managers in nicer suits. Guards in uniforms, cocktail waitresses in whatever cute thing the casino wants (usually low cut and long legged) and cashiers in the cages in white shirts and ties.

So, what kind of uniform do you wear?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Finally - Munchkins

An article in today's paper related how the Munchkins finally have a star on the walk of fame in Hollywood. Finally the recognition all of those actors deserve. After all, where would the movie have been without them?

For a longer version, with my favorites - you can keep your flying monkeys and purple horses and poppies (poppies my dear, poppies), give me the Lollipop Guild.

Sorry, it's not Video Monday, but I just love these guys. And I would probably forget about them over the long weekend. For those of you that haven't seen the movie, where the heck have you been? After watching that again, maybe I can figure out how to get flowers on the toes of my shoes. Hmmm, those flashy sparkly sneakers would look pretty neet with flowers on the toes, like the Mayor's, huh?

Oh, and D, I was dreaming about you last night. It involved sitting on a dock with dogs in the water below and splinters in unexpected places. But it was fun though. (don't tell T). No Munchkins.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Dogs on Tuesday

I started this to compete with Deana’s Cats on Tuesday posts, but now I see that she is including dogs as well as squirrels so I really don’t have much to respond to. And now Brighton is starting to post about dogs as well.

Not many photos to post today. The guys have not been doing anything unusual – well, after a dozen or so years with us it all seems normal now. This is their standard location, holding down our couch. Max is very jealous, and they don’t usually touch, unless it’s Max biting Buster on the butt, so when I see them like this it is unusual

Yes, they sleep in our bed. Or rather, we get to share the big bed with them. They are used to my alarm going off at 5:30 each morning, and somehow have trained us to give them morning treats. I usually give them pieces of soft chewsticks, B gives them chicken tenders. We leave a feeder full of dry food out all the time, but I split packs of soft food on weekends. They have us so well trained in the morning routine that they push us along in the direction of the treat cabinet. If we try to stay in bed they whine or come over and push us with their noses.

And on the weekend if I’m reading the paper and having my coffee they take great pains to inform me that they haven’t yet received their silver dishes with the nice soft food.

Max usually is whining at this point, I found it funny how his tail was making a nice counterpoint beat. Buster just stares. You can here Elmo on tv in the background – no, E was not here at this point, it’s me that likes to watch Sesame Street, always have. Though E leans towards Elmo Grover is my fav, along with Cookie Monster. I can do pretty good imitations of both.

But all in all dogs are much less demanding than kids. I can ignore the cries and wagging tails, but kids screaming are just a little too much. (no direct experience there of course, just speaking hypothetically).

Monday, November 19, 2007

OK GO - Monday Videos

Tina referred me to this group (thanks for the reminder T), they seemed interesting. Named OK GO. Wikipedia has a nice writeup on the group. Guess I like them because they seem like geeks. They are listed as one of the most viewed groups on YouTube. Their first big video was made in a backyard in LA, and featured some of the group’s famous choreography.

I had a dream about it last night, picturing DM, Beth, Keem and I dancing in my back yard like this. I was the guy in the purple vest, DM was the lead singer; with her experience at Karaoke I figured she would be good. I didn't picture the treadmill dance, I would probably be flying all over the place.

How cool for a group – to just set a camera up on a tripod and dance around their backyard, none of the Michael Jackson $20,000,000 budget for a video, no fancy cuts or backup dancers. But their most viewed one is of them performing on treadmills. I showed this to B yesterday, and we both wondered how many bruises were obtained from sliding off while rehearsing. All in one take, that’s a lot of steps to remember.

I don’t know why, I just like the turning on of the music with the remote at the beginning, and the slide and walk away at the end.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Gifts in the making

Oh my, sitting home most of the evening on the computer yesterday reading blogs and I forget to post? My goodness.
Here is my new toy and what I’ve been working on recently.

During their visit here my daughter went through the Consumer Reports book and web site and declared several of the Thomas trains we had just purchased for E were unsafe to use. Even though the ones we had were specifically NOT listed she still didn’t like the concept. So we had to withdraw some of the items, which of course a two year old would notice. So for several days we were subject to ‘where is the red caboose?’ questions, as she did play with it for a few days before the decision. I don’t argue any more, it’s not worth it, I just say OK and walk away.

In order to avoid such discussion over Christmas gifts B and I decided it might be best to make our own gifts, which hopefully will be deemed safe. (we’ll find out sometime in late December). I made some wooden toys for our youngest a long time ago, and thought that I could do that again. So I went online and searched for plans, and ended up spending $6 for some nice plans for an arc filled with animals. E likes playing with little things, especially a plastic briefcase filled with jungle animals we got a while back. I’ve posted pictures of her in the swing with her menagerie. Of course, not wanting to cut out all of those curvy animal shapes by hand this entailed a trip to the big hardware supermarket (guy’s Disneyland) and purchase of a new electric jig saw. Lowe’s had a nice one on sale, with a rebate on top of it! Home Depot has really cut back on the large tools that they carry, no more table saws and such at our local one any more.

The above photo demonstrates the results of the saw activity – a couple of dozen wooden animals, that B is now in the process of sanding and finishing. (the elephant is about three inches long) We’ll probably just use a clear spar varnish and avoid the color hassles. I still have to cut out the pieces for the arc and put that together, then ship it all. It will be about two feet long when done and should satisfy the small one’s play desire. Next year – Barbies!

Friday, November 16, 2007

E Friday - smiles

In following the tradition of Clare we return again to E Friday, where I post three photos of my darling granddaughter E, because VG really likes to look at these pics. Well, I like to look at them also.

I’ve talked before about how her dad taught her to ‘smile for the camera’. Well, she still knows how to do that, pull off a big show of teeth when prompted. I like the candid ones better, but she still is cute doing it this way. Here are three days worth of ‘smile for the camera’ prompts.

I am impressed with the intensity of that last shot. She is really putting some effort into that smile.

I’m sure when she’s in high school and we pull out the photo album she will always scream about these.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Books for Rob

I’ve owed Rob a story about my books for quite a while now. It’s been so long I don’t even remember what I was supposed to talk about, but I do remember that it was books.

So, I have always been a book person. Way back in school I was proud to have a library card, and I would hit the library all the time. I was a big science fiction reader, and went through what was in the ‘juvenile’ section quickly. Back then kids were not allowed in the ‘adult’ section, and I had to get special approval to check books out of there. I also started buying my own books, and have always been buying them. I had to build two walls worth of bookshelves in our Temecula house, we purchased some nice units for San Diego, and this house has lots of fancy oak built in shelving. Unfortunately B doesn’t like oak, so she has plans for painting. This is what they look like now:

What you can’t see is that most of the shelves are deep, and we have placed rows of books behind the front row, so you are only looking at half of what we have. The left section above is mostly cookbooks, and if you look closely you can see my Encyclopedia Britannica volumes scattered around, with their purple bindings and gold print. Yes, I bought my own set of encyclopedias way back when, I really liked having them around to look things up, but now the internets has replaced it as a source of lookingupedness. We also subscribe to a bunch of magazines, my favorite being the New Yorker. I’ve had a subscription to that since I was in the Navy, probably the only guy on my ship to get it. We also subscribe to the local newspaper, and I used to get the Wall Street Journal, which has about the best writing but unfortunately loves GWBush, so I cancelled for political reasons. I like the New York Times, but that sucker costs a fortune to get every day.

I also like buying and giving away books and magazines. Our kids have always gotten books for Christmas and birthdays, and I keep getting ones for E all the time. A lot of these are from suggestions you guys post, so thanks for doing that. I’ve been getting almost every book I see written by those internet people I read all the time, right now I’m waiting on Zoe’s , which Amazon started listing but is not shipping yet. Come on Amazon, get that sucker out to us!

The above photo shows one segment of the bookcases, other similar ones are build into different sides of the tv and family rooms. There are about five other pieces similar to the one above, all filled with books. The whole wall of my office is also filled with bookcases.

Most of the ones in here deal with computers and programming. The bottom row is filled with binders, one for each customer – I print out parts of their code, but mostly database structures and the notes and requests that they send me. Whenever I get a new project I usually end up spending $150 or so on related books. Computer books now are usually around $50 to $70 each, so buying two or three can make project startup expensive. I usually also have to purchase some software program or compiler, all before I can start billing a customer. These books are used for reference, if finding an answer in one saves me three hours of wondering what’s going on it’s worth it.

This section has most of the older stuff.

Yes, I keep my old computer games. For those of you that are computer historians, you’ll see the first version of dBase for DOS in the upper left, and the IBM DOS 1.1 manuals to the right. Down below to the left is a silver dBase II binder for a really old version running on CP/M, and some of my games, including Zork – do any of you remember Zork? I originally played it on a DEC PDP machine, I think it was about the first computer game ever written. And then we flow over to my domino case and Cootie. That’s a game I really like, and am waiting for E to get older to learn, and on to Jenga and my box of Lord of the Rings audio cassettes.

The two office photos cover about 10% of the shelf space there, most are filled with language references and software boxes, but I do have a radio and some photos standing there too.

So those are my bookshelves. I don’t remember what else I’m supposed to write about. The last book I read was Angels and Demons, a paperback that I took on the plane for my trip and finished just as we pulled into Phoenix airport (flight back wasn’t non-stop) yesterday. I am awaiting Zoe’s book on the Twat, along with some others. I have on my nightstand one of Neil Gamon’s that I am about to start. The book I most remember is Sidhartha, which did calm me down a lot when I was in the Navy. I still re-read it periodically. I keep most of my books because of my poor memory, I can go back and read them again after a few years and it almost seems like a new book. When the last Harry Potter book came out I had to go back and read all of the first six before I got to it, in order to catch up on all of the characters again.

I can’t hit a bookstore without spending at least $100, but that is mostly because of the cost of computer related books. I have always bought kids books, even when there were no kids around. I see that gold Caldecott medal and figure if it’s good enough to get that it’s good enough for me to read.

The book I am in the middle of is a computer one, Creating Your World, about Second Life, the latest computer thing that Udge has me hooked on.

So, Rob, have I covered everything?

Let me end with something for Martin. For some reason he doesn’t like this song. Probably back from when they had their own TV show, The Captain and Tennille's Love.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Back from my field trip

Back from Missouri after my three day experience. The weather wasn’t bad, it only rained for one of the days. I had not been in that part of the country before. It kind of looked like upstate New York, but a little flatter. There were lots of rolling low hills and trees and green and places for water to run, so I imagine that they get a lot of rain. Well, compared to Las Vegas everywhere gets a lot of rain. So far this year (since last January) we’ve had about 40mm of rain total here. But we have had a lot of sunny days.

We flew on Southwest Airlines both ways. Sitting in that cramped seat all I could think of was that we had moved up from the Greyhound bus era to less leg room and less services, but faster travel. Southwest still does not have assigned seating, but when you check in you get a number, and people are boarded in number order. I think that the best number segments are about in the middle, a little after all of the small kids are boarded, so that window seats are still available but you can pick not to sit right in front of a screaming kicking brat. Not that any of those little darlings on my flights were like that of course. But being confined, and suffering through the air pressure changes are two things that little kids are really unprepared for, so I can understand their discomfort.

Our flights were three hours long, which is less than the range that Southwest has chosen to serve food on. Instead of real food (which I haven’t seen on a plane in a long time) we were served ‘snack packs’

With 0.75 ounces of dried fruit and 0.81 ounces of thin crisps and a little cheese flavored snack, and an amount of peanuts too small to have a size printed on it. But for the peanuts, in order to protect people with peanut allergies, it does say ‘Produced in a facility that processes peanuts and other nuts’. Glad to know that. But as usual, we were for some reason all starved and just wolfed down the offerings.

This is what it looked like behind our hotel.

It was about 30 miles west of St. Louis, out in the country. They haven’t had freezing weather yet, so most of the trees still had leaves.

Next door to our hotel was a J. Bucks restaurant. On Sunday night we hit Ruby Tuesday and had burgers, but on Monday rather than drive to find a place we thought that we’d just walk next door, so J and I had ribs at JB. They were really good. I understand they have six or seven restaurants around the Midwest, and I would recommend them for a nice night out. Our meals were about $20 each, low for Vegas but I have no idea how it compares for out there.

J flew out on Tuesday afternoon, but I stayed to talk to the programmers about some problems we were having, and wandered over by myself that night. I had the cedar planked salmon.

Also a good choice. The desserts were mostly chocolate variations, I had one on Monday but passed the next night, too heavy after a big meal.

Back to the airport this morning, and the sun was shining once in a while between the high clouds. It all did seem rather flat, with none of the Vegas mountains off in the distance.

The local TV news did a short story on rocking chairs in the airport, and while walking around waiting for my flight I found some. No one was sitting in this area, and there were none of these over in the Southwest gates.

Oh, the security at StL: about the same as in Vegas. Shoes off, belt off, x-ray everything, and for what?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tuesday in O'Farrell

Sorry, I missed videos yesterday, and can't find my doggie pics for dogs on Tuesday. But I just noticed that D didn't put up any cats, today she switched to squirrels, probably not much of a change, both are fuzzy and really don't care for people except for the food.

Having a great time in class, I wasl almost able to stay awake today, but I did learn some critical things right at the end of the day, so it looks like it was worth it coming here. I fly back home in the morning, we'll see what security at the St. Louis airport is like.

It is still difficult to get used to it getting dark so early, but perhaps that will give me some light for my early morning drive to the airport. Back in LV my morning drive has changed due to the daylight savings clock change, I now get to drive in after the sun is up. It's now over to the right, past the Venetian towers and not right in my eyes.

Took this one a few weeks ago from the front yard when picking up the morning paper.

Sunsets here are nice and orange, but didn't see one tonight due to the clouds. Oh well, that's it for here.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Wow! O'Farrell!

It's not St. Louis, and this keyboard on my company laptop is a piece of cr@p, but it's cloudy and raining and the mud is sticky. I hear it rained in Vegas too, so I'm not missing much.

My class is going OK, I am managing to stay awake (almost,usually) and listening to the instructor. Unfortunately, as we expected, this class is not very technical and it's going over things we have already done. But I got to see beautiful O'Farrell and find out again how bad it is to go through airport security.

Tell me, do you people really feel that all of those checkpoionts, taking off your shoes, not being able to take your shampoo, all really make you feel safer? You do realize that the 9/11 hijackers would have passed all of these security checks, don't you? Their weapons were put on the planes by cleaners (supposedly, depending on your source) and not carried on. So what the heck, if all of this cr@p would not have made a damn bit of difference, why are we doing it now? How many millions of dollars, and man hours, (sorry, person hours) are lost for this? Is it just psychological, and is it working? I have only done it once, but it's time for a letter to my congressman, as if that makes any difference in the world. But I do know that I have skipped flying, and bypassed several trips and vacations because of my dislike for the entire procedure.

What's the matter with you people? Is the world that bad that you have to feel more secure via this stuff?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sunday in St. Louis

Exciting day today, I got to stand in the Las Vegas airport security line for an hour, take off my shoes and belt and empty my pockets and have my laptop scanned four times (guess it was a new guy or something), get on a plane and fly three hours to St. Louis. I am in a hotel in the marvelous city of O’Farrell, Missouri typing on a computer in their ‘business center’ (two computers in a closet) at trying to fulfill my blog once a day commitment, so here I am!

We got in just before sunset (J, the programmer that sits behind me came too) picked up a rental car and proceeded to find out just how bad MapQuest directions are in a place neither of us had been before. But, we made it here. There are two restaurants in the area, a Ruby Tuesday and a Country Kitchen. We picked RT, the burger was OK but not as marvelous as the waiter intimated. But then he works for the place, so, … That amounts to the nightlife in O’Farrell. Oh, there is a Starbucks too, so I can at least get some caffeine before going to class tomorrow. We are here for two days to take a technical class on the new software product our convention center is moving to. Neither of us has a good opinion on it, but it was selected by Corporate so we weren’t even asked. We just have to make it work.

I’ll let you know tomorrow what Missouri looks like in the daylight. In the dark it looks like just about anyplace, except for Vegas which at times is flashier at night than in the daytime. Sorry, not pictures or video, for some reason my laptop will not let me in, so I can’t access my list of stuff. You’ll just get words for two days.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


I purchased some shoes that I have been looking for for a long time. Several years ago I started seeing little kids with shoes that had lights in the bottom, and they blinked when they walked. I've been looking for big people shoes like that for a while, and have never found them. A few Chrismases ago my wife bought me some little people's shoes with the lights and I cut out the light control circuit and the lights, trying to find some sneakers with a thick enough sole to put them into. Well, as usual, procrastination got in the way.

Then someone mentioned shoes they saw at the dreaded W@lm@rt. This is a place I detest, due to their philosophies, and try not to go to. We sometimes get stuck doing it, as at times they are the only ones with a specific item. Well, a few weeks ago I went in and found these:

I tried to get a shot of the lights on, but you know how it is. Anyway, you get a small spot of red off the back one. They have a light at the back, lights on the sides of the heels, lights on the side up front and on the toe. Best thing - $12! Now I wear them to work, and walk across the dark G hall and twinkle in the dark. I love them.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Udge's three

I usually read most of the blogs listed to the right on a semi-daily basis, depending on what else is happening and how long some of the posts are. One of these is a gentleman from Germany named Udge. Udge has introduced me to a great time waster called Second Life (more on that one in the future) and has come up with an interesting meme. Instead of asking people to answer a list of questions, the first three commenters to sign up for the meme here and post the same promise on their blogs will receive a smallish present-thingy from me at some point during the next 366 (leap year!) days. Note that this will require informing me of your real-world identity and address, so those intent on secrecy and anonymity should probably refrain from joining in. I will probably get things out a little early, perhaps in time for this Christmas, unlike Udge who seems overwhelmed with projects the end of the year, and most likely the gifts will have a Vegas theme. If you wish to join in list yourself and email me your mailing address. DM - if you sign up again I guarantee you will get something clown related.

Sorry D, easier explination:
1. sign up here (in the comments)
2. On your site, offer this deal to the first three people to sign up with you
3. Email me your real name and mailing address
4. I will send you a little Chrismas gift
5. When people sign up on your site, they also have to offer, and you will send them a little Christmas gift.
6. I have no idea what 'little Christmas gift' means. You decide. You will find out when I figure it out and send something to you.

The idea is rather than spreading questions and information you will spread a little Christmas (or Hanuka or Quanza or . . ) seasonal cheer. Eventually the entire world will have signed up and mailed each other stuff, thus keeping the post office in every country happy and employed. Kind of an inverted Amway thingy but you are giving not selling.

E Friday - pink milk

In following the tradition of Clare we return again to E Friday, where I post three photos of my darling granddaughter E, because VG really likes to look at these pics. Well, I like to look at them also. Today it’s two pics and a video.

When E was out last we got her several books for Grammy to read to her. One featured a little girl drinking pink milk. As E is an avid milk drinker I guess this was of interest to her, and so after returning home her mom got some magic stuff that made her milk pink. She seems to like it like that.

I’m not sure why. Her favorite fruit is blueberries, but she also does strawberries. Guess the pink milk was a nice change from plain white.

At least I think she liked it.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Bellagio Conservatory Autumn setting

On Saturday we took E and mom to see the current display at the Bellagio conservatory. They change their display to match the seasons, and now they are into their autumn harvest mode. There are some standard items that they keep and re-use, but mix them up in different ways and add new ones. This year there is a walkway down the center, with arches overhead and those neat shooting fountains to walk under.

The fountains turn on and off, and I am always impressed how the water keeps to that nice sharp stream and doesn’t splash those underneath at all. (the silver arches overhead are the water fountains in the above photo.) I think our group is in most of these pictures, did you find E in that one? (hint – just the top of her hair there)

Further on in the larger back area they put up a two story wooden mill with a waterwheel.

As seen everywhere, the person on a cell phone, ignoring what is around her to talk with someone someplace else. Scattered around all over were pumpkins – large and small. E seemed fascinated with the ones that were bigger than her.

The above shot is looking back towards the entrance. Just to the right is a large tree stump carved to look like a woodland gnome or some other creature – look close and you can make out the face looking towards the big pumpkin.

Next to the mill was a little pond with metallic trees splashing water. Along side was a cornucopia spilling out different colors of apples.

Yes, the pumpkins and apples are real, the tree person is fiberglass, but there are lots of real trees and flowers and grasses scattered around.

Over all of this, up near the glass ceiling, were short arcs covered with red berries. They always try to put something overhead to make the displays more three dimensional

We probably will not make it back to the Bellagio until next month, when they should be in full Christmas mode. Yesterday I got tickets for us to see the Circ show Ka over at the MGM – there are some two for one ticket deals for locals during December, which used to be our slow month in Vegas, but now is not really. In talking to the ticket seller at MGM he said they were already close to 95% reservations for the whole month, sold out through the end of January already. Looks like even with the economy and housing not doing too well people still find some time and money to vacation. Thanks.