Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Morning comute

Several years ago when we lived in San Diego I noticed a new trend that brought even more blight to our lives. The city bus system, in a bid to make some more bucks to cover deficits, started selling advertising rights to their vehicles. I don’t mean signs on the sides, those have been around for quite a while, I mean wrapping an entire bus in a huge piece of plastic with colors and pictures and words and whatever else the buyer wanted to put on. This stuff even covered the windows, but was transparent enough that people could see out.

The same trend is evident here in Vegas. Almost every bus is wrapped, and the monorail that goes past our ‘Team Member’ parking garage changes colors weekly. One day last week I was driving in to work and stopped behind a bus dropping people off at a stop. As usual my mind was wandering elsewhere, and I looked up and wondered how I ended up on the wrong side of the road.

Then I noted the red lights and no headlights and realized that the wrapping continues onto the back of the bus. Notice – even put windshield wipers (and shadows) on it. Nice job.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Dogs on Tuesday - Max

I started this to compete with Deana’s Cats on Tuesday posts, but now I see that she is including dogs so I really don’t have much to respond to. We don’t have any cats, so I cannot reciprocate and include both groups. Oh well, so I will continue with the dogs. Today we’ll concentrate on Max.

He looks like a toy terrier, but since we picked him up at the pound we really don’t know. He was about a year old when we got him, and he’s been with us for around twelve years. He is listed as a tricolor – mostly black and white, with a little brown spot on his side. The top of his head is getting grey with age, and he is moving a little slower.

Max has always been a hopper – bouncing up and down when he gets excited. But he has never been able to translate that vertical bounce into forward motion, so he always has a hard time jumping up on things. When he tries to get on the couch he ends up bouncing up and down with his paws on the edge, until finally he gets a little forward pitch and makes it up. But most of the time he is sleeping. His favorite spot is my pillow.

We do have small dog beds in the kitchen. Last week it was a little cool, and not having much hair Max is always shivering with the cold, so we have hot pads that we plug in and put under the beds. This results in his spending many hours laying there in the warmth.

The blue tape - well, that's the floor the kitchen came with when we moved in. We are laying out plans for a remodel, figuring out where the cabinets and a built in seat will go.

When he wants a treat he doesn’t just stand around waiting, he usually requests it.

And he’s the guard of the house, always barking at whoever walks by, he lays on the couch in the front room looking out of the window and barking at anything in the street, and he bites the ankles of anyone that dares come into his house. Well, he’s only ten pounds and can’t reach any higher.

Monday, October 29, 2007


Oh, I almost did it last year, guess it's time to try again. NaBloPoMo
, National Blog Posting Month, a post a day, oh well, there go my weekends too.

Show setup

All the halls are filled with the sounds of clanging metal as people are setting up for a big show dealing with car parts. A large signboard out front lists celebrity appearences, including some for Mr. Clean, Ms. Motor Honey and Miss Prolong. I can't wait.

Monday videos

Despite what Zoe requested, I’m going to keep putting up stupid videos on Monday, as there are just too many around. You’ll get E videos on Friday, so that you have something to look at over the weekend. I hope these are neutral and boring enough that the Twat won't care

For the past few week’s we’ve been seeing this commercial on TV quite regularly.

It’s Robert Goulet, who is a Las Vegas resident. Every time we see this all we could think of was plastic surgery, and how nice and smooth his skin was. (and stiff and masklike). But now Mr. Goulet is in a Los Angeles hospital with severe lung problems, so I figured that someplace I’d be able to find some of his old songs, the ones I used to hear a long time ago. But YT has somewhat let me down, or else they’ve been doing a good job at removing postings. He did quite a few very nice songs, becoming famous in the US after his role in the musical Camelot, and did have a marvelous voice.

I do remember him from Beetlejuice, playing the part of a dinner guest. The song I had in my head this weekend was his version of ‘If Ever I Would Leave You’, but again YT doesn’t have it. There is a version of Julie Andrews singing it, which I guess is appropriate, as she played Queen Guinevere opposite him in the musical.

Not to leave out the kids, I always like to give you a song for the kids to dance to. I can just see the Rooster bouncing around to this. Courtesy of Marie, it’s the Salmon Dance. It seems kind of like some of those dreams I have in the middle of the night. (and it's not a salmon, it's really a squirrel fish)

Friday, October 26, 2007

E Friday - with Video!

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.

Still running on the photos I took when they were out to visit in June. Only a few left, so I’ve got to go through the stack that B took when she went up in September. Here she is in what was her favorite position, swinging high.

But she also learned to sit on the bigger kid’s swing. She only fell over backwards a few times.

And she did like picking (and eating) the tomatoes in the garden.

For Zoe, who complained about the videos I put up for her boyfriend the Twat, here is something that they emailed to us last week. She was recording a short video for Numno, her Italian grandmother back in Canada.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

More fire

Someone emailed me a number of fire photos, and I thought these were the most dramatic and informative.

Looks like Rancho Bernardo, I don't know if these are some of the homes that were burned.

This reminds me of those pictures of deer by the snow.

Road trip - Pioche

Feeling like we should look around the area where we live, we took a road trip up to Pioche last week. It’s up in the mountains in central Nevada, and used to be a large silver mining community. This area of Nevada is accessed via the smaller back roads. We don’t have too many freeways in the state, the biggest is I-15, which runs from San Diego and the Mexican border all the way north to Canada. I-15 only intersects the lower right corner of Nevada, coming up from California, through Las Vegas, and turning north east up into Utah and on to Salt Lake City. The other big road is I-80, which is the interstate that runs from New York City all the way across the country to San Francisco. I-80 cuts across the state further north, mostly going through empty country and leaving on the west side through Reno and near to Lake Tahoe. Everything else in the state is two lane roads.

So we started up I-15 and after ten miles turned onto the state highway that heads north.

As you can see, most of the roads in the west are nice straight roads. After another hour of driving we were still on the same road headed in the same direction, with absolutely no cross roads, turnoffs or curves. Yes, still headed north.

After another hour the scenery has changed a bit, we were closer to those hills that were way off in the distance.

And then a half hour later came some excitement, a curve ahead.

This led to some more curves and a pass through a small canyon.

And off to the side of the road were a series of small lakes.

We stopped, mainly to walk around after several hours in the car with all of the varied scenery keeping us awake (yea, right). This is a state park that is home to many birds and is an important stopping point for migratory birds flying through between Canada and Mexico and South America. We were a little early for the migrations, but these waters fill up with geese and swan and ducks getting out of the cold north and moving to the warmer weather down south right around now. We do notice the migration in our back yard, not of the water fowl but we get a lot of hummingbirds that are traveling through. This adds to the stress of our local population, trying to keep guard on our feeders and keep the short time travelers away.

So after passing through the range of hills and continuing north guess what we were faced with? Yup, more straight road.

And after another hour, guess what?

More straight road, no curves, no side roads, very little traffic, and the same brush alongside. Yes, the hills look a little different, but we were all dozing off from the boredom. But this is the fun of road trips out west, the drive.

Eventually we drove through the town of Caliente, which was an important railroad city long ago and is now rather quiet, and arrived at Pioche.

We were so excited to get there that we walked around for a while, well, not for very long as main street is only a block long, they only have one place to eat, but there is a nice little museum that we wandered through. It talked mostly of the mining in the area, and how violent it was back in the 1880’s. Supposedly more people were killed in gun fights in Pioche than just about anywhere else in the west. Something like 75 people were buried in the local cemetery before anyone died of natural causes and were laid to rest. With all the excitement of arrival I ended up forgetting about the camera and not taking any photos of the town at all. Well, one picture would probably have gotten everything in anyway, but for now you can go to the Pioche web site and take a look for yourselves. Yes, poor reward for all of your reading at this point.

After burgers we headed south again. You’ve seen all of the northbound shots, the ride south was down the same road, with all of the same thrilling scenery. But it was a nice trip away, and we got to see the mining town that my wife had read about in some cowboy stories. No cows, just guys digging and drinking and shooting. It was about a 250 mile drive due north (about 400km), and I mean a straight drive. The photos above show all of the curves that we got to see, as well as all of the traffic we had to contend with (just the motor home headed the other way in the canyon). And then 250 miles back south.

Most of the trip was for the journey. The speed limit on back roads is 55mph, which is best kept to, so it probably took us four hours in each direction. Yes, we spent under an hour up in Pioche. But we got to see the lakes, and sagebrush, and bottlebrush, and hills and sky and sky and sky and . oh, yea, that's about it. And sit and talk. Fortunately our car had a place to plug in the Ipod. Radio stations? Cell phones? Out in the middle of nowhere?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fires in San Diego

Wow – San Diego does not look like the place to live right now. Over 300,000 people have been evacuated due to the fires, and over 1000 homes already burned. We lived just a little south of where the biggest fire is but have a lot of friends right in the middle of everything.

This was a NASA photo from a few days ago - the smoke stretches out several hundred miles to the west out over the Pacific. Sorry, I didn’t mark it up, but the fire sources from the lower right working up are: the Harris fire near Tecate along the border, the Witch fire by Escondido, the Rice fire by Fallbrook (the smallest wisp), the Santiago fire by Irvine, to the right the Grass Valley fire by Lake Arrowhead and then the Ranch fire by Santa Clarita. If any of you have been to Magic Mountain north of LA, that’s in the middle of the Ranch fire. As of Wednesday morning, 1,500 homes burned, over 600 square miles burned, and over 500,000 people evacuated – estimated to be about one home out of three in San Diego County.

Fires stretch all the way up through Los Angeles a hundred miles north, with parts of Malibu burning. The San Diego Union Tribune has some stories. And they also have some fire video.

Sorry, no doggy photos today, trying to track down friends and watch the reports.

If you live in southern California there is always the threat of fires, but usually when you are in the middle of a big city it’s fairly safe. One of the TV reporters I remember had his house burn. You can see how much wind there is.

Monday, October 22, 2007

You can tell it's a busy Monday when

I follow Coffee Breath and do stupid quizes
What type of person do you attract?
Your Result: You attract Yuppies!

You attract the very well-dressed, job oriented type of people. They usually have their finances together, are 'middle of the road' on most topics, generally happy with the 'main-stream' of things. If it is stability you are after, these are good people to attract, if you seek adventure, it may be time for an overhaul.

You attract models!
You attract geeks!
You attract artsy people!
You attract unstable people!
You attract rednecks!
What type of person do you attract?
Quizzes for MySpace

Look at that - not over 50% for anything, guess I'm too wishy-washy.

Monday videos for the Twat

In honor of the Twat, who’s girlfriend Zoe now has a book out (I put up a link Zoe, please forgive this) I changed the photo link to go to US Amazon, ordered the book myself just now, let’s do some videos for the Twat. Even if you don't like the videos, turn the music up loud for the kids to dance to, or sing along yourself.

His favorite girl of all time currently is Kylie. In his honor (and for absolutely no other reason) I listed some Kylie videos a while back, only to have Zoe leave me some not so positive comments. Perhaps we can get him to expand his horizons. We have a number of skinny girls here in the US. How about Gwen?

We’re still singing the tag line from that one around the office – come on, you can join in – weee hoo –

But if he goes for big hair, then there is nothing better than the 80’s

OK, how many of you ladies had hairstyles like that – or want to admit it? And tight leather skirts?

I don’t really know what direction he goes in, but as an alternative, we’ve got Destination Calabria.

Another example of all the hard work I put in for you guys, having to watch all of the versions of this posted in order to find the best quality video and the best sound, only to have YT pull it just before I post. Which brings up the concept of a career change here. In a link, on the making of that video we are presented with the image of several makeup artists on their knees applying cheek makeup. Hmmm, guess I could learn how to do that. In a few months we’ll be hosting the Adult Video Awards, which I am told is filled with booth after booth of video ‘stars’, who probably all need some type of makeup applied somewhere.

Friday, October 19, 2007

E inside

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.

This one is similar to the Popcorn video I put up Monday – OK, what’s the matter with you guys, nobody went and listened to those? I’ve been clicking on Barbie all week. Anyway, the last video shows a long legged young lady playing with a set of Legos; don’t even want to think of little E with long skinny legs like that. So here is E with her set:

As long as we are inside playing, might as well go to the PJ look. And the hair - can't miss the hair.

Yes, it’s a Thomas book. I am trying to get her interested in trains too. I have a stack of Thomas videos (OK, DVDs) some of which I have shared with her. Along with some T electric trains, I want to make a Sodor setup with T and some of his friends.

As far as the Barbie video, come on, I go to great lengths to research this stuff for you. Go hear Barbie and Gunter and Popcorn, let the kids dance to them. OK, maybe not lengths, just to search in YouTube, but I do listen to all of the versions just to get the best sound and image for your enjoyment and you guys don’t even care. Oh well, at least they are here and I can keep going back and clicking on them. It overcomes the loud background air handler and computer fan noises here in the little concrete office I sit in.

Inside stories

I was sitting at my computer yesterday afternoon around 2:30 and our regular cleaning crew came in for the afternoon empty-the-trashcans sweep. He was all wet, and laughing about a sprinkler pipe break out in the far end of G hall; this is our big downstairs exhibit hall. The rest of the housekeeping crew were over there trying to mop it all up, he had been there but then sent off to do the regular office work.

This is a big convention center, but there are only about 120 regular full time employees here. When there is no show there are probably only four or five on the housekeeping staff, to keep the bathrooms clean and come around to the offices twice a day. When there is a big show this swells to several hundred on call workers, as it is not unusual to have forty or fifty thousand people out in the convention space.

At about 3:20 I was walking back through G hall – about every hour I get up from my desk and take a short walk around the building just to get some circulation in my legs – and wasn’t even thinking about the water break. After all, it was at the far end of the hall and I couldn’t see anything, there being all the support columns and blockhouses in the way. The hall is almost a kilometer across, so it’s not as if I was right there. As I approached the door to our hallway the fire alarm system went off. This is a series of bright strobe lights and lout klaxon horns scattered not very far apart. In between the loud beeps was a recorded voice saying something that I could not understand, due to the echoes coming around the big concrete hall. It was much louder in the corridor, as well as back in our office. But back here I could better hear the voice saying that the cause of the problem was under investigation. Out in the hall I heard someone telling security (their office is near ours) that the alarm was caused by the sprinkler system being turned off to drain, so that the leak could be fixed. I normally leave around 3:30 (well, I come in before 7) and the noise was so loud I just left a few minutes early. The alarm continued to sound as I walked down the hall to the employee exit. It’s about a 2km (half mile or more) walk down the hall to the stairs out. Somebody walked by joking about the strobe lights being camera flashes.

Today I was talking about it with one of the help desk guys in the office. He was over at the big hotel next door upstairs food court (yes, about a mile and a half walk away) and the alarm was going off over there as well, and down on the casino floor too. I am sure that if an alarm like that went off on the casino floor that someone pretty high up in corporate heard it, or heard about it. The original problem was probably caused by a truck hitting one of the sprinkler heads. The ceiling is high, and trucks are told to stay in certain areas, but some of those semis are pretty tall and to clip the sprinkler heads and light fixtures if they drive down the wrong path. There is no show on now, nobody moving in or out, so I don’t know what might have been going on. I was surprised to hear that the alarms were sounding over there. We are two separate properties, joined several places, but there are big fire doors that would come across to seal off the hotel and casino from the meeting rooms and from the convention area. I didn’t know the alarms were cross connected like that.

One of the maintenance guys just walked in with a computer problem. He’s describing what happened; it was a fork lift that clipped a sprinkler head. Guess that guy gets to attend another forklift safety class, if he’s still working here. Further stories of trying to find the valve to turn off that sprinkler, not part of the regular system, further adventures of the on/off valve breaking when turning it back on, flooding of the warehouse, people going home at 5 when their shift was over with a foot of water back there; it all sounds amusing when I’m not in the middle of it.

Thinking about it, I imagine that if the alarm was going off on the casino floor then it probably was also going off at a fire station someplace. We probably had a couple dozen fire engines and rescue trucks out front within minutes. City safety offices do not take an alarm in one of the big Strip casino/hotels lightly. I didn’t see them when I was driving home, but I drive around the back of the building.

Adventures in the big city.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Thursday follow up and Theresa

Last week I posted about one of the many uses of casino parking lots, in that case by the car dealers group to play. The result of all that rubber burning was this guy out there on Monday:

He had a lot of restripping to do. The next day this group was out in the same place:

With the yellow shirts, they are casino security who use bikes to patrol the parking garages. We’ve got a few over here, I don’t know where a group this size would work, unless they are from several casinos. I don't think they left as much rubber behind as the car group did.

I usually put up videos on Monday, but since reading about her in today’s paper thought it might be appropriate. I don’t remember this show – I’m not that old, but I do remember hearing the song on assorted TV shows.

Update: watching this again (yes, I sit at work and keep clicking on these things, gives me something to listen to besides fan hum) I noticed at the end the piano player standing up and dancing with her while the piano keeps playing. From the beginning scenes it sure looks like he's playing that thing, but if so then why does the music keep going while he's dancing? It was all live TV back then, one take, no dubbing, yes, deep philosophical questions going on in my head here. Looking closer, it must be a player piano, as in the first scene where he's pounding on the keys different ones are moving up and down. I like to look at the details - the women sitting in the background smiling (or not), the dancer jumping around, it's interesting to see how things are staged. Especially these older videos made from live TV appearences as opposed to newer music videos worked over for months on the sound and image computers.

This is probably where I saw her, on the Muppets (wouldn’t let me imbed a picture, click on it)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


I've got nothing interesting to say today (what's that you say, how is that different than any other day?) so

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Dogs on Tuesday

Busted! We had the train guys over on Saturday, with about forty people coming by for burgers and to talk toy trains. My group set up their modules, which are 2x4 foot tables with tracks and scenery that we connect together. Each of the modules has a short background board which is usually painted to look like the sky, but one of the modules had a photo mural across the back board. B thought it looked pretty good and figured my new modules could use a nice backdrop, so she thought that she’d search for desert scenes on the internet and then expand and print some, the way it was done on the module we saw. Well, off she goes into Google photos and is looking at desert panoramas and she comes across one that looks familiar – it should, it was a photo I took of our back yard several years ago and posted here. Well, she clicks on the pic and is taken back to a post I did in 2004, showing our yard changes. When I got home she said she had something interesting to show me – and took me over to the computer which was displaying that listing. Well, up until now I had never told her about my writings – hey, don’t yell, I haven’t lied, she never asked, and as she has probably figured out how to click on the link buttons, HI B – HOW’S YOUR TUESDAY GOING?

As I did last week, this Dogs on Tuesday post is in response to Deana’s Cats on Tuesday. Yes, I know she likes dogs too, but really needs some competition for those soft fuzzy lazy cats.

With B looking back a few years I noticed some old pictures that are still interesting. So, if you’ve seen these before, sorry, I’ll be taking new ones. Here’s Max sitting in the sunshine at our front courtyard gate.

Looks real tough, doesn’t he? Buster likes the grass, but I’ve caught him laying in back on the gravel snoozing in the sunshine, in the middle of July when it was 115f out. He likes the heat too.

And for a little contrast, here’s something we came across when visiting San Francisco a few years ago. At least I think it’s a dog.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Monday videos

Sorry I missed E Friday – off doing other things this weekend, and didn’t play computer at all. But I’m back at work today, taking my normal morning few minutes to put together some Monday entertainment, so let’s do some light bouncy stuff. (no Twat, not that kind of bouncy).

I don’t know what brought this one to mind, but something was in the air. Remember when this was big? Some DJ in SD locked himself in the studio and played it non-stop until they kicked him out. I’ll have to play it for E, I’m sure she’ll know how to dance to it.

Somehow this one floated up on the YT other video links.

Does that guy remind you of someone? – oh no, YT dropped all of the Saturday Night Live clips. Oh well, I was going to show you Dan Akroyd doing his Bass-O-Matic commercial, where he looked the same as Gunther. Well, let’s go in a totally different direction.

With Halloween coming up this almost fits in. OK, how many of the movies did you recognize? I’m sorry to say (well, not really) that I think I’ve seen almost every one of those old horror movies. Let’s have a little contest – email me with a list of the movies shown in here, and I’ll give a prize to whoever guesses the most.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A car show

As I’ve discussed, I work in a large building that is a convention center attached to a very large (soon to be the largest in the world) hotel and casino. I’ve posted stories on some of the assorted shows and conventions that come through, because I find them interesting and want to share them, and since you aren’t here to walk through the halls with me I have to resort to words and photographs. This week there was a meeting that was laid out a little differently, so I figured that again I would share it with you.

Most conventions take our large open halls and subdivide them with pipes and drapery into little booths, from 10x10 up to whatever the company displaying things wants to pay. This one was more of a major show and tell, put on by a car company for their dealers. They were served food in the big ballroom and had smaller presentations, but one of the halls was set up like an auditorium.

There was a big stage and lots of video screens.

I didn’t go up there when the show was on, but I understand that some new car models were driven up on stage so people could see what might be coming into their showrooms. There was a big fog machine, so that the cars looked like they rolled in on a cloud. And part of the stage revolved, so that the cars could be seen from all angles. I don’t know what videos were shown, but there was an extensive sound system and a big drum set back stage. A small area backstage was set off as an area for ‘the band’. At least that’s what the little hand written sign said.

Nobody knew what band was there, we are assuming an expensive one from the setup and how fancy the drum set was. But we do know that Jay Leno came by one evening and entertained.

One of the things, well, a lot of the things, hidden behind the curtain are required to set up for a show like this. Usually hidden from the crowd, but now you get to see some of the boxes that the screens and speakers and amplifiers are packed in.

About ten percent of what it took to move everything in. Oh, you ask, what did the new cars look like? Well, most were in the back all covered up when I was walking around, but I did get to see one of them.

I think Jessica Alba was seen driving this in one of her recent movies. Don’t know when it will be in a showroom near you. But our rigging guys loved this show - all the curtains, screens, speakers and assorted things are hanging from big beams and cables suspended from the ceiling, all of which are put up and taken down by the rigging department and dozens of Teamsters called in to do the work, by the hour.

And again you ask, but what did the dealers do during the day when not in the stands? Well, there were lots of buses out front, so there were a lot of field trips. Behind the Team Member Parking Garage, in the back lot of the smaller hotel next to the big hotel and casino next door was a setup for them to play. There were a number of big tents, and we could look down from our parking garage and see some fancy food being prepared and served. And at times there was much noise, as the dealers got to drive the new vehicles over some prepared courses. Over hills and obstacles for the four wheel drive vehicles, around a little track for the faster models.

A side suggestion – if you are offered a good deal on a demo car, low mileage, it could be one of these. Oh, and I can’t tell you what car company or even what city they were in, so don’t ask.

Today it's all getting pulled down and hundreds of computers are getting set up in an adjoining hall, in preparation for some international gaming group. This weekend we'll have Halo players from all over the world competing on the keyboards, with the top team getting almost a half million dollars in prize money. Imagine that, a half million dollars just for playing a game.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Random Vegas bits

Just some random things today. Just a few things to show you how beautiful Las Vegas is. The first topic deals with several things we were not told before we moved here. I know Las Vegas is in the middle of a desert, and it does not rain very much. This is one reason we came. The lack of rain also means a lack of clouds, and the JinV family loves sunshine. Not the hazy kind that we had in southern California, or the none-at-all kind I had back in upstate New York, but the bright crystal sunshine we have out here in dry land. The mountains that surround us are part of the reason for the dryness, telling all the wet clouds to go away and leave there wetness elsewhere. But this also means lots of wind. And by lots of wind I mean a clear shiny sky and 45 mph breezes fairly regularly. We have learned to chase down our furniture around the back yard after a particularly breezy day, and watch our trash cans roll down the street quite often. It isn’t windy every day, but enough days to let us know that it happens. Such wind is predicted for the end of this week, when we will be having 60 people over for bbq and back yard activities (especially since so many will not fit inside very comfortably).

Another thing we were not told about was the bugs. The LV valley is blessed by a species of ‘water beetle’ (which the rest of the world calls cockroach) that has learned to proliferate around small amounts of water. Small amounts such as is found in the average tiny home lawn. This species of water beetle only comes out at night, which means that when we step out of our back door in the spring or summer after the sun has gone down we have learned not to go out barefoot, as sometimes the migration when the light comes on and the door opens rivals some of those Godzilla movies where the entire population of Tokyo flees down one street. These beetles are a dark brown or black and between an inch and two inches long and quite noticeable on the concrete patio but quite invisible in the grass, so barefoot walks in the grass after dark produce a crunchy, wiggly walk at times.

Some of the other bugs around the valley include the scorpion, which like it dry (fortunately) and have not been seen around our house but are quite common in the new construction areas around the outskirts of town, so if you buy a new home out there you might have lots of these around. Another bug (OK, an arachnid) that is around our house is the spider, particularly the black widow spider. They seem to breed during the warm months, which around here runs from March through December, but Spring and Fall seem to produce the most offspring. This leads us to do ‘spider hunts’ around our back yard at least once a week. These guys also only come out at night, so a short while after sunset once a week we gather up our flashlights and cans of bug spray and wander around the yard. They build their webs usually down at the bottom of walls or under cars, we haven’t found many under bushes, I guess the wind whipping branches back and forth bothers them. So we cruise around the house and walls looking down for the familiar shape.

They usually are quite noticeable, having a body about a half inch or more across. I didn’t really want to put my hand down next to this one to provide a size reference, but the body was bigger than my thumb nail and the legs stretched about two inches across. This size is typical, I do not know where they hide until they get this big, maybe they are born this size. Yes, this poor lady was sprayed after I took this photo, but not to worry, evidence of a new web in the same location yesterday indicates a replacement has arrived. We usually come across ten or twelve webs and spiders each time we wander around the yard, which reminds me, time to do it again. B was cleaning up some stuff out in one of our sheds yesterday afternoon and came across an even bigger one hiding amongst the garden tools, which resulted in a fumigation of said shed. Their webs are noticeable during the day as they are quite irregular, not the nice spiral web portrayed in cartoons. And the web material makes a distinctive crackling sound when broken, so when we find them in the daytime we know where to return at night to catch the spiders. They probably are so numerous and big because of the large water beetle population discussed above.

Another species found frequently around Vegas is the new bride. These are not found in back yards in the evening but rather around casinos in the daytime, such as the one pictured here.

They usually have a long white dress and are accompanied by a person dressed in a black tuxedo. I guess the color is chosen specifically to signify the death of freedom or something. At times there is an entourage of colorfully dressed bridesmaids, but usually not. I’ve posted other photos of this species before, found in other casinos around the Strip. This one was found in the Big Hotel Casino Next Door Which Shall Not Be Named (BHCNDWSHBN) so that I will not be Googled too much, but let’s just say that she had just participated in a short ceremony on a bridge over a canal and leave it at that. Sometimes they are found in a nice white gondola on the same canal, but I guess this one opted for a firmer footing while taking vows. They are usually seen with big smiles on their faces, I guess because they think they just made a good decision. You can view photos of Britney and Pammy taken shortly after their Vegas ceremonies and see simlar smiles. Yes, Pammy exercised her marriage license option a few days ago, getting married one evening just before the magic show she is part of over at Planet Hollywood. After the show everyone in the casino was served champagne and got a piece of her giant wedding cake.

Also around town, the Hoff (David Hasselhoff to those of you outsiders), who was here at one of our shows last week signing autographs, has relapsed and been hospitalized for his alcohol dependency, while Lindsay is just leaving, maybe he just took over her room. I didn’t see him when he was here, so don’t know if he was eating any hamburgers or anything. And for you Brits Sir Richard Branson will be here today rappelling down the outside of the 40 story Palms Tower this afternoon. This is in honor of his first Virgin Airlines flight to Vegas coming from San Francisco. I think Virgin already flies in here from London. And the married duo of JLo and Mark Anthony will be appearing together in concert at the MGM shortly, tickets on sale (probably sold out by now).

I drive in to work early, living about three miles west of the Strip, having to cross over it (well, usually under driving on Desert Inn road) and loop around the Wynn golf course to get to the Team Member Parking Garage a half block east of Vegas Boulevard. I notice the gradual drift from summer into winter because I am driving due east, and have the pleasure of seeing the sun ahead of me. It has been rising a little off to the left, or north, and was high enough to be hidden behind my visor. A few weeks ago it was behind the Wynn tower, and this week is just at the horizon and between the Wynn and the Palazzo. If I leave home when I should to get here at 7 the sun is now just rising as I turn onto DI, and I get to view a nice sunrise before that bright light stabs me in the eyes.

Taken through my dirty windshield while driving – no, I don’t text and drive but I do shoot photos and drive. Also pictured are some rare white things in the sky, which are not usually present to hide the bright blue.

Oh, I see the Twat should be pleased, Kylie just won a Q music award. More photos of her for him to view. Yes, I spend time reading our local Norm's gossip column.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Hey Mickey

I usually miss postings on the appropriate day, but I think this one is correct, at least Norm says today is the 25th anniversary of this song hitting number one in the US.

Sorry, there are better versions posted but none of them allow embeded links. If you want to hear the best it's here.

Toni Basil made it big in the UK and Australia first (kind of like Kylie) and just hit it here as MTV started making it big, and was looking for videos. If you pay close attention you’ll find she is wearing her old Las Vegas High cheerleader outfit. Norm has a full story (as if you wanted to know) and says that Toni is due back in Vegas as Bette Midler’s choreographer for the show that replaces Celine in February.

Note: After reviewing this, I feel compelled to point out that Toni was almost 40 when she made this video. She still jumped around like crazy, and she still fit into her old high school cheerleader uniform. (Bossy?)

Probably one of the most widely used songs for cheerleaders worldwide, but you can see Weird Al’s version for something different (for you Lucy lovers)

Darn, I really like Al's remakes of songs. (but I've always hated Lucy)

Monday, October 08, 2007

Dogs on Tuesday

In response to somebody (we won’t say who you are Deana) that favors cats, I thought I might start a ‘Dogs on Tuesday’ response. I just don’t take as many photos of my guys as some people do, so this might be a rather irregular regular posting.

I’ve discussed our two guys before, Max and Buster. Both are pound puppies that we’ve had for almost twelve years now. They each weigh about ten pounds. When we got them the vet estimated Max was about a year old and Buster was four. Max is the boss of the house, having come home a day ahead of Buster. He is the barky vicious one that bites the ankles of every visitor on their first (and second and third and twelfth) visit, as well as barking at anything that walks by. Buster follows, but often gets his butt bit as well, 'cause Max gets kind of excited and bites whatever is around.
Drinking my morning coffee and reading the paper on Saturday I looked over to see Buster apparently trying to finagle a morning treat.

Buster tries to be a lap dog, can you tell? And yes, he's got an underbite and always looks like he's trying to be mean even though he's a sweety.
Later Max was outside doing his normal supervisory duties. He always has to stick his nose into every hole we dig and approve every project.

But most of the time this is where you will find them, holding down the couch, and doing a very good job of it as we haven't had a couch float away yet.

Monday videos - hair

Let’s go back to some old music that I remember from years ago. This first one comes courtesy of Flip Flop Mama. She even admitted to singing it at karaoke. Well, it’s Hanna Montana’s daddy, so he is kinda in the news now. Any of you mommas pay $500 for tickets?

I do like his footwork, even if he is a cowboy in sneakers. Listening to this makes me remember the first time I saw a five year old with the exact same haircut, I could tell where his momma's mind was. We lived in San Diego, and a smaller city just a few miles east, Poway, was the southern California hub of $hitkickers and wanabe cowboys. I have to admit that there were some horses out in Poway, but to drive past (yes, I had customers out there) the new strip mall bars with old barn siding stuck on the outside and see a row of shiny new pickup trucks with hay bales in the back, that probably were back there for years just for the effect, seemed highly amusing to me. The hair in the audience is amusing now too, as was the line dancing. Is line dancing still popular? I haven't seen much of it recently.

Talking of country stars with hair, this one had just about more hair than anyone, introduced by some young guy with hair. Not from when it first came out, but the hair looks even longer. How do you manage that much weight on your head? As far as voices, I think hers is one of the prettiest voices I've ever heard, especially hanging on to those long blue notes.

OK, enough of the C&W stuff, and now for something completely different. I don’t think this is the original video, but it’s colorful enough. Sing along. Or dance if you'd rather do that. The kids are pretty good at bouncing around to this one.

Friday, October 05, 2007


Of all the people that flow through Vegas very few call to say hi. Well, until today the only blogger I've had a visit from was Anna, out with her beloved who was here for a convention. Well, today I got to meet somebody that I've been reading for years

Deana and Martin, out for a few days to have fun. And she's even prettier than I imagined. Unfortunately she did bring her husband. Oh well.

Outdoor E

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.

Growing up in Vegas with our nice weather E was becoming an outdoor girl. She wasn’t big enough yet to go off on her own, but over at our house we always left the back door open so that she could wander around the yard. There’s not much dangerous around our yard, the pool has a cover as well as a fence around it, and our vicious dogs are inside as well as out. She would rather be outside than in, and loved just walking around looking at things. Unfortunately now that she is in Portland the rain has been keeping her in, but she does like to go to the park up there, even if it is wet.

Sometimes Grammy would be pulled along on these investigative missions. Now I understand that there are a lot of questions being asked, but back in June when they visited it was still mostly pointing and noises. Some of her favorite things to do involved food – we had some productive tomato plants this year, sometimes some of them made it into the house. Well, taste testing is always appreciated.

Grammy also put in some grapes to cover the back block wall. E seemed to have a talent about finding the sweet ones.

Sometimes she just liked digging on her own. Since we pulled up most of the grass that left lots of places where digging was fairly easy.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Sorry, politics

I have an idea, why not deny health care to children in poor families and save the $45 billion it will cost over the next FIVE years and move the funds so that we can spend $200,000,000,000 THIS YEAR ALONE on that f$#kin war.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

It's a good day

Working with people today, I don't know if this applies to them, but it might be how they view me.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Monday funny videos

OK, let’s skip the music (old or new) and historical lessons and my favorite movie actresses and diverge for a day with some amusing content. I came across this one a while back, and though it might not apply to many of you I found it funny. I call myself a nerd, don’t know the definition of that but I guess if you call yourself one then you are. Here is a short talk by somebody discussing the need for Nerd Porn. Yes, it asks for your age, put in anything over 21 and you’ll be OK.

This one is rather offensive, but then again, well, it is. But appropriate to quite a few people I know irregardless of color.

And lets end up with one suggested by Clare, so that we can offend the religious right as well.

OK, did I provide a wide enough spread to hopefully catch everybody somewhat?

Pammy update

For those of you that really want to know (all, what, zero of you?) Pam Anderson was issued a marriage license here in Vegas. If she goes through with it we will soon have Mrs. Pamela Denise Anderson Lee Rock Lee Salomon. For those of you that don't know the name, Rick Salomon is famous only for his short video created one night with Paris Hilton. Direct to YouTube and ignored by theatres everywhere.