Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dr. H. Annual open house next Sunday

Dr. Lonnie Hammargren is having his annual open house this Sunday. I’ve written about him before, when I was able to tour his place as part of my wife’s Red Hat club. Dr. H is a neurosurgeon and former lieutenant governor of the state of Nevada. He has purchased four homes side by side in an older part of town to the east of the airport and turned them into a museum of Nevada history. Basically, he has the money and buys whatever he feels like buying and sticks the stuff around his house. This includes just about every neon sign from torn down casinos that don’t make it to the official Neon Museum, a full sized steam train engine, one of the Apollo space capsules, one of the paddle wheels from the old Showboat casino, the roller coaster from the Stratosphere up on the roof, Liberace’s dressing room from the Hilton, one of the Venetian gondolas (in his front room), and whatever else strikes his fancy.

I really like having a big arm and torch from the statue of liberty hanging over the back wall. I think that would be neat, and have told B that if I ever find one I’ll be getting it too.

Somebody posted a rather chaotic video taken at one of these open houses:

Dr. H had a heart attack a few year ago which caused him to think about death. One of the things he did as a result was to hold his own wake. He figured it would be nicer to hear what people had to say about him rather than be locked in a box when it happened. I like that thought, but not sure if I really want to hear what people think about me.

You can go to the Nevada Days web site for more information. So, if you are in town this weekend I would highly recommend going. If you are lucky you might catch one of Dr. H’s personal tours around the place.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

other weekend activities

OK, enough of what I did this weekend. Here is what B did.
She stood in line for a half hour along with quite a few women wearing these

Then stood on the grass shoulder to shoulder with 18,000 other people for three hours in order to hear 22 minutes of talking by this guy.

See, she was fairly close. Didn’t get to shake his hand, but happy she went. Even happier that she wasn't standing around for four hours in freekin' high heels. Come on ladies, he can't see your feet - try sneakers once in a while. It was at the high school about a mile from our house.

A few weekends ago we spent the morning with several thousand people wandering the hills in Summerlin. This was for a breast cancer walk - see all the pretty pink t-shirts?. A very pretty morning, and we had breakfast afterwards at the JW Marriott Resport & Spa (and casino) there (seen in the background), which was a not very exciting meal.

And I see this guy on TV almost every night, somehow here he looks a little older.
See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tuesday Vegas update

For the past several weeks the weather here has been magnificent. Mornings are cool, yesterday it was 48f when I got up, but afternoons are warm with light breezes - 86f (31c) and sunny.

Now, doesn’t that look pleasant, not just for the last week in October but for anytime? I went to school in Rochester, New York, and the weather report for there today is annotated with ‘sn’. If I remember correctly this means SNOW. That white stuff that falls from the sky and is cold. Go ahead; ask me why I live in the southwest. I can think of only a few places that would be nicer. Yesterday Terri asked about Kenny Chesney videos - Kenny moved to St. Bart’s a while back, and has some videos that depict his living down there. This one kind of shows what it’s like. This might be nicer weather than Las Vegas (but without the lights and with humidity)

OK, I know it’s not video Monday, but it does show a calmer place than Vegas, and a big blue chair on the beach out in the water would be rather pleasant. We made it down to that part of the Caribbean for our daughter’s wedding (she was married on a sailboat off of St. Kitts) and stayed in St. Martin’s for a week, with the boat stopping in St. Barts (the island Kenny lives on), and watched people eating cheesburger in paradise (where Jimmy Buffet wrote that song). Terri likes Young, but I like Tractor. Young is getting too personal: I’ve been there, but I have never owned a tractor. (and Kenny does have some good arms).

Sorry, back to my Tuesday topic, on the weather in Vegas. (stop distracting me T). Oh look - there’s a link to Shoes. Haven’t looked at that one in a while.

For some reason it always reminds me of D, not sure why as she is much prettier than anyone in the video, it’s probably just the topic. Oh - they are marking the floors down in G hall for next week’s auto show. The floors are concrete and they put down markings for the booth layouts, using skinny masking tape for the long carpet runs and a pink marker for the booth layouts. If shows run one after the other then the floors might be marked up with a multitude of colours, as there isn’t time to do the layouts in between, carpet is just pulled up from one and almost immediately laid down for the next. Little ‘V’s and arrows and numbers in pink and yellow and green and blue - oh, sorry, do you ever do that, think of one thing and then your mind just wanders off on other topics? (DM?) OK, so back to Vegas.

I kept busy this past weekend. Yes, it was more yard work. This time we only had fifteen tons delivered. This photo was taken after I had already moved a lot:

It went here, up front under the palm tree. There was grass, but because of the narrow shape I just couldn’t get the grass to stay nice and green, areas just dried out. So I pulled out the sprinklers, dug some shallow trenches to put in drip hose, and dug around the edges where grass grew out over the concrete and piled the clumps up down the center, to provide for some little hills rather than plain flat

You can see the yucca in bloom. For some reason we have a few bushes putting out flowers this week. Here is another desert plant in full bloom, I think it’s a California Broom. Just full of bees and other insects just enjoying the flowers, and it did smell rather sweet.

Those are the clouds we sometimes get, the sky is usually just plain clear blue. The weather report (displayed at the top) shows clouds again next weekend, well, that just means the sky will look as it does in the above picture. The sage along our kitchen walkway is also full of flowers.

This year the sage plants have gone up over eight feet high, blocking our view out the window but providing a pretty sight anyway. Sunday morning the bush right outside the kitchen window over the sink was full of little yellow birds, hopping around pecking at the flowers and looking for bugs and just chirping away. Yes, I am easily distracted by bright colors and movement like that.

OK, that’s my Tuesday update for Vegas. Hope I have distracted you for a little while.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Country music

Now, don’t get too down on me when I admit this, but every once in a while I listen to country music. (and yes, I do listen to the songs on Shania’s videos). I used to watch CMTV a while back, it’s not in our cable lineup now (is it still on?) and there were a lot of interesting videos. Looking around Youtube, most of the ones I remember aren’t posted; those that are don’t have embedded links, so you’ll have to click around.

B doesn’t like that style of music, she feels most of the country songs are rather depressing. Well, there was a period that all people could sing about were broken loves and husbands that cheated, but I find a lot of the songs are fun and energetic. Martina McBride has a lot of songs that are uplifting. (and I love her blue eyes) My Baby Loves Me is always fun, and the expressions on people in the video are pretty interesting. When God-Fearin' Women Get The Blues is more in the amusing vein.

Kathy Mattea is another one on my regulars play list. 455 Rocket is a slow one, but the video makes it more interesting.

The Dixie Chicks have some peppy ones, but when I first saw Goodbye Earl on TV I couldn’t believe it. The topic of the song is one thing that usually doesn’t come up, but then to present it in such an upbeat melody. Watching the video does improve the song, my fav part is when the cops come by. Oh well.

Finally - one that has a link - Deana Carter, again, the video does come to mind whenever I hear the song. Singing it in my head as I walked into work this morning.

OK, yes, all female singers. But I do like Toby Keith too. And for that matter, Trace Adkins.

Friday, October 24, 2008

E Friday - in the yard

In following the tradition of Clare we return again to E Friday, where I post photos of my darling granddaughter E, because VG really likes to look at these pics. Well, I like to look at them also. These are from her summer visit down here, when it was sunny and warm. Well, it’s usually sunny and warm here compared to where she lives in Portland.

We have converted most of our grass yard over to desert landscaping, in response to the requests of our water district to help conserve. We also put in a large concrete covered patio out back, and kept a strip of grass back under the big trees. E likes coming down here, and as soon as she gets in she takes off her shoes and runs outside, with the line to mom ‘it’s ok to go barefoot at grammy’s’.

She spent some time watering the flowers, I guess it’s a fun activity. She has a small watering can and garden tool set.

Of course, the can has to be refilled frequently.

Back there we have a swing hanging from the peach tree. She has moved from the hard child’s swing up to the big kid’s style. Has not learned to pump it herself yet so she still needs someone to push, but she hangs on well.

And back on the patio she has become an expert artist with the chalk.

So, at three years old, the back yard does look like a fun place to be.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

KPBS (thanks for coming by Flo)

A few days ago Flo Rogers left a comment here. I was rather surprised at that. Let’s see, according to their web site, Florence Rogers is President & General Manager of KNPR radio, Nevada Public Radio here in Las Vegas. KNPR is running one of their periodic ‘Pledge Drives’, which are necessary to raise money to keep them going. I’m sure she came by because someone in her office does a search for KNPR to see what is being said about them, so let me help out a little more by saying KNPR KNPR KNPR KNPR. That will probably bring her back (Hi Flo!) unless the last search put me on the ‘don’t visit again’ list.

I am a KNPR ‘member’, I send in some bucks every year, and usually have KNPR (have I said the station name enough yet?) on in the car. As I said a few days ago, that is the station that is almost always playing on my radio, but during pledge drives I just cannot bring myself to listen to those fifteen minutes of begging for money that interrupt the interesting programs. I know that it is necessary in order to put the programs on, boy it sure would be nice if they could just say ‘call now’ once and raise enough to keep going, so I understand it, I just don’t like it. So during these drives I frequently find myself pushing the buttons on the radio, and looking for at least one station that is playing music. The radio in my little red car (the commuting car; hey, 45mpg, fill up the ten gallon gas tank every three weeks or so, don’t knock it) has six buttons, and yesterday I pushed all of them and each one had either commercials going or the ‘morning drive team’ blathering away. Yes, at times I do like to hear the radio hosts talking (can’t call them DJ’s anymore, as most stations are computerized with the play list already programmed, and the on air person just pushes the play next button) and the ones here that I usually listen to are very pleasant. We moved to Las Vegas about five years ago from San Diego. The main station listened to down there was KPBS, the SD National Public Radio channel, but the other FM station I flipped to was similar in that the morning drive team was a man and a woman, with another guy as the background person that they frequently joked with, who was the gopher and the brunt of most jokes.

Just looking at the KNPR web site, if you are here Flo, it is a really bad web site. Yes, the first page has tons of information, but please put your art department to work and make it pretty. The first page lays out lots of places to click, but I am overwhelmed by the possibilities. My job is designing and coding web sites, and I feel sorry for the programmer that maintains this one. Anyway, there is a little box on the bottom that is titled Web Archives. Inside are links to listen to some of the local shows. My favorites are John Curtas, who does restaurant reviews every week and is really interesting to listen to, and Along the Way with David Bert, where David travels around the area and describes interesting places. If you have ever been to Las Vegas you should realize that there is not much around here. Coming from the New York area, there is always something around. Well, in Nevada you can drive for hours without seeing another car or even a small town, so for David to find so many interesting little towns and places to visit is amazing. And yes, we have gone to quite a few of the places he has described. I also like listening to Desert Bloom with Norm Schilling, giving desert gardening tips, and Nevada Yesterdays describing our history. Nice to be able to go on the web site and listen again or catch up on shows I missed.

I do not listen to KNPR (say it again) at work. I am a programmer, and usually have my earphones in playing music to keep me from being distracted by what is going on around me. When I listen to KNPR I end up listening to the stories and concentrating on what they say (which is probably not too good when driving either) and forget where I was in my program. I work in a basement, under tons of steel and concrete and people and so do not get any kind of radio reception, so I plug my headphones into the computer and listen to internet radio stations, or my Ipod. I alternate between a few French radio stations, which are great to listen to while programming because I do not understand French and so the DJs are not distracting as I have no idea what they are talking about, and thus can just treat them as part of a background song with very quite music accompaniment. I also am hooked on a New Zealand radio station, Zed FM, which also has a male/female morning drive team, but with interesting accents, so they too kind of blend into the music. New Zealand is 21 hours ahead of us, so when I listen in the morning it is the next morning's commute over there (got that?).

I should say that Flo (though the web site says Florence, I have never heard her called anything but Flo on the air) also has an interesting accent. I’m pretty sure it’s British, (yes Anna a little like you) and she is rather interesting to listen to. You should be able to tell by now that I like accents, I used to sound like I came from Joisey but now have a rather neutral speaking voice, rather like the national television announcers who are difficult to place. My wife can catch the words I pronounce differently, but most of them don’t come up in normal conversation. Like drawers or chimney, which she is the one that pronounces incorrectly (not me). There are a few accents that I have problems with, but unfortunately are used by some of the most beautiful women in the world so I will not say what they are as I read their blogs every day. (no, it’s not you). So yes, Flo has a very nice voice, but unfortunately she is management now, and the only time I get to hear her is during these campaigns.

Today in Las Vegas we have the pleasure of a visit by the Vice Presidential candidate Sara Palin. I would much rather have Tina Fey, but, I’m not going to hear her speak so it doesn’t really matter to me. Except for my wife, who is on the list of Obama supporters and thus gets phone calls all the time. She has been invited to go to the rally and hold up Obama signs. I think the plans are for them to stand across the street from the rally site and not try to go inside, but I will be watching CNBC to find out if there are any shots of her being arrested or beaten up by old ladies. I’ll keep you posted on that one.

Early voting started here in Nevada last Saturday and we both went down to a local polling place and voted on Sunday. There is a trailer in the parking lot of a local health club which is filled with voting machines where we go. It never seems to move, so it is easy to find. There are a number of places to vote early here in Clark County, with mobile trailers travelling from school to school to wherever, and permanent places such as that one nearby as well as several shopping malls permitting voting machines to be placed in their larger center courts. We voted once at the nearby mall, but news reports showed lots of people taking advantage of the early voting and long lines at the malls. There are about a dozen machines at the health club trailer, which were all full and another half dozen people in line when we got there. Clark County uses electronic touch screen machines, which do print out a paper strip alongside when you are done so that there is a paper trail. The machines are easy to use, and rather quick. We always take the voter pamphlets that come in the mail and mark them up with our choices ahead of time, so on voting day all that we have to do is go down our marked sample ballots and touch the corresponding places on screen. I will not tell you who I voted for for president, it is a secret ballot (no, don’t go reading the suggestions over there to the right: oh, sorry, yes, please do).

I just don’t understand people that show up to vote and then are surprised at what and who is on the ballot, as if it was the first time these things came up. People, if you don’t know the issues and what candidates stand for don’t vote just because you like the sound of the name, educate yourself ahead of time, and read those sample ballots and booklets that describe the propositions. Geez, no reason to see things for the first time when at the voting machine, and try to make up your mind then based on the legal text, read the proposals and responses ahead of time and get a little education. So if you are in a state that permits early voting; go do it and don’t wait until Nov 4, avoid the lines.

Sorry I missed video Monday yesterday. Lots of things going around, but after Flo’s comment I figured it would be best if I said something today. So here are a few random videos just to put something up. First, one of my favorite Van Halen ones, I did like the David Lee Roth days. I remember vaguely a teacher back in seventh grade, and there is one in Texas that is pretty hot, as well as a photography instructor someplace else.

And Dan pointed to this one: Winona's Big Brown Beaver. No embedded link, sorry, but go click on it. The video is rather strange, but coming up to Halloween those cowboy outfits might be rather interesting.

And finally for those cat lovers out there, cats at work:

Have a fun week, and remember to vote early and often.

Friday, October 17, 2008

E Friday

In following the tradition of Clare we return again to E Friday, where I post photos of my darling granddaughter E, because VG really likes to look at these pics. Well, I like to look at them also. So, back to my fuzzy camera used in Portland pictures.

We went up to visit for E’s birthday, and she had much fun opening presents

The opening and anticipation might have been as much fun as the playing with afterwards. She was in her dinosaur phase then, I understand since visiting here and going to see shark reef at Mandalay Bay she has moved on to a shark phase. But she did get a dinosaur matching card game, which provided some amusement.

We did have a few warm days, and time to hit the nearby park

Not warm enough for shorts and barefoot though. I understand it’s back to highs around 60f there now, while we will be enjoying 87f this afternoon. Well, it’s why we are living here.

Rock Star

Driving in to work I usually listen to the local PBS station (KNPR), but this week is pledge break and I just can't stand all the begging from the cast to call in and give money (yes, I do support Public Radio). So I found myself flipping stations and found that most of them either had commercials on or the morning drive team (usually a man and a woman, with a 'helper' in the background) were talking more drivel. The topic on one station was finding out that you had put your underwear on backwards, and how to handle it. Come on.

Anyway, eventually a song came on that I had not heard before. I used to be 'up' on current music, but now listen to the old fogy talking stuff, and at work the New Zealand station I am currently hooked on Zed FM (love those accents) plays different things than we hear. I liked the hook on this one, and just pictured why she came up with it. Well, it's pretty obvious. So when I got here I just pulled up Youtube and did a quick search, and thought I'd share.

Update, afternoon: listening to Zed-FM, they are now playing this too, guess it is a new one that I hadn't heard before. But I can just picture three year old E walking around the house pumping her fist chanting "I am a rock star!!!".

It looks like Britney had a similar problem, in her new video Womanizer (sorry, no embedded version). It's very obvious that she has toned up and lost that little chubbiness from her live appearence last year on the music awards show.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Steel going up

I work in a convention center attached to a big hotel casino resort. I don’t like putting down the names of places, as I find Google is quite good at searching out random remarks and creating unexpected links, so you have to figure out where this is on your own (OK, I have already admitted it is Las Vegas). I’ve been working here for almost two years now, and living in Vegas for about five and a half years. When we first moved here the BHCR had a very large hole in the ground out on the corner that was destined to become five floors of parking underneath their new tower. I got to watch some construction work and am still impressed with how fast things can go when there is a lot of money behind a project.

I started working here after most of the tower was done. We go for lunchtime walks around the property, if the weather is nice that’s around the outside, if not so nice then around the inside. I sometimes take pictures on these walks, which then end up here. These show some of the steel construction of what is now the Jersey Boys Theater. There is lots of steel in the whole building, not just concrete piers and floors. Another new condo tower is going up right now, fifty stories stuck right between the others just a few feet off of Las Vegas Boulevard.

This big empty box is created from thin steel framing, foam panels and a thin layer of concrete. It was applied to the outside of the tower to give some more detail. Most of the pretty parts of new buildings are made this way, just shells.

A lot of steel went into even this small extension.

With lots of small cranes to lift it all up. You can see the bases of two of the big tall tower cranes in the background, which did reach all the way up over the top of the tower. This theater was put in last, as this was where all the big trucks pulled in for the tall cranes to lift stuff up to the tower as it went up.

But the end result on the inside is rather impressive, no? (this isn’t the theater built above, but the nearby atrium)

Monday, October 06, 2008

Monday videos - 'old' music

Not much going on here today. The eye show closed yesterday and there are a lot of bumps and crashes coming from upstairs where they are tearing down and packing up. It was 500,000 square feet of eyeglass frames, lens polishing equipment, vision testing gear and whatever you might think of that would be used by the vision industry. It was bigger than last year, and quite a lot of people passed through. But no shows for the next two weeks, so it will be rather quiet.

I spend yesterday finishing up installing the crown molding around our family room. This final phase was over in the section that was added on to the house and not original, and for some reason the ceiling is not level. It slopes in two directions, while the walls are vertical, which means I had to play around cutting every corner because of the funny angles. I have no idea why it was put up that way, there is a gap above the ceiling below the roof, so the beams do not follow the sloping roof line, or rather they should not have. That provided for a fun day, with lots of frustration and chips on the ground from hand carving the corner angles to produce the smallest gap I could. I did the big pieces, now B will follow up and caulk and paint it all and finish making it pretty.

Just thinking of old music, so here are some songs I remember from a long time ago. Back before music videos, so nothing fancy to look at here. Since it’s starting to cool down we can go back to having a hot time, Summer in the City

Yes, I had hair like that, couldn’t do the sideburns though. We also had a lot of British groups come through, including of course the Beatles, but the Seekers had a few hits. This one came along with a Lynn Redgrave movie.

And Oliver, of the one name group, also one I remember

OK, we can do four. Talking about Paul McCarney and his first wife Linda, after seeing Graham Norton keep making fun of his last wife. Here are the two of them, with Michael Jackson dancing along. (1984, so long ago?)

Oh - over to the right - I put up something new. After bouncing around from comment to comment I came across that little widget called the Black Box. It asks you some questions and then lands you on a random blog after matching up the answers (supposedly). Go visit some new places.

Friday, October 03, 2008


OK, thanks for the reminder, Gambatte!

Please, I don't care how you vote (well, I do, but vote anyway) please register and make a decision. Don't let the idiots decide for you (yes, I am one of the voting). Find where to register.

E Friday - art activities

In following the tradition of Clare we return again to E Friday, where I post photos of my darling granddaughter E, because VG really likes to look at these pics. Well, I like to look at them also. Good news, these are from B’s last visit up, with the new camera so they aren’t fuzzy.

While up there last time there was some art activities planned. From the pictures it looks like paints are being applied to small white objects in an attempt to make them colorful. E appears to also appreciate the apron she had that hopefully keeps paints off of the other clothes. It looks like she was ready to enjoy herself with this activity.

And it seems that she really liked the look of the apron.

And she was very pleased with the activity itself.

Since I haven’t posted all week I’ll throw in a few extras today.

Remember when you were young, and used to find yourself in positions that you probably would not attempt today? It looks like E has some pretty strong toes there.

And though I don’t usually do it, here is a picture of B: Grammy sitting with E and a few of her stuffed toys. Reminds me of that closet scene from ET. Can you really find E in there?