Monday, June 30, 2008

Video Monday - songs about Pattie

Do you recognize this woman?

(in reference to a remark by Deanna I’ve changed this from a picture of her today to what she was like back ‘then’ – in the 60’s. And I like the blue eyes)

I didn’t either, but an article in our local paper yesterday discussed her coming to town, and along with Donovan (you remember him? No? OK, I’ll pull out a video later down) giving a talk. She is Pattie Boyd, and there were some songs written about her –

That’s her in the video, along with Yoko and Linda and Maureen, but George wrote it for and about her. (who the heck all those guys with the beards and long hair are I don't know, they are not the Beatles from the old days)

George was her first husband; her second husband also wrote a song about her as well. Eric wrote this while waiting for her to get ready for a dinner party. Most husbands would stand around and complain "come on, I’ve been ready for a half hour now, why the heck does it take you so long to pick out a dress and put on some makeup?", but I guess if you are in love like he was it brings up different thoughts, and he has the ability to put them down and share them with us.

While still married to George her future second husband Eric fell madly in love with her. He wrote this song about her while living with her sister, but changed the name so as not to cause problems with friends.

This was the original way it was played when first written. The comparison of the two versions, both done by the same guitarist and singer always impresses me. The older version is the one I remember most, being played quite a lot when I was back in college.

Must be something, to have some two of the greatest guitarists (well, that I remember) write songs like that about you. Type her name into YouTube and you get 184 hits, including an interview. She is the one that turned the Beatles on to the Maharishi and started their meditation phase. According to Mick Jager he chased after her as well, but she ended up for a while with Ron Wood instead. She and Donovan (remember him? OK – here’s his video back in the psychedelic 60’s)

are in town for the three day Las Vegas Fest for Beatles Fans across the street at the Mirage, also home to Cirque du Soleil’s Love.

OK, as a comparison, here is the picture that Deanna did not think of as being very attractive. I would have to agree with her, but as we all grow old we change. Inside I still think of myself as I was and each morning wonder who that old guy is in the mirror looking out at me. The three videos of Eric above are also interesting, showing a backwards movement from short haired old man to hair and beard in middle age to that long haired rocker of youth.

Friday, June 27, 2008

I need another cup

Thanks to Vegas Princess

The Caffeine Click Test - How Caffeinated Are You?
Created by OnePlusYou

E smiling

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.

Today let’s go for that movie star look – the smile that all the photographers love

In many variations

And many hair styles

Now, come on, who out there can’t say ‘cute’?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

for a teacher in Texas

Someone had a Van Halen song on their picks list this week, and the mention of it made me go off to YouTube and look up some of their old videos. I had long hair once upon a time, but never big hair. So, thinking of a fourth grade teacher somewhere in Texas, about to start up a new class, here is

Probably very appropriate to a photography instructor in Virginia as well.

Monday, June 23, 2008


Two routines that I remember most. Stuff

And the weather man. - oh, embedding disabled. Well, click and to listen:
Hippy Dippy Weatherman

I think some of the ones I heard live on the radio in LA back in the 70's were exactly like that.

George was performing here at the Orleans last weekend. Goodbye.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday update

Friday Update: Saturday is the first day of summer, predictions have changed and now show an expected high of 110f (43c), but the humidity is only 4%. Yes, it's a DRY HEAT. But let me tell you, 110 is still frickin' hot.

The increased gas and airfare prices have finally been noticed here in town. Last quarter for the first time in history the gambling revenue was lower than the previous quarter, and a lot of hotel rooms are empty. Our year-round occupancy rate is usually around 98%, so it must be significant if the casinos are admitting that there is a problem. For those of you that do want to come out and brave the heat there are some good deals. The MGM is offering specials, as low as $90 a night, with other stuff thrown in (go to their web site). And for the first time ever the Venetian is offering specials – room rates will match the predicted high temperatures. Don’t see it on their web site, perhaps you have to phone and ask. So tonight (I don’t know if they are doing it weekends too) the rate would be $106. This is down from the normal $299 (or more depending on night). Both web sites have a guarantee that the lowest rate you can get will be on their web site, so it looks like Pri$eline will not be competition anymore at these places.

I’m sure all the other hotels are doing similar things, so if you want to take a short vacation come on

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.

When she goes to the community center with mom E usually lunges for the motorcycles. She has a favorite one, and if they are all in use she will stand around staring at whoever is riding HER bike, until they get off. She then runs over and will not relinquish it until closing time. Unfortunately, sometimes the other guys just will not get off of HER motorcycle (see a few weeks ago for her bike, no link, just scroll on down, look at the other stuff while you are at it) and mom just drags her over to something else. Well, E gets along with people, but sometimes she would just rather play on something by herself (you know how that is). But some items just require another person to work right. This rocker is one of those things, but she still doesn’t have to look like she’s having a good time with that other person over there on the other side, by golly.

I know that look, it’s a "who the heck are you and what are you doing over on my toy?" look. And this one, it’s still not her motorcycle. And it won’t even get off the ground.

Oh – did I tell you that she is taking violin lessons? I didn’t even know they made them that small. But she can really rip out a mean version of Three Blind Mice.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Questions around town

Two points taken from our own Norm in one story: on Monday he talked about portrait photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders during a photo shoot Friday here in Vegas.

First point: the photographer was using a 20x24 view camera. In this digital age, a camera that actually uses film! And one the size of a small car besides.

Second point: His subject was Steve Wynn, over there across the street at the hotel that has his name up at the top. He showed Steve a 20x24 Polaroid proof of his shot (imagine, peeling apart something that big?), who was rather impressed. Mr. Wynn said take a break, he was going to get some friends. He returned with Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, and the three of them sat together for another picture. The photographer’s comment? "I felt particularly poor at the moment". Yea, I was walking in this morning looking up at that tower thinking; how many countries have a net worth less than what was represented in that room?

Spring weather

It was a little cool this morning when I got up, around 71f after yesterday's high of 106, it's 7:20 in the morning and already back up to 84. Mid June, here is what our week looks like:

If you are coming out to Vegas on vacation this summer: don't worry, it will warm up once July gets here. I noticed the weather person was not very creative in their descriptions of the days - just sunny sunny sunny sunny sunny. Oh well, that's what it is.

Friday Update: Saturday is the first day of summer, predictions have changed and now show an expected high of 110f (43c), but the humidity is only 4%. Yes, it's a DRY HEAT. But let me tell you, 110 is still frickin' hot.

And for those of you in Portland, a little proof that you do get sunshine once in a while. Granddaughter E showing us what a great artist she is. And only three years old (though she might of had some help from mom).

See - over there in the lower right corner, on the bunnie's legs? Isn't that sunshine? (ignore the moss growing all over, just look at the dry concrete and sunshine)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Goodbye Cyd

Ah well, another marvelous pair of legs are gone (yes, I’m a sucker for a nice pair of legs, as past postings might indicate). Read in today’s paper that Tula Ellice Finklea, recipient of a National Medal of Arts, born in Amarillo Texas in 1922, just passed away. She was involved with Howard Hughes in the 40's, and has been married to her current husband Tony Martin for over sixty years. Better known as Cyd Charisse, she appeared as a dancer in several 1950’s musicals.

She played the love lead in Brigadoon, and the Greta Garbo roll in Silk Stockings. I’m a big fan of the big production film musicals, starting with the Busby Berkeley ones from the 30’s, but some of the later ones were pretty good too. She danced with Gene Kelly in Singin’ In The Rain

And Fred Astaire in The Band Wagon

You can see an alternate version of that last one done by Dawn French as well:

Don’t know which one of those I like better. Anyway, here’s to you, Cyd (or is that Tula?)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Video Monday (animations)

Today’s videos are just ones that I remember as being innovative. These two are about the most technically interesting ones that I’ve seen, even if the songs are not the greatest (but I’ll still turn up the volume when they are on). First comes one of the best stop motion animation shorts I’ve seen. I tried some stop motion stuff back in school, and it really takes quite a bit of work to move everything around, and keep track of where stuff was and where you want it to go. I just love the vegetables, and towards the end all of the people zipping around.

And don’t forget the dancing chickens, with toenail polish. What I think about more than the work that went into something like that (which I know is considerable) is what goes on in the mind of the creator; what kinds of things are that person thinking, to come up with fish in one ear, dancing chickens and furniture moving around the room? Just watching some other Peter Gariel videos, I’ve never seen the Big Time and Digging in the Dirt, and Steam which is more computer animation that stop action; videos I haven’t seen before, not as interesting as Sledgehammer, but again into the animation. Oh, the dirt one is really disturbing.

With the advent of lower cost computers that can handle video editing and animation you don’t see much stop motion or clay-mation anymore. This one I really like, with the camera fixed in position just spinning around and around. Each time I watch it I see more stuff going on in the background; the little car that keeps going by, the skateboards, the motorcycle helmets, and of course there are multiple Kylie’s.

That reminds me of a CSI: Miami episode with triplets, just imagining four Kylie’s. Oh my. (come on, she is forty years old, I don’t lust after the young chickies) Oh – there is a Making of short video that shows a little of how it was done.

And to end, not a musical one, but one that Kevin posted. I will say I am voting democrat this year (again), we just don’t need another four more years of Bush, no matter what that guy says.

OK, with summer coming up I might as well put up that public service announcement that Kevin listed earlier.

Friday, June 13, 2008

E Friday (and it's up on 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.

The last time she came down from Portland to stay with us she had dinosaur pajamas. She’s into dinosaurs now, with piles of little ones to play with all over, and of course she knows all the names. Before bed one evening we had pizza.

E likes pizza. The next morning it was the comics while waiting for breakfast. Who doesn’t like Garfield?

And of course squishy fish with blue hat must join us at the table for breakfast. Fish eat pancakes too you know.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Warm weather

It’s starting to warm up here, getting more like late Spring weather. Yesterday topped a cool (to us) 86f, today predicted 94f, and from then on into the 100’s, with 106f (41c) due on Sunday. This is June, it will be warmer in July and August. Right now the weather is wonderful – nice to sit out and have breakfast on our patio. Our lunchtime walk is very pleasant, full sun and warming up, with lots of pink and red tourists about. We reach our hottest temperature around 6 or 7pm, the temperatures drop around 30f each night, so it is a major difference between night and day. And sunshine; do I mention the sunshine often enough? B and I took a neighborhood walk last evening; commenting on the blue and the only white we saw in the sky were airplane trails overhead. It is the major reason we live here, when we decided to leave San Diego five years ago we looked all over the West, really liking Portland but decided we could not stand not the cold but the lack of sun. This was really enforced during our visit up there last month; all of the trees (and roofs and sidewalks and houses) had moss growing on them, indicating the wet and the lack of direct sun.

The sage is in bloom all over the valley. Things are much more purple than last year, don’t know what makes things flower more in different years, but this seems to be the June of the sage. There are several varieties, with flower color ranging from a pale pink to an intense purple. We have several types planted around our yard, but put Texas Ranger right outside the kitchen window. These have been in for four years, and are over six feet high right now.

You can see the problem that developed with our camera; the center is in focus but the edges are blurry. It’s a Cannon that we got several years ago, and evidently dropped while up in Portland, as the second half of our trip photos look like this. I will send it off for repair, not knowing if the cost of repair will be greater than the cost of the camera. But in preparation I purchased a new one, another flat fits-in-your-pocket model, Sony and with 13.2 mega pixels. It’s the top rated small camera by CU, so I figured I’d follow their advice. Nobody in town had one in stock, so off to the internets and it showed up yesterday. Pics posted here are not of good enough quality for you to see the difference, but I am looking forward to getting some pretty nice prints off of those new inkjets we also recently purchased.

Our house is about thirty years old, which is old for Vegas. It was added on to before we purchased it, all on one level. Our old knees feel much better not having to negotiate stairs any more, and our dogs also are much happier not climbing. Well, they are under ten pounds apiece and also getting old (Buster is around 16 years old now) so stairs are major obstacles to them. There are three air conditioning units up on the roof, each covering a different section of the house. This makes for good flexibility, as we only have to heat or cool the bedrooms at night or the main rooms during the day. There are also two swamp coolers up there. Called swamp coolers, they are really evaporative coolers. They look like big metal boxes, about a meter on each side. Inside the cooling element is a piece of corrugated cardboard about eight inches thick. Water recycles over the cardboard, and a large fan pulls air through the corrugations, which is cooled by the water evaporating. These types of units work great out here in the desert, where our humidity is usually down around 3%. The water evaporates easily, and it drops the temperature around 25-30f. Because there is only a fan and small recirculation pump it only costs about 25% of what it costs to run the air conditioners. This is the time of year they work best, dropping that 100f air down to 75 or so, and only increasing the humidity inside by a little (which is really needed). When the temp gets up around 110f then the drop is not enough, and we start using the more expensive air conditioner units.

We usually turn the swamps off when we go to bed, and keep the overhead fan on all night. We put ceiling fans in every room, and they are very good at keeping the air moving, which helps both when it is warm in the summertime as well as aiding in circulating the heated air in the winter. Our house was built by a contractor for himself, so it was very well made. The exterior walls are all 6” thick and filled with insulation, as is the attic. There is an attic exhaust fan on the roof as well, which keeps the temperature up there down around the ambient outside temperature, rather than letting it heat up to the 150f or so attics tend to get to around here, so the ceilings aren’t radiating heat. We have lots of windows, all are double paned and well insulated, and put in high patio covers all around so that we don’t have direct sunlight on any of the windows or outside walls until close to sunset. This also gives us shady places to sit outside; putting the covers up high also gives lots of room for air circulation and keeps the hot air well above our heads. I installed overhead fans out there as well, so we can have air movement even when there is no wind.

So our place is well equipped for being out here in the desert. I guess if we were in cold country there would be a fireplace in every room.

Monday, June 09, 2008

E Friday

Rob recently posted a list of songs he currently has running through his head and asked us to make up a list. Sorry, but I couldn’t come up with seven songs right now. I’m sitting at my computer listening to Zed Em on the internet; it’s a New Zealand radio station. I like the accents, and the music is a little different than on radio stations here. Their top ten list is different, they play music by local singers that does not make it to the states, and the commercials are a little strange. (10 kilos of lamb from the Mad Butcher – oh). When walking I use my iPod shuffle and just listen to my standard 200 or so songs that have been on there for quite a while.

The only songs that I can say have been traveling through my brain are the two I posted last week – Katmandu and Marrakesh, probably because I’m remembering way back when and I keep clicking on the links to listen again and again. Other than that I’ve got Madelein Payroux online on Pandora, but no specific song.

I haven’t uploaded our shots from the trip yet, so let’s pull up some E shots from B’s last visit up there. They hit the local community center which had an air hockey table, and after a brief learning time E was pretty good at defending her goal.

There were also some basic classes for kids, and E was doing the typical make something thing. I looked at mom’s fridge and nothing was posted on the front, so I don’t know what they are doing with all the art works. I think this was an owl. OK, yes, a pink owl. Well, those were the prettiest feathers.

Since it seems to rain a lot in Portland it seems that the only place E can ride around is also at the community center. She stands around and waits for her favorite motorcycle and then spends the rest of the session racing around the floor. Of course she is a serious driver - see that look of concentration on her face?

Friday, June 06, 2008

OK, is it a choice?

People are different. For some reason some groups of people feel that it is important for them to forbid other groups from doing things that they don't like, or from even living. This has been going on probably as long as man has been around, and will probably continue on for a long time. I don’t really understand the need for people to impose their values on others; I feel that you should just live your life as best you can and put up with or enjoy the diversity that is all around.

This attitude of us versus them is very evident when dealing with sports. For some reason sports fans feel that those people that don’t support their team are morons, which has led to riots and fighting between supporters of rival teams. I could never understand how anyone could claim that a team is ‘theirs’ just because they like it. Come on, you don’t throw the ball yourself, hire the players, offer any useful advice or do anything to make a team good or bad, so how the heck can you take credit for it winning? Or hate somebody that supports a team that your team lost to?

Religion is another big promoter of us vs. them. If you don’t believe in my God than you are nothing but a heathen that does not deserve to live. I once worked with several people in a ‘Born Again’ group in southern California. Their attitude was that it was OK to lie and cheat people that were not part of their group, because God didn’t care about them, so why should the people? That seemed fairly disgusting to me, about the only part of the Bible that I like are the instructions to treat others as you would be treated, and leave the judgments up to god. Since the California Supreme Court decided that the marriage laws were basically unfair all kinds of groups have come up with proposed constitutional changes in order to enforce the rules the way their god says they should be enforced. I understand that even candidate John McCain is in support of a law that would forbid same sex marriage. I wonder if he opposes the marriage of blacks and whites, or what other types of people he feels are inferior.

Kevin C recently posted a video that seemed fairly appropriate. I think that you could change the name of either group and it would apply reasonably well in lots of situations.

If this post offends you, well, I’m not sorry. Just go away and play with people that you feel comfortable with and leave me in my ignorance and stupidity. I usually try to get along with everyone, but recently have started getting really sick of people that try to impose their wills on others. Whether it be through religion or law or force or lying, as someone said ‘why can’t we all just get along?’

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Passionate kisses and the wind

Passionate kisses - somebody was talking about hello/goodbye kisses that don’t seem to mean as much anymore, which brought that phrase to my mind. B and I were never into the peck on the cheek every morning stuff; I leave the house around 6:15 each morning and B gets up to walk me to the door and say goodbye though. I think Lucinda Williamsdid it first, but I liked Mary’s video better

It just has me sitting here thinking of the little things that you do with somebody you are living with, as well as the little things that you put up with. I said live with, not married to, as there are far too many people now that are living with somebody they are not married to, either by choice or because the law doesn’t let them get married (those hypocritical politicians), but that is another topic left to other posts. I’ve been married to B, my first wife, for quite a while now (no, I am not planning ahead, but D …) and I am sure that there are things that both of us do that annoy the other; heck, there are things I do that annoy me. There was a time when those things bothered me, but I guess as you get old you either become a crotchety complainer or you get mellow, and I’ve decided that it is a lot easier to look at the fun enjoyable side of things than to complain about them. My main complaint deals with those two vicious dogs that permit us to share their bed. For some reason I end up with one on each side of me, which makes it rather hard to reach over and grab B without one or both getting mad at the disturbance and growling. It takes a little effort to throw two nine pound fuzzballs out the door, and some concentration to ignore the subsequent whining and scratching to get back in (no, not mine, the dogs). It still is a lot better than having a three year old wander in.

Don’t know why, but for some reason that reminded me of that man of mine (no, not mine, but . . .) and look, YT has one version of it. (I really am amused by the dancing part)

Rather than continue on with the living stuff, which will probably take me a lot longer to write about, it would be easier to just tell you what is going on around here. The big jewelry show closed a few days ago, and it sure is nice and quiet around the office. Quite a few people were off yesterday, trying to compensate for all of the hours and frustrations that come with having such a large crowd here. The food service crew was particularly overloaded, having several food courts and outlying setups above and beyond the four build in serving places in the blockhouses. In addition to standard fare there were serving stations for Chinese, Indian and kosher food. This show was light on the booze though; talking to Tiffany (the person in charge of the bars and liquid refreshment) she had no problems with this show, almost no alcohol was requested. It seems that people handling jewelry and expensive small items do not tend to partake of liquid refreshment very much, must have something to do with all of the money floating around. She said the last show, which dealt with home furnishings, was a real effort, with 69 bar setups and more alcohol served than the fashion shows. It looks like people that deal with furniture tend to entertain each other and customers with a drink in hand. Poor Tiff, she had to insure that all the bars were stocked, cleaned, there was glassware on site and that enough bartenders were on hand to take care of the crowds. She put so many hours in on that show that she took off a week to recover from it.

I walked through our lower hall coming in this morning, and even after a day and two nights of packing and moving out, it still looks like there is more stuff in there than during the show. I thought that this show would pack up and be out of here quickly, but since each booth had lots of glass cases and counters and lights I guess that the packing carefully takes a lot more time. The center aisle is filled with wooden crates waiting to be loaded, and there is trash and packing material scattered all over. It looks more like a landfill area than a show hall, which is why guests and attendees normally only see the pretty side of things. I have no idea how they can keep track of packing up over three thousand booths covering over a million square feet of space, the logistics of bringing in the correct packing boxes, getting things taken apart and packed without breaking all of that glass, and shipping stuff off to the owners scattered all over the world must be tremendous. All of this after setting it up just a week ago, and having to then put tens of thousands of packing crates someplace while the show was running and get them back here into the right booths to reload. And it’s got to be finished by tomorrow, as the next show opens Monday and that show needs a few days to set up. The police cars were gone from our sidewalk out front, but the space is now filled by big truck trailers waiting for the fork lift trucks to fill them with those wooden packing crates. Our loading docks out back are also filled with trucks, in addition to those in the halls. But stuff inside has to be moved to trucks outside in order to make room for more trucks to pull right into the halls for filling.

Yesterday a storm rolled through the valley. We even had water falling from the sky when I walked out to my car after work. At least I hope it was rain and not a construction worker up on the top of the new tower that didn’t want to walk over to the little building. The wind was pretty impressive: that was one of the two things I still find about Vegas that no one told us about. The wind was gusting over 50mph, which resulted in our trash cans, lawn furniture, and everything else not bolted down moving about the yard. I hope nothing made it over the wall and we still have all of our stuff left. We also have some nice brass Solari bells hanging around out there, which were making quite a lot of noise as well as the wind blowing down the bathroom and kitchen exhaust vents. One of our dogs is really disturbed by noises, he usually shivers and tries to hide under your butt whenever a breeze comes up, but last night he seemed to do quite well, I guess he is getting used to it. It was rather pleasant to lie in bed and listen to the storm outside; this happens quite often so it is not an unusual occurrence. Some clouds blew through; the cause of the aforementioned rain, but most of the time the sun was out. This also resulted in a lowering of our temperature. From a high of 94 the day before it was down to 62 last night, not supposed to get over 84 today. But it will be back up in the high 90’s by Saturday, so we are back on our Spring schedule. I did miss the first 100+ day of the year; while we were enjoying that record setting 84f sunny day in Portland it got up to 109 here.

J and I are still taking our lunchtime walk outside around the building; when it starts to get really hot we’ll move back inside the casino. We walk past the main entrance of the big hotel next door, which is not located on the Strip but down a side driveway, then to the front, over a bridge over the canal and down the Strip to the corner. Last month the sidewalk was crowded, but this week it seems almost empty out there. I was expecting a packed crowd of red tourists, but they will probably show up in a few weeks after schools are out and vacations move into full swing. With the gas prices being so high predictions show a slowdown in tourists all over the country. Each weekend we usually have 35,000 or so drive up from LA, so that might decrease or cause carpooling. Some of the hotels have reduced their weekday rates, and there are good deals around if you look. Our local paper had an article on it last Sunday, and listed some hotel rates. I was surprised that places like the MGM were almost 20% lower if you booked on their web site than if you went to the supposedly cheaper places like Pri$el!ne. So a tip if you are planning on coming out here – check rates at the resort sites, you might find a better deal there.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Jewelry show

On Friday the big jewelry show opened; this is the largest show that we handle all year. There are other shows that are bigger for the city, with parts in multiple locations, but this one is exclusively here and it consumes all of our available space (and I mean all of our space as well as most of the big hotel next door). Our halls and conference rooms are broken up into over three thousand separate booths, with larger ones for the larger companies. Over 70,000 people are expected to attend, so in addition to the people manning the booth as well as guards and those running the show we will have over 100,000 more people in the building than we did last week. This does make it a little hectic in the corridors.

Not all of the exhibitors are trying to sell jewelry; there are displays of those little velvet bags your stuff is put in, fancy boxes to put things into, the velvet boards used for display, neck and wrist displays to put things on, booths displaying glass display counters and others with clasps, engraving machines, welders, printing, gold granules, artificial stones and everything it takes to create jewelry. Store owners come to pick out new display systems, for store remodels as well as new styles of boxes and spotlights and other parts that go with selling; manufacturers come to find sources of raw stones and gold and silver; artists come to find new colors and shapes and cuts of stones; but most of the booths are just filled with finished products.

The overall show is broken up into several individual pieces, with each part directed at a specific audience. The first part of the show dealt with very high end jewelry; it opened on Monday and finished up yesterday. It was held up in the top of the convention tower in the big hotel next door while one of a kind items were displayed in suites up in the hotel itself. This is where the movie stars and people with twenty million to spend on one item come for sparkly stuff that no one else has, or to have something custom created. We went up to the fifth floor yesterday to work on one of the computers, and were quite impressed by the number of guards that were at the door. First were two gentlemen in sport coats, who seemed to be unable to hold their arms close to their sides, then were two uniformed armed guards dressed in black, who escorted us up to the individual checking badges. Unfortunately we were only issued wristbands for the part of the show down in our hall, and had to do some talking to be let in. Behind the door were two more uniformed armed guards, with two LV city policemen standing with them. I guess that it might be difficult to leave with items you shouldn’t be taking.

My first indication that things were different when I got to work on Friday were all off the cars parked out front on the sidewalk.

(sorry for the quality of the pictures, my camera is not doing too well right now)
There were a line of marked police cars down the side street and all of these out front. Walking past them I noticed they all were a bit similar

They all had these two little antennas on the back, but were different color cars, most Fords, with standard license plates. I didn’t see who drove them in, but most of the pickups and large vehicles came with two or three guys dressed in green combat gear with LV-SWAT logos on the pocket, big belts with lots of stuff hanging off and big guns.

Those of us that work here have to wear wrist bands in addition to our photo badges.

Different colors every day, and if you come in early before they give them out (as I do) then it’s a closer look by the security guards as I walk to my office. We are only allowed into the halls to get lunch from the food court, so sorry I have not been able to take any photos of all of the sparkle, but I can say that there are probably more spotlights in our building than in the rest of the southwest. Every booth has at least half a dozen lights pointed at their display cases, most have a lot more; all the better to make everything sparkle and shine and look really pretty. You almost need sunglasses to fend off the glare when you walk into the hall from our bright Vegas sunshine. All of these lights (and people) generate so much heat that there are huge temporary air conditioners all around the building, with big ducts leading into assorted rooms to help cool things off.

At most shows the China pavilion contains the most booths, but at this show the largest area is the Israel section. There are also a lot of companies from Turkey, India, Japan and Russia as well. When I say pavilions it means that some government office from a country acted as coordinator for companies located there. They reserve a big block of space, and bring along all of the booths. So there are areas where all the booths are the same little box, same color and same size signs to provide a continuity of design. The India Pavilion is comprised of about 200 booths, all 10x10 feet, with white paneling and the same glass counter out front, one company per booth, each displaying their own specialty.

One of the big things again at this show is colored gems; there are large posters for ‘chocolate diamonds and pearls’ as well as bright yellow diamonds out in the lobby. I thought that pure clear diamonds and bright pearls were supposed to be the most highly prized, but it looks like the industry (or selected companies) is trying to move things over to deeper colors. So those of you with those old fashioned clear diamonds hit up your spouse and break out the credit card and go get new ones. All I can say is that I will be replacing every diamond and pearl necklace at our house with the latest style, which is really easy to say because there aren’t any. OK, now, don’t go beating me down because I haven’t bought my wife pearls, please, if I buy her fancy stuff she’ll want me to take her places where she can wear it, which will then entail new outfits and and and, so stop it.

Just back from walking through the lower hall for lunch: wow, even more impressive after a quick pass through (and security didn’t throw us out like last year). Rows of turquoise stones, pearls from Japan, filigree silver from Russia, trays loaded with sparkly bits and glass counters filled with gold, it really is impressive looking at that much stuff all in the same place.

Last year four of the conference rooms down the hall were used as vaults, where bags of display items were locked up each night and redistributed to booths every morning. Each booth gets a big white Tyvec bag in which they place all of their display items each evening. A lock and seal goes on top, and two or three guys come by with a cart to pick it up.

Every time I look at that picture I just think, boy, there goes my house and more than I will earn for the rest of my life. Just put it in the trunk of my car please.

This is what the room looks like during the day. The carts in the corner have some spare bags piled on. All of the guards are gone, and it looks rather empty. At night this room is filled wall to wall up to the ceiling with bags filled with shiny stuff. It isn’t a real vault; there are no thick concrete walls or heavy steel door, but being located next to a casino, with all of the guys with guns that I have seen around, I would not recommend you trying to take anything out of here. This year the show looks bigger than it did last year, with more booths and attendees. The rooms that were used as vaults last year are being used to hold more vendor booths this year, so temporary rooms have been set up in different areas.

Being a large building there are a number of tunnels and corridors that are left empty as fire exits. Temporary walls have been put up in these areas, which are used for nightly storage. This one is at a wide spot heading down to the ‘team members’ entrance and parking garage.

Just thin plastic walls clipped together. I walked past this one last Thursday at lunchtime, when bags were arriving. Again, it might be empty here, but it was totally filled with bags at the end. I was hesitant to walk down the hall, as there were about fifty security guards dressed in black all wearing guns just standing around. Again, it might be easy to poke a hole in the wall, but for some reason it might be a little harder to get away with anything.

All of the stuff displayed here has to come from somewhere, so there are scheduled pickups by armored cars from locations around the country, and special secure shipping containers and even special planes that are used to bring all of this stuff into Vegas. It arrives over several days, but it all goes out right after the show closes in a big caravan to the airport. Shipping containers are filled up and sealed back on our loading dock, the transported on flatbed trucks (so somebody can’t hide inside) in convoys to the airport, they bypass the security checkpoints and those airline baggage employees that have no problem taking a camera out of your checked bag and are put right onto waiting planes. Yes, I can picture George Clooney coming up with a grand scheme to swap out trucks or containers or even airplanes or something, but with a dozen cars surrounding them I think it might be a little difficult to pull off.