Saturday, June 30, 2007

Almost July

Well, it's almost July again.

It should be getting nice and warm by the end of the month.
E was playing with these rubber ducks out on the patio today. Those of you with kids should recognize the one on the right - it's designed to be put in a bath before inserting the kid to tell you if the water is too hot. If the word HOT shows up then you should not put the kid in. As you can see, this is our patio in the shade.

But it had cooled down a little by 5, and we all jumped in the pool. The air temp was down to about 108 (43C). Unfortunately I had left the pool cover on, and the water was a little warm - 95 (35C), about what most people want their bath water to be. But E still liked it.

Friday, June 29, 2007


Exciting news for Brits - the Spice Girls will be hitting Vegas in December as one of their three US stops. Anybody want me to get tickets?

And, a branch of Tesco will also be opening, as soon as they find a building to rent.

Just over at IMDB (Internet Movie DataBase), one of my favorite web sites. It has info on every movie I've ever looked up. I usually have my computer on at home, and if we have a question while watching something on TV, such as 'who the heck is that actor, the voice is familiar', I run over to IMDB and look it up. There are cross references between actors and films, both movies and TV shows, so you can bounce around for quite a while seeing what other things an actor was in, and what the other actors over there were in, and so on and so on and so on . . .

Back to now, for some reason I was at IMDB looking somebody up and ended up at the movie 'REform School Girls'. I saw part of it on TV once, and it seemed to be one of the funiest stupid movies I've seen. One of the 'stars' was Wendy O Williams, and I'm looking at her biography. Some lines there seem really amusing:

"Dropped out of school in the 9th grade and went to Europe. When she returned to the U.S., Williams worked in live sex." What's the alternative, dead sex? (OK, necrophelia, I get it)

"Was a Grammy nominee in 1982 for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance, alongside Lita Ford and Pia Zadora." For some reason I've never imagined Pia Zadora would be classified as Rock, much less nominated for a Grammy.

"(On her past as a live-sex performer): "It was just like working in a donut shop, except you didn't wear a paper hat."" I'm glad she had a basis for comparison.

For those of you wondering what she looks like, do a Google search, for the rest of you, this pic seemed the most relevant:

E Friday

Well, thanks to VG we’re back to E Friday. She’s back in town visiting for a week so I’m stocking up on my pictures. As you can see, she still sees the world from a different angle.

A few weeks ago I was spending some time with TKW (well, mentally anyway) and she was asking for comments on her other site, where she sells frilly tutus. This is the Decorated Duckling, which as you might notice is another blog page, wherein she is trying to do business off a free blog site instead of getting her own web site (cheap?). Anyway, the stuff looked pretty and I ended up buying some for E (yes, I said for E). I tied one on her the other day and she really seemed to like it.

So much so that she was twirling around the room.

This was a pleasant scene, however her mother was not pleased. This is a feminist mother that will have none of that frilly stuff for her daughter. In complete support of that, I’ve already given E several Barbie dolls.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Vote for Clare

(1) Tell your readers three things about you that would make you the Ideal Housemate if you were imprisoned in a house with ten random strangers for weeks on end. Then three things that'd make you the Housemate From Hell.

(2) Think very hard about whether you would like Clare, the creator of this wonderful meme, to win Big Blogger 2007. And then vote for her anyway. Because, well, she's ace, and... ah what the hell. Just vote for her. She's ace.

(3) Tag as many people as possible with this meme. Quickly! The voting ends at midday on Mon 2nd July!

1. I’ll have to agree with Rob, I am a pretty good cook.
2. Again, Rob, I am really good with hugs, especially if you are someone similar in build to Clare, or Jordan. (not too good in the sympathy department though)
3. I don’t mind making a fool of myself for a laugh, so I am fairly amusing (if you don’t believe me, email TKW and ask her)

Housemate from Hell:

1. Like Rob, I too have no tolerance for stupidity, and would probably end up screaming about dumb gits to most of the people I’ve seen on those shows. I don’t watch them regularly, way too many stupid people in one place for me.
2. I don’t like people touching my stuff. Look, if you didn’t put it in the fridge, then keep your darn paws off of it.
3. You would not want to share a bathroom with me. Believe it. Enough said.

OK, so go vote for Clare, even if you don’t know her.

Look - look - Rob made me put up a third post, in one morning, wow! At least Lisa was nice enough not to name names.

E's back

Sorry, I'm going through my photo list and just could not wait for Friday.

E's back, and she still knows how to 'smile for the camera', and she still likes granddad's spagetti.

The post after the last post

OK, sorry guys, I have to admit that I stole the last post. I spent yesterday (no, I will not admit just how many hours I spent) reading First Nations stories and that was way down in the middle someplace. It just seemed to strike me as amusing. She really knows how to describe things. She is listed as this week’s Post of the Week, which pointed to the girl story. Read that one first, then go to the top of the site and keep reading.

Perhaps one of the reasons I like her attitude is a quote from an earlier post,
"Just like that old saying 'If at first you don't succeed, completely fail to notice.'
Kinda like the Bush Administration."

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

New Post

this is the new post,
this is the new post
this is to make space between this post and the last post
woo, oooo,
this is the neeeeeeeeeeeew

the end.

Three two year old things

Yesterday our daughter and granddaughter flew down from Portland to visit for a week. They moved up there from Vegas three months ago. So here are three things for Clare:
1. A two year old (well, two years and two months: it makes a difference)
2. A two year old that talks – and talks, and talks, and talks, and talks, and talks (if you’ve been around one, you know)
3. Every once in a while being able to understand what a two year old is saying. Especially critical if you are being asked a question, such as ‘can we go to the park right now?’ or ‘I’m hungry, is it OK if I pull things out of the refrigerator until I find something that I like?’ or 'can I stick the cat in the microwave and push the buttons?'

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Impeach the suckers

OK, time for another political rant. I don’t know if I do too many of them or not enough, but putting up photos of E somehow seems much more enjoyable. Today’s rant comes to you courtesy of VG, who for some reason points us to this article on Cheney. Reading that, along with what is going on in the White House now really annoys me.

(or should I talk about Paris getting out of jail?) (is she out yet?)

Our local paper this morning had an editorial on Executive Privilege, there is a question as to whether or not the VP has to comply with a law about secrecy. “Dick Cheney is maintaining that the vice president's office is not an executive branch "agency" as defined by the law and is therefore exempt from the mandate.” This presidency has issued more ‘letters’ when laws are signed that exempt the President from enforcing laws passed by congress, as well as executive orders that are directly contrary to other laws.

This seems to be the most secretive of any of the administrations that I can remember. All kinds of executive actions are kept secret, and information only comes out when journalists with good attorneys use the Freedom of Information act to suck tidbits of data from assorted places, and then pull together many separate pieces to come up with some idea of what is going on. There still has not been an admission or full accounting of those overseas prisons that captured ‘terrorists’ are held in, and there is now discussion going on about closing the Guantanamo prison and transferring everybody back out to the hidden areas of Uzbekistan, or wherever the heck those place are. (well, they are secret prisons) Sounds like something Bush would do; the Supreme Court finally (for the third time) declares actions there illegal, so rather than doing the right thing come up with a way to work around the law, or ignore it altogether. Instead of opening the prison to lawyers just close it and ship everyone off to be tortured someplace else. Oh, sorry ‘we don’t do torture’; easy to say when you are the one making up the definitions.

I wish I could get away with that – defining my own words. Last president got to define ‘sex’, this one gets to define ‘torture’, along with a lot of other things. Somehow I think it’s a lot less painful to redefine sex. For the individuals involved as well as for the rest of the country.

Which somehow is unrelated (or it is) to the current topic, which is back onto our vice president being able to do any darn thing that he wants to do: for some reason I can’t say that I didn’t see this coming. It appears to be fairly standard in recent administrations for the sins of the administration to start becoming publicized in about year six of the eight year term. Since most people are reasonably sick of what has been going on the opposing party, figuring they will be the ones in power next time, start pulling out the knives and hatchets to carve up the people about to be relieved of duty. Of course, it helps when the current administration has a pile of things they want to hide. And the current group in the white house sure seems to have quite a lot of activities they are trying to hide, no matter what the laws say about that.

Now, the office of the vice president declares that it is not a part of the executive branch, and so does not have to comply with laws requiring the release of information? And it is also not an agency, so it is exempt from other laws. So I guess we now have a kind of magical little community living in one wing of the white house that is really its own independent country and can do anything it wants to do?

And this topic – a continuation of the ‘we do not torture’ line that has been the standard of this administration. To wait for the Supreme Court to tell them that enemy combatants have the same rights under our constitution that any citizen has? And that even American citizens are also protected by this same constitution, just by saying someone is a threat to the nation does not mean they can be locked up without access to a lawyer for years. That seems the most disturbing to me – that an American can be hauled off the streets, subject to this treatment that is not torture, and kept locked in solitary confinement for years and years without being able to talk to a lawyer or having any sort of judicial review just be giving them a new classification? And the press and people of this country are not up in arms about this?

I think the positions that both of these guys are taking, and things they have done, would qualify for an impeachment session. Let’s get everything out in the open, show them that they can’t redefine the laws for their own convenience. But it’s never going to happen; too many Republicans still feel they must remain loyal. And too many Americans think they are doing the right thing, heck with the constitution.

Aw, why do I have to keep complaining about stuff like this? Nothing I say changes anything. Those that agree with me keep agreeing, those that don’t keep their opinions.

And now for something completely different: this little elephant should be getting off a plane right about now, and soon be back at my house.

Looking forward to the end of the work day when I can go home and see how she is doing. I understand my sweet little E has become a terrible two and things have changed. The word ‘NO’ is now in semi-continuous use.

Friday, June 22, 2007

E Friday

For VG
Thought I would share some of the interesting facial expressions that we frequently get from E. Its interesting that as adults we have to keep our feelings to ourselves, and not many people at work actually express their emotions on the outside, unlike little kids who have no problem with sharing how they feel.
E likes baths

If you look closely you can see the rubber duckies in there somewhere.

She becomes very interested when Spongebob does something interesting on TV

But unfortunately this is how we get to see her these days.

But E and mom are due in on Tuesday for a week’s visit – Yay!!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Three things

Three things for Clare:
1. Watching the birds flit around the back yard while having breakfast coffee out on the patio. You can tell its spring because there are usually two birds – momma looking for food and a baby her size flicking his wings begging to be fed.
2. Having a swimming pool in your back yard in Vegas. We never lived in a house with one before, but it sure is nice when its 106 to jump into that water.
3. Feeling the sunshine warming the side of your face when it comes in the side window while driving to work in the morning.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Yea, it's cute

Bouncing around, came across this one. Yes, it's cute. Reminds me of how I dance.

Summer is almost here

It’s warming up – the first day of summer is only a few days away. Our ‘normal’ high is usually 100f, but this week it’s scheduled to be a little warmer. Yesterday it was up to 104, Thursday we are predicted to hit 108f (42c). I’m looking forward to a warm July.

Someone last week responded to my chiller photographs – so here is a shot of the ones on top of the convention center.

The two dozen smaller ones have been up there for a while – I don’t know if they are just for the convention center space or also handle the main hotel tower next door. The three big ones are newer; I think they were put in for the new hotel tower. I have no idea where the stuff for the two new towers will be put – equipment like this is usually not put up on the roof, but in a separate building like these and the last picture.

Last week we were walking through the parking garage of the big hotel next door and walked past this limo line.

Small one in the back, SUV in the middle and a mid sized stretch in front. These are parked at the rear entrance to the front desk, so are probably contracted out to somebody. The hotel has a dozen or so of their own, but in a beige instead of the ‘standard’ limo black. Out under the front portico are a few dozen more, but at least these drivers get to sit in the shade. Yes, that 101f is in the shade. I don’t know how many limos are in Vegas, but you can stand out on the strip and count dozens flowing past.

Last Saturday we went down for the Spring Jazz in the Park sequence at the county center.

This is a series of free concerts in the spring; we sit on the grass with picnic baskets and coolers and whatever and listen to the music for a while. It was a really pleasant evening watching the sunset, enjoying the light breeze and the music. Last week was Bill Frisell, pretty good on guitar but not someone I’ve heard of before this.

Friday, June 15, 2007

E Friday

OK, back to VG’s E Friday posts. As with most grandparents (wait a minute, I still don’t feel old enough to be saying that word) we think of our E as the cutest kid in the world. I have to say that; I think it’s in the Grandparents Manual, but I haven’t been able to find my copy. But it doesn’t need to be in the manual to think it.

We’ve got an old red truck parked out back; it’s used periodically to haul plywood and heavy stuff from Home Depot. But E likes to climb into it and drive, B got her started on this and it became a favored activity as she cruised the yard every day.

It looks like she’s telling off some stupid driver that just cut her off. I think her mom is teaching her all of those words to use on other drivers, not intentionally of course, but just through her being there in the car seat in back.

So E is up in Portland now, still being herself. When grammy drove up there she stayed for a few weeks and took some pictures of that green landscape. E was getting used to her new home and new carpet, but evidently she still can get into her favorite position:

When you are young it must be interesting to see the world from a different angle.

This is what her new back yard looks like:

Not much grass, and lots of rain, but at least she has a park just a block away. And look, sometimes the sun actually shines up there, with the popular zip lock bag of cheerio snacks on hand

B would pull her in the wagon down to the park, and at the back was a view of the river. They both would sit and just look at the birds going by and the trains down below.

Does look nice and green, doesn’t it?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Out my kitchen window

Well, it’s finally warming up. We had it warm several weeks ago, but for the last few weeks the highs have only been in the upper 80’s. Right now the ‘official’ Vegas temperature is 104f, (but it only feels like 98), with the ten day forecast show it being over 101 every day, with the little symbol for ‘sunny’ on each of those ten days. Who would have figured.

I really enjoy temps like this, but it will be warming up in July. We’ve been here for four years, and I think the highest it’s gotten was 117f (48C), but with all the talk of global warming I am looking forward to some nice warm times. I really like to go out to our pool after work and just lie in the water and look at the airplane tracks in the sky. Yea, guess I am getting old. Water temp in the pool is up to 91f, which is just where B likes it; I like 93, so it’s close enough.

Granddaughter E and her mom are due back in town next week for a short visit; hopefully I will be able to load up on pictures for VG’s E Friday posts Mom doesn’t seem to be sending us any pictures from Portland. B is planning a trip up there in September, but with my new job I don’t get any vacation until next January, so I have to settle for randomly walking in on some web cam conversations.

More flowers blooming around the yard. Two of the plants that really like the heat are the Mexican Bird of Paradise

This is the yellow version, in a few weeks the whole bush will be full of flowers. There is also an Arizona Bird which has red flowers. This one is about six feet tall, and follows the typical desert plant form of very small thin leaves rather sparsely scattered around and an open structure.

And the Mexican Poppies

These self seed all over the place, and seem to be doing quite well all around the pool and in corners of the front yard. They only get six inches or so tall.

In our front courtyard we have several pots with plants we brought from San Diego. B really liked one large bush we had in our back yard, and I purchased one on a trip back down there last year. Here it’s called an Angel Trumpet. The bush in SD was over ten feet high, and was covered in pink blossoms that the hummingbirds really liked.

I picked up a yellow version. Growing in the pot for two years, this one is about six feet tall with flowers about eight inches long. It too will continue to bloom throughout the summer and loose all of it’s leaves in the winter. We have to cover it up to protect it from the cold around here.

Of course, the oleanders are blooming. There are several around our back yard wall that were here when we moved in, so we don’t know how old they are. These bushes are about fifteen feet tall, and we have both red and white ones. We bought some new plants to fill in an empty space, trying to get the same colors, but it’s best to buy and plant in the winter, when they are not in bloom, so we did end up with one pink one. The sage bushes we put around are in various shades of purple. We pulled out over ten thousand square feet of grass and converted to low water desert landscape after we moved in. The new desert plants included those pretty yellow Palo Verde trees and about three dozen sage bushes, several varieties in assorted shades of purple.

This is the view out our kitchen window. The sage we put in are about five feet tall, the big oleanders are to the left, and one of the desert willows we planted is on the right – it’s gone up to about twenty feet already. You can also see our neighbor’s satellite dish up on his roof, he pulled down the big one that was in the yard last year and converted to this small one. This window looks south, and is right over the sink. The pool is around on the north side of the house.

So, what is the view out of your kitchen window? I’d really like to see what it looks like in the UK this time of year.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Joke of the day

Reading a recent post by OTJ brought to mind an old joke, which I probably have told you before but here it is again because I can’t remember if I told it before and I also can’t remember too many of those marvelous jokes that roll around in my mind periodically. Not to say that this is a marvelous one, but for now it is one I remember.

And old lady was visiting her doctor for a normal checkup, and at the end he asked if she had any questions or problems. She thought a second, then told the doctor that yes, she did have a problem, but was not too worried about it. She said that for years she has had a problem with intestinal gas, and was almost continuously passing it around, and in fact was passing some through the whole examination. But it didn’t really bother her as she was quiet about it, and it did not smell. The doctor thought about it, and then wrote her a prescription, telling her to take the pills and come back in two weeks.

Two weeks went by and she was back in the doctor’s office. He asked how she was, and she complained about those pills. Since taking those pills her gas now had become really stinky, and she was getting embarrassed to go out in public, but at least nobody heard her and so she could avoid the blame. The doctor thought a bit, and then said:


“Well, now that we’ve cleared up your sinuses let’s work on your hearing.”

Back halls

When driving almost anywhere I really don’t like to take the freeways. That might come from growing up back east, where the concept of ‘freeway’ has never taken hold, but where the ‘turnpike’ idea is alive and well. The New Jersey Turnpike could be a prime example, where every few miles you have to stop and throw a quarter into a toll machine. At least it used to be a quarter when I lived there. The term goes back a few hundred years to when enterprising people used to put a pole or pike across roads that ran across their lands. You had to pay them to turn the pike so that you could proceed down the road.

Out west these large high speed roads are called freeways, because they are free for drivers to use without paying, as long as you don’t count that $.50 per gallon tax added on to our gasoline. Even though they are free I still don’t like driving on them, so when going places I usually take the back roads. The speed limits are slower, and you can look at the people and businesses and houses as you drive by.

This leads to driving through many interesting areas, as the little lines on the map don’t always equate to nice broad avenues in reality. B always jokes about my showing her every alley and casino loading dock in Vegas during our wanderings, as well as some areas in Oakland that she would rather not return to. But those are other stories.

In keeping with this theme I thought I would present you with some photographs of things in Vegas that you probably will never see on your visits. Today these are taken around where I work, the concrete hallways beneath the pretty sparkling casinos and carpeted public areas. I walk through them every day, as do thousands of workers here that help keep visitors happy up above.

This is a typical passageway, the ceiling hidden by air conditioning ducts, doors along the left leading into the back of conference rooms, on the right a series of chain link fences keep the cans of coke and other items that tend to disappear under lock and key.

All large public buildings have corridors similar to this: it’s one of the emergency exits that lead from the middle of the building to the outside. Very rarely used, they are clean concrete tunnels designed to provide a fireproof exit in case of problems above. You can find them if you push on those doors labeled ‘emergency exit: alarm will sound’. In most large stores there are doors like that around the outside, so every one doesn’t have to rush to the main entrance. The alarms are attached to make it harder to shoplift. But in Vegas casino design restaurants and stores are usually placed around the outside perimeter of a building, with the casino and public rooms in the center. To meet fire safety requirements there are emergency exits everywhere, sometimes they lead down a short flight of stairs into corridors like this, which then provide a wide save route to the outside. Most of the time they are used by the employees as smoking lounges, since smoking inside public areas (except casinos) is now illegal in Nevada (don’t tell anyone about all the butts down here)

This is another back area seen by lots of workers – the link from the kitchen to the public corridors. Tile floors that are frequently scrubbed, wrapped containers on the left store plates and glasses until needed. Rolling carts on the right are either heated or cooled, and used to transport food from the kitchen to serving areas, and to hold food at proper temperatures until served. All of these have inspection stickers from the health department to attest to their temperature holding abilities, or big red ‘do not use until repaired’ signs.

I came across this strange device down under the main hall. I think in my past I might have used something like this, where people insert coins and talk into a part that they hold in their hands. You don’t see them around much anymore.

Way back, a long time ago in Vegas history (about ten years ago), the Sands Expo & Convention Center used to be attached to the Sands Casino. The casino was purchased and imploded in a marvelous display. I couldn’t find a video of it, but here is the recent Stardust takedown.

The Stardust destruction was a little different than most, the new owners shelled out big bucks for some fancy blinking lights and fireworks, knowing that lots of people would be watching and wanting to make it entertaining. Here in Vegas all of these activities take place at 2 in the morning, so as to not inconvenience the Strip crowds.

But back to the Sands – this is a back stairway that used to lead from the Sands Casino into the convention center. With the new construction on the strip the convention center was changed inside, and now the stairs lead down from that emergency exit corridor above into a larger kitchen storage area, so once a main entrance these stairs are not used very much at all any more. Because of the infrequent use the carpet has not experienced much wear and tear, so it still remains. This is the last piece of carpeting from the old Sands that I could find, with the sunburst logo woven in.

This last shot is of a hall in the large hotel located next door. It runs between our big hall upstairs and the fancy carpeted and chandeliered ballrooms in the conference center. One of their kitchens is located way down at the end, and this hall is used to move food from the kitchen into the ballrooms when there are banquets. You can see some dirty cups from an event on the cart on the left, working their way down to the dishwasher. Also evident is the extra money that the hotel has spent – while our back halls are just concrete you can see that this corridor is lined with shiny textured stainless steel panels, easier to clean and bringing a little sparkle even to this back hall.

So, there you are; some areas of Vegas that you will probably never see when you come to visit. So you can join my wife in seeing some unusual sights.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Balls, it was a three fan night.

There’s a medium size show going on today upstairs, all about sporting goods. It only takes up about a quarter of our floor space, but they expect 10,000 attendees over three days. I wandered around before they opened, and probably saw more balls in ten minutes than I will ever see in the rest of my life: basketballs, baseballs, footballs, soccer balls, rugby balls, cricket balls, exercise balls, whatever you can think of as round (or almost) it’s here.

There was a booth from Taiwan that had pictures of an interesting bicycle; the wheels are about eight feet in diameter. For the single person version there is only one wheel, and the rider sits in the center of the wheel. Guess it would be called a unicycle that way. The two rider version has the wheels on the same axle, with the riders in nice seats sitting on the axle between the wheels. There were versions with three seats side by side. This seems like a nice arrangement to me – you get to sit next to your fellow rider instead of behind them looking at butt the whole ride (well, depends on who’s butt you are looking at). Only drawback is that this makes the whole contraption rather wide, and you would probably take up an entire lane on the road.

Since I’m talking about work, here are some pictures I took around here. This first one is of a small triangle that sits next to the parking garage of the big hotel next door. We look down on it when on the bridge going over to the ‘team member’ parking garage across the street. This was just a bare patch of dirt, and in less than a day became this little green area.

The concrete circles were put in place, and the trees just plopped down in them. The gardeners have subsequently put flowers around the outside of the grass area. The ‘grass’ is actually some of the new green artificial grass that is becoming popular in Vegas. If you buy a new home it usually comes with a landscaped front yard. In order to meet watering restrictions any grass put down out there will most likely be this plastic stuff. Used to be called Astroturf, but now it really looks pretty good. A neighbor across the street from us pulled out his grass and put some of this stuff down. Now instead of watering and mowing he just has to sweep periodically.

When pulling into the team member parking garage I usually park on the ninth floor (out of fifteen). To get some exercise (no laughing now) I take the stairs down instead of the elevator, which I do take going up in the evening. Using the stairs on the end I look to the east, and down on the cooling plant for the hotel next to the big hotel next door. On the roof of the cooling plant are six big chillers, which provide the start of cold water used to air condition the hotel rooms. I can tell how hot it was the night before by the number of fans running on the cooling towers.

You can gauge the size of these by the man standing on the ladder in the lower left corner. The convention center has about two dozen of these to cool our space on our roof, and there are three really big ones for the big hotel next door. The two smaller cubes in the photo are what we call ‘swamp coolers’, or evaporative coolers, that cool off the room underneath the chillers.

What the cooling towers do is chill water by evaporation. There are a series of steps inside the big boxes which create little waterfalls. The fans force air through, and some of the water evaporates, cooling the rest of the water that remains. This colder water (not really cold, but colder than when it started) then cycles downstairs and takes heat from other liquid (usually water) which then circulates over to the hotel rooms and provides the cold source for the air conditioning.

This morning three of the big fans were running. I’d guess that the blades are about two and a half meters long, making the entire fan about five meters in diameter. All six probably are running in the middle of the day, but at night the air temp is cooler, making it easier to cool the water, and with lower temps less cold air is required inside. So when I look down on the chillers I say to myself, ‘looks like it was a three fan night’, as opposed to a three dog night which might happen up in Canada in the winter.

Friday, June 08, 2007

E Friday

Haven’t been getting any photos forwarded from Portland of the granddaughter, so it looks like I will eventually run out of these to post. But they are due in for a weeks visit at the end of June; maybe I can get enough to keep me going for a while.

Precious, yes? OK, maybe dressed in pink.

Or green?

Notice the bare feet in all of them.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Garden fruits

Hey – some exciting things going on in my garden. Came across this last week:

Tomatoes in May! Usually I’m wondering if some will be red by the Forth of July. Even though it gets hot here, planting time can’t take place until it stays warm at night. Since this is a desert we usually have a thirty degree swing between night and day, so though it might be up in the high seventies in April it still can swing down to the low 40’s at night, which is too cool for the types of plants we put out that can tolerate the heat. So to get these, even if they are only cherry tomatoes, is exciting.

We had some high winds when the fruit trees were in bloom, which took off most of the flowers. As a result there is not much fruit at all coming out this year. A few apples, almost no peaches and the peach tree didn’t even turn very pink as it some years does. But a new weeping plum was put in last year, and some fruit there managed to hang on.

It’s turning colors, waiting for these to sweeten up and fully ripen, anxious to see if they are as good as I hear.

Three things

I keep forgetting to do this, even though I go over not often enough to read Clare. Sorry.

1. Sunshine and blue skies and sometimes little white clouds.
2. Sitting having breakfast coffee reading the paper outside on my patio, I remembered to put some seed in our bird feeder which sits about six meters away. As a result there are now about twenty little finches and house sparrows quarrelling over the four perches and making a lovely chirpy racket, pushing each other aside and each trying to get their turn.
3. Watching our vicious dog Max run out there to chase the pigeons away. I changed the perches on the feeder so that only the smallest birds can sit and eat, while the pigeons have to shuffle on the ground beneath to find something. Max periodically realizes that there are birds violating his yard, and he runs out there barking. The pigeons just fly onto the power line overhead and wait for him to walk away before returning, the smaller birds stay on the feeder a foot over his head, realizing he isn’t barking at them and he can’t get them anyway.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Songs in my head, or boy am I getting old

(showing my age here) Did you ever sit and have a song bounce around in your head, then realize that it’s an advertising jingle from some product long ago? And then, even worse, not remember what the product was that went with the song? That’s from back when advertisers had special little songs written for their products instead of buying some old rock hit. Well, I’ve had two songs alternating back and forth in my brain for a few days now, and have no idea what started them up.

The first is probably related to the arrival of Spring. I grew up in one of the suburbs of New Jersey, before the term suburb came into vogue. To kids warm weather signaled the return of that long lost favorite – the ice cream truck. And inside was the ice cream man, to deliver all types of cold sweet treats (if you could talk your parents out of a few coins). One I liked was the Good Humor man. He brought all kinds of things in his little vehicle, one where he drove up front in a convertible top and had to get out to open little doors in the back of the truck to find what box the item you wanted was located in. I loved the Strawberry Shortcake and Chocolate Eclairs, with their crunchy outside, smooth ice cream and that flavorful center. You can still buy smaller versions of these things in the supermarket, but they aren’t as big as I remember (well, I was smaller too) and don’t taste as good, but that’s what makes memories so nice.

I don’t remember a song for the Good Humor truck, I think there were just some bells mounted above the windshield that the driver rang while driving. The other cold treat I remember is the Mr. Softee truck. This was a larger van that the driver walked back into, and served you from a window in the side. And this is one of the jingles that I am hearing now – the Mr. Softee jingle. It came from the truck as just tones, but later on tv I heard some words put with the music, and now can sing along instead of just hearing notes. Found it on their web site – at Mr. Softee website - only plays for a few seconds (thank goodness) but that’s what I remember, or the Mr. Softee theme. They just served ice cream cones, but nice soft ice cream. I just liked the plain vanilla, but if you were able to get a few extra coins from mom you could get it dipped in chocolate, which you could then crunch off and still have that cool ice cream underneath.

The other song bouncing around in there is from an old tv show. OK, no comments from the Peanut Gallery now about how old these shows are, and how none of you have ever heard of them before. Those overseas will be excused. Back when I was small I remember sitting in front of the TV on Saturday mornings and watching all the cartoon shows. They seem to be gone now, in favor of other junk for kids, but I loved the cartoons. They were also on each day in the morning, to watch before school, and in the late afternoon, so when kids got home from school they could be plopped down and amused. Living outside of New York we received all of our stations (I think all three of them) from an antenna on top of the Empire State Building, on our little black and white TV. Rather than show only cartoons, which probably were expensive for a station to purchase back then, all of the shows had live hosts, and sometimes studio audiences, who performed and filled time and introduced the cartoons. One of the shows I remember had Ray Heatherton as a mailman. He had a theme song “I’m the merry mailman” that played when the show started, he sang it as he came into view. Ray is probably most famous for his daughter, Joey Heatherton, a long legged dancer who appeared on a variety of shows back in the 60’s.

But that’s not the song I’m hearing. This one is from another cartoon show that had a circus ringmaster as the announcer. It was Terrytoon Circus, with Claude Kirshner as the ringmaster; he had a little clown hand puppet he used to talk to. He was not a very good ventriloquist, the camera used to switch to a tight shot of the puppet when he supposedly talked. If they were not quick enough in switching cameras you would see the ringmaster just talking in the clown’s voice, he didn’t even try not to move his lips. I don’t remember if he had a theme song, but one of the products that he pushed was a thick concoction called Cocoa-Marsh, this was a combination of chocolate and marshmallow, and was designed to be mixed with milk to give a variation on chocolate milk. I don't think I ever tasted the stuff, my parents didn't always buy what was in the advertisements. The song I remember was the Cocoa-Marsh theme song – can’t find a recording of it anywhere. But there’s a Bosco theme song here.

OK, enough of ‘I remember when’ stuff. This was supposed to be about songs running around in your head. Somebody called them ‘earworms’. Guess it fits somewhat.

So I'm singing along to Mr. Softee, and making a Cocoa-Marsh cooler. Any songs running around in your brain lately?

Another one of those stupid . .

OK, since I saw this over at Rob's, and today at Lisa's, I'll have to join in. Guess I am really 'in' to work today, and too lazy to write my own post.

You scored as Scientific Atheist, These guys rule. I'm not one of them myself, although I play one online. They know the rules of debate, the Laws of Thermodynamics, and can explain evolution in fifty words or less. More concerned with how things ARE than how they should be, these are the people who will bring us into the future.

Angry Atheist


Scientific Atheist


Spiritual Atheist




Apathetic Atheist




Militant Atheist


What kind of atheist are you?
created with

Monday, June 04, 2007

Yes, I did

OK, I couldn't take it any more. I broke the rules and walked through the show. But I walked fast, and just from the back hallway over to the stairs. It's still going on, the fancy jewelry show. I didn’t dare wander up to the tower suites – those are invitation only, or the top two floors of the convention center, that’s invitation only too. Just the plain fancy show. And it is just what I thought it would be – 4,000 shiny sparkly jewelry stores, all crammed together.

You know how you might walk through a shopping mall and come across one of those carts out in the middle with all of the sparkling colorful glass necklaces and bracelets and rings? Well, this is kind of like that, except for bits of colored glass it’s real diamonds and rubies and gold and silver.

Looks like the upcoming (or maybe here now, I’m not up on bling) style is micro-pave and colored diamonds - lots of booths pushing 'chocolate - a pale brown diamond, along with yellow diamonds.

Lots of ads for diamond engagement rings, still with a big stone on the top, but instead of a nice gold or platinum band smaller diamonds are mounted all around the band – the sides and the bottom, so that you get sparkle no matter how it’s looked at.

And wide bracelets (three inches or so) that are flexible, just a net of solid stones. One watch on display (OK, one brand of watches) are all shiny – no metal visible anywhere, all stones. And really really sparkly in the spotlights they use.

And for you world travelers that really need to know the time in different cities, how about six watches in one? (for only sixty thousand dollars or so)

Sorry I can't show how all of it really sparkles.

Overheard snippets as I walk:
White, pink or yellow?
With the ruby or the emerald?
Yes, sixty one thousand. (might have been talking about that watch)

Blue moon

Thursday night we had a blue moon – that is what we call the second full moon that occurs in a calendar month. Here’s the Obliquty definition that lists several interesting bits. OK, looking at all of their tables indicates that it wasn’t really a blue moon, guess the full moon didn’t really happen until Friday. Well, it looked pretty full from my front yard.

Recently came across some photos that a fellow worker here took of the new years’ fireworks along the strip. Each New Year’s Eve the hotels along the strip coordinate a big fireworks display. Las Vegas Boulevard is closed from Sahara down to Tropicana, and people wander between the casinos and fall into various stages of drunkenness. Most locals tend to either go down there once, then find the five hours it takes to get your car out of a parking garage is not worth it, or they go every year to enjoy the party. We haven’t gone at all. A friend that is a police man does not enjoy that holiday, all officers are required to put in overtime, and just too many fights occur among the drunks. Anyway, the fireworks are all coordinated between the hotels – shot up from the roofs to music.

It looks like there was a full moon back then too.

Friday, June 01, 2007

E Friday

Looking at my list of photos, and found two from back in March that I haven’t used yet, and it’s already June.

Somebody’s snack. Remember back when Cheerios were quite a treat?

And animals and rubber ducks to fly with – she took them with her to Portland, but doesn’t have a yard with a swing. Actually, her yard is quite small with no play area, but there is a park nearby. One of her favorite things there is an old fashioned spinner – haven’t seen them at Vegas playgrounds, probably because they would turn into kid grills in the summer sunshine.

The first day they went it was rather cold, and puffy jacket time.

It is pleasant to look up at the trees and see them moving around. Plus you don’t have to hang on when somebody pushes.

She also seems to have found an older boyfriend. I understand this guy always comes over when E shows up. (Dad’s problem, not mine)

And the sun even shows up periodically.

But still the horizontal position seems to be getting the most use.