Friday, September 26, 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.

Here are a few random shots, no story but she does look so nice in them. This could be a movie star (in onesies with feet? Definitely not Paris dressed like that)

E has a favorite restaurant, Red Robin, but once we were there on the night Red was, and E was not pleased. That was a while ago, but when asked where she wants to eat the answer will always be Red Robin. Her second favorite seems to be any Mexican place. Burritos are the bomb. (I wonder how much she can cram in there?)

I don’t remember where this one was, but it might have been RR.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The bikes are here

Summer is over, the first day of Autumn was Tuesday, and it does feel like things are changing here. Today’s post from Udge discusses turning on the heater in his flat because it evidently is getting a little too cold over there. Here it also is getting cooler, and we switched over from using the air conditioner to the swamp coolers. Today it’s only supposed to hit 98f (36c, trying to do conversions in my head) and the forecast for the rest of the week shows slowly declining temperatures. It looks like the days of 100 are gone until next June. We will not be turning on our heaters until December or so. Water in our pool is still up at 90f, so evening swims are a little cooler, as the air temp and water temp are about the same. But it means we will probably be floating around in the daytime instead of just at dusk. It will not be too long before the water is too cool for me.

The bike show is running upstairs today, it fills up all four halls upstairs but the downstairs hall is empty. That’s forty thousand people wandering around, and the effect I notice is one of absorption: all of those bodies just suck up the cell phone signals and I have to walk out to the street in order to make a call. My office is down in the basement, under several feet of concrete, so signals are not very good normally anyway. The lobby is filled with spandex and wheels, there are signs posted out front about not chaining bicycles to the railings and black skid marks are all over the sidewalks. It is hard to tell the boys from the girls amongst all these riders; all have muscles and short hair and no makeup, all seem physically fit and provide quite a contrast to the bride’s show of a few weeks ago. Overheard conversations in the halls show they discuss hydraulic vs cable brakes, composite frames vs titanium, and which trail at Red Rock is more challenging. This show looks to be even larger than last year’s was, with the booths crowded together and more people attending. With all the talk of the economy falling it’s nice to see that some people are ignoring the news and just enjoying living.

Last week there was a big computer group here, comparing it to the electronics show in January, and even Comdex, the geek ratio was outrageous. We went down to the food court for lunch and could not find a place to sit: there was one person with a laptop per table, and they were not sharing. Not eating, just using the laptops and tables as working area and keeping us hungry folks from having a sit down. The liquor locker is next to our office, and out in G hall they usually set up the bars which are then rolled out to the show floor. For the geeks last week it was all high end liquor: fancy vodka and scotch. This week it’s all beer, there were thirty keg setups out there yesterday, but not for the cheap stuff, no, most of them were nice beers like Heineken, and very popular was a brew called Fat Tire Ale. I was surprised to find that bikers like beer, what with all the spandex and trim butts. The bartenders started rolling out the carts right after lunch, most of them went into booths rather than open bars, I guess that is a way some vendors get customers to come by; free beer.

Scrolling through my file of links I see that I tied Udge to a comic that he periodically refers to: xkcd. Well, pushing the Prev button sure killed quite a lot of time there. Something you can’t see in the post, but well, my clock does. Today’s seems rather appropriate for me:

As mentioned a few days ago, I picked up Spore last Friday, and my wife is getting rather perturbed at my sitting at the machine again, flying little spaceships among the stars. One of Udge’s readers, Zhoen, put up a video (yes, I know it’s not Monday) that for some reason I rather enjoy this morning. I’ve clicked replay quite a few times now and still like it, the music and the motion of the hands:

Thanks Z, There’s your quiet spot for the day.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Funny video Monday

Better rate this post PG-13, not sure you want to have the kids watch these, either they will get ideas or start asking questions.

After her trip up to Portland to visit granddaughter E we were discussing tantrums. E is three and recently started falling to the ground and screaming. I don’t know where she picked this up, but evidently it is fairly universal. After searching for some technical articles we went to YouTube and searched for temper tantrums, and came up with hundreds from around the world. The general feeling is that there are two types of temper tantrums, ones expressing frustration and tantrums trying to exert control. This video seemed to demonstrate a tantrum where the kid is trying to exert control, as titled, why waste a temper tantrum if nobody is around to see it?

As long as we are going for comedy today we can still do some music. This is one of my favorite songs from Groucho - Lydia oh Lydia! If you look at the little pictures at the bottom after there will be a version by Kermit and the Muppets.

I don’t know how I bounced over to these guys, but the Flight of the Conchords sings about something every guy thinks about, when he’s down to his socks it’s Business Time

Don’t know why, but I think of Oh the Joys when I hear that last song. So either she pointed to it, or something she said about K brings it to mind.

OK, since Teri can post links to Monty Python, I can too, well, at least Eric is still in the group though a bit older. A short one, and be sure to watch the end (get it, the end? You will). This one I think DA will get the biggest kick out of.

Friday, September 19, 2008

E Pirate Friday

Arrrrg me harties. It’s international Talk Like A Pirate Day, so me be tryin’ it. Not doin’ it too well, but it also be E Friday, so maybe the pics ‘ll save me. (what? You didn’t remember, even after my reminder?)
Ye remembers E Fridays? Wherin I puts up some o dem E pics for yer enjoyment. So here she goes:
Here she be partakin in some fine grub down a her local Mexican eatery

Bean burritos - almost as much fun a few hours later. An one o her birthday presents - Legos (like in lego my butt, ye been at sea too long)

And ‘er grannis’ favorite one, Tickle Me Elmo, twas almost too hard ta give away, grammy be fallin down laughin like Elmo hisself

So, poor try, but there ye be. (but I would much rather be Cap’n Jack, and he sounds so much better)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Local TV

I live about three miles west of the Strip. The place where I work is right on Las Vegas Boulevard, with our building just on the east side a little bit. I drive straight down a street called Desert Inn, named after the casino that used to be on the corner, now occupied by the Wynn. Their golf course is still back there across the street from us, the last big spot of green on the Strip, where every hotel used to have a course out back. All gone now, to building expansion and parking lots.

Interstate 15 runs through Las Vegas, parallel to the Strip and just to the west of the big hotels, so to get here from my house (yes, I write most of these posts at work, shhh, don’t tell my boss) I have to cross both I-15 and the Strip. Desert Inn (DI) crosses over I-15, and the railroad tracks that run alongside, on a wide bridge. Most of the east/west roads jump over 15, but a few do go underneath it. DI then drops down and goes underneath Las Vegas Boulevard, it is the only large road that does not cross directly. This avoids all of the traffic, and the waiting at traffic lights due to all of the tourists driving up and down the Strip looking at the big fancy resorts. DI is also unusual in that there are no on and off ramps to I-15, as almost every other big road has.

Las Vegas is laid out like many other towns in the west in a big nice even grid. All the streets run either north/south or east/west, there are very few diagonal roads and no major curves. The state is building a big loop freeway that will circle everything, but that will not be done for a few years, so we have I-15 as the only major freeway that runs right through the middle of everything. Major streets are spaced a mile apart, with most of them having three lanes in each direction along with a wide center divider for left turns. In the middle of this grid is the heart of the city, in Las Vegas that is Fremont Street and the old casinos. In Salt Lake City it’s the big Mormon Temple. In Phoenix it’s the downtown area that has recently been much rebuilt. It was probably easy to lay things out like this because there was nothing out here when the design started, and the land is flat and open, unlike most of the east coast that took centuries to grow up.

Back to my morning drive; as DI crosses over I-15 up at the top of the overpass there is a place where a ramp does go down into the back industrial areas (this is our back way to get to the parking garage for the big shopping center avoiding lots of traffic) and an on ramp from the same place. This provides a large triangular place between DI, the off ramp and the on ramp that is almost directly over the middle of I-15. Being the only major freeway in the area, and in addition the route from the Los Angeles/Southern California area north to Salt Lake City, Denver and beyond, there is always a lot of traffic, with very frequent accidents and much delays and bumper to bumper crawling stuff, frequently in both directions. Several of the local television stations are located near DI and I-15 (it is a large industrial area) and quite frequently there is a TV remote van parked on this triangular area, as I-15 down below provides a nice backdrop for short remote segments during the news shows.

There was one there this morning, a large van with fancy big printing all over it, a tall antenna raised overhead, one guy with a tripod and camera and a woman walking back and forth, waiting for her fifteen seconds on air, live overlooking 15. I’m sure that you all have seen these young eager to get that full time gig reporters, the ones that end up with the jobs no one else would take for fifteen seconds on air, with the hopes that next week it will be thirty and next year perhaps a spot at the desk inside of the studio. I see one of these remote vans at least once a week, either in the morning drive in catching the morning news or in the afternoon going home, to be on the early evening news reporting on the typical daily traffic jam on I-15 shown behind them. I’ve seen them standing out there in 115 degree weather and in the cold winter rain, pacing back and forth practicing their lines so that they will sound OK on air and not blow their big chance. Sometimes there are two vans from competing stations there, once I saw three of them; impressive because we only have three local stations in town. All parked next to each other, the cameras and lights and reporters standing just a few feet apart because even though it is a large triangle it isn’t altogether that big. I’ve even made it home a few times and caught them on the air, interesting to compare them, driving past them standing out there and a few minutes later standing on that screen in my TV room, how professional it looks while I know it’s just on the side of a road on an overpass above the freeway.

We were watching some movie a few months ago that revolved around a television studio and a news show. One of the characters was the new guy, the one that would have to stand in the blowing snow out in front of the courthouse where a big trial was being held live for the eleven pm news, the only person out there in the wind and snow and dark trying to talk about what went on that day in his fifteen second spot, freezing while waiting for them to call and say he was on the air. During the commercial my wife flipped (yes, she usually has the remote and does the channel flipping during commercials) the channel over to the news, and there on screen was some poor guy out in front of the downtown Las Vegas courthouse all alone talking about some trial that had been going on earlier that day. It sure looked as if it was right out of the movie except he was nice and warm instead of in the freezing blowing snow. I guess every business has a path you have to follow in working your way up the chain, for TV news it probably starts with getting coffee and carrying the story sheets, moving on to writing bits, then these fifteen second remote gigs on to the short interview with the famous celebrity in town for a charity event for a small town local station, then on to the big city following a similar path and hopefully for the remote few onto the network news. I work as a programmer, and it is similar here, but without the having to look pretty on air, just having to make a great presentation to the big boss on how well the project is doing.

I used to regularly read a blog by a young woman that worked for a station here in town, had a link over there on the right to her pages, until she password protected it. Guess she was found out by somebody at work and started having problems about her writing, oh well, it can happen to anyone. She wasn’t a reporter but a producer, with her own background stories to tell. Interesting to me, as it is an industry I have never been involved in.

We have the OJ trial going on downtown right now, I’ve been skipping the news since B isn’t here (back this afternoon!) so I have been missing all the stories, but even the national radio stations I do hear have been talking about it. So I know that there are probably dozens of reporters from all over out there on the steps, trying to figure out what to say that would make their bit unique and interesting.

And somebody else in town that I read regularly, Loraloo (over there to the right near the bottom with some other Vegas people) has taken the time to give me this:

Thanks, LL, I have too many people that I would like to give this to to pick a short list, so besides yourself (love the stories about your kid and trips to Caliente) I would pass this on to D. Probably for all the stories of the fun family events she goes to and all the interesting nieces and nephews, but right now it’s the visions of skinny dipping while wearing a life vest that are in my mind (sorry T man).

More politics (not an endorsment today)

Bouncing around (yes, see the below cartoon) this morning I came across this posting by MB. It is a political observation by Craig Ferguson. I have never heard him before, he has a late night show that is on way past my bedtime. Here he discusses the campaigns, and no, he does not take any side or even mention which candidate he supports, but it is a very good commentary on the directions of the campaigns, and his closing few sentences are really to the point. So I don’t care if you are a Republican or Democrat, please take some time to listen to what he has to say. Thanks MB for the reference.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Brought to you by:

That last post was brought to you by: (also from Anna's list)
cartoon from

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

More politics - Keith

Oh, I was trying to stay away from politics; I try to direct myself towards light entertainment here, as I find there are too many places where you are directed towards bad attitudes. Unfortunately at home my wife is always listening to news on television, and leans (well, not so much lean as run in that direction) towards the television shows that support the Democrats. I try to avoid the politics, it’s sickening to me how people don’t think the same way that I do, and usually go sit at my computer in the office or find some work to do outside, which is challenging in Las Vegas in the summertime, but she usually calls me in to watch something she finds particularly interesting. Keith Obermann has a show on msnbc which is usually on when I come home, and I do stop to listen to his little editorial comments that are presented periodically.

Somebody new left a comment on my pirates post, Anna F from England came by, (Hi Anna, don't know how you got here, but thanks for coming!) so I thought in return I would go look at what she was writing. I usually do that, wander over to see what commenters have to say themselves, and add them to my ‘go back’ list if I like their style. Unfortunately my list is now so large I don’t usually have the time to visit everyone as often as I would like to. Anyway, she had a post about American politics which I really liked (go read for yourself) and as part of that post she had a clip from one of Obermann’s editorials. You might not be a Democrat, but just listen; he writes very well, puts things together, and has a tremendous presentation:

OK, enough politics for today. Sorry about that, soon back to our regular programming.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Monday videos - Busby's dancing girls

Wow, another Monday. This seemed like a lost weekend - B is up in Portland visiting granddaughter E. Her folks went away for the weekend, so grammy got so spend some alone time with E. Unfortunately she found our little darling has turned into a three year old lay on the floor kicking and screaming ‘I DON’T WANT TOOOOOOOOOOOO - NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO’ monster. Granddad is glad he didn’t go.

So what did I do in Vegas during my alone time? (no, not over yet, she won’t be back until Thursday) Did I call over the topless dancing girls? Did I hit the casinos and blow my paycheck? Did I finally get to eat that $350 meal at Guy’s (since I can’t afford two, or even one for that matter)? Did I do all of the chores left around the house for me? No, I was sucked in by the Time Spore of Satan. That’s Spore, as in the new video game of that name. Now I sit all day in front of a computer, and have some customers at work I take home to do when there. I am not good at video games, my reaction time is pretty poor, so I just hate those shoot-em-up games. But I like the ones that make you think, and especially if they let you save periodically so you can try over and over again. A long time ago I was stuck on Apple Panic (anybody remember that far ago?). I’ve been watching the previews for Spore, which seems very pretty and logical and inventive - no shooting, not much dying, lots of choices. So I hit the big store on Friday and got one. Well, 2am Saturday I was still going putting things on my little guy. (that might not seem late for you guys, but I’m usually in bed before 10, getting up at 5:15 for work) And so went Saturday again until 2, and all of Sunday, but I did hit the bed around 10. I don’t want to say that this game is addictive, but . . .

So that is why I skipped that other computer time puller, Second Life. Udge got me stuck on that one. I just like walking around, finding things, and talking to people. It’s a little different than Spawn, because there is some interaction with real people rather than just light on the screen. But both of them take a lare amount of time. Please, just don’t tell B where I was.

OK, enough of my weekend; on to some old music today. I might have posted these in the past. But I still like them. Some of my favorite movies are old musicals, I can watch reruns of these any time. Busby Berkeley is the king of the grand spectacles, Since everyone says the economy is tanking, we can go back to the ‘great depression’ and see how they were in the money:

Most of the story lines of those movies were supposed background scenes where Broadway musicals were being put on, with a little love story between Ruby Keeler (most of the time) and Dick Powell. Two good examples of how much effort was put into those films can be found in the Gold Diggers of 1933 and 1935. But Dames of 1934 had tons of dames.

Looking at this I find interesting how the idea of beautiful changes. Look at movies today and the shape and facial features seem quite different than most of these girls. But back to spectacles, there were two grand numbers I remember from these films, one a violin scene, the other with dancing pianos. I did fing the piano one. Remember, this supposedly is taking place on a stage in a Broadway theatre, as if an audience could see it, or there were stages this big and shiny

So - more musical history for you, brought to you by Busby Berkeley and hundreds of dancing girls. And Ginger Rogers before she met Fred Astaire (yes, I like those dancing movies too, but that's for another Monday).

Friday, September 12, 2008

Advance warning - Talk Like a Pirate

Oh - just a quick advanced reminder (I missed it last time around, glad for the reminder email):


September 19th -- next Friday -- be International Talk Like A Pirate Day!
This be yer one-week reminder email, wi' details o' everythin' that be goin'
on o'er the country. It be worth readin' t'the end, because I be stickin' a
pirate joke there like normal!

You can get more details over at Cap'n Tom’s place. He is in Britain, and has a list of activities around the country that will celebrate the day.

Oh - his joke?
Q: Why are pirates good at boxing?
A: They be havin' great right hooks.

So plan ahead for your posts next Friday, and ye be talkin’ like a pirate too mates.

More E birthday

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 our daughter in June (well, yes, I’ll admit it, we really went up to see E) and be there for E’s third birthday. I posted photos already of the little stove setup we made for her. But while wandering the neighborhood I also came across another find. Somebody a few streets over was giving away one of those little plastic play houses. Yes, sitting out in the driveway with a ‘free’ sign on it. Well, it is recycling Portland after all, and they do charge for each trash can and do not take bigger things, so I guess this is one way to get rid of old stuff. I was out walking and just came across it - I like to walk and E was taking her nap anyway. The house looked well used; the yellow and red plastic parts were faded, with some mold growing on the roof (it’s Portland, there is mold on everybody’s roof) but I figured we could wash it and clean it up.

So I walked back to the house and asked daughter if she would mind having it in the back yard. No objection, so I grabbed our son (also there for the birthday) and we went back to carry the thing. It is one of those molded plastic houses about four feet high and maybe three by four feet across inside. The plastic is injection molded so that the walls are about two inches thick, the pieces all interlock and are screwed together also. It also has a built in counter with two burner stove and a small sink, to make food prep easier.

Figuring it couldn’t be too heavy we picked it up and proceeded to walk down the sidewalk. Well, we found out one drawback to that style of construction. The walls were a two inch void, and after a few years the molded plastic developed some cracks along the seams. Well, these cracks were near the top, and allowed water to seep in. I hear what you are thinking - where did the water come from in Portland? Probably lawn sprinklers, yes, that’s probably it. So over time water leaked into the walls, but the cracks were all on top, so the water had no way to get out, resulting in the walls having about eight inches of water in the bottom. This we didn’t find out about until we started to pick it up, and found out that what was probably forty or fifty pounds of plastic now had an additional hundred or so pounds of water inside, with no way to get it out.

The two of up plodded along with the house. Since it was not new the screws were rusted, and I knew that if I tried to take it apart it would not go back together again and stay together, we carried it whole. Not an easy thing to do, as it had no handles and was rather large. And now we found out it was really heavy. After much complaining and quite a few rest stops along the way we eventually made it to E’s driveway. Grandma brought out a bucket of water and bleach and washed it down, and I got out a drill and made some holes in the bottom of the walls to let the water out (wish I did this before we carried it). So now this resides in E’s back yard, and she has a relatively dry little place to play outside. She promptly made us all a pot of tea (yes, I think it was bug tea) and cakes to celebrate.

She also washed the dishes up after we had our refreshments

The windows have shutters that close, in the above pictures they are open, but she likes to pull them closed and have some privacy inside. Later in the week we went to Ikea (B likes it, and we got some chairs and stuff to haul back to Vegas - no Ikea here, nearest one is San Bernardino, a few hundred miles away) and we also picked up a little table and some chairs that fit very nicely inside the little house. So E and Grammy would sit inside and have tea and talk.

As part of her birthday celebrations dad also made her pancakes. She likes pancakes for breakfast. These didn’t have blueberries, her favorite, but they did have strawberries.

So she was happy.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wednesday nothing

Well, September has been getting on here in loverly Las Vegas. The weather has cooled down a bit. Temps are predicted for the low 100's for the next few weeks.

That was from last week, but it's supposed to be a little cooler for a few days, but back up there by the weekend. We had a few thunderstorms - this is the rainy season here, wet air drifts up from Mexico, and we sometimes get the remains of Texas hurricanes. There was enough water falling from the sky at our house on Monday that the dust was driven off of the grass, but that was about it. We sat out under the metal patio roof and listened to the little rain that did fall, and our dog hid from the thunder. After I left work on Monday evidently everyone at work heard about the water falling from the sky and walked out to the front and watched. We work down in the basement, with two feet of concrete overhead and no windows, thunder sounds about the same as forklifts upstairs unloading trucks, so we depend on the guards that wander around outside to tell us when the weather changes. All the noise and drama, but we still are down under two inches of rain for the year.

The big clothing shows are gone, and for this week and next we have some technical conferences for software companies. The group in this week is smaller, but next week is quite busy. Our lower small hall has been set up to serve the food

We are getting in five hundred servers, the room is about half filled with tables and chairs and it looks like there is seating for about ten thousand down here. Not very fancy, but when the tablecloths are put out and the silver sparkles it will be OK. Not really nice, but the ballrooms will be filled for the conference and where else can you sit ten thousand people at once for meals? Here is what it looks like upstairs, where we are feeding about 4,000 in half of one of the halls. It's a little sparklier with all the silver out.

That’s the way most of Vegas works. We have three full time chefs in the kitchen, who plan things, order stuff and prepare samples for prospective show managers, all the other food handlers come in on a temp basis when needed. When there is a big show we will have dozens of cooks and food prep workers in the kitchens, all sorts of runners pushing big silver boxes around that are either hot or cold to deliver the stuff, servers, cleaners, cash register people, all kinds of workers wandering. For next week it will be five hundred servers, dressed in their black pants and vests, white shirts and bow ties. Usually for events like this the big resort hotel casino next door supplies the food, we supply the servers and our kitchen feeds the servers. I guess it’s tradition that food servers are also fed, I have no idea where that comes from, maybe to keep them from snitching things off of the plates. Of course, they don’t get the fancy stuff, but sometimes lunch is comprised of what was prepared and not served to the customers the day before. The rest of the employees here don’t get fed though, we just watch. Some of the servers do pretty well - for shows like this there is a gratuity added to the bill which is split, so working on call part time during a good year can bring a well known (and frequently called) worker pay up towards the six figure range. That’s a very good year; a slow year might bring you down to ten or fifteen grand, quite a drop. I was talking to my friend the chef that we always go to for carved turkey when there is a show we can eat at, and last year he only had forty three paid days. I don’t know what else he does, but I don’t know how he survives on that (only the banquet servers split tips).

So these weeks are really busy for the food and beverage office, as well as personnel. They have to call the union to get all of these banquet servers sent over, interviewed, photographed for IDs, parking passes issued and processed for payroll purposes. We then have the parking garage stuffed for a few days, and the back halls crowded with penguins just talking away, clocking in and waiting for serving time. Plus all the food carts traveling through, the temp housekeeping people that do the cleanup coming in after the service, and all the ancillary personnel required to ramp up for large groups.

The big wedding show was here last week. It comes every six months, so this is the third one I’ve gotten to see since starting work here. The September show presents the spring wedding fashion line, so it’s larger than the February show. This one had more booths and square footage than the one last year, but the number of buyers seemed to be much less. I guess it all follows the economy; companies have to come to shows to advertise, and just hope that buyers will come and place orders. I have no idea how many orders were placed, who knows, people might still do fancy weddings even if there is no money floating around. This show provided employment for many local models - there were several dozen scattered among the booths, wearing fancy dresses and strutting the catwalks, or just standing in front of smaller booths. There is another profession that probably does not result in major income - tall thin pretty models are frequently in demand, but they also probably have a great many days when there is nothing to do.

After these two weeks of computers will come the big bike show, where the newest in fiberglass and moly blends will be displayed. This year they’ll probably have some of the bikes that were used in the Olympics, maybe even the riders on display. I’m not a big biker, though it is nice and flat around Vegas, with some gorgeous trails around the parks and interesting rides through the rough desert if you’re into that stuff. There is a big area here for employees to lock up their bikes, but the only workers I see using it ride because they can’t afford cars, not because it’s the environmentally right thing to do. Then we’ll be on to the winter run of different shows, keeping the facility full until next April or so when it tapers off.

I hope the Democrats get back in. I don’t care what the so called analysts say, I can just look at things from my point of view. As a free lance consultant there was always more work during Democratic administrations, the Clinton years were very good for the economy in Southern California (and the rest of the US). Another four years of sending our money and lives overseas will just drag things down even more. I can see it from the decline in the number of show attendees we have, and the number of tourists that come through Vegas. All of the hotels are offering cheap rates now, because of the poor economy and lack of visitors. Bragging about voting with the current president 90% of the time does not indicate an attitude of change.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Video Monday - classy women

I was having a discussion (electronic of course) with somebody about what constitutes a ‘classy’ woman (to me at least). There are several women that I think of as being classy; unfortunately most of them come from past movie days, and not inside of my life. I think of class as more of an attitude, being comfortable with yourself and presenting yourself as comfortable and pleasant. Yes, the way you look has something to do with it, but it is more the way you act. But also if you are acting like that then you will probably look like that as well. Not to say that you can’t be classy dressed in jeans, but they probably will not be greasy torn jeans but ones that are pressed with sharp creases. It’s also the way she talks – I can’t picture Grace swearing at anything.

The first woman I think of is Grace Kelly. Her role in Rear Window is one that first comes to mind, but she acted the same way in all of her movies. Since it isn’t a musical there aren’t many clips around, but here is a short one:

I think its Christen Dior.

The next name that comes to mind is Catherine Deneuve. She always looked classy. I think she became better as she got older. The movie she looked best in was The Hunger, a vampire movie that didn’t make it to number one. Then again, it might be the accent as well. Another non-musical, so not many clips, but here she is with Susan Sarandon. Comparing the two of them together, Catherine just seems far classier.

Not much of Catherine there, but it’s the concept perhaps. And I did like the movie; it’s one I purchased back on big video disks before DVDs came out. I just don’t like the way things ended up.

OK, enough of beautiful women. (well, I can never have enough of beautiful women, but, well, for this post that’s it). Here is something brought to mind by Rob, a video I have been hearing about on PBS radio. Just a little rap, with some big words and things you can then go look up (if interested). Perhaps Payton can become distracted from his sharks and move into a little different world. It's the Cern supercolider that's in the news recently.

Friday, September 05, 2008

More politics

OK, let's skip Mr. McCain for now and do what everyone else is doing, pick on vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. One of the best things I've read is by Jamie Lee Curtis (and I didn't even know she was a political analyst, I just thought she was sexy, but with a mind):

The scariest thing I hear about the Palin nomination was that she would appeal to voters because they would be able to relate to her and she to them. I get that. There are many places where relatability is key. I am a recovering addict alcoholic and finding another group that relates to my struggles is/was key to my sobriety. When I am at school I find myself grouping with others whose kids share the same issues, interests. People tell me all the time that the More magazine article where I showed what my real body looked like in comparison to the air brushed images most women are fed, was important and made me relatable. That too is great. The problem is I may be relatable and share some of your experiences and concerns but you don't want me as president of United States. Relatability gets you nothing in a complex financial crisis. Relatability doesn't help you understand the Gordian knot of trouble in the Middle East. Relatability doesn't help you untangle the obscenity which is our health care and insurance system and relatability doesn't train the hundreds of thousands of new teachers and repair and rebuild the smashed infrastructure and schools where they work.

I couldn't hold my own for one minute in a debate on any issue with someone like a Barack Obama or Joseph Biden and neither can Sarah Palin. When the call comes at 3AM I want a mind who was at the top of their class, who has gravitas and a real intellect. I want a leader who is a scholar who can hold the history of civilization in his head and will read and learn from the past as he charts the future. Real debates, where issues are explored, are the only way, prior to an election, to get the two candidates and their running mates to share their ideas and plans for the myriad contingencies they will/might face. This isn't a test. We don't get a re-do. This is the hardest time this generation has ever faced and people are all scared about the economy, our health care and mostly our children's futures. That is what millions of Americans and I can relate to.

OK, let's put up a video as well:

E at breakfast

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.

While visiting we walked down to a loverly local eatery one day for breakfast. I don’t want to say that E sometimes hams it up for the camera, but E sometimes hams it up for the camera. As evidenced here:

See? No descriptions necessary. She is cute while doing it though, isn’t she?

Thursday, September 04, 2008


Quoting Jane Ann Morrison from Monday’s Review Journal:

Here are some rules of considerate conduct that she discussed, most of them seemed quite logical, which is probably why few people exhibit these skills: Pay attention. Acknowledge others. Think the best. Listen. Be inclusive. Speak kindly. Don’t speak ill. Accept and give praise. Respect even a subtle "No". Respect others’ opinions. Be agreeable. Keep it down (and rediscover silence). Respect other people’s time. Respect other people’s space. Apologize earnestly. Assert yourself. Avoid personal questions. Care for your guests. Be a considerate guest. Think twice before asking for favors. Refrain from idle compliments. Accept and file constructive criticism. Don’t shift responsibility and blame.

She started her article by talking about people that were not very considerate of others. Tess just posted about standing in line at the grocery checkout with full cart and kids and letting people with fewer items go ahead of her, and asked how many go aheads was ok? I’ve become rather vicious after a few times at the market; I don’t shop very often, so usually have a fairly full cart. I used to let people with one or two items in ahead of me, but the last two proceeded to pay with paychecks without having ID, so instead of a quick thirty second transaction I ended up standing for fifteen minutes while managers were called and banks were phoned and information was obtained, so now I don’t let anybody in line ahead of me. It's up to the store to keep that ten items or less line open for people with just a few things to purchase. Does that sound that bad? OK, which of the above items am I missing out on?

But back to the rules of civility; perhaps it's because I live in a tourist oriented town with a lot of transients moving through, or maybe I’m just an old fart that remembers things incorrectly, but I sure have noticed that a lot of people are not very nice. This would include the general driving population, as we seem to have the world’s worst drivers. Not just the ones that cut you off then flick a convenient digit at you, or the ones that sit on your bumper pushing you while you do the speed limit (yes, I admit it, I’m old and drive in the right lane and only do five over the limit) then zip around and wave, or the ones that pass everyone sitting at a red light over in the right turn only lane, block traffic behind them by not turning right, then drive straight ahead and force themselves in. Just in general the drivers here are really bad, and not friendly about it as well.

No, my main complaint is about the general way that people feel they are the center of everything, and all things should wait on them. Some examples:
1. Tourists, that feel they can stop right in the middle of wherever they are and take pictures of each other - no, don’t walk in front of the camera, they are there.
2. Shoppers, that feel they should be next to check out, and you are just standing there in line to look at things.
3. People phoning into a store with questions, who feel the clerk should ignore customers standing in front of them and run around the store to check stock for the phone caller.
4. That person in the restaurant, that wants service right now, the waiter is theirs and heck with the rest of the tables, and why is the food taking so long and why did you let my coffee cup get down to half full?
5. Drivers (yes, again) that own the road, heck, so what if they are in the left lane and want to make a right turn, that’s the way they want to go so it is up to you to avoid them.
6. Store clerks talking to their friends on the cell phone, hey, just stand in front of the register and wait, they’ll get to you eventually.
7. That person on the cell phone talking loudly to whomever, wherever, without regard to anyone. Be it at a restaurant, movie, supermarket, or just standing in the middle of the sidewalk waving their arms. Hey, I’m talking here.

So, can you add to this list? I know there are probably a number of things that I do which annoy people (who, me?).

Can’t we all just get along?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Monday videos

OK, sorry, guess I’ve been spending too many video days with nice Brazilian music. So today let’s go for something different. Here are three videos that offer such variety you should be stunned.
This one I remember well, and still enjoy it when it shows up on the radio. I always did want one of those hats.

And for something totally different

In honor of our major political conventions, let’s put up something patriotic. Please, feel free to sing along.