Monday, December 15, 2008

No shows and skunks

This was a busy weekend. We spent Saturday finishing up E’s presents and baking cookies, and Sunday I went off to Boulder City and played with trains all day. There is a state park there that has a real train that you can ride on and in December Santa is on the train on weekends and hundreds of kids and parents come out to ride. I didn’t ride the big train, our group set up our model trains (don’t call then toys!) along with other groups and we showed off our marvelous scenery creation skills and kept yelling at little kids to keep their fingers off the trains!!!! The good news is that gifts are done and wrapped and B will be off to the packing and shipping place to get them on their way this morning, and I finished up with piles and piles of cookies. Well, B made her Pecan Sandies and I did a half dozen other types along with some fudge. Pics to follow, whenever I get computer time to format them.

At work things are quiet. There are no more shows this year, for some reason people would rather stay home for Christmas than come to Vegas for work. The first week of the year will be used for setup for two of our largest shows, which then open. The first shows here are the electronics show and the adult expo, collectively called the week of freaks and geeks. The electronics show will have some of the latest inventions and upcoming items, but people tend to dress up in fancy costume for the adult show; most of the costumes are rather skimpy in nature and not too unusual for Las Vegas, but would probably get the wearers (or non-wearing depending on what is being emphasized) arrested in almost every other city in the country. There is no parking garage for our facility, show attendees must park in either the tower or the underground area in the big hotel casino resort next door. This requires them to then walk through the casino floor or the shopping area and the restaurant corridor before getting down to our space. The ‘professionals’ that are staffing the show usually are dressed more conservatively than some of the fans, but conservative is a relative observation, with some of the men favoring chaps (just the front chap part, no pants underneath) which produces interesting views, like these but without the jeans or shirt:

The women tend toward emphasizing the much enhanced chestal regions, with small strips of cloth offering no support but very immodest coverage, or just a few appropriately placed band aids, coupled to miniskirts that have a better relationship to belts than to skirts, with a few strings as undergarments optional. That’s the clothing for people working the show, people attending the show tend to wear less, or different. Sorry, no pictures here but you should be able to easily find some on the internets someplace if you really are interested. It is amusing to walk here from the main casino areas following attendees and looking at the faces of people just here to gamble. We all are looking forward to a few quiet weeks followed by these interesting shows.

Off reading First Nations and something she said brought this to mind.

This brings back my skunks story: have I told you this one before? Probably, but my mind is not that good at partial remembrances so if you heard this one before feel free to just skip onto your next blog. For those of you not in the states let me first describe a skunk. It is a rather midsized wild animal, usually a little larger than a house cat, with a very bushy tail and distinctive coloring, usually all black with a white strip running down the top from head to tip of tail. They are very easy to recognize.

When threatened they stamp their feet and hiss at you, followed by their raising tail and fluffing it out. If that is not enough to scare you away then they turn and face away from you and again shake their tail, followed by squirting you with the most foul liquid you will ever smell. Wikipedia describes it as a mix of rotten eggs, ammonia and burning rubber, but there are really no words that describe how bad it is. They dig and eat grubs and other small things, so their sense of smell is quite good, but their eyesight is very bad. Consequently the major cause of death is vehicular. Usually sleeping all day and coming out at night, if you wander the wilds of North America you will probably come across one.

We had them living in the canyon behind our house in San Diego, frequently wandered up into our back yard. Our dog Max met a baby, and from then on was able to recognize the scent. Unfortunately he met it one night in our back yard on a weekend that B was away. So I was awoken at two in the morning by a crying, stinking dog which had to be washed off repeatedly. Max hates baths, which made it even more difficult. There are formulas for cleaning, with tomato juice being an old remedy, but nothing will take all of the scent off, so having a wet skunky dog in bed under my nose was not pleasant.

Back when we lived in Temecula (halfway between San Diego and Los Angeles) we often had foreign exchange students stay with us. This is how we met the Swedish doctor that we see and correspond with. One summer we had an Australian student, and on a nice summer day (well, in southern California every summer day is nice) we took him and two other Australian girls staying at another house off to Disneyland. After a pleasant day we drove home after the park closed. It was about an hour drive, through some pretty empty countryside at the time. The road was three lanes in each direction, with not very many cars out. I don’t remember what brought it up, it might have been that song playing, but we were discussing skunks. Australia doesn’t have any, so our verbal descriptions were just starting when one wandered across the road in front of us. As he asked ‘what does one look like’ I just had a second to point and say ‘like that (thump) and that’s what they smell like’. Just like in the song, we were in our little station wagon, which smelled like skunk for many weeks afterward.

Oh - FN - partially cloudy this morning, 34f when we got up. It was raining here on the Strip at lunchtime, but my wife says it was snowing at our house. We're about three miles west and up a hundred feet in elevation. Our place is usually 8f lower than the official low (at the airport) in winter and 5f higher in summer. I'll take pictures if it's still there.

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