Wednesday, December 30, 2009

She's back!

There are several writers that really are very good at telling stories, several of them are blended in over there on the right side. One that supposedly quit writing a while back I haven't looked for in a while, but she is writing again. It's FirstNations. Now her style might not suit some of you, but go back and look at some of her stories in the past and see how well she can describe a situation. Yea!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas in Vegas 2009

Thought I’d show you what Vegas looks like at Christmas. This year we didn’t get any snow, or rain but a lot of wind. The leaves have finally fallen off of most of the trees out back.

We decided to do a short Christmas Eve trip down to the Strip just to walk around a bit. We parked at our usual location in the Fashion Show Mall and encountered a lonely Santa awaiting customers. The mall was fairly empty, especially so close to a big giving holiday. Perhaps everyone was home getting ready for family.

We shopped a bit, and stopped for coffee at our favorite chain and watched people getting massaged.

We went outside and crossed over to the Venetian to see what they did to their mall, this is looking west down Sands Boulevard across Las Vegas Boulevard.

In the Palazzo they continued with their imitation of a smaller Bellagio with some bears, these made of poinsettias. We’ll visit the Bellagio Conservatory next week, their bears are made of carnations.

They also kept that big vine strip, but changed over to red with twinkling lights.

Back across the street we stopped in at the Wynn resort. For some reason no one was in the pool, even though it was nice and sunny. I guess it was the 55f temperatures.

There are two small areas with artificial trees that were decorated,

And a trio of traditional trees were by the main entrance.

Crossing back I almost missed a shot of my favorite Las Vegas visitor, the bride in wedding gown. I really will have to pull all of those together for a brides page.

No fashion shows this week at the Fashion Show Mall, but the runway was used for their big Christmas Spectacular, ten dancers with long legs and Santa. I hope some of the girls from the closed shows found at least temporary employment here.

And lunch at our favorite place, the Nordstrom’s CafĂ©, with the tomato basil soup and walnut pear salad.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

More holiday music

This one thanks to Pamela

I love her voice for the old quiet songs (yes, I have some of her recordings), one of the slides showed this version, so here is an alternative

Oh - and Kevin, thanks for the reminder of what Christmas really is about

Monday, December 21, 2009

More religions

In an effort to promote more something, another variation

Friday, December 18, 2009

Other holidays

Sorry, didn't mean to ignore other religions by only showing Christmas songs.

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.

Whenever E comes down to visit she seems to want to play with the grandparents. The two favorite activities are swimming in the pool and having granddad push her on the swing. Inside Grammy seems to come up with a variety of things to do. Sometimes they involve complex things, like building forts from sheets and chairs.

That’s my wife B on the left. I usually don’t get her to pose for pictures but snapped this one without her knowing.

Here she is in the pool, I think it was take just before the laughing one posted a few days ago. Probably Granddad told her a joke, and here she has to think about it before laughing. At least I hope that’s why she was laughing.

This was waiting impatiently for the swing to be cleaned off or adjusted. Time not swinging in the sunshine is time lost.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Must be Santa

Oh, thanks Lisa, I hadn't heard that one. At least Bob has funny hair, kind of like George but not.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas music

Sorry, with this being the season I should be posting holiday videos. OK, here from the past

Oh Georgie, I still love the hair. (never had enough to do it like that, or the time to want to) OK, not seasonal but we can keep it with Wham Rap.

Yes, a younger Goerge with less hair and cropped pegged jeans that even Kevin might like.

Monday, December 14, 2009

I've got a feeling

Sorry, it’s been busy around here just before Christmas. I’ve been supporting a manufacturing company that moves 90% of its annual sales during December, which leads to 13 hour days 7 days a week. But it’s a short term contract, finishing up Dec23 so I’ll be back on the job market soon. Ah well, that’s how things go, at least it’s better than sitting at home.

Some assorted things today, first an amusing video parody that lead to lots of discussions. First the original video by the Black Eyed Peas. They’ll be in town for two shows on New Year’s Eve.

I watch it and wonder why my wife doesn’t wear underwear like Fergie. Then I have to admit that she does not look like Fergie walking away (how many women do? Maybe it’s the heels. OK, probably you Heather but to be sure I’d have to do a more thorough inspection), but I love her anyway. It looks like a fun party, but at the end people are still falling down drunk, which lead to this version of the morning after. Sorry, no embedding, so you’ll have to click on Song parody. Go ahead, please, you’ll find this amusing. Was that like your college days?

After the Peas spent how many thousands of dollars creating the song and video, what does it take to make a good sounding parody? Well, you can pick up the Karaoke version someplace on the internet, or free software will pull out the vocals from almost any song so you can have the original music to sing to. Then you can get a free version of AutoTune to sing into, and you end up with a song that sounds pretty good. A not very expensive digital video camera and editing software which probably comes free with your computer and a few hours of fun with your buds, next thing you know you have your own video.

With Christmas coming up, please pay attention to the message in this video

And, just because I missed Friday for a while, here’s favorite granddaughter

And if you’re feeling cold, back in August the water temp in our pool was 93f

Monday, December 07, 2009

old cartoons

A little change today, instead of music I thought we would try some cartoons instead. Way back when I was a kid I loved watching Saturday morning cartoons on TV. I’ve frequently turned to the network stations on recent Saturdays and have not found anything that matches the fun I used to have. Searching YouTube for some of these old gems led to finding a few.
Back before my watching was the first made for TV cartoon: Crusader Rabbit.

Created by Jay Ward, who also was behind many others that I really liked, including Rocky and Bullwinkle and friends. This episode seems to have just about everyone, including Boris and the moon men:

Hanna Barbera created a lot of early cartoons. One I really liked was Ruff and Ready

Along with Yogi Bear and Deputy Dawg. Beany and Cecil the seasick sea serpent were also up there

We used to get tv stations out of New York, and as most big cities did, they employed local announcers to introduce the cartoons, and to stretch out We had Ray Heatherton as the Merry Mailman and Claude Kirchner as a ringmaster. There were also a few shows that were more live action, one I always watched was Andy’s Gang, with his gremlin pal Froggie. This was the standard lead in:

This was brought to you by Buster Brown shoes, filmed in Hollywood supposedly before a live audience, though some of the gags seem to be too involved for live tv. That’s why we named our brown dog Buster.

Let’s not forget Howdy Doody.

I think that was Bob Keeshan, who moved on to be Captain Kangaroo.

When I got older I moved to more sophisticated comedy, like the Soupy Sales show. Regulars on the show were Pookie and White Fang, along with other unseen cast members, always filed with corny jokes that kids found hilarious. Soupy always ended up with a pie in the face, which eventually resulted in a lot of celebrities coming on just to get the pie.

A lot of the show was spend conversing with his regular cast of puppets. You can tell this was live and the staff always seemed to have a good time.

So, what did you watch when you were a kid?

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Bohemian pole dancing

A sad change for those of you that wander the Strip late at night; the mobile strippers are no longer driving up and down Las Vegas Boulevard.

Since attendance at adult clubs has been declining due to the lower number of tourists in town and the restricted amounts of money they have to spend, a few clubs got together and had a special vehicle built. It looks like a box truck, kind of like a small UHaul rental truck, but the back has glass sides. A pole is mounted inside the back and scantily clad young women dance back there as the truck drives up and down the Strip. They were only active between 10pm and 2am, so as not to offend younger people that might be out and about.

But our county commissioners have decided that the truck is too much of a distraction and are in the process of passing an ordinance banning the truck from driving around town. Letters to the editor in our local paper just suggest that the police department start enforcing seat belt ordinances, but our prudish commissioners feel they need to become involved. I am still amazed at the dichotomy of attitude here, where it is ok to drink and gamble and look at semi naked people but for some reason nudity or making things obvious instead of hidden is bad. OK to drink and lose all your money, but don’t touch the girls.

On other fronts, for those of you old enough to remember Queen

The most viewed video on YouTube is a Muppet version of the same song.

If the embedded link is taken down you can go see the official version.
(Yes, I know it's not Video Monday, but NZed discussed this and it seemed to cute to wait until next week)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Strange vids (again?)

More videos pointed to by my New Zealand Zed FM radio station. We start with a non music video, their web site referred to Newsweek’s decade in 7 minutes. See how much of that you remember.

Zed is playing this one a lot

Which evidently is a parody of

No idea what that is a parody of. A song that was the number one song in New Zealand ten years ago is this one, Bad Touch by the Bloodhound Gang. It seems to make a lot more sense watching the video than just listening to it on the radio.

I’m sure DM will like it however it’s played, especially since it has a dwarf mime and no clowns.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Around town

I haven’t posted many Vegas photos recently, and that was the main reason I started this column. I wanted to share interesting things I see around town and figured this was a place to put them. And if nobody else visited at least I would have a record of what was going on.

We moved here seven years ago, and the first thing that was very noticeable was the wide expanse of sky, with views of the mountains all around the Vegas valley. There is always a lot of bright blue sky and sunshine, and because of the cold dry air we could easily see the contrails left by jets flying high overhead. We are on one of the main airline pathways between LA and the rest of the country, so there are always planes zipping by. Planes flying from LA to New York and most of the east coast pass overhead and travel on just south of the Grand Canyon, planes flying LA to Chicago or Denver are traveling in a more north easterly direction and pass north of the Grand Canyon.

I got up the other morning and went out to get the paper, looked up, and saw two planes angling from LA to Chicago, one following the other and all alone in the blue morning air:

I have a short term contract with a company in Henderson, a smaller town located just east of Vegas, and drive home just at sunset. Coming around one corner I’m presented with the buildings down on the Strip with the north mountains behind them. It’s interesting to see the different angles of the sun, if I’m a few minutes late then the sun is not shining down on the Strip, already behind the mountains to the west, but the mountains north and east are still in sunshine. Can’t see it too well here, but I was early and caught everything in sun, with our typical no cloud sky.

Traveling a little further presents a nice view of the Strip, and I was able to catch a shot of one of our new features. If you look just to the right of the pyramid you can see a little dot in the sky about even with the top of gold Mandalay Bay. It’s a big helium balloon, called the Cloud 9 Experience. Hanging from the balloon is a big circular platform with low railing that holds up to thirty people. You float up and get to look north up the Strip at all the big buildings, more impressive at night when everything is lit up. Here is the Fox story. My suggestion would be to skip the balloon and go over to Mandalay Bay. If you get there early you can go up to the Mix bar on the 64th floor and get about the same view for free. Of course, it is inside with a view in one direction at a time from behind glass (unless you go out on the balcony) and a bit different than hanging exposed in the air with nothing below you.

Someone else is trying to bring a sky dining experience. This would not use a balloon but a 150 foot high crane to lift an open platform with a big square table for 20 up in the air, with chef and servers in the middle. You sit around the outside with nothing under you and dine on high. They are trying for a permit in the center of the Strip, but Steve Wynn, located right across the street, is objecting that it would not look very nice.

Shortly after moving here we converted our yard from grass to desert landscaping. Part of the conversion was planting a lot of desert and low water plants and trees. We put in about thirty sage bushes, all six feet high now which bloom in different shades of purple several times a year. We also put in two shoestring Acacia trees near the house, which grow tall but not wide, figuring they would give some shade to the roof during the hot season and help keep things a little cooler. These have gone from an inch diameter trunks five years ago to about six inch trunks and over thirty feet tall - fast growers. They are in bloom right now, all covered with little white puff balls that are about a quarter of an inch in diameter that glow in the sunset.

Unfortunately they also release lots of pollen, which our newly developed allergies are not so thankful

Monday, November 23, 2009

Monday videos - a little different

This is a good week, leading up to one of my favorite holidays, Thanksgiving. I’m more into it for the food, and the Macy’s parade (which is pretty lame compared to what it used to be, with the lip sync singers and fancy productions). Not much into football, more the four day weekend. Except this year, I picked up a short contract with a manufacturing company to support them during their busy season, which is Thanksgiving to Christmas, and they will be working the Friday and Saturday after, with six day workweeks and twelve hour shifts. Works fine for me, I’m on an hourly contract, but will be back to job search mode for the start of the new year.

Before we get into our Monday videos let me give you all a heads up. With Thanksgiving cooking coming up we always use a lot of onions in assorted recipes. Start saving the brown and white skins from onions and garlic, I’ll be posting an interesting use for them soon. I keep them in a plastic zip lock bag, but leave the top open so they keep dry or you'll get mold.

Yes, that is a white ceramic knife I use.

Still listening to that New Zealand radio station, Zed FM, and they play a few different songs than I hear on Vegas stations. Naturally they play a lot of Australian and New Zealand artists, as well as singers from the UK. One receiving a lot of airplay now is Lady Gaga, with a number of songs on rotation. This one is a little strange.

The morning crew DJ I get to hear really is fascinated with this one, go ahead, sing along

And sponsored by Unicef, a lot of videos out of Japan are strange to us Americans. To push Global Hand washing Day

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Computer contest

I don't usually go for these things, but it looks like a pretty nice computer for just entering. Go over to Scribbit and say Hi!

HP TouchSmart 600 Giveaway

Friday, November 20, 2009

E Friday - hair

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.

Let’s go back a ways to before E had her hair cut shorter. Grammy was trying to decide if a Mohawk style would be suitable, but after some intense discussion I guess they ended up cutting her hair.

Still, it looks pretty good at this level.

And just to show you how intelligent a four year old can be, she is getting pretty good at puzzles. (come on, granddad has to show her off, right?)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday Videos - Leonard Cohen

This past Saturday Leonard Cohen was here, taking over the Caesar’s Palace main stage. This was the home of Celine Dionne but since she’s left it is alternately occupied by Cher or Bette Midler. Their two year contracts are up, and Cher is staying on but Bette’s last performance will be the end of January, so come on to Vegas soon if you want to see her. Elton John used to be in the rotation, but he left several months ago and declined to renew his contract.

Anyway, back to Leonard; he is a Canadian songwriter, I had not heard of him, but evidently he is a prolific songwriter who’s been around for quite a while. The song of his that I probably have heard the most is Dance Me to the End of Love which unfortunately I can’t embed. But the video presents a quiet version of the song. Also done by the Dresden Dolls

The version of this I have heard the most is Madeline Peyroux, also the first song I heard her sing on the radio. As a result I now have about a half dozen of her CDs, I just like her voice

Leonard’s version seems much sadder, especially watching the video, but at times happier. He looks a lot younger in that video than he does now. In his song Closing Time his voice is a lot older, but made in 1992 he has aged much since. One of his done by an earlier artist is Suzanne,

The version of this I heard a great many years ago done by Judy Collins back in 1967. Here she is back in 1976 with a younger Leonard

Judy’s version of Both Sides Now was her first big hit, off the same album

Oh – can’t miss Judy on Sesame Street singing the alphabet with Snuffy

Anyway, you missed Leonard, Elton is gone, and Bette soon will be. But Santana is at the Hard Rock with a multiyear rotation, and I am sure that someone else will be in the Caesar’s showroom.

Friday, November 13, 2009

E Friday - swings

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.

When visiting us this summer E spent a lot of time in the pool (the main reason she asked for an August trip) but she also occupied the swing seat in the back yard quite a lot. She doesn’t have a swing at her house, and has to hit up mom for a trip to the park then compete with other kids to get to use one there. Also this swing comes with a granddad attachment to keep it moving.

She usually faces into the yard, but once in a while changes direction just to get a different view. Don’t worry, in the above photo she is quite a bit away from the wall. She is continually asking to be pushed higher, wanting to touch branches with her toes, and I can get her up almost horizontally. She has not yet developed the leg pumping ability to swing herself, so somebody (usually granddad) is frequently hit upon to do the pushing.

Hoping to provide some alternate form of entertainment we obtained a single rope swing and installed it on a different branch. We thought she might be able to push with her feet and move herself around, and entertain herself.

At first she did not like it, did not want it, tried it and did not like it. Then we had a pool party with a lot of kids, and the trips from across the street just jumped on the swing and wouldn’t get off. E observed this activity and then decided that perhaps it might be something she could do. After that when somebody was too busy or tired to push her anymore she would wander over to the yellow swing and float around by herself. We put it low enough that she could sit on it and yet put her legs down and stand up, so she would push backwards and fall onto the seat, resulting in a pretty good push.

The trips also demonstrated that you could hold on to the rope and stand up on the swing. This revelation led to several attempts and eventually a new form of entertainment.

Now, if we could just get dad to put one of these in the tree in her backyard.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Fall on the Strip

We thought that we’d play tourist last Saturday, and enjoy one of the last warm weekends before the colder holiday season starts. We just did half the Strip, parking in the Fashion Show mall (and doing some shopping) then walking down the west side to the Bellagio, crossing the street and back up on the east side. We left the house around 10 and got back a little after 6, visiting several countries around the world.

Starting out, there was a Veteran’s Day sale at most of the stores, but we hit the cookware sale at Bloomingdale’s in the Fashion Show mall. I’ve been wanting a large cast iron skillet for a while, not for the weight but there are several recipes I wanted to try that start out on the stove and move to the oven. I didn’t want just a big black skillet but a pretty one, and there they were for half price. The place was crowded for the sale, and B talked me into getting a big pot in addition to the skillet. See - pretty multi tone ‘cherry’ color. I hope they cook as good as they look. (sorry you can’t see the color on the skillet, but it’s the same red as the bigger pot). And for as much as they weigh I better start building up my arm muscles in order to lift those suckers.

We put them back in the car and hit the coffee shop on the way out of the mall onto the Strip. The weather was our usual gorgeous sunshine with high temps in the mid 70’s. We headed south, crossing on the pedestrian bridge to TI. A few years ago they started adding pedestrian bridges across the Strip and side streets, without them the cars didn’t have a chance. There are only a few places left where you can actually cross at street level, the casinos have installed fencing and low walls to keep you off of the street. TI (formerly Treasure Island) was recently sold, and the new owner hasn’t made any major visible changes. The pirate ships are still out front, there was new carpet inside but it still looked about the same. The TI used to be a pirate themed casino, with skeletons and pirate booty, chests, jewels and gold coins all over the place. That was removed a few years ago in a big remodel and rename to TI, but if you look close you can still see some remnants of those days. Christian Audigier now runs the big nightclub out front (Dress Code: Ed Hardy & Christian Audigier designs encouraged).

Then out on the street and down past the Mirage, with its volcano (only active at night) and waterfalls and into the Caesar's Palace Forum Shops. This was one of the first shopping malls on the Strip, with large fountains that come to life periodically, a big fish tank and the sky painted overhead. They used to run a one hour cycle from sunrise through daylight, sunset and night, but now it’s just generally gloomy twilight inside. It was rather crowded, with a fair number of people filling the halls. The Forum Shops mall was the first place I’ve seen circular escalators.

I’m still impressed with how they work. As you can see, the place is well decorated but rather echoy and noisy with all the hard surfaces. The main entrance is three stories high with a large vaulted ceiling, and is rather bright compared to the inside passageways. You have to go up to the third floor in order to cross over to the main shopping area. Even up here it’s rather pleasant, with the standard inlaid marble floors and big statues.

Then through the casino and out to the street, past a long cab line and their entrance fountains and statues over to the corner bridge. This crosses over to the Bellagio. Their shopping center starts at the corner bridge and runs around a curve behind the fountains over to the casino. This is one of the nicer casinos, with large walkways to work your way through without dodging people at the tables and machines. We stop here periodically to see the conservatory, which is a large glass ceiling room that changes with the seasons. We caught the Fall harvest display, which revolved around pumpkins and fall blooming flowers.

There were some metal fountain trees down the center, which sparkled really nicely in the sunshine. Besides the pumpkins, miniature pepper plants, mums and other flowers they had some talking trees and ents.

We caught them a few years ago in the middle of changing over from Fall to Christmas. That seems to be quite a lot of work, swapping out thousands of live plants and trees, buildings, fountains and other hardscape and making it all so pretty. Last year it was snowing inside over a pine forest, the changeover usually takes place just after Thanksgiving weekend. Then outside and along their moving sidewalks back out to Las Vegas Boulevard. There were no cabs lined up here, we were surprised at the difference from Caesar’s where there were dozens of people in line and lots of yellow cabs waiting to pick them up. The end of the walkway deposits you onto the sidewalk where there is a crossing signal, so that you can walk across the Strip to get to Planet Hollywood and their shopping center; the Miracle Mile Shops. It was here, across ten lanes of traffic, that I caught sight of something I look for every time we hit the Strip.

Yes, the Las Vegas bride wandering the Strip and casinos in full white gown, waiting with her new husband and wedding party to cross the street. It’s a big joke to us, and kind of like a treasure hunt, to see who will be first to catch sight of the bride. I’ll have to create a web page of Strip brides, I think I have posted pictures of about a dozen so far. I have no idea why someone would wear a big fancy white gown out and about, dragging long trains on the dirty streets and sidewalks. Is it just to show off the fact that you are now married? This bride was a little different; she appeared to be in her late 50’s with a husband of similar age, rather than the young chickies we usually see. By the time the light changed there were a few hundred people on either side waiting to cross, and we and she were lost in the crowd when the light changed, so I couldn’t get a closer shot for you. Sorry. This is also a very unusual photo of Las Vegas Boulevard, with ten lanes and no cars. The pedestrian crossing lights had just turned red, and cars have not yet gotten the green to proceed. But it does let us see her across the street there.

Our destination however was not that mall but the place next door, Paris. Out front is my favorite outdoor Strip restaurant, Mon Ami Gabi

The weather was perfect, sunny and warm but not too hot. It was around 74f when we finally sat down; lunch on a Saturday here is popular, and there was an hour wait for a table. But they gave us a pager thingie and we wandered the casino, then sat at the bar and had a drink before getting called. The tables for two are right along the rail, just a few feet above sidewalk level so that you can look over the heads of everyone. We got the table at the very end, with a nice view of the Bellagio fountains across the street.

I don’t know how high that water shoots up, but it is impressive. There is a short show set to music every half hour, and the number of people walking and cars driving by was greatly reduced from summertime highs. There are heaters for winter, and misters for summer, but it is best right now when none of that is needed. The large umbrellas gave shade from the midday sun, but shortly after we sat down the sun moved behind the large new towers over at City Center.

That is the largest private construction project in the world, with quite a few large towers and over $7,000,000,000 US spent so far. Grand opening is scheduled for the middle of next month, it is impressive to see that site and realize it was bare ground jus three years ago. The ability to go from bare ground to a hole several hundred feet deep to a dozen towers fifty stories high in three years: wow. There is still a large crane or two, and not all the buildings will be open, but the main entrance, casino and hotel will be ready in a few short weeks, with the rest within a few months. Each tower is leased out to a major hotel chain or two, so not everything will be run by the MGM Mirage Corporation. Go click on the City Center link, they have a nice aerial video of the Strip at night and shots of the Center.

I was also able to get a shot of two other things we see quite often when out on the Strip.

The guy on the left carrying one of those big tourist drink things, this one an 18 inch high plastic Eifel Tower filled with some white drink, probably a pina colada. Most Strip casinos offer these things, with models of the Stratosphere or whatever the place is, or a giant beer bottle or just a plain tall tapered container with a very long straw. The biggest we saw that day while sitting there were some that were over a meter tall, which came with neck straps to help carry them. A large percentage of people walking the Strip are carrying drinks, ranging from beer cans and bottles up to those large mixed drink things. It is a lot of liquid, and having gotten some ourselves it is funny to realize there is only a shot or two of cheap booze mixed with all that shaved ice and sugary liquid. The bigger ones probably hold a gallon of ice and liquid, which is nice to have along when it’s 115f in the summer. But don’t plan on getting drunk on it.

The other thing in that photo is to the right; the big mobile billboard truck with the ‘hot babes direct to you’ advertisement, including a picture of three young women wearing not much. But doesn’t it look pleasant, out in the sunshine having a nice meal and watching the fountains across the street and all the people walking by? It is worth the wait. And no, we didn’t go back inside and get some of those drinks. You can also see our fall colors in that photograph: green, with people wearing long pants instead of shorts. The green leaves will drop soon, leaving a better view of the fountains, but the palm trees will stay the same.

After the meal it was back on the Strip heading north on this side of the street, past Bally’s next door and some of the older casinos. We didn’t see any of them across the street, but this side had dozens of the ‘card slappers’: people wearing ‘hot girls direct to you’ t shirts passing out business cards with photos of these hot girls wearing almost nothing. For a few hundred dollars one (or two or three) of these beautiful women will gladly come to your hotel room and entertain. Prostitution is illegal in Clark County (but legal in the rest of the state, kind of strange there) so I have no idea as to what form of entertainment is offered, never partaking of that form of entertainment here. In addition to the cards our phone book’s largest section is for ‘Escort and Outcall Services’. There are about two hundred pages of ads; the next largest section is for lawyers, almost as many pages.

We wandered through the Venetian and stopped for some gelato for dessert and to watch people inside. The adjoining Palazzo has a small central court with big waterfall and smaller fountains. This used to be a plain space, but in the past year they have started decorating it, probably trying to compete in a small way with the Bellagio conservatory. I had posted shots of their Spring umbrellas, now it was Fall pumpkins and some big stick cornucopia thing and lots of mums. Not as big as the competition, but still rather pleasant.

Then across the walkways to the Wynn and back to Fashion Show to pick up our car and head home. All in all a rather pleasant day, sunshine and lots of people and a walk of around 10 miles overall, including casino and shopping center wanderings.

Friday, November 06, 2009

E Halloween 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.

Last week was Halloween, and with E being four years old with friends in preschool it has become a big event. She went with the schoolmates to a pumpkin patch/petting zoo thing and thoroughly enjoyed herself. Their little Portland neighborhood had a street parade for the kids, and her mom made a costume, she ended up as Cassie from Dragon Tales.

I don’t watch the show so I’m not sure if the details, but it looks pretty good to me. It looks like she even got pink sneakers to complete the look.

So there was at least one dragon wandering the streets of Portland last week. Not sure, but it looks like a green dragon over to the right edge of the picture, amongst the fairies and princesses.

Not sure how I’d react if I saw a dragon walking down the street.

The one thing this does indicate to me is that mom's got way too much time on her hands if she has time to make a costume like this.

Monday, November 02, 2009

monday videos - Internet birthday

Last week the computer community celebrated the 40th anniversary of the internet. The first access was not a very exciting event, just someone on a computer in California saying hello to a computer in Chicago, but it was two computers talking across many miles. I was working on the Arpanet - the government's defense department network linking universities and defense sites - before the internet came into general play (no, not 40 years ago), and our computer group in San Diego was the first one to test new features of America Online. In honor of that anniversary let us look back at a few video moments; though You Tube was not part of the original text based Internet as video transmission came along a lot later.

First, one of the most viewed videos was Gary's Numa Numa, which probably has led to more people making fools of themselves on a video than anything else. Though he does look like he is having fun

I had never researched the song he was singing, but a while back Kevin pointed out that the original is Romanian by the group O-Zone

My New Zealand radio station Zed FM pointed to a compilation of 100 of the most viewed YouTube videos. See how many of them you recognize

Click on the box to go visit YT, the extended write-up lists most of the clips.

But here are two of my favorite videos, this one you have to watch to appreciate (sorry, no embedded link) Kylie Come into My World, and of course Ernie and a tub full of pals doin' the Rubber Duck duck

What are your fav YouTube moments?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween in Vegas & E Friday

It’s been a strange week here in Vegas; it looks like winter is coming a little early. No, nothing like the snow in Denver or anything that bad, but we went from a reasonable mid 80’s temp every day down to a high of 57 on Wednesday and winds gusting to 65mph. we’ve become used to strange winds coming up but I still would much rather have temps around 90 than under 60, but at least we aren’t getting snow.

We’ve got some plants blooming around the yard. Just before the winds came up our sage bushes were full of purple flowers, which now are in dramatic swirls around the patio where the wind has deposited them. The rosemary bushes are full of blue flowers and bees, and the shoestring acacia trees are full of little yellow puffballs, which are great for people with allergies. There are also lots of bright yellow flowers on some small bushes scattered around as well. Nice to see flowers instead of snow.

Halloween is a very popular holiday here in Las Vegas. Most of the casinos and fancy clubs have theme oriented parties, but most of the themes are adult oriented. Yes, Circus Circus has converted their AdventureDome into the Fright Dome, with a number of haunted houses inside, but places like the Hard Rock are having a $3000 costume contest and entertainment by the Genitorturers (no idea who they are, but I’m not sure I’d like to find out). The Palms is hosting Fangoria Trinity of Terrors, with celebrity appearances, make up applications and some of the best movies and producers, including Roger Corman, Malcolm McDowell, George Romero, Ken Foree and John Waters. If you don’t know who any of those guys are then just go upstairs to the Playboy club as they are having a contest for the best Playboy inspired costumes, so expect to see a lot of bunny ears and not much cloth. Most of the fancy clubs have costume contests and big parties like the Fetish & Fantasy Ball at the Joint in the Hard Rock, but they are looking more for the sexy French Maid outfit or smallest thong rather than the rotting zombie corpse.

Our Halloween evenings have been a change here from our place in San Diego. Down there we were in a nice walking neighborhood and the house across the street used to go all out, creating a graveyard on the front lawn complete with coffins and corpses that wandered around and sometimes a live zombie band. This usually resulted in visits from a few hundred kids and a big candy expense. Our house here in Vegas is in a more quiet neighborhood; we don’t have sidewalks or street lights or many kids (besides the trips plus one across from us) resulting last year in a grand total of eight kids coming by.

Last year E had a homemade lion costume, this year she went as Cassie from Dragon Tales. We haven’t seen any pictures yet, but they had a costume parade that she went to (in the Portland rain of course) along with other activities. At four and a half she is the perfect age to enjoy those types of events. But for now she is learning to cook. Rice crispy treats were on the menu one day

And when she was visiting us she helped make a cake, here helping put a fair measure of jelly and blueberries between the layers (I think some of the blueberries made it down; of course there had to be much sampling to insure the berries were acceptable)

But everything does go better with milk