Thursday, January 26, 2012

Speaking Scottish

Rob has been very kind in trying to educate me in how to speak like a Scotsman. I was able to work my way around France quite well, but I think I might have a problem in Edinburgh. To start you out slowly with Billy Connolly

But then we can step right into Rob’s posting, which doesn’t allow embedding but please go listen to it: do you understand it?
Thanks Rob.

Around our house our little dog Buster is really slowing down. Not sure how old he is, but he joined us from the animal shelter back in 1994, the vet then thought he was about four years old. Whatever it is, he’s put more hours in our house than any of the kids (they left every day for school while he stayed home). He’s almost blind and deaf and pretty shaky walking around, and sleeps most of the time. He usually finds the soft little bed we got for him, but sometimes he just lays down wherever he ends up.

He does move around once in a while.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Literal videos

OK, I know it’s Thursday and I missed posting all week, still haven’t isolated all of those Strip photos from Christmas, but came across this video on Persephone’s blog. Since I love the Doctor it seemed interesting.

Done in the style of dascottjr, who makes literal versions of music videos, like this one:

Friday, January 13, 2012

Red Rock

Nothing special going on right now – CES is in town, filling up the expensive hotel rooms. I thought rates on New Year’s Eve were outrageous, but evidently hotels charge even more than that on CES week. Wow.

But for now we can travel out west a few miles from the Strip and visit Red Rock. You can drive around the loop, walk the trails, or bike the long paths, but many people stop often and take photographs.

A new visitors center was recently constructed, with lots of interesting art and large patios so that you can just gaze at the vistas, while reading plaques to learn a bit of history and desert lore.

As you can see, we ended going out there on a really cloudy day.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Monday videos - waiters

Some interesting videos for you – nto standard top 10 music. First is the Waiter Anthem – look over there on the right, there are several links to waiter and waitress sites, go see how your waiter really feels

Along the same line, not a song but a series on The Bartender Hates You

For Kevin, another series on the Sassy Gay Friend


Friday, January 06, 2012

Morning drive

I like driving to work at this time of year, traffic is rather light and the sun isn’t in my eyes. Somehow all of the places I have worked at here in Las Vegas are east of our house, so I get the sun in my eyes driving in and the setting sun back in my eyes driving home. I usually work early, and for this job try to get out of the house before 6. It’s a 27 mile drive out to Henderson for me, but fortunately there are large freeways all of the way. Unfortunately the drive curves from due east to south and back again, so that no matter where the sun comes up for half the year it is directly ahead on some portion of the road. But for now I can make it in before it shows

I like the open sky, and the shape of the mountains all around. In the southwest US there aren’t any trees on the mountains, just rocks, so there are always interesting shadows.
We also get a lot of high level moisture over the mountains to the south, resulting in clouds that we don’t have in the summertime

Some of you have asked about the trains I play with – they are small ones, in the US it’s called N scale, with engines and cars that fit in the palm of your hand. This is the type of module we create

This one is five feet (1 ½ meters) long, so you can see how small everything is. People in my club build and decorate pieces like this, then we get together and hook them up to make a big layout and run trains. Nobody has a basement or extra room in their house for building a big layout, so we all make small parts that we combine. I like doing the wood work, and build most of the core shells for everyone, then each person puts down the track (according to a standards manual), wires it up and decorates with scenery and buildings. Most people do southwest scenes, with few trees and lots of sharp hills and rocks. Each piece is about the size of a coffee table, there are different size legs so I and set one up in front of the couch and sit watching TV while playing. Everyone needs ways to spend money, right?

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

New Year's in Vegas

It’s been a quiet holiday season for us here in Las Vegas. The kids are all big and off doing their own things elsewhere, so we just had a quiet Christmas. I’ve been looking at people’s posts about the little kids under the tree, and watch the trips plus one across the street (they are 8 now, getting bigger) screaming in the front yard and I can remember our busy Christmases past. Sorry, right now I’d rather do the quiet one.
This was our last sunset for 2011

We usually sit in the front room having coffee in the morning (days I don’t have to drive off to work). This is the view we have out of the front window. There is a small courtyard out the front door, about 6m x 8m. I put a slotted cover over it to keep the sun level down in the summer, and B put more tropical type plants out there. It still gets hot in the summertime, so the plants have to be able to handle the low humidity and bright sun and 46c (115f) degrees so it’s not as tropical as our San Diego yard (no bananas for example). We can hear the kids across the street when they are noisy (when aren’t they?) but don’t get much traffic.

The Las Vegas tourist economy is picking up. We had over 314,000 visitors out on the Strip for the New Year’s Eve fireworks display, with another big crowd downtown on Freemont Street. Fireworks were set off from the roofs of a eight Strip hotels, all timed to music, producing a $500,000 eight minute display. This was on the corner of Flamingo and Las Vegas Boulevard, with fireworks from nearby Caesar’s Palace and some of the other hotels

This was the Strip a block away down in front of Paris

The view from a few blocks away, looks like it was the roof of the Hard Rock Café

Fremont Street, the original gambling district in downtown Las Vegas, has been closed off and is now a walking street, so if you see any movies with car chases down in front of the older casinos you know they are old shots or the street was closed for the filming. Three blocks are covered by the world’s largest video screen, so instead of real fireworks people got a big video display. The Strip was free, but it was $30 to go on Freemont for 30,000 people, as they had a dozen ‘tribute’ bands playing from 6pm to 2am and other entertainment activities.

The weather was better than previous years – it was around 9c (50f) at midnight, with clear skies and a light breeze, which blew away the smoke from the explosions, rather than being calm and having it settle and create a thick haze as it did a few years ago. The city was at 100% occupancy level, with over 150,000 rooms rented. Rates were higher – rooms at the Bellagio last year were from $659 to $799, this year $1199 to $1998, but you could have stayed at the Luxor further south on the Strip for only $250, a little lower than last year.

Or you could have done what we did: go to bed by 10pm and sleep through it all. Happy New Year to you all!