Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Venetian Christmas

Still working on my Christmas photos. After walking through the Palazzo we wandered into the adjoining Venetian, walking through the shops by the canal up on the second floor. (yes, the canal is above the casino, I keep waiting for it to leak onto the gamblers).

Not many decorations, just holly and red bows scattered around.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Mirage fish

Walking through the Mirage atrium we looked up to see a school of flying fish

And snowflakes. Well, it is winter and there have to be snowflakes somewhere, so Vegas snowflakes.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Venetian skating

Not many people ride the gondolas outside of the Venetian in the winter, it's just too cold, but the ones inside are still being used in where it's warm. This year they put a plastic skating rink on top of the water and rented skates - something to do on the Strip that's a little different.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

More Palazzo Christmas

The Palazzo is one of the newer resort/hotels in Las Vegas. That’s a hard sentence to write as almost everything in Vegas is new – anything that starts to get dusty gets blown up and replaced. City Center and the Cosmopolitan have been constructed since the Palazzo opened.

The Palazzo is owned by the Sands Corporation, which also owns the Venetian Resort and the Sands Expo/Convention Center in addition to other resorts in Macao, Singapore and other places across the US. Each property is set up as a separate company and run reasonably independently but reporting back up line. The Venetian, Palazzo and Sands Expo are all located together about mid strip, on the corner of Spring Valley and Las Vegas Boulevard. You can walk between them, but employees of one cannot participate in activities of the others. Combined the Venetian and the Palazzo hotels have over 7,000 rooms, making it the largest hotel in the world for number of rooms (oh, wait, just looked and a new hotel in Moscow has 300 more rooms, so it’s only second now). The Venetian in Macao is rated the largest hotel in the world based on square footage (almost 1,000,000 sq. meters). The Sands Expo is the second largest center in Las Vegas, at 110,000 sq. meters. I worked at the Expo for 2 ½ years and really liked being there.

Mr. Sheldon Adelson is the founder to the Sands Corporation, current CEO and largest stockholder, and because of his holdings is rated as the eight richest person in the world with a net worth of over $21,500,000,000 – that’s twenty one BILLION dollars (depending on stock prices). He is a long time Republican, and when President Bush came to Vegas he stayed at the Venetian (I did a write-up on that day, and how it took employees over an hour to get into the employee parking garage because of the security checks and car searches). Currently he is backing Newt Gingrich for president, he and his wife both donated $5,000,000 each to the super pac supporting Newt, with promises of another $100,000,000 if Newt gets the nomination. Mr. Adelson is also a devout Jew, and makes trips and donations to many organizations in Israel. When the Republican Caucus was held a few weeks ago it was on a Saturday, and the local Jewish organizations petitioned for a special evening caucus so that those that observe the Sabbath on Saturday would be able to participate. Supposedly Mr. Adelson was not involved in that request, but strangely enough the evening caucus was held at the Adelson Center and he and his wife attended.

I think the Palazzo is the prettiest property in Las Vegas. The lobby and entry is very impressive, and the waterfall area between the Palazzo and the Venetian is just magnificent. In addition to the large casinos there is a very big shopping center upstairs, and Venetian gondolas ply the canals up on the second floor between the shops in addition to being out in front of the building on the Strip. The Sands Expo has huge halls and the Venetian Meeting Tower has rather impressive ballrooms and smaller meeting rooms.

There are a lot of fancy restaurants and bars between the properties, with the Bouchon Restaurant being my favorite place for breakfast – I would highly recommend going there if you ever make it to Vegas. The Tao and Lavo nightclubs are very well attended and usually are written up for the movie stars and musicians that attend. The Canyon Ranch Spa on the second floor is rated as one of the best Spas in the world. Unlike other Strip resorts the Palazzo/Venetian/Sands complex fills all of the property area, so the swimming pools are located on the roof of the shopping area rather than down on ground level. There are a lot of pools scattered around, with a nice small one in the middle of the old Venetian tower and some really big ones in the main central area.

All rooms at the Palazzo and Venetian are considered suites, with separate sitting areas and very large bathrooms. We spent one Christmas Eve at the Venetian – usually the cheap rooms start at $179, prices going up if there are big conventions and on weekends, with a basic room rate around $500 on busy nights. There are larger suites and penthouse rooms as well if you are a high roller or big spender. But when traffic is slow the Venetian offers locals specials, and Christmas Eve filled the properties to only 10% of capacity, so it was a $79 night (plus the fortune we spent at the restaurants). Most nights the two hotels are usually over 90% capacity.

Gee, I sound like a commercial for that place, don’t I? (no, not getting paid unfortunately). Back to the Christmas photos. This is what the Palazzo lobby looked like back in December.

The central statue also was decorated.

And the other side of the lobby was celebrating Chanukah, I think it was the only place in the city with blue lights and a menorah.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Palazzo Christmas

Still on Christmas, this is what the Palazzo central courtyard looked like for the season

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Wynn Christmas

Finally got around to pulling photos off my camera and getting them down to size. Here are some shots of the Wynn Christmas decorations.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Scots shoes

In honor of A Daft Scots Lass and her weekly ShoeGasm; some items recently seen in the shops at fancy resorts around the Strip.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Santa Run

Finally pulling photos off of my camera from Christmas, thought I would follow some others listed to the right and try to do a photo a day (or more).

Here is the Great Santa Run of 2011, a fund raising event sponsored by Opportunity Village. They wanted to set a record for the number of people in Santa costumes, trying for over 10,000 - didn't hear if they made it or not, but there were a heck of a lot of us

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Done with the jury

Last weekend was the big Sevens world rugby tournament here in Las Vegas. I don’t know anyone that is a rugby fan and have never seen a game myself. But those DJs I listen to on the New Zealand radio station are big rugby people – always talking about their All Blacks. Seems the Samoa team beat the New Zealand team at the final game, so those guys were probably talking it up yesterday.
I just finished up a stint of jury duty here in Clark County, assigned to a murder trial. Three days of mainly sitting waiting. The first day was in the jury lounge, then in mid afternoon called up to a courtroom for the initial talk. Second day was questions by the judge and some by the attorneys, with a lot of people being excused for cause and thanked for their service. I was impressed with the average juror, and how evidently nobody gets to talk in their real lives as so many had quite convoluted stories they were very anxious to share with the courtroom, as when we were asked if we had any relatives that were arrested there were a lot of stories like ‘my wife’s third cousin twice removed that we haven’t seen in fifteen years once got a ticket for jay walking in Cleveland’ or something else equally traumatic. Well, there is one woman who’s brother is on death row in Arizona for a murder but he is appealing because of the evidence so it can be dropped back to life in prison and because of the appeal they shipped him to California to be on trial for another murder and her other brother is also on trial for murder in California but that was a different crime and the cops framed them, so she was excused. Yesterday we had to be there early but ended up sitting on the hard metal benches in the hallway in front of the courtroom until called in right at noon to be told there was new evidence that came to light over the weekend (for a crime that occurred in February 2010) and because of that the attorneys had long discussions and there was a plea deal made and we weren’t needed so thank you for your service, then another long wait back in the jury lounge to be signed out.

Fortunately I brought along a new book, a 485 page complex detective novel (from the Preston & Child Pendergast series) which I finished just as we were called back into the courtroom yesterday. Shows you how much time we had waiting (or how fast I read).

Don’t know why, but it made me think of this song. Created a few years ago in honor of Pat Robertson’s comment on gay marriage, the next step permitting sex with ducks.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Videos - OK Go!

I like the guys from OK Go ever since their first “Treadmill” video showed up.

After that they went to a lower budget one in the backyard

Then they did things with Rube Goldberg devices

And Muppets (what could be better? Anything is better with Muppets)

And Rob posted their latest (he does seem to come up with things I like – thanks Rob). Looks like they are doing well, as this seems to have a much bigger budget for accessories than their earlier ones

Monday, February 06, 2012

Monday videos - around Vegas

This has been a busy week in Las Vegas – most of our hotels were booked solid for Super Bowl weekend, with people partying and sitting in bars and sports books to watch the game, place bets, and get drunk. This has no impact on the majority of residents, other than filling up the Strip and bringing money into our economy: thanks visitors, we appreciate you (and your money).

I was reading some stories about the Luxor, the pretty resort that started with an Egyptian theme but as with most Vegas resorts is trying to change. It’s pretty hard when your building is shaped like a pyramid and has a giant sphinx out front, but they have been removing the giant statues and desert scenes and trying to be more generic inside. Over the course of a year the Luxor property puts up more than two million (2,000,000) guests, in addition to all of us that just walk through and hit the restaurants, shows and casino floor. There are a half dozen other places on the Strip with more rooms than the Luxor, so you can see how we get over 35,000,000 visitors in town during a year. That does keep our airport busy and a lot of cab drivers on the road.

Entertainment in town this past weekend included Motley Crue at the Joint, they’ll be there for the next three weeks. Dana Carvey was at the Orleans. Studio 54 had a big closing party. The Phantom of the Opera at the Venetian has two for one locals tickets. Moksha was at the Country Saloon, George Strait and Martina McBride at the MGM Grand, Daniel Tosh (of Tosh.o) at the Mirage and Tim Allen at the Venetian. If you just like seeing music and movie stars then just hang around the MGM or Caesar’s fancy restaurants at lunch or dinner, with Vegas being so close to LA a lot of people drive up for a few days.

Monday videos – how about a few that for some reason remind me of partying in Vegas

The Naked And Famous - The Sun from The Naked And Famous on Vimeo.

Friday, February 03, 2012

E Friday - Barbie!

It’s E Friday! Where I post photos of our loverly granddaughter E (when I remember to suck them out of the camera and put them up on my server). On one of her trips down we went to the Golden Steer restaurant (one of Vegas’ old style places) and after dinner (a place with Steer in the name and she and her mom ordered fish?) she followed my heart and asked for chocolate cake.

She liked it. The rest of us went for the Cherries Jubilee, flamed right at the table. Evidently the fire code requires a special permit for flames in public places, and not many restaurants get one. It was nice (photos posted a while back).

We also found out about another love

For five days it was “Granddad will you play Barbies with me?”. She is very imaginative, but for some reason we always ended up walking over to a club and having something to eat, then taking Tanner (the dog) to the dog park, after changing outfits of course. For five days. Granddad kept waiting for Ken to step up and help, but he always wanted to go dancing.