Thursday, November 30, 2006
Yup, it’s time for “Vegas II – The Revenge”. Those of you expecting another weekend of boredom, don’t fret, I’m going out with a buddy and a bunch of his friends so things should be a little more interesting this time around. Still, I’m bringing earplugs because I’m still getting my sleep no matter how many frat boys are hollering at the Hard Rock. I will have my laptop along with, so I *may* blog, but the schedule is pretty busy, so it may be at odd hours.
After I get back I’m in town for all of 24 hours before heading out on the mother of all business trips. All of it spent on the road as I drive all over Ohio. Here’s my route, in the event any of you think you see me as I drive by.
Yeah, not looking forward to it. At least I’ll have my iPod…of course I won’t know if my rental car can accept it until I pick it up and find out whether it has a tape deck. [fingers crossed].
* Birds who obviously do not check weather.com before departure
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
But the thing I found most amusing? The accompanying picture showing the nebbishy tax accountant flexing his “guns” in a desperate attempt to impress the totally hot tattoo artist. You can see it all in his facial expression – a look that says “Yeah baby, now that this removable ink is out I can finally roll out the crazy fun times while still maintaining my mad risk-averse street cred with my CPA homies! Plus, this chick totally wants me, I can *so* tell… Woot!”
The hot tattoo woman though, is probably thinking “Hmmm…I wonder if he can tell that these highlights aren’t natural?”
* Why is it that all the life-changing ones never come out until next year? Wait, was Tickle-Me-Elmo TMX supposed to be life-changing? Crap! No wonder everyone wants one…
** The biker dude, not the cowboy outlaw.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
No, he was going to let his truck stop him; his truck was being towed by one of the big semi tow-trucks.
So much for being indomable.
* All you running back after visiting dictionary.com and saying that indomable *is* a word, note that that definition is obsolete. Besides, it's just another form of indomitable anyway. He needs to live in the now anyway and quit using antiquated spellings - his truck is not "Ye Olde Renaissance Faire"
Monday, November 27, 2006
Needless to say, I went for years without buying a real storage solution, for multiple reasons. First, almost all the racks I found were not big enough to hold all my movies. Second, the ones that were big enough were either behemoths or just plain ugly. So when I was walking through CB2 the other day and happened across one that was a reasonable size* and on sale I snapped it up. It was still almost too big for my car, and was a pain to carry upstairs and set up. But once I had finished assembling it and loading in all my movies, I was able to peruse my entire collection all at once for the first time in *years*. It was a magical experience.
Once that was done though I started second-guessing myself, and am now convinced that I could have built the same thing myself** with some lumber, a lazy susan, and a router. I mean, I have a lot of tools, and I took wood shop in seventh grade*** so how hard could it be? Naturally, when I told the GF about my revelation she gave me the same look that the mother of a 4 year old would give to her child who had just proclaimed that he could climb walls like Spiderman – the “Well, I know that’s impossible but he might look so cute while trying so I won’t say anything just now” look…
Still, I remain convinced. All I need is a garage that I don’t share and I’m totally building one. It might happen sooner than later because I’ve already pretty much run out of room in this new one with my current movie collection. But I might stave it off for a few years once the Hi-Def DVD format war plays out and I have to repurchase everything I currently own****. But then you just wait! I’ll built the most awesome media shelf in all the land!
* The secret was that it revolves, so it has two sides to store movies on.
** Only better because mine would have had DVD-sized shelf spacing on both sides!
*** Where I got an A, thank you very much. My mom still has the pot holder that I made.
**** Except for the crap movies that I bought only because they were cheap like “Serendipity” and “National Lampoons Repli-Kate”
Friday, November 24, 2006
The one thing about being on vacation for a long time and note going anywhere is that it sort of messes up my schedule. Hence, the spotty blog-action here for the last week or so. It’s not even that I blog at work, I think it has more to do with the enforced schedule that I find motivating. But not to worry, I get back on schedule next week so all should be well with the world again.
Last Monday I had one job to do – male escort. You see the GF works in the world of local television and the show she works on was nominated for a local Emmy award. So I had to get a tux and play the role of arm candy for the evening. It was a pretty big affair, with lots of locally famous people* in expensive outfits being led through the program by the host**. One interesting thing was that they didn’t allow acceptance speeches on stage during the show. Instead winners were ushered offstage to a side area where they could give a speech that would be posted on the Emmy website after the show. Honestly, I thought this was a great idea as it shaved off at least a half hour from the overall program and let us get to the post-show party*** sooner.
Since I didn’t really know most of the other folks there, the GF and I spent most of our time at the post-party hanging out with her associates from her station. And I made pleasant small talk and people-watched. From this observation, I learned that while many people figure out that anchormen are tall, they might now know how tall some of the anchorwomen are. Trust me, they are giants. Anna Davlantes, for one, must be close to 7’ in heels, which was surprising since she seems much shorter on the website. But it wasn’t just her – all the women anchors were towering over the rest of the show. In retrospect, this probably made it easier for them to find each other at the post party.
The other amusing takeaway from the evening was how many Emmy’s are awarded for soft news. Here’s a sampling of actual soft news story titles that were nominated in the category of “Outstanding achievement in a regularly scheduled news program – Soft news Single Feature”:
- “Figure Flattering Jeans”
- “What’s Up There?”
- “Can you Sudoku?”
And that doesn’t include the 4-5 nominations for a story on Texas barbeque that won several Emmys but basically qualified as torture for showing endless clips of beef being basted and slathered with sauce to an audience of 1000+ who all hadn’t eaten dinner yet.****
The most annoying part of the evening for me personally was the proliferation of men wearing tuxedos with long ties. It’s a pet peeve of mine, and granted, it’s a minor pet peeve***** - but I cannot stand long ties with tuxedos. I mean, if you get a tux and wear it with a long tie, then there’s almost no way of anyone knowing that you’re not just wearing a black suit! So what’s the point!?!? You can’t see the studs or the majority of the tuxedo shirt. Of all the men there, I can say pretty safely that I was a rarity by sticing with the traditional bow tie. Even if it was the rental one that hooks around my neck instead of being an actual bow tie.
Still, by the end of the show I was pretty excited because the GF’s show won the Emmy they were nominated for! So now I can go around telling all my friends that I’m dating an Emmy Winner. And now those of you who’ve met her can say you know an Emmy winner too! That means you’re only 3-4 degrees away from Kevin Bacon now! Neat huh?
* See, I don’t really watch much local news so there were lots of people who I sort-of-recognized, but I couldn’t tell you their names or which station they were on.
** In a total coup, the local NATAS scored the guy who played Sweetchuck in the Police Academy movies to host and frankly, he was better than some Oscar hosts.
*** Translation: food
**** By the last time it was nominated, I could have eaten my armrest and thought it was a brisket
***** Unlike all those major pet peeves that are otherwise known as “actual problems”
Monday, November 20, 2006
But, there are three things about Vegas that I wanted to bring up now that I have the ablity to post pictures from the trip...
1) Vegas is chock full of "Date or Daughter" moments. Witness what I was in front of me going down the escalator at the Venetian (click for details):
Now, it wasn't so bad when viewed from the front (I'm pretty sure she was a date...or one of the escorts from my deck of 34). Of course, this guy is probably some big honcho somewhere* so there's no way in heck I'm showing his face. I will give him credit though for being one of the few older dues who didn't succomb to #2...
2) Vegas is the last place on earth where toupees are still believed to work. Honestly, I saw hairpieces that were indistinguishable from roadkill. And it only got worse the farther I got into the trip, until it culminated in a double-whammy at the airport. Witness:
And what's worse, there was another guy who was even worse that got off the plane and escaped before I could break out the camera. It's a shame too because it was a beaut...now he's become like my sasquatch - little more than a report from a raving lunatic who was traumatized by the experience and therefore can't be a reliable source.
Finally, the last note from my trip...
3) Vegas has only about a dozen cabbies - and they are all the ones who were too racist/sexist to work in New York. Seriously, I've never waited in taxi queues like I have in Vegas. Here's the line waiting for me when I checked out on the way back to the airport:
It took me 45 minutes to get through it and I ended up splitting a cab with a young lady about my age from Canada who had flown in on business. She was an architect and was very nice. Of course, as soon as the cabbie saw we were speaking to each other he assumed we were a random hookup who had spent the last weekend going at each other like crazed viagara bunnies. He kept asking if we needed to stop by the wedding chapel on the way to the airport. It was mildly annoying to say the best, and we both pretty much stopped talking - our horror evident to everyone in the cab but him. When we let her off at the Air Canada terminal he told me "Sorry dude, I tried. I think she's a lesbian."
Then he waived off a group of Asian guys trying to get back to the main terminal** and dropped me off while telling me about how he learned all about other cultures in Vietnam, so he "knew what he was talking about".
Needless to say, I got out of the cab as quickly as I could before he could say any more words. I will say though, that he got me to the airport twice as fast as "Johnny B" from the ride in, who I am now convinced took me on the freeway because he recognized I was a first timer. Of course, when I go back in two weeks I'll be an experienced veteran. So I expect that the stories will be much less bloggable without much more identity-hiding.
* Likely with the mafia
** With the rejoinder "Stupid pencilnecks, if only they could find a way to make Asian women without needing Asian men".
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Honestly, I'm kind of bored here. The GF has been teasing me when we talk because I'm the only person she knows who can be bored in Vegas. It's not that there isn't a lot to do, it's just that what is here is so expensive that I feel guilty doing any of it when I'm just here by myself. I'm also not a big gambler - maybe it's the pastors kid in me, but I just don't like throwing my money away. I'm a horrible card player, suck at sports betting, and my luck at the slots is temperamental* at best. And there really isn't a whole lot to do here by yourself outside of gambling and drinking. Sure, there are services that will send strippers "direct to you" which one would assume one could do by yourself. But I'm all skeptical of the flyer-hander-outer "services" now because one of them showed a picture of Vida Guerra**, calling her "Sam". So now I'm convinced that all the women in the cards are just pictures downloaded from the internet. In reality, when you call them you probably end up with scary crystal meth girls like this one, this one, and this one. Eeeek!
* After my $30 win on Monday, I lost $15 yesterday...so much for "manipulation of slot machines" being my mutant power
** A model made famous by FHM for having a butt that puts j.lo to shame
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
After cashing out I walked out and headed north along the strip to go see the water shows at the Belaggio* and the Mirage. While the Belaggio show was great** the Mirage was really disappointing. Sure, it was a ncie lake and all - there were even a pair of ducks hanging out in the lagoon. Since I didn't know when the show started, I just hung out waiting for it to start. For some reason***, all the European tourists came up to me to ask when the show starts. I was honest, but spent about 45 minutes waiting for something to happen. When the show did start - it was a major disappointment. I waited 45 minutes to listen to 10 minutes of bird sounds and then watch the volcano "erupt" for 3 minutes? I wish I'd made my way up to TI for the pirate show instead.
I also walked through some other casinos to get my bearings. The Belaggio and Venetian are *stunning*. It's crazy how big and over-the-top they are. More on that experience when I can post pictures of my camera.
When it got to about 8:00 I made my way back. Now, before doing so I said that I would accept whatever anybody handed to me. I did this because for the whole way up there were these guys snapping little collector cards at me which I had refused because I was sightseeing. But I figure they are probably just trying to do a job and are getting paid to hand out 1000 cards or so. So the only thing keeping them from being able to go home and spend quality time with their son was my refusing their offerings. And since all boys need positive male role models in order not to become criminals, I owed it to Las Vegas to prevent a couple dozen boys from slipping down that slope by taking as many cards as possible.
For the record, I got 34 cards just on the way back, including duplicates of "Keira" and "Taylor" and triples of "Jess" and "Alexis"****. Now, all I have to do is devise some rules and I'll have enough cards to have my own little Porno-Pokemon game*****! Then I'll have grown men freaking out over finally finding a "Heidi and Lola" doubles card - just like this kid, except older.
Off to the trade show!
* Totally awesome, I actually stopped to watch it on the way back too.
** And made me feel like I was hanging out with George Clooney at the end of Ocean's 11
*** Perhaps because my glasses make me look like a German intellectual
**** I find it interesting that pictures of naked women are verboten, but handing out pictures of naked women with tiny little stars positioned over their naughty bits are okay to be handed out on the street.
***** Emphasis on the "poke".
Monday, November 13, 2006
The trip itself was pretty uneventful. Due to the last-minute nature of my trip* the only carrier that was selling tickets for less than $1100 was Southwest. As much as I appreciate the LUV, I really prefer not to fly them. You see, I love that they have forced the legacy carriers to drop their prices, and therefore have made it possible for me to fly pretty much anywhere in the US for a relatively reasonable price. But I prefer to fly United or American because in my experience, the people who fly American would otherwise fly United** but the people who fly Southwest would otherwise ride Greyhound. Their flights are so full of people who have never flown before and don't know where to go and what to do***. Case in point, waiting in the boarding lines for my flight, eight people didn't know that they were in the wrong line, trying to board with the B's when their boarding passes were for the C's.
Oh, and when we landed, half the plane broke out in applause. "Oh boy, Maw, we didn't crash! Yee-haw!"...sheesh.
But the excitement didn't stop there. Once I picked up my luggage I made for the taxi stand and got matched up with "Johnny B" who claimed not to have left Las Vegas in 29 years and was so hopped up on caffeine that he looked like an ADD patient who ran out of meds. He asked whether I wanted to go "the scenic way or the fast way". Not wanting to get taken to the cleaners for a cab ride, I said the fast way. In retrospect, that was probably a mistake. He proceeded to drive like a test pilot, dodging in and out of traffic, squealing through parking lots, and cutting off tour buses on the way up the strip. Scary? You bet. But I now have a whole new appreciation for life - in fact, I feel lucky.
I suppose I'd better hit the casino while my luck is still good. =)
* I didn't know I was coming until two weeks ago when I got the new position
** Or vice versa
Sunday, November 12, 2006
I'll have the laptop while I'm there, and if I have 'net access I'll keep posting. But since I expect the Monte Carlo is not all that interested in keeping guests in their rooms I might not. In which case I'll try to post all my stories when I get back on Wednesday.
Friday, November 10, 2006
By 11:00 or so I was so exhausted that I gave up and shut down my computer to go to bed. Of course, at that point the PC stopped responding entirely, and I tried to use the paddles and a snort of blow to (in the words of Motley Crue) to kick-start its heart. But still nothing. So I turned off the power supply to the PC – snuffing the very spark of life that was refusing to die with a merciless flipping of the powerstrip switch and heartless cackle of glee.
Of course, when I powered it back on again, everything ran fine. I didn’t even need to reinstall again. The PC sat there, running iTunes perfectly, as if to say “What? What are you looking at? Did *I* do something?”
I tell you, that stupid PC is going to try and strangle me in my sleep if it can ever figure out how to do it over the internet. And it wonders why I’m spending so much time with the Macbook lately…
Thursday, November 09, 2006
All that said, once I move in the next thing that’s a little intimidating is that my new position involves a lot more travel than my old one did. This is nice because it lets me save up beaucoup frequent flyer miles and Marriott points to use when the GF and I go on exotic vacations*. But business travel is rarely as exciting as pleasure travel, simply because you rarely get to see any of the interesting things. For example I have a trip next month that will take me from Cleveland to Detroit, stopping at six little towns along the way visiting suppliers. I completely intend to stop by the Double-Deuce and pick a fight with Patrick Swayze while I’m there**. At least I should have interesting stories from the road, given that with nothing to do in those small towns I’ll have plenty of time for blogging***.
In the end, it’s probably a good thing. At least I’ll have the time to go through and modify my blogroll while I’m crashing at the Canton Super 8. Sadly I haven’t had the time to remove some dormant ones or folks that moved**** and replace them with interesting new people I’ve found*****. Plus, I have so much reading to do on ya’lls old posts******…
* To places like Madison, WI
** It’s his way or the highway…
*** Prepare yourselves for long, detailed summaries of roadkill-counts and tales of roadside diners!
**** NWG, did you see that your URL got bought by someone promoting the Mirage in Vegas?
***** Amelie-Freak has *great* taste in music and Kay looks great as a dude
****** No, I’m not from the south I just find ya’ll a very useful term on occasion. Plus it makes me sound more friendly than I actually am. In reality I’m very mean. Hence the “grrr”.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
I was so disgusted by the whole thing that I actually voted for Peraica, even though he has a reputation as a right-leaning Bush-phile. And when I was leaving Portillos* I saw him entering the building followed by a couple handlers and a cameraman. He saw that I recognized him and spub all the way around to come back out, shake my hand, and ask for my vote. He seemed like a really decent guy, so I was happy to tell him that I had already voted for him. Sure, he’s a republican, but like I said, the county board has no real legislative power. Now it turns out that the race might be closer than anyone thought it might be. If it turns out that he wins by one vote, I’ll feel pretty important, I dare say.
In other election news, I found a fun site where you can see the political leanings of superheros. Man, that Batman totally has the right idea. I should have voted for him instead of all those judges….
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
(sigh)...yeah, even I can't fake surprise over this "shocking announcement".
The interesting thing now will be: can she get her career back now that her producers and handlers have re-taken the reins? Or is she forever destined to milk legacy sales of "Hit Me Baby One More Time" while spiraling down through various levels of reality-TV hell?
Of course, we already know where *he's* going...
I woke up a little early this morning to head down to my local polling place and get my civic duty out of the way nice and early before the lines started forming and people started getting disenfranchised. After all the hype surrounding the elections this year I was all excited to vote and make my voice heard.
But the reality that my district has no remotely close races going on soon struck me quickly. Other than the Governor’s race, I had no body to vote for that would remotely affect control of Congress. I did get to vote on some interesting referendums, and was once again reminded of how much I loathe voting for judges*.
But even though none of my races were exciting, at least I got to be excited about my polling place! After years of being forbidden entry all through high school and my 20’s, society has now spun on its heel and made me morally obligated to go into the women’s locker room. Truthfully, while it was exciting to enter the forbidden zone, it was pretty much the same as a guys locker room – but with a few notable exceptions:
- It was really hot inside. In retrospect this should not have surprised me. Most women that I know are cold all the time, so it would be logical that an environment where they are parading around in their nekkidness (engaging in random tickle-fights and occasional make-out sessions**) would be warmer than usual. I just didn’t think it would have to be as warm as the womb. And Freud thought men had “return to the womb” issues…
- It didn’t smell *nearly* as bad as a men’s locker room. Ladies, for all your protestations that women’s locker rooms smell just as funky as a guy’s locker room, you have obviously never been in a men’s locker room after football practice. Obviously this was part of the conspiracy to keep us out of your locker room. Sure, they don’t smell like flowers or fresh-baked pie, but it did smell slightly of doughnuts due to the poll workers having a complete craft service table set up for the two workers that were there***.
All told though, my voting went pretty smoothly. Of course, that was probably bcause I was the 15th person to vote in my district. I expect things to get much nastier later today when it all comes down to the wire. Hey, is anyone having a riot-watching party tonight?
* Seriously, there were close to 100 of them, almost none of which I had heard anything about. How can there be millions of dollars spent on negative ads for governor and congressional seats but *zero* spent on judges? How can I be an informed voter if I don’t know whom to hate and/or fear the most?
** Don’t try to pretend it doesn’t happen, ladies, we men know what really goes on in there when we’re not there voting – we’ve seen the late-night documentaries on Cinemax.
*** Glad to see my tax dollars are being spent wisely!
Monday, November 06, 2006
As it turns out, we didn't even need numbers. Once all the people in the various contests had passed they opened up the parade route to anyone who wanted to walk, so we made our way into the street, stopping to wave at the throngs.
Now, I could lie and tell you that it was a perfectly ordinary experience. That we walked up the 5-6 blocks, waved at a few people before heading over to IHOP for some stuffed french toast prior to making our way to the el stop for an uneventful ride back to the GF's house. But the truth is that it was an *awesome* experience. Literally, it was a life-altering experience. Now, when we came up with the idea of going as King Friday and Queen Sara, we thought "Hey, maybe a few folks will recognize us and they'll think it's funny." We were totally unprepared for the adoration we received - seriously, it was like we had suddenly been transformed into a late-90's boy band.
Everyone we waved at waved back, and most people recognized us. Granted, some of them took a few seconds before shouting out "King Friday!!!"* followed by the occasional "I love you guys!". As the GF said, it was about as close to being a famous person as I think I ever want to get. Sure, it was nice getting my picture taken about a hundred-and-fifty times** but in the back of my head I was saying to myself "I'm glad the fake beard and wig cover almost all of my face."
Of course, it also could have been that the GF just looked like a total hottie in her Queen outfit. I mean after all, it *was* the North Halsted Parade - and those boys do love their Queens.
* Except for the few who thought I was the Burger King. Honestly, people, I know I have a large noggin, but come on...do I seriously look that creepy!?!?
** About 60% of which seemed like they were stereotype-perpetuating Asian tourists...honestly.
Friday, November 03, 2006
Meanwhile, to keep you all entertained, I provide a few neat things gleaned off the interweb:
First, a little something for my Political Science homies up in Madison.
Second, a little something for all of my guy homies who can’t get enough of the episode of Friends with the Princess Leia costume. (Not necessarily NSFW, but might raise some eyebrows).
Finally, ever wanted to take a cross-country road trip but never had the time? Now you can!*
* Well, sort of. It’s pretty obvious that this is at least somewhat edited to cut out long portions of dull-straight road, including probably all of Kansas. So while it’s fraudulent, it’s only a little bit so.