Las Vegas Day 2

5 04 2010

Well the title is pretty self explanatory.

We arrived in Las Vegas yesterday, our very first visit to “The Strip”, and oh my, what an assault to the senses.

So many lights, sounds, smells, people etc.  I have to admit given the amount of walking we’ve had to do I’ve struggled a little bit, but I’ve managed.  The hardest part of the day was going to see Cirque de Soleil’s “O”.

The show is absolutely amazing.  The issue, with the heart issues I’m having, my Doctor has me on diuretics, which so far have been amazing.  Inside of 2 days I’m already starting to feel a lot better.  The torturous part is that the show is water based.   Amazing, but ALL water.

Need I remind you, I’m on diuretics.  They make you pee.  A lot!

So you can imagine.   The show is amazing and I don’t want to miss a second of it.  I’m dying to go to the bathroom, and there’s water everywhere.

Argh!  I survived though, and heartily recommend the show to anyone who is fortunate enough to get to Las Vegas.

Today has been fun too.  Not only did I get to see the hotel that my parents stayed at when they were here a couple of years ago (Treasure Island), but I also got to go up in a Helicopter, fly out to the Grand Canyon, land at the bottom for a champagne picnic, then fly over Las Vegas at dusk seeing all the lights.   Amazing.

One problem.  On the way to the Grand Canyon we had some turbulence, and the woman sitting directly in front of me had to utilise her air sick bag.

Gross!  I couldn’t hear her being sick for the noise of the helicopter and the headphones I was wearing.  But sadly, I’m a sympathetic vomiter.  If one person pukes, I do too, and I could smell it.   I can almost still smell it now, a couple of hours after the event.  Needless to say, and I’m a little embarassed to admit, I had to reach for my own sick bag, for the first time ever, and I’ve been in many helicopters, planes, hot air balloons, rides etc and never had a problem previously.   The only upside was that I’d not really eaten much, so other than breaking out into a ridiculous sweat and heaving with a bag at my face, I wasn’t actually ill.

I did pass on the champagne.  I’m not stupid.  Unfortunately, the woman who puked on the way out imbibed.  Needless to say on the way back, and this time she was sitting next to me, she puked two more times.  This time I managed to survive and retain my dignity.

On a side note, while standing at the bottom of the Grand Canyon I met Red Symons, of Hey Hey It’s Saturday fame.   Mark suggested we should introduce ourselves,  I wanted to, but was a little hesitant.  That was until I saw him (Red) pick up a stone and throw it into the canyon (he later said it was to get an idea of how deep it was – we weren’t technically right at the bottom), on seeing it I said “Mr Simons, you’re a vandal.”
He laughed, I introduced myself and we had a chat.  Nice guy!  Small world.

We’re back at the hotel now, having changed room to a suite that has two bedrooms, both with King sized beds to accomodate us, and our friends Alex and Randy.  We’re all sitting in the living room now.  I’m blogging, they’re playing Scrabble on Alex’s new iPad.

Very civilised.  Oh yes, civilised.  We have champagne, and amazing view out over Las Vegas from the 17th floor.

Sounds lavish, but when you do it as a group it’s totally affordable.   Oh, and I’ve gambled.  I lost $21.  I don’t even gamble, I hate it, but figured while in Vegas, why not.   Mark won the money I lost back, his machine was apparently much luckier.  We then cashed out.  So for gambling, overall we’re down $3.  Not such a bad effort.  Especially when you take into account that when using the ATM, the amounts it suggests are in $1000, $2000, $3000 etc denominations…

That’s it.  There’s nothing sordid, so on this occasion, what happened in Vegas is fit to be shared with all of you! 🙂

More McScary than McHappy

23 09 2009

The picture says it all, and that’s scary enough.  Thanks goes to Brad for providing the material for todays post.


Masked Bandits

16 06 2009

racoon mirrored Before moving to a country that actually has Raccoons, I used to think they were cute furry critters.
For the first 12 months here I never saw a live one, just squashed ones on the road, and I felt sorry for them.

Now, if I could drive my car up a tree and squash them myself I would.  Yes, they’re cute to look at, but they’re a nightmare to live with.  They torment the dogs, attempt to steal food at every opportunity, and in general are loud, annoying crafty nuisances.

The sun was barely down 30 minutes tonight and the first one showed up running along the fence top.  Imagine the surprised and momentarily joyful look on it’s face when it saw that their was a human in the yard, and that said human had thrown it a cob of corn.  Then fright registered and it realised the corn was being thrown at it, and it took off up a tree.

Several times this week they’ve tormented the dogs, and several times this week I’ve chased them up a tree, them growling at me menacingly, and me wielding a broom or the hose growling equally menacingly back.  So far I have their bluff, and can usually get a nights peace before they return.

This is a tentative standoff, and I’m reevaluating my methods.  A paintball gun has crossed my mind…  My evil side thinks it would be amusing to use a different coloured paintball each night.  That’d enable me to identify which raccoon is brave/stupid enough to keep returning.  Noone gets injured that way either.

As I said, they’re cute, but they’ve also been known to carry rabies, and that’s something I don’t want in my yard.
Squirrels and birds I can live with, the masked bandits, coyotes, bears and cougars, I can do without.

Speaking of bears, my friend Lisa was riding yesterday and saw a baby black bear, she said it was very cute, then she realised that somewhere nearby was it’s Mother, so she pedalled as fast as possible, and hightailed it out of there.  Clever girl.

Coyotes, and Raccoons and Bears…

Oh my!

My own bed at last!

15 04 2009

I’m home, well back in Washington anyway, where I currently live.  To get technical, Australia is home, but for now, here is good.

I’m far too tired to be jetlagged right now, and this entry, the second for Wednesday, since I’ve now had two Wednesday’s thanks to crossing the International Date Line, is going to close any moment now.

It’s time for a nice hot shower, curl up with the pets who are all home and inside, and a nice long sleep.


Back in America – Sunday, Again!

15 02 2009

Well I’m in Los Angeles having landed a little over 2 hours ago.

Immigration was relatively uneventful, although they flatly refused to give me 9 months to match my previous status, despite my having a notarised copy of the original.  No matter, I just smiled and said “Sure.” when he said “Six months”.

To be honest, I don’t really care, I’m flying back to Australia in roughly 5 weeks anyway, so this Immigration status will be surrendered when I leave, and I go through the whole process again on my return in April.  It’s really a moot point.

All in all it was pretty easy.

The best part of my trip so far, was checking in for my flight from Melbourne to Los Angeles and being told when I asked for an exit aisle,“You’ve been upgraded to Premium Economy”.


It’s only a small step up from Cattle Class, but it’s a step.  I have dubbed it Llama Class.  Bigger seats, so much more leg room I could have done yoga (could have, but didn’t, I have no idea how), and a much better food selection.
Although, even with all that, I’d be lucky if I had accumulatively, 2 hours sleep out of the 14 hours or so we were in the air.  Oh well, I’ll be home this afternoon and be able to sleep in my own bed.

Right now, I’m sitting in the Alaska Airlines Boardroom (thing Qantas Lounge, scaled down, LOTS), killing some time before I board my next flight to Portland, Oregon, before boarding another flight home to Seattle.

A lot of messing around, but I saved a few hundred dollars by juggling flights, not a bad effort given I booked these while I was still taking pain meds for my recent nose surgery.  I’m still impressed that I managed to get them all sorted and haven’t messed anything up.  I hope I haven’t “typed too soon”.  We’ll see.

Oh, the only part of flying back that I hate.  No access to the Business Lounges that have showers, as I had to exit to get my bags and recheck in at Alaska.  Fortunately I learnt my lesson last time after sitting in the same clothes for over 24 hours.  Armed with a packet of anti-bacterial WetOnes, I had a “paupers bath” and got changed, and let me tell you, I feel like a million dollars, and smell WetOnes fresh – hehe.

That’s about it.  Right now, I’m gunna have a bit of a rest while I wait for the boarding call.


The trip back…

12 11 2008

Essentially this post is going to be a placeholder.  A placeholder that I’ll fill out properly shortly.

But, for now, this is going to be it.  Seems I’m a little jetlagged, not such a huge surprise, but I had hoped to have escaped it.  Guess not.

Hints for you, and reminders for me are as follows:

  • Airport Hilton
  • Airbus A380
  • Red carpet and Bag limit
  • Eddie Maguire
  • Collingwood Football Team
  • Airport Lounge
  • Domestic connection
  • Hot Shower

Catch you on the flip side.

Last day in San Diego

28 07 2008

Well this is it, it’s our last day.

Unfortunately, despite the great weather, I’m not going to get the chance to go swimming.  Grr!  Despite their being some great beaches here. 

This trip has been completely devoted to trips into Nerd-dom.

Today we’re checking out of the Hotel, picking up a rental car, heading out to Lego Land (which I actually don’t mind, I do love my Lego), and flying back to Seattle this evening.

Home (for now, Australia is STILL home!), reunite with the pets who’ve been under the care of our friend Scott.  THANKS SCOTT!, unpack, and resume life as I know it.

… AND get back to the gym!  Other than a whole lot of walking, and truly there’s been a LOT, I’ve not worked out since I left, and I really do miss it.

Alrighty, I started this while Mark was asleep and it was peaceful, he’s since woken, so it really is time to get the day rolling.

Next entry will be a recap and from Washington.


Back up the truck!

24 07 2008

Ok, so it’s day two in San Diego, and I’m feeling a little more rested.

For those of you concerned about my need for a nap yesterday after sleeping on the plane…

I was awake until 2am yesterday morning getting ready for the trip, and then awake at 5am to get to the airport.  My sleep on the plane was about 45 minutes in duration.
Believe me…  The nap was well warranted.  Especially when you take into account, I’m a non-comic person being dragged to four days of comic immersion amongst the swags of the “great unwashed” at Comic-Con.

ComicBookGuy1 To be fair, not everyone at the convention conforms to what I imagined most attendants of the convention would look like.  Think “Comic Book Guy” from the Simpson’s…  That may be an unfair assumption, but I can promise you, enough people in attendance fit the stereotype to justify my assumption.

Speaking of stereotype.  I saw a t-shirt there yesterday which I liked:  “I don’t like stereotyping, but it does save time”.  Pretty applicable in this case.

I’ll also say this, and keep in mind, I’m still losing weight myself, and I totally understand that it’s not the easiest task in the world.  But at the Comic-con, I felt emaciated.  I’m by far one of the skinniest attendees.

So, there is a positive! 😉

Mark has our entire stay itinerised, so you can imagine his dismay when we left to collect our badges to attend the event and Preview Night when he saw the queue.  Which, I kid you not, was easily over a kilometre long.  I now know how Salmon feel when the swim upstream.

We could see where we needed to go, but were ushered left of our destination into a massive crowd.  Not just a crowd though, it was a queue.  A super, massive, queue that switched back on itself several times.

Now I”d be lying if I said I felt bad about what occurred next, but since it saved what could possibly have been up to two hours of standing in line, I’ll confess, I followed the pack, but at a faster pace, dragging Mark behind me, cut queue, befriended another group (Mark was only to happy to speak with others of "his own kind") and placed ourselves a lot closer to the end destination than we’d otherwise have been.

Actually I should probably be ashamed of myself for racing to get inside faster!  Ha!  But as I mentioned, a lot of the other attendants, are what I’ll refer to as "unique", and by that I mean strange.  Not all, but certainly enough.

We finally made it inside though, got our badges, bag of free goodies.  I have no idea what’s in the bag, I’ve not looked.  Wandered around a bit, and there really is lots to look at, the event itself is kind of cool, there’s quite a lot to see, but I’m really not a "fan boy’ in general.  There are things I like, but I’ve never understood the compulsion to collect, pay homage too, or worship people or items.  Primarily, I’m not a fan of crowds, specifically crowds of devoted fans who push, squeeze, crush, and will trample you to the ground given half a chance.

In this respect, Mark’s probably lucky that I was with him.  Firstly, I’m bigger than he is, thanks somewhat to genetics, a previously bad diet (remember, I’m still getting fit ;)), I work out, and I also don’t tolerate being pushed or crushed.

Sounds fun doesn’t it.  I guess you could say, and I’d be hard pressed to argue, I can be impatient and assertive in my own requirements for personal space.  That’s the polite explanation. *grin*

Anyway, Mark’s goal for the evening was to purchase some limited edition Batman and Joker figurines, which apparently there were only 5000 of each available.  He knew roughly where they were, but of course, like a Geek Moth to a Comic Flame, immediately wandered off towards all the sparkly, glittery offerings.  (I have to point out now, I’m really NOT looking forward to seeing exactly what he ends up bringing home with us – the guy is a hoarder of epic proportions!).  Me being the pragmatist however, asked what he wanted, where it was, and on hearing the aisle number, started making my way through the crowds with him in tow towards our destination, and as it happens, our next queue.

This one wasn’t quite as long as the previous one, but long enough that it warranted him asking what the people waiting in line, were actually waiting for.  Fortunately, they were all in line for the items he was lusting after.
So in line we popped, and waited.  I joked, "Wouldn’t it be funny if the people in front of us got the last ones just before we got to the counter".  Mark wasn’t too impressed!  He he!

Short story, although judging by what I’ve typed so far, I fear it’s too late for that.  They had stock available, and we managed to get 4 of each of the limited items.  Mark got some for himself, I got some for eBay.  You can’t say I’m not enterprising.  😉

While we’d been wandering Mark had noticed many people with large Warner Brothers bags on their shoulders, bags which apparently were complimentary.  Also as I discovered, in very high demand.
Let’s just say, the crowd was immense, everyone was crushing, grasping hands and reaching arms everywhere and people screaming.  Not fun!

Remember though, I’m "assertive", I got to the front without injuring myself or anyone around me, got two bags, and backed out quickly, fending off grasping hands trying to liberate me of my valiantly won item.  Back off sunshine, or I’ll tear your face off!  Is what I was thinking as I fought my way out… 😉

I prefer to think of my efforts as time saving, the faster I move, the less time I’m stuck somewhere I don’t want to be.  It all works out.

Of course as with most Comic Conventions there are gazillions (technical term 😉 ) of people dressed up as various characters, and most of them aren’t actually working the event, they’re just attending.  They’re enthusiastic these comic people!

Anyway, we survived Preview Night, and will be heading back again soon this morning.  Sigh!  Oh well, one night down, four days to go.  Perhaps I can consider my efforts a workout…

Comic-Con aside, we’re staying at the US Grant Hotel in downtown San Diego, a very posh and swank hotel.  It’s five star, and not our first choice, but despite booking accommodation back in January it was all that was available.  It’s very nice, but we were a little horrified to discover that our room appeared smaller than we were led to believe it would be, and suited more to one person than two.
This was a theory proven later on when we returned to our room to find the bed had been turned down and prepared for one person.

Mark contacted Guest Services who confirmed the room had been listed for a sole occupant.  Amazing really, when there were two adults present at Check In, and two room keys organised.  Duh!

It took several calls both to Expedia who confirmed our booking was for two people, and Guest Services who advised it wasn’t.  Our main concern was that we get what we paid for, and believe me, the prices here…  Nice as the hotel is, we want value for our money.  It’s NOT cheap!

After much phone discussion, and Mark going off with the Night Manager to investigate another room, we were moved from our little box on the Seventh floor, to a sprawling room on the Third floor, on the corner of the hotel looking out on two sides over San Diego.  Much better!  I can now change my mind without having to leave the room to do it. 😉

So there you have it, that’s yesterday in a rather large nutshell.  Mark is wandering around the room behind me having a not so mild panic attack that I’m typing a blog entry, and Comic-Con is opening in a few minutes, AND we’ve not had breakfast yet, AND we need to get in the queue, AND….  you get the drift.

Today will be a little more interesting for me, there’ll be Dr Who and Torchwood panels. 

Overall though, I’m in San Diego, and it’s a beautiful location.

Ok, before I go, belated HAPPY BIRTHDAY’S to the lovely LARN!  Hope you had a great day!

I’m outta here!  Hooroo!

San Diego, California

23 07 2008

We’re here!  The flight was effortless, but then I’ve had a whole lot of practice flying in recent times.

The row directly across the aisle from us was empty, so as soon as the plane doors were closed, and there was no possible chance of anyone else boarding, I dove across the aisle and claimed all three seats for myself.

I stayed awake long enough to read some of my book, get a drink, then pulled up all the arms on the three chairs, and curled up for a sleep.

Bliss!  Even economy can be luxurious! 😉

The weather here is great, the view from the plane window was very reminiscent of home (Australia).  Everything is brown and dry, that is, except for the golf courses.  They’re all bright green.

Although unlike Australia, there was a thick brown band of smog above the city.

It’s still pretty though, and warmer than Washington.

So while I’m still reticent about being dragged to Comicon, at least the weather’s nice.

Hooroo!  I need a nap!

Feeling the love!

14 07 2008

The “Shelly Love”.

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been having Physical Therapy, and I get it from the bestest ever person; Shelly, and it hurts like the “bejeezus”, but it works.

Well when I started it was for my shins, they’re getting better, and then it was for my knee, now that’s getting better.  Now, it’s for my wrist, so effective today, I’m on three sessions a week.

Good thing I don’t work!  I’d never have the time!

The shins were due to a weakness in my lower back and glutes, the knee was also partially due to that weakness.  As for the wrist, well that’s an old injury, one from my early teens when I fell and apparently broke both wrists.  Only at the time I didn’t notice as I also smashed in my front teeth and broke my nose, so the majority of the pain was elsewhere so I never noticed my wrists.

Until now.  I have restricted movement in my left wrist, I’ve always been aware of it, but since I’m predominantly right handed it’s never been a problem.  But now it is.

Wow!  I knew the leg bone was connected to the knee bone, the knee bones was connected to the shin bone etc.  But it’s true, everything really is connected, if one thing doesn’t do it’s job properly, or your form/movement isn’t optimal it really does create further problems.

It’s all under control though, my glutes are coming along nicely, and apparently I’ll soon have “Buns of Steel”.  Haha!  With my luck, they’ll rust!

That’s about it really, tomorrow will be an early start as I’m taking the car in for a service, then I think I’ll go for a ride, workout, come home and try Wii Fit.  Mark bought it on the weekend.

I certainly have enough to keep me busy.

Meanwhile, if you’re the giving type, and want to support a worthy cause, a cause based in America, therefore it’s probably best that unless you’re SUPER generous, you not donate unless you live here.

A friend of mine is raising money for a 3 day bike ride of 172 miles, through the Cascade Mountains and in doing so is raising money for the Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital.

If you’re up for some donation catalysed karma…  Go to Mary Bridge Foundation – Courage Classic, follow the prompts and help me help my friend raise some money.  You’ll feel all warm, fuzzy and generous afterwards.  I promise! 🙂

If you’re a Microsoft employee, you should definitely donate, as Microsoft will match your donation!

Cheers, and thanks if you’re generous. 🙂