30 November 2005

Vroom Vroom!

That means we went to the auto show last weekend. They were giving out tickets at work and I figured Jesse would like to go (being a dude and all) so off we went. We took quite a few pictures. Unfortunately I know very little about cars. I'll tell you what I saw but there won't be any details.

The first stop was the Porsche display. They were locally owned cars and were all members of the local Porsche club (or something like that).

Then I popped over to the Hyundai display. I looked at the 2006 Accent. It's plumper than the earlier models. I think it looks more like those plump little Toyotas I see rolling about the town. The new Accents don't have what I like to call the "sunflower taillights." As you can tell, I know a lot about car design.

After Hyundai, I kinda spaced out. I mean Hyundai is in my price range and shiny cars are shiny cars. Of course, dudes everywhere will disagree. Jesse took money shots of a Corvette and Lamborghini Saleen.

I took the money shots of the Chevrolet concept car. It's a family sedan / sports car. It looks roomy. Jesse liked the wide tires. I liked the handles... until Jesse told me they were blanks - meaning just slits to show they haven't designed handles yet. Too bad really.

And that's my review of the 6th Annual Motor Trend International Auto Show.

26 November 2005

This Is Las Vegas

I hope living here doesn't ever seem "normal" to me. Santa arrived at the Galleria at Sunset Mall in Henderson this week. It was the day after Thanksgiving to be exact. When I think of Santas at other malls, I imagine they arrive in sleighs, flanked by fake reindeer, elves, and a Mrs. Claus. The Las Vegas Santa arrived in a red vintage sports car, flanked by scantily clad, leggy "helpers" who did a little dance. And Santa had a French accent. No wonder kids here grow up and... Well grow up the way they do. I wish I could show you, but there aren't any pictures on our web site.

Above is the view looking west from the DMV.

Also on the day after Thanksgiving, the Stanley Cup appeared at my job. There was an email, and then a page: "The Stanley Cup is in the newsroom if anyone's interested." As I was already in the newsroom, it was pretty easy to be interested. The trophy is on tour raising money for hurricane relief . Basically it's going to minor league games and people can pay $5 to take a picture with it. I took my picture with it for free. But it was on a disposable camera, so the pictures won't be developed for some time. I took some pictures of it with my phone. They're not great, but you get the point.

24 November 2005

Third Time's A Charm?

On Wednesday (November 23rd) a car at the Golden Nugget drove through a barrier in the parking garage. A guy and his wife were in the car. The guy told the rescue crew he hit the accelerator instead of the break. They broke through a screen and a concrete barrier. Luckily they were stopped by a pole holding up power lines carrying 72,000 volts. Whew!

The story is strange enough, but in Vegas we like to one up strange. The same thing happened in the exact same spot in January 2004. Only there wasn't a power pole - or the car missed it. It fell four stories and the two people inside died.

Ditto October 2004. Car drives through a barrier at the Golden Nugget, falls (only 16 feet), and the people inside live! Amazing.

I don't know about the people involved in Friday's crash, but the youngest person in the other accidents was 78. And all three vehicles were white. Coincidence?

23 November 2005

Happy Sunday Before Thanksgiving!

On Sunday (November 20) Jesse and I hit the road to Los Angeles. We were on our way to visit Tab, Mike, and Curt. Actually, we were going to eat at a Pre-Thanksgiving pot-luck hosted by Tab, Mike, & Curt. I made cheesecake cupcakes with fruit topping. It was a new recipe and I didn't really like them. But there was quite the dessert spread, so I don't think anyone noticed they were gross. And tab said she liked them.

Tab is an event planner by trade and therefore hosted a fabulous party. She also cooked most of the entrees. The guests mostly brought dessert. Next year I plan to bring an appetizer. There were probably about 30 people. It was full, but not crowded. And since I didn't know most of the people, I didn't take pictures of them. But I did manage to get shots of the hosts.

There's Tab the Taster / Cook, Mike the Dancer / DJ / Dishwasher, and Curt the Ladies Man / Ladies Man.

The pot luck could have doubled as an Ithaca College networking event. I think most people there went to IC. No Bomber Blue though, it was a grown up event.

Right after dinner, Jesse (scene here nibbling on an apple) disappeared. He went to the rec room and promptly fell asleep on the couch. He stayed there until all but one person left. Then he got up and ate some more.

The food was DElicious. There was turkey, chicken stuffed with some sort of fish, mashed potatoes, a brocolli casserole (or hot dish as they say in the midwest), a cold noodle salad, regular salad, a veggie plate, corn bread, macaroni and cheese, and other stuff I ate but choose not to remember.

There were just as many desserts. It was fattening and very gratifying. You may not be able to tell from this picture, but aside from the cheesecake, there was warm chocolate for the smores, apple crisp, apple pie, pecan pie, lots of pumpkin pie, cookie bars, and just good junk food. yum.

ND to NV Indeed

Well I did it. After four and a half months of procrastination, I registered my car in Nevada. I had no intentions of putting off my registration for this long but the system here is just SO annoying. First, my insurance company called because the post office told it I moved. Thanks. They raised my rate by more than 90%. Apparently that's to be expected when you move to this state.

Expected on not, I didn't like it and decided to change my insurance as soon as I registered. But registering is an ordeal. First you have to have insurance here (check) then you have to be checked for smog. Then your VIN needs to be verified. And in my case plates had to be ordered. Of course there are the fees. It's decided by your car. My car cost $202. You can use your VIN to price yours.

Once you have all of that, you just have to find a time when the estimated 2,000 new residents a month aren't going to the DMV. Simple. Plus, everyone tells you it's going to be a nightmare. They recommend camping out overnight, driving to the next town, or just not registering. All the hype (plus a regular life outside of car issues) was enough to keep me away.

But on Tuesday (November 22) I did it. I got up early, left at 7, and had my number (a047) by 8:05. An hour later I was out the door. It was pretty painless. I got to talk to my parents, which is always a pleasure. And while I did not partake there was a lovely concession stand in the lobby.

Oh Come ON!

A teacher at a Catholic school in New York was fired today (November 22) for being pregnant and unwed. The Civil Liberties Union is on the case, saying it's unfair and a form of descrimination. I see this as a non-issue, and I'll tell you why. Simply: she knew better.

What kind of Catholic school would allow for unwed, pregnant teachers? Not one that wanted to keep it's tuition paying and devout parents happy. As a representative of a Catholic institution, there are standards to uphold. Plus, it was implied in her contract. She agreed not to violate the "tenets of Catholic morality."

She argued the school would treat a man differently. I doubt that. If the school found out there was a male teacher impregnating women and not marrying them - the media would find out too. It's the nature of the world. The scandal would be, well, scandalous and action would be taken.

Either way, it wasn't a man. It was one woman who knowingly broke the rules, then assumed she was above the guideline by which she agreed to abide, and is now appealing the consequences. I'm not saying the policy is right, but it's out there and established. If I get arrested here, I'd likely be fired from my job. So I'm not going to rob any banks, plain and simple. This whole thing just gets my goat, as Peter J. Kareithi would say. But feel free to disagree.

17 November 2005

Everything's Better With Tape

Last weekend I made a wallet from magazines and packaging tape (hence the glare). It's been a hobby of mine for a long time. They don't have themes, although I have two wallets made from ticket stubs. This latest one doesn't have a theme. The outside is an old cover of the High Plains Reader, which Jesse gave me because it had a black woman on the cover.

I added some words cut from magazines. Fortunately I read fun, empowering magazines loaded with activist words and double entendres.

Anyway, I cut up some magazines, got some tweezers, tape, scissors, and velcro and went to town. Every wallet is better than the last.

The last one had separate places for cash and my checkbook, but no where for change. Also, my cards slipped out of their holders. They didn't fall out, but it was annoying. This wallet has a change section, and a stopper to keep cards from slipping out. It's my best work yet.

My dad (you remember him) says I should sell them. But I look at every wallet as an expression. And I don't think other people want to express themselves the same way I do. So I don't think anyone would buy them. But this is my hobby, and here are the results.

And here's (apparently) what I look like in the wallet making process. It's a dirty, sticky mess.

16 November 2005

Where I Stand: The Supreme Court

I know this batch of Justices on the Supreme Court will be hearing a lot of landmark cases. Let me rephrase that: I know this batch of justices on the Supreme Court will be hearing a lot of landmark cases that I am now old enough to care about and understand. And of course there's the possibility Roe V. Wade will come up before the conservative justices retire (or die). Yet despite knowing a lot about what's on the line, I am disappointed in the way the last three nominations have been handled. My angst is directed neither at President Bush, nor retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor (although I could justify both). Instead I am miffed because of the media and special interest groups. If you have a moment, I'll tell you why.

Supreme Court Justices do not hold politicized posts. That is to say they are not elected and they are not supposed to represent any agenda. The job of a justice is most often to interpret the law.

So it annoys me to learn that special interest groups are asking for money, be it to support or oppose a nomination. Progress For America will not be voting to confirm Sam Alito. NARAL Pro Choice America will also not be asked for an opinion. Although both get credit for giving you the option of writing to senators while asking you to fund the fight. As it stands, only senators vote on Supreme Court Nominees. If you want to be heard, send yours a message.

It irks me that media outlets are so quick to contemplate how a nominee might push the court to the right or to the left. It's all speculation. I believe justices make decisions based on the arguments presented before them. I also believe the best lawyer wins. I am not so naive to ignore the role personal experiences may play. But no one is perfectly objective. The system requires some faith in order for it to work.

I also don't agree with using the past as fodder for future debate. For example, in 1985 when applying to be an Assistant Attorney General under President Ronald Reagan, Judge Samuel Alito called himself a conservative against affirmative action and abortion. Democrats and liberals (not to be considered the same) said "Aha! He's sure to vote to overturn Roe."

Maybe Democrats and liberals should ask themselves if they've ever boasted on a job application. Or if they've ever changed their stance on anything. In his defense, Alito has basically said he was trying to get a job by telling the employer what the employer wanted to hear.

Anecdote: I went to Catholic school, you know. When I was in 6th grade, we were asked to write essays explaining why abortion was wrong. I'm sure they gave us an abortion explainer, but I don't remember what it was. Anyway, I went home and wrote what I thought to be a very good essay on why no one should be allowed to get an abortion. I was proud of myself. So proud that I showed my mother. She did not seemed pleased. She showed my father and I got a second abortion explainer about choices and circumstances. I then rewrote the essay.

I don't know what happened to the original essay, but how would I feel if I suddenly decided to get a job at an abortion clinic and they brought that up?

My point is that people change as they learn. Yes Samuel Alito is a conservative. Yes he has his opinions as an educated citizen. But history has shown us he has done his job well in the past. There's no reason for him to start screwing up now.

So to the media: I care that this is happening. I do not care about what you think "might happen if."

And you special interest groups: If you want a donation to further your cause, that's fine. But do not pretend that will go votes for or against any nominee. You're on my nerves.

15 November 2005

The Visit Concludes

One week after swinging into town, my dad flew out Saturday (November 12). I had fun with my dear old dad. This is a picture of us on Fremont Street. Highlights from the visit include my dad telling me I'm getting chubby, and starting to look like my mother. Coming from my father, that's not a compliment. Also, he said I'm abusing Jesse by controlling his life. I expected none of the above and was a little surprised he decided to stick up for Jesse.

I expected my dad to try and prod some intentions out of Jesse... Mostly because that's what he said he was going to do. But after seeing how we live, and realizing we're just kids, I think he thought better of it. So now my dad heads back to the east coast. But don't worry friends, his character is scheduled to return in April with one of my little brothers.

13 November 2005

We Took A Trip...

Right on down to Fremont Street. This dude was toward the end, and although he wasn't waving, I'm sure he was glad to see us.

Jesse, my dad, and I went to Fremont Thursday (November 10) night. I guess the show has been updated since my dad was last here four years ago. The actual "street" has been replaced with a sidewalk and little trees. Also, the show (I guess) used to be just s series of light bulbs. Now it's a digital light show, complete with dancing girls.

There really isn't much to say about Fremont St. But since I took quite a few pictures, (the better to show you with) 'I'll try to say a little about everything. So we have the dude, and the dancing girls. Also on Fremont are Binions, the 4 Queens, and the Golden Nugget.

Binions Gambling Hall & Casino has been in downtown Las Vegas since 1951. There are two Binions stories every gambler (and news junkie) should know. First, there's the history, and then there's the good story. Nothing like cowboys, murder, drugs, and treasure to add some flavor a business.

I don't know of anything scandalous having to do with the 4 Queens Hotel & Casino. Jesse has a story, but it's about a different 4 queens.

Earlier this year, the Golden Nugget was sold to Landry's Restaurants, Inc. for $140 million, plus $155 million in debt. Landry's is run by Tilman Fertitta, cousin of the Las Vegas Fertittas - partial owners of Station Casinos. Are you following me?

10 November 2005

My Mom Is Sick

This is my mother. As with my father, the picture quality isn't great because it's from my phone. My mommy has been a great supporter of pique a boo. She has left lots of anonymous posts, but I know they're from her. Mostly because she says stuff like "as your mother." For the past two days, my mother has been achy. She has Multiple Sclerosis, so these things are to be expected. Still she sounds miserable on the phone and it's times like these I wish I lived closer to home. You can leave her a get well message on my comments page (she doesn't have a blog of her own) and you can help kick MS in the balls.

Harumph... and Voila

I have a blogging problem that I just can't figure out. I use Mozilla Firefox as my default browser. When I look at my blog through Mozilla, all is as it should be. But at work, the default browser is Internet Explorer. When I look at my blog at work, everything in the right column is aligned by topic, but the topics are not aligned with each other. I've tried scripting it all kinds of ways, but it doesn't do any good. I asked Jesse and he couldn't fix it either. Ryan! What do I do?

Update: Ryan is my hero. Internet Explorer users enjoy!

09 November 2005

I Like to Travel

And I've been to lots of places in and outside of the United States. This is a picture of "the bean" in Chicago, IL... and a picture inside of it. Chi-town is one of my favorite places. I fancy myself living there some day.

Anyway, I enjoy new places. Breathing different air, seeing new people, watching what they do - I love it all. I bring this up because as much as I enjoy going from place to place, there are plenty of places I do not want to go. Right now those places include France, Pakistan, and The 9th Ward. But there's a new 5 star hotel on the planet, and it falls within my price range. Still, I doubt I'll ever stay there.

In completely unrelated news, there is a reason children (and in this case adults) should not play with weapons.

07 November 2005

The Visit

My dad arrived Saturday night without incident. I really miss seeing my family ever few months. And I miss the east coast - namely the scenery in the northeast. After the hugs and initial excitement, my dad says "you're getting a little chubby Danie." I've always been chubby. And I know I've gotten chubbier in the last few months... so his comment wasn't really necessary. Neither was squeezing my tummy and poking at it. I reminded him he's getting chubbier too. I come from a chubby stock. I prefer "pleasantly plump."

In other news Jesse and Ryan are challenging me to out-blog them. As you can see, Ryan is stepping out from the safety of his new house, and Jesse has resorted to putting up terrible pictures of me. They are the ones with the formal computer training and I think they're scared I'm going to show them up. I'll let Dale decide who is winning.

04 November 2005

My Dad Is Coming To Visit

This is my father. The picture quality isn't great because it's from my cell phone. My dad is coming to visit tomorrow (November 5). He's really excited but I have mixed emotions. I'm super thrilled to see my dad, and I wish I could see the rest of my family (a mom and two brothers) as well. But my dad is staying with us. And I don't know if you've ever been an unmarried woman living with a man and involved in an interracial relationship which your father considers "unsanctioned by the family," but it makes for awkward dinner conversations. I'll let you know how it goes.

Our Living Room

This is our living room. I'm really proud of it.

We found a couch and a love seat at a place called Walker Furniture. They sell damaged / showroom / dirty furniture. The couch only had three legs. We didn't realize it until after we got it home, but it was easy enough to fix.

We have a built in bookshelf (which I love) and a window seat. Unfortunately no one can sit in the window seat because that's where my plants get the best light. But we do have that couch. It's softer.

Right now we only have one television. It's often set to Halo 2 or reruns of poker. If I had my way, it'd be set to cartoons, medical shows, cartoons, and home improvement shows. As you can tell, we need another television.

The love seat is missing an arm. It was built that way. It's deep and also very comfortable. Your legs dangle off the side. (But don't hit the TV)

I found the curtains at linens n things. Obviously that means I paid too much for them. But I think they are a nice color blend of the couch and the love seat.And that's our living room.

We have one wall that's completely bare. We're (actually I'm) looking for something bold, yet agreeable, to put there. Suggestions?

Las Vegas: Pretty

I moved to Las Vegas in July. It was ridiculously and miserably hot. Jesse moved out here in September. We immediately started seeing the sights. (I never wanted to go alone.) And I found out this town known for gambling, mobsters, prostitution, and all other vices is actually quite pretty. These are pictures from way up on the Stratosphere.

Meet My New Mayor

His name is Oscar Goodman. Now I'm only 23, and I can't say I've paid attention to every mayor that's ever governed over me. But I think it's safe to say Mayor Goodman is the most extreme. You be the judge.

03 November 2005

purpose 'n junk

If you know me, you know I am rarely at a loss for words. If you don't know me, you'll learn. I already have a place where I write (complete with a captive audience) but I needed a place to add pictures. So here I am, and here you are. I'll add stories and pictures that may only interest people who know me. But I also promise to add stuff to interest the bored internet surfer.