28 December 2005

Our Christmas

Here is our Christmas Card display case / fridge. Every card we received before Christmas is here. Do you see yours? Good. For me, Christmas 2005 was the best one in a long time. I usually just sit at home alone and watch TV. It's not that I'm a recluse, I've just lived really far away from family for the last 4 years. I've never tried to get home for the holidays because I usually have to work Christmas Eve and my family doesn't celebrate Christmas.

It's not that we don't like Jesus (or birthdays) but my parents decided when we were little that commercialism was getting in the way. So there went the tree, tinsel, lights, & stockings. On the other hand, we're not overly religious either. We don't ever go to church (don't tell my grandma). It all amounts to: we don't celebrate Christmas.

But I digress. Theses are our presents as of Christmas Eve. The are from each other and the Bens, as Jesse calls them. They are Ben, Jess, Naomi, & Theo in Cincinnati. I've never met uncle Ben and the fam, but they have good blog participation, so I'm a fan. Jesse and I exchanged gifts very early on Christmas Eve. Or very late in Christmas Eve eve, depending on your math. I got him Sin City (even though I thought it was awful) and a cardigan he wanted from j crew. He got me an ipod shuffle. We were both thrilled.

Much later (around lunch time) we went to the
Carnival World Buffet. It's at the Rio and is supposed to be the best in town. We went during the champagne brunch. I consumed a salad, some bread, chicken wings, corn on the cob, a quesadilla, wild mushroom rice, baked chicken, mashed potatoes, a bite of crab meat, a slice of cheese pizza, a bite of shrimp pesto pizza, watermelon, crepes suzette, gelato, carrot cake, and two other desserts I can't name. I know, it's gross. I really don't think I'll ever go to another buffet. At one point it all seemed really gluttonous. Of course that point wasn't until after I ate myself smart.

We waddled over to Blockbuster. We rented (in the order of my enjoyment) The Island, March of the Penguins, Sahara, and Undertow. The Island and the penguin flick were both awesome. Those emperor penguins... Who knew?

We watched movies and played poker online for the rest of the weekend. I didn't even have to watch Sin City again. Truly the best Christmas ever.

24 December 2005

Heather & Nick Came To Town: III

Heather and Nick were here two weeks ago and I still haven't finished the story. Apparently I keep letting life get in the way of my blog. Harumph.

On Sunday, December 10, Heather & Nick did their own thing in the morning, while Jesse and I did the same. We met up for dinner at the Hofbrauhaus Las Vegas, where everyday is Oktoberfest. Jesse and I had never been there before and decided it was time to try some Bavarian cuisine. I had a generic chicken sandwich, which was delicious but too big. Jesse and Heather had a burger made from a pork / beef blend. I Heard it was delicious going down but burped up something awful. Nick, as you can see, had a giant beer and some brats. Of course the best part was the Kasekuchen. It's a creamy cheesecake in a raspberry sauce. Tasty indeed.

After dinner, Heather and Nick got back to gambling. Apparently Heather had been finding luck the Munsters slot machines in various casinos on the strip. So we headed back to Excalibur where Heather won $108 and Nick won $113 (or something like that) playing nickel slots. I lost $25 in several different machines and Jesse lost $40 playing poker. But I guess the point is to keep the tourists happy so they keep coming back. So it's good they won.

We then went to New York New York to play more slots. Jesse and I only stayed for a little bit (we had to work Monday you know) and Heather and Nick hopefully kept their winnings. They left the next day.

The End. Finally.

23 December 2005

Let's Be Clear

Remember my dad? Here's a picture of us on Fremont Street back in November. Like lots of people, my dad wears many hats. Many of which are not to be shared with the world. Recently my dad's most interesting hat has been labeled "striking NYC Transit Authority Worker." And if my mom weren't retired, she'd be one too. Tomorrow my dad will be back on the job while the TWU negotiates with the city.

The strike has disrupted millions and cost about $1 billion. The city is paying tens of millions in overtime (according to CBS Evening News) to traffic cops. Businesses are losing millions from potential shoppers. The transit workers have become the enemies of the city. And there is where I develop a problem. I think every New Yorker harboring ill will should be ashamed of him or herself.

This strike was not aimed at you New York. So please get over yourself. Take it as a sign the people still have a voice. You might not realize it, but blue collar jobs aren't as safe as they once were. General Motors is cutting 30,000 jobs and closing (or limiting production) at at least 12 plants. Ford is set to cut 4,000 and is expected to actually cut even more. United Airlines wants to cut its pilot's pensions. And failure to deliver promised pensions pushed both Delta and Northwest into bankruptcy. I don't care if you've worked somewhere for 20 years; your job is not safe. The way I see it, striking transit workers are protecting their futures. What's more honorable than that?

Let's be clear. My dad does not like losing two days of pay for every one day of striking. He has a mortgage to pay and home heating oil to buy just like the next dad. Losing money sucks but standing up for yourself and your peers is awesome.

TWU members are going back to work. But if they strike again, it will be because the city (and the ingrates in it) fail to understand what's worth fighting for. Maybe if New Yorkers stopped yelling at the strikers, and showed Mayor Bloomberg they support the people who support them everyday, negotiations wouldn't turn to strikes.

20 December 2005

Heather & Nick Came To Town: II

When last we met, it was December 10th, circa 11:30am. Heather nick were still visiting. Jesse returned from his gambling adventures with 10 new dollars - most of which he then used to buy Jimmy Dean Turkey Sausage Patties and buttermilk for breakfast. I made pancakes & turkey sausage for me, Heather handled the eggs, and Jesse the pork sausage. Nick may have set the table and/ or poured the orange juice. I don't remember.

Anyway, we ate and it was delicious. By the time Heather, Nick, and I were ready to go out and see the world, it was about 3:30pm and Jesse was dead to the world. Heather and Nick checked into the Excalibur, for that strip hotel experience.

While Jesse napped, we got tickets to the Tournament of Kings. It's medieval dinner theater. Unfortunately, no pictures were allowed. I snapped one before it started, but it was blurry. So to see the sights, you have to pay to see the show. They divided us into countries (we were Austria) and taught us how to cheer and jeer. Of course we ate with our hands because forks had not been invented yet. But it was pretty painless, and I didn't even have to take the plastic utensils out of my purse. So that was nice. We had tomato soup, followed by a game hen, broccoli, and some (very medieval) potato wedges. The pastry dessert was not delicious and if you go, just skip it. The tournament was a good show and even though Jesse thinks I got way too into it, I think everyone else who goes will agree. Otherwise it's not really worth the money.

After we were all hopped up on medieval jargon, we headed downtown. Personally, I like Fremont Street more than the strip. There are fewer people, cheaper drinks, and (on this night) free concerts. I thought this little neon guy was cute, so I took his picture. He's actually a bigger than life-sized milk man. Who WOULDN'T take his picture?

The cowboys and their wives were still in town for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, so the concerts had a country feel. The first was also a Christmas show. There was a band, 4 scantily clad dancers, a female singer, and a male singer. The male singer really stole the show. He was an obvious theater major, dressed as a singing cowboy. If you've ever met a real cowboy (or even met someone who has ever met a real cowboy), you would have been insulted to see this guy in tight jeans with a big belt buckle doing choreographed dances. Jesse certainly was. He just kept shaking his head until we walked away.

The next concert was MUCH better. I really enjoyed it, especially the fiddle. The Fiddle just might be my favorite instrument. One day I aim to learn how to play. That concert ended at 11. And we headed to the Plaza Hotel to hear the next one. It was a local group called The Bobby Kingston Band.

Also at the Plaza, was a lot of Crown Royal. Obvious it was a major sponsor. Here's a picture of me and a great deal. For $2, I got a boot shaped shot glass, partially filled with Crown Royal - because I really don't like whiskey, and a t-shirt. All for $2!

Jesse also a deal he couldn't pass up. Brisket (or another option of a giant bbq turkey leg) with potato salad and beans for $5. Even though we had just eaten, Jesse couldn't pass this deal up. In fact, he had to call a few people to talk about it. He got really full.

But the real excitement was not the cheap food. It was not the cheap booze or the free music. It was the mechanical bull. None of us wanted to ride it when we first got there. But a few drinks later, Jesse, Nick, & Heather thought they were cowboys.

This is Jesse the second time he got bucked off. He seems to blame the bull. But he held his ground the third time. He lasted for about 3 seconds. It was long enough for me to get video. Be sure to look at the person next to the giant balloon bottle and listen for my little laugh.

Nick didn't fall off at all, but he gripped the rope so tight, his hands were shaking afterwards. Heather also stayed on longer than Jesse. She might be a natural.

And FYI, once you get a few drinks in Jesse, he's a dancing machine. So we two-stepped the rest of the night away. This town is exciting.

18 December 2005

Heather & Nick Came To Town: I

Obviously we like visitors. Otherwise we would not have moved to Las Vegas. Meet Heather & Nick. They came to visit on December 8th. Heather was a producer for KVLY back in May 2002. But she wanted something bigger and moved to Ohio. I (being fresh out of college) thought it wise to take her job.

Apparently, Ohio is not better than North Dakota because Heather moved back. We ended up working together at KXJB before I went back to KVLY, and eventually left to come to KLAS. When I left, Heather took my job, essentially right back where she was before I even showed up in 2002.

But I digress. Heather met Nick, they fell in love and decided to get married here. Only they're actually planning it beforehand. The wedding is in March (I'm in charge of the champagne) but they came out here primarily to visit us, but also to finalize some things.

Let's see. They arrived on Thursday, about 2 hours late. They were sleepy, we chatted and went to bed. On Friday, Jesse and I had to work so we just dropped them off on the strip. They saw some sights and got their marriage license. We do do things by the book you know. Friday night we went to the Bellagio to see the cranberries spread about the conservatory. I did not bring the camera, so you won't see how pretty it is - but it's pretty.

We then walked about umpteen miles through Caesars Palace to get to the Cheesecake Factory. Nick and I highly recommend the lemon raspberry. Heather recommends anything but the vanilla bean, and Jesse recommends not ordering a burger on baguette bread. By the time we walked back, we were exhausted. So we went home and went to bed. Well Heather, Nick, and I did. Jesse went to play poker around 2:30am.

He returned at 11:30am a whole $10 richer. Doing the math, I think he would have preferred to sleep.

15 December 2005

Our Holiday Card 2005

Do you know what adults do? Adults send out Christmas cards from themselves, their partners, and their children. And do you know what else? I myself happen to be one of these "adults." I do plan on sending Christmas cards this year. But only to people who have sent me their current addresses (and not even ALL of those people). However I will send a generic card to the people of the Internet. Think of it as a small wish of holiday happiness from me (and I guess Jesse) to you.


Season's Greetings

'Tis the season
To remember your friends.
Here's a reason
For song and dance.

It's the end of the year,
and the holidays to boot.
Time to spread some cheer
and spend some loot.

Here's a message from us
right here in Las Vegas.
This card was no fuss,
so no need to thank us.

Enjoy some hollandaise,
We wish you were here.
Happy Holidays
and happy new year.

~ danie & jesse

This is a picture of us on Fremont Street during one of the free concerts held when the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo was here. It was a country concert (hence the hay) sponsored by Crown Royal (hence the giant bottle) held in Las Vegas (hence the Elvis).

A Lifestyle Change Approaches

This just in: I have high blood pressure. Not to be confused with my blood pressure being high. I officially have hypertension. That's right, 23 year old me.

I went to get my yearly on Wednesday (December 14) and as doctors are wont to do, mine checked my blood pressure. It was high, (130 / 110) but your blood pressure goes up when you are in a new place for the first time.

They checked it again after my "inspection" and it was even higher. Three more checks resulted in an average blood pressure of 170 / 105. The doctor prescribed Diovan - to be started immediately. I'm also going back for some blood work to make sure nothing else is broken.

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. My dad was diagnosed with high blood pressure when he was 25. My mom developed it after she got Multiple Sclerosis. Other than genetics, I have most of the known
risk factors.

This begins a new chapter for me. I do not want to be on medication for the rest of my life. Plus, it's scary when a doctor seems convinced you are on the brink of a stroke. After talking to him, I realized I had warning signs. I though the headaches were dehydration, the fatigue normal, and that the blurred vision wasn't really there. At my age who thinks these are signs? Not me.

So. From now on it's more exercise, less salt, more vegetables, less saturated fat, more fruit, and less red meat.

HA! That last one is a trick - I don't even eat red meat.

I'll let you know if I have a stroke.

14 December 2005

Dear Christians;

This is not for ALL Christians. I hope it's not even for most Christians. But it is for many Christians. Namely those who cry foul at the phrases "Season's Greetings" or "Happy Holidays." This is for the Christians who want to boycott retailers who do not say "Merry Christmas." You know, those Christians who say businesses and the left are trying to take the Christ out of Christmas.

You have annoyed me almost to the point of angst. So I though I'd take some time today and explain to you why I think you are wrong in your supposed fight to save Christmas.

First off, a lesson. The only higher power businesses answer to are their bottom lines. If a business were to choose to be more inclusive in its seasonal greetings, they have that right. Just like you have the right to (quietly) spend your money elsewhere. Businesses who choose to say "Happy Holidays" simply realize non-Christians have money. Naturally, they want to welcome that revenue.

And from what I've read on mugs, "Jesus is the reason for the season," not retail. In my humblest of opinions, recognizing the birth of your lord and savior should not have anything to do with shopping. Once you have reduced the Christmas spirit to a phrase at a store, you've already taken the Christ of out Christmas.

What about peace on earth and good will toward men? Are right-leaning Christians not supposed to support that in a time of war?

I mean I could be wrong. I may be missing their argument altogether. But this is what I hear: we Christians want businesses to say "Merry Christmas." If they do not - if they replace it with something that acknowledges non Christians, we will be outraged. We will take our Christmas cheer (read: dollars) and go elsewhere because including others who do not believe as we do is not what we're about.

The whole idea of boycotts stemming from Christmas is just ridiculous. But tell me what you think.

12 December 2005

I Fought The "Law..."

And I won!

I'm bursting with stuff to blog. But I've been busy and I wanted everyone to have a chance to see my hair. This week I plan to update every other day, so keep pique a boo in mind.

First up, Flight 1248. On Thursday, December 8th, Southwest Airlines Flight 1248 from Baltimore to Las Vegas (with a stop in Chicago) slid off the runway at Chicago Midway Airport. This happened around 6 pacific time. As a news producer, it became up to me to decide how I wanted to treat this story in my show, which goes on at 9. Since I already had one package (longer formatted story) in the show about snow, and the plane slid in snowy weather, I planned to put them together near weather. Granted, that mentality worked much better in Fargo, where weather is more newsworthy than it is here.

Anyway, my anchor said something like "So I guess this is our new lead." And he was serious, he wanted to start the show with a story about a plane sliding in the snow. At the time, there were no injuries being reported. It was just a plane, that slid. Now I know that doesn't happen everyday, but it's certainly not the biggest thing that happened. Newsworthy for certain, but the most important story of the day? I would say not. I argued my piece but told my anchor I'd concede to lead with it. Then they found the car underneath the wing, and the child died. It's terrible news, but just the sort of thing that leads a newscast.

On Friday, I was over it. Even though there were Las Vegans on the plane, none of them were hurt. And none of them even knew anything had happened until they got off the plane. On Friday, nothing was new. It was still a plane that slid in the snow, hit a car, and killed a child. I was content to keep it in the first block, but not lead with it.

My anchor comes in and says "So I guess we lead with the plane crash again today." Again, he was serious. I said no. He asked "what do you suggest we lead with?" I told him that anything happening locally was certainly more important than a plane SLIDING (not crashing) two time zones away. He reminded me that the plane was heading to Las Vegas. I told him...

Well I told him quite a bit. We went back and forth a lot. Here are my reasons for not wanting to lead with it.
  • It happened in Chicago.
  • Anyone local on that plane has already contacted their family members.
  • It could not happen here (we did a whole story explaining why) .
  • It was more than 24 hours old.
  • The real tragedy happened to the people in the car, and none of our local coverage even mentioned that family.
  • National media have this habit of creating the big stories, instead of just reporting them and I want no part of that.
  • I thought there were more important things happening locally.
My anchor (who shall remain nameless because we are not friends) said he'd let me make the call. So I made it, and built the show without leading with it. My anchor, it turns out, is a flippin' liar. I got an email from the nightside manager questioning my lead. The nightside manager, I'll have you know, never takes his time to look over my rundown. He and I went back and forth too. I gave him all the same reasons I gave my anchor. And then I got tired of arguing. I told him he'd have to order me to do it. He said he'd rather give me a compelling argument. Too bad his was full of holes. I told him he'd have to order me. He didn't. I lead with another story. And I felt good about it.

05 December 2005

Someone Got A Haircut...

And that someone was me. This was a big decision for me because to get a style that could be maintained on a day to day basis, I had to get my hair straightened permanently. Of course it will still grow in curly, but the hair that I had was relaxed.

It's been at least six years since I've relaxed my hair. I didn't want to do it. But I didn't want to keep my hair in those braids. They weren't real you know. And they pulled on my real hair. AND they were expensive ($250 every 6 weeks). I wanted something cute.

I also thought about growing my hair out. Then I went to see Nic Styles (no idea if that's his real name) and he asked me how old I was, and if I was feeling daring. I suppose I was, and he went to town. Nearly three hours later, there I was.

Unfortunately, I was up all night taking out my braids and as soon as I got back from getting it cut, I slept on it. But don't worry, this is what I'll look like everyday, so the picture is as accurate as can be.

Challenge: I'm looking for a hair spray with strong hold that won't make my hair as hard as a rock. I know I can just keep buying and trying - but come on, we have the Internet.