24 December 2006

Feast or Famine

My blog has not been abandoned. In November we feasted. December was lean, very lean. A lot has been going on and I just haven't had time to write. Maybe I'll actually get to fill you in before the new year. But that's not why I'm here today. Today I am sharing with you the funniest thing I've seen since... well in a long time.

Yes the picture is silly. But you have to click. And be warned, it's explicit.

02 December 2006

Map Of War

This is another of those fun things Jesse found and passed along to me. Now I am passing it along to the world. It's a map, from the war perspective.


01 December 2006

Is Oprah Losing Her Touch?

I'm not a fan of Oprah. I never have been. There's something about her I kind of don't trust. I don't know what it is, still I watch the show almost everyday. I've seen her giveaways before and I give her credit; they're usually fantastic.

But the last giveaway left me with a confused little frown on my face. She gave the audience members $1000 that they couldn't use on themselves or their families. They were also given cameras to record the presumably good deeds. Well it seems as though this idea wasn't as hot as a new car.

30 November 2006

Don't Be That Guy (or Girl)

I like to travel. I took it for granted when I could afford to do it (read: when my parents paid for it). Occasionally we watch the Travel Channel and come across all kinds of places I imagine would be fun to visit. They're on a list titled "someday." We also watch The Amazing Race, religiously. One day we hope to be on it so our TV watching could be called "research."

There's something that embarrasses me year after year on The Amazing Race. It's the "ugly American." There are always people who think everyone in the world speaks English, even if they live in places where the norm does not include wearing shoes. On top of that, they think speaking English with their version of a regional accent will make them better understood. I think that's insulting and extremely ignorant. I'm a talker. I think if you're going to take the time to go somewhere, you should at least learn a few phrases. But apparently that's just me.

There are other things Americans do when abroad that aren't necessarily embarrassing, but they can be viewed as ignorant, even offensive. Here are some tips, in case you are about to board a plane.

29 November 2006


There are lots of "wonder" products for girls. Now you're looking at one for the fellas. It takes the um, junk and pushes it out, instead of letting it hang - or whatever the aforementioned junk usually does. Okay, so I'm not the best at explaining it. I'll leave that to the news.

28 November 2006

Did You See Mercury?

Of course you didn't.

This is something I meant to report almost a month ago, but I got sidetracked. My brain really does move too fast for my body. Anyway, Mercury crossed in front of the sun. It happened in early November. Of course you couldn't actually stare at the sun and watch tiny little Mercury go by. NASA created an image which shows what you would see, if you could stare at the sun. So that's what you're seeing here.

27 November 2006

Announcing New Pictures

I've recently uploaded more pictures, courtesy of my fabulous life here in Las Vegas. The pictures are all in order of happening. The latest additions are:

Cousin Mikey Came to Town:
Cousin Mikey is in the Air Force. He had some assignment here at Nellis Air Force Base. Apparently that assignment included a lot of lounging and playing Gears of War. There was a lot of merriment and flashing lights.

Julie Came to Town:
I went to high school with Julie and haven't seen her since we graduated way back in 1998. She was here for a conference and we had some drinks. I took a few pictures. When Julie sends me the rest, I'll show them to you.

Birthday / Goodbye Party:
Four co-workers had birthdays within a 5 day period. Another co-worker left to take a new job. We're cheap. So we had one party for all of them.

The pictures are all on the left, in chronological order. Enjoy.

26 November 2006

Dora, You've Gone Too Far

I love cartoons. In fact, I'm watching some right now. Apparently there's a cartoon based on The Mummy and sequels, which happens to be one of my favorite movies. Right now I don't think the cartoon is very good but I feel obligated to give it a chance. I just can't get enough of cartoons. But lately I have found cartoons that I don't like.

I know!

These cartoons are mostly new children's cartoons. It started with Dora the Explorer. I'm pretty sure she's great for kids. She reinforces repetition as an effective learning tool. Great for her. My problem is that I find her voice annoying and her stories boring. Still, realizing her greater social value, I have decided to co-exist with Dora.

But as I was watching the Cartoon Network, I saw a commercial for a new product with Dora's face on it. It was a cash register. It speaks English and Spanish and teaches young girls how fun it is to shop with credit cards. It also includes cash and products with barcodes.

But why Dora? Usually you're teaching shapes and adding. Now you're targeting young girls with the message that it's fun to shop. Personally, I don't mind shopping. But I don't think we need to use "teachers" to reinforce its importance to young girls. Shame on you Dora.

I was right. This mummy cartoon sucks.

25 November 2006

Wash Me? Probably Not

So it's dust. But it's art. I mean its dirty. No doubt about it, that window is gross, and yet i wouldn't wash it. Well maybe I would and just make the drawing a little smaller, so I could still see clearly enough to drive.

But I digress. The point is that this is a handy way to deal with living on an unpaved road. Here are some of the other pictures from San Marcos, Texas.

20 November 2006

Oh That Kramer

Michael Richards is in trouble. I can't say he's a racist. He did use the "n-word" as an insult during a performance at the Laugh Factory.

That's bad. It's offensive and was completely unnecessary. Still, I don't think that's enough to qualify him as a racist, not to say that he's not but all I know is what I saw. And what I saw was the tirade of a man seemingly out of control. What I heard was someone trying to be hurtful. But I think being a racist includes actions and feelings along with those words.

So on Friday, Richards made the statements. Paul Rodriguez was also there. At a news conference today, Rodriguez said Richards asked to come back Saturday night and make amends. Club owner Jamie Masada allowed it, but Richards never apologized.

But I ask: why should he?

During the newser, Paul Rodriguez said the Laugh Factory does not censor or pre-screen. No one knew what Richards was going to say and he has the right to say it. The Laugh Factory did not apologize because it did nothing wrong. People who were at the club that night were also there for the statement. They started talking back and interrupting (as my people are unfortunately wont to do) demanding all sorts of things.

So here's what made me shake my head and mute the television;

The people in the audience demanded an apology from the Laugh Factory. Paul Rodriguez told them the club had done nothing wrong. Rodriguez apologized for the situation, and said they would refund admission for people who were there. I agree. The venue did nothing wrong. Maybe giving Richards a chance to apologize wasn't the best idea but it was a trusting effort. The club has now banned him and really, that's the extent of its power.

Then the people wanted the club to ban the "n-word." Rodriguez refused and they were all in an uproar about verbal abuse. He reminded them about what he said about free speech. The club's owner talked about Richard Pryor and Paul Mooney, who were both there when the club first opened and who used the "n-word." The owner said it gave him goose bumps and he didn't know what to do but audiences obviously loved it. And the two of them had successful careers.

But the absolute worst thing (in my humblest of opinions) is that both Rodriguez and the people there asked Richards to apologize. And he did. According to Wikipedia:

During a satellite appearance on the Late Show With David Letterman, Richards apologized, saying, "For me to be at a comedy club and flip out and say this crap, I'm deeply, deeply sorry. I'm not a racist. That's what's so insane about this." He described his outburst as one of rage.
So he said it and he's sorry. Weak. I'd prefer he make a statement and stand by it. He was not forced to say what he said. It was not an accident. So the apology is insulting. I say a lot of things. I think people have to stand by what they say. Seinfeld said he was "sick over it" and called it a "mistake." Let's kick him in the nuts too. Where's the mistake? It wasn't a slip, it was a statement. In fact it was a repeated statement.

I guess my point is two fold: don't confuse an ignorant statement with actual racism. And don't apologize for a deliberate statement that you chose to make. It's weak. And there's nothing I can stand less than weakness.

But whatever. I've never watched Sienfeld anyway.

15 November 2006

Beware of Children

The following is an actual article from a TV station in Tampa, Florida. Unfortunately it just proves Jesses theory that the strangest things happen in Florida.

Little Girl Flashes Knife As She Tries To Steal Toys

Courtesy: http://www.tampabays10.com/news/

Largo, Florida - Largo Police are looking for a little girl who pulled a knife on a Wal-Mart clerk as she tried to steal two boxes of Lego toy blocks. It happened on the Missouri Avenue around 9:00 pm Tuesday night. Police say the 7 to 8-year-old girl hid the toys under her coat and tried to walk out the door. A store employee was watching and approached the child, asking her to turn over the Lego blocks. Police say the little girl then  opened her jacket and displayed a combo carving knife with a forked point and a 10" blade, saying she was armed for protection. The employee talked the girl into putting down the knife and the toys. The girl then rode away on her bicycle. The employee was not hurt.

14 November 2006

Surprise: II

When last I talked about my trip to see my mom, we were about to eat. Dayana guided us to where she wanted to go by asking "fries? fries?" She's kind of bossy for a little baby. My mom and Vicki don't know it, but they're being taken for a ride. Actually, so are Derek and Abby. They too are sucked into Dayana's web. I'm the only one who sees Dayana For what she is. And I'm here to let her know I'm on to her. I would also like to point out that Dayana doesn't always stand on the driver. But at the time of this picture, we were waiting in a parking lot.

Anyway, we went to Chick fil A. We ate chicken and (of course) fries. Afterwards we went back home. I took a much needed shower and we watched The Cat In The Hat. I'd never seen it, but my mom owns it. I think she's owned it since before Dayana was born. I thought it was an excellent and colorful movie.

My dad and his new girlfriend also arrived. And Derek came back from the Notre Dame / Navy game. Indeed it was a full house. Vicki made dinner, then went to choir practice. She goes to church you know. While she was gone, we played Family Feud on DVD. If you don't know Family Feud, you don't know fun. The games go really quickly. We played 5 or 6 times. Abby and I dominated, after we lost a few times.

Surprises, games, merriment, food, and a movie. Once my dad and Jackie left, I was exhausted. Yes, it was only 10pm eastern but I hadn't slept at all the night before. I think I started watching a movie, but fell asleep. It was a good time had by all.

12 November 2006

Happy Birthday Pique A Boo!

First, you read the card:

Then you get the rest of the message:

I've loved my blog and have never once regretted starting it. I'm proud of myself for keeping it going, even knowing not all eyes are friendly eyes. I haven't always updated as much as I would like to have but I think I've given you chaps and chics plenty to digest over the last year. It's been my pleasure and I can't wait to see what happens in the next year!

09 November 2006

My Mom... The Fashion

By no means is my mom a fashionista. As you can see, she lounges about in sweatpants just like everybody else. But this is a picture I had to take. If you study it long enough, you might be able to tell why, but who has that kind of time?

So there's my mom. she's wearing a black sweatshirt with a red t-shirt. She's also wearing black sweatpants with a red stripe. That in itself is cute and coordinated and probably something I would do.

But the step I would not take is at the bottom. My mom has red socks with a black stripe. Look at that. If you follow the red stripe from the pants, it goes right into the black stripe on the socks.

I asked my mom about it and she said she just threw it together. I believe her, since she was wearing that when I popped in. Still, it's tough fashion world, and it's good to know my mom is holding her own.

08 November 2006

Top Heavy Or Bottom Heavy

Jesse and I recently had an little debate. I would like you to tell me which one of us was correct.



cuz your days are bottom heavy


that's why they speed by






before the noon how many?








more work for you at the beginning of the day


bottom heavy




no it's not




no it's not






i know what top heavy is


you don't know what top of your day is


it's the end


it's not a tv show




too much time this taking




in person we will argue




the force is always right


So yes, this is how we each spent a little bit of that day. I am opened to being disproved, it just hasnt happened yet. Whats your take?

05 November 2006

Fall On The East Coast

Two weeks ago, I showed you fall In Las Vegas. It's pretty, but not anywhere near the real thing, which I got to see when I surprised my mother. The one thing I miss most about the east coast (aside from my family) is the weather. I love experiencing the changing of the seasons. There's a smell about it that just makes me feel like I'm a part of something great.

Obviously, the seasons change everywhere. But here in Las Vegas it's hard to notice. If I had to list the seasons here, I'd start with July, because that's when I moved here. The seasons would be listed as follows:

  • hot
  • not as hot
  • comfortable
  • chilly
  • warmer
  • hot

The changes were more noticeable in Fargo, but still not as complete as on the east coast. So while I was there surprising my mother, I took a lot of pictures of rain and clouds and trees. Those are things I didn't know I missed until I was away from them.

There isn't a whole lot more I can say about trees. You can see my east coast foliage pictures I have to your left, in the photo album section.

04 November 2006

Surprise: I

Last weekend (the last one in October 2006), I surprised my mommy. I found one way tickets from Las Vegas to Washington D. C. for only $89. My mom does not live in D.C. but I know someone who does. Her name is Abby. She's so cute you want to put her in your pocket. And she's so short you might actually be able to do it. Abby is going to grad school in Washington. I haven't seen her since I don't know when, so this was a perfect opportunity.

I flew out Friday night at 11. I arrived Saturday morning at 6:30. Flying to the east coast just sucks up a bunch of time. The actual flight is only 4 hours. That's not really enough time to get any sleep. Especially when you have an iPod, a book, and Direct TV. I put all my eggs into the Starbucks basket, assuming we would just see one on the way. We did not. We stopped at a 7/11 to ask where the nearest Starbucks was and not only did they not know, they looked at me as is I were crazy to want Starbucks over 7/11 brand coffee. Strange ducks indeed.

We arrived at my mom's just in time to catch my brother leaving for the Navy - Notre Dame game. It couldn't have gone any better if I had tried to plan it. Here's how the actual surprising went down.

Vicki saw us coming, and told my mom she heard something down stairs. My mom said "Oh. It's probably Derek."

Derek said "it's not me," because he is captain obvious.

My mom was standing at the top of the stairs in the dark. She turned on the light and then I got scared, because she kind of grabbed her chest and started to back up. I thought she was going to fall over and have a heart attack.

But she stood her ground. I got to the top of the stairs and I just stood there and (as predicted) burst into tears. She said "I knew it. I knew it. I knew it." See, I told her I had a surprise for her way back when, and she convinced herself that I was coming, even though I did my best to convince her otherwise.

Then we spent the morning reliving the surprise. Vicki told my mom she needed $42 for it, which convinced my mom that I was sending something C.O.D. She was thoroughly confused. A lot of people knew I was coming and none of them spilled the beans. That in itself was impressive.

After we got over the crying and the excitement, we went for a drive. My mom and Vicki bought a house. We drove by the lot, where we noticed the "sold" sign has come down. Abby hopped out to repair it. Considering the rain and the mud, it probably wasn't the best idea, but Abby is just too helpful.

The neighborhood seems like it's going to be lovely, once the houses are built. There is a baseball diamond right in front of their street. When we drove by, there were geese. Vicki hopes they don't come back from winter migration. Don't ask me why, she has a thing against migrating birds.

After we saw where, we saw what. We drove to a model of their house. This is what my mom's neighborhood is going to look like, minus the forestry. And After all that driving, we were hungry.

03 November 2006

What Do You Want To See?

I'm on my way to being a super-google user. I use Blogger, Picasa, Google Calendar, and opened a Gmail account.

Google really is becoming a one stop shop for a lot of what I want to do. I upload all of my pictures through Picasa and through it's latest upgrade, I can put photo albums on line. So think back to all of your favorite pictures of mine and let me know if you would like to see the (abridged) album. The albums are being listed in chronological order on the left side of your screen. I have probably a thousand pictures, so if you want to see anything at all (that I've already shown) just let me know.

27 October 2006

Fall in Las Vegas

Fall in Las Vegas is a lot cooler than summer, and a little warmer than winter. But other than that, there isn't much of a difference. Leaves on palm trees do not change. You do not get to walk through grass littered with crispy, colorful leaves. You don't get to hear the swish swish crunch that comes fro,m losing your shoes in an unclaimed yard. You don't even get to smell the rotting leaves after a good fall rain. Nope. If you want fall in Las Vegas (and you don't have time to get to Mt. Charleston) you have to go to the Bellagio Conservatory.

Jesse and ventured to fall two weeks ago. We actually marked a lot of firsts that Sunday afternoon. It was our first trip to Hash House A Go Go, the first time we parked at the Bellagio, and the first time we were searched while parking at a Casino. Jesse says it's because the Bellagio is the nicest hotel on the strip. It's the only other 5 star property besides the Wynn. Still, it was surprising to have the trunk searched. It only took a few extra seconds though, because I keep my trunk empty. I just can't stand clutter. Anyway I took a picture, but blurred the plate of the car in front of me.

The conservatory is 100% decked out. In this case, the pictures are better than the words. So I'll just show you those.

25 October 2006

Not It!

I firmly believe this country is tossing itself right down the toilet. Maybe it's because I live in Las Vegas, where the news is seldom good. Maybe it's because I like news and seek it out - and that news tends to be bad. Or it could be that I'm right. I base this belief on several recent and not so recent events. For one, school "incidents" are up. Just so you know, I define an incident as any
* shooting
* stabbing
* instance of a student bringing a weapon to school
* student shooting at a school bus
* student shooting another student on accident.

All of the above have appeared in my shows within the last 60 days. Aside from that, our politicians are corrupt. I'm including state and federal in that statement.

We're a country in a never ending war. And although the aforementioned politicians are becoming bolder about admitting the war is wrong, (and not going well) they're about 2 years behind what they need to be. People aren't making enough money to support their families, children are running out of strong role models, and community activism is at an all time low.

From what I can tell, children are being pushed away from the things that would help them and being pushed toward things that can hurt them. Administrators in Massachusetts have banned tag from playgrounds. Now I've never been a proponent of all that running but I should have been. It's something kids need. They need it more than video games and $150 sneakers.

I think banning tag is along the same lines as suspending a first grader for kissing another student. I think we have to use more common sense and not let the exceptions decide the rules.

Banning tag. I mean really.

24 October 2006

Airline Secrets

I like to fly. I liked it a lot more when I was younger, and there were free peanuts. I also like watching how things are made in factories. Along those same lines (there is a point here) Ive often wondered what goes on once my luggage goes through the little flap with its tag on. Sometimes the TSA opens it, sometimes it doesnt. Jesse recently sent me an article that offers a bit of insight into air travel, and the state of airlines overall.  The link is below.


19 October 2006


You can't tell by my words, but I got my hair braided last weekend. You're bound to see a picture before I take it out. So here are the answers you want; it took 7.5 hours and cost $250 - including the fun hair.

I went to a lady's house and basically just sat there. I brought a book to read but that proved difficult to do as my head was being yanked at unnatural angles. I brought a bottle of water and my phone, but as Jesse can tell you, I did not make for pleasant conversation.

But I did learn something, and really isn't that what's makes life worth living? I learned that there is a channel that shows only Lifetime movies. You know, Lifetime, Television for women. That's right, I discovered LMN, The Lifetime Movie Network. Now bear with me if you knew this existed, for I surely had no idea. I've never been a fan of Lifetime movies and it's for the same reasons I don't like romantic comedy. I do not like predicting what's going to happen. I also don't like toned down responses to what are supposed to be real life situations.

But alas, as I was sitting in a stranger's kitchen, I had no control of the remote. What I had was time to see 4 movies. Here are their plots, in order of appearance.

  1. A woman plans to kill her abusive husband. He had been in jail but was paroled. As soon as he got out, he wanted to get his daughter and kill the wife, who he had blamed for ruining his life and stealing his house. The wife called an abuse line and told the counselor, who used clues from the conversation to find this woman. The husband someone gains control of the situation, even though he's outnumbered and they have, er, had, a gun.
  2. A girl gets raped. Her father finds the guy who did it. He's so upset he turns him over to the police and waits for due process. The guy is acquitted. The father learns he cannot appeal. The rapist begins stalking the girl. The dad kills the rapist and takes himself to jail. Later, during his sentencing, his daughter says she can not testify because what her dad did was wrong and he deserves to go to jail.
  3. A talk show host stops by her husband's mistress' house and kills her husband. The prosecution says it was premeditated. The defense says she snapped. We listen as a jury deliberates. It just so happens this jury is full of stereotypes, including a Hispanic male who thinks if the woman gets off with manslaughter, it'll send a message to all women that their husband's can't cheat. There's also a woman with short hair and pants who says the jurors could never understand what that woman went through, and that she obviously had no choice.
  4. An upper middle class woman driving her SUV in the rain dropped her purse while looking for cigarettes. She then hit a girl on a bike. Of course this socialite did not have a cell phone, so she had to drive to a gas station call the police. By the time she got back to the scene, it was being investigated as a hit and run. She drove through the police blockade and couldn't muster the voice to say anything. And then there is an investigation.

So. We have bad plot lines, bad writing, and commercials. It was awful. But like I said, I did learn something. Too bad I wish I didn't know it.

18 October 2006

News For The Thinkers

Without saying too much, I can tell you that I work in news. Throughout the day I see vatrious interesting stories reported from various legitimate sources. I sometimes I email these stoies to Jesse, but sometimes I don't. It really depends on how much time I have. On the other hand, Jesse send me lots of articles. He has more web browsing time than I do. He reads and forwards often, almost too much. It's hard for me to keep up. But when I do read them, I am impressed. These articles are usually quite thought provoking.

A little while ago, I thought it would be fun to share these articles via my blog. The way I saw it, I would email posts just like as if I were home. But I can’t add pictures and I can’t make words into links. This bothers me. In fact in bothered me so much, I refused to do it. But now I’m over it. So I’ll start doing it.

We begin today with an article from the USA Today. It’s about cab drivers with moral objections to alcohol. It’s religious. I’m not sharing my opinion one way or the other but it got me to thinking; if pharmacists can have moral objections why shouldn’t cab drivers? I found no reason why. Anyway, here’s the article:


17 October 2006


Take that Anonymous. It seems you thought these two girls were doomed. And it seems you were wrong. Im sending this as an email, so in case the picture doesnt post, I’ll tell you what it shows.

·       Rex Grossman (-5) points
·       Anquan Boldin (19) points
·       Matt Leinart (21) points

Two Girls defeat Naughty Penguins 94-86

16 October 2006

Is It Me?

Girls talk and dont say anything.  They gush over every little thing but hardly ever share their opinions. Im a so-called straight shooter. No frills. What you see is what you get. If I think something is ugly, I’ll tell you when you ask. If I think youre being a certain way, good or bad, I’ll let you know. And I’ll be clear about it. I quite strongly believe in communication and in information. I dont like secrets and I stay away from deception. Now I’m just waiting for my female peers to catch up.

I mean really. Ladies tell me whats so difficult about saying “I have a problem with that. Or No, I disagree. Or I dont like this. I prefer that to I didnt like that and I didnt want to tell you. So I just stayed quiet and I hoped it would go away. Know what? Thats dumb. It’s not considerate, its deceptive. Its not polite, its selfish.

Lying about (or hiding) feelings is probably the dumbest thing girls do. Its not just young girls either. In fact I dont think girls think deception is a good idea until theyre teens. Wives do it, mothers do it and supposed best friends do it. Im tired of it being done to me. If I do something you dont like, I encourage you to tell me. I wont guarantee my behavior will change right away but you should at least allow me a chance to work on it.

Ive absolutely had it. When I do something my parents dont like, they both say: Danie, I dont like that. Thats how I was brought up and thats what I do. So its also what I expect. I think it’s the simplest way about it. And as I get older (I’m almost 25 you know) I find I am running out of patience for people who claim to love me but dont feel comfortable talking to me.


15 October 2006

Welcome To Technorati

There's this thing called Technorati. As far as I can tell, it just keeps tabs of blogs. Jesse found it and told me about it. I visited the site and "claimed" my blog. Technorati ranked Pique A Boo at 926,210th out of all blogs. I don't know which blog is number one, but I'm pleased with my ranking. There are a lot of people with blogs you know.

In order for my "claim" to be official, I have to post the below link on my blog. I wouldn't bother clicking it if I were you. It takes you to my Technorait page, which is empty. So, without further adieu, here is my Technorati Profile.

Fantastical Update

So since you know all about my fantasy football team, I feel I have to keep you updated on all team changes. As of today, we are 2-3. One of those loses is really a tie. But league rules dictate that in the event of a tie, the score includes bench points. On that particular weekend, 5 of my players had bye weeks. The score of the remaining three was not enough to win. Unfair? Yes. But those are the rules.

We've also had some changes to our roster. Chris Simms is out because he had an emergency splenectomy. I replaced him at first with Trent Green, hoping he would recover from his supposed concussion but earlier today I read that he's still out. So in a panic, I recruited Matt Leinart. I don't think it was a bad choice.

Also, we traded DeShaun Foster for Jamal Lewis. It was a proposal from another team. It seemed reasonable, so we accepted it. So welcome to the team boys!

Matt Leinart

Jamal Lewis

At this very moment, I am fighting to be 3-3. But the Kansas City defense went and lost four points. Now it's up to Arizona Quarterback Matt Leinart to extend my lead. My fantasy Leinart is playing fantasy Rex Grossman, just like the real Leinart is playing the real Grossman Monday night. But I have little hope, and left me tell you why. I just have Leinart to play. My opponent has Grossman AND Anquan Boldin, who happens to play on the same team as Leinart. So you see, even if Leinart does do well, Boldin will probably do well too.

But the Two Girls are still in the fight. I'll keep you updated.

09 October 2006

This Time She's Not Leaving

Lucy is now an official roommate. She moved in on Saturday. Five days later, things are going fine. Now I know you're curious, so here's the story.

Once upon a time there was a girl named Lucy. Lucy lived in Wisconsin, where she worked at the airport in Madison. Lucy loved her job but Lucy's lease ran out and she had to face the facts. She didn't like Madison. She didn't like the way the city was planned and for the most part, she didn't like the people. So what was little Lucy to do? For a month she worked a lot and stayed with friends. But Lucy knew she couldn't be homeless forever.

And then a light bulb turned on. Actually millions of light bulbs turned on and burned as bright as say, the Las Vegas Strip. Lucy and Jesse and Danie decided to live together. All three would be able to save money, and Lucy would live in a place that could put her airline experience to use.

The move had challenges, even for Danie and Jesse. The two had grown quite used to their free space. They had filled it with stuff that really had nowhere else to go. They had games and toys and chairs and tables and clothes and shoes and electronics and tools. They had clothes that needed to be ironed and a big ball for exercise, roller blades, weights, and a jump rope. They just had stuff. And this stuff had to come out of what was to be Lucy's room.

After a few days, and a minor breakdown from Danie, the deed was done. The apartment was clean and the pair was now a trio.

Did you have an abortion?

This week, a new issue of Ms. Magazine will hit your mailbox or newsstand. The cover story is called “We Had Abortions.” Guess what it’s about? An update on the abortion (and it is a fight, not so much a debate) is not to be unexpected from Ms. But there is a controversy. The article comes with signatures. Five thousand women who have had abortions attached their names. I thought that was noteworthy. Here’s an article about the controversy. I didn’t read the entire thing, but I did participate in the poll.

This is a test.

This is a test.

04 October 2006

The Congressman & The Page

So if I'm the first to tell you about Mark Foley, let me also be the first to welcome you out from under that rock. Foley was a Florida Representative two weeks ago. But on September 29, 2006, he resigned. As it turns out, he was sending explicit emails and instant messages to congressional pages. This by itself is enough to make you shake your head, but by no means does it scream "blog worthy." However there are circumstances (and information) that I have yet to see bundled together. It paints a sordid picture of a double life, improprieties, and a failure to the public.

There is very little (for my purposes) to tell about Mark Foley before 2001. That's when congressional aide Kirk Fordham says he told House Speaker Dennis Hastert's Chief of Staff about inappropriate behavior by Foley toward interns. It was treated as a non-issue. Today, Fordham resigned.

Foley's explicit vernacular reappears two years later. This time in an email. Foley was publicly questioned about his sexual orientation and decides to drop out of a race for the Senate.

Fast forward two years and the Foley monster wakes again. But this time the page reports him for "freaking" him out. The bureaucracy is unbelievable. One congressman tells another to tell another to tell Foley to stop contacting this kid.

Anyway, it snowballs from there. The details are very juicy, but that's not what I'm here to share. National Public Radio did a fantastic time line. I suggest you take a moment and read it. I would say the phrase that best sums it up is: passing the buck.

Welcome Back. It's disturbing isn't it? Even more disconcerting is the fact that Foley made fighting child predators his personal quest. He pushed for legislation designed at protecting children from predators. I mean, part of me can't help but be impressed. While he was sending sexually suggestive messages to teenagers, he was pushing for bills aimed at deterring others from doing the same. That seems somehow selfish to me. It's as if some children need protecting and others don't. Part of what makes this interesting to me is this conversation between Foley and John Walsh, of the National Center For Missing & Exploited Children.

As you heard, Foley is for strict control of people who harm children. I guess his biggest problem is counting. He didn't realize that 16 is less than 18, and 16 year old boys still count as children. But to be fair, I think it is very good of him to fight for young children. The ones that really are too young to know a bad feeling when it comes do need advocates. I just think those advocates should be on the up and up, as they say. Mark Foley was not. Neither was House Speaker Dennis Hastert or anyone else who knew about it and did very little. Nor was Fox News for that matter.

And finally, the best part. In the media, reporters are using words like "explicit," and "suggestive" to describe what Foley said. They're also using excerpts from an instant messenger conversation. But from what I can tell, these excerpts and bland enough to be FCC-Friendly. The full transcription certainly is not.

If you want, it's here for you to read. IT IS TRULY EXPLICIT AND INAPPROPRIATE. IF YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT A CONGRESSIONAL PAGE IS, I THINK YOU'RE TOO YOUNG TO READ IT. Nevertheless, once you have, be sure to take the quiz.

30 September 2006

New Month, New Look

We're heading into October, and I for one am glad. September was a slow blogging month for me. There are several reasons why, not the least of which is my new schedule. Jesse and I have gone diurnal. We're up so early, the early bird is still snoozing. It's been three weeks now and I think we're fully adjusted.

As a result of the new schedule, I have been even more organized. I've resumed a comfortable gym schedule, I cook more, and I eat healthier. I've been working nights for years. I've forgotten what it's like to be able to run errands after work. It's fantastic. So I'm happy.

But it took some adjusting. And while focusing on getting into a routine I enjoy, I didn't do much. Ergo there was not a whole lot to share. Or if I had a topic, I just didn't have the time. There are some developments, some of which make me wish I had held on to my stock in Google.

A word to the wise: if you happen upon a drunk financial planner trying to get with your friend, don't take his advice. Maybe that seems obvious to you. It's obvious to me now. But he had been hired by Merrill Lynch. Shows you what they know.

Jesse and I have started using Google Calendar. We use it to mark schedule changes, concerts, company picnics, even national holidays. If you need to sync your schedule with anyone, or if you don't have Microsoft Outlook (or just don't like it), I highly recommend it. Also from Google, Picasa. It's the program we use to store and upload our pictures. But the latest version of Picasa lets us have online albums visible to anyone for as long as we want. It's like Ofoto, but you don't have to sign up for anything. I put my album here. I'll add a link to the sidebar. Speaking of sidebars, if you've seen Jesse's lately, you've seen his Google Reader. It's a list of articles that interest him. It's constantly updating, so it's constantly worth checking out.

Plus, blogger has upgraded its blogs, there are features here that weren't here before. And even though it still has the same list of templates, you can change some of the colors. Be sure to tell me what you think of my new dots. They just tickle me to no end.

So welcome to October. I'm sure it'll be really interesting. Lucy is moving in next week. And if you thought Jesse and I were fodder for a sitcom before, you'll be floored once we throw Lucy into the mix.

28 September 2006

My Name is Sonia

Actually my name was Sonia Saturday night when I went out for the 3 D's - dinner, drinks, and dancing. Now (at the risk of spilling some of our female secrets) I'm going to tell you the story of five girls who had a fantastic night on the town.

We start with only four girls having dinner at Gordon Biersch. The guest of honor was Lizbeth, who shall be referred to as "Paulina" forthwith. With Paulina were her roommate "Thalia," and friends "Sonia," and "Melissa-Faith." As the four friends ate and plotted out their night, five guys sat down at the table right across from their booth...

So there we were, minding our own business, when these dudes came and sat next to us. They peeked over, and we ignored them. Then one started talking us and we started talking back, just as we got our bill. We had every intention of leaving but they had every intention of making us stay. They bought us a round of shots. Then they bought us another. Then our 5th friend arrived and we were treated to three or four more rounds of drinks. That's the thing about Vegas, a lot of people come here with corporate credit cards. I'm not saying they spend all of their money buying drinks for girls, but a lot of them do.

Either way, they had somewhere to go and so did we. We headed one block south to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. There, we met at the Circle Bar and devised a plan to both skip the line at Body English and not pay the cover charge. I'm not going to tell you how we did it, but we did get to skip the line (probably between 50-100 people) and we didn't have to pay the cover.

Once we got inside, we started dancing near a rope. That's important because the people on the other side of the rope have paid for bottle service. That means they get seats, a table, glasses, alcohol, ice, and juices. Someone on the other side of the rope fancied Thalia. So we sent her to the other side. In return, they sent us some drinks. Delicious.

Our prime real estate got too crowded. So we found a more spacious place at a bachelor party. We all got to sit and drink, and we didn't have to sacrifice anyone. But there were a lot of lap dances. Two of our corporate friends from Gordon Biersch showed up and the party with them continued. I had a lot of fun. I really didn't even want to go home. But I had been up for 23 hours and I didn't want to crash while I was driving.

The night was fantastic. Paulina had a happy birthday. None of us spent a lot money and I will say Body English is my favorite club that I've been to in Las Vegas. I mean, just look at the pictures, we're having a blast!

23 September 2006

Sex & Violence: Sex

So we've covered violence and I don't have much to say about sex. I would just like to tell parents to stop dressing their daughters like whores. That's all.

If you haven't been around young girls lately, let me fill you in. They walk around dressed like miniature versions of The Pussycat Dolls. It's disgusting. Parents are letting their daughters wear short skirts, skimpy tank-tops, camisoles, high heeled shoes, and make up. I'm talking about girls as young as eight or nine walking around Las Vegas with red lips, knee high socks, and purses. If it reads like a pedophile's dream, imagine how it looks.

Their parents seem to be oblivious. It must be okay to buy your 10 year old a thong if Barbie is smiling on the crotch. I see these girls all the time (not in their underwear) but I see them wearing t-shirts that read things like "Big Flirt," and "Hot Stuff." I see these girls and I immediately look to their parents. But a lot of times those parents aren't there. They just let their kids run around malls without supervision. It's like they're asking for their daughters to picked up.

I tell Jesse I want to approach these families. I want to ask to take a picture of these future harlots. If the parents ask me why, I'll tell them it's for a web-site, and that people will pay for pictures of such a pretty young girl. Jesse thinks that will give people the wrong impression of me. I tell him that's okay, if it makes parents think twice before dressing theirs daughters. I mean really! And I'm not the only one who has noticed.

19 September 2006

Sex & Violence: Violence

At some point in history violence and sex were events, more than they were topics. Those events made people feel. When the Shock and Awe campaign started in March of 2003, I cried. I watched the video and thought; "there are people under those explosions." In June of 2004, I watched Nick Berg's beheading. I was more shocked by the brutality of the saw-wielder than the actual beheading. Now, three years after the war started, I read about dozens of people blown up every day. I read about bodies found in trenches, failed army checkpoints and suicide bombers. And I don't cry. I ask myself how I can tell that story in a way that will make people care. I don't have an answer. Because it's not just the war in Iraq. It's partly the genocide in Darfur with a pinch of Israel starting a war (and not being able to win). Mostly it's Americans, and our glorification of sex and violence.

Today: the violence. I think it has a lot to do with video games. Not that the people responsible for the violence play video games, but that a desensitization caused by video games decreases the outrage to these atrocities that might otherwise be instinctual. I think for a lot of young people (mostly boys) video games are the first time they are rewarded for hurting or killing another person. My brother and I played video games growing up. I think we started with Doom and progressed as far as Mortal Kombat. I enjoyed the challenge. There's something to be said about having the fastest fingers and beating your opponent. But video games have come a long way. And from what I can tell, they've been heading downhill.

For example, Jesse downloaded some demos on his XBox recently. One of the games he found and started playing is Deadrising. Don't worry parents, your child has to enter their birth date in order to view the site. If s|he is honest (and too young) I doubt s|he'll be allowed in. Of course if your 10 year old can't figure out how to pass that security check, I dare say you're failing as a parent anyway. But just so we're all on the same page, I've included a screen shot.

The premise of this game is simple: zombies are taking over the world and you (as this heroic dude) are trapped in a mall with them. I know. Why didn't I think of that? The whole game is this guy walking through the mall and using everything from CD's to golf clubs to his bare hands to literally splatter the zombies. When they catch him, they eat him. And we get to watch. The whole thing is ridiculous to my not-so-impressionable mind but I think it gave Jesse nightmares. He has a very active imagination you know.

The only realistic part is the blood, which spills brightly and loudly. It's super gross. In light of the reality I read about on the daily, I was mildly offended by it's nonchalance. It got me thinking about the kids who will read hype about this game and play it. They'll grow up even more desensitized than I did. In their lifetimes, there'll probably be nuclear warfare. And I bet their only fear will be that they'll miss out on developing mutant powers.

13 September 2006

Tale of the Teacher Who Lost Everything and Received Even More in Return

This is the story of Holly Shaffer. Shaffer is a new teacher here in the Clark County School District. She was hired over the phone on a Tuesday in August. She was living in Indiana at the time but the following Thursday, Shaffer and her fiance were here in Las Vegas with everything they owned (and wanted to relocate). By Friday they were down to just the clothes on their backs.

Shaffer and fiance were staying at
Sunset Station Casino and Hotel in Henderson. They drove here in a pickup with a U-Haul trailer attached. It was stolen from the casino parking lot. Shaffer called the school district and the district alerted the media.

And here is where I find the interest. Shaffer's story was told. It was told in the same manner reporters tell other stories about children dying in county care and boxing gyms closing because they lack community support. But when Shaffer's story was told, people here cared. And they were willing to pay for it. Shaffer and fiance started off with a free stay at the casino. Then the casino gave them gift cards for the nearest mall. From there, the community pitched in and the result was more than $20,000 in cash. Plus prizes.

In the end, Shaffer's U-Haul was found. It had some of candles inside, but little else. We also learned she wasn't the first new teacher to have her stuff stolen from the Sunset Station parking lot. It happened to another teacher a few weeks before it happened to Shaffer. By the time that teacher got to television, Las Vegas' generosity was tapped. But Shaffer did share her booty.

12 September 2006

My Latest Visitor: Michelle II

August 12

While Jesse was walking down an aisle with someone who is not me, Michelle and I slept. We woke up and ate cereal and toast. We got dressed and went grocery shopping. Like I told you, there was not a whole lot of "spectacular" in our time together.
We ended up at the Hard Rock Cafe for lunch, where we both had the Twisted Macaroni and Cheese. The food was scrumptious and the service was fast. It was almost too fast, as if our waiter had stolen two other orders of macaroni and cheese from another table. We ate and enjoyed. Afterwards we went back home, where we watched a lot of television.

Later that night, while Jesse was buying champagne by the bottle, Michelle and I went to a drive in movie. It was my first ever. I've known about the drive-in here for more than a year but I never went. I imagined it was dodgy. After going to the discount movie theater here, I was sure it would be dodgy. But I was wrong.

Michelle and I went to see The Ant Bully. It's one of those movies Jesse refused to see with me. He has a deep dislike for cartoons other than Looney Tunes. I know, I shouldn't trust an elitist but I'm keeping my guard up.

The drive-in was unique. It's on the edge of town and it has lots of mounds. People with SUV's ride up onto the mounds to bring their high vehicles higher. When little Hyundais like mine roll in, they have to creep along the side and park in the aisle just to see the screen. The movie was highly entertaining. Of course it had a lesson for the kids and cut animated fun for me.

Once the movie was over, we made an appearance at a going away party for a coworker. It was way further north than I thought. By the time we arrived I was ready to leave. And after about a half hour we did just that.

August 13

On Sunday we did even less. We could barely drag ourselves out in time for dinner. We ate a Johnny Rockets, where we both ordered grilled cheese on wheat and french fries. What can I say? We have similar tastes. It made it a lot easier to be housemates.

After dinner, we went next door for ice cream. Not frozen yogurt, not sorbet and not that low-fat good for you stuff either. We went to Cold Stone Creamery. There, we did not order the same thing but we sat for a long time and talked about nothing.

And guess who we saw? I'll go ahead and tell you, since it was way to random and you'll never guess. We saw Louie Anderson. He just walked in and got in line. He ordered a large something or other and tipped $3. And then he walked out. We didn't see him get into a car (and we were watching) so we guessed he was staying across the street at the Hard Rock Hotel. Since then I've realized he's doing a show at the Excalibur. So he probably wasn't staying at the Hard Rock.

After ice cream, it was time to pick up Jesse. His flight had been delayed twice. That night we watched more TV. And Michelle returned to retirement the next day.

11 September 2006

My Latest Visitor: Michelle

My most recent visitor was Michelle. Michelle and I met in 1999. I was a Resident Assistant and she was a resident. We were both sophomores. We lived together (with another roommate) our senior year. In 2002, we graduated. I went to Fargo to work and Michelle went to Arizona to retire.

Actually she stayed with her newly retired parent until she got a job in Boston. This year, Michelle is on the west coast, getting her MBA. Before school started, she came to visit.
The story of her trip will be a hard one to tell, since there are no pictures from that weekend.

I know, I'm usually really good about taking pictures but on that particular weekend I did not have a camera. Jesse took it to Minnesota for
Adam & Amber's Wedding. I had planned to go (even though Jesse didn't want me too - go ahead, ask him why) but then I planned my trip to Fargo and told Michelle to visit that weekend. So Michelle and I were sans camera. But that will not stop me from giving you all of the details you didn't want to know.

Actually, there isn't that much to tell. Jesse would have certainly called me a bad host, had he been around for this visitor. Michelle arrived Friday, August 11th. That, you may recall, was not the best day to travel because of the brand new high security put in place on August 10th. But she arrived in one piece, with her checked luggage.
I brought Michelle to work, gave her the tour and let her loose on the strip. She came back around 2 with lots of bags and ready to eat. We had lunch at Gordon Biersch, where we both had the Southwest Chicken Sandwich. Delicious.

After work we went to the Barbary Coast. Here's a not so little known fact about the Barbary Coast, or BC as I will forever call it: during the summer, the drinks are $2. And I'm not talking about draft beer or well drinks. I'm talking about everything at the bar. Long Island Iced Teas, Martinis, daiquiris, the whole enchiladas as they say. It was a promotion they ran until the last weekend in August.

Better than the booze, is the band. There are bands that play the BC from 4 pm to 5:30 am. For Jesse and I, the real show is what you get when you mix the booze with the band. The result is something like this:
*Note: Michelle and I did not see this dancing machine. I saw him later in August, when Heather and Scott came to visit.
*Picture provided by HMS.

This particular guy had a thing for much older women. He was bopping around giving them all his mini striptease in hopes they would dance with him and let him grind up against them. Few took him up on the offer.

Anyway, Michelle and I saw our own inappropriate dancers at the BC. We also gambled a few dollars. My advice to anyone gambling with Michelle: her advice is good. So it'll seem natural when she says "bet it all" to do just that. That's when you'll have to snap out of the fog and say "woah Michelle, that's crazy." Otherwise she won't stop until it's too late. We got it in our heads that we has to see the Sirens of TI that night.

We rushed ourselves and sloshed some drinks to get to Treasure Island for the last show. Ten minutes before showtime the show was canceled because of wind. Looking at the trees, we saw no wind. But we know little of the sensitivities of pirates and scantily clad women. Maybe it was too windy for them. It was certainly too late for us. We went home and went to bed.