Friday, January 14, 2005

Friday, January 14, 2004 - Little Notes

This evening my car's trunk was frozen shut. Oh, how the mighty (temperatures) have fallen so quickly! (sob)

Ironwolf is home...yay yay yay yay!!! Better than that, his trip for the last week of January has been postponed, so he'll only be gone this coming week. Yay yay yay yay!!!

My sister and her soon-to-be sister-in-law are coming over tomorrow so we can work on my sis's wedding shower invitations. It should be a lot of fun, and another good excuse to break out the wine... (hee hee I must sound like a lush, but I'm not, really - I usually only have 1 or 2 drinks per week. This week is just a little unusual.)

And I swear, I'll catch up on my blog reading this weekend! Just as soon as I finish off this bottle of wine *hic* (just kidding ;-) )...

Friday, January 14, 2004 - Vegas, Part Deux

For any of you that care, it took me about 2 hours to do that report last night (plus an hour that I was looking for the materials that I needed - I must resolve to become more organized...nah, what's the fun in that?). I emailed it off, thought everything was goodness and light, but then found this evening that it bounced back at me because I got the church email address wrong. Grrr... Oh, the church secretary is going to be thrilled with me - now she won't get it until Monday morning...

Enough of that. Now, where was I on the Vegas trip? Ah, yes!

Once we finished up on the Star Trek Experience we realized it was a bit later than we expected, so we headed to Excalibur to check in. If you haven't figured it out yet, Excalibur is done up like a medieval castle. That is, it's done up as a late 1970's/early 1980's concept of a medieval castle. I don't remember it being any different today from what it was 9 years ago. Compared to many of the newer places, it's kind of sad. That says a lot coming from me, who still plays Dungeons & Dragons at 32 years of age and who will happily dress up in costume to attend the Renaissance Faires.

We got into our room, and found that it had the same view of the NYNY roller coaster, except from the other side of the street! Sheesh. We prettied ourselves up for the evening and headed out.

Now, a few weeks ago in our local paper there was an article about buffets in Vegas, basically a review of several of the buffet restaurants on the strip. This article convinced me that we needed to go to the only hotel on the Strip without a casino in it, the Four Seasons. Thankfully we were on that end of the Strip already, so we took a tram over to Mandalay Bay and found a walkway to Four Seasons. BTW, if you are in Mandalay Bay, do not miss the Orchid Lounge! Best smelling place in Vegas!

As soon as we stepped in the Four Seasons, we got this overwhelming impression that this place was too rich for our blood. But undeterred we hunted down the restaurants - and found there to be no buffet. Apparently their "buffet" was only a Sunday brunch. Pity. I tried to convince my mil to still eat there, but I could see her unease at the dollar signs floating before her eyes. Well, I can't blame her, and I know she didn't bring a ton of money to spend, so we regretfully turned to the Luxor and the buffet there, which was ok.

We finished up dinner and it was time for us to head to our show by the Blue Man Group! I am totally enamoured with these guys, and I swore that if I ever went to one of the cities where they have a peramanent show that I would go. I love their music, their personae, their philosophy (yeah, they kind of have one)...

Anyway, the show was awesome! I wish I could describe it to you in detail, but anything that I put down here will be inadequate. I was very happy to see that it was an entirely original production, that is, there was nothing in the Vegas show that was on _The Complex_ concert DVD, and there was nothing in common with the touring group with whatever the hell that festival was that I went to in Toronto a couple summers ago. If you go to Vegas, go to this show! (But if you can, see if you can get one of the package deals from Luxor rather than buying tickets directly - I paid more for the individual tickets than it would have cost me for the dinner\show package).

And best of all...

(ShadowAngel squeals with delight)

After the show my mil was quite content to head to bed, but not me. So I headed off to Stratosphere to finally get to ride my roller coasters! But what happened there is...the rest of the story...(sorry Paul Harvey)

Tune in soon for _Vegas, Part Trois!_

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Thursday, January 13, 2005 - Days Like These Are Rare Indeed

I need to keep it short today because I have to do that stupid church report tonight, but I wanted to tell you that today in Buffalo it reached a glorious record-setting (I think, I'll have to check) 68 F. Oh, you don't know what a thrill it is to take the kids out to the playground in the middle of January! And to not have to wear a jacket! Too bad it won't last - one day the temperature goes up 40 degrees, the next day it goes down 50 degrees. There should be snow on the ground by morning.

Zipper had a checkup today, and whenever one of the medical personnel walked into the examining room he started screaming! I can only imagine that he remembered his brother going to the doctor last month and getting a couple shots.

I still have some of that wine left from yesterday, so it's just about time to crack that open again and get to work. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - Blast that Church!

I just checked my email, and I have been informed that as church historian I was supposed to do a report for the church's annual meeting. And the report was due 9 days ago.

When was someone going to tell me about this???!!!

I didn't know that I was expected to provide a report. Guess what I'll be doing tomorrow night...


Wednesday, January 12, 2004 - Time Flies When You're Having Fun

I am back from snowy Las Vegas, Nevada!

Yes, you heard that right. I saw snow in Las Vegas. Something that hasn't happened in that area for some 12 0r 15 years now. It didn't stick in our area, but I watched the news and saw plenty of places where it had. It must have been quite a treat for the kids!

I've actually been back for several days now. I've been:

  • Recovering from the trip: It's amazing how quickly you can screw up your sleep schedule!
  • Dealing with the death of a relative: I wasn't terribly close with my great-uncle Jerry, but he was a terrific guy. I hope I am lucky enough to go out like him - 93 years old, in good health, and passing away in my sleep.
  • Spending time with my family: particularly Ironwolf, who is traveling for work every weekday from today until the end of the month (boo!). I've opened up a bottle of wine [White Zinfandel! Where the hell did we get this crap from!] and I am working hard at drowning my loneliness in it. On the plus side, it means I'll spend more time blogging!

Ah, but I digress. You really want to know about the trip!

Well, if you are going to Vegas, I really must recommend to you that you avoid going when one of the two big annual conventions are happening. We arrived on the first day of the Consumer Electronics show. Nothing like an extra 140,000 people in the city to make things interesting! Not to mention the (ahem) other convention going on in Vegas at the same time - the Adult Video Convention!

We flew on Southwest, and I'm not sure whether to recommend it to you if you are traveling with someone else. Sure, it was clean, comfortable, friendly - all that good stuff. But, Southwest has the strange quirk of there being no assigned seating. They seat people in three main groups. and my mother-in-law and I were unfortunately in the last seating. And were one of the last few people on the plane. Needless to say, we were both stuck in middle seats, and were a mere 14 rows apart from each other.

My mil is there on a business-related trip, and we have a number to call for a car when we get to Vegas. So I obligingly call the number, and find that it's some regional limo company (yay!) but all their limos are booked up for hours (boo!). So we check into our hotel at the airport (totally awesome) and catch a shuttle to the fabulous New York, New York hotel.

Vegas is still all the glitz and glam that I remembered it to be from 9 years ago when I was there on my honeymoon. In that time a number of new hotels were built, including NYNY, and I was anxious to take a look around.

We get in our hotel and immediately notice:

  • It's really, really spartan. No surprise there - they don't want you to hang out in your room; they want you out spending your money.
  • There is a periodic rumbling outside our window. We have a lovely view of NYNY's roller coaster!

My MIL is diabetic, and it's now 5 PM local (8 PM EST), and she really can't put off eating any longer. Frankly, I was hungry too, so we went to one of NYNY's casual restaurants and had a little something. Unfortunately, we also knew that we were meeting others for dinner at 7 PM, and we sincerely hoped that we would not end up in the same restaurant!

We wander a bit and then head to the meeting spot. Among the many people I saw a small knot of mostly middle-aged ladies and zeroed in on them as the people we were looking for - law librarians like my MIL. Oh, it was funny; we didn't know any of there people, but they were so stereotypical! We went to dinner in the hotel at their fancy Italian place. Sadly we were unable to take full advantage of our only fully expensable meal in Vegas because we had just eaten! *sigh* It was also a little weird because I was the only travel companion that came (and me not even a spouse). So they talked business, and I...was pleasant. What else could I do?

The East Coasters among us bowed out a little on the earlier side, as it was approaching midnight EST, and we headed to bed. I got ready, put on my pajamas, crawled into bed, and laid there for about 10 minutes. What was I thinking! It's my first night in Vegas! Let's go! So I went out by myself for a couple hours wandering through the nearby casinos before turning in.

The next morning I find myself with a couple hours to myself because my mil had a meeting that morning. I catch breakfast on my own at NYNY's Chinese restaurant's breakfast buffet, which had surprisingly little Chinese food on it, and that not very good (about what I expected). Then I had to check out of NYNY, haul the bags across the street to Excalibur and put them in storage, and then go pick up our show tickets for that evening. Then I went out and did some shopping - some souvenirs, some overpriced beauty products and teas for me...

I met up with my MIL. We had decided to go out to Stratosphere so I could ride the roller coasters, but Strat is WAAAAY at the other end of the strip (about 2.5 miles). We were considering a taxi, but then I noticed that there was a new monorail that ran the length of the strip! Yay! It didn't go all the way to Strat, so we decided to ride to the Las Vegas Hilton and check out the Star Trek Experience.

The Star Trek Experience is really cool. It consists of three parts:

  1. The Star Trek museum, which has all kinds of memorabilia spanning all the shows. (I particularly liked the Mark IV Photon Torpedo). Very cool stuff. If you ever go to this, don't blow by the museum just because you're in a hurry to get to the rides.
  2. The Borg Invasion. They set up this cool live-action scenario where the Borg are breaking in and you see crew members being taken by the Borg in surprising (and humorous) fashion before entering a theater and confronting the Borg in a 3-D movie. Lots of fun!
  3. The Klingon Encounter. Not as good of a story setup - the Klingons have transported you through a time rift and you are trying to get home to your time. They put you in a motion simulator (supposedly a shuttlecraft) and basically toss you about for 4 minutes. It's a spectacular ride (though definitely *not* for those prone to motion sickness) with a fun little twist at the end.

It was more expensive that I would have hoped at $35, but it was still worth it. It was also the location of Quark's Restaurant, which is of course a replica of the famous place in DSN. It looked cool, but the line to get in was atrocious, so we had to pass it up.

My goodness! I've been typing for almost an hour and I haven't gotten terribly far. You all probably hate my propensity for writing travelogues. I like them, and it's a good reference to go back to for when I finally get around for doing my scrapbook pages on the trip. But I'd better finish this off tomorrow, as much as I would like to kick back the rest of the wine and blab on, but I have to be up early to take Zipper to the doctor (darn that responsibility thing!)

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Tuesday, January 4, 2004 - Vegas, Baby!

I will be disappearing from the blogosphere for a few days because I am going to Las Vegas! Yeah, baby! With my mother-in-law...

Still...yeah, baby!

My mother-in-law wanted a travel companion. She's going there for a focus group. But I get to tag along and have fun fun fun (until the money runs out, of course).

I probably won't do much gambling, actually. I go out to the casinos here once or twice a year, and while it's fun, I don't think it's a worthwhile use of the money (maybe it's because I keep losing).

BTW, real-life friends, we need to have a poker night soon so I can clean you out again! LOL

We're going to go see the Blue Man Group show (I love them, they're so cool [in a non-conformist way])! And I am definitely going to go over to Stratosphere so I can ride the roller coasters that they have on top of the tower! Oooh, and maybe I'll go over to that indoor "skydiving" place. And maybe over to the Star Trek Experience at the Las Vegas Hilton...

I know, I've only got two days. Can't pack everything in.

Pity my mother-in-law didn't want to go see the Chippendales though. *sigh* I know, be good, I'm a married woman...

See ya! Woooooooo hooooooo!!!!!

Tuesday, January 4, 2004 - Proof that Buffalo's Medical System Isn't All Crap

Monday, January 03, 2005

Monday, January 3, 2005 - Who Buys This Stuff, Anyway? Part 3

Check out Jade's blog entry of January 2nd to learn all about the wonderful world of truck balls! Oh, the things that people will do to compensate for their shortcomings! LOL

Monday, January 3, 2005 - New Year's Celebrations

New Year's Eve was pretty good. Ironwolf went out with the guys to dinner while I stayed home with the little ones, and then they all came back to our place for fun and frolic. OK, it wasn't exactly a wild party, but I can't think of anyone I'd rather celebrate with than them.

We let the boys stay up pretty late, until about 10:30. They weren't happy about being sent to bed. Too much energy! I swear, if I had 15% of their energy...

Anyway, we had fun. Watched movies, listened to music (though I just don't know why nobody else but me likes Atari Teenage Riot *hee hee*), played video games, and got nicely tipsy.

It's a good way to see a year out.

Monday, January 3, 2005 - Tsunami Words

As you can tell, I was pretty bummed out on the 31st (really early in the morning) about the tsunami and about life in general. I was avoiding the topic, but the reality of it just came crashing down on my psyche that night.

I was happy to read that a relative of Mia's has been found injured but alive.

Thank you readers for your comforting words. I've dealt out a few of them myself over the last week.