Tuesday, October 05, 2004

It is that time again . . . We feel the cold, brisk air send a tingle through our chests and a shiver down our spine. We shakily welcome the smell of freshly shrapened pencils and school supplies as we say goodbye to the summer memories and welcome fall . . . and even more exciting, Halloween: Little people in costumes, October leaves falling into our yards and swirling through the streets, sugary candies, bright orange jackolanterns, chasing kids down the street trying to scare the crap out of them during trick-or-treating.
I wish all of you a very happy and safe Halloween. May you go to an interesting costume party, invite a small dish of candy corn to sit on your desk at work (Wal-Mart, $1.99), or decorate your homes with pictures of ghosts and pumpkins.
Happy Halloweenie.

Monday, August 23, 2004

When I left Cleveland after my one day visit and was headed for Vegas, I encountered . . .
So I am in Cleveland and I'm just trying to catch a flight like everyone else. With the new security procedures that I always seem to be "randomly" checked and fondled, I arrive at the airport two friendly hours in advance (because I look like a terrorist, right?). The guard runs that little magic wand over my tummy and it beeps. The guard now looking at me, puzzled and confused, I have to open the front fo my skirt to show them I don't have a gun on my person or in mu underwear and it is simply the button on my skirt. The guard still remains puzzled (hmmm, maybe I swallowed the gun, do you think?).
Checking my bag at 3pm, I wait patiently eating carrots and brocolli. 5pm, a.k.a. my departure time, rolls around and an announcement comes over the PA system, "Passengers flying to Las Vegas will be delayed until 730pm. We are having mechanical difficulties." You've got more than mechanical difficulties chief. This mechanical mishap just cost 150 passengers 3 hours of gambling time and their isn't a slot machine in sight.
I waited in a line of 36 people trying to receive my vouture only to get to the front of the line and have the computer systems crash and once again be rerouted to another area to pick up my vouture (translates to: all people too lazy to get in line the first time now jumped up and became the first in line . . . leaving me standing at the end growling, now 40 people ahead of me. That was not exactly sitting well with the carrots in my stomach.
After receiving a vouture and heading over to the Presidents Club to have a glass of wine ( or four) and work on the computer, holi frizoli, why did all the lights just go out? What is that noise? It would appear someone had decided to pull the fire alarm and now the door to the Presidents Club is closed and locked. Did I mention I was standing on the wrong side of the door?
I'm thinking it is not a good idea to get on the plane. After all this, who needs another "sign" not to?
Finally, after making myself as comfortable as one can be in airport seating for an hour, the doors opened and I arrived on the right side of the door. Leather seating, complimentary drinks and food, internet connections, telephones, a big screen tv and someone to tell me when my flight is ready for real.
Maybe I'll just hang out here instead.
"Passengers flying to Las Vegas will be delayed until 900pm."
Wish granted.
"The plane coming from Houston to take passengers to Las Vegas turned around and went back to Houston due to bad weather. Please be patient."
And so I was patient, a patient in need of anger management.
Needless to say, I arrived in Las Vegas safely by midnight after another delay. I made it, limbs and all.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

As a native of Cleveland, I can assure you it will most likely be snowing my September and I should be home by then (as plans see fit right now) to build a snowman or two.
I am in Vegas now and the adventures are continuing. I was actually able to see a show called Penn & Teller at the Rio. Should you venture to Vegas, the show does not come highly recommended from me although one's sense of humor may differ from mine (no it doesn't, the show flat out stinks). P&T is a magic show where they have some cool magic tricks (the one with the rose is wild) and then they show you how the big dawgs like David Copperfield (met him once, tell that story later) complete the trick. Penn (one of the guys) talked a little too much for my liking and while third row seats were awesome to sit in, it made for a noticeable exit halfway through the show as the performance was disappointing. Instead, I would recomend to you Cirque du Soleil's The "O" Show and Mystere. I am hoping to see another show soon and give you my Siskel review(he is the one who has passed so I have recently been appointed to his position).
Interesting restaurants worth mentioning include Buzios in the Rio Hotel and Casion for crab legs and cosmos. Great, fast service with hot entrees. It is an open-air kitchen (for those not familiar, this is a kitchen where you can see directly into the actual kitchen from your seat and watch the magic chefs with their tall white hats prepare your entree). Wo nelly, they have strong drinks. Ipanema Lounge, also inside the Rio, has fabulous coffee (although I assume if you travel to Vegas you won't be drinking coffee). The Four Seasons at Mandalay Bay has a beautiful restaurant with an eclectic menu accompanied by slow service. House of Blues was a restaurant/club recommended to me, however, the atmosphere reminded me of The Basement on the East Bank of the Flats in Cleveland with its twinklelights and hardwood floors that make you want to toss peanut shells onto the ground as if you were at a LoneStar restaurant. While I wasn't impressed with the decor and there was a lingering odor of campfire smoke, their front and center stage did welcome some bigger name artists: Ted Nugent, Wyclef Jean, Michael McDonald, Dwight Yokum and a few others. The Palm, a restaurnat inside the Forum shops of Caesars Palace, ha a so-so dish of seafood ravioli but the best prime rib humans can cook and serve. Cafe Lago, also inside Caesars, has an attractive atmosphere with waterfalls and marble tables with colorful carpeting and a unique patio outside with palm trees.
In terms of racking up my airline miles, the next stop will be in Houston. It will be a brief but interesting stop and then I will scoot on over to Cleveland for a day. Yes, just that short! Then I will jet back over to Vegas on Friday. I was planning on San Diego but it appears that the city of year-round 70 degree weather will wait until next month.
In the midst of the travel arrangements and work, I have decided to plan a new excursion along the west coast. I will head out to California to see the awesome and lofty Redwood trees, a.k.a. the Sequoias. Sequoia is the second-oldest national park int he United States. It was established in 1890 to protect the Big Trees in Giant Forest, including the General Sherman Tree, the world's largest living thing. Sequoia also contains the Mineral King Valley and Mt. Whitney, the highest mountain in the U.S. outside of Alaska. I have reservations in Wusachi Village, a cabin inside Sequoia National Forest and have plans for horseback riding. It should be quite the adventure, one I have waited for since I can remember. Kodak doesn't make enough film for me to take on this trip. A great site is www.visitsequoia.com for more information.
I had also made plans to head over to Carmel which is on the coast of California. Carmel is a little city that has awesome restaurants and scenery. It is supposed to be one of the nices areas on the west coast. If you are interested, a website address with a travel guide is http://www.carmel-california.com/?source=overture. I will of cousre let you know of my "visited areas" upon my return.
Napa Valley is another area in California that is the wine country of the state. The Harvest Inn hotel has views of vineyards and the Mayacamas Mountains. There are winding pathways through cool redwood groves and eight acres of gardens and cottages with private terraces and spa tubs. Check out http://www.harvestinn.com/leftnavpage.cfm?LeftNavID=10 for some really awesome pictures. I was planning it for this month but it might have to wait until next along with . . . Lake Tahoe will be the last place of adventure . . . which I am sure many of you may already be familiar with.
I have a luncheon with Alan Waxler, the owner and founder of the Alan Waxler Group. He is connected with several names in Las Vegad and the casino industry with a large special events business and modeling agency (www.awaxgrp.com). I am also supposed to go to lunch with the owner of Glory Days, a west coast restaurant/bar chain, who plans on opening more locations.