Monday, July 30, 2012

I’m alright. You alright?

In college I lived in a dorm for two and a half years. It was an older dorm with locker room style bathrooms. We had a janitor named Willie. Willie always said, “I’m alright. You alright”? It didn’t matter what you said. You could say hello, how are you, what’s up, good morning, or whatever. Willie always answered with “I’m alright. You alright?” What Willie really was saying was “I don’t want to talk.” He was giving a thoughtless, automatic answer because he just wanted to get on with whatever he was getting on.

Which brings me to the word “okay.” Other than instances when okay means yes, when “okay” is the answer to a question what it really means is “not good.” It doesn’t necessarily mean bad, although it could, but it never actually means okay.

How was the movie? It was okay.
How was dinner? It was okay.
How was last night’s sex? It was okay.
You are saying you didn’t much like it, but more importantly you are also saying you don’t want to talk about it. “Okay” is a conversation ender, or at least a topic ender.

Similarly, the word “fine” means “not bad,” and also means you don’t want to talk about it.

How was the movie? It was fine.
How was dinner? It was fine.
How was sex last night? It was fine.

Fine is not bad and is better than okay which is not good.

Within a relationship the more often you hear or say “okay” and “fine” then the worse off your relationship. The use of these words thwart intimacy; they are roadblocks, or diversions.
When asked how I am, my response is usually “great.” I generally don’t say fine. I might say okay, which of course means I am not okay but don’t want to talk about it. On occasion I might be better than great.

How was Dark Knight Rises? It was good.
How was dinner? It was fine.
How was sex last night? How very generous of you to assume I have a sex life because I assume you mean sex with another person which I did not have last night but in answer to your question sex last night was okay.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Game. Gamer. Gamest.

About 15 years ago my dad had lunch with some former business associate. My dad told me this man asked about me; asked if I was still playing games by myself. What? Who is this guy? I have never heard of him. I don’t recall ever meeting him. He apparently met me when I was a kid and this is what he remembers? How did this man know?

I have always been able to entertain myself. I have always played games by myself. All I needed was a little time and my imagination. Props were nice but not required. I was imagining games by myself long before there was such a thing as video games.

When I became a teenager arcade games were just coming into their own. I would ride my bike several miles to a shopping mall that had a video arcade. Missile Command. Galaga. Star Castle. Asteroids. We got an Atari and Pitfall was the game of choice. Arcade games were fun but they lacked depth.

In my early to mid-high school years I was friends with some guys that introduced me to bookcase games. Bookcase games came in boxes that resembled large books, and you stored them on a shelf, on their sides, like books. These games had depth; often too much complexity. These were all top-down strategy games. You can still find them in the computer gaming world. Markers that represent units, moved around a map (usually with hexagons). We played a World War II in the Pacific game where the game map was 12 feet by 12 feet! Setup in one guy’s garage. Accompanied by a thick rule book.

Didn’t do much gaming during college. Too busy drinking every Wednesday thru Sunday nights. But after college I returned to gaming. I found a few bookcase games designed to play solo. My favorite one concerning carrier battles during the Solomon Islands campaigns.

In the early 90’s I began to search for a computer game to play. This was before the multi-media explosion. I found it in Empire Deluxe. An easy to play, top down strategy game. You could play solo, or exchange turns via email, or even play live over the world wide web. I played the shit out of that game.

Then multi-media was ushered in. Lots of people had computers, and then you could upgrade with a CD-ROM, a sound card, and speakers. Usually a few games were included, like Myst. Seems kinda lame now, but in its time Myst was pretty dang good. So, computer gaming here I come; perfect for the little boy who has no problem playing alone.  I mostly played strategy games and first-person shooters. Civilization. Masters of Orion. Half-life. Doom.

I knew of online games, the massively multiplayer online games; World of Warcraft being the dominate player. I was never much into games with magic; I preferred sci-fi elements. I was reluctant to jump into online gaming because I knew once I started I would be all in. So I hesitated, and waited for something that really interested me.

I had heard of EVE Online, and knew that when I did jump into online gaming it would be with the space-based EVE. One afternoon I was reading a science fiction novel dealing with space travel, and I just set down the book and signed up for EVE Online. That was 2007.

Just as I figured, EVE is pretty much the only computer game I play, much to the chagrin of my son who used to like to watch me play certain games, they were like movies to him. Course, now he just plays his own.

I haven’t watch network television since around 2000. I only got back into TV shows once I could stream entire seasons over Netlfix in one weekend. I watch a few shows now but do so because my kids are into them. Something we share and discuss. Where some people watch TV most evenings I play EVE. Where some people might go to the movies I play EVE. I haven’t played any other computer game in years. If I am spending a few hours with computer gaming  then I spend it on EVE.

And what is EVE Online? It is anything you want it to be. You fly around in space ships and do what you want; not without consequences, of course. You can build, buy, sell, destroy, repeat as necessary. Mine, manufacture, invent, pirate, mercenary, whatever.  I choose to be an industrialists. I procure different raw materials, sell some and use some in manufacturing.

What I like about Eve is the accomplishments. Completing tasks, achieving goals, acquiring certain things. Heck, it is just like life.

Whether you see it as a strength or as a character flaw, I have no problem being alone. I can always find ways to entertain myself.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Yoga Watching

On the one hand it can be tough observing others while doing yoga. In certain poses it is near impossible to get a good look at anyone else, but I am a people watcher and there are plenty of watchees in a yoga class.

Favorite Position, not Pose

First there is positioning; that is, where does one place their mat. By far the popular areas are to the sides and not in front. I guess I understand to the sides if you like to use the side mirror, but I find it amusing when they squeeze their mats in at one end or the other while there is plenty of open space in the middle. I know that if I were to the side and people just kept placing their mats nearby, I would be like, "GET AWAY FROM ME!! PUT YOUR MAT IN THE MIDDLE!" Yelling inside my head.

Many don't like being in the front row, I guess because they don't want to be, you know, in front. I can't not be in front. I am too used to seeing myself in the mirror. If I move back 8 feet then in the mirror I move back 16 feet, and that is just too far away for me. Besides, being in front offers better people watching

Pre-class Rituals

What does a person do with themselves while waiting for class to begin: i.e. pre-class rituals. Prior to class the lights are off, and of course, there is no talking in yoga. So, you lay there in the dark. I have never fallen asleep laying there in the dark but I have heard a few others snoring. Most people just lay on their back, quietly preparing for class, or thinking about what to do after class, or thinking about work, or thinking about which yoga poses are best suited for sex while still being reasonably comfortable. That last thought can crop up during class, too.

Some folks are gun-ho yogis and can't wait for class to begin. They go into several poses. I guess they would say they are getting warmed up. I sometimes do pushups before a class, if that class has no push-up in it. Otherwise I might stretch my arms over my head, or pull my knees to my chest, or adjust my package. Don't need out of position bits and pieces during class.

Outer Vestments

Usually the women outnumber the men. I have been in more classes where I was the only guy, then I have been in classes where men outnumbered the women. Most men wears shirts, but some do not. There is this one guy who is planet of the apes hairy and he always wears a shirt. Good for him. The guys who do go shirtless usually do not have body hair, so looks like manscaping is a prerequisite. I do not shave or wax or otherwise remove my chest hair, so as you can guess I wear a shirt. Almost all men where gym shorts of one kind or another.

The women do not go topless, and their clothes run the gamut. Some wear baggy gym shorts and loose shirts. Some wear tight spandex bottoms with sports bra tops. Others have combos. The colors also vary. All black is popular, but you get some bright colors, too.


A vast majority of those in class do not make noise beyond their breathing. But you can get a grunter or moaner sometimes. Men are more likely to grunt and groan than women. It's like the opposite of sex: where men are more likely to be all stoic and quiet, concentrating on not letting go, while women attempt to embrace the moment and can get vocal while doing so. There is this one annoying guy who I rarely see who talks during class, which is considered a no-no. I think he thinks he is being funny, throwing out sarcastic complaints or talking about a "starbucks break." Whatever, I just feel like slapping him upside the head.

With my membership I can bring guests for free, so just let me know if you want to partake in some hot room yoga.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


I used to go the local rec center and do the elliptical machine, some weights, and swim laps. My original perception of yoga was heavily influenced by movies and TV. It seemed to be all about flexibility. Women with their feet behind their heads, walking around on their hands. Inhuman stretching and contorting. I then began to understand that yoga was much more than that, I considered finding out how much more.

At about the same time a guy at work started talking about yoga. He is really into it. Said he liked to eat what he wanted and drink beer, and he found doing hot room yoga seemed the best at keeping off the pounds. He kept saying I should try it. Sunstone Yoga.

I already had the yoga idea floating in my head, and his prompting was the final straw. I checked it out. Hooked right off the bat.

Let me tell you what I like about yoga. There are no measurements. There are no numbers to log. Consequently , no appearance of bragging and grandstanding. Especially since Sunstone Yoga does not teach poses outside of most people’s normal range of motion. So, no feet behind the head and walking around on your hands. If you run, swim, or bike then you are measuring; how far and how long did it take. If you do weights then you are measuring; how much and how may reps and how many sets. It becomes a numbers game; a status symbol. There are no numbers in Yoga, and I like that. It’s just me and the poses.

I really like the hot room part. It has had a positive effect on my skin. I simply feel more healthy in a general way, and I feel stronger. There are muscles I use in yoga that never get used with weightlifting, running, or even swimming. I would say yoga is first and foremost about strength, then balance and flexibility.

I haven’t even scratched the surface on all that yoga can provide. It has begun to impact my diet, and that will only increase over time; what I want will begin to change. And I have yet to focus on the mental, intellectual, and emotional benefits.

I look forward to discovering so much more as I mature in my yoga practice. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Let's Talk about Porn

My first exposure to porn was when I was eleven years old. A father two house down had a huge Playboy collection. We would sit in his garage attic and smoke cigarettes and look at Playboy magazines. Old school pubic hair. Which, of course, I still prefer. I mean hairlessness wasn’t really “in” until the 90’s, beyond my formative years. Don’t get me wrong. Hair, no hair; it’s call good..

By the time I was fifteen we lived in a different state and I would ride my bicycle up to the Stop ‘N Go and buy Penthouse magazines. Don’t ask me why they sold Penthouse to a fifteen year old. I guess they wanted the money.

When I was seventeen I saw my first porn movie. One of my older sisters called the house. She was out drinking with a friend and they decided they had never seen a porn movie and wanted to see one, and thought I could help. We belonged to a video store club and they had an adult section, which I had never entered. I was a regular there and only one year shy of 18, so no problems there. I rented Champagne for Breakfast. 70’s style porn with a storyline, which wasn’t half bad, really. I called a friend and we (he, I, sister, sister’s friend) watched it. Each of us sitting there in quiet trying to pretend we were alone. I am happy to report that no Penthouse Forum moments grew from this porn viewing.

In college we used to have Q&P Parties (quarters and porn). We’d play a porn movie on mute, crank up some music, and play quarters. We also played cards. They were smaller parties, and not always just a bunch of guys. During my first year in college there was a very old theater across the street that would show porn movies at midnight on weekends. I went twice, I think. The entertainment was everyone yelling out jokes about the movie, trying to elicit laughs.

In the 90’s, before I got myself an internet dial-up connection you would sometimes hear news stories about all the porn on the internet. Naturally, when I did get on the internet, I went in search of porn. It was not easy to find. There were no all-encompassing search engines like Google. Web sites had to be posted or advertised on sites like Yahoo. But I finally did find a site, which linked to other sites. Just about all of the internet porn back then were scans from magazines. Now, of course, just about any search will get you some porn in your results. It is no longer “ how can I find porn,” it is now “how can I not find porn.”

Can’t say I peruse porn as much as I used to. Now and then I hit a tangent and go on a little viewing run. Is this another example of youth being wasted on the young? I suppose by the time I am 80 the pendulum will swing back and I will be all into it.

The problem with porn today is that it lacks eroticism and sensuality. It’s just human bodies having sex, and usually in ways that regular people don’t because they aren’t doing it for pleasure they are doing it for the camera. The end result is some people expect their sexual experiences to match porn sex; or worse, they learn sex from porn sex.

So. Porn. Look at it. Or not.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Pick Up Lines

(Please note that not one of these lines ever resulted in the successful picking up of a woman.)

Your ability to do something is directly linked to your willingness to learn.

You must accept yourself before you can expect others to do the same.

Without action there is no resolution.

Animals are much better at handling adversity than humans. They learn to cope and then get on with their lives.

Unfortunately, we're better at learning for ourselves than heeding advice.

To deny your age is to admit regret for how you have lived your life.

To be strongly ambitious is to want what is not deservedly yours.

America is where good things happen to you - as long as your luck holds out.

To acknowledge your anger is strength. To act on your anger is weakness.

Argument & Debate
Most people consider an argument and a fight to be the same thing. Not so. An argument is an exchange of thoughts and ideas while a fight lacks both.

It is interesting that for some people art is a wonderful tool for expressing themselves while for others art is a means for avoiding personal expression.

Assuming is human nature. Acting on assumptions is a character flaw.  

For many people the event determines their attitude. For a lucky few of us our attitudes determine the event.

Authors & Writing
Good writing is the result of exploring the depths of one's mind.

True beauty is revealed through self-confidence and attitude.

To believe without commitment is like cooking soup without a pot.

Bureaucracy is like your lawn: you have to routinely cut it to keep in under control.

I haven't changed, your perception of me has ;-)

Character is like the roots of a tree: it's the part that can't plainly be seen that makes a person strong.

People have a tendency to decline to make a choice and then to complain about it.

Confidence has more influence on how you look then how you look does.

Resolving a conflict doesn't necessarily mean that someone has to lose.

Conformity & Nonconformity
The purpose of conformity is to control. The purpose of nonconformity is to explore.

There seems to be more and more talking and less and less conversation.

God didn't create the world; God supplied the energy and watched as the universe bloomed.

Creativity is taking what is in your mind and showing it to other people.

When taken correctly criticism aides growth.

If you are not ready to die then you haven't really lived.

Decisions. What's the big deal? Make one. Learn from it. Make another one.

Sometimes forest fires are beneficial to nature. But when is destruction ever beneficial to man?

If it were easy I would have done it a long time ago.

I don't believe in invention. There is only discovery.

Doubt should warn, not paralyze.

If you don't have dreams then what are you doing with all of your time?

We place too much reliance on drugs; they should be a last step, not a first step.
Let's be careful with our Planet Earth - it's uninsured.

Education is the key to everything.

All men are created equal. Unfortunately intelligence and common sense are extras that many people choose not to pay for.

Excellence in anything is like good acting - when done correctly you don't even notice it.

Experience is dependent upon the passage of time. Most people don't want to wait that long.

Are you an expert because of how much you know or how little everyone else knows?

Facts are always at the bottom of things, but are too easily manipulated. 

Fate & Destiny
Deja vu reinforces my belief in fate.

Freedom starts in the mind and ends with the hands and feet.

Generosity is a hallmark of intelligence.

Glory is usually achieved at someone else's expense.

To get to know God is to get to know yourself. To ask for God's help is to steal yourself for the task ahead.

Government's aren't bad. Sometimes the people who run them are.

Change is the imputes of growth.

Man's instincts are being replaced with habits. Instincts are formed and honed over thousands of years and are beneficial to everyone. In a single lifetime a man can gain and lose numerous habits, many of which are not beneficial.

Happiness in not something you get, it is something you have.

Imagine that every couple of years everything that you know about being in a relationship is lost and you have to start over each time. This is what it is like when generations of man do not learn from history.

Hope is what you do when you can't do anything else.

Living your life without humor is like watching a silent movie with your eyes closed.

Ignorance & Stupidity
Ignorance is when you don't know. Stupidity is when you don't care. 

Using your imagination is like taking a vacation without going anywhere.

Instinct is best used in conjunction with knowledge and experience

Insults are taken, never given.

You are a Broadway production and your intelligence is your stage hands: it's what you can't see that makes everything work.

Intentions are meaningless once the action has taken place.

Half of the joy in going somewhere is the journey.

Our misplaced faith in justice keeps us from focusing on prevention.

Knowledge is not knowing, knowledge is sharing what you know.

If you can't laugh about it then perhaps you'd be better off dead.

Don't trust anyone who touts their own leadership - it isn't theirs, it was given to them.

Many people can't enjoy life because they are too busy reflecting on the past or worrying about the future.

Most people are only listening for their queue to talk.

Memory serves as the raw materials for our intellect.

Mistakes are useful when shared and destructive when kept secret.

Why earn money? To spend it.

Too often we use observation to expose rather than to respect.

Opportunity is the most that anyone deserves.

Optimism & Pessimism
Optimism is about accepting and pessimism is about blaming.

Peace is a by-product of common sense and respect.

Personality is like the clothes we wear: it can reveal something true about us or it can be misleading.

Politics is an extension into adulthood of everything that we disdain about adolescence.

There is great power in restraint.

Pride in one's self is vanity. Pride in others is praise.

Without problems most of us would be out of work.

Most people are interested in progress only when it benefits them.

Prudence has become a victim of our media-rich and information-laden society.

If you don't have any questions then you probably aren't thinking.

Regret & Remorse
Don't confuse opportunity cost with regret or remorse.

Where I am depends on where you are.

People prefer that responsibility belong to someone else.

Revolution is like a forest fire. Sometimes you need one for rejuvenation.

Sanity & Insanity
Sanity is relative.

Society is a convenient scapegoat.

I'd like to enjoy Space before man screws it up.

The immature value strength of body while the mature value strength of mind.

Success & Failure
Being successful is not a fact, it is an opinion.

Terrorism is a result of blaming someone else for your own problems.

Pessimists see time as finite while optimists see time as infinite.

Violence is the result of a weak mind.

Most people spend a lifetime searching for the wealth that was inside them all along

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Raunchy Comedy

(Warning! Much Raunchiness below)

I just completed two seasons of Louie on Netflix. Enjoyed it very much.  I just now noticed that the show is “Louie” but he spells his name “Louis.” Okay, then. Here is some comedy inspired by Louis C.K. Just imagine me on stage …

I am leaving the bathroom earlier and I didn’t wash my hands. That’s right. I admit it. I don’t always wash my hands. We all do it. We all sometimes don’t wash our hands. So get over it, already. I am walking out and some bathroom Nazi calls me out for not washing my hands. He says to me, “Didn’t your mom teach you to wash your hands after going to bathroom?” I say, ” My mom taught me not to piss on my hands.”

So let me get this straight. I am sitting on the toilet taking a shit … taking a shit. I am not taking a shit. I am leaving a shit. Why don’t we say leaving a shit? I understand why we don’t say give a shit because giving a shit means you care. Certainly we all “care” about shitting and pissing, we care that it is not out in the open for all to see. But when I take a shit I don’t give a shit, I leave a shit.

Anyway. I am taking a shit. I wipe my ass. The idea behind washing ones hands is that wiping your ass after taking a shit is dirty business, and so you want to make sure your hands are clean. Cleaner than your ass, anyway. For the sake of argument let’s say I got some fecal matter on my hands. It happens, right? So, I want to wash my hands. But first I have to pull up my pants. Tuck in my shirt.  Zip and button my pants. Fasten my belt. And THEN I wash my hands!?!? I doubt I have any more shit on my hands because I have left it behind on my pants, shirt, and belt!

What we need to do is wash our hands before we reassemble our cloths. So what I do, because I really am into cleanliness, I wash my hands first! I stand up and flush the toilet, but I don’t touch any of my clothes. My pants and underwear are around my knees. They are NOT around my ankles. If they are around my ankles then they are on the floor. And bathroom floors, especially in men’s room, are hazardous biological waste zones. There can’t be many things more dirty than the floor of public men’s restroom. Nasty places.

So, my pants and underwear are not touching the floor, they are around my knees. But I ain’t touching them until my hands are clean! I have my feet spread and my knees splayed, holding up my pants and underwear without touching them. I waddle out of the bathroom stall. I am basically naked. Bare ass. My dick and balls are hanging out for anyone to see. I waddle over to the sink and wash my hands. Then I have to waddle over to dry my hands, waddling with my dick and balls shaking and shimmying, swaying back and forth. My old man balls slapping against each thigh. I dry my hands, and NOW I can pull up pants.

Have you ever thought about the mathematics used to create toilets? Someone, somewhere, did some serious number crunching to determine the water level in toilets. Because no matter what toilet I use they all seem to be perfectly designed so that when a turd leaves my asshole and plops into the water the resulting splash is just enough to wet my ass. Just think about the math here. Toilet bowl width and depth. The mass of my turd. Splash. Right on my ass. Course, I already pissed in that water, because the first thing you do when you sit down to take a shit is you take a piss. And maybe I already dropped one turd, or shit with some other composition, so that splash of water ain’t just water! And then for that first wipe you have to use extra toilet paper and fold it so it is extra wide so you can dry a wider area. The splash zone. Gotta cover the entire splash zone.

Speaking of water on the ass, I don’t get bidets. Maybe because I didn’t grow up with a bidet, but I just don’t get it. Okay, so I get a little splash of water on my asshole. Clean water, and not the turd splash from earlier. Now what? It isn’t clean! All I have is wet shit around my anus. How can that water fountain of a splash of bidet water actually clean the shit off my ass? It doesn’t! It just wets it. What I need is a power wash. Sppprrrish!! I need someone down there with goggles and rubber gloves, put that power washer on max and spray me clean. Sppprrisshhh!! That would clean up that shit.

Okay. So I got the water fountain stream from the bidet onto my dirty asshole. Now I have to clean it, right? Not with toilet paper! Toilet paper can handle the turd splash cleanup, but it would just crumple apart if I use it for the bidet splash. Then I would get bits of wet toilet paper clinging to my anus and near-anus. Clumps of wet toilet paper clinging to the hair. That’s right. I have hair down there. I don’t do porn, so I got hair around my asshole. I hear that sometimes a towel is available for using after spraying your ass with a bidet. A towel? Then don’t I need two towels? One that I can use to remove the shit, and another to dry? In fact, I am gonna bidet my asshole twice. Rinse, wipe clean, rinse again, wipe dry. Two different towels.

But what I really want is that power wash. Spppprrishh!! Get that shit clean. After the dude … wait, let’s make that a woman. A chick. Hey, this is my fantasy bathroom so I want a chick power spaying shit off my asshole, not some dude. After that chick with the goggles and rubber gloves power washes me clean – Sppprrrishhh!! – then I leave may pants and underwear around my knees, and waddle over to one of them air dryers. Get my ass up there and get everything nice and dry. Now I don’t even have to wash my hands! Perfect.

Okay. I’m done. Thank you very much. Thank you. Good night.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Nothing to See Here. Move Along.

Let’s be clear about one thing. I am not at all sad about my life.

I suppose there are plenty of luckless souls who could say they lead a more boring life then me, but I wouldn’t believe it until I see pudding with the proof. That’s right, I am saying I lead the most boring of lives, at least by the standard of some. I am, of course, applying an external judgment, since I am rarely bored. However, I am measuring myself against our culture’s idea of what comprises a complete, fulfilling life … yeah, something like that.

So. Here is what I do.

I would categorize my days in two ways: weekday or weekend, and with kids or no kids. Which, I guess, is really four ways: weekday with kids, weekday no kids, weekend with kids, weekend no kids.

Weekday With Kids
I work a regular, full-time job, so I suppose one could say my weekdays begin when I get home from work. I could talk about work, but, you know, work is work. It is not who I am. I never see or visit with work acquaintances outside of work. Let’s just skip it.

Weekdays begin when I get home from work, which is 6PM. Half the time I go to yoga. The other half I head directly home. We might eat out, or eat in. We do dine out often. Whatever. If the kids are in school then it is usually homework time. If I’m not mixing with the kids I might read, or play a computer game, or watch TV/Netflix. Kids go to bed. I stay up later where I might read, or play a computer game, or watch TV/Netflix. If the kids are not in school then we are more likely to watch a movie/TV together.
Weekday No Kids
Pretty much same as with kids. I might eat out at a restaurant/bar and drink some beer. More likely to go to yoga after work if the kids aren’t at home. Otherwise I might read, or play a computer game, or watch TV/Netflix.

Weekend With Kids
When the kids were younger we used to engage in more activities on weekends. Like, the zoo, museum, etc. Now they are teenagers and are more apt to just do their own thing. We’ll go to the movie theater sometimes, and the odd activity here and there. I almost always go to yoga on both Saturday and Sunday. Otherwise I might read, or play a computer game, or watch TV/Netflix.

Weekend No Kids
Pretty much same as with kids. I might eat out at a restaurant/bar and drink some beer. For sure do yoga both days. Otherwise I might read, or play a computer, or watch TV/Netflix.

My Sum is Greater than my Parts
As you can see, it is just me; sometimes accompanied by kids; there are work acquaintances and small talk with those at the restaurants/bars. Otherwise I might read, or play a computer, or watch TV/Netflix.

Nothing to see here; move along.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Long Live Vegas

(Originally written March 2010)

Arrived in Vegas mid-afternoon on a Sunday. We stayed at Circus Circus, which I do not recommend. I selected Circus Circus based on kid activities. It has a 5 acre amusement park, circus acts, and a midway (arcade and state fair-like games). But Circus Circus is old. It feels old. It looks old. And it is a bit removed from the main action - the Treasure Island to MGM Grand strip of The Strip. The casino at Circus Circus is very drab and unimpressive, and has no "hotness" factor. When you are in a casino at night, you want to see beautiful people, dressing beautiful, and acting beautiful; it's part of the show! So, stop on by Circus Circus, if you are with kids in Vegas, but stay somewhere else.

On that Sunday afternoon we took in Circus Circus. Mapped out the path through the casino and shops to our elevators. Did a few midway games. Then hit the strip and headed south. Walked past about a mile of construction, and some shopping. Then Treasure Island and The Mirage. We then entered the Forum Shops at Caesar's Palace. Toured it a bit then settled in for dinner at Trevi Italian Restaurant, the best meal we had in Vegas.

When we entered the Forum Shops is was still light. When we left it was dark. I told my kids that Vegas would change while we were inside and that we would see a new world when we made it back to the strip. And so it was. Neon, lights, and video billboards! We moved down to the Bellagio, and it's botanical garden, which is completely different at night than in the daylight. They had this Honey I Shrunk the Kids thing working that glows and lights up at night, with giant insects and plants, to go with all of the flowers. Then we headed outside and took in a fountain show. We headed back to Treasure Island to see the Siren show out front. Totally lame, except perhaps for the scantily clad women, but I was too far away to enjoy that.

Before we left for Vegas, I told Kate and Zach how there are all these people on the strip who pass out nearly naked lady cards and flyers advertising the seamier side of Vegas. How they attempt to catch your attention and hand you a card. Normally, you simply ignore them, or, I said jokingly, we can collect them all!! Like baseball cards (the girl's names are written on the cards). The first night I did collect a few cards, with encouragement from Zach. And there is the Hot Babes Who Want to Meet You travelling truck billboard that we saw the whole time, day and night, which was the source of many jokes.

That Sunday night we continued south, all the way to New York New York. Then across to MGM Grand and caught a cab back to Circus Circus.

Monday morning I purchased two day tickets with the open-top bus sightseeing tour. 100 bucks for the three of us. Not sure I can recommend this. It was great when heading south, but really slow, with too many stops, when heading north. A cab ride along The Strip was around 10 to 15 dollars per trip, so let's say 8 cab rides for 100 bucks. In two days? Not worth it.

Monday morning we checked out the Palazzo and The Venetian. Did a gondola boat ride. Then kept heading south. Lunch at the food court in New York New York. Then checked out Excalibur, Luxor, and Mandalay Bay. Kinda liked the vast, open interior of Luxor. At Mandalay Bay we took in the Shark Reef, an aquarium. Then walked down to the Fabulous Las Vegas sign.

The open-top bus stopped here, so we hopped on for the the long ride north.  At the MGM stop, which was long as it is the "hub", we moved downstairs for a bit to get out of the sun. Aside from the three of us, there was 1 other person sitting downstairs. We were sitting among these seats that face each other, for more leg room. Then, Miss Short Pudgy Riding Up Her Butt Too Tight Spandex Short Shorts boards the bus with her 10 year old son. Kate and Zach were sitting on the left in the seats facing each other row, and I was on the right. Miss Short Pudgy Riding Up Her Butt Too Tight Spandex Short Shorts looks over the multitude of empty seats and asks if they can sit on my row. Sure, I say, and move across the aisle to sit with Kate and Zach. Miss Short Pudgy Riding Up Her Butt Too Tight Spandex Short Shorts says I didn't have to move (oh, yes I did), and her son patted the seat next to him, saying I could sit there (oh, no I am not). After awhile we moved back upstairs.

That night we saw Blue Man Group, which I have always wanted to see, and thoroughly enjoyed. We had great seats. 6 rows up, stage right. But in that section the two rows in front of us had been removed (looked to be for wheelchair seating), so the 3rd row was 12 feet away, plenty of leg room.  As I said, really liked it. The music, lots of drums and percussions, and the antics, and they have a message with their show, basically about the trappings of technology. They moved into the audience, climbing around seats, then discovered a power breaker along the wall, not too far from us. One of the Blue Men flipped the switch, and in the darkness two of them had some fun with flashlights and then found the third Blue Man sitting in a corner eating a bowl of Cap'n Crunch. One Blue Man took the bowl away and then walked straight over and handed me the bowl, and both foot long, heavy flashlights. I leaned over and ate some Cap'n Crunch for an audience laugh, and the Blue Men moved two rows back and selected a woman to go on stage for a bit involving more food.

After the show we walked the Strip a little, and then had some indecision on where to eat. We settled on Le Burger Brasserie at Paris. A decent, if unremarkable burger, served by waitresses in red satin and black lace. Then back to Circus Circus.

Tuesday morning we started with breakfast at the world's most technologically advanced McDonald's adjacent to Circus Circus. Then we headed south, again. On this day we took in the Bellagio botanical garden in the day light, the dolphins and white tigers at The Mirage, and the courtyard at the Tropicana. Lunch at California Pizza Kitchen in The Mirage. That night we saw KA (Cirque du Soleil) at the MGM Grand. A great show. Action, a coherent story, rocking music, and wonderful use of that amazing stage which can spin, tilt, turn, and go vertical. Both Kate and Zach liked KA the most out of the three shows we saw. Dinner at Olives, in the Bellagio. Very nice.

Wednesday we stuck to Circus Circus. Lunch at the buffet - meh. Spent a few hours at the pool. Played midway games (Kate delights in winning stuffed animals - 6 in total, with a few smaller trade-ins for larger ones), a few arcade games, and spectated circus acts. That night we saw Mystere (Cirque du Soleil). An enjoyable show with plenty of comedy, very circus-like. Dinner that night at Khotan in Treasure Island. Basically Chinese food, or "pan Asian", but tasty, very tasty. Second best meal we had.

On Thursday our flight did not leave until late. We went up to Fremont Street, but then only wished we had headed up there at night to see the lights and get the most out of the "Fremont street experience". Lunch at Las Vegas Rocks Cafe. A "Vegas" theme, founded by Tony Sacca. This is where I began to think we stayed one day too long, as we were running out of things to do (really, sparse activity on Wednesday and Thursday). Spent some time at the Circus Circus midway, then to the airport early.