About Me

An avid traveler I have had the good fortune to have spent my career in the travel and vacation industry. From Bali to Copenhagen and all points between is where I have been or intend to go. This blog however is specific to the Western half of the United States as I explore this part of the world.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Red Rock

Ahhh things are finally starting to slow down a bit... today Me, Sonny, Frank and Joanne are going for a relaxing drive and some light hiking in Red Rock... we started with a energy boosting breakfast at Egg Works... one of my fave breakfast eateries in Vegas.

It was a beautiful and windy day in Red Rock. I thought I would start everyone out with a little museum walk through but unfortunately it is being completely renovated... I am excited to see what the end result will be. We walked around to the back of the museum at Red Rock to observe the Desert Tortoise pens but alas they were already in hibernation so not Tortoises either.

I, of course, was being a clown as usual..."I am not a crook!" The cube like pieces of stone are what are left of a quarry that used to be here... the vehicle that moved the stone from here to Vegas was a machine that was described as larger than a locomotive and used 400 gallons of fuel per day... well my 5.9 liter R/T Durango is a little better than that :-P

What a view!

I think we are actually relaxing!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Black Friday

You would think that after two super taxing days... a reasonable couple would sleep in the following day... not us... not the day after Thanksgiving... not the most discounted shopping day of the year... when stores are giving items away both literally and figuratively... unfortunately for Sonny and I we missed the "literally" part of the give aways... many stores that opened at 6:00am on Black Friday were giving away anything from Jackets to Laptops... and it was probably a good thing we missed the laptop giveaway as later it was reported on the local news that several anxious shoppers came to blows over the free laptops and ended up paying for the laptops with a little jail time.

Also, you may be wondering why the day after Thanksgiving is called Black Friday... it is a simple reason really... it is traditionally the time of year that retailers go from being in the red (debt) to being in the black (profitable)... meaning that from this day forth it is all profit baby! ... at least until the end of the year... then it starts all over again.

It was most likely my fault that we missed the 6:00am opening... as we got up at o' dark:30 which in my world, on that day translated into 5:30am... Sonny tried valiantly to awaken me as I responded with only incoherent grunts and whines... probably like Chewbacca.

During the whole shopping spree my favorite stop was at Fry's... the best electronics store in the world! But otherwise it was pretty rough with a bunch of people more interested in getting the best bargain than in treating their fellow citizens with even a modicum of respect... I really wanted to punch those people in the face!

Thursday, November 24, 2005


I woke this morning a married man in the MGM honeymoon suite with a great morning view and a feast to prepare... so before I headed home to slave in the kitchen I was due for a nice bath... (Thanks Sonny!)

9 people for Thanksgiving... certainly not a task I have ever taken on before... but after several very successful holiday meals... I was up to the challenge...

1 stove, 4 burners, microwave and Webber grill to create a masterpiece for 9. The menu

Steamed shrimp with home made cocktail sauce (Thanks Dad)
Fetzer Gewurtzaminer

Main Course
19 pound stuffed Turkey
Sausage stuffing
Mashed potatoes
Candied Sweet Potatoes
Savory Green Beans
Baked Acorn Squash
Cranberry, orange relish with green apple, golden raisins and almonds.
Giblet gravy (Thanks Mom)
Cakebread Chardonnay

Apple pie (Thanks Mom and Dad)
Pumpkin pie (Thanks Mom and Dad)
Fresh boutique coffee from Beachhouse Coffee (Thanks Amy!)
Aalborg Jubilaeums Akvavit

Other Beverages
Full bar and Fat Tire, Wexford Ale and Corona

It was a great success... everyone really enjoyed themselves and were all somewhat surprised that I was able to pull it off with limited resources (small kitchen) my technique, logistics and final result were all A+... very satisfying.

After dinner, desert and a Ja Ja! I was facing the task of cleaning the mess that I had made in the kitchen preparing all of this food... I was beat! Married yesterday (can sap a little energy), cook all day... eat turkey (tryptophan), drink and then clean! yikes... but then Rose, Angela and Lisa came to the rescue!

And this is only a sample of the mess they faced! And that was after Angela, Sonny, my mother and father all helped during the cooking with cleaning dishes to help keep me sane in that small kitchen.

Probably the only living creature that didn't do anything to help was this little bugger... our cat Paris... named after the Las Vegas casino of the same name... not the Hilton sister.

Once everyone had left for the evening a very exhausted Sonny and I retired to our own bed... whew!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Wedding Day

After a very long courtship Sonny and I were married today at the MGM Forever Grand Wedding Chapel. If you follow the link you can actually view the ceremony by clicking on live weddings and then selecting the 23rd of November where we are the only marriage webcast that day. It was a really wonderful experience... our coordinator Melanie was fantastic... they did a great job taking care of everything and making it as smooth and stress free as possible... if anyone reading this is thinking about getting married and coming to Vegas to do it... I would stongly suggest MGM. Very smooth. Also, we were very satisfied with the web cast... as it was short notice for many family and friends many watched from their computer screens at home... the webcast was very well choreographed... so well in fact that it exceeded expectations.

The picture above is Sonny and I after our post ceremony celebration with family and a few friends. We drank Piper-Heidsieck from Moser crystal champagne classes my parents brought back from Prague and had some fantastic cake that we ordered from Leopold's Bakery and Catery in Summerlin. Below is the last shot of me as a single dude...

Much more attractive in the first picture. I hit some bad traffic on the way to the Chapel... do I look nervous?

Sonny and I went on a limo cruise of the strip after the ceremony and met the wedding party at McCormick and Schmick's for some wonderful seafood and a great time.

Front left is Nick (Angela's Beau) then my father and mother, daughter Lisa, wife Sonny, me, Frank and Joanne, Sonny's mother and father and daughter Angela. After dinner we all retired... parents to various timeshares... Westgate and Grandview and Sonny and I to our Honeymoon suite at the MGM for a night of wedded bliss! Of course the next morning I was to wake early and begin preparing a Thanksgiving feast for 9!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Christmas Lists

Lisa clowning around last Christmas

I finally completed my Christmas List after about a month of requests to do so. Sonny stood over me tapping her foot... she had gotten a call from her parents who were at that very moment doing Christmas shopping and wanted some ideas. I didn't want to throw out any off hand ideas so I agreed to write a full and complete list.

As I was writing I realized that many of the things that I want are pretty expensive... and felt a little guilty about that. However, after drilling down as to why I think I figured it out.

When I was a munchkin I had no money, no transportation and no street cred at the mall as a patron. So basically everything was beyond my means... everything from breakfast to Christmas presents had to be provided by my parents or Santa. I think it was about the same through college... sure I could buy a burger, a beer and movie tickets but still relied on my parents for the big ticket items... like tuition, rent, meal plan... sure I was a bouncer, waiter, kitchen staff, data-entry clerk, student painter and more but add that to my spend now mentality and I was definitely living for the day as far as my money was concerned... In retrospect my parents were my backup to irresponsible spending.

Just ask Vic, John and Poncho my roommates... hell I paid John back money I owed him since '93 a year ago... a decade later... thank god he didn't charge interest. Well anyway I am getting off track here.

Now that I am a man of means... I have a good job... make good money and feel secure... the things that used to be beyond my means no longer are... so I have them... I still like to spend... haven't broken that habit completely.

So the things that I want... are beyond my current means or if within my means are outside the realm of responsible purchases. And so my lists grows from this reality... same reality as when I was 4 years old. I want what I can't justify purchasing myself at this time... However, my one save on the list is that I love to shop (the spending thing again) so I am enamored with Gift Certificates to some of my favorite stores or websites. And these items always make it onto the list.

Jsut to add... my love of shopping isn't limited to myself... I really enjoy shopping for others and so I thoroughly enjoy the Christmas shopping season as I try to find thoughtful and inspired gifts.

As for me asking for lists from others... Since I avoid them myself, it isn't something I do often unless I am shopping for one of those people that seem impossible to shop for... or just to get some additional ideas outside of the fantastic ones I come up with!

Hmmm so many people asking me for my list... am I one of those impossible people???

Ted's List

Pioneer AVIC-N2 In-Dash Navigation System http://www.onlinecarstereo.com/ .
Peripheral i-pod stereo adapter (hardwire connection not FM broadcast) http://www.crutchfield.com/
PC Game Age of Empires III (Bestbuy, Fry’s, Target, almost any store that sells main stream pc games)
Altec Lansing IM7 Portable Speaker System for I-Pod http://www.bestbuy.com/
A really Good Digital SLR Camera (Canon, Nikon, Konica/Minolta) so that I can get back to using interchangeable lenses, bellows, filters with camera… I love my Nikon Coolpix 5400 but it is limited at night (flash), response time to multiple consecutive photographs and flexibility. My dream camera would be turning my Canon T70 (film camera) into an 8 mega pixel camera.
3 in 1 printer meaning printer, scanner, fax all in same machine. Multiple inks not just tri-color and black but a 5-7 ink cartridge set up, wireless, 2 side printing, document feeder, ability to scan negatives… superior quality.
Large format inkjet printer… ability to print larger than 8x10 photos.
Gift certificate to Best Buy
Gift certificate for Jos. A. Bank.
DVD, Spaceballs, War of the Worlds, Cinderella Man.
Dell UltraSharp 2405FPW http://www.dell.com/
Lucchese 2000 Black cow leather or Kangaroo (kangaroo softer) cowboy boots size 13
50 Gallon Aquarium (like curved front)
Bose Acoustimass 16 home entertainment speaker system http://www.bose.com/
Gym clothes… shorts work out shirts & sweaters… Nike, Starter, Adidas, And 1
Collectable Swords (Lord of the Rings Witchking sword)
Micro Soft Publisher (publishing software)
Photoshop (photo editing software)
Gift certificate for a good dress shoe store
Gift Certificate to http://www.amazon.com/
Gift Certificate to Borders Book Store

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Las Vegas Weekly 7th Anniversary

Las Vegas Weekly had their 7th Anniversary at Light, a nightclub in the Bellagio. I had access to some passes so I put them to god use and sent them out to some of my clients that would enjoy an event like this. I have to say that I like these parties... the last was the Halloween party at Rain and that was a blast.

Weekly is a mag that contains letters, editorials, columns on the Vegas scene, an Arts and Entertainment section, event calendar, classifieds and is jammed with adds that promote local events, clubs, concerts, etc.... Really selling the "Sin" in "Sin City." If you're ever in Vegas make sure you pick one up... if you want the skinny on what's going on while you're here.

Light was packed with all types of characters from Storm Troopers to Go-Go Dancers... The Grey Goose, Corona and wine was flowing "free." They had a pretty good DJ that played some club music from the days when I was at the 4400 Club in Norfolk, VA.

It was a great opportunity to spend some time with clients and to meet some of Sonny's co-workers. We didn't plan to stay too long on a Thursday as we both were recovering from long days and have busy days tomorrow. I think we were there about 2 hours and then it was back home.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

At the Bellagio

Sonny and I went to the Fontana at the Bellagio this Saturday Night. One of her co-workers had boasted that their mixologists made "the best" Cosmopolitans in Vegas. Sonny of course had to put this to the test as she felt that my Cosmos are the best in the World!

We arrived at the Bellagio at about 8:00pm and spent some time viewing the lobby decorations... At the official change of each season the Bellagio staff redecorates the lobby to match. We had not seen the fall layout yet so we decided to tour that before heading to the club. Every single season the Bellagio does a fantastic job... I think Winter and Spring are my favorites... Winter because it gives you a great place to visit on Christmas Eve to get into the spirit and Spring because of the exotic and colorful live butterflies they have fluttering about a huge gazebo.

When we got to Fontana there was a line of about 10 people ahead of us so we figured it would be a short wait... when the hostess walked back to us about 5 minutes later she told us it would be a 45 minute wait! We couldn't imagine how, but there were limited tables within and it definitely isn't a standing room only type of club.

While we decided whether to wait or not, I went to the casino bar attached to Fontana and got a Cosmo and a Johnny Walker Black on the Rocks. Sonny said it was good but no match for mine. Before we had even finished our drink the hostess approached and told us that we could be seated... amazing! Not only that, but we were moving ahead of all the people in front of us... were we the chic Vegas cool couple that they liked to have in their establishment? Was there some secret Vegas database on good tippers that don't cause problems and have a good time? Or was it just good fortune? I did not know and wasn't going to ask.

We were escorted to our balcony seat overlooking the Bellagio water show that shoots off about every 20 minutes to various tunes from classical to country.

Pretty fantastic! We ordered another round of the same just to test if the mixologist inside was better than the one outside the club... same. I am still the reigning king of Cosmo makers in Sonny's world! I stuck to JW Black and Sonny was up for a change... a mojito... a fantastic Cuban drink made with cane sugar, rum and mint leaves among other things.

After enjoying a couple of drinks at the bar I ordered a nice cigar... called a Romeo and Julietta I believe that was mild, tasty and went well with my JWalker... on a night that had a slight chill to the desert air. Then it was off home again for a good nights sleep.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Snowboard Season Approaches

Well, the snow is starting to fall in Mt. Hood and it is only a matter of time before Mammoth Mountain and Tahoe... hell even Mt. Charleston right outside of Vegas begin to get a full snow covering. Last year I had planned to do a little snowboarding and instead I did a bunch of butt sitting. So it was following that realization that I wrote down my goal to go snowboarding this season and not bust my butt doing it. It has been a while since I've partaken in any real sports and I certainly don't want to go out on the mountain to find out if my muscles, cardio and joints are up to the challenge.

Yesterday I joined 24 Hour Fitness... and this morning was my first workout in a long time. And it was great... warm up on the ergometer followed by work with free weights. After that it was off to Tropical Smoothie for a "Healthy Man."