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.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Convention Part 4

Tonight was our big competitor's sponsored party... it was a sort of Austin Powers theme with a Beatles tribute band opening up for Herman's Hermits. Before the party I had a great dinner at Postrio the Las Vegas 2004 restaurant of the year... thanks Josh... does that mean that Mary andBrig still owe me one!

It was nice to be in my competitors area wearing a bright red suit, the color of my company's logo. It was a hoot... I may have been getting more picture requests than Austin Powers! I had a few cocktails and next thing you know someone was handing me a VIP pass to get into our competitors VIP area for their top clients... hmmm mischief! It was a good laugh to see my competitor regional directors... they were a little skeptical but hey we were all having a god time so I'm sure they wouldn't mind if I snached a few clients?? }:->

After that jam which was okay but not super fantastic it was off to Tao to close down the night... and for some people the night should have closed at about 6:00 p.m. But hey, when do partiers that should go home actually have moments of clarity and thing to themselves... "hey I should cut myself off" ...not happening.

Something about my Red Hat that everyone wanted to try it on... they either really liked the color or they were all Linux fans...

As Butthead would say... Tao is cool uhhh huhuhuhuhuhuhuh

Makes me think of the old newspaper comic 3G

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Convention Part 3

Tuesday night was the big awards gala and I wore a tux and everything... my wife was there and looking good and did I take any decent pictures?? Nope. I looked and the only picture I got was for one of my coworkers who wanted a photo of this woman's hair for future reference... so Tricia... here is the hair! Hmm not even a good photo.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Convention Part 2

Ah, Monday night... usually not a party night in most circles but hey this is a convention and someone is sponsoring a party every night. This one happened to be at Pure in Ceasars. Since I was staying at the Venetian with everyone else... a few of my co-workers and I decided to get out of our business attire, put on some clubbing clothes, meet in the lobby and walk over.

Now some of you may have read my earlier entry about Zoot Suits. But in case you haven't... I own one... and it happens to be my company color... by pure coincidence. I originally had planned to only wear it to our big competitor's sponsored event on Wednesday night... I am a little expressive at times and admittedly it was an "in your face" play... but hey... when have I been scared??

When I met my co-workers in the lobby... it really separated the more conservative from the rest... that would be the "Oh my Gawds!!" and the "Looking Smookin's" Well we all had to walk together anyway even if some of them were a bit nervous being around someone dressed as I was.

I did find it funny that even though I was wearing a very nice Swing era suit... most people just saw me as a pimp daddy... lots of compliments from the women and the men... the young men were the funniest leaning in to me as we strolled by whispering "What up Playa" on many more than one occasion. Women wanting to "pop my collar" not sure what that means... I should probably Google it.

Okay I am back with the definition from the Urban Dictionary:

1. Where one pulls out their collar so that it faces upwards instead of folded inward; a sign that they are a str8 up pimp

With the pimp theme again... sheesh. For the record I am not, nor have I ever been a Pimp.

Anyway... Pure was a blast... I saw people in the industry that I haven't seen for years... even one Tom Nixon that people in Orlando thought was dead. Well here is evidence that this is not the case. He is not on the wrong side of the dirt. He is the one on my immediate right.

Well the suit was a hit and I had a great time... and outside the people I already knew in the industry I meet a lot of new and really fun people.

Sunday, March 26, 2006


The biggest convention of the year for my industry started on Sunday with my company sponsoring a golf tournament. As with all previous years, I expected it to be another "Scramble" whereas a team of 4 tees off and the best hit is the point at which all players hit again... that way the best of the four shots are always used. It is always the best ball that determines the next stroke. This is especially helpful when you are playing with golfers like me... that can at any moment hit a brilliant shot and each other moment look like they are cutting grass with a weed whacker.

I was somewhat dismayed when I discovered that this year's game was to be a "Shamble." Initially, I thought it to be a typo... it was close after all. However, I found that this was a modified game where each player tees and all use the best drive, but after that it was each man or woman for his, or herself. In the end, the best 2 scores are recorded.

I thrive in the scramble, but if you ask me to put a complete game together with any consistency then you are asking too much... as I only play twice per year... at this convention. We ended at 4 over and didn't win any awards... but we had a great time and I thoroughly enjoyed the day...

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Morning Surprise

I woke up this morning at about 6:45am to a light rain but a heavy dusting of snow in the surrounding mountains... even on the east side of the city which is rare. So I jumped out of bed, grabbed my camera and headed out to Starbucks for a coffee to fuel a short drive up Charleston Avenue up towards Red Rock to take some shots of the canyon and the snow before starting my work day...

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Helicopter Tour of the Grand Canyon

Today we went on a tour of the Grand Canyon from the air... spectacular! We were in an 8 seat Eurocopter EC130 and flew with Maverick helicopter Tours. It was a great time. We started out at the executive airport just past Mandalay Bay on the south strip at about 8:30am. The check in was very smooth and before we could get settled in to our lounge chairs, our pilot Doug was calling our names to walk with him out to the Helo.

The helicopter looked brand new... I didn't ask for flight hours but it looked like it had very few. Sonny and I were fortunate to be in the front seat for the ride out to the Canyon and got a great view of everything on the way out... Including a new perspective on the Hoover Dam.

We traversed the three main sections of Lake Mead and continued on to the Canyon. Seeing how expansive the Lake is by air really makes me want to bring the boat out here from Florida. The water is clear, the fishing is good and there are beaches and hidden coves everywhere.

The Spectacular view came when we rocketed over the edge of the canyon and it went from a flat plain to a deep gorge with the Colorado at the bottom. We flew down the Canyon for some length and then landed near the Canyon floor where picnic tables were laid out for use.

The pilots laid out pastries, champagne, juice and water for all of us. One thing I notices as we floated down for landing was the army of chipmunks that came out of the rocks... standing on their hind quarters, unafraid of the 3 helicopters descending on their homes.

I can only guess it is a Pavlovian reaction to the sounds of the rotors... because surely the tourists feed the little buggers. In fact that theory was proven true by my little experiment... I held a small piece of danish in my hand and the chipmunk closest to me... I think it was Simon, walked right up and took the danish from my hand rather casually... then, after deciding that he had made a good play dashed off before his comrades saw the feast he had garnered.

After eating and enjoying some down time... so to speak, we were up in the air again headed toward a fuel depot located out in the middle of the desert... just a gravel lot, big jet fuel container and nothing else... except the company of a few interesting cactus with a backdrop of mountains.

We flew over what is called the Bowl of Fire among other things and then it was back to Las Vegas... which was fun in and of itself. When we got back I had lost track of time but I think it was around 12:30 or 1:00 and was just the right amount of time as far as I am concerned.

While I was ordering the DVD (they have a camera mounted under the nose that records the whole flight, along with a great playlist all while recording the pilot and passenger commentary) I got the opportunity to do some Spanish translating for the two couples that were in our group. Since I was successful and helped all parties, it was a great end to the trip.

As we left, thanking our pilot Doug and tipping him for a great tour, he suggested that we "come out on the night tour of Las Vegas, the lights are fantastic from the cockpit." I think we probably will...

Friday, March 17, 2006

Vegas Butt Head of the Week

Wine tasting post script...
While at the Stratosphere checking out the wine tasting, I noticed one of the hosts moving about making sure everything was going well... I suppose. However, he wasn't walking around with any aire of customer service or Maitre 'd-ish focus on the smooth operation of the event... it was more of a "hey look at me I 'm important, and while my job is to assure that things run smoothy and our patrons are happy, I'm not really interested in that beyond how it can stroke my ego and feeling of superiority." (Insert Church Ladies "Superiority Dance")

Below is the side of the gentleman's head I was referring to. Angela was attempting to take a picture of Sonny and I... finger on the button, bright red light measuring distance beaming out from the camera, the first of 3 pre flashes starting, and this guy, clearly noticing that Angela is taking a picture speeds up his pace by a barely noticeable degree to place himself squarely between Angela (taking the picture) and us... the distance between the photographer and subject a mere 6 feet. The flash illuminated the side of his face and the whole area... did he stop and apologize for ruining the shot? No... Did he even show any recognition that he had ruined the shot? No... just kept on walking. So, drum roll please...

I bring you Butt Head of the Week from Romance at the Stratosphere... and he aint even pretty...

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Head in the Clouds

Last night we went to a wine tasting at the Stratosphere Casino/Hotel... you know the big needle at the north end of the strip. The tasting took place on the 106th floor and the picture above will give you a feel for the view and altitude.

The wine tasting was something that Sonny was interested in and we found the time and motivation to go yesterday. The Stratosphere holds the wine tasting every Wednesday and it is free to the public, running from 6:00pm till...

We had a pretty good time, though it was a little crowded. They advertised Or'devours but they were scarce... the best we could do was a very nice man serving cheese from a triangular serving tray with the cheeses at the points... this of course did not work very well as the cheese was not pre-speared, leaving the patrons/moochers (free wine after all) to clumsily poke at the cheese cubes at the far edge of the tray. The result being just as much cheese on the floor as in anyone's mouth.

After a few glasses we were all famished so we took our leave, some in dramatic fashion, to go downstairs and get something to eat.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Winter's final breath?

Well, Friday morning it snowed pretty darn hard. I had hoped for a little more snow this year in and around Vegas but no such luck. Last year there were several mornings I would wake up to snow capped mountains surrounding the valley... this year... not so much.

It was nice, however, to sit on my upstairs patio in the morning and sip some coffee while watching a snow flurry descend on my neighborhood.

The neighbors that were getting ready for work or work from home were out in force watching the flakes fall. Even the smell of snow was in the air... that sort of crisp humidity that is even more apparent when you are living in a desert climate.

It didn't stick like last year but it was certainly fun to experience with a hot coffee and a cozy robe. Well, maybe next year will be better. With the Vernal Equinox around the corner on March 20th I don't hold out hope for much more snow, but I won't complain if it comes.