Welcome to Las Vegas

I thought today I would write about Las Vegas. I figured since I live here and most of my blog readers don’t, I should give you the low-down or the scene or the happenings here in Las Vegas.

Restaurants (some of my personal favorites):
1) The Houfbrau House–If you are scared of Germans and German food, don’t go because they have real live Germans there. But give it a chance. The Las Vegas Haufbrau House is the only one in the United States. The other one is, you guessed it, in Germany (which Justin went to, underage). The atmosphere is awesome with the live German band that plays traditional German music. I still don’t really know what they are saying, but when your drunk on German Beer, it’s all slurred anyway. But the songs are catchy and fun.

Speaking of beer, they import all of their beer and they only have about 4 different kinds (more during Oktoberfest). You can get mixed drinks there too, but then they might make fun of you. The beers only come in 2 sizes; half pint for little girls like me and a full liter for girls like me (I can do both). If your small like me, the liters take 2 hands to pick up, they are huge! For the better price get the liter, more beer for your money.

The main room is loud because of the band, but be prepared for sharing your picnic table. So if your looking for something more intimate, ask to be sat in the Beer Garden. It was designed to look like you are dining outside. It’s charming and much quieter but you can still hear the music from the other hall.

The food is wonderful even if you are leary of German food. It is mostly pork, chicken, sausage and beef. The Weinerschnitzle is great (basically a pork chop breaded) but I like to get the Haufbrau Hachen. It’s a grilled chicken breast with a creamy mushroom sauce and grilled stringy onions. It’s very safe for the picky eaters.

Overall, I love this place. Next time you are in Vegas, check it out. It is located off of Harmon and Paradise, across the street from The Hard Rock Hotel.

2)Margaritaville–I wasn’t going to put this one down because it is a National chain, but we really like it. The atmosphere is exciting, relaxed and fun. Located on the strip next to the Flamingo Hotel, Margaritaville is reasonalbly priced, when you limit yourself to one Perfect Margarita. Justin and I tend to go over our limit on those, but trust me, you will want another one. They have a volcano that a girl comes out of, slides down into a glass of water, then dances on a fish hook. Hard to imagine I know, but you just have to see it. Of course, everything is Jimmy Buffett so if you don’t like his music, don’t worry, it’s loud in this 3 story restaurant that you probably won’t even hear it. The food is pretty normal. Hamburgers, wraps, salads, dinners and really good frozen drinks. It’s a fun place for a group and for locals.

1)Blue Man Group–I finally went and saw them. They scare me. And after seeing them, they still do, but the music, stage presence and audience participation is really good. I actually saw them twice (I’m still scared) and I think they are worth $80 a ticket.

2)Any Magician Show–No one specific. They all get really great reviews. I saw this one guy named Justin Tranz (a little play on words) he was more of a hypnotist than magician, but I think if you can put anyone under that’s magic. Next on my list is Penn & Teller, playing every night at the Rio, they tell you how the tricks are done. I’ll pay $80 to find out how David Copperfield made the Statue of Liberty disappear. Next on my list would be Anthony Cools. A friend has seen him and really liked his “adult themed” show. Again, he’s more of a hypnotist but still entertaining.

Best Margarita’s–Margaritaville
Best Happy Hour–Pink Taco at the Hard Rock
Best Irish Bar(with great live music)–Fado’s at Green Valley Ranch
Best Hotel Bar–VooDoo Lounge at the Rio
Best Neighborhood Bar–Any PT’s
Best Dance Club (with bar)–Rain at the Palms

So there you have it. I hope you like my choices. Now you will be prepared for your next visit to Las Vegas so there won’t be any excuses. Unless you gambled all your money away. I hope you saved enough for the ride to the airport, if not, give me a call.

Europe Here I Come–Maybe

I’m scared to fly. There I’ve said it. Well I’m not really scared as long as we are over land, it’s water that freaks me out. Maybe it’s really a fear of drowning? Who knows, but I tend to watch those shows that re-create what happened to flight whatever the number was. I watch those and I put myself in the seat of a passenger, then I hyperventilate and freak out, on my couch. I’m just exaggerating, but really I do freak out while flying.

I fly all the time. Not as much as the normal business person, but Justin and I are on a flight atleast 4 times a year. So it’s pretty common for us. And you would think that I would have gotten used to it over the years, but I haven’t. Every flight is different.

One time, while flying home to Houston, we had a lay over in Dallas. The plane taking us to Houston was a small plane. 1 row of seats on one side and 2 row of seats on the other and only one flight attendant. I said it was a small plane. Well it was bumpy when we got into the air and like any other flight, she got up to start the beverage service. Soon after, she got a call from the captain, I assume, and then she sat back down and strapped in! I was in seat number 2, so I witnessed the whole thing. She was looking out the window, but couldn’t see anything because it was night time. Then the turbulence started and it wasn’t fun. Good thing we didn’t get drinks! We started to turn to the left. And we kept turning and turning and turning to the point where everyone was looking at each other. My ears we going crazy because of the g-force (or that’s what I assumed). I was pushed back into my seat. The flight attendant looked out the window again and I looked at her for some reassurance. Finally we stopped turning and the pressure was gone and we landed.

What happened on that flight? We weren’t even over water and I was still freaked out. All I know is if the flight attendant is sitting, strapped in and looking out the window with a strange look on her face, then you’d better be scared!

Next year I want to go to Europe for our anniversary. I’m not looking for romance or any of that girly stuff. I want to come back and say that I went to Europe and did touristy things as well as non-touristy things. I want to see all the great things in London, but I also want to visit the BBC and watch British television. Now wouldn’t that be cool! I want to head north to the Scandinavia Countries and go to IKEA. I want to go to the Ice Bar that I saw on The Amazing Race. I have big plans for my Europe trip but I have to fly over water.

I guess the only way I’m going to get over this is just to do it. But not without a visit to my Doctor for some sleeping pills, something to completely knock me out. Hey, I only need to remember Europe, not the flight over.

Where Are You Going?

Do you take the bus? Tell me how it is. Do you have odd people riding along side of you? How is the bus stop experience overall? I’m curious because I pass many bus stops on my way to and from work. I notice them more on my way to work because of the various people waiting. Where are they going? To work? To the doctor’s? Gamble their paycheck away? Tell me!

This one stop I pass I just love because of the different people waiting. Oh, it could be the flute player serenading the other passengers waiting for the bus. He’s really into it but the other people didn’t seem to notice him or hear him– which I find difficult to believe! He’s was probably playing his latest version of Play That Funky Music because he was getting down. I bet he was hoping some people would join in and start dancing. I wonder, did he play on the bus too? Did he take requests? I’d ask for some Duran Duran or even better on flute, Crocodile Rock by Elton John. Classic flute music!

Or it could be the girl guzzling down her Corona before the bus pulls up. You can drink pretty much everywhere here in Vegas–I thought the bus would be no different! Maybe she got kicked off the last bus and left at that stop because of her beer. Who knows. She did look sad. But the stop is right in front of a gas station. So if she was sad because she was almost done with her beer then she had no excuses but to just walk in and buy another one!

What about the teenage couple making out and taking up the whole bench while 7 other people are waiting around, shifting uncomfortably and completely grossed out by the scene? I see them do this all the time. I wonder where they are going. It’s almost like they will never see each other again by the way they are sucking face but I see them everyday so that can’t be it. Maybe they are like The Hollie’s song Bus Stop.

“Every morning I would see her waiting at the stop
Sometimes she’d shopped and she would show me what she bought
Other people stared as if we were both quite insane
Someday my name and hers are going to be the same”

The insane part is right. She could have just bought a new tongue ring and they were trying it out. Perhaps the bus stop is a romantic place for them because that’s where they met? Ok, that’s stretching it a bit too far huh?

The rest of the bus stop people are pretty normal. They just want to get to work or wherever they are going. I hope you get there riders! Maybe tomorrow I’ll see the flute player serenading the young kissing couple while the beer drinker sobers up. That would make my day.

Power Pack

I am amazed at what people come up with. I’m not amazed by useless things like Nigel’s amp. But I am amazed when someone has a great idea in this day and age. I think it’s hard to come up with something that isn’t already out there. But remember to get that patent. Someone could have taken your idea for a pot that makes and drains pasta!

I was cruising through CNN.com and I like to check out the technology page sometimes. Today’s interest was a backpack. This was no ordinary backpack. It generates power for things like cell phones, mp3 players and everyone’s favorite, night vision goggles. I know I don’t go camping with out them! Ok, having power for certain things is great, but while you are camping? I usually go camping to get away from people and technology. But hey, if you’ve got annoying campers singing some Barry Manilow song all night or a heard of wild dogs barking at your tent wanting your cheese dogs, then heck yes I want a battery backpack! Seriously, if your phone goes dead and you are on a trail, lost, then a backpack that genterates about 7 watts of electricity is pretty handy.

It works by your movement. So if you think about it, you are the battery making this thing work. But anyway, as your hips go up and down, it turns a coil that then somehow makes electricity. That part got too technical for me, but you can read about it yourself. Make sure you’ve got it full of powerbars or else you might not be able to call for help when you run out of cheese dogs.

Power Backpack

4 years later

In a few days I will have completed 4 years of marriage. So far my grade as a wife is about a “B+”. I give the same grade to my husband. He didn’t know I would be grading, he didn’t study, but he’s done really well as the years have passed. If I gave both of us an “A” then there would be nothing to improve upon, right?

As with any marriage, we fight. Lately, we’ve been fighting over Scully, our min-pin. Well it’s more of a discussion, not a fight. We’ve never hit each other. I think we would both fight like girls if it did happen. That’s a sight I don’t really want to see. But Scully is a problem right now for us.

When we got back from vacation, she kinda went back into her old habits of peeing in her bed and then crying to be let out. As a human I understand the urge to tinkle, I get up and go. But for Scully, she has to let us know so we can let her out. Plus, when you wet the bed, you don’t really want to get back in it. You want to cuddle with your parents in their nice warm bed. I know your tricks Scully! That’s one problem. The second one is we are about to move into our new house. A house that we picked out, we’ve waited for it to be built, we’ve picked out the carpet that she might pee on.

The third problem is it’s a two-story. All the bedrooms are upstairs. And I know if I have to get up and let her out of her crate, walk down the stairs, walk back up the stairs and crate her up again, I might as well go to the gym. All that exercise in the middle of the night can’t be good for you. But I don’t want to find out. So that leads us to our discussions.

Do we just let her cry and learn to hold it? Some nights she tricks us (I told you she’s trixy) and she’ll hold it til the morning. Other nights she has to go 2 to 3 times a night! Do we get up so she doesn’t have an accident in her bed? You’d think we had a child that’s learning potty training the way we talk about it. But it’s important because of the new house. Justin thinks we should keep her downstairs and ignore her. I say that will only perpetuate the problem.

It’s a tough call huh. What do you think blog readers? Oh, you still thinking about us hitting each other like girls, well if you don’t help me out, I might just have to hit you like a girl! Now that would be funny. I’m sure Justin would give me an A for that!

Bean Burrito Madness

I have an unusual craving for re-fried beans. I love them. Justin knows what I want for dinner every night. Which takes the boredom out of asking, “What’s for dinner?” I’m sure he will get tired of them, hopefully later than sooner!

When we go to a Mexican restaurant, I order a bean burrito, with 2 sides of re-fried beans. The stunned waitress/waiter just look at me, then over to Justin and laugh. Then I have to defend myself and say, “Don’t worry, they don’t ‘affect’ me like they do everyone else.” No it’s not a lie. All re-fried beans do is just make me want more re-fried beans.

I remember in High School going to Taco Bell with all my friends. Everyone would order something like nachos belgrande, double decker (yum), chili cheese burrito and a drink and end up spending like $2.50. I would go and order a bean burrito and spend 69 cents. I guess I could have ordered 2, but my beaner level was pretty low then. But I was still consuming them on a weekly basis.

As the years passed, my bean cravings increased. I married Taco Bell, literally. Justin used to work at Taco Bell and would make me bean burritos (beaners) just like they do. He still goes into his days at Taco Bell and how the meat is dehydrated, gross. This would normally get on my nerves after 6 years, but since I love beaners, I let him ramble. I always have a can of re-fried beans in the cupboard, tortillas and cheese in the fridge. Like peanut butter and jelly for some, beaners are my staple.

Since moving to Las Vegas, I have explored many other restaurants for bean burritos. The beaners Justin makes for me at home are pretty good. Taco Bell is pretty good too, minus the oninons. I’m here for the beans, nothing else. Most mexican restaurants are pretty good. You can’t go wrong with a beaner. BUT, the one place that I absolutely love is a place I like to call My Man Roberto’s Taco Shop.

Over at My Man’s place, they take a fresh tortilla and throw it on the grill. This is no normal tortilla, this thing is huge and so fresh! So while that’s on the grill getting all toasted and yummy, the beans are simmering and waiting to be thrown on my grilled tortilla. Then the tortilla is taken off the grill and the beans are thrown on with the cheese and wrapped up like a baby. As big as it is, it doesn’t take me long to eat it.

I have, however, taken my beaner craving too far. While visiting My Man, I asked them if they could take my finished beaner and throw it in the fryer, make it chimichanga style. She looked at me like she didn’t understand English. Well that part might be true. So I asked her again, “Can you make my beaner chimichanga style?” “NO.” She didn’t even consider it, which lead me to believe that she again didn’t understand me. I tried a few more times on different visits, but they flat out refused. Maybe because they are fast food? Who knows. But I have learned one thing: ask the same question at a restaurant and they will bend over backwards for you.

While visiting Garduno’s and Richardo’s I asked for a bean burrito, chimichanga style with 2 sides of re-fried beans. And out came, dum dum dummmm, excatly that! So I know it can be done Roberto! But I still visit My Man’s from time to time. Can’t give up on them. One day I’ll break them down and they will deep-fat-fry my beaner. Who knows, maybe I’ll start a trend. But for now, I’ll just take my beaners and my 2 sides of re-fried beans and keep explaining myself.

Price Check in Fiction

I tell everyone that the Library is a great resource for the rich, the poor and the people in the middle. I’ve been poor and in the middle but not rich, but I’m sure that rich people can use the Library too.

When I lived in Salt Lake they had just remodeled the Downtown Library. And let me tell you, it was impressive! It was like 6 stories high, self-check outs as well as stand-in-line check outs, a great music and movie section and so much more! It really was a great resource. We loved it. When I moved to Las Vegas, I missed it like I miss friends in Texas. I still have my card (with no fines of course) and I refuse to throw it out. Maybe one day while visiting SLC I can go and check out a book on candles, the history of television, or a great movie. I can’t do that if I throw out my card. So to keep the tradition of going to the Library a few times a week, I got a card here.

It’s so different here. The branch by me is very small and smelly. Probably because it is so hot here. The outside drop-off bins only take books. All others will melt. There is a security guard posted at the main door. And the lines are always long. However, I can still reserve items online and then I get an e-mail when they are ready. SLC did that too! So there is still hope.

This week I was picking up Season 5 of the Sopranos. Good timing too because it was a long weekend and I had time. So I was standing in line, following the sign that said to be patient, yes, I was patient. I was also noticing how very familiar standing in line at the Library and standing in line at the grocery store are the same. For example:

The lines are long: No matter what line you get in at the grocery store, it seems to be the longest. Well at this library, there is only one line, and it’s always long.

You use a card to pay/checkout: Unless you are still using checks or cash (I don’t think I remember what cash looks like) you are using a card. Same at the Library. Unless you have a fine so you will have to use your checkbook or pay it with cash.

Kids are running wild: Remember when you had to be quiet at the Library? I do. How come today’s kids don’t? They are running around picking up every bright colored book asking if they can check it out. Half the time, not even noticing Fabio on the cover with a woman in a bikini on a mountain top. “Please, it looks funny!” At the grocery store, they put candy and goodies at the check out stand so parents can have one last struggle with their kids. And by this point in the shopping experience, they are worn down, so the kids get their treats, atlast! At the Library, while I was waiting patiently, more so than the kids infront of me, they have a wall that has comics on it. It’s also has a sign that says “Check me out!” It’s not candy but it’s the same concept.

Fines are just as much as frozen corndogs: If you play it right, you will never owe anything to the Library. That can be a great thing. But if you are lazy and really bad with dates, then you might owing the Library more than you expected. From my day at Friendswood Public Library where I did get a fine of $.10 for missing two days, to paying $1.00 for missing 2 days. It’s a sad day when your fine will be bigger than the price of the book. Don’t let it happen to you.

See, the Library is just like the grocery store. Oh snap, Sopranos Season 5 is due soon. I better get moving or else I might have to take back my frozen corndogs to pay my fine.

More SPF Please

In the movie Spinal Tap, there is a scene that my husband and I refer to all the time. “Why don’t you just make 10 louder?” “But this one goes to eleven.” Doesn’t make sense unless you’ve seen it. Go see it. When I first saw the movie I questioned my husband, “How come I’ve never heard of this band?” He just laughed at me.

But Nigel wasn’t that far off on the obsession of making things greater than they need to be. The idea of a guitar amp being “one louder” is so crazy. Let’s make everything better by just enough to make it useless. An amp that goes to eleven,a calendar as big as your desk, a PDA that doubles as a cell phone (and a cell phone in your pocket) and chapstick with SPF 18.

Nowadays, everyone is making chapstick or lipgloss. Blistex is still around and so is ChapStick. I know cause I own both brands in like 15 different sizes, flavors and colors. But other companies are starting to make lip stuff too. Companies you wouldn’t think would venture out to the lip world. But they are pioneers in their industry. Who am I talking about? Coffee makers ofcourse!

Well, I only know of one coffee maker so that last claim is just my observation. Consult your local coffee makers to find out if they are part of my claim. Then report back to me.

Some of my co-workers went off to Minnesota for a meeting with Caribou Coffee (CC). Upon their arrival back to the office they brought some little CC gifts. Things like chocolate covered coffee beans, oh they are good but loaded with carbs. Watch out for those! And chapstick called “Lip Stuff.” Well they are quick and to the point with the name eh? I got one tube of “Lip Stuff” and while reading it I noticed that it has SPF 18. Wait, 18? This seemed like an odd number. So I pulled out all my other chapsticks. I generally carry 3 or 4 in my purse. I read each one. “ChapStick Vanilla Mint has SPF 15 and Blistex Pro has 15 and my other Blistex, DCT, has 30.” So why an SPF 18? This tube has 3 more SPF’s than my other two so it must be better. What’s the point? So I started thinking, if I need maximum protection, I’ll choose the DCT, SPF 30. If I don’t care as much, SPF 15. And if I care enough but I’m too lazy to open the jar of DCT, then I could go for the 18.

That could have been my thought process but it seemed to complicated. I’ve decided to just go on flavor. Vanilla Mint today or just regular mint? Three more SPF’s isn’t going to make it better, the minty flavor is. A PDA as a cell phone isn’t all that great when you have cell phone in your pocket. A calendar as big as your desk is useless when you have your computer on it. And Nigel, one extra number on your amp isn’t going to make you any louder. But Marty DiBergi couldn’t get that through to him either.