Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Las Vegas: City of Bums

I don't remember there being so many bums in Vegas the last time that I was there. There are always bums in Vegas, but when I was there this past October it felt overcrowded with bums. They were everywhere. One day we walked from our hotel, Paris, to the MGM Grand and it was a bum war zone. You could not walk anywhere without one standing a little too close to your purse or one dancing around in a Homer Simpson costume demanding that you pay him for a photo. Where did they all come from? The irony of it all was that right across the street was this:
Gucci! Louis Vuitton! Prada! There were no bums on that side of the street. I guess the Vegas city council must have zoned it a no bum zone.

Okay, back to the picture at the top of this post. Peeps, this particular bum was sunning himself on a tiny patch of grass right next to Las Vegas Boulevard. It looks like a nice place for a nap. The problem is that he made himself comfortable by taking his shoes off. I don't want to sound harsh because I know he's homeless and showers aren't that convenient, but homeboy had some of the stankiest feet.

We were probably 10 feet from this bum and hadn't seen him yet when a noxious odor hit our olfactory nerves. We couldn't figure out what in the hell it was. That's when I saw him laying there with his shoes off. It had to be him. As we got closer, the smell got worse and worse. I have never in my life smelled anything like it. Half of me felt sorry for him and the other half wanted to demand that he put his shoes on. His feet were assaulting me.

I'm hoping that the next time I'm in Vegas, the streets are a little more cleaned up. Otherwise I may never leave my hotel.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It's the Most Terrible Time...of the Year!

Oh, awesome, snow. I don't know what it was about this year's first snow storm that caught me so off guard. I wasn't mentally prepared for it, I guess. Even though the snow looked so lovely and white and pure, inside I felt like crying. This past Saturday was a depressing day. So, now I need to gear myself up for all of the fun and exciting things that are going to be happening this winter. At least something has to get me through!

  • Science Museum fun. Right now, the Omnitheatre is showing a movie called Amazon, it's playing through January. I'm guessing the Omnifest will be in January and that's always good. Then beginning February 18, 2012 will be a new exhibit called Real Pirates. It's all about the Golden Age of Piracy. That actually sounds pretty awesome. Aarrgh you going to go?

  • Disney's The Lion King Broadway show. It's coming in January to the Orpheum. I'm really hoping to get some tickets from stubhub and go.

  • The Winter Carnival Beer Dabbler. I am not a beer drinker, but I can at least find a couple of beers that I enjoy and there will be entertainment that I am hoping is in the form of a good band. You really don't need much to get me out of the house in the middle of winter. The fun is on January 28th at the St. Paul Farmer's Market.

  • St. Paul Winter Carnival. I think the winter carnival is a little bit hokey, but what else are you going to do? The part about the carnival that I like the best is looking at the ice sculptures. These are usually pretty neat and at night they light up the area so it's very pretty and romantical if that's what you are looking for. That all happens in Rice Park. Another fun thing to do is walk around for an hour outside and then go into the St. Paul Hotel for a hot toddy. January 26-February 5.

  • Movies! There are some good movies coming out just in time for the winter season. Sherlock Holmes, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Beauty and the Beast 3D, One for the Money, The Vow. A lot of times the crappy movies get shoved to January and February, but more often than not you can see a lot of cinematic gold during this time.

  • Award Shows. There's something about award shows that I love to hate. They are so boring and yet I always watch beginning to end. Mike and I have created a special awards show dinner that consists of: shrimp cocktail with Byerly's Vidalia Onion and Meyer Lemon cocktail sauce, Boar's Head Buffalo chicken sandwiches on toasted kaiser rolls, Byerly's Asian Ramen Salad and Prosecco. We have this dinner while playing board games and making fun of celebrities.

So, there's my list so far. Let's hope Spring comes soon!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Random Acts of Douchebaggery

Sheriff Kirby is not happy. He's upset with retailers creating the craze that is Black Friday and then exploiting it to all the dum-dum humans. But this year is different. This year makes Sheriff Kirby IRATE! Stores opening at midnight and the human folk falling for it. WTF you big old douchebags.

Several years ago, my mother asked me to wait in line outside the Best Buy store on Black Friday so that we could get a good deal on a new computer. My exact words were "Hellz No Biznitch." It was cold and the store opened at 7:00 A.M. We would have to get there at 5:00 A.M. and I was not wasting a day off of school to get up early. No deal is that good.

I was totally right. NO DEAL IS THAT GOOD. Stop telling me about how you got a $300 printer for $50. I don't care. You look like a total ass clown camping outside the store in your tent. A printer is not worth losing your dignity.

This year, however, retailers are crossing a line. Stores are opening up at midnight, which ruins many people's turkey days. So, you're telling me that to get the best deals I have to leave my family early to go wait in line outside a local Kmart to get the ultimate blue light special. Way to ruin a holiday retailers. What will they do next year, start the deals at 8:00 P.M. on Thanksgiving. In 10 years the deals will start on midnight of Halloween!

The retail industry has gone too far and both Kirby and myself are RADding them. Boycott your local black Friday deals and let's take back Thanksgiving together!

On a side note, when I was a youngster my grandpa was telling me about how he had to go to Kmart and wanted to know if I would go with him. I said "Grandpa, you CANNOT go to Kmart! Someone might see you in there."

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Reading Stoppage

Every year around this time I seem to fall into the same rut. I stop reading. I have not read a line from a book in almost a month! It's almost too horrible of a fact to even type. However, it's the truth and I am a truth teller.

I think it's the end of fall that has me wanting to be outside rather than inside reading. Plus, things have been so hectic lately that I can't seem to calm my mind to concentrate on words. Maybe it's Adult ADD? The last time that I read, I realized that after reading three pages I had no idea what was actually going on in the story because I started thinking about my grocery list and even though I was physically reading the book, I had stopped paying attention. Do they sell Ritalin for readers?

So, I'm not going to meet my goal for reading this year, but it's alright. I'm hoping that the colder weather will find me wanting to snuggle up with my kindle soon. That and the fact that I am finally almost totally caught up with my Tivo. Have you guys been watching TV this fall? After 3 years of total shit, there's finally something good to watch. Too many good things. I can't keep up!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Voyage of the Little Mermaid

I remember back to the golden time of Disney movies. For me it was the late 80's/early 90's when we got back to back classics of Oliver & Company, The Little Mermaid, Beauty & the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King. Those were great days. Then came Pocahontas which was not so great and then The Hunchback of Notre Dame which was terrible. I stopped caring after that.

At Disney's MGM/Hollywood Studios, they have a fun stage show that's a shortened version of the movie The Little Mermaid. The show runs continuously throughout the day and it's impressive how good it actually is considering there are live actors and elaborate sets.

We all know the story, Mermaid creepily stalks humans and falls in love with a prince. Then she makes a deal with the devil, or in this case the fatty boom ba latty octopus sea monster, and gets some legs! But in getting those legs, she loses her voice, which basically means she's screwed. Everyone knows that NO ONE loves a mute. Anyhow, once she's human she needs to get that dumb prince to kiss her so she can stay human and get her voice back. He's all "Shucks, I can't love a mute." And apparently she can't write, so not only is she a mute, but she's a dumb mute. At least she's got great hair and a tiny waist.

As you can imagine, madness and danger ensue. But things work out in the end, so it's all good. The pretty girl gets her man, her legs and her voice. It's a win-win-win.

The one thing about this show is that there are loud noises and some scary scenes. So, I'm not sure it's for all the little kids. Did you hear about the madness and danger? I would say 5 and above only, but really why would you want to bring anyone younger than 5 to Disney? Do you know how much it will cost you? Think back to how many memories you have before 5...do you really want to waste all that cash on toddlers who won't remember shit about the trip when they are older?

Anyhow, on to our ratings. The line for this ride can get long and the show is 18 minutes long, so once you get in the line you are committed. In the end it's worth it. The show is really well done and the story of the Little Mermaid is great. Plus, you get to sit on your ass, which is always a plus at Disney!

4/5 or 8/10 stars!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sometimes Life is Too Short

Yesterday my uncle Dan died after a short battle with cancer. I refuse to give it any more power by making it a big "C". The best way to describe Dan was goofy, he was always laughing and making jokes. I will miss that.

My last memory of Dan was at his daughter's high school open house in late June of this summer. They had all these leftover hot dogs and Dan wanted people to take some as they were leaving "for the road". When my mom and I left he kept loudly saying that we needed to take a hot dog. We were all hot dogged out and declined. But, Dan is persistent and he kept at it. As we were walking down the driveway, in the rain, he started making up a dog. He was loudly telling us he was putting ketchup and mustard on it. We kept walking and laughing. When we got to our car and there he comes running down the driveway, hot dog in hand shouting "Linda, Molly, you forgot your hot dog." He brought it to us in the car. I had to hold it. The bun was soggy from the rain and the mustard was leaking out the side.

Truth be told I was so annoyed at him. I hate scenes and the whole open house was staring at us. Plus, I had to hold the soggy dog all the way back home. Now I am nothing but grateful that he gave me that one last memory of him. What he did that day was so Dan and now every time I think of him, I won't think of the person who was sick with cancer, I will think of him running down the driveway with a soggy hot dog, laughing his distinct laugh and making a room full of people laugh with him.

Two weeks after the open house, was my birthday. Dan was complaining at that time of a sinus infection that wouldn't quit. A few weeks after that he was told there was a mass in his head and a couple of days later we found out it was stage 4 head cancer and that it had metastasized. It's crazy how relentless and despicable this disease is.

We will miss you Dan!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Toe Fetishes

Last week for Halloween, a coworker came into work with this plate of cookies that she had made that all looked like different body parts. There were fingers, eyeballs and toes. She wanted everyone to take one of each. Above is a picture of the toe cookie.

The three cookies sat on my desk haunting me for the entire day. First I tried to eat the finger, but got really grossed out and couldn't bite into it. So, when no one was looking I threw it into my trash bin and then put a paper cup on top of it so that no one would know. Next, I tried the eyeball. I managed to take a small bite, but had to spit it out into a napkin. I kept thinking of actual eyeballs and I started gagging. That left the toe.

Oh Lord, that toe. Look at the thing. First of all, what is up with the green? The obvious explanation is that it is a witches toe, but I kept thinking of that one nail fungus commercial where the toe nail is lifted up and the cartoon fungus settles in. Then the black nail. Color me heebeejeebeed. After looking at the toe for a full day and a half, I finally pitched it. I just can't eat things that look like body parts (minds out of the gutter).

After getting rid of all of the body part cookies, I felt free! And I no longer got sick to my stomach sitting at my desk. Until the coworker came back and said that she had 10 toes left and that since I ate mine up so fast I should take another one. Shame set in and I grabbed a new toe off of her tray. Then she sat talking to me for 15 minutes probably wondering why the hell I wasn't biting into the cookie. As soon as she left I threw the toe into the garbage. Just holding it was giving me the shivers.

Do me a favor, please. If you ever make something that looks like a disgusting body part, do not offer it to me. And if you do, know that I will throw it directly into the trash. Directly. I won't consider your feelings. You've been warned.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

This book was g double 0 d good. Although it did feel a little bit Angela's Ashes in NYC to me. Although it's definitely not as tragic as Angela's Ashes. Not by a long shot.

The book is set in Brooklyn and I soon realized that in my mind I thought Brooklyn was the Bronx...and apparently it's not. So....that was embarrassing. And humbling. I clearly don't know my New York boroughs. So, here we are in Brooklyn, which is still not the Bronx, and it's the early 1900's and there is a poor Irish family struggling to get by. Guess why? Daddy's a drunk. Those damn Irish!

So, Johnny is the dad and he's hopeless except you can't help but to love him. His daughter, the story's heroine, can't see past her dad's charisma despite her unique intelligence. So, she instead loses herself in reading and school and her random after school jobs of looking for scrap metal and junk with her brother. They trade the junk in for pennies and candy.

The mom, Katie, is such a sad sack. She keeps trying to save money, but that drunk husband of hers always finds it and then spends it on moonshine. What an asshole. There's a really sad scene where Katie is super pregnant and scrubbing other people's floors for money. I can tell you that when I am pregnant, I won't be scrubbing my own floors at 1 month along let alone 9 months. Poor lady.

Don't fear peeps. The author gave these characters boot straps and you can bet your bottom dollar that they will pull themselves up. Not until something tragic happens, though. Sadness occurs and then some more. Our heroine is continuously knocked down, but she keeps on learning. Education is freedom kids. Stay in school.

This book is like hot chocolate with snowflake marshmallows and a little bit of vodka mixed in. 4 out of 5 stars or 8 out of 10.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fashion Files: Winter Work Dressing

I recently converted my closets from summer to winter and realized how much I hate dressing for work during the winter. My job is strictly business professional Monday through Friday. I've only ever worn jeans to my job once and it was on a Friday when my boss was out of town and I was cleaning the office. And even then someone made a backhanded comment about it. In the winter, all I want to do is get into some big, over sized sweaters and comfy Ugg boots and relax at my desk. This is highly frowned upon. Here's how I stay professional (or at least somewhat professional) during a cruel Minnesota winter.

1. Tights. I always have 7 pairs available. Mostly black. I also invest in the thicker "sweater" tights. Those come in really handy in January and February.
2. Flat black knee high boots. I have to walk a significant ways into the office, across a bridge, uphill (BOTH WAYS)! Anyhow, the sidewalks are hell on nice footwear. Last year I bought a nice pair of flat black knee high boots that had some traction on the bottom. I wore them every day. I always keep a pair of black heels at my desk in case I want to change into something a little more fancy, but the boots were a lifesaver.
3. Thick socks. I have found that when your feet are cold, you cannot get warm. I always buy thicker socks for the winter and when I know I'll be walking through a lot of snow, I often carry a spare pair in my bag in case my socks get wet. There is nothing worse than wet, cold feet.
4. Long-sleeved black dress. I now have a couple of these. I like dresses for the office because it doesn't require a lot of thought. It's hard to find good long-sleeved options, but I love them in the winter.
5. White long-sleeved tissue tees. I realize that tissue tees aren't going to give me much warmth, but every little bit helps. Sometimes it's also nice to have that extra layer keeping your body heat in. The thin tissue tees can go under almost anything and not show any extra bulk. I stock up at Target and wear them under almost everything from December through April.
6. Sweaters that look like blazers. I should probably wear a suit to work, but I am always freezing when I only have a blazer on. I need that extra warmth from a sweater. I've gotten a few collared button up sweaters that are warm and cuddly, but also look professional.
7. Pashmina type scarves. One of my really sad stories is that i had this awesome black pashmina that I bought in Florence, Italy and lost last winter. I think what happens is that I would wear scarves into restaurants and then would take them off when I was eating and forget about them. I'm pretty sure that's what happened to that one. I like having scarves that can function both in the cold and sitting in the office as a fashion statement. Pashminas can also become shawls if you are really cold.

I am really dreading this winter and hoping for an early spring time!