Friday, April 17, 2015

Taking a Break


The Left Field Wander blog will return on or about May 1.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Phone Pix 44: Hospital Art

Happy Income Tax Day!

To help you get your mind off of income taxes, here are pictures I took of art that I've seen at Queen's Hospital in downtown Honolulu. I had plenty of time to wander around when the wife had to have surgery and stayed there a couple of days.

All the pictures were taken with my phone camera on Sept. 23-24, 2014.

Chair Upholstery, Anesthesia Preoperative Evaluation Center (APEC).

Chair Upholstery, Anesthesia Preoperative Evaluation Center (APEC).

Anesthesia Preoperative Evaluation Center (APEC).

Elevator Hallway

Elevator Hallway

Elevator Hallway

Elevator Hallway

Surgery Waiting Room
  
Surgery Waiting Room
Surgery Waiting Room

Monday, April 13, 2015

Crunched Car

On the morning I arrived in Las Vegas, March 9th it was, I decided to drive over to Summerlin and have breakfast at a restaurant I never tried before. As I was driving west on Charleston, I happened upon a slowdown in traffic.

When I reached the next intersection, this is what was waiting there for me to see:


Some unlucky driver had apparently smashed into the rear end of another car and completely totaled its front end. I'm not sure if the black van was involved in the accident or not.

I only had a second or so to snap a picture as I drove past the scene of the accident, and as you can see by the side rear-view mirror in the bottom right, there were a lot of cars behind me. That's my wristwatch under the damaged car, a reflection in the driver's side window.

There was only enough time to boot up my phone camera before the cars started moving again. I was lucky to snap the picture between cars in the adjacent left lane blocked the view again.

Everything happened so quickly that I didn't get a chance to get the name of the cross street. Consequently, When I tried to Google information on the accident when I finally got into my hotel room later that afternoon, I found nothing.

Oh well, I feel fortunate there was no ambulance present, and that I wasn't the driver of the car.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Bodies: The Exhibition

I've seen this exhibit before, I would guess in about 2006 when it was situated in the Tropicana Hotel. But it's been a while, so since it was at the Luxor where I was staying, I got a discounted combination ticket to see it and "Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition," also at the Luxor.

The first thing you do is stand in front of a green screen. They snap a couple of pix then move you into the exhibit.

"Bodies" is fascinating. Using a rubberizing polymer preservation process, the human bodies' water and fatty tissues are replaced with silicone rubber, polyester and epoxy resin. The result is a human web network of blood veins and arteries, the lymphatic system, the body's neurology and muscular system.

To say the result is fascinating is to seriously understate what's on display.

There has been much concern over the ethics of showing bodies in this condition, as Chinese cadavers and organs were used. Serious discussion has appeared in the news media, including in Honolulu, Hawaii, when they set up the display there, my current residence.

They asked that photographs not be taken, out of respect for the deceased "models," but I sneaked a couple:



Don't tell anybody I did this, okay?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition

Back in about 2006, when this "Titanic" exhibition was displayed at the Tropicana in Las Vegas, I bought combo tickets to see both this and "Bodies: The Exhibition."

As both had relocated to the Luxor, where I spent five days recently, I repeated my experience.

Believe me, the duplicate experience was in no way a waste of money. The only thing I really remembered from the 2006 experience was how cold the model iceberg (made of real frozen water) felt. See how important interactive exhibits are?

It's amazing how people flock to this disaster exhibition. The Titanic has such an attraction for everyone. The movies about the disaster continue to draw well, even though we know how the ending turns out. It's the human drama that grabs us. 

At the start of the self-guided tour, you can rent an audio player that will tell you about what you're seeing at specific stops along the way. Everyone is given a souvenir "Boarding Pass" granting permission to "come aboard White Star Line's R.M.S. Titanic."

On the back of the boarding pass is information about one Titanic passenger. At the end of the tour is a list of all the survivors and those who died.

My passenger was Mr. Daniel Danielson Grønnestad, 32, of Foresvik, Norway, who was traveling in 3rd Class. Daniel and his brother Bertil had immigrated to America around 1900. They were scheduled to return home to Portland, North Dakota, following their 16th visit to their parents in Norway.

Bertil felt something was wrong, and didn't get on the Titanic. Daniel got on the ship and headed off to America, to await his brother's later arrival. Daniel did not survive the Titanic's iceberg incident.

They asked us not to take photos, but I managed to sneak a couple:

First-Class Stateroom

Titanic at the Bottom of the Ocean
Please don't say anything about the pictures.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Play Ball!

The day before yesterday, Sunday, April 5, was not only Easter, it was Opening Day for Major League Baseball, with the St. Louis Cardinals blanking the Chicago Cubs 3-0.

The rest of MLB, including the Atlanta Braves, began the 2015 season yesterday, with the Braves edging the Miami Marlins 2-1.

The Braves aren’t expected to have a ball-busting season, and in fact, when I was in Las Vegas about a month ago, the odds at the Luxor Sports Book for them winning the World Series were 75 to 1. That’s pretty bad.

(Damn! I just realized I forgot to place a bet. Now just you watch. They’re going to win the World Series and because I usually make a $50 bet, I’ll miss out on $3,750. Damn.)

Well … so what? Maybe my betting on them to win the series in the past is what caused them to lose.
Anyway, PLAY BALL!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter is Made for ...

Chocolate.

Specifically Chocolate Bunnies - Wrapped in gold foil, wrapped in silver foil.

Easter Bunnies.


 
But ... don't forget the real meaning of Easter. It's about rebirth and a renewal of faith. Contemplate that as you bite off the bunny ears.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Getting My Lux On

One of the first things I do when I check into a hotel in Las Vegas is put the "Do Not Disturb" door hanger on the door, just in case I collapse on the bed and fall asleep. I don't want anyone bothering me.

I've seen all kinds of hangers, but the one at the Luxor Hotel & Casino is very interesting indeed:

So what do they mean by "a lot of LUXing going on," and "getting our LUX on"?

Terrific double-entendre there, especially with the picture of the couple on the bed.

One would think that there's a lot of hanky panky happening when the door is locked, huh?

And "Lux" sounds like ... well, y'know.

Ahhhh, That must be what they mean by "What goes on in Vegas stays in Vegas."

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Phone Pix 43: Here and There

I've got phone pictures falling out of my "Miscellaneous" file, so I'm going to unload some of them on you. They're not bad subjects; I just don't have sufficient numbers of like subjects to present them in a theme.

Here you go ... this and that ... here and there:

"Sky Dancers" by Aristides Memetrios,
Pacific Common, Sept. 21, 2013
Fremont, CA

Egyptian Food Display, March 13, 2015
Las Vegas Natural History Museum, Las Vegas, NV

Guest Rooms Hallway, Sept. 4, 2013
Encore Hotel, Las Vegas, NV

Garden Toad, Jan. 9, 2014, Son's Garden, Aiea, HI

Nuuanu House, March 11, 2014
View from Doctor's Office, Honolulu, HI

Buddhist Shrine, July 24, 2014, Honpa Hongwanji, Honolulu, HI

Baby Samurai Doll, Sept. 14, 2014
Japanese Cultural Center, Honolulu, HI

Birthday Lunch Giraffe Centerpiece, Sept. 14, 2014
Japanese Cultural Center, Honolulu, HI

Candied Apples, March 9, 2015
Bellagio Espressamente, Las Vegas, NV

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Scissors Bites the Dust

‘Way back in 1982, the family took a trip to Japan as part of a son’s band concert trip.

One of my fondest souvenirs was a stainless steel scissors purchased for something like ¥150 (equivalent at the time to maybe 10¢ American). It cut perfectly, very smoothly, and was extremely lightweight.

Used with care, it lasted until just after the New Year before I stupidly cut through a staple and gave it a nick. The poor thing wasn’t the same after that.

Old Scissors on Right,
New Scissors on Left
I could have gone on using it, but that nick always put a snag in the cutting and made me very, very uncomfortable (not to mention feeling guilty for my stupidity).

So when I got a 40%-off coupon for any single item priced at $10 or more at Long’s (CVS) Pharmacy, I looked for a good pair of scissors and purchased it.

My new Westcott titanium scissors was priced at $10.59, and with my $4.24 discount, I only paid $6.35 plus 30¢ general excise tax (a euphemism for “sales tax"), 3.2¢ of which went to help pay for Honolulu's Boondoggle Rail construction.

The titanium, the packaging said, is three times harder than stainless steel. Great! But … the machining isn’t as accurate as the Japanese scissors; the shearing is not as smooth.

Can’t win ‘em all, but at least the Japanese cutter lasted me 30+ years.