Saturday, January 31, 2015


Whilst I was having breakfast at Jamms Restaurant in Las Vegas, one of the people behind the counter began filling the Illy coffee station directly in front of me. Inadvertently (or perhaps on purpose), he treated me with one of my best diner experiences.

First he plopped a huge aluminum container of coffee beans in front of me. He turned the container upside down so the spout thingy was on top, then, using a special tool Illy provides just for the occasion, he pried off the top.

(I bet Illy recommends doing this as well.)

With a prolonged hiss, the vacuum-packed load of coffee beans inhaled the coffee shop air. Nature abhors a vacuum, so it replaced the atmosphere it had just taken with an ecstatic aroma that filled the air around the counter where I was sitting. People to the left and right of me stopped eating, stopped talking, put down their smart phones ... and just inhaled.

Wow, that sure smelled good. Next thing you know, all of us were hailing the waitress to refill our coffee cups.

Which reminds me ... I think I'll brew me up a mess of fresh coffee now.

The award-winning Jamms Restaurant is located at 1029 South Rainbow Blvd, in Las Vegas. They're open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily for breakfast and lunch. Be prepared to wait once you get there; it's popular.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

If You Love Words 1

If you love words, you’ll love these. If you don’t, you’ll groan.
  • When fish are in schools, they sometimes take debate.
  • A thief who stole a calendar got 12 months.
  • When the smog lifts in Los Angeles, U.C.L.A.
  • The batteries were given out free of charge.
  • A dentist and a manicurist married. They fought tooth and nail.
  • A will is a dead giveaway.
  • With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress.
  • A boiled egg is hard to beat.
  • When you've seen one shopping center you've seen a mall.

Okay, now you can groan if you want to.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Standing in Line

I forgot to mention in the other day's Wandering post that when I attended the NFR Cowboy Christmas Fair in Las Vegas, I stood in the above line for several minutes.

My first thought was that the Las Vegas Convention Center's exhibition hall was so full that they were only letting people in as others left. So, I dutifully and patiently stood in line.

Then, someone smarter than I am asked a security woman what the line was for. Eagerly, my ears perked up ... then drooped in embarrassment.

It seems the people were standing in line for an autograph of someone famous, either a rodeo cowboy/girl or a singer. I never did find out. By the time I went in through another door, did a quick run through a couple of aisles, and thought about checking out the autograph booth, the line had disappeared. I can only surmise that the celebrity had satisfied all the autograph seekers.

Ya get distracted, ya miss out, no?

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Wrangler National Finals Rodeo Cowboy Christmas Gift Show

I didn't really plan on doing this, but I went to the Wrangler National Finals Cowboy Christmas Gift Show the day after I arrived for my Las Vegas vacation.

Having arrived late Friday night, I went there (Las Vegas Convention Center) on the last day of the show, Saturday, Dec. 13. It's only the second time I've been to the gift show, having stumbled on it a couple of years ago. In fact, I just found out before leaving home that it would be rodeo time when I got to Vegas.

It's an enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours walking around and feeling all yeehaw-ish.

"Binding Contract" by Bradford J. Williams
The aisles are full of ladies walking around with fringed leather jacket like the ones Gen. George Custer and Davy Crockett used to wear, with skinny jeans and leather vests draped over their Western girl shirts. The guys are all tall, with closely trimmed beards, wearing faded blue jeans, tucked-in plain or plaid long-sleeved shirts, and big belt buckles.

Oh, and boots. All kinds of boots. Oh, oh, oh! Cowboy hats too, mostly black, brown or white. The women are into boots and hats too, by the way.

(Boots and pants and boots and pants and boots and pants and boots and pants.)

There's Western music playing throughout the day, and rodeo stars signing autographs. You can buy clothes, ranch stuff, art, stuffed ferocious creatures ... If it's Western or country, it was being sold.

Check out some of the pictures I took:

Cowboy Classic Cutter Saddle Made in Texas, Reg. $1,995, Sale $1,495

It was a fun day until I left the show and tried out my new "Find My Car" app on my phone. The parking lot was very big and jam-packed with cars. My memory's so bad, I'd probably be searching for my car until late at night. Surely the app would help.

Nope. It isn't like a GPS with precise directions. The best it could do was tell me how far I was from my car, not if it was in front, behind, to the left or right. Stupid app. I felt ridiculous walking while holding the phone in front of my face like I was taking a selfie, using it like a Geiger counter and swearing loud enough for a mother and daughter in front of me to turn around and sneer at me.

I deleted the stupid, useless app.

Friday, January 23, 2015

A Re-Relocation

I consider it my social and civic duty to report that the Las Vegas Jerkys, Etc. shop that had moved from the downtown Las Vegas Plaza Hotel to the Las Vegas Club on Fremont ... has moved back to its original location in the Plaza.

The wife always asks me to stop by and get some dried fruits, jerky, nuts and candies from there, since she knew the original owner, who used to stop by George's Delicatessen a lot when he lived in Honolulu. Don't ask me his name, I can never remember it.

Anyway, the shop had to move to the Las Vegas Club when the Plaza underwent its renovation and transformation a few years back. I had to find them in the darkness of the Vegas Club, which is right across the street from the Plaza. The last time I was there was in December 2013, and I bought a few boxes of goodies to give away as Christmas presents - so much that I had them mail it to my home.

Then, just when I got used to their being there, they moved back to the Plaza, in their same place, at the top of the escalators. My latest visit was this past December, and although I didn't buy as much, I did bring back quite a few favorites, including stinky dried cuttlefish and squid.

It's good to know they're still there.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Wash, Rinse, Repeat

This is not about shampoo. It's about reading a book.

I just finished reading Night Light by Terri Blackstock, the second book in her Restoration Series.

But when I went to post it in my Book Boogie blog, I discovered I'd already reviewed it nearly four years ago. Hell, no wonder some parts sounded so familiar. And here I thought I was so insightful because I could almost anticipate what was going to happen next.

This has happened to me twice before, but luckily I figured it out early, before committing fingers to keyboard.

Nobody likes wasting a perfectly good, well-written book review, so I tried to see if the situation could be salvaged. Maybe I could surreptitiously replace the old one with the new? Maybe I could delete the old and post the new? Surely, there's something I could do.

So I re-read the old one, and wouldn't you know it, it was better than the one I'd just written. Consequently I did what any other self-respecting writer/blogger would do.

I trashed the new one. Damn, that hurt.

Monday, January 19, 2015

My, How Things Have Changed

This Mother Goose and Grimm comic strip reminds me of my grandson.

He and I used to watch Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope endlessly whenever we were in hailing distance of a TV set and Blu-Ray. I'd refer to it as Episode Four; he'd call it Episode "Vee-Eye" and we understood what the other was talking about.

My, how things have changed.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Bloody Body Clock is Out of Whack Again

I've been waking up too early lately, probably a relapse into jet lag (or rather, jet jump) resulting from my last trip to Las Vegas (where it's two hours early than Hawaii) in early December.

It's like the old bod said, "I miss Las Vegas. If Craig won't take me back, at least I can pretend that I'm there."

So the bugger woke up at:

  • 4 a.m. on Saturday
  • 2 a.m. on Sunday
  • 3 a.m. on Monday
  • 4 a.m. on Tuesday
  • 4:30 a.m. on Wednesday
  • 3:30 a.m. on Thursday
  • 5 a.m. yesterday (a little reprieve there).
I think it has something to do with having to pee, and then not being able to fall back to sleep.

It's not like bedtime has come early, either; it's still around 11 p.m, which means I'm only getting three to five hours sleep a night. All it does is make me a little dozy in mid-afternoon, when on more than one occasion lately, I almost slid off of my outside reading chair with my mind wandering around the stars behind the moon.

So what's going to happen when the leap second is added to our clocks on June 30? Will my body clock reset too? Will it allow me that one extra second of sleep I crave?

Oh, you didn't know about the leap second? They do this every few years because the earth's rotation is slowing ... little by little. Are you getting worried? Good. Maybe you'll start getting up early too, so you can join me in a "bloody body clock is out of whack again" moment.

Got to make use of every available second, y'know.

Bonus: Try saying "bloody body clock" 10 times real fast.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Phone Pix 38: Flowers

This being the dead of winter here in the northern hemisphere, I thought those of you in parts of the world that are being slammed by snow storms, freezing winds, and generally oppressively cold conditions, would enjoy a little bit of color and beauty today.

Here's an offering of fragrant flowers ... pictures taken with my mobile phone camera during warmer times:

Cattleya Orchids, Craig's Backyard, Aug. 19, 2013, Honolulu, HI

Home Depot, Auto Mall, Sept. 26, 2013, Fremont, CA

Home Depot, Auto Mall, Sept. 26, 2013, Fremont, CA

Home Depot, Auto Mall, Sept. 26, 2013, Fremont, CA

City Mill, March 21, 2014, Honolulu, HI

Trader Joe's, Aug. 14, 2014, Fremont, CA

Trader Joe's, Aug. 14, 2014, Fremont, CA

Sprouts, Aug. 18, Fremont, CA

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

My Bright Green Rental

For me, it's never a problem to be assigned a funky non-traditionally colored car whenever I patronize an auto rental company in my travels.

It gives me a chance to try out (test drive) a new make or model without going through the hassle of visiting a pushy dealership where you're at the mercy of the salesperson.

On my last trip to Las Vegas, I got a green Kia Neon rental from Advantage, located in the Main Street Hotel, Brewery and Casino, which has its lot across the street.

It is indeed funky-looking; the wife always makes fun of the model when we see it on the streets at home. Come to think of is, so do I.

But y'know, now that I've ridden it, I kind of like it. It's not real small, and it's not even medium-sized. It handles well, accelerates well, and is pretty roomy inside. Bonus: The green makes it easy to find. Check out the picture below. Can you spot it right away?

Yep, it was a good rental. Five days in Vegas and it only cost me $5 to fill the gas tank.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Jose Canseco Juice Box Night

Leave it to minor league baseball to come up with crazy promotions. One that cracked me up is the 2006 “Juice Box Night” poking fun at Jose Canseco.

He’s become the poster child for steroid use, and authored a bio titled “Juiced.”

Of course, the baseball team – The Fullerton Flyers of the six-team Golden Baseball League – had a grand purpose in mind. They wanted to educate their fans about the negative results of drug abuse, which includes steroids.

The first 500 fans through the gates were given a free box of fruit juice.

Why this cracked me up is beyond me. I think it’s because it reminded me of the game where the baseball boinked off of Canseco’s catch when he was running in the outfield to catch a ball hit in his direction.

I love minor league baseball promotions.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Did You Know? (List #2)

Here are a few more facts I bet you didn't know:

According to Albert Einstein, if honey bees were to disappear from earth, humans would be dead within four years.

There are so many kind of apples that if you ate a new one every day, it would take more than 20 years to try them all.

You can survive without eating for weeks, but you will only live 11 days without sleeping.

People who laugh a lot are healthier than those who don’t.

Laziness and inactivity kills just as many people as smoking.

A human brain has a capacity to store five times the information as Wikipedia.

Our brain uses the same amount power as a 10-watt light bulb.

Our body gives enough heat in 30 minutes to boil 1.5 litres of water.

The ovum egg is the largest cell in the human body, and the sperm is the smallest.

I kid you not.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


I experienced a little drummer boy on my recent Christmas walk at the Fremont Street Experience in Las Vegas.

Well, let me amend that. He wasn't little, and he didn't have drums. And he certainly wasn't drumming out the cadence of the famous "Little Drummer Boy" song.

Still, it was the closest thing to a Christmas concert I saw at the Experience that evening. The country band was playing a song I'd never heard, the siren girls were all bundled up, the Christmas tree had no Santa, and there were no elves to be found anywhere.

But there was this drummer. And he was loud, banging out a consistent but unfamiliar cadence on a few inverted plastic buckets.

This being the "Season," I dropped five bucks into his blue pail. "Thank you!" he said, barely audible above his bangeddy-bang whacking of the buckets.

I felt good. And my ears have recovered; they feel a lot better today.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Fremont Street Christmas Walk

The Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas wasn't the jolliest place on Earth this past Christmas. There wasn't a lot of jingle and magic during my night walk of the attraction.

Sure, the overhead light show was spectacular, but there weren't a lot of twinkling lights and tinsel in front of the casino as in years past.

Why, the giant Christmas tree even lacked one very important element - there was no Santa sitting there taking children's orders.

At the Plaza Hotel end of the street, a very loud (and not so good) country band was performing to a very quiet and sparse crowd. Granted, it was a Monday night. Still, I expected it to be rocking as it was the past few years.

Oh well ... at least I saw a drummer boy. I'll tell you about that next time.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Maybe 2015 is the Year That …

… I decide to have my upper leftwisdom tooth extracted. My dentist has been after me to get it done for the past few years.

… I don’t go to Las Vegas on vacation anymore. Each time I go, it takes more and more out of me.

… I condense my blogging even further. It’s becoming more and more of a chore to keep them on schedule due to my cutting back on trips and restaurant meals.

… We tackle the wife’s health issues that we put off for a while. It’s hard on us when they weigh on her mind.

… I finally sell my big Buick Park Avenue that’s just gathering dust in the garage. I’ve been saying this for a few years now.

… I clean up my desk and bookshelves. There’s a lot of stuff that need the dumping treatment.

… I don’t do any of the above … again.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Phone Pix 37: Verticalization

Is there such a word? You look it up; I'm too lazy.

Anyway ... here are some phone pix of arrangements featuring mostly vertical lines. I find these fascinating!

Origami Cranes, Sept. 14, 2014
Japanese Cultural Center, Honolulu, HI

Bamboo, Queen's Medical Center Surgery Waiting Room
Sept. 24, 2014, Honolulu, HI

Bamboo, Queen's Medical Center Elevator Lobby
Sept. 27, 2014, Honolulu, HI

 Tropicana Hotel & Casino, Dec. 15, 2014, Las Vegas, NV

 Tropicana Hotel & Casino, Dec. 15, 2014, Las Vegas, NV