Wednesday, March 29, 2017

I Lost My What?

It was either my 2017 Hyundai Accent rental car ... or my mind.

Thank God it was my rental car.

It happened at the Primm Valley Outlet Mall, about 45 minutes north of Las Vegas.

You know how malls have several entrances that look similar? That messed me up. I parked in a convenient spot next to an entrance where a guy had flag barriers up and was painting the exterior.

After spending an hour inside, I went back out to find my car. Nowhere to be seen. Damn, did someone swipe the car? Did I even lock it? Rental car, y’know, so I wasn’t sure.

I walked around for 20 minutes searching. I was sure I was near the right entrance because I saw “Wet Paint” signs on the wall. Made another round of the area, then gave up and went inside to sit down because my aging legs and back were aching.

I called the police and they told me to check with mall security. So I called security and the nice guy said to come to the office, just about 100 feet from where I was.

When I got there, he directed me back outside to a security car and a nice mall security officer who drove me around for 15 minutes looking for my car (“just to make sure”). Then, he decided to try around the entrance I’d come out of to join him.

And … there it was. I simultaneously felt overjoyed and stupid. He refused a tip, saying it happened all the time.

All the way back on the long drive into Las Vegas, all I could do was shake my head and mumble: “Craig, you’re so stupid. So stupid.”

I kid you not.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Bellagio Valet Parking Fee

Well, okay, I learned something quite rudely when I stopped over in February at the Bellagio to gaze in awe at their seasonal Conservatory floral display.

They charged me a valet parking fee, the first I ever had to pay at a Las Vegas hotel or casino.

Thirteen bucks. Thirteen bucks that I could have spent on a light lunch in their hotel.

Instituted in January 2016, valet parking charges are collected at the Aria, Bellagio, Circus Circus, Delano, Excalibur, Luxon, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, the Mirage, Monte Carlo, New York New York, and Vdara. Even overnight guests have to ante-up. Even self-parkers.

I didn't find out until this February's Super Bowl vacation because I didn't get to Las Vegas in 2016.

*Mumble grumble*

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Palazzo Lunar New Year

Whenever I visit Las Vegas, I head on over to the Bellagio Conservatory to take pictures of its seasonal floral garden.

The very next thing I do is jump in my rental car, or a taxi, and motor over to the Palazzo Hotel & Casino, connected to the Venetian just down the street on the Las Vegas Strip.

Their atrium and lobby displays usually echo the Bellagio's in their theme, but they definitely are not copies in any way. All of their displays have their own special beauty and charm.

And so it was, that I visited them for the first time in three years during the recent Super Bowl weekend in February.

Enjoy! I did.

Here's wishing you a very
Happy Lunar New Year!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Bellagio Lunar New Year

Every year, I try to get to Las Vegas during Super Bowl weekend so I can bet on the game (it's a lot more fun watching the gridiron spectacle when you have a stake on the outcome).

Unfortunately, I had to skip two years due to family circumstances. However, I was able to wrangle a trip this year for the Feb. 5, 2017, game between the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots.

As usual, my first outing when I got there was the Bellagio Conservatry. During Super Bowl weekend, the theme is usually the Lunar New Year, and this year was no different--the Year of the Rooster.

Lately, I've been taking most of my pictures on my iPhone, but when it comes to blog article pix, I always fall back on my Sony cam. It's just more versatile and easier that way.

Hope you enjoy these:

Have a Belated
Kung Yee Fat Choy!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Random Musings 33

If a zombie opened a residence inn, would it be classified as a “dead and breakfast”?

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I wonder if hummingbirds ever hold drag races.

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Since I wear the pants in the family, why does my wife keep telling me which pants to wear?

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Say I wanted to buy a prosthetic leg, but didn’t have enough money to buy a brand-new one. Could I get one at a second-hand store? Or would I have to find a second-leg store?

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What do mummies do when they have to take a dump? Unwrap?

Friday, March 10, 2017

I'm Ba-a-ack. Fe-e-ed Me!

On a recent vacation to Las Vegas during Super Bowl weekend, I decided to have some meals at restaurants I'd previously enjoyed, but hadn't been to in a while. 
When I was writing my restaurant blog, "A Place for My Taste," old favorites often took a back seat to new culinary adventures.
As I slowly age myself out of those exciting "Sin City" sojourns that I used to take four to six times a year after client business meetings and professional conferences across the United States, I need to re-experience the familiar.
I needed this step back. Here's where (and what) I ate during my recent Las Vegas deja vu adventure.
Chart House
Golden Nugget Hotel, 129 Fremont Street Experience, downtown Las Vegas
Half-Dozen Raw Oysters
Broiled Cold Water Lobster Tail
Cafe Bellagio
3600 S. Las Vegas Blvd. ("The Strip")
Bellagio Classic Eggs Benedict
Market Street Cafe
California Hotel and Casino, 12 E. Ogden Ave., downtown Las Vegas
Char-Broiled Butterfish in Miso Marinade
1029 S. Rainbow Blvd.
Mediterranean Omelet (feta, spinach, olives);
Pot of Raisin Bread and Cheesy Grits
Ferraro's Italian Restaurant • Wine Bar
4480 Paradise Road
Osso Buco
Insalada Mimmo, Tiramisu
Dupar's Restaurant and Bakery
Golden Gate Hotel and Casino, 1 Fremont St.
Corned Beef Hash and Eggs
California Noodle House 
The California Noodle House is actually a new restaurant that replaced Pasta Pirate at the California Hotel within the past year. I included it in this post because it was new to me (start of new memories).
California Hotel and Casino, 12 E. Ogden Ave., downtown Las Vegas
Sea Bass Poached in Soy Miso Broth, with Good Fortune Noodles
Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Comparing Hawaiian Airlines Class Meals

Catching up ...

Last Thanksgiving, the wife and I visited our grandson in California and were able to experience both economy-class and first-class meals on our flights—economy going, and first-class returning.

Hawaiian always pride themselves on being the only airline that serves meals to its passengers on all flights out of Hawaii. Of course, as you move up in class, the quality of the meals are supposed to improve.

We were served lunch in the economy section outbound from Honolulu, and breakfast in the first-class cabin outbound from Oakland.

The economy lunch was teriyaki chicken with mixed veggies and rice garnished with shredded egg and flavored seaweed, accompanied by a bean salad and dessert cookie.

It really wasn’t bad—the chicken was tasty, the mixed vegetables were overcooked and a bit soft (but what do you expect from frozen?); the bean salad was good, one of my faves; and the cookie was … well, it was a cookie.

First-class breakfast was a bit different, fancy in concept. We started off with Baked Brie in Phyllo, with Honey Berry Compote and Crispy Prosciutto Chips. A very nice start.

The wife isn't quite the cheese lover, so the baked brie didn't much strike her fancy.

This was followed by a Caramelized Butternut Squash and Onion Bread Pudding with Chicken Apple Sausages and Wine-Poached Pear. Both the bread pudding and sausages were a bit dry by the time we were served. The pear wasn’t bad.

Finally, I had hot green tea and a slice of Pineapple Upside-Down Cake for dessert.

You know what? I’d rate the economy lunch and the first-class breakfast about the same. One was better than I expected; the other not so much.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Jabber Jabber Yadda Yadda

Jabber Jabber Doo
Dateline Honolulu: Nov. 22, 2016

If I thought being in the Economy Cabin with a lot of children on my flight from Honolulu to Oakland was annoying, my flight back home rivaled that in a different way.

A 50-something "I love to talk continuously" fellow sat in front of me in the First-Class cabin. He was in seat 1-H. (Bulkhead) and I was in 2-H, right behind him.

The acoustics of the seating, ceiling, overhead storage compartment and the timbre of his voice ensured that every word he said was over-amplified and clear as a bell. It started as the plane backed out of the gate.

It wasn't until two hours later, after completion of the brunch, that he reclined his seat and shut his eyes—for about five minutes, before the woman next to him asked him a question. It was very apparent that they knew each other; maybe they were going to Honolulu on company business. Anyway, that reignited his talking engines.

He talked about: 
  • Business strategy, how to prepare for meetings, and other perhaps-confidential information that I could have recorded if I were in corporate espionage.
  • Advice to his seat mate after she gets to hotel and checks in: "Go across the street and get your Ricola at ABC, it's the best."
  • His arthroscopic gall bladder surgery—three small incisions and all that. His declaration: "My first organ to lose. Less I have to take with me when I die."
  • His mom's strange habits at the dinner table and how it annoyed the family
  • Being a self-declared social butterfly who likes the trite "meeting people" habit.
  • Not liking being wrong when he was younger.
  • And on and on, ad infinitum, ad nauseum, yadda yadda yadda. 

I have no music, videos or movies downloaded on my iPad to watch and block out his voice. I usually stream them. I don't like to listen to the airline's music or watch their videos or movies either. Plus I can't find my noise-canceling earphones (where did the wife hide them anyway?) so I tried using the airline's padded earphones. Unfortunately, all that did was cancel out the ambient jet noise, making his voice much clearer.

Sometimes, Jabber-Jabber-Doo wins out.

Jabber Jabber Too!
Dateline Honolulu: Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017

Do I have the words "Keep on talking, I love it" on my forehead? An irritating jabber-on experience happened again, while I was at the gate waiting for my flight from Honolulu to Las Vegas.

A dozen seats to my left sat a guy in I'd say his late 30s, who talked nonstop from the moment I sat myself down at 9:15 a.m. until a little after 11. 

The targets of his discourse were two elderly guys (one in a wheelchair) across the aisle, who were listening semi-intently, dozing off at times, nodding disinterestedly every now and then, and basically trapped.

He went on and on, smoothly transitioning from one unrelated topic to another. And his voice was hard to ignore—slightly hoarse, slightly voluminous, and blah blah blah.

I think the guy and his audience were friends. Thank goodness, he went to the toilet around 11 a.m., and when he returned, sat next to his friends so he could speak in a softer voice.

That's two flights in a row for me. Aren't I the lucky one?

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Phone Pix 79: Black/White Around the House

Some photos look better in black and white, particularly inanimate objects. Here are some pix that I took around our house and my son's Fremont house, and converted to monochrome.

Hope you like 'em!

Gabled Sky, Fremont Home, Sept. 28, 2013

Bare Bush Branches, Fremont Home, March 20, 2016
Garden Hose, Honolulu Home, Feb. 26, 2015

Big Branch Scar, Honolulu Home, Feb. 26, 2015

Dead Stump, Honolulu Home, Feb. 26, 2015

Dead Branch Remnant, Honolulu Home, Feb. 26, 2015

Stone Lichen, Honolulu Home, Feb. 26, 2015