Sunday, January 27, 2008

Lights, Blue Men, Action

It's been a busy weekend, but that's the sign of an interesting life (I hope). Started it off early with a Thursday night date to see the Blue Man Group at Key Arena. Lindsay's good friend Dan designs the lighting for them, on tour, and generously got us tickets and backstage passes to the show. He's a super nice guy and we spent the show with him in the light booth on the floor. A great time for sure, and a great vantage point to see the show. Even got to wander backstage (met the blue guys sans blue as well) before the show and watch the crew tear down the whole rig and arena after it was over. Clearly it was a privileged way to see the show, and a big thanks to Dan for his generosity.

Here's the view from the light booth during the show:
There's Dan, running the lights from his self procalimed "big toy":
Tearing down the show. A good view of the light booth:
Dan and Lindsay humoring my request for a pic:

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I (Heart) Airport Security

Man with gun gets past airport security, reports CNN. Ok, who runs TSA? Someone from the Bush clan? Let's take it to the next level with a quote from a TSA manager, speaking to CNN, that should probably would have been better not to say, '[the TSA spokesperson]...said that 14 guns were discovered at checkpoints around the country last week. On average, screeners find two guns a day.'

Monday, January 21, 2008

Head Strong

How about that Giants Packers game? What a great way to finish off the NFC playoffs. I could go on about it but the toughness of the game, the zero degree combat on the grid iron was summed up by Ahmad Bradshaw's (NY) helmet getting busted apart (click on the pic above to see the damage to his lid) during a collision with a Green Bay player. Bam! That's football at its most intense. Check out the video of it here, and listen to yourself make that audible "Oooo!" sound as the chunk flies off. Amazing.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

sNOw Worries

Needing to burn some time off (maxed out in hours) I took Friday off with my buddy Chris and we headed up to The Summit at Snoqualmie for some snowboarding. Chris took the hard road, never having snowboarded before, and sorta rolled down the mountain the first few times, but by the end of the day was ditching his greenhorn status and experiencing the world upright. For me, it was the first session this season so I was pretty rusty too, eating serious snow on a few runs. Ah well. Believe it or not the thermometer read 65 degrees and sunny so we had to strip of layers to cool off be the time we left! On the way back to Seattle we stopped for lunch at the cafe featured in the TV series Twin Peaks for some damn fine hamburgers and shakes. Nowhere else have I seen better wall art. This painting for Tweetie Bird on a guitar neck is stunning. Not sure if stunning is the right word. So it was a good day of getting out into the mountains. Now to get on that couch and watch the playoffs for the rest of the weekend.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Snowshoe Sunday

Come heck or high water we were determined to get out and have some fun in the snow (and sun) Sunday. Our friends Cara and Brent had supplied us with snowshoes to borrow so we were ready to head into the hills asap. The original destination was a snow park an hour East of Seattle, but apparently most of Seattle also had the same idea and it was closed due to over crowding! We decided to keep exploring and headed a few miles east and to a rest stop just play in the snow, but noticed other snowshoers and xcountry skiers milling in the parking lot. Turns out the rest stop had trails that headed back around the backside of a nearby lake, making it a perfect snowshoe trip. One of the nicest things about the trip were all the really friendly people on the trail. Everyone was happy and enjoying their time outside, and lots of cheery hellos were exchanged as we clomped along to see the snow covered lake.

Gay Bingo

Thanks to Chris and Stacey we were invited to Gay Bingo Saturday night. It was gay, there was bingo. Good times. More on Lindsay's blog, but I think this pic kind of sums it up. Who knew Elvis was gay?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

An Ant's Life

I feel like a well fed (and transported) ant here in Vegas. With 140,000 people all going to the same places its an amazing shuffle of people. It's nice to be well fed, and especially nice to have a car service on call, but everyone really values the peace and quiet of the hotel room after a long day on the floor. I'm packing up and heading back home today. Here's a few parting shots of the casino floor and from the back of the limo.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Food, Then More Food

One thing that Vegas always delivers on is food. I had the privilege last night to go out to a stunning restaurant called Craftsteak at the MGM and it was phenomenal. No really. This from a Texan used to eating steak. We ordered the chef's special sampler, sized for the table of 10 and it was out of this world. Kobe beef in the form of filets, flat irons, strips and more along with lobsters, prawns, kobe tartar, whipped potatoes, carrots, sauteed mushrooms and accented with the tour de force of a bottle (a magnum sized bottle) of something that was supposed to be much better than Opus One (had that once, not impressed) and a bottle of Duckworth Merlot (2002?) that was ok, but not stunning. The whole thing was finished off with amazing sorbet, muffin things, creme brule and a chocolate cake with chocolate sauce inside. I look like an anaconda that's just eaten a sheep. Big in the middle and waddling. Enjoy the pics of the some pics of the food orgy. Flash back to 5 years ago sitting on a hummvee in the desert of Iraq eating my MRE for the billionth time in 4 months. You never know where you'll be do ya?

Monday, January 7, 2008

CES Lite

I'm hoping it's my experience here, or that I'm here this year with buyers that are super CES savy, but this year's CES has been very easy so far. Mind you've I've avoided the convention center and only been to private suites in hotels, but it's still the same meet and greet, just without the exhibit hall. Met with Cisco, Slingbox, and iOmega and some other great companies today, and really did some good. Some pics of one of the hotels we met someone at.

Technology and Comfortable Shoes

One late night Sunday flight and here I am. It's that time of year again, it's CES time. The mega show in Las Vegas that us geeks flock to like a moth to flame, and much like that moth we'll all burn out over the 4 days that we're here. The show officially starts tomorrow, but the hype is already at 99%. I rolled in late, but got in a little room service and a lot of last minute cramming on booth locations, CE blog reading, and CES TV watching and it's making me excited and ready to jump into the floor. Did I mention that the show attracts 140,000 people? So it'll be packed. What's the vibe so far? TVs are getting really thin this year - with width measured in mm! There's also a lot of hype around what your computer can do (e.g. HD on PCs), but so far no super device to make it do it. Same with MP3 and cell, that were the super stars last year. No telling what'll be the wonder kid this year, but over the next few days it's my job to find it.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Yeah, She's Cute, but...

This photo makes me laugh. The glamorous world of modeling!

Memorializing the NFL

Interesting article about memorializing the dead via the team uniform, on ESPN. The multi week endurance of the NFL's tribute to Redskin's #21 for murdered player Sean Taylor is contemplated, especially interesting when compared to the single week of exposure for killed in action (by friendly fire) US Army Ranger Pat Tillman's number, 40. Here's bit of the article:

"The NFL, notoriously rigid about enforcing leaguewide uniform standards, has been surprisingly flexible about one uni-related element this season: The Sean Taylor memorial "21" decal, which all teams wore in Week 13, was made optional for the rest of the season. So some teams have been wearing it and others haven't. And then there are the Giants, who removed the decal for Week 14 but restored it the following week -- except for offensive lineman Grey Ruegamer, who was Pat Tillman's teammate at Arizona State and doesn't think anyone should be getting a more extended memorial tribute than Tillman got. The NFL's atypically laissez-faire approach here is no doubt partially due to all the negative publicity surrounding the Pat Tillman situation in 2004 (as you may recall, all teams paid tribute to Tillman by wearing a "40" decal for Week 3, but Broncos QB Jake Plummer wanted to keep wearing it and was threatened with a $30,000 fine if he didn't desist)."

Baja is Off the List

A few years ago I had a blast in Baja with my buddy Rusty, sea kayaking along the coast. Tourism is the golden ring that Mexico could have had access to in order to save itself from being a used up third world country, but the opportunity is disappearing rapidly. Americans are becoming too afraid to go there anymore (read this AP article), and the ones that still do are ignorant. Growing up in Texas I have soft spot for Mexico so it saddens me to see it degrade like this. Is this a world wide trend? The famous Paris-Dakkar off road race was just canceled thanks to thugs, called Al Queda in this version, (sad story here) due to recent kidnappings and the event organizers could not ensure participant safety. Are we at the cusp of a new era of isolationism?

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

MasterCard Dog

Our dog is powered by MasterCard. The vet visits, hospitalization, drugs, special food, etc racked up to $750. Good news is I got the air miles on Alaska Airlines for it, I'll try and remember that when we get tickets to Hawaii someday. Murphy did have the pancreatits, from what we believe might have been eating a chocolate bar a day before we left town, but he's all better now, still on the special food and pills for a week though. He was pathetic when he came home for his temporary overnight stay, having eaten nothing for 24 hours and with a bandage over his IV stent, and necklock collar (an alternative to the doggie lampshade) to keep him from chewing on it. Looks really sad in this pic doesn't he?