Sin City

So I’ve been in Las Vegas for a day so far, and I’m pretty amazed how much has changed since I was here last, maybe five or six years ago. Maybe half a dozen new resorts have popped up and they’re all, not surprisingly, very extravagant. Everything sparkles at nighttime and we stop to stare in amazement at the wonders of the lighted signs and marquees. I swear, everything here is extravagantly lit, even the ol’ drug store, the In-N-Out Burger, the camera store and the Denny’s. Only in Vegas.

We got to have dinner at Bobby Flay‘s new Mesa Grill at Caesars, which I will say is very tasty. As much as Flay annoys me (I simply cannot watch his shows because his voice alone is enough to make me cringe), I admit he makes some damn fine food. We shared a grilled shrimp & cilantro pesto quesadilla appetizer and a New Mexican spice rubbed pork tenderloin, both accented with smoky spices and well-crafted sauces. With the signature margaritas (K had an original, I had a white peach, both on the rocks), the meal was perfect. Although a wee bit pricey, sharing a meal is the way to go. I really do believe in sharing entrees because regular american restaurant portions are really too big for a single person. Plus, it makes pricier restaurants a bit more manageable for the rest of us.

I played a bit of progressive nickel slots this afternoon (yes, I’m being thrifty) and lost only $10. So far, so good. As fun and exciting as it would be to play a bit of hold ’em or three-card poker here in Sin City, I am a bit concerned about seeing too much my money disappear way too fast. I prefer my regular kitchen table poker gang back home, for sure. It would be interesting to get that gang down here to take over one of these tables and play a few rounds. Some day, some day…

But we’d rather use our money right now for some good food and entertainment.

What I’m mostly excited about it seeing a show or two. We’re planning on seeing the infamous Blue Man Group at the Luxor as well as Penn and Teller’s newest show at the Rio. I am not interested at all in the Sirens show here at Treasure Island (which seems to be affectionately referred to as “TI” everywhere now… and I can’t shake the Texas Instruments connection). Even though it’s a free show, it really turns me off with its battle of the sexes theme. What ever happened to the good ol’ pirate show? This makes me sad.

For today and tomorrow, K is in a conference, so I’ve been pretty much fending for myself. It’s kinda cool to wander around and people watch. Right now I am relaxing in our room overlooking the strip (yesterday we had a room on the other side of the building that overlooked a roof, and luckily they had us change rooms today. hooray!). It’s a very gray cloudy day, and it’s gloriously brisk out. The rain has been on and off all day, but I’m sure I can find more ways to get around without getting wet.

Oops! Just as I typed that, an incredible downpour just started. Awesome, I can barely see the buildings down the block. Gonna head down to Canter’s Deli for a munchie.

Ooh! Thunder!

It's Meme Time

Not to fall into the blogging cycle that Nicole describes (not intentionally, anyway), but, it’s the weekend, and the weekend is light enough to accomplish a meme. So without further ado, here’s the countdown (I hesitate to call it the “Final Countdown”, as Elke titles it, since these are always subject to change):

Ten movies you’d watch over and over:

  • Garden State
  • Napoleon Dynamite
  • Donnie Darko
  • O Brother, Where Art Thou?
  • My Neighbor Totoro
  • The Hudsucker Proxy
  • Amelie
  • A Mighty Wind
  • Grave of the Fireflies
  • Ghost World

Nine people you enjoy the company of:

  • Kevin (natch)
  • My brother Brendon
  • My Mom and Dad (is it fair to count them as one?)
  • My dear friend Toni
  • Toni’s husband, Brian
  • My niece, Maddie
  • My friend Michelle (a.ka. Batgirl)
  • My friend Andy
  • My friend Asa
  • Sparx the cat (hey, cats are people too)

Eight things you’re wearing:

Seven things on your mind:

  • What to eat for lunch
  • If I should have a cup of coffee
  • Does my car need gas today?
  • My sinuses are ticking me off.
  • I think I have an overdue library book (or two) in my posession.
  • My teeth are fuzzy.
  • I need to go outside.

Six objects you touch every day:

  • The quilt on the bed
  • My hair
  • Sparx the cat
  • my keyboard
  • my keys
  • my handbag

Five things you do every day:

  • Brush my teeth
  • Drink copious amounts of water
  • Take my allergy meds
  • Check my email and RSS feeds
  • Sleep

Four bands (etc) that you couldn’t live without:

Three of your favorite songs at this moment:

  • Title and Registration – Death Cab for Cutie
  • The Killing Moon – Echo and the Bunnymen
  • The District Sleeps Alone – The Postal Service

Two people who have influenced your life the most:

  • Mom and Dad (again, I lump them into one entity)
  • Kevin

One person who you love more than anyone in the world:

  • I guess it’s most fair to say myself. Or rather, I should love myself more than anyone else in the world.

There you have it. I’ve succumbed to a meme for the first time in a while. Now I can go back to some real content.

buzzin' like a bee

Two caffeine posts in a row? That’s like, a new record.

Just a short while ago, I returned from the second monthly Coffee Meetup at Barefoot. Since changed formats, Andy (the owner of Barefoot) became organizer and is looking to make these get-togethers fun and interesting for all levels of coffee drinkers.

You may be questioning, “There are different levels of coffee drinkers?”

Well, maybe it’s more accurate to say that there are different classes. Not sure how to most accurately describe it. There are espresso drinkers, drip drinkers, casual drinkers, coffee freaks (and geeks), afficionados, home roasters, home brewers, frou frou sweetened coffee-like beverage drinkers and of course, any combination of two or more of the above. There are also many many subcategories that I don’t think I should really get into, but you get the gist.

So tonight, we did an interesting experiment. We tasted a couple of Barefoot’s espresso coffees as drip, and then compared it to an espresso shot of the same coffee. It’s really interesting how a coffee changes with the method that it’s brewed by.

I’m still a bit of a coffee novice, although I consider myself to be a bit more knowledgable than the casual drinker. There is certainly a lot to learn. I had attended one of Barefoot’s periodic coffee cuppings, which are really intense, but you learn a lot (cupping/tasting four coffees within 2 hours) and I recommend it to anyone wanting to know more about coffee and what can make one type better (or worse) than others.

So the idea behind the meetups is that they will be for more casual drinkers that might want to know more, but mostly to just go and taste good quality coffees and chat. I do hope that we can get more people to come, so please do join us if you can.

Oh, and congrats to Barefoot for securing the title of Best Coffee House in the Silicon Valley by Metro readers!

South Bay Bloggers, remember that tomorrow night (Tuesday) is a blog meetup, held at Barefoot (I, unfortunately, will be a bit late). This is our first time trying to hold two monthly meetups (due to popular demand). Thanks to Elke for talking the helm for our group! We’ve been at it for two years now and we’re still going strong!