THE SUIT THING

In a previous post, I wrote about the new suit that I bought last summer. It still fits awesome. A few days before I left for Vegas, I watched Ocean’s Thirteen. There are some nicely dressed characters in that movie, mainly dudes in suits. Though I didn’t believe I could pull off a Clooney or a Pitt, I decided nonetheless that I would wear my suit on my flight to Vegas.

On departure day, I didn’t go the shirt and tie route but wore a decent looking black polo shirt underneath my charcoal grey suit. It’s the fanciest I’ve even been at the airport but I got to admit, I like wearing my suit, it just fits so well.

Almost everyone else on my flight was pretty casual in dress, except for one older gentleman, he was wearing a suit too but no tie with his shirt. It’s the older dudes that always dress up for things and you gotta give them credit for that sometimes.

When I arrived at McCarran International, I had to stroll quite a distance and take a tram to get to my baggage carousel. As I made my way along, I began to think people take you more seriously when you’re all dressed up to travel than if you were in sweats. Maybe that’s not fair but I think there’s some truth to it. Why do you think these guys wear suits when they travel?

Anyways, I enjoyed it so much, I wore the suit on the flight back. When I got back home, I wanted to wear the suit everywhere. Then I realized if I did that, it wouldn’t be special, that’s why I wouldn’t want to wear a suit to work everyday.

I’m thinking of buying a black suit now.

THE LAS VEGAS REPORT

Well now that the turkey has been put away into the drawer for another year, I have time to write about my trip to Las Vegas. In short, it was a great trip.

I had a pleasant flight into McCarran International. Just two and a half hours and you’re in Vegas! Incidently, if you live in Vancouver and you fly in and out with Alaska, the departure/arrival gate will be D26, the exact same one where they filmed the end of Ocean’s Thirteen.

Anyways, I’ll sum up my trip with a few observations.

First, if you’re going to Vegas in December, don’t expect the weather to be hot. At night, it can be frightfully cold when the wind is blowing and the mercury will dip to near freezing quite easily. In the daytime, if there is no wind and you’re in directly in the sun, you might be able to get away without a jacket.

Going to Vegas the week before Christmas can be both a blessing and a curse. That week is traditionally one of the slowest and less busy weeks of the year for Sin City. As such, you can expect hotels to be much cheaper, flights less crowded, and Vegas itself to less bustling. It’s a great time to see everything without swimming in a sea of people everywhere you go.

On the other hand, since there are so many less people in Vegas that week, several clubs/shows/venues/restaurants decide to shut down until after Christmas. For example, we were dismayed to find out that The Pussycat Dolls Lounge was closed the entire time we were there. Don’t let that discourage you though, because a lot of stuff is still happening and we caught some excellent shows (to be described in a separate post) and didn’t have time to see everything we wanted to see.

The first time I went to Vegas in 1999, the Strip had become this new destination for families. Vegas had become family-friendly with roller coasters and other kiddie attractions. I am happy to report that while some of that still exists, Vegas is now decidedly for the more adult crowd. I don’t think I’ve seen so many beautiful and scantily clad go-go dancers in a casino. Some of them are in the bars, the Heart Bar in Planet Hollywood being one or they’re just dancing next to the blackjack and roulette tables. By the end of the trip, I just thought this how women normally dressed.

I actually think I may have lost weight during the trip. We did a ton of walking in Vegas and only near the end of the trip did we start taking cabs after fatigue started setting in. The Strip is deceptively long and a hotel that seems quite close is actually several long blocks away. We also didn’t eat a lot of food as one might expect while in Vegas. Adam, Phil, and I partook in several breakfast buffets, one lunch buffet but no dinner ones. The dinner buffets can garner hours long lineups. On Saturday, Tyson told us the dinner buffet lineup at the Wynn was four hours long. All told, we ate quite reasonably and one night, after drinking, I actually ordered a delicious wild berry salad. The combination of raspberries, goat cheese, and candied almonds made for a delightful end to the evening.

The Monte Carlo, which was the hotel I stayed in, was adequate. The lobby is nice but the whole hotel and casino won’t impress you too much. Having said that, it’s certainly not a rundown joint that leaves you wishing you booked elsewhere. The “Monty”, as I call it, will satisfy your needs but it won’t wow you, thus describing several of my ex-wives. The worst hotel I saw by far was the Excalibur. Sure it’s better than a Motel 6 off the Strip but as far as the major themed hotels go, it’s seen better days. The medieval theme hasn’t aged well and parts of the hotel/casino look downright dirty. The most impressive property I saw was the Wynn. The decor is classy and I was awestruck by the quality and style of everything inside. If money were no problem, I’d stay there without a second thought. If you’re ever in Vegas, do try to take a look yourself.

The trip also contained a few “seconds” for me. I visited my second Hawaiian Tropic Zone in Vegas. Since there are only two in the entire planet, I sleep easier every night now. I also visited my second Coyote Ugly while on the trip. As long as you understand each Coyote Ugly is kinda overrated and that they “manufacture” fun by begging girls to dance on the bar, then you’ll have a good time. In fact I had a great time at the Vegas CU, mostly because of alcohol but that’s ok. By the way, my first CU was the one in New Orleans where I drank with Andy, a fur salesman from Dallas that I met that night. Does anyone remember that?

Last but not least, because this post is getting stupid long, I did not have my camera with me on this trip, so there will be no pictures. Phil had his camera but I don’t know how many pictures he’ll have.

And that’s your report.

ALMOST HOME

Free wifi at the airport is nice. So you may have guessed I’m the airport in Vegas. I’m just waiting for my flight to depart. I hate writing on this PDA so I will end this post here. Be in touch soon.

OFF TO VEGAS

I’m leaving this morning for Las Vegas for a few days. I’ll be back on Sunday night. I am meeting up with some ex-SJCers there. A contingent of current SJC residents is already there and Newmark hails from Vegas, so he’s back for the holidays.

I’ll be meeting up with Tyson, Adam, and Phil. I haven’t seen Tyson since November of last year. I haven’t seen Adam since the Canada Day Classic of 2006. It’s been over two years since I’ve seen Phil.

It should be a good time. We haven’t planned much but I figure if we even just have a few beers together, it will have been worth the trip. Actually, I was thinking if I had more time, I would have arranged to have two hockey nets placed on top of a parking garage somewhere and we’d play a round of ball hockey, just like old times. That would have been awesome.

I don’t expect to be posting on the road, so I’ll be back on Sunday with a report.

COMING ATTRACTIONS

I’m looking forward to the holidays. Among the many reasons, one of them is that I’ll have more time to write some quality posts. For both you, the readers, and me, that’s a good thing. In the meantime, here’s a quick peek at what I have in store. If posts were movies, these would be trailers and from the looks of it, there seem to be some sequels.

In a recent post, I wrote about how I’ve noticed that the general gaming public loves to hate my employer, Electronic Arts. In fact, it almost seems like the default cool thing to write “EA games suck” or “EA developers are lazy” on message boards. Beyond what I wrote in my original post, I have some more thoughts on this subject. Do you think I’ll agree with those statements above? You’ll find out soon enough.

During grad school, I wrote a post about the hypothetical situation in which, somehow, I became the last person on the planet. In my theoretical predicament, every other person had disappeared. I detailed how I might find shelter, food, and amusement. It was an interesting exercise. In light of seeing the new movie I Am Legend, I’d like to revisit this post and add on the details of survivors. I am no longer alone. Civilization is gone but I now also have to deal with light-fearing, violent former human beings. How do I survive now in the Greater Vancouver area?

I’d like to write a post about my left knee. That’s all I want to say about that for now.

I’ve recently discovered some old high school acquaintances on Facebook. From looking at their pictures, a large majority of them have now started families. I also met up with some of my old undergrad friends last week. Three out of the four couples there had at least one baby. The entire evening was almost exclusively baby talk. When I write that, I mean they were discussing babies, not speaking like a baby would. Anyways, being still single, I have some thoughts on seeing all that.

Last but not least, I’d like to discuss some orzo recipes that I have tried in the past.

I AM LEGEND

I’ve watched the first hour or so of Will Smith’s movie, I Am Legend. Not only is it a pirated copy, it’s a streaming copy too. How easy is it to partake in piracy these days? Back when I was a kid, you had to find a torrent and then spend hours, even days waiting for peers and seeds before you start watching a movie.

Anyways, while it’s streaming, the quality, both in video and audio is complete crap but you get the idea of what’s going on. If you know me, there was no way I wouldn’t see at least a bit of this movie in some way. It’s got all the elements that fascinate me when it comes to fiction: human survival in a post-apocalyptic world brought about by a pathogen that turns humans into dangerous, violent creatures.

I Am Legend started out as a book written by the talented Richard Matheson. It was written in the 1950s and has been made into film form twice, once with Vincent Price and the other with Charlton Heston. I rented the Heston version once. It was nearly unwatchable, in fact I remember forcing myself to watch the end even though I just wanted to return the tape half way through. The Vincent Price version is better, though I haven’t finished watching it. That version is now public domain, so you can watch it for free (legally) now. Try this link if you’re interested.

I must have read the book about seven or eight years ago. The thing that I still remember now about the book is a section where Matheson describes how Neville, the protagonist, makes dinner alone in his home. We are shown how Neville gathers vegetables from his pantry, he taking note how much he has left, especially the garlic. We privy to the clatter of a frozen steak against a black, cast-iron frying pan. In short, it’s a few paragraphs describing a man making a simple dinner with ordinary items that anyone can identify with.

What no one could identify with, is the reality of the world Neville is doing this in. The context of which is what makes the ordinary, the making of dinner, stand out so much. Early in the day, he had gone out, in sunlight, to hunt infected human beings, rousing them from their dark hiding places and staking them through the heart. The fact that there are no grocery stores anymore makes it that much more compelling that he’s even able to make an ordinary dinner. His steak was frozen. Where can you get beef in such a world? How do you even get electricity to run a freezer? When does it become normal to go home and fry up a steak after killing infected people?

In stories like this, we can all agree that the zombies and the vampires are indeed interesting but let us not gloss over the human survival aspect of it. How could a person survive? Where would they get food? What would cities look like? Where would you live? How would you arm yourself? Would you go insane?

It’s telling that in many reviews of Smith’s new movie, the critics say their favourite parts of the movie are early on, when Neville is shown alone in the city with only his dog to keep in company. He’s just going about his daily routine in a strangely deserted New York City. These same critics feel the action-parts, later on, where the infected humans starting showing up, are the weakest parts of the film.

This won’t be the last movie of its type and when the next one comes along, I’ll be asking, “what would I do in that world?”

SLEEPY

I knew I should written a post before taking a sleeping pill. Now, I’ve waited too long and I can barely keep my eyes open. It’s a shame since I was going to write about what I had for lunch today. I’ll try to make up for it tomorrow.

WRONG ADDRESS AGAIN

If you’ve been reading this blog you know that I sometimes post some errand e-mails that come my way. They’re not intended for me but nonetheless wind up in a rarely used account.

So there’s this “Erwin” guy that I get all his e-mails. For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out why I was getting all his messages but now I know. He’s inadvertently setup his e-mail client with my e-mail address. The weird thing is, he’s able to send e-mail from his own address because I always get the messages when people reply to him. So the thing I don’t understand is how he’s able to enter in my address in his client but be able to send messages with his own account. Geez, what if he’s actually using my address when he sends? Anyways, I rarely use this account so it’s no big deal.

The last e-mail I got that was intended for him was pretty interesting. He sent some instructions to his stockbroker. His broker replied but was nice enough to include the original message which included the dude’s full name, bank account number, bank address, and bank identifier code. Now, I don’t intend to do anything with this info nor could I really with this interesting yet non-actionable info. I do wonder, however, if it’s time to tell the dude what the hell is happening.

I know he knows something is wrong because every once in a while, I get “test” messages from people, probably because he’s trying to diagnose the problem. I can almost guarantee this guy is over 40 years old, if not older. No one our age would or could let this problem linger this long. Another sign that he’s old is that Google turns up nothing on his name.

What to do?