Not To Be Trusted With Knives

Yeah, so, Vegas. It’s a place I went1. And I heard that all y’all wanted to hear about it. So here goes – everything you’ve ever heard about Vegas is true. Overwhelming sights and sounds – check. Oxygen and delightful scents and free drinks pumped into casinos, where there are no clocks/windows/any way of telling how long you’ve been there, to keep you gambling as long as possible – check. People walking the streets with foot tall tubes of booze – check. Guy at the slot machine next to you getting “comped”2 because he lost so much money that the casino is willing to give him a free hotel room so he’ll stay and lose more – check. Giant pyramid with a light shooting off the top that can be seen from outer space – check. People standing on street corners flicking business cards of prostitutes – check.

The one thing that you hear about Vegas that isn’t true – people carrying buckets of coins around. All the slot machines have been changed to run on paper money and when you cash out, they print a ticket that you have to redeem at a cashier’s desk. No coins comes falling down when you win – it’s just credits on the screen – and when the slot machine prints out your little ticket, it makes this lame noise that is supposed to sound like coins falling jdown into the little now-vestigial metal tray at the bottom of the machine. Lame city!! Maybe next time I go to Vegas, I’ll bring my own bucket and put my little paper ticket into my bucket, just to screw with everyone’s head.

Stuff seen in Vegas:

  • Magician comedian who was filling in for Mac King at Harrah’s and whose name escapes me at the moment. Had a pretty funny schtick where he made it look like he’d screwed up the trick and then it would turn out to be a fairly neat trick after all.3
  • Dead bodies.
  • Mamma Mia – the musical based on ABBA songs. I swear, you’d think ABBA wrote their songs for that plot – it’s soooo well constructed.
  • The Blue Man Group. This blew my fucking mind. Like nothing I’ve EVER seen before. OMG, you need to see this. NEED TO!

<img src=”” alt=”
Blue Man & Me.
The fact that I wore a blue dress this day is merely coincidental.

Most nauseating thing seen in Vegas:

  • Picture this: You are playing your little $1 chips at the roulette table, mumbling under your breath that the $15 minimum really is too rich for your blood. A man walks up and lays 10 $100 bills on the table and asks for one chip. The dealer carefully counts the money out and hands over a $1000 chip. He lays the chip on black and walks away, doesn’t even watch the little ball spinning around the roulette wheel. The little ball lands on red. Bye-bye $1000! Then he does the same thing again – another 10 $100 bills, another $1000 chip on black and another loss. Then, just for good measure, he plays $100 on splitting the zeros and loses again. It seriously made me feel sick. If someone is willing to part with $2100 in like 45 seconds, why not just give it to charity??

Things learned in Vegas:

  • Tony Danza, Barry Manilow, Toni Braxton, all the people you thought were dead are, in fact, performing in Vegas. I think this means (a) they are not dead after all, or (b) Vegas is the afterlife for third rate celebs.
  • When playing roulette, you may be tempted to play Canucks jersey numbers… 22 – Daniel Sedin, 33 – Henrik Sedin, 16 – Linden, 9 – Pyatt, 7 – Morrison, etc. Don’t. Just don’t.
  • Waitresses will only come by to bring you free drinks when either (a) your down to your last dollar on the slot machine or (b) you say, “I’m cashing out if I don’t win on the next spin!” So that you’ll have to stay around waiting that free drink and will put more money in the machine. They have it down to a freakin’ science, I swear.
  • Vegas waitresses are not as hot as I have been led to believe. I’m willing to bet, though, that they make more money than I do.
  • If you walk around Vegas dressed as a bat, even on Halloween, you will get a lot of looks.
  • Everything in the Venetian is made of gold… including the toilets4.

  • The red carpets you see celebrities photographed on showing them going into Vegas nightclubs…. they don’t actually go anywhere! It’s just a bit of red carpet and a backdrop set up in the hallway for photo ops. As is my habit when I see ropes blocking things off or signs telling you not to go somewhere, I hopped over the ropes to get this paparazzi shot:
<img src=”” alt=”

And speaking of photos, I took these pics for Sarah & Dave:

<img src=”” alt=”
Saw our favourite arcade game, which is found in every bar, pub, tavern and daycare5 in Calgary, in one of the hotels in Vegas and just had to take a pic for you!

<img src=”” alt=”

Then I noticed this poor man’s Big Buck Hunter, called “Deer Hunting USA” right next to it. Apparently it also has “Animated Violence: Mild.

So that, in a nutshell, was my trip to Vegas.

1Tip o’the hat to David T. McLean, Esq.
2comped = getting free stuff (like a free buffet, a free hotel room) when you lose lots of cash at a casino.
3Wow. My description makes it sound really lame, but it wasn’t – it was quite good!
4Yes, I took a picture of the toilet. See, there is nothing I won’t do for you, gentle blog reader. Nothing!
5OK, so we didn’t actually go to any daycares in Calgary, but I’m willing to put money on them all having Big Buck Hunter.

{November 9, 2007}   Hockey Terms That Sound Dirty

Listening to Canucks games on the radio, I’ve noticed quite a few terms that the commentators use while describing the game that sound dirty1, including:

  • “he’s got good hands”
  • “he stuffed it in”
  • “poke check”
  • “making moves”
  • “gets his stick in there”
  • “scoring”
  • “two on one”
  • “hitting from behind”

Any other ones that I’ve missed?

1Proof, yet again, that I have the sense of humour of a 12-year-old boy.

My thoughts on this article: Free rides approach end of the line on SkyTrain

There may be no more free rides for fare-evaders on the Lower Mainland’s SkyTrain system now that B.C.’s transportation minister is pushing to have gates or turnstiles installed at all stations.

There is still no official plan is place, but Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon said Thursday a system could be up and running sometime in 2008.

There’s no official plan in place, but it will be up and running sometime in the next 13 months. Why do I find this hard to believe? Hmm…. perhaps because even when they do have an official plan, projects routinely take years longer to complete than they are supposed to. Translink and UBC were supposed to have an underground bus loop at UBC finished like two years ago and they’ve only just started it this fall. Or I think they’ve started it. They put up a fence around the area at least.

Turnstiles would make the system safer by keeping those who don’t pay out, said Falcon.

“Young women in particular feel much safer when they’re in what’s called a controlled area, an area which has controlled access through gates or turnstiles,” said Falcon.

Awesome. Now I can only be attacked by someone who has $2.50 to get passed the turnstile. Because you know if someone has $2.50, they are good people.

“Generally, thugs, punks, whatever they may be, [who] don’t pay to go cause trouble for other people,” he said.

Damn thugs and punks. And don’t even get me started on ne’er do wells.

Falcon said the new plan is to have a company install the barriers for a share of the revenue.

Great. So now the overburdened, underfunded public transit system will be giving up some of the money to a private company to put in turnstiles. And/or they will jack up the cost of using public transit to make up the difference of what they have to give to the private company.

Oh yes, and speaking of Skytrain, go to Mayor Sam Sullivan’s website to vote on if you think the Skytrain should be extended to UBC campus!

Wicked cool pic taken from the Skytrain by this guy, from here. Hooray for Creative Commons licenses!

{November 9, 2007}   Xmas Party’s?

Went to Nevermind, my favourite place to see Canucks games, to watch my beloved Canucks kick some Calgarian ass1,2 tonight. While the portabella mushroom burger at Nevermind is delish , their grammar leaves something to be desired:


Nevermind, perhaps you should go back to putting up signs about Chuck Norris.

1See you in hell, Calgary.
2The cardiac Canucks pulled one of their patented let-the-opponents-score-2-goals-in-like-5-seconds-to-make-it-a-one-goal-game-and-give-Beth-a-coronary moves in the third period. But they managed to hang on for the win, so I still love them and would have all of their babies upon their request.

So, I get into work this morning and the hallway is abuzz with the fact that our computers aren’t working. No email. No Internet access. No access to the one drive where everyone in our Centre saves all of our files. Nothing.

Two and a half hours later, when they finally got around to fixing the problem, I find this email in my inbox:

From: IT Services


Who is affected? All XXXXX clients across all XXXXX agencies.

What has happened? A power disruption occurred sometime this morning in one of the server rooms at XXXXX.

What is affected? Access to Outlook email servers may be intermittent.

However, the following applications are currently unavailable: X, Y and Z.

Other applications may be affected. XXXXX IT is currently in the process of identifying which applications are affected and will provide a further update as soon as more information is available.

You just emailed me to tell me that my email isn’t working? Seriously??

So, without access to the Internet, email or any of my computer files, I did the only thing I could. File all the paper that’s been piling up all over my office since the last time the computers weren’t working.

This computer outage lasted so long, however, that not only did I file everything, I also wiped down all the coffee spills on my desk (of which there were many) and took apart my keyboard to get the crumbs out. Seriously, it was disgusting the amount of crumbs and dust and unidentifiable gunk that was in my keyboard.

While I had my computer apart, I took this photo for y’all:


{November 7, 2007}   Flu Shot Bribery

On my way to purchase a celebratory1 extra-hot-soy-mocha-with-whip yesterday, I walked past a grizzly scene in the hallway. People rolling up their sleeves to voluntarily be stabbed in the arm with a needle. A NEEDLE!!

Ya, so, they are trying to get people at my workplace to get the flu shot. Getting the flu shot at this hallway-based “clinic” will serve as your entry into a draw for:

  • Running Room gift certificates
  • a digital camera
  • an iPod
  • fancy pants treatment at Spa Utopia
  • a 3 hr charter sailboat trip2

This presents a conflict for me – a conflict between my desire for free stuff and my sheer terror of being stabbed with a needle. In this case, however, I’m coming down firmly on the side of “for the love of god, don’t stab me in the arm!!!” But it’s not just that I would like to avoid blubbering like a little baby, as I usually do when confronted with a needle, in front of co-workers. Generally speaking, I’m in favour of vaccines. I’ve had my MMR, tetanus and all those other delightful stabs in the arms that prevent much more painful conditions. But I’m not overly confident in the flu shot. The thing with the flu virus is, it mutates. A lot. And so every year when they design the flu vaccine, they try to predict what this year’s flu will be. Sometimes they get it right (or at least close), but other times, not so much. As a healthy, immune competent adult, I don’t feel it’s worth getting a needle, possibly getting the “flu-like symptoms” as a side effect3, all for a vaccine that might be against a strain of flu that doesn’t even exist.

What do you think? Do you get the flu shot? Would you if your workplace bribed you with fabulous prizes?

1Celebrating (a) finally, at 2:30 in the afternoon, getting through the backlog of email/snail mail I had upon returning from my trip and (b) being awarded 3 assists in my Sunday night hockey game, two of which I remember actually getting4.
2A three hour tour. A three hour tour.5
3They always make a point of saying that you can’t get the actual flu from the flu vaccine, since it’s not made from a live virus. But if you are getting “flu-like symptoms,” isn’t that pretty much just like having the flu?
4 In fairness, I got screwed out of an assist that I clearly made a few games ago that the ref didn’t record, so this just evens things up .
5Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

Photo attribution: That photo of a big scary needle was stolen from this guy, from here. But it had a Creative Commons license on it, so it’s all good.

Wow. I just got the following email message:

Your message did not reach some or all of the intended recipients.

Subject: FW: Guest Speaker Wayne Hall May 4th – please post
Sent: 4/11/2007 9:23 AM

The following recipient(s) could not be reached:

xxxxxxxxxxx on 11/5/2007 4:45 PM

Take a careful look at the “Sent” date. April 11. I am getting a notification on November 5 that an email I sent *seven months ago* didn’t get to its intended recipient. That’s so very, very useful.

{November 5, 2007}   Did Ya Miss Me?

I’m back from my gallivanting. Too tired to write about it all now1, but since a picture is worth a thousand words, here’s 2K worth of words for ya…

This is me on Halloween night at, let’s say, The Bellagio2.


This is me and my beloved eBay shoes in, let’s say, The Venetian3. This picture was taken especially for you, blog readers, because I know you *love* updates on the adventures of my ebay shoes.

1Perhaps I’ll pull a Dave and write about *my* trip to Vegas 472 days after said trip.
2 I have to admit that I have trouble remembering which hotel/casino was which because (a) I saw one hell of a lot of hotels/casinos on this trip, (b) each hotel/casino was more ornate than anything I’d *ever* seen in my life, (c) the hotels/casinos were so friggin’ big you could be walking for like half an hour and still be in the same friggin’ hotel/casino, meaning that I often didn’t know which hotel I was in at any given point in time. Also, (d) they give you free drinks.


et cetera