Archive for July, 2005
I’ve been to Rome, Dallas, Texas
Man, I thought I’d seen it all, oh
Around the world, searchin’ every corner
Man, I thought I’d hit the wall, ah!
There’s a sleepy town lies South of the border
You go there once, you’ll be there twice
Lots of pretty girls comin’ by the dozen, woo!
The white sand sure make a tan look nice
– Van Halen, Cabo Wabo
We just got back from Cabo San Lucas. We both thought about forgetting everything and staying in Los Cabos. So many thoughts passed through our heads as to how we could leave our jobs, have the cats shipped in and just live in Los Cabos.
It really didn’t dawn on me until a few hours after we got home. I updated the Cabo Blogo one last time and instinctively wanted to search the Web for more things to do in Cabo. I haven’t watched TV in over a week nor have I read the newspaper or any Websites.
I’m ready to go back to Land’s End.
In the meantime, here are photos from the trip.No comments
Elise found a gem of an eatery via her boss a few months ago and I was treated to this awesome pollo asado last night. The place is El Regio and all they serve is grilled chicken.
El Regio got its start in my neck of the woods (aka barrio) when I first moved to Austin. I never stopped to try the food because 1) I was a freshman in college and just assumed that my culinary delights were limited to Ramen, Gumby’s Pizza and widemouth Mickey’s malt liquor 2) I was a gringo and in this time that we called “the nineties” us gringos were fearful of being mocked if we wanted to exchange cash for food prepared by those of direct Hispanic decent (this was also true of lesbians).
Now that I have grown older, wiser, befriended lesbians, hispanics and a guy named Carl who has a lazy eye, I can comfortably send my wife to El Regio to get dinner. Anyway – it’s great grilled chicken. A media pollo costs a whopping $6 and can easily feed two. Get extra salsitas picosas.
I’m practicing my Espanoliolio because Elise and I will be waking up at the crack of manana and leaving for Cabo San Lucas. It’s a much needed vacation and I plan on relaxing to the point that attain a zen-like understanding of my life and the future. Or heartburn. Whichever comes first.
“Hola. Mi nombre es Senor Pollo Cabeza. Donde est el bano? El queso es viejo y mohoso. Git-R-Done.”
So if you don’t see any posts here for the next week, check the Josh & Elise Cabo Blogo.No comments
I was thinking about my first job out of college….
(Vidbook.com has long since been sold. I created many of the ‘vidbooks’ and banner ads that were featured on the site. Too bad we didn’t make any money.)No comments
Friday evening Kevin, Amy, Elise, myself and another couple were treated to a nice dinner at Tremezzo in the Aladdin hotel. We all went through a couple bottles of nice wine (I didn’t order so I couldn’t tell you what they were). Most everyone had the surf and turf special: Australian lobster with a tomato-based sauce and a 6 oz. baby filet with a gorgonzola and port sauce. That sounded really good to me but since most everyone was ordering that, I opted for the grilled lamb chops with a black olive sauce. It wasn’t easy to palatte the chops. I didn’t think about it until the waitress brought our order that she neglected to ask how I wanted mine cooked. The chops were overcooked, grisselly, fatty and the sauce couldn’t hide the bad taste.
We left Aladdin around 9 p.m. and we split a cab down the strip. Kevin and Amy went to MGM Grand to watch Dennis Miller. Elise and I rode over to Luxor to see the Blue Man Group. Elise really enjoyed the show. I think I went into it with too high of expectations. It was entertaining and there are elements of the show that are mezmerizing… Like I said, I think I went in expecting too much.
We left Luxor at close to midnight. We rode the monorail back to our room at Bally’s so we could change and grab some left-over booze from our party the night before. We walked over to Harrah’s because I wanted to go to the oxygen bar that I saw when we went on our foot tour of the strip on Thursday evening. Oxygen bar was closed.
We walked back to our hotel and hit the single deck blackjack tables until 5 a.m. We busted.
We woke up early on Saturday and attended two good seminars. The first seminar was “Hiring For Success”. A lot of what the speaker talked about I agreed with. Most of what he preached I didn’t agree with. He’s a corporate coach teaching how to hire corporate employees by “throwing the interviewee off-guard” and using scare tactics.
The second seminar was “Niche Marketing”. I went in thinking it was going to be a seminar on advertising and inside sales. Instead it was an endorsement for specific niche profit centers for pharmacies. It was still an interesting seminar.
After our last seminar we went to the trade show where I handed out Wellness Works swag in an attempt to create a buzz and get some business cards. The last folder and bottle of jelly beans were handed out and that was it. We were done. We walked back down the strip and I treated Elise and me to the oxygen bar and a water massage. It was much needed stress relief after being at this conference all week.
After making friends with the manager of the aqua massage oxygen bar we walked way the hell to the far north end of the strip so Elise could see some of the older Vegas casinos like Stardust and the Frontier. We stopped in and bought souvenirs for staff and made the long, leg-killing trek back to Las Vegas Blvd and Flamingo Road in the 116-degree air.
A quick change of clothes back in the hotel room and we headed downstairs, through the casino to the grand ballroom for AmerisourceBergens closing party. Again, all the food and drink you could ever imagine. There were fancy Italian deli platters with peppers, olives, cheese and genoa salami, prosciutto, etc. etc. Lettuce wraps with spicy chicken, ginger and carrots and peanut sauce. Chicken satay, build your own tacos, veggie quesadillas. That’s just what I ate – there was a lot more.
After dinner we were entertained by the Doobie Brothers. Elise really got into it. I’m not really a fan, but had a great time nonetheless. The Doobs’ show ended after a couple hours, everybody cleared out of the ballroom and poured into the casinos. Elise and I ran upstairs, regrouped and went downstairs to try our luck again. I tripled our money on a couple slot machines. Elise was very impressed, insisted that I continue playing slot machines and thought I was the coolest thing since Girbaud jeans. I quickly lost my winnings. Elise didn’t find me as cool any more.
We blew the rest of our allowance at the single deck table. Vegas got us this time.
We woke up relatively early this morning, packed our suitcases and went to the pool. We had a couple G-Strings (Pina colada with Midori) and panini sandwiches while we soaked up some desert sun.
We met Kevin and Amy in the lobby shortly before 2 p.m. and took a cab to the ever-so-busy Las Vegas airport. For whatever reason our flight was delayed for almost an hour. We had to catch a connecting flight in Phoenix. Our flight was delayed in Phoenix because of micro-bursts. We’re on the plane right now, an hour or so from Austin. We probably won’t get home until 1 a.m. and we both have to be at work first thing tomorrow morning.
Oh well… we had a blast on our trip to Vegas.No comments
Up until right about now I have been very stressed about our trip to Vegas. I had to do a lot to get prepared, schedule meetings and lunches, etc., etc. My stomach had been hurting and I wasn’t getting much sleep. I’ve managed to calm down.
Elise and I layed low on Wednesday. I went downstairs and checked out the conference and spent the majority of the day in the hotel room doing office work. Elise did the same. She had a proposal to get out so we were both pretty much glued to our laptops. On Tuesday night Kevin said to me, “Josh, we’re here on business but make sure you guys have fun.” That brought on a little relief for yours truly.
We took a break that aftenoon and had lunch at Cafe Lago at Caesars Palace. Las Vegas was once known for cheap buffets where for a few bucks you could get fried chicken and various other slop. You were urged to eat fast for next to nothing and get back to the one armed bandits or the tables. Now that celebrity chefs are everywhere on TV and consumers are more knowledgeable of food, buffets are ‘super buffets’ complete with finer foods that in the past you would only find a la carte.
That evening we met Kevin and Amy at the bar and had cigars and scotch (well, Kevin and I did – the girls split a bottle of wine).
After an hour or so I piped up and said, “Hey let’s go throw away some money!” So we all went to the casino at Bally’s and did a little gambling. I leave our gambling up to my wife. We’re on a shoestring budget while in Sin City because your narrator did the responsible and semi-stupid thing and paid off our entire credit card balance two days before leaving for our trip. I put 99% of our recent 450-square-foot deck project on our credit card. I don’t want to carry over a balance into following months so I paid the whole thing off. That was a lot of money.
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Luckily this is a business trip so I can expense most everything. I gave Elise some of our money last night while they were playing blackjack. I don’t gamble. I have my own vices and addictions and I don’t want to add gambling to them. I don’t know any of the casino games. I understand blackjack and I’d much rather observe. So I’m standing over Elise’s shoulder watching her play.
Kevin comes up behind me and says, “How are you guys doing… are you up?”
“Nope. We’re down to our last ten dollars.”
Elise heard that and got upset. She thought that I was mad because we were losing. She was a little emotional because 1) we were losing 2) we’re on a strict budget and 3) she was looooaded off of the wine.
It took an hour of consoling and a room service pastrami sandwich to get her back to her sweet, loving self.
We woke up early on Thursday and attended the opening of the AmerisourceBergen trade show. We did a little networking and checked out the vendors at the show. We went to a great seminar on increasing profit margins. We then hailed a cab and went to the local Albertsons and picked up booze and snacks for a customer appreciate social that we hosted in our suite. I didn’t plan as well as I should have because I booked our cocktail hour at the same time of the opening party for the convention. It was, however, a good investment. I was able to meet, face to face, a customer that we recently signed up from Culver City. And I was able to bring onboard a new pharmacy. Mission accomplished in my mind. I’m still going to network and hand out swag for the remainder of the convention and get as many cards as I can but I’ll be happy if I leave with only my one sign-up.
After our “party” we walked downstairs to the main ballroom and caught the very end of the opening party. Seeing how Elise is a catering director and I was a banquet manager for almost three years, we found ourselves checking out buffet setups and breakdown stations. It’s really weird being on the customer side of a huge banquet. There were open bars everywhere you walked (an open bar for 7,000 customers… can you say money?!?!) I ordered a scotch on the rocks and I was handed a 20 oz. glass of scotch. We both laughed and I stumbled off…
Elise hadn’t been too impressed with the Vegas scene at this point. I took her (along with my Big Gulp scotch) on a foot tour of the strip. She immediately lit up with excitement seeing all of the happenings and lights on the strip. We had a blast just walking the strip alone together. We went into the Venetian and I showed her the valcano at the Mirage. I decided we wouldn’t walk the whole strip because 1) I wanted to leave more sight-seeing for the rest of the weekend and 2) I was pretty tanked on the entire bottle of scotch I drank.
We stumbled back to Bally’s and I gave Elise $20 for blackjack. She won $40. I kissed her, congratulated her and then fell over. Not really, but it didn’t take me long to fall asleep once we made it back to our room.
This morning I got up, shaved my tongue and we packed up, checked out of our suite and I checked into our new room (we’re been here three days and have had three rooms!) I met Kevin in the lobby and we had a business lunch with the owner and his son of a company that does some really great direct marketing and inside sales for independent pharmacies. It’s looking like this will be an awesome partnership for both companies. We had lunch at Le Café Île St. Louis at Paris. I had the beef bourguignon, which was excellent.
Well… I have to run – Kevin and I are going to hit the town and run a couple errands. Here are pictures thus far.No comments
After a long ride on a tiny America West airplane, we greeted Las Vegas. Elise got all giddy when she saw the strip from the airplane as we were taxiing as this is her first time to Sin City.
We took a Lincoln to Bally’s, checked in and had our bags brought to our room. Kevin and Amy turned in early as Kevin had to be at a continuing education seminar at 6:30 a.m. the next morning. It was only 11 p.m. in Vegas but it was 1 a.m. our time. And it was hot. 103 degrees.
Our room is on the 17th floor overlooking Las Vegas Blvd and Flamingo. We can see the Flamingo and Barbary Coast directly across the street. We can plainly see Caesars Palace, The Mirage, Rio, Paris and the gorgeous Nevada mountain backdrop.
We neglected to eat dinner and the 6 oz. of peanuts provided by the airline wasn’t going to tide us over until morning.
Elise and I set out to find an early morning dinner. We walked past the Flamingo and across the strip to Caesars Palace. The casino and nightclubs were hopping, but no grub. We were hungry, exhausted and cranky. We decided to walk back to Bally’s to try dinner at the little sandwich shop we passed on the way out.
One thing that has change since I was last in Vegas over a decade ago. The thugs. There are teams of black male pick pockets that work individually and have their check points where they stop for a moment to eye prey. It’s obvious, annoying and scary. One got up so close behind me that he stepped on my flip flop. I turned around, eyed him and he said, with a shoulder shrug and a cigarette dangling from his lips, “‘sup?”
I ignored him and moved my wallet to my front pocket.
So we finally made our way back to the casino floor of Bally’s and had dinner at Nosh. I had The Highroller, a six inch roast beef sandwich with grilled onions and horseradish sauce. Elise had the pastrami. Both sandwiches were pre-portioned and would have otherwise been sent back had it not been 3 a.m. our time and hungry enough to eat cigarette butts. The grilled onions on The Highroller tasted like soap and the bread on both of our sandwiches left us with sore gums when we woke up this morning.
I woke up with the sun this morning. I showered, shaved, strapped the iBook to my back and headed out. I took the elevator down to the casino, turned around, went back up to our room and put on my clothes.
I went back down to the casino and found the Business Center in the tunnel between Paris and Bally’s. The placard on the wall read, “Internet access: Up to 5 minutes for $5″. I walked up to the desk and asked, “Are there any wireless access points in the hotel?”
“No, there are no wireless access points on the Strip?”
“Because they want you in the casinos, not on the Internet.”
“Ahhh… Is there a freestanding Starbucks anywhere near?”
“There’ s one a mile east of here, but I don’t think they have wireless.”
I said thank you and made my way back to our room.
I spent a minute or so seeing if I could setup some sort of dial-up account on my iBook. Couldn’t. I thumbed through the Yellow Pages for an ISP. I decided that my getting online would either 1) take all day if I wanted to try to setup a dial-up account or 2) cost an arm and a leg at $1/minute. I then opted to go unconnected for the majority of our trip.
I called the office and let the girls know that they’ll need to handle most of my e-mail & web-based affairs.
It was recently noted that Austin is the most wired city. I guess I’ve gotten used to that.
[Update: Elise and I walked over to Paris to check in at the convention. We talked with a couple reps from AmerisourceBergen and were informed that there should be a CAT5 cable hidden in our room. We came back to the room and I found said cable]No comments
Elise and I are embarking on a business trip to Las Vegas. We are attending the AmerisourceBergen National Healthcare Conference and Exposition. We started out late (go figure). I had a stressful day at work which had me burning at both ends all day trying to get things ready for the trip.
Elise and I finally headed toward the airport at 7:30 to meet Kevin and Amy at the airport at 8. We opted to park in remote parking. Luckily there aren’t many travelers on this particular Tuesday.
Since airport security is heightened now, it took us a good 15 minutes to get through security. Alone. Elise and I were the only people going through security at this point. And my lovely wife decided to bring her heirloom cuticle clippers. They handcuffed her, stripped her of her of all but her skivvies, aimed an AK-47 at her head and husky girl with a cigarette dangling from her lips gave the scene a thumbs up.
Elise didn’t want to part with her cuticle clippers. She reorganized her carry-on luggage and left me with an exposed laptop, power adapter and all of her work notes and clipboards as well as my iBook in its bag and my backpack full of tampons and shoes (I love being married) while she walked 12 miles to the other side of the terminal to check her laptop bag that now contains her cuticle clippers.
I’m sitting here at the gate waiting on the plane, the wife, my boss and contemplating lighting up one of these tampons.2 comments
Elise’s friend, Heather and her daughter, Juliette drove in from Des Moines last Monday. I had the day off so I smoked ribs all day to celebrate our nation’s independence. Once the girls rolled in from the long haul, we all sat around the table and gnawed on ribs and poblano potato salad.
After finishin’ our grub, we drove downtown to watch the fireworks on Town Lake. After the fireworks show, we headed home and all went to bed.
I had to work on Tuesday. Elise took most of the day off and took Heather and Juliette swimming and treated them to dinner at El Arroyo.
I came home from Tae Kwon Do and had my to-go order of beef fajitas.
On Wednesday the girls went swimming again while yours truly was at work. I came home and smoked a coffee and chile rubbed pork loin with a buttery white wine & roasted corn sauce with left-over potato salad.
Thursday the girls went to Wal-Mart and a quick lunch at Chick-Fil-A where Juliette got stuck on the slide in the playscape. From what I’ve been told, that was a dramatic ordeal. Then they all did some shopping about town, toured First Thursday on S. Congress and went to the mall to buy souvenirs.
Then they all went and picked up pizza from Austin’s Pizza Garden (awesome pizza!) I came home from TKD while the girls were eating. Having only had a banana for lunch, I was quick to jump in and beat all the females in a pizza eating contest.
I had to leave for work early on Friday and gave Heather and Juliette hugs before I left. They left shortly after I did for the long haul back to Des Moines.
I’m glad Elise had the chance to spend some quality time with Heather and Juliette. Heather mentioned many times that she’d love to live in Austin. We’d love to have her!No comments
We have a high-mileage Ford Expedition. Every once in a while when we put it into park, the engine revs very quickly and have to turn the truck off before it redlines.
Instead of taking it to the Ford dealership and having to pay all of the associated fees, I thought I’d try posting a question on a Ford Expedition forum.
It’s amazing how helpful people can be and how much time and money I saved!No comments
Today was a long day at the office. I spent a good deal of time daydreaming about the deck. I hauled ass home, completely forgeting that it was payday and that I was going to swing by the bank to deposit my check (literally, I just remembered that I have a paycheck in my wallet).
I came home and stared at the rafters for a while. I thought I could measure the rafter on both sides of the deck, snap the chalkline and go through them with a pencil and square. I soon realized that that wouldn’t work because I’d have to snap the chalkline on the tops of the rafters and I didn’t have a tall enough ladder to see the tops.
So I measured each rafter 14″ off the supporting 2×6. Dumb me assumed that the support boards (I had to splice two 12′ 2×6’s to span the deck) were square.
I attempted to saw the rafters while they were set in place. I painstakingly sawed one with a circular saw but the saw binded as I would reach the end of my cut. I tried the jig saw but I couldn’t get a good enough angle with my eye to follow the center of my guide line. I tried the laser guided jig saw but the sun was beating down on the boards so the laser wouldn’t show up.
I stared at my rafters some more. I was thinking of everything that I could possibly do aside from having to take them all down and cut them on the ground.
I harnessed my TKD black belt skills and jumped 13-feet into the air and landed a mean front snap kick. 2×6 boards set on-end are hard to kick and cut a straight line. I tried using The Force. I clenched my eyes as well as my entire body and could only muster a fart.
I ended up taking each and every damn board down and cutting them. Scholar Josh didn’t think to measure the boards from the end of the boards that are set square against the house. No no no, he cut them at the 14″ mark that he drew earlier when he thought he was going to miraculously cut them while he was dangling from a ladder with a circular saw.
So I pulled all of the rafters down and cut them. I then put them back up. I wiped the sweat from my brow, sighed a sigh of relief and summoned The Force again.
I walked to the side of the deck to see a straight-line view of how my perfectly-measured, squared-up rafters looked. Theyy looked like cousin Cleatus’s teeth after a night of “smile 3-feet from the ass-end of this donkey while Bubba drops fireworks in the feed trough”.
Yeah, that’s a far-fetched Haiku but I’d rather do that right now than take those damn rafters down and cut ‘em again.
Damn you deck. Damn you. Damn you. Damn you.No comments
Elise and I shopped for almost a year for our house. We found a good deal in Austin’s Circle C Ranch neighborhood.
Just this week ABC cancelled the airing of Welcome to the Neighborhood, a reality TV show filmed in our neighborhood.
Welcome to the Neighborhood pitted seven “diverse” families in competition for one posh house in an Austin, Texas, planned community known as Circle C Ranch. Three neighborhood families, all white and traditional, were assigned to pass judgment on the prospective new neighbors, some of whom were gay, black and/or Wiccan.
Too bad. I have a lot of scrap lumber left over from building the deck and was hoping I could use it to construct a large cross in the front yard and set fire to it in the evenings.
And just yesterday a road a few blocks from our house was closed for 12 hours because a suspicious package was found and thought to be a bomb.
As they say ’round these parts, “Keep Austin Weird”No comments