June 26th, 2006

Dead Dog Cat

(no subject)

While away this weekend, I finished two books:

Black Powder War by Naomi Novik, the third of her Temeraire novels. Still engaging, though her aerial combat descriptions fall a bit short. Still, I await the planned future novels with anticipation.

Secondly, a much poorer showing, Saloons of the Old West by Richard Erdoes, a book I'd picked up out of general interest long ago, and moved up due to watching Deadwood. It had a few bits of anecdote, and it does mention both Deadwood and Swearengen (sp?) at various points, but it's not much use as a resource.

Before I left for Las Vegas, I also read through a couple of comics, first being Rising Stars: Untouchable #5, the last of this run, which was borderline incoherent, I'm afraid, and the second was The Stardust Kid #4, which is still cute, beautifully drawn, and interesting.
Dead Dog Cat

Friday

After a day at work, I drove down to Ontario Airport for a one-way flight on Southwest Airlines to Las Vegas. At least they gave out peanuts, which American Airlines doesn't do anymore. I read, and nearly finished a book mentioned previously, but the flight was a little bumpy.

I'm impressed with how quickly they got us out of the airport at McCarren. From touchdown to out on the street couldn't have been fifteen minutes, and was probably significantly less.

After pickup by forestcats who'd been in town visiting with her folks, we went back to our hotel (Excalibur), and dropped off the car, and then walked to the MGM for dinner. We had reservations to Emeril's New Orleans Fish Restaurant in the MGM, and we made it with minutes to spare, even though we got turned around a couple of times en route.

The food was exquisite. forestcats ordered the chef's tasting, with the wine (since we weren't driving), and I had halibut. Spectacular.

Back to the room, and I finished the book after midnight.
Dead Dog Cat

Saturday

I woke at a reasonable hour, and commenced reading some more. A little later, I called my friend, Steve, whose son's Bar Mitzvah was the reason for our trip. He gave me directions to the site of the services. It turns out that his synagogue sold their facility to Scientology, and a new synagogue was being built right off the I-215 at Valle Verde, but in the interim, we went to a country club in the highlands overlooking Las Vegas. Beautiful site, much too hot, and the services were packed with the kid's relatives.

He did a fine job with the material, and then we had a luncheon reception following. Some dancing, fair, but not spectacular food, and then we were off.

We drove around a bit, got forestcats some better shoes, and stopped at a pretty solid used bookstore called Albion, that's been in Vegas for a very long time. Oddly, I bought nothing there. The heat getting to us, we returned to the Excalibur to cool off and nap.

In the early evening, we returned to Steve's home in Henderson (Green Valley), where the misters sprayed, and there was a large spread of very tasty food. I especially liked the banana-wrapped Chilean Sea Bass, and the lamb chops. We chatted with mutual friends and the young Bar Mitzvah boy's relatives, and hung around for a good long while, and then returned to our hotel. By the time we got back, it was nearly midnight, and we called it a night.
Dead Dog Cat

Sunday

Once again, I was up reasonably early, and packed, including the contents of a gift basket from my friend's family, which arrived Friday night in our room. I finished off the bananas, and the water was a necessity, but most of the remainder got packed.

We then went to yet another meal from the Bar Mitzvah's festivities, this one being a brunch/lunch for those folks who cared to. Even more good food, including salt-baked salmon, a technique I'd seen on Food Network, but never tasted. Very moist and tasty.

We followed that by going to visit forestcats parents, and I loaded her mother with defensive software, as she's just changed from dial-up to cable modem. We cleaned out several chunks of spyware, and cleaned almost a Gig of junk off the harddrive. Hopefully, things will work well, henceforth.

The drive home started very well, until halfway between Baker and Barstow. I thought that just maybe we might be able to get home before eleven, but there'd been a bad wreck with a helicopter landing on the freeway, and things came to a screeching halt. To top it off, there was a hell of a lightning display to our south, and then when we came through the Cajon Pass, there was a heavy rainstorm. By the time (and distance) we got to the airport parking lot for me to get my car, there was an occasional spatter; by the time we were home, it was dry as a bone.

Unpack. To bed.

To work today. Sigh.
Dead Dog Cat

(no subject)

For some years now, I go to Las Vegas, and drop nearly nothing in gambling. Perhaps, at most, a few dollars. Over the last ten years or so, I'm ahead several dollars.

I've realized that I do mind leaving my money behind, there, stupidly.

However, going to shows that I find entertaining, or eating at excellent restaurants are places at which I don't mind abandoning dollars.

forestcats and I were able to have a splendid meal at Emeril's at the MGM, and the food we were served by Wild Truffle Catering by our friends was very good. For this, I don't mind putting down a buck or two.
Dead Dog Cat

(no subject)

While waiting for someone to call back, which they didn't, I managed to finish another book (one that I had nearly finished on the trip), this one being another book by Paul Doherty, this one called The Soul Slayer.

I like much of this author's works of a mystery nature, but this one is intended to be a medieval horror novel. When he's describing the land of Russia under Ivan the Terrible, he does well, but in characterization, it falls flat, and a good horror novel requires that you connect with the character first.

I like his other works much better; this one is a poor introduction to the author's works.