Saturday, November 28, 2009

It's Bedlam!!

Go Pokes beat the Sooners!

Ride 'em Cowboys, ee-yah!
Ride 'em Cowboys, ee-yah!

Ride, ride, ride, ride
Ride 'em Cowboys, down the field
Fight, fight, fight, fight
Fight 'em Cowboys, and never yield
Ride, ride, ride, ride
Ride on Cowboys to victory,
Cross OU's goal,
Then we'll sing.
Oklahoma State!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today I celebrated a traditional Thanksgiving meal with my family, cedar plank salmon. OK, maybe not so traditional! We ate at Deep Fork Grill. Sometimes we do the big meal thing and sometimes we eat out depending on how many of us are together for the holiday. Last year we celebrated a day late due to Lo's birth. You can read about that event here.

Years ago I lived with a partner, for lack of a better term. We started dating when I was 19, eventually we moved in together and lived in a kind of "marriage" for ten years. The last Thanksgiving we spent together we went to a friend's house to celebrate with a few other couples. Very traditional spread, turkey and all that, yadda, yadda, yadda. Before we began the feast, we went around the table and shared with each other what we were thankful for that year. I can't remember what me or my partner said, but as soon as we listened to the others around the table, I recall clearly now what we failed to say. Neither of us mentioned that we were thankful for each other! How funny. How sad. I have no clue why I thought about that time today but when I did it made me sob nearly uncontrollably. Fuck the past, right? That was a long time ago. Why do I still carry that kind of shit around with me?

"Life is short, time is flying, I'm looking for baggage that goes with mine." It's from RENT in case you don't know the reference.

This year I'm thankful, as always, for my family who continue to support and love me no matter what. In good years and in bad years. This year has been especially bad, a real beauty. Definitely the year of the Ox. It's almost over.

I'm also grateful for my friends, past and present, even those that I hold a grudge against... for a decade or two... I'm especially thankful for my friendship with Kim, even though she thinks it was me who broke the "let us have shots" seal last night. Funny. She never judges and always fiercely supports me. She is a totally super bad ass person, in a good way! Her battle cry: "I'm a grown ass woman!"

So that's it, I'm done with my bitter party of one for the day. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Top Chef Rerun (Again)!

Boo (again)!

Apparently Top Chef: Las Vegas will not have a new episode on tonight so I won't be writing a recap tomorrow. In the absence of a post, here is a list of blogs that feature Top Chef postings that I usually read on Thursday mornings:

Top Chef Blogs on Bravo

Please Pack Your Knives and Go

The Troll Report

Tales From LaLa Land

Dealing in Subterfuges

Check them out and enjoy.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

There's Somthing About Mary... Landrieu

I got a nice chuckle out of this photo shopped picture of Senator Mary Landrieu(D)-Louisiana, on Huffington Post today. Apparently it was provided by Mark Halperin on Time's "The Page." The picture has since been removed, I can't imagine why.

Landrieu, along with Blanche Lincoln(D)-Arkansas, is a Democratic Senator I won't be sorry to see lose her seat in next year's midterm elections. Thank you so much for your votes, ladies, to let the Senate debate health care reform! Why is it always the poorest states in the Union, with a small population that hold up progress for the rest of the country? I certainly wouldn't want our two idiot Senators from Oklahoma to do the same, though it is expected since they carry an (R) next to their names and are "conservative".

Sorry, I'm a little grumpy. I'm really tired of the endlessness of the whole health care reform debate (debacle).

She Wolf

Nothing to blog about today, so that means it's video time!

There's a she wolf in the closet,
open up and set her free (auuuuu)
There's a she wolf in the closet,
let it out so it can breath (inhales, exhales)

I think my favorite part of the song is where she howls during the chorus. It also goes without saying that Shakira is hot, hot, hot!

She Wolf - Shakira

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thirteen Years Ago...

On November 22, 1996 I went to the opening day showing of Star Trek: First Contact at the mall in Enid, America, Oklahoma. I only remember the date since it is also the anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

I had been following the movie information on the Internet and AOL for several months before its release. I even downloaded the movie teaser and trailer online. The video below took me hours to download at the time on a dial-up modem.

I'm not sure why I'm remembering all of this today, I obviously have too much time on my hands.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Let Them Eat Cake!

A phrase never uttered by Marie Antoinette, by the way.

Today I ventured to the land that time forgot, my hometown, for my great niece's first birthday party. I've stated before on this blog that I'm really not a kid person. They are vile, wrethed, evil, little people! Having said that, I do kind of have a soft spot for Loralei, or Lo for short. Why doesn't "i before e except after c" not apply to her name? Anyways, I love her so much that I'm willing to take a tour through Dante's nine Circles of suffering for her, again by visiting my hometown. As tradition requires she got her own mini birthday cake to destroy and spread all over her face and clothes. Below is a picture of her just getting started.

Let them eat cake. Indeed.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Golden Orange

I've finished my third Joseph Wambaugh book in the last couple of months. The Golden Orange was published in 1990 and was the first publication at the time for Wambaugh in five years.

"When forty-year-old cop Winnie Farlowe lost his shield, he lost the only protection he had. Ever since, he's been fighting a bad back, fighting the bottle, fighting his conscience. But now he's in for a special fight. Never before has he come up against anyone like Tess Binder. She's a stunningly beautiful, sexually spirited three-time divorcee from Newport Beach-capital of California's Golden Orange, where wallets are fat, bikinis are skimpy, and cosmetic surgery is one sure way to a billionaire's bank account. Nearly a year ago Tess Binder's father washed up on the beach with a bullet in his ear. The coroner called it suicide, but to Tess it means the fear of her own fate. And Winnie Farlowe is a man willing to follow wherever she leads-straight into the juicy pulp of the Golden Orange, a world where money is everything, but nothing adds up . . . where death and chicanery flourish amidst ranches, mansions, and yachting parties. In his long-awaited new novel, best-selling author Joseph Wambaugh combines harrowing suspense, scathing humor, and a moving portrait of a man on the brink of self-destruction."

The novel was far better than "Fugitive Nights" but not nearly as good as "The Choirboys," the previous two books of Wambaugh's that I've read. The novel has all the great, dark humor I've come to expect from Wambaugh, as well as an intriguing story that had me scratching my head up to the final revelation near the end.

Recommended. As much as I've enjoyed the three books by Wambaugh, it's time to take a break from his writing. Any suggestions out there on good fiction or non-fiction books or any good book blogs I should be following?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Top Chef: Bocuse d'Or

"The Bocuse d’Or (the Concours mondial de la cuisine, World Cuisine Contest) is a biennial world chef championship. Named for the chef Paul Bocuse, the event takes place during two days near the end of January in Lyon, France at the SIRHA International Hotel, Catering and Food Trade Exhibition, and is one of the world's most prestigious cooking competitions."

Last night the chef contestants of Top Chef: Las Vegas participated in their own Bocuse d'Or. The quick fire challenge, create a dish with a protein inside of a protein inside of a protein. Awesome. Guest judge, Gavin Kaysen. Awesome. Jennifer combines calamari, scallops and salmon for a much needed win. As soon as Padme said, "welcome back," I knew Jennifer had bagged the last quick fire challenge in Las Vegas, her reward was 30 extra minutes time in the elimination challenge. Kudos also were in order for Eli who, for the second week in a row, made a dish that looked and sounded good, to me anyways. Too bad for him the competition isn't Top Chef: Brunch!

The elimination challenge, Top Chef's own version of the Bocuse d'Or. Each contestant made a platter with protein and two garnishes. The protein choices are lamb and salmon. The stakes? Nothing much, a place in the final four in Napa Valley, 30,000 dollars for the best taste, creativity, and execution, and oh yeah, a chance to compete for a spot on the 2011 American Bocuse d'Or team! Wow. Talk about cooking under pressure. Here's a breakdown of what was served by the contestants:

Kevin: He prepared poached lamb loin, sherry-glazed beet and asparagus in sunchoke cream. Kevin was dogged a little by the judges for being over simplistic but once again his flavors were good enough for him to win the elimination challenge. He really beat himself up over the ordeal but it was clear based on the comments by the judges about the other entries that he was going to win.

Bryan: He presents crusted lamb loin, lamb shank crepinette and orzo au gratin. He under cooks the lamb, the kiss of death this season.

Jennifer: Her dish is salmon and caviar, shrimp flan and truffle, celery root and shiitake. I believe the judges had problems with her vision and the salmon was not cut properly where one judge had an under cooked portion.

Michael: Mr. Arrogant prepares salmon with cauliflower chickpea tart and zucchini tzatziki. It was discussed that he was the only one of the chef contestants that had ever competed in a similar event. He was slammed pretty hard by the judges for a lack of vision and for a bone that was found in one of the judge's salmon! Michael also described his presentation as Mediterranean influenced. Bad call. I thought for sure Michael would be exiting the competition but somehow he survived.

Eli: He makes his final appearance in Top Chef by presenting sausage wrapped lamb loin, carrot puree and tomato-piquillo canape. Once again under cooked lamb is the straw that broke the camel's back. Adios d-bag.

Some final thoughts on the last Las Vegas episode:

Gavin Kaysen is incredibly cute! Too bad he looks like a hobbit when standing next to Padme.

I actually felt bad for Eli for a moment when he was eliminated. Very emotional, not just for him but for Jennifer and Kevin. Then I remembered what a turd he's been. You do have to give him credit, though, for making it as far as he did in the competition.

With Eli gone, my new villain is Michael. He really dumps on Kevin about his simple approach to foods and pops off saying something like, "he makes food that I prepare on my weekends off." His whining about not winning challenges in previous episodes has also soured me. "It's hard to be humble when you're perfect in ever way!"

Kevin rebounds after a poor performance in the quick fire challenge. I'll take simple, prepared well, and good tasting food over more technically challenging, under cooked food any day.

Jennifer also rebounded in a big way. She won the quick fire challenge even though she said she's never cooked a ballotine (or is it a ballotine technique?). I also believe she probably finished in the top three of the elimination challenge.

I think the final four is fantastic! I truly believe that all four contestants we are left with are the best of the whole competition. I hope Michael is the next to go but who can say. I'm still sticking by Kevin to win it all. On to Napa.

I want to give a big thank you to Dealing in Subterfuges for the fantastic recap on her blog. Without referencing this site there is no way I could remember specifically what everyone prepared!

Three Years Ago...

Three years ago today (November 19th, 2006) I camped out at Best Buy overnight in line to be one of the first to purchase a Nintendo Wii. I've blogged about the night before and it was a really great experience even though I froze my ass off!

Timmy's red blanket was hideous but it sure was warm!

In honor of The Wii's birthday, here are my picks for the top five games released on Nintendo's motion control system:

#5 - Punch Out!!: Little Mac returns after a hiatus since the SNES days. I bought this game last summer and spent an insane amount of time boxing my way up the rankings to become the champion. The game offers 14 opponents, most of them throw backs to the NES and SNES games. Once you work your way to champion the game opens up challenges for each opponent to keep you playing. The game can be played arcade style by flipping the Wii Remote on its side or you can plug in the Nunchuck attachment and hop on the Wii Balance Board for a more immerse experience. Go old school and just use the Wii Remote. Lots of depth and the Nintendo nostalgia factor is through the roof. Good stuff.

#4 - Super Mario Galaxy: Mario returns in another 3-D adventure in a much better installment than Super Mario Sunshine on the Nintendo GameCube. Explore different planets for a truly 3-D experience, pushing the envelope of physics. The best platformer on any system since Super Mario 64 on the Nintendo 64.

#3 - The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: A release game I bought along with the Wii at launch. The game was originally a GameCube game that incorporated some motion control features of the Wii. Another great Zelda game with a long and satisfying quest with plenty of upgrades and secrets to find. I've played through the game completely three times, something I rarely do with any game.

#2 - Metroid Prime 3: Corruption: One of my favorite series was given a prequel sequel (does that make sense?) during the summer of the Wii's first year. Corruption took all the best of the Metroid Prime series, a ton of upgrades and a hybrid shooter/ action game, and brought to the table pointer functionality via the Wii Remote. If you like first person shooter games, this is a great example of how the Wii expands and brings a whole new level of game play to the genre. Earlier this year Retro Studios and Nintendo release the entire Metroid Prime trilogy in one package incorporating Metroid Prime 1 and 2 with the same great control system in Metroid Prime 3.

#1 - Animal Crossing: City Folk: I love this series. I'm sure that I've logged in hundreds of hours collectively between Animal Crossing, Animal Crossing DS, and the Wii version. Basically the game is a life simulation game Nintendo style. Create a town, build a house, work to pay off your debt, upgrade your look and the possibilities go on and on. Probably the best thing about the latest version is playing online with others. I've had great fun playing along with my nieces and my sister-in-law, though we're all in different cities. Yeah, so, it's kind of a chick game...

Honorable Mention - The New Super Mario Bros. Wii: Having just purchased the game Sunday I didn't want to include it to my top five list but the game is awesome. Take a Mario old school side scrolling game and upgrade the graphics and power ups. Classic.

So that's it! Happy birthday Nintendo Wii.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Latest Reads

Having been so impressed by Joseph Wambaugh's novel The Choirboys, I borrowed a couple of newer novels by Wambaugh from my mother. By newer I mean written in the '90's. "Fugitive Nights" tells the story of a retired police office, Breda Burrows, who sets up shop in Palm Springs as a private investigator. She enlists the help of a boozer Palm Springs cop waiting for his disability retirement, Lynn Cutter, on what should be a simple domestic case of surveillance and reporting. From here all hell breaks loose in the desert in and around the glamorous California town.

I like Wambaugh's style tremendously, particularly in this book he has a great talent for three things: writing cop talk, burnout alcoholic heroes, and profanity. Indeed the humorous parts of the book are on par, mostly, with The Choirboys but overall the story falls decidedly flat and shallow. The book is much more light hearted than I thought it would be, given what I've read of his so far. I don't know that I would recommend the novel; however, there is definitely some good stuff to be found here but the story is just too uneven.

A book that I can wholeheartedly recommend is "Two for the Dough" by Janet Evanovich. It is the second book in the Stephanie Plum novels. I made a blog posting about the first novel, "One For the Money", last month. Here's what I had to say about the first book in the series:

The book is a super easy read, told from heroine Stephanie Plum's perspective. It chronicles her bumbling rise and eventual success as a bounty hunter. "One For The Money" is the first in an ongoing series of 15 books to date. I highly enjoyed the humor and fast paced storytelling that was provided and if I come across the next installment I'll definitely give it a read.

The second book picks up a few months after the first. The same funny characters are present (Stephanie's grandmother is hilarious) with the same situations that literally made me laugh aloud while reading. Bounty hunter Plum definitely has a knack for getting herself and others into a lot of trouble with funny results. Again, the book is pure fluff but there's nothing wrong with that, especially when it's provided by a story that only took me a little over a day to read, even with all the interruptions at work. If you want something fast, easy and funny, check out the best selling series.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Time to Pretend

I'm totally obsessed with the band MGMT right now.

Time To Pretend - MGMT

Star Trek (2009)

Star Trek is boldly going to DVD and Blu-ray today. If you haven't seen J.J. Abrams' reboot of the classic sci-fi television show, I would highly recommend that you rent or purchase the movie today.

I've been a Trek fan as far back as I can remember. I used to watch the original series in syndication after school back in the '70's. Later, I enjoyed most of the original cast movies and really dug The Next Generation in high school and college. I believe the pinnacle of the franchise was Deep Space Nine; however, it was all downhill from there, the franchise slowly lost steam with two more mediocre series (at best) and a couple of forgettable movies.

I was little dubious when I heard the news years ago about a reboot of the Star Trek franchise. Why go back and recreate the original series? It turned out to be a wise decision. The new movie captures the essence of the original series and takes it a step further with a younger and energetic cast with great special effects and a decent story. The casting is especially top notch, particularly Zachary Quinto playing Spoke and Karl Urban playing Bones. The only downside, if there is one, is the story. It is a bit weak but as a first effort and certainly as an origin story it succeeds. The direction of the story also takes care of events and the canon of the previous series and movies which I actually appreciated. The new series of movies can truly venture forth without being beholden to previous storytelling.

Review from DVDFile.

Review from Trekweb.

Again, highly recommended, not only as a Trek flick but as one of the better movies of last summer.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The One I Love

Nothing going on today, enjoy some R.E.M.

The One I Love (2003 Digital Remaster) - R.E.M.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Heartstopper in Stillwater

Wicked hit, ouch! There's no status on Zac Robinson yet. The bad news, the Cowboys have a short week and play again on Thursday night. The good news, they play Colorado at home.

The Pokes have quietly accumulated eight wins so far and are on track to their best win season ever, provided they can beat the Swooners in Norman in a couple of weeks. A trip to the Cotton Bowl looks likely and a BCS berth is not out of the realm of possibility with a little help from other teams. I never thought the Cowboys would be in this position after a disasterous loss to Houston at home early in the season and after the loss of all world receiver Dez Bryant and Big 12 leading rusher Kendell Hunter. The future looks bright... and orange! Ride 'em Cowboys!!

How sweet would a Cotton Bowl match up with LSU be? I'd love the Pokes to kick Les Miles in the nuts.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Saturday the 14th!

"It gets bad on Friday the 13th but it gets worse on Saturday the 14th!"

Funny. I actually remember this movie when it was released. I think my favorite part is the voice over, it reminds me of other voice over gems:

Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!
Rice-A-Roni, the San Francisco treat!
Live from New York, it's Saturday Night Live...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Happy Friday the 13th!

Anyone superstitious about this date or have superstitions in general?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Top Chef: Breakfast with Padme

Top Chef: Las Vegas returned last night after a week off for another Top Chef reunion show. After some of the recent challenges and the dwindling contestants, last night's episode was pretty tame. The quick fire challenge was simple. Deliver breakfast room service in 30 minutes. D-bag extraordinaire Eli ended up winning the challenge with a take on a Reuben replacing the 1,000 Island dressing with a hollandaise sauce, it actually sounded pretty good. Kevin was in the running as well with another simple dish, a hearty steak and eggs concoction. I found it funny that Jennifer made SOS (shit on a shingle), a combination of bread, gravy and meat which I've eaten many times, just never for breakfast.

The elimination challenge sent the contestants out to a casino on the strip to draw inspiration for a meal they would prepare. Here is a breakdown of who went where:

Jennifer - Excalibur: She took in the Tournament of Kings, an experience I've never had on my many trips to Vegas but it looks like it might be kind of fun. She ended up making a "Sword in the Stone" dish that landed her in the bottom three.

Bryan - Mandalay Bay: He explored the shark reef and was influenced by seafood sustainability.

Robin - Belagio: She was influenced by the Chihuly glass sculptures lining the ceiling at the entrance to the hotel. I thought initially her plan to use sugar to recreate the sculpture effect was great but once again Robin proved she couldn't execute basic cooking techniques and was finally, finally sent home. Never seen Dale Chihuly's work? Check it out his giant sculpture at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art.

Kevin - Mirage: He hung out with some Dolphins (the second most intelligent species on the earth, after mice, according to Douglas Adams).

Eli - Circus Circus: Poor guy. Probably the worst casino on the strip for inspiration! The place is just wretched. I'd rather stay home than have a room booked for me at Circus Circus, OK, maybe that is a bit drastic, I don't sleep much in Vegas anyways.

Michael - New York New York: Somehow he came up with chicken wings as his inspiration. Yeah, I think wings when I think of food in New York. Anyways, it must have been good since he ends up winning the elimination challenge.

So in review, nothing has changed much from last week. Kevin and the Voltaggio wonder twins continue to dominate. Jennifer's lost her confidence but didn't whine about it as much this week. Robin continues to prove she is out of her league and is finally sent packing. Finally, Eli is still an annoying penis who is lucky to still be around.

Predictions for next week: Jennifer finally gets her shit together and edges out Eli to reach the final four. Either way one of these two are history in a week barring some catastrophe from the others. I still think Kevin wins the whole thing.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Release the Kraken!!

Clash of the Titans hits theatres March 26th, 2010. Yes I know, I'm a geek.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Berlin 20 Years Later

I watched with interest some of the activities from yesterday's 20th anniversary of the collapse of the Berlin Wall. C-SPAN had coverage of the event in Berlin at the Brandenburg Gate. I can't believe it's been 20 years since the fall of the wall. I remember vividly the event in 1989 when I was a Junior at dear old Woodward High. The wall coming down was of particular interest to my German teacher and our class at the time and I remember we discussed the historic event heavily.

I was lucky enough to travel to Germany a few months later on an exchange program. I had the opportunity to travel all over West Germany and travel through East Germany to West Berlin. The only significant time I spent in East Germany besides traveling was in East Berlin. The wall had come down but the countries were still not unified. Mostly what I remember of East Germany was that it was like going back in time 30 years when compared to that of the other half of the city, West Berlin. The wall had not yet been removed but it was a skeleton of it's former self from everyone that wanted to save a piece of history. I didn't take a piece of the wall as I had heard it had asbestos in it! Isn't that silly? One other cool thing I saw (besides the wall) that was still in use was Checkpoint Charlie.

This morning I scanned one of my favorite photos from Berlin during my trip (pictured below). I believe it's of me and an East German guard at the Berlin Wall, at least that's how I labeled the picture almost 20 years ago, though, I could be wrong and it could be a West German guard. Gotta love that late 80's/early 90's hairdo, rolled up shorts, braided belt and paisley shirt!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Sunday Funday Monday Part IV

It's been a while since I did a Sunday Funday Monday post. I haven't had anything new to report in a while on my favorite day of the week. Lately I've just been hanging out at the Park and catching some football every now and then at Old Chicago. Yesterday I was looking forward to an uneventful day oozing around the house watching football and reading until I was abducted by Kim. She had fifty dollars in gift certificates to Red Pin Bowling that had to be used last night.

It's been a while since I've been to Red Pin Bowling. The environment is kind of fun, they have a full bar, kitchen and of course bowling lanes. If you bowl there I would recommend taking your own equipment, i.e. shoes and ball. The bowling ball I finally settled on using was not the best quality. I bowled well below my average the two games we played. We were able to listen to some (outdated) dance music while we bowled and we were able to watch both the Thunder game and Cowboys game simultaneously on the big screen TV's above the bowling lanes. The only down side to the experience was the cost. For us to bowl two games, shoe rentals, and a couple of beers cost over 50 dollars! Luckily we did have the gift certificates.

After bowling we made a stop at Sipango Lounge and then back to bricktown to Maker's Cigar Lounge. Maker's is not the kind of place that I would usually hang out but our friend Lacy was singing there so we thought it would be a fun destination. We settled in on a big comfy leather love seat and enjoyed some mellow music. All in all the lounge wasn't too smokey from cigar smoke nor as stinky as I anticipated. Given the choice, though, I would pick Sipango's anytime. I just love hole in the wall bars.

I really dig hanging out with Kim. We seem to get each other's dark sense of humor which always makes for an interesting adventure no matter where we're going. Unfortunately we don't get to see each other too often these days. When we do get time to hang out we just pick up where we left off, two peas in a pod.

Friday, November 06, 2009

It's Friday Night!!

Let's get this party started!

Get The Party Started - P!nk

Hoover Dam Bypass Project

Dad sent me an email with information on the Hoover Dam Bypass Project. Very interesting stuff. The last time I drove to Vegas I believe they were just starting the project as I remember the large support structures going up and traffic being a mess. Below are pictures and information.

"THE WIDER VIEW: Taking shape, the new bridge at the Hoover Dam Creeping closer inch by inch, 900 feet above the mighty Colorado River , the two sides of a $160 million bridge at the Hoover Dam slowly take shape. The bridge will carry a new section of US Route 93 past the bottleneck of the old road which can be seen twisting and winding around and across the dam itself.

When complete, it will provide a new link between the states of Nevada and Arizona .

In an incredible feat of engineering, the road will be supported on the two massive concrete arches which jut out of the rock face. The arches are made up of 53 individual sections each 24 feet long which have been cast on-site and are being lifted into place using an improvised high-wire crane strung between temporary steel pylons.

The arches will eventually measure more than 1,000 feet across. At the moment, the structure looks like a traditional suspension bridge. But once the arches are complete, the suspending cables on each side will be removed. Extra vertical columns will then be installed on the arches to carry the road. The bridge has become known as the Hoover Dam bypass, although it is officially called the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, after a former governor of Nevada and an American Football player from Arizona who joined the US Army and was killed in Afghanistan . Work on the bridge started in 2005 and should finish next year. An estimated 17,000 cars and trucks will cross it every day. The dam was started in 1931 and *used enough concrete to build a road from * New York to San Francisco *. The stretch of water it created, Lake Mead, is 110 miles long and took six years to fill. The original road was opened at the same time as the famous dam in 1936. An extra note: The top of the white band of rock in Lake Mead is the old waterline prior to the drought and development in the Las Vegas area. It is over 100 feet above the current water level."

Thursday, November 05, 2009

The Good Guy

Imagine you've had a long day at work and you pop into your favorite watering hole for a couple of beers. After settling in, a stranger with an obvious case of mistaken identity presents you with an envelop full of cash and a picture of an attractive young lady and her address. The cash is payment for a hit and the picture and address is the target. What would you do? This is the dilemma that Timothy Carrier faces in Dean Koontz's novel "The Good Guy".

Amazingly I've never read a book by Dean Koontz until "The Good Guy". The novel starts off at break neck speed and never relents until the thrilling conclusion. My mom gave me a hardback copy of the book a couple of weeks ago to give me something new to read at work. I'm impressed. Koontz's style is very quick and easy to read as well as easy to lay down and pick up later. I'll definitely check out some of his other works. I've been told that "Whispers" is one not to miss. Any other recommendations out there?

Top Chef: Reunion?

I guess I should watch the previews more closely week to week after each new Top Chef: Las Vegas airing. I had no clue that the show would be on break last night, replaced with a reunion special featuring two chefs from each past season. Boo. I tried to get into the show but couldn't and decided to go to bed early.

On a completely unrelated note, my blog is rated 33% evil. I'm a little disappointed in the rating! I thought (hoped) there would be more evil around here.

This site is certified 33% EVIL by the Gematriculator

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

A Lion Among Men

"The Wizard was revealed as a mere mortal, and a bit of a charlatan at that. As clever with his hands - all those tiktok inventions, those terrifying images he projected - as he was with his diktats and fiats and fatwahs. Oh my."

"A Lion Among Men" is the third volume in the "Wicked Years" series by writer Gregory Maguire. The book follows the stories of various characters in a retold land of Oz, most notably, Brrr, the Cowardly Lion and Yackle, a mysterious figure who crossed paths with both Elphaba and Lirr in "Wicked" and "Son of a Witch".

Once again I was unable to put the book down, when I had time to pick it up. Maguire weaves a story that chronicles the two main characters from the beginning of "Wicked" to approximately ten years after the events in "Son of a Witch". Unlike the previous two books, there are some story lines that are tied up near the end; however, as with the other books, there is an ongoing arc that I'm eager to read more about. For me the latest entry was a little slower and uneven than the other books but it took off with a fury and ends with an explosion of events the last third of the book.

"A Lion Among Men" was published in 2008 which means my readings into Maguire's land of Oz is going to have to take a hiatus as there are no other chapters to read at the moment. I have read some rumors online that another installment is being written by Maguire, but I haven't heard anything about a projected release date. Supposedly the next book will feature Glinda... I can't wait!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Halloween Pictures

Butters and the LawMan representing their favorite food group.

J-Ho and Slade.

Party on Garth!

Jenny only dances like this when she's drunk!

This is what happens when I dance with Jenny.

Kimmy my favey.