So the Spartans haven't looked much like the team of the last two years so far this season. After an early blowout of a much lower echelon team, they have failed to get the job done three times in a row.
First of all they lost to Central Michigan. I think at the end of the season that loss won't look so bad, because Dan LeFevour will turn out to be one of the five best QBs in the country.
Then they lost to Notre Dame at Notre Dame for the first time since the early 90s. The game came down to the wire with the Spartans throwing a crucial interception with time running out.
Then this weekend they got their butts kicked up and down the field on both sides of the ball for four quarters. Of course the final score was only 38-30, but that was after two garbage TDs at the end of the game by the Spartans. The game wasn't even close the whole way. The Spartans were repleatedly beaten on defense by receivers, and they were destroyed on offense by inept running and horrible passing.
It's looking like it's going to be a LONG season...
So I got the tricks that I ordered on Wednesday. They came in about 3 days, which is excellent shipping for the few dollars that it cost.
I ended up getting four different tricks. A coin trick, a ring trick, and two card tricks.
All of them work really well, but of course I need some more practice at them. One of the card tricks that I got is VERY difficult to perform. But when it works, it's pretty amazing.
The coin trick is also extremely amazing. It's a great trick that is pretty easy to perform and left Cathy pretty baffled the first time that I did it. The ring trick did the same thing. She was pretty impressed by that one also. The other card trick is a good one, but it's also going to need some work. Again, I have issues with the delivery. I still need to work on my own confidence when delivering the tricks in order to pull them off well. I don't particularly like an awful lot of patter when I'm doing tricks, but it seems that for some of them it might be best to work on some patter to go along with the trick.
I'm planning on getting a couple more card tricks and a trick with a pen that is really fun, but I am going to wait a couple of weeks to order them. One nice thing about the site I'm finding these tricks on is that they have a wish list system. You can add products that you like to it so that you can conveniently find them again when you're ready to buy.
They have one trick set that I REALLY like, but it's expensive. It's also an entire 8 minute routine, so I don't really know when I would get a chance to actually perform it for anyone. But I do like it, so maybe I'll end up picking it up sooner or later.
But for now, I'm just going to continue practicing the tricks that I have. I've gotten the two coin tricks that I got in Vegas down pretty well. Of course, there are TONS of variations of the two tricks that you can do...approximately 25 for one of them and 40 for the other one. So now that I've got those two main tricks down, I can start to work on some of the variations. So that means what I really need to work on is the new tricks that I just got and the card trick that I got in Vegas.
So we got our shift bids turned in and got the days off that we were hoping for. I guess.
We're going to have Tuesday and Wednesday off, which aren't the greatest days in the world to have off, but they are okay I guess. I don't mind working Saturday because it's slow and easy and on Sunday you get more money.
The best part about the new schedule is that they have moved our work time back a bit farther. Before this last six months we had been working from 12:30 to 9:00 PM. Then when we shifted to the ten hour shifts, our entire shift got moved forward so that we left at 7:30 PM instead. The ten hour shifts weren't exactly the best thing for us. It made the day really long. But they have moved the shift to 11:30 AM to 8:00 PM.
That's going to be nice for us, because it will allow us to stay up a bit later in the evenings, and we'll also be able to sleep in a bit later in the morning.
I'm glad we're switching to the new schedule soon. The tens have really been difficult. On days off we both seem to not really want to do anything at all, so hopefully by going back to the 8 hour days we'll have a bit more energy on our days off.
So the first post ever on this blog was one year ago today.
I think my blog has been pretty successful over that year. I've done everything that I wanted to with it. I've shared thoughts and ideas, memories and stories, and made a new "friend" who follows the blog.
I've averaged over a post a day, and probably would have averaged two had I not toned it down a bit. Really about the only times that I went more than a few days without posting was when I was out of town.
I look forward to continuing on with the blog, and hope that this was only the first year of many more to come!!!
So, I really like the puppets that I have, and the one that I have on it's way is going to fit in well with them.
I think for my next one I'm going to get a similar puppet, but one by a different company. Sunny Puppets makes puppets that are very similar to the ones that I have, but the faces are slightly different.
I think that the next one I get will be a Jester. That will go really well with the Prince, Princess, and Wizard that I already have. The one I want is the yellow and white one in this picture here... I think I'll probably order im sometime in the next month or so...
So I have been doing my Lethal Tender trick for most of the people at work. Everyone seems to really enjoy it, and I'm getting some confidence with that trick. I feel now that I could probably perform it for just about anyone, including some random people out on the street.
I have also been using my Chinese Rings a little bit. It's actually really fun to mess with the rings, the only problem with them is that they seem to scare Cooper a little bit. He always goes and cowers in the corner when I start using them. I guess I should probably think about practicing in a different room so that I don't have to worry about him getting antsy.
I still don't have very good delivery of my rising card trick. I need to learn to talk that one up just a little bit, but not too much. In defense, it's the trick that I've practiced the least so far, so I can't really be too disappointed that I don't have it down very well.
Scotch and Soda is also coming along slowly. I haven't practiced that one nearly as much as Lethal Tender, so I once again can't expect to be too terribly solid with it. It's another one that during the setup causes the dogs to get a bit scared, so I need to work on it in another room.
With all of this said, I ordered a couple more things in the last few days. I ordered two more coin tricks and another puppet to go with the princess and the wizard that I already have.
I really am stuck on these things right now. I've always liked card tricks, but never really got into what I am finding to be an absolutely wonderful world of coin magic.
I'm going to try to make a video of Lethal Tender to put up on Youtube so that you guys can see what it looks like, maybe I'll get that one out there tomorrow.
So SCUBA diving has been something that I have always been interested in. My parents were both certified divers at one point in time, but they haven't been under in years. I don't know if they ever did it after I was born.
I have flirted with the idea of taking a cert class on several different occasions, but always talk myself out of it because I don't really know where I would do it or who I would do it with.
Well, I was talking about it the other day because they now allow you to SCUBA dive in the shark tank at the Mandalay Bay Shark Reef Aquarium in Las Vegas. To my surprise, Cathy said that she would be interested in learning how to do it. She actually said she'd like the idea of doing SCUBA quite a bit more than learning how to sail, so I'm thinking now that maybe the sailing will be out and some SCUBA will be in.
Upon a little investigation, I found out that we actually live about 3 minutes from the dive shop here in town. It's literally about a mile from our house. They offer classes there, and they even do the open water certification dives at...get this...Clark Lake. Now, if you've been reading my blog for a while, you'll know that Clark Lake is the lake that Cathy and I have used the kayaks at. Apparently on the end of the lake that we haven't really been to, they have a nice swimming area, and about 25 yards outside of the swimming area they have some things that they have set up for SCUBA diving in the lake. It's apparently a pretty good little lake for doing some diving, and I wouldn't doubt it...each time I have been there the lake seems extremely clear and it's pretty good as far as temperature goes.
The dive shop also does weekly dives that are free to attend, and the cost for rental equipment is only 50% if you go to one of these dives. They are at several local lakes in the area, and range in time from early morning to late at night.
Add to this the fact that I found a place called Gilboa Quarry which is located in Ohio that is about 2 hours from us that from what I can read is a literal Mecca for midwestern divers. It's a huge quarry with many, many objects that have been set up for diving in it, up to and including a full size passenger airplane. It is also stocked with many, many fish and even includes a few endangered and protected species.
So with all of this coming to light, I think that Cathy and I may be passing on the sailing classes and instead doing some SCUBA classes. I never knew how many places there were in the general area to go diving at...and it gives me a good excuse to drag Cathy to some tropical islands!!!!
So, I have always been fascinated by magic. I have found over the years that I enjoy close up magic the most, as it involves tricks that really cause people to think.
Over the years I have picked up quite a few tricks. Trick decks of cards, mainly. But when we went to Vegas this time, I hit up Houdini's and ended up coming home with a few new tricks...a couple of coin tricks, another card trick, and some Chinese Rings.
One of the coin tricks I have gotten down pretty well, and I performed it for some coworkers on Wednesday. They all liked it quite a bit, and none of them could figure it out, so I would have to say I performed it well. The other coin trick is proving to be a bit more tricky. I'm not nearly as smooth at it as I'd like to be, so I'm working on that one.
The card trick is pretty cool, and I'm pretty sure I can do that one for an audience already. It's a good trick for an audience, too, because you can have several people choose cards and all of them end up getting found...which is pretty cool.
However, I've really liked the Chinese Rings. They are a really cool trick that I've already got one of the moves down really well. I'll be working on some more moves with them in the near future, and maybe if I get good enough and confident enough I'll post a video of the routine on Youtube and show it off here!!!
I would LOVE to be able to get good enough at some of these things to actually try doing it at parties and such and maybe somehow turn it into a part time job...but I don't think I'd ever be able to...I don't really have the confidence that I think I would need to pull that off. It is also my dream to actually open a Houdini's store myself. I've got a perfect place picked out for it, where I am 10000% sure that it would make good money...but again, it's only a dream...for now.
I only had to work two days before the weekend because of the way that we had our vacation set up, but they seemed like the longest two days in the history of the world.
I'm getting a bit tired of the same old routine at work. I guess being on vacation really makes me want to go in a different direction with my life. Hopefully once I get back into the routine a bit, I'll feel a bit better about work again.
One good thing...we have less than a month left of the 10 hour days...which is awesome. I'm really getting tired of over 12 hours of my day being taken up by work every day after the commute to and from the place.
I'm looking forward to just sitting around this weekend...I think there's a game on tonight, so I'll probably catch that...and just relax...
My one loss was a blowout. One of my wins was by 4 points. One was by 12 points. And in one Drew Brees single handedly beat the other team.
That's right. Brees threw for 6 TDs and over 300 yards this past weekend, which put him at 49 points in the scoring in my league. He actually outscored by himself about 5 teams in the league of 20. Maybe picking him with my #1 pick was a good choice!!!
...was pretty awesome. Once again, after last year and this year, we feel that four nights is one night too long...but how can you argue with the price that we got? We had a lot of fun, even when we felt like we didn't have anything to do.
So the trip started out pretty interestingly. Cathy ran over a squirrel about 3 minutes from the house. At the airport after check in I used the bathroom and when I was going to set my bag down I dropped it, and it landed right on the corner of my laptop. Then, on the flight out there, my nice Skull Candy headphones broke. Luckily, Cathy had brought two sets of headphones so I was still able to watch my shows on the iPod...but either way, those were three really unlucky things that happened on the way to Vegas. Fortunately, the rest of the trip didn't go the same way!!
We arrived in Vegas at about 6:00 PM and grabbed a cab to the hotel. Of course the cabbie took the long way around, and the ride cost us nearly $30...but that's just part of going to Vegas I guess. We learned later that we need to tell the driver to go down Tropicana instead of down the highway...live and learn, right?
We got checked into the hotel quickly and easily and then made our way up to our room...on the 36th floor!! We were so high up that when you were using the elevator, your ears would feel funny because of the pressure changes!!
The room itself was awesome. We didn't know that PH did this, but each room has a movie theme. Our theme was "Dragnet," and we had pictures and props from the movie "Dragnet" all over the room.
After checking out the room we headed out for some food. We went to the buffet which had been voted #1 in Vegas this year, and we could see why. The food was great!! We then did a little bit of wandering around the mall in our hotel, the casino, and a little bit of slot machines. We finished the night off by going to another restaurant in the hotel for a late, late dinner. Another great food choice!!!
We woke up on Tuesday without really anything planned. I wanted to go to MGM Grand to hit up the Houdini's Magic Shop there, and Cathy wanted to go to the Coke and M&M's Store that is on the way there. So we went to MGM Grand and ended up eating at the Rainforest Cafe that's inside that hotel. That was cool because I had wanted to get another light up Rainforest Cafe mug ever since mine got really scratched up from Niagara Falls. So we had dinner there and that was good, too. We got our mugs then hit the other stores we were looking at.
After wandering around those areas we dropped our packages off at the room and headed towards the Bellagio Fountain. We got a few pictures there and watched the fountain show, which was excellent, as usual.
We then hit the shops up at Caesar's Palace and Bellagio. We really wanted to go to the FAO Schwartz that is inside the Caesar's Forum Shops...but when we got there we were a bit disappointed because a third of the store was shut down for renovations. But it was still a fun time, because those two malls are amazing. There's something oddly unique about wandering a mall full of stores that you have no business looking in at all, yet the people are all still really friendly to you. This is the entrance to that FAO Schwartz store...a giant Trojan Horse!!!
After these shopping trips, we went back to our hotel to catch a show. We watched "Gregory Popovich's Comedy Pet Theater." It was a show by a Russian Circus performer that uses a bunch of trained house pets to do tricks. The show was fantastic. We had great seats. It was all better because all of the pets used in the show are shelter pets...meaning they are pets that were given a second chance at life, instead of animals chosen because they were bred to be performance animals. After the Comedy Pet Theater, we headed down to the Treasure Island Hotel to catch the show we missed twice last year. That was the only part of the trip we wish we could have back. The show was cheesy and just plain bad. We made up for it a bit by hitting up the Venetian and going on a Gondola ride!! It was pretty cool, and our Gondolier was pretty good. After the ride, it was back to the hotel for some hanging out. We played some slots and just hung out at the room. It was a nice day for us, but I think it may have been our most tiring day.
We woke up on Wednesday knowing that we had to go to the Blue Man Group show at the Venetian at 10pm. So we planned to be at the Venetian for a good part of the day. We started out by going to the mall in our hotel, which is where we found "Test America." It's a business that does demographic testing for all kinds of products. Cathy and I each got paid $10 to watch a TV show that isn't out yet and give our opinion on it. It was really fun!!! After that, we made our way over to Bellagio to check out the inside of the hotel's atrium and see what they had done. It was really cool this year...lots of really neat work with the flowers. After Bellagio, we checked out some hotels that we didn't get to last year. The Pallazo and the Wynn. Both were nice hotels, but we didn't think they were any better than any of the other hotels. We made our way back to the Venetian and had the dinner of our trip. We ate at an upscale, hip, trendy Asian restaraunt called Tao. The food was awesome, the atmosphere was great, and it was a really awesome dinner. Both Cathy and I really enjoyed the food a lot. We spent a lot of money on that dinner, but it was worth it.
We then went to Blue Man Group...and let's just say there aren't a lot of words to describe it. You simply must see it, it was fantastic. After the show, we headed back to our room and the casino in the PH. It was another really good day.
On Thursday, we didn't really have much planned. We got up and hit the pool for a while. It was nice. About 98 degrees outside and in the direct sun, so we lathered up in sunscreen then hit the water. At first the water was a bit chilly, but it was really nice as soon as you got used to the temperature.
After that, we thought for a while about what to do. We ended up going to the Flamingo and checking out their wildlife habitat. It was really cool!! They had flamingos, a lot of big fish, some other birds, and a few really nice looking water falls. After the Flamingo, we went to Bally's. Not a good idea. The hotel is old and not at all cool. It seems as if it was probably cool in 1980, but it hasn't changed at all since then. Stay away from that hotel unless you get a great deal on a room. Like free. We then finished that day by going up in the Eiffel Tower to get the shots of the Bellagio Fountain which I put in the last post on the blog.
Friday we woke up and packed to get ready for the flight home. We then wandered the mall a bit after having the breakfast buffet. We got a Build a Bear that was exclusive to Las Vegas. We had a pretzel. We headed for the airport. The flight home was uneventful, and we made it back to Jackson just after 2:00AM Saturday.
Overall, the trip was great. Again, maybe one less day would have been nice...but I have to admit, as I think more about it, Thursday with nothing to do was a lot of fun...and a bit relaxing. We gambled a bit too much...we spent about $300 each gambling...which I guess isn't that much, and I have to say we had fun while doing it, which is how I feel you should look at gambling.
The hotel was really awesome. I can honestly say I don't really think I've ever been in a more fun hotel. The atmospher was perfect. The room was nice. And what can I say, with the "The Drinks Are On Us" plan, the room was cheap. It started at about $65 each night, but then when you got a free $30 (minimum) bottle of alcohol every night, it made it like the room was less than $35 each night. For example, the first night we got a full sized bottle of Bacardi that was valued at $32...so the room was $33 that night. The second night we got a full bottle of Skyy Vodka, which was valued at $45...so the room was $20 that night. The third night we got a $32 bottle of Seagram's 7...another $33 night. The last night we got a $32 bottle of champagne...so another $33 night.
All of these things lead to Planet Hollywood being the best hotel I've ever been in...and we will be using it again. With all of this said, we feel like we've done everything Vegas has to offer for right now, so our next trip there will likely not come until the very end of 2010 or sometime in mid 2011. Maybe going 10 months after our last trip didn't give us enough time between trips...but it wasn't bad. We'll be back, probably sooner than later!!!
So tomorrow is the last day of work before vacation.
I'd say that I'm pretty much ready to go. I've got my clothes all picked out, got my toiletries all set, and have my gadgets all set for the trip.
Tonight I bought a few new things for the trip...like some new boxer shorts and a nice new SDHC card for our new camera. This new card is supposed to help take faster pictures, which helps save battery life and also allows you to take more pictures. I also got a week long feeder for Arthur, so that we don't have to worry about anyone needing to come over to check on him while we're gone.
I've got a slew of games on the iPod Touch for the trip out there...on the plane and in the airport if necessary. I've also got a couple of TV shows to transfer to the iPod for me to watch if I don't feel like playing games.
I'll be taking the iPod, my laptop, our new camera, and our digital camcorder. Those will be the gadgets that I'm taking. The main reason for taking the laptop is so that we can transfer pictures and videos that we take right to the computer if we need to...not that we should come anywhere close to running out of storage space on our cards...but just in case.
Other than those gadgets, my clothes, my toiletries, and my Barmah hat...I can't really think of anything else that I really need to get together for the trip. We're only taking one checked bag, so I'm thinking that two pairs of long pants (jeans and khakis), three pairs of shorts, maybe five t-shirts, and two nicer shirts will be the total of clothes that I take, other than socks and boxers. I am also only going to be taking two pairs of shoes...my Converse that I always wear and my sandals. The only real reason that I'm taking so many t-shirts is because I don't know if I'll get any of them dirty because it's so hot out there...I'll probably end up wearing the jeans or the khakis because they will weigh more than the shorts...and that way I'll wear the Converse and only pack the sandals.
...Cathy and I both have digital cameras. Mine is a 6.1 megapixel Samsung and her's is a 3.2 megapixel Fuji. Both of them take very nice pictures, but batteries are a problem. They both use standard AA batteries, so we can use rechargeable batteries, but they don't really seem to work very well. Her camera isn't quite as bad...but mine sometimes literally only gets three or four pictures before it dies.
So before we go to Vegas, we decided to go and look to see if we could get a good deal on any nice digital camera. Preferably one that uses a Li-Ion battery so that it can be recharged and get a good bunch of pictures on it.
As luck would have it, we got a 10% off coupon in the mail today to Best Buy, so we swung over there to check it out. Good thing we did!!! We found a pretty cool camera that was already on sale, so we grabbed it and the coupon still worked!! The camera was $150 but on sale for $130, so the coupon dropped it to $117.
It's a Fuji Z30. 10 megapixel, really small, rechargeable battery, pretty stylish. We got the limited edition Best Buy color of "Whirl White" which is white and has a nice design on the front of it. This is the camera here: On BestBuy.com the camera only has a 3.4 star rating out of 5...but on Amazon it's a solid 4 out of 5, and would be higher if it weren't for a couple of bonehead reviews.
When we got it home, I took a couple of pictures with it. When I transfered them to the PC, I noticed what some of the negative reviews had mentioned. The pictures look grainy in their default view on a PC. HOWEVER...and this is a HUGE however...in the native resolution that the pictures open up at on my PC, let's just say that they are a little bit large. When I say large, let's just say that it would take about 6 of my 22" monitors to display the entire thing. So of course it's going to be grainy...the default view mode is looking at them probably about 10 times larger than what any normal person would actually want to look at.
When you cut them down to a size that is normal and useable, the camera takes fantastic pictures!! It's got some really nifty features, like a face sensor, red eye sensor, blink sensor...all kinds of stuff. It also does video, but I have to admit the video isn't the greatest...but then again, it's a still camera that DOES video. I didn't expect it to do great video. Kind of like my digital camcorder does stills, but it doesn't do them very well.
Here's just a quick example of a picture I took of Cooper and Dillon with it, to show the quality of the images... So, just in time for Vegas we have a nice digital camera...so hopefully we'll get some awesome shots while we're there!!
We get NC State vs South Carolina for an appetizer...then a top tier game between #14 Boise and #16 Oregon. Boise, if they win, will be poised to bust into a BCS game again at the end of the season. Oregon will be looking to build on recent success. Either way, it should be a good game...and it's always fun to watch games on the Blue Field.
So, with that said...it's time for some football!!!!
So tonight I had to run to Meijer to get some envelopes for some things I sold on Ebay.
When I was coming home I saw what appeared to be a meteor or something flying through the sky. I've seen some shooting stars before, but this one was different. It was a brilliant shade of green and it was really bright!!
It was so bright and prominent in the sky that it actually looked like a firework. A firework that was shooting down towards the ground from a random spot in the sky.
I did a little bit of looking around on the web tonight, and I found a few interesting things about green fireballs. It appears that back in the 40s there were tons of them in the sky, and the government determined that they were natural phenomenon...but that was after they initially said that they were Russian spy crafts. They are pretty rare even today, because it's not a very natural color for a meteorite to burn at.
With that said, there are quite a few people out there that suggest that a green fireball in the sky is a UFO...the truth is out there...