Friday, April 29, 2005

Is it football season yet?

The NFL Draft was last week. I love the NFL Draft. I've actually been to 2 different ones while I was living in New York. However, I'm starting to think that maybe I should avoid them all together. Watching the NFL Draft is a special kind of torture. Just getting that little taste of somethig that I so fully enjoy just isn't right. Like back in the day, if I were in a particularly long dry spell with the ladies, I'd avoid watching Skinemax and the like becasue it would only frustrate me further. The NFL Draft is Skinemax. Here is this wonderful thing - football - and I know I'll get to enjoy the full experience of it again soon. But this little taste just makes the fact that it's not there more painfully obvious.

Sure other sports try to take it's place. The NBA picks up with it's post-season and baseball begins it interminably long season, but is Rosey Palm really a fair substitute for an actual companion. I think not.

Anyway, some woudl say that the Draft is an oasis or even the light at the end of the tunnel. And I guess I can see that view but I'm not buying it. For me, the absence doesn't get filled until I can sign up for my first Fantasy Football team. Then I have an actual activity which PROVES that the End Is Niegh.

So in an attempt to capture some of that magic, I pulled out the sheets from my Keeper league and made some notes on newly drafted prospects that might contribute to their teams - and my Fantasy Team - right away. That was fun for a while. But it only lasted an hour and the fact is, you can't go back to that in a week and tweek it at all because it's done. There isn't any more news. It's only 10 guys or so, so it's not like you can really nudge them up or down your rankings at all.

*sigh* It's almost May. In May, the final Episode of Star Wars will be released. That will be a pleasant distraction!

Editor's Note: the fact that I can write the above and have a woman willing to marry me is astounding and a true testiment to just how amazing a person she is.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

She likes it!

Just to kill the suspense and cut to the chase for those of you that are only interested in whether the wedding will still be in Vegas or if Jenn hated it so much that we're moving the ceremony to Reno, I am very happy to report that Jenn had a good time in Vegas this past weekend. Those of you who are frequent visitors here know that I was concerned because she hates crowds and gambling: 2 staples of the Vegas experience. However, she was able to see past those aspects of it and enjoy what it had to offer the shy non-gamer.

And now for the details for those of you that care.

The trip didn't get off on a very good foot. We arrived at exactly 2 for our appointment with the Catering Manager at Treasure Island. She seemed genuinely surprised to see us in spite of the fact that the week before I had called and told her I would be in town, would like to have my TASTING and was avaialble any time after 2. She said 2 would be fine and I said I was looking forward to the TASTING. Lo and Behold, we show up and she says that they only have tastings during meal-time hours, a little tid bit of info which would have been nice to know when I specifically asked to schedule our TASTING. And the fact that she was surprised to see us was an even bigger surprise to me because my name was prominantly displaying on the huge desk top calendar she has. Regardless, we went through and made our selections. To help promote our geocities site (, I will ask you to visit there to see the menu (which I will not be getting around to posting until this weekend).

As we were leaving, my dad was sitting outside (he'll come into play in a moment). We quickly met with the chapel lady and Jenn picked a bouquet. She directed us to the photographer to get a price list. There was another couple meeting with the photographer so we all took a seat and waited. After a little while, we decided we didn't want to wait any more, at which point, Jenn adn I got up to leave and my dad got up to barge in on the other couple's appointment and get a price list. He, being as he is, got the price list and Jenn and I rather annoyed and embarassed. Welcome to the family, my love!

We then picked up the tuxedos for my brother's wedding, stopped for some food and got our room. At the room, Jenn and I discover that our neighbors were ritualistically torturing their small child. At least that's what it seemend like because the kid did not stop crying. We left the room to meet up for a little bit with my brother and when we came back the kid was STILL crying. We woke up in the morning a little before the family next door. We know this because as soon as they DID wake up, the torture began anew. Luckily for us, they checked out that day.

A side note on the rooms my brother and parents got: they tipped the check-in folks $20 when they arrived and they both got really nice suites. It didn't work when we were checking in. We suspect that it was becasue there was a line when we arrived and none when they got in the night before at midnight. But, for those of you interested, all it takes in twenty bucks and you might just get the suite. My brother even got the Rainman suite at Mandalay Bay. In Miami, that suite would sell as a condo for well over a million.

The next day before the wedding, Jenn and I checked out the Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay. A very neat thing to see. Jenn wasn't a fan of the crowds, but she loves acquariums enough to overlook that and truely enjoy herself. There were a couple of the smaller (and as a result more packed) tanks that she bypassed. We then strolled over to MGM to see the lions. Only 3 very small cubs were on display. They were absolutely adorable. Jenn was a little sad becasue she's not a fan of enclosing such big animals. But she could nto deny that they were in fact adorable.

Then the wedding, which was very nice. It was a smaller event than ours will be, so it was rather intimate. A good time was had by all. Jenn noticed that as we were arriving for the ceremony, they were still setting up the Reception tables. She's thorooughly worried that our event will be a total plannign nightmare and logistical disaster. I've insisted that she musn't worry, this is what they do and they know how to be ready when they need to be. I think some of my worrying is rubbing off on her.

The next day was buffet at the Bellagio. YAY!!!!! I LOVE BUFFETS!!! Jenn ate $5 worth of pancakes. I ate $40 worth of french toast bacon pancakes cheese blitzens roasted turkey prime rib breakfast pizza yogurt and mixed berries. It evened out. We walked back, at which point, we started collecting the escourt service cards being handed out by folks up and down the strip. Those of you who have walked any portion of the strip know exactly what I'm talking about. I've always been amused by this and Jenn shared my amusement to the point of wanting to collect them. Only 12 more and we would have had enought to make up a deck of cards. Jenn prefers looking at them like baseball cards. I think we got the rookie cards of Amber and Shun-Li. Right now, they're each worth $125 a visit. In 10 years, the value will be 1/4th that.

We then ran around collecting tuxedos to return to the Men's Warehouse (we had a car so we decided to be nice). After a little shopping around and getting the tuxes back, Jenn was tuckered out and I was ready to gamble. I played craps. Just ofr an hour. That was all the time I had but I was very pleased to have that hour. The table was extremely luke warm. I won't go into boring details for everyone, but I lost $50. I've lost $200 in 20 minutes before, so that's really not that bad. And I'm still up on my craps playing career. But it was fun. Those of you who want details can call me and I'd be more than happy to share.

We then went to see Zumanity, the new Cirque Du Soliel show at the New York New York. It's the first R rated Cirque show. It's very fun and very naughty. Old school Vegas with a splash of froo-froo. Boobies were prominantly involved. I was happy. We had amazing seats. Jenn genuinely loved the show. I was even more happy.

And then we went to sleep, woke up and drove home.

That's pretty much it. There were other small amusements. Jenn liked the cheap (both cost and quality) jewlery that was on sale everywhere. She was also shocked by the amount of cleavage on display. I explained that that was just one of the many things to love about Vegas.

I'm just glad we're still having our wedding there!

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The 15 Blog

OK, I have 3 times more time now than I did when I posted yesterday. But absolutley nothing more to report. So we'll see how this one turns out!

I have to call our Vegas Reps to set up food tasting for when Jenn and I are in town for my brother's wedding in 10 days. This might be one of the top 5 tings I'm looking forward to in the whole wedding process. It is by far and a way the # 1 thing I'm looking forward to that happens prior to the bachelor party. I have these wonderful expectations on what the tasting will entail. I realize that there's a chance that my expectations will be shattered and I will be highly disappointed. But I'll be gettting fed for free in Vegas, so even the worst out come is a free meal, and that's not so bad, is it?

One of my main lingering concerns about the planning is the cake. Treasure Island will do a cake, but both Jenn and I have an idea of what we want our cake to be like. I'm not entirely convinced that TI offers the service to stylize a cake like we'd want. And booking a DJ and venue from 400 miles away is one thing. Buying a cake from the same distance.... that's an entirely different kind of flying, all together.

My final Vegas excitement note is actually a bit of a downer: I kind of feel like I'm not going to be able to do ANY gambling when I'm there next week. Mainly, I'm talkign about craps. It requires a bit of time and a decent bank roll. Given Jenn hates gambling, I'm not sure I have the time. And given we're saving for a house, I KNOW I don't have the bank roll. Alas, it's one of the many things that makes the up coming trip very interesting. I genuinely have NO idea what to expect fromt eh trip as a whole. I think until the trip is actually over and I can report on the trip, how it went, and it's ramifications on OUR wedding weekend in 5 months, well, my mind is a whirl. Absolutely no reaction or outcome will surprise me.

My friends Austin and Leslie just got backf rom Paris and posted their pictures. It reminded me how AMAZING Paris is. Really one of the top 5 cities in the world (in my top 3).

Monday, April 11, 2005

The 5 Minute Blog

Hey! I've got 5 minutes before I'm off for the day. That's far too little to start anything new. You can't play a game of hearts in 5 minutes, either. And I don't feel like i'd get the most out of web surfing for 5 minutes. So I figured I'd see what I could come up with for a blog post in 5 minutes.

And this is pretty much it, me talking about how I have 5 (3 minutes now) left in my day. We had a pretty nice weeknd. Went over Chris and Katies to help pack up their kitchen. Not to toot my own horn or anything,b tu I'm a really good packer. I make excellent use of the space provided ina box. That extends to trunk packing and closet packing. I'm dimensionally gifted.

Although, figure this one out: Jenn and I went over there to help them and yet I ended up paying for the pizza for lunch. What's up with that!?!? If they hadn't already made nice fancy dinners for us about 20 times int he past year already, I'd probalby feel like I"m owed one. This way, I figure I just made of 2 o the dozen or so they are owed.

Welp, it's going to take one minute for the computer to process this, so I"m off!

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Come one, Come all!

I'm very proud to announce that the last major on-slaught of invitations has been placed in the mail this morning. That means, if you are one of the 3 people reading this and you are are not the bride, then please let me know if you have not gotten an invitation in a week from now.

Mail is a lot quicker than I think it used to be. In all honesty, if you aven't gotten the invite by Tuesday, I'd say that there is a problem. An invitation got the the UK in as much time. There once was a day when you'd just assume everything took a week or longer. If you were mailing something from Fort Lauderdale to Miami and it took less than 6 days, you considered yourself the luckiest bastard alive.

I make my triumphant return to Vegas in 2 weeks for my brother's wedding. I'll get to put $ on a Steelers Super Bowl in '06. I'll get to play a little craps (emphasis on little). Jenn and I will be seeing a show with my folks. I'm hoping that it will be a good time. We're obviously going to be mixing in a little business witht he pleasure. I need to set up a meeting with our catering people for our wedding. Yummie food tasting fun!!! This is also a test run to see if Jenn actually likes Vegas. I see one fo 2 things happening on the drive home: she'll be super excited about our event or she won't believe that she actually gave the OK to have our wedding in Vegas. It's one or the other. That's what Vegas does: it has a very polarizing affect. There is no middle of the road with Vegas. I know off the bat, she'll never be as excited as the buffets as I am. That's one of my favorite parts of it. She doesn't eat nearly enough in a single sitting to EVER make a buffet worth the money spent on it. So I know going in, there's one strike. Strike two is that she's not into gambling, but there are countless people who love Vegas but don't gamble, so it's not a make or break part of the equation. Anyway, we'll see what she thinks in 2 weeks, I suppose.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Straight Pope-in'

For those that do not know, I grew up in a very Catholic house. We went to church every week. I went to Catholic School through 5th grade. I was an alter boy until forever (absolutely no alter boy jokes will be appreciated in response to this posting). I even helped my dad teach his Confirmation CCD class (Confirmation is like being born again in the Catholic church, everyone does it in their early teens). I did this for 3 years while I was in high school.

I never particularly liked going to church. In fact, I down-right disliked it, but sometimes, it made me feel OK, on the rare occasion, there was a good story and there almost always was either a hot chick or a cute baby that I could watch that would provide enough stimuli for me to actually live through the service. It wasn't until I was helping with the class that I started to realize that not only did I not like going to church, I wasn't really sure what the purpose of going was for. I always tried to be a good person and I always tried to do my best towards others and for myself. Doesn't God know this? Isn't that enough? What's the point beyond that? And I know that it was these thoughts that eventually led me to where I am today: a non-believer.

I still consider myself spiritual, but enough hate and evil has been done in the name of religion that I cannot condone, acknowledge or even understand a single religion in existance today. None of their beliefs. Certainly none of their dogma. I see religion as a way of explaining things to people who feel they need to make sense of the world. People who need something more than, "Life is pretty strange sometimes, it's a truely remarkable thing and as long as you're nice to folks, you should end up witha rather fulfilling experience." all religion is, in my mind what I feel a fact, a mythology like any in teh history of man from Gilgamesh to Zues to Odin. And the fact that there constantly, throughout time, has been mythology is enoguh to me to mean that we are all interconected cosmically, somehow, but not enough to warrant founding countless clubs all claiming that their club is better than yours.

I could go on forever on this alone, but I think the jist of where I'm coming from is there. I can now move on to my thoughts on the Pope. I do want to say that, if religions were football teams, and they might just as well be (except you will rarely get blown up for rooting for a different football team), Catholicism is the Pittsburgh Steelers. They are my favorite. I understand them the most. And having the pope die is a lot like when Chuck Noll passes sometime down the road: the coach is dead, and though he doesnt coach MY team any more, he coached my team when they were loved the most.

Before I continue, I want to say taht John Paul II was an amazing, remarkable man. He did astonishign things for Eastern Europe. At no time did anything he ever said feel disingenuous or inconsistent. He, more than any other person I've ever heard of in my lifetime, was a true Christian. I believe that. And I think he would have been an even BETTER person had he not been tied to the Catholic church.

I had an interesting conversation with my friend Chris last night (a STAUNCH Catholic) about the Pope. He made the comment that religion acts as sort of a grounding point as a person moves along in their lives. And my rebuttle was, and I can't believe I thought of this on the spot was, "But the problem witht he Catholic curch is, most people would like to see that grounding influence move along with them." There are so many things going on in the world today that were not issues 1000 years ago, let alone 50 years ago, that in today's world, the dogma of the Catholic church actually causes more harm than good.

At the very basic level, there is the underlying subtlety of women STILL being second class citizens. It's ridiculous, it's worng and it has no place in any organization that people are tying their beliefs to. Part of this is "Tradition for the sake of Tradition." It gets to the point that people do things that they don't even know why they were done in the first place. There's no Biblical reason that priests can't be married (it was done in the Middle Ages becasue priests were leaving church lands to their children) just as there isn't a reason that a priest can't be a woman. But that's obvious and is mainly a mindset thing. But it's imortant becasue it probably doesn't help the causes of women in developing areas where the men are considered the center of the world.

Next, and I think this is far more egregious and dangerous, is the on-going stance of the church against birth control. The problem is, even in the poorest of countries, child mortality is dropping. And so the parishoners in those countries, where Catholic Law is far more likely to be followed, have far more children than they can reasonably support. This practice perpetuates keeping the standard of living for these people to a very bare minimum. I'm not saying that if they only had 2 kids rather than 8, they'd be taking the family for a trip to Disney World. But they'd probably be more likely to raise healthy children that would be able to find a better way of life for themselves. At least give them that chance.

Lastly is a related issue: the sanctity of life. I can actually understand the Pro-Life stance. I am against abortion as a form of birth control. But I would never try to prevent someone from making that choice. Religious beliefs should never guide other people's lives. The whole idea is that you be kind to others. Try to affect their lives through kindness and words and thought. But to set up barricades - be it physical, leagal or any other - that tries to dictate a person's life based on your own beliefs is wrong.

My favorite protest of the Iraqi conflict is What Would Jesus Bomb (a play on the whole WWJD thing). I think John Paul II always lived his life in the ideal that is behind WWJD. But you can't just take a man as the good in him. You have to take him as a whole. And the Pope is a man. And as a man, you have to ask, are all of teh tenants that he supported truely in the best interests of his followers? Obviously, you'd LIKE people to abstain. And you'd LIKE people to not fuck like bunnies, spawnign unwanted children. And you'd LIKE the clergy to not molest kids. But this is not reality and the church has done little if nothing to deal with reality.

I do consider the Village Idiot President a truely evil man, a bad guy in the strictest sense of a Hollywood Movie, because he professes to be a Christian and yet acts AGAINST all Christian ideals. This is not something the Pope has done ever at all! His is failure in omission. Mistakes where the lack of action led me away from the church and religion as a whole. I'm certain I'm not the only one, either. It certainly is human to not act when those actions are difficult. But God Danm, you have to love him for the actions he did take. He truely meant well and was a great man that achieved more than most people could ever dream. I think the Catholic church would do well to find an even more brave man for the next Pope.