Las Vegas

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Wednesday, April 11

The flights from Hell started just as expected on Wednesday morning.  As soon as I passed through security (are they no longer checking Cpaps?) I got a call from American announcing that the flight was delayed by an hour and a half, and that our connection has been changed to a later flight.  Mike and I hung out in the Admiral’s Lounge until the departure.  I was upgraded to first class for this leg, so I got to ride with Mike.  Good lunch.

We arrived in Las Vegas in the late afternoon, went to the room, unpacked quickly, and went downstairs.  Mike said that the waitress wasn’t going to be very attentive, so we needed to play some video poker to get a drink.  We then moved to the blackjack table, and Mikey was wrong.  The most attentive wait girl ever – there were times we had 2 drinks on the table at one time.

We had reservations at 7:30 for craftsteak in the Hotel which we were obviously not going to make.  I called and moved the reservation to 8:30.  Blackjack and Vodka Tonics continued, and 8:30 came and went.  At about 11:00 or so, we called it quits and stumbled to the bathroom.  Had an amazing burger at Wolfgang Puck’s Bar and Grill in the Hotel.  Being drunk, we both ordered the bartender’s suggestion of “Grilled Prime Burger, Vermont Cheddar, Smoked Onion Marmalade, French Fries…17”.  The onion marmalade was awesome.  I went to bed at about 2, and Mike followed somewhat later.

Thursday, April 12

I was up much earlier than Mike, so I went and played Blackjack for a while and met some folks from Colfax, NC, and a dealer who lived in Raleigh for a year.  I then walked down the strip for a while and came back to the hotel.  Mike and I had Sushi in the hotel and walked over to the Excalibur, which was like if the North Carolina State Fair had a casino.  We chilled waiting for Doug and Trevor to arrive.  Once they arrived, we went up to the Bellagio to see the Fountain show (The song from Titanic – Blech) and wandered over to Caesars Palace.  While standing outside Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill, we decide we were hungry and ready to go in.  Doug whined that it seemed awfully expensive, and we ended up at Munchies.  Sliders.  Meh.  We did get to watch the “hotties” go into the new club at Caesars.  We left there to see the Imperial Palace, with their Dealertainers.  It was a dump.

Friday, April 13

The day that Trevor and I took over…

Having screwed around for too long without a plan, Trevor and I took over to make some plans.  We debated between Zumanity, the Cirque Du Soleil sexuality show, and Love, the Beatles show.  Since Doug was a big Beatles fan, we went that way.  The other three went on their helicopter ride, and I was charged with planning dinner.  I warned them that it was going to be expensive, and was told to go ahead.

I booked Carnevino, Mario Batali’s steakhouse in the Pallazzo.  A fine meal at last!

The meal started with an amuse bouche – a cheese puff that had a strong cheese flavor that was wonderful.

Then the bread was brought out with the house made butter, and Lardo.  Holy lord what an innovation Lardo is.  It is, as best as I can figure, rendered fatback with herbs and salt.  It was spreadable on the bread and wonderfully good.

We ordered 2 appetizers – the Carne Cruda Alla Piemontese – Chopped to order Steak Tartare

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and Zach’s Chopped Salad, which had the most amazing parmesan cheese shavings

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Doug ordered a filet and Mike got the Lamb chops

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Trevor and I split the Dry Aged Bone In Rib-Eye for 2.  It was wheeled out to the table and carved by a tall blonde who presented us with two plates “Would you like some olive oil and salt on it” – um, why yes thank you…

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It was awesome!  I asked the carver if it would be inappropriate if I picked up the bone to gnaw on it – she indicated that it would be inappropriate to not pick it up, so…

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We walked over to the Mirage and saw Love, which was a psychedelic tribute to the Beatles. The sound was awesome!

Saturday, April 14

The day we saw all of the Strip.

Mike had never seen the Venetian, so we set out on an adventure and started to walk.  and walk.  We stopped mid way for a beer at The Rockhouse Bar and Nightclub right in front of the Imperial Palace – home of the 88 oz Beer Guitar!  Continuing to the Venetian for lunch and tequilla shots.  From there we caught a cab to the Stratosphere and up to the lounge for really really bad martinis.  Yuck.  Unfortunately, Mike liked them a bunch, and that began Mike’s evening of drunken craps, La Reve, and more Craps.

Mike and I were in the casino – he was shooting craps and Doug and Trevor were up in the room.  It was getting late, and when we walked out to the lobby, the cab line was a disaster.  There was no way we could make it to The Wynn in time for the show.  Mike stepped up with his craps table winnings and paid for the car to the Wynn.  While we were in there, the radio went crazy with panic over the lack of cabs.

TO BE CONTINUED.  MAYBE.  WHEN I GET AROUND TO IT.

2009 JDRF Walk To Cure Diabetes

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXgWvEk5j8o]

Dear Friends and Family,

It’s that time of year again and I must say that the fall completely got away from me.  The JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes is coming up in 2 weeks.  We’ve had a very busy month and I asked Scott if he wanted to skip the Walk this year.  Maybe he is getting too old, things are too crazy.  He said “Why would I want to skip the Walk.  I  STILL have diabetes and there is no cure yet, so OF COURSE I want to walk.  Besides, it’s the best day of the year.”  So…. Here we are once again writing for your continued support in our quest for a cure.

Scott continues to do well with his OmniPod insulin pump.  He would not trade that for anything in the world.  They came out with a new, updated version of the PDM (Personal Diabetes Manager which controls his pod and is also his glucose meter) and he was as excited about that coming in the mail as he was his xBox.  Now we are trying to get our insurance company to approve another bit of new technology, the CGM or Continuous Glucose Monitor.  This is another device that he will wear attached to his body that reads his blood glucose levels every 5 minutes.  It will cut the need to prick his finger from 8-10 per day to just 2.  More importantly, it will alarm when his blood sugars are rising or falling at a dangerous rate.  This will hopefully prevent some of the dangerous “lows” where he has difficulty standing or seeing.  It will also prevent his blood sugars going too high if he forgets to “bolus” or take his insulin.  Research has shown that good blood sugar control is a key factor in reducing the risk of the devastating long-term complications of the disease, such as blindness and kidney disease — but that the fear of low blood sugar emergencies often prevents many people from achieving tight control, and remains a constant concern for those who manage their diabetes well.   JDRF studies have shown that, with a  CGM, hypoglycemia can be reduced while maintaining excellent blood sugar control over an extended period of time.

So, long story short, the studies that that JDRF is funding are having a direct impact on the care that Scott is receiving.  THIS is why we continue to support the JDRF by walking each year and we hope that you will continue to support them as well.

Here is a video Jimmy made about Scott’s journey with diabetes:  Scott’s Story

You can join our team to walk, or just donate at:  The Rogers Family Walk Team Remember, any amount is appreciated!

Love,

Jimmy, Anne, Scott, Brad and Jay

Glee – Great New Fall Show?

The pilot was a little flawed, but there is a lot of potential here.  It’s Election, High School Musical, Breakfast Club, and about 15 other movies rolled into one, but the cast is very likable, and the vocal talent is pretty impressive. There are cliches and stereotypes galore, but I can be a sucker for that kind of stuff sometimes.

Oh yeah, the female lead makes the oddly hot category as well.  As a 42 year old guy, I’m certainly not their target demographic, but I was intrigued.

The addition of Kristen Chenoweth and Victor Garber (as has been announced) when it starts in the fall could really put it through the roof.

Disney (Or, How To Break Your Heart in the Happiest Place on Earth)

IMG_2023The family and I have been in Disney World for the past 5 days, and we have had a spectacularly wonderful time.  I’m not sure anyone does it better than the Mouse.  Anne mentioned “Disney Freaks” last night – those folks who come down here every year.  I don’t think she realized she was talking to one.

That being said, this trip is for my youngest son, Jay.  We were here 4 years ago, and his older brothers have great memories of that trip.  Jay doesn’t have any memories of that trip.

So this trip is about him.

Our first day here was spent in the Magic Kingdom.  “It’s a Small World” gets a bad rap in my book.  Sure the song can be irritating, but riding it with Jay, and seeing it through his innocent eyes, however, restored my faith in the ride and warmed my heart.  This may be the highlight of the trip that will be remembered for the coming years.

Yesterday, we were in the Animal Kingdom, which is our favorite of the four parks. We had enjoyed everything in the park (including riding Expedition Everest twice – a spectacular roller coaster) when it came time to confront “Dinosaur”.

We rode this ride four years ago, and it scared Scott (at that time, the same age as Jay is now) to tears.  He was hesitant, but rode it this time.  The issue we had to confront was Jay.  We had talked with him about the ride, and had explained to him that it was scary, and told him about everything in the ride – we tried to talk him out of riding.

The problem was, his big brothers and cousins were riding the ride.  I cannot imagine the pressure this 6 year old feels to be “one of the guys” – older and wiser than his short life should enable him to be.  We rode the ride – he was sitting beside me, and I was holding his hand, trying to warn him of what was to come.

As the lights came up, I saw him very quickly wipe his eyes dry, and proclaim the ride “AWESOME”!  The poor kid wouldn’t allow himself to cry.

His dad sure wanted to.

You’ve Got A Friend In Me

The idea for this came the other day when I left my XM Radio at the office and pulled out my Disney CD.  Yes, I have a Disney CD.  Let’s move past that.

I’m new to the brother dynamic.  I’ve got 3 sisters, and my father is an only child, so I have never experienced the closeness of brothers until my own sons.  Nothing seems more appropriate…

What It’s Been Like At Our House Since Christmas….

We may be a little late to the party, but we’re hooked on Guitar Hero III.  Mom is actually the best player in the house, but our youngest has, all of a sudden, acquired some mad skills.  The video is unedited, so it’s pretty much the same thing (in other words, there’s no real payoff – he got booed off at 85%, but I’m pretty impressed), but this kid was getting boo-ed off the stage just a few days ago….

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1A8gwQcHffQ]

Because what’s Christmas without a Little Profanity?

I had intended to include this one since I started this little retrospective, but when Stereogum brought this “The BBC Put The **** And ****** Back In Christmas” to my attention, I found my “hook”.

It’s funny how certain songs and artists have escaped my attention over the years, and the Pogues are one that I would have totally been into “back in the day”.  Celtic Punk. ‘Nuff said.

I first heard this song last Christmas season on the Ron & Fez Show on XM Radio.  They start every show with an amazing song – the producers almost always pick something that is either a favorite, or something that I haven’t heard, but really like. Our tastes are remarkably similar.

My problem was, as subject matter goes, this song is only slightly more appropriate for Christmas as “I Believe In Father Christmas” by Greg Lake, a song that I used to like simply for it’s pomposity (is that even a word?) – but the lyrics  ruin the song:  “..The Christmas We Get We Deserve…”  As someone who tends to be cynical, that song is just too much. 

This one, however is not much better.  From Wikipedia:

The song takes the form of a drunken man’s Christmas Eve reverie about holidays past while sleeping off a binge in a New York City drunk tank. After an inebriated old man also incarcerated in the jail cell sings a passage from the Irish drinking ballad The Rare Old Mountain Dew, the drunken man (MacGowan) begins to dream about a failed relationship. The remainder of the song (which may be an internal monologue) takes the form of a call and response between two Irish immigrants, lovers or ex-lovers, their youthful hopes crushed by alcoholism and drug addiction, reminiscing and bickering on Christmas Eve in New York City. MacColl’s melodious singing contrasts with the harsh sound of MacGowan’s voice and the lyrics are sometimes bittersweet, sometimes plain bitter: “Happy Christmas your arse/ I pray God it’s our last”.

That being said, I LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS SONG.  And yes, that is Matt Dillon as the cop in the video.  Without further adieu – the Fairytale of New York:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltiY-BqvOIU]

YouTube – Fairytale of New York