One Last “Note” On Vegas

31 10 2008

As some of you may know, I have a hobby of putting together videos of the photos we’ve taken on some of our adventures. Hence, I threw something together from our Las Vegas vacation. It’s about 3 minutes long, set to a tune from the band we saw in concert, Flogging Molly. Enjoy!


And Finally, Our Trip Of Sun

29 10 2008

Michele and I needed some sun. We really did. After something like 30 straight days of rain, it was time for what they call a “dry heat.” And where better to take in some dry heat than Las Vegas. Plus, Jason and Melissa were meeting us there. We were there from Thursday afternoon to Monday. Right now, before reading this, I want you to start humming “Viva Las Vegas” in your head. Go on. “Bright light city gonna set my soul, gonna set my soul on fire…” Here’s how it all went down.

Day One
We got to Vegas around 3pm after taking a stand-by earlier flight. Of course, you all know what did not make it… our bags. Typical. But that did not stop us from having fun. First, we hit up the place I just had to go: Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar. We had some appetizers there while watching some baseball and football. After that we headed over to Harrah’s, where I won my first two bets of the weekend (on West Virginia and Air Force).

Jason and Melissa got into town and made it to the hotel – Treasure Island – around 9 pm. Michele, Jason, and I immediately played in a poker tournament hosted at the casino. While none of us won, Michele outlasted the boys by about 30 minutes (she says it was 45 at least).

Day Two

On this day, Friday, we all kind of went our own directions. Jason went to the Bellagio to play poker, Melissa did some shopping, and Michele and I hit the pool. Around the middle of the day, Michele met up with Melissa to shop a little and I bounced back and forth between the pool and the SportsBook (where I won decently on the ponies).

For the evening fun, we had dinner and a concert. We went to the N9NE Steakhouse for dinner, which was located in The Palms, where the concert was being held. You can check out the website here for N9NE. We split amongst the four of us a potpourri of things that had a taste of just about all they had to offer (steak, crab legs, lamb, shrimp). Jason claimed it was one of the best, if not the best, meals he had ever had.

After dinner, we saw a band called Flogging Molly in concert. They are a Celtic rock band and put on a heck of a show. You can check here for their website, which has some songs on it (not the “Shipping Up To Boston’ band, but somewhat similar). Two humorous points from the concert:

(1) Melissa thought the act that preceded Flogging Molly was actually Flogging Molly. This is funny because the opening act was AWFUL. Loud, unenjoyable, the whole deal. Unbeknownst to us, she’s sitting there wondering how we could like such terrible music. She was getting up to leave when they were done, thinking the show was over. I do think she liked the actual Flogging Molly performance better.

(2) I won’t go into much detail here, but about halfway through the show, this guy with an extremely drunk woman decided to sit in the open seats directly behind us. You would have thought they were a couple of teenagers who had finally gotten out of the house. Essentially, these guys paid for tickets to make-out, not watch the concert. If they were about 3 rows up, it would have been hilarious. One row behind us, not so much. The woman’s boot spent some of the show on Jason’s shoulder, and when the girl tried to get to her seat, she nearly fell over on her face. It was not pleasant, but did make for an amusing story after the fact.

Day Three

After hitting the breakfast buffet, Jason and I headed to the SportsBook to get ready for a great day of college football. Around noon, Michele and Melissa had their trip to the spa, which looked something like this:

While Michele and Melissa had cucumbers on their eyes, Jason and I did reasonably well on the games. The good: Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Alabama. the bad: Ohio State, Ole Miss, New Mexico State. Michele won her one bet of the day, a 3-team parlay that paid out a nice sum.

That night, we went to dinner at The Palms restaurant in Caesar’s Palace. It was at this restaurant the previous year that Michele and co. had seen Paris Hilton (no such luck this time). The food was good here as well, and we had an extremely nice waiter who could carry his own in a college football discussion with us. Below is a picture of Melissa with out waiter…

I kid, I kid. That’s Jason, of course. After dinner, we gave in and let Michele play some blackjackat the one place she had wanted to play all weekend… the Pussycat Dolls area of Caesar’s. Apparently, these ladies started as a show in Vegas, then had a rock group. Here’s Michele winning (?) some money there.

After leaving Caesar’s, we made our way back to Treasure Island just in time for their pirate show. We got a different show than usual, as it was some anniversary (10th maybe). So they slide this pirate ship along the water and then do a Cirque de Soleil style act for us. Here’s the ship with a pirate guy up top…

And here’s what I think is the best photo I took in Vegas. On the left side is a woman doing some acrobatics, and on the right is the shadow.

And here’s a photo of Michele and me with the ship in the background.

Day Four

On Sunday, Jason and Melissa left, and Michele and I moved over to a new hotel – MGM Grand. I took this photo from the pool area, which I thought turned out pretty well.

We spent almost all of Sunday out by the pool at the Grand, which had a lazy river. So we had that going for us. Not to mention the 80 degrees out was like heaven!

And not only did it have a lazy river, but the river had different water spouts and waterfalls throughout that were pretty fun. Here’s one…

On Sunday night, Michele and I went to the world-famous Bellagio buffet. The amazing thing was that we had to wait in line for about 40 minutes just to get into the buffet. After dinner, we played some blackjack with one of the nicest dealers we have ever seen. She taught us some strategy on how to play, and we both walked away in the positive.

Also, we took in one our favorite casino shows while there – the Bellagio water show. You may have seen the live video I posted a bit earlier. We saw one show on the way in, and a different one on the way out. Here’s two photos from that show…

On the way back to the Grand, we stopped at a souvenir shop to browse for a few moments. (You know I can’t resist a good 3-for-10 t-shirt sale!) Anyway, this was apparently the same souvenir shop used by famous dead people. For real…

We assume that after his purchase, he told the cashier, “Thanks.” Having witnessed Elvis in that shop, I believe this gives me a free pass now to always want to check out the cheap souvenir stores while on vacation. You never know who you’re going to see!

There were, unfortunately, two things I did not get to do while I was in Las Vegas that I really, really wanted to do. Maybe next time. But I did take photos of those two things as a reminder for next time…

Not to end this post on a downer, though, we had an excellent trip. Fun, relaxing, hot, sunny, all the stuff we were hoping for. And then finally, it was capped off by a pretty sweet sunset as we arrived in Seattle.

A Snack For Now

29 10 2008

I’m still working on a post about our trip to Vegas. Turns out we took a ton of pictures. But here’s a little something to wet your whistle until I can get the post on here. This is some video I took at the Bellagio’s water show. We didn’t have the greatest spot to watch, as we got there at the last second. We watched two, but this was definitely the best. Enjoy…

And We’re Back

28 10 2008

Michele and I returned late last night from a mini-vacation to Las Vegas.  We had an excellent time and got to hang with Jason and Melissa too.  The sun was out the entire time, and we soaked up as much as possible.  Don’t worry, we took plenty of photos.  I will put them on the computer tonight and hopefully post a recap tomorrow.

One quick story: We have a friend in Juneau named Sam, who is a pilot.  Sam is about 8 years older than me, but he grew up in Mobile and went to high school at Murphy.  We did not know each other until we were introduced up here a little over a year ago.  Well, Jason (Michele’s bro-in-law, and mine too I guess) was playing poker at the Bellagio on Saturday night, but we were still at Treasure Island.   He gets back from playing and tells us he met someone we know – our pal Sam.  Unbeknownst to us, Sam was also in Vegas, was playing poker at the Bellagio, and just happened to be sat at the table next to Jason.

Small world.

Visitor Spotlight No. 3

21 10 2008

Today (October 20th) is my dad’s birthday. And so, as a small birthday present, we are featuring him for our third installment of the visitor spotlight. Happy birthday!

Mr. Kane Goes To Juneau

My dad came up for about a week in August of last year. (Yes, we do get visitor’s outside the month of March). The week he was here was quite possibly the greatest stretch of weather we’ve had in Juneau since I have been here. It was a remarkable week of sun and temps in the high 60s or low 70s.

We had four main activities planned for my dad’s visit: check out the Shrine, hit up the glacier, get out on Stew’s boat, and take a trip over to Glacier Bay. (I figured I don’t even need to mention the brewery at this point, as that’s a given. Plus, we didn’t take any photos at the brewery this time around. I recall my dad’s favorite being the Alaskan Stout.)

The first thing we did, as always, was take a trip over to the ol’ Mendenhall Glacier. We got a pretty solid treat at the glacier, by getting to watch the bear below catch then eat a salmon.

Of course, my dad was also impressed with the glacier itself, as all our guests are. I’m pretty sure he went there almost every day of his visit.

Stew was nice enough to take us out on his boat for some fishing and whale-watching. We managed to reel in a nice-sized salmon and catch some crabs while we were out. We even saw a whale or two. Below, you can see us with the fish, my dad holding up a couple of our crabs, then the feast we had out at my place later that evening and even a  liquor drink or two.

Our next adventure was a trip over to Gustavus and Glacier Bay. Our friend Dave had recently made this trip and said it was one his favorite things he had done. So, Michele the travel agent hooked the whole thing up, from getting us a plane ride over to Gustavus to getting a room at the lodge and booking a boat trip.

We took the short trip over to Gustavus on a tiny plane owned by the Wings Airline (no, not Sandpiper Air).

We were picked up by van at the Gustavus “airport” (I’m using that term as loosely as possible) by a rather opinionated driver from Texas. We also found out that at the lodge where we were staying, there were two brothers from Mobile working for the summer. Amazing, right? We met one of them, and I think they both went to St. Paul’s for high school.

Saturday provided the main reason for our trip to Gustavus – the boat trip into Glacier Bay. We ended up with about 300 photos from that trip. The trip was about 6 hours total, and we saw all the wildlife you could hope for: whales, bears, sea lions, puffins, mountain goats, sea otters. What? You don’t believe me? You need photographic evidence that we saw all these things? Ok, then, check below.

In addition to all the wildlife, we took in some rather breathtaking glaciers (I think 4 or 5 total). Though there were a few annoying passengers who felt the need to be constantly talking loudly while we enjoyed the views, and a few punk kids who seemed unimpressed by the glaciers.

Anyway, here’s one of Michele, dad, and me.

While we were reasonably close to one of the glaciers, I asked Michele to take a photo of me with the glacier in the background. Just as she started to take it, the thing started calving. A huge chunk fell and Michele was “Johnny-on-the-spot” with the camera, as you can see below.

And the last photo I’ll show from that trip is one of my top 10 photos ever taken. I was surprised when it was not named photo of the year. I mean, really surprised.

On the last day of dad’s visit, we went to church out at the Shrine before taking one last visit to the Mendenhall Glacier. Here’s a shot of Michele and dad (also the first Shrine photo without snow in it.)

And my dad and I shared a laugh at the Shrine.

And there you have it, the recap of my dad’s visit to Juneau. And seriously, he saw as many sunny days in one week as I think we saw this entire summer. But we certainly made the most of it.

One side note on the trip to Glacier Bay – when our friends Jason and Anya came up a about a week later, they did the Glacier Bay adventure and loved it. So, I think it’s safe to say that Glacier Bay is one of the top five attractions in southeast Alaska.

The False Outer Point Project

17 10 2008

Two people took a hike out to False Outer Point on Tuesday evening.  This is the footage from that event.  It is possible that this video could be updated in future days, but here’s the footage we have so far.  And special thanks to our friends from Vampire Weekend for providing the music.


Sunset O’ The Day

16 10 2008

Michele and I took a hike on Tuesday night out at False Outer Point, a miles down from the house.  I am putting together some stuff on that adventure and will hopefully post something tonight or early tomorrow.  So check back!