Sunday, 31 July 2011

Las Vegas Tidbit - #4

Fun Fact
The Golden Gate casino/hotel was the first to serve a fifty cent shrimp cocktail in 1959. This is now a Las Vegas cliché. The Golden Gate is best known for its "Original Shrimp Cocktail" served at the San Francisco Shrimp Bar and Deli inside the casino/hotel. It is served in a regular-sized sundae glass filled with small salad shrimp and topped with a dollop of cocktail sauce. Unlike many other places in Las Vegas that advertise a cheap shrimp cocktail, the one at The Golden Gate is not padded with lettuce or other fillers

It serves a ton of cold-water shrimp each week. The sheer quantity of shrimp sold gives the small hotel the leverage of a large mega-resort with orders. In 1991, the price was raised from 50¢ to 99¢. In 2008, The Golden Gate raised the price to $1.99, due to a rise in fuel costs. To offer a trade-off, the casino now uses larger shrimp in the cocktail. Prior to the fuel increase, the casino lost about $300,000 a year on shrimp cocktails.

They just want your money but they have to get you in somehow...
The price of a shrimp cocktail at the Golden Gate is $2.15 after tax; it is a pile of shrimp served with a lemon and help-yourself crackers from a bucket.

Great Quote
"In Vegas, I got into a long argument with the man at the roulette wheel over what I considered to be an odd number."
- Steven Wright

At A Loss For Words

Teri and I visited the Grand Canyon the other day. To do the trip in one day is a little tough, but we found a bus tour that goes early in the morning and comes back late at night. We did have to spent around 12 hours on a bus though and only got to hang out and hike along the rim at the canyon for a couple of hours. But it was so worth it. The Grand Canyon is absolutely mesmerizing. I have no words to describe it and I doubt our pictures will do it any sort of justice. It really is one of those places that needs it be visited and experienced.

"The human quest to conquer and possess began a new chapter in the history of Grand Canyon. John Hiller, the first to seriously photograph the Canyon, began what no one could ever finish. The Canyon challenges and then defies man’s passion to capture and communicate. No picture or word, no brush or palette, no lens or paint, can extend the wonder of Grand Canyon beyond itself."
- Grand Canyon: The Hidden Secrets (IMAX)

Friday, 29 July 2011

Las Vegas Tidbit - #3

Fun Fact
The phrase "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" has been around for less than ten years. It was created as an advertising slogan for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority in 2002. The campaign brought Las Vegas a record-breaking 37.4 million visitors in 2004. Jeff Candido and Jason Hof are credited with coming up with it. However, the slogan is not new; "What happens on tour, stays on tour" is a saying that has been around since the early 1970s. It was used by men who got together and travelled either interstate or overseas for sporting tours, it is more recently used my musicians as well.

They just want your money but they have to get you in somehow...
Planet Hollywood has an hourly thunderstorm, inside.

Great Quote
"To most people, Las Vegas is synonymous with gambling and glitter; a slightly, pleasingly sinful fairyland for adults where they can watch the most entertaining performers and biggest names in show business in between bouts of indulging in games of chance that everyone knows favor the house."
- Clifford L. Linedecker

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Las Vegas Tidbit - #2

Fun Fact
The very first hotel/casino on The Strip was the El Rancho Vegas, which opened on April 3, 1941. It burned down twenty years later. However, its That casino stood for almost 20 years before being destroyed by a fire in 1960. The second one to open was the Hotel Last Frontier, in 1942. The Flamingo (which is right next to our hotel and we have access to their pool) opened in 1946, and the Desert Inn, opened in 1950.

The second period of development saw the opening of the first MGM Grand in 1973. This hotel had 2,084 rooms and, at the time, it was one of the largest hotels in the world. However, it burned down in 1980.

The next important period of development on The Strip started in 1989 wuth the opening of The Mirage which set a new level to the Las Vegas experience, as smaller hotels and casinos made way for the larger mega-resorts.

They just want your money but they have to get you in somehow...
The Mirage also has this big volcano out front that in the evenings until midnight erupts every 15 minutes.

Great Quote
"I lost $35,000 in less than a week at the Mirage in Las Vegas."
-Dennis Rodman

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Las Vegas Tidbit - #1

Flying out this evening!! I thought I would do a little series that will post while I'm away. I feel like I haven't been posting as much as I would like, so hopefully this will help me get back into it.

Fun Fact

The Las Vegas Strip is not actually in Las Vegas the city (or Las Vegas proper). The Strip is found in Clark County, Nevada; adjacent to, but outside the city limits. The Strip lies within the unincorporated townships of Paradise and Winchester. An unincorporated area is a region of land that is not a part of any municipality and is therefore not subject to or taxed by a municipal government

They just want your money but they have to get you in somehow...
The Mirage has both an Aquarium and large Tropical Rainforest in its main casino/hotel that anyone can wander around and look at for free, 24/7!

Great Quote
"Las Vegas was and is a hard town that will make you pay for your inability to restrain your desires.... If you have a weakness, Las Vegas will punish you."
- Hal Rothman

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

To Travel Or Not To Travel

I'm leaving for Vegas tomorrow!! Yes, I know I just came back from Alberta but, as Teri pointed out, the older we get the less time we have to travel. I think she meant that we will have families and responsibilities, because if she stays a teacher she will always have "summer's off" (they aren't as "off" as you think they are). Also, usually the further along in a career the more vacation weeks you are given. Regardless of the accuracy of her statement, I never need much convincing to travel!!

Nor do I need a lot of money apparently. I'm definitely feeling a little strapped for cash. I wish I had a job lined up for when I get back which I could start in late August or early September but I haven't had time to look. I lucked out and got a bit of a break on my MRP which means I don't have to rush this last bit of the final draft, also Kristen and JennB will be happy to have more time to help me with final edits since I am always so last minute. I'm not planning on taking piles of MRP stuff along on the trip, but it will be hard to leave it all behind. I will have it on the laptop so if the mood strikes me I can work on it a bit. However, I really just want to see what this place is all about and worry about the MRP next week. (I'm pretty sure the place is all about partying, but I will let you know.)

Monday, 25 July 2011

Get Well Soon Jack!

Teri sent me a very sad news article today: Jack Layton is taking a leave of absence. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer a couple of years ago and was able to beat it. However, doctors have now found another type of cancer and he is going to take a little time off to try to beat this one was well. He hopes to return to office on September 19th, which is a very ambitious goal. This would be sad on any occasion but the NDP had a record breaking election and hold a powerful place as the official opposition. I hope he is able to triumph against this and be back on his feet soon. Take care Jack!!

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Today's The Day

It is Taylor's Wedding Day!!!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

This I Will Show You

So Taylor's Bachelorette was crazy. I did determine two years ago that I was born to go to Bachelorette's! Read that post HERE. Taylor's was no exception, it was awesome. I want to thank Kristen for organizing it all and then everyone who went for making it such an amazing party. I didn't drink and I still had a great time - we laughed so much and all of us lost our voices from screaming so much. I don't want to get into too specific of details about what the weekend entailed but I will post these strange photos:

Going For It

I was fake posing so that it would look like I was about to kiss Taylor. However, instead of joining me, she seems to be having none of it. I like the picture because I think from this angle I look a little like Mila Kunis, which I have never thought of or been told before.

Taylor Went For It

So, even though outside in line, where the first picture was taken, Taylor was having none of it once we were in the bar she decided to lay one on me. As you can see I'm not all that impressed. I was so gross and sweaty from all the dancing I didn't want any pictures taken of me and no one to touch me.

It was an awesome night and a great weekend!!

Friday, 15 July 2011

Shhhh It's A Party

I'm starting a weekend long crazy party for Taylor's Bachelorette. I can't tell you much more since I have been sworn to secrecy by the party's main organizer, Kristen, Maid of Honour at large. I am not going to drink since the final draft of my MRP is due very soon and I need to keep all of brain cells I can over the next couple of weeks. However, I will have my camera and will try to document the craziness!

Thanks Kristen!

I spent a crazy weekend at the Calgary Stampede and then a relaxing few days in Banff. However, it is now very late at night. There was a slight delay at the Calgary airport and then the flight home from Alberta is surprisingly lengthy. After waiting for bags and taxis and then the drive to Bayit, I'm exhausted. I had to navigate my very messy room and pull out/organize a few things. Anyway, when I finally got to flop down in bed I nearly had a heart attack!! I hadn't noticed but in my absence the following had been affixed to the ceiling above my bed:
She's Lucky I Didn't Scream And Wake Her Up!

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Horses & Dogs

Yesterday, Teri, her boyfriend, and I spent a very full day at the Calgary Stampede. We went from show to event all day, most of which were horse or dog related. However, we did watch a bit of a concert and saw a guy get shot from a cannon as well. I could spend another whole day, or more, looking at farm animals and watching dogs and horses though. I love a well trained animal!

Watching some of the cowboys and girls do dressage moves as part of the Cowboy Up competition was amazing. I understand a bit of the intricacies of dressage and I appreciate how difficult it is. I'm used to it being much more of a British thing and it was strange to see it done by those riding Western.

It reminded me of this video clip; I looked back and it appears like I have never posted it on Always Standing, which is strange. This horse is awesome!

Monday, 11 July 2011

Texts From Last Night

Ok, in truth they are not from last night but actually a few nights ago. However, Stampede is crazy and I have been super busy. I'm having a great time with Ter and her friends, Little Brother Mike came to hang for a day, and Anne is being an awesome host as always (why won't she move back to Ontario, she is missed!)

The following is a direct transcript, unless otherwise noted, from a text conversation between Teri and myself. Times are approximate.

Teri: We are going to dinner at like 5:30 or 6
Me: Cool, le me know where and what to wear and I'll meet you there.

Ter and I have a phone conversation in which I determine that instead of meeting her and her friends downtown I will stay at Anne's and do some work. I was still hoping to possibly meet up with them afterwards for drinks. We also arranged to meet up the next morning to go to a Stampede breakfast at 9.

Me: Thinking of heading to Wildhorse Saloon, party tent, tonight.
Me: Where are you guys going?
Teri: Where is it? With who?
Teri: No idea. Wqho r u going with?
Me: Corner of 4th St. and 6th Ave SW
Me: Beth* (Anne's roommate, partied with her last year) and her friends.
Teri: Apparently therte is already a huge line and 20 cover. Ben* is informing us$
*Names have been changed
Me: Yup sounds right. We will probably be in line for a couple of hours (have roadies/linies).
Teri: Haha
Teri: Ok have fun, thought u didn't want to go out tonight?
Me: I just finished my work for tonight. I promised myself I would go out if I finished before 8.
Me: Also Beth* and her friend have been plying me with Jello shots and mageritas!
Teri: Haha fair enough
Me: I tried to resist! (And I did hold off enough to work.)

Me: Where are you guys?
Teri: We arte just finishing dinner at earls. Going out on 17th somewhere

Me: Already a litle buzzed....
Me: Where are you? Come visit me in line!!
Teri: Haha, I can tell. We are at connies* place now. Going out soon
*Name has been changed, however in the original text Teri did use all lowercase and no apostrophe

Teri: What's the line like?
Me: So drycj

Teri: What is the line like?
Me: Edsioooooooo dsruxk&nnnnnn
Teri: So the line is good?

Me: Haja no ir was a liong time, in noe SRUNK!
Teri: Oh wow lol
Me: Hahas xcould u not understand thad? Me neither!n
Teri: Lol u are hilarious

Me: U sjhould be here there ius straw dsrtuck in myu keybord, FUCK!!!
Note: I meant pieces of straw, like hay, it was Stampede after all and I was at a tent party called Wildhorse Saloon.
Teri: Haha still not really following. A straw stuck in keyboard?
Me: Yup

Me: Now straw stuclk SO many places, wow drunck... See you in the morn, bring my makeup case.
Note: I had brushed my teeth at the airport and afterwards packed my makeup bag in Teri's suitcase. We had split up since we were staying at different people's houses but I had forgotten to get it from her.

Teri: See u at 9
Me: By nine do you mean 10:30?
Teri: Uh no. It stops at 11 am
Teri: We are going at 9 ish or 930 latest

Teri: Are you coming?
Me: Hell yes, see you at 10:30, then we'll figure pub crawl plans - soberingf up, kinda.


I would like to say that despite my apparent confusion, I did show up to breakfast on time. Sadly, Teri was not the only person to have to deal with the repercussions of me having a cell when I'm drinking... I called my brother from the line up at because I had met a guy who knew a high school friend of his. I also called my parents, twice. I had forgotten about the time difference which puts them 2 hours later than Calgary, so called them at 1:30 and 2:45, their time. The drinking didn't stop here though, as the final text says, we went on a pub crawl the next day, but that is a story for another time.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Save A Horse

Starting the Calgary Stampede off right....

The Girl Next Door
Photo by Christine Sweeton

Make-Up by Sarah


I got to see the Queen last year in Ottawa and this year I saw the Royal Newlyweds! I really did not have as good a spot as last year but still got to see Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (see circle):
We are still super excited to see them, look at how happy we are. I love Ottawa for Canada Day.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Have Car - Will Drive - Episode Seven

The one with long-weekend traffic...

I went to Ottawa this weekend for Canada Day. It was a great trip, however I did confirm that Toronto to Ottawa is not a quick commutable drive. Especially in long-weekend traffic, even though I tried leaving a non-rush-hour times to avoid the worst of it!

Thursday June 30th
Left Toronto: 12:17 pm
Got to Ottawa: 8:02 pm
Total Drive Time: 7 hours 45 minutes

Tuesday July 5th
Left Ottawa: 6:30 am
Got to Toronto: 10:44 am
Total Drive Time: 4 hours 14 minutes

Monday, 4 July 2011

A Story For My Second Draft

I have a terrible time with introductions. After the first draft of my MRP, my supervisor suggested that I work on a more exciting opening. I decided to tell a little story:

**100 Years of Egypt as Reflected in Two Baedeker Guidebooks**

You are visiting the Egyptian site of Memphis, the capital of Ancient Egypt, 22 kilometres North of Cairo and 11,231 kilometres from your home in Memphis, Texas. You wander around admiring the “well preserved alabaster Sphinx,” “a colossal figure of Ramesses II,” and “tombs belonging to High Priests of the 22nd Dynasty.” You have rented a camel, who is tied up in a nearby “palm-grove.” In the late afternoon, you decide to leave the camel sitting in the shade and take a walk yourself down the road towards Saqqara. You know that you probably will not be able to reach Saqqara but as a tourist, the journey is part of the fun.

It grows late, the normally hot air begins to cool, and you realise that you are lost. You are passed by the occasional local Egyptian but do not feel comfortable asking them for directions. As a tourist looking for a relaxing vacation, you have left your cell phone at home and begin to panic, realizing that you do not have access to it or its GPS function. You frantically search your backpack, which results in the discovery of a red guidebook – Baedeker’s Egypt. A guidebook, with maps and directions, could save you! But what if this very guidebook is the reason you feel uncomfortable with the idea of asking the locals for help? The language used in the 1885 version of Baedeker’s Egypt unabashedly belittles the Egyptian people, showing a strong colonial discourse throughout. But you are lost in Egypt a century later, with a newer 1983 edition – could this still be the case?

Racial Discourse in Baedeker’s Egypt

A significant change in racial discourse is evident through the study of two editions of Baedeker’s Egypt, one published in 1885 and the other in 1983. By using a close reading of these ...

The above section and the rest of the essay has proper MLA citations, I have removed them for ease of reading. So, after the intro I then have pages and pages of a research paper that is obviously academic. Since I struggle with conclusions as well I had no idea how to end the paper. Last night I had Steph, Justain, and Dave help me edit the essay; at the end of it Dave asked, "So, did I get out of the desert?" I figured it would be a cool idea to mirror the story again at the end of the paper. So it finishes with the story again:

... the more recent guidebook claim that the country “will never be overrun by tourists.” The fact that 1,438,000 people visited Egypt in 1982 suggests that it had become an extremely popular tourist location.

In Conclusion

So popular in fact that you chose to vacation there! You are immensely relieved to have found your guidebook, as you shiver in the Egyptian night, lost in the outskirts of Cairo. Flipping through Baedeker’s Egypt, you search for a map that will help you find your way back to the camel you left near the site of Memphis.

You pause to appreciate that the guidebook starts so poetically: “From the time immemorial Egypt, that land of ancient civilization on the Nile, has exerted an irresistible fascination.” As you continue to turn the pages, another section catches your eye, “Manners and Customs.” It is not the various points of advice given about cultural differences that draw your attention but instead the opening sentences: "Visitors to Islamic countries who want to understand the behaviour and attitudes of the inhabitants and to avoid unnecessary difficulties in dealing with them should take care to regulate their own conduct in such a way as to avoid offending local susceptibilities. Muslims have a different way of life and different modes of thought from those to which the Western visitor is accustomed. They have different values and different habits, which tourists should avoid disregarding or disparaging." This strangely conflicted message of courteously and discredit seems to summarize the entire guidebook; it is at the same time both an attempt at racial respect yet suggests a colonial influence. The use of the term “Western visitor” ensures the continued distinction between the Occident and Orient; the text also explains that a key benefit of adjusting behaviour in a respectful way is to avoid any unnecessary difficulties when dealing with Egyptians. The words “difficulties” and “dealing” are not overly negative but they do not represent the Egyptian people and interactions with them in a kind or considerate fashion. However, the underlying message is one of racial sensitivity and generous understanding.

The 1885 text does not contain a similar sentiment to the one found in the “Manners and Customs” section of the 1983 book. The shift towards the inclusion of these types of messages occurs much later. Edward Mendelson identifies a significant moment in the history of Baedeker travel guides: "It was marked by the publication of a few sentences whose significance probably went unrecognized at the time. In the revised handbooks to Italy that appeared between 1928 and 1932, Baedeker wrote: The traveller in a foreign country should do his best to win its respect and friendship for the nation which he represents, by his tact and reserve and by refraining from noisy behaviour and contemptuous remarks (in public buildings, hotels, etc.) and especially from airing his political views." This was the first time that a Baedeker guidebook reflected the relationship of respect between the visitor and locals. Upon review of the 1983 text, similar adjustments in racial discourse are evident. However, some imperialistic attitudes and practices remain. Unfortunately, much of the fascination in Egyptian culture stems from colonial interest in the country during the nineteenth century and the 1983 edition of Baedeker’s Egypt is far from being a guidebook which presents an attitude of complete racial equality.

Fortunately for you though, Baedeker’s Egypt does have a helpful map that guides you back to Memphis. After a brisk walk through the chilly air, you arrive at your waiting camel. Moments later you are riding happily back toward Cairo, dreading end of your vacation and the inevitable return to another Memphis.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

It Makes Me Disappointed, Sad, And Angry

Thanks to a Facebook posting from Anna, I have learned of some troubling news. Oxford University style guide is recommending the abandoning of the "Oxford comma". I love that comma, though in truth I never knew it was called that. This was reported by a British Newspaper called The Independent. You can read the full article HERE.

I am very sad about the loss of this key mark of punctuation. It is the comma before "and" marking the final item in a list. Instead of "Pigs, horses and cows" I would write "Pigs, horses, and cows." For as long as I have been in university it has been optional to put the comma before the "and," but whatever you chose had to be consistent throughout the paper. I always chose the extra comma, it makes the list so much clearer. I guess it is gone. I may mourn the loss.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Summer Time

Everyone has different ideas about when summer starts:
-May, end of class for universities
-July, end of class for elementary and high schools
-June 21st, summer solstice
-First swim
-First freezie
-First BBQ'd hamburger
-First warm day
-When the family pool gets opened

For me it is all of the above, but really I don't feel that I can really enjoy summer until school is over - with the MRP that means near the end of July.