Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Grand Canyon Episode

This morning we both slept in. It was 8:20 when Adi and I went out for the paper. Of course Mrs. Jim had made coffee so I could take a cup out with me.

Then we sat around and drank coffee and read the paper. No headlines for the blog today. Well, none that I want to comment about.

The Today Show

Did any of you watch that this morning? For us was the
most interesting was Al Roker doing the weather. Not for the weather, but his doing the weather. He had the Blue Man Group helping him. I like the Blue Man Group. They have a continuing evening show in Las Vegas, with lots of audience participation.

Getting culture sure helps us to understand the TV programs. Last year at this time I wouldn't have known who the Blue Men were.

Last Spring, 2005, was when the stuff hit the fan. I had commented to my golfing buddy, Charles, that while in Las Vegas last December (2004) for Karen, Billy, and GC#4's wedding, I had declined a very nice air flight to the Grand Canyon, then a trip in a helicopter to the floor, followed by a river boat ride in the Colorado River, and then a barbecue lunch with the Indians before reversing the procedure.

Charles said he was going to Provo, Utah, for a wood turning conference and why didn't we all go together to see the canyon. He 'never turns down an opportunity to see the Grand Canyon' and for sure hadn't done it the way I wanted to do it. I had never seen the Grand Canyon, nor had I been to Arizona.*

Charles doesn't like to fly. He has had several bad experiences with the flight attendants on board. So we drove in his new Surburban, Charlie let me drive too, although I think I made him a little nervous. I hadn't been to El Paso since I moved away to New Hampshire in 1961. It was nice to see El Paso again. Of course it had grown so much I didn't recognize a lot until we got to the college in the Western edge, and then Las Cruces.

Las Cruces had grown a lot too. We didn't even know what Interstate Highways were back then, in using these we missed all the nice small town streets and the Spanish influence city squares that I had liked so well in both towns. A big shock came when filling up with gas. He did the first one; for the second I was faster jumping out, and I got it. The pump figure was over $80, maybe over a $100; the tank was only about two thirds empty. Two fillups got us to Las Vegas.

A slight problem arose. I had made motel reservations
at a Comfort Inn in North Las Vegas, the Comfort Inn North. I never had stayed in a bad one, although the one in Amarillo was marginal. This one I had booked was horrible. Well, it was kind of cute in being clean and smallish. But it was right by the noisiest freeway I had known, sandwiched between a truck terminal and ??? (I can't remember what).

Right away that seemed not good. Those trucks were like bees, or ants, swarming in and out and around the place. So we said, no we wouldn't stay. One problem, our reservations were guaranteed; 'Mr. Sidiqui,' the manager, said we would have to pay for one night.

No problem really, but that bothered me in principal because the picture in the book and online had misrepresented the surroundings. It looked so pretty and clean, it must have been taken before the trucking firm moved in beside and behind it. 'Mr. Sidiqui' didn't tell us personally we couldn't get refunded, his afternoon manager did. We never did talk with 'Mr. Sidiqui.' More on that later.

We stayed at Bally's. That was well worth, value-wise, our move at three or four times the price of our original reservations.

It was adjoining the
Paris Las Vegas so we didn't hurt for eating, shopping, or gambling (none of us did that). Both hotels were on the strip, we were close to all the action.

Being close to the action was good for me. The other time (only other time) I was in Las Vegas was for the wedding; then I was on crutches waiting for the doc to say I could walk again on my right foot. I was that way from the early
October (2004) World Series game (that's where, and how, I hurt it--watching the game on TV) until December 26. So for sure I couldn't get very far from the Mandalay Bay where we stayed that time.


We had reservations for the Grand Canyon air, helicopter, and boat tour, and for a couple of shows. We saw Celine Dione first.


Then the Blue Man Group show. Celine was fine, the Blue Man show was so different that none of us were prepared. They mostly play 60s to 80s rock music, which was just fine, really fine, with me.

They used electronic three huge screen presentations to emphasize the various aspects of foolishness they were doing. Kind of like a three ring circus, it would have been hard to figure out everything that was going on without these screens. We had good seats in about row 12 of the huge theatre, so it wasn't a distance problem. Just we needed to know what to see and what was going on. The TV screens solved that issue.

The Blue Men had a lot of audience participation too. Mostly the participants were made fun of; left them feeling like fools. But they enjoyed being made a joke of, most people do like the attention they get when tricked in the public eye.

We knew a little of what to expect when we went in, we were handed a package containing ear plugs. Indeed, they were loud. Mrs. Jim and Mrs. Charles used their plugs, I think. I know Mrs. Jim did. She never did like the music they way I play it. Now I have to play it loud or I can't hear it good.

The other aspect was the mass audience participation. We weren't expecting this, but large spools of something similar to those large spools of toilet paper in the truck stops swung down from the ceiling in the back.

The people in the back were to grab a roll, there were enough so each person in the back could get one, and toss it over the people in front of them, and so on. When it was all over the entire audience was wrapped. Like the teenagers wrap houses, only a lot better. It was awesome to see. And soooooo much fun to do.

I would see the Blue Men again.

This morning, the Today Show, again.

I said to Mrs. Jim, "Aren't you glad we are getting some culture? If we hadn't been to Las Vegas we wouldn't have appreciated these guys doing their antics with Al Roker." She said she wouldn't call it culture, rather having information. Duh.

Maybe you wish we hadn't seen the Blue Men for your own sake. I wouldn't have felt I had write about them. And you could be reading some of my other trivia. Tomorrow I promise to finish the Grand Canyon story, Charles' woodworking conference, and our bout with Comfort Inn. Well, it could take two days, but Friday we will be in Iowa. Lois doesn't have DSL or cable so it could mean just a few short posts from her computer. Maybe Lawrence, Kansas, or Kansas City has a free 'hot spot' along our way.

*We did get to Arizona on the way. That was another thing I really wanted to do. My goal is to see all 50 states. Arizona and West Virginia were the only states I needed. Mrs. Jim needs West Virginia, Ohio, and Indiana. We plan to do all that this fall.

I'm not very cultured. The only reason why I know who the Blue Man Group is because that song came out (I think I was in high school or just out) called "Blue." I would love to see them though. I've only been in the LV airport never stepped on to LV soil. So many things to do, so little time.
Dad, I misread one of your previous posts, I thought you were already headed to Iowa but the "light came on" and I now see you are leaving this Friday. Have a good trip.

PS can you try one more time to get Susie to post?
Jim, Iowa rest areas have wireless internet access, I've been told.
I'm tired from reading about all of your activities.

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