Saturday, December 15, 2007

Las Vegas... the city of long lines

What happens in Vegas...

Oh who am I kidding, I'm blogging about what happened in Vegas.

My Vegas experience centered around walking and waiting in lines. Waiting in line for clubs, waiting in line for cash, waiting in line for food, waiting in line for a show, even waiting in line to make a purchase at Walgreens.

Most of the waiting ended in something amazing, though the Walgreens line had a less than exciting ending as they charged me for a $2 water that I had already paid $5 for at my hotel. Oh, and Vegas is expensive.

The hotels are pretty fancy. Each one has it's own special theme inside. The Venetian, for instance, is themed after Venice, with a canal that runs inside and out that you can ride a gondola on.

We stayed at the Paris which has an Eifle tower outside and nice little rooms inside. There was a great crepe place and an amazing buffet downstairs. Both which had those lines that I mentioned that made the food taste even more amazing... or maybe we were just that much more hungry and anything would have tasted good.

And, then of course there was The Shining themed hotel. Also known as the Flamingo.

We saw KA! which was a great show. I highly recommend it, and their giant drinks.
We ate at lots of great resteraunts including Mesa, Tao, and some sushi place with neat looking sushi and great tasting sake.

I did not gamble, but I rolled some dice and got some free drinks for standing around other gambling people.

All in all Vegas was fun, expensive, tiring, and AMAZING.

Where else can you stay in a castle that looks like it is built by legos?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Old enough to know better...

Young enough to be stupid and do it anyway.

When I was younger, my friend Liz let another friend cut her bangs. It was a whole awful incident of not accounting for how they would really look when her hair was dry. It took her a long time to forgive our friend for doing this to her, and even longer for those awful bangs to grow out.

10 years later, you think I would learn from her mistakes... not a chance. I decided I wanted bangs and having moved away from my hair dresser in Texas, I thought it would be better for me to do it than go to someone I did not trust. Little did I know, I should not trust myself.

Flash forward 4 months. I have been growing my hair out for almost a year hoping to eventually perm my hair and acheive this look.

I told my friend yesterday what I was doing. She warned me, she begged me, not to do it. She said she was going for the same look and got this instead:

I hesitated, because that is what my last perm looked like. But, I said, no, I will bring a picture, one of what I do not want and one of what I do.

Lets review:



The hair dresser copied one picture perfectly... guess which one.

I'll never learn.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Octoberfest in September in Seattle

Seattle is the city of surf, skyline and way too many Air force boys

You’ve seen it in so many episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, but let me tell you, the flybys in between dramatic shots of Seattle’s skyline just does not do it justice.

Now, I did not do too many touristy things while in Seattle, but I did get to experience it’s amazing night life, beach scene, a little of Pike’s Place Market and the skyline at night. Every up had its down, but overall I had a wonderful time in Seattle.

The beaches were beautiful. The freezing cold water forming treterous waves that hit pointy black rocks were less than a warm invitation for me to join my friends to surf on that beautiful beach. But, I think I got just as good of an experience watching and taking photos.

Pikes Place Market was interesting. There were loads of flowers and fruit. And, apparently there were people throwing fish. I could not see it if it was happening because there was a huge crowd of people to thick and tall to see through or over. But, there was lots of shouting.

I was fortunate enough to be in Seattle for their Octoberfest (although it was September). I did not go to any of the activities surrounding the event, but it did make for a very exciting full of people night out at the bars. But, no matter how many people were out, we managed to run into the same group of people both nights at different bars. This may have been fun if these were cute charming boys. Alas, they were pilots with the Airforce, not cute enough to make up for the overwhelming lack of charm. Still, I had a fun night with my girls and lots of good food and drinks were had.

Speaking of food, I found another AMAZING Thai restaurant. I am accruing a list of the best Thai across the country. I have one in Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco. I never found one in Dallas. Surprised? Not really.

Next stop... Vegas :)

Luv is in the Air... and I am on it

“Sometimes the journey is just as important as the destination”

I thought since I have started to travel again, I should get my blog back to it’s Wanderlust roots. Ill probably write about travels in between my last post and now later, but for now, I want to focus on how I get where I go.

I used to travel a whole lot more. I have been on almost every airline, but there is one I had never tried: Southwest. I used them for the first time every this weekend. And, while I was not looking forward to the whole seating as you come situation, it was a cheap ticket.

Even though I was the last on the plane (doomed to sit in the worst middle seat ever), I ended up with an aisle seat.

The first thing the surprised me was peanuts. We got peanuts on this flight. I do not remember the last time I was on a flight that handed out peanuts. How neat.

Now, not only do airlines not give out peanuts anymore, most don’t give out any snacks (without charging that is). Southwest did not just give us peanuts, they gave us a box of snacks. It included cookies, dried fruit, and those sticks you can dip in cheese.

The pilots and flight attendants were also a nice addition to the flight. They danced up and down the aisle when there was turbulence.They made funny announcements and comments during the flight and even had a contest to win free alcoholic beverages.

I did not win.

But I will be taking Southwest more often.

Monday, August 20, 2007

You can grown anything on trees these days!

"When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, "May no one ever eat fruit from you again." And his disciples heard him say it."

Poor Fig Tree.

He should have kept walking if He wanted something to eat. He could have found much better options. Such as, Milk... did you know milk grows on trees?

Or, if He walked even further... Lollipops! Much tastier than figs.

If He waited even further down the road He could have even had Sausage. Pay attention Alex, Liz, and oh so recently Bert, cuz you could benefit from this... Sausage is from plants not pigs. I have photo proof.

So, He needn't have picked on the poor fig... I'm sure it got picked on enough being only a common fig.

If He had just been a little more patient, He could have been lucky enough to discover the Flannel bush.....

Unfortunately for him... Joe got there first and used it all up.

PJ Sees a Who

"On the twelfth of August, in the Edmonton City
In the heat of the day, in a place oh so pretty
He was running... not caring what life might
next bring
When PJ the Leffelman saw a very small thing"

While in Edmonton, PJ and I played with the macro lens on his new camera. In between me dropping it and scratching it, we got a few cool pictures.

Yay close ups!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Canada... in right away to 20 minutes

"No Canadians before my coffee"

I have never really been to Canada before. I have been to Niagra Falls a few times, but I dont really think that counts. So, when I got a chance for a trip to Canada, I jumped at it. I was so excited. I have always heard how beautiful it is up there. And, when we were high up in the air seeing this.... my excitement just grew. I imagined spending the weekend hiking and taking beautiful pictures.

Unfortunately, I fell asleep and when I woke up I was in Texas.

As it turns out, not all of Canada is a beautiful hiking fantasy. But, Edmonton did have some fun things to offer, like the most gigantic mall in North America. So gigantic it had a pirate ship, waterpark, casinos and roller coasters in the middle of it.

When I think of a roller coaster in the mall, I was not that impressed or worried about the ride. I was wrong to not prepare myself for a scarey coaster going time. Not only was the first drop a stomach wrenching time, I blacked out in the loopdy loops twice.

The other nice thing about Canada are the people. They are all very nice and energetic. So much so infact, that it was hard to deal with before my morning coffee was running through my veins. I needed that cup so I could match their energy. I was not successful however in matching their niceness. Everyone wants to talk with you and know about you just standing in an elevator they will start full on conversations with you. I tried to return the niceness, as much as I could, but that wasn't much. There are just sometimes (most of the time) that I dont like to talk.

Overall, I found it a very pleasant place to visit. Plus, in the Mall of giganticness, I gambled a little ($20) and won a lot ($505).

Yay Canada! I shall return soon.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Thanks Kristie!

"Watch your cat disappear"

So, Nelly has never taken to a cat bed in her life. Actually, she doesn't take to most of the fancy smanshy stuff we try to buy her.

For instance, the Cat Sitter DVD...
I was all excited for her to chase at the TV. She did not even bat a paw at it. So, we gave it to a cat who cared.

I have bought a few beds before and given them away as well because Nelly wouldnt even set a paw in them. But, Kristie's post and pictures about the Love Bucket at Target just looked so cute, I had to give it another try.

I brought one home and waited... Nothing. I even tried to put her in it, and that did not help anything. I had pretty much given up hope when I left for work the following day. Later that day though, I got a happy text picture from PJ.

Success!! Thanks Kristie!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Other Me

"Will the real Carolyn Soling please stand up?"

Around the time of the Gore-Bush election in 2000 a photo came out on the front page of newspapers across the country. The picture featured a woman protesting the election results with the byline 'Carolyn Soling protests Bush in Austin, Texas.'

I was a student at University of Wisconsin - Madison at the time and had definitely never been to Texas. And the woman in the picture looked nothing like me. So who was this woman in the picture?

If you Google search "Carolyn Soling" all the links are me, except the links to this one picture. I've got links to me from my last job, my website, linked in, my photography portfolio, organizations I've belonged to, a xanga profile (that i don't remember ever creating), lots and lots of sailing links, and the list goes on.

So again, who is this woman? Was the byline just incorrect? Was this woman stealing my identity and using it to protest Bush? Could there really be another Carolyn Soling? Why is she using my name?

Apparently she is using it because it is her name too. Yes, it was confirmed last week. There is another Carolyn Soling. And, apparently she is the original because she is 20 years older than me (though i know she doesn't look it in that picture). My new trainer at work informed me of this, as he worked with her when he lived in Austin 15 years ago. What are the chances of that? One guy working with two Carolyn Solings (the only two Carolyn Solings) in his lifetime?

So, will the real Carolyn Soling please stand up? Actually, sit down, because with all the protesting, the other one is probably standing up a lot more. I like to sit.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Less People! More Robots!

Suspense is often 10% exhilaration and 90% utter disappointment

I have been awaiting July 4th for some time now, not because of the pretty fireworks (though I do love them) nor because it celebrates my brother's birth (I don't get any presents).
No, I have awaited this day for over a year because it was a year ago that I saw the least descriptive, yet most suspense evoking trailer that I have seen in a long time: Transformers. All they did was all they had to do: flash the transformer sign (see picture above). It was like Optimus Prime calling out to me. And, I answered.

After answering the call, I wished they had employed our friends at ILM longer. The parts of the movie that actually had transformers in it were amazing. The chases, the attacking humans, the battles between the bots, all were brilliant. I loved the movie except for the part where humans were doing more than being attacked. Unfortunately, those good parts were less than a third of the movie. Or, that is what it felt like. Maybe it was more. Maybe the storyline of the humans just dragged on so slowly it felt like 2/3 the movie was that God awful. Maybe.

Maybe next time they need to employ actors as extras to only run around and be killed and give our good friends in the animation industry longer contracts and give us a better movie.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Suit Up

"What ever happened to believing in 'the clothes make the man'?"

In life, I have learned, as I am sure many have learned, that dressing appropriately for a job interview can be crucial. This usually means wearing suit of some sort with a plain colored button down shirt underneath and some nice shoes that one would not wear to play sports in.

For my first job out of college, I carried that look over in to my every day job. Now, I realized quickly that I tended to be a bit more dressed up than my co workers, but not so much that it made me feel out of place in a suit. After awhile I felt more OK coming in some days to the office wearing the suit without the suit coat. But, when it came to meetings and such, I would suit up appropriately, as I learned to do in interviews. And, for the most part, I felt I was met equally with appropriate business attire.

Now, I do not know if it is a regional thing, or the city I live in, or if in the nine months I was out of the corporate world companies just lost all taste for 'business professional', but coming upon someone in a suit has become a scarcity.

In my three months of interviewing, riding the bus, walking around the financial district, being interviewed in offices, I saw almost no one sporting a suit. Companies seem to be promoting 'casual attire' more and more these days. They use it as a selling point in interviews. Being a jeans and tshirt company is like a badge of honor to these companies and it is spreading like a plague.

I just accepted a job where the dress code demands you be casual, but really in this day and age, do I have much of a choice? It seems you have to be a lawyer to be expected to go to work everyday dressed in a suit.

Maybe I am strange, but I like getting up in the morning and putting on some black lined pants with a nicely ironed button down tshirt topped with a nice suit coat and heading out to work. I really do believe that the clothes make the man, and that the more formal you are dressed, the more formal you tend to act, and in the end the more work you tend to get done. It is hard to slack off in a suit.

I think the world needs more business professional attire required professions. Or, maybe I should just go to law school.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Fear and Free Rides

"Can you really still tell me it is irrational when my worst fear comes true?"

Last Sunday, a part of the Bay Bridge collapsed when a truck below it exploded. This served as a giant leap backward for my fear of bridges.

Bridges scare me beyond description. Just like cruise ships. I have a sickening fear of them just collapsing or crashing or sinking. But, A few weeks ago I actually took steps toward getting over my fears and walked across the Golden Gate Bridge with P.J. Of course I had my handy life jacket with me the whole time, but I still did it. After this whole bridge collapsing mess, I do not think I will ever do it again.

The good thing about the bridge blowing up was the following day, Monday, all public transportation around San Francisco was free. This was a good day for my friend Liz to be in from Chicago. Where we probably would have dropped $20 each for the fun we had on public transit, we dropped $0. The trains, the buses, even the cable cars were free.

So Liz and I spent the day trouncing around San Francisco's downtown going everywhere we could using all the public transportation our little bodies could handle.

I had not ridden a cable car before this, and I have to say, it is a fun and frightening experience. If the cable car is too full, which it was the first time we got on, you stand on the sides and hang on to whatever pole you can reach. This becomes somewhat scary when the cable car going the opposite way passes and you have less than a body width between you and the people hanging off the passing cable car.

Fear not, there were no limbs lost and we actually chose to stand off the sides for the rest of the trips because while it was a little scary, it was also a lot of fun. And, though it may seem a little touristy and somewhat expensive ($5 a trip, no transfers), I definately recommend riding these little cars. The drivers are usually very entertaining and will point out many things of interest.

It is definitely one of the more exhilerating ways to ride down the steep hills of San Francisco.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Alex learns wine tasting IS just like the movies

"Oh, Jesus. Don't ask questions like that up in wine country. They'll think you're some kind of dumbshit, OK?"

Some friends and I went on a winery tour this past weekend in Livermore courtesy of my lovely cousing Stacey. Lucky for us, I think everyone knew when we walked in that we were dumb, so we could ask all the silly questions we liked. And, ask we did. Well, I didn't, but everyone else asked some awesome questions. There was lots of learning and drinking going around.

One fun thing we learned is that all of Alex's wine knowledge is based from the movie Sideways. We discovered that Wine Country means most of California. We determined that the wine is actually stored in the barrells that we could see when we were tasting, and they were not there for decoration. Patrik and Alex found out when we were leaving that they had driven south, not north to get to where we were, and that Napa was very far away indeed.

Though we did not come at the height of grape season, it was nice because there were hardly any crouds. If there ever were any crouds, Stacy used her clout with the local wine people to get us our own tasting bar.

We tasted Zinfendels. We tasted Chardonneys. We tasted Pinots... oh the Pinots we tasted. We even tasted a Merlot... yes we even had Merlot.

We had a fun time indeed. Our friends were very sad that we had waited so long to do such a fun thing, since they are leaving in a few weeks. We told them they would just have to come back and visit during the height of harvest so we could experience a different side of the wineries. Everyone was all about it until we found out that is actually the worst time to come because you will get swarmed with bees and fruit flies.

Patrik was drunk by this point and when shooting, couldn't get everything in the photo.

Patrik, sad that it is not the height of grape season.

Stacey, our guide, answering some silly question I am sure.

For more pictures than Alex, click here.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Wii test

"Wii made a revolution. Join it."

Nintendo has been all about trying to reach new markets with the wii, I put this idea to the test this past weekend when I went home to Chicago. I was hoping to get a bunch of people to play with the wii to see how it would fare amongst different people.

Unfortunately, I was very busy with the whole throwing two showers and they only people who got to enjoy the funness of the wii were my family. But, that included my parents (both in their 50's), my brother and his wife (who is pregnant). This was a great test group to start with.

We started with bowling and moved on from there. The family really enjoyed bowling. It was amazing how results of wii bowling were very similar to real life bowling. We also tried wii play. My mom struggled the most with wii play because the whole moving the remote and sensor bar being so sensitive thing.

My dad and brother did amazingly with fishing, better than anyone else I have seen.

We boxed. And, this is where my brother struggled the most. My dad figured out that all you need to do is flip the remotes a little, while my brother exhausted himself trying to use actual boxing moves.

I think the favorite of my brother and dad's was tennis. They got really in to it. Things got really interesting when they started trying to do jump serves and actually were jumping around.

All in all, everyone enjoyed themselves. And with the exception of fishing, I kicked everyone's butt. Which was a nice change from playing against all the gamers that I seem to be hanging out with lately.