Another LA Riots?

I’m here on vacation, waiting on my wife and kids to get up and I came across this article that has me concerned.  Its a political piece written by Pat Buchanan that asks the question “And if Obama Loses?”  Do you remember the LA Riots?  If you are over the age of twenty, I’m sure you do.  The post I read this morning didn’t go so far as to connect the two events in any way, but I wonder if we could be in for a dangerous November Tuesday.

If Obama wins, I worry for the country.  I like that he is concerned for many of the same issues I am concerned with, but I disagree with him on every single action plan he has suggested to solve those issues.  He also lacks the experience.  I know there are many that argue that experience is not an issue, however if you were inventing your money in a major cooperation, and they were voting on a new CEO that lacked the experience to do that job, you might consider selling… The nation is much more important that my stocks and I want a President with the life experiences to help guild him through the job.  The real danger, however, in Obama isn’t that he lacks the experience needed to be president but, in my opinion, that he lacks the wisdom to know it

But back to Buchana’s question, what if Obama loses?  Will there be riots?  I seems like a rediculous question to ask – but I couldn’t believe the riots in LA back in 1992, and I’ve seen riots in Ohio over a football game – “we lost the game, that means I can get with a few hundred of my friends, turn over cars and set houses on fire!”


Rule Number 5

Rice-o-Roni... The San Francisco Treat!

Today was awesome!  Ok, we started toward San Francisco Tuesday night knowing that there was only one ferry that you can take to get to Alcatraz Island and that it was sold out.  I knew we would be able to see the Golden Gate Bridge (I didn’t know that a heavy fog regularly rolled in so thick that you wouldn’t be able to see the bridge!).

Behind all that Fog is the Golden Gate Bridge!

I knew we would be able to see a trolly cable car.  And I knew we would be able to see the rolling hills that San Francisco is famous for (although I wasn’t aware of exactly how steep they truly were!).  But I must be honest – I wanted to tour the Rock!  I kept hope that we would be able to get on that sold out ferry.

Pier 33 - the only way to get on the Rock!

We left early from the hotel and crossed the Bay Bridge that we had crossed the day before, took at least one wrong turn in town, headed to Pier 33, hunted for close parking, all while Stephanie continually reminded me of the prior day’s event (see A Great Adventure) and respectfully asked that I not turn up any steep hills.  We finally found a public lot for a mere $20 a day…  What a deal… for the parking lot company!

Despite the large signs reading, “there is no attendant on duty, pay only the machine” and “This guy (picture of a guy) is an imposter, DO NOT GIVE HIM MONEY, pay only the machine” and “DO NOT PAY AN ATTENDANT, HANDWRITTEN PARKING SLIPS WILL NOT BE VALID!”, there was a short asian man in a parking-lot-looking attendant shirt, taking cash from cars that pulled into the lot.

A Copy of the rules went to every inmate

I hesitated, but pulled out my credit card and said to the impostor who was blocking the machine, “excuse me – I need to get to that machine”.  This sly guy – grabbed my card out of my hand, turned around and swipped it into the machine, then handed it back to me – took the ticket that printed out and walked over to my car.  I followed him after checking the machine to make sure it didn’t have any strange looking devices covering the card reader.  He wrote down part of my license plate on the parking slip and handed it to me – asking that I put it on my dash.  I couldn’t believe I let this guy take the credit card out of my hand!  I called the number on the signs and reported this strange behavior.  The lady that answered assured me that there was no attendant on duty and that she would send a manager out.  I figure, as long as I max my card out before this guy gets to try it, I’m good… :o

Anyway, We walk to pier 33 and ask the question I already know the answer to because I had just confirmed it online that morning –

“Are there any tickets for Alcatraz today?”

“Yes, 10:30am.”

“Are you sure, we would really love to go to …. uh?  oh… umm… ok – I’ll take two adults please!”

Behind Bars!

That’s right – we got on the ferry!  Apparently there are several hotels that are granted several tickets and ‘sell’ them back if they cannot fill the seats.  If you get there early enough, you can get on a sold out boat!  We took several pictures on the way over, several while we were on the Rock, and several on the way back.  I stood in a prison cell, walked the corridors, listened to the self paced audio tour, and loved every minute of it!  I enjoyed listening to former inmates talk about how bad it was.  One of the prisoners stated that he was there for four years and it “straighten [him] up”.  Later on the tour it talks about when they closed down the prison because the correctional system changed from punishment to rehabilitation.

Zander in front of the Rock! (bad hair day?)

That struck me as odd since I had just heard  an old prisoner say how it straighten him up.

My favorite part of the tour was rule number 5.  Its in every inmate’s hand book and it goes like this:

You are entitled to food, clothing, shelter, and medical attention. Anything else is privilege.

I almost purchased a copy to give my children as they grow older…


Why my towels are on the floor

So, I just got back from a business trip in Las Vegas.  It was a geek conference, not interesting to anybody that isn’t excited by terms like TCP, IPv6, SAN, NAS, and virtualization.  If you are thinking “huh?”, don’t worry that means you are normal.  Anyway – I noticed a few things about Vegas that I thought I would share:

  1. Everyone wants to engage you on a “what casino are you staying in” conversation.  And whats more, the minute you tell them, there is a follow up conversation about where that hotel is in relationship to other well known hotels on the strip. “Oh, you are at MGM?  That’s right across the street from New York, New York.“  — “You are at Mandalay Bay?  I stayed there last year, but I like the Lexor much better” — By the way, I stayed at the Lexor, since I’m sure you care – I’m guessing you are already typing an email to tell me what hotel and what site like that you used while you have stayed here and where it is on the strip…
  2. Everyone has a joke derived from the Vegas trademark line “What happens in Vegas…”.  Here are a few I’ve heard for this trip:
    1. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, unless its really good – then it ends up on youtube.
    2. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas – so does your money
    3. STDs don’t stay in Vegas
  3. There really aren’t any cheap buffets in Vegas.  The buffet in the hotel was $20 for dinner.  Just to give you an idea of the prices on the strip – The cheapest placed to buy a soda in Vegas was the movie theaters!

So what does that have to do with towels?  Nothing – keep reading… Those aren’t the only things I noticed about the strip that I care to share.  When I got out of the airport I took a shuttle to the hotel where I stood in line to check in.  There are a large fountain there behind me where people were throwing the pennies they had left after gambling.  I get my key and start the walk to the room.  I walked past a water fountain in the hall way, notice another one in the food court, I see one in front of the reastraunt as well.  After dropping off my bags, in an effort to get my barrings I walk from my room to the conference in Mandalay Bay where I pass no less than ten water fountains – some with lights, some where the water just runs down the wall to a pool below.  Water was spraying, falling, spitting from every corner of the two casino hotels and the mall like corador that connected them.

So I get back to my room, unpack my bags and jump in a shower.  When I get out – I see this sign:

Dear Guest,

Southern Nevada and the West are experiencing
extreme drought conditions.
Please help us conserve water by re-using towels
when possible.

  • Hang the towels on the rack to re-use them
  • Place the towels on the floor to receive
    fresh towels.

Huh???  Hey guys, I know where all the water is — the hallways!  So… that’s why my towels are on the floor…