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For the Chase races (the last races of the season) I decided to pay the $20.00 to get the HotPass with DirecTV to see if it is something I might want to consider next season (A full season is $80.00 I believe).

Anyway…this is a LOVE/HATE list of things to do with HotPass:

LOVE: Hearing the radio communications between driver and crew.  It totally enhances the experience for me.

HATE: When the announcers try talking over the radio communications.

LOVE: The focus on a specific driver with information on where others are at etc.

HATE: That you are limited to picking from only the five HOTPASS drivers of the week. For instance…this week I got to ride with Tony. Next week? Tony isn’t a HotPass driver.

LOVE: That most of the time one of the things on the screen is the race as it is being broadcast on whatever channel it is being broadcast on (ABC right now).

HATE: That they still play commercials (however you do see the race going on in the corner but the audio is the commercials).

HATE: I find the bumper music distracting when they come back from a commercial break.

LOVE: The fact that they try to at least make corny puns with the musical choices for dreaded bumper music. For instance: Smokin’ in the Boys Room, Smoke on the Water…(for those not in the know…Tony Stewart’s nickname is Smoke).

LOVE: The fact that you get to hear from your driver and crew chief post race no matter where they place.

HATE: That my tv is small and seeing the screen split into three sucks sometimes (not DirecTV’s fault!).

Overall…while I really enjoy Hotpass I don’t know that I would pay $80.00 to watch it all season.

Ahhh Las Vegas. Yes I go there a lot. For my newish readers- that is because about three years ago (maybe four?) my best friend since junior high moved there. I visit her as often as I can- and she visits me when she can too…sometimes it isn’t always easy because we both have full time jobs (hers much more demanding than mine).

Anyway…we found out that one of our favorite bands (a little more my favorite than her favorite) was playing near her home- a road trip was definitely in the works. They were playing on Saturday and since it takes me nearly 8 hours to get to Vegas- I decided to leave on Thursday. Even the BFM would work on Friday- she has an early day that day. My drive was fairly uneventful except I could go on and on about the benefits of having an aux jack over an fm tuner (The hhr has an aux jack standard). I seriously miss the aux jack. Seriously.

FRIDAY:

On Friday I had several hours to entertain myself whilst BFM toiled at her salt mine. So I drove around until I found the Ethel M Chocolate Factory because I knew that they had free tours (with free sample of chocolate- yey free samples!!). Of course I should have walked through the Cactus garden first (even though it was morning it was already starting to creep up temperature wise) and then eaten my chocolate…but NO. They make the best freakin’ pecan brittle you will ever lay your lips on. I had lunch with BFM and then perused the mall a bit and by the time I was done playing mallrat she was off work. We then had dinner together at the Cheesecake Factory…Yum!

SATURDAY:

Mostly Saturday was us not doing much. As a matter of fact…the only think I remember doing on Saturday was getting ready to go to the concert. We were taking BFMs little brother (13- a fresh high school freshman) to the show since he always begged us to take him when we go to concerts so this time we relented since it was an all-ages show. We started out eating a pre-concert pizza. Then it was off to the concert. It was HOT as HADES people. Even though doors didn’t open until 6:30 it was still in the triple digits…HADES!!! Not only did BFM’s brother consume his water and his diet coke at the concert…he also consumed most of MY diet coke as well!! And he is use to this kinda of weather. The opening act was Antonio Pontarelli- the “rock n roll violinst” and let me tell you he was AMAZING!! I was very very impressed. Not only is he very musical- but his stage presence was awesome! In between him and Slaughter the song HIGHWAY TO HELL came on in the bumper music…and at this point BFM’s brother was sitting in between the two of us. And BFM and I started leaning in on him and screaming “I’m on a HIGHWAY TO HELL” along with the music at him during the song. I am pretty sure he wanted to DIE (of embarassment). He finally put his arms up and said GIVE ME SOME SPACE WOMEN! Slaughter was awesome and Mark seemed to pick BFM’s Bro out because he was wearing a Slaughter shirt…and he enjoyed that! Quiet Riot came on after that…(oh as an aside BFM’s brother said I DIDN’T KNOW QUIET RIOT was playing too…and then broke into song “Come on feel the noise…girls rock your boys” I nearly spit my water out.). By the time Vince Neil came on I was fading fast because of the heat…as was BFM’s brother so we skipped out a tad early and went for some dessert in an air conditioned restaurant!

SUNDAY:

The day started off in church with BFM (and family). Then we split ways. We went to the movies and saw THE NANNY DIARIES (which I thought was good…not as good as the book but they never are). We did some shopping. We ended up going to the NASCAR CAFE for dinner…and got to watch some of the race over quesadillas and hamburgers. I forget what else we did but the race was still on by the time we got back to her house so I flipped it on and we watched the race.  I think I might have created a fellow race fan…we will see.

MONDAY:

Ahh Monday was my last full day in Vegas and we decided to have some fun with it.  We started out our day at The Omelet House having…yep an omelet.   Then we went to The Springs Preserve. It was hot as hades again…and walking around outside wasn’t too fun…but the inside exhibits were pretty fun.  Then we decided it would be great fun to go to the Clark County Coroner’s office.  Yes you read that correctly.  The Coroner’s Office.  Not because we wanted to do anything with dead bodies…but because they have a gift shop and we are weird like that.  But…no worries…they were closed because of Labor Day.  By this time we were ready for some lunch.  BFM and I argued over who’s turn it was to decide on lunch and since I was driving I decided I would take matters into my own hands and decided we would have lunch at Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill (if you are ever in Harrah’s in LV and want some good homestyle cooking – visit! I recommend)…after which I dragged her around the Bellagio so I could take pictures because I love the Bellagio.  By the end of that we were pretty much out of steam as far as the heat and being around all the people at the strip- so we went back to her place and hung out and goofed around…because that is the best part about being friends…the hanging and goofing…am I right???

TUESDAY:

I drove home…after our traditional day Amy goes back to California breakfast of Coco’s.

(Pictures from left to right: top row: Chevy HHR-beloved Rental car at rest stop in Boron, CA, Slaughter- because seeing a concert in 112 degree heat is oh so fun, Proof it is 112 on the dash of the hhr. Middle row: I had some time to kill friday morning so I took myself to the Ethel M’s Chocolate Factory tour (it’s free) and Cactus Garden (also free but you may melt). Chocolate Factory Tour Sign, Cactus Flower, Cactus. Bottom Row: (all from the Bellagio): Vegetable Stand in the Conservatory, Little White Rose in the Conservatory, Glass Flower Ceiling in the lobby.)

While I am still working on my Vegas Vacation recap- I thought I would mention how I got to Vegas in the first place. As you may or may not know my dependable Toyota Rav4 (Doris) hasn’t been so dependable lately. So I rented a compact (i.e. the cheapest car available). When I got to the rental place they were out of compacts so I got a free upgrade to mid-sized and I had my choice between a brand spanking new Chevy HHR (in white) or a brown sedan of some sort (I think it was a Nissan). I picked the HHR….and over the course of a week I drove the HHR just under 1300 miles (yes the rental car people knew I was going to Vegas and back again- which is 1000 miles right there). And let me tell you, I fell in love with the Chevy HHR.

Yes you read that right…I fell in love with the HHR…as in I would seriously consider the HHR for my next vehicle (which hopefully will be sooner rather than later). Yes, the Chevy HHR. It was so comfortable…(which meant that I didn’t feel like I was in danger of losing some skin off my rump to asphalt because it rode too low) and smooth riding. Oh and it was quiet in the cabin (something my Rav is definitely NOT). It is cool-looking and turns heads. It gets reasonable gas mileage. The only downfall to it (and it is a small downfall) is that it only comes in a 4-cylinder model and I was thinking about getting a 6 for my next car…because when I do go to Vegas- I would like some power for the two full blown mountain passes I must travel over (although the HHR didn’t seem to have any issues over either of it).

Now if you had told me a week before I left for vacation that I would be seriously considering a Chevy HHR I would have laughed in your face (complete with spittle no doubt). I would have told you that I had a Chevy (Lumina Euro Sedan) before my Toyota and I wouldn’t go back to Chevy ownership because my Toyota was far more dependable. Then, I would have really laughed and then said something like “That? That is such an old man car!” Well trust me…I am NOT an old man…and I loved that car! So the Rav4 that I was nearly positive I was going to buy next time…suddenly has some possible competition.

Not to mention that it has an Aux jack standard. Oh aux jack…how I miss thee.

You know that feeling you get when you KNOW something isn’t right.  You see someone or something that just looks wrong or out of place.  You pass it off.  Ah it is nothing you say.  Maybe you should listen to that voice a little louder.

Three separate people saw a person on our block today.  He was riding a bike (and he was on foot- one person saw him in both modes).  All three people paused to ponder the person because they all three got that feeling…that feeling that something was not right.  All three people saw him at different times…in a time range of several hours.  He was up to no good. He broke into our neighbors house and stole $3000 worth of small items.  Very carriable items.  My dad saw him first on his bike rounding the corner.  He felt something was off with the character because he seemed to be staring at the house.  My dad thought fleetingly that perhaps it was because the window was open…but then he seemed to carry on and my dad really thought nothing of it except that something was NOT right.

A little while later our neighbor across the street and over one saw the fellow and thought that he was out of place and looked like he was casing houses. He dismissed his thought with “what am I gonna think everyone is a bad guy just cuz he is riding a bike down the street?” and went on about his day.

Over an hour later my mother was coming home for lunch from work and noticed  the very same fellow…on foot walking towards our area from the other end of the street.  She pulled into the garage and walked down the end of the drive way because she had an incredible sense that she should follow him.  She saw the fellow again…but he was on a bike riding away down the street rather quickly in the direction he came.  She noted it as odd and had a feeling she should follow him but she didn’t.

All three describe the man in the exact same way. All three took note of him but dismissed him. The police are pretty sure that he is the burglar.  No one compared notes on the fellow until after we found out that our neighbors were burglarized. They think that their daughter might have left the door unlocked this morning by mistake (not that that is an excuse to ruffle through someone’s belongings).  Next time you feel that creepy feeling…maybe you should take heed!

  • It dawned on me- after returning from my vacation last week that the reason I was suffering from a massive headache every single day? Was not allergies….but the fact that I hadn’t consumed a single ounce of caffeine since returning. I rectified that situation right away.
  • That probably explains why I was so darn sleepy all week too. To go from loads of caffeine to no caffeine was a shock to my system.
  • Roxy has suddenly decided that not only does she want to sleep in during the mornings but that when I want to go for our morning walk at 7:00 she would rather pull me along than behave appropriately.
  • Between my father’s shoulder surgery and my mother’s injured leg (on a hike) between the two of them they have3 good arms and 3 good legs. Which means Amy gets to do a lot of grocery shopping…since one can’t drive and the other can’t walk.
  • Yes I do know I still owe you a vacation recap…and I totally plan on doing it…however today it ain’t going to happen. Why? Because I decided to make my Monday extra specially good by scheduling a teeth cleaning for today. What was I thinking?
  • I think I have waited long enough…I am very much extremely happy to announce that I will be an Aunt at the end of March 2008. Yep my bro is pregnant…well actually his wife my lovely snl…but you all could figure that out. Yipee! I can’t tell you how excited I am for that!
  • My newest bestest entry is up at agirlmustshop.com: called Discover Your Inner Artist

Since I was on vacation last week I missed the Five. So here is last weeks and this weeks.

First is Lisa’s County Fair MI-5

  1. Do you attend any country/agricultural fairs? If so, which one is your favorite? Why?  I attend our county fair. Mostly for something to do and I usually try to enter stuff in the fair…sometimes things I have crocheted and sometimes photography.   I am also a HUGE fan of the Northern California RenFaire…but I might not go this year.
  2. What is your favorite fair ride? Why? I don’t usually ride anything because I am afraid of carnies.
  3. What is your favorite fair food? Why? Funnel cake because…it is funnel cake.
  4. What is your favorite part of the fair overall? 4-H exhibits? Animals? Harness racing? Rides? Food? I am a big fan of the home arts exhibits and the photography and art stuff.  And funnel cakes. Did I mention the funnel cakes? Fair food rocks.
  5. How much money do you drop for your typical fair excursion? Well last time it was $16.00 but that wasn’t involving any food because I wasn’t there that long…usually more like $40.00

And next is Aunt Ginny’s Indian Summer MI-5 (in extended entry)

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J was telling me a fascinating story about how his lovely wife ended up seeing Warrant at the local airport…and thanks to some funny emails we batted back and forth stating things like:

(me:  “Was she in HEAVEN? Did she see RED? Can I stop making stupid Warrant related puns?”)

and

(J: “Yes, you may stop- just as soon as I finish my slice of CHERRY PIE & put away my lotto ticket that will make me DIRTY, ROTTEN, FILTHY, STINKING RICH.”)

I know have the lyrics to Warrant’s Heaven stuck firmly in my head.  Great. Thanks.

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I am back from my vacation….and I will tell you all about it in gory details…but not today because after being gone a week from work…it is hard to come back but here I am.

You can look at my trip pictures here but be warned I haven’t had much time to actually do anything with them yet like give them descriptions.

And a special thanks to Bill (who’s blog has an awesome new look) and J who guest posted. I wish I had had J’s post BEFORE I left so I could have thrown some of those great phases around.  And I have always wanted to try out a henna tattoo Bill…I was going to do it at the Ren Faire this year…but I probably won’t make it there this year (but that is another story).