Monthly Archives: February 2007

Taco Party: Part 2

I’m still recovering from what turned out to be an exciting, snow-bound weekend in Omaha. As I mentioned in my last post, a blizzard that wandered through Nebraska Saturday night left a couple of us held up in Vivian and Jenny’s apartment overnight. I knew the snow was coming before I drove up to Omaha, but I wasn’t going to let a little weather keep me from a fun-filled Taco Party.

Lindy in the kitchen Viv is special

We started the evening off with a little dinner and dancing, all in the kitchen. Once everybody had gotten their fill of delicious make-your-own tacos, Eric and Vivian took the floor for a little swing dancing. She’s a very special lady.

Jenga! Ben's dilemma

Next came games, which included an intense game of Jenga. Every time someone took a block from that tower it felt like they were about to defuse a bomb. If you check out Eric’s blog, you can see the video from when the tower finally came down.

Taking fire Snowball wall

As the snow started to accumulate, some of the guys took to the hill in the backyard to try some sledding. Unfortunately, the snow was too wet and the slope was too flat for them to get very far, so before long they gave up and started attacking the back door with snowballs. A few of them came through, causing massive damage to the wall and the side of Jenny’s head. (In all fairness, the guys felt bad about the mess they made and cleaned up the kitchen to say they were sorry. They’re nice guys.)

Cozy at 2 AM The morning after

The party started to thin out around ten o’clock, but the rest of us stayed up until around 3 AM watching Quantum Leap and hanging out. Hugh, Natalie, and I opted to spend the night rather than risk the slippery roads to head back home. It was probably a wise decision, because on my drive home to Lincoln the next morning, I-80 was littered with stuck semi trucks, vans, and cars that had slid off the road during the storm. Hugh and I crashed in the living room overnight and I woke up the next morning with a severe case of bed head.

Sunday Breakfast Chicken alfredo

Vivian and Jenny were nice enough to make us all waffles for breakfast the next morning! I was hungry again around 3 PM, so Viv and I got to make Chicken Alfredo together. I had the strange feeling that we’d done this sort of thing before. Deja vu!

All in all, it was an awesome weekend at Vivian’s. I’m looking forward to the next big blizzard.

Wild night in Omaha

In case those of you in warmer climates didn’t know, those of us here in Nebraska just got pelted with something of a blizzard last night. Five to ten inches of the white stuff fell to the ground just overnight, and I wound up snowbound in Omaha at a taco party held at Vivian and Jenny’s apartment. I had seen the forecast coming up here, but on the drive up to Omaha, the weather was simply gray, rainy, and definitely above freezing. I definitely didn’t want to miss out on this party, either. We had tacos, games, and an impromptu snowball fight from the inside out that left the carpet soaked. Viv and Jenny let a couple of us spend the night rather then venture back out onto I-80 for a hazardous trip home at 2 in the morning.

A year of changes

2006 was an interesting year for me. Aside from taking up swing dancing as a hobby, which is something I wouldn’t have predicted I’d be doing in my wildest dreams, I also happened to grow a goatee and start wearing contacts instead of glasses as I had for the last 15 or so years. The pictures above are almost exactly one year apart. The funny thing is that most of my friends from swing dance only know me as the guy on the right.

Back in Nebraska

It’s been another terrific week back in Nebraska, despite the shock of walking into blowing snow and sub-zero temperatures after a week or basking in the balmy glow of 60-70 degree days in Las Vegas. Vivian and I got to learn some Balboa thanks to some of our lovely Jitterbugging friends. Then Vivian drove down to Lincoln to visit me and my bible study on Thursday. On Friday, our whole gang crashed a very busy Fuddruckers and had a good time making a mess of the place:

Eric and Jenny yell at each other after a game of Cruis’n World.

Eric and Vivian have a very brief smackdown.

Don’t I look cute in Vivian’s hat? No, I don’t.

On Sunday I returned to Omaha again to attend Terra Nova with Vivian, which was wrapping up their three-part series on relationships. Tonight, I zip back to Omaha to take more Lindy Hop lessons with Vivian and then take a Balboa class. Naturally, I’ll be back in Omaha tomorrow to celebrate V-Day. You’ve got to wonder why I don’t just move on up to the Big O.

Goodbye from Las Vegas

It’s the end of another week in Las Vegas. I got to manage our booth entirely on my own on Friday, which worked out all right since the show was winding down and the few people who came by the booth were mostly interested in buying our show samples for cheap. Our trucker Ray came by and we spent a couple hours tearing down the booth, and then I had the evening to myself. I didn’t think I would be able to see a show while in Vegas, but when I learned that Drew Carey and other members of Whose Line is it Anyway would be performing at the MGM Grand, I had to see it. It was excellent. I got to see Ryan Stiles, Greg Proops, Chip Esten, Kathy Kinney, performing for us, playing some of the same familiar games they played on Whose Line is it Anyway while taking suggestions from the audience and bringing members up on stage. They were hilarious–their show was just as funny as anything they’ve ever done on TV, and they were doing it all right on the spot just for us. It was the best show I’d seen in Vegas, bar none.

Today, once I made sure our show was on track to head back to Nebraska and one of our dealers here in Las Vegas got to receive a bed she’d bought from us, I was able to do some sightseeing. Mostly, I gorged at a buffet and then traveled up and down the Strip, visiting an Apple Store and getting my picture taken our by that iconic neon sign on the south end of the Boulevard. I headed over to the airport early enough to jump online for an hour or two as I waited for my flight. Somehow, it seems the airport here is the only place in Las Vegas with free wireless Internet. Go figure.

It’s been another great trip. Now to go home and catch up on some sleep!

Feeling Lucky!

It’s been another eventful day in Las Vegas! The tradeshow here has been very busy, with much better traffic than either of the two Las Vegas shows I’ve attended. Our group was able to meet with customers all through Thursday when last year the show had dropped dead around Wednesday noon. I attribute it mostly to having a much better location at the head of Pavilion 3 rather than being shoved back in a dark, forgotten corner of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Last night, I played Blackjack for the first time in my life and I won $40! I was waiting at the New York New York to have dinner with one of our sales reps and I decided to play some cards to pass the time. I honestly didn’t expect to win anything, so I just put down $20 and decided to play until it was done. I lost some, and then won some, lost some, won some more, and finally when I had around $60 in chips, I saw Paul coming and decided to cash them in. I’m smart enough to quit while I’m ahead!

After dinner at the Excalibur, I took a walk down the strip to burn off some of the shrimp and prime rib I had for dinner. I stopped inside M&M’s World, where you could buy all the M&M’s you wanted in any color of the rainbow, along with more M&M merchandise than I care to think about.

I got back to the Golden Nugget in time to see the canopy light up on Fremont street. They have a light show downtown every hour on the hour for around six minutes where they play music and display some psychedelic graphics overhead. If you’ve ever turned on “visual effects” in iTunes, this is very much the same kind of thing. Very cool!

Today, I get to babysit the trade show for one last day and visit with some of the few remaining customers we may have milling about. Then tonight, I get to pack up the show, heaving several big heavy beds into boxes and onto a palette, ready to ship back to Nebraska. I’m hoping to have enough free time tonight to visit a show before heading back home tomorrow.

Viva Las Vegas!

I just spent my first day in Las Vegas at the World Market Center helping with our trade show. The trip from Nebraska went very smoothly, and I was able to fire up my laptop and watch 12 Monkeys for most of the flight. The picture above is how the strip looks when you land at the airport, and I couldn’t help but think that it looked like a giant amusement park for adults.

I checked in at the hotel and then went down to the World Market Center to join the rest of the sales team. Here we have me, Paul James, Ron Larson, Jeanie Kensinger, and Doug Edwards. Ron’s the president of the company and the rest of the team do sales. I’m in marketing, so I got to see how the displays I put together for the show looked when they all came together.

That evening, Ron took us out for drinks at the club at the top of Mandalay Bay, where we had an unbelieveable view of the city below. In the picture above you can see the imposing black silhouette of the Luxor, with the Excalibur, MGM Grand, Tropicana, and other strip properties in the distance.

I’m staying at the Golden Nugget, which is in Downtown Las Vegas, rather than on the Strip. I was a bit tired from the busy day, so I didn’t get to see the light show on Fremont Street, but I did get to take a relatively quick trip down the Strip on the Deuce, which is the bus that runs from one end of town to the other here. It was the best way to travel: $2 for a one-way trip, and much cheaper than a cab. It took a little while since we had to stop for passengers every few blocks, but it was good to meet a few other tourists while checking out the neon lights of the Strip from the second floor of the bus.

More pictures tomorrow!