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Viva Elvis review

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On New Year’s Eve we had the chance to go check out the latest Cirque Du Soleil show, Viva Elvis. New Year’s Eve isn’t a day I would normally head down to the Las Vegas Strip since they close off the streets around 6:30 when the mayhem starts to happen. But, these tickets were for the 4:00pm show, so we figured we could high-tail it out of there and be back home long before the crazyness began. Lucky for us, that is exactly how it happened!

We left the house extra early since we were going to a brand new casino, on the strip, on New Year’s Eve. We figured we’d need extra time, and boy were we right. It took us over an hour to get from our house in to the valet parking at Aria. This drive should normally take us no more than 25 minutes. Once we were parked we headed inside. The new casino is gorgeous, of course. We made our way to the theater and quickly found our seats in the balcony.

A few minutes before the show started, one of the characters from the show walks through the crowd handing out prizes for correctly answering an Elvis trivia question, singing like Elvis or for giving your best Elvis lip curl. The fan interaction is always fun and I’m glad that aspect got added in to the show.

I’m not going to dissect the entire show, but I do have some constructive criticism I’d like to share:

First up, the stage/seating. In most of the Cirque shows, the stage itself plays a pretty big part in the show. If you have ever seen ‘O’, Mystere, Love or especially Ka, you know what I’m talking about. In some of the shows the people sit on all sides of the stage, in others the stage moves and contorts to change the dynamic of a scene. In Viva Elvis there are a few times where the stage has sections that raise or lower, but for the most part it’s flat and the audience is sitting all on one side like you were seeing a movie.

Next up, the dancing. If you ask people who have never seen but only heard about a Cirque show what they are all about, they’ll most likely tell you about the amazing acrobatics. This show has a couple acrobatic segments, but there are far more dance sequences than there are acrobatics. Not trying to take anything away from the amazing trampoline segment, but that’s a pretty small portion of the show compared to how many times you’ll see formations of dancers shaking their stuff. I’m not saying they aren’t good at it. But throw in some back flips or something. :)

And finally, the narration. Most of the Cirque shows tell a story or take you on a journey, but, they don’t necessarily do it with spoken word. They do it with creativity. In Viva Elvis they use an actor playing the part of Col. Tom Parker, Elvis’ manager. He walks in and out of scenes throughout the show walking you through the life of Elvis. I’ve always thought that Cirque shows were meant to be enjoyed universally no matter what language you spoke.

I certainly don’t mean to bash the show. We both enjoyed it and there are definitely some bright spots to be found. For example, the two drummers in the show are absolutely fantastic. The trampoline scene, like I said before, is great. I could have watched those performers for hours! They also have some great footage of Elvis that they intertwine with the show nicely.

I know the show is new and I write this hoping that they see it (everybody reads my blog, right?) and can make some edits to the show to make it awesome. It has a good base, it just needs some polish.

In my best Elvis voice, ‘Thank you very much.’

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2009 – a year in photos

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2009 was an awesome year for me. I did a ton of traveling, I met dozens and dozens of really great people, I learned a ton of new stuff and, in general, I had a really great time. When I sat down to try and write a recap, the only way I could really remember all the cool things I did was to go back through my blog archives and my flickr feed. Photos seemed like a lot more fun, so here’s a recap of 2009… with photos.

January – WordCamp Las Vegas

I was absolutely blown away be the response I got from putting together WordCamp Las Vegas. That smirk on my face is definitely me thinking, “Did I really just pull this off? Yeah, I think you did.” The success of that event is something that I’m very proud of and the list of people I would need to thank for their support would take too long so I’ll just say a collective ‘thanks’!

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January – Beer ‘n Blog

One of the best parts of running WordCamp was sparking the interest of a group of Las Vegas bloggers to get together on a weekly basis to talk tech over a couple pints. I think this was taken at the first event. We had nearly 50 people in attendance. What a blast!

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February – Twestival Las Vegas

One of the great things about social media is the ability to bring people together offline. When you tell people that they can come out and have some drinks and all the money goes to charity, well, I’d call that a no-brainer.

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February – Photo Safari Noobs

Take 4 guys, throw them and all their camera gear in an FJ Cruiser and point them towards Denver. Stop everywhere along the way that looked like it might make for an interesting photograph. That’s exactly what we did. It. Was. Awesome.

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February – WordCamp Denver

WordCamp was the thinly veiled disguise that we used in order to sneak away for the Photo Safari trip. Here we are at lunch with Micah Baldwin, Ben Huh, Austin and Jeanna  during a break at WordCamp. The lady in the foreground has kicked Todd out of his seat so she could get a photo with Micah because he’s awesome. Yes, we made fun of him for it.

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March – Redondo Beach

My family has owned and operated a fish market called Captain Kidd’s in Redondo Beach for the past 30+ years. I grew up working there and even after 10 years of eating there 5 days a week, it’s still my favorite place to eat. This is us with 4 generations of our family getting together for some seafood.

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April – WordCamp Reno-Tahoe

Yeah, I know. This isn’t a photo. But, it WAS the first time I got to stick a badge on my website that said I was speaking at an event. WordCamp Reno was one of my first public speaking events. I wasn’t as nervous as I was expecting to be. I am very appreciative of Colin Loretz for the invite to to speak.

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May – WordCamp San Francisco

The granddaddy of them all. WordCamp San Francisco. There were nearly 800 people at that event! It was so big that there were people there I was TRYING to find and wasn’t able to. That’s a pretty big event in my book. While we were there we took some time to play the part of tourists. We went to Alcatraz and the Height/Ashbury district, but can you believe that we didn’t get to see the Golden Gate Bridge? Next year, I guess…

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June – Paxton graduates

One of the proudest days of my life, that was. Watching my Son cross that stage as they called is name and handing him his diploma. That’s something I never did. I dropped out of school long before graduating. I don’t regret the decision I made all those years ago, but, I am sorry that my parents didn’t get to experience what I got to experience that day.

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July – Whuffaoke in a trailer park

When Tara Hunt decided to move cross country, she didn’t just pack her stuff and drive. No, she sent her stuff with some movers and she drove a Winnebego from one side of the country to the other stopping at very spots to bring karaoke to the masses. Thanks to some last minute changes of plan, we ended up singing karaoke in the RV park at Circus Circus in 115 degree heat. As crazy as that all sounds, we had a great, great time!

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September – Breakfast in Utah

Have you ever asked your spouse “Where would you like to go for breakfast tomorrow?” and have
her respond with a restaurant in a different state? Me, too. One Friday night we decided that having breakfast just outside of Zion in Utah sounded like a good idea. We got up early, threw the kids in the car and off we went. The best part is, we didn’t even go to Zion. We had breakfast and basically turned around and came home. This was a bench a stopped to photograph on the way back out of town.

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September – WordCamp LA

Lots of travel this month. We headed back to Los Angeles for WordCamp. We all crashed at my sister’s house and then spent Saturday on the Loyola Marymount campus which was really nice. The night before we introduced some friends to the family restaurant where we BS’d for hours. This photo was taken during Shayne’s presentation a few hours before I spoke at the event. I had plenty of time to get him back… but I’d save that for later…

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September – WordCamp Portland

Since moving to Las Vegas, I have said many times that I don’t think I could live anywhere else. Portland changed my mind on that one. I instantly felt like I fit in perfectly with the tech scene they have up there. When I mentioned that to some people back here in Vegas they reminded me that the sun comes out only a couple times all year up there… That may be an issue since I hate being cold… The move is currently on hold. This is a shot of the amazing streaming video that Portland provided. From what I was told, this was the best live feed of any WordCamp to date. Kudos to them!

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October – BlogWorld / WordCamp Las Vegas

Running WordCamp as part of BlogWorld was certainly not as smooth as I would have liked it to have been. But, for all the troubles, there were some really great sessions that came out of that event. One other great thing about the event was that Shayne was planning on attending. Time to plot my revenge. The shot below is a 9 foot tall, 8 foot wide mural we made out of Shayne’s avatar. We hung it on the wall in our photo studio and then had him drop by for a tour.

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November – WordCamp Phoenix / New York

Many months earlier I was offered the opportunity to speak at WordCamp Phoenix. I gladly accepted. A couple months later I was invited to speak at WordCamp New York. I accepted that, too. It wasn’t until I was booking airline flights that I realized these two events were on back to back days… nearly 3000 miles apart. I made both events but vowed to check calendars BEFORE agreeing to future events. And here’s a shot of the store directly next to the hotel we stayed at in New York.

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November – Jamaica

The internet access was expensive and terrible so we didn’t bother using it. The resort offered a bunch of activities but we didn’t take part in any of them. For the first time in I can’t begin to think how long, I did nothing. To borrow a line from the movie Office Space, “I did absolutely nothing, and it was everything that I thought it could be.” Even though we took the trip over the Thanksgiving holiday, this trip was in honor of my wife’s and my 20th wedding anniversary.

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December – Chicago

My company was kind enough to send me to Chicago for a conference. I can’t really blame them that the conference was scheduled for December in Chicago. I want to blame somebody, though. Look at that photo above… Now, look at the photo below. These were taken only about 10 days apart. This just isn’t right, folks. For the record, the day I left Chicago it was 4 degrees with a –18 wind-chill factor. :-/

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December – Holiday party

For the past couple years my company has really nailed the holiday party! No sit-down dinner needed. Just some snacks and an open bar at a club in one of the Las Vegas casinos. This year was at the Palms. We were responsible adults and rented ourselves a room so we wouldn’t have to try to drive. That turned out to be a good thing since there are parts of the evening that I can barely remember. That’s when you wake up and dread the “You were tagged in a photo on Facebook” notices… Thankfully, we didn’t have that issue… this time. ;)

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I’ve already got my camera ready to document 2010 as it unfolds!

Happy New Year!

- John

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Blog World Expo: The Party Edition

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One of the greatest parts of any conference is the after parties. Have your conference in a town like Las Vegas and it’s not hard to imagine that the amount of parties available to you is mind boggling. We definitely did our share of partying, too!

Here’s what our weekend looked like:

Wednesday Night
Mural of ShayneWe had friends arrive on Wednesday, so after I went to the Track Leader Orientation, we all headed out for dinner and a nice long chat. We followed that up by surprising Shayne with a 8′ x 9′ mural of his Twitter avatar in our photo studio. If you ever want to make a mural yourself, let me tell you that this was 120 sheets of paper and 4.5 hours of cutting/taping/hanging. But it was worth it!

Thursday night
Ted Murphy & John HawkinsThis was the first official day of Blog World Expo. I spent a few hours at the convention center, but mainly just to meet up with and say hello to a few friends in from out of town. The fun began around 5:30 when we met up at Bar Louie for our weekly Beer n Blog meetup that was set to kick off the WordCamp weekend. We had a turnout of about 60 people including a few people I had beer really looking forward to meeting; TechnoSailor (Aaron Brazell) and Ted Murphy from Izea (pictured with me here). Both of which, as expected turned out to be really nice guys. After spending 4 hours downing Blue Moons with the group, we headed home to rest up for the marathon day we expected on Friday.

Friday Night
Jeep hitting beam in parking lotAfter a full day at WordCamp/Blog World, we headed out to the Hard Rock Hotel. You know it’s going to be a good night when you are pulling in to the parking garage and the guy in front of you is towing a Jeep on a flat bed and you get to watch the Jeep hit the “7′ clearance” sign followed by the next 3 concrete beams. Ahh, welcome to Vegas. (sorry the photo isn’t better on this one!)

Once inside the Hard Rock, we headed to the poker room where Blogs With Balls crew had organized a charity poker tournament for Ante Up For Africa. Pro poker player Annie Duke co-hosted the event and brought along a dozen big name poker pros to play in the tournament as well. Each table had 1 pro poker player and 1 pro blogger. They had put bounties on each of the pro bloggers, so if you knocked them out of the tournament you’d win a gift basket. I’m happy to say I knocked out our table pro and took home 7 xBox 360 sports games! We had a great time it was all for a great cause! HUGE thanks to Dan Levy for getting me and my friends in to the tourney and for putting on such an awesome event! Check out the video on YouTube.

Saturday Night
After WordCamp/BlogWorld ended it was time to strap on the party boots just one more time before sending everybody home. We started off hitting up the official BlogWorldExpo BBQ that went on poolside at the Hilton. They had an open bar and a HUGE spread of great food. The party was well attended by tons of speakers from BlogWorld which was nice since I was busy running WordCamp all weekend, I wasn’t able to chat with many of them during the previous 2 days. I really enjoyed getting to chat with Darren Rowse in person since I’ve been reading his blogs for such a long time. It’s was also nice to be able to chat face-to-face with people I don’t get to see in person too often like Jim Kukral, Aaron Hockley, Shayne Sanderson, Austin Passy, Darin Hardy and at least a dozen others.

Aaron Brazell & Jeremy Wright signing KaraokeOnce the BBQ was over we had to make a tough decision between two events that both sounded like a lot of fun. In the end we opted for the one that required zero driving. We walked inside the Hilton and headed over to the spot where they were doing #TechKaraoke. Nobody from our group sang, but we amused ourselves by watching the drunk geeks singing (I use that term loosely) and by having a “Fake ReTweet war”. Don’t know what that is? Well, the bar had a large screen (10′ x 10′ -ish) where they were showing Twitter messages that people had tagged with #bwe09. So, what you do is write up a tweet in the form of a retweet of your buddy. For example:

RT @my_buddy: Wow, I sure hope this rash goes away! Another great time in Vegas! #bwe09

This would then scroll across the screen and we would laugh our heads off. There is nothing like childish humor plus alcohol to make for an incredibly fun evening!

After a few hours of Karaoke and fake tweets, it was time to head back home and spend Sunday resting up! We were a tired crew after 4 long days and nights. But, we are looking forward to doing it all again next year!

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24 Hour Movie Marathon

A few months back I was checking out a site called iwearyourshirt.com and after clicking a few links found that Jason from IWYS and his buddies had done a 24 hour movie marathon. The idea sounded cool, so I called up some buddies to see if they’d be interested. Sure enough, I know a bunch of movie fanatics. The plans were made and today’s the day!

The idea is this: invite a bunch of friends over, each person brings a movie to share, draw movie names out of a hat to determine the order, sit back and watch a ton of movies with your friends. Since our group is just 8 people, we’ve asked each person to bring 2 movies.

The following is a time log of our adventures!

11:30 am – The TV is set up, food in the crock pot, snacks on the table… we are ready to go!
12:00 pm – Movie #1: Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (Paxton)
12:10 pm – DVD player fail. New DVD player set up, restart Ace Ventura
1:55 pm – Movie #2: Fight Club (John)
4:25 pm – Movie #3: Bubba Ho-Tep (Rob)
6:00 pm – Movie #4: Big Fish (John)
- 15 minute break to go grab some food.
8:30 pm – Movie #5: The Simpsons Movie (Blake)
10:00 pm – Movie #6: The Princess Bride (Chris)
11:45 pm – Movie #7: Castaway (Myya)
2:10 am – Movie #8: Grandma’s Boy (Chris)
3:45 am – Movie #9: Clay Pigeons (Marcia)
5:35 am – Movie #10: The Sixth Sense (Myya)
7:30 am – Movie #11: Super Troopers (Myya)
9:10 am – Movie #12: Man From Earth (Rob)
10:40 am – Movie #13: The Matrix (Adam)

End time: 12:50 pm for a total of 25 hours of movies.

Nobody was able to hold out the entire time without catching a little bit of sleep. Rob held out the longest and napped a bit during The Matrix.

We had an awesome group of people and though everybody is pretty tired right now, we all agreed that we’d do it again. Just not next weekend.


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Comedy, the hard way

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A week or two back a good friend invited me out for an evening at a comedy club here in town. He had received complementary tickets, and I was glad to have the opportunity to hang out with my friend, so this seemed like the makings of a great evening!

We arrived to the casino an hour early. We made our way to will call where we picked up our tickets without incident. Having at least 30 minutes to kill before it was time to make our way inside the show room, we stopped off at the bar and had a beer. We were having a great time BSing when I looked down and realized it was 5 minutes until show time. We drained our beers and headed on over.

When we walked up to the door I could already see inside. The place was empty except for maybe one or two tables. The hostess walked us to a table right up front. Having been to MANY a comedy show in the past, I wasn’t exactly thrilled to be sitting so close. All it takes is for one comic who thinks he’s the next Don Rickles and you are in for a long night. We took our seats and a within a few minutes the MC for the evening took the stage to a smattering of applause. I immediately flagged down the waitress and ordered another beer. This was going to be tough.

A -large- part of the fun of going to a comedy club is laughing along with the rest of the crowd. There have been many times when somebody in the crowd gets laughing so hard that they, in a way, become part of the show. This fuels the rest of the crowd to laugh and cheer and because of it the comedian settles in to a rhythm with the crowd and feeds of it.

But what if nobody’s laughing?

Here’s the thing, there wasn’t anything wrong with any of the comedians specifically. If you put any of them in front of a crowd of a couple hundred people, they all would have done just fine. Especially the ‘headliner’. He was really funny. But, with only 8-10 people in the audience, it’s hard to build up any sort of real laughter. Think about it. If somebody tells you a joke, even if you laugh, you are only going to laugh for a couple seconds. Now, consider that not EVERYTHING the guy says is funny to all 8-10 people. So now you have 3 or 4 people doing little more than chuckling at any one time. This is not a situation where it’s going to be fun for the crowd or the comedian.

Thankfully the show wasn’t very long. That’s probably due to the fact that none of the comedians had to pause waiting for laughter to die down before telling their next joke. We were able to salvage the night by heading across town to catch the second set of the Sin City Sinners. What’s not to love about a bunch of rockers playing ’80s cover tunes in a small club with Ron Jeremy hanging out at a table with no less than 3 hot blond chicks at any given time?

If you plan on going to a comedy club and you walk in and realize the place has less than a dozen people in the audience, save yourself and ask for a refund immediately. You’ll thank me for it.

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Goodbye John Hughes

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I was 15 when The Breakfast Club came out. I remember going to see it at the Del Amo mall with my grandma. About half way through the movie she fell asleep. Not me. I was riveted. I connected with these characters. They all seemed like people I was going to school with myself. I felt their pain, I knew their struggles. For the first time I could remember, it felt like this movie was speaking directly to me. Over 20 years later and I still consider it one of my favorite all-time movies.

I was sad to heard that John Hughes, the writer of so many classic movies from the ’80s had died of a heart attack. He was a man who is responsible for some so many classic movies. I’ll bet you’d have a difficult time finding somebody who doesn’t love at least one of his movies. Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Mr. Mom, Vacation, Home Alone, Weird Science, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and, of course Planes, Trains & Automobiles. And that’s only part of his list.

I found an excellent article written by a lady who, as a young girl, became pen pals with John Hughes. It was very touching and shows how not everybody in Hollywood is a jaded, money grubbing prick. Just most of ‘em. ;)

So next time you are sitting down to throw a movie in the DVD player, reach for a John Hughes classic and tip your hat to the man who has given us so many great films and even greater characters.

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Reckless Kelly and Micky and the Motorcars in LA

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Chris and I are big fans of the bands Reckless Kelly and Micky and the Motorcars. It has even been mentioned that we might be groupies. For your consideration, I present to you the charges:

  • We’ve seen Micky and the Motorcars in Vegas one time.
  • We’ve driven to Los Angeles to see both bands together twice.
  • We’ve driven to Idaho to see both bands together once.
  • We are planning to drive back to Idaho in August to see them play again.

Verdict: Guilty. We’re groupies.

We left the house in Vegas around 8 and made it to grandma’s house just after lunch. Dropped off the kids and grandma’s house, drove around the south bay for a bit and then headed up the 405 freeway in afternoon traffic. Ahh, how I don’t miss the 405 parking lot… We had dinner at a tiny place called Dan Tana’s, that seems to be a bit of a hidden treasure. After dinner we walked next door and got in line. Even though I grew up in So Cal, I had never before been to the Troubadour before.

It probably doesn’t help the groupie argument to tell you we were actually the first ones in line.

First up was Micky and the Motorcars. Of the four shows we’ve seen, this was the best set list by far. They played both mine and Chris’ favorite songs, plus a slew of other great tunes that we both really like. The sound down front wasn’t great, but it’s always a blast being right up front with all the drunken crazy chicks.

One of the great things about going to see these guys is that before and after their set, they typically hang around the bar area and are extremely accommodating. They’ll hang out and chat with fans right up until show time and then again after their off stage all the way through the end of the other bands playing.

After a quick set change, next up was Reckless Kelly. By the time they went on stage, the place had filled up pretty well. This means more drunk chicks to hang out with down front. This is really a good and bad thing. Good because it adds to the entertainment value of the show, bad because the likelihood of getting drinks spilled on you increases ten fold.

Reckless Kelly came on around 10:15. Just like with Micky, they played a ton of our favorite songs and we both agreed this was a better set list than either of the two times we had seen them previously. Part of that could be due to the fact that they played for 2 full hours. About 3/4 of the way through the show, Chris and I had had enough of the drunken chicks down front and decided to move a little further back. The place was small enough that even from the back, we were still only 20 feet from the stage. Plenty close to still enjoy the show and much less likely to end up wearing Bacardi and Coke.

When the band went off stage before their encore, Chris and I took the opportunity to go check out the merchandise and we each got a Micky and the Motorcars shirt and I got a Reckless Kelly sticker to add to my laptop. We made it back in time to hear them do a cover of the Beatles’ Revolution and then end the show with Crazy Eddie’s Last Hurrah.

Rather than sticking around after the show to meet the bands again, we high-tailed it out of the Troubadour and headed off to Pink’s Hot Dog stand to meet my sister and her boyfriend for a late night snack. Pink’s had an hour wait but they had already been in line for 55 of it so we snuck right in there.

We had a great time seeing two excellent live bands and you can be sure that this will not be the last time we see either band play live. If things go as planned we’ll be in Idaho for the Braun Brothers Reunion in August and HOPEFULLY we can get the bands to add Las Vegas to their list of places to play! Do yourself a favor and pick up Naive by Micky and the Motorcars, and, Reckless Kelly Was Here.

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Cirque-and-Blog, Zumanity Style!

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This past Thursday, Chris and I joined a dozen Las Vegas bloggers for the first ever Cirque-and-Blog event. It was our second time seeing the show, though our first time was more than 3 years ago, so I was very much looking forward to seeing it again. From what I had heard from several people, the show has gone through several changes since we saw it last.

Thanks to Jessica Berlin (on twitter @JessBerlin), we were treated with complimentary tickets for the show. As if that wasn’t enough, she also set up a meet and greet with several of the cast members from the show. How cool is that? We arrived about an hour before show time and were let in to the lobby of the theater 15 minutes before the rest of the crowd. We were encouraged to take as many photos as we wished while we mingled with the VERY gracious cast members. It was really cool getting to see the detail of the costumes up close.

Chris with the cast of Zumanity 

John @ ZumanityJohn with The Twins 

After we were done mingling, we headed to our seats. On our first trip to the show we sat 2 rows from the stage but way off to the side. While those seats weren’t terrible, our seats for this showing were awesome. We were center stage right behind the sound booth. If you have your choice when going to see this show, aim for the middle seats! As with most Cirque shows, what’s going on right in the middle of the stage is usually only part of the entire scene. There’s action stage left and right, overhead, etc. Sitting in the middle makes taking all this in way easier!

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The shot above (left) was from one of the newer acts in the show. The moves this girl pulled off on a stripper’s pole were like nothing even the most seasoned strip club aficionado has seen. Definitely a welcome addition to the show! I was glad to see the school girl with the hoola-hoops was still in the show. How she’s able to keep half a dozen hoops going while twisting and turning hanging from a wire is beyond me.

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The midnight bath was another hold over from the last time we saw the show. Before pouring milk all over each other, the two actors used the bath tub and some lubricant to pull off some intricate moves that landed them in some steamy positions. Definitely hot.

Big thanks to Jessica and the entire cast of Zumanity for inviting us to the show! We had a great time at the show and hopefully it won’t be another 3 years before we see it again. If you want to go see the show, now is the time. Jessica passed along a link to 35% discount tickets that are good through the end of May. Don’t pass it up! And, if you are interested in going to the next Cirque-and-Blog, follow @JessBerlin on twitter for details.

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Good group + Good cause = Great Event!

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Last night we went to the Revolution Lounge at the Mirage casino to take part in the first ever Twestival to raise awareness and money for Charity:Water. Las Vegas was one of roughly 175 cities around the world taking part in the Worldwide event that was organized around the Twitter community.

To give you a little background on Charity:Water, they are a non-profit organization that is bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. Over the past few years they have raised over 7 million dollars and funded 1200+ water projects around the world. These projects range from hand-dug wells, deep wells, rainwater harvesting schemes and biosand filters.

The event last night was an absolute blast. The Revolution lounge has interactive tables that are touch sensitive. As you drag your hand across them, a built in screen will paint different objects across the table. Ours painted with flower petals while others used squares & circles and other random shapes. You can see a pic of the table here. Also on the tables they were scrolling all messages on Twitter that included the tag twestival. This of course meant that we would send tweets and then go back to staring at the table to watch our tweet scroll by. In this photo you can see my tweet being scrolled on the table. Of course I had to tweet about it, too. For a geek like me, the Revolution lounge was a very cool place to hang out!

The bar was serving a free drink called a Tweetini. It was basically a lemon drop with Blue Curacao added in. They were crazy-good. You could order other drinks as well, but they were not on the house so it’s no wonder I had 3 Tweetinies which made today at work a fair bit painful. After a few Tweetinies I took it upon myself to ask the DJ if we could “RickRoll this bitch.” He was kind enough to oblige and I made it back to the bar in time to hear the groaning of my friends as Rick Astley started belting out the hits.

If you weren’t able to make it to the Twestival with us last night, you can check out photos from Twestival events all over the world in the Flickr Twestival photo group. Or, if you’d like to get involved with the Charity:Water project, check out their site at charitywater.org/getinvolved/.

Big thanks to Manya for organizing the Las Vegas portion of the Twestival. She did a fantastic job and everybody in attendance had a great time.

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When you know you are right…

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Last night my wife and I were watching an old episode of Cash Cab that we had recorded on Tivo. We’ve been fans of the show for a long time, so we’ve seen most of the episodes. But, we were happy to find an episode had been recorded that we hadn’t seen yet. Off we go for our virtual ride-along in the Cash Cab…

A group of 3 people get in to the cab. It appears to be a husband/wife team with a friend tagging along. The friend got in first and sat in the back. The wife got in next and sat behind the driver’s seat. The husband gets in last and takes the Hot Seat. This is the seat who must say the official answer to each question. The host, Ben Bailey, does the intro, asks if they want to play, they agree and away they go. First round, easy questions. Ben asks the first easy question. All 3 of the passengers agreed on the simple answer and as the player gave his answer, he nodded his head emphatically several times. Ben confirmed that the answer was correct and they were up $25 bucks. Question 2, another easy one. The team agreed again on the simple answer and as the player gave his answer, he again nodded his head. They, again, got the answer correct.

At this point, I started mimicking his head nodding as we played along from home. We laughed each time it happened.

Several questions went by with the same head nodding occurring as another correct answer was given. But then something interesting happened. A question was asked and instead of the 3 people in the cab immediately agreeing on the correct answer, this time they were unsure. Rather than use a shout-out for help, they decided on an answer. The player in the hot seat give the answer. STRIKE ONE! The answer was incorrect. We backed up Tivo to make sure we just saw what we thought we saw. Sure enough,instead of nodding his head in agreement as he answered, he was shaking his head from side to side. He knew the answer was wrong and gave it anyway.

A few more questions followed and they were all answered correctly with more emphatic nodding to go along. By this time I’m fascinated with how it was playing out. Then, something happened. A question was asked and the players were unsure of the answer. With time running out the player gave an answer that he thought might be correct, but he wasn’t sure. As he gave the answer, his head was still. No head nodding or shaking. This time he simply had no idea if he was right or wrong.

They got the question correct and answered a couple more with head-nodding accuracy until they reached their destination. They risked it all on the double-or-nothing video bonus question and they all nodded along as they gave the answer that they were 100% sure was correct. They exited the cab after winning $1,600.

It makes me wonder what sort of additional information we give off with our body language as we talk to people in our day-to-day lives. I’m sure there are deep-rooted psychological explanations for how this guy was answering the questions and nodding when correct, shaking when incorrect and sitting still when unsure. But, they are all way over my head. But, for me it lead to one of the most interesting rides in the Cash Cab that I’ve seen in quite some time.