Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Another Gmail giveaway

I have another Gmail account I'm willing to give away... First email to clarkbhm@gmail.com gets it...

Back from Las Vegas

Heather and I just returned (three hours ago!) from a last minute trip to Las Vegas. We wanted to use up some of our accumulated USAir miles, and have been intending to go to Las Vegas for awhile so we decided last Tuesday to leave Thursday.

Overall, we had a great time! We stayed at the Monte Carlo casino on the strip. It was nice, but not very flashy. One of the things we enjoyed doing is walking around in the other hotels to see their various free attractions and determine where we would like to stay the next time. We visited New York, New York, the Luxor, Excalibur, Monteray Bay, the Mirage, the Venesian, MGM Grand, Circus Circus, and the Las Vegas Hilton. We also got to see the different shows in front of Treasure Island, the Mirage, and the Bellagio, walking down the west side of the strip. Next time, we'll have to walk down the east side of the strip!

We had the chance to see the Star Trek exhibit at the Las Vegas Hilton, ride the roller coaster at New York, New York, see the aquarium at Monteray Bay, see the trapeze at Circus Circus, see the white tiger at the Mirage, see the lions at the MGM grand, and take the new Las Vegas Monorail.

Of course, you can't really go to Las Vegas without gambling. Heather and I had a good time, once we figured out what we did and didn't like to play. Heather tried out the slots, but ended up burning up money pretty quickly. She had more luck on the video poker, but still wasn't that successful overall. Nothing against Heather's skill of course; I think that the machines are pretty tight when it comes to money. I had a bit of better luck playing craps. I've never played craps before and just picked up the game last Tuesday when we figured we were going to Vegas. Heather and I really enjoyed the game and the comradarie around the tables so we ended up spending a good deal of time there, about 11 hours total over the four days. In 11 hours, we only lost $100 dollars. Considering that this translates to about $4.54 per hour for each of us, a bit more than the house commission, I thought it was worth it. Heck, we drank more than $4.54 an hour!

Although we were busy, we had a good deal of time to relax. We enjoyed seeing the other hotels and figuring out where we would stay if we visited again (probably the Venetian, the Mirage, MGM Grand, or Monteray Bay). Overall, Las Vegas was great, and we're looking forward to returning in the future.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Where have I been?

Well, now that the bar is finished, I haven't really been anywhere. I'm trying to avoid the computer for long periods of time so that my neck and back can heal up. They both get really bad when I'm sitting at my desk all day. Instead, I've been running errands and doing work around the house. This week, I installed a shelf in our kitchen (which desparately needed it), and a set of bookshelves in my "office". There's some touch-up work I'd like to get done in the kitchen before I handle anything else. Heather's considering having me repaint the entire bathroom which I wouldn't mind doing, it would just take a while.
I am still looking for jobs, sending out my resumes to firms as postings become available and trying to network with people in the legal industry. A lot of employers won't look at you until they are assured that you've passed the bar though. I won't find that out until October so, until then, it's a big waiting game.
There are two other things I've been keeping busy with. The first is cooking dinner. Since Heather is working and I'm at home, there's no reason for her to have to cook when she comes home. So we've been going through some of our cookbooks specifically looking for recipes which take a long time to make. Since I have several hours to prepare food (without it being served at 9 or 10 PM) I've really enjoyed it.
The other big thing I've been keeping busy with is my new position with Theta Tau. I've already helped in several ways, and I'm planning on visiting some chapters this fall, probably both in New York.
Finally, the Olympics takes up a decent amount of my time. I've been watching these games much more than I watched the games in Sydney. The time differences are annoying, as well as NBC's coverage of the games, but since I'm usually up until the wee hours of the morning anyway, I frequently get to see events "live" at 2 AM.
So, that's what's been keeping me busy as of late. I'm still here!

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Phil Collins in Pittsburgh? Ha!

So, Phil Collins has decided to cancel his visit to Pittsburgh. Heather and I have had tickets for awhile and were somewhat disappointed. I received this email from Ticketmaster:
From: MW Events (Charleston) [mailto:MWE@Ticketmaster.com]
Sent: Wednesday, August 04, 2004 5:39 PM
Subject: Phil Collins at the Mellon Arena Cancellation Notification


Reference: Cancelled Show

Hello, this is TicketMaster Customer Service with an important alert regarding your upcoming event. Phil Collins, scheduled at The Mellon Arena on Sunday, September 26th, 2004 at 8:00pm has been cancelled. Your account has been issued a credit in the full amount of the ticket price and service charges. The $3.50 per order processing fee and any UPS or TicketFast delivery charges are non-refundable.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us via our website at www.ticketmaster.com.

Thank you for using TicketMaster!

Then, two days later, they have the audacity to send me this email:

From: Clear Channel Entertainment [mailto:newsletters@velocity.clearchannel.com]
Sent: Friday, August 06, 2004 2:53 PM
Subject: ROAD TRIP TO CLEVELAND, See PHIL COLLINS @ Gund Arena Sept 11

Take a road trip to Cleveland!
Catch Phil Collins Saturday, September 11th at the Gund Arena! Stay at the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown across the street and walk to the show. Call 216-658-6400 to reserve your room and mention the discount code PC11 for a special rate!

Click Here To Buy Tickets!
Terms and Conditions of Use © 2004 Clear Channel Entertainment, All rights reserved.

How disappointing! We'll cancel the show in town for no reason at all (none was announced) yet we'll invite you to drive two hours away to Cleveland to see the show. This is a rather poor business practice and Heather and I will definitely NOT be going to Cleveland to see the show.

Visit to Minneapolis

Heather and I just returned from the Theta Tau National Convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Theta Tau is a professional engineering fraternity of which I am an alumnus. The purpose of Theta Tau is to develop and maintain a high standard of professional interest among its members, and to unite them in a strong bond of fraternal fellowship.

While we were in Minneapolis, Heather got the chance to spend time with one of her friends from undergraduate school while I was attending meetings all day. The highlight of the trip was my election to the fraternity's executive council on Saturday. My new position is "Grand Outer Guard".

Anyway, along with my new position, I will have the opportunity to visit several of our chapters. I'm already planning on a visit to the University of Buffalo and Binghampton University in New York. I'd also like to visit my home chapter in Mississippi for homecoming. Heather and I are already planning a visit!

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Here we go Steelers, here we go!

Our 2004 Pittsburgh Steelers tickets have finally arrived, and we got some pretty good games. Game tickets are made available to non-season ticket holders who are on the season ticket waiting list (estimated to be about 10 years long). Heather and I put our names on the list in 2002.

Each year, you are given an opportunity to go to two games through a lottery type system. You rank the games you want to go to and hope for the best. Last year, we ranked Steelers v. Browns as our top pick. We got the game, but to go with it, we also got some pre-season tickets. Nobody wants pre-season tickets! I wanted to go to the game, but Heather was going out of town for work. We tried selling them. No takers. We tried finding someone to go with me for free. No takers! Finally, Heather sent an email out to her office and finally found someone whose brother loves the Steelers, but can never afford the tickets. We gave him the tickets and he had a great time. However, we were out $100 for the two tickets, and were determined to not lost our money again.

I am of the opinion that if you get a "top game" like the Browns or the Ravens then you get a stinker of a game to go along with it, so this year I wasn't hoping for much. We avoided all of the pre-season games in our lottery choices, as well as the game after Thanksgiving, the game after Christmas, and an additional game in December, mainly because we didn't know if we would be in town for those games. That left five other games. We got our top pick again this year though, Pittsburgh v. Patriots on October 31, as well as our third pick, Pittsburgh v. Raiders on September 12. Both should be good games, and hopefully, Pittsburgh will be much better this year than last year!

I'm especially excited about the games this year as Heather's dad may be able to go to one of the games. He is a big Steelers fan, having grown up in Steubenville, Ohio, just 45 minutes away. However, he lives in North Carolina and has never had the chance to go to a game. We're going to let him pick which game he'd like to go to and I'll accompany him to the game. I'm looking forward to it!
Talk to you later!