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Las Vegas

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Wednesday, April 11

The flights from Hell started just as expected on Wednesday morning.  As soon as I passed through security (are they no longer checking Cpaps?) I got a call from American announcing that the flight was delayed by an hour and a half, and that our connection has been changed to a later flight.  Mike and I hung out in the Admiral’s Lounge until the departure.  I was upgraded to first class for this leg, so I got to ride with Mike.  Good lunch.

We arrived in Las Vegas in the late afternoon, went to the room, unpacked quickly, and went downstairs.  Mike said that the waitress wasn’t going to be very attentive, so we needed to play some video poker to get a drink.  We then moved to the blackjack table, and Mikey was wrong.  The most attentive wait girl ever – there were times we had 2 drinks on the table at one time.

We had reservations at 7:30 for craftsteak in the Hotel which we were obviously not going to make.  I called and moved the reservation to 8:30.  Blackjack and Vodka Tonics continued, and 8:30 came and went.  At about 11:00 or so, we called it quits and stumbled to the bathroom.  Had an amazing burger at Wolfgang Puck’s Bar and Grill in the Hotel.  Being drunk, we both ordered the bartender’s suggestion of “Grilled Prime Burger, Vermont Cheddar, Smoked Onion Marmalade, French Fries…17″.  The onion marmalade was awesome.  I went to bed at about 2, and Mike followed somewhat later.

Thursday, April 12

I was up much earlier than Mike, so I went and played Blackjack for a while and met some folks from Colfax, NC, and a dealer who lived in Raleigh for a year.  I then walked down the strip for a while and came back to the hotel.  Mike and I had Sushi in the hotel and walked over to the Excalibur, which was like if the North Carolina State Fair had a casino.  We chilled waiting for Doug and Trevor to arrive.  Once they arrived, we went up to the Bellagio to see the Fountain show (The song from Titanic – Blech) and wandered over to Caesars Palace.  While standing outside Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill, we decide we were hungry and ready to go in.  Doug whined that it seemed awfully expensive, and we ended up at Munchies.  Sliders.  Meh.  We did get to watch the “hotties” go into the new club at Caesars.  We left there to see the Imperial Palace, with their Dealertainers.  It was a dump.

Friday, April 13

The day that Trevor and I took over…

Having screwed around for too long without a plan, Trevor and I took over to make some plans.  We debated between Zumanity, the Cirque Du Soleil sexuality show, and Love, the Beatles show.  Since Doug was a big Beatles fan, we went that way.  The other three went on their helicopter ride, and I was charged with planning dinner.  I warned them that it was going to be expensive, and was told to go ahead.

I booked Carnevino, Mario Batali’s steakhouse in the Pallazzo.  A fine meal at last!

The meal started with an amuse bouche – a cheese puff that had a strong cheese flavor that was wonderful.

Then the bread was brought out with the house made butter, and Lardo.  Holy lord what an innovation Lardo is.  It is, as best as I can figure, rendered fatback with herbs and salt.  It was spreadable on the bread and wonderfully good.

We ordered 2 appetizers – the Carne Cruda Alla Piemontese – Chopped to order Steak Tartare

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and Zach’s Chopped Salad, which had the most amazing parmesan cheese shavings

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Doug ordered a filet and Mike got the Lamb chops

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Trevor and I split the Dry Aged Bone In Rib-Eye for 2.  It was wheeled out to the table and carved by a tall blonde who presented us with two plates “Would you like some olive oil and salt on it” – um, why yes thank you…

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It was awesome!  I asked the carver if it would be inappropriate if I picked up the bone to gnaw on it – she indicated that it would be inappropriate to not pick it up, so…

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We walked over to the Mirage and saw Love, which was a psychedelic tribute to the Beatles. The sound was awesome!

Saturday, April 14

The day we saw all of the Strip.

Mike had never seen the Venetian, so we set out on an adventure and started to walk.  and walk.  We stopped mid way for a beer at The Rockhouse Bar and Nightclub right in front of the Imperial Palace – home of the 88 oz Beer Guitar!  Continuing to the Venetian for lunch and tequilla shots.  From there we caught a cab to the Stratosphere and up to the lounge for really really bad martinis.  Yuck.  Unfortunately, Mike liked them a bunch, and that began Mike’s evening of drunken craps, La Reve, and more Craps.

Mike and I were in the casino – he was shooting craps and Doug and Trevor were up in the room.  It was getting late, and when we walked out to the lobby, the cab line was a disaster.  There was no way we could make it to The Wynn in time for the show.  Mike stepped up with his craps table winnings and paid for the car to the Wynn.  While we were in there, the radio went crazy with panic over the lack of cabs.

TO BE CONTINUED.  MAYBE.  WHEN I GET AROUND TO IT.

Carolers

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Raleigh BBQ–A Fat Boy Restaurant® Market Analysis

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20070519.previewA post over at BBQ JewA Shot Across The Bow – Dickey’s Moving Onto Sacred Land raises an issue that has bothered me a long time.  (I’m not even going to get into the whole “Dickey’s has the Constitutional Right to build within sacred ground but shouldn’t.  Roger Ebert did a great job with that this morning, albeit on a slightly different topic – but is it really?)

Why can’t Raleigh have a decent BBQ joint instead of mediocrity?

What makes a great BBQ joint?

  1. Honest Q.  The sauce is important, but should never overwhelm the meat.  Chunks and “brown bits” also define greatness.
  2. Limited, genuine sides.  Deviled eggs, while being the greatest church potluck dinner item ever, should not be on the menu if you want to be great.  A BBQ plate should be ‘Q, Slaw, Potato Salad and hushpuppies.  That is not to say that substitutions shouldn’t be allowed – to not allow substitutions is to deny all that is Eastern North Carolina hospitality.  As a corollary, a good fried chicken is not necessary, but does not hurt.
  3. The ability to provide easy take out options.  Never underestimate the the power of the tailgate.
  4. Good sweet tea.

What Raleigh BBQ isn’t mediocre? The adage “when it’s good, it’s great, but when it’s not…” We don’t need more mediocre BBQ (as BBQ Jew claims – I have yet to try Dickey’s), we need just one great place.

I am a fan of The Pit, but they have placed themselves in a niche that isn’t BBQ friendly – they are too expensive for it to be a regular stop on the rotation. They have done a great job as marketing themselves as “tourist BBQ” – when foreigners (anyone whose daddy didn’t put peanuts in their Pepsi) come to Raleigh, and want Eastern NC ‘Q, The Pit is it. Further, they don’t lend themselves to stopping in for take out, which on occasion, would be nice.

Coopers and Barbecue Lodge (I know there are folks that shudder when those two are mentioned in the same sentence, but I do lump them there) are the very definition of the adage above.   I’ve had really good BBQ at both, but that is the exception rather than the rule.

For the McDonalds of Eastern North Carolina BBQ, Smithfield’s Chicken ‘N BBQ (note that they put the chicken first – not a good sign) is very good (I’m a big fan), but it feels too sterile and manufactured. Further, Smithfield BBQ isn’t IN Raleigh itself – you have to go to the suburbs of Cary, Wake Forest, and Garner.

There are others – the Q-Shack, Ole Time BBQ – that just never make my radar. I’ve not been that impressed by either.

wilbers_webWhere does that leave us? Sadly, a road trip to Goldsboro or Wilson is necessary. The capital of North Carolina ought to be the capital of Q, not Ayden. Or Willow Springs. Until it is, Dickey’s fits in perfectly.  Raleigh needs GREAT BBQ, not more mediocrity.

My Latest Video

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My son tried to wax philosophic on the movies from Pixar on Facebook last night and didn’t quite get there.  I know what he was trying to say, but it was kind of snarky, so I decided a little humility was in order.

 

His initial reaction was not favorable.  His secondary reaction was not much better.

I love you Brad…

Filling in the Holes…

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When Brad was young, he used to love to dig holes in the ground.  Just random holes.  They would appear with no notice, and the dirt that came out of them would disappear with the same sense of mystery.  It was as if the surrounding earth absorbed it – it ceased to be.

As the years have passed, those holes have begun to fill themselves in, much as Brad’s personality and maturity has grown and filled in.  We still have our struggles, and will continue to do so (he and I share way too many attributes for us to not battle some – it is a long family tradition), but I am very proud of the person he is becoming and look forward to knowing the person he will be.

A perfect example of this happened yesterday.  We were at Camp Cheerio, dropping off Jay (our youngest) for his first time at sleep-away camp.  Brad was already there, as he had been at the Camp Cheerio Extreme the week before and was going to spend a some time at Camp Cheerio proper.  A clerical error had placed Brad in a cabin full of 12 year old 7th graders, instead of the older boys he should have been with.  This normally would not have been a crisis, except that he has to live with one of those creatures, and the prospect of 10 of them for a week was more than he could stand.  The camp director quickly solved the problem, moving Brad to a more appropriate spot.

His mother and I were standing on the other side of the gym, dealing with something for our youngest, when Anne looked over and saw Brad walk up to the camp director, shake his hand, and thank him for taking care of the problem.

I miss the holes, but am looking forward to the filling in.

The Muppets Rock!

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It’s nice to see that they’ve still got it.

 

The Disney Blog Is Getting It Done

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Disney has finally figured out using the internet for promotional content. The Disney Blog is a great spot for cool content. Sure, what follows is their Christmas commercial, but that doesn’t diminish the content. If this doesn’t make you smile, well, that just makes me sad.

 

Back at the beginning of October, they posted a really neat video Tilt-Shift Photography

2009 Rogers Family Walk To Cure Diabetes

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Dear Friends and Family,

It’s that time of year again and I must say that the fall completely got away from me. The JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes is coming up in 2 weeks. We’ve had a very busy month and I asked Scott if he wanted to skip the Walk this year. Maybe he is getting too old, things are too crazy. He said “Why would I want to skip the Walk. I STILL have diabetes and there is no cure yet, so OF COURSE I want to walk. Besides, it’s the best day of the year.” So…. Here we are once again writing for your continued support in our quest for a cure.

Scott continues to do well with his OmniPod insulin pump. He would not trade that for anything in the world. They came out with a new, updated version of the PDM (Personal Diabetes Manager which controls his pod and is also his glucose meter) and he was as excited about that coming in the mail as he was his xBox. Now we are trying to get our insurance company to approve another bit of new technology, the CGM or Continuous Glucose Monitor. This is another device that he will wear attached to his body that reads his blood glucose levels every 5 minutes. It will cut the need to prick his finger from 8-10 per day to just 2. More importantly, it will alarm when his blood sugars are rising or falling at a dangerous rate. This will hopefully prevent some of the dangerous “lows” where he has difficulty standing or seeing. It will also prevent his blood sugars going too high if he forgets to “bolus” or take his insulin. Research has shown that good blood sugar control is a key factor in reducing the risk of the devastating long-term complications of the disease, such as blindness and kidney disease — but that the fear of low blood sugar emergencies often prevents many people from achieving tight control, and remains a constant concern for those who manage their diabetes well. JDRF studies have shown that, with a CGM, hypoglycemia can be reduced while maintaining excellent blood sugar control over an extended period of time.

So, long story short, the studies that that JDRF is funding are having a direct impact on the care that Scott is receiving. THIS is why we continue to support the JDRF by walking each year and we hope that you will continue to support them as well.

Here is a video Jimmy made about Scott’s journey with diabetes: Scott’s Story

You can join our team to walk, or just donate at: The Rogers Family Walk Team Remember, any amount is appreciated!

Love,

Jimmy, Anne, Scott, Brad and Jay

2009 JDRF Walk To Cure Diabetes

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Dear Friends and Family,

It’s that time of year again and I must say that the fall completely got away from me.  The JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes is coming up in 2 weeks.  We’ve had a very busy month and I asked Scott if he wanted to skip the Walk this year.  Maybe he is getting too old, things are too crazy.  He said “Why would I want to skip the Walk.  I  STILL have diabetes and there is no cure yet, so OF COURSE I want to walk.  Besides, it’s the best day of the year.”  So…. Here we are once again writing for your continued support in our quest for a cure.

Scott continues to do well with his OmniPod insulin pump.  He would not trade that for anything in the world.  They came out with a new, updated version of the PDM (Personal Diabetes Manager which controls his pod and is also his glucose meter) and he was as excited about that coming in the mail as he was his xBox.  Now we are trying to get our insurance company to approve another bit of new technology, the CGM or Continuous Glucose Monitor.  This is another device that he will wear attached to his body that reads his blood glucose levels every 5 minutes.  It will cut the need to prick his finger from 8-10 per day to just 2.  More importantly, it will alarm when his blood sugars are rising or falling at a dangerous rate.  This will hopefully prevent some of the dangerous “lows” where he has difficulty standing or seeing.  It will also prevent his blood sugars going too high if he forgets to “bolus” or take his insulin.  Research has shown that good blood sugar control is a key factor in reducing the risk of the devastating long-term complications of the disease, such as blindness and kidney disease – but that the fear of low blood sugar emergencies often prevents many people from achieving tight control, and remains a constant concern for those who manage their diabetes well.   JDRF studies have shown that, with a  CGM, hypoglycemia can be reduced while maintaining excellent blood sugar control over an extended period of time.

So, long story short, the studies that that JDRF is funding are having a direct impact on the care that Scott is receiving.  THIS is why we continue to support the JDRF by walking each year and we hope that you will continue to support them as well.

Here is a video Jimmy made about Scott’s journey with diabetes:  Scott’s Story

You can join our team to walk, or just donate at:  The Rogers Family Walk Team Remember, any amount is appreciated!

Love,

Jimmy, Anne, Scott, Brad and Jay

Cool Magic Kingdom Video From The Disney Blog

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This was done using photographs and Tilt Shift Photography.  Way cool!

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