Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot

It is officially New Year’s Eve, albeit the wee small hours of such.

After I’ve gone to bed and slept “for the night”, and I wake up again, I’ll have just a few short hours to take care of business before I’m off to Sin City where I’ll undoubtedly be disgustingly UN-sinful.  If you’ve read my last two posts than you know that I’m hurting for money to have fun on this trip, but I’m going to try and make the best of it, though I’m not sure how that will pan out.

I wish I was going on this trip with a significant other and not a platonic friend, not to mention a platonic friend of the opposite sex (I’m gay and she doesn’t do it for me.)

Anyway, as I was about to sign off tonight it occurred to me that this will be my last opportunity to post anything for 2008.  I will not have access to a computer again until Saturday, January 3, 2009, and I may not actually have a chance to do anything till the fifth.

With that in mind, I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank my readers (and I think you know who you are) for taking the time to check my blog out this past …  Well it’s only been six months, but I’ll say year anyway.  And I’ll ask that you keep coming back in 2009…  maybe tell your friends.  I hope that there will be new and exciting things to read about in the coming year.

So with that, Happy New Year to all, and to all a GOOD NIGHT!!!

For Money Makes the World Go Around, the World Go Around, the World Go Around. Money makes the World Go Around, the Clinking, Clanking Sound of Money, Money, Money, Money, Money, Money, Money, Money, Get A Little, Get A Little, Money, Money, Money, Money, Mark, A Yen, A Buck or A Pound, That Clinking, Clanking Clunking Sound is All That Makes The World Go Round, It Makes The World Go Round.

Captain Jean-Luc Piccard and Lily sloane

Captain Jean-Luc Piccard and Lily Sloane

As I discussed in my previous post, I was a big fan of the Star Trek Universe, growing up.  I always enjoyed Star Trek:  The Next Generation, having made it a point never to miss it.  Naturally, I have seen all of the movies, many times, as well, and a moment that has always stood out for me, comes from what is actually, in many ways my least favorite of the films, Star Trek: First Contact.  There is a scene in the film when Captain Jean-Luc Piccard, is explaining the economics of the future to a very frightened Lilly, played by Alfre Woodard.  “Money does not exist anymore in the 24th century, humans have advanced beyond the drive for material wealth and possessions.”

I remember how wonderful that thought was to me.  How nice, not to have to worry about having the money for things.  How nice to have a higher ideal.  Of course I realize that the reality is that without money, if everything that currently relies upon currency were so readily and easily available to us, it would be disastrous because we would become lazy, worthless bums.  Nevertheless, every time I’m faced with financial difficulty (greater than the norm, that is) I think about this world where money is not needed and I wish so very strongly that I lived there.

My Mitsubishi Endeavor

My Mitsubishi Endeavor

The Saturday before Thanksgiving, I was out and about with Green M&M.  I had just finished a day of shopping with spending more money than I should have at Target and we were ready to leave the parking lot.  I turned the key in the ignition of my 2004 Mitsubishi Endeavor, a vehicle which, with the exception of a break-in six months after I bought it, I have never had a problem with and I looked down at the console to see that my “Service Engine Soon” light was still on, even after all the other lights had gone off.  No money to pay for repairs and plans to see Eve on the Friday after Thanksgiving for which I’d have to drive 65 miles one way, the glowing light had me pretty worried.  Fortunately, it was a relatively simple fix (The Oxygen Sensor needed to be replaced) but it cost $405.00, which I did not have and had to borrow from Green M&M in the form of putting it on her credit card. I told her then I would not be able to pay her back before February and now, that’s looking iffy.

New Years Eve in Las Vegas

New Year's Eve in Las Vegas

Green M&M and I are going to Las Vegas for New Year’s Eve.  The trip was planned three or four months ago and the air fare and hotel are paid for.  Now I’m four days away from the actual trip and realizing I have no money to spend on the actual trip.  No money for food.  No money for gambling (I only ever play nickle slots) and no money for souvenirs of any kind.

I have spent the day trying to figure out how I’m going to make this work and I’m still at a loss.  It’s really frustrating to me, to be sitting here the day after I got paid, and seeing $1800.00+ in my bank account and knowing I have no money.  That amount has to cover my rent, car insurance, therapy bill, and household necessities.  And it’s just not enough.  I entertained the idea of a payday advance, and still might have to do that but I expect that would create more problems than it solves in the long run.

How nice would it be if money weren’t necessary.  How nice would it be to have transporter devices in stead of automobiles/airplanes.  The Star Trek Universe is looking better and better all the time!

When Something Ends Something Begins, But Now It’s Just the End of the Road

Lawaxana Troi as played by Majel Barrett Roddenberry

Lwaxana Troi died yesterday.

Majel Barrett Roddenberry and Gene Roddenberry

Majel Barrett who played Lwaxana Troi, on Star Trek: The Next Generation (ST: TNG),  died yesterday at the age of 76, from Leukemia.  If you care, and you want to read up on it, I’m sure you can find any number of stories about her and about her death (not to mention her life) on the internet today.  But what really bothers me, aside from the obvious sadness that goes with any loss of human life, is what this means for Star Trek.

The wife of Gene Roddenberry, who created Star Trek, Barrettt is one of the few actors who has been in every version of Star Trek ever to exist.  Most notably, she has provided the voice of the Federation Computer systems in every show (except Enterprise – I think) since the first Star Trek movie.  She is a Star Trek icon and things will never be the same.

Star Trek: The Original Series

I remember being a young boy in the ’80s, lying on my mother’s bed on Saturday afternoons, watching the original Star Trek series.  I remember thinking that this show must have been on forever.  I knew it wasn’t a current production but I honestly didn’t know the history behind it.  I didn’t know that the show was only on for three seasons.  I didn’t know that NBC canceled it after the first season and that it was brought back, only because of the outpouring of viewer objection and a letter writing campaign.  I just knew it was a fun show to watch and I liked Captain Kirk.  It’s funny how things change because in later years while watching The Next Generation, I remember reflecting on the original series as not being that great and thinking that the acting and the stories were lame and not liking Captain Kirk all that much.  For years, I have reflected on the original series as being hokey, and William Shatner as being a ridiculous caricature of a man.  His speech patterns and over-acting leave a lot to be desired, even now.  As Denny Crane on Boston Legal, he could only be laughed at for being such a buffoon.  But not long ago I watched a few digitized episodes of Star Trek:  The Original Series (ST: TOS), on HD Net.  I was quite surprised to see that I actually found Captain Kirk quite attractive, in his youth.

I have loved Star Trek for as long as I can remember.  Even when I did not like it, I loved it.

Star Trek: The Next Generation

After those original series episodes became harder to find, I forgot, to some extent that Star Trek existed, outside of the movies and then one day my family was visiting another family and the kids were watching this new Star Trek series, “Star Trek: The Next Generation“.  I was roughly 12 years old and I thought it was really dumb.  More importantly, I thought it would never work, “There can’t be a Klingon on a Starfleet ship” we said.  And honestly, if you watch that first season or two, you’ll see that it was pretty hokey.  But then the show caught on and, I’m sure, got more money and it started really improving until it became one of my favorites and a can’t miss show.

About five years in, a new series was introduced, Star Trek: Deep Space 9 (ST: DS9).  Being the natural born skeptic that I am I had a hard time imagining how a show about a space station could fit the Star Trek mold, but they made it work and ST: DS9 was another favorite, not to be missed show.  When ST: TNG went off the air two seasons later, I was disappointed.  It was, and remains to be, my personal favorite incarnation of the Star Trek Universe.  My disappointment that the show was ending, as All Good Things… must, was tempered only by the immediate announcement that there would be a ST: TNG movie coming out the following year.

Star Trek: Deep Space 9


Star Trek: Voyager

ST: TNG ended in May, 1994 and in January, 1995 the third, and to date, final “Next Generation” series, Star Trek: Voyager (ST: V) premiered.  Again, I was skeptical.  The ship was flung to the far side of the galaxy which means, none of the usual alien species would appear.  The hoke potential was considerably higher as a result, however, it turned out to be really well done.  This series debuted at a time in my life when things were really rough and I was very unhappy in my circumstances.  ST: V provided me with just a little taste of what “normal” was like for me, a taste of my life before I moved to Dead Beat Dad’s house and before my fiancé cheated on, and then broke up with me.  ST: DS9 ended in 1999 and then ST: V ended in May, 2001.


Star Trek: Enterprise

When I heard that there would be a new Star Trek series in September 2001, I was happy.  As far as I was concerned (and still am) there should always be a Star Trek series in production.  And then I heard that Enterprise (later known as Star Trek: Enterprise) (ST: E) was going to be a prequel.  That it was going to take place before the time of ST: TOS and I was really disappointed.  ST: TOS was created in the 1960s and the technology was far inferior to what we have today.  I felt that taking us back in time was a bad idea.  After we became accustomed to all the “modern technology” of that futuristic existence, how could they expect us to be interested in a show with switches and dials (instead of the touch screens of the TNG era) and how could they expect us to believe a “prehistoric” iteration of the show if it used the touch screen technology to which we were accustomed.  But it was a Star Trek series and of course I watched it.

I found ST: E disappointing.  They made some valiant attempts to keep the fans engaged.  The set designs and the technology of the times were actually successful, in my mind, though not as interesting because they weren’t so advanced as the serieses (seri?) that took place a couple hundred years later.  The show was fine for what it was, but it wasn’t a great Star Trek series.  Eventually, there was another television show that I wanted to watch that was opposite ST: E and I chose the other show.   (I wasn’t a proud owner of a TiVo or DVR yet.)

Enterprise ended in May, 2005 and for the first time in 18 years there would be no new Star Trek on television.  That is a void which still has yet to be filled in my heart.  Heroes makes an effort.  It’s an excellent SciFi show (though it’s quality is waning) and they keep bringing in actors from the Star Trek Universe (although it’s been original series actors only until this weeks episode with Michael Dorn) but it is no substitute.


Conner Trinneer, Commander Charles (Trip) Tucker III, on Star Trek: Enterprise

Recently I re-watched Enterprise on HD Net.  I had the opportunity to watch the entire series from beginning to end and was surprised to find that I liked it quite a bit.  I don’t know if I was just nostalgic for the good ole days of yore, of if the show really was that good and I just didn’t see it then, but I found the show very interesting and compelling and the two characters that once annoyed me, Hoshi and T’Pol, were now far more intriguing and appealing.  Of course with my new found certainty in my sexuality, I wasn’t afraid to admit that Trip (Conner Trinneer) was pretty fine to look at, as well.

The death of Majel Barrett, to me, solidifies the end of an era.  The Star Trek Universe has been slowly imploding ever since the 1991 death of creator Gene Roddenberry, when Rick Berman took over as head Trekker.  Don’t get me wrong.  I have loved the vast majority of the Star Trek Universe, but I have noticed on several occasions that Berman has not held true to Roddenberry’s concept.

It seems to me that Gene Roddenberry envisioned a show that would parallel the real world…the times we lived in, but with an optimistic, positive spin.  The Original Series so closely represented our nation in the time of the cold war, while simultaneously offering hope of a brighter tomorrow.  In my opinion, Star Trek was about hope, and faith, and peace.  Captain Kirk was a very physical man and often came to fisticuffs with the alien species du jur, but he was never the aggressor.  Violence was never the solution, it was the last resort.  Before Star Trek: Generations was released in theaters there was much discussion of the different temperaments between Captain Kirk and Captain Piccard.  Some speculation suggested there would be a physical altercation between the two men and whether Captain Piccard, he of the peaceful nature, could hold his own against, Captain Kirk.  In the end I think we saw that when pushed, Captain Piccard can hold his own against a good number of people.  But first and foremost these were both peaceful men.


Species 8472 from Star Trek: Voyager

Gene Roddenberry once stated that all the aliens in the Star Trek universe would be humanoid, bi-peds.  Of course, this was at least in part due to technological constraints regarding special effects.  In the 1960s it would have been much more difficult and much more costly, not to have the aliens played by actors in costumes and make-up and certainly in the 1990s and 2000s sufficient advancements had been made to make it possible for producers of the shows to use CGI technology to include other types of aliens besides humanoid bi-peds.  Nonetheless, Gene Roddenberry, made the declaration that aliens in the Star Trek universe would always be bi-pedal, humanoids.  So when, in ST: V they introduced “Species 8472”, I was bothered by the disregard for his preference.  Fortunately, Species 8472 had very few appearances on this show and therefore didn’t impact the entire thing.

Star Trek:  Enterprise, started out innocuously enough.  It was “just another” Star Trek series and I enjoyed it for what it was, but many viewers lost interest fairly quickly, and by the end of the second season, there was talk of cancellation.  I guess Paramount, who owns the Star Trek Franchise, and UPN, the now defunct network that aired it, wanted to give it one more shot.  The final episode of the second season, starts with an alien probe dropping out of subspace in orbit of earth and firing on the planet cutting a swath from Florida to Venezuela and in the process killing seven million humans, among them the younger sister of Commander Charles (Trip) Tucker , Chief Engineer.

In that moment the entire series changed and grew dark.  The ship and her crew were no longer on a mission of exploration and diplomacy.  They were out to find the bastards who attacked earth and stop them before they returned.


Xindi, Aquatic Species, from Star Trek: Enterprise


Xindi, Insectoid Species, from Star Trek: Enterprise

The weapon that had fired on earth was but a test, and the next one, would destroy the planet.  The race responsible for the attack was called the Xindi (pronounced ZEN-dee) and they were made up of five species.  Three of those species were traditional, bi-pedal, humanoids.  Two of them were not.  The Aquatics and the Insectoids were CGI and made semi-regular appearances on the show. For me, this detracted greatly as it seemed a blatant slap in the face of Gene Roddenberry’s original intent.

Star Trek:  Enterprise also had very little to offer in the way of positivity and optimism.  Captain Archer became dark and volatile after the attack on Earth (not that I don’t think that a reasonable response.)  As I’m writing this I’m realizing that the story then more closely paralleled our times with the attacks of September 11, 2001, and our desire to see the attackers brought to justice, but where the original series paralleled something that was an on-going (I imagine, though I’m too young to know) threat with no real result, September 11th was a very real attack, with real destruction and real death, and in my opinion, it was very uncomfortable to watch this sort of parallelism.

With the exception of the occasional nod in the TNG films, the other TNG series, DS9 and Voyager, were not deemed film worthy.  Yes, The Doctor from ST: V makes an appearance in Star Trek:  First Contact, and a post-Voyager “Admiral” Janeway, gives Captain Piccard his marching orders in Star Trek: Nemesis, but beyond that those other series might well have never existed as far as the Star Trek Film culture is concerned.

The presumed final Next Generation feature film, Star Trek: Nemesis came out in December, 2002 and while this film included, what appeared to be a lot of finality:  Will and Deana finally got married; Will finally accepted a promotion and his own command, leaving the USS Enterprise; and of course the sacrificial death of Lt. Commander Data, we are left slightly hopeful by the idea that Data’s predecessor, the “cleverly” named B-4, shows signs of being able to learn and make use of Data’s downloaded memory engrams.

Six years later, I’m less hopeful of an additional installment.

Cast of the new Star Trek Movie, due out May, 2009

Cast of the new Star Trek Movie, due out May, 2009

There is another Star Trek movie on the horizon, and while it doesn’t go back as far in history as Star Trek:  Enterprise did, it is still what you’d call a prequel and I’m not really sure why we’re doing it.  This movie will be about James Kirk and his crew in their younger, academy or possibly immediately post-academy days.  I watched a trailer for it the other day and I must say that, as an incarnation of Star Trek, I’m not impressed.  It’s dark and ominous and it doesn’t visually fit the Star Trek motif.  And with the comparatively dismal performance of the last attempt at a prequel, I’m really not sure what we’re hoping for here.  Are they expecting a resurgence of interest with the hopes of starting a whole new theatrical franchise or are they trying to squeeze one final drop of monetary blood out of a dying targ?  If this film flops will this be the end of the Star Trek legacy?  And if it doesn’t flop, then what?

It’s a Star Trek movie, and I will go see it, but a part of me can’t help wondering, shouldn’t we leave well enough alone?  If it must eventually end, and it must eventually end, can’t we let it end with dignity?  Do we have to squeeze and squeeze until we’ve gotten all the quality material out and then keep squeezing to get all the junk out too?  Might we be better off leaving well enough alone?

Earlier this year, Star Trek: The Experience, an all Star Trek themed exhibit at the Las Vegas Hilton ended its nearly eleven year run, an event which made me very sad at it’s closing and, simultaneously happy that I got the opportunity to see it myself.

The Experience, Las Vegas Hilton

Star Trek: The Experience, Las Vegas Hilton

I was never particularly fond of Lwaxana Troi, and I don’t know anything of Majel Barrett besides her Star Trek work.  As for the computer, she was just the voice and of course that’s easily explained away, if not merely replicated.  And yet some how, I have been truly moved by this.  I’m surprised by how sad this makes me, but it does.

With Gene Roddenberry’s death in 1991 the helm changed hands and things started changing.  Today with the announcement of the death of Majel Barrett, I just feel like, on some level, Star Trek has died with her.  Gene Roddenberry is gone.  Scotty is dead.  Dr. McCoy is dead.  William Shatner doesn’t want to play anymore.  Data is dead.  Will and Deana have jumped ship, so to speak.  Star Trek:  The Experience is gone.  And now, the voice of the computer is gone as well.

Lwaxana Troi died yesterday.  And, I think maybe, Star Trek died too.

It’s a Hard-Knock Life For Us

About a month ago I wrote about the Holiday season and how things will start to slow down, quiet down and become more serene around my office.  I wrote that, among other things there would be a decrease in the number of cars in the parking garage in the mornings and in the number of phone calls we’d receive with complaints, etc., as more and more people started taking time off for travel or shopping or whatever.

I have been consistently surprised in the mornings to find that so far this has not happened, but today, as I came down the ramp to the level where I usually park I saw a number of open spaces and I thought to myself, “See this is what I was talking about.”  And then it occurred to me, “Wait–  It’s Friday.  It’s December 19th.  This should have been going on for weeks already.”

And that’s when it hit me.  This is my tangible proof of the recession in progress.  In years past, people have taken more time off at this time of year.  I presume they’ve gone shopping, they’ve gone out of town to visit family, or they’ve taken time off to spend with family visiting them from out of town.

It’s not that taking the time off work costs any money and can’t be afforded, we all have Paid Time Off, but what they were doing with that time does cost money.  I imagine they’re shopping less, spending less money on Christmas gifts.  Spending less (or no money) on travel and therefore have no reason to take the time off.  Only now, that Christmas is upon us, and it’s the Friday before the mid-week holidays people are beginning to take the time.

I’m afraid I have no enlightening commentary or words of wisdom to share.  It’s really just an observation.  The only thing I can figure is that this is my proof that the recession is happening…  Not that I needed much proof to begin with.

You Better Watch Out, You Better Not Cry, You Better Not Pout, I’m Telling You Why

Four years ago, Green M&M and I went to Los Angeles to spend New Years.  The trip was a lot of fun…  Well up until the end when we were in a serious car accident on the way home from the airport after the trip, but that’s another story.

As I said, most of the trip was actually pretty good.  We took in a lot of sites and had a lot of good meals.  On one of those occasions we went to The Beverly Center to have a meal and do a little shopping, or so we thought.  There is a restaurant of sorts in the center court of the shopping center where Green M&M and I went for lunch.  It was the only time in my life that I felt, without any one saying or doing anything to me, like I was not supposed to be there.  Every one, and I do mean EVERYONE in Beverly Hills is rich, beautiful, and thin.  Green and I both felt fatter than usual (we’re both over-weight) and tragically unhip.  I was surprised and disappointed that The Beverly Center and all the people in it truly lived up to the hype of Beverly Hills.

So you can imagine how not surprised I was to see this yesterday:

Hunky Santa at the mall is sooooo L.A.

Instead of a bowl full of jelly, shoppers drink in St. Nick’s six-pack abs
By Laura T. Coffey

You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I’m telling you why: Santa Claus has abs of steel.

Or at least this one does.


Image: Hunky Santa Hunky Santa — played by Eli Wilhide, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound 31-year-old who has appeared on “CSI: Miami” — is wowing crowds at a Los Angeles mall this year.

Leave it to Los Angeles to concoct a wild plot twist involving the role of the traditional mall Santa. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings throughout the holiday season, Hunky Santa and the Candy Cane Girls dance and delight throngs of shoppers at the Beverly Center mall. (The standard jolly and rotund Kris Kringle appears at the mall during the week and midday on weekends.)

A big bonus for the big kids who flock to see Hunky Santa: Hopping onto Hunky’s lap and telling him what they want for Christmas.

The advice doesn’t stop there, though. Hunky Santa — played by Eli Wilhide, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound 31-year-old who has appeared on “CSI: Miami” — takes the time to dispense tips on nutrition and exercise, share gift ideas for guys who don’t know what to get their girlfriends or wives, and give all-around guidance about how to stay upbeat and healthy over the hectic holiday season.

“If I can make somebody feel better about what they put in their body and help them live longer and have more energy, that’s great,” Hunky told the Los Angeles Times.

Those biceps are no accident
Hunky also told the Times that he religiously exercises every morning — “I like a fresh, healthy glow before work” — and he shed some light on the kind of diet it takes to maintain a physique like that:

“Right after I work out, I try to have something right away, usually a protein shake with whey protein, and a piece of fruit. I try to eat every two to three hours, and my staple meal is chicken and broccoli. When I know I have to go somewhere, I’ll put some oatmeal with protein powder and berries in a container with an ice pack and snack on that. Basically, I try to eat a lean meat source and vegetables and brown rice — six small meals a day.”

So where did the mall find this guy? The process wasn’t easy. The Beverly Center has been featuring a Hunky Santa for several years now, but this year mall officials conducted what they described as “an exhaustive two-month search” for the perfect specimen. After analyzing the credentials and muscle mass of more than 350 applicants, they knew they had found their man in Wilhide.

‘Illegally gorgeous’
A kinesiology and nutrition major at the University of Maryland, Wilhide worked as a motivational speaker alongside inspirational life coach Tony Robbins for more than three years. These days he’s pursuing a career in acting. In addition to “CSI: Miami,” Wilhide has appeared on Disney’s “The Suite Life on Deck.” He told the Times that he recently read a script for “Days of Our Lives.”

While he waits to hit it big in the acting world, Wilhide is getting lots of love from lots of fans in his role as Hunky Santa. He wears red velvet pants, black shiny boots, a red velvet hat and a fur-trimmed coat that’s open and sleeveless. What better way to flaunt those muscles?

He’s “gorgeous,” said one woman who recently posed for a photo on his lap. “Illegally gorgeous.”

So on this fateful trip to Los Angeles, we stayed at the Bonaventure Hotel in Downtown LA.  This hotel has appeared in numerous movies, most notable in my mind being Nick of Time.  Now you’d think that a hotel that is so commonly shown in movies would be a pretty great place to stay.  Unfortunately, you’d be wrong.  First of all the hotel charges guests for parking, and they charge a lot, which since it’s located in downtown LA is a racket.  You have to rent a car if you intend to get around at all.  Secondly the hotel doesn’t look like it’s been renovated in twenty years.  All the fixtures and appointments in the main lobby look like they were original to the construction of the building.

One of the trade marks of a Bonaventure hotel is the glass elevators that run on the outside of the building.  I’m sure this makes a lot of people happy and they enjoy the views of the surrounding area (though in downtown Los Angeles there’s not much to look at besides the buildings next to it) I on the other hand do not love the glass elevators.  Nor do I like the looks I get from the people when the elevator stops on a floor and they’re trying to get through the amply sized doors, while I’m standing next to the doors.  I don’t know what I thought it was going to benefit me to be right next to the doors if the elevator plummeted off the side of the building, but I felt safer there and in my mind anyway, the floor felt a little thicker and more stable under my feet there by the door, as opposed to be the windows.  I didn’t really care about the looks I was getting, I was NOT going to move!

We checked into the hotel on December 29th and got a room only a few floors down from the top.  As we went to our elevator bank we noticed that one of the elevators was out of service.  There are three per tower.  We got up to our floor and found our room.  Boy was that a surprise.  The rooms you see in the movies are, of course, usually suites, but you think you get an idea of the hotels based on what you see.  In this case I was grossly mistaken.  The room was smaller than small.  The beds were tiny, they were “full” beds but they were shorter than usual to fit in the room.  I’m 6’1″ and when I laid out flat on the bed my legs were halfway to my knees sticking off the foot of the bed.

On New Year’s Eve when we were heading out to dinner, we had to wait for what seemed an eternity in the elevator lobby waiting for the elevator to come and get us.  When it finally did, it was crammed full.  I did NOT want to get in this fully loaded glass elevator but we’d been waiting for a very long time so I figured I’d take my chances.  If it was my time to die, it was my time to die.  As the elevator was going down, more and more people got on board.  Finally, it stopped on the 10th floor and as the doors were closing after more people packed on, the elevator dropped a few feet without warning.  Fortunately, that was the last time it stopped until we reached the ground floor and I could not get off that elevator fast enough, let alone find a bar fast enough.  After I got up from the floor where I was kissing the ground, I noticed that the other two elevators had out of order signs on them.  And, you know, what better time to have two elevators out of service than on New Year’s Eve?

This year we’re going to Las Vegas and we plan to have a excellent time!