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Packing and moving – I hate this stuff

Going through stuff and putting it in boxes or in the trash. Deciding what’s worth keeping. Looking back and wondering what might have been if a different choice had been made ten, fifteen, twenty years ago. Memories you cherish and others, well, not so much…

One of these days I’m going to have enough saved up to just pay to make it happen.

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Tactical Pause – Yeah, That’s It!

Friends, I hate to say it, but I may not have internet at least over the weekend while I move. I should be able to get some stuff up Monday and Tuesday, but it’s not looking good from tomorrow on. I will still be taking pictures and will post them when I finally can and I will try to put one up tonight as well.

Wish me luck – I have a couch, computer desk, dressers, book cases, a bed, and a 20 gallon aquarium to get upstairs and sorted out along with all the rest of the stuff.

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Possible Trip…

Yep, I’m thinking of possibly taking a solo road trip to that most fabulous place – that resort destination second to none – the only place I’ve ever been politely asked to “step off the active runway” to make way for student pilots in TA-4 Skyhawks – that’s right, it’s Fantastic El Centro, California :D !!!

OK, why do I suddenly hear crickets :P

Most (sane) people (who aren’t Naval Aviators or Naval Flight Officers) probably have no clue in the slightest as to where El Centro is. Pinch might have been out to El Centro a couple of times and I’m almost certain that Lex has graced the taxiways and ramps with is presence as well. Most people who know where it is only know what it looks like from Interstate 8 as they pass between Phoenix and San Diego. They don’t know that Naval Air Facility El Centro is the winter training base for the United States Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron – the world famous Blue Angels 8) It’s also the site of the Blues’ first show of the season.

I’ve seen the Blue Angels fly more times than I can recall. I went to 30 consecutive airshow weekends at Miramar along with several trips to El Centro with Dad and even a trip to Point Mugu back in 1981. But I haven’t seen them since Miramar 2005. Yes, I think the Thunderbirds rock in a big way, but I’ve been craving a helping of the Blues for a while now.

I was looking at the possibilities and the road trip would look something like this:


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Vegas to El Centro would be about seven hours, so I’d do that Friday and stay overnight ($40 for a hotel room ain’t bad). After the airshow, I figure it’s only about two hours to San Diego, so I’d have to go visit old friends at Captain’s Cove and maybe go by the Midway, the Aerospace Museum in Balboa Park, and stop by the newly rebuilt Kansas City BBQ as well. After spending one more night “on the road” in San Diego I’d head back to Vegas.

It sounds great in theory, but the more I think about it, the more I’m thinking it would have to be next year due to financial considerations.

It sure is nice to dream about though 8)

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Picture A Day – 25 February 2009

I had told Cindy that her Christmas present was going to be dinner and a show on the Las Vegas strip and last night I finally made good on that promise. Cindy’s not one to go to the strip – she just doesn’t like it very much, but she is and will always be a “theater geek” as am I. So what better show to go to than KA at the MGM Grand and what better place to go for dinner for a couple of Jimmy Buffett fans (aside from Margaritaville) than the Rainforest Cafe which is also at the MGM Grand 8)

25 February 2009 - Rainforest Cafe Ceiling

25 February 2009 - Rainforest Cafe Ceiling

25 February 2009 - Fish that's not on the menu

25 February 2009 - Fish that's not on the menu

The ceiling is very cool as are the aquariums and I’m glad my little digital camera has the ability to do video like the two I included here after uploading them to YouTube :) The food was pretty darn good, too! Cindy had the Leapin’ Lizards lettuce wraps and I had the Brave New World (bbq chicken) pizza. The total bill came to less than $40 which is pretty good considering it’s on the Las Vegas strip :wink: I also have to say that it was really nice to hear “Don’t Chu-Know” from Jimmy Buffett’s “Barometer Soup” album and I think we were the only ones in the place who know that song by heart :P

25 February 2009 - Ka Rocked!

25 February 2009 - Ka Rocked!

Alas, no cameras are allowed inside the KA theater, but you can get an idea of what the show is like by going to www.ka.com The theater must be seen to be comprehended. I’m guessing the stage has to be 50 yards wide by about that same distance deep and at least 60 feet tall. The stages are moving platforms which rotate, tilt, and elevate all while acrobats and dancers perform on them and everything was built just for this show. While the tech was incredible, it in no way overshadowed the storytelling or the performance in every way. This has to be the best show I have ever seen – bar none. Cindy agrees with me and she’s seen a whole lot more than I have :)

25 February 2009 - Roses everywhere

25 February 2009 - Roses everywhere

Last, but not least I just had to take a picture of one of the settings of roses in the check-in area at the MGM Grand. I guess they’re waiting until March to change from Valentine’s day themed roses, but these all looked perfectly fresh and yes, they’re all real. You couldn’t help but notice the scent in the air. There had to have been 10 or more setups just like this one around the lobby and I don’t want to even think what that must have cost :shock:

So, yeah – we had a good night 8)

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Picture A Day – 24 February 2009

24 February 2009 - Picture  1

24 February 2009 - Picture 1

24 February 2009 - Picture  2

24 February 2009 - Picture 2

Just a nice “Big Sky” sunset here in the northwest part of the Las Vegas valley 8)

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Picture A Day – 23 February 2009

23 February 2009 - Looking up at the new apartment

23 February 2009 - Looking up at the new apartment

So last night I went back over to the new apartment complex to get some more info. I also found my new apartment and figured a couple of pictures would be nice for this post :)

23 February 2009 - Looking out from the balcony at the new apartment

23 February 2009 - Looking out from the balcony at the new apartment

I still haven’t figured out where my assigned parking slot is, but I will soon enough. I’m not looking forward to living alone again, but that’s life.

On the other hand, at least the new apartment faces east and will stay cooler in the summer 8)

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Picture A Day – 22 February 2009 – Missed

Yep, I goofed it yesterday. Between packing and sleeping I just completely fogot until this morning.

There will be a picture for today!

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Picture(s) A Day – 21 February 2009 – Big Thanks to Ed Bozarth Nevada #1 Chevrolet

So lately my car has been practically screaming at me to change the oil. 4% oil life remaining. Every time I’d start the car it would ding at me and display CHANGE OIL SOON where the mileage would normally read. OK, I get it – time to change the oil :) This meant some time at the local Chevy dealership and I figured that since I knew I was going to be at a Chevy dealership, I’d be able to take a picture of a Corvette for my picture of the day. I’ve been a big fan of Corvettes for as long as I can remember and being surrounded by them is a wonderful thought.

Those who’ve read this blog for years (all three or four of you out there) know that I spent a couple of years in retail automobile sales as a sales and leasing consultant at what used to be C&M Chevrolet in San Diego. Some readers might even know that I spent quite some time as a lot attendant and shuttle driver for a Pontiac, Buick, and GMC dealer as well. Knowing what I do about dealerships, their service departments and sales departments I know it’s a good idea to have a dedicated service writer and a dedicated salesman on call. These people work on commission and having been there, I try to do what I can to make their lives as good as possible, especially if it doesn’t cost me anything to do it.

My car is under warranty for five years or 100,000 miles so any repairs of that sort will go to the dealership. I might do my own brake job when the time comes and I’ll save a few bucks by bringing my own oil (Mobil 1 Extended Performance 5W-30 is cheaper at Wal-Mart), but for most work including oil changes I’ll be at the dealership. It may be a bit more expensive than other places, but I’ve worked in the tire and lube department at a national chain store and the experience did nothing but prove to me that the technicians at a dealership are more trustworthy, knowledgeable, and more highly qualified than the average guy at the quck lube or big box store.

My local dealership used to be known as Vista Chevrolet before the Bill Heard auto group went bankrupt due to fraud. When the Bill Heard group went under, what was Vista Chevrolet sat for some time in suspended animation. Ed Bozarth decided that the former Vista Chevrolet would be a great addition to his enterprise and made it the ninth dealership in his holdings. I’d seen signs of life, but hadn’t had the chance to stop by yet. With Trevor (yes, I named my car and it’s named after a character in a Jimmy Buffett Book – have some fun and go read Where is Joe Merchant? :wink: ) practically screaming at me to get the ****ing oil changed, I called up the service department and was told that I should be there by 1630. I was there at 1630 and I was the very last service customer of the day.

Erlinda Delgado was the last service writer standing and turned out to be a great one :) Everything she did was perfectly professional and she knew exactly what was going on – just the type of person I want for my service writer and the type of person I’d recommend to friends, family, and readers. So if you’re in the Las Vegas area and need work done on your Chevy, click her name to send her an email and make an appointment or call her on her direct line at 702-967-5602 8)

Having been there and done that in the car biz, I like to make sure I also know who’s the best salesman to send my friends and family to at a dealership. The identity of this individual can usually be determined by a look at the sales board where everyone’s sales record for the month is on display for all the sales staff to see. This particular dealership’s sales board is right out in full view if you know what you’re looking at and it told me that Mike is the top guy, so I asked the receptionist if she had any of his cards. She didn’t, but she called him up and he came out to meet me and chat for a bit :) It turns out that Mike’s full name is Mike Carlin and he is the only salesperson from the Vista Chevrolet family who was thought of highly enough to be kept on staff by Ed Bozarth. He has years in the business, knows what he’s doing better than almost anyone I’ve known in the business, and is also a really nice guy as well :) If you’re in the Las Vegas area and looking for any type of car, give Mike a call first :wink: He can be reached by email at mcarlin@edbozarth.com or by phone at 702-967-5657 which is his direct line.

With Trevor now safely in the hands of the service department, I set off on a quest for Corvettes in the sales department. Photography at dealerships is something that I like to get permission for. This is private property after all and I don’t want to offend my hosts :) Permission secured, I proceeded to the other end of the show room. What I found was something that I was hoping I’d see but never really thought would actually be there :shock:

21 February 2009

21 February 2009

Yes, that’s carbon fiber :wink:

21 February 2000 - ZR1 badge on the left fender

21 February 2000 - ZR1 badge on the left fender

And that’s the identification badge you’ll find on the only car in General Motors with carbon fiber parts.

21 February 2009 - The mighty 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1

21 February 2009 - The mighty 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1

The machine in front of me was none other than the mighty 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 :twisted:

21 February 2009 - 6.6 liters of supercharged V8 American muscle

21 February 2009 - 6.6 liters of supercharged V8 American muscle

LS9 is the GM designation for the engine that powers this beast. It’s 6.6 liters of American V8 muscle that produces a mind warping 640 horsepower and about that same number in pound feet of torque!

21 February 2009 - The 200 MPH marking insn't just for show on this car

21 February 2009 - The 200 MPH marking insn't just for show on this car

I had to reach inside the window to get this picture, but I think it turned out OK. The speedometer goes up to 210 MPH and it’s been proven to reach 205 in some tests.

So why not just open the door? This is car is worth over $100,000 so I don’t want to even touch it for fear of damaging it. There’s also another reason I didn’t really want to open the door. I figure some of the quirks of the Corvettes I sold have probably gotten through to this one. One of those quirks is that on the Corvettes I dealt with on a daily basis it was a pretty darn good idea to actually go drive the car if you opened the door because unlike 99% of the cars out there, the Corvette has something like fifteen computers which all turn on when the door is opened up so that they’re ready to go when you finally let out the clutch. All those computers put one heck of a drain on the battery and the next thing you know, that battery is dead if you don’t drive the car to charge it up. Now, a dead battery isn’t just a quick problem when you go to try to sell the thing to an interested party who’s annoyed that you need a jump start – it’s more than that in a Corvette. A dead battery trips all sorts of faults in the computer which requires a trip to the service department if you don’t like warning lights on the dash flashing at you and shining in your face. And the face of that interested party who might just buy the car and hand you a commission sizable enough to make your mortgage payment. Better I stick my arm in the car than potentially cause someone that trouble :wink:

21 February 2009 - Taillights and exhaust pipes are all you're likely to see

21 February 2009 - Taillights and exhaust pipes are all you're likely to see of the ZR-1

As the caption says, taillights and exhaust pipes are all you’re likely to see of the ZR-1 :P No, they didn’t start it up or anything – that’s just the flash bouncing off of the reflectors in the taillights :wink:

Once again, I’d like to thank the management and staff at Ed Bozarth Nevada #1 Chevrolet for their kindness, hospitality, the free basketball, and permission to photograph their ZR-1. Thanks go out to Erlinda and Mike for their wonderfully professional and friendly service. I’d also like to thank Ed Bozarth for doing what he did in taking on the former Vista Chevrolet. In a time where budgets are tight, car sales are down, and everyone’s scared, he made the choice to take a risk on this dealership. In doing that, he provided jobs to an entire dealership’s worth of people. From lot attendants and cashiers to sales associates and service writers, a lot of people are needed for a dealership to succeed. Repair technicians are highly trained professionals who make good money and now there’s probably ten or twenty of them who aren’t on unemployment.

So yeah, it was a good day – I got pictures of a ZR-1 to post on my blog and met some really great people :D

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Picture A Day – 20 February 2009

20 February 2009 - Accomodations for the Night

20 February 2009 - Accomodations for the Night

So yeah, I spent the night at the doctor’s office last night. I won’t bore anyone with too many details, but suffice it to say that it was confirmed that I do suffer from sleep apnea and a CPAP (Constant Positive Airway Pressure machine is in my future.

For those who don’t know what sleep apnea is, basically I stop breathing for quite some time while asleep due to airway obstruction by my own body. My mind then takes me back to over 90% awakeness again to get me breathing and it all starts over. This is why I feel like I’m on three hours of sleep when I get eight. I’m really bad on three hours.

The CPAP machine keeps a constant higher air pressure in the airway so it can’t be obstructed. Yes, the mask is weird looking and a bit big. Yes, it’s attached to a large hose. Yes, it can be VERY difficult for some to adjust to.

I’m only guessing, but I think I was about 1/2 way through the study last night when they decided it was clear that I needed a CPAP and that no further study was necessary. The tech, Travis (really nice guy) came in and put it on me and fired up the machine. I can only speak for myself, but I’m here to tell ya that I had zero problems with adjusting to the mask :mrgreen: !

I know the picture isn’t the greatest, but I was a bit pressed for time :wink:

Have fun everyone!

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Administrative Announcement – Picture for 20 February to be posted 21 February

Yep, I’m going to take it tonight, but not until I get to my room for the evening :wink:

It’s a long story as to what’s going on, but keeping it short I’ll be sleeping over at the doctor’s office tonight. As part of my medical evaluation and treatment for a probable condition, I’m undergoing a sleep study.

See y’all tomorrow :)

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