Sunday, November 22, 2009

PS3, A Cable and Netflix

Yes, I'm now own a PS3 Slim. I was always planning on getting one since I read it's a multipurpose machine. The Blu-Ray player cinched it. Then the streaming of Netflix nailed the coffin. I ordered my PS3 Netflix streaming disk to be ready and that came last week.

I was in no hurry to get a PS3 Slim until I found there was a discount on American Express' Membership Rewards. The points have been sitting there for many years. I got me my holiday present and my brother his birthday and holiday present. Poor SIL has to now find a different gift for him. He and I are very hard to get things for. If we want something, we go out and get it :)

FedEx delivered the PS3s yesterday. I opened up to retrieve the manual to read the setup requirements and what was provided. As I have a 1080p TV set, I knew I needed to get a HDMI cable for optimal resolution. I wanted to get the system all hooked up this weekend and was planning on heading to Radio Shack to get the cable. My brother happened to call and told me to go to Home Depot. The other places were highway robbers. I checked it out on the internet, and he was right. The prices are so drastically different from store prices. I headed to Home Depot and discovered they do not sell their lowest priced items in a store. $20 was still cheaper than the other places. I'm playing for store inventory and immediate satisfaction.

Hooked everything up, easy-peasy, and fed the Netflix disk. I can now watch many of the Netflix offerings. The only inconvenience is it is not constant streaming. The video is interrupted every 30 minutes or so while more is downloaded. Many intermissions. I've watched Passenger and Legend of the Seeker (Season 1). It's better than nothing. I'll be able to catch up on the series that have appeared on HBO and Showtime, like Tudors and Dexter.

I'm happy with my new toy. I now need to get a game to play on the PS3 :) Do you have any recommendations -- something along the lines of Mario Bros, Zelda, Tetris or Bejeweled?

Friday, November 20, 2009


It's been a while since the whole team stayed at the same hotel. We were forced to stay in Tempe as all hotels in downtown Phoenix was booked for the 2009 Greenbuild Conference.

It's a brand new hotel called Aloft. It was a very interesting hotel. Very different from what I'm use to. Aloft is part of the Starwood Hotel network (Sheraton, W). It's not a full service hotel, nor is it a budget hotel. I could not tell you what the rate is as we got in for the federal government rate. And when I got my bill, they did not even charge me for all the nights I stayed.

For the week we stayed there, it was good. There was a Starbucks, In-n-Out, Yogutland, Jersey Mike's and a fast food mexican directly across from the hotel. Denny's was another block away. Otherwise, you'll need a car to get anywhere else.

The Getty Villa

In my many visits to the LA area, I wanted to do something different than just hanging at Disneyland. Sacrilege. Not. I will always squeeze in a day there. A little hunting and I came up with the Getty Museum. I asked my friends, the Williams, if they wanted to join me and which one would they prefer. The Getty Villa it is.

The Getty Villa required time entry tickets. It's free, but if you plan to use your car, you have to pay for parking -- $10.00 a car. Dave figured out why timed tickets were needed. It was to control the car situation. I'm sure the neighborhood did not want cars backing up down the Pacific Coast Highway.

We missed all the free tours as we were too busy going hither and thither. Carolann got the self-guided audio tour and totally learned lots. Dave used the opportunity to use his camera -- not one of those point and shot things that Carolann or I use. I read the plaques and took pictures with my camera phone. I especially like the special exhibit they had of the Getty Commodore busts. Sorry, no pics as it was a special exhibit and camera was a no-no.

Go here to visit The Getty virtually and here for my pics.

Monday, November 16, 2009

What Is It?

It's not a coffee stirrer. It's too short for the cup. I guess it could be used for a single espresso.

I saw this at a Starbucks. It was by the coffee cup sleeves where you pick up your order. There was a whole bunch of them there. It was in a caddy that said something about another great idea. I don't know how long this has been out as it's been a while since I had a Starbucks beverage.

Once I figured out what it was with the help of my sister, I totally agree it was a great idea.

It plugs the hole on the coffee lids so you can travel without it sloshing all over the place, especially when you ordered beverages for your friends.

Well, I took a few and carry at least one with me in a small ziplock baggie when I need one. I used it this morning. I plugged up my coffee, put it in a bag and arrived at destination without a single drop out of the cup in the bag :)

So which is more cost effective? Lids that come with a mechanism to plug the hole, like the ones McDonald's and Dunkin Donuts uses. Or this handy dandy thingamagit.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Taliesin West

I got the opportunity to stay in Phoenix for the weekend. What to do? What to do?

While having breakfast at I-Hop, I perused a visitors guide that I got from my hotel. It had a great article about Frank Lloyd Wright, the architect. It pointed out the many buildings that were located in the Phoenix area, especially his winter school.

That's what I decided to do. Visit Taliesin West.

I went on the $32 tour which lasted about 2 hours. The guide showed us Mr. Wright's office, living room where the students gathered (no pictures permitted), his bedroom (no pictures permitted), large theatre and small theatre and the grounds.

The guide, Jason Silverman, was great. He was a great storyteller. Jason took the tour when he was little. I guess it touched his muse that he decided to attend the school and decided later to show his love by became a tour guide.

Here are pictures I took: 2009 Taliesin West. The last picture in the slideshow is not part of Taliesin West. It happens to be another structure that Mr. Wright designed and sits in a shopping strip.

Now I have a yearning to visit Taliesin in Illinois, Falling Water in Pennsylvania and the Guggenheim in New York. Hopefully, I can do the Guggenheim, which is just across the river from me, before it's special tribute to Frank Lloyd Wright is over.

Have you visited something that called your muse?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Yes, It Was Team Building

Wednesday was Veterans Day -- remembering those who have passed, who have served and who serve now to ensure we are safe and free. Some companies observe by closing and some companies do not. It's business as usual. As it was still a work day for my team and our client had the day off, we did something totally different. It was the last week for one of our valued team members. So it was decided that it would be a team building day. That's what I'm calling it and sticking to it.

We gathered in the hotel lobby at 10:30am and away we went -- heading east into the Tonto National Forest. Hour and half later we reached our destination.

1st stop... Tortilla Flat for lunch. It's been a long time since the team enjoyed a meal together. A very interesting establishment. The walls were covered in dollar bills. I understand they no longer accept them for wall decor. Plus, the bar stools were saddles.

2nd stop... Dolly Steamboat for 1 1/2 excursion in Canyon Lake to see nature and possibly wildlife. We joked about being stranded on one of the islands. The second song that was played after safety spiel was Gilligan's Island song. I'm sure the youngsters on the boat did not get the funny. We did see a big horn ram up high on a ridge, a heron and lots flora and interesting rock formations. It was a nice relaxing ride.

Final stop... Gold Fields Ghost Town. I walked around to check the town out. I noticed that many of the members were disappearing. I saw one member enter a building and he never came back out. I finally headed into the saloon. Yep, the rest of the team were in the saloon wetting their whistles.

I and two other members headed back to the hotel. While the rest headed to a local team member's home to check out a horse or two.

It was a great relaxing day away from the grind. Check out the pictures I took.

I've Been Remissed...

... in not writing about all I've seen since my last travel trip which I think was Phoenix Chinatown.

Last weekend, I was organizing the pictures I've taken and uploading them to my Photobucket account. As they were not in Photobucket, I see many of my trips are missing.

Well, do not despair. I'll catch up on my sight seeing blogs in the next several weeks. They will not be in date order. The first one will be the one that occurred this week. It will be posted soon.