Tales and thoughts from the founder of NormSoft (maker of Pocket Tunes), working and living in St. Croix, USVI

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Gus Gus Little Man Gus

Gus Gus Little Man Gus (aka Gus, aka Doodles, aka Max) passed away last night from complications from his second surgery.  Gerald and I are miserable.

His "scratching post" in St. Croix.

He loved crawling in anything about his size.  Boxes, cupboards, closets, cat carriers, and even sinks.  Every night before bed, he would meow for us to run some water in this sink so he could have himself a little nightcap from the faucet.

One of his favorite sleeping spots in St. Croix.  He made a game out of sleeping in every conceivable spot in the house, but he had a few favorites.

Bye Gus, you will be sorely missed.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Why is it so hard to watch movies anymore?

Okay this is just ridiculous.

I popped WALL-E into my PS3, ready to relax to a nice movie.

Up pops a message that I must perform an update to watch this movie. I just bought this PS3 a month ago. Fine, I say go ahead and do the update. It comes up with this huge progress bar that is moving slower than a turtle with 5 lbs of bricks on its back.

We switched over to the Tivo and watched an entire episode of House and switched back. It's only 50% complete and now it's saying that its network connection has failed. What? I am now downloading the ROM update to a USB flash card to I can upgrade my damned PS3. It's taken over 2 hours to get my PS3 ready just to play a friggin 1.5 hour movie.

Come on! Who decided to make movie watching so painful? I want my money back on my Blu Ray stuff. I'd gladly trade the lesser video quality of a DVD for this ridiculous hassle.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Criss Angel's Believe at the Luxor

Well, if I had paid $25 per seat for the show, I would have felt okay. But we paid $100 for seats on the side of the theater with not a good view. And the spotlights often shone right in our faces; through several acts I had to hold my hand up to block out the lights for a few minutes. What's with that?

The show was just not very good. There were a couple of funny parts, and some musings of "Huh, wonder how he did that". But no, "Holy shit! That was amazing!" type of thoughts that you get when watching any other Cirque du Soleil or magic show on the strip. There was some good dancing, great costumes, and decent choreography. But the plot was all over the place and just weird and didn't really flow at all. The magic was just typical magic tricks that you've seen everywhere (how many times do we have to see someone sawed in half?).

The best part of the show was that Criss Angel walked through the audience at the very beginning and only stopped to shake one person's hand: Gerald's. He was tickled, but he still didn't like the show.

This article sums it up perfectly:


I've seen all 6 Cirque du Soleil shows in Vegas, and here is the order you should see them:

  • O

  • KA

  • Mystere

  • The Beatles LOVE

  • Zumanity

  • Believe

In my opinion, the first four are must sees. They will have you on the edge of your seat with awe, and you will talk about it for the rest of your life. If you are in Vegas and it's within your means, go to one (or more) of these first 4 shows! Zumanity is unique and fun in a perverted way and is a good show. Believe is totally skippable, and I wouldn't recommend it.

If you want to see a magic show for that price range, you have to see Penn and Teller. They are the real deal. (My brother-in-law was picked as the "bullet inspector" in the bullet trick, so I know they don't use a plant for that.)

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Indian Food!

Woo hoo! I found an Indian grocery store not far from our house in Las Vegas! It's called India Bazar and it's at 4160 S. Ft. Apache. I went there last night to pick up some stuff for supper and was very impressed. They have a full selection of Indian spices, curry pastes (Patak's!), chutneys, etc. They also have nan bread in the refrigerator, several international beverages (including ginger beer which I miss from St. Croix), Indian desserts brought in from a place in California, and lots of frozen Indian TV dinners.

I made the nan bread, chicken samosas (from frozen - just bake for 10 minutes), and chicken Jalfrezi with the Patak's curry paste. It all came out really well except for the nan, which I heated in the oven and ended up making too crispy. It still tasted okay. Next time I may wrap it in tin foil first to keep the moisture in.

Red Rock Canyon Loop

I finally worked up to riding the Red Rock Canyon loop on my bike. It's a really great loop, very scenic. On a bike, it was WAY harder than I thought it would be. I saw my inclinometer get to 11% in some places. Nothing quite like The Beast in St. Croix (which gets to over 20% in places), but it's 5 miles of climbing instead of 3/4. I remember driving this loop with Gerald on our first trip to Vegas in 1999. We saw lots of cyclists, and I remember commenting that they were crazy trying to ride these hills. Well, here I am now, the crazy one. Here's the profile of the ride from my house:

If you're in shape, this is a great outdoor activity to do while in Vegas. You can rent a bike from Las Vegas Cyclery at 8221 W Charleston Blvd (where I bought my bike), and then make the ride straight out to the canyon on Charleston.

I'm doing the ride again today with the mortgage broker we worked with to get the loan for our house here. I think he's in better shape than me, so I'll be hurting I'm sure...