Monday, 18 November 2013

Australian Invasion in Vegas

We're on our way to creating an annual Vegas trip tradition and on November Long we went on our third trip to Sin City. Activities were significantly organised by O'Hara which meant we managed to have a boy weighted weekend. Not a sad thing, as it meant we checked off a lot of bucket list items that we hadn't got around to on other trips. We also hired an 8 seater "car" for the adventures. There were 3 people in our group 6'3" and over. It was cosy.
I almost got everyone. These people wouldn't work with me!
Day 1: Shooting big guns and driving fast cars
Since we first went to Vegas, we've wanted to do this. There are a few different places you can go to shoot ridiculously unnecessary weapons, O'Hara chose the Pro Gun Club. This ended up being a really good choice. It was located about 40min away from the strip, at an outdoor range. The weather was perfect (around 24C) and it was a good morning in the sun. From memory we shot a hand gun (Glock for the girls, 50cal Desert Eagle for the boys), AK-47, grenade launcher, Uzi, sniper rifle, and a Saw.

It was bad arse, and it was fun. I learnt that I am a terrible shot, I suspect my right eye is not the dominant one even though I'm right handed. It was hard work just keeping my eye closed and the sight lined up. Epic fails. Lil was a legend at it. Jealous.
Guns and big bullet shells. Super bad arse.
After guns, O'Hara, Clint and Greg went to drive race cars. O'Hara wasn't too impressed with his skills. Apparently he spend half the time trying to change gears by turning high beam on. I don't think I need to worry about him quitting his day job. I spent the afternoon drinking margaritas by the pool with Joey. Super class and another check of my Vegas bucket list.
O'Hara et moi

Day 2: Valley of Fires
The first time we went to Vegas we did a trip out to the Grand Canyon and since then we've wanted to explore more of the outer areas. There really is so much to see in that area and surrounds. We tossed up between Death Valley and the Valley of Fires. In the end VoF won out as it was only a 45min drive away. We couldn't guarantee not being hungover and sleeping in, so chose the one that was easiest to get to. It was beautiful. If you're lucky I'll put some of Lil's (much nice) photos up, so you can get a better feel!
This is our crew. We are amazing.
This was a good choice. VoF is a spectacular place, with the beautiful red rocks keeping us entertained into to the late afternoon. We didn't even end up seeing Lake Mead which we were planning on going to for a picnic. We did see 4,000 year old petroglyphs that were very cool. It makes me angry at society that some were vandalised, but it's amazing how these have lasted. We also managed to get two takes of "What Does the Moose Say?" in. That was special. We left at 11, so if you want to spend a full day there I'd recommend going a bit earlier. Picnic or not, we had a lovely day and didn't allow blood sugars to get too low. It was a little touch and go towards the end there.
The ones who didn't have to climb to the highest point, and 4000 year old petroglyphs.
We ate some delicious meals out with one dinner being at the Tapas restaurant in the Cosmopolitan and another Fleur at Mandalay Bay. I managed to eat myself into a literal food coma on the last night. It wasn't pretty. It's nice eating out at good restaurants though, as we don't get that opportunity in Kamloops.

Our first night we made a trip out to Fremont St to give the newbies an idea of old Vegas. As always it didn't fail to disappoint. That place is not G Rated. There were flashing nuns, a creepy guy with a lady on a leash, a "firewoman" and an old guy dressed as a slutty angel just to name a few. It was dirty, cheap and amazing. We still didn't win big.
Steph did a good job as shooter. Probs got us up 5 bucks. Jackpot!
We sucked at Craps. We continue to not follow our plan of only playing at tables that look like they're having a good time. We'd get bored and just choose a table at the casino we are at. We had a couple of low wins, but mostly just losses. Clint was convinced Joey was bad luck... then she won $300 in the pokies (slots). Jel.
A beautiful moment, and a beautiful view.
We stayed at the Cosmopolitan, which is a really good time. It's nice staying in a fancy hotel even if you don't spend a lot of time in your room. When you're wandering back to your room, it's a good opportunity to explore. I swear I didn't take the same route more than twice.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Learning to Curl (and be Canadian)

I'm sure you've all heard of curling. Probably mocked it at some point in your life. Laughed at the guys sweeping the ice with a broom. Made a joke about how women should be good at it. Well laugh all you want, this game is freaking hard!

We joined the McArthur Island Curling Club's Learn to Curl program. It's an 8 week course where they teach you the basics of curling, and give you the the opportunity to join a league once you're done. We've been doing it for 5 weeks now, and I think to some extent we've improved. Those first few weeks I was in a whole lot of pain every Wednesday.

Let me set the scene, you have a shoe with a teflon coating on the bottom... and you have to slide on it on the ice. It's been going about as well as you would expect! The ice is actually covered with tiny little ice bumps that they apply with something that looks like a spot sprayer. The bumps help the stone move to the end of the ice, fast ice is "keen" ice.
Teflon and strategy
The basics are there are 4 people on a team, and everyone throws 2 rocks in a row (one team at a time). The captain "skip" throws last, and if you win the toss you get the choice to have the last throw "the hammer". Scoring is done the same as lawn bowls. You push out from the "hack" and the rock is thrown from something like a lunge position (hard), and you have to try and balance and slide on your teflon coated shoe with your back foot out behind you toes facing down. The slide is how the rock gets it's momentum, you're not supposed to push out the rock at all (but that is hard too).
Focus face, and they're "hurrying hard!"
The rock is thrown with a slight spin, either moving your hand from "10 O'Clock" to "12" or from "2" to "12". The Skip at the other end of the ice tells you where the want the rock, and which way they want you to curl it. For 3 weeks I think I needed bumpers, as I had huge issues getting the rock to stay inside our sheet of ice. The sweepers have to work out how fast the rock is going, and whether they need to sweep (to make it go further) or leave it in order for it to land where the skip is requesting. This is also really hard to gauge, and the majority of the rocks I'm sweeping for either run out the back or don't make it into play. The struggle is real!
We're cool!
I'm also not someone you want on your team. Not just because I'm a hazard, but I also get too much enjoyment from other people falling over. Twice I've actually said "YES". Out loud. Sorry team!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Halloween. Festive Season 2 of 3

Once October hits, it seems like there is festive season after festive season. Thanksgiving, Halloween, then Christmas. There are decorations and everything that goes with each of these events. It's full on! In Canada, the gap between Halloween and Christmas is the biggest. Conveniently this is the biggest change over, as many houses go all out for both events.
Just a giant evil cat watching some ladies! Me trying to be Kate Moss. Failing.
The weekend before Halloween, we went to a house party that has the sweetest Halloween set up you've ever seen. Interior and exterior was wild! I can't really do it justice trying to explain it, you'll have to take my work for it that it was impressive.
<1% of the decorations!
For actual Halloween we took it pretty easy and had a dinner at our house for fellow friends that didn't want to deal with trick or treaters. Living in a Condo and down a long driveway is beneficial if you don't want to hand out chocolates. Once again we bough a giant box of chocolates "just in case", but have since eaten the majority of them ourselves. Win, win! We didn't carve our pumpkins until Halloween night this year. This prevented the soggy faces that we experienced on October the 31st last year.
Guess which is mine, and which is O'Hara's. You can tell we don't have stencils!
That weekend Kamloops had its first snowfall! Finally. I think the best way to describe my (un-ladylike) excitement for the snowboardings season is "frothing"? I'll have to check with the baby brother if I've used that word correctly in a sentence. I can't wait. 3 weeks!
Take selfie with snow in hair. Check