Thursday, March 31, 2011

Introducing PANG

I am no longer dog-less!  Yahoo!

Pang was rescued from an animal shelter by the Lange foundation which is long-running organization operating in Los Angeles. I can't imagine why anyone would give up this great dog.  He's friendly, housetrained, affectionate, quiet, playful, obedient and even intelligent which is not usually a characteristic found in a Peke.  Yes, he sheds and he likes to act tough in the presence of other dogs --but these are really minor problems.

He's about two years old and is very healthy.  He's a happy guy and he makes me happy.  

Forget the dog bed.  This guy likes to spread out and take over the twin bed.  

Pang is a great example of how you can find some amazing pets in shelters or at rescue organizations.

If you need a four-legged friend and live in the LA area, here are a couple of websites that you should check out:

If you do adopt a pet, make sure you get him or her checked out right away by your veterinarian.  Bring all your paperwork and it's not a bad idea to bring a fecal sample to your first visit too.

And don't forget to ask your veterinarian about pet insurance!  I haven't looked after it yet (oops--Pang better stay healthy) but the company I'm going with is PetPlan and you can check them out here:

Be forewarned:  there will be many more pictures of Pang to come!  

Monday, March 14, 2011

Feeling sick ...

I've got the cold or the flu or something that is causing my sinuses to be miserable.  

And it just ain't fun.  

But I really can't complain while there is so much suffering in Japan.  Or around the world for that matter.  

I think I'll get better.  At least I hope.  As for the rest of the world, I'm not so sure.  

While we're waiting to see what happens, I'm posting a photo that I took at the Incheon airport in South Korea.  In case you were wondering where you could buy Tom Ford couture and Stouffer's Lasagna ... 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Rumor in Vegas

When I lived in Vegas and travelled to Los Angeles, I loved to check out the different hotels.  I stayed at the Grafton, the Standard, the Hyatt on Sunset ... yeah, that was back when I had disposable income.

Now that I'm living in Los Angeles, I like to check out the Vegas hotels and on my most recent trip, I stayed at the Rumor.

The Rumor hotel is right across from the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.  No, it's not right on the strip but for me, that's a big plus.  I don't have to travel across acres of slot machines to get to my room and I don't have to battle the strip traffic if I want to leave the resort.  

I stayed at the Rumor for a couple of days in mid February.  Yes, it is a boutique hotel; it's small, intimate, the staff are very friendly and it has a certain style.  

But it also reminded me of a place where you would take a hooker if you wanted a nice place but didn't want to spend a lot of money.  

Let me explain ...

First off, the name.  Rumor.  It has a sleazy vibe about it.  Like you're doing something a little bit naughty and your friends know about it.  

The pool area is pretty cool and there is a 24 hour hot tub, just in case you and your "girlfriend" want to get it on at 3 am after a hazy night of craps and cheap vodka. 

My room was definitely comfortable and spacious; they called it a junior suite.  But there was a lot of PURPLE in this damn hotel and for me, this color scheme was the style equivalent of putting a lot of makeup on an ugly girl.  Overstated or maybe just trying too hard, either way it didn't work.  

And *wink*wink*, channel 69 gives you 24 hours of you-know-what!

A white vinyl couch.  You see what I mean?  I think they did that so the housekeeping staff could easily wipe away those bodily fluids.  

And the picture of the black and white tattoed woman.  If that doesn't spell c-l-a-s-s, I don't know what does!

There were a couple of other minor things that I didn't like ...

There were very few self-parking spaces (despite an enormous parking lot) so most of the time I had to valet and give out an obligatory tip every time I wanted to get my car.

For two days, my room wasn't made up.

I tried to have breakfast in the small restaurant but there was still a mess left over from a party the night before.  Omelets and trash are not my idea of appetizing.

I was charged a resort fee.  Now maybe that was the fault of the website where I made my reservation but I don't understand why hotels don't put this into their room charge.

To be fair, I enjoyed my stay overall.  Every night, there was some cool event happening at the bar and in warmer weather, the pool area is likely an awesome place to hang out.  The staff were particularly friendly and the bed was sooooo damn comfortable, I didn't want to get out of it in the morning.  And it was very inexpensive; I paid $50 a night (not including the resort fee of around $15/night) so I guess I shouldn't complain too much.  AND the location is great.  Right across from the Hard Rock which has my favorite Mexican restaurant, the Pink Taco.  Don't laugh.  It's true.  I love the Pink Taco.  

So if you're coming to Vegas and you're thinking, "Where could I take my escort which has a 24 hour hot tub, a cool bar and white vinyl couches?", then you should seriously consider the Rumor.

Just tell them Phil sent you.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Savong Shirt from

Yes, I know that it is winter in most of the United States and Canada but is there really a WRONG time to buy a t-shirt that supports a good cause?

Zazzle is a very cool website where you can design your own t-shirt (among other things).  I made a Savong t-shirt and ordered one in the "burn-out" style and I was very impressed with the quality.

A small portion of every sale goes to help The Savong Foundation support an orphanage and a school in northern Cambodia.  We are in the process of building another orphanage so extra donations are hugely appreciated.

Hopefully I will soon be adding more products.  Check it out with the link below!

The Savong Shirt from

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The new Las Vegas

I was recently in Las Vegas for a conference and although it was a busy week, I had time to walk down the strip and take some photos.

A LOT has changed since I moved away nearly five years ago.

One of the biggest architectural changes has been the addition of the City Center which contains hotels, condos, upscale malls and restaurants.  The Aria hotel and casino has the new Elvis Cirque de Soleil show which has been getting so-so reviews.  If you want to see a great Cirque show, go see Ka at the MGM instead.

City Center looks like the future.

While I was amblin' along the strip, I started to think of all the cool things that Vegas has lost over the years.  

If you lived in Vegas or travelled to it several years ago, you might remember ...
  • The Coke Museum (and no, not the drug).  This is where coke would fly across the room and land in your cup.  I loved it and it only cost $2 for the entrance fee.  
  • The Shark Club.  The first nightclub that I used to go to.  Had an aquarium with real sharks.  
  • The Beach.  Nothing will erase all the great memories that I had at this nightclub.  At midnight, they used to spray the crowd with toilet paper while playing "Zombie" by the Cranberries
  • Nudes on Ice.  Whatever happened to the ultra-tacky Vegas-style shows?  
  • Rum Jungle.  The restaurant/nightclub at the Mandalay Bay.  Used to be the place to go to party on a Saturday night.  Or, if you wanted to indulge yourself in animal flesh, you could have dinner and eat the Brazilian BBQ.  
  • Drink.  Another off-the-strip nightclub where they had foam parties.  Hmmm, back in the day, I went to a lot of nightclubs ...
  • The Tillerman.  Used to be one of the most profitable restaurants in Las Vegas.  Now it appears to be closed for good.  
  • The Magical Empire at Caesar's?  I can't remember what this was called but it was ultra-cool.  You started off with a dinner where they performed some entertaining tricks.  Then you could wander around to various rooms where magicians did everything from close-up magic to more formal stage productions.  At the center of the empire was a fire that twisted around like a cyclone.  
  • Bacchanal.  The restaurant at Caesar's which was designed like a roman feast, complete with Caesar who came around and wished everyone an enjoyable evening.  The food was incredible and the atmosphere was a lot of fun.  
  • And while we're on the topic of Caesar's, whatever happened to the fake hair and the weird cones that the cocktail waitresses had to wear on their heads?  
  • The Debbie Reynold's Casino.  I felt really bad when this casino disappeared.  I was there one New Year's Eve with my parents and the Unsinkable Molly Brown gave me a kiss on the cheek.   
  • Dive, the restaurant.  Not terribly good food but every 30 minutes or so, the whole restaurant tried to give you the feeling that you were headed underwater, just like a submarine taking a dive.  Entertaining for those out-of-town guests that wanted something a little different.  
  • A Little off the Top.  The only place in town where you could get your hair cut by topless hairdressers.
  • The weird show at the Rio that didn't even last a year.  Someone will have to help me on the name of this one.  A lot of the actors were on bungee cords and bounced around above the standing audience.  Water was sprayed everywhere and no intelligible words were spoken. Ultra-cool soundtrack.  I saw it in New York and was thrilled when it came to Vegas.  Sadly, it never caught on and was quickly cancelled.  

A reproduction of the Eiffel tower at the Paris Hotel and Casino.  

They removed the fountains at the Paris Hotel.  Replaced by another restaurant.  

The MGM Grand.  While I was still living in Vegas, they did away with the first entranceway to the casino.  It was in the form of a lion's head and if the rumor was true, it was bad luck for the Asian gamblers to be "swallowed up by a lion".   

The New York, New York Hotel and Casino is looking a little faded these days.  Time for a paint job.  Externally, this is one of my favorite casinos.  Very cool design without being overly tacky.  

I circled back around and headed into the mass of buildings at the City Center.  There is a mall there where everything is completely unaffordable unless you are Kim Kardashian.  

The year of the rabbit.  I forget what animal I was born under.  Something very uncool, like the ox or duck.  Rabbits are pretty cool, especially giant gold ones.  

The Cosmopolitan at the City Center is the latest hotel to open on the strip.  

Their signature bar is the Chandelier Bar.  A full three stories in the shape of a chandelier.  Only in Vegas, right?  

And the Bellagio.  The Italian seaside casino.  The fountains are very worthwhile to check out.  And they're FREE.  

Gone is the Desert Passage Mall at the Aladdin.  Now we have the Miracle Mile Shops.  A little bit more modern perhaps but if you walk through them, there are plenty of sections that make you feel like you're in the Sahara.  

If you've never been to Vegas, there has never been a better time.  Yes, this city has lost some things over the years but there is still lots to do especially if you can afford it.