Friday, February 27, 2009


It most definitely gets never boring in Sin City.

There was a small earthquake just north of Las Vegas this morning. According to the Las Vegas Sun it was 2.7 magnitude earthquake and occurred at 7:10 a.m. PST.

The location of the epicenter of this morning's earthquake,
just north of Las Vegas.

I did not feel a thing.

Of course, this was a very small tremor and people usually start to feel earthquakes when they reach 3.0 or higher on the Richter scale. I remembered the Northridge quake back in January 1994. Even though I wasn't even near Los Angeles that morning, I did feel that one. I was still lying in my bed at home in Las Vegas that morning when it started to shake. It felt endless. I knew immediately that this quake wasn't centered in Las Vegas. I can't explain how but it felt differently. I knew however that the shock waves were coming from the Los Angeles area. And they were strong. I really thought at the moment that this was "it." The Big One. It's been talked about long enough.

It was not. Nevertheless, it was still a devastating disaster. Many people lost their lives, thousands were injured and the damages were immense. George and his family were right smack in the middle of it all. Fortunately, this event left them unscathed. And luckily for California...if one can call this lucky...this was not "the Big One."

Compared to the Northridge earthquake, our little tremor here in the Las Vegas Valley this morning was rather insignificant. People here tend to forget that Las Vegas is still part of Earthquake Country. The city sits on many fault lines. Even if the earthquakes here are few and far between.

The official map of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

Considering, we are pretty safe here from any kind of natural disasters. Besides the occasional little tremor, we have no hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanoes or blizzards. We barely get a drop of rain here.

Still, this makes one stop and wonder. What if? Well, if there really was going to be an earthquake then there's pretty much not one damn thing I could do about that. If it happens, it happens. All one can hope for is to survive and make the best out of a dire situation.

We only have this one life, people. Go and live it. One never knows what's brewing right under our feet.

Or over our head, for that matter.

Monday, February 23, 2009


Alles Gute zum Geburtstag, Oma

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I don't think I'm quite there yet...I hope.

Besides, I don't Twitter.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Valentine needs a license

George and I spent Valentine’s Day at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Romantic, isn’t it?

Well, since we’re both not big believers of fake holidays made up by greedy American corporations and we both tend to be sobering practical, we decided to take care of George’s soon-to-expire driver’s license. It needed to be done, so why not on Valentine’s Day? Not that it mattered what day it was anyway.

We got up early and had a light breakfast, consisting of a Swedish cereal and some coffee. Then we were driving to the new DMV office on North Decatur Boulevard, which is basically on the outskirts of Las Vegas. Why the State of Nevada decided to build such an important administrative office, which obviously experiences a spry influx of visitors on a daily basis, all the way out in the boonies is beyond me.

Since we didn't have a camera with us, how about instead some digital renderings of the DMV building when it was still in the design stages? This is the outside view.

Maybe for the pretty view? There sure is a beautiful view to behold of the whole snowcapped Spring Mountain Range to the west and the distant skyline of Las Vegas to the south. Of course, we left our camera at home. So you just have to take our word for it. It...was...beautiful! It also happened to be a clear and sunny morning. According to the weather forecast it was supposed to be cloudy and rainy. Not that we were complaining.

Expecting long lines and that notorious long wait which is all too common at most DMV offices, we brought along books and magazines to pass the time. We headed to the first line to obtain a number. The line was fairly long, although not as bad as we’d expected. Surprisingly, it moved very quickly. When it was our turn, George was given his number and a short form he needed fill out. We walked over to a large hall, filled with hundreds of people waiting for their turn. While George was filling out the form to renew his license, the numbers were called in quick successions.

A 906...A907...H 102...A 908.

Our number was A 912. They just called A 909 and George was still filling in the blanks on the form. What the heck? He barely had signed the form before we could sit down for a few minutes when A 912 was called out. “A 912 at window 21,” a synthesized female voice announced through the PA system.

What? We don't have to wait at all? This can’t be. There’s something wrong here. The last time I had to renew my driver’s license it took over four hours. And now we don’t even get a chance to be completely bored out of our minds and whine how freaking long this still may going to take. We were totally not prepared for that.

Another digital rendering of the DMV on N. Decatur Blvd.,
this shows the waiting area.

There’s a government agency that actually works fast and efficiently?


After the agent at window 21 had input the information into his computer and had George do the quick visual exam, we were off to have his digital photo taken.

“Stand in front of the blue panel, please. Ready?”
“I’m sorry, I think I blinked.”
“Yes. Yes, you did. Let’s take another one. Ready? There, done!”
Another stern-looking woman asked George to sign his name on an electronic pad and said “Thanks, you’re done. You’ll receive the new driver’s license in the mail in approximately ten days. Next!”
Again, we were perplexed. This went all way too fast for us. We weren’t ready yet. I couldn’t even take one of the magazines out of the bag to read. And here we were, already leaving the building and walking back to our car.

This whole procedure, which we’ve dreaded having to do for weeks, didn’t even take 45 minutes. Wow! Our tax money at work. Literally. And the way it’s suppose to. Happy Valentine’s Day. We really liked this “present.”

After that shock, we decided to check out the Aliante Casino, which has recently opened and happened to be just up the street from the DMV office. It’s a surprisingly intimate casino and very tastefully appointed in warm red, brown and bronze colors with lots of wood paneling. The hotel lobby was refreshingly open, bright and airy and could easily compete with all these trendy boutique-style, “W”-like hotels. We opted to have brunch at their “Feast” buffet. Their varied dishes were plentiful, absolutely scrumptious and with $6.99 per person a total bargain. Especially in this dreadful economy.

Later in the afternoon, George and I walked our usual route at Pueblo Park. The walk was desperately needed after we ate all that food at the buffet. The weather was gorgeous and the sun warmed up the air just enough so we didn’t need a jacket. Later in the evening, we snuggled in front of the TV and shared some Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

The far western end of Pueblo Park, near Rampart Boulevard
in the Las Vegas neighborhood of Summerlin.

There you have it. That was our Valentine’s Day.

Oh, maybe I should mention that we did spoil ourselves with an amazing dinner the night before. We went to one of our most, if not the most favorite restaurant in Las Vegas. Tamba serves arguably the best Indian cuisine around and we both just live for Indian food. Every time we go there it’s like absolute heaven. The tastes, the smells...everything is undescribebly divine. So if you will, you may call this extraordinary dinner our Valentine’s Day present to each other.

But we don’t need a holiday like that. We don’t need presents or a silly card. Nor do we need a special occassion to remind us to say “I love you” and how lucky we are to have each other. We know already. We say “I love you” to each other every day. Sometimes we look at each other and we just know without saying a word. There’s no need for a special holiday. Because for us, every single day is a special holiday.

It just is.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Maher on King

I love Bill Maher.

Yesterday, comedian Bill Maher was a guest on CNN’s “Larry King Live.” While discussing current affairs in general, they also talked about the Republican's mouthpiece Rush Limbaugh.

King: Do you think Republicans follow Rush?

Maher: Who else are they following?

I think they’re absolutely following Rush. And that’s how clueless that party is. They looked to find the future, and they found radio.

To read an edited transcript of yesterday's interview, click here. Did I mention that I love Bill Maher?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Cold Grumbler

And they say Americans don’t know anything about their own history.

I’m sick of being cold all the time. I’m sitting here at work every day in front of the computer and no matter what I do I just feel extremely cold. It doesn’t matter if I wear a sweater or a jacket. My fingers are like icicles and my skin is dry and breaks up to a point where I start to bleed.

In other words...I’m sick of winter.

Mind you, the winters here in Las Vegas are mild in comparison to the recent ice storms in the Midwest, where the temperatures dropped well below freezing. People there are without power due to downed power lines and probably will be for weeks to come. I remember the frigid cold of many winters in Germany when I grew up there. I was such a tough cookie back then. I’d run around in short sleeve shirts or wearing a light summer jacket when it was freezing cold out. It didn’t bother me then, nor did I ever get sick. Now I turned into a wimp. Sniffling, sneezing and shivering my way through the winter season.

But we live in a desert, damn it! Granted, it’s a high desert where colder temperatures during the winter months are not that unusual. But still. We are also experiencing one of the coldest and longest lasting winters in decades. With lots of snow even here in Las Vegas. Snow that actually stuck around. If it would ever snow here, as it rarely does, it would be nothing to brag about. It would consist of a few flurries really.

Nevertheless, we had yet another big winter storm blasting through the valley this last weekend. There’s over 20 inches of snow up on Mount Charleston. According to the weather forecast there’s another winter storm approaching.

Enough already!

Like I said, I turned into a wimp. A crybaby. Just because it’s a little colder here than usual. And I don’t like it! I hate winter! It’s not like we have to deal with blizzard-like conditions. Or with another extreme on the opposite side of the spectrum, such as the wildfires which are currently ravaging in Australia. Close to 200 people have perished there. Livelihoods destroyed. A true tragedy.

And here I am complaining about having cold fingers.

I shut up now!

Until the temperatures in Las Vegas reach way over 100 degrees Fahrenheit again in a few months. Guess what I’ll be complaining about then?

Friday, February 6, 2009


One year ago I started this blog, not really knowing what to expect from it or what the outcome would be. Would it become a dairy of sort? An outlet for frustrating rants? I didn’t know. The primary goal for this blog was to stay connected with family and friends, most of whom live in Germany. I figured it would be a great tool to share photos and stories with them.

If anything, this blog became a small window which allowed a little peek into the world where George and I live in. Even though I haven’t blogged on a daily basis, it was fun doing it. Most entries weren’t too involved or deeply profound. Certainly, I hoped they wouldn’t be too boring or irrelevant either. Seasoned with a few opinions here and there, and yes...some rants, I was at least trying to keep it interesting.

Lately, I’ve made some new friends through this blog. George and I even met a few in person. Hi Eric. Hello Mark.

So today marks the first anniversary of this little endeavor. Why not throw in a new banner design for the special occasion? Let’s see what this second year has in store for us and this blog.

Bye-bye, old banner. It's been fun.

Today also marks another anniversary. However, a far more important one. George and I are together now for five years. Has it really been that long? It seems like only yesterday when I saw him for the first time at the Orleans casino. And at the same time it feels as if we’ve been together for a lifetime already.

It’s incredible how two complete strangers have found each other and yet have so much in common. We both come from a multi-national background and grew up in bilingual households. We were influenced by a multitude of cultures and have always embrace diversity and tolerance. Both of us are graphic artists. And at the time we both worked only a few blocks away from each other on the same street and didn’t even know it. It’s a small world after all.

I don’t know if it was “love a the first sight.” I’m the first to admit that I never believed in such things. But whatever it was, it clicked. We clicked. It felt right. We complimented each other and became one. We have yet to have a big fight. We rarely argue. What am I saying? We never argue!

Oh my gosh...we’re perfect!

Wait...not quite. We have planned to get married today, on our fifth anniversary. In California. Well, guess what? Some people didn’t like that and threw Proposition 8 at us. Congratulations!

Screw ‘em. We don’t need a piece of paper to show that George and I love each other and belong together. Yes, we are perfect. Marriage? Civil union? These definitions don’t make a relationship perfect. Love does. Compassion. Understanding. The urge to be with that special someone. Not some paper or official certificate.

We may still get married down the road though. Or get a civil union. Or whatever the “normal” heterosexual, but angry mob allows us “freaky,” but happy homosexuals to call this bond. I hate labels. I’m a human being who loves another human being. What could be more beautiful than that?

Take that, Britney Spears! I hope you enjoyed your five minutes of heterosexual marriage bliss. However, I pity you. You'll never know how true love feels like and what it really means. Hey, but at least you're “normal.”

Happy Anniversary, George. Ich liebe Dich von ganzen Herzen. Für immer und ewig. Und nichts kann uns auseinander bringen.

What? Did you think I would end this entry without some corny schmaltz?