Museum Day!

Nick and I hit out some more items on our 101 list on his latest off day. The forecast was for 100+ degree weather and over 25% humidity, so we decided to take care of some indoor items – Las Vegas Natural History Museum, Bodies…The Exhibition and Shark Reef Aquarium.

The Natural History Museum was…underwhelming. Nick and I are completely spoiled when it comes to museums since we grew up by Chicago and had access to The Field Museum, The Museum of Science and Industry (our first date!), Adler Planetarium and Shedd Aquarium. Las Vegas isn’t exactly a cultured city, but we still had fun.

There was a traveling exhibit titled, “EWW! What’s Eating You?” that focused on parasites. It was incredibly disappointing as each section was narrated by Carrot Top (Who thought that was a good idea?); it was poorly executed as each section only had these video narrations for information (not too many signs to read) and it was difficult to hear the information since the sections were too close to one another and the volume was far too loud so it just became a bumbling Carrot Top mess whenever any of the other guests activated a video near us. The only highlights were Parasite Pinball (which wasn’t calibrated correctly):

and the Colon Crawl (that’s exactly where this whole exhibit should have gone):

There was a marine life section that included this gross looking frogfish:

and these cute Red Ear Slider Turtles (I have some experience with this species from my fishing days and I’ve entered a few in Hebron’s 4th of July Turtle Race. Alas, I never achieved my Uncle’s feat of having the Grand Master Champion turtle winner):

Nick got excited over a Narwhal tusk:

We saw the remains of the Dino Croc v Mega Shark Battle:

There were two pythons that I’m pretty sure were mating. Those pics are too hot for this blog.

Next was the dinosaur area, where we learned the Ichthyosaur Shonisaurus is Nevada’s state fossil (the fossil, not surprisingly, is not at this museum). Nick called this Deinonychus a “Nightmare Turkey”

Then he demonstrated how the dinosaurs became extinct. Scientists, you can stop theorizing how that happened:

We traveled to Africa via magic elevator – way cheaper than a flight to Capetown or something:

We “learned” lions make leaping takedowns on a variety of animals,

Rhino racist stereotypes are still a problem,

and Nick and a Cape Buffalo had beef, so he took care of it.

Then we went back in time to ancient Egypt where I walked like an Egyptian,

Tried to make my hair Giorgio Tsoukalos-esque to explain weird depictions of people with elongated skulls were due to ALIENS:

Nick demonstrated how to be a good Egyptian worker (those buckets were actually kind of heavy!)

Here’s a bonus pic while we were on our way out. Moose Nick is Moose-y:

Our next stop was Bodies…The Exhibition at Luxor, where photos weren’t allowed, but here’s a blurb from the website in case you don’t know what it is:

BODIES…The Exhibition provides an intimate and informative view into the human body. Using an innovative preservation process, the Exhibition allows you to see and celebrate your body’s inner beauty in ways you never dreamed possible. Over 200 actual human bodies and specimens, meticulously dissected and respectfully displayed, offer an unprecedented and wholly unique look into your amazing body. Come explore, experience and celebrate the wonder of the human form.

We really enjoyed the exhibit. The preserved bodies were so interesting – Nick even considered breaking the rules and sneaking a picture!! In case you were unaware, Nick is the biggest rule follower EVER.

Then it was a quick walk over to Mandalay Bay and their Shark Reef Aquarium. The first section was reptiles. There was this lonely looking Golden Crocodile

a sleepy python:

a Komodo Dragon that appeared to be napping when we walked up. Then Nick walked up to the glass stating, “Whatever, I could take that thing.” At that point, the Komodo Dragon stood up and looked right at Nick, prompting him to say “Come at me, bro,” entertaining the people around us. Goofy

There was a touching pond that had various rays and some horseshoe crabs (Did you know horseshoe crabs are used to manufacture sutures for burn victims?) Nick said they felt, “Weird.” – eloquent

There was an octopus that was housed with some giant starfish:

Jellyfish were displayed in a huge cylindrical tank. The jellyfish lifecycle is interesting.

Of course, there are sharks:

There is a Swim with the Sharks program here that might just inspire me to get SCUBA certified.

Then we had some fun with the Shark Reef promo posters outside:

 (Nick’s arm looks mega beast mode in that pic, right?!)

We ended our day at STRIPSTEAK, but that’s a whole other blog post.

The Hardest Legs Workout I’ve Ever Done

Yesterday, Angela told me she came up with a new legs workout and asked if I wanted to do it with her. I said sure, and we got started.

We headed to the gym and things started out easy enough. We jumped on the elliptical machines to get our heartrates up and get the blood flowing to our limbs. After 30 minutes of that, it was time to start resistance training. Here’s what we did (weights are mine, Angela obviously did different weights):

  • 1 set of 30 leg press with one 45 pound plate on either side as a warmup (90 pounds)
  • 4 sets of 20 unilateral (one leg at a time) leg press with a 45 pound and a 25 pound plate on either side (140 pounds)
  • 4 sets of 20 deep squats with one 45 pound plate on either side (135 pounds including the bar)
  • 4 sets of 20 RDL with two 25 pound plates on either side (145 pounds including the bar – use 25s so you can stretch the glutes and hamstrings more)
  • 4 sets of 20 walking lunges (unweighted – 10 each leg)
  • 3 sets of 20 step ups on a 30″ platform (unweighted – 10 each leg)

We cooled down on the recumbent bike for five minutes so we didn’t go from crazy exercise to nothing immediately. The rest periods were “as long as it takes the other person to do their set” so, on average, probably 40 – 60 seconds.

I’m sitting here at my desk right now, and my legs are sore to the touch. I walked to get coffee a few minutes ago and it was like I was slogging through waist deep snow or something.

I have to give a shout out to Angela for coming up with probably the hardest workout I’ve ever done. By the end of it, we both looked like we had jumped into the pool – my athletic shorts were soaked, which is something I don’t think I’ve seen since I was playing football, running around in 100 degrees in shorts and helmets.

Fun Stuff Around Las Vegas

Yesterday was my first full day off in a while where I didn’t do any work all day. Angela and I decided to take advantage of it and go do some of the things we’ve meaning to try around Las Vegas.

The Polish Deli on Charleston in Las Vegas

The first thing we did was check out a Polish Deli we had heard about. This place was so legit, it didn’t even need a name other than “Polish Deli” so we knew it was going to be good. They had all kinds of delicious stuff there, but we decided to just get two different types of ham, Polish and Black Forest. We tried the Polish ham as soon as we left and it was delicious. Unfortunately, the heat inside our car from the rest of our running around spoiled the rest of the meat before we could try it so we have to go back later this year and get some more.

After the Polish Deli we took our knives down to a local sharpening business to get them all sharpened. They have been dull for a while now and I promised Angela we’d get that taken care of so I found a place on Yelp that had good reviews and we took them in. This place was super interesting because it is actually located in the same store front as a dog groomer so when we dropped the knives off we got to see some cute dogs. Angela is picking up the knives today, so hopefully it is easier to cut things.

This is us being super cute together at the Baja Fresh.

At this point we were both starting to get a little hungry so we checked out the local Baja Fresh and had some delicious (and relatively cheap and healthy) Mexican food. Angela had the shrimp fajitas and said they were really good. I got the Burrito Ultimo with chicken (sub sour cream with guacamole) and it was delicious as it always is. If we’re going to eat fast food, Baja Fresh is pretty much the only place we do it at because their ingredients are fresh and delicious and they don’t seem to use a ton of grease or oil in their cooking.

Post fill-up, we decided we wanted to go the farmer’s market located just a few miles from where we ate. Unfortunately, the farmer’s market didn’t begin until 4 PM and it was only 1:15 PM so we had some time to kill. We decided to go bowling at the Suncoast Hotel & Casino. I started off wonderfully with 4 gutter balls in a row (I’m a terrible bowler) and easily lost two of the three games we played. Fortunately, both Angela and I got better as we went along and ended up breaking 100 in the last game. In the spirit of honesty, I have to admit that breaking 100 meant 108 for me and 143 for Angela – she absolutely smoked me.

Bowling didn’t actually take too long so we still had some time to kill. We hit up the bank to grab some cash for the farmer’s market and then chilled at a Starbucks close to it – I had an iced passion tea and Angela had a passion tea lemonade. Those are pretty much our go to drinks at this point any time we’re at Starbucks (the last few times I’ve got coffee there it just hasn’t been great so I tend to stay away from it now).

Delicious strawberries and my beautiful wife from the Las Vegas farmer's market.

When we finally made it to the farmer’s market, I was surprised by how few vendors there were. I was expecting 30 to 40, but I think there were closer to 15 (including a shaved ice truck parked in the parking lot). I wasn’t really interested in much at the market, but Angela ended up getting some fresh fruit which she said was pretty delicious. The thing I noticed the most was the fresh strawberries we bought were amazingly fragrant. You could literally smell the freshness (and the one I ate was pretty darn delicious, too).

To wrap the day off we decided to check out one of Las Vegas’s crazy little attractions, the Zombie Apocalypse Store. It was pretty neat, with a wide variety of knicky-knack paraphernalia and actual survival gear. There wasn’t a ton of stuff of immediate interest to us, but Angela did get a coffee mug and, because I checked in on Facebook while in store, we got a free postcard. The inside of the store also hosted a lawn service company or something like that. Definitely an interesting combination in my mind. If and when we start to shoot at a range, we may go pick up some zombie silhouette targets from the shop.

The Zombie Apocalypse Store in Las Vegas

It was a fun day, and it was cool to knock so many things off our 101 list in one day. I had a blast and look forward to many more off days just like this one.

Angela is Awesome at Drawing Blood

As part of her medical assistant certification, Angela has to learn to draw blood from patients in case she has to do it as part of her job. She just did it for the first time yesterday and, before she left class, she managed to snag a few materials so she could practice on me at home.

She did such a great job! I honestly didn’t even know the needle went in even though I was watching her the entire time. To commemorate the occasion, I took some video. Don’t mind the shaking of the camera, I was kind of contorted into a weird position so I could get a good angle for the video and my arm got tired. Check it out:

My Birthday

My birthday this year was pretty amazing. Nick started it off wonderfully by letting me sleep in, followed by a dual-effort of French toast (since Nick is not exactly culinary-inclined). Then it was off for a nice pedicure before hitting what ended up being a ghetto mall. Nick bought me two perfumes I’ve been eyeing for a while – Ralph Lauren Romance and Burberry Brit (Nick’s favorite) and I of course received my free Sephora birthday gift, which was quite stingy in size compared to the gift last year. What’s up with that, Sephora?

Nick had made reservations at Society Cafe at Encore for dinner and it was delicious! I had a birthday cocktail that had a hibiscus pod in it. It was pretty and delicious! We started with an appetizer of fried rock shrimp and calamari served with zucchini chips and an aioli. For entree, I chose seared scallops with an English pea puree and pea shoots. They were cooked perfectly! Nick, of course, couldn’t pass up the opportunity to eat some type of cow product and chose the 8oz filet that came with a ‘potato and bacon cake’ which was essentially a molded hash. Nick says it was “delicious” and I would have to agree. I’m pretty sure the filet was seared in bacon drippings, so how could you go wrong with that? We also shared two of the most delicious sides I’ve ever eaten –  roasted mushrooms & cipolinni onions and truffle mashed potatoes. Nick eschewed his hash cake  in favor of the truffled potatoes ;)

Then it was off to the Wynn Theater to see Le Reve.

LE RÊVE – THE DREAM, presented exclusively at Wynn Las Vegas, offers breathtaking performances in an intimate aqua theater-in-the-round. The show features aerial acrobatics, provocative choreography and artistic artistry.

The cast of 93 captures the imagination with daring feats of strength and agility. Live music and special effects immerse the audience into a world of fantasy, adventure and intrigue.

The “stage” is actually a MILLION gallon water tank and no seat is more than 40′ from the stage. Also, we has seats by one of the canals that the performers use to come in and out of the performance area so we were extra close to them at times. In fact one of the ‘dream demons’ came and sat by us giving us creepy stares for part of the show! The show doesn’t have much of a story. The central character is female; she has a bunch of dreams; some involve what I suppose is her lover/boyfriend(?). Anyways, the show isn’t so much about a central story as it is a bunch of mini stories that are supposed to transport you to other worlds. Oh, and it is jam packed with amazing acrobatics as well as ballroom dancing (in water, of course). We loved it. One of my favorite acrobatic shows on the strip (along with the Cirque du Soleil shows Zumanity and O, which also takes place in a giant pool of water).