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Friday, January 4, 2008

How I began my new year

The pyramid-looking Luxor Hotel

New York, New York!

Treasure Island Hotel

Toni Braxton performing at Flamingo

Phallus-looking Phantom of the Opera at the Venetian

Paris Hilt...oops...Hotel

A lot of cranes at construction sites

Some statues at Caesar's Palace

Caesar's Palace

Fountain outside the Forum Shopping Mall

Busy holidaymakers

Busy traffic at Las Vegas Boulevard

Getting dark at Mirage

Denny's and other shops

So, I celebrated the new year holiday with my family at Las Vegas. In case you don't know, it is a gambler's haven. I don't really fancy gambling, so what am I doing there? Well, there are other things to do there as well. Like going for shows. They have all kinds of shows from magic show, impersonation/comedy, drag show, musicals, acrobatic/circus performances, topless shows etc. I didn't go to any either. Would like to but they can't allow kids under five years of age. Unless I hide Zoey in my pocket, that is out of the question. Err, so what else to do there? Shopping. Of late, it seems there are more shopping avenues there. Did not get anything though. Just took lots of pictures.

Just to do a comparison of my experience at Las Vegas 7 years ago and now:

Then: Lots of walking down the strip and visiting lots of hotels/casinos
Now: Spending most time looking for foodcourts and taking Zoey to lots of toilets

Then: Can hang around till very late - too excited to sleep
Now: Go to bed early - Zoey needs to sleep

Then: Carry a camera only
Now: Carry camera, and a bag packed with Zoey's items, and Zoey

Then: Buffet galore
Now: Eat at McDonald for smoke-free environment

Then: Can hang around anywhere
Now: Got rule for minors, so this indirectly applies to me too

Then: Can watch XXX on adult channel
Now: Watch Sesame street on kids channel

Well, I am not complaining. I betted one dollar on the slot machine and won 14 cents. That is, not before I have lost 46 cents first. So, it is a decent win anyway.

Las Vegas is probably a good place to visit if you can explore freely all that it has to offer. Of course, it will burn holes in your pocket too. But for old geezers like me, spending time with my family is good enough already. Doesn't really matter where although I won't mind doing it at the badminton gym, hahaha.

Talking about badminton, I have been playing non-stop for 3 days this weekend and my body is terribly sore now. Surprisingly, I played pretty well. Amy's women doubles partner commented that I was very consistent and making a lot of right shots. Eric, our UCSD student friend, who is usually very stingy with good compliments, even said I played not bad. I was really surprised too but I guess some days, everything just come together.

Hmm, perhaps I had been pretty down this past week and that made my game better. Maybe I was mad at something, so I decided to go all out in the games. And that is also why I had not been blogging for a while. It is hard to write something when you are not settled.

Hey, look at the picture to your right - looks like the middle finger. Hahahaa.

Anyway, the weather was good when we were at Las Vegas. Today, and yesterday, it was raining heavily in San Diego. I heard there was a big storm in San Francisco area and resulted in power failure in more than 600,000 homes. I even heard that earthquake and maybe tsunami is going to hit California soon. Indonesia is hit by flood on Jawa island and I heard that there is a fear that there could be an earthquake too. I was told that the volcanoes are all active at the same time now - never has this happened before. Now, I am not sure how correct my source of information is but people seem to think that this has something to do with global warming.

I haven't got time to check the stock market but the oil price hit $100 per barrel for a couple of minutes. And the Dow Jones index have gone below 13000 points again ahead of a possible Fed rate cut. Seems like the same scenario replayed all over again. Then, in December, there were all the bad news before the rate cut and as the date approached, the speculators rallied the market up.

So, how to keep your spirits up when you are down and there is bad news all over?

Well, I just randomly opened a book and found this poem:

Have Faith, and Expect the Best

by Beth Fagan Quinn

Faith begins
by believing
in your heart
that what is right
has a chance.

Faith is knowing
in your heart
that good can
overcome evil,
that the sun can also shine
in a rainstorm.

Faith is peaceful
and comforting,
because it
comes from within
where no one
can invade
your private dreams.

Faith is not something
you can demand
or command;
it is a result of
commitment to belief.

Faith is believing
in something
you can't see or hear,
something deep inside
that only you can understand
and only you control.

Faith is trusting
in yourself
enough to know
that no matter
how things turn out,
you will make
the best of them.

So, I guess we should never lose faith in ourselves.

Sometimes, it is hard for others to understand you. Sometimes, it is hard to help others understand you. No matter what you say or do, there is already a prejudice against you. At times like this, you can only hope that there will be someone somewhere soon to listen to your cries. Try to stay positive and do things that can make you feel positive about yourselves. Find someone that you can talk to. But, above all, don't lose faith in yourselves.