Friday, October 31, 2008

Fun On-line Game

Here is a fun game - but be forewarned - it can be addicting

Breaking Bricks II
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Saturday, October 18, 2008

My Awesome, Incredible Osmond-Filled Vegas Vacation

Wow! Wow! Wow!

Words cannot describe how amazing my trip to Las Vegas was. It was probably one of the greatest moments of my entire life! This will be a long posting - so you might want to get a cup of coffee before you start reading. Let's see...where to begin.

Day 1: Arrived in Vegas

Lynn and I arrived in Las Vegas approx 9:30 am, we had no trouble getting a shuttle and heading to the Flamingo hotel. The second we walked in, we saw images of Donny & Marie everywhere - lots of posters. Marie's Dancing with the Star's Bugle Boy and Donny's Joseph's Technicolor Dreamcoat costumes were on display in the lobby. We were soooo glad we decided to stay there. While we were standing in line to check in, we discussed that we should see if they had tickets to the show that night (we already had tickets for Saturday night). We checked in (even our card key holders had D & M on them), then we went straight to the box office to (a) pick up our tickets for Saturday that we ordered back in May and (b) see if they had tickets for Friday night. They did! Balcony tickets, but the theater is small and all seats are good so we got them.

Then we checked into our room and as soon as we got in, we looked out the window and saw a wedding taking place (we saw about 6 wedding procedings while we were there). We changed clothes, went to find the showroom and quickly lost $1 on the slot machine - we had no idea what we were doing. We then went sight-seeing - Caeser's Palace (which was right across the street where we could see the 30 foot photo of D & M on our hotel), the Bellagio (one of our favorites, walked past a new one being built, the Monte Carlo and then New York, New York (Lynn's favorite). After spending much time in these places just sight-seeing, we heading across the street to walk back up the other side of the strip. Did I mention that I found a pair of Ray Bans while walking through the Bellagio - whoo hoo - free Ray Bans!

We went into the MGM Grande (which is appropriately named because it is HUGE!), we wanted to see the MGM Lions and lucky for us they were just about to put them out for display. We watched them for a long time - they were like giant kittens, watching them play with their balls and chew toys. We were starting to wind down at this point and we needed to get back and get ready for the show so we took the monorail directly back to the Flamingo (although as much as we walked in the MGM, we probably could have walked back to the Flamingo)

Once back to our room, we dressed up and then headed down to the showroom, we were on the last row in the balcony (there are only 3 or 4 rows) and there were bar type seats (a long bar/table ran along the row in front of your seats) - the back wall had a huge collage of photos from the D & M show - it was great looking at all those pictures.

We saw a couple of empty spots on the row below us, so we moved down there just to get a bit closer and plus it was on the end so we could stand up the whole time. The show was AMAZING (but more about later) - we were walking on air afterwards. We then went to see where the meet and greet area was but it was set up so you couldn't see D & M but we mostly just wanted to see what the set up was like and how long it would take. What a great first day in Vegas !!

Day 2 - Part 1: Osmond Brother Meet & Greet

We got up fairly early because we were going to The Orleans to meet the Osmond Brothers. We decided to rent a car since it would cost about the same as a taxi would and the Orleans is too far to walk to from the Flamingo. We ate breakfast at Burger King and saw a huge billboard with the Osmond Brothers on it so we had to stop and get a photo of that! (The Orleans Casino/Hotel is in the background)

We got to the Meet and Greet about an hour early but that was good because a line was already forming. We meet some big-time Osmond fans, who follow them to just about everywhere they go (how do these women afford that?). One lady, who as it turned out actually lives pretty close to me, was nice enough to share with us some photos she took at the Pioneer Days concert (their last performance together as a whole family) and some photos she took of D & M at the MGM show back in summer.

The Meet & Greet was wonderful! We sat on the 3rd row and Jimmy, Jay, Merrill and Wayne were all on stage and they answered questions from the audience and interacted with us - it was very intimate and just all together wonderful. Near the end, guess who showed up? Donny !! It was great to see him with his brothers. They gave away some items from their world tour (Donny called out the winning ticket numbers and said that who ever screamed the loudest would get and extra prize.) I only took a couple of photos (without the flash so they aren't great) and we weren't supposed to have time to meet them afterward but all but Wayne hung around and Lynn held Merrill's hand and talked to him for a long time. Merrill signed our cell phones (how cool is that!). The hour and a half just flew by!

By the time the meet and greet was over, we were getting a little hungry for lunch so we saw the famous In & Out Burger and ate there - it was very crowded but the food was really good.

We decided we needed a bit of a rest before the show, so we went back to the hotel and changed into some casual clothes and hit the casinos - we started to get the hang of things and I ended up winning $22. Lynn was smart - told me to cash out while I was ahead so I did. Now that doesn't sound like big winnings - but for me and Lynn it was - we probably gambled a whole $25 or $30 the whole weekend. But you could put a couple of dollars in a penny or nickle slot and play for a really long time. The way Lynn looked at it, you got free drinks (which cost about $7 each usually, so you really were coming out ahead). I wasn't drinking but diet cokes and water cost the same as beer does out there - not fair! We had a lot of fun and about 5:30 or so, we decided to go up and get ready for the show.

Day 2 - Part 2: Donny & Marie VIP Show

Although we had seen D & M the night before and it was wonderful ! That felt like a preview of what was to come tonight. We both had planned our outfits out in advance (I had to wear purple, of course) and we were so excited we could hardly stand it !! When we got to the showroom, they kept walking us down and down and sat us right in front - our seats were literally inches from the stage - oh my gosh - we could hardly stand it. We got a great photo of the two of us just before the show.

Then the show started - were were so close them - it was UNBELIEVABLE how close we were. Donny came out and I reached my hand out and he shook it, then Lynn's - I about died right then but we sat there in AWE ! They were incredible - simple incredible. During their next number, Marie shook my hand - she is amazingly beautiful. I always knew she was but to see her up close like that - you can really see her beauty. Donny of course was stunningly handsome - he gets better looking every year-he really does!

After they did a couple of numbers together and little bit of brother/sister joking as they have always done, then Marie did her set. It was wonderful. She started off with Paper Roses, she sang "Would I Lie to You" and let me tell you - that girl is not just a little bit country - she has a LOT of rock-n-roll in her - she was rocking the roof off that place. She blew me away. Then she did several broadway tunes and sang opera - Andrew Lloyd Weber's "Requiem" which really showed more of her range - what and incredible voice she has. She was up on top of this platform and a couple of times, Lynn and I flenched at the thought of her stepping off that thing with those high heels on. She did "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" and showed off more of her dancing skills.
Then Donny did his set (insert big sigh here). He started out with Soldier of Love and then talked about how Stevie Wonder influenced him so much and he sang a few Stevie songs and showed a flim clip of him and Marie on their talk show with Stevie singing "My Cherie Amor". He did a huge dance number and then sat on a stool to catch his breath, while doing so, he said "I'm getting to old for this" and Lynn shouted out "No you're not, you're wonderful!" - he looked right at her, asked her her name and she told him, then he asked where she was from and she told him and he said "I don't really care, I'm just trying to catch my breath" - of course he was kidding. He then sang a medley of his hits and finished it off with singing "The Twelfth of Never", which left me with tears in my eyes (just like the night before). Oh wow, can that man sing!!

Then Marie came out and exclaimed that at least one of them was "in shape" to which he took that as a challenge and challenged her to a dance off. They were amazing ! They were on stage with these dancers that are 25 years younger than them and they were better dancers. I don't know how they do that 5 nights a week!

They then sat on stools right in front of us - aaahh ! and sang a medley of their hits (Make the World Go Away, Morning Side of the Mountain, etc). Marie told everyone that Donny did not like one song and they started singing "Deep Purple" - he made faces when he hit the high notes - he was so funny. I love how they kid around.

Of course, they ended the show with "May Tomorrow Be A Perfect Day" and their famous "Goodnight Everybody" - even now, I get chills recalling that show - I will never, ever forget it!

Then came meeting time !!!!!! Unfortunately, Marie wasn't feeling well (Lynn mentioned earlier that she noticed her coughing a few times during the show) so she didn't we didn't get to meet her. I was really disappointed but totally understood. Donny didn't want to disappoint us and I knew he had to be extremely exhausted but he took time with us - we had a good 5 minutes each to talk to him and I finally, finally, finally got the hug I have been waiting for my whole life to get - a hug from Donny - the happiest moment of my life! I think Lynn and I floated back to our rooms.

Day 3 - Part 1: Sight-Seeing

We were still a little high from the concert the night before but decided to do a little more sight-seeing. We decided that since we were going back to the Orleans to see the Brothers perform later in the evening, that we'd keep the car and go see Freemont street at night after the show.

We saw lots and lots of cute little wedding chapels along the way, including the "Say I Do, Wedding Drive Thru" and we pondered which chapel Brittney Spears got married in that time.

Anyway, on the way to Freemont street, we passed the "World's Largest Gift Shop" near the Stratosphere so on the way back to our hotel, we stopped there and shopped a bit.

We drove down and parked at the Mirage because we wanted to see the White Tigers. Much to our disappointment though, it cost $15 to see them. As much as we wanted to see them, we didn't think it was worth $15 just to look at some white tigers who were probably sleeping anyway, so we walked through the Mirage and down to Treasure Island (which wasn't impressive to us), then we walked across the street to the Venetian - which WAS impressive. I could have spent most the day in there.

Then I got a wild hair and just had to find the "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign so we could get a picture of it. I took one but with Lynn's camera so I don't have a copy to post yet, but I think it came out pretty good. We saw the Luxor and The Excaliber (just from the car) and then decided it was time for lunch so we saw a Del Taco and thought that sounded good since we hadn't had it in a long time because they closed them all in our part of the world. After eating there, we decided to go to a little gift shop and then to the giant 4 - story M&M store - so cool. We almost didn't do that but now glad we decided to stop in there. Lynn bought some M&Ms - purple ones of course!

We then walked down to Paris and I fell in love with that hotel too. By now it was getting later into the day and we both wanted to take showers after being in the Nevada sun all day (98 degrees!!) so we went back to the hotel and got ready for the show!

Day 3 - Part 2: Osmond Brother's Concert

We drove down to the Orleans, and the parking lot was packed. We found a good spot though and of course had to take some photos of the Orleans sign with the Brothers name and pic on it (using Lynn's camera still since the battery had long died on mine and wasn't cooperating to be recharged). We waited just a bit outside the showroom and were thrilled when we sat on the 3rd row - on the end - center of the stage !!

They all looked AWESOME - dressed in cool black jackets - some with logos. They did all their hits - Crazy Horses, Love Me For A Reason, One Bad Apple, etc. They also did some songs that I have never heard them sing live - such as I, I, I and At the Rainbow's End - it was just too AWESOME for words - it really was. At one point during the show - they came into the audience - Jay stood right in front of me and gave me a big ole' hug - I almost fainted I think. Then Lynn got a hug from him too - she almost got one from Jimmy but he got pulled away by someone else. The show was just wonderful - even more than I dreamed it would be !! I didn't want it to end. After the show, we hung around a bit (we are turning into such groupies, I tell you !!) and we got a hug from Merrill (who signed a picture for me) and Wayne (who also signed the picture for me). Jay and Jimmy must have slipped out some other way because we never saw them. I really wanted a hug from Jimmy to make my Osmond-hugged filled weekend a complete success - oh well - guess I will have to get that from him NEXT time.

After the show, we drove down to Freemont street, because I just had to see it all lit up and was set on seeing the famous Vegas Vic (I mean, I was not going to come all the way to Vegas and not see that!). I also wanted to see the 4 Queens and The Golden Nugget. I would have like to have gotten out of the car and go into some of these places but Lynn seemed tired and we had had a very full weekend and had to get up early the next day. Plus that part of town was a bit scary so we headed back to the hotel and it was about 1 am or later before we got to bed - still reeling from all the excitment from seeing the Osmond Brothers!

Day 4 - Heading Home

Wow, oh Wow! What an amazing and unforgettable weekend. Lynn and I just had the time of our lives - we were hugged by 4 different Osmonds - saw 3 Osmond filled shows and talked to Donny face-to-face. It was hard to leave and go back to the real world. We had a wonderful time. Lynn and I played the slot machine one last time at the airport where I quickly lost $2 and she quickly won $6 - go girl! We had a nice flight back home and took off Tuesday (09/30) to rest up. We showed off our pics with Donny when we got back the office.

What a wonderful weekend - I hear Donny and Marie may extend their show for 2 years - I think I see another trip in our future . . .
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