Archive for March, 2009

Today’s Quote

“Our greatest glory consists not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

   — Ralph Waldo Emerson

To read previous quotes in the “Today’s Quote” series, click here.

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Jai Ho!

The DVD and Blu-Ray versions of Slumdog Millionaire, the 2008 winner of eight Academy awards, including Best Picture of the Year, are being released this week.  The exhilarating and hugely popular film, which has grossed nearly $300 million worldwide, also won five Critics’ Choice Awards, four golden Globe Awards and seven BAFTA awards, including Best Picture. 

In celebration of the film’s relatively quick  release on DVD (considering it’s still in first run in many locations around the world), here’s a video of the film’s Academy award-winning Best Song, Jai Ho (You Are My Destiny), which is played as part of a Bollywood tribute during the film’s end credits.

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To order the DVD from Amazon.com, click here.  To view the official Slumdog Millionaire website from Fox Searchlight Pictures and to view the official trailer, click here.

In my list of  Top 10 Favorite Movies for 2008, Slumdog Millionaire tied with WALL-E as the #1 film.

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Google Mobile App

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One of my new favorite iPhone applications is Google Mobile, which I downloaded to my iPhone earlier this week.  This app allows you to perform Google voice searches by simply speaking into the phone– without the use of the keyboard.  The phone senses when you are ready to speak, based on the movement of the phone, captures your voice command, and automatically detects when you’ve completed the voice entry.  Next, Google performs the search and returns the results to your iPhone.   

Google Mobile includes the following features (as listed on the Google Mobile for iPhone website):

  • Voice Search.New! Speak your queries without even pushing a single button.
  • Search with My Location.New! Search for business, weather, and movie information without specifying where you are.
  • Local search suggestions on a map. See nearby business suggestions on Google Maps — just tap the “near me” suggestions.
  • Instant access to search. Start a Google search with just one click.
  • Google Suggest. Get relevant search suggestions as you type, saving you keystrokes.
  • URL suggestions. Get to popular web sites quickly by tapping site web address suggestions.
  • Contact search. Quickly find contacts in your address book.
  • Search history. Get instant access to your previous searches.
  • Easy access to other Google products. Launch other Google products like Maps, Gmail and News from the Apps tab.

You can download the Google Mobile app — FREE– by clicking on the Apps Store icon on your iPhone or via iTunes.

Here’s an informative 2-minute video from Google that provides more infomation on the features of Google Mobile.

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Pet Airways Coming

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Earler this week, the blog TechCrunch featured a post on a new all-pet start-up airline, called Pet Airways, which is scheduled to begin limited service next month.  Unlike other pet-friendly carriers, Pet Airways is a pet-only airline– no people allowed.  Instead of flying in the cargo compartment, pets will travel in the main cabin of the aricraft, with a pet attendant.  Pet owners will drop-off their pet at the departure airport and greet them on arrival at the destination airport.  Using a fleet of 20 planes– ranging from twin props to B-727’s– Pet Airways plans to inaugurate service between Los Angeles and Baltimore and New York, with stops in Denver and Chicago. 

Although Pet Airways is not yet accepting reservations, you can get more information by visiting their official site by clicking here.

Good luck to Pet Airways and happy landings to their four-legged passengers!  (Peggy and Lucy definitely want to get on board, too!)

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Earth Hour at 8:30 PM

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Today an estimated 1 billion people worldwide are expected to observe Earth Hour by turning off their lights for one hour at 8:30 PM local time.   Earth Hour begain in Sydney, Australia in 2007, under the sponsorship of the World Wildlife Fund, to raise awareness about global climate change.  In its first year, an estimated 2.2 million homes and businesses switched off their lights for one hour.  In 2008, the message turned into a broader movement around global sustainability, with over 50 million people participating in the one-hour event, held at 8:30 PM, local time.  Global monuments such as the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the Colosseum in Rome and the Sydney Opera House all stood in darkness.

This year, an estimated 2,100 cities in 82 countries will join in the symbolic event. 

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To learn more about Earth Hour, visit the official website by clickin here.

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Today’s Quote

“Even the tallest tower started from the ground.”

   — Chinese Proverb

Above: Aerial view of the Burj Dubai, the world’s tallest building, under construction in Dubai, UAE.

 To go to previous entries in the “Today’s Quote” series, click here.

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Today’s Quote

“I feel sorry for people who don’t drink.  When they wake up in the morning, that’s as good as they’re going to feel all day.”

   –  Frank Sinatra

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 To go to previous entries in the “Today’s Quote” series, click here.

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Happy Spring

Today is the first day of Spring!  Go outside.  Enjoy the sunshine.  Get some Spring fever!  Happy Spring!

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Today’s Quote

“Do not allow children to mix drinks.  It is unseemly and they use too much vermouth.”

   –  Steve Allen

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 To go to previous entries in the “Today’s Quote” series, click here.

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St. Patrick’s Day

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to all of Jankenpon’s Irish and “Irish-at-heart” friends and visitors.

Credit: Animated GIF from Funmunch.com

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Today’s Quote

“Why don’t you get out of that wet coat and into a dry martini?”

   –  Robert Benchley

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 To go to previous entries in the “Today’s Quote” series, click here.

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At Half Moon Bay

Peggy and Lucy took an afternoon outing this past weekend, in the now-famous Peggy-and-Lucy-Mobile, to scenic and dog-friendly Half Moon Bay, a coastal town (population 12,000) located about 25 miles South of San Francisco, in San Mateo County, CA.

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While at Half Moon Bay, Peggy and Lucy were able to explore the sandy beach off-leash and with remarkably few intruders (except a few folks on horseback and a small wedding party, complete with bride in gown).  In spite of the rather cold, damp weather, Peggy and Lucy had a great time dashing around on the beach.

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Above:  After the short walk from the cliffs to the beach, Peggy (left) and Lucy make a dash for the water’s edge.  Below:  Lucy (right) is surveying the scene along the beach as the high winds lift her ears.

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Above:  Peggy and Lucy continue their exploration along the quiet beach at Half Moon Bay.  Below:  Lucy is thoroughly enjoying her romp on the beach. 

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Above:  Lucy says goodbye to Half Moon Bay from the cliffs above the beach.  Below:  The fields around Half Moon Bay were green and full of wild flowers following the heavy rains that battered Northern California earlier this month.

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Peggy and Lucy give “four paws up” to Half Moon Bay!

To view a map of Half Moon Bay via Google Maps, click here

To learn more bout Half Moon Bay and the surrounding area, visit the official Half Moon Bay Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau website by clicking here.

If you want to view previous posts on the adventures of Peggy and Lucy, click here.

Photos taken: 3/14/09

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Wynn’s Encore

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How do you top a spectacular resort like Wynn Las Vegas?  With an Encore, of course.  

During our visit to Las Vegas, we were guests at Encore, the luxe $2.3 billion resort, owned by Wynn Resorts, Limited, which opened its doors in December 2008, after two years of construction.  The Encore, which boasts 2,034 guest rooms and suites, is the companion property to Wynn Las Vegas, the flagship resort which raised the bar in Las Vegas in terms of luxury and resort design when it opened in 2005.   Encore is situated on The Strip, directly next to Wynn Las Vegas, with its own entrances and facilities that are separate and distinct from Wynn.  The two properties are connected via a shopping arcade,  dubbed Encore Esplanade, which features luxury brand boutiques and fashion retailers.  During the early conceptual design stage, it was reported that Encore would be an expansion of Wynn; later, the concept for Encore evolved into a fully-separate resort, with an identity and personality of its own. 

The public spaces of Encore share and expand on many of the distinctive design themes of Wynn, including brightly-colored mosaic tile floors, natural light in the casino and lobby via floor-to-ceiling windows, theatrical and opulent draperies, extensive artwork, and the courageous, bold use of color.  There are also key changes from Wynn, such as more spacious, intimate gaming areas, and closer, better positioning of the guest room elevators to the lobby and check-in area.   In addition, Encore has its own design motif, the butterfly, instead of Wynn’s floral motif. 

Encore includes five restaurants and seven bars, including Sinatra, a Frank Sinatra-themed, 152-seat dinner only steakhouse; Wazuzu, a Pan-Asian bistro with a 27-foot crystal dragon; Switch, a French-influenced surf-and-turf restaurant with walls, ceiling and lights that rise, fall and change every 20 to 30 minutes; Botero, a dinner-only steakhouse themed after the work of Colombian artist Fernando Botero, and Society Cafe Encore, a casual, all-day dining restaurant.

The guest rooms at Encore are large (745 square feet and up) and handsomely-furnished in a black, tan/taupe color palette that evokes Hollywood glamour of the 1930’s and 1940’s.  Rooms with king beds feature separate sleeping and living areas, with a walled divider containing a swiveling flat-panel TV that can be viewed from either side.  Rooms with two queen beds feature a large, single space with a wraparound sofa.  All guest rooms include a comfortable desk and chair, mini bar with refrigerator, luxurious bathroom with double sinks, separate shower and soaking tub, and separate toilet.  Some of the nice guest room touches at the Wynn have made their way to Encore, as well, such as large closets, Bambu lotions and potions, comfy robes (The Best on The Strip), and wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows with remote-controlled curtains.

As with Wynn’s flagship property, Encore also has the Tower Suites with a separate porte cochere, check-in area, and upgraded guest rooms with more luxurious furnishings, as well as more personalized service. 

Our thanks to Encore for a great stay in Vegas, baby.  And hats off to Steve Wynn and Wynn Resorts, Limited on another amazing property!

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Above: A view of Encore, the sister property to Wynn Las Vegas, located on The Strip in Las Vegas.  Below:  The feet are pausing to admire the gorgeous, brilliantly-colored mosaic tiled floor, with the Encore’s signature butterfly motif, installed throughout the Lobby level.

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Above:  A view of the main hotel entrance at Encore.  A separate entrance is provided for the Encore Tower Suites.  Below:  The check-in area at Encore features brightly-colored artwork and fresh flowers.

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Above:  Lush plantings throughout the Lobby level help bring the outdoors into the casino at Encore.   Below:  The sign of Wazuzu, the Pan-Asian bistro where we enjoyed a lovely dinner that included a variety of Japanese, Chinese and Thai dishes.

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Above:  A view of the dining room at Wazuzu and the stunning, dramatic crystal dragon that provides the focal point for the restaurant.  Below:  Sinatra, the Frank Sinatra-themed steakhouse features dinner dining only.  Sinatra’s only Oscar statuette (for Best Supporting Actor in 1953 in ”From Here to Eternity”), together with one of his 11 Grammy awards and one of two Emmy awards, currently on loan from the Sinatra estate, are prominently displayed at the entrance to the restaurant, together with other memorabilia and photographs.

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Above:  A view of the handsome, club-like bar at Sinatra.

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Above and Below:  Views of the spacious guest room (Room 3509) at Encore, which features separate sleeping and sitting areas, divided by a countertop with a swiveling flat-panel TV.

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Above:  Guest rooms include a handsome and functional desk and chair, as well as wi-fi ($13/day).  Below:  The guest bathrooms at Encore are among the best and most spacious in Las Vegas. 

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Above and Below:  The bathroom includes a large double-sink, as well as Wynn-signature amenities.

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Above:  A view from Room 3509 looking North along The Strip, with the behemoth (and shockingly grotesque) Fontainebleau Resort, still under construction and expected to open in 2010.  Below:  Another view from Room 3509 looking North along The Strip, showing the huge property for Echelon, the now-abandoned mega-development from Boyd Gaming on the site of the former Stardust Hotel. 

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To plan your visit to Encore and to make room reservations, visit their official website by clicking here.

To go to an earlier post on this blog regarding Wynn Las Vegas, click here.

Photos taken: 3/4-3/8/09

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Today’s Quote

“Work is the curse of the drinking classes.”

   –  Oscar Wilde

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 To go to previous entries in the “Today’s Quote” series, click here.

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Top 10 iPhone Apps

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My TOP 10 FAVORITE iPHONE APPLICATIONS are, in no particular order:

 * Flight Track — real-time tracking of commercial flights
*  Save Benjis — comparison shopper
*  Google Earth
*  Opentable
*  Quick Voice –  handy voice recorder for quick note-taking
*  Around Me — locates service providers wherever you are 
*  Amazon
*  Yelp
*  New York Times
*  USA Today

This list changes, so check back periodically for updates.

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To go to previous posts with lists of my othe Top 10 Favorites, click here.

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Happy Birthday, WWW

Happy Birthday to the World Wide Web, which celebrated its 20th anniversary on 3/12/09.   Twenty years ago, Tim Berners-Lee, an independent contractor for the European Organization for Nuclear Research, pitched his employers an innovative idea on how to share the lab’s research on an open computer network.  That idea is now credited as being, essentially, the basic underlying blueprint for what we know as the World Wide Web. 

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Where is that Drink?

Where is that drink?

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This classic martini was served in the luxurious and intimate jewel-box cocktail lounge at Joel Robuchon at the Mansion at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.  In addition to being Las Vegas’s only winner of 3-stars from the Michelin Guide, Joel Robuchon is the recipient of the AAA Five-Diamond Award and the Mobil Five-Star Award for 2009.

The cocktail was followed by an amazing six-course tasting menu in the small, elegantly-decorated dining room (seating around 50 people), bathed in jewel tones, that evokes the feel of being a guest in a sumptuous home, complete with residential style seating and tables, crystal vases and sculptures, and handsomely-detailed accent furniture. 

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Above:  A view of the entrance to Joel Robuchon at the Mansion at MGM Grand.  Below:  A partial view of the intimate and luxuriously-furnished main dining room of Joel Robuchon. 

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To view the dinner menu (in PDF) from the official Joel Robuchon website, click here.

To go to previous posts in the “Where is that Drink” series, click here.

Photos taken: 3/9/09

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Today’s Quote

“Love is the extra effort we make in our dealings with those whom we do not like and once you understand that, you understand all.  This idea that love overtakes you is nonsense.  This is but a polite manifestation of sex.  To love another, you have to undertake some fragment of their destiny.”

   –  Quentin Crisp

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 To go to previous entries in the “Today’s Quote” series, click here.

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Where is that Drink?

Where is that drink?

 

This martini was served in a nicely-proportioned and well-balanced cocktail glass at the large, stylish Eastside Lounge, located on the Lobby Level of Encore, Las Vegas.  The lounge features comfortable sofas and chairs, clustered in groupings that are ideal for conversation.  The lounge has large floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook  one of the resort’s two swimming pools and the beautiful and fanciful mosaic-tiled reflecting pools with the signature “butterfly” motif of Encore.

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To learn more about the bars/lounges at Encore, go to the official resort website by clicking here.

To go to previous posts in the “Where is that Drink” series, click here.

Photos taken: 3/5/09

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Back to Vegas, Baby

This week, it’s back to Vegas, baby, to join a weekend birthday celebration.  It will be interesting to be back on The Strip in the middle of the global economic crisis and to witness first-hand the impact of the dramatic slowdown in consumer spending and business-related travel on Nevada’s golden egg — tourism.   Spud Hilton, Staff Writer of the San Francisco Chronicle, described Las Vegas as  ”having been conceived, constructed and marketed solely for visitors. Las Vegas is the embodiment of one of travel’s biggest cliches:  Live by tourism, die by tourism,” he wrote in an article in the Chronicle on 2/27/09.

Earlier this week, I read that McCarran International Airport reported a decline of  nearly 16-percent  in total passenger arrivals and departures in January 2009, compared to the same period last year, which represents the largest drop in traffic since the days after 9/11.  Meanwhile, rates at five-star hotels dropped an average of 35% in January 2009, compared with the same month last year, according to reports published last week. 

We’ll be traveling to Las Vegas via Southwest Airlines #1341 from Oakland International Airport, the Bay Area’s most convenient airport.

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So, onward to Las Vegas!  Come back to Jankenpon for updates from Las Vegas, including entries in the “Where are the Feet?” and “Where is that Drink” series.

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Singin’ in the Rain

As storms continue to batter Northern California this week, it’s welcome news for a state that has been hit hard by a long drought and falling water levels in reservoirs.  However, for Peggy (right) and Lucy, shown below, the rain and wet ground is no cause for singing.   For Peggy in particular, wet grass and rain is the equivalent of Kryptonite– there’s just no need to go near it! 

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Above:  Lucy (left) and Peggy, shown in their favorite red raincoats,  have returned from a walk in the neighborhood and just before the next downpour.  Below:   The outlook for the next few days is more rain and wind. 

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To go to previous entries in the “Peggy and Lucy” category, click here.

Photo Credit: Jennifer Wald, Pawsitive Pet Sitting

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