Current local Las Vegas time is 3:39am, August 24, 2017.

Archive for the 'Journal' Category

Fry’s price matching works!

I’m genuinely surprised in a happy way.

Fry’s has a price matching policy. It’s not plastered all over the store, but I found it on the good ol’ Interweb after a short search:

If within 30 days of purchasing an item from Fry’s you see a lower in-stock price at a local competitor with a low price guarantee, Fry’s will cheerfully refund 110% of the amount of the competitor’s low price guarantee. Or, if within 30 days of purchase, a local Fry’s, or a local competitor without a low price guarantee has a lower price, Fry’s will refund 100% of the difference.

NOTE: All comparisons are based on price, excluding any applicable sales tax. Low price guarantee for notebook computers, microprocessors, memory, CD and DVD recorders, camcorders, digital cameras, and air conditioners is within 15 days from purchase date. To apply for Fry’s low price guarantee, simply bring in your original cash register receipt and verifiable proof of a current lower price.

*All comparisons are based on in-store tagged price at the time of request, excluding sales tax. Offer good on all fresh-boxed products of the same exact model in stock at a local competitor. We reserve the right to limit this offer to one of each model. Offer does not apply to wireless phones and pagers that require a service agreement. Offer does not apply when price includes bonus or free offers or one-of-a-kind or limited-quantity offers.
NOTE: Does not apply to expired ads. Fry’s ads valid for only stores listed in the ad.

Last night I bought a GPS unit for my car. The price was $399.99. It was a bit of an impulse purchase, but was within my budget and seemed reasonable. I didn’t really do much research other than trying to find my home address (in a 2-year-old development) on different units to see how fresh the maps were. This was the only one that had it. Read more on Fry’s price matching works!…

Posted in Computers, Journal, Las Vegas, Miscellaneous, Site Information | No Comments »

I am officially old.

There were things I did in my younger, crazier years that would probably kill me if I attempted them now. And if they didn’t kill me, I’d probably want to be dead. It’s no secret that I like my spicy food really hot, usually as hot as or hotter than a restaurant can make it. I also haven’t had a cigar in about seven years. So why not combine them? Read more on I am officially old….

Posted in Friends & Family, Journal, Lars Vargas | 2 Comments »

Read first. Apply second.

The lovely Mrs. Vargas called me yesterday and suggested that we go out for a sushi dinner. I liked the idea. I like sushi.

Since I work at home, my attire can sometimes be politely described as “casual” and other times, um, well, I wouldn’t want to be in public or under the scrutiny of Glamour’s eye. But I had actually gotten up early, showered, shampooed, and was dressed for public activities in shorts and a nice Hawaiian shirt. Read more on Read first. Apply second….

Posted in Friends & Family, Journal, Lars Vargas, Mrs. Vargas | No Comments »

Wanna sell me something? Think carefully about how you do it…

ARRGH! An insistent little person just rang my doorbell trying to get me to use her carpet cleaning service. Um … no … I don’t think so. I told her nicely that there is no solicitation in this neighborhood and she should probably leave. Now.

In case her boss reads this site, here goes: Read more on Wanna sell me something? Think carefully about how you do it……

Posted in Journal, Miscellaneous | 2 Comments »

Telemarketing scum: Wizard Carpet Cleaners of Las Vegas

I loathe telemarketing calls. That’s why our home phone is on the National Do Not Call Registry. When a telemarketer calls, I alert them to this fact and ask them to remove our number from their list. They usually apologize, and we never hear from them again. Fair enough. Mistakes happen.

Read more on Telemarketing scum: Wizard Carpet Cleaners of Las Vegas…

Posted in Journal, Miscellaneous | 19 Comments »

Why Can’t Rain Happen Before I wash the Car?

I live in a desert. We have VERY little rain. I understand this. That’s why it’s a desert, after all. Because of the lack of rain, we also have lots of dust. I have a black car which apparently has a special dust-attracting paint job (factory applied). Read more on Why Can’t Rain Happen Before I wash the Car?…

Posted in Journal, Las Vegas | No Comments »

A Few Good Books

James Lileks is one of the funniest writers around. His sense of humor is a bit weird, but he’s always got a great take on the mundane as well as the ridiculous. His daily Bleat blog (www.lileks.com/bleats) is a must read. His web site (lileks.com) will entertain you for hours.

He also has a new book, Mommy Knows Worst. We just got our copy and it’s a scream.

Take a look at the link above. Order a copy or two or three. Read more on A Few Good Books…

Posted in Internet, Journal | No Comments »

This is NOT the Party to Whom You’re Speaking!

OK, Las Vegas … what gives? Since we moved here, we have received more wrong number calls in three months than we did in a decade anywhere else.

Apparently we got the phone number that people named Vince and Gayle [Last Name] used to have. How do we know this? They get more phone calls than we do, and the callers ask for them by name. I guess they left town, and apparently when they left town, they did it in the middle of the night. The people calling for Vince and Gayle do not sound like happy folks wanting to talk to contest winners, nor do they sound like concerned relatives. They sound like professional collection agents, taking stern tones with anyone who answers. Read more on This is NOT the Party to Whom You’re Speaking!…

Posted in Journal, Lars Vargas, Las Vegas | 3 Comments »

Wallets: I Duct the Issue

I wanted to wait until after the holidays were over to avoid anyone who saw this and had gift ideas.

Never give a man a wallet as a gift. Just don’t do it. Men are picky about their wallets. Most men will use a wallet until it becomes a worn leather flap that surrounds their ID, credit cards, and cash. At that point a man then has to search for the correct wallet. This search might take weeks or even months, depending on how picky a guy is.

I’m pretty picky about my wallets. Mrs. Vargas learned a long time ago not to even mention the subject; that my own wallet replacement schedule and her perception of what it should be would never coincide. In marriage, we all learn. Read more on Wallets: I Duct the Issue…

Posted in Internet, Journal | 6 Comments »

OK, so I took a week off…

I love writing this site. And I appreciate the feedback from my friends and family who visit. I kind of wish more people would visit and leave comments, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

Unfortunately, real life sometimes gets in the way of sharing bits and pieces of your life online. I have a full time job and also to a little side work here and there when I can. Doing that, along with being married, simply takes up a lot of time. The lovely Mrs. Vargas and I realized how crazy busy we are. We’re happy and all, but when you come to the realization that you live in one of the entertainment capitols of the world and haven’t’ been to a single show since you moved here, it serves as a wake-up call that maybe it’s time to either throttle back a bit or learn some time management skills. Read more on OK, so I took a week off……

Posted in Internet, Journal | No Comments »

Happy New Year!

2005 was a year of change in the Vargas household. Most of it was good, and we’re better off at the end of the year than when it started. We hope the same is true for you.

Read more on Happy New Year!…

Posted in Journal, Miscellaneous | 2 Comments »

Feeling Testy? Try Doing What I Did

If you are a member of my family (this means you, Special K) you might want to stop reading right now. This is the follow-up story to Analyze this: a test you can’t study for. If you continue reading, you have been warned.

If you read the story linked above, you know I had some fertility testing done a while back. And as revealed in that story, my output wasn’t the greatest. Not only was the sperm volume very low (duh!) so was the count (duh again!). This double whammy of having not only too few swimmers but a shallow pool necessitated a trip to a specialist to make sure that my plumbing was capable of proper baby-producing output.

Seeing the specialist is no problem at all. I’ve seen enough doctors over the years to not make much of a deal of it any more. Some of the tests, however, are troublesome. I had to go for a testicular ultrasound. Read more on Feeling Testy? Try Doing What I Did…

Posted in Flashbacks, Journal, Lars Vargas | 4 Comments »

An open letter to the Lexus drivers of the world

Dear Fellow Driver:

Hi there! I’m another driver on the road. Just like you, I’m using the paved conduit to get form point A to point B. I know this may surprise you, since when you paid twice the going price of a Toyota for a Toyota with a badge that looks like a rip-off of the Mercedes-Benz logo, you thought you bought the road as well.

I also hate to tell you, but the ES300 didn’t remove the stink from your shit. Neither did the LX470, so no smiling over there, OK? Read more on An open letter to the Lexus drivers of the world…

Posted in Activities, Journal | 8 Comments »

Confessions of a Newly-Minted Starbucks Decaf Regular

Coffee is one of those things that has always perplexed me. I remember trying it as a kid, the bitterness was unpleasant and it burned my tongue. Why would anyone drink that stuff when there is soda in the world? I’d rather have a Coke. At least that’s how I grew up.

I pretty much avoided coffee in my youth. I avoided coffee in my 20’s and most of my 30’s as well. I did learn to appreciate the aroma of fresh-brewed coffee, but never quite got around to enjoying the flavor. Even as an ingredient, that coffee flavor would jump right out at me and take over whatever I contained it. Tiramisu was right out. Anything mocha was politely refused entry to my plate.

So no fan of coffee, I would nonetheless have an occasional chance to stop in a place like Starbucks. If I want a hot beverage, which is rare, I go with tea. If I am at a Starbucks and want a hot beverage, which is even rarer, I also have tea. I like tea. Pretty much any flavor is fine. Regular, herbal, etc., although I try to avoid caffeine, so it’s usually decaf or herbal tea.

Yet the siren call of coffee keeps me curious. I stare at the Starbucks menu and wonder what riches may lie beneath the carefully encoded words.

Frankly, the menu at Starbucks perplexes both me and my wife. We go in and watch the customers who know what they want bark off 20-word orders: “Venti double cappuccino with an extra shot, room for cream, and …” my eyes are glazing over. Read more on Confessions of a Newly-Minted Starbucks Decaf Regular…

Posted in Food & Drink, Journal, Lars Vargas | No Comments »

One More Goal For My Life

It’s not often that I’m caught off guard, but today I was.

Mrs. Vargas and I decided on a whim to go visit the Auto Collections at the Imperial Palace on the Las Vegas Strip today.

I haven’t been there in nearly ten years, but I know the collection is far larger than what is on display, so every time you go, a different bunch of cars is available for viewing. The cars run the gamut from modest but impressive VW Beetles (one with 79 miles on it!) to multi-million dollar cars made by Rolls-Royce and Duesenberg. There were even a couple of custom-bodied Cadillacs that neared the million dollar range. Read more on One More Goal For My Life…

Posted in Journal, Mr. Vargas, Mrs. Vargas | 4 Comments »

Check Your Stats, You Might Be Missing Something

The say that Google page rank is everything on the Internet these days, and that getting it is somewhat of a black science. I don’t write these pages with any particular page ranking in mind. Since “Lars Vargas” is a fairly uncommon name, I tend to rank pretty high (usually at the top) when searched in Google. That’s nice, but expected. Getting into “Las Vegas Blogs” is a lot harder. I checked once, and I’m at around 700 or 800. Probably lower.

One of the things I do check every so often is my site stats. It’s nice to see how much traffic this site gets (not much right now), where it’s coming from (mostly other pages on this site) and various other tidbits. One of those tidbits is what search terms landed visitors on your pages. All the things you would think would be there are: Lars Vargas, Mrs. Vargas, Luella the cat, etc. Many of those are my searches to see if I’m in certain search engines and such. Read more on Check Your Stats, You Might Be Missing Something…

Posted in Internet, Journal, Site Information | 2 Comments »

Whirlpool Customer Service: A Basket Case

Our new home in Las Vegas came with new appliances. The builder made a big deal out of only supplying Whirlpool appliances. Whirlpool is a name I have always associated with quality, and the appliances in our home attest to that. We are happy with them except for one detail.

The dishwasher’s silverware basket is simply too small. There are only two compartments to hold dirty silverware, and they only hold about one-half what they should. In fact, they are about one-half the size of any other dishwasher silverware baskets I have ever seen.

I don’t think that Mrs. Vargas and I are use inordinate amounts of silverware. The plate to fork ratio is roughly 1:1, as is the bowl to spoon ratio. In fact, sometimes it’s two plates to one fork. Read more on Whirlpool Customer Service: A Basket Case…

Posted in Flashbacks, Lars Vargas | 8 Comments »

Drinking Scotch Can Save Your Marriage

I was recently reminded of a party I attended last year. Some friends had invited Mrs. Vargas and I to their home, along with several of their other friends and neighbors. It was a typical holiday party with plenty of good stuff to eat and drink. The partygoers were all decked out in festive attire and a good mood prevailed throughout.

Mrs. Vargas and I are not the kind of couple who has to cling to each other at a party. We’re free to mingle and talk independently. One of the other partygoers, whom I had never met before, had taken somewhat of an interest in me. She was a neighbor of the hosts and didn’t seem flirtatious when I first met her.

As the evening went on, Ms. Neighbor Flirter had chosen a seat at the bar. And every time I went to freshen up my scotch, she was there, ready to chat, flirt, and carry on about the topic du jour. Read more on Drinking Scotch Can Save Your Marriage…

Posted in Flashbacks, Food & Drink, Mrs. Vargas | 1 Comment »

Persian Rugs and Traffic Jams

We went to visit Mrs. Vargas’s parents for the holiday weekend. We stayed at their house in Camarillo, CA. It’s a small city located about half-way between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, just north of “The Valley” of Valley Girl fame.

Mrs. Vargas’s grandmother gave us a Persian rug as a housewarming gift, but it really didn’t go with the décor at Casa Vargas. Grandma suggested that we bring it with us on our trip to California and exchange it for something we like a bit better while we were in town. This story takes place on the day we exchanged the rug. Read more on Persian Rugs and Traffic Jams…

Posted in Journal, Lars Vargas, Mrs. Vargas | 2 Comments »

Analyze this: a test you can’t study for

A while back Mrs. Vargas and I were trying to conceive a little Vargas. We were not immediately successful in this endeavor. Sometimes this stuff takes time. Even after several months, we were still without a future little Vargas.

Mrs. Vargas and I weren’t particularly worried, taking the “it will happen when it happens” attitude. Unfortunately, Mrs. Vargas was getting pressure from her mother (and mine) to conceive. And quickly. Now if ever there was a way to cross circuits in the male brain, it’s having mothers and mothers-in-law giving advice on conception. Sorry, ladies: I love you, but this isn’t an area where I want your advice.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my mother-in-law. We get along just fine. This is not a Fred Flintstone/Ralph Cramden type of husband/mother-in-law type of thing. Read more on Analyze this: a test you can’t study for…

Posted in Flashbacks, Mrs. Vargas | 5 Comments »

Wacky from Waxing

Las Vegas is a great place to live. We moved here for a variety of reasons. One was the weather. No hurricanes, not a lot of rain. In fact, other than the intense summer (dry) heat, Las Vegas has a very hospitable climate.

While some would say that the lack of rain is one of the good things about Las Vegas (it is in the middle of a desert after all) there are some disadvantages as well. The largest one would be dust. Vegas is a dusty town, and a little wind will move more than enough dust to cover pretty much everything, cars included.

My car is black. I like black cars. That Darth Vader thing is cool to me. But dust and black cars don’t mix. Actually, they mix quite well, but the look of a black car covered in fine beige silt isn’t nearly as sinister as when that black paint is gleaming like the Dark Side of the Force. Read more on Wacky from Waxing…

Posted in Activities, Journal | No Comments »

Another Average Day

Yesterday was one of those average days where you know you got something done, but you simply cannot put your finger on any specifics. I was awake for around seventeen hours, but there is very little concrete I can point to that I did.

I already posted about having Luella sing for my mom on her birthday. After that, I went to work. I think I spoke with someone about something. I do remember lunch. We went to “La Cabaña“. It was good. After lunch, I did more work and spoke to more people about things. Such excitement.

The drive home was average. Not too fast, not too slow. A few people didn’t understand the concept of the left lane being the fast one, but that’s typical. In fact, had that not happened, it would not have been an average drive.

When I got home I remembered something: I had computer work to do. Read more on Another Average Day…

Posted in Computers, Journal, Mrs. Vargas | No Comments »

Moving to Vegas: Day 4, the second half

We were now in New Mexico, a place Dad and I had never been before. We both grew up and have mainly existed on the East Coast. Sure, we’ve been to other places, but we never drove cross-country through them. We were absolutely not prepared for the beauty that unfolded before us.

At first it was like driving through an old Warner Brothers Road Runner and Coyote cartoon, except that this scenery was real and there were no Acme instant holes or rocket roller skates to be found along the side of the road. Interstate 40 runs a relatively straight line through New Mexico. There are plenty of hills and ridges, and cresting each one offered up a new and stunning view. It was really incredible to watch the composition of each valley change. Drive 15 miles and the rocks go from craggy and pebbly to flat and striated. Each valley was different, as if God had made thousands of prototypes, each a little different than the others.

I was actually looking forward to twelve hours of this scenery and my mere words here cannot come close to conveying the unique beauty of this place. If you ever have a chance to drive I-40 anywhere in New Mexico and Arizona, take it. Read more on Moving to Vegas: Day 4, the second half…

Posted in Lars Vargas, Moving, Mr. Vargas | 1 Comment »

Moving to Vegas: Day 4, the first half

Well as nice as Texas had been, it was nice to see another state. Hello New Mexico! I felt like we had now made real progress. So far the journey was going extremely well, especially since we had tow alpha-males in the truck. Not only were Dad and I still speaking, but we were still having meaningful conversations. This is a good sign.

A few miles over the New Mexico border was the welcome station. We had made it a habit to stop in all the welcome stations along the way for a variety of reasons. The primary one, usually, was a rest room break. The secondary was the free maps. Maps have always fascinated me beyond their utility. I think part of it is dreaming of being in all those exotic and obscure places, wondering what they are like, noting the differences and similarities to the places I already know. At least that’s the romantic version of it.

The Welcome Center on I-40 just west of the Texas/New Mexico border had something even better than maps and a place to pee for free. They had Internet access. I’m an Internet junkie. I make my living doing Internet things and I also have a lot of fun hanging around on the Internet. For nearly four days, I was completely and totally without Internet access, so being able to get online for free, in the middle of nowhere, was too much to resist. Peeing can wait (it had to anyway, but I’ll get to that). Read more on Moving to Vegas: Day 4, the first half…

Posted in Lars Vargas, Moving, Mr. Vargas | 1 Comment »

Moving to Vegas: Day 3, the second half

On the road and hungry, Dad and I, adhering to the “local flavor if possible” rule of the road, had stopped at the only place for miles around. It was surprisingly bright and clean, but the owner serving us was a bit relaxed in her approach to service. OK, she was slow. But everyone was friendly. There was a man on a cell phone sipping tea and an older couple had just left. Dad and I were the only active customers left, so there was no denying us. We were ready to order, and there was no excuse not to come over and get those orders.

During our wait, we had studied the menu enough to note that it was actually a menu for another restaurant, but located in the same place (we think). There were also several suspicious menu items, such as a bowl of Chile and a Cheeseburger with only one “e” in cheese. Perhaps the extra “e” had migrated to the chili, hence the unusual geographical reference. There were other equally humorous “oopsies” on the menu, but I neglected to write them down. If I’m ever back in Sunset, TX, I’ll stop back in and hope they haven’t changed the menus. Something tells me I have nothing to fear. Read more on Moving to Vegas: Day 3, the second half…

Posted in Lars Vargas, Moving, Mr. Vargas | 2 Comments »

Moving to Vegas: Day 3, the first half

It was day 2 on the road from Orlando to Las Vegas. We had made excellent time on day one despite some rain. Day 2 looked like it was going to turn into another fine day of driving with Dad. I figured since this was my show, I was obligated to do more driving than Dad, so I took the first shift again. This was also nice because I usually got to take a post-lunch nap if I felt like it. Well as much nap as you can get in a moving truck.

As we started, Louisiana was still intact. Katrina was days behind us, so the drive out of state was a quick one: about 90 minutes or so. That’s when we hit Texas. For those who have been to Texas, you know everything is bigger there. It just is. And Texas itself is big. Very big. Big in a way that you can’t drive through the thing in a day big.

Texas also doesn’t look like I thought it would. The stereotype is that Texas is all pickup trucks and longhorn steers. We saw enough of those, but there are also lovely mountains, sloping hills, plains, and pretty much any other geological configuration you can imagine. Despite the fact that it seems to take forever to drive through Texas, it’s a drive worth taking. Read more on Moving to Vegas: Day 3, the first half…

Posted in Lars Vargas, Moving, Mr. Vargas | No Comments »

Moving to Vegas: Day 2, the second half

Day one is nearly over, but we’ve still got miles to go before we rest. We’re in the midst of trying to find a hotel, but the truck needed fuel in the meantime, so we have stopped at a gas station to fuel up both truck and man.

It was at this gas station that I discovered one really huge annoyance of $2.60 diesel fuel and 35-gallon fill-ups beyond the simple math of paying nearly $100 for a tank of fuel and knowing I would need about 9 of them to make this trip. I discovered that my credit cards (debit cards actually) only pre-approved $75.00 on most pumps, which meant two transactions and two receipts for each fill up. Read more on Moving to Vegas: Day 2, the second half…

Posted in Lars Vargas, Moving, Mr. Vargas | No Comments »

Moving to Vegas: Day 2, the first half

I started the day by checking my cell phone voice mail and was relieved that Mrs. Vargas and Luella had arrived safely in Las Vegas and were already settled in the new house.

Remember how Luella had received half a pill of Kitty Valium for the flight? Apparently Luella had actually spit out her relaxation pill, but didn’t need it. She behaved the entire way and only had a few audible complaints during the five-hour flight. Happy with the knowledge that the girls were safely in place and awaiting us, it was time to let the driving begin.

I have driven from Central Florida to points in the Northeast, such as Boston, MA and Buffalo, NY before. Twelve-hundred miles isn’t too bad of a drive. Well, we were looking at nearly twenty-five hundred from Dad’s house to Las Vegas. We had planned on 48 hours of driving over four days, meaning 12 hours a day, give or take.

No sense brooding; we got going. Read more on Moving to Vegas: Day 2, the first half…

Posted in Lars Vargas, Luella the Cat, Moving, Mr. Vargas, Mrs. Vargas | No Comments »

Moving to Vegas: Day 1, the second half

It was moving day. So far the mover had hit on my wife, left without us really having everything packed, and time was running out to get Mrs. Vargas and Luella the cat to the airport for their flight to our new home in Vegas.

And as time ran completely out, we got saved.

A $20 bill and a very nice neighbor got the leftover trash and stuff from the house taken care of. We left her behind with a key and some verbal instructions that I can only hope were relatively coherent. I know I wasn’t.

I did have to leave behind a huge amount of my hot sauce collection, and I’m a bit pissed about that, but you have to make sacrifices. At the end of the day, we had everything packed that we needed to get into the truck and a means to get the house empty for its new owner. We even managed to leave behind a few goodies for him. OK, so this generosity wasn’t necessarily planned in advance, but I’m sure he will appreciate the dishes, hot sauce collection, computer, and other artifacts of our life. Read more on Moving to Vegas: Day 1, the second half…

Posted in Lars Vargas, Luella the Cat, Moving, Mrs. Vargas | No Comments »

Moving to Vegas: Day 1, the first half

The day started out OK, and everything was going well until the mover showed up. He seemed chipper enough until he toured the house and proclaimed that I had lied to him about what had to be moved. Now if you want to get my attention in a hurry, call me a liar. I am many things, but a liar is not one of them. However, since I needed his services desperately, I decided to let that one slide.

I told him that I was very specific about what had to be moved and that I requested that he come out ahead of time and give me a quote, but in his words, he’s a professional and could tell from our conversation. OK so be it.

Well Mr. Professional Mover was just too upset and it “would kill” him to move all our stuff (despite the fact that a two-man crew had not only packed it but unloaded it the same day when we moved in). He told me wanted to leave and not do the job since he only had himself and an assistant but absolutely needed three men to do the job.

After going back and forth for a few minutes Mrs. Vargas came to the rescue and told him that he came recommended from friends and that professionals don’t leave jobs. So he decides to load our stuff in the truck, but grumbled that it would take more than six hours. Boohoo, I say. He’s getting paid hourly! Read more on Moving to Vegas: Day 1, the first half…

Posted in Lars Vargas, Luella the Cat, Moving, Mrs. Vargas | No Comments »