Monday, November 29, 2010

Rattie Vacation

People who have never been around rodents, particularly rats, are often flabbergasted when I say that one of the things I love so much about them is how each one has a distinct personality. Those poor rat-less ones just don't understand how something as small as my boys could develop into two completely opposite characters. It's hard to believe that they are of the same species, never mind actual litter mates.

Every so often I take the Adams and Calhoun to Provincetown for a vacation. (Yes, they are spoiled rotten. Lots of PEOPLE would like regular vacations in P-Town.).

Thanks to the generosity of my friend Virginia, I'm able to leave their "travel cage" there, so I don't have to haul a big cage every time we go.

Now both rats are very familiar with this travel cage. It's the same one I used for them for the first three or four months I had them, and they use it for 4 for 10 days at a time several times throughout the year.

When I put Adams in it, this is his reaction: (Body language translated for those who don't speak Rat.)
"Hey, this isn't my usual cage.  HOLY CRAP THIS ISN'T MY USUAL CAGE. WHERE'S MY CAGE? HELP! CALL 911! I HAVE TO HIDE! WHERE CAN I HIDE? I'LL TRY HERE! NO, THAT'S NO GOOD, I'LL TRY HERE! OH THAT'S NO GOOD EITHER! WHAT WILL I DO?? HELP! CALL THE ASPCA! I WANT TO GO HOME! THIS GIANT PRIMATE IS TORTURING ME! HELP! OH THIS IS JUST TERRIBLE."

This will go for about an hour, until he finally calms down. For this hour you must walk on egg shells, because if you inadvertently make a loud noise, the process starts all over again.

Next is how Calhoun reacts to the vacation cage:

"Hey, this isn't my usual...oh, look food."

End of discussion about the new cage.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Viva Las Vegas!

Stevie and I returned from our annual Las Vegas trip last month happy, tired, jet lagged, sick (me only) and BROKE. Sweet monkey fritters, did we manage to spend money. It'll be beans and rice for dinner for a few more months for me!
Here are some of our highlights:

Big Elvis.
Big Elvis has a (free!) afternoon show on weekdays at Bill's Gambling Hall. It's great show, and Pete Vallee (AKA Big Elvis) is just the nicest guy around. Stevie brings his Elvis costume every year, and Pete lets him be "Little Elvis" in the show. It just makes Stevie's week! Pete even declared that Stevie is the Official Little Elvis of the Big Elvis Show. Stevie couldn't be prouder!
Right here is where a video of Stevie being Little Elvis is supposed to be. I can't get the #_($# thing to work. So use your imagination. Picture Stevie in an Elvis costume, complete with wig and plastic blow up guitar, shaking his leg and being all-around ultra cool. 



Next it was on to dinner at Bennihana's. Stevie loves to watch them cook, won't eat the food! So basically, I'm out $35 for him to watch a guy throw knives around.

The other favorite thing that Stevie loves about Las Vegas is a show called "Bite", a topless Vampire show. How could it be any better...it has boobs and vampires!
Stevie wore his vampire costume to the show. They were so kind to him, they upgraded our seats to right down front. (Close up boobs!) and gave him a bag of "swag" on the way out, with pictures and some vampire teeth. He was in Seventh Heaven!

We also got together with the Siegfried and Roy North American Fan Club for a few dinners and some fun times. They are a great group of folks. One of the get togethers was at the Las Vegas Police K9 trials, where they have a police dog competition. The dogs are awe inspiring. They are so intelligent and so devoted to their handlers. I always get  a little misty-eyed, seeing how willing they are to put themselves in danger to protect their officers.
We also go to do a little meet and greet with Siegfried and Roy. They are both wonderful men, and have been very kind and gracious to the club over the years. Stevie calls them "The Tiger Guys". He used to love seeing their show. He would act it out in the hotel afterwards, jumping from bed to bed, making imaginary tigers appear and disappear.

After the K9s, it was off to the Hofbrauhaus. It's a recreation of a Munich Beer Hall, that has become annual tradition for the fan club. I bet we've had some good times there. If I could only remember.
Stevie likes that place because of Judy, the Jagermeister girl. (You may have noticed a theme in Stevie's vacation preferences. Girls are at the top of the list.) She remembers him from year to year and this year surprised him with a big bag of goodies, including a tee shirt and a lanyard. He certainly is spoiled!
More girls:





The weather was pretty awful for most of the week, so we only got a short amount of pool time in, and I was too sick to be out and about for too long, but we still managed to squeeze quite a bit in. Sometimes I felt so crappy that all could do was hand Stevie some money and watch him while he gambled. Thus the reason I came back so freakin' broke. He's very savvy in the ways of Vegas...he knows how to put the money in, what buttons to push, how to get the slip when he is done and how to find the cash-out machine. He has a slot machine system. My money goes in, and anything that comes out is his. It's a good system, I recommend it.  

  The last night of the trip was our annual Penn and Teller show. What an amazing show! I've seen it many times, but each time they add something new. I got to talk to their piano player, Mike Jones. Our topic of conversation? Rats, of course! Jonesy's wife is a rat trainer, and they have 30 rats, a few chinchillas, a couple of dogs and a few other creatures. He said that he lives in a petting zoo!
Check out his music on his web page:
He's wonderful. 

Penn and Teller always do a little "shake and howdy" after the show. I got to talk with Teller a little bit about the tours that I do at John Adams and John Quincy Adams graves. I invited him to check them out the next time he is in the Boston area. That would be incredible if he did!
Stevie looks little on a normal day. Next to Penn he looked like the President of the Lollipop Guild. 

All in all, it was a great trip. Stevie is already talking about going back. I think it might take me the rest of the year to recover. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Time to face reality

Well, my friends are gone,  my hair is gray, I ache in the places where I used to play... (Leonard Cohen)
Time to face reality and change my profile from "nearly fifty" to "fifty".

Never has the excision of six lowly letters caused me such sadness.