2015 Sep 20 | Startups in the Sky, Las Vegas Vision Expo

It's raining, which means lots of accidents. First one is right here.

Second one is here, with the cop swerving back and forth to slow down traffic in front of it.

Not an accident, but construction that turns this two-lane road into a one lane. Traffic was really, really backed up from this, too.

Accident number three.


And five. Usually I see one accident every five days I make this drive, not five in one day. So I guess if you do the math people in LA drive 25 times worse in rain.

The Metrolink is a commuter train. Unforunately it doesn't go close enough to anywhere I want to go to be of much use.

I wonder how annoying rain is to motorcylces drivers.

I got my new phone, but now it doesn't work on the network. So I had to go online and activate the phone through Sprint. The support person was kind of creepy; she was way overly friendly and excited.

Even after that it still didn't work because the SIM card wasn't working. So I had to take it in to a Sprint store to get a new SIM card. However, most of the Sprint stores don't have SIM cards. Thankfully one I went in said there was one nearby that did have them.

OK, activated and new SIM card, let's see how many messages I have after three weeks or so. Nineteen, fun.

Seven is delete voice mail message, four is replay. Obviously most of the messages were crap.

Putting my apps back on went pretty smoothly. The only exception is Astrid tasks, which had been discontinued. I previously had an older version which worked fine, but the newer version which installed onto the new phone had errors, so I had to find a different task app.

It's also hard finding a good weather widget. I want a multi-day forecast with lots of useful information packed into a small space; unfortunately most had big pictures that took up a lot of space with no info or only a lot of info on today only.

Tuesday night we went to Startups in the Sky, which was in a loft in the Gaslamp building.

It had a nice view.

A rooftop restaurant below us.

Looking farther out to the east.

They had some artists.


A pingpong table.

Another artist.

It'd be a cool place to live; an entire open apartment wrapped around the elevators in the middle.

The panel discussion.

The elevators have Flight Aware for LAX; that's a neat idea.

At MacArthur Park checking out the giant floating painted balls.

Us with the balls behind.

Here comes the sun.

On Thursday I went to Eyed LA for my eye exam. It got great reviews and Yelp for the doctor.

Dr. Maylin Gonzalez was really upbeat and fun.

We headed to Vegas for Vision Expo early on Friday morning.

Thankfully there was very little traffic on the way.

A few parachuters as we got close to Vegas.

First order of business: getting my shoes shined.

They look good.

Then onto the expo hall to check out what's new. Some fun frames.

A portable exam system.

Frames that float.

Cool temple tip colors.

A booth with M&Ms.

Pixelated frames.

A cool-looking instrument holder.

I like these iCare tonometers, but they're still a bit too expensive when I can do it myself almost as easily. Maybe in the future, though.

A cell-phone based autorefractor.

A free EHR system.

Cute glasses holders.

I thought folding glasses went out of style in the 80s. These look cool, though.

Pens and other goodies I picked up.

Had to grab a couple of wristbands for the Marchon party that evening, too.

I might have been the only guy walking around with a Hello Kitty bag, but hey, like the rep said, it went well with my shirt.

Onto a poker tournament at Planet Hollywood.

We didn't get very far in this one, although I did make the final table.

They were filming some TV show at the table next to ours.

An indoor rain shower.

Always love the fountains at Bellagio.

That's a good way to keep Uber and Lyft from cluttering up space elsewhere.

Pretty ceiling.

I don't know how it'd be fun to just sit and play high-roller slots all day long, but some people must.

The card room, where we played cash for a few hours. It was pretty easy to tell the local, regular players from the out-of-town vacationers, and usually the locals played better, but the vacationers got lucky at times.

Pretty art gallery.

One of my least favorite things about Vegas: all of the stripper cards littering the sidewalks.


The front desk at our hotel, the Artisan.

A panoramic of the entrance with Ogii reading a book.

The bar.

The hallways had tons of art on them.

An outdoor patio.

Another fun hallway.

The pool.

The pool is topless.

Each room has art from a different person.

Our room.

We got a free bottle of champagne.

The had free porn on the TV. Nobody under 21 is even allowed to stay at the hotel, which, on one hand, is nice, as you don't have to deal with crying children.

On the other hand, it's a bit of a party hotel, with the nightclub and pool both getting pretty loud all night long, so we grabbed some earplugs to sleep better.

Watching a YouTube video on how to use them since they didn't seem to work that well.

Ah, you're supposed to roll them. I had always just smashed them instead. They work much better when used correctly. Even though it was supposed to be loud, it wasn't that bad. Actually, the worst noise was from the highway nearby and cars honking late at night, so the earplugs helped dampen those noises.

Our hotel from the highway. The pool is behind all of those trees.

These drink containers are almost as tall as Ogii.

Pretty reflective gold buildings.

There's always a crowd for the fountains.

Friday night was the Marchon Party at Paris.

Lots of free appetizers.

A pool filled with balls.


More food.

There were giving out these light-up hair extensions.

They had multiple photobooths, but the lines were pretty long.


This popsicle freezer was kind of hidden, so not many people saw it. When we were walking around with them at least ten people asked us where we found them.

Ogii with one of the dancers.

They had contortionists dancing to the music. I just realized maybe it's to go along with their Flexon frames.

A dueling piano bar.

Saturday morning I had CE meetings. Also it looks like our club crawl that evening goes until 3:30am; we're definitely going to have to take a nap in the evening before that.

The lecture had us using remote to answer questions on the screen to get the audience's thoughts.

These parking level cards are a nice touch.

One of the nice things about driving to Vegas is we have the car, so it's easier to get to places not on the strip without having to use a taxi / Uber / Lyft. Ogii found this steakhouse called Echo & Rig in a somewhat-upscale outdoor mall that was more in the residential part of the city.

Us with our food.

We ate on the outdoor patio. The ceiling had both heaters and misters with fans, so whether it was cool or warm outside, it was very comfortable.

There was only one other group of people outside, and they were at the table right next to ours. It turns one woman was the owner's mother, so they told us what to order. These are the portebello mushroom fries.

The steak was decent, and the chips and bigger mushroom were both very good.

Ogii loved the steak because it had a lot of fat on it.

They also sold various cuts of meat downstairs.

A Peter Lik gallery in the Venetian. He sells extremely-expensive landscape photographs.

They have these nice little viewing rooms off to the sides which highlight different pieces of art.

Playing slots for a few minutes.

The slot machines had USB chargers built in.

Charging my phone. Although I think I accidentally hit one of the bet buttons while plugging it in because right after this we were betting like 20 cents instead of 1 cent. Thankfully we caught that.

Every one in a while we got this, where you keep picking squares on the screen until three match.

Then it plays through that many free plays on its own without you having to press any buttons. Actually, that would be how I'd want to play slots; just sit there and stare. Pressing the bet button is so much work. Although I'd want to make it go a little slower than this did so I could stretch out my dollar a bit longer.

Pretty ceiling.

Time for the club crawl. The first stop was Rockhouse, which had this cool leopard-print pool table.

The bar.

Beer pong.

And a giant Connect Four.

Ogii looking good.

A nice view from the balcony with the moon above and the gondolas below.

One of the barcrawl hosts had two iPhones on a selfie stick to hold in the air and guide everyone.

Explaining the plan.

Off we go.

Into one of the party buses.

With the lights on.

Good to be near that in case the bus flips.

Our first stop was the SLS casino, which had this really colorful entrance.

Looking up at the mirrored ceiling.

They had a life band playing right there.

Then into Foxtail nightclub.

Everyone wanted to take pictures with this giant duck outside.

We didn't particularly like the club, so we wandered around the rest of the casino. It used to be the Sahara, and this area was still being renovated, so there weren't many people around. Neat carpet.

Ogii in front of the LiFE nightclub lights. Too bad it closed; from reading online, it had music we would have preferred to Foxtail. Still a cool picture.

The next stop was Chateau at Paris, which had both indoor and outdoor rooftop areas.

Us with the Eiffel Tower.

They said Jennifer Lopez was going to be coming. They set out a line of those retractible-belt sanchions, and Ogii said that's where she was going to be walking in. I wasn't so sure; I thought it was just to block off the crowd from one area of the club. But then they put another set in so they formed a walkway through the crowd. Thankfully we were already right beside it. So then everyone stood there for about an hour with their phones pointed down the walkway, and finally she came and everyone got their picture or video of her. Seems like a crazy amount of star worship; what a waste of time to stand there for an hour just for a picture of someone walking by.

Buffet at the MGM Grand. Always start with the dessert table.

More desserts.

A huge area with tons of TVs showing all of the sports games.

They had many big, comfy chairs, but even with all of those there were still lots of people standing.

One last poker tournament before we leave.

Me at the other table.

Doing fairly well, going in the right direction.

The guy in the red hoodie giving a thumbs up to the camera seemed really familiar, and he said he thought he remembered playing with me at some time, but we couldn't place exactly where.

Still moving up.

They also had a fair number of TVs showing the sports games in here. We got down to the final six players, I and two other guys were the chip leaders with the other three players much lower, and I and one of the other leaders got into a huge hand. He hit a two-outer on the turn to beat me. Oh well, it was really fun; once we got to the final table a lot of the people were joking around with each other.

Nice statues.

Metal flowers in the road divider.

Metal cutouts of sheep farther down the road.

The drive back to LA on Sunday afternoon wasn't too bad. A fair number of cars but we didn't have to really slow down other than a few times.

It was really hot out, though.

We stopped at the Tanger outlets on the way back. You have to go across this little bridge to get there; I wonder if there are larger vehicles that can't fit between the sides?

I really liked these shirts, but they were a little too big.

Ogii on one side.

And the other.

Aw, these girls' car broke down. Funny how they're still in their clubbing dresses.

Pretty sunset with the hills at different depths.