Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur


What Has Happened To My Luxor Hotel?

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

My heart is breaking. Ever since the first time Mike and I drove through Las Vegas and saw the Luxor Hotel being built, it has been my favorite Vegas spot. We have stayed there countless times. There was the time when Mike and I were sick and stayed in the hotel the entire stay. Unlike the time we were trapped by sickness at the Sahara, it was an alright trip. There was another time when we arrived at 3am to get a room. The only rooms they had left were on the second floor. Ours overlooked the swimming pool and it was a short walk to the parking lot.

The first time we saw The Blue Man Group was on a lark at another visit to the pyramid. I thought the management of the Luxor Hotel were geniuses because The Blue Man Group brought such a unique flavor to Las Vegas.

Mike and I were driving back from San Diego last weekend. I saw the billboard.

“Bluephoria! Yeah, Mike, that’s what The Blue Man Group was all about.”

Mike nodded and replied, “That billboard said The Venetian.”

“It did? Maybe they are starting another show at The Venetian.”

“Yeah, they could do that.”

Carrot Top at the Luxor HotelWhen we drove past The Luxor, however, all mention of The Blue Man Group was gone. Instead, we saw a billboard for Carrot Top. It was the same picture from when he visited the Utah State Fair. Luxor lost The Blue Man Group in order to get Carrot Top? Tell me it can’t be true…


Perfect Circle

Filed under: Books & Short Stories,Halloween,Reviews — Laura Moncur @ 8:45 pm

Perfect CircleI just finished reading Perfect Circle by Sean Stewart. It is a fiction book that follows the life of Will “Dead” Kennedy, or “DK” as his family used to call him. He’s an aging punk rocker who can’t get his life in order. Twelve years ago, his pregnant wife left him and he has been floating from one crappy job to another. Oh, and he can see ghosts.

It’s not a great thing for him. He can’t even drive because he confuses ghosts for people walking in the street. He wrecked enough cars dodging ghosts to swear off driving. He rides the bus to pick up his daughter for visitation and gets canned from yet another job. He is moping until he gets a call from a cousin begging him to get rid of the ghost from his garage. His cousin offers him $1000 in cash and he takes the offer.

That day, he learns the bare truth, “Sometimes a guy is haunted for a really good reason.”

I loved this book for all its little details. It’s set in Texas and I feel like a local now. I feel like I could walk into any Texas town and feel right at home. Even better, Will and his family are white trash. Not middle income or bourgeois, WHITE TRASH. I never get to see heros and their families who are dirt poor and trapped. His sisters are unwed mothers. His father went from jobs and get-rich-quick schemes to being unemployed and not rich. His Uncle Billy died in a refinery accident. His cousin AJ was killed by her biker boyfriend. I love his family and their dead-end dreams.

With the opressive heat of Texas, the poverty, the divorce he never got over, and all those dead people walking around, you would think that this book might be a little depressing. It could have been. Will goes to some pretty dark places. Places that are familiar and ugly to an aging punk rocker like me. I saw a glimpse of how my life could have been had I taken two steps to the South.

Check out all the quotations I got from this great book on the Quotations Weblog:

Quotations Weblog – Perfect Circle


Peeps by Scott Westerfeld

Filed under: Books & Short Stories,Halloween,Reviews — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

PeepsJust in time for Halloween, I just finished reading Peeps, by Scott Westerfeld. It is the best vampire book that I have EVER read. I remember liking Interview with a Vampire when I read it, but I didn’t feel the need to force everyone that I know around me to read it. That’s how I feel about Peeps. I feel like telling everyone, “You MUST go to the store right now and get this book and read it. It will take you less than a day or so to read it and you will be SO grateful to me that I forced it upon you!”

The plot centers around Cal. Over a year ago, he had a torrid one-night affair with a girl that he met in a bar. He didn’t even catch her last name, but he did catch something else: a parasite. Like AIDS, this parasite is transmitted sexually and turns its victims into cannibals. Cannibals who tend to fit the profile of vampires. Mirrors, crucifixes, rats, bats, and aversion to daylight are all symptoms of the parasite.

Fortunately for Cal (and unfortunately for his girlfriends), instead of turning into an insane savage, he grew stronger, gained an affinity for raw meat and became a carrier, like Typhoid Mary. Oh yeah, all his girlfriends went nutso crazy within months of meeting him, even that girl he kissed at New Year’s. Can a guy have any worse luck?

Yes, he can. Based on his girlfriend’s changes, the Night Watch was able to track Cal down and finally tell him the bad news. He’s not a vampire, but every girl he ever kisses (or more) will become one. Hey, would you like to help us track down your bloodthirsty ex-girlfriends?

This book is cleverly written. I laughed out loud many times while reading. It is also scary. I had nightmares the night that I stayed up late reading. The story moved along very well and just when I thought I had my finger on the plot of this book everything twisted out from under me for a fantastic ending that really made me want to hold the book in front of the face of all my friends.

Check out the great quotes I gathered from this book:

Quotations Weblog ยป Peeps by Scott Westerfeld


Messages from the Land of the Dead

Filed under: Halloween — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

The Corpse BrideIn honor of the movie “The Corpse Bride,” they have put up a few websites to play with. One of them is called Messages from the Land of the Dead:

I asked it the phrase, “Are you proud of me?” and it slowly spelled out the word, “N-O-P-E.”


They have another site called Sept23. It’s a freaky video filmed at a graveyard. You have to watch it to understand.


Halloween Costume Ideas

Filed under: Halloween — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Incredible CostumesEvery time I think that I’m over-doing it for Halloween, I realize that there are others out there who are far more obsessed than I am. Check out this website:

Cockeyed Presents: Incredible Costumes

My favorite quote:

“Normal people don’t buy stuff for their costume at Home Depot.”

My favorite costumes are the huge metallic wings (shown here) and the state of California costume. He also was a walking Jenga game and won a $10K prize for his Paparazzi Costume.

Every year, I am something bizarre for Halloween that involves lots of explaining. This year, I have vowed to be something easy that requires no explanation. I guess I’ll see how well I do this year.


Laurie Lipton Official Website

Filed under: Halloween — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Family Reunion by Laurie Lipton

In honor of Halloween, I direct you to the ultra-creepy artwork of Laurie Lipton.

Make sure that you scroll down to see all the artwork in the gallery. Enjoy!


Someone Who Likes Halloween More Than Me

Filed under: Halloween — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Whenever I feel like I go a little overboard, all I need to do is go on the Internet. There is always someone out there who is more obsessed than I am. Check out Britta:

This Saturday, she is doing a live webcast of her Halloween Party. When I look at the pictures of her Halloweens gone by, I just love the inventiveness of the costumes. They all look so creative and fun.


Haunted Wisconsin

Filed under: Halloween — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

If you are having a Halloween Party this year, it’s probably tonight. Here is a great website for some last minute ideas.

There are so many good ideas here that I’m hard pressed to choose my favorites. The saddest story this year, however is from Kimberly King’s Website:

Their home was destroyed by Katrina this year. They lost everything and the only remaining glimmer of their Halloween decorations survived in pictures on her website. They are starting from scratch next year, because this year, they are just trying to find a place to live.


Child-Free Couple’s Halloween

Filed under: Halloween — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Click to see full size Joy of Tech

I SWEAR! Mike and I would never do this. Linda would never stand for it. Sid, the dog, on the other hand…


Halloween Party 2005

Filed under: Halloween — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Vampire Laura 2005

My inner lower lip is raw and tender from being bitten accidentally all night by the vampire fangs. I don’t know how those Goth kids do it every weekend. Do they learn to talk with those fangs in their mouths? My S’s and Th’s were slurred all night and I didn’t drink a drop… of alcohol, that is…

The Halloween Party this year was a blast! Every year I’m blown away by the meticulous care that everyone puts into their costumes and potluck dishes. For some reason, the test tube shots looked more spectacular this year than all the years before. I think it was the Midori, Aftershock and Blue Curaco that really made them look experimental.

I always have anxiety that no one will come to my party. This year, 7pm rolled around and no one had arrived. I told myself that everyone likes to be fashionably late. At 7:20 pm, my mom showed up. I kept telling myself that if it was just my mom, Reed, Stacey, Dan, Mike and me, that it would be a fun party, but I was scared.

This year, my saviors were Chip and Julieanne. They showed up at 7:35 pm and suddenly, I had a party. I was so grateful when they arrived. Late may be fashionable, but on time is a blessing. The first arrival to my party is held dear to my heart always.

Halloween Music Mix 2005:

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