Saturday, April 21, 2007

My Visit to Santa Monica

Hi everyone! I hope all is well with you. I am doing great. I love Los Angeles!

I know it has been a long time since I updated you. Kristin says I am supposed to tell you that it is her fault. She has been SO busy on her computer every night that I fall asleep long before she is done working on the computer. I told her it was OK, but I know she feels bad that I haven't had computer time.

SO...let me update you on my latest trip to Los Angeles. I haven't been bored! Kristin and her friend Rima are busy working on the radio program. I've spent the time playing with Willa, my new cars, and a cool new book and puzzle Kristin bought me about the United States. Thanks Kristin!

I was really excited about coming here because I love to play with Willa. Guess what? She really likes my treats! And, she recognizes me every time Kristin visits Rima's house. Here you can see Willa snacking on one of the treats I helped pick out for her.

I think the radio program is almost done. But, it hasn't been easy for Kristin. She told me the program was too long and I guess it is really hard to make the program the right length. Kristin spent lots of time texting on her phone, e-mailing, instant messaging, and even calling Keith and Simon this week. I was starting to get worried that we were going to be here longer than Kristin had planned, but she says all is OK now. I forgot how hard it is to be a journalist!

Last weekend, Kristin took a break from her computer and took me to a place called Santa Monica Pier. It is located in the city of Santa Monica. See if you can find it on a map.

Guess what? The Santa Monica Pier is an amusement park on the beach. Can you believe it? There is a BIG Ferris wheel and a roller coaster right near the water! Kristin says the Santa Monica Pier is very famous and has been in lots of TV shows. I had no idea!

I really wanted to ride the roller coaster and the Ferris wheel, but Kristin said it was too cold. (Shh...don't tell Kristin...but I think she was afraid to ride the roller coaster and Ferris wheel). But, Kristin did let me ride on this cool carousel. Have you ever seen a carousel? It's like a big merry-go-round with fancy horses that go up and down as the carousel turns.

She even let me pick which horse I wanted to ride on.

The ride was pretty fun (but I still think the roller coaster would have been better!).

After the carousel ride, Kristin took me so I could see the beach and the ocean? Guess which ocean this is? ( is the Pacific).

Right before we left, Kristin took me to the beach so I could stick my feet in the sand for a little bit. The sand was nice and warm on my toes!

Kristin decided to go shopping after we visited the Santa Monica Pier. I don't always like shopping with Kristin, but I decided that she needed a break from all of her hard work. Plus, she took me to the I can't complain.

Until next time....

Back in Los Angeles

Hi everyone! I hope all is good in Iowa. Things are GREAT here in Los Angeles.

Kristin is here to finish the radio program she has been working on with Keith and Simon. We are in Los Angeles so Kristin can "mix" the program with her friend Rima. I LOVE going to Rima's house. She is very nice. And, her dog Willa is a great playmate!

Kristin and I got here on Tuesday. We are staying at the same hotel we stayed at last year (Embassy Suites). It is very nice. The hotel room has a small living room and a separate bedroom. It also has TWO TVs! Now I can watch cartoons while Kristin is watching something else.

Right after we got to Los Angeles...or LA as they say here....Kristin took me to a pet store so I could buy treats for Willa.

I picked out peanut butter-flavored fire hydrants and mailmen, pretzels, and green crunch bones. I sure hope Willa likes the treats!

I know that Kristin is going to be working a ton while we are here. I think she is worried I am going to be bored while she and Rima are making the radio program. I don't think I will be bored. I love playing with Willa. Plus, I don't mind spending some time learning how to make a radio program. But, Kristin bought me some Matchbox cars to play with. Thanks Kristin!

That's all for now. Bye!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Radio, Television, and More!

Hi everyone! Sorry it has taken me so long to update you on things.

I am now in Los Angeles with Kristin. We got here on Tuesday afternoon. I thought we were going to drive to Los Angeles, but Kristin told me it was easier to fly. Here I am with Kristin waiting by a cool snake sculpture at the Las Vegas airport.

I will have lots of things to report about Los Angeles, but I wanted to give you one final update about Las Vegas first.

I think I told you that Keith and Kristin were in Las Vegas to attend a convention. I learned on Monday that the convention is called RTNDA@NAB. Wow...that's a LOT of letters! Kristin says the letters stand for the "Radio Television News Directors Association at the National Association of Broadcasters" annual convention. Whew...that's a LONG name, isn't it!

Anyway, Keith says this is the largest gathering of broadcasters in the United States. He also says Las Vegas is one of the few places in the entire country that can hold the convention. That's because the convention includes a HUGE building full of radio and television equipment.

Keith and Kristin took me over to the building with all of the equipment. I was shocked! I have never seen so many cameras, television sets, and microphones in my entire life. There was even a few helicopters INSIDE the convention center! Kristin says the helicopters are models that television stations can buy. I had no idea!

There was SO much to see in the convention hall, that I think it would take an entire week to see everything. Here is just ONE aisle of equipment so you get the idea of what I saw.

Keith and Kristin did look at a few radio recorders. They also looked at the newest computers that can help them make a radio show. Kristin also bought me a Las Vegas bear to help me remember Las Vegas and t-shirts for my brother and sister. Thanks Kristin!

On Monday afternoon, I found out Keith and Kristin were hosting a panel discussion for the RTNDA. The panel was to help American radio and television reporters learn how to report on global topics like Keith and Kristin do. And, guess what? My friend Simon was on the panel!

The other people on the panel were Lawrence Korb, Jamie McIntyre, and Debby Bush. Kristin says Mr. Korb used to work for President Reagan and he now works in Washington, DC. Mr. McIntyre is a reporter for CNN news. Kristin says my Aunt Lynn has probably seen Mr. McIntyre on TV. I will have to ask her! Debby Bush is a news person from Kansas City. They were all very nice!

After the talk was over, Kristin, Keith, and Simon went to dinner with Mr. Korb. After dinner, Keith and Kristin took me on another tour of Las Vegas. Guess what? I saw something else that looked really familiar outside a hotel called Caesars Palace.

Can you see the statue? It looks just like that "Nike" statue that I saw at the Louvre Museum in Paris earlier this year. Kristin says it isn't the real statue. I saw the REAL statue in Paris. How cool is that?

I must have been VERY tired from my exciting day in Las Vegas because I fell asleep before we got back to the hotel.

That's my wrap-up on Las Vegas. Kristin needs to get back to working on her computer, so I will send another message about Las Angeles when I can.

Bye for now!

Greetings from Las Vegas!

Hi everybody! I am writing to you from Las Vegas, Nevada! My friends Keith and Kristin from the Stanley Foundation are here in Las Vegas for a big convention. We arrived in Las Vegas on Sunday night and we're staying at the Las Vegas Hilton near the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Here's the view from Kristin's hotel room.

The mountain you can see in the background reminds me of the red rock mountains I saw in Arizona last summer. That's when Kristin showed me on the map that Nevada and Arizona are right next to each other. I guess that's why the mountain looks so familiar! I noticed a lot of sand on the way from the airport to the hotel. Kristin says that's because Las Vegas is surrounded by desert. Who knew?

Keith and Kristin decided to take me on a tour of Las Vegas Sunday night. Before we left for the tour, Keith told me that Las Vegas is famous for gambling. I had no idea! Keith says most people who visit Las Vegas come here to gamble or to attend a convention. Kristin says there are places called "casinos" and "casino games" all over Las Vegas. They are casino games in the airport, at EVERY hotel, and even in some restaurants. But Kristin warned me that I wasn't going to get to play any casino games. She says that casino games are only for adults. She also says I can't even walk into a casino without an adult because I am not 21 years old. :(

Kristin must have seen the look on my face because she told me not to be too upset. She says there are lots of interesting things to see in Las Vegas. That's when I learned Keith has been to Las Vegas many times and really, really likes it here. Kristin says she visited here when she was my age. She thinks Las Vegas is a big amusement park. I love amusement parks. So, I think I will like Las Vegas, even if I can't play any casino games.

There was a VERY LONG line of people waiting for a taxi at the hotel, so Keith and Kristin decided to take something called the "monorail." The monorail looks like a subway train. But the monorail isn't underground. It is hundreds of feet ABOVE my head. How cool is that?

The monorail runs between major hotels on something Keith calls, "The Strip." "The Strip" is a name people call an area of Las Vegas that has lots of hotels and casinos.

Wow! Do you see all of the bright lights? Las Vegas is like Times Square in New York, except it is MUCH bigger. I've never seen so many flashing lights and big TV screens in my entire life! Even the McDonald's sign has cool, blinking lights.

It sure doesn't look like the McDonald's sign in Muscatine, does it?

When we got off the monorail, I asked Keith where we were going. He told me we were going to Paris. Paris? I thought Paris was in France. Keith just smiled and told me that Paris was just a short walk away. Guess what? He was sort of right. There is a hotel here called "Paris" and the hotel's main lobby was built to look like streets in Paris. There is even an Eiffel Tower that goes right through the roof of the lobby.

Since I have seen the REAL Paris, I can tell you that "Paris" in Las Vegas is nothing like Paris, France. But, the Eiffel Tower here does look neat at night.

After we left "Paris," Kristin said we were going to New York. What? I was just in New York City last week! It turns out there is a hotel here called, "New York, New York." The outside of the hotel was built to look like the tall buildings in New York City. The hotel even has a Statue of Liberty in front of it!

Inside, the hotel's lobby looks like the inside of Grand Central Station in New York City. There is even a huge pretzel stand inside the hotel that is a bigger version of the pretzel carts I see on the streets in New York. "New York, New York" in Las Vegas is cool, but I still like the real New York City better!

After we left "New York, New York," Keith and Kristin took me to a hotel called "MGM Grand." Keith says it is a very famous hotel in Las Vegas and has been here for a LONG time. I wasn't too impressed when we walked inside. It looked just like some of the other big hotels I've stayed at before with Keith and Kristin. But then I saw two HUGE lions walking around in an area near the hotel lobby. Yes, there were REAL lions inside the hotel! But don't worry, they were behind a tall glass wall. Here I am near the glass wall. Can you see the lions behind me?

Kristin asked me if I wanted to get closer to the lions. Of course, I said yes! She took me to a special place where people can walk UNDER the lions. How cool is that?! Kristin says it was hard to take a photo of the lions through the glass. The photos might not be great, but trust me, it was AWESOME to walk under the lions.

I thought it was strange that there were lions inside the hotel. Keith told me the MGM Grand was built in the 1970's by one of the people who owned a movie company called "Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer." Kristin says the company always starts its movies with a big, roaring lion. That's why there are lions at the hotel. I had no idea! I'm going to have to pay closer attention to the start of movies I watch to see if I see the lion Kristin is talking about.

Keith and Kristin ate dinner at the MGM Grand. Afterwards, they told me there was one more place they wanted me to see. It was already WAY past my bedtime, but I decided I could stay awake a bit longer. (Shh...don't tell my Mom and Aunt Lynn that I stayed up way past my bedtime!).

Guess where Keith and Kristin took me? Egypt! Well, OK...we didn't really go to Egypt, but we did go to a hotel that was built to look like some of the famous places I saw on my trip to Egypt. The hotel is called "The Luxor." It's named after Luxor, Egypt. That's where King Tut's tomb is!
I didn't see King Tut at the Luxor in Las Vegas, but the main part of the hotel is shaped like the sphinx and pyramids I saw at Giza, near Cairo.

"The Luxor" even has a small building that looks like the Karnak Temple in Luxor. Trust me, the REAL Karnak Temple is MUCH cooler!

As Keith and Kristin were taking me back to the Hilton, I realized that there was a theme to many of the places I saw along the Strip. Many of the hotels and casinos were built to look like famous places around the world. Then I realized that I have actually visited the REAL places that Keith and Kristin took me to in Las Vegas! Kristin just smiled and told me that was why she wanted me to visit Las Vegas.

She says many people come to Las Vegas to see hotels like "Paris" and "The Luxor" because they can't visit the real places. Wow! I am a very lucky flat boy! I am SO glad Keith and Kristin take me on their big adventures.

That's all for now...I need to get some sleep.