The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...

Monday, November 23, 2015

A Day Late and a Few Dollars Short (#BOTB Winner)

English: Trump Hotel in Las Vegas (tilt corrected)
Trump Hotel in Las Vegas  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



       As of my writing of this post, it's been a few hours since my having returned from a short vacation to Las Vegas with my wife.  We'd gone there to meet up with our daughter and her family--she was there for a conference for a few days and my wife wanted to be able to spend some time with them.  It was a nice little vacation trip and I only lost about fifty dollars or so playing the slots.  Not a bad sum to have lost, but I'd rather had come home with my pockets bulging with winnings.

       I had made reservations for four nights at Harrah's which is where we'd usually been staying for our past several visits.   Later my wife requested that I add Saturday night to our stay.  The rate was increased for that night and the hotel said we'd have to change rooms, so for about the same price I found that we could move to the Trump Hotel for the one night so that's what we decided to do.  We'd never stayed in a Trump property so we thought why not check it out with all the current Trump hoopla and all.

       In the end I'm glad we made that decision because the Trump is indeed a beautiful hotel.  The pricing was essentially the same as other properties that I had checked so it wasn't like we could have saved much without staying at some property with which we were unfamiliar or one that might have been a dump.   No dump the Trump.  Not in our normal budgetary range, but it was a fun stay even though we weren't in the room very long.

      Everything in Vegas is so much more expensive than it used to be years ago.  I didn't see any advertisements about the ninety-nine cent shrimp cocktails or $6.99 buffets.  Vegas is crowds of people--though it wasn't as crowded as I'd seen on previous visits--and casinos reeking of cigarette smoke--though not as bad as it used to be.  I think less people smoke these days.

      Everywhere we went there were opportunities to spend, spend, spend and plenty of people doing just that.   We tried to take care about our own spending, but money seems to fly out of your pockets--or get charged to your credit card--wherever you go.  Bye-bye hard-earned money.  Play now, pay later.

        We left early enough on Sunday to avoid the worst traffic heading back to Los Angeles.  Aside from a couple of slow downs, the trip went smoothly.  We got home before dark (thank goodness) and I collapsed on the bed for a one hour nap.  Then for dinner I opened a big can of hot and spicy Juanita's menudo and ate all three servings of the tripe and hominy stew in a spicy broth all by my lonesome.  My wife won't even try the stuff and leaves the room when I eat it.  What can I say other than I have acquired a taste for menudo and get a craving for it every now and then.

         And that brings me to the Battle of the Band winner between the two versions of the song "Preso".    And the preceding story explains in part why this winner announcement post is coming a day or two later than everyone else's.





The Winner:  "Preso"

       My most recent Battle of the Bands post featured the Spanish language song "Preso" as performed by Mexican artists Cristian Castro and Aleks Syntek.  I wasn't overly surprised about which version won the most votes, though I didn't expect the victory to be so overwhelming.

       First let me explain which version I voted for and why.  When I listen to music, no matter what language it's in, I tend not to listen to the lyrics as much as I take in the overall effect of the music along with the style of the vocals.  I'm more interested in how a song sounds than what it says.  Prior to putting this Battle together I never really thought about what the song was about so lyrics were of no influence on me.

        The romantic styling of Cristian Castro is something that I enjoy listening to and there's nothing bad I can say about this artist.   His style is soothing and comforting like a bowl of good chicken noodle soup.  When I'm in the mood for soothing and comforting and romantic then give me Castro's version.

         On the other hand, for me at least, Syntek has an original modern sound that I can dig--he's the menudo of my soup analogy (not to be confused with the band Menudo).  As I'd mentioned in my previous post, Syntek first caught my attention when I saw the video for his very cool song Historias De Danzón Y De Arrabal.   Later I realized that I had the José José tribute album which included Syntek's version of "Preso".   I like the edgy style of Syntek's recording right from the sampling of the violins at the opening to the catchy funk style that he uses in his version.
  
         My vote goes to the Aleks Syntek version of "Preso".     I can listen to this version more often than the Castro version though that's not to cast any aspersion on the romantic styling that Castro puts into his.  They are both good to my ears.

         Most of you were not in agreement with me on this as can be seen in the final outcome of the voting.

Final Vote Tally

Cristian Castro                26 votes

Aleks Syntek                   12 votes


       As a bonus I offer the video of Historias De Danzón Y De Arrabal which has become a favorite song and video for me.  This song gives a good idea of the type of pop music that I enjoy.    Hope you'll take a listen and let me know what you think.






         My next Battle of the Bands post will be on Tuesday December 1st.  At that time I will be presenting a song for our times and one related to the season in a sense.  One of my artist choices will be one that Stephen T McCarthy loves while the other he may not like so much.  I'm going to take my chances with this Battle.   You won't want to miss it!







53 comments:

  1. That was my favorite version as well.
    Vegas is so different now. I remember those .99 cent shrimp cocktails. Now it caters more to families and attractions and shows rather than relying on just the gambling to bring in money.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Alex, Vegas has become more Disneyland vacation and convention/conference destination than just for gamblers. Now casinos are all over the country and gamblers don't have to just go to Vegas to throw away their money.

    Lee

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi, Lee! Viva lost wages! I'm glad you enjoyed your recent trip. Like you, I tend to concentrate more on the overall sound and feel of a recording and not as much on the words and their meaning. Your ears didn't match mine this time around but I enjoyed both versions you presented.

    Have a great week, good buddy Lee!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shady, the trip was nice, but as they say there's no place like home.

      Lee

      Delete
  4. LEE, I certainly liked this Syntek song better'n the one you featured in your Battle. The other ('Preso') just sounded like typical Techno-Pop to me - nuttin' original.

    This recording had a nice melody and sound. I liked it!

    Hmmm... Your December 1st Battle? The Carpenters? The Beach Boys? Johnny Mathis?

    Those are the first 3 that jumped into my mind, although I obviously love many other artists. And Mathis and The Carpenters recorded many Christmas / Holiday songs, so I'll guess it's one of them. (Be careful if you use Karen. She doesn't lose BOTBs and usually wipes out the competition. Ha!)

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. STMcC, glad you liked this Syntek song better--it's definitely got a different more traditional sound than his version of "Preso".

      Not even close on your guesses. And though the song relates to the Season, it's also a song for all seasons. It's not a song that most people would connect to Christmas for the most part. I'm sure you'll like this song--one that was used in one of the biggest tearjerker movies of all time.

      Lee

      Delete
    2. Hmmm... Now I'm really curious. Big tearjerker movie, eh?

      Well, if it's 'TITANIC', I won't know it because I never saw that one.

      ~ D-FensDogG

      Delete
    3. Much older than the Leo Titanic. Think 1950's.

      Lee

      Delete
  5. Lee, Vegas sure has changed. It's fun walking to and from the connected resorts and checking out the stores, most out of our budget. Costs a lot of money compared to twenty years ago, but it's money well spent I think.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stephen, I still enjoy walking around the casinos and all, but forget about going to high priced shows. Eating out can be expensive anywhere these days, but Vegas doesn't have the food bargains it used to. Hotels are a lot more than I used to pay as well. A Vegas trip is not a good investment, but it's probably as fun as you can find for your dollar if you avoid the gambling--well, that is unless you know how to when which I don't.

      Lee

      Delete
  6. Juanita's menudo sounds a whiole lot better than tripe and hominy stew in a spicy broth

    Sounds like haggis with an attitude....

    Larry

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Larry, yeah, somehow "tripe and hominy stew" doesn't get it for me, but initially neither did the smell of the stuff. Now I've gotten used to it and crave it now and then. I think a lot of the restaurants that serve menudo probably use the canned stuff--it tastes the same.

      Lee

      Delete
    2. Kind of funny-wasn't their a boy band called "Menudo?"

      Delete
    3. Larry, there was indeed a boy band called "Menudo" but I have no idea how they smelled.

      Lee

      Delete
  7. I never had a desire to go to Vegas. I am not a gambler at all and don't like the "rip-off" feel even with the shows done there, which are still very expensive. I still think of Vegas from the Rat Pack era and the decadence/seediness of the 70's. I know I am really off. Glad you had a great time though. I am not surprised by the battle and looking forward to the next battle

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Birgit, Vegas is worth a visit now and then if you can afford it or budget properly. It's really no bigger rip-off than Disney parks or any other attractions. There's plenty enough free stuff to bombard the senses that you can get by with just lodging and food and the price of getting there. Every time I go there are new things to see.

      Lee

      Delete
    2. And don't forget that Zia Records has two (count 'em!) stores in Las Vegas.

      Guess where I spend my time?

      Delete
    3. Larry, so I take it you're not at the "gentleman's clubs"?

      Lee

      Delete
  8. Some of the changes to Vegas are nice, some not so much. It's sounds like you enjoyed yourself though so yippie.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HR, I guess the whole world is changing in the same way so Vegas is just keeping up with all the changes.

      Lee

      Delete
  9. Glad you enjoyed your short vacation! Sometimes the short ones are just as invigorating as another ;-)
    Mi vida makes a terrific (so I'm told) Caldo de Menudo, but he has to invite the nephews over to eat it because my daughter and I refuse - ha!
    Looking forward to the next battle!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Diedre, I'm not sure I'd want to make my menudo at home from scratch. It seems like something that could really stink up the house. The aromas from cooking tripe is somewhat akin to the smells of a barnyard.

      Lee

      Delete
  10. Sounds like fun, although I wouldn't give one red cent to Trump properties. I despise that man. I went to Vegas once...you're right about money flying out of your pocket there!!! Easy to do!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. JoJo, I've now been to Vegas many times, but this trip was my first in about 6 years I think.

      Lee

      Delete
  11. Hi Lee - so pleased you were able to meet up with your daughter and have that time together as a family ... sounds fun and I've never been to Vegas - not really sure if I want to .. guess I need to see it sometime! Cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hilary, a first time visit can be dazzling and overwhelming. Follow-up visits are usually fun. It's nice to feel like you can spend without care, but unfortunately I'm not in that situation and have to be somewhat budget minded.

      Lee

      Delete
  12. Whoa... That is, indeed, a huge margin. Like you, I'm not really surprised by the winner, but I didn't expect the difference to be so big. Again—whoa. (But I'm inordinately pleased to hear your vote went to Aleks :D )

    Thanks for making me a part of this battle, Lee. It was amazing fun, and I look forward to the next one. In the meantime, and just in case I don't get to visit before Thursday, happy Thanksgiving!
    Guilie @ Quiet Laughter

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Guilie, I thought the Syntek version was so cool and original--how could I not vote for him. I enjoyed the collaboration as well.

      Happy Thanksgiving to you as well even if you don't celebrate that specific day where you are.

      Lee

      Delete
  13. How well I remember Las Vegas, been there twice, once to see Danny Boy the other was when I met you.
    Hey I picked the winner of the vote Presto.
    Happy Thanksgiving Day to you Lee and family.
    Yvonne.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yvonne, yes, you were with the majority on your vote. Thanks for the Turkey Day wishes.

      Lee

      Delete
  14. VEGAS! We were there in 2012 and like you, I was shocked by how much the prices had increased for everything. Previous visit had been in 1989 and it has changed so much since then. The heat diffusing canopy downtown complete with light show is a nice touch.

    I went with the majority for your BOTB. Couldn't check out the video - not available in Canada, but I'll look for a substitute.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Debbie, granted they spend a fortune on the attractions in Vegas. Each new casino is more amazing than the previous one.

    Lee

    ReplyDelete
  16. Wow, so, what happens in Vegas stayed in Vegas? Hey, you got bumped to the Trump-looks nice~ I remember driving through-it is crazy busy there~ I am glad you went and glad you are home!

    Nice for your and your wife-to get away and see your daughter! I love your favorite song~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ella, actually there were less crowds and traffic than I seem to remember from past visits. Maybe it was the holiday season though I would have thought that might bump up the crowds. Still there were more people than I'm used to seeing in one geographical location.

      Lee

      Delete
  17. I really like that Historias song, it has a nice beat and makes for great background music with a little cha cha cha! It sounds like you had a nice trip to Vegas, I have not had a chance to visit yet. I'm not a gambler, but it would be fun to see some shows there someday.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Elizabeth, I'm so glad you enjoyed "Historias". There are more shows than you could see in a year there and always something new. I'm amazed how so many hotels, restaurants, and other businesses stay in competition yet they all seem to be doing okay. I'm guessing there had to have been at least a million Vegas visitors each night that I was there.

      Lee

      Delete
  18. I think a night at Vegas would be good. Haven't been there yet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lux, a night in Vegas is nice as long as you can hold on to your money or have money to blow.

      Lee

      Delete
  19. I've never been to Vegas. A friend took me to a casino on a reservation several years ago. We played some sort of card game (not 21). I had no idea what we were doing. The casino was beautifully decorated. Although they ran air purifiers, the stench of cigarettes couldn't be escaped. I'm not interested in gambling. My ex-husband is a gambling addict, but even before I learned that, I didn't want to gamble. I like sure things.

    Love,
    Janie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Janie, I'm not much into gambling and like you I don't even understand most of the games so I don't bother with them. I'll play a few slots or buy a lottery ticket now and then, but mostly I can resist the lure of gambling. Besides, I don't have the money to lose or even risk.

      Lee

      Delete
  20. I've never been to Vegas, but then I've never been much of a gambler either so not sure what the point would be. I voted with you on this musical challenge. The additional video you presented is really interesting. I'd watch it again for sure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jeffrey, Las Vegas has become such a huge tourist destination for families and people of all interests. There is literally something for everyone there. Not interested in gambling? There are A class amusement rides, an array of shows and concerts, crazy dining and shopping, as well as museums, historical sites, and nature spots. While there we visited a great museum and desert habitat complex that took up much of one day to see. I guarantee that you would find something in Vegas and vicinity that would be of interest to you.

      Lee

      Delete
  21. I haven't been to Vegas in at least three years, but the next time I do go, I think I'll try that Trump Hotel....although I'll try hard to avoid those higher floors.

    Happy Thanksgiving, Lee. I hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Patricia, the higher floors have the best views. We were on the 30th floor. The elevator was so fast and smooth that you barely noticed you were going up.

      You have a great Thanksgiving and holiday season as well.

      Lee

      Delete
  22. We used to go to Vegas for family reunions, but it's lost its appeal for me in the past few years. Maybe because I'm no longer going as my parents' daughter. Now that I'm paying for everything myself, things aren't as fun. It's so crowded, expensive, and my husband and I don't gamble. I'm not sure how my parents managed it.

    Unfortunately, my grandparents' generation has all but died off. This year was the last of the Vegas reunions for the foreseeable future. It's sad, but most of the family can't afford to go anymore.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Loni, it can be expensive in some ways though if you live relatively close and do things right it can also be economical I suppose.

      Lee

      Delete
  23. I've never been to Vegas but I spent some time at the Trump Hotel in Atlantic City. It was fabulous! I never had any real big money to spend in the casinos but i found I was always broke within the first hour!

    I liked your battle and found Castro to be exceptionally pleasing. I'm like you: it's the music that sells me on a song. The lyrics are secondary.

    Have a very happy Thanksgiving Lee! Enjoy the time with your family and friends...

    Michele at Angels Bark

    ReplyDelete
  24. Michele, I always limit myself with the slots especially now that I have limited funds. Gambling has never increased my wealth and I don't expect that to change now.

    Lee

    ReplyDelete
  25. Well, geez, I got so nosy trying to figure out what you were posting, aimed at Stephen... I forgot to leave my comment. Oops!

    I liked Cristian Castro's version so much, I want to copy the link. I'll head back that post in a second. Definitely romantic. I can deal with one. Ha!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dixie, I try to inject stuff that might interest readers who have no interest in BOTB so I guess in can be confusing at times. Glad you enjoyed Cristian Castro's music.

      Lee

      Delete
  26. Just dropping in to wish you and yours a happy day today. I'm thankful that writing has brought me the opportunity to get to know you. Be well.

    ReplyDelete
  27. The first time we visited Vegas, we were barely adults, just in early twenties. It was overwhelming and we were so poor. Cheap breakfast were great.
    The other times showed that Vegas was moving up and out. Now we drive around it. Can't stand the noise,light, smells, cheap people.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susan, you can certainly find all sorts of people from all strata of society. I can get noisy and there is always activity, but I can tolerate it as long as I have a quiet motel room to which I can retreat when I've had enough.

      Lee

      Delete

Go ahead and say something. Don't be afraid to speak your mind.
I normally try to respond to all comments in the comment section so please remember to check the "Email follow-up comments" box if you want to participate in the comment conversation.

For Battle of the Bands voting the "Anonymous" commenting option has been made available though this version is the least preferred. If voting using "anonymous" please include in your comment your name (first only is okay) and city you are voting from and the reason you chose the artist you did.

If you know me and want to comment but don't want to do it here, then you can send me an email @ jacksonlee51 at aol dot com.

Lee