Saturday, February 25, 2012

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas because it can't figure out how to get out.

I have just spent the past five days in Las Vegas varying degrees of completely lost. On my best day I can barely make it from one end of a straight block to the other. If I'm distracted at any point, chances are 50/50 I'll wander back the same direction I came from. I've learned to accept my Achilles head as an easy way to accidentally investigate places where lots of prostitutes hang out.

Maybe if I were a gambler I would feel otherwise, but Las Vegas befuddles me. It's a lite-brite babylon with the desperate, frenetic energy of a recent divorcee on New Years Eve. I am simply not turned on by looped video footage of various fat middle-aged men passed out in twinkling pools of vomit while a country music version of "We are the Champions" blares in the background. I wander around looking about as terrified and uncomfortable as Mitt Romney at the Leatherati Black Party Expo.

If the watered-down swill I non-enjoyed was any benchmark, Las Vegas is not a place for people who like fancy designer cocktails with cucumber juice and fresh ginger. It is also not a place for people with no sense of direction attempting to leave one establishment and go to another establishment. I noticed they went to far greater lengths then entirely necessary to trap me inside death-star style floor plans and fire-spewing slot machine mazes.

To get to my convention, I had to make it from the monorail stop at Harrahs over to the Sands. The first day, a kind-hearted valet helped me plot out "a shortcut." I only made it once without a detour into the casino employee shower area, but here is a pictorial travelogue of my journey:

Leaving Harrahs by the backdoor shuttle bus pickup area:

Heading to "where the sun hits that wall over there":

Little rat hole along the way:

Walking along the road by the dumpsters:

Entering the parking deck with some signage-born trepidation:

Going upstairs:

Traipsing down this back hallway:

Popping out in the basement behind the Paradise Gift Shoppe:

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Watch out for elevator doors

Although it sounds all romantic and maybe even handy at times, I'm glad I don't have a tail. Grooming a tail would probably add at least fifteen minutes to my morning routine. I have enough trouble remembering to comb the hair on my head, let alone fluff out my hindquarter.

Whenever I reflect on this subject, I always assume the human tail is fur-covered. I picture a puffy spaniel-like appendage, as opposed to bald, pink and rat-like. If humans had rat-like tails, we'd most likely go in for wallpaper tattooing and bedazzling. Half the sites on the internet would peddle tail slings, muffs, pouches, hoists and other prophylactic devices because no one wants their naked tail dragging on the sidewalk. Personally, my tail-lette would be a woodland-print knit with LED lights.

I might get a tassel or a pompom to hang on the end of my tail.

Nonetheless, a rat-style tail may have some advantages over a hairy-style tail. Hair would require all sorts of product to stay on top of like gels and sculpting butt mousse. There'd be special circular barrettes, banana clips and scrunchies. You could go to Rickey's and buy semi-permanent tiger-striping home color kits. Maybe you could also pick up tubular tail wigs in leopard print or snowy white clip-ins with gigantic poodle balls.

Tail etiquette would concern us. Cosmo would run articles like "When to Wag."

But most gravely of all, assuming a consensus to shun ass-less chaps at least in business settings, the tail would require an underpant and trouser redesign. Consider how challenging it would be to jam your furry tail through a small, rear-facing hole. A more sensible choice is certainly a slit that closes at the top with the modern convenience of velcro.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Skiing with Mom and Dad

Occasionally, Pop decides he's unhappy with the current ski trail, shrieks "Shortcut!" and takes off into the woods. This is probably not the worst of it.

What might be worse is the gut-wrenching fear that comes from watching my mother, who tore her ACL and is supposed to be, but is not, wearing a gigantic knee brace. She skis down black diamond trails at a perfect, rail straight, 90-degree angle to the hill.

Meanwhile, Dad decides it's boring to walk back to the hotel so he skis right through the middle of the Winter Carnival, right past the teenagers in the toboggan line and everybody out front the hot chocolate stand. He waves 'hi' to the ice sculptors and tells the ticket takers chasing him down that he's "just passing through."

The rest of us slog out down the road with our boots on. Mom rolls her eyes and says Dad's probably hypoglycemic. Other than that she's not concerned. She swings around, skis in hand, to let me know this and takes out three school children on the curb waiting to board their bus.

Here's a picture of my entire nuclear family crashed into each other on a logging trail circa 2006. I like the logger in the background, looking on with WTF written all over his face.

My brother is pancaked there in the front. Attempting to skate ski on an ungroomed trail, he got his. I felt no sympathy. The depicted event transpired the day after Nutchie skied in front of me, backwards, the entire way down a mountain griping that I really needed to pick it up some for the sake of propriety, appearances and lifetime total distance.

Pop recovers fast, handy with a pole. The logger remains spellbound. This is one of my favorite family photos.