Saturday, July 29, 2017

The post vacation wrap up

Been an incredibly busy few weeks. Between upheaval at work, vacation and home repair there was a lot of bashing that was nuts even when you do not add in the incompetence of the current administration.

Las Vegas, though, is a rather intense place. Truly a city that operates on the 24/7 model, there is always something going on. We went to celebrate a friend's 50th birthday, and celebrate we did. You do not have to gamble to have a good time in Las Vegas. You do not even have to drink booze, but it helps! There is even Black Light KISS Indoor Mini Golf!

We saw Big Elvis, who can sing. While watching Big Elvis we saw an Elvis impersonator watching Big Elvis perform. Vegas is meta. The Strip is turning into an upscale lifestyle mall, with gambling and indoor plazas of Venice, complete with a fake sky. That said, breakfast at Bouchon is incredible. As are the fountains at Bellagio, and the indoor Chihuly sculpture in the Bellagio lobby's ceiling. The High Roller Wheel offers up a superb view of the desert, as does the deck at the Eiffel Tower, which was enhanced by the pleasant, savant abilities of the tour guide.

We stayed downtown at the Golden Nugget. A lovely gambling extravaganza which has fish tanks and a shark pool. The rooms were sound. The television in the bathroom mirror was really freaking creepy. The room was not quiet, as it was on Fremont Street which parties hard until late night. Even on the 16th floor, we could hear the music.

The Fremont Street Experience, is just that. A covered party zone when you can drink outdoors provided you have plastic cups. Where zipliners go over your head, where half naked men and women pose for pictures. I also saw a really, really tall man standing in the doorway of the D Resort. It's Times Square with gambling, and I hope the city tries hard to keep it local and not a place where you can go to a Panera instead of a local diner. Sure, we went to an Evel Knievel themed pizza place, but it's not franchised!

Somehow we hooked up with a college friend and his girlfriend who happened to be in Vegas as well as a friend from England who was in town for the Microsoft Conference. We all did a bar hop in a limo and hit a couple of Tiki Bars and the Double Down Saloon, where my friend and I had shots of Ass Juice. The bar scene in Vegas is rather remarkable, like Glasgow you can spend days going to different bars and having a blast at each one without repeating. Although we did go to Frankie's Tiki Room twice, because it's chill, because it's awesome, because it's Vegas.

There is a fascinating history to the city as well. We did not go to the Mob Museum, or the Museum of Sex to see the sex bike but we did make a late night trip to the Neon Museum. This is a must see, a junkyard filled with old signs of casinos and resorts long (and short) gone. A labor of lights with lights in various stages of repair. It's a good look at where the town was, and where it is going.

Also got to gamble. Played blackjack with a live dealer, played a few hands and lost my $10. Did not help that the dealer twice drew 21 to my 20. Gambling and I do not get along, the slots were not kind to me either. Also lost a few quarters at the Pinball Hall of Fame. It was like I was 14 and spending all my paper route money.

At some point I do want to go back, but never again in July. Lows in the 90's are a bit much for me. Did not help I picked up a cold and was not doing well with the cigarette smoke in some of the casinos. The nicest day was when it rained and the temperature was tolerable. So maybe in the spring, or winter.

We returned home to a bathroom in the final stages of renovation, and a tub that leaked into the kitchen because it was moved. Those things have been fixed and the bathroom has a lovely floor and cool tiles on the walls. It's finally presentable and when my wife paints the walls it's going to be terrific. Also had a lot of overgrowth removed from the backyard. To sell or expand may be a serious question soon.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Was I surprised, yeah, was I surprised, no not at all

After my son's six year old iPad finally broke I replaced it. The music that was on the old one did not transfer over for whatever reasons so I ended up doing the selection all over again.

I know some of what he listens to, but most of it was a guess and, I admit, projection on my end. So, yes, I loaded his iTunes with what I would have liked to listen to in 1978.

Who can say what a non-verbal, fourteen year old kid with autism will play? He likes acoustic numbers, or acoustic guitars with jangly electric. Nothing really loud, heavy or punk. He likes watching the early Beatles material on DVD. Yes, this type is very familiar to me.

He's been playing Walking in the Rain by The Ronettes on repeat. I caught him listening to it a few weeks back and he had a very sad look on his face. All I said was, "Yes, that's a beautiful song." This morning's playlist was the opening bars of Badfinger's Come and Get It, the opening riff of Tom Petty's American Girl and Maryanne With the Shaky Hands by The Who.

The huge surprise is his love of Pretty Ballerina, the other hit by the Left Banke. He will play this one over and over. I put a fan made video on for him and he watched it. I even found a copy of the album AND the 45 and played it for him in the backroom, where he sat and patiently listened as he rocked himself back to front while looking at the album cover.

I do not know what's happening in his head, but I am honored that he likes some of the music I do. We are thrilled that he is listening to music that is more grown up. He also does not come up to me when I am playing guitar anymore, the times he stopped me from playing by putting his hand on the strings with a look that said, "Stop Dad." Maybe he likes my rendition of Eight Days A Week on the Rickenbacker?