Print Story Captain's Log - November 28, 2017
By Gedvondur (Wed Nov 29, 2017 at 03:01:42 AM EST) Las Vegas, Life, Wife (all tags)
It’s​ ​an​ ​itch.​ ​​ ​The​ ​need​ ​to​ ​write,​ ​to​ ​put​ ​virtual​ ​pen​ ​on​ ​paper.​ ​I’ve​ ​been​ ​itching​ ​for​ ​a​ ​few​ ​weeks.​ ​I
have​ ​a​ ​generous​ ​pour​ ​of​ ​18​ ​year​ ​old​ ​Scotch​ ​given​ ​to​ ​me​ ​by​ ​dear​ ​friends​ ​on​ ​the​ ​occasion​ ​of
my​ ​birthday​ ​last​ ​month.

I​ ​live​ ​in​ ​Las​ ​Vegas​ ​now.​ ​City​ ​of​ ​Sin,​ ​city​ ​of​ ​casinos,​ ​gambling,​ ​conventions​ ​and​ ​poor​ ​decision
making.​ ​The​ ​locals,​ ​which​ ​I​ ​suppose​ ​I​ ​am​ ​now​ ​one​ ​of,​ ​have​ ​a​ ​saying:​ ​“Las​ ​Veags:​ ​Come​ ​on
vacation,​ ​leave​ ​on​ ​probation.”​ ​​ ​This​ ​dry,​ ​dusty​ ​place​ ​is​ ​much​ ​more​ ​than​ ​the​ ​Strip​ ​and​ ​its​ ​sea
of​ ​neon.​ ​The​ ​city​ ​has​ ​gotten​ ​big.​ ​Two​ ​million​ ​people​ ​big.​ ​Nobody​ ​lifts​ ​their​ ​eyes​ ​past​ ​the​ ​glitter
to​ ​the​ ​corporate-designed​ ​suburbs,​ ​with​ ​their​ ​high​ ​walls,​ ​security​ ​gates​ ​and
all-encompassing​ ​HOAs. 
There​ ​is​ ​a​ ​sense​ ​of​ ​impermanence​ ​here,​ ​something​ ​our​ ​EUian​ ​friends​ ​won’t​ ​understand​ ​or
have​ ​a​ ​sense​ ​of.​ ​There​ ​are​ ​no​ ​*old*​ ​buildings.​ ​Everything​ ​has​ ​been​ ​built​ ​since​ ​the​ ​80s,​ ​or​ ​at
very​ ​worst​ ​the​ ​70s.​ ​Even​ ​to​ ​me,​ ​an​ ​American​ ​who​ ​thinks​ ​that​ ​a​ ​100​ ​year​ ​old​ ​building​ ​is​ ​old,
Las​ ​Vegas​ ​lacks​ ​history.​ ​It​ ​lacks,​ ​roots,​ ​a​ ​deep​ ​commitment​ ​to​ ​who​ ​it​ ​was​ ​and​ ​who​ ​it​ ​is​ ​that
I’ve​ ​never​ ​seen​ ​anywhere​ ​else. 
Every​ ​strip​ ​mall​ ​has​ ​a​ ​certain​ ​sameness​ ​to​ ​it,​ ​from​ ​Henderson,​ ​to​ ​the​ ​Southern​ ​Highlands
and​ ​Mountains​ ​Edge,​ ​to​ ​Summerlin.​ ​​ ​Hold-out​ ​houses​ ​dot​ ​the​ ​landscape​ ​among​ ​the​ ​planned
subdivisions,​ ​except​ ​in​ ​the​ ​toniest​ ​and​ ​most​ ​expensive​ ​areas,​ ​grass​ ​in​ ​the​ ​desert​ ​on​ ​the
slopes​ ​of​ ​mountains,​ ​brown​ ​and​ ​red​ ​with​ ​rock​ ​and​ ​dust. 
Las​ ​Vegas​ ​lacks​ ​any​ ​real​ ​geological​ ​features,​ ​outside​ ​of​ ​boundary​ ​of​ ​the​ ​valley.​ ​As​ ​a​ ​result,
the​ ​roads​ ​go​ ​on​ ​and​ ​on​ ​and​ ​on.​ ​​ ​When​ ​a​ ​road​ ​stops,​ ​sometimes​ ​it​ ​will​ ​start​ ​again​ ​blocks​ ​or
even​ ​miles​ ​away,​ ​but​ ​with​ ​the​ ​same​ ​name.​ ​​ ​Roads​ ​like​ ​the​ ​eponymous​ ​Strip,​ ​Las​ ​Vegas
Boulevard​ ​goes​ ​on​ ​for​ ​miles​ ​and​ ​miles​ ​north​ ​to​ ​south.​ ​Other​ ​roads​ ​like​ ​Flamingo,​ ​Charleston,
and​ ​Tropicana​ ​run​ ​the​ ​entire​ ​east-west​ ​length​ ​of​ ​the​ ​city.​ ​For​ ​me,​ ​I’m​ ​used​ ​to​ ​rivers,​ ​lakes,
and​ ​the​ ​occasional​ ​historic​ ​building​ ​or​ ​park.​ ​It​ ​makes​ ​it​ ​easy​ ​to​ ​drive​ ​in​ ​Las​ ​Vegas,​ ​nearly
everything​ ​is​ ​a​ ​grid. 
I​ ​do​ ​not​ ​wish​ ​to​ ​paint​ ​this​ ​place​ ​with​ ​the​ ​bleakest​ ​of​ ​brushes,​ ​but​ ​heartache​ ​for​ ​home,​ ​my
wooded​ ​house​ ​in​ ​Wisconsin,​ ​my​ ​friends,​ ​my​ ​family,​ ​makes​ ​that​ ​an​ ​easy​ ​and​ ​cheap.​ ​This
place​ ​has​ ​its​ ​attractions. 
This​ ​place​ ​is​ ​diverse.​ ​I​ ​hear​ ​those​ ​of​ ​you​ ​who​ ​live​ ​in​ ​big​ ​cities​ ​scoff​ ​at​ ​the​ ​idea​ ​that​ ​a​ ​desert
cow​ ​town​ ​famous​ ​for​ ​its​ ​vices​ ​rather​ ​than​ ​its​ ​virtues​ ​could​ ​be​ ​as​ ​diverse​ ​as​ ​the​ ​places​ ​you
live​ ​or​ ​have​ ​lived.​ ​But​ ​everyone​ ​comes​ ​here.​ ​Not​ ​just​ ​on​ ​vacation​ ​either.​ ​UNLV​ ​is​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the
most​ ​diverse​ ​campuses​ ​in​ ​the​ ​nation.​ ​We​ ​have​ ​all​ ​creeds​ ​here,​ ​all​ ​colors,​ ​all​ ​races.​ ​Some
concentrations​ ​are​ ​surprising.​ ​We​ ​boast​ ​so​ ​large​ ​a​ ​population​ ​of​ ​Pacific​ ​Islanders​ ​and
Hawaiians​ ​on​ ​vacation​ ​that​ ​they​ ​call​ ​this​ ​place​ ​the​ ​“Ninth​ ​Island.”​ ​​ ​As​ ​a​ ​result,​ ​there​ ​is​ ​plentiful
Island​ ​food​ ​and​ ​in​ ​quantities​ ​that​ ​can​ ​sate​ ​even​ ​the​ ​largest​ ​appetite.​ ​You​ ​can​ ​get​ ​pretty​ ​much
anything​ ​to​ ​eat​ ​and​ ​any​ ​of​ ​that​ ​as​ ​part​ ​of​ ​an​ ​“Asian​ ​fusion”​ ​plate.​ ​​ ​There​ ​are​ ​little​ ​hole​ ​in​ ​the
wall​ ​places​ ​here​ ​that​ ​would​ ​be​ ​the​ ​toast​ ​of​ ​the​ ​town​ ​anywhere​ ​else,​ ​but​ ​barely​ ​register​ ​in​ ​the
sea​ ​of​ ​restaurants.
The​ ​people​ ​here​ ​are​ ​friendly.​ ​Generally​ ​polite​ ​and​ ​accommodating.​ ​But​ ​not​ ​too​ ​friendly.​ ​In​ ​a
place​ ​where​ ​the​ ​average​ ​stay​ ​is​ ​three​ ​to​ ​four​ ​years​ ​nobody​ ​gets​ ​too​ ​chummy.​ ​There​ ​is​ ​also
population​ ​of​ ​people​ ​here​ ​that​ ​seem….wrong.​ ​Violence​ ​happens​ ​here​ ​frequently​ ​and​ ​I​ ​see
people​ ​from​ ​time​ ​to​ ​time​ ​with​ ​nothing​ ​behind​ ​their​ ​eyes.​ ​I​ ​don’t​ ​know​ ​if​ ​it’s​ ​because​ ​I’m​ ​a
Midwesterner​ ​who​ ​grew​ ​up​ ​rural,​ ​or​ ​just​ ​the​ ​fact​ ​of​ ​cities​ ​with​ ​this​ ​many​ ​people.​ ​But​ ​I​ ​don’t
remember​ ​seeing​ ​them​ ​like​ ​this​ ​in​ ​San​ ​Francisco,​ ​Boston,​ ​or​ ​Chicago.​ ​I​ ​think​ ​the​ ​Sin
Industries​ ​here​ ​attract​ ​them​ ​and​ ​hold​ ​them,​ ​like​ ​a​ ​spider’s​ ​web​ ​for​ ​those​ ​with​ ​darkness​ ​in
their​ ​hearts. 
We​ ​are​ ​okay.​ ​But​ ​only​ ​barely.​ ​We​ ​are​ ​heart-sore,​ ​we​ ​miss​ ​home.​ ​The​ ​strain​ ​of​ ​the​ ​move,​ ​the
change​ ​put​ ​us​ ​through​ ​the​ ​ringer.​ ​We​ ​had​ ​only​ ​moved​ ​*once*​ ​in​ ​20+​ ​years.​ ​We​ ​lost​ ​a​ ​beloved
pet​ ​right​ ​in​ ​the​ ​middle​ ​of​ ​it.​ ​Our​ ​house,​ ​our​ ​lovely​ ​wooded​ ​house,​ ​has​ ​not​ ​sold​ ​and​ ​the​ ​weight
of​ ​the​ ​payments​ ​for​ ​it​ ​is​ ​dragging​ ​us​ ​down.​ ​​ ​Our​ ​cars,​ ​both​ ​paid​ ​for,​ ​have​ ​incurred​ ​nearly
$4000.00​ ​of​ ​repairs​ ​since​ ​August.​ ​My​ ​job​ ​is​ ​crushing​ ​me​ ​in​ ​ways​ ​I​ ​hadn’t​ ​thought​ ​possible.​ ​I
no​ ​longer​ ​feel​ ​wanted​ ​or​ ​valuable​ ​there.​ ​I’ve​ ​been​ ​relegated​ ​to​ ​a​ ​lesser​ ​role​ ​with​ ​little​ ​or​ ​no
explanation​ ​and​ ​no​ ​chance​ ​to​ ​course-correct.​ ​Politics​ ​and​ ​government​ ​have​ ​reached​ ​a​ ​depth
of​ ​depravity​ ​and​ ​despair​ ​that​ ​I​ ​can​ ​barely​ ​comprehend.​ ​I​ ​can’t​ ​sleep,​ ​even​ ​with​ ​lovely​ ​lovely
Yet​ ​it’s​ ​all​ ​worth​ ​it.​ ​My​ ​wife,​ ​my​ ​smart,​ ​talented​ ​and​ ​beautiful​ ​wife​ ​is​ ​blossoming​ ​in​ ​the​ ​creative
and​ ​diverse​ ​environment​ ​of​ ​UNLV.​ ​Gone​ ​is​ ​the​ ​stress​ ​she​ ​felt​ ​from​ ​her​ ​terrible​ ​job​ ​in​ ​an​ ​aged
startup​ ​run​ ​by​ ​insane​ ​ego​ ​monkeys​ ​in​ ​tech​ ​publishing.​ ​Gone​ ​is​ ​the​ ​weary​ ​defeated​ ​look​ ​every
morning.​ ​It​ ​is​ ​replaced​ ​by​ ​eagerness,​ ​community,​ ​and​ ​a​ ​focus​ ​on​ ​what​ ​she​ ​was​ ​meant​ ​to​ ​do,
which​ ​is​ ​write.​ ​All​ ​of​ ​my​ ​troubles​ ​fall​ ​away,​ ​relegated​ ​to​ ​lesser​ ​status​ ​when​ ​I​ ​see​ ​the​ ​way​ ​she
looks​ ​and​ ​how​ ​much​ ​happier​ ​she​ ​is,​ ​despite​ ​the​ ​crushing​ ​workload​ ​a​ ​PHD​ ​student/teacher
has.​ ​​ ​She​ ​handles​ ​it​ ​with​ ​a​ ​grace​ ​and​ ​competence​ ​that​ ​I​ ​cannot​ ​match.​ ​She​ ​deals​ ​with​ ​her
workload,​ ​her​ ​neurotic​ ​worksick​ ​and​ ​homesick​ ​husband,​ ​and​ ​the​ ​challenges​ ​of​ ​life​ ​with
strength​ ​and​ ​determination. 
We​ ​knew​ ​that​ ​coming​ ​here​ ​would​ ​be​ ​a​ ​trial​ ​by​ ​fire,​ ​a​ ​crucible​ ​in​ ​which​ ​we​ ​would​ ​shape​ ​the
rest​ ​of​ ​our​ ​lives.​ ​We​ ​knew​ ​that​ ​doing​ ​this​ ​would​ ​hurt,​ ​cause​ ​pain​ ​that​ ​we​ ​couldn’t​ ​possibly
anticipate​ ​when​ ​we​ ​made​ ​the​ ​decision.​ ​Through​ ​this​ ​we​ ​will​ ​come​ ​out​ ​stronger.​ ​At​ ​the​ ​end​ ​of
this,​ ​we​ ​will​ ​have​ ​stories​ ​to​ ​tell,​ ​experiences​ ​to​ ​relate​ ​and​ ​be​ ​better​ ​for​ ​it,​ ​despite​ ​the​ ​pain.
Thank​ ​you​ ​all​ ​for​ ​listening,​ ​my​ ​long​ ​time​ ​friends.​ ​You​ ​are​ ​all​ ​my​ ​home,​ ​here​ ​in​ ​this​ ​digital
universe​ ​and​ ​I​ ​appreciate​ ​the​ ​time​ ​you​ ​take​ ​to​ ​listen.​ ​Knowing​ ​you​ ​are​ ​all​ ​there​ ​gives​ ​me
strength​ ​I​ ​hope​ ​I​ ​can​ ​return​ ​to​ ​you.
< Thinking of doing a 340 mile bike ride. | Silk and steel >
Captain's Log - November 28, 2017 | 6 comments (6 topical, 0 hidden)
Cheers! by kwsNI (4.00 / 1) #1 Wed Nov 29, 2017 at 06:56:07 AM EST
Always here to listen whenever you feel like chatting.

I have a love/hate relationship with Vegas. I don't gamble but it is still a fun city. I used to travel through there for work a dozen times a year. The shows, Hoover dam, Red Rock Canyon, a few nice museums. The touristy stuff has some charm too, but it wears off fast enough. I love the weather (I grew up in the high desert of New Mexico so hot and dry doesn't bother me) and the general feel of the town once you get away from The Strip. That's what I love.

But it also makes me feel both sad and inadequate. It doesn't take much time there to see the dark side of humanity. I've seen the falling down drunk at 8am, the people who've lost everything begging for change a block away from the casinos where they lost it all. I have no problem with gambling or alcohol but too much can have a terrible effect on people's lives and there's little moderation in Vegas. There's definitely an attraction there for darkness.

There's also this feeling I've always had there that just makes you feel like you're not good enough. Vegas is funny, because if you had $10 to your name, they'll welcome you there. Come on in. Play for hours on our penny slots. We'll take your money slowly and you'll never feel rushed or unwanted. But there's always an upsell too. Here's your free tickets to the B-show, but look at all the fun these people are having with their $100 tickets. And the $1500 VIP package. And the $10,000 suite. And let's make a big deal moving everyone away from this craps table and putting the velvet rope out, because look who wants a private table in the middle of the casino to play with $100,000 chips. You can get into our night club, but you're not getting into the VIP. Even the VIP area has a VIPier area.

I truly do like Vegas. It has a lot to offer. But it can also take everything you have if you're not careful - and it's really good at attracting those who aren't careful.

I agree by Gedvondur (4.00 / 1) #2 Wed Nov 29, 2017 at 07:38:22 PM EST
I've been coming here for 17 years for trade shows.  But I never left the Strip.  After a few days, even at high end hotels like the Bellagio, Venetian, and the Mandalay Bay began to smell of stupidity, greed and desperation.  At one point, I was forced to stay at the Hard Rock Hotel on multiple occasions. That place added to the stupidity, greed, and desperation with a whole new level of "young, dumb, and full of cum" with groups of bachelor parties and bachelorette parties, all drunk well before dinner and trying to bring back prostitutes to the hotel.

It's better if you stay off the strip. That's easy for me, I don't gamble anyway.

I do appreciate you and everyone else being here when I need to unburden.

[ Parent ]
Methinks by Gedvondur (4.00 / 1) #4 Fri Dec 01, 2017 at 11:05:54 AM EST
Oh, don't be such a Negative Nancy.

I think that perhaps you have not stayed in or near some of the shittier establishments, or your long city-dwelling has rendered you blind to the derelicts and homeless.

The comment wasn't so much about puritanism or prudery. It was about stupidity. If you are *blind* drunk before dinner, all your party plans are gonna be done and soon. Epic nights are not *epic* if you don't make it to sundown.

As to the prostitutes, I don't really care if they are scoring, but in the case of the Hard Rock, they do, as it is illegal in Clark County. Which means they check *everyone* at the elevator before you can go up to your room.  After 12 hours at a tech convention the last thing I need is to stand in line behind puking dudes and shrieking bachelorettes while the hotel argues with them that the prostitute they paid for is *really* their wife/sister/girlfriend.

[ Parent ]
You’re only a couple of hours by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #5 Sat Dec 02, 2017 at 07:40:39 AM EST
From Southern Utah. Zion Park is lovely this time of year. Excellent skiing at Brian Head in Parowan Utah and it’s close enough for a day trip. Or get a hotel in Cedar City fairly cheaply. And in the summer there’s a really good Shakespeare festival in Cedar

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

Hey by iGrrrl (4.00 / 1) #6 Sun Dec 10, 2017 at 11:07:54 AM EST
I hope it all works out. I'm so glad for her that you're this level of supportive.

On Vegas: Good friends moved there for a while back in the 80s. They didn't like the city, had a rough time with work, but loved the surrounding nature. One day driving back in the late evening from a camping trip, there was an unusual overcast day of low clouds. All the neon of Vegas reflected off the clouds, back down over the valley. They looked at each other. "We're driving into the Pit of Hell."

They moved within the month.
"I honestly pity the stupid motherfucker who tries to talk down to iGrrrl" - mrgoat

Heh by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #7 Mon Dec 11, 2017 at 12:43:19 PM EST
Ya, this place, even outside the strip is a bit unreal. It lacks a genuineness that other places have. It's almost as if the soul of this place is pretend, or just for show.  I can't imagine a circumstance where we'd stay past what it takes to get her PHD done.

[ Parent ]
Captain's Log - November 28, 2017 | 6 comments (6 topical, 0 hidden)