There’s No Place Like Home, There’s No Place Like Home

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Man oh man, yesterday at gate B20 at McCarran airport, I was clanking my ruby slippers together so hard the sparkles fell off.

No worries, nothing a little love from a glue gun can’t fix.

I love to travel, I always have. Ok, I’m not some big international world traveler, I’ll admit. I’m mainly a domestic flight gal, but still, I manage to travel maybe three to four times a year, usually for fun to see friends and family.

The adventure is always worth the price of admission. Even going to somewhere I know well, it gives me a chance to break out of my routine, get out of my head, and be different.

The best road trips are when I feel like I’m a different person by the time I come back home…meaning, I’ve grown or learned more about myself along the way.

My recent travel was one of those sorts of trips. I won’t share all the ins and outs and what-have-yous about the epiphany I had in front of a quarter slot machine at the Four Queens casino, but suffice to say, there was one…and it was good.

Sometimes getting out of my non-thinking monotonous routine and into “hey, where am I staying and where are my bags and where am I going to have something to eat?” is entirely exhausting.

And my god air travel wears me slick. Could people *be* any ruder when flying?

By the time we made our way to our happy little casa last night, I was beat. I mean, so tired, I was damn near catatonic.

But as Annie says in Bull Durham, “Total exhaustion can be spiritually fabulous.”

So as tired as I was, as happy as I was to sink into my bed and let the sandman have his way with me, at 4:30 this morning, my eyes were open and the brain was rolling.

Ideas. Lots of them. Flowing like, well, coins from a slot machine after hitting double-double-double on the payline.

At first I fought it. Rolled over and begged for sleep to come back.

Then I thought…why? How often am I blessed with a fire hose blast from The Muse? Why pinch off the ideas? Hell no, let ’em flow.

So since 4:30 this morning, I’ve been cranking away at the iMac. I mean CRANKING the whole time. And damn if I didn’t get a LOT accomplished (not the least of which was cropping and uploading my new profile photo…take a gander to the left and you’ll find it.)

So now, some four hours later, my eyes are burning, I’m a little shaky, and I may need a nap today. But mostly, I’m happy.

While travel is fun, and for this old musty brain, might just be essential, at the end of the day, there really is no place like home.

A few views of old Vegas

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So finally I’m back on a plane headed westward to San Francisco which means home and my cranky Feline (who has been wreaking havoc in my mom-in-law’s home).

The trip to Vegas was a good one. The Good Man’s business was conducted, we ate some great food and even took in a Penn & Teller show at the Rio.

But as with every trip I take to Vegas, I’m done. Yup. She wears me weary and it’s time to get back to the place and get to where I can live normally without the ching-ching of a slot machine as my background music.

I did get a chance while visiting to take a look at the old Vegas that I remember (and sometimes yearn for).

While the Neon Museum’s boneyard is closed for construction, they do have a few beautifully restored signs installed down on Fremont street that you can visit.

Here are a few photos I took on my trip. I haven’t sorted out all 350 photos I shot, but these are a couple of my faves so far. (click image to see full size)

Vegas Vic, an icon of early Las Vegas history when he was the image often used by the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce.

This comes from high atop the Nevada Hotel Sign.

The orginal lamp from the Aladdin Hotel and Casino. I remember this one well. It was like seeing an old friend.

And finally, the Hacienda horse and rider from the original Hacienda Hotel and Casino. I also remember this one. It’s been beautifully redone!

There may be more to come as I sift through what I got.

For now, I’m ready to be home.

Oh, and as a final thought…how cool am I? I’m blogging from thirty thousand feet in the air. WiFi on airplanes, what a cool concept! (Go Virgin America!)

Viva Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Mi Vida.

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Ah Las Vegas, I return home to you once more.

That sparkling town, Las Vegas, has been an integral part of pretty much all of my life.

Yes, Vegas and I are irrevocably entwined.

Sure, everyone likes Vegas, right? Well…right?

For me, it’s a lot different than it might be for you.

Let’s flip the toggle switch on the WayBack Machine. Let’s go back, oh, say a bit over forty years.

It was the swinging sixties, baybee, and my dad, a hardcore engineer, was working at the Nevada Test Site.

That’s the place you might of heard of…you know, where they blow up nuclear devices underground?

Yup.

Oh, also…waaaaaay over in the back corner of the Nevada Test Site is a little place called Area 54. (In later years I asked the old man about it, but got no answers)

So while Dad went to work out in the middle of the freaking Nevada desert, mom stayed home at their place in Las Vegas and tended to her three kids.

Yes folks, I have actually lived in Las Vegas.

It was only for only a brief time and I have only vague memories, like that you could see the Landmark Casino from where we lived. I used to love to stand in the backyard and watch the lighted elevators go up and down.

My folks really liked living in Las Vegas. And they liked visiting the town too. They made an at least once a year visit, seeing friends and family, a couple shows and they would gamble a bit. It was their favorite vacation destination.

Sometimes they would go just the two of them. Sometimes we kids got to go along for the fun.

It sucked to be a kid in Vegas prior to the construction of Circus Circus. There was little to do other than swim in the hotel pool and follow mom around when she hit the slots.

By law I had to stand at least six feet away from any gaming device. Stand there. With nothing to do other than whine at my mother that I wanted to go swimming.

But all of those years spent in Las Vegas and I find I have a deep history with this town that not many people have. I can remember, “oh that used to be the ____” when I pass the current kitschy themed hotels and casinos.

I am kind of ticked off at Las Vegas for demolishing all of the old and rather fabulous casinos and replacing them with these new garish harpies.

It’s just not the same.

Coming to Vegas is, for me, like coming home. I was remarking to The Good Man on the plane ride over that for me, going to Vegas is a bit like going to Albuquerque. It’s a get away, but it’s also a going home. A nice trip but also so comfortable and easy.

I don’t know Vegas quite as well as I do Albuquerque, as I lived in Vegas only a couple years and I lived a lifetime in ABQ.

But it’s a part of me. And it is an even deeper part of the history of my parents.

Vegas and me, we belong together. And it’s not about the casinos or the neon or the obnoxious part of it.

I see this painted showgirl for what she is. Behind the mask of makeup and face paint, she’s a thirsty and tired old desert town that has grown too fast, aching from the growing pains.

You get two blocks off the strip, and you see behind the curtain. The streets are dirty and grim people look both tired and sad. There is an ugly dark side to all that glitz and show.

There are real people with real jobs trying to make a living. The casinos are but one facet of Vegas.

It’s been a couple years since I came to see this charming old lady of a town. On my last trip, I got into an intense conversation with the cab driver who had been raised here in Vegas. He was so happy to find someone who knew, who remembered, and that made me happy too.

Today, I’m looking out over the Spring Mountains to the west and plotting how to spend my day. The Neon Museum is closed for construction, so that will have to be another time.

I’ll probably find myself downtown where places like the Four Queens and the Golden Gate harken back to another time. My time.

Maybe I’ll pull the handle of a one armed jack and I’ll remember….

Set My Mascot Free!

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Source: Pistol Pete holstered for Utah game

Ugh! They are making the NMSU mascot sit a game.

For what they are calling “a mustache-ripping incident”

Um, oh…

*chuckle, giggle, snort*

Ahem.

The incident occurred with Utah’s State’s mascot, “Big Blue” the bull.

I’m wondering why Pistol Pete didn’t up and rip something off the bull, eh? We *are* and Agricultural college after all! We know how to do such things.

*giggle, snort, wipe eyes*

Yes, well. This is all very serious and, *guffaw*, ahem, disciplinary.

The bull has already served his sentence, the same one game suspension.

And I suppose after all of this, Pistol Pete will have learned his lesson.

Despite the mustache violence, we’ve still come a long way since my days at NMSU where, when the opposing team made a basket, we’d shout “nice shot, assh–e!”

Hee!

Go NMSU!