The Other End of Sunset

Sunday, October 22, 2006

“Is everyone here on Valium?”

I spent the weekend in Vegas. Good lord, there’s a lot of great blog potential in this city. I mean, really. Where to begin.

I stayed at the Wynn Hotel. I had never stayed there before, but I’d heard it was awesome. So I tried it. It was expensive, but nothing was quite right. I mean, really expensive.

// Side note: A woman sitting across the aisle from me just asked me to turn off my air vent, as she was cold. I am not warm, so I did it. I’m a bit surprised, though. Who asks fellow travelers to do anything? And she just asked the woman in front of me to do the same thing. The woman in front didn’t turn it off. They are talking about the plane temperature now, in that faux-nice way that people have after a stupid conflict to reaffirm that they are both humans, and oh-so-nice, and perhaps we should hug? I just want them to go back to the crosswords, or People magazine, or whatever. And maybe, for the Love of God (Montresor), someone grab this lady a blanket. But they are smiling at each other now, the smile of two vipers who have decided not to kill each other, but rather to go attack some small vermin scuttling towards its safe little mouse hole. //

Anyway, honestly, I can’t recommend the Wynn. My nonsmoking room was smoking – not smoking as in “crazy cool”, smoking as in “there have been so many smokers in this room that there is a fine layer of ash in the carpets that you can feel when you put your bare feet under the tables, or wherever else they don’t vacuum regularly". And it wasn’t ready when I got there, despite the fact I got there a few hours after my “arrival time” An arrival time that they asked me to confirm for them. But it did have a nice view.

The room was on the 50th floor – which is actually the 40th, but they skipped the 40s. Apparently the hotel had something against Tommy Dorsey or so? So, for the sake of internal fact consistency, we will assert that my room was on the 50th floor, even though it wasn’t, ok? Just work with me here.

The room was wallpapered, with big mirrors, and prints of vaguely disturbingly large flowers. The wallpaper was a really rich chocolate brown, with a texture (veins running from floor to ceiling). Sounds lovely? It was. But the room made me somehow vaguely anxious.

Which is great, when you are WAY overpaying for a room.

But it’s Vegas, so you don’t actually have to spend any time in the room, except when asleep. Yeah, I should have stayed at the Ramada just off the strip then. Whatever, I didn’t.

// Side note, 2: Hey did you like the weird imagistic post last time? No plot, really, just a bunch of random thoughts? One of my friends called it “more personal” and another described it as “melancholy”. Hmm, art is transformed by the reader. I was shooting for a feeling of a Terry Gillem-esque movie, where you aren’t sure what is going on, or why it’s happening, and you are generally slightly disturbed by the transitions from one scene to another. Time Bandits is a great movie. But apparently my aim was not true, and I ended up with something quite sad, and a bit disturbing. Sorry, hope some of you liked it anyway! //

I had breakfast in the buffet in the Wynn this morning. Las Vegas buffets all work the same way – you stand in line for a long time, pay a large amount of money, and then stand in another long line. This time, someone picks you up and takes you through a maze of twisty passages, all alike, to a table, in a vast sea of tables. You eat from a cafeteria, with lots of choices, ranging from shrimp to extruded biscuits to bacon cut from a large vat of cooked pig. Usually, someone comes to ask you if you want an overpriced cocktail, or to give you coffee, or whatever. I say usually, because I stayed at the Wynn. This morning, I had to go find the guy who serves drinks. Well, not exactly – I got frustrated waiting, and walked up to the server station, where I proceeded to grab the ice tea pitcher. My intent was pure – I was going to fill my glass (which I had paid for, I might add ) – however, this was a huge violation of the Wynn etiquette (is that Wynn-iquette?). This normative violation did, however, get the waiter-dude involved, and so I got my water. Does the end, in fact, justify the means? Should I beg forgiveness for impatience?

Probably, I should, indeed. I’m way too impatient. It always annoys those who are around me. Sorry to all.

There is a lot of security theater as well. To get to the elevators, you have to pass by a little security guy. To get by him, you flash your room key. He smiles and waves at you. Now, it’s not obvious that it’s your key, naturally (although my name was printed on my Wynn key, which was kind of cool, I have to admit). And there’s no guarantee that the key is valid anymore (I still have mine, for example). And there was nobody checking this morning, at all. And the maid’s room on my floor was open, so I could have grabbed a cart and looked like a maid.

For what? God only knows. But still, not sure what the value of the dude by the elevator is, especially since it could be replaced with a turnstile, I guess, although the user experience would be worse, or perhaps by having people put their card keys into the elevator (although this also doesn’t stop tailgating). Bleech, physical security stinks.

I’ll stick with crypto, thanks.

I went to see Le Reve, the new Cirque de Soleil water show. I was a little worried that I wouldn’t dig it. I have seen precisely one Cirque show live, and I (literally) went to sleep at it. So I was worried about the same thing happening, and I tried, half-heartedly, to get out of going. No dice, so I ended up there. Sitting in the splash zone – in the front row.

The show is a theater in the round thing, with a multilevel, mechanized stage in the middle of a large pool of water. The entire show takes place in the water, on the multilevel stage, or in the air above it.

It was great. The pre-show had a dude in a lizard costume swimming around in the water, popping up to scare people in the audience. AWESOME! I mean, after all, I am the Lizard King. (Or, in my case, the Gecko Prince, I can do several things.) So my water lizard friend and I bonded, over the coolness of his costume, and how they cleverly had one of his spines serve as a snorkel.

The show has a lot of cool elements, surprising elements about the water. People entered, and left, the stage through the water. I loved that part the most – there must have been air hoses that people could use during the show, to make the entrances work and to make the long head-underwater-gymnastics work, and it was an awesome effect. There were gymnastics moves in the air over the water, including one set of routines where a guy ultimately did an Iron Cross hanging from two other dudes’ hands, and was raised up into the rafters 100 feet above. Monster cool. And so hard. Go try to do one! I can’t, and I’m reasonably strong.

There was also a scene where a topless woman did gymnastics on the stage. Hey, I’m all for nudity, and she did have a nice body, but the scene felt really out of place somehow. As did the scene where the female dancers paired off and took each others tops off. Again, nice, sexy, but felt forced.

Much of the show was about 15 women, in white, doing water and land gymnastics with an equal number of men. Yup, women, in water, wearing white.

Indeed, Le Reve is, at its heart, a 90 minute long wet T-Shirt contest. With muscles.

No doubt I had a great time!

And didn’t sleep a wink during the show. Not enough, outside the show, but NONE in the show.

I also spent a lot of time shopping – the Forum Shops are cool. But I noticed one thing, which seems odd – everyone looks actively miserable. Not just the guys, in that “good lord, aren’t we done yet” way. Nope, even the women seem to be horribly unhappy. People were rude, and testy, and generally unpleasant. I wanted to ask: If it’s so awful, why are you doing it? But for once I kept my mouth shut. I could write an entire posting about the differences in talent from one sales weasel to another, though. There were people in the stores who I wouldn’t have bought from at all, even given great stuff – too annoying. In another store, I was trying something on, and hadn’t decided if I wanted to buy them, but the sales guy was really cool. In fact, I kind of liked him. As I was trying these things on, he walked in and started pinning them up for alterations. Pushy, yes. Effective, yes. I bought the stuff. And didn’t resent it. Although it does make me wonder – what ELSE could the guy have gotten me to buy?

I guess I should be glad that I had low blood sugar, and had to go get some food. I might have ended up with … I don’t know, some Amway?

There are so many other stories I could tell. The guy in the elevator STARING at the girl in the low cut shirt, who, when she totally busted him (no pun intended), made up some inane story about reading the words on her shirt. Yeah, that’s it, dude, the shirt was funny, and THAT’S what you were looking at. I’m there.

Or the guy with the high-end SONY camera, held “carelessly” at the end of his arm. Not on, right? Except that he kept looking at the lights, which were on, and he was aiming (and focusing) on women in short skirts, on the stairs. There’s a lot to be said for upskirt videos, I guess, but surely everyone knew what the perv was doing?

So many stories, so many tools, so little time, and I’m already at 1,800 words. The psychological barrier of 2,000 words is looming. I think I turn into a pumpkin at about that point.

I like my horses looking like white stallions, not mice. I think I shall stop while I’m ahead. I like dresses, and fairy dust, reality is sometimes too... pedestrian.

If I get it all down on paper, its no longer
inside of me, threatening the life they belong to
And I feel like I'm naked in front of the crowd
Cause these words are my diary, screaming out loud
And I know that you'll use them, however you want to
--Anna Nalick