Home again at last
Unpacked, fed, and settled in
Happy memories

So, yes, I am home. We left Las Vegas around 8 am this morning, and arrived Tehachapi at 12:30 pm, with one stop along the way at the Alien Fresh Jerky store in Baker, CA. It was a great little roadside attraction in the tiny town of the World’s Tallest Thermometer, with a UFO and an alien in a car out front, and tee-shirts, cups, jerky and other snacks inside. I had to buy a tee-shirt with aliens on the front and the legend: “Area 51 Hotel and Casino: It doesn’t exist and I wasn’t there.” Also bought some trail mix and a bottle of Gatorade to fortify me along the way, as it had been too early to eat breakfast before we left the hotel.

Bittermint and Lycanthrophile stopped at my place for a short lemonade break before heading on their way. They’ve probably reached Bittermint’s place by now, or should be there soon, but Lycanthrophile has another hour and a half to go before she’s home. I’m glad my drive home wasn’t as long!

Yesterday was another great day in Las Vegas. We started out again with breakfast in the lounge and a panel, which was “He is the Chosen One.” It was about the similarities between various media heroes who’d had destinies thrust upon them, like Anakin and Luke in Star Wars, Sam in Supernatural, Frodo in Lord of the Rings, and Harry in Harry Potter. It was quite interesting and came up with lots of parallels for the character type, tracing some of them back to classic archetypes like the Arthurian legends and even as far back as Gilgamesh. Some, though were modern tropes, like the floopy hair and emo hoodies. Heh.

After that, or at some point, Bittermint and I went to try out the slot machines in the lounge. I managed to lose all but seven quarters of my Mom’s money, while Bitter made back what she’d lost the previous night on her machine. I did get a couple of the Idaho quarters for Mom and me, so at least that was more than she’d started out with!

The only other panel we went to was “Villains Over Princes,” a discussion of the bad guys we love, and why we love them.

Later, we headed out for the Wynn Hotel for dinner and a show: Spamalot! We had a delicious dinner in one of the many hotel restaurants—I had a seared ahi tuna salad that was just yummy, with carrot cake for dessert. Mmm! And the show was hilarious. It’s the musical version of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and included lots of scenes straight from the movie, as well as lots of singing and dancing and new bits. Afterwards, we went shopping and the others bought tee-shirts and such, but I didn’t see anything I wanted badly enough to pay the prices they were asking for them.

We caught a cab home after the show, then went down to the pool for a late swim. Ahh! It was still in the 90s when we got back to our hotel at 11 pm, so the cool water was very inviting. It was a little too cool for me, actually. I swum a bunch of laps to keep warm, then gave up and went to the hot tub. I went back in the big pool once for a few more laps, then warmed up again in the hot tub, then we were done. A luxurious end to a great weekend!

I took some pictures from the car along the way home, and finally managed to get a decent shot of the SS Minnow, a rusty old boat sitting in the middle of a field along Hwy 58 just east of Tehachapi.

SS Minnow

Written by Cody Nelson in: daily ramble,las vegas,vacation |

Casinos entice
Flashing lights, chinging noises
Come spend your money

I actually gambled yesterday, although I didn’t really know what I was doing. My Mom had given me $5 to play in the slot machines for her, so I put a $5 bill in an Alien slot machine at the Tuscany Casino next door, and pushed the “Spin” button a few times. There were too many buttons! I didn’t know how much I was betting or on what. I stopped after a couple of spins and got my money back: $5.25. I’d won a quarter! I cashed it all in on quarters, planning to go find one of the old-fashioned machines where you stick in a quarter, pull the handle, and either get some quarters back or not—but they didn’t have any like that there. So I came home with my quarters. There are two slot machines in the lounge here at our hotel, though, and they’re the kind you can put a quarter in and pull the handle, so I’ll sit at one of them later and run some of Mom’s quarters through.

Yesterday was a good day. Panels attended were: “Flirting with Darkness: Do Edgier Shows Make Edgier Fandoms?”, which turned out to be mostly about Supernatural, then “LJs and Other Options,” where people talked about post-Strikethrough07 journaling. Pretty much everyone agreed that they’re staying on LJ despite misgivings, because that’s where everyone else is. If fandom is going to move en masse to another journaling site or whatever, it has to be better enough to really pull people there, and right now there is not a good alternative.

I’d meant to go to another panel or two, but I was very tired and ended up going back to the room and sleeping all afternoon, until around 5:30 when it was time to get up and get ready for our dinner at Lawry’s Prime Rib. I had their fish of the day, which turned out to be salmon, and it was extremely delicious, served with scalloped potatoes and beans and carrots. Yum! Then I had a hot fudge sundae for dessert.

We almost went to the movies to see Transformers last night, but it was not to be. Some people were showing movies here at the hotel, so we went there instead. We wanted to see Black Sheep, a funny horror movie about killer sheep, but they were showing some strange and very bad retelling of Pilgrim’s Progress, starring a very young Liam Neeson, first. It was funny-bad at first, but then it just got to be excruciatingly bad. I sat through it, but the chairs were hard and uncomfortable and my back was starting to hurt, and I wanted to come up to the room and wrap my arm, so I skipped the sheep movie and called it a night. Still, it was a fun fannish evening.

Here is a photo of the entrance to the Star Trek Experience.

Star Trek Experience

Written by Cody Nelson in: daily ramble,las vegas,vacation |

Kidnapped by the Borg
The Star Trek Experience
Las Vegas for geeks

Our first full day in Las Vegas was very fun, beginning with breakfast in the hotel restaurant, followed by a couple of panels, including “Out of the Closet: FanFic Becomes Mainstream,” “You Got X in my Chocolate” (about crossovers), and “Oh Brother, Where Are Thou?” (about incest fandoms). In between, we rested in the room, websurfing. I downloaded the Transformers Movie soundtrack from iTunes—it took less than ten minutes, sigh. Someday I will have truly high-speed Internet at home.

After the panels of the day, and a few quick looks at the dealer’s table (there seems to be only one, Sian’s A Wrinkle in Time), we headed for the Las Vegas Hilton and the Star Trek Experience. It was much less busy this time than when we went in August a few years ago—no long waiting in lines, which was nice. We did the Borg one first, and then the Klingon one. They were much fun, as I’d remembered. I like the Klingon one best, with its swoopy, roller-coaster-y shuttle ride through space battles and wormholes and over the Las Vegas Strip. But the 3D Borg invasion was trippy, too.

Then we spent some money in the Promenade—I bought a Starfleet Academy sweatshirt to keep me warm in the freezing air conditioning (I should have remembered to bring a sweater or something, I know perfectly well that 100 F outside means chilly air conditioning inside where I’ll spend most of my time) and a very shiny Star Trek Access pass that has my name on it.

And then we went to Quark’s Bar for dinner. I had a Romulan Ale with my Sulu… something (I downloaded the menu, I’ll find out later—basically, it was stirfry vegetables and shrimp with rice), and it was very good. The Romulan Ale was delicious, I wonder what kind of ale it actually is? A Klingon and later a Ferengi came by our tables to greet us. All in all, a wonderfully geeky evening.

We’re getting a bit of a late start this morning, but the first panel we want to see isn’t until 11 am. Plans for tonight include dinner at Lawry’s. Bittermint and Lycanthrophile want prime rib; I’ll have the fish. We may find time to sneak in another viewing of the Transformers movie, or take a dip in the pool.

At the Hilton, we also came across this iPod vending machine. How cool is that? Since there was something in it I actually wanted (a device to transmit music from your iPod on an FM frequency so you can listen to it in your car or home stereo), and it wasn’t too awfully expensive, I had to try it out!

iPod vending machine

Written by Cody Nelson in: daily ramble,las vegas,vacation |

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