Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Humping the American Dream

I don't mind the drive to Vegas. The desert scenery is very pretty, and there are conveniently placed coffee joints right wherever I have to stop in order to give my aging vehicle a rest (the advantage to an SUV with a V-6 is that the gas mileage is really good. The disadvantage is trying to crawl up the really long hill just east of Barstow without blowing up the engine).

I made it in about 5 hours and checked into New York, New York. They bill this as being just like Manhattan, and I guess it is - my room was tiny, had no natural light coming into the window, my view out said window was the wall of the next building about 10 feet away, and I could hear the screaming baby in the next room through the paper-thin walls. Just exactly like New York City. Oh, and they wanted ten bucks a day for internet access. Fuck that.

After I got my stuff dumped into the room I went out, had a few cocktails and hit the Strip.

Hunter S. Thompson wrote that line about "humping the American dream" in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and while he was describing gambling while hopped up on goofballs (so to speak), I think it's pretty descriptive of Vegas in general, especially after one has had a few cocktails.

Alcohol makes everything in Vegas better. After a couple of drinks, the over-blown decor in the casinos just seems whimsical, and the displays on the Strip (fake volcanoes, dancing waters, pirate shows, etc) seem magical and fun instead of cheesy and stupid.

I know it's bad of me to promote alcohol use at all, but trust me on this one. Have the martini before you go out.

Sunday - met Dan and helped set up his seminar. Dan's the person who got me the pass - this is the first time I've ever met anyone who only knows me through the blog (a lot of folks who know me in real life anyways read the blog, but it's not the same thing). He turned out to be a very cool guy with a very interesting seminar about making your own camera rigs.

Sunday night I went to dinner at Red 8 - the Chinese place in the Wynn (the Wynn is right next to the convention center and there's a handy shuttle), where the waiter was extremely unpleasant until he saw me taking a photo of my jellyfish salad (deelish, if you were wondering) and asked me why. "Oh" I said "I'm going to send it to a guy who writes a blog called Deep End Dining".

The waiter cracked a huge smile and said "Eddie Lin! Did you see the TV show he was on? That guy's crazy! You should have told me you knew Eddie Lin!"

He still charged me full price for the meal, but he was really friendly after that. I'll take what I can get.

Thanks, Eddie. I'll have to throw your name around more often.

Monday was the convention floor - and it was pure madness. NAB takes up the ENTIRE convention center, and the closest thing I can think of is a rugby scrum - people literally fighting over swag, vendors hawking wares like its a carnival sideshow, etc.. The whole thing was so big that my brain shut down. I had been given advice to peruse the floor map before I went in so I could plan on what I wanted to see - advice I ignored on Monday and was sorry when I staggered out into the afternoon heat of Las Vegas with a serious case of the brain rot. Over dinner Monday night I pulled out my map and had a good look at what was where so I could make a precision assault first thing in the morning.

Tuesday I got there as soon as the convention opened, hit the vendors I'd been interested in (mostly lighting stuff, of course), got out of there before the crowds got too crazy, then went over to the Bellagio and snuck into the pool for a couple of hours before heading home (the Bellagio's pool is much better than New York New York's).

Flat Stanley turned out to be a conversation starter, all right - but not in the way I'd hoped. Most people were happy to take a photo (some of them even took photos that included heads and background), but they all seemed to think that the Flat Stanley looked like me because my kid made it.

Me: "It's my friend's kid, actually."

Them: "Amazing, isn't it? They always make these look just like mom - I can really see the resemblance when you hold it up."

Me: "It's my friend's kid."

Them: "Just amazing. How old is your son?"

Me: "For fuck's sake."

Oh, and Cirque du Soleil is officially out of control:

It's good to be home.