Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Random Vegas bits

Just some random things today. Just a few things to show you how beautiful Las Vegas is. The first topic deals with several things we were not told before we moved here. I know Las Vegas is in the middle of a desert, and it does not rain very much. This is one reason we came. The lack of rain also means a lack of clouds, and the JinV family loves sunshine. Not the hazy kind that we had in southern California, or the none-at-all kind I had back in upstate New York, but the bright crystal sunshine we have out here in dry land. The mountains that surround us are part of the reason for the dryness, telling all the wet clouds to go away and leave there wetness elsewhere. But this also means lots of wind. And by lots of wind I mean a clear shiny sky and 45 mph breezes fairly regularly. We have learned to chase down our furniture around the back yard after a particularly breezy day, and watch our trash cans roll down the street quite often. It isn’t windy every day, but enough days to let us know that it happens. Such wind is predicted for the end of this week, when we will be having 60 people over for bbq and back yard activities (especially since so many will not fit inside very comfortably).

Another thing we were not told about was the bugs. The LV valley is blessed by a species of ‘water beetle’ (which the rest of the world calls cockroach) that has learned to proliferate around small amounts of water. Small amounts such as is found in the average tiny home lawn. This species of water beetle only comes out at night, which means that when we step out of our back door in the spring or summer after the sun has gone down we have learned not to go out barefoot, as sometimes the migration when the light comes on and the door opens rivals some of those Godzilla movies where the entire population of Tokyo flees down one street. These beetles are a dark brown or black and between an inch and two inches long and quite noticeable on the concrete patio but quite invisible in the grass, so barefoot walks in the grass after dark produce a crunchy, wiggly walk at times.

Some of the other bugs around the valley include the scorpion, which like it dry (fortunately) and have not been seen around our house but are quite common in the new construction areas around the outskirts of town, so if you buy a new home out there you might have lots of these around. Another bug (OK, an arachnid) that is around our house is the spider, particularly the black widow spider. They seem to breed during the warm months, which around here runs from March through December, but Spring and Fall seem to produce the most offspring. This leads us to do ‘spider hunts’ around our back yard at least once a week. These guys also only come out at night, so a short while after sunset once a week we gather up our flashlights and cans of bug spray and wander around the yard. They build their webs usually down at the bottom of walls or under cars, we haven’t found many under bushes, I guess the wind whipping branches back and forth bothers them. So we cruise around the house and walls looking down for the familiar shape.

They usually are quite noticeable, having a body about a half inch or more across. I didn’t really want to put my hand down next to this one to provide a size reference, but the body was bigger than my thumb nail and the legs stretched about two inches across. This size is typical, I do not know where they hide until they get this big, maybe they are born this size. Yes, this poor lady was sprayed after I took this photo, but not to worry, evidence of a new web in the same location yesterday indicates a replacement has arrived. We usually come across ten or twelve webs and spiders each time we wander around the yard, which reminds me, time to do it again. B was cleaning up some stuff out in one of our sheds yesterday afternoon and came across an even bigger one hiding amongst the garden tools, which resulted in a fumigation of said shed. Their webs are noticeable during the day as they are quite irregular, not the nice spiral web portrayed in cartoons. And the web material makes a distinctive crackling sound when broken, so when we find them in the daytime we know where to return at night to catch the spiders. They probably are so numerous and big because of the large water beetle population discussed above.

Another species found frequently around Vegas is the new bride. These are not found in back yards in the evening but rather around casinos in the daytime, such as the one pictured here.

They usually have a long white dress and are accompanied by a person dressed in a black tuxedo. I guess the color is chosen specifically to signify the death of freedom or something. At times there is an entourage of colorfully dressed bridesmaids, but usually not. I’ve posted other photos of this species before, found in other casinos around the Strip. This one was found in the Big Hotel Casino Next Door Which Shall Not Be Named (BHCNDWSHBN) so that I will not be Googled too much, but let’s just say that she had just participated in a short ceremony on a bridge over a canal and leave it at that. Sometimes they are found in a nice white gondola on the same canal, but I guess this one opted for a firmer footing while taking vows. They are usually seen with big smiles on their faces, I guess because they think they just made a good decision. You can view photos of Britney and Pammy taken shortly after their Vegas ceremonies and see simlar smiles. Yes, Pammy exercised her marriage license option a few days ago, getting married one evening just before the magic show she is part of over at Planet Hollywood. After the show everyone in the casino was served champagne and got a piece of her giant wedding cake.

Also around town, the Hoff (David Hasselhoff to those of you outsiders), who was here at one of our shows last week signing autographs, has relapsed and been hospitalized for his alcohol dependency, while Lindsay is just leaving, maybe he just took over her room. I didn’t see him when he was here, so don’t know if he was eating any hamburgers or anything. And for you Brits Sir Richard Branson will be here today rappelling down the outside of the 40 story Palms Tower this afternoon. This is in honor of his first Virgin Airlines flight to Vegas coming from San Francisco. I think Virgin already flies in here from London. And the married duo of JLo and Mark Anthony will be appearing together in concert at the MGM shortly, tickets on sale (probably sold out by now).

I drive in to work early, living about three miles west of the Strip, having to cross over it (well, usually under driving on Desert Inn road) and loop around the Wynn golf course to get to the Team Member Parking Garage a half block east of Vegas Boulevard. I notice the gradual drift from summer into winter because I am driving due east, and have the pleasure of seeing the sun ahead of me. It has been rising a little off to the left, or north, and was high enough to be hidden behind my visor. A few weeks ago it was behind the Wynn tower, and this week is just at the horizon and between the Wynn and the Palazzo. If I leave home when I should to get here at 7 the sun is now just rising as I turn onto DI, and I get to view a nice sunrise before that bright light stabs me in the eyes.

Taken through my dirty windshield while driving – no, I don’t text and drive but I do shoot photos and drive. Also pictured are some rare white things in the sky, which are not usually present to hide the bright blue.

Oh, I see the Twat should be pleased, Kylie just won a Q music award. More photos of her for him to view. Yes, I spend time reading our local Norm's gossip column.

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