Wednesday, February 04, 2009


It’s been a rather pleasant week here in Las Vegas. The weather has been unusually warm during the day, down near freezing when I get up in the morning to drive to work. We live about three miles west of the Strip, and I work in a building right in the ‘heart of it all’, so my morning drive is eastward. During the winter months this means I drive in the dark, but as the days start to lengthen I now face the sunrise. I still make it around that corner headed for the parking lot before the sun peeks up, but it will not be much longer before the sun is right there, dead ahead just above the trees and below the visor, tearing into my eyes as I try to see the idiots cutting people off ahead of me. But for now I get the deep blue clear sky and the lightening horizon. Because it’s the desert out here there is very little humidity, which means that we do not get the nice orange and red sunrises those of you on the east coast get to see. Sometimes there are clouds, but usually it’s just a gradual brightening.

On Saturday the temp was up around 68f (near 20c) and bright and sunny, so B wanted to go out and find some new sneakers. She had been looking at the mall stores and did not find what she wanted (plain white low sneakers with Velcro closings) so she thought the bigger shoe stores at the outlet mall might have some. We have two big ‘outlet malls’ here in Vegas, originally an outlet mall was a place where manufacturers sold their unsold merchandise and articles with small defects and very low prices, but since there are now several of these malls in every large American city the goods sold there are really just cheaper versions of the name brand products sold in larger stores. There is a large indoor version down on the south end of Las Vegas Boulevard, which also has a large merry go round ride that E liked, and a newer outdoor one just across the freeway from downtown. This one is closer to us, so B decided to go there. It’s right across from the County center, where we attend the free outdoor jazz in the park concerts in May and June.

The county center is the mixture of brick buildings to the right, with the pyramid in front and the round building to the rear. The above picture is looking east from the fourth floor of the parking garage, right at downtown Vegas. The mall used to have nice large parking lots, but when they expanded the number of stores they constructed two five story parking garages. These are about the worst places to park, they are small and are basically just a long spiral ramp with parking all along. The spaces are small, so as to meet the building department’s requirement for number of cars it can handle. The driving path is also narrow, making it really hard to turn into a space, which is so narrow that it is hard to open your car door to get in or out. And of course some sucker in a huge SUV will end up parking next to you. But every space was taken, and we had to drive up and down waiting for somebody to pull out. The warm weather pushed all of Vegas to go outside this weekend, and the mall was packed with people wandering around.

To the left of that picture is the new Lou Ruvo Brain Institute still under construction. Part of UNV they will perform research there, including looking at Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative brain disorders. The building is designed by architect Frank Gehry, who is also responsible for the design of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, and the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles among others , the building is composed of two parts, one with the weird contorted shapes and another with neatly stacked boxes, reflecting the two hemispheres of the brain (hey, I don’t make this up, I just look it up elsewhere).

It does look interesting though.

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