The Vegas Report

As has been said elsewhere, it was simply a blast. I’ve never had a meeting-of-Internet strangers that went so well. I wouldn’t say so if there was anyone I didn’t like and come away calling a friend, but I liked everyone and felt like everyone there was a friend. Even the spouses that I’d never communicated with before and those with the blog that I’d only communicated with casually.

I didn’t gamble a dime. This wasn’t the plan, but I was too busy doing other stuff or getting downtime.

I wouldn’t say that I am a “Las Vegas person,” but I knew that going in. And as a tourist on a few-day jaunt, you don’t need to be a Las Vegas Person. You can spent that time just absorbing everything. There is a lot to absorb.

Which is not to say that Las Vegas never got in the way of the Vegas trip. Namely that every bar seemed to think it needed loud music. I mean, I understand that’s why a lot of people go, but you would think that at least some place would position itself in contrast for people like me. According to Burt, they do have non-smoking hotels and casinos. If only they’d had a bar and called it The Quiet Bar or something.

I’m a doofus that likes to keep an earpiece in my ear and listen to audiobooks when I am walking from one place to another. And in Vegas, there is a lot of walking. But no audiobooking. Too much noise to even try.

All of that being said, I gained a new appreciation for why some people love the city so much. There are some things that I really envy about it. Particularly the entertainment options. I kept seeing sign after sign for something that interested me. I’m a sucker for live shows. We went to see a musical, though it wasn’t very good unfortunately. First-rate talent, but weak material.

I’ve never seen a city so smoker-friendly as Vegas. It’s a little jarring to be able to smoke virtually anywhere (it’s also bad for my lungs). My fellow Leaguesters were great about it, and I tried to keep it limited when in their company. It feels so weird smoking indoors that I went out about half the time anyway. There was a woman that was pestering smokers that were doing the same (smoking outside). I thought to myself “Boy, is she in for an unpleasant surprise.”

Along those lines, one of the things that impressed me about Vegas was how well the city seems to know itself. It knows that it’s to its advantage to have liberal smoking laws. The hotels apparently know that late check-out times are a good idea because their guests are as likely as not to be hung over. In contrast, a while back Colosse (the pseudonym for my home city) passed its smoking bans and went after the strip clubs on the basis that it was hurting our image when it came to conventions and such (at the same time arguing that we were getting more conventions than ever). What they apparently did not realize was that the strip clubs and freewheeling bars was one of the reasons that they came to Colosse in the first place. It certainly wasn’t for the muggy weather and chemical-infused air.

The gaudy nature of it all really grew on me. At some point they decided that the new casino they wanted to build had to look like something, so why not make it look like a giant pineapple?! (There is no building to my knowledge that looks like a pineapple… but it wouldn’t surprise me if there were.)

One of the things that jumped out at me with regard to the city as a whole is the comparative lack of Spanish. I figured it would be like other cities in the area where a whole lot of signs are in English and Spanish. I saw some, but not as many as I had expected.

The second day I went to Walmart to pick up a bathing suit, which I’d forgotten to bring. I got an ostentatious one with an American flag design (if you have to get a bathing suit, why not one in the shape of a pineapple?). I’ve been to a lot of Walmarts and have never seen it before. I suspect that it’s actually marketed to foreign visitors rather than rednecks like me.

The hotel actually charged for WiFi. This is the first time I have run into that in a long time. And I’m not sure I’ve ever run into a situation where the charge was per-device, as it was here. Fortunately, I only attached one device.

Vegas (or at least the strip) has a way of warping your perspective when it comes to price. The notion of $80 for dinner ceases to sound all that crazy. Nine dollars for a pack of cigarettes? Okay, I guess. To be fair, the food was really good. The cigarettes were the same, though.

On the way in and the way out, I passed by the building of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. I felt a desire to buy some eggs and throw it at the building due to their involvement in the whole Righthaven mess.

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.


  1. Old people like the quiet, got it!
    I’m glad you all had fun anyway 🙂

    • It’s more that the general idea was a non-zero bunch of introverts were going to get together and have a drinking contest and argue politics.

      If the music is too loud, you can only get together and have a drinking contest.

      • I had two thoughts when I read this, JB; I officially don’t fit in here, and what a cute bunch of nerds. I don’t know how drinking contest and arguing politics go well together. Drinking contest and dancing your bum off to the loud music maybe, but I’m about as far from an introvert as you can get.

  2. I dunno. The only enduring impression from my visit to Vegas, a few years ago, was that every sidewalk was end-to-end filled with guys snapping their fingers or popping decks of cards against their hands, trying to get you to make eye contact so they could start jabbering at you and pushing whores’ business cards into your pockets.

    • That was my impression the first time I went to Vegas (with my father!) too. Next time I go to Vegas it will be to party, for sure.

    • I might word it differently, but that was our experience when walking along the strip. We did not spend much time walking along the strip, though. Casinotel to monorail to casinotel.

  3. Thought it’s probably unfair, and I am glad the Whole Sick Crew had such a good time there, I hate Las Vegas.

    For several months, I used to get a connecting flight from LA to Chicago through Vegas. What the hell, might as well see The Strip, I thought. So I made arrangements to catch the outbound flight the next morning, checked into the James Bond-famous Casino Royale.

    I’ve never worked out the appeal of gambling but I played a few hands of 21, won a little, got up and started to walk around. There’s something unutterably charmless about The Strip. I enjoy louche and garish, God wot, I don’t expect anything real about the place. The stark efficiency of the money machine, every detail calculated, not a real thing to be seen anywhere. More than a few hours of it seems as if I was in a colossal zoo, one of these new modern enclosures, humanely designed of course but completely artificial.

    Food was great, though. Spent my winnings on sashimi and a good bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape. I abjured the seedier delights and carnal pleasures of Vegas though they were seemingly constantly on offer. Never bought sex in my life and did not plan on starting then.

    Las Vegas is not a good place to be alone. I’ve been alone a fair bit of my life and usually enjoyed myself immensely when I was. Not in Vegas though. Maybe it’s different if you’re with someone. Maybe if I blurred my vision just a little I could pretend it was fun. Children pretend, they have fun while they’re pretending. Maybe it’s just the swarming herds of people, trying to enjoy themselves. For some people, Vegas is as good as it gets in life, they just can’t get enough of it. I think I can see why: every conceivable carnal delight on offer 24/7/365 and all within arm’s reach.

    Some months later a fellow consultant,was doing a gig in Henderson, a Navajo. He picked me up and we went out into the desert. We made a fire, burned tobacco, did peyote and watched the stars move overhead until dawn. An altogether superior experience than the Strip.

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