Friday, May 21, 2010

Viva Lost Vegas

It's been about 20 years since we were last in Las Vegas. Which was also about 20 years from when I was there last. Seems I get to see Sin City every two decades. And yet, the last two seem to have changed the place far more. Sure, Vegas in the 90's was different from that of the 60's, but not like this!

Vegas is a place I've avoided. Definitely not my scene. But hard to be too negative about something based on secondhand information.

So, here we are. In a city that's become Bladerunner-in-the-desert: High-tech, tacky, international but unsophisticated, Disneyesque replicas substituting for culture. Not being gamblers (I tell people I use up my luck in real life) we wandered the Strip, dodging Southeast Asian touts flipping girlie ads in your face ("This place is turning into Ermita!" "From the 80's!") dress-alike boys (baseball caps, baggy long shorts, "tribal" tattoos and piercings) holding ridiculously tall cocktails, families from the Mid-West, Middle East, Northeast, South Asia, East Asia...

The worst change, though, was the city itself. 20 years ago, you could drive five miles and be completely isolated in the desert. Today, that desert is paved and jammed with quickly built houses, strip malls -- a giant urban sprawl that goes on forever. It was heartbreaking. People who had homes in the desert decades ago, far away from the neon, found that the city had rushed toward them and enveloped their isolation and open spaces. Viva LOST Vegas.

"It'll all turn into a ghost town when the water's gone," predicts Big Dog. "All of the southwest will become a harsh, inhabitable desert."
"Sooner than later, the way they've let the population explode," I add.

A friend who's retired in this town gave us her personal tour when we arrived and showed us what I consider to be the coolest thing in Vegas: this building which houses the Brain Institute. I loved the irony of having such an institute here.

Two nights in this town is more than enough. I am longing for the open vista of the desert. The kind that makes me want to sing "Calling You" from the movie Baghdad Cafe. It's out there, but a lot farther away.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Hard to Believe

Remember that Instant Family that turned me into an Instant Grandma? (Does this look like a transparent ploy to get you to read some of my earlier entries? I always feel better about my writing/drawing/creations/whatever as more time passes. Why is that?)

Well, go on. Read it.

Because now I'm a GREAT-grandma! (Only by association...but, still!)


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tunnel of Love

How about some nice pictures for a change?

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Original Sin

The gophers got almost all of R's potatoes and she fears the garlic is next.
"And I spent nearly twenty dollars on those!" she cries.
Her fiancee, J drives up with dozens of new starters -- squash, peas, beans joining their 40 tomato plants already in the ground -- and we talk gophers for a while. They're thinking of the chewing gum ploy so I tell them to be careful not to get human scent on the gum. I am beginning to think that was my problem last year. (Our house painter told us about her friend who uses empty aluminum cans, buried every three feet, around his vegetable plot. The gophers hit them when they burrow and the sound of their little nails against the metal freaks them out. Or so she says.)

They've gotten all my hollyhocks and many of my cosmos. (I'm hoping that the cages protect my food plants.) I've gotten 3 gophers so far this year. It sickens me each time I kill a gopher.

All this carnage makes me think of Original Sin. I don't think it has anything to do with our knowledge of right and wrong, but our need to kill life to sustain our own. The gopher situation has thrown it in my face, but every one of us, and in fact, every animal, is a Creature of Sin.

"That's why I'm a vegan," you might say. But as long as you are killing plants for food, you also have The Mark. A purist would only eat fruit.

I believe the real Garden of Eden would only have plants and a few insects, like bees and worms. No taking of one life for another.

Today, my snails go back into the wild. We're leaving The Ranch tomorrow and I haven't built up the nerve to cook them. I am sure BD is thrilled not to be witness to another part of my weirdness and I'm just as happy to get away from the Killing Fields for a while.

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Saturday, May 01, 2010

May Day and Midnight Express

"'s one of the few countries that actually celebrate May Day..."

That was our reaction to one CNN reporter who was talking about Cuba a few years ago. Didn't she know that there are many, many countries that celebrate May Day? I remember the labor organization festivities all around Tokyo every May first. Sometimes they were harassed by right wing fanatics AND police. I remember one very tiny protest -- maybe 25 people? -- surrounded by an army of cops. Earlier the same day, there was a demonstration by the militant right, in front of the Russian Embassy, with giant vans blaring old war songs and propaganda. In between the songs and shouts, they also taunted the handful of police. Sadly, an all too typical scene.

So. Happy May Day to you.

But it was a "mayday" -- which comes from "venez m'aider" or "Come save me!" so if you're ever in a desperate situation in a French-speaking area, you'll be fine -- in the kitchen last night. The snails made a break for it under cover of the night.

By morning, the little mollusks were crawling all over the kitchen. Under the cupboards, inside the sink, all over the walls... Thank god they don't move very fast. I think I was able to foil their midnight express attempt. I HOPE I was successful or Big Dog will be in for a big surprise when he steps on a snail in his bare feet.

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