Monday, May 01, 2006

regular people

many many years ago on may 1st we called it 'may day.' me and my little sister would make little may baskets with my mom and would leave them on the doorsteps of my friends. the baskets were paper cups filled with candy and a little note. i think one of our friends gave us a little certificate for a free ice cream cone from their mom.
or did we give that?

'twas a fun weekend.
becky moved out of her place on thursday night, so we were up late that night getting all of her boxes out of centennial and tossed them into the living room of her new place. she proudly has a washer and dryer there, which means she has no reason at all to come and visit her brother anymore.

our vegas-troop consisted of me and her and one of her mission companions. our other member decided to move to alaska two days before we left.
the six hour, three state journey was peppered with abba and neil diamond songs, and 'viva las vegas' came on just as we were pulling on the strip at around 3:00 that afternoon.
the sushi place didn't open for dinner until 5:30 and the rollercoaster at the sahara was calling our names. sure it cost $10 and lasted probably a minute, but in the town where we cheerfully pay $5 for a brownie, who cares?
the ride was short. it was also fast and intense and made us scream and laugh.

we also stopped at the 'fashion show mall', that place that kind of looks like a world's fair exhibit from the fifties halfway down the strip. many more laughs were offered up at 'sacks fifth avenue' as we looked at sweaters that cost $400 and jackets that were four times that.
the ripped jeans i was wearing looked pretty much the same as the one on the manequin, and while i couldn't find the price, i think mine came in at about 5% of his.

is $25 too much for all you can eat sushi?
but it was very, very good.
there are few feelings in the world like being full on sushi. unlike our lovely western food, you don't feel sick or bleh; just nice and full. our friend carolyn had no problem eating the raw fish, and after several reassurances that yes, this really was raw fish, and no, it would not kill her in the slightest, my world-traveling sister did try it herself. even the eel [it's really pretty good--not fishy at all].

now the sun was down, and driving back to the strip was like a whole other world, seperate from reality--everything is lit up and glittery. a lot of the casinos look better at night than they do in the day.
we cruised up and down the strip to see all the sights with the sunroof open and held our hands out in the warm night air.

my first visit to a casino was a few years ago, when i was on a location scout for a short that never happened. we stopped in wendover and it was a little disappointing: the place just looked dingy and false, with tacky orange carpet and the perpetual smell of smoke.
much of las vegas is really like that-- with the exception of the bellagio, caesar's palace, the venetian, and a maybe one or two others, most of the places down there are little more than a tacky attempt to pile as many lights as possible onto a casino that looks like it is still 1985.
kind of disappointing.

the bellagio feels like our home and our friend.
and we saw plenty of fountain shows. 'luck be a lady' was the best.

we stopped in 'the forum shops' section of caesar's, because it looks very cultured in there and has circular escalators.
we looked all of the extremely high priced specialty stores and mused at how they stay in business--the ultra-modern chocolate store sold pieces for $2.50 each and gave us a sample that had ginger and wasabi in it.
[i will be raving about the 'morinaga' chocolate bars in japan in three weeks]

we also stopped at the magic shoppe on the top floor since i used to do a little myself. the guy at the counter was one of those people who actually seem to have a story for anything. he asked me where i was from and i told him northern minnesota, next to fargo. he thought, and said, 'so, you've got moorhead, and then...' and i stopped him and said i was from moorhead, although i'm curious to know how many other towns he could have named up there.
his next question was if i was lds.
generally you don't think of that as a follow-up question after hearing that someone is from northern minnesota.
i really wondered how he guessed that one.
we talked and he said he was jewish, and the lds people and the jewish people kind of stick together in las vegas.
i asked him how he knew i was; he said he noticed my ring.
dang, this guy is really good.
i told him i worked in film and he told me a story about how one of his good friends was orson welles's right hand man and that he was lds, as was most of welles's crew. he worked with all lds people because howard hughes did, because they were dependable and reliable.
[does anyone else know this?]
i wanted to bring back a random sampling of people and see how many other connections and stories this guy has.
he gave me his card and told me to google his name.
i almost bought a trick there, and decided to start practicing the tricks i do have again.

at one of the confectionary cafes in 'paris' they sell a wonderful chocolate treat called a 'millennium.' we were going to enjoy one before we left, but the store closes at 11, we sadly discovered.
so two more fountain shows and we were on our way back to st. george to stay with grandma.

i've done it before, but that is the one part of a vegas trip i don't much care for: leaving vegas already tired and then driving for two hours through a dark desert, trying my darnedest to stay awake.

if i didn't know better, i would swear that the car behind us was purposefully trying to blind me--maybe they had their brights on or maybe the angle was just right for it to brilliantly hit me from both the side and rear view mirrors, but they seemed determine to stay the same distance behind me and pass any car that i passed. i was close to acting out a scene from 'lost highway', but opted to slow down to 60 and force them to pass me.
who would have thought that a family suv could be so viscious.

becky stayed up with me and we listened to the 'wicked' soundtrack.

now, i've really been out of the theatre loop since high school ['jekyl and hyde' was the rage last i knew], but in the past two weeks i have had four people tell me that 'wicked' is the cat's meow.
i didn't quite catch the story, but got the general idea and enjoyed it.
the next day carolyn explained it to us as best she understood it.

with the time zone change, we got in a 3:something and slept until about 1 the next afternoon, when we were awakened by grandma calling and yelling at us through the answering machine to wake up.
we dressed and i realized i forgot a necktie and really didn't coordinate the few church clothes that i did bring, but we went to the st. george temple all the same--and got to learn a bit more of the history of the temple.

i was up late that night trying to fix the internet security on grandma's computer. this was confusing, being as she only uses her internet about once a month. i didn't get it fixed, but did five hours of sleep.

we made in back just in time for church and i was really out of it for the rest of the day and felt like that cat up there.

the end


Em said...

What a trip Jeff! Thanks for being so detail oriented... it's fun to read and probably even funner to live like that.

Wicked is trippy - it means more if you've read the novel - - but the novel is rather racey as novels about Oz go.

Glad to have you back - and ties and nylons are grossly over-rated.

-->jeff * said...

em, your posts always make me smile. i heard a quote attributed to abe lincoln in regards to a letter he wrote, saying he would have written a shorter letter but didn't have the time. i feel the same about mine, but the library kicked me out at 6.

i wondered if 'wicked' was based on one of the oz books--i've heard they are indeed very sweet and awesome.

Em said...

Wicked is actually based on the OZ books, but its by a guy named Gregory McGuire (only spelled correctly) who likes to write rather twisted versions of familiar fairy tales for adults (rather than by L F BAum).... But he's a very good (if depressing) storyteller.