Vegas vacation ’04

Vacation has officially begun. I got a call shortly after 6:30am from the boss at work which forced me out of a sleep that I had barely gotten into, having gone to bed past 2am and not sleeping well due to overwhelming heat and humidity. Thus we were on the road bound for Las Vegas by 9am.

The drive went relatively quickly, at least at first. We had made it from Florence to Sun City in only about an hour, better time than we have ever had previously I think. We even had to make a stop at the Wal -Mart over there to buy myself some jean shorts and some extra batteries for the digital camera. Trust me, you do not want to have to buy batteries at the littly sundry shop in a hotel on the Vegas Strip, nor do you want to buy them at a convenience store where either way you are paying at least four times what they are worth. I am just glad that I remembered them while we were in the store, as my camera only uses two batteries and when I say uses, I mean uses.

As for the road-trip itself, it was pretty uneventful. That means that we only nearly died twice, a new low for the drive. Once was due to someone in an SUV trying to pass three cars when he didn’t have nearly enough time to do it, which forced us, the car in front of us, and three oncoming cars to all move over onto the shoulder. That kind of driver is the reason there are so many fatalities along this stretch of road. The really irritating thing about it was the he did that when we were less than five miles from getting onto the Interstate, why would someone be in such a hurry that saving ten seconds would be worth their life and the lives of people in at least five other cars? Retorical, I guess. The other near death experience was while we were on the interstate and apparently a tow truck to vehicles ahead of us lost the tread off of one of his tires. My wife swerved to avoid it, but hit it anyway, and the truck and trailer behind us did the same thing, nearly jack-knifing which would have been really bad for him and us, as he was following us pretty closely. If he actually had lost control there would have been nowhere for us to go, and since we were going downhill he would not likely have been slowing at all whenthe weight and inertia of his trailer started pushing the truck along. Gosh this is a fun drive.

The Hoover dam is usually the worst part(as far as time) of the trip. It went pretty well today with the 8 miles (four on each side of it) taking only about 25 minutes. I even snapped a few photos in the hopes of illustrating the point that I made some time back about the drought having made the water level in Lake Mead drop several feet. I am only able to view the photos on my laptop currently, but as I was in a car that was in motion when I snapped them, I think they came out pretty damn good. We may actually stop there on the return trip since it won’t be a Sunday so there won’t be nearly as many people there, that could allow me to get some even better photos of it.

I mentioned several days ago that I would not be able to update the page because of charges at the hotel, as it turns out I could be wrong. They are now charging us for “unlimited local calls”, and as I use MSN for internet access that means that I have both a pc (laptop) and a local number to dial. I am a bit nervous about it, as I won’t know if they are charging me until I try to check out and then have to wonder why I spent so much on internet access when I could have treated myself to multiple prostitutes for the same price, or less depending on the quality of the prostitute.

Update: after having spent a few hours out whiling away the time on some penny slots, then eating breakfast at 9pm (honestly, where else in the world can you get an omelette and hash browns at that hour), then spending an additional hour or so playing some video poker, I started trying the internet access thing to see if it worked. I spent a bit of time on the phone with customer support for my ISP to make sure that I would be able to do it without having to dial a toll free number (which cost a buck a pop through the hotel), and then got online just long enought to check my email. I am going to inquire at the desk tomorrow about phone charges and if there are truly no charges for the local calls, this post will likely go online at that point.

Another thing, or two, or three, about the vacation and the photos and the website and all of that stuff is that I completely forgot that I have absolutely no imaging software on the laptop. What that means, basically, is that all of the photos that I take while I am here are going to have to be sorted by whether I think they are usable, then transferred to one of the other pcs once I get home for some editing, thumb-nailing and the such. If it turns out that the internet really is free for me to use while here, I might upload some of the full size photos and link to them through my updates so that I can then download and thumbnail them when I get home since there is no way that could take more time than trying to transfer them from pc to pc when I have to do it a couple of images at a time on 3.5″ floppies.

A few other things that you should keep in mind while you are reading this. First, the laptop is the only computer that I have used in the last three years or so that does not have a v-shaped keyboard, so typos are to be expected (even more so than normal). Second, it is 11:30pm right now and I have been up since 6:30am after going to bed after 2am, so I am not operating on a lot of sleep to begin with. Third, one day we will all look back on this and laugh (I am only saying that in case I do something horribly stupid and end up in prison or something).

There is yet another issue that I had not even thought of prior to the vacation. The character map on the laptop is way different than the character map on the other pc (likely due to fewer keys and a different OS). That has made it so that I am not able to use the little dot that I always have used previously to attempt to separate my thoughts. The alt commands just did nothing, so even if I typed it in and didn’t see the dot it was not like it was really there but I couldn’t see it, no, it was just not there. Whether I will correct this after I get back home is up in the air only if you think that I take a lot of pride in this page, which I don’t, ’cause if I did I would not have totally ripped off someone else’s layout to begin with. Though I must admit that it has been quite theraputic in a way, calming without having to resort to anger against those around me. It sure is fun to bitch.

A final note before I go read a bit more of Harry Potter (3rd book). I just looked over at the clock and realized that I am going to be 30 in less than a half an hour. No matter how hard I concentrate on that damn clock it just won’t stop. I think I would like to be upset or depressed about this so-called “milestone” birthday, but the truth is that every breath that you take moves you one closer to death. When you start counting things such as years you have been alive, breaths that you have taken, times your heart has beaten, that is the point where you are not really counting down to your death anymore, more like you are hoping for your death: No two people ever live the same number of seconds, no two ever take the same number of breaths, no two hearts beat the same number of times in a lifetime…Some people die of “old age” when they are over 100 while some die from the same affliction in their 50’s. Whether you like it or not, the 50’s are gonna be upon you about 2 decades before you want them.

I have finally gotten my ftp client tow ork correctly and so I am going to throw a couple of phots below. These are both taken for the illustrative purpose of showing the level of lake mead. The white that you see on the canyon walls in both photos is where the water level was a couple of years ago, while the water itself shows where it is now. I saved them at 75% size which is about the only option I have right now, so if they are huge on your screen I do apologize.

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