My ‘Vegas Vacation’ (of sorts)

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My month in Las Vegas comes to a close this weekend, and I’m both incredibly excited to return to Boise  and a bit sad to say goodbye to the wonderful city of Vegas. I jokingly call it a vacation, but in reality I’ve been down here for Red Flag.

I had never visited Vegas before, so a lot of my preconceptions about the city were formed from TV and film. I expected the strip to be extravagant while also wild and lawless. The city ended up being much more tame than I imagined, which was surprising.

First of all I was incredibly surprised by the amount of children I saw on the strip, even late on Friday nights. There are kids everywhere, even in the casinos. I saw a ton of children in their early teens wandering around the casino floors on their own during all parts of the day which I didn’t expect at all. It almost made me feel a little awkward carrying around a 50 oz margarita in a souvenir cup shortly after noon. Almost.

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It was a bit jarring to see children with their parents pass by the guys on the street corners and pedestrian bridges peddling escort cards. One evening we were walking back behind a family as two young boys trailed their parents gawking at the cards of naked women discarded all over the ground.

The city was not nearly as wild as I had imagined it would be. Sure you can carry drinks up and down the strip at any time of the day, however there were no crazy Hangover like moments to be witnessed. There were groups of scantily clad parading bachelorette parties, and as amusing as it was to watch them drunkenly stumble down the strip, the majority of the foot traffic consisted of families and tourists.

Ultimately, Las Vegas is just another tourist attraction, not unlike Times Square. In fact, the street performers, costumed characters taking ‘tips’ in exchange for pictures and all of the people trying to push their mixtapes on everyone passing by reminded me all too much of the annoying parts of every New York City trip.

It may sound like my Vegas experience was overly negative, but that’s not true at all. My impressions were way off, but I still had a great time!

I didn’t really fall in love with the city until Vanessa visited this past weekend. I’m staying on base for work, so only really experienced the city on the weekends, and this past weekend was the best yet! We stayed at the Luxor Friday and Saturday night and packed a ton of fun into the weekend before she had to fly back Sunday.

I had a great time enjoying drinks by (and in) the pool Friday afternoon. Standing in the water sipping an ice cold margarita in the blistering sun was pretty awesome (though we payed for it with some mild sunburn).

Gambling was fun, but luck certainly wasn’t with me. I played roulette for the first time and failed miserably. I had my mind set on a number (15) and the first table I walked up to it hit my number before I could place a bet. This was frustrating and put the dangerous “I could’ve won big” thought into my mind. After throwing a few $10 minimum bets at 15 on another table I decided to call it quits. Before we left my friend and I bet red and black, figuring one of us would win at least. It hit 0. I decided to try roulette again and Vanessa won money rather quickly at the table. I figured I’d stick to just betting colors, and kept betting red. It hit black six times in a row, which seemed absurd, and on my final bet the game decided to spit in my face by landing on 0. I don’t think I’ll ever play roulette again.

Slot machines were much more fun, and on some machines $20 could last almost an hour and bring in a few free Coronas. Earlier in the trip I made the mistake of buying my own beers in the casinos, while also gambling. Being impatient doesn’t really pay in Vegas.

Friday night we saw Blue Man Group which was a blast. I had seen them in Orlando before, and while much of the show was similar, there were a few new things. We were seated behind a family with something like four kids who kept screaming and talking loudly, which again was annoying (why so many kids in Vegas??) but the worst part was the mom kept taking pictures and posting them to Facebook every few minutes. Nothing ruins a show quite like a phone popping up in your view followed by the bright light emanating from Facebook. Not cool.

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Saturday was just as exciting. We gambled a bit more and headed to New York, New York to check out the roller coaster. Vanessa had never ridden a roller coaster, and had always been deathly afraid. With a lot of convincing we got day passes and eventually made it onto the ride(with a lot of kicking and screaming from her!). As we were ascending we saw the thick smoke from the pool fire at The Cosmopolitan (well I did, her eyes were shut). The roller coaster was fun, although at times painful because of the sunburn. We rode again awhile later and intended to ride it once at night as well, but the line was absurdly long later that night and we were exhausted so we skipped it.

We met up with some of Vanessa’s friends for dinner at Hash House a go go which was delicious, and after the meal I was asked if I wanted a to go cup for my margarita. Only in Vegas! I ended up pouring it into my empty 50 oz souvenir cup and we headed to the High Roller observation wheel. The wheel was wonderful, and we spent an awesome thirty minutes taking in the view of the city after sunset. I highly recommend riding the wheel. We arrived shortly after 8PM and there wasn’t much of a line at all, but as we disembarked half an hour later the line was incredibly long. I definitely recommend heading there just as the sun sets, it’s wonderful.

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This ended up being a little long-winded so I’ll simply wrap up by saying it’s been a great month in Vegas, but last weekend was one of the most incredible experiences I’ve had anywhere. I can’t wait to make a return trip to Vegas, but until next time, thanks for the memories!

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Some pics from a great Vegas weekend

I’ve been in Vegas for work and haven’t posted much lately, but thought I’d share a few of my favorite pictures from this past weekend when Vanessa came down. It was a blast!

Back from vacation..so much to blog about!

I landed back in Boise late Saturday night after spending a wonderful three weeks back in York Pennsylvania with my family. The weather didn’t quite cooperate most of the time, but overall it was a great trip! I enjoyed hanging out with my dad, playing Minecraft with my brother and seeing the rest of my friends and family. I certainly miss them a lot the rest of the year!

I also enjoyed the two weeks Vanessa spent with me during her second trip to the East Coast. We had a blast in New York City, touring the Yuengling factory in Pottsville, visiting the National Aquarium in Baltimore and enjoying all of the fun at Chocolate World in Hershey! The time went by so quickly and I’m quite sad I won’t get to visit again until next year.

On the upside, I’m glad to be back in a city again. My dad lives in the middle of rural (nowhere) Pennsylvania, and while the scenery is nice (you can see so many stars at night!) I’m glad to have broadband internet and all of the convenience of city life again. I still have some unpacking and housework to do, and I went back to work last night (working the night shift again), but I’d like to get back to blogging more regularly as soon as possible.

I have so much I’d like to write about. I’d like to share some photos and experiences from vacation (Drunk Shakespeare off broadway in NYC was an absolute blast!) and there’s plenty of topics I want to talk to you about. I’d like to try out Sling TV on the Xbox One (though I already subscribe to DISH and don’t see myself “cutting the cable” anytime soon. I enjoy having a traditional TV service). I’m also looking forward to picking up the Borderlands Handsome Jack Collection tomorrow as well as playing through episode two of Tales from the Borderlands.

I’m hoping to tell you about how much I’m enjoying the new Modest Mouse album (my vinyl copy will arrive Wednesday) and also the latest comedy album from Trevor Moore (whom you may know from Whitest Kids U Know). There’s so much I’ve wanted to write about, but ultimately I’m glad I spent most of my time enjoying the company of friends and family instead of worrying about my blog. I hope you haven’t minded the silence! I promise, you’ll hear more from me soon!

Away for the summer

I’m officially away for the summer. Luckily, right now I still have pretty decent internet access but what’s more important is getting out and exploring as much of the world as I can. I’m incredibly grateful that the United States Air Force has enabled me to have these many great experiences. I’ll try to blog as often as I can, I’ve been pretty bad about it lately, but it’s been a busy month.

Until I have the chance to sit down and write I’ll just post a few pictures.

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New York City trip, March 11, 2014

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On Tuesday Vanessa and I spent a wonderful day in New York City. We drove to Junction Square, New Jersey and took the train to 33rd street. It was a nice, sunny, warm day in the city and we certainly enjoyed it. The only real downside to the trip was driving in New Jersey. I’ve never been more frustrated by other drivers and their complete lack of patience and regard for others. I never want to drive in New Jersey again… Unless I carry a baseball bat to smash people’s windows in with. New Jersey is a disaster. I always hated the state but now I really despise it.

Anywho, New York was fun and I’m glad we got to go.

Flying back east

Just a little while ago I landed in Salt Lake City and have about two hours to wait for my connecting flight to Baltimore. It was a quick flight from Boise to Salt Lake, about forty or fifty minutes, and the scenery was beautiful, especially as the sun rose over SLC as we came in for the landing.

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Getting through security this morning was quite trouble free now that I’m TSA pre-checked. There was a line of about forty or so people waiting to go through security but I was able to bypass it completely and go through the TSA pre-check entrance which also allows you to go through security with your shoes on.

I should be landing in Baltimore in about 6 hours, at around 4PM Eastern. I’m looking forward to spending three weeks in Pennsylvania, even though it’s going to be about 40 degrees cooler there for at least the next week.

Phone calls in flight? Really that big of a deal?

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In the few weeks since the FCC first announced that it may allow passengers to use their cell phones in flight (while actually connected to their cellular network in flight) many have been ranting and raving about how horrible a decision it would be. Personally, I’m quite excited for the change if it does indeed happen and airlines follow through. I absolutely hate being on flights that do not offer WiFi. Sure you can watch movies, read or listen to music, but I’ll admit I’m entirely addicted to being connected. A camping trip off the grid is absolutely horrifying to me. I’d love to be able to check in with Facebook, Twitter and WordPress in flight using my cellular data. I’d also enjoy being able to text and keep up to date on plans for when I land.

The main fear is that all of a sudden everyone will be making phone calls and being obnoxious in flight. I really don’t think it’d be that bad. I rode the light rail around Baltimore quite a bit back when I was living in Pennsylvania and people were free to make phone calls but not very many ever did. I know a plane is more compact and quieter so any phone conversation would travel further and seem louder, but how is it any different than being on a flight with a high school or college girl’s basketball team (the last time I flew into Boise the BSU volleyball team was on the flight). Furthermore if it’d bother you that much I’m sure you have a pair of headphones you could put in.

I know my view may not be popular, but think of all the other places people are able to use their phones. Is it really that bad? In Starbucks? On a bus or train? I haven’t found it to bother me at all. As long as I’m plugged in I’m not paying that much attention to what’s going on around me anyway.