Daily GUIDE-ance:

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Las Vegas Again

When I lived as a missionary for the LDS church in Las Vegas (1995-1997), I was bound by the restrictions of my order to never set foot on The Strip. So I never did. I found out instead that there is a whole ‘nuther Las Vegas where normal people have normal lives, completely separate from the over-the-top tourist madness that everyone thinks of when you say “Las Vegas“. I came to feel some real affection for those regular people and their regular lives. I never really gave The Strip side of Vegas much thought while I was there. I had very little idea what it was like in fact.

I just came back from a week of living on The Strip. (We were there this last week visiting Liz’s family)

Here is what the Strip is like:

-Being mooned over and over and over. Kind of like the scene in Braveheart where the whole Scottish army exposes their Scottish bums to the English army.

-People literally walk into a casinos with the absolute intention of leaving the casino with less money than they went in with, and with nothing to show for it. And on the way, they pass homeless people asleep on bus stops.

-Its like an old people convention colliding with a 100 drunken bachelor parties.

-Like Britney Spears at age 60.

-Like the Emporer’s new clothes. (in more ways than one)

-Like if the Midwest if you took away the lawns and instead scattered naked lady playing cards on the sidewalks. (very literally- It is so nice to be back in the Midwest where I can just look at the litter with out seeing inartistic nudes. And there really is no grass.)



Now I hate to be so negative about things. I mean, I very much am in favor of having fun. Life’s no fun without it. But when I want to have fun, the strip is almost the last place I would want to go. (The heart of the sun, and 5'x1'x1' crate would be worse, marginally)

Think about it- In so many ways The Strip is the exact opposite of me. Does that make sense?

If it doesn’t let me know, I will explain it.

I had a touch of revelation while I was there, I think. I was thinking about how ironic to send ME to VEGAS on a mission. Then it came to me that one of my assets is just that: The Strip holds almost no temptations for me. It was a nice feeling. Sort of an : “Atta boy” from Father, and unexpected.

We took a some time to tour around some of my old stomping grounds- a lot has changed in 10+ years. My apartments have been torn down. A lot of my old ghettos look actually much less ghettoy- safer- more friendly- cleaner. A few things are still there- a truck stop me and Snave used to go to- Marsha’s trailer park- the chapel where a friend of mine was later murdered by a random drive by. But a decade changes alot. Sadly, I am not in touch with any one from Las Vegas any more, although I do stay maintain contact with a woman who I met under absolutely miracle circumstances- a great lady- who has since moved from Vegas. And there are several others who I would like to be in touch with but who I cannot find.

So its good to be home. And I miss the real Las Vegas a bit- by which I mean the people I knew back then. Maybe I will try to hunt a few of them down.

So what did I miss while I was gone?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Halloween

If you chat with my wife you will know that I start Halloween in August or July. My second favorite holiday you know.

I've developed some... habits in gearing up for the big day. For a few years I have been reading Roger Zelazney's "A Night in the Lonesome October" each year around this time. Renae mentioned looking for reading material. I recommend this book to ANYONE. Its really one of a kind. I love it. Trent has my copy right now, and I was pleased to see it take hold on him while he was up here a weekend or two back.

I also reread:
Fred Saberhagen's Dracula books (see previous post)
Barbara Hambly's "Traveling with the Dead" and "Those who Hunt the Night"
Marion Zimmer Bradley's "Ghostlight"

Perennial favorite movies:
Practical Magic- this is kind of a me and Liz flick- not really scary- when we first saw it in the theater when we were dating, we liked it enough that we went back and saw the next showing that very night

Signs- well really any of Night Shylaman's work, (The Village, Unbreakable, The 6th sense DUH!) but Signs is my favorite. I save his movies for Halloween time.
I have been saving his "Lady in the Water" all year for October.
Let me reiterate though- Signs- I love it. See it if you haven't and need a great scary movie that doesn't make you feel slimy afterwards.

Arsenic and Old Lace with Cary Grant- not scary but fun.

And if you haven't seen The Prestige by now, let me just say this: You're a complete idiot. Same with The Illusionist.

Speaking of scary, we just saw Disturbia. Recommend it. Scary, with class. No gore just for the sake of going for the gross out. Pretty much everything I recommend here I can say is good that way. No blood just to be sickening. Blood, maybe but done well, if you get my drift.

Also if you haven't read "Dracula" as in the book "Dracula" by Bram Stoker, well have a go at it sometime. (or have a goat -it sometime. Or have a goa tit sometime.) I found it worth the effort. Although it was an effort- like Lord of the Rings.

But I am always looking for new blood- no pun. I need recommendations. What Halloweensy appropriate reading/viewing material can you turn me on to? Keep in mind, I took a vow of non R rated movies a few years back-

...better than a vow of celibacy. Or a vow of Imbecility- pretty much the same thing though, now that I come to reflect on it. Better than being kicked in the groin by a stegosaurus. Better than flinging onesself from a tall building. Better than being trampled to death by a herd of bulldozers. Better than rubbing butter all over your face. Better than being puked up by a monster. Better than living in Utah. Better than drowning. Better than drowning in cold oil. Better than a sandpaper swimsuit.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Fred Saberhagen: May 18, 1930-Jun. 29, 2007



This is late news, but I just found out today that another icon of my life, Fred Saberhagen, sci-fi fantasy author is gone. I've been reading him more than half my life; he is one of my favorites. An icon in my life, really. He wrote a great Dracula series, and also The Swords/lost Swords series that I followed religiously all through high school. Sad to see him go. I started a new book of his today- "The Frankenstein Papers" -sort of as a way to mourn a complete stranger who, never-the-less, was a part of my life.

Actually I did correspond with him once-
That is I sent him a rather babbling fan email once from work when I was faced with an hour of nothing to do at all, and he responded in a breif, friendly way. It was cool for me.

So I am sad in a small way.

He has been in the afterlife about a month and a half... I wonder if he has met the historical Dracula yet?

Some of my favorite Fred Saberhagen books are:
A Matter of Taste
The Dracula Tape
The Holmes Dracula File
(See below:)
http://www.berserker.com/FredsDracula.html


Also a nice little obit on him:
http://books.guardian.co.uk/obituaries/story/0,,2130597,00.html

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Cookies and The Salmon of Doubt

All,

I hope you can read this because I have dearly been wanting to share it with somebody since I read it a day or two ago. I read it to my wife and she laughed, but that only made me want to pass it on further.

Its from "The Salmon of Doubt" which is a post-humousedly published collection of miscellaneuos writings by Douglas Adams. Most of you will know that Douglas Adams in one of my absolute Idols, along with Neil Peart (of Rush).


























Friday, September 7, 2007

Spelling "correctly" not important below:

Hi ho, here I am late at night sitting at my computer reveling in my inborn genetic superiority, eating chips, and failing to go to sleep like a wise person would. I must say that knowing that just about ANYBODY- even a loser- might read this is a bit wierdifying to me. Not sure what is driving me to expose myself in such a rash cavalier way. Normally I like to insulate myself from the majority of the species that I evolved from...

Anyway.

I dont know if I like having a fanclub yet. We will have to see. I keep thinking of the dread pirate roberts:
"Good night fanclub. Thank you for everything. I'll most likely delete you in the morning"

For one thing I am not a girl and I doubt that I will ever tell you much about my kids or my domestic endeavors. All you need know about my kids is that they have inherited my genetic perfection. My native goodlooks, my mindblowing intellect, my charisma, my amazing physical strength, endurance and agility, they have it also. Of course, what did you expect.

Also I abominate and despise cuteness in all its forms. Cuteness in an animal is usually a cute way of saying Verminous. Or to put it another way, Cuteness is verminous way of saying Verminous. Or to put it another way, Verminous is a cute way of saying cuteness? Or to put it a verminous way, Verminous is cute way of saying Another...?

Point being, I have seen some blogs that are verminous. I shall delete this one posthaste if it becomes so.

(I feel compelled to insert hear that Renae's Blog (my sister) is not counted as verminous. She does discuss her kids and house. That is ok.I like reading her. She is funny.)http://renylousworld.blogspot.com/


I see that I am tired now, but I will leave you with the following thoughts about the French.
It so happens that in my pursiut for intellectual greatness, I am currently reading a book about Joan of Arc. It's by Mark Twain. I never heard of it before, but there it is, it exists. She was pretty cool, I must say. I must someday find out who St. Catherine and St. Margarete were. Apparently they kept appearing to her (Joan), you see, and I am inclined to believe it to be true, so I am curious as to who they were in life. St. Michael the arch-angel also appeared to her, she claimed, but not so often, but of course I know who he was.

Anyway, I have lately wondered this:
What does it say about your country when its two most notable warriors were:
1) a teen-age girl
2)a guy with a complex named after him?

PS:
I see from the news that Madeleine L'Engle died. That is sad.
I also see that Britney Spears is still alive. That is also sad.