I went to Vegas! Pt. 2

Yup still in Vegas. I fly out tomorrow morning. I’m in the hotel right now. Been here since anout 2pm when it started to get really hot. And now I’m getting ready to go out again. Earlier I talked about my reasons for coming here, along with my first impressions on Vegas and the stigma that surrounds it. Now I’ll talk about what I’ve actually done.

So I took the public transit bus from the airport to the Strip. I hope that gives an idea as to how I planned to handle this trip. I landed around 11am. By 11:30, I was at the first Casino/Hotel/Mall I visited, MGM Grand. My original plan had been to find somewhere with good seafood to eat. But I got tempted by their “Grand Buffet”, so I ate their instead. Not that I’m upset about having done that, but I wish I had chosen a little better.

Adterward, I began walking up the Strip. GPS said it was about a 30 min wall up from MGM to the Flamingo, my hotel. But it was so hot that I kept ducking inside whenever I had a chance to cool off. This made that 30 minute walk about 1:30, which put at the hotel around 2pm. 30 minutes to check in because of the line… That’s something I’ll have to get used to. But I was in my room by around 3pm or so. Totally tired. Just chilling, trying to decide what to do.

Finally, I decided to call up Battlefield Las Vegas, a shooting range/military equipment museum. And surprisingly, they were able to accomodate me (namely, pick me up). And they did! I was there until about 7:30pm when I got a ride to the Venetian where I picked up the GoVegas pass I purchased from Expedia. It gave me 3 attractions to visit.

The first one I did that night, at Planet Hollywood, I went to V! the Greatest Variety Show. And it was great indeed. But sadly I was so spent by that time that I was nodding off. After the show, I got some hotdog and nachos, which was the perfect amount of food I wanted to eat based on how I was feeling after the buffet. And finally I went to the hotel room a d tucked it in for the night… That was around 10:30pm or so (show ended at 10pm, it took me about 30 mins to walk to my hotel abd get the food).

This morning, I woke up super refreshed! It was around 8:30am, but I didnt get out of bed until 9am or so… Big mistake! I finally went down to get my free breakfast and I had to stand in line for maybe 45 mins. I got my food and ate in my room, and I finally went out around 10:30am. I first explored the south side of the Strip but I got bored and found a cigar lounge on the north side by Caeser’s Palace. So I went there, then to Cheesecake Factory, and generally just walked around taking things in. Around 1pm or so I got back to the South side abd redeemed my secobd attraction, tickets to another Variety/Musical for tonight. I was gonna redeem my final one but it was so hot, I decided to go back to to my hotel and go to the pool. But while I was shower and getting ready, I noticed my nose and forehead was feeling a little sore… The beginnings of sunburn!!! So i cancelled the pool trip and just rested in my room for a while. Alright off to searchh for a good supper before maybe going up the Eifel Tower for my 3rd attraction before going to that show. Weeee!

I went to Vegas!!!

So after 2 weeks of Day Camps and 3 Sunday Sermons, I needed a break. Preaching on Sunday was especially a challenge. I got super distracted by a baby crying, which never happens. I really don’t mind babies in the service. But I was so tired I got distracted, and for like a full 5 minutes I was kind of just talking lost in my notes. But worst of all, my eyes were so tired they were constantly out of focus. It reminded me of when I preached to some churches in BC with contact lenses on. Then part way trough one of them moved off my retina and I was basically blind for the rest of the sermon…

Anyway, after a really long nap on Sunday afternoon, my eyes were still a mess. So I decided to tell our office admin that I would take Monday morning off. But then than changed to the full day Monday… Normally this would call for a trip to Edmonton. But now that I am officially carless, it is more difficult to do that. So I set about finding somewhere to go. I wanted to go to Victoria. But I realized it was a 2-stop flight for me. Edmonton/Calgary then Vancouver. Then Victoria. So I decided if I was going to fly somewhere with 2 stops, I’d at least make it worth it.

So I went about checking out cheap flights and hotels. LA, San Francisco were out then… Surprisingly they cost just as much as Hawaii and Mexico. Which brought me to Vegas. For less than $900, I had flights and a hotel. I was thinking I’d leave next Sunday. But I really needed a break. So here I am…

At first I did’t even feel like I should mention I’m going here, with the stigma attached to it and all. But after I got here, honestly all of my perception of Vegas were shattered…

1) Except for the ubiquity of gambling, there really isn’t much on display in terms of “vice”. There cigarette smoke smell everywhere. But Tokyo is like that too. Once in a while, you’ll come accross a burlesque ad or something. But if you have a problem with that, you’ll have a problem just walking around here because…

2) IT’S HOT!! Duh it’s the desert. But I was really put off by how cool it was at the airport. But when I got to the strip itself, man it was hot. I got pretty dark during day camps. But I probably got darker. Oh and of course when its hot, people’s dress tend to match the heat.. Which is what I meant about the burlesque ads in point 1…

3) It’s expensive!!! Duh, it’s a tourist destination. Of course you pay a premium for everything. But I’m getting a little sick of buying bottled water for the price of a case of 24 at home.

4) I thought I was prepared for Vegas to be over the top grandiose. But I wasn’t. It’s INCREDIBLE how huge yhe structures are here. I’ve so far only explored the north side of the strip, and I think that’s gonna be it for me.

5) There’s tons to do despite gambling and drinking and all the crap Vegas is known for. I mean yeah you see the signs everywhere of “partying”. Random beer bottles in the fountains etc. But I was in my rook by 10pm, asleep by 11… So I largely missed what all that is about. Today I’m determined to walk some more and do interesting things like watch musicals.. So I doubt I’ll be out past 10pm tonight too (not to mention I need a really good night’s sleep).

6) I’ve already posted to death about this. But just about the coolest thing I’ve done is shoot some WW2 era weapons at the shooting range. It’s probably gonna be the best thing I do this trip. But we’ll see…

I tried bullet journalling…

Ok, actually no, I didn’t. I was tempted to try many times, over these past 2 months or so of craziness where… Well, our town burned. We were evacuated for a month. Returned to utter chaos. All while changing positions at work so that I got a ton of work that I didn’t 100% know how to handle piled on me.

I thought about making lists of things to do. Using the actual journal that I have and have barely touched over the past 6 months. I even thought it might be a good idea to do like a project management course. But no. In the end, none of that would have worked because it would have just added yet another step to the numerous things I already had to do.

So why am I writing this? Well… That is because as of this afternoon. I’ve officially accomplished a whole bunch of what I’ve had to accomplish. No, it’s not everything that I have to do to catch up to to the work created by the wildfire. But it is such a huge chunk of it that I feel super accomplished and really good right now. WOOT!

Haha. I know I’m being a little cryptic here. Mostly because the position I am now in at my work involves a lot of finances. ie: Confidential Stuff. But I’m feeling good that this mountain of paper work that had invaded my coffee table is now a neat pile of paper work filed away in the correct way. Ahhh.. Wheee. Life is good! Yeah I’m gonna have a glass of wine now.

My Pokemon Go (Mis)Adventures

So I just got back home after my friend, Joseph, had to boost my car. Why did I need the boost? You may ask. Nope, it’s not because it’s minus 40 outside.. it’s still the middle of summer (besides, my batteries still haven’t drained once due to the weather). It was because I forgot to shut my headlights off while stopped at a Poke Stop.

Hmph. Yes. I needed a boost because I was playing Pokemon Go. And that’s only the second weird thing that has happened to me today. The first one was a few hours earlier when I rushed outside of my house in search of a Squirtle that was supposedly nearby. Completely ignoring that it was damp out, I started walking around with only my t-shirt, shorts, and flip flops, when, about a half-kilometre away from my house, it started raining. Le sigh.

Anyway, I know Pokemon Go has become quite a phenomenon recently. And it has drawn quite an assortment of responses, from enthusiastic players like me, to the down right nasty jerks exclaiming “can’t you get a life?” Well, not necessarily in response to these, I’ve decided I wanted to write down my reasons for why I want to play Pokemon Go, and why I think it’s a good idea.

  1. For those who don’t know, Pokemon stands for “Pocket Monsters”, and originated as a Nintendo Video game for their Game Boy platform. It is a “Role Playing Game” where the player takes on a character in the game who catches and trains these “pocket monsters” and uses them to battle other trainers and gym leaders. The video came out in 1996 and eventually spawned an anime and a huge franchise of various material. The date there is the key point… In 1996, I was 11 years old, Pokemon’s target demographic on its original release. So is it any wonder that I would look back on it with fondness and that I would be excited about a rebooted game using present day technology 20 years later?
  2. On that note, some of the ironic memes that I’ve seen out there that have been negative towards Pokemon Go players has been the ones lamenting the people playing who don’t have jobs and whatnot. And I think… um, thats ridiculous. If most of the people who are super into Pokemon Go players got into it at a young age when it came out,┬álike me (plus or minus 5 years) they are likely working pretty good jobs, earning pretty decent incomes. Like me, some may not be married either. Or some may be married but don’t have kids. In other words, people who have ridiculous amounts of purchasing power! Is it any wonder that there are some reports that say Pokemon Go has added a whopping $11 Billion to Nintendo’s value? On that note, it is was more than a little satisfying listening to some kids outside my car today, also playing pokemon, talking about using a lucky egg that he got for free at some stop. he was debating whether or not to use it because he didn’t want to waste it. And I was like… yeah that’s what credit cards are for! hahaha
  3. I realize of course that Pokemon Go is based off Niantic’s other game, Ingress. But um, who has heard of that game? Anyway, my point is, Pokemon Go is a literal game changer in the world of video games. It is changing the very way people play games, making use of current technology. It’s incredible, really, what needed to come together for this game to work. From mobile computing to GPS to electronic maps. Given that when I first started driving when I was 16, we still had paper maps of the city of Toronto in our family van (you know the ones where to find a street or intersection, you look it up in the back and it gives you a page number and a coordinate), this is incredible!
  4. I’ve lived in my city for almost 3 years yet, and the first time I visited the river front area (The Snye) was when I went to the pokestops there. Ditto the Legion, historical centre, and just about every poke stop in the city I’ve been to so far. In other words, I’ve gotten to know my city much better as a result of chasing these little creatures around.
  5. It hasn’t quite happened yet, but I can see myself become more social. Except for the lady outside the church that I full out had a conversation with (she just beat the gym at the church and she wanted me to add pokemon there since we were the same team), most of my interactions with other players have been acknowledging nods through the car window. But that can’t last. Everywhere I’ve gone where someone has put a lure up, there have been other cars there. And I’m starting to recognize some of them who I’ve seen at other lures in other days. Haha. I especially want to find OilLeak26 who is the same team as me, and who is always conquering the church’s gym.
  6. Finally, it’s just frikin fun!