Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Party like a republican, protest like a democrat

During college, one of my democrat friends wrote an article professing that, although she was left-leaning, she liked to date conservatives because they were better lovers. During George W's presidency, I heard many male friends say that, although G.W. made a terrible leader of the Free World, he'd probably throw a really good kegger.

Regardless of your political persuasion, if you had to drive by this every day on the way home from work, like I do, you'd probably be persuaded to blog about it too:

Basically, the blog that follows is just a way of busying my idle hands so I don't roll down the window tomorrow and yell something really obnoxious at this guy like, "Hey, do you know where I can find the abortion clinic?" or "Is this where I park for the pride parade?"

But anyway, I snapped this photo on my way home today, and it's exactly what it looks like: a one-man protest.

I've been to many protests. One could argue that I was basically groomed from childhood to be a protester. For my birthday once, my cool uncle bought me a book about the Kent State shootings, and my parents used to drag my brother and I to protests; if we kept are rooms clean, we got to hold a sign. In college, my protesting career continued, albeit self-sustained. I marched against the Iraq war before we all found out there were no WMDs, and once I married my friend Jenny in the school commons as a protest against the Defense of Marriage Act. Anyway, the point is, I know a lot about organizing protests, or at least enough to know that the protest pictured above sucks proverbial ass.

I mean seriously? Is his blind individualism supposed to distract me from his protest's shortcomings? Republicans might throw good parties, but democrats are much better protesters. First of all, let me explain to you a little about the crossroads at which this guy is standing. On the southwest corner of this intersection is a gated residential neighborhood. On the northwest side of the intersection is a gated residential neighborhood. On the northeast side is a gated residential neighborhood. On the southeast side is a gated residential neighborhood. Here's a shocker: It's the suburbs. Also, it's located in one of the wealthiest zip codes in our county. So not only is no one driving by this guy, but he's basically "protesting" in the master-planned equivalent of the Republican National Convention.

And you know what else? He's only one person! I know, I know. We're supposed to believe that every vote counts, but how many people still occupy Wall Street? I don't exactly, but I can tell you one thing: it's more than one, and that protest has been going for more than a year!

And what does that sign mean, exactly? "Stop Obama" from what? Could he not think of something that rhymes with Obama? I'm tempted to lean out my car window and say, "Oh, is Obama driving through here? If I stop him, what do you want me to say? Did you want his autograph?"

Anyway, I think I'm entitled to one election-based rant, and that was it. Don't even get me started on the fanny pack.

Friday, July 20, 2012

I think you're supposed to bring that home to your family.

Even in a place like the grocery store, Vegas bucks the mundane. And I'm not just talking about the mini casino between the checkout and the bathroom.

For example, people seem to buy a lot of booze when they're very drunk. I'm always confused because I wonder why they need the extra alcohol. Unless maybe they're the types who wake up hungover, and instead of regretting skinny dipping, they castigate themselves for leaving the liquor cabinet dry. Then I'm confused how they arrived at the grocery store, which presents a secondary concern of how they'll get home.

Anyway, the real point of this blog is to share a short sighting I had at the other day at the Starbucks inside Albertsons. I'd run in for a few things after work at about 3 pm and was making my way from the fruit aisle to the register.

At one of the tiny cafe tables that's only meant to seat one person, a body builder wearing bright blue Under Armour sat, both elbows propped up on the tabletop, legs spread as if he were about to do a set of squats. He stared determinedly forward. In his large hands he held a drumstick. In front of him sat...a whole roasted chicken, or at least the remnants of one.

He'd seriously plowed through almost an entire chicken. I swear I could see his canine teeth sinking into the last of the meat, ripping it off the vestiges of nearly naked carcass, veins on his forearms popping to the surface against the strain. Apparently he needed his mid-afternoon protein. But really, aren't those supposed to feed an entire family? From the looks of things, he hadn't been sitting there very long either. It's not like florescent lights and a Sun Chips display are great dining ambiance anyway.

I probably stared a little. I've been craving chicken ever since.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Is that a dauber in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

On Friday night, locals' bingo had a big comeback. I drove down to the South Point Casino bingo room for the first time in a long time, and, for the first time ever, I also used an electronic scorecard thingy instead of old-fashioned dauber and paper. This allowed me to play about 72 cards at once without doing anything. Seriously, even if you get a bingo, the machine plays a few bars of "We're in the Money," to wake you from your complimentary-bingo-drinks haze. All you have to do is yell "Winner!"

I used to think these devices made the game less fun, but a certain bingo expert told me that it's the only way to play. After all, how would a true fanatic be able to keep track of that many cards with a semblance of accuracy?

Anyway, after sitting in seats that weren't previously occupied by "reserved" signs from totally superstitious wackos, we started sipping drinks and getting comfortable. I wasn't three sips into my first drink before this blue hair sat down two seats to my right.

"You might want to move up a row," she said as she set up her electronic bingo device. I thought maybe she was about to make a joke about how animated she might get if she won. Like maybe she'd knock over my vodka and cranberry cocktail.

"I cut off the top of my big toe just now running up the escalator to get here on time, and security is coming up to wrap it. I'll probably have to put my bloody foot up on this chair here," she continued, gesturing to the chair between us.

"Oh no," I said, faking sympathy and wondering why she hadn't just sat away from me in the first place.

"I would move, but this is my lucky seat," she continued, stretching out her leg to show me the blood-soaked piece of tissue wrapped around her toe.

How rational. "Oh, I see," I said, turning away from her to decided how squeamish I would have to be before giving up my seat. This was clearly a matter of principle since I was there first.

"It's funny. I actually cut off the top of that same toe before."


"When I was a kid, I went swimming in a lake and kicked it against an old piece of glass bottle."

At this point, I sincerely thought I was going to pass out. On cue, three security guards with a first aid kit rushed into the room. Apparently, next time I'm seriously injured, I should skip the ER and go to South Point.

Anyway, we ended up moving over (a nice compromise between moving to a completely different row and me passing out). The security guys wrapped up her foot and she actually won some money. I didn't, course. In fact, I've never won at bingo.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

It's a Free Country and Other Things I Can't Stand

It's Independence Day in Vegas, and until approximately 4:30 this afternoon, rain spoiled all the barbecues, parades, and picnics. I find this endlessly unfortunate, considering no Las Vegan would be stupid enough to actually go outside during the summer, except maybe for July 4th.

But don't worry. After the rain stopped, our usually 95 degree summer evening chilled to a comfortable 75, and Dugi and I went to the dog park. For me, it was a great place to see fireworks shot up all over the Valley. For Dugi, it was a chance to feel large because he was one of the only dogs not afraid of the big lights and big noises.

But let me back track a little bit--say 10 or 11 years. When I was a kid, it was really popular for a while to say "It's a free country!" Kids used this ubiquitous phrase as a response to everything from cutting to the front of the lunch line to keeping a messy room. I always hated it because I was a fan of a more detailed, articulate rebuttal. Maybe one involving multiple points and pie charts. Plus, was throwing your vegetables away really the time to pull the independence card? Maybe save that for some kind of public protest or tax evasion.

Anyway, today, on the Fourth of July, I heard an adult invoke this phrase at the gas station. And as usual, he was saying this stupid line in a stupid context. See, he wanted to buy an entire carton of cigarettes, which is dumb in itself, but he also wanted to pay in change. When I stepped in line behind him, he had just dumped an entire shoebox of nickels and pennies on the counter. Well, let me be fair, he had already handed the attendant six dollars in quarters. The attendant was pissed. And when she scowled at him and opened a second register while he counted out $40 in change, he said, "Is it really THAT bad? It's a free country, you know!"

Really, Guy? I'm glad you take your patriotism so seriously. Most people dress in red, white, and blue, and you woke up this morning and thought, you know what would really show Uncle Sam? If I paid for my cigs in metal! I wanted to hit him in the face. After all, it's a free country.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Viva Elvis: A Show So Bad I've Started Blogging Again

Hello again. I know it's been awhile, but I went to a show last night that was so bad, I just had to warn you all about it: Viva Elvis, and Elvis-inspired show by Cirque du Soleil. I'd heard the show was terrible and they had been giving away free tickets for some time, but when I got the chance to see the show for free from the VIP section and had nothing better to do, I figured it couldn't be that bad.

Boy, was I wrong. From the moment the show started, I realized Cirque has completely run out of ideas. Most of the acts were almost identical to those featured in other Cirque shows, but set to Elvis music. For example, I don't know how many times I've seen aerial acrobatic routines in which a couple of performers dressed in almost nothing pantomime intercourse. Or a giant wooden sculpture swinging from the ceiling that acts as a trapeze.

To make the show worse, I counted at least five blatant errors from the performers, at least two of which nearly ended in death or dismemberment. The signature Cirque audience reaction that makes you want to cover your eyes and think "I can't believe they're going to pull this potentially dangerous stunt off," was ever-present, but often because I was genuinely questioning the skill-level of the performers. Between falling acrobats and dancers who looked like they were bored or just found out they were at the bottom of the pyramid on Dance Moms Miami, I began to wonder if I'd missed some recent news piece about the show being canceled early. (The current plan is to close it by then end of 2012.)

Perhaps the only unique feature of the show was that someone decided the performers should be allowed to talk. Again: bad idea. Unless you're a triple-threat ala Leah Michele, no one should assume that being a good dancer or singer makes you a good actor. Holy crap were the monologues bad. And I mean Zach Morris bad.

From what I can tell, the only factor keeping this show open is the optimism of existing fans of Elvis' music and Cirque. I also enjoyed the lead vocalist, although the fact she was at least seven months pregnant and wearing a sequined Moo Moo was kind of distracting. Also, at the end of the show, they gave away these free fake satin Elvis scarves, probably as a apology: