Friday, February 24, 2012

24 hours of las vegas preamble

i remember like it was yesterday the first time i set my eyes on las vegas.  i was on the university's bowling team and there was a new year's eve tournament at the showboat ... we'd driven all night in a university van ... half of us were drunk and all but the driver and me were asleep.

day was beginning to break and by my insistence we were listening to college radio.  deteriorata was playing, and although i was intimately familiar with the poem that was being riffed, it was the first time i'd ever heard this record in my life.  at that age i couldn't sleep in a moving vehicle, so i'd been awake for the whole ride ... the fatigue crossed with the bizarre humor had me cackling like a hyena.

i woke up all but those with the very highest blood alcohol contents.

we were just crossing the northern mountain chain rim and BOOM! there it was.  las vegas.  at that very moment the radio said, "you are a fluke of the universe.  you have no right to be here."

and i was stunned.  the driver punched me.  "what the hell is wrong with you?"  (because this was before the days of social deterioration where the phrase would have been, "what the fuck is wrong with you?")

i believe there is no difference between signals from god directed at me and serendipity.  this was one or the other, it didn't matter which.  eyes fixed on downtown i said, "this is a significant event."

the whole car got real quiet because that's what you do when the sober guy starts talkin' crazy.

clocks forward.  it's more than 30 years later and i live in las vegas.  overall, i like it here ... but i really miss my friends ...

fortunately part of that is about to be temporarily fixed. 

in 24 hours special K and i begin 24 hours of las vegas.  two things are on the agenda: riding the deuce and gambling -- in that order of precedence.  originally we had talked about solely riding the deuce, but somehow the collective mind threw in gambling.

i'm a big believer that nearly every city of size has something that is paramount -- something so good, that if you only have half a day, and you can only do one thing, you should do that.  in san francisco, it's walking the golden gate bridge.  in denver, it's driving to buffalo herd overlook on I-70.  in las vegas, it's riding the deuce.

i ride the length of the strip on the deuce probably five times a year.  there's no better view of the country's second most famous skyline* than the front seat upstairs.  in fact, we may well start our journey in that spot tomorrow by waiting for the next bus.

but 24 hours is different than normal tourism ... the biggest factor is the anchor of technology.  we're doing cell phones only this go 'round, which i'm sure is right, but makes me nervous ... we've had technology problems in the 24 hour world before, and here, things could get out of hand.

i'm using an android now, which is small, tough, and has an easily changeable battery ... which is fine ... but better if the batteries i'd ordered as replacements had shown up at my house ... which they haven't.

also there's potential problem in the fact that the android is a far more immersive experience.  i'm not completely sure why this is true, but i think it's due to the fact there is no keyboard and i'm stuck in the world of swype.

the plan is to flip a coin every 20 minutes.  if we flip off-bus, we go to the nearest casino** (no repeats, thank you) and play 'til we win, then get back on the bus.   we gamble in a window of 20 minutes.  if we win, we get back on the bus.  if after 20 minutes, we're behind, we play for 20 minutes more on a game that i consider to be more "winnable."***

there are dead spots on the ride where no casinos exist.  during those moments, we're putting the timer on "pause," restarting when we get back in gaming territory.

whenever we get "meal hungry," we'll just put the timer on pause and dine leisurely ... but that can only happen in conjunction with off-bus.

putting everything up on twitter is a new twist ... we'll be backing down to here in the long run (maybe even scraping-as-we go tomorrow -- i need to talk to the birdhead about that) but i've always really enjoyed the blog afterward and we won't be getting those larger "stop gap moments."  we'll see what the result is, but it's got me mildly spooked.

i haven't been sleeping well for a couple of weeks.  that could come into play.  a fundamental precept of 24 hours is it's fine to sleep ... and buses are good for that ... but you'll get rousted (quickly) in a casino if you try.

i'm thinking that we might try playing every casino game (craps, roulette, slots, keno, etc.), but the problem is there are a couple really tough games in the house.  house edge on big 6 is 11%.  keno is around 25%.  if you decide that you're just going to stand and play those things until you win, you may stand and hand over your whole wallet.  which means we'll have to take the "bigger" stance of just losing there and making it up elsewhere.

in any event, the K and i treat these events just like a christian kid thinks of xmas.  we're eager, anxious and keyed up.  we're both ready for the ride.  we were ready a week ago.

if you're ridin' along, with us, even virtually, that's swell.  #24HOLV on twitter.

*i'm not sure, but NYC has to be first, right?

** anywhere you can legally gamble counts ... there are gas stations with video poker machines here.

***you'll see.


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