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August 28, 2002

WebLog Silence

I am taking a moderately different approach than other web-loggers. If you have nothing to say, it better not to say anything. In fact, 95% of any creative activity lies in observing rather than expressing. That's what makes that 5% of expressing so worthwhile. The 95% isn't really waste, it just takes a long time to come up with something useful. Sometimes it may take months or years for an idea to be fully fleshed out. And until you have something useful to contribute, it's better not to litter your writing space with junk. This is just my observation and philosophy.

So please don't misconstrue the silence as neglect. It's just that I'm stewing and the ideas are coming at a trickle pace.

July 27, 2002

On Water Bottles

Water bottles are the fashion rage of folks living in Vegas. If you've lived here any amount of time at all, you would notice all the people carrying small water bottles outside. I pity the folks who don't know well enough to carry one. I wonder when they will come up with designer sparkling jewelry to adorn the bottles. If it's gotta be with you, why not make it pretty to look at. They've done it for pagers, so why not water bottles?


Yesterday I went to an outdoor play (Lil' Abner) put up by the folks at UNLV. It was at the Spring Mountain Ranch just a couple of miles off of Red Rock. The silence and expanse of the outdoors was great. Seeing a play in the dark far away from the glitsy lights of Vegas was interesting. Nothing good can be said about the dragonflies and other desert insects crawling about in their natural habitat though.

July 16, 2002

LV Real Estate

I have been looking at some of Las Vegas area's real estate for the past few weeks.  Actually I have only been looking at new constructions.  Now that highway 215 is pretty established, there is a large outgrowth of new homes being built that is outside of its perimeter.  Here are a couple of recent article references with regards to Vegas real estate:


Las Vegas Review Journal, June 2

LV Real Estates classifieds


Then there is the issue of Yucca mountain and there is a probable correlation that it will affect housing and real estate here.   How would you like to live in an area where the entire country ships its nuclear wastes?  It only takes one accident or lapse in judgment from anyone associated with Yucca to make a mess of a million lives.

July 09, 2002

My Trip South

We made it back from Mexico ok.... For the July 4th weekend, we drove to Santa Anna for the Vietnamese food. The next day we drove down to San Diego. Downtown was really a happening place at night. It was so crowded, it looked like Marti Gras and I even got lost looking around for the car at midnight. The day after that, it was going across the border to the touristic part of Tijuana. Dirty, dingy, lots of seedy folks and people trying to sell you things you don't need. "hey my friend.... step right in here, I got what you need.... only xx dollars..."

Well we stayed till 7pm and I figured it was past curfew because lots of military types with machine guns were popping up to patrol the streets. From the looks of them, I figured they might get some action at night in the downtown area. Walking back to the border, I saw a blond girl being dragged by her boyfriend and some of his friends. Either she got too drunk or was mickied at one of the bars. Someone later told me that happens quite frequently especially if the girl is unaware. The line to get back to the US border was practically a mile long. In line, a frat boy became pretty roudy pushing people and being loud. A Mexican policeman cuffed him right on the spot and dragged him off. I keep hearing that it's possible to bribe the policeman and he will let you go... either that or give him ALL your money and he will likely let you go.

We gradually got to the front of the line when the customs officers gave a few of us in the party a hard time.

"What country are you a citizen of..?" ok, no brainer U.S.A
"How did you become a citizen?" I took a test. Ok, maybe that wasn't the right answer.
"What do the 13 stripes on the US flag stand for?" Beats me..
"Are you carrying anything back from Mexico?" Maybe a belly full of Coronas and Pacifico

Anne's cousin had some exposed tattoes on his arms and legs so they might have grilled him. Ok, something to remember.. in situations like this, you want to be as common as possible and don't draw attention to yourself. By about 9PM, we were back into US soil.

June 26, 2002

Habits

As a continuation of my previous note on the psychological imperative, I have come across an article expressing a similar line of thought. Five Habits of Highly Deceptive People. In this day an age, we all need to arm ourselves with as much "right" knowledge as possible.

June 21, 2002

Filtered internet at the library

Why don't we ask what the librarians think about the issue and how to go about solving the problem of keeping pornography away from young children.  This New York Times article poses that question and explores the issue in more detail.   It makes sense to ask the experts about the matter.  Although how each specific librarian deals with the problem differs, in the end, their solution works.  It is also interesting to note that each method is about 180 degrees different from the other.  Maybe this is just another lesson to tell us that no one thing or solution is applicable in all situations.

In our local Clark County library, the method used is basically filtering software.  I have noticed this at least in the Spring Valley library and also in Green Valley.  There are dialog boxes displayed at logon to inquire whether you want to use "filtered" or "unfiltered" internet.  I guess the "filtered" works well when you just don't want to be annoyed by the pop-ups or haplessly wander into dark alleys with flashing red neon signs.

June 20, 2002

The psychological imperative

When we shop, we want the very best that money can buy. But what exactly does that mean? The best of what? The best until the next best comes out? The best because our favorite movie star owns one? The best because TV tells us that it is and by owning one, our self-esteem will go through the roof? In the end, we all would like to think that our choices are driven by our rational reasoning heads. However, I would like to think that very little is based on that. We are creatures of habit, emotion, and impulse and I dare to say that the large majority of our so-called reasonable decisions are really just driven by our basic nature. Good advertisers know this, marketing folks know this, lawyers know this. They are in the business of convincing people.  Is it brain-washing?  Not really, but it is making people think the way you want them to think.  And at the root, making someone believe something is more psychological than reason. Reason cannot hope to win
over our basic nature that has evolved over however long man came to be. The next time you look at a product at the shopping mall, think to yourself: do you need it for you or do you need it because someone put the idea into your psyche that you needed it (that without it, you are not complete).

June 15, 2002

Pictures of the Venetian

Time for a change in the Gallery. In there you will now find some pictures of the Venetian casino, aerial views as well as night-time shots and some of the interior.

Surviving the Heat

Call me a Vegas newbie because these past few weeks contending with the over 100 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures are a struggle. Of course people who have lived here most of their lives have told me that this is only the first taste of summer. Sonny, you ain't seen nothin' yet... Well, experiences in driving around in an un-air-conditioned car have taught me a thing or two about survival. It's quite bearable if you don't have to drive around too long. If you do, particularly spending over an hour in the car between the periods of 1PM - 6PM.... well you are in for some unpleasant experiences. Symptoms can involve you getting drenched in sweat and the strength in you sap away like a drop of water on a sizzling slab of concrete. Being exposed to the sun directly for anymore than 30 minutes at once can give your body a sense that it is in the midst of a pitch fever-like sickness. I have learned a thing or two about parking in the shade (when I can) and avoiding the sun during peak times.
During previous months, I used to open the windows in the apartment late in the evenings to air out the place and hopefully to bring in a cool breeze or two. Unfortunately during summer months, the outside air is rarely if ever cool. I end up only bringing in the dry, staticy hot air from outside. Ok, this is a lesson of what not to do and a habit to be unlearned during the summer months at least.

I am sure it will take years to develop the right habits for comfortable survival in Vegas. Las Vegans will have already integrated all that into their daily/monthly/yearly habits. What is wonderful about the human creature is that we can adapt to almost any environment. It just takes time. What are some other tips of survival that might be worth knowing?

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