Date Archives May 2012

“Come to think of it, every shift at the cemetery is the graveyard shift.”: The Neon Graveyard in Las Vegas

On our trip to Las Vegas, we made sure we had time to visit the neon boneyard, as it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a few years and kept missing. It will eventually be turned into a full-fledged museum, but at the moment, it’s basically a backlot full of signs out in the blazing Las Vegas heat. I’m not exaggerating: we were told that the 106 degree heat was the hottest tour they’d given this year, and they discourage people from straggling from the group as they’ve actually had issues with people keeling over!

Thankfully, no one keeled over on our visit, though I did learn about some of the more unpleasant ways the body can sweat. The neon boneyard collection contains any and all of the signs they could scavenge from the neighboring casinos, either from when they replaced their signs or went out of business. So, as one might expect, the signs are rusted or otherwise broken. Our tour guide instructed us to please avoid touching them (apparently some people have attempted to lick the signs? I can’t begin to fathom why) as not only are they rusted and full of lead and asbestos, but they are also irreplaceable–they consider the signs their Mona Lisa, and you wouldn’t go and lick the Mona Lisa, would you?

No sooner had she given her instructions than I backed away from the group to take a photo and promptly stumbled backward into a sign–not enough to fall, but enough to give it a kick, which made a terrible clattering sound. My only cover was to disguise my voice and say gruffly “It was an accident!” and then I skittered away. I don’t know if that’s a resume-worthy line: Kicked the Mona Lisa.

That S has tasted my foot.

We were also told that we were not allowed to use any of the photos we took for commercial purposes–when I asked how they would know, they said “Oh, we’re big on the internet.” So I told them that they would probably find my blog, and not to be aghast at the fat Elvis I’d photoshopped in front of a sign. So as not to disappoint:

“I can find a good career at this museum, or at least see if they fixed that mislabeled raccoon I complained about.”

On our second day in San Diego, Jason and I visited the Natural History Museum in Balboa Park, arriving in time to see the Skulls exhibit but thankfully missing the Titanic exhibit–the fewer times I’m reminded of the three hours of my life I wasted watching a movie about a selfish woman who tells rambling stories about banging in jalopies, getting drunk, and showing her boobs to people, who then throws her legacy into the ocean, the better.

First, Jason made friends with a dinosaur.

Next, we saw a display of a velociraptor being torn apart by hungry rats. I have problems dealing with the idea of the flamboyant assassin of the dinosaurs being eaten by small mammals, yes, but I have even more of a problem dealing with the fact that Liberacesaur is being devoured by animals with such derpy looks sculpted onto their faces. Particularly that guy on the left.

I don’t even remember what this animal is, but riding it was far more important than learning anything.

Then, Jason made friends with a manatee.

Upstairs was the exhibit about skulls. Surrounding the area was a blackboard that people were encouraged to draw on–I honestly don’t know how they thought any good could come of this. I’m shocked that we had the self control not to draw wangs all over everything.

In the skulls exhibit, I learned that rhino poachers are extra super huge douchebags as the “horns” they kill the animal for are just lumps of keratin (hair and nail protein). Good job, guys, maybe next time you can make your magic potions when you clip your toenails instead of making all the world’s rhinos extinct.

Your compass is broken.

Also upstairs, they had a tank filled with animal bones that were being cleaned by their “helpers”, flesh-eating beetles. It smelled about like what you might expect a warm tank of bugs munching on fetid tissue might smell like. After we were done checking out the skulls, it was time to go downstairs to watch a 3D movie. We’d carefully considered our options and decided to go with “Sea-Rex, the T-Rex of the seas” because we felt like it would deliver on all levels, but especially on the blood and gore level (but always with an eye toward science, mind).

What we got was a 3D movie about a creepy late middle age time traveling guy hitting on a young teenage girl. I am shocked that none of his “Let me show you” statements ended with “my penis”. Also, what’s with this “T-Rex of the seas” bullshit? Is this the only way they could get people interested? I watched an entire film about it and I barely remember that the actual name of the creature is the Mosasaur because it was blocked out by the phrase “T-Rex of the sea”. Granted, I could have just been crabby while watching said film as I was hungry and there was no concessions stand available to sell me the “T-Rex of hot dogs” or the “Ankylosaur of sour patch kids”. There was also no blood or gore. Disappointing on all levels–but if you don’t believe me, now you can own it on blu-ray! We were very nearly running out of time but decided to be a little late to our next engagement so we could see the minerals exhibit. “Formed by unimaginable heat and pressure deep inside the earth, minerals explode in a vast pa–ugh.” This bra made of precious gems and metals makes my bras seem both comfortable and affordable by comparison.

It bears mentioning that this is the only section of the museum that contained armed guards, but we were still allowed to touch many things–and everything we could touch, we DID touch. I was especially keen to lay my hands on a meteorite as I like the idea of handling something that was hurtling through space (No, I do not have an astronaut fetish). Since we visited San Diego, Jason purchased a small meteorite and I go handle it almost compulsively. I’m sure I’d be typing with it in my lap right now if it didn’t weigh so damn much.

This piece is called “Neptune’s Daughters”. I think it’s time to call CPS.

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“Let’s go, HAGliacci. Or shall I say, Madam Butt-or-face?”

Jason took me to my first-ever opera on Saturday, Madama Butterfly. As is usual in Seattle, there was an interesting mix of ballgowns and sweatpants in the crowd. I’ve lived here for eight years, and the unwillingness of most Seattleites to dress up never ceases to baffle me. Flip-flops aren’t babies, people: it’s perfectly fine to leave them at home in the closet once in a while. But I suppose I’m not surprised that we have people showing up in stained t-shirts when people have to be explicitly told “Avoid kicking the back of the seat in front of you; this is very annoying, even if it is done in time to the music.” REALLY? There are people out there who believe that kicking the seat of the person in front of them in time to the music is anything OTHER than annoying?

Of course, while I rail about people’s outfit selections, I would be remiss if I didn’t say that we almost missed the entire thing due to an unexpected detour through downtown Seattle, where we got to witness hundreds of fans moving in unison towards games that were occurring simultaneously throughout the city AND we got to check out the view from every single red light between our exit and the parking lot, causing us to have to book it to the theater and arrive slightly less fresh than we might have otherwise.

As it turns out, actual theatrical opera is nothing like the Goth opera I’ve been conditioned to:

Testify!

While Madama Butterfly lacked organ repossessions and Paris Hilton’s face falling off, I loved it. It’s so moving to listen to performers singing powerfully, particularly live, especially in this age of autotune and lip-syncing. We were so moved, in fact, that we spent the whole way home singing operatically about yetis, adult undergarments, and tactical missiles…and in stopped traffic with the windows down, we drew more than a few looks, whether it was our subject matter or our, ahem, non-operatic quality vocal work. But what else could we do? We were inspired and stuck in a traffic jam for more than an hour.

Coming soon: Stanley the Yeti, the world’s first sing-along, kick-along opera in an opera house near you!

Nom or Vom: “Pardon me for asking, but where the hell’s my stupid lobster ice cream?”

I’ve heard of super-premium ice cream, but this is ridiculous: creamy buttery ice cream packed with chunks of frozen lobster. Dessert? Dinner? WORLDS ARE COLLIDING. Dinner ice cream is killing dessert ice cream!

Pros: This product contains ice cream.

Cons: This product also contains lobster. Frozen chunks of lobster. Have you ever eaten a frozen chunk of seafood? We thaw it for a reason.

 

Would you eat this?

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Bow before the might of Mellzah, meatbags!

Way back in the days of Myspace, I made a friend who called himself “The King of Rad”–he added me because he wanted a robot in his top ten friends list, and in return, he wrote a song about me. And now I’ve discovered that there’s a video!

This is the happiest day of my robot life!

Nom or Vom: “Oh, I’m sorry, we were talking about chocolate?” “THAT WAS TEN MINUTES AGO!”

First there was chocolate. Then came nuts and caramel. Now there’s a plethora of new and interesting flavors to help chocolatiers stand out from the crowd. Here’s a trio on which you may now pass judgment.

Milk chocolate with kettle chips: a little bit salty, a little bit sweet, I imagine the people who wouldn’t try this one are chocolate purists and potato haters.

Pros: Chocolate, chips, salt to cut the sweet, sweet to cut the salt Cons: Carbs in your carbs

Would you eat a potato chip chocolate bar?

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Now for a slightly more complex flavor: dark chocolate with chipotle, salt, and popping candy.

Pros: You can eat this and pretend to be heart healthy as it’s dark chocolate! Plus it seems like a natural finisher for a meal from chipotle, right? Cons: Maybe too much going on at once with the bitter, salt, hot, AND popping. I have already determined that chocolate covered pop rocks are not good.

Would you eat a salted chipotle pop rock chocolate bar?

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Last in our tour of the land of chocolate is the chicken tikka masala chocolate bar. Knowing that you couldn’t be satisfied with the mere essence of chicken, like the chicken and waffles syrup folks, this chocolate bar features real chunks of freeze-dried chicken.

Pros: It’s dessert, but it’s also a meal! Cons: I’m not sure that I need the extra dimension of stringy chicken to make my chocolate more delicious.

Would you eat a chicken tikka masala chocolate bar?

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“Are you playing the town drunk?” “I’m actually supposed to be the mayor!”

On our first day in San Diego, we had some free time in the afternoon, so we decided to pay a visit to Old Town to see what life in Ye Olde San Diego was like: as it turns out, it was full of gift shops and booze, so I don’t know why historians keep going on and on about how tough things were for settlers. No, there wasn’t a churro stand on EVERY corner, but that’s really less a hardship and more of a motivation to walk the twenty or so steps to the next one.

A child’s fantasy? What with the horrorshow rusted marionettes, I was thinking more along the lines of “A Child’s Nightmare”.

Near one of the churro stands, we saw the “Old Town House of Jerky & Root Beer”, which is what I will assume that settlers ate and drank exclusively when they weren’t busy cramming tubes of cinnamon-sugared fried dough into their face holes. I believe in authentic experiences, so I was definitely game to sample their wares. Upon entry, the twenty-something year old shopkeep eyeballed us, gave us a knowing smile, and said “You guys are nerds, aren’t you? I can just tell, there aren’t a lot of nerds around here.” Well, yes, Jason was wearing a Green Lantern shirt, but I still feel that “nerd” is a strong word from someone dressed in full 1820s regalia.

It was a particularly educational day to visit the donkeys as they were less in a “Let’s teach people about history” mood and more in a “Let’s have state-protected donkey sex through the gate that separates us” mood. It was also educational to hear how parents explained donkey business to their children. We thought about panning for gold, but figured we’d have better luck for the same money panning out of a bottle of Goldschläger, and, as a bonus, we’d smell minty-fresh afterward.

The whole time we were in Old Town, Jason talked up his candle-dipping prowess, bragging about how he’d received an award in elementary school for “best candle” and that when he burned it, it brought peace to warring nations and appears next to the word “beauty” in some of the world’s finer illustrated encyclopedias. But when we got to the candle dipping shop, he utterly refused to defend his title in the Candle Dipping Battle of the Century, so I feel like he may have exaggerated his skills somewhat. Unfortunately, I’ll never know.

After extensive biological and anatomical testing, I regret to announce that our findings are… inconclusive. This thing may or may not be human.

I’m 30 now, and with age comes a sense that I have been falling behind on my creative projects, be they writing or otherwise. It’s not so much a sense as it is the ability to read the giant list of “Things I will blog about”, some of which are now a year overdue, and look about the house and see a number of started and quasi-abandoned projects: apparently the act of making a list does not actually move me toward the end goal. Moments of adulthood and stick-to-it-tiveness come in fits and spurts, and I might be in the middle of one now.

In December, I made a Sasquatch spoon rest and indicated that I’d post a picture of it once it had been fired. BLAM.

 

Mostly, it’s shinier. I hope you weren’t holding your breath this whole time!

The easiest thing down, only 35 more items on my “to blog” list, a table to varnish, cushions to dye, and an assload of napkins to sew and embroider, plus exciting day-to-day tasks like cleaning, laundry, errands that should be fast but somehow take forever, an internship to do, a home business to start, a wedding to plan, and potentially a new paying job on the line. Holy monkeySasquatch!