Went to Vegas right after dinner on Monday with Rascal and Smurf. We camped out at Valley of Fire state park on Monday night/morning. We were driving around the park at about 3 am and couldn't find an available campsite, so around 4 am we drove just a little ways outside the park and set up our tent just off the side of the road in the desert. We weren't sure if you were allowed to do this or not, but we were tired. We slept pretty well until a park ranger found us and woke us up around 9 am. I guess we weren't all that shocked about his entrance on to the scene. We weren't in a proper campsite and Smurf's car looks all crappy, like something a hobo would drive. Also, brushes with the law are pretty common when you hang out with Smurf. He is a police magnet. Luckily, the ranger was reasonable, nothing like the Provo Popo, and so he just told us we couldn't camp there and let us go without any citations or anything.
We made it to Vegas and got a room at the Stratosphere. I had driven through Vegas before on family roadtrips and even stayed overnight at Motel 6 or other such places with my giant family on the way to Utah for summer vacation, but I'd never actually stayed at one of the big Hotel/Casinos. They are totally worth it! The room was pretty cheap and we were on the 23rd floor with an amazing view, so we all felt pretty cool staying there. Rascal and I are determined to stay in the Luxor someday. We're thinking maybe we need a yearly Vegas trip. From the hotel we left for In-N-Out Burger, an establishment that both Smurf and I worked for back in the day. Delicious. After that, we hit the town for a while until around 6:30 when we walked to Treasure Island to see Cirque du Soleil's Mystere. The show was absolutely incredible. The performance was beautiful to look at, the music was captivating, and the acrobatic feats were astounding. I want to take some gymnastics classes.
I love roadtrips. I like rolling down all the windows and driving fast with the wind all up in my hair. I love pumping music really loud and singing in the car. I can't emphasize how much I love this activity; seriously nothing else compares. I realized that I'm a huge fan of the band Live on this trip. I love Lightening Crashes, I Alone, and Heaven.
Las Vegas is much cooler than I ever gave it credit for. It's astonishing the things people can make and do to entertain themselves, especially in the middle of the desert where there's really nothing but what people put there. It's probably the best place to go for just about any kind of high quality entertainment you could want. That also means its a really shallow town that caters to just about every vice you could possibly have...but I love it. I could maybe live there for a while working as a waiter, but probably not much longer than a year or so. It's on my list of options for things to do when I come back from Alaska.
On an unrelated note:
I've been learning a few things about myself lately. I've thought about it on the last two roadtrips I've been on, First with John and his pals to Moab and then to Vegas with Rascal and Smurf. I seriously can't learn things verbally, at least in an auditory way. I am verbally retarded. It's not that I don't understand words or language or anything like that. Well, sometimes it is, but I can't understand certain ways that people communicate verbally. I'm not sure how to explain this, but I will give a few examples:
1. I can never pick up all the lyrics of a song from just listening to it. I understand the song and what its saying and I get the emotion it is trying to convey while the song is playing. I can also hum back the melody to you perfectly, but I couldn't ever recite the words to that song unless I have looked up the lyrics or had to write them down or something. Especially when the song is in Spanish
2. I've been working on learning a little German from cd's. I can do this alright, but I don't understand the exact words immediately. I do after a while, but when I'm first learning stuff, my mind just sort of thinks: "Make this noise to convey this thought."
3. I can tell you what a movie was about and the theme and the conflict and how it ends and all of that, but I can never remember an exact quote, or exactly what a character said. If I do, I've worked on it or just heard it about a million times.
4. It's the same with jokes. I remember that a joke was hilarious. I'll be laughing to myself all day about how funny something was, and I'll remember the facial expression of whoever said said it and how they were acting and the gestures they were making and the sound of their voice, but I can NEVER remember what they said! I could do a perfect impression of how that person acted and sounded, but I could never tell you what words they used. I suck at trying to retell jokes unless I've worked at it really hard or read it in a book a few times or something like that.
5. In folkdance, I was decent at picking up steps when the teacher was demonstrating the moves and counting or clapping their hands or humming to the music or something like that. As soon as the teacher would start telling us exactly what we were supposed to do though, i would get lost. When some lady would stand at the front and say "Do such and such on the 8 count and then turn around and do a half step and face your girl and blah blah blah." I would never get it. Even if the teacher was doing the moves as she said what they were, I would get lost because I would just be trying to focus on what she was saying and not on what I was actually supposed to do. I would just have to watch everyone else and practice what I saw until I got it right.
6. Often I will talk to a person and quit actually listening to the words they are saying. I will just listen to the tone of their voice or how they are reacting to me or the gestures they are making or the expressions on their faces. I just zone out into my own little world even when it seems I'm paying you full attention. I've probably done that to several of you who are reading this. Smurf catches me doing it ALL the time. Its good too because sometimes I really need to be paying attention to what someone is saying, word for word. If I really focus on what someone is saying, I will force my mind to make little pictures and associations with the words I am hearing and I can understand just fine, but it takes some focus on my part.
Sometimes I am really socially awkward.
I love Rascal, he is a super cool kid, but I rarely get what he is saying, even if I pretend to. He will be talking about something forever and I just smile with a blank stare at the end and maybe give a little chuckle. Sometimes he catched on to that, and sometimes he doesn't. My inability to understand is probably partly because half of what he says is movie quotes or song lyrics or famous lines or something, and I have no idea what they are from or the context or what he's trying to say or how it is funny. Smurf always gets it and has to translate for me.
I do great hanging out with people who don't talk much and only say what they need to say directly. In fact, some of my favorite people are just like that. They comment on things and are fun and can be very expressive, but just don't use their words unless they really need to.
6. I love it when professors use powerpoint presentations that essentially say word for word what they are saying. That way I actually see the words on the screen AND I can hear and see how the professor is conveying whatever idea we are talking about. Most people hate powerpoint and think it is redundant sometimes, but I love it. I also like charts and graphs with words that explain what is going on in them.
Okay, I can think of lots of these. The important thing is that I'm figuring this out about myself and can hopefullly figure out ways to correct or make up for my deficiency. Also this will help me in my choice of professors if I get back to school again.
The funny thing is that Smurf ONLY learns in the ways that I cannot. Well, not necessarily...we can both read things and pick them up, but for instance, he hates dancing and its really hard for him to learn to do it. He said he felt like he had down-syndrome when the EFY people would try to teach him to do their choreographed moves. He ended up learning only one dance as an EFY counselor, and it was because someone took the time to verbally tell him everything he had to do with his body when the music came on. Also he doesn't do well with charts, graphs and diagrams. I've also learned that he won't pick up on how you feel about something unless you tell him precisely. He doesn't like sarcasm because he can't tell when the person really means the words they are saying. Crazy that we get along enough to function.