Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Plastic Fantastic

It was exciting at first. Coming in on a red-eye flight from Denver, I saw the lights of Vegas creep up on my plane window and I felt the excitement well up in me. This is it, I thought. Finally. Vegas, baby. Vegas.

I decided the next morning to head out onto the strip and take it all in. I got so far as the Sphinx in front our hotel.

There were a dozen or so tourists out taking photos of it, and I stood there trying to figure out what was interesting about it. Usually, I'll take pictures of anything. But this, meh. I had no desire to take a photo of the big, fiberglass, day-glo blue trimmed Sphinx.

And that kind of sums up my general feelings about Las Vegas. Eh.

I feel like a failure for not loving it. Tell someone you don't like ice-cream and they'll think you're freakish, but they'll forgive you. Tell someone you're unimpressed by giant fiberglass Sphinxes, and Vegas as a whole, and they're likely to have you carted off by men in white coats.

Then they'll tell you all the reasons they loved it and why you're lame because you didn't: You didn't gamble enough. You didn't drink enough. You weren't with enough people.

But truly, the lights are the best part. If you've seen one casino, you've seen them all. They're like bowling alleys - smoky and sad with bad '80s carpet. Only they're worse, because you can't get out of them. I spent hours walking listlessly through casinos looking for the way out. Like department stores and malls, they're intentionally disorienting.

And the spectacle - or what I thought would be the spectacle - of casinos and pyramid shaped hotels, scaled eiffel towers, roller coasters and fake New York City skylines, all of it was so... plastic and ordinary. Dare I call Las Vegas boring? I dare!

I was trying to explain my feelings about it to a friend of mine last week when he asked me if I thought Vegas was as ridiculous and garish as the giant Jesus on I-75.

"Ridiculous! Are you kidding me," I said. "That Jesus is awesome. I'd take my picture with that fiberglass beauty anyday. Sheesh. I can't even believe I'm friends with you."

Sunday, June 25, 2006


I've gone months, years even, without seeing someone throw-up. But today I saw two people vomiting.

The first was David Beckham during the England versus Ecuador match. I could watch him toss his cookies onto the pitch all day, I decided.

And the second was some poor girl who was heaving into the grass at the outlet mall in Jeffersonville.

Some days you just get lucky. And some days you get lucky enough to see David Beckham bent over, with that sweet ass in the air. Yes please!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Grrr Is For Ghana

Ugh! It was so frustrating watching the US vs. Ghana World Cup match this morning.

How big does the hole in front of the net need to be before you shoot the damn ball? Geezuz.

And let’s talk about flopping. How un-American and unseemly.

When Americans get hurt during games, they really get hurt. Bone-crushing, ACL-tearing, concussion getting hurt. They’re certainly not lying on the grass clutching their shin, wincing and whining to get a penatly. And when American’s are carted off the field on a stretcher, they don’t jump back into the game 12 seconds later.

But back to the playing.

When Clint Dempsey scored the only U.S. goal, the packed house at McFadden’s errupted, with strangers slapping double-high fives and cheering and clapping. During the at least half dozen replays, everyone got excited all over again and would cheer each time. It was fun.

But that was the only time the U.S. stretched the back of the net.

By the end it was painful for me watch the U.S. squander its ample opportunities to score again. Mostly I stood there saying, “It’s so painful. So painful. JUST SHOOT THE DAMN BALL!”

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Wal-Mart: More Than Low Prices

The bathroom floor in my parent’s house has been slowly but surely sinking.

Whenever I would go home, it was more and more dangerous to step too close to the toilet or put all your weight down too near it because there was the real possibility that you could go through the floor.

My dad finally got around tearing up the floor last week, and told me that the water damage was far worse that he’d expected. Though I’m not sure how this is possible considering nearly everyone who went in there would come out and say, “Your floor is about fall through.”

Dad and his friend Willie fixed the leak and built a new floor, and mom picked out new tile. The tile was supposed to arrive three days ago. It didn’t. So they have no toilet for three days.

Where are they using the bathroom, you wonder? Me too.

“At Wal-Mart,” my mom said.

“But where are you going in the morning when you have to go really bad. Or what if there is an emergency,” I asked.

“Wal-Mart,” she said.

I asked my dad why they don’t just use the neighbors’ toilet.

“Mmm. I don’t want to do that. For one thing, I don’t want to track through their house. Besides that, Marianne is always about half drunk and Tom’s house is kind of dirty.”

But Wal-Mart is just a mile away.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Oh Snap!

Of all the things I saw in Vegas, this sign was my favorite.

It totally cracks me up. It's the mustache. And the question the sign raises: What's he snapping about? What is it in Mandalay Bay that makes this Latin honey snap his fingers?

The reason the commercials say, 'What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas' is because nothing actually happens and they don't want the word to get out. At least nothing was particularly crazy during my stay. Just ringing slot machines and shiny facades rising out of the dessert.

The craziest thing I saw in Vegas was Bob Roncker. I was getting out of a cab at the Las Vegas airport when I looked out of the window and there stood Bob at the curbside check-in. He and Joe were in town for an Asics conference and the three of us shared the same flight schedule back to Dayton.

Bob refused to let me pay for my sandwich during our two-hour Denver layover, and the three of us sat watching the World Cup and chatting about running shoes.


Thursday, June 15, 2006

Like Peas and Carrots

My friend Mike got married last weekend, and I made the trek over state lines to watch.

It was my first Jewish ceremony, and it was incredible.

There was a time, when we were both just out of college and living in Virginia, that Mike and I were like peas and carrots. We ate dinner together most nights, stayed up late writing cover letters and drove into West Virginia to go to a sketchy bar/dance club to get down.

It always surprises me when someone surmises something about me I haven't before noticed. But this weekend, my Tall Drink of Water pointed out that I never think the people who marry my friends are good enough.

"No I don't," I said.

"You always say, 'She's lucky to have him' or 'He's lucky to have her,'" he said.

Hmmm. It's true. I do always say that.

Not that I don't think Mike's new bride is good enough, but if I were to, say, pick out a woman for him, she'd probably be a cancer-curing supermodel who hung on his every word.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Vegas, baby. Vegas.

This blog is on vacation in Fabulous Las Vegas.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Wow. No Really. Wow.

Sunday's dance retical was brought you by Kentucky's finest - bourbon. Cut with a little water and served in a Gatorate bottle, my fellow dancer, Jane (not pictured), kindly passed it around.

I helped myself to a few swigs to take the edge off.

I was more nervous than I thought I'd be back stage - wringing my hands and biting my fingernails. (What else is new?) And during the first tap dance, I had a few moments of "What the hell is the next step? Crap. I'm just gonna stand here smiling until I figure it out."

During the kick line, the audience started clapping and I sort of stopped kicking. Like, "Hey, that's all for me folks! I'm going out on a high note!"

But by the second and third dances, my nerves had calmed and I was on FIRE! Fo' real. I remembered all the steps, added a little extra hip to the jazz moves and embraced center stage during the second tap dance.

It was almost as for real as these costumes.

Susan here, whom you may remember from the CiN Weekly story Bye Bye Batwings, did all sorts of saucy moves that many of you, had you seen it, would not have been disappointed. I sure wasn't!

For those of you who didn't attend the big recital (which is all of you), I'll be having a special DVD showing in July when the video comes in.

Friday, June 02, 2006


Last weekend I went home to Indiana for the first time since Christmas.

I'm ashamed to admit that I hadn't been to visit my parents, just three hours away, since December. So I used the long Memorial Day weekend to my advantage and even spend the night! Shocking, I know.

It was about 900 degrees and my dad decided that the window that the air conditioner is in HAD to be cleaned. So he took the A/C out and proceeded to spend the afternoon wiping down the windows and putting the A/C back in. He was right - the window did need cleaned.

I thought this photo of him was hilarious. That's the housing of the A/C, without the A/C in it. I never realized that some window units aren't one piece. Crazy.

This weekend will be a whirlwind.

Tomorrow morning is my dance recital rehearsal at 9, then I have soccer at 11. (I'm spent just thinking about it.)

Sunday is the big dance recital, which I've decided to dance in. My class has been ramping up all week for the stage with extra practices. Though I'm not sure it's helped me any.

I'm getting ready to practice right now in my kitchen while I wait for my soccer clothes to dry.