Vegas Errata

Vegas Sign

– The strip is one massive optical illusion. All of Las Vegas is located on a very flat plateau. As such, you can see a long way into the distance. Everything on the strip is built oversized. The signs are enormous. South of the strip on Las Vegas Blvd. there is as strip mall with McDonald’s and a Subway with a sign that is over 100 feet tall out front. The effect of this illusion is that everything looks closer than it appears. It took 90 minutes of pretty much non-stop walking to go from the Luxor to the Hilton.

– I totally freaked out when I tried to download video from my camera to my laptop this week. I got all the cables out, plugged everything in, only to find out that it didn’t seem to work with a Mac. Sony says in the manual that you can only get video onto a Windows XP computer. This struck me as really funny because in all the research I’ve done, I never came across that “small” fact. The cable you used was an i.Link cable, which I’ve never heard of. I’ve never had a computer with an i.Link port so I didn’t know what the hell was going on. Moreover, the i.Link plug didn’t look like anything I’ve ever seen before. Five minutes of research online and I learned something that I probably should have known. i.Link is the Sony proprietary name for Firewire (which is the Apple proprietary name). They use the same IEEE standard, but Apple uses a 6-pin connector and Sony uses a 4-pin connector. I just need the right cable and everything should be cool.

– I’ve stated this before, but the lowest job in the world are the people who hand out cards on the street for escorts and strippers. It requires no skill at all. No language skills, Nothing. A blind, deaf, mute guy with no limbs and Down’s Syndrome could in theory put a bag of cards around his neck and still do the job. Hardly anyone takes the cards, and those that do usually throw it on the ground within a few steps. I’m not really even sure how they get paid and why the people who pay them find this to be an economical way to advertise. Four color cards can’t be cheap. Are the guys paid by the hour or buy the card? I’d really like to know how much you can make doing this any why people do this over anything other job.

– There is an odd juxtaposition of things and people in Vegas. Vegas caters to the hoi poloi. This is not a bad thing. Vegas is fun and people of all strips and backgrounds can all congregate in Vegas and find something they like. This usually means swarms of people in tourist attire (t-shirts with obscene sayings, 3 foot tall margarita glass around the neck, drunk…you get the picture) Also all the casinos are open to everyone by law and by business plan, so you get all types of people everywhere. At the same time, you have some of the classiest shops, hotels, restaurants and shows in the world. The type of stuff that you would see on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills or 5th Avenue in New York. Its odd to see someone with a “I heart to fart” t-shirt window shopping at Armani.

– Vegas exists not because the logic of local geography (a harbor, a river, etc) but because of local laws. There is no good reason to put a huge city in the middle of desert. (I’d say its the second dumbest place for a city in the US after New Orleans….which is below sea level, sinking, and surrounded by water). The power of local sovereignty is the resource which makes Vegas run. Everyplace else in the country places onerous restrictions on gambling and drinking. Vegas (and to an extent, all of Nevada) doesn’t care. Its the same why that indian reservations and small island nations can eek out a living. Just have laws more liberal and flexible than everyone around you and people will lead a path to your do. It doesn’t just apply to vices like drinking and gambling. It can apply to nuts and bolt things like incorporation (Deleware) or banking (Cayman Islands). It should also be noted that none of the places which have these loose laws are in state of anarchy. They get by quite well, thank you very much.

– Penn & Teller vs. Danny Gans. Everyone knows who Penn & Teller is right? They’re on TV all the time. Penn hosts a game show and had a radio program. They have written books and produced DVDs. That they have a big auditorium in Vegas is really of no surprise. If you go down the strip however, the biggest single billboard for any entertainer is for Danny Gans. WTF is a Danny Gans. (Turns out he’s an impressionist and a pretty good one at that) I’ve never seen him anywhere other than in Vegas. I’m not sure how he got top billing at the Mirage, an enormous billboard on the strip, and still can sell tickets or who goes to see him.

Back By Popular Demand (of the State of Minnesota)

My original plan was to leave for LA from Vegas. However, I have to return to Minnesota for a day or two to straighten out my drivers license situation. I received a speeding ticket in Roseau, MN a while back and the check I sent to pay for the ticket never got cashed. The story I’m told from the Roseau County Court is that the check probably didn’t get there in time, the price went up, and they didn’t cash it because it wasn’t enough. I never paid attention to it after I sent the check and it just sat there. I was able to get my car insurance and tabs renewed, so I had no idea it was still outstanding.

Turns out that my license was suspended because the fine wasn’t paid. The problem now lies in trying to undo the suspension. The fine has been paid. I know this because I sent a money order to Roseau County via priority mail. I called them and they gave me an account number saying the fine was paid. I went to the DMV before I left for Vegas and they showed the fine as being paid. I also paid $30 for a reinstatement fee. So far, so good.

For whatever reason, they still haven’t removed the “suspended” status of my license and I have no clue what I need to do anymore to change. it. I also have this twist which makes it more interesting: I’m technically not a resident of Minnesota anymore. I’m getting all my mail sent to Wisconsin. If I got a Minnesota license, I’d have to wait four weeks for the physical license. If I get it in Wisconsin, I can get it immediately. I’ll be in Minnesota however, not Wisconsin, and Wisconsin wont give me a license until the ‘suspend’ is removed from my Minnesota record. The only thing I’ve been told by MNDOT is what to do to get a new MN license, but I really don’t want one, I just want to be able to get my Wisconsin license. Minnesota is also asking me to show proof of insurance too, which is great, because I don’t own a car anymore and hence, don’t have any need for insurance.

….so, I’m hoping I can straighten this all out in one or two days. The only reason I need a license is so I can rent a car in Hawaii and I can get an international drivers permit before I leave. You need your local license to get the international permit.

I’d like to also point out that as frustrating as my experiences with my mortgage company have been in the last few weeks (and its been frustrating), its nothing compared to working with the State. No one in State of Minnesota has any real incentive to get this solved. I’ve been willing to pay whatever restitution I need to get back in good graces, but at this point I have no clue what I need to do anymore. No one else can give me a straight story either.