|Las Vegas Bloggers Hard At Work At McFadden's|
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
- Is there a business or website name? No name often indicates a scam.
- How bad is the grammar and spelling? All uppercase text, numerous misspellings, and outrageously bad grammar are not good signs.
- What wage are they offering? Wages that are ridiculously high are usually scam bait.
Wednesday, June 01, 2011
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
When I was a kid, my family picnicked at Calico Basin. In those days, there was no boardwalk—no one knew how fragile the marshy meadow and springs were. That was also before about a million people moved to Las Vegas, increasing the visitation to Red Rock and the number of people tromping all over the meadow. Now there's a big picnic area and an elevated walkway around the meadow. The squirrels seem to be pretty happy with the changes. They've learned that picnic area =
Surprisingly, the areas outside of the Red Rock Loop have the most picnic areas. The Overlook is right off Highway 159, and it's stocked with tables, a really big outhouse, and a roughly paved path that leads up a little hill.
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Yesterday I picked up a friend at McCarran. I remember when going to the airport to pick up a pal was easy. Now it's a test of your patience and pre-planning skills. Specific rendezvous point established? Check. Flight information set to alert you via e-mail? Check. Fully charged cell phone? Check. Big bunch of change, dollar bills, and debit card to pay exorbitant parking fees? Check. All physical needs taken care of—food, water, bathroom—prior to leaving the house? Check. Psychic abilities dialed to high? Check.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Thursday, March 17, 2011
When you’ve lived in Las Vegas all your life, you get accustomed to seeing the city on TV, in magazines, or online. But it’s one thing to see the Strip on television or in print, and another to see a home that you remember almost as well as the one in which you grew up--or a house that's just a few blocks from where you once lived.
If you watch "Pawn Stars," you’re familiar with Rick Dale of Rick’s Restorations. Back in the days when the northwest side of town was still horse country, I lived just a few blocks from his home/business. I drove by his place every day. In those days, he would leave a few vintage Coke machines outside to advertise his services.
At that time, our neighborhood was far on the outskirts of town. When I gave people directions, I would tell them, “Keep driving until you think you’re lost. Then keep going.” Today, of course, the area has a mess of homes, a mega-church, and a freeway. And Rick’s place is still out there.
The first time my husband and I saw Rick on a Pawn Stars episode, it took us just a few seconds to recognize the house. It was kind of strange, but fun, like knowing a secret no one else does—although I’m sure everyone in that neighborhood knows who he is now.
But I got my biggest, "Holy moly, I know that house!" in the pages of Las Vegas Weekly.
The magazine's February 24 issue featured an article about a house ("Mid-Century Manor" by Sarah Feldberg) with loads of pictures--which at first I didn't recognize. Then I read the article's first sentence, which said that the house had been owned by both Jackie Gaughan and Doyle Brunson... and I took another look at those pictures. Holy moly, indeed.
Back in the 1970s, when I knew the Brunsons (I was friends with their daughters during our middle school and high school years), the house looked a lot different. But I recognized the spiral staircase, the distinctive front door, and the lava wall. I spent a lot of time in that house. Looking at the magazine's pictures felt like a twisted time warp, or maybe a short journey to a parallel universe.
My own old childhood home isn't likely to show up in any media, unless it's on an episode of "Cops." I drove by the place about a month ago; time has not been kind to it. The houses in that old downtown neighborhood are a patchwork of the restored, the neglected, and the downright scary. The cars parked on the front lawn of my old place definitely put it in the last category.
Here's what the house I grew up in looked like, back in its prime. The first picture below was taken sometime in the 1960s (crazily enough, those awnings are still on the house). The second picture was taken in the backyard in the early 70s, at about the time I knew the Brunson family. That's me and our dachshunds in front of my family's beloved fig tree. The dogs and tree are gone, but the girl is still kicking.
Picture of vintage Las Vegas postcard courtesy of Mark Holloway
Tuesday, March 08, 2011
Last week the Tropicana unveiled the Las Vegas Mob Experience, the Strip's newest "interactive experience." Imagine a museum crossed with interactive theater, and that's roughly what the Mob Experience is like.
The Mob Experience wisely opened in preview form with limited hours last week. They were still smoothing out a lot of glitches when I was there on Thursday--several displays weren't working. Disappointingly, I saw not a single hologram. Other than the actors/guides who led us through the first bit of the Experience, the interactivity was non-existent. I hope that the fully working LVME offers more to visitors because I didn't see anything that would induce me to return, especially not at almost $40.00 per ticket.
Truthfully, I had more fun waiting in line than walking through the Experience.
My son and I were standing in the very long line when an older gentleman got in line behind us. He smiled and said to my son, "I used to work for the Mob."
"So did his grandfather," I said.
And here's the truth of it: if you lived in Las Vegas back in the days when the Mob ran things, it was kind of hard not to work for the Mob, in one form or another.
We were soon trading Old Vegas memories with "The Grim Reaper," as his badge read (my son was "Creepy" -- presumably, when things are working properly, these badges do more than give you a funky name). Reaper's wife, Cathy, had been a cocktail waitress at the Flamingo, but from what we figured out, it was probably before my dad worked there.
Reaper, Cathy, Creepy, and I passed the time in line trading stories about the days when the people who actually knew mobsters didn't talk about them. I managed to remember most of the places my dad had worked, found out that I was the same age as Cathy's children, and traded the stories every long-time Las Vegan has, the "I remember when" stories--"I remember when Rainbow was a dirt road" is one of my favorites.
"What was your favorite restaurant that's gone now?" Reaper asked me.
"Chateau Vegas," I said. I loved their food, but I especially loved their harpist.
"That was a Mob hangout," said Reaper. Coulda been, but when I was a kid all I cared about was their veal scaloppini and that harpist.
It wasn't until I became an adult that I had any real idea about the people my dad knew. Looking back, I realize now that being the food and beverage manager at the Aladdin in the 1970s says a whole lot about the people he knew. When I was kid, it was more important to me that his job meant we got to eat at the Aladdin's Sabre Room, the gourmet restaurant that sat at the bottom of a long flight of stairs. No harpist, but great veal. That was also before I learned about where veal comes from.
Was Las Vegas better when the Mob ran things? That's such a standard piece of Vegas wisdom that it's mentioned briefly in an LVME display. I think the small towns and innocence of youth always seem better in hindsight, no matter where you grew up, with or without mobsters.
Photo courtesy of chewstroke
Wednesday, March 02, 2011
* First, check the gas prices at one of the cheap gas sites online, or use your points from frequent shopper's cards (Smith's Grocery, Rebel) to snag some fuel discounts.
* Eat before you leave, unless you're packing a picnic lunch. This will help you resist the yummy food smells emanating from the restaurants that display menus without prices. Remember that old saying, "If you have to ask, you can't afford it."
* Learn about some Las Vegas history at the Old Mormon Fort, the Clark County Museum, or the Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum. Admission at any of these is $2.00 or less.
* Check out downtown. Both the Fremont Street Experience and the Neon Museum are free. (Admission to the Neon Boneyard is not free, and requires an advance reservation for a tour.) First Friday, which is coming up this week, is also free.
* Get a schedule of events from the Clark County Library District. They regularly host speakers and workshops for free. Clark County and the City of Las Vegas also host many events that are free or low-cost.
* Take in the free spectacles on the Strip, like the Mirage's volcano, the MGM Lion exhibit, and the TI Sirens and Pirates show. Wander around the shopping-tainment places like the Venetian's Grand Shoppes, Caesar's Forum, or Miracle Mile--it costs nothing to watch the talking statues, the singing gondoliers, or the indoor rain storm.
* Ask about locals' discounts at Strip attractions. Places like the Shark Reef, the Bodies Exhibit, and CSI Experience are still on the pricey side, but more affordable if you flash your Nevada ID. This week, admission to the Mob Experience at the Tropicana is free; after Friday, it's almost $30.
* Experience the great outdoors. Even places that charge fees to get in charge by the car load, not the person. You can also find no-fee areas near many areas; at Red Rock, there's no charge at Calico Basin, the overlook, and First Creek.
* Use your Internet skills. Sign up with online discounters like Groupon and you'll get e-mails with deals. "Friend" your favorite places on Facebook or follow them on Twitter, and you'll learn about special promotions that you might miss otherwise. Check out what your other budget-minded buddies are saying and posting. Today I caught a FB post from a pal about Livingsocial, another site that offers discounts.
* Pick up a copy of Las Vegas Weekly, CityLife, or Seven--they're all free and carry listings of Vegas events and attractions. Keep an eye on the ads and you'll likely spot some coupons.
While my NileGuide Las Vegas page is aimed at tourists, I have lists of things to do that any local can use.
Photo of dollar courtesy of photosteve101 at http://www.planetofsuccess.com
Photos of Clark County Museum and Calico Basin by Terrisa Meeks
Monday, February 28, 2011
Comments and e-mails from my readers indicate that they don't want to hear about economic anything unless it's either a) unfailingly positive and supportive of elected officials (umm, sorry, but that's not going to happen); or b) funny. If the comments on the Sun's boards are any indication, my readers are not alone in their aversion to stories about the economy. Read the comments on stories like ‘I couldn’t believe that someone with my experience couldn’t even get a job as a busboy’ or "Working class bears brunt of Las Vegas’ decay," and you'll see what I mean.
But it feels dishonest not to mention the number one issue in Las Vegas in a blog dedicated to the city.
Readers may be united in their dislike of stories about the recession's impact on people, but the people on the other side of the equation--those who have lost jobs, their home, and their life savings--are equally united in their frustration at a system that seems to be broken. And there's no better place to read about their frustration than on CraigsList.
Job seekers who spend months digging through bogus online want ads, or who wind up with jobs that barely cover the electric bill, or who are simply at the end of that proverbial rope sometimes use CraigsList for a little therapeutic cyber-venting. I've been reading these rants for a while now, and I think the really creative ones deserve some extra screen time. I'm not sure that I classify these rants as funny--although they can be--but they're definitely interesting.
Today's CraigsList rant of the day was plucked off the boards yesterday before it was flagged for removal. This gentleman was so frustrated and angry that his words were leaping up and down on the page. And he had obviously pitched a few cyber-fits before, judging from his opening comments, which I quote verbatim: "Thank YOU!!! Flagging me, over and over. This does not anger me, it validated me! It gave me much happiness, if I can piss off just ONE crappy, dirty, business/man...."
Here's an abridged and edited portion of his rant, which in its entirety was over 1,000 words long:
"... I know this most likely applies to the rest of the job searching community from pick axe to CEO, as I search for months to find work. I am just truly amazed, as I see the qualifications required by 95 % of these employers ... wanting the best and the brightest but hopefully we are ignorant with money? Expect college grads, or people who have spent years in technical schools for nothing, providing they have 20 years’ experience by the age of 24 and a masters in fornication. [Yes, he said fornication.]
I MEAN REALLY AFTER ALL THE EDUCATION THAT YOU EMPLOYERS REQUIRE, AND THEN YOU OFFER $12-15 AN HOUR, DO YOU REALLY THINK, IF I AM THAT EDUCATED THAT YOUR MATH FOR COMPENSATION EVEN ADDS UP????????????? [If capitals equal shouting, I'm surprised this man did not break his keyboard at this point.]
I LOVE the “NEW” American dream....
I guess it is time to leave this town after 31 years here....
Oh, and when the economy does come back around to at least a stable snail crawl.... I hope ALL you shi**y companies out there that have played on people's desperation get what's coming to you!!!"
Bud Meyers, the bartender who was profiled in the Sun's article I mentioned above, has been blogging about his experiences, and getting a lot of media attention.
Photo courtesy of Robert Couse-Baker.
This CraigsList ad was removed from the board the day after I spotted it. The title of his post was "Pipe dreams for less than un-employment (Lost Vegas)."
Monday, January 17, 2011
Before I went to the current exhibit at the Charleston Heights Arts Center, "Emergy" by Maria Michails, I read some intriguing descriptions. The Las Vegas Sun's blurb is representative: "human-powered mechanized rowboat that generates power to a photo gallery." Hmmm. The idea of a rowboat in an exhibit gave me mental images of a large-scale room, but the actual display is small and curved, like a desert slot canyon. The rowboat is stationary, and it links the rower to the display's pictures in a very direct way.
Michails' images are presented on rectangular glass tiles lit from behind. Her photographs of the Strip and Lake Mead capture the beauty of each place, while juxtaposing the hungry lights of the Strip against shots of Lake Mead's "bathtub ring," the visible evidence of its drastically lowered water level. All the pictures aren't lit, however, unless you get in the boat and row to power the lights. Water and electricity are intrinsically linked in the desert: you can't have one without the other.
"Emergy" is on display through February 17. Charleston Heights also hosts plays and concerts, so ask for a program schedule while you're there.