Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Gaping Maw

I find this inexplicably pleasing
Oh, dear, I meant to publish this a montha ago. Ugh, well, I will not edit it, but here it is...





Oh!
I forgot.

The move is complete. We live in Mountain View now. I know!

It is the suburbs. I am not a suburbanite. But, the commute will be much nicer, and of all the places in the south bay/peninsula hell, this is the most tolerable spot.

I can take the train to work, as the station is a mere block away.

Taking the train is very satisfying.


1.) The Train
We live a block from the Caltrain station, and I now take the train to work most every day.
I love riding the train. Trains make me happy; they remind me of my dad, they feel so urban, so efficient, so... travel-ish. I lovefeeling the ground shake as the express trains barge through the San Carlos station without even slowing down. and they go fast! Isuppose this is why all those idiots keep getting hit-- they underestimate the speed of the train in their poor last calculations. As a kid, it seems every family vacation in some way involoved trains- riding steam trains through Colorado, visiting model trains and train museums. My Girl Scout troop would ride the train to The City. In Italy, we got lost and found on the train, meeting many charming people along the way. Trains are moving in a way that cars and buses can never be.

2.) the town
We live two or three blocks from the heart of Mountain View.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Endurocross

This year, we returned to Las Vegas to watch Endurocross, which is easily the most exciting motorcycle race in this country.

you haven't been? Well, you are missing out. Really.
and next year there will be races in other cities, so you don't even have to go to the hell that is Las Vegas.




the weather in Las Vegas was nice-- not hot, not cold. Now that I'm not going to Vegas twice a year for work, I actually thought it might be fun. Basically, everything in Las Vegas is an aberration, and a complete and utter ripoff. Casinos want $4 for a bottle of water. Rooms in the resorts are several hundred dollars a night. But? No worries, we stayed at the Imperial Palace.

the Imperial Palace is right across from Caesers on the Strip, but it costs about a third of what the surrounding places do. It's a dump, for sure, and the casino floor is very old-Vegas. Their selling point is their "Dealertainers," card dealers who double as celbrity impersonators. They are truly awful. It was a fun game to try to guess who they were supposed to be, and then wait for them to belt out a number for confirmation. I applaud their acceptance of diversity and color, age, and taste-blind casting. Are you a 50-year old Philipino woman who wants to pretend to be Christina Aguilara, complete with a tight shirt cut all the way down to your navel? No problem! Are you and old blond lady with an inner Lionel Richie? Welcome! The most disturbing thing we saw in the whole trip was actually in the Dealertainer pit, where we saw Faith Hill dealing cards to a woman who very clearly had a strong case of down syndrome. Yikes.

Again, cheap, no bed bugs, and aside from the very loud construction on the next door room early Friday morning, the Imperial Palace was just what we needed.

And? The view:





We wandered around, looking at fishies (Caesers), drinking (buy beer at a store, it's so much cheaper and you can get decent beer, which is not available in the casinos and bars), watching circus freaks (Planet Hollywood), and collecting "escort" cards. We realized that the card passer-outers take delivery of replenishment cards from a guy who goes by on a bicycle. Very efficient!




Here, we discovered the secret source of the porn cards... they grow on porn bushes of course! those guys must have spent all day laboring in the hot sun picking the crops.




Friday night, we went to see a show. We saw Fashionistas, and it was everything you could want from a trashy Las Vegas show. Silly, self-consciously naughty, and with a soundtrack that ranged from Lords of Acid to Led Zeppelin. WTF?


and then? ENDUROCROSS!!!!
Over at the Orleans Arena, we tossed down another six-pack and got noisy in time for the races. Pictures don't really do it justice, but here are a few:








yes, that is a water crossing. And yes, that is a trials bike in the back. One kid from Gilroy on a trials bike beat a bunch of big names on "real" bikes in an early heat.

Unlike road racing, Endurocross is not boring. I know! Really!
Constant action, constant crashing, a lot of passing, and you really don't know what is going to happen until the checkered flag comes down.

If water crossings, tires, and boulders aren't enough stupidity, they upped the ante by running one race in the dark. Srsly! Baja Designs was a sponsor and put one of their headlights on each dirtbike, and each rider had a little helmet light as well. During an early lap, one guy's headligh fell right off, and he continued to finish, and WIN. Just with his teensy helmet light. Basically, he won blind. Awesome.

Video of said dark race:






video

Sunday morning, we went to the Wynn for their ginormous buffet. The line was super long, but we had beer. Then we paid through the nose and stuffed ourselves with food and bottomless champagne before heading out to the airport.