I drove all the way from Calgary to Banff. It took about 2 hours. Then I took a gondol to an alpine station. After that, I hiked up to a deserted old weather station at the peak of the mountain. All this in an effort to get away from work.Then, at the top of the mountain, I run into a group of Chinese business men. Among them is Zheng Changhong, Chairman of the Board at “China South Locomotive and Rolling Stock Industry Corporation”. We both worked on the Qinghai-Tibet Railway line, his company on rolling stock, mine on computer systems. Pretty strange finding fellow railroaders there, up on a mountain top. God obviously doesn’t want me to get ANY vacation EVER.After that I headed to Lake Louis and the Fairmont hotel, both perty!
Brandon and I went to the Santa Cruz tivoli. We tried their old school target shooting range. It’s full of animals equipped with light censors. When you hit a target it goes spastic and jumps and bumps and makes all sorts of strange sounds. Brandon was much better at it than me, but I found a way to cheat and hit every single target with one shot. Just point the flash at the shooting range, take a photo, and every single target goes off at once.
Vegas is starting to become like a second home to me. This is the second visit in a week, and the third since WSOP. I don’t like gambling (except with stocks, business deals and similar things), but Vegas has a lot of other things to offer as well. Here is my top 3 list
1. You fly into Grand Canyon in helicopter (to Sylvester Levay’s Airwolf theme) or plane (to Kenny Loggin’s Top Gun theme.) Then you hike down to the bottom of the canyon, and run back up. It’s a lot of work, but not impossible. The air is pretty thin though, and you may be panting for hours afterwards.
2. You play “Spot the hookers”. A lot of girls in Vegas dress like hookers, but not all of them have the right age and 10-year plan for the profession. Some of the girls are hard to pin down: hooker or not? There are no winners or loosers in this game, but it’s fun anyway.
3. You visit the diviest of dive bars (in downtown Vegas) and the uppiest of upscale clubs (like Tryst in the $2.7B Wynn Casino.)
An-C, Kristoffer (whom I’ve known since I was less than half my current size), Julie and I was hanging out in SF, Napa and Sonoma over the last couple of weeks and I took some random photos. Kristoffer and I picked up some nice desert wines at Artesa and Bouchain, and did not redline any cars.Oh, and some reaaaaally strange tourists wanted to pose with us and the car. Hilarious.
Got back from Burning Man yesterday. I went there with my gay Personal Trainer, Kelvin Holifield, and some of his gay, straight and bisexual friends. At Burning Man everything is free (including alcohol), people run around naked, and pretty much everything goes - or so it seems.The city, which only exists for a couple of weeks per year and is then leveled, is located in one of the most beautiful spots in the US: Black Rock Desert in Nevada. Some people say Burning Man is a bit like a Utopia. I think that’s an exaggeration, but I can see where they are coming from. There are a lot less naked people at Burning man (only 35.000 or so), quite a lot of drugs (more or less depends on your preference), and A LOT more dust.
A normal festival has a foundation or corporation or whatever that is central to its planning and execution. At Burning Man, they only provide the infrastructure, the medics, and some other basics. Then it’s up to the participants to make something great out of it. When 35k people spend an entire year preparing for something like this, the results can be stunning. There are more bars than you have a chance in hell visiting in 10 days, flame spewing 30m long serpents, autonomous robots, western saloons with whiskey and whores, and much more. It’s pretty cool. Burning Man was started by my neighbor Larry Harvey. I went to “The Burn” on Wednesday last week, the day after I got back from Costa Rica. The original plan was to go there on a Tuesday, but Julie and I missed our connecting flight Monday evening with United. It was the last flight so we got stuck in Cincinnati. As if this wasn’t bad enough I had to deal with an inflated cretin of an idiot working at the United service desk. Sabena may be the least reliable airline (they lost my luggage 6 times in 5 months in 1999), but United is probably the least friendly. Anyway, at Burning Man, I met this Cowboy from Kansas. Emotionally fueled from 500-gallon diesel-fuel-bomb explosions, we ended up cruising the saloons and bars (including “Whiskey and Whores”) until 10 in the morning. At that point I crashed, and the lone ranger continued cruising the flatlands for god knows how long - I was thoroughly impressed by his persistence. Here are some photos.