Sunday, October 11, 2009

It's Vegas, baby!

No sooner has Heidi got one book sold and another submitted for consideration, she's prepping for another one that she's going to tackle during National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo for short). And even though the actual writing of it doesn't start until November 1st, she's already knee deep in research. This one is set in Las Vegas, a town which we only blew through during our trip out west this summer, and deals specifically with the game of poker, which she knew literally nothing about other than it was played with cards.

Fortunately, there are a lot of ways to educate yourself on these kinds of things, and one of the ways she's been doing it is watching a shitload of movies set in Las Vegas. The tricky thing is that it has to be current Las Vegas, not the Vegas of the 50s or even the Vegas of the 70s. There was some VERY brief talk of taking a quick trip out there over our anniversary weekend, and obviously since we're just finishing up that weekend, we didn't do it. In hindsight, it was a very wise decision considering all that's happened with the car and some other behind-the-scenes stuff I won't get into here. But anyway, short of actually going to Vegas, watching movies set in Vegas is kind of the next best thing. So last night we watched The Cooler and Lucky You. Both were subpar overall but what we really enjoyed was the depiction of Las Vegas. Vegas is almost a character in the movie itself - especially in The Cooler.

Las Vegas is not a city that we ever thought we would want to visit, it was kind of an afterthought on our vacation this summer. The only reason we really went there was because we were looking for some place to stop between L.A. and Glenwood Springs, CO. Truthfully, we should have stopped somewhere in Utah, but it worked out as getting stuck in L.A. rush hour traffic made getting out of L.A. a 2+ hour endeavor on its own, causing us to pull into Vegas at 10pm. Seriously, the drive into Vegas on I-15 after dark, seeing the lights of the Strip in the distance - one of my favorite memories of the trip. I vividly remember that "I Love New York" was playing at that time and although it wasn't New York, it seemed appropriate driving music.

Heidi was pleasantly surprised by Las Vegas. She had never been sold on Vegas, fearing it to be a bigger version of Reno, a city she really hated. My folks have a time share in Vegas and keep trying to get us to go out for a week, and she has never wanted to. But after spending some time there - I think we were there for about 12 hours, which was just about the same amount of time Jeff and I were there for the Confessions Tour - she began to see the draw. And now that she's writing a book set there, well, let's just say that she really wants to get out there.

I have to say that I both understand and don't understand the draw of Vegas. In an attempt to replicate a Vegas experience this weekend, we headed down to Prairie Meadows casino in Altoona, IA, where we lost 20 bucks in under 5 minutes on the roulette wheel. I will admit to having fantasies of hitting it big and coming home with thousands of dollars, but I probably have as much likelihood of winning the lottery that I never play. Mostly because of the financial craziness that is such an omnipresent part of my life, that would be an easy way to fix that. But trust me, my mother's first child is no dummy and I realize the folly of thinking that. The house always wins. Always. And the only way out from under financial craziness is hard work and discipline, not hoping for a miracle that will never come.

But let me tell you, if Kylie sets up residency in Vegas as is rumored right now, I'll figure out a way to get there. Because, as Kylie says, it's Vegas baby!

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