September 14, 2011

Reno 911

I had the opportunity to spend the last few days in Reno Nevada for a business conference. For this Noo Yawk boy, the chance to breathe some clean air, win some money at the casino, dig some nature and drink my ass off was irresistible.
 (I did not meet any of these guys)

Well, the air out there sucks, I lost every bet I made and I didn't have the chance do any communing with Mom Nature. At least I was able to drink.

I had to stop to change planes in Salt Lake City (home, of course, to the Utah Jazz- why didn't they change the name of the team when they moved to Utah?). I expected the airport to be crawling with Mormon's, wide-eyed and smiling. Yeah- I did experience that, but there were plenty of international travelers. I was able to imbibe at Dick Clark's American Bandstand restaurant. Dick wasn't there... but Wasatch Amber Ale was. Tasty stuff, and the by the time I was gonna hit my flight to Reno, I was ready to go look for the Book Of Mormon myself. Flying over the Rockies and the Great Salt lake was breathtaking, and seeing the Salt Flats from the aircraft was beautiful. There is a part of the Salt Lake that appears to be red from the sky... I figured it was mining waste run-off from a copper mine. Instead it was a result of bacteria in the water. Weird stuff.
The Great Salt Lake and the Salt Shore (that's not sand)

The view from 20,000 feet.

I lit out of the Reno airport, and the combination of being in thin air 6000 feet above sea level and fresh air coursing into my urban lungs almost put me on my ass. Somehow I survived, but I felt shortwinded the entire weekend. Additionally, as 95% of my time was spent indoors, the filtered air, heavily processed with cigareete smoke (everyone in the casino smokes and it permeates even the conference rooms) had me dizzy and coughing the whole weekend.
 Part of the pool- Alot of kids- Who brings kids to a casino?

Gambling? Everywhere- at the airport there are slots, and the hotel we stayed at (The Peppermill is sorta 1/2 Caesers Palace and the other half looks like a gypsy wedding joint) is just ugly with 'em. And the people gambling? A real cross section of Americana- Bush country. Toothless, old Bush country to be exact.

I had real trouble with my room key- over the course of my first nite, the door kept refusing me entrance. I drunkenly huffed and puffed back to the front desk three different times (the hotel was huge and I was in the furhtest wing). Finally they changed my room- and upgraded me to a suite with a Jacuzzi- a sweet suite... And yes, I did use the Jacuzzi... but only after personally cleaning it to make sure that it was "love stain" fee from any other previous guests!

They gave me $10 free slot credit and I milked it over the weekend on 25 cent video poker- and grabbed every waitress possible for the gratis drinks (they'll keep bringing the booze if you keep at the machines or tables- so if you are smart about it, a pint of Guinness or Sierra Nevada ends up costing you only whatever you tip the waitresses). The casino's are built to keep you slightly off kilter and clueless of the time. There are no clocks or windows, the oxygen they pump in is to keep you awake, while the drinks are designed to keep you loose. The design of the place is all bells, whistles, lights and mirrors, to keep the excitement going.

A  candid shot of a small part of the casino- if you take pix in a casino you could actually GET shot!

Over the weekend I was somewhat smart in my gambling, until I got stupid. I hit the craps table and the craps table hit me back. I was about even, and then dropped $40 on one bet- which was alot for me. The guy rolled a four and I bet against him rolling another one- so of course he rolled another four. Between that and a quick $20 dropped in BlackJack (the saving graces was the 3 Grey Gooses I was served), I had enuff of the gambling pretty quickly. Then I dropped $30 on some NFL picks ... they were parlays where you pick 4 games and win $130 for a $10 bet- I lost every game I picked!!!!!

So I decided to concentrate on business and drinking... because drinking is my business.


The coolest thing I did was attend the Great Reno Balloon Race and "glow" event. This was amazing. You get there at 4:30 am (I just kept drinking thru the nite because there was no way I was going to wake up - besides: how do you avoid hangovers? You stay drunk!) and there are thousands of people watching close to 80 hot air balloons. While it's still nite time, 6 balloons were deployed and the gases were fired up to make them glow. The sunrise coming over the mountains was spectacular. I had brought a bottle of Champagne (the good stuff- Andres) and popped it open to greet the dawning of a new day. Once it was light they raised all the balloons. You could walk right up to them. There was an enormous Darth Vader balloon that had trouble for awhile staying afloat- I guess the Dark Side doesn't play well with helium!

It is balloooooons!

This was the morning of September 11, and there were moments of silence for the murders of 10 years ago. One moment each for every tower attack, Pentagon attack, Shanksville PA plane downing and one each for the towers falling. Very emotional. As a NY'er, I represented with my Mets cap. The Governor of Nevada gave a speech, which was too long and was poorly read. He shoulda spoken "off the cuff".

Than the weirdest thing happened. There was a "missing man formation" flyover- that's when one plane veers off in another direction to represent those that were killed in combat. A minute later, a bunch of ducks flew over in the same formation and one veered off!!!!!

There was a "Pirate Club Crawl" in downtown Reno Saturday nite- lots of wasted teenagers and folks dressed up in Pirate garb. We grabbed some cloth hankies from a restaurant we dined at and pirated ourselves out.

I also met some very cool people. One of which was a guy working security. He was 20 years old, a former Army Ranger and he was all sorts of physically and mentally fucked up from 18 months over in Afghanistan. He got his discharge and Purple Heart from getting shot. What a cool guy, and at 20, he was already screwed. He walked really poorly, he was partially deaf due to concussion blasts and his memory was gone. And the fucking Government owed him $60,0000 on the GI bill and was not forking the money over.

So very sad.

And of course the other highlite was meeting this guy:

No, not Dean Martin... the amazing Jon from Poetry Is For Assholes. He drove 4 hours over mountains just to hang with lil old me for a spell. A way cool dude, impeccable music taste and an awesome blog- which you should be reading.

I'm still jet lagged. Fun time.


Jon said...

The minority report.
Comrade, our differences are slight but I did reach a somewhat different conclusion based on my own experiences in Reno.
My conclusion is that I am the worlds biggest fuckin' hippy. You know, I live in the heart of the hippy beast. You really can hear conversations here like,
"How you been man?"

"Not so good man. I'm really missing Jerry, man."

That's an actual conversation.

Everyone here claims to be a Buddhist and everyone here meditates and they all own hacky sacks made from recycled organic hemp and they all go to Reggae on the River and catch hepatitis A and dysentery, just like the '60's. They all drive Volvo station wagons and I DRIVE A FUCKIN' VOLVO STATION WAGON. Let's call that clue number one. I live in a town where the McDonalds and the KFC went out of business because no one would be caught dead eating corporate food but they will sit in their Volvos for an hour in hopes of getting a parking spot at Whole Foods Market. Everyone here has opinions on farming and agribusiness. Everyone here also has opinions on wine. I didn't have an opinion on wine even when I drank but people really have opinions as to what would go well with a nice seitan, quinoa and arugula salad.

Are you beginning to get a picture? Let's not consider the other, invisible everybody who bus tables, drive old Buicks, pick grapes and live 7 families in 7 rooms. See that's why I mostly dislike the local hippies. They are completely oblivious to the presence of a massive underclass that exists only to serve their phony Buddhist asses.

Ok, so in my heart I am a Moslem. In my heart I am an American artist but at heart, when I'm home here in racist hippy liberalville, I am no fuckin' hippy.

end part I

Jon said...

Part II as mandated by blogspots comment rules-

That is until you transfer me to Reno, fuckin', Nevada. Jesus Christ, that place is some kind of heaven for the creepiest squares in existence. I am all in favor of excess but I mean the kind of excess represented by The Cramps or the kind of excess that leads to William Blake's palace of wisdom but Reno's excess is an extra jumbo large deluxe economy size can of spray cheeze food. It is an excess of bosco chocolaty flavored syrup mixed with vodka from a plastic bottle and served as a cocktail for people so hopelessly dull they imagine that they are jaded.

People work hard and save their money so they can come to Reno and enjoy hideous, square fun which essentially involves squandering their pathetically diminished wages on shit that no one in their right mind would want if it was free.

Fuckin' squares. I can't fuckin' stand them. Alright, that's a bit of an overstatement but I don't much like them and I don't share their enthusiasms.

Which leads me to my conclusion, the synthesis of ideas originally introduced in my opening thesis. I will freely admit that, by local standards, I am not any sort of hippy. However, by the standards of much of my native land, America, the beautiful- And here I must point out that we were celebrating, communally, all of us gathered in Reno, the ascension to martyrdom of the only innocents every to die in an act of war. That highest of holy days. The date, that by it's mere invocation, acts as a license for the shittiest political behavior in the history of our short lived and soon doomed nation- by those standards which a certain class of fuckin' moron would call 'American', I am such a fukcin' hippy that people wretch at the excess of patchouli stink that wafts their way as I amble by missing Jerry.

So Nazz, Rico, dude, you were there at the 2cnd tier regional magazine publisher's convention and awards dinner but I've got one question for you: ARE YOU GONNA BE THERE AT THE LOVE IN? I know I am.

Now If you'll excuse me, I've gotta go tie dye everything I own. It really was fun driving over the mountains to meet you. Next time meet me in the fucking parking lot and I'll get you a little ways out of squaresville. You were, after all wallowing in marshmallows and polychlorinated biphenyls in the shadow of John Muir and Ansel Adams' "range of light".

See you real soon.

@eloh said...

Sounds like you boys had a good time. I've never partied in Reno...

John's just pissed that the Mustang Ranch is more famous than his Super Secret Pony Ranch.

I'm curious what you boys think about the new Alabama band... reminds me a bit of Maggie Bell.