Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Day One

Eagles on the highway
Swirling whisps of clouds on mountaintops
A control burn of a ski area
A car overturned in the snow
Sipping hot cocoa during a snowstorm in the desert
Seeing the lights of Vegas from 100 miles away
A communications antenna taller than the mountain it sat on
"Writing" seven scenes of my film in my head

These are some of the things I would have missed if I had chosen to fly rather than drive. It was a long haul, but I've done it before and I wasn't really alone. Ten years ago, I had The Beatles, Tori Amos and Sarah McLachlan to pull me through the Rocky Mountains. This time, I had some new friends: Imogen Heap, Cat Power, The New Pornographers and Massive Attack to name a few.

(me and Imogen Heap)

(me and Cat Power- I'm not really depressed, I'm just concentrating on driving in the snow while taking my own picture)

I experienced such dramatic changes in climate that I almost felt like I was traveling through Middle Earth! My "One Ring" was self doubt and fear and rather than lembas, I had ranch flavored soy crispettes, but it was still quite the journey.

I stopped in Vail to photograph a control burn and eat some peanut butter sandwiches. I also had to "control burn" some CDs on my laptop. I lost all radio by this point and the rental car did not have a tape deck for my mp3 player (I had one of those adapter things). Technology can be great!

It can also be a burden. Eager to blog, I plugged my laptop in the second I got to Vegas. Alas, the hotel charges $9.95/day for access.

Vegas is the strangest place. Never before in my life have I seen so much religion juxtaposed with so much vulgarity! People "prayed" for their gambling luck and a nearly naked woman was present for everything from a lap dance to a wakeup call to a children's magic show.

I stayed at the Stratosphere hotel, which is essentially a large penis. Everything in the hotel is shaped like this. These objects were even more phallic than the tower itself! They took the pointy tip off to make it child safe, which made it nice and rounded. I saw a child sipping from the tip of a large phallic drink container and my shampoo was even offered in little phallic representations of the tower.

There once was a roller coaster at the top of this structure. That was deemed unsafe and replaced by three "thrill rides" or, as they put it, "The Threesome." One spins you around in a circle over the edge of the building, another slides off the edge and dangles you 1100 feet above the ground. The third is the funniest of all: it is one of those rides where they strap you in, pull you up a tower and then drop you. Not so funny until you see it: The seats wrap around a bright, glowing red tower. Not only do the raise you and drop you once, but they do it repeatedly. From the ground, you see a black ring stroke the tower up and down as people scream orgasmically! This one is called "Big Shot." If you think I'm reading into this too much, the motto for the thrill ride threesome is "Get Down, Get Up, Get Off." You know, for the kids! I rest my case.

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