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The Secret Life of Pets

Here we are in fabulous Las Vegas, and we went to the movies. Which, actually, was nice and quiet and cool - for all the bustle and crowds on the Strip, it was nice to duck into a place where there were like three other people and sit in the dark air conditioning and laugh a lot.

I liked it. Much as my lovely wife says, it DOES smack a little of the same plot as Toy Story, but it's fun and silly and enjoyable, and much as I did with Finding Dory, saw at LEAST five times when all the characters (should have) died, but it had a great little ending and was a lot of fun.

Had a REALLY good margarita at Diablo's, next to the Monte Carlo - there is a LOT of new stuff out there, a beautiful new walkway with stores and such called "The Park," and oddly enough, for some reason, Las Vegas builds these wonderlands and puts NO SHADE over them, so who wants to wander around when it's 115 in the blistering sun? Apparently a lot of folks, but not me. We kept to the shade as much as possible, and inside the rest of the time. Anyway, I didn't realize that margaritas on the rocks were so damned tasty. I may have to give over my life-long fondness for the frozen variety.

We went to see O at the Bellagio - we saw it long ago, back when we first started coming to Vegas (maybe 2004 or something); it's just as beautiful as is was then. I am desperately saddened to find that the Aria (where we're staying) has closed Zarkana, though. That was my favorite, the Steampunk Cirque show - not sure why or when, but all the advertising is gone from inside the hotel, and one sign to the "Zarkana Theatre" remains over in the Crystals shopping mall, but that's it. Closed, dark, gone.

In fact, many of the things I initially loved about Las Vegas are now gone - the tiger enclosure from The Mirage, the lion habitat from MGM, the Star Trek Experience from the Hilton (which is itself now gone, it's the Westgate now); but much still remains the same, and it's still fun in a raucous sort of way. Mom's slowed down a lot and doesn't gamble as much, so we're doing more. I'm broke and haven't seen anything I really want, so we haven't even really been shopping - I would have got something from the "O" gift shop last night, but it was crowded and Mom was being impatient (which is another reason I don't shop with her all that much anymore - I love my mother, but she has always had the patience of a boiling tea kettle).

I was glad to see that they HAVE put up much of the old neon, spread along the streets of Downtown Vegas; the old Silver Slipper was there, and a couple of the old familiar signs. The sign for The Landmark is still up at the parking lot of the Las Vegas Convention Center, which is where it used to be.

Downtown they've changed the old Fitzgerald Hotel & Casino to "The D." It's weirdly incongruous there, a piece of the modern, sleek, Nu-Strip Vegas plunked there in the middle of Fremont Street, which is largely and proudly Old Vegas. It looks dark and strange there amidst the neon and garish flashing lights. Plus, I miss the neon shamrocks that used to dance across the face of the Fitzgerald.

I wanted to get one of the large adult slushie drinks they peddle here, but knew I couldn't finish one (they usually come in huge souvenir cups people carry around on lanyards around their necks), so I got a small one at O last night. It was pink lemonade with vodka, and quite tasty.

I won $150 on the quarter machine earlier today!

Being in Vegas does mean I haven't really seen much in the way of news, just a few posts on Twitter when I've had a chance to sit for a minute or two.

But it's back home tomorrow. Whee!

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