Saturday, July 26, 2008

Las Vegas & Star Trek: The Experience

The Sci-Fi Fanatic has been completely MIA. I apologize for that. I was sorely ill-prepared as far as the blog goes when it happened. I had almost finished proofreading my latest installment of Babylon 5, Ship Of Tears, but hit the airplane before I could finish and just never could find time to link up the laptop again.

Las Vegas, what can you say? You either love a place like that or you don’t. Truthfully, I fall into the latter camp. I know so many people who love that place. The lights, the gambling, the shows, the nightlife, the people, and the sheer beauty of the utter decadence of it all- they love it! I fall into that other camp because it just ain’t for me. I didn’t mind the heat at all. If I can handle the Everglades I can handle the hot. I just can’t get all jazzed up about the hype and glitter of Las Vegas. I definitely didn’t run out to let it all hang out so I could use the oft-cited cliché ‘what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” Honestly you can have it. I suppose what might seem odd is why I wouldn’t find a place that looks like a gigantic spaceship landed smack dab in the middle of the desert appealing, alluring or at least beautiful.

In a million years I never imagined I'd visit Las Vegas, Nevada. I just never wanted to go until my hand was forced in this case. Well, it was everything I thought it would be and more, bad and tacky. I actually envisioned it to be better than it wound up being. Cigarettes and gambling were at every turn. I was beginning to forget what inhaling oxygen into my lungs felt like. I’m sorry, but it was just a complete and utter spectacle [at night only]- a showy, shallow, soulless waste with a seedy underbelly underneath all those shiny lights.

I did take five to absorb a little sci-fi action. I had learned that Star Trek: The Experience was at the Las Vegas Hilton and was preparing to fold forever in September 2008. I had heard those very words just weeks ago. Well, I immediately set my sights on getting there and making my visit a reality before it was too late since I was heading that way anyhow. I was extremely bummed to learn I would be missing what appeared to be a very cool Star Trek Convention in August at the Las Vegas Convention Center next to the Las Vegas Hilton with a slough of mega-stars from the series including my man Leonard Nimoy [See Postcard for entire list].

Star Trek: The Experience was pretty cool. The Klingon Encounter motion ride was a lot of fun and the effects were excellent. I don’t know how old the rides were but they have held up pretty well and were far better than the God awful Star Wars ride at MGM in Orlando, Florida. The other experience was Borg Invasion 4D and it was a kind of interactive-theatrical experience, but the effects were cool as the U.S.S. Voyager comes crashing in the Borg Cube to rescue us from the Borg Queen at the end to save us from certain assimilation. I really enjoyed them both. I had dinner at that Ferengi fellow’s self-named Quark’s Bar & Restaurant [there were some Klingons and Andorians walking around for effect; click here for the full menu]. It was my first day in Vegas and I hadn’t eaten all day. I was hungry. I ordered the Flaming Ribs of Targ [a.k.a. Flaming Ribs of Shite] covered with green stuff and, as you might imagine on an empty stomach, they would/should taste delicious. They did not. They were gross and disgusting. Quite frankly they sucked. You’ll recall I had the world’s most amazing ribs in Naples, Florida at Michelbob’s. Well, I found the world’s worst ribs and they are at Quarks, Star Trek: The Experience, Las Vegas, Nevada [another reason not to go- I’m kidding, everyone should go]. The Star Trek museum was pretty cool loaded with phasers and other props form the many series.

Everything was expensive in Las Vegas. I did see The Dark Knight [I'm sorry I'm just not a gambler]. It was as everyone has said- amazing, and I loved, loved Batman Begins. Heath Ledger, and I love Christian Bale, steals the show with a demented but really note perfect performance. What an even greater loss when I think about it after seeing him in that film.

I did The Strip. Later, as I walked through the Palms Resort Hotel [away from The Strip] you should have seen the cast of characters at the slot machines. No word of a lie, there was this one fellow who was kind of grungy and he had his finger so far up his nose in plain view that if it went any further it would have come out the back of his head. He looked like he was digging for gold while he was trying to win some money. It was repulsive. I felt for the next guy who had to use that machine. He was unabashedly right out in the open with it. The poor fellow definitely had some issues. There were people in wheelchairs and with canes. There were some with oxygen masks [that’s what happens when you smoke]. There were some with oxygen masks while they were smoking. The cocktail waitresses were mostly naked. I didn’t mind that so much. Soem were almost naked and were not cocktail waitresses. They were fine too, if a little scary.

Anyway folks, I’m back and I really wanted to share some pictures with you of Star Trek: The Experience, but bloody well forgot the fucking camera! So I took a photo of what materials I brought back with me to prove I was there. I did manage to grab a few with my cell phone camera- Crap quality! I'll try and figure out how to get them off there.

Guys let me tell you, I’m glad I’m away from that place. It is indeed the City of Sin for a reason and amen to that. I do want to note that some of the folks I ran into there were very nice. One cab driver told me how much he loves it there and keeps coming back there whenever he leaves the place. He and his wife like to go to the concerts. Steve Miller was on tap for the weekend. Still, I was reminded of a quote from a fellow named Kaiser Kuo who commented on Beijing in Time Magazine. “It’s a horrible place to live, but I wouldn’t be anywhere else on the planet. You get addicted to the excitement, speed and change. There’s nowhere else like it.” I couldn’t help but apply the same thinking to Las Vegas. Granted, I’ve never been to Beijing and at least the sanitation in Las Vegas is up to speed. But God Bless the folks out there who see the good in places like Las Vegas.

Now that I’ve returned and I've had some distance from the place I can’t help but admit there was something fascinating about it all that could definitely lure me back and suck me in. Thankfully I have my inner Spock to keep me in check.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your "inner Spock?" Seriously?

How about your wife and kids? Might they keep you from temptation? Or, perhaps, drive you toward it????

Hmmm... let me ponder that over peace, quiet and an ice cold beer.