Object Lessons: Rantings of a Lone Pamphleteer
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Always a Great Place to Stay?

Greetings from sunny Las Vegas, which proves the only constant in the Universe is change. Steve Wynn is putting up yet another monstrousity, though this time he's putting his name on it.
Condos (from the 300's) are going up on the north Strip, near Stratosphere and the Las Vegas Hilton, where Jon and I are currently staying.

I'm a little dissapointed in the hotel. Aside from the excitement of the Star Trek "rides" (which I've yet to Experience), and the really large room, the hotel is a little... well, like all Vegas hotels, it's a little overused. There are little chunks -- bite marks, sort of-- in the door where the bell persons (ours was a female hu-mahn) wedge open the door. Small things, such as the pool being closed (why'd I bring my swimsuit?) or the lack of an extra desk chair, which would be nice considering the largess of deskspace and table tops.

I'm beginning to wonder if we got a handicapped-accessible room. That would explain the double-wide passways and lack of extra chairs.

It's a nice room. Not the most elegant Hilton, but I can see where they might not want to invest in rooms that are so sorely misused. I've come to the conclusion that Vegas is seedy exactly because it attracts so many visitors. The constant rotation of drunk gamblers out for a good time fray the place a little bit, so it always looks a little... dingy.

I do have to say that the decor in the LV Hilton is lovely; they've obviously redecorated recently. The logo is everywhere: on the furniture, the headboard; the half-wall separating the bathroom from the bedroom is cut in the same "H" shape. Even the driveways' cobblestones out front are shaped in that stylized letter. It's these details that make the place interesting.

Definite pluses to the Hilton are the Star Trek Experience, including Quark's bar (sans Ferengi waiters, despite the ads). LV Hilton also owns the largest collection of ST "artifacts" in the world, all of which keep visitors occupied on the way to the "rides."

Lastly, the LV Hilton is always good for a chuckle. From the form letter welcoming us:

Thank you for choosing the Las Vegas Hilton, "Always" a great place to
stay. [Quotation marks theirs]
This time of year, the Strip is nearly empty. Christmas revelers have yet to arrive; even the weekender's aren't here yet. The casino is downright... quiet. I recall it being so much louder, but perhaps that was a function of the Excalibur, where we stayed last time. Being off the Strip, the LV Hilton caters to business travelers and conventioneers.

Of course, gambling abounds. I obtained a Player's card (those handy little cards that credit you based on gameplay), and sat down at penny slots. One dollar for 100 spins? Just my speed.

I won $7.44.

I'm off to try my hand at Video Joker Poker. (Yea, they got me.)

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With apologies to the men, a clarification

My cousin, CSM Eddie, wrote me a funny note from the Green Zone, saying he was going to "figure out what puerile means." Which started me thinking.

In my original letter to USA Today, I did not intend to call all men puerile. They edited out half the letter, for space reasons they said. The final paragraph originally read:

While neither women nor men should start chortling at the term "cocky" in a professional situation, it is the men who should be admonished. This ridiculously puerile attitude taken to its extreme will shortly bar"duty" and "penal" from the "female" lexicon.

"Ridiculously puerile" specifically meant the attitude that society has to treat innocuous words as if they were vulgar. Not that men's attitudes in general are puerile. I know many fine men, and I like you all.

But seriously, can we get a pay raise over here?

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Published... sort of

Over Thanksgiving , I had some time to read the paper, which I hardly ever get to do. It was enjoyable, right up until I ran into the Business article Watch your language, ladies.

The article outlines how men purportedly perceive women's behavior and language in the workplace. The article's thesis is summed in one CEO's quote: "Men in the business world still want women to be prim and proper."

I was compeled to write my first letter to the editor. I vented at the paper's faceless, nameless staff and forgot all about it.

So, when USA Today called, I assumed it was a telemarketer. Instead, a young woman talking very fast asked if they could publish it.

If you read USA Today, take a look. It was printed today, under the title "A myth perpetuated."

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Found a great site, with hundreds of rejection slips from working writers. If you're sending it out, you're doing the work.

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The Office

Two weeks ago, in an effort to move things along with the house, I turned to the one job of four (housewife/writer/editor/DIY expert) I've neglected this year. Home renovations. I began by calling lead-paint-abatemet specialists. Actually, no, I began by tracking down my pad of paper and a pen (living room, kitchen), the Lead Paint Assessment from two years ago (bedroom file box), and the phone numbers (living room, Internet). Once ready, I popped up to answer a phone call from Jon (distinctive ringer) and ran around my house (kitchen...no, not in its base, bedroom again).

"I need an office." I blurted into the phone.

"You have one." my rock replied.

"I have to have a finished office."

"Well, what do we have materials for?" Jon asked, supportive but budget-concious.

"I'm going to paint. loveyoubye."



"I wanted to talk to you about some travel."

Twenty minutes later, having discussed the rudimentaries of airline tickets to New Orleans, and (just for fun) alluding to Paris in the springtime, I started assessing the basement (basement).

First, allow me to say "ew." Over the last two years (construction was completed in January 2003), the "office" (bare drywall walls, mostly-finished electrical work, cement floor) has accumulated a few layers of stuff.

You know, stuff.

Televisions. A dog grooming table. An assortment of half-finished projects. Pristine paint supplies, many still in shopping bags. One complete item: an Emergency Preparedness Kits brimming with duct tape, water bottles, and expired peanut butter. Box springs and a mattress that is older than I am (unconfirmed). Cans and boxes, wood shavings, dead bugs (I said "ew." Also "dead.") and dog fur undisturbed in its layer of dust.

I suddenly realized I was prepared for anything, except tackling this.

After ten minutes reasearching how to enter my basement on several design shows (This Old House, Design Rivals), I reasoned with myself. I'm good at talking myself out of getting motivated. Of course, we have lots of excuses. Ahem. Reasons for putting it off. First, consider that we have done a lot of other work on the house, mostly plumbing and organizing. We travel a lot, and I do have three other jobs.

It'd be better to get it all done and finalized, and move on with my life. It'd help to have all my crap in one place. My mind knows this. I wish someone'd explain it to my butt, which loves the chair.

Lately, it's the voice of my 88-year-old Granny I hear, telling me "If you're going to do it, do it right." And "Nothing to it but to do it." And "Wheew-whippee," her most derisive cuss, usually reserved for the truly filthy. In the modern lexicon: "ew."

So I started working, and I'm proud of my progress. I've primed it all (office, hall, closet, back hall) and painted the ceiling once (office). Working a couple of hours a day, with time off for Thanksgiving and other work, I've managed to get that far, and am eager... (yes, eager)... to get back to it. Mostly I want to see the color on the walls.

But not tonight.

I talked to Jon for exactly 8 minutes , and the phone card's dwindling fast. He is in good spirits, and blogging often.

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