Thursday, May 8, 2014

Las Vegas report

I have just returned home from cheering on UAF's Collegiate Wind Competition Team (report here). The goal was to design, build, and market a small (goal: 10 kW) wind turbine intended for backpacking into a field site for charging instrumentation or small electronics. It was co-located with the American Wind Energy Association's annual conference, WindPower, so I attended that as well.

The transition from a log cabin outside of Fairbanks to the Las Vegas strip is probably the most startling that can happen to a person in a mere ten hours. The back to back photos on my camera were these two:

My hotel's exterior looked like this:

At first it was shocking, and I wanted either to fly immediately back home or tell DL that yes, in fact maybe he *should* cough up $1400 and come hold my hand. My eyes bulged, my head spun. Bright lights flashed everywhere, slot machines clinked and reverberated off every wall as different loud music pumped from every enormous, glittering room. Restaurants were dark and lit only by piercing neon. The hotels and convention centers, all linked by connecting tunnels and soaked in air conditioning while the outside air sweltered, did not permit nor encourage ever leaving their confines. It would have been difficult to find an exterior exit even had I tried.

But after a mere 24 hours, I came to accept my surroundings for what they were. I do appreciate that they seem very aware of their own excesses, and unabashedly celebrate their own vulgarity. They just shrug and say, "We are Las Vegas! Here--look at something sparkly! Oh, and boobs!"

I also liberally passed out Evil Death Stares to nasty guys who leered at me. It's a privilege that took me years to feel worthy of. When I was younger I was told I was worthless, so I ate up any attention, whether positive or negative. Now I'm secure in my place in the world, and it feels good. :)

Here is a photo of the ladies at their kennel, courtesy of the kennel:

Here is one with two of their buds, Rufous (the yellow one) and Bentley. Photo from Rufous' human.

Rufous' human works on the North Slope, so he is gone for long stretches. Rufous is a kennel favorite. Bentley came to the kennel as a foster. Some years later, he was still there, and I asked if I could have him. They said, "Um, NO! He's not a foster any more! We love him and are keeping him ourselves!" :~D

Another photo from Rufous' human, who seems quite taken with Starbuck!

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