We originally booked at the Bellagio for our family vacation in Vegas, but the festivities moved to Caeser’s Palace and we followed.

Dancing fountains at the Bellagio, Las Vegas

Since the Bellagio was right next door we wandered around there a fair bit anyway.


An elaborate Fall-themed display replete with gigantic fabricated cornucopia, gourds, leaves, and pumpkins dominated the public spaces of the resort and casino. The Bellagio is famous for it’s celebration of each of the four seasons. Apparently the trees appear each year during the Fall display, while the elements around them change from year to year.

This fellow had lights that subtly changed color, which I thought dramatically changed his demeanor.


I didn’t find his friend as visually interesting. I’ve read that in years past his eyes opened and closed and he spoke, welcoming visitors to the Bellagio. He was silent this weekend, at least when we had occasion to stop and visit him. Since they dismantled the entire exhibit Saturday night/Sunday morning and began installing the Winter display, it’s possible he’d been disconnected by the time we visited. The other parts of the display were still animated though, so I’m not sure.


What’s Fall without large animatronic venus flytraps that periodically spring to life and gobble up cheerfully singing little birdies? I couldn’t figure out what they had to do with Fall, either. Happy hour does start at daybreak in Vegas, after all, so we decided thinking too much about this would be a bad idea. My brother suggested they symbolized death, so we went with that.


I think it’s required by law that any post about the Bellagio include mention of Dale Chihuly’s remarkable blown-glass lobby installation, Fiori di Como, so here’s a picture:


We had little outings to the Venetian, the Flamingo, Treasure Island, and some other places I’ve forgotten, but Vegas kind of hurts my brain so I can only post about small bits of it at a time.

We’re off to Vegas tomorrow for Brother’s wedding. I don’t like to travel during the Thanksgiving break, but I’ll make an exception. Plus, we’re flying, not driving. I’m not going to fact-check this CBS news story because I want it to be true:

“Holiday Travel Myths Exposed

“In reality, the day before Thanksgiving is not the busiest day of the year,” said Roger Dow of the U.S. Travel Association.

In fact, according to official government data, when it comes to the number of airline flights, today doesn’t even rank among the top 25 busiest days.

Back in 2006, it came in 36th. In 2007, it was 55th. And last year, as the economy took a turn for the worst, there were 220 days with more flights than the day before Thanksgiving.

“It’s a myth,” Dow said. “lt’s one of those things that people expect the airports to be crazy – there’s a lot of people traveling, but it’s not the worst day of the year.”

[read the rest of the story]

We’re traveling on the 221st most busy travel day of the year. No problem. Nothing to worry about.


If I don’t need to worry about crowds, I can move on to a new neuroses. I’ve now started to worry about our luggage getting lost.

I usually check my suitcase and (knock on wood) I’ve never lost a suitcase. Also, I’m lazy. Southwest doesn’t charge extra for checked luggage so I refuse to be one of Those People who insist on hauling a small suitcase onto the plane while trying to pretend they don’t also have a laptop case, a purse, a diaper bag, a small dog in a carrier, and a large bag of cheese.

Since we’re going to a wedding and I need these clothes and running out to shop if they lose our luggage would suck, I’ve talked myself right into the paranoid belief that this will be the time they lose our luggage.


I’m not hauling my laptop so I should just go pack the dress for the wedding into a small carryon. And a spare pair of shoes. And some makeup. And extra underwear. And, of course, the things I usually cram into my carryon with my laptop: my toothbrush and my backup shoes (not to be confused with the extra shoes for the wedding) and my cardigan and my book and my knitting.

My god, I sound like Steve Martin in The Jerk.

I don’t need any of this. I don’t need this stuff, and I don’t need you. I don’t need anything except this [ashtray] And that’s it and that’s the only thing I need, is this. I don’t need this or this. Just this ashtray. And this paddle game, the ashtray and the paddle game and that’s all I need. And this remote control. The ashtray, the paddle game, and the remote control, and that’s all I need. And these matches. The ashtray, and these matches, and the remote control and the paddle ball. And this lamp. The ashtray, this paddle game and the remote control and the lamp and that’s all I need. And that’s all I need too. I don’t need one other thing, not one – I need this. The paddle game, and the chair, and the remote control, and the matches, for sure. And this. And that’s all I need. The ashtray, the remote control, the paddle game, this magazine and the chair.

You ever have one of those disturbing moments wherein you realize that your internal monologue about how you’re going to solve a potential problem is actually tinged with hysteria? That moment when you realize that, even in the safety and comfort of your own brain, your thoughts sound highly pitched and a bit shaky?

No? Really? Really?

You’re lying but I don’t have time to argue with you, I need to go repack my suitcase and this carry-on.

Valium. Musn’t forget to pack the valium. Just in case I end up sitting next to the woman with the laptop case, purse, diaper bag, small dog in a carrier, and the large bag of cheese again.

I watched the Real World Tuesday night. Could those people have been any blander? They look bland, they act bland, they dress bland, they talk bland. They’re just bland.

Bland. Bland. Bland.

By the time blandgirl Trishelle and blandboy Steve hooked up, depsite the fact that blandboy Frank had been mooning over blandgirld Trishelle, it would have taken an all-roomate icepick fight to the death to snap me out of my stupor.

I’m so tired I believe I’m actually deranged. A few minutes ago I realized I was having a conversation, out loud, with Al Gore’s Burger King Lion King toy.

And we weren’t just having a chat, we were arguing. And I was losing.

Al Gore’s Lion King toy and I are no longer on speaking terms

Non-sequiter. The other night I was telling Matt about the many hours of Japanese TV commercials we have on tape. I’m rather fond of the ones that have rather off-kilter appropriations of Western culture. My favorite features a western woman boarding the subway. She’s got a machine gun and bandolier of ammunition. Except the bandolier is full of lipstick tubes. The caption says “A girl from New York.” After she boards the train she opens fire and kills everyone on-board. The female passengers die smiling.

Matt reminded me of this site, Japander.com which is an archive of Japanese commercials featuring American celebrities. They’re pretty odd, too.

*Before it belonged to Al, it belonged to Mr. Rogers. I’m not going to bother to explain because it’s not nearly as strange and amusing if I do.