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9:44 am - Thurs 6/10/04
Viva Las Vegas

Viva Las Vegas

Just finished breakfast. Kevin is still eating.

We're going to leave for Vegas sometime before noon (Jimmy's going to need a nap at some point, because he woke up earlier than usual today). According to Mapquest, we should be able to get there in a little over four hours.

The big debate in my mind right now is how much I'm going to spend on gambling, if anything. Kevin's springing for the trip–hotel, entertainment, etc–but it would be pretty weird if he gave me money to gamble with ("All right young man, here's $100, but don't spend it all at once...").

Here in L.A., we've been handling the money thing in kind of a patchwork fashion–Sometimes he's paid, or he's paid and I've tipped, sometimes the reverse, sometimes we've gone dutch, etc and so on–but all that said, I'm ripping through money like you wouldn't believe, and this is before getting to "Lost Wages" (Today I'm thinking "Maybe I don't really need to gamble...").

As much as I enjoy people coming out–First Mark and Jane, and now Kevin–the "money thing" is stressful; I wouldn't be comfortable just saying "Okay, you know I don't have much money, so could you pay for everyplace we go and everything we do?". That doesn't seem right (I'm supposed to be the "Host", after all). But even if we "go dutch" on everything, it's too much money for me to be spending (The occasional fast food binge or action figure aside, I really don't spend a lot of money on entertainment out here, because there isn't a lot to spend).

But damn it, it's my vacation, and I'm 43 fucking years old; am I never going to get to have any fun?

I'm so tired of being poor...


We went to the Getty Museum on Tuesday (Appallingly, it was my first time there. And there's no excuse, because it's free–All you have to pay for is the parking. But anyway...)

Due to a combination of fatigue, sore feet (I've been in pretty much constant pain this week), and "parking panic"–all my "issues"–we only stayed a few hours, not nearly enough time to even "skim" everything there is to see. But it was pretty friggin' cool nevertheless, cool enough that I'm going to be making visits to the Getty a semi-regular event from now on (It's maybe a half-hour drive from the apartment).

Kevin has some of my same predilections in terms of art–He's more interested in people than in landscapes or furniture–and that was nice, because it didn't feel like one of us was pulling the other towards exhibits they really weren't that interested in.

I was reminded of the last time I went to LACMA with Mark and Jane, and how moved I was by depictions of people, looking at me through the span of hundreds of years.

But I'm going to have to get back to this a little later, cause I think Kevin would like the computer (The plan? I'm going to take a shower while Kevin has play time with the computer, then I'm going to nap for an hour or so, then we'll take it from there).

(9:10 a.m.)

Where was I...?

The Getty was great. As I told Jane in an email, my feeling was that it was a very complete "artistic experience": By that, I mean the architectural design is very appealing, it's got a great view of the Hollywood hills (And the rich folks mansions nestled within), and of course, there's all that art.

Like I said, we were only there a couple hours, but I was reminded again of how powerfully affected I am by art (These days, I seem to be thinking a lot about my insignificance within the larger picture; I felt it at the tar pits, again at Venice Beach, looking at the ocean, and once more while I looked at art that was hundreds, sometimes thousands, of years old.

One thing that struck me was how depictions of violence in art, and I mean graphic violence–have been around forever; We saw more than one painting of saints being beheaded–with spurting blood and all–other saints getting stigmata from angels (For all the world, it looked like the angels were zapping the saints with laser beams!), and of course, various gruesome paintings of the Crucifiction.

We were also amused by some religious paintings where it was obvious that the painter wanted to make the viewer horny, while protected by the "religious content" of the piece (An assumption born out by placards next to the pieces in question)

Like when I went to LACMA with Mark and Jane, I was moved by the idea of people from hundreds of years ago looking out at me in 2004.

And in terms of technique, Kevin and I were both struck by the realism some Renaissance era painters were able to acheive. Thinking about it now, I'm still dazzled; it's paint, so how can they make flesh look so alive you'd think it would be warm to the touch?

(Afterwards I thought about how "realism" in painting may be something whose time has come and gone, in the era of film and photography, but I'm still amazed at what they were able to do with some paint and a brush.)

Once again, I realized I have a particular "thing" for chiaroscuro (I particularly enjoyed the "Dutch Masters" area. I was a big fan of Rembrandt when I was younger, writing a paper about him when I was in the 4th grade).

Kevin talked about being interested in trying oil painting sometime, but the only "in" I see for myself in terms of creating visual art is drawing; there's a world of difference between what I can do and what I saw at the museum, but it's not impossible for me to imagine getting better at drawing, while I look at a great painting and think "I could never do anything remotely like this".

But anyway, it was a good experience, though I regretted it was so short (And felt guilty for taking Kevin away from it so soon). I think one thing I really need to make more of an effort at is "feeding my soul", and visual art really does that for me. It's easy to forget that sometimes.

And I don't have to wait till someone else comes to visit me from Lansing before I go again sometime (A day pass on the Metro is just $3, so I could go and stay as long as I want, without worrying about where I'll park when I get home).

Well, I'm sure there's stuff I'm leaving out that I wanted to write about, but I'm getting tired, so I want to lie down for a bit. Then when I get up, it'll be a simple matter of throwing a couple things in a bag, jumping in the car with Kevin, and heading off to Las Vegas...

("To gamble, or not to gamble. That is the question...")


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