Surreality in Las Vegas
by Matthew Gast
Related link: http://www.luxor.com/
Las Vegas is a world unto itself. It's like a gigantic theme park, made up of littler theme parks. I've decided to start calling the distortion field around the strip "surreality," because everything is so far beyond normal that you can't even blame it on a reality distortion field. (When the venue makes the marketing at the trade show look tame, you know it's bad!) Here are a few examples from my trip:
One of the engineers I'm working with at the Interop Labs had some trouble with the DVD drive in his laptop. (I suggested that since Las Vegas is another planet, he really had a region coding problem, but that wasn't it.) He ordered a replacement, which was sent to him at the Luxor. The company made a mismash of his name and the other engineer he's sharing a room with, and sent it to the "University of Utah, Las Vegas" with a street address of the Luxor. Nevertheless, it worked.
There is a wedding chapel at the Luxor hotel. Given the beliefs of the ancient Egyptians, the "Chapel at Luxor" just doesn't have that ring, does it?
Out of everything that's weird about this town, though, the top of my list is the nightclub at the Luxor. It's named after Ra, who is the sun god. I'd be very interested in finding out why the nightclub is named after the sun god. Is it a frustrated liberal arts major making fun of the casino? Is the nightclub where the sun god rests up before his next hard day illuminating the planet? Does it just sound cool?
Phrase to describe Las Vegas...
...while there at a convention: cognitive dissonance. It can either be really depressing, or you can start to enjoy the bizarre inanity of the place. :-)
One more thing...
As I walked from the Luxor to the Mandalay Bay convention center on the last day, the piped in music was Big Yellow Taxi. ("They paved paradise and put up a parking lot...") The Strip is really an irony-free zone, isn't it?