Saturday, August 28, 2010

Start Spreading the News...

I have decided to close up shop here in the City of Sin and return to the state of my birth, New York. After seven long, interesting, up and down (mostly up) years here in Las Vegas, it’s time for my curtain call. It’s a bittersweet turn of events, for sure. I enjoyed most of my time here (oh, and that amazing weather), and will miss getting to see my amigos from the Bay Area on a semi-regular basis, but of course, it never sucks to be close to family. There is simply nothing left for me here in this crazy and intriguing city. It was a great ride for several years, but unfortunately, the tide has turned, and employment prospects here have been grim for quite some time. Hopefully, New York will bring a much needed fresh start and new adventures, which ironically, is what I was originally seeking when I stepped off the plane at McCarran Airport into the 111-degree haze in July 2003.

My first exposure to Las Vegas came way back in December 1998, when my best friend, Matt, and I, both ventured to the land of booze and debauchery for the first time. OK, so there wasn’t really any booze and debauchery involved in our doings, but it did serve for some laughs when we arrived at the Palace Station Hotel only to be surrounded by a wave of tall, brawny men in ten-gallon hats and chaps. Unbeknownst to us at the time, the National Finals Rodeo event is held here every December. Not exactly what we were expecting. In any case, this was a time when the Bellagio had just opened its doors, and the Venetian across the street had yet to dole out its first poker chip. Little did I know, just a year later, Matt would be moving to Las Vegas, leaving the East Coast behind. This move surely would play no small role in my own journey Westward four years after that.

Then there was my trip to visit Matt in January 2001. Accompanied by my other close friend, John, this 9-day spell included my introduction to the Grand Canyon, Red Rock Canyon, Valley of Fire, the Vegas club scene, Vegas topless revues, unsuccessfully trying to pick up Vegas women, and I’m sure some other activities that escape my mind at this time.

Let’s not forget the October 2002 jaunt, the sole purpose of which was to hunt down the house that Matt and I intended to purchase as an investment, which ended up being the instigation for me to relocate here. Southern Highlands at the time was just a mound of rubble (or several mounds of rubble, actually), but it was to become home just nine short months later. Meanwhile, Matt and I enjoyed our luxury accommodations at the highly-recommended Ogden House Hotel (I assume everyone can spot sarcasm when it’s intended). We must have missed the brochures touting it as the methamphetamine capital of the world, but I’m sure it added some color to our trip. Somehow, the barriers of our first-floor room remained unpenetrated by any unsavory characters (save for Matt and me, of course).

And then, finally, fate brought me here to stay (at least for a number of years) in July of 2003. Since then, I’ve lived in 3 different residences, managed 6 tenants on my own, managed 2 sets of tenants with assistance from a property manager, had 1 tenant trash the house and bolt on me, invested in and miraculously gotten my money back from 2 failed mixed-use condo projects, dated 1 girl from Mexico, dated 1 girl from Las Vegas whom I rarely saw in two years of going out, casually dated a few others, devoured approximately 163,726 pounds of buffet food, went to exactly 1 strip club, went to exactly 3 nightclubs, played on 4 softball teams, went to 2 minor league hockey games, went to 1 minor league baseball game, went to the top of the Stratosphere Hotel once, went to the top of the Paris Hotel twice, got exactly 1 traffic violation, narrowly avoided 1 extremely drunk driver, wrote 1 film screenplay, had 1 road trip to San Diego postponed due to snow (yes, snow), had 2 successful and enjoyable road trips to San Diego, witnessed the Yankees lose 1 World Series of baseball and win 1 World Series of baseball, witnessed 1 exciting in-the-money finish by my best friend at the World Series of Poker Main Event, spent approximately $3,724 on those stupid Wheel of Fortune slot machines without ever hitting the jackpot, hit exactly 1 royal flush on video poker, saw Le Reve, saw Phantom of the Opera, saw LOVE, saw Brad Garrett’s stand-up act (drunk – him, not me), saw Norm MacDonald’s stand-up act (even more drunk – him, not me), saw Jay Leno’s stand-up act (should have been drunk – him…OK, and maybe me too), saw the rock band Warrant with original lead singer, Jani Lane (more drunk than you have ever seen a live performer in your life – trust me), started 1 blog, had 2 amazing rock musicians read at least one of my blog posts, founded 1 company, invested in 1 failed start-up, invested in 1 very promising start-up (with a still yet-to-be-determined level of success), bought 1 hybrid car, seen a countless number of concerts – many of which involved bands containing either the words Leppard or Blossoms in their names, joined 1 short-lived bowling team, attended 1 South By Southwest Music Festival, attended 3 weddings elsewhere in the world, attended 1 wedding in Las Vegas, been caught in traffic 2,014 times (roughly), participated in 2 scavenger hunts, took a picture of one Elvis, spotted only 1 celebrity (Vanilla Ice – yeah, I don’t get out much), experienced approximately 486 hundred-degree days, experienced exactly 1 week of multiple snow days, saw no scorpions, saw no black widow spiders (thank God), had 2 floods in my condo, had 1 mushroom grow up through my carpet during flood, had 2 real estate agents, had 2 attorneys, had 3 accountants, had 1 financial advisor, flew OVER July 4th fireworks once, went to the Strip for New Year’s fireworks once, had friends and family surprise me for 2 birthdays, lost one close family member (hi, Grandpa Marcel), gained two God-dogs (who knew there was such a thing), guest DJ'd one hour of commercial radio, voted for 1 U.S. President, went snowboarding once, went to a shooting range once, had 2 computer purchasing experiences at Best Buy, enjoyed ZERO computer purchasing experiences at Best Buy, have spent 22 months unemployed (3 upon first arriving, 19 post-layoff), and held exactly 1 job for 5 years and 3 months.

That, my friends, is an extremely non-chronological summarization of my time here in Las Vegas. It’s certainly been an unanticipated and interesting segment of my life. Now, as they say…onto the next chapter.

Viva Las Vegas – Au Revoir…