Notes from Vegas

At this time last week, Morgan, Ryan and I had just finished a fabulous meal at Prime at the Bellagio and we were just making our way to see Cirque du Soliel’s O. What an amazing show, but before I get into that, I must catch up on some entries from last week that I never got a chance to post. I had five days without any internet access. It was actually rather pleasant for a change. I wrote in the morning, but had no way to get it online, so here it is… I’ll catch up with the rest of the trip later.


Survived the first day in Vegas with only a small spongy feeling in my head this morning. It’s a funny place for me to be because I really don’t like to gamble. I prefer the real Venice in Italy to the Venetian Hotel here. Ditto for the Eiffel Tower.

So then why am I here then? Well I used to have this thing I called the “cement wall” test. I always thought my good friends and I could always have a great time together even if we were just doing the most boring thing imaginable – such as sitting on a plain, fairly uncomfortable cement wall. You know those short little cement walls that might line a walkway or something like that? That’s what I’m talking about.

So I think I mentioned last time that my good friends Venessa and Justin are getting married here. And my traveling companions are The Hughes sisters, Ryan and Morgan who are at the top of my cement wall list.

We landed at noon on Sunday and were already sitting at The Big Apple Bar having cosmopolitans before we even checked in at New York New York. That pretty much set the tone for the first day. Lots of fun, walking, laughing, shopping, walking, getting annoyed at the people walking in front of us who clearly don’t know busy street walking etiquette. C’mon people, if you’re going to rubberneck, at least pull over! Don’t walk five abreast on a narrow sidewalk. That sort of thing.

But other than the occasional oblivious tourist family, it’s been non-stop hilarity.

I’ve known Ryan for probably about five years. She’s really become one of my best friends in that time. Over the course of the last year we’ve more or less had a standing date set aside once a week for an evening of cosmos. Lot’s of fun, talking, debating the important life questions. Figuring it all out. Supporting each other. So it’s great to be here with here for some extended quality time.

Her sister Morgan I’ve only recently had the pleasure of getting to know. Maybe about a year or so on a really close level. Perhaps because I’m already so close to Ryan, Morgan and I have become fast friends and had some amazing talks in the past few months. I helped Morgan pick up a little Canon digital camera before we left Chicago, and I have to say, one of my favorite things has been running around “capturing the moment in pictures” here. We’ve been putting a little slide show together when we get back to our room at night. Of course, unless we erase the memory cards before we come home, we’re going to be breaking the whatever-happens-in-Vegas-stays-in-Vegas mantra, but the photos are too funny to even think such thoughts! We’re having such a great time.

Plus Morgan has been asking me to teach her a little about photography while we’re here, so we’ve been spending lots of time talking about the rule of thirds, not always centering the subject in the frame, dutching angles, slow shutter sync and other little things like that. She’s definitely got a good eye. So good in fact that I haven’t taken any photos here myself yet. We both laughed yesterday that she hasn’t seen me pull my big Nikon out yet. And yes it’s because I think she and her little Elf are doing the job. I often bring my cameras to Vegas when I visit, but I always have a hard time finding subject matter that I want to make a serious image of. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that nothing is real here.

I’ll have to think about that for a little while.

So I got up this morning and headed out to give the sisters a little time to get ready. I went out and sat near the Brooklyn Bridge. As I sat down on a bench near one of the arches the bench shifted a little bit. Hmmm. Not bolted down to keep people from running off with it. This is definitely not New York City.


I’m a lucky, lucky man. I’m not sure I’m going to be able to describe what I’m feeling this morning, but I’ll try. The three of us have all been reading The Alchemist. I’m the last one to borrow it, and I’m almost finished with it. So we’re all sort of in a very thoughtful place these days concerning what we’re doing with our lives.

Late last night in the middle of a very loud bar called the Voodoo lounge on top of the Rio hotel we had one of those discussions that to even try to discuss it now would cheapen it. I love Morgan and Ryan and they really inspire me. They’re both beautiful, but in their case the really intriguing part is that “the lights are on AND someone is most definitely home.” Very intelligent and engaging these two.

They said some things to me last night that I will never forget. I’m humbled and grateful for their kind words. I do try to go about my life trying to put good out there. Positive energy. Good juju as my friend Melissa calls it. It’s one of those things you just do, and you don’t really think or talk about it. It’s even a little weird taking about it now. So to hear Morgan and Ryan take some time to take turns telling me about all the things they love about me and what I’m trying to do in my life… well the DJ and the music and the people all around us just sort of melted away. Like I said, I could never repeat what was said. It would dishonor it. But I know this morning, there are still tears welling up in my eyes about it. I’m a lucky, lucky man.

And then we went outside on the roof and danced and danced. I think we pretty much cleared the dance floor by the end. Me and my two beautiful friends out under the stars looking down on the bright lights of Vegas. Perfect.

Since we try not to do much planning of any kind… we’re on vacation, you know… I can’t say exactly what we’ll be up to today. It might involve going out dress shopping today again. We found a fabulous Betsy Johnson for Ryan yesterday. It’s part of the new fall collection and it’s amazing. She wore it out last night and she and Morgan stole the show everywhere we were last night. I’ll have lots of fun photographing her in that as well.

I think we’re going to try to find something for Morgan today. It’s always fun to go shopping with those two. It allows me to let my inner fashionista come out and play. Exploring, trying on, spinning, trying on some more. Great fun.

I’m sure there will be some pool time as well. I have really been enjoying not being on a schedule. It seems like for the last three or four months every minute of my life has been reserved for something or another. Even minutes I didn’t really have. I’ve been borrowing so heavily against my sleeping minutes that it’s amazing I’ve managed to stay vertical all this time. So yes, I’m enjoying not knowing what day it is or what time it is. A very needed change for a few days.

Later tonight we’ll be seeing the first of two Cirque du Soleil shows we have tickets for. Zumanity is the Cirque show I’ve always wondered about in my head watching all the touring Cirque shows that have come through Chicago the last 12 years or so. I think I’ve only missed one in all that time. The performers are all such amazing examples of human physical beauty, lyrical strength and grace. Just about the time the thought crosses my mind, whoever I’m with usually turns to me and says, “Can you imagine what their sex lives must be like?” So I guess we’ll find out tonight.

Then tomorrow we’re seeing O. I’m told it’s the best show that Cirque du Soleil has ever created. Should be an incredible thing to experience. All of their shows are. You’re just transported to another place. If you haven’t experienced Cirque du Soleil, do yourself a favor.

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