An Introvert in Vegas – Part Two

When we escape, we shed our introvert persona in the most subtle ways.  We know we’re escaping to something we totally geek out about so we’re in our element.  We have no problem doing things alone, in fact some times we prefer that so we don’t have to engage in all that small talk.  Give us a damn good conversation that goes beyond the weather and the latest jargon and we are in…

So off I go to geek out at the Neon Boneyard.  As I already said what Vegas lacks in sophistication and culture it surely makes up for in glitz and excess but it does have history.  There’s no denying that and I’m a history geek so the Neon Boneyard fit me to a tee.

It’s easy to get one of the ubiquitous cabs and it turns out it’s my first cabby’s first day.  I look at the bellman…really?  He confirmed, it’s the kid’s first day.  What a joyful twenty minute ride.  A young man with an accent I couldn’t place.  He misses his family but didn’t share where they were.  Please forgive me but I must use the GPS… he was incredibly cautious and sloooowwww. We chatted about Vegas, how it’s no place to be in the summer. And he hopes to be in school by then. But so what, we made it by the time my tour started.  My guess would be confirmed later that my fare was a bit more than it probably should have been but we enjoyed each other’s company.  Hopefully his confidence will grow and his self conscientiousness will subside. And a new life is in store for him.

From their website: In 2012 the Neon Museum Boneyard opened at 770 Las Vegas Boulevard North.  The nearly two-acre campus includes an outdoor exhibition space, known as the Boneyard, which features more than 200 signs, seven of which are restored, a visitors’ center housed inside the former La Concha Motel lobby and the Neon Boneyard North Gallery which houses additional rescued signs and is used for weddings, special events, photo shoots and educational programs.

So basically we toured a lot full of broken down, pieces and shards and rust and chipped paint.  I loved it.  Our group was small, maybe 8-10 people and our guide was cool and knowledgeable.  As I’m prone to do I hung behind and poked and snapped away.

From the website: The Museum includes nine restored signs which can be viewed as public art and visited on a self-guided tour twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. The gallery includes the Lucky Cuss Motel, the Bow & Arrow Motel, The Silver Slipper, Society Cleaners, Binion’s Horseshoe, the Normandie Motel, the Hacienda horse and rider, the Landmark and 5th Street Liquors.

Some of the more prized refurbishments which may be retrofitted with led lights for the night tour.  If you’re going to go, book your night tour as early in your visit as you can, it sells out quickly.

From their website: Most of our signs are exhibited in the Boneyard where they serve as inspiration to fascinated artists, students, historians and designers.  It is home to some of the most treasured and world-famous signs of Las Vegas – Caesars Palace, Binion’s Horseshoe, the Golden Nugget and the Stardust.

The two-acre Musuem campus includes the adjacent Neon Boneyard Park, the Boneyard itself, which houses more than 200 historic signs, and the Neon Boneyard North Gallery which contains approximately 60 additional signs including signs from the Palms Casino Resort, New-New York, Lady Luck and O’Shea’s.

Each sign in the collection has a unique story about who created it, what inspired it, where and when it was made, and how it fits into the development of Las Vegas and the city’s rich history.  Changes and trends in design and technology are also illustrated in the pieces that range from the 1930s to the present day.

As part of our guided tours of the Neon Boneyard, the signs can be viewed at ground level and up close. Each has been donated or loaned by individuals, businesses or sign companies.

A popular destination not only for events and weddings, but also photographers, film and production crews from around the world, the North Gallery enables the museum to keep up with growing demand and international attention the signs bring.  It provides a picturesque backdrop not only for weddings and special events, but also commercial and commemorative photo shoots as well as educational programs.  At this time the North Gallery is not available for guided tours.

There are people running this museum with the same dedication you’d expect from any non-profit trying to preserve history.  It is worth your while to visit for the history but their enthusiasm is contagious. And the hour tour won’t seem long enough.  But that’s ok you can stay as long as you like and then chat with them while they call you a cab.

What begins with a cab ride naturally had to end with a cab ride.  This time, Manuel, a well seasoned cabby since 1982, first in California and now in Vegas, knew every shortcut and back road to land me at the front door of the Aria in at least 5 minutes less during rush hour. He knew a great deal about Fremont Street and “what goes on there”… and managed to give me a good education and highlight some sites along the way back.  And yes it was cheaper, but I can assure you my tip was the same…


What’s Next?

There probably comes a time in every career when you begin to think, what’s next?  For those starting out, it’s a matter of; is this working for me?-do I like this job?-am I bored?-or I can do better?  For those of us beginning to wrap up it’s a matter of relevance and retirement.  The big R & R.

Many of those in the middle aren’t even thinking about it, somewhat afraid to tempt fate.

Something happens to start the process, for those starting out it’s a matter of money-status-deserving-entitlement!  For those of us wrapping up it can be something along the lines of technology.  Technology rushing ahead of us with the force of its fury sneaking up behind us to bite us in the ass. Or…you can find yourself in the unusual position of being one of a select few who actually know something others don’t.

About what?  A rickety old mainframe system, once state of the art I’m sure, that now needs to be upgraded to interface with the real world. The app world.  The world that includes code and mapping and URLs, that world.

I recently found myself in that position and I’m not sure how I feel about it.  On one hand I feel like a dinosaur about to take the plunge into extinction and on the other hand I feel like a dinosaur being resurrected from a company archeological dig.  You notice either way I remain a dinosaur.

Regardless of how I felt about it I found myself, along with one other colleague of the same status, awake at 6am and at the ready to test the newest upgrade of the poor old mainframe system.  We came to the conclusion that the last time we heard each other’s voices, this time over Skype, was the last time this function got a facelift.

The test failed at 630am and there was much discussion of what went right and what went wrong, most of which escaped me.  Fast forward several hours later and phase one of the testing had been completed successfully.

These are the things that get me thinking, wouldn’t it be better to think of yourself as a well-regarded “company historian” than a dinosaur?  Didn’t it prove better to take a preexisting system with good bones, that has served you well, remains relevant and important and upgrade it?

Could one make the leap that in our throwaway society, where spikey hair and skinny jeans reign, sometimes the lessons and knowledge of the past also serve you well and remain not only relevant but incredibly important?  If only to prevent you from trying to reinvent the wheel?

Perhaps this is what’s next; a renewed respect for the company elders. Perhaps…or more likely, since the last known existing old mainframe system has been upgraded, a bit of R & R is in order.



A crisis of relevance??????? Poppycosh she said!

Poppycosh is one of those words.  You know the one’s that joyfully roll off the tongue (like spatula) and make you wrinkle your nose (like balaclava) and chuckle just a little. Poppycosh??????? Then I say, makes me want to write a whole post on Poppycosh.

Turns out you really can’t write a whole post on poppycosh (now downgraded to all lower case) because basically it’s chicken and dumplings with paprika.  And I think we’re even saying it wrong. Isn’t it supposed to be Paprikash?

It sounds like one of those words my mother-in-law would use.  I’m thinking of her today as I’m writing this as it’s her birthday.  She would have been 92 if she were still with us.  If she were still with us would I be where I am…let’s not go there. She was a love but she had a few words she used for things that…I’m not sure were words. Or they were some mash up of Polish and something. But I digress.

Anyway, Urban Dictionary defines poppycosh as a random shout of joy.  Like actually shouting the word poppycosh, I don’t think so.  Is that what they do at Urban Dictionary?

So far my best research on the word brought me here:

So I think what my summer sister was trying to tell me was:


  1. nonsense.
    synonyms: nonsense, rubbish, claptrap, balderdash, blather, moonshine, garbage;

    informalrot, tripe, jive, hogwash, baloney, drivel, bilge, bunk, eyewash, piffle, phooey, twaddle;
    informalbushwa, malarkey, gobbledygook, mumbo jumbo;
    informal,bunkum, tommyrot;
    vulgar slangcrapola, verbal diarrhea
    “their claims are poppycock”

In other words, bullshit…

While I love the plethora of synonyms for poppycock, bullshit seems to be the one that I can most get my head around.  What the hell does that say about me?

It says a lot actually.  In the scheme of evaluating one’s relevance (which is where this whole thing started) are we really just bullshitting ourselves?  Is it up to us to decide where we fall on the relevance scale or does each person we interact with have the honor of deciding that for themselves?  As Wayne Dyer says, what other people think of us is none of our business.  With that in mind, and with my mantra of living my life the way I want my story told in tow, I’m butting out of the relevance thing.

I’m pretty sure you’ll decide.  POPPYCOSH!!!!! she shouted with joy…

Keeping It Simple

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.”
― Ernst F. Schumacher

Come to find out we’ve got just the courage to move in that opposite direction.  This week we are celebrating life on Stowe Lane for what it is, simple.

The love of a dog.

Reading, writing, cooking from an old recipe box.

The snap and crunch of a Pink Lady.

The promise of a garden and the beach.

At some point in time, it no longer takes courage to go in the direction of simple.  It’s a joy, a relief, a necessity.  You grow weary of the “chasing slow” as Erin Loechner says in her book of the same name.  “Sometime when we’re not looking for what we want, we find what we need.”

We are finding what we need….

How Rude

how-rude3Why would I think that everyone I know, knows everyone else I know?  Why aren’t I in the habit of introducing people as a first impulse?  Because I talk about my people all the time that’s why and I’m sure they at least know of each other.

But how rude is that.  And I don’t even realize I do it until I’m driving home from someplace and replaying the event in my mind.  Then it hits me that strange kind of head tilt from someone that I can’t quite put my finger on. Oh God, maybe they didn’t really know each other….aghhhhh.

So why didn’t they stick out their hand and say Hi, I’m so and so?  I don’t know, I do that all the time and many times the person will say oh yes we’ve met.  Ooops, we have? That’s where dogs have a definite advantage, one sniff of the butt and you’re ingrained in the memory. But is that worse?  That you don’t remember meeting the person, I don’t know I guess it depends which side of the handshake you’re on. I’ve recovered pretty well in some of those moments as I recall.

Or how about those times when I introduce someone in the hopes that the other person will say their name because for the life of me I can’t remember it.   It’s pretty damn convenient to make introductions in those instances…just saying. But, again, how rude is that of me…introductions with an ulterior motive. Just fess up for cryin out loud.

I have to start making introducing people part of my thing going forward. Even if it gets annoying because I’m going to be doing it all the time now and invariably repeating myself and looking like I can’t remember the who’s who of the people I know.  Seriously I’m going to be that maddening.

But in the end it will save me from having to apologize for my rudeness…I hope.