The lucky part for you, dear reader, is that it will kinda sorta be split into two separate entries, because there's one event that was big enough to warrant a whole 'nuther post, and I plan on boring you to tears at a more in-depth level when we talk about what happened.
For now, though, we can start with general fluff.
Aren't you excited?
Reginald Kitty is not amused.
*One of the most entertaining things to do in Vegas is people-watch. Where else can you see folks even more outlandish than the People Of Walmart? Two favorites from this trip: the man who was simultaneously flailing, and power walking while leaning halfway backward, making it look like he was melting; and a very normal looking guy carrying a giant purple inflatable alien through a casino -- there was no outwardly logical explanation for the alien's being there, but it happened.
*The Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff is always a fun stop to make. That particular night, there were two "spooky science" demonstrations. The first one explained such mysteries as black matter, black holes, and space sounds...
... and was presented by one of those adorable people that get so excited about something that their love for it makes their eyes shine and their cheeks dimple. He had to pause numerous times because he couldn't get his brain and his communication skills in synch; when they did start working, he used Superman analogies. It. Was. Precious.
The second presentation acted more like a science experiment, where we were shown how to make our own meteors at home out of dry ice, dirt, and potato flakes. They pulled out the little electricity thing that makes your hair stand up, and showed us how you can light up a florescent bulb with your hand if you aren't grounded, but my dad got the biggest kick out of the liquid nitrogen demonstration; freezing flowers, then balloons, drizzling some on the floor in front of him, and concluding in a seemingly major explosion.
Of course, he likes the big telescope, too.
*I contemplated not including this highlight, but I don't feel I can do the trip justice by leaving it out. That, and I try to avoid any kind of political talk I can manage.
I have been a Paul Ryan fangirl for years, so it was a real treat to shake his hand, and hear him give a small speech.
Earlier that day, though, we went to this rally.
It's important that you know that I'm glad I got to see a sitting president, but that can't change my values. Before we had even gotten in the car to go to the venue, I had prepared myself to keep from making comments, or getting hot under the collar about some of the things he would inevitably say, since that's what usually happens to me. We got there about an hour before he came out, right as an announcer asked the crowd to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. What I did not expect, however, was that hearing that crowd pledge to the flag would start a torrent of tears. I don't know whether it was the way that they said the pledge, or whether it was that exact moment -- as I gazed at a small flag hanging from the canopy behind the lecturn -- that I realized there was no possible way of circumventing another four years. The rest of the crowd danced to a live band, and applauded when some Hollywood star came out to ask for votes, treating the event like the biggest and bestest party they had ever been to; I was at the edge of the crowd, bawling my eyes out for nearly three hours. It was the culmination of a lot of things that cannot be explained here without making me sound absolutely crazy, but I felt like I was at America's wake that afternoon.
*We all know how much I have loved everything to do with the Titanic since ever, right? After years of pressuring, I convinced the family it would be a good idea to see the Titanic Exhibit while we were in town. It was absolutely amazing to see pieces of the actual ship, read the stories, and see recovered relics. The experience was enhanced tenfold the first time I saw Dr. Robert Ballard's name on the wall, as the words and images from the lecture he gave earlier this year filled my brain.
Of course, they also know that a good portion of their visitors are fans of the film, meaning the gift shop was filled with cheap knock-offs of the Heart of the Ocean necklace. Personally, I think they're missing the boat (see what I did there?) by not having prints of Jack's drawings, 'cause somebody would probably pay good money for something like that.
And I was shocked that I didn't hear this anywhere near the place.
*I couldn't help it, I had to see LOVE again. It was the best version of LOVE I've seen yet (yes, except the one we saw with Paul that one time), and I really don't know how they keep topping themselves.
Look, it's my flower guy! Awww.
*This is kinda where "Las Vegas 2012: Part Two" comes in. I went to a concert, and met the band, and I kinda fangirled so hard that I keep hiding my face in shame every time I think about the fool I made of myself. That's why it has to go into a different post. Don't worry, we're going to talk about that very soon.
*I got an amazing camera for my birthday. Really, it's awesome; look, it takes panoramas!
Speaking of my amazing camera, are you ready for holiday slides? Fair warning, most of these were taken in the Bellagio garden, because it was bloody gorgeous this time.