Las Vegas, Nevada

  After I worked in Los Angeles I moved to Las Vegas, Nevada. One of my best cars ever blew up when I drove to Las Vegas from Los Angeles. It was a Ford Fiesta. It got damn good mileage, and it could always cruise at 70 mph on those cool LA freeways. The transmission blew up. But still got me to Las Vegas and blew up by the Taco Bell on Tropicana Avenue.

I rented an apartment near Koval Lane, between Flamingo Road and Twain Avenue. Albert Avenue was probably the cross street. It was in a dumpy, rundown, but cheap place. It is a block or two from the strip which is Las Vegas Blvd. UNLV was about a half mile to the east, UNLV is between Flamingo Road and Tropicana Avenue on the north and south, and Paradise Road and Maryland Parkway on the west and east. McCarran International Airport was about a mile directly south.

The reason I like Las Vegas is because of all the conventions they have. I am a convention junkie and like to go conventions about technical, scientific and other interesting things. The NCC is the first convention I went to there. Other interesting conventions I went to in Las Vegas were the COMDEX, Consumer Electronics Show (CES), DEFCON, and the ALOHA Locksmith Convention.

Go to DEFCON sometime. It is the strangest convention I have ever been to. It is a hacker convention which is held every year in Las Vegas. I went to DEFCON III. They had a number of good technical speakers there. At DEFCON III the current governor of Arizona spoke. Her name was Janet Napolitano. The speaker I liked best was Philip Zimmerman's who talked about PGP or Pretty Good Privacy. They have a ďSpot the FedĒ contest. Spot and identify a federal agent and you get a t-shirt that says ďI spotted the fedĒ. Just so the cops donít feel bad they get a t-shirt that says ďIím the FedĒ. At DEFCON III the cops started turning themselves in to get the t-shirts. A DEA agent from Tucson posed for me with the t-shirt he got when he turned himself in.

I incorrectly thought that housing was cheaper in Las Vegas then Phoenix and that I could buy a cheap house there and rent it out and still have a room I could stay in when I went there to attend conventions. I was wrong on that housing is more expensive in Las Vegas. Probably because of all the people that go there from California and buy homes.

I hung out there for a few months while I looked for a job. Sadly there are very few computer geek engineering jobs in Las Vegas. None of the casinos uses mainframe computers. They all use low end and midrange systems. So there are not many business computer programming jobs. The whole economy is based on gambling so there are almost no other engineering jobs there. The only company I remember there with engineering jobs is a company that makes slot machines and they needed embedded systems programmers to design the firmware. But other then that no jobs for engineers or computer programmers. If youíre a maid or card dealer it is easy to get a job in Las Vegas, but not if youíre a computer programmer.

If you forget about the strip and all the gambling Las Vegas is pretty much like Phoenix. It is a desert town. It doesnít get much rain. It is hot in the summer like Phoenix. It is a little bit colder in the winter. The homes are pretty much like those in Phoenix. Its streets are wider and better then those in Phoenix, but it doesnít have as many freeways as Phoenix. It is probably the only major city in the USA that is younger then Phoenix. UNLV is a lot like ASU, although it is much smaller. Maryland the main drag for UNLV students is kind of like Mill Avenue in Tempe. And McCarran Airport is also a hub like Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix.

The Strip which is Las Vegas Blvd sucks. Just a bunch of dumb people going there to give their money to the casinos. Hell the Strip ainít even in the city of Las Vegas. It is in Clark County. Same for that gambling area which is north of the strip and actually in Las Vegas, it sucks.

They do have the best masala dosa Restaurant I have been to. Itís called the Dosa Den and itís near Eastern Avenue between Flamingo Road and Tropicana Avenue. They have 27 kinds of masala dosas. A masala dosa is an Indian burrito that is about two feet long, with the middle third stuffed with spicy veggies. My favorite was the onion dosa which stuffed with spicy cooked onions.

Las Vegas also seems like it is a suburb of Los Angeles. On any street corner you can buy a copy of the LA Times, and half the plates you see are from California.

I discovered my favorite newspaper writer.

And letís talk about conventions again before I end my rant on Las Vegas. Comdex is another interesting convention. It is where all the computer geeks go. All the latest high tech computer geek stuff is released at COMDEX. The casinos hate it because all these damn engineers know the odds and donít gamble very much. To make up for the loss in gambling revenue the hotels jack up the room rates during the Comdex convention.

The Consumer Electronics Show is another real interesting convention. The winter show is in Las Vegas and the summer show is in Chicago. All the latest high tech computer and electronics stuff is released at this show. At the Las Vegas show you also an added benefit of the Porn Emmy Awards being held. Now that convention is very interesting. And it has grown to be a huge convention. And itís not a guy thing. Lots of woman go, although the men dominate in attendance. In the convention the porn star autograph 8 1/2 by 11 glossy photos of themselves which they hand out to. They donít wear very many clothes, and they will pose for pictures with you. Hell, a few of them while remove the few clothes they have on when they pose for a picture with you. You can attend this convention for free, if you make your reservations in advance.