Dazed & Discombobulated

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In Vegas with The Crew–their version of the Excalibur. I’ve stayed there. And at Caesar’s Palace. And at Treasure Island. And…

So, there’s something that’s been bugging me for a while, now. Like, five years. Well, just short of five years. It happened on Thursday, December 6, 2012. Around 9:00 PM, I’d guess.

I’d flown to Vegas the Friday before that on business. A conference. The conference lasted six entire days, but the last day, only five people showed up for the last breakout session. On the way to the airport, the cabbie asked how long I’d been in Vegas this time around. I said, “A week.” He said, “You must’ve been here on business.” I laughed, and said, “Yes, how did you guess?” He said, “Nobody comes here for a whole week unless they’re on business.”

Being the terminally anti-social person that I am (or have turned into), you’d think that I’d hate Vegas, what with its crowds and its hucksters and gamblers and etc. and so forth. Just the opposite. Vegas is one of those towns where people generally mind their own business. I’m not a target for those peddling hookers or other, less savory things, and my stay-the-f-away-from-me field apparently tends to keep everyone away, regardless.

Ok, so people close to me (all, like, three of them) call it my “cop aura”. It’s a pain in my ass, most of the time, and I don’t know the why or the how. I sure as hell don’t do it on purpose. (And I’m definitely not a cop.) But I buy a lottery ticket, and I get carded. This, despite quite clearly being over the age of 18. I ask, after, and I always get some variation of, “I thought you were an undercover cop.”

The point is, I can spend an entire week in Vegas and have zero–or close to zero–interactions with others, unless I seek them out. It’s like being a ghost, floating through the crowds unseen, and I love that. I love being able to observe, without having to take part. I love being left alone in a place so crowded, and loud, and generally frenetic. I love being able to go days on end without having to explain myself to anyone.

That trip, I only had one casual interaction that didn’t involve ordering food or riding in a cab. An elderly couple was having trouble getting through the monorail gate. She was laughing about it, and he just kept frowning at it and saying, “This damn thing…”

Normally, I walk when I want to go anywhere on the Strip. This time, I was heading from Caesar’s to the Luxor because I’d decided to go to a show. I was running a little short on time, so I decided to hit the monorail. She looked up, still laughing, and said, “Miss, can you help us with this thing?”

The elderly are the only people who call me “miss” rather than “ma’am” these days, so I was happy to help. I helped them get through the gate, then I made sure that they got on the train without incident. I figured it was like paying back a debt. Earlier that day, I’d been forced to go to a “networking lunch”, and my usual method (sit at an empty table, if one is available, and go from there) had resulted in a jackpot: half the people at the conference had skipped out on the lunch, and not one person sat at my table. I ate in blissful solitude, reading a book.

I’d decided at practically the last minute to go check out Criss Angel‘s show, despite being firmly convinced that Criss Angel was a douchbag. (Supernatural actually had a magic-themed episode called Criss Angel is a Douche Bag“, which made me laugh my head off.) I mean, yeah, I kinda thought the guy was a tool, but I like to be fair. I’d never seen him live, so what the hell?

The verdict? I’m sorry, but anybody who puts pictures of themselves in the bloody bathroom is, by definition, a douchebag. (Yes, I realize that probably wasn’t a choice that he made personally, but still. It does nothing to dispel the cloud of douchebaggery.) The show, on the other hand, was actually a pleasant surprise. It was lightly attended (December in Vegas is about as quiet as it gets, I’ve found), but the show itself was worth the effort. It was unexpectedly hilarious, and I enjoyed myself quite a bit. There was a distinct American McGee’s Alice vibe to the show, complete with creepy bunny costumes and nifty mechanical rabbits on either side of the stage. Very cool.

Speaking of, Alice: Madness Returns is Xbox One backwards-compatible, and in case you missed it, you can also play the original Alice via the menu. I mention it because I did miss that, for longer than I’m going to admit. Sigh. Replaying them now is a bit uneven. The original hasn’t aged well, but it’s still worth it for the music, if nothing else. The second one looks about the same as before, and it’s not a bad return trip to Dark Wonderland. (Except that going to Dark Wonderland is kind of always bad, but… never mind.)

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Ok, that’s the Hatter, obviously, not the White Rabbit, but meh.

During the show, I was sitting near the end of an empty row. Either their ticketing system was wacky, or a whole lot of people who bought tickets didn’t bother to show. As a result, I was sort of isolated, off to the left of the stage, and I had the weird feeling that he kept looking at me. I mean, there wasn’t anyone else nearby, but I dismissed it as just a line-of-sight thing. I’ve been on stage; I know that sometimes you can see people in the audience, to a certain extent, but other times, the lights mostly prevent you from seeing much aside from a blur.

Christopher Titus made me wonder about that, though. He’s mentioned several times picking out people in the audience–like noticing that one guy who never smiles or laughs. He’s called people out, too–I was just listening to one of his albums recently, and at one point he stops to call out a lady for being a “shaker”–someone who seems to be laughing but doesn’t make any noise, which he claimed was freaking him out. In retrospect, I wonder if maybe I blew it off a little too quickly. Maybe Criss Angel was checking me for reactions, because I happened to be fairly close to the stage and isolated–easy to keep half an eye on. Or maybe it was just part of the act–look out into the audience, without actually “seeing” people. Who knows?

But I’ve veered off the point, a bit. Here’s the thing that’s been bugging me for the last five years:

At the end of the show, Criss Angel closed it out by cutting a chick in half. It was done theatrically, with machines and all sorts of effects, and it was, admittedly, pretty damn cool. And a classic, no doubt about it. Then he left the stage, and the show was over.

And he didn’t put her back together.

At first, I joked about how I felt like I’d been cheated. The big finale was only half a trick. You saw the girl in half, sure, yes, great. Then you put her back together. That’s the end of the trick. Hey, I sawed her in half, oooooo! And look, now she’s fine again, wooooooah!

Except he stopped at oooooo! and never gave us the wooooooah! and it’s been driving me crazy ever since.

I want to know why.  WHY would you only saw the woman in half? Was it somehow a colossal oversight? Did they try to do the putting-her-back-together bit, decide that it wasn’t as cool, and cut it out? (No pun intended.)

Or was it done on purpose to drive people like me batshitfuckingcrazy?

If so… well played, sir. Five years later, and it’s still driving me batshitfuckingcrazy.

If so… Criss Angel IS definitely, beyond a doubt, a fucking douchebag… but it’s the kind of douchebaggery I can admire.

I just hope there isn’t some poor woman out there screaming at her agent. “You never made them say he’d PUT ME BACK TOGETHER, YOU ASSHOLE!!!”


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