Vegas, Baby

In celebration of Juliette's birthday, the two of us took a little trip to Las Vegas this past weekend. We ate some great food, won some money, and just generally enjoyed the heck out of ourselves.

I haven't been to Vegas in a couple of years, and it was interesting to see how things have changed in that time. In a lot of ways the city seemed a little darker, more seedy. I've been there seven or eight times, probably, but before tonight I can't recall seeing any homeless people on the strip--this time they were everywhere. And the crowds walking up and down the sidewalk seemed a little meaner, maybe. I've come to take it for granted that most everyone walking along the strip at night will be drunk, but the general mood before has always seemed pretty convivial. This time, though, it seemed like there were a lot of people who, if I had accidentally bumped into them, might have tried to take a swing at me like belligerent frat boys might.

You might be able to chalk all that up to the recession, but, on the other hand, there's also been kind of an astounding amount of new construction since I last saw it. At Juliette's dad's recommendation, we took some time to check out the new city center, which was really interesting architecturally:

The crowds inside the casinos, too, seemed just as lively as ever, though perhaps a bit less densely packed. What all that adds up to, I'm not really sure. I can say, though, that I don't know if I'll ever stop thinking it's funny to see people drinking 100-ounce margaritas out of plastic guitars that they have hanging from their necks.

Today being Juliette's actual birthday--and it's a big one this year--I'd like to take a moment to say a few things that maybe I don't say often enough. Juliette is the best thing that's ever happened to me. She's a loving, caring, beautiful, wonderful person, not to mention an amazing mother, and I count myself more than lucky to get to spend my life with her.

Thanks for everything, honey, and happy birthday.