Monday 29 April 2013


Behold The Valley Of Fire! Ancient wood, petroglyphs, gorgeous red sandstone, mountains in the distance, winding roads, endless blue skies, and NO buildings in sight.

I've never gone on a trip where the geography has been vastly different, so The Valley of Fire blew my mind. I don't even know how to explain the vast beauty of this place, but these panoramic shots below come close. Who knew that rocks could be so gorgeous? And the quiet? Don't even get me started. Just kidding. Let's talk alllll about it. What a great break from the noise of city life. Even if just for one day.

Here's Rob doing his best 127 Hours impression. We came across a few people on paths, taking pictures on the side of the road, or a gaggle of bikers here and there, but for the most part this state park wasn't very populated. You could really get lost out there, and that's kind of a wonderful feeling.

(When I was a kid, my buddy and I used to ride our bikes somewhere we didn't know well and attempt to get lost. But we lived in a small town, so we never really accomplished getting lost. It was fun to try though.)


One of my favourite parts of this drive was putting on Anna Calvi's record, turning it way up, and just looking out the window and taking it all in. That was a perfect hour. Anna Calvi was made for the desert.

We also checked out Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam. It kind of blows my mind that people use these roads to drive to work or whatever. If you're in Las Vegas, you should definitely rent a car for a day and get out of the city. It's really a perfect way to break up the craziness. Balance achieved!

Got a sunburn. Didn't care.

Lizard count: 2

Fun fact: this Lana Del Ray was partially shot in The Valley of Fire.

I also really can't believe palm trees are real. Look at these stumpy little dudes!

And this is what it looks like when you land in Toronto when the sun is coming up.

Ok, gonna go fantasize about road trips and living in the middle of nowhere again...

Sunday 28 April 2013


A couple of weeks ago, my friend Rob and I went to Las Vegas and The Nevada desert for a quick three day adventure. I met Rob in college, and we've talked about going since then, but it never really came together until now. Why Vegas? We both have a love for carnival-esque ridiculousness and humourous excess! As you can see above, with this thematic hotel slash casino slash mall slash roller coaster slash trinket depository - the ridiculousness was in full effect.

A representation of what all my slot machine pulls looked like. I did not come home a rich person, but you can see how casino's make all that cash. Desperation and hope are a dangerous combination. I probably spent $25 over the course of 3 days in random penny/quarter slot machines, and every time I pulled I thought what if....

Fremont Street has a digital canopy (outside) that projects images. It goes on for 4 blocks! There was a Queen presentation going on while we were there, and Bohemian Rhapsody sounded/looked pretty excellent. My highlight (besides this awesome cowboy sign) was Carl "Safe Sax" Ferris playing sax standing in the back of a pick up truck. Cool nickname, man. There were also some very weird celebrity impersonators in this zone, people zip lining overhead, a less polished overall vibe than the strip, and some pretty impressive cover bands.

At Circus Circus we watched a lady do swing tricks with a bunch of families, tall cans in hand. You can drink everywhere in Vegas. Even at this kid friendly midway show! There was a live keyboard player and drummer accompanying this performance, and they played the best dark synth metal/casino rock.


Roseanne happened to be performing in Vegas while we were there. We found out a couple days before we left and got tickets! In a weird twist of fate, Roseanne re-runs were being played on the plane (until the TV stopped working and we both reluctantly watched the last half of Life of Pie). It was a super intimate show, and hearing Roseanne laugh IRL was pretty amazing.

"If I was a stripper, my show stopper would be the Roseanne theme. Think about it." - Rob.

Oh yeah, we slept in a GIANT PYRAMID. Cross that one off the bucket list! It smelled like coconut all the time (gross), and you could buy a slushie booze drink at any hour of the day (gross), but it was a pyramid (yes!). Did we sing a lot of Frank Ocean? We did.

I wish I could have brought home some fireworks from this roadside store. 
They had quite an exciting selection.

The Bellagio had a pretty neat conservatory and botanical garden area. Huge mushrooms! Giant swans! Windmills! We walked through it around midnight with some beers. While the price of food stuff is inflated in Vegas (a coffee at Starbucks ran me $3.50), you can walk around all day looking at weird stuff for free.

A Bellagio swan & our pyramid shaped hotel room number.

There are over 2,000 hand-blown glass flowers on the ceiling at The Bellagio.

The hotel beside ours was shaped like a castle. No biggie.

Even McDonald's has a fancy neon sign.

There are people in costumes all over the strip looking for donations from tourists to get their pictures taken with them. I gave this unofficial Mickey and Minnie team 2 of my dollars. There were basketball players, superheros, the cookie monster, a weird guy in a bad hot dog costume, a really amazing batman and joker duo, etc.

It was all definitely something to see. Good times!

Tuesday 9 April 2013