Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Giant Snuggie Problem, or The Greenhouse Effect.



Upon watching this video you notice a few things. Firstly that Bill Maher is smug, but we already knew that, so ignore him for the purpose of listening to Neil Degrasse Tyson. Also, notice that the guy who believes climate change is fake works for General Motors and is protecting his own interests. It's always good to know when a person's motivations might subvert their ability to filter bullshit.

How it works, basically:

Naturally we'll start with the problem. The overall temperature of the earth is rising. So, as skeptics, the first piece of evidence you would want to see is that the earth actually is warming, before you go into the why.

Since roughly the 1850s, weather stations have been tracking temperatures around the world. They have shown over the past century that the temperature has risen about one degree farenheit, most intensely rising over the past two decades.


                                             Source: New York Times

The four different lines are agencies that report global temperature trends, all pretty much on the same page. One degree doesn't seem like a lot, but the important thing is to note the intensity over the past two decades. Also know that the causes of human induced climate changed are trending up, not down.

Another way that we can know that the earth is warming is from the rising sea levels. The process of thermal expansion, meaning that water expands as it gets warmer, combined with the melting of ice accounts for about half of the global sea level rise.

Proxy records are also a tool for measuring the earth's warming. Proxy records are sophisticated ways of looking back and figuring out what the temperature was over time such as taking ice core samples, tree ring records, and measuring coral reefs. All of these methods are indirect and by definition not as precise or accurate as a direct record, but they all point in the direction of intense warming.

So now that we know for sure that the earth is warming, what is causing it? 

Think of the temperature of the earth as a balancing act. It is dependent on the amount of energy entering and leaving the earth. Incoming energy is absorbed by the sun, it warms. The sun's energy is reflected back to space, it doesn't warm. The energy is released back into space, the earth cools. Any change in the reflectivity alters the balance. Any change in the amount of energy we receive from the sun alters the balance.

Also, any changes in the greenhouse effect will alter the balance. The greenhouse effect is when the sun's energy reaches the earth and certain greenhouse gases such as water vapor, carbon dioxide, and methane absorb energy, slowing or preventing the loss of heat to space. Think of the greenhouse effect like a Snuggie keeping the world warmer than it would otherwise be.

Since the industrial revolution in the 1750s, humans have contributed substantially to the amount of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases to the atmosphere. Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations have increased almost 40% since pre-industrial times from approximately 280 parts per million by volume (ppmv) in the 18th century to 390 ppmv in 2010. The current level is higher than it has been in at least 800,000 years. (source)

Basically, our Snuggie is growing out of control. Scary thought.

Other than giant analogous Snuggies, what kind of problems can we expect from the earth warming, now that we know it's happening and we're causing it?

It depends on your geographical location and ecosystem. In the south west of the United States droughts will worsen. The south east will likely face sea level rise, increase hurricane intensity, storm surges, growth of crops will be affected.

Superstorms, damnit.

          Super-storm Sandy jacked this dude's house. What say you about that Bob Lutz of general motors?

Bob Lutz's most likely reaction: I dunno, just buy more cars please, do it for the economy.

People in poor countries will suffer the most repercussions initially as they live in the areas most available to exposure and have the least resources to protect themselves. Poor countries that also have some of the lowest emissions and contributed little to the problem.

The next blog will be about some solutions that are being thrown around, and goals that are reasonable to stop the problem. 

In case you missed the introduction: A Few Pertinent Thoughts

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Few Pertinent Thoughts




           

           Why is it so hard to discuss climate change without the image of Al Gore hunting ManBearPig coming   to the forefront of the discussion?


Is it because being informed is seen as pretentious these days? People seem to have given up on caring. Apathy is easier than reasoning and speaking up. A lot of people think the game has been bought and sold to the banks, and now there's nothing to do but roll over and accept whatever laws focus on keeping the powerful in power, and we lack foresight of any consequences. 

Anyways, I just don't understand why there's such a stigma around discussing the fact that our habitat, which is fairly essential to our survival as a race, is in danger of being eternally owned. Good game, it's been nice hosting your virus of a race, and now we're going to rebuild, without you. This is not just a danger in the very distant future. This is clear and present danger, but we're not really doing anything about it.

The Dillema: The United States is doing very little to help the attempts of the whole world to unite and work out this problem. Near the end of 2012 there was a climate summit in Doha, Qatar where representatives from many nations tried to reach a suitable agreement to reduce carbon emissions. Most people interviewed that were there noted that the United States was not helpful in the discussion. It's a bit disheartening, when the United States is known for it's history of leadership and innovation. My question is to the gentleman that was sent there on behalf of our country to participate, "who's interests are you speaking on behalf of?" If it's Omaba's, then I'd ask Obama how he could claim to be progressive on the subject of climate change yet play this role in the attempt to compromise. 

I feel like if everyone were informed on the subject properly, wouldn't we all agree that it's in our best interest to act on this problem?

An Introduction to Some Key Facts on Climate Change

"We inhabit the brief historical interlude between ecological constraint and ecological catastrophe"- George Monbiot- "Heat"

Note the word catastrophe. Not as in, it's going to be a little bit warmer and I'll need more sun tan lotion. As in panic and destruction, two highly unpleasant things. This is not fear-mongering, it is simply based on research. The quote means we are in an era where we are not effected highly by nature because we own nature. We cut down the trees, we burn the oils, coal, and gas. But these processes have consequences that are currently not being paid. They're tallying up.

The thing is, people are still debating whether man made climate change is real. That is no longer an arguable topic. It has long since been concluded and there are no legitimate experts on the subject who say otherwise. You might have thought there were, because there have been intentional smear campaigns from ill-informed scientists and people working on behalf of Phillip Morris(Seriously.)

There are also people with agendas on certain news stations that promote certain views that aim to keep their system afloat. Once they create doubt, people are less likely to act. It's true that almost all of the world's glaciers are retreating. Sea levels are rising. Superstorms are occurring more often. Superstorms, folks. There are some people who have concluded that the damage is already done and we have already surpassed our threshold.

I want to talk about the science behind it another time since this is just an introduction on the subject and I don't want to overwhelm with formulas and the nasty metric system just yet. I'm optimistic that anybody who has reached that conclusion underestimates the power of human ingenuity, especially if we could somehow work together on a grand scale. But there is too much out there to be concerned about everybody, first you have to look at yourself and those around you. The country that while currently might not have the highest emissions but over the history of the last century we have. But also the country that has a democracy and gives power to the people. And sometimes the banks.

Once we realize that the argument is not if, but how to change our ways, then we can have a real debate about the economics and the politics of the situation. There is a lot of hard work that would have to be done to make improvements, and a lot of people that would have to agree to sacrifice. There would be insane costs to implement new ways of driving, getting power to our houses, heating our houses and places of commerce, etc etc. Not to mention the costs of getting rid of all of the old stuff. But my question is, what good is money if we don't have a planet to live on? I don't understand how this argument has become a left or right thing, and not a do or die thing. 

We're still worrying about stupid stuff like stopping gays from marrying, whether people can have semi-automatic or just regular guns or no guns at all unless they were eagle scouts and got a 4.0 GPA and worked two winters at Opportunity Village and never had a speeding ticket, or whatever.

To me it's a matter of priorities. Something that gets neglected with the so-called "entitlement generation" that expects to get everything and give nothing. I just don't want to be part of the generation that had a chance to rise up through the communication powers of the internet and free speech(while we still have it) and did nothing to stop the end times. And who knows, maybe if nothing changes and the planet becomes inhabitable, we'll be able to fix that. But it's highly unlikely. 






Friday, October 26, 2012

Casablanca


                There was no room left in my ill-prepared duffel bag, nor any room in my heart. I tossed the bag into the trunk and it landed atop a mess of unpacked things that had sat in my trunk since we moved out; melted candles that used to stand proud on a steel post on the wall, bungee cords that contributed to our junk drawer. I put the key in the ignition and searched for an album to play that wouldn’t remind me of her. I saw the picture of us on my key ring spinning around, flashing light in my eyes every few seconds.

                Everybody wants to run away after a break up, but I could actually do it. A thermos full of coffee and a few days off from work was all I needed. A plan would be secondary. I spent most of the drive recanting the last conversation we had. It seemed like a small argument, the kind that usually ends in some tears and we feel better and closer for it afterwards. And then she said we should take some time apart. It didn’t take long before I realized that my thoughts don’t need an airplane to catch up to me.

                I made it to Mesquite, about an hour outside of home, before the idea of her never sitting across from me in the passenger seat made the car a sickening place.

                Mesquite is comprised of a few casinos for those driving west to Vegas who just can’t wait to get their gamble on. The Casablanca had a big Toucan or some other tropical bird on its logo. I wished I grew up in a time when people actually learned the names of exotic animals and plants rather than just text messaging all of the time. There was a big swimming pool and the same colorful carpet of the casinos at home, just less cocaine floating around.

                There were the same geriatrics sitting at the slot machines and the same ice cream shop that charged two dollars more than was reasonable. Even the same suffocating feeling. But maybe that was just my mood.
                A cute Thai woman greeted me at the bell desk wearing a Hawaiin button up shirt that matched the carpeting. I know she was from Thailand because her nametag said so. I always thought it was interesting how people put where they’re from on a name tag. That way people can have more information to judge you on before they get to know you, in case whatever physical stereotypes your general appearance gives off weren’t enough. Not to say that profiling doesn’t come in handy from time to time.

                “Are there any rooms available for a couple nights?” I asked.

                “Sir, we could offer you a whole floor if you’d like,” she replied.

                “I don’t think that’s necessary.”

                “I was only kidding,” she said as I handed her my driver’s license and credit card. I forget to smile a lot as it is, and when I’m in a terrible mood humor escapes me. I get a look on my face that says I’m thinking heavily about something, but when anyone asks me about it I tell them nothing is wrong. In fact that’s how this whole thing started, except I finally said what was wrong.

                “Here you go sir,” she handed me back my card. The room was so cheap I wondered how the Thai woman made a living. She gave me my room key and a coupon for complimentary breakfast the next morning. 
                I slept through the night. The bed wasn’t so accommodating, but the solitude helped. The swimming pool had a cave with a slide. I remembered swimming around the cave playing a secret agent on an underwater mission when I was a little kid and my mom took me there so she could gamble enough to get us a free dinner at the buffet. There were a lot more tourists back then, before the recession.

                I read Self-Reliance by Emerson because I’m a melodramatic tool. As if Emerson was hinting at how to survive a break up. For a long time you just want them to take you back, then you slap yourself and tell yourself to man up. She broke your heart man, why would you want her to take you back?

And then you want her back again. Then you see her with another guy, and you want nothing to do with her.

But she’s already long past you. So you write stories or poems or songs about it. Or you write stories about something else, but the underlying current is there, because how could it not be?

I think I read about four pages of Self-Reliance. I got in the pool and swam around. I’ve always liked to swim under water, because I lacked the proper technique to look graceful swimming laps and nobody could see me under water. Plus I could hold my breath for a long time, which is one of many useless talents I developed that never got anybody laid (i.e. learning to yo-yo, playing Madden, writing, etc.)

“Got you, sucker,” a lanky kid said to me as he blew away the fake smoke from the gun he made with his hands.

 I looked at him, and he waited for me to die there in the water.

“I said I got you.”

“I’m Superman, bullets don’t hurt me,” I said to him.

“You’re not Superman.”

“How do you know? How come I’m not dead then?” I replied, still alive.

“Because Superman is happy. And Superman doesn’t read.” Drops of water fell from his curly blonde hair into the pool like a metronome.

 “I’m happy.”

“You shouldn’t be, because you’re about to die, sucker,” he said, shooting me with rapid machine gun fire while I did my best Tony Montana getting shot impression. The kid’s logic was admirable, though I’d like to live in a world in which Superman reads.

By the time I popped my head back up out of the water to avenge myself and ask how his pistol became a machine gun all of a sudden, the boy disappeared. Kids don’t need lasting relationships for satisfaction. They just take what is around them and mold it to their liking, and move on to the next place as necessary until school and other institutions break them of this treacherous fun-having and they’re reminded to sit still.

I ran into the kid again later that night at the comedy magic show they put on for cheap. The ticket included one free drink, so I was in. He looked at me, sitting a few rows away in all my living and breathing, with a crooked eye. Perhaps I was Superman after all. His mother prodded him and made him pay attention to the show. The magician pulled a string of razor blades from his mouth while the kid sat with his face resting on his palms.

The show ended and as everybody filed out of the auditorium I tried to catch him and tell him that I would get my vengeance, but him and his mother blended in to the crowd and I lost them.

I didn’t sleep much that night. When you’re sore from working out, you go to sleep and the next day you feel a little better. Same goes for dental work, the flu, etc. Most things get better with a night of sleep. But some things you have to stay awake and actually think about, dwell on even, before you can feel better. I spent the night writing.

I was checking out the next morning when the Thai woman asked me about my stay.

“Would you like to give us a five star rating? It helps us look better when people are trying to find a hotel to stay at,” she asked.

“Sure,” I said. Now I understood how she made a living, she kept a bright smile plastered on her face and tried her hardest to keep whatever small clientele they did get. If I could help her get a raise by giving her five stars, I would do it.

“Just kidding, we don’t have a rating system here, this is Mesquite,” she laughed. “You’re not good with humor I see. Have a safe drive to Vegas, cheer up.”

And I left.


  
               

                 
               

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

SteakUp



Feeling sad from a break up? Steak up.

Don't know what to do when you wake up? Steak. Up.

Amount of time spent listening to Drake up? Steak up.














You might be asking yourself: why would he put a picture with vegetables in this clearly steak-biased piece? Doesn't he have the whole world of Google Images at his fingertips and the ability to hand-pick one of six billion pictures of steak available? If you noticed the vegetables, you definitely need to steak upBrussels-sprout a pair, buddy.

            I found myself flummoxed recently. Broken hearted and moping around, I was weak, bereft of all of the power I once felt. My world lacked contrast and seemed to be a collection of grey hues and rain clouds. And then, as if delivered from the dream gods, I woke up and the solution was sizzling on the edge of my tongue. It's not every day that a man comes up with an idea that could change the world. Much less one that is delivered through whatever recent dream-god-technology is out there without any previous prayers or even acknowledging of the existence of said gods. But let us not make this all about them, for they are humble gods, and I'm from a generation of entitlement.

       I got in my car one morning, drove to the store and picked up a pair of Rib-eyes. I slapped them on the cutting board and as I applied the kosher salt and cracked black pepper, I felt a change in my demeanor. By the time the grill had been sufficiently heated I already felt my moribund day reviving.


Did you know that 93% of people aren't getting enough steak in their diets?1 I could just point out with anecdotal evidence how awesome steak made me feel and offer up testimonial after testimonial of proud steak eaters, but that would just be too easy. And my friends are taking their sweet time writing fake testimonials. Lazy writers.

Protein. You may have heard of it. Protein is responsible for things like preserving muscle tissue, supporting brain function, providing energy, and boosting your immune system. Another interesting thing about high protein foods is that they increase satiety and decrease appetite. In short, they satisfy you. But if things like cell growth and repair aren't important enough to you, steak offers other benefits.

Steak is a great source of: phosphorus, selenium, vitamin B12, zinc, iron, niacin, vitamin B6(yes, that's ANOTHER B vitamin), and riboflavin. Steak is also a great source of saturated fat, which has a bad reputation but current science shows is actually good for you.


                                      Practical Application

 I know this is somewhat mind blowing due its simplicity and you’re wondering how to get started. Rather than bore you with a bunch of statistics I made up, I'm going to show you how to employ the philosophy in your own life. Don’t hold off, there’s time to make up. Steak up. Here’s some sample scenarios in which steaking-up can help you.

Problem 1: You’re attempting to get re-elected as the President of the United States. In your first political debate against your opponent, you come out looking soft. Your opponent uses half-truths and some solid tip-toeing around questions to win the debate in the eyes of the public. Your supporting group of democrats start losing faith, the country is at risk of handing the reins to a Mormon. Time to steak up.

Recommend dosage:




One steak chili sourdough bowl from Claim Jumper. Note the way the steak is overflowing from the edible bowl. When you're trying to figure out how much steak to eat, some key words are: overflowing, gluttonous, retarded, or Herculean amounts.

Problem 2: You’re watching Netflix with your boyfriend and he gets a text message. You want to look, but you don’t want to seem jealous. You ask who it is and he says, “oh just a friend.” He announces that he has to “use the restroom” because after two years together he still doesn’t feel comfortable telling you that he’s got to take a shit. You see his phone sitting on the night stand and don’t know what to do. There’s potentially a bitch out there trying to step on your territory.

Recommended Dosage:



5 oz. bacon wrapped filet. That’s right, ladies can steak up too. Jealousy doesn’t look good on anyone. Chances are you know whether your man is cheating on you or not. Imagine if Miles Davis was looking down from heaven on your every move and saw you looking like a sneak trying to check your boyfriend’s texts? You don’t want to disappoint Miles Davis, do you? Eat your filet and search your own heart for the answers. And if he’s cheating on you, use those protein filled muscles to punch him in the dick.

Problem 3: You’re heart broken. You’ve been left in the cold by a girl you thought was the one. You’ve begged and pleaded for her to take you back, promising you’ll conform to whatever would make her happy. You tell her you’ll even stop watching football with the boys and drinking so much. She doesn’t waver, so you go to the last resort, the mix tape. The first song you put on there is “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton. The next is “Hey there Delilah” by the Plain White T’s.

Recommended Dosage:

Prime rib. As much of it as you can eat. Listen buddy, she doesn’t want to be with you anymore. Chances are if you somehow manage to get her to stay with you for a couple more months, she’s going to be having sex with the guy she really wants to be having sex with anyways. It’s time to realign your steak chakras and get back out there. Do something amazing. Don’t even worry about getting a new girl, just work on your steak intake as well as time management and following your passion.

As evidenced here, there are many varieties of steak and various uses for them all. It doesn’t take an expert to diagnose and prescribe, it’s a trial and error process. But I am here for questions. This is merely an introduction into the philosophy that changed my life, and could change yours too.

                   Coming Soon: The Steak Scale.
1) lol

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Western Conference Finals Write-up


The Western Conference Finals

This is my write-up of why Tim Duncan and Co. are going to piss all over the Thunder's chances of making the NBA finals. Maybe Kevin Durant will finally shut the fuck up about people playing Doodle Jump instead of watching one of his game winners.

“Durant's game winning shots are tired and unimaginative,” the Los Angeles Lakers and their collective fan base.

Besides, this is 2012 KD, we can watch your game winner twenty minutes later on Youtube, ESPN3 on Xbox, TiVo, etc etc. You might be thinking to yourself, “this write-up lacks professionalism. There's no thesis, no clear points, and I'm not even sure that's a real quote from the Lakers. I'm not sure what this is. Certainly not journalism.” So I pose a question; how do the Thunder intend on beating Tim Duncan when he has more championship rings than facial expressions?

Why are the Spurs going to win?


Firstly, there's Kawhi Leonard.(no, that's not R&B singer D'angelo) Is there any more perfect example of the rich getting richer than the Spurs landing a stud like Kawhi Leonard in the draft after being a number one seed the previous year? I'm not exactly sure what the Spurs are doing behind the scenes, but I'm not going to ask questions because Gregg Popovich looks like the kind of guy who knows where to hide bodies. Perhaps Daniel Craig and that skinny broad with the Dragon Tattoo can get on the case. But while the Thunder are busy shopping for hipster glasses, Kawhi Leonard is going to be negating their fast break advantage, hitting corner threes, annoying Kevin Durant on the defensive end, oh and generally putting his nuts in people's faces like this...


Oooh how relevant.

Secondly, you have the combination of Matt Bonner and Boris Diaw. While Matt Bonner is seemingly pretty white and one dimensional, he does bring forth some advantages. Bonner and Diaw will spend a lot of time at the three point line. That's going to draw either Ibaka, Perkins, or Collison out of the block and leave Tim Duncan one-on-one. And while the Thunder do have some solid interior defenders, Tim Duncan has made a career of shitting on people in the post. And if Ibaka does decide to hang and try to get easy blocks, Bonner will be hitting threes all day. And Tony Parker will be hitting tens, if you knowwhatI'msayingEvaLongoria.

Personally(because objectivity is useless these days) I would love to see the Thunder and the Heat playing in the finals. Who wouldn't want to watch Durant and Westbrook against Lebron and Wade? It just seems that the deep bench, experienced core, home court advantage and top-notch coaching of the Spurs is going to win in a best of seven series. When Durant and Westbrook are on the bench and the Spurs are getting production from guys like Stephen Jackson, Gary Neal, Bonner, Ginobili... who are the Thunder going to turn to? Derek Fisher? Daequan Cook? Some guy named Royal Ivey(for real, I looked it up)? The Thunder have many prosperous years ahead of them, but the Spurs are still the gatekeepers this year.


Prediction: Spurs win in 7 and James Harden removes his beard and reveals himself to be that red guy in the credits of the Avengers who nobody knows or cares about other than the fact that it implies there will be a subsequent Avengers movie and possibly a Hulk-Johansson sex scene.  

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Experience Pt.3

This is part of a fictional series of stories based on stuff that I've seen working on Fremont Street. Just think of it like that guy who wrote all those memoirs and got exposed and had to apologize on Oprah, except I'm telling you that it's bullshit at the beginning. I embellished

 “Climb with me to the highest conceivable pillars ladies and gentleman. It is time that we rise above this bureaucratic malarkey and embrace the human spirit for what it is. Kindness, passion, love, all subverted by the need for material possessions.” A man preached under the thousands of flashing bulbs outside of the Golden Nugget. The sweat trickled down his dark shiny skin and he lifted his tweed jacket to wipe it.

“It is time for the end of capitalism,” he said. The midget Elvis impersonator next to him strummed an air guitar and danced.

“It's time for the end of war... of nationalism... we must unite as one entity. We have the resources to ensure that nobody goes hungry, yet we horde them all to protect our own family and we ignore the fact that we are all brothers. We are all part of this super-organism that is the earth. Merely collections of cells built to work symbiotically for the greater good, but we have been distracted. Oh how we have been distracted.”

I stood against a pillar watching the old man attempt to save society one drunkard at a time, occasionally his sounds were outweighed by the screaming children passing by on the zip-line. This guy didn't have the normal motives of preachers on Fremont; religious promotion(and of course donations). His legitimacy intrigued me. Any minute now he was going to pull out a jingling cup of change.

“Quit your useless job today. Create something. Love somebody. Go somewhere. Love everybody,” he said with a smile, his rage calming into happiness.

“Can I get a picture with you?” a young girl wielding a three-foot long alcoholic beverage asked.

“A picture?”

“Yeah.” She put her arm around him. He faked a smile and she threw up a crooked peace sign. She pulled two dollars out of her bra and handed it to him.

“No, I don't want your,” he started to try to give the money back, but she had already found herself in the arms of Captain Jack Sparrow.

“Yo ho, yo ho!” they yelled together as the black man shook his head and stuffed the two dollars into his pocket.

“We are so transfixed with the idea of being comfortable that we have forgotten to strive for greatness,” he began. A horn blared as a car almost ran over a pedestrian text messaging as they crossed the street. The pedestrian didn't even look up. A chain reaction of horns ensued as the taxi drivers battled for position on the side of the street. The man watched the chaos and felt himself jarred when a security guard on a Segway bumped into him trying to get to the clueless jaywalking pedestrian. He composed himself.

“Stop giving your money to these casinos. We have become so attached to material possessions that we will risk the money we wasted our precious and limited time attaining for the small, unlikely chance that we might double up on Fremont street. Give your money to charity if you wish to unload it that bad. Donate to your child's school.” I wondered how long it would be before somebody stopped this guy, dragged him out by his arms as he preached freedom and peace.

“Who are you supposed to be?” a man with a “This Guy Needs a Beer” shirt on asked.

“Who am I supposed to be? I am you, and you are me. I am earth. I am part of one big cancerous organism and I know the cure.” he replied.

“Oh I get it, you're like...Tracy Morgan?”

“What the hell is a Tracy Morgan?” The man asked.

“That crazy actor from that show...the guy who said he would disown his kid if he were gay. Who are you then?”

“I am the man standing behind the boulder of change, pushing with all of my might and suggesting that you might help me push this boulder. Alone I can not budge it one inch, but together we could throw it through the window of our corrupt government. In a sense, yes, I am Tracy Morgan. Just like I am Alexander the Great. Genghis Khan. Their greatness is in my grasps, as well as it is in yours.”

“Well, you don't really look like Genghis Khan. Can I get a picture anyway?”

“Two dollars,” he said with a sigh.  

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Experience Pt.2


 This is part of a fictional series of stories based on stuff that I've seen working on Fremont Street. Just think of it like that guy who wrote all those memoirs and got exposed and had to apologize on Oprah, except I'm telling you that it's bullshit at the beginning. I embellished. 

     Two things that should not be combined: heartbreak and swing shift. Could there be any more impetus to make terrible decisions than to be getting off work on Fremont street at two-thirty in the morning with a fresh wound and be expected to make logical choices?

         But even I wouldn't resort to a Fremont street hooker. I was sitting at the bar after my shift the other night, collecting my thoughts and to be honest a little alcohol makes it easier to sleep when you have to unwind at three in the morning. The screen in front of me was desperate for my attention, pretending to show me straight flushes or four cards to the Royal. I decided quickly I wouldn't fall in to that trap. But the free drinks make everything somewhat copasetic. A girl near me started talking to me.

       “You look young, you just start here?” she asked me. Her tiny skirt did not fit with the winter weather. It never gets unbearably cold in Vegas, but she did everything short of having Bruce Buffer announce that she was a working girl. There's little room for discretion in these matters. Or need for it, for that matter. The security guards are in on it, they have to be.

“Yeah, it's my third week.” I told her. I got a good look at her, she had light brown eyes and a great smile.

“Ah, you spend that first paycheck yet?” she asked. So blunt and quick to dip into my financial situation. I don't know if her tactics are subtle to the average drunk idiot at the bar, but they seemed pretty blatant to me. But I was bored.

“Nope, I'm pretty good with my money. Direct deposited right into the old savings account. I just try to live off of my tips and save the paychecks.”

               “You make pretty good tips? Usually the cute ones make bank.” I think the biggest difference between hookers and interaction with normal girls is that hookers like to center the conversation on you, whereas normal girls like you to ask them questions about them. Or at least this is how I felt as I sat heartbroken at the bar. Her ploy was starting to work on me. For some reason I respected her blatant honesty. We could just cut through all of the pussyfooting and tact that happens in normal courting and get down to brass tax. And it was nice having someone who wanted to talk about me.
“I do alright. Had a really good night tonight,” I fibbed a bit. I tried to do the logistics of the deal in my head. Do I get an employee discount? Maybe a non-weirdo rebate that I get back a week later? Okay, don't go down that road. Let's end this now.

“Awesome. Hey this bar is kind of cold, would you want to go somewhere else?” she asked.

“Nah, I'd better get home. Gotta go to the DMV as soon as they open tomorrow.”

“Well, everybody thinks the DMV is empty first thing in the morning, but there's always a line. It's best to go around ten after that line goes away.”

“Thanks for the tip. Have a good night,” I said. I went home and slept well that night. I went back to the bar the next night, wondering if I'd see her spitting game at some other sucker. The bartender set a napkin down in front of me.

“So what did you have to do last night that was so important?” he asked.

“Huh? I went home and crashed, why?”

“I was thinking you might have had a better excuse for turning down that girl last night than the DMV, unless you're just a pussy, which is totally cool.”

“The working girl?”

“That wasn't a working girl you idiot. I work the graveyard shift every night here, I know the hookers, and that girl is not one of them. Notice how she didn't look like a meth head.”

“Vodka tonic, please.” I folded my arms and put my head down while he squeezed the lime into my drink until it was a ball of stringy remnants curled into the fetal position.