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    Tuesday, August 12, 2008

    Day before Defcon Began

    After leaving my house at an early hour, the drive was unfettered to Manchester, NH to catch a non-stop flight to Las Vegas. However, I was stuck at the back of the airplane in a window seat—but at least it wasn't a middle seat. Soon after the plan lifted off, the two elderly people in the middle and aisle seats powered-down as if there was an altermeter switch in their brains—there was no rousing these two to get out of my window seat. The 5.5 hours went very slowly being trapped in my window seat with a walking cane (not mine!) lying across my feet.

    I don't like Vegas' old airport much, but the view flying in is spectacular. As I'm watching the Wynn and Bellagio out of the window, I'm already planning my visits to their bars and night clubs.

    We didn't get a great view of the strip in the taxi on the way to the Riviera. Arriving at the Riviera was also anti-climatic. It always is. With the low ceilings, stained carpets, mirrored walls, thick cigarrette smoke creating a gaudy burlesque environment and the shrieks of bachellorette parties watching Thunder from Down Under (I won't describe that show because I won't ever attend), I knew I'd arrived at the Riviera. But it was the sea of guys wearing black t-shirts at the bar that announced my arrival at Defcon.

    Of course, the Riv screwed up my hotel reservations. They had me scheduled to arrive the following day even though I'd confirmed my reservation a week before, so I was stuck sharing my brother's room for the night. I promptly dumped my stuff in his room and went down to the conference area to get a badge. Unfortunately, they had not yet received the real badges, so I was given a paper one to exchange later.

    There wasn't too much going on that night except for's party later, so I went out on the strip for dinner and entertainment. We first went to Social House at Treasure Island. That is one of the finest sushi restaurants I've ever patronized. Although the menu was a little confusing and the waiter's offer to order dinner for us using his expertise to create a “blend of flavors” wasn't what we were looking for, we ordered for ourselves off the menu. That was the finest cut and freshest tasting fish I've ever had—and this is in a land-locked desert! I live on the coast in Maine; why can't I get this on the east coast? I now have a quest to find the best sushi restaurant on the east coast. I'll be in the D.C. area in September, NYC in October, and I'm in Boston whenever I want. There has to be a Social House equivalent restaurant somewhere between these cities and I'm going to find it—with a little help from local friends and some warm saki, I believe I will succeed.

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