Sunday, June 16, 2013

Thirty-Six Hours in Vegas

I’m 25 and prior to this trip I hadn’t been to vegas since I was a minor when I went with my parents. My friends have been going about twice a year, and each time they ask me to join I’ve refused out of fear that I might lose self control, unleash hell, have sex with multiple escorts, and in addition, do something that I might regret. Well, three weeks ago I finally went. I committed myself to setting no expectations, having fun, being open, and talking to as many people (hopefully girls) as I can.
Here’s what happened.

4pm Friday afternoon - naptime: Tired from a crazy week of work and averaging 5 hours of sleep a night, I go to my car and take a nap before my flight because I knew I wouldn’t be sleeping for a while after I landed.

6pm: I get back to my desk, send off a few more emails, print out my boarding pass, Hakkasan presale ticket, and Wet-Republic dayclub presale ticket. I had never heard of these places until my friends who planned the trip told me to buy these tickets. Hakkasan presale was around $84.98 ($75 plus fees) and Calvin Harris was set to perform. Wet-Republic was $56.65 ($50 plus fees) and Steve Aokii was scheduled. Yes, damn VENUE DRIVER EVENTS TKTS 866-760-0007 NV and their online fees.

730pm: I go back to my car, change into a dress shirt and dress shoes and proceed to the airport. I only have carry-ons and am already traveling in my most dressed up form – no need to worry about wrinkling my shirt by having it stuffed in a backpack. (Benefits of being a guy I guess).

830pm: I’m in the security line for the airport and to pass boredom I talk to the guy in front of me. He said he’s visiting LA for a conference and a personal vacation. He makes pizzas for a living, but he specialized in a type called the neapolitan pizza, which cooks in 1.5 minutes, and uses a wood oven that is heated to 900 degrees. He tells me that pizza was invented in Naples, Italy. Cool. Apparently the guy is from Montreal, Canada.

9pm: I get to my seat. On my right is an attractive woman. This rarely happens. Sweet…

915pm: Landing gears up. I turn to look at her, awkwardly. Damn, it was very awkward. she looks away and pulls her hair from behind her left shoulder to cover the left side of her face and her left eye from my view. I don’t know if she’s doing this on purpose to avoid talking to me and making eye contact with me, but if she is, that’s really clever.

930pm: Halfway through the flight - I still haven’t talked to her yet, but I want to keep trying to push myself to talk to the people around me. I gather the courage and choke out “What are you going to vegas for”. She responds and it turns out that she’s very amiable. She’s going to party with friends (same reason I was going). Unlike me, she’s pretty used to partying at Vegas and hadn't lost sleep the night before due to the excitement about it like I did. She just bought her tickets the day before and she isn't too into the clubbing scene, as she was mainly going to eat, relax, and gamble. She was a film producer and although she now lives in LA it turns out that she was originally also from Montreal. (What's going on here...)

10pm: land. Shuttle or cab? The hotel that I’m staying at that my friends booked is the Venetian  They had said the cab costs around $14. I notice a stand that sells shuttle tickets for $7. I decide to save a few bucks and I buy a shuttle ticket. (This eventually turns out to be a mistake because i had to wait 30 minutes for the shuttle to arrive, because I apparently had just missed the previous shuttle. Once I finally did get on the shuttle, it luckily didn't try to go through the strip, but took a back street called Koval. It turned out all our cab drivers took this street as well, except for one cheese-dick cab driver that didn't.)

10:05pm: With my newly purchased shuttle ticket, i walk to the area where my shuttle is supposed to arrive. a guy who's already sitting there tells me that I apparently just missed the previous shuttle. Damn. But i start talking to this guy and it turns out that he’s 29 and drives trucks for a living (even though he doesn't look like the stereotypical truck driver at all). He says that since he’s a truck driver, he’s able to quit, travel, and then pick up a new truck driving job fairly easily when he returns from his travels. Because of this, he has been to 47 states and several countries. He doesn't have much savings, but doesn't seem too worried about that. Cool.

1115pm: I finally get to the room. I open the hotel door expecting to be welcomed by loud electric dance music and a roomful of my friends pre-partying, taking shots, and fist pumping  This was not the case. It’s quiet; my friends are recovering from a prior hangover and struggling to get ready. Most of them arrived in Vegas Thursday afternoon. They drank in the hotel Thursday night, went to bed at 6am Friday morning, went to the gym at 8am (you know, to stay swol), got breakfast, drank more, went to the Marquee dayclub, and continued drinking. Two of my friends lost their wallets, shirts, and the rest of the group, then individually stumbled back to the room for an afternoon nap. I’m arriving just as they’re waking up from this afternoon nap.

One friend had lost his sandals and tank top and came back wearing sandals two sizes smaller.Another friend lost his sandals, shirt, cellphone, and wallet, and came back wearing sandals three sizes smaller. he actually didn't remember most of his day or how he got back. He just remembers getting along well with a girl named Miranda at Marquee day-club. But can’t remember how well, or whether they kissed.

1130pm: More shots are poured and taken. Even though he is still drunk/hungover/sick, the friend who came back wearing sandals two sizes smaller takes a shot after being called a pussy by my other more sober friend. The friend who came back with sandals three sizes smaller contacts Marquee day-club and finds out that they found his wallet and cell. We will need to get his ID because he won’t be able to enter Hakkasan nightclub without it.

1150pm: We get to the front of the hotel and get ready to get a cab, but get talked into getting a limo by some limo driver. This was the second time I've ridden in a limo in my life. I guess this is how Vegas rolls. but everyone except me are all so tired/hungover that we don't even bump-up-the-music/yell/dance/sing in the limo. We just sit quietly and talk shit. The limo drops off two of my friends at Marquee so they can go get his wallet/cell. The limo proceeds to drop us off at MGM for Hakkasan.

(to be continued)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

How to Configure Logitech MX Anywhere Mouse for Ubuntu

I wanted the side scroll on my mouse to control volume. This is what I did:

1. install xev and xbindkeys:
sudo apt-get install xev
sudo apt-get install xbindkeys
sudo apt-get install xbindkeys-config

2. run xev (by typing "xev" in the terminal) and find out what my side-scroll buttons were called
my side scroll buttons were buttons 6 and 7 

3. create a text file called .xbindkeys_config and leave it in your home directory (the directory where Desktop is)

4. add the following text into the .xbindkeys_confg file:

#volume down
"amixer sset Master  6- unmute"

#volume up
"amixer sset Master  6+ unmute"

Note: i think xbindkeys-config is the gui version or xbindkeys, so one of them might not be needed. i'm too lazy to find out, because installing both as described above worked for me. typing "xbindkeys-config" at the terminal brings up the gui. it might segfault if you don't have the .xbindkeys_config text file, and it tells you the command to run to automatically create it, so you can do that instead of step 3.

i gained the above info from reading these two short guides: and

the backstory:
often times i think the right path to take when solving a problem is the hard path, the path that challenges myself and forces me to learn something new. but sometimes, that could just be a waste of time depending on my goal.

i started using ubuntu 12.04 and i needed to configure my logitech mx anywhere mouse's side scroll buttons to change my volume. (but logitech doesn't have linux drivers!!! complain to them here! (other than that logitech's an awesome company though)).

one way to do it (the hard way) was to dig through forums and tutorials, discover that i would eventually need to open up the right file in .../X11/xorg.conf, and then configure the hell out of that file. Other people may have been able to do this quickly, but it would have taken me a while to figure everything out.

i realized that i didn't need to figure this out because even if i did, i'd forget it in several weeks and would have to relearn it again. there was no need for me to reinvent the wheel when there were already existing programs i could download to do this for me. in one sense i wussed out because the hard way would've been the purest and cleanest way. but sometimes the hard path isn't the best path.

i like making websites, because it makes me feel alive

It's 3:47 am. I usually get up for work (real work, day job, the one what pays the bills) in 3 hours. But I'm up trying to teach myself Django because i want to make website.
The website will probably be useless and end up going nowhere.

So I ask myself, why do I do this? I already design/make stuff in my day job.
It's because i want to create.
I want to affect other people's lives and know that I affected it (even if the effect is them going to my website and wasting a few seconds of their lives on it and thinking that it's a stupid website).
I want to make an impact.
I want to be have control (full control) over what my product will do and not take orders from a manager.

The easiest way to do that is through making a website i guess.

It makes me feel alive.