The Haunted West.

My birthday celebration was enjoyable, as we made out way out to Lake Las Vegas for drinks, food, and a show out on the grass.

Being a desert landscape, grass in any sizable collection is a fairly big deal to me. I spent most of my childhood barefoot, so whenever I come out to the Lake, I make it a point to pull my shoes off and run barefooted to feel the softness underneath my feet. Dirt and rocks can bite me.

But I really like Lake Las Vegas, as it’s really quiet, and is the other “Anti-Vegas” outside of Boulder City (Vegas locals need to escape all the lights and glitz from time to time). Best of all, the evening’s entertainment was The Quarrymen, who were essentially the Beatles before some of the members (Paul, George, John) became the Beatles.

As I waited for that zombie film to start filming, I kept myself busy at the Museum in my own signature way:

Can you spot my handiwork?

Can you spot my handiwork?

"Gentleman Dinosaur" (no relation to "Lobster") was way cooler.

“Gentleman Dinosaur” (no relation to “Lobster”) was way cooler.

Junie's sense of comedy is a hard thing to impress.

Junie’s sense of comedy is a hard thing to impress.

While I waited on delay after delay of the film, I decided that I needed to do something, so I tried the haunted house circuit:

Even construction crews get into the season.

Even construction crews get into the season.

So out to the outskirts of Blue Diamond, Nevada, which is a tiny village of a place until I found Bonnie Springs. Bonnie Springs is a neat little time warp of a place, complete with a hotel and a fantastic little restaurant with a huge fire pit and stunning bison back ribs.

Bonnie Springs Ranch.

Bonnie Springs Ranch.

Old stagecoach.

Old stagecoach.

As I pulled in that first time to get an application, I was greeted by a wild burro, who promptly strolled up to my car, stuck his head in through the window, and demanded nose pettings.

You're not supposed to pet the animals.

You’re not supposed to pet the animals.

In return, I named him “Stanley”, and a fast friendship was formed for the duration of the month.

Stanley was not shy.

Stanley was not shy.

But I got my application for “Bonnie Screams”, the ranch’s little scare attraction, and also finagled a quick little tour of the place. It reminded me of my time on Deadwood, playing a lone prospector with many a cold night out on that ranch in California. Little did I know that the similarities didn’t stop with that observation.

Boo.  And stuff.

Boo. And stuff.

So now all I had to do is wait for the whole “Halloween” thing to begin. So I kept busy with friends by going to British pubs in strip malls and stealing the girls’ jewelry.

Guinness is usually how these things start.

Guinness is usually how these things start.

*jingle jingle jingle*

*jingle jingle jingle*

We even got the other bar patrons to clap at the right parts during Hall & Oates’ “Private Eyes”. With the magic of Guinness, anything is possible.

I also got to review a hotel instead of a show on the Strip, so of to Primm, Nevada, to stay at Buffalo Bill’s.

The first/last stop of Nevada.

The first/last stop of Nevada.

I had never been to this particular casino before. When you’re coming from California to Vegas, you usually don’t want to stop as you’re ready to get into all the action Vegas offers. Same as going back home to California: You’re just “over it” at that point, and ready to leave.

But I got to experience a nice room, a dinner at their steakhouse, a day at the spa for a massage, and play on all of their theme park rides. And get paid for it. It’s times like these that I enjoy my freelance writing gigs.

Just like you're on the log ride alongside me.

Just like you’re on the log ride alongside me.

Stagecoaches are the theme of this post.

Stagecoaches are the theme of this post.

They even have a "Buffalopool" (Name pending copyright)!

They even have a “Buffalopool” (Name pending copyright)!

But it’s actually a really fun place to visit, and the rollercoaster… holy gods, it’s fast and rickety, and will throttle the life out of you in the 2-3 minutes you’re riding the thing.

But Halloween had come, and it was time to get down to work.

A tragic shaving accident, undoubtedly.

A tragic shaving accident, undoubtedly.

Some of the experience was fun, such as the “Jason Vs. Freddy” fights. Other parts, not so much, such as the freezing cold nights in the mountains (sometimes outside in the rain), droning stock “spooky” music that went on for hours and hours for weeks at a time. If they wanted “crazy”, the music was driving the point home. And then, somebody had the good sense to include a bar at the establishment, allowed patrons to get liquored up before they enter the attractions.

Let me say this now as a veteran: Booze and haunted houses do not mix.

Imagine the anticipation of waiting for your cue to jump out and scare someone only to be punched hard in the stomach by some drunk chick who laughs deliriously because she “got you” before you could act. “Yeah… that’s really fucking… awesome“, I gasped as I waited until the breath knocked out of me returned. Her meaty boyfriend just chuckled and staggered on, leaving me to recover my wits and question my sanity.

On those few “off” days, I worked on a Capital One commercial:

Finally, I was the least "furry" one of an acting related group shot.

Finally, I was the least “furry” one of an acting related group shot.

And went back to Los Angeles for another audition.

I “called in” for this day off, as it’s a full day experience doing an audition in L.A. – You get up, drive 4-5 hours (traffic pending) to a studio or agency, maybe do 5-15 minutes of audition work, then you’re free to drive the 4-5 (traffic pending) trip back to Vegas. It can be brutal sometimes, but I do it, because that’s part of the job.

It doesn’t mean that I can’t have a little fun along the way.

So back to Disneyland, and more specifically, California Adventure, as they had just debuted ElecTRONica, a Daft Punk-themed dance/rave in the park. Disney Parks, Tron, video games, and Daft Punk all in one place is just far too much for this small town boy to resist, so I was in the park faster than you could say “Greetings, programs”.

ElecTRONica.

ElecTRONica.

The arcade was amazing.

The arcade was amazing.

The main entryway.

The main entryway.

Inside, it was even better. Spandex glad go-go dancers, glowing green and blue booze, dance parties, an arcade filled with 1980′s issued video games…. It was like they made this section just for me.

Go-go dancers.

Go-go dancers.

More dancers.

More dancers.

"End of Line" Club.

“End of Line” Club.

And as I danced for hours to the electronic beats, I decided this was a far better night spent than getting sucker punched by some other drunkard in a cold, dark alley. I even destroyed their arcade’s Pac-Man score, drawing crowds who cheered me on as I devoured the previous person’s score and kept going. Ah, back in the days when a high score defined the true pantheon of gods in a digital arena.

But back in the “real world”, I survived the rest of my “tour of duty”, the zombie movie was delayed yet again, and I survived another Halloween.

The "Ghostbusters" pumpkin.

The “Ghostbusters” pumpkin.