Bulls and Monkeys.

Oh, Fremont Street, you get me into such trouble.

Fremont Street, left to its own devices, is a magical land of just having a good time. It’s not as pretentious as the Strip. You don’t really dress up to go down there. You go to hang out at bars and eat cheap food and act ridiculous. And since I like all three, it’s a win-win scenario for me.

Sometimes too much.

Hot dogs and Windex!

Hot dogs and Windex!

Charlsey, Diana and I went down there for a night of cheap food, ridiculous sized containers of alcohol that tasted like orange soda and Windex, and to watch all the rodeo shenanigans go on. In December, the rodeo comes to town, and Vegas is magically transformed into a sea of handlebar moustaches and boot scootin’. It’s like the state of Texas comes to visit me every winter, lest I forget my upbringings. And it was there, after a few shots, that my partners in crime convinced me to let my Texan out and ride the mechanical bull. The question was: Would I actually do such a thing?

Yee-haw!

Yee-haw!

Of course I would. And twice on a Sunday.

Which led in perfectly for my next gig: The American Country Awards.

Before the show.

Before the show.

Now as a Texan, I’m sure that it is some unspoken law I am supposed to be all about country music and the like. Truth of the matter is, I listened to Deee-Lite, Michael Jackson, R.E.M., and Enigma during my formative youth, and sometimes Stone Temple Pilots and Pearl Jam. I very much did my own thing.

And yet, when you work on stage with these artists, and watch them rehearse for the show, you can’t help but gain a different sort of appreciation for a new, previously unexplored genre. But I didn’t have much time to dwell on that, as I worked on another indie short as soon as I concluded the show.

And right after the shoot was a fast trip to San Diego. Robert and Kristin were getting married, and in being invited, we made our way down to watch the celebration.

Kristin and Robert tie the knot.

Kristin and Robert tie the knot.

It was a lovely Alice in Wonderland themed ceremony, and it was enjoyable to catch up with friends, such as Chanel:

The wind beneath my wings.

The wind beneath my wings.

And then later join up with Brooke at the Cajun restaurant in Old Town that I used to be a sous chef at:

My adopted gypsy sister.

My adopted gypsy sister.

Even then, we were set to meet friends at Disneyland, so we had to rush to Anaheim and (oh no), spent the holidays at the park:

Not Mickey Mouse.

Not Mickey Mouse.

I drew a crowd once more at Flynn's.  To Journey music, no less.

I drew a crowd once more at Flynn’s. To Journey music, no less.

Once we got home, it was still more running! The next weekend was very special indeed as it was simultaneously the opening of Steak ‘N’ Shake (it’s steakburgers, for crying out loud), and Tron Legacy, which my friends an I decided was worthy of a holiday of its own, and called it “Tronukkah”.

My moment of geek zen.

My moment of geek zen.

The only thing left of my busy itinerary was the first annual holiday party, where we burned a Yule Goat in celebration:

The great goat barbecue.

The great goat barbecue.

Part of working in a culture based environment such as a museum allows one access to all sorts of things that one never knew before. In this case, the Scandinavian tradition of setting straw goats on fire. Yes, friends, Gavle Goats make me pretty happy.

And finally, the marathon was over, and Christmas could begin.

Me and the pups.

Me and the pups.

Waiting for "Santa Paws".

Waiting for “Santa Paws”.

Thrilled to wear a hat.

Thrilled to wear a hat.

It was a great Christmas. Full of food and presents and loved ones, I felt like I had hit the jackpot that year.

But it was only a matter of time before work called again, and I had to host a late night party at the Museum.

A party with monkeys.

Playing the hat like a drum.

Playing the hat like a drum.

And there was more than one.  And they wore pants.

And there was more than one. And they wore pants.

My God, I love monkeys.