Sunday, June 05, 2005

So, school is just about done. Friday was the last day of instruction. I have a paper due Monday, and a paper due Friday. The Friday paper is something I should be able to crank out in an hour or so, so I'm hoping I can turn it in Monday as well, save myself a trip to the literature building. I was supposed to have another take-home final, but the professor surprised us on Friday by saying there would be no final after all (not a huge shock, since it had occured to me, were there to be a final, she probably would have given us some details before the last day of class). She just wanted to keep us motivated, so we'd all go see Head-On in film lab the last week of class.

The only substantial piece of work I still have to do for the quarter is an eight-page paper on Benjamin Franklin and Gerrard Winstanley on their conflicting notions of citizenship, with Winstanley rebelling against the enclosures and demanding an end to private ownership of land, while Franklin is attempting to define a notion of business ethics and how to be a good citzen within a capitalist system. Or something like that. I intended to compare Winstanley with Margaret Cavendish, with a similar thesis regarding the role of a citizen in forming a utopian society, but it was a stretch, and in the course's pentultimate lecture, on Franklin and business ethics, among other things, it seemed a more interesting and less forced argument to compare him to Winstanley. I have yet to write a word of the paper, but I am confident I can write a tightly-argued paper to the satisfaction of the requirements laid out for the assignment. Our grade is basically two papers, I got an A on the first, so as long as I don't self-destruct on this paper (which I have done before), I'll be fine.

I had hoped to make substantial progress on the paper today at work, being a Sunday, which means I'll be in the office most of the day. Unfortunately, I forgot Sir David Attenborough is going to be speaking here today, receiving the Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest. I don't know how many attendees of his lecture will also be coming to the aquarium (the lecture is free, but does not include aquarium admission), but we'll probably be busy, and even if we're not, they'll probably need me to man checkpoint and do other duties. But even if I just get a page or two written, the first page is always the hardest, and if I can get a little momentum going before I get home and finish the paper, maybe I'll get to bed at a decent hour, and be able to get my other assignment completed in time to turn in Monday, as well. Of course, the fact that I'm writing this post rather than the paper shows I'm allowing myself to get distracted. But I'm sure it will all work itself out somehow.

I had dinner last night at East Buffet on Miramar Road. It purports to be the largest buffet in San Diego, and after eating there, I'd be hard-pressed to argue the point. The selection was quite broad, and while the food was not of the top quality, it was certainly adequate, and at $12 for dinner on weekends (weekdays and lunch prices are even more of a bargain), you can't beat the value. The sushi station was quite good by buffet standards, with the various rolls you expect, but also plenty of nigiri sushi options, including salmon, tuna and mackerel. Again, not the best selection or highest quality fish, but for the price, better than I expected. I definately recommend it, especially if you like seafood and sushi. The mongolian grill looked good, but always had a long line. Desserts were actually pretty good, by asian buffet standards. It was pretty busy on a Saturday night, and I understand the wait to be seated for lunch can be long.

With the pressures of school reaching their peak in the final weeks of the quarter, and with the daunting task of taking intensive latin in summer school casting its dark shadow on my soul, how do I find relief? I booked four nights in Vegas the week after finals, two nights at Green Valley Ranch and two at New York New York. The trip will give me a chance to recharge before summer school, but the real value is in the anticipation, keeping my eye on the prize as I struggle through the quarter's endgame. Of course, the trip itself will be nice. I've never stayed at NYNY before, and as I probably won't gamble much there for reasons I'll leave unsaid, I can expand my horizons along the strip. I got a decent offer in the mail from the Venetian, for $99/night rooms weeknights, with just a minimal amount of slot play, so I intend to play some blackjack there and see what mail that generates. I hate paying for rooms in Vegas, but if I can get them down a little bit more, I'd pay to check out the Venetian, given all the great things I've heard about their rooms. I also will be checking out the Wynn, of course. I was surprised that the blackjack limits there were lower than I thought; I figured you'd be SOL looking for anything below $100 in double-deck. But I was wrong, apparently, and I intend to play a bit there, too, see if I can generate any room offers, or maybe get a buffet comp (though reviews of the buffet sound rather underwhelming). The japanese restaurant is also supposed to be more affordable than I thought, so I might give that a try. But I will be having the sushi buffet at GVR, and I do have several free dining offers to take up on while on the strip, so I don't know if I'll pay for sushi this trip (or if I do, it will be to take advantage of happy hour at the Fashion Show Mall across the street from the Wynn). I also am toying with the idea of seeing Gladys Knight this trip, which I consider almost every trip. The one time I finally resolved to see her, she was sick. With a four night stay, making time for a show shouldn't be too hard. I'll probably leave it up to fate, and go if the 1/2 price ticket outlets have any tickets for her. But I definately will see her sometime; "Midnight Train to Georgia" is one of my favorite songs. Beyond that, my goals are to make a bunch of money, see the Wynn, have some good food, relax, see the Bellagio Conservatory (it was closed for the seasonal change-over last time I tried), try to have the Paris buffet for tradition's sake, and just have a good time. I can hardly stand the wait. If you would like to recreate my anguished websurfing while waiting for the week to pass, check out Las Vegas Advisor (though there's not much for free here, and I'd have a hard time recommending a membership since I'm less and less certain as time goes on I'll renew) and Cheapo Vegas, one of the best websites around on Vegas, and funny enough to entertain those not that familiar with Vegas (it's a labor of love, mostly, but they do update fairly regularly, and already have some comments on the Wynn).

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