The beauty and falseness of Sunrises

The beauty and falseness of Sunrises

by  Royal Hopper

You are drive down a sparsely populated Sin City commuter roadway on your way home from your daily mortgage paying endeavor and notice the brilliant sunrise filtering over the mountainous horizon and through the buildings and houses of the city that is both the world’s realest and its phoniest city.

Daylight savings time has not lifted its anachronistic head and the sun is beginning to sink behind those self same mountains. It is beautiful. As it always is.

Something catches your eye as you pull to a stop at a traffic light. A homeless man looks up from his makeshift bedroom of soiled sleeping bags and linen and pillows likely stolen from a local hotel or from the trash, seems to moan squint at the unwelcome light streaming through his eyes and perhaps at the possibility of lower temperatures and rolls over covering himself with the filthy sleeping bag and attempting to get at least a little sleep before the winter chill sets in. The sun and the earth are empirical things whose existence cannot doubted by anyone except a few who overindulge in cannabis or the few who genuinely think burning man is a lame bourgeois tribute to sobriety. Sunrises and sunsets are a creation of humanity.
I have always had a certain mild obsession with sunrises and sunsets ..Perhaps it is a natural human reaction to growing up in small refinery towns that did not have much else to offer besides the occasional spots of natural beauty and incredible sunrises …Perhaps it is in reaction to the starkly beautiful sunrises and sunsets of my adopted desert city, the City of Sin. Perhaps but whatever the case sunrises and sunsets in their purest definition are not real.


The sun doesn’t set. The sun is the center of the solar system. The earth revolves around the sun and it rotates on its own axis. We cannot see it for 10 to 12 hours but it is always there because if it wasn’t the earth would freeze and die within minutes. The sun doesn’t set…The earth does…but the illusion is beautiful.

It is beautiful and as long as you understand that the value of beauty lies only in the moment and that for some people it is simply a fact they have to deal with then admiring that beauty is a good and hopeful thing, an unspoken promise of the new day and the possibility. 

Admiring sunrises and sets is both beauty and folly both admirable and in excess despicable.

It is admirable in that it means you can appreciate beauty that is right in front of you and it becomes despicable if you believe it excuses you from living in the real world and dealing with its problems..

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Just remember that in the end it is not a real thing ..the beauty lies in your ability to admire it and move on. Show the beauty to your friends and children and then come down to earth and live within the real possibilities of this earth. Also take joy in the smile of your children and the home you provide for them and in the frowns they give when they don’t get their way and you know you have done the right thing. Live for this day and the next and don’t get so hung up on the beauty of sunrises and sunsets that you forget to live in this moment and in this day …
The Sun is the Sun and for better or worse will continue with or without your admiration
That’s life in the City of Sin
Love you Sinners take care

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Being thankful and cynical

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Me and My beloved in Quebec I think ..yes this is a boring vacation photo –Royal Hopper

by Royal Hopper

Now that Thanksgiving is officially and we are a week into December …I thought it would be a good time to say what I am actually thankful for.

I am grateful for my wife and all the things we have don’t together and with any luck and good karma will do together…

She keeps the cynicism and darkness in me at bay with her kindness and toughness and I look forward to another 50 years with her at my side.


I am grateful for my daughter a wonderful young woman who has managed to become a kind and giving young woman in spite of the cruelness and cynicism of the world that surrounds her and who has given me a lasting memory that gets me through the darkest of times Once after a long day at work when she was still a child she jumped up on the couch leapt across the room into my arms shouting “grasshopper hug Daddy grasshopper hug”….. It is a memory more than a decade and a half old that still gives me hope in the darkest of times and makes me so grateful to be a father.
I am grateful to live in a Republic that places the Freedom and Welfare of its citizens above culture and fear and anger of the ignorant .
and I am grateful for chocolate and roast turkey and my dogs ….just saying
Musn’t free verse poetry to follow

If it were only us 

Its raining in the desert and there;s nothing to do
except think about me and think about you
and us
It may be selfish to say but if all else was gone
and the world was to slowly go on
with thee and me and our family
Id get by
Id miss Rock and Roll
and chili by the bowl
id miss Thanksgiving day and fresh turkey and green bean casserole
Id miss the neon and the two for one specials and air full of chems
and going on cruises to escape from all of them them
but Id get by
with thee and me and we
and our wayward unique extended family
Like always this is where I begin and where I end
This is life in the City of Sin

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Be the best you _ you can be or My trip to Culture and History nerd Paradise

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Be the best you _ you can be or My trip to Culture and History nerd Paradise
by Royal Hopper
“Occupation,” I asked holding the trespass information card in my hand trying to be polite and stern at the same time. “Come on,” said the heavily perfumed and overdressed woman eager to be done with the interview. “I’m a ho,” she said as if stating the obvious.
That was more than 20 years ago and I can still remember it like it was yesterday because of the garish honesty this woman displayed in this long ago memory is a lot like my City the City of Sin. It is honest about itself which is something to be respected if not admired.

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A weird building side mural of tourists and locals that is looked and taken pictures by tourists and locals. Even when they are weird and geeky Canadians are classy -Royal Hopper

Las Vegas is as obvious as a cheap call girl or a work of abstract art. It is garish loud and bright and at the same time time shallow and dedicated to pleasing impulses and desires at a price. It is seldom used for other purposes by the people who visit it and those who live and work here often got other places to relax..other places like Quebec have a history that is steeped in actual events and culture centuries old and part of a great colonial movement of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.
Both places put on a show about their obvious qualities and offer no apologies about being honest about who they are. IMG_6685.JPG
There are many varied approaches to parting a tourist from his or her hard earned vacation money one like the Vegas approach is loud, garish and brightly colored decadent honesty and one like the Canadian is quaint, cultural and comfortable as if to say ..yeah were culture nerds who know how to have fun and how to handle ourselves if necessary.
The point of all this is that there is no point …just be the best version of yourself you can and screw what anyone thinks about it …If your Vegas ( a loud obvious colorful party animal) be the best Vegas you …If your a Quebec culture nerd be the best version of that you can.


That is a life lesson from the City of Sin…..

Love You Sinners

Later

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Canadian Vacation

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Coastal Canada ….. Royal Hopper

A few months ago I was vacationing in a beautiful civilized place having a wonderful time and hadn’t noticed the idiot circling the tables in the Canadian mall until my wife had pointed him out. As I saw the bearded tweaker circling the small group of tables in Coastal Canada my Sin City Radar went off like a klaxon on a ship in a bad WWII movie .
Then I sighed and pulled my camera bag closed to me and started him right in the eye with my best “Im local don’t even think about jackass,” look which even though I was damn near 3000 miles (I didn’t actually count but 3,000 sounds cool) away from home seemed to do the trick and the man targeted someone else. “Ah well,” there are assholes in every walk of life and every country even in civilized Canada. I really loved our cruise and will get into the positive aspects in future blogs but I had to get this off my chest first.

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My Vacation

by Royal Hopper

First I would like to say I had a wonderful time on the cruise my wife and I took down the Canadian east coast …It was the first time in months I had relaxed even a little …and there was only one time my Sin City asshole alarm went off during that vacation. Every Island big or small was amazing ..the people were friendly, the prices reasonable by Vegas standards and most importantly for an American the food was tasty. Lets face it we like to eat and will always notice bad food.
I think it was on Halifax Nova Scotia or it could have been Sidney _ I don’t recall exactly.

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We were tired from walking and shopping and stopped in the local version of an indoor mall to grab a bite and reorient ourselves. I almost didnt notice the hyper stoned looking bald bearded tweaker “reconing” our tables and walking in an ever tightening circle looking at our stuff. My wife spotted him ..20 -years in casino security and it was my slot manager wife who spotted this idiot “reconing” out table. Now he might have been mall walking and just desperately in need of caffeine but I doubt it …nahhh he was looking for stuff to take.
As mention above I generally don’t panic when I see someone who is up to no good … I have just seen it to many times. So i gave him the look gripped my stuff tighter and sighed as I left the area.
Even in the most civilized of places there are bad people who want to take your stuff and does give a crap how hard you had to work to get it. As I watched the man pace around the interior of a Canadian mall and actually paid attention I knew instantly from 20 years working security in Vegas casinos he was both stoned and looking to steal something from someone.IMG_6835.JPG
He was not mall walking.
One of the great things about living and working in this City is that you are not surprised when people suck…and sometimes they do even in a civilized place where the people are generally there is always at least one asshole to watch out for….
Life and life lessons in the City of Sin…
Love you Sinners

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An actor at a historical tells the Canadian side of that period in history -Royal Hopper

 

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A homeless camp that once occupied an un-landscaped Russel Road in the City of Sin. It is gone now and I dont know what happened to its owner _ Royal Hopper

Your here and then …your gone

by Royal Hopper

 

You walk into the room with trepidation slightly behind the people who accompany you _ the stale smells of humaness of body odor, stale socks and life lost hanging in the air… The remains of a meal and two large drinks sit stale on the counter in the back of the room,. The red brown traces of food smelling of stale potatoes and sauce and onions sit on e the center of plate
The lemons in the tall glasses are just starting to turn a little brown and the ice long since melted and either drunk or evaporated. There are bits of personal property here and there but the room is sparse and somewhat Spartan.IMG_6615.JPG
You look to the right (cant be more exact privacy reasons) and see some blood .. This was someone’s last day on earth. That day they enjoyed room service and two tall lemon filled glasses of some Vegas style drink a day of gambling and then they were gone.
One thing living in the City of Sin has taught me is that life and the end of life isn’t like in the movies most of the time. One minute your a person with hopes and desires, favorite foods, favorite drinks, a favorite TV show favorite shoes …a history and stories to tell and then suddenly your gone …invisible ..a thing now ….
Later that day you see a young man walking across some place the law says he is not supposed to be …everyone watches as you politely tell the young man’s parents he cant be in the casino because everyone notices youth and the power of youth and potential. They even notice the 30 something couple walking across the casino sarcastically overdressed and rolling their eyes at the “peasants” who notice them. From their conversations they are not geniuses and may be as dumb as rocks . They are not invisible and are not gone.
Still later an older man at the bar is obviously sick and cannot tend to himself. He immediately gets attention from the staff of the hotel/casino and from surrounding friends . They call him coach and are clearly worried about him. He is not invisible …..
back to the empty room.


As you enter the room your companions who are much higher on the casino food chain look to you for reassurance and obviously nervous about the routine but unnerving part of their job they must now do. You manage a fake nod of bored confidence out of years of practice…but the sights in that quiet stale room will stay with you for decades to come. You leave the room realizing you have seen a dark Gothic painting of someone’s last day in the City of Sin …one that will be cleaned up and ready to be rented to someone else’s memorable decadent day in the City that’s for its own survival has learned to be cold and distant ..to smile reassuringly and pretend to know the answers pretend to be untouched.
I cant tell you precisely where this happened for privacy reasons but suffice it to say it was in one of the 100,000 hotel rooms in the City of Sin. It is a constant melodrama here… People come here near the end perhaps wanting one last fit of decadence before the reaper comes to claim them or perhaps just out of habit if their youth and then they are gone … just gone….

That’s life and death in the City of Sin
Love You Sinners Rock on

The dichotomy of decay and memory

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What city has a giant tortoise as its mascot ask Bullhead City, Arizona–Royal

To remember and forget

 

by Royal Hopper

 

You see an older woman in a yesteryears outfit clutching something in her time worn hands using all the strength that remains in her to hold onto it. Exhausted she stops and looks at it tears welling up in her eyes as the memories it calls up flood into her world weary mind and then looks at the bag in her other hand that contains a bottle perhaps cigarettes and candy and a few other things.


She opens the hand that holds the sacred object that is clutched between her palm and a tall thin drink glass lets out a heavy sigh and walks over to a counter setting the small object down on it. She takes a sip of the drink as if she plans to finish it off and pick up the object again realizing instantly that this is an impossible idea. She looks at the object and at the bag of goodies and then turns and begins to walk away from it with a sigh.
She gets three of four steps toward the elevators and stops in her tracks the memories apparently overwhelming her. She turns slowly in a half circle clearly summoning most of her remaining strength to do so and drops the bag on the ground near a trash can shuffles over to the counter picks up the item and shuffle toward the elevator with the drink in one hand and the beloved item in another.


A kind passerby in a uniform picks up the item and offers to help her transport it to her room. She takes a breath steadying herself by putting her wrinkled hand on the the man’s suited shoulder and gives him a reassuring thank you but no pat takes a deep breath and continues on her way..the memories and the kind offer giving her the strength she needs to take it to safety.
the item was just a trinket of some by gone day with a tiny photo stuck in one corner worth very little. Some things are just worth preserving …They both think as they part ways.IMG_6451.JPG

Beware the spin, the myth and the half truths
I once wrote or started to write a dystopian future in which my city The City of Sin was falling apart. I described it as looking like the corpse of a giant celestial neon dragon covered with beautiful murals and graffiti had crashed to the earth scattering its neon scales across the dry dusty sand covered furnace like landscape. People still came to it I wrote ..to marvel at its former beauty and revel in the beautiful ugliness of its desert tomb..The city of Sin was now a mockery of its former self. The bright colors of its past struggling to stand out underneath under the weight of decade long neglect and tons of dust, desert sand, sun baked glass and dry rotted plastic.
I was in a desperate mood at the time and writing this was a way of expressing my dissatisfaction with the city I love.

The joy experienced to see such an incredible thing like the City of Sin brought to its end is a perverse part of the human psyche. One day when this finally happens if it does …people will come from miles around to marvel at its former glory and gain joy from the fact that such a powerful monster is still there and they are there to see it..I defy you to prove me wrong and would be grateful to be proven so.

Now to the point 

The most basic choice of life is this make the effort to preserve something or let it die and marvel at its corpse …
Sometimes it is as simple as this. Sometimes a thing is beautiful and worth preserving regardless of its weight in gold.
Sometimes and a thing whatever its worth in currency is just not worth the sacrifice or resources it takes to keep it standing….

This is a choice we make every day. Sometimes its a simple choice sometimes tragic.

How does it apply to this city. There is an ugly beauty in this city _ a bright garish ruthlessness that somehow accepts everybody who has money to spend ….beautiful in its acceptance and ugly in the fact that it really just wants your money and will eat you alive if you stay to long after you have nothing to give or take.
Beautiful in the memories it can provide …ugly in the predators it attracts… Beautiful in the tiny bits of culture it preserves ugly in what it can bring out in people.

 

Thats life in the City of Sin

Love You Sinners

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Disturbed Dude….Dude !!!! Royal Hopper

Rock and Roll 

Somewhere in 60s in a dark Vietnamese jungle a soldier sighs breathing in the wet heavy jungle air and flips a doors tape into his tape player and filling the jungle air with the plaintive poetic sounds of the Electric Poet and his band of musical prophets. In San Francisco a Flower child listens to the Stones and prepares for the days protests and Love ins.
Decades later in the confusing 70s a young boy hears Rock and Roll for the first time and is changed forever _ trading in his Jim Croce albums for Zepplin, Queen and Pink Floyd he looks at the world in a new way. he’s still a nerd but now he has Rock and Roll in his soul.
Still later another soldier in another war plays Metallica while riding in a gunship over h the sun baked desert air (I saw this on you tube) From Bill Hailey and the Comets to Three Days Grace and Five Fingered Death punch ..Rock and Roll and all its bastard off spring have reminded us what life is and that we can live it better , less hatefully and more powerfully.

 

Whether it means dancing til you drop or just not being a Dick.

It seems likely that Rock and Roll was birthed in the conformist 50s as a cultural exchange program between white performers who imitated and blended music from performers of African decent likely wanting to sound cool and rebellious; and black performers who it seems likely wanted to pay the rent by making their sound accessible.
Rock and Roll endures because it eternally looks forward and reinvents itself ….
By the time the International Hotel later known and the Hilton was conceived Rock was in grade school a pre teen discovering its own power and freeing it self from its innocent past.
When the International Hotel was planned and built there was revolution in the air and the smell of petuli oil and marijuana smoke filtered through the air in most cities as the winds of change blew and Rock and Roll first exercised the full breadth of its musical power.

 

The Rock and Roll remodel

By Royal Hopper 
The decades old hotel where I work recently began a full remodel of several floors stripping the rooms down to the concrete and metal of their frames. Some remodeling was in older parts of the hotel where flower children no doubt worked along side fans of Bill Hailey and the Comets when the place was built. You can almost imagine the conversations that took place between the people who built the Icon now known as the International.
Some remodeling was done in places where floors were added to decades later when Rock was a teenager full of angst and irony.
If you stop and think for a moment you can feel the ghosts of those eras floating in the air and realized they all have one thing in common. Rock and Roll was always there even when they couldn’t book a gig in the hotels.
Under all the darkness and hard-driving beat and implied decadence the central message of Rock and Roll in all its incarnations to me is ..We are who we are not who we were and who we are can be better… as a species …as individuals as a family ..we can be and do better
The purpose of Rock and Roll is to let us know …we can do better ..We don’t have to be like we are…

 


The point of all this rambling is to tell you about a concert my significant other and I ( that’s wife for all you millennials) went to in the first part of this new year.
Disturbed is a Chicago metal band who in my opinion is in the top one percent of modern rock bands. The Days Grace opened for them and were pretty good too.
The black Gothic T shirt I wore contrasting sharply with the gray white of my tasteful goatee and got compliments from Teeny Bopper metal heads chicks who seemed surprised that an old guy could still rock out to the Driving Dark edgy Metal Beat of the Chicago based Heavy Metal outfit…..My wife’s long black leather coat and studded leather boots accented the black concert T she wore.
The show was awesome with the huge digital screen behind the stage broad casting images of the band 20 yards high _ large enough for those of us in the bleachers to see them.
There is one song I remember particularly called “Someone Taught You How to Hate” Disturbed (Immortalized 2015…. )
Paraphrasing Disturbed front man David Michael Draiman in his pre song speech …..”I don’t understand why we cant just all live together ….we are all in this together …look around there are black and white,, straight and gay …implying that we were all here to enjoy the dark metal sounds of Disturbed and why cant we all love each other in life as we do at Metal concerts …Prior to another song the band the Disturbed front man talked about all the performers and friends lost to drug abuse and suicide and depression and urged people to say something if someone they knew was in trouble.

 


Just remember the Metal front man seemed to say whatever the issue is we can always do better . That is the simplest way to explain Rock and Roll ..underneath all the bullshit decadence to real message is .We can always do better ….

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A saying by Disturbed keep reading Sinners -Royal Hopper

That is life and Rock in the City of Sin
Rock on Sinners