The Mob Museum: Part Two

The Mob Museum continues to the “nice” and “fun” part of organized crime owned drinking establishments and casinos, as well as the great money making opportunity for the Mob when Prohibition went into effect.

 

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radio

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There’s nothing that won’t and can’t be touched by the Mob (and the wrong spelling of Marilyn as in Marilyn Monroe).

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hollywood

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Prohibition’s unintended consequence called bootlegging.

 

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moonshine

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rumrunning

alcohol

speakeasies

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Meyer Lansky paid a huge price for Flamingo, but it still exists today.

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Items from casinos back in the day and yes, that is Henry Rollins in the photograph.

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Two photographs from back in the day before my phone went dead.

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The Mob Museum: Part One

tablemenuI finally visited the Mob Museum (National Museum of Organized Crime & Law Enforcement) in downtown Las Vegas.  I took way too many pictures again and the only video I took was of fish in a tank and no, it had nothing to do with the phrase “swimming with the fishes.”  The building once housed the Post Office and Courthouse.  When it was a Courthouse, Senator Kefauver held hearings when the Senate Committee investigated organized crime in the early 1950s.  There were four floors full of information dedicated to organized crime and law enforcement including a speakeasy where you could drink whatever alcohol you wanted including moonshine they make on the premises.  There was a section of photographs of murdered mob members, mostly bosses, that were copyrighted so I couldn’t post them.  They were some of the most interesting, and a blatant reminder mob life is a gritty and risky “family” business.  There were photographs of Prohibition entertainers that were also copyrighted so I’m not going to post them either, but they were well worth seeing.  Some of the photos and products regarding illegal poaching are disturbing so fair warning regarding these.  The wall was the original bricks from the St. Valentine’s Massacre, as well as actual bullets that killed the victims and coroner’s reports.   The rest of the photographs I’m posting are self-explanatory and will be posting in four parts.

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Walking up the stairs to the third floor to start the tour.

Brief timeline of the mob that started with immigration.

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timeline

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The various mob families from various cities.

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Law enforcement enters onto the scene and stays.

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J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI and T-Men in the 1950’s in relation to the Mob.

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Documentary Recommendation: From the Kill Pen (2016)

Quote from From the Kill Pen:  “Horse slaughter is more than inhumane.  It’s big business.”

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Producers: Sharon Boeckle, Tony Cane-Honeysett, and Peter D. Roth

Director: Sharon Boeckle

Writer: Sharon Boeckle

Major Cast: Paula Bacon, Milton Bagby, Dean Bolstad, Alex Brown, Phil Carter, Neda DeMayo, A.Blair Dunn, Vickery Eckhoff, Lester Friedlander

Rating: NA but not suitable for young children

Running Time: 1 hour and 16 minutes

From the Kill Pen focuses on the current status of horses, including horse racing, wild horses, horse meat trade, slaughter practices, and government influence.   There are two dominant schools of thought in this neutral documentary.  One, it is okay to kill horses for meat because it creates jobs and horses that would otherwise be wasted, in addition to rounding up and killing wild horses to control populations.  Two, it is not okay to kill horses for meat especially due to the toxins used in race horses that serve as a part of this trade, as well as the poor slaughter-house conditions that creates torture and pain for the horses. 

A large portion of this documentary cites the pros and cons of U.S. involvement in this trade via the way of making these particular slaughter houses legal within the states again.  As of right now, it is still “illegal” but could easily flip to being “legal.”  While the graphic parts are minimal and only used in the best educational sense possible, it is still distressing to see.  Yet, compared to what I’ve seen before, it is pretty tame.  I have a stronger stomach than most.  I would recommend it to anyone who wants a better understanding of what the horse represents in today’s world and the cautionary tale of knowing what’s truly in your meat. 

While I would never eat taboo animals (dogs and horses) according to U.S. standards, there are some that do. There is a responsibility for those involved in the horse racing industry and those outside it who are part of the slaughter pipeline to speak out about the tainted exportation of horse meat from the U.S. via Mexico and Canada to the rest of the world.  The Humane Slaughter Act instituted in 1958 wouldn’t deter those not following the mandates because it doesn’t cover horses.  It only protects cattle, pigs, and sheep, if you can even call it that.  There have been countless instances where companies were not punished with obvious evidence. 

It seems clear-cut to me what should be done and by whom.  No one wants to eat other crap when they bite into a beef patty, but it has been done and will continued especially in fast food restaurants.  Everyone wants to be assured they aren’t eating rotten meat, no matter what it is, disguised as fresh meat.  Yet, people do because other’s think no one’s looking and who’s really going to notice.  One shouldn’t have to worry about their child dying from eating meat, but parents continue grieving. 

There is bound to be friction with so many differing views on how to control and use horse populations.  This is the premise of the documentary.  Saying there’s no right or wrong answer to this issue is simplistic.  There’s a lot of variables involved and many people contribute to the problem from the breeders to the buyers to the consumers.  I venture to say it is like this in many different areas where mass consumption occurs. 

The only thing I know for sure is that humans need to look closely at what they do in terms of their inner circles as well as their outer circles.  I know from personal experience things have wide-reaching effects, often over generations.  While I don’t presume to have all the answers to this issue, I do want to spread the word because it’s tragic, fascinating, and worthy all in the same breath. 

Pisaries Creator rates From the Kill Pen at 100%

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Movie Review: Red Sparrow (2018)

Movie Review: Red Sparrow (2018)

Quote from Red Sparrow by Matron: “Every human being is a puzzle of need. You must become the missing piece, and they will tell you everything.”

Color Me Red

redsparrow

There are three things that peak my interest: Russia, espionage, and ballet. The fact all three are condensed into two hours and 20 minutes was all positive. I was going to like this movie no matter what especially the espionage part. I believe humans are first genetics and second their profession. If you have difficulty with X, it’s often a part of your being, and deep inside. It will bleed into other parts of your life if you haven’t addressed whatever is behind X. For example, if you like to be in control and the power it provides, seeking positions with control and power will probably happen. If you let both get inside of your head where it becomes the size of an inflated balloon at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, then you have some issues. This is somewhat the case for Dominika because all she wanted to be was to be a dancer, but a dancer in control. She possessed discipline, but with physical limitations. Like others before her in this Sparrow program, sacrifice is tested, and acceptance is learned. There are many ways to be dutiful to your family (blood related) as there are ways to be dutiful to your country. Life turns into something when you least expect it, but how well you round the corners is what really matters.

Time to Hold Hands

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Red Sparrow is a drama, mystery, and thriller taking place in Moscow and Budapest. The movie centers around Dominika Egorova, a ballet dancer turned secret operative, whose main objective is to get close to an American operative, Nate Nash. It’s an adaptation of Jason Matthews’s book with the same title and script written by Justin Haythe. The director is Francis Lawrence. The major cast includes Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Matthias Schoenaerts, Charlotte Rampling, Mary-Louise Parker, Ciarán Hinds, Joely Richardson, Bill Camp, Jeremy Irons, and Kristof Konrad. It has an R rating for strong violence, torture, sexual content, language, and some graphic nudity. While not the longest movie I’ve seen, get somewhat comfortable as the running time is 140 minutes.

The American is Coming and the Russian not Far Behind

There’s enough moving pieces to keep the story moving forward, but not too many that you get bogged down in who is who and what did who do and why and when. It’s not surprising you find a power struggle occurring not only among Dominika’s family members, but among the Russian officials as well as among the American officials. As with any movie about espionage, its rooted in the tricky area of trust and loyalty between usually two males having to put their fears aside. Russian women have their place too in this male dominated profession. Dominika goes through rigorous training to become the femme fatale, carrying herself with equal stoicism once she leaves Sparrow. Her lack of emotion, at times, makes you wonder if this is a defense mechanism or something learned from the school. I suspect it’s a little bit of both as she finds herself drenched in unwanted body odors and subjected to physical pain while on her own. She is the dutiful Russian in a red dress as she continues to forge ahead, sometimes alone and sometimes with Nate Nash, knowing her capabilities. Their meeting was inevitable as both sides, Russians and Americans, eventually agree to this covert relationship. It proves to be a bit of intrigue with each other, although never sure of Dominika’s true intentions or how Nate would respond to her. The people on the periphery had equal importance and influence on Dominika as those in her inner circle. It wasn’t until the last scenes that I understood her decision, whom she made it for, and why it happened. I will say it set up for a nice sequel, but time will tell.

Putting the Puzzle Together

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The draw of this movie was the story and actors/actresses involved. Charlotte Rampling playing the matron stood out as one of the best supporting roles I’ve seen in a while. Her training method of instilling conformity through ridicule and submission is the self-sacrifice demanded by herself and others. She more than likely was a Sparrow herself. The same goes for Matthias Schoenaerts as Ivan Egorov. He demanded nothing other than excellence from Dominika, but flexed his masculinity when she threatened his status quo. These scenes were some of the best. You also want to know what’s going to happen to Dominika and Nate. Their relationship could end on a good note or a very sour one. You can’t really go wrong with espionage because most people like secrets and want to know all the juicy details. While the heyday of the Russian and American arms race has long passed, the current relevancy of Red Sparrow shouldn’t be thought of as farcical. According to CIA operatives, this was a way for the Kremlin to gain intelligence back in the day, and should be no surprise Russia has a vested interest in cyber crime as do most other countries.  It can be terrifying to think about on one level, but then again I’m not too surprised about human behavior and the lengths we go to.

Through a Magnifying Glass

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While I enjoyed Red Sparrow, for the most part, I did find a handful of elements missing. I wish there had been more focus on Dominika, in a precise and skilled manner, kicking ass with her hands and legs. It’s not that I needed to see blood spilled, but I wanted more than her being forced to seduce men and take apart a gun quickly. I don’t know exactly what went into the Sparrow program, but I would think an asset who could fully protect herself would be a necessity. Maybe she was given that training, but I never saw it outside of rebellion. I would’ve liked another fight scene between Dominika and someone close to her.  There was a scene near the end where she showcased her talents, if you can call them this. I wanted more of that or something similar. I did like the movie enough to recommend this to adults, not children for obvious reasons, with the mindset it’s a drama rooted in psychological motive and part mystery. There weren’t as many twists and turns as I would’ve like, but it was adequate for what played out.  Last and last, the raunchy sexual activity, as my friend alluded.  It was sort of a no-brainer to me.  Sex sells and so does nudity.  Next butt, please.  I mean next movie in this trilogy, please.

Pisaries Creator Rating

Red Sparrow gets three fingers at 80%.

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Trailer/One Sheet by 20th Century Fox

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July Random Information

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Poem: The Belly

The Belly

I have outlived you by a few years, at most probably five,

maybe even ten, but no more than eleven.

As I sat waiting to reach my destination,

I had time to think about you in the silence, imagining what

aspirations you had, and when you realized all was lost. 

You went back to nothing again and again because the path you followed was the

wrong one.  It must’ve been a revelation hitting you in the face

when you reached the dead end.

I’m not sure what I would’ve done in your shoes,

but I know the tears you wiped and the revenge you should’ve had

was all for one thing and one thing only.

I should’ve asked for you sooner.

I never imagined I would pick you apart, only to try to tape you back together again

year after painful year. 

I never knew why you had gone even though I knew what had happened,

but there’s no more needing the answer.

I have it, and so do you now.

There’s freedom for both of us, and while this feels strange to say,

it is reality I’ve accepted because

without you, there would be no me.

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Handful of Random Quotes

robertfkennedy

rickriordan

winstonchurchill

virginiawoolf

deepakchopra

henryjames

mayaangelou

gandhi

gretchenrubin

ianmcewan

nelsondemille

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Trifecta #18

I’m done with moving and now onto the continual unpacking of my stuff.  I’ve done a lot of thinking about my future and the meaning of community and environments.  I never thought I’d live in the desert, let alone Nevada.  It seemed so distant of a place even though it borders California.  It was that place you went to get away from Los Angeles.  I find myself still recuperating from the month long move, mentally and physically.  It’s going to be some hot days in Las Vegas until fall hits.  Here is my trifecta for July 2018. 

Drink lots of H20 because it’s hot in most places all around the world.

handswater

I’ve thought abandoning many things and many times over, but never really do.

derelict

The best states to retire in the U.S. and depending on how things look in twenty or thirty years, I might look outside the U.S as well.

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Movie Recommendation: Molly’s Game (2017)

Quote from Molly’s Game by Molly: “This is a true story, but except for my own, I’ve changed all the names and I’ve done my best to obscure identities for reasons that’ll become clear.”

mollysgame

Producers: Oren Aviv, Felice Bee, Stuart M. Besser, Adam Fogelson, Mark Gordon, Leopoldo Gout, Matt Jackson, Joanne Lee, Lauren Lohman, Lyn Lucibello, Amy Pascal, Josh Clay Phillips, Robert Simonds, Donald Tang, and Zhongei Wang

Director: Aaron Sorkin

Writers: Molly Bloom (book) and Aaron Sorkin (adapted script)

Major Cast: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera, Jeremy Strong, Chris O’Dowd, J.C. Mackenzie, Brian d’Arcy James, Bill Camp, and Graham Green

Rating: R for language, drug content, and some violence

Running Time: 2 hours and 20 minutes

Everyone likes a story where girl turned woman with the world at her feet who is super intelligent, but with emotional issues stemming from childhood dives into an elite part of Hollywood where the rich and famous gather to get away from family and friends just to let loose.  Even if you find gambling boring or have a rudimentary understanding of poker, such as myself, you learn about the workings of what people call the underbelly of something.  People have this attraction of wanting to know the secrets of anything especially when it involves the perceived glamour of Tinseltown.  This is the kind of movie too fascinating to be a true, but personal testimony and FBI involvement, makes it all too real.  We soak it up like a sponge, wanting more.  There’s obvious relationships between money and power, fame and crime, and judgment and consequences as Molly Bloom maneuvers to gain hold in an unfamiliar place.  Her independence and cockiness catches up with her, and the nice little business she has started turns into a nightmare.  There was a scene that appeared a little too convenient, the iceskating one, but otherwise than this it was a solid movie from start to finish.

Pisaries Creator rates Molly’s Game at 97%

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Movie Recommendation: Logan Lucky (2017)

Quote from Logan Lucky by Fish Bang: “All the Twiters, I know ‘em.”

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Producers: Reid Carolin, Dan Fellman, Gregory Jacobs, Mark Johnson, Ken Meyer, Michael Polaire, Zane Stoddard, Matt Summers, Channing Tatum

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Writers: Rebecca Blunt

Major Cast: Daniel Channing Tatum, Riley Keough, Katie Holmes, Charles Halford, Adam Driver, Seth MacFarlane, Dwight Yoakam, and David Denman

Rating: PG-13 for language and some crude comments

Running Time: 1 hour and 58 minutes

Lucky Logan is about two brothers looking to better themselves financially in a heist that is also part revenge for what has happened in the past (sort of).  I’m assuming they are from different fathers or mothers because Adam Driver and Channing Tatum look nothing alike.  They concoct their plan, which includes a convict by the name of Joe.  He’s still in prison, but his younger brothers aren’t.  Outside the barb wire fence, Fish and Sam Bang are about as smart as two broken pencils in a box, but they are necessary.  The deadpan voice of Adam Driver (Clyde Logan), the comedic interaction between Channing Tatum (Jimmy Logan) and Daniel Craig (Joe Bang), and the interaction among the whole cast makes it highly entertaining and watchable.  This story has been done before, but it has enough content to leave you wanting more especially when the closing scene is done.  Whether a sequel is made remains to be seen, but either way is fine with me.

Pisaries Creator rates Lucky Logan at 90%

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Moving Tips for Everyone!

mformoving

What Kind of Move Hell are We in Now?

fullemptyYou know the saying “the grass isn’t always greener on the other side” and the question “is your glass half empty or half full?”  We do this to keep things in perspective, and I try to do this on a daily basis.  There are people in worse conditions than me.  There are people who don’t have the support system I have currently.  At this moment, it doesn’t lessen the sting when things don’t go as planned.  I can’t get back the money I had to pay to get my car towed in Death Valley, CA where it stopped on the first trip.  I can’t get back the time lost when road construction occurred and every car had to squeeze into one lane on the second trip.  I can’t undue possessions dropped and lost, much of it sentimental on the third trip.  They are now either broken and gone forever.   I can’t get back the money I had to spend when I locked my roommate’s keys in his car on the fourth trip.  The bottom line is this move from California to Nevada is the worst move I’ve ever done, and hopefully, the last move I will ever do.  Yes, I carried heavy boxes and bulky furniture up a flight of steep stairs in 100 to 110 temperatures.  Yes, my feet, knees, shoulders, and neck are still stiff and sore. Yes, I’m retracing my steps, hoping I can pinpoint when the exact moment the tool bag with all the futon parts was lost and worst of all my roommate’s tools.  I’m definitely not in California anymore, which may sound stupid to the average person but minus the traffic I really loved the Los Angeles area.

roadtonv.jpgThere’s something about me if you haven’t noticed it already and it is that I like routine because it creates stability and familiarity.  Moving anywhere especially across state lines gives you the opposite.  I knew it was going to be hard and would test my patience with everything put before me including interactions with my roommate.  I used to be a glass empty kind of girl, not seeing much hope for anything, but as people get older they change their mindset.  I’m now more of a good thing the glass is half empty so I can fill the rest with something delicious I wouldn’t mind drinking, and better yet from someone generous enough to share.  There’s another part of me that is open to change because it creates new opportunities and perspective.  When I moved from Minnesota to California in the latter part of 2006, I thought I’d finally found the state I’ve live the rest of my life and then die.  If this move has taught me anything, it’s that I continue to be resilient and gained more respect for my roommate who had some initial concerns.  He bucked up and went with it as best he could.  I also learned as much as I hate the heat I keep moving to places hotter and hotter.  Don’t ask me why.  Please don’t.   I will now give you some pointers along the way so when it is your time to move, you don’t repeat the same mistakes I did throughout this month-long process.

moving tips

  1.  Don’t rent too big of a truck, in my case a 17 foot truck, because you probably won’t be able to fill it all the way and use all the space in a span of a day’s time.  You are going to need a lot of hours to fill that sucker up.  It was relatively easy moving things on a dolly into the truck, but it takes time getting them onto the dolly and unloading them into the truck.  There was empty space more boxes could’ve fit, but by night-time we both said “fuck it, it is what it is.”
  2.  Don’t rent too small of a truck, in my case a 15 foot truck, because you improperly eyeballed the size of the truck.  I have a lot of stuff.  My roommate has a lot of stuff.  It all could easily fit into a small house, but we don’t want to buy a house even if we could.  You probably have more than you realize.  This time we had the opposite problem of not having enough space.  There also is the problem of do you rent a big ass truck and do it all in one or do it in spurts.  I would say splitting it up is a good thing.
  3. Don’t over stuff your boxes.  I hate when grocery store workers put all the cans into one bag.  It makes one bag really heavy and the other one really light.  I think someone needs to go back to packing groceries school.  I made it a point to pack light stuff with heavy stuff so it evened out a little bit.  My roommate on the other hand loaded all of his vinyl into boxes that were pretty heavy.  I won’t tell you how many boxes of vinyl he had.  One took a spill off the ramp into the truck.  His doing, not mine.
  4. If you have to do many trips back and forth like I clearly did, remember your legs and arms get fatigued over time.  My saving grace was the 4.5 hour drive each way to give my muscles a rest and the week-long stretch of time since I basically moved one weekend once and then the next weekend twice.  I’m also grateful for my roommate driving, which he hated but did it anyway.
  5. Have lots of water in several places especially in the heat.  Each time I returned to CA, it felt like an air-conditioned room.  Less water was needed.  Each time I returned to NV, it felt like an oven.  More water was needed.  Basically drink water and take breaks so your heart doesn’t feel like it’s going to burst out of your chest.
  6. Tie things down properly when you move with rope.  The first trip back and forth was priceless.  My roommate made sure the boxes were secure and when we opened the door, everything was in order.  Nothing had moved except for a few boxes.  Not bad, not bad at all.  The second time everything was not alright.  Boxes fell on top of each other and furniture shifted and damaged a few things.  I remember it being bumpier than usual on this trip.  This was the trip where I left something in the back I shouldn’t have and only realized my error during the third trip.  I bought dinner for my roommate since he did most of the unpacking while I was frantic about the whole thing for a good hour.
  7. Leave enough time to pack everything because the third trip back and forth, I was dumping things into boxes without closing them.  This was the trip where time was of the essence.  It wasn’t really our fault.  It wasn’t anyone’s fault.  We couldn’t move until the 15th into the new place and had to be out by the 30thin the current place.  By the end, we were done and out on the 26th.  Again, we both had so much stuff that we packed the truck to the last inch on this trip.
  8.  The fourth trip was packing leftovers, which was still too many items and then there was cleaning.  I wanted to get as much of the deposit back, but that was foiled when removing the refrigerator.  This apartment you had to provide your own.  Luckily someone took it shortly after it was posted on Craigslist.  Sometimes free items go quickly.  The unfortunate part was accidentally ripping up some the linoleum.  Moral of the story is look under the refrigerator to make sure nothing is dangling under it.
  9. LA has a problem of people not picking up after their dogs shit.  I’ve had to throw doormats out because of this.  It shouldn’t have been a surprise to me, but it was because I was trying to clean the tub.  No wonder why I kept seeing light brown shoe marks as I was scrubbing.  So check your shoes before hopping into a tub.  What a mess trying to soggy shit from the bottom of both shoes.
  10. The last but not least, but in my case the last, purge your stuff before moving.  I simply didn’t have the time nor wanted to make the time.  I should’ve done this because it would’ve saved a lot of headache.  Am I really going to fit into jeans I wore over ten years ago?  Probably not.  For reasons I’m not sure, I tried a pair on.  Jeez, I need to hit a gym soon, which I plan and will do.  Do I really need my boat sized TV, long before flat screens came into the market?  Probably not.  Do I really need that many books or movies?  Probably not.  The bottom line is I’ve become way too attached to my belongings.  Maybe, I need to learn to let things go.  Obviously, but not so easy.  I’m trying with some success.

goodluckThere you have it, the longer version of my move from California to Nevada.  There are  differences between the two as with any neighboring states.  I’m looking forward to reading about the competition between the two, if there is any, and already brought a book about the mob in Vegas.  I’m hoping this is the last move I make and if the time comes where I move again, let it be with some professional movers or where I have very little to move (to fit into one damn truck).  If you are in the process of moving, I wish you the best of luck because you’re going need to it.

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