Las Vegas, city for the dreamless

I spent Saturday through Tuesday in Las Vegas, attending the annual Video Software Dealers Association (VSDA) show. Two other shows were there, the Adult Video convention, and the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). As if the strip in Las Vegas isn't already strange enough normally, add in several hundred porn stars, several thousand independent video store and consumer eletronics store owners, studio executives from Los Angeles, B-movie stars, and hundreds of Japanese tourists attending CES.
I've been to Vegas many times before, staying primarily on the strip, and this is the first time I can remember being completely dead to the city. I didn't gamble, I didn't go out and mingle, and I couldn't wait to leave the whole time I was there. Several new casinos have sprouted up, and I can't understand how the city can support all those rooms. Maybe
my Vegas days are behind me? To be fair, I had lots more on my mind than normal, but still, the strip is obscene. It is what Walt Disney would have built had he been suicidal and inebriated. Vegas can only appeal to those who have no capacity to dream, no imagination. Paris, New York New York, The Venetian, Aladdin's Castle, Mandalay Bay, all these new casinos, they are patently ridiculous. At one point I was having dinner in a Tex Mex restaurant set in a Venetian casino which happened to be in the middle of the Southwestern desert. Nothing is original to Las Vegas, it is all imported culture which arrives dead.
Of course, the rest of Las Vegas, outside the strip, may be as normal a town as any. I suspect it is. The locals probably steer clear of the strip.
The one good thing Las Vegas has is a wide assortment of interesting shows. I saw my first Cirque du Soleil show, called O, at the Bellagio. The tix were not cheap, at $121.99 a pop, but it was very entertaining. I'm not sure it was worth that price, but I'm glad to have finally seen one of the shows. O is set above a pool of water with a floor that can rise or sink in the water, so performers are constantly diving into the water and disappearing, then suddenly appearing again and walking across the surface of the water. It's escapist entertainment, and I'm not sure it truly sticks in one's imagination as a coherent whole. At the end, I felt as if I had seen an exotic circus, a series of interesting visual images, but somewhat devoid of a soul.
Work has been all-consuming so far this month. My back and hip are starting to feel a little better, but I still have problems lying down on my back and sitting for long periods of time. Fortunately, or unfortunately, most of Seattle's slopes are pretty devoid of snow anyway. I have to heal up and get back up to Whistler soon, work on my boarding skillz.
I'm feeling quite detached from friends and family right now. January always feels like a sprint out of the blocks at the starting line, everyone fighting to get traction and set a manageable pace for the year. No time to stop and just chat with those around us.