Friday, December 15, 2006

October 8: Viva Las Vegas

After a long and arduous trip over the dessert from LA, we finally arrived at Las Vegas sometime around 4pm. We first stop by at Caesar’s Palace to cool our heels before we proceed to the Flamingo where we will be spending the night. Caesar’s Palace is famous for one thing and that is their shopping promenade. What struck me the most is the ceiling inside the Palace, which is painted to look like the daylight sky. This kind of reminded me of the ceiling of Grand Hall of Hog wart’s school in the Harry Potter movies. Coupled with the row of Roman themed architectural “apartments”, which are actually storefronts, the entire promenade is actually magically transformed into an ancient Roman town. Not only the “apartments” reminded you of the “Romaness” of the designs, various sculptures actually reinforced the perceptions. You have the statues of Atlases “standing” on the column and “lifting” the ceiling. You can also see the sculpture of Roman gods such as Venus, Athena, Apollo, Jupiter, Neptune, and Dionysius. There is also a Trojan horse obviously referring to the famous wooden horse used by the Greeks in their conquest of Troy. However, the central attraction of the promenade is the fountain/aquarium where the statues of Neptune and his children stands and on the surrounding dome like ceiling are painted the story of Atlantis, i.e., the sinking of Atlantis. On the appointed time (like every half hour), the statues are lowered and are replaced by mechanical mannequins that “acted” out the story of Atlantis complete with fire and thunderous roars. There was not much “acting” involved with the mannequins except for the constant flailing of the arms and the side way movements of the entire mannequins. However, coupled with the alluring story of the fall of Atlantis, it does make one nice mechanical puppet show. After an hour of window – shopping (by my aunt and sister) and picture taking, we left Caesar’s Palace for good and headed for the Flamingo. I had one thing to say about the Flamingo, although it was the nicest hotel we stayed in our entire trip, I nevertheless had the worst hotel experience in my life. It’s not that the amenities are bad rather my room and every other rooms the group stayed in there is reek with a strong lingering cigar smell. In fact, the entire room smelled like one giant puffing cigar! So bad was the smell that I felt like being suffocated and barely had any sleep that night. Anyway, after dinner at the hotel, my sister and I went straight to see the Star Trek show at the Hilton and didn’t join the “un – programmed” tour of Las Vegas organized by Eric. After watching Star Trek and getting disappointed with the failure to get a photo shoot of me in the bridge of the Enterprise, we walked out of the Hilton and began our own tour of Las Vegas with just me and my sister. We took the Mono Rail (like the MRT in the Philippines) just outside the Hilton. One – way ticket regardless of the drop off point costs 5 bucks (P250) per person. Quite expensive if I may say and the route of the elevated train passes by the back – sides of most of the hotels running in parallel to the busy and popular Sunset Boulevard. The end stop of the train took us to MGM Grand Hotel where we went to see the famous “Lions of MGM”. The Lions are actually more like or pre- adolescent cubs and they are purportedly the descendants of the famous MGM lion that one sees during the opening of any MGM movies (complete with that roar). At first, we were rather disappointed with the lions because they are actually “lazying” around sleeping (complete with drooling). We waited like for an hour or so (along with the rest of the fast burgeoning crowd of lion watchers) before the lions decided to “get up” and “strut” around, play a little, and posed for pictures like some spoiled supermodel and then conveniently went back to their business of sleeping after like 15 minutes. Talk about some superstar flair and “antics”. I guess that is their way of saying “you got what you came to see, now scram and let me get some beauty sleep”. At any rate, my sister and I got what we came for and we therefore hiked off. We left MGM and crossed the street over to New York, New York, a theme casino hotel. The main attraction of the casino hotel is the giant roller coaster ride passing through the different landmarks of New York, which are actually replicas of the real thing like the Statue of Liberty. Curiously though, the casino hotel didn’t include the WTC twin towers when it was built, which according to a superstitious few is an ominous sign of it’s fate. Of course, I didn’t believe such a crap. Next, we walked up the famous Sunset Boulevard towards Paris, another casino hotel. But before that, we first went to see the Bellagio, which is just opposite of Paris to see the famous water fountain show. The Bellagio’s fountain show was actually featured in the movie, Ocean’s Eleven, near the end. The fountain show was quite spectacular and one has just got to see it for themselves. It was just like a fireworks show complete with blinding lights, booming, crackling sounds, and deafening bangs, with eye pleasing choreography except that it is just above the waters and no fireworks are involved but just water. It was like a group dance number with a few dozen ladies dressed in golden peacock dresses and arms locked and dancing to the tune of Elvis’ song, Viva Las Vegas (the song was actually played during the fountain show, blaring from the speakers mounted on the posts) similar to the actual shows inside the casinos. It was spectacular sight indeed but best has yet to come. Across the Bellagio stood the impressive half size replica of the famous Eiffel Tower. We paid $9 per person and queued up for about more than half an hour just to get up there to the top of the tower. While riding on the glass elevator upwards, I felt an unfamiliar knot in my stomach, which I never experienced before. It turns out that I was “traumatized” by the “elevator fall” at the Terror Tower for I can’t help myself from thinking that “the elevator might fall, the elevator might fall………” At any rate, I did “survived” and reached the top. However, there was nothing really to see at the top of this “mini” Eiffel Tower for the Las Vegas nighttime skyline wasn’t that impressive. But just then, something happened. Across the street, the Bellagio fountain started dancing again. Our timing couldn’t be much more impeccable for my sister and I were able to see the Bellagio fountain show from a different angle. The entire fountain show was just beneath our eyes. This is a far cry from the view beside the fountain. If the view from the sides of the fountain were spectacular, the view from the top was simply incredible. So much so that side of the observation deck was jam-packed with people to the extent that I think the tower would collapse on our side because of the weight concentration of the spectators (again, my trauma was acting up). It was a refreshing view of the fountain show on which account I personally think that the Bellagio Fountain Show should be considered as one of the Wonders of the World that one shouldn’t miss. After 15 minutes of that spectacular show, we came from our lofty perch and proceeded to our next attraction. I forgot the name of the hotel we went but it was just the opposite of the Venetian. There we waited for a good hour just to see the Volcano show. I had to say that I’m amazed at the ingenuity of the designer of the Volcano for I can never imagine that Man could actually mimic Nature to it’s finest detail. From it’s “quiet” picturesque state to it’s raging fury, I am pleasantly surprised about the vivid depiction. The technological entertainment packs the fury of an erupting volcano complete with pyrotechnics and rumbling sounds but yet it doesn’t looked “dangerous” at all. In fact, it was quite an entertainment though it dwarfs by comparison to the Bellagio Fountain Show. Somehow, I regretted to have seen the Bellagio Fountain Show first for I could enjoyed the Volcano even more if I saw it before the Bellagio. We planned to visit the Venetian next and probably see the Pirate Show afterwards and the Circus show even later but as we looked up at the time after the Volcano show, it was already 11pm. We had no choice but to went straight back to our hotel room since we had to be up early the next morning for our trip to the Grand Canyon. I wish I could just stay for another night at Vegas for there is a lot more to Vegas than just simply gambling (and I don’t gamble). Next time perhaps?

Saturday, December 09, 2006

October 8: To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before

“Space, the final frontier. These are the voyagers of the starship Enterprise. It’s continuing mission: To explore strange new world, to seek out new life and new civilization; to boldly go where no man has gone before.”
- opening introduction of the series, Star Trek, The Next Generation

October 8, a Sunday. We woke early that morning for our travel to Las Vegas, the next stop in my US tour. Las Vegas is a 6 – 7 hour road trip over a barren wasteland from LA. And by the time, we got there. It is about 4 in the afternoon. We took some time off from our ride to cool our heels (more like our arse) at the Caesar’s Palace before proceeding to our hotel, the Flamingo. The stay at Las Vegas was supposed to be our free activity night without programs or visits scheduled but Eric, our tour guide proposed to “show” us around town for a $50 fee. Everybody including my aunt and my cousin readily took the offer except for my sister and me because I had something else planned for the evening. During one of the stopovers in our road trip, I manage to obtain a copy of the Las Vegas tourist guide and to my consternation, I discovered that there is this show dubbed, “The Star Trek Experience” at the Las Vegas Hilton, which also happened to be just a block away from the hotel that I’m staying (whopeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!). I heard about this show years ago in some TV infomercial. As a Trekkie, I’ve long to visit the place ever since. I’d always wanted to be “there” at the bridge of the Galaxy class starship, USS Enterprise NCC1701D and if possible sit at the captain’s chair. Imagine the smile on my face after finally realizing that I would be able to “see” in my “dream” and that I would finally be “there”. I’m a man of few indulgences (some say I’m boring because of that). I’m never a movie fanatic neither do I “worship” film stars or rock stars (Idon’t go hysterical or “agog” over them) but Star Trek, however is an exception. I don’t know why but probably because I’m science enthusiast, space science in particular. And Star Trek is all about space and more. Star Trek is about the exploration of the unknown not only of space but also of the inner being, of the endless possibilities that only an open mind could proffer, and of the future of mankind, a vision of utopia. But most probably, the reason Star Trek appeals to me because it awakens the other side of me, the side of me that is curious, imaginative, and adventurous, the side of me that wants to be “out there”……….. My sister and I hurriedly finish our dinner at the hotel and immediately embark on our quest and by 7pm, we were already there buying our tickets and boy! The tickets are quite expensive, $40 per person which translates to roughly P2,000. No wonder there was no line formed. Anyway, the ticket entitled the holder to see two show, the 4D Borg Invasion and the 3D Klingon Encounter plus an unrestricted tour of the museum. We toured the museum while we are waiting for the show to start. Hahhhhhhhh……. The place is quite nostalgic to me. I can’t help it. All those Photon Torpedoes, Phasers, and Starfleet Uniforms simply brought out the “memories” of episodes of the series that I’ve watched. As the show began, we were led into a briefing room inside a Science Space Lab/ Starbase located somewhere in the Delta Quadrant. Inside the room, The Doctor or the USS Voyager Medical hologram told us about Starfleet Medical’s latest top – secret project being developed at the station. Based on briefings, Starfleet Medical is trying to develop a counter measure to the Borg’s nanite implants specifically, Starfleet discovered that some humans possesses the genes to create a immune system that would combat the Borg’s nanite invasion of the body. The nanites once inside the host would try to take over the host’s brain functions and with it’s success transforms the individual into a mindless zombie. With the attachment of some shielding, weaponry, communications, and scanning devices, the host would become a half humanoid – half machine Borg whose mind is seamlessly and eternally connected to the Borg Collective represented by the Borg Queen. Hence, the importance of the project and it turns out that we are the test subjects since we possess the “correct genes”. However, before any tests were conducted, we felt a huge shudder and heard a loud bang. The Borg has attacked! It had attacked the station ostensibly to thwart any attempt to their dominance (funny but the station happens to be conveniently located inside the Delta Quadrant, their territory!). General alarms were sounded off and a general lock down was initiated and we were all ordered to evacuate the station and board a shuttlecraft that would take us out of the Borg space and into Federation territories. Power however was out and in the midst of the blaring red light, our officer – escorts had to manually pry open the shuttle bay door. As we nervously waited for our escape, a Borg arm punched through the ceiling and grabbed an officer upwards to be “assimilated” (the process of being transformed into a Borg). To add further tension to what seems to be a very intense situation, a Borg drone (individual unit) in all of it’s cybernetic gory suddenly appeared behind us and walking towards us hell bent to “assimilate” us into the Collective. Luckily, the door opened and we all rushed in. It closed just in the nick of time just like one would expect from a good story. Even so, the relentless Borg banged the door so hard that we thought that he might actually bore it down and got to us but then, the shuttlecraft launches out of the station and into deep space. For a moment there, we thought that we were safe but to our distress, the Borg Cube (the Borg mother ship) was waiting for us. The first thing it did was blast away the pilot cockpit rendering the shuttlecraft immobile and dead in the waters. In the middle of this “tragedy”, we were lucky that the shield hold up preventing us from being sucked into the emptiness of space but nevertheless, we became the prisoners of the Borg. The Borg Cube has thrown a tractor beam at us and towed us in. Inside the Cube, we came face to face with the Borg Queen. Nanites were injected into us as we felt something “poked” through our back and while we “struggle” with the nanites, we were imbibed with a vision of how the “assimilation” would proceed. Our limbs are to be chained and then as we became numb, a drill came straight towards our right eyes. It was to “remove” our right eyes and replaced it with a laser scanner, which thus complete our “assimilation” process. The eye removal process was supposed to be painless because as nanites have taken over our brain functions, our sensory function including our pain receptacles would also be under “control”. Even though the drilling was an illusion (4D remember?), I can’t help but closed my eyes as it comes “dangerously” close. All the while as the assimilation proceeds, we heard this musical, mechanical voice saying, “Prepare to be assimilated. Resistance is futile!” Just as things seemed so hopeless, The Doctor appeared like some mental hologram urging us to fight “assimilation” since we possessed the genes to do so. Before long, we “manages’ to “overcome” the assimilation and just then, we heard a loud blast. Admiral Janeway and Voyager came to our rescue by blasting their way to the Cube, throws a tractor beam over our shuttlecraft and pulled as out of the Cube minutes before it was incinerated. We were towed and left at what was supposed to be Deep Space 9. After some congratulatory remarks, we were released. We passed through a hallway and emerges at Quark’s Bar, a real Bar located at the lower ground floor of the hotel. Interesting, the place is actually model after the real Quark’s Bar in the DS9 series. Even the waiters are dressed like a Ferengi (a materialistic alien species whose philosophy is based on predatory mercantilist outlook, their “bible” is the “Book of Acquisitions)! Anyway, the 4D Borg Invasion show was nice. It has a rich developed story that has texture and depth and it really enlivens the experience. The graphics however are just so – so. After lingering at the bar for a few minutes, my sister and I went up for our second show of the series, the 3D Klingon Encounter, which in my opinion is far more entertaining than the 4D Borg show albeit it is “older” than the latter. To begin with, a “hotel staff” led us into the “show” in the current time. As we were being brief with the “show”, the lights went off completely for a few second and once it came back, we were already “transported” to a “new” place. A Starfleet ensign greeted us telling us that we were no longer in the “show” but rather on board the “real” Enterprise, specifically in the Transporter room of the Enterprise D and that we are no longer in our current time but in the 24th century. The ensign told us that the Klingons discovered a time portal, a rift or fissure in the Time – Space continuum and manages to go back in time to Las Vegas and abduct a “distant” ancestor of the famed Captain Jean Luc Picard, the captain of the Enterprise D. However, the Klingons didn’t know which one of us is the true “ancestor” of Picard and so they decided to abduct everyone just to be sure. However, the process of abduction has caused a time distortion anomaly resulting in the disappearance of Picard but not the memory of his existence. As a result, the Enterprise under the command of it’s first officer, Commander William Riker launched an investigation and stumbled upon the Klingon plot. It thwarted the scheme by intercepting us during the transport process and rescued us. After the briefing, we were led into the bridge of the Enterprise and there through the view screen, Commander Riker gave us our mission (or our marching orders depending on which way you view it). We were to return to our time and with it restores the original timeline or else, the future will be irreversibly altered with cataclysmic outcome. We were to take a shuttlecraft and track down the time portal, reenter and emerge in our own time. We were to keep out of harm’s way or else one of us, the purported ancestor of Picard would be “killed” and thus irreparably damage the time – space continuity. Easier said than done, I mean with all the Klingon Bird – of – Preys looking for us. As Riker was telling us of our mission, I sweep my gaze and marvel at the magnificent bridge. I also felt the wooden panel of the nearest console. It was surreal but a nice one. Invariably, I fixed my gaze at the empty Captain’s chair. Somehow my urge to sit on the Captain’s chair has taken over me, for I asked the commanding lieutenant to let sit in the Captain’s chair for just “a while”. And to my stunning surprise, I got a stinging rebuke from the lieutenant for being insensitive to the “crisis” and to their “loss” of the Captain. Geez, she could have just said no instead of those “reasons”. Anyway, it was a nice try and no sooner I had shaken off that rebuke as I enter the shuttlecraft. The shuttlecraft in this show was totally awesome better than the 4D show and we are in for a great ride! First, we went to warp (a faster than light travel) passing by planets and asteroids. Then, we went through the icy debris ring of a planet, which reminds me of Saturn but it is not Saturn of course (at least in this show). And there we encounter a few beautiful whale like space creatures. Just as we were enthralled by the scene, 2(?) Klingon Bird – of – Preys appeared in our bow and immediately pursued us. The chase has begun. We tried to shake off the Klingon ships but to no avail. Then, the Enterprise came to the rescue and instantly blast one of the Klingon ships into smithereens and chased the other ship away. We all cheered and hoorayed at the Enterprise. I even pump my fist in the air to cheer on the Enterprise. With the threat neutralize, we turn our attention to looking for the portal but it was nowhere to be found but we did discovered something else, a Klingon cloak generator. We took aim at the generator and fired with every photon torpedoes we got and instantly turning the generator into billions of sub – atomic dust. Then, like a shinning moon, the time portal “shone” in front of us. We entered it and instantly, we were magically taken back to the beautiful night sky of Las Vegas just above the Hilton. We were about to revel at our “return” to our timeline but then all the sudden, an acid green hawk like Klingon Bird – of – Prey battle ship decloaked right in front of us. We were all stunned and as the Klingon ship steadied and take aim at us ready to fire their deadly disruptor beams, a bright flash appeared and the Klingon ship disappear. The Enterprise has come through the portal as well and in the nick of time to save us once again. We landed at the Hilton and left the ship and again out through the hallway and into the Ferengi’s bar. The 3D Klingon show like the 4D Borg show has a pretty nice script but the graphics is way too much better than the last. In fact, I could that it was better than the Back to the Future 3D show and at par with the Soaring Over California 3D show. At any length, as I was set to leave the bar when I came about a sign on a stairway, the sign is advertising a pictorial session with the audience dressed in a Starfleet uniform and sitting in the Captain’s chair on the bridge of the ENTERPRISE!!!! Damn! This is what I’m been waiting for a long time now! To be a CAPTAIN of the Enterprise. I couldn’t describe the joy I was experiencing then. I just simply “gallop” towards the door when I chanced upon another sign, which states that it was closed since 7pm and would open at 9am tomorrow. Damn. In a matter seconds, the extreme joy that I had experienced disappear and in it’s place was sadness and bitter disappointment, the kind of disappointment that one would harbor for the rest of their lives. I was so close yet it was so far away, so unreachable. I would be very willing to pay for twice even thrice the price of the pictorial (it cost $24) just to be able to dress in the Captain’s uniform and sit in the Captain’s chair on the bridge of the Enterprise and be able to utter this command: “Helm, set a course to the Neutral Zone………. Maximum Warp………….. Engaged!” But as fate would have it, I was to be denied of that chance (I could always come back to Las Vegas but that would be sometime in the future and who knows what would happen in the future). With great disappointment, I turned to the souvenir shop and try looking for something that would remind me of the joy I once felt in the place. And my gaze landed upon one particular object, a toy actually, a replica model of the Sovereign Class starship, USS Enterprise NCC1701E. It was beauty to behold it. That duranium white hull, that pair of swept back warp nacelles……. However, that TOY cost $49.99 roughly P2,500. Too expensive! I struggled long and hard about whether or not to buy it. Finally, my financial sense got the better of me and I replaced the toy on top of the shelf and walk away without turning back……. Funny if you going to think about it for two days later, I found myself buying a $64 Polo Ralph Lauren shirt! And I hate shopping! Talk about some weird financial sense!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


During my recent visit to the US, I stayed at LA specifically at Buena Park city for 3 days and because of that, I got a good “look” at the city. LA (at least from where I was staying then) didn’t look anything like the LA I had in my mind. The LA I had in my mind was supposed to be a bustling metropolis filled with high – rise and nice neighborhoods filled with rows of elegant houses. Well, there is nothing like that. The LA that I saw was in decay, decrepit even. The houses are old and some looked quite dilapidated. The roads aren’t that well lit and look dark and seemingly “unsafe”. Not much cars are passing by and it would seem to suggest the city is sparsely populated. It is very unlike the cities I’ve visited before like Shanghai, Hong Kong, Beijing, and Taipei to name a few where one can see vibrancy as evidenced by the frenzied construction activities. In LA, such signs of “life” are generally few. Everywhere one turned, the signs of urban decay are ominously on display. Because of this, LA surprisingly reminded me of one place, Manila. And equally surprising is that I’m not the only one who came to such a conclusion. My aunt who lived in Taiwan and who has visited Manila several times made the same observation too. And this is what is so unbelievable about LA, for I didn’t really expect to see a “third world urban center: in a first world country and yet, there it was. Prior to this, I always thought that the depiction of a crime infested decaying American city in American films like the Detroit City in Robocop are an over exaggeration. It turns out that the depiction is nearer to the truth than what I would came to believe. Later on, I learned from Eric, the tour guide that LA is just a sample of what most American cities looked like. Puzzling because America is a highly urbanized country with a great majority of it’s people living in urban centers rather than in rural areas. With that population concentration profile, cities like LA should looked livelier and crowded like the Asian cities I’ve visited and yet I’d seen nothing liked it. So where all the people go? Well, as Eric told us, most people especially the wealthier ones lived in the suburbs far away from the city center. Now that is something. Why would people choose to “leave” the city and live in the suburbs? Why Americans didn’t “behave” like their Asian counterparts and lived in the city as prosperity grew? In Asia, as the economy prosper, real estate prices skyrocketed in urban centers and the wealthier class stayed in the city while the middle class city folks went to the suburbs because the property prices are cheaper in the outer areas, which is actually the opposite of the American situation. So the next question is, is there something in the American culture that makes people “abhor” or “wanting to escape” city life? Perhaps. I mean American society must be quite competitive such that the pressure of city living must be so intense as to become a significant contributing factor that drives people out of the city and into a “quieter” atmosphere. Or is it? Are there any other factors that promote this phenomenon of suburban flight? My best guess is this has to do with the city management. I mean the observed phenomenon was the result of historical development and how government responded to such a development. Back in the early 20th century, as rapid industrialization sets in, people flock to the cities in search of better opportunities and as a result, cities grow not only in population but in physical size as well. Not only that, nearby towns are also affected by such an exodus of migrants. It’s population swelled and it became an urban center as well. With the improving transportation and infrastructure, these outlaying towns soon became ostensibly connected to the city and were eventually absorbed by the expanding city. As population continues to grow, these incorporated towns became component or satellite cities. In the end, this expansion of major cities led to the birth of many new satellite cities within a limited geographic expanse like flowers blossoming in field of spring and thus, a metropolis is form comprising a city proper or a city center and several satellite cities. Incidentally, Beijing and Shanghai are such prime examples of a growing metropolis. Beijing in particular has grown five times it’s ancient size. With explosive population growth and increasing density over a limited geographic area, municipal services began to experience severe pressure to cope with the rapidly increasing demand. Clean water became scarce, horrendous traffic jams, packed living quarters, and pollutions are among the host of problems being pressed upon local governments. As a result, people began to move out of the city to the suburbs where population density is low and environs better than the city center. However, escaping the city is by no means cheap and entails a rather significant capital outlay for not only people are required to purchase a property but they also had to invest in a mode of transportation like cars. Hence, only the wealthier inhabitants get to “leave”. After that, commercial establishment follow suit since businesses go where the money is. With the exodus of the moneyed class and the commercial establishments, fixed investments soon falls as the source of funding (from the moneyed class) dried up since the proletariat who were left behind can’t mount the same capital expenditures to “renew” the decaying city. And as a result, we got cities like LA, wherein a major city is surrounded by a ring of decaying inner cities and bounded by a bustling and lively peripheral cities or suburbs. So what’s the big deal about it? Well, some historians like Jared Diamond postulated that civilizations are inevitably linked to the environment where it is located and that the degradation, depletion, and ultimate destruction of the environment is inexorably linked to the decline, decay, and eventual distinction of civilizations. As man discovered the rudiments of agriculture, they became entrenched to a particular geographic region. Soon, settlements are founded and cities began to rise. Forests are cleared to give way to farmlands and houses. As the city grows, population began to swell augmented by immigrants from neighboring villages. With agriculture came wealth and with size attracts commerce and trade. Before long, prosperity sets in. With money comes weapons and with huge populations comes soldiers and with the two ingredients, a mighty empire is thus born. Assyria, Egypt, Babylon, Persia, Ancient Rome, China, the Incas, and the Mayas are the few sterling examples. No sooner in their rise, cities began to overcrowd. Agriculture has reached it’s limits and the Mathusian scenario became a reality. There are more mouths to feed and only a handful to feed them. Famine spread and wealth disappear. People became idle because there is no land to till. With joblessness came unemployment and with unemployment came poverty and with poverty came riots and with riots came political instability. And with instability began the unraveling of empires and the demise of civilizations. Mohenjo – Daro, the Incas, the Mayas, and Angkor Wat, civilizations long extinct litter the pages of history. How the mighty has fallen? In this sense, human beings are no different from the one – cell bacteria. A bacteria culture inoculated on a petri dish containing a substrate made up of nutrients would immediately devour the “food” and grow exponentially until such time that the food dwindles and is all but consumed. The bacteria then began to slowly decline then dies and contract in size as they suffocate in their own secreted metabolic waste. The only difference between Man and bacteria is that Man can leave their destroyed environs and seek out newer environs to degrade (and thus the comparison with the virus by Agent Smith in the Matrix movie) while the bacteria has no choice but wither inside the petri – dish. It remains to be seen whether the petri – dish that is LA would eventually go the way of Angkor Wat or would Man discover a way to sustain what is thus far unsustainable.