I'm back from Reno, and I had a great time. The city's beautiful in the winter: snowy mountains vying with neon casinos in every direction. The casinos win, at night anyway.

I rolled the bones and won $100 or so before quitting, thereby breaking my 26-year losing streak. Well, 5-year anyway, since I wasn't doing much gambling as a child. I love craps, and I also enjoy the video poker games where you can play 100 hands at once. It's neat to see how the odds play out depending on what cards you hold, but it's easy to lose money when you hold strange things just to see what happens.

Reno's airport is remarkably easy to get into and out of, compared to LAX anyway (which has at least 20 times the capacity and traffic). There were about 15 DHS employees screening an equal number of passengers at my gate, and they opened all my checked luggage and inspected it for bombs. They didn't find any, but they weren't quite sure what to do with my telescope -- it doesn't open, and it's made of metal so there's no way to tell what's inside it. I suggested they look through it to verify that there wasn't a knife or gun inside, and that seemed to satisfy them.

Back to the grindstone tomorrow. Sleep well.



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