Monday, May 28, 2018

Vegas, Baby!

Well that delayed posting thing while I was gone worked really well except there wasn't an automatic notice for me this morning telling me the blog for the day was posted. Bummer...

Quick dash to Las Vegas this weekend at the last minute trip is in the books. It all started on Monday or Tuesday when Brent sent me a note from Chicago (he was traveling for work) on the cost of tickets to Vegas. We had been talking about trying to get tickets to a hockey game. For those of you living under a hockey free rock, the Las Vegas Golden Knights are playing for the Stanley Cup in their very first year as a hockey franchise. This is a huge freaking deal. And all year long the Knights have put on an amazing show along with great games. So we really wanted to try and catch a game and with the long weekend it seemed perfect. Except they decided to start the series on Monday not Sunday so we weren't going to be able to spend and arm and leg for a couple of tickets and go...

Then Brent tempted me with Hawaii and I realized he really needed a weekend away. I am not good at last minute stuff. I know most of you are SHOCKED at this news. I am a planner. I am an adjuster. Spur of the moment, while almost always fun once you are there, never seems like a good idea to me before it happens. But I realized I was just being weird and a trip away for the long weekend would be fun, and really, Vegas would be something to see even without hockey so why not?

Brent hadn't been in around 25 years. I haven't been in about 10. I used to go a LOT for work. A few trips a year. But traveling for work is totally different than traveling for fun. So off to Vegas we went.

So here is the other SHOCKING part for you all. I don't really gamble and I don't drink a lot. The joys of Vegas have generally been lost on me. I'm a decent poker player and I did win enough money playing Blackjack to pay for my massage table and my massage chair when I was in school. BUT...that comes with a huge caveat. The table was playing for me. Hit here, stay here, hit, stay, split, double down. When every player at the table is telling you what to do and you get a little luck streak going it's much easier. I also knew exactly how much I needed and tucked it away and walked away. Normally I would "play" craps on business trips. Stand at the table with my clients and put a chip on the pass/no pass line and play for hours on about $20, that's what I can handle. I hate losing money.

So what did we do since we didn't drink a lot or gamble? We walked around and looked at everything on The Strip. Well pretty much everything. We didn't do the side jaunts to the Rio or The Palms and we didn't make it all the way to Mandalay, but we wandered through most of the other bigs. We also saw Carrot Top. He gets very little respect from the comedy world, prop comic is to stand-up like puns are to satire I guess. But as I love puns as well I've always thought he was funny. And he was. I laughed pretty much constantly. I will say you could leave offended by at least a half dozen of his jokes, take your pick which ones, but if you take it all as comedy and lighten up a bit it's as a whole a very enjoyable night. I didn't laugh at everything, I cringed at a couple of things, but I laughed more than I didn't and I laughed more at his set than I did at Jerry Seinfeld's and the tickets were much less expensive so there is that as well.

We walked down The Strip after the show to take it all of the lights as well. It's really something to see. Of course The Strip during the day was something to see as well. On work trips we used to say that people have a Vegas Wardrobe. That corner of the closet that housed outfits they would only wear in Vegas. The cut down to here and up to there dresses. Well, work trips generally happened in the Fall and Winter, being there when it was warm was something else entirely. People were just walking around in their barely bathing suits with a see through cover up. Lots of thongs and triangles. So much T&A and we didn't even have to pay for the show. Brent and I were trying to decide the difference between body confidence and total lack of shame. Because there were some people that should indeed have body confidence, they looked great. And there were others that just had no shame.

We also went to the Mob Museum, which was interesting but I really thought it would be more about the Mob in Vegas specifically and it really seemed like they wanted to shift the focus on Chicago then, and organized crime in other parts of the world now. Which, in a way, is a very American thing to do. Bring up a crime problem and people want to shout, WHAT ABOUT CHICAGO? Mmmhmmm...  But I did learn something new about how the mob ended up really focusing on Vegas so any trip to a museum that lends itself to learning something new is a good trip to a museum. (basically putting the squeeze on illegal gambling in bigger cities led the Mob to set up shop in the only city where it was legal)

We also went to the Neon Graveyard. I had wanted to go there for ages. A friend of mine did a photo shoot there a few years ago and it looked amazing. The night time access was all sold out and they don't just let you in to wander around anymore so I was stuck with a daytime guided tour, but that's better than nothing. When I download the photos from my camera I'm optimistic that there will be some nice shots on there. I also learned a few new things, so we know it was a good trip.

Then we hit up The Fremont Street Experience, and yes, yes it was. When we went 25 years ago, downtown was just downtown. The gambling was a little better than on The Strip because table limits we lower and the slots were a bit looser. Now they've covered the street and do a show on the ceiling. I described Fremont as what would happen if The Strip did acid. It was crazy. The people were wild, and trust me they had a lot to top. There were a lot of buskers and most of them were lacking a bit in talent. There was one guy whose entire act was him in a jockstrap with a lumpy stuffed sock and a very small dildo covering his penis while he "played" electric guitar. He was rocking out with his cock out...And then there were the barely clothed men and women who would pose for pictures with you for a small fee. And the Times Squaresque people in cheap costumes also willing to pose for pictures for cash.

We also saw the Stanley Cup! Woo! We've seen it a few times, I was even in Toronto during a Hall of Fame weekend and posed with the cup there. But it's still the Stanley Cup and as a hockey fan you just are so excited to see it and be near it and feel the history radiate off of it. I got a great picture of Phil Pritchard giving side eye to someone who wanted to see the "show girl" again when I asked Phil to pose with the cup for me. See, here's the thing, the way to know that you are looking at THE Stanley Cup is if Phil is with it. He's the Keeper of the Cup. So a picture with Phil is a picture of the real deal. I'll forgive Vegas fans for not knowing yet, but they better learn. Their story is a great one, but hockey has a lot of great stories.

Overall impressions, still can't stand being in the casinos for long without a headache. Indoor smoking is blech. Now though there is the added bonus of weed being legal so people outside are smoking pot. And because they don't want to spend all of their money on weed they are buying really skunky shit. The headache for two days was real. Smoke inside and out. Bleh.

People, people, people, don't bring your little kids to Vegas. It is not for kids. Really. The entertainment is for adults. The atmosphere is for adults. The hangovers are not conducive to young children running and screaming down the halls. It's okay, Vegas will be there when they are older. You can come then. Or let them stay with their grandparents. Really, an adult weekend away will be much more fun than trying to navigate a stroller down Las Vegas Boulevard, or explaining to Johnny why there are pictures of naked ladies all over the ground. It's just not for kids. And yes, I'm judging you. So is everyone else here without kids.

And here is one for our pilot this morning. He gave an overly long welcome aboard speech where he touched on Memorial Day by asking any Veterans on the plane to raise their hands, then talked about the ultimate sacrifice we honor on Memorial Day and calling for a round of applause to thank them. Just a note, don't ask for people to applaud for dead soldiers. It's not appropriate. We mourn them, we honor them, we respect them, but we don't clap for dead soldiers. AND yes, wearing your seatbelt at all times is a thing we should do but don't point out that the plane we are on is the EXACT SAME TYPE as the Southwest plane that just lost a window and a passenger lost her life. One, she had her seatbelt on, it's why she wasn't sucked completely out of the plane, and two WE DON'T WANT TO THINK ABOUT THE WINDOWS BLOWING OUT ON THE PLANE! It was a crazy preflight announcement.

And let me tell you a 6 AM flight out of Vegas is an odd one. Fully half of the passengers hadn't yet slept off the drunk from the night before and in the two hours it took to get home the plane soaked up the stench of alcohol and smoke seeping out of everyone. I cannot imagine how much the flight crew hates that flight...phew....

I picked up money at the bank on Friday before we left and came home with all of it so we broke even. Which is always the goal right? Sure, sure, it's easier when you don't bet any but over all it was a good, if not traditional trip, to Vegas. And we walked 26+ miles so I'm not even feeling guilty over the two missed trips to the gym and the ice cream and drinks we had. Now I just need sleep. Thin walls, late nights and early mornings...Viva...

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