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Friday, November 1, 2013

Vegs Trip Review

Hey everybody.

Wow! It's taken me a minute to reinsert myself into life.

And to be honest with you, I have not been successful. (Proof being I started this entry on Monday!)

I do not expect to be successful before next Monday.

I thought I might give you the run down on how everything went last weekend. However, I'm going to start a few days before my birthday as I did not actually celebrate my birthDAY while in Vegas.

Here goes. Some names have been changed, because, well, it just felt better to do that. Well not changed but not explicitly spelled out. Whatever. You're smart. You figure it out.

I went up to NorCal on 10.15 to help my brother and family prep and run Oddyssea during Pumpkin Festival. This is the second trip and I hope to continue to be able to make this an annual happening. It's fun and I get some family time.

Pumpkin Festival is the week after Columbus Day (usually the 2nd weekend of October) in Half Moon Bay, population about 12k. That weekend about 200k or more people come in for a street fair on steroids.

This year the store was a little over-staffed, but a lot less stressful and none of us were as whooped as last year. But I'm getting a little ahead of myself.

Friday (the 18th) was my actual birthday and the NorCal Hardings treated me to several (mostly) pirate themed prezzies wrapped in bacon paper, a handmade sign from my niece and lots of pie. (Thanks Ellen!)

I got a ton of cool booty including a stage coach glass which I am most excited about. You may even get to see it if you hang around me! : ) Mike and I also went to West Portal that night for some killer Chinese and a few beerskis.*Hint: Try the Xiao Loong Bao*

That was all great and then we endured the Festival and hung out for a few more days getting to see my niece's volleyball game as well as generally relax. It was super nice and not rushed at all.

I got some work done and failed at some other stuff before heading to Vegas on Wednesday the 23rd at 8:30p.

Before I left I got a notice from The Quad that my reservation for 10/28 - 30 was all set. I was concerned as I had booked for 10/23 - 25, but I figured I'd deal with it when I got in.

The flight was nothing, barely 30 people on board and we arrived at McCarran a little after 10 in the pm.

I used a few drink tickets, (Thanks Andrew Tan!) and got a good buzz on.  I dropped a couple of bucks in the machines at the airport and then made the long walk to the baggage claim where I got everything together and then dealt with the clusterfuck that is the cabstand there.

After a few mis-haps and stolen cabs I got in to a caravan style ride that then took me for a ride. I don't know why I didn't tell the dude not to take the strip but I paid through the nose for that dumbass ride, mainly because of lights. Ah well. He's the one with the smaller tip because of it.

Always remember to tell them which way to go or they will fuck you.  Just a rule.

I got to the Quad (formerly the Imperial Palace) and there was still a *lot* of construction going on. I'm not sure if I like the new look, but they are working on it. To what end, I'm not entirely sure. It's missing some of it's former charm - like it's actually hard to spot the Dealertainers. Weird, but I went right through at check-in and then found because the room was comped that I didn't get WiFi. I snaked a code that worked the first night and had them cancel the mystery reservation for the following Monday and Tuesday. I had my room.

All gravy.

I dropped my bags, took note of the sewery smell in my room and turned on the AC, then I took my per diem gambling and did a little fucking around and drinking downstairs. I did manage to get a new TR card even though the office was closed. I turned in fairly early and slept pretty well.

I got up about 10a or so and showered and put on my (I now think lucky Beer Socks) before heading down to the TR office to find out the particulars about a promotion I had received in the mail.

It turned out it was a free $10 dollars for the slots. I put in Hell's Bells and hit $211 off the top.  Feeling sassy I decided to go to the Johnny Rockets in the Fashion Mall as I had a Groupon and hadn't snarfed yet.

I hit up several other casinos on the way including Harrah's and Casino Royale and continued to hit little wins on the way. I had a feeling this was going to be one of my good trips. It's pretty much always lucky or not with me when I visit Sin City and I was glad this one seemed like it would be lucky trip. 

I got a bit turned around in the mall and was pretty damned hungry by the time I reached the JR. The Fashion Show Mall put me in mind of the Stand, though it was built many years after the publication of that massive tome. I could see the Walkin' Dude's people patrolling that gigantic cavernous space and scavenging the copious amounts of resources.

I got a chicken something and some cheese fries and was treated to some good people watching. After that I hoofed it back to the hotel stopping again at the Harrah's for a Million Dollar Slot Pull. Basically I waited in line for 30 minutes for a free plastic shot glass. I was okay with it.

I had a few more drinks at the Quad and then I went back to the room for a disco nap.  I knew DG was gonna show soon so I wanted to be fresh for our proposed trip to Fremont that night.

After my nap I went to meet my buddy at Planet Hollywood and found he had been put up in the Backdraft room.  Pretty fucking cool.

We chatted a bit, got a few 2 for 1 drinks at the Heart Bar, played a slot or two. I found out that I had gotten a PH plastic shot glass as the promotion I went to play was over and we hit the Quad one more time so I could re-jig my funds.

We decided we would take the Deuce to Old Vegas. Unfortunately the info I had was old and I had one dollar less than I needed for the 24 hour pass, so we got the one way 2 hour pass and got to Fremont. Our first stop was Binion's where I had a Groupon for the King's Ransom. D agreed to go with me.

There was a lot of cool, kooky and some just downright ghoulish stuff there. Worked for me.

Here's a sampling:

There were also items like receipts and a library book he had checked out at 12. A lot was crammed into that one room.

After that very cool (for me anyway) experience we found another slot promo at Binion's and we took the pulls to no avail, though I had racked up a few thousand credits. As we went to find the pisser and a few more drinks I sat down to a Deal or No Deal machine and hit $656 and some change on a Howie spin. I couldn't figure it out at first as it was like 65,000 credits!

We stayed to play the feature - the highest winner was $50, so I couldn't lose.  I was concerned about the $599 threshold for tax concerns but it didn't seem to matter. I told D we were going out now. He was happy to have come along and really dug old Vegas as I told him he would.

We ambled up the block seeing the sights and decided to talk to the "showgirls" outside the illustrious Mermaids before heading into that rattrap. I had forgotten that was a coin pay-out place and having grown tired of a machine after only a couple of spins I cashed out and ended up with this. Nearly 20 dollars in nickels.


I only had a five to tip our waitress so she took good care of us as I jammed my nickels into some other slot, just hoping to get out of there. Still she jumped the line (to the consternation of many other cutstomers i.e. best 5 bucks I ever spent!) and got us some hot dogs and a few more beers before we called it quits and moved on.

I decided as I was up we were going to Glitter Gulch and Stiletto Zamboni was going to meet us there with her new beau.

We wandered in and I decided I could spend a C note as we had it. I bought the 2 drink minimum a piece up front and got $40 in ones. Then we watched the questionable dancers and were harassed by the nearly 3-1 ratio of stripper/hookers to dudes. Of course we *were* tipping.

I chuckled at the "Prostitution is Unlawful" sign and turned down at least 20 lap dances before SZ and A showed up. He had to work early, so we hung out a bit and then decided to go for the original plan and check out one of the oldest bars in Vegas, Atomic Liquors, which boasts a liquor license number of 1.

It was a good spot. I dug it and the F-Bomb shots we got. Then we took a sidetrip to one of my favorite spots, El Cortez, where I lost $150 on the blackjack table before Zamboni decided to call it a night. She's a nurse and had work the next evening.

I wish she and D had left together as things might have turned out differently, but she left, I lost the last of my cash at the table and we began the long trek back to the strip. We walked about 40 minutes before I started complaining and we stepped into the 7-11 at the corner of Charleston and South Las Vegas Boulevard. D bought us each a water and the cashier told us he could call us a cab but it would take them at least 45 minutes to get there.

We decided to push on to the Stratosphere and get in a taxi there.

The street was deserted and the few cabs we saw were full or didn't stop. We later learned it is not legal to hail a cab in Vegas. Who knew?

Finally a taxi was coming from the opposite direction and Dave hailed it. It came to a complete stop on the other side of a bank of palm trees.  Dave started across the street to get in.  I was a little slower on the uptake. Just before he cleared the back of the vehicle the driver gunned it backwards and it struck my friend in the knee before he hit the asphalt with his head. It was a tremendous amount of force.

The cab screeched off. I didn't get the number or the license. I didn't even get a look at the driver. I was more concerned about my friend who was trying to stand, blood pouring out of his head. I got him to the sidewalk and gave him my handkerchief which he applied to his head.

He seemed alert and didn't ever black out. His eyes were bright, but he was buh-leeding.  He didn't want to call an ambulance so I called Zamboni as she lived very near the Stratosphere and she got to us as quickly as she could, expressing her displeasure that he wasn't already backboarded. His pupils seemed responsive but his knee was bothering him.  And there was a significant amount of blood. It was scary.

You can see the stain in the road right after it happened. We eventually got a cab to University Medical Center arriving about 6:30am. A lot happened there. I was with D when he was being seen, when he got the staples in his head and when they did the X-ray's on his knee, which ended up being the most injured part for him. Thankfully the head trauma did not have more dire results. I still say my socks are lucky.

Around 9am, SZ had gone home. She had to work at another hospital that evening. I realized I had to get both of our belongings out of two different hotels. I had a new reservation that night at Hooters Casino.  After walking halfway back to the Strip in awful heat, I grabbed some food, a quick shower and gathered my shit up before checking it at the Bell Desk at PH and grabbing his stuff with 10 minutes to spare before checkout.

Thankfully Dave knew exactly where his car was parked and I found it no problem and was able to pick it up with all of our luggage and drive back to the hospital.  I took the long way as I wasn't convinced my reflexes were tip top.

When I got back to the hospital he had just finished an MRI and the timing was right for him to hobble on his crutches to the car and we stopped at the CVS next store to fulfill his prescription for pain meds. Of course when the pharmacy called it in the doctor's DEA clearance was not coming through. To their credit they fixed it fairly easily and we were on our way.

During his many hours at the hospital Dave had talked to his roommate Johnny V and he and Kenny D decided to come get him and take him back to Burbank.  This saved me from having to drive back a couple days early or take D's car later. It was really the best situation.

I parked at Hooters, which luckily has an easily accessible ground floor lot and Dave hobbled to a slot and sat down while I checked in. We found a loo and then I told him to sit and I would take the few bags I had up to the room.

My room was in the Ocean Tower, the furthest away on the 18th floor, all the way in the back. And I had one King sized bed. Hilarious. When I got to the room, my keys didn't work. A diminutive housekeeping lady was kind enough to try, but it didn't work either. I trekked back down to the front desk to have them re-code the keys and they sent a security guy back with me to check it out.

The lack of sleep was really getting to me by this point.

We got to the room and the keys didn't work. I sighed in exasperation. The security guy, Robert I think his name was, few missing teeth, long time Vegas resident I expect, tried both keys and then when it wouldn't work he smacked the handle. Then it did work. I was not filled with confidence, but I was exhausted, so I set my shit down and went to find Dave.

He'd moved as I'd been gone a long time. I told him I was getting the rest of my stuff from the car and then we'd go up. I did so and he made the long way made longer by new crutches up to room 1851. Yeeesh.

I got him a towel and he laid down on the bed. I decided to give him the room though I thought I was going to drop.  I wasn't sure what the plan was for Kenny and Johnny, so I decided to hang tight.  I think it was about 3 or 3:30 by the time this was all settled, but by about 5 the boys showed up and took a pit stop. I was in and out of sleep in the chair. Dave was on painkillers. The guys decided to leave us for a bit.

Dave was having an ongoing conversation with his sister and I was starting to hallucinate.

I had tickets Evil Dead the Musical at the V Theatre which I was going to be damned if I missed and I knew I *had* to get some sleep. The boys weren't sure what their plan was going to be and D was trying to figure out if he needed to physically be in Vegas to file a police report. Finally we decided Johnny would go when he needed to as he had work on Saturday and Kenny would stay over and drive Dave back in the morning after filing a report.

So about 5 or 6 they left us alone. Dave asked for the remote and I told him I had to sleep. We both did. In the interim the boys decided to go to the show with me and we left Dave to TV and hydrocodone or whatever he was on.

I'm glad the guys went with me. The show was shit. Just really, really, REALLY bad. It ranks as one of the works things I have ever seen. Ah well. Still glad to have done it. But super disappointing. I suspect it's the worst of all the cities doing it as Vegas has built in audiences. : /

The highlight for me was eating the sour lemon fish head lolly I got for my birthday! It was yummy. And so gross when covered in slimy saliva!  : )

After that shitshow, Johnny had bried aspirations to go to the Terror Dome at Circus Circus, but it had closed. He vacillated about leaving immediately or waiting til morning. We said, it's up to you dude. He and Kenny crashed on the floor. Ironic that my Quad room had two Queens. What're you gonna do?

Though I'm sorry about the circumstances that brought it about, it was nice to see Kenny and Johnny on the Birthday Jam. Both of them having recently endured a bunch of crutches themselves, they were intent on helping their friend.

At 8a the next day when I got up there was black sludge coming up through the drain in the bathtub. It smelled a lot like burning hair. They fixed it, but that coupled with the random alarm going off, the janky door handle and my Owl Card lanyard getting caught in the elevator made me question the free room. Hooters looked much better than it had in the past, but it was more a lick of paint than any actual improvements. You get what you pay for I guess.

Maintenance showed up and Johnny hit the road.  Kenny, Dave and I got a wheelchair from the same helpful security fella and then we loaded up and went to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department on MLK drive not terribly far from the UMC where we spent much of the previous day. We waited a bit and filed the report including my childishly scrawled witness report. They gave him an event number but informed us there wasn't much they could do as we didn't call 9-1-1 at the scene.

We then stopped at the 7-11 we'd been at the previous morning and we all got some grub as Dave hadn't eaten and we looked for cameras around the intersection where the incident occurred. We didn't find much, but we gave it a shot. 

The guys took me back to the hotel and hit the road about 10 or 10:30a. I set up lunch with Bubbles for 1p and crashed the fuck out. I slept really, really hard as I'm sure you'll understand.

Though it's out of sequence I am happy to report that I got texts from all the guys that they made it back to Burbank safely which eased my mind.

That was a crazy interlude and it was only Saturday afternoon.  Boy howdy!

After my nap, I felt much better and I met Bubbles at the Saloon for some Hooters wings and beers before we headed over to the Erotic Heritage Museum.  Groupon did me right.

Bubbles and I have known each other since dirt, back when we worked on Blue Jacket: The Epic Outdoor Drama in Xenia, OH. She's been living in Vegas for a few years, having worked as a dresser on Peepshow. It was also her birthday on Sunday! Yay! Two of us!

The rejigged fortune telling machine didn't have RJ's voice in it yet, but we were assured it was coming. We got our fortunes told anydamnway!

A fitting birthday pic for a lady in her Douglas Adams year! : )

So many monk cocks!

Noah's fucking ark! This was in the tiles on the railing from upstairs where you're not allowed to take pictures. We spent a few lovely hours here and I could've easily spent more. I'd recommend this destination to anyone. It's a bit cheezy, but there is some interesting and very unique stuff here. Artwork that will turn your head at least. (pssst: There's even a porno print by Walt Disney! Yeah! I know!)

When we finished at the EHM, we headed back to Hooters. Because of my Foursquare addiction I found out that Miss Azy was in town as Rush shot a commercial at the MGM, and that they both liked gambling at Hooters, so I saw yet another unexpected group of people! Yay! : )

The only folks I didn't get to see that I might have were Miss Breshaun - also on a birthday jaunt, and B. Hall, as it just didn't work out. Might've happened Friday if things hadn't gone sideways. *shrugs* Maybe next time B . . .

After a pit stop in the room I hit another Five Hundy on a Wheel of Fortune machine and then hit the Big Wheel.  Uh-oh.  Got hooked.

Bubbles and I decided to go to a locals spot, Ellis Island. I hadn't been there since performing the Van Deman/Iseri wedding years before and I thought I might do a spot of K-Rock. Instead I kept scoring little wins throughout the casino before Bubbles and I went back to Hooters. Az and Rush had left and called it a night. I'm sorry I didn't get more time with them, but it was nice to see them nonetheless.

I spent several more hours on the Big Wheel and Bubbles took off. I lost a lot but developed a system that took me most of the way through Sunday as I waited for my Megabus departure time.

In the end I was up and down and won several more times. I ended up leaving only $200 down from what I brought with me to lose. I always consider that a victory. Could I have done better? Certainly, but I had a great time while I was there.

I had a good buzz on as I caught a cab to the Transit Center with a nice chap who treated me right. In fact, I'd call him the polar opposite of the ass who picked me up from the airport. We had a nice chat and he dropped me off about 6:20p for my trip home at 7p.

It had been quite a weekend, but it wasn't over yet. Not by a long shot.

To wrap up this trip with as much brevity as possible, when we got on the bus at 7p, the driver suggested we'd be back in LA by 11p, not 12:45a, it being Sunday with no stops.

Famous last words. Besides the irritating girl who sat behind and never stopped talking the entire way, it was an accident on the 15 between Shoshone and Zyzzyx Road that really did us in.

It turned a four hour bus ride into an 11 hour bus ride. The buzz went away. I didn't buy food as I thought I'd be home sooner than that. The plus side was it was such a long delay that by the time we got to Union Station, the trains had started running again.

But I had a few more irritations in store. The sheriffs, understandably, shook me down before the train left as I looked like hammered shit (I don't sleep well in general, and hardly at all in public spaces) having arrived back in LA at 5:30am and I was pawing through my luggage for change for the last leg of my trip home. I had used the last $1.50 for the bus ride. Ay yi yi.

I stopped at the questionable Norwood Market, as the reliable Quickstop wasn't open yet, got some really questionable food and ate a little before I passed out around 7a on Monday morning. Spent. For reals.

And then I got a $65 parking ticket at what is quickly becoming one of my least favorite place to go, the fucking Hollywood Post Office or the 3rd ring of Hell as I like to call it. I was dropping off a pre-addressed package and all their damned drops were broken or full. That's what I get for not putting in 10 cents and the sonuvabitch was ambling across the street just as I walked out the door.


So $265 down.

Thankfully I do most of my posting at the Los Feliz branch these days, though I'm not certain that's much of an improvement. The IQs are definitely higher.

I'm calling this weekend the end of my birthday bullshit and if nothing else catches my eye, besides likely being back in Half Moon Bay for my actual natal day, my celebration will be just before or after at Gold Diggers.  Put it in your calendars y'all!

Until next year,