I wrote this on myspace before I had an actual blog. Links and pictures added for your convenience.
Saturday, February 02, 2008
Current mood:Fired Up!
So you want to go to Vegas for a week in January?
This is how my trip got started in mid-December. I didn't hesitate long to answer as I knew Vegas would be much warmer than Iowa. It was a little bitter-sweet as it I was also offered to have my girlfriend fly out for a nice vacation...unfortunately it was the same day that I realized that it must be over with the girl that I had been seeing. Oh well, it is still a free trip to Vegas. I knew this wasn't going to be the whirlwind, busy all the time trip that the last one was.
Cinnabon should be outlawed.
Okay Cinnabon is delicious, everyone knows this...unfortunately everytime I am in an airport with a Cinnabon I only have 15 minutes to my next flight and the line is all the way down the hall. It has been years since I have enjoyed the yummy goodness of a Cinnabon but that smell tortures me every time I fly. I therefore propose a ban on all Cinnabons. If I can't have one, you shouldn't be able to either.
Welcome to warmth (or freezing cold if you live there).
We arrive in Vegas with few difficulties (besides lack of Cinnabon) and it was 55 degrees. It was -4 degrees when I left Iowa. It felt so good. We check into our hotel and there's the local Vegas weathermen complaining about these "below average temperatures." I couldn't help but laugh. It was also supposed to rain all week starting Tuesday...and it did sprinkle one day at 4am and then rained the day we left (as Vegas mourning our leaving is my guess) but other than that it was brilliant blue skies and mid-fifties all week. The locals didn't like it though - they were all bundled up in big down coats and gloves. I even saw a ski mask one day. Meanwhile I was wearing short sleeves but usually had a jacket in case it got windy...and even then I was sweating sometimes (hopefully because my body wasn't used to this warm weather and not because I am fat).
No Lenny for you.
Vegas is kind of dead in January, not much in way of concerts and events (I guess Miss America was there and I met a few contestants...but I couldn't really care less about it as an event)...but Lenny Kravitz was playing the night we arrived. Unfortunately by the time we got there, got checked in, got set up for the trade show (World of Concrete? Exciting!), and grabbed a quick bite to eat...the concert would have been nearly over and I am not paying $70 for 15-20 minutes. I was sad to have missed it.
Hooker Trading Cards.
Since there wasn't a whole lot to do, I ended up walking the strip some. I started a new collection of Hooker Trading Cards, since I gave them all away from last time. I was pretty surprised when 90% of the ones I collected were different from last time. I figured they used the same cards for years. I was impressed with their initiative for variety. You wouldn't want the hooker trading card business to stagnate.
Todd Goldman Sucks.
We stopped at an art gallery featuring Todd Goldman. I can't tell you how much he pisses me off, he doesn't have an original thought in his head. EVERYTHING is stolen from someone else. I knew I had seen a few ideas that he ripped off before but as I looked at all his prints, posters, and originals...almost every one I could place elsewhere. Like the one showing a lady smoking and it says "Smoking Kills...but at least you look cool." That T-shirt has been around for years and was not designed by Todd...just because he painted/copied it (exactly) but made the teeth yellow, does not constitute an original work in my mind. Especially one selling for $8500. Todd Goldman, you are not Andy Warhol. You are a talentless vampire feeding off lesser known artists.
What I really love about Vegas is all the different and interesting restaurants. I am pretty sure you could eat at a different, cool, kick-ass restaurant every day of the year without repeating (well you could if you could afford it). Since I wasn't paying, I was more than happy to go out to a bunch of fancy restaurants but the guys I was with weren't always up for it (wusses) but I had to eat with them since I don't have a company credit card and they do. We did go to a couple good places. Rum Jungle - this is a restaurant/club in Mandalay Bay. We got their early (for Vegas) around 8:30pm so the place was completely dead and they didn't have the dancers in the cages yet. Oh well, it was still a cool place...and the food was awesome. We got the Fire Pit. Which is a bunch of different meats cooked on skewers over an open flame and then the come and slice you off a big chunk to try and you can have as much as you like. Stuff like Jamaican BBQ brisket, Jalapeno & mango chicken, Salmon with mango salsa, Italian sausage, chicken wrapped in apple bacon, etc... It was all fantastic. But my favorite ended up being the pineapple rice and caramelized plantains that they brought us to start. I could have just eaten that all day long. It ended up being like a 7 course meal and I was stuffed by the time we left. Highly recommended. Other places we tried: Bahama Breeze - it is a restaurant close to the convention center where the show was. I ordered a filet mignon and although there was nothing super fancy about it, it was cooked perfect and delicious. It came with garlic mashed potatoes and a single onion ring...of course this onion ring was about 7 inches in diameter. No idea where you get an onion like that but it was very tasty. Recommended. Hard Rock Cafe - I'd eaten here before but everyone else wanted to stop. I was hungry for a burger, so that's what I ordered. It was horrible...it was one of the worst burgers I have ever had (until Friday night). It was dry and tasteless and even the bun and topping seemed limp and boring. I've had better burger at Wild Dingos here in Des Moines just a week prior. NOT recommended. Jack-in-the-Box - we stopped at one of these late Friday night about 2:30am...just for a quick bite. Not being that hungry, I wanted just a small hamburger but to make it easy I just ordered a number 1 combo. I figured number 1 must be their best and most popular. It was a huge black angus burger...way more than I wanted which would have been fine if it tasted okay. It didn't. I didn't like it at all...and the fries were gross. NOT recommended. Nora's Italian Restaurant - this is a place way out of the way in Vegas...more of a local eatery than a tourist trap restaurant. It was good, it's Italian so I always find that hard to mess up. Their fried calamari appetizer was pretty good (although dipping sauce was a little weak). Recommended if you want to get away from the strip. The Burger Bar - a place specializing in burgers where you can choose from like 80+ different toppings. You can also get a burger with white truffles and other fancy toppings that cost like $269. I'll pass on that one. I got a Classic American Cheeseburger...and it was amazing. I never had a burger be so perfect, between the cooking and the balance of toppings and seasonings...it was just really great and made up for the other two burgers I had. Sexpresso - a coffee shop where all the waitresses are in lingerie. I hate coffee but want to stop for the experience but no one else wanted to take the time. No Fatburger...since I first went to Vegas I have wanted to go to Fatburger but something has always come up to ruin my plans. This trip I had it firmly in my schedule to eat their Saturday night before I went to a concert but with the change of hotels and other confusion going on I ran out of time. Next time Fatburger, I promise! (I will be so happy if they greet me with "Welcome to Fatburger, home of the Fatburger. Can I take your order please?")
Cirque du Soleil.
I really wanted to see Cirque du Soleil KA which is the one where the stage turns vertical and they are all hanging from ropes while performing. I thought that sounded really cool but it was not to be, KA was not performing all week. So I had to choose another one, the other guys I was with decided they would like to see one too, so we chose Zumanity. It was close to our hotel (or WAS close) and it was the one with boobs. Boobs are good. I am always up for boobs. It was a good show, the girls in the fish bowl were awesome, the hula hoop girl was great, the contortionist guy was cool and creepy...I just wish there was more Cirque du Soleil feats of impossibility rather than joking around with the crowd. I would recommend it because it was really good...I just hoped for a little more. Might have been better with a girlfriend since it was supposed to turn you on. I did manage to entertain others in line waiting to pick up tickets when the lady said "You do realize that this show contains nudity, sexuality, and lewd language?" and my reply was "Of course, that is why we chose this one."
So why we were at the trade show on Friday, I get a text from my brother telling me that our hotel was one fire...well he didn't know it was our hotel, he was just joking around asking if I lit the Monte Carlo on fire...so it was pretty strange. After I confirmed with him that yes it was on fire, I turned to the other two guys with me and said "oh by the way, our hotel is on fire." They didn't believe me at first but went to look out the convention center windows and yep there was the black smoke. A quick internet check by one of them confirmed it.
You could tell one of them started stressing out. I was like "let my stuff burn. I have nothing irreplaceable, plus the hotel will pay me back." But the others were a little more worried. It made the last day of the trade show go really fast and made me sing many songs during the slow times like "The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire" and "Burning down the house." I don't think they appreciated my song stylings. Anyhow we quickly made new reservations at the Hilton Vacations which was right by the convention center (this is why Zumanity was no longer close to our hotel...our hotel was on fire). After the show we drove past the hotel and I took a few pictures with my cell phone. I found the whole thing fun and interesting. I had never been involved with a major fire before (and no I didn't start it...well as far as you and the police know, I didn't). Still hours later, the whole place was surrounded by fire trucks and cops...you couldn't get near it. Since we didn't know when we were going to be able to get our stuff, my company was kind enough to buy us some jeans and a shirt for the night (we were going to Zumanity that night)...I ended up getting a pair of jeans at the Marc Ecko Cut & Sew shop. They have a skull on the pocket which I both love and think is a little cheesy.
I really like the Cut & Sew line of clothes, which came as a little bit of a surprise since I hate the Ecko Unlimited line. I would suggest them. So anyhow, we went to Zumanity and by the time it was over they were letting people back into their rooms to get their stuff. It was about 2am. So we headed over to the hotel. I was a little surprised because it was only about 14 hours after the fire. I figured in the very least that they would wait 24. The hotel had people all over the place, so you couldn't get into any parts of the hotel that were closed off or damaged. They had people escort you up to your rooms and wait (outside the door) while you packed. Then you had to fill out all this paper work saying that you picked up your stuff and if anything was missing or damaged. All my stuff was there and fine but I wonder how many people tried filing false claims? It definitely made the trip interesting...I think the fire was my favorite part of the trip. Oh and thanks for all the messages asking if I started it! Geez...you start one field on fire when you are young and all of a sudden you are an arsonist! Actually what cracked me up was when the president of our company called and asked if we were dead yet. Ha ha...you can't get rid of me that easy!
Social Distortion and a lack of sleep.
I went to go see Social Distortion at the House of Blues. Truthfully, I hadn't listened to them in years but I have always enjoyed them. It was a good show. There was a young girl (around 16 or 17 by the looks) who turned to me and said "I can't believe how many old people are here!" I am sure she thought I was younger than I am. I turn to her and say "You think a band that has been playing for 30 years may have picked up a fan or two along the way? Just because you have only been listening to them for a year or two (maybe) doesn't mean everyone else hasn't liked them for a lot longer. I started listening to them in like 1990 or '91 and I felt late to the party then." I felt a little bad because I think I came off kind of harsh...but really did she think the world revolved around her that much? Anyhow, I get out of the show around 1am and there is a message for me. Our flight has been canceled so instead of leaving around 9am, we now leave at 6am and have to leave for the airport at 4am! I still need to pack. I get home around 1:30am and quickly pack and get maybe an hour of sleep before I have to wake up. Normally I wouldn't have tried sleeping at all but with the fire and everything and being up super late that night...I needed at least a little. So our original flight was canceled where we would go from Vegas to Denver to Des Moines...our new earlier route went from Vegas to LA to Denver to Des Moines. Leaving 3 hours earlier and arriving 3 hours later than we were originally supposed to. Suck! It all ended up okay though...but I was exhausted for the next couple days.
This isn't as nearly in-depth or funny as the recap I wrote the other day...but stupid myspace server error lost that one. If you have any questions though, feel free to ask.