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05 December 2008 @ 10:15 am
Las Vegas 2008  
We had a great time, and enjoyed perfect weather: sunny, high 60s/low 70s, around 50 at night. It's a brisk 24 degrees here in Pittsburgh this morning, and it just started to snow. Can we trade?

* When I travel to Albany, every po-dunk hotel in and around the town has free wifi in every room. At Luxor, it's $13.99 a day to rent their goddamn CAT-5. Fuck that noise. I'm logging all the rest of this as it happens, and saving it up for a post I'll make when I get home.

[I HAD to get online earlier to squee about Penn & Teller, so Remy helped me by tethering my laptop to his cellphone. For the remainder of the trip, however, there were no internets.]

* I've been here before, but I still can't get over the size of the mountains surrounding Vegas: around 11,000 feet in height. The Appalachians are little mounds of dirt in comparison.

* One thing I must've blocked out of my memory from last time: how damn aggressive every salesperson is. Especially the timeshare-pushing casino trolls- they pretend they're hotel staff and try to lure you in with talk of free or discounted show tickets- and the hundreds of people on the Strip who hand out pornographic cards for nudie shows. It's really dangerous when you're a Pittsburgher who's used to trading hellos with strangers. Can't do that, because everyone- everyone- is trying to sell you something. Stare straight ahead and don't say a word.

* It's always hard to figure out how to leave a casino. Signs are few and far between, and that's entirely on purpose.

* Our room had a view of the sunset that was right out of a Bob Ross painting. Myriad colors in the sky. Toward the north, there was a patch of haze on the horizon, and as the sun set, the haze turned deep brown. It was only in one small part of the sky. It reminded me of the Black Thing in A Wrinkle In Time.

* The room also had a spa, and a purple velvet couch. George Costanza would've been jealous.

* Our hotel's main attractions were a Criss Angel/Cirque du Soleil show, a fancy nudie show, and Carrot Top. Inexplicably, wherever you saw an ad for the nudie show, there was a Carrot Top ad right next to it. I'm not a man or an advertising executive, but this seems like a horrible marketing strategy to me. Someone who's trying to enjoy pictures of pretty girls in lingerie probably doesn't appreciate being simultaneously assaulted by Carrot Top's ugly mug. This ad agency has hit upon the most devastating boner-killer ever.

* At Excalibur, there was a store that had Mardi Gras beads/medallions for different pro sports teams: baseball, hockey, basketball, and football. What's hilarious about this is that every peg was absolutely crammed full of each team's beads... except the Steelers peg. It was down to maybe three sets. Apparently, there's a lot of black-and-gold love in Vegas. I bought one of the remaining sets of beads. Retarded, perhaps- leaving Steelers Country to buy yet more Steelers crap- but I was just too amused. The beads will go well with my Hines Ward jersey.

* Excalibur had a nudie show for the ladies: Australia's Thunder from Down Under. If the title isn't giggle-worthy enough, Remy and I saw this ad for it: "At Excalibur, the armor comes off." Makes me laugh so hard.

* Where can you see lions? Only in Kenya The MGM Grand.

* Mike's Hard Lemonade, in plastic bottles, right where you buy water and soda. You can buy as many as you want at one time, even just one. Yes, damn it, this is fascinating when you live in Pennsylvania, land of the Liquor Control Board Gestapo.

* Shiny new Star Trek TOS slot machines that play video clips from the show, OMG! Obviously, someone felt that we were owed for the loss of the Star Trek Experience. I had to try one. Put in $20, cashed out with $38.15 after winning nearly $30 on one play for lining up three "Jackpot" symbols (which, of course, were the TOS Enterprise insignia that later became the Starfleet insignia). Not bad!

* Five years ago, the slot machines dispensed quarters, and you needed coin buckets to cash out. Now, the machines spit out a ticket that you can redeem for cash, or stick right back into another machine. The machines don't even accept coins anymore, not even on nickel or penny slots! Just bills or tickets.

* Remy bought me a lovely wrap that can be worn as a skirt or dress, at least twelve different ways. Now that I have one, I can see how easy it would be to make more of them myself... ::schemes::

* My sister requested casino chips as a souvenir, so I got her a $1 chip from every casino we set foot in. Final chip count: 14. This does not include the Harley Davidson and M&Ms World chips that I got her in addition to those. The M&Ms chip is especially great. It depicts a nervous orange M&M with the caption, "I'M DOOMED!"

* One thing you can never be in Vegas is caffeine-deprived. Almost every single casino we went to has at least two Starbucks. At Luxor, you can stand at the Starbucks closest to the main entrance, and clearly see the second Starbucks down the hall, maybe thirty yards away.

* We spent almost all of Wednesday at the Venetian and Palazzo. So gorgeous, and with lots of neat stores. There was one store that had books and letters dating back to the 1700s (including numerous documents penned and/or signed by Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington). I was most intrigued by first-run publications of Mark Twain novels and Thomas Paine's Common Sense. Another store had ancient coins and artifacts. Plenty of stores had beautiful dresses that would only set you back about fifteen grand or so (!).

Throughout the shopping area were numerous people dressed up like statues, who'd come alive at various points to sing or perform. There were also a couple of women dressed up like ents, I shit you not. There's a full-fledged canal running through the Venetian, and we took a gondola ride through it. Our gondolier sang a few songs, and had a booming operatic voice.

We saw Blue Man Group that evening- my third BMG show! It was very similar to the show I caught in Vegas last time I went, but they took out a few of the "Audio" routines in favor of "How To Be a Rockstar" segments (during which they briefly covered Devo's "Whip It" and Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Freebird." They really need to play those all the way through and sell an album of it, it'd be awesome).

We meant to troll around all the casinos near the Venetian and Palazzo, but there was so much to explore in just those two casinos, and we were having such a good time, that we never got around to checking out anything else. Next time we come here, we'll stay at the Venetian and explore that part of the Strip in more detail.

* At night, it was around 40 or 50 degrees (as mentioned). Remy and I barely needed jackets. The natives, on the other hand, were crowding near outdoor heating lamps, hugging themselves, and throwing on thick coats and gloves. It made us giggle.

More pictures soon to follow!
a dreamer like youlutraphile on December 5th, 2008 09:32 pm (UTC)
Inexplicably, wherever you saw an ad for the nudie show, there was a Carrot Top ad right next to it.

I think I saw this on FailBlog!

Ahh, here we go.

more fail, owned and pwned pics and videos
Miusheri: bluescreenmiusheri on December 5th, 2008 10:16 pm (UTC)
LMAO! I'm glad I'm not the only one who saw that as a horrible idea!

(Remy wishes for me to point out that Excalibur was guilty of similar foolishness. That male revue of theirs was billed right alongside Louie Anderson, who's a total sex symbol amirite?)
Applesapples491 on December 6th, 2008 04:44 am (UTC)
Isn't the Luxor freaking awesome. Looking down the levels made me dizzy.

Yeah the slot machines don't accept coins so you have to spend at least a dollar, even at the penny slots. We ran into this in New Orleans. I had 5 minutes to kill so I sat down to waste it at penny slot and realized it would take me a half hour to burn through a dollar.

"One thing you can never be in Vegas is caffeine-deprived" - How about the vending machines along the street that only have energy drinks in them?

You guys didn't hit the stratosphere?
Miusheri: hello_cthulhumiusheri on December 6th, 2008 03:55 pm (UTC)
Someone told us that Luxor is the largest atrium in the world. Yeah, I definitely felt dizzy looking down from where our room was (22 floors up)!

I didn't notice the vending machines. I think I was too excited about seeing alcohol in convenience store settings again (where it SHOULD be, dangit!).

No, we didn't get to Stratosphere- or anything on the Strip north of Venetian, for that matter. Something to do next time we're there =)
The Perfidious One, amethyst_hunter: Kitteh failz at eatedamethyst_hunter on December 7th, 2008 05:14 am (UTC)
I want a purple velvet couch. Just because it would piss my parents off somethin' fierce. XD

*snickers at Carrot Top* I think I figured it out. The reason they put appetite-killers next to eye candy: You're in Vegas, home of the Gambling, am I rite? They know they need to get you in the buildings. So they tempt you with eye candy (male or female, your pick). But they don't want you spending all your time staring at the candy. They want you blowing your money so it becomes their money. So they put a nausea-inducing picture right next to the eye candy so that when you first see the eye candy, you go "Oooh dude, nekkid!...aw fuck, is that CARROT TOP?! Fuck that shit man, the elevator just went down for repairs. Ah screw it, I'll go drink some more Mike's Lemonade and spend a few rounds at the craps table..."

And voila' - gambling aplenty. XD
Miusheri: crikeymiusheri on December 8th, 2008 11:48 pm (UTC)
You'd be amazed at the lengths they go to to keep people gambling. The casinos are always easy to find. Everything else? Ha, good luck! And yeah, you're right, there's probably a lot of profit in keeping people horny, but not too horny. ;)

Some casinos are better than others about clearly indicating where things are. Luxor is unfortunately not one of them. If you get there and manage to find the front desk for check-in without getting lost once, you deserve a freaking medal.