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The Spiny and Vegas Reunion Tour

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by SpinyNorma, Jan 1, 2013.

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  1. SpinyNorma

    SpinyNorma Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Messages:
    218
    Location:
    Deep in the hot of Texas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    12

    My Trip Report

    Incidentally, this is a late posting but I'm hoping you'll join me in saying better late than never.

    It had been so long since I last set an aching foot in my beloved shiny, tacky Mecca--19 interminable, painful, jonesing months. Finally, however, my time had come. It was departure day!

    Thursday, 11/15/12




    My flight was leaving at 1:05 PM and I'd been up since 7 the night before, plus I hadn't slept much the day before either. To further celebrate my ability to plan things well, I'm way behind on my overpacking. I did at least have the laundry done but as to actual packing, not so much. I hadn't even decided on what to take and what not. You'd really think I'd be better at this by now.

    I did do some prep work while I was not sleeping or packing. I printed off my coupons, my Restaurant.com certificates, my flight information, etc and got all my bills paid online. I also had to make a Walmart run to stock up on stuff for my nephew Duncan (my nephew who takes care of the apartment and the cats for me when I'm gone) and the B Boys, the aforementioned legendarily doofball cats, to eat while I was gone, along with trip essentials like geezer cream.

    I had planned to squeeze a nap in there somewhere but every time I laid down I'd either think of something I needed to make sure I didn't forget and have to get up or, even worse, I'd lie there in that frustrating tired-but-not-sleepy mode. In between all the other fun, I had to deal with the B Boys who were not at all happy to see me packing stuff, especially Bubba. Bubba is a very cranky cat when he's displeased.

    I spent way too long doing a stupid little packing dance where I'd put stuff in, take some of it out, then put even more stuff in. I tried (No, really. I did. I tried.) to make a desperate and futile effort to fight my usual urge to overpack but I swear things would just appear and fling themselves into the suitcase.

    And then there was the laptop. I have a USB thing from Virgin Mobile Broadband2Go that I use for my internet on these trips. It's a no contract thing so I just activate it before I go. Easy peasy.

    Or at least it always had been. I usually go ahead and activate it earlier but I had to wait for payday which was the day I was leaving. Once we passed midnight and my check was in the bank, I plugged in the USB, hit connect and....nothing. It kept saying the remote computer or some such wouldn't respond. Uh oh.

    I left it on and kept coming back to it through the night and morning, trying to get a connection but my luck didn't improve. After a while, I had to concentrate my efforts on cramming too much crap into my suitcase and ignored the whole USB thing.

    As it was getting closer to time to go, I saw the laptop had put itself into suspend mode and decided to give the connection thing another try. That's when I was reminded that things can always get worse. Now it wouldn't turn on at all. No response. Nothing. Just that black blank screen silently taunting me as I darkly muttered the longest string of cuss words ever put together at one time.

    After a bit of debate, I decided to go ahead and bring it along anyway, praying that it was merely in a comatose state and not pushing up cyber daisies. Hope springs infernal.

    Since I wasn't having any luck resuscitating the laptop, I put it in its carrier so it could think about the wickedness of its ways and then returned to something I was good at--overpacking.

    I had gotten some of those compression bags to use this trip. Of course it never occurred to me to try them out before I was actually leaving. Noooooooo, that would have taken all the adventure out of it.

    It seemed simple enough, which is always the warning sign of fresh hell afoot. You put in the clothes, roll it up, and the air goes out of a one way valve, leaving you with clothes that take up a lot less room in your case. A lovely theory except I didn't see any valve and there wasn't a lot of air coming out of the bag.

    Eventually, my last functioning brain cell clicked into place and I realized that the "valve" was actually the bottom of the bag. It's amazing how much better it worked once I stopped rolling it in a way that compressed where the air was supposed to come out. It also helped a lot when I didn't pack nearly as much stuff in the bags.

    They do actually save a good bit of space when you're packing, although I belated began to realize that this wasn't necessarily such a good thing when you have a tendency to overpack in the first place. Not that I let this stop me.

    I thought I was almost done when I saw a Tshirt that I know I had intended to take with me so I unzipped the case yet again and squeezed it in there.

    Duncan arrived just as I was finishing Take #741 of packing (Packing/cramming crap in there--let's not quibble) and took the suitcase away from me, putting it near the door to take out in a few minutes.

    But first I had to make his eyes shine with delight as I showed him the excessively long list of things for him to remember while I was gone and then proceeded to tell him pretty much everything on there anyway. Since much of it was stuff he already knew, I could tell that he especially enjoyed it. No wonder he loves house/cat sitting for me.

    It was getting close to time to head out so I went into the bedroom to change. I was going to be wearing black pants so I had decided to wait until the very last minute to dress in the futile hope to keep them cat hair free. Once again, I am optimism's bitch.

    As he headed down the stairs to take my suitcase down to the car for me, I realized why that shirt I had wanted to take with me was out--I had planned to wear it.

    As good a look as black pants, a bra, and a hoodie jacket is on a middle aged fat woman, I decided I'd best go formal and wear a shirt. Fearing that he might actually collapse with joy if I asked him to haul the luggage back up three flights of stairs, I decided I'd just go with a green Tshirt which had, after suffering motion sickness from being put in/taken out/put back in/taken out again several times, finally ended up winning the lottery and getting to go after all.

    Soon after he got back, I said goodbye to the B Boys, told Duncan a couple of more things he already knew, got my obligatory eye roll and bone-crushing hug, then headed off to Rinky Dink airport.
     
  2. SpinyNorma

    SpinyNorma Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Messages:
    218
    Location:
    Deep in the hot of Texas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    12
    The trip to Rinky Dink Airport was happily unremarkable. The radio started playing Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road just as I turned in on that last stretch. I'm not sure why but it seemed somehow appropriate.

    I got checked in without any problems. I held my breath a little when they took my suitcase but apparently it managed to squeak in under the weight limit. This made me feel so festive I decided to hit the bathroom, belatedly realizing that perhaps all those cokes I'd been drinking last night and this morning might not have been my best idea. (I hear there are people who realize things in a timely manner rather than belatedly. Tell me, competent people, what's that like?)

    Since it was too late to do anything about that now, I went outside for a last smoke before it was time to go--or at least I hoped so. Rinky Dink was notorious for running behind time. This was my first time flying out of there since they'd finally joined the previous century and gotten jet planes instead of prop jobs.

    People were lining up for security when I came back in so I crossed my fingers and joined the line. Amazingly, no one annoyed me by wearing overly elaborate footgear and the line moved quickly.

    I stepped up to the table and grabbed some cartons, then began the dance of maybe-this-will-be-the time-I-will-remember-to-take-everything-out-and/or-off-that-was -supposed-to-be-out-and-off before going through the X ray machine. Hey, it could happen.

    As I was taking my laptop out, it seemed disturbingly warm, almost hot. There was no time to debate what to do so I sent it on through, hoping it wouldn't spontaneously combust or otherwise earn me the joy of "special attention".

    I got through fine (Okay, I had to go through the metal detector twice because the first time I went through, I remembered to take everything out of my pockets but my cell phone. Again. Tradition!) but the guy ahead of me was singled out for the dubious honor of special attention. As I was gathering up the first round of my stuff, I heard him somewhat crankily on his cell with his daughter, who had apparently packed for him, asking what she had put in there.

    The rest of my stuff was just shooting down the security bunny slope as the TSA guys came trotting up to Cell Phone Guy with his carry on bag to invite him to open it up for them. I gathered up my stuff and scurried over to the waiting area before they recognized me from previous idiocies.

    My toasty laptop didn't seem to faze them any but I decided to go ahead and take the battery out, figuring that ought to cool it down. That done, I looked up and saw that the plane we were supposed to board was actually there! My past experiences with RD made me consider this to be a happy miracle.

    We may have moved on up to jets but they're still small jets so it didn't take long for it to empty out and for us to board. As I was getting in line, I saw that Mr Next-time-I-ought-to-pack-my-own-luggage guy had survived his inspection and would be joining us.

    I quickly find my seat, stash my stuff under the seat ahead of me, and then begin battle with the seat belt, which was apparently expecting one of the Olsen twins rather than, well, me. Just when I thought I was going to have to concede defeat, I heard the sweet click of success.

    I usually do puzzle books during the part where they won't let you turn on electronic devices like my Kindle but I couldn't find what I'd done with the ones I had set out to bring so I was forced to just sit there and actually watch the attendant do her Mime Dance of Doom to get us in the right frame of mind to be tens of thousands of feet in the air.

    I wanted to check on my laptop as the flight went on but that wasn't going to happen without undoing the belt and I wasn't sure I could win that battle twice so I just sat there and hoped I wouldn't see any tiny mushroom clouds creep out of the carrier.

    It's only a 40 minute flight so a good portion of the time is in the no electronics zone. Without the puzzles, I was forced to be good and catch up on my trip notes. Unfortunately, the flight was a little bumpy and my handwriting, at the best of times, tends to be what is politely described as "distinctive".

    Between the bumpiness and having been up about 19 hours at this point, my handwriting now looked like I'd dictated it to a doctor who was on the tail end of a three day meth binge. I'm surprised I didn't have to hire an interpreter to translate it for me later.

    On the bright side, my ears didn't give me any trouble on the flight. I had been afraid they would since they've been a little problematic and had been feeling blocked up for a while now. I did spend a lot of time either saying "Huh?" or just taking a shot at what people said but aliens didn't try to burst through my eardrums so I was good.

    Bouts of boredom and the Handwriting of the Damned aside, the flight was unremarkable. Upon landing, I finally escaped the inappropriately intimate groping of my Seatbelt From Hell and made my way into DFW. As soon as I found a stopping place, I checked my laptop.

    The fever had broken! Not feeling like pressing my luck, I left the battery out and made my way to my gate--and that meant finding the hidden elevator so I could brave the horror of the heights involved in getting to the tram.

    Amazingly, it wasn't that bad. Maybe they did some minor modifications to that area so you didn't have to constantly see how high up you are. Maybe having survived toting around my own personal nuclear reactor disguised as a laptop had butched me up. Or maybe I was just too tired to care.

    Once back on solid ground floor, I found my gate and got a bit of lunch while I waited out my long layover. While I was killing time reading my Kindle, I was blindsided and taken hostage by a bad case of marathon yawning.

    They're about to start calling people to board but I am once again one of the lowest of the lowly, the dreaded Group 4, so I've got ample time to hit the bathroom one last time. It turned out to be a good idea. Aside from the obvious reason, while washing up afterwards, I saw that the yawn-a-thon had mutated my Supermodel of the Gods makeup into something that made me look like Alice Cooper at the end of a really rough night.

    After a quick patch job, I came back to discover they were calling for boarding. As I suspected, I had plenty of time. "Platinum! First class! People with special needs! Group 1! Group 2! The entire state of Indiana! Take your time, take your time--the lowly groups can wait. Okay, Group 3!"

    Filled with anticipation, my fellow lowlies start to edge forward. "Not so fast there, Group 4! Don't you give us those We Have a Dream puppy dog eyes, hoping for mercy. Go sit back down until we call for the You Poor Bastards Group."

    Sadly, we shuffle away and watch them as they whisper together, trying desperately to come up with anyone else in the free world that they could call up to board before us but the time has finally come when they have to let us board.

    Weary from sitting in the waiting area for so long, we lurch forward, dreaming futilely of protest but our butts are just too dead. Besides, they know they have us where they want us. All torches, pitchforks, and Angry Villager costumes have been confiscated by the TSA, rendering us powerless, so we meekly make our way on board.
     
  3. SpinyNorma

    SpinyNorma Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Messages:
    218
    Location:
    Deep in the hot of Texas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    12
    We took off on time at 4:45 but the beverage cart didn't make its way back to my area until 6:05 (still on Texas time)--only to leave me in thirsty bewilderment as they shoot on past like they were being chased by Justin Bieber impersonators.

    The pilot came on speaker and garbled something about turbulence. What a bunch of sissies! My caffeine levels were dangerously low and I needed an infusion of Vitamin C. Having already spazzed out and tried to spill a glass of tea into my shirt pocket back at the airport, I wasn't afraid of a little turbulance. Hell, I'd have just been happy to have an excuse for spilling on myself this time.

    I did eventually get my drink and even more eventually, I could see the shiny tackiness of my favorite city winking enticingly at me. I was eager to get out there but first I must be taunted by having to wait the life span of one of those old yogurt-eating Russians before I can even get up to stand in the aisle.

    I would have only had to wait the life span of a gerbil but the guy sitting in the aisle seat wants me to spend the time contemplating why it is people get an aisle seat and then refuse to get up until the very last possible minute, usually followed by a bonus round of veeeeeeery slowly getting their stuff out of the overhead before releasing his combination row mates and hostages.

    But at long last, I am once again free and begin the pilgrimage to the baggage claim area. All is going well till I get to the first elevator. Remember how I said at DFW that I seemed to have gotten over my heights thing? As it turns out, my heights thing was just resting up so it could leap up out of nowhere, scream "BOOGA BOOGA!" at me, and watch my heart and stomach attack me viciously.

    I'm sorry to say the plan worked perfectly, aided by its co-conspirator, the elevator designed by Satan Lloyd Wright. This particular Moving Box of the Damned is not only encased in clear walls but it's set on a Peninsula of Terror, jutting out miles above the lower floor and heart-stoppingly surrounded by demon-constructed horrifyingly clear guardrails.

    In case I've been too subtle here, I don't like this elevator but its horror pales next to the Devil's Staircase (known as the escalator by more hearty souls) so I deal with it. Remember when I said I had a thing about heights? Yeah, I wasn't kidding.

    Now, I can disguise myself as a relatively normal person if the elevator car is already at the top or, better yet, if some brave soul steps up and summons the car already so all I have to do is slip in quickly. When the car is downstairs, however, and I have to look down that empty shaft....Well, I usually just wait for someone to come summon the car. Hey, I already admitted I was a wuss.

    But no one was being cooperative about that this time. I had a moment of hope when an old lady started tottering toward it but then her husband, played convincingly by Beelzebub, harangues her into using the escalator instead. I manage to resist the urge to scream "You bastard!" at him and instead go back to waiting for one of my unwitting minions to step up.

    And eventually that does happen. Just as I'm about to break into my Prancing Dance of Eventual Triumph, the Gods of Irony (When It Rains, It Pours Division) step up to play. Here comes someone pushing somebody in a wheelchair...followed by someone else pushing somebody in a wheelchair...followed by someone else pushing somebody in a wheelchair.

    It's starting to look like the handicapped version of the Sorcerer's Apprentice. All in all, we end up with 4 pushers and 4 wheelers at the elevator, leaving no room for me to squeeze in there. Just as I'm trying to convince myself that it won't sound too pathetic for me to holler, "Hey, send that car back up, would you?" at them, one pair steps off and tells the others they'll wait for the next car. YES!

    As we wait, I fight the urge to express my love and undying gratitude to the guy who decided to wait. Fighting this urge becomes easier when he cavalierly leans over the guardrail, unleashing a frenzy of vicarious vertigo in me.

    After that, making it to baggage claim is relatively easy. Finding the right carousel so I can claim said baggage, however, is harder work but I do eventually triumph. I've passed my 24 hour point of being awake and I'm also by now in serious need of a dose of Vitamin N.

    Since I'm starting this reunion tour with a stay downtown, I'm taking the shuttle instead of a cab. The bright spot to taking the shuttle is that there's always a wait time so I ought to be able to squeeze in a smoke before we head out, right?

    Wrong. I manage to pick the only shuttle in all of Vegas that's ready to leave right this minute, even though I make only the fourth passenger. I tell my ever-pinkening lungs to hang on and off we go.

    Of course I'm the last one to get dropped off but the ride wasn't overly long. This is a new shuttle line. I wish I'd caught the name because it was a good one. The van was comfortable and the driver was friendly and efficient.

    He drops me off at the Fremont and, after first making a wrong turn, I make my way inside. It's official--I'm in Vegas, Baby!
     
  4. SpinyNorma

    SpinyNorma Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Messages:
    218
    Location:
    Deep in the hot of Texas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    12

    I had been staying at Fitzgerald's the last few visits but since it stopped being the F and started being The D...well, they've been pretending they don't even know me.

    The Fremont, on the other had, offered me a deal for $29 a night for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. I didn't have to think about it too hard. I decided to play hard to get and snubbed The D right back.

    Check in at the Fremont was quick and easy. Within minutes I was in room 621, located only a few easy steps from the elevator--one which was blessedly solid and not at all see-through.

    It had been several years since I'd been there. The room was small but not claustrophobic. The bathroom was also small but not as tiny as the last time I'd stayed there. There was a big flat screen TV and a free safe as well.

    The bed was pretty comfortable, although a little harder than I prefer, with three large firm pillows. The window was shuttered rather than curtained but I use a sleep mask so early morning light sneaking in wasn't a problem for me. I had a stunning view of the side of Binions where the bus stops and the Plaza shining in the distance.

    There was a minor weird moment when I first came in the room. Someone had left the clock radio on, low and not quite on the station. For a moment there, it sounded like those electronic "voices" you can hear in static sometimes that some people say are ghosts. Happily, I figured out what it was just before I started chanting "I do believe in spooks! I do believe in spooks!".

    As usual, no matter how tired I am when I finally arrive, I got a second wind and am compelled to go out into the shiny tackiness. I stopped at the players desk and got a new card, then headed out to wander a little.

    Lunch was but a dim and distant memory so I stopped in at Magnolia's and got a French dip. This energized me enough to mosey down Fremont Street and get a couple of cokes to take back to the room. On the way back, I stopped at Mermaids and got that glorious salute to utter American decadence, the fried Twinkie, plus a shiny tacky free necklace.

    I listened to the band for a little bit and they were pretty good, although I didn't catch their name. They were a cover band, not of any particular group but of 80's songs in general. Their cover of a Blondie song was particularly good.

    I took my loot back to the room where I iced the cokes in my handy insulated bag and then ate the Twinkie. The sugar rush then told me I should go back downstairs and try out my new players card. A sugar rush has never given anyone bad advice, after all, so off I went.

    My luck wasn't great but wasn't awful, which was pretty much the theme for the gambling portion of the entire trip. I didn't win big but went up and down enough to kill some time but didn't do badly enough to consider killing anything else. If I'm interpreting the handwriting in my notes, which was truly catastrophic by this point, correctly I turned $50 into $8 and then back into $30 before moseying back up to my room.

    Once there, I caught up my notes and decided, since I was pressing my luck anyway, to try out the laptop. I put the battery back in, closed my eyes, and pressed the start up button. To my happy surprise, it actually booted right up! WOOHOOO!

    My luck ran out when I inserted the USB thing and tried to connect again. Still no connection. This time I finally had the bright idea to check my paperwork again and realized the problem. The device was for Windows XP but that laptop had died and the one I had now was on Windows 7.

    I was saddened to realize my great little cheap internet device was no good to me now but at least I wouldn't have to waste any more time and frustration trying to get it to connect. And my laptop wasn't dead after all so that was big win, albeit a taunting one. Semi-YAY!

    After that excitement, my lack of sleep caught up with me and I passed out for a while. After being up for so long, I expected to be comatose for a long time but instead I woke up again after only two or three hours. This would also be a theme for me. The whole time I was there, I don't think I slept through once and instead slept like a cat, taking a series of long naps.

    Since I was up anyway, I got dressed and headed back out. I played a couple of new Monopoly games without being shown a lot of love. I showed them and stumbled away in a huff. I found a Monopoly Grand Hotel game, hit a couple of bonuses, and turned $30 into $70.

    Deciding to try that quitting-while-you're-ahead thing I've heard so much about, I headed outside. Fremont Street was largely shut down by then so I moseyed over to see what they'd done with The D. During my wanderings, I came across the new coney place and got a hot dog before heading back. It was a pretty good dog but I wouldn't make a huge point to go back again.

    Back in my room, I took a shower. The hot water was good but the water pressure not so much. Also, the shower head is positioned in an oddly low position. I'm about 5'5 and would have had to duck my head to shampoo my hair. Still, since all I was doing was showering and not trying to wash my hair, it was fine.

    I read for a while afterwards until I was ready for yet another in a series of good hard naps, this one lasting until morning.
     
  5. SpinyNorma

    SpinyNorma Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Messages:
    218
    Location:
    Deep in the hot of Texas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    12

    Friday, 11/16/12

    I came out of my mini-coma around 8. I had wanted to try this new restaurant called Eat which was supposed to be about a block off Fremont and I figured I'd head that way for breakfast. I hadn't written down the address or directions because I expected to be able to look it up online and, well, we all know how well that plan ended up working out.

    I did remember that I'd seen directions that mentioned it being on the same cross street as El Cortez. I was thinking it was on 7th and Ogden. It seemed like a good idea to take a shot at finding it. After all, I'm known for my sense of direction and my navigational skills.

    There aren't a lot of people out that early in the morning and most of those are looking a little sketchy, especially as you get off Fremont Street. To add to the fun, my right shoe has begun cannibalizing my sock with a vengeance.

    The left side is behaving itself appropriately but the right shoe has turned into a footwear version of Charlie Brown's kite-eating tree, causing me to stop every few feet to rescue the sock from its ravenous clutches with a fierce yank. Come to think of it, I'm sure I looked pretty sketchy my own self.

    I'm not seeing any sign of Eat so I finally decided to give up and head back, cutting through El Cortez to get back to Fremont proper. I stop in at Walgreens and a couple of the souvenir shops to look around in between sock-yankings.

    I ended up at Binions for breakfast. I'm normally not big on breakfast food but I had a hankering for it this morning so I got the ham and eggs. It was pretty good and came to around $10, I believe.

    I moseyed back to my home hotel, figuring to visit with Monopoly Grand Hotel again since it had been so friendly to me last night. Apparently it was a bit of a Ho because I discovered it was entertaining someone else instead.

    I decided to make it jealous with a little I Love Lucy slot time. As it turned out, Lucy was something of a bitch and had some 'splainin' to do about turning my $70 ticket from last night into $50. No wonder Ricky never would let her be in his show.

    I took that $50 back to Grand Hotel, which was now free again. I got a Colorado Bulldog from the cocktail waitress and began my roller coaster slot ride. I hit a few bonuses, not huge ones but enough to bring me up to $60. I celebrated by playing that back down to the original $50 I'd put in.

    Now that I was officially Even Steven, I made my way back to my room and festively took another long nap.
     
  6. SpinyNorma

    SpinyNorma Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Messages:
    218
    Location:
    Deep in the hot of Texas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    12
    Once I woke up and rejoined the vertical world again, I went out wandering once more and caught some of the light shows. I do really love the American Pie one. The Bon Jovi one, while fine, made me realize that I apparently don't know a lot of Bon Jovi songs, probably because I was too cool. Yeah, that was it.

    While I was in my tragically hip mode, I went over to the players club at the D and got myself a card. I have to admit, it did look cooler than my old card for The F. I'm pretty sure I picked up an aura of vicarious cool from the new card.

    I had decided to try the steak and lobster special at Tony Roma's that night. It didn't start till 9 so I had some time to kill. Part of that time I devoted to continuing my Quest for this trip. Yes, those pesky Gods of Irony had swooped down upon me yet again by, despite my notorious tendency toward overpacking, making me forget to bring some essential things. One of those essential things was a hairbrush.

    I had figured that this would be more of an overpriced annoyance than anything. I mean seriously, how hard can it be to find a hairbrush? As it turned out, harder than you'd think. Oh, I could find overpriced hairbrushes but all the wrong kind.

    I could find the kind that have the individual bristles with the little balls on top but those are really rough on my hair and I couldn't bring myself to pay bank loan prices to get one of those. All I wanted was the old school kind, the ones with lots of plastic bristles, the kind that have been in use since I was a kid (and there's no need to do the math on how long that's been). I had vowed that I was going to be damn stubborn about it too. Yeah, yeah, so unlike me.

    For the record, I wasn't in the meantime wandering about with my hair mutating into a Tower of Tangles piece of bad art. I had braided it Thursday before leaving and just left it in the braid. Admittedly, that braid was looking decidedly fuzzy by Friday night but it was the best of bad options.

    Just when I was starting to try to calculate the odds of being able to make fuzzy braids with flyaway hair the latest coif trend, I found one! It was a tiny brush the size of a palm (That would be the hand version) for the price of a palm (tree version) but I found it!

    I was already dazzling people with my amazing cool factor so I resisted the urge to add to it by expressing my joy in Interpretive Dance and just went to the counter and paid for it like a regular person. I took my new Precious back to my room and began working out the snarls.

    By then it was almost 9, which was when the steak and lobster special started. I found my way to Tony Roma's and got on the waiting list. I was told it would be about twenty minutes to a half hour. Later I would come to truly admire the hostess's ability to say such outrageous things with a straight face.

    I went out into the casino to kill some time while I waited. That wasn't such a good idea and ended up costing me even more money than the brush did. It was coming up on the promised half hour point anyway so I made my way back to Tony Roma's to wait out those last few minutes. Once again, I was optimism's bitch.

    A mere eternity later, they called my name and lead me back into the restaurant to my tiny table. I wish I could say it was all worthwhile but I wasn't that impressed. The food was okay but not great and the waiter showed up seldom enough that I began to think of these little visits as Special Guest Appearances.

    I almost had to tackle him to get the check. Once I finally got the check and gave him a $20 to cover the bill, I found myself starting to consider putting out an APB on him to get my change back. He wasn't bad enough to get no tip but he sure as hell wasn't getting a big one.

    Once I got my change and made my escape, I went back out to Fremont Street. The 80's cover band was back. Once again, I didn't catch their name but they were still good.

    A lot of people hate the trend of the last few years of people dressing up as various characters in hopes of tourists giving them tips to have their pictures taken with them. I don't mind it and kind of enjoy the ones that put some effort and imagination into it.

    That said, there were a lot fewer ones that struck me as interesting this time. I saw a lot more people just sitting around with signs listing various reasons you should give them money and most of the characters were just wearing costumes of standard cartoon characters. Pretty unimpressive.

    There was a pirate and his saucy busty wench that I remembered seeing the last time I was there. They seemed to put a lot into it and to be having a good time with it. Apparently the KISS army has been downsized. Last time I saw at least two full "bands" but this time I only saw one guy by himself dressed as one of the KISS guys.

    There were two new ones that caught my eye, although this was probably at least partially because they were really tall. One was a tall cloaked alien that I think was supposed to be from Mars Attacks. The other was Death, complete with scythe and glowing red eyes. He also had fake furry rectangular legs sticking out beneath his robe. I'm sure they were disguising stilts but it kind of made him look like a Mutant Gorilla version of Death.

    Outside of that, the only one that really stood out to me was a fairly androgynous person in a bikini. I wasn't really sure what gender they were but they were rather aggressively homely so I'm rooting that it was a guy.

    On that festive note, I got some more cokes along with another Fried Twinkie and made my weary way back to the room. Although I now knew that there was no point in trying to get my USB device to hook up to the internet, I turned on the laptop again.

    I saw a signal listed for the Plaza and on a whim, clicked on it. To my surprise, it did let me on. It was a terrible signal and kept dropping out on me but, hey, I'm an addict and I was jonesing. I was also too cheap to pay for internet at that point. I didn't even bother trying to play any games or anything but I did manage to check my email and send a couple of responses.

    Flush with pitiful triumph, I took a shower, read a bit, and crashed for a while.
     
  7. SpinyNorma

    SpinyNorma Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Messages:
    218
    Location:
    Deep in the hot of Texas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    12
    Saturday, 11/17/12



    I woke up once at some point in the wee hours. I went down to the casino for a bit but ended up getting played more than playing. I took that as a sign and headed back upstairs, stopping first at Dunkin Donuts for a donut and hot chocolate. I didn't win with the donut either since it was not as fresh as it could have been but the hot chocolate was good.

    After reading some more for a while, it was time to nap again. I stayed conked out till morning.

    During that brief shining moment when I had internet, I looked up Eat and came to a realization. The reason I never did find it was that I turned entirely the wrong direction on 7th, heading toward Ogden when I should have gone toward Carson.

    I decided to give it another try but only got as far as the far end of The D. My sock-eating shoe was at it again, nomming with even more enthusiasm this time, and I decided the hell with it. Instead, I turned around and decided to give The D a little play.

    It was early so there weren't a whole lot of people up and playing. I was drawn to The Hangover, where I did my usual roller coaster playing, eventually turning my $30 into $20. I only hit one bonus round where I won the very lowest progressive, raking in a massive $6. Still, it was fun and I managed to play a fair amount of time.

    Having demonstrated what a high roller I could be, I strutted back over to the Fremont. On the way, I saw they were setting up some sort of thing on the street between my hotel and that big souvenir store. It seemed to be mostly food carts, some of which were already smelling pretty good, so I made a note to check them out later.

    For now, I went for the brunch buffet. The line was fairly short that early so it didn't take long to get up to the cashier. I tried to apply my points to the meal but it turned out I hadn't set up a PIN so I just went with cash.

    I was pretty pleasantly surprised with the brunch. It was a lot better than the last time I'd had it and they had enough lunch foods that I left the breakfast side alone. They had a prime rib that was pretty good.

    There was a high class moment where I parked myself down at the wrong table when I came back with my first plate load. This served as a good reminder of why I usually leave something distinctive but not worth stealing on the table when I eat at buffets.

    The line had grown quite a bit by the time I left. I congratulated myself on timing it well (glossing over the part where I settled myself down at the wrong table) and strutted back to the room. As I was in the elevator, I remembered that I'd meant to go to the players desk to set a PIN but decided to blow it off. Now I'd definitely have something to look forward to.

    I tried to get online again but the Plaza connection was treating me like the interloper that I was and kept booting me off. Har-UMPH. I vegged out with some TV and reading until I was overtaken with the need to nap again.

    When I was ready to rejoin the vertical world again, I decided to go check out the street vendors who were set up and open by now. I didn't get anything then but made a mental note about a couple of promising ones.

    I'd put the Do Not Disturb sign on the door earlier that morning. Since I didn't really need anything, I didn't bother to take it off but housekeeping was coming out of the room next door just as I was leaving.

    She asked if I'd like to have her go ahead and do the room. I said I didn't actually need much done, maybe just grab the trash and I could use some more lotion. She offered to go ahead and restock all the amenities. It seemed rude to refuse so I told her I was willing to live it up if she didn't mind.

    I remembered something I meant to bring with me so I went back in while she was doing something with the cart. Since she'd been so nice, I had a what-the-hell moment and went ahead and consolidated the two small bags of trash that I'd had for her before leaving again.

    I had the urge to throw away some more money so I went into The D but then decided I'd take my high roller stakes back to the Fremont. After all, it's only polite to dance with the one who brung you.

    I went to the players desk and set up a PIN. That put me in a festive mood so I wandered around the casino, finally settling down at a Ghostbusters machine. I continued my tradition of roller coaster playing, getting one bonus round that didn't come to much. Eventually I was Ghostbusted so I cashed out and strutted my way to a ticket redemption machine to claim my whomping 80 cents that was left from my $20 investment.

    That sort of high rolling life can really take it out of you so I headed back to the street vendors. After another inspection tour, I settled on a catfish dinner, consisting of three big pieces of fish, mac and cheese, a really good mess of collard greens (For you Yankees, that's the correct technical term for a quantity of greens), and a piece of bread for $10.

    It was really good, although there was a startling moment when I realized that the packets I'd grabbed, which I thought were off brand ketchup, were instead packets of hot sauce. Luckily, I'm always suspicious of off brand ketchup and grabbed a few packets from the food court in the Fremont.

    Try though I might, I couldn't finish it all. Once again, I lamented that the hotel rooms in Vegas didn't come with refrigerators and microwaves as I sadly threw out the remains. I waddled into the bathroom where I saw that the housekeeper had stocked me with double of everything. I'm not sure if she just appreciated me consolidating the trash for her or maybe she was just touched by how pathetically happy I was to get more free crap.

    I grabbed my double dose of swag and put it in the bag I was using to take all this sort of stuff with me, then settled back on the bed to veg out. I ended up watching Sweet Home Alabama. I'd intended it mostly as background noise while I read or, if I was lucky, got online but I found myself actually paying attention to it because I got caught up in trying to tell if the guy playing Bobby Ray was actually a younger blonder version of the guy who plays Sheldon on Big Bang Theory.

    Internet access remained elusive so I couldn't look it up till later but I won't leave you hanging. It wasn't him. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0256121/ He didn't even look much like Sheldon in his IMDB picture but he did remind me of him a lot in that movie, right down to the expressions.

    I went ahead and checked out his other credits while I had the page open and it turned out I had seen him in some other things. One of his early credits seemed appropriate though--he was Rusty in Vegas Vacation. Everyone hold hands and sing about the Circle of Life while you wait for the next chapter.
     
  8. SpinyNorma

    SpinyNorma Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Messages:
    218
    Location:
    Deep in the hot of Texas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    12

    I devoted the late afternoon to vegging out, napping, and then vegging out some more. It's important to lead a balanced life. Now recharged, I headed out again.

    I caught the 8:00 light show of American Pie and then decided to go check out the Plaza. I'd been in it once for a few minutes, long before its renovation, so I thought I'd take a look. It had an odd smell to it, although I never could quite put my finger on what it was. On the bright side, it was pretty easy to find my way around in there and I quickly found the players desk where I got a card.

    Then I headed over to Pop Up Pizza, which I'd heard a lot about. It was while I was there that I realized I'd forgotten to replenish my money stash. I had enough for the pizza slice but no gambling money. Sometimes my own genius amazes me.

    The pizza was okay-to-pretty-good but, to be honest, I don't see what the fuss was about with the place. I will say that the cheese on it was a lot better than average though. I'd eat there again but I wouldn't make a huge effort to do so.

    There wasn't much choice but to head back to my room to get some more cash but first I wanted to find a bathroom. This is when I learned that the Plaza makes it easy to find its restaurants, players desk, etc but it would make you work hard to find a bathroom.

    When you really need a bathroom, time is measured in dog years and my bladder was starting to feel like a very old dog. At long last, just before tragedy struck, I finally found where they'd hidden one just past the food court beyond the registration desk.

    Now that I could walk without fear of starting a flash flood in the desert, I headed back to my room and restocked my wallet. I decided not to bother with carrying my purse and headed toward the street to catch the 10:00 light show of Queen.

    In the elevator on the way down, it dawned on me that I'd forgotten to bring my room key. More genius! Was I on a roll or what? It figures--the one time I don't compulsively check to make sure I have the key before I leave the room. It was almost time for the light show so I figure I might as well catch it first before dealing with the key situation.

    Not long into the show, I sensed a commotion and looked around. I didn't see anything at first but then people parted a bit and I could see a guy lying on the ground, apparently unconscious, with a girl kneeling over him.

    I don't know if there was a fight or if he just passed out or what. I was about to head in to alert security when I saw EMT's arrive. They put him on a stretcher and left. I never did find out what happened there.

    Once the show was over, I headed back inside to deal with my own (happily much more minor) emergency. I went to the registration desk and confessed to being an idiot. I did have my wallet so I showed her my ID.

    There was another minor moment of idiocy when she asked my address for verification and I went blank. I can write it down but no one ever asks me to give my address verbally. Luckily, after a long second, my brain took mercy on me and provided the information.

    After that bit of brilliance, I decided maybe I'd better bring my purse after all and went back up to get it and also to make sure the new card worked. (It did.) Once back out on the street yet again, I debated and decided I didn't really care about going back to the Plaza. I decided to favor The D with my presence once again. I can be generous that way.

    The Hangover was open so I settled myself in there again. I got two bonus rounds, one of them pretty piddly but then I hit on the Crazy Chow bonus which bumped my $30 into $60. Actually, it bumped it up a bit more than that but I played it back down to $60. It's all part of my plan to keep myself humble.

    I did some more wandering around in souvenir shops and picked up a couple of things. I eventually made my way back over to Magnolia's where I got the prime rib, which was really quite good.

    Not too much of interest happened after that. I went back to my room where I considered packing but decided to make a Noble Sacrifice and fight the internet again instead. I didn't do too well in that battle and ended up catching up my notes instead.

    Since I was leaving tomorrow, I then gave serious thought again to packing. Then I gave serious thought to napping. As much fun as packing sounded, I made yet another Noble Sacrifice and went with the nap. I just give and give.
     
  9. SpinyNorma

    SpinyNorma Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Messages:
    218
    Location:
    Deep in the hot of Texas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    12

    Sunday, 11/18/12


    I woke up once in the wee hours and this time I did break down and do some packing. Okay, it was more that I did some semi-random flinging of stuff into the suitcase. I didn't bother putting much effort into it since most of it was going to be coming right back out again when I got to Bally's.

    There might have been the tiniest element of sheer laziness as well. I know it's shocking and hard to believe but I can be that way. No, really. It's true.

    Doing the least you possibly cand and doing it in a really half-assed way can seriously take it out of a person so I returned to the Land of Nap until it evicted me into the vertical world around 8:30.

    I didn't feel like going far afield so I just did the brunch buffet again. This time I was able to use my points toward the price. I don't want to brag but I saved a little under $1.50 doing that. Amazingly, the cashier resisted the urge to lead the staff in a chorus of Hey, Big Spender.

    The buffet was good but not as good as yesterday. The prime rib was overdone this morning and seemed more like roast beef. It wasn't bad; I just like it a lot rarer.

    I made a quick jaunt back to the room to grab some money and headed over to the Tix4Tonite booth at Four Queens. The line wasn't long but it made up for it by being stunningly slow. I considered blowing it off but I really wanted to see Absinthe and I really, really didn't want to pay full price.

    After a month or so, it was finally my turn and I found out what the delay was. They just keep relentlessly trying to upsell you into buying other tickets and/or their deals at restaurants. I had vaguely been considering getting their deal for Planet Dailies but they annoyed me so much with the delays and the pushing that I didn't. I guess I showed them!

    I don't mind a business trying to sell you something to go with what you're buying but I really hate when they won't take no for an answer and just keep pushing it. They were so annoyingly persistent that I wondered if this was where they sent the time share vultures to train.

    My ticket came to about $75 once I finally escaped. I went back to the room for a shower, followed by the first round of finishing up my packing. I made a sweep of the room, found stuff I'd missed, leading to round 2 of finishing packing. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    Check out was at noon. At 11:20, I remember something that I'd wanted to get at one of the souvenir stores. I was pretty sure I'd seen it in the big store next door so I ought to have plenty of time to go get it and be back before checkout.

    Of course it turned out I was wrong about it being there so I had to make my way up the street until I finally found it. I got back in my room in time to do a 53rd round of finishing packing and headed out.

    The bus pulled out before I could make it over to the stop but I was too winded from dragging around the Amazing Overpacked Suitcase to cuss at it.

    I'd intended to get the three day pass for $20, which would have been an excellent plan if I'd remembered to make sure I had a $20. I did, however, have $8, which was enough for the 24 hour pass. Apparently the dispenser was a little miffed at my lack of promptness and planning because it fought me every step of the way.

    They had a bus transit worker at the stop, a leading nominee for Most Patient Woman in the World, who came over and showed me the very simple mistake I was making. Once I stopped doing that mistake, the transaction went through smoothly.

    I felt a little stupid for a minute but then she had to come rescue the next potential passenger who was even worse than me. Basking in pitiful pride at not being the dumbest one, I went over to sit down and wait for the next bus to come along.

    A ditzy woman came over and sat next to me. She kept talking about a fashion outlet mall or something like that and asking me if the bus went there. I kept telling her I had no idea. Apparently this was too vague an answer for her so she'd just ask me yet again.

    Eventually she transfers her attention to a poor foreign man who had made the unfortunate decision to stand near us. She kept trying to speak Spanish at him, despite his obvious confusion. Let me correct myself--by speaking Spanish at him, I mean she kept throwing out random Spanish words and phrases at him, then asking if they meant what she thought they did.

    I don't speak Spanish but when you live in Texas, you can't help but know a few words. I knew that at least a couple of the things she was saying to him didn't mean what she thought but I wasn't going to get back in the line of conversational fire. Sorry, Latka! It's every man for himself!

    Eventually she asks him where he's from and he tells her Brazil. This inspires her to start throwing out her random Spanish phrases at him again. He tries to tell her he doesn't understand but she just beams and tells him his English is very good.

    I can tell that he's starting to regret ever coming to America and take pity on him. I tell Ditzy that they don't speak Spanish in Brazil, they speak Portuguese. This leads to a round of "Really?"/"Yes, really" that lasts roughly as long as the Vietnam War, followed by her again throwing out Spanish phrases and asking if they're Portuguese. Brazilian Guy gets a look of quiet desperation.

    Just before Brazilian Guy gives into the temptation to beat himself to death with his shoes, he's rescued by...Elvis. He's got the big antigravity pompadour hair and the white rhinestoned jumpsuit. Ditzy is delighted and begins tormenting him, limiting herself to English this time. Brazilian Guy slinks off with an air of relief usually only seen on Death Row when the governor makes that last minute call staying the execution.

    Somewhere in the verbal firestorm rained upon us, it eventually dawns on us that she thinks this bus goes to the airport. Both Elvis and I try to explain to her that it doesn't but we can't seem to get her to grasp that there's a difference between the strip and the airport.

    I begin hoping that she's at least somewhat drunk because the idea that she's like this sober is making my brain bleed a little. Eventually, we decide to save ourselves and sic her on the bus transit woman. This should be a real test of her title of World's Most Patient Woman but we don't watch the exchange out of fear of making eye contact and inspiring Ditzy to come back.

    At long last the next bus arrives. It's pretty full so I have to stand, which I had figured on. What I hadn't figured on was that I was going to have to stand on the accordion part.

    For those of you unfamiliar with the Express Bus, it's very long and has an accordion pleat in the middle. During turns, this part of the bus moves and bends. This is not a good place for a woman of very little coordination to stand while trying to manage wheeled overpacked luggage and also carrying a purse and a fairly heavy laptop in its carrier. Every time the floor moves when the bus makes a turn (which is a LOT), the suitcase tries to escape. I can't say as I really blame it.

    I'm going to Bally's but this bus doesn't stop anywhere really close to it on its southbound route. My plan had been to ride it to the end of its southbound journey, then stay on when it turns for the northbound trip, then ride it back until it gets to the Paris stop, which is next door to Bally's.

    This seemed like a decent enough idea until I found myself standing on the Mr Toad's Wild Ride section of the bus. I'm so tired of fighting my own lack of coordination and my luggage's repeated attempts at reenacting The Great Escape that I'm considering just getting off at the Bellagio stop and doing the death march back up and over to Bally's.

    When we stop at Bellagio, however, a bunch of people get off and a seat opens up where I can not only sit down but keep my luggage and assorted crap out of the aisle. Surely it's a sign that I should continue on with the original plan! What I don't realize is that some signs say "Warning! Do not enter!".

    Still, ignorance is bliss and I'm feeling pretty blissful to be sitting down at last. Once the bus gets past Mandalay Bay, it then goes on to Town Square and an outlet mall before finally getting to the end of its route at the transfer station. As it turns out, Town Square and the mall are really out in the boonies.

    Finally we make it to the transfer station, only to have my heart and hopes crushed when they announce that the bus doesn't just do a loop around and head north. No, now we have to get out, go through the station, and get on another northbound bus. I consider chaining myself to my seat in this bus and just refusing to get off but I figure it's less of a walk to the other bus than it would be to walk from the police station to Bally's.

    Muttering darkly about bastards (although not in any legally binding way), I make my weary way over to where the northbound buses are supposed to be.

    I thought the driver had said to go to Bay 18 but when I get there, the posters are not for the bus I want. I see an older guy who is also looking confused. He thought she said Bay 17 but that wasn't it either. We make our way down the bays until we find the right one, which turns out to be Bay 13. How we got 18 and 17 out of that, I don't know. I suspect conspiracy.

    After waiting roughly the lifespan of a giant land tortoise, the bus finally arrives and we pile on. Luckily, it's empty and I get roughly the same seat I had on the southbound trip facing the middle exit doors.

    I'm too tired to dig out my Kindle to read so I occupy my time on this bus mulling over two thoughts. The first one was NEVER DO THIS AGAIN! The second was that the next time I go anywhere, I'm hiring someone to stand over me and shoot me with a tazer the next time I try to overpack again.
     
  10. SpinyNorma

    SpinyNorma Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Messages:
    218
    Location:
    Deep in the hot of Texas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    12
    It's almost 2:00 by the time the bus finally gets to the Paris stop. This little joy ride took roughly an hour and a half by the time I make my escape.

    I'm feeling pretty seriously beat and bedraggled. My suitcase feels like the entire Osmond clan is stuffed inside. Walking through the Paris to get to Bally's feels like...well, like walking the length of Paris itself. Roughly three years later I emerge from the connecting hallway into the Bally's side. A choir of angels burst into triumphant song, one which sounds a lot like slot machines to those plebeian souls who have not lost their minds.

    I make my weary way across the 372 miles between the hallway and the registration desk. There's a line but it moves pretty quickly and within a few minutes, it's my turn.

    Since it's only an hour until official check in time, I had hoped they wouldn't indulge in the latest trend of charging you for early check in. Hope, as you'll recall, has not worked out well for me so far today. They want $11 to let me check in now.

    Luckily, I'm too tired to indulge in my urge to leap over the counter and do $11 worth of smacking them around. I consider just curling up on the floor under the counter until it's officially check in time. The shredded remnants of my rational brain point out to me that bail would probably be more than $11 so I numbly agree to pay the damn room ransom.

    My room is in the south tower. The last time I was here, I'd gotten upgraded to the north tower but, to be honest, I'd really wanted the south tower anyway so I'm happy. I follow the signs pointing to the south tower, dragging my luggage and my ass behind me.

    All goes well until the signs disappear. I'm pretty sure that if I keep going in the direction I'm headed that I'll end up there but I'm not willing to go on one of my legendary getting-lost benders right now so I ask a passing cocktail waitress. She confirms that, for once, my sense of direction isn't conspiring against me and off I go.

    Within a few minutes, I'm there in the promised land. I celebrate my victory by getting in an elevator and then realizing that it doesn't go to my assigned floor. I'm too tired to work up any chagrin over that and just cross over to the other bank of elevators. Happily, I'm the only one in the car so I don't have to fight the urge to snarl at those inconvenient people who slow my progress by stopping at lower floors.

    I'm in room 7306, which is actually the 23rd and highest floor. I almost weep with gratitude to see that my room is just a few steps away from the elevator. I put my key in the door and OMG! I LOVE this room!

    There's a little entryway as you go in. To the right is a large mirrored closet (And an extra pillow stored in there too! My little pillow-loving heart squeals with delight. I am such a Pillow Ho.) and to the left is the bathroom.

    As you go in further, there's a sitting area with a couch, a chair, coffee table, an end table, a good-sized bureau and a big flat screen TV. There are four lamps, two on small glass tables, one on the bureau, and one standing lamp. Beyond the sitting area is a glass top table with four chairs.

    On the other side of the room are two queen beds (My preference, mainly to get the extra pillows) with a night stand between them. Between the furthest bed and the window is a glass top desk with a chair.

    As I'm staring in wondrous rapture, I see something that makes my heart sing further. On the other side of the bed nearest the door is a small bar area, complete with little sink and--could it really be--a tiny little refrigerator!

    At the far end of the room is a big floor to ceiling window. My view shows Bill's right across the street, the Flamingo, a bit of Caesars and the Mirage, and the mountains in the distance. I have a happy.

    In case you're wondering, my legendary fear of heights doesn't generally kick in for high floor window views. If I stand right at the window and look down, I do get a little queasy but for the most part, I'm looking across and not down so it doesn't bother me. What can I say? Phobias aren't logical.

    The carpet's a little worn and there are several splotches where it's lighter than the rest of the carpet. This sort of thing inspires more persnickety people than me to consider the south tower rooms as run down but I don't care at all.

    I take the cokes I'd brought with me from downtown and put them in the little fridge, leaving one out for an immediate infusion of Vitamin C. I leave my new happy haven long enough to find the ice machine, which is happily also pretty close to my room. The ice bucket in the room is a decently insulated one, not the topless plastic ones that look like miniatures of the trash cans that are usually found in the low rent places I tend to stay.

    I put some ice in a glass, poured in some coke, then plopped myself down with characteristic grace on the couch and propped my feet up on the coffee table. I felt both hoity and toity as I caught up my notes and returned to something resembling a human once again.

    I looked through the coupon book I got at check in and saw there was one for $5 off the burger place in Paris. I'd been thinking about trying that place, plus it was in the hallway area between the two hotels so it wouldn't be much of a trek. All things considered, this seemed chock full of win so I tore off the coupon and put it in my wallet.

    For the entire bus ride here, I had kept myself alive with the dream of taking a nice long nap once I got in my room but I had perked up considerably now. I decided instead to head downstairs and see how the Slot Gods felt toward me. After that, I could grab a burger, maybe a nice pastry from that shop I love, and have plenty of time for a shower and that nap before the show.

    My plan worked out perfectly. Well, more like pretty well. In a perfect plan, I would have won some money but as it was, The Hangover here left me hungover. Then I discovered a new Oz game which drew me in and spit me out. I never learn.

    I managed to tear myself away from the excitement of losing and headed over to Le Burger Brasserie. Being a high class type, I just call it that burger place in Paris because I strongly suspect that any attempts to pronounce its real name will result in me calling it the Burger Brassiere.

    And speaking of brassieres, my waitress there must score some excellent tips from the male clientele. Their uniforms are very low cut and, while I don't generally pay much attention to those endowments, this girl had a rack that it was impossible to ignore.

    That observation aside, it was a pretty good meal. I got the combo that came with a burger, fries, and a shake for $20. The burger was juicy, the fries hot, tasty, and plentiful, and that vanilla shake was one of the best I've ever had in my life. The only downside was that I couldn't finish it all and it did make me sad to have to give up.

    From there, I waddled over to the pasty place that I love, although I can never remember the name. Alas, they didn't have the one I love most there, the Napoleon, but I got a cheesecake with strawberries on top. You can't go wrong with cheesecake.

    Then it was back up to the room where I washed my hair. The water pressure wasn't great but it was good enough to be able to rinse out my hair so I had no complaints. The hot water was great.

    After I got my hair combed out and braided, I looked wistfully at the clock. That nap was sounding better than ever now but I didn't really have time. Ironically, I had picked the 9:30 show over the 7:30 one because I figured that would allow lots of time for a nap but now it just meant I had to stay up later before I could get one.

    The show wasn't till 9:30 but I had to be at the box office to redeem my voucher for the actual ticket at least an hour before that. Knowing my propensity for getting lost, especially in big places like Caesars, I figured I'd best get there even earlier to allow time to compensate for that.

    I still had some time to kill so I decided to do my nails. I love red nails but since I'm not really willing to do the upkeep required for them, I rarely indulge but I was in Vegas so what the hell. Of course, once I started, I realized that trying to paint my nails red when I was this tired was probably not my best idea but it was too late then.

    Amazingly, I didn't do too bad a job of it. Well, I did drop one fair sized blob of polish on the side of one finger but my attempt to fix that made it worse so I decided to just consider it a beauty mark, although the red color made it look more like a beauty gaping wound.

    I vegged out with some Big Bang Theory reruns for a bit while my nails (and that one finger) dried. That urge to nap started hitting again so I went ahead and got dressed. It was a little earlier than I'd planned to leave but I figured I could kill a little time at the slots.

    The slots teased me with small wins but then turned vicious on me so I taught them a valuable lesson by heading on to Caesars. Absinthe awaited me!
     
  11. SpinyNorma

    SpinyNorma Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Messages:
    218
    Location:
    Deep in the hot of Texas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    12

    I left Bally's and walked across the theoretically moving sidewalk. In the four days I was there, I only saw the sidewalk working twice. Oddly enough, it was the one leading away from Bally's both times. You'd think if they were only going to get one working, they'd pick the one that led you into their casino, not out of it.

    From there, I moseyed over to the elevator that led up to the overhead walkway into Bellagio, then cut through a bit of Bellagio to the walkway leading to Caesars. I was all braced to wander aimlessly for a good while but almost immediately upon entering the courtyard there, I saw big posters for Absinthe.

    I followed them and found the location of the show. Not only that but the box office was in plain sight. I was a victim of the Gods of Irony (Just This Once Division) as now I had a lot of time to kill. It was only a little after 8:00 once I'd redeemed my voucher for my ticket. Well hell.

    I went inside and wandered around a bit. I didn't want to play and I was still too full from the burger to kill time by getting something to eat. I saw a bathroom and ducked in there, less out of need than training.

    Those of us who grew up as military brats or any other circumstance that required a lot of traveling are trained early in life to go ahead and use the bathroom whenever you get the chance, even if you don't think you have to. One of the first lessons I learned from my dad was "Go anyway. You can ALWAYS go a little."

    Folksy toilet wisdom aside, I figured it would also kill a little time. To my annoyance, very little time. One of my largely useless superpowers is that I can pee really fast. This concludes tonight's episode of TMI Theatre.

    I wandered around a bit more but Caesars has never been one of my favorite casinos so it really wasn't that interesting for me. I stopped at one of the bill-changing kiosks and turned a $50 into smaller bills, then headed back outside.

    It was fairly chilly, although not really cold, and I was wearing a pretty light blouse. The chill did help wake me up a little more. I wandered around the garden areas a bit, then headed over to Serendipity.

    I wanted to try one of their frozen hot chocolates, partly because I'd heard a lot about them and partly to buy the opportunity to sit down for a while. The decision worked out pretty well on both fronts. I got out my Kindle and read for a bit.

    Around 9:00, I got up and walked around a little more while I had a smoke. I saw they were letting people in now so I hit the bathroom one last time and headed over that way.

    The line was pretty long but it moved fast. The ticket taker pointed me in the direction of my seat. I was in Row 5, Seat 5 so that was easy to remember.

    I'd heard it was a small venue but I was really surprised at how tiny the stage area was. The chairs were terrible, just wooden folding seats. The chair between me and the guy on my left was empty. He was long-legged and asked if I minded if he spread out into it a little. I didn't.

    Actually, I ended up spreading into it a bit myself as the woman sitting right in front of me had a bad case of Big Hair so I sat half on my chair and half on the empty one. I could see a lot better but it didn't add to the comfort factor.

    The show was great and I was really glad I went, uncomfortable seating aside. It's largely a mix of acrobatics and comedy with a little burlesque thrown in. I wouldn't recommend it for everyone but if you don't mind bawdy humor and some rough language, it was well worth the price of admission.

    On my right side where I was seated, there was a white guy and a black guy who appeared to be a couple. While they were setting up for the last act, the show did a bit where they called up some people from the audience, one a very upper class Republican looking woman and two guys.

    One of the guys was a very enthusiastic and extroverted white guy in his early 30's and the other was the young black guy from the couple sitting next to me. The bit was to have the two guys dance for the woman and she would pick a winner from them.

    The black guy seemed kind of shy and embarrassed to be up there in front of everyone but he was a good sport and seemed to have a good time once he loosened up. I think the enthusiastic white guy kind of scared the woman. I can't say as I blamed her. She picked the black guy as the winner.

    The show was about 90 minutes long, maybe a little longer. I could see the higher jets of water from the Bellagio fountain show as we were coming out but it was over by the time I got to the walkway between Bellagio and Bally's.

    I considered hanging out and waiting for the next fountain show to begin but my legs were quite insistent on vetoing that idea. They did agree to stand there for a few minutes and let me bask in one of my favorite views of the strip though. It was very sporting of them.

    Back in my room, I changed into my sleeping clothes (an attractive ensemble of plaid pajama bottoms and an old stained wife-beater shirt), plopped myself down on the couch, poured myself some more coke, and ate my cheesecake. It was pretty good but I did wish they'd had a Napoleon.

    I admired my view of the shiny tackiness of my favorite city while I caught my notes up and watched a bit of TV. I was about to go to bed when they played a Jerry Orbach Law & Order episode that, amazingly, I had never seen so I had to stay up for that. It was my duty as an American.

    Once my duty had been fulfilled, I moved over to the bed and settled in. I had gotten a small second wind, more of a breeze really, so I read for a little bit but that bed was comfortable and I was soon indulging in that long-awaited sleep.
     
  12. SpinyNorma

    SpinyNorma Low-Roller

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    And on that note, I'm going to have to take a break from posting this saga. I'll try to get some more posted this morning but it might end up being tonight.
     
  13. Dpin300

    Dpin300 Low-Roller

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    I started reading your tr but I have a major hangover and couldn't take it anymore. I'll try again later.
     
  14. SpinyNorma

    SpinyNorma Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    Monday, 11/19/12



    I came out of my latest coma only a couple of hours later. I tried to sneak back into sleep but the bouncer was on duty and kicked me back out into cold, cruel consciousness.

    Since sleep wasn't an option, I thought about going downstairs to throw away some more money but then decided against it. I'd like to pretend it was prudence behind that decision but what it really came down to was that I didn't feel like getting dressed. Damn me and my high standards!

    So I ended up watching a PBS documentary on the Dust Bowl. This is the sort of thing that leads a person to deep and introspective thoughts like "Damn, I miss the internet". This combination led to me taking the plunge and paying the damn rate for hotel internet. Hi, I'm SpinyNorma and I'm an internet junkie.

    Oh, it was glorious! I was like Lindsay Lohan after the court stopped doing those pesky random drug tests! I checked my email. (Okay, I didn't have a ton of real email but I was real popular with the SPAM folks and I went on a cyber rampage deleting it. MWAHAHA!) I LOL'd at cats. I Googled like a wild woman. I was like a Lifetime TV movie if they had a geek channel.

    Having gotten my fix, I was ready for another nap. This one lasted until about 10:30. I was having a hard time getting going but I had things to do so I got dressed and headed out, however slowly.

    It seemed only polite to stop and visit the slots for a bit. It turned out that they weren't in the mood for company so I headed out to catch a bus.

    Today's task was to go the Luxor and pick up my tickets for Carrot Top . I'd gotten 2 free tickets to it from playing the MyVegas slots on Facebook but I had to pick them up at the box office by 4:00.

    First I had to decide how to get there. There wasn't a southbound bus stop very convenient to Bally's. There was one at Bellagio but I'd learned the hard way before that it's located on the faaaaaaaar side of that very big hotel.

    I knew there was also one at Caesars and I was sure it had to be closer. Yes, once again, I was optimism's bitch. As I was walking (and walking and walking), it dawned on me that A) I was wrong about this stop being closer but B) I could have shaved off a couple hundred miles if I'd used the overhead walkway by Bill's rather than the one from Bellagio.

    But while I was adding mileage to my geezer feet, at least I had the comfort of know that this time I had the foresight to make sure I had a $20 to get that three day pass. I rocked! Well, if you grade on a big enough curve.

    There was a small crowd gathered around the ticket dispenser when I arrived. I had hopes that they were merely waiting for my arrival, perhaps bus groupies come to applaud my remembering the bring the right amount of money for the ticket I wanted.

    Oddly enough, that wasn't why they were huddled around the machine. As it turns out, this dispenser didn't take cash at all and it was being persnickety about taking credit and debit cards. It worked for a few people but not for most that I saw.

    I'm afraid I was in that shunned majority. I was able to scrape up the $8 for a day pass from the bus driver so my cussing was not as legendary as it might have been. Besides, the bus was too crowded to draw a deep enough breath for inspired cussing.

    The next stop was Bellagio and half the population of India got off the bus there, allowing me to slip into a vacated seat. This turned out to be great because I suspect the other half of the population of India was in traffic ahead of us, all of them engaged in a contest to see who could move the least amount. Near as I could tell, it was a 553,000-way tie.

    Despite this, we eventually make it to Excalibur, where I got off and got on the tram to Luxor. There I wandered around in search of the box office for so long that it became less a wandering than a pilgrimage.

    Just as I had nearly decided that the entire Luxor empire had conspired together for Lord knows how long, just for the chance to pull this cruel trick on me, I saw a booth covered with assorted show posters. I was delivered! I did a weary hobbling version of scurrying over.

    All I can say in my defense is that I was tired, I was hungry, I was sick of wandering around, and I had apparently lost my damn mind in the process. That wasn't the box office. That was a booth for time share vultures! AAAAAAAAAA!

    Times must be hard in the time shark business because usually they shunned single females but now they swarmed in, beady eyes glinting in predatory anticipation. At that moment, I was wearily oblivious and handed over my confirmation number for the show to the closest shark, which confused them quite a bit. Slowly, I began to have suspicions that I had made a major mistake and asked if this was the box office.

    No, it wasn't but they could hook me up with some great shows and meals, and all for FREEEEEEEEEE! I looked around frantically for two sticks I could fashion into a cross to repel them before they attacked. There were none to be found so I grabbed the paper with my confirmation number, gasped "Oh, GOD, NO!" and hurried away as fast as my pitiful feet would go.

    Tragedy averted, I eventually found out that the box office was upstairs on the Atrium floor. I even got directions on how to get there--and all directions led to the Devil's Staircase.

    Those bastards! Did they think they'd defeat me so easily? Did they think I was an idiot who couldn't find the elusive hidden elevator? Well, I'd show them just what kind of idiot they were up against!

    As it turns out, they were against the kind of idiot who could find elevators that went anywhere in the hotel...except for the Atrium floor. I even asked multiple people for directions to the elevator NOT the escalator but, of course, they were tools of the demon Luxor and lied to me. Every last one of them--lied.

    Eventually I was forced to concede defeat. Oh, I still shunned the escalators but I did climb the stairs instead. This gave my knees a chance to join the bitching which, on the bright side, made a nice change of pace from listening to my feet whine.
     
  15. SpinyNorma

    SpinyNorma Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    At least once I cripped my way up those stairs, sneering at the escalator running parallel to me with every weary step, the box office was pretty easy to find. Better yet, they seemed to realize that they had best do some serious sucking up to me because the Will Call section's line was pretty short, about five or six people but they seemed to be couples and trios. This shouldn't take long at all.

    Did I mention that I was optimism's bitch?

    Yes, the Luxor was a worthy, wily, and wicked opponent indeed. First they send me wandering around their ground floor like a zombie pinball. They cleverly hide the one elevator I want and numb my mind to the point that I not only don't recognize the time share vultures but I actually approach them. As if that weren't enough, they come within centimeters of breaking my spirit when they force me to finally break down and climb the stairs.

    But that's not the genius of their EEEEvil. No, at that point, they perform their master stroke, raising my spirits and giving me cruel, cruel hope by letting me find the box office easily and having the line be short. Well played, Lex Luxor, well played.

    For you see, it was then that they delivered the killing blow. This line that gave me such hope, the one that made me think that my travails were almost over, it turns out that it is the Line That Time Forgot.

    Yes, I ended up standing in that tiny line for over an hour. I must have started to get my Cujo look because just when I thought I was going to have a meltdown that would be talked about for generations yet to come, they opened a second line and I was first up. It took about three minutes to process and get my tickets.

    The wind may have been taken out of my sails but I wasn't totally beaten yet. I was By God going to find that damn elevator. Okay, as it turned out, I didn't but I did find an employee who recognized me as a woman on the edge and actually pointed out the elevator to me. I basked in my grading-on-the-curve triumph all the way down.

    As I made my way to the tram, I made careful mental notes of landmarks on the way so that I could find my way back when I came to the show tonight.

    Having survived the Battle of the Luxor, I stopped at several of the little souvenir shops north of MGM. Still no luck at finding a new cigarette case or any of the other things I was specifically looking for but I did get a bottle of water. By then, I considered that to be a triumph.

    I had lunch at the Planet Hollywood buffet, then took the bus back to the Paris stop. I stopped in at the pastry place and was rewarded for my earlier valor by seeing that they had Napoleons today. I got two and skipped all the way back to my room (Okay, it may have looked more like a zombie crawl but in my heart, I was skipping) where I celebrated with a nap.

    That evening I headed back to the Luxor for the show. I was feeling pretty pleased with myself until I realized that I had zoned out and once again headed to the Caesars bus stop, although at least this time I did use the Bill's walkway, which was shorter.

    I got off the tram and strode confidently into the Luxor arena. I reviewed my mental list of landmarks and was doing quite well...until almost the end when I went blank at the last one on the list. In the future, perhaps I should write these things down instead of counting on my Evil Brain not turning on me.

    I circled around the last landmark I could remember and I knew the elevator was close but it remained elusive. Apparently they hadn't apprised the night shift of the jihad Luxor had declared against me because the first employee I asked actually showed me the way. TRIUMPH!

    The show was good and I laughed a lot. I did think the very last bit went on a tad too long but overall I liked it and everyone seemed to have a good time.

    I had originally been thinking of getting a cab from there and going to Ellis Island for supper but I ended up deciding against it. Instead, I took the bus back to Planet Hollywood, this time eating at Planet Dailies where I had the lobster fettuccine. I love that stuff.

    I played the slots a bit before heading out and, being a thorough sort of person, commemorated the day's theme by getting lost one last time, this being a big one--the Miracle Mile section.

    But all good things must come to an end and eventually I found the ABC store, restocked on cokes, and accidentally found my way back outside.

    Back in my room, I put up my feet, checked my email, vegged out with some TV, ate a Napoleon and washed it down with Diet Dr Pepper. This must have been what life was like at Versailles.
     
  16. SpinyNorma

    SpinyNorma Low-Roller

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    Let's go ahead and talk about the part I know you're all breathless with anticipation to hear about. Yes, it's time to talk about Vegas Feet.

    On the bright side, my legs were not doing that bad, certainly better than usual by this point. I think the main reason is that this trip I consciously made myself slow down.

    Normally I have a very fast walk. The rest of me may live in Texas but my legs are New Yorkers. This isn't that big a deal for the amount of walking I do in regular life but with Vegas distances, it do take a toll. My plan of making myself walk slower did seem to take less of a toll on them and cut down on my use of geezer cream considerably.

    But there's nothing short of a pair of hover shoes (Why isn't anyone inventing those?) that will help the tragedy of Vegas Feet. They did last a little longer under my new Zen Slo-Mo walking regime but the best you can hope for is to stall the pain, not avoid it.

    By Tuesday, I had started to develop blisters but, being me, they were weird blisters. Once again, I had developed under-the-toe blisters. This time it was both little toes and on the right foot, the one next to it as well, the ironically named little piggy that had none.

    I'm not even sure how you can manage to get blisters under your toes. While I was out, I was careful to be ever vigilant that this aberration not be discovered, lest rogue scientists from the Dr Scholl Institute try to capture me and hold me for study.

    Luckily, one of the first lessons I had learned about Vegas was to bring bandaids, lots of bandaids. I wrapped the affected toes in them each day and it helped some but not as much as I had hoped.

    Then I moved to my Other Idea. I had brought along some cotton balls, which were actually intended for my ears in case it was windy. It never was that windy but I put them to use under my toes. That helped a bit but they tended to migrate after walking.

    After about a day of that, I came up with my Other Other Idea. I put the cotton balls directly on the affected toe area, then wrapped the bandaid over that. This was sheer (albeit eventual) genius! Granted, it didn't do anything for the regular foot torment that is as much a personification of Vegas as the tacky neon lights but my toes were a hell of a lot better.

    We now return you to our regularly scheduled seemingly endless Vegas saga.
     
  17. SpinyNorma

    SpinyNorma Low-Roller

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    Tuesday, 11/20/12

    Today I decided to check out the new buffet at Caesars that everyone's been talking about. I got there around 10:30, amazed that once again I had managed to find my way around without wandering aimlessly for a year. Apparently they've passed this tradition down to the Luxor.

    There was a bit of a line but not too bad and it moved quickly. I managed to sneak in while they were still charging breakfast rates, which was nice because they've really jacked the prices up on this buffet. I paid with my points and they were just starting to change over from breakfast to lunch offerings as I made my first pass. WIN!

    I have to say that I was very pleased with this one. The setting was very nice and the food was tasty with a nice variety. The only thing I didn't like was my chair. It was comfy but hard to move forward and back. Still, when the worst you can say about a buffet is about the chair, there's not much to bitch about.

    I did more of a sampling and tasting of things than pigging out on any specific items. I tried sweet potato fries for the first time and they were right tasty. There's an Asian section that was pretty good but most of the buffet was American food.

    I didn't think I'd eaten that much until I was leaving Caesar's and found myself considering bribing one of the bellmen to roll me back on one of those luggage things. I decided against it when I realized it could only end with me screaming "I've been thrown out of better places than this!".

    I managed to waddle my way back to Bally's and stopped off at a Goldfish slot on the way to my room. A cocktail waitress stopped by so I ordered a drink, a Colorado Bulldog. After all, I didn't want to seem rude.

    Apparently the waitress went to Colorado to get the drink. I'm also guessing that while she was there, she got caught up in indulging in the newly legal weed there because she never did come back. After about 30 minutes, I gave up. Looking at my sad little ticket, I should have given up some time before that.

    I cripped my way back up to my room where I practiced my skills in vegging out and napping, getting in several rounds of both. I don't like to brag but I was getting pretty good.

    I didn't really need anything from Housekeeping so I left the Do Not Disturb sign up all day. Around 5, the phone rang. It took me a minute to realize that's what it was and they hung up before I could get myself hauled up to go answer it. There was no message but I presume it was Housekeeping calling to disturb me about the Do Not Disturb sign. Gods of Irony, Housekeeping Division.

    Since the phone had gotten me vertical, I decided I should probably get moving again. I had bought an admission ticket to the new Goretorium thing from Travelzoo so I dug through my papers till I found it.

    It's a good thing I looked at it closely because that's when I realized that I'd printed out the receipt but not the actual voucher I needed to present. The Business Center at Bally's was open till 7 and I thought it would probably be the easiest and maybe cheapest way to print off what I needed. Not sure what the set up was, I went ahead and brought my laptop with me.

    I knew I'd seen the Business Center in passing but it wasn't where I thought it was. I asked someone at the kiosk selling overpriced refreshments and got directions. I went as far as I could remember from her directions, hoping it would be visible from there. For seemingly the billionth time, I was optimism's bitch.

    After yet another round of pointless wandering, I finally asked someone else. It turns out it's in the connecting hallway between Bally's and Paris. Well, that was one place it never occurred to me to check.

    I thanked her but before I could head off, she told me they were closed already. Apparently they keep "holiday hours" the whole week of a holiday. Well, that was certainly festive for them but what was I going to do now?

    I ended up using one of those machines where you pay $5 for 5 minutes of internet. I don't know if it was just this one machine or if it's typical but the cursor was a little hard to work but, even so, I got my voucher printed and still had about 2 1/2 minutes to spare. I put it "on account" although I'm sure they'll expire long before I ever use it again.

    That taken care of, I went back upstairs to drop off the laptop and get ready to head out.
     
  18. SpinyNorma

    SpinyNorma Low-Roller

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    Well, it's bedtime for Bonzo so anyone still plowing through this will have to wait till this evening to get further installments of my rambling saga.
     
  19. btodd

    btodd High-Roller

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    Great report so far! Love the large type, easier on the 3:00 am party eyes!
     
  20. breanna61

    breanna61 Super Moderator

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    Yay, we've waited too long for another Spiny Norma Trip Report and this one does not disappoint!! Looking forward to the next installment!:eek:
     
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