I engaged in my usual vodka with Ambien for the flight out ( #711) which got me some solid sleep and into McCarran at around 8pm. The LVL limo guy was waiting for me, and I was checked into TheHotel and in the casino by 9:30. It was over to the cage to activate my credit line and then straight over to dice. Very choppy action, I think I was up about $200 when I went for a drink at the Island Bar. While sipping, I was approached by the usual suspects- a remarkably similar lineup as last year, only with different faux names (and real prices). I inspected the human buffet and made my choice- to go back to the craps pits. Spent a bunch more time trading water there never getting into a good groove, so I decided to pay Mikey a visit. Taxi’d it over to the Sunset Station, getting there about 1:30am. Caught Mikey dealing dice and immediately bought in. The casino was nice, more quiet than I expected, but perhaps not for a Thursday night. I was able to shoot the breeze with him and his cohorts as I hit the pass line hard and placed my sixes and eight’s as per protocol. I really enjoyed my time spent there; also played some double deck BJ, doubling my bets after each loss. All told, I think I was up about five hundys by the time Mikey and I left the Station destined for the Peppermill. I finally got to experience the Ghetto Sled- pretty much what I expected, since I had seen a few pics posted in the past. There was something very satisfying about cruising back into Vegas at first light, seeing the end-of-nighters mixing on the street with the early-morning-risers; getting into the conversation with Mikey about YOU guys, and heading for some big food. We pulled up to the Peppermill and I realized I had not eaten since the East Coast and was frickin’ starving. I ordered the eggs benny AND the steak ‘n eggs, a move which Mikey regarded as not the most brilliant he’d ever seen. As he downed his breakfast w/ milkshake, I make a big dent in both platters, leaving behind the hash browns (is that cheating?). Paid up, and Mikey drove me back to the ‘bay where I crashed around 5:30. Thanks for a good time, Mikey! Slept 2.5 hours and was up in time to get my massage. After the necessary “prep work” of hot tub, steam room, and cold plunge (Shrinkage! Yikes!). I was met by the therapist where she basically kicked my ass on a table for the next 50 minutes. She had asked if I needed work in any special area and I told her all my areas were special, but I have a race coming up so try to concentrate on my legs. Apparently she took that to mean massage my glutes for 45 minutes and everything else for five (perhaps a slight exaggeration). Showered, dressed and met by gang at the MB buffet. I sat with them but did not eat- I was still rather bloated from the Peppermill. They ate their way through the buffet- prime rib, bagels, lox, short ribs, prime rib, steak, eggs benny, crepes, prime rib, waffles, prime rib. We pretty much spent the rest of the afternoon at dice which was noncontributory towards my bottom line. One note about BJ that day. In two shoes (about 20 minutes) I dropped one banana chip. I must have lost 90% of my hands….so going into the evening I was down for the trip. One overpriced drink at Mix later, myself, Joe, Tim, Craig and Eddie got a booth at Rumjungle while the other half of our crowd opted for foofoo food over at 3950. We all chose the fire pit option which was as much meat-on-a-stick as one could consume. Actually, most of the cuts were quite good given the volume. Our service was also good- they would return with the angus beef and lamb as often as we asked them to while Craig entertained us with his impressions of various South Park characters. Our server, whose name was Patrice and whom Craig would have sex with later that evening, was extremely accommodating. When I pushed back, I could barely waddle out of the place. I’m glad I did make it out and back to the pits. … The dice were VERY friendly to me Friday night. After some decent rollers, the dice moved to a guy who, for about 20 minutes would ONLY roll sixes. Six. Six, six…musta been a sign of the devil. I kept pressing and pressing and was up many blackies and then some bb’d blond, who was at least a saline DD cup and was wearing a tee shirt sized more for my three-year old, hit about 4 points. Left the table up a banana and a half. Crashed. Then it was Saturday morning and I needed to get my long run in. Met Tim at the coffee bar and headed out of the MB, running south on Las Vegas Blvd. for 45 minutes which took us past the famous sign and about a mile past a road called Windmill to a shopping center known as Vegas Pointe Plaza. Then we turned around. God the strip looks close, even for five miles away. Actually the return trip was easier since the wind was at our backs, even though I was belching lamb the entire run. Got back to the room and did the whole hot-tub-with-bath-salts thing for an hour. Showered, dressed, and back to the tables, but not before VIP services called me to tell me that I got a cabana poolside if I wanted it. Score! I had asked for one when I checked in but they had told me they were reserved for high-rollers and all others got on a waiting list. SO…back to blackjack…. big mistake- it was like déjà vu all over again. Before my first Red Bull and Vodka arrived I was down a banana chip. I fought hard to win back about $200, and dashed. Finally digesting that last hunk of lamb from the previous evening, went out to claim my cabana. Needless to say the rest of the afternoon was spent lounging poolside, taking in sun, eating beach food and switching to rum drinks. Within an hour of text messaging the clan, we all were in beach mode. Oh, did I mention the cabana came with a flat screen for ideal final four viewing? Having put big bucks on Florida and LSU on moneyline bets, there really was no reason to sit in a sportsbook when a bikini clad waitresses was serving me pina coladas. I really enjoyed the afternoon, switching between eating, drinking, rooting, and hot tub forays. I think I may have called Becky at one point. When the second game looked like it was a clinch with the Florida win and the sun started to drop, the crowd opted to watch game #2 in a more controlled atmosphere at the zoo, specifically, the, um, Rhino exhibit…. Got to the Rhino about halfway thru the first half. I realized early on that my betting cash on LSU was as good as dust in the wind, so I opted to concentrate more on the live entertainment. Yada yada yada. One highlight- a dancer who was the identical twin to Jennifer Garner caught my eye and relieved me of some hard-earned dollars. She even let me act out scenes from Alias and call her Jennifer …for the entire half-hour. On to the Venetian for dinner at Tao amongst the Hollywood glitterati and random trust-fund daughters. Interesting thing about this place…I never saw so much high-end trim outnumber dudes so heavily. It was like they were three rows deep at the bar with only a random guy in sight. Our table was upstairs in the “loft” area. The other three tables consisted of a bachelorette party; cast/friends from Dawson’s Creek (sorry, no Katy Holmes); and Shannon Elizabeth of American Pie fame and her entourage. Jeez I felt old there. The appetizers were out of this world- we shared about ten of them. I also had the wasabi-encrusted filet as my main course and intermittently exchanged commentary with the other tables’ attendants. That Dawson’s Creek Van Derbeek guy was actually pretty cool about the to-and-fro humor, but Shannon Elizabeth was a complete icy bitch, couldn’t even take a joke. It was only then, in my drunken stupor, did I remind her that the only reason she has a table at Tao at all is that she showed her tits on screen in a movie that made it big and she’s one bad review away from soft porn. That didn’t go over well w/ her boyfriend, but he was a pretty boy pussy anyway- what the hell was he gonna do? Some of the gang got into the club Tao (I think one of us promised the bouncer a round of golf at Painted Desert the next day) but the rest of us opted to head back to the MB for more dice. I held my ground and realizing there was no groove, hit the sack. Sunday morning was interesting. I woke around seven and was planning to go straight to the gym, but got sidetracked by a loud dice pit. I bought in for a G. Two good rolls later, I cashed out for 1700 and paid off my marker. Then I proceeded, me and my seven hundys, to get on the treadmill for a light trot, did some weights, and showered there. Met the remaining gang for R&R poolside- I swear the days kept getting nicer each day. Tanned for an hour and then the dice bug was buzzin’ yet again. My Sunday play was choppy but I must admit, I sat down with some trepidation at blackjack before dinner. After almost losing it all I came all the way back plus 5 bucks, cashed out, and bolted, never looking back. A few words about the Burger Bar at Mandalay Place, where I ate before the airport. The kobe burger might be the best burger I’ve ever had…and for $16 was certainly the most expensive. That and a nice dark brew made for the great meal before the flight home. All in all, a good trip. Final thoughts: Mikey- thanks for hanging during/after work…enjoyed the Peppermill immensely. Tonya, after the endless phone tag, perhaps we can try again sometime. Blondes with big boobs in tight tees make for the best rollers, still. Rumjungle has been frequented by me many times now and has never disappointed. Tao has great food, and the eye candy environment is nice. Also cool if you want to feel like a guest on The OC. Before you run five miles to the south, make sure you can comfortably run back without belching lamb. The poolside cabana MADE my Saturday.