Back in January I attempted my first TR and made it through exactly one post. Then, like a fart in the wind, I vanished. I'm going to make it through at least two posts this time (as I type from the bowels of the Baker estate in my old Chicago neighborhood). After a weekend-long bachelor party I flew out here for from Charlotte, I'm headed to the Oasis from MDW for eight days...where I'm positive there will be a 0% chance of any profit...but the experiences will make it all worth it. Since I moved away from Santa Monica eight years ago, I make it to Vegas three times a year. I usually only stay for three nights (which is very, very ideal considering what I put my body through). I bring $2500 and no debit card. I think I have a PIN on a credit card, but I don't know what it is and I am proud to announce that I have only needed a cash advance one time in 100+ trips. The ladies at the cage at Mandalay were very nice that morning, btw. They liked my Charles Bronson T-Shirt and told me I shouldn't be ashamed of myself. I'm bringing $4000 and a bottle of indomethacin with me today. There are no set plans, as I like to wing it (to me, the spontaneity is the best part of these treks to Vegas). What I do know is that I will stay downtown at the El Cortez tonight and tomorrow (solo). One of those nights I will gamble. The other night I will gamble (before and after) I visit my girlfriends of the 702 (even if they don't really acknowledge that) at the Palomino. WED I check into my 2 BR - home away from home - Penthouse Ste at Vdara. Two of my lifetime college alumni buddies show up on THU - SUN (Toad & Andy). We attended Colorado State University, so you know how smart we are. I mean, I don't like to use a forum like this to brag, but when Dr Yates gave us those diplomas on Graduation Day in 1995, there wasn't a dry eye in Ft Collins / Larimer County....just knowing that you had conquered a curriculum that only Oxford & MIT students experience was mind-numbing. Still is to this day. SUN I accept the MGM's free offer and will stay there for my last full evening. Haven't stayed in that hotel in over a decade...when the rooms were the same as they were when it was constructed in (something like) 1992 and they had oddly framed pictures of celebrities like Peter Lawford staring at you, bedside. The only other 'given' on the trip is that I will take some time during these next eight days to venture to some of my favorite Off-Strip bars. The chip count in the juvenile visual aid here is probably accurate. If I can leave town with the twenty five dollars (pictured) out of the four thousand I brought with me....I'm really a winner in life. Have promised myself to update this report two times daily. Hopefully it brings me some good mojo. More when I check into the Gold Standard of American Lodging....Los Cortez.