It's been a while since I did a TR. My last few trips, aside from a weekend for my sister's birthday, have all been two day, one night trips. My friend has had to go on several short business trips to Las Vegas the past year and since I'm a Vegas fiend that's always down to go, I've gone along and kept him company. While fun, these trips have been somewhat cookie-cutter as my friend, a former Vegas resident, is not fond of trying new things and kept going back to the same places each visit. This trip we shook things up and tried new things. This was not a business trip, but ended up being a one night trip due to poor planning and not being able to get the time off work. We left Orange County around 9:30AM and got to Nevada around 1PM. I had eaten a Pop-Tart in the car while my friend, determined to get the most for his buffet dollar, toughed it out. While I was fine, by the time we got to Vegas he was starving. Our original plan was to go to Silverton, which has become a traditional first stop for us since we like the buffet and Bass Pro Shop. We saw a billboard advertising the lunch buffet at South Pointe. Due in part to his hunger pains, that billboard became the most effective piece of advertising my friend had ever seen so he said we should go to the South Pointe since it was closer than the Silverton. I had never been there before so I was curious to take a look and agreed. We signed up for slot cards thinking there would be some sort of new player bonus, but there was nothing. I played a few dollars, but my friend really wanted to eat so I didn't spend too much time in the casino. I just remember it being big. It left no impression on me at all. The Garden Buffet was big and pretty busy. Those billboards must have worked on others as well. Everything looked really good and we dug in. However, as hungry as we were, nothing tasted that good. The best thing I ate there was probably the watermelon. There were actually 2 items that I took a bite of and spit out. I can't remember that last time I spit food back out because it tasted bad, Harry Potter vomit flavored jelly beans not withstanding. We left there pretty unsatisfied. We go to check in at the Hard Rock. First time staying there for both of us. Actually it was my friend's first time there period. The parking structure was little hard to get to due to construction, but it wasn't too bad. We had a mountain view room reserved at $79 a night. The guys next to us at checkin were trying to get upgraded to a suite and were laying on their "charm" way too thick. The clerk helping me kept rolling her eyes and looked happy not to be helping them. I politely ask for an upgrade to a pool view room ($100 more a night had I reserved it) and was given a pool room. I tipped the clerk for her efforts. The view was really great. If not for the noise, I would actually consider paying the extra $100 a night for this view. We went down to check out the famous pool. It was actually a little weird because it looked like a E! Channel special, just not as rowdy. Lots of pretty girls in very small swimsuits. The guys, and I say this with an unblemished record of staunch heterosexuality, were an accurate representation of the human male. Some guys with bodybuilder type bodies, some older guys, some average joes, and a few guys that made me look good. It was very weird: guys of all shapes and sizes, but only thin, curvy, stereotypically good-looking girls. As a sociology guy, it was very interesting to me. My three theories are 1) maybe the stars aligned just right and this just happened to be the mix of guests at the pool, 2) women have more body image issues so only those deemed good looking by society went to the pool, or 3) there were actually no female guests at the pool and the women we saw were paid to be there to maintain the image of the hotel. Either way, I was tired from driving and over-thinking so I decided to take a nap while my friend stayed at the pool. My friend woke me up when he got back from the pool. We decide to go to the 1/2 price ticket place by Riviera. When we got there, we found that their system was down and they did not have a list of available shows. We could them what we were interested in and they could check to see if they had tickets to that show, but there was no way we could look at a list, compare prices, and pick and choose. Since we didn't have anything in particular we wanted to see, we just started asking about random shows. They had a few of the Cirque shows, but at only 10% discounts. We finally settled on Mamma Mia. My friend is a hardcore McCain supporter who is suddenly into ABBA since that's supposedly his favorite band. I've actually seen it before when it was in Los Angeles, but enjoyed it enough so I didn't mind seeing it again for $30. We had some time to kill before the show. We decide to go to Fashion Show Mall. I haven't been there since I went there as a kid with my family to eat at The Dive (long gone submarine themed restaurant; horrible). Not much to see there, pretty much like any other mall. We head over to Mandalay Bay to trade in our vouchers for Mamma Mia tickets. We still have some time to kill so we get yards at Fat Tuesdays and wander around Luxor and Mandalay Bay. I run a few dollars through the slots, but I'm still kind of tired and the alcohol isn't sitting too well with me. We go into the tattoo place by House of Blues and find out they charge about 10X what other places charge. Eventually we are let into the Mamma Mia theater and I'm falling asleep in my seat before the show starts. But the second it starts I'm wide awake and enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would. Our seats were off to the side and pretty far back, but I wasn't complaining for $30. I think if it was my first time seeing it I would have prefered to sit closer though. Mamma Mia has a fairly sparse set and only a few big dance numbers so there isn't too much to "take in" by sitting farther back. Lots of kids in the audience that were probably too young to understand the concept of 3 fathers. All in all, I liked this better than the production I saw in LA, although I wonder why they play Sky (the fiance) as such a prick in this version. After the show we went back to the Hard Rock. They are actually watching the Obama speech at the Center Bar. I watch for a bit, mainly to piss off my friend. We find free admission tickets to Wasted Space in our room. It is the new bar/performance venue co-owned by Carey Hart. I actually got an email about it when it was first opening and the way it was described made it sound like it was going to be some really pretentious place. Since we had nothing better to do and it was free we went to check it out. The first thing we see as we walk in the door is Ron Jeremy. He said his nephew was the lead singer of the cover band that was playing. Not sure if he was kidding or not. It was a very good band. We stayed for 3 sets and ended up really liking the place. Carey Hart was there was well. It is small and crowded. It is a place to go and listen to music. There really isn't much room to do much dancing and empty booths reserved for table service take up most of the room. This places will probably depend on people doing bottles at those tables when big name acts play. I'm not sure how well that business model will hold up, but I wish them the best. It was nice to have a place to just listen to music and have a drink. Had a late dinner at Mr. Lucky's. I used to eat the $7.77 steak special every trip, but I've been going to Ellis Island my last few trips. I don't know if it was because it was 3AM and they were on a limited menu, but the menu wasn't as big as I remembered. We both had the all you can eat prime rib for $9.99. I wasn't expecting much, but it was really good. I would have gladly paid $9.99 for just one slice. It was served with salad, veggies, and mashed potato. The service was great. They really encouraged us to eat up. The second you were nearing the end of a slice, they would offer to bring out another. You could also request additional veggies and potatoes. I was pretty stuff after the first slice, but my friend ordered another and the server thought he was speaking for both of us and brought me one as well. As a victim of my parent's starving African children guilt trips, I forced myself to finish the second slice and called it quits. My friend ended up having 3 slices and 3 orders of potatoes. We both went back to the room and fell asleep after that. Well, actually I rolled around in the bed a lot. My friend said it was the most comforatable hotel bed he ever slept in, but I prefer a firmer mattress so I had a hard time getting used to it. When we woke up the next morning we noticed that there was actually a fair ammount of noise coming from the pool. Light sleepers may want to avoid the pool view rooms. Did video check out and left. We were given wristbands for pool admission for Friday. Some guy offered to buy them from us, but we decided not to sell them, mostly to spite the guy. We decide to have lunch before driving home and end up where we should have gone from the beginning: Silverton. Had my only true gambling session there. Won $35 on penny slots. Woo Hoo! I signed up for their slot club as members get $1 off the buffet ($2 at dinner). The Silverton Seasons buffet is maybe 1/3 the size of South Pointe, but every item is delicious. The Silverton is a pretty nice place, I wouldn't mind spending more time there on a future trip. $1 MGD all day. Did some shopping at the Bass Pro Shop and then headed home. Thanks for reading.