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Vegas Redux, Day One

Posted on June 20th, 2017

Dave!And so I'm off to Las Vegas again. This time for work.

The drive over the mountains was blissfully uneventful. Many times, I was the only person on the road. Which is kind of a weird feeling. Like every other human on earth had vanished or something.

My flight was delayed three times, which is getting to be the new normal. The exact same thing happened with my last flight to Denver. This wouldn't be so bad... I mean, I've had it a lot worse than an hour... except the delay happened at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, which is one of the shittiest airports on earth. Not only is everything broken all the time, but they prioritize shopping kiosks and storefronts over passengers needing a place to sit down. Thus most every gate has grossly deficient seating, leaving everybody standing or sitting on the floor. It would be great if the Port of Seattle would one day remodel the airport so it's not total shit and at least attempts to provide for customer comfort... but, alas...

This trip I'm staying on The Strip. This means there's a lot more options for dining I like, but I've seen all the hotels many times over so I am quickly coming to prefer staying in Old Town. Oh well. I get to add another hotel to my checklist of "Strip Hotels I've Stayed At," which is now at half...

  • Aria
  • Bellagio
  • Caesars Palace
  • Excalibur
  • Luxor
  • Mandalay Bay/Delano
  • Mandarin Oriental
  • MGM Grand
  • Monte Carlo
  • New York New York
  • Sarahara (now SLS/The W)
  • Venetian/Palazzo
  • Wynn/Encore

The thirteen left to go...

  • Bally's
  • Circus Circus
  • Cosmopolitan
  • Flamingo
  • Harrah's
  • Linq
  • Mirage
  • Paris
  • Planet Hollywood
  • Stratosphere
  • Treasure Island
  • Tropicana
  • Vdara

I've stayed at off-strip hotels in Vegas as well... most notably The Hard Rock Hotel and the Hilton, which is no longer a Hilton and has since changed its name to "Westgate."

INTERESTING ASIDE: Google Maps has secretly(?) preserved the memory of the Hilton as it used to be. When you use StreetView within the Hilton Circle, the images are as they used to be...

The Hilton Las Vegas in Google Maps StreetView!
The old Hilton sign (which was at one point the largest freestanding sign on earth... maybe still is!).
Images ©Google Maps

The Hilton Las Vegas in Google Maps StreetView!
You can still see the Hilton logo-mark in the upper left on the actual hotel there.
Images ©Google Maps

   
And yet, if you take one step out of the circle, you get an updated view of both sign and hotel...

The Westgate Las Vegas in Google Maps StreetView!
The revised sign, now Westgate. Still home of Benihana's though!
Images ©Google Maps

The Westgate Las Vegas in Google Maps StreetView!
The revised branding on the hotel itself has also been updated.
Images ©Google Maps

   
Time for cheap eats!

My last trip, I was eating daily at Nacho Daddy off Fremont. I was happy to see that there's another Nacho Daddy on The Strip around the corner from Planet Hollywood. Thus, dinner has been secured...

Nacho Daddy Dinner!

Well, I did my best to try and go with cheap eats. Unfortunately I had four Long Island ice teas, which ended up being $36 added to my $8.50 in nachos. Dooming myself to be poor, I guess.

After Jake's escape from the catio Sunday night, I'm understandably freaked out that my cats will find another way to escape my house... this time while I'm over 800 miles away and can do nothing. So I have been checking in on them at least once an hour. Jake has grown frustrated with the catio since his escape route was blocked and is sleeping inside. Jenny, on the other hand, is out there catching bugs and eating them. So... business as usual, then...

Jenny Catching Bugs on the Catio!

And that's Vegas for you. Now I should probably get some work done or something.

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Vegas… Day Three

Posted on March 21st, 2017

Dave!Long Island Iced Teas Drank: 4
Gambling Tally: Down $82
Time To Bed: 1:30am


Another day, another couple rounds of Long Islands at Nacho Daddy...

Long Island Ice Tea!

Long Island Ice Tea!

   
Today's plan was to relax, and so I did.

Until it came time to zipline down Fremont on Slotzilla.

In case you don't know what that means, somebody documented the experience for you...

Since I've been skydiving, bungee jumping, and zip-lining before, this was a piece of cake. But I admit that my heart skipped a beat when that door dropped from eleven stories to reveal what you're about to do!

A very cool experience for $45 that I would gladly do again.

And... another trip to Las Vegas is over.

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Vegas… Day Two

Posted on March 20th, 2017

Dave!Long Island Iced Teas Drank: 6
Gambling Tally: Up $108
Time To Bed: 2:30am


I was awakened around 9am by a security alert on my phone, which turned out to be Jake wandering around the kitchen. I yelled at him through the camera speaker to get out, but this ended up backfiring in the worst possible way. Both cats came tearing into the kitchen when they heard my voice... assumably because they thought I was there. Yeah, I felt pretty terrible for the rest of the day.

I ended up loving Nacho Daddy so much yesterday that I headed there for lunch again today. Since it had just turned noon, I was just in time to start in on the Long Islands for the day...

Long Island Ice Tea!

Long Island Ice Tea!

Dinner was at Margaritaville on The Strip, after which we headed over to The Luxor for one of my favorite shows, Blue Man Group, which I've seen in various places five times previously. They added a bit of new material since the last time I saw them (in Orlando, I think) which is always nice. Heck of an entertaining show (as always) and I highly recommend checking them out if you have the opportunity...

Blue Man Group Vegas!

After the show, we headed back to Fremont to finish out gambling for the day. And to visit Nacho Daddy for my last Long Island of the day...

Long Island Ice Tea!

   
And now... a missive on The Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino Las Vegas...

This is my third time staying here, the last time being in 2009. I had zero complaints my previous visits. The Old Town location is great. The staff is great. The rooms are clean. What more could you want?

Well...

Turns out it's quite a bit.

Like not having to evacuate the hotel twice in one day.

Yesterday while I was relaxing before dinner, the hotel speaker system started screaming for people to evacuate the building. I waited to see if it were a false alarm, but eventually made my way down the stairwell to the outside of the building as the alarm continued. Where a bunch of us waited. And waited. And waited. Eventually I asked a passing security guard what was wrong and how long it would be before we could go back to our rooms. "DIDN'T YOU HEAR THE ALL-CLEAR?!? Uh. No. No we did not. There are no speakers outside to hear it. I then asked what happened "Somebody vaping on the 7th floor. Happens all the time."

Which turned out to be true. Because it happened again at 2:00am.

And I found out it had happened earlier before we even arrived as well.

Just a thought... if vaping sets off your building evacuation alarm three times a day at all hours, perhaps it would be prudent to alert people to this fact when they check in so vapers aren't constantly causing the evacuation the hotel. When I checked in, nobody told me vaping wasn't allowed inside. Nothing on my welcome card mentioned it either. I don't vape, so no harm no foul on me. But for others? Seriously... this is some outlandishly stupid shit.

And speaking of outlandishly stupid shit at The Golden Nugget...

This being Vegas, you have to pay $30 a day in "resort fees." This gets you...

  • Two bottles of water daily. But not really, because my water was never replenished.
  • Internet access. But not really, because neither my laptop or iPhone could ever connect.
  • Use of the gym and pool. But not really, because the famous waterslide at the pool was broken and the pool isn't 24 hours. Hell, the frickin' hot tub isn't even 24 hours.
  • Complimentary airline boarding passes printing via the Front Desk or Box Office. But not really, because this is a non-feature... who the fuck prints their boarding pass in 2017?
  • Complimentary newspapers. But not really, because they are not delivered to your room... you have to go down to the lobby to read them. And who the fuck reads a physical newspaper in 2017?
  • Discount coupons. But not really, because most of them are 2-for-1 deals, which are useless if you're in Vegas as a single. Unless you care to pay for an all-you-can-eat buffet twice just because the second one is free?

So essentially I was forced to pay $30 a day and got jack-shit for it. I already hate "resort fees" with a passion... and the hotels who rip you off with them... but The Golden Nugget is just beyond a shithole for not delivering any value with theirs. Will not be staying there again.

And I don't know about gambling there again either. Over half of their automated cash-out/ATM machines were broken...

Golden Nugget Sucks!

Looks like you're standing in line forever at the understaffed cashier window.

Oh... and the fee for withdrawing money from their ATM when you find a working one? SIX FUCKING DOLLARS. Thanks, Golden Nugget... you pile of crap.

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Vegas… Day One

Posted on March 19th, 2017

Dave!Long Island Iced Teas Drank: 3
Gambling Tally: Down $22
Time To Bed: 3:00am


My friends and I arrived in Las Vegas at 1:30pm after a quick 2-hour flight from Seattle.

We had a late lunch at my new favorite restaurant in the Fremont area... Nacho Daddy, which is amazing from top to bottom. Great service, great music, great atmosphere, really great nachos, and incredible drinks...

Long Island Ice Tea!

I decided that my drink of the trip would be the Long Island Ice Tea, due to the high alcohol content. The last thing I was to do is be sober in Las Vegas.

Most of my friends went to "O" the water show by Cirque du Soleil. Since I am completely baffled by the appeal of Cirque, I took a pass and met up with some other friends who were in town.

After that there was much drinking and gambling until the wee hours of the morning.

Which sounds uneventful enough, sure. Except... the hotel had to be evacuated twice. Both times because somebody was vaping in their room. Apparently the smoke detectors in The Golden Nugget cannot distinguish between smoke and vapor, so this "happens all the time." At least according to the security guard on the sidewalk.

If vaping sets off your building evacuation alarm three times a day at all hours, perhaps it would be prudent to alert people to this fact when they check in so vapers aren't constantly evacuating the hotel. Just a thought. Because... seriously... this is some outlandishly stupid shit.

In better news... WONDER WOMAN SLOTS!!!

Vegas Slots!

And just to prove that they can make a slots game out of anything... HOUSE OF CARDS SLOTS!!!

Vegas Slots!

Though, I have to say... Orange is the new Black slots would be m favorite of the night. Who knew?

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Bullet Sunday 342

Posted on August 11th, 2013

Dave!Everybody place your bets... because Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Welcome! What always fascinates me about Las Vegas, Nevada is this: What people think of when they think of Las Vegas is not actually Las Vegas at all. Unless you are thinking of "Old Las Vegas" and Fairmont Street... or perhaps The Stratosphere Hotel and Casino... both of which actually are in Las Vegas. But most everything else... including all the big popular casino hotels on "The Strip" south of Sahara Avenue, are actually in Paradise, Nevada (unincorporated). Indeed, even McCarran International Airport is not in Las Vegas, despite what the sign says when you arrive there...

Vegas Welcome Sign at McCarran Airport

But I suppose it's easier to just lump everything together under the name "Las Vegas" that everybody knows... which, apparently, is what the US Postal Service does anyway.

   
• Service! One of the worst things about visiting "Las Vegas" if you are an AT&T mobile customer is that your cellular service is for shit. Even if you turn off LTE...

AT&T Vegas Fucking Sucks Ass

Actually, it's worse than shit, because a lot of the time there's no service at all. And I'm not talking about when you're buried in a casino somewhere... I'm talking about when you're walking around outside...

AT&T Vegas Fucking Sucks Ass

It has been like this for as long as I've been with AT&T and visiting Las Vegas. Even when you can start a call, odds are it will drop off before you can complete it. And I just don't get it. Yes, I'm sure putting up cellular towers is no easy process with the regulations and permits and all that... but this has been going on for years. Is AT&T EVER going to get their shit together in this city?

   
• Goo! If ever there was a reminder of why I won't be visiting porn theaters in this lifetime, this would be it...

Goo Gone - THEATER

A Goo Gone bottle, almost empty, with "Theater" written across it? Sign me up.

   
• Venice! Las Vegas is much like Walt Disney World's EPCOT in that they try to recreate exotic locations from around the world so Americans not wanting to leave the country can leave the country.

But not really.

The truth is that you can't visit Venice without actually visiting Venice. Try as they might, these fabrications can't even give you a taste of what the real thing is like. And yet, not everybody is lucky enough to be able to fly off to Venice, so this is as close as they're going to get. And, in that respect, I suppose something is better than nothing...

St. Mark's Square at The Venetian
Could be better than the real St. Mark's Square... which is always covered in scaffolding and pigeons.

Gondolas at The Venetian
Gondola rides in Vegas are much, much, much cheaper than in Venice.

Gelato at The Venetian
What's a visit to Italy without some stracciatella gelato?

My hope is that anybody intrigued by fake Venice or fake Paris or fake Oslo or fake anywhere would want to save their pennies to visit the real thing. But there's usually no slot machines filling every available bit of floor space, so maybe that's asking too much.

   
• &! Something I have always wanted to do on my many trips to Las Vegas was to see Penn & Teller's show at the Rio. Thanks to a kind act of generosity, I finally managed it this trip...

Penn & Teller

It was absolutely great. I wish there was a little more magic and a little less politics... but I guess that wouldn't be Penn & Teller, would it? Still... worth seeing if you're in the neighborhood.

   
Back to reality...

   

Viva

Posted on August 10th, 2013

Dave!And...

I've finally attended a Vegas wedding officiated by Elvis.

I have to admit, I was really surprised at how well done it was. Just the right amounts of tacky and sweet... and about as memorable of a wedding as you could hope for. It didn't hurt that there was a very memorable couple getting hitched...

Cher & Nis Wedding

Congratulations Cher & Nis... thanks so much for letting me be a part of your special day!

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Cashout

Posted on August 9th, 2013

Dave!I am not much of a gambler.

Not because I am particularly unlucky, because I'm not (even though I don't much believe in luck)... but because the paranoia of losing my hard-earned money just kind of sucks all the fun out of it.

But it wouldn't be a trip to Vegas without a little gambling, so I slid $20 in a slot machine... lost everything but $4, then somehow ended up $136.43 ahead...

$156.43 Cash Voucher

And there's my gambling money for the trip.

Yes, I'm a total player that way.

But at least I won't be whoring myself on The Strip to earn cash because I lost all my money playing roulette.

No... if I'm going to whore myself on The Strip, it's going to be because I enjoy it, dammit!

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Vowgas

Posted on August 8th, 2013

Dave!What could be better than a wedding in Vegas?

I'm not the one getting married!

Vowgas Leaving Puget Sound

Vowgas Mount Rainier Flyover

Vowgas Flight Map

Vowgas Landing in Vegas City Lights

Vowgas Jager Bomb

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Aquaria

Posted on April 4th, 2011

Dave!And, just like that, my weekend in Vegas is over.

It would have been nice to have a few more days just to kick back at the Bellagio's pool and relax but, alas, I have to go back to work since I didn't win a million dollars gambling.

But this morning there was time to do Just One More Thing before heading to the airport, so it was decided we would go to the Shark Reef Aquarium at the Mandalay Bay Resort. This was a good call, because I haven't been there in nearly ten years (when it first opened, I think) and love me a good aquarium...

Shark Reef Lizard

Shark Reef Shark

Shark Reef Lion Fish

Shark Reef Observation Tube

Shark Reef Jelly Fish

A fun way to spend a morning, to be sure.

And now I get to sit at the airport for three hours on layover while I wait for my flight home.

Not such a fun way to spend an evening, to be sure.

But, knock on wood, I get to stay home a full three weeks before heading out again, so that's something.

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Bullet Sunday 226: Las Vegas

Posted on April 3rd, 2011

Dave!It's a Vegas-infused edition of Bullet Sunday!

   
• Classy. The most interesting aspect of Vegas is the people who show up here. People-watching is so good that could almost be a full-time activity. Hang around long enough, and you'll see it all. Drunks walking out into traffic. People puking in trash cans. Women walking through the casino in a bikini. A pickup full of cats that says "Pussy Wagon"... it's all going on in Vegas. But the best thing I saw this trip was a woman walking down The Strip in leopard print pants, a halter-top, hooker-high heels, and makeup so thick it was probably put on with a spatula. This alone wasn't unusual because half the women here look like that. But throw in the fact that she was nursing a newborn baby, and it doesn't get any classier!

   
• Cups. I swear, every time I come to Vegas, the drinking cups are bigger. First there was the "Big Gulp" cup. Then there was the long-neck cup. Then there was the "Yard Glass" cup. Now there's the 100-oz. Cup which is SO long (over 4-feet) that it comes with a neck-strap. I suppose next time I come to Vegas, there will be 200-oz. cups that come with a pull-cart to lug it up and down The Strip...

DAVETOON: Bad Monkey and the Ultimate Big Gulp.

What I love is the little "Always Drink Responsibly" signs displayed where you buy these things. How could you possibly drink anything this massive responsibly? The entire purpose of buying one is to be irresponsible.

   
• Gambler. I'm usually pretty lucky when it comes to gambling (even though I don't believe in luck). But not this trip. I won a grand total of $17. On an "investment" of $200. I am officially poor now.

   
• Fremont. I'm always surprised when somebody comes back from Las Vegas, I ask if they visited Fremont Street in the "old town" and they say "no." It's such a shame, because it's such a fun experience. A lot to see and do in a rather small area...

Fremont Street

Fremont Street

And, of course, there's the giant-screen ceiling of the covered-walkway that spans a big chunk of the area. This time we got to rock out to Queen and Kiss, which was very cool because the sound system is great. If you ever end up in Las Vegas, don't miss a chance to visit. It's worth the $20 cab ride...

Fremont Street

   
• Stargate! They will make just about anything into a slots game. TV Shows like Survivor and Sex In The City are popular, and this time I saw one I hadn't seen before based on Stargate SG-1...

Stargate SG-1 Slots!

Stargate SG-1 Slots!

Seems a little sci-fi geek esoteric for Vegas, but it ended up being a good game (even though I didn't win any money)! There really needs to be a slots game based on Top Chef or Project Runway!

   
• Bloody! The perfect Bloody Mary is a difficult beast to track down. Usually because so many place make such bad ones. Imagine my surprise when it was suggested to go to Rainforest Cafe if you want a good Bloody Mary... and they were absolutely right! It's a good mix that's not too spicy and not all watery. AND it comes with potato chips on top! Genius!

Rainforest Bloody Mary

   
• Eat! The best place to eat in Las Vegas? EARL OF SANDWICH at the Miracle Mile Shops in the Planet Hollywood Resort! The franchises are hard to find unless you live in Texas or Florida, and the shop in Las Vegas is the only location in the Western USA. Probably the best sandwich I've ever had. So good I went both days...

Earl of Sandwich

Right next door is Pink's, which is funny since I just went there when I was in Los Angeles this past week...

Pink's Hot Dogs Vegas

   
Annnnnd... that's a Vegas weekend in bullets. Well, the parts I can talk about anyway. Because what happens in Vegas...

   

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