mellicious: pink manicure (Las Vegas sign)
Weetabix posted an entry a few days ago including a picture taken in a Las Vegas bathroom, and I thought, "Hey! I have a bunch of pictures of bathrooms in Las Vegas!" I know that sounds kind of weird, but at TUSCon in 2004 I got fascinated by the themed bathrooms, and I remember taking pictures in a number of them. Only it was so long ago, apparently - c'mon, 2004! forever ago in internet time! - that I can only find one of them now. This is Paris, which was my favorite one anyway.
Paris bathroom 
I mean, is that not terribly Parisian? (I've never even been to the real Paris, but, well, it seems very French!)

And I honestly can't even remember what the rest of them were now - I'm starting to think I dreamed the whole thing. But I had some computer issues in the intervening years (especially that whole little apartment-flooded-by-a-hurricane thing) and then there was the crash of Diary-X, too, so while I'm pretty sure they did in fact exist, I have no idea what became of them. One must've been the Luxor, because that's where we were staying, and I think maybe one was the Aladdin, which I seem to recall had a doorway shaped like a minaret. But I have no evidence of these things any more, apparently.

So I'll throw some more Vegas pictures at you just for fun. Here are some Vegas-at-Christmas pictures from 2007, that's appropriate for Holidailies!

Many places were quite tasteful, particularly considering it's Vegas we're talking about. This is the Forum Shops:
Forum Shops

Outside at Caesar's:
holiday decor at Caesar's

This was the Tiffany store at the Bellagio:
Tiffany window display at the Bellagio

Venetian exterior (w/holiday decorations)

TI (I titled this one "Christmas at the casino"):
Christmas at the casino 

This one is the Conservatory at the Bellagio, which also had somewhat cracked-out decor when we were there in the summer of 2004. I don't know what's up with that, exactly. (I don't think it seems as overwhelming in the pictures as I remember it being in real life. It was a LOT of decorations stuffed into a very small space.)
Conservatory at the Bellagio

And we'll finish up with this picture, just because it's Vegas and I like it:
Bellagio fountains
mellicious: pink manicure (Las Vegas sign)
(The, uh, less coherent part is here.)

I wasn't sure whether renting a car in Las Vegas was really a good idea, but I would absolutely do it again - besides, I still want to go out to Red Rocks (or whatever that place is called) and we didn't get around to it this trip. We had a little bit of trouble parking at the Golden Nugget, which makes sense since it's downtown and it was Friday night and there were a lot of people at Fremont Street. And I had a bit of trouble navigating here and there but it's not like you can't see the landmarks from most places in Vegas. Parking turned out to be free just about everywhere, which I didn't expect. (The Golden Nugget does charge, but not for guests; noplace we parked on the Strip did.)

We got in so late Friday night so we didn't do anything except go to the hotel and check in and collapse. The Golden Nugget is nicely remodeled, and they're in the process of building another tower - which I certainly hope will include more parking, since we had to go from bottom to top to bottom of the parking garage twice before we found a space. I was happy to see that downtown looks just like it did nearly 25 years ago when I first came to Las Vegas, although frankly I think more places than the Nugget could stand to do some remodeling. (All I care about preserving is the exterior, really.) My sister Paula and her boyfriend Dave were already there when we got there, but they had been walking around all day and had gone up to their room by the time we finally arrived.

When we finally saw them at breakfast Paula was flashing that ring around - it's a big wide ring and I wasn't immediately sure if it was intended to be an engagement ring, but it was. They had already been talking about marriage in December when I was there so I wasn't terribly shocked. Dave is a nice guy and seems much more grounded than most people she's dated, so it's not like I disapprove. They haven't known each other all that long, but as I said yesterday, she's doesn't seem to be any hurry about things, anyway.

They had already been to a lot of different casinos, but Paula said she hadn't been to Paris so that was where we went. I've been there enough times that I had stopped thinking a lot about it looking different from other casinos, but it does, and she loved it. It's true that every other casino does look pretty much alike, as far as the actual casino goes. We wandered around and gambled a bit, and then we went up the Eiffel Tower. I was the only one who had done it before. (Paula has been to Paris, the real one, a couple of times, but didn't go up the real tower, either - she said the lines were too long.) Rob had some pretty serious vertigo on the way up, just like I did the first time. It didn't bother me so much the second time. Everybody was ok once we got up to the top, though, even though we could feel it swaying, which I don't remember noticing the first time. I sure wouldn't want to go up there on a windy day!

After that we walked down to Margaritaville and had late lunch/early dinner - it was about 3:00 by then. We had to wait in line for a good while but we goofed around in the gift shop, which was a fairly interesting place even if you're not a Parrothead. (I really wanted to buy a t-shirt that said "Yes I am a pirate" - don't ask me why that appealed to me so much, but it did - except that I really don't wear t-shirts so it would be a big waste of money, and I wasted enough money gambling that I didn't have much budget left for junk.) The food was pretty good and the drinks were better. The place was hopping and noisy but it was fun.

That reminds me that I can't really say I saw much sign of a recession, overall - although I'm sure most people were paying considerably less for their hotel rooms than they would have a year or two ago, and of course that's having a big impact on the casinos' bottom lines. But people were sure eating and gambling and buying stuff like crazy, as far as I could tell.

The other place we went before we went back downtown was the Rio, where none of us had been before. And it wasn't all that impressive, except for having the cheesiest cocktail-waitress outfits, by far. (And some of them climbed up on podiums and danced, from time to time, too, so I guess they were doubling as sort of go-go dancers, as well as waitresses.) There were sure a lot of people there, though.

That was enough walking that I was starting to have blisters on my feet, by then, so we went back to the hotel and regrouped. I put some neosporin on the blisters and changed shoes, and that gave me enough of a second wind that we were able to go down and see the light show on Fremont and wander in & out of a couple of the casinos down there. I had thought I would want my coat down there after dark but I hardly ended up wearing it at all. It really didn't feel that cold. We did win a little money gambling, Rob and I both did. (He ended up about $100 up for the weekend and I was probably nearly that much down, overall, so hopefully we came out even, or a bit better.)

So that was Saturday, and I've already talked a good bit about Sunday. The only thing I didn't mention was that we were still on the kick of checking out off-Strip casinos, so we did go spend some time at the Palms Sunday before we left. We liked it better than the Rio. It seemed a bit more upscale (although it had just about the most penny slots I've ever seen anywhere) - and it has a movie theater inside, which is something I don't think I've seen anywhere else.

It didn't seem like we walked as much as we did on the last couple of trips to Vegas, but I'm still exhausted today. Actually I just don't think it's possible to go there without walking a lot - unless maybe you're a star and can have your limo pull right up at the front door. (And even then, it's still an awful long way across some of the casinos!) Even with driving ourselves around, well, they don't put the self-parking anywhere convenient, that's for sure!
mellicious: pink manicure (Las Vegas sign)
I posted about the lack of weddings, but I failed to say that there is in fact an engagement, a very official one, this time, with his mother's diamond ring and the whole bit. Paula seems to be in love but she is a bit reluctant when it comes to the actual marriage - which is how it should be, as far as I'm concerned. Why hurry?

We got along well with them, all weekend. We didn't spend every minute with them but we mostly moved around together, generally - we would separate and pick a new meeting place for a half-hour or an hour at a time, but we were basically with them all day yesterday and a chunk of the day today. We were supposed to go eat brunch fairly early and then we were going to go drop them off at the airport - I didn't mind, it's not far - and since their flight was earlier than ours then we would have a little time to kill before time for us to go. That was the plan. What happened was we got up early and did our stuff and got dressed, and then I called Paula at 9:00 and she was still in bed and they had ordered breakfast in bed and were planning to go back to sleep and furthermore that they had decided to stay until tomorrow. (I found out later that this was because Paula wasn't feeling well, but they didn't say that at the time.) So we decided that fine, we were hungry and we were going in search of food and furthermore in search of a breakfast buffet. The Golden Nugget's buffet was under renovation and noplace else downtown appealed - they all seem a bit seedy - so we drove back down to the Strip. To the Luxor, actually, whose buffet I had been to before and liked, and I also figured they were better set up for big crowds than TI, which is the other one that we thought of. (As near as I can remember, the basic brunch menu is very similar, between the two.) (People who were at TUScon - wasn't the name of the buffet at the time - nearly five years ago now!! - wasn't it "Pharoah's Pheast"? Well, no longer. it's "More" and their slogan is something like, "Less is not more. More is more." I roll my eyes every time I see it.)

I am sleepy and you are only going to get scattered bits and pieces out of me. One thing is that sunset is still very early in Las Vegas in January - 5:00, it's starting to be twilight; by 5:30 it's dark.

The weather today was lovely - about 68 this afternoon and bright and sunny. We had to figure out how to turn the a/c on in the rental car. (Which was a Pacifica SUV because we got in late Friday night and all the midsize cars were gone.)

In the fast-food line at the airport, the woman behind me was telling her friends about how she had been arrested the night before. She was not particularly young - didn't appear to be the party-girl type, let's say. But apparently there was some drunken hooting and hollering in support of the Arizona Cardinals, and she seemed to feel that if she had been been hooting and hollering for a different team, it would have gone over better. (There was discussion of what her husband would say, and then inevitably, somebody said, "Well, what happens in Vegas...")

Ok, I give up. I will try to write something more coherent in the morning when the drugs wear off.
mellicious: pink manicure (Las Vegas sign)
[ profile] columbina , you did see this, right? Sad to see another newspaper go bust, even though I do agree with that piece about why this keeps happening.

We're leaving for the airport in an hour or so and I am still packing, which is par for the course. I did get my missing prescription (muscle relaxers, in case my back decides to be cranky) but my sunglasses are still MIA. I may have to buy some cheapies tomorrow - I can manage without here, in the wintertime when the sun's not so bright, but I betcha it's still awfully sunshiny in Las Vegas even in January.

I'll be back Sunday late. Particularly since my sister's going (is already there, actually), I'm sure to have plenty to say about this trip!

mellicious: pink manicure (Christmas tree)
As expected (see entry above), I spent most of the day running around madly and then we drove to Bryan (and ate way too much Mexican food upon arrival, if it matters). The problem of the long to-do list was exacerbated by lack of sleep - I went to bed around two and woke up around six, I think. I don't function well on four hours of sleep, which I certainly hope was the reason I had to stop running around mid-morning in order to have a crying jag. In any case, I did start feeling better and I got most of the to-do list taken care of - Chase asked for paperwork I didn't have, which is par for the course for them, in my experience. I didn't go by the lawyer's, either, but I talked to her and all is under control as much as it can be, I guess. (We were trying to distribute some estate money before the end of the year but we do still have some time to work on that next week.)

We got here with tons of beads, it looks like - and as far as I can tell, with everything else we needed as well. (Knock on wood.) Everything on the list, anyway - although frankly, as long as I have ambien I don't so much care about the rest, right now. I'm going to be going to bed really shortly.

Oh, and Linda's dog pissed on the bed (Rob's bed, actually) while we were making it up. He's a rather princess-y Jack Russell and I think we upset his routine and failed to make up for it by giving him sufficient attention. I hope this isn't a bad sign for the next couple of days!

(One more thing - my sister e-mailed me and she and the bf are meeting us in Vegas. This should be interesting.) (But she is, of course, flaking out on Christmas again. That one I expected.)
mellicious: pink manicure (Las Vegas sign)
Rob brought home a crumpled piece of newspaper last night containing the news that Tilman Fertitta, who owns about half of Galveston as well as the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas, is giving anybody who lives in Galveston County (and can prove it) two free nights in Vegas. Rob pointed out that we do have a credit on Southwest from the trip to Ohio in October that we didn't take.... so what the heck, we're going to Las Vegas again next month. MLK weekend, to be exact. (I never thought that Rob would like Las Vegas as much as he did. People surprise you sometimes, no matter how well you know them.) I suspect that Fertitta's motives are not 100% charitable, since he's trying to get gambling legalized in Galveston and this can't really hurt his chances, but still. Free room, hey.

We could have gone next week (assuming we could get reservations) but I didn't think it would have worked out like it did last year - last year Christmas was on Tuesday, and so we left for the airport to head to LV after lunch on Christmas Day, stayed three days and got the heck out on Friday before (a) the big crowds got there and (b) the prices went up for the weekend and New Year's. This year, with Christmas on Thursday, I didn't see how that was going to work as well. First you have a holiday weekend, which would be, what, the 26th-28th, and then presumably by the 30th, if not before, you start getting people coming in for New Year's Eve. (And NYE was also the only day blacked out on the free-room deal.) I didn't go and research this but I just couldn't see a big gap in there like there was last year. AND Rob is off next week but has to work some days the week after (I think it's Monday, Tuesday and Friday, but I forget, now that I don't have the calendar sitting on my desk to look at all the time). He does have a three-day weekend for MLK so that was why we picked that. And the airfare was only $30 more than what we had already paid. I also got a rental car, the first time I've done that in LV. I hope I don't regret it - but I never stayed downtown before, either, and I didn't want to choose between depending on taxis and being stuck downtown. I haven't even been downtown in years, but my memory of it is that it's a pretty small area. I'm inclined to think we're going to want to make at least one jaunt over to the Strip.

Random holiday-related stuff:

I love that Tor is sponsoring a Traditional Jewish Christmas (consisting of a Chinese buffet and Monty Python movies). Sounds like a blast to me.

Scalzi's guide to spotting fake Santas

The Guild's version of A Night Before Christmas (last year's Guild Christmas special is on that page too)

Oh, a small thing, but some of us are picky about stuff like this: if anybody is looking for the perfect red fingernail polish for seasonal purposes, I think I'm wearing it: OPI "An Affair in Red Square". I think I bought it last year but presumably it's still around. "Russian Red" might be a pretty good description of it - it's sort of a deep metallic red, just a hair darker than fire-engine red. I really like it a lot so I thought I'd share.
mellicious: pink manicure (Las Vegas sign)
Speaking of Las Vegas (well, we haven't spoken of it lately but it's still my default icon!), I think I have created a monster. Rob said yesterday that he wants to go back to Las Vegas - luckily he wasn't specific as to when - and furthermore, that we have to stay at TI again so that he can play his favorite set of slot machines, which are, as it happens, right by the elevators at TI. (I have this theory that they put slot machines which pay off slightly better in prominent places so you'll get hooked. No idea if that's really true.) Oh well, could be worse. I like Las Vegas anyway, and it's not like he's given to gambling indiscriminately. We'd probably better not wait 5 years or anything to go back, though, or his favorite slot machines might have been replaced, and then where will we be?

The University is restructuring again. At least it's not layoffs this time. (There are rumors of a possible hiring freeze, actually, but nothing official on that front yet.) Our division (Finance) is getting moved yet again - the last time around, they split us up into Hospital Finance, Academic Finance, and so forth, but now we are all getting rolled back into one big division again. We suspect that our division head is sort of getting left out in the cold in the process, although theoretically he got new employees out of the deal. But he would be the logical person for that third EVP position, and his name is pointedly not mentioned even though he does seem to be performing those duties on an interim basis. (It's not in this article, either.)

Also discussed in the Town Meeting was new dormitories, which affects my husband since the old ones are where he works. (The presentation from the meeting, which I think you should be able to access, has a drawing of the new building on page 5.) We don't know what sort of job changes will shake out of this, but our theory is that we have at least a couple of years to let it sort itself out, since it's highly unlikely that the building will actually be finished by December 2009, as it says there, considering that UTMB never does anything very fast and work hasn't even started on it yet. (It took them three years to build a two-story parking garage, after all. And you'd think that would be a much simpler thing than a regular building.)

I'm wearing my pink plaid shoes again, which I love unabashedly. I do seem to sort of have a thing for pink, don't I? (There are also these beads, which came in my Fire Mountain order yesterday, and which will probably be a bracelet - and possibly matching earrings - before the weekend is over, if not today.) (The pink shoes don't seem to be available on Target's website, but Target is where they came from - they're Keds knock-offs, branded Merona. Keds usually calls this type of shoe "skimmers" - sort of ballet-flat shaped, but with a white tennis-shoe type bottom. Just in case you're interested!)


Jan. 6th, 2008 09:54 pm
mellicious: pink manicure (Vegas - shiny)
(Written Saturday)
I know I said I was done with the Vegas posts, but I keep thinking of little things. And I'm still sick(ish) so you have to bear with my whims, sorry! I've barely been out of the house for a whole week, for goodness sake. Apparently I have had the full-fledged flu - I had a flu shot ages ago but they said there's a strain going around that wasn't included in the shot this year, so that probably explains it. I am getting better, but slowly. I ended up calling in sick to work again yesterday so I sure hope I'm fit to go back on Monday. Seems like I ought to be, though.

For one thing, there turns out to be a Zumanity game online - you can see quite a bit of the "hula hoop" act if you're patient enough to mess with it - and more and more of "Julia" too, apparently. I wouldn't really call what I saw of it NSFW but it may get there eventually - I didn't get far enough along to be sure. I don't know that most people's work would approve much of that game - or at least of Julia's outfit! - in any case. Depends on your workplace, I guess. (You get an introduction by the lovely Antonio, for a bonus. And bits of the music, too.)

Also, apparently the Zumanity emcee is a guy named Joey Arias, who has been with the show from the beginning - four years - and is leaving as of the first of the year, so that means we saw one of his last performances.

(We are going to spend a night at Beau Rivage in April, when we go to Ohio, since we're flying Skybus out of Gulfport, anyway. I'm not holding my breath that we'll repeat our fabulous gambling luck, but oh well.)
mellicious: pink manicure (Las Vegas sign)
(Written in our hotel room, Thursday, Dec. 27)

One thing I haven't said about Las Vegas is that whoever it was who told me that the crowd this time of the year might be different was definitely right. More international, they said – and well, I guess Americans were probably still the majority, but if they were it wasn't by much. Lots of people speaking Spanish. Lots of people speaking French. I still can't usually tell one Asian language from another (to my chagrin), but there were lots of those, too. There has started to be a new influx of Americans, though – it's much more crowded, generally, than it was yesterday. I assume these are people coming in for the holiday weekend. (Rob doesn't like the big crowds; it's a good thing we're leaving.)

So today was really just more of the same – we walked all around Caesar's and otherwise just generally wandered. We did finally get to see the damn Bellagio fountains – set to the Hallelujah Chorus, no less – at 3:30 this afternoon, after which we headed back to TI. It was already getting twilight-ish, by then – it gets dark noticeably earlier here than at home – and I was cold and we were both rather cranky. And we had dinner reservations, so a good rest seemed in order.

After much discussion, we decided to keep our original dinner reservations at the TI steakhouse. And I'm glad we did. It was awfully damn expensive, but it was very good. We even got our picture taken. (I suspect that that will make its way online at some point.) I had homemade tater tots, a thing which I never thought existed (tater tots only come in Ore-Ida, don't they?) and homemade fucking ketchup, for god's sake, and a glass of shiraz, and a salad and a filet mignon. Rob had a NY strip and a cocktail (and a giant baked potato). Neither one of us had room to even contemplate dessert. I ate every bite of the filet, which was miraculously cooked exactly the way I like it, and that is something I am very, very picky about. It was just plain scrumptious.

Whine list

Jan. 1st, 2008 09:31 pm
mellicious: pink manicure (Las Vegas sign)
I called work and left a message saying that it was very probable I won't be in tomorrow, unless I make a miraculous recovery. I still feel like crap. I suppose at some point I'll have to think about going to the doctor if I don't start getting better, but I'm gonna give it one more day, at least. I have no real reason to think it's more than just that same cold that Rob had a week ago - except that he was only really sick for one day, and I still feel terrible after four. I'm coughing and hacking, and I feel totally exhausted, which is the thing that's worrying me a bit. One of my co-workers was diagnosed with mononucleosis before Christmas - but his doctor said that it's actually not very contagious, and unless we'd actually been kissing him we shouldn't worry. Which of course I have not! But honestly, that's kinda what I feel like. And I've been home from Vegas for four days, so that shouldn't be it, and I have literally not been outside since then. I have been too tired. I haven't so much as been out on the patio. All I have done is sleep (quite a lot) and read, and goof around on the computer. I haven't even finished unpacking or thought seriously about taking down the holiday stuff or anything like that. Well, so anyway, we'll see. I felt less tired earlier in the day today, so maybe tomorrow I'll feel a little better too.

So I've been getting some of the pictures up, gradually.
mellicious: pink manicure (Las Vegas sign)
My numbering system is getting entirely too complicated.

continued from here, here, here, and here - and besides the “official” entries, there are various phone posts and things starting here)

So, Zumanity.

And by the time we got "home" I had my coat buttoned all the way up to the neck and my hat and gloves on. The wind was gusting - luckily not very steadily - but I think the wind chill when it did was below freezing.
mellicious: pink manicure (Las Vegas sign)
(Note: you will find no resolutions here. I don't do resolutions. Nope, this is about Zumanity.)

(Note #2: this is continued from here and here.)

We were still close to our hotel by lunch-time so we went back and changed clothes. I had been wearing a wool cardigan with a heavy t-shirt under it, and that was fine in the daytime, but I figured if we stayed out until after dark that I would be cold. And we weren't intending to come back until after the show, and Zumanity is all the way down at NY-NY, which we figured out was about a mile and a half away. So I put on a nicer top and my heavy coat, and put my gloves and fleece hat in my bag. Then we headed south. We rode the tram from TI to the Mirage – although it's not really very far, it's not like it's saving you a great deal of effort, really. We wandered around the Mirage just a bit, lost a bit of money in a slot machine, and then left. (I think we played the slots at least for a few minutes at every big casino we came to.)

We went on by Caesar's, figuring we'd come back later, and went on to Paris and ate lunch there. On the TUS trip we had eaten at "The Café" at Paris and I remembered I thought it was pretty good, so we ate there. I enjoyed it, again; Rob criticized his penne pasta but I noticed he still ate it all. After that we went on to the new Planet Hollywood. It's been redone extensively but I can't say I was all that impressed. It does look very different and there were a helluva lot more people there so I guess you'd have to call it a success, whether I like it or not.

So we wandered around New York-New York until it was reasonably close to time for the show. I didn't want to go too early and have to sit there for a year! Inside the theater, they sold expensive drinks with suggestive names. I forget what mine was, something about POM (with "Sex"-brand vodka, I believe) but whatever it was, it was tasty. Here's the thing about our seats: front row of the orchestra, on the very end. There was a row of loveseats in front of us but they weren't actually in front of us where we were sitting. The stage protrudes into the audience (rather phallic, no?) so we were actually behind the cast if they were out in front of the stage. That meant that we couldn't see and/or hear things from time to time, but we also had a better view of other things. Various cast members also wandered around the audience at times so if they came out on our side they walked right in front of us.

ad: zumanity 1

We found this ad in one of those magazines they leave in your hotel room – all of these people were in the cast we saw, at least I'm pretty sure of that. I wasn't quite sure about the sexy redhead, but Rob says it's the same girl. She walked right in front of us, and I mean right in front of us, maybe two feet away, but frankly, I wasn't looking at her face when she did!

The two, um, large women – who they introduced at the end as sisters – seemed to mostly be there as comic relief. I couldn't quite decide how I felt about that one. On the one hand, it's nice to see somebody of size there at all. On the other hand, well, comic relief. Not exactly taken seriously. But I don't mean to imply that they were the only comics there, they weren't. Actually the show as a whole was very funny, which I liked. I don't generally think of Cirque shows as being funny, but this one sure was.

(And the other person in the picture is the emcee, the one with salacious designs toward my husband!)

There's more to this story but it's getting long so we're having installments within the installments! Sorry.
mellicious: pink manicure (Las Vegas sign)
Before I go back to the part I've already written, I would just like to note that I've felt like crap ever since I got home. I'm not real happy about that. I suspect it's half cold/sinus crap and half pure old exhaustion. (Although I ought to be getting over the exhaustion part by now, if that's the case, shouldn't I?)

I hadn't really spent much time in this section of the Strip – north central, more or less – and I wasn't really that familiar with the general layout. For one thing, when we came to see the Sirens three years ago, we didn't walk all the way up here from the Luxor, we took a cab – and I seem to have gotten completely turned around about the geography. Meaning that I thought the Venetian was north of TI when it's actually right across the street to the east. You know how little things like that can confuse you for ages, sometimes? Well, this was one of those times. I was determined to think the entire Venetian was someplace that it's actually not. But I got over it eventually. I also had some idea that the new Wynn hotel was set well back from the strip, when it's not. It's actually right across the street from TI too, only catty-cornered. (If I'd realized how close it was, I probably would've given much more thought to getting Spamalot tickets, quite frankly.) The fourth building on that corner – S. Las Vegas at Sands Blvd - is the mall. Fashion Square Show Mall, is the name of it. I had been in it before, 20 years ago. It has improved in the interim, I have to say. In the 80s, it was just another mall, not much fancier than the ones we went to in Houston. It can't compete with some of the other Strip shopping venues for the big designer names, still, but it has enough of them, and also more of the stores that real people would actually shop in, unfashionable as that is to say in Las Vegas. (More on shopping later, I'm sure.)

Sick or not, Rob got up our first morning in Vegas and ran 5 miles or so. I had figured out this route for him based on some maps I'd found – north up the strip to Stratosphere and back, and then south to the Eiffel Tower and back, should be 5 miles. But he ignored that and just ran round and round the outside of TI instead. He said it worked fine. Once he got back, and showered and managed to roust me out of bed, we went down and had the breakfast buffet. The surroundings weren't as fancy as the last Vegas buffet I had (the Luxor, that is) but the food was just as good. If you don't mind paying $13 for breakfast, it's worth it. And frankly, I don't think you can get breakfast a whole lot cheaper than that anywhere in Vegas that's not a McDonald's, anyway.

After breakfast was when we first went to the mall. There were raised walkways all around that corner, presumably in the interest of keeping all those pedestrians from getting run over. So from the TI casino, all you do is take an escalator up a level and walk across the street on the bridge. We looked around at the mall for a bit and then we walked over the next bridge, across to the Wynn, where Rob made an unusually large bet by his standards and won $45 on a dollar machine. (That was the only big win we had, really, until we were leaving on Friday.) But then, Rob showed a definite tendency to stick to the 5-cent and under slots, which limits the amount you can win pretty severely. There might actually have been some cause-and-effect concerning the amount he won and his later frugality, too – I think he liked the idea of being able to say he's ahead for the trip.

So we cashed out the big $45 win and walked over to the Venetian, next. They are still building like crazy on the Strip – you'd think they'd be running out of room by now, but no. They just tear down the older ones and build more monstrosities. There's something called “City Center” and a big tower marked Trump (shudder) – and the Venetian is adding on too – a whole new building called the Palazzo, right on that corner, Sands and LVB. Apparently it's due to open any time now, but is not actually open yet.

A lot of the new construction seems to be condominiums, and everywhere you go, there are people wanting to sell you timeshares. We had great difficulty fending them off – we seemed to fit into some demographic they were looking for. We decided it was probably couples between 40 and 55, in that “prime earnings period” before retirement. (Ha.) They kept trying to give us show tickets, so we finally figured out several answers that would cause them to give up on us - “We already have show tickets” for one, and later, “We're leaving today,” and best of all turned out to be “No, we're not coming back to Vegas any time soon.” I have always liked Vegas and Rob liked it too, but it's too far away and too expensive to think of making this anything like a yearly trip. Maybe in a few years we'll go back. So anyway, that makes us a difficult sell for condos, thank goodness.

The Venetian was one of the two big hotel complexes I hadn't already been in – Caesar's was the other, and both have now been remedied. I was rather disappointed in the Venetian, to tell you the truth. People always talk a great deal about how elegant is it and so forth, and I didn't see it so much. (Did I miss some terribly elegant part, someplace?) The shopping area was nice, but as in most of the hotel shopping areas, the stores were much too upscale for me to do much more than look in the windows. And the whole fake-village-with-canal concept sort of started to give me the creeps. I dunno, it was ok, but not anything to get that excited about. I thought the outside was the best part of it.

(More later.)
mellicious: pink manicure (Las Vegas sign)
Christmas Day, about 7pm - Hobby Airport, Houston

Rob has a cold. He is sneezing and sniffling but doesn't seem to be in distress, so at least it appears to be just a cold and not the flu. He has gone off to get Chinese food now so I reckon he's gonna live.

So far the passengers to Vegas don't look like an especially festive bunch. Maybe they will perk up when they get on the plane. (note: they never particularly did) I've been on flights to Vegas that were like a rolling party all the way. On the other hand, it might be best that people don't appear to be getting on the plane already soused. It's a long flight.

We got here really early and I am a bit worried about my car. We parked in the big garage, which better turn out to have decent security because most of our Christmas presents are in the trunk. The economy lot was full - I was not too surprised about that. We probably could've driven around and found a cheaper lot with space open but I was unmotivated.

December 26, 11pm (Pacific) – Treasure Island, Las Vegas

Wow, I am tired. But unlike the last time I spent a day walking around in Las Vegas, I still have skin on the bottom of my feet, so I guess I'm doing ok.

Let's see, the flight was a bit bumpy but otherwise ok. I had a book so I wasn't too bored. Rob mostly just sat and sniffled. When we landed he went flying off (so to speak) looking for a bathroom – that Chinese food he ate at the other airport apparently didn't agree with him. Between that and the cold he was really not in great shape by the time we got to the hotel.

I posted already about the shuttle, didn't I? About the guy at Bally's who didn't have enough money for the shuttle? I guess he did have a ticket home, he just didn't have enough to pay the shuttle fare to the airport. Honestly, even though I am not generally a gigantic do-gooder, if I had understood the situation in time, *I* would have pitched in a dollar for the poor guy. I was really just sort of astounded, though – you hear stories about people losing everything gambling but I think in my heart I didn't really think anybody could be that stupid. (Should've known better!) The shuttle bus driver told us about it after we left Bally's – we were the only passengers by that time – and he said, “I just didn't have the Christian charity in my heart to take him.” I suspect that being a shuttle bus driver in Vegas tends to make you a bit jaded, don't you?

So, TI looks about the same as the last time I was here – I mean, I wasn't ever upstairs but the casino has the same tiki-hut sort of theme going. But the rooms are very nice, actually. We are on the 22nd floor and you can still hear the traffic – but not enough to be a bother. The ice machine across the hall is a lot more distracting, really. There are a good many youngish people staying here – by which I mean twenty-somethings, not kids – so the noise level generally is a bit on the high side but it quieted down by the time we actually went to sleep, luckily. We have a view that looks past the Mirage and across toward the Rio and the mountains beyond, a flat-screen TV, a very comfortable bed and a marble-floored bathroom. And the whole wall on one side of the bedroom is mirrored. (That part I could really do without.)

Everybody's favorite show, the Sirens of TI, has been dark for over a month and they were supposed to start up again tonight – if they did there were bound to have been some awfully nipply sirens. It's cold. It's not too bad as long as the wind isn't blowing but every once in a while there's a big gust... brrr.


Dec. 29th, 2007 03:35 am
mellicious: pink manicure (Las Vegas sign)
The plane was an hour late, which made us 2am getting into Houston, instead of 1am as scheduled (as if that wasn't bad enough already - what was I thinking?) However, I guess 3 nights on Pacific time was enough to start to get accustomed to the later hours and it really wasn't quite as bad as I thought it would be. I have had a sleeping pill and I am unwinding before I crash, and I am planning to sleep as late as I possibly can tomorrow. I may have caught Rob's cold; at least, I have been sniffling and sneezing all day - hard to know with me if it's a cold or just the usual allergic crap. (Rob had the one really bad day on Christmas Day but was better after that, so hopefully if it is a cold it will at least follow that pattern and not be a bad one.)

I have already written some stuff down about Vegas so I won't try to duplicate that; I'll just transcribe it tomorrow. And I'm certainly not messing with pictures right now. I will say that we came out moderately ahead on the gambling overall, due to the last-minute winnings, although we hadn't lost a great deal in the first place. Interestingly, my win at TI and Rob's at the airport were exactly the same number of "credits" - except I was playing on a dollar machine and Rob was playing on a 25-cent one so I won 4 times as much. We developed sort of a hit and run theory of playing the slots - play for short periods, leave before you lose too much; the minute you win anything significant (y'know, more than a couple of dollars) then cash out. Go to the next casino down the street and repeat. But I had always intended to play some higher-dollar machine before we left.
mellicious: pink manicure (Las Vegas sign)
Rob put $5 in a machine here & won fifty bucks - if the plane is late enough we may pay for the trip!
mellicious: pink manicure (Las Vegas sign)
Our flight is already delayed 30 minutes, and it's not even off the ground to come here yet. But I won $200 on the way out the door.


Dec. 27th, 2007 12:12 am
mellicious: pink manicure (Las Vegas sign)
That was supposed to say 'transvestite' in that last entry. I AM tired.
mellicious: pink manicure (Las Vegas sign)
Not many people can say they've had a transsexual proposition them in front of a thousand or so people. But Rob can!
mellicious: pink manicure (Las Vegas sign)
At Bally's, a guy approached our driver asking for a fare discount - he had lost all his money & couldn 't get to the airport!


mellicious: pink manicure (Default)

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