Monday, September 7, 2009

Boobs, Booze and Gluten, Oh My!

I'm Chip Kelly, recently anointed coach of the Oregon Ducks football team, and I just watched my team have their asses handed to them by a supposedly lower level squad from Boise, and my star running back just melted down after the game and sucker punched someone. You couldn't ask for a more disastrous start for the Ducks, who were humiliated in most statistical lines, but then you wanted one of your foundation players lose his composure after the game. Yes, taunting is bad, and I'm not that happy the Boise State player that said something to LeGarette Blount isn't being disciplined that we know of, but you still have to keep your head about you. At least the school isn't throwing him on the street, but rather providing some structure and help for a kid that made a really unfortunately timed mistake, but he's still part of the program.

Meanwhile, the Portland Beavers are getting more attention from another municipality, as Clackamas County threw their hat into the ring to see about bringing the triple AAA baseball team to their area. I figured this would be what would happen once Portland's deadline fell by the wayside, as cities scramble to find a way to bring money and development to their area, but I expect Portland to make a late dramatic play to get back into the game, provided that they can find the political forethought to do it. Well, one of the commissioners isn't interested at all, even if a really good idea suddenly just fell out of nowhere for a stadium.

But hey, if Bill Simmons can finish his story about Vegas, well, I need to finish mine, although I've got another entry after this one, because the early part of our week had a lot going on. So, back to the recap of Vegas.

Monday, August 24th

Girl and I woke up a bit late that day, but it was for a good reason, as we'd been out gambling and drinking the previous night. Although, our bar was still somewhat full, so we were determined to polish off as many of the bottles here as we could. The pool was calling our name, and so we ventured down for a late lunch and some pool time after taking our time getting up.

This process usually involved checking email, watching really bad daytime TV in Vegas, while snacking a bit. We found that commercials in Vegas are all for culinary institutions, lawyers, or tax guys, and the catch phrases are just hysterical. "I'll get your money back, because that's what I do!", "Bring in the big guys if you've been in an accident!", "I'm a former insurance company lawyer, so I know how they work!" These guys make Roni Deutsch seem tame by comparison, even if she's a man.

Since it was a a Monday, most of the pools weren't that full, so we had our choice of places to hang at, but we wanted something with a good location, and some decent sun, so after eating, we lounged about for a bit, and moved around to different seats to get closer to the pool. Knowing we had dinner reservations rather early that night, we didn't hang around there that long, opting to head to the room about 4:30 PM to get ready for dinner. While girl was talking to her mom, I went into the bathroom to do my business, and I had forgotten the first rule of the courtesy flush. Yes, folks, I ended up plugging the toilet with extra paper, and it also happened to be the night where we both needed to get ready quickly, so I called maintenance to have them look at it, and he was quickly in, fixed it and was gone. Not what we needed as far as stress, but girl had been talking family stuff with her mom, and so we'd both had some stress to deal with.

We showered and got dressed up, and make our reservation at craftsteak right on time. Girl was dressed in heels and a smashing black dress, while I was in shirt and tie, as we read the dress code for the restaurant. As we were ushered back to our seats, we soon realized that not everyone had followed the dress code, and there were t-shirts and shorts everywhere. But we wanted to dress up, so there you go. And from the front greeters to our waiter, we were treated very well. It's amazing what happens when you dress nicely, especially at a place like this. We soon had our pictures taken, and placed our order for the summer tasting menu, which we thought was a grazing meal of various things with a wine course each time. However, we got all the courses with wine, so we were at dinner for a bit.

The first course was salads, and the fennel salad was awesome, as it was crisp and had a lot of flavor. There was also quail, which girl and I hadn't had before, but it was very succulent and tasty, and the fried mozzarella was also filling. We had a nice Riesling paired with this course, which only accentuated the flavors. Our main course was scallops, flat iron steak, and Angus skirt steak in tasting portions, but it was a lot of food. We also had a full bodied red that went with this course that just added to the experience. I know we're not seafood fans, but the scallops were well cooked and not soggy, and so we ate them and enjoyed. There were also plenty of corn, mushrooms and potatoes to eat, and so we consumed major quantities of food.

Many people kept coming by to ask how we were doing, and so the dress gained us some rather nice attention, as we had the head waiter, our guy, the main busboy, another manager, and someone else checking on us. Our dessert course had some scrumptious brownie thing, and some other chocolatey thing paired with a muscat, which is one of our favorite wines. The whole meal took about 2 1/2 hours, but it was well worth the price, as we ate and drank extremely well, and the cost wasn't that much. We left a big tip, and left the restaurant. Girl was heading to gamble a bit, while I dropped off some prints of the pictures that they'd taken of us that we decided to purchase. Not bad to get some nice shots of us.

We gambled until about 10 pm, then headed in for the Crazy Horse Paris show. We got a couple of drinks in commemorative glasses, and watched people from all walks of like walk in. Older couples, young guys in packs, married couples, the crowd was very diverse, and our seats were at stage level just a bit back so we could see everything. And at 10:30 AM, things got rolling. It was a very well done show, and yes, most of it was very naked. But with the lighting and stage effects, your perspective was pushed all over the stage so you noticed the nudity only slightly. All the girls were very fit, and they seemed to enjoy themselves, as they danced different numbers, all in scantly clad garb. I was very entertained, and they performed magnificently, I barely noticed how long the show was. Anyone can go see a naked show, but one done with some class and good music, well, it can be more enjoyable.

We gambled for a bit more after the show, getting a few drinks afterwards, and ended up in bed around 2 AM. Yeah, the night owls are out big time.

Tuesday, August 25th

We did wake up slightly earlier than the preceding day, but it was still about noon when we got out of bed. Since we'd been drinking top shelf liquor, I didn't feel hung over, but very thirsty, so it was time to consume as much water as I could stomach. We showered and checked out the email, and decided that we wanted to venture out of our comfort zone, and so we were going to check out the casinos on the north end of the Strip. We left our hotel room mid-day, and started walking past the familiar spots of Planet Hollywood, Bally's, the Paris, and Caesar's, and soon, we we were staring at the Flamingo.

Ok, Bill's Gambling Saloon was our first stop, and it was very old school Vegas: dated, full of smoke, cheap buffets, and people plugging pennies into various machines. The Flamingo wasn't that much different, just a bit cleaner inside, but still relatively cheap. I didn't know about a casino called Casino Royale on the Strip, but we walked by it, as we did O'Hara's. We finally ducked into the Venetian, and wandered around inside for a bit, checking out the shops and sights, before deciding to head over to Treasure Island for dinner.

The buffet at Treasure Island had been voted as one of the favorites, and I could see why. It had all sorts of different food choices, from sushi to soul food to Italian, and desserts galore, so we ate a bit and just relaxed after our long afternoon walk. It was nice to see the other parts of the Strip, but it just reaffirmed our decision that we were staying on the right side of the Strip. After eating, we gambled a bit at Treasure Island before heading back to MGM. We were going to stop by CVS for more supplies, but due to sidewalk construction, we were diverted to the other part of the sidewalk, and so we popped into Walgreen's for more supplies, and then headed back to the room.

The decision for Tuesday night was to get our large drink glasses filled up at MGM Grand, then head out to Luxor and Mandalay Bay for gambling and more drinking. The decision to add more shots at our room was an easy one, and so off we went. The Hexbreaker machines were our game of choice tonight, because the cat mascot on the machine looked like our cat Moya, and we figured it would give us good luck. And it did for parts of the evening, but not as much as we were hoping.

Mandalay Bay was a pretty mellow place in December when we first visited, but tonight, it was hopping, and girl was winning early, although I started catching up later. We also liked the fact that Mandalay Bay was ready to give us free drinks even with our big cups still somewhat full, but we wanted to keep the drinking in perspective a bit, so we slowed down and tried to keep focus. Luxor was also busy again, and we got a free drink there after some looking about, but we finally ended up at Excalibur for some final gambling. We did wander around New York, New York early in our venture, but for a casino, it just didn't have much life in it outside of Coyote Ugly. We finally wandered back to our room late again, and passed out about 2 AM. Vegas lifestyle, baby.

Wednesday, August 26th

It was again around noon when we woke up, and I had decided to try and use the gym that we'd paid for to get some exercise. Girl was still a bit tired, and so she stayed at the room while I had eaten a small breakfast, and went to work out. I had also been tasked to grab some extra funds from the ATM, not because we were losing a lot of monies, but because we'd been paying cash for lots of food and drink so we didn't have a lot of gambling money left for the remaining nights here.

MGM Grand has a nice gym setup, located with the spa on the far side of the building. The machines were all brand new, there were TV screens everywhere, and all the bottled water and granola bars you could eat and drink were available. I stuck to the elliptical machines for the most part, just trying to get a little bit of resistance training and sweating in, while drinking as much water as I could. The workout only took about an hour, and as I returned to the room, girl had awaken and was working on the Internet. We decided that we would try and hit the dance club, Studio 54, this night, but before hand, we would go to the pool and stay until near closing while getting some late lunch.

I love the fact you can order all sorts of foods there, and they give you a buzz pager to let you know when the food is ready. We secured some nice seats just off the lazy river, and I ate a very big burger while girl had some chili cheese tots. It was a good sized meal since she's missed breakfast, and I'd been snacking for most of the day, and it would tide us over until later. The temperature was comfortable, just up in the higher 90 degrees, so it was warm but not overwhelmingly hot. The lazy river closed at 6 PM, so we moved to the Academy Pool for more sun, and an attempt to get more drink, too. However, the pool bars close at 6 PM, too, so we weren't able to drink much during the afternoon. Considering how much we'd consumed, it's probably best we didn't get anymore.

After the pool time, it was time to shower up in the room and get ready for some dancing. Granted, I'm not the best dancer, but girl loves to get her move on, and this was important to her. Plus, I had wanted to get better dancing, so this seemed like a great chance to hone some skills. I showered and got dressed, while girl bathed and got ready. The plans for the evening, though, got derailed after girl had determined she had a gluten reaction to Monday night's meal at craftsteak. We knew she had problems with gluten, but we didn't know the severity, and so she chanced it by having two rolls and a brownie, which all told, was about the gluten size of a slice of bread. However, this exposure had left her tired and unable to process food, as her stomach and intestines were irritated. It was such a blow, as she really wanted to dance, but instead, I made a third trip to Walgreen's for water and medicine to help, then I went to get some snack food to get through the night. We wanted to go dancing, but instead were the best dressed couple watching TV.

I felt bad about this, but it also gave us a chance to talk and bond, which I always enjoy. For someone that I've known for over 4 years, I still learn things about her all the time, and I don't get tired of hanging out with her. I just felt badly because I knew dancing was something she wanted to do, and we had just another full day and another half day before heading home, but we were going to make the best of this situation.

Next Time - Carnival Land and Ghostly Encounter, and A Final Checkout Day to Envy.

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