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December 5th, 2002

12:12 pm

I think I'm pretty much up to date on everything except for my trip to Las Vegas. The weekend before Thanksgiving, Mom and Dad took me and my 2 Grandmas to Las Vegas. It wasn't really a free ride for me. I had to help watch out for the old ladies, so I earned my keep. Ha! OK, that was a joke. Please don't yell at me for being mean to my Grandmas. It's all good. They know how I am.

Anyway, on the way to the airport, I realized that I had forgotten my notebook. Not a good thing. How the hell am I supposed to remember anything without it? Well, never fear , my loyal readers. I improvised. Once I was all settled in on the plane and we were in the air, I rummaged around for something to write on and found a handy little barf bag. The outside was too dark to write on, so I tore it apart and started taking my notes on the inside of the barf bag. It folded up nicely and stayed in my pocket the rest of the trip. Sadly I was not the only one on this trip to make use of a barf bag, but I'll get to that in a minute.

On the flight out to Vegas, there was a flight attendant who was totally flirting with my Dad. She kept touching his shoulder every time she spoke to him. Plus, she was coming up with some flimsy excuses to start a conversation. When she was serving drinks, Dad asked for a club soda. She didn't have any on her cart. So, not only did she run up to the front of the plane to fetch Dad a club soda; She also poured him a nice glass of water to enjoy during his wait. It was just so obvious and annoying. Everywhere I go, women are throwing themselves at my Dad. Why? Don't they know I find such things to be traumatic? I told Mom what was going on and she said she didn't care what Dad did because she already had her gambling money. Yeah, way to defend your turf, Ma.

The trip took it's toll on me and Mom. I completely lost my voice on our second day in town and could only whisper the whole trip. It was rough. I've always thought of myself as rather quiet and non-talkative, but after going close to a week with no voice, it dawned on me that I actually have a lot to say. It was hell trying to get people to hear me in those noisy casinos. Mom also came down with an unfortunate illness on the trip the morning we left Vegas. I don't want to go into too much detail, but like I said earlier, I wasn't the only one in the family who made use of an airline barf bag. It was a rough trip home for Mom. I felt bad for her. Fortunately, she is back to normal and has regained full control of her stomach contents. But even though Mom lost her cookies, she was still the big winner on the trip. She hit a last minute jackpot at the airport after Dad told her to put $5 in a quarter slot machine. She won $100 or so off that $5 bill and came home with $5 more than she left with. Pretty sweet. Mom was on fire at the slots the last day. She cleaned up at Paris. Every time I looked around, Mom was cashing out good profits out of the machines. It was cool.

Oh, and speaking of Paris, I feel compelled to comment on the cocktail waitresses. Everywhere you go in Vegas, they have scantilly clad women serving drinks. But when it comes to skimpy costumes, Paris is in a league of its own. I've always felt slightly uncomfortable about tipping these half-naked chicks in any casino. My discomfort is at it's peak at Paris. Their cocktail waitresses show more cleavage than any other place in Vegas and they seem to have a higher percentage of large breasted women than the other places. It's not like I'm out looking for such things. It's just impossible not to notice these enormous boobs that look like they're about to bust out and smack you in the face. When I give a tip to a waitress at Paris I always feel just a little dirty. It's like paying for a lap dance or something. It's just a little creepy, not creepy enough to stop me from ordering up lots of screwdrivers and margaritas, but creepy enough to make me wait until I'm in desperate need of a drink before I break down and order one. I think Vegas needs a little equality here. Would it kill these casinos to have a few buff dudes in speedos strolling around? I think not and I would strongly support the implementaion of this idea. I thought that perhaps my observations about the Paris waitresses might be a little off since I'm really no expert on hot chicks. So out of curiosity I checked with one of the world's foremost authorities on breasts and hot chicks, my Dad. I asked Dad who he thought had the best waitresses in Vegas. Without hesitation he said Paris because the outfits were really flattering to breasts. So take my advice. If you're in Vegas and you like breasts, Paris is the place to be.

Oy, that breast discussion is far more detailed and disturbing than I'd like. I'm just going to move on and pretend like I didn't just say all of that. So... my luck pretty much stunk the whole trip. I made several sports bets. I know I had one parlay card where I missed all four of my games. I think there may have been a second 0 for 4 as well but I can't remember. It was awful. I had the touch of death on slots. So, once again I didn't win any money in Vegas (DAMN!!!). It should be noted that I still have a slim chance to come out ahead. I bet ten bucks on TU to win the 2003 NCAA basketball championship at 150-1 odds. TU has a good team this year and I honestly believe that this is not really that insane of a bet. Yeah, I know I probably lost 10 bucks and I only did it because of my insane loyalty to TU. But you never know, I might be going back to Vegas this April to collect my winnings.

It wasn't all doom and gloom. I did have an awesome run at blackjack at the Mirage. I don't play blackjack very much because I don't have enough money to lose. I find that I can lose my money slower in the slots. But I had the urge to play, so I sat down with Dad at a $5 table. I had $50. I was doing OK. I stayed right around even for a long time. The dealer was great. She was a real smart-ass with a dry sense of humor. Plus, she didn't just "hit me" one time when I told her to because she knew I didn't really want to hit. I was distracted and started to make a bad play. A lot of dealers would have just given me the card without asking if I was sure. As for the distraction, there were 2 guys at the table and a third who was standing behind chatting with the dealer and the guys at the table. The guy that was watching was British or Australian. He sounded British, but I heard someone call him an Aussie. I don't know for sure where he was from. It doesn't matter. The point is that I was distracted by the accent. I never turned to look at the guy but he sounded totally sexy. What is it with me and accents? I was all giddy just listening to him and it almost cost me money. Even though I was totally enjoying listening to the guy, I was glad when he left. I needed to focus on my cards. When he left he said "I'm off to watch what you call football even though they only kick the ball every 15 minutes. And, they wear pads and helmets. What a bunch of poofs." Ha! I nearly fell off my stoof at the "poofs" remark.

Ok, back to the game. After sexy voice guy left, the table went totally cold. I lost $20 and decided it was time to get out before things got ugly. After we got up Dad and I walked around a bit while I tried to decide if I should play any more. We couldn't find another $5 table, but we did find an empty $10 table. I decided to go for it and we sat down to play. I was a little nervous because I only had $30 to play with. But I won my first 2 hands and started feeling a vibe. Everything was falling my way through the whole shoe. I got a couple of blackjacks and every time I had to double down, I won. The highlight at the table was when I had an 8 to the dealer's 7. I was just going to hit it, but Dad told me to double down. The conversation went something like this:

Dad - "Double that."
Me - "But he's got a 7."
Dad - "Double it."
Me - "But it's a 7."
Dad - "Double it."
Me - "OK, fine."

So I gave in even though I was about 90% sure that the technically correct play was to hit. I ended up with an 18. The dealer turned up a 10 and I won. The dealer said "Aren't you glad he gave you good advice?" I was cracking up. By that time I had already won back my original $50 and had put it away. Now I was playing with the casino's money and a quick count revealed that I had about $125 in my stack of chips. I decided right then that I was leaving that table with a little black chip. Whenever you leave a table, you have to "Color out" -trade your small denominational chips to the dealer for bigger ones. Whenever they color out anything over $100, they announce to the pit boss "Color out Black." I had never heard this glorious phrase at a table before when it was my money so I was determined that this was my time. I got up with $105 and was bouncing off the walls. I didn't cash it in right away because I wanted to take pictures of it and show it to Mom. Yes, I am the world's biggest dork. But I was a damn happy dork.

After my big blackjack run, slots seemed pretty boring. I needed to mix things up a bit, so Dad and I played some penny slots. I found one called "Lucky Larry's Lobster Mania". It had lobsters and shells and other beach type stuff on it. It also played "Rock Lobster" by the B-52's. I am a huge fan of the B-52's and "Rock Lobster" is the greatest song they ever recorded. In fact, I even have it as one of my ringtones on my cell-phone. Naturally I was beside myself with joy when I heard this awesome tune coming out of a slot machine. It was very cool. Not "Color out black" cool, but definitely cool.

As usual, I spent a lot of time at the Belagio watching the fountains. I didn't stay out near as much as I normally do. I only got to go out and watch one night, but I stayed out for close to 2 hours. I am so obsessed. I did get some great pictures. I can't believe how sweet this fountain pic turned out. [picture omitted] It was during one of my favorite shows featuring Aaron Copeland's "Hoedown". (It's the song from the "Beef. It's what's for dinner." commercials from a few years back.) Since I am obsessed with these fountains, I have seen all the shows enough to know right when they're going to go big. I was able to time my picture perfectly. I already framed it and am trying to decide where to hang it. I also got some nice shots looking accross the Belagio lake at Paris and the Aladdin. Man, I love this digital camera.

Well, I think that pretty much sums up the whole trip. If I think of anything else, I'll add it later. It was a good trip and it was nice to spend time with my Grandmas. And even though Vegas cleaned out my pockets, I'm still ready to go back. Vegas kicks ass. Have a good day!