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Showing posts from February, 2007

Menopause-Themed Slot Machines = Awesome

We sleep in a little, then leave our bags with the bell desk and check out. Hauling ass to Cravings (the buffet at Mirage), we get there two minutes after the lunch prices come into play, but the cashier is a sweetheart and gives us breakfast prices anyways. There’s mediocre sushi, very good Chinese, and decent Italian, plus breakfast items which we avoid like the plague. After this, we head through Harrah’s and catch the monorail heading South. Having rocked the entire North end of the strip the day before, this last day is our chance to show the South end a good time, and not call it in the morning.

Popping into MGM, we have a second crack at Studio City. This time, it’s a preview for an animated show called Creature Comforts. Basic premise: the producers have gone out and interviewed everyday peeps on topics like Keeping Secrets, Health, Sexuality, etc. While the audio remains intact, in place of the actual speakers are claymation sequences featuring animals as the speakers. …

Shamrocks and Shenanigans

Out of bed and moving be ten, we have faux McMuffins at a coffee shop downstairs at Caesars. Then we zip over to the Venetian for another test screening. It’s at American Test Studios, which is no studio city (the staff don’t really know what’s going on, what we’ll be watching, or how long it’ll be). While we’re told we’ll be watching one show, we actually get snippets of three reality TV shows. They are:Scouted by America – This one’s about some hot-shit talent scout and his hot-shit team scouring the country in search of new models/actors. It’s not a terrible idea fundamentally—watching the nervous kids take their first meeting, seeing the totally suspicious parents—but they don’t just let it be what it should be: a documentary. Instead, it’s Reality TV, with flashy cuts, too many talking heads, and a contrived There Can Be Only One Winner contest. Grade D+Flirting With Fame – Terrible title; great show. There’s two parts to this one. To start, it’s about this charismatic b…

Five Star Hotel, My Ass! (which is not to say ‘my ass is a five star hotel’)

We’re up early-ish. Sarah feels sick and stinky, effects of drink aside, but she’s a trooper, so we troop on down to the buffet at Paris. There’s a big ass line-up, and I’m more than a little hangry, but we endure the wait and it’s worth it. Your most highly coveted time for a buffet, I think, is the breakfast to lunch transition, and that’s the time we snag. There’s crepes and sausage and twelve variations on the egg to be had, and damn do we ever have it. By the time the lunch section is ready, we’re all belly-sticky-outty, so the many meat and fish dishes are in no way appealing. The gambling to be had at Paris turns out to be pretty crap, so we move on to Bally’s (which is the only casino to have a moving sidewalk that leads you both in and out of the casino–and I’m guessing someone got shit-canned for that design choice). We make an hour of it there, and then head across to the Bellagio, where nothing magic happens, not even the fountains.

Back at Caesars, despite it being three o…

I’m lost, and frightened, and—hey, Fendi!

Friday is our last day at New York, New York. We start with a bagel and espresso at the Il Fornaio bakery downstairs. Then we redeem two free drink coupons that came with the room (so what if it’s 10:30), then we finish packing up, check out, and snag a cab over to our home for part two of the trip: Caesars Palace. Caesars is totally overboard in the way it carries out its theme; it’s not quite tacky, just excessive to the point of hilarity. Marble statues are everywhere, the check-in counter is backed with mosaics of ancient battles and old gods, and the swimming pool replicates a roman bath. It’s also enormous—like a small city.

It’s too early to check in, so we chuck our bags at a bell hop, gamble, and have a little walkabout. Around noon, we eat at the Cheesecake Factory in the nearby Forum Shops, and the portions are fucking absurd. The lunch-sized plates are more than we could eat normally, so they must use a wheelbarrow for the dinner portions. Post-meal, we can finally …

Cold Drinks, Warm Lovin'

We wake up around 8:30 and have Starbucks for breakfast (for the record, we’re not fans, but the stay in the hotel came with a ten dollar gift cert, and far be it from us not to take advantage). We gamble over at Camelot, then back at New York, New York, and—miracle of miracles—I’m up about ten bucks for the day. Sarah’s arranged for a super-cheap rental car so we can hit two outlet malls nearby (but not walking-distance nearby.) Before the shopping starts, we stop into the legendary In and Out Burger, having heard many sing the praises of this joint. They’ve got an old school menu that I’m sure hasn’t changed since 1956. We’d also heard that they have scripture quotes printed on their wrappers. Sadly, we’re disappointed in about four different ways. Way One: the fries are ass (about which we’d been warned, but still—bleeeech); Way Two: it’s rammed-jammed with people and service is hella slow; Way Three: the burgers are just okay, really nothing special; Way Four: no side of scripture…

We Don’t Practice Polygamy, We’ve Had It Down Pat For Years

We come to the morning I dread most. Sarah has signed us up for a van tour of two national parks in Utah—Zion and Bryce Canyon. That part I have no problem with. The dread part revolves around our pick-up time (six a.m.), and how I offered to run and grab us breakfast beforehand, and that we both went to bed pretty much pist loadded. But I’m out of bed and moving by five. The casino is still surprisingly busy. A lot of cleaning staff, a lot of freshly-risen seniors, and a lot of bored wives sitting beside husbands who just won’t quit. Bad-for-us-breakfast, showers, coffees, and we’ve on the ground ready to depart.

The van is on time. Our guide is Andersen—a nice, knowledgeable guy who’s totally tireless. There were supposed to be five of us on the tour, but two people cancelled at the last minute, so the only passenger is Chuck, a concierge from San Francisco. Chuck is extremely naive and a terrible listener. At the start it’s sort of endearing and sweet, but by the end he’ll have fray…

Resistance and Other Futile Measures

In the morning we have breakfast downstairs at Il Fornaio. It’s basic breakfast fare, noteworthy for its good espresso and its off-puttingly coiled sausage. We zip over to MGM to score tickets for Studio City, which is a place where they test out new shows (or, as we learn, variations on old shows). We lie about being from Ann Arbor because previously this was only open to Americans, but it turns out after the fact that they’ve opened it up to the whole world, even invaders from the north, so all the lying is for naught. The show we preview is The Price is Right (wuh?), but they’re testing out new hosts in the wake of Bob Barker’s retirement announcement. We witness the host stylings of one Todd Newton—who’s actually pretty good. He’s neither a Bob Barker clone nor the anti-Bob Barker—he’s just a sincere dude with decent contestant rapport.

Out of there, we stop by the lion enclosure and watch a couple of smallish (but huge-pawed) lion adolescents gallop around and take cheap shots at …

If I Can Make It There, I'll Make It Anywhere

While we intended to sleep late, the three-hour time change has us up and at ‘em just after eight. We grab some quick food at the breakfast nook downstairs, then we leave the glorious Holiday Inn and cab it over to New York, New York. It’s way too early to get the room, so we leave our bags with a muscle-y young bellhop and take a tour of the grounds. The theme of the casino is pretty brilliantly executed, though not quite as spot-on as The Venetian. Nonetheless, there’s a Coney Island inspired upstairs with an arcade, carney games, and a roller coaster that runs around and through the hotel.

After the tour, we walk south a ways and stop at a Tix4Tonight booth, where last minute cheapo show tickets are available. We decide on Le Reve for that night, and Star Trek: The Experience for the following day (call us nerds for that one, but you can’t wait to hear about it). We run back to our hotel and hit the slots, playing on our money for a while but unable to score free drinks (though it i…

One Great Airport!

Here’s what I can tell you about Winnipeg: it’s very flat and very cold. Also, the airport has exactly one place to eat (Toast!). And that closes at eight. I can also tell you that Manitoban Doritos aren’t nearly as cheesy as the Doritos I’m accustomed to in my home and native province.

As I write this—though not as I post it—we’re chillin’ in the Winnipeg Airport, waiting for our connecting flight to Las Vegas. We’ll be spending the first night in the fabulous Holiday Inn. This is because when we (Sarah) booked the tickets, we (we) didn’t realize that we’d be landing on Superbowl Sunday, which means that all the cool hotels are EXPENSIVE. (Sarah here, feeling the need to defend myself. We will be getting to our hotel after midnight local time, and why would we pay triple what we normally would when we’re getting in so late? The Holiday Inn Express is brand new, highly rated, has free breakfast and internet AND was a good deal. So there!) Yes, well…

Tomorrow, we’ll be carting …