Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Oh, hey there!

How you been? Long time, eh?

Oh yeah, I went to Vegas! Yeah, it was pretty cool.

The Vegas Cup win ended up paying for most, but not all, of the trip. I had to cover around $300 of the balance, but still, I had my flight and ten days hotel paid for. Strip hotels were showing as crazy expensive the first night I was planning to stay -- $400 for weekend nights at the Luxor? Are you kidding me? So I stayed at the Orleans, since I was renting a car anyhow. Turns out it was because I was arriving on the Saturday of the long Martin Luther King day weekend.

The flight was... trying. I guess I've been lucky so far, since despite all the horror stories I have heard I have never been sat next to a family with a screaming kid. Until now. The kid must have been around three, wouldn't sit still, screamed his brains out when he didn't get what he wanted, climbed all over his parents (and me a couple of times) and didn't sleep more than 30 minutes during the 10 hour overnight flight. Good god. They had seated me in Economy Plus although I had regular tickets. I think it must have been an unspoken apology for seating me next to the terror. My noise-cancelling headphones worked out pretty well, though, plugging my ears and shutting out a lot of his bawling along with the engine noise, so I was actually able to watch the movies and doze off.

The Orleans was nice, very spacious. I thought about trying The $20 Trick on check-in and bribe the front desk person for an upgrade, but decided against it since they'd probably not want to tie up one of their suites for ten full days for a mere $20. The standard room was plenty nice for the likes of me - wireless internet and a relaxing area with a sofa, easy chair, and coffee table, even.

I got a rental car since I had to make it out to the training center for my class, and it makes a huge difference in Vegas if you're there for more than a weekend. It was also so damn comforting to have a care and just drive. It didn't matter where, it was relaxing just to drive around and see the strip malls in the outlying areas. America. I don't miss it as such, but it is warm and familiar to come back to now and then. My first meal in Vegas was at In-N-Out Burger. Oh yeah, baby! I'm back! I had a number 1. Damn straight with onions!

I meant to try out Fatburger this trip, after hearing folks rave about it, but never got to it. The only one I know is on the Strip, and since I had a car I was not walking the Strip at all, so me and Fatburger were never at the right place at the right time.

My training class went... well enough. Class started at 8:00am, so I didn't stay out late gambling on school nights. Well... maybe once or twice. But with lingering jetlag, too little sleep, and after-lunch drowsiness, it was damn hard to stay awake in my class in the afternoon. So after the first day or two I kept my nights dull and picked up a sampling of energy drinks at Albertsons that I would crack open after lunch. I started taking a 30 minute nap in my car during lunch, which helped my focus a lot.

There were only five other students in my class - three worked for an IT firm that supports the gaming industry. Two worked for the department of defense. Vegas IT support in microcosm?

I ate my lunches at fast food joints that don't exist in Tokyo. Quizno's (they have some here, actually, but they are getting harder and harder to find), Carl's Jr. (I had to order the Western Double Bacon Cheeseburger; I think I'm still digesting it), Arby's, and Taco Bell (I had some crunchy semi-pizza thing I had never heard of before).

Yep, I was in Vegas, with top-class restaurants on every corner, and I was happiest at the fast food joints. Sue me.

I did have the Spicy Santa Fe Rolls at the Grand Lux Cafe in Venetian, that Chise and I fell in love with. Yeah, it's an appetizer, but they're damn good and enough to fill you up if you don't have an American-sized stomach.

My room at the Orleans had a decent view of the strip, but the night view was often washed out by the glare from the spotlights shining up on the building from below. They also drew the eye downward, directly to Seamless, the gentleman's club right across the street. Seamless. What kind of a name for a strip club is "Seamless"? What does it mean? Do the women have no ass-cracks or something? Or worse, no... no, don't say it! Don't think it! I kept picturing blank, smooth women like mannequins. Ug! No, I didn't go inside, who wants to go to a strip club full of mannequins?


Mark said...

hey I just noticed this blog. I'd love to play some games in Tokyo. I live in Tsuchiura which is about an hour out but I'd be happy to travel to play some live games.

How do you know when/where games are on?


James said...

Hiya Mark, nice to meet you!

Dammit, I really need to put together that "Public poker games in Tokyo" page like I was planning.

Send me an email at james@comaf.org and I'll send you more details about the games I play at.