Monday, January 21, 2008

2008 Las Vegas Trip

We have been planning this trip since Halloween -- four couples fly to Las Vegas and party together. As someone who visits sin city every year, I acted as coordinator/activities director. I will go through the gory details of the trip in a minute, but here are the highlights as I see them.

  • Sushi dinner at Okada at the Wynn
  • Chillaxing at the Playboy Club
  • "Eating" Deep-Fried Chocolate-Covered Twinkies
  • Scotch, Steaks and Girls at Treasures
  • Fire in the South Tower - Evacuate!
  • $2M "Indecent Proposal" offered and dismissed
  • Jubilee Topless Revue Show
  • Impromptu Birthday Party for Eric
  • Shooting Machine Guns at the Gun Store
We spent most of our time with our good friends Ryan and Heather Hurst. Come to think of it, they were there for all the action and then some.

The trip went off mostly without a hitch and I think we got an amazing amount of stuff done and seen. I really couldn't have asked for the trip to go any better, and if I ever need another career, I might not be the world's worst "breast-oriented" activities director.

The rest of this report is written in with what I would charitably call "lots of attention to detail" because if I don't record it here it will be forgotten forever. Day I - Okada & Playboy Club

Getting There After getting through security at the airport, we were standing in front of a terminal bar, trying to decide if we should go in. On the pro-side, it would be nice to be very relaxed for the trip. On the con-side, it was only 9:30AM and I don't think I've ever had a drink that early in my life. Throwing caution to the wind we went in and each had a drink. My Corona went down like some kind of giant pill. I instantly felt transformed. Maybe I should drink before 10 more often. We met Ryan and Heather and Eric and Jennifer at the gate and they could tell we had already gotten the party started. It was a great way to start the day. On the way out the plane flew in a trajectory such that I could literally see our house (or at least our street) in our neighborhood.

The Southwest stewardess was hilarious. She talked on the intercom in an almost comically girlie voice and she would say things like:

  • "Welcome aboard the Southwest Airlines LoveJet... In the event that our LoveJet should become a LoveBoat, please use the flotation device underneath your chair."
  • "If the LoveJet should lose cabin pressure, a cute mask will drop in front of you. First, remember to stop screaming. Then, Mothers and wives, put the mask on yourselves and then help your children and husbands."

The hilarity continued. On the way out I told her that I loved her voice and that I would like it if my wife talked like that and could I get her phone number. She gave me 867-5309.

Also on the flight down, Amy discovered what initially appeared to be a pubic hair inside the glass and on the face of her watch. For the rest of the trip she would answer "its half-past pube" whenever she was queried about the time. On closer inspection I concluded it was not a pubic hair because it was too thin.


Our rental for the trip was a grey Dodge Charger. It looks way better than it drives, but I can say that, with some discomfort, you can actually fit six people and four bags in it. Our first stop was the Hard Rock Hotel for lunch -- I always visit the Pink Taco restaurant for Tamales while in Las Vegas and this trip was no exception. We had a table of 8 as two other couples from Seattle joined us for a while. I tentatively tried ordering a "Corona NFL" and the waitress looked confused for a second and then said "oh yeah, No Effing Lime, right!"

After that we took over a $5 BJ table which was being manned by an obviously pregnant woman named Missy while Amy played at an adjacent table where she won $100 in two hands or something like that. When Amy joined us at our table, she asked Missy how far along she was. See, I wouldn't ask a woman that unless I could actually see some part of the child protruding from the woman, because the repercussions of being wrong are just so horrible to contemplate. But Missy was indeed pregnant and if I remember right the baby was due at the swing shift. Amy lost her winnings and I lost $50.

Evening Ryan handled registration at Caesar's while I parked the car. He did the "sandwich" trick where he gave the clerk a "sandwich" of two $20s tucked in between his driver's license and his credit card while he asked for if there were any upgrades available. We were prompted upgraded to Jacuzzi suites. What kind of awesome is that? Ryan is a good guy to have around!

We changed into good looking clothes and made our way to The Wynn, where we had reservations at the Okada restaurant for sushi. To make a long story less long, let me say that the food delicious, diminutive and expensive. The Kobe Beef was the size of a match box except you couldn't see it if you turned it side ways. Ryan put to use his knowledge of Saki and ordered some for me and him while the ladies enjoyed their "Wasabi Bloody Mary's." Good guy to have around. I must say that I enjoyed the Saki and I put it firmly in the middle of the pack of "alcohol drinks that I neither like nor dislike but will still drink."

This picture captures the mood of the evening Four super hot chicks
After dinner we made our way to the Palms resort. Our other friends were already there but had been put off by the $80/couple cover charge that the Playboy Club wanted. Since we were already under the influence of Saki and Wasabi Marys we let no such obstacle stop us and we made our way into the club. While there we partied with the remnants of a 1500-agent real-estate convention. That is, the convention was over and 99% of the agents had left town leaving only the last %1 party-hard types. They were a hoot. One of the was named Clinton and he wanted to dirty dance with every lady he met.

Ryan & I took the girls upstairs to the Moon club when it opened at 10:30 but by then the girls had already had a couple of whiskey doubles and were having a little trouble staying on their feet. So after just a bit of dancing, we got them back to our hotel. They protested that they were fine and that they still wanted to go dancing and they were very petulant and insistent about it as they swayed back and forth in the elevator, giggling. I told them that if, after 10 minutes of "cooling off" they still wanted to go to the nightclub downstairs we would take them. Ryan said that within 9 minutes Heather was already asleep. In our room, Amy changed her mind too, but only after I told her 5 times that it was only 5 more minutes. They later suggested that I had "parented" them. I confess. Day 2 - Sharks and Treasures

Morning All four of us were somewhat hungover the next day. I know my wallet felt hungover all by itself -- it left the playboy club $200 lighter than I walked in. One of us was overcome with nausea in the morning and had to make a mad dash for a Casino restroom. The girls went off to do some gaming and Ryan and I walked around the forum shops and talked about all kinds of stuff for an hour. Its kind of amazing how similar our lives are -- its like we are two sides of the same coin and its the same for our wives. I used to think that diversity would make a good party, but now I realize that its what you have in common with other people that make it neat to hang out because differences become magnified and more meaningful that way.

Next, the Hurst's and Holmes' headed over to the Mandalay Bay so they could see the Shark Reef. The only worthy pictures to come out of that part of the trip were these breast-related pictures.


After some more gaming there, I shepherded us all over to the Hooters Casino where the evening really got going. We found a great camp out spot in the sports book chatted with a local for hours over really, really bad wings but good beer. JR and Ning joined us, having fought the Hannah Montana traffic to get to us. We were all in a fantastic mood as we left Hooters for the Fremont Street Experience.

We roamed up and down Fremont street, drinking out of plastic cups and shopping for tourist junk. We were looking for that T-shirt that says "I love my farts" but we couldn't find it. We DID stop in to some of the low-rent places and had the following experiences.

  • Ryan and I had Deep-Fried Chocolate-Covered Twinkies. Ryan was smart and only ate enough of his to taste it. I wolfed mine down while raving about how tasty it was and then I almost vomitted afterward.
  • We ducked into some nameless slot cave where for a cheap beer. The waitress, in some other weird suit, had body odor but she gave me the winning raffle ticket. I won up to $10,000! Actually it was $2. And the beer was free, if terrible.
  • Amy had a conversation with this guy (his jersey said "PACO") who kept insisting to anyone who would listen "I AM NOT OBAMA! I AM NOT OBAMA!"
"I am not Obama!"

Evening We got ourselves back to Caesar's to change into decent clothes and then we took a cab to the fabulous Las Vegas "Steakhouse / Stripclub" called Treasures.

Cecilia, the matron of the restaurant, took care of us just like she did two years ago. She had recently lost 60 lbs by switching to a diet that consists of only Special K from what I could tell. Good for her. She fed us awesome rib-eye steaks, martinis and glasses of Scotch.

Note to self: you are not only very friendly, you are very, very suggestible when you drink scotch. I would like to go into more detail about what happened at Treasures but in the interests of protecting everyone's privacy, I will not. For this part of the story, the adage applies "what happens in Vegas..." But buy me a scotch and ask me about it sometime.

None of us could remember how we got from Treasures back to the hotel but we managed (don't worry, we didn't drive because we had left the car behind). But we did indeed return to Caesar's where Ryan retired around 3am and the rest of camped out at a bar inside the Casino. I talked with one Chargers fan who was so excited about the coming morning's Chargers/Patriots game that he could not sleep. He was PUMPED. Finally, I escorted Heather to her room and then I turned in about at about 5:30.

Amy decided to forgo sleep and she just stayed up all night. At one point she had a long conversation with a young plastic surgeon who had just gotten in a bad argument with his wife. The surgeon offered Amy a million dollars to run away with him but she refused. He raised the offer to $2M, free plastic surgery and all the Vicadin she could ever want and again she told him no. Apparently he is my height and looks just like me but is younger and richer. It feels good to know your spouse wouldn't dog you even for a younger, richer version of yourself. For the record, I wouldn't accept $10M if our places were reversed though $100M might make me pause. Day 3 - Fire, Giants and Black Samson

Morning At 10:26 the fire klaxons went off. An irritating voice repeated "we are investigating the source of the alarm. We will inform you when we know more." I dimly realized that the message neither confirmed nor denied an actual fire, and did not actually instruct me about a course of action. At 10:29 I decided to get up, put some my dirty clothes on and look outside the door. I opened the door and stepped into the hallway.

There was a light haze of smoke and a woman was standing there yelling into the security phone "Send Security up here right now! There's smoke coming out of a room up here and we have a woman in a wheelchair!!!"

Her angry, panicky voice was like the background music to hell. I thought "OMG I'm on the 24th floor of a burning building and I don't know where the stairs are!" I couldn't find the elevators either because they were behind some closed emergency doors that I hadn't seen before. Finally I found them and pressed the down button and stood there listening to the klaxons and the irritating voice. When I got to the bottom I called Ryan and Heather and told them about the fire. They came out of their room and joined me in a cafe, still wet from the shower. JR & Ning were on the 19th floor and they made their way down the stairs. We had to hang out in the Casino for hours, me in my dirty clothes -- I felt like a refugee. About 12:30 the fire department announced that it was okay to return to our rooms. I later learned that there was indeed a fire in the trash chute that goes down the middle of the tower so smoke had been getting onto every floor. Anyway, it was an AWFUL way to start the day.

Mid-Day My friend Eric Hammerle and I found ourselves on opposite sides of the Giants / Packers game. I had put down $50 on the packers to beat the spread and he had put down $40 for the G-men to win outright. We tried to watch the game in the sportsbook area but they said we had to bet $5,000-$10,000 to sit there. "Well, um, fine, we'll go sit in the bar!" so we did. I drank a trio of Corona NFL's but they did nothing for me -- after the previous night I had built up a tolerance I guess.

Evening Amy finally went to bed at 4pm and I had to wake her up at 6pm. She was NOT a happy camper after getting only 2 hours of sleep in two days. But she got ready and six of us went to see Jubilee, which is the last of the old school Vegas shows with topless girls dancing in giant feathered outfits. The show was actually really, really cool. The sets were incredible. My favorite was a re-enactment of Samson and Delilah. This time Samson was black and Delilah chopped off his dreadlocks! I would recommend anyone see this show it was quite entertaining and from what I could tell, the execution was flawless.

We ended the evening with an impromptu birthday party for Eric at the same bar we had camped out at the previous evening. When the clock struck midnight, JR presented Eric with a gift of "Gummy Boobs" that he's smuggled down to Vegas and we all toasted the young lad and sang him Happy Birthday. It was a really cool moment -- the kind that you hold onto forever as being just perfect in a way; 8 friends partying in a bar in another city -- how cool is that? Day 4 - Machine Guns

Ryan prepares for SHOOTING

The only really interesting thing that happened on Monday was a trip to the Gun Store to shoot machine guns. The Gun Store has a shooting range where you can "rent" a machine gun for a few minutes, buy some ammo and a target for it and then have your way with them on the range. The first thing that we noticed when we got inside the range area was how amazingly loud some of the guns are. Also, apparently newbies like the six of us get their targets hung upside down because they know when we fire the machine guns that they will rise, which they did.

We fired three guns: JR and Ryan fired an M16. Heather and I fired an MP5 and Amy and Ning Amy and Ning fired an Uzi that had been modified slightly to be even more female friendly. Ning surprised us all by seeming to be a natural markswoman. We all thought it was a pretty sweet experience.

Here's some video that JR took that shows me unloading a clip.

David unleashes the MP5 from jrjasdip on Vimeo.

The rest of the day was filled with travel, getting our butts back to Seattle.

Conclusion At the start of the trip, I had assumed that this would be our last Las Vegas trip for a while and I think we kind of pulled out all the stops because of that fact. But now I'm not so sure that I wouldn't want to go back there, oh, say later this year for example! Well, maybe thats a little soon, but you understand what I'm saying.

Let me state right out that this little experiment in bringing friends with us turned out to be a great idea and we had wonderful time with them. You know what they say "happiness shared is doubled."