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Weekend Shenanigans, Part TWO: The Vegas Conclusion

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Somewhere to the right in this picture is Mandalay Bay:




It was the last hotel my wife and I stayed in together.  I surprised her last year for her birthday, taking her to see the Cirque de Soleil show “O.”  She had always wanted to see a Cirque show.  Her brain tumor was really acting up and she had a seizure while playing a slot machine.  She was in between chemo treatments, and threw-up on the plane to and fro Vegas.  When we returned home we went straight to the emergency room because the wound on her head from her most recent surgery showed signs of infection.  While going through security at the airport, the TSA dude told her to remove her hat which she had on to cover for her hair loss and bandaged wound.  In short, the trip sucked. 


But she was so strong that night we saw "O," dressing up for a night out, adjusting her wig just so.  She was always a ‘fancy girl.’  She loved perfume and wore make-up with sparkles in it to Angel games.  I have a photo of her in our guest room which I kiss every day.  Every once in a while, I spray perfume on her picture.  She should stay fancy.  I know it probably sounds a little bananas to the outsider, but to me it makes sense. 


The last 24 hours of my trip, it was hard being back in Vegas, thinking about my wife and what she had to endure.  How much fun it would have been to see another show with her, watch her put on her fancy make-up and to smell her perfume.  What I would give to take her out to a dinner and watch her make smiley small talk with the wait staff. 


So, at present, asking a girl for her phone number is no small feat.  But it just sort of came up in that store in Vegas.  Sometimes the best times are the ones you don’t make plans for.


After the outlet mall, Utah and I met back up with the Arab, more rested but still tired.  I recently purchased an iPhone so I put my boys to work.  The Arab is an IT guy and he told me how to put a ton of music on the phone without too much trouble.  “Create a file, move it here...” and so forth.  We continued with our ‘Banshee’ marathon until it got dark. 


I got the nerve up to text the chick from the J.Crew store.  Man, it’s so much easier to text someone.  It’s not like the old days where you had to grab your balls, dial a number, sweat the rings out and fumble around for the right wording.  Hoping maybe she won’t answer but praying to hell that she does. 


But then, you miss something without calling.  I wussed out and texted and that was okay by me since I wasn’t even sure I wanted to do anything.  I just wanted to feel like I was in the social flow of the world and I haven’t felt that in a while.  Like a scene from a movie, I started the text one way, erased it, started over, erased, etc. 


While I was writing and re-writing my text, the Arab and Utah somehow landed on the subject of our friend Jerry.  Jerry stands about 5’-5” and weighs around 250 pounds.  Nicest and most gullible dude in the world.  He loves the tv show “Alf.”  A few years back, he was with the Arab and Utah in the Star Trek bar at the Hilton Hotel.  They’d had a few drinks and chipped in some money to buy Jerry a Star Trek uniform.  The plan for the day was to go the bar then hit up the porn convention.  You know, the usual Saturday.  One of the caveats of Jerry getting the Trekkie uniform was that he had to wear it to the porn convention.  And he did.  I need to ask if there’s a photo of him there.


Saturday night we motivated and went to the Crown & Anchor pub where my friends go on occasion.  They have a pretty good curry dish and the Arab has a crush on a bartender there, only, she’s been fired.  So he was bummed about that.  I guess she left without giving him her number.  See how that works?


I had texted the shop girl some hours ago at this point.  She still hadn’t texted back.  A real kick to the ego/balls.  I’d like to think I haven’t heard back from her because I was wearing a t-shirt with a picture of Tubbs on it when I met her.  Classy stuff.  Who knows?


Man, it was so much better when I could rely on my wife to put on her fancy sparkles and perfume.  What a gift I had.  Now I’m getting all worked up about not getting a text from some chick I don’t know.  What a difference eight months makes.  It’s not that I was thinking, “Oh yeah...this chick’s the one.”  Ya just want to feel like you’re included.


Of course, when she didn’t reply I went into a mini-depression but luckily I had Utah and the Arab with me to distract.  We participated in pub quiz at the Crown & Anchor, with the subject being Disney.  We got 10/15 which isn’t bad considering Disneylandia isn’t exactly our wheelhouse.  Btw, “The Black Hole” is the first what in the context of all Disney movies?


After losing the quiz we headed over to Arizona Charlie’s casino.  Another off-the-strip joint with a lack of clientele.  The Arab had a need to play some blackjack so while he and Utah were doing that, I meandered around, losing a few bucks with the slots.  I like to zone out with a slot machine.  You just gotta remind yourself that the slots have the worst odds of anything in the house. 


I joined my friends at their table for a bit and met Erika, a Vietnamese dealer with a great personality.  She laughed and said funny things.  After a few minutes, she was switched out with Christina.  She was really pretty but a bit too skinny.  I checked my phone to make sure I didn’t get a text at 2am from the shop girl.  Nope.  No drunken texts.  “Who cares anymore?” is what I told myself. 


Christina has a degree in education and a terrible tramp stamp tattooed on her back.  I spotted another odd tattoo near her left pelvic bone and I just scratched my head.  I wanted to ask why, with a nutrition degree, she’s  flipping cards at Arizona Charlie’s but you never know what the answer might be.  It’s probably not going to be anything positive and likely involves a now ex-boyfriend who she followed out to Vegas from Wisconsin (yep, I found out that’s where she’s from).


I told her she had a nice profile and then she was switched out for some chick who likes comic books and other nerdy stuff.  My nerd friends were in nerd happy land.  There was a version of Comic-con happening that weekend in Vegas.  Stan Lee was the special guest star.  Utah got very upset at the mention of Stan Lee.  Some years ago, my friend wrote a script when he was a burgeoning screen writer.  He did some work for Stan Lee, writing a feature script.  Mr. Lee wouldn’t pay my friend unless he signed paperwork essentially giving Stan Lee permission to receive the “Written By” credit.  My friend was heartbroken.  Stan Lee was one of his heroes.  Being young, naive and not yet a member of the Writers Guild, Utah didn’t know his rights.  My friend would’ve won in arbitration if he’d gone ahead and signed the paperwork.  But instead, he declined to sign and the script died at the hands of Stan Lee.  Showbiz, babeeeee!


Despite Utah pounding an energy drink at about 1am, I drove us back to the homestead and didn’t have to suffer through an all-nighter.  I drove the Arab’s newly delivered VW Passat.  It’s a nice car and has all kinds of bright lights on the dash.  The pick-up is pretty great for a diesel, too.  I’d be happy with one of these cars.


Utah and the Arab decided they were hungry and wanted a late night snack, but DR asked to go home first.  I dropped myself off and they went to a Hooter’s.  I went to bed and thought about how weird it is to be asking for phone numbers.  Taking chances sometimes kicks you in the ass.  Maybe the Arab had it right after all.


Sunday, I got up way too early.  I knew with their late night Hooter’s run, the two nerds wouldn’t be up early for breakfast, so I drove myself to a Del Taco:  bacon and egg burrito, hash brown product, taco.  So f’ing good!


I watched “Trading Places” while waiting for the goofballs to rally.  This movie is such a gem.  Eddie Murphy when he allowed himself the restraint to work with an ensemble cast.  Utah eventually made it downstairs.  We were excited that one of the bit characters was in an episode of Miami Vice (“Hit List”). 


Around noon, the Arab made it downstairs.  Of course, it took us about an hour to figure out what to do for lunch and we finally settled on a Middle-Eastern market and sorta restaurant about 10 minutes away.  I had a beef and chicken kebab with a kibbeh (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kibbeh).  Not as good as the joints in Anaheim’s Lil’ Gaza, but it did the trick.  Afterward, I spotted a tiny Thrifty Ice Cream shop in the same center.  “WTF?!?  How rad is this!?”  I thought.  The Arab and I walked over to investigate while Utah went to a bar a few feet away.  When in Vegas...


Turns out there’s four of these Thrifty Ice Cream places in Vegas.  It’s like being in the old Thrifty stores, but alot smaller and they only sell ice cream.  I got a massive single scoop of mint chip and it was damned refreshing.


We claimed Utah from the bar and made our way to a used record and CD store called Zia or something like this.  I nearly purchased a hard to find Deborah Harry CD, (released as Deborah Harry, not Debbie Harry) but I didn’t want to spend $4 for the one song I wanted.  It really made no sense...Blow a bunch of cash on a slot machine but fret over $4 for a used CD?  Ahhh, the human mind.  I like a song on the disc called “He Is So” which my wife turned me on to.  Good tune. 


By Sunday night I was getting restless.  Missing my wife coupled with the shop girl not texting me back made me wish for home.  I was done with the trip.  Over Vegas.  Ready to have my own bed.


But we had a little more work to do.  That night, we went to a place called Ellis Island, tucked away from the MGM Grand.  It’s a dump, but it’s ‘our’ dump.  There’s an oddly placed pizza joint inside which sells 2-for-1 pizzas on Sundays.  There’s no way we could have finished both in one sitting, even with the help of the Arab’s ample appetite.  I took down a few pieces and felt even worse.  Allah be praised, the Ellis Island doesn’t have an ice cream parlor!


While I wanted to return to the Arab’s for a good night’s sleep, Utah demanded we keep on rollin’ since he was ‘on vacation’ as he reminded us over and over.  So, back downtown we headed.  It was way quieter on a Sunday, and the band Arena wasn’t on.  Instead, we got this:




They did a pretty good version of an LMFAO! tune and I even shuffled my feet a little.  Unfortunately, do to our late start, we only caught a couple songs.  Next, we went over to another joint so Utah and the Arab could play poker.  I was more than bored but I didn’t want to cramp their style.  So I walked around with nothing exciting happening to me...just lots of old Asian folk on vacation.  Mostly Hawaiians.  This trip would end on a whimper, not a bang, sadly.  My weekend shenanigans had shenani-goned. 


I pretended to doze off so my drunk friends would have some sympathy.  Finally, I told them I had to leave.  Vegas had taken its toll on me in so many ways. 


Crashing at 3:30am isn’t ideal if you want to wake up early and get on the road.  So I didn’t get on the 15 freeway until about 10am, after stopping at a Taco Bell and a Chevron for a full tank of Nevada priced petrol.  There was alot of traffic on the road; more than I expected.


I got home around 2pm, greeted by a very excited cat and my wife’s picture.  I gave it a kiss.  I missed it.




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They have a pretty good curry dish and the Arab has a crush on a bartender there, only, she’s been fired.  So he was bummed about that.  I guess she left without giving him her number.  See how that works?

Ha! Lesson learned.

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Good stuff.

Star Trek outfit at a porn convention is hilarious, but I can strangely see it working I'm that setting. Kind of the blatant nerd sluts would do just a little more with opposed to the regular looking dude in Crocs with soft hands.

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Thanks.  You can't write good if you don't surrender to personal experience.  Like the hardest hitting songs, it's gotta be put on the table.


Amazing reads. I look forward to reading these and I find it incredibly strong how intimate you can be with your writing and how much you aren't afraid to share. Thank you for this.

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The answer to the Disney trivia question is...."The Black Hole" was the first Disney film with a 'PG' rating.  Most everyone guessed first Disney film with CGI but I believe that was "Tron."


Thrifty Ice Cream.  Still sold at Rite Aid, 2 pints for $6 and they sell by the scoop. 


Oh, and is the answer to the Black Hole question, first sci-fi movie?

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Re: Arizona Charlie's. Despite being owned by Carl Icahn, this place is a dump. I made the mistake of booking a room there when my A/C crapped out last summer on a 110-degree day. Nastiest room I've ever seen. We left without staying there and booked a room at the Luxor.


Your photo of the band brought back some memories. I generally stayed at the Plaza when I came to Vegas as a tourist. One year while I was here they were filming The Stand, mainly down on Fremont Street (before they closed it off and built the canopy for the so-called Experience). Stephen King was sitting in his director's chair right about where you have the camera pointed, on the sidewalk in front of the Las Vegas Club.

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