Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Las Vegas!

Ohhhhhhhh..... Yeahhhhhhhhhhhh!

Man I had a great weekend. First off... I got to see 10 friends I haven't seen in over 3 years - 5 of whom have been my best friends forever. Hanging out with Rob, Zach, Tim, Wes & Frank was such an awesome thing. I've missed all those guys a lot.

Living in NYC and Los Angeles (and Portland!) has made keeping up with friends' activities a little tricky sometimes... Worse, I'm still too poor to travel on my own dime for my own reasons, typically.

Sooo.... when Rob told me he was getting Married - I was really excited for him (his soon-to-be wife is awesome and they've been dating for what... 7 years?), but I also knew it was going to be almost impossible for me to fly to Nebraska to visit them. Then, as if my prayers had been answered by an all-benevolent and super-intelligent purple space-squid, they decided to have the bachelor party in fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada!!

Well, Las Vegas is not only an easy, breezy 4.5 hour drive from Los Angeles, and apparently I can get there on less than one tank of gas - Hoorayy for the Honda Fit :) - but also... it's a hell of a fun place to be.

So I got there last Friday at about 5pm... to the Tropicana... which, let's be honest, was cheap. It's at the end of the strip and thus isn't a great location, but when you don't plan to spend much of your weekend actually *in* your hotel, who cares really? Shortly after I arrived, 6 of us (me, Rob, Zach, Tim, Rob's brother Ryan, and Geoff) went to the Brazilian restaurant "Samba" inside the Mirage. We went specifically for the rodizio and had sooo much meat we all about exploded. Some great pictures from the end of the meal in the linked album... Check those out.

Several hours, and way too much food later we proceeded down the strip to meet the rest of the group - stopping first at the Rockhouse for massive quantities of alcohol (a half yard for me, full yard for some) and then again to enjoy the Bellagio's fountains (more pictures available of that!). Finally acquired the rest of our group and proceeded to the "Treasures: Gentleman's Club & Steakhouse".

In case anyone's wondering, I didn't order a steak. ;)

Actually I'd never been to a strip-club before so it was a different experience for me... but it turned out to be a lot of fun. Mostly we did the obligatory bachelor party things for Rob - embarrassing him quite a bit at first I believe, which is always good - and then Wes and I spent the rest of our time there enjoying the atmosphere and conversing with each other... had a really fabulous time actually. Also, I might note that one of our party shocked us all by dropping an estimated $400.00 on public & private lap-dances... notably not a rich man, but apparently a very dissatisfied man, this perplexed me some.

Anyway, that was a lot of fun... and we didn't make it back to the Tropicana til about 3:30am. Then Wes and I got up "early" (9am) and went with Tim to get tickets for Penn & Teller's show that night.

The rest of the day was spent ambling about in the 115 degree desert heat, enjoying the Monte Carlo's fine buffet and walking through the Venetian. Soon enough... me, Wes, Tim and Frank were at the Rio, All-suites Hotel and Casino walking in to the Penn & Teller theatre.

I don't even know where to begin to describe the show... many bits I'd seen, some I hadn't... all were worth seeing in person. Highlights for me were Penn's cold-reading demonstration where he "psychically" read people's minds and told them what jokes they had selected from randomly chosen and completely real (I looked through one myself) joke books... all the while explaining how evil it is to claim psychic powers and play on the emotions of grief stricken, emotionally charged people. It was so brilliant. And... a variant on Houdini's metamorphosis where Penn did close-up magic for a selected audience member who was asked to hold a video camera and after an extremely funny sequence of plastic cows appearing out of "thin air", the actual trick was that the man from the audience was inexplicably replaced by Teller, though there was no apparent change in either the way the camera was focused or on the person himself on-stage from the perspective of the audience....

Jesus those guys are good at what they do.

Then.... After the show... I actually got to talk to them both for a little bit :) Penn a little longer than Teller. Meeting heroes is the coolest thing ever... especially when they are the coolest people ever. They are both exactly how they present themselves... pardon the reference, but there's no Bullshit there at all. Gracious and brilliant people, both a little nutty (but certainly no worse than me) and fundamentally honest. Moxie & Zoltan are lucky kids, that's all I've got to say.

I've emailed Penn a bit, and gotten kind responses, perhaps at some point I can hope for a bit more than that... I could live in Vegas ;) Maybe... holy shit it was hot...

Anyway... I think the main point here is that I had a fabulous time. I got to see some of my best friends, enjoy a spectacular environment complete with naked women and meet two of the greatest people in the world.

It was a good weekend.

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