Wow! That was HOT!

Well, we are back from the honeymoon now… we spent a very hot week in Las Vegas.

But before I do a week report, here are Matthew McAndrews’ Modem Problems strips for the week:

Matthew McAndrews’ Modem Problems #366 – Heresy – July 2nd, 2007

Matthew McAndrews’ Modem Problems #367 – Happy Independance Day – July 4th, 2007

Okay, so, it’s needless to say we didn’t do any MMO’s while we were gone…

I think I will do this per day.

Friday June 29th, 2007

We got up and got the car all packed for our trip and headed out with LOTS of time to get there… We were mere minutes out the door when I realized I had forgotten something. But it wasn’t important… then, 10 miles towards the wedding site, I realized that I had left the stack of directions to the post-wedding lunch at home. So we turned back and decided to get that other thing I had forgot… but both of us couldn’t remember what that other thing was. I finally remembered the moment I got out of the car… I had planned to take a energy drink with me to help me wake up.

So, now, with the directions and the energy drink in hand, it was back out onto the road. Things (including traffic) were uneventful and we made it on time… But the parking garage was full… Grrrr. So we went to a lot a block away… which had a MADDENING mix of new instructions on an old sign, mixed up markings in the lot (the lot had spaces marked Reserved, and spaces that were numbered. So I moved from a reserved space to a numbered on. Then the sign on the pay station said that numbers 1-10 were ALSO reserved. So I moved to another. So did my brother, Maurertech). Then there was the matter that it turned out that as of June 27th, they now were no longer $1.20 an hour, but rather $4.50 for the first hour and another $4.50 for the REST of the day… total, $9.00… and the bill taker was malfunctioning, but at least credit cards work.

That out of the way, we took the longer walk to the County Clerks Recorders Office. Mhari was having a rough time of it for that distance. But she made it. Then it was waiting time. We wanted to wait for everyone to be there. Maurertech and his wife JoAnne was there. Kiefer and his wife Firesplace were there. So was Whyaylooh. As was Dr. James. So all we were waiting for was my sister Playink and I was guessing that my other brother, Brainbelly, wasn’t going to make it. Maurertech and I went outside and talked and walked… and lo and behold, Brainbelly arrived! So cool! And then Playink showed and it was time.

So Mhari and I put our names in for having the wedding. And it was only a short wait (that seemed like forever at the time) and the called us. Then asked our witnesses (Kiefer and Whyaylooh) to join us. That got the paperwork out of the way. Then back out to waiting and another short (eternally long) wait before we were all led upstairs to the wedding room.

The time was magical. The Wedding Commissioner (I believe that is his title) was great. And in short order Mhari and I became husband and wife. Wow!

There were tears, there was laughter, there were many sounds of digital camera doing their thing.

Once it was all done, some things were signed and the wedding was officially complete. So it was time for lunch!! Off to Tony Roma’s in Jack London Square. We were the first customers of the day (after all made it past the several trains that passed through between the resturant and the parking garage) and service was NOT very good. But the food was. I do NOT recommend the service there. Only the food. We opened presents and many fine little conversations were had and Whyaylooh, as my best man made his speach consisting of: "It’s about time!"

Once all was done, hugs and goodbyes and good lucks and congratulations were said and done, and we hopped in the car and were on the road.

Immediately upon getting on the highway, we were in bumper-to-bumper traffic. It appears a semi collided with a dumptruck and sheared the cab of the semi in half. It was a accident over an hour old on the other side of the freeway from us. But it took around 30+ minutes to get past it. The rest of the trip that day was uneventful and both Mhari and I kept going… "We’re Married. Wow."

Our trip for the night ended in Buttonwillow, California at a Super 8. I pulled out the laptop and the video projector I brought along and we watched a Season 2 Dr Who episode before going to bed. This was also our last time with a free internet connection until the trip back.

Saturday, June 30th, 2007

Review of the Super 8 in Buttonwillow: Not bad. But the bed was unpleasent and made our backs hurt.

Travel time again… driving, driving, and more driving… and it was getting hotter and hotter as we entered the high desert. We could have made it all the way to Vegas, but instead we stopped at Primm, Nevada for food (and large drinks) at McDonald’s and GAH!!! It was HOT!! Hot and dry in a way neither of us are used to. According to the official listing it was 107. Though we saw 109 on some of the signs. So after a trip to the Nevada Welcome Center and a little time in their Air Conditioning, we decided we were done for the day and stayed at Whiskey Pete’s for the night. After all, it would be better to stay off the strip without reservations. The rate was good. After getting all checked in and stuff we went and registered for the Prim Casinos Player’s Club and used our Dollar off discount to get the buffet. Not a great buffet, but not the worst. About equal to a Hometown Buffet but cheaper in price for dinner.

Entertainment for the night was me playing $20 of slots, and then back to the room for another episode of Dr Who. This time only on the laptop screen as the walls really weren’t suited for the projector. As it turns out, we didn’t use the projector again for the rest of the trip.

Sunday, July 1st, 2007

Review of Whiskey Pete’s in Primm: It’s the least expensive of the three facilities in Prim. The bed was slightly better than the one in Buttonwillow. But not by much. Elevator in the Parking Garage was… well, it stank of plaster and heat. As if there was recent construction. But I saw no sign of it. The pool looks REALLY nice… but neither of us spent time in it. It has a water slide and all sorts of things.

Got up feeling slightly better rested. And had discounted Breakfast Buffet at the same buffet. It was better this morning than it was the prior night. Same low price. (under $10) The made-to-order omlets were LARGE and good.

Back on the road we headed into Las Vegas. Our resort, Summer Bay Resort, sort of snuck up on us, being way closer to the strip than expected. It literally was right behind the Imperial Palace on the other side of the monorail station. It was 109 here (officially… again, like with Primm the day before, we saw signs that said highter) We were early so we checked in our luggage at the bell desk, did all of the checkin (as well as had $1 ice cream sundae’s that were on sale in the lobby) except for collecting our keys. Then it was off back on the road. This time I took us to the Las Vegas Hilton.

Here we parked in the parking garage and I unloaded the wheelchair I had rented before leaving home. With Mhari having a little rough time with lots of walking and there being so MUCH walking involved in visiting Las Vegas, I figured it would be a must. And I was right.

So, in the door and straight to the Star Trek Experience. Mhari agreed to go despite her dislike of motionrides. And she can comment on how she liked it, but clear to say, we both enjoyed it. It was the first time for both of us on the Borg Invasion 4D ‘ride’. It was a LOT of fun. Then back through again for the Klingon Encounter… which I had done on our last trip to ‘Vegas in 2001. (Mhari had went to the Day Spa on that trip while I did the STE.)

Coming out of the ride the first time through, we saw lots of shirts we wanted. And after the 2nd time through I got a number of polos (which I can wear to work) and Mhari got a T-Shirt. We skipped going to Quarks and headed out.

I don’t remember clearly what we did for dinner that night. But we went back to the resort and I was tired out from pushing the wheelchair up all the steep ramps and what not. We got our keys, got our stuff moved over to the room and got aquainted with the place. Nice place. Very clean. It was a little living room, with connected dining and kitchen. There was also a large bathroom with walk in shower (as we had asked for ground floor wheelchair accessable) and a bedroom with a kingsized bed. But we had places to be, and headed out again after settling our stuff.

So, off to the Belagio. We parked in their parking garage, wondering what the new construction next doors was. (We asked, it’s something called City Center.) And it was time to assemble the wheelchair again. and get back to pushing Mhari around. 😉 First stop was the Player’s Club to get registered. Then I forget if I played $20 of slots before or after dinner. In any case, we went to the Buffet they have and stood in the long line for it. OUCH! Their Buffet (called The Buffet) is expensive ($27.95) with no discounts for player’s club members. (You CAN -earn- a free dinner there with ‘points’, but it takes around 1000 to do it, or more… and in $20 of play on a peney slot machine, I only earned 108 points.) The Buffet is highbrow, and has a WIDE selection of food. They did seat us next to the Sushi, so Mhari was happy. But in general I was disappointed at the food for the price. It was heavy on sea food and light on things I enjoy eating. We had BETTER buffet for a LOT less money elsewhere during our trip.

After dinner it was time to head over to the O Theater. We lined up, and got in. I bought us Popcorn, a bottle of water and Mhari a coke. We were seated easily (having the Wheelchair may of had something to do with that, but as all seats are reserved seats, we would have gotten to the same seats… just not as soon, had it not been for the slightly better treatment for the wheelchair bound folks).

O was wonderful. It was amazing watch them do waterballet, water stunts, diving, acrobatics in and out of the water and all sorts of things. The main ‘stage’ of the performance is a watertank with 1.5 million gallons of water. And there’s a surface they raise and lower in it allowing them to look like they are walking on the water, or marching down into or up out of it. And there was lots to see. I have never been disappointed by a Cirque show… ever. And this one is no exception. It was wonderful. And after the dryness of the air in Vegas, it was doubly a joy. We were seated in the first row, so the action was Right There. And yes, we got a little wet.

After the show we bought one DvD in the Cirque store and then headed ‘home’.

By this time it was around 1am and still in the mid 70’s outside. But we got ‘home’ to the resort with no trouble. Both Mhari and I were exhausted, so there was no TV this night. And we went to bed. I had a shakey night of it… suffering from Dehydration, it would seem. And some low blood sugar. But I recovered.

Monday, July 2nd, 2007 – High Temp: 109F – Low Temp: 76F

Another day, and no shows scheduled. And Sci Fi Channel was starting their Twilight Zone marathon. But we pulled our selves away from the TV and went to the store. We bought cheese (sliced and string), Jello, some crackers, and some more drink mixes for our bottled water. (Which I kept refilling as we used them each night, and put in the unit’s ‘frige.) We also did breakfast. And in so doing, we got somewhat familar with the just-off-the-strip area. And we also saw Terrible’s Casino with it’s large BINGO sign…. So after some more time watching TV, discovering a good coupon for The Freemont Street Experience, we decided to go to Terrible’s and try out their Bingo… so back in the car, off to Terribles, registered for their Player’s Club (getting free T-Shirts in the process) and upstairs to cruise the Buffet and went in and played 2 sessions of Bingo… I won one game, so our net winnings after all expenses was $0.50. Yay!. Then it was time to head up to Freemont Street. We found our way there, parked in the city garage, discovered that the alternate location for redeeming the coupon I found was on the same floor I parked, and discovered that in what we got, we got some 2-for-the-price-of-1 buffet coupons… wheeee. It was still too early for the lightshow, so I pushed Mhari down to the Freemont Casino, we registered for the Player’s Club (free packs of cards as well as turning out to be both the place to turn our coupon in to for the voucher for the buffet, but also the place to get parking validated), then did the Buffet. This is one of those that varies in price according to day. On this day it was $9.99 (it tops out at $14.99 on Sundays, I think). So we had a great deal. And the food here was GOOD. Again there was Sushi for Mhari, so she was happy. And they had more things that interested me as well as a good selection of No Sugar Added deserts. About the only bad thing is the dining area is rather ‘dark and intimate’, so it wasn’t good for reading with dinner, which is something we normally do.

After dinner I did about $7 of playing a penny slot, then it was time for the 8:30pm show… I cashed out and we went outside. Saw the fun 4th of July edition opening show. That ‘screen’ is HUGE. Really huge. And the 4th of July show was very good. But it was over too soon. So we went back into the casino and I played on the huge Wheel of Fortune multi-player penny slot…. and my $20 went away in a flash. With no bonus games or spins. In order to qualify for the big bonus game with the fun multi-player spin game (why else play a multi-player bonus game if you can’t do the special feature), you have to do max bet, which works out to $1.80 a ‘pull’. So my money I alocated went poof fast. And not being a real gambler, I actually got up and left as soon as I had played the amount I had planned to play.

So, back towards the garage with a stop at Walgreen’s for some batteries. (The DvD Player remote for the place we were staying had no batteries… yeah, we could have asked for some from the management, but we bought them instead.) When we came out, the 9pm session of the big lightshow started. Different from the 4th of July one… just some music with gambling inspired imagery and a attractive dancing woman with different suggestive costumes… nothing really special other than it was a whole TWO BLOCKS of lightshow happening!

So, back to ‘home’ and dicovering the DvD player wasn’t plugged in, though it was wired in to the cable. Our guess was the prior folks that had the room had moved it to the bedroom to use on that TV, and when they put it back, found they could not figure out how to get it plugged in again (or just didn’t have the courtsy to do so, I guess). It took some difficult leverage to move the entertainment center enough so I could plug in the DvD player… but it worked fine and wonderful after that, so no further complaints. More watching of Twilight Zone and Dr. Who happened. Then it was bed time. Another day was done.

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007 – High Temp: 110F – Low Temp: 74F

This was going to be another busy day. So we spent the day time sleeping in, watching Twilight Zone and taking it easy. We went out for brunch someplace… I don’t remember where. Maybe Mhari remembers. Then it was off to the MGM Grand. We parked and I got Mhari and the wheelchair into the casino. We tooled around (as we already had the players club for here, as it is shared with the Bellagio) and found where the KA Theater was, and then headed for the Lion Habitat. The young lions in the habitat were soundly asleep dispite all the people crowded around at the windows right next to them. We stayed there for a time then bought T-shirt’s there (Which we will wear to the next FC meeting, I am sure) before moving on.

Our next stop was to wheel about on the Studio Walk, which was a collection of resturants and shops with TV and Movie sort of themes and inspirations. At the end of this long path was the pool for the MGM Grand, which is huge. But just before Pool is Television City, a CBS/CW affliated store and facility. They do screenings of upcoming shows there. We were invited to a showing and in exchange for our time and opinions would be given some gifts. We did it and watched a HORRID (if funny in places) Sitcom called ‘The Big Bang Theory’. It’s about Two Geek/Nerds that live together. Let’s just say that the humor is crude attempts at hyperintellectual comedy. About half the jokes work for me. The other half are offensive. I think Mhari liked it even less than I did. They also played commercials/previews of three other upcoming shows. There was Moonlight, about a vampire that works for the forces of good and what’s right (he is shown saving children in danger). I want to see this. It will be on CBS on Friday nights, I believe. Another was Viva Laughlin, which was about someone that starts a casino/nightclub in vegas called Viva. (or something like that.) It sounds interesting. The last was Cain, which seems to be a ‘mob family’ sort of show. It was the one I was least interested in. About the best thing I got out of the experience were the great coupons we got as gifts, and knowledge that I want to stay as far away from The Big Bang Theory as possible.

Thanks to the gifts, we had dinner at half price each at Nation’s, followed by half price Dazzers at the Hagan Das shops.

Then is was time for KA… we lined up for a time, then (partly due to Mhari’s wheelchair, but seen being done for many, many of the other attendees) we got what felt like the Royal Treatment. We were introduced at the door of our line to ‘Tam’, our personal usher. He made us feel special in so many, many ways. He tagged the wheelchair and showed us personally to the point at which Mhari would have to take stairs to her seat. (He then took the wheelchair and got it out of the way… and brought it back for us after the show.) Then he checked on us at least once after seating us. We had another usher that monitored our section, saw to our and others in our section’s needs (and kept us from approching the big pit, which was spitting fire from time to time, and was the ‘stage’ area). I don’t remember his name. But each and every usher had a ‘character’ and personality they were playing through the preshow, chatting with the people in their section and generally answering questions and taking pictures and things.

Then the show started… Oh, wow. KA is different from the other Cirque du sol shows in that it actually tells a liner story that is clear and complete. It’s a classic asian style story with a brother and sister who are like prince and princess of their land or some such. I won’t go into the story much, but it is full of action and adventure. But it is also special in that the stage is sort of a ‘floating on air’ stage. It’s a platform that rises and lowers, turns and slopes, even tilts until the action is happening as if you were looking down from above, but the performers are ‘walking/fighting/etc’ on the wall of stage as if it were the ground. There are times the performers are flying out over the audiance, and other times that they are ‘falling’ through the air of the stage area. Or climbing a mountain, or on a boat during a storm. It’s a RUSH of a show. Mhari and I had second row center seats. There were times that if we had stood up and raise a hand just above our head, we would encounter performer. There was one person in the row in front of us that a costume brushed against. (A long, very dainty ribbon.) All I could say after the show was: "Wow!! Oh, Wow!

My recommendation is to NOT miss KA. See it! And while ALL the seats are good, the ones up in the first 5 rows are especially good. The place holds 1950 seats, according to the ushers.

Well, after this, the only thing worth doing was going ‘home’. Mhari was having trouble with dehydration. She couldn’t get warm and was shaky like I was Sunday night. She had me hand her a glass of cold water while she was in the shower… I shouldn’t have listened to her and given her a plastic bottle… she went to put it down on the seat that was in the shower, only not having her glasses on she couldn’t tell the seat was not level, and had an uneven ledge. The glass fell to the floor of the shower and broke. No, she wasn’t hurt. But I carefully made sure there was no glass anywhere that she would step on getting out, got her out of there, dried, and wrapped in something in the bedroom and called housekeeping. They sent a energetic young man that cleaned things up throughly and competently, with great attention to every detail to make sure not the slightest bit of glass remained. And he wouldn’t accept my tip when I tried to give it to him.

Mhari finished her shower and finally got warm again and curled up in bed. I stayed up a while longer watching Twilight Zone, then went to bed myself.

Wednesday, July 4th, 2007 – Independance Day! – High Temp: 111F – Low Temp: 80FAnother day dawned. We watched more Twilight Zone, then decided to head back to Terrible’s for more Bingo. We used 2-for-1 coupons that we got for signing up with the player’s club there and had their special 4th of July brunch. Only $9.99 + tax for the two of us, with the coupon. Very good food, excellent service. Not the extravagance of the buffets on the strip, nor of the one at the Freemont Casino for the same price. And no Sushi. But still quite good food and service. Cashiers a little surley, but the waitstaff were excellent. And they have Sugar Free deserts that actually had flavor!

Bingo was fun. There were some 2-for-1 coupons for Bingo too, and the first game we tried to play those packs in addition to our regular order from Monday (2 blue (which includes 2 purples for free) , 2 bonus, 2 doubles.). This meant that we were playing 2 blues, 1 purple each. And 2 doubles at the end. Playing 18 boards is too much. Our normal order only had 12 boards to watch for the regular games. Neither Mhari or I won, and we might have missed something as we couldn’t keep up with the 1 number every 13 seconds. So, for the second session, I put the extras from our other 2-for-1 coupon into the electronic system they offer for $2 more (flat rate). And just played our ‘usual’ on paper. Didn’t win anything that session either. Though on the Bonus round I got REAL close to 13K in winnings. REAL close… As in 3 numbers away before they started calling numbers. (It was a cover all, with the first 45 numbers pre-called. If you could get it within 50 numbers, it was worth over $13,000 in winnings.) With over 50 numbers called, someone else Bingo’d first, and those 3 numbers had never been called. But as it was in greater than 50 called numbers, that person only won $150. But it was fun getting close. We played one more session after that, and didn’t win anything on those, either. Oh, well. We had fun.

Now, it being the 4th of July, they had little special prizes for everyone every session. And some neighbor players who didn’t want theirs gave us theirs as well. So we came away with 10 of them… hmmmm, I think Mhari and I know what we will do with the 8 we don’t need. (There were 2 unique designs, which we got between us in the first session.)

So, being Bingo’d out, Mhari and I went and had Dinner in the Terrible’s Buffet again, with another of those 2-for-1 coupons… yum. Tasty and easy on the pocketbook both. Then it was downstairs into the redemption center to turn my 1700+ points into a pair of little coolers to hold our parrishables for the trip home.

Back to the resort… we packed up and cleaned up some of the things, and watched the last two episodes of Dr Who season 2. We’ll miss Rose. And it looks like the Doctor will too. Sort of nice they way they tied earlier episodes together, pulled in Torchwood and things all into those two episodes. Good stuff. Oh, and more Twilight Zone episodes, too. Then it was bed time. I slept out on the couch as I was starting to have real trouble with my back from all the strange beds and the heat/air conditioning. Mhari needed it warmer than I did, and the living room was cooler. I was too warm in there. Don’t worry, love. I was fine. Honest.

Thursday, July 5th, 2007 – High Temp: 114F – Low Temp: 81F

Our final day in Las Vegas. Mhari’s sister and her husband would be coming in in the early afternoon. (They gave us half of their time-share as a wedding gift, and were coming in for the balance of it.) So we packed up some more, went out to breakfast and then back to the unit to finish packing. That done and the place all cleaned up and ready for the new tenants. we sat down and watched Bruce Almighty. I had problems with the first half of the movie where they are setting the stage and getting us all up close and personal with Bruce so the other half of the movie would make sense. Said other half of the movie was fun, and in the end, touching. Jim Carey is good as always, and in this one he wasn’t TOO over the top. Very good. And seeing Steve Carrel’s part as Evan, I might be able to watch the sequal now… once it is out on DvD.

We watched a few other things, like some of the Planet Earth thing on Animal Planet, then Mhari’s sister arrived. We chatted a bit, finished packing the car, and said our goodbyes. Fueled up the car then spent 40 minutes creeping down Flamingo to the highway… and finnaly on. With a quick and MUCH needed pitstop in Jene, Nv, we bid adu to Nevada and started home.

We finally stopped in Barstow, ate at Carl’s Jr, where I discovered I was all shakey with low blood sugar and dehydration again. Grrr. We found a Best Western and finally had free internet again. Both of us spent time cleaning the spam out of our email, and watched the VH1 Rock Honors on MyNetworkTV. It was fun watching Heart, Genisis and Ozzy Ozborne. (We didn’t tune in in time to see ZZTop play.) Funny that it was taped at the Mandalay Bay in Vegas. 🙂

Then it was sleep time. I had recovered from my shakes and slept fine.

Friday, July 6th, 2007

Review of Best Western in Barstow: Excellent facility. Clean, modern, comfortable. Beds much better than any of the other places other than the resort.

The rest of today was spent travelling with only minor stops for fuel and light food. We got home before dark, unpacked the car, discovered there had been a power outage while we were gone and got all the clocks reset. Then went shopping, came home and ate dinner. Then I sat here and started writing this monstrosity. Mhari is upstairs dealing with email. Don’t know if she has signed onto City of Heroes or not. But it looks like I won’t tonight. I’m feeling real spacy and sleepy. I am looking forward to a shower and bed.

So, there you have it. The week in semi-detailed review. I have some things out, I am sure. But it’s not like you all need to know it all. We are newlyweds. There are things that are exclusivly OURS in the memories of this past week. But we had a BLAST. And I didn’t spend as much as I feared. And I actually came home with some of the cash I took with me still in my pocket. And there are many more things in Las Vegas that Mhari and I want to do in some future trip. A LOT of them!

Thanks for reading…And it 59F here… ahhhhhhh. Home sweet cooler home.

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