I've been living vicariously through the great reports here so I wanted to spread the love. The whole purpose of this trip was to accompany my boss to the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) convention at the LVCC in Vegas. We sell professional audio and video equipment for a living so its a perfect place to network with vendors and other dealers - also to see the latest equipment.


Saturday

I left out of Memphis. Watched a few episodes of Twilight Zone because I got there too early. Two hour wait for check-in, my ass. I sailed through security in a matter of minutes. Memphis being a small city normally doesn't have checkpoint issues, but I digress. I didn't have a direct flight - instead having to connect in Atlanta on the new MD-88. The planes are so new that they have some sort of eurocool 'fasten seat belt' sign. It looked to me that it was saying 'men sit on one side of the plane, women on the other' but what do I know. A few miles out of Atlanta, we flew over nuclear power plant. Talk about unguarded targets.

The Atlanta to Vegas run was going to be about a 3.5 hour flight with NO MEAL SERVICE so I dashed around and grabbed a sandwich at the terminal. I got to ride in the new Boeing 767-400 -All the way in the back of the plane. Thats 45+ rows, 250 people and I'm dead last. But it gave me a chance to goof around with flight attendants that were in the galley. The 767-400 has this neat 'In flight trip computer' that shows the plane's direction, speed and distance to destination on various video screens mounted on the ceiling. It even showed maps of terrain and cities you were flying over. I couldn't sleep for a while so I watched 'Oceans 11' - the ultimate Vegas movie IMHO

Earlier in the day, I pondered whether it was a good idea for me to rent a car while in Vegas. I made the right decision and got one. Only about $100 for my three and a half days with tax - thats at least equal to what cabfare would have been. Plus, it gave me freedom to drive anywhere I wanted to. My boss at first didn't understand that I was renting it for pleasure - he must have thought I charged it to the business account. While driving from the Airport to the Monte Carlo, I felt like I was all grown up. I mean, here I was in Vegas with my own car and a very very small bankroll. Note to self, don't take pictures out of the moving car.***

As I mentioned, my boss and I were staying at the Monte Carlo so I roamed around the casino for a bit before crashing. The place felt really comfortable and airy. Lots of marble and chandeliers.

Sunday

I awoke to the sound of something large in the bathroom falling into the water *plop* followed by my boss's sigh of relief. This went on several times before I realized that it was not constipation - but rather my boss taking a steam bath and constantly dropping the soap! Breakfast was so-so at the Hotel Cafe. I ordered what I thought would be a 'large' orange juice. It was the size of a thimble on a diet.

Boss and I headed over to the Paris for a pre NAB Apple meeting and decided to play a few slots . I have to rant a moment about the TITO idea (ticket in, ticket out). It's the biggest scam I've seen yet on separating you from your money. Instead of being able to drop a coin or two into a machine, you have to insert a dollar bill. Then, if you win anything - it prints a paper ticket that can be scanned at the cashier or - you guessed it - another slot machine. It's sad that most of the machines in Vegas are doing this. I love to walk around and plunk a coin into five or six machines standing side by side. Those days are numbered I guess.

Anyway, the Apple meeting was in this HUGE convention room - larger than all MFM conspace combined. Various folks came up and talked about the new Final Cut Pro editing software. Big Deal. Afterwards there was a neat Champagne brunch in the adjoining (and also cavernous) meeting room. Good champagne too, not that cold duck stuff. Boss and I had lunch at one of the bistros in the casino - which was pretty nice. After naptime (yes I need naps), we walked around the NYNY - which is where we used to stay on previous visits. I realize now what I don't like about it - its just like its namesake- very cramped and uncomfortable. I mean, it has a lot of flair and energy but it just doesn't feel friendly to stay or play. Eating however is a nice plus. I'll get to that in a minute. We went for a long walk around the MGM Grand - and its all different from the last I saw it two years ago. The big pit in the middle is now a bar with dead space. They added all the new restaurants and shops. We tried to eat at Diego but noone would wait on us. NO SOUP FOR YOU. NEXT! Took a few pictures of the Lionesses who were in the habitat*** Ended up eating at the Italian restaurant at NYNY with a very yummy sausage penni and cheesecake. Back at the MC, the slots were about as willing as my high school prom date (I'm not making this up). So I told myself that if I double my money in Craps, I'd quit and go to bed happy. Then, I said if I triple my money, I'd quit. Quadruple it and quit. In all, I turned $20 into $175 in about three hours. When Craps are going in your favor, its like a little community of friends that you've never met before gathered all around the table. It was sort of a dream for me- buying in at a table that had no action and feeling it grow. It got so good that a guy showed up out of nowhere with a stack of at least $500 in chips and was trying to double his investment....and DID. We all cheered as he promptly strolled over to the Cashier after winning.

Oh, and yes Tilt there is an Alien slot machine ***

Monday

NAB convention and while I'd like to say there was alot of WOW kind of stuff, there really wasn't. Nothing terribly impressive, but it gave me a chance to research alot of equipment needs for my customers and to stay in touch with dealer contacts. There were a few neat things like a touch sensitive LCD projection onto floor***
Panasonic coming out with new HD camcorder with 24p for $5995***. Tiger tails** at one vendors booth. Hummer satellite truck***

After walking for miles around the convention center, we went back to the hotel for a well deserved nap then went to Tony Roma's at the Stardust. That's one place we always hit everytime we're in town. After dropping my boss off back at the MC, I drove over to the Bellagio but it was too windy for fountains and realized only too late that I could have taken a free tram. Went next door to Caesars Palace and took a picture of me naked. I don't recall being uncircumcized, though. *** Being a diehard Saints fan, I couldn't resist the opportunity to lay odds on the Super Bowl***. I rang up my buddy in Phoenix and got him some crazy odds on the Dbacks winning the world series *** . I always love the Forum Shops - especially the FAO Schwarz entrance***. And while I didn't play any thing but sports book at CP, when you die at the palace, you really die at the palace *** (bonus points for the movie reference). Trucked on over to the Mirage to see the Volcano and a kitty cat***. They're very tame, now a days...just ask Roy***. Hit the Fremont experience right at midnight and caught the VivaVision show. Sadly, there were no attitude girls. The last time I was there, three women in latex skirts and sunglasses were strolling up and down Fremont - causing quite a stir so I called them the attitude girls. I was going to stand directly in their path if I saw them again. I guess it will have to wait for next time. At Binions, I quickly lost $20 in craps - trying to catch lightning in a bottle a second time, I guess. They should make a t-shirt 'I shot (my wad) at Binions'. Driving back on a strangely empty Las Vegas Blvd, I noticed that the Wynn Resort will have the Broadway musical 'Avenue Q' coming in September. The internet truly is for porn.

Tuesday

More NAB convention, Saw sinbad waiting in front of the LVCC. Took the Monorail for the first time and ate at Fatburger***. Wasn't impressed, though I did play 'The New Style' on their jukebox. (bonus points for the reference). Back at the MC, I entered my first ever Slot Tournament and almost finished dead last. They also had a $100 give away for hotel guests and my ticket was off by ONE stinking number. Took another nap and drove over to the Outback with my boss. Headed over to the Palms for some cent VP then drove to Ellis Island for their great Karaoke bar. Met up with a few locals and drank microbrew and heard a scary rendition of 'With or without you' - one octave too high. I got to sing three songs so that was fun. The Hooters Casino broke ground earlier in the day and one of the girls and her boyfriend were...celebrating?***
Went over to the Hard Rock to soak up some vibes. Took a picture of a one of my customers posing with Elvis when he sponsored a softball team in Memphis***
I think I like the HR's vibe better than the Palms for some reason. It's a close tie. Drove back to the Boardwalk to catch 'Purple Reign' - the ultimate Prince tribute. They were really good...and came with a Morris Day tribute at no additional charge ;) Finally ended the early morning by losing another $20 in Monte Carlo craps. I'm all crapped out by this point. Sleep at 2 - Up at 4:30 to catch my flight back to Memphis (via Atlanta again).

Was a great trip, but I think I'm all Vegas'ed out for a long time.
Ended up even on gambling - which is always nice.