Friday, October 21, 2005
Post-Vegas Trip Catch-Up.
I'm back dear readers, and what a trip it was. Here's a quick rundown:
I landed at McCarren International Wednesday evening and took a cab to the Orleans, where most of our group was headquartered. I met up with Ken Kanniff and Janet and a few others who had dragged in early for a quick bite and to verify some plans for the next few days.
Thursday morning was taken up by a visit to After Hours to pick up the tuxedos and gowns. The afternoon saw several of us visit Nellis Air Force Base where Ken and I played a round of golf with Janet's dad, her two brothers and three of her uncles. I stink at golf. I shot a 62 for nine holes and lost two balls in the desert scrub that I was advised not to chase due to the prevalence of rattlesnakes and scorpions. The fighter planes, raptors and drone aircraft made an interesting setting against the mountains that rim the valley. After golf, we went back to the Orleans for a shower before heading to the Prime Rib Loft for a pre-wedding dinner for the people "in" the wedding. Myself (groomsman), the Best Man (Glenn the Knuckledragger) and the Maid and Matron of honor were all there with spouses and significant others to exchange gifts prior to the nuptials.
Friday afternoon gave myself and Glenn the opportunity to have a session of Black Jack. We both came put ahead, Glenn moreso because he plays more aggressively than I do. The evening began with a trip to the Luxor Steak House where 16 of us were treated like Michael Corleone. After gorging ourselves on steak, beer and wine, we headed over to Scores for some female entertainment. We were greeted at the club in a similar fashion to the way we were handled at the Luxor, and no sooner had we sat down than an angel named Sweet Little Shelby came over and sat right in my lap. Needless to say, this portion of the evening had gotten off to a GREAT start! We managed to linger at Scores for three or four hours before finally heading back to the Orleans. A quick shout out to Shelby, Linnea, Krissy, Corona, the young lady who looks like Salma Hayek (a special treat for Mr. Kanniff) and all the other young ladies.
Saturday, the big day! Glenn and I kept a close watch on Ken, but there was really no need. The magic hour approached and we headed to the Rio. The Roses Chapel housed the ceremony, attended by roughly sixty of Ken's and Janet's family and friends. I tried not to trip over myself as I did my ceremonial groomsman entrance and exit at the appropriate times, and was surprisingly successful, if not more than a bit stiff as confirmed by one of Janet's aunts asking me if I had ever done any military service due to the straightness of my bearing. I had to answer no, that I was probably just overcompensating due to the serious nature of the occasion.
And the reception, held in the Fiore Steak House, also in the Rio, was un-smegging-believable! The menu included T-Bone steaks, rack of lamb, lobster, crab and assorted vegetarian fare before the decadence of the dessert trays was revealed: chocolate souffle and Bananas Foster. And for those who could still move after that, a slice of wedding cake. More than one participant went on the nod near the end of the festivities.
Sunday morning was spent getting the tuxedos back to After Hours. Glenn left his shoes at the hotel, then cursed the counter help by claiming he never ordered shoes (A little background here. We got measured at the Natick Mall After Hours and their staff sent the information to Vegas branch). We calmed Glenn down and got the hell out of there after making him promise to return with the shoes. Back at the Orleans, I made another stand at the Black Jack table, and played a bit of video poker to kill some time before dinner. And yes, I came out ahead once again. After a bit of tension caused by She Who Shall Go Unnamed, the evening was spent at Excalibur for the Tournament of Kings for a medieval style jousting show that was excellent in its execution.
Monday morning and early afternoon was spent going to the Venetian with Ken's uncle Mike, who happens to be a dead ringer for actor Ben Gazzara, and is one of the funniest people I've ever met. We walked around the visually intoxicating hotel, shops and casino before sitting down to lunch. Mike had a mid-afternoon flight to catch, so we made lunch disappear quickly. The evening was spent in one of the video lounges at the Orleans for Monday Night Football.
As we watched the Colts come back big against the Rams on the big screen, we kept an eye on one of the smaller screens that was broadcasting Game 5 of the NLCS. With the Astros up 4-2 in the top of the ninth, the announcers gave Astro Lance Berkman the Chevrolet Player of the Game award for his three-run homer that put Houston on top. I immediately glanced over to Ken who had turned to my direction. We were both thinking the same thing: The game isn't over YET, what's with giving out awards? But when Astro closer Brad Lidge blew away the first two Cardinal hitters on strikes, Berkman's award seemed safe. Enter David Eckstein.
Eckstein, a former Red Sox infielder whose idea of hustle makes Pete Rose look like Manny Ramirez, is, to put it nicely, a pesky hitter. He chokes up on the bat and tries to punch the ball through the infield. He fell into a 1-2 hole before hitting a nasty slider into left field for a single. Jim Edmonds walked. Albert Pujols, the Cardinals biggest bat, and the best bet for NL MVP stood in at the plate. The first pitch was another of Lidge's nasty sliders that Pujols swung at and missed by about a foot. Lidge tried another slider. This one didn't break--it spun. Pujols crushed it about 440 feet into the left field bleachers to give the Cardinals a 5-4 lead. Lidge got Reggie Sanders out to end the inning, but the Astros went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth to force Game 6. I wonder if the announcers revoked Berkman's Chevrolet Player of the Game award and gave it to Pujols?
We hung around the lounge for a bit before heading to the Poker Room once Earl Crowder arrived. Earl lost his home to the severe flooding in the northeast (he was renting), and decided to come out here to gamble and look for a place to live. Earl is a tight Texas Hold 'Em and Omaha player who will probably fit in well out in Vegas once he settles in. Ken and Earl decided to hit the tables, while I went upstairs to my room to pack for my flight out the next morning.
There you have it. The Listerplus 2005 Vegas Tour. I'm aware that since I've returned that the Astros beat the Cardinals in Game 6 and will be moving on to the World Series against the White Sox. Despite Ozzie Guillen's team having dispatched the seriously flawed Red Sox in the ALDS, I'm pulling for him and his crew. The Astros may be a plucky team, but I still hold a grudge against Roger "The Mercenary" Clemens for the way he mailed in his 1993-1996 seasons with the Red Sox. I hope the White Sox pound him senseless in his starts.
Also, it seems the water has gotten a little hotter for some of my favorite Republican douchebags. Tom DeLay, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove and Scooter Libby are all walking on ice that is getting thinner by the second, and I can't wait to see how far they fall once it finally cracks.
That's all for now. I'll get my bearings a little straighter now that I'm more or less back into my regular routine.