Monday, December 3, 2007

Vegas Revisited

I know, I know, I said I would post words about my favorite college football team, but I'm having more trouble focusing than usual. This is because, at the moment, Kyle Boller is five minutes from making history. Let's just say that I never envisioned typing that sentence.

But anyway, I had an idea. Actually, my friend Party Dan had an idea, and it's this: Hey jerk, since your going to Vegas Friday, why don't post your Vegas blogs from May, and write about the stuff you never posted on MySpace.

You know what, Danny Boy? That's a dang nice idea. Especially since I'm bringing my computer machine to Vegas and I plan to update the site daily. (Note: that may or may not be a good idea; the drunken blogs have been hit-and-miss to this point. Oh well.)

So here it is, part one of my Vegas Trip from May (and forgive the occasional grammatical errors--I thought it would be stupid for me to edit something that's been available to the public for seven months):

Update: Sorry, boys and girls, I just realized that html issues are scattered throughout my original Vegas blog. For whatever reason this happens when I copy and paste something from MySpace. It's annoying, I know, but you'll just have to deal with it until I have time to fix it Tuesday. I hope you will enjoy the tales nonetheless. Sorry again. Anyway, Vegas: part one...

VEGAS BLOG PART 1 (Monday, May 14, 2007)

I remember the June of '99 like it was yesterday. It was my one-year anniversary of returning from Senior Trip (class of '98) in Panama City, Florida. It was also the first time I realized how annoying I'd been the year before. You see, when my friends from the class of '99 returned from their Senior Trip, they proceeded to repeatedly tell me (and anybody who would listen) about how crazy their time was in Florida. And by all accounts, they had a wild time. Then again, so did we. But neither the class of '98 or '99 experienced a single unique moment on Senior Trip; it's all been done before. What we did do in Florida was create a million inside jokes that are specific to our respective groups. BUT...trying to explain those jokes to somebody who wasn't there? Well, that's usually a bad idea. Nobody cares. So, in the June of '99, I wanted to (a) smack all the storytellers and (b) hop in my DeLorean, go back to the June of '98, and smack myself for honestly thinking ANYBODY cared about tales of bonging thirteen beers while "It's All About the Benjamins" blared on repeat. Jesus, I must have been annoying. And that's the thing about Vegas...everyone that goes thinks they had the best time in the history of times. I mean, as I sit here right now, I'm convinced that nobody has ever had more fun in Nevada (or anywhere, for that matter). That said, I'm hesitant to write about my war stories for the reasons mentioned earlier (it's all been done before) and I couldn't possibly do them justice. My inaugural trip to Vegas was four days of inside jokes. Four days of you had-to-be-there-to-understand moments.

So why am I about to write about my trip to Vegas? NO. F**KING. IDEA.

This will be hard.

And unfulfilling.

Vegas Trip 2007

Important note: Everything you're about to read is 100 % true. Despite being hammered for the duration of the trip, I have a good idea of what happened. As usual, I texted myself "important things" so I wouldn't, I have always possessed an uncanny ability to remember drunken dialogue from the night before. This is probably because I rarely black out. Anyway...

The characters...

Me: The awesomest dude of all time.

Party Dan: His second trip to Vegas. Drinks more than everybody else on trip. Ditto for gambling (at least now that I'm semi-retired)

Colly: Had been to Vegas for one day, but nothing like this. Traveled to Vegas to attend the De La Hoya-Mayweather fight. Worst possible influence on me. I have the same influence on him (see St Patty's Day journal).

Matt: Second or third trip to Nevada, America. Visiting Vegas as a makeshift bachelor party. He'll soon hate his life. Or maybe not. We ate Panda Express a lot together on this trip.


The trip was scheduled to kick off Thursday morning at 6:00, when we were to drive to Columbus (9:20 flight) from Party Dan's house. I woke up at 6:10. Yes, I was that guy. Again. We finally got on the highway at 6:40, and Party Dan started driving faster than the law allows. Spending more than thirty minutes in a car generally sucks, however, this was kind of fun. Lets play some math: driving to an airport to jump on a plane to Vegas + weaving in and out of traffic like I used to when I played Rad Racer + excessive flatulence = mildly enjoyable time in a semi-cramped Honda.

Note: I had extreme stomach issues from the time I woke up until the time we touched down in Vegas. Disgusting? Probably. Funny? You betcha. It's always funny to force car passengers to frantically roll down their windows on the highway when they realize they've been ambushed. For some strange reason, I always feel a sense of accomplishment when I'm responsible for chaos like this. This was had-to-be-there moment #1 (HTBTM #1).

HTBTM explanation: It's not as if you won't think my stories are funny, and it's not as if they're somehow difficult to's just that-like anything else--it will always be funnier to the four that went on the trip. So when I say, "I farted, you just had to be there to get it," don't take it as an insult. I realize you don't have trouble interpreting a fart, it's just-again-something that was (at least a little) funnier to us. Anyway...

Our flight to Vegas wasn't direct. We first flew into Nashville. If the car ride to the airport was a solid 3.5 out of 10 on the raw-doggy fun meter, this flight was a 10 out of 10. I was seated next to Colly, who's terrified of planes (calls 'em death machines), and after awhile I acquired a pen from a flight attendant. And why? To draw pornographic (sometimes very gay) images on a napkin. My best drawing was a naked Colly standing in front of a naked "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, titled "The Best Day of Colly's life." His best was titled "All Brad Thinks About," and I'm not even going to try to describe the sketch. This was HTBTM #2.

Explanation for the gay pornographic drawings: Colly and I play a game (and Matt joined in during the trip) where we try to convince the other-and anybody around us-how gay the other is. And it's not like the "You know how I know you're gay" scene in 40 Year Old Virgin. Simple example of our game: Colly's wrist might accidentally graze against my hip, which would lead me to ask him something along the lines of "why are you trying to reach down my pants?" And then his comeback will be immediate, and significantly more graphic in nature. And so on. Immature? Yes. Funny? Always. Just ask his parents. Seriously, his mom thinks it's hilarious. We've been perfecting this act for about three months. We'll probably be perfecting it in fifty years.

Note: I'm thinking about scanning the drawings and placing them on my page. Funny stuff.

The flight from Nashville to Vegas was the exact opposite of crashing into a skyscraper, a solid 12 out of 10. Almost immediately, Party Dan, Colly and myself started drinking vodka. Fast. Party Dan took a mid-flight nap, but Colly and I somehow picked up the pace. Our flight attendant, Diana, a fortyish lady with a nice smile, loved our act. Every time Colly and I had to pay, we would tell Diana we already paid for it, or that she didn't really deserve a tip, or something like that. Not everybody gets it...Diana gets it. She loved us so much that she gave us our last two drinks free! She is good people. This was HTBTM #3

I occasionally let a few fly on the flight. Rude? Yes. Embarrassing? Never. HTBTM #4? Sure.

If you've ever flown Southwest, you know the pilot and flight attendants think they're goddamn Chris Rock. They constantly chime in with unfunny jokes and it's always annoying. This is a trend that must stop. One annoying chime-in, however, added to the raw-doggy times: two of the passengers on board were flying to Vegas to get married, leading a flight attendant to encourage everybody to write down post-marriage advice/suggestions for the soon-to-be newlyweds. Well, if you didn't know, this is right up my alley. Colly's too. Especially when we've been drinking. We each decided to privately write down ten suggestions and reveal them to each other when we were finished. Five minutes after we started, this is what was written on our Southwest napkins...

Colly's suggestions...

1. Swing a Samurai sword as fast as possible.
2. Read a book about Kurt Cobain.
3. Push an old lady to the ground.
4. Get braces.
5. Watch You, Me and Dupree.
6. Visit LensCrafters
7. Get shot by a gun.
8. Buy a remote control truck off some geek at Radio Shack
9. Pull a knife on some kid.
10. Get a permanent at Bo Rics.

Brad's suggestions...

1. Go dinosaur hunting…LOL!
2. Buy a bunch of paint and become paint enthusiasts
3. Learn a lot about a new sport-like lacrosse-watch lacrosse together and become fans of an M.L.L. Lacrosse franchise.
4. Bury a treasure chest full of coins in your neighbor's backyard and leave a secret coded map for your children to find it in the year 2075. That will be fun if you're still breathing.
5. Go to church and be happy about God and stuff.
6. If they make You, Me and Dupree 2, you can create an awesome fan website.
Note: Remember, I had no idea he wrote down something about You, Me and Dupree. Odd.
7. Punch the family pet (presumably a parakeet) in the spine when he/she makes too much noise
8. Shove your daughter to the pavement as she's one bounce away from being the Guiness Book's 12 and under pogo stick record holder.
9. Go to the Sahara Desert for vacation, and don't drink anything until you almost die...then have a sip of Code Red!
10. Go to an outlet store in some hillbilly town, then start screaming, "WHERE ARE THE PHILADELPHIA EAGLES ZUBAZ PANTS!"

After we completed our lists, we read them aloud and laughed hysterically. I'm pretty sure we weren't quiet, and I'm positive we didn't care. Anyway, I had an idea: instead of passing them along to the lovebirds, I wanted to read them over the intercom. Diana told me to ask some woman up front. I was willing to beg for this opportunity, but I didn't feel like walking to the front of the plane. I decided to wait for the woman to walk back to our area...she never did, and I didn't get my chance to "entertain" the plane. I blew it. Maybe my biggest regret of the trip. This was HTBTM #5.

Colly and I stepped off the plane drunk. Party Dan probably had three fewer drinks than us, including one he spilled everywhere, and Matt didn't have a drop on the flight. He had no problem playing catch-up. It wasn't long after crawling into the cab (a Ford Aerostar!) that I let a few more fly. I made a conscious effort to (mostly) hold back in the sky, but a freaking cab ride? F**K THAT! I don't really remember it, but the others told me our Asian driver rolled down his window while laughing uncontrollably. This confuses me. Perhaps Asians enjoy the smell of such things. Somebody get back to me on this. This was HTBTM #6

When we checked in at the Tropicana (aka the s**thole hotel/casino we brilliantly chose to call home for three nights), the four of us followed through on a completely unoriginal idea that was settled by an in-flight coin toss: we would put $50 on a spin of the roulette wheel. The coin told us to bet on black. The coin was a f**king genius. Up 50 bucks...and we hadn't even dropped our bags in our rooms. Rawhide. This was HTBTM #7.

The path to our rooms included a pit stop: the Tropicana sports book (aka Leroy's). Let me tell you, this is the most pathetic excuse for a gambling parlor on the face of the earth. Most residences on Cincinnati's Westside have nicer setups in their basements. Small room, six 25' TVs, a dry erase board displaying the current odds (as opposed to a digital board, like everywhere else), cigarette burns on the seats, and two (sometimes three) grizzled, chain-smoking employees dressed in referee jerseys.

For some reason, I only remember Matt joining me the first time we entered Leroy's. Our reaction was identical: You've gotta be kidding me. I mean, I knew we weren't staying at Mandalay or the Bellagio, but f**k, I was embarrassed to be staying at this turd. That was my initial reaction until I realized it doesn't matter where you stay in Vegas. Plus, like myself and Colly, Matt is an incredible smart ass. Let the three of us watch Schindler's List together and we'll be laughing the whole time. As for Party Dan, well, he picks his spots to be a jackass (it's usually after 14 whiskey drinks), but he certainly doesn't disapprove of our actions. Party Dan always brings a lot to a party/vacation, even when he's just laughing at idiots; the guy is never (EVER) in a bad mood. For example, he probably lost more money than all of us combined and it never affected his--or our--mood., Matt and Leroys: as he and I joked about the lame ref uniforms, one of us decided to start calling the employees "Sags," after a family of well-known referees from Cincinnati, the Sagers', who are simply known as Sags (pronounced "segs"). Does that make sense?

Anyway, this was HTBTM #7. We wore out the "Sags" joke for the entirety of our stay. The primary victim, a sixtyish man named Ron, was happy to see us go. I think he thought we were funny, but we provided more action than Leroy's had seen in years. Every time we showed up, he looked like he was going to have a heart attack any second. But f**k him, he shouldn't have smoked three packs of Winston's a day for the past 45 years, you know?

Leroy's note #1: When I said we wore out the "Sags" joke over the weekend, I didn't properly explain myself. Every sentence spoken to Ron started and ended with "Sags." Generic example: "Sags, who do you like in the Derby, Sags?" Another: "Sags, do you think I should make nice with a prostitute, Sags?" Yet another: "Sags, do you think it should be illegal to play with the New York Giants in the original Tecmo Bowl, Sags?" It went on and on.

On Saturday afternoon, Matt, Party Dan and I showed up at Leroys to place Derby bets, and Ron asked if we were going to give him s**t again today. We gave him a collective "Sags, what are you talking about, Sags?" He rolled his eyes, dismissed Party Dan and Matt (even called them good guys), and singled out me and the "other guy." Colly was the other guy. I was excited to tell him. This was HTBTM #8

Leroys note #2: The yelling of "Sags" wasn't relegated to inside Leroys. In passing, it became commonplace to scream "SAGS" inside the sports book. In fact, it was sacrilegious NOT to scream it. This was HTBTM #9.

Leroys note #3: Ron never asked why we called him--or any other Leroys employee-Sags. This was HTBTM #10. I can't wait to go back to see Ron's reaction the first time I call him Sags. Because there's no way he'll forget. Similar to a Vietnam flashback, I'm suppose.

Leroys note #4: The place was always dead...maybe five people tops during the middle of the day, but it was never completely empty. The reason: a mid-to-late thirties Steel Reserve-drinking alcoholic. He sat in the back row (or sometimes the first, but-oddly--never in the middle) with his leg crossed and a blank stare on his face. He was the Norm of Leroys, you know, minus the jokes and pleasant company. If I wasn't an a**hole, I would describe the scene as depressing. His liver couldn't have much time left. Hell, I'd take him in a death pool before I took Jack LaLanne. Steel Reserve Guy was HTBTM #11. Anyway…

Note: At this point, I drank nothing but vodka/Red Bulls for the rest of Thursday.

Note #2: I drank less than fifteen beers for the trip.

After a shower, I met Party Dan at the Tropicana blackjack tables. He had only played a few hands at a semi-empty table when I joined him. Almost immediately, I wanted to leave. The dealer, Timaye, was one of the meanest people I've ever met. After my first win-a $10 f**king bet--she started bitching because I didn't tip her. And I'm not exaggerating one bit. I mean, who in the hell does she think I am, goddamn P. Diddy? I'm staying at the Tropicana, you know? And I'm at a $10 table. The nerve on this broad, I tell ya. F**k Timaye! Really. If it weren't for the two obnoxious cokeheads we met, Timaye would rank as the most hated person I encountered on the trip. Or maybe anywhere. But there was a good thing about the situation with Timaye: it's not exactly in my personality to stand up and walk away to another table. I was just like Ferris Bueller (or more accurately, Abe Froman) at the fancy restaurant in downtown Chicago, refusing to give in to that red-headed douche bag. I mocked Timaye for the twenty minutes we were there (hopefully hurting her feelings) and I stood up with $200 in my pocket. And I didn't tip her a f**king dime. I win.

P.S. I didn't like Timaye. This was HTBTM #12

We headed to the Venetian to bet on sports, mainly Golden State, who would later take care of Dallas in game six. That was my first time in a real sports book, and Jesus, I didn't want to leave. Big screens everywhere, free drinks, and it never hurts to have significant action on the biggest game of the night. Before G-State buried the Mavs in the 3rd, it was a game of big swings, and the crowd reacted to every basket. I'd never want to go to Vegas for March Madness but I imagine it's positively nuts on days one and two. This was not an HTBTM, but it was worth noting.

Note: Thursday night was the first time (out of four) I ate Chinese food in Vegas, at a place called Orient Express (Orient clever) located inside the Venetian.

The names of Chinese eateries never cease amusing me. Example: China Food, which is the actual name of a chain restaurant with multiple locations in the greater Cincinnati area. You know what? I'm moving to China and opening a hot dog stand called America Food.

Speaking of Asians, I was blown away by the number of them out in Vegas. Ditto for hot, 19-21-ish girls, too. But Asians-Jesus! Listen, I'm one of those people that believe 90% of all stereotypes. And since 80% of the 90% happen to be (at least partially) true, I feel okay about my life. So even though I knew-at least based on stereotyping-Asians loved to gamble, I had no idea they'd be everywhere. And by "everywhere," I mean EVERYWHERE. Which is actually a good thing, because I gots a thing for them Asian girls.

The rest of the night was a blur...

I remember walking up and down the strip. I remember my right achilles tendon hurting like hell (it still does). I remember Colly's volume increasing by the second. I remember spending time at Casino Royale because Dan insisted it was some sort of hidden gem (I thought it was a pile of junk). I remember Colly playing Caribbean Stud, despite never picking up on the rules (he played for thirty minutes). I remember Colly taking pictures inside the casino even though a woman behind the counter-located five feet from him-shouted over and over, "YOU CAN'T USE A CAMERA IN THE CASINO!" I remember not wanting to be there, probably because I lost $100 in fifteen minutes. I remember, on our way out, convincing Party Dan and Colly to put $100 on black. I remember winning that $100! I remember being terrified of Colly as we walked down the strip, because he unknowingly had red stuff on his hands (from a blender drink that tasted like a fruit rollup), and one of his signature moves is to smack his friends on the back, and I was walking in front of him, wearing a yellow shirt. I survived. This was one big HTBTM. #13, to be exact.

I don't remember any details after our time at Casino Royale, except for one: I was exhausted by 2:00. You can tell me all you want about oxygen being pumped into the casinos, and how the city is alive and bla bla midnight, I was running on fumes. I gambled and drank Red Bull (a goddamn energy drink!) all day long and I didn't have anything left in the tank.

Two texts I sent myself Thursday might further explain our late night experiences, but--then again-maybe not...

Text #1 (12:38 a.m.): Colly lost a bunch of cash and he's pissed--no worries-his shirt looks crisp so he'll probably meet several butt rimmers.

Note: Remember that game Colly and I play? Apparently it makes it into the world of texting.

Text #2 (1:01 a.m.): Colly is spittin and socked a nerds chair.

Note: I have no idea what this text means, although I'm sure Colly was out of control if I felt the need to document it.

As I went to sleep Thursday (sometime around 2:30), three things were on my mind...

1. How did I only lose $150.

2. Why did I only bet $100 on the Warriors?

3. My Uncle Bob. My Uncle Bob (aka Smart Uncle Bob) passed away recently and I think about him constantly. We were fairly close and he always took interest in my radio career. We occasionally talked about sports betting at family parties, because he knew I secretly had cash on whatever game was on TV (mid-season Sonics-Hornets game, Bowl, whatever). So, when he returned from Vegas for--I think-his first time (I was maybe 18 or 20), he pulled me aside and told me to go out there with a group of single guys. And he did so convincingly. Look, I knew Vegas would be awesome, and I'd obviously heard countless people say things similar to what Uncle Bob told me...BUT, something about the way he said it has always stayed with me. Over the past six years, I passed up dozens of Vegas opportunities, mainly because I was broke, but partially because it wasn't the right mix of people. This time, the group was perfect. My Uncle Bob was a wise man. Why else do you think he gave himself the nickname "Smart?"

Edit: Another thing I remembered from Thursday: Colly mixing it up with several tourists...

Example: He'd walk by a group (usually attractive Asian ladies or really REALLY old people) posing for pictures in front of a Vegas landmark (like the Bellagio fountains), and he'd ask the same question: "Are you going to post your pics on MYSPACE DOT COM?...which is always funnier when your asking 85 year olds. This was HTBTM #15.

Another 'Colly with tourists' example (this time in front of the aforementioned fountains): As people walked by, Colly would convince them he was about to jump off the ledge, complete two flips, and splash into the water. He even went so far as putting his foot on the wall like he was climbing up to perform his stunt. I believe he told them he was doing it for $10, and that the offer was too good to pass up. I wasn't surprised at the naivete of the passers by, but I was a little surprised with their kind-heartedness. Almost all of them were genuinely concerned for Colly's safety, pointing out the (likely) shallow depth of the water. I mean, if I saw a guy do something that stupid, I'm cheering for him to GO.FOR.IT! This was HTBTM #16.

That was Thursday. My Friday blog (aka Vegas part 2) will be posted soon. Stay tuned...


-Brad Spieser (