Vegas, 2021, Part 3 of 3: The Millennium Fandom @mortaine @Erik_Nowak @kesseljunkie #Vegas #travel

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Introduction

Every year without a new pandemic, I go to Las Vegas for blackjack. They say that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but that’s not really a problem for me. I usually don’t even drink when I’m there. This year was a little different, but still not worth hiding anything. These posts are an assortment of photos and videos from the Vegas Strip. Most of the videos are from an aquarium I visited. The images are pretty big, so if you blow them up, you should still get good resolution.

I always stay and gamble at MGM properties. My credit card doesn’t get me gas credits or airline miles; it gets me gambling comps, so everything but tips are paid for because I paid my car insurance bill, got gas, or bought food at the grocery store. The comps really add up, so I use that card for everything I possibly can. I started the trip with $1,327 in available comps ($200 added just for reserving the room, so you can get those), and that was before I sat down at a blackjack table to gamble.

| Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 |

In all my years of going to Vegas, I’ve been off-strip only twice before this trip. Once was to visit my cousin’s aunt, and the other was to play D&D. For the latter, I connected with my now-friend Stephanie via Facebook. She picked me up at the hotel, drove me to a gaming store, ran one of the early DDAL adventures, then took me to In-N-Out so I could see what the fuss was about (meh), and then took me to In-N-Out headquarters so that I could say I had been there and Erik never had.

The Millennium Fandom

This year, Stephanie had a free day Wednesday, so she took me on my third trip off-strip. This was the first thing I saw when I entered the bar:

The Nationals World Series championship cap makes me feel like an outsider at this bar.

After this, the owner (Alex) took us into a section of the bar that was closed that night.

Suck it, Kessel Junkie!

Alex took another picture, but it was a bit poorly timed. However, Alex pointed out that it probably caught me at a moment I was using the Force. I think he’s right.

Star Trek >> Forgotten Realms >> Star Wars

Next, I had to pick up a passenger. She’s why I crashed the Tie Fighter into a bunch of chairs.

This post is becoming a slam against all my friends.

After this, I toured the rest of the bar. I didn’t get some of the references, so please fill in the blanks if you can.

The Fifth Element‘s Water Stone.

Lightsabers, a helmet from The Mandalorian, a helmet from 300, the Iron Throne from Game of Thrones (top left surrounded by red light) and some big-ass sword I didn’t recognize. The bottom left look like bullets, and above that is a shield.

Well, sure, you can just look at these things, but ….

Pretty sure this is a vorpal lightsaber.

What’s that above me?

I know you knew.

Beneath the Aluminum Falcon was this guy.

What’s that hanging above R2’s “head”?

Some Raiders of the Lost Ark stuff and stuff from video games I didn’t recognize.

The Air Stone, Pac-Man, and a mashup. I didn’t get the reference on the license plate.

Lots of masks, the Earth Stone, and a katana I don’t recognize. Is it from Highlander? Suicide Squad? Maybe it’s simply a katana.

He told you he’d be back.

Wall-E thinking the band would let him play that night.

Wall-E was wrong.

I almost went back here thinking it was where the men’s room was. No reason.

Enough of this. Let’s have some more Star Trek. And what the hell? Some Hellraiser too.

The TV is blanked out for copyright reasons, which seems silly considering what I’m posting.

Now we have the proton pack from Ghostbusters and some Nightmare Before Christmas stuff, as well as some other things I don’t recognize. It’s hard to see from this image, but in the top right corner is an archer with an eagle on its shoulder. I didn’t get the reference, but I’d love to have that in my home. It was pretty cool-looking. The reason it’s blurry is because the lighting in the room forced me to use a “night” setting on my camera phone requiring more than an instant of exposure, and the slightest movement blurred the picture.

Unless you had forgotten, you must have known that the Fire Stone had to show up. Also, we have references to Predator, Alien, Wonder Woman, and Nightmare Before Christmas (a movie, by the way, that I didn’t see until last year).

After the tour, I noticed a couple of other things around the bar itself. First, a Batman vs. Superman sign that was behind me as I entered the bar.

Remember what I said about the camera setting? In this case, the blur created a neat effect. This is a real image. These are real people, not a drawing or touched-up photo.

Okay, but what’s the crowd like? Well, the QAnon Shaman showed up!

Not really.

Finally, as I was leaving for the night, I went to the men’s room and saw this hanging on the door to the bathroom stall. Brilliant. I love this movie.

As you can see, this is my kind of bar. If you’re reading this post, I’m guessing it’s your kind of bar as well. It’s worth the Lyft/Uber trip. Oh, and a self-delivered pat on my back.

If you think about it, between the mask and the shirt, I personally added to the nerd motif. Alex should put that picture of me on their website.

If you’re ever in Vegas, look them up. Their online store is here, though most of what I was looking for is sold out.

I bought a hat.

Follow me on Twitter @gsllc
Follow Stephanie @mortaine
Follow Erik Nowak @Erik_Nowak
Follow Kessel Junkie @kesseljunkie


Vegas, 2021, Part 2 of 3: The Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay #Vegas #travel

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Introduction

Every year without a new pandemic, I go to Las Vegas for blackjack. They say that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but that’s not really a problem for me. I usually don’t even drink when I’m there. This year was a little different, but still not worth hiding anything. These posts are an assortment of photos and videos from the Vegas Strip. Most of the videos are from an aquarium I visited. The images are pretty big, so if you blow them up, you should still get good resolution.

I always stay and gamble at MGM properties. My credit card doesn’t get me gas credits or airline miles; it gets me gambling comps, so everything but tips are paid for because I paid my car insurance bill, got gas, or bought food at the grocery store. The comps really add up, so I use that card for everything I possibly can. I started the trip with $1,327 in available comps ($200 added just for reserving the room, so you can get those), and that was before I sat down at a blackjack table to gamble.

| Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 |

Shark Reef

Normally, I don’t do much more than eat, sleep, and gamble, but I added this stop to my itinerary on Wednesday. Here are a bunch of pictures and videos presented in the order I took them (to the best of my recollection). There’s a small bit of commentary, but these are mostly just for your viewing pleasure.

Gator? Caiman? I didn’t read the placard.

This next one freaked me out. Mostly, he kept his eyes closed but occasionally opened them. I caught him with eyes opened. Seemed annoyed.

Komodo Dragon

This one was just weird looking. I thought it looked prehistoric, so it was worth a photo.

Next up is the touch pool. You’re permitted to reach into the water (maybe 1-1/2 feet deep) and, using only your index finger, lightly stroke the rays or horseshoe crabs. These were clearly juveniles based on size.

This guy was gooey.

At this point, I realized I should be taking videos rather than taking pictures.

Why haven’t these turtles been eaten?

What the hell is the evolutionary basis for developing a saw-like appendage?

What the hell is the evolutionary basis for developing a hammer-like snout?

Tomorrow, the entire post will be dedicated to a single locale: The Millennium Fandom.

I love Vegas.

Follow me on Twitter @gsllc


Vegas, 2021, Part 1 of 3: The Luxor and the Strip #Vegas #travel

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Introduction

Every year without a new pandemic, I go to Las Vegas for blackjack. They say that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but that’s not really a problem for me. I usually don’t even drink when I’m there. This year was a little different, but still not worth hiding anything. These posts are an assortment of photos and videos from the Vegas Strip. Most of the videos are from an aquarium I visited. The images are pretty big, so if you blow them up, you should still get good resolution.

I always stay and gamble at MGM properties. My credit card doesn’t get me gas credits or airline miles; it gets me gambling comps, so everything but tips are paid for because I paid my car insurance bill, got gas, or bought food at the grocery store. The comps really add up, so I use that card for everything I possibly can. I started the trip with $1,327 in available comps ($200 added just for reserving the room, so you can get those), and that was before I sat down at a blackjack table to gamble.

| Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 |

Luxor

I stayed at the Luxor, which has a pretty cool design. Here are a few views from the elevator lobby.

The view from my room wasn’t so great, but very few rooms get an unobstructed view of the strip. In all of my trips to Vegas, I’ve gotten that kind of a view only once. This time, however, I got a partially view of the T-Mobile Arena (I almost bought a ticket to the Monday night game between the Ravens and Raiders), as well as my former preferred spot, the Excalibur.

Don’t knock the Excalibur. I always get what I want there. Whenever I’m down, I walk away from the table, head over to Excalibur, and win it all back. I was up $1,000 this year but headed there anyway because I know I could do better. I started with $900 and played for 4-1/2 hours, bouncing between $650 and $910, never gaining ground. Then I went on a run of about 15 straight winning hands, jumping from ~$700 to $1,900 (as explained, I gradually increase my bet as I win, and with ~15 straight wins, my chips explode). Once I finally lost a hand, I walked away. The Excalibur is always awesome to me.

Back to Luxor, one thing bothered me. I stayed at the Luxor once before, but my room was on the first floor. This year, I was on 17, and, well, I’m not sure why more people haven’t fell to their deaths at the Luxor.

If you click through to You Tube, I cite a story about strange deaths at Luxor, but that includes things like a UNLV player dying after a fist fight. Few of the deaths that occur are from falling over these ledges. Considering how short they are, and how drunk may guests are, that’s surprising to me.

Bellagio

Tuesday night, I took a walk down the Strip, stopping at Bellagio for the fountain show. I’ve done that four times before, so it wasn’t a new experience, but it wasn’t as good this time.

I had to wait another 15 minutes for the next song. All Night Long by Lionel Richie was next up. I thought the choreography was a bit weak, but I’m a child of the late 70s and 80s, so I can live with that. The copyright holder is allowing the video to stay up, but there will be ads.

Why What Happens in Vegas Need Not Stay in Vegas

On the walk back to Luxor, I passed a few shops and knew I had to tweet about them.

Even the ATM is green.

Sorry, hippies, but this just ain’t my sort of thing.

On Wednesday, I visited Mandalay Bay‘s Shark Reef aquarium and virtual reality show. To keep these posts short, I’ll post those photos and videos in a separate post tomorrow.

I love Vegas.

Follow me on Twitter @gsllc


My Bucket List #music #travel

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With far more years behind me than I have ahead of me (absent a game-changing nanobot breakthrough), I’ve made a modest bucket list for myself. There isn’t much I want to do before I die, and I likely have plenty of time to do it. Unfortunately, the pandemic kept me from starting this year, but we’ll eventually get .

Experiencing My Heritage

Like most Americans, I’m a mutt. According to my family tree, my ancestors had five primary nationalities: Dutch, German, Irish, Italian, Scottish. I’m not one to believe in pride in your heritage. I shouldn’t get credit for any of the accomplishments of my ancestors, so in what exactly am I supposed to take pride? However, I know more about those cultures than I do any others, but have plenty more to learn. With no other reason to choose any other destination than another, I’m going with those five countries. Here’s my thinking.

The Netherlands: Amsterdam, because of course Amsterdam.

Germany: Dachau, because of its historical importance.

Ireland: Dublin, because my maternal grandmother’s mother was born there. This may require some more research to confirm.

Italy: Rome for the Corso family, and Sicily for the Matai family. This is my maternal grandfather’s portion of the family tree.

Scotland: Lochgilphead, because that’s where my father’s mother’s father was born. I’ve also been told of distillery tours where you can sample much of the scotch that country has to offer. Seems like my kind of trip. 

All of this is subject to change if 1) my research uncovers a specific reason to visit a specific site; 2) a DNA test uncovers a significant degree of influence from another nationality; and 3) any of you give me a good reason to choose a different location within these five countries. 

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Simply put, I’d like to attend an induction ceremony for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Most of my favorite bands have already been inducted, but I’m such a music nut that it’d be hard to choose a class that wouldn’t appeal to me in some way. In particular, I’d like to attend when Warren Zevon eventually gets inducted. Here’s a small example as to why.

The class of 2020 snubbed Pat Benatar, Dave Matthews Band, Soundgarden, Judas Priest, Thin Lizzy, and Motorhead, any of which I’d love to see get inducted.

That’s it. I’m not asking for much of myself. 

Follow me on Twitter @gsllc