Vegas – March 2014 Part 1: Nowhere to Hyde

It’s been almost 2 years since my last trip to The Desert.   Living in Central New Hampshire, the trip isn’t quite as easy as it used to be.  Back in the bubble era when I was living in NYC, I had at least 20 daily non-stop flights to choose from, leaving from a variety of local airports (EWR, JFK, LGA).   For a brief period of time, I thought I’d be on easy street even up here, as Southwest had a Friday 5pm non-stop from Manchester (MHT), which they then moved to Tuesday (for some reason I still don’t understand), and then got rid of altogether.  If the 6 hour non-stop flight wasn’t enough of a travel-ordeal, turning it into a 10-13 hour experience with a layover (and the possibility of missed connections, etc) makes the trip entirely unpalatable for me.

When my buddies put together this trip to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of our boy Lou beating testicular-cancer, I relished the opportunity to head to Vegas to “bet our ball off” (singular, obviously, cause Lou only has 1 nut left), but it was smack in the middle of maple season.   We generally have house guests every weekend during maple season, and I wasn’t up for overpriced crappy flight options, so I initially was planning to bow out of the trip.   Of course, I am a travel-nit, and constantly peruse my options, and when JetBlue offered up a direct flight from Boston for about 1/2 the price of Southwest’s layover options from MHT, I pounced and was quickly booked.   Readers of my past trip reports know that I tend to obsess over the details though, and a month out I was already stressed over the prospect of driving to Logan during rush hour to make my 8pm flight.

My fears were unnecessary, as I breezed to the airport and had plenty of time to park my car in the cheap lot ($18/day instead of $28)  and take the shuttle to the terminal.   The MIT Men’s lacrosse team was all over the airport – on their way to a spring break “business” trip – and were easily noticeable because they’d given all the freshman quality haircuts.    Some guys had random chunks shaved out, one guy had everything shaved except for a loop over the top of his head that was connected to his beard strap which combined to make a tremendous full-face circle.   One of the players who I’d coached in high school soccer last year was there too, with a reverse-sombrero cut:  the crown of his head was shaved bald and he just had a big ring of hair around the sides.    Fortunately, though, the team didn’t force the freshmen to listen to the new J-Lo single, “Luh ya Papi,” so they didn’t get in trouble for hazing as far as I’m aware.

I saddled up to the Boston Beer Works bar right next to my gate, and enjoyed several libations as I live-tweeted on the free airport wi-fi from my 1st generation Kindle Fire.

 

 

I was making myself laugh, at least.   I have to air a beef with Boston Beerworks:  their menu specifically notes that they offer a “full” order and a “double” order of buffalo chicken tenders.   I somehow decided that these would be a better option in my stomach on a 6 hour flight than a cheeseburger, and I happen to be a connoisseur of buffalo chicken tenders, so I ordered up the full order ($9 or so).    The bartender says to me “do you want the full order: 4, or the double order: 8″…   I was like “ummm – 4 is more like a HALF order than a full order, but I’ll still go with that.”  They sucked anyway.   Beerworks’ Brown Ale was solid, their Stout was decent, and their Pale Ale was fine.

Boarding the plane, I didn’t regret ignoring Herb Greenberg’s advice to always pay up for extra legroom.   JetBlue offers “even more space” seats, which are supposed to give you an extra 4 inches of legroom, along with priority screening and boarding.   I wasn’t worried about the latter, and the $85 price tag seemed steep for the one-way upgrade, so I passed.   I found the legroom in the regular seats to be adequate in the end.  Moving on…

The flight went without much incident, although I felt like a king when I was allowed to keep listening to my music during takeoff and landing.   I wanted to blast Team America World Police’s “America: FUCK YEAH,” as this was surely a sign of enduring freedom and that the terrorists have been defeated.

I fired off a few tweets to summarize my mood.  I file them under #SLOL – that’s a SELF LOL: when you laugh at your own jokes (even if no one else does).

 

 

 

 

I caught a few zzzz’s and sent a bunch more inane tweets, and eventually landed in Vegas at 11pm local time (2pm my-brain’s-time).   Big Show told me, via text, that Doc had a hookup at Hyde and that they were on their way over there.   I knew I’d be at least an hour to drop my bags at the TI (yeah – we were all staying at the TI, on account of elevated room rates elsewhere during March Madness), and figured I’d get shut out.   I felt like crap when I got off the plane, and actually thought I might puke while waiting in the cab line.   The cabbie longhauled me on the highway, which made me steam and laugh at the same time.   I dropped my bags, changed, and quickly made it to Bellagio to find the crew still waiting outside of Hyde, as Doc had been delayed at dinner and wasn’t there yet.  He arrived within minutes of my arrival, but we then were passed along through a clusterfuck of various hosts before we made it to the cramped upper-bar area and started festivating (I just made that word up).   I had serious concerns that the initial shot of Jameson’s would be rejected by my body, but hey: TO LOU’S NUT!   Happy about not yacking, I smiled, shrugged, and mourned the loss of my hearing at the hands of some craptastic DJ who was doing the old “you’re gonna get 20 seconds of this song before I mix it out into another song” routine.

After a few hours and a few more adult beverages, me and Big Show bailed and headed over to the Venetian to seek out some negative EV in their double deck blackjack pit.    I was glad I’d brought cash, as my line of credit was inactive due to my two year break.   Casino Credit told me to check back in the morning to see if my bank had gotten them the info by then, as they put in a request at that time.

Unable to make anything good happen at the bj table, I dropped a buy-in and needed food badly.   Tubbo joined me at Grand Lux, and I knocked off a 4:30am chipotle-avocado burger.    “I should have just thrown that right in the toilet and cut out the middle man,” I joked as we paid the bill.  We took the walkway behind the Venetian poker room back to the TI, and I almost fell asleep on the crapper before retiring to my bed to prepare for another run on Saturday.

stay tuned.

-KD

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