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2:06 PM, Monday, August 28th, 2006:
"So, what when you get stressed you go to Japan and Vegas?!" - Adam's mom, 8/27/06
That quote made me giggle yesterday. Both instances where pre-planned vacations ended up occuring at a coincidental time of great stress.
Smiley Girl is 21. Her mom treated us to 3 nights in Vegas and we had an absolute blast. As I mentioned in the last entry, nothing I like more right now than to completely ignore how devastating the harddrive loss is. Still no update on that situation other than I had double copied all but 2 Journey Videos, so my "loss" is now only all personal videos, songs and the trinitrons. Gulp. Moving on...

We stayed at the Stratosphere which houses some pretty nifty rides as well as a breathtaking view. Well, they're breathtaking rides as well, but for slightly different reasons. A roller coaster that slides you off the edge of the tower 900 feet in the air certainly steals your breath... because you're screaming it out as fast as possible.

...and of course we did it.
I guess I'm kinda skipping ahead because I look somewhat "cool" in that picture. I was not very cool on the first fall (they do it 3 times)...
HAHAHA. That's awesome. My hands started above my head... LOL. And then when you think they're just bringing you back for good, they drop the whole thing a quick 50 feet...
My favorite part had to be Cassi being scared shitless to go on, screaming her brains out...and then saying how it wasn't that scary once she was done. RIGHT:
You don't look scared at all. :-)
At a complete surprise to Cassi her mom booked a helicopter ride into the Grand Canyon! How cool is that?!?!
(I'll have you know that no one else took this picture, both Cassi and I took it - go photoshop)
Boy what we went through to get to this flight. We mixed up where we were meeting each other in the morning and ended up missing the bus to the airport. Then proceeded to turn a 45 minute ride into Boulder City into 24 minutes in my car (actually beating our bus) and were all winded before the helicopter even took off. The helicopter ride was a breeze after that.
I can't thank Tracey enough for planning this. It was spectacular and it absolutely never would have occured to me otherwise.

Of course what's Vegas without gambling. Like most people I took out my allotted money to lose and promptly lost it. LOL. This was of course before I found a $2/$4 Texas Hold 'Em table where Tracey and I kicked ass. We were there for 90 minutes and she broke even and I won about $20. We could've stayed there all night.
The poker slots might as well be called:  "Fastest $20 you'll ever spend" because even when you win at it you still lose. A pair of Aces AND a pair of Kings? Great, here's the $1.25 you just spent for that deal. It is however great fun playing it and as long as you stay under your allottment you don't feel too shitty for it. And hey - free drinks. Which was actually a bad thing in our hotel because then you had to find your room. What genius thought up this room numbering system?
That took me a minute SOBER.
Of course being the big 2-1 for Smiley Girl, there was a little alcohol involved. Cassi decided she had to go to Coyote Ugly and proceeded to get up on the bar and go crazy. I will leave that to your imagination but one shot just has to be shared with the world. Her mom decided to jump up there and embarrass the ever lovin' crap out of her daughter and it was indeed a beautiful moment:
:-) Moms have this power their entire lives. I love it.
Of course the biggest moment for me, and any Beatles nut in Vegas this year, was of course the new Beatles Show: Love.
Geroge Martin (Beatles Producer) and his son Giles remixed the Beatles catalog and the performers of Cirque Du Soleil transformed every song into a new experience. As a life-long Beatle fan I was absolutely floored at what they did. They pieced together an audio score taking the songs down to their individual tracks and overlaying several songs at once. Reminiscent of the work Danger Mouse did with the "Grey Album" (I have to think that played some influence on this although no one associated with the Beatles would ever admit that), everything seemed new again. You'd have to see and hear it 5 times to catch it all. Wondrous.
Even more spectacular was the theater's sound system. Speakers in your headrest, speakers on the bar ahead of you - and they're all wired for INDIVIDUAL shit. Like during one song, John's voice was in my headrest poppin' in every now and again. It makes me smile just thinking of it.

Of course the entire theater was decked out in color and shininess. It's exactly what you The Beatles in the 21st Century should be. As you walked into the Theater you knew you were walking into a new experience.
The performers were also spectacular, but that's almost a given with Cirque Du Soleil. That's why everyne was so excited by this collaboration because it's excellence on every level. Their control over their bodies and creative choreography was literally too much to behold on one viewing. I pray this gets to DVD in a timely manner because it's really going to be the only way you can catch it all unless you're simply made of money.
Speaking of which, how 'bout that mixed drink entitled "Can't Buy Me Love" for $14.50? LMAO. I guess you can buy it...

I had an amazing time to say the least. If there was ever a weekend I needed to forget about some shit - this was it. Cassi and I crashed the Flamingo resort on the last day and went on their waterslides for an hour. I swear it was like I was 10 years old again.
Ha, that picture. If that's not a 10 year old in a 30 year old's body. You know what kills me when I look at that picture? You know what I see? The coolest dad on the planet. Man that's a permeating feeling.
Career or family, the ultimate set-up for a lifetime of "what-ifs".

In downtown Vegas (a place I never even knew about) they have this video ceiling that spans 5 football fields. Every hour they play some video / song arrangement and everyone lines up looking at the ceiling for 10 minutes. A pick pocket's wet dream. LOL. I guess that's why they say it's now a family friendly place, because each casino has some "clean" lure to make you gamble and drink at THEIR place. It's really a crock of shit. This is not a place for children, it's every sin under the sun with a disneyland coat of paint on it. I think parents just fool themselves into thinking it's family friendly so they can go. I mean seriously, can you imagine a more enticing thing on the planet to a kid than a video game with oodles of flashing lights that you can win money on? No kid can understand the danger of gambling and I think it's a pretty stupid thing to expose 'em to. My 2 cents of course.
That picture was a pretty cool catch for me. I was taking shots of the ceiling when I saw this dude with the flag behind his back. I RAAAAAN up to him and kneeled beneath him and PRAYED that the American flag would come up on the ceiling and lo and behold, there it was. One of the better pictures I've ever taken.
As we left the strip on Saturday night, I was quickly reminded at just what I was returning home to the next day...
I swear these fuckin' machines own our lives.
PS - The helicopter pilot actually put "Fly Away" through our headsets. I thought it was just too cool so I lip-synced to it. There's a Journey video in everything if you look hard enough...