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Gazing into the Abyss: Michael Rawdon's Journal


Summer in Las Vegas

Or, as I thought I heard the captain refer to it on the flight there, "Lost Wages".

Yes, Debbi and I took a two-night trip to Las Vegas this weekend. No special occasion, just that we wanted to go back. We stayed at the Excalibur again, like we did last January. It's not the ideal location, but the rooms are cheap and we enjoy gambling both there and at the MGM Grand.

Plus we went to see Cirque du Soleil's Zumanity at New York New York, which is also right nearby. Zumanity is Cirque's "adult" show, which means it has a lot of nudity and swearing, all of which is basically gratuitous. I don't mind the nudity and in a few cases I think it was preferable to having the performer wear a fairly cheesy skin-colored body suit (though there were acts where they did that, too). It was very similar to Mystere in its stunts, which tended to be feats of strength and pose rather than of choreography. I enjoyed it on that level somewhat more than Mystere (in particular, the contortionist was amazing), but I didn't like it nearly as much as "O" or Ka. Debbi liked it even less than Mystere (but she liked Mystere more than I did).

It's too bad; it could have been a nifty show, as the cabaret atmosphere and some of the costumes hit just the right sense of style and atmosphere. But it just didn't hold together.

Michael in front of the Paris fountain

That's the only show we went to see, since we decided we wanted to have a lot of time for gambling and random activities. We played a lot of video poker and some slots (I basically don't play anything except the penny slots). Since a friend recommended it we played some multi-strike poker at Bally's and the MGM (the MGM had nickel Multistrike Poker), but we didn't enjoy it as much as she did. We preferred standard Jacks-or-Better video poker (though I thought the 4-5 variety was decent, too).

I also played some actual poker, three sessions totalling about 6 hours. I had one good, one okay and one bad session. The bad session had my usual bad-session hallmarks: Not getting much to play, and not connecting with the flop when I do play. (The worst hand in this session had me on A-A, and I lost to a guy with two pair, and a third player flipped over the other two aces! Argh!) The okay session was fun because I managed to push people off a lot of pots, with them folding before the showdown; sometimes I didn't even have much to bet with, but I just bet aggressively because I doubted they did either. The third session was just a nice run of good luck, as I flopped a set (three of a kind with a pocket pair) twice and got paid off both times - boy, it's been a long time since that happened! (On average, starting with a pocket pair you should flop a set 1 out of 8 times, or maybe once every 4-5 hours of live play.)

Lots of baseball fans at the table, too, including several dealers. Sadly sitting in the poker room meant watching the Red Sox get the living daylights beaten out of them by the Yankees. Ow, ow, ow, ow, and ow.

I had contemplated playing a no-limit poker tournament (since none of the local card rooms run no-limit tournaments, and I'm too wussy to play a NL cash game), but the schedules didn't really work out, and when it came down to it I decided I'd rather have a nice dinner at Bally's steakhouse rather than play in a tournament. Assuming our government doesn't criminalize it, I might try playing some tourneys on-line at some point.

But we did wander around the strip a few times, even though it was over a hundred-frickin'-degrees at the peak - jay-sus-kee-rist! And it wasn't a dry heat, either which surprised me. In particular we got lost in the Bellagio and ended up near their gardens, which we visited and saw an amazing array of models of national monuments and of course of the Bellagio itself:

Bellagio model

The bridges above the model are for one of many medium-scale model trains running through the exhibit. It was very neat! We also went by the Flamingo at night and were able to see a few of the animals (fish and birds, really) in their gardens.

So despite losing money (but what did we expect?) we had a good trip. When can we go back? (Maybe when it's cooler!)

Michael and Debbi in the Bellagio gardens


I took today off from work, too, and didn't get as much done as I'd hoped, but I had a good time anyway. I did sign up with Dreamhost for my new Internet project, but haven't done anything with the account yet. But it'll keep me out of trouble for a few evenings and weekends, no doubt.

I also downloaded a bunch of random singles from the iTunes music store, especially since I wanted to buy a couple of tracks The Who released on their best-of collection a couple of years ago. I'm also trying to decide whether to buy their Wire and Glass EP, or wait for the album supposedly due in October. I haven't decided yet. (I am very excited at the prospect of their first studio album in 24 years, and Townshend's first since 1993's outstanding Psychoderelict.)

So that was my weekend. How are you doing?

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