Sunday, August 21, 2011

Summer Vacation, Day 8

Today we drove to Las Vegas. For a city that has less than 10 years of water left at their current use rate, they seem to be doing a lot of building.

We’re staying at the Excalibur. After getting up to our room on the 18th floor, the kids looked out at the strip and saw one of those mobile billboards drive by. Frank yelled, "Dad! There's a sign that says 'Hot Babes' and has naked ladies on it! What kind of town is this?!!!"

It’s Vegas, kids. What happens in Vegas... stays on Facebook.

People complain about the silent guys who try to hand you hookers' numbers as you walk down the strip. At least they aren’t pretending to be anything other than sleazy guys handing out call girl info. What REALLY grates my crank are the people crawling all over the hotel lobby trying to sell you a time-share.

They ask “Just get into town?” or “where you from?” or “How many days you here for?” The fact that they're dressed as hotel employees gives them just enough credibility that the first time it happens you answer them. Then they corner you, talking quickly about the great deal on show tickets they can get IF you spend the next morning listening to a time share presentation. They use high-pressure sales tactics ("these tickets could be gone in a few minutes, so better buy them now! If you go back to your room to check your schedule you'll probably miss them!") that make car salesmen look tame. Even more irritatingly, they try to get your kids involved “Hey, kids, I can give you some free stuff if you can get your parents to listen to me”.

After checking in we headed down to Circus Circus.

The Planet Hollywood hotel has a big "ph" sign at the top. With my chemistry degree all I can think of is the measure for acidity.

We passed signs advertising the “Frampton Comes Alive! 35th anniversary tour," showing his iconic picture from the 1976 album (but no updated ones). I found myself thinking that perhaps the tour should be called “Frampton Still Alive!” and imagined how his previous hits would sound today in Las Vegas:

“I want yoouuuuuu
To show me the waaayyyy
To the $9.95 all-you-can-eat early bird buffet.

“I want yoouuuuuu
To show me the waaayyyy
Back to my room 'cause I forgot where I stay."


We spent most of today at the Circus Circus AdventureDome park, which was a lot of fun. The hotel has seen better days, but the amusement park is still pretty good, with a decent rollercoaster, log flume, and other rides. It’s $27 for all day rides, which is a helluva deal when you consider the 2-minute roller coaster at the New York New York is ripoff-priced at $14 per person per ride (admittedly, if we went to a time-share presentation they could have given us tickets for only $10/person).

After I’d had enough of the roller coaster I bought a beer and sat down to watch the kids on a stomach churning ride. As I relaxed a homeless guy who’d somehow escaped security came up to me. I assumed he was going to ask for money, but it was even worse:

Homeless guy: “Hey!”

Dr. Grumpy: “Yes?”

Homeless guy: “Can you pour some of your beer in my cup?” (holds up unwashed coin bucket- with a few quarters in it!)

I told him he didn’t want my germs and walked away.


Craig and Frank wanted to play laser tag with me, and so we went in. It was the usual darkened room made to look like a seedy alley (granted, this was on the strip, so maybe it really was a seedy alley). To keep your nerves on edge during the game they blasted high tension-music overhead: Phil Collins’ & Duran Duran’s greatest hits of the 80’s. (REALLY!). Because nothing makes you want to shoot at another person more than listening to “Invisible Touch” at 200 gigadecibels. That and having Craig stop shooting to ask if his hair looks okay.

Right now the buzzword in Las Vegas (instead of artisanal) is “ultra”. Drives me nuts. The MGM has an ultra-lounge and ultra-pool. A local magic act is billed as an “ultra-magician”. If this catches on nationwide I’ll be ultra sick of it.

One of the funniest rip-offs here are the oxygen bars in the lobbies, where you see people paying $10 and up to breathe oxygen. Considering I've been inhaling it for free for over 4 decades I didn't see the point, but they sure had plenty of suckers customers. A sign advertised oxygen as being effective for headaches, back pain, fatigue, sinuses problems (sic), and others. It didn't say anything about it's real value as being the terminal electron acceptor in the respiratory chain, and Mrs. Grumpy threatened to kill me if I tried to argue with the 17 year old girl at the counter.

They were also selling plastic bracelets that claimed to shield you from cell phone radiation. When Mrs. Grumpy wasn't looking I asked the girl if she had some data to back up the claim, and she said "because my boss told me they do."

And that's the way it is.

36 comments:

Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

Vegas can keep itself out there in the desert and not infringe on the beauty of the mountains or the coasts or the forests.

Li'l Azathoth said...

"Oooooh, baby I love Ben-Gay,
Every day..."

Anonymous said...

Ironic, considering the old urban legend about casinos pumping in oxygen to keep people awake and excited and gambling.

Anonymous said...

Probably NOT a good idea to expose Craig to 80s haircut bands like Duran Duran.

Hayata said...

So THAT'S where I left the beta capsule!

Elizabeth said...

Do you, you
Feeeeel like hitting on seventeen?

GunDiva said...

The *one* place that could use an oxygen bar - the summit of Pike's Peak - doesn't have one, yet Las Vegas has millions. Go figure.

And now you've done it - you pointed out "Ultra". If it catches on nation-wide, you only have yourself to blame.

CathiefromCanada said...

We went to Vegas for the first time last February -- very strange place. As far as I could tell, nobody alive is actually performing there anymore, its all tribute shows (Elvis, Sinatra, etc. etc.) -- and Cirque de Soleil.
Jersey Boys is well worth seeing.

Knot Tellin said...

"Frampton Comes Alive!" Now we have zombie rockers?

("Rockers". See what I did there?)

Anonymous said...

How about Ultra-artisanal?

Trish said...

Dr. Grumpy, I have GOT to see Craig's hair. Can you just take a picture of it with his face photoshopped or blacked out? I'm only asking because I can't get this horrible fixation out of my head that Craig is actually Justin Bieber. Please, I can't sleep at night.

Grumpy, M.D. said...

Trish, look at any pic of Justin Bieber, and that's what his hair looks like.

Trust me. He ain't Justin Bieber.

Rick said...

If you told them about the ETC, they could probably make a few extra bucks selling Co-Q10 appetizers. Sounds like some ultra-oxygen healing to me.

Packer said...

Oxygen bars--that's old. New thing is pumping nitrogen into car tires at $38 a throw, cause they hold pressure better and get you better mileage. When I informed my client--Honest Sam the tire Man-- that nitrogen makes up 78% of the atmosphere--he said You know, I know keep quiet and have a free nitrogen fill. I did and I did.

Griffin3 said...

{sigh} ... better than that, look at what percent oxygen, if it is labeled that way. I almost sprayed coffee all over the inside of my van, when I heard a local bar trying to get into the act, advertising on the radio about their new rejuvenation station where you could pay to breathe 21% pure oxygen.

The_Connection said...

I was in Vegas at the beginning of the month. We were passing through NYNY and I was mentioning to my wife about the oxygen bar right by the walkway to Excalibur, about what a waste of money it was. She did not exactly agree, trying to cite the "advantages" of it. I said exactly the same thing as you, since I have been breathing for 4 decades, I do not see the merit. She mentioned the massages and the different aromas to revitalize you. I countered with the aromas of the strip, like nothing else you have ever seen. She was quiet after that...

Taryn said...

Well, I guess the "ultra" thing could have been worse...it could have been the artisan-lounge, the artisan-pool, and the artisan-magician :-)

Anonymous said...

"Sure, you can have all of my beer. After I'm finished with it."

Trish said...

"Trish, look at any pic of Justin Bieber, and that's what his hair looks like."

Oh dear God, no... I need a psych consult. Or some heroin

PA Honeybee said...

I was just in Vegas a couple weeks ago! Did you take the kids to see the water show at the Bellagio yet? I highly recommend eating at Hash House A-Go-Go at the Imperial Palace. They have dubbed their food "Twisted Farm Food" and man, is it soooo gooood!!!! I really liked it. :0) There is also Lied Discovery Children's Museum north of downtown area on Las Vegas Blvd. Pretty cool once you get past the Berenstain Bears room. My kiddos had a blast. Have fun!

Grace said...

Here's the trick .... just tell those guys on the street that you are Canadian .... they will leave you alone. BTW ... that works in almost any scenario.

Marco said...

If you want some cool things to do off the strip, check out (a) the Star Trek exhibit, and (b) the Liberace museum. If you like Star Trek, this is a blast, as it has props from the show, and a timeline that ties all the shows in the series together (I kid you not). They also have a themed restuarant where you can get Tribbles (chicken fingers) and guys in Klingon or Ferengi costumes wandering around. The Liberace museum has a neat collection of his costumes, pianos, and old cars.

Grumpy, M.D. said...

Marco- Both are long closed.

Vicki said...

Please help a formerly regular reader who has now come back to catch up with the inside joke! Artisanal. What's with that

Grumpy, M.D. said...

Vicki- click here.

Amy said...

Soon, instead of "ultra," it will be "epic."

Love these vacation posts; they're hilarious. Informative, too. I haven't been to Vegas in decades. Sounds like a lot has changed.

snarkygurl said...

I wish I had known you were going to Vegas. I'd have recommended going to the Pinball Hall of Fame. It's one of our favorite place to go when we visit (and one of the cheaper forms of entertainment). They have games from the late 50's up to the present (yes, they still make pinball machines), and most are playable. Many even have notes on the history of each particular games, and there's even an upright circus-themed game that was one of the only three demos built.

McDuckVet said...

So, if you're staying at Excalibur, has Mrs. Grumpy made it to "Thunder From Down Under" yet?

prolu

Pam said...

I think the only way anyone could get me to Vegas is drugged, tied up, and locked in a car trunk.

Mockingbird said...

We have a bar in downtown Jacksonville called Ivy, the ultra bar!-never been.
Those pesky timeshare guys, or any malignant salesperson; I just tell 'em to flake off or I'll tap him with my snubbie(.38). It's OK, this is Florida.

mbnett said...

I have never in my forty plus plus years been to Las Vegas. Not only am I not sorry, after reading this I am actually thankful.

The Mother said...

Hubby gets mad when I start quoting studies, too. But it's so hard NOT to, isn't it???

Anonymous said...

Hash house agogo is great. Car museum in there too. Terry Fator is AWESOME! Great entertainer, family oriented, and well worth the tickets. He won America's got talent and he for sure has TALENT!!!

Mike Looney said...

In my part of the world and in my line of work "Ultra" along with "Uber" and "Epic" are pretty common, to the point of causing me to twitch when used in a non ironic way.

I will grant that "Epic" has a rather precise meaning when I am wearing my game designer hat.

Anonymous said...

Those pestering time share guys have cousins on the street in Charleston (SC) and Savannah, trying to sell crappy,overpriced tours of the towns that you can accomplish for free by...walking around. I always tell them 'We're just leaving town now'. After we've passed them 3 or 4 times, they just sneer at us.

Moose said...

Re: PH

Years ago I worked in a 5 story library building. (Actually, I worked in the basement of said building, in a small room that never had it's duct work connected to the air system. But that's another tale.)

The top floor of the library was a little museum (oddly, to artwork donated by the people who gave the money for the building). In the elevator, the numbers above the door said:
B 1 2 3 4 PH

Regularly some smartass would change the latter to say
PHIVE

 
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