Saturday, January 23, 2010

Snoop Dogg Does Las Vegas

I had the good fortune recently of finding myself in Vegas on business. And Snoop had the good fortune of knowing me, because he got to go with me.

We arrived in Vegas at Bill's Gamblin' Hall & Saloon around 8 PM PST...

The first thing that we always do is take Snoop's picture on the bed...


...and take a tour of the room.



Did you see that? Not a bad TV, huh? I'm big on hotel TVs!

The next thing I do is check out my view. We were staying across the street from Bally's, where the convention was going on...
...and the pedestrian bridge that you could use to go from Bill's to Bally's.

I checked my view just as the water show was going on.

I caught the end of the water show on video, as I gave a quick tour of the view outside my window. Please note that the building behind Bally's is NOT Caesar's Palace. That was actually next to Bill's.

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Night life on the streets of Vegas can be a little seedy. There are hootchie mamas in tiny dresses everywhere you look, and tracts laying all over the sidewalks with naked women and their phone numbers.

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But when you go out onto the sidewalks in the morning, there isn't usually a tract to be found. They sweep them all up before the people hit the streets in daylight. (I could go off on a whole religious tangent here about evil under the cover of darkness, but I won't!)


Day One

In the morning, I was up around 6:30 AM to prepare for work. I hopped in the shower, where I discovered one of my favorite things: this window...

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The first day, I took the pedestrian bridge across to Bally's. I found that the "down" escalator was out of service and had to take the elevator...

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Then you cross using the moving sidewalks, and enter into Bally's...


Every morning I would walk through Bally's, all of the slot machines and gaming tables, in order to get to the conference room...


This was the first day, when we had to setup our booth. This video shows the walk through the hall...


So this was our booth before we got it all setup.

It stretches all the way down to the other two black chairs past Chuck. The boss decided this year that he was going to get "comfy chairs" for the booth, to make people want to sit down and stay awhile.

I worked on putting our new banners together and getting them hung.


While we were setting up the booth, I spotted this guy riding around on a cart putting out the tablecloths, and thought it was a pretty efficient way to get the job done...


Get the banners hung up, set out some laptops and projectors and screens, and put out your "freebie" stuff and flyers, and you've got yourself a booth!

One thing we've discovered is that home inspectors love back scratchers!

I guess that is probably because most of them are men, and men love back scratchers! So we give away LOTS of these at shows!

Once we got that finished, I ran to get a bit of breakfast before the inspectors began flooding our booth. I decided to try out the Sidewalk Cafe in Bally's. I had quite a bit of wait standing in line, but got to check out this display while I did so.

I had a veggie omelet and wheat toast and coffee. Quite a tasty breakfast!

After breakfast, I headed back to begin the show. Across from us is Russ.

Russ usually sets up shop across from us at shows, since his software integrates with our software. Russ is a very upbeat guy-- he's always "on". I asked him one morning in Vegas: "Russ, is your wife as cheerful as you in the mornings?" He sort of paused, took a deep breath, exhaled, and then rolled his eyes and shook his head and said, "No. Not at all. Not at all." I get that. Someone like me can OD on Russ' cheerfulness within a few days. But he usually has good "freebies"! This year it was this...

I thought this would be good in a camping kit or an emergency kit, so I made sure to get one! (Or actually got Chuck to steal one for me. Chuck was also my designated licorice-stealer. One of the fun things at shows is going around and seeing the freebies the other vendors have sitting out, and snag some!)

This is Rick.

He's one of our resellers that came to help us man the booth this year. I had to be sure to get a pic of Rick, because he looks so much like my uncle Tim. I wanted to show my Mom...

And this is another Rick...

This is Rick Yerger. I just had to get a shot of him, because he is one of our "celebrity users" so to speak. We used him in some advertising a couple of years ago. He used to be on the DIY Network, although I don't think he is anymore. He's a nice guy. That's him with my boss and another user.

We have another "celebrity user" who has appeared in things like West Wing and XXX: State of the Union.

At the end of the first day, we were served food. I forget what all I ate, but I remember a tasty meatball and a mini BBQ pulled pork sandwich. I also ate this...

Oh snap! The one on the right was carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. The one on the left? Well I just know that it was sweet creaminess in a chocolate shell. Yum!

When food is served, home inspectors sit and eat and relax, and mill around the booths. This is when it gets busy.

The rest of the time, they are in classes and it can get quiet at the booth.

And so day 1 ended, I headed back to my room around 8:30 PM and called it a night!


Day Two

Day Two began as Day One did, only this time the booth was already setup. So it was a morning of talking with inspectors and promoting the software. At lunch time, I took a break to grab a bite to eat and headed over to "Paris".

Paris is part of Bally's. As you enter Paris, you come upon this...


Look at the beautiful stained-glass ceiling over this fountain...


When you get to the streets of Paris, this is what you see...


It's hard to believe your indoors, isn't it? This reminds me of Sunset Station in Henderson where we stayed last time I was in Vegas. There was one area near the ceiling that I found really interesting...


This had such depth to it. They gave the illusion of an entire city visible beyond the rooftops in the forefront, and the way that the smoke alarms and such had been painted made them look like birds flying through the faux sky.

While in Paris, I ate lunch at a little French bakery. I got a turkey and swiss sandwich on possibly the best sandwich bread that I've ever had before. I then followed it with a piece of chocolate-raspberry mousse cake (I just couldn't resist!). Very nice lunch!

That evening the boss decided to take all of us to the Golden Nugget for their buffet. The five of us piled into a taxi and headed across town to Fremont. Our timing was impeccable. Just after we arrived, the lights went out on the surrounding streets, and we found that we were in for a treat...


The show was really awesome! They sure know how to keep people pumped up and spending and gambling!

After the light show, we headed on to the Golden Nugget. Just before I went inside, I turned around and got this shot...

Very cool! Then we headed into the Golden Nugget.


Welcome to the Golden Nugget...


We headed through the casino and upstairs to The Buffet...

Can you tell I hate to have my picture taken?

We got a booster seat for Snoop...


...and he was a bad boy and just ate dessert...



Personally I wasn't very hungry, as I ate a late lunch. So all I had was salads and fruit.


That marinated eggplant salad was really good! I think everyone enjoyed their dinner, although we made Snoop the brunt of some of our jokes.

After dinner we had a few photo-ops. This is Paul with Snoop.

Paul is from Montreal, Canada. He's a Frenchie.

Here's Snoop in front of the Gordie Brown Showcase sign.

To the left was the wall of celebrity photos...

This wall contained pics the likes of Whoopie and Don Rickles...


...Johnny Cash...

...and Tony Orlando.

Afterward we headed down the escalator back to the casino...


Snoop and I played the slots and won a few bucks...


Then we hit the roulette tables, where I learned how to play and wound up doing quite well. In fact, I won on the number 28 three spins in a row! Do you know what the odds are of that happening? All in all, I won about $60 on roulette (taking into account my loss earlier that evening). I would have loved to have kept playing, but the guys were waiting on me and we had to get up early for work the next morning.

When we walked back outside, I almost thought that it was daylight...


I understand now why Las Vegas uses all of the bright neon lights everywhere. It fools your mind into thinking that it is daylight, so you'll keep going and going and going...
So we hailed a cab, got back to our hotel, and Snoop and I celebrated!


It was a good night!


Day Three

Day Three started like the others. Work began around 7 AM. At some point, I decided that I had to get something to eat, and I headed downstairs to the underground area of Bally's. While I waited for my Chicken Teriyaki and Tempura bowl from Ichiban, I took a look around. And this was one of my favorite things that I saw...

Look at those candied apples! Are those not some of the most beautiful things you've ever seen? I even saw one candied apple that was covered in caramel popcorn and drizzled with caramel and chocolate. Oh, no you di'nt! (Oh yes I did! How the heck do you spell the urban "di'nt" of the word "didn't"?)

My other favorite thing that I saw while downstairs was this...

Oh yes! That is Ms. Pac-Man and Galaga, all in one machine! My biggest regret in Vegas is that I did not play a few games, but I had to get back to work.

I got back to work, and this was one of my last pictures before we shut down for the day and started breaking down the booth.


Snoop was at the booth...


...and he even took a minute to pose with one of our users. This is Dave. If I remember correctly, he lives in CA, but has a cabin near Reno that he offered to me and one of the guys last time we were in the area.


So our time at the convention ended, we broke everything down, packed it up, and I had a couple of boxes taken to the business center for shipping. While in the business center, I spotted this sign that I found interesting...


That night the boss decided that he was taking us to dinner over at Caesars Palace...



We walked over, as there was a pedestrian walk that connected our place to the Palace. On the way, I got some cool, foggy pics of Vegas.





After entering Caesar's Palace, this is how you are greeted...

Beautiful, huh?




This was a nice painting straight ahead as you walked in the doors...

We tried heading to the older part of the hotel, in search of a restaurant to eat at. We headed through the casino, past the fountain of Poseidon...


...and this amazing store that sold chocolates and such...

Here's some video that I got walking through the shops. Warning to adults: The statue nudity in the following video will make children giggle hysterically, and may leave you with questions to answer.

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And here is more footage of our walk through another field of slot machines...

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Then we entered an area of shops and restaurants. You will recognize the names of many of them...

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This video ends at the restaurant that we ate at: Trevi...

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This was my view from inside Trevi...




...and this was my dinner...


Mint and Pistachio Risotto with Pork Medallions, a dollop of creme fraiche and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar (fancy food always has long names like that). Oh snap! This was one of the best meals that I've ever had in my life! Strangely enough, it tasted kinda like Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream, which you wouldn't think would go well with the pork and vinegar, but it was "delish"!

I got a shot of the guys, and then we got a shot of all of us together.



That's Chuck of California, Paul of Montreal, Carl of Florida and Rick of Arizona...and then, of course, me and Snoop. Snoop had a little too much too drink...


...and actually wound up nearly falling down drunk.


After dinner, we headed back to the hotel and collapsed in exhaustion. We didn't get to bed until around 11:30 PM, and we had to be up around 3:30 AM to pack and get ready for the airport shuttle that was to pick us up at 4:15 AM.

So, in conclusion, I found that Vegas can be a blast. However I also found that it is all an illusion.

The lights give the illusion of daylight 24 hours a day...

The pillars in Caesar's Palace are metal...


This Caesar medallion that was on the wall of the pedestrian walk? Fiberglass...


And the women just add to the illusion...


I enjoyed Las Vegas and look forward to visiting it again in the future. Viva Las Vegas!