Flogging Franklstein

History doesn't repeat itself. You repeat History.

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Location: Denver, Colorado, United States

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Vegoose Day 2b - the SMOOTH Day

After the tourney and some lunch, Ramsey drove us out to Sam Boyd. It was in the neighborhood of 5:00, so we again missed most of the festival. We took the highway, so we got to see the city lit up, including the downtown area. It was rather cool. Ramsey dropped us off right in front of the gate, and we went right in, after “paying” Ramsey with some poker chips Todd had found in a drawer in the hotel room.

This time, we walked into the festival grounds that were set up behind the stadium. We got a beer and then began checking out the Jack Johnson show. The music was good, but not exactly right for the mood. So we walked around a bit, checking out the costumes. There was one particular hottie that caught our eye (especially Todd's eye). A young blond chick was dressed up as Alice from Wonderland fame. Her dress was really short, and her lovely legs were clad in these white stockings. I think Todd was actually drooling. The sad thing was Alice was hanging all over this wookie. What a waste of a hottie. I figured that he was either a trustifarian, or he had some really good drugs. Either way, it was quite the disappointment.

Having our fill of eye candy, it was time to get into the stadium and find Jerry and see the Widespread Panic show. Jerry was sitting in the same corner as before, with his same group of friends. So we hung out and listened to a really cool show. Trey Anastasio even came out and played with the band.

10/30/05 (Sun) VeGoose - Sam Boyd Stadium - Las Vegas, NV
Set 1: Disco > Space Wrangler > Henry Parsons Died, Don't Wanna Lose You > Last Dance > Sleeping Man, I'm Not Alone > North, Ribs And Whiskey, Solid Rock > Give, Slippin' Into Darkness* > Thin Air (Smells Like Mississippi)** > Jam** > Drums*** > Hatfield > Fixin' To Die****, Tall Boy > Chilly Water E: Goin' Out West, None of Us Are Free

There was only one person missing, Jerry's girlfriend Jen. She was back at the Excalibur, sick. Because of this, Jerry wasn't going to the Phil Lesh and Friends show at the Joint at the Hard Rock Casino. Being the nice guy that he is, he sold us the tickets. As he was heading back to the strip with his friends, we had to follow. So we left before Widespread was finished.

We went out into the lot, and saw the exact opposite as the day before (remember I said this was the SMOOTH day.) There were buses, limos and cabs lined up in the parking lot. As we approached the lot, there were limo/town car drivers standing there trying to get fares. We ended up grabbing a town car with two other dudes and we were on our way.

The ride was rather amusing. The dude that was riding in the front seat was completely wasted. His head kept lolling back and forth and he would mumble responses to his buddy. At one point, we had to tell his friend to try to get him awake, because he was almost falling into the driver. Plus, the smoothness factor was continuing. There was some construction on Tropicana (Didn't they know there were thousands of people seeing a show at Sam Boyd? I guess construction planning idiots are everywhere.), so the driver found a side road and avoided the whole mess. We beat Jerry and his friends (who were driving) to the Excalibur by a good 20 minutes. We got a drink at the bar and watched the costumed hookers and normal hotties walk by.

I disliked the Excalibur. It was kind of dumpy. The lighting was low, and it very depressing. When Jerry arrived, we went up to his room to get the tickets. The dumpiness factor continued. The room was tiny – even with two queen beds (which is why my friends always stay at the suites at the Rio – I am a convert.) Jen was in bed sick – she could barely speak. We got our tickets and a cookie, and caught a cab back to the Rio to freshen up.

One of the problems I found with the Casinos is the ATM fees. If you wanted $100, it would cost you $9.90. If you wanted $200, it cost you $19.90. I knew that there were branches of my bank in town, but the problem was how to get to them. We really needed the cash. We asked our cab driver if he knew where one of our two banks were. Fortunately, he eventually did remember, and we were set for cash for the rest of the trip.

Entering the Hard Rock, we found the place to be jam packed with activity. There were more hot women in costume there than anywhere else we had been. Boobs and legs everywhere! We walked around the outer perimeter (the place is a big round room) and found our way to the Joint. We actually cut in line, although we didn't realize it at first.

The Joint is standing-room only concert venue. I t holds about 1400 people, and it was filled to capacity that night. We got a beer and waited for the show to start.

The first set was absolutely killer! The whole band was tight and crisp.. Joan Armstrong sounded great, and Phil was on fire. Here is the first set:

Set 1: Good Times (there is that Good Times theme again), Friend Of The Devil, Brown Eyed Women, Pride of Cucamonga, Hardest Part, Peggy-O, Viola Lee Blues > Next Time You See Me > Viola Lee Blues

Every single song was tight. And the sound in the Joint is awesome: crisp, clear and LOUD!

At set break, we headed outside for a smoke and some fresh air. Afterward, we headed down one of the side corridors to the bathroom. Casinos usually have great bathrooms. The Hard Rock was the exception to that rule. The lines were long and the bathroom not the very clean. Upon urination completion, we headed back up the long corridor. We passed a dude wearing a great costume. He was dressed up as Napoleon Dynamite, and was crouched over like he was just kicked in the junk. Great stuff. Just after that, we heard some shouting “Make a hole! Make a hole!” And four security guards came rushing down the crowded corridor. When we got to the end of the corridor, there were another five or so guards heading the same way – one with a German Shepard. I just couldn't get out of the way. Eventually we got back to the Joint (after a brief detour by the line to the VIP room – I was drooling over this oriental hottie's big boobies.) Just as we were re-entering the door, I heard a shout of “Make Way!” One of the security guards was dragging out this normal looking dude by his armpits. I nearly got crushed as he was dragged by, yelling out in panic. That was an inauspicious start to the second set, which was:

Set 2: Cumberland Blues, Loser, Sweet Carolina, Uncle John's Band, Turn On Your Lovelight, The Wheel > Jam > No More Do I, Let It Ride, China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider

We returned just as Cumberland was starting. That song was really good, and it looked like the great music was going to continue. And it did, until The Wheel. Phil repeated the second verse and never did the third verse. The jam coming out was discombobulated, and No More Do I was performed really slow. The China Cat>Rider sucked. By this time, Todd's back was killing him, and my legs and feet were in pain. I thought that the show was over – odd without an encore – and I was ready for it to be over. Todd later said he thought there would be a third one, and there was:

Set 3: Birdsong, Everything I Do, St. Stephen > Death Don't Have No Mercy > Cryptical Envelopment > The Other One, China Doll, Unbroken Chain, What Sin Replaces Love, Gimmer Shelter, E: Box of Rain

From what I read when I got home, the third set must have been pretty good, because no one mentioned anything about the ugly end to the 2nd set. Sometime during the show between sets, Phil told Jimmy that he was overplaying (if anyone was overplaying, it was Phil in the 2nd set.) Jimmy basically or literally – not sure which – said “Fuck You!” and now he is out of the Fall tour.

Anyway, we went outside to wait for a cab. The line was quite long, and there were hotties and hookers everywhere – all slutted up in costume. So, at least there was some eye candy to look at. (Especially that Dorothy who was sitting near the beginning of the cab line. OMG!!!) Finally we were back in the room, and I was asleep soon after.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, I Know

I still owe you the rest of Day 2 and Day 3. I've been sick, so don't get your panties in a wad. Try a pink thong - it wads a lot less.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Vegoose - Day 2A

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I get it now.

8:30 rolls around and the alarm goes off. I didn’t realize it was even set. When I tried to un-set it for the next morning (I thought I would do it while sober) I couldn’t figure out how. Todd finally accidentally got it turned off. Hotel alarm clocks really should come with clear instructions.

Anyway, we got up and got a hold of our buddy Ramsey, who came to town from Phoenix to hang with us and gamble. He wasn’t going to the shows. We all decided to register for the Rio’s 12:00 poker tournament and get some breakfast. The tourney was $40 with a re-buy – which means you could get a second set of T1500 chips before the first hour was out for another 40 bucks. Once we paid, we drew cards for table position. Todd and I ended up at table 7 and Ramsey at table 5.

Breakfast was done, the board at the sports book explained to me by Ramsey, and we were ready to play some poker. 83 people had signed up to play – 70 people playing at seven tables and 13 alternates. I was sitting two places to the left of Todd in 7th position.

This was my first time in a real casino tournament (vs. home tourneys or freerolls in the bars) and I was really nervous. One of the most obvious tells in poker is the hands shaking – it is the body’s natural way of releasing tension. At first, when I had a hand or was stacking the chips from winning a pot, I was shaking like a madman. I got better as time went on, mostly from having beers and resting my chin on my hands almost all the time when the cards were out.

I’m not good at remembering hands like the poker bloggers are, so I don’t have any hand details to provide. So, I will just summarize what happened. I was playing tight/moderate the whole tournament. This means I was playing only good hands and playing them semi-aggressively. I was pretty good at throwing “good” hands away when I felt they were beat, rather than playing them to the end because they were “good”. I busted Todd out after the first break – which I also believe is the first time I ever bested Todd in a heads-up hand. I mostly stayed out of all-in conflicts for the rest of the tourney – taking in big pots here and there to increase my stack.

Eventually I made it to the final table (10 players left). The dealer told us about one of the deals that usually happens at the final table in the daily tournament. The tournament structure says that the top seven places pay. Many times, the table makes a deal were the 8, 9 and 10 positions get $100 for making the final table – taking the money from the top three places. I liked this idea because I was one of the short stacks (either 7th or 8th in chips.) It was an all-or-nothing vote for the deal. At first I was worried that the deal wouldn’t go through. The chip leader was from somewhere in east-Asia. English was obviously not her forte. I was worried that she wouldn’t understand the deal and say “No”. Fortunately, everyone agreed to the deal, and we were set to go. It turns out I didn’t need the deal anyway, as – with the help of an all-in blind (not looking at my cards) when I was on the bubble helped me to secure 7th place and a $202 payout. WOOHOO!!!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Vegoose Day One - The Complicated Day

Vegas gave me a cold. It came on Thursday noon and was full-blown on Friday. I guess that is what I get when I abuse my body for four days.

Todd picks me up at about 6:30 in the morning Saturday. On the way to the airport he reveals to me that he has already been up 24 hours. "What?" He said he spent all night working and packing. I try not to take it as a bad omen.

We are running late, so we don't get a chance to stop at the smoking lounge for a dirty screw and a smoke. It's right to the gate. We make up for it by having a couple of "illegal" cocktails on the flight (I had brought with me a 10-pack of Jack Daniels shooters).

Upon our arrival in Vegas, I was amused to see slot machines along the concourse (did I mention that it was my first time in Vegas?) After we pick up our bags, Todd's friend Lisa picks us up and takes us out to breakfast, where we meet up with her husband and daughter. She then drops us off at the Rio.

This is where the day started to go wrong. It was about noon when we arrived at the hotel. Our plan was to get our room, get changed, and head out to the festival. Well, the hotel messed up Todd's reservation and gave us a non-smoking room instead of a smoking room. We could fix the reservation, but had to wait until a smoking room became available (was cleaned). So, we had to wait. Todd showed me around the casino, and got me set up with a total rewards card.

After a couple of beers at the iBAR, we checked to see if our room was ready. Again, we had to wait, so we went and sat at video poker machines so we could get some "free" drinks. We slowly played (and lost) while we drank our beers and watched the hot waitresses dance during their occasional podium dances. Finally, after checking two more times, our rooms were ready. It was now about 3:00.

We quickly got settled in our room (a nice suite - which is all the Rio has) and glanced at the Vegoose shuttle schedule. We decided to take the free shuttle over to Harrah's and then walk to one of the Vegoose shuttle pick-up spots. Unfortunately, we forgot our paper with the pick-up locations. There were three guys that we knew were going to Vegoose, so we followed them. Apparently they decided to eat first, so we were left on our own. We decided to ask someone in the Flamingo if they knew about the shuttles. No luck. Same with the Barbary Coast. Finally, as we are approaching the Paris, we see a nondescript shuttle pull in along side the casino. It was the shuttle we were looking for.

We got on the shuttle for $10 (and were told it would be $15 to return). Unfortunately, we made the mistake of sitting in the front row of the bus. We had the talking-ist bus driver I had ever seen. He said he wasn't supposed to be on that route. This was his last trip out there. He told us about how Las Vegas was built on natural spring land, and as a result was not very stable. We heard about how the Luxor had sunk a uniform 13 inches after completion, and how the Mandalay Bay had also sunk (so you could roll a bowling ball down the hall.) We learned that the latest thing in Vegas is building condos. Michael Jordon and George Cloony are building condos. Then we were asked if we had Dunkin Donuts in Denver - because they have good coffee and as a bus driver he wants good coffee. Plus we heard about the bad water in Vegas due to the drought. Lake Mead is low, so the bad water on the top of the lake is now being drawn out. His doctor, his wife's doctor and his kid's pediatrician said not to drink the water.

Finally, after seemingly hitting every red light on Tropicana Avenue, we arrive at the Sam Boyd Stadium (around 5:20). We had already missed Govt. Mule (which we really wanted to see) and Phil Lesh and Friends had already started (and we REALLY wanted to see Phil). As we got into the stadium, Todd had gotten a hold of our buddy Jerry and found out where he was sitting. We made our way across the field over to the far corner where Jerry and his friends were sitting. Playin' in the Band was just getting done.

Phil Lesh and Friends:
Playin' In The Band (JO)>Truckin' (RB)>The Eleven (RB, PL)>Reuben & Cherise (JO)>^Magnolia Mountain (JO),Unbroken Chain (PL),*Shakedown Street (WH),*You've Got To Hide Your Love Away (WH),*Sugaree (JO, WH),*Help On The Way (RB)>*Slipknot>*Casey Jones (RB) E: Donor Rap, Franklin's Tower (PL)>Playin' Reprise (all)
*with Warren Haynes, Barry Sless on pedal steel
^Ryan Adams song

The set was sweet. I like Joan Osbourne with Phil much better than with The Dead. And the Sugaree duet with Warren was amazing.

After Phil, we decided to head back to the hotel. We still had a moe. show to see at the Alladin. We went out into the lot not knowing whether we were going to take a shuttle or a cab back to the Rio. I talked Todd into taking a cab, and we proceeded to try. The staff in the lot was incredibly unorganized. We had thought we had hailed a cab, but one of the staff dudes started yelling at the cab driver about how he had to go to the cab line. "What cab line?" We only saw a group of six people at the end of a rope talking amongst themselves. We started to wandered over there when a "foreign born" man asked if we wanted a ride in his mini-bus to the strip for $10 each. It looked sort of promising, so we and a couple of other people followed him to his bus. Fortunately, we were the last ones to fill the bus. We were on our way.

The driver wasn't very communicative. We had no idea where on the strip we were going to end up. Most of the other passengers were drunk, and they began shouting to the driver various destinations they needed to get to. It didn't work. About two miles up Tropicana, the driver pulls over into a Chevron station. Why? To collect our money, of course. This caused some confusion with the drunker passengers, and prompted another round of shouting destinations. After all that, we still weren't sure where we were going to be dropped off. Finally, it looked like one of the drop off spots was going to be Ceasar's, so we took our chance and got off the bus. It was a simple cab ride from there over to the Rio.

After having some dinner, we freshened up and caught a cab over to the Alladin. It was an interesting site in the casino, as there were hippies wandering around amongst the regular players. I wonder what the grey-hairs were thinking. Todd was wearing his Patrick Roy jersey, and was seemingly getting a comment about it every five minutes. There was even one dude who what doing butterfly kicks and chanting "Roy, Roy, Roy" every time he would kick out. We couldn't tell if he was a fan, or mocking Roy (turns out he was a fan, but it was a weird way to show it).

Moe. finally started around 12:45. All the band was in costume. The coolest costume was Al Schnier. He was dressed up as Angel-Elvis. The show was divided up into a "Good" set and an "Evil" set:

Set 1: Let The Good Times Roll, Good Trip > She, St. Augustine, Good Times Bad Times > Moth

Set 2: Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, The Pit > Meat > Shoot First > Kids, Evil Woman > Karma Police > Meat E: The Ghost Of Ralph's Mom, The Devil Went Down To Georgia

"Let the Good Times Roll" - the Cars song - was really cool. That song would end up following us around Vegas. On "Good Times, Bad Times" Al sang the third verse "Elvis Style".

By the time "Moth" came about, Todd was falling asleep in his chair. Not sleeping for 40 hours will do that to you. We decided at set break to head back to the hotel. Now that I see the second set list, I wish we had stayed. Back at the Rio, we decided to get a cocktail before heading up to get some sleep. We sat at one of the bars playing video poker and chatting it up with a couple of girls from Philly and looking at all the costumes. There were some hot costumes going on. Both the hookers and the non-hookers looked SWEET!!! We got to sleep around 4:00.

The complicated day was now over.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Back from Vegoose

I had an exhaustive blast. There is a lot to tell, and I will be posting those details later.

For now, to bed...