The 3rd Dimension – So little to say and so much time!!!


Vegas conclusion – A different kind of game
August 16, 2010, 7:00 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Day 1 – Sunday – The Beginning

Note to self I started this post around July 26th. It has taken almost 3 weeks to write. On with the show.

I left on Sunday morning; a calm muted blue skyed day with all of our things flooding the back of the vehicle. We decided to take the southern route through the mountain pass into the valley then into Vegas. I stopped by a service station in the middle of nowhere to get some gas. I’ve made the Vegas trip many times before and knowing myself I know I usually start getting tired of driving around 6 hours in. I remember being able to make the whole 9 hour+ ordeal without falling or getting bored when I was younger – things must have been somehow different back then. Anyway knowing I will probably go out like a light in 6+ hours in I decided to try something I hadn’t tried in a long time. Energy drinks. Yes those unstable concoctions of god knows what. I scanned through the entire selection in the refrigerated case – amp,rockstar,red bull, generic x brand, etc…    man the refrigerated case felt good in this hot central valley heat. I finally found one which piqued my interest – Rockstar Energy Cola – a cola no less! I got that and went up to the register to pay. The guy gives me a dry look and goes 2 for 2.99.  I ask how much 1 would cost – it’s $2.14.  :-O   I quickly scan the fridge again and see Rockstar Energy Punch flavored – sounds good too – I grab that with the cola and a fried chicken taquito softbread type thing and head on my way. I gotta admit – man do I love road trip food! I can’t stand to eat this stuff any other time in my life but when you’re on the road all that heat lamped gunk suddenly tastes like little heat lamped fragments of heaven.

Now on the road again drinking the cola and chewing on the taquito and a random beef jerky stick to stave off hunger I marvel at the view – vast expanses of dry mud and farmland before me. The cola tastes a bit like Coke mixed with penicillin. It’s refreshing and tolerable but it seems only up to a certain point. Eventually I need to get more gas. The 2nd stop had a small rack of fried comfort foods – mozzarella sticks, chicken wings, fries, jalapeno poppers, corn dogs, the whole she-bang. I make off with a tray of moz sticks and spicy wings before hitting the asphalt again. They really hit the spot as I nibble them down all the way to the desert highway crossing where we stop for a restroom break. It’s a BK so I stop for a 1$ whopper jr. with extra onions and dollar fries. This whole time I’ve taken sips from the energy drink – it seems to be working. Steve Pavlina wrote about caffine once – saying it worked by putting a toxic load on your body forcing it to work harder – hence the simulated feeling of wakefulness and alertness. If caffine could do that then whatever was in here was doing a number on my body along with the road food. Whatever – I was awake and alert and feeling good – that’s all that matters in life right?

We continue driving – another middle of nowhere stop for gas and a fresh cold Rockstar cola. Up the desert mountains, down into the valley – it’s taken me all the way to Vegas. We marvel at the stateline hotel/casinos, then that new middle of nowhere resort M obscured by a small hill – what a bad location. Eventually we reach South Point and then the main strip of Vegas hotels. Our stop was the newly opened Aria hotel in CityCenter. Good god first time we drove in – this was no hotel entrance it looked more like an airport terminal with it’s center loop and branches going to all sorts of places. They get the thigns unpacked and I u turn and break 5 lanes and 2 traffic rules to get to the self parking. I’m finally in Vegas – I go to the hotel lobby and scout around – not too many people – guess it’s a Sunday night.

We get our room keys and enter the corridor of elevators. The hotel was very well planned in respect to elevators being on time and having enough room. One would always come within 45 seconds of pressing the button – usually an empty. This corridor probably had 10 elevators for every set of 10 floors – amazing. We get to our room quickly – we get the room right by the elevator – yay! We come in and it is as the rumours about Aria have foretold. The music plays – the lights come on automatically – the curtains open by electronic motor to a view of the back strip. For a split second I feel like a trillion bucks. The room is artfully designed. I have to admit though that after a day or two it got old fast as our senses adjusted to the rich looking room. How can life be beautiful and exciting every day when we desensitize to it so fast? I shove the thought to the back of my head as I just try to appreciate how beautiful our room is.

Eventually I decide to get moving since I’m in Vegas. Apparently the energy drink is still animating me so despite a 9 hour+ drive I rush down to the casinos through the corridor into Monte Carlo in time for 5$ table min craps. I throw a few rolls and seven out after the 4th roll for a Seven-To-Roll (SRR) ratios of 4 to start. Basically it’s a measure of how long you can NOT roll a 7 after the come out roll to make everyone money. I keep making investments on myself and others – eventually I’m down -22 dollars so I decide to stop. On my final roll I 7 out – I say sorry to the entire table. It may seem absurd but I’ve found you get more respect from people and life in general if you take responsibility for your actions – even when you don’t have full control like the roll of the dice. Man next to me shrugs and goes, “what are ya gonna do about it???” I leave the table and go off to the souveneir shop to find some used craps dice to practice with. Wandering the halls of souvenir shops I think about the question asked of me. The thought suddenly pops in my head. “What are ya gonna do about it???” – Plenty. I am still not tired after finding a set of Hooters hotel and casino used green dice so I sit down at some stripside karaoke bar and listen to the last day college kids howl off. Most of the time during the noise and showoff performances I am practicing my hardway dice control throw in preparation for the week. The thought and answer come to my mind again – What are ya gonna do about it?      >> Plenty. Eventually I get tired so I go up to the hotel room into the soft bed. On the way there I’m in some random street elevator and some run of the mill girl walks in. We lock eyes for a second – well mostly I lock eyes out of sheer curiosity. After half a second she just says hi. I say hi back we talk about where we’re going and I mention being really tired and going on my way back to the hotel room. We hit top floor and we part ways. I guess I could’ve tried running one of those routines or whatnot people are into but my mind just wasn’t in it – I was about to go Zzzz.  If life is habit as the Book of Pook says should I just be trying to run game on everyone every second of every day? Just to make it a habit? Just to make myself a more fun person? Truth be told I was curious – maybe that is our true natures as human beings – damn what social conventions of not talking to strangers! Too tired to think about that – I finally make the long journey up mount doom into the hotel room. Climb onto the bed. Too soft – the bed conspires to consume me whole as I lay to rest. I wake up when the curtains auto-open pouring light into the room – someone was playing with the touchscreen electronic panel again!

Day 2 – Monday – Grand Craps Tour

This is my first full day in Vegas – I decide to get off to a running start for gaming (in all meanings of the word). I grab a quick breakfast of scraps from McDonalds then start to go Hotel hopping. Walk out the door into 112 degree heat – yowch. Stop by Flamingo and play some 5$ craps. Vintage looking casino with vintage looking denizens. Nicely lit though very 70’s energy to it. Look around no game targets. Look around some more for other types of game –  found a craps table. Did horribly – seven’d out on first roll after come out for a SRR of 1. Tried again on the Pass line – crapped out on that roll with all 7s set with no insurance :-/   I take the hint and bet dont pass against myself. I win – I let the bet ride on dont pass and throw a seven – I lose. The gaming gods really have it out for me : – P I take a break and observe the other full table. Some chick around my age seemed to be on a hot streak making 3 points. I decide to jump in the action and she finally loses. Was it because of me? Probably  : – P I wander around looking for single deck blackjack to do some counting and build capital – all full. I go back to the original craps table I was playing alone on to camp it and throw more dice.

A whole bunch of peopel from the other table are trickling into this table now that someone is shooting. That chick from the other table who was on a roll also comes to the table I’m on. She puts 5$ on the Pass line as I make my come out roll. I warn her that I’m playing don’t pass and I’ve been rolling like total shit the entire trip thus far. She just says “well that’s sure confident : – P” and keeps her money there on the pass line – I guess some people are stubborn. Ironically as I predict I seven out on the very first throw yet again for an epic SRR of 1 and a Don’t Pass win. She goes, “oh my” and declines to place another bet on the table. I guess like most people she isn’t a don’t pass player even when the trend dictates it. Maybe that’s what seperates me from most people – I’m not afraid to play Don’t Pass. Well actually I am afraid – only the naive and the fearful (how funny) don’t admit fear. I believe in truth over fear though so I play it anyway. I lose my next roll so I decide to play a Pass – seven out again – horrible. Time to move on to a new hotel.

Moving on to Buffalo Bill’s saloon hotel/casino whatever. Small place with a very odd game I’ve never seen before – computerized craps with sit down terminals. I decide to try it out due to 3$ min bet. People ask me “how is it” – not as fun as the real thing is the common consensus between me and everyone else. Only pro is you can play don’t pass to your <3’s content without pissing anyone off. My turn to roll, I seven out on the 3rd roll for a SRR of 2 – horrible – wtf is going on. Guy next to me beats the daily roll record for 43 rolls before sevening out – an SRR of 43 omfg. /worship. This has got to be the most rolls I’ve seen someone do ever. Sadly during the whole scheme by the time I’ve invested in the guy it was too late and ended up losing 5$ after having 20$ish on the table – a very unusual amount for me. People were clapping and cheering madly on the other side of the table. Hopefully they were playing and parlaying the 5 since it came up like 6 times before he 7’d out. Moving on to another casino Harrah’s – bunch of old guys playing craps. No luck there either. I saw Mr. SRR 43 at this table as well and he rolled like any other mortal with 3 or 4 rolls before seven’ing out. I wander around in the blazing heat to the next hotel…

I finally find the Imperial Palace hotel – nestled along the backroads of the strip behind Harrah’s with no discernable entrance. It turns out it was embedded into some nondescript alleyway one had to go into. I go up to the casino – very nice looking 1$ chips and lots of red in the casinos paint scheme. I usually collect a 1$ chip from every casino I play at – I collect 2 chips from Imperial Palace since I like their textured grey chips with the gold print. I go up to their table – goddamn this is the longest craps table I’ve ever seen. A mix of asians, hispanics, and whites at the table – all of them looking like stereotypical representatives of their ethnotypes. My turn to roll I ahve my first decent roll with a hardway 6 coming out in that time for an average SRR of 6 with 1 point made. I make a little money like +5$ after taking into account wins/losses and decide to keep travelling along the strip.

Now I’m at O’Shea’s small casino – nothing special thing it was a part of another casino next to it. At the back of the Casino they have this new alternative dice jumper game called Jumper or Kicker or I forget what its called. Basically you put down 10$ and if you don’t roll a 1 out of 2 dice you get 3$ + 5$ in bet back and if you roll high enough on the 2nd roll you get 5$ the other 5$ of your bet back. Thus completing the first cycle wins you 8$ for a 10$ bet. You can then start the game over or start 1 space back from where you were for the chance at winning more. Basically I can see myself farming the 8$ win easily so I made a mental note of this and moved on.

Eventually I end up at the infamous Casino Royale and their legendary 3$ craps. I go play a few games with an English tourist and a stickman that looks like an enforcer for the Russian mafia. I just about break even but I’m still rolling some pretty bad SRR 1 – 3 rating. I grab a chip and continue my grand vegas tour ending up at the mirage and some other hotels on the way. At the stoplights I hear more odd chatter – it’s a bunch of female English tourists. Goddamn there are a lot of them around Vegas wonder if there’s a special package deal or something for hotels around Mirage block. What’s funny is I remember encountering some of the same types in Reno for the 4th weekend – same people lol? Maybe they all just look alike and sound alike or something.

Go into the mirage – really fascinating inside I just like the jungular look of it and the blue craps tables. Play on the ultra crowded 5$ table looks like everyone is sharing my luck. I watch 4 or 5 shooters in a row crap out with a SRR of 1 or 2. I do no better with SRR 1. The lady next to me is a first time player betting field and withdrawing and playing field again with double bet and withdrawing – eventually she loses her 20$ buy-in after a few cycles of this.

On the return trip I sweat it out some more before finally reaching Bellagio and the hotel monorail back to Aria. God am I tired and hungry. To cap this off I decide to take the MGM people up on their promo deal: Kobe beef burger, fries, and beer for 19$. My server has a warm personality and talked about the Kobe burger – it’s big he says – when I finally get it I see he was not kidding but I devour it all anyway with the fries and beer. Kobe meat was no joke – cooked medium it was juicy through and through. So juicy in fact I lined the bottom of my plate with fries just to catch all the juiciness so I can consume it double time. Mmmm what a decent burger. Fries were salty as hell though – as much as I love salt I found myself having to wipe the salt off by the last 1/3rd of the cup.

Eventually I am sated and head back to the room to get some rest. I tally up my SRR and it’s 3 – just about the average – I guess I just wasn’t as bad as I thought after all just a huge don’t pass streak. I am restless and I can’t sleep – so I guess this is why they say exercise is good for you. I can’t sleep despite the feeling of extreme sleepiness due to exhaustion – as if my body were playing pass and don’t pass in craps at the same time. I’m up till about 4 AM even though I started feeling sleepy at 10 PM. I spend the time thinking about women I’ve loved and lost. Eventually I feel spent and I finally get some rest. Hello Day 3.

Day 3 – Tuesday – Throwaway

I started this blog post July 27th and now it’s August 9th and I’m still struggling to catch up with what has happened to me over the past 3 weeks or so. I will try to recall as best as possible – here we go!

If what they say is true – that you can’t change the nature of the scorpion – then it explains why I decide to just lay back on Tuesday and not do anything :-D. I always like to think that once I’m out somewhere I will spend the whole day being productive and doing everything and having grand adventures etc.. etc..  I also think these thoughts when I have vacation time or long weekends or free time on my hands. What always ends up happening is I just stay in one place and veg out for the rest of the day once I judge all the predetermined plans in my head to be too much trouble or not worth it or “wont make me happy”. This is one of the reasons I guess I hadn’t decided to “take my life into my own hands” even though I really wanted to 2 years ago. Experience has shown me that you can’t change the scorpion’s nature. From those 2 years all I remember is that all the times I’ve had free time I just grounded it all back into the habit of regularity. Might as well get paid for it then :-P.

From what I remember some breakfast came up to the hotel room from downstairs. After this though all of us are just kinda vegging out in the room watching TV while I throw my Hooters dice across the room. I remember having a small anger fit over sevening out on my all hardways set multiple times consistently which ensures low SRR’s. Eventually everyone gets bored and they all leave to go downstairs to play at the casino. I stay upstairs and get some internet access for 15$ a day (just this one day) and start browsing around on the net with my laptop hooked up to the 30 inch flatscreen. What fun oddly enough – browsing the net on a huge screen with the view of downtown Vegas out the window. This is the life?

Anyway eventually it’s 2 or 3pm and I decide to do something productive with my life. Everyone else is heading to the strip. Some want to visit the Hoover Dam. It’s too hot – I decide to go with the Strip crowd. We decide to check out the Ross on the LV Strip for a bit. I’ve always wondered what the most picked through discount store on earth would look like!!! Surprisingly there is a good stock of decent items compared to home. I pick out 2 shirts and a pair of pants but I abandon them when I see the waiting room and checkout line. It would’ve probably taken a good hour and a half just to try clothes on – something I can do in the comfort of my own home city. Moving on now…

I decide to visit the Hooters hotel and casino to get a player’s club card for the lol’s and hopefully some free rooms to make my own “gaming” trips more often ( like weekend trips if flights are 60$ roundtrip etc). Gd it’s HOT out here – I decide to walk through the MGM hotel and casino to get to Hooters. I find a nice shortcut in which crossing the street from the ramp that runs up to the valet area takes you right to their parking lot! Suddenly Hooter’s location seems a lot more manageable since you can access MGM easily to get the monorail to the rest of the strip. Also you can walk through most of Tropicana and get to Excalibur and the outer rim older hotels through their monorail.  I get the card and I play my free 20$ in slot play just to put points on the card. Satisfied with myself I play some craps – they’re missing one dealer so only half the table is active. I lose a little money and find out the minimum play to rate is 10$ – too much for my blood. I eventually leave the way I came in. My friend told me last week that they might be doing an ICC 25 raid on WoW today. I don’t plan on doing anything of note today so I decide to go for it. It’s about 5:25 pm now so I have about an hour and a half to browse around and get food before the raid at 7pm.

I stop by the Grand Canyon Experience souveneir shop to see if there are any cool things to play with or take home. Nothing out of the ordinary from the other times I’ve been in there in the past. On my way out though I see a rack of nice looking polyester cowboy hats. I try a few of them on – actually there are only two types. I could easily see myself in one of these hats though! I try the brown one on again and look at my reflection in the glass and on an ATM screen close by. Decent enough – I’ll go for it – after all one of my worst fears is being like everyone else ;-). I take another quick look at it and decide to get it. I pay for it at the counter then quickly put it on – game time!

I love Coke slurpee’s and it is still HOT. Later on I learn that Mon/Tues was a mini heat wave in Vegas oh well. At the ABC store I find what I have been searching for – a Coke Slurpee machine. I go for the huge 48 oz’er – big heat needs big slurps! I pay for it and quickly suck up about a quarter of it within 3 minutes netting me one of the biggest brainfreeze’s in my life yet. Now to get some pre-raid food. I know these raids sometimes last hours so I start browsing the strip for to go meals. Diablo’s Cantina catches my eye – I’ve wanted to eat there for about a year. I looked at the menu though and everything just seemed kinda Ameri-mexican typical and double the price. After deciding I didn’t want to spend 19$ on a burrito I decide to just hit up the Rubio’s in the Monte Carlo food court which was on the way to the Aria tram. After all it was not 6:20pm with 40 minutes to go and I still needed to get back to the hotel and get food and get things set up. On the way I stop by CVS and get some Odwalla food bars for dessert – banana nut is my favorite. Me and my gigantic coke slurpee weave our way through the corridors and casino into the food court. I get 2 of my favorite salmon taco’s with extra guacamole and tons of salsa to boot. I take all this food and my slurpee ( now only at 40% volume ) back to the room eventually. On the way I text my friend – might be back at 7:10ish.

Eventually I get back to the air conditioned hotel room – everyone else is back from their Hoover Dam trip. Essentially I heard it was too hot there so they all just took quick pictures then left as quickly as possible. Given how many people decided to hang out in our room for today it was still hot and I felt like I was going to pass out any minute now from the heat. I take off my shirt and decide to do this raid topless. I get the laptop plugged in and log on to WoW. My meal is halfway being devoured in between timegaps while the raid forms along with the slurpee. It’s ass kicking time!

A few hours later our ICC 25 ends and someone starts playing GTA: San Andreas on my laptop. I hear I have to pick up someone from the LV airport later that night. I get a new shirt and let someone borrow my USB connector to get my camera working. Everyone in our room is watching some movie I forget what it’s called – never was too much into movies after the age of 16 or so for some reason. About 20 minutes into the movie I get a call – it’s time to go. Me and 2 others pack into the car and drive off into the night for the LV airport.

The LV airport – though I hear it’s very well planned inside – is a total disaster on the OUTSIDE. The lanes are all faded and half the signs and arrows do not accurately lead to their intended destinations. The road is so confusing everyone is moving at abotu 15 MPH closely following the car in front of them in hopes of getting to the right area. The airport looks like it was built in the 60’s as well. Eventually after a few loops one of the passengers calls them up and redirects them to the area we’ve been circling for the pickup. On the way out of the airport we break a few more traffic rules before finally returning to the strip and the Aria hotel. I come back up to the room and the movie is ending. Eventually everyone goes back to their respective rooms to sleep. I stay up till 2 AMish watching some random crime and punishment show. The curtains close electronically once again. They open only for Day 4 of what is supposed to be an epic 12 day stay.

Day 4 – Wednesday – Circus Circus

It’s day 4 and I’m feeling pretty tired so I don’t go with the crowd that’s buying our breakfast off strip. Eventually they return and I awaken at some ripe old hour like lunchtime. Also the fact that people in the shower keep screaming when the lights accidentally go off due to the misuse of the electronic panel helps a bit. I have my meal and then everyone goes off to do their thing. I’m inside again for what looks to be another day of vegging out when I get a call – they want to go to Circus Circus. Circus Circus LV also has Slots a fun next to it which has 3$ craps and a boatload of cheap table games! I’m in. We discuss and eventually everyone decides to head for Circus Circus (now abbreviated as CC from here on out). The other group we were with eventually were going to go to CC on Thursday since they were leaving Friday but they decided to go with us today.

I get to the casino and I quickly run down to CC owned Slots a fun to partake in the 3$ craps. Unfortunately there are no dealers at the table :-(. I ask around and hear that the 3$ streetside craps are only offered on the weekends – talk about false advertising! I remember for our Vegas preview trip about a month or two back I practically parked at this streetside craps table from 5 to 10pm with a shooter who would bet don’t pass on himself and always win. I rode along with him last time and made back most of the money I lost during that trip.

Anyway I look around for more games – 2$ and 3$ blackjack single tables are filled to the brim and it doesn’t look like any of their denizens are leaving soon. I find someone and I decide to play 2$ min 50 cent chip roulette with them. I find a misbalance in the wheel and eliminate 33% of it netting me 26$ after starting with a 10$ bankroll for an hour of play. I didn’t win a lot but I slowly ground down the holes in the system like I did in Reno a while back with their roulette machines. To beat the house edge on roulette and slowly make 1 or 2 chips a spin you just need to eliminate as much of the wheel as possible and focus your bets on the rest while having enough bankroll to go through a 2 spin drought. Eventually the game slows as the dealer has to pay me out chips each time. Our dealer is also a bit slow and one time almost forgets to pay me and another time forgets to sweep 1/3rd of the table’s bets off. Anyway I get bored with this so I decide to check on what the younger crowd is doing at the Midway.

Similar to what happened in Reno I was looking around the Midway for more fun things to add to my worn inventory. I already had (and was wearing) a cowboy hat but I couldn’t really find anything else that piqued my interest to have until I came across this knock down stuff game. The prize for the first win was a generic doll of some generic sort. The prize for the second win though was perfect for me – a giant red 6 sided die. I decided to take a hand at playing. I failed the first 2 times but as I described in the butterfly knife story and tic tac toe I started to focus. As it says in the Book of Pook I put all my chips on the table regarding my skill, intelligence, desire, etc… and tried to become one with the force of reality itself. Eventually I pull it off and take home a big red plush die. I give this die a name I will later take upon myself,  ”Hardway’. Satisfied with the day I eventually find the rest of the group and I hear we are leaving soon.

On the way out I decide to try a Noble Roman’s pizza. I see a lot of their chains in LV but I never tried one – now is a good a time as any. On the pictures are images of bright green peppers, onions, tomatoes, etc… piled high on a bed of pepperoni, sausage, salami, and cheese. I open my personal pizza box to a VERY disappointing site. Each slice has about 3 or 4 peppers, no onion and tomatoes, and almost 1 pepperoni per slice with not a sausage in site. WTF MATE?!?!?!? And people wonder why I get very skeptical about marketers and marketing – this is why! I eat about 3 slices of 4 – the crust is fairly good. We leave the parking lot and drive home in the black las vegas night full of tall buildings and flashing lights. We stop by the food court again on the way back to the room. I get some supplementary Chinese food meal to make up for the lost meat and veggies from my pizza.

We all go back to the room again where everyone is messing around and wants to watch another movie. Some people did not see the previous movie so we decide to watch that again since it’s 24 hours and it’s still free. We get about 15 minutes in and someone (the same someone) misuses the electronic panel AGAIN and we lose the movie. We can no longer replay the movie cause we’re out of the 24 hour replay period. Everyone is disappointed  – Lol. I savor my 2nd to last night’s sleep in our luxury hotel with the too soft beds. I stare out my window longingly at the outer strip – just because – before hitting the hay.

Day 5 – Thursday – Leg’s that go for days / Hanging with the local’s

As great as the room looks by this time the novelty of it and the electronicism is starting to wear off. I guess humans can get used to everything eventually. Today was our last full day in Aria before we moved to the off-strip Orleans hotel so we decided to try the offerings which were right under our noses. First would be the buffet.

We hit the buffet around breakfast and started to partake in all the offerings. The food there was decent but nothing special. We stayed there for so long though that lunch soon hit and buckets of ice were suddenly being shoveled onto a large bin. I also saw a cook knifing huge gallon sized plastic tubs of butter and putting the liquid gold into a huge industrial sized pot. What needs that much butter? Could it be? Yes they were bringing out the crab legs. King crab legs to be exact. All of them were large and pre-cracked. The line suddenly exponentiated as people realized the crab was about to come out. I look behind me to find my companions – they have all left to join the growing crab line! I’m not a huge crab or scavenger animal person but I figure eh bandwagon pressure and join the crab line. I grab two or three king sized legs and a smal portion of drawn butter to accompany. I sit back at my table where everyone seems to just have a plate stacked up with 20 legs and a bowl of butter. Eventually I feel it’s time for dessert

I look at the dessert section – very good variety of desserts – more than the usual fare. The chef’s are also preparing 2 or 3 “special” desserts which have fun little Aria plastic logos with curvy spikes embedded into them. I get one of the special carrot cakes with coconut cream very yummy. I also take a chocolate biscotti to go with this and devour this back at my seat. I once again get up to look around at the newer buffet offerings. I see a real clay oven with Naan being formed and baked! I decide to wait for the Garlic Naan. While waiting I fascinatingly watch Chinese Cooking Station make a huge vat of fried rice using soup scoopers to bring up spices from the waiting bins. Garlic naan finally done I rush back to my seat with some brick oven baked pizza.

I was done eating at this point so I started to wander around near the windows after hitting the restroom. The view outside showed the pool and all it’s pleasures. What caught my eye though was the size of the spa – it was huge! Usually every hotel has a small spa and it’s an 8 foot diameter circle if you’re lucky. Some of the larger resorts might have a 20 or so foot spa which is always crammed with like 50 people blech. Aria had a massive pool shaped spa that was maybe 50 or 60 feet in ovular diameter on the long side – in short you could kind of do a really short swim from one end of the spa to the other! Apparently there were two or three of these as well so each one wasn’t crammed with the entire hotel. I decided I’d have to hit this up later on too.

After the buffet everyone wanted to go see Ka the show at MGM so we headed over to that resort to buy tickets. Initially the ticket price was pretty high but we eventually found coupons to get it down to a more reasonable price.  I look through another coupon book and see an Aria ad for thier buffet, “Leg’s that go for days…” with a picture of crab legs on an off-white background. They advertise all that I ate regarding the crab and freshly baked naan in clay oven. While they were waiting in line I decided to play some blackjack to recoup my losses. 5$ turns into 15$ good enough! I’m not a show type person so initially I declined watching Ka with everyone else. I had no choice after this point though since apparently they bought tickets for everyone! Usually I’d want to gamble my ticket price at a 3$ craps table or something but I figured the deed’s been done and I’d have to put my bigotry on the shelf for at least one day. Eventually they’re done buying tickets and everyone’s waiting outside the Ka gift shop – we leave back for the Aria through the hot desert streets. Not as hot as Mon/Tue thankfully – compared to those 2 days 102 was VERY tolerable.

We go back to the hotel and honestly for the life of me I can’t remember what we did from around 2pm to 5:30pm when we all finally hit the pool at Aria. 3 hours of life lost right there oh well :-/. Eventually we all put sunscreen on and head down to the pool. The pool itself is a good size! The locals we knew eventually came around and brought some food and had their family go in the pool as well. It was getting late though so we decided to try out the spa after I kept trying to upsell how large it was.

We head to the spa – some people just headed back to the room but gdmnit I really wanted to try the spa! Not crowded at all – it was only our party! Yay giant spa all to ourselves! It was as marvelous as I thought it would be. I had fun swimming in what seemed to be primordial 4.5 billion year old superheated and bubbling water. I just felt so renewed in it. Felt so good. As if I was a lone bacteria restarting life on some new hostile planet like on SimEarth. At one point I did something Morgan Spurlock-ish and pretended to be a sperm. I closed my eyes and dove into the warm bubbling mass pretending to be a lone sperm lost in the sea of life. I would just get tumbled and turned by whatever jet stream happened to be passing by at that area of the spa. I saw the lights of the spa on the wall at certain times – go towards the light little spermy! Go towards life and salvation! I admit I enjoyed pretending to be a sperm a bit too much – I say I was easily just eyes closed rolling around in the spa for about 20 minutes. Gdmn it felt good though.

Eventually dusk was starting to fall and it was time to leave the spa. Las Vegas is still warm at night though so even though I was initially cold for about 2 minutes once I wiped all the water droplets off everything was fine again. We go back into the hotel and take showers to wash off the chlorine and other fun stuffs. People were finishing up the food our guests left for us. They invited us to go with them to a karaoke bar on the other side of town later that night to kick back and chat and do songs etc… Our party takes them up on the offer and we start preparing to head for a night out. None of the younger ones wanted to go so it would only be a very small subset of us going. We all crammed into the car and drove out to that part of town.

It was dark but I’ve been to Vegas so long I know my way pretty well around the main parts of the city. Eventually after much looking for this purported place we find it and park. There is NOBODY here though. The parking lot is empty and dark and everything looks just about abandoned. After a few minutes of waiting here and trying to call the inviting party the lights come on around the area – creeeepy! Anyway we finally go into the bar. We’re the only ones there it looks like the place but totally empty. I find the DJ and asks him if this is so and so place. He says it’s closed a long time ago and there’s a similar hangout now in another part of town. They probably haven’t been there in that long unfortunately. Disappointed we leave we still can’t contact the other party. We decide to head to Old Las Vegas instead to visit and gamble. Eventually the other party calls us up though – we all decide to head to this newer place on another side of town. We roll through the old LV traffic and back onto the freeway onto this other spot miles away. We finally get there just as the other party arrives – looks like a local’s night out.

We enter the place it’s kinda dark and what looks to be some sort of reflective material placed on the windows to keep the light out and make it look club like. We are seated and there’s a small dance floor and a tiny stage for the performers. The speakers are mounted on the ceiling and they are loud – we can barely hear ourselves talk so we get moved to another seat. We sit down and order and eat a bunch of comfort type bar foods. Eventually one of our company and another want to sing. I eventually put my song in as well and get them to submit the request. Apparently you are supposed to tip them so you go up the queue faster. They go through their songs and after a long line of other performers because of my non-tipping ( a small tip/bribe was placed on my behalf) I finally get to do a somewhat decent performance of Matchbox 20’s ‘3 AM’. It’s getting late after we talk for a while so everyone gets to put in another song. I turn in a botched up performance of Incubus’ “Nice to Know You”. Guess it was the wrong crowd for that song (nobody has heard it before and it wasn’t the usual type of song) and I couldn’t reach half the notes or enunciate a lot of the faster speaking parts correctly. I guess that’s why all the serious performers always practice a song first before going on stage meh. I am arrogant and I like to think there is no such thing as song choice (even though it is VERY important – not just anyone can sing any song). I also like to think the true man can just get on the stage and kill it on the very first try man style.

Welp anyway it was 2amish or sorts so we part ways and we drive back to the hotel and subsequently pass out. The weekend is coming! It is now…

Day 6 – Friday – Not what I was expecting

(Warning – this day is a big turning point in the story so it’s a whopper compared to the previous day’s writings!)

So we get up around 10:30 AMish and we gotta start looting the free toiletries and hand lotion and soaps and shampoos as it’s time to check out and swap hotels. We start planning what our next sequence of hotel’s are going to be for the next 6 nights after our stay at the Orleans. Excalibur had a pretty good deal going at the time so we decide to hitch over there after our brief stay in Orleans is done. Given the prices were so good I decide to get my own room for Sunday night to complement a possibly good night of gaming. Last I remember Excalibur seemed to attract a younger-ish crowd of either children or mid 20’s. We call them up and they say you gotta reserve online – bah hambug! It’s the same thing – we decide that we’re going to reserve though once we get to the Orleans and get a wi-fi signal there for my laptop.

In the chaos we somehow get everything packed and bagged and somehow transported in one blob from the hotel to the car and parking lot. Everyone stays by the pedestrian bridge while I move the car closer to the loading point in the garage. We cram everything in and it seems like everything has grown since we last entered the hotel even though we have nothing new really. Our car caravan leaves the parking lot and somehow makes it’s way to the Orleans without too much drama and people getting lost. It looks like I’m going to be spending the weekend playing here – it isn’t too bad a place. I remember last visit here in the winter when I shot 4 7’s in a row on the come out and the crowd was just like mumbling to themselves in amazement and wonder. As I’ll later find out I guess some places have their own energy to it which may affect the luckiness of a table. I wait outside and watch the car while everyone unpacks the bags into the bell cart – I subsequently step inside.

Now it’s time to lock the deal on some really great room rates. We sit down at the in-casino Seattle’s Best Coffee and go on the wi-fi network onto Excalibur’s site. In a few clicks and keystrokes the deed is done. I pack my laptop up and browse the tables quickly. Out of temptation I play one game of Craps and lose my 5$. I noticed I shot a lot longer though than I did all trip probably shooting 5 or 6 times before seven’ing out. I then go up to the room. Everyone must have been hungry – for as many people as we had in our party sharing this one fairly large room tonight there was absolutely nobody inside. I heard they all went to partake in the cheap $7.99 brunch buffet. The room had air conditioning on at full blast I guess to accomodate the flood of people once they come back. I sit down and take a rest in the room for a bit. Eventually someone realizes we’re running out of clothes and we have to do laundry. We iPhone up a laundromat just 3 blocks from the hotel – so close it would not give us driving directions but WALKING directions. Our dirty clothes were in the car so I just walk back to the place I parked and drop everyone off at the laundromat. The place had a small convenience store attached to it with things you wanted/needed. Even crazier was their special promotion – soap was FREE on the weekdays – you’d just put your clothes in and they’d put in the soap. Never had anything like that happen around my part of the woods.

I decide to drop them off at the laundry and then I contemplate about what I’m going to do with the time before I have to pick them up. I think about trying out the Planet Hollywood Spice Market buffet but it was going to be rushed getting down there, having to find a parking space somewhere, having to walk to the buffet, eat there, then having to do what I just mentioned in reverse good god. I decided to drive down that direction anyway and think about what I wanted to do. I stop by a Chevron on a corner and fill up the car cause it was running low while giving me time to think about what I was doing. Eventually I decided going down the strip is too much hassle so I’ll just take advantage of the 7.99 lunch buffet like everyone else was earlier. On the way back I see a Sonic’s down another street – tempting but we finally have one down here.

I drive back to the Orleans and quickly get in the buffet line – no one’s in line. I get the 7.99 deal and start going through the stations. Hey this place isn’t half bad! Lots of fun southern food like fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, buttered corn, sausage and onions, hush puppies, fried fish, shrimp, etc… I quickly fill my plate with some meaty delights as I have been craving meat lately after some less than protein filled experiences with food the prior days (hint: noble roman’s). I get all my food and sit down at a lone empty table and put my cowboy hat down at the far corner (yep I have been wearing it since Tuesday! Gotta have game 🙂 ). The waiter eventually comes by and I order a nice tall glass of Mountain Dew (I was on a big mountain dew kick back then after learning it was a Citrus based caffienated soda) (Besides as I told people before – where I’m going I don’t need spermy!). I have to say I enjoyed this meal A LOT. The price, the flavors, the fact I got both a mini pecan pie and a carrot cake at the end from the gelato counter made my day. I could see this getting old quickly but as a once in a trip binge it was definitely worth every penny. The whole time I don’t remember any conscious thoughts leaving my mind as I scraped away layer after layer of buttered corn, fries, gravy, meat, pizza, sausages, onions, more of the previous etc… All I remember is running out of napkins and trying to clean my greasy hands with my pants and leaving a stain around the right side pants pocket. After the meal was done I rush to the bathroom to try to soap and water this stain away – it won’t budge oh well memories.

Eventually the meal is done and I decide to just look around again. I didn’t feel like gambling just yet in my bloated condition so I figured I’d see what everyone else was up to. I have seen nobody else really since I got into the hotel. I go upstairs thinking I’d find the not quite 21’s in the arcade but none were there. I find a lot of other not quite 21’s talking – apparently it is the women’s softball national’s in town staying at this hotel this weekend. I make a mental note of that in case any of the younger crowd want to engage in some ‘junior league gaming’. Later on I find out though it’s also the men’s basketball national’s at the exact same hotel. Birds of a feather flock together I guess. I decide to round up the leftover time before picking up the laundry at a 5$ blackjack table. I make a decent showing winning 5 to 15$ up before I get the call to make the pickup from the laundry. The dealer mentions no cell phones. I know the rules – I nod in agreement as I quickly scoop the 3 or 4 5$ chips into my pocket and head out.

I pick the crowd up from the laundromat after a short drive. The steering wheel and seat belt were blazing hot though from being parked only about a hour and a half outdoors so trying to keep my hands on different parts of the wheel was pretty fun : – P. As the crowd was packing up clothes I went to the store to buy some fancy imported water in a bottle I planned to use as my in room cup since there wouldn’t be enough cups for all of us. They got some water and a few bottles of coke in anticipation for the nightly drinking that leaves most of these empty by next morning. With that done we make the short trip back to the hotel and carry all the clothes upstairs.

We’re back in the room hanging clothes. I put my blue jeans on the hangar hooks right below my casual sports coat top and hang both on the rack with one hangar- there’s not going to be enough for all of us. Also the Orleans restrooms are notoriously known for not having locks – they are just sliding doors. To counter this I take a tip from a prison show I saw earlier this week and fold up one of those hard cardstock promotion cards and write in with a pen OCCUPIED. Whenever someone was using the restroom they would stick out the end that read occupied and jam it in the sliding door. The sink and closet and restroom where all in one room though so I foresaw a logistical nightmare getting anything done the next 2 days. No matter – I just have to survive Sat night and I’ll have a room all to myself Sunday morning back on the main strip :-).

I decide to chill out in the room for a bit and we get a call from some relatives. They want to come see us after not having seen us for years. Apparently they live nearby now and they wanted to get a dinner together for Sunday or Monday night. I’d have to check with the other groups if they wanted to come or not and which day would be better but for the moment we said we would be planning to attend. With that there was a few hours left before we’d all go drive down to the MGM and watch the show Ka we bought tickets for yesterday. Everyone else was still doing what they were doing hours ago so I decide to run down to the casino and get some pre Ka gaming in.

The Orleans seems like a pretty calm and happy locals hotel which doesn’t seem to carry any of the karmic or energetic repurcussions of many of it’s strip side counterparts. I roll a few Craps game’s and notice my shooting luck has gotten a lot better ever since I left the strip. Now I was achiving SRR’s of 4 and 5 as compared to the measly SRR’s of 1 and 2 I was getting down on the strip. I wander around a bit more and see one from our group playing roulette – unfortunately they seemed to be losing but oh well. I decide to try and find another blackjack table as well to raise some capital but a lot of them seem to have been crammed and taken. I’m looking for gaming targets but there aren’t too many to be had if any – it seems like a lot of older locals play here. I could’ve even sworn at the craps table I saw a lady I played craps with last winter! The weekend is coming up though so I can start prowling around on the Strip where there’s bound to be something. Time seems to fly by though and before I know it I get a call – it’s one of the group telling us we’re all meeting outside the Chili’s inside the casino. We were about to drive down to MGM to park and then watch Ka.

The trip down Tropicana avenue was somewhat uneventful. The usual mess of cars trying to go back and forth towards the strip or to get away from it. We reach the front uneventfully and I drop off everyone in my car before heading down to the garage to park. I go up 3 or 4 busy floors before finding a space in the near back around the 4th floor – this will have to do for Friday afternoon business. Show’s starting in 15 mins so I speed down the escalators and powerwalk all the way outside the Ka theater opening. Everyone was there waiting for me – there was no line. Apparently at this point you can just walk into the theater now into your assigned seat. We had pretty good seats near middle-middle surprisingly for the show. The performers dressed like aggressive indians do their pre stage song and dance ritual amonst the audience. I saw one badass powerslide across the middle divider like 100 feet I don’t know how on earth he pulled that off. For about 5 minutes after that I was just asking everyone oh gods who saw that!??!

The lights finally dim and Ka starts. It’s the story of 2 young sibling’s journey through life and crisis leading to developing themselves. All in all the acts were VERY impressive feats. The story though was confusing as all hell. I remember multiple times where I couldn’t tell the male from the female main character. It was as if they would swap gender roles every other act just to screw us up. Now I didn’t know which way the bat should swing until mid-late performance where things became a lot more consistent. It was a great performance but it seemed kinda compressed and short in my opinion – as if the storyline hadn’t hit puberty yet or it started in puberty and we just see the resulting effects. I just think the story should’ve been developed more and the sexual ambiguity of the characters developed less but overall it was a standing ovation from the crowd. Even from me.

So yeah Ka’s over and everyone floods out of the auditorium. Our group gets seperated and we spend about 5 to 10 minutes trying to text each other and scouting the people pouring out. I see maybe about 3-5% game targets out of the general proportion of the audience pouring out – maybe I’m just too gd picky – I’ve been working to loosen up my standards a little more lately (as horrible as that sounds). Not so much giving up ambition but bringing my ambitions out of fantasy and closer to the level of reality (albeit the blog’s name – the 3rd dimension). We eventually get a text that the other group is waiting on the other end of the crowd so we go over and meet them. All of us are finally grouped together once again. As we are making our way out of the casino and not more than a dozen steps across Ka texts from home start streaming on everyone’s phones. What could this be?

Everyone opens their phones up and gets a text from one of maybe three or four different people – different texts but all with the exact same payload. “Grandma may die soon, pass it on…” I just kinda gasp in my usual quiet horror pose 😮 and quickly gain composure again – as if the news were a bit too much to process all at once so it just doesn’t sink in. Unfortunately for many other’s it instantly sinks in. Some start having sub-conversations, some start going into panic, some start crying on the spot, but everyone is still walking on their way out of the casino to the parking lot. I look at the other drivers of the other cars and I already knew in my heart what had to be done. “I’m alright with leaving Vegas tonight…” nonchalantly comes out of my mouth. The others agree as they try to comfort those who are not taking it so well. The great gaming in all aspects I’ve learned always happens on the weekend. Life is usually at work all day Mon-Fri so the great stuff only comes out of the woodwork on the weekend. It’d be a shame to leave now but everyone knows inside them that is what must be done. We finally make it back to the cars and onto the dark traffic filled Tropicana avenue on the way back to the Orleans.

We’re all crammed in cars in the darkness mixed with neon and car headlights on the Las Vegas Strip and Tropicana intersection. Traffic here has gone to a standstill – we think it’s an accident since we see blue flashing lights and sirens up ahead but that’s just for the usual lane being worked on. It’s just Friday night that’s all it seems. Everyone’s trying to get into Vegas and ironically soon enough we will be the only ones trying to leave. Calls are being made in the car to cancel our reservations and lofty plans for stripside accomodations at The Excalibur. Ironically as we make the call we see the castle just on the other side of the road merely 100’s of feet away. Such is life. The traffic clears a bit once we make it over I-15 on our way back to the Orleans to make preparations to leave. After not too much eventfulness we pull in back to the Orleans parking space.

Everyone wants to eat something before we pack all our stuff again and hit the road this very night. They all decide to hit up the cafe in the Orleans which serves the $3.99 double cheeseburger and fries special – always a good deal. I decide to hit the room first to freshen up. I walk alone through the security checkpoint to the elevators up the floors into the room. I’m the only one in the room once again it’s ice cold from the air conditioner being on full blast. Everyone’s luggage is just kinda laid out all over the place as if they were about to unpack – we no longer need to worry about that! Someone left the TV on – it’s some random baseball game flickering on the older looking square CRT TV set. We were going to play cards and such tonight when we were all together – guess that’s not happening either. I put up the occupied sign and hit the restroom and freshen up. Everything seems so surreal right now – so many people that could be potentially crowding this room and yet everyone is downstairs in the cafe. I make my way to join them back.

I get down to the cafe and take my seat with our party. They know I like the dbl cheeseburger deal so someone ordered it for me beforehand. On the way down I take another look at the Mexican place next to the cafe. I keep saying I’ll eat there but I never get around to it since they’re only open 4 to 10 pm. This time though I go in and ask if I can make a take out order. They don’t do take out lol – looks like I’m not trying this place once again. I am now sitting with my party at the cafe and the waiter suddenly jokes, “Oh you got here last but you get your food first what do you think about that?!?!”  For a second I thought he was gay for making such a happy bold comment but as the night wears on I just think he’s that type of personality. It just struck me as something gay’s would say but the tonality was ambigious compared to an authentic gay person. He was throwing out comments left and right as he served everyone’s food. Lots of burgers, some steaks, some seafood dishes, the whole shebang was being laid out for everyone. I eat my food but I take care not to eat it all too fast or eat too much of it as I will be driving through the entire night to get back to the hospital and see Grandma asap. Eventually we’re all done eating and everyone prepares to go upstairs. I look around at the casino then I look around at the accounting sheet I’ve had with me that tracked how much I’ve won or lost this whole trip. Right now I’m down 70 dollars.

Something is different this time. Usually I’m very risk averse but I’m thinking now eh I’ll do a balls to the wall 30$ bet on something and if I win I’m going to ride it until I break into positive or get to -100 in which I’ll stop. I entertain the thought in my head – the odds are against me – do I really just wanna throw away 30 dollars? I ask someone what I should do – they said I should go for it! Something is different this time though – usually when I’m about to make a bet I have this feeling of melancholy terror inside as if the odds of something likely bad happening were high. Now though I felt kinda neutral to almost a little excited about the whole deal. This is why I never bet large amounts until the very last day and the last minute. I used to lose large amounts mid-trip and I’d dwell on their sting for a couple days. By saving it all for just one big push if everything goes bad I don’t care I’ve enjoyed myself and I’m leaving the next day. I decide to go for it.

The usual trifecta of games runs through my head: blackjack, craps, or roulette? I decide the game which lets me take the most control in my own hands has to be the one for such a ballsy bet – craps. Now to most crap players even beginners 30$ is nothing to standard betting for one shooter. As I’ve mentioned many times before though I’m not a gambler I’m more of an investor. I will NOT put money down until I am reasonably sure that I may make money off a venture. This applies to gambling as well – not all shooters are made equal. Thus putting down 30$ just because “the game has fair house odds” is plain stupid to me unless you know you may make a killing on something. The edges exist for the house in every casino game but anything can happen in the short term as Reno girl would later tell me. Statistics and risk analysis only serve as tools for us to hide from the monster of life. In the short term though they provide no security as experience shows us the odds and laws of statistics being broken each and every day. So craps it is.

I throw down all 30$ for my buy in. Dealer asks if I’m here for the weekend. I tell him due to unfortunate circumstances this is actually my last night here due to family emergency. “Oh that’s too bad it happens – where you from?” I tell him where I’m from. Eventually the chips are delivered to my side of the felt. I put 5$ down on the pass line and throw my first roll – a 7 for 5$ won. I throw again and the point is established – 8.   5x odds being maximum on the 8 I put down 25$ behind my pass line bet for full odds. I also throw 4$ out of my 5$ winnings onto the hard 8. The last dollar goes on the hard 6 in case I hit since they are related inside numbers. I put my dice in the hardway set and throw, throw, throw. Three of four throws later and I haven’t sevened out yet. Given my betting pattern I need an 8 – a hard 8 especially. Throw throw throw I am still in the game! The four shows up on one die but the dreaded 3 doesn’t come up thankfully. Throw throw throw… and the moment of truth. 8. I make my point. Not just any 8 though – HARD 8 :-0  :-D. Before my consciousness catches up to realize what just happened I see oodles of chips getting stacked and poured in my direction. OMG I DID IT! I got one of the real life achievements I was aiming for as well:

You have earned achievement [ Win a 25$ chip in Craps ]

Given my betting amounts I’ve never won a 25$ chip in craps because with 3$ minimums that would require making a parlayed hardway or a parlayed 5 in a row field win starting with 3$. Now I just saw a couple of them walk my way towards the table! YES!!!! Perfect…  I excitedly scoop up Allllllll my chips and lay them down on the rack. It is still my turn to shoot. Hardways off I shoot for the next point – a 4. 4’s are worth 2 to 1 if played with odds. Perfect! Given this is balls to the wall day I go for full 3x odds on my pass line bet with 20$ now riding on the 4. I put down a bunch of 2 way hardways for about 1$ each in case any of them hit. I’m throwing again to try and make the point throw thow throw I feel unstoppable. The 2 other people on my table are making small wins themselves with each throw. One of my throws I get a hard 8 – AGAIN. One of the people next to me goes, “Well there it is again!”. I had honestly forgotten I had money there so for my next roll I was pleasantly surprised when I saw a 25 and a stack of 5 and 1’s waiting for me on the felt. More throws made I get another minor hardway and the deler’s get a nice toke while I rack in a few bucks for it. Eventually I make a 4 easy way. Double odds woot!!!

I’m on a big roll as I prepare to make my 3rd come out roll. A stack of green 25$ chips sit in my rack along with a lage stack of reds and whites all from a 30$ starting bankroll. Next point that comes out is a 5 or 9 or one of those hard to set numbers. I don’t have much confidence in shooting 5’s and 9’s since there’s no set for them that’s easy to put up without the pit bosses giving heat so I put no odds and just shoot. The lucky streak runs out I seven out shortly afterwards in like 2 or 3 rolls. All in all though I made a killing. I decide not to cash in my chips just yet – I want to go upstairs and show everyone my big win. I am grinning from ear to ear as I walk across the casino through the checkpoint into the elevators and back into the room.

That’s right – count em – One hundred thirty-six dollars in glazed clay Orleans chips. This beats my previous Keno win of 92$ when I was underaged in old Las Vegas at the restaurant bored and analyzing the keno board. I was probably 11 or 12 years old back then how time flies. I can’t seem to do Keno anymore though too boring – it’s only for when I eat and there’s nothing better to do but stare at the board and try to find trends. I take a few pictures of my winnings and then we start packing the bags to head back. We leave a coke and gallon of water for the one guy who took the plane and will be taking the plane back tommorow – he’s staying in the room all by himself tonight. We pile on to the casino floor with our bags. On the way out I cash in my 136$ in chips + another 20$ in chips I exchanged with someone in the room for a 20 bill so they wouldn’t stop by the cage on the way out. Satisfied with the act we start packing the car up for the long trip home. I see a slipper on the way out that looks like it may be one of ours – ewww – I place it on some random table in the lobby and we head out to get Gas.

The car I was driving had gas from earlier filling up during the laundromat thing so the other car gets some gas. They get lost for a bit as they head down another direction but eventually we re-unite at the Tropicana Ave. gas station we were camping at. We go into the food mart to get some supplies for the Journey. I go straight for Jack Johnson and Tom O’Leary – a Rockstar Cola and Punch. I also get some random heat lamped piece of food I can’t remember before hitting the road. I look at the clock it’s around 30 minutes to midnight. This will be the latest I’ve ever tried pulling off the Vegas drive. I’m always up for a new challenge though…

Day 7 – The beginning of the end

The clock strikes midnight and we’re barely beyond the state borders. I am feeling alright at the moment – I’ve had quite a few sips of Rockstar Cola and I feel fairly confident that I can pull off this trip. The desert is kinda beautiful in it’s full moon darkness – I guess in it’s own way. The locations melt into each other – desert, city, desert, town, desert, town, mountain, city, desert, etc… We stop for gas in Tehachapi and this woman is smoking outside. All of the pumps are off – “Could you please turn the pumps on?” Our caravan desperately needs gas and there is not another station for a long time. She scowls, “I don’t work here!!!” and continues smoking despite the ratty Chevron apron she is currently sporting. After trying to figure things out a passing motorcyclist eventually finds out 1 pump is working so we all queue for this one pump. Another lady with a Chevron uniform leaves the women’s restroom and eventually turns all the pumps back on speeding up the process. We get back on the road.

By the time the first cracks of dawn hit I am on I-5 North central valley. I can imagine the people sleeping in today on their ranches or farms since it’s a Sat. Actually they might be up early howing the fields or what have you. By this time Rockstar magic has gone away though. I try to take another sip but it tastes like pink penicilliny death. Its like the body can only handle so much of that poison before it rebels against your cause and makes the substance taste horrible. We’re still a few hours from home and I am feeling tired. Our next gas stop is near the 152 highway intersection. Everyone decides to go for breakfast at the local McDonald’s. Not me though – I feel like total shite! I am still awake from Rockstar but asleep in my body and soul. I just try to doze off in the front seat while things are going on around me. People shaking the car for fun or leaving and entering and the crowds growing and swelling and quieting in my head. I think I enter the dream a few times for split seconds before coming back out onto rockstar hell. This performance never stops… Things go quiet then noisy then quiet and I dont know if these are real events or projections at this point.

Eventually I shake this daze and I enter the gas station mini mart looking for a restroom. My every step felt hollow and soulless as I haven’t fully awoken at that point. I’d see people and objects and hear things but they seemed to all just be some annoying blob of background noise I didn’t have the equipment to process just yet. I remember making my way to a urinal, doing my thing, washing my hands, then going to the adjoining McDonalds to pick up some dollar menu items for the road. By the time I had a bite of my sausage biscuit I felt consciousness slowly leaking back into my bodily vessel. The other cars were waiting for me so I quickly scarfed down the bacon egg and cheese + hash browns. For good measure I take a sip of the Rockstar – it tastes worse than it did earlier; I’ve crossed over from diminishing returns to no returns. We’re not too far off just a couple more hours so I hit the road once again.

I’m on the road again – it is now fully morning at 7amish or whatever with no traces of dusk left in the sky at all. I am feeling totally pwned though by the time we hit highway 152. On the mountain passes I can feel my response time lag as I see a curve coming up and I feel myself execute the move with my body half a second later even though I intended to do it as soon as the thought hit my mind. This is not good I am having mini phaseouts as well where consciousness drops for very small intervals. I decide to pull over at the next exit and switch drivers. The other cars tell me I was swerving slightly and ran a bit close to some parts of the dividers and such on some curves. I take shotgun this time as someone else drives and we make our way back. The mountain pass divides the blue summer calm of the Central Valley with the white dreary fog of the Bay Area. By the time we hop onto Highway 101 and roll through the lower valleys before San Jose the entire sky is whitewashed with fog. As a driver when you are tired you don’t necessarily fall right asleep as soon as someone takes over the wheel. In a way you just wanted to close your eyes for a long extended period and relax – not necessarily go into deep sleep.

I’m in a relaxed and tired state of mind all the way to the hospital – we made it. I look at the clock and it looked to be a 9hour+ journey. We park in the lot and walk to the intensive care unit. I see the bluish-greenish doors before me with the usual peep windows. They’re only allowing 2 at a time at this point. 2 of grandma’s daughter’s go in first. I watch them open the ICU door and go through it. I am instantly reminded of the scene from one of the Matrix movies in which they open a door up and it’s just a flood of white light that leaks out every crack and crevice as the door opens. I see them sink through the door and watch it close. We’ve succesfully made the long journey back overnight.

Conclusion

We ended the trip halfway through because of what transpired. I was really looking forward to the weekend as the potential grew to really start pressing some karma. Unfortunately it becomes a testament to why you can’t wait for “the perfect moment” or “any moment”. You can read the end of this and re-read some of the days at the beginning or even early Friday. You can see how naive and confident I was that everything would be smooth sailing and fun with plenty of time to go around. You can see how naked and unprepared my consciousness was for this whopper. Though I can’t say I was totally caught off guard – my next blog post will outline what I knew but disregarded. You will also see how life swings like a pendulum back and forth between polarities good and bad. If life itself can be described as the polarities and the space between them then consciousness is the pendulum itself that experiences the full breadth of it all.

It’s been almost a month since everything has happened and it’s only been recently that I’ve felt like I could really absorb what had transpired. The journal is a tribute to time and life – that which my grandma has reminded me does not come in infinite quantities on our world. By looking back at the each individual day can you see how diverse the spectrum of human life can possibly be? Each day – when not part of a routine – seems to be it’s own little world with it’s own little quirks and possibilities. This is why I enjoy vacations so much and feel so much more alive in them even though I may not be one of the more action-oriented people. Actually I take that back – I am action oriented – I can’t sit around and watch shows and movies all day. On the other hand though I am balanced in that I can’t burn day after day doing things on a full schedule without vegging out like we did for this one Hawaii trip. I swear I went through adrenal exhaustion by that time Hawaii was over and I wish I could’ve journaled some of it as all the days are just one big blur at times in which I can’t make out the order of certain events.

In a way the only portion of your life that “counts” per se are the portions you remember. If you forget fragments of life it’s like you’ve never really lived through them at all. It is like the time when you sleep – on the other side of the world things are happening on full blast but they are lost to your abscence of consciousness about them. Even in waking life we throw our conscioussness away and wonder why time just keeps passing by with nothing to show for it. You ever wake up and think, “oh god I’m xx years old already :-o”. There’s a reason shit like that happens. The only parts of life that count are the ones we internalize and process. The parts of life we don’t choose to process and accept routine seem to be days wasted into the void. It’s amazing how bright life can be when it is lived the way meant it to. It’s also amazing how much of life we take each day in the currency of time and just burn it without following our true heart’s desires. How much would life be different if we lived every day fearlessly and did whatever crazy thing we wanted? Is this closer to the truth than we realize? It seems scary to realize that we may have control over the reins of reality if we dare question the fact we are not just beings living out in some sick simulation with hard rules.

The writings are also a tribute to my grandmother who passed away. It is my way of showing that I remember all the final moments before she left. Stuff like that leaves a mark on your being. Psychologists always say that you remember more when you’re emotionally jilted. I guess what they were really trying to say is that you remember more when your consciousnses is all there living life. When you live life everything seems more pronounced and as an effect emotions are jilted alot more easily. Thus you remember – everything. Just like one of the verses in Nine Inch Nail’s song Hurt:

Hurt – Nine Inch Nails

the needle tears a hole
the old familiar sting
try to kill it all away

but I remember everything

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