Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Vegas pt. 2: near deaf experience

NOTE: I apologize for not pasting photos directly into this entry, but no matter how many times I try to resize them in Photobucket, they show up as fucking enormous! I have no idea what the problem is, and yes, I'm saving my changes. If you have any insight, or suggestions for a more user-friendly free photo sharing service, I would be most grateful.

Anyway, instead of making you wait five hours for the pictures to load, I decided to just post a link to the actual photos, and you can take a gander if you have any interest. All pictures are safe for work.

On Tuesday morning, I got out of bed and stumbled to the bathroom, where I took a monster whiz and brushed my teeth. Then I took out the earplug in my right ear and reached up to take out the left one too.

"Stubborn little fucker," I grumbled, trying to get hold of it. But it was wedged so tightly in there that I couldn't get it out. Because I always leave a "ledge" for easy removal, I have no idea why it was pushed in so far; my best guess is that I scratched my ear in my sleep and pushed it in too far. I tried to use a Q-tip to break the seal, which didn't work, and then what little I was able to grasp crumbled off between my fingers. At that point I figured I'd better quit fucking around, so I called the concierge.

"Um, hi," I began. "This is kind of embarrassing, but I can't get one of my earplugs out and I was wondering if there's an urgent care center nearby?"

The concierge, who I imagine has heard of much worse things being stuck in much worse places considering that he works in a popular Las Vegas hotel, calmly told me that the Walgreens just down the block had an urgent care center inside. Then he added that the same thing had happened to his brother, and a hot shower had helped to dislodge the earplug. I thanked him profusely and proceeded to do just that.


So after blowdrying my hair, scarfing down a Luna Bar so I wouldn't pass out from hunger, and getting dressed, I walked to Walgreens, where a very nice nurse with a heavy Minnesota accent extracted the offending item. Then she irrigated my ear and all sorts of interesting stuff came out, including lots of little pink shredded bits of earplug. "Happens all the time, dontcha know," she said cheerfully as I forked over my credit card.

I decided to celebrate my return to the land of the hearing with a plate of red velvet pancakes at Sugar Factory. They came with little cups of maple syrup, cream cheese frosting, and white chocolate shavings, and they were fabulous. It was like eating birthday cake for breakfast, which I mean as a major compliment. I wasn't able to finish them because they were so rich, but I sure enjoyed trying.

From there, I kept walking and took a detour on a side street to visit the Guardian Angel Cathedral. (I was relieved when I didn't burst into flame immediately upon entering the sanctuary.) It was a welcome, if short, respite from the hustle and bustle of the strip. They're famous for their unusual stained glass windows, including this one. (I didn't take this picture; mine came out blurry so I found it online.)

I stopped in 7-11 to buy a Coke Zero, which I only mention because I finally found out why it's so hard to find Coke products in Las Vegas outside of grocery/convenience stores (and, of course, the World of Coca-Cola on the strip). J said it's because Pepsi is owned by Mormons and Las Vegas has a huge Mormon population. Which is all fine and dandy, but I have a pretty serious Coke Zero addiction, so the Pepsi monopoly in Vegas is annoying for me.

(UPDATE: I just checked online, and according to several sources, this is just a rumor. So why, then? WHY?!?!?)

Many years ago, on a trip to Vegas with my brother, we stayed at Circus Circus and it was a fucking dive. That (and my fear of clowns) didn't stop me from taking a picture of their iconic sign.

By this point, my feet were killing me, so I started making my way back to Planet Hollywood, stopping here and there to use the bathroom or lose money in the slot machines. Something I noticed that I didn't see much of last year: lots of people in costume wandering up and down the street, posing for pictures in exchange for a buck or two. And man, we are talking some low-rent shitty costumes, like a Hello Kitty who looked like she'd just been rescued from an alley and a dejected Cookie Monster. The only exception to this sad display was an excellent Bumblebee (of Transformers fame) posing in front of the Fashion Show Mall.

Oh, and when I was on one of the pedestrian bridges, a dude waved at me and said, "Hey, I like your shirt!" and I was like "OMG, Daniel Tosh just complimented my shirt!" But no; as I got closer, I realized it wasn't Daniel Tosh, but someone who looked an awful lot like him. And as soon as I got about two feet away, Not!Tosh said, "Hey, can we talk for a moment about why you're so unhappy?"

"Uh, I'm not unhappy at all," I said, trying to move forward, but he stepped to the side and blocked my path.

"Because I used to be unhappy like you," Not!Tosh continued, completely ignoring what I'd just said, "until I discovered [religion redacted]."

Okay, no. I made a hasty excuse and accepted the pamphlet he gave me, which I stuffed into my purse for later disposal.

Once I got back to Planet Hollywood, my poor abused feet were absolutely screaming at me, and no wonder; I looked it up later and it turns out I had walked just slightly under 6 miles! I was starving out of my mind, so I bought a Pink's hot dog and a Coke Zero and went back to my room to eat. Pink's is a Los Angeles institution, but I'd never had it before, and more's the pity because it was so fucking GOOD. I was glad that I took it to my room instead of eating in public where I'd embarrass myself with my O noises. I finished up, brushed my teeth, and crawled under the covers for a nice long nap. (No earplugs this time!)

I slept for a couple of hours, and then I called J and regaled him with my morning's adventures. As soon as he heard about the earplug fiasco, he burst into hysterical laughter.

"Thanks," I said dryly.

"I'm sorry, but seriously, only you! You have to be the most accident prone person I've ever met!"

We met up downstairs and drove to the Pinball Museum. When we got there, we noticed a store next door called A Gamer's Paradise, so we went there first. No lies detected in their name; they had used games for pretty much every system you can think of, including Commodore 64 and Dreamcast. Their prices were good, so I called Glenn to see if he wanted me to look for anything, and then I told him about my earplug accident.

Cue uproarious laughter from Glenn and a heavy sigh from me.

After hanging up, I bought Cactaur (Final Fantasy) and Jigglypuff (Pokemon) magnets as souvenirs, and then we went next door to the Pinball Museum. They had hundreds of machines, ranging from super old school to newer models. I've always been a big pinball fan, so I cashed in a couple of bucks and played for a while.

No I will not play with Peppy! BAD TOUCH STRANGER DANGER

Parking for badasses only; all others will be towed

Next up, we went to Fremont Street to watch the light show. The theme this time around was "American Pie", which involved lots of iconic American imagery and, inexplicably, go-go dancers rubbing their tits.

Vegas Vickie

Entrance to east Fremont Street

Then it was time for dinner at the famous Heart Attack Grill!

Over 350 pounds eats free (Which is a strange business model when you think about it)

Hello nurse!

Riffing on the famous Vegas sign

Oh my god, it was AWESOME. As soon as we walked in, a waitress (dressed in a skimpy nurse outfit that made Hooters waitresses look Amish) tied hospital gowns around our necks. She led us past a vending machine selling cartons of Lucky Strikes, seated us, and handed us menus featuring butterfat shakes, Flatliner Fries (fried in real lard), and Bypass Burgers. I managed to get through maybe half of my burger and a third of my fries before giving up. On the way out, emboldened by the atmosphere, I hopped on the scale in the middle of the room and it broadcast my weight to the entire restaurant. Horrified, I jumped off and J said, "You are quite possibly the bravest woman in the world for doing that."

Our final stop of the night was Insert Coin(s), a combination arcade and bar. Arcade machines lined the back walls, and they had comfortable couches where you could play console games for free as long as you were drinking. J and I perused the "menu", and he was curious about Resident Evil 6, so the server set us up. Initially I thought we'd be able to play split screen, but I forgot about the mandatory prelude.

"Oops," I said. "Sorry, I'll get us past this part as quick as I can and then we can play co-op."

When Leon appeared on screen, J put down his cigarette and let out a low appreciative whistle. "Hello, pretty."

"Right?!?" I cried, pointing a finger at the screen. "Look at that gorgeous floppy-haired piece of tasty pixilated ass! Now you see why I've crushed on him since 1998!"

Unfortunately, the game started glitching and I kept getting killed in the same area over and over again. A server came over to see what was going on, and as I swore at the screen, J said, "She has this game at home and got way past this part, but something's going wrong here."

"Huh," the server said in a voice that implied he didn't believe J, and I was like BITCH DO NOT EVEN BEGIN TO DOUBT MY GAMING CREDENTIALS OR I WILL PWN YOU AND EVERYBODY YOU LOVE.

Finally, I gave up on getting past the glitchy part, and we decided to try Lollipop Chainsaw instead. We played until our mandatory drinks (amaretto sours for me) got too expensive, and then we left and headed back to the Golden Nugget. A confused and quite pretty guy got on the elevator with us, and J said, "What floor are you on?"

"I don't even know," the man said wistfully. "I can't find my car."

As soon as he got off, I asked, "Gay or European?" and J said, "Honey, is there a difference?"

Back at Planet Hollywood, J dropped me off and I went upstairs to pop some Tums (that Bypass Burger did a number on my guts, I tell you what) and take a long hot bubble bath while reading an assortment of trashy magazines. Earplug incident aside, I couldn't have asked for a much better day.