Monday, September 8, 2008

I Am Not Legend

As I sit by myself at the Las Vegas Hooters Hotel pool on a Monday Morning at 10am, I am reminded of the scene in the movie "I am Legend" where Will Smith sits at the end of a pier waiting to see if there is another member of humanity that is still alive. While this might seem like a far fetched comparison, I would rather deal with homicidal flesh eating zombies from that movie than the sleeveless guys I just walked by at the 3$ blackjack table who are drinking Budweiser at 10am on Monday morning. You know the kind of guys I'm talking about..... small hands.... smells of cabbage.

So while reflecting by the pool filled with a surprising number of people who are able to smoke and swim at the same time, I find myself wondering “why would someone who is turning 30 and who isn’t morally bankrupt be in this situation, and what advice could he give to my friends so that this will never happen to them?”. So in honor of this ethical conundrum and my recent trip to Las Vegas with my friends Jason, Chad, and Walt to celebrate multiple 30th birthdays, I present to you some “Travel Tips for Las Vegas for People Who Don’t Want to Lose a Large Portion of Their Soul” -

Tip 1: “If you book a hotel because it sounds cool to guys, expect to see a lot of guys at that hotel”

Much like Cuba Gooding Junior in Boat Trip, I was a little surprised by the amount of guys at our hotel. But instead a hilarious misunderstanding which booked me on a homosexual cruise, I just chose a hotel because it 1) was reasonably priced, 2) had an in house sports book, 3) had a view of the strip, and most importantly 4) had a flat screen TV in the bathroom (I don't want the score of the Cubs game in 5 minutes when I'm out of the bathroom, I need it now!). Of course much like anyone outside of the Gooding family, I haven’t seen the movie Boat Trip, so there’s a good chance this reference doesn’t make any sense at all.

Chad giving Walt pointers on his performance and drink choice as an extra in Boat Trip II

The name of the hotel we ended up staying at was “THE Hotel”, which lacks both a creative name and a second gender. To give you an idea of the clientele, as we would leave to go buy beer to drink before going out while making jokes about how stupid the name “THE Hotel” is, we would see 4 other guys coming back from buying beer while making jokes about how stupid the name “THE Hotel” is*. It was like looking in a mirror every time we passed the other hotel guests…. But one of those fun house mirrors that changes your appearance to give you spikey hair, expensive jeans, and very strong cologne. The kind of cologne that’s quite pungent….. that stings the nostrils…. which made sense once we learned that the hotel was sponsored by the new scent Tag's Pure Gasoline Body Spray.

* For a full transcript of all the hilarious witty banter about the name of our hotel and our ideas for possible stores like “THE store in the lobby”, “THE place outside the hotel where you get propositioned by hookers”, “THE other place outside the hotel where you get propositioned by hookers”, please shoot me an email and I will send you the hours of comic gold. Gold, Jerry!


Tip 2: “Instead of finding out what day the concert is scheduled, find out what day the concert is scheduled to end”

When we were planning out the trip to Vegas, Chad found out that the rapper Mos Def was playing at the House of Blues at our hotel on Friday night. And since Mos Def is one of my favorite rappers, just behind the “ Hiphopopotamus” and the “Rhymenocerous” ( , we decided it would be a good way to start off the night. The only thing we didn’t do is check to see what time the concert actually started. When he first got there, we assumed the concert started at 8 pm…. Then we found out that the concert officially started at 11:59pm….. then found out that there is an opening act that starts at midnight, and Mos Def won’t go on until 1am…..then found out that Mos Def didn’t actually start until after 2am….. then found out that Mos Def likes to talk a lot between songs and finished after 4:30am……Then was reminded back in the room that while it was “only” 5am in Vegas, but it was after 8am on the east coast, and that I should probably re-evaluate some life choices.


Tip 3: “If partying on the Vegas strip isn’t crazy enough for you, and you need to go to a bar called “Carnaval”, you are probably fun to watch”

On Saturday, after piecing together what was left of our souls from Friday night, we grabbed lunch with Eric, our friend from college. Eric is one of the few people that has somehow found a way to live in Vegas and maintain his sanity and morals. I’m assuming he does this by avoiding going out for drinks with a guy who is in Vegas for the weekend and going through his 1/3 life crisis. He gave us a few suggestions of places to go that night, including a place called “Carnaval” which has no cover and great people watching. I told him that he had us at “hello” “no cover”.

So once we got to the bar, all we had to do is grab a table in the corner just in time for the 11:30pm freak show…. which is totally different than the 12:30am freak show. Highlights from the shows included -

  • One old school dance off with what looked like two extras from the 1980’s movie – Breakin 2: Electric Bugaloo. The only problem was that both contestants in the dance off had one move, so there was never a clear winner…. Just half an hour of two guys doing the same move over and over with a crowd around them waiting for a good time to walk away. There’s only so much poppin and lockin you can watch before you decided to get another bucket of beers.

If only there was a direct correlation between cool dance moves and fluorescent head bands

  • Two cougars (or “aggressive older females searching for young males” for the lay person) from Canada who enjoyed making crude hand and mouth gestures to each other. I don’t think they put together a coherent sentence the entire night, and might have set US/Canadian relations back a few decades.
  • Three guys dancing who didn’t seem to need any drinks or dance partners to get out on the dance floor and dance three times as fast as everyone. These guys loved dancing to the beat of the DJ…. then to the beat of the band….. then to the beat of the band breaking down the equipment…… then to the beat of the bouncer telling them that the music stopped and the club closed 20 minutes ago….. then to beat of the people walking down the street outside the club on their way home. Hopefully they will eventually dance to the beat of an intervention with their close friends and family.

Tip 4: “If you have to switch hotels because you forgot to make reservations for the last night, don’t choose a hotel based on the amount of laughs the name got”

It turns out staying at the Hooters Hotel in Las Vegas is a much more amusing concept than reality. After quickly checking in and quickly making my way through the lobby and casino and up to my room, it took me three showers to wash off the smell of smoke, chicken wings, and sad.

Hooters comes up with a very creative single entendre

But here’s a fun fact for you – the Hooters room service menu does not include wings. You read that right, the Hooters dinner menu at the Hooters hotel that uses the Hooters restaurant to deliver Hooters dinner to Hooters customers in their Hooters rooms, did not have Hooters chicken wings.

This leads me to the final and most important tip……


Tip 5: “It is never too late to second guess your life choices”

The most important lesson that I learned this past weekend is to never ever stay an extra night in Vegas. It might seem like a good time to stay on Sunday night to save some money and get a good story from staying in a gimmicky hotel. It is not. Ever. Under any circumstances. After spending 2 minutes walking through the lobby and another 2 minutes eating food court pizza at the hotel across the street, Chad and I decided to do our best impression of Howard Hughes in his late years and holed ourselves up in the room and watch an Adam Sandler movie*. While this might not sound like a lot of fun to you, to avoid any further contact with Hooters or anything else on the Vegas strip, I would have watched a Hugh Grant movie marathon with Hugh Grant commentary followed by an interview with Hugh Grant talking about how he gets into character for his new role as an awkward but charming british man who falls in love with someone in a totally different social circle. Man, I hate that guy.

* It turns out Howard Hughes was a huge Adam Sandler fan, true story.


So just to review, if you only remember one life lesson from this entire rambling and barely coherent rant, make it a paraphrase of Nancy Reagan’s slogan from the 80’s -

“JUST SAY NO… to your friend who is turning 30 and thinks it would be funny to stay an extra night in Vegas in a hotel that is under $50 a night and has lamps that strangely resemble nipples” .

And you guys didn’t think I knew anything about politics.