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Aging reminds me that my own level of happiness is directly proportionate to my level of gratitude for all the great things in my life. It’s too easy for me to get pulled into my own cynical spiraling thought suck.  So, when asked to take a 2-day trip to scope out a resort/spa in Las Vegas for the upcoming annual company meeting, I knew there were definitely worse jobs to have.

Let me qualify this by saying, I HATE “events.”  At least at the work level.  Conferences, trade shows, sales meetings and employee picnics in the parking lot all suck the same amount of ass. And if you work in marketing, it’s one of the WORST assignments you can get (outside of the company newsletter – which reminds me, I’m already behind on my October deadline). Event planning is typically reserved for the up-and-coming, fresh-from-college, marketing dynamo ready to pay their dues in the trenches.  Or, in this case, me.

Oh, did I mention that we actually have an Events Manager, and it’s not me? I’d like not to speculate too much on how I get picked for these things, but something tells me it’s closely related to my love of theater-in-the-round and my culinary contributions to the quarterly pot luck.  Hi, HR? It’s me, Scott, and they’ve done it to me again.  Hello?  Are you there?

…dial-tone.

And here’s the primary reason why I hate corporate events:

Event Day Question from Mr. Jr. Manager of Up My Ass goes something like this:

“Hey, Scott, didn’t we agree that Huey Lewis & the News would be in the lobby singing a Back to the Future medley when guests arrive? (the theme of the week-long event is invariably ‘Focus on theFuture’ or ‘Destination Tomorrow’  — Gag).

“Yes, sir (Jr. Assistant to the Director of SouthEast Operations, CO2 Division), but remember you cut the budget back in August and suggested we play  Muzak versions of REO Speedwagon and Loverboy pumped in through my iPod to save money?”

“Oh, I don’t remember that, we really should have seen if Huey was available.”

So, the first of 75 semi-executives who will ask me about the welcome music has already sort of, in an Office Space, slippery, cock-sucking way, made me feel like I’ve either dropped an important detail or could have done better.  No probs, only 74 more insults to go before the first Sales Rep (code for drunken sex-starved workshop participant) arrives.

Luckily the event isn’t for another 35 days and I’m blowing (grin) into Vegas for three days and with two goals. # 1 – To make sure all the meeting rooms for the November event will have easels, sticky note flipcharts and enough Sharpies for all the team-building bull shit, ahem “value-added workshops,” we have planned. #2 – Hit The Strip to find the best slab of red meat for less than $50/head (steaks, not hookers).

Time permitting –  I have a third and informal objective to see the new Chandelier bar at The Cosmopolitan.  It’s the world’s largest chandelier, according to Jesus (hay-soos) at my hotel, and he tells me it’s not only a captivating light source, but it also acts as a three-story lounge, serving cinnamon-fire-ball cocktails producing an exhalation of red smoke after each sip. So, a 3-floor hanging lamp with a 4-alarm-kerosine-laced libation.  Yeah, I’m booked solid.

The day-long trek to Sin City was a bitch, but I’m happy to report that my 1st goal of “meeting-room-supply inventory” was quickly crossed off my pink and purple Hello Kitty clipboard checklist. Maybe I am the best person for this job?  Shrug of self-realization/acceptance.

I had less than 3 hours to find the ideal “Strip Steak” and to get to that chandelier bar thingy.  Oh, did I mention, I’m cheap? A cover charge is my kryptonite and if forced, I would rather fight busloads of Asians at the Bellagio fountain light show then pay for a picture of the light/bar/cinnamon thing.

The fountain show is free,  starts at 8pm and is set to “My Heart Will Go On.”  And, although I’ve grown to detest Celine in my older years (she’s a Canadian whore — okay, maybe not a whore, but definitely a chode — yes, Celine Dion is a Canadian chode– and fuck you Renee — what  are  you looking at anyway? –fuckin’ old man Canadian weirdo) it’s gratis.

I hit The Strip and began snapping photos/videos as I made my way from the Riviera to The Cosmo.

First stop…dinner.  I think it’s safe to say that it was a little darker than we had expected.  I will tell you that it was recommended to us as the best steakhouse on the Strip and was Zagat’s 2011 Top Steak House in Las Vegas.  We’re not entirely sure what we ate, but we think think it was steak and it was fantastic.

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Same meal, with a flash.  The hotel is a dump, but Circus Circus is where you’re going to get the best bang for your buck (food-wise — wink) and leave more than satisfied.  This is the 24oz Prime Rib, medium rare, with carrots and baker.  It also came with a salad and a variety of breads.  $50 bucks for everything!!! Meat Mission accomplished.

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Here’s a pic of Circus Circus as seen in a reflection from the Riviera.  Both hotels are way past their prime, but slumming it for an awesome meal is well worth it, and the caliber of guests they attract is equally as fascinating to watch.  Just at another level.  This will be the restaurant I recommend for a group dinner in November (reminder, I’m a very important person, with a very important job).

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Another block or two past the Korean BBQ and 24-liquor store, I happened upon the Encore.  I was asked not to use the South Entrance reserved for their “suiter” guests and was directed to the main entrance. Clearly he doesn’t recognize a high roller when he sees one.  Maybe that’s why he hasn’t been promoted to the North Entrance yet.  What a loser.

Some additional highlights follow.

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tulips

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From the Encore, I made my way through Wynn, Treasure Island, The Mirage, Caesars’s, and the last stop before The Cosmo…The Bellagio, where the only thing better than

hungry

the fountain show, was this little honey wobbling through the Casino in an outfit she got when she was nine.

It was kind of like watching Little Orphan Annie at the age of 30 still wearing the same dress (including size), smoking and drinking looking for God knows what.  My guess is that she has friends who told her not to do it, but she is the type of person who doesn’t listen.  She won’t go to bed alone, that’s for sure, and she definitely won’t wake up disease free.

Finally, I had made it to the Cosmo, and I was feeling a bit wobbly myself. Imagine what you will here, but it didn’t involve intoxicants, because I’m old, boring, bald and fat (so, yes I’m the target demographic, but remember, I’m cheap too).

At last the Cosmo and the crazy 3-floor hanging light bars.  Yes, “they were real”, and yes “they were spectacular.”  But, I was running on fumes and needed to get back to Hay-soos and my comfy bed for an early flight the next morning.

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So, with clipboard still in hand, I was able to call it a night and went to bed very grateful for the lasting image of Miss Hungry Bum’s snatch forever etched in my otherwise short-term memory.

And yes, for my job, I am also grateful.  I could be digging ditches or pouring hot tar on an August afternoon, but instead I’m drowning in exponential-over-indulgence in charge of avoiding an “Adverse Event” come November.

Crap I forgot to tip Hay-soos!

Rookie

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