Thursday, January 19, 2012

2011 #WPBT Winter Gathering - Day 2

If you go to the WPBT winter gathering and don't at least one new thing, you ain't doin' it right.

This photo on the left, U.S. District Court building for the District of Nevada. While I don't think I'd recommend this as top destination when traveling to Las Vegas, I would recommend going there for the reason I did.

Let's roll back the clock to the night before. I pretty much spent the night drinking beer. A +1 in my book. To top that off, I played CRAPS! Huh? It's true, until that night, I had never wagered a single penny playing craps. I think I wager more than that on that night but I totally enjoyed playing. As I remember, bloggers had pretty much taken over a table. I remember Drizz on my left, ThisIsNotApril on my right, and going counter clockwise were the Luckbox, his brother, Astin and a really foggy haze of people that for the life of me, I can't remember.

Want to know my losing strategy? I did what April did. As it turns out, she was doing what the Luckbox was doing. Well he was playing Eastern Midwest strategy and trying to out play Astin who was play super duper optimal South Eastern Canadian more optimal style. Near as I can figure, I got drunker and lost $50 in the process. Wee! CK stopped by and informed me that throwing two points was good. Double Weee!

All of this drinking led to me somehow getting back to the IP safely. A Las Vegas miracle. I was able to keep myself organized, cuz I was totally ready for Friday morning. Please keep in mind, I average 17 hours of sleep for the entire weekend over the times I've gone. That's 4 hours and 15 minutes a night. I believe the motto is "you can sleep when you're dead". Anywho, I was totally ready for Friday morning (I think I said that...). PokerVixen had asked if I would like to attend her swearing in to become a US citizen.

Ya! First, how cool is that. I felt really quite honored to even be asked. Second, it's really an amazing process. I took some pictures before they reminded us that it was in fact a court of law and photos were prohibited. Oops. No fear, it happens all the time. Problem is, I won't share any of those pictures. Some people really like their anonymity. I respect that. But let's not forget, Congrats! Welcome to America!

We finished up the ceremony and headed out for breakfast. As is a reoccurring theme for me in Las Vegas, I was starving. It's feast or famine I tell ya. PV and her friends took me to Du-Par's in the Gold Gate casino. You can see it there on the left.

Actually a very interesting diner feel inside. I like diners. I didn't take a picture of it but they claim on their menu to have been told by Esquire magazine that they have the best pancakes. I told you I was starving, right? I ordered the big stack, with bacon.

Pancakes were decent, they definitely made me lose that starving feeling. The bacon was a bit too crisp but tasted like bacon which makes most things better. All in all, the company was awesome and the food was quite satisfying. Nomnom.

Below is something we found kinda cool. This was on the placemats(?) I really liked 1933.


After leaving the Golden Gate, I needed to hook up with Astin and BrainMc. Vixen needed to change cloths. It was time for the annual trip to the Neon Graveyard.
The trip back to the strip went smoothly. Traveling with Vixen is great. She's pretty much a native now so just zooms. Through seemingly random communication, we decided to drop me off at Caesars and I'd walk to Aria and meet the other guys. This allowed Vixen an easy escape from the Strip and would ride with the guys. I sorta know the way back. (The museum is the complete opposite end of Las Vegas Blvd). What could go wrong?
Here's some touristy photos I took of the Bellagio on the way to Aria. Cloudy in Vegas isn't pretty. Welcome to Decemember.


I think with a deep blue sky, I'd be a lot happier with these.


Seems like every year, there are more street performers.


The decor at Aria seemed to be getting mixed reviews from everyone. I loved the theme of these enormous Christmas tree ornaments. I just never could find the right angle. I like this shot the best.


We agreed to meet at the front desk of Aria. BrainMc had rented a car. He would drive, but first we needed to catch a ride to the IP. It was parked there. Into a cab we go. So far so good. At the IP, BrainMc remembers his car is parked in a ramp, but not the normal ramp. A different one. One with doggy tracks leading to it. (Huh?) We go out a door and into another door and then up some stairs and then back down the stairs. We go back into the IP and try going down some stairs and then back up some stairs, then through a door, and back in the door, maybe an elevators? Maybe not. How about this door? These stairs? Hey! There's the doggy foot prints and the potty grass for the dogs out behind the IP? I had no idea.

Never fear. We have cell phones!

While I love being a free spirit, I'm a free spirit with document organized. TripIt is an awesome tool. You should check it out. I store all of my travel info there...like the number for the Neon Graveyard. I called to tell them we were coming, there was just now way we could violate the traffic laws fast enough to get through the traffic on the interstate. Wasn't gonna happen. Not a problem really, they were just explaining the rules. I filled the guys in on them on the way. We were good.

I think this was my 3rd visit here. I don't want to imply that people shouldn't go here. I really do enjoy it, but it's been 3 years and I keep hearing that next year, they will have a visitor center and we can visit any time of the day. It's not done yet. The tour is pretty much the same tour I took last year only the calendar is a year older. The place is still pretty neat but as you can see from the pictures, they look a bit like last years. I know Astin took some great ones, and I think everyone enjoyed it. I just need to do something different next year. Pinball Hall of Fame? Nuclear Testing Museum?


They did a great job on this sign. Notice how now the sky is a deep blue. Sigh.


The following are some of the random shots I got while taking the tour. I haven't spent a lot of time post-processing them.




Every year, I try to get a cool shot of this guy. Every year. Astin's is better.


I like abstract rusting metal. I'm gonna spend some time with this one in Lightroom.


Sky all washed out again. Grr.


Not sure what a neon bar is.


Letters are EVERYWHERE. OhCountess is probably gonna make some of those letters as words signs. If you want one, let me know.



The next two have potential for something. I'm gonna try to spend some time getting the colors right.



O.C. Fat Kings?


This post is brought to you by the letter 'S'


Astin futzin' with his camera. Musta worked. He got some good ones.


After leaving the graveyard, we headed back to the Strip. I was actually not feeling good about now. I must be getting old cuz I kinda just wanted to lay down for a while. I plugged my phone in to charge for a few minutes and time passed magically and when the long blink ended. It was time to head to Aria for blogger cash games. Ahhhhh...poker.

On the way, I shot this. Notice the "celebrity" photo ops all over Vegas? Seems the locals aren't all happy about these guys. Some of them are bad guys. I found one article, an op-ed piece. The guys seemed harmlessly annoying to me. There were a lot less clicker people this year.

The sites of Las Vegas.


Next up, the cash game, a roller coaster, the big tournament, some more photo walks and probably the coolest blogger experience ever.

5 comments:

Memphis MOJO said...

Great photos, thanks for sharing!

Astin said...

Had fun on the boneyard walk, and in hindsight, the search for paw prints too.

Nice shots. I like the Aria balls. They're still up in the lobby, and I still don't know how to get a good angle on them.

BrainMc said...

I love how my brilliant parking clue saved the day, NOT! I was getting sick to my stomach worrying about effin up the tour for you and Astin. I could have made much better time if half of the Nevada state patrol hadn't been on the interstate.

lightning36 said...

Great pictures, Tim. Time for you to create the special Oh Captain Las Vegas portfolio?

Ronnel Sahagun said...
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