Sunday, October 04, 2009

One More Round of the Madness

I must be getting old. Three days of buffoonery with the varsity drunks from T2V damn near killed me. Well, maybe it wasn't that extreme, but September Madness certainly put a hurtin' on me. It took me all week to recover, and I'm still popping aspirin six days later. I'll probably need to train for March if I want to keep up...

Anyhow, after the booze cabinet finally went together last Friday afternoon, I barely had enough time to take a shower and get dressed--Doc Al's plane was about 45 minutes early and I'd promised to pick him up at the airport.

Instead of meeting at the baggage claim Starbucks where I normally gather up the folks I pick up at the airport, once I got on the road, I called Doc and just told him to scurry across to the parking garage and take the elevator to the Excalibur level, where I'd be arriving in about five minutes. That was easy enough and just about the time I pulled up next to the elevator, he stepped off. Our weekend was underway.

The entire crew was staying at the MGM Grand, and Angy had booked an extra room for Al on the same floor, so that's where we headed. No need to hit the liquor store or drugstore first, as Miyagi so famously said, "Buddha provide", so we arrived empty-handed, save for one carry-on bag. Standing there at the valet, we had our first only-in-Vegas moment, as we saw an outrageously hot blond gal get out a mini-van wearing what appeared to be just a tank top and panties. Maybe she had some shoes, but our gaze never made it that far. And being out of practice, she disappeared while we were both fumbling for our cell phones, hoping to catch a quick photo...

Once we got inside, we called Angy to find out which room we were supposed to go to, and all she said was It's the room at the end of the hallway on the 15th floor. I don't know the room number.

Um, how's about maybe you go to the door and check it for us, since there are four hallways at the MGM Grand, once you get off the elevator, and each one is about a quarter mile long. It would suck to have to walk two miles if we guessed completely wrong...

Turns out, she wasn't exactly in the room at the time, she was up on the 17th floor, preparing the Terrace Suite for the party later that night. But the 'living' room was based down on the 15th floor. Eventually we figured out where we were supposed to go, and we knew we were headed in the right direction when we could smell the cigarette smoke about 30 feet from double doors at the end of the hallway. Yep, definitely a sign that Sticky, Angy, Sin, and Renae were there--chain smokers, all.

We knocked on the door and were greeted by all the gals--hugs all around, help yourself to a beer in the fridge, sit down, join the party... Besides the Cribs-style Terrace Suite upstairs, Angy had rented out an extremely pimped out two-bedroom suite for the gals to live in that served as the Mother Ship for the entire weekend. It was huge, and had a big damn dining room table and a bar, in addition to lots of extra couches and chairs, so entertaining was not a problem.

We spent some time catching up, then Angy came downstairs and gave Doc Al his room key--his room was on the same floor, in the same wing, about halfway back to the central hub where the elevators were. A couple of the gals accompanied Doc to his room, while I stayed in the suite, enjoying a cold Corona and the company of a few ladies.

Apparently, the gals had decorated Doc's room for him. There was an inflatable donkey in the bed, wearing the famous 'Superstar' panties from March Madness, condoms scattered about, and lots and lots of reeking crab and mussel shells.

Waaay back in the day, a bunch of us went to the Bally's Sterling Brunch one Sunday morning, and Angy had kept all the lobster shells and snuck them out in her purse. She also had a key to Doc Al's room at the time, and while he was off gambling that afternoon, she filled up the pillowcases with the shells. They were quite ripe by the time he made it back to the room the next morning, and ever since then, it's been an ongoing prank. I guess the gals had gone to dinner at SeaBlue the night before, kept all the empty shells, and then used them to class up the room before Doc arrived.

Mission accomplished--it stunk to high heaven in there. Heh.

He was a good sport about it, and there were a few pictures taken. Luckily, the gals weren't too cruel and decided to *not* put shells in the air vents, and somebody had also brought along some Febreze, so the room was habitable by that night.

Anyhow, we hung out in the main suite until around 7 o'clock, then, like a mass sponge migration, everyone headed up to the Terrace Suite on 17th floor. For those of you who've never seen one, I highly recommend it. It's a nice room, but even better, it's got a huge balcony that overlooks the south Strip, everything from NYNY all the way down to Mandalay Bay.

Not only was there an abundance of booze and at the bar, but room service had hooked us up with a full on buffet of cold cuts, condiments, bread, fruit, and cheese, plus several trays of chocolate dipped strawberries. And out on the patio there was a party tub filled with beer on ice. Angy is definitely the hostess with the mostess.

Now, my plan was to just hang out and go to the party for a couple of hours, and I guess that the original plan was that it was just going to be a happy-hour type of gathering, but as time went on, it got to be a full-on blowout, and since there was plenty of booze on hand, well, we kept it going until the wee hours. And there was plenty of buffoonery to be had. Let's look at a few pictures, shall we?

Scottie, Marty, Doc, and I pour out a sip in honor of our homies who couldn't be there. (Sonya, T, we're lookin' at YOU!)

Cheran is obsessed with making sure everyone has nametags, like we're at a convention or a VFW picnic or something, but we rarely use them for their intended purpose. In fact, most of the tags are slightly irreverent, as you can imagine. My favorites were Marty's that simply said Do Not Resuscitate or Tara's that said If you think I'm hot now, just wait till the Beer Goggles kick in. I think mine said If we wake up together, my name is Mikey. If you wind up pregnant, my name is Terry... Doc Al, of course, was sporting a variety of tags by the end of the evening.

I call this one "Imminent Derailment"

Me and mah bitches. Actually, I think they were Snert's bitches, I just borrowed them for awhile. That's Tara, Mikey, and Shawna.

Andrea, Haidy, Angy, and Sandra. This must've been taken early in the evening, as all of them still have their clothes on.

Just like Clemens on steroids, Angy and Cheran can still bring the heat, even from the far side of forty.

This is what the camera doesn't show, every time a picture is taken at a T2V gathering.

Al and Snert in a moment of male bonding. All the gals must've been in the bathroom at the time.

Marty, Sticky, Snert, and Sin. In the poker world, I think they're known as 'railbirds'.

Just a group shot on the patio--looking through all my pictures, I don't think I got a single decent photo of the view we had up there, but believe me, it was excellent. On the other hand, it looks like Sin was actually shocked at the latest indecent proposal sent her way.

Van, Sticky, and Wilson from 'Home Improvement'.

It was a helluva party, and I had a great time. I got to catch up with a lot of old friends who I hadn't heard from in months, and Sticky and I actually had a really nice conversation for awhile. We haven't talked in what seems like forever--there was a little awkwardness there--but it's all water under the bridge now and we had a good time together. And not only that, but because everyone there is just plain damn funny, I laughed my ass off all night.

The party started to wind down around 1:30 in the morning--I know, early for Vegas, but then again, we started at seven. Some folks started trickling off to their rooms, but there was a contingent of die-hards that wanted to go to Carnaval Court before it closed at three, then head to the Peppermill for the inevitable early morning breakfast.

Way too tired to participate, and way too drunk to drive home, Doc Al graciously offered me the use of the extra bed in the Seafood Suite. I left with the Die Hards, but halfway to the elevator, I said goodbye to the caravan of drunks about to be unleashed on the Vegas Strip and took advantage of Al's generous offer, on the condition that he didn't try to spoon up with me when he got back later.

I kicked off the shoes and the smokey outer layer of clothing, washed my face, and hit the bed. Oh my dear god those beds at MGM are comfy. I swear, I thought the ones at TheHotel were the best, but that bed at MGM was just pure awesomeness. I crashed, hard, not stirring again for a couple of hours until I heard the drunks rolling down the hallway like an incoming thunderstorm. For a moment I felt bad for all the guests who had the bad fortune of staying in the east wing of the 15th floor at MGM that weekend. They got no sleep.

Doc Al gave me a brief rundown of the experience, and it was pretty much what I guessed--drunken buffoonery followed by lots of toast. We closed the curtains against the approaching sunrise, and finally called it a night.

Sometime around 10:30 or so, we started to stir. I had no extra clothes with me, having not planned on sticking around but for a couple of hours on Friday night, but I was caught up in the whirlwind by that time. We were both pretty damn hungry, so we decided to hike over to America over at NYNY. I'd worry about clothes later.

Now, even though MGM and NYNY are right across the street from each other, and connected by a catwalk, we were at the far east end of the property, and it was a hike to get to the restaurant. It did us good, working the kinks out, and luckily there was no waiting for a table by the time we got to the cafe.

I've been to America many many times, and I know a lot of people swear by the place, but me, I've never thought it was that great. In fact, I'm pretty much over it. Their service is a little sketchy, the prices are a bit high, and the food ain't that great. This latest visit confirmed my opinion--we both had a serving of the driest pancakes in captivity, and even though it was an all-you-can-eat deal for like $5.99, each of us could only eat two of 'em before giving up.

Over breakfast, Doc Al pointed out the obvious fact that I was now officially part of the gathering, and like a street gang, I couldn't leave unless I were dead. Blood in, blood out. I agreed, and so after we paid the check, we headed back over to the valet at MGM to fetch the truck. We drove back over here to the bachelor pad, and I propped Al up on the couch to doze in front of the Wisconsin game while I showered and gathered a few belongings in a suitcase.

Thankfully we never made it to a sports book that morning, as I was planning on betting heavy on Miami. While getting dressed and packed, we watched the highlights of Va Tech kicking the crap out of them and both gave a sigh of relief--another bullet dodged.

Once I had all my gear packed for a couple of nights at the hotel, we headed back towards the Strip. I had to stop and get gas, so while we were doing that, I picked up some bottles of Coke and water, and also a few packs of smokes for my gals Sin and Sticky--they were paying $8.50 a pack at the casino, but at the gas station, it was only five bucks or so. So I grabbed some Marlboro reds for Sin and some Lights for Sticky, hoping at the very least that it would bring some good gambling karma (although, I hadn't gambled a cent at the time).

We got back to the hotel, ditched my suitcase, and headed back down towards the end of the hallway to hang out with the girls. Sticky, Marty, Snert, and a few others had gone to Treasure Island, but there was still a decent-sized crew at the MGM. We just hung out in the suite for the afternoon, having a few drinks, socializing, and I'm embarrassed to admit it, watching Jerry Maguire. (Once it was over, however, the gals obliged us by letting us watch some football).

Eventually, we made plans to have dinner at Isla at 6:00 pm. I managed to get us a reservation for 12 people, but when it got down to it, our party was down to six--Me, Doc, Sin, Patty, Linnie, and Angy. Four of us got there first, and chilled at the bar drinking strawberry margaritas. Yes, they were quite tasty. Doc Al and Linnie eventually showed up, and we made our way to the table.

More margaritas were ordered, and we dug into the chips and salsa--everyone loved the chipotle, and we also ordered some shrimp ceviche, some guacamole, and a dish of queso fundido with chorizo. For some reason, the only picture we took at dinner was of the queso. So, here ya go:

It was damn tasty, too, and a big hit with everyone. Eventually we got around to ordering a proper dinner, and I think five of us ordered the steak and shrimp special of the day. It turned out much better than it sounded--a marinated sirloin cut, covered in spiced and sauteed veggies, with three large grilled shrimp on top. Of course it came with rice, beans, and tortillas, too, and everyone loved it.

As much fun as we were having, we couldn't linger for too long--we had to get back to the hotel and get ready for our evening out. Anyhow, after dinner, we bypassed the peasants in the taxi line and piled into a waiting limo, which took us back up to the MGM. We had about an hour and half before the party bus was meeting us downstairs for our night at the Voodoo Lounge, so everyone split up to shower, get dressed, and make themselves pretty.

At 9:30, the herd, now dressed up and looking good, had gathered outside the limo staging area and a few minutes later, our chariot arrived. We all piled on, and for the first time, it was a party bus ride that didn't have a single drop of alcohol involved. Actually, even though it was almost ten o'clock at night, the day was pretty much just getting started, and there was a quiet, subdued vibe going on. No dancing, no drinking, not much buffoonery at all. I swear the driver must've thought that he had the lamest group of partiers ever to cut loose on a Saturday night in Vegas. It was like a bunch of retirees heading from the rest home to the outlet mall for their monthly outing...

This was the extent of the buffoonery on the Party Bus as we made our way over to the Rio. I feel so ashamed.

It was a short, and quiet, limo ride, and just as we were pulling into the Rio, I told Marty that it was so quiet I kinda felt like Ox arriving at boot camp in Stripes. So of course the first thing out of his mouth when we saw a uniformed security guard at the hotel entrance was, How's it goin', Eisenhower?


Angy had arranged for a VIP area and bottle service up on the roof at the Voodoo Lounge, and a few minutes later, we were escorted up by her host at the Rio--private elevator, private entrance, and a grand spectacle as we made our way through the teeming masses to our roped-off couches. Actually, since it was only 10 pm, the masses hadn't really started to teem just yet, but still, it was pretty cool to walk through like a bunch of D-list celebrities.

Now, I've never been one for that whole VIP concept, and especially bottle service. I would never ever ever in a million years cough up $300 for a bottle of Captain Morgan, or $350 for some Crown, just for the privilege of being able to sit down in a club. But I see the attraction now. Angy, Marty, and Snert had arranged for all of us to have a high-end good time, and I believe we had 12 bottles to start with. The bill must've been staggering, but hey, you only live once, right?

So we had a huge roped off area up against the rail, overlooking the Vegas strip, right next to the dance floor. We had tons of booze, an endless supply of ice, mixers, and garnishes, and the hottest damn cocktail waitress I've ever seen. As smokin' hot as she is in the picture, it doesn't even come close to her real-life hotness. Behold:

That's easily the best picture of Marty, EVAR. In fact, brothaman said he was gonna have a copy made into a huge Fathead and have it mounted over his bed.

But that's not the only picture that was taken--here are a few more to give you the 'flava' of the evening:

Everyone was a big fan of Tara's legs. Especially the fellas.

It wouldn't be a proper night at the club without a few Hawaiian Tropic gals in attendance. I had to snap a few close-ups, too.

Cocktails in the foreground, Bellagio in the background. Vegas, baby. Vegas.

The beginnings of the bottle service. It didn't look that way for very long.

Dancing With The Stars, Sticky-style. You just know she was thinking something like "Damn, my partner better keep his zipper up until the end of the song..."

Of course, the gals in the neighboring VIP area couldn't resist the gravitational pull of our merry band, so they came over to dance with us.

Another view of our waitress...

Me, Angy, and Doc, doing what we do best.

The gals of T2V

It was also Angy's birthday that weekend, so we secretly passed the hat and raised enough money to get a couple of magnums of Cristal sent over. We raised a toast to her--with real glasses this time, not paper cups--and wished her a happy one. Good times--I'm tellin' ya, this group just knows how to have fun in Vegas.

I really wish I had more pictures of our gang at the club, but there is a reason--first of all, a lot of the pictures are somewhat naughty, and maybe not safe for work, and definitely not safe for some folk's dignity, so those stay in the vault. And the batteries in my camera died later that night, so my picture-taking wrapped up earlier than most. But trust me when I say that we had a great time. Even though I'm not a 'club' kind of guy, we really had a fantastic evening up there. It probably helped that I met a nice gal and spent an hour snuggling with her on the couch. Oh and guess what her name was...


For real, yo.

Anyhow, here we be:

There was no deal-closing, however. She was with her married friend, and that's a tough obstacle to overcome even for the best of wingmen. Besides that, by the time we hooked up, I'd pretty much lost my voice entirely, but we still had a nice time together.

Around 3:00 am, I was spent. I'd had a drink in my hand for five hours straight, I danced, partied, schmoozed, flirted, took pictures, and just carried on like a typical buffoon all night long. A few of our party had trickled off back to their respective hotel rooms, the luckier ones with new friends in tow. And the really lucky ones with two friends in tow. I'm not naming any names, though. Me? I made my way down to the cabstand by myself and headed back over to the MGM.

In a stunning coincidence that defies all odds, just as I was getting out of the cab and crossing that big damn huge lobby at the MGM Grand, making my way to the elevators, I saw one of the gals we were dancing with earlier in the evening coming towards me, catching a cab back to her hotel. She saw me and grinned, and I said A little early to be doing the walk of shame, don't ya think? She just laughed and said I don't know what you're talking about...

Doc had called it a night much earlier than I did, and he was there half asleep when I came stumbling in. So I turned on the light and we sat up for about a half hour, laughing our asses off, retelling our adventures from the night, and cementing a load of great stories forever into the memory banks.

At some point, we could laugh no more, and both of us crashed, hard.

But a full night's sleep was not to be ours. There was a pounding at the door, and I said to Doc, You know that's just Angy--you want me to get it? He said no, he'd take care of it. But first, let me put on some pants.

I was like, Dude, it's just Angy--I think she's seen all of us without pants at some point...

Luckily, he insisted, because it wasn't Angy--it was a whole platoon of MGM Security guards. Apparently, somebody had pointed to our room and said the words "Domestic Disturbance". Once they realized that me and Doc weren't a married couple on the outs, all Doc could say was Thank god I put my pants on before I opened the door.

But there were knocks on other doors and such, and some kind of drama out in the hallway. And a few minutes later, Angy and a few others *did* show up, but by then, the storm had passed, all was quiet. Eventually, we got back to bed and got some sleep.

I still wanted to get up and watch some football somewhere, but unless you're up at the crack of dawn, you ain't gettin' a seat in the sports book. We were up closer to the crack of noon, so we knew our chances of getting seats anywhere were kind of slim. The original plan was to go to the Hilton and sit in the theatre, just like we normally do, but for some reason, that idea went out the window. Doc finally suggested that we have breakfast at the Grand Lux and decide from there.

I was cool with that, so we fetched the truck and headed north on Koval. Instead of the Grand Lux at the Venetian, which is kind of a clusterf*ck, we decided to go to the one at the Palazzo instead. And I'd never set foot inside the Palazzo before, so now was my chance.

...And now that I've been--meh.

I'm not a big fan of huge airplane-hangar casinos, and that's what Palazzo is. If feels like an overpriced Monte Carlo on the inside. Not my style. Anyhow, when we got to the Grand Lux, there was no line at all, and there were a couple of games on the TVs in the bar, so we opted to just sit there and have breakfast and watch the games.

I had ham and eggs, I don't remember what Doc had, besides a bloody Mary. I had a screwdriver made with Stoli Vanilla, and it was good and stiff. Breakfast was really good, although a tad on the pricey side, but we sat there for quite awhile. The problem with watching football on those high bar chairs is that your ass falls asleep--not the most comfy place to lounge for three-plus hours trying to watch a football game.

So we paid the $70 breakfast tab and headed off in search of greener pastures. We checked out the Legasse Stadium, which is a great concept, but not nearly big enough for the size of the hotel it's in. Seriously, somebody needs to tell Uncle Sheldon that if he's gonna have a hotel with 5000 rooms, the sports book needs to be able to seat more than a couple hundred people. Same with the pool. Trying to score seats was a fruitless endeavor, so we ended up sitting at one of the bars in the middle of the casino.

It was there that we reached the breaking point--we ordered a Captain and Coke and a Screwdriver, and Doc laid a $20 bill on the counter. The waitress looked down at it, and then said to Al, Sorry sir, the total is $21.50.


Why don't you just bend us over and take it out of our asses instead?

Seeing the disgusted look on our faces, she offered up an alternative. Just put $20 each in the video poker machines and I can comp them. I countered with, Oh yeah, good plan there, now it's gonna cost us forty bucks...

But we did. And of course there were no quarter machines there at the bar. Only dollars. Doc lasted four spins, I played minimum credits, but then changed to video blackjack about halfway through my twenty. Removing any hint of pleasure from the ass-raping they were giving us, the video blackjack was set so that you couldn't split or double down on anything. And blackjacks paid even money. I played it just long enough to get all my money back, plus one dollar (not for the bartender, but for the valet back at MGM), and we called it quits.

I doubt that we'll be going back to the Palazzo anytime soon.

On the way back to the Emerald City, we called Angy, and she said that they were just starting to stir back at party central, so come on over.

We did, and spent the balance of the afternoon lounging in their suite with the gals. I went on a mission of mercy to fetch cold Cokes and ice (all of the drinks down in the sundries shop were room temperature all weekend), and we made a few drinks and passed around the cameras and such, laughing at all the buffoonery caught on digital 'film'.

Al had to head back to the Great Purple North that afternoon, so he was the first of the party to bail out on us. Renae followed shortly thereafter. It sucked that they were leaving--Doc Al is a great Vegas compadre and a buffoon of the highest order. I always have a good time when he's around.

While we were kicking it there in the suite that afternoon, Sin and I were talking about a trip out to Grimaldi's for dinner, but then everyone else wanted pizza, too. I said that the only way we could get the whole crowd out there in my truck was "if everyone rode in the back like Indians going to a Metallica concert", and that sent Sin into a major fit of giggles. It was contagious, and coupled with all the other silliness we'd encountered over the weekend, it turned into a full-on epidemic of laughter.

Eventually, we composed ourselves, and Sin offered to go down to the food court and pick up a couple of pizzas there. Being a pizza snob, I wasn't too sure I wanted to go that route, but it was obvious that we weren't going to dining at Grimaldi's that night. So we all chipped in and she took off to go fetch dinner for everyone that was lounging around in the suite.

Well, we were pleasantly surprised with the pizzas she brought back. Absolutely excellent, especially when you consider it was from the restaurant row downstairs in the casino. Maybe we were just hungry, but we tore into them with reckless abandon and everyone commented on how good it was. I don't know the name of the pizza joint at MGM, but they make a damn fine pie.

Our plan for the evening was to head downtown and do some old-skool Vegas. Dougie was in town for one night, on his way to San Diego with the wife and kids for a family vacation. But he had a free pass that night, after 8:00 pm.

There were about eight or nine of us still lurking about at the MGM at that point, and we took a couple of cabs down to the Golden Nugget once the sun went down. Dougie met us, and the party was on once again. The first order of business, once we got drinks in our hands, was that we decided that we'd take over a poker table at Binion's and get a private game going.

But during the walk from the Nugget to Binion's, we ran into Don D, and he had arranged with his host at the Plaza for all of us to come up to Firefly for drinks and appetizers. None of us were really that hungry, but Firefly is the shiat, and free drinks will always get this group's attention, so that's where we went.

If you haven't been to the Plaza lately, they've changed it up once again--that big glass dome out front that used to be the Center Stage restaurant, and then a sports bar, is now a branch of the Firefly restaurant. I'd been to the original out on Paradise, and loved it. Now that there's one downtown, I'm *sure* I'll be visiting more often.

We got a bunch of seats together in the lounge off of the main dining room and bar, and everyone ordered a round of drinks. Everyone got their normal favorites, but I can't go to Firefly and not drink the house special, so I ordered a sparkling Sangria, as did Kara.

Oh my god it was good. Seriously, it was one of the best cocktails I've ever had. I could've parked myself under the vat and suckled directly from the teat all night, given half a chance. Kara agreed--it was damn good.

Not too many of our group had been to Firefly before, so they weren't quite sure what to order. Somebody got some marinated steak skewers and there were some garlic fries and diablo shrimp on the way, too. I said no way, and had to introduce my peeps to the awesomeness that is their bacon-wrapped stuffed (with an almond an blue cheese) dates. They are fantastic--God's own finger food whenever he throws a cocktail party.

I told the waitress to bring five orders, and if need be, I'd cover it out of my own pocket (we were on a comp at the time). When they arrived and everyone tried them, it was an instant hit. I think we ordered six or eight more servings once that first round disappeared. Oh yeah, they're that good. If you ever find yourself at Firefly, you simply must order the bacon-wrapped dates. Definitely a crowd pleaser.

We ran up quite a tab, but Don D and Marty managed to get the whole thing comped. So we passed the hat and gathered enough for the entire wait staff to have a very good evening, and we headed back out to Fremont Street. Eventually, we made it to Binion's--not exactly in a straight line, but we got there. While waiting to get a poker game going, we wandered a bit.

It seems that Binion's has been bitten by the Harrah's and Venetian philosophy--Times are tough, so let's gouge the hell out of everyone who walks in the door. Every single one of the blackjack games in Binion's was one of those 6:5 abominations. And we're not talking single deck here, folks--they were doing that on the shoe games. Hell, we even saw a continuous shuffle game that paid 6:5!

Not one dime. They won't get a single dime from me.

I will never play another table game at Binion's until they come to their senses. Not a chance in hell. Living here in Vegas has kinda soured me on blackjack and dice and pretty much everything except poker, so it's no big deal to me. I can easily walk through the valley of the shadow of neon and not be tempted in the least to step up to the green felt. But folks that come here only once or twice a year? I'm afraid that if they start to feel like they're getting ripped off--which they are--they won't come back at all. Brilliant strategy, morons.


We eventually rounded up ten people who wanted to play some poker, and we got our private game on. It's always a great time, and the smack talk came fast and furious. Of course, we sorely missed Doc and Terry's money at the table, but there's always March. I started out doing pretty well, but Marty was just running over the table.

At one point, I was down about $60 and flopped a straight. Snert had the bad luck to be holding pocket Aces at the same time, and I got damn near back to even on that one hand. I caught a few more, and by the time the game broke up after about three hours, I'd made $80. Woot! Is there nothing sweeter than winning money at the poker table from everyone who's been talking shiat all night? I think not!

Once the game broke up, we all made our way back over to the Plaza for more gambling. I should've sat out and just drank, but Marty led the invasion of a dice table, and I had to join the party.

Of course, we all stunk up the joint with our shiatty rolls--I think only Sticky had a decent one, but after an hour or so, we were all crushed. I lost $180, some lost more, some lost less, but the bottom line, we all got our asses kicked by the dice gods. Kinda sucked.

It must've been about three in the morning by then, and everyone was looking for breakfast. Binion's coffee shop is no longer open 24 hours, so that idea was a bust. (But by then, I didn't mind, the thievin' bastards). We eventually found ourselves at Magnolia's at the Four Queens, asking for a table for 12 people.

Not surprisingly, our drunken rabble pretty much drove everyone else out of the restaurant. By then, the endless chorus of "Cuz you mah FAM-LEE!!!!!" repeated to the point of annoyance in a loud, irritating southern accent, was the catch phrase of the weekend. (I think Angy's host, a complete hillbilly chick, uttered it after a heavy shot of Patron at the Rio the night before, and it got repeated about a million times since by everyone in attendance). Oh yeah, it'll find it's way onto a t-shirt by the time March Madness rolls around.

Breakfast was an adventure to say the least. Everyone was smashed, loud, and hungry, and some outsiders might even use the word 'obnoxious' to describe the pack of drunks who eventually had the entire dining room to themselves. Yep, I think we wore out our welcome there at Magnolias. But at least everyone got lots of toast...

After the tab was paid, along with a very generous tip to kind of make up for the behavior on display, we shuffled out to the street to catch a couple of cabs back to the MGM. It was a quiet ride, as the evening's craziness had started to catch up with everyone.

When we got back to the hotel, we saw a couple of smokin' hot hookers coming into the lobby at the same time we were, and they engaged Marty and I in conversation. But after just a few minutes, they could tell that they weren't gonna close the deal, and they headed off for the more lucrative waters of the main casino, and our herd of drunks slowly made its way to the elevators.

Doc Al was gone, so I had the Seafood Suite all to myself for the night. I took a quick shower, packed up my suitcase, and set my alarm for 8:30 in the morning--just four hours hence. Angy had a cabana booked for the day, and although I really wanted to go, I was pretty sure I needed to go home and get things done, plus catch up on some rest--I had to work on Monday night.

The four hours passed much too quickly, and I laid there in bed for about ten minutes after the alarm went off, debating whether or not I should spend the day sipping umbrella drinks and ogling fake boobs at the cabana, or being responsible and heading back to the house to run some errands and rest up before my workweek started. Eventually, the adult consciousness won out, and I grabbed my suitcase and headed down to the valet. I sent a text message to everyone, thanking them for a great weekend, and saying goodbye, and then left Angy a voicemail, telling her how much fun I had and that I'd be heading home instead of spending caddie day at the pool.

My September Madness had come to an end. Honestly, when I woke up on Friday morning, I had absolutely no notion of the weekend I had in front of me. I had no plans at all to be living like a tourist at the MGM Grand for three days, and my system was definitely not prepared for all the alcohol I tried to poison it with.

But I had a fantastic, wonderful time. Superlatives alone can't describe all the laughs and good times I shared with my friends. I think it was even better just because it was wholly unexpected. But now I can't wait for March. September, as good as it was, is only the appetizer. The main course is six months away, and what a feast it will be.


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