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VegasTripping Ep. 23 - Ledge

By Chuckmonster on Tuesday, 2nd August 2016 10:33am
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VegasTripping Podcast

Ep. 23 - Ledge

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Tagged: podcast   las vegas   macau   





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Thank you for another thought provoking show.
Years ago, U-Haul had an ad campaign and the slogan used was “Adventures in Moving”. I remember thinking that when you are going through the hassle of a move, the last thing you would want is an adventure, right? But then, the adventure doesn’t have to be the move itself, but the opportunity that resides on the other side of the move; a new place, a new world. So, I get where Chuck is coming from as he stands on the ledge about Las Vegas. But, other vacations and destinations will never replace Las Vegas for me. Chuck asked what LV has that a place like Macau doesn’t have, or better yet, is his time and resources better spent on quality rather than quantity. I know how to answer as it relates to me.
I am writing this on the eve of yet another trip to Las Vegas. Cathy has completed the packing of the suitcases. All my selected shorts, shirts, and shoes are safely tucked in to every nook our luggage has to offer. We always bring too much stuff. I am the biggest problem. I started laying out the selected articles about a week ago. Meanwhile, back in my closet, the non-selected ones hang dejectedly as they realize they did not make the cut. They tried to seduce me every morning; promising me that if I somehow find room to bring them that they will promise me more quads, or even a royal. Barney, our dog, is also moping around which is what he does every time he sees the suitcases come out. He knows that for the next 3-4 days, he will have to settle for and rely on one of the boys to stay at the house and he will have to adjust to their schedules. He officially lodged a complaint this morning by puking on the carpet.
To one degree or another, this is how it’s been since accidentally discovering Vegas in 1981. My best friend and I wanted to experience the California beach thing. It was cheaper to fly to Vegas from Chicago, rent a car, and drive to Huntington Beach, then to fly direct to LA. Our parents convinced us to leave a day or two on the backside for Las Vegas. We did. Since then, it has been at least a yearly event, and within the past 10 years, several trips a year. I still make it out there with my buddy, but mostly it is me and Cathy. You can’t imagine the amount of memories the history of these trips have created. We have been fortunate to take other vacations: Hawaii for our 25th, Mexico, cruises, etc. As special as Hawaii was for us, and the promise we made that we would return, it never would replace the anticipation of a Vegas trip. Ironically, what vacation destination is in the top 3 for Hawaiians? The answer is Las Vegas.
Tomorrow, we will check into Bellagio; the heart of PGP. I was as upset as anyone about the antics at MGM. I still think the leadership is stealing from the culture and spirit of Las Vegas. That being said, the establishment will not win in the long haul. There is about as much a chance of Murren ruining Vegas as there is with the Grinch stealing Christmas. Las Vegas will be resilient. PGP and bankruptcies will run their course. Enjoy what you want to enjoy. Bellagio remains a brilliant escape with fabulous bartenders and many fine amenities.
I also enjoy Aria. Like Big Hoss and many others, I experienced the sports bar guy and his arrogance relative to his taking zero ownership in creating a good customer experience. Last summer, a buddy of mine ventured out while we were in town and he went to the sports bar at Aria. He left disgusted. Later, we wound up at El Cortez. There, the bartender tried to push free shots our way of some sort of apple flavored Jack Daniels. My friend shook his head at the contrast in service. Over the years, I experienced this when and where you would least expect it. One time in the mid 1990’s I was playing at MGM. It was during the “bring the kids to Vegas” movement. The bar was empty and I was actually playing two VP machines and the bartender shut me down. He told me I wasn’t playing fast enough. Around 2006 I was playing at a bar with VP at Mandalay Bay which happened to be a part of an area with a lounge act. I was playing regularly. Then, the lounge band burst into their cover of September. I turned to enjoy the music, admiring the energy of the dance floor. I turned back around to see the bartender staring at me. “I can’t serve you anymore unless you play more.” I started to argue saying I was just enjoying the music and have been playing regularly. He stood firm saying his marching orders were to limit the drinks to “full-time” players. I will always remember those injustices as if they happened yesterday.
I could have jumped. My career was advancing and other vacation venues were opening up to me. I am glad I didn't. Had I jumped off the ledge I would have never experienced Cosmopolitan’s Book & Stage, or the Parlour Bar at El Cortez, or the energy of the Long Bar, or the opportunity to see Vegas through the eyes of my kids when they turned 21. If I jumped off the ledge would I have found the blog and podcasting communities and the many friends I have made along the way? As mentioned on the show, are you prepared to walk from the promise, as distant and impossible as it may seem, of Elan? I feel like in the long haul I have won. I will emerge victorious against things like PGP.
There is plenty of history with Macau and the Orient, but my history is with Las Vegas.
I think you wanted to be talked off the ledge, Chuck. A few years back, when you graciously invited us up to your suite at Golden Gate for the taping of the VT10 show, you admitted that you just “love this town.” Go to Macau but come home to Vegas. I hope this helped. See you in October.

Ah, Vegas.
Twenty years ago, my friends and I went downtown (Gold Spike?) and stood enraptured as we all, simultaneously, learned the basics of Blackjack.
Sahara was my home away from home during the nineties. I sat on the lawn by the pool and watched my friend get chastised by a British woman when she saw that he was drawing an unflattering likeness of her sister lounging after a dip. "Are you drawing my sister's bum?"
I had a car broken into at the Sahara.
I once was threatened by a pit boss there, "I'll put a cap in your ass." He seriously said this. It was after I complained to the dealer after he raised his $1 minimum table to $5. I saw the pit boss ten years later in Southern California where I worked at a winery. I told him about the confrontation and he denied that he would've said such a thing. He then said, "Do you realize what kind of people I had to deal with at that place?". Ah, Sahara.
I loved the little nook at Mirage close to the box office for Love. I'd play VP there for hours because they would play Beatles songs exclusively. (Like the Sahara, that area is gone, too).

And that's my main issue with Vegas now. Everything I've loved about it, has left the building. On top of this, they've added resort fees, tax on a resort fee, parking fees, the machines are tighter than shit (I remember the days when someone could sit at a slot machine for hours), the Strip has become Sensory Overload Land, littered with blasting crap music, seizure inducing lighting and trash, parades of sickly smelling douchebags, and now they've begun the assault on free booze. WTF, Vegas?

I spend the majority time in Vegas at the ElCo these days. I cherish every moment, because I KNOW, at some point it will change. No more easy-peasy comped rooms, no more $50 FreePlay on your birthday month. Some day, Scott the bartender will retire and move to Del Mar. And that will be that.
And this MGM business is just another slap in the face. I seriously regard it as abuse. I've never been a wealthy guy. But here I am putting hundreds and thousands of dollars that could've gone to more Frank Zappa bootlegs into a slot machine. I have two kids now and I like to spend time with them. I could go somewhere else. What has Vegas ever done for me? After each trip, I ponder the thought of skipping the next trip. Trying someplace else.
But then I make a reservation. Then the trip is 6 weeks away. Then four weeks away. Then single digit days away. And then I am there. I am in VEGAS.

I'm seriously afraid of what my life will become when I finally ditch Vegas. But for the first time, I can really see it happening. If that town doesn't care about me, why should I care about that town?



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