LVDFS: utterly unabbreviated, less relevant, just to annoy

by Leigh Butler

So, having returned from what I can honestly say is the most exhausting vacation I've had in years, I was forced by the Evil Demons of Local News to miss all the post-DFS fun on rasfwr-j and am only now back online. I'm still catching up, but before I read all of the 1,112 posts on my server I wanted to share my own impressions of Vegas and the various people who made impressions on me there.

Drew and Mark and others have already detailed chronology of events, so I mostly won't bother with that. Extreme stream of consciousness follows...

Vegas, I think, can be summed up thusly: Impressive, in a really cheesy tacky kind of way. There is not one single thing I saw or did there that cannot be summarized by this one phrase. Moving on.

I was so firmly entrenched in my Loathing Airports Mode when I finally arrived Thursday night that the three seconds of the reception I made it to have left no memory in my mind; I also have zero recollection of what I did afterward before stumbling to my room at 4 AM or so. The only thing I really remember Thursday is getting to meet Kenn at the airport and promptly weirding him out by changing accents every two minutes.

Friday was surreal, mostly because I woke up at 6:30 AM and realized after calling and waking Noell up that I could have slept another hour before we had to go pick up Maggie and David at the airport. So I watched CNN for an hour and a half and ordered a pot of coffee and a danish which cost me $10. Ah, Vegas.

After Maggie and I attempted to crush each others' rib cages on finally getting to meet, we discovered that I had been quite right in loathing airports because David wasn't there yet, and Maggie decided to go back to the Den of Hell to wait for him. Meanwhile, Trina my roomie arrived and she was such a sweetheart that Noell and Eric and I all promptly forgave her for being Canadian and took her to see the Star Trek thing. Whether this was a treat or a punishment I decline to comment.

Blur, blur, blur, somewhere in there I met Drew, I think, and then it was time for dinner. I was, I confess, rather nervous about this, never get a second chance to make a first impression and all that and is anyone REALLY going to want to talk to me?

But it was, of course, fine. Various people impressions:

Couples first!

Pat O'Connell is SUCH a nice man. We and his wife had a lovely little chat amidst the madness, though I kept getting distracted by the sheer level of stress that Drew seemed to be emanating next to me. Then Drew got out his guitar and "Hotel California" completely took over...

I liked the Loys even more than I thought I would, which is fairly impressive.

The Dilicks are two of the more perfectly matched people I've ever come across. They were excruciatingly adorable together. I was very sorry that I didn't really get to speak to either of them.

The same goes for Kate, Chad, Pam, Nathan, Novak, and a whole slew of others. There were just too damn many people there. It was great, but, well...we've gone over the splintering thing, and whatcha gonna do? I did actually manage to have a two minute conversation with Pam, at least.

Lara was quite a surprise. She didn't look _anything_ like what I thought she would (which is not at all an insult either way, trust me). Tshen also startled me in this regard - other than the socks, he was distressingly normal, phrase cheerfully stolen from Drew. I liked them both instantly, though I didn't really get to talk to Tshen until later, and neither of them as much as I would have liked.

Anyway, the dinner went on, and afterwards many of us stayed to chat and yell and drink and chat and drink and drink and buy Trina drinks...I was induced to tell the "Cats" story and a couple of people even laughed. It was very gratifying. We donated to the Drew Fund, goggled at Tshen's socks (or was that later?), embarrassed the living hell out of Nathan, etc. I took many pictures. Hawk isn't in any of them.

Later, after being invited to desecrate Barney in Hawk and Bill's room and learning that I have a smoky voice, Bill and Sydo (sp??) and I went to the Bellagio on the Strip and I proceeded to enjoy an obscene number of screwdrivers and watched Bill gamble with the approximate value of Ethiopia's GNP and somehow come out ahead. I gambled too. It was a mistake. On _so_ many levels...

Saturday, in retrospect, seemed to be almost exclusively about food - where to get the food, who to get the food with, how to get to the food, how many times Atlantis had to sink before getting food, how gay our waiter needed to be to alleviate our irritation about the three times Atlantis sunk before we got food, the fact that strawberry shortcakes in Vegas apparently have to both resemble a nuclear explosion and, oddly, be made with sourdough bread, how to pay for the food, how long we had to wait for the food to go away before riding on the 3D thingy, whether we were going to see Drew's food reappear most precipitously after riding the 3D thingy, and how long I can make this sentence before someone wishes me dead.

Saturday, for me, was mostly about food and _The Matrix_, which I, Drew, Noell, and Trina saw twice for no particular reason. Did I mention the Loys are cool?

Contrary to rumor, it was I who beat the shit out of Drew with a pillow, not vice versa. So there.

Sunday morn found Drew on Breakfast Duty, sharing what I think was his third or fourth morning meal with me and Noell and various other people who were there. But hey, you can never have too much coffee, sez I.

I honestly planned to do Constructive Touristy Things that day, but naturally it didn't happen and I instead was forced to spend the majority of the day relaxing and chatting by the pool. The horror. After dragging the Loys away from the Barbeque Pit that was the immediate pool area, we invaded Chris Mullins' shady personal space and ended up doing a favorable impression of Rasfwrjians in the Mist, minus the leafy bits and with remarkably little chest-pounding. We were visited by a butterfly, which I got a picture of, and by a delightful woman who sold us alcohol, who I didn't get a picture of. Sorry, Mark.

We discussed important topics like the inherent ugliness of human toes and why Lara's camera wouldn't work. I was regaled with the Jim Hill Does Jesus story, and Mark and Deb told me I reminded them of their daughter, which is either a wonderful compliment to me or a grave insult to their daughter...heh.

That evening a large number of us made the mistake of going to the Excalibur thing, which left me with greasy fingers and an overwhelming Pee Wee's Playhouse kind of impression. Which was mostly because Novak and whoever he was sitting next to (Tshen?) started howling every single time the King of France's name was mentioned, and all I could conclude was that "Francois" was the Secret Word.

At this point I lost everyone and went to find my sister at the MGM Grand, which naturally proved to be impossible. I then returned to the wonders of Fremont Street and eventually found the tattered remnants of the group, who were engaged in an obsessive search for a $2 blackjack table. Long story short, everyone lost money and we adjourned for the umpteenth time to the Carson Street Cafe in the Nugget. It boggles my mind that I was actually in that place often enough to remember the name...

It was at this point that I actually got to talk to Tshen and Brian Ritchie and discovered that they were Cool People. Kenn shattered my illusions by commenting on my breasts and then restored my faith by knowing more about braiding hair than either me or Noell, Drew reflected on the delightful uncoolness of his Jesus pin, Brian marveled that the hotel only played the good music after sane people were asleep, Noell made some very inappropriate advances toward everyone's desserts, and I tried to come to grips with the fact that I was going to have a pull an allnighter to make my plane. For a few horribly guilty moments Tshen and I even discussed WOT. Finally, everyone bid me adieu and a safe trip back to the Land With All The Humidity That Vegas Doesn't Have.

And here, more or less, ends my story. I won't go into the horror that was the trip home because I'm not that mean. In sum, I had a damn good time and am very glad I went to Vegas. Y'all are good people.

Special thanks go, for the millionth deserved time, to Drew, because you are quite simply The Man for putting this thing together. When I rule the world I'm gonna make them invent a whole new inner ear just for you, kid. Bet on it. Also thanks to the Milotas, for their unfailing (im)moral and vehicular support throughout the trip.