What Happened In Vegas… (aka, a Win for the Ladies)

So this is the story.

I met this guy in Vegas because his friend was talking to my cousin (the bachelorette) at Pure, and we started talking. The conversation actually started because he was taking pictures of my cousin in a drunken vulnerable state posing with his friend, and I wanted to see the pictures to make sure they wouldn’t be something that my cousin would soberly regret. He showed them to me and I told him he could spend a couple minutes enjoying them, savoring them, but then he had to delete them. We started talking but I got pulled away by my cousin in the middle of the conversation. She pulled me so hard, in fact, that as I spun on heels with a 50/50 chance of a face plant, I thought of the movie “The Sweetest Thing,” and how this scene was like the one in the club, and that if this guy was meant to connect with me, he would find a way. He seemed like a really nice guy.

I guess my cousin had given his friend her number so the groups could meet up the next night, but the next day, while she was sober, I showed her the pictures of the guy she was talking to and she was grossed out, so when he kept texting her to find out where we were going, she ignored him. Later that night, the guy I was talking to, Rob, texted her and said he wanted to see me again and if she could give me his number. Actually, she showed me that message and I didn’t know who it was, and it didn’t occur to me until 4 hours later who he was. That’s because he told me to just call him John after I asked him for his name again and he was offended I didn’t remember (I knew it started with an R but wanted to ask again just to make sure and be polite). That should have been the first sign.

So I texted him that we were going to this club Tao at the adjacent hotel, and he said he was leaving Palms and would meet me there in a few minutes. It’s like almost 4am. We get to the hotel and find out Tao is closing, so we go upstairs and I tell my cousin this guy is coming to meet me. She tells me not to meet him despite the fact he came all the way to our hotel, that he’s probably just after sex, and then he texts me that he’s downstairs at the bar. So I call him and tell him I can’t meet because there are girls throwing up and I have to take care of them. He’s telling me to come down just for one drink and I say I can’t, but that if he still feels compelled to get to know me in a week, to call me. So he says he will. Later, he texts that he just won $200 at the crap table because of me. I immediately text back if 9 had anything to do with it. He said, “Of course, 9 on the field hit twice.”

If you know me, you know about me and the number 9 (as well as 29). I can’t resist 9’s. I will follow 9’s everywhere. So this makes me think, maybe I do need to see what this guy’s about.

At the same time, my cousin wants me to go downstairs with her to buy water. While we’re at the store, I notice the craps tables are right there so I text him to find out where he is. He says he’s in the lobby about to leave and asks where I am. I say that I’m close to the lobby. So we meet up. He’s very friendly but my cousin’s super belligerent and protective, giving him a hard time about who he is. They’re going back and forth and it’s not the best situation to get to know someone, so I want out. I say I’m going to bed and he leaves saying he’ll call. We text a bit, and he says he would like to see me again.

Fast forward to last night, I get a text from him to send over my email address so he can send pics he took of us from the night we met. As soon as I get his email with his full name, OF COURSE I run through the net to find out what there is about him. My largest function in life is as a human search engine.

So I happen to find his flicker site. Ooh, he likes to take a lot of photos like me, I think.

Then I see that there seems to be one recurring girl. A pretty, sweet looking Hawaiian one, and the two of them seem to travel everywhere together. EVERYWHERE. The kicker was that the most recent pictures of the happy couple are dated LAST WEEK.

This dude has a girlfriend! And I have strong feelings about men who cheat. I was uber-irritated. The evidence was pretty overwhelming, but I didn’t want to jump out of left field, so I let it play out a bit.

Here’s our email exchange:

From: Rob
To: Julia
Sent: Monday, June 29, 2009 9:55:18 PM
Subject: Las Vegas Pics (with Rob, not John)

Here ya go. Let me know if they went through ok.-Rob

(At this point, I’ve already found the flickr site and that he has a girlfriend. But I want to bide my time while I think how I want to handle it.)

From: Julia
To: Rob
Sent: Monday, June 29, 2009 10:10:41 PM
Subject: RE: Las Vegas Pics (with Rob, not John)
.
I got one pic. The attached two are the best I can do without getting accused of disloyalty and kicked in the balls. How was the drive back? Did you stop for a milkshake?

Date: Mon, 29 Jun 2009 22:40:06 -0700
From: Rob
To: Julia
Subject: Re: Las Vegas Pics (with Rob, not John)

These work. Thanks for risking your safety. Well, I only got 1 hour sleep yesterday and while we were driving through Baker I was asleep in the car and didn’t tell my cousin to stop…obviously. I figure that is your fault for keeping me up to ’til 6 in the morning. You have a good trip back? We hit some traffic part of the way, which was lame.

From: Julia
To: Rob
Sent: Monday, June 29, 2009 10:55:29 PM
Subject: RE: Las Vegas Pics (with Rob, not John)

Can’t complain. Left earlier than I planned and got back with still plenty of day to enjoy.

Date: Mon, 29 Jun 2009 23:06:53 -0700
From: Rob
To: Julia
Subject: Re: Las Vegas Pics (with Rob, not John)

Cool, well have a good night. Still got 6 days before I give you a call.

From: Julia
To: Rob
Sent: Monday, June 29, 2009 11:16:01 PM
Subject: RE: Las Vegas Pics (with Rob, not John)

Goodness, there’s a countdown.

Sounds exciting.

You too.

Date: Mon, 29 Jun 2009 23:44:36 -0700
From: Rob
To: Julia
Subject: Re: Las Vegas Pics (with Rob, not John)

Haha…You said if I was ever worth seeing again, then I would call in 7 days. Just playing by your rules 😉

From: Julia
To: Rob
Sent: Tuesday, June 30, 2009 12:35:17 AM
Subject: RE: Las Vegas Pics (with Rob, not John)

I said, “If you still feel compelled to get to know me, give me a call in a week.” That’s about the time it takes for people who spend a weekend stumbling around in the wee hours of Vegas to recover from desert fever and see straight again. You’re lucky you had the foresight to get a picture of me. Otherwise, for all you know, I could have been an 80 year-old drag queen from Thailand who just happened to capitalize on timing to charm your intoxicated little butt silly. And then wouldn’t you have been horrified if you’d shown up to meet me and I didn’t *quite* look anything like that idealized, romantically-hazy memory of the beautiful, sweet island girl you met somewhere in the vicinity of a high traffic stripper pole who faintly reminded you of someone else’s mother? For god sake, Thailand! That’s just disappointing. But I bet you would have sat through dinner just to be polite.

But
you’re lucky. I don’t seem to be a geriatric Thai tranny. And the only rules in life are the ones you make. So put your seatbelt on then…let’s countdown! Should every day have a different theme? With its own theme song? Should we like…get outfits or something? Maybe if we blow the socks off this countdown, the great sign that we’re meant to connect again will be the night skies across the country filling with fireworks. I know, this is Nostradamus crazy shit out of left field, but you know, life is about faith and magic. 😉

Good night,
Julia

Date: Tue, 30 Jun 2009 13:41:25 -0700
From: Rob
To: Julia
Subject: Re: Las Vegas Pics (with Rob, not John).

Is this your way of asking me out to dinner? You could have just asked. And yes, I am really glad that you weren’t some cute Thai dude, that would have made our time at Palazzo’s a little awkward.

You are so cynical and spunky, though, I kind of dig it. First, I was the type of guy you thought might slip roofies in drinks, then you wouldn’t have been surprised if I took dirty pics of girls at Pure, now I was so smashed that I wouldn’t have been able to tell you were a girl in her 20’s. Did I really seem that out of it to give you the impression that I wouldn’t have known that you weren’t 80 years old? I need to work on that.

If you can’t wait the whole 6 days before I drum up the courage to call you, then just say the word and we can end this countdown business. I believe in fate too and if it is meant to be, then my dream of you last night coming from the clouds and meeting me in Santa Barbara will come true!

-Rob

(what? I’ve gotta drive all the way to Santa Barbara to see his lazy, cheating ass? This was the last straw. )

From: Julia
To: Rob
Subject: RE: Las Vegas Pics (with Rob, not John)
Date: Tue, 30 Jun 2009 14:45:44 -0700

Where you say “cynical and spunky,” I say “quality with an ear for truth.” I *might* have been willing to consider a meal with you since I do quite like food (I try to partake every day) and I am a delightful conversationalist, my biggest curiosity would be how that silver tongue of yours plans to sell this fated encounter to your girlfriend, when she really should be dumping your ass.

******

Hey Rob. Have you ever been fucked by a writer?

Well you just have.

so i guess i never finished my story about vegas.

so the wang club. was fucking awful. but an interesting experience, like walking away from a car crash alive.

i had scored weed off one of the strippers rather than give in to a lapdance because we were warned before hand, this was code for them to have sex with you in a private room. but i wanted to give him some kind of business. when we got back to the casino, i went to the bathroom and hollowed out a cigarette, then packed it in there. the girls wanted to have 3am prime rib so we headed to bill’s. cody wanted to smoke with me but she wanted us to do it under the prime rib sign so we could take pictures of it.

there was a lot of confusion organizing so many girls so we got split up into tables. as we walked to ours, this guy grabbed my arm.

‘sit with us,’ he said.

i look down to see three young hispanic guys staring at me. i dismiss them as drunk, horny guys and keep walking.

‘no wait! just a few minutes,’ he says, not letting go of my arm. so i say, ‘just a few minutes.’

i sit down and one guy tries to put his arm around me but i casually intercept and put it on the table, squeezing his hand.

‘listen, if i sit with you guys, i’m gonna drop knowledge on you.’

the guys laugh.

‘what kind of knowledge?’ they ask.

‘serious knowledge. i don’t know if you’re old enough for this. how old are you?’

’24,’ he says. ‘we’re all 24.’

‘naw, you’re babies,’ i said.

’24 is old!’ he says.

‘okay, let me see your id.’

he pulls out his wallet and show’s me his driver’s license and i see that he’s a few weeks younger than my brother. i will always talk to people born close to him in date, because it makes me wonder what he might have been like.

‘so what kind of knowledge do you have?’ he says, part curious, part unbelieving.

so i tell them about women and power, and some girls think they have fake power with men, but men know it and use it to manipulate them. but at the end of the day, if they want to have a good life, they’ll stay away from the women who don’t understand what power is, and find a someone who understands it. because a woman who has power holds life in her hands and could so easily be destructive with it, but knowing this makes her gentle.

i suddenly realize these guys are staring at me. i’m feeling self-conscious.

then the skinny one in the corner says, ‘thank you for that. you really gave us something here.’

i think he might be joking at first.

‘really?’ i say. ‘or are you guys messing with me.’

the guy across from me grabs my hand.

‘no, really. we’ve heard everything you said. i’ve been sitting here eating a salad with no dressing even though the dressing’s right here because i’ve been listening to everything you said.’

the guy next to me who hadn’t said a single word this whole time, suddenly says,

‘we even ordered you fries.’

he points to the fries next to me. the other guy laughs.

‘oh yeah, we did. before you got here. it’s like we anticipated you’d be here so we ordered you something.’

i must be looking at him like he’s crazy because he started laughing.

‘i’m serious! i don’t need fries. my meal comes with fries and these guys won’t eat them.”

i start laughing. this is unreal.

the skinny one pipes up.

‘I know who you are.’

my heart jumps. can he see me?

‘you do?’

the other guy nods. ‘definitely.’

‘who am i?’ i ask, trying to sound more like i’m challenging them rather than on edge for the answer.

‘we’re not gonna say. but we know.’

i think about it. always be gentle.

‘okay,’ i say, though my heart is still beating quickly.

my friend comes over and bends over me, whispering in my ear.

‘is everything okay?’

‘yeah,’ i say. to the guys… ‘i have to go.’

i shake each guy’s hand warmly as i leave, sitting in the booth directly behind them.

i do notice as i sit down, that a guy up the row is looking at me, smiling. i smile and nod at him, but my attention shifts because jessie is telling a story about how she once got caught with grape jelly in her shoes.

i wasn’t hungry anymore so i just drank water. the girls got upset with the waitress because she brought a salad with the wrong dressing. they were making a joke out of it, but the waitress seemed like such a hardworking, sweet girl so i told them how much it probably sucks to work the graveyard shift and be the only waitress, and who cares, it’s just dressing. they were still making fun of her when she came back, so i immediately intercepted her. i asked her if she was from indonesia.

she looked surprised. ‘yes! how did you know?’

‘i was in bali a few months ago. people there had such amazing, beautiful energies, just like yours.’

she smiled such a beautiful, kind smile.

‘thank you. thank you very much for that.’

she walked away, smiling.

a few minutes later, the guy down the row’s friend came back and they stand up to leave. he waits to get my attention, then waves bye to me. i smile and nod again. go back to our conversation.

about 5 minutes later, i see him walk back into the restaurant. i know instantly he’s coming to talk to me. he walks right up to our table, doesn’t even seem to notice the other girls. this surprises me because they’ve already yelled at the waitress so this is definitely a drunk shark tank. but he walks right up to me and says, ‘are you staying at this hotel?’

‘no,’ i say, noticing the girls gaping at him out of the corner of my eye. they’ve gone silent.

‘can i have your phone number? i would like to talk to you.’

i am suddenly fearful for him. he seemed like a nice, shockingly earnest guy who looked mildly shellshocked, but this was a pack of hungry drunk girls waiting for prime rib. these girls will eat him.

‘um…where do you live?’ i ask him. trying to gently get him out of this situation. it’s too bad because i’m usually always willing to talk to people who approach me.

‘colorado,’ he says.

‘oh…i live in los angeles,’ i say. trying to communicate that i’m not interested in anything long distance.

‘oh…uh, okay, ‘ he says. he seems to wake up and suddenly become aware of the room, aware of the boothful of girls gawking at him. he turns and walks swiftly out the door.

the giggling starts immediately and i tell them to be quiet, seriously, wait for him to get out of the room. i told them it’s a very hard thing, what he did and i don’t want to traumatize him by thinking we’re laughing at him.

‘what the hell was that,’ cody asked me.

i knew what it was.

‘i don’t know,’ i said.

‘he looked terrified, but he walked up to you like he knew you…’

‘yeah…that happens a lot with me.’

‘really?’

‘yeah. it’s kind of weird.’

‘well, that was weird,’ raleigh said.

the conversation awkwardly shifts back to whatever was happening before that blip in reality, when i feel a hand reach over and grab my hand. the guy whispers,

‘what was that all about?’

i jump out of my booth and switch to theirs.

‘that guy was watching me talk to you and i think i magnetized him by association. like i was giving you guys a message but somehow he got pulled in, too.’

‘wow, i think you rocked his world,’ he says.

i start laughing.

‘this is a first.’

so i start talking with them again and the conversation is deep. one guy wants to read me.

he says, ‘those girls you’re with. they don’t know who you really are. you hang out with them, you talk to them about shallow stuff
, but they don’t know you.’

‘that’s right,’ i say. ‘they’re my cover.’

‘in fact, this right here, this is the first real conversation you’ve had, probably all weekend.’

‘again, that’s true,’ i say.

he looks under the table at my shoes.

‘you probably like to wear like, jeans and t-shirts, things that are comfortable. and running shoes, and you probably walk around exploring a lot.’

‘when i’m being me, i like being comfortable,’ i say. ‘that’s pretty good.’

we smile at each other. he asks me how they can get in touch with me. i tell them that i usually just disappear. i don’t like people being able to find me. that i figure, if they find me again, then it was meant to be. but who i am now is not who i am in my other world, and for them to find me will put both worlds in the same room and by law of nature, it means one world may be negated and i don’t want that. they are meeting the secret me, and this is the best part. the other world is a cover, a way to get through day to day. it turns out one of them is a radio dj and he’s doing a report about his trip to vegas. i get anxious. i tell him he can’t talk about what i’d told them, but he said he was just going to talk about me, and call me barbary coast. and that when i hear him talking, that i should call him and let him know how to get in touch with me. he tells me when to listen.

i go back to my booth. when they leave, they say goodbye. the guy who had held my hand was staring at me with this intense look, i can’t describe it exactly…but like he was trying to memorize all my details so that he would always remember me.

and i…i looked at him and thought, this may very well be the last time i ever see him.

i guess we both took a picture. and even though i saw his id, i never looked at his name.

afterwards, as we’re leaving, the other girls go to the bathroom. i find our waitress and slip her a $20 bill, even though i’d only had water. one thing i learned when i was in bali was that many people from indonesia go out of the country to work because they support large families back home. whether or not this is true for this girl, i wanted to give her something because i appreciated her for who she was. she had beautiful energy and i felt grateful that she was in the world.

we headed home the next day. you could feel it…this was one of those trips everyone would remember forever, their own experience of it.

the following evening, i could have listened to the radio program to see what would unfold. but the strangest thing happened.

i fell asleep right after work and slept through until the morning.

maybe that’s just the way it happens.

reality resets.

Back from My World Work Tour

So my full-time job (aka, what I do during the day because I find the starving artist bit so trite) has ramped up my responsibilities and required more dedication and time than I’ve really ever been prepared to offer. Suddenly, it’s the high-maintenance mistress who’s decided she’s madly in love with me and wants to spend the rest of her life with me, at least until I’m 56 and can run away from her with my IRA to the Bahamas. Now I find myself spending 5 days out of the week sleeping in a hotel bed that I suspect would stink of certain unnamed bodily fluids if a housekeeper named Maria didn’t drench the linen with the sweet smell of clean. I kid you not. I think the housekeeper has been named Maria for every one of my hotels except one. Anyway, I digress.

The security trade show in San Diego was pretty cool because there were robot guns and bulletproof vehicles and lots of ex-cops named Chuck who wanted to debate the merits of the war. Plus, the new guy we hired used to live in San Diego so every night was a different bar and restaurant to visit.

NACS in Vegas was incredible. This was the trade for the National Association of Convenience Stores. You know those zombie movies where everyone’s looting from the supermarkets and AM PM’s because it’s the end of the world, and you’re sitting there like, look at all that shit. I want all that shit. I mean, were you one of those people who used to fantasize obsessively about how you would strategize and maximize your time if you won a shopping spree? Well, I was. And this was a fantasy come true.

Imagine 2 and a half Costcos filled with booths featuring candies, cookies, chips, beef jerky, energy drinks, coffee drinks, slushies, sodas, beer, liquor, condoms, cigarettes, cigars, blunt wrappers, pretzels, pizza, pizza rolls, hot dogs, subs, burritos…everything you can buy at a convenience store. Now imagine some mega-booths set up like mini convenience stores, complete with refrigerated displays, racks of edibles and porn magazines. Now imagine 1:30pm, the very end of the last day of the show, when no exhibitor wants to bring their shit home. Yes, 1:30pm that Wednesday was my dream come true. Suddenly people who were giving away samples by the crumble were throwing bulk boxes of their goods at you screaming, “Take it! Take as much as you want!” Those who flew in to attend the show could just stand and watch as those who drove there (in an SUV like us!) brought out our dolleys and started carting away cases of beer and energy drinks. At 1:30pm, people were running through the aisles, grabbing anything that wasn’t bolted down and stuffing them into ultra-large shopping bags provided by Coke with anything and everything, whether they really needed it or not (ie my 24-count display pack of tiny blue fake-Viagra. I have no idea what I’ll ever do with that). Thankfully, Reggie had driven in the night before so we could buy a display tub from one of the exhibitors for our lemonade, and he had plenty of room left in his truck for all of our booty. We got about 4 24-count cases of Sol, Tecate, Heineken, Dos Equis and a flat of Monster Energy Drink. We got entire bags of beef jerky, candy, chips, cookies, energy bars and flavored cigars. Overall, it was enough stuff to cover the entire floor of my bedroom. When we got back, threw a football party that looked like we robbed a 7-11.

It wasn’t so much about the stuff, since most of that junk, other than the invidual servings of soy milk and energy bars, I won’t touch on any given day. But it was just about fulfilling that shopping spree fantasy, of being able to run through a place filled with all this stuff, and being able to take whatever you wanted. It’s bizarre, but it was a really fulfilling high to have that experience. And I also won my coworker’s son a skateboard by lasso-ing a Snapelope at the Slim Jim booth so that was solid.

Last week found me on this crazy midwest tour that involved going to 5 states in 3 days to showcase our new technology. My boss and I left on the red-eye to Chicago on Sunday night, arrived at 5am and had 4 meetings back to back to back before leaving on the last flight out to Indianapolis. Of course, because we were leaving from O’Hare and it was storming, our flight got delayed by 3 and a half hours and we didn’t get into our hotel until 3am. We got up at 7 the next morning to head to our next meeting in Indianapolis, then drove to Dayton, Ohio for an afternoon meeting. We flew out to Iowa via Minneapolis where we got in just before 1am. I ended up going through my work email until 3am. I was given one of those handicap access rooms where the shower isn’t partitioned from the bathroom by a tub. Usually those shower floors slope towards the drain or have long curtains to contain the water, but apparently, the Marriott in Davenport didn’t consider these things. So at 7am, I turn on the shower, go into my room to grab some clothes, come back in to suddenly find myself wide awake and on the floor, having landed hard on my butt. In the minute that I was gone, the water from the shower had drenched the bathroom floor. This was pretty scary for me as, falling isn’t a sensation you expect when you’re half asleep, and I had fallen close enough to the toilet to slam my hand against the seat and then the floor below it. I was pretty grossed out by having touched a hotel toilet, but I was pretty scared at the thought of how, if I had landed just a little bit differently, I could have easily hit my head on the toilet and had a serious accident.

We headed out to our first meeting where the guy chose to completely ignore me and small talk with my boss despite the fact that I’m actually an executive in our company and I was making a one-on-one presentation to him. Caveman. We rushed to the airport straight from that meeting to catch a flight back to Minneapolis for 2 more afternoon meetings, before taking a late flight back to LA.

Highlights of the trip were: Pre-negotiating a big salary for next year; seeing the Mall of America; bonding with my boss.
Lowlights: You really can’t wash your hands enough after you’ve touched the underside of a hotel toilet.

I’ll tell you…there is nothing better than sleeping in your own bed after having been away for so long.

For anyone who’s going to be traveling any time soon, the new liquids that you can carry-on rules are somewhat tricky. Just know that if you’re going to carry on liquids or gels, the containers themselves have to be no more than 3 ounces, so even if you have a larger bottle but only filled half of it, it’s going to get taken away. You should either check your things in, or make sure you buy empty bottles whose capacity are clearly marked as being 3 oz or under and put your things in there. I had SO many things taken away because my boss insisted on not checking in luggage. What was weird was that no airport was consistent. At almost every airport, they found something else to take away.

Last week we had the screening from Pieces which went really well. Many thanks to everyone who came out and an apology to those who didn’t get the evite. Since I was traveling the week before, I didn’t realize that so many people hadn’t gotten the evite until about the day before and the day of. It turned out that most of the crew didn’t know about the screening which is pretty awful.

In other news, TR Knight (George O’Malley) got outed by a fight on the set of Grey’s Anatomy. For those who are not familiar with ChokeGate, Isaiah Washington got in a fight with Patrick Dempsey and made reference to a gay castmate. Easy deduction would lead to the conclusion that TR Knight was the cast member in question, which promptly led to his releasing a statement about his sexual orientation and his hoping that his sexual orientation wasn’t the most interesting t
hing about him. It’s pretty sad how things came about, how TR was forced to make an announcement that he wasn’t necessarily ready to make or wanted to make. But the big thing for me is that Isaiah Washington is quoted as calling TR a faggot, which I think is just as bad as if Patrick Dempsey had called Isaiah the N word. It’s incredibly offensive and ignorant, and as I write this, the show’s PR department is spinning its little heart out over this. But if a white actor had called a black actor the N word, there would be outrage and that actor would very likely be out of a job. Meanwhile, the F word and a cast member’s privacy violated gets buried. Sucks how things can turn out. Then again, I don’t claim to be close to the situation and to know the truth of it, but it is intriguing. I hope that TR’s role on the show doesn’t suffer, and that they let his character continue and evolve naturally the way he has so far, rather than letting the fact that he’s a gay actor affect it. George is one of the best, most endearing characters on TV right now, and I’d like to see him continue his development unhindered.

Lastly, Kaiser Permanente sucks. SUCKS. SUCKS SUCKS SUCKS SUCKS SUCKS. I want Blue Cross back.

7/29 Update

Things have been so busy with work, the comedy show and the short film going on. On top of that, I’m working on branding our lemonade and starting up a concept restaurant so it seems like there hasn’t been a lot of downtime, yet sometimes I don’t feel like my life is really moving. Mostly, it’s the bank account that’s looking a bit stagnant–money comes in, but goes right back out.

Last weekend featured Muskrat’s wedding in Vegas. Due to the wonderful Mercury retrograde which [insert euphemism for “bangs like a screen door in a hurricane”] everyone so completely, I already had an astrological forewarning that travel would experience many delays and obstacles that weekend and it wouldn’t be a good day to travel. Nevertheless, our trip to Vegas began with a blow out fight, featured us turning around after getting an hour out of the city because Reggie had a short-notice audition, then missing everything but the tail-end of the bachelorette party.

The next day, we went to the wrong hotel for the pre-wedding party because I misread the invitation that I realized I had accidentally left back at the hotel once arriving at the wrong hotel.
Luckily, we made it for the last half hour that featured a running slide show showing multiple photos of me in junior high…with a perm.

Fucking A, Muskrat. That’s so damn cruel.

There was a monsoon or something that night that left trash strewn in the streets by morning by way of flooding. Muskrat decided to keep her wedding outdoors despite the rain, and it turned out quite romantic, with the warm rain and the tropical setting.

I got into a little thing with this white trash dude after the wedding, as he was standing in a doorway and his friend was holding the door. I said excuse me since we needed to get inside so his friend let’s go of the door and slams him. So this guy glares at me like I had hit him with the door and I said, “Hey, your friend hit you with the door, not me.” He starts talking to me like I had said something outrageous and we were going to throw down. Reggie tried to jump in but I told him to back off, because I wanted to fight him and if he wanted to fight a white trash guy, he had to find his own. So that guy kept glaring at us through the glass door and I thought it was so funny, for me to have to turn to Reggie and say, “Here, hold my skirt,” and get into a brawl with some guy after Sarah’s wedding.

Sarah and her new husband Jeff took off right after the wedding for their honeymoon in Utah. Yes, I said Utah.

We ate breakfast, watched Ron Burgandy: Anchorman at Reggie’s friend Marlon’s cellphone store, and then embarked in the traffic-filled 8 hour ride home.

The cool thing was that we stood out on the strip selling lemonade and bottled water, and sold all the lemonade we had brought out. We estimate we have to sell approximately 70 bottles of lemonade before we cover our costs for the bottles.

Rehearsals for the comedy show are going well. The show has been going on for a while but we’ve recently restructured it with my entrance into the venture, and decided to name the troupe. So everyone suggested names and it came down to being called Full Frontal or The Petting Zoo. Full Frontal had the best marketing value and was pretty much going to be our name…until we found out that some college troupe at Indiana U. has the same name. So we’re now the Petting Zoo. The show’s on Aug. 16th and 17th and should be fun if everyone can remember their lines. Our first dress rehearsal is on Sunday. If anyone works at Hickory Farms or has a friend that works at Hickory Farms, we need a donation of two large, MEATY summer sausages.

Merc Retrograde is kicking my ass. Today my brain felt like soup. I’m going to try to sell lemonade at the Mercedes Benz Cup tomorrow. Come on out and buy some. We’re trying to fund a $1.5 million movie with lemonade. We have to sell approximately 700,000 bottles. We have about 799,944 to go.

(please help)

and oh yeah. This lady’s babies are so ugly.

UPDATE!!!!!!

Okay, finally, an update. I have to do this in 10 minutes so let’s see how fast I can type.

It’s been getting really hard to find time to blog since they are actually making me work at work these days, and I’ve been swamped getting this short film going while writing sketches for a sketch comedy show next month.

We all went to Vegas for the 4th weekend last weekend and Reggie had us hooked up by getting us on the list at Pure and his friend’s club Tangerine. We drove out on Saturday morning leaving at 5am. It was surprisingly not as painful as I thought it would be. We hit up the 3 Card Poker table at Treasure Island as soon as we got there, and despite the fact Reggie had been practicing 3 Card and was so excited, in his very first time ever playing the game, he lost $100 within 10 minutes. Fuck. I won almost $100 so it wasn’t so bad but he ended up sitting out most of the day because he had zero cash on him and a whole weekend left to go.

We met up with Amol, Annie, AD and Tyler at the Imperial Palace and split up to play other things. I’ve never been inside the IP because it’s one of the lower end casinoes on the strip, but what they had that was a trip was the Legends Pit where the dealers are all impersonators. Dolly Parton was awesome and “busted” enough for us to win a little. Jake the Blues Brother was a dick so we got up and left, though we came back when Ricky Martin and his huge nipples performed La Vida Loca. The sad thing was that I had left my camera in the car so I can’t show you guys these people. Ricky Martin had this see-through flamboyant red shirt that did little to hide his perky nipples. As Kate, the Hot Librarian said, “It’s like this casino is an accessory for those nipples.” The Rod Stewart impersonator was annoying as hell and freaky looking. He looked like a man trying to look like a drag queen trying to look like Rod Stewart. Tyler noted, “But isn’t that Rod Stewart?” Very good point.

After gambling all day, we headed out for pho for dinner, then to Pure in Caesar’s. I had heard from my coworker that Pure was one of the best dance clubs he’d ever been to, so we were psyched to get on the list, especially when we got there an hour before it opened to see a line of over 100 people already standing outside. The place was awesome, housing the famous Pussycat Dolls on the first floor. Upstairs was an outdoor lounge with an amazing view of the strip. The music was hip hop and decent, and the drinks were strong.

I wanted to see Reggie’s “game” so I told him to hit on someone so I could see his game. We agreed that we would each hit on someone, though his end goal was to dance with someone while mine was to get someone’s phone number. So he walked around looking for a girl while I followed him discretely. He chatted up this Asian girl and her friend and came back and said they said they would dance later. He said it was my turn and even though I didn’t fully think he achieved his goal. I looked around for someone but to be honest, there wasn’t really anyone interesting. I walked around for a bit until some Asian guy grabbed me and was giving me game. So I just chatted him up long enough to get to the numbers stage, telling him, “Hey, I’ve gotta find my friends but maybe we could all hang out later.” He tried to get my number but I didn’t want to give it out, so I just said I’d find him later.

We danced for a bit and walked around, though those two Asian girls kept stopping Reggie and talking to him. I would bolt whenever they did that so he could look single. I ended up bumping into my cousin Parkson who was there with some friends. I think he was afraid I’d get in the way of his game or something, because he disappeared soon after.

We headed to Tangerine after Pure where Reggie had gotten us table service. We lost half the group–only Reg, Sareet, Kate, AD and I left. We were the real troopers. Reggie’s friend Cooper hooked us up with a table in the VIP section with a bottle of Grey Goose, which was all it took to get Kate and Sareet dancing on a platform. Near the end of the night, we were ready to leave but AD convinced us to leave him there so he could try to get with this trashy looking girl with huge breasts. “I’m not a stripper, I’m a DANCER,” he quoted/declared, but I’m sure we would have both understood the context in which that statement makes sense if we hadn’t both been blasted.

The group woke up just before 10am the next day…I think most of us were still drunk.

The second day was interesting. 4 hours at the Bellagio buffet (2 1/2 hours spent in the line). We went back to the hotel and then I wanted to stop by the drugstore down the street to pick up flipflops before we headed over to meet the rest of the group at the Fremont Experience. While leaving the drugstore, this old black lady asks us for a ride to her hotel which was just up the street. It was probably only a 5-10 minute walk, but it was 110 degrees outside so it would have been a miserable walk. We had 5 people all together so we didn’t have room for her, but it didn’t feel right not to take her when it was so close. So we discussed it outside. Tyler voted not to take her. Kate threw in that it would be good karma to take her. We ended up leaving Kate, Sarita and Tyler at the store while we dropped her off. The only thing I was worried about was if it was a hustle and she was leading us into some dark alley to get robbed, so I asked her first, “Do you have any guns?” She laughed and it sounded sincere so we gave her a ride.

It turned out she was staying in the same hotel as us, in the room right below ours. She tried to give us $5 for taking her but we wouldn’t take it. I told her just to tell her friends back home in Michigan (yay!) that California people are really nice. We went back and picked up the grew, then headed out to old town Vegas.

We sat down at a $5 minimum 3 Card table and once again, Reggie was down. I hit 2 straights within 8 hands (odds are 6 to 1) so I was doing really well. Reggie went down $60 so he sat out. He decided to jump back in for one hand, and his timely entry led to me being dealt a straight flush, odds 40-1. Being $335 up, I left the table. Reggie had $30 and wanted to play craps. I decided to play the $35, figuring that if I lost it, I’d still be up $300. We rode some hot shooters, and then Reggie went crazy, shooting for over half an hour. He ended up turning $30 into $150 with me up about the same, so we decided to leave while we were up.

It wasn’t until we got home later that night that we realized…maybe it really was good karma at work. Because Tyler, who had been the only one who didn’t want to give the old lady a ride, had been up $240 dollars the day before, ended up losing it at the casino.

We went to dinner at the Star Trek Experience in the Hilton to celebrate Amol’s birthday, then headed back to Tangerine that night for more table service and to meet up with Alex and Sarah. It was Sarah’s birthday weekend so she was there with a group of girls, making Alex the big pimp. The night ended with a dance off between Alex and Reggie, where Alex made all us Asians proud because the boy can move like he’s black.

We left at 8am the next day. It was a crazy fun trip. But the crazy thing was what happened after we got back. We got in around 2pm, and had to be at Reggie’s manager’s house for a 4th of July bbq at 4. So we took a short nap then headed to the Valley for the bbq, only to show up to find it had been moved to the day before but no one had told us. So we chat with her family for a while then leave, only to find that we must have run over a nail on the way over because the tire is flat. So it takes us an hour to change the tire because the jack is broken and we have to borrow one from a neighbor. Keep in mind, neither of us have eaten since 8am that morning (McDonald’s) and it’s 5pm so we’re starving. Sometime while we’re changing the tire, I start getting really
nauseous but I attribute it to having not eaten in a while.

We finally get the tire fixed and hurry to grab dinner. We decide on Souplantation because I’m actually feeling sicker than I want to admit, and soup is the only thing I can think of being able to put in me. We show up and I have some chicken noodle soup but it wasn’t doing anything. I end up rushing home and spending the rest of the night and most of the next day throwing up everything I try to put in me. Must have been food poisoning from McDonald’s that morning.

It was weird how all these bad things happened after we got home, but I keep thinking of it like this–thank God our tire didn’t blow out or get flat between here and Vegas. Also, if the bbq had been on, we would have been there until the sun set and could have had to change the tire in the dark, so we’re lucky we didn’t have to do that. And lastly, it would have been horrible if I had started getting sick on the long drive home from Vegas, but luckily, it didn’t kick in until I was home. So overall, I’m really thankful.

So without further ado, some photos (click them to enlarge):

9/5 Recap

I went to the Shark Reef at the Mandalay Bay and ran into Andrew DeClerq , formerly of the Warriors and now of the Orlando Magic. He’s one of my favorite players because he’s got so much heart and hustle, and he always finds a way to make things happen on the court. And, he always seemed like a nice guy.

(Hey Andrew! If you stumble this far, it was very nice meeting you today. I’ll post the picture sometime this week, and if you ever want someone down to earth to hang out with when in LA, feel free to contact me! Good luck with everything!)

He was right in front of me in line and I was staring at his knee brace and feeling bad that this guy must have just had knee surgery, before I realized who he was. We started talking about his knee, and ended up walking through the exhibits at the same time. He was really nice and down-to-earth, pointing out things and helping me distinguish between the different sharks. And to tell me that sea turtles are “endangered,” not “dangerous.” (haha. I didn’t think that made sense. I somehow misheard the audio). He’s a really nice guy. Very intelligent as well, which was refreshing because two days in Vegas have left me craving intelligent conversation. He reminded me of the great people back in the midwest…just so down to earth. I miss people like that…LA is way too shallow and impersonal, and Vegas is like LA’s manic, slutty cousin.

I hope his knee heals up well. Orlando may have Francis now, but I still think it’s the scrappers who win games.

The Shark Reef is really cool. I love aquariums because it’s amazing how there’s an entire universe under the sea. And it’s amazing how different species adapted in their own unique way. And it’s interesting how we’re drawn to beautiful things that can very well hurt us. Like jellyfish. I was captivated by the jellyfish. I would do anything to be able to touch them and not get one of those legendarily painful stings. But it’s the same impulse that draws a moth towards light and drives our fascination with fire. Maybe it’s even a chicken/egg type of question. Is being drawn to something dangerous for us a distinct type of attraction? And when it comes to those things that are dangerous, are they really beautiful DESPITE being dangerous, or are they perceived as beautiful BECAUSE they’re dangerous?

By the way, I think the instincts that drive a moth towards a flame and fuel humans’ captivation by fire is a microcosmic example of our physical body’s inherent need for the sun. Just the way plants will turn towards the sun, I think people also are pulled towards the sun, their survivalistic instincts dictating that they must crave the sun’s energy. And then when we started artificially creating facsimiles of the sun (ie fire, lighting technology, etc.), our inherent desire for the sun can override the risks regarding the dangers of these things and thus, explain why moths get fried by camping lanterns and why arsonists are obsessively hypnotized by flames.

I’m totally stream of consciousness tonight. Just spending time with my family in the hotel, waiting for everyone to shower with time to kill.

You know, injuries suck. I was watching Andrew walking with his brace and a slight limp and I just felt so bummed for him, because I’ve had so many knee problems from sports and they’re some of the most painful injuries and grueling recoveries a person can have. It’s also frustrating when a person is a strongly focused and intense individual and knows that psychologically, he has the mental strength to do anything, but then his body doesn’t cooperate. Injuries are just so out of a person’s control, that it’s really insanely frustrating. I really wish they could hurry up with the technology for bionic parts. Man, if I had new knees, I’d tear down that rim.

Nerd Alert!

Yes, I can’t live without being close to a computer. I was already feeling withdrawal last night, but this morning, my mom pulled out her laptop and I immediately commandeered it.

Hey, you remember that scene in So I Married an Axe Murderer?

Tony Giardino: Excuse me sir, I’m with the San Francisco police department, this is official police business. I would like to commandeer this vehicle!
Commandeered Driver: No.
Tony Giardino: What do you mean, “no”?
Commandeered Driver: I happen to know for a fact that you have no right to commandeer my vehicle.
Tony Giardino: Please, can I commandeer this vehicle?
Commandeered Driver: No.
Tony Giardino: You’re just not going to bend on this commandeering thing are you? Commandeered Driver: No.

I love this movie! One of my favorites. (Nerd Alert #2-I can’t help saying, “Excuse me, I thought you ordered the Large…” whenever I see anyone holding one of those big supersized horse tubs of sodas.)

Anyway, I digress. Here’s my Vegas update, written in my notebook at 5:20am this morning:

Vegas: Day One

So I’m scrawling this from the bathroom floor of our suite in the Venetian tonight. This room is bigger than my apartment! It’s pretty out of control.

Flying in, I started getting a heavy feeling of dread that only intensified upon landing. Walking around with my brother, I was feeling introspective and moody, remembering things from my time here years ago that I haven’t thought about in a long time. I think if you spend too much time in this town, it brings out the worst in you.

But I did remember some things from my research time here. Like, did you know that casino managers are superstitious and they purposely hire female Asian dealers because they’re killers? Never play cards against an Asian woman. They have some sort of lucky pull for bringing in money for the man.

Anyway, my parents got in a few hours after us so as soon as they came in, I handed over Michael and took off. My cousin Parkson was here, too, but I didn’t want to hang out with him and his basketball team (they’re all here for a tournament). They’re THOSE guys. The stupid frat boys with lame pickup lines who make a dramatic point out of sniffing up every hot girl’s skirt. He tried to get me to hang out with him (they were going to a Gentleman’s Club. Yeah. Sounds like a good time for me), but every time I do, I get really annoyed with them.

So I hit the tables to find people to chat with. I met some cheesy guy named Vince from Orange County at the craps table. He was standing next to me and I was shooting really well (shot for over half an hour. If I’m around, always put money on 9). He kept touching me every time I made him some money. And he was a “High Five!” guy. The worst kind of cheese. I decided to leave to go check out the hip hop club upstairs. I was hoping to do some quality people watching, but he followed me away from the table and wanted to come with me. I gave him bad directions, but he still found me. So being the way-too-polite person that I am, I let him drink with me, though I told him that I was attached so I wasn’t going to do anything with him. We had a few shots of Patron and danced. He kept kissing my neck and I was getting annoyed so I told him I was gay and that nothing was going to happen. I was being stubborn because I didn’t want to have to leave the club just because this guy wouldn’t take no for an answer. He STILL kept trying to talk me into being interested in him, so I got really irritated and told him firmly and repeatedly that he didn’t have any kind of chance with me. He got really pissed and stormed off.

Seeing that it was 4 in the morning, I headed back to my room, but thought I would grab some food first so that I wouldn’t have a wicked morning when I woke up. There was this couple in line in front of me, and the guy jokingly asked if I was interested in fooling around with his wife. I laughed and said that she was a very attractive woman but I wasn’t into that sort of thing. We all started chatting and it turned out that we were all from LA. We ended up eating together. Very nice people. He asked me if I smoked herb. I said, on occasion, and he said that he had half an 8th that they wouldn’t be able to take with them on the plane when they left tomorrow, so I could have it if I wanted it. I said sure, so we went back to their room and got it. They smoked out of a homemade apple bong as they told me about their two young children, which I thought was really ghetto but funny. I declined a hit, because I think I wanted the weed more as a tradeable commodity (you never know what happens in this town) than to smoke, and because I thought it was funny that some random strangers were giving me dirt weed. We all chatted for a bit and he asked me again if I was sure I wasn’t interested in his wife. I said no, but I told him that if they were interested in that kind of stuff, my coworker and his wife are swingers and there’s a club in LA that really caters to it. I gave them the link to the website and left.