Monthly Archives: March 2008

Vegas Trip, Spring ’08

If it weren’t for the 4 rollover days I carried from last year and must use before April 1st per company policy, this trip never would have happened. I wasn’t exactly in the mood of going on vacation and the choices for destination took us a while to settle on. Some place warm, some place domestic. Florida? been there more than once. New Orleans? read somewhere that safety is now a concern. Police advises tourists to not fight purse snatchers. As soon as we read that it was off the list.

So Vegas it was.

Bellagio

BellagioFront 

It is a very nice hotel, for sure. The indoor botanical garden (and a butterfly house!) is always attracting tons of tourists, whether they stay at the hotel or not, to take pictures. The famous, signature music fountains in front of the building definitely gives it something that distinguishes from other hotels. We have over the course of our 5 day stays watched the performances at least 4 times, each with a different song.

Garden_tree      Garden_ladybug

(pictures taken in the botanical garden)

“O”

Last time we were in Vegas we watched Mystere by Cirque du Soleil, because we couldn’t get any tickets for “O”. So we booked the tickets in advance this time. The show was pretty good. My expectation going in might be a bit too high though, I ended up a little unsatisfied. But the opening was really spectacular and impressive.

The Buffets

We went to the one at Bellagio and the one at Paris. Both were among the best in town. Both had huge lines. You won’t go wrong with either one. The smoked salmon and mushroom salad at Bellagio were so tasty, so were lots of other things in both places.

The Chocolate Fountain

Inside Jean Philipe, a French pastry shop located in Bellagio hotel, there was this “world’s tallest and largest volume chocolate fountain”. The photos were taken using our cellphone camera so the quality was not very good, but you should be able to read the print (click to enlarge) that described this very interesting (and delicious) design.

chocolatefountain1 chocolatefountain2 chocolatefountain_sheet

Coca Cola Tasting

Another thing interesting we discovered was a Coca Cola store near MGM Grand. They sell a $7 tasting set where you get 16 glasses of Coca Cola soda, each a different flavor. The flavors are actual products Coca Cola sells across the world, in 16 different countries. So we paid our 7 bucks and got these two trays of colorful drinks, along with a list of what each drink was and where it’s from.

CocoColaTasting2 CocoColaTasting

That was a real fun way of wasting some time in a nice, sunny day.

(As for the tastes, most of them were just so so, a couple were quite bad, a few, including one called “Smart Apple”, were really good.)

Gambling

As usual I didn’t win money gambling. I never do at casinos, no matter what I do. Playing live poker games with a table of strangers for the first time was not an enjoyable experience to me. I had trouble keeping track of the pot size (which is important for calculating pot odds when you are facing or making any bets) and got easily distracted by all sorts of things going on at the table and the surroundings, people chattering, overhead announcers etc. The speed of action was faster than I thought too. It was overall kind of chaotic, and very, very different from playing online, where concentration was not an issue.

But that’s not even the biggest problem. Players in a casino are in general much worse than those online, maybe because they are mostly tourists rather than poker fans (you have to be into poker a little bit to seek out an online poker site like PokerStars to sign up account and play there). Some of their plays were so inexplicable it made any assumption you made (and any conclusion you drew) basically useless (and sometimes totally wrong). Common “poker sense” didn’t seem to exist there. It was quite frustrating and turned out to be costly too.

I did have a better time playing at one of the daily poker tournaments at Caesars Palace. I made the final two tables but busted out after making a mistake on one of the hands preflop, because I wasn’t patient enough. But overall I enjoyed the experience. It was my first ever live tournament in my 3 short months of playing poker.

BallysSlotMachine

At Bally’s we walked past a standalone, super-sized slot machine (picture above). We put in some bills and instead of pushing the button, took turns pulling on the huge handle on the side to roll it, so it felt more like real gambling. It was fun (and silly :-)).

A Quiz

This might be old, but when I first heard about it a few weeks ago, it got a good chuckle out of me.

Question #1: How do you put a giraffe into a fridge?

I will let you think about this for a second before I post the answer. It’d be in your best interest to think for yourself before scrolling down to see the answer, as it will leave a stronger impression when you do see it. :)

Now think.

<…>

<…>

Ok, the correct answer is:

Open the door, put the giraffe in, and close the door.

 

Question #2: How do you put a hippo into the fridge?

Again think about this. If your answer is "open the door, put the hippo in, and close the door", you have learned something, however, that is not the correct answer.

<…>

<…>

The correct answer is:

Open the door, take the giraffe out, put the hippo in, and close the door.

 

Question #3: Lion King summoned an all-animal conference. Who’s missing?

<…>

<…>

The correct answer is:

of course, the hippo, because he’s in the fridge.

Random Notes, 1/1/08 – 3/8/08

Here is a random collection of what I have done (that’s worthy of note) in the first two months of 2008, in random order:

  • Saw “Persepolis“. Very artsy movie. Didn’t beat Ratatouille for best animation oscar, but equally good, in totally different ways.
  • Saw “Juno“. It will touch you, in one way or another.
  • Discovered in Windows Live Writer the very convenient “block quote” toolbar button which automatically formats the quoted text for you (I always do it manually by myself!)
  • Managed to post twice in the month of February.
  • Bought three poker books.
  • Finished one. Dan Harrington is a great poker author.
  • Signed up an account at PokerStars.
  • Finished in 9th place in my first ever online poker tournament. (For those who don’t know, it was a very short, single table tournament that lasted less than 1 hour. There were 9 players in total.)
  • Finished in 6th place twice in my subsequent two tournaments.
  • Finished in 1st place in my 4th try.
  • Got tagged for a meme for the first time.
  • Saw a total lunar eclipse.
  • Bought 3 habitat backgrounds, a bunch of accessories and items to decorate my Haikoo Zoo pet profile, all for free!
  • Found out Scrabulous is addictive.
  • Discovered a very nice, local Moroccan restaurant.
  • Someone told me a joke that I thought was very funny. When I told it at our team dinner, nobody laughed.
  • A building collapsed and caused huge delays at Metro North, resulting a 2 hour trip home that night.
  • Hosted two parties for the Chinese New Year.
  • Worked on Chinese New Year’s Day.
  • Watched the Oscars (which I do annually). Thought Jon Stewart did a better job this time around. Also thought this year’s Best Foreign Film category was a joke because neither “Diving Bell” nor “Lust Caution” was nominated.
  • Had a really bad day on 1/30.
  • Was very moody for several days in a row.
  • Slept a lot overall.
  • Ate less.
  • Booked Vegas trip.
  • Booked “O”, the famous Cirque du Soleil residence show at Bellagio.
  • Finished this post.