Las Vegasest

Finishing off my stay in Vegas today. I was able to cram two separate events into my time after the work conference today.
First up was the thing any self-respecting geek has to do while in Vegas. The Star Trek experience. This was a lot smaller than I expected it to be. In fact I didn’t even bother spending time in the “museum.” Which is more like a glorified hallway with Star Trek pictures and facts printed in various displays along it.

Duras Sisters

I did get to go on the two rides they have, though. Those were pretty fun. They maintain a good suspension of disbelief and actually the way the Klingon attack ride works, you really are surprised at the start. They do a great job of setting you up and getting you into the events of the ride.
Beyond the rides, all there really is is a nice gift shop with tribbles and expensive autograph photos and stuff. And then there’s Quark’s bar. I would have liked to stop in and see if they had any Gagh, but I didn’t have time. I had to be on my way to the next show.
Which was the Tournament of Kings at The Excalibur. If you’ve ever been to Medieval Times, you’ve basically seen this show. It’s pretty much the same thing. Each audience section has a knight (in this case, a King) representing them, they fight for a while, there’s comedy, a lot of cheering and booing, and a dramatic fight scene. I got to be in the Dragon section, which means we all got to cheer for the bad guys, which is great fun.

The black knight

However, I have to say, the French section right next to us stole the show for me. They were far and away the section that was the most into it. They cheered loudest, booed other Kings loudest, and generally played up to the performers the best. It was laughable how crazy they would go when the French King was nearby or acknowledged them or anything. And he should get some credit too, as he was the best performer in my opinion, playing up to his crowd in a way no one else was able to. Lots of nice subtlety. Oh and the Spanish King made a rude gesture to the French (who of course were booing him already) during his introduction on his way in down to his section. Nice touch.

Blue Dragon at Excalibur

That’s it for Vegas though. Gonna get an milk shake sent up to my room, pack, and then get to bed so I can be ready for my flight in the morning. I’m sure to miss it, but looking back at the week, there’s really only one or two things I didn’t see that I feel like I missed out on (like that darn M&M shop that I can’t find). All in all it was a pretty cool week.
Oh, and the lions at the MGM Grand were out today.

Las Vegaser

Another night another show, tonight was Penn & Teller. Yet another great show, gotta love being able to see how the tricks are done. Also, Penn plays the bass.
Not much else to say, no seat upgrades, no secrets of Vegas that have been revealed to me today. Though there does seem to be this magical M&M shop that I keep seeing people return from with magical M&M shopping bags filled with…magic…or something…
Anyway, it’s really annoying me that I can’t find it. I’ll have to track that down tomorrow.
Here’s a picture from before Penn & Teller started. It’s the audience going up to sign an envelope. Um..hard to explain that one, you kind of just need to go to the show.

Las Vegas continues

Awesome fun Vegas thing number 3. You don’t need to buy floor seats. So I went to Spamalot tonight. Awesome show. They have a lot of songs and material that isn’t in the movies. And it was really fun cause you can tell that there were tons of people in the audience who had never seen the movie, so you get to experience the first time that they’ve heard those jokes. Plus you can even get popcorn and softdrinks beforehand and bring them into the theater, which is something that I’ve never seen before in a musical theater. That theater, by the way, is awesome. Totally decked out in theme for the show. See below:

Anyway, as I’m trying to go to as many shows as I possibly can while I’m up here, I’ve been getting the cheaper seats in the balcony. However, now I’ve been to two shows, and both Blue Man and Spamalot closed off the balcony and upgraded everyone with tickets on the floor. Actually, in Spamalot I got a seat in the 3rd row from the stage (the only benefit of going to these shows by yourself is that you can be fit into wherever there’s an opening). So yeah, it looks like if you are going to Vegas in a low traffic time when shows aren’t going to sell out the floor seats and have no need to use the balcony, you can save some good money by just buying a balcony seat and hoping for an upgrade.
Your mileage may vary of course, and if you really want to be sure to get the good seats, you’ll want to shell out the money. Of course, in Spamalot’s case that gets you a plastic replica holy grail drink filled with beer or soda, as well as a behind the scenes tour and interview with the cast members. Not too bad, though that VIP ticket costs 179$.

Free Las Vegas Trip

So I arrived in Las Vegas yesterday to go to EMC World, which is basically a big IT conference put on a by one of the big storage vendors and showcasing their products and stuff. Anyway, that doesn’t really matter cause I’m in Vegas so i get to do awesome fun Vegas things.

Awesome fun Vegas thing number 1. Staying at THE Hotel at Mandalay Bay (yes, the THE is capitalized).
Conference rate was acceptably priced for my work to purchase, they ran out of hotels at the normal Mandalay Bay, so I get conference rate at THE Hotel which is even better. I swear this place is just a renamed Four Seasons, though there is an actual Four Seasons at The Mandalay Bay as well, just on the top most floors. So I dunno what’s up with that. Here’s an image from my room.

Yeah, it’s a suite. 🙂
Awesome fun Vegas thing number 2.
Blue Man Group. I went there tonight and it was great. Oh, and I got to be in the show. They brought me on stage and dressed me up in a protective jump suit and even smudged some blue paint on my face. I did my part well, doing my costume change and so forth back stage, but apparently the video feed wasn’t working, so the audience didn’t get to see what they were supposed to, so I don’t know how it worked out for them, but it seems that they didn’t notice things being too off. The Blue Men are pretty good performers, making it seem like everything was going like it was supposed to. Anyway, freaking sweet, I was on stage and got applauded and it was really fun. I highly recommend you go to their show if you can. They’re in several cities and have a tour which is a completely different show as well.
Not so awesome fun Vegas thing. After my awesome Las Vegas Strip debut, I walked around gathering tickets I purchased for Tuesday and Wednesday (Spamalot and Penn & Teller respectively). One was at the Wynn, no biggie, it was nearby the theater I just came from and the box office was open and all was good. Then I walked to The Rio, which is 10 times farther away than it looks. It was only when I was leaving The Rio that I saw a sign telling me about a shuttle that runs from a hotel on strip that I had passed on my way to the Rio that would have saved me a bunch of time and my legs a bunch of pain. Boo. But at least I was able to take it back and now I know for when I have to come back out on Wednesday.
Oh and then I had to find my way back on to the monorail (cue Simpsons monorail song, cause that’s exactly what happened to this city). There are two things I’ve learned about Vegas hotels on the strip:
1) They are not hotels, they are shopping malls with casinos in them. And they are huge.
2) They are constructed like mazes. If you are trying to pass through to get to, say, the monorail station at the back of the hotel, they wrap you around the whole hotel and walk you by three billion shops and slot machines and gambling tables in an effort to get your attention and money. I hate this.
This lead to it taking me an hour and 15 minutes to get from The Rio back to my hotel. Hopefully I can do it faster on Wednesday now that I know exactly where all the relevant entrances and exits and shuttles I need are.
Anyway, enough ranting. The conference is good, my room is fantastic, and of course I’ve had an experience tonight that I’ll never forget. Can’t complain after that. 🙂

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronices: My Life as a King

So I just downloaded Final Fantasy Crystal Chronices: My Life as a King on my Wii to check it out. Unfortunately so far all I have are some negatives:
1) Downloading it takes forrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeveeerrrrrrrrrrr. We’re talking like PS3 firmware update speeds (which is a long time, like 20 minutes).
2) The graphics have bugs! I’ve never seen this on a Wii title before, at least not like this. There’s shimmering. Random pixels that look completely out of place just splattered across the screen when looking at certain items like the main crystal in the game.
Hmm, may as well live-blog this.
Built three houses, out of elements. Need to send a dude to go get more random-mineral that-they-just-made-up.
Well this game certainly takes a while to get going. Got another building, named my town, and am starting to maybe have fun with the game, waiting for my adventurers to return to town so I can welcome them back.
Wow, okay so like all games where you keep having to build and level and tweak and maximize, it becomes addictive. Didn’t mean to play for 3 hours but I did. Verdict so far is tentative recommendation. It really starts to pick up as you get lots of people in your kingdom.