Sunday, May 15, 2011

Las Vegas Bachelor Party

In all the commotion with planning the wedding, I forgot to write up a recap of my bachelor party in Las Vegas.

OK, so part of it was the fact that I really couldn't decide what I should talk about, and what should be left to the persistence of my groomsmens' collective memory.

It's a tough call. Good meals, definitely in. Biblical knowledge of strange women, definitely out. Midget tossing, kind of a gray area. You see the problem.

What I can unequivocally confirm is that we had an awesome time in Las Vegas.

It was the first time I had ever traveled to Vegas with all of my brothers when they were over 21. Also the first time I traveled with my friends and brothers together. There were a lot of firsts on this trip. So that's how we'll review.

This list won't include everything that happened out there. But it should cover most of the details acceptable for public consumption

First Number 1:
Being relatively satisfied with a flight delay

The first interesting note of the trip doesn't even happen in Las Vegas, it happens in Midway Airport in Chicago. I was booked on a Southwest flight, and arrived in time to see we would be delayed two hours.

I was a little miffed, because this was eating into the time I could be gambling! I was also disappointed because now that my brothers and I are all over the place, we're rarely in the same place at the same time. So I wanted to get out there and join them already.

The Southwest gate agent came over the loudspeaker and told us there was a maintenance issue, and that we would have to wait for another plane to get to Chicago.

I remembered the recent incident where that hole in the roof blew out on a Southwest flight and how the problem extended across their fleet. I decided that it probably made sense for them to take extra precautions, even if it would deprive me of a chance to put on the in-flight oxygen mask (for the record, I would be great at this!)

But I also thought I was owed some compensation. A weather delay can't be blamed on the airline, but a maintenance delay sure can. I wanted to get reimbursed for my trouble and inconvenience, but I also didn't know what Southwest typically doles out in such situations. So I put on my most offended face and went to the customer service desk.

I told the rep how disappointed I was and how I was curious to know if Southwest would offer an apology or compensation.

The woman looked at me, puzzled, and asked if I would like her to apologize.

I'm not sure why she was so confused, but eventually she confirmed that she had absolutely no power to award me anything. No surprise there, but I did make sure to write customer service a letter after I got back. In response, they sent me a $100 voucher. Score! So before I even left for Vegas, I was up $100 (although I didn't know it)

First Number 2: Shooting Osama Bin Laden

You may have heard a little about this, it made the local news here in Chicago.

Now, it's true that Osama was actually killed in Pakistan, and I can't confirm nor deny whether my groomsmen and I are actually Navy SEAL Team 6, the ultra-top secret band of super soldiers that will soon be made into countless TV pilots, movie scripts, and video games.

But in terms of karma, all I can say is no sooner do my groomsmen and I blast away at targets of Osama Bin Laden, then the man himself is dead.

We were at the Las Vegas Gun Store, which is pretty much a bachelor party lock in Vegas, and a nightmare for gun control advocates (note: I'm a hardcore gun control nut, and I think if you own a gun you're at least a little bit insane, but I was willing to set those beliefs aside to have some fun. Call me a hypocrite, it was my bachelor party)

This store has a complete wall of automatic firearms, all of which should definitely be illegal (but many of which I'm sure are freely available to the insane and criminally inclined through the gun show loophole).

You go into this store, pick a bunch of guns, and wait your turn for the range to fire at targets of your choosing. I was actually a little disappointed by the targets. Sure Osama Bin Laden was there, a couple of other generic arab terrorist images, a Nazi zombie, typical stuff, but where was the ironical??? Would it be that ridiculous to have a group of nuns or the cast from Jersey Shore or something?

Anyway, I'm glossing over the best part. You get to pick guns and shoot them at stuff!

We all chose varying degrees of armament. I got a WWII package that included a couple machine guns, and then added a police sniper rifle to that. You could also get a 'Coalition' package that may as well have been called the Call of Duty Modern Warfare package, or a zombie package, which is fairly self explanatory.

I personally think they could expand by offering a Rap Star package, but I digress. We took turns blasting at these targets, learning valuable lessons like pistols are really hard and modern machine guns are suspiciously easy. We made all the targets pay, obliterating all of them with extreme prejudice, including a couple versions of Osama.

It was a hell of a lot of fun to shoot those things, even if they're as loud as hell, the range is uncomfortable, and the wait was absurd. I'm still glad I did it. And because of our actions, Osama Bin Laden has been brought to justice.

First Number Three: Sleeping under the watchful eye of the Terminator

We stayed at the Planet Hollywood hotel, which is a decent spot in a pretty good location on the Las Vegas strip. Now, I had never been in the PH rooms before, and was surprised to discover that each hotel room has its own movie theme.

Now these themes aren't just 'Movies', they are specific themes which are different for every room in the hotel. It's not even a genre thing, every room is decorated with stuff from an individual movie.

Sounds like a great idea in theory.  But then you realize that there are like, 25 movies worth setting your hotel room around.  Would it be cool to be in a room themed with props from the Godfather?  No doubt.  The Godfather II?  Still great.  Godfather III?   You see where I'm going with this.

Movie themes are great until you're staying the the "Red Heat" room, decorated with crap from the Arnold Schwarzenegger/James Belushi Soviet-US buddy comedy.

This picture was above my bathtub:

Seriously? Weird.  There was a portrait of Arnold in full Soviet military dress above my bed.  A little bizarre, I feel like the Planet Hollywood guys didn't really think it through

With that said, it did give us a great conversational debate over what would be the absolute WORST image to put over the hotel room bed.

There were lots of contenders, but I'm pretty convinced the worst possible choice would be Jame Gumm (a.k.a. Buffalo Bill) in the Silence of the Lambs room.  This is what it would look like:

Yeah.  That'll be good to sleep to.

First Number Four: Getting bottle service with my father and future father-in-law:

For one of our nights in Vegas, the powers that be decided we would go big and check out Pure at Caesar's Palace.

Now Pure is a fairly popular nightclub, and with any fairly popular nightclub, the chances of getting in as a group of 10+ dudes by happenstance are exactly zero.  There are just too many douchebags with finely trimmed beards, suit jackets with T-shirts, and clipboards to keep all that sausage out.

I don't have a problem with that, that's the way of the world.  But to solve that problem, we got a table and four bottles of alcohol.  Of course that caused other problems downstream, but it's what got us in the door and got my dad and my fiancee's dad a taste of the bizzaro world.

This is a world where unlike every college party, dive bar, fish fry, or box social you ever went to, there are actually a reasonable number of girls there.  It's a world of loud music with the base turned up to the point where you can feel your kidneys pulsating, and flashing lights periodically work to convince you that you have epilepsy.  It's also a world of bathroom attendants.

Take out the alcohol and the excessive cleavage, and it may be indistinguishable from a North Korean torture chamber.  But those two things make all the difference.

It was a pretty amazing weekend, and I was glad that so many of my friends and family could go.  Now I just have to figure out how to get another one.