Miranda and I on the plane. I'm in my Red Bull F1 hat.

Miranda and I went to Vegas the other week. A bit of a late 6th-anniversary celebration. Miranda had also never been there, despite being a way more accomplished world traveler than I, and it seemed like a place she would enjoy, what with all the dressing up.

We left on a Thursday afternoon and had a weirdly long layover in Seattle. I was slow-rolling the pilsners all day as I wanted to be in the mood but still make our plans. We had Absinthe tickets at 9 pm. It’s this tent show outside of Ceasar’s Palace. I’d seen it many years ago and was glad it was still there. All I remembered about it was that it was both funny and amazing, and I was right. It was probably my favorite show of the whole weekend, in no small part because the tent is so small. You’re right there β€” and all this amazing stuff is happening just feet away from you. The grandeur is high.

Photo from the tent show at Absinthe with bold blue and purple lighting. Two guys holding the legs of another guy who is holding another guy on his head with just one arm.

As typical of Vegas, it was already late when we left the show, and kept it going too late. I made everyone play craps with me for a bit; then we attended an, ahem, adults-only establishment. Ya know, just to say we did it. Hey, it’s not like we brought the kid mmkay.

The ladies had spa treatments of sorts at the Cosmopoliton in the morning, so it was a nice slow start, and I was left to my own for a while. I worked, then walked around the strip just to take it all in. I wandered through New York, New York, Excalibur, Luxor, and Mandalay Bay, where I ultimately found a cool Shark Reef Aquarium.

Tank with like 100 piranha's in it and a woman in blue shirt standing in front of it.
This lady’s main job was to make sure you don’t put your injured hand into the piranha take and get it eaten.
a komodo dragon in a very sandy brown cage, looking away from camera.
I had never seen a Komodo Dragon before so that was cool.

On my walk back, I stopped at the Netflix/Stranger Things store, which was way cooler than I thought it was going to be.

Me in front of a very red neon Stranger Things sign.
One of the monster things from Stranger Things coming out of the wall in a red room.
Sweatshirt on a rack that says Netflix at a 45-degree angle like 100 times.
I took this picture of this sweatshirt because I thought it was cool (Netlifx n chill lol) and our friends went back and got it for me later in secret for my birthday.

I did buy some Netlifx sweat shorts for myself and got to use them to work out at the gym that afternoon. We stayed at the Waldorf Astoria. It was pretty nice. The main reason it was picked it because it wasn’t a casino. I like casinos so that wasn’t a top priority for me, plus the Waldorf’s main lobby was closed, which made it kinda awkward coming and going. But overall, I’ll conceit that it was nice to have a chill place to come and go from rather than doing that through a mobbed casino hotel lobby like the MGM Grand or something.

That afternoon, after Miranda got all pretty, we got a drink and snacks at Toca Madera, which was really an excellent place.

Closeup of Miranda's very wavy hair.

two cocktails close up.

Weird thing: it rained every day we were there. Usually just light rain, but it was a little annoying. Clearly Vegas is not set up for it, as just the little sprinkles would cause flooding in some areas. We saw city crew with big squeegees on the walkways getting water out of the way. The outdoor escalators were mostly closed. We saw some leaking ceilings in casinos! Wild.

But I did see this rainbow:

Rainbow over the MGM Grand building in Las Vegas.
I played a slot machine at the approximate location of the end of this rainbow and won $700 of $100 so let’s just say that luck is real.

That night, we had tickets to Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club at the MGM Grand. Guess who was performing that night? It was Brad Garrett lol. I don’t know why I think that’s weird, but it’s weird. He’s that guy with the low voice who was the brother or something on Everybody Love’s Raymond. It was a little bit of a Bob Saget situation where you think of the dude as being on this squeaky-clean show, but in real life, he’s pretty nasty. He had some funny moments, but mostly, he doesn’t have any material. He just makes fun of the people in the front row. Fortunately, I think people know this and are ready for it. I mostly didn’t think it was that good. Not because I was offended but just because I like it when comedy is more crafted or something. Not that improvisation isn’t a craft, but whatever.

Brad Garett holding his arms up on stage with the spotlight on him.

Rocky LaPorte came out and did a bit, and he was extremely funny. But sadly, we had to duck out for the last few minutes as we had dinner reservations we didn’t want to miss.

We ended up back at Ceasar’s for Nobu! What a place. We did the chef’s tasting menu thing, some seven-ish courses that came at us at a well-timed pace. Everything was wonderful.

Closeup of 4 small beef tacos and 4 small lobster tacos at Nobu, with two people behind them.

We walked home after that and called it.

Saturday morning, we got breakfast right at the Waldorf Astoria. That was prudent as they give you on-premises credits to use β€” they must want you to stay there as much as possible, which is probably tricky as a non-casino.

Miranda wandered back over to the Cosmo and got an IV. She loves those things even when we don’t drink too much lol. While we were there, she kept wandering, and I stood at the craps table again for a while and did OK.

That afternoon, the plan was to go to this place called Meow Wolf, which we all really wanted to check out. An interactive art exhibit, they say.

It was a little confusing at first because the actual place you go to is called Area 15, and the art thing inside is actually called Omega Mart. So Meow Wolf must just be the group that puts the art stuff together? I dunno.

I don’t want to spoil too much, but Omega Mart is like this really bizarre grocery store area you go into. All the products are weird jokes (the butter is “What is the True Essence of Butter? & the Nature of My Desire, and the wasabi peas were Leprekaun Kidneys), and every section of the store is kinda weird in its own way. But soon enough, you find yourself behind the store, and every place you go doubles down on weirdness. It’s a little overwhelming, really, but very beautiful and worth doing. It was a little exacerbated by the fact that I ate some fungus that apparently had gone bad!! (just kidding, it did exactly what it was supposed to do.)

We went back to the hotel after, and I found myself at the craps table at the Cosmo again. HEY I LIKE IT. I ended up a little down overall, even with the slots winnings. But I had fun.

That night, we went to the Matt Franco magic show over at the LINQ. We were late, which would have been the normal amount of embarrassing, but he made it a whole thing. He directly talked to me as we walked in:

Matt Franco: Where are y'all from?
Me: Bend, Oregon
Matt Franco: Did you walk? 
Me: 😑

We only missed the first few minutes, and the rest of the show was really fun and amazing. He kept coming back to us being late over and over, and it ended up being hilarious. Like I’d be late again to that show anytime. He does this thing with cards at the end where he makes the cards do all sorts of things that are related to events that happened during this particular show. At one point, he makes three cards appear and was like “and these people from Oregon arrived at SEVEN, TWENTY, FIVE!” making the Seven, Two, and Five cards appear, then put them in a pile and tossed them perfectly like 20 feet to land on Miranda’s lap.

Three playing cards close up: 7 of diamonds, 2 of clubs, 5 of spades.
I still have the cards. But it was more like 7:10 c’mon now.

For dinner that night, we cabbed over to the Sahara for dinner at Bazaar Meat. Tough call, but I think this was the best dinner. It’s a steak-focused place, and they do outstanding things with beef. We got a double round of three different A5 cuts, which came with a wax-stamped seal of authenticity.

closeup of 3 kinds of A5 beef. little slabs laying on to of one another

After that, we cabbed over to Planet 13, which has gotta be one of the world’s largest dispensaries. It was like midnight and kinda slow, and there were 20-some employees working.

me coming out of a red sticker-filled van with smoke billowing out.
Have a Nice Jay neon sign

We left Sunday afternoon, so Miranda and I spent Sunday morning wandering around the strip again and ending up back at the aquarium again, as Miranda really loves aquariums.

10/10 would Vegas again.



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One response to “Vegas”

  1. Rach Smith says:

    what a great Vegas visit! I miss going to Vegas so much!! Unfortunately I think it will be a log time before we’re back there child-free

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