NOTICE: Not all of the statements made herein are guaranteed to be wholly factual, or even remotely accurate. Statements made about specific individuals are almost certainly lies, and/or damned lies.
Thursday morning, I boarded the R2 train and headed for the airport. I could immediately tell this would be no ordinary trip. David Spade was sitting two seats behind me, talking loudly about a new variety of Skittles that he had tried and was not enjoying as much as other Skittles. I hunched down in my seat, afraid he might notice me. I was not certain if he was traveling with anyone, or just sharing with the SEPTA crowd his opinions on candy.
While approaching the train, a computer called my phone and told me my flight had been canceled and replaced with a flight with identical times and airports. I'm not certain why it did this. The "new" flight had a different gate assignment, but when I got to the airport, the original gate was still in effect. I went there and asked if I was in the wrong place, but they assured me I was in the right spot. As I sat down to wait, a businessman verbally assaulted the same airline agent for the same reason, except he had gone all the way to the other side of Philly Int'l to the "new" gate, to find he had to come back. I don't know what to say about that. I guess that's why they recommend you get there two hours early. I still had a lot of time to kill.
A man walking past me pointed at my bag of Herr's Black Pepper Barbecue tortilla chips and said, "Thanks for buying Herr's." I had no response, because I eat local junk food for wholly selfish reasons, not for the economic value to the region. I wonder if that was a Herr and his flights were paid for by my poor dietary habits. Hrm.
Flight out was easy - Philly to Cincinnati, but delayed by the "change" in flights. I had to hustle to make the connecting flight to Vegas, but while I was hustling I wondered why -- I paid Delta a couple hundred bucks to get me to Vegas, not to run through an Ohio airport for the benefit of a bunch of other people. Ah, I should just accept that we live in a socialist society now, and if I don't like it, I can move to Russia. Wait, what?
Cincy to Vegas, and while I got some sleep on the longer leg, still stayed awake for most of it. The nighttime approach to Vegas is awesome, because Nevada is a hellish nightmare state of bleak desert, virtually devoid of all visible landmarks, until you approach the Shining City of Filthy Lucre and Its Assorted Temples, sprawled like an LED set of Legos and endlessly detailed like an urban fractal. Delicious view from 2,000 feet.
John Flournoy, who was 50% of the impetus for my trip, met me in the airport with Kevin Mergen, who was running this whole show. Poor Kevin was playing chauffeur for God-knows how many V:TES players. I expressed my condolences for his sorry fate (which he took up of his own free will) and John and I headed for Binion's in downtown Vegas.
John showed me the "twenty dollar trick" at the hotel and turned Andrew Jackson into a bigger TV, an alarm clock and a balcony. I have to try that sometime. The 21st floor of Binion's also has a nice view, and we had friends staying in the same hotel. It was great.
More on day two soon.
--1:43 PM, EST, Hatboro, PA, everybody's free... to feel good
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