Shake Your Vegas Maker
December 8, 2002

I don't think Las Vegas and I will ever be true friends. We might respect one another. We may even occasionally nod to each other in passing. But we can never have a deep and lasting FF or SWAK- kind of relationship. It's not like me and San Francisco. We haven't seen each other in two decades but I know when we meet again, we'll just pick up exactly where we left off as though there has been no passage of time. Las Vegas and I will just remain acquaintances. To being with, my face is so dried out from the desert atmosphere, it's convinced it's deep in the throes of an amphibious molting season. Plus, the aridity (is that even a word?) and all the smoke served to irritate the hell out of my allergies and strip my throat down to its thong and pasties. And when it comes to gambling, I'm not exactly rational. In my callow youth I knew someone who had a thing for gambling and whenever I visited him, he would drag me to these dismal casino boats docked in various parts of suburbia. We would be there for hours. In the middle of the day. For hours. When it was light outside. For hours. This was how he thought we should pass our time. Not going to a movie or out to dinner or even -- though I hate it -- shopping, nope. I spent far too much time in those garishly lit rooms that smelled of sweat, cheap beer, and desperation with an unfortunate individual to ever look kindly on green felt again.

HOWEVER -- lest you, placid reader, think anything else -- I had a completely fabulous time. It's gotta be some sort of testament to how amazing TWoP recappers are that despite my antipathy to gambling, various other slot machine-related hangups, and general dermatological distress, I still had a kick-ass Vegas experience. Plus the massage. Oh, the massage! But that can come later. You should worry if I was tempted by the "Fennel Cleansing and Abdominal Release."

The reports I heard of these TWoP summits were always along the lines of "I never laughed so hard in all my life" but, you know what? I'm just going to have to be cliché and say the same. This is a group of tremendously hilarious people -- the kind of hilarity that is directly related to how wicked smart everyone is. The best part was seeing how well everyone in the group complemented one another. Someone would make a crack, someone else would slightly alter that crack, and it would just keep going from there. It wasn't even one-upmanship -- it was building or brainstorming a whole pile of seriously hysterical snarks. I think TWoP Towers will need to be outfitted with soundproof walls and moisture-resistant chairs, if you know what I mean and I think you do. I'll bet Vern has some lovely plastic sheeting swatches he could show us.

Anyway, The Recappers. What a group of CAS (cool as shit -- sorry, Mom and Dad) people. After all these years -- well three, anyway -- I finally met the Tremendous Trio who strike fear into the hearts of Spike Apologists: Ace, Sep, and Couch Baron. Though the "Spike Apologists" part may really apply only to Ace and Sep, "Tremendous Trio" does apply to all of them. As a further bonus, I got to meet Ace and Sep's significant others, both really cool, sweet, and funny guys. They must be as crazy as Mathra to put up with some of the crap we have to deal with. Either that, or we're just *that* wonderful. I'll go with some of the first mixed in with most of the second. In addition to having the SOFRAIR (Significant Others Friends Real And Imaginary of Recappers) Summit as Sars and I discussed, I also firmly believe we should have a Cats, Dogs, Rabbits, and Chinchillas of TWoP Recappers Summit. Can you imagine the carnage?

And thank the good Glark for TWoP Swag -- I don't think I would have been able to find Sep in that teeming moist mass of McCarran humanity otherwise.

It's telling that having met a lot of fellow recappers, I now have a hankering to read the recaps of shows I don't even watch. The empty purse responsible for not allowing us to have HBO or Showtime is no longer going to get in the way of reading Six Feet Under. Also, I think I might actually gird my loins and watch American Idol just so I can read Shack's recaps, since it's very possible I will be deprived of the glorious Firefly recaps. Note that I said "glorious Firefly recaps" and not "glorious Firefly." Just in case you missed it.

We collectively wallowed in empathetic misery over the crap-o-meter readouts of our various shows and shudderingly remembered some of our darkest days with the site -- Mark Paul Gosselaar, I'm looking at your pasty no-talent jowls. I also found out that Kim and I have the same irrational and freakish phobia about bellybuttons. Who knew there could be two of us?

At the group dinner on Saturday night I sat at the Algonquin Geek table as we passionately discussed Madeleine L'Engle, Anne McCaffery, Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms, and Sweet Valley High. Shack and I mauled our triangles of deep fried polenta and decided the odd taste of musty cheese was because they used that Kraft powder in it. Shack also was gracious enough to take a worry off my mind that had been plaguing me like an overripe pimple for several years: the recent Dark Elf trilogy was not worth reading. Sorry Chuck and R.A. Salvatore.

Aaron informed me that his less than high expectations for Nemesis is not going to stop him from seeing it. Our less than high expectations for Trek movies never do stop us, do they? Aaron also told me that sports teams from Philly and Pittsburgh hate each other passionately. I was going to ask more questions but I was afraid of getting him all riled up.

I can't wait for Strega to finish The Instance of the Fingerpost so we can talk more about it. I also think she needs to have pictures of Scooter available to the viewing public. Sadly, because of an illness, Johanna's David Boreanz dreams still remain shrouded in mystery.

Alex, Gustave, and I spa'd on Friday and now I really wish I had taken those nifty spa sandals home with me. Weird. Just as I typed that, I had a flash of a dream I had last night in which Sars told me she had a pair of those sandals in her room that had just become radioactive. Maybe they were resequenced pewp spa sandals. Hee, Pewp spa-dals -- sort of like espadrilles. I'm running on two hours of sleep, people, what do you want from me? Actually, it doesn't matter what you want because you're going to get me at my slap-happiest.

Seriously though, the smelly hot rocks massage I got was incredible. Mathra has been trying to get me to go to a spa ever since I got news of my lay-off but I kept not taking advantage of it. This was the weekend to take advantage of it. The spa menu calls it "Aroma Stone Therapy" but the rocks are volcanic, smooth, and heated between 130 and 150 degrees and coated in essential oils so I think "smelly hot rocks" is equally appropriate. The masseuse had this intricate technique of folding and unfolding the towel to maximize my skin surface without worrying about naughty items being exposed -- it was quite impressive. You know what else was impressive? The freakin' bathrooms, man! It was like three separate rooms -- one for the "commode", one for the shower, and the third -- which was also the main room -- had a very deep tub. If there had been a bidet, I'd have sworn I was staying at Versailles. The real Versailles. In France. Where the kings lived. And got their butts washed.

Ace, Andy, Alex and I geeked-out at "The Star Trek Experience" on Saturday and it was literally sick making. I loved all the museum stuff, the uniforms, Khan's necklace, getting a good look at the absurdly technologically advanced e-pads, pistols and tricorders for Enterprise, the bottle of Dom Perignon used in Generations, and so on and so forth. It was the "ride" that made me sick. I won't go into details, because we're sworn to secrecy by Cpt. Picard -- lest we interrupt the space-time continuum -- but it was cool and very impressive. I just felt very nauseous for a bit afterwards. In the gift shop, I grabbed Sars a Shatner magnet. It's totally Kirking, " wanttocome... fondlemy....squishy man dinners." I almost bought a stuffed Porthos, which was approximately the same size as Hunca Munca. Came even closer to snagging a few squeaking and quaking Tribbles to give to the cats as toys. They would have been shredded within two seconds of my arrival home.

And you know, I think most who met me are now adequately convinced that I'm not really the lush they thought I was. I fooled them all -- mwah!

I'm refreshed, expunged of "Vanishing Point," and ready to take multiple stabs at "Precious Cargo" this week.

But the slot machines, will they ever stop dinging?

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