Thursday, September 5, 2013

Las Vegas Star Trek Convention: Day 2


  We get up relatively early at about 8am and meander our way to the convention center section of the Rio.  En-route, we see a small restaurant along the endless hallways (miles of them) and give it a go, of course, a line to get in despite tables open everywhere.  It seems like there's 3 waitresses for the entire seating of about 100 (though the restaurant could likely handle 200) and they're frazzled beyond belief, one or two patrons in-costume.  Becky and I forwent the costumes today as it's only Thursday now and most of the wackiness doesn't start until Friday.  Breakfast was acceptable and only mildly expensive (under $50 for both of us) though we didn't get to the actual convention rooms until 10am (breakfast took over an hour from start to finish, due to waiting, and I had surrendered the hope of a beverage refill).

  There was a lot of confusion as to what to do once we got to the atrium section, but not too many folks around yet.  Finally, we asked a guy and we learned to take our online-purchase-ticket printouts and take them to a desk where they'd give us a paper bracelet for entry.  Not much was open yet except the vendor's hall so we agreed to hit there first.

  The vendor's hall was huge, about 4 times as large as the one at the Marriott and the Denver Tech Center for the Starfest event, and all Star Trek related stuff, from dolls to posters.. pretty extensive.  I got a working Tribble (that has two modes, angry and happy), two 3D posters (I got a third for free because I was a "nice guy") and an X-Men pin (they had one so.. well).  Then.. Grace Lee Whitney!

  We realized some of the actors were just randomly sitting at tables signing autographs.  I purposely had printed-out a glossy 5x8 at Kinko's two days prior for her to sign and there she was at age 89!  She signed my photo and gave me a big hug and we chatted about her playing one of King Tut's concubines from the original BatMan TV series in the '60s (I actually didn't know this).  Very sweet lady.

Later, we noticed actors like "Jaws" from James Bond's Thy Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker "Richard Kiel" as well as the original Star Trek: Next Generation cast just sitting around impossibly!  Also "Apollo" from the original BattleStar Galactica "Richard Hatch" (oddly).  Also.. LURCH (Ted Cassidy) (who was in an episode called What are Little Girls Made Of?)


Then, from the original pilot of Star Trek, "Where No Man Has Gone Before" "Sally Kellerman" (age 76).  She was a good deal senile.   I had a picture of her hugging Kirk (William Shatner) from the pilot episode so I had her write "Too hot to handle." to be cute, though, like Grace Whitney, spelled "Too" as "To".  In both cases, I didn't have the heart to tell them they made a typo.  Earlier in my life I had Uhura from the original series "Nichelle Nichols" write, "Embrace Adventure" but she spelled it "Embrase".  It's my opinion most actors are good at reading but not so much writing or arithmetic.  Actors also are good at looking good and having a presence.  Being hugged by Ms.Whitney was pretty emotional and lasting.

  Robert Picardo who played in Star Trek: Voyager was present and before I could get an autograph from him he declared, "Okay, now I have to pee."  Amused, I mentioned, "Good luck, Johnny Cab." to which he snickered.  Aside from his well-known (in Star Trek crowds) role as the hologram doctor in Star Trek: Voyager, he played as the swamp-witch from the movie Legend and also "Johnny Cab" from Total Recall.  He obviously remembered that voice roll, though I never ended-up getting his autograph this time, I'll have him sign my Total Recall Special Edition DVD set if he makes his way to Denver in April.

  Nothing much else was going on that pre-day of the convention so we decided to do any non-convention things that day and went for lunch via the expensive mob-controlled taxi-service (at $30 one-way) to the Heart Attack Bar & Grill on the old strip.  The taxi driver lamented the long-lost days of inexpensive Vegas as he took the traffic-jammed highway to the Old Strip (which is now covered btw).  It was hot outside and we went by way of Toyota Prius taxi, which sucked royally.  People complain GM plastics are low-quality but they've never been in a Toyota.  This will be my second I've actually been in and let me tell you, I didn't know cheap could get that cheap.  The AC struggled and wheezed in the 95 degree late-morning haze as we nearly rear-ended a semi.  The driver didn't know where the restaurant was and he let us out a half-block away but a nice stranger helped us find it.  Vegas off-the-strip is a not-as-friendly location, btw.  Just sayin', though no worse than most cities.  The wolves are famished but not desperate.. yet.

  Heart Attack was interesting.  You show up greeted by a girl in a vampy nurse's costume and you're fitted a hospital gown (open in the back, and yes, over your clothes) as a makeshift costume and as an afterthought, an adult "bib".  You're then seated by sexually oozing nurse/waitress/dominatrix in a standard diner with a 30 foot roof.  In the center is a "spanking station" for those who do not finish everything on their plate, and to the corner a weigh-in station where you can eat for free if your weight is 350 pounds or more.  Delights include the quadruple and octuplet-bypass burger (4 or 8 half-pound hamburger patties).  Everything has cheese and bacon on it.  You can't not get that.  It's simply not allowed.  Cheese and extra bacon is assumed.  To be cautious, Becky and I split a single-bypass and had one of their famous buttermilk chocolate shakes (sans the brownies) which is garnished with a pat of butter.  Opulence is the theme here.  I also ordered a Mexi-Coke (sugared Coke in a bottle, which is excellent if anyone's never tried it, reminiscent of the 1970's for those too young to remember that) and a pack of Lucky's.  Yep, Lucky Strike cigarettes with no filters.  I very rarely smoke cigarettes, but when I do, it's Lucky's.  I do admit the extremely occasional cigar once every year or two (a pack of 196 Carlos Toranos 90th anniversary platinum-editions sitting in my humidor being maintained for years now) and I smoke German-imported aromatic tobacco from various briar-wood pipes probably once a month or so, and like Clinton admitted, "I don't inhale".  Indeed, if you did, you'd pass-out.  The experience of quality tobaccos, like fine scotch (over 18 years) is "medicinal" and "beneficial" (in small doses).   Ask Dr.McCoy.

Original bartender and our actual waitress from the Heart Attack Grill

  The bacon-cheeseburger was excellent.  I could have probably finished a quad-bypass myself, the bun very fresh and toasted without being swathed with undesirable theater-popcorn-butter/grease as several restaurants think we want (we don't, sorry Culver's).  Bacon was thick-cut and hickory-smoked and high-quality, cheese was decent cheddar (though not English cheddar, more of a Sargento's type).  Burger was excellently cooked and non-frozen puck-like but rather fresh meat seasoned just right.  A great burger!  Total meal cost about $25 with everything (to include the $9 Lucky's, forgot how expensive a pack of 'cigs cost, so rarely do I buy 'em.. last pack I bought was in 2005).  Thanks Obama!  We Won!  I like how democrats tout how our rights are being taken away from us by repubs, but then we're denied large sodas or tobacco tax is insane or California outlaws Happy Meals from McDonald's (seriously, they did that) because it's not "good for you".  Ah, irony.

  Some frat boys showed up and ordered impossible "octuples"  brought out by cooks in doctor outfits and failed to devour them entirely.  They thought it'd be a good idea but the punishment area was a bit rough.  One of the sexy nurses brought a cutting-board of a paddle (no holes) and had it tilted for speed then twisted for impact on their backsides, while they held onto bars with action-cameras snapping impact-moment faces for all to see on LCD TVs overhead.  They thought it might be sorta sexy-time fun-time.  Nope.  Pain.  Damaging pain.  Waivers had to be signed beforehand and .. bad time for them.  They tried to play it off but I suspect they won't sit for days.  It was horrifying.  I finished my burger quickly as waitress "Demonatrixica's" gleaming sparkle-eye gazed at my progress.. hopeful.  Still, Becky was pre-spared just in-case when we asked and she was gladly removed from the hit-list. 

  One heavy dude made the 350 mark to cheers of the restaurant.  Canadian mom and daughter duet commented on the ordeals we saw.  The daughter had just turned 21 (she looked 38) and purchased "Jell-O" shots.  These were administered orally by way of a syringe.  It's up to the purchaser if they want it "penis" shaped or not.  The Canadian youth declined that option, but was still orally "taught a lesson" by the nurse who "inserts" it into her mouth.  Yeah, it's pretty suggestive, but in all good-fun.

  We escape the burger-dominatrix-lair and cruise the Old Strip of Freemont Street and pick up some super-cheap souvenirs in the 100-degree heat as I admire the framework overhead that had not been there in 1994 when I had visited it last as well as admiring the famous Las Vegas neon "Cowboy" sign, and we end up at the end of it at The Plaza which looks Empire-ish and sleezy and hail a taxicab (at $30 again) back to The Rio. 

  We chatted with the cab driver who was one of those rare, blue-collar-worker type that was pro-union but anti-hand-out of the early 1960s.  I had forgotten about that breed, that desirable, strong-working democrat.  We see the loafers everyday with "Bama Phone" wanters of Detroit like baby robins in a nest, but rarely do we see the Archie Bunker, hard-working, lower-income type who gets their hands dirty.  He was complaining about pot-heads of Boulder, CO and slackers, but when I mentioned Obama had 2 years or so left, he clammed-up fast!  I was perplexed.  Later, Becky reminded me of the Bruce Springsteen, steel-mill worker types who work HARD to create a good economy who are democrats.  It's an older thing, not the whiney student who got a degree in uselessness nor the inner-city lazy "where's my free-stuff" type (very abundant) but the actual down-to-earth, "I'm gonna work my ass off because everyone else will too" idealist that I admire who rolls his sleeve up for the community.  Amazing, and I felt bad afterwards because he's really the true-hero of an America gone-by.  A lot of that has migrated towards the republican ideology but the truth of it is, this guy was America, 1960.  I hope he makes lots of kids and re-ignites the fire long lost.   A non-liberal democrat.  Love it.  I realize liberal and democrat, just like conservative and republican are not synonymous.  Used to not necessarily be so, but now it usually is.  The whole thing with the "owning a gun" (which is a liberality) should fall under what democrats enjoy, but oddly it does not.  Liberals and Conservatives are different than Democrats and Republicans, and I need to remember that.

  We ended up having dinner at the expansive Rio at an upstairs Whopper Bar owned by Burger King with an adult theme such as bourbon Jim Beam Whoppers or bleu-cheese bacon-burgers, etc.  The combinations they offered were actually good, and nicely under $9 complete and you can get a beer for $5 which was acceptable, and watched Pay-Per-View in the room, Now You See Me which wasn't horrible.  Sleeping was difficult with the beach/pool area (closed at 8pm) still thumping useless techno to attract, apparently, 13-year-old girls?  We dreamt of Starfleet.

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