Friday, April 24, 2015

A Moving Picture Says a Thousand Bucks

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, or about 1700 words if you can get it wholesale.

After such a successful trip last fall, I set out to learn how to create a video because I thought it would be fun to have a video with music of all the highlights of the trip.

Well, it is fun to have such a thing... but making one is another story.

I went through the pictures and picked out about 200 that I thought would be good, and ten or twelve pieces of video. And then I did some testing in a program called Lightworks to try to put something together.

If I hadn't had my indie film making niece Lamondo (and her shaggy hubby Clevedge) to keep me on the right path, I never would have been successful at this.

The other thing was, I let Jimmy Poon do about 90% of it with the proviso that I would get all the credit. Jimmy is great at tech, and not so great at negotiations.
Lightworks - Jimmy Poon Lives Here

Sunday, April 5, 2015

How to Stay Free in Vegas - The Cheapstravaganza Formula

There's kind of a formula that we've found works for us around getting comped rooms and food. It's probably best if I lay it out in pieces. It may not work for you but it sure works for us.

On our first few trips to Vegas, starting in '93 June 1995, we played mostly slots. Nickels and sometimes quarters. Never dollars. We generally lost all of our budget each day, which started at $80 a day for the two of us. We paid rack rate for rooms. I remember paying $39 or $49 midweek, and $79, $89 or even $119 on weekends at Luxor in those days.

A week-long trip was costing us $1200 or $1500.

But we used our slot club cards faithfully and we'd get a little bit of cash back, and maybe a free t-shirt or something.

After a few trips, I learned how to ask at the slot club desk at the end of our stay if they could take anything off. After I got slapped a few times, I remembered to specify 'off the bill'.

Imagine my shock and surprise when they started comping some of our room nights off of the bill on the back end! What was going on here?!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Pizza Rock Las Vegas - Royal Flusher Restaurant Review

While travelling in Vegas, what could make you forget about your potentially missing $300 Start-o-matic remote car starter key fob? A really good pizza, that's what.

I'd sampled a couple of slices from Pizza Rock a few days before, and they were good, but they really didn't do justice to the disks that P.R. is creating. The cold, aging pizzas on display still looked delicious, and my reheated slices tasted pretty good but (I was guessing) paled in comparison to their former selves.

No, I simply had to sample a freshly made, still hot pizza to see how good it could be.

I stepped into a bustling Pizza Rock (which is right next to the Downtown Grand and a two minute stroll from the Fremont Street Experience), and asked about a table - but the place was buzzing and I could tell it was a no-go.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Rollin Smoke BBQ, Las Vegas - Royal Flusher Restaurant Review

Rollin' Smoke BBQ lies nestled in the enhanced bosom of the industrial section of Las Vegas between the Strip and the Interstate, not far from a number of strip clubs (not that this is pertinent to this review - it simply caught my - err - interest).

As soon as I pulled into the parking lot of the odd little strip mall in which Rollin' Smoke resides, I was smothered in angelic wispy kisses of the most amazing scent of genuine barbecue I'd ever encountered. I knew immediately that the frenetic clusterhunt drive I'd taken to find the place was going to be well worth the effort, which, let's be reasonable, consisted mostly of pressing pedals and turning a large plastic wheel, while muttering ever louder obscenities at myself for not memorizing the route.

I was a bit surprised at the restaurant's modest appearance - they seemed to have been doing some renovating and there wasn't all that much polish on the look of the place. But if anything, it made me feel a bit more comfortable.

Rollin' Smoke is anything but pretentious and is everything about friendly.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Tacos El Gordo Las Vegas - Royal Flusher Restaurant Review

Back when Tacos El Gordo had an outlet on the strip (which is sadly gone now), I wanted to try them out. But the first time I went there, the lines were around the corner. A good sign but... I couldn't wait.

Fortunately, I knew about the original location on Charleston east of Las Vegas Blvd. and headed there instead.
Tacose El Gorrrrdo
Indeed, this outlet of Tacose El Gorrrdo was also quite busy. But I was determined this time. I forged my way into the restaurant, elbow to elbow with about 100 other people, mostly latinos, and about 3 other people I figured were tourista numbskulls like myself. Because as I surveyed the throng, stunned by the din of a busy, busy restaurant, tried to make sense of the menu board... I was completely baffled.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Las Vegas Casino Comp Offers

When your Vegas offers arrive, you have to know how to read 'em to evaluate just how you are being courted by the property that is trying to entice you with their siren song of room, food, booze and gambling, and what it is worth to you to grace them with your presence (and precious gambling bankroll). Think twice before you pull your casino pants down for just any offer!

Is this really a real offer? Really? (Err. No.)
After qualifying for years for a comped room offer, and staying at the El Co a number of times, all of a sudden, I got cut back to so-called 'offers' which spouted casino rate as if it was some amazing wonderful deal. Maybe its because I stupidly went and hit a $1000 Royal Flush, and a $500 Deuces hand on the old coin-droppers.

And I'm saddened, because I love the El Cortez. I love their grimy past and their coconut scented future. I love their gameside dining. I love the staff roams the casino giving out free pie. Yes, FREE PIE! I love the way they imported all the rubbydubs from the Western when it closed its doors. (And feed them free pie.)

And this is why I feel the burning stabbing burning pain that a jilted lover feels when that jilted lover finds out that the one they love (in this case, the El Cortez) doesn't want them any more. Either that, or they've picked up a monumental case of the clap. (Now called an STD as the pretty, buxom twenty-something Costco pharmacy girl pointed out with steely-eyed glee when I picked up a prescription for an infected tooth.)

Let's take a look at an example teaser lust-letter sent from the El Cortez straight into my email Inbox one fine day.

Looks like a mighty fine offer, right? Is that FIVE TIMES something? What is that about $15?! WOOHOOO!!!

But wait! When I took a closer look (as you should when these teasers arrive) I noticed that this offer did not include any comped rooms, which is what I'm used to and, as a savvy gambler, deserve. Because a comped room would be the Royal Flusher Way.

Just take a closer look at the fine print and you'll see how the El Cortez is messed with me!