Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Our Vegas Vacation!!!

It's been a busy couple of weeks for Jackie and me. Within the span of a week, we went to the Gulf, I defended my master's comps, and we flew to Vegas.

Title slide of my presentation
We were going to Vegas because a paper that I wrote about the Showtime series Dexter was accepted to the BEA research symposium on media and morality. I got to go to BEA last year because I co-authored a paper that was accepted, so I was really excited to go back...especially because Jackie was going with me.

Our flight out there was pretty uneventful. From Birmingham to Memphis, we were seated in the very last row of the plane...right next to the bathroom. Luckily, it was a short flight, and no one used it. We power walked through the Memphis airport (stopping only to grab a burger that I ate so fast I barely tasted it) and caught our plane to Vegas.
A little too close for comfort.
On our way to Memphis
On this leg of our journey, we realized that Jackie's computer hadn't synced movies to her iPhone. Luckily, I had a headphone splitter in my bag, so we were both able to plug into mine and watch The A-Team. We landed in Vegas, where we had to wait for about 45 minutes for our bags to be unloaded because there was some sort of problem with the baggage arriving from several flights.

Finally with our bag in hand, we got took a shuttle to Circus Circus. Last year when I went by myself, I stayed in CC, but I got the cheapest room I could. This year, Jackie was able to upgrade us (thanks to a promotion from Expedia) to a much nicer room. It was also a corner it was HUGE.
Jackie and the clown
After sleeping in the next morning, we set out to walk down to the Bellagio, which was about the halfway point on the Strip. The main attraction that we wanted to see that day was Madame Tussauds Wax Museum.

When I went up to the counter to buy the tickets, Jackie reminded me that I could get a ticket at the student price. So I just told the ticket guy I wanted two student tickets and handed him my UA ID. He saw Jackie and asked if she went to the same school. At the same time, I said, "Yes." Jackie said, "No." I know the guy knew that Jackie wasn't a student, but he gave her the student price, too. It saved us $14 bucks!
Me and fat Al Roker

Elvis had not left the building

Me and "Ahnold"


The Wax Museum was SO much fun. While all of the statues looked real, there were some that looked super real. I kept expecting them to move! Since that day was Hugh Hefner's birthday, they had his wax statue out front on a couch. We had our picture taken with him, but you had to pay to get a copy. Needless to say, we didn't get the picture. (They also charged to have your picture taken with Obama's statue in a mock-up of the Oval Office, and we certainly weren't going to pay to have our picture taken with him!!)

From there, we went and walked through the Bellagio and watched the fountain show. It was breathtaking.

After that, Jackie was really tired (she was fighting a cold), so we called it a day and headed back to Circus Circus.

Jackie in The Venetian
Even McDonalds gets the Vegas treatment!
Posing in front of Paris
The Bellagio
Inside the Bellagio
More Bellagio
Flowers in the Bellagio Conservatory

Getting cheeky with the Riviera Crazy Girls statue
My presentation was Sunday at the Hilton (the former home of Star Trek: The Experience, which I never got to see before it closed down a couple of years ago). My presentation went well, and I got to meet some scholars that I've read a lot of their stuff. I felt a little strange presenting to Arthur Raney, Mary Beth Oliver, and Ron Tamborini. Needless to say, I was in the presence of some great minds!!
I found a penny on the floor...wasn't so lucky.

After I presented, I walked back to CC, which is only a block away. Jackie wasn't feeling well, so we decided that we could have fun at CC in the casino. They have a bunch of penny machines, and those are pretty much what we stuck to. Let me just say that Jackie has much better luck than I do. We finally found what was the loosest machine in the casino: All That Glitters 2. We both did pretty good there, and we also enjoyed the Wheel of Fortune machines. That night, Jackie did really good, but I didn't. I learned my lesson that if I have doubled my money, CASH OUT!

Monday, I walked back over to the BEA convention to hear Dr. Jennings Bryant talk, but his lecture was canceled due to illness. I hate I didn't get to see him. I headed back to CC, and Jackie and I set out on our mega-plan of sightseeing. From CC, it was 2.2 miles to the Pawn Stars shop. We decided that we would walk there and then catch a cab back to the Strip.

We walked past some pretty sketchy-looking places on the way, but we did get to see a couple getting married at one of the wedding chapels! We finally made it to the shop, and it was packed!!

None of the folks from the show were there, except for the Old Man, but he was working in the back, so we didn't see him.

From there, we decided to take the city bus, which was a lot cheaper than a cab would have been. A 24-hour pass was only $14 for the both of us. We rode all the way to the last stop at Mandalay Bay. From there, it was nine-tenths of a mile to the famous Las Vegas sign. It was so cool to actually see it in person.
After that, we walked back to the Luxor to see the Bodies exhibit. It was incredible!! It was fascinating to see the human body displayed like that. We really did see it from the inside out. However, pictures were not allowed, but we saw things that we'll never forget. The exhibit made me think of how truly amazing the human body is. I told Jackie that it made me think of how awesome God is...because there is no way that something as complex as the human body evolved out of some prehistoric goop.

From there, we walked to New York, New York and the MGM Grand...where we saw real lions! We also went to the M&M store, Paris, and then to dinner at Outback. We got a delicious bone-in ribeye that is only available at that Las Vegas location.

Lady Liberty made out of Jelly Beans!
View from the crosswalk

Lions at MGM

After we left Outback, it was nighttime, so we walked around some more to see the Strip lit up at night. It was SO beautiful. We also saw the Bellagio fountain show at night. In fact, we stayed and watched it twice (it plays every 15 minutes at night).

By this point, we were pooped, so we caught the bus back to Circus Circus. We hit the casino one last time. Apparently, it was finally my turn to be lucky!! I did really good at All That Glitters and cashed out!!

We had to get up super early the next morning to catch the shuttle back to the airport. It was hard to believe that our Vegas Vacation had come to an end, but we had a great time! And even if I don't get accepted to the BEA convention next year, I know we'll plan another Vegas Vacation soon!

1 comment:

  1. Looks like you had a GREAT time! I loved the wax museum. And you do a great Stevie Wonder impression (well, you need a little more time in the tanning booth, but you had the pose down to a T!)