dad (big dig)
Thursday July 14, 2005

happy 21st birthday, Little Sister Katie (aka Las Vegas Family Vacation 2005)

Guess who turned 21 last week? Yup, Little Sister Katie!

Back in the day (er, the Jupiter days for me) we used to take Crowley Family Vacations(tm) to Las Vegas. I was 24 I guess, Jonathan was probably just 21, meaning Katie was 17 or so - which is no fun in Las Vegas (especially when you need to be 21 to gamble). So about 5 years ago (last time we were in Vegas) my Dad promised Katie that when she finally turned 21 we'd all head back out to Vegas for her birthday.


Sunday. I actually was up in VT for the first part of the weekend. I woke up at 5am on Sunday morning and drove from VT to Boston to meet my parents at Logan Airport. By the way, when I say "Crowley Family Vacation", I mean Crowley Extended Family Vacation - I'm talking me + Jonathan + Katie + Mom + Dad + Gam + Anne + Auntie Jean + Uncle Neil + Cousin Michelle + Cousin Paul + Erin.

We flew America West (I know, I know... as Ms. Karen Marsala said, "America West? Who flies America West!?). Stoopid ghetto terminal didn't even have a bathroom!

Okay, so I left VT at 5am. Airport by 7:30am. Flight it at 10:30am. I dunno why we always need to get there so early. Grellan hit Katie up with an early birthday present - an autographed copy of the craps book that fucked us at Mohegan Sun the last few weekends. Enjoy!

Flight to Vegas takes about 5 hours. Katie passed the time by reading up on craps strategy; Gam across the aisle toasts the Ruskies.

All while me and Dig debate the finer points of dice control.

Sweet Sister Katie put together a little gift bag for everyone who made the flight over. It had a couple of scratch tickets (mine = losers), some candy and a Special Edition Crowley Family Crossword Puzzle.

Here, Erin stuck on 17 across.

Here, try your luck. For a bigger version click here. For the answers, click here.

ps: And the answer to "how did Katie make that?"

We roll into Vegas around 1:30pm. The casino shuttle (er, party bus) was waiting for us outside. Mom made us wear these stupid party hats. (the party bus driver actually took this pic - good job!)

I made a sign for JJ, but his plane came in a little late (he flew in from NYC) so we ditched him at the airport. (sorry, dude)

Tired from travel (and kind of already sick of family vacation), we scored casino brunch as soon as we got in (we stayed at the Aladdin, btw). All you can eat everything! Crabs, skrimps, pasta, steaks, burritos, whatever you can pile on yer plate.

(ps: despite the "Best Buffet in Las Vegas" awards, it's still nothing compared to the spread at Google's Mountain View cafeteria)

Me + Jay needed to use silverware to create a makeshift matrix in order to explain to Mom and Dad why skanky Las Vegas girls are not hot.

When rolled into brunch, we were compalining about a 10 minute wait. We walked by again around 7pm and there had to be 100 people in line. Suckers.

We rested up during the afternoon, played a few slots and then paid a visit to Mom and Dad's mad player suite.

Where Jonathan treated us to an erotic dance routine making clever user of the sliding door to the tub. (Note, shirt as thong - just barely PG-13)

Casino suite = fancy, though it reeked of coke + sex + strippers. When I dropped a cracker on the floor, Jay yelled "Stripper Feet! Stripper Feet!" putting a quick end to any thoughts of a five-second rule.

Breakfast time on Tuesday. Ace poker player JJ Bullets has his sights set on a Hold Em poker tourney. $40 buy-in.

We all placed bets (scribbed on dollar bills) on how long he'd last. (more on that later)

Mr. Bullets tried to convince me to join, but when told I wouldn't be able to roll with my poker cheatsheet I didn't think I could stomach it.

Though he eventually convinced me to cowboy up. We both signed up for the 10am tourney - my only goal being to outlast JJ.

We ended up sitting at the same table (8 people per table), I lasted 59 minutes, jay lasted 1:08. I went out on a poorly played "all in" involving a lonely 3 + a Queen (a classic example of what Matt Hannon refers to as my "Mad Cowboy" strategy).

While me and JJ were leaving the professional poker player dream, Michelle spent some quality time stuffing dollar bills into the the Monopoly slots.

As did Dad and Katie.

We visited the Paris (casino next door) in the afternoon. I changed $100 at the craps table and walked away 30 minutes later with $101. High roller.

With Monday night being the Katie's 21st Birthday Eve, the plan was to have some dinner + drinks + quality family time up in Mom and Dad's suite. Me + JJ went on a beer run to the local Tourist Mart, returning with a few jugs of the cheapest wine man can produce and a 30 pack of Coors Light.

If you've been to Vegas (or ever walked down Broadway in NYC), I'm sure you're familiar with the "I am going to stick my flyer in your face and you are going to take it" hopes of the local propaganda peddlers. In NYC, the flyers are for winter jackets and fur coat sample sales. In Vegas they're for hookers and strippers. JJ walking back from the Tourist Mart with arms full of bags full of cheap wine - I turn around at one point and he says to the flyer-guy, "You know, since my hands are obviously not full, I'll definitely take a few."

I dunno. I thought it was funny.

Back in the suite. The view of the strip by day.

And by night.

Dig had the excellent foresight to have a small pre-birthday dinner catered to the hotel room. We dined on little mini steaks and little mini chickens. Delicious.

9:00pm. We watched the fireworks going off all around the city. Not crazy-huge fireworks (ala Boston), but with the windows facing in three directions (North + East + West?) you could see lots of small fireworks going up all over the place.

10:30. Pre-birthday shots of tequila. (ugh) Special shoutout to Auntie Jean for bringing tequila all the way from Stoughton, MA - especially when J and I couldn't find a liquor store that wasn't 20 miles away.

10:45. As an early birthday present, I cued up a special Las Vegas edition of No Data just for Little Sister Katie. (Luda!)

11:40. Five of us - me + Michelle + Katie + Karen + JJ - head down to one of the bars on the casino floor. We try to order drinks - hoping the bartender will hook Katie up as there's only 20 mins left before the clock strikes her birthday. Instead, when he asks for ID (and she has none) he tells her she needs to leave the casino! What the fuck!

11:45. So, we grabbbed some beers from Mom + Dad's room and boozed it up in the adjacent mall.

11:50. Mom and Dad roll on in. Jay takes his shirt off.

11:53. Getting closer!

11:55. Katie gets in sprint-into-the-casino position

11:58. We take over the entire left side of a $10 craps table, Katie stands a few feet behind.

11:59. I gave Katie her bday card, with a brand new $100 bill tucked inside.

12:00. "Changing $100" and Katie throws the dice for the first time.

The combination of Katie + me + Jonathan + Dad + Auntie Jean rolling brought me well out of the red (I've been unlucky with the dice for weeks!). Team Crowley prob rolled for about 35 mins total. Dig was up well over $1000 and I was up around $400.

We cashed out, Mom and Dad went to bed, and me + Jay + Katie + Michelle + Karen hopped in a cab and headed over to Mandaly Bay (another casino on the strip)

We stood in line for this club called Foundation for like 30 minutes. Paid $30 each (!!) to get in and hang out with a bunch of Poor Man's Paris Hiltons and guys that desperately want to look like Ryan Seacrest. These girls we met in line were the most fun of the lot.

(ps: where's the pic of me and the girl with braces?!?)

$6 waters. $8 beers. Michelle + Katie + Karen. And yes, we rocked the Nascars.

The Foundation does have a pretty hot wrap-around terrace on the 50th floor. A quick view from the top.

And the view from the floor.

We headed home around 3:30am and hit up Zanzabar's Cafe back at the Aladdin for some breakfast.

Pastrami and eggs = breakfast of champions.

Katie = passed out in her pancakes.

4:20. Goodnight.

Tuesday. I slept through the 10am poker tourney and ended up lounging near the pool all day. That yellow box isn't really there in real life. It's just there to highlight...

... the cutest waitress in the world. Wherever you are girl, I love you.

Oh, a few things I learned by watching people at the pool:

+ If you a girl and you are planning on coming out to Vegas, it is absolutely mandatory to have a tattoo on your lower back. My favorite was a shooting star strategically placed so it looks like its being fired out of some girl's ass crack.

+ It is a bad idea to get a "No Fear" logo tattooed in the middle of your chest. (I would trade my sister to have a pic of this one dude - I swear, he'd make the cover of Vice's next "Don't" book)

+ Skinny guys with their arms covered in tattoos look retarded.

+ A big green Atlanta Braves tattoo on your back looks pretty dumb too.

A few hours earlier at the craps table, some extremly drunk hick (it was like 10am too) pointed to Big Dig and said to the table, "See, this guy is on point. He's a real player!"

Shit, hick, real players (like my Mom) lounge poolside in the VIP cabana.

Jonathan gave his crank some VIP treatment.

Tuesday night we hit up the VooDoo Lounge in the Rio for Round #3 of Katie's birthday.

We had some scorpion bowls.

Er, I mean, Anne had an entire scorpion bowl.

College! (aka: one way ticket to Crunked City)

Meanwhile, the rest of us had some cake.

And some ice cream that they lit on fire.

And then, we busted out the climactic conclusion to "who bet on Jonathan" in the poker tourney. The results:

Dens: 28 mins
Auntie Jean: 1:26
Katie: 33 mins
Karen: 22 mins
Mom: 48 mins
Gam (??): 26 mins

... Auntie Jean was technically the closest, but since we were playing by "Price Is Right" rules, technically she was "over". Sorry. Winning guess goes to Mom with 44 minutes (Bonus points if you remember that J actually lasted 1:08 in the tourney).

Anne + Gam + Dad.

After dinner, katie posed for some glamor shots on the roof of the Rio.

Smile maybe? It's your birthday!

Thanks, Shoops!

After dinner we jumped in a cab down to old Las Vegas where they have this giant LED screen - like 4 blocks long - with a light show every hour (light show = featuring aliens and jet planes)

Then we went to Golden Nugget and I dropped $100 on craps in about 16 minutes. I walked away from the table all frustrated... and then Auntie Jean got up there and rolled for like 30 mins straight - making dollars for everyone at the table (rumored that some guy at the far end won $30k on her roll!).

I am a sucker.

A little Wednesday morning brunch. Note the mini pancakes (perfect!) and kielbasa. I didn't even touch the breakfast burrito.

Meanwhile, Big Dig stuffs his face with a well-buttered-up bacon sandwich.

Gam came up the big winner with triple sevens on a nickle machine. ($0.05 machine + 3 sevens = $30?)

We hit up Batista's (hole-in-the-wall Italian place) for dinner (another Crowley Family Tradition while we're out in Las Vegas). Free house wine while the hits keep on coming from this 800 year-old man with an accordian.

After dinner we cut through the Paris on our way back to the Aladdin and got distracted by some piano bar on the way. For $5 these two guys will play pretty much anything. For $5 + $1 you can get them to stop playing any song mid-play.

They sung some happy birthday and a little Top Gun track for Katie. (actually a filthy verson that made me yell out, "Hey, that's my sister!")

As the night went on the songs got more expensive. I threw $20 on the piano for "Players' Choice", hoping to hear either "Rock You Like a Hurricane" (Scorpions), "Every Rose Has It's Thorn" (Posion) or "Wanted Dead or Alive" (Bon Jovi, of course).

They couldn't play any of them, so I got "Living on a Prayer" (which was a-okay with me).

Of course, some dude ran up there and threw down $21 to have them stop playing. Best Cousin Ever Michelle countered with a well-played $50 bill.

Total cost: $70 to hear some dude play a Bon Jovi cover on a piano.

(and that's what 100 beers will do to you)

The end.

Kind of an abrupt end, to this story, but I am all Las Vegas'ed out. And I think this is the Longest. Teendrama. Entry. Ever. (66 photos?)

ps: I woke up post-piano bar pretty hungover. I flew home Thursday morning, everyone else flew home Thurs night. Now, off to MF's birthday and Katie McKiernan's wedding!

Thu 7/14 @ 4:36 PM | # link| Comments (2)
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