Saturday, October 31, 2015

It's Britney, B*tch

There's only one natural thing to do after completing a Tough Mudder dressed like Britney Spears.  Go see the pop music icon herself in concert!  Truth be told, it was the main reason I went to Las Vegas aside from seeing my BFF.  I make absolutely no apologies for my undying love of pop music.

Britney puts on quite a show at Planet Hollywood, where even the slots machines bear her likeness.   I've seen her once before, and she doesn't disappoint - as long as you don't expect her to actually sing.  Girlfriend is a performer, and she can't possibly move like that and breathe at the same time.

Here's some brief video clips of 2 of my favorite songs!

Friday, October 30, 2015

One Tough Mudder

I can assure you, just about every ridiculous thing I've done in my adult life over the past 25 years has been under the influence of my best friend, Lance.  Where he comes up with these crazy ideas is beyond me.  Why I agree is even more inconceivable.

Several months ago Lance called to ask if I'd like to meet him in Las Vegas and join his family's "Tough Mudder" team.  After finding out what that was I immediately took a pass, but still wanted to hang out in Vegas with him for the weekend.  But people make all kinds of bad decisions when they're in Sin City, and next thing you know I was doing the Tough Mudder after all.  Dressed as Britney Spears, no less.

Yep, a whole team of us called "The Dirty Brits," with custom t-shirts and costumes modeled after the naughty school girl outfit she wore in her first video, "(Hit me)...Baby, one more time."  I joined in with Lance, his brother Ron, and his friends Jenny and Lotte after 2 other people dropped out and there were extra tickets.  We literally ran out the night before the event to the outlets to buy me some trail running shoes and shorts.

So what is a Tough Mudder?  Well: Tough Mudder is a team-oriented 10-12 mile (18-20 km) obstacle course designed to test physical strength and mental grit. Tough Mudder puts camaraderie over finisher rankings and is not a timed race but a team challenge that allows participants to experience exhilarating, yet safe, world-class obstacles they won't find anywhere else.

Safe?  Some of the obstacles are called: Ring of Fire, Arctic Enema, Ladder to Hell, Everest and Electroshock Therapy.  So let's be clear, I had no intention of doing a single obstacle.  I just figured I'd run along with the team instead of hanging out by myself for 4 hours in the desert as a spectator.

But once you're in, you're in.

Because: A Tough Mudder event is a one-of-a-kind experience, and crossing the finish line represents a true accomplishment. On the course, you’ll leave your comfort zone behind as you conquer challenges unlike any other you’ve faced.  But while the events are built to be very challenging, it’s important to remember that Tough Mudder is not a race. It’s an untimed event, and there are no penalties for skipping obstacles, so you can always customize the experience to make sure it’s the right challenge for you.

Each of us skipped a random obstacle here or there that we weren't comfortable with (I don't mind getting dirty or looking like a fool - obviously - but I'm not breaking another ankle.  Ever.), and there were some that were failed miserably despite valiant efforts, but we all completed the entire course and crossed that finish line together.  And you know what?  WE ROCKED!  It was a sick amount of fun and such an unexpectedly exhilarating experience.  We left there feeling completely on top of the world.  Maybe I'm not the most athletic person in the world, but I am One. Tough. Mudder.

Plus, you get a headband and a free beer.  Sweet!

A few days later we got a link to the professional pics from the event.  Such cute ones of our team from the Warrior Carry!  See, doesn't it look fun!?!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Neon Museum

They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway, but across the country there's a special place in Las Vegas dedicated entirely to the history and preservation of neon signs - The Neon Museum.  The visitors center is housed in a cool building that used to be the lobby of the La Concha motel, behind which is an outdoor exhibition space called the Boneyard, with something like 150 restored neon signs from old casinos and local businesses.

Some of the signs are kept entirely intact and have been restored so they are fully functional again, but there are also lots of scattered bits and pieces of signs like letters, stars, and other shapes.

We all eventually realized it would be fun to take individual letter pics so we could spell out our kids' names.  Maybe one day I'll print and frame this:

One of my favorite parts of the exhibit was the sign from the Moulin Rouge.  It was way too big to be displayed as it was originally built, so they took some liberties and arranged part of it like this:

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Vegas, Baby!

October is by far always one of the busiest months for us, and on top of that this year I was out of town for 2 consecutive weekends. I first jet setted off to Las Vegas to spend time with my best friend, who was going to be there with family for an event (more on that later).  This was the first time I've traveled alone in ages, and the first time I've been away from Joseph for so long - 4 whole days!  Luckily I had Brent to hold down the fort at home.

I'd only been to Las Vegas once before, maybe 10 years ago, also with Lance.  The first thing you see when you get off the plane: slot machines.

We stayed at the Flamingo, which is pretty centrally located, right on "the Strip."  The windows are even pink, and there are indeed flamingos everywhere, real ones too!

We were up on the 25th floor with a good view of the Strip, directly across from Caesar's Palace.  A few rooms over and we would have had a great view of the fountains at the Bellagio, but you could also see the High Roller, a giant ferris wheel that opened last year.

None of us that went on the trip are gamblers, but some were first-timers so we tried to show them most of the typical hot spots, including the Fremont Street Experience, home to some of the original casinos, Vegas Vic, and a giant LED canopy.

We saw all the sights from New York, New York to Paris and back to the Flamingo.

We stopped several times during the weekend to catch the famous water/light/music show at the Fountains of Bellagio, and had to peek inside to the see the 2000 hand blown glass blossoms by Chihuly suspended from the ceiling in the lobby.

Of course, the best thing of all was just being able to spend the weekend with my BFF!