I TURNED 53 just over a week ago. Not sure how that happened. Seems like I was just 35. I had to be away from home this year — I had a four-day business trip to Las Vegas that meant I was working for 12 hours on “the day.” I’m not a gambler, so I’m not a big Vegas fan, but I did manage to make the most of the small amount of free time I got.
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
The first night I was out there, I went to Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen for a decadent “Ringer Burger” (which features a giant onion ring beneath the bun). I love Guy’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” TV show, so it was super cool to eat in one of his places:
After that, I hopped in a cab and went a couple miles off the strip to a place I’ve been curious about for quite awhile — the Vegas Pinball Hall of Fame Pinball Museum!
Not much to look at from the outside, but inside, there were hundreds of pinball machines, from classic EM machines to ’80s solid states to modern games like Deadpool and The Wizard of Oz.
All of the machines are set to work on quarters (most are 50 cents, but a couple of the older ones were just a quarter and some of the more modern ones were a buck).
I was there two and a half hours playing, and only spent 15 bucks! The cab ride out there cost me more!
I played some of my favorite tables, from Bride of Pinbot to Bad Cats to Scared Stiff, and enjoyed a couple I’ve never gotten to see before, like the wide body Superman table and the Data East edition of Star Trek (not the older Bally table pictured above “in the shop”.
Then I walked a block or so down the street to the Crown and Anchor English pub to have a pint and call a cab.
Thursday, March 14, 2019
On my actual birthday, I was locked in a convention hall for over 12 hours, but once I got out, I did what any self-respecting horror author would do while in Las Vegas — I went to see the Zombie Burlesque show! I saw it there several years ago and it’s hilarious… and it did not disappoint the second time around. The guy two seats down from me got pulled up on stage at one point (much to the amusement of his wife). And afterwards, the cast came out to pose with attendees, so… I snapped a shot!
Afterwards, I had a couple beers to toast the day with a workmate and watched the busy Caesars Palace casino in action.
Friday, March 15, 2019
There was no time on my birthday for a proper dinner, so I made Friday my celebrate night — with an amazing Southwest Spiced Pork Tenderloin (and sweet potato tamale) at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill, which was right there in Caesars Palace.
Sunday, March 17, 2019
Saturday disappeared without much to say about it. I was in an exhibit hall for eight hours and then packed up and headed to the airport… didn’t get home until after 1 a.m.
But Sunday, I celebrated with Geri and Shaun and went out to one of my favorite places for dinner — Two Brothers Roundhouse. Two Brothers is a longstanding brewery in the west Chicago suburbs, and they own a couple of restaurants as well. Since it was also St. Patrick’s Day, I had a Reuben!
My family knows what I love, so this year’s “birthday haul” included a handful of blu-rays, a “Tetris” style light for the game room, and a quilt featuring all the album covers of Styx, one of my favorite bands of all time (I’ve been a fan since 6th grade)!
All in all, it was a pretty good way to celebrate my increasing age!