las Vegas 17/06/2008

After about an hours sleep I jumped up at 5am, to catch the first tube, that was delayed so I got the N25 to Holborn then got to the airport ok and checked in with just a little difficulty. It was a long flight but luckily the back off the plane was fairly empty so I got two seats together, watched the 10,000bc movie on the personal video screen and tracked the flight of the plane to Detroit. Touched down and checked through the rigorous security ok. Looked around the shops, rode the monorail, and then had a Guinness in the Irish bar the. The flight to las Vegas was not as comfortable and I was next to two women who talked continuously but it went quicker than expected. Next caught a bus to the Excalibur ok, and left the 100 degree heat of vegas into the air conditioning. Checked in then checked out the pool party, had a pina colada and caught a few rays. I then went to my room to catch a 30 minute nap, but this turned out to be much longer as I Hadn't had more than 3 hours sleep in the last 48hours, was strange to go to bed in sunlight.
Woke up very early, so went for a walk along the strip as far as Ceasar's palace and the flamingo. It was very warm 106 degrees, I was out for a good view hours and I was beginning to feel the strain, had breakfast at a 7-11, mercifully there was no hold up like always seems to happen on the telly. I also had some drink as I needed it then after purchasing some toiletries I headed back to the Excalibur and trotted down to the pool to spend 40 minutes in the sun with a pina colada and the skeptics guide on the eye pod. After I was nicely toasted it was off to do a bit more shopping and I got some running shoes from the Adidas store, and then set off for a run, If I had known how hot it was in Celsius I probably wouldn't have gone, but I got a round fine for 40 minutes checking out the hard rock hotel. Time when I got back for another pina colada and a bit more sunshine by the pool during happy hour. Off then for a Guinness in the nine fine irishmen in new york new york. Met Hutch Danny and Adam and then Chris and a big group shortly afterwards. Arrived and then a bit later Sid Rodriguez and D.c turner and the british contingent made an appearance but they were still eating when a group of us set off on our pubcrawl. We caught the monorail and went to a blues bar where a life band was playing and I drank sierra nevada pale ale in bottles, whilst listening to the band which was pretty good. Then we moved on to the monte carlo brew pub, but here we decided to get a giraffe to share and I also had my first taste of corn dogs an excellent bar snack. We walked on then to the flamingo were we found a lot of fellow skeptics in the bar. Lot's of folks arrived including rebecca Watson from the Skeptics Guide and Chris French. Apparently Richard Wiseman had given the English Skeptics a ride in his limo from the airport I missed out on that. I think I managed to drag myself away about 2.30am as I had to walk home a long way, luckily it was mercifully cooler on the way home to the Excalibur.
Up at a reasonable time and checked out at the auto checkout about 10am, went across the walkways to the MGM and Starbucks for breakfast and to write up my diary. Carried along the strip then in the heat and bought an adidas back to stick my purchases in. I got to the flamingo about 12 and checked in to a very impressive room looking out across ceasars palace. I met Jonathon and Tim and Lyn from England and had a coffee, then went for a run in 107 degrees up to the stratosphere hotel. Back then to the hotel and met more of the guys in the bar and had another beer. I headed out then to the strip again and explored ceasar's palace shopping, and got some booze for the cigar and whiskey party. Went to the reception where there was food and Randi gave a short talk, and I chatted to Dan and Adam and the folks for the previous night, then Adam lured me away to go to the ghost bar in the Palms, we got there but couldn't get in as Adam had shorts. We had a drink then decided with the help of the taxi driver that the only place that would let us in would be spearmint Rhino, That place was educational, I don't think I've ever said "no" so much in my life, they certainly were persistent but I was not to be persuaded to pay their prices. We went along then to the monte carlo hotel to try the brew pub that Adam had missed the day before but that was closed, so we had another beer ther then went along to new york new york which was interesting with Girl's dancing on the bar, but not particularly wild. We then realised we had missed the last monorail home, so walked it back to the flamingo getting home about 3am.
Got up early and got down to the conference room before 8am to see the recording of the skeptics guide to the universe. They were very entertaing and did some visual things that won't be on the podcast. Randi then welcomed us and the first guest was Dr Ben Goldacre who had an all new presentation. Next was the keynote speech with Dr Neil DeGrasse Tyson. He was incredibly entertaining, the best astrophysicist I've seen :-). We then had a presentation by the chap who helped Randi bust popoff, and he also talked about CSI type work he does. Off to the luch downstairs then, and then back in the afternoon for Penn & Teller, They did a question and answer session that was amusing, and also showed a short film about Cold Reading. We had some musical entertainment with George Harab the PZ myers gave us a talk about manipulating genes in mice and bats. At this point I needed a power nap before continuing on to the SGU dinner in the Trevi restaurant, the place was packed with fans and I was glad I got there early as I got to sit next to Bob Novella and got to also talk to Evan Bernstein it was a good time, and even people like Brian Dunning couldn't get a seat the demand was so great. After the meal I took the monorail to the Hilton and met the guys at Quark's bar, Me and Adam had cocktails my Captain tee kirk was rather powerful, back then to the flamingo on the monorail and we chatted in the rather full bar of Skeptic's. We did then do an investigation of beer pong in the next casino briefly, before returning to the bar in the Flamingo.
Up early and got to the skeptics guide podcast in the main room for 8am. This was followed by a talk by Michael Shermer, and then Sharon Begley on the media. After a break it was the turn of the podcasters, Skepticality and then Dr Novella. Had to skip dinner and my run as there was a first showing of the skeptologists TV show on during the lunch hour. Afterwads Phil Plait was on followed by Adam Savage from the Mythbusters who treated us to a talk and some Explosion porn. Matthew Chapman followed him the great great grandson of Darwin. After a break richard wiseman was along and showed us some tricks and videos and then we all took part in a world record spoonbending video. It was time then to get on the bus for dinner with Randi. Again I looked out at the dinner, I was sitting right next to Phil Plait the bad astronomer and Adam Savage from mythbusters, I appeared very knowledgeable about top gear and Dr who which they were both interested in about London, and hopefully I'll see them again if the TAM comes to London, or if I head back to the next Tam in vegas, It was also very enjoyable to meet Randi after having seen his work for nearly 30 years. After the meal I headed to the Ibar to try out the microsoft surface technology in the Rio. Not much luck at getting a go with the technology, but did see it working and it was very impressive. Took a very slow shuttle back to ceasars then to grab my alcohol from the Flamingo and then head to the skepchick party, there was loads of people there talked to bob novella again about quantum physics and got some beer down my neck, then just as Adam arrived after weeing Penn & Teller the cops called an end to the party so we headed back to the garden bar in the Flamingo talked a lot with Dan and Jim who showed us some of his magic tricks. We were there till a good old time after 4 am with skeptics guide crew and allsorts.
Didn't drag myself out of bed in time for the start of day 3 but got down in time to catch, tea break and Brian Dunning, Chris French and the wind up from Randi, excellent, then I headed off to the European Go Pool party, managed to stay there drinking for 5 hours without getting burnt in 106 degrees thanks to the friendly sun tan girl. After about 6 bud lights I dragged myself away and went off to meet Adam at manadalay bay and the shark reef attraction, we had a drink in the luxor at the I-play bar then headed back to the flamingo via Paris. Unfortunately began to feel really tired then due to the sun, beer and cumulative lack of sleep so didn't stay up long.
Up and off via the monorail and the moving walkway to Luxor unfortunately arriving just after 11am there was a huge queue to check in. It went pretty fast though and I checked in and checked out the pool then went for a run south for about an hour in 107 degrees, after that had a shower in my kit and went to the pool for an hour to get some rays and dry off my clothes. The room at the luxor had internet axis on the Tv so I used that for a bit before checking out the Cathouse in the luxor, it was a tenner to get in and the beer was 3 quid abottle but there were no cats.
Got up on time, checked out and caught a taxi to the airport very early. The plane journey to minneapolis was uneventful. I used the stopover to get rid of the last of my dollars, then borded the plane for london. I kept myself occupied watching the spiderwixk chronciles and playing shanghai and reading. I had expected to arrive in heathrow by midhight but actually arrived wednesday noon.