I had planned to show photos from the Pinball Hall of Fame, but…

…the Denny’s near our timeshare has Flickr.com blocked off.  I’ll have to wait until I find a Starbucks where I can upload the photos before I can post them here.  We did get one of those Clear wi-fi dongles, but it will only work with one computer and Steve installed it on his first.  I’m now stuck with Denny’s limited service or Starbucks later on when Steve’s up and around.  Las Vegas may have everything else, but it’s wi-fi services suck.  Even the ones you pay a hell of a lot of money for are slow and iffy.

We’ve played three rounds of the Maggi Video Poker Challenge (MVPC) and the score is 3-0 so far.  I promised to kick Steve’s ass and so far that’s exactly what I’m doing. For those unfamiliar with the MVPC, each round consists of $20 on side-by-side machines with Jacks or Better. Each player takes an alternating turn to facilitate cheering and/or gloating during the opponents play. The first one who runs out of money loses.  If anyone manages to double the original $20, they can stop and hope that their opponent is unable to match that amount (if they can beat that amount, they win).  Steve did that to me last year at the Orleans in the first few hands of play, but I still won the most rounds and won for 2010.  There is no limit to how many rounds there are, so it really depends on how much money we put away for gambling and how much is spent when we separate (I generally stick with video poker and roulette, while Steve prefers craps).

The resort is as awesome as ever, and we’re back to enjoying our morning hot tub before hitting the town.  We have a concert planned and tickets to a Vegas show.  We’ll probably hit the Pinball Hall of Fame one more time before we go as well.  Other than that, our trip will consist of wandering through casinos, eating out, taking naps, hanging out around the pool, and spending our gambling money in various fun ways. I love our Vegas vacations.

Vacation is Over

We returned to Austin last night and now I’m getting ready to head to work (there’s an important meeting this afternoon, so I’m getting ready to work a half day instead of relaxing at home). This was one of our best vacations, and that’s with most of our trips being great to begin with.

I can’t wait for next year’s trip back to Vegas.

And just a heads up – we’re planning to renew our vows in Vegas in 2013 for our 10th wedding anniversary.  I hope we see everyone out there with us (especially those who couldn’t make it the first time)!

Goodbye Vegas

Day 5: At the gun range shooting zombies

My “there will be no guns in our house” husband wanted to go to the Gun Store to shoot a machine gun for one of our activities in Vegas this year (this is a perfect example of how well those brochures work – I discovered he had held on to the one for the Gun Store since our trip out in 2008). Since I enjoy going to the gun range, I encouraged this bizarre behavior.

We had originally planned on going with one of the shooting packages they offered on their website, such as the World War 2 package or the Coalition package; however, when we got there, we found out they also had a Zombies Package for $149.95.

There was no way I could pass that up.

The package included four zombie targets, a zombie hunter t-shirt, and the rental of a handgun (Springfield XD-9 with 20 rounds), a semi-automatic rifle (FS 2000 with 20 rounds), an automatic (Uzi 9mm with 50 rounds), and a shotgun (Benelli M4 12 Gauge with 5 rounds).

Uzi Target

50 rounds with an Uzi.  It was actually easier to aim once I stopped trying to use the sight.  I wouldn’t mind having one of these.

Shotgun Target

Everyone knows zombie clowns are the worst, that’s why I saved this target for the shotgun.  After taking out Uncle Huggz so easily, I decided the Benelli M4 12 Gauge is my new favorite gun.

Our Instructor at the Gun Store

I can’t remember if it was Chris’s first or second day working at the Gun Store, but he was a great instructor.  We’d like to go back next year, and if we do, we’re asking for him again.

What I’d really like to do is save up for the “Shoot the Wall” package.  I can’t wait to go back!

Day 3-4: Exploring the Strip

The next few days we spent alternating between running all over the Strip (and then arguing about it), gambling, and relaxing at our resort–either at the pool or reading in the room (I purchased two new books for the trip and then purchased two more with some of my winnings).

Tahiti Village Resort

Other than hitting all the regular casinos, we checked out the new City Center.  Or at least I think we did.  It got kinda confusing as everything in that part of the Strip is merging together. If you go by tram, you’ll arrive at the top of the mall and you have several levels to go before you get to the main floor.

Another Vegas Mall 03

This was taken only half way down.  You can see the tram station at the top of the above photo.

Another Vegas Mall 02

Another Vegas Mall 01

The art installations in the mall ranged from interesting to I’m-not-sure-it’s-art.

Tornado Tubes

There was a garden of tornado tubes, with some of them taller than Steve.  I have a movie of the tubes that I need to compress and post.  The kids watching them seemed to have fun, as did I when they started to flush.

Ice Art

There were about seven ice pillars that were bathed in colored light and allowed to melt.

Plant installation at the mall

And there were several areas with hundreds of tiny individually potted plants (many of them succulents) arranged by color into geometric patterns.  There was a spot where it looked like someone accidentally stepped into the plants and that’s where you could see that they were each still in a little pot.

At the casinos, Steve and I continued our Video Poker Challenge.  The first year it was unorganized, by 2008 we had some rules but they weren’t all worked out yet, so this year was the first Vegas trip where we had all the rules set up in advance.  By this time we had played three rounds with Steve winning the first one and me winning the other two… my second win was by a good margin.  Yea me!

The Strip

Day 2: Pinball Hall of Fame

Just down the street from the Liberace Museum is the Pinball Hall of Fame. We spent a few hours here our first day of vacation and then returned for a second visit later in the week. If you decide to go, plan on going during the day because it gets a little busy in the evenings.

The Pinball Hall of Fame is an attempt by the members of the Las Vegas Pinball Collectors Club to display the world’s largest pinball collection, and the best part is that all the games are playable (woo hoo!). It’s a non-profit museum AND an old-fashioned arcade with most games running between 25 to 75 cents with a few $1 games sprinkled here and there.

Pinball Hall of Fame - Vegas

Many of the older machines have hand-written notes with information on each game, but most now have codes for mobile tagging with additional information and photos.

Between the two visits, I took about 400 photos. I’ll be slowly adding them to Flickr as I have time, but here are a few I found interesting.

Stage Door Canteen Pinball

Gottlieb’s Stage Door Canteen made in November 1945. This was the first game Gottlieb made after WW2 (they spent the war making parachute harnesses and ammunition casings). There aren’t any flippers on this machine as it’s a few years too early for them.

Target Roll

Bally’s Target Roll made in February 1959. Target Roll was actually a slot machine disguised as a regular game machine. This was something Bally did a lot of after the Johnson Act was passed in 1952 that outlawed shipping slot machines across state lines. While it doesn’t look like it – this machine is is actually an electronic craps table. The scoring mechanism were there to make it look like a regular game was going on, but they really didn’t represent anything that was happening in the game. It even had a knocker that would alert the bartender to pay every time there was a winner.

This specific slot machine was found laying on it’s side in a pool of water with most of the wood trim eaten away by termites. Over 100 hours of labor went into restoring it.  That’s some serious love there.

Flying Turns 02

Midway’s Flying Turns made in July 1963. Mini toy cars are dragged around the race track by magnets, with movement based on pinball play.

Flying Turns 01

Flying Turns was more fun than I expected.

Space Pilot

Williams’ Space Pilot made in November 1968. A remake of an earlier copter machine. Not in working order yet, but one of the parts had just arrived the day before we got there.

Phoenix 01

Other than being made in the late 70’s by Williams Electronics, there wasn’t any information about this machine.

Phoenix 02

It wasn’t working and it looked like they were still restoring it, but I grabbed a picture because I got a kick out of the artwork.

Pinball Wizard

Pinball Wizard - Capt. Fantastic

Two Pinball Wizard games… how appropriate.

Pinball the pinball game

Stern’s Pinball made in September 1977. It’s a pinball machine about pinball that’s on display in a pinball museum… obviously it doesn’t take much to amuse me.

Count-Down Pinball 01

Gottlieb’s Count-Down made in April 1979. Last game with boop boop sound board (not sure what that means).

Count-Down Pinball 02

This machine also won Best of Show at the 1994 Phoenix Pinball Show. They were obviously proud of it.

Pinball Circus

Williams’ Pinball Circus made in 1993. This was one of two test machines built in an effort to break away from “table” style machines. After spending 1.5 million to develop the game, distributors said they wouldn’t pay an extra $1000 per machine for game that pulled in the same amount of play as the cheaper Indiana Jones and Star Trek games. The two machines were given to high level executives of Williams, but thanks to Larry Demar and Steve Kordek, the game now resides at the Pinball Hall of Fame where it’s playable (yes, I gave it a try).

All of my information came from either their website or the notes posted everywhere.  Most were informative, but there were occasionally funny comments.  A note attached to a Harley-Davidson pin ball machine read:

“Look Fonzie – A big noisy smelly motorcycle will NOT get you laid! What chicks really want are stooped over, grumpy pinball mechanics who can’t spell! So get a Buck Brothers 4 way screw driver, a Weller soldering iron and a sexy L.E.D. head lamp! Hang around a bar with a giant ring of keys and act pissed off! Women love this act!”

The Pinball Hall of Fame is on our list to visit again next year.  We may still lose some money, but we’ll get a lot more out of it.