Well hello there, internet friends. Long time no write.
Despite the best efforts of the "kids" of my family (you all should have co-ordinated your efforts, It still wouldn't have worked but it probably would have been really entertaining) I spent my Christmas with the bartenders family in Galena this year instead of going to Cleveland. This worked out very well, because I can't get homemade swedish meatballs in Cleveland, and no one in my family is the crazy cat lady so I wouldn't have gotten to play with a half dozen kittens that were so cute I almost threw up on them. Then again, if I'd gone to Cleveland I wouldn't have been covered in cat hair, and also my dad's house doesn't smell like ammonia.
The bartender was born on Christmas Eve, so I baked him a cake with the Blackhawks logo on it (because I am friggin awesome) which we took with us to Galena that night. He decided, somewhat arbitrarily and with no basis whatsoever in reality, that we would be celebrating his 24th birthday, which magically transformed him into being younger than me for a day. We hung out at his sister's townhouse for a while, before retiring to our hotel to watch football. Alcohol was consumed, cheese was heated up at 2 in the morning and consumed on tortilla chips. I think he had a pretty good fake 24th birthday.
I got a lot of great gifts. My parents had sent me a huge box of stuff, including a couple of new nativities for my collection and a cute but weird stuffed lamb that had a card claiming it had slept on top of the baby Jesus in the manger to keep him warm. I found that unlikely because it seems like if you put a sheep on top of a baby the kid would suffocate, but then again I wasn't there. The bartender's sister and her girlfriend bought me an amber necklace when they were in Scotland. And the bartender broke from his highly cultivated "you are not so special and you annoy me" attitude and surprised me with airline tickets to Las Vegas for New Year's.
As far as New Year's goes, Las Vegas is the new New York. About 3 million people come into town for it. The cost of a hotel room quadruples. They shut down the strip at 5:00 so they can fill the street with people who will then watch a spectacular fireworks show at the stroke of midnight.
The bartender and I had gone to dinner with the owner et al. for his birthday at Japanais. While this seemed like a good idea at the time, we were clear on the other end of the strip from where we wanted to be, which was on top of Mandalay Bay at the Foundation Room, where we had been invited to watch the fireworks with the bartender's good friend whom I shall call His Royal Awesomeness because he fills me with awe. (And booze.) With the strip being shut down, and the blisters I had acquired walking to dinner, we were going to have a hard time making it back in time. Actually, as it turned out, it would be impossible to get back in time, because by 11:00 the street was so packed with people it was impossible to cross.
As much as I enjoy visiting Las Vegas, it is a Mecca for stupid asses. No one could figure out how to board a tram, look in the direction they were walking, or keep themselves from blocking foot traffic. As we stood trapped in the middle of the street, surrounded by drunk frat boys chanting "Tits! Tits!" at girls who were clearly not drunk enough to take their shirts off, the bartender observed that people seemed even more retarded than normal, and concluded that Los Angeles had thrown up on us.
We spent the next few days in the sports book watching some FANTASTIC (Fiesta) and some atrocious (Orange) bowl games, plus a bit of hockey. We also eventually stopped up at the Foundation Room where some girl hit on me. Only girls hit on me now. Boys don't any more. I don't know what that's about. We left without anyone else hitting on me, which was very disappointing because one of my main goals for this Vegas trip was to get some ass. Other than that the trip was pretty uneventful - just the usual "go to Fatburger" thing, the usual "drink with His Royal Awesomeness and get extremely hammered" thing and the subsequent "Amber and the bartender get in a huge argument on the last day" thing.
Next up: Amberance's Super Duper Fabulous 29th Birthday extravaganza! which is likely to consist of going to Tai's and getting all crazy, like flailing my arms around and demanding everyone pay attention to me or drinking four ciders instead of three. So pretty much exactly like what I do every week, except that I'm going to make everyone sing to me.