I never did get over to the Sony Style store on Monday because everything else got so hectic. We were late enough at breakfast that I only had time to print some stuff in Donna's room who had her own color portable printer (we found out it was $3/page to print in color, and $1/page for B&W!), then take the 15-minute walk to the convention center to rehearse the A/V setup for the Monday night presentation. Of course it was a giant mixer board, and the projector wasn't even there, so it took another hour before we could even test the setup. We used that time for more refinement of the preso. Finally rehearsal, but then someone opened their big mouth that they had some pix from a 2000 kickoff just as we were finishing, so at 3pm my boss's boss wanted to add another year in! I still had to finish printing out stuff & getting clues ready for the next day! I was reaching my limit for multitasking & combined stress and unfortunately it was showing. As they were leaving & I was working in place re-editing the preso, she asked if there was any way they could help...I flippantly said "you could buy me a videocamera - heh"...so she had her admin on the phone about renting one! Unfortunately it ended up being not miniDV, some miniDVD thing, who knows what brand, usability, etc, and for $250 for one day, so I declined but thanked them from trying. Honestly, even though the admin said "you'd better not tell her it's because of the price," I could not handle that a 24-hour rental cost almost as much as a whole new camcorder!
The dinner ran late of course, but then the preso was going very well until my boss's boss & her crew were doing their Eminem rap...they started late vs the karaoke track & then were having problems remembering their lyrics, so I was trying to follow along with the slides, including going back & forth, which messed up the slide count, so the music stopped! PowerPoint has not been liking picking up in the middle of the slideshow with all the embedded animations & music, but luckily we were able just to rewind the slides to restart the music. That was the only hiccup of the night, their 2nd time was an infinitely better performance & loved by all, and she thanked me that they got the 2nd chance since she knew they screwed up the 1st time...whew! Afterwards she also brought my co-worker & I up on stage thanking us profusely for all the work we did on it, so that was very nice....one major stressful project down, but the bigger one still to go!
Good thing I'm not gambling this week!
I swear my luck with electronics equipment lately has me glad I decided not to bother gambling! What was the final straw that almost had me wanting to cry was that as I took out my camera to try to snap some candid mingling photos before dinner on Monday, my flash refused to function! WTH?!? Powercycling, removing the battery, etc, etc, wouldn't make it work, so I gave up & concentrated on the preso. As I was finishing the code tokens around 2am I took it out again just in case it had changed its mind, but no go...ACK! It wasn't until I arrived at my scavenger hunt location Tuesday afternoon when I tried it yet again & voila! It's been working perfectly ever since! Now why it decided to wait until it reached Hooters for that miracle to happen you'll have to tell me... ;)
Tuesday - The Game!
There was a group Texas Hold'Em event after Monday's dinner, so I took off around 10:30 to print more in Donna's room, helping her stuff the goodie bags while things were printing. Since Donna needed to print her own things & was getting antsy, I had thought I should be able to hand-write the clues on the cards after I got all the code tokens prepared. My roommate graciously helped me assemble the code tokens, which were done by around 1:30am...I kept laughing when they were turning out so funny, just like I imagined! haha...I started writing out the clues, got through writing the first clue 8 times when my hand started cramping...then realized that was one of the shorter clues and that there was no way I would make it through the other 56! I whipped them together in a printable format, burned to CD, got 3 hrs sleep, got up & over to the business center for printouts, copies & even a paper cutter with one minute to spare before the meeting started at 8:30am. I sat quietly in the back using double-stick tape to attach the clues to the cards...whew! Done before 10am when I was official team photographer using someone else's camera...
The Game itself deserves its own full write-up, which will come later with photos of clues, code tokens, people playing, dossier packet instructions, etc. Needless to say, there were a couple small hiccups that we managed real-time (thank goodness we all had email on our phones!), but overall everyone loved it! Our CEO said "that definitely raised the bar!" which was the whole point, since this will probably be his last kickoff event & my boss's boss had specifically wanted this year to be the best for our CEO's sake. I was very relieved it went so well, and I was SO happy everyone enjoyed it!
Tuesday night - The Party!
We decided to give ourselves a break & not tally the game results until Wednesday, and my boss's boss specifically told me "you're DONE and you're ENJOYING yourself tonight!" and I did. :) Up in a private room with balcony at the Foundation Room at the top of House of Blues was our formal night, which we've never done before, so it was really nice to see everyone dressed up. I got many compliments on my black strapless dress, had a delicious dinner with a lot of tasty cocktails, but not too many, and the surprise was that after dinner the excellent 80s cover band who played at our IPO party back in 2000 was playing for us that night - Tainted Love! Woohoo! Much dancing ensued all the way until 2am! After we were kicked out, some of us went dancing at another little place inside Mandalay Bay, then my feet were finally giving up the ghost, so a couple of us went upstairs, but by way of the hospitality suite room first...where I stayed another couple hours that included a foot massage listening to jr-hi level silly discussions until I was falling asleep after 4am, so I left & was in bed by 5am...sure glad my massage wasn't until noon!
Wednesday - The Relaxing...ah...oh wait, more partying!
I wasn't planning on much food before I was going to get squished by my massage, so I got up, threw my bathing suit in a bag since we were allowed to take advantage of the spa all day long, threw on some clothes & not much makeup & went to the Mandalay Bay spa for my noon appointment. I had my supposedly 50-minutes Swedish full-body massage, but I think it was really more like 40-45 minutes since we didn't start at noon sharp, but whatever. Many of our company was there, so we hung out in the warm pool chatting & relaxing for awhile. With no food in me for over 12 hours the hot water was getting to me so I left around 2pm intending to eat the snacks I'd tried to hide by my luggage in my room...but alas housekeeping had thrown them away while I was out! I really didn't want to go out in search of food, so I had a few pretzels from the big bag my roommate had bought, reorganized my suitcase to leave, and then started tallying up the game winners. I had intended to use the hilarious video clips & photos we got for a quick preso, but I found out we weren't even allowed a mic let alone a screen or projector, so another reason not to stress. Cocktails, dinner & dancing were at the Rum Jungle club at Mandalay Bay, which was excellent, including a gigantic chocolate fondue fountain (yum!) and delicious Rum Jungle Juice cocktails, complete with sugar cane stirrers. It was Latin night, so my red halter top & black skirt with black boots was appropriate. There are suspended gogo dancers above the dance floor, and I got several comments that I should go up in the "cage" to dance....my reply was "Sorry I'm wearing the wrong underwear for that!" ;) With no food all day & straight into drinking even though I was pounding the appetizers to help soak up the alcohol, I started fading around 12:30 or so, but managed to keep getting roped into dancing each time I tried leaving...finally around 1:45 I gave up & said my goodbyes as a lot of my team were outside figuring out where to go next...they stayed out a few more hours I guess, enough that we were a little worried that people would get up in time for their flights home!
Thursday - the other Hofbrauhaus & Blue Man Group with Amanda
After saying goodbye & safe travels to my co-workers, I had a leisurely stroll through Mandalay Bay to find the Burger Bar, which came highly recommended by Amanda for lunch, so I had the chicken teriyaki burger with absolutely delicious & crispy sweet potato fries! I took the rest with me for a snack for later, since they were too good to waste! I almost splurged on a turquoise belt, but half-price was still $34 so I resisted. I would like to find a sparkly shirt from Vegas, especially since I've found sparkly shirts from London & Scotland so far, and it seems so appropriate for sparkles from Vegas. Amanda arrived around 2pm, I changed out of my boots in favor of tennishoes, and since she was hungry after classes, she decided she wanted a bratwurst sandwich at the Hofbrauhaus. I didn't realize this was an absolute replica of the Munich original, where I just visited only about 3 months ago. I kept laughing at all the stuff, including the HB glass steins everywhere. I asked if I could even have a radler, and got one! Amanda knows the bartender & he was getting a kick out of my reaction. I asked if I could see the menu, since I was curious how much food was authentic, and he pulled out an actual menu from Munich first...hahaha! He gave us a free Jaegermeister shot glass, and at the giant gift shop - so much more stuff, mostly junk, than the Munich one - I found a black fitted t-shirt with the HB logo in Swarosvki crystals...how Vegas is that? The sales guy had been chatting with us at the bar too, so he gave me a discount. I'd still like to find a sparkly Las Vegas shirt too, but at least I found this one!
A fellow teacher at her highschool had sent email offering free tickets to Blue Man Group that night, so that's where we were going - woohoo! Since Amanda has been before & the first 5 rows are given ponchos in case of spewing Blue Men, so we dropped off my stuff at her house, changed into easily-washable clothes just in case, picked up her fellow teacher Adam, and headed to the show at the Venetian. I'm completely disoriented since Amanda knows all the back streets to drive around Vegas. We got a Blue Hawaiian - all blue drinks at the Blue Man bar of course! - so I kept the little Venetian cocktail picks as souvenirs. The show was very entertaining & interactive, but we didn't actually get spewed on...a little disappointing actually! ;) The Blue Men stand in the lobby & graciously give photos in their characteristic bug-eyes-staring emotionless pose, so Amanda & I got a photo of us smiling with one, then the other I said "let's do the Blue Man face!" but Amanda forgot so I just look silly! hahaha...They kissed our tickets with the blue makeup, and we're wondering if it's every going to dry! We kept getting blue everywhere... ;)
In line before the show we had been given free $10 in credits if we signed up for the Venetian Players Club card, but I liked my idea of resisting gambling in Vegas, even with free money, so I gave my credits to Amanda. Adam & she played some video poker for a bit, long enough to cash out with almost the same as the free money (you can't just cash out immediately from the credits). Since I hadn't seen the Venetian yet, we strolled around, I took a photo of the cool stained glass Phantom sign, and we checked out the Phantom gift shop. I was tempted by a sparkly Phantom mask brooch but resisted..then we saw a black & silver corset with Phantom mask ribbon..hahahah! Amanda asked, and it is $600, custom-made to your measurements, and they couldn't answer about the boning used. I felt the one on the mannequin and it only feels like plastic boning to me, and honestly the quality of my corset from Fredericks of Hollywood is better at 1/10th the price...but if they had sold the Phantom ribbon separately I totally would have bought some! hahaha...
Since they both had to work the next day, we left around 10pm and went by In N Out Burger since Adam is from Ohio and his students had been teasing him for never knowing about In N Out here. Even the In N Out sign is Vegas-style with a blinking light show, so of course I had to take photos while we were in the drive-thru line. We dropped Adam off at his house, got back to Amanda's & chatted a little longer while we ate our yummy burgers. Amanda's at work now as I thankfully slept in, getting the first full night's sleep since last weekend...AND finally some free wifi!...ahhh on both counts...
What's on the Vegas schedule next? Stay tuned to find out... ;)