October 7th, 2003

amsterdam

Polkapalooza

frockazulu dropped Mickey and me off at BWI at around five minutes to six on Thursday morning. We had planned on being there about ten minutes earlier, but in retrospect, that wouldn't have made a damn bit of difference anyway. We waited patiently on line for the baggage check-in desk, and when we were next to be served, someone came around the corner shouting if there were any passengers left for the 6:45 to Atlanta. That was our flight, and she told us to check in quickly and she'd escort us to the front of the security line.

I've flown several times since 19 Guys Named Muhammad changed the way airports work. I have NEVER seen a security line as long as the one at BWI on Thursday morning. Ever. But thanks to our tardiness, and surely to the sneer of the other passengers (as I probably would have sneered at me right then) we were whisked to the front, pushed through the metal detectors and speedwalked to the gate only to wait around to start boarding.

What came next was a blur of uncomfortable sleep, yummy ginger cookies, a Popeye-licious Atlanta layover, and more uncomfortable sleep. Eight life hours later, we landed in Las Vegas. We called vivisectandrew and wrongwayjohn, who had arrived earlier, and rock_god and sirrani who had yet to land.

Heading towards the baggage claim carousel, Mickey leans over to me and chuckles, "That sign said 'Polkapalooza'". I couldn't believe my ears.

"Are you sure? It really said that?!?"

"yeah..."

For those of you who don't remember, Polkapalooza is the name of Weird Al's concert tour.
Or, at least that's what I thought then. Looking now for a hotlink to put here, I have come to realize that Al's tour was called Poodle Hat.
So I went over to the suited limo driver holding the Polkapalooza sign and waited. I asked the driver if it was "really him" and he shrugged and said he had no idea who he was picking up. So I shared my then-gospel misinformation with him and waited some more. About 5 or so minutes later, a skinny man with 80's-buttcutt style hair and a very tame shirt approached with his wife. He walked up to the limo driver and said "ok, this is us". I looked around for the rest of the entourage, but there was no one.

Accepting my disappointment, I said to the skinny guy, "you tricked me". He was confused and asked what I meant. I repeated my theory and told him I was waiting for Weird Al. He offered to autograph something for me, but said that I probably didn't know who he was.
  • Current Mood
    giggly giggly
amsterdam

Party of 1600?

Once at the hotel, we communicated again with Andy and Michelle who were threatening to consume body parts if we didn't eat lunch soon. Carla and Keith still hadn't landed, so the eating machines had to be subdued. Mr. and Mrs. Rock_God called about a half hour later to say they were at the airport, giving us just enough time to decompress and refresh from our flight.

When they got upstairs, we called Andy and Michelle who were hanging out next door at the Luxor and said we were ready to entertain lunch location ideas. Andy wanted to go to the In and Out Burger, and Michelle said she didn't care but that we had to eat soon because she was starving and beginning to get cranky. I suggested we meet downstairs and choose one of the restaurants when we got there, but Michelle's foot came down: either we cab to the In and Out or we go to the sushi bar they found in the Luxor.

Now, most of you know how I feel about sushi, and added to a similar sense of meh towards the sushi idea coming from Carla, Keith and Mick, we suggested that Andy and Michelle go to the sushi bar and since there was less urgency on our end, we'd take our time and figure out what we wanted.

$9.99 later, we were at the Roundtable Buffet at the Excalibur. As we walked down the fifty-foot steamer line, I piled my plate high with salad, pot roast, rice, beef stroganoff, the works. Then we turned the corner. To both my shock and surprise, there were *four* more food stations to partake of. Chinese food. Mexican food. Desserts. Breakfast food. It just went on and on. There were also two of each line. We had laughed as we came in about the "Maximum Capacity 1594" sign, but it all started to make sense.

We ate ourselves crippled and headed down to the casino floor for a bit of gameplay before we had to get ready for the wedding. I was tableshy at the beginning, worried that I'd blow a whole bunch of money and set a negative tone for the trip. So instead of playing blackjack, I dumped $15 into video poker.
  • Current Mood
    hungry hungry
Dog Balls

We interrupt this vacation story for some hair-pulling frustration

I came home from work last night to find a letter taped to my door saying that my rent payment is late and that I owe the late payment fee and whatever else. I have my rent paid automatically with my online billpay every month, and I transferred more than enough to cover the rent from my savings account before I left for Vegas. I was unworried. I logged on to my online bank account, and sure enough, my rent money has been in the hands of Charles E. Smith realty since October 2. I merrily fold up the notice, drop it in my purse, and plan on calling today.

I call the management office, and after placing a work order in regards to the mystery mold growing out of my bathroom ceiling, I am transferred to Barbara, the biped who processes the rent checks. I calmly introduce myself, explain that I have received this notice and suggest that it may have been sent in error. Incredulously, she demands to know why, and I say because my check was cashed 4 days ago. She doesn't understand how I could know this, and I inform her of the existence of online banking statements. She says that there never was a check in the office, and that they cannot accept electronic payments. I explained that I have been paying my rent electronically for two years now and have never before had a problem. Barbara goes on ranting about how there never was a check. I say that it doesn't matter whether or not there was a check; what matters is they have my money and I do not. I asked her to call whoever at the corporate office she has to call to sort this out and she asks me why she should have to do that.

This is the type of behavior I have become very familiar with when dealing with my apartment leasing office. Like the time when my keys got stolen and they couldn't figure out why I wanted to borrow the spare for more than five minutes. Or last week during the hurricane when I reported that the emergency exit near my apartment was jammed, only to be bickered with by the maintenence guy about how there are two emergency exit doors so it's not really an issue. It seems that responsiblity shirking is a job requirement over there. So it is no surprise that I came at her with both guns after this.

I explained to her that finding out where my rent check is after the company has misplaced it is her job. She scolded me for telling her what her job is, said that she's been processing rent payments for nine years and that this isn't her job. I pointed out that the fact of the matter is that I payed my rent on time and they lost it; all she needed to do was call the corporate office and find out where it went. She said that wasn't her job either.

So I asked her for the number and said there wasn't a number I can call. "What do I have to do to do your job for you today?" I said that after doing her job for nine years that I can understand how she might be tired of it and how she doesn't want to do it today and that I was perfectly willing to do her job for her if she just gave me the number for the corporate office. And after a little more of this attempted reverse psychology, she gave me the damned number.

I spoke to someone at the corporate office and explained the situation as calmly as I did the first time. She seemed equally confused, and suggested I call Barbara so she can sort it out. I told the corporate office lady that Barbara isn't really in the mood to do work today, so that we'd have to figure it out without her. She was offput by this, but charged on nevertheless. I had to fax her my bank statement, and a few hours later, she asked for which account my bank sent this money to.

I called my bank for more information, and they assured me that the bank statement was going to be enough information for them. I stressed that it wouldn't be, and the delightful folks at Chevy Chase took it all from there. I had to speak to someone else, who opened up a "case" for me, asked for the number of the gal in the corporate office, apologized for the inconvenience and assured me they would take over from here and I wouldn't have to deal with it anymore.

I can understand how things get misplaced. But jesus christ. Check before you go taping delinquent notices to my door. There is a chance you messed up. It *may* not be my fault. I asked them to re-caulk my tub when I asked about the mold. Seeing as they lost my rent...I'm a little concerned to let them into my apartment.
  • Current Mood
    frustrated frustrated
amsterdam

Do you, momma, take this fella as your hound dog?

Allow me to be the first to introduce Mr. and Mrs. metroskapolis.

The wedding ceremony was Thursday night at the Viva Las Vegas Chapel. In fitting with the ceremony, I'll explain it short and sweet: the entire ceremony lasted six minutes, during which Elvis sang three songs. He gave a great wedding though; his speeches were as good as any traditional wedding I have ever heard. And to top it all off, their names were on the 20-foot lighted sign outside the whole time.

After the wedding, we went to experience Freemont Street. Played here and there at the assorted dingier casinos, caught the light show a few times, and even got to see Vegas's own Love Shack, the 80's tribute band featuring Madonna and Devo on vocals, Sid Vicious on guitar, Adam Ant (ups to calamine_tea for figuring that one out) on bass, Billy Idol on drums, and of course, Right Said Fred on keys. Devo did a dead on Fred Snyder. It was just the right combination of awesome and ridiculous. Perfection.

By midnight, the 24+ hour day began to catch up with us and we went back to the strip to get some sleep. And thanks to the 24-hour shop at the Excalibur, there were Krispy Kremes also.
  • Current Mood
    cheerful cheerful