I guess going to sleep at 9:00pm last night was not a good idea. We were up at 3:00am and stayed awake until we hit the hay at 12:00am tonight. But, oh what a packed day we had. We hung out in the room until about 6:00am and then we headed downstairs to take a walk around the casino. We figured out where to go for Affiliate Summit, to get breakfast and where to sign up for the Total Gold RewardsPprogram here at the Rio.
We had a delicious breakfast at the Sao Paolo Cafe. It was one of the only places that was open but it ended up being worth it. After that we went to look into the Total Gold Rewards program. We were going to sign up because we’d get free $20 in game play each. We had to wait a little while until 9:00am when the program office opened but once it did, we signed up, got all the coupons and our free $20 in game play we went to the slots.
We chose a couple of video slot machines. After playing through our first $10 each we put in our second $10 voucher. I hit for $154.00 I cashed out that win but still had credits from the initial $10 (you had to play the whole $10 you couldn’t put the vouchers in and then cash out right away). I played the rest of that money and ended up hitting for $21.25. I walked away with $175.00 of the Rio’s money. I walked away. I took the money in big bills and went back to the room and put $100.00 right into the safe. I gave $20 of the $175 to Allison and she played the penny slots while I ran back to the room. I came down to find her winning $30.00 off that $20. We again walked away winning.
We caught the first shuttle of the day to the Paris (a service offered byt the Rio.) We headed towards the MGM grand and along the way stopped at the Coca-Cola store where we tried 16 different Coca-Cola products from around the world. The beverages were served on 2 trays of that were numbered and she provided us with two cheat sheets to identify the beverages.
It wasn’t until we got to the second tray that we realized that she mixed up the pages. What did we know, we were drinking 16 flavors we had never tried before so we went by the sheets in front of us. Many were gross. There were maybe 2 or 3 decent ones.
After that we toured through the M&Ms store. It is four floors high. I couldn’t believe how many M&Ms themed items were available for purchase. That is some major branding of people’s love of those delicious candies. We watched a free 3-D movie on the 3rd floor, it was funny and well done.
We continued down the strip to the MGM Grand.
The MGM Grand has a pride of Lions living inside the casino. They are in a habitat that is viewable from many angles and there is even a walkway that people can go through and look up at the cats. I’m not sure how many lions are living there but apparently they are descended from the original MGM lion, or that might be some sort of urban myth (I haven’t researched that too much yet.)
At the MGM Grand we tried calling home because we got some cute photos of Eva, who was front row at a Sarah Guthrie Concert. We didn’t get through so we continued by going across the street to the New York, New York.
In the New York, New York we had lunch at (The Original) Fulton Fish Frye. The food was good but the portion was enormous, we could have, and should have split a single order or something. We finished up our meal and picked up our tickets for Zumanity (we are seeing that tomorrow thanks to Jessica Berlin @JessBerlin.)
We walked down to the Monte Carlo and picked up our tickets to see Frank Caliendo. For Allison’s birthday I bought the tickets months ago and as luck would have it we got front row tickets, more on that later.
A quick walk back down the strip and we stopped at the Bellagio to watch the fountain show. That is a must see when you go to Las Vegas. The best way to see it is at night but during the day it is still impressive.
We did a little more walking and then grabbed the shuttle back to the Rio, relaxed for a little while. A little after 4:00 we popped down to the registration booth to pick up our registration packets. Registration went very smoothly and we were in and out and back up to the room to wait for Dina and our ride over to Diablo’s.
I have some pretty great friends. Ted Murphy introduced me to Manya Susoev (@ManyaS) of The Light Group. The Light Group is a premiere nightclub and hospitality company. They’ve got a number of great venues on the strip like Jet nightclub, Brand Steakhouse and Diablo’s Cantina. Together with Manya and our good friend Dina Riccobono (@TFNDina)of Market Leverage we put together a margarita party for some VIP bloggers.
Dina picked us up at our hotel and we zipped over to the restaurant.
Outside the restaurant we caught up with John Chow (@JohnChow). John is a crazy funny guy and it was good to have him along to the event.
While we were stand around Peter Shankman (@skydiver) came out of the restuarant, he had been inside looking for us and asked the front desk if there was a group of people standing around all looking at iphones, he was directed right to us. Sometimes the stereotypes of our profession can be useful.
We were seated and the table was decked out with oversized margarita glasses rimmed with a special combo of salt, pepper, chili and sugar.
Then when we sat down we were treated to some delicious salsas and chips and our servers Marques and Carlos were fantastic! They kept our margarita glasses filled with a special agave margarita. The margariatas were strong and bottomless. We then were treated to some appetizer platters including calamari, hot wings, taquitos and potato skins and also queso fundido. I think that we could have and should have stopped at the appetizers be we also ordered meals. I got the steak tacos which were good but I couldn’t finish them, I was stuffed. Allison got the chicken tacos and they were good but she couldn’t finish them either.
In addition to Peter Shankman and John Chow we were also joined by Tim Jones (@TheRealTimJones), Brad Waller (@BradWaller) and Joe Stepniewski (@digijoe). We were expecting more people to come but we were happy with the turnout and everyone who was there was fun and entertaining.
Peter Shankman had us all laughing with his stories. Allison and Dina spent a lot of time talking with him. John was making videos and taking great photos.
Tim, Brad and Joe were chatting and I was bouncing around from conversation to conversation. Manya came by and checked to see how everything was going at the event. She even offered everyone entrace to some of The Light Group clubs on the strip. Manya was so genrous to us and we appreciate that so much.
After dinner and quite a few margaritas (well actually it was just one long continuous one) we tried some of the desserts (like we needed that too, but who can pass it up). I nailed myself with some fo the chocolate from our churros y chocolate.
Glad I wore a T-Shirt but still I had other places to go tonight. There was also a little something where we showed John the propper way to do a tequila shot. I’m not sure who ordered it but John got a flight of tequila. Shouts of “Salty, Salty!” followed each shot. He had us cracking up. Here is why:
Then he wanted to do a body shot. He did one off my neck. It’s gonna come out anyway (Thank you very much (sarcasm) The Real Tim Jones) so I might as well out myself on that one. Quote from me after that, “John Chow as a tongue like a cat.” We had a crazy night.
After our fun evening with fantastic people Allison and I slipped over to see Frank Caliendo. I’ve been looking forward to seeing Frank since I came for Blog World Expo back in October. I met Frank back in 1995 or 1996 (I can’t remember exactly). Frank was on the college circuit then and he came to Saint Anselm College. While In college I was the president of the Student Programming Board. Part of my job was to book acts for student events. We booked Frank and I got to meet him but even better I got to go to dinner with him after his show. We went to Applebees on Second Street in Goffstown, NH. I remember very distinctly how much I was impressed with Frank. He’s a clean comic and prides himself on that fact. He can be so funny and entertaining while avoiding being foul mouthed. We had a great conversation that night and I followed his career and cheered for all his victories ever since.
Snuck in this photo that is why it is fuzzy.
We took our seats and jammed along to the band. The band leader said something about people having ipods and the zippo app. Well the droid does not have that app for free but Bic has a lighter app for free so I downloaded that and raised it quite a few times. The opening comedian was a good warm up for the main event and got us laughing (could have also been a side effect from the bottomless margarita).
When Frank took the stage the crowd was excited. Frank did many of his great standards and had some new material that we also enjoyed as well. The problem I was running into was the 3:00am wake up was now catching up with me (including the effect of the bottomless margarita). I fought like hell to stay awake. I was in the front row watching one of my favorite comedians and lack of sleep was catching up with me. I ended up watching a portion of the show out of one eye and then the other eye while trying to continue keeping myself awake. It certainly wasn’t the show that was putting me to sleep, Frank is high energy and highly entertaining.
After the show we got in line to meet Frank. When we got to the front of the line I mentioned to Frank that we had met before and he remembered that night. What a great feeling to be remembered for our connection years ago. I was so excited to tell him the story that I got the facts wrong. We did have a photo taken of us with Frank. We can send it to Frank’s fan page and he’ll post it. The one thing that I wanted to ask him was why he didn’t follow anyone on Twitter (@frankcaliendo). I’d love to see a guy this personable use Twitter more effectively to connect with his fans. I’ll include those thoughts in my message to Frank along with our photo.
After the show, a quick walk down to the Paris to pick up the shuttle back to the hotel and we settled in for the night. Our first full day in Vegas was FULL!
Are you getting BenSpark.com in your inbox every day? Sign up to get the latest posts e-mailed directly to YOU.
Copyright (c) 2016 BenSpark.com