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Picking Up The Pieces

Five days and four nights in Las Vegas can be a traumatic experience. Like the infamous film “The Hangover,” I stayed at Caesar’s Palace while I was in Vegas. There was also some alcohol involved and someone in my small group of people had a partial blackout… but the similarities end there.

Instead I had a great time and came back spending less than I expected. I know, that shouldn’t be possible, but my wife hit a nice jackpot on a slot machine our second day in at New York New York and we lived off those winnings the rest of the trip. Along the way we had a great time with friends we haven’t seen in a couple of years and stayed very busy.

I’d hoped to see some of the Mr. Olympia show or expo while we were there – I know I was asked countless times how the show was going and if I was competing (yes, I was really asked that on numerous occasions, as well as an invitation to join an arm wrestling contest and another guy advising me not to get mad and hit anybody). Instead we saw the sights and took in some great food. Mesa Grill and Hiyakumi were the two best dinner experiences, with the sushi and sashimi at Hyakumi taking our top spot. The new Bacchanal Buffet at Caesar’s was impressive too, but overpriced considering there’s no way we could eat the amount of food offered. Especially when the chefs took a look at me at the meat station and said I needed one of everything. Eating all that meat damn near killed me (prime rib, spare ribs, lamb, turkey, chicken, a couple of sausages, brisket, and a few others I can’t remember).

The pools at Caesar’s Palace were great too. Nine pools, including the European Style Venus pool. And by European I mean tops optional. We wanted to check it out and almost went over to it…until we found out there was an additional $20 cover for men to go there. Disappointing, we really wanted to experience everything Caesar’s Palace had to offer but we weren’t going to spend the money for that purely on principle.

Our last night there my wife and I went to see Zumanity, a Cirque Du Soleil show at New York New York. It’s claimed to be a very sensual show that will leave you wanting to tear your significant others clothes off by the time it’s over. It doesn’t do that. I’d also heard that it hits every fetish imaginable in its exploration and exhibition of human sexuality. It doesn’t do that either. Now granted, my experiences as a writer have left me a bit jaded in the realm of human depravity.

What Zumanity does do is entertain. It was a lot of fun and I was very impressed with the different acts and feats of strength, skill, and poise. And yes, there were some rather sensual acts in it, as well as a lot of humor. The only thing that left me wishing I could un-see what I’d seen was one member of the troop who was faintly reminiscent of a raging homosexual version of Prince. This character stayed in the background mostly, other than when he was supposed to sweep across the stage with a Batman like cape that covered everything. Even with that particular character creeping me out I highly recommend the show to anyone who’s not afraid of a little adult humor. Just be warned, if you sit in the front row or two you might find yourself becoming a participant.

But what about the research? I did a lot of that, and I’m very happy with what I saw and experienced. Loads of material for Bounty, and maybe someday I’ll write something else that takes place in or near Vegas. I do wish I’d had the time to see a couple more sights and to corner one waitress at the pool so I could ask her more questions. I don’t know what her name is but she had an awesome tattoo on her side that read, “I’m a Barbie Girl in a Barbie World.” So yes, I instantly took to calling her Barbie. Barbie was a waitress five days a week and then her second job was that of a go-go dancer. I wanted to get the behind the scenes on that second career.

On the off chance anybody reading this has experience at that sort of thing, shoot me an email – I’d love to pick your brain! Until then, I’ll just have to make things up and fill in the blanks with glamorous fun. Bounty won’t stand for anything less than being an over the top sensation!

To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to learn about him, his books, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

The Best of the Best

July 29, 2012 3 comments

The Olympics started and it’s been a distraction. I think it’s distracting for more people than just me – I’ve noticed a minor slump in sales, especially in the UK where they’re being hosted. It’ll even out over time, I’m sure. I’m not writing this to whine about sales though, I’m pondering the Olympics and what they’ve come to mean (to me, at least).

Just this morning I had to log on to www.nbcolympics.com in order to watch one of my favorite sports: weight lifting. They don’t seem interested in televising it, which I find very disappointing. Instead we get to watch dozens of people ride bicycles around in circles in the rain. No thanks. I’ve never been much for bicycling, sorry to say. Anyhow, the weightlifting from this morning was the B group of women’s snatch and clean and jerk events, in the 53kg weight class (117 pounds). It’s safe to classify these girls as petite or scrawny, depending on their height. In spite of that, there were some damned impressive lifts that took place. My personal favorite, Julia Rohdes from Germany, had an 85kg snatch and a 108kg clean and jerk (193kg total, 4th place overall so far). For my fellow Americans that means she lifted 187lbs and 238 pounds from the ground to above her head. That’s a clean and jerk over twice her body weight! As another point of reference I’ve done a far less skillful clean and jerk of up to 235 pounds once in my life. I don’t train the movement but nonetheless this tiny woman was able to lift more weight than I could AND she only took 4th place. And she’s cute – yet more proof that lifting weights does not make women bulky, fat, ugly, or otherwise scary.

There was another woman from Venezuela with a really long name that irritated me. She made a lot of noise and did a lot of shouting while she psyched herself up to lift. Nothing wrong with that, it just bugged me. In spite of that, when she got under the weight I found myself pulling for her, just like I did every other lifter that was competing. I can’t help it, I’ve competed in far smaller venues (powerlifting, not Olympic lifting) I know how hard it is and I know what it feels like to achieve a hard lift when it really matters.

I’m anxious to watch more of the weightlifting to see what happens. The super heavy weights are able to lift some amazing weights but to be honest most of those guys and gals don’t impress me as much. Oh they still impress me, but I admire the people in the lighter classes below SHW more because they have to balance maintaining their weight while optimizing their strength.

Are there drugs for these people doing practically super-human things? Hell yes there are. Sure, the IOC (International Olympic Committee) tests for drug use but the athletes have ways of getting around that. Also these drugs won’t make the average person able to achieve the same things. It takes a person with the right mix of genetics and dedication to make these feats of strength, skill, strategy, and balance possible. They deserve a lot more than just a footnote in the history of the Olympics, in my opinion.

And what commentary on the Olympics would be complete without discussing Michael Phelps. Personally, I was pleased to see him take 4th place in his first event. I’ll admit, I’ve been suckered by the media into being irritated with his attitude and lack of training discipline. Seeing Lochte take the gold made it that much better for me. That brings into question how I view the Olympics from a patriotic point of view.

Of course I want the USA to win every event, plain and simple. Then when I watch them and see how individuals are performing. In individual events, I tend to favor the competitor who’s got the best attitude and puts the most heart into it. A team event, like volleyball or basketball, I stick more by my country, but for the individual sports I’m much more inclined to rooting for the people that I feel deserve it.

Speaking of volleyball, that first round team USA win in the women’s volleyball was nerve wracking! Korea’s Kim something-something is lethal! Great game though, and how awesome is it that the US has a player named Destiny Hooker? There, I’ve mixed enough immaturity in now, I’m off for some family time and hopefully later on today working on chapter 7 of Vitalis – Resurrection!

To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to learn about him, his books, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

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