Saturday, September 11, 2010

Anime Vegas 2010 Report: Part 2 - Friday (Day Zero)

It felt like déjà vu all over again. I swear, this sequence is identical to how I got to Anime Los Angeles back in January...

I started my journey to Anime Vegas at nearly 4:30 in the morning, with me arriving at Sacramento International Airport around 5:45am-ish. With the security checkpoint light, I make through with over an hour to grab a Extra Coffee Caramel Frappuccino from Starbucks. Then I boot up my laptop to check my mail and start my Day Zero Vlog from the airport...until I realize that my webcam is lagging again and then determine that I won't be using that webcam again.

By 7:15am my flight is in the air and an hour after that, an old familiar place and sign shows up.

It's ALA all over again, but instead of going next door I'm off to Vegas!
Ryan shows up at the airport around 9am, which gives us enough time to get down to Las Vegas quickly. After picking up Erica, some stuff at Target, then Jared, we're off through the world of Borderlands - I mean the California desert between the Cajon Summit and the city itself - "where there ain't no rest for the wicked."

By 12pm we reach the city of Barstow. According to Erica, this is the pit stop before making the trek through the desert to reach Las Vegas. We stop in to Bob's Big Boy for some lunch, which was very good. We get some photos with Big Boy himself before heading off once again.

I thought we would get there between 5pm and 7pm. But I was very surprised that we got there around 3pm. We pull off the I-15 at the I-210 interchange to cruise the strip for the 1st time.

We get into Harrah's before 4pm, and after some resting and me losing a bit at the Pai Gow Poker tables, me and Ryan take off to the Alexis Park Hotel to pick up our press badges and to scout the area for gathering spots. There was no way we could meet in the lobby without creating a traffic or fire hazard, but at least we found some shaded areas. We do have some concerns about the size overall, but that won't be realized until we arrive on Saturday.

Once we're done at the Alexis Park we head back on the strip to a Walgreens to pick up water and supplies. I kept thinking to myself that even at a place like Walgreens, water should be cheap here. Nope. $6.99 for a 24 pack of water. At least they didn't charge me CRV like they do in California, and the sales tax is a bit lower there then back in California.

We head back to the hotel to find out that Lucas is almost at our hotel. While we wait, I go and sign up for my Total Rewards Card, which gives me some benefits while staying at a Harrah's property. He arrives a bit after and the team is united for this convention. We sit around waiting for 9pm when we have to take Erica and Jared back to the Alexis Park for the Silver Millennium Ball rehearsal. Here, we whip out Wing Zero Custom Perfect Grade and lay everything out to start building this gigantic model kit. We also hook up the Xbox 360 to the main TV, only to find out that the hotel disabled most of the functions on the main TV...but not the bathroom TV. We proceed to play Madden 11 in the bathroom, beating his Chargers with my Raiders 38-28.

It's still a long way before we have to drop the two off, so I go back downstairs and come back to even playing craps. Everyone is cheering for me, and mostly the table was populated with people from Wisconsin, probably for Saturday's Wisconsin/UNLV college football game. Most are surprised that I'm attending Anime Vegas and like this "anime convention by day, party in Las Vegas by night" idea that I got going. By 9pm I meet everyone in the lobby, minus Lucas who decided to stay to fix up his cosplay, and we head back to the Alexis Park.

We drop them off and from there we head to the MGM Grand to go to Gameworks. We walk through the beautiful hotel to reach the Strip side of the MGM Grand. We scout Gameworks to find out that they don't have MT3DX+ or ID5, so we decided it wasn't worth the money and we find some place to eat.

We come along this place called La Salsa Cantina and decide to sit down. We go through the menu to realize that there is a challenge - down a two pound burrito called the Champion Burrito and a yard Margarita with no time limit to win the challenge. Both me and Ryan do it, and finishes before I do. In the end, both of us won and he's feeling pretty good since he wants to do the B3 Challenge over at the Sahara over the weekend.

With a long weekend ahead of us, we call it a night to head back to the hotel, but not before rolling down the windows and blasting FLOW down the Strip.

By 12:30am-ish all of us are asleep, looking forward to the Saturday and the start of Anime Vegas.

I could say that this Day Zero rivals that of Anime Expo 2010 and definitely beats FanimeCon 2010. But could the convention hold up to the hype that we have built up in the months leading up?

-Day Zero End-

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