Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Seven Deadly Sins Part I: Lust and Gluttony

There was something peculiar about this gathering of the tribes. Maybe it was the fact that the majority of bloggers have attended and experienced more than two or maybe the planets were aligned in such a way that it added an extra layer of weirdness to the last few days.

Regardless of the cosmic influences on everyone's aberrant behavior, there were more epic stories, misadventures, and tales of debauchery on this trip than in previous gatherings. A high water mark has been set after this assemblage of nefarious souls who all traveled long distances and called in favors with spouses, family members, and bosses so they could get the necessary time off to delve deep in the mischievous under world of Las Vegas.

Excess. That could be one word to describe the weekend. Excessive use of profanity. Excessive gambling. Excessive narco/alcohol consumption. Excessive horniness. Excessive use of the words "Dick Bro."

We descended upon Sin City to do just that, as almost a hundred of us dove head first into an orgiastic binge of the Seven Deadly Sins.

Lust. Gluttony. Greed. Sloth. Wrath. Envy. Pride.

The worst deviants among us managed to spiral into a frenzy that included all seven, while a handful mustered up enough courage to dabble in one or two.

Most of the "no fuckin' way I can't believe he/she did that" stuff that went down between the hours of 2am and 8am is not blogworthy. For now. So for a few of you (names withheld) that engaged in sophomoric behavior, you're secrets are safe with me... until I go completely broke or lose my entire poker bankroll and decide to blackmail you to help get unstuck.

I must say that I'm equally freaked out and proud of everyone's hijinks. If we could get medals for doing stupid shit and acting like soused sleep deprived wankers... than we'd all be walking away with gold medals. But then again, doesn't everyone get a medal who participates in the Special Olympics? Because when you are special... so very special... everyone's a winner.

* * * * *

Lust is best described as depraved thought, unwholesome morality, desire for excitement, or need to be accepted or recognized by others. It also includes obsessive or unlawful sexual desire, such as desiring to engage in excessive sexual appetites. Bestiality, rape, and adultery are considered to be extreme forms of Lust. Dante's criterion was "excessive love of others," thereby detracting from the love due to God. However, Lust and love are two different things; while love involves mutual appreciation, trust, deep friendship, and willingness to sacrifice, Lust is little more than extreme sexual arousal. In Purgatorio, the penitent walks within flames to purge himself of lustful thoughts.
Moments before the tournament on Saturday at Caesar's Palace, AlCantHang stumbled over to me and said, "I think that I broke rule #20."

AlCantHang rolled by a hooker? Yikes. Yes, the ladies of the night were crawling all over the Geisha Bar at the IP. Derek caught them in action as pimps and hookers converged upon the bar looking for tricks.

"Dammit bitch, I told you to get over to Casino Royale!" one pimp screamed at one of his girls in front of Derek.

Sex in Sin City comes at a price and if you want to bang a working girl, it's going to cost you anywhere from $300 to $3,000 depending upon your fetishes and the quality of the girl. Sure there are crack whores down at the Redneck Riviera that will blow you for $20, but that's the difference from eating something off the Dollar Menu at McDonald's and feasting on a Kobe steak. You get what you pay for.

The depravity of humankind is epitomized by Las Vegas. It is the modern day version of Sodom and Gomorra with an all-you-can-eat buffet and 99 cent shrimp cocktail.

Thursday night at the Geisha Bar was the best night of the trip. Hands down. And it's not because of the hookers that infested the bar. I'm glad that I picked the Geisha Bar because it was strategically the best place to have an informal meeting place since most of us were staying at the IP.

Sure the IP might be a gem compared to anything downtown, but for a Strip property, it was very ghetto. A tinge of seediness filled the air with plenty of campiness from the Dealertainers. That suited my friends perfectly. We don't need gaudy casinos to have a good time. All we needed was a bar with a fast bartender and it didn't matter if we were at The Plaza, The Castle, The Borgata, or the Geisha Bar. We were there to see each other.

I figured only a handful of people would show up from 10-Midnight. I was wrong. The drinking lasted way into the morning hours and almost everyone who showed up on Thursday night was there including Otis who came in at the last minute.

Most of the people at this trip were veterans and knew that Thursdays were always a fun night an decided to come in early. Everyone who had a hangover when they woke up on Friday (or Saturday depending on when you eventually slept) can attest to the excessive binge drinking that eventually led to a phenomenon that I would refer to in my notes as "bloggers groping other bloggers."

Most of the sexual banter among the bloggers was jaw dropping, comical, and in a few instances outright pathetic. But hey, it's Vegas. And I hope people used protection, like what Bobby Beer Goggles said, "What happens in Vegas... gives you herpes."

Supposedly your punishment in hell for lust is being bombarded with fire and brimstone. Sounds like every bad session I had online at PokerStars this year.

* * * * *

Modern views identify Gluttony as being associated with an overindulgence of food and drink, though in the past any form of thoughtless excess could fall within the definition of this sin. Marked by a refusal to share resources and unreasonable or unnecessary consumption, Gluttony could also include certain forms of destructive behavior, especially for sport, for example substance abuse or binge drinking. The penitent in the Purgatorio were forced to stand beneath two trees, unable to make use of the food hanging there and giving them a starved appearance.
The sound of my cellphone ringing ended up waking me up Friday around 9:30am after crashing an hour after sunrise. AlCantHang had arrived in Las Vegas and I found him raging solo at the Geisha Bar. I couldn't let my wingman down and started drinking as the first batch of Friday arrivals began trickling in. Daddy stumbled off his plane and headed right to the bar at the IP with GMoney as I ordered vodka and vitamin C drinks with on_thg. It got you drunk and was healthy for you.

Mostly everyone was shocked when they found out I lost 20+ pounds and started eating salads and exercising daily. I did it for a reason. Survival. I knew that I had a seven week bender scheduled that included two trips to Las Vegas (Vegoose and the bloggers) and jaunt to Amsterdam with Change100. I'm getting older and it takes longer and longer for me to recover from those long parties that last for several days.

The four day bender at the Bash at the Boathouse and my birthday in late September nearly destroyed my liver but it quickly crushed my soul after I was hungover for almost a week afterwards. And that happened after only four days of partying. How would I be able to handle 50 brutal days of the rock star lifestyle if I couldn't even lasting a long weekend without puking and waiting to crawl up in a ball and die? I had to get in shape.

Running up to five miles a day gave me the endurance that I needed to survive a music festival with Professional Keno Player Neil Fontenot and the Joker, a trip to Amsterdam (where we walked everywhere), and running with the bulls (AlCantHang) in Las Vegas. I knew that I could handle the intoxicants. That was never an issue. What worried me was the cumulative affect of lack of sleep and having to constantly ward off hangovers by staying perpetually drunk.

When my immune system is low due to lack of eating and too much partying, I'm susceptible to colds and infections and my body suffers. Plus since I travel so much, I'm constantly flying on germ-infested planes and in contact with many different people who are surrounded by random illnesses. I had to boost my immune system and getting in shape and changing my diet was the quickest way to do that.

Instead of giving up bad foods and drinking, I found a way to continue my overindulgence.

Sure, I had a few bad mornings over the past seven weeks, but I feel great physically considering the kind of torture and rigorous traveling that I put myself through. I only added five pounds and my bum knee feels great. Conversely, the days after the completion of the Boathouse bender were utter torture. My liver and my soul has since recovered.

In Las Vegas, my body felt like I was 24 again instead of 34 just from running a few days a week. I finally figured out a way to keep partying into my 40s. As long as I work out and eat healthy for brief periods of time, I can continue to enjoy the gluttony of eating whatever I want and partying like I used to when I just got out of college.

Last Thursday before the drinking binge at the Geisha Bar, I managed to have an excellent meal at The Palm, one of my favorite steak joints with locations in LA, Vegas and NYC (where the original is located) where Derek and I celebrated life with the Poker Prof and Flipchip.

Of course on Friday, I shrugged off my hangover and headed to the buffet at The Wynn where Gracie held court. She expected less than 20 people to come and over 30 showed up. The Wynn's lunch buffet was better than expected and rivaled the Bellagio's. I feasted on the Jerk Chicken and Kobe meatballs. I made several trips to the buffet stations and managed to eat dessert halfway through my meal as I stuffed my face with sorbet, cookies, and other pastries.

Sadly, that would be the only meal that I ate on Friday. Twelve hours later, after consuming enough booze at the MGM to keep the entire town of Sheboygan liquored up for a month, I would regret not eating another meal. Food is the perfect fortification for booze. Without it, you're pretty much going to get blitzed and saying stupid shit like a shitfaced Michalski offering to lick my balls... for free.

Of course, there was no shortage of excessive drinking on both Friday and Saturday nights. Poor Drizz jumped out to the early lead for the Lewey Award after passing out in the bathroom where it took a couple of security guards and a wheelchair to get him back to his room safely. It was his birthday and I know things got fuzzy for me after I started drinking Kamikaze shots with Drizz.

The word moderation randomly disappears from my brain and my vocabulary when I'm in Las Vegas. The inner demons that haunt me have an unquenchable thirst for food, drink, drugs, excitement, sex, gambling, and adventure. It's easier to just give in than to do the right thing and quell those urges. The Dionysian lifestyle appeals to me.

In the city of excess, there was only one thing to do... surrender to the flow.

... to be continued.

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