The Luxor, the Celebrity Chef, the Comedian and the Fat Girl

 Life in Los Angeles, Vegas  Comments Off on The Luxor, the Celebrity Chef, the Comedian and the Fat Girl
Jul 182010
 

I admit it, I love Las Vegas.   I love to play the slots.   I love roulette.   I love the great restaurants.   I love to people watch.   It is a feast for all the senses in a most prurient way. Over the past year or so I have been spoiled by getting to stay at the Mandalay Bay.   Yes, I know there are more extravagant hotels in Las Vegas.   But there is something about the Mandalay Bay.   It smells a bit like heaven and coconuts.   Unfortunately, my great offers this time around weren’t for the Mandalay Bay.   I knew I would get 2 nights on the strip before we moved down to the South Point for my husband’s conference.   I had some GREAT offers for the MGM Properties.   So, I had to choose.   I was leery of choosing the Luxor even though in the past I have done well gambling there.   My birthday there last year was awful.   When you have to change rooms three times you just give up.   It was crazy since my husband’s birthday celebration there 3 months earlier was amazing.   Even the bed we had on his birthday was the most comfortable bed I had ever slept on.   It seems that is the only bed of it’s kind in the hotel.   With that said, we did opt to stay at the Luxor for the first 2 nights of our stay and while the woman at the desk told me she looked at the print out and we were going to have a pillow top mattress, we did not.   She was adamant that we get the room with the jacuzzi jets in the tub.   That was sweet but I knew it was highly unlikely we would use it.   The mattress was old and quite bouncy.   Given that it was bizarrely comfortable.

I gambled, well, a lot.   More than I anticipated.   I got stuck at a machine.   It was crazy.   I was like a poster child for why you shouldn’t gamble.   You know, I would hit a big jackpot and then give it all back.   Then I would put my money in because, of course, I was going to hit another jackpot.   Then I would give the money back and put in more of my money.   Yes, I know that is how they built Las Vegas.   Since I visited, the Luxor can definitely afford to buy it least one more pillow top mattress.

Out of my last six visits to Las Vegas over the past year I have only stayed at one other hotel besides the Luxor and the Mandalay Bay (or THE Hotel at the Mandalay Bay) and that was New York, New York.   Every time I have been to Las Vegas over this past year,   I have walked by RM Seafood which is at the foot of the Mandalay Place as you walk out of the Mandalay Bay Hotel towards the Luxor.   If I say I have walked by it 15 times I may be close to accurate.   I have read the menu a handful of times.   I even brought my husband there last August when we stayed at the Mandalay Bay.   He loves seafood.   But no, we ended up eating somewhere else.   So, this trip we had one free night together.   I asked if he wanted to try RM Seafood.   I had seen Rick Moonen a while back on Oprah where he made his signature catfish Sloppy Joe.   Not my bag of meat (as they say) but I knew my husband would be thrilled to eat seafood.   My mother was apoplectic when I told her we were probably going to go there.   “OHHH!!! I love him.   He should have won Top Chef Masters.   If you see him, tell him I said so.”   “Okay, Mom.   I will…”   As if I was going to see him.   I called over to the restaurant.   Made a reservation which was more like a, “Hey, can you seat two for dinner as soon as we can hoof it through the Luxor casino and through the Mandalay Place?”   The answer was yes.   We got there around 7:45 on a Wednesday evening.   The place was hopping.

As a woman of size, I always scope a place out to make sure I am going to fit where they are taking me to sit and to be sure that I am not going to bump into people along the way.   Once seated I always plot my way back out of the restaurant and watch as people are seated so I don’t have to say, “excuse me” as I bump into the back of someone as they are eating. The hostess took us to a perfect table.   The table moved so I was able to sit on the very comfortable bench.   My husband sat across from me.   We read the menu back and forth to each other.   You know, “Oh wow, did you see the crab cake?”   “They have barbecued macaroni and cheese.”   I don’t know who the people were sitting next to us but they were clearly “someone” when they were done their waiter came by and said, “Rick took care of it. Dinner is on him.”   Or something like that.   How nice of Rick! I didn’t even think that was “Rick” as in the “R” in RM. Our waiter was great.   John ordered the crab cake appetizer and the Cioppino for dinner.   He barely spoke to me during dinner. I ordered the macaroni and cheese as starter, and the pan roasted chicken with a side order of mashed potatoes for dinner.   Just typing it my mouth is watering.   Even though we wanted dessert we were full from the outrageous meal and didn’t order it.   We ate exactly what we wanted.   (Of course a little over a week later, writing it, I would KILL for what I left on that table.) During our meal the GM came over to our table and chatted with us a bit.   What a charmer! Then Rick, himself, came over to our table.   Yes, Rick Moonen!   It was such a wonderful surprise.   He was charming and humble.   His food is definitely a work of art and it shows.   He clearly LOVES what he does.   I look forward to going back again not just for the food but for the atmosphere of being around people doing what they love.

Then we moved down to the South Point Hotel.   My husband was going to attend TAM8 (The Amazing Meeting).   Financially, we figured next year I will attend as well.   I was so pleasantly surprised by the room at the South Point.   It was big and spacious…not a lot of furniture cluttering up the space.   But there was enough furniture to relax in different places in the room.   The two chairs at the table did not have arms.   The couch was firm and comfortable.   The bed was a bit firm but nice.   The pillows were great (even though I brought my own.) The bathroom was perfect.   One of my pet peeves as a big woman is a toilet that is crammed between two walls.   I have hips and those hips don’t need to rest against a wall while I sit on a toilet.   Sorry to paint a picture you may not be interested in, but suffice it to say, this bathroom was awesome!   Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t a 4-star hotel.   The toilet seat is plastic and there wasn’t a clock in our room.   We did have a flat screen television on the wall so I was able to eat a great deli sandwich from the deli in the hotel and catch a rerun of South Park while John attended a dinner.   As someone who, admittedly, can sit at a video poker machine for hours I will say their chairs in the casino weren’t very comfortable.   It was as if the chair was pitched forward.   Or it could have been the way my large ass fit on the chair.   I don’t know.   I definitely was aware of the seat and I can say I haven’t noticed that in other casino’s.   At least I didn’t notice it at the Luxor.

One night at the South Point we found ourselves sitting in the bar.   John had a beer and I was sporting a killer headache.   It could have been from staring at a video poker machine all day in an uncomfortable seat with canned air.   Regardless, I had a club soda.   I noticed that Paul Provenza was sitting with a group of people.   I am a HUGE fan.   No pun intended.   I really am.   The Aristocrats is sheer genius!! He had spoken earlier at the conference.   I would have LOVED to have been there.   So, here he was sitting with some people.   I wasn’t sure if he was with those people or if they, like me, just had to meet Paul Provenza.   I didn’t want to interrupt.   As time went on he got up to leave and I had the amazing opportunity to say hello and tell him how inspiring I thought his new show the Green Room on Showtime is.   We had a great conversation about stand up comedy.   He introduced me to his friend and producer of the Green Room, Barbara Romen.   Both of them were very generous with their time and attention.   Those brief conversations spurred me to consider performing stand up again.   Maybe…we’ll see.

It was a great time.   It definitely had me look a what’s next for me and it had me take a hard look at where I fit, both literally and figuratively.

Jun 302010
 

This is not at all what I had planned on writing today.   I was all ready to start writing about my upcoming trip to Vegas and how excited I am to get away with my husband for a couple of days.   Then BAM.   I was poking around Facebook when I saw a video a friend had posted.   Now, the video in itself is appalling.   It’s about the awful wild horse round-ups being done in the name of needing the grazing land for cattle.   It’s essentially like eminent domain.   You know, the law that was passed that in essence says, if your property is worth more to someone else and will be “better” for the neighborhood as a hotel or something other than your home, someone can force you to sell it with the government as their strong arm.   It’s insane.   So, what’s happening with these wild horses is our tax payer dollars are being used to round up the horses in an inhumane and disgusting way so that cattle ranchers have more land, that doesn’t belong to them. It’s “government” land…so, it belongs to us, right?   Aren’t we the boss of the government?   Aren’t we?!   The video is really hard to watch.

Okay, so why then is Lisa Brounstein, fat actress, world traveller, writing about this?   It’s hardly my wheelhouse.   Sure I have a lot to say about the government and politics etc.   And, everyone knows I have a HUGE soft spot for animals.   I have always said, “I am one bad piece of bacon away from being a vegetarian again.”   I was a vegetarian for 17 years.   Even today I can go days without eating meat.   Hell, I apologize to bugs before I kill them, if I don’t capture them and set them free.   So, I am writing this not because of the video.   It’s because of what my friend posted before the video.   It’s because of what she said.

I am not going to post what she said verbatim for multiple reasons.   First, I don’t have her permission.   Second, I don’t think she really means what she is saying, completely.   I think that people, even people who love me, just don’t realize that fat and obesity really aren’t the source of all the ills in the world.   I really believe we have been trained and educated to believe that that is the case.   We are taught to believe that fat is ugly and wrong and if people weren’t fat than the world would be a much better place.   Wow, really?!   Okay, hear me out.

My friend started off talking about the BP oil spill and how our tax dollars are going to be used to clean up BP’s mess.   I have done some reading on the matter.   It doesn’t make me an expert. I am devastated by what is going on in the Gulf and have thought about going down to clean birds.   I read they are only allowing experienced volunteers and people to do that.   Which is probably better.   I think it would emotionally wreck me, forever.   The pictures are so upsetting.   I am not a fan of BP.   I think they have handled this whole thing POORLY.   How’s that for your understatement of the day?   But what I will say, is that we or rather, our government has allowed this to happen.   We allowed BP to drill off shore.   Those waters are federally owned and they are regulated by the Federal Government.   The law is written in such a way to protect the oil company with a punitive financial cap of $75 million.   Yes, BP really, by law, only has to pay $75 million.   However, they have given the government 20 BILLION dollars to aid in the clean up as well as to help the people who are and have lost their livelihoods.   Now it’s up to the government to dole out the money.   How’s that going?   How did the mortgage/bank bail out go?   How about that automaker bail out?   I’m just asking.

Then my friend went on to say that cattle corporations (she was saying that BP is a big corporation like the cattle corporations) are rounding up these majestic horses in order to use the land for their own cattle so they can sell the meat from said cattle and make even more money by selling to McDonald’s who will in turn sell Big Mac’s and fries. This would then effect the taxpayer because we are paying for the needless slaughter and storage of these horses all so these cattle corporations can get richer.   Okay, I can get that…mostly.   I don’t believe for a second that the government isn’t getting something out of this.   I am sure they are getting a lot.   It’s like a subsidy.   They aren’t doing it out of the goodness of their heart.   I am sure there are many sides to this sick and twisted story.   Okay, now here is what got me.   She goes on to make the correlation with the round up and eating McDonald’s with people growing more obese.   Oh man, really?

I watched the video because she mentioned BP and tax dollars and then also mentioned the obese.   As someone who is considered obese and someone who is really tired of my tax dollars being spent on things for which I disagree with, I had to look at the video.   I didn’t get the correlation completely.   Unless, she was saying that because cattle ranchers are driving the horses away so they can let their cattle graze there and then they sell their beef to McDonald’s where people buy Big Macs and, of course, only fat/obese people eat Big Macs, then it’s the fat people’s fault that the horses are being tortured.   That is only a correlative argument…you know, “correlation is not causation.”   In essence, she’d be saying it’s obese people’s fault that the wild horses are being slaughtered and tortured.

It’s that seven deadly sin scenario.   Greed, gluttony, extravagance, sloth…doesn’t that describe me?   You know, I just sit around all day and eat Big Macs and fries on my gold plated couch with my 60 inch flat screen TV.   No, I don’t.   None of that is true.   I honestly don’t think I have ever eaten a Big Mac.   Maybe as a child but I don’t have a recollection of it.   What is my reason for writing about this today?   My reason is this.   I am fat…and I say that with no malice or degradation.   I am definitely a BIG woman.   In medical terms I am obese.   So, I write this to give a face to all of those faceless and headless fat and obese people out there who are consistently being called forth as the cause of so much of the worlds ills today.   Especially in the United States and in Britain.

I honestly believe she probably didn’t think twice (or once) about me when she wrote what she wrote.   I understand that she is angry and frustrated.   Clearly she is angry about the horses and the horrific fate they are meeting.   And, she is a very intelligent person.   There isn’t a chance she isn’t upset about what is going on with our country in general.   As a human being and as a fat person I feel like it is my responsibility to remind people that fat people aren’t faceless or headless like they show on the news.   We have feelings.   We are human beings.   I am sure many of us care about the plight of the horses and the devastation in the Gulf of Mexico too.