Las Vegas is a 17 hour drive from Oklahoma City. It sounds rough for a single person to do in a single shot, but unfortunately, I wouldn't know. After driving 70 miles down the highway, I realized I had forgotten two gi's and a pair of board shorts in the dryer at the apartment I was staying at. I turned around and drove 70 miles back and restarted my trip, which was now going to take 19 hours. To get to Las Vegas from Oklahoma City, you need to drive across Texas (just the tip, honey), Arizona (the entire thing), New Mexico (the entire thing) and then into (just the) tip of Nevada, Around New Mexico an old friend of mine who had happened to see my constant barrage of twitter updates, called me and convinced me to stop for dinner. Being that it was right on the way off Route 40 I agreed, however ended up making for another 2 hour detour. This became a 21 hour trip.
One thing I love about the Midwest is the speed limit. Being that the highways are pretty much empty aside from other idiots driving across the country, the speed limit is 75mph. If you value gas consumption over getting some place way faster, please do not ever get in a vehicle with me that is headed from one coast to another because I will throw you in the prickly bushes on the side of the highway in Arizona. 21 hours is worse than it sounds, I had plenty to keep me awake. And by plenty, I mean plenty of cans of monsters. However when it got really late, i was kept awake by getting to see an 18 wheeler with two cabs catch fire and start blowing up, and I drove through the Hoover Dam which is really cool when you are the only one in it and you can throw rocks at stuff. Driving into Vegas at night is an awesome sight, especially if you are a little kid like me and big, shiny lights make you all starry eyed. I got to the Robert Drysdale Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy around 6am, and not wanting to wake him up that early, reclined my seat and just as the sun was going up, caught some much needed sleep... for three hours. I woke up and got a bunch of fruit from a grocery store for breakfast, and killed time until Drysdale showed up to open the place by skateboarding around in circles and trying to get a hot tan. Vegas women like their men orange, dark brown or maroon, none of which are normal colors for white people to be. Drysdale showed up and we began shooting right away. The day's class was an open mat so after awhile I got to roll a bit myself. Usually it is hit or miss with small guys at other academies. This happened to be one of those rare places with plenty of 140lb guys for me to wrestle with. Robert showed me to his apartment, or squat house, whichever you'd prefer and told me to make myself at home. His cousin Murilo was staying with him for a few weeks, as was a polish grappler named Filip who was visiting America to train. Throughout the week many other people showed up to stay for a night. Drysdale was insanely generous to accommodate us all in his apartment and we took full advantage, spreading our transient blankets all over the floor, watching his cable and dirtying all of his dishes. Later on Robert returned home, with an Australian in tow. At this point, there were more different accents under this roof than even a terrible sitcom would dare to undertake.
It was the 4th of July and Drysdale asked me if I wanted to go out. I am not a nightclub kind of guy, but being as that I had never seen Vegas, or a Robert Drysdale before, I was way into it. It was not until we were about to leave that Robert informed me that we were on the list at the "it" club of Vegas, and the most profitable nightclub in the world. Donning a backwards baseball cap, a wrinkled button up shirt and a pair of Vans with holes in them from skateboarding, we hit the strip. Now, growing up, my Saturday night's were spent at punk shows. A bunch of pissed off kids in dirty t shirts and fast, loud guitars. Our clubs were falling apart and covered in graffiti and you would sooner go outside and piss in the parking lot than use the actual bathroom. And this is if a band is even playing in a club instead of a basement, This is my world, and the world i am used to and very much like. Arriving at the club in Vegas I could immediately see through the window an indoor waterfall. The line literally stretched from the door, through multiple hallways, and into the casino. it was 300 yards of men in suits purchased for thousands of dollars and women I couldn't so much as ask for directions from. And call it judgmental, but I fucking hate these kinds of people. These are the kinds of people that base their life on society's perception of what is or isn't cool. These are the kinds of people that talked down to me in high school. These are the types of people that base success on the amount of money in their account and not how that money got there. Getting to walk right past their line, not pay anything, enter Vegas' hottest club with a backwards Dodgers cap and dirty Vans on will forever be a highlight of my life. I could feel everyone staring at me, wondering if were important as we were ushered in and I pretended not to care. But I did care. Not about the club, cause honestly, it is just a loud room with $9 redbulls (and yes I bought a $9 redbull and am still ashamed) to me. I cared that I got to one up a bunch of people who live to one up other people.
If you have ever seen Night at the Roxbury (see above), my reaction to seeing this place was similar to Doug and Steve Butabi when entering the Roxbury finally. The first thing I saw was Quinton "Rampage" Jackson at a VIP table with eight really attractive women. There were go go dancers, people wading ankle deep into a pool while drying Crystal, tables for black jack. It looked something out of a movie, or at least a rap video with a really high budget. But these were only the things I noticed at first glance. As I began to look around I saw even more awesome things. For those of you familiar with Las Vegas... have you ever noticed how many miniature men there are? I don't mean midgets or little people. I mean just really small dudes. Like a normal sized man that has been shot with a shrink ray. Or better yet a jockey. This club was full of jockeys. They would be standing on the booth at the VIP, with a bottle of expensive alcohol in each hand and ridiculously expensive looking suit dancing SO awkwardly. I wish it wasn;t too dark to take videos with my phone because it was so ridiculous looking it could have won a prize on some kind of game show with Bob Saget. And it was happening everywhere. It was like a mating call. "Hey ladddddiiiies, on a day to day basis you would laugh at me, but tonight I am desperately trying to show that I am cool and rich!! Please take an interest in me and have sex with me." Maybe I am just kind of a dick, and bitter due to poor experiences with people like this, but does anyone else ever look around Vegas and just think to themselves about how insanely transparent these type of people are? The difference between me and other judgmental dicks however, is that it doesn't upset me. It actually makes me really happy because I think it is hilarious, and I love people watching. After awhile of this I started gambling. Not like cool, hip to Vegas gambling either. Roll your eyes, are you serious kind of gambling. That's my style. Roulette. Outside bets only. Only put down money when a color hits like four or five times in a row. Drop a hundred on the other color, then peace out. If I lose, I just double what I previously put down and keep doing that until I win all my money back. I have found that is an incredible way of doubling your money. It almost backfired on me that night as I lost a couple times in a row, and had to go to the ATM, which was hidden and by the time I got more money out, it had already hit the color I wanted to bet on. So i played until I evened out on the couple hundred that I had lost, and right before I left won another 50. If you want to impress Robert Drysdale (and you suck at Jiu Jitsu) just win money gambling. You should have seen the shock in his face when i told him I won 50 bucks. He kept telling me I had to teach him how to gamble. Las Vegas on the 4th of July... training with Drysdale, partying in VIP and then winning money. It's gonna be hard to top that in 2010.