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Old 09-06-2004, 09:52 PM   #1
simbarel
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Las Vegas: A Wedding/Star Trek Experience Finished

Destination Las Vegas, Nevada



Dates Friday 9/3/04—Sunday 9/5/04



Adventurers Me, Rachel (31), Brother, Mark (33), Sister in Law, M (40) Traveling together from Portland, Maine



Father, Dad (56) Flying in from Wisconsin



Brother/Groom, John, (35), New Sister in Law/Bride, Lisa (41) Traveling from Portland Maine



Resorts Las Vegas Hilton, home of the Star Trek Experience

For Me, Mark, M, and Dad



The Excalibur for John and Lisa



Special Events John and Lisa’s Wedding!



Prelude

This trip was tossed together in less than a week’s time. Earlier this summer John and I had talked briefly about all of us flying out to Vegas for his wedding, but then I kind of got the drift that he and Lisa might just want to elope, and I dropped the thought of going altogether. That was, until last Saturday when I called my brother Mark for something and M told me that they had just booked their Vegas air fare and hotel. Wally and I had just days before $pent a lot on a new Volk$wagen and $igned ourselves up for five year$ of high payment$ so I instantly discounted the thought of even going, and told them that I’d be staying home. That was when my sister in law told me that she had never forgiven herself for missing her brother’s wedding, and that even though they technically were not invited to John’s wedding, they would do anything to attend. And that I should do the same. Ugh! I was psyched for John (he’s had somewhat of a rough go of things, and now is truly finally happy) but I was broke! Wally wasn’t answering the phone so I looked up his schedule on www.soulive.com and saw that he was scheduled to be in Colorado that weekend, which was somewhat of a good thing because we really couldn’t afford for us both to go. After some hemming, hawing, and encouragement from confidantes I decided I’d bite it and just charge the plane ticket. Mark and M said that I could stay at their hotel, so that was cool. I emailed my dad and encouraged him to also come. He too was worried about $$$, but after some thought decided that nor could he miss his first born’s wedding day. He booked a room at the Las Vegas Hilton and we were all set to meet up on Friday.



Friday

At 10am Wally dropped Mark, M, and me off at the local airport for our noon flight. As we were checking in Mark and M recognized the airline employee as a former coworker of theirs and struck up some convo with him. He was helping us with our e-check in and pointed out that we were being offered a first class upgrade for $100. I asked if it was for both connecting flights, and he affirmed that it was. I thought that we should have taken it, but Mark and M said no (they started off being frugal….certainly not the way they ended up!) but by the end of it all, the ex-co-employee had upgraded our first connecter flight First Class for free! This was soooo exciting for us, we had never flown first class. Still, in the back of our minds we were really wishing that the Detroit --> Las Vegas flight was first class too, but we knew we should be ashamed for thinking such things. We had an hour and a half to kill so we sauntered over to the bar for the first of many adult beverages of our trip. None of us had eaten yet so along with all the excitement of the wedding and LV and 1st class, we were pretty giddy. Still, we made sure to make it to the gate in time for everyone to see us boarding when they called for First Class passengers.



Me and M Walking Down the Ramp towards First Class





Mark and M were seated together and I had the window seat in the adjacent aisle. We asked the woman sitting in the aisle seat if she could switch with me so I could sit with my family, but she declined, saying that she needed an aisle seat because she had minimal time between connecting flights, but that if another aisle seat became available, she’d just take that one so I could have hers. Fair enough. As it turned out, no other first class aisle seat became available, and I was none too sorry. The woman's name was Andrea and I now know her extremely interesting life story, and also helped me out with my first class etiquette without making me feel like a hayseed. She even gave me her card so we can hook up for a drink sometime back in Portland. Cool!



Our first class flight ended all too soon and we were soon on our connecting flight from Detroit. This turned out to be very bad. We went from first class to the down and out PROJECTS. I’m not saying that coach is the Projects, necessarily. Unfortunately we were seated directly in front of 18 very excited and rowdy and drunk workers from a place called Mill Steel. We know that they worked at Mill Steel because the were screaming and shouting about it the whole flight. They were shouting and partying the entire ride. These were middle aged men. It was horrible. It was like they were adolescents going on Spring Break, but just way worse because they just had no class. The guys behind M and me were constantly kicking our seats. One of them’s nasty shoe rolled underneath my chair and I had to give it back to him, and when I did, he gave me this shirky “Wha??---Wasn’t my fault!” look. Whenever there was turbulence, they’d scream as if we were riding Space Mountain. And yet, the Northwest flight attendants continued to feed them alcohol. We were furious. Finally, I said something to the guy behind me (who happened to be the loudest and the rowdiest) and he replied by verbally assaulting me. That was it. I had resolved to write a letter to the CEO of Mill Steel and lodge a complaint with Northwest. I was thinking about which harsh metaphors I’d use do describe to Mr. CEO how his company was being represented during off hours when the attendants finally made the announcement that the bar service was being turned off. I was relieved for about 2 seconds until they all started hooting and hollering about how BS that was, that we could no longer hear whatever the staff had to say for the remainder of the flight (but I did notice that the non-obnoxious passengers who wanted drinks, got them.} They were so obnoxious and selfish, it was horrendous. We were in the 20-somethingth row and I could see ppl in first class turn around and look to see what the commotion was about. It was all too clear to us…we should have just paid the $100 and taken First Class for the entire flight. But nooooooo, we had to suffer and suffer and suffer for four straight hours. Actually, we did get about 20 minutes of peace towards the end of the flight…the guy behind me was actually quiet, I figured he was in the bathroom, but just as we were coming in to descend, he was totally barfing in his barf bag. Oh, Sweet Justice! I thought. But by the time he puked he started feeling better and went right back to being obnoxious.



The flight ended and we were in Las Vegas. I called my Dad and he had already checked in and we had adjoining rooms. Cool. We got our bags and were off! Flying into Las Vegas, I couldn’t believe how close the airport was to the city. You’d think that we’d be at the hotel in a jiffy, but the shuttle bus we took managed to stretch out a 5 minute ride into an hour. Oh well…we arrived at the hotel and outside John and Lisa were just walking up. They had arrived the day before and Dad was also there to meet us. We checked in, and doolllddllleeddoOOdllldddooooddddlleelddoooOOlloo the slot machines were running wild. It was exciting to see actual Las Vegas slot machines. But we all go to the room and then we were famished so we went to Quark’s for dinner.



We were staying at the Las Vegas Hilton because Mark and M are mega (and I mean mega) Star Trek geeks. The Las Vegas Hilton features Star Trek: The Experience which are 2 very Disneyesque rides—one’s a 4-D movie (so they call it) and one’s a simulator ride. Aside from the Star Trek rides and museum, there were also Star Trek themed stores and restaurants and casino lobbies and all kinds of fun stuff. I’m a sucker for themeing, and this place rates a 10. I’ll describe why throughout the TR. We arrived at Quark’s and were seated next to the big Star Trek screen which was airing Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, my favorite Star Trek movie. All the “natural” Lennons (Dad, John, Mark, and me) ordered Romulan Ale—which was a light beer dyed blue to match the Romulan Ale prevalent in the Star Trek series. Lisa was the least “into” the whole Star Trek thing but got a tasty Deep Space cocktail, and I can’t remember what M got.



Fuzzy, Dark Photo of Our Dinner at Quark’s





As we were waiting for our meals the boys went into the Star Trek store which left M, Lisa and me at the table. Lisa expressed a certain level of anxiety and we apologized for barging in on her wedding. None of her family were there, it was just us, so we kind of got the scoop. Her family was a little putoff that it was so far away, but it’s not her first wedding, and she was only there to get married, not have a huge ceremony or reception or anything. She was happy that we were there to support John….but most of all, she was REALLY nervous about her wedding dress. As it turned out, she was wearing her mother’s slip from the 1950s, and she was worried that we’d all think it was kind of slutty or too revealing or something. M and I assured her that SHE was the bride and she could wear whatever she damned well pleased, and to not be worried about any risquéness of her dress because it’s kind of the style nowadays anyway. I think we settled some of her concerns and anxieties.



As we were dining, Mark couldn’t help but notice the video stand where you can act out a role on a blue screen and have it interface with Captain Kirk on one of 3 different pre-set scenarios. Mark got down there and we watched him act out a Khan-ish role, and it was hiillllll-aaarrrrr-ious. We were DYING. You could buy the DVD at the end, but Mark decided that $40 was too steep (this was still our first Vegas day) and decided against it. After that, the six of us were off to Star Trek: The Experience.



The first Experience is the Borg Invasion. For anyone who may be unfamiliar with Star Trek, the Borg are a species, I guess, and they’re mean and stoic, and will try to assimilate anyone into becoming one of them. Once you are a Borg, you are one of a number. Seven of Nine is a Borg, and they all know the thoughts of all the other Borg. So we get to this ride, and I must say, it is very well done. It starts out with you being on the ship and there are lots of live actors running around, interacting with the people in the Encounter. I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it at Disney World. It was actually quite scary. After the Borg had invaded we were being rushed from safety destination to safety destination until we entered a pod where we were all told to take our “safety glasses” (3D glasses) and then there was the 4D movie. I won’t spoil it for anyone who may be going in the future, but it was grrrreat. After that, we were headed to the Klingon Encounter which was a simulator ride, but started out with a clever trick. Then we were on the Captain’s Bridge, which was very exciting as that was the room where they perform wedding ceremonies. Mark and M are planning to have a 10-year thing at that very Bridge in 4.5 years…and I’m invited! Then we were shuffled around into safety from the Klingons and were queued up to enter the ride. This part made me a little nervous because they were talking about pacemakers and heart conditions, both of which my Dad have, but he swore he’d be ok. Still, it made me nervous because the ride was just as jerky as Star Tours/Body Wars (but since the ceiling was also filmed material, I think it was better) and I’m not a big fan of being jerked around anyways, so out of the two I’d say that the Borg Invasion was the better ride. Still, we had a blast. And just like Disney, we were funneled into the gift shop…but first! We had to look at our photos. We had to have our photo taken for “security reasons” and then they used the photo to place our heads into our favorite Star Trek cast photo. I picked Enterprise, but hated my fat photo. All of ours were pretty goofy until we saw Lisa standing beside Kirk on the bridge of the Enterprise, and she looked perfect. It was funny how natural hers came out, so John had to get it. At this station, you could forgo the purchase price if you applied for the Star Trek Mastercard, so that’s what John did. It was a great photo, and too funny that the one who is the least interested in Star Trek got the best photo. Well, afterall, she is the bride, so all was well and good.



By this time it was 9:30pm or 12:30 by our time and we were all exhausted and called it a night. We had a great first day in Las Vegas and couldn’t wait to experience more.



Coming up...Saturday

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Old 09-07-2004, 12:10 AM   #2
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Re: Las Vegas: A Wedding/Star Trek Experience

[ QUOTE ]
We checked in, and doolllddllleeddoOOdllldddooooddddlleelddoooOOlloo the slot machines were running wild.

[/ QUOTE ]


Oh my goodness, Rachel . . . I am still laughing about that!!!

Sounds like a fun first day (save for the jerks on the plane!) Too funny that the guy behind you had to go for "the bag" . . . serves him right!!! I'm just glad THAT didn't roll under the seat too!!!

Look forward to hearing all about the rest of the weekend!!!
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Old 09-07-2004, 02:02 AM   #3
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Re: Las Vegas: A Wedding/Star Trek Experience

Great start Rachel. I feel like I'm right with you and I can't wait to read more. Thanks for sharing this with us.
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Old 09-07-2004, 05:11 AM   #4
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Re: Las Vegas: A Wedding/Star Trek Experience

This is great Rachel , it sounds like you are having a wonderful time apart from the second leg of your flight. Looking forward to more.

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Old 09-07-2004, 05:49 AM   #5
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Re: Las Vegas: A Wedding/Star Trek Experience

What a great start Rachel Sounds like a great trip so far, can't wait for more! Kudos to your for writing a letter to Mill Steel! What &^%((#*(! Amazing what alcohol and no supervision can do to some grown men
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Old 09-07-2004, 09:16 AM   #6
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Re: Las Vegas: A Wedding/Star Trek Experience

What a busy day! That second flight sounded horrendous - you'd think in this day and age that the pilots and flight attendants wouldn't put up with that kind of behaviour! Of course, you did say you were flying Northwest (I think everybody in Winnipeg has a story about Northwest, me included )

That Star Trek stuff sounds kind of cool. DH would think he'd died and gone to heaven if he could go there!
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Old 09-07-2004, 08:29 PM   #7
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Great start (from one ST Geek to another)!!! The Las Vegas Hilton is SO on my list of things to do!!!!

I can't wait to read more.
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Old 09-07-2004, 08:30 PM   #8
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Re: Las Vegas: A Wedding/Star Trek Experience Part II

Thanks all! It was a fabulous trip. The downs were nothing, because the highs were just so good. Here's more!



Saturday

We felt like we were oversleeping, but it was only 7am! Which technically was 10am by our bodies clocks, but this convinced me that Wally and I should take more vacations out West since I’m kind of adaptable, but he’s a late nighter/late sleeper so it would work out perfect for us. We all got up and dressed and headed down to the Champagne Satuday Brunch. I ate too much, but so did everyone else. After that, we were off to the Stratosphere, mostly because it was so close and had great rides. When we booked this trip we had no worries about the LV Hilton and The Excalibur being 3.5 miles apart because many of the Las Vegas hotels are connected by monorail. However, much to our dismay the monorail was out of service our entire trip, which put a damper on some of our plans but we were still never at a loss for things to do. For this morning, we were to walk towards the Stratosphere to catch some sights, thrills, and chills.



If Only It Was Working





The Stratosphere looked close, but it took us a good half hour to 45 minutes to walk over there. Just as well, I thought, considering the giant buffet. John called my cell phone as we were walking. I told him where we were going and he was full of pouts. “But I wanted to go on the Stratosphere….” so I tried distracting him with all sorts of exciting comments about his upcoming nuptials, but once I paused his only reply was another pouty “But I wanted to ride the Stratosphere…” so I handed the phone to Mark and he got things settled. We were to wait for John and Lisa to arrive and then all go up together.



The Stratosphere (Pardon the Giant Pot Leaf)





So we get there and my father reminds us that if you “sit at the ‘gambling machines’ they’ll keep giving you Scotches” –which was some sort of excuse for being somewhat tipsy when we arrived on Friday. Welp, that was my father’s version from the day before, but as we were sitting there, we realized that “they” didn’t just appear with Scotches…instead you kind of had to flag a waitress down and give her your order. Busted, Dad! But in all fairness, my father did get approached for the complimentary drinks more often than we did. We came to the conclusion that he looked like he had more money than we did.



The time we spent waiting for John and Lisa was spent gambling, and that ended up being somewhat costly. I called them back, and the were taking the bus over and it was taking forever. Knowing that both Dad and I were armed with cell phones and could be easily tracked, we decided to tour a little more of the hotel. We got upstairs and noticed a small little section where inside looked like a club with an oxygen bar. Ever the adventurer, Mark popped in there, much to M’s disliking. She’s in nursing school and was cynical about the whole thing, but she understood that Mark wanted a full Vegas experience. The attendant strapped him in and he was ready to oxidize. He was told he was to sit there for 20 minutes. We couldn’t stand there for 20 minutes, so we left him there alone. On our way out, M shouted “Have fun…breathin’ air” which made me . Mark asked if we would get him a beer, but we pretended not to hear him. If he wanted to spend 12 bucks breathing oxygen, he was going to have to think about what he was doing alone, without even a beer to talk to.



10:30am at the Oxygen Bar….Notice How Unimpressed M Is





So M, Dad, and I sauntered around a bit. We strolled by a high end hair salon, and a flash flushed through me. GET YOUR HAIR CUT, RACHEL is what it told me. I have horrible hair. It’s fine, limp, much of it prematurely gray, and damaged by layers and layers of cheap hair dye. Still…Wally likes long hair. I keep telling him how much I hate my hair, but he’ll give me that little “But I think it looks good…” which keeps me from getting it cut when I know full well I’d be much happier with it short. But this was it. Sorry Wally…I was in Vegas and I was getting my hair cut. Chopped.



The soonest appointment I could make was for 12:30. It was 10:45. I took it. They took my credit card number so I knew it was a MUST that I not miss the appointment. We were still waiting for John and Lisa to arrive. I didn’t dare call them back because I had a feeling they might be miserable on the bus and I didn’t want to add more stress. We went back to see how Mark was doing, and he just looked silly. Once his oxygen session was over and his wallet was 12 dollars lighter we went back downstairs to the entrance to get some air and to wait for John and Lisa.



Time was of the essence, and I had an expensive hair appointment that I couldn’t mess around with so since there was still not sight of John and Lisa, M and I headed upstairs to get in line for tickets to get up to the observation deck and possible rides. I didn’t have time for the rides (as if I even had any inclination towards them….They was SCARY) so we were waiting in line, hoping they’d catch up to us. Just as we were about 4th in line, they all appeared and cut in line with M and me. We felt kind a bad about that, but got over it soon enough. I purchased a ticket for the observation deck only and John and Mark got ride tickets. It was already 12:15 and there was another line for the elevator upstairs so I told them all I’d meet them up there after my haircut.



I checked in at the salon and sat down with some hairstyle books to look at. On the same page I found 3 separate photos of how I wanted my bangs, sides, and back. Soon thereafter I was greeted by a tall, strong, motorcycle gay man and I knew I’d be getting a good cut. He sat me down in front of the mirror, and as I pointed at the book I told him:

“I want this, this, and this.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t do that,” he says.

We sat there and went back and forth on how my hair should be. I told him that my hair is awful, and he gave me scientific explanations on why my hair is so awful, and detailed how I’ve been washing my hair the wrong way for basically my entire life. Finally I told him that I recently bought a convertible and was tired of looking like this and that I needed convertible hair. “Why didn’t you say so in the first place,” he huffed and then we went to town.



After that, there was almost no talking. In order for him to work his magic I had to take my glasses off, so I couldn’t see much of what was going on except that he was a total Edward Scissorhands. This man who resembled Freddie Mercury was taking my head of hair very seriously and chunks of my hair were flying everywhere. “Freddie Scissorhands,” I thought. When he was done, he showed me how to style it. “Aerosol spray it, and *pop* it,” he advises. Yeah, whatever Freddie. GREAT cut, but couldn’t he just break the mold and not overpoof my hair? Some of the upcoming photos may feature my Freddie S. style (consequently matted down by my self conscious hands) but lest it be known: he gave me a fantastic cut. Even Wally loves it. I showed up to work today and people wouldn’t stop raving. Thank you, Fredward Scissorhands. I tipped him well and got on the elevator up the Stratosphere.



Once I was up there I admired the view, took some photos, and figured I’d run into my family at some point. After about 10 minutes I still hadn’t bumped into them and no one was answering their cell phones so I commenced a search. I was doing the whole walking-around-in-circles-and-searching-for-family-members-with-open-mouth-breathing thing when I heard “Hey, there’s Rae” and I turned around once more to see John and Mark in line for an elevator to take them up to a ride. I was on my way to stepping over the velvet rope to meet them, but I was a little self conscious of my hair so I got my new flip flop caught on the rope. I managed to pull down one of the metal poles because I was at risk of falling down…and since I was wearing a skirt it meant that if I did fall down than I’d be flashing my underwear, and 2 of the 3 most drastic people who might see my underwear were standing right in front of me. John came over to help me, and really, the most logical thing would do have been to try to fall on my bum, but I insisted that I NOT show my underwear so I was trying with all my might to straighten back up. The elevator attendant was shouting “Are you ok, girlie” but I wasn’t. Once I thought I was on my way back up, I just fell right back down again. I took two metal poles down with me, and everyone was staring. It was bizarre. The whole episode couldn’t have lasted more than 10 or 15 seconds, but it seemed like minutes, but if I were even just 4-5 years younger I would have been absolutely mortified. But now I’m old and married and have fewer pride issues, so I just saw Mark and John off and headed to where they pointed me to go to find Dad, M, and Lisa.



I finally met up with them and they seemed to like my hair. On the top of the Stratosphere is a ride kinda/sorta like the Tower of Terror called the Big Shot and that’s what we were waiting to watch Mark and John ride. In the meantime I was standing next to this other ride that was just plain GOD, How do people get on that thing? It was a green arm that hung off the side of the building (we were 108+ floors up) and made it look like a roller coaster that had lost the bulk of its track. Riding it looked as if you’d be rolling to your death. It wasn’t for me. When Mark and John got down from the Big Shot ride, they looked bewildered. We grabbed a booth at the Stratosphere lounge and had a drink as they told us just HOW scared they were up there. Mark had been on ToT and our local Dragon’s Descent a number of times, so he was expecting to be lifted up slowly and then dropped. Apparently that’s not what the Big Shot does. As you’re sitting there waiting to be slowly lifted, instead the Big Shot kinda catapults riders at top speed and then drops you. These two manly men both admitted to being scared essless. Then they told the story about me falling over the velvet rope, and then we were ready to head back to the hotel for a nap before the big wedding. But first, John had to stop in the gift shop to pick up (yet another) pair of Elvis glasses (he really wears them well, actually!) and one of those nudie pens.







On our way out, we got someone to take the only photo of the six of us together:





I'm the fat one in the middle. Seriously...it's not easy vactioning with your two 40+ SiL's when you're 50 lbs heavier than the two of them combined. :sigh:



Coming up…The Big Wedding

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Old 09-07-2004, 08:32 PM   #9
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Re: Las Vegas: A Wedding/Star Trek Experience

Ahhh, more trekkies. I love it!! Sam and I are getting married in November and I SO wanted to do the Star Trek wedding thing. We are both HUGE fans. For Christmas I even bought him a "real" script that the writer/director (Or whomever owned it) had doodled ST ships on the inside of it!! He LOVED it and wants it framed!! LOL See I hope he loves Disney. He is rather into Fantasy!!

Yvonne
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Old 09-07-2004, 08:38 PM   #10
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Re: Las Vegas: A Wedding/Star Trek Experience

I SO want to see the Fredward S. hair!!!! Bring on the hair photos.
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Old 09-07-2004, 08:56 PM   #11
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Re: Las Vegas: A Wedding/Star Trek Experience

[ QUOTE ]
Bring on the hair photos.

[/ QUOTE ]



There'll be some, for sure. The problem was that I was particularly unphotogenic on this trip, so I'm a little wary of posting bad photos of myself on the internet....especially poofy-head ones. And yet still...even the non-overpoof photos I have don't really do my 'do justice. I just love it, but I need to make sure I scrunch it up every once in a while (which I didn't do for the photos.)



Jeez, how much can I ubertalk about my hair? Thanks for reading, though!
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Old 09-07-2004, 09:39 PM   #12
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Re: Las Vegas: A Wedding/Star Trek Experience

Rachel, I'm just reading this report! [ QUOTE ]
Have fun…breathin’ air”

[/ QUOTE ]

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Old 09-08-2004, 08:30 AM   #13
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Re: Las Vegas: A Wedding/Star Trek Experience

Awesome TR so far Rachel!! I love it!!! Sounds like you all had a great time and with the Star Trek stuff thrown in, how could you not?! I wanna see the hair as well! Can't wait for more!!
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Old 09-08-2004, 10:01 AM   #14
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Re: Las Vegas: A Wedding/Star Trek Experience II

Ok...I'm supposed to be headed off for work right now, but instead I'm shamelessly taking photos of myself. Here's one of the 'do (please excuse the au naturality of my face.)





But still...a photo at my arm's length still doesn't do the F. Scissorhands creation justice, because the back is the best, but I'd feel guilty making Wally wake up to snap photos of it. Maybe later!



Later....

Whoops, I didn't realize the photo was so small. I can't get it back to the big size, it's 25% of the original forever. Oh well, you get the gist.
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Old 09-08-2004, 11:42 AM   #15
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Re: Las Vegas: A Wedding/Star Trek Experience II

What a great update Rachel, and I love the hair! I don't know if I could be so brave!

Hurry back with more
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