Strictly ballrooms

Am I really supposed to be here?

The event: A party for the reopening of the ballrooms in the Anaheim Hilton, and the ongoing renovations (“Redressed for Success”) in all the rooms.

The guests: Rich businesspeople, mostly wearing suits that look like they cost several months worth of my salary. And me, in my Spawn shirt from Hot Topic.

The bar: open. Featured drinks include various pomegranate cocktails, which I try before realizing that there's 12 year-old Scotch. And some kind of high-end bourbon called Booker's that the bartender says no-one ever orders – she sells maybe a bottle and a half in a year. I have to try that. Flavor-wise, it's no Maker's, but the thing has a sinus-clearing burn akin to tequila. I proceed to blaspheme it by mixing in some Diet Coke.


The new ballroom looks nice. Everyone tells me how horrible it looked before, but apparently it was so horrible that no pictures still exist. Later, through an outside window, I catch a glimpse of the white wicker furniture that has since been replaced by ergonomic chairs. It's not awful, but at the same time isn't very hotel-ish.

The food: Chef stations are everywhere. A custom fettucine bar. A custom filet bar. A Mediterranean stand. Tall racks of smoked salmon things. Chocolate fountains. Sushi (tuna, white tuna, eel, and tamago). A dessert station where fresh bananas foster is cooked up. What I eat and drink here would probably cost over a hundred bucks if I had to pay for it. Again, I wonder why I'm here. Seriously, the only way this party could be more impressive is if Paris Hilton herself were here offering free “services.”

The bathrooms are also renovated, but it's all with that motion-sensor crap I really don't like. Am I alone in not wanting a commode to auto-flush every time I shift my weight slightly? Or finding it annoying to have to wave my hand around under the faucet until the sweet spot is found? Automation is not always cool, even if Beavis and Butt-head think so.

The new rooms have a basic black and white design, with fluorescemty energy-saver bulbs and low-flush toilets, to be all eco and save some money. The publicity folks try to persuade me to stay here, but at $185-$225 per night, it's going to be a while before I do.

Then something happens that makes me feel more at home – a crazy dude with a chainsaw starts attacking a block of ice. He even has an apron, like Leatherface. And when all is said and done, his handiwork looks like this…

What's weird is that even after all this, the publicity people still want to go eat $40 steaks at Morton's. Ah well, when in Rome…

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