Thursday, July 31, 2008

More Biking, More Snakes

By far the biggest damn copperhead I've come across on the trail this year:
And yes, he's in snake hell right now.

As I was leaving the house this morning, a tree in the park across the street from my next-door neighbor's house had lost a massive limb, which fell across and entirely blocked my street. There was a police officer sitting in his cruiser by it, to warn approaching traffic. Yeah, like anybody is rolling down this street at 8am.

Anyway, I spoke briefly with the officer and asked him if it was illegal to kill poisonous snakes when I encounter them on the greenway. He spent a few minutes looking at his police-officering stuff and said no, doesn't look like it. I told him I'd be happy to stop if it was against the law, but he said go on ahead. He also said he kills EVERY poisonous snake he encounters.

About 9 miles into my ride, I came across this cutie:She was beautiful. And so big!

The stupid fake shutter sound on my camera scared her off as I was taking photos of her. I packed the camera away and all of a sudden, her mate popped out into the open. He, too, was kind enough to stand still (as we both stared at each other) while I pulled the camera back out to get a few shots of him.

The shutter sound sent him running, too. Guess I should turn the stupid thing off.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Damn Copperheads

The first one I saw:I just threw him into the brush. Didn't have it in me to kill him.

Not so with this fucker:

Saw an adorable little terrapin today, too.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Paula M. Davis, Rest In Peace...

I had been planning for several days to drive down to Charlotte tomorrow morning to visit my mother, but I'm sad to say that she passed away around 9:25 this evening.

As it turns out, the day we shared a beer last week would be the last time that I would see her alive. May she now rest in peace.

I love you, Momzilla!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Celebrating 50 Years Of Bobbortunities...

My friends are awesome! Tonight I had the best party you could ever imagine. Paige, Greg, Terry, Bert, Charlene and the Ale House manager, Travis, went above and beyond the call of duty to put together a fabulous event. It was held on the deck of the Carolina Ale House, our regular hangout.

Thanks also to Jeff & Kim, Suzanne, and Donna for helping Paige, Terry and Greg get the deck decorated. And to Gigi, Belva and Donna for providing some of the decorations.

My good friend C.J. flew in from NYC with her husband Bjorn to celebrate. And my old buddy Steve Thompson came all the way from Seattle. Hell, even Bob Patterson drove up from Charlotte. There was no way I was expecting to see the bunch of them. What a great night of surprises!

I rented a big ol' tent in case of rain. As soon as I paid for it, that pretty much guaranteed that it would not rain, but better safe than sorry.

There were 50 chickens:

There were official party laminates:

There were official party beer koozies:

There were official party t-shirts:

There was even an official party slogan:

"Celebrating 50 Years Of Bobbortunities"

Greg created a photo-board from old (and new) photos of me. Me as a 5 year old, me as a 49 year old, and all points in between:

Lots of party favors:

There was also a giant card for everyone to sign:

My buddy Bert Rogers provide a kick-ass PA system for tunes. We had our own bar and bartender outside, along with 3 servers for food and drinks. I'm estimating the crowd at about 150 over the course of the night, and I talked myself hoarse by the end.

I had a blast DJ'ing with my new iPod Nano and had the crowd dancing pretty good by the latter stages of the party.

My dear friend and ex-neighbor Charlene Miller made a huge cake replica of one of my pinball machines:

There was even a miniature version of ME, holding a can of Budweiser, standing next to the cake:

The party started at 7pm with about a dozen or so folks, and was in full swing a short time later. Finally petered out right before 2am. I got in bed around 4:15 or so.

You can see lots of photos from the festivities HERE and HERE and HERE.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Sadness and Celebrations

My sister Donna insisted that I stay in Raleigh and follow through with all the plans for this week in spite of Doug's passing. She said that Doug would have insisted on it. Hell, he'd be the first guy putting a drink in my hand. She's right, of course, but I'm having strange and surreal thoughts all day yesterday and today. It's just weird to be celebrating my birthday all week with friends when my sister is having the worst week of her life. I don't know what to make of my conflicted feelings.

Evidently, Mom had a couple more strokes yesterday. Her health is failing rapidly…

******* A bit more about last night *******

I went to dinner last night with my good road friends Blaine Brinton and Marcel Matthews. Blaine is the Live Nation rep on the Linkin Park tour and Marcel is head of security for the band. We met up with Foy & Terry Beal at the Ale House for dinner, and then I took Blaine and Marcel downtown for a short bit of barhopping. First to Deep South, and then we stuck our heads in at Slim's, Raleigh's best roadie bar. The poster promoting one of my birthday parties (the one at the Pour House on Friday night) was up on the wall there. You can see it between Blaine and Marcel in this shot. I'm not sure if they're saying I’m 5-0 or they're throwing some kind of gang signs…Blaine Brinton (left), Marcel Matthews (right)

Had those guys back to their hotel around 11 and I headed home.

******* Back to today's crud *******

Today, I went out to Walnut Creek to have lunch with Blaine, Marcel, and Mike Amato (the tour manager), and to see some other roadie buddies, of which there were plenty. When I first arrived, Marcel provided me with a tour laminate that proclaimed me the King of Raleigh. I love him, he's such a hoot.

I spent a couple of hours hanging out, then headed home for the rest of the afternoon. Went back out around 7:30 to see Chris Cornell's set, then had to leave before Linkin Park came on. Had to get to tonight's birthday party, which was at the Pour House in downtown Raleighwood. Foy & Terry Beal, along with Jeff McIntyre, were waiting at the bar when I arrived. Carina arrived a bit later.

My good friends Terry Anderson & The Olympic Ass-Kicking Team had taken a break from recording their new album to play their only show of the summer for my birthday. The poster promoting the show:

I really like the poster. The artist is Paul Friedrich, whose name you might recognize if you're a fan of the comic strip "Onion Head Monster."

Foy and Carina holding one of the posters:

They were even kind enough to play an early show, so the old folks attending could get home early for once. Not being one of those old folks, after they finished around midnight or shortly after, I took off to Volume Eleven, the metal club, to see King's X, one of my favorite bands. Only got there in time to see the last two songs, but I did get to see some of my roadie buddies who work for them, and had a beer on the bus with the band after the show. Finally got home around 3am…

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Mixed Emotions

First off, I'd like to thank everyone for the cards, letters, emails, gifts, beers, thoughts, etc. I am truly blessed to know each and every person in my little world and I love you all. OK, some more than others, but you know what I mean.

This 50th birthday celebration of mine has been in the works for three years now, and I don't think I've ever anticipated any other event in my life as much as this week.

My greatest fear in the months and weeks leading up to my birthday yesterday has been that my ill mother would die at this time. And although she had yet another in a series of strokes on Sunday, we are all grateful that she is still here with us.

Last night, after returning home from the big birthday dinner with the gang at the Angus Barn, I had a message to call my sister. Mom, as she has done every year for as long as I can remember, wanted to sing Happy Birthday to me. The phone was put to her ear and she gave it her best. I suspect the sounds that came out of her mouth would only be recognizable to my sister and me, but I loved it nonetheless. It was heartbreaking, and yet knowing that it would likely be the last time she would ever do this for me, I was filled with a joy and a love for her that was unbelievable.

Thanks, Mom! For everything. Forever…

From a purely selfish standpoint, I'm glad she's still with us and I'll be driving down to Charlotte to see her again in a few days.

As happy as I am that my mother is still here, it is with a very heavy heart that I have to tell you that my sister then informed me that her boyfriend Doug Thomas had a heart attack and died in his home office around lunchtime yesterday. Doug's office is at the opposite end of the house from my mother's bedroom. He was fine one minute and gone the next.

She said she didn't want to tell me yesterday and ruin my birthday. There are no words…

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

National Bob Day!

Hi, I'm Bob. Today is my 50th birthday. I rule!

Just finished a 55-mile bike ride to start the day! I'm whooped...

Had a collision with an 8-year old on the greenway. He was riding on the wrong side, on the edge. His 10-year old brother was coming at me in the center, and their grandfather was 20 yards behind them. The 10-year old sees me, hears my bell, moves over to his side of the trail. The 8-year old couldn't decide what to so, so he goes right, then left, then right, then left, where it looked like he would stay. Cool, I've got an opening up the middle. Except, at the very last second, the kid tried to bolt across the trail – all I could think of was that stupid squirrel I'd run over the other day – and we smacked right into each other. I kinda thought that was what was gonna happen, so I'd been braking in anticipation. But since all this happened in the space of a second or two, there was no way to avoid it. Our collision wasn't hard enough to break anything (bikes or bones), and somehow neither one of us fell off.

Poor kid looked scared to death. I asked him if he was OK, then rode off as his grandfather was lecturing him about 2-way traffic on the greenway and his responsibility to stay in his lane or at least pay attention.

Half a mile later, I came across my favorite obstacle – a woman walking on one edge of the trail with a dog walking on the far edge of the trail away from her, leash hanging between them. In spite of my slowing down and ringing my bell repeatedly, it didn't occur to this particular dumbass that she was blocking the entire width of the trail until I was right on top of her. I was maybe 3 feet from the damn leash when she scooted across right in front of me. Me, I would have had my dog come to me. Oh, well…

It could have ended like this:

Spotted this little fellow a couple of miles later:

Sometimes it's really peaceful and serene out here on the greenway:

And sometimes there are interesting critters like this one. I don't think I've ever seen a spider that looks like this, all yellow with red spots:You can click on the photo to enlarge it for a better view of this guy.

Here's a photo of me as a dorky 16 year old with my first guitar. I had to wash dishes at Ponderosa Steak House for 6 months to save enough money to buy it:

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

One More Day To Go

I'm excited. The Four Days of Bob start tomorrow. Hope I live through it all.

Did I mention how much I love my Camelbak? It might be the coolest bicycle accessory ever. Can you say 70 oz. of ice cold water? I'll still need my regular bottle because even 70 oz. isn't enough to get me through the 50-mile I'm planning to take tomorrow morning to start my birthday.

Nearly ran over a bunny today – little fellow came out of nowhere, and darted right in front of me. I was only doing 12 or 14mph at the time, so I locked down the brakes and managed to avoid him by a foot or so.

Today's mileage = 26.75

Summer total = 375.87

Target mileage = +23

Met up with the tent rental guy this afternoon. We're still looking at a good chance of rain for the party Saturday night but the tent will prevent most, if not all, problems should some fall. Of course, since the fee in non-refundable, it won't rain a damn drop!

Because I am trying to listen to the women in my life, I went and got health insurance today, something I've been without for the last 18 years.

Now maybe they'll all shaddup.

Doubt it.

Can't for the life of me figure out where the rest of the day went…

Monday, July 21, 2008

Two Days And Counting

What a wild morning on the greenway! About 3 miles into my ride, I ran over a squirrel. I know, crazy, right? On a bicycle!?! Stupid fucker. Ever notice that the squirrels who get run over in the street always run one way to escape, then change their minds at the edge of the road and try to run all the way back across? Of course, they never make it. This little dumbass went one way, then the other, then the other, then he did this stupid little stutter-step dance trying to make up his feeble little mind, and then he leapt directly into my path.

I popped his silly self pretty good, first with the front tire, then with my left pedal and foot. All of this happened pretty quickly, with only about 2 seconds time elapsing from us spotting each other to me knocking the crap out of him. I was gettin' it, going about 20mpg downhill on one of the boardwalk areas near Capital Blvd. No way I was gonna slam on my brakes and take a tumble for that little long-tailed rat. Don't know if he survived his injuries or not. After I managed to stop, I looked back just in time to see his tail go over the edge.

I took off again, and thirty seconds later I hear "bzzzz, thwack" as I get whacked in the head by what felt like a marble. It was some kind of bug, and he cracked like an egg on my thick skull. I reached up to check and came back with a couple of fingers of bug goo. Nice.

Reminded me of this joke:

Q: What's the last thing to go through a bug's mind when he hits your windshield?
A: His ass.

Saw several chipmunks today, too, including a few fat boys. They're adorable, but they're pretty skittish and run away far too fast to get photos of.

I did manage to get a photo of this fellow a few miles later:

After I introduced myself, I spotted his friend smirking at me some 15 feet away, so I introduced myself to him, too. Once they both got to know me, they took a nap together.
By that, I mean a dirt nap.

A few miles later, I came across a Mexican fellow taking a siesta in the grass by the trail. Wonder what he was sleeping off…

Today, I finally got caught up with my required pacing to make the Thousand-Mile Summer a success. Now, I just gotta stay on top of it.

Today's mileage = 26.80

Summer total = 349.12

Target mileage = +8

Oh, yeah, the Camelbak – it's awesome. To hell with water bottles, the Camelbak is the way to go.

Went and got my new driver's license this afternoon. Forty-four minutes in and out, which for a North Carolina DMV office is pretty damn good. Had to take a quickie vision test, followed by a sign recognition test. Aced all 12 of those bad boys, which should be a requirement. If you don't know every single road sign by shape, you probably shouldn't be driving. Still, I'm glad I don't have to renew this baby for another 8 years.

Spent an hour online, trying to find a place to rent a tent for the party Saturday night. Found just the right place, and I'm meeting with the guy tomorrow onsite to do a walk-through. It may not rain that night, but I'd rather be safe than sorry, especially with the way we've been getting all these late afternoon/early evening thunderboomers…

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Three Days And Counting

I have always, always loved Sunday mornings. There is nothing finer that putting on some quiet classical music and spending a couple of hours with the newspaper. Had to cut it short this morning, though, to get in a bike ride before it got stupid hot outside.

Today's mileage = 27.68

Summer total = 322.32

Then I spent most of the afternoon reading the rest of the paper and watching a couple of TV shows I'd Tivo'd a few days ago.

Decided around 5:30 that I should jump in my car and go buy a Camelback hydration system. Got the Rogue, (the 70 oz. model), which is a helluva lot bigger than my 24 oz. water bottle. I've been having to ration my water on my 2-hour rides to make sure I don't run out, which sucks when it's 95 degrees out. Now I should be able to drink when I want to.

While I was at North Hills, I stuck my head into Target to grab a few things, then headed home to catch up on a few blog entries. Did some good carb-loading, too, for tomorrow's bike ride.

Carb-loading as in Budweisers, that is…

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Four Days And Counting

Every time I ride my bike, I go past a couple of soccer fields down at Kiwanis Park. The recent rains, along with the city's re-sodding efforts, yielded these fine fungi:

Big bastards, too. That's my size 11.5 foot in the bottom shot.

Which reminds me of a joke:

A mushroom walked into a bar, and ordered a beer. The bartender said "Sorry, we don't serve your kind in here."

The mushroom replied, "Why not? I'm a fungi (fun guy)."

Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk…

Saw a buttload of terrapins this morning:

After finishing my post-ride protein shake, Paige called. She was bored, so I suggested she come over and go for a bike ride. I need all the miles I can get, but I wasn't really motivated to go back out by myself today.

Twenty minutes later, she appeared at the door and off we went. Five minutes into the ride, she spotted this little cutie hiding in a shadow:

So having taken a bonus ride with Paige, here's what I'm looking at:

Mileage today = 41.52 miles

Summer total = 294.64

Still behind, based on my per-day mileage requirements, but I'll be getting a lot of miles over the next few days.

Foy came over about 7pm, pizza in hand, to watch the NASCAR truck and Busch series races. Beer was consumed, pizza was eaten, Kyle Busch was cursed.

He split about 100 miles into the Busch race, and I was asleep in my chair 10 minutes later. All that bike riding tired me out…

Friday, July 18, 2008

Five Days And Counting

Yeah, had a bit of a head when I got up this morning. The first time I woke up was around 4am, still sitting in my chair in front of the TV set. I think I fell asleep around 2am there, watching some dumb TV show. Staggered off to bed. Got up for good about 8:30 and didn't feel good enough to take a bike ride. Dammit!

Met Jeff & Kim at Salsa Fresh for dinner. They really like to sit outside there, but it was so freakin' hot I left after my second beer.

Came home, watched the ARCA race, fell asleep.

My friend Nikki had called and wanted to meet up with me for drinks, but by the time I got her message, I was totally out of gas. I'm lame…

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Six Days And Counting

Lots of critters on the greenway today. There were quite a few terrapins sunning themselves on the tree stumps in the creek. Also, a big old Black Snake that ran away too fast for me to get a photo. But I did get a shot of this fellow:

Another damn Copperhead. Fat bastard, too. And yes, he's been dispatched to the great beyond. Sorry, Creener…

Today's mileage = 25.05

Summer total = 253.12

Met the gang on the deck at the Ale House for dinner tonight. Still going over all the party details for next week with Travis, the GM.

Made the mistake of going to Northside afterwards with Foy & Terry. Not gonna be a pretty morning, for sure...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Countdown Begins

One week from today, July 23rd, is my 50th birthday. I have four days of kick-ass fun planned, starting on the 23rd and ending with my big party Saturday night on the Ale House deck.

But for now, everything's just day-to-day, same-old same-old, like always…

It felt good to get back on my bike today. First ride in 12 days, so I'm a bit behind on my pace to make this my thousand-mile summer, but I'll get caught up sometime soon.

Today's mileage = 24.11 miles

Summer total = 228.07

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Off To Charlotte To Visit Mom

Drove to Charlotte this morning to visit my mom. She's not gonna be with us very much longer and we thought we were gonna lose her this past Friday. I got a message while I was at Heathrow Friday afternoon to call my sister ASAP. I called her while walking through the terminal on the way to my flight to Glasgow. She said that mom was likely gonna pass in the next few hours, and that I needed to say good-bye to her. Not a conversation I wanted to have in an airport 4500 miles away. It was not a good moment. Mom couldn't speak at that time, but she could hear, so I told her to hang on and I'd be there to see her soon. She pulled through somehow during the night and was feeling better by Saturday morning.

The funniest thing happened while I was there visiting today. Me, my sister Donna, my brother Bill, and mom's caretaker Tina were all standing around mom's bed. Someone said the word "beer" in a sentence and mom's eyes lit up. Tina said "Mommie, do you want a beer?" I told her that I'd have one if she was having one, and she shook her head yes.

So Donna went and got a beer, poured half of it into a cup, which she handed to Tina, and handed the rest to me. Mom can't hold her drinks these days, so Tina held it for her while she sipped it through a straw. It was mom's first drink in probably 8 years. When she got down to the last little sip, Tina said, "Now, Mommie (that's what she calls her), take this last sip and then the bar's closing."

To which mom barked "Who said so?" It was so funny that we were all rolling around laughing.

Donna grabbed a few more beers, and all 3 Davis kids had a beer with mom. It was pretty surreal.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Travel Day to Raleigh

We finally got back to the hotel at 3:30am this morning. Sooner and I had lobby call at 5am, so there was no sleep to be had. I grabbed a shower, repacked and headed to the lobby about 4:45.

After we got to the terminal and checked in, we had breakfast, did some fast shopping and headed to our gate. I bought one of those U-shaped neck pillows, hoping I might be able to get some sleep with it. Not sure if it was because of the pillow or the complete exhaustion, but I did manage to sleep fitfully for about 30 minutes on our flight to London.

From there, we were taking different flights, so we said goodbye and parted ways. Sooner's great, I'm gonna miss hanging out with her. Hell, our whole crew is a great hang. I'm really gonna miss this tour when it's over early in September.

My second flight was Heathrow to RDU, direct. Slept for probably another 30 minutes on that one.

I didn't feel like cooking tonight, so I drove down the hill to the Ale House and sat at the bar for a couple of beers and a sandwich.

By the time I went to bed, I'd been awake for 45 hours on only 1 hour of sleep. I was damn glad when this day came to an end…

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Show Day in County Kildare, Ireland

Seven am came waaaay too early today. I only got about 3 hours of sleep and it gets worse tonight, when I'll likely get none.

We flew from Glasgow to Dublin this morning, then everyone jumped on a bus and headed out to Kildare, about 45-60 minutes away, to the Oxegen Festival site. Everyone but me, that is. I took everyone's luggage over to tonight's hotel here at the Dublin airport. Got everyone checked in, put all the luggage in their rooms, turned on Spragoo's air conditioner, and then I jumped back into the cargo van with a runner who drove me to the site.

Uneventful day. Catering was kickass again today, but was about a half-mile across the site and a pain in the butt to get to.

Tonight's my last night with the band until late August. They're playing Lollapalooza in Chicago on the first weekend of August, but I won't be with them for that show, as I'm not needed.

Shot of the band on stage tonight:

Got back to the hotel very late...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Show Day in Kinross, Scotland

Kinross is small town outside Edinburgh. The drive to the festival site was through a very lovely Scottish countryside:

Today's show is called the T in the Park Festival. 80,000 in attendance. Best thing about today was the fact that the catering was better than the normal Euro festival fare.

Andy Veasey, our Drum Tech, said the funniest thing about Scottish weather on the way to the gig: In Glasgow, if you can see the mountains, it's gonna rain. If you can't see the mountains, it's raining.

Andy's British, and is very wry and very, very funny!

As soon as I realized that Ben Folds was on the bill today, I went to track down his FOH engineer (Michael Praytor) and tour manager (Doug Goodman). Michael and I had done the Squirrel Nut Zippers together back in the 90's and I hadn't seen him in a couple of years. I've known Doug via email for several years, but we'd never met face to face. It was good to see both of them.

The kids here today were flying a lot of flags, more than I've seen at other shows this summer. My favorite was one that said "I hate flags." Duh… You can see it in the right half of this shot:

Got back to the hotel pretty late, I think around 3am…

Friday, July 11, 2008

Travel Day to Glasgow

As I was standing at the front desk at 8am doing the crew checkout, someone walked up behind me and grabbed both my buttcheeks. Turned around and there was my dear friend Janet Taylor. She's out doing tour accounting for Beck, who played last night at another festival on the other side of Lisbon, and she had stayed here at our hotel last night. Even better, she's on my flight to London, so we'll get some hang time at the airport.

Guess what they sell at the McDonald's in the Lisbon airport? Beer…

It was a little too early in the day for me to want one, but that didn't keep a few other folks from enjoying a frosty beverage.

We started with a 2½-hour flight from Lisbon to London, followed by a near 3-hour layover at Heathrow. Spent most of that time in the new BA lounge in Terminal 5, which is far nicer than any airline lounge in America. Everything about it was cool, from the massive self-serve wine bar to the food, the furniture, and more.

Our flight to Glasgow took off an hour late, which sucked, because tonight is our last night to have a little fun before we go home.

Finally got to the SAS Radisson around 7:30pm, where we dropped bags and went to (you'll never guess)…

…the hotel bar.

Budweisers were $7.40 each, which isn't too bad for a nice hotel over here. There appeared to be three bartenders working, but I would only place my orders with Anna, an absolutely lovely 22-year old Polish girl.

Spragoo peeled off to go to his room because he wanted room service for dinner. About 20 minutes later, my buddy Big Al, who runs Tour Supply Manchester, came down, followed 5 minutes later by Lance Wascom from Tour Supply Nashville, our production manager Robert Long and our LD, Sooner. They invited Seth Kendall (audio tech) and I to go eat Japanese a few blocks away at a place called Ichiban. Big Al lived here in Glasgow for 7 years, running a venue called Barrowlands – so he knows lots of neat places to eat.

The food was really good. After dinner, Seth and I wound up back in the bar with Peter Lewis, our bass tech. And we stayed waaaaaay too late…

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Show Day in Lisbon, Portugal

Took this shot just as the band was going onstage. I was out at the front-of-house mix position, up in the tower.

They didn't come offstage until after 1:30am. Finally got back to the hotel around 4am for my 3 hours and 20 minutes of sleep.

Livin' the dream, indeed...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Load-in Day in Lisbon, Portugal

Went to the gig early afternoon to set up. They didn't really have our dressing room and office compound set up completely, so I set up on a small table between a couple of trailers where a nice breeze was blowing through. The band finally arrived and sound checked about 8pm. We were done and back at the hotel by 10. Guess where we went?

Right, the hotel bar.

After a few rounds, some folks wanted to go down the street to the Hard Rock, so off we went. Nice wall of stuff there:

Closed it down at 2am, then headed home. First show tomorrow…

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Travel Day to Lisbon, Portugal

Arrived in London at 6:30am. The bad news is that I have an 8½-hour layover, which would normally be pretty crappy. The good news is that I booked a room at the YOTEL, located inside Terminal 4. Check it out HERE. If you click on the dropdown menu at the top, then click 360 YOTEL cabin tours, you'll be directed to a page where you can select Premium Cabin and take a video tour of the little room. It was awesome. I got about 3 hours of sleep there, then grabbed a shower, checked email and headed off to another terminal to get on the flight to Lisbon.

Made it to the Sofitel Hotel, dropped bags and headed down to the bar to meet everyone. We were drinking Sagres, a terrific Portugese beer. Great little bar, looked like this from where I sat:

The rooms are pretty nice here, too. Here's what my bathroom looked like:

The room actually had a couple of vases with fresh flowers in them:

Nine or ten of us went to dinner at a seafood place a couple of blocks away called Sancho. Damn good! I had some of the largest tiger prawns I'd ever seen in my life. Dinner, drinks, desserts, and tip came out to 52 Euros (about $88 usd) each.

Straight back to the hotel bar afterwards for a few rounds of nightcaps.

Someone suggested to JT (security guy) that he should eat the worm from the bottle of Mezcal. He said only if we killed the bottle. So I told the bartender to bring down the bottle. A few rounds of shots later, JT was eating the worm. You might have to click on this one to blow it up to see the worm:

Off to bed at stupid o'clock…

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Race Night!

Yet another set of summer thunderstorms tonight. Stayed in to watch the Coke Zero 400 from Daytona, which was won by Satan, uh, I mean Kyle Busch. Carina dropped by – many beers and several shots of Patron were consumed. She split before midnight and it was all I could do to not walk up the street to Northside for a couple of beers. Instead, I started DJ'ing tunes in the living room (LOUDLY!) and the next thing I knew, it was 2am. Off to bed…

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Fourth of July!

Saw 2 bunnies during my ride today.

Today's mileage = 26.26

Summer total = 203.96

Most of my friends are at the beach for the holiday weekend, which means I'm just gonna relax and hang out at home. Watched the Busch race from Daytona.

My idiot neighbors three houses up were throwing a party started shooting off a shitload of fireworks about 9pm. Fifteen minutes later, I was laughing my ass off when a thunderstorm struck and rained out their festivities.

And I don't feel like a curmudgeon for doing so.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Steady Rollin'

Nothing much interesting going on around here.

Critters spotted today included 1 very fast chipmunk and 2 bunnies.

Bike mileage = 24.09

Summer total = 177.70

Totally did not feel like cooking tonight, so I wound up going over to Mitch's for dinner and a few beers. For the first time in 20-something years, I didn't know anyone who was working there. Kinda freaked me out – I always know the employees there.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Back On The Bike

Haven't ridden in a few days, but got motivated again today…

Today's mileage = 24.10

Summer total = 153.61

Didn't see any critters, which was strange.

Met up with a bunch of friends for dinner at the Mexican joint down at the bottom of the hill, in honor of Suzanne Britt's 40th birthday.