Monday, April 28, 2008

That's more like it

At least the weekend gave me some respite from the ball kicking. Well, there was an unfortunate incident with a level falling from it's perch and bouncing off my head on it's way to the ground, but considering I put it there, I'll take that as my own damn fault.

Friday night was a free night as little one was being swept away for the evening by Grandma L. After dropping the car seat by her place, I was off to the shop to hang out for a bit and just generally watch the goings on. The debate was still open on what we'd do with our free night, but we finally settled on dinner out and renting some movies as we just wanted a night to veg out. We ended up hitting The Market for a good dinner after we made a last minute diversion from our original choice of trying out a new BBQ joint. All was good at dinner with the exception of a stupid ass cashier not bothering to listen to the words coming out of my mouth. I ordered once only to have her gaze uncloud and ask me to repeat what I just said. After ordering the second time and paying, we hit the table to wait for our food. Alas, our food arrived, so who had the soup? Neither of us had the damn soup. But sir, here is what is on your ticket? Hmm, well they didn't bother to give me a ticket that said anything but the total. Oh, and now they wanted to charge me extra for what I actually ordered. I was pretty pissed by this point. Eventually the food delivery gal went up and put in the correct order. They sent a new gal out to deliver the corrected meal and a bill for an additional $7. Fuck it, I gave her the card and just grumbled to myself. At least the food was good. We parted with some leftovers and a selection of dessert to take home with us.

We ended up with a couple movies to watch- Juno and No Country for Old Men. The first was pretty funny and a good choice. The second had some definite cool parts, a decent plot line, but a stupid ending that just ruined the whole damn thing after such a long build up. It's like the writer got tired after cranking out such a long screen play and raised a white flag. Definitely a bummer. Miranda was actually pretty livid about it and ranted on the whole movie sucking for a decent amount of time which is pretty unusual for her. Good times!

Saturday we were greeted by sunny skies and all the appearances of a really nice day. I spent the morning lounging about the house for the most part with Miranda and Corley was still overnight with Grandma. I think we managed to get some chores done, but it was mostly about being lazy yet. The afternoon rolled around and I decided it was time for a ride. I knew the wind was supposed to be pretty wild, but I had no idea. Damn! I routed out a loop that would at least use the wind to propel me through some hilly spots and took off. As soon as I headed west into the wind, it was like I had bricks in my pockets. There was just no bucking it alone. So, I put my head down and started cranking. A turn into crosswind put me leaning into the wind just to stay upright. Finally a turn into the tailwind sent me sailing over hills at 20+ and across the flats at 30+. I was stoked for that scant 7 mile trek. Alas, I had to turn back north and eventually west again. That last 8-10 miles home sucked beyond belief. Rolling on the flats pumping hard to keep the speedo reading double digits just sucked with no other way to put it. Finally I hit home and felt a little worked over. I also managed to figure out a big bowl of pasta roughly 30 minutes before a ride is not good fuel for me. I work best on limited food before the ride for sure. The pasta sucked up a lot of my energy on the beginning of the ride and definitely didn't help me try to work in a few interval type efforts. Ughh!

Sunday was a whole different ballgame. We planned to help out some friends with a few chores that required two guys and then hang out for a cookout. One thing led to another and as we got our chores done, the beer drinking began and we spent the whole day at their place including dinner. As she is an awesome cook, dinner was pretty fabulous even if it wasn't anything fancy. They were happy with the work done, Corley was happy to play with her 3 friends, and we were happy to hang with good friends for a full day.

Friday, April 25, 2008

WTF man?

That's my general attitude today. I just don't get it. I think life just relishes the opportunity to kick a number of us in the balls on a semi-frequent basis just hard enough to let us know it's there and watching, waiting for our next slip-up. Maybe I'm just stressed and more high strung than usual, but damn.

After a pretty enjoyable evening spent with my daughter. OK, so I had someone else helping keep her entertained and an eye on her for an hour while I helped do something else, but it was still time spent. We went to watch the PRC Race like a girl installment and I lent a hand with registration. Corley was also kind enough to lend her bike horn to be used as the bell for the laps that required such a cacophony of sound. All in all, the racing was good and looked like a lot of fun. So much in fact that I'll probably try my hand at the men's B class next time.

Fast forward to today. I'm perusing the various bike blogs and enjoying my first cup of coffee when my boss walks in talking about a worrisome email he received from one of our bigger customers. Seems there was some tension about a project being delivered late, extra costs, and all the usual shit that goes with it. Not necessarily a big deal, except that the main man at said customer also got copied on the email. As it's my project, I rush to damage control confirming all the information and explaining why it wasn't our fault said project was delayed. An hours worth of anxiety later, I get a call from my contact and a reassurance that this whole mess is actually no fault of our own, but instead an issue between them and the contractor. Whew, my heart can go back to normal pacing, and my panties unbunch. Just enough of a kick to let me know life's watching...

Last night after I got home, my beautiful wife comes home from her mom's night out. Now she should be fully relaxed, in high spirits, and possibly in "the mood". Well, I all ready knew there would be no mood due to certain visitation rights being currently restricted, but to top that off she came home with a headache and requesting deep tissue massage. Damn, that kills my evening plans for fucking off on the net and surfing crap sites for a laugh.

Before mom's night out commenced, she met up with another friend of ours to have a long overdue discussion. Now, I don't plan to offend anyone here, but if so, fuck it. This is just another reason why organised religion bugs the shit out of me. Every single one of them is "the" right one and everyone else is wrong in some way or another. Our friend has managed to find his religion. That's cool by me. I have no issues with people finding something that works for them that they can believe in. However, don't come to me looking for me to fall to my knees, repent, and find God because you did and now you're worried about me or feel it's your duty to God to attempt to save me. Apparently this is our friend's new mission in life. Considering the fact that he and my wife dated in high school, we've been friends as a couple for going on 10 years, and done some things together, we feel we know or at least knew him pretty well. In any case, the discussion with my wife apparently got pretty heated and there was discussion of whether or not we could continue to be friends. On top of that, we're god parents to their son as well. Now this decision was made way before he or his wife found their religion. Now it would seem, we're not good enough to raise him. Fine by me. But man, that's still a kick in the nuts to find out because they've changed that you're dropped off someones "worthy" list.

Speaking of worthy lists, I'm apparently on the shit end of yet another. I applied for membership of a certain yahoo group for the second time now. I'm not sure if it's a misunderstanding or what (I somehow doubt it), but the first time my application expired and therefor wasn't approved. OK, you're busy, I can get that. The second time it was flat out rejected by the list owner. Now I've been told who the list owner/moderator is and actually thought I had some rapore with him considering I've used his services in the past, done some volunteer work for his events, and sing some praise for the things he's done. Just another tap I guess. So I hoist my hands in the air and give the universal signal for WTF man?!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Wednesday ritual

I hit the Ritual ride again last night. It's quickly become my favorite group ride this year. There are enough people of different abilities that I can ride as hard or easy as I like and typically never end up riding alone. Someone said there were almost 50 riders last night! That's just awesome. There were also a lot more women last night making up the contingent which was also great to see.

We did our typical ride route with a split up for the faster group to do an additional loop through Water works park. That gave the other riders a chance to get out in front and have us catch back on. I think we caught them about the time we started the road portion of the loop. As usual, the two big hills created the separation again. There's one hill just before the turn off Maffit road and then another down by the soccer fields. Both are just long enough and hard enough that it really separates out the pack into a number of smaller groups. A small group rolled up to the stop light at 63rd street and took off from there to hit the bike trail again. We rolled pretty leisurely back to Ritual Cafe and waited for the rest.

Ritual graciously stayed open until 8 for our group and it was good to see people taking advantage of that fact by spending some money with those nice folks. After hanging out for about a half hour a few of us rolled up to A-Dong for a great dinner. I headed home about nine in the dark. I'm still pretty new to night riding so the novelty of it is great for me. My wife- not so much. She's definitely not happy if I'm riding in the dark. About my only thing I need to change is to pick up a stronger headlight. I'm all ready running a Planet Bike superflash on the rear, but the front light is a cheap lightweight unit that just gives me enough light to add some safety marking, but not really light the road. Another awesome Wednesday in the books!

A reminder for the few that actually read this- Race like a girl is starting tonight. I'm trying to head over early enough to help with registration, but I'll have my hands full with my daughter as well. I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Last night was my second run with the boys on the TNWC ride. The warm weather had people coming out in droves. I bet there was 50 riders minimum. As I showed up almost an hour early, I ran into Lou and was invited to meet up with some people at Grounds for Celebration to hang out a bit before the ride. I figured it would at least stretch my legs a bit so I tooled slowly up there and hung out with a few people. We rolled back down to the ride start in lieu of waiting for them to ride by and hopping on.

A huge pack headed out around 5:45 from Bike World on Merle Hay. From the sounds of it, the night might get interesting as Kim all ready was telling a tale of an angry motorist incident. I think the nice days bring out the idiots in swarms. We roll off and pretty much right away I'm pretty uncomfortable with the size, tightness, and attitude of the group. We're just stacked on top of each other and while it might just be my inexperience with racing, it seemed to me that it was a bit over the top. I know you have to stay close to draft, but the surging and slowing just seemed like it was begging for people to run into each other. I know I almost tagged a rear wheel and I was paying careful attention.

I made it to the top of the first sprint hill with the group and then lost it again. The problem is I hit almost my max heart rate (194 last night) by the time I crest the main hill and then we have a false flat all the way into Ankeny. I just can't get my heart rate back down enough to get any recovery in and by the time I do, the group has long since pulled away. So, as a repeat of the first ride, I was again first off the back of the group. At least this time a few others were spit out pretty close to the same time and I could keep my sites on them. Emily and Maria from Punk Rock Cycling were two of them and I caught them as we rolled into Ankeny. I figured it would be best to work together with them so we started trading pulls. One other rider showed up and we jumped on his wheel again working together to trade off. About that time we noticed the main peleton had stopped on the road about a mile north of town.

I was wondering what was happening and why they had stopped. The realization quickly set in that there was most likely an accident where someone was pretty hurt for the whole group to stop like that. Sure enough, as we rolled up and came to a stop, there were a few people gathered around a rider in the ditch. The bits and pieces I gathered were that the group antics from earlier had continued pretty much unabated and the result was predictable. A few crossed wheels, someone went down, and others were collected. There were some torn clothes, a bit of road rash, and a few minor looking cuts on a few guys, but the brunt of the crash fell on Kelli from Punk Rock Cycling. She appeared to have landed mostly on her left cheek and had a pretty good contusion from what I could see. Emergency services were called and seemed to take forever to show up. Amazing we were only a mile outside of town and I think the total time to get there was in the neighborhood of 10-15 minutes. Definitely too long in my book. Kelli got a one way ticket to the hospital and I haven't heard the final outcome. I'm not one for prayer, but she was definitely in my thoughts for the rest of the night and will be for a while. I hope she heals fast and is back on the bike very soon.

After the ambulance showed up, a few stayed back with Kelli, but the rest of the group took off in two main packs. I headed out with the second pack and got blown out another mile down the road with another rider. I tried to keep pace with him, but slowed and he pedalled off as well. I focused on keeping my heart rate in the 180-185 range and pegged it for the next hour. I could always see a rider or two out in front of me, but they never seemed to really get any closer. Finally, as we came back into the north side of Johnston, I was about to roll up on a couple guys. Of course I managed to catch a red light and they rolled off again. A few lights later though, my luck changed and I caught up. They were rolling a pretty leisurely pace cooling down as they headed back to the start. Good thing as I was out of gas by then. Another Tuesday night in the books.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Color me red

Well, for several reasons the title of this post is appropo. I haven't written for over a week, last night was the first time I rode in a week, the last ride I did was through a place call Red Rock Canyon, and I also managed to get my first sunburn of the year on the last ride.

With our trip to Vegas, there hasn't been a lot of time to write. We spent an awesome four days in Vegas at the International Lingerie Show. We usually hit this show every year as it's the best way to see the new lines, explore for new vendors, and get some face time with existing vendors. This show proved to be no exception. We went out in search of expanding our selection for our mens line and our plus size line. We found some great vendors for both items and have new products coming to review.

We also had some face time with our favorite vendor of lotions, candles, and oils. This company kicks some serious ass in the quality of their product. We actually talked to them about doing some private labelling and becoming a distributor. The buy in amount is quite a bit larger than what we currently work with, but we'll get the advantage of buying at an even lower cost and having our name on the label. It's a definite risk, but we feel like this is one set of products we can really get behind and sell. We're going to start targeting some of the local businesses to see if they're interested in carrying them. Another bonus with our name on the label, it helps to advertise for us as well.

We had some seriously good eats while in Vegas. I think it's pretty hard not to find good food out there as long as you're willing to pay the price. Sunday was a BBQ joint in the Rio called RUB, Monday was mexican at Isla at TI, and Tuesday was Tao at the Venetian. Wednesday was the only letdown as we went for cheap on a friend's recommendation and headed off the strip to Ellis Island which is home to the steak and eggs combo. Definitely cheap food considering the most expensive thing was $11, but the food left a lot to be desired as it wasn't much beyond what you'd expect at a typically greasy spoon diner. Definitely a you get what you pay for place.

We did our typical walk the strip, wander through a few hotels, and gamble a little here and there. We typically like to spend a couple hours in O'Sheas casino as our favorite little dive to gamble in. Our luck was definitely off this time though as we shelled out around $150 in way less than an hour on the tables so we headed out fairly quickly. We wandered through the sister property to the Venetian, but I'll be damned if I can remember the name of it. It's just another rediculously huge and ornate over the top Vegas embellishment, but still cool to walk through and envision the cost of such a spectacle. We wandered through the stores and fingered many things that were way beyond our meager means. Damn, I can't see how they can get those prices even in Vegas.

We did get our gamble on back at our home hotel which was the Gold Coast. Great place to stay as the rooms are cheap at $60, it's across the street from our convention at the Rio, the have a free strip shuttle bus, and the rooms are pretty decent as well. This was our 3rd time there and we'll definitely be back again. We really hadn't gambled much there putting our preference on our strip favorite. This time we had some luck though with Miranda nailing $100 profit on the roulette table (her favorite) and me playing for 3 hours at blackjack and still walking away ahead a meager $20. Of course we only play for entertainment, so any money we actually win is just a double bonus.

Beyond that, we got some much needed time alone together. Of course we called and checked on the little one several times every day, but hey, we still had Vegas all to ourselves. The boost of one on one time definitely helped to recharge the sex life. We even had a chance to check out a new set of very light bondage cuffs given to us by a rep from Fun Factory. It's a new line they're coming out with to expand upon their all ready great toy line. They were fun while they lasted for all of about 5 minutes. The first minor pull against the cuffs sent the chain whipping past her head as it pulled through the silicone tab. Ah well, just a hiccup in the process and didn't slow us down much.

That about sums up Vegas. Sex, excess, and some indulgence. A great way to spend a few days. I'll catch you up on the next installment with my ride through Red Rock Canyon and some other fun things.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Ever wanted a cheerleader?

No, you sickos, I'm not talking about some hot, nubile, tanned, toned, oh wait, where the hell was I going with this... Actually, I'm talking about someone who is there to encourage, push, and give you an atta boy for things in your life. Most everyone has a cheerleader of some type in their lives from a parent, friend, spouse, etc. Have you ever wanted a certain person to be your cheerleader that wasn't?

I have no idea if my wife actually reads this blog or not. I know she is aware that I have one, but I'm not sure if she's tried to even look it up as I don't bookmark it on any of our computers and typically don't post from home. My point is, whether she reads this or not, I REALLY would love to have her as my cheerleader in life. I think that's the way it should be when you get married. You've made a life long commitment to a person and you should make it a point to support them in things you see they're passionate about. I'm not talking about passive support. It's easy to say I'm supportive because I don't stop them from doing X activity or I support them because I don't give them a hard time about spending money on such and such. To me, that's a cop out.

I've had passive support from my wife in a number of my hobbies. For those that haven't known me long term, I digress. I have a habit of switching things up in my life every few years from hobbies, to careers, etc. Now I'm sure a certain part of the career issue deals with just now being 30 and finding my place. Plus I've actually been here almost 8 years so that's pretty long term in my book. Hobbies are a bit of a different story. I shot archery competitively when we met. I travelled to tournaments, practiced regularly, the whole bit. I was actually pretty good as an amateur. That lasted a number of years, but was replaced with car fever. I'm sure cars would have played any earlier part of my formative years had finances not been in the way, but now that I could afford to play, it was off to the races so to speak. That particular hobby hasn't completely died out yet, but it's on life support considering my car currently has a show quality custom paint job, but sits in the garage with no engine or transmission... Now it's on to biking. I'm only a year into the sport, but I've held true to form with diving in head first and swimming to the deep end.

Through all of this, Miranda has attended tournaments, car shows, a few races, and joined me in getting a tandem. However, there's always a catch. To get her attendance to these events, there has to be something in it for her. I have to sweeten the pot so to speak. Apparently all of my hobbies have held such little interest for her, that I have to bribe her to get her support. A promise of shopping, dinner out, etc. Is there a reason she won't show me the love just for the sake of seeing me happy in a certain activity? Is it because I haven't come straight out and told her I want and maybe wrongly, but somewhat expect this from my partner?

I'll be the first to admit, I'm probably not the best at cheering for her, but then again, I haven't seen her engrossed in too many activities where I can have equal opportunity to cheer lead. We learned country dancing a number of years ago and I faithfully came through that experience and even enjoyed it. We've played volleyball and softball together as a way to enjoy some sports together. Currently, she sews. Beyond saying something looks really nice and telling her good job, it's hard to do back flips in support of a passive activity.

We've been looking at finding a new activity we can do together. We haven't had any luck. Currently, it looks like I'll be cycling all summer and she's going to look for a competitive volleyball league to join. After 3 years, I'm a bit burnt on volleyball so I'm taking time off from that and letting her find something. Guaranteed if she finds something, I'll at least be at a few games to watch and cheer. What are we to do? Do we go through life as friends, roomies, and people that occasionally have sex while they raise a child together?

Damn, this was more rant than I intended and I'm not even done yet. I haven't even started in on our "business". I think I'll hit that as a separate topic so grab your popcorn and stay tuned... Oh, and one last comment for those who might think, damn, why'd he marry her if he is so unhappy with the arrangement. It's not that I'm unhappy, it's that I think there's more to life than what we're both getting and I'm trying to figure out the best way to get there.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Ritual riding

The first official ritual ride was last night. It's set up to be a no drop, relaxed pace, semi-social type of ride. I'm happy to say for the most part it was. With the exception of only a few of us knowing the entire route and a few sprints off the front that caused some chaos, it went pretty well.

For a first ride, the attendance was awesome to see. I'd say there were a good 20+ people that showed up to ride at 5:30. A brief hello and introduction from Jane at PRC and we were off. The route was to wind down to the bike path on MLK and through Waterworks to the Great Western Trail. We headed down the trail to Orilla (Bambino's Restaurant) and jumped back on the road. A quick left out towards Maffit reservoir and into some rollers. Here's where the sprint up the big hill led to confusion. We were supposed to hang a right on 42nd and Jane even made mention of it before we started.

The sprint group headed straight towards the reservoir. A number of us made the right turn and headed down towards Walnut Woods. I thought the rest of the group was close enough coming up the hill that they saw us turn. Unfortunately, they saw the sprint group and headed out towards the lake. This led to some back tracking back up the hill from Maffit and a little lost time.

The next separation came at the climb from the soccer fields just past Walnut Woods. At least this section of road had no turns so we held up at the stoplight crossing 63rd for what we thought was the main group. About 10 of us rolled as a group from there with no sign of anyone else coming up the stretch from the soccer hill. The group headed straight down McKinley to the bike trail in lieu of cutting over to Park. I'd say this was probably the safer choice as riding a group down Park for a mile around dusk is a sketchy choice considering the attention span of the typical driver on that stretch of road. We meandered our way back downtown and hit Ritual Cafe just as they were closing up.

Most of the group had peeled off and headed their own direction at this point. I was hoping that somehow we'd gotten to the back of the pack and everyone would be waiting at the cafe. Alas, we were the first group in and a few riders trickled slowly by until the last of the sweep showed up around 20 minutes later having gone back for a single rider and waiting for a flat tire to be fixed. All in all it was successful as nobody was dropped and all made it back alive!

I was trying my best to abide by this post from Lou's blog about going easy. I didn't look at my average heart rate when I was done, but I really tried hard to keep it under 150. A few hills definitely put me closing in on 180 due to switching to an 11-23 cassette and vowing to not use my triple up front, but in all it was pretty relaxed. A couple points along the ride I was pretty amazed at my perceived effort versus the speed we were cruising along. I'm hoping that bodes well for my base mileage getting me into summer riding shape as the miles start to ramp up.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

That was fun?!

I decided to suck it up and show up to the TNWC ride last night. I really wasn't sure exactly what to expect considering I've never actually watched a bike race other than TDF and a few snippets of various races here and there. I've certainly never been in a race and only have minor experience with pacelines. It was time to jump in with both feet and I have to say I was definitely nervous about it.

It turned out to be a pretty decent sized group with 20-30 riders or possibly a few more. The rollout was pretty easy and I felt good as we headed out of Des Moines. The headwind we were expecting had pretty much died down and even though I was advised to just sit in and not take a pull, I did a very short turn at the front as I got shuffled up there. I actually felt pretty comfortable with being in the pack and was really concentrating on not making any stupid moves or creating gaps in the line.

Pete told me the first sprint was coming up and I braced for the worst. It wasn't so much a sprint as it was a HARD push up a pretty decent hill. I hit redline for the first time here with my heart rate shooting up to 193. I managed to stay on the pack without getting gapped and felt really good about that. We cleared the top of the hill and rolled to a quick stop sign where I got my breath back. It was to be short lived as we rolled into the south edge of Ankeny and though it didn't look like it, the grade was slowly rising and I fell further towards the back before getting spit out around mile 12. About the only cool thing was seeing one of the tri-riders (JJ?) in the back on his aero bars just hanging back and zinging right up to the tail of the pack with almost effortless ease. Damn that was cool.

I kept the pack in site for another mile or two as the gap opened up and finally lost site just north of Ankeny. Thinking ahead, I printed out the route so I knew roughly where we were headed. As I pulled out north of Ankeny I caught sight of a couple riders taking what appeared to be a shortcut on 125th Street to Polk City and I followed suit. I did my best to keep my pace and heart rate up in zone 4 without going much higher. While I didn't reel them in by any means, they didn't appear to get any further away. Just as I came up to the turn back south into Polk City I decided it was time for a sugar rush in the form of a Hammer Gel. I was wokring on squeezing it out as I made the turn and looked to my right.

Oh Shit! Here comes the peleton bearing down on me at full on ludicrus speed! I shoved the gel back in my bento bag and put the hammer down. I heard Pete yell out something about good job Rick as they road by and that was it. I cleared 30 mph chasing them and stayed with them for another mile, but they gapped me again and I was toast. The peleton rolled through yet another stop sign and it appeared the city cop in Polk City gave them a bit of warning as he flipped his lights on as they rolled past. I climbed out of Polk City and made the turn to the bridge. another rider shot past me just before the bridge and I hopped on his wheel. We bridged the gap to a third rider on the bridge. It was Sterling from Rassy's.

I figured he'd be as good as anyone to work together with for the ride back and slowed down. He was hurting and so was I by this point. He'd been one of the two riders I was chasing on the shortcut. We slowed our pace and rested a bit before I pushed us back up a bit faster and led us back into Johnston. We parted ways at the turnoff to Lower Beaver as I am comfortable with that route versus heading down Merle Hay on my own. I pushed harder once we split and kept my heart rate in the mid 170's. A few hills more and I was back on the return shot down Urbandale ave to the bike shop.

I rolled in just as the last few people were leaving. I was burnt toast at that point. My legs were fighting cramps, taking a deep breath put me fighting the urge to hurl, and my back was aching. I'll be back for more! At least tonight we have the Ritual Ride to recover.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


Well, not really, but that sure would be nice considering we're headed to Vegas next week. 4 full days of fun in the sun mixed with browsing aisles upon aisles of barely there clothing. Yes, it's time for the spring installment of the International Lingerie Show! I skipped out going last spring and sent my lovely wife, daughter, and mother out to scout everything that is new and exciting in the world of scantily clad people. It's my turn this year and we're leaving the kidlet at home so we can throw down however we want.

I've been to this show 3 or 4 times all ready and it's always a good time. There are tons of vendors to peruse, always a few interesting new pieces, and usually a pretty kick ass time in Vegas for a few days. Of course that means nose to the grindstone catching up here at my real job and going helter skelter at home prepping the house for almost a week of baby sitting.

We ran a trial run of having Corley stay all weekend with Grandma a few weeks back and that went pretty smoothly. I'm hoping this time around everything goes just as well. I know Miranda is a bit anxious about being gone this long as it will be her first time away for more than a couple days. I managed my first long term excursion last summer at Burning Man being away for 10 days, so I know I'm good for it.

Our good friends at Freddy and Eddy are supposed to come hang with us for the day on Tuesday as a quick jump over from LA. Monday we'll probably hit the ground running and cover most of the show with follow ups done on Tuesday. By Wednesday we might make a quick perusal through the vendors one last time, but it will be mostly a free day along with Sunday. Thursday morning we're up bright and early and should be home early in the afternoon. Should be just the right amount of time to get out of town and spend with each other. We're definitely feeling the winter doldrums and haven't really been connecting lately. Hopefully a little alone time between us will give things a serious shot in the ass that I think we are close to desperately needing.

Anyone with Vegas experience want to chime in on their favorites? We typically try to walk some of the various shops, catch the skanky pirate show at TI, see the new hotels on the strip, snag a few good meals, and play a little blackjack and roulette at our favorite dive casino O'Sheas. If you've never been in O'Sheas, check it out. The decor and upkeep is pretty worn, but the dealers are nice, tables are uncrowded, and the limits are low. I usually hit at least one marathon session there every trip and almost always break even or better.