As I posted earlier, back home again in Indiana. Naturally, there were tornado warnings here last night, although none close to our part of the city. I’m starting to feel a little cursed. Almost four inches of rain here in Carmel this morning. It’s like Seattle, only it’s 90 with a thick layer of steam from all the water on the ground.

Yesterday was my brilliant day in the first class cabin of American Airlines. I must admit, while it was nice to get on and off the jets first, have decent if unspectacular food delivered to me, and as many Diet Cokes as I wanted (Does Roy Williams know about this?) the best part was for the first time in my life, I took a serious nap on a plane. After my 3:55 AM wake up call yesterday, I was in great need of some additional sleep. After downing my omelet, bagel, and fruit plate, I leaned my comfy seat back and promptly dropped off for two hours. Normally when I sleep on a plane, I’m wedged into my seat and wake up ever ten minutes. After about 60 minutes of that, I give up. I fell asleep somewhere over Utah and woke up 30 minutes before landing. Very nice. One thing I noticed about first class is everyone wants to have rather loud conversations on their cell phones until take off, and immediately after landing. Apparently the average first class passenger is so important no minutes can be wasted not making calls, even if they’re personal. I, on the other hand, find some deserted corner in the airport to make all my calls from.

The rest of my Portland visit was good enough. Downed some very good fish & chips Tuesday night, had some outstanding Vietnamese food Wednesday. Great beer both nights. Wednesday I drove out to Astoria, on the coast. Typically, we were socked in by clouds so another visit without seeing Mt. St. Helens. I couldn’t even see Adams or Hood on this trip, until the flight home. Along the way to Astoria is a town called Longview, which is right on the Columbia River and a huge logging town. Roads are clogged with logging trucks transporting felled trees. The asphalt is littered with chunks of lumber and bark. When you get ready to cross the river, a quick glance to either side offers nearly endless views of trees ready for processing and transport stacked along the shore. Roughly halfway to Astoria, you hit a section of road that is literally completely covered by trees. It was similar to driving through a covered bridge. Suddenly, you come to a more open section and you notice that you’re in an area that has been heavily logged. While staring in awe at the open space, I noticed a large bird floating across the road. “That’s a big hawk,” I thought. Then I snapped out of it and realized I was staring at a Bald Eagle. Extremely impressive.

We were sitting in a bar Tuesday night and heard the Pistons lead the Lakers late. We moved nearer a TV to watch, and LA promptly took the lead. We lost interest a little, until we noticed Detroit had fought back. Then they extended. This was amazing! The Pistons were going to win two in LA! Then Kobe hit the biggest shot since Jordan shoved Byron Russell. We looked at each other and said, “We’ll be able to tell our kids where we were when the Lakers won the series.” So what happened in Detroit last night was just stupid. Larry Brown’s a witch, but no way should the Pistons be making the Lakers look absolutely silly like that. I’d still bet on the Lakers to win, but all of a sudden, you can see the confidence in the Pistons that they can not only compete in the series, but they have a great shot to win. Fascinating.

For some reason, anytime I travel to the Northwest, I get a huge thrill when I hear any of the 90s grunge bands on the radio. It’s like buying a t-shirt of a sports team at the stadium where they play; there’s something extra special about hearing Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, or Everclear in their home territory. Maybe it’s because people still wear flannel there.

While we’re on the subject of music, I heard this new group Velvet Revolver a lot in Portland. Scott Weiland from Stone Temple Pilots on vocals; Slash, Duff McKagan, and Matt Sorum from Guns ‘n Roses manning three of the four instruments. Surprisingly, the styles come together quite nicely. Check them out when you have a chance.

I must sing the praises of the folks at Blogger and Google. First, a month or so back, they added comments as an included feature, offered more templates, and made some administrative changes that make running a blog much easier. Then, they offered photoblogging, which is very cool. Finally, they’ve incorporated Audioblogging as a free feature this week. I didn’t have a chance to try it out yet, but I can call into a number, record up to two minutes, and then an audio file is posted to the blog. This has been an option you can pay to have for some time; I just never figured it was worth it. I’ll try to give it a shot sometime soon to see how it works. Blogger members have been offered a chance to use Google’s new mail app in its beta format. I’m holding off, just because I have four e-mail addresses already and don’t want to add another until I know it’s a stable product. Thank you, Google Gods!

This ad war between Budweiser and Miller is stupid. First, the Miller commercials are just dumb. These are the natural progression of arguably the greatest campaign ever, Tastes Great – Less Filling? Then, AB’s response commercials are equally dumb. Miller may have been purchased by a South African company, but is it not still made in Milwaukee? Does any beer made at Budweiser plants around the world (which they used to brag about) not count as American beer even though it tastes exactly like what’s made in St. Louis? We’re at war in two countries, facing terrorist threats, about to pick a President for four years and Congress for two, and we’ve got idiotic mudslinging rather than intelligent, clever ads for beer that doesn’t even taste good. What’s the world coming to?