Thank God there was no football yesterday. That's all I can say. I did watch "How the Earth Will Be Destroyed" in afternoon and later on, "How the Earth was Created" later that night. "Pirate Invasion" was not one of the ways the Earth could be destroyed, and I was pretty surprised.
I'm going to try to recreate the experience here, from my point-of-view atleast, because well, I'm sure there were POVs somewhere in the hundreds of thousands, and that's not even including people who had multiple POVs within their own eyes. Yeah, Gasparilla.
8:30 - Cannon's start going off, and sounds of joyous Gasparilla revellers livens up the Channel.
9:00 - Troy Cedeno calls. "We'll be there in about 2o minutes." I was still hoping to stay in bed until about 10, but fortunately, this chain of events happened:
9:05 - "Welcome to the Jungle" starts blasting as loud as humanly possible. If I played it on Guitar Hero with my TV sound jacked, it wouldn't have been this loud. I smiled, and realized it was time for Gasparilla.
9:08 - "Welcome to the Jungle" was followed by "Girls, Girls, Girls" which, even though I wasn't at a Gentleman's Club, still seemed perfect for one reason or another.
10:30ish - I start walking to the Channel. Now, I know everyone said Chippewa, but I don't know which D.I. crossroad is which in terms of positioning, I just know I'm close, but this was sweet, because it was a block away. The first street I reached on my walk from my apt, was Chippewa, and the usual gang of pirates was right there. Let me see if I can recall the group:
The bikers - O, Procs and Ted
The Cubans - Troy, Julie and Shannon
then came me
The Tallahassee Man Lassies - Paul, Sean and Don
The Dan Bam Bigelows - Keri, Jaime and Dan
Others who made appearances were Bez and that other guy who comes around the studio sometimes, but I don't know his name.
the Tracy crew was in full effect.
Roy T. Johnson ... YES! This dude though was not very social. Don't know why, but whatever. He was the exact opposite of the Roy I know, aside from his Yankees jacket, and Giants cap. He did say he doesn't live in Tampa though, so any rumors that he moved back here can be put to rest.
As for the invasion, it was a great one. Tons of boats. My personal highlight was Paul Ritchey calling me on his cellphone when he was standing right next to me, and I proceeded to talk to him for a few minutes before I let him know I was right next to him. That was fun.
In terms of the boats, the Coast Guard blocked many after the main ship passed, which created, as Sean Rogers pointed out, one huge clusterfuck. I've never seen a boat traffic jam before, which is basically what happened.
So now the group began to separate. Julie and Shano left, the Dan Bam Bigelows made there way to Dan's apt, which we were trying to get to too, and by we, I mean, me, Troy and the Man-Lassies. The bikers went to this party on the island, which we went to too, and I'm glad we did.
This party, kinda behind Estela's, may have been the highlight of the entire day. On the way to it, some guy on the Channel had this HUGE block of ice, which he was pouring Jaegermeister shots down. Sure, most of mine landed on my face and shirt, but some got in my mouth, and it was good. It hit the spot even. When we got to the party, someone said, "I was wondering when you were going to spill on yourself." When I told that person that it was Jaegermeister, it kinda changed their tone.
First of all, I think y'better watch your tone with me man. I'm Leonard Washington. I don't get butt naked for nobody... (just had to get that in there for no reason whatsoever).
This party had a great band playing in the middle of the Courtyard, with people all along the stairs and what not watching. We ran into many Island people, like Nikki, Teisha, Roy et al. It was great seeing them. I even ran into a couple old college buddies which was cool. We also ran into the bikers, which would be the last time I saw Procter and Ted for the rest of the day ... Owen, that's a much later story.
This is where the trip began. I know I geeked out and made tons of LOTR references all day, and I'll spare you that here, but never watch the Trilogy the week before the parade. There were 5 of us, me, troy and the Man-Lassies.
Our first stop was atop the DI bridge, getting a beautiful view of the ambiance. I believe this was one I first "borrowed" Troy's bottle of rum and took a sip. It was cool up there. Our destination was to get to Corva's party, and find Corey Corral along the way. One of the surprises of Gasparilla in fact, was Marisa came out, who was partying it up with her brother.
So, as we started walking up the back roads to Howard, we took a u-turn so Troy could meet his Alltel people behind Walgreens. The one thing I remembered from driving around the day before, was that this Walgreens was selling hot dogs for one dahra. I gladly ate a dog, and we continued onward.
The highlight of the walk, was "The Girl Who Fell." Oh man, that was awesome. Her and her boyfriend asked me for a beer, and I gladly obliged, and as we continued walking and conversating, the girl just totally bit ass. It was HYSTERICAL once we found out she was okay. There was a moment in there where I thought we were rushing to the emergency room. Like a 4 year old boy who just fell off his bike, she wasn't crying at first, but as soon as she realized we all saw her fall, she started to ball. She thought he knees may have been broken (even though she was standing up fine). I can't stress enough how funny this was, except on this made it funnier. As we continued up the street and took a break a few blocks further, the couple passed us again. As soon as she saw us, we started asking her if she was alright, and BOOM, here came the waterworks again. Good stuff, really.
After about 2, maybe 3 hours of walking (don't remember anymore) we finally found Corey and Marisa. Corey had partied waaaaay to hardy by this point and looked like the Bucs just finished an 0-16 season. Liz was still going though, Kara, not so much. Marisa was fine though, and we hung out on the corner of Howard and Bayshore. At this point, we got some much needed rest. The Dan Bam Bigelow connection found us, and now that we regained some depth, we made it to the Corva party. Good party.
While here, I got into a long talk about this year's Oscar nominations with someone, don't remember who. Also ran into Maude and Jeffrey. Even though Eva's brother and his wife have real names, I just have to refer to them as Jeffrey and Maude. So, it was then I could scratch off "Lebowski" on my Gasparilla "Who I Saw" checklist. Speaking of which - I heard Zoly was there, but didn't see him. Never saw Vince Luongo. We already went over Roy, so that leaves Jose Gaspar, who I'll get to later, Jesus, whom I don't think I saw (Did anyone see Nowicki?), and Heath Ledger, who I guess is really dead, oh well.
Wow, this is getting very long. So anyhoo, while at this party, the "Nu" biker gang formed which was Owen and the Egolfs. This is where everything starts getting a bit hazy.
Many of us entered this vehicle that was half-cab; half-shuttle; half-van and it was supposed to take us to the Island. The dumbfuck got on the crosstown though, so we got caught up in some traffic after having to pass about 3 exists PASSED the one we wanted to get off on because, if memory serves me correctly, THERE WAS A GASPARILLA PARADE finishing up near the island and downtown. He then proceeded to drive us to the Marriot downtown, not the Island, and wouldn't drive us any further. I'm glad I spilled a beer back there. I hope he needs to reupholster is whole half-cab; half-shuttle; half-van like vehicle and it comes out of his pocket.
After hanging at the hotel for a bit, I had my Popeye moment of, "That's all I can stands, and I can't stands no more." So instead of waiting with everyone for another cab, I ran-walked from the Marriott downtown near the Ice Palace to Davis Island (and yes, I beat the cab people).
I'm going to finish the story here, even though it went on. Paul was in needing of passing out on my futon, and I ALMOST left my cooler bag at Yeoman's. I'll end it with this. Jose Gaspar came to me at about 5:00 AM. When he left, I felt much better though.