Saturday, July 18, 2009

More normal views

While eating lunch today at a local cafe, I became taken by the multicolored ceiling fan, so I thought I'd share it with you. It's better in person, but you get the idea from this photo.

During that same lunch, a few folks observed that from the pictures I've posted thus far one might conclude we are anywhere, because I have shown no beach whatsoever.

So, to remedy that problem, please enjoy, in order, these shots, all from the second-floor, ocean-side, outside balcony, of the pool,

the beach straight ahead,

the beach from a forty-five-degree-left turn,

and the beach from a forty-five-degree-right turn.

I do love it here.

Friday, July 17, 2009

What is it about this beach and figurines?

I've been coming here for many, many years, and until now I'd never noticed any odd figurines. Yesterday, however, the horned one entered our lives, and now she/he/it is standing guard in random and varying places all over this beach house.

Today, while at the little restaurant we call The Squeeze, in honor of its frozen confection food products, we saw this amazing (and large, over 18 inches tall) figurine lurking behind a sign.

This dude is creepy. As best we can tell, he is ripping out his own tongue with his left hand, while his right is forever poised to hold an ice cream cone.

Having seen him, there was only one logical thing to do: I tried to buy him. I figured he could join Sarah's horned one in her dorm room. The two young women working in the shop were more than a bit amused by my fascination with this grotesque beast, but they said it was not, to the best of their knowledge, for sale. I asked after its origin, but they had no clue. I then requested that they ask the owner for the price for this strange gnome. They promised they would.

Lest you think we stop there only to abuse the staff, fear not: we bought soft-serve with strange colors (they advertise these stripes as flavors, but, really, they're just colors) swirled in them. This photo shows the strawberry next to the raspberry; you really can't tell them apart.

Of course we ate it all. It's the beach.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

You will obey

the figurine's every command, or it will vaporize you. As this photo clearly shows, it has the power, and it is not afraid to use it.

We found it at a thrift shop where we stopped to pass some time between lunch and the mid-afternoon Harry Potter show. Ah, the troubles of beach life. In my normal life, I cannot imagine so many spare minutes, but here, here there is more time. It is glorious.

Kyle found this treasure, showed it to me, and we agreed he had to give it to Sarah--thus demonstrating its satanic controlling power quickly.

Yes, that is a satan-red large Icee Kyle is drinking. The figurine's power knows no bounds.

Sarah has only just touched it and so is not yet happy to be under its thrall.

During the movie, it insisted on a clear view of the screen and the exits at all times.

Sarah was powerless to resist its commands.

By the time the movie was over, Sarah was, as you can see, the proud and happy owner of this demonic ceramic assemblage.

She could not resist.

None of us can.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

If you see an octopus inner tube

sitting on the post of a cheap beach shop--50% off everything! No gimmicks!--you have only one choice: Buy it.

So we did.

This is one big octopus, so inflating it was going to be a challenge. No problem: the beach shop has a compressor for just this purpose. So, ten minutes of compressor time later, all courtesy of a helpful young guy, and voila! We have an inflated octopus inner tube.

Inflated octopus inner tube, meet Prius. Prius, meet inflated octopus inner tube.

New problem: With four of us in the Prius, we couldn't put its back seats down, so we had to stow the octopus in the small rear cargo area--where it would not fit.

Problem solved: We drove all the way home with the rear hatch of the Prius sticking straight up into the air and Kyle and Gina holding tentacles from their back-seat positions.

As you can see in this first photo, we had a small tentacle overhang issue, but the Prius is a narrow little car, so we didn't worry too much about this particular problem. Only the drivers behind us suffered, and then only from excessive laughter.

The pedestrians to our right, however, had to deal with this view, which led to more than a few scratched heads and "WTF?" exclamations as we drove past.

Lest you think I'm exaggerating the size of this inflatable octopus, here's another pair of photos to give you a different sense of scale, this time courtesy of Kyle. This head-on view is nice, but the next one is the happy snap we all came to love.

You must admit that in this shot Kyle looks every bit the action star--intrepid, focused, and ready for any adventure that involves a pool.

We wanted him to change his Facebook status to

Kyle is...ready to ride the octopus!
but we're not sure if he did. We can but hope.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sad movie testimony

So far this trip, we've watched four movies, all of which we had at least some reason to believe might be decent (or better):

Attack Girls Swim Team Vs. the Undead
The Zombie Diaries

The middle two played in theaters all over the U.S. The first is, as you might expect, Japanese, and the last is British.

Of these, the best, and the only one I can in any way recommend, is Attack Girls. Though low-budget, nonsensical, and frequently offensive on multiple fronts, it nonetheless has a pulsing weird rhythm that at times leaves you saying "WTF?!?" in a mostly good way.

Pathfinder was dark and hard to follow and way too predictable, though its transformation at the end into a quasi/proto feminist statement was something we had actually believed so stupid that we were (incorrectly) sure the film would avoid it.

Zombie Diaries was simply dull, a Blair Witch zombie flick with little style or terror to redeem it.

Which leaves, of course, Twilight, easily the biggest hit of the group. I know a lot of people liked it a great deal, but really, it sucked. Pouty girl you can't like meets pouty boy who looks like a girl and who is also unlikeable. Everyone thinks they're hot. They end up together, their love too intense for words or even a kiss. Many people get hurt. Not for one second in this movie did I care at all for any of the characters or find it in any way interesting. The only things that kept me going were our group's constant moans and laughter and the (incorrect) belief that surely it couldn't be this bad.

I'm definitely hoping the next crop of DVDs will be better. I can blame only myself, however, because, amazingly, I own all of these. Yikes!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Potentially unsettling beach images

One of the beautiful things about going to a small and lightly populated North Carolina beach is that you see a lot of strange stuff. Though I haven't remembered to capture all of those images for you, I did snag a few.

As we were heading into our traditional first-day-at-the-beach restaurant, we spotted a rather large plastic crayfish standing along the walk. How large? Bigger than Jennie, as you can see in this photo in which she somewhat reluctantly agreed to pose to provide a size contrast.

On the way back from dinner, we stopped at the grocery store to pick up such staples as ice cream and frozen novelties. (I didn't know the term until that moment. Odd.) Earlier, Jennie and Dave had spotted a cheap red crab cake and an equally inexpensive green turtle cake.

Hey, I thought, we have a house full of dessert-loving Americans, and we certainly want to be kind to our crab and turtle friends! We need those cakes!

So, I bought them.

As you can see, they are somewhere between disturbing and disgusting. As to their taste, I think Sarah nailed it when she said something roughly like this: Take sugar. Cook it down. Coat it with sugar to form a block. Bake it. Add a lot of sugar as frosting with a little food color. Coat in sugar.

Needless to say, the cakes are not going quickly, but somewhat to my amazement, they are going.

In case you're wondering, yes, I tried one of the cakes, a one-inch-square piece of turtle, which I consumed late last night. I'm sure my teeth will stop hurting by tomorrow.
Lest you worry that I am eating only unhealthy desserts, at last night's dinner I and many others shared an appetizer the restaurant proudly called "Redneck eggrolls." The theory was that you take an eggroll shell, stuff it with collard greens, country ham, and shrimp, then fry it. I could not taste the ham or the shrimp, and I'm not a big fan of the formidable collard, so I was unimpressed by the experience.

Or, as Jennie said, "That's kind of nasty."

That said, the ingredients did include greens, so I'm sure it must have been good for me.
After lunch today, we stopped by a place we refer to as "The Squeeze," the very same place where I once posed as the dancing ice cream cone (another story, and, yes, there are pictures that you could talk me into posting) for some delicious and chemical-laden soft-serve dessert substance. (The FDA won't let anyone call it food.) Kyle and I chose by color, with him opting for dayglo green and me selecting the attractive molten orange.

Afterward, our tongues were, I'm told, strange and unsettling colors, but we forgot to take photos of them. That's probably best for all of us.
I leave you with this sign from the window of a beach shop. If you can read it clearly, then you will not see the humor in it. Suffice to say that from the road the word in blue read as "bowels", and we had to guess that somehow this particular sale involved a device that would better equip us all to handle the insane things we've been eating.

Even that benefit would not be enough, however, to entice me to let anyone transform my bowels into anything worthy of the description "cabana stripe." Ouch.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

How Kyle and I fared as fight predictors

As I promised, here's an analysis of how we did in choosing the victors of last night's UFC 100 fights.

Jon Fitch vs. Paulo Thiago: We called this one pretty well: Fitch beat Thiago, and it took three rounds, but the fight was more interesting and involved more interesting positions than we thought.

Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Alan Belcher: We blew this one, but it was a controversial decision. We both thought Belcher won, and to be fair to us, so did color commentator Joe Rogan. The split decision went to Akiyama, and there was definitely no ref stoppage.

Dan Henderson vs. Michael Bisping: We named the right winner, but the fight didn't go the way we expected. We said Henderson would take down Bisping repeatedly. Instead, Henderson stalked him, stayed on his feet with him, and ultimately knocked him out.

Georges St. Pierre vs. Thiago Alves: We again named the correct winner, but GSP could never finish Alves. GSP did frustrate Alves and dominate him, but Alves gets points for never backing down and never slowing.

Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir: Nailed it! Lesnar won in two rounds, and Mir emerged a bloody mess courtesy of Lesnar's insanely powerful ground and pound.

We believe Lesnar's next opponent should be a bear--or perhaps a pair of really good welterweights, which would weigh only a little more than he does.

Recap of our main card calls: 4-1, and the one should have gone our way had the judges been watching the same fight we did. Pretty darn good.

Now, the undercard, where we admitted to not knowing many of the fighters, and it showed.

Matt Grice vs. Shannon Gugerty: Kyle chose Grice for no good reason, and for even less reason, I chose Gugerty. I won, as Gugerty choked out Rice, but there was no skill involved in the choice, and even listed the wrong winner.

C.B. Dolloway vs. Tom Lawlor: We both chose Dolloway, and we were both wrong as Dolloway went to sleep courtesy of Lawlor's guillotine choke.

Dong-Hyun Kim vs. T.J. Grant: We were right to pick Dong, who dominated in manly fashion, but to the best of our knowledge, he never took Grant's back.

Jon Jones vs. Jake O'Brien: I called this one, as Jone submitted O'Brien in the second round. Kyle lost, probably because O'Brien couldn't take him down.

Mac Danzig vs. Jim Miller: Kyle's sour vegetarian failed him, and my choice of Miller proved to be correct. Kyle's theory is that Danzig needed more red meat. He says he will bet on a vegetarian again.

Mark Coleman vs. Stephan Bonnar: We were both terribly wrong, as Coleman won a decision over Bonnar. If Bonnar isn't on his way out of the UFC after this fight, something is very wrong.

Undercard recap: I went 4-2, and Kyle ended up a paltry and losing 2-4.

I may make this a regular feature, and with luck my dominance will continue. I would not, however, count on it.


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