Saturday, July 17, 2010

Beach weirdness never stops

Warning: Two disgusting images ahead. Stop reading now if you don't want to see them.

Life at the beach moves at a slow pace, but it doesn't lack for weirdness. One of today's odder group conversations took place in the pool, as several of us discussed the enormous flap of skin hanging from Kyle's foot--a flap that until recently had been a callus. Kyle was (understandably, at least to men) rather proud of his huge callus and at various points offered these two observations:

My left foot has a big enough tongue to French kiss a woman.

Chicks dig the fleshy tongue.
Not long thereafter, as the topic turned toward dinner plans, Sarah offered this line:
I'm up for anything as long as Kyle's fleshy tongue isn't involved.
Speaking as her father, I have to support her position.

Just how big is this skin flap? I'm glad you asked. Check it out for yourself--and note that I did warn you above.

Later, for the very dinner we'd been discussing, we opted to try a place that had been good last year but that was suspiciously low on customers.

We won't be going back.

Many dishes motivated this decision, but none more than what my nephew, Chase, received when he persuaded the kitchen to bring him raw oysters.

After Chase received his glass of oyster sliminess, this exchange occurred:
Waitress: Is this what you expected?

Chase: No.
Seriously, no one expects the oyster goblet.

Remember: I did warn you.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The weirdest thing on the beach

is the home and art installation of a local outsider artist. I've gone there once before, about seven or eight years ago, and I finally decided it was time to risk the crazions and head back.

The experience left me awestruck, shaken, and more than a little disturbed--in ways both good and bad. Outsider art is like that, but this place particularly so.

I took a ton of pictures, but I'm going to share only two.

On the cool side is this bottle house.

Everything on her lot is that crowded. The place is fractally dense, with each thing a reflection of the same underlying art ethic/craziness.

On the darker, more disturbing side is this mock classroom.

As Kyle and I agreed, nothing in any horror film we've seen was as disturbing as this place.

I'm glad I went, but I'll be processing it for a long time, and I won't return soon.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Shopping oddities

One of the many beach traditions is to visit a store or two after lunch most days. The goal is less to shop than to revel in the strangeness that is the beach--though sometimes people do come home with new (and used) treasures.

Today's trip took us to Sugarbritches, a shop with namesake t-shirts that no one would wear. Drat. We did, however, get to see this disturbing donation box on the porch outside the store.

Do we really need a put-your-money-in-the-rhinestone-ass-slit box?

Apparently so.

Tomorrow, we hope to see the art installation from the woman who produced this piece. I've been to her roadside den of craziness before, but not in a long time. I'm looking forward to seeing it again.

Meanwhile, another store yielded this year's installment of Kyle's Pimp Style.

Alas, he did not buy the glasses.

Finally, back at the house, midway through a fierce game of Quiddler, folks decided it was time to eat the last Cheerwine donut. This one spurted when Kyle, who had decided he was perhaps too harsh on the pink-filled pastry the first time, cut into it, as you can see here.

As you might expect, Kyle decided that no, he had not been too harsh; the donut was indeed just that nasty.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

More beach images

I didn't grow up in the South--Florida doesn't count as a capital-S Southern state--but I've lived in North Carolina way longer than I've lived anywhere else. Despite all that time here, I'm sometimes still surprised by the things I see.

Like this.

Did we buy a box?

Oh, hell, yeah, we did. Wouldn't you?

Of course, purchasing the box wasn't enough. Oh, no: we also had to try it. None of us, however, was brave enough to eat a whole one, so four of us agreed to consume a fourth of a donut each.

Here's what confronted us when we quartered the beast.

As we each forced down our small pieces, there was much hacking up of furballs, hawking, and general complaining about the taste, which combined all the worst attributes of warmed-over yogurt, stale donut base, diluted cherry cough syrup, and road grit colored to resemble sprinkles.

I won't be buying another box.

If you're down this way, though, and craving a donut, come on by.

In lieu of a rainbox unicorn to erase the mental taste of the Cheerwine Krispy Kreme, here's Kyle waving a hearty hello from atop the purple elephant.

There, don't you feel better now?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The view from the upper deck of the beach house

In case you're wondering why most of these vacation blog entries are short.

The pool temperature is perfect. The hot tub under the stars is lovely and restful. The ocean is magnificent and at an ideal swimming temperature. I eat lunch every day at the same place, where the food is good and the owners are friends. I'm in a house full of family and friends. Some of us are heading off soon to see Predators--because now half an hour away is a real theater.

I could stay here for months.

I love this place.

I am a very lucky man.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Two images you're not likely to see elsewhere

A Southern beach town is a very special place. You see things in one that you're unlikely to see anywhere else.

Like these two photos, both of which show objects we saw while at dinner the other night.

I don't think the soft drink that this sign is advertising exists today, but if it did, I'd have to try it simply so I could say I did. I suspect, however, that few in our group share the impulse.

This tree, by contrast, inspired nearly all who saw it. Some called it the America Tree, others the Fourth of July tree, but most of us agreed that having one would be awesome.

If you've been wondering what to do with your artificial Christmas tree in the off season, now you know.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Want me to read and critique your story?

I don't normally provide those services, but at ReConStruction, the North American Science Fiction convention (NASFiC) in Raleigh in a few weeks, I'll be doing that for three writers as part of a writer's workshop in which I've agreed to participate. Oz Drummond, who ran a similar workshop at the WorldCon in Montreal last summer, explains some of the basics here. You can also get more information from this page on the NASFiC site.

As best I understand it, two published writers will sit down with three other writers and discuss the manuscripts of those folks. I'm leading a session with Tom Doyle, a writer I do not know. My plan is to run ours Milford-style, which is to say that each of us will take a turn critiquing the work of a person, and then that person will have a chance to comment. The whole process is supposed to fit in two hours, which should be doable if a tad tight.

So, if you're coming to the con--and if you're not, you should be--and you are seeking input on a work in progress, contact Oz and see about joining the workshop. I promise to be honest, and I'll do my best to be gentle.


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