Saturday, July 16, 2011

A perfect day at the beach

can be one in which nothing happens and nothing has to happen.

Including providing blog fodder.

Today is proving to be perfect.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Harry Potter at the beach

Last night, in preparation for today's journey to the theater, we re-watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1. I enjoyed it, as I had the first time, but I also realized yet again that as someone who had read only the first two books in the series, I did not possess all the background knowledge the movie seemed to assume.

Today's sequel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, probably assumed just as much but was so action-packed that I never felt the lack. The movie possessed many flaws, but overall it worked and provided an emotionally satisfying conclusion to the massive saga. A good half of the theater broke into applause at the ending.

The central issue with this film series is whether you're willing to take it on its own terms and buy into the way its universe works--a world in which death is not the ultimate ending, the foresight of some characters verges on the unbelievable, and bits of plot from many books earlier prove to play critical roles later. If you are, you'll love this final film. If you're not, stay home.

I gave myself over to the Harry Potter world, and so I greatly enjoyed this final film of it.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Oh, yeah, we're eating healthy

Time at the beach is all about health food. Consider today, for example. Five of us went to my favorite local lunch place, the one at which I eat the noonish meal every single day it is open. Our selections epitomized healthy beach eating.

(As always, click on a photo to see a larger image.)

Starting at the lower left, we have a roast beef sandwich with dill shrimp pasta salad; a slice of bacon quiche with a raspberry Danish; a grilled cheese sandwich with one of the world's tastiest and highest-calorie-count bran muffins; another order of the same; and another slice of bacon quiche, this time augmented by a cinnamon bun.

Next on our agenda was a trip to the grocery store to pick up some vegetables for a salad to accompany tonight's almost entirely meat dinner. While there, though, the shopping team encountered this awesome creation and knew--correctly--that it belonged in our beach house.

Is that a happy octopus cake, or what? The entirely icing tentacles provide a quick infusion of sugar to anyone who's worried that his or her blood sugar is approaching normal levels.

From there, we popped into the local bakery at which we'd recently purchased almost all of their cupcakes. We had hoped to buy homemade donuts--healthy breakfasts are a must here, also--but they were all out of donuts. They did, however, have several new flavors of cupcakes, so we bought all of them--all, that is, of the cupcakes they had in stock.

Hey, it's not like we were excessive; they had only 27 of them.

The mocha cappuccino cupcakes proved to be particular favorites.

Dinner continued the health-food trend, as we consumed vast quantities of cheeseburgers, hot dogs, flounder, and tuna that Bob, the chef of the little restaurant where we ate lunch, prepared for us. Folks in the house added salad, pasta salad, and gazpacho. The result was this spread.

Don't let the presence of salad lure you into believing you had to eat veggies to consume this meal. As this bowl of burgery goodness shows, that was simply not necessary.

Even the appearance of salad in a bowl did not guarantee health, as you can see in this sample.

Did I mention the giant chocolate cake, a beast standing five to six inches high and weighing enough to strain the table supporting it.

The bottle is there simply to provide a sense of scale; even we aren't demented enough to mix Bobcake with mustard.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Squeeze success

We ate lunch late, then drove into town for some shopping and to pass time. Ten minutes before the sole squeeze supplier on the beach was due to open, we were back and pulled into its parking lot.

(As always, click on a photo to see a larger image.)

The poster made clear that we had reached our goal. Even the ads standing on the table welcomed us to Squeeze-vana.

We had to wait--the machine was not yet clean and ready--but about 20 minutes later, the owner rewarded our patience.

Oddly, our group's flavor choices split along gender lines, an occurrence I do not expect will repeat. The women chose strawberry.

The men opted for black cherry.

All of us greatly enjoyed our Squeeze-alicious snacks.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Yes, Virginia, there is a Kyle

Several correspondents recently suggested that Kyle does not exist, that indeed I am the author of the Dr. Efficient love and sex advice columns under a strange sort of double nom de plume.

I'm here to tell you that these claims are balderdash, pure and simple. Kyle does exist. In fact, photos abound of the two of us standing together, something that simply could not happen were he a mere pseudonym. To prove the point, here's a recent photo from right here at the beach house, a picture of us standing together not long after a quite satisfying lunch.

(As always, click on a photo to see a larger image.)

I trust this photographic proof will put to rest once and for all these dastardly rumors.

In other news of the beach, today in a bizarre little consignment shop we found this demented bunny-cum-baby toy.

Though I'm sure cuteness was the goal, the consensus here was that this toy was simply creepy as hell.

Sarah refused to take it with her when she studies abroad in the fall. Italy's loss is also our loss.

On the other hand, the Earred One, who of course made the trip to the beach with us, has gained an acolyte.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Cupcakes and Mr. Buckets

After a good sandwich and a cup of cold strawberry soup at our usual lunch stop, we headed down the road a few blocks to check out a new bakery. Anything different here at the beach is instantly an entertainment, so we had to know just what freshly baked goodies could now be ours.

The answers appeared in the display cabinet in front of us: cupcakes and donuts. Sure, the shop also sold bread and baklava, but those were imported, and we sought only those items baked right here.

After a brief conference, all on hand agreed that we would have to sample the cupcakes, not the donuts, but then a dilemma presented itself: With five different types of cupcakes, which do you try?

That answer was easy: All of them. We walked out with thirty cupcakes, enough sugary goodness to wire both starting line-ups in an NFL championship game.

Another notable oddness in our day occurred later, courtesy of my nephews, Chase and Luke. As we were driving back from dinner, they regaled us with tales of a children's toy, Mr. Buckets. At first, we did not believe them, but then they told us about this commercial, and we had to accept that this demented toy had indeed existed.

What meth addict toy designer managed to persuade his or her bosses that it was a good idea not only to build this toy but also to create a commercial extolling you to put your balls in his top so they could pop out his mouth?

We're now considering buying one off eBay for the beach house.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The search for Squeeze

I have a bad habit of making up odd names for things. Some years ago, we discovered here at the beach a small shop that sold Flavor Burst ice cream, which is basically soft-serve ice cream with jets of colored flavoring injected into it in lovely swirls. This particular shop had a huge machine, maybe a pair of them, that offered more than a dozen different flavors. We left the beach that year having consumed vast quantities of this tasty treat.

The next year, we returned full of anticipation for the same brightly colored swirls--and found the shop had closed.

Fortunately, the machine that made the ice cream popped up at a small restaurant called Softee Freeze, the very same place where I purchased Mr. Creepy Cone and first wore the Cone Man suit. Rather quickly, due to the bad habit I mentioned above, first the shop and then the concoction itself came to be known as Squeeze.

Last year, we once again arrived here ready to eat some Squeeze--and the Squeeze had closed.

This time, the machine appeared to split in half, each offering only a few flavors. We found one at a local putt-putt place, and the other half an hour away in what passes for the big town hereabouts.

After lunch today, we decided it was time to enjoy some coolicious Squeeze. We pointed the Prius at the putt-putt shop, only to learn it did not open until 4:00. Not to be deterred, we headed into town--and that remote Squeezepost had also closed.

We would not give up. We set out on Squeeze-quest 2011. We drove the length and breadth of both the town and the beach, but to no avail. As we hunted, research on the InterWebs confirmed that we could indeed purchase our very own Squeezebox for a mere $6K, a price that began to look more and more reasonable as we drove by one strange little business after another. In the end, though, we had to settle for soft-serve and the hope of late one afternoon finally realizing our Squeeze-alicious dreams.

We can only pray that next year, the Squeeze is still here.


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