Friday, March 24, 2006

costa rica March 22-29, 2006

Lightening strikes and the journey gets off to a bit of a rocky start.
My flight out of BRO is delayed due to an apparent lightening strike on the HOU to BRO run -- causing the mechanics much consternation.... for well over an hour past the scheduled departure time.

There is only one flight to Liberia airport today, and it is going to take off without me.
Nothing to be done but weigh my options - 1) spend the night in Houston 2) give up and go home or 3)grab a seat on a later flight to San Jose (still in the Costa Rica but not anywhere near where I am expected) and take it on faith that the contest organizers will be able to formulate a plan for me by the time I arrive.

I call Kirk and Walter who are both already in Houston and expecting me to arrive in time for the flight we were all supposed to be on to Liberia. I tell them what I have done and Kirk expresses dismay -- his grasp of geography is less fuzzy than mine and he says San Jose is a 4-5 hour drive from the beach -- and has something of a reputation as being not the safest of areas.

Nevertheless, I forge ahead with my plan, initiating a last-minute baggage re-tag and catch the 6 PM flight to San Jose. The flight is full but I still manage to score an elite upgrade and gratefully sink into a first class seat for the 3.5 hour flight. A good omen, I think. Kirk has already emailed the event organizers from Houston and I do the same to make sure they know when and where I will arrive and after that can only hope someone will be there to meet me with instructions -- I have no phone number or backup plan.

After waiting in line for nearly 45 minutes to talk to immigration, I collect my luggage - which has miraculously arrived in the same location as me - and step into a mad chaotic throng. Lots of pushing and shoving and taxi offers and my hopes begin to dim but one determined young man has pushed to the front with a hand-lettered sign that reads "Lucinga Wieringa." I have never been so happy to see my name misspelled!

So three guys in San Jose - one of whom is a friend of the boyfriend of Yumi who is one of the organizer's - have somehow been persuaded to spend their evening making the airport run to pick me up and take me to the Hostel Alchemist in the heart of San Jose. The hostel, newly opened in a large old house, is in fact so new that it is empty. Plenty of room at the inn. It turns out that one of the guys who has picked me up is the owner of the hostel who is understandingly glum about its current state of emptiness. I learn this from chatting with the third gentleman who happens to be the only other tenant - a Dutch student here working with a human rights group as I understand it. Okor (?) is fluent in Spanish and speaks English like a native which is a very good thing as the other two gentlemen speak English about as well as I speak Spanish.

We chat this way for a while and eventually I ask if the hostel has a website so that I can mention/link to it in my blog and say nice things and, as it turns out, there is sadly no website yet - so expensive! and suddenly I can see a way to show my appreciation for their efforts on my behalf. With Okor's assist I plug my laptop into their router, login to my godaddy account and perform a quick domain name search and someday soon I and the other future residents will be able to link our blog entries to

I am assigned a room, issued a set of sheets and say buenos noches to my hosts. Early in the morning they will take me to the bus station and by early afternoon I will be in Coco with my sweetie.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Costa Rica Bound

Amazin' Walter and I are heading south for a week, leaving the kids in charge. (Christy the Clown will be doing SoB duty while my nephew Dylan and his gf Holly are taking care of things here at Fort Feet.)

If I can get online I will post some updates from there - we hear the sand is _really good there! but in the meantime we would like to bid a fond adieu to Charlie Fincher's "Illustrated Daily Scribble." It was a daily stop on my net wanderings and I will miss it. I know that some (most?) of my regular readers don't agree with my political leanings, but it seems to me that Charlie's final scribble really does hit the nail on the head....take a look.

I just may have to get a t-shirt made from this one.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

stupid water district

I received my bill from the Laguna Madre Water District on March 20th.
The bill states it will be past due - with a fine of just under $4 added to the bill - if not paid by March 23.

How do they continue to get away with this scam?

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Pondering exploding sandsculpture

Well, I have heard a fair amount of feedback on Sunday night's airing of "Sand Blasters." Just today the gentleman who stocks the shelves at the Blue Marlin rushed over to shake my hand and tell me he had really enjoyed the show, even if it was kind of strange that they blew everything up. And the husband/dad of the young family to whom I gave a sandcastle lessons exclaimed, "We watched that show! It was fantastic! But why did they have to blow the sculptures up??!!"

I totally understand the dismay -- when you work as hard as I and my fellow sculptors have done to understand why sand stands and how to make it stand even taller and longer so you can carve it prettier, blowing sculptures up intentionally seems more than just a little bit... demented.

But I have been thinking about this stuff ever since we filmed the thing back in December and I think I understand why any serious delving into the crazy world of serious sandsculpting has to end in explosions or fireworks or crash landings or elephant stompings or something like that. And it's not just because people who spend large swaths of time creating sandsculptures are a little... okay, demented.

I have often said (and have written more often still) that a sandsculpture's temporary nature is a large part of its charm. They all crumble eventually, and watching them erode slowly and gracefully in nature is a poetic and life-enhancing experience--

But WHO HAS THE TIME FOR IT? Most of us don't. We want to see the tide or an explosive charge take it out. Give us that cathartic rush!

I hear that the show got pretty good ratings and there is already talk of another episode - perhaps to be shot in Hawaii. Of course people ask, "would you do it again?" and of course my answer is "you better believe it !" and "pleasepleaseplease let me push the plunger this time!"

Monday, March 13, 2006

Golden Gal Birthday Parde

Nancy Marsden is celebrating her 50th year on this planet and everything is coming up golden. In this photo she is being toasted (with gold champagne) by Sam and Lori Wells. The food? That was gold, too of course.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Exploding Sand Sculpture!

Tomorrow night.
Travel Channel
6 & 10 PM

follow the link to an extremely cool teaser video

(thanks, Jill!)


Friday, March 10, 2006

Thanks Fred

Alderman Fred has thrown a bone to those of us who like to ride bikes with this agenda item for next Wednesday's meeting:

Discussion and action regarding designating bicycle lanes in both directions on padre boulevard to be marked and signed per TxDot requirements as part of the median project, as well as getting a cost estimate to continue the breakdown lanes as designated Bicycle lanes to the northern and southern city limits of Padre Blvd where the minimum breakdown lane width is available.

As I understand it, all this really does is officially bless the status quo by marking the breakdown lanes as places where bicycles are allowed -- but apparently there is some opposition to this idea. If you think it is a good one you might let your alderpeople hear from you. (If you think is a bad idea, well, kindly keep your opinion to yourself ;-)

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

"Who's Your Padre?"

So what does everyone think of the town's new marketing slogan?

I read somewhere that the hope is that "Padre" will somehow magically become synonymous with "South Padre" in people's minds as a result of this new ad campaign. I'm not sure I understand the thought processes that reached that conclusion, but never mind...

Where does "Who's your daddy?" come from, anyway? I remember it from that old Zombies tune "Time of the Season" when the singer says "What's your name? Who's your daddy? Is he rich like me?" Always kind of liked that song.

According to a 2005 article in the Washington Post, "while the phrase has innocent overtones... its most direct and historic meaning has been sexual. The origins of the full phrase are obscure, but the slang use of "daddy" has long been associated with prostitution. According to the Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, the oldest usage dates to 1681, when the speakers were hookers who used the phrase in reference to their pimps or to an older male customer.

In old blues songs, dating to at least 1909, "daddy" is slang for pimp. The title of another number, from1926, spelled it out a little further: "How Can I Be Your Sweet Mama When You're Daddy to Someone Else?" Later on, the term was generalized in African American speech to mean any male lover, and had variants, such as "sugar daddy," that survive to this day, according to the slang dictionary."

Well then. So much for being a "family destination."

Anyway, I know who my padre is -- and I sure am glad he is back on Padre!

Update: this from Alderman Jim Hoff

Hi Sandy,
I am not a registered blogger yet so I'll respond to the thread on the blog here.
The "Who's your padre?" campaign is the Spring Break campaign ($70,000 budget) to be run only a couple weeks.
The slogan „Be Yourself In a Place You Really Want To Be,‰ is the major promotion ($900,000 budget) for the Island, directed at families which will run for a long time.

That one doesn't flip my switch either but I don't need any convincing this is a great place to be.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

DadFeets is on his way!

Just got the call from Momfeets that Dad is 10 hours out and should be arriving on the Island late tonight.... hooray!

Follow the link to see the sandcastle he built in MS.


sandblasters teaser

Yup, I said it.


Sunday, March 05, 2006

"Isla Blanca Park deal came in under the radar"

Author Ben Christensen is a columnist for The Brownsville Herald and served as a Marine infantry sergeant in Iraq. He is currently a high school English teacher in Los Fresnos. He can be reached at


Sandblasters on the Travel Channel

Your humble webwiz plus 15 other sand sculptors are featured in this "blow-em-up" sandcastle contest reality show. Travel Channel - 6 pm Texas Time next Sunday March 12. Lori Brass has seen the teaser which reportedly ends with yours truly solemnly intoning "I will be utterly devastated if they blow this thing up."

Did I really say that??!!!?


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

BOA Meeting 3/1/06

It was standing room only as the Winter Texans and the surfers descended upon the convention centre to hear what Doyle Wells had to say about the Isla Blanca Park plan. Nothing really new here and anyway you can read it in the papers tomorrow.

As the board tried to move on to the next agenda item, the big crowd made a prolonged and noisy mass exodus. I guess they figured the rest of the agenda items would just sort of sort themselves out. I wonder about that. If you are already there, why not stick around and see what other mischief might be afoot? It seems like all you have to do to look concerned is put on a t-shirt and show up for a few minutes to grumble about your pet issue.

The Mayor Pro Tem appeared to be in a mighty hurry to get somewhere else and didn't give folks much of a chance to speak their minds. I waited quite patiently with my hand up to address the beach walkover at Sapphire issue - as a member of the beach and dune task force who had voted to making a recommendation that the BOA was about to ignore, I felt I had a right to participate -- but I was completely ignored.

Makes me wonder why we spend our time participating in the town committees if the BOA is going to just run roughshod over our recommendations. I have better ways to spend my time, I reckon.

Maybe all those people who left early are smarter than me, after all.

Farewell Terry Casey

Terry Casey, brother of Kelly Casey (namesake and former owner of Kelly's Irish Pub) passed away unexpectedly this past week. Terry was most recently employed at Ben's Liquors. According to Kelly, he likely had a massive heart attack while lying on his bed reading a book, giving us hope that his passing was quick and painless.

I saw Terry walk past my house just a few days back and nearly walked over to the door to say howdy as he passed by. I sure wish i had now.

The wake is scheduled for 5 PM at Jakes on Thursday, March 2. If anyone has a good photo of Terry please e-mail it t me - thanks.

Cameron County Parks Mission Statement

You know those ubiquitous web site mission statements that too many of my clients want added to their sites but that hardly anyone bothers to read? Well, intrepid reporter Nancy has located one of interest to anyone watching the goings on at Isla Blanca Park:

The Cameron County Parks System Mission is “To provide safe, quality outdoor recreation opportunities to the citizens and visitors of Cameron County at an affordable price and to develop and protect the County’s coastal resources and natural habitats.”

I would like to see plans for the outdoor casino, aquarium and imax theater.