Monday, February 26, 2007

Let's Have a Blast at Louie's!

This coming Sunday - March 4 - Sand Blasters 2007: The Extreme Sand Sculpting Championship is premiering from 7-9 PM. I talked it over with Dan and Joe at Louie’s and they said I could invite all my friends to come watch it with me in the upstairs bar. Now, it is going to be really embarrassing if only three or four people show up. So please. If you have any interest at all in watching Team Trowel and Error’s sculptures get blown to smithereens, come join me at Louie’s and see just how silly the show’s editors can make me look.

7 PM!
Be there!

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Shack-Warming Party

As you may or may not have noticed, I have been a bit remiss in my blogging duties as of late. I have a pretty good excuse as I have been trying to get used to the fit of my newest hat --

Welcome to the era of sandy feet: innkeeper.

Last week I closed on the other half of my beach house. Fred Mallett - former SPI resident and alderman spent two years gutting the upstairs apartment and renovating it into a fairly awesome space which he never even got to enjoy before moving on to the greener pastures that are Port Aransas.

Well now “The SandBox Inn” is mine. All mine! (Well, actually I am in partnership with a lender -- a lender that wants a very big chunk of money each and every month. And let’s not forget Mom & Dad Feets, whose support was way more than.... just moral.) And I am busy putting my own imprint upon it - Nancy Marsden has dubbed it “Beach Shack Chic” and I am pretty sure it is the only rental on the island which offers a pool table, an upright piano, a sandbox and a bidet....

Anyway, I am doing short term rentals and invite you to stop by the website at if you or someone you know is looking for a truly unique place to stay on South Padre Island. And then you are also invited to see the place first hand at the “Shack-Warming Party” I am hosting this Friday, Feb. 23 upstairs at 117 E. Saturn starting at 5 PM.

Everyone is invited and if you are even a little bit curious about what it is like up there I would encourage you to drop by and see it for yourself. Do not feel obligated to bring anything at all* -- just come and see what I’ve been up to.

Here it is again:
117 E. Saturn Lane
Friday, Feb. 23, starting at 5 PM

Hope to see you there!

*but if you would like to, I sure could use some plants. Cuttings. Seeds. Whatever you have plenty of.


Saturday, February 17, 2007

sandy feet on YouTube

This was a job I did last summer at a Boston area children's hospital.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Take your Dog to Lunch at the K9 Cafe

Open Only One Day per Year -- and Saturday is it!
Chefette Nanette is cooking up all kinds of good stuff for the Isle-Ditter-Dog fund raiser for the humane society. Be sure to stop by and tip generously -- all the money goes to the animal shelter.
You don't have to go all the way to Paris to take your dog to lunch!

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Valentines Day Sand Sculpture (?)

Way back in the day when Arnold Samuelson of the Island Times would bend his considerable energies toward getting Amazin’ and myself to build a hearts and flowers castle during “Give Your Sweetheart the Island” weekend. (Whatever happened to that promotion, anyway? Guess it went the way of “Pirate Days”...) Sometimes there was a small budget; sometimes just a tip jar but as long as the weather was nice it was something I enjoyed. (The photo is from VDay 1994 - that's a much younger me with Dad Feets and my nephew Dylan - now a junior iat Columbia.)

This time of year, I almost always get asked if I am going to carve something on Valentines Day, and it always seems like a great idea -- until other (paying) jobs pop up or the weather decides not to cooperate.

This year I actually have been offered a paying job - carving the logo of local real estate agent Rhonda Overton over at Wanna Wanna on V-Day. When we first discussed this plan, Lyin’ Bryan the weather guy was promising spring-like temperatures and sunny skies and I thought it might be fun spending the whole day and putting a sweetheart message on the other side of the sculpture.

Now it is looking like it could be cold and wet and while I will still build if Rhonda wants me too, I find it highly unlikely that I will want to spend one more minute than necessary up to my elbows in wet sand. Darnit.

What a weird winter it has been. Enough of the cold, wet stuff already!!!!

Update: Rhonda has decided to postpone our project until we get some better weather -- I am a bit relieved.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Getting Ready for Turtle Days!

Christy McDonald (the island's own "Betsy Ross") and Nancy Marsden ("Turtle Days" project manager) show off the new flag that will fly during "Turtle Days" 2007.

Yes, it is blurry! The flag's official unfurling is scheduled for 10 AM Friday, Feb. 16 at the SPI Visitors Center. Local dignitaries expected to attend will include Mayor Bob Pinkerton and the reigning Queen and King Sargassum (JoAnn Evans and Gary Rupp). Jeff and Lucy from Seaturtle Inc. are also expected to say a few words, and the Saturn Street Strummers will perform "The Unlitter Song" with a brand new verse honoring sea turtles.

Turtle Days begin when the first nest is found and end when the last hatchling swims away (roughly late spring to early fall.) Lots more Turtle Days activities are in the works - stay tuned!

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Thursday, February 08, 2007


I just received word that longtime SPI resident and business owner Joe Furcron passed away this morning. He will be missed by all - please join me in sending condolences to the family and employees over at Furcron Realty.

Zannie - half of Beyond Violet - is blogging her recovery from multiple cancers. Beyond Violet is a musical duo that entertained South Padre Island and developed a loyal local following a few years back.

Former SPI Alderman Fred Mallett - who relocated to Port Aransas a few months back - is getting ready to head up to Mass. to be with his mother who is also fighting cancer. You might send a prayer or good vibes his way if you are so inclined. His e-mail address is still fred at

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Sand Castle Explosions - Sand Blasters

Oh it is so exciting! Both of my sculptures get blown up in this teaser!

More Sand Blasters videos here

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Get Ready for Sand Blasters 2007!

Mark March 4 on your calendar -- It is the debut of the newest episode of Sand Blasters: The Extreme Sand Sculpting Championship - the sand castle contest that is really a "blast!" Sand will fly and you can watch Team "Trowel and Error" - SPI's own sandy feet and her partner Kirk Rademaker - square off against 14 of the world's best sand sculptors.

I will be talking to Dan over at Louie's to see if we can get him to put it on the big TVs over there so we can have a Sand Blaster party - will be back to you with more info.

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Saturday, February 03, 2007

Progressive Texas

Well knock me over with a feather....

HOUSTON, Feb. 2 — Texas on Friday became the first state to require all 11- and 12-year-old girls entering the sixth grade to be vaccinated against a sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer.

Yay, Texas!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Law of Unintended Consequences

From Wikipedia:

The Law of Unintended Consequences is not a law in the strict scientific sense, but it is often quoted to encapsulate the idea that almost all human actions have at least one unintended consequence. In other words, each cause has more than one effect, including unforeseen effects.

Unintended consequences can be classed into roughly three types:
• a positive unexpected benefit, usually referred to as serendipity or a windfall
• a potential source of problems, according to Murphy's law used in Systems engineering
• a negative or a perverse effect, which is the opposite result of what is intended

This "law" was much on my mind at yesterday's emergency workshop regarding our rapidly eroding beach (see La Quinta) and possible courses of action regarding same.

Turnout was high. Rightly so as this is a disaster unfolding that could have far-reaching consequences for everyone who lives on or near or even just has a fondness for South Padre Island. The beach - particularly on the north end of town - has been eroding for a long time and while winter storms often take away broad swaths of beach, no one recalls ever seeing it this bad. Valuable property is disappearing and expensive homes and resorts are at risk. The upcoming dredging of the channel will do us no good as there are no funds for piping that material - tantalizingly close as it may be - to the beaches that really really need it.

(Note to all those who wrote impassioned comments on why affordable housing is so evil, i.e. because it takes money out of one person's pocket to benefit another: I expect you will feel equally impassioned about using tax dollars - in the form of grants, etc. - to save the collective asses of people who are rich enough to live on or near the beach -- but this is not an area I really care to delve into with this post.)

It was good to see so many movers and shakers show up to discuss this and I sure would have liked to see even a little bit of that enthusiasm just a couple months back when Sam, Nancy and I were trying to pull together a Christmas tree dune-building session. Of course maybe a handful of Christmas trees (though it could have been a lot more than that had the entire valley been enlisted) and some hay bales might not have saved the La Quinta's boardwalk -- but now we will never know, will we?

And it was interesting to see developers who all too recently successfully petitioned the BOA to have the HBL (Historic Building Line) moved seaward so that they could build even closer to the water on a beach that everyone already knew was eroding getting all huffy about what they perceived as insufficient sympathy being shown by the Army Corps of Engineers at their current plight.

And I couldn't help but wonder how many folks who are now aghast at the budget cuts that led to this sad situation voted for and cheered on the Republicans (at both the state and federal levels of government) who cut taxes which used to fund these kinds of programs. Or support a president who led us into a disastrous war that is eating up some $4.5 billion each and every month.

And don't even get me started on "global climate change."

To all you anonymice who are thinking this just might be the blog post to make you register with google just so you can tell me again what a "piece of work" I am and why don't I just "shut up and mind (my) own business," well... hold on a cotton-picking minute. I fully realize that these endangered entities provide a huge tax base that pay for our roads, our schools, our new municipal center and all kinds of good things. I am not suggesting that they are in any way getting what they deserve. The situation at La Quinta truly horrifies me and I think we need to pull together as a community and do what we can to save these endangered properties.

What concerns me is that law I cited at the beginning of this post. I hate hearing serious talk of geo-tubes and other "hard" forms of dune protection. (See what this study - funded by the Texas Coastal Management Program - has to say about them.... talk about unintended consequences!) Even the discussion of using off-shore sand concerns me. I spend a lot of time with SPI sand and am here to tell you that it is pretty special stuff. What happens if we dump a bunch of sand with different composition and/or different sized grains on our beaches? Maybe the only unfortunate consequence will be that you can't build wonderful sandcastles with it any more. That would be bad enough - more so for some of us than others. But what if it has other - more disastrous consequences? Some studies suggest such a program can mess with the wildlife and even increase erosion.

Before we jump on the offshore sand-mining bandwagon, I think we need to carefully and fully review any and all options available to us. Just a few minutes surfing on google led me to case studies of beach communities that are exploring artificial reef creation as a means of protecting and building up eroding beaches -- with the additional recreational benefits of attracting fish and improving surf (as in, make the local surfers very happy.) Serendipity indeed!

The most interesting short-term solution we heard came from Clayton Brashear, who suggested we look into the possibility of moving sand from the right of way at the end of Highway 100. I have been thinking about that idea for a few hours now and the only unfortunate consequence I can think of so far is that it could make it easier for everyone to access the Clothing Optional Beach -- which could quite possibly speed up the end of nekkid frolicking on the beach as we now know and enjoy it.


Update: I am going to start adding interesting links.
Shifting Sands (thanks, Nancy!)
The Island Breeze report of the workshop
Texas' Sinking Coast

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