Wednesday, November 28, 2007

the witnesses are here to save our souls

They will soon learn there are precious few souls to save here at the moment. They hit me in front of the Stripes this morning while I was walking my dog - a fresh-faced young thing waving a copy of the Watchtower. Watch for a rust-colored thing that looks like a PT Cruiser but isn't....

See what else Peach and I saw on our walk this morning...

Someone needs to tell the Coast Guard to come pick up their property at beach access #16.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Is this my Daemon?

You tell me!
You have twelve days to answer five questions about me that can affect what my final daemon turns out to be (I started as a lion and have since changed to a tiger and then a wolf.)


Monday, November 19, 2007

Negative Negative Negative!

The current hot topic on the South Padre Island Forum (SPIF) regarding the Comprehensive Plan Advisory committee - of which I am a member - is good for a few laughs. The Nattering Nabobs of Negativity are already attempting to poison the baby before they throw her out with the bath water by moaning about how the committee failed to use the vaguely-worded, silly vision statement they were handed some 1.5 years ago. Nevermind that the bulk of the document -- and it is indeed bulky -- fully supports and enhances the earlier work completed on this project by the focus groups in which many of the members of CPAC participated.

What they won’t tell you is that the two loudest voices on that thread belong to members of the BOA that appointed the members of CPAC. If they don’t like what we are doing, they - as much as anyone - are to blame. But since neither one of them has been to a meeting in a very long time -- if ever -- I think they have a lot of gall attacking us and the work we have done. (One of them [“Islander”] has even gone so far as to say in anther thread that residents’ opinions about town policies don’t count. Perhaps he thinks that tourists should be writing our Comprehensive Plan for us as well?!?)

I am also disheartened by the threats of certain CPAC members to quit before the job is done. Some are unhappy with the work of our newly-hired facilitator though we have had only one session with him. The chapter we are currently working on - Land Use - is maybe the most important one in the plan and we really need the input of all the members as well as the community at large on this one. It is o so easy to spend your Tues. evenings in front of the boob tube while complaining about the crappy job we are doing, isn’t it? And I sure can think of things I’d rather be doing as well but we are close to the end on this thing so let’s just stick to it and get it done, hey?

For the record, I like the idea of letting the voters approve or disapprove the plan by putting it on May’s ballot. Good idea, Lori!

p.s. Sam has written a pretty funny post on this subject that you should also read if you haven't already.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Utterly Powerless

July - I get a call from Commerce Energy where a smooth-talking salesman convinces me to change my electric service from TXU. I have two electric bills - one upstairs and one downstairs. I am assured the change will be seamless.

I am such an idiot.

Aug. - The change occurs. I experience no loss of service, but for some reason I only get one bill - for the upstairs unit. I can’t pay the downstairs bill online because I don’t have the account number. Because I never received a bill. Even though I signed up both units at the same time with the same mailing address and contact info. Concerned, I call Commerce but after waiting for over an hour to talk to someone on their jammed phone lines, I give up. I write an e-mail asking for someone to please contact me with my account number so that I can pay the other bill.

Sept. - I am in Dallas working on a sandsculpture at the Texas State Fair. Someone claiming to be the owner of the Commerce Energy calls me on my cellphone, apologizes profusely and tells me he has things all straightened out. He gives me my account number which I write down on a small piece of paper while I am driving in Dallas and tells me a bill will be in the mail. And then he assures me that they would never disconnect without attempting to get ahold of me.

I promptly lose the little piece of paper.
I am not overly concerned because the owner of the company has called and told me that everything has been worked out and that they won’t disconnect without contacting me.

Oct. The bill for the upstairs arrives but, again, there is no bill for the downstairs. Alarmed, I try calling Commerce. After waiting for half an hour to talk to a human being I give up.

Nov. 14 My downstairs lights go dark. I call Commerce - just a little bit distraught. Amazingly enough, I don’t have to wait. The first guy can;t find any record of my existence. I get even more distraught. He hangs up on me. Next time I get Denise who is sympathetic and is able to find me in the system. After about half an hour we are able to ascertain that two bills - both addressed to me at 117 E. Saturn instead of P.O. Box 2694 - have been returned by the SPI post office as undeliverable. When I ask why no one tried calling me, I am told that they tried to reach me at my office phone number but either no one answered or my ex-husband answered and said he would convey the message. Or something. Whatever -- I never got a call or a message from anyone ex-husbandlike and there is no explanation for why no one tried me on my cellphone - which is the way they were able to contact me back in Sept.

So I use my Mastercard to pay two months worth of electric bills plus an additional $54 fee for quick re-connect which only maybe will get me turned back on within the next 24-72 hours. Which pisses me off even more because I can’t figure out how it is MY fault that they didn’t send the bill to the mailing address that I provided them when I made the switch.

15 minutes ago - I drive over to the SPI post office to give whomever will listen to me a piece of my mind. Poor Gilbert. He is a really nice guy and I know it isn’t his fault but somebody has to hear me vent and tag he is it. He suggests I need to talk to someone named Tony Gracia at 943-2212.

I am mad as hell that mail addressed to me at my home address gets sent back as undeliverable. I am mad as hell that the people working at the post office cannot be bothered to connect the dots when something really important - like an electric bill - shows up addressed to a street address. I am mad as hell that Commerce - which had both my cell phone and email address as well as my office phone number and my P.O. Box number which they had been sending my other bill to - didn’t try a little harder to contact me and tell me how much I owed and how to pay it before cutting me off.

And everyone on the Island who depends on the SPI Post Office to deliver important things like electric bills should be nervous -- because if it happened to me, it could happen to you, too. So maybe if all of us call Tony, something will finally get done.

Art show/sale at the Sandbox

Tomorrow (Thursday, Nov. 15) from 2-6 and later maybe if we feel like it.

Several local artists employing a variety of interesting media will be set up in the backyard (if weather permits - upstairs if it doesn’t.) We will have snacks and music (yo, strummers!) and fun will be had regardless of whether any money changes hands (though we do certainly hope some of that will happen as well.)

I have been trying to get some little sand things done in time for the show (see the new display shelves Kirk and I built?) but am hoping to score a few custom orders as I am getting better at customization. I also am just starting to experiment with carving styrofoam that can be made to look like sand but will keep standing through wind and rain. (While I was on the secret garden tour I kept seeing all these great spots for permanent sandsculptures....)

Anyway, hope everyone reading this who can will tray and stop by, if only for a bit of holiday cheer and moral support. :)

the war comes home for the holidays

I have been corresponding with a member of the armed services currently serving in Iraq. He will be home on leave in Dec. and initially wrote to set up a sandcastle lesson for himself and his family while they are vacationing in the area.

I told him that I would be happy to accommodate him. I also told him that I would not accept payment for this as I feel that all of us here on the home-front owe our soldiers and this was my small way of trying to pay my share. Then I added:

“I am very troubled by the war in Iraq -- but that in no way diminishes
the great respect and gratitude I feel to people such as yourself. It
must be so hard to be away from your loved ones under these

We will have a great time building sandcastles. Guaranteed.
-- Lucinda”

I didn’t hear right back from him and hoped that I had not offended. Then last night I got this:

“As Soldiers we are limited on the amount of criticism we can direct
towards our leaders but suffice it to say that you are not alone in your
feelings. Hopefully upcoming elections will improve the situation.”

When John McCain says on the Daily Show that he has talked to a lot of soldiers serving in Iraq and that they are 100% behind this administration on this war, you had better not believe him.

And when the brave men and women allegedly fighting for our freedom do not feel free themselves to express their viewpoints, there is something very wrong.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Goodbye SPIF

For several months I have participated in and even promoted Jason Yetter’s South Padre Island Forum -- but today the links come down. It was a great idea, and I do not fault the host -- but the forum is now being dominated by a cabal of angry, nasty people who write recklessly under false identities and thus feel free to ignore the rules of civil discourse, shouting down and ridiculing anyone who doesn’t agree with them.

The sad part is that I do agree with them on many issues involving the town’s future, but they destroy their own credibility and are alienating people like me with their faceless anger.

The current hot topic - about how to get a monster flag flying at the end of the causeway - is the one that is pushing me over the edge. These days our constitution and the separation of powers is under siege; our brave service men and women are fighting and dying in a senseless war based on a pack of lies; and a land that once upon a time proudly took the moral high ground is busy debating the finer points of interrogation techniques that can only be described as torture.

And here we are arguing about how big a flag we can fly to impress tourists with our patriotic fervor.

This feels incredibly obscene to me and I will no longer participate in it.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

unsolicited testimonial

Last year I invested in a mail-order Christmas tree and it turned out so well I have already ordered one for this year.

It was a fraser fir, perfectly shaped and so fresh that it never dropped a single needle throughout the holidays -- and beyond. In fact, it was so lovely and fragrant that I kept it in my living room well into Feb., long after the ornaments had been removed and packed back into storage.

After that, the tree was relocated to the sandbox, where it slowly changed from green to a rich rusty red. The fragrance changed as well, becoming stronger and muskier and surrounding my hot tub with wonderful memories of Christmases past. By mid-summer the tree was finally starting to lose needles, so we packed it into the truck for a final trip up the road -- where it starred as the grand finale of a full moon beach bonfire party.

You too can have the best Christmas tree you ever imagined delivered to your front door for $100 or less. This is where I bought mine.



Monday, November 05, 2007

music festival thoughts

I just had one of the best vacation weekends I have experienced. Ever. And I experienced it right here - practically, literally in my backyard. (Yes, I sometimes think of Blackbeards as an extension of my yard. Just two doors down -- it is almost too convenient.)

The music festival was incredible. Kudos to the town and the promo company who pulled this thing off. Many thanks to the local businesses that supported it on so many levels. Muchos gracias to the powers that be for giving us the longest stretch of perfect days weatherwise I can recall in -- maybe years.

The island seemed busy - how much of that can be attributed to the music festival, I don’t know. Were there enough ticket sales for the festival to at least break even? I suspect not but have no way of knowing. Will we do it again next year? I sure hope so!!!

Here are my observations on what I found most appealing about this festival and how it could be made even better. While I was enthused about the level of talent placed on the big stages (at Louie’s & Schlitterbahn) - my favorite shows were at the smaller venues (Blackbeards & Wanna Wanna in particular - they are both really close to my backyard. And Pelican West turned out to be a great nighttime venue.) I thought the big stages were -- too big. The artist was too far away, the sound was muddy and too loud and many acts that performed on them did not draw enough spectators to warrant the space, making it hard to generate the crowd energy that separates a good show from a great one. I first caught Patrice Pike with her sister Joy Davis at ‘Beards and was blown away by her. Saw Patrice again with her band at Louie’s and... meh.

I dunno. Maybe it’s just me, but I would like to see this festival in the future make better use of our most wonderful natural asset -- the beach. Make these music people get some sand in their socks and see firsthand what makes SPI such a special place to perform and listen to great music.

See a small photostream of festival shots here.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Music Festival Weekend!

Kirk and I just caught Joy Davis (and her sister Patrice Pike) on the deck at Blackbeards.... it was really fun. We intend to see as many acts as we can fit in the next couple of days. I will be sending photos to my flickr stream... there is some truly awesome talent in town!

Other acts we hope to catch tonight: Trombone Shorty; Papa Mali: Dirty Dozen Brass Band; Patrice Pike; Mike Doughty and the Bongo Dogs

Island Moon Mike

At 9:26 PM -0400 6/21/07, wrote:
Hey Feets, Thanks for the quick reply, wish I was listening to some tinkly music somewhere but noooo, I'm here at the office working on tomorrow's Moon.....and lots yet to do. Hope you're having fun and I'll get back to you this weekend when I'm not so crowded for time. Still have only 91 more emails to sift through tonight for "News" and then edit to put in the paper. Yikes! - Mike

And that's the last time I heard from you.
I didn't want to push or bug you -- I know you are a busy busy guy and highly resistant to the kind of pressure I am wont to apply when I don't think someone is keeping up with his end of the correspondence -- but right now I am sure wishing I had pushed a little harder....

Last night a couple of your buddies took it upon themselves to look me up and let me know about your stroke and the long road back that you are facing. The news pretty much ruined my evening, and I am so glad they did. This morning I found the new website (it's about damn time you got around to that - I have been pushing you on that one for nearly a decade now!) - and read your brother's updates on your condition and all the email from the people who love you.

Well sure I am one of them.

So I have spent the last few hours following your trail on my computer - it is a long one, dating back to this photo of you and me at the 1996 C-Sculptures contest -- my first solo sandsculpture victory with a piece entitled - fittingly enough - "Moon Over Padre." We had met mere hours before this was shot, but I already knew that we were going to be friends, which is why I insisted that you strike a pose with me...look how young and handsome we were back then!

This one was snapped on South Padre Island at Wacky Jackie's 40th birthday party in June of 2001- that's you, me and Renetta at Louie's. Wasn't _that a party!
But there were so many good ones -- like the time I (accidently!) f**ked up the lady's room commode at the (NPI) Backporch Saloon by flushing my shades. (I am pretty sure it was all your fault.) Your photos of their ultimate recovery had me rolling on the floor...

Dammit, Mike.
Get better quick.