Jul 31 2010

the 2010 beachcomber awards

The Beachies seem to get later and later every year.  Has it really been one, two… eight weeks already since we headed down to the Outer Banks for fun and sun?  All right, then.  Let’s cut the crap and get right to it.  The envelopes, please.

The Martha Stewart Award for Good Housekeeping: And the Beachie goes to…. Emma Peel.  Our house was small, sure, but there were only five of us.  That didn’t stop Emma, however, from complaining about the size of the house.  Or its decor.  Or anything else, really.  Yes, the bar was ridiculous.  And yes, the wood paneling was dated.  And yes, it took a few minutes to remember how to operate a VCR.  But that’s part of the charm.  We’d have been disappointed if the house had changed since the early 1980’s.

The Eldrick T. Woods Award for Putting Achievement: And the Beachie goes to…. Nikki.  The trip to the miniature golf course is a staple of the beach week – even when we don’t go for the full week.  Jurassic Putt is the home of many fiberglass dinosaurs and even more memories.  Nikki’s calm nerves and composure under pressure won the day this year, extending Dabysan’s losing streak to however many years now we’ve been going to the beach.  And that’s the important thing, really – that Dabysan didn’t win.

The Alfred Mosher Butts Award for Scrabble Excellence: And the Beachie goes to…. Hotrod.  Dabysan thought to bring a travel Scrabble set with him, and chances are good that he still regrets that decision.  After several victories by your humble emcee, Dabysan preferred to try his luck at a new game.  He didn’t fare any better at Yahtzee.  That’s when he decided he wanted to have a go a Rummikub.  I neglected to tell him that Rummikub is a Hotrod family favorite, and that I’m even better at that one than the other two games.

The John McEnroe Award for Sportsmanlike Conduct: And the Beachie goes to…. Dabysan.  Needless to say, Dabysan’s losses at every single game over the course of almost a week were not well-received.  Yes, we are serious.  Now please do take a seat.

The Vlad the Impaler Award for Solar Disdain: And the Beachie goes to…. Carrie Nation.  No one fears our nearest star more than Ms. Nation.  Mindful of maintaining her sickly pallor, she spent at least forty minutes each morning ensuring that her every pore was protected with a thick layer of sunscreen.  And that was just to eat breakfast.  When she actually had to venture outside, she had enough goop on her skin that she could be launched directly into the sun and still not get burned.

The Drew MacMillan Award for Frequent Flying: And the Beachie goes to…. Andy Sousa.  We could have spent a whole week at the beach if Emma hadn’t kicked us out because her pen pal was coming in from San Francisco.  We showed him, though.  We bought so many groceries that he was eating leftovers for the rest of the week.

The Alfred Hitchcock Award for Avian Malevolence: And the Beachie goes to…. that asshole bird.  There was this bird across the street that attacked three of us.  Carrie Nation, Nikki, and I all got dive-bombed multiple times throughout the weekend.  Goddamn bird had it in for lefties.

The Kate Spade Award for Handbag Appreciation: And the Beachie goes to…. Daisy.  Daisy was supposed to protect the house.  Instead, she fell asleep inside whatever purse was nearby.  It’s so hard to find good help these days.

The Towel d’Or Grand Jury Prize: This is the second year in a row in which no Towel d’Or has been awarded.  We’re really going to have to man up next year and hit the beach for a whole week.

May 27 2010

welcome to the working week

Oh I know it don’t thrill you/I hope it don’t kill you.

Actually, things haven’t been too bad down at the lab lately.  And the outlook for the immediate future is positively rosy.  Today is my Friday, and I’m looking at glorious four-day staycation.  Then I’m off to Lake Tahoe.  And then I’m off to the Outer Banks.  Including the week that just ended, my next month is looking like this: Four-day week.  Three-day week.  Four-day week.  Two-day week.  Things sure are gonna be rough once June 21 rolls around and I have to work five whole days in a row.  The horror… the horror…

Sep 23 2009

the 2009 beachcomber awards

Has it really been two weeks since we returned from our all-too-brief beach vacation?  It has?  Shit.  Where does the time go?  We better get busy and hand out some Beachies.  The envelopes, please.

The John Oates Award for Digital Repugnance: And the Beachie goes to…. Dabysan.  Dabysan has a knack for creating video game avatars that make you wish they were real so you could beat them senseless for being so douchey.  He was on top of his game two weeks ago.  He set the bar high with “Fish Styx.”  But after we ventured out to purchase Guitar Hero 5, he surpassed it easily with “WEE WILLY.”  It’s tough to decide which is more annoying: the top hat or the all-caps.

The Giada de Laurentiis Award for Culinary Snobbery: And the Beachie goes to…. Emma Peel.  Words cannot describe the look on Emma’s face when she found the head of iceberg lettuce in the refrigerator that was presumably for her salad.  Words can describe, however, how she felt about said iceberg lettuce.  And she used them.  Extensively.  Her tirade lasted a good twenty minutes or so until it was pointed out that the iceberg was for the tacos the next evening and that she’d overlooked the mixed greens hidden under that carton of CarrieNation’s Muscle Milk.

The Robert MacMillan Award for Excessive Persnicketiness: And the Beachie goes to…. Potsy.  Potsy ran the dishwasher five times a day, and nothing that was dropped on the floor stayed there for more than ten seconds.  He also took it upon himself to ensure that nearly everything in the house was at right angles, the notable exception being the stuffed bee which – as he pointed out – didn’t belong to him.  There is also strong circumstantial evidence that he disappeared at one point to the downstairs bathroom to take a dump, which is totally something Rob would do.

The Wil Wheaton Award for Projectile Vomiting: And the Beachie goes to…. Carrie Nation.  Carrie claims she ran the half-marathon, but the non-running contingent stationed at the finish line never saw her.  (This isn’t, by the way, the first time her race participation has been in doubt.)  What is certain is that she puked more than anyone that Sunday.  Five times, all told.  That’s a pretty strong committment to perpetuating a fraud.

The Cosmo Kramer Award for Random Screwball Awesomeness:
And the Beachie goes to…. Liz Judge.  As everyone else sweated the details the night before the race – pinning numbers on t-shirts, coordinating the rendezvous, mildly panicking – Liz seemed blissfully unaware that the next day was  anything of significance.  She filled her iPod shuffle with songs by the Go! Team and wondered idly who else might be showering early the next morning.  Her post-race account was the most spirited of anyone’s.  Probably because there is strong evidence that she actually, you know, ran the race.

The Chris Martin Award for Drizzly Beachcombing: And the Beachie goes to…. Megan and Jason.  The weather at the beach after the weekend was less than ideal, but Megan and Jason didn’t let it deter them.  Thought to be last minute scratches after a tragic family emergency, they showed up late and were determined to make the most of it.  While lesser mortals stayed dry and watched Arrested Development DVD’s, they refused to allow the inclement weather to curtail their beach time, even if they did have to dig out the hoodies.

The Alton Brown Award for Epicureal Excellence:
And the Beachie goes to…. Hotrod.  There ultimately was no beach fondue (whatever that means), but the homemade macaroni and cheese seemed to be a hit, the asparagus wasn’t mushy, and the double-batch Steeler Pie disappeared faster than is healthy.  That’s practically a hat trick.

The Cujo Award for Pain-in-the-Ass Canine Proclivities: And the Beachie goes to…. Daisy.  She knows what she did.

The Towel d’Or Grand Jury Prize:
The bylaws of the Academy of Seashore Recreation Arts and Sciences stipulate that the dispensation of the coveted Towel d’Or is purely at the voters’ discretion.  There is no requirement that it be awarded if a clear winner does not emerge from the year’s crop of beachcombers.  Sadly, this year, no Towel d’Or will be awarded.  A combination of the short week and unfortunate precipitation prohibited any one contender from displaying the unwavering dedication to beachgoing activities that the jury likes to see.  We sincerely hope that the field will rebound next year.  We have the utmost faith that it will, and that the 2010 Beachies will be the best yet.

Sep 19 2009

buon giorno

Mi viene in mente non ho mai avuto il tempo di inviare i risultati del “Invia Hotrod in vacanza Sweepstake.” La destinazione vincente è l’Italia.  Stavo per dividere il mio tempo tra Roma e Firenze, ma un paio di colleghi di lavoro mi ha detto di trovare il tempo per andare a Venezia pure.  Non ho prenotato il mio viaggio ancora, ma farò che presto.  Sono pronto per una vera vacanza, e se devo aspettare altri quattro mesi dovrei almeno iniziare a pianificare esso.

Sep 5 2009

much needed vacation

Yesterday was literally one of the worst days of my entire life.  Today was going to be better by default, just because I've got nowhere to go but up.  And the beach.  I've got nowhere to go but up and to the beach.  (Not necessarily in that order.)  This trip couldn't have come at a better time.  I need to get away so badly I've been trying not to think about how it's not nearly long enough.  See yinz all on Thursday.

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Aug 11 2009

where in the world is hotrod sandiego?

I got an email today notifying me that I’ve accumulated enough frequent flyer miles for another free ticket.  That’s something I certainly I wasn’t expecting.  I just used miles a couple of years ago to go to Belize, and I haven’t flown that often since.  But hey, they’d know better than me.  Who am I to argue?  My first thought was to book another trip over Thanksgiving, but then I realized I’m ready for another real vacation – not a half-assed long weekend.  I’ve got enough miles for an off-peak trip within the United States, Central and South America, and Europe.  That means I’d be looking to travel in probably late February.  The only question is where to go.

That’s where you come in.  I did some research earlier this evening into possible destinations, and I just don’t know what to choose.  They all have their merits, and I’ve been especially indecisive lately.  So I figured, why not let the internets decide?  I mean, what could possibly go wrong with leaving it up to others to determine where I go on my next vacation.  Vote in the comments, and I’ll go to the place that wins.  Seriously.  Here’s the short list of possible destinations:

  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Brussels, Belgium
  • Dublin, Ireland
  • Honolulu, USA
  • London, UK
  • Paris, France
  • Quito, Ecuador
  • Rome, Italy
  • Zürich, Switzerland

I should mention, I guess, that this list represents merely an airport to which I would fly; the itinerary thereafter is entirely up to me.  And I do have opinions about each of these cities.  I’ll withhold them here, but they may show up in the comments,  Needless to say, these are all places I wouldn’t mind spending a week to ten days.  Voting will remain open through August.  As an added bonus, anyone who bothers to vote will receive a postcard hand-written by me.  Yeah, you’re all rushing to the polls now….

Sep 7 2008

the 2008 beachcomber awards

Now that our summer and our beach vacation are – sadly – behind us, it’s time to reflect upon the week that was.  The Beachcomber Awards (the “Beachies”) honor exemplary performance in a wide variety of beach-related categories.  So without further ado, the envelopes, please.

The Sweeney Todd Award for Unfortunate Pigmentation: And the Beachie goes to…. Hotrod.  A windy day and spray-on sunscreen make for a dicey proposition under the best of circumstances.  When a windy day hinders the application of spray-on suncsreen to a near albino, the results can be comically splotchy.

The Willis L. Teeter Award for Grocerial Fortitude: And the Beachie goes to…. Dabysan.  The record will show that Carrie Nation probably made more trips to the grocery store than Daby, but Daby approached his shopping duties with more gusto.  Oh, you like olives?  How about a tub of eight different types?  It’s snacks you want?  Well, we could have the jalapeno potato chips or the Fritos Scoops or blue corn tortilla chips – but hey, we’re on vacation.  Why choose?

The Tom Joad Award for Culinary Frugality: And the Beachie goes to…. Emma Peel.  It was only about Tuesday before Emma began pawning off leftovers and attempting to curtail Daby’s daily trips to the supermarket.  Even the most creative attempts to use up the food lying around the house – such as ridding ourselves of extra bananas by purchasing ice cream and whipped cream and chopped nuts and fudge – went underappreciated.  As much as we liked to joke about butter sandwiches, the possibility was never realistically far away.

The Matt Drudge Award for Premature Rumor-Mongering: And the Beachie goes to…. Carrie Nation.  As a member of the early-rising contingent, Carrie provided invaluable yet unsubstantiated daily reports on the beach conditions.  Though the absence or presence of red warning flags would not be confirmed for several hours, Carrie’s gossip sheet influenced whether we consumed a leisurely breakfast and hit the beach at eleven-thirty, or whether we scarfed down the morning meal to get out there by eleven.

The George S. Patton Award for Dead Soldiers: And the Beachie goes to…. Midwest Gal.  Truth be told, the MWG’s shoreside beer consumption was probably down this year.  But the image of her in years past relaxing amidst a platoon of emptys has stuck in the minds of the Academy voters.  MWG owns this category.

The Noah Webster Award for Creative Neologisms: And the Beachie goes to…. Jason.  Jason managed to combine two of society’s most beloved concepts when bestowing a title on the previously unnamed dessert.  “Steeler Pie” sounds even better than it tastes, which is no small feat.

The Drew Carey Award for Shameless Midwestern Homerism: And the Beachie goes to…. Megan.  Megan made Ohio proud with her laudatory proclamations of the superiority of guys from Ohio – much to the chagrin of her East Coast Hipster boyfriend.  It might have been a little uncomfortable if she wasn’t right.

The Wil Wheaton Award for Projectile Vomiting: And the Beachie goes to…. Bernadette.  Bernadette’s mystery ailment cut short her beach vacation, but thankfully not by much.  She had to leave early, yes, but only by a couple of hours.  And, also thankfully, she was kind enough to avoid sharing her malady with everyone else.

The Cerberus Award for Tireless Vigilance: And the Beachie goes to…. Daisy.  With a ferocious bark and an even more ferocious odor, Daisy alerted us to dangers both real and imagined.  Dangers such as the pool and, uh…. that wall over there.

Honorable Mention: Lisa.

The Joe Lamb, Jr. Award for Lifetime Achievement: And the Beachie goes to…. Emma Peel.  For years, Emma has taken it upon herself to herd the cats down to the OBX for a beach vacation.  She claims that this year is the last in which she is taking responsibility, which is probably for the best.  Maybe next year we won’t have such a shitty house.  I mean, we had to walk almost a hundred yards to the beach access.

The Towel d’Or Grand Jury Prize: And the Beachie goes to…. Michelle.  That Michelle stayed up at the house for almost all of Wednesday and still won the beach is a testament to her dedication.  She was the first to arrive and the last to leave almost every day – and often by several hours.  She took walks that lasted longer than the rest of us spent on the beach on some days.  It was her beach; we just visited it.

Aug 30 2008

good vibrations

“Good Vibrations” is not one of the six songs that illustrate everything one needs to know about rock and roll.  It could have been, but it’s not.  “Good Vibrations” is, however, the one song that illustrates that I’ll be away at the beach for the next week.  This choice is a little ham-fisted and obvious, but then to hell with subtlety – I’m going to the beach.

Nov 30 2007

i saw the sign

In lieu of any real commentary on my recent Central American jaunt, I hereby offer up a few advertisements seen on Caye Caulker which amused me.


Can I get my Popcorn Critters with a side of harsh brown potatoes?

Okay, this one didn't so much amuse as  intrigue me.  The flier on the center right advertises a private island for sale for $385,000 (USD), marked down from $500,000.  When I first saw this sign, it seemed extravagant, but as I thought longer about it, it occurred to me that there are houses on my block that go for more than half a million.  And if the list price any of them were reduced by nearly twenty-five percent, they'd be on the market for a grand total of fourteen seconds.  I think, if I had to choose, I'd opt for the island.  This is why I'll never be a wealthy man.

Well, duh.

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Nov 27 2007

flight plan

Inconvenience is relative.  My flight out of Miami this evening was delayed.  We were late to board and then sat on the tarmac for a brief eternity waiting for a push-off crew to, uh, push us off the gate.  Even the pilot seemed a little testy as he announced that he could see from the cockpit a card game in progress while we waited.  I sat there uncharacteristically impatient, as calm and collected as could be.

I wasn’t even supposed to be on that plane.  Because of the idiosyncrasies of redeeming frequent flier miles, I was supposed to fly to Nashville this evening and proceed on to DC in the morning.  It occurred to me, though, somewhere over Cuba, that there was probably a flight to National that evening, and with a three-hour layover, depending on the departure time, I could try to get on stand-by and still have my scheduled itinerary as a back-up plan.  And for what is assumed to be the first time in history, stand-by actually worked.  Not only did I get on the flight, but I still got my aisle seat AND had an empty seat next to me.  AND when I called to cancel my hotel room in Nashville, they said they weren’t even going to charge me despite the very late cancellation.  If only getting a cab once I was back on the ground had been so easy.  Stupid lousy DC cabs….