Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Southern Fried Gnu

Our office went to the North Carolina State Fair this afternoon. We all had a great time, but I have a feeling I'll be alternating betwen speed-eating Lipitor pills and downing shots of Pepto-Bismol all night. Here's a brief list of the deep fried goodies we all partook of:

Turkey Legs
Fried Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
Fried Snickers
Fried Banana Pudding
Funnel Cake
Fried Macaroni and Cheese
Fried Oreos
Fried Twinkies
Fried Pecan Pie

Okay, the turkey legs weren't fried, but they were chargrilled to perfection and served up with a heapin' helpin' of BBQ sauce. Yumm!! Everything was nothing short of heaven on a plate. "Y'all come down here and get some South in your mouth!!" Yes, that's an actual quote from the PA system! Yeehaw!

I took my camera phone with me and brought back some pictures. They're not the best in the world, but you should get a good feel of what a great time an afternoon at the State Fair can be.

Deep Fried... umm.... what???

More Artery-clogging goodness!

I just wanted to say HAY to everyone!!

Nice melons!

I'll bet these'll make NICE Jack O'Lanterns!

Coworker's question: "What do you do with a giant pumpkin?"
My answer: "Make one HELLUVA pumpkin pie!"

The unique architecture of Dorton Arena, as seen from Indigestion Alley.

Dorton Arena from the side. Really neat old building!

It was gorgeous weather for a day at the Fair. Clear skies, 70 degrees. Perfect. Now if you'll excuse me, I'll go have myself a preventive coronary bypass!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Vacation Postcards

Some pictures from the Outer Banks for you!

Click each thumbnail for larger view...

Sunrise over the Atlantic

Sunrise with Dolphins!

Sunrise with Seagulls

Great view from the deck, huh?

Outer Banks Angler

Crabby Neighbor!

Pelicans Incoming

Pelicans on Patrol

All pictures (c) 2008 The Smoking Gnu
All rights Reserved

Light Waves

We watched a dazzling display of natural beauty last night. No, I was not prancing around on the dunes in a kilt. Be still thy beating heart.

The waves lit up like fluorescent light bulbs, all the way down the beach. Bright blue flames that licked up and down the crashing waves as they broke along the shore like an electric pipe. It was like watching a surprise meteor shower, only this was caused by living organisms.

A type of plankton known as a dinoflagellate will occasionally bloom offshore, feeding on upwellings of nutrients from deeper water. They react to being disturbed by lighting up in an electric blue display. When they're numerous enough, they turn the water red, thus providing the origin of "Red Tide."

Last night they were numerous enough to light up the surf but not yet enough to turn the tide red. I was unable to get a picture of the show, but click here to see one photographer's achievement on the West Coast from a similar display.

Unfortunately, some species of "Red Tide" dinoflagellates are toxic, and these toxins become concentrated when ingested by clams, oysters and mussels. They tend to bloom in the Fall, which is why we have the old saying, "Never eat shellfish in a month ending in 'R'."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

This Just In...

It's an epidemic!

Beach Lacrosse, Smoking Gnu-style!

So, apparently Ghost Crab's brother jumped in after him. How often have we read news reports of two perishing to save one stuck down the well? This seems to be universal, not just human. Back down three flights of steps I go to help the little tyke out.

To answer your burning questions:

Q: How do you get an angry crab out of a pool?
A: With a long pole and a net.

Q: (Obvious follow-up, since I know you're wondering) How do you get him out of the net?
A: Ever play Lacrosse?

I doubt he'll be back anytime soon, considering how I flung his ass over the fence and the dune behind that.

Judging from the girlish screams emanating from the other side of that dune, I have to assume he made a happy landing.

Oops. :-)

Filtered for your Sanitation

The cottage has this nice pool. Midnight swims have been the order of the day all week, only now we will have to cancel tonight's swim.


It's got crabs.

Seriously. And they pinch like hell, too!

There's this one Ghost Crab who lives next to the back door that keeps falling in to the pool. He can get in just fine, but can't get out. We've fished him out (fished... hahahahahaha!!!!!) several times already, but now he's done for. Trying to escape our latest efforts at well-intentioned rescue, the dumbass crawled into the inlet to the filter pump.

The inevitable crab soup was... inevitable. And inedible.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Back to the Island

And watch the sun go down,
Listen to the sea roll in.
I'll be thinkin' of you,
And how it might've been.
Listen to the nightbird cry,
Watch the sun set die.
Well I hope you understand
I just had to go back to the island.

-Jimmy Buffett
Back to the Island
(License to Chill)

Another year and it's time for the annual pilgrimage to the Outer Banks. We arrived in time for the Second Annual Duck Jazz Festival. I was expecting Mallards, Pintails and Canvasbacks doing a four-piece beat ensemble, but we found some real musicians pouring out some great music. A good time was had by all.

The Gnu Herd rolled into town just in time to enjoy some Jazz on the beach, then off to the Sunset Grille for some good eats.

Ahh, it's SO good to be back on the island!

(Poster: 2nd Annual Duck Jazz Festival, more information available here.)