Monthly Archives: August 2009



Up at the strip this weekend was the 47th running of the East Coast Surfing Championships- the ECSC. The ECSC is North America’s oldest running surfing competition and the second oldest continuously run surfing contest in the world.

I have no clue where the oldest is run.

I just know that, if you are into surfing, and who isn’t into surfing?, this is a big, big weekend. Hundreds of professional and amateur surfers converge on VB to compete in our typically smallish surf.

But not this weekend. With Tropical Storm Danny surging up the coast the swell has been amazing and everybody, surfers and spectators alike, have been diggin’ it.

Everybody, that is, except one.

On Friday morning, the first day of competition, a tourist was knocked out of his boat by an eight wave set and drowned even though approximately 50 surfers joined scores of EMT and rescue workers, responding to cries for help from the boat’s operator, rushed to the spot he went into the water and searched for the man.

His body wasn’t found for over two hours.

The sobering point of this post isn’t that amid the fun of a surfing competition someone lost their life. It’s that it happened that quickly. That someone, who just minutes before had climbed aboard a boat excited about a day on the water, who just hours before had awoken and eaten some breakfast getting ready for a day on the water, who just days before had driven from his home in New York to Virginia Beach to vacation and spend a day on the water, that that someone had instead lost his life.

We all know about the fateful fragility of life but something like this really drives the point home.

Celebrate each day. Go and do. Don’t wait for tomorrow. Take a big bite of life and chew vigorously.

Now if only I’ll listen to me.



Last night Miss Carol and me and several thousand of our closest friends went to see Chickenfoot.

I had bought the tickets for Miss Carol’s birthday so that she see her boyfriend Sammy Hagar again. Miss Carol loves her some Sammy.

Not knowing what to expect from the new super group I had downloaded their “album” so that we could listen to it and, quite frankly, it wasn’t super. But we remained optimistic. It was Sammy after all.

The night started out with Davy somebody and the totally forgettable Back Slam something or others. Not only was their original music generic high schoolish battle-of-the-bandish, their covers were even worse. I’m not sure who Davy somebody slept with to get the gig but we were treated to the result.

Then Sammy and the boys took the stage and the first couple of songs just swept us away on the wave that is Mr. Hagar. With his boundless energy and genuinely friendly showmanship you can’t help but love him and want to hang out with him and have Miss Carol have his babies.

It was all new music but it was pretty good and pretty LOUD but then it kept going on and on and we began to realize that it was going to be ALL new music and none of his older stuff. Which is fine, but it would be like going to Guns and Roses and not hearing them perform Paradise City.

It just ain’t right.

Maybe the problem was with us. We went expecting lots of Sammy fronting a super group and instead got lots of super group and Sammy singing. The music was kinda soulless. It seemed like this group of super talented guys got together and banged out some super talented guitar riffs and pounding drum solos and searing vocals and forgot to put their hearts into it.

It was like a tomato and peanut butter sandwich- you like the ingredients individually but it just wasn’t very good mish-mashed together.

In all, the show was enjoyable in the way that any live act is enjoyable but it wasn’t Sammy and we didn’t stay till the end. Nor, we noticed as we were walking back to the hotel, did many of our friends.



Only Miss Carol can walk the sodden fog enshrouded post-Hurricane Bill beach, gray skies roiling with dark storm clouds ready and itching to rain and proclaim-

OMG, as soon as this marine layer burns off it’s going to be bee-YOO-tee-full.

And ya know what?

She was right.



Same as it ever was.


Decades and centuries ago Miss Carol and me frequented the Vienna Inn. We slurped up their cold beer and feasted on their deliciously heart attacky chili cheese dogs.

But then we moved away to the beach and, just like a cast off girlfriend, the Vienna Inn was kicked to the curb and forgotten.

This past weekend we were in that part of the world celebrating a nephew’s graduation from high school and acceptance to Radford AND celebrating my brother’s acceptance into old age. In amongst celebratory bouts of eating and drinking Miss Carol and me wanted to visit a restaurant in Arlington that had been showcased on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations.

Goofy as it sounds, I have a list of restaurants in cities around the country that have been highlighted on foodie shows that I’d like to visit if and when we’re in the vicinity.

We almost made it to the first one.

Headed into Arlington on Route 7, sitting at a traffic light, I suddenly, inexplicably, remembered The Vienna Inn. And a  burning wanting began. Then that burning wanting became a terrible need. I whined like a little girl until Miss Carol was all like fine let’s just go there instead.

So we did. And you know what? Nothing had changed. It was like going back in time. Sure there were flat screens instead of  big bulky TV’s televising sports but everything else was just like it ever was. It was almost creepy.

We bellyed up to the bar between a biker, on his way from Rhode Island back home to Houston, and a local, in for his weekend Vienna Inn fix. As we drank icy beers and gorged on agelessy perfect chili cheese dogs (Actually Miss Carol had wine and salad ’cause she’s on a diet and it sucks to be her), we chatted, alternating between stories about  the big open road and commentaries on little, homey, Vienna.

It’s nice sometimes, finding a place that time has stepped around or overlooked. In an age of too many brightly lit same-same hyper-perfect chain restaurants the Vienna Inn remains comfortably dingy and well worn. Like your favorite pair of jeans, it just feels good.

When we went to the register to pay the bartender rang us up- two beers, two chili dogs, two wines and a salad. I commented that she had done it from memory, with no ticket. It’s a disease, she said.

And she’s right. The Vienna Inn is a disease.



Cutter and Tug were good puppies, I just thought they’d make a better hamburger.



I’m feelin’ testy.

Tired and pissy.

Maybe it’s been the heat and humidity and work wearin’ me down, maybe it’s been Miss Carol and me bickerin’ over the little shit that marriage always seems to dredge up and serve you at dinner time whether you want it or not like your mom’s spaghetti that she keeps serving you over and over again even though you’ve told her you hate it and she just laughs thinkin’ your kiddin’ but you’re not but you eat it ’cause that’s life and that’s what keeps the ball rollin’ and everybody happy and on an even keel and honestly isn’t that what it’s all about?

And I know I’ll get over it and through it, that life will once again be rainbows and unicorns instead of toads and turds.

‘Cause really? I don’t have too much to bitch about and maybe that’s why I get shitty sometimes.

Maybe I forget I’m too lucky.

Stormy skies.


It’s been amazing, the amount of rain we’ve had this week. Biblical, End of the World kinda storms that were just blurrily relentless and left Cutter and Tug skittishly wondering WTF?

But the sadly weird thing about storms down here is that they tend to trigger some enzyme in the tourons that says-

Must. Go. Drive.

or maybe it’s something like-

Must. Buy. More. Stupid. T-shirts.

Whatever it is, it causes all of ’em to pack into their cars and cram the roads JUST AS SOON as the rain stops.

Which means that I found myself walking the dogs yesterday, slogging through road lakes and trying to dodge the wakes from the touron SUV’s as they plowed through the flooding looking for whatever it is tourons seek and staring at me with their faces pressed to the glass pointing like they’d never seen dogs.

Makes me worry about humanity.



Hooboy. Here we go again. More piss poor food photography.

Stick with me.  I’m fairly sure it’ll get better.

Anyway. I feel sorry for everybody else in the  country that can’t have Chesapeake Bay blue crab. From what I understand they’re indigenous to us which means ya’ll don’t get any. And honestly, in an age of refrigeration and airplanes I  don’t know why that is, but so sorry.

Sucks to be you.

A typical feast is a big bag of jimmies (male crabs), a bowl of melted butter (HI mr. heart attack), and a bowl of spicy vinegary sauce (HOWDY  mr. stroke) for dipping.

And, of course, lots of cold, cold, ooh baby, cold beer.

Eating blue crab is amazingly athletic, full of tearing crusty bodies apart, ripping out internals, and yanking off legs and claws and beatin’ em with mallets. But the meat of the matter, the stuff you finally get to with bloody fingers, is what dreams and adolescent pregnancies are made of. Especially the back fin.

Honest. It’s that good. And that worth it.

When you steer a big fat back fin lollipop dripping with hot melted butter towards your gaping maw you can just feel the benign goodness that is the whole world smiling on you and wanting you to be happy forever.




This is the coolest show ever in the history of television on the planet. I believe it started as a single show documentary on the Discovery Channel about the most dangerous job in the US, if not the world. Every year boats capsize in storms and men die fishing the Bering Sea.

After that very first Deadliest Catch I was hooked. (see what I did there?)

The first show(s) videography was gritty and focused primarily on the dangers commercial crabbers face. The relentlessly freakishly huge storms and seas, the mind numbing cold, and the endless hours pulling and setting crab pots. The show was raw.

Nowadays, because of it’s popularity, the show appears to have a much bigger budget and the production has become much slicker  and the focus has narrowed to four or five boats and the lives of their crews and captains whom all have their own websites selling t-shirts and hats and stuff but it’s still waaaay cool.

I make Miss Carol watch it every week.