Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Watch Those Roofers!

Not a good photo here but this is a roofing re-do across the field from us. They seem OK but I started to notice a few things that irritated me. First, I was taught to hand-nail all my shingles, since those air-gun staples are worthless in a storm. Don't believe folks who say they have new "space age" staples that work just as good, because that's a lie. I've been in the business and have heard all the stories.

Second, the drip edge should be replaced if it is metal; I like the heavy-duty ones that won't rust as fast or even plastic. This house didn't have drip edge molding but cheap wood so I guess they didn't need it.

Third, valley metal should be at least 2 feet wide if not more - these are the troughs where two gables meet and water must flow along the roof pitch. Um, there's no valley metal in this picture, just a strip of tar paper.

Fourth, once the tar paper (asphalt felt) is applied, the first row of shingles is turned upside down, allowing the glue strip to hold the outer edge of the shingles down. This is definitely worth a few shingles. This row is nailed quite close to the drip edge.

Fifth, where's a bucket of roofing cement for the penetrations like the plumbing vents and difficult areas? We always had a gallon or two of Bulldog for those situations.

Frankly, I'm shocked that the town building code allows the use of staple guns and such shoddy business practices - roof staples are illegal in Florida and have been ever since Hurricane Andrew. Oh, the "heffe" just showed up in his dually crew truck. His crew is smashing down a case of empty beer cans with a cinder block while the "vatos" work on the roof. Nice work if you can get it, I suppose.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Miraculously, the house was fine and after we arrived the power came on. Gosh, that was a far more potent hurricane than I thought ... but was grateful to give Lori a vacation before going back to work with the school system. And it was a nice vacation in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, like art city with a much more funky attitude than here. We kinda forgot to tour the Jefferson Davis House but got a comp buffet at the Beaux Rivage casino, which was top shelf.

Coming back to town was both a sense of disbelief and let-down. Sleeping in my own bed is going to be really good. Tomorrow I'll do all these chores but will be sure to hit the surf, either with a boogie board or a 7-foot fishing pole. It is good to back.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Probably a Ho-Hum Storm

Tropical storm Dolly looks ragged and disorganized for getting into the hot waters of the Gulf, and is moving at an impressive speed of 16 knots toward the SPI-Corpus area. So I went into "half hurricane mode" with the plywood, making sure the north and northeast sides were boarded and clean of potential flying objects. So we did some preparations and are now ready for the party! Hopefully Dolly will hit 80 miles one way or the other, so our beaches don't get too tore up (yikes, Sand Feet, how did I end a sentence like THAT?). Take care, y'all.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Surf Fishing Has Been Fun

Once or twice a day I head down to the beach and cast a few lines and with the puny waves and blue-green water it sure has been a pleasure. As many friends know, I'm not a "producer" and I like to let everything go unless it is a big trout - I actually bend down the barbs on my hooks so they can get off easier. Thanks to Fred Mallet, former SPI Alderman, I learned a lot.

Yesterday I nailed a nice ladyfish, which of course flopped off the line about 5 feet in front of me. Then I got smacked by a Spanish Mackerel and on the next cast I guess it busted my line because of his or her sharp teeth. So only having one pole and one lure now gone, I went home to rig again.

Everyday is different and today I hit is a little late, about 6:30, so dinner was over but I still had some blow-ups from the diminutive whiting, which although is considered a trashy fish is fun on very light line - at least a jerk on one end of the line and a jerk on the other!

The surf might increase over the next week as some tropical waves come in, but I know the "dog days" are yet to come. The surf crabs will hunt for tourist toes while magnificent tarpon jump the waters just out of casting reach.

I keep asking people if they see birds and jumping fish out off the beach, since that would be a sign of schooling bait with predators feeding on them - predators from trout to sharks. So far, I haven't seen any of such pods of fish coming down the beach on the tide and current but I know it is still early, and they will come.

The Zen of fishing is not the catching, but the perfect cast, or the imperfect one that briefly hooks a fish for reasons I can't fathom. Or just being happy and not thinking. Often little kids speaking Spanish will come out to "help" me fish and I am not cross; I smile and try to be careful about casting the lure so I won't git one. They had not invaded any more space than I did with the fish, anyway.

Plus I get to walk the the beach, which is good exercise ... and wash my dirty Crocs!

Sunday, July 13, 2008


It's that time of year when heat exhaustion and its serious calamity, sunstroke can happen. Well it happened to me and that was not pleasant. It was a shocker and even a day later I still feel the effects.

All I did was decide to mow the lawn, which had grown very high after all the rain, especially that nasty two-foot tall grass I hate that resembles Johnson grass. So after about an hour of slow going, lots of restarting the engine, I get tunnel vision. Silly me, trying to mow the grass in the middle of the Texas heat. So I left the mower and wandered like a drunk up the stairs to the porch, totally incapacitated, on the floor, shaking, hyperventilating, and nauseous.

According to the experts I was one step away from the hospital or even the grave.

After about 15 long minutes of down time I seemed fine, and being manly shook it off like "wow that was a trip, I'll never do that again!" But I was still dizzy, confused as heck, irritable, and couldn't eat dinner. My muscles were cramped and burning. The air conditioner which blows like ice cubes felt hot. I had been had.

Thanks to some locals and the Internet, I learned this is a very dangerous thing. It is not only dehydration, but rather lack of electrolytes and salt in your system that causes the real shock. So now I know that stuff like salt and Gatorade are what you need - and to not get so over-heated.

So all you neighbors, I'll be mowing the grass at eight o'clock in the morning or at night, and that's just my bad.

Editor - I fixed this up a little and wanted to mention that the best cure for heat exhaustion is to jump into the surf, and chill-out.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Eight Days of Rain

Wow, no tropical storms in the Gulf and we get 8 days of rain in July, truly strange. Rainfall totals of almost an inch per day - wish I had my rain gauge working but totals should be close to 6 inches. Cabin fever is starting to get bad, especially since my daughter came down from Austin and really wants to surf and fish. We see a break in the weather and run to the beach and KABOOM goes the thunder so we run back home. Then is drizzles. We wait on the drizzle to end like one dog waits on another.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Updated SPI Web Cams

Over the last five years the web cams on SPI have changed, so if you need a dose of "real-time" SPI there are some new ones. I've got a short list for starters, and let me know if you have more:

JW’s special event cam / Earth-Cam

This is brand new to the Island, covering the beach, Louie's and the Friday fireworks, and even Pirate's Landing - the Black Dragon pirate ship should be here today, hopefully. Java controls allow users to pan the camera itself, although at a Top Ten rated site by Earth-Cam, with thousands of viewers at once, it's hard to take it over. Sandy Feet says the beach cam controls are so good you can spot good cleavage on the beach!

Gene Gore’s

This has been the "main cams" for many because it is well done and has an excellent surfing page as well - this one is for the sports minded for sure. Gene does a ton of advertising, so bear with the extra graphics. Also contains articles for local notables such as naturalist Scarlett Colley and boater safety tips from Captain Alan Stewart - two great folks to meet.

Sandbox Inn Cam

This is Sandy Feet's latest morphing of the old "mobile web cam" which for a while had excellent beach views. It is now used as a security camera for the backyard and for folks to see her latest sand castle carvings. An island original. Sometimes loaded with butterflies.

Turtle Cam

Gene Gore donated an old web cam to Sea Turtle Inc, which is now positioned over one of their holding tanks. It is pretty cool, and anything to do with Sea Turtle Rescue is way cool. Don't forget their fundraiser scheduled for September 6th.

SPI Beach Houses and Condos

Not sure what this one is about, other than a marketing tool, although it does seem to have high resolution pictures of the beach from a nice angle.

The status of many old-timer web-cams is not known. The Radisson used to have a "causeway cam" but I can't find it. Sandy Feet used to run the "Dad cam" during Spring Break - man that fellow could work a crowd of girls like nobody's business (English lit, right!). Of note is that several at Isla Blanca Park no longer seem to be functioning, especially after Gene Gore was asked to take his stuff elsewhere (long story).

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Disappearing Ghost Crabs

I'd like to wish everyone a safe and happy 4th of July. It's a little rainy today with a good chance on Friday but then a drier weekend. So far on SPI there are no mobs of people, and it is nice and cool outside - an open door day!

Several times lately I watched the kids chasing ghost crabs at night, which is very fun with flashlights on the beach. The crabs are quite speedy and will disappear in a crab hole in a second. I saw plastic buckets with many of them, and had to wonder what the heck they were going to do to those poor crabs, but paid it no mind.

But then an observant friend noted how small they were compared to many years ago, when a respectable "sand crab" was at least two inches across the shell. They sure seem to be getting small these days, don't they?

Maybe that says something about our beach, and maybe all those kids as well (I have to admit, the new LED lights are cool). The little I know about ghost crabs is fascinating, such as they hide all day from the sun and predators but have to feed and drink at night; their burrows may be up to four feet long and are usually at a 45-degree angle such as into a dune. As part of the dune ecosystem, they reflect the overall health of the beach including its nutrient load, maintenance that can disturb their burrows, and predation from ... I think it's mostly the kids.

It is only befitting that "crabby the anti-litter mascot" could well be a ghost crab. Surely it is not a nasty land crab from the bayside!