Today we received a holiday ham sent to us through Heavenly Ham by family members in Texas. The delivery guy handed me a small card with our family members’ greeting hand-written on it by somebody at HeavenlyHam.com. When I saw the following, I immediately recognized that the card was transcribed from a web-based form:
Yes, it says “Chris & Critters”.
An explanation for those of you that don’t speak HTML:
In HTML, if you want to write “Bob & Nancy”, you can’t just write the “&” directly, because it has a special meaning to HTML: it begins a character entity reference. In your HTML source, you have to write it as: “Bob & Nancy”. The browser will show this as “Bob & Nancy“. Well, someone at HeavenlyHam.com had the tedious task of hand-writing all the Web-form-submitted holiday greetings to include in the shipments of delicious goodies. This unlucky person didn’t translate the “&” back to “&“. Which amused me immensely, because I: 1) am a web developer, and 2) am easily amused.
Our trip last week to the Outer Banks was a blast. We had a great time with the McCubbin clan and their extended family. The giant beach house was awesome and not too far from the beach. When you have three toddlers in a house at the same time (four toddlers when the Bromhals visited), it helps to have a large house to spread out some of the chaos. And the chaos was appropriately honored by vacationing with Iris’ friend Eris, namesake of the goddess of chaos.
Chris made some excellent BBQ ribs (and helped me make homemade clam chowder out of leftover clams he cooked up the previous night) and Angel made delicious black-bottomed cupcakes (link to similar recipe). Chris and Angel are important to bring along to any vacation because they are such good cooks. I highly recommend them. Book them for your trip today. But beware; they actually like scrapple and may try to get you to eat some.
Going to the beaches, of course. Flying kites. Flying kites again, but with a video camera attached. Finding crabs. Digging up sand fleas. Watching the kids go nuts. Building sandcastles. Jumping into the water and fighting against the surf. Boogieboarding. Walking to Nag’s Head Pier and watching the fishermen.
Mini-golfing in Nag’s Head.
Visiting the uber-cheesy beach junk shops.
Playing Apples to Apples with everyone at the beach house. And playing some of Chris’ massive assortment of PS2 games (mmm, Guitar Hero).
Visiting the Bromhals, who by sheer coincidence were vacationing the exact same week as us, at their beach house in Nag’s Head. They also came over to our beach house one night to enjoy the big home-prepared seafood dinner buffet. Iris and Meg had a lot of fun catching up with each other. They used to play together quite often when the Bromhals still lived in Roanoke.
Here are some photo highlights:
Iris and Eris enjoying the brief 50 cent ride in front of K-Mart in Kill Devil Hills.
Restaurant with a cool motto. And their food is really good. Great service. We like to eat here for breakfast on our way out of the Outer Banks. While waiting to pay for the meal, I overheard the boss (Bob, presumably) ragging on a waitress for her slowness to pick up two orders of hash browns. “Those hash browns have been there for two hours; what, you wanna serve frozen food?” he exaggerated. We also had the disturbing experience of seeing an old woman enter the restaurant wearing a tacky, oversized nude-colored shirt with a small black bikini top and bottom illustrated upon it. The restaurant also seems to attract the mulleted.
A great smile from Iris on a carousel ride after our ice cream break with the McCubbins at Cold Stone Creamery in Kill Devil Hills.
Eris and Iris enjoying the Elizabethan Gardens.
HULK SMASH TOYS! Especially Thomas the Tank Engine toys. Him think Thomas is creepy.
Iris dragging Eris from the Hatteras lighthouse. They were holding hands and running, but since Iris runs faster, poor Eris got dragged along.
We rode on an airplane tour of the Outer Banks via Barrier Island Aviation. We had so much fun doing this in May that we had to do it again.
Some law of the universe states that any time we drive to the Outer Banks, cheesy truck artwork will appear. I believe it is the same phenomena that attracts mulleted folks to restaurants such as Bob’s Grill. In May we saw the beach batmobile on our way down:
Eris and Iris having fun at mealtime.
Chris shot a cool lens flare effect at the Hatteras lighthouse
Great shot of Ethan that Joy and Rett took at the Elizabethan Gardens.
Eris decided her stuffed Totoro needed to be spirited away to the potty.
Nice sunset we were treated to on the drive home at the end of our vacation
And below are the kite-flying videos, whereby I attached my Canon digital camera to the kite string with a dowel and duct tape, put the camera in video mode, hit Record, and sent it flying. The result is a somewhat unstable video but a lot more stable than my previous attempt, in which I had strapped the camera directly to the kite itself (bad idea).
This was the first attempt. I let the kite string out all the way; I’m guessing the kite is at least 300 to 400 feet up. Toward the end, you can see some of the beach houses. Around 27 seconds into the video, there is a weird musical chime sound that repeats later in the video. You can hear kids voices and more chimes at around 1:16 into the video. I did not hear these noises from the ground. The kite is a poor man’s spy camera!
Second attempt. Max altitude at about 1:00 into the video. Wind a-howling.
This attempt yielded an interesting variety of angles. And the camera does a 360 degree flip due to the high wind at around 2:33 into the video.
Bad winds on this day made it hard to get any decent height. Meanwhile, you can see Chris trying to make himself visible on the video. Angel and Eris can be seen nearby. Towards the end of the video, witness the gruesome crash of the kite and camera into the sand. Luckily, the camera survived.
More of the same. *Yawn*! And for some reason, Youtube did a crappy job with the encode.
Do you ever wonder when it is OK to eat breakfast sausage and when it is NOT OK to eat breakfast sausage?
Figure 1: Normal sausage
Figure 2: Abnormal sausage
This is what we pulled out of our fridge yesterday. Spontaneously inflating food is probably a clear warning sign to stay away. Luckily, we managed to dispose of the sausage before it could turn into an all-consuming, remorseless blob.