Sunday, August 09, 2009


The "It's a small world" story, as told by Mom, via Amy.

Though my brother has flown back to Turkmenistan, Amy and the boys have stayed stateside for a few extra weeks to visit friends and family. Currently they are with her family in a tiny town called Fairplay, SC. Fairplay is sneezing distance from the SC/GA border up near I-85. It's a tiny, cute, quite little town.
Saturday night, Amy and her family decide to go out to eat and wind up at "The Spotted Pig" barbecue restaurant in Fairplay. At some point she noted someone sitting at a nearby table and she just kept thinking "I know him. How do I know him?" Then when she heard him talking she recognized his voice and it all clicked: It was Doug.
Keep in mind that Fair Play is probably 100 miles from where Doug lives and thousands of miles from where Amy lives.(wavy flashback lines)
Doug AKA "Douglas Brake" released a wildly successful children's album, "Sizzle, Hiss, Pop" earlier this year.

Available at
I immediately got myself a copy and spent the next month or so playing it for everyone I could find. It was in heavy rotation in the office, which is ironic since I am the only person in the office who does not have kids. I knew I would have to give these as gifts to everyone I know with children. In particular this meant my brother (and Amy) and Courtney. When my brother got stateside last month I took him my copy of the CD. I told him it might be wise to listen to it BEFORE playing it for my three nephews. There's nothing "bad" on the CD but the songs are so darn catchy you'll be hearing them for the rest of your life. Jeff never got to listen to it before he flew out of the country, but he passed the CD on to Amy for road music.
Apparently the nephews are entertained but not bananas over the CD, however, the boy's cousins (children of Amy's sister Stephanie) are hog wild over it. (Hog wild, Spotted Pig, Barbecue. It's funny, just hang on.) The CD is apparently in heavy rotation in the van. (wavy lines again)
So Amy suddenly realizes that "Douglas Brake" is right there, live and in person, so she walks over to talk to him. Apparently Doug has family in the area as well and was up visiting. Amy ask Doug to come meet one of his biggest fans (obviously not in the physical sense). Doug went over and greeted everyone.
I'm not sure how many people at dinner really grasp just how "serendipitous" the event was. I am sure Amy and Doug did. To add a further twist to things, Amy doesn't know that Dough is the creative mastermind behind the naming of my soft drink "Fauxganberry. I have reworked the recipe again and been making batches of it off and on this summer. I finally have gotten what I think it a suitable beverage and I took it to my parent's house while Jeff, Amy, and the boys were there. I am now state that my Fauxganberry is "Kid tested and mother approved." The kids are obviously my nephews and Amy and my mother both gave it the thumbs up. Since Amy has been to culinary school, her opinion is key, not just from the mother's perspective, but also from the "does this work" perspective. She's got trained taste buds. I eat chocolate covered bacon and Cool Ranch Doritos on Krystals.
After dinner, apparently phone calls were flying. Amy called my mother, who called me. Apparently Doug called Jimmy who called Chris.
Since I am reporting the event at least 3rd hand (I don't have three hands) I am sure to leave out details. I fully expect updates and additions from Doug, possibly Amy (though not likely) my mother, Jimmy, or Chris.
Until then, go grab a copy of Doug's CD. Go grab several of them. You now have proof they make amazing, almost magical gifts. It's great if you have kids. It's great if you are a kid. It's great if you act like a kid. It's great if you ever were a kid. Heck it's great if you wish you were a kid.
I'm A Krystal Lover

Saturday, July 04, 2009


4th of July

I was in the middle of working on my annual July 4th blog post, covering the Nathan's Hot Dog contest. (No link today as web traffic overwhelmed their servers this morning.) Bottom line: Joey Chestnut won again, Kobayashi in second, the record was shattered again.
I'd also located one of my favorite Independence Day videos:

If the video above doesn't play, click here
I also intended for that video to be a launching point for me to encourage everyone to report to Washington with torches and pitchforks to run the weasels out of Washington the way we ran the British out of the Colonies, for exactly the same reasons. As I was typing up my post, I heard some rather disturbing news.
You'll recall in my last post, prior to leaving for vacation, I encouraged you to research the word "Ocracoma."
In a word Ocracoma is the feeling of total relaxation you get when you visit the outer banks, and in particular the tiny outer banks island of Ocracoke. I got to spend a tiny bit of my vacation on Ocracoke, and camped out one night at "Teeter's Campground" just off British Cemetery Road. Oh I can certainly see myself returning for vacations for many years, though stocking up on bug repellent will be required. The village of Ocracoke is on the southwest end of the island and doesn't get the full force of the Atlantic winds, so the biting insects tend to have a field day.
I had the news playing in the other room and heard "Ocracoke." Since OKE is a good 3 hours away, we don't usually get them in the news here in Wilmington, so I hopped up to see what they were saying.
Apparently a tractor trailer with fireworks for the Ocracoke celebration exploded this morning beside the ferry dock. The "Scott McNally" in the story owns and runs the restaurant SMcNally's. I had dinner there on Wednesday night and met Scott as he was restocking one of the beer coolers. His restaurant is sneezing distance from where the explosions happened.

View Larger Map
Smcnally's is at the intersection of British Cemetery Rd. and Hwy 12. My campsite at Teeter's was between British Cemetery Rd. and Mark's Path. The explosion would have been just northeast of the "loop" beside the ferry dock. You can look through the photos here and here to try and get your bearings. The big building with the red roof is often referred to as a Coast Guard station but it was sold in recent years and is now "The North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching." Whatever that is.
All of my pictures in this post have been left "full size" so you can get much better detail by clicking on them. In the picture above, the ferry dock is just to the left of the building and the parking lot of the Ocracoke museum, where the explosion happened, is to the right.

This is the ferry dock at Ceder Island, at the other end of the 2 hour, 20 minute ferry ride. This gives you an idea of what the dock on Ocracoke looks like, so you can compare it with this picture:
The explosion happened to the right of the red roofed building.
This is the cover over a cistern which is all that is left of an old Fort on Ocracoke. In the background you see the red roof. if you look just to the left of the telephone pole you'll see a parking lot. That is roughly where the explosion happened.
All of the people involved in the explosion are from a company in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. (Fireworks are illegal in NC but legal in SC.) They were up for the 4th of July celebration, of course. Despite the fact the people were not from Ocracoke, an incredibly tight knit community, this event is sure to hit the island hard. Fourth of July is one of the biggest events on the island each summer as it brings in tourists from all over, and Ocracoke's economy is completely dependent on tourism, in particular summer tourism.
The news websites I linked to above are being constantly updated as this is still considered a breaking story. Check back later as more pictures get posted as well.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


This is what a vacation should be.

  • Six Days
  • 700 miles
  • Three lighthouses
  • An afternoon in Rodanthe for you chick flick fans
  • Two ferries (no Richard Gere isn't one of them for you non chick flick fans)
  • Banker Ponies
  • Two nights camping on/near the beach
  • Snorkeling off Cape Hatteras
  • A day at King's Dominion
  • Nancy
  • Lots of picture
  • Free upgrade from the car rental place (2009 Ford Taurus Limited Edition)
  • Driving with the sun roof open
  • No students
With a vacation like that who cares if there's a 20%-40% chance of rain every day.
Your homework between now and next Monday: research the word "Ocracoma."
We'll discuss next week. With pictures. And no Richard Gere.
Krystal Lovers get more in the sack!.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


What's new at Krystal?

Despite being exiled to Burgatory, I still keep up with what's going on at Krystal. They make it very easy with their blog as well as Facebook and Myspace pages, plus Twitter. And of course there's the classic In fact Krystal does such a good job of spanning the various information outlets that Krystal Marketing VP, Brad Wahl, was invited to speak on them at a recent national trade show. Read that close. Krystal, a regional favorite was invited to speak at a national conference. And look at the other 4 people invited. McD's of course. Dunkin Donuts? Well ok. Where's the King? Where's that red haired girl, Wendy? And the Taco Dog? No where.
Despite only covering about a third of the country, Krystal outshines some of the bigger national chains. You knew it. I knew it. It's time the rest of the world knew it. Via the internet, it is possible. And remember folks, you and I and Krystal Adventures were there in the beginning, as Krystal first dipped its toe into the social network pond with Krystal-lover Blog almost 3 years ago, thanks to Kenny, Tiffany, and Jennifer.
Since I am a regular reader (that means daily) of Krystalist, I've seen an awful lot of new Krystal products hit the stores. Sadly, I have been unable to get to the stores to try most of them. On those rare occasions that I do get near a Krystal I have to overindulge to try and catch up.
For example, on my recent trip through the Atlanta Airport I obviously got the standards for breakfast.
As I was eating my Scrambler, I looked up and realized I was at Krystal during "The Magic Minute" first mentioned here a year ago. The Magic Minute is at 10:30 when Krystal switches from Breakfast to Lunch service.
The Airport Krystal physically pulls down their menus, replaces the inserts, and then puts them back up. Some of the newer stores they just flip around, or slide over.
It is called the Magic Minute, because for a brief moment you can order off BOTH menus. Since they are switching out the menus though you need to know what you want as it may not be up there.
Knowing I wouldn't be able to get back for Breakfast on my return flight, I ran back up to order their new French Toast sandwich. Unfortunately on a 1 to 5 K scale, my sandwich only got 3 Ks. Admittedly it had to stay sealed up in its wrapper as I made my way to concourse C, and perhaps if it was fresh would have been better. My french toast was a bit dry and tough. Since I had gotten the last one of the day, that may also have contributed.
You get a large sausage patty, I would love to have a choice of bacon instead. I don't remember if there was cheese or not. The reason I don't remember the cheese is that I was overwhelmed with the syrup. Of course French Toast deserves syrup. But this was not maple syrup it was clear, almost like a glaze, and it was EVERYWHERE.
Did it taste ok? Sure. But the texture and assembly left a lot to be desired. It was still better than airplane food. I wouldn't go out of my way to get one, but if I find myself at a Krystal for breakfast when I can sit down in the store to enjoy it, I might give it another try. It was just too messy. When you're about to hop on a plane to Florida, that's not a very good time to be sticky from the elbows down.
But speaking of messy, on my trip back home, it was clearly lunch time. There's lots of great new lunch times on the menu. I opted not to go with any of the new Krystal Freeze flavors because I think if your head is frozen when the cabin loses pressure, your skull explodes.
I went with one of the new BA Burgers. This one happened to be chili and cheese. It was good. It was a good start. Three years ago I stumbled on the Granddaddy of all BA burgers. Basically you put everything behind the counter on top of your burger. You should probably wear an apron and maybe safety glasses to eat it. It's an extra special treat for any pets you may have at home as you'll likely wind up wearing some of it home with you.
Krystal Lovers like hot buns.

Friday, June 12, 2009


I will eat them here or there. I will eat them EVERYWHERE!

The plane was slightly delayed leaving Wilmington due to weather, and we did 2 or 3 laps around Atlanta waiting to land. It also got bumped from C concourse to D concourse. I had wisely factored in plenty of time between connecting flights so I was not worried. As we exited the plane and were walking down the ramp the lady in front of me with the stroller and the pull luggage asked "Do you know this airport very well?"
I know some folks know it better than I do, but I think I do OK. "Pretty good." I replied.
"Can I make it to the B concourse in 10 minutes?"
If she'd asked me if I could make it my reply would have been "Maybe" because I didn't have a stroller, my legs are longer, and I knew where I was going. I calmly pointed her in the direction of the escalator down to the tunnel that connects to the other concourses and then I got out of the way of all the other people who believed they could make their connecting flights.
After the rush had slowed I made my way down to the train and up to Concourse A. At the top of the escalator, I turned and looked real hard. Can you see it?
I know it was tough to pick out for me too. However, I have the benefit of being able to smell. I knew exactly where to go.
I probably could have found it with my eyes closed. In fact I think a lot of people in the airport walk around with their eyes closed. Listen people, it's very simple:
  1. Stay to the right if possible
  2. Slow people to the outside
  3. No one is shooting at you so there's no need to bob and weave and take evasive action
  4. If you stop you are immediately in the way, so step to the wall as soon as possible
  5. Your luggage is behind and beside you. Just because YOU can "squeeze through" doesn't meant your bags will
  6. Groups walk single file or two abreast, not 8 abreast
The same could probably be said for the people in line at Krystal.
The grounds crew workers were standing in the line at Krystal being social. Oh they weren't ordering anything or waiting on their order. they were just chatting with each other. Not a problem until you have 3 or 4 potential customers who cannot get through the line due to the grounds crew workers. In hindsight I should have gotten some orange flashlights and I probably could have directed them to go "park it" in the chairs on the other side of the concourse.
My trip down to Florida was a designated Breakfast stop at Krystal. I technically had time to get lunch, but I saved that for the trip back. Those pictures will be later.
This is a picture just outside the People Mover at the Atlanta airport. If you read the sign closely it does in fact call it a "Train." With that verification I am proud to announce that I have now added "Train" to the list of places I have eaten a Krystal.
I have no pictures of myself eating that Krystal. The problem is the people mover is either accelerating to stopping. It does both in a span of a couple thousand feet. Try to balance luggage, a camera, and a Krystal, while avoiding whiplash. I opted to eat the Krystal, and gave up on the photo op. I have looked into taking an train down to Jacksonville, Fl to see Courtney at some point, and perhaps then I can have a Krystal on a REAL train.
There is no doubt, however, that I ate a Krystal on a plane. At first I was worried that my Krystal Snack might bother the people around me. But when the guy beside me was text messaging the entire flight (yes that is against the rules, just like using a cell phone) I decided I didn't much care what he thought, and if his inability to control his texting was going to kill everyone on board, I should at least enjoy a tasty Krystal before I had to assume the crash position.
I am starting to come to the realization that the reason the airlines have to make all those idiotic announcements is that there are a lot of idiots flying these days. I assure you that had the masks dropped from the ceiling, I'd have had no problem putting my mask on before assisting the idiot beside me. I am quite sure he would be unable to put it on himself. I may also have waited a few minutes before actually helping him, with the hopes that he's just go to sleep. (It's a proven fact that stupid people are smarter when they're asleep than when they're awake.)
Krystal Lovers like it steamy.

Sunday, June 07, 2009


We call her Granny

My grandmother died yesterday.
I still have not come to grips with that simple statement.
It was, at the same time, a surprise and not unexpected. She'd been in the hospital, but just hours earlier plans were being made for her to go home.
My grandmother died yesterday.
I really wish at this point I could be thoughtful or funny, or entertaining, or wise, but I can't. The only thing I seem to be capable of is being numb.
What is getting me through life at this point is the knowledge that she is now, finally, reunited with her best friend, my grandfather, after being apart for 19 years.
I am reminded of one of the best eulogies I have seen or heard in my life. I watch Craig Ferguson on occasion. Usually he's on a bit too late for me. But last Christmas vacation I caught the episode just after his mother had died. The entire episode can be out split into parts online, but this is my favorite.

If the video above doesn't play click here
(The poem is incorrectly attributed to Victor Hugo.)
Parable of Immortality
Author: Henry Van Dyke
I am standing upon the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze
and starts for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength,
and I stand and watch until at last she hangs
like a speck of white cloud
just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says,
"There she goes!"
Gone where?
Gone from my sight . . . that is all.
She is just as large in mast and hull and spar
as she was when she left my side
and just as able to bear her load of living freight
to the place of destination.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her.
And just at the moment
when someone at my side says,
"There she goes!"
there are other eyes watching her coming...
and other voices ready to take up the glad shout...
"Here she comes!"
You can also search around online and find Craig's eulogy for his father, which is equally moving. I have always been impressed by Craig's ability to put his raw emotion out for people to see so beautifully and effortlessly.
Perhaps someday I will. Right now, though, my words fail the emotions I have, and fall woefully short of what it would take to honor my grandmother.
I hope that, at least for now, you'll allow Craig to speak on my behalf.

Saturday, May 30, 2009


Off and Up-Out!

I know there will be one or two people who saw my post on "urban" flying and may think it borders on poor taste. Many years ago, I would probably have agreed. Heck the guys who make the Airplane movies are unapologetic in their humor.

If the video above doesn't play, click here.
The popularity of these scenes in the movie eventually led to this movie, about 25 years later.

If the video above doesn't play click here.
And in a classic example of life imitating art, you may have seen him making the late night TV show rounds.

If the video above does not play click here.
Krystal Lovers get more in the sack!.

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