Saturday, January 31, 2009

The definitive Chincoteague blog

Since it's 8 AM and I've been awake for three hours already, I thought I'd use this time to get the Chincoteague blog done. I've posted a couple slide shows of pony pix, but this blog will put everything together in one place for your viewing pleasure.

This is how it's spelled, but the locals say Schinkteague, and it only takes a couple days until I'm saying it that way too. My friend Pat

usually comes here (I tag along as much as I can) on the off season-you recall we were here in March-another good time is in the fall for the bird migrations. The peak time of year is Pony Penning/Swim/Auction week, which occurs the last week of July every year.

The action benefits the island's fire company, as well the ponies' care during the year, and is well attended by many folks from around the country. We were told that this year's attendance was down, but plenty of people still thronged the streets all week.

Some shots of the town

Main St-I'm jealous of the movie theater-we don't have any on Absecon Island!

Some Main St waterfront houses along the Intercoastal

More houses, including one that's getting a new foundation. The house was lifted using the same method used to lift our house for our new pilings.

Artsy fartsy shot of the house (remember I am just a person with a camera LOL)

A new bridge to the island is underway, and it will be interesting to see how it impacts life here-the present drawbridge

The new bridge

Interesting information about the ponies from a sign on the pen

Here's the first slide show-the ponies in the pen on Assateague after the round-up


and the next slide show is from the auction the next day-some info from my earlier blog-

The first pony you see is a buy-back- a colt that will be returned to the wild to breed. These horses brought the most money of all the ones we saw (maybe 25 in all). I guess the donation is an easy way to give money and "own" a horse for someone who doesn't want to take one home. All the proceeds from the first buy-back we saw went to the Shriner's Hospital. The black and white pony you see later in the slide show is also a buy-back-a filly that will be returned to the wild to breed (naturally, I might add-no artificial insemination here)


On Thursday night, Pat and I discussed our strategy for viewing the ponies swim back to Assateague the next day. After dinner we drove down to the carnival grounds, where we found out that the walk to the water would begin about 9AM. Pat's plan was genius-drive down to Main St with the bikes on the back of her car. Follow the ponies from the fairgrounds to the water on our bikes, watch them cross, and then ride back to the car and drive back to the house. Brilliant plan, and it worked like a charm! The first video shows the ponies, flanked by the saltwater cowboys (AKA Chincoteague firemen) on their horses, rounding the corner of Main and Beebe on their way to the water.

The next video is as close as I could get to the swim-it's not too bad but if you check youtube you will find some taken from the water-obvously the optimum spot, but my video has a couple of good shots.

This still picture actually turned out ok as well

And here's the long view from the street (that's Pat shooting from her blackberry)

Hope you enjoyed! :)

Auto-biography photoblog

December update-I am reposting my auto-biography once again because I added pictures of both my MGB and the Lebaron. The only stand-in left is the Audi.


Another photo blog-this is something I've wanted to do for a while-an autobiography by auto (groan) I promise to keep the commentary brief.

My first car-a 1971 MGB, purchased at 21(?) This thing was so much fun but it was parked more than running-cash low in those days. It did make it to Cape Hatteras and back-below is one of those pictures.

Next up,a 1976 Triumph Spitfire. As you can tell, I loved to sit close to the ground, and of course shift gears (still do). This is me on Harrison Ave in Glenside-the place I thank for my superior parellel parking skills (bragging but it's true)

My next car was a diversion along the convertible path-a hand-me-down from my mother-in-law-.This 1972 Audi that took me to real estate school in the mid-80s.

1967 Buick Gran Sport-another hand-me-down (from Mark this time) but what a car! 400 cubic inches disguised as a grandma cruiser. One of the motor mounts was broken so we had to refrain from stomping on it off the line (a terrible lurching would ensue). Looking back I guess this was a good thing-I might have landed in jail for racing LOL.

These pictures are from a trip we took to Newport circa early 80s.

Back to convertibles-Farfignugen this time! 1980 Rabbit convertible-Golf body style-ran the hell out of this one. This is my car outside a house I was selling.

Next up, 1990 Lebaron-I missed my stick shift but this car got me through college in my thirties-a lot of back and forth in a circle Brigantine to Pomona to the Showboat parking lot.

This is one of my pictures of the buggy (aka 1999 VW Cabrio) at the apartment I stayed outside DC when working there last spring. Mark came to visit with bikes loaded. We tried to sell this car but are SO glad we couldn't-it spent two winters in FL saving us money on rental cars, and is a godsend for Mark right now what with the price of gas.

Here's the latest a 2003 Saab 9-3 convertible, aka the jet (comes from the Saab motto Born From Jets).Fast, fun to drive (5 speed standard equipment!!), but a tad expensive to maintain. Oh well.

Here it is loaded for March's Chincoteague trip.

So there you have it-my auto-biography. Hope you enjoyed the ride.

A trip to the FC buoy-summer 08

So-how was your weekend? I hope you enjoyed whatever you were up to and had some good weather for it.

We had some beautiful weather in AC-we've been very lucky so far this year to have a minimal amount of disgustlingly hot and humid days. This makes me happy in SO MANY ways, not the least being a small(er) electric bill. The more the windows are open, the less money I owe AC Electric. The other advantage is that I get a bit of extra sleep in the morning because the cats are busy sitting in the windows birdwatching, so they don't pay attention to their empty belly alarms until they get really loud.

This past Sunday was one of those glorious days. Mark and I were invited to come over to Brigantine for a boat ride by our friend Joe, who owns a marina that will soon be turned into expensive waterfront shacks. Joe just bought a fixer-upper that he wants to take down the Intercoastal to Florida this fall. Well, I don't think he's leaving anytime soon, because, as we found out when we arrived (luckily via Nadya),

Please excuse the hair on this one-I can't wait til it grows out!

the boat (as yet unnamed) was not leaving his dock-some convoluted problem that I can't explain to you because I tuned out the description LOL.

So all five of us (Mark and I, Joe, and one of their fishing buddies Leo, and his wife Jan)

Joe and Leo

Jan-with the Brigantine Bridge and Harrahs in the background

climbed aboard Nadya and went for a ride to the FC buoy for some drinks and snacks. Ok, now you must be wondering how we get drinks and snacks on a buoy in the middle of the water? Don't worry, the FC buoy is otherwise known as the Flying Cloud restaurant, and is located in Gardner's Basin on the northern (inlet) side of Atlantic City, right across the inlet from Brigantine.

Anyhoo-We all piled on to Nadya and proceeded to the FC buoy for some drinks and appetizers. The place was crowded but not too bad, and we were entertained by a fairly good keyboard player/singer (although I liked his sax palying better than anything else) and whiled away the afternoon just soaking up the sun and fun.

What a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon!

Some shots along the way-

South Beach, Brigantine LOL

Ugly house with amazing ocean and inlet views. One of these days Brigantine's Ugly Houses will get their very own blog!

The FC buoy from the water (get rid of those damn fenders-not required on the water side and so unyar!)

Nadya at the dock

Mark and I next to Nadya (thanks Jan)

Mark, Joe and I in the smoking section LOL (thanks Jan)

I bet you didn't know we had orange (WTF?) palm trees in South Jersey

The scene outside

Joe and Jan clowning around!

NJ's finest-if you're going to be a cop, this wouldn't be too bad-although I wish they'd enforce the no-wake zone behind our house!!!

An aside here about fishing buddies-you know how men almost never talk about real life when they get together? It's always about the activity they are pursuing (in this case fishing) or the one they are going to pursue (I'm assuming this includes sex but can't tell you for sure LOL) Knowing this fact, I never bother to ask about Mark's fishing buddy's spouses-or if they're even married-because it's useless-in most cases he won't even know. So-this buddy Leo-I guess I knew he was married but never really thought about it. Well, his wife was along on this trip and what a revelation! It turns out both of us are total shutterbugs and into the internet, although Jan is more advanced than I am, and does videos, etc. We got along famously, and had so much to talk about-I think the guys were a little stunned-or maybe not LOL. So I think I made a new friend that day and am so happy about it-thanks Jan if you are reading!

A shot of the afternoon sun on the water-life is good!


Ugly Houses, waterfront edition

UPDATE-Pictures of the sunset from Oyster Creek tonight are at the bottom of the page. I also added a little video from last night.

Yesterday afternoon Mark

and I went out for my first trip on the water this year. Nadya's afloat and chugging along so we went for a little test run down to the Great Egg Inlet, between Longport and Ocean City.

It was a sparklingly beautiful day and we had a bottle of Viognier on board for the trip.

I just might end up spending the end of my working life behind a bar-maybe on St John?

The title of this blog is Ugly Houses-Waterfront Edition (you can find the original blog here)-so let's get to them shall we?

Here is the original ugly house from the street side-the monstrosity that started the whole thing


and here it is from the water. The ugliness is redeemed somewhat by the windows taking full advantage of the view, but still....

Next victim-the weird shape of this lot is no excuse for the ugliness

Some old-school Ventnor waterfront houses-decidedly not ugly

More old school-you could get lost in this one

New but palatable-the columns on the second floor tip its hand a bit though-

Our little windfarm-actually adds to the scenery

Yes I was piloting the boat-for a bit

Margate Bridge-no EZ Pass accepted LOL

This guy gets a pass for his ugly house with the cruiser at the dock-not too ugly!

Two houses-the one on the left is tolerable-it doesn't try to be all things to all people and it does a decent job with the boat theme, but the one on the right is just ugly

Longport now-more money, bigger shacks-the one on the right is all angles done acceptably-compare it to the ugly on the left

Longport residents' version of a bullhorn-never a dull moment in the murky waters of NJ politics LOL

A little video of the view going under the Dorset Ave bridge (between Ventnor and Ventnor Heights).

Back home again for the sunset

As I write this a thunderstorm is raging right overhead, but the Phillies are playing again so we should have blue skies eventually.

UPDATE-from Oyster Creek tonight