Saturday, March 05, 2011

First Place--Best Display

Three Years In The Making...


We finally did it this year!

In spite of a couple of technical snafu's, the repainted and slightly re-designed "Cajun Chili Shack" won the Best Display award out of TWENTY teams competing in the 10th Annual Rotary Red Hot Chili Festival.

Here's a peek at the finished product....(click to enlarge):

Of course it is never really FINISHED, and I'm coming back next year to continue refining and painting and making additional sawdust.

Time to go to dinner now with my Chili partner John and a group of friends at Blackwater Grill.

More photos later.

On Your Mark...Get Set...


In less than three hours from now we'll be running around like chickens with our heads cut off trying to get our Chili Shack tossed up into position and getting a fire lit under about 14 gallons of chili components in a giant pot.

I managed to get about five hours sleep last night and then had to jump up and get started with some final details--what I call "homework"--which have to be finished in time to grab a shower and run out the door.

It only took about six hours yesterday to completely re-style and re-paint the Jamaican "Green Butt" Chili Shack components back into something resembling a weathered board structure sitting on stilts over the water in a Louisiana swamp.

The final details here at home this morning involve painting a giant cartoonish alligator and a big turtle and some other caricature fish and water "creachsters" and stuff on a couple of foam panels which will be used to close off the open area under our serving tables--an area painted to look like a dock or front porch on the building.

I was really pleased with the choice spot we received in the random draw for positions in the Red Hot Chili Festival site at the "Captains meeting" yesterday afternoon.  We're right in the middle of the horseshoe shaped layout so people will see our booth from every direction and being in the middle rather than on the end of one leg like we were the past two years will hopefully help us get better exposure among the 19 other teams.

So any way...time to get back to drawing and painting reptiles and amphibians I guess...

Hope Y'all have at least half as lovely a day as I plan on having.

Regards Y'all... 


Friday, March 04, 2011

My Spirit Is Cleansed

Sea Breezes Induce Near Coma...

I'm pleased to report that we arrived mid afternoon yesterday back here on Our Little Island for the first time in nearly a year.  The seven plus hour trip was easy and uneventful with light weekday traffic on I-10.

We checked into our rented 1942 vintage cottage and by dinner time we were full tilt back in "Island Mode."

After checking out the house and verifying the Internet Connection, we went out and stopped by Murphy's old favorite watering say hello to a crowd of locals, and then moved on over to Blackwater Grill to take a look at the skin and framework from the two year old Chili Shack I designed and built for use as the front end service area for our team during the Chili Cookoff.

Here's a look at what it looked like in 2009--sort of a Cajun Bayou Shack Theme:

Then last year I re-designed the roof structure and repainted everything in support of our "Jamaican Me Cajun" Green Butt Chili theme with Caribbean pastels and bright colors:

Tomorrow there's another slight structural modification in the works for this year's Cook Off along with a new paint job going back toward the Cajun Bayou Shack photos to follow later.

Then my old buddy/college roommate Rusty and his girl Pat (not to be confused with my girl Pat) arrived in time to go out for a late dinner down at "Crabdaddys."

Then everyone came home and crashed by 9:30 PM being the old farts that we are.

The festivities resume again at 8 AM this morning with a trip to the local Island Builders Supply company for some stuff, then four to six hours of making sawdust and slapping a new coat of paint on the little fake building and tearing it all back down to be ready to haul over to the festival site at 6 AM Saturday morning.

With any luck by 2 PM Saturday afternoon we will have served 14 gallons of Chili and be standing around celebrating some sort of award like we were doing in this photo from 2009.

Wish us luck...if you will...

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Westward Eastward Bound

I Can Almost Smell The Salt Air...

Well, we're finally off VERY EARLY this morning toward the Georgia Coast and our Little Island of St. Simons for the Rotary Red-Hot Chili Cookoff to be held on Saturday adjacent to St. Andrews Sound in Neptune Park.

We can hardly wait...

In other news, yesterday we had a little excitement while fishing when little Missy the Turbo Pup decided to fall off the dock while chasing a Fish I had just pulled out of the water. We barely had time to react when she took matters into her own hands paws and recovered on her own.

True to her upbringing--having grown up Poolside and at the beach for the first couple of years of her life--after diving a couple of feet under the water she just turned around and popped back up and swam back to the dock as Pat plucked her out of the water by her harness.

I guess that in prudence that there's a Puppy Life Vest in the Turbo Pup's future because in spite of her confidence and ability around water she is after all only 12 pounds and 27 inches long from nose to tip of tail.

Some day she might actually manage to get herself into a situation she can't swim out of and we're unable to snatch her out in 30 seconds or so.

So any way...time to take a shower and finish loading my tooth brush and Pat's and the Turbo Pup's Lockers and Sea Chests into the old Chrysler 300 and Blast East about 7 AM EST.

Wish us a safe journey...If you will...

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Working On Vacation

Not Quite What I Had Planned...

Day three of this week's so called "vacation" finds me back in the position to possibly actually do nothing for a while today.

Then again my cell phone could bring more excitement like it has over the past two days--both of them being twelve plus hour marathons trying to piece together a new project long distance and get all of the components on order.

Then yesterday the guys up in Maryland I've been after since December called and commanded my presence the last week of this month so I had to write them a proposal and work out the airline flights and other travel details in order to minimize the costs and then sheesh...

I didn't get near a fishing pole or the lake at all yesterday and only for a few minutes early Monday afternoon before the rain came in.

We're heading east across the Florida panhandle either this afternoon or tomorrow morning depending on a couple of more things that have to be done this morning.

Depending on where we end up tonight I may or may not have a Internet connection, so until I'm back on line...

Regards Y'all...

Monday, February 28, 2011

All I Have To Do Is Leave Town...

And Everyone Wants To Talk To Me Professionally

I've noticed an interesting phenomena through the years of running my own business.

You can work all day, every day for 51 weeks straight, then leave town on vacation and the day after you get where you are going the telephone will start ringing off the hook wanting you to do things on stuff where the file is laying on the desk in your office.

No matter how much junk you bring along with you there is always something else you need.

Is it just me?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Live From Lower Alabama

Turbo Pup Two...Catfish Zero...

Well, the good news is that Saturday we successfully completed the first leg of this latest travel adventure, arriving at the old family farm mid afternoon.  It was 80 degrees F with clear skys when we got here...providing nice summer like weather after waking up to 29 degrees F Saturday morning in Knoxtown.

The first order of business was helping my little Sister celebrate her 50th hosting a surprise birthday party with a few family members and friends.

Then after completing those proceeding, we honored little Missy the Turbo Pup's demands that we take her out to the lake to go fishing. (She ran straight down to the water's edge when we first arrived and complained the whole time we made her wait.)

As expected, hilarity ensued, and I managed to land a two pound and a four pound catfish in just a few minutes while the Turbo Pup yipped and yapped and generally raised heck and actually tried to bite both fish while in the landing net on the dock.

She didn't want to leave but the daylight was waning and it was cooling off and our guests were ready to go home.

She put on a pretty good show for everyone still.

With any luck, after church today we're going to go out and set up the camera and tripod and shoot some more footage of the excitement and post it out on YouTUBE and up here on the blog.

Until then...Regard's Y'all...