Saturday, July 31, 2010

Friday Night Poker

"I have no emotional attachment to my money when gambling."

-------Bruce Walker, March 7, 2010


A young Bruce showing his Vegas winnings.

My older brother Bruce had a number of sayings. They succinctly told the listener his various philosophies of life.

Bruce was an outstanding winner in all aspects of his life.

He unashamedly loved playing poker.

I guess it was only fitting that last night, here in the beach house he loved so much, that we would break out the cards and chips.


Q, fresh from his second place finish in the "The International Salt Water Early Morning Who's Your Daddy Invitational", donned his poker gear.


Splitty the Maul's only comment was, "Bring it.".

Splitty digs poker.

Just don't offer him the "cut".

I'm just sayin'.

With the traditional taunting round completed, the game began.


The table sans yours truly. I was in the game but someone had to take the picture.

It was an epic struggle for all involved. By the end of the first hour there had been no eliminations.

A break was in order.

Splitty wanted a picture taken with Doc and I. He excused himself for a moment in order to "fashion up".


Splitty said we'd look good in the 'hood.

At least we'd be safe with Doc signing autographs.

Our break was over.

Play resumed.

Players started dropping.

Hooks....out.

ATM....crushed.

Splitty the Maul....chopped and dropped.

The table came down to Team Lloyd (minus "Wally Wal" who was watching the Phillies get obliterated by the last place Washington Nationals).

It was a tough fight. Mom roughed up Q for a big chunk of his stack. Doc was holding his own, but not getting the cards he needed to make a run at Mom's pile.

Then...........the unimaginable happened.

Dad bluffed the living tar feathers off his family.

It was brutal.

Now, with Doc having a slight lead over Mom and a substantial lead over Q, the time had come to go for the kill.

Out came the down cards.

Doc called, "All in."


Splitty the Maul took off his sunglasses to get a better view.

Q and Mom called him.

By "fourth street" Q was looking good with Aces high two pair. Mom was out of the running. Doc was sitting on four hearts looking for one more to complete the Ace high flush.

In the words of Splitty the Maul, "It was lookin' REAL good 'til it stopped lookin' good.".

The river card came out.



Splitty struck up the choir:



Q was not amused.


2010 OBX SPLITTY THE MAUL INVITATIONAL WORLD POKER CHAMPIONSHIP WINNER:

DOC LLOYD


This morning Team Lloyd is headed south to see some extended family.

We got up early to make breakfast for the departing champion and crew.

Chris opened the blinds and was greeted by a deer standing next to my truck in the driveway and the beginning of a beautiful sunrise.

The deer took off when it heard me try to take its picture.

On the other hand, I did get this shot:



A few moments later:



Looks like a nice quiet day here today.

Rack of lamb is calling my name for dinner.

I think that's enough plans for one vacation day.

Until the next time, all y'all take care of yourselves.

Air traffic Mike, ret.

Friday, July 30, 2010

"Call Me Ishmael, Call Me Crazy......."

Is there any bad time to go fishing?

Okay, just for a second, forget about "Deadliest Catch".

I was already up early. About 30 minutes later, Doc wandered down the stairs.

It's the beach.

It's knowing that high tide is nigh upon us.

It's almost 40 years of fishing competitively regardless of the situation.

There have been many "Championships of the World" decided in the Delaware river and it's South Jersey tributaries.

Today would be no different, save one factor.

Today would be "Father vs. Son", or as I called it, "The International Salt Water Early Morning Who's Your Daddy Invitational".

Doc put his lucky fishing outfit on and stretched out.




Quentin just yawned, went downstairs, and loaded up the truck.

His game face was down and locked.

We loaded into the truck and the game was on.


Once on the pier, Doc gave Q some fatherly advice on competitive fishing.


Apparently, Q heeded every word.


Shortly thereafter, Doc dialed in the spot croaker population.

It was all over except the sniping.

The final tally, Doc: 10, Q: 5.

Q's only bright spot of the day was his spotting of the rare and dangerous "Outer Banks Blue Shovel Fish".



Scary, isn't it?

Fortunately, no bragging fishermen were hurt during the event.

Tonight, the traditional "Winner's Dinner" will be held.


There's NEVER a bad time for "Air Traffic Mike's Memphis Fried Chicken".

Just ask anyone who's had it.

Until the next time, all y'all take care of yourselves.

Air Traffic Mike, ret.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Better BLT

One of the truly nice things about vacationing in a home is the fact that I have a kitchen at my disposal.

Let's face it, after a while eating out just gets old.

I took an inventory of the refrigerator yesterday afternoon.

I had all the ingredients to make the classic Summer sandwich we all know as the BLT.

There may be a few people out there that don't like it for various reasons.

I'm happy to say I don't know any of them.

I'm also happy to report that I had another ingredient that pushed the sandwich up to the next level.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Air Traffic Mike's BFBLT.

Checklist, please.

Bacon?


Check.

Lettuce?


Check.

Garden ripe tomato?


Check.

Toasted white bread?


Check.

Now then, the "BF".

I'm sure at least one of you folks thought "BF" stood for "Big F-----g".

Not this time.

Not at all.

This sandwich is rated "G" for "Good".

Red Snapper fillets seasoned up for blackening and butter standing by?


Oh Hell yeah, check.

I blackened the fillets N'Awlins style.

Next came the assembly.


Mayo.


Never, never EVER go cheap on the bacon in either quality OR quantity.


Lettuce pray......


Nothing beats a good ripe tomato.


Blackened Red Snapper ala Air Traffic Mike.



Final assembly.

Serve with potato chips. They help take away some of the heat.

Looks like a good afternoon for waveriders.

Until the next time, all y'all take care of yourselves.

Air Traffic Mike, ret.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Green Beer

Not in the way you think though.

A few years back I had come out to the Outer Banks to visit my brother and sister-in-law.

I was driving back from the Wright Brothers Memorial looking for a place to cool off and get a bite to eat.

As I was heading south on the highway I saw this:


In a place as windy as the Outer Banks, a wind driven generator seemed like a great idea.

Hell, if it chopped up even one sea gull a week it seemed like a great idea.

It was attached to a brew pub.


A really great brew pub.

We were on our way back from Kitty Hawk the other day. My beer level was dangerously low.

The "Sunday FunDay" crowd in Memphis will tell you that you should NEVER let your beer levels drop below the point of minimum safety.

Besides that, I wanted Chris to see the place.


Outer Banks Brewing Station, a place you can drink beer and feel good about the environment whilst doing so.


Despite it's church-like appearance outside and in, it was specifically designed for this business.


Four really good reasons to stop in.

The place isn't just about the beer. The food is outstanding.

In the meantime, it's off to the beach for me.

Until the next time, all y'all take care of yourselves.

Air Traffic Mike, ret.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Air Traffic Mike vs. Tourism.......The Surf And Turf Edition

I'm a hopeless tourist.

Not the kind you see holding a map at arm's distance, looking befuddled, and trying to get ANYONE'S attention mind you.

I'm "hopeless" in the sense that I really like to see stuff and revisit it a few years later.

Take yesterday and this morning for example. I went back to places I'd already been. I did it for two reasons:

1) Chris had never been to see them.

2) I was curious to see what had transpired in the years since I'd first seen them.

Our first stop was the Bodie Island Lighthouse just south of Nags Head. The first time I went there, it looked like this:


It was in a reasonably decent state of preservation given the level of benevolent neglect it was receiving.

Visitors were allowed on the grounds. The light keeper's house was open as a gift shop/visitor center. The lighthouse itself was closed to visitors due to corrosion issues inside.

We drove down there yesterday around 11:00 am.

I was very happy to see this:




In a rare display of competent stimulus spending, the lighthouse is in the process of being restored.

We walked up to the light keeper's house/visitor's center. Something caught my eye just before we walked in.



Folks, that's one BIG spider.

We continued in to the building and made a right turn towards the gift shop. Chris wanted some post cards, I wanted to take a picture of the other side of the spider.



The lady in the shop told us the spider had been there for about six weeks and they called it "Penelope".

I'm not certified as a spider sexer, so I just took her word that it was a she.

We departed the grounds shortly thereafter. Citing the time of day and the noises escaping from my belly, I declared it was time for lunch.

I had a hankering for some clam chowder, fresh flounder, and a cold beer.


The clam chowder with it's clear broth was a nice light start to lunch.


If someone can broil flounder any more perfectly than this, please email me their address.

For the record, ice cold Fat Tire Ale makes a fine companion to broiled fish.

Having been fed and watered, we headed up the road to Kitty Hawk and the Wright Brothers Memorial.

I've been there many times and never get tired of visiting.


Sixty five and a half years later men walked on the moon.

Take some time to think about that some time.


For the sake of argument I rounded the 59 seconds up to one minute. 852 feet per minute works out to just over 9.68 mph ground speed. Thank goodness they had about 30 mph of head wind.


Looking back from the furthest marker back towards the monument.


The monument.

Unfortunately, this was the last picture my camera's batteries would allow me to take.

Fortunately, like said yesterday, I might just have too much technology at my disposal.

The Iphone was at the ready if I needed it.

That wouldn't be the case.

We headed on home. I proceeded to take over the kitchen. We'd had enough seafood for the day, so I opted for something a bit more............meaty.


How does a couple of medium rare USDA Prime strip steaks topped with Gorgonzola cheese with a side of herb roasted potatoes, and a garden salad sound?

Yeah, that's what I thought too.

Chris doesn't mind me taking over the kitchen.

After dinner I put some fresh batteries in my digital camera and tested it out on the rising moon.



This morning we decided we'd take advantage of cooler weather and go fish for a bit.

Pier fishing is one of my greatest joys dating back to my childhood.


The lovely Miss Chris scoping out the pier.


The east end of the pier.

Within five minutes of our arrival, there was some commotion at the end of the pier.

Somebody had hooked something big.


Looks like someone's having friends over for grilled cobia.

Down at our end of the pier spot croaker started hitting on bloodworm.


Yours truly with the first of several "double headers".

Chris was having slightly less luck. She hauled in the same female crab about five times in a row.

I lent her my pole.


It didn't take long.


Chris showing off her first double catch.

We fished for a couple hours, kept a couple of the nicer fish, and headed home.

Who doesn't like a fried fish snack before lunch?

Tonight I'm taking over the kitchen once again to make some fresh red snapper in Creole sauce.

Tomorrow?

Who knows.

We're on vacation.

Tomorrow takes care of itself when you're on vacation.

Until the next time, all y'all take care of yourselves.

Air Traffic Mike, ret.