Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sand Art- Kris Kringle Hits the Beach

All of the other sand sculptures this week were practice sessions for my special The Man in the Cinder Clouds was Christmas in July on Hilton Head Island!

Here we have Kris Kringle hanging out under the branches of an evergreen tree.  I wanted to add some other characters, but didn't have the time.  I also wanted to make a fireplace with his boots / legs in it, and an evergreen ranch and burnt chair leg on the hearth and a stocking hanging and a dollhouse and pair of boots...Maybe next year.

Sand Art- What a Croc!

Friday was the last day at the beach.  Yesterday we were up at 5:30 am, on the road by 6:45am, and thanks to loads of traffic that at one time required 90 minutes to move forward 10 miles, we made it home by 9:15pm.

I made two sculptures on Friday.  First was an alligator, but it may really be a crocodile (NOTE: Crikey!) because I tried to show some teeth outside its mouth.  I think that's the major difference between the two, aside from the spelling of their names, but I'm not willing to consult Wikipedia right now so someone will have to fact-check me in the comments.  The final sculpture will be posted later today...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sand Art with a Porpoise

Today's art has meaning, a theme. It exists for a porpoise...

I had to do this quickly, the tide was coming in.  It's still just a warm-up for the end of the week Cinder Clouds sculptures, which may not be posted if they totally suck.
A porpoise surfaced at the beach

Hey buddy, got any fish?

Some other sand artist is at work today...

And doing a damn good job!  This was there before I started.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sant Art: The Sphinx

Here are some pictures of my first sand sculpture: The Sphinx.  I'm warming up for a Cinder Clouds-themed sculpture later in the week.  I think a croc / alligator will invade the beach too. 

The Sphinx lasted about an hour before we watched the tide destroy it, which of course is half the fun.

After I had completed the Sphinx, my kids were helping me build the perimeter wall when several other kids came by to see the sculpture.  Then they left and reappeared with shovels and quickly got to work helping us.

"Cool, we have slave labor," I said.  My younger son picked up on that and relayed that little factiod to every other person who came by.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sand Art

I'm going on vacation next week, and one thing I like to do at the beach is build sand sculptures.  I need suggestions for new things to build.  If you have any ideas, please leave a comment.  Here are a few examples from vacations past:

Sand Shark

Bugs Bunny

Surf's Up Doc
That's all, Folks!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Past Lives

The other day, we were all driving in the car and my younger son said, with absolute deadpan delivery: "I really enjoyed my past life as an alien."

Tough not to burst into laughter at his matter-of-fact tone of voice, so of course that's what the rest of us did.

"What? I did," he insisted.

I am really enjoying this life as that boy's father ;-)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ancient Book Discovered Under Arctic Ice

COLUMBUS, OH (July 2011)- A team of climatologists just reported a startling discovery: an ancient book of unknown origin was found embedded deep in an Arctic ice core.  The team immediately set out to excavate the rest of the book—the drill had only punched through its center—and spent days piecing it together before cracking the cover.  The text is in English, Spanish, and Japanese, and tells an incredible story you have to read to believe…

Such is the premise of The Man in the Cinder Clouds, a debut novel by Rick Daley.  This brilliant re-telling of the origins of Santa Claus brings the nostalgia and wonder of the old clay-mation Christmas specials to life.  “Rather than try to trace Santa’s history through the years, I focused instead on his first Christmas, and the challenges he faced that year,” Daley explained.  “I wanted to make it real.”

And feel real it does.  This story-within-a-story (within a story) reveals the origins of all of the most famous aspects of the Santa Claus legend: from his red suit and white hair to Christmas trees, stockings, and lumps of coal (and everything in between).  The story also answers the age old question: How does Santa fit all those presents in his sack?

“The little details are a big part of the book’s appeal.  They are not gratuitous; they all make sense in the context of the story and the characters.  Sure his suit is red because that’s his favorite color, but why is red his favorite color?  It’s no spoiler to say he meets Mrs. Claus and falls in love, but how does their relationship grow? That’s what was important to me in writing this tale,” Daley said.  “And while the main character is Kris Kringle—known as ‘the man in the cinder clouds’ after an accident involving a chimney—the layers of the story above and below Kris’ tale are thrilling…from the people who found the book in the ice, struggling to decide if they should keep it and get rich or find a way to return the book to its rightful owner, to the two orphans Kris befriends after their greedy uncle robs them of their inheritance.”

If you've ever believed in Santa Claus, this is the book for you.  And there’s no need to wait until Christmas, you can open this one early: The Man in the Cinder Clouds is currently available in print through CreateSpace, and will be available at and other online retailers in the coming weeks.  A Kindle version is scheduled for release in early August.  For more information, visit

Publication Date: July 12, 2011

IBSN-13: 978-1461091684

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Adventures in Parenting: Tequila Edition

Here's a fun endeavor for our more adventurous parents.  This is a step-by-step guide to sure-fire laughter and joy:

Step 1: Invite friends over for a cookout and margaritas.

Step 2: While the food is cooking, use a small bottle of Patron Silver to make several rounds of margaritas.

Step 3: Observe a nine-year-old boy playing with the now-empty bottle, which has a cool shape and a convenient cork.

Step 4: Observe that your wife is not in the room.

Step 5: Emit a mad scientist laugh and tell the boy we're going to play a trick on Mom.

Step 6: Rinse the bottle well, but leave a little water (about 3 shots worth).

Step 7: Have the boy walk up to Mom, hold up the bottle, and say, "Dad said I could drink this!"

Step 8 (must be done IMMEDIATELY after step 7, timing is critical in comedy routines): The boy uncorks the bottle and chugs while Mom stands up in a panic saying, "No, I'm sure Daddy...NO!!!"

Step 9: Laugh. 

Step 10: Catch your breath and wipe the snot bubble from your nose.

Step 11: Laugh.

Step 12: Repeat steps 9-11.

Hope you did something fun on your holiday weekend too!