Dear sandy feet,

What's going on here? One minute I'm boogying to "Chato's Out of Prison" in the middle of a hot and extremely crowded dance floor, and next thing I know -- it's raining, the beer's gone flat, and no one knows where the party is.

So I mope around the house trying to decide -- Football or HBO? Dole or Clinton? Paper or Plastic? Beach renourishment or no beach renourishment? The man I found so attractive last June now bores me to tears. I hate my clothes and my cat. I'm not hungry but I can't stop stuffing my face with junk. Who or what can I blame this on?

-Slouching on Saturn

Poor dear - I would hazard a guess that you are suffering from S.A.D. - Seasonal Affective Disorder -- a relatively common condition brought on by the shortening of daylight hours and the dismal offerings being foisted upon us by network TV. One common remedy is to position yourself in front of a fancy light fixture and watch reruns of Star Trek, NG -- but here on beautiful South Padre Island we have so many other options for banishing the end-of-the-season blahs:

Get on your bike and do the Tour de Isla.... both legs. Trade in your old boyfriend on a new model. Fly a kite at the kite festival or build a sandcastle at Sandcastle Days. Guess what?! the beach is STILL THERE! So are the margaritas! Dart and pool tournaments at Kelly's! Live Happy Hour music at the Coral Reef! New tunes from the Connectors! Ping-Pong at Bermudas! Locals' Parties everywhere!

And, if all else fails, you can always bring out the big guns. It is a well-known fact that one of the best ways to combat S.A.D.ness is to go shopping - not in the big city malls where they will try to sell you another jacket or sweater that you won't be able to wear for months yet -- but right here on the Island, where your friendly neighborhood merchants are shaking their collective heads over unwanted inventory and pondering how little they are willing to take to be rid of it. So go ahead and splurge on that sundress you've had your eye on all season! You deserve it! Take a chance on that skimpy bikini - what the heck? It's marked half off and you've got the better part of a year to work on developing the body that can wear it.

Dear sandy,

We had so much fun making sandcastles after our lesson with you. I'm a dental hygienist and for years I have used waxed dental tape to cut cakes. We used it to carve sand castles and it worked great! It was faster (for me) and smoother.

-Sarah W. from Carrollton, TX

I've been to lots of sandcastle contests and have seen sand carved with an interesting variety of implements -- but this is a new one on me. Your postcard gave me fantasies of being able to leave my obnoxiously large bucket of trowels, knives, etc. at home while I stroll onto the beach at the World Championship bearing nothing more cumbersome than a fresh roll of dental floss. ...

So I gave your suggestion a try and - you know, it worked pretty darn good -- particularly on small-scale structures. It makes a clean cut and it is indeed fast. However, I did discover some limitations. As a trained professional, you are probably more proficient at handling the stuff, but I had problems displacing the excess sand and am generally more comfortable with a tool that I only need one hand to operate.

At any rate, it is always interesting to learn new tricks of the trade and I thank you for sharing yours with us. The timing is especially appropriate, with SPI Sand Castle Days bearing down on us, Oct. 19-20. Please note that I will be very disappointed if I don't see some packages of dental tape on the beach that weekend.


So, the kids are back in school and you can finally get in some uninterrupted solitaire-playing time on the computer. Then, when you get bored with that, you can surf the web to these and other exciting locations:

Want to find out more about S.A.D. ? Click here. This page will tell you all about the condition and try to sell you the cure ("Only 249.00!")

"This maybe something of a 'college legend', but I heard it as true: A student taking a philosophy class had a single question on his final: "What is courage?". The student wrote:

"This.", signed it, and turned it in.

I never knew what happened to the student, but I hope he got an A."

For a little back-to-school humor, try this -- is a fun little search engine that has indexed over 54 million documents on the web. I ran some searches and found 5092 documents containing all the words "South Padre Island." When I added the words "real estate", hotbot registered 517 hits. "Hurricane" brought up 348, "beauty pageant" brought up 116, and "sandcastles"? A whopping 12. Since we are approaching elections, I added each presidential candidate to SPI and got the following numbers of hits:

Dole - 159

Clinton - 590

Perot - 49

You will of course have to draw your own conclusions.

Want to have your website featured here? E-mail me your URL... and happy surfing!

There are five (5) ways to submit your questions/comments for future Ask Sandy columns: In person; by phone (761-6222) or fax (761-8930); the US Postal System (box 2694,spi,78597) and E-mail. Visit the SOB Sandcastle Page ( for tips on sandcastling, contest info, recent Ask Sandy columns, and my reviews of local businesses.

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