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Rockport Beach, Texas

5/31/11

Flapping In The Water

Adventure Location: Aransas Pass Jetty, Texas

Oh Boy here we go onward toward Packery Channel jetties to check out the breaking waves and try for some fishing. Of course it did not happen that way or at all.

The first stop was at the Aransas Pass jetty just to check it for anything new. By the time the excitement was all over, it was hot enough this Team wanted back in the air conditioning.

The city usually dresses the sand to make it good enough for vehicle traffic. It was not quite just right yet and some fancy tire work (as opposed to fancy footwork) had to take place before the Truck literally slid into a parking spot at the jetty walk. That was exciting!

So the camera was put into my pocket and my HAT was put on top of my sunburned head very gently. My plan was a ten minute walk out to the end of the smoother paving and turn around. That would give me a chance to check the water clarity and wave action before the twelve mile drive on down to Packery Channel Jetties.

Lo and behold a fellow on the jetty set the hook into something that was able to really fight back. This fellow’s pole is a very stiff model and it was well bent during the fight. The action of the critter on the other end of the fishing line and the tip of the rod’s response to the activity told me it was a ray of some sort. A few minutes later, my choice was a BIG ray of some sort.

After about twenty minutes of give and take on the fishing rod, the as yet unseen critter was finally getting closer to the rocks. At this point this next picture was taken. The fisherman was pouring sweat and getting tired. Check the bend in that stiff as a telephone pole fishing rod.
Note the guy in the red shirt. He is down on the moss covered slippery rocks where a wave can wash him into the channel. His idea was that he would get down there and manhandle the fish onto the jetty walk. My experience on these type of rocks says stay on the topping not down in the rocks. About two minutes after the above picture was taken, Mr. Red Shirt started to reach down to the water to grab the “fish”. When this over two foot wide ray popped up and thrashed around, Red got up on the topping really quick.

Now that it was known to be a very large stingray the style of “retrieving” changed to netting it. For those who do not know about stingray critters, they have a vicious spike on their tail that will impale you better than a bayonet. My personal experience with a much smaller one was that it drove the spike through the 3/8” thick marine plywood hull of a boat. So do not mess with the tail stinger.

Now Red was being much more cautious and the pole man was getting just about worn out. The ray was still very frisky. Several attempts were made to get the ray up for Red to net it. Part of the trouble is the ray’s wings were wider than the net. This is one of the failed attempts. That is Mr. Ray's tail that looks like a rope in the lower right of the picture.
Now we are somewhere around the thirty minute mark and the fisherman is really worn out. Now TheOFM would not be down on the rocks playing with a LARGE stingray. My body has been abused enough during my life.

This next picture is of the successful netting of the critter.
Mr. Ray was lashing that long tail every which way in a very short split second. When Red tried to lift Mr. Ray up, he could not do it. Mr. Ray was too heavy. Another fellow reached down and helped Red get the ray onto the topping.

In this next picture you can see the barb on the rays tail about one third of the way from the body. This one was about the size of a 20 penny spike.
Even laying on the deck it is a dangerous critter. WOW that was an exciting bit of action. My body was tired from just watching the action. The Team wandered on out the jetty like was planned in the first place. Sure enough more action awaited the Team. A total of 65 pictures were taken and still being edited today.

By the time the short but eventful walk was finished, the temperature was up to 92 and it was time to get cooler. Back across the ferry and home to the Castle we went.

Back at the Castle the blog work was proceeding well. Pictures were being culled and edited. Notes and outlines for future blog entries were being recorded and suddenly it was supper time. The little junky looking restaurant here in town has $4.99 specials every night.
Tonight was chicken fajitas, rice, beans, guacamole, pico de gallo with chips and good salsa. So my normal table was waiting for me as if it knew all the work remaining for me to do for the blog.

The unsweet tea and fajita plate hit the spot well. Then it was back to the computer to get to work writing blogs. At this moment it is a little after nine pm, so this entry is coming to an end. There is more to report but it will have to wait. My energy is gone from all the hard work running around trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

5/30/11

Messaround Team In Action

Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas

What is it with the mid afternoon naps???? My sleep during the nap is a million times better than my sleep during the night. My hour and a half nap this afternoon was a million times more relaxing than the last weeks of nighttime sleeping. Understanding about it is not in my head, but loving it is in my body.

Before the nap the Messaround Team was out doing diligent careful research, sure, when we had an encounter with one of Texas’ best. A game warden and the OFM had a wonderful visit. He was approached in a boat ramp parking lot with a question about fishing regulations. Before you know it we were discussing traveling in West Texas and New Mexico. His upcoming vacation is going to be a great one. Hopefully my information will help his family in their planning for the vacation. It was a great visit.

In the evening when the temperatures had moderated some down to the lower 80s, a nice walk down at the Memorial Park was taken. A lot of the vegetation was setting seeds from the flowers of a couple of weeks ago. Several pictures were attempted but my silly camera refuses to focus on the proper object of the picture all too often. It would be nice to be able to easily control the focal point like my old Minolta film cameras. This camera supposedly can be manual focused by looking at the washed out obliterated by the sun diminutive screen while you press two buttons smaller than one finger tip back and forth as you try to find a lens in your trifocals that might be able to focus on the washed out obliterated diminutive screen. When it was all said and not done, there were two shots for tonight that came out decent.

The first is a single bloom that is impressive. Notice the critter at the top ready for the attack.
At another plant was a whole cluster of blooms in various stages of maturity. It makes and interesting visual appearance.

A great nap, a wonderful visit with a nice fellow, a pleasant walk and flower pictures do make a good ending to a day of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.
EDIT: Apparently going without a hat while talking to the game warden brought on a noticeable sunburn on my tender scalp and nose. OOPS

5/29/11

Man Caves

Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas

While out checking the crowd situation this special place was noticed. It is some innovative advertising.
They are over by the airport in Fulton.

The crowds were out in abundance. The wine festival over at the Maritime Museum was packed. The attendee’s vehicles were clogging the streets all around the museum making wandering the harbor area difficult. Eventually the proper spot was found and this picture of the Rockport Beach taken. Normally in the summer there will be about twenty families here. Today there is a considerably larger count of folks.
WOW that is a lot of folks out trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

5/28/11

No Nutthing Day

Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas

To answer a question posed to me. My summer location in Texas is because I like all the different things available to do here in the Coastal Bend of Texas. The rest of the state gets a lot hotter than here at the coast

Most of the day was spent in a trip into Corpus to take care of a few personal things and a bit of shopping. It was a successful trip and the crowds were decent and well behaved. Then the afternoon was spent just plain goofing off visiting neighbors here in the campground.

The day overall was just a lazy laid back great time of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

5/27/11

Grilling Out

Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas

The heat is a deciding factor in my thoughts about travel. This location is the normally least hot spot in Texas. Today it got up to 91 and my thoughts turned to going someplace else. When the weather map for the Texas area was checked, it showed me that Rockport is the right place to be. So probably this area will be home until into August. We will see.
The navigation district is putting in new grills down at the harbor for folks to cook on when using the day use shelters. The old ones were rusted just about to worthless. Here are the new ones being installed for the holiday and summer.
Staying cool and grilling great fresh seafood is a wonderful way to try to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

5/26/11

Beachcombing Again

Adventure Location: Padre Island National Seashore, Texas

Today the Team made it all the way to PINS. On the way back there was a good bit of sightseeing done but all the adventure was at PINS. A late get going due to a lazy OFM adhering to his mattress too long put the Team in Flour Bluff right at lunch time. What a coincidence!

From there the Team went to the PINS north beach to do some beachcombing. We parked right after driving onto the sand and seaweed. The beach chosen was the one blocked off from regular public wheeled traffic. The hope was that that section of beach would be more untouched than the ones folks can drive around on.

The water was beautiful and the wind had abated somewhat from the last few days.
The waves were still significant but definitely on the getting smaller trend. The wind was still significant but not beastly. The heat was pretty bad at 92 but my feet insisted on giving it a try. So the Beachcombing Team hit the sand and seaweed. Here is a picture taken from at the Truck down the beach southward.
From the Truck looking back to the north you can see one of the campers on the left. The couple fishing the surf on the right was seeing a lot of action cleaning the seaweed off their lines. They kept at it for the nearly three hours the Beachcombing Team was at work. The couple in the buggy thing are volunteers on turtle watch and were riding up and down on the beach checking for Ridley turtles. On my walk, there was one blue flag marking a depression in the sand where a nest might have been.
There was only one seed of value to me found during the trek. Several other interesting things were seen but not taken home. One of the interesting things seen was this fellow sitting there the whole time reading from his electronic book and getting sunburned in his effort to get skin cancer.
Another fellow was moving among the dunes faster than me. He would pause and look around carefully and wander back and forth staring at the surf and dunes. Then he moved on a little ways and repeated. My guess is that he was an artist or art student looking for just the right scene. He moved too fast for me to catch him to find out for sure. The fellow sitting in the sand to the left in the picture never moved from that spot.
On the way back to the Truck was a critter waiting to pounce on food if it came by. It was about five inches across and two inches tall. Petting it did not seem like a good idea.
It was noticed that the traffic on the island had really increased since a couple of days ago. This weekend is getting a really good start already. Lots of folks will be here this weekend trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

5/25/11

The Back Side

Adventure Location: Bay Side of Mustang Island, Texas

More than you ever knew there was to know about peanuts is available at http://hermitjim.blogspot.com/2011/05/i-love-peanut-butter.html

After my lazy body got the link to Hermit Jim above posted, my head decided to go to PINS and do some more beachcombing. So food and water and medical supplies were loaded into the Truck and away we went. To my surprise we actually got within thirty miles of where we started to go.

The ferry crossing was immediate and the way out of Port Aransas was clear for the Truck to head on south on 361. Not too long after that was when the deviations started. The Fish Pass road to the back bay area ambushed the Truck and we started exploring the “new” road that the Texas Parks and Wildlife had put in to help us fools get to the back bay and its excellent fishing. The road appears to be old black top that was removed from some where and spread on the old dirt road. It actually is a major improvement. Four wheel drive is not needed for most of the route now.

When the new road surface quit, the path was less luxurious.
In the past this pathway was a bit more potholed and soft but today it was just fine IF you had a high clearance vehicle like the Truck. By the way it is not smart to stop where there is grass under the vehicle or you could easily end up with a crispy vehicle.

At the end of the pathway is the bay side of Fish Pass. This is the same Fish Pass that is plugged up at the Fish Pass jetties. There is a LOT of productive wadeable water around here if you do not have a kayak or canoe. Some of the bottom is soft but most of it is hard sand.

The previous picture is looking from the Truck out into the bay area. The shoreline winds on around to the right for who knows how far but definitely longer than you want to wade in one day. The nominal elevation in this area is less than one foot. Keep that in mind when the normal tide starts back in.
This picture is looking south at the shoreline across the pass. If my memory doesn’t fail me too badly, the pass channel is about four feet deep normally. Fishing can be really excellent around the mouth of the channel also. Two years ago the Truck was with somebody who caught two nice redfish from right here. Puddle Boat needs to come visit this location and do his thing.

There was another gate open off the main highway and we went off into never never land to explore that area. The dirt path was very rough and eventually the heavy diesel engine took its toll and the front of the Truck buried in the soft sand too much for just the rear wheels to get up our. Once again four wheel drive was able to extract us and we came on out of there. There was nowhere to safe stop for pictures since the middle of the path was tall dry grasses. It was not a good place for this Team to be exploring.

From that last place the Team went over to check on the progress at Packery Channel. The shoreline there is getting a major wonderful revamp. When it is finished it will be a very good place for shore fishing. While my feet were wandering all over the place, old fishing line was picked up. When it was time to go, here is the wad of trash line that had been gathered.

By now it was time to head home to the Castle. This old marsh rat really enjoyed roaming the marsh trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

5/24/11

Flogging

Adventure Location: On the Computer, Texas

Please note that FLOG spelled backwards is GOLF.

Golf is a very fascinating and/or frustrating game for most folks who attempt to play it. Most of my golfing years have had a question in them that no one has been able to answer. Golf courses are designed to give a fair test to the golfer not beat them up. The way that a course can accommodate several levels of ability is by having tees at different lengths and angles to fit each level of ability. My question has been what tees are for which ability?

Finally the Great Golf Gods of the Universe (GGGU) have come up with a guide line. As my abilities have diminished my choice of tees has moved forward from previous choices. A well designed course and the right choice of tees will cause most if not all of the fourteen clubs in your bag to be used. A clue that you are playing from the wrong tees is that either your long irons or short irons do not get used or very seldom or only when you screw up a tee shot.

Coming up soon will be the Tee It Forward information from GGGU to assist the golfer in choosing a set of tees that is proper for their real abilities. Of course most golfers will never admit to less than 298 yard drives but at least they will have the opportunity and information to get real with their golf game.

Here is a copy of the recommended tees for playing according to your actual real AVERAGE drive on the course. To me it happens to correlate to my experiences on course very well.

My normal drive is about 230 yards and frequently puts me past those folks who drive over 250 in their minds. My drives have actually been measured on calibrated locations. A stupendous, out of my shoes, perfect contact, and on hard fairways drive by TheOFM will maybe get out there to 250 at most.

And a drive like that is wonderful during a golf round while you are out trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

5/23/11

Beachcombing

Adventure Location: Mustang Island State Park, Texas

Some beachcombing seemed to be a nice thing to do today so the Truck took the Beachcombing Team down to the state park. The seaweed is trying to take over the beach. That may be good in the long run because it seems to help the dunes get larger and tougher. For today it was a chore to walk carefully and hunt for treasures.
One treasure was my first sand dollar for the year. This was broken but both pieces were there so they were placed back together for this picture. It would have been a very nice one to take home if it was in one piece.
The walk was from the beginning of the no camping beach to the jetty of Fish Pass. Fish Pass is filled in and not really a pass anymore. The jetties however are still named Fish Pass Jetty. The walk was slow because it takes a lot of extra time when you are walking on/in seaweed. A hole or object under the seaweed can cause serious injury to your body. It seems to me that a pair of knee high rubber boots would be good for beachcombing. That way the left over tentacles from jelly fish, stickers in the seaweed and sudden incoming wavelets would not get to your skin.

Two more treasures were found during this session. Two seeds attracted my attention. One is a round one about an inch in diameter. It looks very similar to the ones that are very plentiful that are slightly larger than a golf ball. The other was not identifiable by me. It has flats on three sides like it was in a crowded pod at one time. It is very light but very hard shelled.
There were many wind sculptures over in the dunes. The wind was so strong you could actually watch one being made and then shortly being destroyed. This one in the next picture was almost two feet tall and right next to the “road” out to the beach. The picture was taken then a couple of minutes later the sculpture collapsed as a new sculpture was being made by Mother Nature.

To show how bad the wind is blowing the water ashore here at the Rockport Beach, here is a picture of the parking lot being flooded by the blown wave tops coming over the breakwater. This picture was taken about 19:30 this evening.
A new lure that was tried seemed to be having trouble so a question about how to fix it or what needed to be done was put up on Texas Kayak Fishing forum. With in a few minutes several suggestions were posted to help me. Those suggestions and the bad lure were taken to the Rockport harbor to see what the correct fix was. A spot out of the ferocious wind was chosen and the testing began. The solution was determined. However during the testing three perch and one small undersize speckled trout (called a dink by fishermen) were caught. That style of lure, a shrimp DOA, certainly proved to be attractive to fish this evening.

A day filled with beachcombing and fishing has to be a good day of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

5/22/11

Hot Time Today

Adventure Location: Goose Island State Park, Texas

Finally around 14:00 the weekenders pretty much all cleared out of town and traffic was back to none. Now it was time to get out and ride Sightseer for a change of pace. The Truck took the Riding Team over to the park. The wind was roaring but we parked at the trail head for their little foot trail through the woods. The wind does not make it down through all the trees and underbrush to this parking lot.
It was rather warm but after airing the tires and putting on my safety gear we set off for fun. The road went through the two campgrounds. The first one is the one down by the water where potato chips outside is wrong most of the year. There is a concrete shade structure with electric and water for the campers use. The campsites along the breakwater frequently have the splash from the waves hitting the breakwater blow across the table. It is a good idea to plan on having a very damp camp if you set up at one of these.
Sightseer kept on fighting the 30+ mph wind on down to near the fishing pier where there is a spot to launch kayaks. These three folks were well protected from the wave action but the wind was giving them fits. In spite of their efforts they were going nowhere and wearing themselves out in a hurry.
Sightseer took me on back around most of the rest of the park. Part of the park is having a major reconstruction and is off limits. When we got back into the trees it was noticed that a certain OFM was beginning to feel funny. The heat was noticeable but the Team did ride gently and in the shade of the trees. At one spot a picture of a typical campsite was taken. There are two types of campsites in the woods. The ones like these are somewhat open and the next site is fairly close to yours.

The other sites are spread out more and have very thick underbrush between them. A hurricane could come through and no wind would bother you in these sites. Of course the mosquitoes love these still sites with brush nearly against you.

My head was not feeling good so we headed back for the Truck where the mileage was checked. Not much distance was it?

After Sightseer was put away in the Truck and the Truck started the temperature was noticed to be 89 degrees. It seemed hotter than that to my head. After arriving back at the Castle the weather was checked. It showed 89 degrees, heat index of 99, and humidity of 75% for the current conditions. No wonder my heat sensitive head was feeling funny. At least it was nice to get out and ride some. Riding Sightseer is usually a great way to try to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

5/21/11

Out Of The Way

Rockport, Tx

Stayed home and out of the mess of traffic. This is the Port Aransas ferry cam looking toward Aransas Pass about 14:30 today. The line goes out of sight! With a line like this it can be quicker to go all the way into Corpus down to Flour Bluff and back across Mustang Island to get to Port Aransas.

The ferry cams are at Ferry Cam

Sitting for hours in traffic is not my way of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

5/20/11

No Potato Chips

Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas

The wind was bad yesterday but that was only a warm-up for today. How does steady 30 gusting to over 35 sound for easy eating of potato chips outside? Not much better for any other outside efforts either.

Some grocery and other items were needed from Wal-mart so a moderately successful trip was done. A nice new item was purchased since it was finally in a small enough size for the Castle and a single guy.
Other crock-pots have been tried but they were too large and really did not fit in the available spaces well. This one does fit well and definitely does a good job on carrots and chicken breasts. It might be a winner and the price tag was $9.95 plus tax.

Piddling around on the internet was the occupation for most of the day hoping that the wind would abate. Nope not a chance. This evening a ride to the harbor found the waves breaking over the breakwater and pier. Definitely was not my kind of fishing conditions. These breaking all over everything waves are getting tiresome to me.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife office had some nice flowers near the front door. At least the building was blocking the horrendous wind for this picture.
The weekenders have moved into town in force. Traffic has at least tripled since noon. That is ok; it brings lots of money into the town to keep it going. By the way diesel was $3.819 a gallon at the Wal-mart when the Truck slurped up a bunch. Now the Truck is ready for whatever comes its way tomorrow for trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

5/19/11

Troubled Building

Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas

Since the wind was still ripping galvanizing off the light poles it was a day of verifying some new kayak launch points. Some nice walking was done at the Memorial Park just to keep the legs working well or as well as they can work.

The biggest news in Rockport is the building that Chili’s used to occupy is signed that a Kbobs Steak House is coming to town. They must have found some really bad critters during the inspection to have to do a tent job on the structure.
When my feet were struggling to carry my over full, from eating shrimp, fat body out of the buffet, my eyes noticed this pier cart on the back of an Oklahoma vehicle.

This was a new style to me. When it was looked for on the internet, nothing came up when the cart name, Polez carte, was searched. These carts come in a variety of sizes and styles. Some are called pier carts, others fishing carts, beach cart and even jetty cart.

Here is a picture of one that is available locally.
All of them serve the same purpose which is to make life easier when you have to carry your fishing stuff significant distances from your vehicle. Some of the folks have adapted grocery carts. Others have purchased the pneumatic tires wagons to convert. There are even the hardy folks who have built up back packs to carry their gear. They all do the same job.

Will the OFM be getting one soon? Not soon but maybe if it looks like a cart will be an aid in trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

5/18/11

Bench Bath

Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas

The wind has blown mightily all day rocking the Castle, but that only stopped the yakking and biking. Feet still work well in the wind so it was off to the Rockport Beach and/or other locations for some adventure.

There is a bench near the wooden pier that is positioned just right to watch the water for indications of fish that are waiting for my lures. However the waves had other ideas. These are wind blown waves and they are serious in their efforts. In this picture look carefully and you will be able to see the bench that was going to be used.
Since that did not work out how about some walking along the beach just looking for anything that happens along. Oh WOW, look at all the yellow flowers thrashing in the wind. Finally one had to be held in my hand to be still enough for a picture. They were definitely pretty even under the very gray skies of today.
The beach was nearly empty of folks. The city had raked it since last weekend and not many footprints had been added since the raking. A little litter was picked up during my walk and placed in the very handy garbage cans. There are so many garbage cans there is no excuse for not using them.

The birds were having fits with the wind. The gusts were causing all sorts of acrobatics that was fun to watch. This gull was in the process of recovering from nearly getting flipped on his back while flying past me. That almost was a splatter error.

And then on the way back to the Truck before my skin got peeled off my body by the wind, this scene caught my attention. The wind had not ruined all the flowers had it?
That scene makes a fine end to a day of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

5/17/11

Jetty Exploring

Adventure Location: Port Aransas, Texas

Since there is a good bit of interest in jetty fishing in the Castle inhabitant, another very defined trip to Port Aransas and the south jetty of Aransas Pass was taken with specific fishing items to check out. Some research has been ongoing about how to read the surf for locating the best fishing locations.

It is not a hard or long trip, normally, from Rockport. Today the bridge construction on highway 361 made it very long. We sat for quite a long time waiting on the pilot truck to take us through the construction. Finally it was all over but it took so long the decision was to take the long way back through Corpus Christi and save a lot of misery.

After finally getting to the jetty and getting parked on the soft sand, a walk out on the jetty commenced. As my path led out onto the jetty my concentration was on the surf and remembering what had been written on the internet. The good new is some of the information was retained and started to make sense after some study.

There were lots of folks out fishing the jetty. Most of them were way out on the rocks. My interest is fishing the sand bars and guts between the bars from the rocks. Every time my glance went over to this couple they were unhooking another fish. This particular fish was unknown to me.
A lot of seaweed has washed up on the rocks. Just like on the beach, it is not wise to walk on the seaweed. The next picture shows where someone had stepped on the seaweed but there was no rock under their foot when it came down. No blood was showing on the rocks or seaweed so maybe they were not injured too badly.
Some sort of acrobatic water birds were feasting on some bait fishes. The next set of pictures is culled from a lot of attempts to get good pictures for this blog. It is not just a certain bird but of several of the flock.

The bird would fly about thirty feet above the water watching for an indication of food below.
Then they would drop down some and hover by fluttering their wings very fast while waiting their chance to grab some food.
Suddenly they would turn straight down and plunge into the water with a great splash. The splash was never recorded but here is the bird in a kamikaze dive.
They were good enough that they could abort a dive at the last minute and swoop out and up. Sometimes they would even just knick the water some. It was impressive.
The bird above had just pulled out of the dive and touched the water where the circle of foam is below it.

As my studies of the water continued, a kayaker was noticed coming by. Then three more shown in the next picture were notice coming in from way out the jetty. It took me a few minutes to realize that these folks were too tough to be killed. None of them were wearing their PFD. Look carefully and click if you need to. There are three kayakers in this picture.
For the last part of the loop today a bit more time was spent on highway 361 between The City of Aransas Pass and Port Aransas looking for exact spots for wade fishing and kayak launching. Confirmation was achieved on a few spots chosen before and a couple of new spots were also charted. But eventually the tide was making its way inland. This next picture shows why you have to be careful where you park when you head out. The tide can ease in and get your vehicle stuck in the mud while you are our fishing. The tide range here is about a foot is all so the vehicle will not like flood, but the tires could sink enough to make you need to dig it out at low tide or call an expensive tow truck.

Back home finally all the gathered information has been being noted or digested for the near future. This was a great way of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.