Thursday, June 22, 2006


After wondering if I would ever actually move into the home I signed the contract for last June, I finally closed on the new home.

I'm moving most of my stuff this weekend, provided that I remember to rent a truck before then. I go tomorrow morning to pick out the slab of granite from which they will make my new countertops. The house comes with countertops but I wanted granite and it's thousands cheaper to pay Home Depot to come tear out the current countertops and install granite ones than it would have been to have the homebuilder install granite in the first place.

It should be fit for company in a few weeks, though I figure most of my out of town friends will want to visit when it gets cold where they live.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Read All About It

I walk the half-mile to the entrance to the development to buy the Sunday St. Petersburg Times. About 20 yards before I get to the vending machine I see that it's empty. I walk the half-mile back home then get in my car and drive to a nearby intersection where live people hawking both the Times and the Tampa Tribune stand in the median.

I prefer the Times. Not only do I think it's a better paper, it costs half the price of the Trib. Fifty-cents for the Sunday edition is worth it for the three crossword puzzles alone.

As I get to the intersection, the light has just turned red so I don't have to disrupt traffic to make my transaction. Good. I'm sure crack buyers feel the same relief except they're not making their drive-by purchases at 8:30 a.m. on a sunlit suburban street. I see the papers stacked up but I don't see the vendors. Finally, I see the Times' guy lying down on his back with his eyes closed. I stop next to him, roll down my window and say, "hey."

Nothing. Not a wink or a nudge. I call to him again, louder this time. Still nothing. I honk the horn. This doesn't rouse him. Perhaps he is sleeping off last night's crack binge. Then I spy the guy from the Trib running across the street, probably returning from a bathroom break at the Hess station. But I don't want a Tribune. He comes up to me and asks, "Did you want a Times?"

He hands me one as I pass him the two quarters. "He's been passed out all morning." It was good of him to cover for his counterpart from the rival paper. Maybe they help each other like that. It looks like a tough job, standing in the median holding copies of the Sunday paper in the air then dashing between lanes of traffic to make a sale all day.

I still laugh as the light changes and I make the U-turn to go back home.

Saturday, June 10, 2006


My parents left for vacation out west early this morning. I shuttled them to the airport. After my chauffeur assignment, I went to Clearwater Beach. As you can see above, if you get there at 8 a.m. you have the beach to yourself. It's not kayaking on Waikiki but my chair, towel and Michael Beschloss book on World War II kept me good company again today.

Came home to find an e-mail from a friend who detailed the nosedive of her sex life since she had a baby earlier this year. Is it the very definition of irony that someone who has not had a relationship in three years would be asked to counsel two people who sleep next to each other on how to have more sex?

Then, speaking of ending droughts, it rained hard for an hour. This has been the oddest day. But interesting.

Friday, June 09, 2006


I got to pretend to be an actor again last night. We shot it in an Ybor City office building where the passing trolley interrupted us every 20 minutes.

The producers were the same people who made the film in which I appeared last year. They have the delusion that this project is going to wind up as a show on the f/x network. It is not going to become an actual television show on that or any other network. In the exceeding unlikely event that it does become an actual television show, the network will replace me with a real actor. I may have no shortage of my own delusions but being a Hollywood star is not one of them.

I did have a scene in which I had to stand in close proximity to an attractive young lady wearing. (Yes, had to. Forced, chained-to-the-chair, gun-to-the-head, child-held-for-ransom had to. It was tough going, lemme tell ya, but I made the sacrifice for the sake of my art.) She wore an outfit that showed off her bust as I encouraged her to use her, um, assets to close a deal. My character was a creep, which means I got a free pass to sexually harass someone. Only in a pretend world could I ever imagine looking at a girl and telling her, "You have tits. You know what to do." Her character was a creep, too, so she didn't feel harassed.

If she's a creep in real life, she's a better actress than I thought because I found her perfectly charming. Her real name is Jessica and she's a trained ballet dancer who wants to make it on Broadway. She's got an audition in Chicago next week, she said, for a musical based on Billy Joel's work.

She sure looked like a dancer, legs and all, which I promise I only noticed because it said so in the script. She explained that dancers have to be 5'5" or shorter and meet a certain weight for their height. She has to keep 108 pounds or less on her 5'3" frame. "Gee, that's not a recipe for anorexia," I said. She said it was tough, which I could understand since she had actual breasts -- again noticed only in the course of dutifully playing the role to which I had been assigned -- instead of the chest-less look you'd expect to see on a dancer.

The creators of the project earnestly believed they were making a comedy masterpiece. They also played characters and they'd ruin takes laughing at my dialogue. Maybe it's a generational thing (these guys were in their early-to-mid 20s) and the jokes went over my head. More likely, though, that the jokes just weren't that funny.

But I had fun doing it and they seemed happy with my effort again so maybe I'll get to do some more.