Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Page 1 of 512345
Thursday, June 30, 2021

reel 'er in!
Do you like sharks? Do you like pretty girls? Do you like stories about pretty girls taking photos of jumping sharks?

Then Mary Mathias’ close encounter with a red-tide-choking shark off Egmont Key should give you a thrill.

And as a bonus, Mathias is a student at my alma mater. Just from this story, I’ll take her over a wannabe Gilligan any day.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 06/30/2005 08:30pm
Category: Florida Livin'
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback (1)

It’s funny how one’s guy/girl radar works independently of the conscious mind. Well, how mine does, anyway (as it relates to girls; I don’t have a guy-tracking radar, to my knowledge).

Today at lunch, I spotted this girl milling about. Not quite pretty, but damned attractive, because she was just my type: Longish dark hair, olive skin, decent body with a nice chest, unassuming body language. I couldn’t maneuver myself over to her to talk with her. But, despite sitting clear across a huge dining area from where she was, and engaging in eating and conversing with others, my head automatically picked up everytime she moved around. By the time she was leaving the joint, my eyes involuntarily followed her out the door, despite the distance and her not being particularly in my line of sight.

Too bad the situation wasn’t more advantageous. If I run into her again, I’m definitely talking to her.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 06/30/2005 01:43pm
Category: Women
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback

a familiar sight
No change from yesterday, really. The Error 500 downtime is still going strong, with the site being accessible for inconsistent stretches. For instance, it appears to have been up today from midnight until 10AM, then plunged back into the dark.

1and1 is still denying responsibility, claiming the blog is “too big” or running too many scripts for their server to handle (both complete bullshit, in my opinion, probably intended to make me upgrade my hosting package for no reason). They are taking a deeper look into it, but taking their time about it. It’s a foregone conclusion by now that I’ll be ditching them and going with another host, as soon as possible (probably by next week).

In the meantime, as you can tell, I’ve resumed posting, despite the lack of display. The RSS feeds still work, and those have subscribers; not to mention that they get picked up by Findory, Blogdigger, Feedster and other services. So despite the foul-up, my scribblings are still zooming out to the InterWeb. It’s some consolation.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 06/30/2005 12:17pm
Category: Bloggin'
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback

Wednesday, June 29, 2021

Could this be a must-have feature on my next mobile phone? IN-FUSIO is releasing an electronic version of Etch-A-Sketch.

Seems like a perfect doo-dad for the phone. It’s teched up: You can save your choice drawings on the phone’s memory. And forget about shaking the screen clean:

The fun doesn’t end when the artwork is finished. Remember shaking the toy to erase the picture? This is simulated in the mobile version, pressing the 0 key to wipe out the picture and start the vibrating function of the phone.

I never could get the hang of manipulating those stupid knobs on the original, low-tech version. But I think I can grok this.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 06/29/2005 10:55pm
Category: Pop Culture, Tech
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback

While I usually don’t take note of obituaries, even of the famous kind, I had to mark the one for Civil War historian Shelby Foote, as written by Cox News Services’ Jim Auchmutey. All because of this superbly-crafted opening:

The Civil War, Shelby Foote used to say, was our “Iliad” - a well of tragedy, triumph and meaning as deep to Americans as the Trojan War was to ancient Greeks.

In that case, we’ve lost a modern-day Homer.

Indeed we have. I loved Ken Burns’ “Civil War”, and can’t imagine it without Foote’s contributions. The man knew his stuff.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 06/29/2005 09:58pm
Category: Celebrity, History
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback

direct lineage
So, as part of The Island’s pre-release hype, Wired’s Paul Davidson identifies four films that served as Michael Bay’s inspiration:

- THX 1138

- Logan’s Run

- The Truman Show

- The Matrix

Of course, Davidson missed the most obvious progenitor of all.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 06/29/2005 09:36pm
Category: Movies
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback

Well, it’s Day Two of this site being The House of the Perpetual Error 500: Internal Server Error. I’m exaggerating only slightly when I say “perpetual” — logs indicate small windows of uptime since yesterday.

I’m extremely frustrated, for a lot of reasons:

- I’m super-busy with work, so I really don’t have much time to devote to this (and I can think of more fun things to do over the upcoming Fourth of July weekend);

- I can’t find anything, really, in terms of reference that could point me to a solution that I could implement;

- I can’t tell if this is happening just to me, or if it’s a more widespread problem (misery loves company, and it would tell me that it really is a hosting vs. site issue);

- I’m not at all convinced that this isn’t wholly 1and1’s problem, since I didn’t make a single change to the back-end and structure prior to this nonsense; and their lack of communication isn’t helping;

- I’m not very motivated to post anything, since it’s not going to be visible to most.

Right now, I’m crossing my fingers that the problems will vanish as inexplicably as they appeared. Discounting that, I’m in limbo.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 06/29/2005 10:30am
Category: Bloggin'
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback

Tuesday, June 28, 2021

I guess there’s not too much point in posting this, since most visitors are pulling up the old 500 error I mentioned earlier. But I know there are a few readers picking this site up via the RSS feeds, and those seem to be working, so at least someone will get this.

The site is currently disfunctional. It seems to have gone down around 9AM this morning, and, unlike previous blackouts, has been screwed up for several hours on end. The only way to visit it is via cached pages, like Google’s.

Obviously, the damage is limited to the front-end; the cache pages still work (including comment forms), and I’m able to pull up the back-end part. But otherwise, things are screwed up.

Some back-and-forth emailing with host 1and1 yielded nothing but canned responses from them. If it’s a problem on their end (and it is, it’s just a question of exactly what, and whether I can do anything to adapt to it), they’re not talking. Which doesn’t make me too enthusiastic about keeping them as my host, obviously.

I have no idea how long this will last. I guess I’ll be tinkering extensively on this tonight (not an ideal scenario in any case, but especially odious right now, as I’ve got lots of other things on the plate). I’m most afraid my futzing around will only mess up new things and not even address the real problem — again, assuming that that real problem is something I can even do anything about (e.g., I can’t fix bum server hardware). But this downtime has got me so jittery, I feel compelled to do something, anything, just to say that I tried.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 06/28/2005 04:35pm
Category: Bloggin'
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback

Monday, June 27, 2021

I lucked out late last week and got my hands on a couple of primo DVD sets that are not yet in general release. Both are viewing/review copies, but, save for some last-minute post-production, look pretty much like finished products:

“The Alan Partridge Experience” - Five four discs’ worth of talk-show spoofing, in the vein of “Primetime Glick” — only, y’know, actually funny. About a hundred times funnier. I’d compare it to that other superb send-up of the talk-show arena, “The Larry Sanders Show”, except that the action is confined completely to the on-camera action. Which is plenty good, actually.

This show has developed a cult following, especially among BBC America addicts. I’ve never seen it before, and only heard little bits about it. I’ve watched only four episodes so far — all from “Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge”, the original incarnation of the Partridge character — but I’m pretty much in love with it right now.

Special bonus: It displays loads of those cheesy TV theme music scores, that only the British seem to be able to execute. I especially liked the ABBA medley the intrepidly goofy host co-sings in the third episode.

“30 Days” - Morgan Spurlock’s television parlay from Super Size Me. I’d seen the promos, and thought the social experiment laboratory format looked interesting. But I knew I’d never actually make time to catch it, so when I saw this disc, I grabbed it.

It’s got the first three episodes, dealing with: Living on minimum wage; embarking upon an age-fighting regimen; and living as a Muslim in America. I haven’t gotten a chance to watch more than the first half of the minimum wage segment. It looks promising, for nothing more than questions it’s intended to stimulate.

If anyone else has gotten a gander at either of these gems, comment away.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 06/27/2005 09:54pm
Category: TV
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback (1)

So, it’s been over a month since the St. Petersburg Times started gathering Tampa Bay blog URLs. There’s still time to submit yours (or email it direct).

What the heck is taking them so long to publish this directory? I can’t believe they need this much time to sort through all the area’s bloggers. Discounting all the throwaway Blogger/Xanga/LiveJournal entries, there can’t be more than two or three dozen active bloggers between here and Brooksville. Let’s get on with it!

(And yes, I am impatient for the expected traffic boost that should come from exposure in Florida’s largest newspaper. Call me greedy.)

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 06/27/2005 08:56pm
Category: Bloggin', Florida Livin'
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback (1)

In an annual effort to inject new blood into the ranks, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences sent 112 people invitations to become Oscar voters.

Mine must have gotten lost in the mail. Hey, it happens — maybe next year!

But plenty of Hollywood stars were among the chosen, including Jamie Foxx and Will Ferrell. Making the whole process seem more than a little like a big, fraternal circle-jerk, really. Must be why I don’t watch the Oscars in the first place…

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 06/27/2005 05:43pm
Category: Movies
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback

Sunday, June 26, 2021

Housing values in Florida are sky-high, prompting comparisons with a past land boom:

And of course the state has a storied history with real estate excess, most notably in the 1920s when the Miami Herald was reportedly the heaviest newspaper in America and the Marx Brothers framed a comedy hit around the Florida land craze.

That comedy hit was The Cocoanuts, one of the Marx Brothers’ stage plays that later became their first movie. The timeliness of the subject, no doubt, contributed to its success.

Since the times dictate it — and Hollywood, in its current box-office slump, will easily gravitate toward low-risk projects — I think a remake of Cocoanuts is in order. Using modern-day Miami as the backdrop, with an elaborate condo-flipping scheme serving as plot, should do the job.

Who would reprise the Marxes’ roles? Tough casting calls. Maybe throw together these guys in a comedic stew:

Groucho - Vince Vaughn

Chico - John Leguizamo

Harpo - Will Ferrell

Zeppo - Luke Wilson

Yeah, yeah, I know: Combining Vaughn, Ferrell and Wilson basically means rehashing Old School. This is just off the top of my head. Besides, Old School did well, so maybe it would just help the Marx remake get greenlighted.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 06/26/2005 10:23pm
Category: Florida Livin', Movies
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback

When I read about South Florida-based LanguageSpeak’s translation services, I was especially interested in the special care they take among different nuances in Spanish:

LanguageSpeak had to overcome regional linguistic differences among the 20 Spanish-speaking countries represented in the United States. For instance, [company head Annette] Taddeo, 38, says, there are at least four different ways to say “pen” in Spanish. If the company’s translation contains Puerto Rican, Cuban or Mexican nuances, it is instantly noticeable to other Hispanic groups and might distract them from the message. LanguageSpeak uses what’s called “universal Spanish.” She compares the language challenge to that of TV news anchors who study to rid themselves of regional accents and native dialects before they speak before the cameras.

It’s also important to choose words with the right connotation, Taddeo says. For one client, financial services firm ING, LanguageSpeak suggested it change the wording relating to “retirement plans” it sells from retiro to jubilacion. “Retiro has the connotation of ‘it’s the end.’ It’s a negative-sounding word, as in ‘it’s the end of your life,’” Taddeo says. “Jubilacion means jubilation. It’s a time to enjoy the fruits of your labor.”

The first thing that came to mind here was Hershey’s minor imbroglio over using “cajetas”, a disputed Spanish idiom, for a Hispanic-targeted product line. It looks like the candymaker could have used LanguageSpeak’s services.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 06/26/2005 08:22pm
Category: Business
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback

In order to get the Tampa Bay area juiced (or, even, familiarized) with big-time college hockey prior to the arrival of the 2012 Frozen Four, tourney host University of Alabama-Huntsville is looking to play at the St. Pete Times Forum.

[UA-H Chargers athletic director Jim Harris'] idea would be to play a couple of games in Tampa each year, maybe during the week of the Outback Bowl, against high-profile opponents - a Big Ten school, a Yale or maybe an Air Force team to appeal to the MacDill crowd.

The more hockey, the better! Even though the Bolts should be playing again by then, I’d gladly check out some NCAA action.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 06/26/2005 07:32pm
Category: Hockey
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback (2)

free man!
Sorry, I just couldn’t resist. The inclusion of the “1UP” dinger, indicating that Mario is gaining extra lives just for back-dooring his princess, was the little touch that elevated this from mere crudeness to genuine humor.

And for my own peace of mind, I’m going to assume (based on Nintendo’s long-running Mario Brothers storyline) that the sex is consensual.

(Via The Digested)

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 06/26/2005 04:39pm
Category: Comedy, Videogames
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback (8)

If there’s a more pun-funny website name out there than You Grow Girl, I don’t know what it could be. (And I don’t wanna know what it could be.)

Naturally, there’s a blog, too, with a Florida representative contributing.

Should I ever run into a girl wearing a “Garden Hoe” t-shirt, I’ll now know where it came from.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 06/26/2005 10:53am
Category: Internet
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback

Saturday, June 25, 2021

it's a gas-gas-gas
Even though it’s not a perfect comparison, I finally clued myself in on why Tom Cruise’s couch-jumping declaration of love for Katie Holmes on “Oprah” seemed so familiar:

It’s very reminiscent of that DeBeers commercial from three years back, “Declare Your Love”. Remember?

A couple are on vacation in some many-cathedraled place. They’re walking through a plaza. “Happy anniversary, honey.” “Yeah, happy anniversary.” The man says that there’s something he has to do, and starts shouting at the top of his lungs “I love this woman! I love her!” The woman, embarassed, tries to shush him. He stops, says “Well, this will have to do.” Hands her the ubiquitous Black Velvet Box, in which rests a ring with three very large diamonds. The woman puts it on, breathless. She throws her arms around his neck, whispering “I love this man. I love him, I love him.”

At least the “Diamond is Forever” guy placated his girl with a rock, right on the spot. Although I guess Cruise took care of that later with the marriage proposal…

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 06/25/2005 07:58pm
Category: Advert./Mktg., Celebrity, TV
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback (6)

Ah, the death of athleticism beckons: The first two innings of a real-life July 16th minor-league baseball game in Kansas City will be played out on an Xbox by fans. The flesh-and-blood players for the Kansas City T-Bones and Schaumburg Flyers will then take the field to contest the remaining seven innings.

Instead of checking for pine tar, I guess the Northern League umpires will have to watch out for any use of cheat codes.

I’ll laugh my ass off if the two-inning result ends up being a lopsided 14-2, and the real-life trailing team bitches long and hard about that.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 06/25/2005 07:35pm
Category: Baseball, Videogames
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback

Friday, June 24, 2021

filling up
Much like Nature, it seems that the modern-day commercial Web abhors a vacuum. Like all that empty white space on Google’s homepage, which has long been vaunted as symbolizing the search giant’s no-nonsense approach.

Kiss that goodbye. Google is predictably going down the portal road by rolling out a personalized account system. If you already have a Gmail or Google Groups account, you can personalize your Googling right now.

I could have sworn I said in an earlier post that this was pre-ordained, a pattern that all search sites inevitably resort to. Unfortunately, I can’t find it tonight… But basically, like any other media business, Google is compelled to create a subscriber base, which it can pitch to advertising and marketing partners. Gmail and other non-search offerings were just the groundwork; this is a fuller realization of that.

Obviously, Google eventually will be presenting a default page just as cluttered as Yahoo!’s, with all sorts of advertising and other doodads. I guess they’ll eventually lose focus on search, and some fledgling upstart will fill the newly-created void — until it, too, goes through the portal process, replaying the cycle all over again.

I have been making use of Google’s Personalized page, mainly because it’s a convenient way to keep an eye on my Gmail account. It’s okay so far, but I’m far away from making it a start page.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 06/24/2005 09:10pm
Category: Internet
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback (5)

The temperature rarely even approaches freezing. The local team hasn’t played in over a year. And the closest Division I team is 700 miles away.

So naturally, the city of Tampa has landed the NCAA Frozen Four men’s hockey championship for 2012.

I guess being the host of a Stanley Cup champion goes a long way. As does the continued growth of youth hockey, locally and statewide. The Lightning brass was pretty pleased about brining the tourney to the St. Pete Times Forum:

“I think it’s clearly an historic opportunity,” Lightning general manager Jay Feaster said. “There’s so many club teams. Hopefully what this does is maybe it gives some of those institutions a little bit of a push that they look at this and say, “Why not take that step? Why not take that step up and play Division I hockey?’ From that standpoint, it’s huge.

“The other thing that’s really important is for youth hockey. Hopefully, it will give some youngster the dream of maybe going to college to play hockey as a realistic opportunity. We all view this as a springboard for the sport and clearly a springboard for the sport in the South.”

Echoed Ron Campbell, Lightning and Times Forum president: “This is a huge win for Hockey Bay, USA.”

I found the participation of one pitchman to the effort to be interesting:

To overcome being a nontraditional college hockey market, Tampa officials stressed a growing number of youth and club programs in the state as well as the region and had a pretty good ambassador to make an impassioned case: Lightning star Martin St. Louis, who played in the Frozen Four while at Vermont.

“It was important to me if I could help the cause to bring the Frozen Four to Tampa … because I think it’s a great place for hockey,” St. Louis said. “How he feels in that market carries a lot of weight with us,” Dean said.

It’s great that Marty did his part. But really, is he even going to still be here in 2012? The nature of a pro athlete’s career is that he’ll move around. Plus, seven years is an eternity for an athletic career; odds are very good he will be retired by then.

So, how to mark time until the Frozen Four gets here…

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 06/24/2005 07:50am
Category: Florida Livin', Hockey
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback (3)

Thursday, June 23, 2021

If there’s only one certified public accountant on the planet who should be blogging, it would have to be Shaun Blogg.

Hopefully, having a name like Blogg doesn’t crimp his action with the ladies; because that’s been known to happen.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 06/23/2005 10:02pm
Category: Bloggin'
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback

Page 1 of 512345