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Friday, April 14, 2021

Well, it’s official: I’m sick. That sore throat has gotten worse; right now I’m stuffed up, feverish, and feeling generally crappy.

And it’s no surprise, because this is the same exact thing that happened the last time I visited with my little 3-year-old sniffling cousin, Michael. He and his twin brother Dimitri seem to be perpetually sick, which I guess is normal for that age. My past exposures to these little germ-bombs have been noneventful, but this kid’s carrying something that’s potent enough to knock me on my ass.

In short: I think I’m going to have to embargo myself from all relatives under the age of 4. I’ve got my health to think about, dammit.

The immediate downside: I’m not going to be able to go out clubbing tonight, like I’d planned. I’m not happy about that. I haven’t really gotten into the New York club scene yet, despite being here for a couple of months; something always seemed to come up to derail me from it. This is just the latest. Bars are fine, but they get to be boringly similar after a while. I need the thrill of the dancefloor — a thrill that will be deferred by at least a few more days, it looks like.

I’m dreading this bug lasting for over a week, like it did last time. I can’t handle that again. It was bad enough when I had nothing but free time in which to be sick; now that I’m working, I don’t need the additional stress.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 04/14/2006 03:33:32 PM
Category: General
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Oh, how I miss Florida, my late home. The weather, the… weather… Sorry, nothing else comes to mind.

Oh, I know: The invasive species. Like the hordes of Mexican iguanas that have overrun the Gulf Coast town of Boca Grande, upsetting the ecology and even potentially unsettling the geography.

The county hired Florida Gulf Coast University biologist Jerry Jackson to study the problem. He is worried the lizards aren’t just a nuisance, but are destroying native habitat, spreading other invasive species through their droppings and endangering the town in the event of a hurricane.

“The majority of their burrows are in the dunes along the beaches,” Jackson said. “We’re threatening the human population on Gasparilla Island to the extent that the dunes are in danger of just disappearing with a storm surge.”

But there’s a bright side: Iguana fly fishing!

Some have even made catching iguanas into a family outing. Boston resident Michael Mavilia, 49, owns a house on the island, so he spent a recent day with his family casting a fishing rod with a tiny green rubber worm toward the foundations of beach homes.

“This is a nice one,” Mavilia said, pulling a writhing, two-foot iguana from a cage in his car trunk. “You should have seen us wrestling him in. It was like catching the big one.”

I’d known that iguanas had thrived further south on the Florida peninsula, in the Miami area and the Keys. I’d heard that they couldn’t tolerate the outdoors environment any further north than that; maybe they’re adapting. At this rate, they’ll have evolved enough to spread to New York in, oh, about 500 years…

I’ve never been down Boca Grande way; it’s probably a two-hour drive from the Tampa Bay area, and that was simply too far to go without a purpose. But I’d like to point out that Gasparilla Island was my pick this past Fall in the Hurricane Wilma Landfall Pool. I lost the pool, but I wonder now if getting blasted by a hurricane would have made the island’s iguana problem better or worse.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 04/14/2006 03:20:11 PM
Category: Florida Livin', Science
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So yesterday, I dropped into a Bank of America branch to deposit a check. I filled out the deposit slip, waited in line, and then handed the teller the slip and the check.

The snag: I didn’t use the right type of deposit slip. I had to use the out-of-state accounts deposit slip.

But, I pointed out: The address on my account is in New York.

Doesn’t matter, she said. The account was opened in Florida, and as such, it’s tagged as a Florida account now and forevermore, regardless of the accountholder’s current residency. You could always close an account and open a new one in your new state of residence, but she said it really wasn’t worth the hassle.

Does this make any sense? First off, I’m not sure why a Bank of America account even needs a geographic signifier — the bank’s got branches from coast to coast, making it a truly national financial institution. If BofA has to go through this with every one of its accounts, it’s got to be an administrative nightmare. And what about bank customers who move around a lot (the military and certain other professions)?

This didn’t wind up being a big deal for me. I simply filled out the correct deposit slip quickly, and took care of business. But I can’t believe that I’m going to be holding onto a “Florida” account for the rest of my tenure with Bank of America.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 04/14/2006 02:56:37 PM
Category: Business
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I’m having a ball catching some of the oddball storefront names to be found on the streets of Manhattan. Recently, one on 6th Avenue (or, if you prefer, Avenue of the Americas) between 55th and 56th Streets caught my eye: The Vitamin Museum (site under construction, unfortunately).

“Vitamin”. “Museum”. Do those two words even go together? I dunno about you, but I’d rather that my dietary supplements not be aged enough to qualify for any sort of museum display, implied or not.

Despite the lack of retail appeal, I guess I’d indulge myself in an actual exhibit that looked at vitamin products through the ages. Especially if they included prehistoric fossilized specimens of Flintstones Chewable Vitamins.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 04/14/2006 08:17:58 AM
Category: New Yorkin', Pop Culture
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