Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
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Tuesday, November 16, 2021

The next time I visit the Orlando area, I’ll be sure not to incur the road-rage of someone driving a pickup truck. Because chances are good that their ride came with a semi-automatic accessory:

That’s right, folks. With every truck purchase at Nations Trucks, you get a $400 voucher that can be applied to the purchase of a shiny new Kalishnikov. After passing a background check, customers can drive their trucks over to their local gun shop with the voucher and purchase one of the world’s most dangerous weapons (an AK-47) then go home and celebrate the Second Amendment, regardless of appropriate training or responsible intent.

I wonder if these vehicles come with special compartments for storing spare banana clips?

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 11/16/2010 09:30pm
Category: Florida Livin', Society
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Saturday, November 06, 2021

I have a constructive message for TBO.com, also known as The Tampa Tribune:

I moved away from the Tampa Bay area close to five years ago now. I think you can go ahead and remove the link-listing to this blog from your “sampling of top area blogs” sidebar.

In fact, have someone — an editor, assuming you actually employ any editorial talent nowadays — refresh that entire list. Because it obviously hasn’t been reviewed in ages now. That my blog, now a New York-based product, is still there is proof enough; but a quick click-through of the other blogs listed reveals a motley lot, with more than half obviously defunct. Surely Florida’s west-central Gulf coast has a couple of more current representatives in the blogosphere, even if the Social Media Age has made first-person permalinking somewhat passe.

And don’t worry about how I’ll survive over here without the linkage from a metropolitan newspaper site. Fact is, the only time I notice the incoming links from TBO is when they rarely come in — maybe once every 2-3 months, tops. Not exactly a deluge of traffic.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by this overall lack of web media savvy from the Trib and its media group. Further evidence that they don’t know what they’re doing online: They feel the need to employ a bit.ly-styled shortlink URL: http://tbo.ly. Because, somehow, tbo.com is too damned long, with that extra-letter “m”?

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 11/06/2021 03:57pm
Category: Bloggin', Florida Livin', Publishing
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Monday, May 24, 2021

I spent the past weekend in Florida, for an informal college reunion with a few of my old dormmates. It turned out to be a nicely-timed getaway for me, following a couple of weeks of a particularly hectic schedule that had left me drained. And along with the sun and sand, getting to see some members of the old gang again for the first time in nearly twenty(!) years was a good thing.

I suppose a standard part of these re-gatherings is discovering how little most people really change. Everyone has “grown up”, in the sense of being on-track with families, careers, and such. But the remarkable thing is that, as we all push toward 40, we’ve all retained most of the instantly-recognizable traits that we had when we were living together back in school. For the most part, we picked up right where we left off, despite the years in between.

That leads to my favorite moment of the weekend, courtesy of my old college pal Woody. The best compliment I received was when he said he was glad to see me again, because he had missed my “negative humor”. By which he means my usual dry, sardonic wit. I know he meant it, too, because every time I said something to him, he ended up laughing hysterically.

I’m glad I could lend the biting comedy to this overdue get-together. Like I said, some things really never do change.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 05/24/2010 08:55am
Category: College Years, Florida Livin', General
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Sunday, May 23, 2021

old lineIt somehow completely passed me by that “Jenn” from Versus’ sports-talk roundtable show “The Daily Line” is none other than Jenn Sterger. That’s the same Jenn Sterger who was thrust into fame four years ago, as the FSU Cowgirl.

She looks different nowadays. And not just because she tends to wear more clothes on Versus than she did at Seminoles games. She’s a lot more tan now, for one. I also think her face looks significantly different. It has been four years; some physical changes aren’t out of the question. Also keep in mind that Sterger hasn’t been shy about plastic surgery in the past, including breast enhancement and reduction. I don’t know if she’s moved onto facial reconstruction now, but it would explain why (to me) she doesn’t look like the same cowgirl of old.

None of which compels me to watch “Line”. No amount of host remodeling makes that talking-head noise any more palatable.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 05/23/2010 12:16pm
Category: Florida Livin', Sports, TV, Women
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Saturday, February 06, 2021

I don’t chew gum.

So why is there a picture of Dentyne gum in this post? Simple: Dentyne’s marketers reached out to me for some blog-vertising action (just one of a recent spate of requests to come this way). They sent on two “bottles” worth of the gum, so I guess I’m obliged.

That’s one thing: “Bottles”. Dentyne refers to these plastic containers as bottles, even in ads. And yet, with their wide-mouth lids, they’re clearly more like jars. Maybe “jar of gum” sounds like an odd packaging description, but “bottle of gum” doesn’t sound much better.

Such packaging isn’t new in the gum/candy game. It’s been around for years now, obviously geared toward car-cupholder placement. But once again, I’m not a good fit: I don’t own a car. And even if I liked gum, I don’t know about having a jar (yeah, I said it) taking up valuable space inside my everyday man-bag.

So is there anything I like about this freebie? Just one thing: That wild artwork on the container’s outer wrapping. It’s a commissioned design by Anthony Yankovic, part of a series of color-themed designs for Dentyne’s flavors. Those intricate line-drawings are mesmerizing. I particularly dig that psychedelic triple-eyed owl, the centerpiece of this mini-mural.

As it happens, Yankovic and I share a bit of a connection: He currently resides in St. Petersburg, Florida — the same town I made my home in for 15 years. In fact, as near as I can figure, Yankovic moved to the ‘Burgh just about the same time I moved out, some four years ago. Small world.

In any case, after this review, I’m left with a couple of 60-piece counts of sugarless peppermint gum in a cool-looking container. Nice to look at, but ultimately, I’ll have to give them away, fanciful art and all.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 02/06/2021 05:55pm
Category: Advert./Mktg., Creative, Florida Livin', Food
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Saturday, December 12, 2021

I thought it was generally understood that friendships and “friending-ships” were two distinctly different things. I guess not, if the recent ruling by the Florida Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee is a societal gauge: Judges and lawyers are being strongly discouraged from listing one other as Facebook friends.

It’s hard to argue with the logic:

Even though some members of the Committee dissented from the ruling on the grounds that a social networking friend is really more like “a contact or acquaintance,” the general feeling was that it was important to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Judge Thomas McGrady, the chief of Florida’s 6th judicial circuit, told the Associated Press, “We as judges can still be good judges and still have friends… But others in the public who see judges listing a lawyer as a friend on Facebook, they may think that because they are your friend, they will be treated differently.”

No one’s naive enough to think that judges and lawyers don’t develop relationships. But having those linkages formalized as a written record — even a record as fluid as a social-networking site — makes them somehow more of an issue. It’s like anything else: Enshrining any type of communication in a referential form gives it a gravity that unwritten knowledge doesn’t carry.

This also boils down to semantics. How much less of an issue would this be if Facebook was calling its peer-to-peer listings “contacts” (or “peers”, even)? In that sense, “friend” becomes a loaded word. Thus the idea of lawyers and judges being too buddy-buddy, even if it’s only online.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 12/12/2021 05:31pm
Category: Florida Livin', Social Media Online, True Crime
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Sunday, November 08, 2021

pig l'orange
With today’s Green Bay at Tampa Bay game featuring the Bucs in their orange creamsicle throwback uniforms, there’s no way I wouldn’t throw up a post with the above Vinny Testaverde photo in it. Bucco Bruce lives again!

Actually, what pushed me over the edge was the game unexpectedly being broadcast here. That was an audible — the scheduled Arizona at Chicago game turned into a lopsided affair by halftime, so FOX decided to switch over to Buccaneer Ball. Thankfully so, as far as I’m concerned. Not least because it further extends the odd frequency of Bucs games on New York television this NFL season.

This game is an especially nostalgic mind-blower. The Bucs really went all-out with the throwback imagery: Not only the all-orange for the jerseys and coaches’ polo shirts, but even Raymond James Stadium is decked out with the franchise’s original colors, right down to the giant white Bucco Bruce helmet painting at mid-field, with no sign of the current pewter-and-red color scheme. I guess every NFL team goes to these lengths when they do a throwback game, but it seems even more complete in Tampa, probably because I was living there when those colors were current.

And of course, the sad-sack Yuckaneers are reborn on the field, with the 2009 team coming into this game winless, and looking deservedly so through three quarters of play this afternoon. Only appropriate that the opponent be Green Bay, in a revival of the “Bay of Pigs” matchups from decades past.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 11/08/2021 04:07pm
Category: Florida Livin', Football, History
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Sunday, September 20, 2021

buc up
Through some quirk in National Football League television scheduling, today’s Tampa Bay at Buffalo game is being broadcast here in the NYC area — a week after the Bucs’ 34-21 loss to Dallas was also shown here in New York.

So that makes the first two weeks of this NFL season with Buccaneers games on my boob-tube. I’d be fooled into thinking I’m still living in Florida, if not for the chilly-ish snap in the air.

The other reason for the nostalgia is that, so far, it’s looking like the Yuckaneers of the ’80s-’90s have been resurrected as the 2009 edition of the team. I realize it’s been only one game, but from what I saw versus the Cowboys, Tampa Bay isn’t destined to win too many games this season. Thus my conjuring-up of the orange-creamsicled uniforms of the Buccaneers past, with Vinny Testaverde‘s oft-seen scramble mode representing the current team’s disarray.

Regardless, I’ll take Bucs games on local TV. I don’t expect this ersatz Tampa Bay television territory to last, but while it does, it’s a welcome respite from all the Giants/Jets overexposure around here.

UPDATE - I didn’t realize that the Giants play at Tampa Bay in Week 3. So that’ll make three straight weeks of televised Bucs games for New Yorkers. I’m making my formal request now for the vintage Bucco Bruce orange unis to make an appearance…

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 09/20/2009 12:04pm
Category: Florida Livin', Football, New Yorkin', TV
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Saturday, August 29, 2021

I moved out of Florida nearly four years ago. It took a Great Recession for others to follow: The Sunshine State lost 58,000 in population last year, the first non-wartime drop in more than a century.

“It’s dramatic,” said Stanley K. Smith, an economics professor at the University of Florida who compiled the report. “You have a state that was booming and has been a leader in population growth for the last 100 years that suddenly has seen a substantial shift.”

The loss is more than a data point. Growth gave Florida its notorious flip-flop and flower-print swagger. Life could be carefree under the sun because, as a famous state tourism advertisement put it in 1986, “The rules are different here.”

But what if they are not? Or if those Florida rules — an approach that made growth paramount in the state’s sales pitch, self-image and revenue structure — no longer apply?

“It’s got to be a real psychological blow,” said William H. Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution who predicted that census data in December would confirm the findings. “I don’t know if you can take a whole state to a psychiatrist, but the whole Florida economy was based on migration flows.”

All that sounds like gloating from the North, the main source of Florida’s former 1,100-per-day new-resident influx. But the mindset is certainly real. Attractions like a low tax rate, non-wintry weather, and cheap land have kept folks flocking to the peninsula for decades; the housing meltdown and lack of a truly diversified economy show how fragile the state’s foundations are.

I’m sure the trend will reverse again, as early as next year. But for now, I’ll take smug satisfaction in having been ahead of the curve.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 08/29/2009 05:00pm
Category: Florida Livin', Society
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Thursday, May 07, 2021

some people claim
To hear Jimmy Buffett sing it, he once made enough money to buy Miami, but he pissed it away so fast.

Fortunately, he managed to save enough of that lost grass-stash to buy a small but prominent chunk of the town: The naming rights to Dolphin Stadium, which will soon be known as Landshark Stadium.

Buffett’s Margaritaville enterprise includes Landshark Lager, brewed by Anheuser-Busch.

Buffett and new Dolphins owner Stephen Ross are friends. They plan to unveil a new logo for the stadium at a private event Friday, where Buffett will perform a song inspired by the Dolphins.

For once, a truly synergistic branding of a sports facility. Buffett and south Florida are practically joined at the hip, so there’s no conceptual stretch in this union. True, business is business, and the beer is more the focus of this sell than Buffett himself (or “Fins”, the inspirational song, for that matter). Still, better than some bank or oil company.

I’ll take the opportunity to co-opt some credit for getting this deal done: Three weeks ago, this blog’s traffic logs detected a Google Search visit from Dolphin Stadium, querying “naming rights prices”. So presumably, whatever pricetag the ‘Fins extracted from Buffett was determined, in part, with research from my permalinking fingers — yikes.

Too bad I wasn’t brought deeper into the negotiating process. I’d have pushed for a name like “Buffett Bowl”. Or maybe Parrothead Park.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 05/07/2021 08:31pm
Category: Florida Livin', Football, Pop Culture, SportsBiz
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Friday, April 24, 2021

buckin'
Mere minutes ago:

I’m standing on a corner in Brooklyn. I’m talking on the phone with my friend, Kirby, who’s in Tampa. Normal so far.

Then, some guy walks by me wearing a vintage Tampa Bay Buccaneers ballcap emblazoned with the familiar red-and-orange winking visage of old Bucco Bruce.

How random is that? It threw me enough for a loop that I complimented the passerby on having a quality hat. Kirby got a kick out of it too.

Further tangents tying all this together: The above photo is of Vinny Testaverde, probably the most recognizable of the creamsicle-orange era Yuckaneers. He happened to be born in Brooklyn. And to top off the meta-data, Kirby had just returned to Tampa after spending the past few days in the New York metro area (no Brooklyn there, but close enough).

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 04/24/2009 03:41pm
Category: Florida Livin', Football, New Yorkin'
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Thursday, April 23, 2021

say cheese
If any of my erstwhile pals down Tampa Bay way fail to get in touch for a long stretch, I can always scan through Tampa Bay Mug Shots to see if they’ve been pinched in the past 60 days, and therefore are too preoccupied to chat with me.

Aggregating the arrest records from Pinellas, Hillsborough, and Pasco counties and showcasing them via the region’s dominant newspaper is mighty provocative. Of course, it’s all perfectly routine under public-records procedure:

A sheriff’s office Web site maintains publicly accessible arrest records regardless of the disposition of any particular case. One principle behind Mug Shots is to mirror the sheriff’s office Web site policies closely. We provide links from every individual’s profile page to the detail page at the corresponding sheriff’s office site, which contains instructions about how to follow up on any particular case.

So the St. Pete Times isn’t outing anyone, exactly. But obviously, there’s a higher level of exposure via a search-friendly site like Mug Shots, with a meticulously-permalinked structure (albeit an extremely perishable one, since they expire in 60 days just like the police public record), than from the typically-buried information on the sheriff websites. I’m sure the paper is getting plenty of heat from disgruntled perps.

Still, don’t do the crime if you can’t do the online time. It’s a great idea, and a rare bright spot out of the distressed newspaper world.

(Via @noesym)

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 04/23/2009 08:27am
Category: Florida Livin', Internet, Media, True Crime
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Friday, March 20, 2021

en fuego
Washington Capitals winger Alexander Ovechkin caused a predictable NHL talking-heads ruckus over his 50th-goal “hockey stick on fire” celebration during the 5-2 Caps win over the Lightning:

Here’s what I’m wondering:

Taking into account that this happened on the road at Tampa Bay, do you think that, somehow, Ovechkin knew that the name “Tampa” is derived from the Calusa Indian word for “sticks of fire”, and thus intentionally chose that “stick on fire” motif?

Unlikely, I know. But if that’s somehow true, I’m duly impressed that Alex O would take the time to research the local history, and incorporate it into his on-ice choreography. Makes the premeditated NFL-endzone dance vibe more palatable.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 03/20/2009 01:09pm
Category: Florida Livin', Hockey
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Monday, March 02, 2021

It’s come to this: Foreclosure-ravaged St. Lucie County in Florida is in such bad socio-economic shape that its government is equating the impact to a hurricane or other disastrous event, and therefore is contemplating an official “disaster area” declaration in order to free up recovery bucks.

“This is a manmade disaster,” County Commissioner Doug Coward acknowledged. But he said that is why “we’ve got to do something. Clearly, the economic crisis of the country far exceeds the ability of local governments to solve it, but we’re trying be a part of the solution.”

The declaration would act like a mini-stimulus plan, giving government officials access to a $17.5 million county fund usually reserved for natural disasters…

Jacqueline Byers, research director for the National Association of Counties, said she knows of no other U.S. county that is contemplating such a move.

“Everybody is kind of foundering around. Counties are looking for ways to address their shortfalls. This might be an innovative way to do it,” she said.

Yes, “innovative”. Why stop with a dinky bedroom community in South Florida? Just declare Wall Street a disaster area, thus giving the green light to inject billions of dollars into various institutions…

Oh, right — I guess the country-wide disaster area was already declared a few months back…

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 03/02/2021 06:37pm
Category: Business, Florida Livin', Society
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Monday, February 23, 2021

coaches on ice
When I decamped from Florida three years ago for New York, little did I suspect that Tampa Bay Lightning then-head coach John Tortorella eventually would follow the same path north.

Yes, Torts is the new bench boss for the New York Rangers. He has 21 games to instill a Camp Torture-ella environment among the Blueshirts, and thus hopefully reverse the slow-but-steady slide out of playoff contention they’ve been on for the past month. I have my doubts that a couple dozen games is enough time to get things moving in the right direction, but at least it’ll set the foundation for next season.

As for the now-deposed Tom Renney: I have no problem with canning the coach mid-stream, and for all the talk of player underachievement, I think the lack of organization and discipline among the coaching staff was really glaring over the past couple of weeks. It culminated with last night’s listless OT loss to the Leafs, when I noticed several botched shift changes and positional mis-matches. I kept the TV on long enough to watch Renney’s postgame press conference, and I could tell he knew that he was a goner, and deservedly so.

One last note: TSN saw fit to mention this consequence from Renney’s firing:

In an interesting sidenote, all four NHL teams that opened the NHL season in Europe have now fired their head coaches this season. In addition to Renney, other coaches to get the axe are the Penguins’ Michel Therrien, the Lightning’s Barry Melrose and the Senators’ Craig Hartsburg. Those teams were part of the NHL’s move to generate interest overseas by holding regular season games in Prague, Czech Republic and Stockholm, Sweden to kick off the 2008-09 campaign.

This is TSN engaging in veiled jingoism, implying that the league shouldn’t dilly-dally overseas or else bad things would eventually accrue. So that means that coaching staffs on next year’s European quartet of NHL teams — the Red Wings, Blues, Panthers, and Blackhawks — better watch their backs…

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 02/23/2009 10:47pm
Category: Florida Livin', Hockey, New Yorkin'
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He’s not the first to point out the relationship between grandiose urban landscapes and oppressive governments, but Slate’s Matthew Polly turns a nice descriptive trick when summing up the beauty that is Russia’s St. Petersburg:

Nowhere is that more true than on Nevsky Prospect, the city’s main thoroughfare and most famous street. (Gogol again: “What splendors does this street not know!”) Driving down it was like a flashback to Architecture 101′s final exam. Hmm, let’s see: Neoclassical, Style Moderne, Baroque, Neoclassical, Neoclassical, Baroque.

Say this about absolute monarchies: While living under them is awful (tens if not hundreds of thousands died building St. Petersburg, their bodies laid into the foundation), they do leave behind magnificent cities. Democracies, while far more pleasant, leave behind places like Phoenix.

Maybe more apt a democratic example would be Florida’s St. Petersburg, which is not only the original St. Pete‘s sister city, but was also my home for a good decade-and-a-half. Much like Phoenix or any other Sunbelt town, it’s fairly flattened out, and while it’s got its share of modest architectural charms, the stripmall remains the most distinguishing structural landmark.

But true, at least no one got killed while building the American version. Although, I could conjure up the old “God’s Waiting Room” nickname and assign the Gulf Coast city its own body count.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 02/23/2009 08:18pm
Category: Florida Livin', History, Political Theory, Society
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Wednesday, December 24, 2020

Just recently, I was engaged in a research assignment that took me back to familiar territory: Demographic information on the State of Florida. The tracking of which was, prior to my re-relocation to New York, my job.

Specifically, over the past few days, I was looking at the facts and figures concerning South Florida, which is formally defined as the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach metropolitan statistical area (MSA). It’s easily the biggest region in Florida, which is saying something for a State that boasts 20 distinct MSAs.

It’s been a while since I’ve gandered at the Sunshine State’s data clusters, so I was surprised to find the southeastern corner of the State labeled with Pompano Beach. The way I remember it, as of only a couple of years ago, the designator for the South Florida megalopolis was “Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach”, basically incorporating the three counties (Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach) that comprise the area. But now, the northern limit of the metro’s center of gravity has retrenched back south to Pompano, giving the Broward city a promotion of sorts.

I’m not sure why this happened. The MSA still includes Palm Beach; I would have first guessed that the change came with the city of West Palm Beach and environs having broken off into a separate MSA, but that’s not the case. And if the decade-old pattern of growth is holding, the population migrations are continuing to snake northward up the Broward-Palm Beach-Martin counties coast. If anything, I’d have thought the city-center designator would be moving in the same direction, not back south toward Miami.

I’m sure there’s an answer in some media/demographer statistical guide somewhere, but I’m not going to hunt for it. I’ll just have to get used to saying “Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano” instead of the old “Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm”. Assuming it ever comes up for me again.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 12/24/2008 12:35pm
Category: Business, Florida Livin', Society
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Monday, December 08, 2021

What are the odds of something that I uploaded a dozen years ago still being up on the InterWebs, more or less unchanged?

That “something” happens to be the very first full-fledged website I ever built. Slide on over to deyton.com, and you’ll find the online home for The Deyton Group — “Technologists At Work”. In all it’s 1996-coded glory.

No joke. I’ve looked at the text-heavy content, the links in the left sidebar frame (many now broken or redirected, thanks to long-ago consolidation in the tech-storage hardware industry), and the page-source HTML. I don’t have the backup files anymore, but I’d bet any amount of money that 99 percent of that work is the original coding I did before the turn of the century. About the only thing that’s changed is the addition of that background graphic in the top and left frames (formerly plain white), a new email address destination for the now-decrepit contact form, and maybe one or two more tweaks.

It’s hard to believe anyone could maintain a business website for this long without much updating — and just the basic, necessary content updates, at that. Aside from the big-name links, I’d imagine the product list is way out of date (and yes, I’m pretty sure that list contains the same stuff I originally text-dumped in there in 1996). I’m guessing the site’s sole purpose is to provide contact-information brochureware; everything else is basically explained away as, “we need to update that at some point”.

The background story isn’t much. Basically, in 1996 I was put in touch with the owner of Deyton Group through a coworker; the company’s headquarters consisted of a home-office bungalow on St. Pete Beach (I’m guessing that remains the HQ to this day, with that Colorado address doubling as a vacation home). I’d been doing my first tinkering with Web media — nothing more complex than throwing up handmade graphics and copy via America Online‘s late-’90s DIY tools. But that qualified me as an experienced webmaster during the Windows 95 era. The owner had already bought the deyton.com domain name; I believe his son’s name was Deyton, so he named his concern after the boy. He was hot to establish a presence on the Information Superhighway; he had the copy and general layout of the site already set in his head, so he just needed a code monkey (me) to make it real. I recall he didn’t want the copy edited or refined at all, despite my recommendations — and true enough, that same bloated wording remains there to this day! I did the dirty work of setting up the directory, recommending the frame structure, doing some logo work, designing the contact form, etc., and turned it around in probably a week. All for (I think) 300 bucks.

I never expected it to last this long. I would type the URL into my browser a couple of times over the past few years, just to check on it, and noticed that it was staying pretty static. I figured that, at some point, it would either shut down or else get a facelift. I guess if it’s not broke…

I wonder how many other virgin website attempts have managed to survive for over a decade. There’s something pleasing about it, given how impermanent Web documents are in general (even with the Internet Archive). It’s slightly embarrassing to have such a primitive site still on display, but it’s not like my name’s attached to it (at least, not until now ;) ), and besides, for its day, it was no worse than most of the contemporary small-business sites that staked out the early mass-market Web.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 12/08/2021 11:42am
Category: Business, Florida Livin', Internet, Tech
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Monday, October 20, 2021

hoo-ray
Figures: I leave town, and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays go nuts and punch a ticket to the World Series.

Of course, it took them a couple of years between my departure and their ascendancy. But who’s counting? The new ownership had a low-cost, salary-optimizing plan, and it’s paid off this year (pending a championship over Philly).

Last night’s development does give some real teeth to that somewhat strained “9 = 8″ mantra:

Manager Joe Maddon came up with the formula when riding his bicycle. Maddon takes long spins to clear his mind and, apparently, dream of equations that those in the math world refer to as “ill-formed problems.” In this case, it was a catchier way of conveying to the previously moribund Rays what Maddon really meant: nine players going hard for nine innings equals one of eight playoff spots. So it’s really more like 9*9 = 1/8.

Feh. Definitely not one of the timeless classic rallying cries. But winning puts a shine on even the weakest of motivational tools.

This sudden winning spasm by the Rays brings to mind my own time living and working in St. Petersburg, and witnessing other major-pro sports winning arcs while there. Not that I care a whit for baseball, MLB or otherwise; but for nostalgia’s sake, should the Trop team win it all, I’ll be following up with some more pointed reflection on the subject, from my personal perspective…

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 10/20/2008 10:43am
Category: Baseball, Florida Livin'
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Thursday, October 16, 2021

By odd circumstance, over the past few days I’ve come into contact with a handful of former acquaintances, all formerly from Tampa Bay, like me.

Yes, some have websites/blogs: Rachel, who had a penchant for drawing online controversy; Dave Pinero, a quieter participant in the Bay area blogosphere; and Blunted On Reality, who’s just relaunched his blogging machine.

Rachel and Dave are making their way in/around the Big Apple, and have recently transplanted themselves. Blunted is now finds himself in the Philadelphia area. And there’s another member of this ex-Florida reunion who’s not so active online, so I guess he doesn’t count ( ;) ); but he’s in Brooklyn and has been for a while now.

It’s funny that I’d hear from all these folks in so short a timeframe. Must be something in the air.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 10/16/2008 12:24pm
Category: Bloggin', Florida Livin'
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Wednesday, September 24, 2021

I’ve got an itch to attend BAM Takeover this weekend at Brooklyn Academy of Art. Mainly because I like the idea of late-night arthouse shenanigans:

This is the second year of overnight programming billed as “The Takeover.” The legendary Fort Greene music house will be open from 9 p.m. Saturday until 4 a.m. Sunday, allowing the first 2,700 or so folks who show up to go to as many different performance spaces as they can squeeze themselves into.

They can dance to music selected by deejays King Britt and Vikter Duplaix and watch “The Kingdom,” Lars von Trier’s supernatural thriller set in the neurosurgical ward of Copenhagen’s main hospital.

Moviegoers favoring something a little less cerebral can choose among flicks set in Brooklyn, favorites made in 1985, or films celebrating beer. Those who choose the last category may view while sipping $3 brews.

People who visit the rec lounge will find Nintendo Wii game consoles, Guitar Hero software, table tennis and arcade games.

A little something for everyone! And I’ve been to BAM only once before, so this would be a good reason to revisit.

The other reason this appeals to me: It seems like an expanded version of an all-nighter event from many moons ago (about 10 years, in fact) at the Salvador Dali Museum. That long-ago event was limited to film — specifically, the movies of Andy Warhol. I had wanted to attend the whole thing, but got sidetracked; but I was motivated enough to wake up in the wee hours of a Saturday morning, after a night of hard partying, to drag myself to downtown St. Pete to catch a good portion of the marathon festival. Memorably enough, I got a chance to view Chelsea Girls, in the intended double-projector format.

I expect this latter-day Brooklyn version will trump the Florida happening. As far as the moving image goes, BAM’s offerings won’t be quite as avant-garde: A highlight will be The Adventures of Bob & Doug McKenzie: Strange Brew. Not that I’m complaining. Besides, if the movies get tiresome, I can always duck out to dance, or play some vintage vid-games.

All of which inclines me to hit this event alone. As much as I’d like some familiar company, I think I’d have more fun freelancing from space to space myself. I could even stay until the 4AM closing time that way.

Anyway, the full schedule looks like fun, as does the Twittering updates. Strong chance I’ll be artsy-fartsying in Brooklyn in a couple of days…

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 09/24/2008 10:08pm
Category: Creative, Florida Livin', New Yorkin'
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