Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Mini-Documentary...on ME!

I'm not sure if, by posting this, I am massaging my ego or opening myself up for ridicule. I'm not even sure that these two possibilities are mutually exclusive.
This brief sketch, put together by honorary Road Dog A.O., offers a glimpse of my life as overnight desk clerk at the Flamingo Hotel. See the related essay here.

Spanish Moss

Ari, I never showed you a good example in Louisiana, so this
is for you.

Urban Think Signing, Orlando

Tight Shirt!

Urban Think! Bookstore is the type that I have looked forward to visiting. It's located in the Thornton Park neighborhood of downtown, very near Lake Eola Park. It's really a charming area, with no mouse ears in sight and not too many chain establishments. They offer a diverse selection of books, including many regional picks and works by Florida authors. They also display work by local artists and sell non-book gift items made locally. Their Signature Series has brought in an impressive list of writers.

Inside the store is an Infusion Tea, an urban vegetarian teahouse that offers a nice beer and wine menu. Take that, Barnes & Noble. I was really glad to see this, and I think more independents might think of marketing this combination that has worked so well for the book superstores.

The staff, including the manager Jim, is friendly in a laid-back, non-oversolicitous way. The store is a proud member of Indie Bound, and based on their literature they take their role in the community seriously.
I didn't give a reading here, just sat at a table with my books. It was interesting observing the different responses to me, some friendly and inquisitive, but many who seemed not to want to make eye contact with me. It's funny; I completely relate to the latter folk. To be drawn in can lead to the obligation to act interested for several seconds or, even worse, to make a purchase out of pity or obligation.
I did sell a few books, and I met a pretty young Ohio State Alum, a journalism grad now working in real estate.
Despite the inauspicious start to my day (see two posts down), I'm really glad I made this stop. That's Urban Think! Downtown Orlando. Check it out.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

It's not the heat; it's the stupidity

Backing up a bit...
So, during my brother’s bachelor weekend, I had a reading scheduled in Orlando, at Urban Think Bookstore. After the first night of Rays’ baseball and subsequent debauchery, I was forced to rally the following morning and make the nearly cross-state journey to Orlando. I put on my khakis from the night before and pulled out the shirt I had intended to wear, a shirt that I soon discovered had shrunk with the first washing. No remedy; it was all that I had clean.

I left in a disheveled mess, my shirt bursting at the seams, my two brothers still in bed and—in my opinion—not giving me the appropriate pity.

I got into the rental car and cranked up the air conditioner. I was soon out on the interstate. The put-on-your-seat belt tone kept sounding, which annoyed me. I couldn’t be bothered with such pedestrian concerns.

Actually, that tone was a gas tank warning.

I was in the middle lane when I felt the engine give way. I knew immediately what was wrong, and luckily I was able to pull alongside the end of a merging lane, right up against a wall, cars roaring by me.

Bad, bad, bad.

I called AAA and described my predicament. I would be late for the event, but I was alive. It could have been worse.
Stupid, stupid, stupid.
I got out of the car and waited. At the coming event, I had planned to read from “Kerouac’s Ghost,” and I hadn’t reviewed it yet, so I practiced, reading out loud from my book, on the side of I-4 in the humid Florida heat.

Medium story short: I was not rescued by AAA but rather Florida Highway Patrol’s Road Ranger program, by two really nice guys who sent me on my way with no charges and best wishes.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Requisite Gator Pic

Two alligators on the shore of a canal at my Grandad's house off the Kissimmee River.

Lake Ashton Reading

Lake Ashton is an upscale retirement community, and they invited me to read briefly as part of their weekly coffee and pastry informational meeting. I took a great shot of all of the golf carts lined up at the meeting area (see above) but it didn't come out well.
As many of you know, I'm not crazy about closed-community living, but this place is really nice. I can certainly see the appeal. Fish the afternoon away, a little twighlight shuffleboard, and square-dancing at night. Sign me up.

No, Florida isn't the South

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

My Lakeland Reading

The City of Lakeland showed up for my Lakeland reading and recorded the entire event. It's not my best performance (and I'm a bit more oily than I'd like) but you can find it through this link. Follow the "In Person Series, Ric Jahna link.)

Best wishes,

Monday, August 4, 2008

Hooner's Bachelor Weekend

My brother Hooner will be leaving the ranks of the unmarried in October, and this weekend my brother Tick and I took him on a bachelor celebration in St. Petersburg.
Hooner arrived on Thursday early evening, and I talked him into a spontaneous trip to to Vero Beach on the Florida East Coast. I had an intense desire to go body surfing, and the Gulf Coast just doesn't have the waves. We left a little after midnight, and early into the trip I felt my enthusiasm wane. Still, it was good to be back in Vero, our family's common vacation destination throughout my childhood. I hadn't been there for over fifteen years.
After very little sleep, we arrived at the beach the following morning only to find the Atlantic completely serene and waveless. I have never seen anything like it. It was clear that there would be no surfing of any kind.
That afternoon, Tick joined us and we departed for St. Petersburg. The weekend had all of the mishaps and hijinks that we could have asked for. The trip was anchored by three Tampa Bay Rays baseball games, all of which we won in either convincing or spectacular style. There was plenty of merrymaking before and after games that sometimes went overboard (Bob set firecrackers off in the bathroom). My diet went out the window, as I enjoyed such delicacies as pancakes, pizza, and fried mozzarella. We topped the trip off with a trip to a menswear store where we were fitted for our wedding suits.
Good times.

First Reading, Lakeland Library

The Lakeland Library reading was a lot of fun. The attendees were really interesting and supportive. I read from "Independence Day, 1983," and it seemed to go over pretty well.
Thanks so much to Brenda Patterson and all of those who attended.

Old Friend

Among those in attendance was my dear old friend Bob, LWHS classmate c/o '89.
Thanks for coming out Buddy!