Follies in Florida
My adventures in the Sunshine State

Jul
23

When the mighty Lion enters center stage, everyone notices. This dramatic, creative, and outgoing sign has the keyword magnetism for good reason. Fiery and self-assured, a Leo’s charm can be almost impossible to resist. Whether it’s time spent with family and friends or efforts on the job scene, a Leo is going to bring a lot to the table.

Friends and Family

By far the most generous of the zodiac, Leos make loyal and giving friends. They’ll go out of their way to help even when it conflicts with their own schedules. The Leo is a strong, confident personality who has the ability to make almost everyone comfortable. Unassuming and gracious, they love to host parties and events. The Leo is rarely found alone – interacting is second nature. Close friends are chosen for their ability to keep up with the Leo’s energy along with a strong sense of dignity and a commitment to individual values. When family is involved, the mighty Lion will do whatever it takes to defend loved ones. Loyalty for the Leo is for a lifetime. They pride themselves on being there for family through thick and thin.

Career and Money

Leos are doers. I will is the key phrase for this sign. There’s a lot of energy packed into this sign, and they’re always going to be busy, regardless of whatever else is happening around them. They are ambitious, creative, and optimistic. It’s not enough for a Leo to just do the job. In order to suffice, it must be done to the absolute best of their ability. Once committed to an employer, they will go all-out, but the best situation for the Leo is to be his or her own boss.

Careers that allow for the Leo’s dramatic flair, such as acting and entertaining, are ideal. Such positions give the Lion free rein. Other occupations such as management, teaching, and politics are well-suited, too. Anything that puts a Leo in a leadership position will give this sign the opportunity to do what comes naturally.

Leos love to surround themselves with the things they fancy. Because money usually comes readily to the Leo, there’s always more where that came from. Money is meant to be spent as far as this sign is concerned – and spend they will. Generous in spirit, a Leo will give away their last dollar to help a friend. They’re always confident that there will be more, and there usually is. There’s never a lack of work for a Leo. In fact, there’s generally more work available to them than they can keep up with.

Love and Sex

This fiery sign is passionate and forthright with affections. When it comes to sex, you can expect the Leo to be adventurous, fun, and highly energetic. There is a definite line of division between sex and love for Leos. Mates are chosen for their willingness to allow the Leo to take the lead, shine brightly, and be independent. They look for uninhibited lovers who aren’t self-conscious. As accepting as the Leo is, a mate needs to be an intellectual equal to cut the mustard. Leos are loving, fun, and very giving to those in their personal life.

LEO TIDBITS

Health
Each sign has a part of the anatomy attached to it, making this the area of the body that is most sensitive to stimulation. The anatomical areas for Leo are the heart, sides, and upper back.

Ruling Planet
The ruling planet for Leo is the Sun. Considered the masculine principal of the horoscope, the Sun rules men in general, health, leadership, rank, authority, progress, energy, dignity, the capacity for experience, and the sense of identity.

Color
The color of choice for Leo is gold.

Gemstone
Leo’s star stone is the Ruby.

Lucky Numbers
Leo’s lucky numbers are 1, 4, and 6.

Compatibility
Leos are most compatible with Sagittarius and Aries.

Opposite Sign
The opposite sign of Leo is Aquarius.

The Perfect Gift
The best gift for a Leo is a status symbol item or a family-related collectible such as a keepsake album.

Likes
The theater, being admired, taking holidays, fun with friends, expensive things, bright colors

Dislikes
Being ignored, facing difficult reality, not being king or queen

House
Natural sign of the Fifth House. This house focuses on sports, children, creativity, amusements, love that you give, love affairs, speculations, and romance.

Famous Leos
Jennifer Lopez, Antonio Banderas, Steve Carell, Barack Obama, Casey and Ben Affleck, Matt Garcia

Best travel destination
Italy, France, Romania, Peru, Chicago, Los Angeles

Strength
Warmth, humor, pride, joy, creativity, passion, generosity

Weakness
Arrogance, stubbornness, inflexibility, self-centeredness, laziness

Charismatic marks
Regal manner, powerful, strong, muscular

Best environment
In the sun! Also any place where Leo has a chance to be creative or shine in front of others

I thought this was a funny picture and had to include it.  Just because you are the King of the Jungle doesn’t mean you can’t rule in style.

Jul
20

With college football only a month away, what better way to get pumped for the 2008 season than EA Sports NCAA Football. I picked it up this Saturday for the Wii and my buddy Shawn came over to play. I really did not know what to expect. All I have to say is this game is so much fun. What you lose in graphics compared to the Xbox 360, you gain the ability to control the game like an actual quarterback. You actually have to make a throwing motion to launch the ball, if you want to run the option, you actually have to pitch the ball.

My buddy Shawn went to Florida, so it was a match up of the Big 12 vs. the SEC all day long. One of the cool features about the game is when you score you get to taunt the other team and get the crowd pumped. There was so much trash talking, but it was in all good fun.

If you don’t own a Wii I highly recommend going out and getting one.

Now back to watching the ESPY’s.

Jul
17

Tonight I went to play a no limit Texas hold ’em tournament at my buddy Sandman’s house.  I have not played in a while and was anxious to get back in the action.  There were seven of us at the table and everyone plays on a regular basis.  I started out very conservative only playing choice cards and this strategy worked very well for me as I was the chip leader going into the second round.  The second round everyone began to play tight as the blinds kept going up every 15 minutes.  I tried to bully a few hands only to find myself being called on every hand.  By the end of the second round my chip count was cut in half.

Going into the third round I was not catching any cards and was slowly being blinded out.  With about $3000 in chips left and the blinds 600/1200 I caught a pair of fives.  Not a great hand but fives had been flying all over the board all night.  So what the hell, I decided to play them and called the $1200.  There were only two of us playing this hand and the flop comes K, Q, J.  I felt my heart drop as I knew this guy had one of those cards to make a pair that would surely beat mine.  He called and I folded.  With only $1800 in chips left I should have pushed all in, but being the donkey that I was I folded.  I asked to play out the hand only to see a five come on the turn and another 5 come on the river.  Now I felt sick, absolutely sick!  Quad fives, what are odds?  As the oohs and damns crossed the table, the other guy at the table turned over his pair of fours.  I felt like such a jackass for not pushing all in.  I eventually got blinded out and left Sandman’s house probably feeling the most bitter that I have ever been playing poker.

What was I thinking???  I mean I barely had enough to cover the blinds, but I tried to be safe and protect the small stack that I had left.  While I was not the first or second person knocked out, I am still pissed that I did not play better.

Jul
16

I was doing a good job of keeping up with the blog there for a while.  July has been crazy, and has been a whirlwind of emotions.

I was tabbed to take over the Treasury department for Gevity in June and have been making the transition over slowly.  I have worked in Treasury before at Zale and had a great mentor who showed me a lot and trained me very well.

The month took a turn for the worst last Wednesday, when I received word that one of my former coworkers at Zale and best friend’s children drowned in the family pool.  I was completely saddened and shocked by this news.  Matt Stocco is one of the best dad’s I know and his children were his life.  I do not know how a person can ever recover from something like this but he and his wife Vanny are constantly in my prayers.

I am not the kind of person that shows a lot of emotion but I was pretty shaken up by the all the events.  Once I learned when the services were planned, I scrambled for a ticket back to Dallas.  I want to thank Felipe for giving me one of his Southwest Airlines vouchers to use, I am very grateful.  While I am always happy to go back to Dallas, I was bummed the entire plane ride from Tampa.  All that kept going through my mind was, “What do I say to Matt?”

Sprinkles picked me up from the airport on Friday and we were both pretty bummed to do anything.  I knew the long day ahead and just wanted to get some rest.

The day of the services was very hard.  James picked me and Sprinkles up along with another former coworker John Ream to go to the church.  Once we got there it was like a Zale reunion for me.  Tons of people I had not seen since I left and while happy to see everyone, it always seems like you only get back in touch with people at funerals or weddings.  I won’t go into details of the service, but I will say that Matt and his dad both gave great eulogies to send the kids to heaven.

The reception was just as hard since it was at their house.  This was my first opportunity to talk to Matt one on one and it took everything inside of me not to break down crying ( I did that later).  The rest of the day all of us at the reception continued to drink to try and block the sad event we had all witnessed only hours earlier.  The rest of the night I just chilled with Sprinkles.  She was my rock through all of this and I appreciate her more than she realizes.

Sunday I had to make my way back to Tampa, but before heading back I was able to grab lunch with James and catch up for a while.  I then headed on to Austin where I had planned to meet my sister and Lloyd while on my layover.  Little did I know that my dad, stepmom, stepsister, stepbrother and niece all made the trek from Houston to surprise me at the airport.  This was one hell of a surprise and it could not have come at a better time.  I was so happy to see my family even if it was only for an hour.  They even brought me Rudy’s BBQ to enjoy while we visited.  After a long and emotion filled week it was a nice way to go back to Florida.

Links to some of the articles surrounding the drownings.  Here and here.

I ask whoever reads this to keep the Stocco’s in their prayers as they try and get through this difficult situation.

Jul
01

One of the main reasons I moved to Florida was to take advantage of new experiences I cannot get back in Texas.  I live 20 minutes from one of the nicest beaches in the US, and today I decided to take my workout to the beach and go for a nice run while watching the sunset.  There is nothing like running and clearing your mind from all the days problems and frustrations and looking out to an awesome sunset with some of the clearest water at your feet.  Even though the sun was going down, there were still quite a few people out enjoying the water and relaxing on the beach.  As I made my way down the beach two thoughts crossed my mind; I need to make it a point to do this more often and running on the beach versus a treadmill is hard.

After a hard two mile run, and yes I did say hard.  I ran down the beach a mile and turned around to complete my run.  Only going back i had a hell of a headwind to face.  Needless to say you do not get that on a treadmill, and I was not ready for it.  After I finally finished I decided what better way to cap off the run than to relax with my feet in the water.  So there I stood looking out into the Gulf of Mexico winded but feeling great.

Jun
30

After being here for 8 months I finally went to the Department of Motor Vehicles and got my Florida license.  It was hard for to part with the Texas license.  All I have ever known is Texas and the large amount of state pride that I carry.  It’s one of those things that everyone from Texas has and everyone outside of Texas does not understand.  Texas is one the few states with such an extensive history prior to becoming part of the United States, so much that we had to take a year of Texas history in middle school.  It was so interesting that I took it again in college.

I have to say that I was impressed with Florida’s DMV.  While researching what I needed to do to transfer my license I was able to book an appointment with the DMV so I would not have to wait.  Since I was planning on going on my lunch break, this was a no brainer.  I was in and out in 30 minutes, and the best part is the license was processed on site.  In Texas they give you a temporary paper license and then get the permanent one in the mail 2-3 weeks later.

While waiting for my license to be processed I was standing there checking my blackberry and scanning the room.  I had to laugh because I guess its doesn’t matter what state you live in, the DMV attracts a lot of shady characters.  Who knows, maybe they have no better place to be and at least there you can sit in the air conditioning and watch tv.

Jun
18

Last night a group of my co-workers went to Tropicana Field to see the Rays play the Chicago Cubs during interleague play.  I have been to a few Rays game but have never seen the stadium this packed.  There were Cubs fans everywhere and the cheers for the Cubs were louder than for the Rays.  It was a great game until this jackass behind me spilled his beer on my back and we exchanged a few words before he was escorted out.  My co-workers said they had never seen me so pissed because I am usually all smiles.  In the end, the Rays beat the Cubs 3-2 in a great game.  My brother in law is a die hard Cubs fan so it was nice to see my new hometown team beat the Cubbies!

Our seats were near heaven it was so packed

Peter, Kirsten, and Barbara

Shawn and me

Jun
16

My dad’s actual birthday was yesterday, but I felt he deserved a post all to himself.  He is pretty lucky, his birthday usually falls around Father’s Day so he gets two rounds of presents.  What sucks about being so far away from the family is I miss out on events like this and all the good times associated.  The good news is my Dad and Diane are scheduled to come visit me this upcoming weekend in the sunshine state.  The weekend cannot get here soon enough.

My dad is always the life of the party and he makes a killer margarita!

Jun
15

After watching Tiger Woods sink a 10 foot put to send the US Open at Torrey Pines to an 18-hole playoff tomorrow I realized I had not updated the blog to reflect on my time in San Diego.

Saturday

Had some great sushi at Ra, it was so good that we went back there on Sunday for seconds!  After a full belly of fish, we went to Star Bar which I will never visit again.  Next went to Mission Beach to hang out at the Wavehouse, but is was so packed we had to go to the Sandbar.  I really liked it here, not only was the bar awesome, but you can play connect four while you drink.  After a quick bit to eat at Roberto’s to refuel, it was on to the next bar.  I don’t remember the name, but I remember walking up to the bar and seeing a line down the street.  Thankfully Chris is well connected and we went straight to the front of the line for VIP access.  The rest of the night was a blast that lasted until the wee hours of the morning.

Amy sad after losing to Chris so quickly

Sunday

Sunday got off to a slow start, but we eventually made it back out to Mission Beach and chilled all afternoon at the Wavehouse.  It was a great way to recover from the night before just relaxing in the sun and enjoying a great 80’s cover band.  After a quick tour of Coronado and the Del hotel, it was time to head to my hotel and get ready for the conference.  There were a few conference receptions that night, but I opted to go back to Ra for some more sushi.

Gas is expensive in California, thanks Amy for driving everywhere!

The Wavehouse

Walking on Mission Beach

View from hotel window

Monday

Monday brought about an early morning to start the conference.  I was still feeling the effects of a long weekend and tried my hardest to put on my game face for the conference.  The morning session was filled with great speakers, and I especially enjoy those that interact with the crowd.  Jerre Stead, the CEO from IHS Inc. gave a great speech on the importance of the investor relations professional.  He told the crowd that he was appointed his first CEO in 1978 and asked anyone born after 1978 to stand up.  Having been born in the great year of 1981 I enthusiastically stood up and scanned the room to see that I was the only person standing.  It’s always fun to be singled out in a room filled 1,000 people.  The way I see it, I showed everyone in that room that I may be a young gun, but I play the game just as well.  The rest of the day was filled with sessions and an evening reception overlooking the bay.

Tuesday

Tuesday was filled with more sessions and walking the vendor exhibit floor to fill my cheesy conference bag with junk that I don’t need and will probably end up giving away.  For some reason free stuff draws a crowd, and I have to admit I like free stuff.

I spent Tuesday evening at Petco Park watching the Padres play the Dodgers with Pete our relationship manager at Ilios, which is our stock surveillance provider.  We were joined by a few other clients from JC Penney.  Before taking our seats we loaded up on rations.  It’s always fun getting carded in front of all your peers.  Although the Padres lost it was a great evening.  Pete caught a foul ball and I was able to enjoy a hot dog and a couple of beers.  Even though it was rather chilly that night, I had to keep up with tradition and get my ice cream helmet.  Our entire group made fun of me when I walked back to my seat with the ice cream helmet and a huge grin on my face.  They have no clue how much I love ice cream.

Post game we headed back to the hotel and partied like rock stars in the lobby bar.  One by one they all headed to their rooms to call it a night while I shut down the bar.

View from our seats at Petco Park

Petco Park scoreboard

Wednesday

Hit up the morning sessions and the breakfast buffet before I had to pack and begin my journey back home.  Wednesday was a long day of travel.  I think it will be a while before I make my next cross country trip.

Jun
14

There are very few things in life that will get me out of bed early on a Saturday morning and golf is one of them.  What other sport do you spend so much money on to get so pissed?

I hit the Preserve golf course early this morning with the Sandman, Matt F., and Gil after a quick stop at Chick-Fil-A to get a chicken biscuit to give me the energy to get through 18 holes at such an early hour.  I am not a great player by no means, but it is fun to get out there and shoot the shit with the guys.  It is also a thrill to see my game getting better each time I play.  For the sake of my personal pride I will not disclose what I shot, but I will say that I spent more time in the water than the alligators.