Sunday, June 29, 2008

Between a Mouse and a Bean Place

Very rarely are any of us blessed to be in a position that, either way we choose, we win. Or we lose. Either I stay and win, or go and win... or I stay and lose the opportunity, or go and leave an opportunity. Is it a blessing or a curse?

So..... I got offered a job by The Disney Store to be their assistant manager. Long story, which I'll condense here, but bottom line is, its been a week of ups and downs, highs and lows, stress and wonder.

They made the offer, its about 9% more than what I make now at Starbucks as a manager, and at first, I just didn't know. I counseled with some good friends of mine, including some people who worked at Starbucks, getting Godly advice and wisdom.

Being debt free, we're in a position where money isn't the main factor... lets be honest, its always a factor, but its not the main factor, for the first time in my life, and thats refreshing. But here's what I consider the main factor... where am I going to go? At Starbucks, I'll be a manager for a while and then... well, nothing. Unless I either a) move our family to Atlanta on hopes that I can get a corporate job or b) wait for corporate to come here. Or, I could be a district manager, but I didn't list that as "c" because that's not a possibility--I am not going to be a DM, at least, not for Starbucks.

What about The Disney Store? Well, the obvious step is, if I can prove my mettle, I would move up to manager, obviously. After that, there is the step of Disney DM... which I'm not sure I want... or don't want. I dunno. And if I have to relocate, I'm going to Orlando a thousand times or more before I go to the Ay Tee Ell.

However, I've been at Starbucks five years. I started at the barista level, 22 hours per week, worked my way up and now am a full time, salaried manager. Go to Disney, start all over. The benefits are comparable, the 401K is better with Starbucks than Disney, though not significantly enough to sway me one way or the other.

I had pretty much decided that The Disney Store was right for me, and then I had... well, kind of a weird experience there on Friday, something that made me step back and go "hmmm.... is this what I want?" Kinda freaked me out a little, and my buddy Jason said, "you know when you pray about missions, you tell God that you are going to plan to go until He tells you not to? Maybe this is God telling you not to go with this."

Then on Saturday, it all was fixed and cleared, at least mostly. My role there was more explained, offering a challenge to which I am kinda excited about.

Bottom line is, I don't have a passion for coffee. I don't drink it. Yes, I like a good iced coffee con leche, but I have never been a straight coffee drinker. My passion is for people. My passion is to help people succeed, to encourage people, to help people be better than who they are. And I do have quite a fondness for The House of Mouse.

But what happens if it doesn't work out, you say? What happens if this is a job that turns out to be a disaster? This is also a consideration. I have a great job, and keep in mind, I went to The Disney Store to look for part time work to save money for a Disney vacation in February, to take The Lovely Steph Leann as a part of a 5th year anniversary celebration. The manager from The Disney Store calls me, asks me to meet with their DM, which it works out that I can...

You know, when our bigwigs come in, typically they spend about 10 or 20 minutes in our store. Our district manager is actually around a lot more, but I'm comparing the Disney DM to someone above the Starbucks DM, perhaps like a regional director. I'm thinking I'll walk in, get a handshake, ask a few questions, answer a few questions, and then have a job interview for the Cast Member position.

What happened? Met with the guy for almost 2 hours. And because I wasn't looking for a new job, I answered all of his questions honestly, with not a hint of the "say what they want to hear because I want this job" that typically is in an interview. And towards the end, he told me he wanted me to consider management there, gave me the weekend to think about it. The following Monday, they made the offer.

Plus, there's a free silver pass that gets me and three other people into the parks anytime, plus we get up to 50% off on resorts and cruise lines, and everything in the store and parks (including food) is 35% off. Lil Sister Ashley says thats perfect because, "You and Steph are so Disney retarded."

Funny story... last night, we're having dinner with Mikey and his family and a bunch of other people for Mikey's 30th birthday, and someone comes over and asks me a Disney question, which I answer easily. As they walk away, The Lovely Steph Leann looks at me with incredulity, with an offended look on her face that says, "Uh... I know that... I know Disney... I know more than my husband does!"

Yes, the discounts will be nice. But is it worth it? Can I walk away from FIVE years of building relationships and working my way up in Starbucks? I left a fabulous job at Cox Radio, and all its perks, to take a job at NBC 13, with all of its promises of growth and opportunity for more money, which at the time was the main reason. It was a disaster, with NBC 13 being one of the worst jobs I've ever had. The money wasn't worth it.

Plus, at Starbucks on University and 20th, I've got a great team... Matt, Jessica, Megan, Katie--some of the best people I've ever worked with. Seriously, they know their job, they know their responsibilities and they know what they are doing, which is refreshing. I'd also be giving up great customers like Stacy the nurse, who in some strange way is kinda hot, plus Kevin & Sandy, plus Carla, Matt's boo and baby mama, who is just fabulous and... I could go on and on. This is also the only time I get to see Lil Sister Ashley on a regular basis, and thats a big plus, cause I'll be honest, I love that chick. She's awesome.

So here's where I stand. I was about ready to take The Disney Store offer, then some stuff happened that made me think I wasn't, then some stuff happened that made me think I was and... after almost 10 days of going back and forth, seeking God's will, looking for guidance from Him and from other people, and really stressing out about it, and being completely overwhelmed and... the way, The Lovely Steph Leann is the most wonderful chick ever. She wasn't giving me any indication of her desires for me to go to Disney or her desires for me to stay at Starbucks--she would only tell me she wants me to be happy. Sometimes that's maddening, but its moments, hours, days, weeks like this that make you grab your spouse, hold them tightly and thank God that you have someone you are so close to and that would support you in any and everything. I love My Lil Sister Ashley, and I love my friends KT & Jason and others, but The Lovely Steph Leann is the greatest.

...anyway, after all that, I've decided. I want to do what glorifies Him the most, which is really what we're all here for... and I know what that is. I feel it. I sense it. I'm at peace with it.

Actually, its Sunday night, and I've known my answer since yesterday (Saturday) evening.

If you want to know what happened, you can read the follow up post...

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Sometimes, things are great.

Sometimes things are not.

And sometimes, life happens.

Its kinda funny, dontcha think?

I love my life. And my Father.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The George Michael Blog

Did you know that George Michael grew facial hair as a teen just to cover up his acne? Its right there on the screen, in a little white bubble that popped up. Who doesn't love them some Pop Up Video on Vh1 Classic?

Funny story about George Michael, and The Lovely Steph Leann... yes, I might have already told this story (I did a search for it in The Clouds in My Coffee Blog, but saw nothing)... one day, we're driving down the road, down I459 to be exact.

This song comes on, and its not of The Lovely Steph Leann's favorites, though keep in mind, this is 2001, and she's not The Lovely Steph Leann Dollar, she's The Lovely Steph Leann Campbell, and not only are we not married, we aren't even dating.

"Father Figure" is a very sensual song, though granted, it loses some of its flavor and value when you remember that George Michael is a Rainbow Coalition member. The same effect takes place when you remember that the kickin', angry song "You Oughta Know" is rumored to be written about Uncle Joey, or that anything Elton John was not written about a chick... well, except for "Candle in the Wind." We think.

Anyway, the song comes on, I'm singing it all breathy and stupid, and the second verse kicks in... "that's all you wanted, someone special, someone sacred, in your life..."

So I reach over and grab The Lovely Steph Leann Campbell's hand, the one not on the steering wheel, and begin to rub it on my face. Singing very breathy, I go into the next line, "...just for one moment, to be warm and... naked... at your side..." She yanks her hand back, very, very quickly, and gives me a look that says "If I knew I wouldn't feel kinda bad later, I'd pull this car over and kick your candy a** out right here, freak." And she still married me. Good times, good times.

Personally, I think that George Michael is a trendsetter... the phrase you know and often here, "Who's Your Daddy?" isn't anything new... I give you the line, "...I will be your father, I will be your preacher, I'll be your daddy, I will be the one who loves you, 'til the end of... time."

First, let's clear up a rumor. "The Jitterbug" is actually called "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go". The name of the band was "Wham!", then when George Michael realized he was better than Andrew Ridgeley, it became "Wham! featuring George Michael". Get it right.

Sidebar, with Andrew Ridgeley, according to Wiki, he is not only married to Keren Woodward of Bananarama, he fights for the rights of people to have clean water, partners in a business that makes surf equipment, and is reportedly the inspiration for the character of Alex Fletcher, played by Hugh Grant in "Music & Lyrics". And he's never been busted in a restroom for anything. Worth mentioning.

Since we're on the subject, my favorite George Michael songs: "Too Funky", "One More Try", "Freedom '90", "Father Figure", "Praying for Time"... honestly, "Freedom '90" is probably my favorite, but because, like, 3 seconds ago I read this line on Wikipedia:

The song also alludes heavily to the struggles of being a closeted gay man, and acted as a catalyst to his effort to break free from his publishing contract with Sony Music.

...I felt as if I had to drop it a few notches.

Be honest, before this blog, could you name five George Michael songs? Didn't think so. I mean, unless you're Scotty Latta, why would you want to?

No kidding, if you had told me to list 1,000 things I might blog about when I sat down, The Songs of George Michael would not have been on this list.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Virtues of Summer Pt 1: Week of Love

I was sitting in church the other day, at Valleydale Church (an sbc fellowship), and we're in a series in James, one of my least favorite books. Oh, its not that I don't like the Word, but James is a rough book... its very black and white, with very little grey. This is sin. This isn't. Do this, you're sinning. Don't do this, you aren't.

By the way, on a sidebar, I'm totally watching The Rock's new DVD collection, "The Most Electrifying Man In Sports Entertainment". Three DVDs, 25+ matches, over 2 dozen interviews... its magnificent. I'm currently watching The Rock vs Mankind, from The St. Valentine's Day Massacre pay-per-view from February 14th, 1999. He just landed The People's Elbow on Mankind. Brilliant. Where was I?

Yes, we're studying James, but a verse in the sermon came from Galatians, and on the bottom of my Bible, page 2125, there is a list that says "VIRTUES". Under it, it says love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. All featured in Galatians 5:22-23.

So I got to thinking...

...sorry, The Rock just laid the Rock Bottom on Mankind, who got up and threw a DDT on The Rock on a steel chair.

I was thinking... what if I spent a summer on these virtues? What if I took one per week? Maybe starting this weekend, until the following weekend, I practice love. But, how do I even do that?

I mean, what does it mean to practice love? Of course, I can love on The Lovely Steph Leann (no, not like that, dirty mind. Okay, not just like that) by serving her, right? What about my friends? How can I love on Lil Sister Ashley, or KT, or Paulie Walnuts or Croyle? Or Britlicious? Or what about those at the store? How do I... well, love on my baristas or even my customers?

I guess in the same book I found the virtues is the same book I'll find the answer to this one, huh? Flip back to page 2083, and we'll see that love is patient, kind, protecting, trusting, hoping, persevering, but not rude, not self seeking, not angered easily, not a wrong doing record keeper. Well, it seems like Love is all of the other fruits wrapped up in one, huh?

Thats a hard way to start, isn't it? Well, I guess get the hard one out of the way, then maybe the others will be easier. I guess I can start tonight, but showing The Lovely Steph Leann love by not waking her up when I go to bed tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Shania, Obama and Other Randomness

Random thoughts while watching the Lakers & Celtics, Game 3. Go C's!!


If you are Mutt Lange, how do you cheat on Shania Twain? I mean, what more do you want, Mutt? Have you looked in a mirror lately? Your lady is rich, she's nice, she's smokin' hot, she's talented, and she loves you... how do you cheat on Shania Twain? And the lady he stepped out with? If you're going to cheat on Shania, make it with Carrie Underwood, or Taylor Swift, or heck, even Sara Evans... but the chick he was with? It would be like me cheating on The Lovely Steph Leann with Paul Carby.

Shania.... for this? Seriously?


Kung Fu Panda. Good movie. I laughed, lots. I will say that Jackie Chan (Monkey) didn't have enough to do, but still, it was quite a good flick, and excellent for kids and adults alike.


I think its a mistake to snatch up every single super hero in comics and make a movie out of them... I mean, some characters translate well to film--ie, Hugh Jackman's Wolverine, Alan Cummings as Night Crawler, Tobey Maguire as Spidey and Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne. Some, as Jenn Garner's Elektra and Brandon Routh's Superman can tell you, don't.

Here's a link to The 20 Superhero Movies We Hope They Never Make. #15 is so scary I almost poo'd myself.


We kept our 10 year old niece Maddie here at The Cabana this weekend. Friday night, it was Unca' Dave and Little Maddie hanging out, which included the obligatory trip to the mall. We ended up spending some time in Libby Lu.

Its a teen/tween/drama queen dream. If you are babysitting, or caretaking of a young girl, just go there, let them run wild. Takes a good half hour or more of your time. If you want to use up even more time, give them some money to spend there--it'll be another 20 minutes for them to make their mind up on what to buy.

That being said, I think that if you are male, and don't have a child with you, you should be arrested for going into that store, because either you are R. Kelly, or scoping for chicks, and neither is good. I think Chris Hanson should just set up Dateline's cameras right here, in a new episode of "To Catch a Predator".

I almost expected him to walk out of Brookstone and stop me... "Excuse me, what are you doing here? Why don't you have a seat on that speckled, glittery stool right there..."


Not only does "Get Smart" feature The Rock, whom I've got a mancrush on, but it also features Anne Hathaway, who might be one of the hottest chicks in Hollywood (could possibly be an heir apparent to The Goddess)... so why don't I want to see it?


The fine art of buttering popcorn is lost on today's generation of theater working teenagers. I worked at a theater in college, then not too long after I moved to Birmingham, and I learned how to butter a tub of popcorn. You put a scoop or two it, give it a swirl of butter, put in more, swirl more butter on it, and so on until its full. That way, as you are eating the popcorn, just when you think you are out of popcorn with sufficient butter on it, well, looky there, more butter!

Today's kids? They just fill it up and do one swig of butter from the machine. If you ask for extra butter, you might get some in the middle. Absolutely no clue of the classics.


Who hasn't wanted to own a Flux Capacitor?


Stormtroopers posin'. That's all I can say. Its hilarious.


I've talked about this on a previous blog... but I gotta tell ya, one of the most random, stupid movies ever that catches me when I flip past it on cable is "Employee of the Month". Dane Cook actually seems funny, Andy Dick is somewhat likable, and for whatever reason, Jessica Simpson is somewhat cute. (note to Tony Romo: Carrie is still hotter. If she wants you back, drop Jess like a bad habit).


I maintain a theory that Barack Hussein Obama says nothing better than anyone else in the history of the world. He could teach Paula Abdul about sunshine and all of its blowing traits. I also think that when you take away the teleprompter, Barack the Magic Negro completely melts down with a deer in the headlights-like appearance.

Here's a transcript from his speech from last Thursday in Bristol, Virginia... someone asked him about universal healthcare--I had to listen to this about fifteen times to get it down perfectly. I suffer for you people. When you see "...", that doesn't mean I cut something out, this is exactly what he said.

Here's his answer:

"What they'll say is, well, it costs too much money, but, you know what? It would cost ab... it would, it would, it would cost about the same as what we would spend... it... over the course of ten years it would cost what it would cost us... it (uncomfortable chuckle)... alright, okay... we're going to... the... it would cost us about the same as it would cost for about... (someone in the audience says something--and keep in mind, other than this one guy, the audience is dead silent) Hold on one second, I can't hear myself. But I'm glad you're fired up though. I'm glad."

He continued by saying,"Everybody knows that it makes no sense that, you send a kid to the emergency room for a treatable illness like asthma, they end up taking up a hospital bed, it costs... when... if you... they just gave, gave them treatment early, and they got some treatment and... uh... a breathalyzer... or an inhalator... not a breathalyzer (crowd finally laughs) I haven't had much sleep in the last 48 hours..."

Yes, I'm sure he's tired, and yes, we all stumble over our words sometimes--heck, I stutter often... but my point is, if this is Dubya, the media would be going nuts about what a stupid, bumbling idiot he is.

Course, as busy as the clean and articulate Barack the Magic Negro is, its no wonder he hasn't visited all 57 states... or, with one left to go, that makes 58... though he hasn't been to Alaska or Hawaii... so 59? I'm so confused.


You know, I don't know that I would have a problem with nationalized healthcare on two conditions... 1) its not mandatory. I want the option to get my own. 2) The government doesn't run it.

This is my big issue. You want our government, our Congress, who can't balance their budget, who has pumped billions of dollars into programs that don't work, who can't keep their Washington Senate cafes open (!) to run our healthcare program. By the way, if you click on the link, remember that our government majority tells us that privatization is a bad thing, and nationalization is a good thing.


Whew... feel like I just opened up a firestorm with that. I'm going to get comments, I'm sure. I may respond, I may not... but I will say I'm in a weird position--I don't like either guy. McCain or Barack Hussein Obama. So anything I say about The Magic Negro, I'll probably agree with your responses when you get down on Johnny Mac.


One of my favorite things about The Lovely Steph Leann? When she wears blue. God did this great thing with eyes where sometimes, if the clothes and the eye color match, the eyes shine. And The Lovely Steph Leann's does, when she wears blue. Her eyes dance. They're pretty eyes anyway, but they are so enamoring when they dance. I love it.


And finally, I went thrift store shopping the other day with my buddies Jason, Croyle and Paulie Walnuts. The plan, originally, was for Jason to find a used tackle or tool box, but as the afternoon wore on, it was pretty clear that he just wanted an excuse to go out to thrift stores.

Perhaps the best one I'd ever seen was on Highway 150, right across from the Wal-Mart shopping center. Very clean, very organized. We somehow visited one in Centerpoint, then another in Centerpoint, which was like a football field full of nothing but crap. I mean, 8 tracks, vases, cups (I saw the same CBS 42 cup in all three stores), old clothes, tvs falling apart, couches falling apart, and we all felt somewhat dirty when we left.

Centerpoint is not really the safest places for three white guys and a half-Mexicali to be hanging out, so we all wore our Kevlar tightly. The highlight of the day, though, was some guy on his motorcycle who flew past us on his crotch rocket, wheelie and all. Secretly, we were hoping he would fall off.

So anyway, we're strumming along, and we somehow catch up to him. Croyle is driving, so we arne't trying to catch up--he's not known for his interstate speed. The guy on the rocket looks over at us, has this look if "wha? how did you...??" and speeds off. He gets caught behind a truck, and we pass him again. This time we all grin and wave.

This is the kind of stuff you get all the time being single, but only get every now and again married. Paulie Walnuts said, "You know what, forget the wives. Let's just hang out tonight."

Woulda been nice...

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Dave's Latest Movies, Dave's Recent Books

Dave's Latest Movies...

"Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull"
It was everything I thought it would. I'm a big fan of Cate Blanchett, so it was fun to see her in type of "let's just have a blast" kind of role, but you know, I think Harrison Ford is grating on me. He's so grizzled and just... well, unhappy. Perhaps its ruining a perfectly good marriage with Melissa Matheson, perhaps its dating what amounts to a cute yardstick, perhaps its that he hasn't had a real hit in some number of years ("Hollywood Homicide"? Really?) but whatever it is, he just seems so unhappy. I mean, come on, dude, you're freakin' Han Solo! Embrace it. You are Indy! For a period of time in the early 80s, you had SIX of the Top Ten highest money making movies of ALL TIME... be happy. Someone buy this guy an ice cream.

Anyway, it was a good movie, just not a great movie. Maybe I wanted it to be great, maybe like "Independence Day" and "Ocean's Twelve" it will get better upon subsequent viewings... the plot was a little goofy for me, but I have to remember its set in the 50s, when the type of movies that drive this plot were really popular. Oh, and Shia Labeouf is great.

"Charlie Wilson's War"
This movie was pretty darn slick, and I'll give you three reasons why. (1) Philip. (2) Seymour. (3) Hoffman. The guy is just amazing, really. So, this is the true story of Congressman Charlie Wilson who helped Afghanistan get the guns and ammo they needed to drive out the Russians in the early 80s, with the help of Julia Roberts and PS Hoffman. There is a ton of language, some boobage, and either a Tom Hanks butt shot, or a butt double--either way, I'm not a fan of that one.

The movie does open up debate, however, on some crucial what-ifs. What ended up happening is that when the Russians were driven out, because the US pulled their support immediately, the leadership in Afghanistan was null and void... well, until the Taliban or the like moved in. So what would have happened had the US stayed in and finished? I dunno. Hopefully, we won't be asking the same question about Iraq.

"Made of Honor"
Okay, so its cute. And it's Patrick Dempsey, a lead executive in The Lovely Steph Leann's Official Colin Firth Club. And his ingenue, Michelle Monaghan, is pretty hot herself. Anyway, its the basic premise of "My Best Friend's Wedding" (despite the comparisons, its still a better film), just gender flipped--a guy who is a Romeo of women ends up falling for his best friend, only too late, and has to do what it takes to break up the wedding and win her over.

Yes, its as contrived as it sounds. It does have a slightly different ending, though, but nothing as charming as Rupert Everett, Julia Roberts, Cammie Diaz or a table sing-a-long of "I Say A Little Prayer"

Speaking of Jessica Alba... so, I sort of want to see Sandler's "You Don't Mess With the Zohan", parts of the trailer actually crack me up in a "Waterboy"/"Deuce Bigalow" sort of way. However comma there is nothing, and I mean nothing about that new Mike Myers movie, "The End of My Career As I Know It" (also called "The Love Guru") that interests me. And I mean nothing. That looks like fourteen train wrecks in one. And poor Jessica Alba. How did someone so hot get wrongly cast as Sue Storm, only to then get stuck in a Dane Cook movie, and then this? Did she think that Mike Myers somehow still carried weight? Like, has there been once-iconic movies that have held up less over time than Waynes World or the Austin Powers flicks? Seriously, when was the last time you heard someone say "schwing" or anything other than "one beeellion dollars"? Where was I?

The best film of the year thus far. Absolutely unbelievable. Robert Downey Jr is perfect as flawed hero Tony Stark, a guy who starts out a complete jerk, and ends up only being slightly less of one, now that he has some sort of moral code.

Its actually not bad for kids, save the one 45 second scene where he and a reporter... well, "interview", if you want to say that. The action is great, very little language, the pace is quick and clever, and even Gwyneth Paltrow, who was in danger of being horribly miscast, a la Jess Alba in the Fantastic Four movies, pulls off Pepper Potts, the much tempting assistant. And almost as brilliant as Rob Jr is Jeff Bridges, complete with big bald, misshapen head and long beard, making a great return to fun films not seen since Lebowski.

"The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian"
Ya know, I was pumped for "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe", and rightly so, because it was just awesome. However, hearing this movie was coming, I just wasn't as excited. I mean, I guess I'd go see it eventually, but it didn't spark my interest like Wardrobe did.

We went to see it on Memorial Day and... wow. It was amazing. It topped the first one, remarkably, and kept going. Prince Caspian is even cool, not annoying, and the kids are growing up. Who knew that Susan Pevensie was kinda hot? Did I say that?

Its just cool to see big beasts and things attack each other Braveheart style, and of course, Aslan is always a mane attraction. If you think you might like it, go see it--you'll love it. If you think you'll love it, go see it--you'll love it more than you thought you would.

Of course, it's sad that the movie isn't performing at the box office like expected, endangering the next film in the serious.

Dave's Latest Books...
"Unholy Messenger: The Life & Crimes of the BTK Killer" by Stephen Singular
In early 2005, Dennis Rader was arrested, accused, then convicted of the murders of 10 people between 1974 and 1991... and finally, Kansas' worst serial killer was behind bars forever. "BTK" stood for "Bind Them, Torture Them, Kill Them", which is how Rader, aka BTK, killed his victims. Mostly, he went after women, but he started out pretty incompetant, killing others only by virtue of them being there.

Turns out that BTK would have gotten away with it... if it wasn't for his ego rising up and getting in the way. "Unholy Messenger" is a recap and mini-biography of a man who was, for all intents and purposes, the epitome of evil. At his trial, after conviction, as he addressed the families of those he killed, he showed little remorse for his crimes, though he wanted it known that he didn't look at pornography, because he wasn't that kind of person. It reads fast, though can be a little creepy in parts.

"Nature Girl" by Carl Hiassen
I'm a fan of Hiassen novels, as they are just fun, easy, breezy reads. The last I read, "Skinny Dip" was hilarious, so I thought I'd pick this one up. Turns out it's almost as good... the book opens up with half-Seminole Sammy Tigertail dumping a body off of his canoe, and he plans on seeking refuge in one of the thousands of small Everglade islands. Then, we meet Honey Santana, who is a neurotic, odd woman who lives in Everglade City, Florida (the state where all of Hiassen's books are set) and is a single mom to her 12 year old son, Fry. She gets a rude telemarketing call where the end result has her being labeled as a "dirty old skank" by the telemarketer, Boyd Shreave, who is married to Lily, but having an affair with a bored co-worker named Eugenie.

Honey lures Boyd, and as it turns out, Eugenie, to Florida to teach them a lesson in manners, and they are closely followed by Dealey, a PI that Lily hired to prove her husband was cheating on her. Honey is being closely followed by Louis Piejack, a slimeball of a guy who fired Honey earlier because she whacked him with a crab hammer, that is, after he put the moves on her. Also popping up is Honey's ex, Perry Skinner, who is suspicious of why Honey is flying down two strangers, and Gillian, who befriends Sammy Tigertail.

One of the fun things about Hiassen is he's got characters criss-crossing all over, kind of like an Altman film, only not as serious and much easier to follow.

"To Late to Say Goodbye" by Ann Rule
On December 4th, 2004, a little boy ran across the street to knock on his neighbor's door. When she answered, he was crying and merely said, "My daddy shot my mommy." 33 year old Jennifer Corbin lay dead, a gunshot wound to the head, and immediately, her dentist husband, 40 year old Bart Corbin was suspected, though it seemed like it was a suicide.

And what seems like an open and shut case suddenly went heywire, as Max Barber, father of Jennifer and not convinced of his son-in-law's guilt gets a call from another man who merely said, "Bart Corbin was dating our daughter in 1990. And she died of a single gunshot wound to the head too. They said hers was a suicide."

The tale gets darker, as Ann Rule dives into the private lives of two women--Dolly Hearns and Jennifer Corbin--and the same man they dated--Bart Corbin--in 1990 and 10 years later. Not only does the investigation suddenly involve an internet romance with a guy named Chris who isn't what he appears to be, but also an auto mechanic working at Troy Small Motors in Troy, Alabama... a place I've been too. Strange. Good read.

"Bringing Down the House: The Story of Six M.I.T Students Who Took Vegas for Millions" by Ben Mezrich
If you've seen the trailer for the movie "21", starring Kevin Spacey, this is the book it's based on... however, the movie takes a major detour from the book. The basic premise is the same, with a group of students getting together and training on the specifics of counting cards in blackjack, so they can win lots and lots of money not just in Vegas, but around the country.

However, from reports, the book itself is not quite what happened either, as not only does the movie take major fictional liberties from the book, the book takes major fictional liberties from the actual truth--the chip swallowing never happened, and the break in with the chip on the table is reported to not have happened either.

It is a fun book, though, as you chronicle what is a huge payoff, only closely followed by one casino after another shutting them down... even though they really aren't cheating--they are only counting cards, not altering the way the game is played.

Books coming up: "An Inconvenient Book" by Glenn Beck... "Starbucks Saved My Life" by Michael Gates Gill... "Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat?" by Peter Walsh. You think I'm kidding.

Movies I'm Pumped For: "The Happening", M. Night Shamalanalala's comeback film... "Incredible Hulk", the Hulk's comeback film... and "Mamma Mia". You know I'm not kidding.

Can anything top Ironman? Perhaps this can...