Sunday, December 10, 2023

Ahead of my time with a chili submission

Longtime readers of this blog might remember a post I wrote way back in 2012. In the post, "When Victory Tastes Like Wendy's", I wrote about how I entered a chili contest using Wendy's chili and an added dabble of hot sauce.

Last week, I saw this tiktok/instagram reel/youtube short. It had over 7 million total views.

Apparently, I was ahead of my time by 10 years. And I should have videoed my experience - from making the chili to submitting it to the winning announcement. That might have gotten some views. I could have been a social media superstar.

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Spoke with WMNF Tampa on Crypto Currency

A few weeks ago, I had a very cool opportunity to chat with my friend Patro Mabili on WMNF 88.5 Tampa a few weeks ago. Mabili hosts a show called Community Speaks and wanted me to talk about crypto currency and how criminals use technology to illegally use funds. Although that isn't my area of expertise, I think I did a good job covering the basics.

Check it out here:

Monday, October 30, 2023

Book Review on Suncoast Blues Society webpage


I wrote a book review of the book Up Jumped the Devil: The Real Life of Robert Johnson over at the Suncoast Blues Society blog.

Book Review: Up Jumped the Devil: The Real Life of Robert Johnson - Suncoast Blues Society blog, 10/10/23

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Making a Best Sellers List

My book signing at Bookstore1 in Sarasota was a success. I sold out of all the books they ordered. In doing so, I made the Bookstore1 weekly Best Sellers list. This information gets sent up to the New York Times for their overall Best Sellers list. While I don't expect to make the top of that list, it is awesome that my book is somewhere on there. Maybe they print a list of all book data submitted. I wouldn't mind making the top 1,000.

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Thoughts on the passing of Tim Wakefield

I had the honor and pleasure of writing a piece on recently on the passing of former Boston Red Sox pitcher and hometown hero Tim Wakefield. Thanks to the Chris Vitali and the team at BallNine for letting me cameo over there.

REMEMBERING WAKE -, 10/13/2023

Monday, October 9, 2023

Comparison to a New York Times Best Seller

I am incredibly passionate about my novel Curveball at the Crossroads. I love my book.

However, here is a fact: Curveball at the Crossroads is not yet a NY Times Bestseller. I won't tell you how many books I have sold, but it is not at NY Times level. Yet.

I know authors are not supposed to compare themselves to other authors. We are all on our own journey. But there is one author I can't help but compare myself to. Our debut novels came out at the same time, but we could not be on more different journeys.

She and I have a lot in common. We both worked serious jobs and wrote on the side. However, while I have been published in the Tampa Bay Times, on sports websites, national defense websites, cybersecurity websites, and as many places that will have me, she was never published prior to her debut novel as far a I know. You would think that would give me an advantage. You would be wrong.

I recently watched Sarah Penner's presentation at the Southern Voices 2023 convention. She is a featured speaker at a book convention. She was selected as her debut novel, The Lost Apothecary, was a NY Times Bestseller. One for one right off the bat.

I have written before that I gave up on traditional, big market publishing. I didn't want to deal with agents and queries and all that rigmarole, especially as I was looking for a steady job and a steady relationship at the same time. That is a lot of possible rejection.

Sarah embraced the struggle to be published as she had a steady career and a steady relationship. That gave her the base in which to be patient in her creative endeavor. She pitched and pitched until she hooked an agent who found several publishers interested and her career as an author took off.

Sarah Penner's debut is about a strong woman who goes on a journey in the 1880s in London. Facts: women read more fiction than men. As Sarah mentions in her talk, women readers want to read about strong women. Books that take place in the past are also well-regarded. Sarah gave her readers what they wanted.

People have often asked me what year does Curveball at the Crossroads take place. To be honest, I didn't really think about that when I wrote it. I don't think that hurts the story, it is just not defined. The Lost Apothecary takes place in a defined era.

Curveball at the Crossroads’s primary audience is sports fiction fans. That is not a huge, robust audience. I am a white writer who wrote about a Black kid from rural Mississippi. My novel uses a very familiar trope in the deal with Devil. There is a lot of wordplay and unique phrasing throughout the book. Although I like to think publishers might look differently after the reviews I have received, I don't blame them for passing on it.

Then there was my fiasco with Legacy Book Publishing and the horrible first edition Gabriel Vaughn released with my name on it. Luckily, I had the rights to my book and was able to re-release it the way I wanted. 

Because Sarah had an agent, a publisher, and wrote to her audience, her book was able to take off. She didn't have the problems I had to get a book published. She was given a huge advance. Meanwhile, I am still trying to get out of the hole on my book investment. She is now a full-time author. I am still working my nine to five.

Sarah doesn't have to worry about marketing or distribution or contacting bookstores. In a way, she has become part of her publisher's product. I contact bookstores, coordinate my own signings, pay for my own marketing material, and post about my book on every social media possible.

I am out at breweries and book fairs, sports bars and parking lots selling Curveball at the Crossroads. I am on whatever and whoever's podcast will have me. I booked my own morning TV appearance. I will sell Curveball at the Crossroads on a train, on a plane, on a boat, or in a moat. I don't care. And every sale is noted on a huge spreadsheet I maintain to keep track of costs.

I am not hating Sarah Penner. Not at all. As a matter of fact, I applaud her. She has been nice enough to reply to some social media comments I have made. I congratulated her on her debut novel and on the launch of her second. But I can't help but compare myself to her, even if to realize how different two authors' journeys can be.

Monday, October 2, 2023

Curveball at the Crossroads at the Bookstore1 Book Fair


I will be at Bookstore1 in downtown Sarasota on October 21st from 10am to 2pm selling and signing my debut novel Curveball at the Crossroads. Bookstore1 is a great bookstore run by great people. This will be my third time doing their book fair.

Bookstore1 already has copies of Curveball at the Crossroads on hand. If you want to buy your copy beforehand, and bring it to be signed, you can do that. Or you can order the book, and pick it up there on the day of the book fair.

I am also happy to be doing this book fair with my friend Josh Ginsburg. He has some great books about the interesting and odd of Tampa Bay and Orlando. Definitely recommend checking out his books.

Monday, September 25, 2023

Edwin Jackson and the traveling Virgos

Growing up, I wanted to be a Major League Baseball player. For whatever reason, fate had other plans. But as it turns out, I share a birthday with several Major League Baseball players and a professional lifestyle with a very special group of those players.

There are 63 Major League Baseball players who share my September 9th birthday. There are a few Hall of Famers (old school stars Frankie Frisch, Waite Hoyt, and Frank Chance), several all-stars, and a few coaches (Tampa Bay Rays pitching coach Kyle Snyder was born on the exact same day).

Of that group, what is especially interesting about my birthday is the amount of extremely travelled ballplayers born on September 9th.

According to research, there are 47 players in professional baseball's 160 year history who have played for 10 or more teams. To be good enough to play is an accomplishment, to be wanted by ten or more teams over the course of a career is a peculiar and interesting oddity. Of the 23,000 professional baseball players, those who have been on 10 or more teams is a microscopic 0.2 percent.

Of that 0.2 percent, approximately 13% were born in September. An even dispersal would have been four per month, but as you can see on the below chart, September has six, 50% more well-traveled Major Leaguers.

If we dive into September's data and we look at the six players who comprise this month of well-traveled professionals, we discover an even more interesting coincidence.

Of the six players born in September who played for more than 10 Major League teams, three are born on September 9th. More well-traveled players are born on September 9th than any other day, including Edwin Jackson, who holds the Major League record for being on 14 different teams. The only other day on which more than one well-traveled baseball player was born is February 14, the birthday of two players who played for 10 or more teams.

I could look up every date and see the average for teams played for per date, but that would be a lot of research and I don't have the time or energy for that. But I did look up September 9th. The 63 ballplayers with whom I share a birthday have been on an average of 3 teams. I didn't do the research on the other 364 days, so I don't know if that is above or below average. Of the 63 of the 23,000 people to ever play in the Major Leagues, three played for more than 10 teams. So in total, 0.013% of all Major League Baseball players ever born were born on the same day and played for 10 or more teams.

That day happens to be my birthday, September 9th.

Ironically, I have also had a well-traveled career. Since my first job at McDonalds in high school, I have worked for 17 different companies in 28 years. Since 2006, when I entered the defense contracting field, I have worked for 10 different companies, including more than half of the top 10 companies in the industry.

Not to brag, and not to downplay their struggle to stay in Major League Baseball, but I think my journey might be more stressful. Perhaps not physically, as they have had to move cities more often, but my journey may have been more difficult mentally. Whereas they have stayed in Major League Baseball, and been good enough to play at the top level for more than ten teams, they have still been under the same umbrella organization of Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Union. They have always been Major Leaguers and had the benefits, salaries, privileges, and protections thereof. When I leave organizations, I am done. My benefits go away, my protections disappear, and I am out on my own. I also don't have an agent making calls on my behalf looking for my next job.

Maybe it is something on who we are as Virgos born on the 9th that makes traveling and moving from job to job a regular behavior. Maybe our analytical instincts lead us to find new teams and organizations to work with in our industries.

With Edwin Jackson, Todd Zeile, and Dan Miceli no longer in baseball, I guess it is up to me to continue our shared birthday's wandering professional lifestyle.

Anyone hiring?

Monday, September 18, 2023

Conversing on the Creativity Conundrum

Here is a blog post I don't think I ever published. From the read, it looks like I wrote it 9 years ago while in my MBA program. In 2014, I had the rough draft of Curveball at the Crossroads and I was between jobs. I had no idea what I wanted to get into, I only knew I didn't want to do government contracting anymore. Little did I know in 2014 that I would get back into government contracting several more times and I would in fact still be creative on the side.

The big difference between mid-30s me and mid-40s me is that I don't mind being creative on the side. I have grown to balance my professional and my creative. It is great when they come together, but otherwise, it is always an interesting challenge to grow and excel in both.

But anyway, without making this intro its own post, check out my thoughts on creativity from 2014. I found this interesting.


I've written a bit about creativity before. To me, it's a new and fascinating subject. To be honest, I never realized creativity was a big deal until the last year. My thoughts on the subject began when I was in Afghanistan and was one of few who worked on creative endeavors in my spare time instead of burrowing away in the gym as many others did. I was the one who had a little Yoda figure by my desk, who hung a pic of me in an afro posing with Humpty Hump, and brought a DJ Kitty puppet across the world.

In business school, they talk about creativity as a good thing. Something rare and something that should be celebrated. The guy who's done stand-up comedy, ran around Tampa in an afro, and wrote a fiction book is looked at as unique. Well, that's a good thing.

Now my challenge is to find a job that allows me to incorporate creativity and make good money. Yes, I want to make good money. I don't think there is anything wrong with that. I don't want to be a starving writer.

That said, I have been reading a lot more about creativity. What people think about it, how they define it, and how they encourage it.

Fast's Co-Create blog has been a must-read for me. They publish a lot of articles for creative minded companies (advertising, marketing, etc), but I think the lessons are applicable anywhere. As long as people are open to ideas.

This article, for example, discusses how to break out of a funk and disrupt uncreative processes. Sometimes it's as easy as moving to another location. Although I agree and try to do this personally, taking my laptop to Barnes and Noble, Starbucks, etc, I've found it tough, if not impossible, to do so in the workplaces I have been in. Government processes are pretty standard and leadership enforces that. Even if employees end up droopy-eyed and zombified at their monitors.

There is a lot a big push in creativity study to mimic the mind of a child. Kids have great imaginations. Unfortunately, in our current society, jobs, academics, processes, and "life" suck the soul and spark out of peoples' imaginations. That might be because we start getting more number-focused and time-crunched, and our creative muscles atrophy.

Imagination is a muscle, if you don't work it, you lose it.

After seeing The Lego Movie a few months ago, I wrote about the Lego Corporation and their push to keep people, especially kids, creative. Here is another article on CoCreate on how playing with Legos can keep people creative. I think any toy will work. Legos are good because their pieces can build so many different things. But having a Star Wars figure or a Disney figurine, or anything else that will spark the mind will do the trick.

Capitalizing on the idea of the mind of a child is Ethan Nicolle, creator of the comic-turned-cartoon Axe Cop. I love Axe Cop. It's hilarious. According to the backstory, Nicolle got together with his then 5-year old brother and illustrated what his brother wrote. The result is a comic that is more creative than almost anything else on TV. Nicolle writes about his creative process in a recent blog on
We grow up and we get jaded.  We learn that flight is impossible, super powers are imaginary, guns are bad and the only real ultimate good is to put your pop cans in the proper container and don’t judge anyone or anything.  We may get bigger, but our world gets smaller.  We shrink.  We carry our withered and jaded view of reality like a badge of wisdom and we try to force kids to accept it before their time, and it is in that moment that we rob them of what being a kid really ought to be.

The whole read is great.

Of course, once you do create something, you have to get it out there. CoCreate recently posted any interesting blog on self-promotion and getting your work discovered. I need follow those steps closely as I start sending out queries for my fiction book, hoping to get it published sometime soon.

Worst case scenario, I find a job that is not creative and keep plugging away at my creative endeavors in my spare time.

Wouldn't be the first time.

Monday, September 11, 2023

Not so serious Movie Review: DEFCON 2012


Tonight's cinematic misadventure is DEFCON 2012 (2009)

In the year 2209, four interplanetary explorers get lost in an abandoned Earth mall. They run around for 40 minutes until they find a woman who lives in a city under the mall where humans have hid from aliens since 2012. Amidst some terrible special effects and animated scenes of exploding space ships, our heroes continue to run around for 40 more minutes until they confront a space alien who once worked for Earth's Central Extraterrestrial Agency. They kill him and then stare at a picture until they see a sailboat. Wait, wrong mall movie.

Grade: 1 bored alien overlord out of 5.

Monday, September 4, 2023

Meeting Lou Gossett Jr in a chat room


I don’t know how true this is, but I am sticking to it.

Way back in the early days of the social internet, probably in 1996 or 1997, I would spend time surfing the web in whatever chat rooms I could find. This was the days before organized chat rooms, before AOL or Yahoo chatrooms, and way before any social media platforms.

In these web chat rooms, you didn’t need to sign in, you didn’t need an account, and you could be whoever you wanted to be. It was total chaos, but it was beautiful. Most of these chat rooms were run via Java chat, and were what we would call “apps” on a webpage.

I saw some interesting things in these chat rooms. Of course, some people would use the rooms for adult-type private chat. But most used them for a sense of community. I even saw one group simulate an online wedding, with a user acting like a priest addressing vows to two other users. Being mischievous and young, I used the opportunity to private message the virtual groom with messages of “run” and “it’s not too late to log off”.

(If I remember right, his handle was “TheDuck” and he once told me he fought in “a small war with small people with small minds”. I have always loved that phrase.)

But perhaps the most interesting encounter I had in an late 1990s random chat room was when someone claiming to be actor Lou Gossett, Jr entered the chat. I don’t remember his screen name, but I do remember him announcing he was in fact Lou Gossett, Jr.

Upon entering the chatroom, the famous actor started talking with the people in the room, asking if the room was an adult-themed room (I don’t believe it was), and if people there could be trusted (probably not).

Then he asked the room if they had any questions for him, predating the AMA reddit trend by almost 20 years.

Having seen Alien Mine and a few of Lou Gossett, Jr’s other movies, I was familiar with the actor and was surprised a Hollywood celebrity would be in a random chatroom with other bored internet surfers. So I asked Lou Gossett, Jr why he was in this room with us tonight. Of all the chat rooms online, why this one at that time?

Lou Gossett, Jr answered that he saw his son frequenting chat rooms and he wanted to see what his son was doing and whether it was safe or not. Seemed like a good answer to me.

(A bit of research shows Lou Gossett Jr has two sons, one born in 1974 and the other born in 1977. So he did have sons, but worrying about their online behavior when they were in their 20s seems a little fishy to me. Might make a dent in the credibility of the story. But as I said at the open, I am sticking to my story.)

After a few other denizens of the chat room asked Lou Gossett Jr questions that he graciously answered, I asked one more question. I asked him why he acted in Iron Eagle 3.

I don’t remember why I asked him that, nor do I remember ever seeing Iron Eagle 3. I know I have seen Iron Eagle 1 and 2, but Iron Eagle 3 is a total blank. For what it is worth, reviews on IMDB are not good. Maybe I did see Iron Eagle 3 and chose to forget everything about it.

I could have asked him about Enemy Mine, An Officer and a Gentleman, or Roots, but I asked him about one of his worst movies.

I will never forget Lou Gossett, Jr’s answer:

“The money, Mike. The money.”

A few minutes after he answered my question, the account claiming to be Lou Gossett, Jr logged out of the chat room.

That’s my Lou Gossett, Jr story.

Monday, August 28, 2023

Author Josh Ginsburg Promotes Curveball at the Crossroads


My friend and fellow author Josh Ginsberg cut a short promo for my novel Curveball at the Crossroads at Tiger Dust in Tampa, Florida.

You can find Curveball at the Crossroads at .

Monday, August 21, 2023

Curveball at the Crossroads at Green Bench Brewing 8/27/2023


I will be at Green Bench Brewing on Sunday, August 27th selling and signing books! Green Bench Brewing is located near Tropicana Field at 1133 Baum Ave North, St. Petersburg FL 33705.

I will be giving away a pack of baseball cards with each purchase of a book. I have hand-collated packs or newly acquired unopened packs of 1991 Donruss baseball.

Come on out and enjoy some great beer, root on the Rays, and pick up a copy of one of my books! 

Monday, August 14, 2023

Meeting the Fake Randy Meisner

A few weeks ago, founding Eagles bassist Randy Meisner died. The real Randy Meisner.

For nearly 20 years, a man named Lewis Peter Morgan impersonated Meisner. Many websites have written about Morgan. In 2020, wrote an article about Morgan and his history of misleading promoters and organizations who thought they were booking the real Randy Meisner. 

According to, Morgan was arrested in 1998 for impersonating Meisner. He received 16 months and was set free. He resumed his act.

In 2006, Morgan was seen at a poker tournament according to Gambling911. In 2014, writer Nolan Dalla also wrote about meeting the imposter and even having dinner with him.

Five years before the poker tournament, some time around 2001, I met someone who claimed to be Randy Meisner in a bar in Tallahassee, Florida. It might have been Lewis Peter Morgan. Or it very well could have been Randy Meisner. I wrote about meeting this man in a paper I did for an anthropology class.

Here is what I wrote:

After interviewing Jenine, I met a man who claimed to be a founding member of the famous rock and roll band the Eagles. He introduced himself as Randy Meisner and continued on about how he was taking a Greyhound bus to Tempe, Arizona to go to Lake Tahoe with 70’s singer/ songwriter Jackson Browne. A week later I did research on Mr. Meisner, who was indeed a member of the Eagles. However, the man at Fatty and Skinny’s claimed to be 63. Randy Meisner is 55 years of age. I also read an online article about an imposter in Atlanta claiming to be the classic rock band’s bass player. Was the individual I met really Randy Meisner? Or merely an imposter?

I am not sure why Lewis Peter Morgan or anyone else claiming to be Randy Meisner would have been in a college bar in Tallahassee in 2001. But I guess that makes me a small part of one of the weirdest stories in Rock 'n' Roll history.

Monday, August 7, 2023

Drowning in Junk Wax


Like many Gen X baseball fans, I was a big baseball card collector in the late 1980s and early 1990s. I remember my first packs of 1986 Topps. My mother bought me a few packs at the local flea market on Long Island, New York. I had just become a baseball fan and went to my first Major League Baseball game at Shea Stadium.

Baseball card collecting was a passion of mine starting in 1987. The classic 1987 Topps set was the first I actively collected. Card collecting introduced me to all the players and all the teams in baseball. I became a much bigger baseball fan because of baseball cards.

The late 1980s and early 1990s was also the apex of baseball cards. People considered baseball cards investments. How wrong we were.

Years later, collectors realized how little their collections were worth. The law of supply and demand caught up to the baseball card industry. In order to maximize sales, the card companies produced way too many of every card. Millions of every card was made. Most card collectors had every card they wanted. Supply was way higher than demand.

The overwhelming supply of baseball cards from 1986 to 1994 became known as the "junk wax era". Cards in waxy packs were not the college investments young collectors thought they would be. They were junk.

On the website, Spencer Richardson wrote a very informative history of the Junk Wax Era. In his article, he writes: 

"According to one estimate, companies produced 81 billion cards per year in the late 1980s and early 1990s. That shakes out to about 300 cards per person living in the United States. Cards were everywhere."

Dave Jamieson also has a good article on the rise of collecting and the bubble it created. Entitled "The Great Baseball Card Bubble", Jamieson discusses the impact of Beckett Baseball Card Guides and other influencers on the hobby. The article is a must read for those interested in why their collections haven't gained any value in 30 years.

I haven't collected cards since 1993. Like many collectors, the players' strike in 1994 turned me off to following baseball for a few years. Then I joined the military, went to college, discovered beer, and spent my money on other interests. Starting in 2000 or so, I would buy one pack of Topps every year just to see what the new style looked like. But I stopped going to card stores, card shows, or following the hobby in any way, shape, or form.

A few years ago, I went to my parents' house and finally explored the corner of my old bedroom closet containing my old baseball cards. I had two huge 5,000-count boxes of baseball cards, a 3,000-count box of basketball cards, as well as several sealed sets containing over 700 cards each. In total, I had approximately 20,000 cards.

Years ago, I gave away at least 5,000 cards to a local hospital. I sold other boxes at some point. This is what remained.

What to do with 20,000 cards?

After putting aside a small box of cards that had either emotional or personal value, I explored ebay, mercari, etc for the demand of the rest. Dozens, if not hundreds of other collectors have flooded online markets with their collections. Anyone in the market for junk wax, if there was anyone in the market for junk wax, would find hundreds of options. 

Time to be creative.

If you buy a copy of my novel Curveball at the Crossroads from me at book signing, you get a free pack of 15 cards ranging from 1986 to 2022. Packs are either by team or random. Most random packs contain at least one player elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Free baseball cards have been a great gimmick. The words "FREE BASEBALL CARDS (with a purchase of Curveball at the Crossroads)" catch many eyes. It doesn't matter how much or how little the cards are worth, baseball cards still hold a sense of wonder for most fans. They open the pack of cards and reminisce over players from the past or talk about players of the present.

I have to sell a lot of books to get rid of 10,000 loose baseball cards in 15 card packs. In a nice sense of Devilish humor, 10,000 divided by 15 cards is 666 packs. For a book about the Devil and baseball, I swear that is a coincidence.

Friday, July 28, 2023

Counting Wrestling Shows


Wrestling podcasts are all the rage these days. My personal favorite is Stories with Brisco and Bradshaw hosted by WWE Hall of Famers Jerry Brisco and John Bradshaw Layfield aka JBL. It's a good, clean show with great guests who tell great stories. There is no trashing the business, no trashing other people in the business, and there is very little mudslinging, unless it is in jest. It is highly recommended.

A few months ago, Brisco and Bradshaw talked with Rich Achberger, aka WWE Sign Guy. Acheberger is a famous fan of WWE. He has been written about on, supported by wrestlers while on Deal or No Deal, gets twitter praise from people in wrestling, and has amassed a prominent twitter following of over 40,000.

No doubting his incredible fandom.

During his interview with Brisco and Bradshaw, Achberger said he has attended over 1,200 wrestling shows. That's a lot of wrestling shows. As a fellow fan of wrestling shows, his count got me thinking how many I have been to.

Overall, I think I have been to roughly 270 wrestling events. Which to be honest, seems really small compared to Sign Guy. Here is my math:

WWE: 9

I've been six WWE RAW or Smackdown shows in Tampa at Amalie Arena as well as WrestleMania at Raymond James Stadium. That's seven. I went to one Smackdown in Tallahassee and one closed circuit broadcast of WrestleMania 3 at Nassau Coliseum when I was a kid in New York.

NXT: 2

I have been to two NXT events. One in Tampa and one in Cocoa, Florida.

FCW: 50

Here is where the estimating starts. From 2008 to 2010, I went to a lot Florida Championship Wrestling shows in Tampa. This was the Afro-Squad days, where we were acknowledged by Steve Keirn and the legendary Dusty Rhodes. I might be a little low, but I am going with 50 total.

ASW: 40

In 2010, the Afro-Squad stopped going to FCW as often and started going to All-Star Wrestling Florida. ASW was run by local friends as well as part of our FCW fan group. We had to support. It was fun, it was local, it was very indy. From 2010 to 2012, I would estimate I went to 40 ASW shows.

wXw: 70

This number seems low, but I think it might be correct. Since 2009, I have been going to Afa The Wild Samoan's wXw monthly promotion in Minneola, Florida. For 10 of those years, my brother Bryan Maddox wrestled there. During that time, I would go every month. Since he stopped wrestling in 2018, I have gone every other month or every third month, depending on my schedule. I also missed two years because I lived overseas. This might be on the conservative side, but I am going with 70 wXw shows.

Miscellaneous: 100

I would guess I have been to 100 other wrestling events, mostly independent shows. From flea markets to fairs, civic centers to storage units, I have paid to see men and women battle in the squared circle. I can't count how many different promotions I've seen. Many of them might not be around any more. I've seen people dressed as Japanese monsters and barbwire Christmas tree matches. I've seen future superstars and people in it for the joy of entertaining the fans. 

But like my FCW and ASW numbers, my visits to independent wrestling shows has dropped dramatically in recent years. I might be a little conservative, but I think 100 is a fair number.

A total of 270 shows is not even 20% of Rick Achberger's 1,200. Whereas I have spent nine months total at wrestling shows, Rick has spent almost 3 and half years. That's mind blowing.

A big tip of the red hat and doff of the afro wig to fellow super fan WWE Sign Guy. May his seat always be warm and his beer (or soda) always be cold.

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

The Best DIY R2D2 Costume in the Galaxy


Before cosplay was cosplay, there were only two ways to wear a costume of your favorite sci-fi hero. Either you bought a cheap plastic mask and a flimsy costume, or you made your own. In 1982 or maybe 1983, my father and I made my own R2-D2 costume.

It wasn't as shiny, realistic, or digital as today's models. But to paraphrase Han Solo, it had it where it counts.

See the switch on the side of torso? That was a sound device. It made beep-boop sounds like the real R2. The body is made of cardboard and I think that is a salad bowl on my head with colored paper either glued or taped. For an '80s costume, this was the best thing ever.

To be honest, I don't remember how long it took my father to make it, but I think it turned out fantastic.

A few years ago, there was a popular twitter account called "@WeRateDroids". Like the more popular WeRateDogs, WeRateDroids would rate every droid from the Star Wars universe and beyond. Curious what they thought of my droid costume, I submitted my favorite Halloween picture for rating.

MK-77 is a 13 of 10. Suck it, BB-8.

Thursday, July 20, 2023

The US Army Unofficial Consensual Sex Flow Chart

I found this in a box of memories and decided to share it.

When I reported to my first military unit way back in the 1990s, I received a laminated flow chart to assist me in case I engaged in sexual relations. To this day, I am not sure the validity of this flow chart, nor do I know if it was authorized or not. I was new to the Army and like a good new soldier, I didn't ask questions.

If you can't read the above image, here are the instructions:

The Unofficial Consensual Sex Army Flow Chart

Step 1: Check individual's ID card for proof she is 18 or over. If no, do not proceed any further. If yes, go to Step 2.

Step 2: Check individual for wedding ring. If yes, do not go any further. If no, go to Step 3.

Step 3: Administer field sobriety test to insure person is not under the influence. If yes, do not go any further. If no, proceed to Step 4.

Step 4: Administer blood test to insure person has no communicable diseases. If yes, do not proceed any further. If no, go to Step 5.

Step 5: You are now ready to have sex. Go to Step 6.

Step 6: During the act, ensure you record the event to ensure the person at no time says no. If person does not speak English, ensure subtitles are used and notarized by a notary public.

Step 7: After completion of the act, get a signed affidavit from your party stating that she was willing during the whole event. This must also be witnessed by a notary public.

I can't say I used the consensual sex flow chart very often, but I did carry it with me.

Sunday, July 9, 2023

A Self-Published Author's Guide to Tampa Bay Bookstores (Updated Dec 2023)

Owning an independent bookstore is a monumental challenge. From 2000 to 2005, my mother owned a new and used bookstore in Melbourne, Florida. Although it didn't last, Once and Again Bookstore provided me insight into the workings of bookstores and their battle for existence. Unfortunately, online bookstores and big box stores still have a stranglehold on the book buying market. But in the last 15 years or so, many independent bookstores have carved a niche in their local communities.  

Independent bookstores are not a charity. Selling books is about making money. Bookstores want to make money to stay open. Authors should want to make money on their novel. We have to make our relationship as symbiotic and synergistic as possible.

There are several bookstores in the Tampa Bay area. I have met most of the bookstore owners in the area and several beyond Tampa Bay in an attempt to get my book on their shelves so they can sell my book and we can all make money. Most of them carry my novel. Some bookstores do consignment, some order from Ingram Spark, and some buy directly from me. Some don't carry my book at all. And a few I have yet to meet.

Pro tip number 1: distribute your book via Ingram Spark. Don't self-publish on Amazon if you want to work with bookstores. They won't buy books from the company that is trying to put them out of business. If you want to be Amazon exclusive, be my guest. But you are on your own.

Pro tip number 2: if you are on Ingram Spark, give your book the greatest bookseller discount. I think the discount is 50% off for booksellers. Don't ask questions. Do it.

Pro tip number 3: the best way to meet bookstore owners is to walk in their store. Look around. If your book is a fit for their store, find a book that is not yours that you want. Buy it. Then talk to them about your book. Show that you are willing to support them before you ask them to support you. Also, if you know other authors whose books the bookstore carries, discuss those connections.

This list will be broken down into how the bookstores acquire my book. There is absolutely no preferential order. I have a great relationship with every bookstore I work with. I hope this list comes in handy for other self-published authors in the Tampa Bay area and beyond. This is just my experience. Yours might be different.

Order from Ingram Spark

Oxford Exchange Book Store (Tampa)

Point of contact: Laura Taylor, Bookstore & Programming Director

Best way to contact: visit and email - Laura(@)

The Oxford Exchange is located in downtown Tampa. The bookstore only orders from Ingram Spark and does not do consignment. Hence, they are looking for books that are known or authors that will move product. I was part of the Oxford Exchange Book Fair for two years and did well. Then I approached their front counter and asked how they would carry my novel on their shelves. I emailed Laura Taylor and asked how my book can be on their shelves. Laura ordered two copies. During my next visit, I signed the books and made social media content letting my followers know the book was available at the Oxford Exchange Book Store.

Pro tip number 4: bookstores will almost always let you create content involving your book in their store. At a minimum, every time you visit a local bookstore that carries your book, take a picture of your book on the shelf and a picture of the store. Post both on Facebook or Instagram and be sure to tag the store. You can also do tiktok, youtube, snapchat, twitter, your personal website, or wherever else readers might find out about your book and the store. The more content, the better. This is an easy way to show the bookstore that you are doing your part to sell your book.


Tombolo Books (St Pete)

Point of Contact: Alsace - owner

Best way to contact: visit and email - authors(@)

Tombolo Books is one of the most high profile bookstores in the Tampa Bay area. If New York Times Bestselling authors are going to visit, they are going to go to Tombolo. While the folks at Tombolo are nice, they are busy. Getting your book approved for their shelves takes time. That said, once I was listed on Ingram Spark, I immediately filled out their local author form. I remember emailing a few times to see if they had reviewed at my book. It took a few months for them to order my novel, even after I was voted "runner-up, best book by a local author" in the local arts and entertainment newspaper and after I received a blurb from a well-known local author.

At the time, the local author form required Ingram Spark, reviews from other local authors, and an active social media presence. I see they now are doing consignment. Whatever the requirement, it is Tombolo, they are busy, and people buy plenty of books there.

Fun story: after I learned Tombolo had two copies of my novel on their shelf, I visited a brewery across the street and talked to people about my book. I mentioned I was going to visit the bookstore and they followed me and bought a copy of my book. I signed it for the buyer right there on the spot. That's how you prove to a bookstore that you can move product. 

BookendsYbor (Tampa)

Point of Contact: Teresa - owner

Best way to contact: visit and email - read(@)

BookendsYbor is the newest bookstore in the Tampa Bay area. They are so new, their brick-and-mortar storefront isn't even open (as of June 2023). They do however have a bookmobile they are bringing to local pubs and breweries. They are also planning to be part of the Ybor Saturday Market.

I found BookendsYbor via I followed them on social media, dropped them an email, told them how much I am looking forward to their opening, and mentioned my book. They said they would look into ordering it from Ingram. Within two weeks, they had copies in hand. I then visited their next bookmobile event, chatted with a few customers, and their copies of Curveball at the Crossroads were sold. Hopefully this is the start of a great author-bookstore relationship.

Bookstore1 (Sarasota)

Point of contact: Byrn - Director of Programming

Best way to contact: email - bryn(@)

Bookstore1 is located in downtown Sarasota. I have been part of the Bookstore1 Book Fair for the last two years. In preparation for their event, Bookstore1 orders five books per author every book fair via Ingram Spark. If authors don't sell all five, the store will carry the book on their shelves until they sell. Bryn and the team are great and very nice. They do a great job of promoting the book fair and the authors. Bookstore1 is an hour away for me, so it is a little difficult to visit regularly. However, they host author events and book club readings regularly.

The Gilded Page (Tarpon Springs)

Point of contact: Julia - owner

Best way to contact: visit and email - thegildedpagebookstore(@)

The Gilded Page is a relatively new bookstore in Tarpon Springs. I visited The Gilded Page first, and while there, I discussed how they carried an author I am friends with. Then I mentioned my book and how it might be a fit on their fiction shelf. Julia agreed and ordered a copy of Curveball at the Crossroads.

The Gilded Page both orders local books on Ingram if possible or they do consignment. If doing consignment, they ask for up to five books from the author. If they order on Ingram, they order one at a time. I prefer the upfront revenue of Ingram so I opted for that. I re-visited The Gilded Page a few weeks later to sign the copy they received as well as to make some social media content of my book at their store.

Book & Bottle (St Pete)

Point of contact: unknown

Best way to contact: visit or website 

Book & Bottle is a bookstore/coffee shop/wine store in downtown St Petersburg. They have a small selection of books on one wall of their store. The few times I have visited, they were nice, and I enjoyed the drink and the ambiance. Due to their limited selection, they are preferential to new books.

However, in researching this blog post, I discovered their author request form. I filled it out and requested them to consider my book for both their inventory and their local author open house. Within a few weeks, they ordered a copy of my novel and it is on their shelves.

Portkey Books (Safety Harbor)

Point of contact: Crystel - owner

Best way to contact: Visit

Portkey Books is a small bookstore in Safety Harbor, Florida and the most recent store to carry my debut novel. As a small store, they are very selective in the books they carry. To echo my pro tip above, you have to be on Ingram and a return policy is recommended.

Portkey Books asks that local authors donate their first book to the store as an act of good faith. After that book sells, they will continue to order the book from Ingram as long as they sell. As my publisher cost is $6, that's worth it to me. Hopefully, after one copy sells, they order more copies and more copies after that and I make the $6 and more via Ingram.


Books at Park Place (Gulfport)

Point of contact: Nancy - owner

Best way to contact: visit and phone (727) 388-9093

Books at Park Place is probably the most similar to what my mother's bookstore was. Coincidentally, Books at Park Place was the first bookstore my novel was in. Books at Park Place is consignment only for self-published authors. They have a form for self-published authors to sign that describes the business relationship.

Among the benefits of working with Books at Park Place is that Nancy and her team will promote local authors just as much as well-known authors. Books at Park Place designates an entire side wall to local authors and I have visited and seen my novel among others in the front window display. They also have a great relationship with many authors and Nancy and her team are willing to answer any questions authors may have about working with Ingram and the selling process. Unfortunately, they haven't done as many author events post-pandemic as they did in the past. Perhaps that will change soon.

Wilson's Book World (St Pete)

Point of contact: Michelle - owner

Best way to contact: visit

Wilson's Book World is a family owned and operated, used and antiquarian bookshop in St. Pete. They have a steady and loyal clientele and are very personable. They don't carry new books, but they do carry local authors on consignment. They accept three books per author and they put a copy of the book in the front of the aisle for a month before putting all the copies in their associated section. Lastly, their percentage return on consignment is the best in the area, although they don't provide the money for the books until all the books are sold.

Mojo Books and Records (Tampa)

Point of contact: Melanie - owner

Best way to contact: visit and email - mojotampa(@)

Mojo Books and Records is a combination music and book store. They have been around for a long time and have a strong underground following. They mostly carry used books and cater to the University of South Florida market. They do consignment for local authors and will carry two books at a time.

I like Mojo Books and Records. They are nice folks and they are very responsive, but although their store is divided 50/50 between books and music, their focus isn't books. If they can do more for books, and especially local authors, they could become a powerful ally.


Tiger Dust (Tampa)

Point of contact: Jason and Laura - owners

Best way to contact: visit or Instagram DM @tigerdustheights

Tiger Dust is not a traditional bookstore. They are an oddities and novelty store in the Seminole Heights area of Tampa. They feature a wall of occult, sci-fi, fantasy, and hard-to-find books. During my first visit there I realized that my book about someone who makes a deal with the Devil would fit their selection of books. They offered to buy three books from me at a 33% discount. I make a few dollars above my distributor cost and they make a $5 profit per book. Tiger Dust is also part of local merchant block party on the last Thursday of every month where authors and other creatives they carry (jewelry, art, etc) are encouraged to mingle and engage with the store patrons. I have sold and signed a few books at the Thursday block party. If your novel fits their store, Tiger Dust is recommended.

Stores that do not yet carry Curveball at the Crossroads

Back in the Day Books (Dunedin)

Point of contact: Boe Rushing - owner

Best way to contact: email (maybe): backinthedaybooks(@)

I visited Back in the Day books recently and talked to one of their employees. I had also contacted them via Facebook Messenger over a year ago. Both times they mentioned they don't carry local authors and they don't do consignment. Following my visit, I emailed the owner explaining that they are on a very short list of regional bookstores that don't carry my book and that I hope they would change their mind. Especially in the case of a local author who is selling copies in other stores. I also mentioned my book is baseball fiction and they are located 1/2 mile from a baseball stadium. Unfortunately, I have not yet received a response.

Black English Bookstore (Tampa)

Point of contact: Gwen Henderson - owner

Best way to contact: Unknown

Black English is the newest bookstore to open in the Tampa Bay area. Owned and operated by Tampa City Councilwoman Gwen Henderson, they opened to much fanfare in early December 2023. They are predominantly focused on African-American authors and books on the African-American experience. They are a small store and are very welcoming but I have not yet discussed my novel with them. If your book is a fit, I encourage you to reach out to them.  

The Book Rescuers (Pinellas Park)

Point of contact: Unknown

Best way to contact: visit or email / phone: thebookrescuers(@) / (727) 222-0495

The Book Rescuers is a giant used book warehouse in Pinellas Park. They price most of their books between $1-$3. While their business model is interesting and I applaud their efforts on banned books, my novel is not used, so I haven't worked with them.

Haslem's Bookstore (St Pete)

Point of contact: Unknown

Best way to contact: Unknown

I am listing Haslem's out of respect for one of the area's oldest local bookstores. Unfortunately, they closed during the pandemic and have not been open since. If I had to guess, my book will never be in the store and the property will turn into condos within three years.

Barnes & Noble (various locations)

Point of contact: Unknown

Best way to contact: email - crm3429(@)

Barnes & Noble is obviously not an independent bookstore. They are however the biggest box bookstore chain in Tampa Bay. That said, they don't carry self-published authors. As a chain, they don't do consignment. They also don't order print-on-demand, which includes Ingram Spark. I recently visited the new location on Westshore Blvd and asked if they would ever do a local author event and I was given a business card with the above email address. As of July 2023, I have not yet emailed.

Again, I hope this helps other self-published authors in Tampa Bay area and beyond. Self-publishing is a hustle and is a lot of work. You are not only an author, but a marketer, an event planner, and a salesperson. But the more places you place your book, the more chances it has to be bought. It is a numbers game, but by working with local bookstores, you increase your chances of success.

Good luck!

(Image from

Sunday, July 2, 2023

Afro-Squad wrestling figures smashing through your town

How cool is this?

My friend Snowman Jones at @911wrestling on Instagram and tiktok created old school wrestling figures of the #afrosquad.

That's Snowman on the right, KrazyMan on the left, and me, afro-clad Jordi Scrubbings in the back, bringing the attack with an apple. Or is it a pear? Whatever it is, these figures are rare.

Although we don't afro it up as much anymore, sometimes you can still find me donning the afro wig and keeping it funky, fighting The Man. And now I am in figure form. 

I made it, ma!

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Featured on the Hillsborough County Library Author Page


I was selected as a June Author of the Month on the Hillsborough County Library home page. This was a total shock to me and quite the honor. I am a big fan of the library system and all they do. Curveball at the Crossroads is available in the Hillsborough County and Pinellas County Library systems.

If you would like Curveball at the Crossroads available in your local library, talk to your local librarian. Every library has a way to request new books. Thank you for the support!

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Revisiting the 2002 Florida State Seminoles


While exploring through stacks of old VHS tapes, I have been discovering some gems. Back in the early 2000s, I taped a lot of shows, especially national shows that had something to do with Florida State University. I already posted here about the binge drinking show that focused on Florida State students. My most recent find is a 2002 ESPN broadcast about the Florida State Seminoles football team.

2002 was an interesting year. FSU was a few years removed from their national championship. A few of their experienced coaches left. A lot of the high caliber talent was gone. By 2002, they were attempting to rebuild. Unfortunately, the coaching wasn't as good and neither were the players.

This 2002 show was a blast from the past. I was a student at FSU and went to most, if not all of the home games in this show. I remember the Notre Dame visit to Tallahassee well. That was ESPN College Gameday's first visit to Tallahassee in a long time. The day before the game I got longtime broadcaster Lee Corso's autograph on an FSU campus map. After I got his autograph, he asked for another copy of the map to find his way around campus. I still have my signed map.

After the game the next day, my roommate, a friend, and I were swarmed after by the Irish fans after the Notre Dame victory. Many of them didn't have nice things to say about Corso, an FSU alumnus. If I remember right, one Irish fan threatened Lee Corso and called him a "pygmy". My friends and I had to leave as it was getting a little hostile.

The whole video is full of great memories. Even the commercials. Check it out.

FSU Football 2002 ESPN Show from JordiScrubbings on Vimeo.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Curveball at the Crossroads on the Suncoast News Network


A few weeks ago, I made an appearance at the BookStore1 Book Fair in Sarasota. It was my second year doing their book fair. It is an fun experience at an awesome independent bookstore. Great people and a great time.

As an experienced author at their book fair, BookStore1 asked me if I would be willing to media appearances for them in regards to the book fair. Of course I agreed. All appearances are good appearances.

I was mentioned in the Sarasota Observer news website:

Bookstore1Sarasota book fair spotlights community of local authors

Here is my brief interview on the Suncoast News Network:

Big thanks to Bryn and the great folks at Bookstore1 for the putting on the book fair and for having faith in me to talk about their event to local media.

Monday, May 1, 2023

Review of Springtime for Kaiju in Tampa


Giant monsters invaded Tampa on April 29th, 2023. Good monsters took to the squared circle to take on bad monsters, led by the infamous Dr. Cube.

As a fan of pro wrestling and a fan of kaiju, I have wanted to see Kaiju Big Battel for years. The idea of Godzilla and Mothra-type monsters duking it out in a ring with buildings and other props at their feet absolutely intrigued me. Unfortunately, Kaiju Big Battel doesn't come to Florida very often. Last Saturday, it finally happened at the Orpheum in Tampa and I was there.

Typically, Kaiju Big Battel happens in a wrestling ring. I am not sure if they didn't have ring because of the rain or because they just didn't have a ring. I do know the roof of the Orpheum is too low for an indoor ring, especially if giant monsters are the combatants. So instead of a ring, barricades were erected to protect the crowd from the giant monsters. Of course, some giant monsters took their battle to the people and engaged in combat amidst the crowd. What a sight that was!

It is impossible not to have fun at a Kaiju Big Battel show. It is mostly-wholesome fun for the whole family. As you can see from the picture above, kids sat ringside and kids were involved as managers during the show. There was even a kid bell ringer. I wonder if Kaiju can be a gateway drug to human-based wrestling. Has anyone gone from rooting for giant monsters to rooting for John Cena?

My second observation is that Kaiju Big Battel is about story telling. Kaiju isn't technical wrestling. There is no Bryan Danielson versus William Regal catch wrestling. There are big monsters hitting each other. There are clear good guys and clear bad guys and they fight. No tweeners. No heel turns. No flip-flopping. The storylines are simple. While too many wrestling promotions complicate their shows with complex storylines, Kaiju keeps it simple. The simplicity makes it fun.

To the benefit of first-timers or casual fans, the announce team helps out by encouraging booing the bad monsters and cheering the good monsters. I enjoyed this and think other wrestling promotions, on and off our planet, could try to duplicate this concept. If wrestlers don't do a good enough job conveying their good or evil, the announce team can tell the crowd who to support and get chants started.

The props also make the matches fun. Cardboard boxes painted to be buildings, bottles labeled "Sleep medicine" and "NRG Drink", pillows, pool toys, and even a Pikachu doll were used in the monster battles. Imagination is important. Kaiju encourages the audience to let out the kid in them. Of course a pool float wouldn't be used in a battle between a giant mosquito and an intergalactic alien robot, but in the pit of doom, a pool float is not a pool float. In Kaiju Big Battel, a pool float is a weapon of mass destruction.

Overall, there were 6 or 7 matches in the two hour event. It depends if you want to count the main event as one match or two, as it turned into chaos and more monsters descended to the pit of doom and chaos broke out before the grand finale. For a niche extravaganza, there was a good crowd of 200 or so, which is not bad considering the bad weather and the other events going on around Tampa - music festivals, NHL playoffs, and several other concerts. But for those who value intergalactic, time-travelling conflicts between giant monsters, Kaiju Big Battel was the place to be.

I would definitely go to Kaiju Big Battel again. As they say, Monsters are real and Danger can happen!

Monday, March 13, 2023

Following Fonzie: A Month on the Road with Wrestling Legend Bill Alfonso


Following Fonzie: A Month on the Road with Wrestling Legend Bill Alfonso from JordiScrubbings on Vimeo.

In 2010, I had the interesting pleasure of working with pro wrestling personality Bill Alfonso on a documentary. We met at an All-Stars Wrestling show in Tampa, where I was doing social media. If I remember right, Fonzie told one of my friends he wanted to put something together to show his life. I had a camera and some spare time, so I volunteered.

Fonzie was an interesting character. He was full of wrestling knowledge. He worked for WWE, WCW, ECW, Championship Wrestling of Florida, and dozens and dozens of other organizations throughout the world. He worked for Dusty Rhodes, the Briscos, the Funks, Paul Heyman, Vince McMahon, and many other promoters. He knew the business and almost everyone in it.

For a month, Fonzie and I travelled around Florida. We went to Ocala to see the Funks, we went to Minneola to see the Anoa'i Family, we went fishing, and we regularly went to famed Tampa restaurant La Teresita. Along the way, I had a chance to learn about pro wrestling from someone who had been a referee, a manager, and a backstage hand for over 25 years. I had a chance to be a fly on the wall during conversation between Fonzie and WWE Hall of Famers. It was a crash course I will never forget.

In total, I had over 12 hours of footage. In 2016, I created an hour long movie with the intent to post it online. Unfortunately, my hard drive crapped out. The movie was gone. Fortunately, I had backups of all the footage on a portable drive. In late 2022, I started recreating the movie.

Currently at 1 hour and 6 minutes, it could be a little tighter. But I think I did a good job, especially considering it is by far the longest video project I have ever worked on.

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Curveball at the Crossroads on Tampa Bay Morning Blend

Doing interviews for Curveball at the Crossroads has been an exciting and fun experience. I have done several podcasts and radio shows, but I had never done television. Until this week. I recently had the opportunity to visit Tampa Bay Morning Blend and talk about my book with co-host Teyonna Edwards.

I'll be honest. I was a little nervous going into this interview. This was much more professional than a podcast. If I flub a sentence in a podcast, no one cares. Although Tampa Bay Morning Blend isn't live, I still wanted to make sure I did it all in one take. I also didn't know how much time I had. Turns out, I had a little over 5 minutes. Definitely enough to talk about the book, but I have done 30 minutes about the book. I had to make sure I got in the important selling points. I think I did that.

Shout out to my good friend Nick Major for suggesting I contact the show.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Thoughts on pro wrestler attacking fan

I have so many thoughts on this. Not a show goes by without me interacting with wrestlers. That was the point of the afro years ago - to draw their attention. That said, I never cross the line into personal, racial, or religious. Gotta keep it character based.

I can make a long list of wrestlers who have "interacted" with me at indy shows. Whether its yelling back, ripping off the afro, or grabbing a sign from me, it's all been part of the show. And you have to roll with it. If you want to be "part of the show", you have to know the line. Heels are assholes. They flip hats, they rip signs, they insult your mother. Touching the wrestlers is wrong. You don't throw watermelon back at Gallagher. 

By the way, the whole thing looks like a work. Look how the fan feeds his back to Joe Black who clubs him with forearms. No uppercuts, no chokes, no real fight moves. Compare to when Seth Rollins choked out a mark who jumped the rail on RAW.

If it is not a work - life is a work, btw - that fan should be barred from that promotion forever. But there are other promotions and the odds he and Joe Black cross paths again will be pretty high. Then when Joe Black and the boys whoop his ass (the whole locker room, because if you mess with one, you mess with all) , the way wrestlers would have back in the day, he will learn not to teach the wrestlers.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Curveball at the Crossroads on


A few months ago I connected with Chris Vitali and the folks at BallNine is a new baseball website that focuses on the stories of people involved in the game. They have interviewed many interesting former players, coaches, and other personalities. And their graphics are top notch. They are definitely recommended.

As the lead of a website dedicated to the stories of baseball and as a former musician, Chris was very interested in my novel Curveball at the Crossroads. We talked for a few months about doing a podcast or video interview. Unfortunately, BallNine suffered some personnel setbacks that set Chris and his team back, as setbacks normally do. But a few weeks ago we finally made it happen.

This was a fun interview. We covered the influences of the book, how it came to be, how to purchase it, and of course, we talked a little Rays baseball.

Great interview, great host, and great subject matter. But I might be biased.

Monday, February 6, 2023

The Tallahassee bar scene when FSU was a top party school

Hard to believe 20 years has past since I was a college student. Those days seem so long ago. Days of classes on the weekdays and football games on the weekend. Nights of college bars and local bands and drinking. A lot of drinking.

From 1995 to 2005, Florida State University was regarded as one of the best party schools in the country. Florida State and partying went together like lamb and tuna fish, peanut butter and jelly, and spaghetti and meatballs. The party scene was so insane, it spawned the career of comedian Bert Kreischer, whose entire schtick early in his career was drinking and partying. It also spawned the band Creed, but that's an article for another day.

I arrived at Florida State in 1999. After a year of hanging out in the dorms, by my second year I was part of the bar scene in Tallahassee. Looking back, I am not sure how I survived the debauchery. Drinking and going out was one of my main hobbies.

Another one of my hobbies was recording any show that featured Florida State. I left college with several VHS tapes of FSU-related shows, from WWF events in Tallahassee to a show that ranked FSU as one of the most progressive protest schools in the country. But the highlight of my video collection was a 2002 MSNBC investigation on college drinking that featured Florida State in more than half the show.

A few months ago, I finally digitized my VHS collection. This weekend, I finally uploaded the FSU college drinking show on Vimeo. I would have put it on youtube as well, but it is too long. Maybe if I get 1,000 subscribers to my youtube I will put it there too.

So without further ado, not that intended to ado, but if I did ado, I will ado no further. Here is MSNBC Investigates: College Drinking.

College drinking 2002 - Florida State, etc from JordiScrubbings on Vimeo.

Friday, January 27, 2023

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Book Review: Too Sweet — Inside the Indie Wrestling Revolution

Back in 2010, I ran social media for a small, local independent wrestling organization in Tampa, Florida. All-Star Wrestling of Florida was as small and as local as wrestling comes — a bar show featuring mostly talent from the Central Florida. Attendance was lucky to reach 100 paying patrons.

Despite the small presence, ASW Florida still attracted some big names in the wrestling world. WWF legend Sunny made an appearance. ECW legend Bill Alfonso made an appearance. Shawn Spears worked a few matches. Eventual GCW co-owner Danny DeManto was a regular contestant. Then-TNA stars Jay Lethal and Samoa Joe were frequent attendees who watched from the bar.

After ASW Florida folded in 2011, I stopped being as interested in the indy scene. I still attended show at wXw, Afa the Wild Samoan’s developmental, watching future WWE talent such as Sean Maluta, Kona Reeves, and the widely-traveled Mercedes Martinez. But I attended because the Anoa’i Family has become family to me and my family. Only going to wXw meant the underground wrestling scene was no longer my scene.

I also stopped writing about wrestling as much. For a while I was a guest writer on the now-defunct Walls of Jericholic — The Wrestling Blog website. Although we often had different opinions, their editor allowed me to write my views through the prism of the Florida indy scene.

So it was with great interest that I read Keith Elliot Greenberg’s “Too Sweet: Inside the Indie Wrestling Revolution”. Too Sweet covers independent wrestling from its beginning as “renegade promotions” in the territory days to a viable source of entertainment in the WWE-dominant days to the gathering of the top stars to create a WWE-level alternative in All Elite Wrestling (AEW).

Although Greenberg writes about the big Japanese wrestling leagues, and mentions pro wrestling in the UK and Mexico, he focuses most of the story on Ring of Honor, CHIKARA PRO, CZW, GCW, and other US-based independent organizations. Of course, hundreds, if not thousands, of other independent feds went unmentioned, but to write about them all would require volumes. Credit Greenberg for keeping a narrative, even if none of my local indies were mentioned.

Also to his credit, by keeping to these top independents, Greenberg stays away from the criticisms of independent wrestling — that is has led to a watered down product because everyone with a ring is putting on shows. As a matter of fact, Greenberg almost embraces the low bar of wrestling promotion. Veterans of yesteryear state the high bar kept the wrestling community tight and ensured the fanbase received a quality product for their money. The lowered bar means an open market, where fans dictate the type of entertainment they want to see. Greenberg seems to favor the latter, not the former.

While I enjoyed the tale of the indies, the narrative almost works against Greenberg. As the book progresses, the book becomes The Road to AEW, with the Young Bucks, Cody Rhodes, Kenny Omega, and other stars of the present organization becoming the focus of the book. The focus on the indie organizations is left behind. How they are doing in 2020 would have made a great epilogue. Perhaps that is covered in his book Follow the Buzzards: Pro Wrestling in the Age of COVID-19. I might have to pick that up as well.

(Quick aside: While WWE was hunkered down in Tropicana Field during the pandemic, I ran into WWE stars Jey Uso and Otis at several Tampa-area sports bars. Joined them a few times for dinner and drinks. Family is family.)

Despite my critique of Too Sweet’s final focus, the rise of AEW as a major wrestling promotion was and still is a big deal. AEW is an organization primarily run by wrestlers with the focus of taking on WWE. Unlike TNA/Impact, AEW was backed by a billionaire family and immediately landed a major TV deal. Initial investment combined with the wrestling buzz generated by market-savvy wrestlers made AEW’s launch “must-see TV”. That is definitely a story worth telling.

So what is next for the indies? Small wrestling organizations filled with weekend warriors doing their thing in flea markets, gyms, and VFW halls won’t get the same attention as AEW. But given the highly volatile business of pro wrestling, some small indies might last longer.