Category Archives: Tampa Bay

East Lake High School Class of 1997 Photo

I believe it was exactly 20 years ago today that I graduated from East Lake High School at a ceremony at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, Florida.  It’ll be this weekend that a few dozen of the 600+ members of the graduating class get back together for a little shindig. I won’t be participating because I’m waylaid with physical disability to the point I’d just be a fly on the wall, sitting in the corner and feeling awkward.

It’d be like I was back in school!

At any rate, I make this post because I want to make public (in a means beyond a scope of constraint)  something a few of my classmates have already seen online by way of me on Facebook , but it’s condensed (because… Facebook): Our stolid class picture.

I’m pretty sure I still have both versions of the class picture, but they are tucked in such a position in my closet it’s hard to get a hold of them. And the scanning / image merge function that I have to use to get the pictures scanned is a pain to do (it was tough with this one — and that process was a few years ago):

East Lake High School Class of 1997 Class Photo

Click on the image to get a better view at imgur, or click this link to go to the page. And you can click the image there to get an even more close-up view of the image.

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Filed under General, Tampa Bay, The Life

Note for Tampa Bay area indie musicians: WURK it out and submit!

If you’re a musician in the Tampa Bay area – a recording artists with your own records to show for it – you may want to take a look at WURK Radio’s web site and their submission process. WURK went on the air in May 2017 in the Tampa area and is a community, volunteer driven radio station. I don’t know how far and wide it is listened to in its fledgling status, but it remains important to spread your name and your talents locally and WURK is one of those opportunities.

Oh,they’re also on Twitter and  Facebook (though the Facebook entry is a private profile).

The downside of submissions is that they require hard copies — Compact Discs, not digital submissions. If you’re willing to go that route and explore other positives for you and your act by way of WURK, click thru and have a read.

 

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Filed under Music / Lyrics, Tampa Bay

Non-basketball market judged as 2nd worst basketball market. What genius…

In my time as managing editor and lead writer at Raw Charge, I got pushed onto a load of public relation emailing lists with only a fraction of them being relevant.  Though my contributions to Raw Charge are now vastly dialed back, I still get all the PR emails from the wide variety of lists that I’m on.

Case in point: Tuesday morning’s lead email in my inbox reads:

Tampa Is 2017’s 2nd Worst City for Basketball Fans – WalletHub Study

And my reaction to that is to roll my eyes while uttering, “Well, duh.”

This wasn’t the first time I had gotten this PR email – a variation of it, with different data had been sent out during 2017’s NCAA basketball tournament (or just slightly before) to declare the Tampa or general Tampa Bay marketplace the 2nd worst college basketball market (via WalletHub), which remains an eye-rolling declaration and a piece o information akin to drought conditions lacking water.

I mean, that’s it, isn’t it? Tampa/St. Petersburg lacks ties to the NBA and the local college basketball team (the University of South Florida Bulls) isn’t engraved on the collective consciousness of the Tampa Bay region like other major schools are in the country. This isn’t trying to say there aren’t basketball fans in Tampa Bay, it’s more a case of saying it’s a shallow market and with good reason: We’re not tied to the game in the way other markets are tied to basketball.  The Orlando Magic may be all of 90 miles away, but that doesn’t mean a large fraction of the Tampa Bay metroplex commute that distance to games on a regular basis.

WalletHub’s full report on the Best and Worst cities for basketball can be found here, but personally? I encourage a click-thru. If they thought to put Tampa Bay, a non-basketball market, on the list and send out PR emails to drive home the notion, I put into question the entire notion of why they’re judging specific markets. Do they mark Reno, Nevada as a poor football town or Houston, Texas as weak with hockey? It’d help if the markets were involved in the sport before you push analytical judgment upon them.

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Filed under Sports, Tampa Bay

Exposing songs from Music Tampa Bay’s Top 100 list of 2016

Indie music is…well, independent to the point it adds additional responsibilities to the artist to expose their tunes to the masses. Sometimes that comes with ease. Sometimes that’s an afterthought.

Music Tampa Bay, who I cited the other day when talking about Gypsy Star, keeps a competitive Top-40 list (which listeners and web visitors vote on). At the end of the year, the songs that rank highest in votes on the Top 40 are piled into a Top 100 song list. The site has a page devoted to the listings from several years – though the lists are graphics and somewhat illegible. It doesn’t really get the songs out there or make it easy for you to actually find them online.

This post is an attempt at changing that. I’ve taken the 2016 Top 100 listing from Music Tampa Bay and converted the image to an actual list. To build on that, to actually expose the artists who ranked so well to make this list, I’ve hyperlinked to as many of the songs as I could find.

While these are supposed to be Tampa Bay based artists, some have national attention (Four Star Riot among others). Also, while this list was for 2016 – some of the songs were published before then and I don’t mean just a year earlier.

The ranking of the songs itself is based off of votes cast in the Top 40 listing. I can’t say this was pure song rankings, or as if there was no “fix” regarding the top 10; don’t take the order as an opinionated or fine performance ranking. It’s just voting.

As of this writing, 80 out of the 100 songs are linked to so you can take them in yourself. I’ve linked to YouTube most of the time, but other places such as Reverb Nation and Soundcloud also get linking. Spotify contains many of the songs, including non-linked songs (I decided against using Spotify due to the forced registration to use the service). Some of those unlinked songs also are readily available on commercial sites such as Amazon or iTunes – this isn’t a sales-pitch though, so I didn’t link to any of that either.

Some of these songs, despite being listed as Top 100 and having age and radio play on Music Tampa Bay (at least) had never been viewed on YouTube by the time I crossed them while compiling this piece. Some came off as deeply hidden.  It sort of furthers the point of limited exposure.

This article remains an ongoing project as I’d like to get music genre listed next to each song… I mean, c’mon! You’ve likely never heard of most (if not all) of these artists and you’re not exactly encouraged to blindly click to a song. At least knowing it’s supposed to be pop, rock, country, folk, etc. will encourage where you go.

Also, as this remains an ongoing project, if you can provide a link for a non-linked song that would be great. Just use comments below or contact me via email with a link. Continue reading

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Filed under Music / Lyrics, Tampa Bay

Indulged by the glimmer from Gypsy Star

I was on the Music Tampa Bay website yesterday. For those of you who don’t know, it’s an indie rock/music station in the Tampa Bay metro area (96.7 FM). I’ve interacted with the site before as I helped get the Pretty Voices on air on the station.

One key element on the Music Tampa Bay website is a Top-10 list of songs from local artists. It’s also directly tied to voting on the Top-40 of the station. I was looking at the list specifically to see if the Pretty Voices had any tracks listed at the time (nope). None of the listed artists or bands were familiar to me and that’s regularly the case with me and indie music.

What’s also regularly the case with me is checking out an indie artist because… why the hell not?

So, listed at #1 at the time on the Top-40 list was Gypsy Star, “I Feel Love”.  I jumped to Google and typed that in and instead of pointing to a version of “I Feel Love” on YouTube, it pointed to the song Paramour:

All too often what I hear and what I see is bland rock. It’s not the lyrcs that make it bland, it’s just the non-riff of guitar and everything layered on top of each other to make the tunes forgettable. This was not that. I was taken aback by a violinist and accordion being part of the arrangement. Gypsy Star describes themselves as being “dynamic folk / rock” and this sure as shit felt like it. It transfixed me through Monday night.

Yet, listening to the opening of the song again, familiarity crept in. I’ve heard another variation of this before, haven’t I? Listen to the song alone for a minute, without the show distraction.  Think about it for a minute.

It reminded me squarely of a song that “you can check out any time you like, but you can never” leave:

Don’t take that as a criticism, folks. I highly recommend checking out more of their tunes; they just released the album Under the Moonlit Night  in January. Listening to “Paramour” and checking out some of their other songs (like the previously mentioned “I Feel Love”, you can find “I Feel Love” here, it is on YouTube… Not in concert version) I’ve been left curious and surprised. Gypsy Star is only a Tampa Bay local group? They sure as hell look an sound like a group that should be seeing a broader playing area in Florida, in the US and perhaps around the globe.

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Filed under interweb, Music / Lyrics, Tampa Bay

Isolation and the Tampa Bay Rays quest for a new stadium [UPDATED]

Insecure, narcissist and self indulgent. These words are commonly thrown toward current United States President Donald J. Trump (as they should be). Yet what’s inspiring these words at the moment is reflecting on a city; one town in a grander regional area that wants to be on top. It’s a town that wants prominence in the region through a national spotlight, even if that spotlight is dimmed by way of the city itself.

St. Petersburg, Florida’s population is almost 250,000, 16,000 more than Reno, Nevada (“America’s Biggest Little City”). It’s part of the grander Tampa Bay metroplex. Its quest to one-up Tampa (the larger city in the Bay area) was part of why the town constructed the venue known now as Tropicana Field. Never mind the fact there was no slated pro sports team to play within the building when construction was approved in the mid-1980s; St. Petersburg had to force the location if and when (if ever) Major League Baseball expanded or relocated to Tampa Bay.

Being a Tampa Bay resident for so long, having seen and experienced life with the Dome and St. Pete in general, I cringe and shake my head now. Topping another city to lock in control of a potential jewel only shows a lack of self awareness. St. Pete has one, basic fault that keeps it understated in a the wider region; a very simple fault that’s on display at Tampa Bay Rays games and which is why a new stadium is a hot point with the club and why relocation outside of the region is a possibility….

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Filed under baseball, Tampa Bay

On Tampa Bay sports disappointment and media coverage

A disappointing season in sports – both professional and amateur — is just that, a disappointment, a downer. Things don’t go as planned and the results are lesser than you (as a fan) wish. It’s something that you can’t hold against a high school or college team while the pro sports competitive disappointments can be outright atrocities of a competitive kind, run asunder by a multitude of choices by management as well of incidents of both a competitive variety and by bad luck.

The 2016-17 Tampa Bay Lightning season is a disappointment of a competitive nature where bad luck (injuries) and a horrible schedule played part in the Bolts not roaring into a competitive, playoff-bound position that has become a constant the last three seasons. There was a noted attitude problem in the Lightning locker room, and once that was brought into check the team turned up its competitive vibe and is where it is now: Just outside the playoff bubble with a scant chance of making it and a growing chance of missing the playoffs.

It’s a disappointment, yeah. Yet the strength of the team hasn’t collapsed, things haven’t been put asunder with bad coaching or low quality management moves. For the casual fan that’s locked in on disappointment in the trades of Ben Bishop, Brian Boyle and Valtteri Filppula: They weren’t going to stick around long term by way o the salary cap and costs to do so. Bishop and Boyle will be unrestricted free agents come July 1st, Filppula was due to become one in the summer of 2018. With the club already working with a very tight salary cap, retaining them over retaining forthcoming restricted free agents Ondrej Palat, Jonathan Drouin and / or Center Tyler Johnson just couldn’t be done.

Disappointing to lose fan favorite players, especially Bishop who was such a steady hand in the crease. But when looking at the broad picture, at the “Yzerplan” that accentuates player development, it’s understandable as something that had to be done.

To cut that short: shit happens. Ho hum. Next season is going to be something worth checking out, just as this season was, and the season before…

In comparison to professional sports in the history of the greater Tampa Bay Metropolitan area which has existed 40+ years, this season of Lightning hockey ranks a hell of a lot higher on the disappointment list than oh-so-many others coming from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Rays and Lightning. All that history, all the back-story of each club doesn’t gain web-clicks or sell newspapers at the immediate moment though.

See, Tampa Bay Times (and former Tampa Tribune) sports columnist Martin Fennelly made a bold decree that this Tampa Bay Lightning’s season is the biggest disappointment in the history of Tampa Bay sports. He does quick-quick takes of other top-tier disappointing seasons for local clubs, but highlights the current state of the Lightning as “desperation hockey” and the reason why this season is the top disappointment – ever.

That’s where I’ve been revitalized as a sports blogger, because something so limited in view, perspective and opinion got the green light from the only newspaper in the region. Something so inane, random and weak didn’t just get published – it’s going to get someone his paycheck because he put words down and it fit a column length requirement. Continue reading

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by | March 22, 2017 · 8:17 AM

Relevant Reddit for Tampa Bay and mixed relevance in subscriber counts

Perhaps this reflects the small population of the town/city, but Oldsmar is represented on Reddit with its own subreddit…

…with only 4 subscribers and 2 posts all-time.

It’s a messed-up aspect of geographical life on Reddit. Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater all have their own sub-groups on the site, as does the more general, region-representing Tampa Bay…which has a fraction of the subscribers compared to the above listed burgs. Palm Harbor is represented on there and hasn’t had a new post in 4 months. It does have 5 times the subscribers as Oldsmar though, so that’s saying something….

 

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Filed under interweb, Tampa Bay

A playoff-berth bar to be met or raised in Tampa Bay sports

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Filed under football, hockey, Sports, Tampa Bay

Jeff Vinik’s Channel District plans aren’t with the Tampa Bay Rays in mind

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Filed under baseball, Raw Charge, Tampa Bay, The Life