A day in the life of #speckhawk

If you’re sick of reading and hearing about my impending mohawk, stop reading right now because this entire blog post is about the day I got a mohawk. That day is today.

To remind you of why I am getting the ‘hawk, here’s the story in a nutshell. I held a RocketHub campaign to raise money so I can create The Greatest Website Jacksonville Has Never Seen (aka TheSpecktator.com 2.0). On the final day, I was still several thousands of dollars short of my goal and knew I had to do something extra kooky to get the rest of the cheddar. That day, I announced—on the radio—that if I met the goal, I would get a mohawk. And here we are.

Many people (OK, like five) expressed their disappointment that they couldn’t witness this follicular extravaganza in person (one even suggested I broadcast it live on USTREAM). While I’m sure there will be lots of pictures on social media, I thought it would be fun to live blog my day (because, in my opinion, live Tweeting can be annoying). Ready … go!

9:09 a.m. Just woke up. Only hit the snooze alarm once, which is almost unheard of in my world. I must be excited. Or have to pee.

10:15 a.m. Making a last-minute dash through Specktator HQ to make sure I have everything I need for the big day, which amounts to my phone, charger and an extra Klonopin, just in case. Feed the cats (who will probably run and hide when they see my new lid).

11:37 a.m. Too late to turn back now. Thanks to Heather of Daniel James Salon in Avondale , my hair is officially blonde … or part of it is anyway.

12:04 p.m. On our way to Hemming Plaza? I hear the folks looking forward to my public humiliation are growing restless.

12:31 p.m. At Hemming. I am greeting by applause. Probably because it’s so hot and everyone is ready to get this over with. After shoveling a delicious gourmet grilled cheese from On the Fly (thank you, Penny Kamish!) into my grilled cheese hole, it’s show time, and I take my seat. I’m not nervous. Until the buzzing of clippers start. As Heather starts going to town on my head, I see the looks looks on other people’s faces. Some are gasping. Some are laughing. One City Council member, who shall remember nameless, stood there with his mouth wide open. I read his lips: “I can’t believe she’s really doing this!”

I did.

12:50 p.m. Back at the salon for the rest of the transformation and I’m seriously thinking about starting an ’80s cover band because this ↓.

I can’t sing well or play drums or guitar, but I can hold down two keys on the keyboards just as well as Nick Rhodes from Duran Duran or that dude from A Flock of Seagulls (FUN FACT: AFOS lead singer Michael Score was a hairdresser.)

4:15 p.m. After three hours of “lifting,” coloring, cutting, foiling and non-stop selfie taking,  it’s time for Heather to bring the #speckhawk to life. Somebody cue up “The Whoville Song”!




Since I’ll be heading off to my RocketHub celebration shindig, I ask Heather if she can try something a little more manageable or I’d have to get someone to drive me home since my hair wouldn’t fit in the car. She obliges with what would later be referred to as a Buster Poindexter bouffant.


5:30 p.m. Arrive at Intuition Aleworks. Commence drinking. Realize that a beer flavored with ghost peppers does not pair well with my spice-sensitive tastebuds (though I greatly appreciate Intuition dubbing the one-off “The Speckter”). Switch to King Street Stout, which is delicious and deceptively potent. Watch the looks on people’s faces when they see new ‘do for the first time. Take a gazillion selfies. Drink somewhere between 2 and 202 beers. Realize how lucky I am to know so many awesome people who believe in me enough to support my website—even if some of them threaten to take their money back because I had not gotten a “real mohawk … like Mr. T. (FUN FACT: There is no period after the “T” in Mr. T unless, of course, it’s at the end of a sentence.)

10:49 p.m. Call a friend to pick me up. Come home and pass out.

Events mentioned or not on 8/14/2014 edition of First Coast Connect

In case you missed my ramblings on WJCT’s First Coast Connect this morning, here are some of the events coming up this weekend.

Please note: event times, dates and locations are subject to change, so call before you haul (call the venue, that is, not me).

Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014
Rock’n’Blues Fest—A Tribute to Johnny Winter, 8 p.m., Florida Theatre
Cocktails for a Cause to benefit Clay Humane, 5-7 p.m., University Club

Thursday, Aug. 14–Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014
Jamie Kennedy, Comedy Zone

Friday, Aug. 15, 2014
Feel Tha Flashback to benefit JASMYN, 8 p.m., The Museum

Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014
Jamie Lynn Spears, 6 p.m., Maverick’s at the Landing
Panic! At the Disco—The Gospel Tour, 7 p.m., St. Augustine Amphitheatre

Through Aug. 24, 2014
Eat Up Downtown, 19 restaurants throughout Downtown

Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014
Save the Ferry Bike Ride, 9 a.m.–noon, Mellow Mushroom, Jacksonville Beach

Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014
BYO Lunch in Hemming—Dog Days of Summer, noon-1:30 p.m., Hemming Plaza

fcc_logo_stack_02Yours truly appears on First Coast Connect on WJCT every Thursday at 9:45-ish-ish. If you have an event you would like to be consider leave a comment below.


5 Things you didn’t know about Robin Williams and Jacksonville

Beloved, Oscar-winning Robin Williams died yesterday as the result of an apparent suicide.

And he was closer to Jacksonville than you realize.


Jay Thomas and Robin Williams

1. Williams starred in one of the most popular sitcoms of the late ’80s—with a Jacksonville University graduate. On Mork and Mindy, actor Jay Thomas (JU class of 1972) played Remo DaVinci who worked at The New York Deli that Mork used to frequent. In a related story, Thomas, a two-time Emmy winner also known for his roles on Murphy Brown and Cheers, appeared in an independent film called A Letter From my Father (aka Surfacing) which was shot in Jacksonville and written by Jacksonville-based writer/actor/producer/director Warren Skeels (also a partner in local creative production and pre-production company TigerLily Media).

2. The world’s most (in)famous Robin Williams impersonator has Jacksonville ties. Williams “clone” Michael Clayton lives in Fernandina Beach (or so ’tis listed on his LinkedIn profile page) and is booked by Jacksonville-based A Unique Entertainment. Clayton has performed as Williams all over the world and, according to his press materials, every casino in Las Vegas.  Clayton is so good, in fact, Williams sued him and his agent in 2005 for using his “moniker, voice and likeness to allegedly con charities out of money.”

3. Jacksonville was the first city Williams performed in after his health scare in 2009. After experiencing shortness of breath and related issues, Williams was admitted to the hospital and forced to cancel a number of scheduled concerts (doctor’s orders!). He made his return to the spotlight March 11, 2009 at the Times-Union Center.

4. There are 14 people named “Robin Williams” living in Jacksonville (according to whitepages.com). On a side note, I think anyone sharing a name with someone who makes the news for something tragic, illegal, salacious, embarrassing and/or otherwise questionable behavior should be given at least one day off so as not to have to listen to coworkers make stupid comments all day, like “Hey, Robin! I thought you were dead!”

5. A portion of a national park in Jacksonville is named for a character Williams played in a film. The naming of the Theodore Roosevelt Area, located in the Timucuan Historical and Ecological Preserve, has nothing to do with Williams, of course. But he did play Teddy Roosevelt in Night at the Museum and sequels Battle of the Smithsonian and Secret of the Tomb scheduled to be released later this year.


Jacksonville politicians compete (unknowingly) for the inaugural Hob-nobby Awards

politics as unusualFriday night, dozens of local political candidates (including those running for sheriff, city council, mayor, school board and hotly contested soil and water conservation board) chatted up hundreds of potential voters at the Chamber and WOKV’s annual Hob Nob event. Not only was it an opportunity to meet candidates (or their volunteers) face-to-face, but the event was capped off with a straw poll, the results of which you can read about over at WOKV.

As I have stated on numerous occasions, I am not—nor have I ever claimed to be—a political analyst or anything close. I never even took a political science class in college. (I do, however, do my research on the candidates and issues and vote in every election.)

What I am is an observer. And while my fellow hob-nobbers were shaking hands and gathering promotional materials, I was floating about (eavesdropping, spying, whatever you want to call it) taking notes on the issues that really don’t matter. That said, I hereby present The Specktator’s inaugural Hob-nobbies!

Please note: A mention of a candidate is not an endorsement. Besides, who really cares who I support?

jesse wilson for jax city councilBest Looking Candidate—under 40
TIE: Joey McKinnon, candidate for Duval Soil and Water Conservation Board, and Jesse Wilson (pictured), candidate for Jacksonville City Council At-Large Group 3

Best Looking Candidate—40 and up
Mike Williams, candidate for Jacksonville Sheriff

Remember, people, I’m an observer, not a political analyst.



chris oliver carBest Use of a Vehicle as a Promotional Tool
Chris Oliver, candidate for State Representative District 16
To be honest, I didn’t see any other cars or trucks with wraps or magnet signs, so Oliver won by default.




Most Prominent Swag (button)
Robin Lumb, candidate for Duval County Supervisor of Elections

Most Prominent Swag (sticker)
Lenny Curry, candidate for Jacksonville Mayor
Only time will tell if bigger is, in fact, better.




IMG_0402Best Display of Swag
Jim Love, candidate for Duval County City Council District 14 (incumbent)
See what he did there?




mike williams for jax sheriffBest Use of Campaign Signs
Mike Williams
If there were any question as to which candidate WOKV reporters were interviewing at the time, Team Williams made it pretty clear.




IMG_0371Best Cookies
Chris Oliver
Lisa King, candidate for Jacksonville City Council District 2, also had chocolate cookies at her table (hers were soft; I like a crunchier cookie). And U.S. Congressman Ander Crenshaw’s table had sugar cookies, which were good, but “all cookies are sugar cookies. A cookie without sugar is a cracker.” (That last bit brought to you by comic Gary Gulman.) #Cookiegate goes to Oliver.


holderfieldMost Visible Presence of Supporters
Jimmy Holderfield, candidate for Jacksonville Sheriff
Other candidates may have had more supporters in the house, but it was impossible to miss those stumping for Holderfield. (In other words, I’ve always wanted to use the word “stumping.”)




IMG_0410Best Dressed
Darryl Willie, candidate for Duval County School Board District 4
From the glasses to the shoes, Willie almost looked too cool to be running for office. The fact that he accessorized with a lanyard took the ensemble to the #nextlevel.





bondiMost Specific Bumper Stickers
Pam Bondi, candidate for Florida Attorney General (incumbent)
Clearly, Bondi is targeting “sportsmen” (pardon the pun) and female voters. Note to Bondi’s graphic designer: the 1970s called and would like its brush script font back.




IMG_0370Best Response to Taking a Selfie With Me
Robin Lumb
And I quote: “I’ve never done one of these before.” (And with this first-timer selfie, I have officially become a part of Jacksonville history.)



bill gulliford jax city councilBest Case for Barely Even Trying
Bill Gulliford, Jacksonville City Council District 13 (incumbent)
Despite an empty chair, no promotional materials (save a sign taped to the wall) or even a representative at his table , the City Council president still won the straw poll with 100 percent of the vote. Gulliford was at the event; he was just hob-nobbing elsewhere.


Events mentioned or not on 8/7/2014 edition of First Coast Connect

In case you missed my ramblings on WJCT’s First Coast Connect this morning, here are some of the events coming up this weekend.

Please note: event times, dates and locations are subject to change, so call before you haul (call the venue, that is, not me).

Thursday, August 7, 2014
Hob Nob, 5-7 p.m., Hyatt Regency Riverfront Hotel
The ARTERY PARTy, 6-8:30 p.m., Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum
Rethreaded presents Sex + Money, 7-9 p.m., Sun-Ray Cinema

Friday, August 8, 2014
Jacksonville premiere of Hellion, runs through August 14, Sun-Ray Cinema
Cocktails for a Cause for Clara White Mission, 5-7 p.m., University Club
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 7:30 p.m., EverBank Field

Saturday, August 9, 2014
EnviroFest, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens
The Elvis Anniversary Bash, 8 p.m., Florida Theatre
Deathsquad, 9 p.m. Underbelly
Benefit Cabaret & Peasant’s Feast, 11:30 p.m., Players by the Sea

Sunday, August 10, 2014
Retr-O-Rama Collectibles Show, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Ramada Conference Center Mandarin
Meet “The Creature from the Black Lagoon,” actor Ricou Browning.
China Cat Sunflower Festival, 4:20-11 p.m., Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum

Eat Up Downtown starts Monday, August 11 and runs though August 24. • Food Fun(d) debuts Tuesday, August 12, 5:30-9 p.m., Laura and Adams streets


fcc_logo_stack_02Yours truly appears on First Coast Connect on WJCT every Thursday at 9:45-ish-ish. If you have an event you would like to be consider leave a comment below.


Support TheSpecktator.com

I love Jacksonville.

And I love to tell other people all of the things I love about Jacksonville: events, restaurants, bars, bands, celebrity sightings, quirky factoids and, of course, the people who make it so interesting. I’m already doing some of this here and through social media. But I’m ready to take my ideas, as Mayor Alvin Brown would say, to the next level.

Help me create The Most Awesome Website Jacksonville Has NEVER Seen by supporting my RocketHub campaign. Click below for more info or to make it rain!





Events mentioned or not on 7/17/2014 edition of First Coast Connect

In case you missed my ramblings on WJCT’s First Coast Connect this morning, here are some of the events coming up this weekend.

Please note: event times, dates and locations are subject to change, so call before you haul (call the venue, that is, not me).

Friday, July 18, 2014
Longineu Parsons, 9 p.m.-midnight, Dirty Reds, Neptune Beach
River City Men’s and Women’s Chorus, 7:30 p.m., Lakewood Presbyterian Church
Opening night of 33 Variations produced by The 5 & Dime, 6 p.m. dinner/7:30 p.m. show, The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens (show runs through July 27)
Opening night of RENT, 8 p.m., Players by the Sea (show runs through August 9

Friday, July 18-Sunday, July 20, 2014
First Coast No More Homeless Pets Mega Pet Adoption Event, 10 a.m.–6 p.m., Fairgrounds
Ancient City Con, times vary by day, Hyatt Regency Riverfront

Saturday, July 19, 2014
Show Some HeART, 6-9 p.m. at Shim Sham Room, Jacksonville Beach
Mad Cowford Improv: Way Off Broadway, 8 p.m., Theatre Jacksonville
License 2 Laugh Tour with Lavell Crawford, 8 p.m., T-U Center

Sunday, July 20, 2014
American Idol Live! 7 p.m., St. Augustine Amphitheatre

Jaxsons Night Market is tonight (and the third Thursday of every month thereafter) at the corner of Laura and Adams Streets, 5:30-9 p.m.

And the Jacksonville Suns play the Pensacola Wahoos Thursday, July 18-Sunday, July 20 and the Birmingham Barons, Monday, July 21-Friday, July 25

fcc_logo_stack_02Yours truly appears on First Coast Connect on WJCT every Thursday at 9:45-ish-ish. If you have an event you would like to be consider leave a comment below.


Events mentioned or not on 7/10/2014 edition of First Coast Connect

In case you missed my ramblings on WJCT’s First Coast Connect this morning, here are some of the events coming up this weekend.

Please note: event times, dates and locations are subject to change, so call before you haul (call the venue, that is, not me).

Thursday, July 10, 2014
Lighthouse Dark of the Moon Special Ghost Investigation, 10:45 p.m., St. Augustine Lighthouse
Black & White: Photojournalism Panel Discussion, 7 p.m., MOCA Jacksonville

Saturday, July 12, 2014
Summer Splash, noon-midnight, CoRK
48-Hour Film Festival Best of Screening, 7 p.m., Florida Theatre
“So Freaking Funny Act 1” featuring Monique, Gary Owen and Charlie Murphy, 7:30 p.m. Veterans Memorial Arena
Lil Boosie, 8 p.m., Prime Osborn Convention Center

Sunday, July 13, 2014
Book Release and Signing with The Honorable James E. Clyburn for Blessed Experiences, 4 p.m., Ritz Theatre
STALKER ALERT: Congresswoman Corrine Brown and Mayor Alvin Brown are hosting the event.
Norman Studios presents A Florida Enchantment, 4 p.m., Hotel Indigo

Monday, July 14, 2014
Jacksonville Sharks, 8 PM, Veterans Memorial Arena
P.S. It’s a tribute to Woodstock AND White-Out Night so dress accordingly.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Dave Matthew Band, 7 p.m., Veterans Memorial Arena
Ray La Montagne, 7:30 p.m. Florida Theatre

Happy Piña Colada Day! (Thanks for the heads up, Evin.) And happy early birthday to “Tiny Teague” who turns 1 tomorrow and Tonca, the alligator snapping turtle (and MOSH’s unofficial mascot) who will be 48 years old!

fcc_logo_stack_02Yours truly appears on First Coast Connect on WJCT every Thursday at 9:45-ish-ish. If you have an event you would like to be considered for the show or other promotional opportunities, feel free to email me.


Jacksonville had the Best Week Ever: June 30 edition

jacksonville best week everA new casino ship docks in Mayport and Forrest High school is no more … just a few of the reasons Jacksonville had the Best Week Ever!

1. According to CNNMoney, Jacksonville is the least stressed out major city in Florida. Using data including unemployment rates, commute times and divorce rates, CNNMoney ranked Jacksonville 23rd out of 55 major metro areas compared to Miami (7), Orlando (18) and Tampa (19).

2. The Jacksonville Armada FC is one step closer to becoming a reality with the announcement of open and invitational tryouts starting July 26 and 27 at the Patton Park soccer complex. In other news, there’s a soccer complex in Jacksonville called Patton Park.

Westside High School Jacksonville

Photo: @ben_America

▼ 3. Westside High School is officially Westside High School. Now if only Duval County Public Schools could make it official on their website.

4. Long-time First Coast News anchor Donna Deegan returns to TV as host of  JTA’s award-winning news program Making Moves. Her first show airs July 1.

5. Borrowing a line from Mayor Alvin Brown, City Councilman Bill Gulliford said the arrival of the Victory II casino cruise ship, which set sail on Tuesday, will “make Mayport a destination” (obviously, the “pass-through” part doesn’t apply to Mayport). The 229-foot-ship has three decks and holds about 600 people.

▼ And special congratulations to Jordyn Jackson and Shawn Fisher (aka Flagship Romance) for having the best week ever!

Flagship Romance Fee Fie Foh Fum flagship ship engaged








The “harmonic acoustic folk” duo released their first full-length CD Fee-Fie-Foh-Fum (and accompanying DVD) on Friday, performed two sold-out shows at the Mudville Music Room, and were featured in The Florida Times-Union, Folio Weekly and WJCT’s First Coast Connect. Oh, yeah, and Shawn proposed to Jordyn … on stage … during their Friday night show.


Do your homework, Duval County Public Schools!

From what I understand, Duval County Public Schools went through a lot of trouble (read: meetings and money) to change the name of Nathan B. Forrest High School to Westside High School, a process that looked to be complete with the replacement of the name on the school’s exterior earlier this week.

Westside High School Jacksonville sign

Photo: @ben_America

That is assuming you are standing in front of the school. To anyone on the Internet, though, it’s still Forrest.

Duval County Public Schools Homepage (as of June 28, 2014)

forrest dcs page
“Nathan B. Forrest High School” Homepage (as of June 28, 2014)

forrest homepage

Which reminds me … Forrest isn’t the only name in Jacksonville that could be considered offensive to some.