Things people do, Part 1:
We carried a column in this spot six months ago about Nick Parlin, an aspiring magician from Carrollwood Village.
Parlin, 21, was postponing college so he could pursue a career performing card and coin tricks. "Sleight of hand," he called them, and he was quite good.
Known among his peers as "the magic guy," Parlin said he is now seeking to be a real-life Forrest Gump.
He wants to travel across the country, earning his way with his card tricks.
"I get on a bicycle and ride the bike from Tampa to Los Angeles in 52 days," he writes in, of course, an e-mail. "Why 52? There are 52 cards in a standard deck of cards."
He says he's bringing a camera crew. One or two buddies, actually. Dude, friends are telling him. Let me film you.
He will perform mostly at gas stations and restaurants.
"It would be the ultimate test of will and determination," he writes. "The people I perform for do not know I need money to eat."
He plans to arrive on Oct. 31, which is both Halloween and the anniversary of Harry Houdini's death. To prepare, he is running, bicycling, swimming and doing sit-ups.
"I am most definitely going to do this," says Parlin, who has even half-sold his parents on the idea.
We'll keep you posted on his progress.
Things people do, Part 2:
Doris Irizarry is a creative type.
She has modeled, been a musical promoter, sang in choirs.
She has written magazine articles in Spanish and English. She did a couple of (English) pieces for us.
Today the Citrus Park woman is trying her hand at eBay.
Inspired by the cable hit Sex and the City, she is fashioning cigar box purses out of cloth, ribbons, beads and genuine cigar boxes.
Think Tampa, right?
She does, indeed, have a prototype that honors the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
A flag-draped purse remembers the heroes of Sept. 11, 2001. If you like Dora the Explorer, there's a purse for you, too.
Let me state flat out that I am not in business with Irizarry. She offered to make me a purse, but I'm sticking with the faux-alligator zipper bag from Target. Or was it Payless?
If you go on eBay, you'll find 10 whole pages of cigar box purses from various sellers, typically priced between $20 and $40.
Or e-mail Irizarry directly at consaborahotmail.com.
Still not impressed?
The New Tampa Junior Woman's Club started selling tickets two weeks ago for a dance that doesn't happen until April 3.
So maybe that's not unusual.
But this soiree at the Hunter's Green Country Club promises to be a night to remember.
They're calling it the Night of 5000, as in a $5,000 grand prize.
Proceeds from the $55 tickets go to the Children's Cancer Center and other charities.
Organizers promise "international hors d'oeuvres and beverages as you explore the different countries located throughout the venue." Like Epcot without the interstate.
The night includes live entertainment, silent and live auctions. Call Suzan Fine at 973-7993.
Finally, a postscript about Bruce B. Downs Boulevard and the roundabout route I took to Starbucks.
There is an easier way, writes Meara Fish of Cross Creek, who wonders if I'm hard-up for column topics.
Coming north, "turn left at Highwood Preserve, the first left by Ruby Tuesday's and straight through to Starbucks."
Left by Ruby Tuesday's.
Spoken like a native.