Ok, so my name isn't really Vartox.  No one's name is really Vartox.  At least, I hope not...

Why, then, did I take this screen name?  For lack of a better term, the name sounded "cool".  Mostly though, Vartox was a character in Superman comic books who wasn't exactly obscure, but wouldn't necessarily be known to every fanboy on the web.  Not that I have anything against fanboys, mind you.  Been there, done that.  Still, it's kind of humorous to take a "secret identity" on the web that is in itself a potential "secret".

Granted, I could be standing alone on that point, but that's fine too.

My real name, if you really care, is Jesse Groth.  I was born in Cass City, Michigan more years ago than I care to contemplate.  Let's just say I caught up to Jack Benny's constant age in 1999.  (More on him here.)

Other personal factoids:  I'm not married, never have been.  It's fortunate that settling down and starting a family was never the primary goal in my life, as I seem to have an almost supermatural knack of being just exactly NOT what every woman I've ever met is/was looking for.  Whatever.

Living in Orlando as I have since March 1993, one either hates Disney or loves it.  I haven't especially liked the latest animated features (although "Lilo and Stitch" and "Brother Bear" had their moments), but generally I'm a fan.  I've held an annual pass off and on since I've been here.

Frankly, the parks aren't as pristine as they once were.  It's pretty difficult to dash in and around the Magic Kingdom anymore.  The prices...don't ask...

On the other hand, despite ten on-stage appearances (which isn't close to a record, I'm told),  I'm not yet banned from the "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire - Play It!" attraction at MGM. Did a bunch of Christmas shopping in the "Hot Seat" in 2002.  Have the tax bill to prove it, too.  No taxes looming this year, however.  Only three appearances in 2003; none in 2004, partially due to my pass expiring in June..  I'm not the only one in the family to make it into the "Hot Seat." My mom made it early in 2003; she successfully made it to the 32,000-point level. My sister and I once made it into the Seat back to back. She got in on the opening round; I followed her immediately into the chair...let's not talk about how we did, though...

When I do have an active pass, one of my favorite passholder perks is half-off on rounds of on-property miniature golf.  Yeah, I know, to a non-local it sounds nuts; all the things available at Disney World, and one of my favorites is putt-putt.  Sometimes simple joys are the best.

But as for not-so-simple joys, if one can time vacations correctly, there's nothing like schlepping around the property during the holidays.  Taking a walk around Epcot and listening to the seasonal storytellers, or viewing the Osborne Lights (said to be back in 2004)...very nice way to observe the season.

I must, however, admit, that as far as animated characters go, Bugs Bunny is more fun to watch than Mickey Mouse.  As one opinion from a long-forgotten source put it, one can laugh at Bugs; one admires the artwork of Mickey's toons.  These days, I think the "braintrust" at Disney is working overtime to shoot themselves in their collective foot on this point.  Ever since they converted The Disney Channel to The Lizzie McGuire and Her Ilk Channel (only to lose Hillary Duff's services...oh, the irony, LOL), there's really no way to find Mickey, or any of the shows that were the foundation of Disney's legacy anymore.

Oh, "Toon Disney", you say?  "Yeah, right", I say...

You may have guessed that it's probably not unfair to label me as somewhat of a couch potato.  I most admire classic television, such as Jack Benny, Burns and Allen and the stuff that doesn't run on Nickelodeon anymore.  "Star Trek" used to be a favorite, but it seems more a money-making franchise than the futuristic allegory of humanity it once was.  And "Enterprise" is astoundingly more unwatchable than even "Star Trek: Voyager" was...

Amazingly, what does catch my viewing attention these days is televised poker.  I've also taken to playing online at different sites on the Web, albeit for play money only...mostly...but as of this writing, only...  Did try my hand at a live game on international waters last year.   Here's a tip for other newbies thinking about doing the cruise thing:  Bring more than a hundred bucks if you're going to play $4/8 limit...  Starting out underchipped isn't such a great idea, especially when one forgets the meaning of "playing tight"...and another fish makes his straight on the river against you after you've persuaded the rest of the table to fold to your aces and eights...

Not that I still have issues...

I do, however, enjoy playing at the Tampa Hard Rock. Unfortunately, it's a bit of a drive over there (I've taken to not enjoying drives so much in these, my mid-life years), but it seems a nice place to play, albeit a bit smoky.

I do wish there was a cardroom in Orlando, though. Oh, well...

Back to the tube, though it is on most of the time, I really don't watch much anymore.  Usually I use it as background noise.  I will, however, pay attention when I can find a classic program on the air.  (Incidentally, during recent stretches at home, I discovered that between a local channel and The Hallmark Channel, Orlando residents have had the opportunity to watch "Perry Mason" three to five times per day this year.  Not counting the movies.  Unbelievable...and not necessarily in a good way...)

In recent years, I've basically replaced Superman collecting with Christmas collecting/planning.  You can see my newest ongoing online Christmas project by heading over to my holiday page.

This being cyber-space, of course many of you are by now wondering "Does this guy have any pics of himself here?"  The answer:  Sort of.

Here's a sketch I initially drew a few years back, and update slightly, as notable fluctuations in facial hair demand:

It's no Van Gogh, but at least I have two ears...

If you're wondering if that's what I really look like, all I can tell you is that I've met a few AOL members in real life - they've all been able to spot me from the original version of this sketch (the difference now is that I've grown my goatee up to my hairline) alone.  God help me...

Keep checking back; I tend to update this page every year-and-a-half or so...

All are welcome to send me comments on what you find.

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Updated December 1, 2003