Monthly Archives: November 2015

Thanksgiving adventures

10:21am – Woke up “late,” but decided since my reservation wasn’t until 6:50pm that I had a little time to spare before heading out. I logged onto FB (where most of the following items were originally posted) and shared the first “Happy Thanksgiving” photo I saw on my “News Feed.”

-1:59pm – Had lunch here and am now going around looking for fun holiday stuff to photograph. Sadly, I may have to go elsewhere, as decor has been decidedly underwhelming so far. – At Disney’s Boardwalk Resort

-2:23pm – Arrive at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and immediately begin snapping pictures of the giant tree in front of the entrance. It doesn’t fit in my viewfinder, but the presents\train and oversized film reels at the base do. I spend the next hour trying to snap as many holiday decorations as I can (somewhat complicated by all the other people around doing the same thing)

-4:09pm – left the “Sneak preview” of The Good Dinosaur at One Man’s Dream when I left a comment on Orlando Weekly’s post about Thanksgiving in Central Florida: “I’m thankful the cast members are here and spending their holiday with me instead of their families.”

Two minutes later I get a message about a reply to my comment: a picture of a cat with the caption “Why don’t you donate blood – ALL OF IT!”

Congratulations, I’m in the middle of Disney World on a holiday and I’m completely 100% PISSED OFF! Thank you, guy who literally thinks I fucking kill myself, my Thanksgiving is now completely RUINED! Trust me, that is NOT an exaggeration.

-6:51pm – Dinner at Hollywood & Vine. I got a photo with Santa Goofy at the entrance. The food was excellent, but I was extremely annoyed when I specifically asked Mickey for a picture and be blew me off – just like Stitch did at PCH Grill three years ago.

-7:56pm – finished eating about 20 minutes ago, but can’t leave because I have photos of all the characters… except ONE and he’s on the other side of the restaurant.

-9:13pm – Left the restaurant and got onto the 2nd boat out of the park – which happened to pick up as the climactic fireworks for Fantasmic were going off. We got out towards Boardwalk as the fireworks for “Wishes” (EPCOT) were starting – perfect view of both shows!

-9:42pm – Damnit, I just posted about what a wonderful night I was having and then I got to Epcot just to be turned away because the park was “closed to all non-guests.”

“I’m not here for the attractions or the restaurants. I need to get to the Transportation & Ticket Center and the ONLY way to get to the Transportation & Ticket Center is by monorail and the only monorail line that stops there is the EPCOT line.”

“Sorry, I can’t let you into the park unless you are staying on-property. You’ll need to go to one of the resorts and then catch a bus from there to another park where you can get a bus which you can take you to your bus stop.”

10:02pm – the closest resort to Epcot is the Beach Club. I love the decorations throughout the lobby area with the train display and looking for a restroom lead me halfway to the Yacht Club with its festive gingerbread houses. It’s also where I (eventually) found the bus stop at the far end of the sidewalk outside the convention center.

10:35pm – Get to the Lynx bus stop at the far side of Disney Springs exactly as the bus is pulling into the station. Things are finally starting to look up. 😀

11:02pm – return to the unit. I am sweaty and exhausted, but I am far too aggravated to sleep.

Categories: adventures, disney world, ferry, holidays, LYNX bus, Orlando, photography | 1 Comment

Photos: LUNG Force Expo

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Categories: Advocacy\volunteer, florida, Orlando, photography, SeaWorld Orlando | Leave a comment

A false alarming situation

I got through sending the first batch of photos when the smoke alarm went off. I wasn’t sure if this was some sort of “test” or if there was something wrong in the building. I went outside, but I couldn’t hear any other alarms going off in my building (or any of the others in the complex). I would have removed the batteries from the smoke alarm (which wouldn’t have worked anyway since its wired to the unit), but I literally could not stand the noise in the unit… or even in the breezeway\walkway outside the unit with the door closed.

I retreated to the leasing office to ask if it was in fact a “test,” a malfunction or something I should be genuinely worried about. Yes, I could still hear it from the entrance to the leasing center which is at least 500 feet from my building.

“It could be either the battery is low or possibly carbon-monoxide,” the leasing agent said. “No, wait, the alarm is hard-wired so it might be an issue with the alarm itself. It’s Friday so I don’t know who’s still here.”

“Well, I guess it’s a good thing you came TODAY,” said a young black man standing behind me. “Otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to do anything important like sleep.”

Good to see someone amused by the situation, but even better there was apparently someone still on property so I just had to go back around and unlock the door for them. Once they arrived that is, as the closest I could stand to wait to the building was a picnic table about 100ft from the building.

“These cheap smoke alarms are a pain,” the maintenance guy told me as I led him up the steps toward the unit. “We ordered a new set to replace these ones, but they aren’t in yet, so for the moment, the only thing I can do is disable it.”

When we reach the top of the steps, he asked if the door was unlocked. It wasn’t.

“Um, m-maybe you should wait outside,” he said as I staggered away from the now open door holding my ears in excruciating pain. After about a minute inside, the volume decreased to an almost tolerable level and within another minute the noise stopped and he exited the unit.

The reason it was so incapacitating bad was because there were TWO smoke detectors in the living room and they were BOTH going off simultaneously. Oddly enough, the ones in the two bedrooms weren’t effected. It’s okay, I wasn’t planning on sleeping tonight anyway…

Categories: adventures, Autism, photography, sensory processing disorder | Leave a comment

An EXPO-ditious adventure

As you can see from this blog, I don’t generally do “event photography,” but when I saw the listing for “Volunteer Photographers” for the American Lung Association’s LUNG Force Expo at SeaWorld, I jumped at the chance. Sometimes opportunity really does come to you.

I checked-in just after 7:30 and started snapping photos… until my camera battery died an hour after arriving (which somehow only happens when I have an event to cover).

Fortunately, I live only two blocks from SeaWorld so I was able to go back and charge my battery and phone for 20 minutes or so until the actual program started (at 10am – which is when the “other” photographers were supposed to arrive). It also gave me a chance to change clothes and get some of the pictures I’d already taken off my SD card (all 15 of them).

The irony is, the brightly lit “Docks” (21-23 plus the entire 2nd pavilion) was “too dark” for the flash on my camera, but my Motorola took fantastic pictures of the mostly empty meeting rooms without a flash… until it too died about 2½ hours after returning (despite having the same 20 minute recharge as the camera, you know, just to be safe). That left me with exactly one option – I had to leave early even though the volunteer coordinator told me that two of the other photographers’ shifts had ended.

I arrive back at the apartment at 1:30pm, changed clothes (again) and plugged in my phone while taking the other photos off my camera. I wasted the next hour or so trying to salvage something vaguely useful from my pictures.

Finally, I went back into the living room to begin the arduous task of sending the pictures on my camera to my computer. My phone does not let me send multiple photos per message so I was forced to send all 46 of them individually. Now you know why I keep taking my dinosaur camera (a graduation gift from my mom) on assignments…

Categories: florida, job hunting, Orlando, photography, SeaWorld Orlando | Leave a comment

Opinion: Ben Carson’s biggest gaffes

In the wake of retired neurosurgeon and current GOP front runner Dr. Ben Carson’s latest nontroversy about whether he did or didn’t apply to West Point, Yahoo News compiled a list of some of the doctor’s biggest gaffes. For your edification, I have listed my uneducated, unsubstantiated and entirely worthless opinions (in other words, don’t attack me) of some of these carefully selected gaffes.


May 1998: Joseph built the pyramids for grain storage

My take: As an Anthropology student (more on that in a future post), I have seen any number of bizarre conspiracy theories about who and\or why the pyramids were built. This is probably the least crazy one I’ve encountered which is why it’s one of the oldest (dating back to 6th century scholars who probably never saw the famous structures firsthand).

However, what bothers me about this isn’t that he was spouting conspiracy theories 15 years ago, but that he was intentionally using a commencement address to dismiss the known historical facts in order to make himself sound more “enlightened” then the many archaeologists and Egyptologists who spent their entire careers studying the pyramids. It may have been delivered in his trademark soft-spoken and some would say “humble” manner, but it’s still textbook “hubris.”


2004-2011: God and evolution are mutually exclusive

My take: The fact that Dr. Carson was opposed to evolution ten years ago doesn’t particularly bother me as much as the fact that he still held them seven years later when he was forced to somewhat reluctantly admit that maybe his fellow scientists weren’t all puppets of “The Adversary” when he was ultimately condemned by 500 professors\alumni of Emory University where he was scheduled to give another commencement address.

Apparently, the doctor is/was unaware that not only are there religious scientists but there is an entire field of multi-disciplinary study dedicated to reconciling these two diametrically opposed theories (Theist Evolutionary Studies) which have produced several worthy academic articles and books on the matter.


February 2015There are no rules of war

My take: I admire the doctor for wanting to “protect the troops” from lawsuits and kangaroo courts, but there already ARE rules. Rules we haven’t been too good at following lately (not attacking countries that didn’t attack us, not torturing detainees, killing thousands of innocent civilians with drone strikes, etc.), but expect OTHER countries to follow to the letter…or else we’ll draw another “red line” in the sand.

“If you’re going to have rules for war, you should just have a rule that says no war” – I’ll get behind that… but I know the first thing he does in the WH is arrest his predecessor for “war crimes” committed largely by HIS predecessor.


March 2015: Homosexuality is a choice

My take: This theory (prison sex proves homosexuality is a choice) is probably one of the most asinine arguments I have ever heard – almost as bad as his wishy-washy flipflop on vaccines following the second GOP debate. While I get he’s just pandering to his party’s homophobic base, it was THE moment he stopped being a viable candidate for president in my book.

To his credit, he did offer a mild conditional apology for those remarks, but when asked if a (transgendered) GIRL should be allowed to use a girl’s bathroom he retreated into another rhetorical pet peeve of mine by saying: “I’m not sure if anyone should have ‘extra rights.’”

Note to Dr. Carson: The ONLY people asking for “extra rights” are the ones asking to keep members of the gay community from sharing rights they should already have. If only straight people can get married/adopt children/use a public bathroom etc. than by definition they have an “extra right.”


November 2015: I was offered a full scholarship to West Point

My take: If someone said “hey why don’t you come work for me” (which they don’t :(). I would consider it a “job offer” even if nothing ever came of it. I think this is probably what happened with Dr. Carson: someone said “hey, Ben, I might be able to get you into West Point.” Contrary to the current media narrative, it’s not that big of a leap from “no tuition” to “full scholarship.”

In other words, this is a non-issue

Categories: editorials, Gay rights, news, politics | Leave a comment

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