Monthly Archives: February 2016

Random ramblings

I’ve been doing a LOT of thinking about this blog lately – particularly how many of my posts don’t seem to match my own stated theme.

For instance, while the shots of Disney landscapes are pretty and add substance to my claims of this being a “photography” blog, do they really belong here or should I find someplace else to post these shots and even then I still have to ask: just Disney, theme parks in general or would I post any kind of photos I want? Heck, I still remember my Photography professor at UM telling me in her pleasant English accent: “the best thing you could do for photography is to put your camera down and NEVER pick it up again.”

I’ve already decided that my political thoughts have no place here, but I’m not sure if I should spin them off into a separate blog or not – particularly since they have the “page views” to match their substance. Also, like the photo thing, I can’t find a clever name that wasn’t already taken… or, more aptly, a free one that I actually like. I also considered writing a weekly\biweekly column, but I don’t know of a single publication – including The News-Item – that would print unsolicited, unsubstantiated and largely uninformed drivel on a regular basis from someone who’s called nearly every presidential election wrong since 2000 (believe me, Dick Morris wasn’t the only one caught off guard by Obama’s reelection).

I also strongly considered “restarting” my FB\mobile gaming blog, but this time the hurdle is legal as that was created under the umbrella of Park\Mosher Media (just like my art\theatre blog) – a company I founded in 2011 after two years of unemployment but whose name expired in 2014. It was this (and a 13” snow storm in February of that year) that finally pushed me to move to Florida permanently. Ultimately, to borrow a term from the theme park industry, the blog is SBNO (Standing But Not Operational) and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future…

Do I continue posting those silly memes on Sunday? Probably not, but  should I delete the ones I’ve already posted? Should I post more about UM (it’s already one of my banner photos, even though said photo isn’t mine)? The aforementioned News-Item suspended their RSS feed a while back 😦 , but I still get news from Baltimore area blogs, should I post about that or just focus on events in Florida?


UPDATE: Yahoo has just announced that they will be closing their Games division in May. This site was the third leg of my coverage triad (the other two being Android and Facebook) for SSG. I do have some stories I’ve been working on on\off since January, but this news pretty much cements my decision not to restart that blog. (3/13/2016)

Categories: entertainment, photography, politics, polls, ramblings, writing | Leave a comment

Photos: Misc Disney shots

Note: I’m still recovering from yesterday’s surgery (only one, thankfully) so here are some unpublished photos from my trip to WDW in January. These are some of my absolute favorites pictures I’ve taken thus far, and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Servus.


P1020086 P1020080 P1020121 P1020118 P1010636P1020112 P1010788

Categories: adventures, disney world, florida, Orlando, photography | Leave a comment

The dour damsel’s depressing day

I was woken up a perky pre-recorded telemarketer loudly extolling how “2016 is THE year to SAVE on auto insurance” (though how I save on something I don’t have for a product I don’t own was never explained in her script), and while I was up I thought maybe I go grocery shopping but then I made the mistake of signing into FB and found myself wondering: “why do people READ my messages, but never actually answer them?” That cascades into a thousand other thoughts until I’m too depressed to go anywhere.

Suddenly, I’m reliving being dragged back into the college bookstore by the ears (yes, literally) by a pissed off manager who was determined to “make an example of me” in front of the whole damned campus what happens to kids who “steal” from HER store even though I clearly had a receipt – and a cashier who admitted to checking me out, but somehow failed to deactivate the hidden tag inside the book… even though I saw her rub it vigorously over the counter scanner several times. At least she didn’t pull a gun on me like the security guard at the CVS across the street…

Yeah, that was ten years ago, and as you can see from this blog: life really does “get better” …for some people, good thing I’m not a “person.”

Well, damn, I’m hungry and my fridge is STILL empty so I guess I have no choice now… but, naturally, just as I’m leaving the apt the phone rings.

“Hi, this is Dr. Dowling’s office, can I speak to ‘Jonathan?”

“Yes,” I said, and I knew exactly why she was calling. I’ve been trying to forget about this ‘double root canal’ for over two months now, but then she throws me off by not answering me. “…So are you going to ‘speak to me’ or not?”

“Oh no, ma’am, I’m waiting for you to get him for me.” She then pauses and continued with obvious skepticism, “unless you’re trying to tell me YOU’RE ‘Jonathan?’”

“Well, who did you THINK you were talking to?”

“Well, I don’t know, ma’am, but I need you to get ‘Jonathan’ on the phone for me.”

“I can’t ‘get Jonathan on the phone’ – I AM JONATHAN!”

“I’m sorry, ma’am, but this is an important reminder about HIS appointment tomorrow with Dr. Dowling, so I need to speak with HIM about it.”

Wait a second here: “Ma’am,” “HIS appointment” and “speak to HIM about it.” Does she actually, honest to god, thinks she’s talking to a young girl or just a really stupid adult woman? I don’t know which one because she didn’t tell me, but even my own brother confuses me with my 11-year-old niece on the phone – and that’s when he calls me!

“Look,” I said exasperatedly. “I’m too busy for this shit right now, please call back when you figure out who or what you’re looking for.”

“Thank you, and have a nice day,” she said.

Why is it the only time people pretend to care what kind of day I have is after they make it virtually impossible for me to have a “nice” one? Is the phrase supposed to magically erase everything that happened before it? If it is, then it never worked for me.

I let these questions (and others) fester in my obviously tiny mind until I got to the grocery store. I didn’t really feel like taking a bus there as I’d probably have to use it tomorrow to get to my appointment. Besides the walk would help me “clear my mind” (spoiler alert – it didn’t, it never did and probably never will), but at least it was a beautiful day for a walk. It’s a positive.

There are a variety of drive-thru fast food restaurants along Central Florida Parkway between I-Drive and the Williamsburg Commons. For those people saying $15 will push people out of poverty, McDonalds on the periphery of the mall has installed brand new “Ordering kiosks” guaranteed to make their cashiers obsolete…but today they had a message taped on their screens saying “POS not operational” (which the 12yo in me REALLY wanted to post a picture of here). After a short deliberation, I realized they didn’t have what I wanted (and if they did, it probably violated my “Aftercare instructions”) so I went to Subway instead and saved money so I consider that a positive.

Now what to get for the rest of the week? Veggies, bread, cold-cuts, Chicken wings? I love wings, but I can’t have hard foods. Hey, potato chips are on sale, but they break into “sharp pieces” which would get “stuck in my gums.” Frozen Swedish meatballs? Eh, I’ll take it anyway. I have milk, don’t eat eggs, or ice cream (too heavy and is usually melted by the time I get back) …and that, folks, brings me back to the front of the store.

I wasn’t particularly impressed with their soda\snack options so I put my baskets on the conveyor and gave the cashier my two bags. As I’m looking for my hat, I look up and see the old man at the register twisting and flipping it around in his hand as if manhandling it would give him some revelation or something.

“What the hell are you doing,” I said as he notices the large “DVC Member” logo on the front of said hat.

“Well, I’m – was – trying to find the price tag on it.”

“Well,” I said snatching it from his hand impatiently. “I’m really getting tired of re-reRE-paying for that stupid hat everywhere I go – particularly since I got it for free and am docked $15-19 for it wherever I go.”

“Well, if you already own it, why did you give it to me to scan?”

“I DIDN’T. You took it from my hand when I gave you my bags.”

“Trust us,” the manager (who was acting as my bagger) said shrugging cavalierly. “We would be more than happy to charge you for it if you did.”

See? He’d charge me for a free hat – isn’t that hilarious?

I didn’t think so either, particularly since he just said he would have actually done it too. Not only that but I hate people automatically assume it’s A-Okay to manhandle MY things, but me touching THEIR things – even by accident – and you’d better believe there’d be hell to pay.

Hypocrisy? Nah, the former (as it was explained to me in an extremely condescending manner the last time something this happened to me) is “CAP-it-al-ism,” the latter is….um… who knows, but it’s obviously “justified” in some way and, clearly, even a “retard” like me can see the difference, right?

Well anyway, the exchange drained both my wallet and whatever remained of my patience so I went over to the ATM at the bank on the other end of the strip mall and tried to take out some money. Of course, the keypad wasn’t working right the first time so I cancelled and it worked fine thereafter so whatever. I walked away suddenly remembering that I had some coin rolls to deposit there… that I left back on the kitchen counter.

Fine, I’ll unwind with some coffee at the Starbucks on International…but I can’t have anything that I’d have to “drink through a straw” as that would have a “negative impact on my teeth.” Okay, saving myself $5 and change is another positive. Maybe, I can take a break and take the trolley back to the apartment…is what I’d say if the Northbound stop wasn’t “closed for construction,” but I saved another $2 so I guess that’s a draw of sorts.

The walk along Central Florida Parkway from the bank back to my apartment was the same distance it’s always been, but it seemed longer. Maybe it’s because there are only three benches the entire way from there to 1-4 (and they aren’t particularly well spaced for someone carrying heavy bags of groceries).

I got back around 3 or 4pm, at this point in the story, I really don’t care. I just want to go to bed… but who can sleep when the know they have a double root canal waiting for them when they get up?

Categories: adventures, dentistry, florida, Orlando, Williamsburg | Leave a comment

Extractions and other pains

One of the hassles of not having a car is navigating the vagaries of the LYNX bus schedule (assuming they have one) which could only take me partway to my dentist’s appointment this afternoon in Dr. Phillips…which wouldn’t be so bad if Google Maps actually led me to the correct dentist’s office (the address is correct, but its placement on the map is over a ½ mile off – even though I personally signed onto Google and corrected it after my initial appointment last week). Oh, I forgot to mention, the bus stop closest to my apartment is closed for construction so I need to walk another ½ mile to get to the next one.

Bearing those things in mind, I scheduled to leave the apartment at 10:30am for my appointment at 1pm. Trust me, no-one was more surprised than me when I arrived at their offices a full half-hour before my appointment (…and was still sitting in their otherwise empty waiting room ten minutes afterwards).

When the young dental assistant (the same one from my initial visit, I believe her name is April) called me back, she led me to the same Exam Room I had the previous visit weeks ago. I could tell where she was leading me because the doctor (who looked like a slightly thinner version of the coroner guy on “NCIS”) was already in there reviewing my charts with my x-rays displayed on the monitor above my chair.

God, are my teeth really THAT bad?

He introduced himself as Dr. Baxter and like April he seemed to live up to the office’s moniker of “Friendly” dentist. While he reviewed my chart, April buzzed around the room gathering the materials the doctor already had with him as if she was trying to look “useful” but not entirely sure how.

Finally, it was time for the moment I’d spent nearly two months dreading.

“Very often,” Dr. Baxter said. “I can sneak it in there without you feeling anything.”

I know, he’s a doctor. It’s his job to lie about things like that, but, Sweet Jesus, those needles hurt (the main reason I stopped getting flu shots… that and the nurses mocking me for being “hurt” by such “a tiny, little prick”).

I’ll concede that the extraction itself was more of a “sharp pressure” than an actual pain, but it doesn’t make me feel any better about my upcoming root canal (which I’ve been assured is “entirely painless”).

Unpleasant as this was, I’m definitely glad I didn’t have to get six extractions like Greenberg recommended (with no explanation as to why other than “because they need to come out”).

At this point Dr. Baxter leaves the office temporarily so April could answer any questions I might have. Like how am I supposed to talk when I can’t open my mouth? She gives me a sheet of paper with an overly happy tooth merrily exclaiming “You just had a tooth extracted!” followed by a standard set of “aftercare instructions” which she proceeded to read to me.

She slaps my arm three times in succession. I already dislike people touching me, but this was beyond the pale. Naturally, I can’t tell her that with a mouth full of Novocain particularly when she immediately proceeds to lecture me condescendingly:

Hey! I’m talking, that means you look at me – not at the paper – at me.”

I already know all the excuses she would give if asked about the incident (and I doubt she will be). The inevitable follow-up question is “Does that make her actions ‘okay?’” The answer for all of them was the same: No.

Yes, yes, I know, violence is “okay” if you’re only trying to “teach someone a lesson” (an invalid argument I’ve heard on far too many occasions) and no apology is needed if the victim doesn’t speak up (because who can’t talk when their mouth is completely numb from Novocain?).

Fortunately, I believe this is an education and experience issue rather than an instance of systemic bullying (opportunistic? maybe; systemic? no). I suspect given her age (mid-twenties) and overall diffidence around the procedure that she was relatively new to the field and will hopefully learn appropriate behavior in time.

In the meantime, at least, they took “professional courtesy” off my statement…

Categories: adventures, Autism, dentistry, sensory processing disorder | 4 Comments

Cartoon: I get that a lot


Categories: Autism, cartoons\memes, humor, sensory processing disorder | Leave a comment

Sunday funnies: V-Day edition

morningpeople history-lesson ihatehealthypeople bernieblinders valentines-cards-bonus

Categories: cartoons\memes, entertainment, holidays, humor, politics | Leave a comment

Recaps and bridges

I had on\off tooth pain since August so I went to Dr. Bull in Shamokin over Christmas week. He said I had two cavities and needed “an extraction, a root canal and a cap\bridge” but that he couldn’t do them because I was living in Orlando now.

So when I came back to Orlando on the 29th I made an appointment with a dentist here who did x-rays and declared that Dr. Bull was “wrong” and that I needed six extractions.

Naturally, “six extractions” is considerably different from “one extraction, a root canal, and a cap\bridge,” but he refused to explain anything to me instead tossing it over to his assistant who tapped my chart and said these are the teeth the doctor wants taken out. When pressed WHY, this doctor’s prognosis was so radically different than Dr. Bull’s when they were presumably looking at the same set of teeth, he put my chart down and shouted:

“If you like you doctor in PA so damned much go back to him – and don’t stop at the desk on the way out!”

In other words, don’t come back! However, when I told this to mom her immediate question was “how did you pay for the session them?”

This meant I had to find a new dentist quicky, so I chose what looked like the next closest dentist office to me on Google Maps (it wasn’t – it was a full half-mile away from the location on the map…or it was, until I signed into Google and recommended they change their marker). This doctor also did x-rays (that’s the third set in 2 months), but his prognosis was “two root canals, an extraction plus a bridge” – similar to what Dr. Bull said in December.

I’m not necessarily looking forward to all this work (minimum $7k – did I mention I don’t have dental insurance?), but at least I get to keep my teeth…most of them anyway.

Categories: dentistry, florida, Orlando | 3 Comments

Editorial: Suggested MK refurbishments

Theme Park Tourist has an interesting article about 5 Magic Kingdom Attractions That Need Refurbishment. I don’t know if I agree with all of their proposals, but I know I’ve touched on some of them before on this blog.

  1. The Enchanted Tiki Room” – They tried “refurbishing” this ride before – not only did it bomb completely, but the building caught fire nearly razing the entire structure but only the newly added elements were severely damaged. Besides, why fix what isn’t broken?
  2. The Carousel of Progress” – The author of the post sees things differently than I do, but here’s MY thoughts if you want to compare notes.
  3. The Tomorrowland Speedway” – another ride I’ve covered before, lots of real estate that could be used for something more in line with the land’s theme. I do like their ideas of cleaner electric cars and giving it a Meet the Robinsons theme as that movie does not get the attention it deserves.
  4. Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade” – I always forget that’s there so I can’t say how well it works or not, but unlike TTS it fits the theme of its land.
  5. Astro Orbiter” – Agree that the line moves slowly and the vehicles can be a bit “cramped,” but the appeal of this ride is the view of the rest of the park and the feeling of “flying” it gives you. The suggestions for “lasers” and “moving in more directions” would add nothing to the ride.

Bonus (not mentioned in the above story):

  1. Tomorrowland Transit Authority” – I mentioned this one before too, but the more the think of it the more it needs it. The script is flat and somewhat disjointed. Plus, the narrator doesn’t have the kind of voice for a ride like this. There is rarely a line longer than 5 minutes to get on it.
  2. Stitch’s Great Escape” – I’m not sure why they left this ride off as it is otherwise their favorite punching bag and for good reason – the concept just doesn’t work. The original ride “Alien Encounter” was scary as fuck, but Lilo & Stitch was an animated comedy and doesn’t quite work being shoehorned into what was basically a horror ride with a few minor L&S overlays (including a major continuity error at the end of the attraction). That being said Experiment 626 works surprisingly well in the Toyko Disneyland version of “The Enchanted Tiki Room” so maybe I spoke too soon about item #1…
Categories: disney world, editorials, florida | Leave a comment

Photo: Happy Birthday BSA


Boy Scouts of America: Founded, today on February 8, 1910

Categories: news, scouting | Leave a comment

Photo: Understatement of the year


Categories: California, cartoons\memes, Disneyland Resort | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at