Monthly Archives: March 2016

Random thoughts on WDW

It’s been a while since I’ve posted one of these, but between my dental surgeries and my dad’s death I haven’t had much time to spend in the parks.

  • I saw a story on about a newly proposed “Mars World” proposed for Las Vegas projected to open in 2020-21 and it got me thinking that Disney really dropped the ball in not having Matt Damon do a The Martian overlay to their “Mission Space” attraction. However, considering the ride opened in 2003, it’s probably time for a new experience anyway.
  • Meanwhile, DHS maps have officially started calling the area below the endangered Streets of America “Muppets’ Courtyard.” The name itself isn’t that surprising, but it means that the company plans on keeping and likely expanding on the area’s somewhat spartan theme.
  • Good grief there’s a LOT of Star Wars going on at DHS: Shops, rides, shows – including a nightly fireworks show! The eponymous land isn’t even open yet! This does, however, take some of the burden off “Toy Story Midway Mania” (which is one of four rides to NOT close for the construction of SW-Land and the soon-to-be-adjacent TS-Land).
  • Personally, I’m one of those people who think that Disney should have gone in a more “General Pixar” theme for their new land than making it Toy Story specific. Don’t get me wrong, I love both Cars Land and A Bug’s Life Land, but I think a generalized theme would not only give them more creative freedom (like importing “Monsters Inc.: Mike & Sully to the Rescue” from DCA or “Ratatouille: The Adventure” from Disneyland Paris), but also take away from the very real impression that this was an “all Star Wars park.”
  • Fortunately, “Rivers of Light” is scheduled to open soon in DAK which should make getting around the park easier even if the ill-advised – but unquestionably awesome looking – Avatar Land (like SW-Land) is years from opening. I’m also looking forward to their “Nighttime Safari” even if your chances of seeing anything are considerably lower (especially with MY night vision).
  • Speaking of nighttime activities, I haven’t gotten a chance to eat at Morimoto Asia, Jock Lindsay’s Hanger Bar, Skippers’ Cantina or The BOATHOUSE. (Checks prices on Disney’s website) On second thought, maybe I’ll just stick with popcorn and Dole Whip.
Categories: disney world, editorials, entertainment, florida, Orlando | Leave a comment

Humor: Thursday mourning

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Photo: “The Cousins Photo”


The obligatory “Cousins Photo,” which we had to take because “all seven cousins are here!”

I look AWFUL in this picture.

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Hanging in

Wednesday: Missed the bus to the airport this morning because I went to the wrong stop. In fairness, it WAS 5am and I was running on 2hrs of sleep (after packing and making plane reservations). I barely made it through security in time for my flight, but with the exception of minor turbulence coming into Charlotte, the rest of my trip went relatively smoothly with me arriving at MDT at 1:07pm (four minutes ahead of schedule).

My brother Andy and I arrived at the house around 3pm, and I almost didn’t recognize it: as he and my older brother Ned had spent the past four weekends sorting out his stuff whenever he fell asleep. It was a huge deal to be able to not only see but to actually be able to walk across the floor without worrying about knocking any of his towering piles of stuff over.

The meeting with the funeral director was long and arduous as we went over details for music, flowers, even the menu for the wake (to be held after the service). Then came the part about interviewing us for the obituary (which he initially said would run as a “teaser” on Friday and “in full” in Saturday’s edition). Once that was over, we met with my aunt Mary-Ann and her boyfriend at a local sports bar. It wasn’t necessarily my first choice (our options are kind of limited in town), but we did have a good time considering the circumstances even if I was on the wrong end of the table to make any meaningful part in the conversation.

Thursday: The funeral director came by in the morning to drop off the galley of the obituary for “corrections.” God, did it need them as everything they could get wrong, they did: his name, his place of birth, his rank in the Air Force, etc. Their grammar was almost as bad as their notetaking so I was basically forced to rewrite it from scratch as many of my dad’s friends came by or called to wish us their condolences.

Most of the afternoon was spent helping my brother cleaning up my dad’s den\garage. Piles of books, papers, folders, etc. were all boxed up and taken to the recycling center over on Venn Access (the garage alone took two trips – and we only tackled the front half of it). It wasn’t much… but like mom said to someone on the phone:

“It’s amazing how quickly you can delete all traces of a person’s life,” she said continuing with a sigh. “One day you have valuable possessions and then s-suddenly it’s all ‘trash’ to be thrown out.”

Friday: Woke up to see the changes Andy made to the obit this morning’s paper (I dreamed they made a bigger deal at the paper: editorial, op-ed & memorial cartoon). It made it seem so “final.”

I’m doing my best to keep everything together. Today is a “slow” day (most of his friends were here\called yesterday) It’ll be MUCH harder tomorrow when the rest of the family starts arriving for the viewing…

Categories: coal region, family, flying, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania | Leave a comment

R.I.P – Ed Twiggar (1942-2016)

Dad - birthday

Got a call about an hour ago from a PA number I didn’t recognize. It was my aunt and her voice was breaking and I could tell it wasn’t her phone. I knew instantly what this was about:

“He’s d-dead, Johmny, i-in his sleep a few minutes ago. You need to come home immediately.”

I knew he was in rough shape while I was in Disney two months ago, but this was still a surprise. Particularly since I was planning on coming up to see him on Friday once this stomach bug I picked up in Tampa cleared up a little more, but it appears as if my plans have changed….



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Summer plans

As I’ve said before on this blog, I like being “productive.” I’m usually not which makes the times I am all the more newsworthy so I’ve begun making plans for the summer and if this year is anything like last year, most of them will not come to fruition.

As you can guess from the archaeology memes, I was an Anthropology major at UM (not my choice, but Flo at Benchmark basically corralled me into it as a student at Crafton Hills College, and I was laughed out of every recruiting event Toffell offered (which helpfully listed your major on your ID badge).

However, I did spend one semester working for the Lowe Art Museum and a summer on their (now closed) dig site at Little Salt Spring. That is the extent of my archaeology career – hopefully, that will change this summer (though as of this writing, most of the site information on Shovebums have not been updated yet).

I have spent the past three years trying to get a job teaching “Archaeology” merit badge over the summer (it’s actually a good “camp badge” – particularly if taken alongside “Indian Lore” MB as they share many of the same requirements), but I have ZERO “references” since the only steady “job” I’ve had since graduation has been this blog. Like any other archaeology project, I’d NEED a car to get there and as I’ve stated before I don’t have THAT either.

Also, I want to do add more volunteer credits to my resume. I haven’t added any new projects to that section since 2012 – it’s about time to rectify that. Yes, I already a few in mind. One of them being helping at St. John’s booth at the Anthracite Heritage Festival on May 28th and then flying in a month later for their annual VBS program (July 31-Aug 4). Hopefully, I can get some good pictures from BOTH events.

Closer to home, I plan on attending the LUNG Force Run\Walk in downtown Orlando this May and possibly their Expo at SeaWorld later this year. I would love to spend the summer working for some worthwhile cause, but nearly every organization understandably requires a “long term commitment” and every one of those has ended badly for me (whether in California and Baltimore).

Making plans is fun, but life has a nasty habit of getting in the way so the question becomes: How many of these will actually come to pass? Whatever happens, I sure hope it’s more than I did last year…

Categories: adventures, Advocacy\volunteer, ramblings, scouting | Leave a comment

Photos: Sunday funnies

I know I said I was stopping this series (as it feels like “laziness” on my part), but this site has gotten waaaay too dark lately. I’m afraid it makes me look “angry” and “humorless” – two things I try VERY hard not to be (though people often lob those words at me anyway). I hope you enjoy these images as much as I do. ^_^



Frank & Ernest


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Categories: cartoons\memes, entertainment, humor | 1 Comment

Photo: Connections


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Editorial: A failure to communicate

Kip Wallace over at has an excellent post (poem actually) about the difficulties Adults with Autism face with communications. Mainly that people want you as an adult to coherently verbalize the feelings that simply can’t be put coherently on the spot whether from panic (immature, grow up), sadness (oh, boo-fucking-hoo) or simply a lack of words (just spit it out already).

However, if you’ve been through my archive, you’ll know that I often I face issues like that in my own life. The problem is: even if I can “spit it out” (and assuming they can understand me), these same people as a rule do not care:

“Oh, YOU have ‘problems,’ huh? Pfft, I have a wife, three kids AND a full-time job. What the fuck do YOU have? Oh right, NOTHING.”

Note in the parenthetical above, I said “assuming they can understand me” which means most of the time I don’t even get that.

You see, I was non-verbal until the age of age of four (with doctors at the time saying I lacked the “intellectual capacity” to ever speak) yet, now that I actually can, seemingly every time I try to talk to someone since becoming an adult:

I often get cut off before I can say anything to have them yell at me for “not answering them” (because obviously I CHOSE to have an Auditory Processing Disorder) or simply told to “shut the fuck up before I punch you,”

IF they “let” me finish my first sentence, I get either: “Hahaha, isn’t that adorable? Now get lost,” or “I don’t understand you, so whatever fuck you.”

However, on the somewhat rarer occasions when they let me finish AND understand what I’m saying, they’ll usually repeat everything I say back to me VERBATIM (which is generally a sign they aren’t really paying attention), and then invariably get pissed off at me for not saying: “wow, you are a genius! I would literally have NEVER thought of that if you hadn’t mentioned it to me.”

Sometimes it’s enough to make me wish I remained non-verbal. At least then, I wouldn’t have to put up with this shit all the time. No, then they’d really want – no, demand – to hear what I have to say…just so they can smile reassured that I really am “stupid” (which, for the record, I’m not) and I need to “get help” – preferably someplace really far away so they can pretend I don’t exist.

Oh right, that’s what they do now (how dare I ruin their otherwise “perfect” world), but I can’t tell them that because my brain isn’t wired for speed. Heck, it took me over 3 hours just to write this simple post – just imagine how long a “snappy” comeback takes.

Maybe, as my dad likes to remind me, if I just “tried harder,” this whole “communication” thing would get easier. A nice sentiment, but something tells me it isn’t true…

Categories: Autism, editorials, ramblings, sensory processing disorder | Leave a comment

Editorial: Self advocacy

I said a few posts back that I wanted to get involved with “Autism advocacy” so I liked a few Facebook pages about Autism, Asperger’s and related disorders thinking it might give me insight into myself and more importantly others like me. Unfortunately, I found the stories I see aren’t “encouraging” or “inspiring” as much as they are triggers for my own experiences – mostly ones I’m trying to forget.

Yes, it’s great waking up and reading a woman with severe ASD has found a job she “absolutely loves,” but then I thought “why is that news?” Frankly, there are only two reasons someone would go to the trouble to write a news story about hiring someone with a neuro-psychological condition is either a “man bites dog” or an “uplifting” piece of PR puffery. Even if we discount both theories, it still serves as an unpleasant reminder of my failings as a job hunter.

This means I have to find volunteer jobs to fill my time, but I’ve found that places I find have no idea what to do with someone like me. I’m either sent back home to not pollute them with my presence (if volunteers are a “reflection” of the organization they work for then visitors would think EVERYONE who works there is also some kind of freak) or sent off to some task so menial that it’s pract-sorry it IS meaningless like “guarding” the very furthest back boundary of the event (where conveniently no-one will see me). I think the final straw for me was having an organizer tell me: “next time you want to help – just send money.”

Just. Send. Money.

That is exactly two things: one is a tax write off (I’m unemployed so irrelevant) and two I get my name added to their “donor” list. You know what “donors” do, right? They donate again and again and again with their sales agent goading them into giving a higher amount each time.

That’s the big take-away from the past twenty years, no-one wants anything to do with me, but they’ll take my money and throw me the hell out. Kind of like my taxi driver this morning, he was super friendly… until I paid him my fare and he started repeatedly growling “THANK you, have a NICE day” in an increasingly threatening tone (financial AND psychological abuse – it’s a twofer). I even tipped him too – despite him driving me around the block twice just to increase my fare – but hey, I’m just an ATM, and no-one cares what an ATM thinks.

Well, I care what I think, and I think I’m better than the way most people think I deserve to be treated. Unfortunately, if I assert myself I become the bad guy and am very swiftly put back into my “place” (odd how no matter who I’m dealing with, said “place” is ALWAYS below them).

I want to do something more meaningful than write a blog only 23 people read about a condition I may or may not have – let alone fully understand – yet I persevere because I know there are people in worse situations who literally cannot speak for themselves (yes, I know not speaking and not being understood are two completely different entities).

Oh, and since generic Disney photos don’t take themselves (okay, there’s a veritable army of more qualified people posting them around the web) so until I figure out a better place to post them I’ll continue posting them here. Kind of sad that a bunch of bland photos and a blog read by 23 people (only one of whom actually “likes” my posts) are the only things I currently offer society…

Categories: Advocacy\volunteer, Autism, editorials | Leave a comment

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