No so happiest place on Earth

This week’s post was going to be a happy column about how this weekend’s reopenings of both Gatorland and LEGOLAND Florida (Winter Haven) and next week’s openings of Universal and the just announced reopenings of SeaWorld Orlando/Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and the Walt Disney World Resort (in phases) meant that live in Central Florida is slowly returning to normal.

Well, it’s not.

The virus remains as dangerous as ever, but so does being a person of color in the United States. Yes, I’ve been the victim of both racial and homophobic discrimination (including assault and property damage) both in Florida and Maryland, but the difference is I’m actually able to type this, George Floyd is not. Neither is Trayvon Martin or Tamir Rice or even Freddie Gray.

Sure, I could go into detail about being harassed for doing as little as they did, but having my camera ripped away from me and taunted as it’s broken in front of me is considerably different than being held against the ground with a knee to the throat and dying of asphyxiation as three other officers hold him down. To even compare the two experiences is an insult to the memories of all the victims of needless police violence.

So would equally vapid, ineffective forms of “solidarity” I’ve seen online like changing my profile photo for the day or posting some memes with a viral hashtag. It didn’t heal Paris, and it’s not rebuilding Minneapolis. Such lazy, feel good activism doesn’t do anyone any good.

However, with the massive crowds of people protesting in the street across the country – and around the world – there are now fears of spreading the virus that has kept these same people inside for the past two months, maybe lazy, ineffective means of protest aren’t all bad.

Yes, waving signs in a public place is a perfectly valid form of communication… but so is staying at home and typing from the safety of my sofa. The parks will open whether I’m there to cover them or not…


Categories: Advocacy\volunteer, Baltimore, Busch Gardens Tampa, Coronavirus, disney world, editorials, Health, LEGOland Florida, news, Orlando, politics, protests, SeaWorld Orlando, Tampa, Universal Studios, Winter Haven | Leave a comment

Happy International Museum Day

I bet you think this post is about that stupid “stamp rally” in a certain popular video game, but it’s not. As you know, I love going to museums. In fact, I used to review art and science exhibits on a regular basis) as well as zoos and aquariums (I really liked Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, but Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo is small and overrated).

What you don’t know is that I used to work for one. I wasn’t a docent. I worked as an intern in the Research Department for the Jay I Kislak Foundation which was in turn creating a new Latin America exhibit for UM’s Lowe Art Museum (part of the organization’s extensive collection was donated to the university permanently upon Mr. Kislak’s death in 2017).

I got a more hands-on approach to artifact handling a year later when I spent the summer working for the university’s discontinued field school in North Port (roughly halfway between Sarasota and Fort Meyers). I was only doing basic “processing” artifacts (washing, sorting and photographing) which, while extremely important in its own right, doesn’t provide any actual “marketable” skills needed to get a contract archaeology job.

I wasn’t upset by this because literally half of the dozen or so participants were on lab duty, but I found it extremely odd that they wouldn’t let me participate in their “Media Day” in the final week. I was a Communications student (Photography and Journalism) for cripes sake!

I now realize this was likely a form of ableism… but at the time it was just “normal” for employers, classmates in group projects (IF they told me about our group sessions at all) and volunteer coordinators to keep me as far “out of sight” as possible (I always thought was just a “fat” thing as this was the University of MIAMI after all).

I have applied to multiple zoos, museums and aquariums since graduation… but none have hired me. I have, however, done two “Archaeology Labs” here in Florida (one in Tampa and the second at UM), have not they led to any more field opportunities? No, and I’ve applied to multiple field schools across the country, but I have either gotten extremely sick at the last minute (2016/2014), hit by a car (2018)… or it was cancelled at the last moment due to either financial (2015/2017) or global pandemic issues (2020).

Maybe someday, I’ll get back to working in a museum again, but as writing this blog has taught me: The more time I spend interacting with people the more abuse I take from them. On the plus side, at least, Blathers doesn’t charge for admission…


Categories: Ablism, Advocacy\volunteer, Autism, Chicago, Coral Gables, entertainment, florida, Health, holidays, Illinois, Miami Gardens, museums, South Florida, Tampa, University of Miami | Leave a comment

Mid-month memes

Categories: Ablism, Advocacy\volunteer, Autism, cartoons\memes, entertainment, humor, Internet\FB, sensory processing disorder | Leave a comment

Quarantine diaries: Week 4

Day 21: So, we are supposedly approaching the “tipping point” of the virus, after this week new cases will start to “level off and eventually decline” (though deaths will remain unsettlingly high due to the extreme number of known cases).

This means (besides possibly being the last week of these posts) that we could see “lockdowns” like Florida/Pennsylvania are under lifted soon. However, as the same report reminds us: There is no cure, there is nothing stopping the virus from coming back next season…

Day 22: So, construction started up again next door, and as of 3:30pm – they were STILL working! What is this madness, they usually stop at noon (or earlier)? At least they’re finished with the new drop box… which reminds me, I should probably get my mail.

Oh, and I ordered milk off Instacart this morning. I bought as much as they’d allow me to (one gallon and one half-gallon), that should be enough to last me through the week. My bank balance is extremely low, so I need to pace myself a bit with deliveries. Delivery guy was cute though (…or, maybe, I’ve been inside too long, lol).

Speaking of “pacing myself,” I will not be posting any new Animal Crossing pics today. Gotta spread myself out a bit. Remember, I’m on “Deserted Island Time.” Besides, I have a post all ready for later this week (actually, I’m missing a photo, but I should have it by Weds/Thurs).

Day 23: Good news, I wasn’t woken up by construction noise an hour before my alarm this morning. It was two hours, and it’s much louder than usual (partly because they are joined by the hedge trimmer/leaf blower/Weed Wacker brigade around 10am). My ear protectors aren’t really that effective, but they help… a little, so does coffee.

The landscaping and construction finished around noon. However, the latter came back with abandon around 1pm and whatever they were doing, was not only incredibly LOUD, but it also caused the whole damned building to vibrate while they were doing it. It literally felt like a minor earthquake – which is scary not because I live on the sandwich level (level 2 of three) nor because I used to live in California – but because this complex was built to withstand WIND not tremors.

Said tremors stopped around 3pm, but the noise continued (albeit not as loud) until sometime after 4pm. Something tells me this is going to be a long week…

Day 24: I have no idea what they’re doing in the lot next door, but it’s not shaking the building like yesterday so there’s that…and the rather discouraging fact that they’ve officially done before 9am than I’ve done all week (to be fair, it’s only Wednesday). But then again, the more work they do today, the less they have to do tomorrow.

However, on a lighter note, I should probably say that I finished collecting photos last night for the “Bunny Day” post I had planned for tomorrow. In fact, I’ll probably post it immediately after this one (…or right now, because why not?). I have another one about the REAL holiday scheduled for Sunday. Because, you know, I’m that good… and, oh yeah, I’m also in quarantine, so, what else do I have to do?

Day 25: Good news, construction next door got off to a slightly later start than usual (which would have been great news if I wasn’t in the bathroom when my apartment suddenly started shaking). Better news, they’re calling for rain tomorrow (which we desperately need). Best news, they don’t work on weekends, holidays… or rainy days.

Speaking of days, the renewal date for my lease is 17 days away, but don’t worry, I got a call from the leasing office this afternoon saying it that they really need to know what I’m doing TODAY. I have no idea where I’m moving to or what kind of place of place I’ll have (yes, I’m working on it, but I can’t tour places in person, nor can I travel there if I could), but the leasing office needs to start marketing my unit NOW if I am moving out… in June. Good to know.

Also, my Animal Crossing post went live this morning. Somehow, I keep forgetting WordPress uses GMT for scheduled posts (which meant I already had one “like” by the time I got up). I think I have enough Easter themed memes for a post (in fact, I got rid of a few of them), I’ll probably do another search this afternoon anyway…

Categories: adventures, Advocacy\volunteer, apartment hunting, Coronavirus, entertainment, florida, games, Health, holidays, Orlando, Williamsburg | Leave a comment


Categories: Advocacy\volunteer, Autism, cartoons\memes, Internet\FB | Leave a comment

Quarantine diaries: week 2

Day 7: I bought milk this afternoon. The store wasn’t particularly crowded, and, unlike the Walgreens next door, it was relatively well-stocked (and grocery stockers are getting very good hours lately). I had to laugh that they were short on beer except Corona Extra… and Heineken. What the heck did Heineken do, lol?

I saw a news story when I got back that both ICON Park and FunSpot America (in Orlando and Kissimmee as well as their park in Atlanta) are “closing indefinitely” as of Monday. Disney, Universal and SeaWorld closed last weekend. This means that everything fun in this city is officially closed. The I-Ride Trolley, is still running though (as Publix, CVS and Walgreens are still open)

Day 8: I spent the morning looking at apartment listings online. There are several new units available in both Baltimore and Bethlehem (PA) that are available within my timeframe… but they are not holding “open houses” nor can I schedule a “showing” due to the virus.

I spent the afternoon paying bills (because no-one else is going to) even though they legally cannot shut off my electricity/water service due to the quarantine. I also filled out the Census form online. It took slightly longer than they promised as I accidentally tossed the envelope with the “log-in” information. However, since I am the only person living at this address, it only took me about 10 minutes to complete.

Day 9: Woken up by landscaping crew (who usually work on Wednesdays) a full hour before my alarm went off. Also, “valet trash” is still being offered. Nice to see at least some things remain the same in these uncertain times.

I didn’t particularly want to do it after the disastrous delivery on Thursday, but I bought milk off Instacart (and due to their “minimum purchase” guidelines, I ended up buying a lot of junk too). While they didn’t have the kind of milk I wanted, everything else was in stock and the items arrived an hour ahead of schedule with zero notification from the app of this happening until the driver knocked on my door, but, then again, it did arrive, so I can’t complain…

Day 10: Next week is April 1st. Which means I need to find something fun to do that won’t piss off my followers (like, ahem, last year’s post). It also means I have to prepare one or more “Autis-meme” posts. I have more than enough memes for ten of those posts… but the truth is, I’d only curate them not because I “want” to but because it feels like I HAVE to. However, it is a nice change from constant virus coverage…

Speaking of change, I just received an email notifying me that the complex I’m renting at is going to be run by a different management company. That by itself isn’t necessarily bad news, but experience shows it’s rarely good news either. It’s also pretty strong motivation to keep up the apt search.

Day 11: Quite a lot of activity (and noise) on the sandlot at 8 o’clock this morning, pity it was a full hour before my alarm goes off. However, it will stop suddenly around 10am, and then nothing will happen for the rest of the week.

And I called it, so I went back to bed…which means I laid there uncomfortably staring at the ceiling with my eyes closed for about two hours wondering why: If I was so tired, why I wasn’t asleep? The same thing will happen tonight, but it will be for six hours.

Day 12: I ordered milk (and a few other things to meet minimum purchase price) off Instacart… which was good timing on my part as not only did I get my items in less than 2hrs, but, more importantly, I found out that their workers are planning a “general strike” on Monday for higher pay and actual health benefits – kind of important in times like this.

Also, Disney and LEGOLAND Florida have pushed back their opening dates until midway through the month. Meanwhile, Busch Gardens and SeaWorld are now closed “until further notice” and have furloughed 90% of their workers (possibly so they qualify for Unemployment benefits).

Day 13: Woke up today feeling like I had a moderate cold, but that seems to have at least partially cleared up since then. I don’t have a fever, so it could be allergies. The point is, I probably don’t have the virus. Even then, it’s not like I’m going anywhere this weekend anyway…

Categories: adventures, Advocacy\volunteer, apartment hunting, Autism, Coronavirus, disney world, florida, Health, Orlando, Orlando Eye, SeaWorld Orlando, Universal Studios, Williamsburg | Leave a comment

Bye-bye, Buttigieg

I was not a fan of former South Bend, IN Mayor Pete Buttigieg, but I honestly didn’t expect the candidate with the third highest number of delegates to drop out before Super Tuesday.

I just wasn’t.

The shock still hasn’t quite passed yet.

Not only is he the same age as I am, but he’s also the first openly gay presidential candidate and one of two veterans still in the race (the other being Tulsi Gabbard). He spoke multiple languages when I struggle with just two (English and German) and is a Rhodes Scholar with degrees from both Harvard and Oxford.

On paper, he’s the perfect man (though not necessarily my type), but his disappointing finishes in New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina meant his campaign wasn’t going anywhere despite his historic win in Iowa (undercut by news of the chaos of the caucuses) and having the third highest delegate count behind Bernie Sanders.

Who his 25 electoral delegates are going to wasn’t immediately clear (though he was in contact with former VP Joe Biden), but I’m hoping it’s his bitter, now ex rival Amy Klobuchar. Kill ‘em with kindness. It’s the most Midwestern thing to do. Plus, it almost makes her viable delegate wise… not that it matters as she’ll be out of the race come Wednesday, but it’s the thought that counts. Right?


Note: A version of this story originally appeared on my political blog, An Idiot in Florida.


Categories: Advocacy\volunteer, editorials, Gay rights, news, politics | 1 Comment

PSA: Remember to “like” my Facebook page as well

Remember to like my page on Facebook. Contrary to what this page implies, I’m actually quite friendly plus I have a slightly better response rate than I do here.

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Happy birthday, BSA

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Photo: Trying to listen

This is one of my pet peeves, when someone repeats themselves just as I’m about to answer them… just so I can process it all over again. 😒

“If you answered me the FIRST time, i wouldn’t have to repeat myself.” 🤦‍♂️

Categories: Advocacy\volunteer, Autism, cartoons\memes, holidays, sensory processing disorder | Leave a comment

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