A spoopy half-day at SeaWorld

I just got back from a pleasant day at SeaWorld. Most of their rides and many of their restaurants were open (aside from a lack of pizza, they weren’t anywhere near as bad as Disney on the lack-of-food front), though most of their shows were scaled down considerably: “Dolphin Days” was 3x daily, now just one at 11am (and when it ends, that entire section of the park closes with it).

Yeah, closing a third of your park at noon is good for crowd control, but if your kid is a fan of dolphins, sting rays or turtles and you arrive at 1pm? Tough luck. Oh, and forget seeing their famous Sesame Street parade or their show in the Seaport Theatre as both are on hold due to COVID (though character M&Gs were still happening on the stoop in front of Bert/Ernie’s apartment building). “Pet’s Ahoy,” which usually takes over the afternoon slot at Seaport, is also dropped from the schedule.

Anyway, I spent the morning taking photos at the Turtle habitat (the viewing area was open, the ride was not, a trait it shared with their Artic and Antarctic exhibits – the latter having its food court closed as well, so no Asian food either!) before getting a quick lunch at the Seafire Grill. After that, I was there for the surprisingly crowded – and not socially distancing – rope drop for the rest of the park!

I’ve already seen their sea otter show and walked through their shark exhibit (it’s similar to SeaLife Aquarium on I-Drive), so the bulk of my time was spent trying to find a restroom in Sesame Street Land (I know there’s one there, I just don’t know where). You would think an “Autism Certified” park would make Sesame’s sole Autistic neighbor slightly easier to find, but, noooo, she was relegated to half of ONE shelf in a dark corner in the verrrrrrry back of their gift shop. I mean I really had to search to find her.

(her stuffed toy, Fluffster, got more shelf space than she did)

That being said, their “Kooky and Spooky Halloween Maze” was kinda cute (and not at all “spooky,” lol), but the REAL maze was trekking through their Wild Artic queue on the way to the animal enclosures. I tried getting pictures of the walruses, seals and beluga whales… but none of them seemed willing to cooperate with my camera phone. They had some nice t-shirts and board shorts in the “sale” rack in the artic gift shop though.

The main path back to the exit was closed (as they are using it for their weekend “Trick-or-Treat Trail”), so I had to backtrack a bit to get back to the main shopping hub, but from there I could take the shortcut back to the entrance area. I grabbed a medium Starbucks coffee and a large cookie and made my way out the gate – all before my watch chimed 2pm.

Categories: adventures, Autism, Coronavirus, florida, Health, holidays, Orlando, SeaWorld Orlando | Leave a comment

I can’t go home again

Today (Tuesday, more likely Thurs) was the day I was planning on going back to Pennsylvania to visit my family and tour my estranged brother’s now fully approved projects. I could also drive past my grandmother’s newly painted house (it’s supposedly blue now, but I can’t link to a picture of it), check-in with the pizza place that is moving in below my old apartment, volunteer at St John’s Rummage Sale and take some photos at Knoebels Amusement Resort.

None of that is happening… at least, not yet.

Apparently, Pennsylvania, which has not fully reopened yet, has a 14-day quarantine on visitors from high risk places like NY, NJ, or Florida (though Florida’s infection rates are down and the state hasn’t seen a death from the disease in two straight days).

I guess there’s still Thanksgiving and Christmas to look forward to (assuming they aren’t cancelled too) but, as much as I want to see my nieces/nephews, I don’t particularly trust a rushed, politicized vaccine. Heck, I know some people who don’t trust vaccines at all (yeah, forget Measles, Mumps, Diphtheria, or Polio – we all know Autism is the absolute WORST thing that can happen to your child).

I guess this gives me time to plan a Disney or Universal photo trip this weekend (as I love fall at Disney). I know Universal isn’t hosting HHN this year, but they do have two pop-up daytime haunted houses – which IMMEDIATELY “sold out” for the entire day when they opened! If I thought SeaWorld was decorating for the season, I’d go there, but they aren’t… and I was just at Disney last month (though some less budget conscious sites post new photos daily).


PS: I wasn’t thinking about this when I was writing this last night, but Happy First Day of Fall!

Categories: adventures, Advocacy\volunteer, Autism, coal region, Coronavirus, family, florida, Health, holidays, lehigh valley, Orlando, Pennsylvania, Williamsburg | Leave a comment

Memory: Feed the beast

This post originally appeared on my Facebook page two years today: Sept 9, 2018. The markings in red are my current stats. The beast must be fed…

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

Many traumatic returns

I had an extremely rude driver coming back from a soggy week at Disney and his yelling is still playing on loop in my head (despite my best efforts to make it stop – “Let It Go,” “You’re Welcome,” how ‘bout “Hakuna Matata?” Damn, this is serious).

Anyway, I returned this morning from Disney Springs around 10:21am. I was tired and my feet were burning in my sandals, but I was going home and could finally rest in a room that was above freezing. But first, I went to the ride-share pickup at the Marketplace (behind Earl of Sandwich).

I waited about ten minutes and a quiet but seemingly friendly Lyft driver showed up and agreed to take me back to my apartment.

Now, for the sake of the story, I must explain that Google Maps shows my apartment complex as being in the center of itself. So the directions it gives are to the fountain in the middle of the lake (because the algorithm can’t tell between a path and a road).

There’s also a residents’ gate which leads to a road making a “confusing” loop around ten buildings (which confuses GPS systems because they all use the same street name) and a rather prominent main building at the end of a short circle outside of said gate.

Which one do you think it’s easier to have them drop me off at? Which address do I put in as my destination address? Now, which way do 6/10 Lyft drivers – including this one – invariably chose?

“Oh, wow,” my driver exclaimed as if he had just made the scientific discovery of the century. “There is gate! I go through it!!”

“Um, where are you going,” I asked him as he shot through the gate before I could stop him.

“My GPS says go through gate,” he said with a laugh and a slight shrug, “so, we go through gate!!”

I get that a LOT from drivers. It gets really tiresome – especially since I’m ALWAYS the bad guy even though I’M the one getting cursed out… for making their lives easier.

Part of the problem is the Lyft app doesn’t automatically tell drivers when they reach the location. They assume their drivers are smart enough to figure that out on their own – that’s why the round pink button is on their screen. They don’t like it when I point that out to them.

“Except I wanted to be dropped off back there.”


As contrary to what most people think, yes, I’m deserving of respect… so even though I was scared shitless – terrified really – if I cowered and submitted to him like the sobbing piece of shit I was inside, he would just become MORE abusive.

I don’t didn’t tell you to go through the gate,” I said, trying very hard not to shout. “You did that on your own.”

“MY GPS SAYS GO THROUGH GATE WE GO THROUGH GATE!! PERIOD,” he shouted, turning around and pointing his finger in my face threateningly. “THIS IS MY CAR (which sounded more like a low, deep snarl than a word) AND I WILL NOT HAVE DISRESPECT IN IT!!”


I DO WHAT GPS TELLS ME,” he shouted over me (making my ears hurt), before making a lower volume gesture with his arm (because if anyone is entitled to be mad here, it’s him). “NOW, TELL ME WHAT UNIT YOU IN OR GET THE FUCK OUT OF CAR, YOU FUCKING STUPID ASSHOLE!!!!”

He then angrily pulls up to the nearest open parking space, opens the door and unceremoniously tosses me to the curb. Five stars and a maximum tip? Oh hell no, I reported his ass to customer service.

As I stood there wondering what just happened, I found myself repeating parts of the conversation aloud (I thought I was merely thinking it), and I hear “GO TO HELL,” as my former driver sped off…

That was three hours ago, and as you can guess, yes, I’m still bothered by it. To be honest, I’d rather not ride Lyft again, but I don’t have a choice in the matter. Walking can only take me so far…

Categories: Ablism, adventures, Autism, disney world, florida, Orlando, Rideshare, transportation, weather, Williamsburg | Leave a comment

Photos: Periodic construction update

The noise is considerably less than it was last month, but it’s still bad at times with hammering and sawing (particularly in the morning)… but it’s not enough to shake the whole apartment like it was earlier in Quarantine.

Categories: Autism, Coronavirus, florida, Health, Orlando, photography, Williamsburg | Leave a comment

Photos: Wordless with friends

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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

Photos: Autism Crossing

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Photos: Wordless Wednesday

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Mid-month memes

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

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