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Announcement: New photo site is up!

It took longer than I thought, but I uploaded all my Theme Park\Travel photos to another site (and thus deleted them from this one). I haven’t ported over the opinions or commentaries just yet, but I will in the coming days as I have to do SOMETHING while waiting for my new camera (which I ordered on Saturday) to arrive.

The irony is: Once the new camera comes, I may begin experimenting with different types of other photography so I may end up posting less “theme park” (though I’m hoping to get at least a few in this summer), and more fashion\portraiture as I try out the new equipment and see what new interests I discover.

 

Update: I got an email this afternoon from Amazon saying the camera I ordered on Saturday is out of stock and thus my order was “cancelled.” I have ordered another camera from them while I was on there which they guarantee will arrive on Friday.

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Categories: announcements, news, photography | 1 Comment

Welcome new residents

Welcome, new resident(s). My name is Jonathan (yes, contrary to public belief, I am a man), and I’m the writer of this blog, and de facto mayor of the Uncanny Valley (mostly because no else wanted the job).

I don’t generally write this blog with the intention of other people reading it, but I’m glad you’re here because it means I’m not alone in this journey (though it often feels like it). I often post sad stories here, but I’m proud to say that don’t participate in the “outrage of the day” thing like other pages do (seriously, whenever an Autistic child\teen is beaten, raped or murdered, it’ll appear at least a dozen times on my FB “News Feed” so it’s not a huge loss on that front).

Speaking of FB, some of you found this blog through its corresponding FB page where I post funny, sarcastic and sometimes depressing memes there, but I’ve been making a conscious effort to post more positive images lately. I also post any photos of places\events that I don’t have enough “good” shots to create a full “gallery” around.

I’m not sorry for what I post here, and I stand by what I write. However, I hope you enjoy my entries about “Adulting” with Autism or as I like to call it: “Life in the Uncanny Valley.”

Categories: Advocacy\volunteer, announcements, Autism, job hunting, news, photography | 1 Comment

Editorial: Summer openings and other comments

Avatar Land – Disney has been REALLY hyping this area recently from the weeklong preview on The View (which I was actually there for part of) and weekly teaser videos on their blog (which they know will be picked up by other blogs and websites). What little I’ve seen of it looks great… without legions of strollers or EVCs in the camera’s way. I would have rather they found something a little closer to home (they already have rights to the Pokémon anime which is also fantasy\family friendly\HUGE built-in fan base and that they could’ve easily opened it 5 years ago for one tenth of the cost) but I’m still looking forward to riding their two main attractions… when the crowds thin a bit after their big summer season.

Frozen Games – Disney is bringing back last year’s popular sidekick event at their ice themed water park. I thought Frozen fever peaked about 2 years ago, but why waste a good theme. Besides, it sounds like it could be fun. #TeamKristoff

Star Wars Land – Is a full year away from opening and yet every line of every artist rendered teaser sketch is being picked apart for even the slightest new detail of the two lands. To say they are hyping these two areas is an understatement, but unlike Avatar Land, I think these fraternal twin projects will be a HUGE win for Disney.

Toy Story Land (which was supposed to open quickly to give guests “something to do” while waiting for SWL) – Nothing. No news, no rumors, nothing.

Volcano Bay – Universal’s replacement for the recently shuttered Wet ‘N Wild opens the same weekend as Avatar Land. I’m certainly excited (even though my apartment complex already has a pool), but I’ll wait until some of the inevitable early bugs in their system are worked out before commenting.

Categories: disney world, editorials, florida, news, Orlando, Universal Studios | Leave a comment

Opinion: “Wasted space at Disney”

Theme park Tourist recently posted (reposted from 2015) a story about the 5 biggest (in their opinion, not mine) “Wastes of Space” at WDW with a clickbait-y “literally” just for good measure. Of course, they cover the basics: Odyssey Restaurant (I’ll throw in Tomorrowland Terrace), Tomorrowland Speedway, The Outpost (which I always assumed was more “Australian” than “African,” but I digress), the abandoned Wonders of Life pavilion and Chester & Hester’s Dinorama (1000x YES!!!).

I agree that Dinorama is largely useless, but I’m not sold on their idea to tear it out and put in another thrill ride (since it covers roughly the same footprint as the nearby Dinosaur attraction). My suggestion would be to take out that and the Theatre of the Wild (and while their “Finding Nemo” show IS popular also takes up a HUGE amount of space in Dinoland USA) and replace it with an Australian themed exhibit (I’d say Antarctica, but that’s already taken).

Seriously, I haven’t been to The Boneyard so I cannot comment on it either way, but Dinosaur regularly has a wait of 45-60 minutes and “Finding Nemo” is usually packed. When was the last time you saw an actual line for either of the two carnival rides, eating at the trailer “diner” or anyone playing their noisy games. I can’t stand being in that area because it’s too frenetic and noisy, but the biggest nail in that area’s coffin is the ONE store in the land sells toys\apparel themed to Cars, Toy Story and even Star Wars (seriously)… but nada for The Good DINOSAUR (in a land themed to dinosaurs).

That brings us back to World Showcase. Yeah, Frozen Ever After is fun, and I love walking through the various pavilions… but what exactly does The Outpost do besides take up space? I don’t know if they have enough space there for a full pavilion or not but, surely, they can do better than leather bracelets, frozen colas and a bunch of drums for kids to bang.

I have a lot more thoughts, but it’s after midnight as I’m typing this. I may or may not get to posting the remainder of this reaction later this week.

 

Categories: adventures, disney world, editorials, florida, news, Orlando | 1 Comment

Minding the gap

I spent a good portion of the afternoon arguing with the agent from the dental insurance company whose policy starts tomorrow (required to complete my ACA order) to try and establish my “assigned dentist.”

Good grief, I can still remember trying to buy regular health insurance (the Golden Rule plan I’d be replacing) when I first moved to Maryland and before the aforementioned “Care Act” took effect. It was a nightmare (which I don’t feel like repeating here), but was still easier than signing up for Obamacare. Seriously, 20 different policies from TWO different companies PLUS I had to choose separate vision and dental plans – why have one monthly bill when you can have three?

No, you can’t skip these two steps – I tried, and ended up delaying coverage for about 2 weeks (and being woken up by phone calls at 9am every morning for said two weeks saying “it’s time to finish enrollment” which I thought was already taken care of). #endrant

Back to my original story: apparently, there is only ONE in the entire metro Orlando area () – even though there were AT LEAST four offices within a 20-minute bus ride of me which claimed they accepted plans from that company, but nope agent on the phone insisted there was only one in-plan dentist in a 25-mile radius “…unless you want the Premium Plan.”

Seriously considered telling him to forgot it as I really didn’t want the plan to begin with. The good news is: it gives me an excuse to switch practices (which you read about in my “dental” category). The bad news is: I’m on my own for finding it… as long as I’m willing to pay “a little bit extra” for another plan… and wait a full year before true coverage kicks in (so that extracted tooth – from LAST FEBRUARY – isn’t getting capped for another year).

But, hey, at least I get to call them back tomorrow…

Categories: Advocacy\volunteer, dentistry, editorials, Health, news, politics, ramblings | Leave a comment

Photo: What’s wrong with this picture?

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Hmm, maybe it’s the perspective.

Categories: Advocacy\volunteer, news, photography, politics | Leave a comment

Review: Epcot’s inaugural International Festival of the Arts

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First off, today is Saturday. I never go anywhere NEAR the parks on a Saturday unless I absolutely have to…or unless I’m super bored and the event only happens on weekends like the inaugural Epcot International Festival of the Arts.

Theme Park Tourist couldn’t recommend it highly enough – even going so far as to suggest making it a multi-day event for art\food lovers. I wouldn’t that far, but I do see it’s appeal… as a way to draw attendance to the park between the phenomenally popular Flower & Garden Show and the overpriced pub crawl know as Food & Wine Festival. Nothing wrong with that – Busch Gardens hosts its own Food & Wine Festival during their slow season.

The problem (and you knew I’d have one) is Disney is trying too hard to make what little they’re offering sound like a lot more than what it is (kind of Hollywood Studios). I’ve been to arts festivals in Miami (Beaux Arts), Harrisburg (Kipona), Baltimore (Artscape), Tampa (Gasperilla Festival of the Arts) and, yes, even Shamokin has one (Anthracite Heritage Festival of the Arts) and none of them were like this.

It’s like the people planning this had never been to an arts festival.

I get this is mainly about drawing people into the park so they can spend their money in DISNEY’S stores and restaurants (so no blocking paths leading to attractions or restaurants) so even though they also advertise this as a “culinary festival,” those tasty “seminars” were tucked safely behind Disney’s trademark paywall.

To be fair, this was one of the weak complaints TPT made of the event: Little food, big prices and long lines. At Artscape, I couldn’t walk 50 feet without running into a food vendor, here the closest thing to fest food was the existing Funnel Cake House at the American pavilion (and, yes, it had a line too). In fact, there were times where I completely forgot I was walking through an “Arts Festival” rather than an overcast day at Epcot.

As I was walking through the various “Art areas,” I noticed they were dominated by house booths with house merchandise. Don’t get me wrong, ALL of the festivals above had their own merch tents – Artscape had several of them spread throughout their festival – but they had other vendors there. Some of them varied in price\quality (see early years of Heritage Fest), but they weren’t all house booths.

Normally, I’d give them some slack for being an inaugural event, but this is DISNEY and I know they can do better than this. Well, there’s always next year…

Categories: adventures, art, disney world, editorials, entertainment, festivals, florida, news, Orlando, ramblings, retail | Leave a comment

Confession: I didn’t watch the inauguration

I used to post moderately conservative posts on this blog back at the beginning of the primaries in 2015 so it’s kind of embarrassing to say I didn’t get to watch the inauguration. It’s not that I was “protesting” or “boycotting” it…though I was planning on checking out that whole inaugural International Festival of the Arts at Epcot this afternoon.

Unfortunately, I didn’t do either.

I woke up at 5am with a dry throat and sore stomach and after I got some water and used the bathroom I went back to bed…and when I woke up: it was 1:30 in the afternoon! Too late to do anything about EITHER inaugural event, but at least I was feeling better so that’s good.

Fortunately, I’m not worried about the Epcot thing all that much as it’s going through the end of next month (and, truthfully, the ONLY reason I’m even considering going is because I don’t want to “waste” my AP). Eh, tomorrow’s another day…

 

Categories: disney world, florida, news, Orlando, politics, ramblings | Leave a comment

New Year’s resolution

I don’t generally make “resolutions” because I hate disappointing myself with promises I have no intention of keeping. However, I have decided to make a change to this blog starting today that will probably kill what’s left of my page views: No Disney, Universal or SeaWorld through at least the end of August if not later. This will force me to find NEW places to see and explore like Winter Park, Lake Mary, Downtown, Kissimmee. I might even spend an afternoon at Fun Spot or Magical Midway.

I have other plans that are still in the planning stages and I’m hesitant to reveal them now as I had to cancel LAST summer’s plans (a 3-week summer job and a 5-day volunteer job) due to a still unexplained stomach ailment that wreaked havoc on my body for 6 full months – and I didn’t even lose a single pound! That last part really frosts me as I was really looking forward to fitting into my old jeans again.

I am also looking into more volunteer and summer jobs – the former are for the immediate Orlando area which is difficult for since most of the opportunities are downtown – and I’m in Williamsburg\LBV area. As much as I’d love to spend six months helping the OSC (though working two or three 1-day events over same period would look better on my resume), I have no car, no friends with cars and I have found local cabbies to be unreliable at best. The latter is anywhere BUT Florida, however, I have extremely poor luck in this over the past few years, but I have hope that this year will be different.

Yes, THIS year will be different – and that regardless of what happens, is a resolution I plan to keep.

 

snoopy-goodyear

* HAPPY NEW YEAR *

Categories: Advocacy\volunteer, announcements, florida, holidays, job hunting, Orlando, photography | Leave a comment

Photos: New gravatars

Now that “Pokémon XY: The Series” is ending 😦 , I decided to try and create a new Gravatar and possible profile pic for the FB page. These are some of the characters I created for that exercise.

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The green one is out – as I figured it looked too much like the avatar of a certain Autism blogger (and site follower) who shares her screen name with a ubiquitous princess (whose various outfits are the bulk of this program).

 

Categories: cartoons\memes, entertainment, games, news, polls | Leave a comment

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