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Monday, 17 January 2011, 0451
The day after we went to the Orlando Predators game, Mom and Ross took me to Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge for drinks, dinner and the chance to photograph the animals and property. The Jambo House hotel resort opened in April 2001 on a 43-acre wildlife preserve and expanded in May 2009 to include a separate and adjacent timeshare property called Kidani Village, which we did not visit. We arrived in the afternoon and started out by walking through the western guest room wing known as Kudu Trail.
Besides the actual guest rooms, the numerous exterior stairways provide some of the best places to watch the animals. In addition, there are several indoor and outdoor viewing areas and partially windowed corridors. From Kudu Trail vantage points overlooking Sunset Savanna, one of the three semi-unique outdoor environments, we observed Somali Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata), White-bearded Wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus), Rüppell's Vulture (Gyps rueppellii), Ankole-Watusi Cattle (Bos taurus africanus), Blesbok (Damaliscus pygargus phillipsi) and—although not part of the exhibit, a resident nonetheless—a Paper Wasp (Polistes fuscatus).
Jambo House's main lobby is a large, open room filled with African art and ornately decorated architectural elements. A suspension bridge above the lobby offers great views of the space below as well as out the large window overlooking the Arusha Rock Savanna Overlook. We next walked outside to the Uzima Pool to sit and enjoy a few delicious frozen rum runners at the Uzima Springs Pool Bar. The well-made beverages were refreshing but the fresh pineapple garnishes particularly stood out, so much that I mentioned it to the bartender who in turn gave me a stack of wedges.
Moving on from the bar, we took in more wildlife at the nearby Uzima Savanna Overlook including Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus), Common Eland (Taurotragus oryx) and—another wild visitor not part of the exhibit—a Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus). Afterward we traveled through the Zebra Trail eastern guest room wing toward the exterior stairways and viewing areas of Arusha and Uzima Savannas. There we saw Grant's Zebra (Equus quagga boehmi), Red River Hogs (Potamochoerus porcus), Waterbuck (Kobus ellipsiprymnus) and Thomson's Gazelle (Eudorcas thomsonii).
Four hours and 280 shots into the day, we decided to eat at one of the three dining facilities offering traditionally inspired foods: Boma–Flavors of Africa restaurant. The buffet-style open kitchen features a wood-fire rotisserie grill and a large dining area that approximates an African marketplace. I made two plates of food and enjoyed everything I tried except one item. I had planned to drink East African Breweries' Tusker Beer but it was surprisingly unavailable. Although I did not sample them, a plate of desserts did look interesting.
Following dinner, we returned to Arusha Rock Savanna Overlook and saw Pink-backed Pelicans (Pelecanus rufescens) and other animals. When it was too dark to take pictures, we went back to Uzima Savanna Overlook and used night vision goggles to watch the animals in nocturnal mode. Of the 365 total images captured, I processed and posted 98 to the Animal Kingdom Lodge set. It was a fun trip, one that I was a little surprised to enjoy so much considering the typically fantasy aspect of Disney properties, but the creature watching and traditionalistic elements were a delight.
|Add Comment||The Animal Kingdom Lodge | http://mtsutro.org?p=967|
Local Orlando Personal Photography Travel
Monday, 10 January 2011, 0724
Opening its doors after two years of construction on 29 January 1989, the Orlando Arena was home to seven sporting teams and provided space for numerous concerts and special events. It closed on 30 September 2010 after twenty-one years, eight months and two days of operation, replaced by Amway Center three-quarters of a mile to the south.
My most memorable experiences at the facility, later known as TD Waterhouse Centre, The arena in Orlando and finally Amway Arena, were the times I performed with the band and assisted with A/V equipment during three Lake Brantley High School graduation ceremonies not to mention my own graduation there. A few of those years, I also produced the program distributed to graduates and guests.
I remember the long corridors below the seating where athletes and musicians would walk from the locker and green rooms to the main floor. For events during hockey season, they covered the ice with a composite material that did little to contain the cold, much to the chagrin of anyone spending time on it.
Someone once offered me a tour of the catwalk and rafters, but they unfortunately changed employers before I could take them up on it. I did have a chance to operate the MagicVision jumbotron once though, but it was a little anticlimactic as the control room was nowhere in sight of the large display.
The final sporting event to take place at the O-Rena occurred on 24 July 2010 when the Orlando Predators hosted the Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz, teams in the Arena Football League. I was there tailgating with family and friends before watching the Predators trounce the Yard Dawgz, 49–21. The last event ever was held sixty-eight days later, a performance by dancers from some television show called So You Think You Can Dance.
Although officially replaced the next day by Amway Center, the demolition date for Amway Arena is yet unscheduled. A statement by Alex Martins of Orlando Magic management indicates it should occur sometime this year. Once razed, the arena's land will be redeveloped into Creative Village, a mixed-use office, residential, education, retail and entertainment zone.
|1 Comment||The Orlando Arena | http://mtsutro.org?p=966|
Local Orlando Personal Photography Sports and Recreation
Saturday, 20 February 2010, 2011
Stepping outside the office to take a break on a not-so-cold day about a month ago, I noticed a co-worker's sweater had a familiar logo on it. Most people, the wearer included, would immediately recognize the logo as that of the New England Patriots North American football franchise.
This was not my first thought, however, as my former high school sometimes uses the very same logo. Lake Brantley High School in Altamonte Springs, Florida, is home of the Patriots, where they used to "meet the challenge" but now apparently "make the difference."
While the mascot, school seal and other official materials contain original works of art, the New England Patriots head logo and script typeface "Patriots" are/were featured on athletic uniforms, t-shirts, websites and documents. I explained all this to my co-workers and wondered how this never resulted in a lawsuit for trademark infringement.
I suppose it is not outside the realm of possibility the National Football League decided not to take action because it was a high school, not to mention one with a well-established football program. Then again, of those copyright and trademark holders most inclined to sue I would think the NFL would rank highly.
The Tale of Two Patriots: New England (left) and Lake Brantley High
When I was at Lake Brantley (1995–1999) the registrar was Regina Klaers, a kind and professional woman with whom I was fortunate to know. She was promoted to the County level before I graduated, but I made a point to stop and visit her from time to time.
She has no idea1, but she just answered this long running question for me in a one-sentence quote in the Orlando Sentinel: "The NFL does not have a problem with schools using the logos as long as there are limitations on it." The same article goes on to note that as long as no competition is involved with NFL licensed firms, "teams often are happy to have high schools emulate them."
The quote was prompted by a recent situation involving Lake Mary High School, home of the Rams. For reasons past understanding, Lake Brantley has long been high school rivals with Lake Mary. I remember their logo being a bighorn sheep standing with the word "Rams" in script below it. They still use this version apparently but a few years ago started using the Dodge ram head logo on uniforms, benches and even the gym floor.
Tipped off by an anonymous citizen, Chrysler sent a cease and desist letter to Seminole County Public Schools and threatened to sue. The district decided to comply, intelligently concluding the financial resources could be better spent on students then on a hopeless legal battle, and Lake Mary must eliminate the infringing logo by the end of the school year.
Two Rams Not Better Than One: Dodge (left) and Lake Mary High
In response to criticism over their move, Chrysler spokesman Mike Palese told the Sentinel, "it is a course of action we have to take to protect our trademark rights. If we don't approach these kinds of things with dilligence [sic]2, we can lose our trademark rights."
Interestingly enough, Chrysler will stop using this logo itself in 2010 opting instead for a text-only logo. Quickly working to distinguish corporate decisions from their family owned and operated dealership, Orlando Chrysler Jeep Dodge has offered to redesign the Lake Mary logo for free. In the meantime, the old bighorn sheep just have to do.
2 It seems the Tallahassee Democrat is not the only newspaper to forego spell checking.
|2 Comments||The Patriot and the Ram | http://mtsutro.org?p=932|
Local Orlando Personal Typography & Logos
Sunday, 16 August 2009, 1003
My step father's barbering skills have once again received attention by the local press. A recent article in the West Orange Times features Ross Nichelson and the new barbering program he started teaching at Westside Tech.
By Edith Mosley
Thursday, 28 May 2009
Westside Tech announced it has opened a complete barbering program. The 1,200-hour program has open registration, is now accepting students and will be open for the summer.
"We need more trained barbers to meet the need of the Central Florida public," said Ross Nichelson, Westside Tech instructor. "After all, from the first haircut as a toddler, through our teens, to the polished cuts worn by business men and women, our hair styles mark our changing ideas and visions. Pair our technical skills with listening to our customers, asking the right questions and coming up with a result that makes everyone happy, and it's a great way to earn a living."
The barbering program covers cutting, shaping, trimming and tapering hair using clippers, scissors, comb and blowout gun. Hair contouring, using a razor on temple and neck, is taught. Additional skills like lathering the face, trimming moustaches, shaving beards and massaging face, neck or scalp are mastered.
"Most of the skills found in the cosmetology field are included in this program," said Nichelson. "The legal differences in Florida between the programs are that cosmetologists may not use a razor against the skin, so shaving is out. On the other hand, barbers cannot do acrylic nails."
Students must pass the Florida State Barber Board exam for licensure before working in the field. Preparation for the exam is included in the course curriculum. Students attending class full time can complete the 1,200-hour program in one year.
"There are two ways to go for licensure," Nichelson said. "A regular licensure requires mastery of all of the competencies. However, a person may seek a restricted licensure, limiting the services he or she may deliver. That's a little shorter program."
Nichelson has owned his own barber shop in Winter Park since 1986. He serves as a State Barber Board examiner for Florida and hopes one day to sit as a member of the board.
Financial assistance might be available for full time attendance. Visit Westside Tech's campus at 955 E. Story Road in Winter Garden, or call 407-905-2000 for more information.
Westside Tech is a vocational division of Orange County Public Schools with a wide selection of job preparation and academic programs for adult and secondary students. Ross' barbering program is a part of Westside's Human Services section, which also includes courses for cosmetologists, facials/skin care specialists and manicurists/pedicurists.
Ross' last mention in the news came in the form of a delightful commentary published in 2003 by the Orlando Sentinel. When not instructing at Westside Tech or giving his trademark flattops at Joe's B.S., Ross enjoys woodworking, classic tools and travel.
|1 Comment||The Barbering Program | http://mtsutro.org?p=916|
Local Orlando Personal
Saturday, 17 January 2009, 2128
I spent several hours on the telephone this afternoon with my friend Marc who is currently in California on business. When not working near Sacramento, he has been spending time in San Francisco where his friend Danny moved a few years ago. Knowing my affinity for the city, he has been calling me from various locations to let me know how cool something is or to get directions and hours of operation.
Today's call was to let me know he was finally embarking on a journey to Twin Peaks, to see the view of the city I recommended and to take pictures of Sutro Tower and the vista for me. As I joined in, Marc and Danny were heading south on Castro Street between 14th Street and 15th Street, where Marc expressed his surprise and displeasure that numbered streets while consecutive are not necessarily exclusive, as in this case where Henry Street comes in-between.
Acting as navigator, I launched Google Maps Street View and could see (basically) what they were seeing. Marc kept me apprised as to their progress naming off intersecting roads as they went. After heading down into the Castro looking for a photo shop that has apparently closed, they backtracked and headed west on 17th Street.
Marc reminds me of the stairway I saw on the map while planning this little trek last week and asks how to get there. To my knowledge, there was nothing special about it, a typical San Franciscan residential stairway connecting Ord Street to Levant Street, but Marc and I were both amused at the name Vulcan Stairway. As they ascended the stairs, Marc and Danny encountered someone who lives there. The nice woman said she is the oldest resident on the Vulcan Stairway, living there for some twenty-six years now.
Following Levant to Lower Terrance, down Saturn Street and finally to Temple Street, the duo is back on track, continuing on 17th toward Clayton Street where Twin Peaks Boulevard begins. As they begin the final ascent, I assure Marc and Danny the trip will be worth it and that little previews of the outlook to come will pepper the route. Passing Raccoon Drive and Burnett Avenue, stopping to take pictures as they go, they decide to take a page from my past and detour. Instead of following the winding path of Twin Peaks Boulevard to the summit, it is possible to climb up to the observation point on Christmas Tree Point Road if you are careful.
They made it without incident and agreed that it was worth it, albeit questioning why they did not simply take the car. I am told the sun made things more difficult for some Sutro Tower shots, but Marc did get some good ones from Twin Peaks, as well as of the rest of the city. I am looking forward to his return to Tallahassee so we can chat and look at the pictures. Having been a part of this experience remotely, the images will round things out nicely. I will update this article with the photos as soon as I have them and no doubt include a few new Sutro Tower pictures on its site.
In a final virtual moment, Marc had Danny take this picture of us at Sutro Tower together—I was saying "hello" over the telephone at the time. Better still, I will have the chance to relive this journey in person when I take my own trip to the bay area this year. Having been one decade since my last vacation to San Francisco following my graduation from high school, I decided recently it was about time.
The tentative schedule has me depart Tallahassee in the early morning on Thursday, 21 May 2009, connecting through Memphis—intentional after my positive layover there on "The Day Trip" to Las Vegas—and arriving at San Francisco International after 1100 PDT. I will head back after noon on Wednesday, 27 May 2009, change planes again in Memphis and get back home just before 2200 EDT.
To save money, I will be using my frequent flyer miles with Northwest Airlines to book my seats. I will have to pay only $187 to make up for the 5,246 WorldPerks miles I lack toward the needed 25,000. And thanks to the generosity of my friend Ernie, I will be staying at his Mission District apartment to save on a hotel room. With those two essentials taken care of, I can focus on saving for my time there. I am not going to get too excited yet as I have been here before, making and cancelling plans a few times over the years. There should be nothing to stop me from going this time though and as soon as I book my flights in the next week or two, I will know it is for real.
|5 Comments||The Remote Experience | http://mtsutro.org?p=663|
Arts Local Orlando Personal Photography Sutro Tower Travel
Sunday, 10 February 2008, 1108
After I graduated high school in 1999, I was still on campus doing technical and administrative work as an OPS employee for Seminole County Public Schools. During the course of my normal duties one day, I happened upon stacks and stacks of old textbooks destined for the great book in the sky.
When I spotted copies of my American History textbook used by teacher and friend William Dempsey, I asked permission to take one. My request was denied because each book is returned to the publisher for credit, but I was allowed to tear out one page.
When Erik and I discovered in class the graphic and caption about President Andrew Jackson's big block of cheese, we were highly amused. It quickly became a matter of reference in conversation with our friends. When I found the books, I could think of no better high school memento than this graphic and quickly scanned the souvenir once home.
Thanks to two episodes of The West Wing—season one's "The Crackpots and These Women" and season two's "Somebody's Going to Emergency, Somebody's Going to Jail"—Jackson's cheese gained popular notoriety.
"Jackson's Great Cheese Levee" by Benjamin Perley Poore, 1886
(Click to Enlarge) President Andrew Jackson thought of himself as the "Tribune of the People," and symbolized this by throwing a White House party that anyone could attend. Hundreds of people showed up and ate or carried away most of a 1,400-pound block of cheese.
In the context of The West Wing, White House Chief of Staff Leo McGarry semi-regularly instructs members of his staff to take meetings with special interest groups and individuals who would not normally receive personal attention from the White House, like the Organization of Cartographers for Social Equality who discuss the Gall-Peters projection map. Each Big Block of Cheese Day as it is known usually starts with an introduction by McGarry.
"President Andrew Jackson in the main foyer of his White House had a big block of cheese. The block of cheese was huge—over two tons—and it was there for any and all who might be hungry. Jackson wanted the White House to belong to the people, so from time to time, he opened his doors to those who wished an audience. It is in the spirit of Andrew Jackson that I, from time to time, ask senior staff to have face-to-face meetings with those people representing organizations who have a difficult time getting our attention. I know the more jaded among you see this as something rather beneath you. But I assure you that listening to the voices of passionate Americans is beneath no one, and surely not the people's servants."
I am pleased and entertained so many people are interested in this small fact from our nation's history and hope this fictional idealism has a place in our government.
Original Art Credit: Benjamin Perley Poore
|1 Comment||The Big Block of Cheese | http://mtsutro.org?p=404|
Local Orlando Media News & Politics Personal
Thursday, 13 July 2006, 2350
After completing a routine read-through of my bookmarks, I moved on to Wikipedia in search of a few topics I had read about and found interesting earlier. I am not entirely sure of the six degrees of separation involved, but I eventually found myself reading about the music industry.
After a few more hops, I came upon an Associated Press article from 09 July 2006. It stated that music album sales in the United States were down 4.2 percent (12 million albums) in the first half of 2006, while online music sales surged 77 percent during the same period.
Those are some interesting figures, considering we are regularly told that free (illegal) file sharing mediums are negatively impacting album sales. I would like to know if those unsold 12 million albums were actually purchased in the form of the 281 million singles or the 14 million full-length albums downloaded.
Regardless, the article's prominent header graphic—as inserted by the publisher, canada.com, where I happened to be reading the above—was the soundtrack album cover for the Disney Channel movie High School Musical. In a one sentence mention it is said this album was the best selling so far this year, pushing 2.6 million copies.
Back at Wikipedia, I browsed the page about this soundtrack whose music was apparently quite popular. At a glance, it appears to be exactly as you would expect: pop fluff for kids.
The "Mainstream success" segment of the page detailed music chart histories, online sales figures and other statistics. From these tables of data it popped out at me like a familiar stranger does, walking toward then past.
Listed as singer on multiple tracks was Andrew Seeley. It seemed possible that the person that popped into my mind could be one and the same. I searched for the name and in doing so discovered my original inclination was correct.
Many of the details are long washed away, but I remember when Andrew Seeley started at Lake Brantley High School. He made himself popularly known through his thespian performances and general sociality. I knew him mostly due to the close relationship between the Drama and Band departments, the latter of which I partook.
It was amusing to watch a pack of giddy sixteen year old girls frothing as the so-called hot newbie from Canada passed in the corridor. From our limited interaction, he seemed like a nice enough guy filled with motivation and budding talent. And a nice smile, as I recall.
It seems the exhibitions I witnessed were indeed a prelude to more, as he has done some Hollywood acting, released original music, performed a live tour and played a hand in several other ventures, including the disc that indirectly brought these memories to the surface.
I found it interesting to note that of the cited Lake Brantley performances in Andrew's IMDb biography—Into the Woods, Gypsy, Once Upon A Mattress, The Miracle Worker and The Merchant of Venice—I remember having seen them all. Not due to a secret love for stage shows, mind you, but in doing sound booth work and the support of my friends, both on stage and in the pit.
I suppose if someone can go from one red paperclip to a house in fourteen trades, I should not be shocked to randomly stumble upon someone I once knew, if only barely. I do find it refreshing to learn that some people are doing what they want, what they have wanted to do from an early age, and are succeeding.
|3 Comments||The Familiar Stranger | http://mtsutro.org?p=380|
Arts Local Orlando Media Personal
Saturday, 24 December 2005, 0000
Within the next few minutes I will be off to Orlando for the holiday weekend. I may check my e-mail in the duration, but there are no guarantees. Additionally, new articles will not be available until Tuesday or Wednesday despite a few recently received complaints about my fluctuating posting behaviour.
With me heading south into the night shall travel Russ, who has been staying with me for that last two months. I am sorry to ferry her back four hours away from my contact, but it is in her best interests given the assortment of medical issues common to a cat of her years — seventeen as of November. I will have to make a special effort to pop back to Orlando soon so that I can visit with her again.
Generally speaking, I am in a state of disbelief over the fact that Christmas is only one day away. It seems impossible that it has been one year since I left my last job. Or that it has been now three months, twenty-five days since I moved to Tallahassee and started my job with the government.
Time is an interesting character, indeed.
|3 Comments||The Holiday | http://mtsutro.org?p=370|
Local Local Orlando Personal Travel