Archive for January, 2006

Search Continues for Missing UCF Grad

Today marks the seventh day since anyone has seen or heard from 2003 UCF graduate Jennifer Kesse, 24, who vanished late last Monday night.

Cell-phone records indicate that Kesse’s last phone conversation was with her boyfriend Robert Allen, 29, of Fort Lauderdale, at about 10 p.m. Monday. Kesse did not show up for work on Tuesday, and her black Chevrolet Malibu was found Thursday, abandoned on the side of the road about a mile away from the Mosaic at Millenia condominium complex where she lives.

A police bloodhound was able to follow the scent of whoever left Kesse’s car beside the road all the way back to Kesse’s home. Police won’t say whether they found any clues in her car.

Police are also studying surveillance video from near Kesse’s condo, where they reported finding no sign of struggle, for clues in Kesse’s disappearance.

More @ Central Florida Future

The reward for information leading to the solving of the case increased to $115,000 after a private donor offered up $100,000. If anyone has information that may be useful please call Crimeline at (800) 423-TIPS (8477) immediately.

Theme Park Wars?!?!

Yesterday Universal announced that they are allowing free admission to children nine and under with any adult purchasing a two-day ticket over the internet.

This comes on the heels of a report that Universal saw an 8.5% decrease in attendance last year. Which, seems odd to me. I have family who work in the theme park industry and they talked about how many records they were breaking, in many different areas… including attendance. Clearly these family members don’t work at Universal. Maybe Universal is just having an off year with tourists running out of days/time/money to do every park.

Or … maybe some other parks are really trying to corner the market as it were and get tourists to stay at their hotels, stay in their parks and keep them all to themselves. It will be interesting to see what happens to attendance at Universal with this new offer. For families, it might be too good to pass up!

Hog n’ Dogs.

From Sploid

Cops bust up hog-dog ring in Seminol County

Police in Florida have broken up a massive hog dogging ring operating in Seminole.

The barbaric “sport” pits a de-husked boar against one or more dogs in a 25-foot by 25-foot pen until one is triumphant.

As is typically the case in these monstrous practices, the only winner is the sadistic owner of the last animal to die, with purses often exceeding a $1,000.

The investigation into the International Catchdog Association run by Art Parker and Mary Luther goes back to October of 2004.

It was then that police received a tip that the couple was running these horrific bloodsports. Undercover agents videotaped the carnage. Last year the couple was arrested when a raid of their home revealed 95 dogs, 15 hogs and an undisclosed amount of marijuana.

Their lawyer convinced the court they were simple dog trainers who liked to unwind occasionally. Each was fined $100 for possession.

Now it appears that police finally have enough evidence to make the charges against Parker, Luther and five others stick.

But Luther is unrepentant. She dismisses the charges as “domestic terrorism.”

“I’m not going to be a vegan. I still believe in hunting on earth,” she said in a telephone interview, adding that the hog-dog fights are “no more cruel than when I do bird hunting with my dogs.”

More arrests are pending.

And people wonder why pitbulls constantly receive marred reputations as killers and dangerous animals. It’s not the dogs fault that they have inbred owners. Good ol’ Florida, placing itself once again on the map of dumb. Yoo!

January Meetup

Hello Metroblogging Community! Every last Friday of the month, the authors and any readers who care to join us meet up for a few hours of drinks, dinner and conversation.

This month’s meetup will be held at the Altamonte Springs Bennigan’s on 436 near I-4. We plan to meet at 8pm. We invite and welcome any and all readers, commenters, authors or wanna be authors to our shin dig and hope to put some faces with the names.

We’ll look for you there!

Otronicon

Flight SimulatorWhat can be more fun to a video gamer but an all you can play, 10-day convention? Well, it’s called Otronicon, and it’s happening now at the Orlando Science Center.

This past Saturday I decided to stop by for a few hours, and found that it was so much more than I originally expected. There’s gaming competitions, LAN parties, tournaments, several wonderful flight simulators -one of which takes you over Orlando, and you can even recognize several landmarks. Among the simulators, there were also Military and Commercial ones, like Lockheed-Martin, which were very interesting. Imagine playing a video game on that gigantic CineDome screen!

Storm TrooperI found and played several of my old classics, like Ms. PacMan and Galaga (my favorite!), as well as Star Wars Racer and Battlefront II -I even caught a picture of a StormTrooper- and Halo 2. I even found a new favorite for myself, Dance Dance Revolution (DDR). I spoke briefly with a yound man about the game, since it had piqued my interest, and when I got home I found out that his name is Alex Jebailey, and he’s a DDR world record contender. Had I known it was him, I would’ve asked more questions, even perhaps an interview, some more pictures… ah, you know me. Perhaps I’ll still get a chance this upcoming weekend?

DDR

Otronicon is definitely an experience for the entire family. However, it’s not all about games, well, it is, just not all entirely about playing. You can enjoy some of the most wonderful Digital Art I have ever seen. In addition, the entire event is geared toward education. Yes, games can also be about learning! Throughout the entire week, workshops are being offered (you need to sign up), presented by Full Sail Real World Education. Among them, some of the most interesting ones to me are that of Digital Drawing and Painting, 3D Animation, and Game Design. DAVE School also had a presentation set up, a most wonderful motion capture; my thanks to Richard J. Dixon, Digital Animator there for DAVE School, for the information he made available and the time he spent with me. I’ve found another way to take my art to a new and very exciting level!

I had so much fun, I’m planning on attending again next weekend. I hope to see you there!

Annual FX Show Brings Collectors and Celebrities To Orlando

fxshow.jpgThe annual FX Show gets even bigger this year, with a move to a new Orlando location and a guest list spanning movies, tv and books.

The FX Show is a huge three-day show featuring hundreds of dealers offering up prime collectibles spanning entertainment memorabilia to vintage toys to anime collectibles.

This year, the show runs Friday, January 27 to Sunday, January 29, and has moved to the Central Florida Fairgrounds to allow for even more tables and guest capacity.

During the event, there will also be many celebrities on hand signing autographs and occasionally taking photos with the guests. This year, the FX Show has invited the following to Orlando:

Alan Tudyk (Wash on “Firefly”)
Summer Glau (River on “Firefly”)
David Carradine (Bill from the Kill Bill films)
Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca from the Star Wars series)
Timothy Zahn (author of several Star Wars novels)
several stars from the Harry Potter films, including Stanislav Ianevski (Viktor Krum)
and many more (please visit the website for the complete list).

Tickets are available in increments from a single day pass for only $10 to a full three-day pass for $35. Autograph tickets will be for sale at the event for each celebrity, but for those who want it all, the VIP Full Access Package not only includes all the autographs and special show collectibles, but an invitation to the Guest dinner on Saturday evening, for the price of $495.

All attendees purchasing a pass will also be allowed entrance to the special FX Rocks party being held Saturday evening at the Hard Rock Live.

To purchase advance tickets, or for more information on the FX Show, including information on hotels for those traveling to Orlando for the event, please visit the show’s website at www.fxshow.com.

Florida’s Highwaymen.

Florida’s Highwaymen @ The Orange County History Center

Captivating visitors through bold strokes of dramatic color depicting Florida’s natural beauty; this retrospective exhibition will display over 60 paintings from the original nine Florida Highwaymen. FLORIDA’S HIGHWAYMEN: Legendary Landscapes highlights an important part of Florida’s twentieth century cultural history and explores the stories of a group of young, untrained African-American landscape painters that emerged from the small Florida town of Fort Pierce in the late 50s and 60s. The paintings in the exhibition represent a fascinating story that reflects on the triumphs of a group of artists from the segregated South who overcame the great odds that prevented Florida’s Highwaymen from working with traditional art galleries and forced them to travel throughout the state selling their paintings out of the trunks of their cars. Telling the story of ingenuity and entrepreneurship, FLORIDA’S HIGHWAYMEN exhibit unfolds the secrets of perseverance in the face of societal limitations.

The Highwaymen introduces a group of young black artists who painted their way out of the despair awaiting them in citrus groves and packing houses of 1950s Florida. As their story recaptures the imagination of Floridians and their paintings fetch ever-escalating prices, the legacy of their freshly conceived landscapes exerts a new and powerful influence on the popular conception of the Sunshine State.

The exhibit runs from January 19th thru April 5th. For an information flyer worth $2.00 off the admission price come by Barnes & Noble on East Colonial and ask for one at the information desk. Also don’t forget to check out the Florida’s Highwaymen book currently available at a bookstore near you to learn more about this piece of Florida history.

Wanna Lose Weight on TV?

biggestloserlogo.jpgNBC’s hit weight loss show “The Biggest Loser” is holding auditions for the next season in Orlando on Saturday, January 28.

If you feel that appearing on this show with a chance to win $250,000 appeals to you, then show up at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville at Universal Orlando, with a photo ID (driver’s license, etc.). Casting directors from the show will be seeing potential contestants between 11am and 4pm. I expect the lines to start way before that and the casting directors will stop seeing people at 4pm exactly, so get there early if you want to be sure you have a shot at getting on the show.

For more information on this and the show, visit http://www.nbc.com/The_Biggest_Loser/contestants/open_call.shtml.

Good luck and if you try out for the show, drop us a line and let us know how it went.

Local Woman Wants Answers.

Woman Becomes Quadruple Amputee After Giving Birth

Image hosting by PhotobucketORLANDO, Fla. — A Sanford mother says she will never be able to hold her newborn because an Orlando hospital performed a life-altering surgery and, she claims, the hospital refuses to explain why they left her as a multiple amputee.

The woman filed a complaint against Orlando Regional Healthcare Systems, she said, because they won’t tell her exactly what happened. The hospital maintains the woman wants to know information that would violate other patients’ rights.

Claudia Mejia gave birth eight and a half months ago at Orlando Regional South Seminole. She was transported to Orlando Regional Medical Center in Orlando where her arms and legs were amputated. She was told she had streptococcus, a flesh eating bacteria, and toxic shock syndrome, but no further explanation was given.

The hospital, in a letter, wrote that if she wanted to find out exactly what happened, she would have to sue them. “I want to know what happened. I went to deliver my baby and I came out like this,” Mejia said.

Mejia said after she gave birth to Mathew last spring, she was kept in the hospital with complications. Twelve days after giving birth at Orlando Regional South Seminole hospital, she was transported to Orlando Regional Medical Center where she became a quadruple amputee. Now she can not care for or hold her baby.

More…

How can something like this happen? The hospital claims that she had Streptococcus, a flesh eating bacteria, but they never told her how she got it and if they could have done something else. I hope she sues and if there is some form of negligence on the part of the hospital that it gets taken care of and removed from our medical system.

Doctor Bonesaw had better have good malpractice insurance.

No Pr0n in Polk County.

From the Orlando Weekly’s Happytown

Our bud Christopher Wilson, the Lakeland Internet entrepreneur busted on obscenity charges last year, is out of jail and will soon be out of business. Wilson accepted a plea deal Jan. 13 that drops all felony charges against him and 295 of the 300 misdemeanor obscenity counts. He’ll get probation for the five remaining counts, and he has to close his website, www.nowthatsfuckedup.com, and turn over the domain name to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

Wilson’s site is infamous for trading access to amateur porn for gory shots of war dead and wounded. Speculation on the site (and elsewhere) was rampant that the powers that be didn’t give a rip about the raunch, but wanted to put a stop to the images of carnage. Wilson’s lawyer, Larry Walters, told Orlando Weekly in October the case had the potential to be the next “Pentagon Papers” because of the freedom-of-speech issues it raised.

“What you’ve got here is, you’ve got the military getting upset about the fact that soldiers are sending in graphic images depicting the war in Iraq,” Walters said then. “This doesn’t comport with the Bush administration’s view of how the war should be reported and how it should be depicted. And then the next thing you have is Chris Wilson sitting in jail. I don’t know that the two are connected. Any reasonable person would say something sounds fishy here, and we intend to investigate it.”

After the plea deal, however, Walters was sounding much more pragmatic. He still believes the military wanted the site shut down, but short of someone breaking rank and saying as much, there’s no way to prove it. That and the fact that Polk County prosecutors were considering racketeering charges against Wilson made accepting the plea deal an easy decision. “We would have likely ended up with a conviction and arguing some of these issues on appeal,” says Walters.

Wilson must turn over his domain name to Polk County within 10 days of his formal sentencing. When the sheriff’s office gets their hands on the site, reports The Lakeland Ledger, they will post a notice for all who log on warning that Wilson was criminally prosecuted and that violation of Florida’s obscenity law is a punishable offense. In other words, if you use the Internet to look at naughty bits, the sheriff of Polk County is after you.

As for Wilson, he says he’s moving to Orange County. Wise move, Chris.

For those unfamiliar with the story click here, here, and here.

I agree that it is a good idea that Chris Wilson move to Orange county, though I doubt he will be able to get his site back up. Regardless of what you think of Wilson’s site this is an obvious infringement upon rights of free speech. The case against Wilson was so egregious and wrong that I am disgusted that he had to cop a plea just to stay get out of jail. It’s not like he is the first person to put naughty things on the Internet. Could it be perhaps because soldiers were sending in photos of the war, a war that the government wants to complete editorial control over? Me thinks so.

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