Archive for September, 2006

Hungry City Controversy

Not too long ago, I was checking our Metroblogging readers’ suggestions and found one from Camilla of Hungry City guides. It was a note saying that she was looking for “quirky, family-oriented” writers to work on their new book about Orlando. Because this is a popular site, but not so much a writing site, I suggested that she take her idea over to Darlyn Finch at Scribbles so that it could be run in the newsletter that is sent out to the general writing community.

That’s exactly what Camilla did. Not long ago, Darlene ran a notice for our writers telling them that Hungry City was open for submissions and the writers’ guidelines were available.

I thought we had a happy ending here. Maybe not.

The thing is, when you’re paging through the writer’s guidelines looking for the kind of money you’re going to make, you run across this paragraph that’s causing a bit of a controversy. Consider:

“Compensation is of the fame and glory variety. There’s no monetary pay, but you get a full byline after every review/sidebar you write, and you get a 2-3 line bio in the back of the book. You get the pleasure of seeing your name and opinions in print. Thousands of people will read your words. You get to support your favorite diner, hamburger joint, bar & grill, Mexican grill, etc. (many of which are small, family-owned businesses that appreciate the attention–they can’t afford an advertising budget). And, you receive a complimentary copy of the published book, a deep discount on additional copies, and an invitation to the launch party and other Glove Box Guides events.”

I wasn’t the only one who found that little caveat. Tonight I got another note from Darlyn. It was addressed to all Scribblers, and it had the following note from local writer Joe at The Burry Man:

“Anyone who has read our newsletter at The Burry Man knows how passionately I feel about the worth of writers, and the value of writing. It is publishers like Hungry City and their Glovebox Guides that devalue our work and encourages writers to work for free. Hungry City has a thriving corporate division, ‘tailored’ books for companies, paid advertising in every book, and sales on almost two dozen titles through Amazon, B&N and several other markets. Editors, publishers, sales people, web designers, book distributors, everyone gets paid … except writers? Writers get ‘a 2 line bio and the pleasure of seeing your name in print’? Why is writing the least valuable, indeed the only valueless, part of these books? ‘Contributing’ to for-profit publications lowers the worth of all writing, and makes it harder for every writer.”

Darlyn also made a good point:

“Some Scribblers [local writers] have many publication credits and would not think of writing without pay. Some Scribblers jot snippets on the backs of paper napkins and would be thrilled to simply see their names in print. Everyone must decide for themselves. I also (half-jokingly) made Joe aware that Scribbles is a VOLUNTARY service to the Central Florida writing community, and is worth exactly what you pay for it! I also volunteered to cash any checks (large or small) any Scribbler wants to send me for my efforts ….”

(Metrobloggers feel the same way. Checks are good. So are fine chocolates — but then, I digress.)

Anyway, I’m not sure how I feel about this and I was wondering what everybody else thought. I’ve got part of my half-baked opinion on my blog (sorry to cross-post!), but I’d rather hear what YOU have to say. Write for the love of Orlando, or write for the money?

P.S. If you like the sound of Hungry City guides, you can email camilla@hungrycity.com for info, samples, and submission guidelines. These books actually get quite a lot of press and they might interest some local writers.

Maf54: What are you wearing?

Florida Rep. Resigns Over Emails

U.S. Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fort Pierce, resigned from Congress on Friday, effective immediately, in the wake of questions about e-mails he wrote a former male page.

“I am deeply sorry and I apologize for letting down my family and the people of Florida I have had the privilege to represent,” he said in a statement issued by his office.

The two-sentence statement did not refer to the e-mails and gave no reason for Foley’s decision to abruptly abandon a flourishing career in Congress.

Wait a fucking minute, Congressman have pages like the knights of the round table? However I bet the pages of the Medieval period didn’t have to worry about Sir So-and-So checking out the goods under his knickers.

The kicker, Foley also was a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and chairman of the Congressional Missing and Exploited Children’s Caucus. Sonofabitch!

And even double-sick, the GOP leadership knew of his indiscretions. Check out the link for an IM conversation Foley had with a different underage boy back in 2003.

I’m speechless.

Free Museum Day In the U.S.

Smithsonian Magazine Museum DaySpend the day indoors on September 30 at an area museum. Smithsonian Magazine is sponsoring an opportunity to head out to the museums for free.

The annual event was previously open just to subscribers of the magazine, but this year, they’ve decided to open up attendance to anyone who downloads and completes a free Museum Day card. All venues that have agreed to participate will extend free general admission for two people when presented with this card. Special exhibits or IMAX screenings requiring a separate admission are not included in the free admission policy for the day.

Among the Central Florida museums participating in Museum Day are the Orange County Regional History Center and the Mennello Museum of American Art. You can find a complete list of area museums allowing free admission at the Smithsonian magazine website.

I’ve been wanting to check out the history center for a while, so this sounds like a great reason to grab a friend and go. Anybody else thinking of taking advantage of Museum Day?

EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival

epcot_food_wine.jpgThe 11th Annual EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival kicks off tomorrow and lasts through November 12th. In addition to being able to sample vittles and vino from around the world, you can also enjoy the “Eat to the Beat” concert series, with some of your favorite musical performers from days gone by. Here’s the lineup of performers and the dates they’ll be appearing (entertainment subject to change):

Survivor
Sep. 29-30

FamilyStoneExperience
Oct. 1-3

Starship featuring Mickey Thomas
Oct. 4-7

Loverboy
Oct. 8-11

David Sanborn
Oct. 12-14

The Beach Boys
Oct. 15 & 16

Little Richard
Oct. 17 & 18

Three Dog Night
Oct. 19-21

The Four Tops
Oct. 22-25

Gloria Gaynor
Oct. 26-28

The S.O.S. Band
Oct. 29-Nov. 1

The Contours
Nov. 2-4

Chubby Checker
Nov. 5 & 6

Southside Johnny
Nov. 7 & 8

Jon Secada
Nov. 9-12

Cold Stone Creamery Offers Ice Cream for Charity on Sept. 28

coldstone creameryIf you’re out and about today and get a craving for a sweet treat, why not head over to a Cold Stone Creamery?

Today from 5pm – 8pm CSC is holding their “5th Annual World’s Largest Ice Cream Social” and during those 3 hours, they will offer each customer a FREE serving of “Cole’s Creation.” Inspired by Cole, a 10 year old Make-A-Wish Child from Colorado, the creation combines chocolate ice cream with fluffy yellow cake, chocolate chips and rainbow sprinkles. Yum! Sounds just like a kid’s birthday cake, doesn’t it?

And while the treat is free, customers are encouraged to make donations to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation, an organization that grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions.

Not sure where the closest Cold Stone Creamery is? Their website lists all participating locations in Central Florida. Just type in your zip code and you’re all set.

NBA Champs?

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Well, you heard it here first…Dwight Howard, resident Orlando Magic star (sorry, Grant), has predicted that we’re going to the Finals.

No, not just GOING to the Finals. Winning a championship.

Well, that’s one way to get a new arena…

ESPN.com had a smug little reaction, which I shall quote here for you:

‘No matter that the Magic finished 36-46 last season and haven’t been to the playoffs since 2003. Kids say the darndest things. “I think our team has the chance to go all the way. We got all the tools,” Howard said, straight-faced. “I think this year we can go all the way.” It didn’t appear he was joking. Perhaps some clarification was in order. You mean all the way to the playoffs, Dwight? “All the way to the championship,” he said. Ah, they’re so cute at this age.’

Yeah, you forget–they’re also fast, agile, energetic, and hungry at this age. If we can’t resurrect Church Street Station or Light Up Orlando, I think a victory parade right down Orange Avenue would be a nice substitute.

Mystery Man

Y’know, we get a lot of great suggestions here at Metblogs, but I think my favorite so far is today’s anonymous tip with the title “That new WFTV anchor Ryan Andrews.” The entire body of the message was–and I quote–“WOW!”

It took some searching, but I found this bio on the WFTV site. Yes, Ryan fans, you can now read all about your favorite newscaster…Turns out he’s from Winter Park and graduated from Winter Park High and also UCF. If you’re asking, “Where’s he been all my life?” the answer seems to be, “Cleveland, Buffalo, and Mississippi” (the locations of his previous news gigs). There is email available if you’d like to drop him a line.

I don’t know what the “WOW!” is about. I don’t watch local news–I gave it up years ago, after watching too many channels trying to stretch too little news into an hour-and-a-half slot. Maybe Ryan is a brilliant reporter. Maybe he’s hot. Who knows? I’m so curious, I may just tune in tonight…

Team Mom

The Bucs have had a rotten season so far. Since Week One they have lost 3 games, one quarterback, and also a spleen.

In case you haven’t heard, starting QB Chris Simms was rushed to the hospital following yesterday’s game for an emergency splendectomy. (That’s an operation where they take your spleen out.)

Not to worry, Bucs fans–this is not an unprecedented event. One of the best hockey players in the world, Peter Forsberg, has been running around without a spleen since 2001 and he’s doing just fine. Like Simms, he had a spleen injury that was not immediately obvious. And, like Simms, he ended up in the middle of emergency surgery faster than you can say “out for the season.”

This article out of the New York Daily News raises the question on everyone’s mind: how soon, and how much, did the Bucs training staff know about his injury? It was obvious to his teammates and many of the fans that the guy was not running on all cylinders by the time the fourth quarter rolled around. And if we all felt a little uneasy then it begs the question, Why didn’t anyone in the Bucs organization know that something was seriously wrong?

Somebody did. My mother. The entire game, all we heard was, “Oh, that poor boy. Get him out of there. That poor little boy. He’s sick! Sit him down!”

“Ma,” I said, “he’s sorta busy right now.”

“HE IS REALLY HURT,” she insisted, and by the end of the game, she practically had her eyes covered in fear as she informed anyone who would listen that he did not have cramps, dehydration, or exhaustion…he was in imminent danger and why were they letting him play?

The Bucs’ coaching staff might not have known, the fans didn’t guess, and the injury might not have been obvious to Simms himself, but mothers can sense it. The Force is with them. Had my mother been in that stadium, Simms would have been in the hospital and listening to a lecture on drinking enough water long before halftime rolled around.

That is why I’m proposing that the Bucs coaching staff hire a team mom, just like the ones you see in those soup commercials. Other teams would make fun of them, yes, but can you imagine the money they’d save on training staff and medical diagnostic bills?

UPDATE: I was being really really sarcastic yesterday–that my mother knows more than the Bucs staff and all–and while I am in a better mood now, this story still makes them look kinda bad. To quote Michael Clayton: “In the huddle, he was gasping for air…He’d call part of the [pass] routes, then gasp for air and finish it. … Everybody was saying: ‘Chris, are you OK?'” His coach is swearing that there were no symptoms of a spleen injury, although he did have bruised ribs, but are the Bucs really so shallow that there were no second-string QBs to finish the day when your starter can’t breathe? If he’s that beat up, even if he DOES want to play, I question whether it’s even good football strategy. The next stop is a Superdome-amped New Orleans Saints team that rolled over Vick and the Falcons last night…fun fun fun…

Today’s BlogOrlando UnConference

blogorlandologo.gif Michelle and I were going to attend the BlogOrlando Unconference together today but the poor lady called me this morning to let me know she felt like she was coming down with the flu. Hope you feel better by tomorrow so you can celebrate your birthday in style!

Anyway, I posted several entries from the “Unconference” throughout the day to my personal blog if you’re interested in that, but I thought I would post a general entry here and give an overall view and report. BlogOrlando started at 9am and concluded at 4:45pm at the beautiful Bush Executive Center on the campus of Rollins College in Winter Park, though it actually continues tomorrow and Sunday with trips to the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT, respectively. I’m passing on those excursions due to previous scheduling conflicts, but I wanted to see and be a part of today’s meeting enough that I took the day off from work.

crowd_250.jpgThe “Unconference” was a good mixture of subject matter and session leaders with something, I felt, for every blogger or prospective blogger (though I think from one informal survey I observed that all attendees are currently blogging in some form). I attended the “Political”, “Hyperlocal” “Legal Issues”, “Tools” (no jokes, please), and the “Video Blogging” sessions and learned somethiing or refreshed my knowledge in every single one. Session leaders were knowledgeable and possessed real world experience in their respective fields and in every session there was an excellent give and take of questions and help between attendees.

This was a fantastic opportunity to network with other bloggers (approximately 80 people attended) in the area and from across the state and country, but that is perhaps the one opportunity I did not take advantage of in the way I should. I’m not really the social type (that’s why my personal blog tagline is “Commenting on Life in the World From the Solitude of my Cave”) so networking is not my strong suit. Still I did speak with a few people and will be contacting others by e-mail or IM, so it wasn’t a total loss on that front.

Plans are underway for another “BlogOrlando Unconference” and I’m sure the next one will be even greater than today’s event. Maybe we’ll see each other there.

Whither the Main Street Electrical Parade?

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We have been deceived, my friends, and I am outraged!

Correct me if I’m wrong here–and you always do!–but does anyone else remember the ad campaign that showed one of the original, loveable, light-up floats with the wistful tagline, “Come say goodbye one last time”? I seem to recall standing out in the drizzling rain, surrounded by five million and two park guests, all crowding around the see the Main Street Electrical Parade’s last stand at the Magic Kingdom. I remember being terribly sad that my little cousin, age two, would be unable to recall seeing Pete’s Dragon lumber past the Emporium as I had so many times before.

Did any of that happen? It did, right?

I’m asking because I was innocently watching a travel show tonight about Disney’s California Adventure park in Anaheim. Imagine my surprise when–in a program produced in 2003–our host was filmed watching…yes, THE MAIN STREET ELECTRICAL PARADE.

Excuse me. Someone has been trifling with my emotions.

This is not an official Disney press release, but this article on–for lack of a better term–a fan site has some interesting details…from 2001. Things are sort of foggy about the fate of that parade, actually. Google “Main Street Electrical Parade” and you’ll see what I mean. There’s a somewhat murky Wikipedia entry, and a lot of memorabilia from the faux “ending” back in ’96 (was it that long ago??).

But then I went out to the official Disney website…and here it is, folks.

I’m sick of Anaheim. I have been kicked in the teeth. First they took away our animation studio at MGM Studios, and now they tell us our parade is dead so they can snatch it and run it with the words “A California Classic” on the side. CALIFORNIA? Their parks are so small, they could fit in my apartment! If anything is going to be “classic” Disney, it should be right here at Walt’s dream resort.

But then, I’m probably just bitter…

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