Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Ron Jon Surf Park, Round Infinity.

If any of you ever go out to the tail end of International Drive you’ll know that it is occupied by the shopping center/mall known as Festival Bay. And, if you’ve ever ventured inside you’ll know that it consists of Bass Pro Shop, the CineMark theater, Ron Jon, the Vans Skate Park, and a slew of stores that no one visits. The last time I went there I felt like the grand marshall of a parade walking by the bored and tired employees, their sad doe eyes following me as I passed beckoning me to come in and patronize. Okay that’s a little dramatic but you get me, the place has very low attendance.

The Sentinel has an article today that lays out some of the changes and additions they will be making in order to try and increase occupancy. One of these additions is the famed Ron Jon Surf Park that has been in the works for years yet seems to keep getting delayed.

I’ve talked to surfers from all over, including up as far as the Carolinas, and most all of them seem interested in this surf park because it will be one few like it in the U.S. My question is, what would people be willing to pay for this little piece of intercoastal terraforming? Or better yet, does anyone out there know how much a membership is supposed to cost? EDIT: I found the pricing list.

Non-Member Rates:
1 Session: $59.95
3 Sessions: $169.95
5 Sessions: $224.95

Memberships can run from $450 to as high as $3000 annually depending on the level that you want. The level you get determines your priority and how many sessions are allotted. I don’t know about you, but the beach is always free and the sunrise or sunset isn’t near as nice in the middle of the Orlando sprawl.

Another question, this one for surfers and/or environmentalists out there: Is there any reason to oppose this thing? Are there any surfers out there that feel that perhaps this artificial reef takes something away from the randomness or sport of surfing and the thrill of the unpredictablity of nature?

I think, and I’m hoping that it will be a rousing success because Lord knows that part of International Drive could use some business.

Official Site

Swan Lakeland vs. The Alligators

(George Skene, OS Staff)

Alligators are killing Lakeland’s iconic swans

The attacks are just one more example of prehistoric alligators clashing with modern Florida [my emphasis]. A gator bit an Apopka man in the head earlier this month, and three people were killed by alligators in May.

No animal is more precious to Lakeland than the swan. The city spends about $10,000 a year feeding the graceful waterfowl, some of which have lineage from a royal flock in England. It also maintains a breeding program. A veterinarian puts microchips in the swans to help keep track of them, and the city takes regular head counts

It’s called nature you fools, and they were here first. So let me get this straight though, the folks in Lakeland are angry that the creatures native to this state are eating the creatures that are foreign to the area and were only brought here for asthetics?

Clashing with modern Florida? We encroached upon their environment, not the other way around. Hmm, I know another group that perhaps that $10,000 might serve a little better.

Just don’t Dew it?

It’s good to see that if the Government isn’t going to do anything about…um…anything, at least the former President is getting some results in something. Today, the Clinton Foundation finished getting Coke, Pepsi and Cadbury to agree to stop selling soda and other sugary drinks to schools. There will be no more soda at all in elementary and middle schools and only diet soda in high schools. Bloomberg News (I don’t know if this applies to Central Florida schools.)

I know the kids are going to whine about it, but that’s just tough. In an age when we’re spending billions to combat the results of our overeating, overstressing, overeverything lifestyles, the last thing we need to be doing is encouraging our youth to suck down Mt. Dew instead of milk, fruit juice or water. Maybe then we won’t lag behind Great Britain in health!

Austin No More.

After only a little over 2 1/2 years of operation owner Joe Royall is closing the doors on Austin Coffee & Film. Next Wednesday, April 26th, will be the last day to buy some of the unique coffees and enjoy the laid back atmosphere of the inconspicuous nightspot.

Austin, located on a strip of Fairbanks that most people bypass in order to get to the more affluent downtown area of Winter Park, stood out as a offbeat place to catch some local shows, get a unique cup of organic coffee that wasn’t Starbuck’s, and perhaps carry on a conversation without having to scream above the usual din of similar watering holes. I mean where else these days can you grab an organic beer for $3 and watch some of the Independent Film Channel at the same time? Certainly not at Starbuck’s or Panera I can tell you that.

An employee I talked to cited poor promotion of events and lack of interest just didn’t bring in enough money to maintain the small establishment. It’s a shame, as not only is a cool place closing it is in a way another example of the dying out of coffee culture and the lost of art of conversation. All across Europe and Central America patrons sit in cafés for hours, sipping strong java and discussing the events of the day, be they local news or world events. It seems that is a rarity these days, everyone is in such a hurry. They just want their double-tall, venti, soy, java-chip latte in a to-go cup and be on their way. Or, the other side of the spectrum, people just want a place to get blitzed and fall over–which is perfectly fine if that’s what you’re into. Still, it’d be nice to find some places that manage to have that happy medium, as Austin did.

So, coffee and film lovers, be sure to give Austin a good sendoff during its last week of operation. Drop by, see some kids hit up the open mic night(s), and buy a beer or some coffee while enjoying the relaxed atmosphere.

Another one bites the dust I suppose, looks like it’s off to Starbuck’s.

(Thanks to Ryan for the heads up.)

The Sounds @ HOB

Before I go onto my banter, I want to share my theory. There seems to be a specific time when music seems to flow in the air and a flood of bands seem to stream in when the weather is extraordinarily beautiful. You are hit with the latter part of spring, the entry way into summer and BAM! It’s show season. So far I’ve seen Of Montreal, Electric Six, She Wants Revenge, and Mates of State in our very own Orlando, FL. I’ve also seen Fiona Apple & Coldplay in Tampa. This is my time, I live for this time of year – it’s my bliss. ^_^

Rewind now, to few nights ago. Let me explain something, I adore The Sounds, ever since I saw them when they toured with The Strokes a few years ago, I promised I would try my best to see them in town again if they strolled through.
That very Friday night that I was convincing myself to either go downtown Orlando and go to I-bar (Independent Bar – post Barbarella – for you older kids like me) when a glorious ticket landed in my lap to go see Action Action, Morningwood, and The Sounds at the House of Blues, the very same venue I saw The Sounds a few years ago.

Poof! My wish was granted.

The show was wonderful. I unfortunately, like always, end up going to make a late appearance at shows. I ended up missing Action, Action and Morningwood. But I got there just in time to see The Sounds. The group is composed Felix Rodriguez who plays the guitar, Johan Bengtsson – who plays bass, Jesper Anderberg who does the synthesizers and Fredrik Nilsson who plays the drums. Wrap it up with a pretty bow of Maja Ivarsson and she stirs the night up with her antics of flashing the audience with her rebellious attitude with her sultry vocals and her hot legs. Her voice is a mild comparison of a toss up between Blondie and Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

It was wonderful.

The weather was perfect, my company was perfect, I was in the pit surrounded by a great dancing crowd. Orlando was perfect & to think I was going to suffer a few more months and cross my fingers and hope they would show up @ Tinker Field to play the Warped Tour this year. (they are not on the play list)

Anyway if you want to know more about The Sounds:

The Sounds on Myspace
The Sounds Official Website

fire in the hole!

Brush Fire Forces Orange County School To Go Into Lockdown

Hopefully this won’t get as bad as it did several years ago. Anyone got any on scene pictures? Florida is mega-dry right now, we need some activator.

Mates of State

Indie band Mates of State will be performing at the Social March 29.

The married couple Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel’s sound is unabashedly happy, melodic, and at times poppy. The only instruments they play are an organ and a set of drum, yet they are able to fill a room with their sound. Their latest release “Bring it Back” exhibits not only their love for each other, but an exploration of sounds on the organ and beats on the drum unseen on their previous records.

The duo can in no way be prepared to The Whites Stripes, who exhibit a grungier sound compared to Mates of State. MOS are notorious for Kori’s gentle voice and twee pop sound’s of Jason.

For more information go to http://www.matesofstate.com

Won’t it just tempt them to charge?

Orlando Pedestrians Can Wave Red Flags

As an experiment in Orlando, pedestrians trying to cross a busy intersection can wave bright red flags to alert vehicles to stop. Pedestrians who want to cross the street can pick a tennis-racket-size flag out of baskets now kept on both sides of the street. They wave them as they cross the street, alerting traffic, and drop them in the basket on the other side.

I am so starting a red flag concession downtown…

Whoa, nelly…

Though animal-rights advocates promise to launch protests, the City Council gave preliminary approval Monday for horse-drawn carriages to continue rolling through Orlando’s streets. – Orlando Sentinel

Now, before you go off on the animal rights protesters, they do have a point (a couple, actually). It is awfully darned hot around these parts, and the traffic is insane. It’s not like Orlando is some bucolic southern town. And having been in an actual horse carriage accident in Charleston, and actually seeing how poorly the animal was treated, I am tempted to sympathize with them.

That said, it’s not like no other city has ever done carriage rides before. You just gotta have rules. Keep them out of traffic and watch how their treated. Balance, people. Balance. We can have our quaint little touristy attraction and make sure nobody (people or horses) gets hurt. Right?

Downtown Drivers Beware of Upcoming I-4 Road Construction

The Orlando Sentinel reported over the weekend that road construction will begin April 3 downtown where I-4 intersects with the 408/East-West Expressway.

Anyone who drives past this intersection on a regular basis has felt the pains of bumper-to-bumper gridlock. Now it’s only going to get worse before it gets better.

The $120 million project is scheduled to take 3 years and will result in closing 4 ramps and building 7 new ones along the downtown I-4 corridor, including a new I-4/408 intersection.

Officials claim the construction will not slow down traffic any more than usual (tell that to those who had to drive through the recent I-4/John Young Pkwy construction), but if your daily commute takes you through this intersection, I would add a little extra driving time in both directions to allow for any construction delays.

You can also get traffic alerts and work updates at trans4mation.org.

A preconstruction public meeting for the project will be held today, March 21, at Orlando City Hall (Ninth Floor Meeting Room, 400 South Orange Avenue). The meeting will run from 3 p.m. until 8 p.m. and will feature an “open house” format. FDOT staff will present an overview of the project, discuss the series of planned side-street detours that will occur throughout the construction phase and answer questions relating to the interchange.

To read the full story: Overhaul to begin where I-4, 408 meet

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