Archive for the ‘Yo! Listen up!’ Category

Light Up Orlando!

So that last post about the death of Church Street Station inevitably led me to thoughts about Light Up Orlando, another cultural icon of Orlando in my formative years that has just died on the vine. The story of the city’s most identifying event for a period of time in my opinion can best be summed up by doing a Google for light up Orlando. It shows a sad tale of an event that no longer exists (as evidenced by the dead URL when clicked), but whose mishandled shadow still exists in the description of the site in the search result.

You see, the event went away due to some major attempted social overhaul by past Orlando administrations, apparently people having fun was not in the desired civic image of some people. But, a few years back an attempt to revive the event was made, which was semi-successful, but never followed up. It just died again, like it didn’t matter in the first place. It was a sad second unceremonious wimper of a death not befitting an event that was the only true cultural on-going tradition this city has ever known. This wasn’t Disney’s event or even Universal’s, but it was ours.

The basic history, and I could be wrong, as I was fairly young then and prone to make up stuff, can be drawn back to a columnist by the name of Bob Morris. He came up with the idea of the Queen Kumquat Sashay, the unofficial parade that kicked off Light Up Orlando. This parade was a parade for and by the people. No floats, no entry forms, just show up in a parking lot with something ridiculous to wear and away you went down the parade route. It is important to note that the last attempt to revive the Light Up Orlando event did not include the Kumquat Sashay, which illustrates that the architects of the event knew nothing of its true meaning and history. So after some good fun of either being silly or laughing at silly people, everyone hung out downtown where we blocked off Orange Avenue and most of the side streets between oh, I don’t know, South to maybe Washington. There were bands, small locals, semi-large fair type acts, maybe a headliner or two at various stages, lots of fair food, and lots of beer stations. Later in the evening the mayor would get on a stage and make a speech and then throw a big OUC branded power switch that would light up the city’s official giant holiday tree, hence, Light Up Orlando. This event was held in September or maybe November, just before Thanksgiving it seems, because why else would we be lighting the tree? Anyway, that’s how I remember it, and I like my version because it makes sense, has a point that is not too overly serious and is just fun. Basically just a big round about way of lighting up our tree and taking a moment to say we are the city of Orlando, not just an adjunct of Disney.

So, what say you Orlando? Why don’t we be a city again and make a serious concerted effort to take back our identity and revive and restore a tradition that we can enjoy with our kids, grandkids and so on! I think before we try to look into things like new civic centers and arenas and gigantic condo towers that will never get sold, we should take a small piece of the budget and our time to treat ourselves to a little simple civic minded partying.

OIA – Busy AND Environmentally Friendly!

Although the count is dropping, Orlando International Airport still managed to push more than 3 million passengers through its doors and onto airplanes in the month of June (the latest month counted), marking four consecutive months of passenger counts over 3 million.

Here’s how the count breaks down for the four months:


oia_logo.jpgYou can see the decline from March to June, but I would expect to see July rise when the next statistics are released since that is such a heavily traveled vacation month, especially for families.

In addition to record-breaking passenger counts, OIA is at the forefront of testing environment-friendly fuel alternatives for its fleet of operations vehicles. The Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, which operates the Orlando International Airport, is one of the first governmental entities in the Central Florida area to test bio-diesel fuel in daily operations around the airport.

oia_tower.jpg Bio-diesel, which has been approved for use in trucks, buses, tugboats and other general diesel equipment with little or no modifications to existing engines, is a blend of 80 percent petroleum diesel and 20 percent renewable domestic resources such as soybean and restaurant waste oil, which are cheaper to process and use, as opposed to regular diesel fuel.

Reports are that some 1,000 test vehicles are currently using about 1,000 gallons a day with no adverse effects and because the bio-diesel is a clean burning fuel, passengers and visitors to OIA should experience no noticeable difference, other than perhaps a lessening of the usual sharp odors associated with regular diesel fuel.

So the next time you fly out of OIA, eat lots of french fries at the food court…you’ll be helping to set records and power airport vehicles at the same time.

Two Hours of Hell at the Orange County Tag Agency

What the #@$@^% is wrong with people? Why do they wait until the very last minute to get their vehicle tags?

Yesterday I went to the South Semoran Tag Agency office to get my tag (well, actually the little yellow sticker that goes ON the tag) and I swear the place was full of men and women who must be the kind of people who put off everything, otherwise they wouldn’t be at the tag agency on the very last day of the month trying to get their tags before the month ends and their old tags expire.

When I walked in at 10:30am the office was completely full; every one of its some 50-odd chairs filled, people leaning against every formerly empty space along the wall and a couple of dozen smokers standing around outside. The digital sign on the front wall indicated they were serving number 63. When I pulled my little ticket out of the dispenser near the front door it had the number 10 printed on it. Only 47 goldbrickers who should have mailed in their renewals or taken care of it online (because this IS the freakin’ 21st century!) ahead of me.

When I finally left 2 hours later my butt was numb from sitting in their cheap plastic chairs and I had listened to enough unruly kids of procrastinating parents to last a lifetime. As I walked through the midday heat across the parking lot to my car, I swore I would never put off getting my tag renewal until the last minute again.

Oh, and word to the wise; tags actually expire on your birthday, NOT the last day of your birth month. Orlando’s finest can and will cite you for an invalid tag if you’ve not renewed it by your birthday.

Brush Fire near my parents house


Ah Orlando in the Spring, the time for baby ducks, blue sky and…SWEET JESUS BRUSH FIRE! GET IN THE HOUSE! GET IN THE HOUSE!

Last Saturday my parents were greeted with all sorts of hubbub outside their front door. It seems a brush fire broke out in the woods across the street from them, burning over 20 acres and closing 417 near Curry Ford Road (causing an enormous amount of traffic to flow near my housing complex on Econ). Luckily no homes were damaged and the fire seemed to be completely in control by nightfall.

More photos after the jump…

Some Fine BBQ

For the folks who know me, I’m a bit of a BBQ snob, so last night I had a hankerin (did I spell that right?) for some “q” as the kids call it. I wanted to try something new, so me and the wife stopped by Conway’s BBQ near our house.
First off, it’s like any average BBQ place, not too fancy, standard tables, smiling waitress which is always good. We ordered and got delivered some decent but a bit dry for my taste cornbread as we waited for our food. I’m usually a bit worried if food gets delivered to me ridiculously fast at a restaurant, usually to me that means the foods been sitting in a heat lamp which to me, is never all that good. But this wasn’t the case with Conway’s, after a not-too-long-not-too-short wait our food was delivered. I must say, I was impressed, I ordered the ribs and brisket and my lovely bride ordered the pulled pork. The ribs were fall of the bone and smokey and the brisket was…well it’s really just smoked meat so that worked out as well. I will complain that I wasn’t all that impressed with their sauces but I’m not a big “sauce” person anyway so their weakness in the sauce department didn’t kill the meal for me. The best part of the meal was their sweet potato fries…wonderful! All-in-all a big thumbs up to the whole outing. I still say the best in town is Cecil’s but Conways is mighty fine as well. So folks if you haven’t been and have a BBQ itch head out to Conway’s, I think you’ll be impressed.

Brokeback PEZ…genius!

Ah Orlando, you city beautiful you, filled with such talent!

Yes you see that correctly, Pez dispensers shaped like the two leads from Brokeback Mountain. Created in the great city of Orlando! Check it out on eBay and hopefully these will fulfill your need for sugary snacks combined with hot cowboy action.

(Link courtesy of the Orlando Sentinel Movies Blog.)

Disney get’s Oswald back

Part of Walt Disney’s lore is that after creating and losing a character named Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Disney turned around and created Mickey Mouse (and became an empire in itself). Well 79 years later he got his rabbit back.

Disney, Universal swap Al Michaels for rabbit

It turns out the big-eared bunny was one of Walt Disney’s first animated characters, a star in his own right before Mickey Mouse was even a gleam in his creator’s eye. But Disney lost the rabbit after he found out that Universal Studios, now part of NBC Universal, owned the rights to develop the character.

Now Oswald will be returning to Disney, it was announced Thursday. In exchange for the rabbit and other concessions, ABC parent Disney agreed to let Michaels, the longtime voice of Monday Night Football, jump to NBC Universal’s NBC network, where he will remain teamed with partner John Madden.

Read the whole article here.

Alleged Burglar Gets Stuck in Oven Vent

From the news article:

An alleged burglar was rescued Thursday after he got stuck overnight in the oven vent of the convenience store he was trying to rob, the fire department said.

Investigators said Lonnie Shields, 37, climbed into a small vent on the roof of the New City Mart at about 2 a.m. and wasn’t found until store employees arrived at about 8 a.m.

Read the rest of the article here.

(Link courtesy of BoingBoing)

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

“Oop… I almost forgot. I won’t be able to make it fellas. Veronica and I trying this new fad called uh, jogging. I believe it’s jogging or yogging. it might be a soft j. I’m not sure but apparently you just run for an extended period of time. It’s supposed to be wild.” – Ron Burgundy

Well it’s that time again, Disney’s Marathon Weekend, a weekend filled with…well people running. I’ve signed up for the 5K Fun Run (Thanksgiving, Christmas, then a 5K run…what was I thinking?). Hope to see you there, I’ll be the one dry heaving.


4th Annual Juno Gala

Calling all gay women in Metro Orlando!

Upcoming Juno Event:
February 18, 2006

  • 4th Annual Juno Gala / Bigger & Better
  • Save the Date — February 18, 2006
  • Premier Women’s Fundraiser of the Year
  • Tickets Now Available at
  • Location: Embassy Suites/Downtown Orlando
  • Cocktail Reception
  • Plated Dinner
  • Auction
  • Door Prizes
  • Entertainment
  • DJ to Dance the Night Away

Location: Embassy Suites, 191 East Pine St. Orlando

Juno News:
This event will sell out, so order your tickets today. General Admission, VIP and Sponsorship Tables are available. Get info:

Businesses or organizations intersted in donating auction items — or individuals to donate their time — please contact Juno via the website.

The Juno Foundation of Orlando is focused on providing help and hope to gay women with breast cancer. Foundation grants are available to help our sisters battle their illness. For more information, please contact The Juno Foundation of Orlando via our website or 407-451-3344.

New location for the 4th Annual Gala — beautiful ballroom, plenty of seating, valet/parking garage.
Support Juno in 2006 — Order Tickets Today !

The Juno Foundation — PO Box 536266 — Orlando, FL 32853

I attended the first three of these galas — all held in much smaller quarters in Winter Park. We had a blast. It’s a “semi-black tie” sort of event, which is always fun — as in Orlando, there aren’t too many times we get to dress up and dance. This is for a wonderful cause and supports women in our own community.

As noted in the announcement, Juno supports gay women with breast cancer — by providing a helping hand and nuturing support at a time when many feel alone and overwhelmed. Although this event is targeted toward gay women, any support by way of a donation — or an auction item — would be greatly appreciated.

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