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Stuck in traffic on I-4

So of course I took a selfie 🚙🚌🚗🚛🚕

Stuck in traffic on I-4

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At the K-pop store

Today we went to Kpoppin USA Shop, a store in Orlando that sells K-pop (South Korean pop music) and anime merchandise. As I’m not huge into K-pop I was a bit out of my element, but it was certainly an interesting place, and very, very niche, which is kind of cool. Here’s me getting excited about all the K-poppy goodness – we had to take the picture outside the store because they wouldn’t allow photography inside!

Kpoppin USA Shop in Orlando, Florida

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It’s a tragedy

At 11:30 AM I got the call to head to Redgrave’s Children’s Home. Three children had been accidentally poisoned. The neighborhood was in shock. The saddest part was, two children had been poisoned there last October, and another one a few months before that. Chief Carson sent me over to the home to try to make some sense of what was going on.

When I arrived at the children’s home, Mrs. Redgrave met me on the front porch. I could tell she had been in tears most of the morning. I showed her my badge. Still shaking, she led me into the house.

Inside, the home was roomier than I thought it would be. A couple of kids, maybe five years old, were playing with toy dinosaurs on one of those big oval carpets you used to see a lot in the 70s. Piled high by the closet was a big pile of bags of pesticide. Walking further into the house, I noticed more bags of pesticide on the dining room table. There were more stacked by the TV. Some kids were playing video games in the family room, sitting on big bags of pesticide, some of them ripped open and leaking powder onto the floor. I took out my notepad and scribbled a few notes.

“It’s all so senseless,” said Mrs. Redgrave. “Such a tragedy. I just can’t understand how this happened.”

“Ma’am,” I said. “You do know you have big bags of pesticide all over the house?”

“Of course,” said Mrs. Redgrave. “You never know when you are going to have a pest problem.”

“Do you have a pest problem, Mrs. Redgrave?”

“No. Would you like some tea?”

I brushed pesticide off one of the couch cushions and sat down. Mrs. Redgrave fetched me a cup of tea and placed it on the table beside me. I didn’t drink any.

“Mrs. Redgrave,” I said. “Do you think maybe having all this pesticide sitting around constitutes a risk?”

“Of course not,” said Mrs. Redgrave. “We would only use it if we had a pest problem. And we would make sure that when we spread it around the house, we’d tell the kids to be very careful where they stepped.”

“But there’s so much of it,” I said. “Why do you need so much pesticide?”

She frowned at me. “What are you saying?”

I shrugged. “I’m just trying to make sense of what’s going on.”

“Owning pesticide is not a crime, Officer.”

“I realize that. But maybe if you just got rid of some of these bags…”

“We can’t do that,” said Mrs. Redgrave. “We’ve always had pesticide. Our neighbors have pesticide, too. If they used their pesticide and we didn’t have any, the bugs would move from their lawns over to ours. Can you imagine?”

“I suppose,” I said. I sighed. “So what are you going to do now?”

“Same thing as last time,” she said. “We’re going to post pictures of the victims, so everyone knows all about the promising young lives that were tragically cut short. We’ll hold a candlelight vigil for them. We’ll use social media to talk about how horrible we all feel. And then I guess we’ll do our best to get back to our daily lives, and pray that this never happens again.”

I closed my notepad. There wasn’t much more I could do here. “Thank you for your time.”

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This evening we visited Madame Tussauds on International Drive here in Orlando. We have one of those annual passes where you can visit a bunch of different attractions in the area, including Madame Tussaud’s and LEGOLAND, so why not? It was a pretty fun visit.

I’ve seen wax exhibits before, but I don’t believe I have been to a Madame Tussaud’s in particular before. There were several things that I found interesting about it:

  • The wax mannequins were not as realistic as I thought they would be. I mean, they were pretty darn realistic, but you could tell they weren’t real.
  • There were lots of interactive play areas inside the museum. You could throw basketballs, put on different costumes, do some boxing, answer interactive quizzes, and so on. You could also touch and otherwise interact with the wax figures. I hadn’t been expecting this; I had assumed it would be more museum-like, with the exhibits cordoned off. It was a nice surprise.
  • It was neat to see how tall, short, big, or small people were based on their wax replicas. When you see someone on TV you don’t always get an accurate representation of their size. Not that it’s important – ’cause it’s not – but I found it interesting anyway.
  • I kept thinking someone was going to jump out at me.

Uncle Sam at Madame Tussauds Orlando

Wax Uncle Sam.

Uncle Sam sign at Madame Tussauds Orlando

We also visited the Orlando Eye (part of that same chain of attractions for which we have an annual pass). That was pretty fun as well. It was colored green for St. Patrick’s Day, which was a nice touch.

On the Orlando Eye

On the Orlando Eye.

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18. Mar, 2016
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Went to LibCon at the central library in Orlando yesterday. It was a good event – well planned, and well attended. I got to meet a variety of readers and writers of various genres – young adult, middle grade, fantasy, mystery – though it seemed to me that the books veered toward YA and MG.

I attended several of the panels: creating characters, young adult novels, and non-fiction writing. It was nice to hear what the panelists had to say. Two of the best tips on writing that I heard, and unfortunately I can’t remember who exactly said them, were “write with confidence” and “believe in your writing”. I find that writing with confidence works – when you’re writing, write like you know what you’re doing, and that confidence will come across on the page. And if you believe in your writing, you won’t change your vision based on negative feedback or those distracting little voices in your head saying “this isn’t good enough, don’t bother”. True, if your agent or editor has suggestions for changes to your manuscript, perhaps you should give them weight – but if you throw your project off track because someone in your critique group has harsh words about it, you may be doing the wrong thing.

One interesting thing I found in the Orlando library was a room full of training simulators! They had one for driving, one for flying, one for operating an excavator, and one for operating a forklift. These were part of the Dorothy Lumley Melrose Center, an amazing and free resource if you have an Orange County library card. They have these simulators, a music production studio, a variety of technical and computer programming classes, and a computer lab. Definitely worth checking out if you live in the area.

Training simulators at the Orlando public library

And if you look carefully (or maybe not so carefully), you can see me in the reflection on the window!

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Guarding Gringotts

The Gringotts dragon at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter never fails to turn heads!

Here are some crowds getting their cellphones ready to take a picture of the impending fwoosh.

Crowds at the Gringotts dragon at Universal

Aaaaaand… fwoosh!

The Gringotts Dragon at Universal

And just for fun, here’s the giant Universal globe at the entrance to the park. I joked to my family that if the name of the theme park was correct, the size of the globe would be microscopic compared to the size of the logo.

Univeral Orlando globe

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