Posts tagged Florida
Family isn’t always about blood or DNA (as my own life has continued to illustrate.) That said, relatives can be a hell of a lot of fun. Nine years ago, I posted a photo that I took on a trip to New Jersey to visit the Polish half of my family.
For those of you that didn’t know: yes, I’m half Polish. Now, I’ll sit here for a moment while you think to yourself “oh, THAT explains it” or some other related anecdotal joke about the intelligence of folks from Poland. Go ahead. It’s fine. I’m used to it.
[pause for effect.]
ANYWAY – I took this photo of my grandparents, my mother, and my aunts:
Today, we gathered in South Florida for the purpose of surprising my (widowed) Grandmother by getting together her surviving daughters, her grandchildren, and her great grandchildren. It’s quite an impressive brood for two immigrants that escaped Europe back in the fifties.
We met up at my cousin Craig’s house in Pompano Beach and got to see some older, but familiar, faces. Here is my grandmother and her surviving daughters (my aunt Mary passed a few years back.)
Yes, my aunt Wanda was THRILLED to learn we were taking the photo right after she decided to jump in the pool.
The other amazing photo we took while I was there was that of the grandchildren. There’s a LOT of us. My grandparents had five daughters and those five blessed/cursed the world with nine children. An interesting genetics note, here, is the fact that my grandfather had five (FIVE!) daughters, but never a son. All of the first born children of these women (myself included) were ALL MALE. Interesting, aye?
Anyway, here’s the photo of all of us at the same place at the same time. It might be a sign of the Polish Apocalypse.
Since the ripe old age of sixteen years old, I’ve been going to fan conventions. For those of you that know me well, THAT’S A LONG FUCKING TIME. (In short, I’m old.) Over the years, I’ve worked hard to be less of a grumpy old man of anime and more of a vocal proponent for the cohesion in the fan community… which leads me to the douchebaggery that was pointed out to me last night.
First – a lesson in anime conventions from the eyes of Tom Croom. I went to my first anime convention at the turn of the century (in the year 2000) and since then I’ve attended literally DOZENS of them. During that time, I’ve determined that there are three types of anime cons in the United States:
THE COLLEGE CON: These quirky little events are awesome, but they come with a limited shelf life. College based anime conventions either disappear when the main people running them graduate or when they outgrow a college campus and move on to larger spaces. I *love* college conventions. There’s a vibe at these things you just can’t replicate at other convention formats. (See JACON and Yasumicon as examples.)
THE HOTEL CON: This makes up the majority of anime conventions. Industrious fans get together and rent some hotel ballrooms and board rooms and fans gather to celebrate their love of Japanese cartoons and stuff. Hotel conventions create another set of experiences since events usually run all night and many attendees sleep (have rooms) at the event location itself.
THE CONVENTION CENTER CON: Yes, I know that sounds redundant, but it is actually a correct description. Conventions in convention centers are huge and offer a different overall experience due to massive size and availability of content. These behemoths, while less intimate than the other two, are a blast and keep you busy non-stop the second you walk in.
There are hybrids that occur on the evolutionary track of events (College Cons with a hotel running events; Hotel Cons with a small convention center attached; etc.) but the primary categories are, as far as I can tell, accurate.
For the most part, convention politics usually keep the playing area level. Hotel cons will bitch about other hotel cons while convention center cons rarely get caught up in any of the silliness that “teh dramaz” can bring. What sucks is when an event further on the event evolutionary process decides to take actions that mess with others that are still working things out.
WHICH LEADS ME TO CHIBI-PA.
Never hear of Chibi-Pa? They are the “class act” of anime conventions in South Florida. A West Palm Beach event, they’ve been a blemish on the Sunshine State’s fan culture for a number of years now. If you haven’t heard of them, I suggest you take the time to read this:
So why am I not a fan of a convention called Chibi-Pa? http://www.tomcroom.com/archives/7746
So remember my post about why Chibi-Pa (the West Palm Beach anime event) SUCKS? There’s an update… http://www.tomcroom.com/archives/7775
So what AMAZING thing have they done now? Well, there’s a small convention from the University of Miami Anime Club that started last year called Miami Hurricon.
As a college club event with limited resources, their one day convention takes place on a Sunday. Last April was their first year and a couple of weeks ago they announced that they were returning again in April of 2013. Good stuff.
Enter Chibi-Pa. The promotors of West Palm Beach’s anime event (that berates anime fans) CONTINUES to show their disrespect to the community at large. How? Yesterday they announced a mini “Chibi-Pa Sampler” event the same weekend as Miami Hurricon. Oh wait, I’m sorry – I meant to say the same fucking day as Miami Hurricon - which, if you recall, I pointed out is on a Sunday. A SUNDAY. Who does that shit? Really?
Local events like Florida Supercon (the largest geek convention in South Florida) have already thrown their support behind the “little con that could” be establishing their attendance at Miami Hurricon and allegedly even giving away free Pocky there.
So there you have it… Chibi-Pa is proving that they are still the same, sad little event that blamed local fans for their show failing in 2006. So what can YOU do about it? Here’s some suggestions:
- Email the promotor. His name is Jason Bailey and his email address is email@example.com. Tell him how you feel. Let him know that what he’s doing is wrong.
- Post on the Chibi Pa Facebook page. This seems the be their main communication tool to their fans. Let them know that they are NOT supporting anime fans by creating conflicting events in the same region on the same day.
- Don’t go! The number one way to send a message to a company about bad business practices is to not support the business. There are always options and better places to spend your hard earned money.
Me? I’m not sure where I will be that weekend in April. If I have the time, though, you’ll probably find me in Miami.
UPDATE: It appears that Chibi-Pa got the memo… way to go Florida anime fans for speaking out! https://www.facebook.com/events/428254473922182/permalink/429318813815748/
What is it with small towns and franchise businesses? I just don’t get it. Maybe living in Orlando for years has me spoiled as to what to expect as far as service is concerned. Whatever the reason, last night was the LAST NIGHT I’ll be ordering from Firehouse Subs in Vero Beach, Florida (and, most likely, any Firehouse Subs.)
Here’s what happened:
My wife is a finicky eater. You think going out to dinner with “your friend the vegan” can be a challenge? That’s nothing compared to Shannon. Because of this, she and I have become very adept at placing custom orders clearly and repeating orders to make sure they are done correctly.
Last night, I was neck deep in coding websites for Green Mustard Entertainment, and I didn’t feel like stopping for food. Shannon suggested ordering something for takeout and she’d run to get it while I kept working. We opted to order from this Firehouse Subs:
Your standard, small town franchise in a strip mall.
Here’s where things get interesting… Shannon wanted me to call ahead to order the subs. Knowing that she orders off menu, I tend to suggest she order it when she gets there instead (so she can watch them make it.) Time was a concern overall, though, so I made the call.
If you know me in real life, you know I have one of those deep, clear, radio style voices when I enunciate. I made the call to place an order. I spelled out exactly what SHOULD and SHOULDN’T be on Shannon’s sub. (It’s really simple, actually: pepperoni, onions, provolone, and oregano… that’s it! Nothing else.) I repeated it back to the guy on the phone and he informed me that he had it – and Shannon left to get it as I continued work.
She got home about half an hour later and I stopped work to take a break, watch TV, and eat dinner. She opened her sub and saw that they got it completely wrong. There was ham and lettuce and tomatoes and…
Well. I was pissed.
I was REALLY pissed because I walked the person through the order twice on the phone. Clearly. It would take a special act of not paying attention to mess this up. I was pissed because now this Firehouse Subs was about to waste the one thing I hold most valuable: time.
I got in the car and drove (with Shannon) back to the Firehouse Subs. I asked to speak to a manager, and the guy behind the counter told me that there wasn’t one there. Let me repeat: there was no manager on duty.
I then told him how upset I was and that I wanted a refund for the whole order. I explained that the purpose of calling in an order ahead of time was to save time – not waste it like I was doing having to come in. He gave the usual talk off – “I understand” – and started going through the order.
“You don’t want the other sandwich?” he asked, referring to mine.
“Why? So I can eat it in front of my wife who’s order you got wrong?”
“You don’t want these cookies either?” he then asked. He was going through item by item – shocked that I wanted a refund for all the untouched food.
It was ludicrous.
I then pointed out that either he or someone else had to have taken the order. Another guy showed up and said he was the one who did it. Ignoring the fact that there was lettuce and tomato on it (which wasn’t supposed to be there) he went straight for “you know it normally comes with ham, too.”
“I know,” I responded. ”I told you NO ham. No ham. No salami. Nothing else except the pepperoni, cheese, onions, and oregano. I was on your website reading the ingredients off the menu when I was ordering, hence making sure to mention everything to remove from the order.”
“I guess I didn’t hear your. Sorry,” he said back.
Since no manager was available, I asked for the franchise owner’s card. They got it for me and, luckily, it included the guy’s cell phone.
After getting our money back, we walked out and started deciding on where to get dinner. Before doing so, though, I took Shannon’s cell (mine was at home) and called the number on the business card. After a few rings, a man picked up.
“Hello,” I asked. ”Is Doug Hummel there?”
“This is him, who’s this?” the guy replied.
I proceeded to tell Doug the entire circumstance and let him know that I was standing out front of his Firehouse Subs while calling. After listening to my rant – Doug replied with these few words: “Okay. Well, I’ll let the manager know” and then ended the call.
Wow. Thanks, man.
So should the folks from that Firehouse ever read this, here’s the simple answer to the problem that NO ONE on your team – all the way to the Franchise Owner – never did.
NO ONE OFFERED TO MAKE THE CORRECT SUB. No one. I got excuses from the counter guy…
“The manager isn’t here.”
I got excuses from the order taker…
“I didn’t hear you say no ham.”
I even got a talk off from the owner…
“I’ll let the manager know.”
NO ONE OFFERED TO FIX THE PROBLEM. NO ONE. That, boy and girls, is what is called “service.” It’s how a company thrives in a recessive market. It’s also something that, when lacking, loses business.
And as of now, I have no plans to ever return to a Firehouse Subs.
The adventures of Serge Storms kicks off to the level I’ve grown accustomed to (since, you know, I’m reading them completely out of order.) This book in the series has all the ingredients in the usual formula: Serge pissed off, a stoner sidekick (played by Lenny – for now – since Coleman is allegedly dead,) guns, touristy locations, and standard Florida political idiocy.
I also got, from the gist of this book, that Mr. Dorsey may NOT be a fan of “Bubba the Love Sponge.”
This made for another great drive-around-listen-on-audiobook adventure during my usual treks around the Sunshine State. I can’t wait to read the rest of them and be caught up with the entire series so that when I finally read a new book it feels all chronological and stuff.
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Hey WPLG Local 10 News in South Florida (@WPLGLocal10) – story idea! (In regards to #StarWars Celebration 6)0
I could go on an on about the decline of journalism in lieu of tabloid television, but sometimes the actions of “the news” tells the tale well enough on its own.
It seems that WPLG, a local station in South Florida, decided it would be AWESOME to post a photo gallery of Star Wars fans from the recent Star Wars Celebration event at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.
You know… that event that brought in thousands of travelers across the state (and outside Florida) to pump money into the local economy.
Here’s the details (from the Facebook group “WPLG Local 10 Owes Star Wars Fans a Formal Public Apology“)
“For those who do not know what is going on – this station, or should I say someone who is employed by this station posted 45 pictures from the Star Wars convention that was held in Orlando this past weekend. Attached to those pictures were very rude and insulting captions by the station. For example, there was a picture of a young lady dressed as Obi-wan Kenobi (A male Jedi knight in the films) and she was wearing a fake beard. The station captioned the photo that no one seemed to notice the number of hairy women at the convention. There were over 44 other pictures, all of them making fun of peoples sizes, gender and so on.” -El Bradfield
Here’s an example:
Caption reads “Dateless man for as far as they eye can see”
(“they” should be “the” – their typo, not mine.)
It seems that WPLG has missed the point regarding how asinine this action was and tried to do a “brush off” apology. That’s right – there’s a screen shot of that, too:
This was going south quick, so they quickly removed the apology claiming the “my sandbox/my rules” standard.
I personally don’t think this “news” organization gets it. So, for my own amusement, I have compiled a list of suggested upcoming photo galleries for WPLG to create and post based on other events coming to the Orange County Convention Center. After all, it’s not offensive or bullying based on stereotypes if it comes from a news organization, AMIRIGHT?
Suggestion #1: The Surf Expo, September 6-8, 2012
Imagine the comic genius the WPLG crew could produce! Get photos of surfers away from the beach. They’re all pot smoking stoners living in low income housing, right? Make sure to poke fun at how most of them are probably jobless and living off of welfare while they waste their days away at the beach. HILARIOUS, RIGHT?
Suggestion #2: Southern Women’s Show, October 11-15, 2012
Southern women? Hellllllloooo redneck chick jokes! I mean, based on stereotypes, I’m pretty sure that all of these lovely ladies have married their cousins and support their families as they march in KKK outfits. Just think of all the “white sheet” jokes you could get with the right photos! COMIC GOLD, NO?
Suggestion #3: The American National Cheer & Dance Championships, March 22-24, 2013
So if all the men at the Star Wars Celebration event were dateless, then (based on the WPLG thought process of news reporting) this must be the proverbial SEA OF SLUTS! I can only imagine the guffaws from a photo gallery of teenage girls in compromising positions who are OBVIOUSLY sleeping with every guy they meet. They’re cheerleaders, right? That’s their stereotype so that means IT’S NEWS, RIGHT?
When a “news source” decides, via one of it’s communication outlets (in this case, Facebook,) that perpetuating stereotypes for the sake of humor is okay then they cease being news… and transforms into a lame ass sitcom.
For those wondering:
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Last Thursday night, I got to see Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in concert at the Amway Arena in Orlando, Florida. That was something a LONG TIME coming. You see, Full Moon Fever remains, to this day, one of my all time favorite albums. Somehow, though, I never got the chance to see Tom Petty in concert… until last week
His opening act was a young lady named Regina Spektor. Shannon knew who she was. I recognized one of her songs from an episode of Veronica Mars.
Thus, here is the updated list:
*NSYNC (@ Universal’s CityWalk)
Ashlee Simpson (at Sunfest)
Barenaked Ladies (@ Universal’s Mardi Gras)
Faith No More
Fiona Apple (at Sunfest)
Guns & Roses II aka “Axl & Friends”
Guns & Roses (2 times)
Ice Cube (at Lollapalooza ’92)
Joan Jett (@ Disney’s Pleasure Island)
Journey (2 times)
Jimmy Buffett (7 times)
Metallica (2 times)
Ministry (@ Lollapalooza ’92)
Nine Inch Nails
Pearl Jam (@ Lollapalooza ’92)
The Ramones (@ Lollapalooza ’96)
The Red Hot Chili Peppers (@ Lollapalooza ’92)
Right Said Fred
Sheryl Crow (at Sunfest)
Soundgarden (3 times)
Sponge (@ Lollapalooza ’96)
Squirrel Nut Zippers (@ Universal’s Mardi Gras)
The Spice Girls
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Tori Amos (2 times)
Van Halen (with Sammy Hagar)
Voltaire (@ The Nightmare Before Thanksgiving)
“Weird Al” Yankovic (2 times)
Acts listed in bold have a link to a blog post or photos from the show. There are other posts, too, but that will have to wait for another concert list update in the future once I finish retroactively categorizing my past blog posts.
You know that fear that wells up inside when your parents dig up embarrassing old photos and videos of you and shows them to your friends? I have found a way to combat that fear.
I show them to the Internet before they can.
In 1991, my friend Dave DeRosa and I got decided that Martin County High School was sorely lacking a “Motion Picture Club.” I mean, they had clubs for everything else – so why not one for nerds who like to MAKE movies. (Back then, it wasn’t as commonplace as it is now.) Thus, we got off our respective asses, found a teacher to sponsor the club, and started shooting movies with my old VHS camcorder. A number of short films were created in my back yard and various other locales in the sleepy beach town of Stuart, Florida. Most of these gems from my childhood have been lost forever in various moves and changes in formats.
Our most ambitious film project we plotted for our newly formed high school club was to create a full length motion picture: Dave & Tom’s Excellent Adventure. As you may have guessed, Dave and I enjoyed a fascination with two popular film dudes and based our parody on their exploits. My Keanu voice impression wasn’t half bad back then.
In retrospect, this video makes a clever time capsule of our shared home town town from twenty years ago.
(Sweet Jesus, we’re fucking old.)
I’m sure I’ll sit through all forty eight minutes again one night a draw out of more detailed list of “look for this!” sort of stuff, but for now – keep an eye our for a cameo from an actual DeLorean AND footage of the old Martin Square Mall movie theater (that no longer exists.)