The Downtown Post

Last night I went downtown with Buck and Lola from work. Buck is a DJ and both are heavy into the Orlando music scene and electronic techno. Being a fan of the genre I decided to tag along with them on a trip to a club downtown called Suite B. Not being able to dance and very new to the going-to-clubs scene I was a little skeptical, but wanted to take Lola up on her invite. I had a terrific time. The tunes were awesome, the environment was cool and the costumes were as skanky as can be. (what a terrific holiday Halloween is).

They roped off roads in downtown and it was a mess of partying, costumed college kids. Lots of fun. I went wearing my luchadore mask and smokers robe…yeah its not a ‘costume’ per see, but it worked considering the short notice. Before heading downtown we stopped in at a friend of Buck’s house who was having a party. Apparently I was looking in the wrong area of town for apartments, because their place was very nice, and put mine to shame. The area is a lot less crime ridden too (which is always a plus). Oh well, something to consider in a year when my lease is up. Daylight savings time afforded us an extra hour of downtown debauchery, which was brilliant. Didn’t end up back at my place till well after five…er four, I suppose. All in all a great night out and a terrific first foray into the downtown scene. I look forward to going back.


The Sideburn Post

Sideburns apparently equal maturity. Since deciding to grow sideburns about a month ago, I have only been carded once down here when going out for a drink. I’ve actually sat with people older than me who have been carded and not been asked myself. I’ve had my dances with ‘burns in the past, primarily during my ‘lets see how much facial hair I can really grow’-phase (middle school) but lopped them of early High School. Now they are back and in full force. No chops or crazy wings on the side of my face, just your standard trimmed sideburn affair.

I don’t blame my perceived maturity entirely on the sideburns (though I think they are a big part of the equation). I have also been wearing dress kakis, button up shirts and collared polo, as part of the company dress code, and have often gone out right after work. Maybe that’s it? Or maybe facial hair really does have magical properties.


The Lake Walk/Dad Visit Post

Before I start with this post I want to let it be known that I’m using a microphone to type this versus my keyboard. So far so good, with the occasional wrong word here and there. (I cant seem to say keyboard without typing “ Mickey-board”).

This weekend Dad came down from Atlanta (where he’s on a business trip) to visit me, so we can get the new computer working properly. Previously the computer would not recognize the hard drive as a hard drive but instead would recognize disks as the C-drive, making it very hard to install software and get the thing working properly. Now, barring the use of dual screen’s the computer is working as it should, (unfortunately without Photoshop because we left the disk in Virginia). As a computer, this new one is pretty kickass; running on a dual Pentium core, 2 SLI graphics cards, and more memory than I know what to do with. This computer, (which I’m going to call the Black Pearl) is a graduation gift from my parents. With it, I plan on making a really advanced portfolio of 3D. work for my application to UCF. No more crashing whenever I have to run Maya! (*NARF*)

On Saturday I went to Kissimmee for a charity walk benefiting Alzheimer’s disease. Dawn from work, organized a team to raise money in memory of her grandfather and I was more than willing to help out (I also have had family members who have suffered/are suffering from the disease). The walk consisted of a brief jaunt around a local lake which was really quite pretty. I will post pictures when I have Photoshop on the computer (until now you’ll just have to go with the fact that I thought it was nice). After the walk there was a raffle and Dawn won an all-expenses-paid cruise out to open-water on a casino liner, for her and 10 friends. I assume I’ll be invited when she goes, which will be loads of fun. Not being a big gambler, I don’t know how well I’ll fit in on a boat full of slot-jockeys, but it’ll be an experience nonetheless.

In other news Michael’s had a 40% off sale (with coupon) today and I picked up a new canvas for my third piece. In an attempt to challenge myself, while at the same time saving as much money as possible with my little coupon, I bought a massive canvas that is at least four times the size of my previous ones. I don’t know what exactly I plan on painting on it or even what color or where it’s gonna go at this point, but I’m sure it’ll be a fun project. I may have bitten off more than I can chew with this one.


The Second Painterly Post

Finished up my second painting project today after about a week of sitting on it partially completed. The piece is a 3-part landscape spanning three separate canvases, with the main color being red to fit the format of my living room. I wanted something to span the entertainment center that would tie the room together (or at least fill the huge white expanse of wall over the TV). Like the first project, this one has a stylized tree in bloom, and a three-tone color set. I spent more time pushing this tree's blossoms to look more stylized than the last and added a foreground/background vs the graphic effect of the first. Being that this is only #2 of many, I'm still trying to find my style, but I can honestly say that I am as pleased with this attempt as I was with the first.

The Stairwell Visitor Post

Ok, so two nights back I was having a hard time getting to sleep. Not because Coolio was winging, not because it was too hot, and not for any of the usual reasons. This particular night I couldn’t get to sleep due to a cracked-out guy rampaging in my stairwell. This guy was wailing and moaning like he’d been shot and was making a huge amount of noise. I couldn’t see him from my window so I assumed it was maybe the guy downstairs throwing up or whatever. An hour went by and there is still moaning, and no one has done anything about it (I was half hoping that another neighbor would call it in to the apartment security). This was 4:00 in the morning mind you, so I was pissed.

Shortly after a large banging started up, as well as stomping sounds and lots of scraping. By this point the man had moved into the light in front of the building and was viable from my balcony window. He was banging his head on the poles that hold up the balconies, and spitting on a boom-box he was holding. He’d then shine the stereo with his shirt and attempt to \listen to it. It was of course a large, wall-powered stereo, so it didn’t work. This angered him apparently and he punched it into the concrete. He’d then pick it up, dust it of, and spit shine it again. The whole time wailing and moaning like the undead. This went on for a good five minutes while I tried to make sense of the situation. He was wearing a Fubu shirt, that seemed cleaned and relatively new, as well as nice sandals and sunglasses on his short cropped and neat hair. Simply put the guy did not look homeless. But the box of lamps and stereo equipment he has with him dragging along the floor would lead you to think otherwise.

I called the apartment security who showed up half an hour later (great response time. I’m glad there was no real threat) and spoke to him for a while. He wasn’t making much sense and from their body language they were puzzled as to what to do with the guy. After he rambled about domestic abuse and guns, and jail they escorted him off to his ‘apartment’, which he claimed to not know where it was, but insisted he lived in the complex. Weird. I got to sleep shortly after, and woke up cranky.


The New Face Of Universal Post

This weekend I was at both Universal parks for a set of photo shoots for Amazing Pictures. They needed people to be photographed on some of the rides to be used as samples for the 'buy your ride photos'-posters that you see when coming off of most of the park's attractions. Universal paid for my ticket to both parks and I was cut to the front of every line, often multiple times, and didnt have to wait for a single thing, which was pretty awesome. I went with Bruce and his family (who had to pose for all the family and little-kid shots) and I was there for the coaster pictures. All in all, a pretty cool expereicne, would have been nice to have subsidized parking... but I really cant complain. Next time you go to Islands of Adventure or Universal Studios look for my face on all the ride signs, and then be jelous that you're pictures arnt nearly as handsome. I'll see if I can't fenagle a poster or two from the Universal rep for apartment (and blog) decoration next time he's in.

I got to see some if my recent work in use in the park, which is an awesome feeling for a designer. I saw families posing to have thier faces mapped onto Shrek templates I designed aswell as examples of my borders and frames in various stores accross the park. Bruce and family posed for a few of my 'Shreks and they all worked perfectly (I was worried ther would be some sort of error...or ten). Stayed at the park all day for the shoot, and wandered about City Walk after they closed down for the night. I plan on heading back there at somepoint, there were lots of interesting bars, clubs and stores there plus the Orlando Hardrock and a massive theater.


The Cribs Post

Ok, so now that I have some sembalence of an apartment set up I decided that the small pictures from a few weeks back didnt do the place justice. And while this video is far from 'good', its at least closer to 'better'. I hope you enjoy the god-aweful voice over as I ramble, repeat myself and say odd phrases like 'key' and 'kitted out' (I have no idea why) as well as my ridiculous MTV transitions. And with that fantastic introduction...Enjoy!

The 'Speed Demon' Post

So I got my first ticket today. Not three days after owning the flash new car I get busted for going 13 over the limit at a light a few hundred yards from my apartment. Honestly if I were in my familiar Focus, I recon I’d of been going faster, but either way I’m hit with $155 fee as well as an additional $72 for not having proof of insurance on me (relocation is slowing that down). So great, that’s $250 bucks I wasn’t planning on spending before lunch today. Hopefully I’ll be able to stomach the hit as far as my bank account goes. Damn this red car, it’s a magnet for getting pulled over (Dad was numerous times), but I can’t claim to not be at fault here (48 in a 35). I’ll spare the sob story but it was one of those situations where you’ve got open road ahead of you and you were just about to hit a light, but 100feet before you get there it changes green. So I speed up…and get tickets. It was kinda scary though (well not really) because I was pulled over next to a group of guys who’d been pulled out of a truck and we being padded down and handcuffed not 3 feet from my car. They were just kinda staring at me as they were being ‘processed’.


The Coolio Post

‘Coolio Antonio Banderas’ has been my roommate now for almost a week and she’s adjusting very well to her new home. She’s picked all the primo seating to become her spots and has marked her territory with an abundance of shed hair. I try to keep up with it with numerous lint rollers and special de-hairing gloves from Petsmart, but having black cushions is doing me in. Whatever, its worth it to have her here. We kitted her out with a giant box to sleep in last weekend, and she routinely picks that over her plush bed I bought her (go figure). Its hard to imagine that she’s 12 years old. She doesn’t act like an old cat by any means, and is definitely ‘all there’ and not one of those senile old house cats. She gets her exercise by chasing my lazerpen and beating the crap out of her new toys Mum and Dad picked up for her (see below).

The Blacklight Lounge Post

Last night was the 2-Year Anniversary of the Glo Lounge, a nightclub and bar off International Drive (tourist central in Orlando). Bruce and I received invitations as part of the ‘service industry’ at Cici’s Pizza place last week and decided to go. Free drinks at the bar all as well as a sushi bar and free wraps, not to mention a white-chocolate fondue fountain, made the whole ordeal very much worth checking out. Its called the Glo lounge for a reason, that being that everything is bathed in blacklight effects. Fortunately I was wearing a very light shirt, otherwise I image the lint and cat hair that must be allover me would have been very visible. Had a good time, met some cool people, played some neon pool, and drank Newcastles on the house. Afterwards we met up with Greg from Universal and headed over to Fridays for some wings and to watch the Shamrock/Ortiz fight, which unfortunately was as disappointing as it was predictable. Going to see if I cant get a few guys together to get the UFC PPV this weekend, could be good.


The Celica Post

So Dad and Mum handed over the title to the Celica to me, so its officially mine. Owning a car is a new experience to me, as I’ve always driven their cars. I mean, there is no doubt that I considered the Focus “my car” when I had it, but it never belonged to me, and was very much the family's property (that I was the constant user of). Now that the Celica is officially mine, it feels different. I love the car for starters, and want to put in the effort to keep it looking good. There are some dings, dents and chips that I’d like to sort out, as well as some interior bumps and bruises that are associated with an older (its only a 2000 though) car. I’ll take it out to a body shop for an assessment when things die down. First and foremost I need to sort out getting it insured down here, including sorting out the catalytic converter and getting the emissions tested, so that will be my focus (no pun intended) for the upcoming week. Though I miss my Focus, I am loving the new car, and am very appreciative of the fact that Mum and Dad have passed on the keys to me. Now all I need to do is hope that I can afford to keep it on the road.

The Parental Visit Post

This weekend Mum and Dad made it down with the Celica to visit and do a swapping of the keys for my Focus. The stuffed the car with more of my belongings that I was unable to fit in the car on my initial trip down here; Including my TV and Coolio. Also coming down with them were all the parts for my new computer, which Dad spend the majority of the weekend assembling. More on that in a future post. It was great to see them again, and having people in my usually empty apartment made me realize how much I really did miss all the little things that come with having family with you. We didn’t waste any time, and spent the weekend getting furniture, building bed frames and searching for various items that I’d been lacking. Christmas comes for me in October this year, as Mum and Dad opted to kit me out with everything I need for my apartment now, versus waiting till I came back up for Christmas. They have set me up really well, from a bed frame to s-video cables, my place is pretty stocked (even the fridge is brimming!). I’ll get some shots of the apartment on here soon, once I get everything sorted and sussed, but the place is looking terrific, and is much further along that I would of ever anticipated this early into my relocation. Thanks a million both of you!

Coolio apparently made the trip without fuss, and is doing really well here. Claiming the couch pretty much the second it was assembled; she’s spent most of her time exploring the apartment and lazing about in her new surroundings. I’m glad she’s adapting so well, I was worried she’d be very sad and/or effected by the drive. Apparently Max is missing her pretty badly bad home though.
We also had cause to celebrate, as Dad received word while on the way down here that his new job offer went through. So he’ll be starting at the new company with his old boss Steve next month. He’s really excited and it’s a terrific opportunity, congrats again Dad. We went out to McCormick & Schmitt’s for dinner to celebrate and I tried the Seared Tuna, which was fantastic (if not very different from what I was expecting). I’d never been before, but it was brilliant food, and even more amazing desserts. Definitely would recommend.

All in all this was a brilliant weekend, it was great to see my parents as well as get so much accomplished towards the apartment. I feel very spoiled. The only downside to it all is my fantasy team has sat neglected for the past two weeks, and are doing pretty awful. There goes my perfect record… oh well, I think it was worth the sacrifice.


The Free Lunch Post

So yeah, title says it all. Cici’s Pizza, a local brand of all-you-can-eat style pizza runs this thing twice a year for all service industry employees, where you eat and drink for free, as much as you want. Pretty crazy, and good food. Apparently someone in the office kinda-sorta counts as service industry, and printed off enough invitations for the whole department. End of the day, I ate far too much and feel like I don’t fit behind my desk now that we are back at work. In other unrelated news, I was talking to some of the guys from the Warehouse department and apparently two hookers were caught filming a porno by the lake right behind our office building. Somewhere in the office there is a picture apparently, but nobody remembers where its hidden. Not that I want to see it of course. But we are close to “The Trail” (Orange Blossom Trail Rd) which is notorious for hookers, so its pretty believable. Mum and Dad are in later today, bringing Coolio, my TV and a few other goodies. Not to mention the parts for my new computer, which we will (hopefully) be building this weekend. I’m stoked, even if it does mean I gotta sleep on the air mattress.


The UCF Bars Post

Last night I went out to the UCF Area to check out a couple of bars with Duncan’s friends Alana and Nathan. Had a good time, the bars were pretty good and had a lot of stuff going on (trivia stations at the tables, bar tab bingo, loads of TVs with the UCF game on etc.) UCF actually won a game (apparently it’s uncommon) so the place was pretty crazy. The guy selling Bingo tickets hooked me up and let me play for free which was cool of him, didn’t win of course, but that was to be expected. The whole area out by the university is really nice; the plaza these bars were at was absolutely massive. I would like to make it a regular haunt simply due to the variety and the fact that that’s where the student go to chill, but its pretty far away from me (45 min down a toll road) and Orlando traffic is pretty crap, especially down the 408. But yeah, it was great to have a night out and do some socializing, even if I did come in last place in the trivia contest (twice).


The Lunch Break Post

Yesterday I went out for my lunch break with the Art Department crew to check out Backyard Burgers. It’s a Five Guys-eske fast food burger joint, with excellent food, or so I’d been told by coworkers. I ordered a Big Chili Burger, and man was it awesome. Messy. But Awesome. Joined their frequent customer club and got a card for stamping (free burger after 9 stamps, oh yeah!) All in all, highly recommended, cheap and fast food. I’m sure I’ll be taking visitors there in the future as converts. They make pretty much every type of burger possible, and it tastes like its right off of a BBQ. Great stuff.

So what’s the point of this seemingly meaningless post? Well besides to share the joy that is Backyard Burger with you, I wanted to segway into my trip out for lunch today. George and I went to Chipotle, a long time favorite of mine. First off, its a lot cheaper down here, like by two or three bucks on every item (including the beer) which is awesome (for me). However, that comes at a price. That price being they don’t cook their meat. I had a very inedible pile of moldable, almost blue meat underneath my lettuce and salsa. Normally I don’t mind rare-er meats, but this was just gross, I couldn’t chew it. So I flagged the manager, who was uber apologetic and made the chef come out and apologize. Apparently, working a cooking surface in an assembly line warrens the title ‘chef’ these days, but whatever. She instantly whipped me up a well cooked, and oversized replacement, and gave me a coupon good for a free meal in the future. Not bad really. Hopefully I wont get salmonella, or e coli, or whatever you get from uncooked meat.


The Painterly Post

Today I finished my first canvas painting. I decided I want to decorate my apartment with my own artwork, in an attempt to make the plain white, gallery-eske, walls more homely. This first attempt at painting is an effort to tie my room’s colors together (white walls and comforter; green sheets and pillows; and a black desk). It’s roughly 20 x 30 inches and features a green wash-back with a contrasting stark black and white stencil of a tree. I am really pleased with the result, and am a little upset that these pictures don’t capture the subtle shifts in the background tone. I’ve always considered myself to be the artsy-fartsy type, but have never tried my hand at canvas painting before, I am very pleased with how this first foray turned out, and look forward to working on future pieces for my apartment or whatever the need may be. I’m a big fan of minimalist style, as well as stark contrast and vibrant colors, so I assume my future works will build upon this aesthetic. Hopefully someday I’ll know what I’m doing! I look forward to developing this as a hobby.