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Quotes from The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan

i can’t pretend to know
how to smoke. i just do it.
i can’t pretend to know
what love is. it just is.

once time is lit, it will burn
whether or not you’re breathing it in.

i have a tinder heart and a paper body and that any spark will turn me straight to ash

To get something, you must give something away.
To hold something, you must give something away.
To love something, you must give something away.

We are so used to releasing words. We don’t know what to do with them if they stay… No matter how many times we let them go, they come back. The words that matter always stay.

How to Be Alone
Remember that at any given moment
There are a thousand things
You can love

What I Learned
The well-documented difference
Between alone and lonely
The comfort of knowing

A Cue from Nature
Run outside during a thunderstorm
That downpour, that conquered hesitation, that exhilaration
That’s what unlonely is like

Here’s what I know about the realm of possibility – it is always expanding, it is never what you think it is. Everything around us was once deemed impossible. From the airplane overhead to the phones in our pockets to the choir girl putting her arm around the metalhead. As hard as it is for us to see sometimes, we all exist within the realm of possibility. Most of the limits are of our own world’s devising. And yet, every day we each do so many things that were once impossible to us.

Road Trip Playlist

Over on Twitter, @mommywantsvodka was asking for suggestions for a mix CD for her car. I happen to have a playlist for roadtrips…

Don’t judge….

Goody Two Shoes … adam ant

Alison Road … Gin Blossoms

Back in the Saddle Again … Aerosmith

Been here once before … EAGLE-EYE CHERRY

Bom Bom Bom … Living Things

bodymovin remix … Beastie Boys

I Like the Way You Move … Bodyrockers

Round Round … Far East Movement

She Wants to Move … (DFA remix) N.E.R.D.

Do U Wanna Ride … Blue Crush Soundtrack

ride wit me … nelly

Take a Ride … Everlife

Wild Wild Ride … Jacob’s Trouble

On The Open Road … A Goofy Movie

Ridin’ (Radio Edit) … Chamillionaire featuring Krayzie Bone

Heads Carolina, Tails California … Jo Dee Mesina

Let It Ride … John Hiatt

Where Nobody Knows My Name … John Hiatt

Bright Side Of The Road … Van Morrison

Back On The Road Again … REO Speedwagon

Hit The Road Jack … Ray Charles

Further On Up The Road … Johnny Cash

Take Another Road … Jimmy Buffett

This Road … Ginny Owens

The Kilburn High Road … Flogging Molly

Rocky Road To Dublin … Dropkick Murphys

Fly Me Courageous Drivin n Cryin

Good To Be On The Road Back Home … Cornershop

Down The Old Plank Road … The Chieftains

Long Way Home … Supertramp

Malfunction Junction … Drivin’ N’ Cryin’

Long Way Around … Eagle Eye Cherry

gottakeepmovingon UB40

Send Me on My Way … Rusted Root

Starry Eyed Surprise … Paul Oakenfold

Upside Down … A-Teens

Thunderstruck … ACDC

Shook Me All Night Long … ACDC

Ballroom blitz … ACDC

Walking On Sunshine … Aly & AJ

Hey Mama (Remix) … Black Eyed Peas

Round and Round … Bodyrockers

Guttermouth … Bree Sharp

Ready, Steady, Go … The Meices

Lose Yourself … Eminem

Ready Steady Go! – [Opening 2] … Full Metal Alchemist

Clint Eastwood … Gorillaz

Black Horse & The Cherry Tree … KT Tunstell

The Future Freaks Me Out … Motion City Soundtrack

Make Out Kids … Motion City Soundtrack

All The Things She Said … Tatu

How Soon Is Now … The Smiths

Behind the Wall of Sleep … The Smithereens

I Know You Know The Friendly Indians

Cobrastyle … Teddybears STHLM

Bohemian Like You … The Dandy Warhols

I Am A Scientist The Dandy Warhols

Intergalactic Friends … Dandy Warhols vs. Beastie Boys

Kick It Into Gear … Jennifer Paige

What about you? Have any songs to drive by?
Missing from this list is the angry driving music:
You Saw My Blinker … DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince
Get Out The Way … Ludacris

FL Ice Cream Festival

Did you know there was a Florida Ice Cream Festival? I didn’t until a couple of weeks ago when I stumbled upon it online. And then I promptly forgot about it.

But then yesterday, April 6, I made a trip to Sarasota and as I was driving past Lakeland on I-4, noticed a billboard for it. My trip to Sarasota was a long drive, but I wasn’t there very long either. So as I approached Lakeland I decided to check out the festival.

This was apparently the “first annual” FL Ice Cream Festival. They did some things well, and they did some things poorly. Hopefully, they learned from this year and can make some changes to improve it next year.

Joker Marchant StadiumThe festival was held at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, where the Detroit Tigers play spring training. I’d never been there before. It’s a nice stadium. The Festival was mostly in a grassy field outside of the stadium, though there was a stage behind homeplate that allowed guests to sit in the stands and watch live bands, the ice cream eating contest, and other things. There was a second stage out in the field, too.

Since I’d never been to the Stadium, I wasn’t quite sure where to go, and followed other cars that looked like they knew where there were going (zen navigation). It worked out okay for me. I ended up parking one street over at a public park, and not in the Stadium lot, which looked full anyway.

Ticket and ProgramAs I walked toward the Stadium, there was a huge line in front of it. But everyone there had tickets, so I headed for the box offices. These lines were short, especially if paying cash. And here’s one of the best things about the festival – admission was only $3. After I got my ticket, I had to join the really long line. Apparently everyone arrived at the park at the same time I did. Even though the line was long, it moved fast, and half way through, they opened an additional gate. The weird thing about the ticket – they didn’t tear them. And I’m pretty sure later I saw people reselling them in the parking lot. Scalping $3 tickets seems weird.

Once in the park, it was a bit of a madhouse. All the lines for ice cream were long. No one was taking cash – you had to purchase event money from one of the sponsors, not unlike fair tickets. They were $1 for 1, so it was simple. You just had to plan in advance. The sponsor seemed to be a bank, specifically for a charity they run. Not quite sure. The tickets could then be used for ice cream or food or entertainment. Prices seemed fair. Ice cream was $2 or $3. Food from $3 to $8.

ImageI only ended up visiting two booths. My first stop was Fred’s Southern Kitchen, which I think is local-famous. You see their billboards on I-4 around Lakeland. The line was long, but it was worth the wait. I had a good portion of pulled pork and french fries for $3, and an apple crisp with vanilla ice cream for another $3. The pulled pork was supposed to be a slider, but they had run out of buns. This seemed to be something common at the event – many of the booths had run out of flavors or ice cream all together. Next to Fred’s was a booth that didn’t have a line, though I’m not sure why. It was for The Cuppin Cake Truck from Tampa. Their cupcakes were $3 each, or 2 for $5. I tried their banana split cupcake, and it was delicious – a moist banana cupcake with a vanilla bean buttercream on top, with a drizzle of chocolate and a cherry on top. They had other ice cream-themed cupcakes, too, and they’d sold out of at least one flavor. I’m surprised there wasn’t a line. 

ImageThe entertainment was typical small town festival. There were bouncy houses for the kids, a pony ride, a little miniature golf course, etc. All of those required tickets. The police and fire departments had a significant presence, maybe mainly because they set up exhibits of their vehicles for the kids to check out, but they were patrolling, too, and the event felt extremely safe. There was free entertainment, too, like singers and bands. There was an ice cream making contest and a few ice cream eating contests. I think there was other stuff going on, but it was just too crowded to find out.

ImageI think the first annual Florida Ice Cream Festival was a success. It seems like the only thing they got wrong was underestimating the crowds that it would attract. I wonder if there are better ways to do it. Having been to the also-crowded Great American Pie Festival, I wonder if there are some ideas they could borrow. The pie festival has an all you can eat bracelet, and walking through the pie area, flows pretty smoothly. This may because there’s a linear flow to the setup of booths, too, but maybe because the pie slices are prepackaged it just makes it easier to grab and go, where Ice cream may need to be handscooped. Also, holding the festival on two days instead of one may split the crowds. I think next year, it will be worth checking out again.

Catching up… Oz, Epcot and the Rape of Nanking

I haven’t written much lately so here’s a quick catch-up.

I got a promotion a few weeks ago, and then I was very honored to receive a special award at work, too. The job is keeping me busy, but it’s going well.

Last weekend, my son and I were invited to tag along for a special screening of Oz The Great and Powerful. We both liked it a lot. It was a little long for my taste, but well made. And I like director Sam Raimi’s little nods to other work he’s done (Evil Dead hand, possible deadite, and I think a line from ED too). I’ll be curious to see if this launches more Oz tales on film.

That movie screening was brought to us by the official Disney Parks Blog. We even made the recap video they posted. 

The screening took place at Epcot and we spent the day there prior to the event. I made my son a photo scavenger hunt for Epcot and we spent most of the day doing that. This was his first time getting all 100 objectives in the scavenger hunt. I’ll post another blog eventually with the full list.

That morning was also the day of the Disney Princess Half Marathon. We knew some people running in the race and got there early to offer some encouragement. We saw my friend Alison, and then Alexander spent about an hour giving high fives and encouragement to all the other racers who went by. It was very nice of him, though he didn’t even understand why it was nice when he was doing it.

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I’ve still managed time for reading. I read The Silver Linings Playbook and liked it much better than the movie, even though I liked Jennifer Lawrence in the film. I think the book probably handles things a little more realistically. And the denouement of the film is really the middle of the book.

I read a book called Dear Coca-Cola…. This is one of those books where a guy who thinks he’s funny writes letters to corporations and then prints their responses. The first book I read like this was Idiot Letters by Paul Rosa (http://www.amazon.com/Idiot-Letters-Paul-Rosa/dp/038547508X). It was published in 1995, and while pretty funny, I think there was subtext in the commentary on corporations and the people who work for them. There were a couple of other similar books by a guy named Ted L. Nancy, which was a pseudonym. These were much more focused on the humor, and not in a good way. But still, these books were better than Dear Coca Cola.

But after that “humor” reading, I was ready for something more serious, so I started reading The Rape of Nanking. I don’t have a lot of words at this point… I haven’t finished the book yet. I’m reading it in little pieces. It’s a tragedy and a real life horror… and that doesn’t even begin to describe it. I think it’s an important book, giving the history of a nightmare in war, as well as digging into the depths of the depravity of man. I don’t think I’ll do a real review on it, but I recommend the book.

After this, I’ll need to pick up something a little more light-hearted. I bought Jimmy Buffett’s Swine Not? at the Dollar Tree, so maybe that… But if you have any book recommendations, let me know!

Great American Pie Festival

Every year, Crisco hosts the Great American Pie Festival in Celebration, Florida. Pie baking contests that go on in conjunction with the festival have been shown on the Food Network. The main draw of the pie festival is the all-you-can-eat pie buffet. This weekend was the 8th annual Great American Pie Festival, and I took my son on Sunday. I really wanted to like the pie festival. All you can eat pie? Sold. But we were disappointed.

Tickets were $10 for adults and $5 for children or seniors. I’d say in general, that’s not a bad deal. But apparently, I just can’t eat that much pie.

Alexander contemplates his pie.

There was a pie eating contest going on later in the day that we didn’t stick around for. There is no way I could have participated. I think Alexander and I shared four pieces of pie. Alexander picked out the chocolate peanut butter pie, which he didn’t really like. He said it was too peanut buttery.

We also tried a “sugar pie” that they said was like creme brulee, but tasted like… nothing. It was gross. There was a lemon curd pie that tasted good, but not great. The best was a white chocolate raspberry cream pie. I wish everything tasted that good. There was a lot of variety in the pie buffet, but nothing that just said “you have to try me.” Everything seemed pretty standard. Apple, cherry, lemon meringue… You’ve seen it all before. And of all those, you’d hope it was the best pie you’ve every tasted, and I don’t think an all you can eat pie buffet is really going to showcase the best pie ever.

There were 12 booths within the buffet area, including a tent where they just handed out Publix bottled water. That was my favorite booth. It was in the upper 80s. There were a couple of demonstration booths, mostly from sponsors, and then a main stage. When I was there, they were telling people how to make a great pie crust… using the sponsor Crisco, of course.

The kids area activities were an extra cost, but benefiting Second Harvest Food Bank. They let kids roll out dough for pie crusts. There was a “Piecasso” station for them to make art in pie shells. Stuff like that. Best was the photo op with the Pillsbury Doughboy. Even though Alexander wouldn’t poke him in the tummy.

I think some of our disappointment was just a lack of excitement in the festival – it was lacking energy. There was some live music but they weren’t playing when we got there. I think if you could vote for best pie, maybe with tokens in a box or something, that would have added a level of excitement. As it was, it was just kind of impersonal. Part of it could have been the heat, too. It was in the upper 80s. On Saturday, there was also an exotic car show going on. I think that may have helped with the energy, and given another option – and a break from pie.

Did you know that Joey Fatone from N’Sync owns the original KITT from Knight Rider? He left his car there even though there were no other cars from the show.

Alexander liked this speeder from Star Wars. I wonder… does Joey own this, too? There wasn’t a sign for it.

2011 Orlando Food Truck Bazaar

Tonight was the 2011 (and the first) Orlando Food Truck Bazaar, put on by Mark Baratelli of The Daily City blog, who also organizes the Taco Truck Taste Tests. The event was scheduled from 7pm to 10pm.

I got there right around 7, and was lucky to wait less than 10 minutes for a $5 lobster roll (with cole slaw and potato chips) from the Shipyard Brewery truck. As I ate my food, the crowds increased exponentially.

I’m sure there will be a recap at The Daily City, but it definitely seemed to be a success. I look forward to next year’s event, hopefully in a bigger parking lot with a lot more trucks!

Here’s a few pictures I took just to document it. Nothing fancy. You can see the crowds pick up as the photos progress…

Shhhh! A review.

Shhhh! is the title of the newest play by the PB&J Theatre Factory. Success begins for this play with the name. My son and I had lots of fun with the who’s-on-first-type dialogue that comes with the name.

“Dad, what play are we going to see?”
“Shhhh!”
“Okay. I’ll be quiet, but I really want to know the name.”
“Shhhh!”

I heard a girl in the audience do something similar with her dad, so I’m pretty sure it was good and funny, and not just that Alexander and I are weird.

The PB&J Theatre Factory is local to Orlando, and they put on shows that are full of physical comedy with out spoken dialogue. There are tons of sight gags, sound effects and props that tell the story, and make us all laugh. And when I say laugh, I mean people are rolling in the aisles.

Shhhh! is their fifth play, following Sport, Snack, Sleigh, and Splash. They also have a mini-production for schools called Shade. Alexander and I had seen Snack and Splash before, so we knew what to expect, and Shhhh! met, if not exceeded, all our expectactions.

Shhhh! is a comedic mystery, and probably has the most straightforward plot. You’ve seen this story before – two thieves assume false identities while hiding from the cops – but you’ve never seen it done as hilariously. The actors are extremely talented at the miming and clowning skills needed to tell the story, and the jokes. The set for this show is the most elaborate they’ve done, and the Garden Theatre is a great venue for the show. It was our first time at that theater, and we’ll definitely go back there for other shows in the future.

It’s good and fun for all ages! Definitely try to check this out while it’s playing. It’s at the Garden Theatre in Winter Garden, Florida, through February 27th, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 2pm.