I’m going to stop writing in this space for now

After working, hanging out with the family, and exercising, I only have a little bit of time in each day for writing. Right now I have a few other projects of more interest to me.

If I get inspired, I may pick things back up here. But for now, I’m moving on.

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“He said something bit his neck and knocked him off his feet.”

“He” was a 17-year-old boy bending down to touch the sand in waist-deep water on Sunday at Ormond Beach, about 20 miles away from where we were that same day at New Smyrna.

The “something” was a shark.

“The bite is considered minor. The teen had about six lacerations and was taken by ambulance to Halifax Medical Center.”

Mindy’s stance on going no further out than ankle-deep has been emboldened. The kids and I remained undeterred.

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Second item checked off the To Do List: Orlando City Soccer

First things first. I was told the the stadium where they play, the Citrus Bowl, was a dump. It’s not really a dump, but it’s not very nice either. No backs on seats, but plenty of college stadiums that I’ve been to don’t have them either. That coupled with the fact that I wore jeans that I probably need to lose five pounds or so to fit in comfortably meant that my back was a little sore at the end of the night. Also, the stadium is in a part of town that feels more like New Orleans’ Ninth Ward than Central Florida. So it was interesting learning that Orlando even had this part of town.

But as for Orlando City, it was more of a thing than I would have thought. It seems to have more than its share of super fans, all dressed in purple, wearing club scarves, chanting in unison and letting of smoke bombs. Mindy even bought one of the scarves. According to Wikipedia, nearly 9,000 people were in attendance. That seems like a lot to me for minor league American soccer.

I watch the EPL on TV, so I’m already sold on the sport itself, especially the game length. Kickoff was at 7:30, and we were back to our car at 9:30. And I did enjoy the wide open style of play of Orlando City, even if it did seem a whole lot sloppier than what I’m used to seeing in the world’s highest level. If they built a soccer only stadium and get into the MLS–a prospect that is looking likelier and likelier–I think I could get into it. I’ve always daydreamed of being a season ticket holder for something. And this would be much cheaper than the Magic.

As for the game itself, City scored two goals and the first 6 minutes and added a third in the 19th minute, so it took a lot of drama out of most of the game. Though their opponents closed the gap to 3-2 with about 30 minutes to go, so the end stayed exciting enough. But City held win the game match, advancing to the championship game match of whatever minor league thing they are in. So that’s nice.

So there it is, Orlando City soccer. Not bad at all.

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Not sure what this thing was that we found on our lanai

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The challenges of running in Florida

I’ve been running outdoors a lot more since moving down here–no basement, thus no good place for the treadmill. So we sold it. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as I’ve been enjoying getting re-acclimated to outdoor running. Though it does present its fair share of issues.

1. Heat/humidity – I lump these two together because they are one in the same in my mind. Yes, I understand at the 90 degrees in Florida feels different than 90 degrees in Arizona, but when I say “it’s hot outside”, I’m taking all of that into account. People that correct you, saying “it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity”, are like the people that insist on announcing that “it is tomorrow” when you’re up past midnight or tell you “see you next year” when leaving work on December 31, that is they’re annoying. Regardless, the summer weather here in Florida relegates my outdoor running activity to the rule of 9s, before 9 a.m. or after 9 p.m.

2. Sprinklers – Because of #1 above, it means that I am running when people’s sprinklers are going. And sure, at the very end of a run, the idea of cooling off by running through a sprinkler doesn’t sound terrible. But not the first mile. Running in water-logged sneakers is no fun. And by the way, we’ve lived in this house since the end of April, and we haven’t turned on our sprinklers once. Because it rains everyday. I realize that this may stop at some point in the fall, but for now I assume the rain should be sufficient.

3. Leaf blowers – If by the grace of God it’s only 84 degrees at 4 p.m. on a Saturday and I decide to sneak my run in before dinner, I avoid the sprinklers, but suffer a much worse fate. I’m not sure how leaf blowers are even legal. They produce so much noise pollution and actual pollution for such minimal benefit. We have these things called brooms and rakes, and yes, your gardener will have to work an extra 15 minutes causing you bill to be $2 higher, but isn’t that worth it for a little peace and quiet and the ability to breath on an afternoon stroll through the neighborhood?

4. Cars parked over the sidewalk -I chalk this up to our small yards. At least here in the Orlando suburbs, lot sizes seem to be smaller than they were back in Cincinnati. And the pool takes up pretty much the whole backyard, so the house is closer to the street, thus the driveway is shorter. And no one parks their cars in garages down here because there are no basements. So everyone pretty much has two cars parked in their driveway at all times. A third car means street parking or on the driveway but blocking the sidewalk. And in my development, the parking option of choice seems to be the latter. So your choices as runner is the street at all times or weaving around parked cars. Neither option is ideal.

Yeah, but still – This is Florida, so I’m fairly positive that running outdoors throughout December, January and February will be pretty great.

Posted in healthy living, running, weather | 1 Comment

“To fix the economy, we need to encourage people to start moving again.”

Says Matt Yglesias

Yet the political system seems strangely reluctant to explicitly encourage more mobility as a possible economic fix. In part, people seem to think it’s heartless or condescending to note that many people could improve their job prospects by relocating. But in other respects, keeping relocation off the table is the real condescension. We take it for granted that talented people will leave their hometowns (if only to go to the flagship state university campus) for education, and need to be mobile to maximize their job opportunities. Abigail Wozniak’s 2009 research showed that college graduates are “several times” more responsive to geographical changes in labor demand when deciding to relocate than are non-graduates. Cadena and Kovak confirm this for the recession era, finding “considerable mobility in the expected direction” for college graduates while “among those with no more than a high school degree, only foreign-born populations move in substantial numbers to stronger labor markets.”

I don’t think Mindy and I would have ever just up and moved (on our own dime) to greener pastures even though the Ohio’s ho-hum economic prospects were always in the back of my mind. We were fortunate to move to a place with seemingly better economic growth potential via a corporate relocation.

That said the aforementioned corporate relo is still for an Ohio-based company, who knows for how long we will call Florida our home? Now, making this big move once, I think we are probably up for anything. We will adapt because, as sappy as it sounds, my family (i.e Mindy) has my back.

Once of the first things that crossed my mind when reading Yglesias’s post was something Megan McArdle wrote a few weeks back on marriage:

Marriage has basically followed the same path as income over the last 50 years. The college-educated have it better than ever — they are enjoying what Harvard researcher Kathryn Edin calls “superrelationships,” characterized by extremely high levels of rapport, cooperation and satisfaction. The bottom two thirds, on the other hand, are in unstable relationships that tend to break apart under stress. They typically have at least one child before they marry, experts told me, and when they do marry, it’s not to the father of their child. This is bad for the people in these relationships, and for the children they produce.

Now, I have never thought of Mindy and I having a “superrelationship”, this picture notwithstanding:

But I do know that if I told her I think we should consider moving to North Dakota to take advantage of the shale gas boom, she would be open to having a conversation about it. I would never be able to have the career focus that I do if it wasn’t for Mindy.

That’s the point I think Yglesias left out. If the working class has less stable marriages, that is, having kids before marriage, both parents not living at home with the kids, then you will not be able to relocate. Or at least it creates a situation that makes relocation much more difficult or unlikely.

So, Mindy, thanks for everything, I love you.

Posted in Florida economy, kids & family, relocating | Leave a comment

“Something about the amorphous-entity-as-nickname trend just doesn’t work.”

Zack Lowe on Grantland ranks all 30 NBA team names from worst to best. Orlando’s comes in at 26, which is fair I suppose because “Magic” is pretty terrible on paper. However, it’s sort of grown on me, and I don’t know what I’d change it to anyway.

What kind of magic is this? Some deadly Harry Potter or Voldemort stuff the team can use on enemies — Avada Kedavra or Sectumsempra, maybe? Birthday party magic, involving playing cards and rabbits, perhaps intended to distract opponents while Anthony Bowie tries to sneak in a triple-double? Gandalf standing in the lane, bellowing, “YOU SHALL NOT PASS”?

I realize this is just a lighthearted middle-of-the-off-season piece so he’s working his jokes in. But isn’t this an argument against any team name? You could go on a comparable riff on any of the 2nd through 8th ranked nicknames: 76ers, Celtics, Pistons, Knicks, Jazz, Pacers or Rockets.

As you probably know, it’s something even more sinister — a clunky marketing ploy designed to siphon some of Disney’s “magic” and transfer it to the local team.


“Magic” was perhaps the least-inspiring nickname among a group of nominations that included Challengers (in honor of the doomed shuttle), Orbits, Floridians (another ABA homage), Aquamen, Tropics, Heat, and Juice.

Miami took the Heat. And the rest are pretty terrible, no? Challengers sounds cool but that’s too morbid. I could see Orbits, Floridians or Tropics being used. But those are all so boring. And Aquamen and Juice would be laughable.

“Magic” won out when the daughter of Pat Williams, the team’s first GM, spent a day visiting local attractions and, awestruck afterward, told him, “This place is magic!” Ugh.

I don’t know, that doesn’t seem so bad to me.

The name has brought along a few nice touches: the spell-casting sound effect the team plays after made free throws, and Stuff the (Magic) Dragon, a good-natured beast who shoots streamers through his nostrils.

There you go. He even admits it’s not all bad.

There are plenty of sports teams’s nicknames that are in need of changing. In my opinion the Orlando Magic is not one of them.

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