11
May
11

May 9, 2011: Avenged Sevenfold, Three Days Grace & Bullet for My Valentine

UCF Arena crowd, Avenged Sevenfold, Three Days Grace, Bullet for My Valentine, Orlando, Central Florida, music, concert

Monday night marked my last show working for the UCF Arena in Orlando and it was a doozy. Members of Bullet for My Valentine whipped their hair back and forth, Adam Gontier of Three Days Grace rocked his best power stance, and at least two guys from Avenged Sevenfold appeared as though they stepped right out of “The Lost Boys,” all before a nearly sold-out show.

UCF Arena, Bullet for My Valentine, Jason James, Jay James, Orlando, May 2011

UCF Arena, Bullet for My Valentine, Matthew Tuck, Orlando, May 2011 UCF Arena, Bullet for My Valentine, Michael Paget, Orlando, May 2011 UCF Arena, Three Days Grace, mic stand, terminator, Orlando, May 2011

UCF Arena, Three Days Grace, Adam Gontier, Orlando, May 2011

UCF Arena, Three Days Grace, Neil Sanderson, Orlando, May 2011

Perhaps the most striking part of the night was the way in which one actor descended into view of the crowd: by the “neck” (actually by cables and a harness). Did it make any sense? No, but the crowd seemed to the enjoy the morbidity of a feigned hanging.

UCF Arena, Avenged Sevenfold, M. Shadows, noose, hang, Matthew Sanders, Orlando, May 2011

UCF Arena, Avenged Sevenfold, Zacky Vengeance, Synyster Gates, Syn, Johnny Christ, Orlando, May 2011

UCF Arena, Avenged Sevenfold, Zacky Vengeance, Synyster Gates, Syn, Johnny Christ, M. Shadows, Orlando, May 2011

04
Apr
11

April 2, 2011: Wildlife Survival Sanctuary

Meet Kiya, one of the residents of Wildlife Survival Sanctuary in Spring Hill, Fla. Below, President Jim Moore spends time with the 11-year-old African leopard while educating guests about the non-breeding facility during an open house on April 2, 2011.

 

leopard Kiya female wildlife survival sanctuary spring hill florida

Kiya African leopard wildlife survival sanctuary spring hill florida jim moore

Kiya African leopard female jim moore wildlife survival sanctuary spring hill florida

23
Mar
11

The Secret Life of a Peace Corps Application

Peace Corps Volunteer Moldova Application Invitation AcceptanceI DID IT! Yep, that’s me on the left and my mum on the right. We’re holding my unopened invitation to serve in the Peace Corps during its 50th year! Before now, I was hesitant to post anything related to my application in case that it didn’t work out (thinking somehow I would jinx it). But alas! It’s really happening, so I feel safe letting everyone in on the news ;)

The application is just the beginning. During my 27 months of service in Moldova, I look forward to learning a new language, integrating with my host family and community, and pushing myself to the limit. In case you’re curious what goes into the application process, here’s a time line of my experience:

April 9, 2010– I establish an online account for my Peace Corps application. Throughout the next few months, I tailor my resume to match an education position and I work to complete the application form, two essays, my employment history. I also collect college transcripts and three references (my college roommate, my current employer, and one of my college professors).

July 1 – I submit my complete application, meeting the deadline for service beginning in 2011.

July 9 – My recruiter contacts me for the first time and welcomes me to the application process. She requests me to fill out several forms including the Education Skill Addendum and Romantic Involvement Questionnaire.

July 12 – Peace Corps sends me a fingerprinting packet in the mail. I send it back in within a week, but the officer who did my fingerprints forgot to sign the form! My recruiter sends a new packet right away and I resend the new forms.

August 10 – My recruiter calls me during work for a phone interview, but thankfully my employer is aware and very supportive of my Peace Corps goals, and offers her consent. Near the end of the 1.5-hour interview, my phone nearly dies. My stomach is in knots from all the excitement.

August 13 – My recruiter nominates me for an English Teaching program in Eastern Europe / Central Asia and I am asked to fill out a Nomination Requirement Form. The form asks me to outline my plans for gaining experience required to maintain my nomination.

August 20 – I contact the Boys and Girls Club of Central Florida to see about enhancing the competitiveness of my application and completing a 30-hour tutoring requirement.

August 23 – Peace Corps medical forms arrive in the mail. In a stack, they resemble a paperback copy of The Fountainhead. I’m not sure how I’m going to finish all of these by December, but I’m going to try.

September 30 – After a lengthy fingerprinting process, a volunteer coordinator’s server crash, missed phone calls, and hours of searching for alternative volunteering options, I’m finally allowed to start work with the Club. I’m running out of time, so I readjust my work schedule to allow myself to volunteer on weekdays.

October 20 – There’s no better way to end my 21-hour bloodwork-related fast than by $0.29 tacos at Del Taco. Breakfast, lunch and dinner for $3.04! Typical running around associated with said evaluation somehow turned an 8-hour fast into one of 21 hours.

November 4 – I take a day off of work to knock out my Td and polio vaccinations at the health department downtown.

November 16 – My medical review paperwork is complete and I befriend a photocopier before I mail out the behemoth of a packet!

November 18 – Peace Corps receives my medical packet.

November 19 – I clear the dental review!

November 20 – Peace Corps begins my medical review.

November 23 – My Peace Corps medical evaluation nurse calls to inform me that I am “basically” qualified. She is a ninja… What takes some 1-3 months, she does in three days. There is one issue, however, and this delays my application.

January 6, 2011 – At last, my medical review is complete! The Office of Medical Services and the Office of Placement begins an OMS/Placement review…

January 11 – A placement assistant on the Education Skills desk asks me to submit an updated resume, a refined cross-cultural essay that lists more specific examples of adapting to an unfamiliar situation, and a new relationship questionnaire, which is more in-depth than the previous form. I submit all of these within a week.

January 20 – February 7 – I contemplate whether I should start applying for other jobs, in case Peace Corps doesn’t want me after all.

January 25 – Nearing the end of my lease, I move from Orlando to Tampa and make arrangements with my job to work remotely.

January 30 – My boyfriend of two years dumps me, and I slowly fall in love with an old friend.

February 8 – After an unexpected follow-up interview, my placement officer qualifies me to receive an invitation to serve. At this point, I don’t know in which region of the world I’ll be living. She advises me to gain as much ESL teaching experience as possible before my departure, so I get to work on applying for additional volunteer hours.

February 14 – I give notice at work.

February 23 – Because I was medically cleared too late to participate in the program for which I was originally nominated, my placement officer provides me with a choice of two regions: Eastern Europe/Caucasus or Sub-Saharan Africa. She says that choices are not normally provided to volunteers, however she felt comfortable offering them since they were available.

February 24 – Neither assignment would be in a Francophone country, so this renders my language background useless. I decide on Eastern Europe with the hope of taking some earned vacation time in Turkey and avoiding fire ants.

February 25 – My last day at my “real life” desk job.

March 3 – My invitation arrives, but I don’t see it until the next day. It a glorious blue folder with tons of juicy reading material: I’M GOING TO MOLDOVA!

March 6 – The fun begins and I can finally begin researching my future home. I submit my statement of acceptance and get to work on photos for my no-fee passport.

March 16 – I submit my aspiration statement and an updated resume to the Moldova Desk, which is then forwarded to Peace Corps staff in Chisinau…

10
Mar
11

2/28-3/04: Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas

Never again will I pay money to sit on a ship and be dumped in touristy spot after touristy spot. Although cruises cater to a very specific demographic (myself included), I’ve come to realize that cruising just isn’t for me. It defies the very purpose of travel, which is to experience a new culture, to try unusual things, and to get out of that comfort zone. I embarked on my very first cruise at the end of February: a 4-night voyage to Key West, Fla.; Nassau, Bahamas; and Coco Kay (a stop that was unfortunately canceled due to the weather). I can imagine cruising is ideal for those who wish to take a  more laissez-faire approach to travel, but the bombardment by Burger King, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, AND Señor Frogs at the Port of Nassau was pretty appalling! A steady flow of visitors is crucial to dependent local economies, so I certainly wouldn’t recommend not sailing. Rather, the next time you cruise, make an effort to get off the beaten path and get out of that godforsaken Burger King queue. Do business with the locals. Go on, try those conch fritters.

Key West, Fla.

Bahamas cruise Royal Caribbean Majesty of the Seas

Hemingway House Key West

Hemingway Pissed Here Key West Florida

Hemingway House Key West Florida Hemingway House Key West Florida

Nassau, Bahamas

Nassau Bahamas cruise

Nassau Bahamas cruise

Nassau Bahamas graffiti

Nassau Bahamas cruise Nassau Bahamas cruise

 

22
Feb
11

Breaking in the New D7000

Earlier this month, I made a much-needed update to my arsenal of photographic equipment by purchasing a D7000. I’ve yet to try shooting video, but I am extremely impressed with the quiet shutter and minimal noise at high ISO. Also: Twin card slots!!!!! The actual grip and feel of the camera will take some getting used to…

On Sunday, I broke in the new camera the proper way: With a dash of urban exploration.

urban exploration abandoned building

urban exploration abandoned building

urban exploration abandoned building

urban exploration abandoned building

Ubran Exploration Abandoned Plant

20
Jan
11

Miami Metro Zoo – January 15, 2011

sea otter zoo animal cute Miami

monkey tree zoo animal cute Miami bird zoo animal cute Miami

zoo animal cute Miami

lion zoo animal cute Miami

26
Nov
10

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Candles Table Setting Wine

Cheese Brie Crackers Fall Autumn Holidays Grapes

Thanksgiving Holiday Turkey Bird Feast Season Fall Autumn




What I’m doing:

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