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Amelia Con 2014, Fernandina Beach Florida: 6 September 2014   2 comments

Posted at 7:23 pm in events,out-of-area

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Well, I don't really need much of an excuse to visit Fernandina Beach, one of my favorite places, so when my sister noticed that there was an Amelia Island comics, steampunk, gaming and anime convention, , I decided to check it out.

Compared to the Charlotte Heroes Convention, Ameliacon was quite small. There was one exhibit hall, in the park on Atlantic Avenue which houses the municipal swimming pool, with gaming and presentation events in the town womens' center behind the park. It seemed to me also that the convention focus was definitely more on gaming, costuming and cosplay than on comic books, though there were some authors and artists there.

I certainly felt out of the loop on some issues! Magna/Anime character design generally hurts my eyes, so I was pretty clueless about one of the properties that seemed to be a very big thing Attack on Titan. There were a number of costumers basing their characters on that. I was also completely in the dark about what is apparently a very popular podcast Welcome to Night Vale, something the contest winning cosplayers based their presentation on.

I missed the morning presentation on Steampunk, having somehow convinced myself that it was in the afternoon, but did catch an interesting presentation by Joshua Johnson on doing video special effects on, basically, zero budget.

The audio for the presentations was the most problematic facet of the convention. I got the impression from listening to one of the organizers talk during the costume contest that someone had promised the convention a PA system and then left them totally in the lurch. I could follow ok during the effects presentaion, and parts of the Marvel/DC artist's presentation, but I gave up during the Homestruck panel where the panel were all using their indoor voices, and where I was only sitting in to try to figure out what Homestruck actually was anyway.

The costumers were out full force in the exhibit hall, and then at the closing costume/cosplay contest.

During the costume contest, it was announced that the convention would be shifting out of the fall and into February, so there will be no Ameliacon 2015. The next will be Ameliacon 2016 though they did announce a sequence of local get-togethers in advance of that. I certainly enjoyed myself -- I don't know that I would have driven that far for a convention of that size in a place I didn't have other motives to visit, but in the event, it was a nice trip.

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Written by ted on September 9th, 2014

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Orange You Glad It's Summer   8 comments

Posted at 10:47 pm in commentary,out-of-area

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How do they even tell?

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O'Kane's Irish Pub And Eatery, 318 Centre Street (Fernandina Beach): November 2013   6 comments

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Well, Happy New Year folks!

When I don't spend the New Year in SC, I like to ring it in in Fernandina Beach, my father's hometown. My own little mini-tradition dating back a decade or so was to hit O'Kane's Irish Pub on Centre Street for the live music and champagne toast at midnight. So, I was rudely surprised when I ambled down from the hotel New Years Eve, and found the storefront dark. The next day, I asked another merchant on Centre Street what had happened, and she indicated that she had heard the owners divorced then couldn't agree on handling the lease. Whatever happened, the place seems to have closed in November.

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Here is the place on New Years Eve/New Years Day 2012/2013:

In the event, I ended up next door at The Courtyard which was a smaller, a more sedate venue with an older crowd (ie: my age). I was quite impressed with the music though. Local artist Nora Ricci was performing, and she is quite good, with entertaining stage patter (very important for a small venue) as well as solid singing and playing:

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Written by ted on January 3rd, 2014

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Dept Of "You May Need More Than A Roadside Sign.."   no comments

Posted at 11:44 pm in commentary

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Written by ted on June 14th, 2013

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Jiggitty Jig   9 comments

Posted at 1:03 am in commentary,out-of-area

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Written by ted on May 30th, 2013

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Borders Books, 1051 Sand Lake Road (Orlando): 2011   2 comments

Posted at 12:42 am in out-of-area,stores

Commenter Terry's remarks on the Hostess bankruptcy, and his list of other vanished American icons brought to mind once more Borders Books. I have posted before about the closed stores I found in Gainesville and Tampa.

Those stores have now been re-purposed. This store which I found in Orlando on Sandlake Road opposite a huge mall, as of August had not been. In fact, all the fixtures and some of the office equipment are still in place just as if the book supply truck could pull up any minute.

The distinctive look of a Borders puts me in a nostalgic mood, as though I might once more spend my Kansas City evenings there, drinking coffee and poring over racks of books I could never find in Columbia, Fayetteville or Aiken, or leafing through low circulation magazines I had known of only by repute until seeing them there.

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Written by ted on November 19th, 2012

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Indian River Fruit Stand, A1A Yulee Florida: mid-1970s   no comments

Posted at 1:25 am in stores

I wish I had gotten better pictures of this place. Heavens knows I had enough opportunities over the years, but I never thought about it until quite recently, and the last few times I was in the area, it was either evening or heavily overcast, otherwise it might have been a picture on my Roadside Florida calendar.

This fruit stand was on A1A in Yulee Florida between I-95 (exit 373) and US-17. If you look closely on the door, you can see a Master Charge logo which dates the place to before 1979, when Master Charge changed to Master Card.

I like the shape of the building from the sides, and the wood cutout lettering and fruit shapes. It's the type of place that, while you may find its like still in service, is not being built anymore.

The fruit stand and an abandoned service station of the same vintage (about which I may do a closing eventually) stood on adjacent lots. As you can see in the later pictures, both have now been knocked down and the land is for sale (apparently interest is not high, as the price has been reduced).

And not to worry about being able to find Indian River citrus and Florida souveniers in Yulee.. Across the street from this stand's former location, a converted Stuckey's still offers all you could wish for:

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Written by ted on October 10th, 2012

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The Ramble Inn, 18139 Commercial Way (US-19) Hernando County Florida: 15 August 2010   no comments

I couldn't help but notice this biker friendly bar, the The Ramble Inn, on US-19 just South of Necklace Warbler Road in Hernando County Floridy recently as I drove past.

Obviously, the place had seen better times, and google reveals that it burned down on 15 August 2010 and that arson is suspected though it does not appear that anyone was ever arrested.

Written by ted on March 14th, 2012

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Satellite Launch, 4263 N US1 Melbourne, Fla: 5:15pm 24 Febuary 2012   4 comments

Posted at 12:31 pm in events,government,out-of-area

Well, yesterday I had the good fortune, wholly by accident with no pre-planning whatsoever, to be on the Indian River deck of Captain Katanna's Dockside Restaurant when the Navy launched their latest Mobile User Objective System satellite. Here's another, better video.

It was an impressive moment, and it's always nice to see a little bit of (good) history being made.

Written by ted on February 25th, 2012

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Kmart, 1525 Sadler Road (Fernandina Beach): March 2012 (probably)   7 comments

Posted at 11:48 pm in out-of-area,stores

You'll recall that we discussed the announcement a few months back about how Sears & Kmart have announced a round of store closings which largely left South Carolina stores (except for Sumter) untouched.

Well, I was recently in Fernandina Beach, and found that their Kmart is one of the ones which got the ax. The store is on Sadler Road, which is the first major connector between 8th Street (the bridge road onto the island) and the beach, an area which is in general doing *quite* well, with lots of new upscale shops (both there and on the other side of the bridge).

When I was growing up, Fernandina was still quite a small town, and this would have been a major blow. Now there is a Wal-Mart a few blocks away, and Target within a mile.

The store is still open for now, and while the inventory is starting to hollow out and the vacant space to spread (as in the Dutch Square Kmart) there is still while until the final days when the fixtures start to go..

UPDATE 10 October 2012 -- As these pictures from 5 August 2012 show, the place is closed and all the logos and branding is gone:

Written by ted on February 23rd, 2012

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