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The Misplaced Hoosier

New to Florida by way of Indiana

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Downtown Orlando

I May be Misplaced, but Orlando is My City

In the 10 months since we’ve left Indianapolis, Orlando has just been the town I moved to.

Indiana was home, and Indianapolis was my hometown. I was here with reservations, and my heart wasn’t in it.

But last night, after 49 people were killed and another 53 wounded at Pulse,  a local gay nightclub here in Orlando, this has become my city.
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Day 31: Creative City Project Orlando

We must have come to Orlando at the right time, because we’ve managed to catch a lot of art celebrations.

From the Third Thursday/Dio de la Muertas block party.
From the Third Thursday/Dio de la Muertas block party.
Whether it’s a mural painting party at Sam Flax, the local arts supply store, or Third Thursday Dio de la Muertas (Day of the Dead) celebration, we’ve done something arty every weekend.

Last Saturday the 17th was the Creative City Project Orlando, a multi-stage festival that shut down Orange Street right in the heart of downtown. It’s a four block stretch, the restaurants are open, there are a few food carts, but no food trucks. (I have yet to see a food truck downtown.)

If you time it right, you can park anywhere for CCPO. We arrive about an hour before the first performance, and park in the lot across from my office in The Exchange Building. It’s $1 per hour, which isn’t great, but it’s only 4 blocks from where we need to be. Down here, that’s pretty close.
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Day 24: In Which I See My First Pride Parade

I’ve been told by my gay friends and by people in the Orlando entertainment business, Orlando is a very gay friendly city. It has to do with the fact that Disney and Universal Studios hire more gay people than just about anywhere in the state. I would even wager just about anywhere in the country.

So the Orlando Come Out With Pride Festival, and Saturday’s Pride Parade, is a big deal.

The Pride Orlando organization
The Pride Orlando organization

My friend, Clay Rivers, invited me to watch the Pride Parade with him and a few friends. So I spent the day Saturday running errands and exploring — I’m really intrigued by the neighborhood called Mills 50 — before meeting him in front of his friends’ condo on Central.
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Day 21: Five Things I Hate and Five Things I Like About Orlando

I’ve been in Orlando for roughly three weeks, and am figuring out the things I like and don’t like about my new city.

Five Things I Hate About Orlando

  1. The traffic: Everyone is so laid back here, they don’t drive much over the speed limit. They especially don’t drive much over the speed limit in the left lane.
  2. There’s no baseball. There’s the Miami Marlins, Tampa Bay Rays, and that’s it. There are a gazillion Single-A minor league teams, and none of them are within an hour of Orlando.
  3. There’s one interstate highway for 2 million people: Come on, man! Indiana has five different interstates for 1 million people. Sure, there are plenty of parkways and state highways though, but most of them are tollways. They’re finishing a part of the parkway system so it runs around Orlando, but I think we’re a year or two from completion.
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Day 15: In Which I Find a New Office

The nice thing about my job is that I can do it anywhere, including my home. The problem with that is we home school our kids, so doing my job at home is not always. . . productive.

So, years ago, we agreed I would always have an office somewhere. For the last six years, I had a quiet little desk in a quiet little building for a quiet little price. Sometimes, it was so quiet, I had to go to a coffee shop for a little noise and activity.

When we moved to Orlando, I knew I would need to rebuild my entire network, and I would need to find a new place to work. The odds of finding the same setup as before would be virtually impossible (anyone know where I can rent a desk inside a web hosting company for $150 a month?).

So I decide to look for a co-working space.

Turns out, you can’t swing a dead cat in Orlando without hitting a co-working space.

Not that we’re spoiled for co-working spaces, but apparently, swinging a dead cat is frowned upon here.
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Day 7: In Which I Search for a New Office

Monday I decide to start building my new routine. I feel more comfortable — actually, I think everyone does — when I have a predictable schedule: get up, go to the office, play 6 hours of Scarab of Ra, have lunch, go home.

(I don’t actually play Scarab of Ra for 6 hours.)

My company being what it is, I can’t actually afford a private office, with a door and fax machine and everything. Of course, my company being what it is, I don’t actually need one. As long as I have my laptop and wifi, I can work anywhere.

However, I don’t want to spend 8 or 9 hours a day in a coffee shop either. My business partner, Paul, and I tried that for a few months one year, spending our rent money on coffee house squatting. I constantly smelled like freshly ground coffee.

On the other hand, I met a lot of nice people who have since become good friends. I haven’t completely ruled this strategy out.
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Day 5: Exploring Orlando

After keeping ourselves around the vacation home for a few days, right off the Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway — you ever want to Hulk smash your GPS, listen to her fumble with that mouthful 7 times on one trip — Emma, Ben, and I decide to do a little exploring on Saturday.

I map out a few places I know they would like to visit: Sam Flax Art Supplies, Sam Ash Music, Best Buy (I wanted to get a new Internet modem), and a comic book store.

My in-laws show up on the same day. They’re looking for a vacation rental in the area, so we said they could come down, especially if they could bring a few items we couldn’t get in our cars. They left two days after we did, and showed up today.

After helping them unload, Emma, Ben, and I pile into my car, and head up I-4 to Downtown Orlando.
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