Sorry for the no-post the other week, I was on vacation and had a wonderful time! I know I promised you a double pow in last week’s post, but I had waaay too much stuff for that. If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram lately, then some of these pics will make more sense to you!
So what does a brash librarian do on vacation? Well, first I start with a teaser photo to let my peeps know I’m on my way.
After landing in Orlando International, I decided to grab some Panda Express while waiting for my friend Jovon to come pick me up. What do I get in my fortune cookie? GASP – an actual fortune!
As my friend Sean pointed out, “there are no fortunes in fortune cookies anymore…they’re more like statement cookies now.” Not this time, Sean!
To make things even more awesome, I posted about it on my Instagram and got liked by THE Panda Express company. WHOO!
After some Instagram stardom, Jovon picked me up and away we went to have fun! We met up with her boyfriend Scott, had dinner, desserts (yes, that’s plural!), drinks, more drinks, and introduced Scott to the glorious 80’s cinematic triumph known as The Monster Squad. If you haven’t seen it, think The Goonies but they take on Dracula, the Wolf Man, the Mummy, Frankenstein and the Creature from the Black Lagoon.
A few hours of quality sleep later, it was time to hit the annual Food and Wine Festival at Epcot in Disney World! But first, a quick tour through the Boardwalk Hotel right next to Epcot. Our bellhop tour guide walked us around the hotel, showing us letters and postcards from the 1920’s, history of the boardwalk, centerpieces and hidden Mickey symbols. You’re not aware of hidden Mickeys, they are subtle things that come together and form a Mickey Mouse head. In fact, there is an entire organization devoted to finding them.
Does starting a beautiful day at Disney with food and drink from a dozen different countries get any better? Why yes, it does! I was lucky enough to have my brother Alex, his girlfriend Stephanie, and my old roomie Caitlin drive in to have fun with us!
We toured England, Japan, China, Mexico, Norway, France, Morocco, Germany, Canada and Italy for the whole day…Best drink of the day? France’s Grand Marnier slushy. Best food of the day? Whew, tough call. France’s escargot was unique, but Canada’s filet mignon and hearty cheddar cheese soup were pretty hard to beat. Oh, and Ghirardelli’s chocolate display was super tasty. Piping hot chocolate, almost as thick as syrup – the nectar of the cocoa gods.
When the sun started setting and night started creeping in, we all decided it was time to part ways. My brother and his girlfriend went back to Gainesville, Jovon and Scott went back home, and I rode with Caitlin back to Tampa to continue my Florida tour. Before leaving, I got a great boardwalk picture with Jovon.
The next morning, we got up nice and early to meet up with an old college friend of ours, Anne. Anne pretty much does it all: cosplay, comic conventions, stage combat, live action shows, balloon artistry, aerial acrobatics, professional stage acting…the only thing I haven’t seen her master is her gluten allergy. One of her newer side jobs is teaching these acrobatic skills alongside her boyfriend at the Shinobi School for Parkour, Circus Arts, and American Ninja Warrior training. This place has all kinds of stuff – jumping platforms, a foam pit, balance beams and logs, rings, walls to practice climbing, a salmon ladder, the works.
Caitlin and Anne are really good at the lyra hoop, a hanging hoop for aerial yoga. Since I’ve never tried it and saw all the cool stuff they could do, it was the first thing I wanted to try. I tried a few different positions and learned some of the basic skills before Caitlin started showing off her mad skills. She just goes flipping backwards and bracing her legs against the hoop, hanging upside down with only her body weight keeping her from falling. Was I going to attempt something that cool/kind of dangerous?
Of course I will.
I’M THE BRASH LIBRARIAN.
It was a little scary at first and I’m pretty sure I popped my back in about 20 places, but it was totally worth it. It was like putting something on the bucket list while crossing it off at the same time!
All this jumping, climbing, swinging and stretching got us pretty darn hungry. Since I didn’t know the area, Caitlin recommended a local Japanese place. I love Japanese food, so that worked out for me. However, things got interesting when I saw the sign.
In case it wasn’t clear, it says endless sushi and hibachi. ENDLESS.
For about $15, I ate three different large sushi platters, two plates of hibachi steak and shrimp, two plates of crab/cream cheese rangoons, a plate of fried dough balls rolled in cinnamon and sugar, and some of Caitlin’s green tea ice cream. I’m pretty sure there was around 5 pounds of food in me when I left.
Now that I was stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey, it was time to go see my sister Ashley! You might remember her with husband Nigel and my nephew Alistair from my Tampa mud race a while back.
Playing with blocks, watching kid shows, playing video games, playing card games, catching up with everyone, and just enjoy time with family. Some of that time included ironing fabrics for Ashley’s totally sweet Etsy shop, Phoenix Fire By Ash. Is it weird that I like ironing?
If you haven’t checked it out, it’s pretty much a bookworm/librarian/nerd’s dream come true. Scarves, tote bags, aprons, pillows, oven pads, walker bags, bedding, and more in all your favorite nerdy things. Doctor Who, Star Wars, Star Trek, Batman, Avengers, Pokemon, video games – you name it, she’s got it. And if she doesn’t have it, she does custom orders as well. I’ll actually be writing a post about her shop in the future, but you can like her shop on Facebook in the meantime to get updates on all her new stuff!
There’s one cutie who always loves to snuggle with me every time I visit, and that’s Leeloo. She’s such a cuddle pug!
Eventually, I found my way back to Gainesville where I spent the rest of my time with family and friends. While I’m not usually one for pics of food, I had to take a pic of a local place in Starke that served up “The Plank”: a piece of French toast that’s so big, it doesn’t fit on the plate. Add syrup and cinnamon butter, and we’re in business.
My dad and I are fairly big science fiction nerds, so we went to see The Martian starring Matt Damon. It was fairly good! Between Saving Private Ryan, Interstellar and this movie, hasn’t the US spent enough money saving Matt Damon?
I really had a fun time, and I look forward to spending more time with my friends and family again soon.
That’s all I’ve got for this week, folks. COMING UP: I’ll talk about how my library’s comic book convention went! (Spoilers: it went really well.)
Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian