Archive for the ‘Misc.’ Category

Jotform–Handy Tool

June 25, 2016

Although LanceAround does not often mention software applications on this blog, we were delighted to discover this handy little program that has helped our Florida Dream Homes business run more efficiently.

The tool is called Jotform and you can find it at www.Jotform.com.

In our vacation rental home business right beside Disney World we use Jotform so homeowners can submit bookings, guests can fill out their registration form and our customers can review our performance. It is so easy to create new forms. And there are multiple ways our users can input their data to make our operations run smoother and save us time.

If you know just a little about coding, you can come up with very creative ways to improve your forms. However, if you know nothing about how to code, you will still find Jotform easy to use and you will create many beautiful and helpful forms.

Best of all, the support they provide is superb. They are easy to reach and can help you customize your forms in many ways.

If you’re a small business, like ours, you can get up to 100 forms every month completely free. After 100, the rates are quite reasonable. Another handy feature is that you can create forms that allow for payment collection. The myriad of ways you can utilize Jotform are too many and varied to list here.

Please check out Jotform and let us know what you think.

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How To Become A Professional Baseball Umpire

February 11, 2011

Kissimmee is the Best Place to Learn to be an Ump!

If you want to learn how to cut hair, you go to a cosmetology school.  If you want to learn how to sell real estate, you go to a real estate school. But where do you go if you want to learn how to be a big league umpire?

Umpire school, of course!

And the most prestigious umpire school is Jim Evans Academy of Professional Umpiring located right here in Kissimmee, FL.  Even if you only want to remain an amateur at the college, high school or community level, you can improve your game by attending this five week long academy.

Academy of Professional Umpiring

The course ranges in price from $2,250 for a local commuter with no meal plan to $4,250 for a private hotel room including breakfast and dinner. (Daily lunch is included in the tuition for all students.) The average student pays $2,950 for the course, shared hotel room and lunches. They are on their own for breakfast and dinner.

Jim Evans is the perfect person to run an umpire school.  He has 32 years of professional umpiring experience in addition to a teaching certificate. As an umpire in four world series, nine league championship series and three all star games–two of them behind the plate–he offers a wealth of knowledge to his students.

He’s also a very hands-on teacher who is present all day, every day, at his academy. He even stays at the same hotel as his students.

Richard Has a Dream...

One such student this year is Richard Riley from Springfield, VA. He is currently a real estate agent, but dreams of one day being a big league umpire. Richard has experience umpiring for community and high school games. Next year he may try his hand at some college games–but only if he does not catapult to his dream of becoming a big leaguer.

The academy is a rigorous course. The student-teacher ratio is 7 to 1. Each day begins promptly at 8am with a classroom session. There is 270 hours of supervised instruction, another 40-50 hours of homework, small group work, 20 sessions in the indoor batting cages, videotape cage work and training at the world class facilities of the Osceola County Stadium complex.

If your home run is to be a professional baseball umpire, it’d be a safe bet to attend the academy, located just down the line from Disney World. Don’t be left out, you’re sure to have a ball. Wow, does it strike you that these puns are really foul?

Okay, then, I’m Going, Going, Gone!

Spreading the Word

May 7, 2010

With Flashy Creativity, He Draws Your Attention

“Hey, check this out!” 

My cousin, Debby, was in town for a short visit.  We were driving past the back entrance to Sea World on International Drive when we spotted the car above.  I’m not sure what kind of car it is because I was too focused on the combination of cartoon characters, religious icons and referenced sayings plastered on the top and every side. 

At First Glance You Get the Impression That the Car is Covered with Barnacles from Under the Sea

Of course, this was not the first time Mrs. LanceAround and I have seen this car.  Every single time we have driven past the intersection of International Drive and the Central Florida Parkway during the day we see it.  He makes a continual one block circle on International drive, passing through the intersection of the Central Florida Parkway many times each hour. 

This time, however, when we explained to Cousin Debby that we always see him driving here, she makes the mistake of asking out loud, “I wonder why he does that?” 

“Well, let’s find out!” I reply, as I make a quick U-turn and head back towards the unusual car. 

I pull into the cross-way where the car always turns around and await him.  As he pauses to enter the traffic lane I jump out of my car and knock on his driver’s side window. 

“Hi,” I begin, “You have a unique car and we were just wondering what you are doing driving around here in circles?” 

His Personalized License Reads, "To Jesus"

The shy, older man behind the wheel looks a little startled.  I get the impression that not too many people take the time to speak with him or compliment his car. 

“Oh, I’m just spreading the word,” he replies. 

“What word?” I ask. 

“The word about Jesus.” 

“Do you mind if I take your picture for my blog?” I request. 

He asks that I do not photograph him, but he allows me to photograph his car.  I request that he pull off the road so I can get some shots, but he waves me off.  He seems a little nervous.  I don’t want to startle him.  There was so much more that I wanted to ask him.  With his permission, Cousin Debby begins snapping photos as we pull past. 

After all, it’s one of the unique things you might encounter if you ever drive on International Drive past the back end of Sea World in Central Florida.  Now, thanks to LanceAround’s keen investigative journalism, you will know that all he wants to do is to spread the word. 

His methods may be unique.  You might agree or disagree with his message.  But it’s hard not to appreciate his passion and his effort!

Ball Lightning Strikes Outside Florida Dream Homes Office

September 4, 2009

This has to be documented.

On Tuesday September 1st, 2009 at approximately 5:15pm a dual confirmed sighting of a Ball Lightning strike was witnessed about 50 yards directly in front of the Florida Dream Homes office at 5511 W. Irlo Bronson Hwy., Kissimmee, FL  34746.

Those are the facts.  Let’s look at the experience…

Mrs. LanceAround, # 1 Daughter and I were sitting with Anne, our Office Manager, in the Florida Dream Homes office.  # 1 daughter was doing some work for us on the computer while Anne, Mrs. LanceAround and I were discussing business.  A few moments earlier we had heard a thunder crack that was so loud we looked to see if two trucks had collided on the highway outside the office.  We were in the midst of one of those Florida torrential downpours.  The frequent lightning bolts caused Anne and Mrs. LanceAround to continually glance out the front windows.

Suddenly, there was a distinct buzz in the air.  I noticed that Mrs. LanceAround and Anne were staring out the front window with their mouths agape.  I could not see out the front, but I was fixated by a strange, wavy-blue image that flashed for well over a second on the wall above Anne’s head.

A moment later the blue image disappeared and the two women said in almost perfect unison, “Did you see that?”

Fast forward to later that night…

At home, we continued to talk about the strange phenomenon that Mrs. LanceAround witnessed earlier that evening.  # 1 daughter did a Wikipedia search on glowing lightning strikes and soon discovered this entry about “ball lightning.”  Everyone was shocked to read the line, “…until recently, ball lightning was often regarded as a fantasy or hoax,…” (Wikipedia.org’s entry on Ball lightning.)  Further reading the description left no doubt in Mrs. LanceAround’s mind–she actually witnessed the phenomenon known as “Ball lightning.”

We quickly called Anne at home and had her read the entry in Wikipedia.  “My God!” she exclaimed.

The next morning at the office, I insisted that Anne and Mrs. LanceAround record their observations of the incredible event they witnessed the evening before.  So for the lucky readers of my blog, here are two eyewitness accounts written just hours after the viewing of a such a rare event:

Anne’s Testimony:

I have been privileged to witness a rare phenomenon, ball lightning.  During a recent thunderstorm as I watched the rain come down in sheets I saw the brightest blue orb hang in the air for a couple of seconds and then it was gone.  It had to be the most spectacular and beautiful natural occurrence that I have ever witnessed.

Mrs. LanceAround’s Testimony:

I witnessed one of the most amazing sights I’ve ever seen in my entire fifty eight years.  I happened to be looking out our office windows when a thunderstorm began.  I suddenly was staring at a huge, glowing ball of fire that seemed to be continuously fed by lightning strikes.  It was suspended above the ground at the height of the electrical wires strung along the street directly in line with one of our large store front windows.  I was so stunned by the sight I couldn’t speak!  I waited for some cataclysmic explosion that never occurred.  After a few seconds there was a loud bang and the ball of fire disappeared.

And while I did not directly witness the phenomenon, here is my testimony of the event.

LanceAround’s Testimony:

I was speaking with Anne and Mrs. LanceAround when I noticed that they suddenly began to stare out the front windows with their mouth’s open and unable to speak.  I saw a swath of blue light reflecting off the wall above Anne’s head, like the shimmering shadow of reflected water.  It lasted for only a second or two.  A moment later, both Anne and Mrs. LanceAround asked aloud, “Did you see that?”  All three of us walked to the front of the store.  Anne was clearly giddy and said she wanted it to happen again.  They described to me a large, bluish orb that appeared to emanate from the bottom of a lightning strike in the front of the trees located across the highway from our storefront.  The orb was described as around six to eight feet in diameter and might have been on or near some electrical wires, a light pole or the grove of trees in that vicinity.  It appeared to hover about 10 to 20 feet off the ground and lasted for a couple of seconds–much longer than a lightning strike lasts.  The orb shimmered and appeared to have pulsating lightning-like streaks within itself.

Ball Lightning, hoax or reality?  Fact or fiction?  The definitive answer is:  Ball lightning is a REAL phenomenon.  Mrs. LanceAround and Anne have SEEN it and have TESTIFIED that it exists.  Now the readers of my blog can speak with authority and confidence–There IS such a thing as ball lightning and it is WONDROUS!