EVENT INSIDER: the flames licked closer to my hair

The flames from the large stand-alone heater flicked closer to my hair with each breezy gust. I have thick, long curly hair. One errant spark and both my hair and the nightmarish trauma witnessed by the guest seated across from me would turn this corporate event from a fun, relaxing tropical party in the hotel gardens, to absolute disaster.

The close call could have been so easily prevented.

If only the party coordinators or hotel wait staff hurriedly removing dirty plates and glasses strewn on linen-topped tables had thought, “Hmmm. I wonder if we should move those patio heaters a tad further from seated diners. The flames seem to be escaping their confines with each wind gust.”

EVENT INSIDER: pandemic slowdown spurs new businesses

A short while back there was a viral-bound joke that if vaccination site managers wanted to have their operations, appointments and follow through go smoothly, they should turn to meeting and event planners. The joke continued that not only would the task be done skillfully and to everyone’s satisfaction, but all those seniors who had endured standing in long lines, (sometimes throughout the night), unsure if they’d even score a shot, would have been served snacks, a drink and maybe even a chair. I was likely among the meetings & event Insiders who didn’t see the surface humor in the proposition. I had discussed that same “duh moment” ad nauseum with industry friends and my husband and wondered why no one in charge hadn’t already figured that out. Who better to strategize all the minutia of appointments, parking, cue lines, qualified staff, and follow up visits to fulfillment, than a planner?

TIME TRAVELERS’ TRILOGY TEASES FLORIDA’S HISTORY WITH FANCIFUL PLAUSIBILITY

This Florida Time Travel Series captivates the imagination and reveals facts about Florida that likely few know other than historical or geological researchers.

16,500 years BP (Before Present time), a bald stranger wearing tight dark blue pants and turtleneck, black boots and black cape appears suddenly before an ancient Indian chief and his son. Before the stranger from 2338 CE (Common Era) departs in the same gust of cool swirling air, he imparts knowledge of wheels and wagons: practical tools to advance their progress as a people and as the first step in preparing them to counter the lethal invasion of Europeans in 1492. That stranger, whom the natives think of as a god, materializes multiple times in later centuries, each time dispensing knowledge for making tools, and techniques and languages for the betterment of diverse ancient tribes. However, not all time travelers proved to be as magnanimous.

Time travel topics have always tantalized my imagination. These were whimsical what-if stories that begged for suspension of known science; yet armed with a cozy couch and a glass of wine, made for delightful sojourns of the mind.

Then I read the Florida time travel trilogy written by John Charles Miller, a Tampa, FL-based author, groundwater geologist in the United States and Latin America for more than 40 years, and an avid birdwatcher with his wife, Mary.

The three books of alternate history (there’s that what-if premise)– Citrus White Gold, The Gatherers, and Deep Florida, are embedded with rich dialogue, colorful characters, articulated technology, and graphic depiction of how events and Florida’s native population’s history might have plausibly impacted today’s Florida. The stories are absorbing, thought-provoking, stimulating fun.

I am awed by John Charles Miller’s proficiency at dialogue to reflect the locations and timelines. His In-depth descriptions of a place or event compelled me to research their veracity, for no reason than just wanting to know if this detail was fact or fiction. Each instance was a factual pivotal moment of Florida history meticulously woven into the stories’ narrative. So, not only did I spend many hours of enjoyable time reading, but I learned about Central Florida, where I live.

Each book can be read on its own, but I encourage you to read them in succession.

WHEN A SHOOTER TARGETS YOUR GROUP: RUN, HIDE OR FIGHT?

What if you were in the target zone of this shooter?

The headlines have become all too numbingly familiar: mass killings at schools, airports, churches, offices, restaurants, arenas and public streets.

What if fight or flight aren’t your only solutions?

What if you could prepare yourself to spot dangerous behaviors, strategize how you’d narrow the chances of being caught unawares, and might save both yourself and others during unexpected, volatile, life-threatening scenarios?

It’s about understanding behavior patterns and looking at anomalous behavior outside of the normal baseline. It’s about profiling behavior, not people and identifying behavioral indicators consistent to a potential threatening environment.

All of the above are possible according to two experienced lawmen who addressed the Greater Orlando (FL) chapter of Meeting Professionals International (MPI) luncheon held at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress.

Director of Education & Life Safety for the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) Mark Herrera’s keynote presentation was aimed at mitigating threats to employees or meeting groups, but the practical information would be as applicable to individuals.

THE EMAIL THREATS JUST KEEP COMING

I was threatened today by email. Third time this particular threat has arrived in the past few weeks. Each time the message is roughly the same: send me bitcoins or I will expose you to your friends, family, and all email contacts.
The return addresses are always different. Sometimes the threat is that they have one of my passwords and in good faith, they reveal it. I immediately called my computer guru, Joseph Boy of Your Computer Solutions, who said he gets these messages also. Just delete them. He explained how the hacking trolls obtained that one password, but they haven’t actually wormed their way into my system.
Today’s email heading actually bore one of my own email address, which I didn’t notice until after I began reading the threatening email. That is part of the scare tactic: I can spoof your email and everyone will open this insidious note because they will think I am sending it. I’ve gotten many phone calls that spoofed a business name and even twice our home number said it was us calling, but this email got right to the point of trying to instill fear instead of just scamming me into buying their services.
This troll alleged he had remoted into my webcam and caught me watching porn. Send a $1000 in bitcoin or the world would see my scandalous activities. It was a much more detailed, longer message than ones I’ve gotten before, but still cautioning me against calling the police or trying to track the extortionist.
Sad news for them. I don’t watch porn and I don’t have a webcam.
I haven’t gotten the phone calls about family members in dire straits (send $$ immediately) or that the IRS was after me for not paying taxes and I needed to contact this number immediately or I’d go to jail. I haven’t gotten those calls, but I do personally know people who have.
The scare tactics work on many people. They are more unsettling than some Nigerian Prince has a fortune to leave me, or XYZ company in (usually) China is looking for a representative and even though I do not have any experience with what they’re seeking, I am the chosen recipient of what promises to be great business wealth.
I’m likely older than many of you reading this. I remember when this insistent pursuit of money at the expense of anxious victims-to-be didn’t initiate on the telephone or internet, or on unsuspecting innocents.
I want it to stop.
No one I’ve asked has answers except to delete the messages, hang up the phone, or just don’t answer calls from numbers you don’t recognize. The latter works with our home phone but not my business number because I don’t know from where my next client will emerge.
I don’t get the greed, animosity, mind games, and scare tactics. A couple days ago I discovered a troll had given me a nasty review that appeared on a search site next to my website name (www.ThePsychicLady.com). I’ve never heard of this person, let alone read him. I have other business friends who have had this occur and the unwarranted negative comments nearly ruined their respective businesses. I’ve read that people are paid to write, stalk or troll businesses by a competitor who must not otherwise be able to obtain a steady clientele on their own merits.
I don’t have answers. Just questions on why people go out of their way to do harm. I don’t want to believe this is the new normal, so maybe they are just people with morally-bankrupt souls. Either way. I want it to stop.
We all must want this to stop.
Thoughts?
Karen Kuzsel is a writer-editor based in the Orlando area who specializes in the hospitality, entertainment, meetings & events industries.  She is an active member of ILEA and MPI and is now serving on the 2016 – 2020 MPI Global Advisory Board for The Meeting Professional Magazine for the third consecutive year. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. Karen writes about food & wine, spas, destinations, venues, meetings & events. A career journalist, she has owned magazines, written for newspapers, trade publications, radio and TV. As her alter-ego, Natasha, The Psychic Lady, she is a featured entertainer for corporate and social events. karenkuzsel@earthlink.net; www.ThePsychicLady.com; @karenkuzsel; @thepsychiclady.

LIKE MAGIC, EVEN SWEATY FEET DON'T STINK IN THESE SOCKS

Sports socks kept my feet fresh smelling.


My feet don’t stink and I don’t think I have ever worn a pair of socks a second day after working out in them the day before, but I was willing to test MP Magic Socks’ latest innovation, the sports sock.
Full disclosure. I do not work for MP Socks, nor was I paid to write this review. In September 2017, the then new company sent me socks and asked if I would review them. The premise of what made these socks “stink-less” was intriguing, so I agreed.
In that article, https://karenkuzsel.wordpress.com/2017/09/24/stinky-sweaty-feet-new-solution-for-old-musty-problem, I let my husband and a teenage boy wear two of the three pairs sent and I wore a pair of anklets to my exercise class. Surprisingly, even the pairs worn by the men remained odor-free. One wore them to football practice. The other for gardening and walking.
Like the aforementioned socks, this new pair is infused with three metals: silver, copper and zinc. The combination of these materials, along with some other undisclosed ingredients, are to make the socks antibacterial, durable, and the mesh structure is supposed to enhance air flow and permeable. Unlike the anklets I tested the first time, this pair of socks extends three inches above my ankle bone.
While I thought this pair more stylish in design, with sporty red and white pinstripes running the length of the black socks, what I absolutely enjoyed has been the sheer comfort. My feet felt padded without the socks being thick and my feet didn’t get sweaty or hot as I went through three strong workout classes over two days and then wore them with a different pair of sneakers to run errands for many more hours.
Best of all, after two full days of wearing these socks, they remain as fresh smelling as when I first donned them.
https://mpmagicsocks.com
Karen Kuzsel is a writer-editor based in the Orlando area who specializes in the hospitality, entertainment, meetings & events industries.  She is an active member of ILEA and MPI and is now serving on the 2018 – 2019 MPI Global Advisory Board for The Meeting Professional Magazine for the third consecutive year. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. Karen writes about food & wine, spas, destinations, venues, meetings & events. A career journalist, she has owned magazines, written for newspapers, trade publications, radio and TV. As her alter-ego, Natasha, The Psychic Lady, she is a featured entertainer for corporate and social events. karenkuzsel@earthlink.net; www.ThePsychicLady.com; @karenkuzsel; @thepsychiclady.
 

GO AHEAD: TAKE A FLYING LEAP

Jump into the foam ball pit at Planet Obstacle


What’s a nice safety-obsessive girl who doesn’t like heights and is a natural klutz doing in a place like Planet Obstacle, Lake Mary, Florida’s ode to extreme indoor sports?
Mostly just trying not to let my jaw keep dropping open as I gape at hundreds of kids flying through the air like ninja warriors, or playing dodgeball in a brightly-lit padded court, or bouncing about in a foam ball-filled pit. Above me, a ropes course had human monkeys disguised Read more