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?


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.


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.