Welcome to 19 Questions, a feature where we ask longtime Orlando residents 19 questions that are mostly related to living in the City Beautiful.
Ryan Showman is a "learning architect" at the publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Hailing from Melbourne, Ryan has lived in Orlando since 2002 and is the first person interviewed for this feature to sport a full beard.
1. Who's your favorite Orlando resident, living, dead, real, or fictional?
There's this awesome sassy lady that has season tickets on the floor for Magic games that yells so loud you can hear her twenty levels up into the stands and holds court inside the fancy free mediocre-but-plentiful lounge during halftime where she tells precisely who is doing what wrong or right. She's pretty cool.
2. What's the best meal you've ever eaten in Orlando?
This past weekend I went camping and had steak and potatoes made over the campfire that were pretty great, but that was in Juniper Springs, not Orlando, so it doesn't count. We've got a load of cool things to eat in Orlando, so it's hard to say, but I'm going to note that the Red Wing Restaurant in Clermont is pretty amazing and that everyone should go there because if you bring in roadkill killed within a mile of the restaurant, they'll cook it up for you. Or so the menu claims.
3. What was your first concert in Orlando?
Tough to say, but I distinctly remember trekking to Orlando when I was in high school in the back of my friend's stepdad's pickup truck to see Static X and Powerman 5000 at House of Blues, at which my friend's stepdad drank a bunch of drinks and bought us the same Powerman 5000 t-shirt and proceeded to make fun of us for having the same t-shirt.
4. When's the last time you went to a theme park?
Epcot for Food and Wine three or four years ago. Beverages were consumed. Captain EO was an amazing experience in such a state. I sure didn't remember that Anjelica Huston was in that thing. Man, Wes Anderson should reboot that movie or something.
5. What's your favorite area beach?
I'm from Melbourne, so my preference is always going to be East Coast beaches. Paradise is great, because they pump in sand by the ton to combat erosion, but [it's] crowded, so I prefer to brave the cocina across from Patrick Air Force Base.
6. What's your favorite Orlando attraction that no longer exists?
Man, don't look back. There's always more out there. I think that's something wonderful about this city---[it's] always transforming. I've been here for over a decade, and yet there's mainstays of town I've not visited yet, [like] Gatorland, and there's always something new cropping up. Or maybe I'm papering over my bad memory with tourism board schlock. Or something. Or my thought processes are as fickle as this city.
7. What do you hate most about living in Orlando?
I would say I-4 since I drive it every day, but I've been to Atlanta. I think it may be the erstwhile cheerleading and advocating by our political leaders for all the wrong things, i.e. the glaring lack of legitimate local arts support and input into the Performing Arts Center, as detailed by this publication.
8. What do you hate least about living in Orlando?
There is never a dearth of things to do in town, and even then, drive ninety minutes in any direction from Orlando and you'll find something interesting or novel to explore.
9. Hungry Howie's: pro or con?
Dude, that stuff is so vile I can't even come up with something half witty to say.
10. In one word, describe your day job.
11. What's your favorite coffee spot in Orlando?
I got a gift certificate to Williams-Sonoma from a local luminary for Christmas and so I bought one of those single cup coffee pour over things that had the most amazing directions that were absurdly translated from Japanese. So, uh, my house, because it would be unseemly to go to Drunken Monkey in my pajamas.
12. Do you have an alcoholic beverage of choice?
Yes. Rye negroni or gettin' Teeged at Redlight Red Light.
13. What do you think of Delta Burke?
I think all the shenanigans of Big Sugar working with Governor Scott are really going to lead its deterioration, which will of course have severe adverse affects on flooding in south Florida, the St John's River, and frankly the entire Florida underground freshwater system.
14. NASA: pro or con?
I said I'm from Melbourne. I ain't got no choice but to be resolutely pro. For example, the microtechnology that allows us to have cell phones was a byproduct of space research. The federal government needs to be funneling more funds to NASA, not cutting to the bone.
15. 'NSync or Backstreet?
Which one did that song about Abercrombie & Fitch?
16. How much is too much to spend on a Mickey Mouse t-shirt?
17. When's the last time you were on OBT?
Last week I drove to Apopka via OBT. That stretch isn't as interesting, of course.
18. Pat Lynch or Taco Bob?
Yeah...their casual racism & misogyny and lack of growth, comedically, since 1996 is just wildly uninteresting to me. Sorry, dudes.
19. What makes someone an Orlandoan?
Having done karaoke at Colonial Lanes on a Friday night. Obviously.