Cosplay fun at Sakura Con – Part 3 (of 3)

photo by Orion Tippens Finally, the remainder of my pictures of my brief visit to the 2013 Sakura Con Northwest Anime Convention, in Seattle. These focus on the costumes and the fanpeople who wear them well.

For previous pics and commentary on this event, click here for Part 1, and here for Part 2.

I really enjoyed this kind of visual atmosphere. I am a bit of a “geek,” so I feel a part of the fun and in showing my appreciation by sharing their awesomeness with the world around. Many of these costumes, I know very well from games I played, books I read, TV shows and movies I viewed. For those I do not, than I am open to learn more.

From here, I hope people who have not attended a gathering like this will understand the love cosplayers bring. These cosplayers are not paid, nor do most of them seek to promote their name or service. Their costumes are handmade. The more skill and thought put into the costume, the more cheer. It’s all in good fun. This collective mindset in enriching, adding to a special atmosphere by dressing up. When next you see a cosplayer, at least smile at that person for being so bold and wonderful in sharing.

Below are the last and best of the cosplayers, noticed at this Sakura Con. Enjoy and click on each for the full details. I recognized some and labeled them in descriptions. Others, I could use some help in the comments.

The awesome SF-88 Nike Missile Base (near San Francisco)

 - photo by Orion Tippens (travelingorion.wordpress.com)

Interested in Cold War era military history? In or near San Francisco’s Bay Area?

Check out the SF-88 Nike Missile Base, a U.S. military defense base established long ago against the possible invasion of Communist forces. Now, accessible to the public.

Find it, a little northwest of the Golden Gate Bridge in the Marin Headlands. Visiting hours are very limited, and by guided tour only. More details at the end of this entry.

For me, this place was an awesome surprise. I heard nothing on this before and just found it while hiking around the perimeters of Fort Barry and its abandoned battery military posts (to be featured in a future post). I came across a fence, chuckled at this sign.

 - photo by Orion Tippens (travelingorion.wordpress.com)

I noticed a missile in the distance and an open gate beyond, then walked  towards. Turned out I was welcome, and in time for a grand tour of this fascinating place.

SF-88 is one of four public accessible decommissioned missile bases out of 280 that were purposed to defend against possible Soviet enemy aircraft attacks. After opening in 1954, SF-88 was armed first with Ajax anti-aircraft missiles, and later on with Hercules II anti-aircraft rockets. This establishment was eventually closed in 1974, and restored for historical preservation decades later by dedicated volunteers.

Thanks to these volunteers, visitors may personally see and understand this fascinating time of our history. With the aid of a volunteer tour guide, you may personally study a plethora of Cold War defense equipment and operations. Included on this base are radar stations, yesterdays top-of-the-line computer stations and communication networks. Also, lots of small military objects, pictures, and informative writings of its time in use.

And of course, the missiles themselves are present. Most here, are the Hercules II rockets. Some are taken apart in the sheds, others with detailed cutaways revealing complex construction and construction. Also, there is the center launchpad, where a platform leads to an underground area. Inside are more decommissioned missiles, and the launch room.

 - photo by Orion Tippens (travelingorion.wordpress.com)

Fascinating to me, was how lightweight these missiles were, as the tour guide gave us the opportunity to move a couple on their metal lifts. The missiles were to be prepared and ready promptly; recalling the guide saying these missiles had to be less than 20 minutes, should an attack happen.

SF-88 is much worth checking out. Hours and tours are limited, as the base is closed most of the week. The cost is free, and donations were refused at the time I visited. Do check its official Web site for current times of the tours.. SF-88 is also closed on federal holidays, and days of rough weather conditions (alerts are also online). For more information and directions, click here for the official visitor page.

Below are additional pictures of the Nike site, taken by me. Click on each one for the full picture.

Ennio Morricone’s soundtrack masterpiece

Poster-Once-Upon-a-Time-in-the-West_wallpaper

My personal favorite among movie soundtracks.

Once Upon a Time in the West..

Once Upon a Time in the West is Sergio Leone’s 1968 spaghetti western, cinematic masterpiece film; starring Charles Bronson, Henry Fonda, Jason Robards, and Claudia Cardinale. It’s a tale of epic badassery involving a harmonica playing man of mystery, a vengeful widow, an innocent thief, and a murderous villain. The overall production is beautiful, amazing; attributing to its detailed settings, inventive sequences, developed story and characterizations.

And, I love the soundtrack composed by Ennio Morricone, now and forever among the greatest movie soundtrack creators of all cinematic history. He sets everything wonderful about this movie in its proper place, with lyrical tones and character specific themes. I love his use of varied simple handheld instruments, and use of natural hums and whistles.

Enjoy below, the very best of his music for Once Upon a Time in the West. Even if never seen, there is much to appreciate.

The main theme

Cheyenne’s theme.

Jill’s theme

The mystery man with the harmonica, and his final duel:

And, the Finale:

.

Earth Day, 2013

The Earth seen from Apollo 17

Hello earthlings, Happy Earth Day!

Why do we need a day to appreciate something we have everyday? Why not make everyday Earth Day?

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. We forget. Many of us are busy, with other things to do and worry about. So, here we are today with this blog entry, as many other media outlets are also making it happen. Hopefully, you are making the best of Earth Day by at least acknowledging its existence. Then, we can go from there..

How about some history? We are in Earth Day’s 43rd year, since its founding in 1969. Early that year, Vietnam protests were still the rage, and a terrible oil spill happened in Santa Barbara, California. Senator Gaylord Nelson, a Wisconsin Democrat visited the disaster and promoted the idea for Earth Day. Rallies and follow-ups led to the first Earth Day in 1970, April 22nd. The day of choice was simply a good day decided by Nelson, not falling on any particular holiday and a time thought free from college spring breaks or exams.

A bit confusing was the founding of another Earth Day in the same year by peace activist, John McConnell; also proposed in the previous year. That day, founded on his own religious beliefs that mankind was the assigned caretaker of Earth, and had a duty to preserve it. McConnell proposed a global holiday to celebrate Earth’s life and prospects of world peace. That day fell on March 21, 1970; the first day of the Spring Equinox.

Throughout the years, both Earth Days coexist and celebrated in their own special ways. However, the Equinox Earth Day became recognized as more a day of peace and relief from disaster and war; while the other became more of a day of awareness and signal for environmental activism. Global promotions built this Earth Day into what it is now: raising issues on climate change, energy conversation and the preservation of natural environments and wildlife. This day, I think for its active efforts, became more known as the Earth Day.

So, what does one do on Earth Day? I believe, we should continue to heighten awareness and influence ourselves towards our planet’s preservation. Spread the message, by promoting and sharing awareness in our networks, in social online or in person through casual conversation. Perhaps, discuss some ideas and efforts that work, and other concepts and happenings that harm.

I personally believe we should continue to seek alternative, cleaner, renewable resources for energy and production. We should also keep in mind, as the growing problem of consumption as our world population grows, now estimated over the 7 billion mark. This reached twice over since the 1960’s. According to the United Nations and the U.S Census Bureau reports, we are expected to reach over 10 billion by 2050. Waste and the global altering effects of mass production will become a growing problem, if proper solutions are not found.

For motivation, let us also keep in mind what we are protecting; not just our lifeline, but the condition of our planet. Appreciate Earth’s natural settings, and observe various life cycles around you and afar.  Below is a great TED talk, sharing special observations of our planet’s beauty and wonder, though one man’s dedication and display.

Cosplay fun at Sakura Con – Part 2 (of 3)

photo by Orion Tippens

Here below, are the next set of pics from my brief visit to the 2013 Sakura Con Northwest Anime Convention, in Seattle. For the first set and opening commentary, click here.

This set is focused on the outside fun. The day was bright and wonderful, with cherry trees in bloom and the sky blue. This environment and wide open space was perfect for its for anime, gaming, alternative “geek” culture enthusiasts. Here are some observations on this gathering, based on similar musings over the many years at other alternative pop culture conventions.

  • Anime conventions bring a younger, more energetic crowd. Most come to entertain and be entertained. Being outside, often leads to random conversation and sharing of favorite things, especially if wearing a costume, apparel, or even holding a sign referring to similar interests. This can also leads to… 
  • Singing and dancing. Some bring their own instruments and voices. Conventions and sponsors sometimes liven it up with their own special paid performers. But overall, the attendees will gather around and cheer on entertainers (especially if it’s Japanese pop or Japanese rock.).
  • Impromptu games happen. Often these began after a large circle is formed. At this event, I observed some sort of bottle kicking game in the center of a circle here. Succession leads to massive hugging, and myself being a bit puzzled in this observation. Other things I have noticed in the past and a little here are sing-a-longs, dance-offs, and the occasional pretend fight.
  • Some shows are measured in popularity by their frequency in cosplay. Bleach, Naruto, Gurren Lagann still carry a strong presence. Nintendo and Disney, Capcom company characters also have a strong infiltration. Cosplayers centered around fan-favs often gravitate together, merging for amazing (sometimes surreal), group photo shots and posing.

Below is much of that fun. Click on each images for the full picture and additional text details.

Saturday..

photo by Orion Tippens

is back.

Thank god.

What a crazy week..

Bombs in Boston

Explosion in Texas

Earthquake in China

Another bombing in Baghdad

Many hurt, some dead.

Heroes everywhere,

We could use more heroes..

Otherwise,

enough troubling news,

I hope.

For this week.

It’s gloomy outside.

Don’t care.

Going to go out anyway,

because I need to.

You need to.

Find the good in this world.

Take a walk.

Smile at random people.

Enjoy nature.

Because that’s all,

the many of us have left..

to enjoy the week.