Present Tense in the USA

VOTE if have not yet done so!!

I won’t push the obvious stakes much further. There is nothing I can not stress more that would change anyone’s mind at this point. I have to trust in an imperfect system based on the sensible ideals of democracy, with faith that a large portion of the voting population will put forth what needs to happen for this country to sanely continue.

From what I hear, more people are voting. Records are being broken from early voting. It’s trending, to declare your vote and share without shame, that there is something in this great American system that works. But, only if enough people participate.

Yet, let’s take a deep breath. Don’t let the anxiety overwhelm you after you did your part. Maybe stay off social media for a bit. Work helps distract, but avoid political conversation (a good practice in general at most jobs). Maybe find a dumb movie, play a video game, get some rigorous exercises done, or whatever…then turn on some news and see the results later on. Then, well let’s see and go from there.

Yet, still..

Orion T

I voted early, as Washington state has an awesome vote by mail system.

The 2020 National Protest, Part 2 – The silent solidarity, loudly felt

On June 12, 2020, a significant Black Lives Matters march took place under some heavy rain. The main theme was the overall solidarity for Black lives unfairly victimized by law enforcement officials throughout the U.S. This new protest and call for awareness is from the recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and more. This march called for heavy silence spread and pandemic precautions with face masks and regards to those at further risk

Special note: I planned a follow-up from my recent Part 1 post with personal experiences and observations growing up as a person of mixed complexion on police brutality, civil unrest, and the 1992 Los Angeles Rodney King police verdict aftermath. That will have to wait, as I felt this march had priority in reflection. A single uniformed approach to recent events for a simple message reveals safety and comfort for those in danger are greater in numbers.

Not even the COVID 19 pandemic can slow this message down. Yes, we took a significant risk, but often an emotional need to unite and bond physically overpowers current obstacles. Yet, we still made adjustments, of which I am optimistic.

So, an estimated 60,000 slowly walked for over 2 hours from Judkins Park in the Central District to Jefferson Park in Beacon Hill. Some of that was uphill, very wet. The rain slowed down and stopped eventually. I was impressed with how many used their umbrellas, raising them higher above peers, and taking care not to poke or cause excessive splatter.

The march went well with no known incidents. Many who could not march or had to stay near home, stood by to add solidarity. Some passed out snacks and water. I am proud to be a part of this community support, as the effects of this will hopefully influence better public policy throughout all civil service, especially within law enforcement.

Later on the same day, in Atlanta, Georgia, 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks fell asleep in his car at a Wendy’s parking lot, apparently blocking a drive-thru. After failing a sobriety test, he attempted to run away, allegedly resisting arrest. For an unknown reason, he waved a taser back at them. That was all the excuse one of the police officers needed to open fire and fatally shoot him. I think he was running, fearing for his life, which in the end was not enough.

On the same night in California’s San Fernando Valley area, former Saturday Night Live cast member Jay Pharoah was jogging down a street. Then  LAPD officers swarmed and pulled their guns on him, ordered him on the ground as one officer then put his knee to Jay’s neck. The excuse was that he matched the vague description of a suspect.  His life was most definitely in danger, and I believe otherwise be left alone if his skinned had been a significantly lighter tone.

So yes, even while silent, the call for new attention, action, oversight, reform, changes and justice still must be heard. I will share more insight from the steps I take with my own two feet and hands for the coming days, for sure.

Orion T

The above picture was taken in Beacon Hill looking back on the march. I was very impressed and proud to be a part of this.

Holiday Season Cheers from Candytown

Here’s a big gingerbread person, dancing around at the Candytown Holiday Festival in Yaletown, Vancouver, Canada. Gotta love that!

This fresh cheer has me excited for the goofy carefree spirit of the holiday season (as long as you don’t play into the madness of the shopping season pressures including Stupid Black Friday). More egg nog, please!

I’m here for a few days, seeing old friends and away from stress. I’m also doing my holiday shopping through some cool local businesses, and having a silly blast. Lots of maple flavored things!

Meanwhile, here’s more cheer from Candytown..

Orion T

On this Veteran’s Day of 2019

Today, on November 11, also known as Veteran’s Day, where we remind ourselves to honor those who served.

This is the day to honor the 18.2 million veterans of the armed forces currently living in the United States. As of 2018 (according to the U.S. Census community survey), an estimated 50% of those veterans are age 65 and older, while 9.1% were younger than age 35. 1 and 12 overall, are women. About 6.3 million are Vietnam-era vets.

There’s more to all that, and most of us probably know a veteran who served, who may have been through combat duty or willing to go into that high level of danger, because they believe in our country that much. We thank them, and give share some extra treatment where we can, perhaps talk and discuss that service, share stories, be proud of them, and never forget. Others can understand, maybe be inspired, or delve more into the lives of those who served, while many among them still have there own battles to fight.

According to a recent report by the Department of Veteran Affairs, 6,139 Veterans in 2017 committed suicide, compared with 5,787 in 2005. About 5.1 are on disability. The number of Veterans with post-traumatic stress syndrome varies by their time of service, where 11-20 out of every 100 Veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan related conflicts suffer from some form of PTSD. The last count by the VA in January 2018, estimates 37,800 living without a home on a night during that time. 

So yes, there is a lot more to this day than parades and social media shout outs, because what this entails is more than the day. Don’t forget, honor, keep communications, and be kind enough to help when needed, to those who served.

Orion T

The above shot was from the Columbia Tower this morning in Seattle to its Space Needle, with my decent zoom lens.

Global Climate Strike action, Seattle’s part

This last latest Friday, thousands of school students led thousands more activists into the streets of Seattle. This was in part of similar protests in over 2,500 connected events worldwide, adding to an unknown number surely in the millions, to protest accelerated climate change caused by human recklessness.

This global event on September 20th, is the first Global Climate Strike, inspired by 16-year old Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg. Back in August 2018, Greta cut school to protest and call for climate action outside the Swedish parliament building. She started alone but soon joined by many others, gaining worldwide attention, and eventually this event powered by more youth.

So, here in Seattle, the strike was done to surprising numbers. A path of closed blocks led from its Capitol Hill district to the city hall in Downtown. Shortly after the noon, I would join the final city block, cheering on the movement.

I feel there is a concentrated push by ignorant people in power, and greedy corporations, and many who just don’t care…to disdain the countless science data and observations that allowing large amounts of poisons into the air and destroy precious ecosystems is causing harm to our planet. Then, harm comes back to us with difficult weather changes, stemming from those harmful effects.

But, will such activism really help and fix our problems in the long run? Well, that depends on what we do from such reaction. Becoming more involved and informed in politics, economics, making conscious decisions on our consumerism and social activity helps. Green renewable energy, recycling, push for compostable/biodegradable over plastic single-use products help. Fighting peacefully against ignorant forces in power through resistant protest and democracy also helps. A lot of this benefits, but the urgency for better action and solution will increase as the problems resulting from climate change increase.

With that, we will hear more from the concerned youth for sure, hopefully leading to better, smarter changes soon.

Pride for this end of June carries on

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Pride Month reaches to a close this end of June, as celebrations in all US major cities had their parades and festivities. Such is the annual month for solidarity and recognition of LGBTQ members in our civilization for their basic rights, and to coexist freely without the effects of bigotry and persecution.

This weekend also marks the 50th anniversary of the clash between police and gay bar patrons in Manhatten, New York City known as the Stonewall riots. Building frustrations from the local gay community in the late 1960s boosted the modern gay-rights movement, building much in the decades ahead.

Meanwhile here in Seattle, a large parade would draw thousands of people over, along with two major festivals in Capitol Hill and the Seattle Center. I missed most for personal reasons tending elsewhere. Yet, I did take around 20 minutes to watch a little of the Sunday parade.

For that moment, and observing the huge crowds of support, I see great development since the Stonewall riots. LGBTQ activism and solidarity are more freely expressed, with growing support and understanding. But, there remain other areas in our world, where such expression is forbidden and met with a terrible penalty. We look to our own leaders, and some failings with the current administration to help protect what should be equal rights to openly engage in same-sex relationships, have legally accepted civil unions, and domestic partnerships. Also, not be discriminated in for employment situations, public accommodations, housing, education needs, and more.

Therefore, the marches and festivities shall move on in more Pride months, perhaps for another 50 years at least. Along the way. humanity collects and grows as we learn to love better.

– Orion T

A Frosty Sunday Morning

Here’s a little holiday season spirit from Frosty the Snowman.

Around him, the air is cold and wet. Yet,  here was Frosty with a smile, top hat, and a carrot nose; which helped to warm the heart of those around. There was also Santa Claus, and Mrs. Claus (first name unknown)…

Elves and reindeer, I think….

Then, some other strange creatures…

That was a little of my Sunday morning walk, and only time I spent outside for the weekend. I have missed much of the holiday festivities around here because of personal stuff. I just missed the annual Jungle Bell marathon, as most of its runners long passed the finish line before my arrival. There were many jolly people around, even though the morning rain poured. The finish line had a little fake snow blowing, welcoming those crossing over.

I think I got a lot more to say on all this, but for another day maybe…

Orion T

 

Festive cheers in Seattle at the Macy’s Holiday Parade

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Last Friday morning after Thanksgiving, many spectators took part in the yearly holiday tradition of a good old fashioned street parade. This one, being the 28th Annual Macy’s Holiday Parade, in Seattle.

This parade was cozy, small for over an hour through the narrow downtown streets. The weather remained chill, with a little bit of rain halfway through. Some arrived early, camped for the best views, while latecomers clamored for whatever spots were left.

The floats and performers were of many wholesome, non-corporate themes; mostly relating to timeless fun and the childish innocence of old toys and cuddly animals. Marching bands, dancers, unicyclists, candy throwers, city representatives added to this heady mix of holiday seasonal fun. Eventually, Santa Claus arrived on the end float, indirectly reminding many to get to their consumerist-powered gift-shopping done before Christmas Day.

Here are some pics of the parade. Enjoy, and have a happy and safe Holiday season.

That Labor Day Spirit

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This Monday was a Labor Day holiday, to have off and perhaps reflect on the one thing people spend much of their lives on…laboring.

Labor Day is the last extended weekend for about the next two months. I think the privilege depends on how good your job is, for giving that time off (and paid) or gaining a higher wage if that day must be worked. For others, the struggle continues, as part of a long tradition of the fight to be treated humanely, with dignity, and have rights against unfair treatment. Otherwise, it’s a day we honor the working human.

But here in downtown Seattle and other cities, this becomes the day to strike and bring attention to concerns among the employees of the Marriott hotel chain. They circle outside some popular hotel entrances, making themselves visible and heard with a message, “One Job Should be Enough.”

From what I gathered from recent news, a recent development in contract negotiations for low-tier workers (housekeepers, workers, receptionists, bellhops, etc.) was not favorable among the over 8,000 involved, with wage increases not benefiting from reported profits, and forced reductions in hours for many among them.

On a small corner of 5th and Stewart for some hours, the Westin hotel (part of the Marriott chain), passing pedestrians can hear the raised voices of the hotel strikers. Drivers in that direction had to reroute, as a line protesters blocked the street, with law enforcement officials allowing that time.

The organized effort will hopefully turn the work negotiations in the favor for the striking workers, as they are a shining example of many on the bottom of the modern corporate structure, often ignored and worn down after giving so much to help those on the top to succeed and live out the best of there lives.

The further on positive direction our labor movements go, I think the more Labor Day will be a better day to celebrate, with less struggle.

March for our Lives 2018

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Yesterday on March 24th, millions took to the streets in the first “March for our Lives” national event. This one, very different from recent marches from the last two years, as the focus this time was mostly on gun policy change, stricter background checks, banning ARs, resistance to the NRA lobbying campaign and propaganda, safer schools, and many related issues. The event, led by survivors of the Parkland, Florida high school mass shooting with other young prolific speakers on stage in Washington D.C.

The Seattle city took part with its own impressive numbers on this beautiful sunny day. I joined among them, in support of sensible changes and sane thinking to the troubling counterpoint of arming more civilians and looser restrictions.  Seeing the many passionate marching people wanting a safer future with no mass shootings fill me with great hope for these tough times, as I expect them to heighten the debate on the complexities of the issue, then drive toward improvements on current gun policy.

Here are some picture snaps of the day from me…

– Orion T

The Seattle Women’s March of 2018

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On Saturday and mostly in the cities, the second annual series of Women’s Marches happened across the United States. Big results followed through once again, with an emphasis of unease towards the current President, his administration, and GOP establishment (also the year anniversary of #45’s inauguration).

The people of Seattle and surrounding areas arrived, and filled the march route for several hours by tens of thousands in number. The weather was murky with spots of light sprinkles with a forgiving temperature of the upper 40s. Signs on hand were many focused toward “liberal” causes, many of which are championed by strong-minded women fighting back today.

Especially for the Seattle event, there was a grand presence of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls March happening within. Such was heartfelt for the troubling history involving such, bringing awareness to the ignored gender-based violence in the United States and Canada to Indigenous Women. Here with the march, drums and native symbology mix with red cloth for solidarity to the victims and unresolved cases.

Here are my pictures of this event…

An overall good day, with refreshed optimism and new unity for our challenging times.

-Orion T

Picture of Today 12/17/2017, Seahawks Win?!

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Well, not really…

The game was terrible for Seahawks fans witnessed their team lost on its home turf to the Los Angeles Rams (42-7). Many left the stadium early, where I was among them. Those people, are not the best fans. The best fans stuck around to the last minute, cheering on the home team through their futile end. You can see in the picture above, the many who stayed, and those who did not.

And, that is the real win here for the fans. To enjoy the game among other fans, even though such did not go well, with some major players not present (Kam Chancellor, perhaps the most missed for this season). Many cheered, and still smiled and enjoy what was left, sharing the warmth of spirit on this otherwise cold day.

That’s enough win for me.

-Orion T

Picture of Today 10/31/2017, Halloween Spirit

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Happy Halloween from here in Seattle…

Sadly, I did not dress up for this year’s spooky season. Sadly, I was not feeling heavy in the spirit. But, I saw many out there who were definitely in the Halloween spirit. Here in Seattle, this time was good for going outside in costume. Especially, being that we had no rain on this day, the first in 11 years since the Emerald City streets were wet for Trick or Treaters.

I took a few pictures of some dressed for the day…

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An undead cop, with excellent makeup done by Brian Flynn (@aglasscannon on Instagram).

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Morpheus, at the Goodwill store in Cap Hill.  Ask him, and he will offer a choice of the red or blue pill. Choose wisely.

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A group of jellyfish passing me by.

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That’s all for now. I enjoyed the spirit of Halloween silliness passing by, and that is enough. Cheers and Happy Halloween!

– Orion T

 

 

Do Androids Dream of Living Computers?

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I’m much excited for the new Blade Runner 2049 movie coming out soon, but also a bit worried it may not live up to the grandeur of the original, a cinematography and storytelling work of art.

With that in mind, I attended the “Do Androids Dream of Living Computers?” event at the awesome Living Computers: Museum + Labs in the SoDo area of Seattle, last weekend. the event was an homage to the classic 1984 Blade Runner classic movie with its influence on tech, AI, and cyberpunk culture. With that were live performances, Voight-Kampff tests, cosplay, origami foldings, cosplay, AI developments examples, and much more. I had a good time and took a few pics…

 

Also, big thanks to the Living Computers: Museum + Labs for putting this on. The entire place is super great, with many preserved computer machines and new innovations on display. Much of which I plan to focus on with another write-up someday with another visit to the awesome museum. Visit www.livingcomputers.org for more information.

– Orion T

 

PAX West 2017 Gamingbalooza…

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I spent much of the weekend with friends and strangers, at the PAX West 2017, an annual event gathering for gamers of the video and tabletop variety. The feelings shared among us involved excitement, cheer, and anticipation of gaming.

The event itself is the largest event of its kind in the Pacific Northwest. Now held at Washington State Convention Center in Downtown Seattle, the event is host to hundreds of companies big and small, and its many ticket holders (at least 70,000).

For me, the event was about exploration into the ever changing industry of interactive games and its culture. I sought out a lot of new indie games, and stuff coming out for PC (not much of a console gamer anymore). Though VR and MMOs are the rising rage, I loved the new treasures of side-scrolling platformers, tactical turn-based strategy, and single-player RPGs; many with a nostalgic old-school edge to them.  For the tabletop variety, I gravitated toward fun, storyline based card games for play at parties (plenty of new stuff around here).

Now, I am exhausted and will write more of my PAX impressions soon on my other blog, strangerworlds.com. Meanwhile, here are some pics taken by me of select moments of this crazy fun show.

– Orion T

 

Pictures of Today 8/27/2017, Flea Market Exploration

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This morning, I awoke to good feelings and a need to go outside and enjoy some good warm weather (with sympathies to those in Texas, who are dealing with a terrible hurricane and storm right now). And so I did, to the Capitol Hill area of Seattle for a morning walk.

There, a pleasant little flea market, known as the Cal Anderson Park Garage Sale. I saw many local looking people with tables, with their own stuff sprawled out for sale. I gazed over the nice variety of all one could ask for at a garage sale/flea market/swap meet or whatever you want to call it. For me, it was a glorious treasure hunt, with $40 dollars in my pocket to spend.

Such fun, and probably the best outside flea market I have been to in a long time. One reason being, the sellers were friendly and represented the best of the local Cap Hill eccentric vibe, leading to a lot of fun and special items being sold. Another reason is nearly everything being super cheap, and reflected more of the garage sale mentality promoted in its title.

See my phone pics below for more of my joys in flea market diving, with the last being a sampling of my treasures (I spent $34).

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Yesterday, Observing Tension and Community

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Recently was another day that best describes the ongoing situations that better define national social unrest tensions in 2017. This, by yesterdays headlines involving the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. White nationalist groups marched, and a counter protest happened. There was tragedy resulted from acts of hate, leading to terrible injuries and a horrific fatality.

A day later in Seattle, a different situation happened, and I was there for a couple of hours in the afternoon. A nationalist militia group Patriot Prayer (and other sympathizers including the Proud Boys nationalist group) gathered for something called a “Freedom Rally.” while they claim not to be associated with the White supremacy movement of the East, there are similarities with their rhetoric (in looking them up online): labelling those in favor of BLM, anti-Trump, progressives, immigrant defenders to some incorrect narrative of violent “Antifa” anarchy, while promoting their own version of religious and gun-toting freedom. Meanwhile, there are subtle roots of racism in the PP militia presentations, with the usual promotion of “All Lives Matter,” disregarding the message of Black Lives Matter with their own distorted narrative. They claim to bring something different to the table of social discussion which becomes lost when appearing in military gear, preaching hateful rhetoric, politically cheerleading for the alt-right and praise Trump for his controversial policies that alienate immigrants and Muslims.

But oddly, they shared the stage with those giving back harsh words to them, and the white nationalist sympathizing festering from the growing alt-right. Lots of loud speeches for Black Lives Matter, Indigenous people’s awareness, Bernie Sanders, anti-fascism, anti-capitalism, clarifying socialism, income inequality, anti-racism, and anti-Trump’ all drew loud cheers from the counter-protesters.

Meanwhile, the PP militia group held their area in the middle, mixed with independent media folk. The nationalist group used American flags as peripherals, which I found bothering because that assumes the US holds a special place its dominant white demographic, should any other groups of a different color or ethnicity, or non-Christian religion suddenly gather in military gear and taking advantage of open-carry protections. Such an imbalance suggests the American flag in regards to militias and accumulation of firearms, builds for white privilege.

Anyway, some of the members of the PP militia groups spoke as well, with some very passive aggressive speeches about tolerance and free speech. Such felt a bit silly, with many among them passing off fallacies, alternative facts, and hailing Trump as some lord and savior for conservative causes. Of course, those were met with heavy boos and shouts of “bullshit” It was all an amusing with the display of cooperative civility, allowing for this “Freedom Rally” and counter protesting to happen and keep itself in control, though there were a few troubling incidents resulting in arrests and police counter-measures.

Overall, those gathered around the PP militia were anything but those what social media haters would describe in general as the communist, mask wearing, violent, unemployed immigrants, or whatever else incorrect labeling is out there. Such is wrong in observation of the assembly of downtown Seattle natives I see every day, bearing every class, color, and ethnicities; all young and old, with visual styles suggesting many statuses and lifestyle choices. Most in part, pushing for an end to the threats of racism and fascism (many with signs and adornments expressing such).

I moved about in the outer circles, mingling with an otherwise chill atmosphere, occasional bursting in cheers and boos (depending on speaker and content). The conversations were friendly, with word exchanges about social change and the recent situation in Charlottesville, Virginia. Also, many funny comments about the silent PP militia man standing in the background on the stage, constantly chewing gum or tobacco for at least an hour.

So, another fun Sunday afternoon in Seattle, for which I glad I checked out. Such forums are always great staples of this city life, though can also be unpredictable. Yet, I feel these moments are worthwhile, in the peaceful interactions and learning more about each other.

– Orion T

The picture was taken from my phone around 3:00 pm, Sunday afternoon. I wished I took a better shot of the counter-protesting crowd surrounding then PP militia. Such was clearly a larger gathering, emphasizing the Seattle local response to nationalism and its disdain for the alt-right movements.

Grow as People…

"Listen to me, Morty. I know that new situations can be intimidating. You lookin’ around and it’s all scary and different, but y’know … meeting them head-on, charging into ‘em like a bull — that’s how we grow as people."

-Rick Sanchez, of the Rick and Morty show.

Picture is taken by me, from outside the 2017 San Diego Comic Con, in a special area event hosted by Cartoon Network's Adult Swim cable programming. I love Rick and Morty, and ready for the new Season 3 episodes.

Picture of Today 7/7/2017, Music in the Park

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A small concert presentation in the park is a pleasant way to end the afternoon and move gently into the evening.

Such was today, passing through Freeway Park in downtown Seattle. The happening was a welcome surprise put on by the Seattle Chamber Music Society for their Summer Festival. The small event was free, before a gathering of locals relaxed in chairs and lawn spaces.

My ears appreciated and enjoyed the music. I hope to randomly find more when walking in the parks.

– Orion T

Wonderful Honkfest West 2017 happenings…

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The weekend in Seattle held plenty for those with little in time, especially moments with great band music.

For me, I spent a little time for the second day of HonkFest West, a three-day grassroots, non-profit musical festival run and produced by volunteers. Much of the big sounds are from street bands coming from a variety of locations and backgrounds, to perform along three days in local areas. All performance are free and open to the public. However, donations in monetary supp ort are highly encouraged.

I had a little time on Saturday, passing through Pioneer Square’s Occidental Square, where nearby folk can hear the music and cheers from around the block. Coming closer brought a special awe to ears, with large group performances involving all the best instruments of the big band sound. I mainly stuck around for two main featured bands.

One group being The M9 (the M is Minor), a local band using high-energy in its brass combinations to bring about “global fusion sounds of the rich Balkan Romani brass tradition form the core of a repertoire which excites, invigorates, and inspires curiosity about one of Europe’s most misunderstood minorities.” Here’s a sample:

The other being Love-Bomb Go-Go, a PNW band from Portland, Oregon, a retro-future intergalactic band group dressed in funky attire, using an awesome blend of brass and dance. They are on “a mission to mend, with music, the divisions of civilization; seeking universal equality and striving, even, to re-establish purposefulness for each and every life.” Here’s a sample:

After both bands, I was treated to another gathered performance of the M9 and some added performers for another amazing jam session.

I share some choice pics I took of the excitement, below. For more on Honkfest West, check out  www.honkfestwest.org.

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– Orion T

Of the 46th NW Folklife Festival, 2017

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This Memorial Day Weekend, I took a little time out to check out the 46th annual Northwest Folklife Festival. The event is a wonderful combination of music (mostly) and artists gathering for free (donations highly encouraged) performance for the thousands of visitors present.

All located in the Seattle Center by the world-famous Space Needle, there was something extra special added to the grand mix of delights. That, being a full weekend of warm weather, supported by the blue sky and the sunshine. After nearly half a year of wet, cold, and gloomy weather, such kindness felt deserved for the locals and an extra bonus for incoming tourists.

I meanwhile did not spend as much time as needed, being that I had many errands and some projects to work on. Still, there were some good hours I got at the NW Folklife, checking out a nice variety of international sounds. Here, are some highlights in pics (with some video links)…

3 Play Ricochet, ” bluegrass band.

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The”New Genesis Gospel Choir,” I think. I forgot to write this one down, but the schedule I believe matches the time I took the pic.

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The Debaucherauntes,” a Jewish fusion folk band

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“See Beeze,” sidewalk performance

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The “Bollywood Stars”

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Greg Youmans, of the “Not Quite Full Harmonic Orchestra” one-man band

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A picture from my cellphone, showing the great Space Needle, with some reggae band playing. Sadly, I could not stick around to enjoy the entire show.

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That’s all for this year’s 2017 Northwest Folklife Festival. The past years, I covered more time, but at least I discovered some new music with a nice international variety. This year will likely not be last, and I look forward to checking out new acts, and hopefully more pleasant weather.

-Orion T

Picture of Today 4/16/2017, Happy Easter Style


Today was a pleasant Easter Sunday, where I spent much of it at the 2017 Sakura-Con, a convention for lovers of anime and manga. Though for me, it was more a nostalgic prance through a portion of pop-culture that is an occasional guilty pleasure for me.

There will be more pics and some notes, after I get some rest and pick time out of my busy schedule to sort and edit them. In the meantime, I hope the many of you out there had a most wonderful, adorable Easter Sunday.

– Orion

Picture above – no idea on who the two attendees were cosplaying as, or perhaps there is no reference other than the Easter subtext, but I love their presentation. 

Book Sale Shenanigans

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Woah, look at the all the books!

This, being the highlight of my winter end weekend, at the annual Friends of the Seattle Public Library Book Sale. This was my fourth year in attendance, now held at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall. Over 100,000 items, including Music CD, movie DVDs, audiobooks, vinyl records, and many, many books.

Many, many people joined in this massive treasure hunt. Many of them resellers, for which there are sure profits. Others, treasure hunters looking for rare finds. Some just like the cheap thrills and the joy of finding such. I can’t resist, especially at the $1.00 to $4.00 prices for each item.

So here, are some sights up close inside the massive hullabaloo…

History!!

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Literature!

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Rare Books!

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Half my catch, mostly comics and graphic novels. The other half contained mostly larger books and hardcovers (mostly odd fiction, biographies, and history).

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Good fun, though I will probably not get around to reading many of these anytime soon.

– Orion T

Embrace the Coldness…

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The above pic happened last week, on the New Year’s Day of 2017.

The waters are of the Vancouver Harbour, with the Lions Gate Bridge ahead, and the mountainous (and snowy at the time) regions of West Vancouver beyond, all in the wonderful British Columbia region of the Canada country.

But of the day and of fascination, is the lone woman taking a dip in the icy cold waters. I overheard nearby, she was practicing for some attempt at the world record for enduring the freezing water. I think it was 22 seconds, or around that. I didn’t get her name either.

But what I did learn later, was of the annual (97th) Vancouver Polar Bear Swim on the south side of Central Vancouver, at English Bay. Over 1,500 persons dived into the frigidness for a similar and shorter feat, where the waters temped at 7 degrees Celsius (44.6 Fahrenheit). I was a bit late for the main show, yet in time for leftover festivities. Here are some giving it a go.

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Overall, an exciting and notable day for many in 2017, a surely interesting year to come.

– Orion T

Pictures and notes by Traveling Orion, (Orion Tippens). For external use for public use, please contact and obtain permission first.

Post Election Rally Reflections…

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The days since the election have been a roller coaster of emotions for many after the surprise results of Donald Trump’s electoral win for the next President of the United States.

And, what a reaction! There was the initial shock, then the reality set in. Yet, nearly half the country didn’t vote, perhaps because of from much disillusionment with Hillary, turned to apathy and third-party alternatives. The bulk of the Trump supporters I think were turned on by his anti-PC attitude, the usual right-wing rhetoric but in a more authoritarian tone, controversial remarks that many felt were xenophobia, racist, sexist, with other fears bringing out the worse in others, and driving the results of the election to its unexpected conclusion.

Such resulted into fears of new America where ugly attitudes towards minorities, women, LGBTQ, immigrants could increase with the rise of the alt-right and controversial proposals of Trump, backed by his voters who succeeded and feel somewhat empowered. Many were also unhappy with his comments hinging with overtones of xenophobia, racist, sexism, and fears based on untruths.

Then came the protests, prominently throughout the major cities of the US. Groups mostly youthful, chanting “Not My President,” “Love Trump Hate” and other slogans turned hashtag phrases. The reaction was mainly positive, in showing unity and strength against the new establishment. Keep in mind the protesters are also engaged in progressive causes, many of which met with great resistance to the GOP of Trump who also controls the Senate and House of Representatives, and soon the Supreme Court. So, there is plenty of concern for all, not quite ready for the Donald as Commander-in-Chief.

And the rallies were great, far more than I expected. Thousands especially in New York City, Los Angeles, Oregon, Oakland. Most of which was peaceful and organized, with some incidents of violence by some troublemakers here and there. Nothing got too out of hand. those willing to listen had much to understand and listen to for their messages were scattered throughout social media and other press outlets, both digital and press. Those not willing to listen, mostly Trump supporters would pass them off as illegals, rioters, welfare and unemployed bottom feeders’ whatever it takes to cloud their message and keep Trump going toward his idea to “Make America Great Again.”

Whether that happens or it goes completely the other way, is up to all involved in this process of democracy, where voices on the street can be just as powerful as the Election Day ballots. There is much time before Trump’s big Inauguration Day, where he can make amends for his negative comments that perpetuated the rallies, and perhaps ease the concerns of those outside his voter demographic. If not, Inauguration Day will be interesting, and busy.

The pictures above and below are from Sunday night in Seattle, from Capitol Hil to the Downtown area. The last two are from the first night after the election. Mostly, among them were mostly young adults, many college students, I think. Cops stayed along the edge on their bikes, seem cool headed as many would ride ahead to direct traffic as the flow stay organized. Group stopped when cops needed to get ahead of the march at narrow turns. Some of the protesters gave the cops high fives when close. The local atmosphere felt positive with no violent incidents that I know of from all this. Overall, a success for the protesters.

Orion T

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Fantastic Times at the 2016 NW Folklife Festival

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I was at the annual Northwest Folklife Music Festival, again..

This, being my fourth time of attending this huge annual extravaganza of folk music and dancing, from all over the world. Since 1971, it’s brought a large array of arts, crafts, dancing, and sounds from multiple ethnic varieties to the Pacific Northwest, backed by donation and volunteer support. Held once again at the Seattle Center by the great Space Needle I attended Saturday and Sunday, with no energy left for the sunny Monday finale. Overall, some great times were had…

Here are some pics…

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The Freelance Reveleers, a ragtime blues group doin some sweet street performing..
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Tom Day Wait James with Dave Acker and the Growing Boys for some serious country folk jamming..

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This Balkan dance group (missed their names) showed some fantastic choreography, and among my favorites for this year

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More Eastern European dancing, from Saturday night.

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A mighty drum circle underneath the Rhythm Tent..

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A street performer (name was lost to me), with his awesome didgeridoo..

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Inside one of the many booths present selling eccentric home-crafted delights. The food selection was great too.

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Another shot of the good times, of which made up an overall great time for many..

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That’s all for now!

– Orion T

 

Pictures of Today 5/22/16, Breakin at the Fair..

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The best highlight of the latest annual University District Street Fair in Seattle, was the street dancing at one particular corner…

There in the afternoon, the Legion Dance Crew NW performed some sick moves with much breakdancing, some popping, and crazy flips. Joining them was Steel Will of the LA Breakers, who performed his grand finale flip over a few audience volunteers…

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Very talented folks, who made this day and this fair worth going.

– Orion T

Pictures of the Weekend, Outside the Sakura-Con

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Last weekend was a bit more colorful than usual..

I spent a little time outside the Sakura-Con, an annual convention for lovers of Japanese anime, manga, gaming and related pop-culture. I missed my chance for tickets inside the event, as I was a bit overly busy for much of the greater portions of the event. But outside, I had some hours to spare.

Much of the time was conversing with old friends, making new ones. We discussed emphasis on the anime and gaming pop-culture of decades past (the newer generation was more present). It was all fun, to see old characters brought to fly, thanks to the cosplaying element of the gathering.

I took some pictures, of which only some shared below. If you would like more than,please check out my expanded gallery and writings on “geek” culture at strangerworlds.com.

Here, are some chosen pics of mine for here (click on each for more into)..

That’s all for now…

Oh wait.., here’s me caught with the creepy mascots of the Five Nights at Freddys video game series!

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– Orion T

 

 

 

Recent Memories of the PAX 2015

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Last weekend, I played around at the PAX Prime convention..

There, a gathering of gamer geeks mingled with developers, creators and producers of digital interactive and physical tabletop games. The PAX (Penny Arcade Expo) Prime show remains the main one of its kind since 2004, as the event now branched more shows throughout the US and Australia. Still, the PAX Prime show remains popular here in downtown Seattle.

I took many pictures and notes of the three (out of four) days spent there. I have them featured on another site (strangerworlds.com) of which I contribute occasional entries on indie geek-culture. Here are some pictures below, with different notes. If you are further interested and would like more of my PAX coverage, click here for Part 1, and here for Part 2.

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Typical activity on the showroom floor. Just imagine loud booming sounds and the occasional gameplay mic commentary.

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Typical board game fun spread around the show. There is much to appreciate over a fully-developed game after a lengthy long to set-up.

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The largest and strangest of displays…promoting Magic:the Gathering, a game more addictive than crack (not that I tried and compared crack..I’m just assuming based on my long past MTG obsession).

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Über had a cool gimmick, where you may catch a ride in post-apocalyptic vehicles promoting the upcoming Mad Max game.

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Perhaps the most infamous of promotions at this PAX, for the hilariously adult card game, Cards Against Humanity. Stand in line for a lengthy time for exclusive cards placed inside terrible tasting Popsicles. And for a set, you must get all three.

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The walkway through an empty hall to get to that truck and kind-of hidden parts of the show. Worthwhile for the Exploding Kittens game signed by the creators, sold within.

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Classy gals got game!

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A giant Pikachu balloon reminds us that Pokemon will never die

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One of many colorful booths pimping out the expensive tech for rich nerds out there.

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One of many big screens for those who enjoy watching games in big screens..

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Got medical insurance?

Vault Boy from the Fallout game franchise gave this show a thumbs up!

So close, yet far away in distant lands..

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After an hour wait, me finally trying out the Oculus VR system for my first time. That was a very interesting experience, for my love of science fiction and where this may take us humans decades from now..and that’s not just in playing fancy video games..

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That’s all for here. I will likely be back for next year, and looking forward until then.

– Orion

Recent memories and fun at the 2015 Torchlight Parade, Seattle…

 

Not sure what there is about a parade, drawing me close…

Yet, the knowledge of one coming,motivates me to forget the world and join as a spectator. I’m usually alone, as I can’t imagine anyone I know as excited as me. I like to watch, applaud, and occasionally cheer at the odd display of colorful people and their strange contraptions and organized entertainment. If there is some theme, than I have a bonus to my enjoyment. 

So last Saturday, there was this 2015 Torchlight Parade in Seattle, mainly sponsored by Alaska Airlines. Without looking this up, I think the theme was lights and diversity as there was much of that through the late evening, early nightfall. We got a huge range of ethnic and cultural diversity crossed with local businesses and small town promotions. It was all local fun, with little on anything specific to recent happenings (unlike other parades). Also, lots of beauty queens on flowery floats and big bands in between. Overall, some good old-fashioned fun to a parade that just is..

Here are some parade pics that may amuse you, and hopefully remind you of the joys of a good ol parade..

O look, it’s the Alaska Airlines mascot!    

 

Pickle Pride!

 

Big orca love, full of inflated happiness!

 

One of my favorite floats, as I also love peaches..  I would love to attend a Peach Fesitval someday..

 

One of many who chose to ride in classic style through the parade, on horseback. 

 

One of the more perplexing displays of the parade. That can’t be real, yet the sign says..leading some in the crowd to run and touch the potato thing…

 

One of many marchers representing the U.S. Military and armed forces, with spendid musical performances!

 

And some extra patriotism…

One of many floats with gorgeous ladies wearing sashes and tiaras. 

It’s Blitz the Seahawks mascot…getting us psyched for another coming season of NFL football. 

 

Dancing and music, south of the border style! 

 

Fantastic lights brings a magical feeling here..

 

A more colorful chariot for this parade

 

One of the more stranger floats, with a message about garbage and our drainage systems.. 

 
Some headspinning visual feats..

 

And pirates, aRRRRR! 

 

And this big obnoxious truck! 

 

That is all I share from thIs parade. I sadly missed out on some clowns, as I had to exit for some time to make some calls. The pics were a small portion of the whole show, as I am limited on upload capacity and time for this article. But overall, I hope you enjoy the visual sampling of parade moments , as I enjoy sharing them.

Orion T