Dazzling Bright in Seattle, at the Borealis Festival of Light

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Last Saturday, I viewed some very bright and colorful lights during the nights,  the first annual Borealis, Festival of Light in Seattle.

Such was a four-day event held in the main waterside park area of South Lake Union, where a showcase of light fixtures and interesting little sculptures were scattered about, in and around the area. Some of the visuals were interactive…

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That was all I got from the small stuff, but trust me, there were some cool illuminations around. That second pic above would change with the use of a “magic roller.” Cooool!

Some attendees also brought their own electrical lights…

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From all that, simple minor delights to enjoy for what they are, an appreciation for the use of art in light, through intensity, shape, color, and new technology. I felt a childlike joy, in allowing my imagination slightly drift off, in some weird otherworldy dimension for the moments I had to myself among the strange sights.

Meanwhile, the most interesting and best of it all was its main event, a very huge video projection show of dazzling digital light and sound, all part of a large competition of art teams, from around the world…

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I will share more about that in my next write-up, soon. I promise!

– Orion T

 

 

 

I don’t want to grow up…

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Since my childhood, a part of me was always a Toys R’ US kid.

Then, the realities of adulthood will constantly break in to that innocent little world many of us keep inside. It’s a world of cool little action figures, cartoon nostalgia, board games, brick building, weird collectible nonsense. But, we grow up whether we like it or not, and now the best toy store chain ever has been eaten alive by vulture capitalists.

So goes the final end of Toys R’ Us retail stores over the weekend, in the United States (In Canada, I hear some will remain open), an excited place for kids since 1957. No more rows of tall aisles of childish joy, filled with colorful products with silly gimmicks meant to amuse and sometimes educate. There was odd feeling of privacy one can feel, in browsing the shelves of the large spaces of Toys R’ Us. The connection to that customer service, smiling and sometimes sharing in the simple joy of new toy product trends, is treasured. We can gawk and admire the great craftsmanship of classic Saturday morning commercialism. So much, left to memories now…

I brought myself to the Bellevue, Washington location last week to pay my final respects to the great toy store era now gone. I couldn’t bring myself to take pictures of the stripped down walls of a once great world of Geoffrey Giraffe. So, I share the pic above of a time earlier this year of a better time for such nostalgic joy.

I recently discovered this fun video of Toy’s R Us ads over the years of its long life. Here, exhibits a showing of the variety and odd ways the store helped develop our youth and still appeals to our inner child…

Forward, I move on to more growing up. Yet, I think I will always be a Toys R Us kid.

– Orion T

Recently, Back in Time…

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Over the weekend, I attended the 2018 Emerald City Comic Con. I love the comic cons and geeky pop culture convergences, as I have written often expressing such. This one was no different, though not too special either. I did a lot of the usual stuff one can do at these shows with an emphasis on shopping, attending panels, admiring cosplay, discovering new stories and creative talent, meeting friends old and new.

The best hour for this convention was attending a special Back to the Future movies Q&A panel with special guests Christopher Lloyd (Doc Brown) and Tom Wilson (Biff Tannen), answering questions and telling fun stories about their experiences from playing the key roles in the classic trilogy. Both had great energy and humor, entertaining a large crowd of fans, including myself.

And if you love the Back to the Future movies, then you should listen to Tom Wilson’s little special bit he played for the ECCC panel. He is a funny guy, and this is that from his official Youtube channel:

– Orion T

The Star Wars Togetherness

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I much enjoyed the new Star Wars: The Last Jedi movie.

It’s not a perfect movie, but it’s got all the stuff I ask for in a Star Wars movie; awesome visuals, big space and ground battles, dueling light sword wield wizards, interesting characters with great development and interaction, light humor, and a lot of answers to fictional questions.

The picture above (Rebel Pilot and Biker Scout) are of two dressed up persons in front of the Cinerama theater in downtown Seattle on Friday Night. I saw the movie yesterday, and was not dressed up (though I wish I was).

That’s all for now. May the Force be with you.

– Orion T

 

Reflecting on Star Trek: The Next Generation, 30th Anniversary…

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30 years ago on this day, Star Trek: The Next Generation premiered with its two-part pilot episode, “Encounter At Farpoint.” And ever since, the show has had a profound effect on my journey through life.

I was lucky enough to catch it on its premiere night, not quite as eager in the beginning. But something drew me, being a mixed cast of characters on a big starship, seeking out new life, new civilizations, and boldly going…. On this new starship, the NCC-1701 Enterprise D, held an android seeking humanity in itself, a mighty alien warrior eager for new challenges, a blind engineer expanding his self in science and technological advancement, a ship doctor balancing her work with the challenges of single motherhood, a ship counselor with empathic abilities often not very helpful, a charming first officer, and a captain who seeks the peaceful, diplomatic, humanitarian solutions to every problem.

This would go on for seven years, and four movies. Star Trek: The Next Generation became a show I grew up with, identifying with much of the crew on their journeys and moral dilemmas. To me, the show was about finding self in seeing what’s out there. For the crew and the journey, establishing humanity’s place in the Alpha Quadrant as a member of the Federation; ever-exploring and spreading peace along the way while interacting with new alien species. Each crew member had an ongoing quest to reaffirm their place on the bridge as an individual and team. Through them as inspiration and admiration, I often dealt better with relatable challenges in school, social explorations, and direction in life.

So, I love Star Trek: The Next Generation. Here are my top five favorite episodes in no particular order:

  • Darmok – Picard is trapped on a planet with an alien with a very complex language system. The challenge puts Picard’s communication skills to a great test, with the solution being finding common ground and learning about each other.
  • Q Who – The omnipotent Q throws the Enterprise into a distant uncharted space, where they meet the Borg. The experience is a lesson in humility for humanity, with new and iconic challenges to come.
  • Yesterday’s Enterprise – An awesome episode with much of everything packed in; time travel, an alternate reality, epic ship on ship battles, revealing history connecting the classic series with the new, crew members put in new roles, moral dilemmas, high stakes.
  • Chain of Command Part II – a gut-wrenching episode where Picard is held prisoner and tortured, physically and mentally. The acting between Picard and his Cardassian captor is intense, with an unforgettable ending. How many lights are there?
  • “The Offspring” – Data creates an android daughter for him, in a continual effort to be “human.” This raises dilemmas and challenges on multiple levels, in a new role he must take on as a father and protector. A mix of emotions results with twists and turns, leaving me as a viewer feeling sad in the end for a fictional character whose existence didn’t last.

Overall, I love Star Trek: The Next Generation for what it was to myself, and what it gave to its growing audience – a vision of the future for a possible destiny in the stars, where the exploring and bonding with the universe and ourselves will never stop. With that, I best recall that epic last line of Captain Picard from its very first episode, that still remains a most important marker for us all…

– 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

 

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