Picture of Today 5/25/2017, “Don’t call me a mindless philosopher”

Photo May 25, 9 17 34 PM

40 years ago on this day, a cinematic vision appeared detailing interesting conflict in a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. That was the first the world would truly know of the STAR WARS!

You may have heard of it. If not, here is a trailer.

I would know of it a bit later in my childhood, initially through the first sequel. But its presence was clear, and ingrained into my constant pop-culture appreciation for all things that involved dueling space wizards, weird-looking spaceships, bizarre aliens with mundane lifestyles, and robots that beep or speak with English accents.

My favorite character in the original is C-3PO (See-Threepio), a humanoid shaped droid with fluency in over six-million languages yet still seems to know so little of the universe around him. He discovered much but with hesitation, guided by his beeping, short astromech droid companion. His journey is not center through the film, and not very useful. But his humorous observations and interactions give the story a much needed dimension from someone less familiar or interest with galactic conflicts and strange religions. He just tags along, and provides funny comments.

My favorite Threepio line of the 1977 classic:  “Don’t call me a mindless philosopher.you overweight glob of grease!.”

 – Orion T

Picture of Today 9/17/15, Tearing Down Yesterday..

Broken down, leaving memories behind.

These ruins are what’s left of the old Greyhound Central Bus Terminal in Downtown Seattle. The terminal first opened in 1928, and underwent many renovations and changes since. Here are some pictures. Click here, for some history and pictures of the former station.

In its place will be a new fancy hotel, towering as Seattle’s highest for those rich folk seeking a temporary stay in the Downtown. Meanwhile, the Greyhound bus service has a new location for Seattle, in the south SoDo region close to the Century location. New memories will build from both, bringing more layers to the ever-changing history of this great city.

– Orion T

Pictures of Today 1/27/15, Time Between..

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Late night, between bus transfer points on my way home.

The air is very calm, and unchilly. I forget how different the near south side of Seattle in Pioneer Square / International District / Century Link lot can be compared to the near north side in Belltown (where I live). The lighting dramatically differs, with more orangey glows and matching neon lights. The buildings are very old town yesterday, preserved with a feel that dates back decades..something I feel that shows best at night when the crowds are gone and the nightly moisture descends upon my brow.

I didn’t think to shoot more pics than the above clock. I now reflect on this, sitting at home and thinking back as I write this. When I have more time and less exhausted from daily labor, I will return to this area and shoot more nightly pics.

Here below is the Downtown, shortly before I leave for the bus..
Note the Seahawks colors, lit upon the Columbia Tower on high. Just four days left to the Super Bowl (go Hawks)!

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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.

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.

The original angry birds, 50 years ago…

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50 years ago, on this day.. March 28, 1963.

A great and wonderful film made its debut. A thriller, being a masterpiece of horror, suspense. This film was directed and produced by Alfred Hitchcock, and will never be forgotten. This film is also a personal favorite of mine.

The Birds.

The Birds, broke out and terrified audiences everywhere.The brilliant editing, silent lack of musical score, vicious special effects, and overall paranoid tones developed fear, excitement. The story itself, demanded questions. Why are these birds attacking? Will they stop? Is this a sign of the Apocalypse? Can our star players in this drama escape? Can we escape?

Imagine being among the first to witness The Birds in its opening days on the big screen. I could imagine, and emotional tension to be stronger than my first viewing. I shivered in my childhood watching this, curious about the idea while after putting down my TV guide. I felt uneasy about birds for a while. Outside my apartment in San Francisco, I was often startled, excited when many birds gathered usually for bread crumbs in the park. After seeing this film, I believed they could attack or kill me. I still do, as anything could happen in our interesting days.

So today, I learned of its 50th anniversary and did some browsing.  I found these fun promos on Youtube, shared below. Enjoy!

Alexander’s Castle

Today, I share one my favorite pictures, taken by me. Bear in mind, I am no professional at photography, but I love doing it.

Alexander’s Castle, during a rising full moon on a winter’s night, some years ago:

photo by Orion Tippens

The location is in the northwest United States, within the State of Washington, far north of Seattle, on the northwest side of Puget Sound on a peninsula, very near to the small town of Port Townsend. The surrounding area is Fort Worden, a state park and former US military station.

The castle itself is the oldest building there. Here is more info from the  Washington State Park Web site.

“According to the legend, Reverend John Alexander built the castle for a prospective Scottish bride in a style reminiscent of his native country. In 1883, he acquired 10 acres of land near Point Wilson and constructed the building known as Alexander’s Castle. Alexander intended the building to serve as a home for him and his bride. Traveling to Scotland to get his bride, Alexander found that his bride-to-be had married another. He returned to Port Townsend alone and used the building as a temporary residence. During the park’s Army days, the castle was used for a number of purposes including serving as the first site of the Post Exchange and for many years housed the tailor shop.”

For me, it was just a night walk during my three-week stay at a nearby hostel (now closed). I was experimenting with my newly acquired Canon Rebel T1i DSLR,  taking advantage of the surrounding lights for exposure. I was hoping to get a better shot of the moon in the background, but knew too little. I tried, a lot. I don’t recall the ISO settings, exposure time, etc., but I did some very heavy experimenting. I must have taken at 30-50 pictures (with no tripod), trying different camera settings. With this picture that turned out best, I used a little Photoshop to remove the noise. Later, I appreciated my overall effort and this particular moody result.

Fort Worden and its surroundings are amazing, with much to offer for travelers and adventurists. I will detail more on this area in a future write-up.