Friday, June 30, 2006

Ft. Stevens

Some friends from NY were visiting, and we all went to the coast. One of the stops we made out there was Ft. Stevens, which is a big World War II fort. Inside some of the skeletal buildings, were barn swallow nests, and tons of barn swallows flying in, through and around the fort.

I'm not sure why, but I didn't take too many pictures of the fort. I'll have to go back and take some more pictures. Anyway, here's one of the other pictures taken. I swear I didn't write this. It's just a coincedence.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Surfing around more, I stumbled upon, a comprehensive website listing fun park adventures gone wrong. I like rides, but a little part of me always worries if I'm going to make it back alive. Maybe that's part of the thrill.

More Disney News!

I found this while surfing today's news--

[June 29, 2006]

Boy dies on roller coaster at Walt Disney World

ORLANDO, Fla. _ A boy from Kentucky riding Walt Disney World's Rock `n' Roller Coaster slumped over during the ride and later died though his Army Green Beret father attempted to resuscitate him.

There was no indication Thursday why Michael Russell, 12, of Fort Campbell, Ky., lost consciousness on the popular indoor roller coaster at Disney-MGM Studios, or why he died. The Orange County Sheriff's Office is investigating the death, and the medical examiner's office will conduct an autopsy Friday.

Michael's parents, Byron and Charlotte Russell, and brother Houston, 7, were being assisted Thursday by a Disney official.

"Right now our deepest sympathies are with the family, and we are doing everything we can to assist them," said Disney spokesman Jacob DiPietri.

Byron Russell is a member of the Army's 5th Special Forces Group, stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky.

"The family is in mourning," said Maj. Jim Gregory, a public affairs officer for the special force's command.

Disney closed the ride and asked the Florida Bureau of Fair Rides Inspection to assist in an inquiry. There was no indication Thursday that any equipment on the ride malfunctioned.

The death is the seventh in 18 months involving people stricken at Walt Disney World attractions, compared with two such deaths in the previous 18 months, according to state records.

None of the other six deaths, dating to Christmas Eve 2004, involved accidents. In some of those cases, the autopsy found that person had pre-existing, dangerous medical conditions.

Disney's high-speed rides, including Rock `n' Roller Coaster, display signs warning away people with critical medical conditions.

The Russell family told Orange County sheriff's deputies that Michael was in good health.

"There are no previous medical problems they know of," said Orange County sheriff's Detective Mark Hussey, who was assigned to investigate the death. "He said his son had a yearly physical, the most recent just a few months ago."

The Russells boarded Rock `n' Roller Coaster after 11 a.m., with Michael sitting next to his mother and brother and his father behind them, said Deputy Barbara Miller, a sheriff's spokeswoman.

"The dad noticed the little boy went limp as the ride finished," Miller said.

Deputies say Byron Russell immediately began CPR on his son, and a ride employee called 911 at 11:20 a.m., summoning paramedics from the Reedy Creek Fire Rescue.

Paramedics stationed at the park arrived about six minutes after the 911 call first came in and took over. Though Disney has portable heart defibrillator units stationed throughout its parks, there was not one available to use on Michael until the paramedics arrived, according to an audiotape of the 911 call.

The child's heart was first shocked 7 minutes and 3 seconds after the 911 call.

He was transported to Celebration Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Portable defibrillators, called automatic external defibrillators, determine if a heart is quivering without pumping blood and will automatically shock it to try to restore a normal beating pattern. The procedure is not always successful.

The availability of portable defibrillators at Walt Disney World became an issue earlier this month when a wrongful death lawsuit was filed by the parents of a child who died last year after riding Mission: Space at Epcot.

Rock `n' Roller Coaster is the second-fastest ride at Disney, topping out at 57 miles per hour. It opened in July 1999 and features a high-acceleration launch that reaches maximum speed in 2.8 seconds, a rollover and a corkscrew turn. The trains are modeled after limousines and travel the 3,403-foot track in one minute and 22 seconds.

The ride is themed after the rock band Aerosmith, and the band's music provides a soundtrack.

At its peak it produces a pressure on the body that is 5 times that of gravity, a rate considered high but not unusual for roller coasters. Ride safety consultant Ken Martin of Virginia said 5 Gs is sufficient to cause some people to lose consciousness.

"Five Gs, depending on the length (duration) of those Gs, is pretty tough," said Martin, a Virginia ride safety inspector.

Disney restricts the ride to people at least 48 inches tall.

Disney said 36.6 million people have ridden Rock `n' Roller Coaster since its 1999 debut.

There have been no previously reported deaths, nor any major injuries or illnesses since at least 2002, according to available state records. A Web-based organization that monitors theme park news internationally,, cites a 2000 incident in which a 43-year-old man suffered a brain bleed on the ride.

Employees at Disney-MGM Thursday told visitors the closed ride had technical difficulties, though they said they did not know what was wrong with it. Many visitors were unaware of the boy's death. When informed, they were saddened, though many said they still wanted to ride Rock `n' Roller Coaster.

"This breaks my heart. It really worries me now about roller coasters," said Rene Boylan, 41, of Easton, Pa., whose 7-year old son had ridden the roller coaster and wanted to ride again. "I might start rethinking some of these rides for him. The roller coasters seem to be going to extremes now. I might be more cautious as to what I let him go on."

But like many people Thursday, she said she is confident Disney runs safe rides.

"I can't say they're responsible," she said. "Accidents do happen. I don't fault the ride."

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

more pictures of the St. John's Bridge

Sam Seder at the Bagdad Theater

The Bagdad Theater in Portland, Oregon, not in Iraq. He was here June 12th, touring to promote a book but broadcasting live for an hour, and it was FREE! So, of course we went. Sam Seder is one of the hosts of Air America's Majority Report Radio, and he co-hosts with Jananie Garaffalo (who wasn't with him at this event). Sam was very interactive with the audience, and I approached him and introduced myself. We had great seats, and the theater was pretty casual and informal.

i've been a little busy lately

and have quite a bit of catching up to do. I invested in a 512 MB memory thingy for my digital camera, and now I can take 259 pictures or 32 minutes of movie footage.

Work's been really busy. I've also spent some time enjoying the late spring and summer.

Lots of pictures to upload.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

the rose festival

A much anticipated event here in town is the annual Rose Festival, which consists of a few weeks of celebrations, parades, corporate endorsements, and is attended by a large number of military personell. The fleet comes in, and this seems to be a big draw. People walk around for days saying "Is it fleet week? Are the ships in?" And of course, where there's a sharp increase of military personell with free time, there's a much more visible prostitute element. Another huge draw of the Rose Festival is the 2 week sleazy carnival that sets up along the waterfront. The overpriced, ricktey rides operated by the toothless, goulish meth addicts is more excitement then I can handle. I looked up "Rose Festival" on Wikpedia, and this is what they had to say:

(I added my own comments in red).

Portland Rose Festival

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Portland Rose Festival is an annual civic festival held during the month of June in Portland, Oregon. It is organized by the volunteer non-profit Portland Rose Festival Association with the purpose of promoting the Portland region.

The idea for the Rose Festival was presented to the public in a speech by Mayor Harry Lane at the end of the 1905 World's Fair. The first festival occurred in 1907.

The Grand Floral Parade is the centerpiece of the festival and the second largest all-floral parade in the United States. More than 500,000 spectators line the route, making it the largest spectator event in Oregon. There is a running joke about people who tape off their spots along the parade route, and those who set tents up and camp out for days ahead of time. I think people get out there as early as a week prior to the parade. There's also all kinds of drama ensuing from people stealing each other's spots. It's chaos, and I'm proud to say I haven't seen one parade.

Since 1930 a queen has been selected from a court of high school seniors from each school in the area. A college scholarship is awarded to a 13 member "royalty". Publically reinforcing the ideal that teenage girls have to be pretty, therefore increasing each girl's insecurity, and probably the catalyst for eating disorders. These Rose Princesses compete in a strange kind of beauty pagent for the title of Rose Queen.

The 2006 Rose Festival Fleet

The 2006 Rose Festival Fleet

During Fleet Week, boats from United States Navy, Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers and the Royal Canadian Navy dock along the seawall of Tom McCall Waterfront Park. One heck of a lot of sailors. Everywhere.

The festival also hosts a CHAMP Car race at Portland International Speedway, wanna be NASCAR, complete with rednecks, dragonboat races, a fireworks display, carnival rides, among other events.

So I guess as a tradition, the Rose Princesses do all sorts of volunteer things, and make visitations to people and places the month prior to the crowing of the queen. One of their stops is my work, which employs a variety of people with disabilities working in one place. This year everyone was asked if they could come to the cafeteria for the presentation, and we shut the operation down for the 20 minutes this event took.

The princesses came in, lined up and recited a rehearsed skit. They each took turnes telling us about themselves, described the events and simeotaneously worked product endorsements into the presentation. Even their outfits were put together by Target, Fred Meyers, and some jewelry store.

And here we all are, watching. The people in the front row were especially pleased. One guy kept jockeying for the seat with the best view, and at times forcibly removed or coerced someone from their seat.

Friday, June 09, 2006

all hail the multi-faceted Hoff!

While surfing around Wikipedia, I eventually started reading about David Hasselhoff, and followed a couple of links to an album review section for the David Hasselhoff album entitled "Looking For-Best of David Hasselhoff." On this site, if you scroll down a bit, there are customer reivews of the album that had me laughing out loud, and provided me with at least an hour of online reading material.

Even funnier then the song titles, is the fact that this album has to be IMPORTED! This album sells for $34.99. I wonder who he's kidding?? Here's a review I've cut and pasted:

Spotlight Reviews
Write an online review and share your thoughts with other customers.

Reviewer:Charles Henry Higgensworth III (Boston, Massachusetts)

61 of 63 people found the following review helpful:

Achtung! Achtung! Der GENIUS of Herr Hasselhoff!!, December 31, 2002

Economic nationalists throughout the country shuddered when the Commerce Department announced a Q3 trade imbalance comfortably exceeding $100 billion, the highest on record. We buy our electronics from Japan, our confections from France, and our oil from the Persian Gulf. So why must we import the cream of our own culture from abroad? We don't store the Constitution in Germany. We don't launch the Space Shuttle from China. So why must we buy our Hasselhoff from distant foreign lands? Demand for this benchmark piece of Americana will surely send the trade economy reeling even closer to the abyss. Its pending stupefying popularity notwithstanding, this is not an album without flaws, as flaws are inevitable when one takes on the impossible task of distilling Hasselhoff to a single disk. This is, after all, akin to reducing Aristotle to a lone pamphlet - nay, a matchbook cover. Because while this CD does include every Hasselhoff song that topped the charts in ninety countries or more, it was really the deep album work that made Hasselhoff synonymous with underground edge, incendiary lyrics, and youthful angst the world over. The poets who found their calling in the deeply nuanced lyrics of 1984's "Night Rocker" will be crestfallen to see that album underrepresented beyond its touchstone hits. Jungle-based rebels from Columbia to Burma who viewed 1989's "Looking for Freedom" as a clarion call to arms will be outraged that the entire second side of that inflammatory album is absent (with the inevitable exception of "Flying on the Wings of Tenderness"). And lovers who exchanged their lifetime vows to the ballads of "Crazy For You" will be devastated to see that only two of them are included here (even "I Wanna Move to the Beat of Your Heart" is inexplicably omitted!). However, the wounds gouged into our souls by these countless omissions are salved by the sweet succor of the eighteen songs that are included. All told, despite the travesties that come from reducing Hasselfhoff to a single disc, this is clearly one of the finest works in the entire oeuvre of human expression.


NBA Playoffs, Game 1: Miami Heat v. Dallas Mavericks

Last night I was watching game 1 of the NBA playoffs, and besides noticing the refs weren't calling many of the blatant fouls Shaquille O'Neal was committing, I noticed that Shaq bore a striking resmbelance to Chewbacca. Now that I'm looking at their pictures, I think Shaq looks like a shaved down Chewbacca.

I don't watch a lot of basketball, or any other sport too much during the season. I just don't really have the time. I don't mind watching playoff games, as long as it's interesting and not a boring slaughter. Sometimes during the season I'll watch a game if I'm in a sports bar, or if I happen to be channel surfing and a team I like is playing. I DEFINATLEY do not like the Blazers, I've tried to like them, I've been to games and the magic just isn't there for me. But I do like the Dallas Mavericks, and I do like the Miami Heat, and they are both good teams and fun to watch.

I've only been into sports for the past 6 years or so. I used to work with a guy with autism, named Robert, who was really into sports, and taught me everything from how the game is played, to players and their resumes, and in some cases, their personal history. Robert would scan the newspaper daily, before he even took off his coat or gloves in the winter, and look for information about the preivous evenings games, pictures of players, stats if it was nearing play off or conference final time, and read every article, meticulously scanning every group of letters for a recognizable pattern that formed the names of the players he was into, like Kurt Warner when he was on the St. Louis Rams, and Scottie Pippen when he was on the Blazers, and Donovan McNabb of the Phildelphia Eagles. Robert would spend half of his day, every day in the art room, creating collages from pictures of his favorite basketball and football players, and pictures he drew, along with lettering depicting movies, sports teams, and people.

Every day Robert would give me a subnopsis of the previous evening's games, and after a while he started to make bets with me, and wager a quarter, can of soda, or snack from the vending machine. After a while his persistance to collect from the many bets I lost prompted me to suggest we just bet for a handshake. So if he won, I'd initiate the handshake. If I won, he'd inititate the handshake. This worked for a little while, but he ultimtely didn't buy it and insisted we make our bets a quarter.

Robert also really likes anything military and police: pictures, people, clothing, gear, toys, and movies. He has an impressive collection of action figures and matchbox cars. We would go for walks around town, and he would bring a small car and drive it on every surface. Robert would crouch down to follow retention walls, drive over r
ailings, around stepping stones, and up and down stairs. Robert had great taste in music, and was always listening to Neil Young, America, Nirvana, The Beatles, Wings, Peter Gabriel, Eric Clapton, and The Doors.

Here's Robert at the annual agency picnic in 2003.

Go Mavs!