Sunday, May 27, 2012

World War II Memorial

World War II Memorial

World War II Memorial

Posted: 27 May 2012 06:42 AM PDT

World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. at midnight

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Malaysian Games & Comics Convention (MGCC) 2012

Posted: 27 May 2012 05:47 AM PDT

Last weekend KDU University College hosted the Malaysian Games & Comics Convention (MGCC) between May 19th and 20th. The 2-day event was much more intimate and personal as it brought together both local Malaysian talent as well as popular foreign talents. Some fans dressed up as cosplay characters including children. Various vendors were allowed to showcase their products on stage including the Malaysian crowd funding site Pitch-IN. Several talks and interviews were also given including the History of Malaysian Comics, Style and Market Demand for Comics, and interviews with comic artists Billy Tan, Leinil Yu (Supercrooks), and Carlo Pagulayan (Hulk).

History of Malaysian Comics
Moderator Muhamad Azhar Abdullah shared the history of comics within Malaysia between 1920 and 2004. The medium began within Malaysian newspapers with only one panel before evolving into a 3-panel comic strip during the 1950s. The comic strips had a much more Western influence during the 1950s as there was more room to tell a story. During the 1970s the comic medium emerged as a one page story bringing other genres including horror, sci-fi, and romance to attract a larger audience. The romance comics were heavily influenced by Bollywood films aimed at attracting a female audience.

By the 1980s Malaysian comics were primarily aimed towards a male audience expanding and becoming more diverse which led to the first Malaysian anthology comic called Apazine. During the end of the decade, Datuk Lat published Malaysia's first graphic novel called Mat Som in 1989 leading to more graphic novels during the next decade.

During the 2000s many comics were self-published and short-lived as competition increased within the Malaysian market. The current market consists of scattered readers, who enjoy various styles of comics from Western comics like Marvel and DC Comics to Japanese Anime and Manga.

Style and Market Demand for Comics
Datuk Mohammad Nor Khalid AKA Datuk Lat appeared on the panel hosted by History of Malaysian Comics moderator Muhamad Azhar Abdullah. Datuk Lat explained how styles follow trends which centered on finding style and identity. The first Malaysian stories were humorous stories about daily life before they evolved into escapism. He believes the media influenced the stories of the 1950s including characters such as detectives, undercover agents, and gangsters. Datuk Lat was influenced by legendary Malaysian icon Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr. P. Ramlee and discovered there was a demand in the local Malaysian comic market.

Comics were considered a non-necessity as parents provided money for food and drinks rather than supply money for entertainment. However children saved their extra money at the end of the week to watch a delayed movie from Hollywood. One such movie was Charlton Heston's The Ten Commandments which was shown 10 years after its initial release in 1956. Datuk Lat also mentioned "protest songs" from artists like Bob Dylan whose songs became anthems for US civil rights and the anti-war movements against Vietnam shaped his storytelling styles. These songs encouraged the search for truth and peace which Datuk Lat admits would not be revealed until decades later. Much of Datuk Lat's work promoted social harmony and understanding through his cartoons.

Malaysian Crowd Funding with PitchIN
Co-Founder of PitchIN Sam Shafie promoted his site which will be launched on June 12th 2012. PitchIN is modeled after the popular US-based crowd funding site Kickstarter. Crowd funding is developing a community of people who are willing to pool their financial resources together to bring a project into fruition. Mr. Shafie offers the platform for individuals living within Malaysia and currently has six categories including technology, games, publishing, music, photography, as well as film and video. Comics are under the Pitch-In category yet however Mr. Shafie assures the crowd as the site matures, more categories will be added to the site.

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The Shocking Deforestation of the White Willow (Salix alba) Forests on the Danube’s Riverbanks © Nor

Posted: 27 May 2012 03:02 AM PDT

'Romania's forest's are being chopped down at the alarming rate of three hectares per hour, according to a study published on Tuesday by the environmental organisation Greenpeace' (Greenpeace raises alarm over Romania's ravaged forests Posted on May 17, 2012).


On a photographic journey through the Danube Delta, in the South-East part of Romania, I came across a shocking phenomena: on one of Danube River's old arms, the Macin arm or 'the Old Danube', hundreds of acres of White willow (Salix alba) forests were destroyed by violent deforestation.
Once a beautiful landscape, the river long wide strips of thousands of trees, cut only a few feet from the ground, looked like a graveyard of bare trunks.


The Danube Delta is a low alluvial plain, mostly covered by wetlands and water. It consists of an intricate pattern of marshes, channels, streamlets and lakes. Occasionally, the willow trees form corridors along the Danube's arms and bigger channels.
Searching for an explanation for this devastation, I managed to find very little, if anything at all.


Despite the fact that the Danube Delta was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991, repeated illegal and uncontrolled deforestation campaigns and projects have taken place in the region of Macin (Braila) region, since 2006 onwards.


The barren lower river's floodplains left behind, upon undergoing an extensive drainage, are usually transformed into agricultural lands. But very often, they are just abandoned.


Support from outside the country has come from the heir to the British throne, the Prince of Wales, who has warned that Romania could end up with huge barren areas like the Highlands of Scotland or like parts of Canada that were also once covered by forest.
All is not lost, though. This spring, the seemingly dead trunks came back to life. I noticed lots of new, young green branches growing out, forming new crowns. In years to come, a new forest will replace the old one. Whatever the initial reason of destroying those forests was, nature found a solution. In the end, the deforestation led to a wonderful process of rejuvenation of thousands of willow trees.


… and this was the explanation I have given to myself by the end of the journey.


Wikipedia and various personal (journalists)
Greenpeace raises alarm over Romania's ravaged forests (Posted on May 17, 2012)

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Beach Boys Bring Good Vibrations on Their 50th Anniversary Tour

Posted: 26 May 2012 11:04 PM PDT

I am guilty of an assumption that proved utterly wrong last night when I attended the Beach Boys 50th Anniversary Tour at Cricket Amphitheater in Chula Vista. I thought the audience would be a bunch of old fogeys & faded surf chicks, but I could not have been more wrong.


The Beach Boys, as nostalgic an act as is out there on the road right now, attracted a wonderfully varied mix of people & ages. I saw young kids with their parents, teenagers, hipster twenty-somethings and then of course, there were the well-preserved fossils such as myself who sought to relive their youth by enjoying the tunes they try hard to remember from back in their glory days!!


And Oh, what a glorious reliving it was. Foster the People, a newby band making a name for themselves, opened the show with some catchy songs that are getting lots of radio air play these days. Foster the People had performed on stage at the Grammy Awards earlier this year with the Beach Boys & lead singer Mark Foster spoke very eloquently about the love & respect their band has for their iconic musical elders.


Then it was time to experience "Good Vibrations." Out came the Beach Boys, with a full band backing them up on the backstage. "Do It Again" was an appropriate way to open their reunion tour and "Catch a Wave" & "Surfin Safari" got the crowd into gear. Mike Love then dedicated "Surfer Girl"--full of the lilting melodies the Beach Boys are famous for--to "all the ladies."


Despite a chill wind in the air & an unseasonable breeze that had attendees standing in long lines to buy hot chocolate & coffee, the warmth and hospitality of the show kept freezing people like me able to enjoy the music, despite themselves. This weather was unusual, as inland Chula Vista, where the venue is located, is generally on the balmy side.


Next, Brian Wilson, who stayed seated behind an enormous white piano, sang the plaintive ballad, "Please Let Me." Though Wilson appeared to sometimes be reading the lyrics off a teleprompter in front of him, it still was a glorious moment. Next up: Al Jardine, who did a great job with "Then I Kissed Her."


The hits just kept coming. The band covered a do-wop ditty, Frankie Lymon's "Why Do Fools Fall in Love?" Mike Love's lovely 16-year old daughter appeared on stage to nicely cover "Sail On Sailor".


The Beach Boys took a brief intermission break & urged the audience to use their bathroom break to pick up some anniversary tour memorabilia at their merch table.


Before the break, the Beach Boys played "Little Deuce Coupe," "409," and a slow tempo "In My Room." Every song had  "Good Vibrations," including the "state song, California Girls," & some help from Foster the People with "Wouldn't It Be Nice." Very touching: the video tribute to the departed Wilson brothers. Dennis sang "Forever" and Carl, "God Only Knows." The Beach Boys debuted a new song that sounded suspiciously like the old ones. The audience seemed to like "That's Why God Made the Radio."


There was no denying that this Anniversary Show was skillfully produced. It seemed to have a Las Vegas efficiency about it. Still, the music was so sunny & spectacularly bouyant that I felt transported back to my youth, a not unpleasant feeling.


Singing along to these harmony-drenched anthems of high school glory, pretty California girls & surfing adventures took me away from all the "stuff" of today. The Beach Boys offer, not so much escapism, as much as they do unbridled optimism.


As the show wound down, I almost began to dread the moment it would be over. "Do You Wanna Dance" and finally "Surfin USA" summed the good times up.


Surely, the creative influences the Beach Boys have had on the music of today is incalculable but there is no denying the historical significance of attending this tour stop. The Boys are not getting any younger but they managed to put on a very entertaining show that did not skimp-at all-on good music, friendly patter & a vast reservoir of gracious good will. Yes, Good Vibrations, indeed..

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Firefighters Salute Marines on 100 Mile Trek

Posted: 26 May 2012 07:49 PM PDT

A group of 25 Marines are winding their way to the World Trade Center in a 100 mile trek across Long Island.

"We do it every year on Memorial Day to interrupt the holiday," says Nick Boyko, of Pittsburgh, who served  in Iraq in 2005, as he marches down Jericho Turnpike in Smithtown. "We want to make it known we're getting in people's way to make [the holiday] more memorable for everybody."

The 3rd Battalion of the 25th Marines Regiment is running 100 miles from Orient Point to the World Trade Center to raise funds for the Hope for the Warriors organization. As of 4 p.m. Saturday, the run raised nearly $30,000 to support wounded U.S. service members, their families, and families of the fallen.

"These guys are giving up their time on Memorial Day weekend to remember guys from their company that they lost overseas," says Jimmy Keane, Assistant Chief of the Nesconset Fire Department, which helped hang to larger than life American flags over the roadway for the Marines to walk under. "The least we can do is give up some hot dogs and sodas and let them know that everybody still cares."

The group is expected to reach the memorial site in lower Manhattan Sunday morning.

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Iowa departing

Posted: 26 May 2012 06:54 PM PDT

The Iowa passing out of the Golden Gate, May 26, 2012 on her last voyage to Southern California under tow. She will become a floating museum along the waterfront in the LA area.

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Memorial Day 2012

Posted: 26 May 2012 12:47 PM PDT

As I strolled through downtown Boston on Saturday May 26th I came upon a garden of 30,000 flags placed in memory of every fallen Massachusetts service member from the Civil War to present.

There was a sign which quoted an Army General from the 1800's which said " Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravage of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten, as a people, the cost of a free and undivided republic"

These words ring tru today as they have through every generation.

Memorial Day 2012.

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Russell, Kansas Tornado

Posted: 26 May 2012 11:49 AM PDT

Storm chasers, Nadia, Aline, Joey and Mark witnessed a cone tornado just southeast of Russell, Kansas. Standing about a mile away , the lowering known as the wall cloud began rotating. A thin whispy tornado appeared and then disappeared. A few minutes later another tornado appeared; a cone tornado touched down, then lifted again, then became an elephant trunk type before it roped out across the sky.

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Memorial Day

Posted: 26 May 2012 09:44 AM PDT

In memory of all who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom..

"Cannon" Timelight Picture Study with Sparklers

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Posted: 26 May 2012 05:49 AM PDT


Mexico City

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Divers deploy artificial reef domes

Posted: 25 May 2012 11:17 PM PDT


MAASIM, Sarangani (May 26, 2012) - Scuba divers of Sarangani Environmental Conservation and Protection Center and Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office prepare to position artificial reef domes as part of the provincial celebration of Ocean Month Wednesday, May 23. A total of 5,000 artificial reef domes are to be deployed around Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape in a span of three years as part of the commitment of Alsons Group of Companies in the protection and conservation of Sarangani Bay.

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Staff Sgt Amy C. Tirador

Posted: 25 May 2012 10:54 PM PDT

25May2012, My sweet Amy, how I miss u so, my first born. How proud I am, a Proud Gold Star Mom today. On this Memorial Day Weekend it's all the happy memories you created in my life for 29 years which continues to help me thru.  With still so many unanswered question and so little help I will thru your strength continue. You never gave up nor will I. Thank you for your ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. All that knew you, personally & Military know the truth, & the truth will prevail in your Honor, Pride, Dignity and Love for all..We know there are no words for my lose, just know Mom, "Mother Bear", has your back honey. Love you more than all the stars, my baby girl, now all grown up and lie with the "Best of the Best" forever in peace. Your smile & loving blue eyes, tells ALL.   BWJ, Mom xo*

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Head to Hong Kong!

Posted: 25 May 2012 06:19 PM PDT

The reason for my trip to Hong Kong was for a conference, but I ended up seeing and experiencing so much more than I anticipated. I was able to travel around the city, take a wire-tram tour to see the largest Buddha statue in Asia, and eat some very delicious food, too!

The first thing I always tell people about Hong Kong is that it's the Escalator Capital of the World. It seems there's an escalator in every building, for every length of space. You could be going only 6 feet down in a shopping mall, and there's a little escalator to help you.

Another aspect of Hong Kong I enjoyed was that most everything had some sort of English translation, thanks to British governance up until 1997, when Hong Kong was given back to China. So you get to experience the language and culture of the place, but if you know English, you'll never get too lost.

Lastly, I really enjoyed the food. I very ignorantly thought that all Chinese food was the same, but it turns out all different regions of China have different dishes they eat. In Hong Kong, I was loving all the noodle dishes, as well as the dumplings! Yum! Oddly enough, there's a really fantastic dumpling restaurant in the 2nd floor food court of the Hong Kong International Airport. If you're with a group of people, have everyone order a different dumpling dish, and then you can all share and enjoy!

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