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Somewhere Over the Rainbow…


…well, better make that UNDER the rainbow.

The Seattle Pride Parade and Festival took place this last Sunday, and it was quite amazing. I didn’t really know what to expect (other than a lot of rainbow-coloured items and, well, lots of LGBT folks) but it turned out to be a pretty great experience.
When we arrived at the Seattle Center there were a few hundred people milling about. We thought we had missed the parade, so we spent some time hanging out around the International Fountain…


…and checking out the various booths. Keep in mind the amount of people in the fountain now for comparison later on.
There were some pretty great outfits to check out, as well as some *lack* of outfits to *check out* if you know what I mean (wink wink)!

This guy was pretty spectacular. He arrived amidst gasps and flashes of light.

His entire body, from his head to his shoes, was covered in mirrors! At first I wasn’t sure whether his suit was some attempt at stealth-walking or flash-photography-repellent, but it turned out he was just selling some magnets. Of course, that makes complete sense, right? I mean, whenever I go to work to sell baby clothes I always wear an ensemble composed only of coconut husks. It’s just common sense.

As we meandered around in the stifling heat (70-something is stifling to me now, I’ve gone soft), we heard some music coming from one of the 4 stages. We wandered over to check it out, and what did we find?

Ethel Merman of course! This lady (man?) was great! Not only did Ethel perform classic ballads, she went on to give us some legit renditions of “Highway to Hell” and Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. Also, she played air-guitar with her teeth. That takes real
talent, you know!

As Ethel’s show was winding down, we decided to explore the festival some more. Right when we thought we had seen it all, we turned a corner and came face-to-face with the parade. After believing we had missed it, finding the parade was a great treat. We walked along the route and found ourselves a great place to watch the action. I’m sorry if there are more photos than writings in this post, but I have to say most of the things we saw are really difficult to describe. It was a feast for the eyes, but a bit harder to explain with the words. So here we go again, some photos of the wonderful parade!

There were cowboys:

And the animals they brought with them:

The ROTC showed up. (Not the one you think, this was the Righteously Outrageous Twirling Corps. Much better in my opinion!):

The back of their shirts read ‘What rifles were really made for’. I loved that!

There were ‘queens’:

and queens:

This guy must practice a lot! I don’t think I could walk a parade in those heels!

There was a group for LGBT people of colour:

and (slightly scarily) there were Furries:

Supporters showed up who were both young:

and older:

It was really great to see everyone being so supportive and wonderful. I probably saw the strangest outfits and people that I ever have that day. There were people running naked, half-naked, dressed to the nines, and in bathing suits and yet NO ONE was being judgmental. I saw 300 pound ladies and 90 pound boys in their underwear, obviously feeling comfortable in front of thousands of people. There were gays, lesbians, bisexual people, straight people, transvestites and transsexuals. Everyone was having a great time and openly friendly. What a beautiful community.

Alright, on with the parade! (We’re almost done with this part!)

Next up, we saw the Rat City Roller Girls!

They had some neat roller-tricks!

I honestly don’t remember what this next group was promoting, but I thought they were great! I loved the old Thunderbird they were riding.


I loved the colour in this group, but again, I don’t remember what it was for!

I thought it was pretty neat that the Seattle Metro bus service got in on the parade as well:

Alright, so after everyone else passed, we looked down the street and saw a giant pride flag carried by probably 50 people coming towards us.

It was the end of the parade and so we followed behind it, up the street to the festival. It started to fall in the middle so a bunch of people went under to help support it. I was lucky enough to be one of those people. Everything looked so beautiful under that rainbow flag!


As you can see, we walked the flag down the main path of the festival, over the hordes of people. Everyone was willing to lend a hand!

Well, maybe not this guy, he might have been scared though.

That was the end of the parade! I would have liked to see more of it, like Cupcake Royale and Dikes on Bikes, but I felt lucky that we caught even the end of it.

Alright, remember when I told you to remember the people in the fountain? No? Come on, it was only 850 words ago. Anyways, here is a shot of how many people had showed up while we were watching the parade:

Big difference, huh? Also, keep in mind that probably an eighth of those people are naked and at least one half are almost there. It was pretty crazy, but awesome!

I loved these guys’ outfits:

I want to hang out with them every day.

Honestly, going in, I had NO idea what to expect. This festival has immensely exceeded my wildest expectations. By the end, I was flying that rainbow flag myself.

Alright. So this is the part of the post where I’m going to get all preachy, so skip down if you don’t want to hear it.

I think the LGBT rights movement is bullshit. I think the Civil Rights movement for the black people of America was bullshit. I think the Women’s rights movement was bullshit. Don’t get me wrong. The organizations and people who support these movements are wonderful and work very hard. My point is that their immense effort shouldn’t be necessary. We are all just people. Equality shouldn’t have to be fought for. We are already equal. If you strip away all of the gender, orientation, skin colour, we are all just humans. We have hearts, bowels, fingernails, toes and noses. I will never understand what would make someone honestly believe that they are superior to anyone else based on these feeble excuses for reasons.
In the words of Tim Minchin (whom I met and hugged this weekend, hehe):
“I will judge you for no reason, but your deeds”.
And in the words of the Beatles:
“Love is all you need”

Thank you for reading. I leave you with this last photo:

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Where the (Somewhat) Wild Things Are

What a disgrace. My boyfriend RJ and I have been living within walking distance of the Woodland Park Zoo for over a year now and had yet to see a single elephant, meerkat, or hippo until yesterday. I guess it’s been a combination of a lack of time, money, and warm weather that’s kept us away, but whatever the reason, we have now proudly lost our Zoo-ginity (hehe).

While my brother Ezra and I were both at home celebrating Father’s Day (with a Dad so great he will be featured in a family-themed blog-post in the near future) the zoo topic came up. We devised a strategic (slightly Russian) plan to visit the zoo the next day, bringing along his unsuspecting (and zoo-deprived) girlfriend, Ashley.

Ezra and Ashley are pictured below for your viewing pleasure (and to provide visual context):

Yeah, they are riding a leopard. Riding animals turned out to be a theme in this zoo-day, which was pretty awesome.

Anyways, more photos in a moment. For now, there is more to the story.
We met at our apartment with a craftily-composed story about my brother meeting a client conveniently located within walking distance from the zoo. From there it was a short stroll to the gates and a quick fib about wanting to ‘find out the ticket price’ so that we could ‘try to arrange a trip next week sometime’. Muahaha. So Russian. After we got past the ‘You Jerk!’s and the ‘Fine, let’s go home then’s, we started with the ANIMAL VIEWING! I love zoos, and this one was pretty awesome.
Here are some more photos to keep you interested (’cause I’m thoughtful like that :P ).

One of the first exhibits we encountered was an aviary in which they had bird seed and tropical birds to feed. I have to say, this was one of my favourites. Especially this bright guy, how beautiful!

In this photo you can see the seed-mixture that he ate off of my stick. That was pretty much all of it, too. I think I had some faulty seed-glue!

After a quick mandatory hand-sanitization we moved on, so much more to see! Next up was the Komodo Dragon! The largest lizard, which happens to be a meat-eating reptile, is also extremely fast. I love things that combine a desire to eat my flesh with great speed and size and the title of ‘dragon’. It makes me feel all cozy! (But really, all legitimate fear aside,I think he’s a pretty cool lizard).
Here he is:

It was all good though, we became best buds by the end of the visit. He even let me take a little ride, no biting included (although he assured me it could be mine for no additional fee).

For the record, that face isn’t crazy when you consider that I’m riding a deadly reptile. I’d like to see YOUR face in the same situation.

We bid farewell to Mr. Dragon and moved on to make more new friends. There happened to be some meerkats hanging out in the enclosure next door (friends not food, right?). We tried to say hi to them, but they were pretty busy meerkatting about.

I think we got a little bit turned around at this point but you can’t really go wrong if you are still finding animals, right?

And we did find a tiger!


He wanted to play basketball with us, but I’m not really quick enough and RJ’s shots haven’t been the same since he broke his wrist…

Our next visit was to the primates! Don’t make me try to label which ones are which because I know I’ll be calling monkeys chimps and orangutans gorillas in no time. I could take the time to look it up, but I assume you probably already know so I will let you be the smart ones. If you feel strongly about it you could help me out by leaving it in the comments :) .

This one was a primate of the Swinging-From-Vines variety. I liked him.

In the next enclosure, just past the sign that I can only assume told me which ones were which, were some larger primates. These guys must have been hot (hard to believe for animals I am pretty sure are native to climates much, much hotter than SEATTLE) because they were hiding under various unusual objects.

This big one was trying out the very popular ‘box-shield’ method. He seemed pretty happy with it, I might have to give it a try next time…oh wait, it’s Seattle.

His friend was pioneering a new method, however. I applaud his promotion of re-cycling but I think he might have been cutting corners SPF-wise, that weave should be much finer!

Shortly after admiring the latest in primate sun protection technology, we decided to cool off in the otter enclosure. This was only our first visit. The little fellas were so cute, we had to come back a second time!

This one was playful and pretty much adorable:


To be serious for a moment, nature is truly amazing in its beauty. Nothing can compare.
Moving on, we have the bears! They were right across the (fully enclosed) room from the otters. I’m not sure if this was to keep the otters in line or the bears hungry.

This one looked like he wanted some salmon for dinner. I don’t blame him. Salmon is delicious.

After the bears and otters (twice), Ashley and I had a pretty epic adventure on our own: Face painting!

It had been far too long since a brush for paint had been upon mine cheek! I suspect the same for Ashley, although I don’t honestly know. She could be doing this every weekend. She’s pretty cool!
Here were the results:

Butterfly

and Giraffe:

I’m pretty sure this makes us awesome. A lot of people were staring when I wore this into the supermarket at night. They were obviously jealous!
After adorning our faces with the appropriate decorations, we continued our journey. This time, we ventured into the African Savanna! I was actually pretty bummed that we couldn’t find a lion, but then I found one to make friends with and it totally made up for it!

At first, I was a little bit scared:

It ended up being a pretty wild ride!

But in the end, we hugged. It was a special moment.

Ashley made some friends too. Here she is cuddling with a hippo:

After we left Africa, our focus turned to birds.
We saw pink birds:

Swimming birds (behind a silly screen, sorry for distortion):


and giant birds:

So yes, the zoo trip finally happened. It was pretty successful, as well! I can’t wait to go back, hopefully with the parents next time! I hope you have enjoyed the post as much as we enjoyed living it and I enjoyed writing it!
Here is one final photo, a farewell from the zoo and a farewell for you!

Thanks for reading!

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I told you they were dangerous…


Okay, maybe it’s not same as the hammerhead that I was talking about. Still, I’m going to add this to the ‘times that I’ve been right in public’ list (completely fictional, although a good idea).

So, if you haven’t already figured it out, we walked down to check out the Fremont Fair’s parade in honor of the summer solstice this morning. It was pretty amazing to watch, but I have to admit, my favourite part was listening to the 3 gayest men I have ever heard who were standing behind us. They gave the most hilarious commentary (including lines such as ‘it’s not over, there’s still more peen to be seen’ Hahaha!) I was so sad when they left to visit the beer garden.
The parade had pretty much everything you could think of (especially within the category of naked biking).
Naked bikers?

Sure!
Golden naked bikers?

Check.
Throngs of naked bikers?

Double Check.
Naked bikers painted up like Waldo from ‘Where’s Waldo’?

But of course. (Or as the boys behind us put it ‘Hay WALDOO! I FOUND YOU! tehehehe’)
Naked pregnant bikers painted like Wonder Woman?

Most certainly.

Of course, naked bikers weren’t the only features of the parade. There were some pretty cool floats, too. This was my favourite:

It’s purple and blew about a million bubbles all over Fremont. What’s not to love?

Needless to say (although I am saying it), there were a lot of awesome/cool/weird/crazy people in the parade as well. Here are a few of my personal favourites.

The Flying Spaghetti Monster which graced us with it’s presence. I was only feet away from his hallowed noodly appendages:

The give-me-a-hug-with-wierd-wings guy:

The hardcore hula hoop troupe:

The pirate couple dancing to ‘Brick House’ on stilts:

The stilt couple was almost as cute as this little cowgirl:

Of course the zombies showed up to party:

An opinionated man ‘riding an ostrich’:

A friendly freemason:

And then you had the really weird ones. Like Whoopee Cushion Man:

and whatever this is…

I called it ‘hula-face’. If you know what it is, please let me know. It wiggled in front of us for a couple of minutes. Loves it!

As we all know, a parade wouldn’t be complete without some loot. This was stolen from the naked-police by a naked-burglar-bird and thrown into the crowd. It thwacked RJ right in the chest and then fell right at our feet, how lucky!

So yes, today was by far the best day of my week. I felt well enough to walk down to lower Fremont and even though it was chilly I had a lot of fun with the boyfriend and laughed until my cheeks literally ached. I think that is probably the best pain to experience. Anyhow, I hope you all have a lovely saturday and enjoy these photos.
On that note, I will leave you with but two parting words :
SCOTTISH PRIDE!

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The Road Home

I’ve been rather absent this week. Sorry about that! It’s been a tough one. Car troubles, finishing up finals, sick, and work problems as well. I wanted to write something quick so that you all know I haven’t forgotten about my lovely blog. Positive things that happened this week include my re-creation of the school lunch that I ate every day in New Zealand; mince meat pie (with puff pastry crust and a layer of cheese underneath) which I will photograph and post as soon as I learn how to make food look as good as it does in real life-but in a photo. I am very much looking forward to going home to visit my family this weekend.
This is why I chose to post above photo of the road to my home. It never fails to make me feel better about the world. I hope you all are happy, healthy, and in good company.

Goodnight.

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Can you smell the fear? ‘Cause they sure as hell can.

Some people might be afraid of this guy:

Not me.
Don’t get me wrong, I have great respect for the muscle power he’s hiding behind that sleepy façade and those gore-iffic horns. He’s a fluffy guy though. Do you know what he eats? Grass. He eats grass.
So what am I afraid of, you may be wondering (Or not, since that is likely not at all what you were thinking about before clicking this link).
The answer is HAMMERHEAD SHARKS.
There are a couple of things you have to understand.
First, I have had this fear since before I really knew much about sharks in general other than that they are usually portrayed as scary. You know those lines in the deep end of swimming pools? The big black ones that end in a sort of ‘T’ shape? Yeah, I used to think those would come to life as hammerheads if I closed my eyes underwater.
Second, I am actually NOT afraid of most sharks. I swam with sharks when I was eleven years old. They generally are pretty content to leave you alone as long as you do the same (and are not bleeding profusely).
Hammerheads though… they are different.  Do you know what a hammerhead shark eats? Here’s a handy list that I found on Wikipedia.
“Hammerhead sharks are known to eat a large range of items including fish, squid, octopus, crustaceans, and other hammerhead sharks.”
Yeah. They eat EACH OTHER. They will just eat their buddy shark if they’re hungry. How messed up is that??
Another fun fact. You know that giant crazy-looking head they have? Do you know what that is for? It helps them see better than any other shark. It also gives them a better sense of smell. Creepy, huh? The better to HUNT you with my dear.
But you know what is really frightening to me? They also use it to hold their prey down while they eat and kill them. Yeah. The hammerhead shark has binocular eyes, a powerful nose, and basically the equivalent to a muscly set of biceps stored in that monstrosity. No wonder it’s so awkward.
The last fact that I found is probably the most frightening to me. Most things that I am afraid of that are capable of reproduction do it slowly and gradually (ok, except for spiders, those things mass-reproduce like they work for a Barbie factory in Taiwan). NOT HAMMERHEADS. Nope. Not only are they capable of becoming pregnant from several different mating partners at once (hussies), they give birth to on AVERAGE 20-40 mini-terrors at a time. Twenty to FORTY. The thought of that many of them absolutely petrifies me.
Oh, and don’t think they won’t find you. Here’s a map of where they live:

Yeah. Pretty much everywhere. We are so screwed.

P.S. The first photo is by me, the map was made by someone else.

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Browsers and Baristas

I promised unsolicited opinions and here’s the first one:
Baristas and browsers, they are eerily similar.
I just went next door to the small supermarket and espresso shop to get my morning coffee. There is a blonde woman usually who makes AMAZING lattes and has them ready before I’ve paid. Then there is the other one. The brown-haired moody barista. My heart sinks a little bit every time I see her. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure she is a lovely person, she is just not as good as blonde-barista. Blonde barista knows my drink. She makes it quickly. She knows that I have a card and she stamps it without asking. Brunette barista asks me EVERY time whether or not I have a card. She takes 5-7 minutes after I’ve paid to finish the drink.
So, here is my thought, again:
Baristas and browsers, they are eerily similar. The bad ones take forever to get what you need to you and ask you the same questions over and over. The good ones remember your settings and preferences and get you and what you need hooked up fast.
That is all.

-Hannato

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New blog, new home.

Hello again!
I know, I know, it says in the tagline ‘Photography, Food, and Unsolicited Opinions’. Well, you have my word, they will be here soon enough! This past week I have been juggling a few different projects. Here on Hannato.com (new home thanks entirely to my amazing computer-whiz brother, see link in sidebar) I have been mainly focusing on getting some content moved in and messing around with a million (seemingly unnecessary but of course incredibly important according to every tutorial) settings. In real life I am still working on my degree. I know it’s getting closer but sometimes it feels like one of those dreams where you try and try to reach something and it is always just a little bit further than you can reach. In short, college sucks. I keep looking at those graphs that show how much more money college grads make than drop-outs or high school diploma-holders, cursing our capitalist society, and then finally quit procrastinating and do the work in less time than the wallowing took in the first place. It’s pretty sad. Anyways, ‘what else is going on?’ you might ask. If you did, I might mention the time earlier this week when I set my alarm clock to PM rather than AM and was an hour late for work. I might mention the gossip that ensued. I might even mention that I applied for another job because of the whole thing. Those are all just ‘maybes’ though. In reality, I would probably give a non-commital ‘not much’ and move on. Perhaps that’s what I should have gone with.
Alright, enough rambling. I just want to thank whoever is reading this for, well, reading this. I love feedback so feel free to comment (read: give me another excuse to ignore Oceanography for 5 minutes)!
Quite Sincerely,
Hannato