Midweek Tribute: Joi “SJ” Harris

I was saddened to hear of the untimely and tragic accident which claimed the life of this courageous, determined, trailblazing woman. Joi “SJ” Harris, the first African-American stuntwoman, died on the set of Deadpool 2 in Vancouver, B.C. on Monday, 14 August. From CBC News:

The American stunt rider who died in Vancouver on Monday while shooting an action sequence for the film Deadpool 2 has been identified as SJ Harris, a 40-year-old from New York City.

Harris died in a motorcycle accident after she crashed through a window in Shaw Tower near Jack Poole Plaza…Deadpool 2 was Harris’s first gig as a stuntwoman. Her manager, Porsche Taylor, described her as a “trailblazer” in motorcycle road racing.

“Once she got on the track, she fell in love with it. And she was surprised that there weren’t very many women who were racing and no women of colour, or no African-American women, in particular,” Taylor said in an interview Tuesday with As It Happens.

“She was excited to be able to break some new ground.”

Harris began riding in 2009 and received her race licence in May 2013. She started competing in 2014, racing in the American Sportbike Racing Association Championship Cup Series.

“SJ was super competitive on the track,” Taylor recalled. “She would race with men as well as women β€” and often give as good as she got.”
In a 2015 profile published in Black Girls Ride Magazine, Harris was described as the first African-American woman to become a professional road racer.

“I am everything people never saw in this sport,” Harris told the magazine in an interview.

Muscle cars and motorcycles have always been a love of mine, and I know full well what Ms. Harris is talking about when it comes to the “good-ole-boys” atmosphere which is prevalent at any motorcycle or classic car event that I attend. With the events of Charlottesville still fresh in the mind, I recall how many confederate flags and other racist decals and emblems decorated various vehicles or articles of clothing, or people who had those emblems tattooed on every inch of exposed skin.

I’m certain that Ms. Harris was well aware of those who pushed back against her desire to succeed, and fought that much harder to prove them wrong. According to an article in the Huffington Post, Harris described herself on her website as the “first licensed African-American woman in U.S. history to actively compete in (American Motorcyclist Association) sanctioned, motorcycle road racing events.”

Kevin Elliott, president of the American Sportbike Racing Association, said Harris began racing with the association’s beginner-level Champion Cup Series in 2014 and this year moved up to a “feeder” series that is meant to prepare riders for racing at an expert level.
He said her other activities prevented her from competing enough to be automatically given expert status, but if she had requested it based on her 2016 and 2017 finishes, it would have been granted.

For the first two years she was racing on a bike that was too big, but when she switched to a bike that was more suited to her size, her talent showed itself to be “very promising,” he said.

“She was just a good, solid competitor. She rode well,” he said.

Ride on, sister…ride on. You were certainly an inspiration.

Tender Moments For Tuesday: 15 August 2017

I need a break from all of the hate. Everywhere I go, I hear people talking shit and nonsense. I see people doing nothing but ensuring that they are part of the problem, and doing nothing to be part of the solution. The lunatics have officially taken over the asylum, from what I’ve seen. At least my sanctuary in my little corner of the world remains solid, fortified, and secure. The royal fortress in the meadow stands tall!

Apologies for the quality of the pictures; they’re the best that I could take on short notice, with only my cell-phone camera!

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Last Week Tonight: North Korea

In today’s installment of “Last Week Tonight,” John Oliver breaks down the relationship between the United States and North Korea. It isn’t so much Kim Jong-Un’s rhetoric that is frightening, but the fact that the current administration is woefully ill-equipped to do anything constructive or reassuring.

Bonus clip: John addresses the horrific events which happened at the racist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. He’s one of the few talk-show hosts who have done so, and he has my respect for it.

Moment of Silence: 13 August 2017

Silent Moment Saturday…Domestic Terrorism in Charlottesville, Virginia

The events in Charlottesville, Virginia of last night and today leave me heartsick, speechless, and sadly, unsurprised. It was only a matter of time, what with the hateful and vitriolic language and attitudes spanning the internet. Pointing out the obvious was labeled as “ranting” by others and deemed unworthy of listening to, while those who spread the racist rhetoric are adored and fawned upon. The amount of sickness out there is staggering, to say the least. The articles below are testament to how little is really being done to address this madness, which has long been festering in the hearts and minds of many.

Charlottesville: One killed in violence during U. S. racist rally (link to BBC article)

Fascist, neo-nazi groups on the march in Charlottesville chant: “Blood and soil,” echoing the words of their hero (link to HuffPo article)

One dead as white terrorists march through the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, USA (link to CBC article)

Friday Funtime: Colbert, Conan, and ‘Wrecked!’

I think that a bit of comedy relief is needed, what with the bellicose atmosphere between Baby-Hands McDrumpf and Kim Jong-Un blanketing the week.

My taste in humour is not one that is easily pinned down, much like my personality or personal beliefs. Those who look to be offended by me, or anything that I say, are always going to be. I’m looking for positive and upbeat collaborators, not negative drama queens and self-absorbed shit-stirrers: so, the needless, mindless, and baseless criticisms of bullshit artists will no longer be entertained here.

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With that caveat, enjoy these five comedic clips that had me doubled over with laughter! Along with John Oliver and Samantha Bee, I rely on Conan O’Brien and Stephen Colbert to keep me smiling through these tense times. They, and the TBS television show ‘Wrecked,’ are genuine gems!

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The Late Show With Stephen Colbert: News on the March

Conan O’Brien: A Message from the Guam Tourist Board

‘Wrecked’ on TBS: Best of Season 1

‘Wrecked’ on TBS: Season 2 Official Trailer

‘Wrecked’ on TBS: Season 1 – Full Pilot Episode

5 On Friday: My Excerpts!

Happy Friday, everyone! I’ve selected five excerpts from my fan-fiction-related short story for today’s installment of my “Five on Friday” posts, in preparation for a more regular schedule of my writings. I also added a few new screen-shots for the viewing enjoyment of all!

I hope that your respective weekends are off to a great start. Mine certainly is!

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Festivities: This excerpt details some of the goings-on during a celebratory dinner.

Comeuppance: Revenge is a dish best served cold, as detailed in this brief tale.

Seclusion: Self-driven solitude is a necessity, at times – for the protection of others, as well as oneself.

The Wild Hunt: A cure for an illness comes in an unexpected ritual.

The Entertainer: Confidence can be earned, and learned, from the most obscure sources.

Full Frontal Thursday: Meme-Wars & Judicial Appointments

In today’s installment, Ms. Bee discovers the connection between Steve Bannon and GamerGate, and talks about the Drumpf’s truly terrifying judicial appointments. Also, during her recent trip to Iraqi Kurdistan, she spoke with Peshmerga women. It was an interesting interview! I wonder when, or if, she will interview the girls and women who had been imprisoned and enslaved by Boko Haram? Their stories certainly need to be told, as well.

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72 Years Ago, Today…Nagasaki, Japan

On 9 August, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Nagasaki, Japan. The first atomic bomb ever used was the one dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, which occurred on 6 August 1945. 140,000 people were killed in the bombing of Hiroshima, while 70,000 were killed in the bombing of Nagasaki. Men, women, and children all lost their lives in the blink of an eye.

Today, we have two man-children on two different continents, each with the ability to unleash those same horrors on the innocent with no regards to the cost. Those of us who have tried to talk sense to others, pleading for them to pay attention to the things which are vital to the survival of humanity and all other life on this planet, can only shake our heads in disbelief at the willful ignorance we are met with, time and time again.

I have no confidence that the Drumpf is capable of dealing with Kim Jong-Un on any reasonable level, and I know that I’m not the only one. From ABC News:

Amid growing tension between Washington and North Korea, the mayor of Nagasaki said Wednesday that the fear of another nuclear bomb attack is growing at a ceremony marking the 72nd anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of his city.

Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue urged nuclear states to abandon such weapons and criticized Japan’s government for not taking part in the global effort toward a nuclear ban.

The bombing anniversary comes just as Pyongyang and Washington are trading escalating threats. President Donald Trump threatened North Korea “with fire and fury” and North Korea’s military said Wednesday it was examining its plans for attacking Guam.

“The international situation surrounding nuclear weapons is becoming increasingly tense,” Taue said at Nagasaki’s peace park. “A strong sense of anxiety is spreading across the globe that in the not too distant future these weapons could actually be used again.”…Taue sharply criticized Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government for what he said were empty promises about working to achieve a nuclear-free world. He said Japan’s absence even during diplomatic negotiations for the U.N. Nuclear Prohibition Treaty, adopted in July, is “incomprehensible to those of us living in the cities that suffered atomic bombings.”

The outspoken mayor praised the atomic bombing survivors, or “hibakusha,” for their lifelong devotion to the effort. He urged Japan’s government to change its policy of relying on the U.S. nuclear umbrella and join the nuclear prohibition treaty as soon as possible.

The atmosphere today seems to be far more tense than it was during the height of the Cold War, and that’s saying quite a bit. All one can do is prepare for the worst and hope for the best…and whatever happens, happens.

Midweek Musings: Weeds & Weather

After the small heat wave of last week, the weather has returned to the cool-but-dry pattern set near the middle of May. I suppose the fires in the B.C. area of Canuckistan aren’t helping matters much; the air quality in Seattle has been suffering for some time, due to those. I’m hoping that the clouds and haze clear up by the time the eclipse occurs! That will be a spectacular phenomenon to witness if the weather cooperates.

The yardwork and gardening is pretty much completed for this year; we cleared away branches from the trees and trimmed the shrubberies along the fence-line. When the burn-ban is lifted, we’ll have a nice little bonfire.

The bamboo is thick and healthy and ready for transplanting! We’re going to move some to the fence-line dividing our property from the one next door to create a natural privacy screen. After being empty for so long, it appears that it is finally being fixed up for selling. Unwanted neighbors, like unwelcome weeds, are in the foreseeable future.

Speaking of weeds, quite a number had to be removed from under the front deck. They were making themselves at home, out of sight! It’s a good thing we’re getting the weatherization of the house done; the hubster located the weeds when he was inspecting the crawl-space and saw where they were encroaching. Culling one’s garden of weeds every so often ensures the healthy growth of the plants and flowers that have been planted and tended to. When pests intrude, it is best to get rid of them with as little fuss and muss as possible, no?

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The roof will be done this coming weekend, which will be the last bit of necessary repairs for this year. We’ll be able to budget for a cross-country trip in 2019 or 2020, which allows me to focus more on writing and getting my excerpts out there to reputable and respected publishers. Research, research, and more research! I’m even considering doing the NaNoWriMo thing again this year: I enjoyed the challenge of it, and it sparked a few more ideas for future stories. Anything that keeps my creativity flowing is worthwhile!

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