Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Dagny Johnson State Park

The other day we decided to go to Key Largo because I wanted to take some photos of random things that I see on our drives.  We were going to stop at Pennykamp Park to walk Murray but then I saw a sign for the Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park. I had never heard of the place so we decided to check it out and ended up taking a 3 mile walk through the nature trails. Sadly, the only wildlife we saw were a few spiders and a few male Cardinals. During our walk I kept thinking of the South Florida python hunt that was currently happening.  39 had been found so far and I wondered if we were going to stumble upon one during our walk.  However, no python discoveries for us that day.

During our walk we came across a massive, abandoned and decaying structure full of very amateur graffiti. I love stuff like this! We had no clue what this place was and we heard a lady on a bike say it used to be the place of a "drug lord" - well, that's interesting!  I had to know more!  We explored for a bit and it started getting late in the day so we stopped at Starbucks for coffee and headed home.

Later that night I did some research and found a totally different story than that of a drug lord. The place is called Port Bougainville and it was once a development meant to have a 2800-unit complex in the style of a Mediterranean fishing village, complete with a helicopter landing pad, a boat yard, service station, shopping mall, and jetport. When environmentalists caught wind of the project and the danger the coral reef (one of the world's largest) and nature area was in they started a movement to stop the project and after a long battle were victorious.


The park is named after Anna Dagny Johnson, a key environmentalist whose efforts helped preserve the natural habitat for endangered and threatened plant and animal species as well as the Florida Keys coral reef ecosystem.

   (Taken with my Nikon Coolpix AW130)

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

We Could Be Heroes...

My first half of high school was spent at Central Kitsap High School in Silverdale, Washington.

Yes, I went to two different high schools.  CKHS and Goose Creek High School were worlds apart in SO many ways.  CKHS was so incredibly progressive in music, what we wore, our interest in politics and making a difference in the world.  I remember CK had a member of the Communist party of China come to speak to students who cared to take time out of the classroom and it was packed and the exchange between students and the guest was amazing.  The lip sync’s at CKHS were huge and consisted of bands like The Ramones, The Plasmatics, Black Flag, The B-52’s and many others that people in Goose Creek (for the most part) had never heard of.  When I moved to Goose Creek in 1986 everyone was listening to Sly Fox.  That would have never happened at CK.  We had this one lip sync where our principal thought some of the performances were X-rated so he shut it down.  We were the kind of students who decided to have a sit-in the next morning on the school steps in protest of the lip sync being canceled and it worked.  We were heard.  I don’t recall GCHS ever having a lip sync.  GCHS had the Miss L’Esprit pageant and students hung out at a teen dance club that was in the same building as the over 21 group… the two areas were separated with a huge glass (?) partition… you could look at the other side of the club but forget about going over there if you were underage.  It also allowed the older people to gawk at the younger kids on the other side of the glass.  Yes, fun times.  The students of CK took the ferry to Seattle and went to a club called Skoochie’s and sometimes to Hollywood Underground.  There was absolutely no Sly Fox playing there… more like The Cure and Depeche Mode, of course way before they became mainstream.

When I moved to Goose Creek the football team had shaved “Mohawk’s” on their heads for some strange reason.  At CK if you had a Mohawk you were just… well, cool.  I didn’t fit in at GCHS so this is why I hung out with the college-aged student’s downtown.  I had a handful of friends that were fellow students at GCHS and oddly enough the friends that I have now that I went to high school with are friendships that were formed after our first reunion.  I didn’t socialize a lot when I went to GC.  I hated South Carolina (can you believe that?) and especially Goose Creek (and I kind of still loathe Goose Creek to be honest).  I begged my parents to let me move back to Seattle or anywhere away from the South!  They weren’t having any of that so I was pretty miserable for a few years until I could jump on the first plane to Seattle after high school which is just what I did.

In 9th grade at CKHS I took drama class as one of my electives.  We had so much fun in that class.  We’d sit in the school auditorium and I’d pierce people’s ears… boys, girls, didn’t matter.  If you brought me an earring I’d pierce your ear.  Forget all that sterile needle crap!  I’d just shove the earring in FAST and voila!  Done.  The thing I remember most about drama class was the actual classroom which we didn’t spend much time in.  The classroom was backstage (sort of) from the auditorium and away from other classes.  It was in this classroom that I first discovered David Bowie.  On the back wall of the classroom was a big poster of Bowie kissing a skull.  What?!?!  I stared at that poster so much because it awoke something in my 15 (or maybe 16) year old body.  Who was this guy… and is that a guy?!I had never seen anything quite like David Bowie in my life.  It was then that I was introduced to the beautiful creatures of the androgynous world, or even that this world existed.  Today when I think about that poster I am so thankful that I grew up in the time that I did and especially that I spent a few years at Central Kitsap High School.  I know that these days if a teacher had that poster up in a classroom someone’s mom would get her panties in a wad and come running up to the school to complain about it.  So, thank you Mr. Les Smith of Central Kitsap High School for unabashedly putting that poster up in your public high school classroom.  You rule.

So, yes… today was a sad day.  I was taking shower when Tabitha came in and told me the news about Bowie.  My immediate thought was that my friend Shannon was going to be devastated.  I’ve never met a bigger Bowie fan than her.  We are so fortunate to have lived in a world where David Bowie existed.  The world lost an icon today, a person who had incredible influence on several generations and in so many ways.  We will never be the same.  We need to take a time out and think about Bowie and the life that he led.  He lived his own way and gave absolutely no fucks about what people said about him and I think I like to think that I kept that in mind while also giving no fucks.  He was one of the few that paved the way.   I feel sad for the kids of today.  Who do they have?  Justin Bieber?  Kanye West?  I don’t even want to imagine this new generation coming of age and going into adulthood.  Yikes!  Will they say the same things I am saying about Bowie but instead about the Jonas Brothers?

If so, Dear Universe, please help us all.

I so wish I could find the photo from the poster.