Military in Port of Olympia (Again)

Thursday, May 11th 2006, Olympia Washington

On Monday, the Tacoma News Tribune mentioned (casually) that the first Stryker Brigade which went to Iraq would be going back by the end of May, through the Port of Olympia.

Thursday morning, the Port of Olympia has five Coast Guard fast boats (These belong to the MSST unit from Seattle, unit number 91101) in the water, and 10 or 15 men on the quay doing "training."

When is the next high tide? Which ship is heading through Nisqually Reach or the Tacoma Narrows as you read this? Which mode of transportation will the Stryker vehicles use - rail, road? Those vehicles have not yet arrived, and the Port's observation deck is unlocked (which is unusual for an actual loading operation). The troops on the quay might actually be on a training mission, to be rolled into a protective mission as the vehicles arrive. Who knows? Let's see what collaborative journalism can accomplish.

By the way, the 833rd Transportation Battallion public affairs officer (Heidi) had no comment. And she still wonders which papers I write for. ("Who are you with?" "I'm alone, why?" "Who do you write for?" "I wrote for a bunch of papers, but I'm not on assignment, I'm myself." "The 833rd Transportation Battallion has no comment at this time.")

Maybe your results will vary, if you can cite an actual newspaper for targeting by the DOD's TALON program: her number is 206-764-6503.

The Port's payphone (at the observation deck) is 753-9794. Maybe someone will pick up and tell you what's going on.

Update on the numbers

Following up on the recognition we got this week for doing citizen journalism, I thought I'd share some of the data on traffic to the site. Just judging from the number of folks who post content, you might guess that our readership is quite small. Well, here's the numbers:

  • 21,861 -- The total number of page loads over the past 30 days. (Via Statcounter.)
  • 9,521 -- This is the total number of unique visits to OlyBlog in the last 30 days. A visit is unique if there hasn't been a page load from that IP address for at least 3 hours. (Via Statcounter.)
  • 705 -- The daily average number of page loads over the past 30 days. (Via Statcounter.)
  • 307 -- The daily average number of unique visits (over the last 30 days). (Via Statcounter.)
  • 221 -- The number of registered users on OlyBlog.
  • 95 -- The number of links to OlyBlog from 38 other blogs. (Via Technorati.)

The short story is that between 300 and 500 people look at the blog each day, looking at a couple of pages each visit. Of the 221 registered users, roughly 50 have been "active," i.e., posting to the front page or making frequent comments. For a more qualitative take, I must say that I'm amazed every day by what a wonderfully collaborative endeavor this has become. I love the rich and interesting ideas that everyone has contributed to the blog (not to mention the creative usernames people come up with; current favorite: "username"). My only wish is that even more people begin to contribute original material -- cover events that they attend, write about their neighborhood, or opine about city politics.

Jones v. City of Los Angeles

L.A. decision tolls a bell for Portland’s policies on homeless (Street Roots, USA)
Monica Goracke
May 9, 2006
While the court explicitly limited its ruling to Los Angeles, relying heavily on statistics and evidence of the lack of shelter for homeless people there, cities across the country, and Portland in particular, will take note. “Human beings are biologically compelled to rest, whether by sitting, lying, or sleeping,

Hedgehog Cheer


Morning in Olympia and some of us standing in line at Batdorf and Bronson were not feeling all that cheerful. A barista knew just what to do, this photo was shown to one customer, I next in line could not help but to admire, smiles washed across previously dour expressions.

Huge biodiesel plant planned in Western Washington

From OregonLive.com:

OLYMPIA -- Western Washington will soon be home to an enormous biodiesel production plant under the terms of an agreement announced Tuesday.

The plant, to be built on land owned by the Port of Grays Harbor between Aberdeen and Hoquiam in Grays Harbor County, will be capable of producing 100 million gallons of biodiesel a year, enough to make it the biggest plant in the country.

Nationwide last year, biodiesel production was 75 million gallons, according to the National Biodiesel Board. But capacity is rising fast; construction began recently on an 85-million-gallon a year facility in North Dakota.

Weapons of the Spirit

If you wonder whether nonviolent resistance can work even against oppressors as nasty as the Nazis, be sure to watch the powerful and inspiring documentary film the Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation is broadcasting on Thurston Community Television (TCTV), cable 22 in Thurston County. It airs at 10:00 p.m. every Sunday night during May. You still have three more opportunities to watch it: Sundays May 14, 21, and 28.

“Weapons of the Spirit

The Spring Ceili


The Evergreen Irish Resurgence Element presents...

The Spring Ceili

with the Burren Boys
and Patti Martig calling

next Friday, May 19 (week 7)
7-10 PM @ the Evergreen Longhouse
TESC students/staff/faculty $2,
adult community members $5, 18 and under FREE

If you've never attended one of our dances before, there's no better time to start than now! A ceili (pron. Kay-LEE) is a large, high-energy, Irish social dance with a live band and a caller to teach and lead dances. We will be welcoming back Olympia's own Burren Boys to provide music, and local Irish dance instructor Patti Martig will call the dances. No prior experience is necessary, as Patti will teach the basic steps before the dancing starts and go through each dance before it begins. We've been holding these dances quarterly for many years now, and a great time is always had by all. Come participate in Evergreen's best-kept secret: the magic that happens when you throw together a sizzling-hot trad band, an experienced dance caller, a nice hard floor, and a bunch of your fellow Earthlings looking to have fun. You won’t regret it!

Our little experiment in citizen journalism recognized

From mediagiraffe:

Cit-J in Review: OlyBlog, Chi-Town Daily News and Muncie Free Press

Along with some of the discussion about citizen journalism at last week's We Media global forum in London, the BBC/Reuters/Media Center poll made it pretty clear that most people still trust the MSM over blogs. Yet over the past month or so I've come acorss some citizen journalism efforts right in the U.S. that bear mention for their efforts:

OlyBlog is a cit-j site out of Olympia, Washington. Founded by Rick McKinnon, it's entirely citizen generated--one can either post to their own blog, or email news to Rick. OlyBlog also aggregates from a number of different sources--including other blogs (which is how I found them--or they found me.) OlyBlog provides two functions that many in the cit-j dialogs feel are important--focus on hyper-local content and filtering via aggregating--and becomes a one-stop spot for trusted local and global information.

Support Viking Fest

The 38th Annual Viking Fest runs this May 19,20,21 in Poulsbo. The festival is open to everyone, very family friendly, and has a wide array of fun stuff to do. Watch dancers, listen to music, eat breakfasts, look over food and crafts booths, watch road races and a parade....the list is long and includes the annual Lutefisk Eating Contest.

I probably would not even be writing about this if it wasn't for the fact that various white supremacists have decided that they don't like the current choices for the Viking Fest royal court. White supremacists are organizing email, letter, and phone campaigns to express their displeasure and trust me, they don't tend to express displeasure in civil tones.

KOMO News has the story today: Racist Hate Mail Against Poulsbo Festival Backfires

Crusty comment

We women could learn from the kids and rework the symbols in a memorable fashion. We could shave our heads and paint smurfs on our arms and dance at the edge of rallies. Let's wear shorts and tank tops too! And we could sing our own version of Redneck Woman as we dance:

I'm a bald headed woman
I ain't no hairy broad
I wear a smurf for a tatoo
No swastika and no bra.

Then we can go home and wear do-rags until our hair grows back. I'll do the rest of the lyrics upon request. I could probably persuade my hairdressor to restore all hair coloring at a great discount when the do-rags come off.

Check out Crusty's comment here.
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