Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Blue Screen of Death....at McDonald's

While in the drive through at McDonald's, I was attempting to order a vanilla cone when I discovered that the fast food industry also suffers from the bane of today's world....the microsoft blue screen of death.

It took me a few tries to capture an acceptable picture using my blackberry storm (not the easiest device for picture taking). There were a few cars piling up behind me as I continued to take the perfect shot. Fortunately, no one mashed their horn as my flash went off in front of the menu confirmation screen.

McDonalds 1246 Leonard St NE Grand Rapids, MI 49505-5511

North Carolina South Mountain Park!

Check out the blog from Jason Perks on our hike up to High Shoals Falls in South Mountain State Park, North Carolina.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Serie-X Web Site (English) is up!

In working with my friend and colleague Martin Rommler, we translated the Serie-X web pages from German to English. I can't take too much credit for the translation as Martin did the bulk of the work. He is fluent in German and English, but he is not a native English speaker. He took the German web pages and translated them to English in a way that allowed me to understand the meaning of the text. I then reworded his translations.

Here's the announcement of the english version of the website:

It's exciting to see my name in the credits :)

What is Serie-X?
Serie-X is an organization that's primary focus is creating awareness of child sexual abuse. Here is an excerpt from the web site (http://serie-x.de/en/):

Serie-X e.V.
Fathers creating symbols against child sexual abuse.

In Germany, a child is sexually abused every 30 minutes!

Child sexual abuse often occurs in a close trusting loving environment. It happens regardless of income or social status. In most cases, the abuse is not an isolated event. It often lasts for many years. The official statistics are alarming enough, but the estimated number of unreported cases is probably 10 to 15 times higher than what is reported.

These facts are motivation enough for the people who together created the Serie-X Project to bring awareness to this horrible crime.

Children need love and the felling of security. When children are exposed to this type of abuse they are traumatized their entire life.

Too many men are using their bodies to destroy the souls of children. The models of the Serie-X Project are using their bodies to create a symbol against child sexual abuse.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The world's largest slip and slide!!

My family and I were returning home from a nice stroll along the grand river in downtown Grand Rapids, when I almost swerved off the road at the sight of the largest slip and slide I have ever seen! We quickly made a left turn in order to circle the block and get another view of this massive slide. After circling the block I arrived at Lafayette and Leonard and took this pic:

It's kind of hard to see so I had to get a closer look:

This hill is located next to (at the top of the hill) East Leonard Elementary School.
We took the next driveway on the left which belong to a local park (not affiliated with this hill). I parked the car and ran over and took a closer picture of the slide:

This thing is massive! And there are so many people! I stopped a person that was walking back to their vehicle and asked who was responsible for this. He said "oh...Rick and Scott". I was confused by his response. His reference contained an assumption that I knew these two people on a personal level. I explained my confusion and he further defined who "Rick a
nd Scott" are. "They're two people that have crazy ideas and put together fun activities like this". They sound like good people. This person also eluded to an eve
nt that these guys are planning called the bazooka rally (http://www.bazookarally.com/).

The distance between where we parked and where the people were gathering was quite a hike. If we didn't have my son with us, we certainly would have treked up the hill to where the action was. Alas, I climbed back into our car and we started driving home. We rounded the corner and headed up Leonard, with the slide on our right. I was unable to just let this go. I had to learn more. I asked for permission of my wife to investigate further. It was getting late and our son needed to be in bed soon. She granted permission and we turned into the school. We parked and walked as a family over to the area where the people were gathered at the top of the slide. He
re's the first picture I took from the top:

By the time we got here, the crowd had begun to disperse...there were still a LOT of people here but not as many as there were when we first drove past. The reason for this became apparent and at the same time added another exciting element. The water from this slide was brought by the community! Everyone that was here (except us) brought jugs of water from home (and dish soap) to lube the slide!

By the time we arrived, all the water was gone. There were still people sliding and having a good time because of the residual soap and water.

I asked a few people about the slide and received a similar story as the one I was given at the bottom of the hill. Only this time, Rick and Scott were pointed out. I wanted to shake the hands of the people putting this on so began walking toward the person identified as Rick. Rick shouted to the crowd "Ok everybody: LAST RUN". Then I heard from behind him, an obnoxious "Ok DAAAAD!". Well....it turns out that I knew the person shouting the clever remark. It was Matt DeGraff. I met Matt through my late father Mike Fires. I spoke to Matt for awhile as the organizers of this event finished a ceremonial Last Run.

I ended up meeting Scott of "Rick and Scott". He explained a bit about what they were doing and said it's mostly just for fun but is primarily for promoting the bazooka run (see link above). He then explained what the bazooka run is all about. Sounds awesome (I won't go into details except that it is this saturday (8/15/09) and I'm disappointed that I won't be able to attend).

This is the 3rd time they've put this event on. Last week the local news did an article on the slide:

The slide is made of large vinyl banners (if you flip them over you will find advertisements on the other side).

I'm really glad we stopped. If only we would have gotten there earlier, I know my son Ashley would have loved to ride down it.