Military Health Issues lecture at Brown University.

2012/03/08

I was invited to speak to a class in the Sociology department at Brown University on March 6, 2012.

The professor, Dr. Smith interviewed me several years ago for an ongoing study he’s conducting about recent combat veterans. Smith extended the invitation to me at the beginning of February and since then I had been looking forward to engaging the class in a discussion about my issues with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury and how I have learned to cope since leaving the military in August of 2005.

This is the full 28 minute lecture.

120306_BrownL

Speaking with this class was rewarding and inspiring. All of the students were engaged in the discussion, knew a great deal about these issues that veterans face and really cared about the topic. It was an awesome two hours and in speaking with Dr. Smith after the class, I continued to say that it just wasn’t enough time and I kept bringing up new points which could be covered. Overall it was just a great experience and I have to extend my sincere thanks to the class and to their professor for their invitation to speak.

It also helped to focus me a bit on what I want to do in documentary photographic work as well as future academic study.

Trip to the Pacific Northwest. February, 2012. Don’t Panic.

2012/02/12

I landed in Portland, Oregon last Thursday night, the 39th day of the year, to attend the wedding of my friends Mike and Teri.

I’ve known Mike since December, 2000 when we both were in the Navy stationed at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington. I was a ‘weather guesser” back then and he was the supply guy for the whole weather facility.

I took this only a few hours after landing, on the morning of a very busy day. The wedding was scheduled for the following day (Saturday) and Mike had a ton of things to take care of.

Things like picking up his tuxedo. (Long-time friend Kevin on the left and Mike on the right.)

Teri also had her work cut out for her. She’s a designer and made her wedding dress. She put an untold number of hours into the gorgeous dress.

The theme of the wedding was to be one inspired by Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. To make it even more exciting, Mike and Teri decided to have the ceremony done at Voodoo Doughnut, on February 11, the 42nd day of the year.

Strangely, the answer to all things pulls in quite a crowd and to the surprise of Cat Daddy, one of the owners of Voodoo Doughnut, the wedding drew more people than the building could fit so they decided to move it outside on a very rare sunny day in February.

Cat Daddy’s swanky shoes:

The crowd gathered and eventually choked the parking lot it was that big.

Cat Daddy also performed the ceremony. He arrived in an amazing tuxedo and, dressed for the occasion, had a towel draped around his shoulders (you have to know where your towel is.)

Teri, Cat Daddy and Mike, during the exchange of rings.

Married!

After they kissed, the bride and groom took their first step as a married couple:

The crowd gathered on the side of the building where a spread of doughnuts and coffee was prepared for everyone.

Mike and Teri got a giant decorative plate of wedding doughnuts which were made to fit the theme:

And they had to eat that monster too.

Once they had had their “slice of wedding cake,” the guests all dug in:

The bride and groom in front of the famous pink Voodoo Doughnut on Sandy St. in Portland.

After the party left the doughnut shop, Mike and Teri wanted a few photos with their beloved Mercedes-Benz 220 Diesel.

The newlywed couple are now on their honeymoon, driving down the Oregon coast, one of the nicest routes in the world.

Since these photos are size-limited horizontally, you can see the full album of photos here.

Downed powerline and car fire.

2011/06/02

June 3, 2011. Philadelphia, Pa.
At about 11:00 am this morning, gusty winds downed a tree branch which severed a 13,000 volt power line on Chester Ave. just west of 43rd St. The power line hit a Crescent Cab Co. taxi and immediately started it on fire. Philadelphia Fire Dept. crews were on the scene to cordon off the area for safety within minutes of the car catching fire. PECO workers arrived shortly thereafter to shut off the power in the downed line so the fire crew could safely extinguish the car fire. No injuries were reported.

Overlooked

2011/05/20

A look at the places we pass by every day or every night but seldom really see.

http://static.issuu.com/webembed/viewers/style1/v2/IssuuReader.swf

Protected: Social Classes in Vietnam as Expressed Through Traditional Poetry (Contact me for the password)

2010/12/08

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Work for MURL class

2010/10/11

October 8, 2010

By Philip Forrest and Christine Bright

Philadelphia police are investigating an incident in which a woman was fatally struck this morning by a Center City bound SEPTA train near the 49th St stop on the Media-Elwyn regional rail line.

Officer Christine O’Brien of the Philadelphia Police Department’s Media Relations office said “a black female was struck by the train at 10:15a.m. and pronounced dead at the scene at 10:28 a.m.” The woman’s identity is unknown and her age has yet to be determined.

Josey Henry, the owner of the MC Value Appliance Shop at Springfield Ave. and 50th St. was at work when the incident happened just a few yards away.

“I heard a noise like somebody making a groaning noise but I couldn’t see no one. I saw the train had stopped on the tracks and I assumed that someone got hit. After 15 minutes the police were here, the fire trucks were here. I noticed when they brought the stretcher upstairs on the tracks they wasn’t bringing anybody down so I assumed that the person had died.” Henry said about the incident.

Full service on the Media-Elwyn line was suspended from the time of the incident until 2:30 p.m. after the on-scene investigation was concluded.

EDIT: Since Friday, the woman’s family has been notified and her name and age have been released. Her name is Daij’e Hines and she was 14 years old. The family continues to question the circumstances surrounding Daije’s death and the police are continuing the investigation. (11 October, 2010)

By: Philip Forrest

NOLA: Day eight addition

2010/06/25

This post isn’t related to the oil spill yet but when it is, it’s going to be a sad day.
After wandering around the docks, looking for signs of oil and signs of people who work in the fishing industry, we went to the Barataria Preserve nearby. The preserve is really amazing. I’d never seen a swamp like that before and was awestruck by the place. There is so much life, in every nook and cranny of this little area of the swamp. It’s a fine example of much of the Gulf coast which will most likely be affected by the oil.
Here are a few photos I took while there.

NOLA: Day eight. Lafitte.

2010/06/24

Today Chris and I went south to Lafitte, La. which is the last car-accessible populated area along the bayou before one reaches Barataria Bay, north of Grand Isle.

This southern part of the state is still attempting to recover from Hurricane Katrina. Docks, buildings, vehicles and even boats are frozen in a post-Katrina state where their owners just gave up on the attempt to recover. The BP oil spill is yet another blow to the region and who knows how much recovery we’ll see completed five years from now.

Right now, Lafitte is a bit like a ghost town if you ask me. Almost every dock had shrimp and fishing boats tied up. Nothing that may seem out of the ordinary to a tourist or an out-of-towner, but the community lives on commercial fishing. The boats tied up are a sign of trouble in the industry. On a normal day, they would all be out fishing and making money.

The town seemed almost abandoned aside from workers at convenience stores and gas stations. Many locals have taken up employment working with clean-up crews and though they are out during the day, they aren’t on their boats. The boat rental businesses looked completely closed up. It would have probably been easier to buy a boat today than attempt to rent one. And there were plenty for sale.

After driving around we found one of the sub-contracted companies working for BP doing cleanup. In a parking lot beside the water there was a pontoon boat that had been hauled out of the water on a trailer. The water line was stained with thick tar the whole way around the boat. This is one of those craft that has a pump on it with operators sucking tar off the surface of the water out in the bay. Beside the boat was a pair of trailers loaded down with small, yellow oil booms.

These are segmented in five-foot sections to be able to make tighter curves inside the narrow inlets and hug the edges of the bayou. Although the oil itself hadn’t begun to wash up in Lafitte with the tide or wind, it was surely being carried in very small amounts on the hulls of boats coming and going to aid in oil removal. They were preparing for its arrival with the booms staged at the water’s edge.

NOLA: Day Seven, update

2010/06/23

Since it looks like the town of Venice, La. is kind of locked down like Grand Isle was, and Venice, Italy is just too far for a day-trip, we’ll be heading to Lafitte, La. where a large number of fishermen have boats berthed.

NOLA: Day seven

2010/06/23

It’s the beginning of summer and not the most active time of year for any New Orleans business. The ones in the food/fishing/tourism/hotel sector are suffering more day-by-day with fewer travel reservations being made by out-of-towners, largely because of the perception of oil-tainted seafood.

Ok, coming clean from yesterday’s teaser, I was interviewing managers of strip clubs along Bourbon St. This is a unique business sector in the city since it doesn’t quite rely on fishing, it only needs an influx of people. The general consensus from the women and men at the doors of the clubs is that business is up a little for the season.

The oil workers who are posted up and passing through New Orleans are providing a bit of a windfall bump in patronage of the strip clubs. While I could not nail down a recorded interview with an owner of any of the multitude of the clubs along Bourbon St. in the French Quarter, I did speak with a few of the people who work in those establishments.

Scott, the manager of Stiletto’s Cabaret commented “what we have done to our environment and the economy is absolutely horrific.” He moved to New Orleans twelve years ago and spoke about the changes which he’s seen on Bourbon Street during that time, Hurricane Katrina being the biggest blow that New Orleans had seen since he arrived. The town hasn’t quite recovered since. While his feelings regarding the BP oil spill mirror the feelings of every other resident of New Orleans, he didn’t say that money wasn’t being made.

This is the same sentiment I heard from doormen and dancers on the sidewalks of Bourbon Street last night. Everyone hates the oil spill, but there are additional dollars flowing into this sector during a normally slow time of year. Not record-breaking profits, but business is up a bit. The flip side of the cash influx is that it is coming while thousands of people are losing their ways of life along the shores and in the bayous of the Gulf Coast. No one wants to revel in any profits being made off of the misfortune of the whole region.