Colon cancer. It’s really not a laughing matter.  Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of death due to cancer for men and women combined. Nearly 50,000 people die every year in the United States, according to About.com.  Colorectal cancer is the most common but most preventable cancer.

Last Saturday, the Sonoma County Oncology Nursing Society hosted an event at Coddingtown by bringing in a 20 foot inflatable walk through colon.  The Prevent Cancer Super Colon is shipped to all corners of the country that let people see differences between a healthy colon and one scarred with polyps, colitis and cancer.

For photographic purposes, I’m glad it was red.

Ann Meacham and her service dog Duncan inspect the inside of an inflatable colon at Coddingtown Mall, Saturday March 12, 2011 in Santa Rosa. The Super Colon, shipped all over the U.S. for a fee, was brought in with money donated by the local chapter of the Sonoma County Oncology Nursing Society in an effort to bring awareness to colon cancer. Nearly 700 people toured the inflatable colon. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2011

In this job, there’s an abundance of unusual to photograph.  The assignments can stretch the gamut day to day, week to week.  The past week offered assignments I’ve covered before, but a couple of those had twists.

Aaron Pendergraft, a lifeguard with California State Parks, tells visitors to get off Salmon Creek State Beach for fear of being swept away by resurgent tsunami waves hitting the Sonoma County coast.

In the last four years or so, I’ve been out to the coast several times to cover tsunami warnings.  Most times a meek little wave rolls ashore and that’s about it.  Normally, dozens of spectators for these wait and see events turn out to…wait and see.  Last Friday was different.  Obvious surges of seawater hit the coast for nearly 24 hours.  If Bodega Bay had a narrow inlet like Santa Cruz and faced a little more west, there would have most likely been damage. Luckily there was not.  Surprisingly, the expected throngs of people weren’t around to witness natures hammer.

Sebastopol residents from left, Bob Wichtowski, Derek Voss and Philip Jameson watch as Bodega Harbor fills up due to tsunami wave action, Friday, March 11, 2011 in Bodega Bay. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2011

Sebastopol residents from left, Bob Wichtowski Philip Jameson and Derek Voss watch as Bodega Harbor empties out due to tsunami wave action, Friday, March 11, 2011 in Bodega Bay. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2011

A time lapse video is here and a photo gallery is here.

Other odds and ends?  A shoot for an upcoming Savor magazine will include two coyotes, one of which will be howling at the Stewarts Point General Store ceiling in perpetuity.  I guess it’s better than the partner nearly sniffing it’s derriere for all time.

Stuffed coyotes at the Stewarts Point General Store. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2011

Then, there was a Horizon flight I was sent to photograph at our commuter airport.  I was able to board the flight and photograph passengers boarding to illustrate a story on Horizon’s five years in SoCo.  The problem?  I kept smacking my head on the ceiling and overhead bins, these aircraft have low ceilings.  I even greeted passengers when they stepped aboard because I kept blocking the flight attendant from doing her job.  “Hi!  Welcome to Horizon Air!

In town for a wine event, Cheryl Hartranft of La Mirada, kicks her heels up as she deplanes a Horizon Flight at the Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport, Thursday March 10, 2011. Horizon is celebrating their five-year anniversary in Sonoma County. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2011

Of course I had to put a silhouette in here too.  They’re cool.

Jessica Medoza, 7, repels down a climbing wall during the Cesar Chavez Health Fair at Roseland School in Santa Rosa, Saturday March 12, 2011. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2011

Then a more serious story on a local food bank that needs to find a new home.

Before receiving groceries, Jesus and Renalda Mendoza of Rohnert Park, take part in prayer with Earleen Rash, left and Veronica Lawrence of Feed Our Children, sponsored by the Harvest Christian Center in Santa Rosa, Thursday March 10, 2011. The Piner Road space, donated by the Redwood Gospel Mission has been around for two decades and gives away food every Thursday. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2011

Veronica Lawrence is a volunteer at Feed Our Children, sponsored by the Harvest Christian Center in Santa Rosa, Thursday March 10, 2011. The Piner Road space, donated by the Redwood Gospel Mission has been around for two decades and gives away food every Thursday. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2011

What’s next?  That’s a secret.  You’ll just have to grab a copy of the Press Democrat to keep up with the goings on.

-Kent Porter