Wednesday, April 27, 2011

driving me to drink

I was driving in the car with my son who is learning to drive. Or to be more accurate, I was being held hostage in the passenger seat wishing I'd asked my doctor for some beta-blockers.

My son was weeks away from taking his driver's test.

I was weeks away from marching up the steps to the Governor's mansion to demand he issue an executive order to pray for rain raise the driving age to 18 21.

We're on a busy highway with cars speeding past. Heading north on Mopac just before Enfield exit, for my fellow Austin road travelers. Right there were the lanes narrow and the congestion gets hairy.

So my unlicensed teen driver was behind the wheel, cars whizzing past, violating every single rule I'm trying to impress on my son as important.

He asks me why it's ok for all the other cars on the road to drive so close to the cars in front of them.

My reply: Experienced drivers often break a lot of safety rules, like tailgating too close and changing lanes without using their blinker. Experienced drivers can get away with it. But you're a new driver and as a new dri---

My son's thoughtful rebuttal: I'm not a new driver, MOM!

My reply: (Screeching in the most undignified manner.) Not a new driver? What?  You don't even have your license yet!

Son: (Very calm and mature-like. I'm not sure where he has learned this.) But I'm not a new driver.

Me: And what is your definition of a new driver, then?

Son: Someone who has just learned to drive.

Three questions:

(1) Is anyone shocked that car insurance rates for new drivers are so high?

(2) Is it too late to find religion?

(2) Can someone please tell me we will survive this?

Thank you, Worst Mother, for supplying the perfect illustration.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

are you there god? it's me, texas.

You may have seen the story on the national news. A wildfire burnt 100 acres in southwest Austin last Sunday. Five homes were burnt to the ground, twenty homes damaged.
Apparently enough smoke and ash made it's way to our fair Governor's temporary mansion that he felt touched in the head enough compelled to issue an official proclamation.
Governor Good Hair proclaimed the next three days official Days of Prayer for Rain in Texas.
Yes, you read that right.
Days of Prayer for Rain.
Now call me a cynic, but I had to read it for myself, word for word, on the Governor's official website to believe it and take three shots of tequila to keep from pulling every single hair from my pretty little head.
Here's an excerpt:
"WHEREAS, throughout our history, both as a state and as individuals, Texans have been strengthened, assured and lifted up through prayer; it seems right and fitting that the people of Texas should join together in prayer to humbly seek an end to this devastating drought and these dangerous wildfires;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, RICK PERRY, Governor of Texas, under the authority vested in me by the Constitution and Statutes of the State of Texas, do hereby proclaim the three-day period from Friday, April 22, 2011, to Sunday, April 24, 2011, as Days of Prayer for Rain in the State of Texas. I urge Texans of all faiths and traditions to offer prayers on that day for the healing of our land, the rebuilding of our communities and the restoration of our normal way of life."
This auspicious proclamation lead me into deep embarrassment thought:
1. Does a rain dance comply with the proclamation?
2. Did Governor Perry check the doppler radar before issuing his proclamation?
3. Surely it will rain somewhere in the 268,820 square miles of Texas before the weekend is out, right? But that leads me to wonder: Does it have to rain during the next three days to deem the proclaimtion prayers officially answered? Or can it rain, say, a month from now and still count? A year? I mean, God has a lot on his plate right now what with answering the prayers of victims of tsunamis, war crimes and cancer. It would make sense if he were to put off a mere drought. Right?
4. Is it true that there is no term limit applied to the governorship of Texas? Can we maybe pray for the state legislature to work on changing that?
5. How the hell did Texas elect this bass-ackward governor?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

inceptionally mediocre

I watched this tonight with my daughter who had already seen it. I kept having to pause the movie to ask her what was going on. Not to mention rewinding again and again in order to hear what the heck was being said. Asian man with French accent, what? French actress imitating an American accent, who?

What I did like about Inception, though, was noticing the layers under the layers that the filmmakers so sneakily snuck into the movie. It's one of the perks of living to be half a century old.

Or did they?

I love it when this happens. Recognizing actors playing opposite each other, knowing they had prior roles that relate somehow. Seems I never forget a face. Who knows, maybe I am one of those super-recognizers I wrote about earlier (oddly enough, I wrote that post almost two years ago to the day).

So here goes. Inception. The layers within the movie about layers of sleep.

- Heathcliff (Tom Hardy) plays alongside a man (DiCaprio's Cobb) who also keeps chasing the woman he loves on the other side.

Bugged me the whole movie. Where have I seen this guy? Why do those lips look so familiar? I had to google his name in order to make the connection.

- The Edith Piaf song, Non Je Ne Regrette Rien. It was bugging me, too. I wanted to figure out why they chose that particular song as the wake-me-up.

And now I'm thinking it was because the song played alongside the woman who plays a woman who certainly does have regrets (Cotillard's Mal) because she can't wake up, afterall.

- Cillian Murphy plays Robert Fisher, which may or may not be a play on Bobby Fisher. How this relates to Inception I have no idea. But again, I recognized Murphy from somewhere but couldn't put my finger on it. Turns out Murphy is a man who once played a man whose alter personality is that of a woman (Peacock). In Inception, Murphy played opposite a man (Hardy) who morphs into a woman (the blonde at the bar).

I confess I didn't pick up on this layer until I looked up Murphy to learn his prior roles. I'm still not sure what movie I recognized him from originally. Cold Mountain maybe. Or the preview for Red Eye? Don't know. That one will remain deep in my subconscious.

As for the man playing a woman theme, I only came up with that one because, you know, I was writing this post.

- And, finally, but no layer of connection that I can come up with, I got to see Lukas Haas so many years after Witness, all growed up.

I spotted him right away. He's an Austinite, originally, or was at some point before he played the Mennonite boy. Turns out, thanks to imdb, Haas and DiCaprio are friends.

So while the actual movie, in my mind, was, in a word, meh, the underlying meanings were a real kick to watch.

Either that or it's late and I dreamed it all up.

What about you, reader? Did you see deeper layers of movies within the movie? Maybe some that I missed?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

congratulations aggies!

And they make history again. The Fightin' Lady Ags beat the Fightin' Irish Lasses 76-70. An exciting game, I was on the edge of my sofa the entire time.

The game was played in Indianapolis so it may as well have been a home game for the Indiana based Irish. Even the refs seemed to be favoring Notre Dame, especially early in the second half - five fouls called on the Aggies in the first three minutes, putting three of our women in foul trouble. A couple of the fouls looked suspect but thanks to ESPN's low budget coverage we fans were not given the benefit of instant replay. Despite the questionable calls, the Aggies kept their positive outlook and ultimately won the game.

The crowning event for me, when it came to proving a bias, was this: After the Aggies won the championship game and the stars and streamers were released from the rafters, I started to notice the colors.

I'll let you see for yourself.

Green, gold and blue. Notre Dame colors. On some level it just made the unexpected victory that much sweeter.

Congratulations Aggies, first time Women's NCAA Champions!

Sunday, April 03, 2011

lady aggies make history

Way to go, Aggies! They beat number one seed Stanford to win a spot in the national championship game. It's the first time Aggies have made it to the NCAA women's basketball finals.

We've been following the Lady Ags all season and have seen some exciting basketball. Sam and I took our girls and two of their friends (all played on their middle school team) to see the Aggies beat the hell outta t.u. Longhorns in their Austin arena. I loved that the girls got to see stadium seats filled up to watch women's sports.

To quote one commenter on an Aggie sports blog, "This isn't women's basketball, this is BASKETBALL!"

And here are a couple fascinating factoids:

Aggies got the chance to play Stanford after beating number one seed, Baylor, who beat the Aggies three times during conference play. And now? Notre Dame just beat number one seated UConn after losing to them three times. Fourth time is a charm.

Second factoid: Stanford held the record for the fewest turnovers, Aggies for forcing the most turnovers. Aggies ended up forcing Stanford to turnover 22 times. Poetic justice, the game ended on a Stanford turnover.

And hats off to a superb coach, Gary Blair, for keeping it positive. That's him hugging 6'8" Baylor player, Brittney Griner (only women's college player to ever dunk the ball during a game). For the past five years Blair has drawn a plus sign on the back of his hand to "keep it positive." You can see it on his hand in the photo at right. He understands these are college kids and it's just a game.

So it's on to the National Championship on Tuesday night!

Gig 'Em Fightin' Texas Aggies. Beat the Fightin' Irish!

You can see more pictures, here.