A ‘Star Wars’ Chase Scene Created With Drones And Special Effects

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Beauty and the Beast Official US Teaser Trailer

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Barrel moving is an art

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Florence + The Machine sings with Hospice Austin teen

Published on May 20, 2016
Today we were privileged to witness the clear joy of a room full of teenagers singing with Florence Welch and guitarist Rob Ackroyd from Florence and The Machine who came to Hospice Austin’s Christopher House to give a private concert to a teen who missed her concert last night due to her illness. The room was full; full of joy and warmth and love and life and singing. Thank you, Florence!

 

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Monday’s Bag of Randomness

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  • Some neighborhood friends invited us to attend Main Street Fest in Grapevine on Saturday.
    • I’m not a social person and feel very uncomfortable doing these sort of things. Most of the time as an event or engagement nears, I try to think up of an excuse to cancel, but I followed through with my commitment this time.
    • We parked at First Baptist Church Grapevine, which is right next to the festival. They were charging $5 to park to raise funds for their youth group. I had no problem with that and thought it was a great idea and use of their facility. In other Baptist related news, we parked near someone with Hardin-Simmons connections who decided to risk getting a parking violation. Way to represent.
    • As an entire group, we ate on the patio at Esparza’s before entering the festival. The girls teased me about butt dialing one of them at bedtime right after I took an Ambien and having a conversation that lasted almost an hour, one which I can’t recall any detail. After we paid for our meal, one of our male friends scooted back in his chair and the leg broke. He fell back looking like he was drunk and hitting his head on a table. No injuries and no potential lawsuits, but we all had a good laugh.
    • Once we entered the festival I heard U2 playing, as if the band was actually playing live. As luck would have it, a U2 tribute band was booked for the event, The Joshua Tree, all the way from the Irish capital of . . . . Los Angeles. All band members dressed as their counterparts and even mimic body movements. Heck, WifeGeeding melted my heart when she said the bass player was standing just like Adam Clayton. I had no idea she knew all the band members’ names. The lead singer even went into the crowd as Bono would. Here are some pics of the band – Pic1, Pic2, Pic3
    • Our friends only know me as the reserved quiet one, usually just sitting in the corner observing everyone else. But they saw me throw caution to the wind and literally do an over-exaggerative high skip all the way from the festival gate to the concert stage and act like a caffeinated squirrel. After the concert, they all said they never knew that side of me existed. Hey, few things set my soul and heart on fire than U2
    • It was such a great setting. The concert was outside, the weather was great, and you could feel the music. “Even better than the real thing”? I didn’t think so, but they were a very good tribute/cover band and many said if they only heard them and not seen them, they would have thought they were the real thing. It was also great that many in the crowd were genuine U2 fans, singing along to songs and many, with liquid courage, dancing near the stage.
    • There are video and pictures of me really coming of out of my shell, which at a minimum includes me making out with WifeGeeding during certain slow songs, dancing with her and other women, pretending I’m an airplane flying down the aisle in front of the stage high-fiving strangers, and singing along to the top of my lungs as if I didn’t have a care in the world. And at that time, I didn’t. To be honest, I’ve been stuck in the doldrums for the last week and couldn’t put a finger on why. This was just what the doctor ordered.
  • When we got home I just couldn’t sleep and watched all of ‘Saturday Night Live’ and HBO’s adaptation of ‘All The Way’ with Bryan Cranston as LBJ.
    • I had my expectations set way too high for this movie. I love presidential history and have had a bit of a fascination with LBJ. Cranston’s performance was great, but it didn’t blow my socks off, and while the makeup made him look very much like LBJ, the hair plugs were distracting for me.
    • Maybe my impression of LBJ has been wrong all these years. I always felt as president, when he walked in a room, he had this commanding presence and people were intimidated. I didn’t get that Cranston’s performance and story.
    • I’ve been trying to find information on LBJ’s daughters and what they thought of the film. They have been at events for the film, but I haven’t been able to find any quotes from them.
    • I really was impressed with the supporting cast. I feel like Frank Langella is often overlooked but he always brings a solid performance, and he’s a bit typecast as an immoral politician. Bradly Whitford’s performance was surprising to me, I didn’t think he could deliver, and Anthony Mackie certainly delivered as MLK, he was exceptional. Melissa Leo was a very solid Lady Bird (always loved that name) and Stephen Root as Hoover continues to prove he is more than just a guy obsessed with a red stapler.
    • I did like how the film made sure to mention the faults of both MLK and LBJ, infidelities and all.
    • In a few scenes where LBJ was wearing pajamas, Cranston looked very much like my father that it weirded me out.
  • I think it is one of the tragedies of our nation, one of the shameful
    tragedies, that eleven o’clock on Sunday morning is one of the most segregated
    hours, if not the most segregated hours, in Christian America.MLK on ‘Meet The Press’

    • I’m glad I stayed up past three in the morning to watch ‘All The Way’ as it got me in the right frame of mind for our special worship service at church. A neighboring black church was invited and they lead our church in praise and worship (or song or praise, whatever you prefer) and their pastor delivered the sermon. It was certainly a culture change as our church isn’t used to their energy, music, praise dancers, and many other things.
    • After the opening song, you could tell there was a lot of energy and joy in the room. It appeared everyone was having a good time. The worship leader asked us to welcome and greet those around us. One person next to me is a senior that served as a deacon with me. She’s a quirky one, very healthy and fit, and never shakes hands in fear of germs. She looked at me and said, “I HATE this.” It floored me, and to be honest, I was really disappointed in her. I can’t recall the last time I was that disappointed in someone I personally knew. While I’m not exactly sure the reason for her comment, I simply yet gently told her, “You know, ‘hate’ is a really strong word.” I think my words sunk it, as she nodded in agreement, gulped, looked me in the eye, and said, “You’re right,” and then looked at the ground. But no matter what, she continued to be uncomfortable and left after the next song.
    • I’ve mentioned this before, but I do what I can to avoid the word “hate” because it’s too strong of a word, no matter if it’s used as a joke or talking sports or whatever. I curse like a sailor and my friends now I’m pretty darn vulgar, but “hate” is just one word I do my best not to use. Go ahead and fact-check me on this blog. For the most part, I’ve avoided direct use of the word. Sure, it’s used a handful of times directly by me, but all other references of the word are used in context of a quote or title reference.
    • During the sermon, the guest pastor asked us to open our Bibles and turn to a particular verse. It was actually an interesting moment, as no one really uses an actual Bible at our church, especially the sermons. Usually, any scripture references are displayed on one of several video monitors. People either dusted off the Bibles located under each seat or used their smartphone.
  • Back on March 18, I tweeted the Star-Telegram and Bud Kennedy that I’d love to read an interview with their photographer who captured the photo of Rougned Odor punching Jose Bautista’s face. I was curious where he was placed, what was he thinking, did he have an idea a fight was about to break out, when did he have his camera at the ready, that sort of stuff. This weekend, a Ryan Bort, a staff writer for Newsweek and a contributor to Esquire, replied to my tweet with an interview he conducted with the photographer – Newsweek – What It’s Like To Have A Picture You Took Become Iconic Overnight
  • Somewhat related since the photographer is interviewed – The True Internet Story Of The Crying Jordan Meme
  • A very cool animated map showing who immigrated to the U.S. from 1820 to 2013.
  • GIF – She’s not going to live down this bowling mishap.
  • There’s a reason it’s so hard to find a therapist who takes insurance
Posted in Personal | 3 Comments

Crazy Tornado Footage

I haven’t reviewed the audio so I don’t know if there’s any cursing.

A violent, long-track elephant trunk tornado strikes south-central
Oklahoma May 9th, 2016. Watch this tornado from extremely close range!

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Most Blow Torches Extinguished With The Tongue – Guinness World Records

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But was he gay?

This tweet

Reminded me of this classic Cynthia Izaguirre moment (man, that’s some ultra-low-definition video):

 

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Bag of Randomness for Friday the 20th of May 2016

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Baylor Grad Writes about Her Rape and How the University Failed Her

I was listening to The TICKET yesterday morning and they were discussing ESPN’s ‘Outside the Lines’ reporting of additional sexual violence allegations against Baylor football players. Within that segment, George Dunham talked about a popular “blog post” of a Baylor graduate who wrote about her rape while she was a student and the ordeal she went through reporting it. But what was unique is that the attacker isn’t a student-athlete, he was just a “regular” student, so there’s no bias towards protecting athletes or any programs.

Dunham went on to briefly describe the blog post stating how it starts off with a picture of her in cap and gown and another of just her class ring, samplings of older blog posts detailing her love and enthusiasm for the university, and then how she no longer has affection for the school.

I didn’t have any interest in tracking down the blog post, but Dunham speaking about it did get my attention, especially with my wife and her family ties to the university. To be honest, I really don’t know much detail about all the allegations other than the headlines and perhaps an opening paragraph. One thing I kept seeing and hearing on the radio was a “system-wide failure” of what happens when a female Baylor student reports a rape or sexual assault. I really didn’t know what that meant and thought maybe it was just a way to manifest or expound.

After putting the kids to bed, I was browsing my Twitter feed and came across the blog post Dunham mentioned, and now I understand the “system-wide failure” because Stefanie Mundhenk greatly detailed in heartwrenching form. That blog post led me to her other posts about her ordeal and I started to understand the “system-wide failure” which includes reporting it to the Title IX office and then finding out it wasn’t “officially” reported, having to continue encountering her rapist at Mock Trial event meetings and in the hallways since he became a university employee, HR asking her if he could be reinstated, encouraged by Baylor Police to drop the charges, how his sole witness (a roommate) was interviewed but none of her 25 witnesses were, felt coerced to take the option of having a single adjudicator decide her case, having her appeal on 26 counts of procedural unfairness dismissed, meetings and emails between her and Ken Starr, and on and on.

Here’s a sampling from Dear Baylor, I No Longer Have Affection For You.:

  • A year ago Saturday, I sat in the audience and watched as my rapist walked across the stage, shook Ken Starr’s hand, and received his diploma. I felt sick, but I still had faith. 3 months later, in August, I walked across that stage, hugged Ken Starr, and received my own. My emotions were a wreck, but I still believed justice would triumph, still believed in my University, still was proud to be a Baylor Bear. I knew that they would help me. I had my hearing a month later, they returned the decision of “not responsible” and then refused to honor my appeal.
  • The next day, Ken Starr emailed me and told me that there was nothing he could do about my case according to “University policy”, but that he greatly admired my courage in telling him my story. Well, for him to believe I have courage, it means he believes my story is true. And him telling me he couldn’t help me was a lie – Title IX policy specifically states that the President has final say over all cases. So he believed me, and then lied to avoid helping me.
  • My University aided in causing my rape because of their failure to discipline him for prior reported offenses. My University has failed to adequately address their failure in my case and many others.
  • Jesus says, “Love thy enemies,” and because I love Jesus, I must LOVE Baylor, just like I must LOVE my rapist – in the most simple way I know how. Without having any sort of special care or affection for them, I still perpetually wish their good. Wishing “their good,” is not wishing them prosperity or an untarnished image – rather, it is wishing them humility. Accountability. Transparency. Recovery. But before any of those things can happen, an admission of wrongdoing is necessary.
  • I still love Baylor, but I am no longer proud to be a Baylor Bear. My diploma stays in its drawer. I will spend a lifetime recovering from the ways they failed me, because if it wasn’t for Baylor’s failure – I wouldn’t have been raped at all. I wouldn’t spend Monday mornings in a therapist’s office. I wouldn’t wake up from nightmares almost every night. I would be a different person.
  • And I’m just one of hundreds – remember that.

There’s so much to her story, and it’s a lot to read, and it’s hard to read, but her writing pulled me in. I have a much better understanding of why women are hesitant to report rape because she lays it out there, raw, and it resonates.

Here’s all of her blog posts about the topic:

1. I Was Raped at Baylor and This is My Story
2. Ken Starr Should Not Resign
3. Dear Baylor, Your Title IX Changes are Not Enough
4. To Those Who Think I’m Wrong
5. Dear Baylor, I No Longer Have Affection For You.

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Really cool popcorn maker

I’m not even a hockey fan and think this is awesome.

But it will set you back $100.

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Bag of Randomness for the 19th of May 2016

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