Current Events

summer stay-at-home movie recommendations

Documentary Recommendations

Over the last few weekends we have been ticking away at our Netflix queue, particularly the 900 documentaries we have lined up.  Last time we did a binge in a single weekend; perfectly ideal for indoors-only kind of weather.

Up first, Chasing Ice.  A behemoth of a project undertaken by National Geographic photography James Balog to document in photographs the physical changes in the worlds largest glaciers over a 5-year period.  The end results are stunning.  Recommended

Next Up, The House I Live In.  If you are at all a child of the 80s then you are familiar with “the war on drugs”.  This movie takes a look at said “war” and the repercussions and implications of drug and judicial policy in America over the last three plus decades.  My only complaint was that it left me feeling a little hopeless and without a “what you can do about it” solution.  However, the official website offers these.  (Also, you can check out an interview with the director on The Daily Show here.) Recommended

And finally, Hot Coffee.  Think what you will about the infamous lawsuit of a woman suing McDonalds, but this film offers a different side of tort law than what I have been indoctrinated with being a Texan.  And basically, as a consumer (of anything) in Texas, you’re screwed if something goes wrong…. you’ve got no very limited rights. Recommended

***disclaimer***

I don’t know why I feel the need to explain myself, but I do.  It is clear that each of these documentaries presents one side of an issue.  And I am smart enough to know that these topics (and so many others) are very nuanced and have a lot of gray.  It’s never black and white and there’s never an easy answer.  I would encourage anyone to explore the other side of where they think they stand, or what they have always been told.  It may only reaffirm your stance, or hopefully, add a new element to our ever-present pro/con lists.  I will just hold to one of my most favorite quotes ever…

both | and

As I drove into work Monday morning the sky was so strange and interesting that I had to snap a photo.  Too bad this little iphone photo doesn’t do it much justice (thankfully I was more focused on driving!).  The sky was split right down the middle.  To the north and west was a perfect blue sky, pushing into what was an entire wall of clouds to the south and east.  I don’t know that I’ve ever noticed clouds like that, with a perfect seam.  What also interested me was that this intersection was not violent; there were no thunderstorms making way for clearer skies.  They both just seem to co-exist and allowed me to drive concurrently with the divide.

As I drove along/under this weather anomaly, I listened to the weekend’s stories about the Connecticut shooting punctuated with Christmas interludes.  Paradox.

The holidays in general always seem to have such forced ‘happiness’ (i.e. consumerism) that it’s all too easy for my inner cynic to rear her mouthy head and to be grumpy about unmet expectations; simultaneously however, spontaneous acts of generosity, love and authenticity pepper my advent days.  Paradox.

This is the reality in which I live, in which we all live: murder and compassion, grief and joy, consumerism and truth.

I sometimes think living in an “either | or” kind of world would be easier; but “both | and” has it’s place.  I guess my lesson is that I need to remember that I (and others!) am constantly experiencing the paradox — and to embrace it rather than try to have an all or nothing attitude.  This is a good reminder as we prepare to enter the darkest day of the year, the winter solstice, while also embracing the coming Light of December 25.

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curse you, ernesto!

I can’t believe it.  My sister and I (+ 40 others) were set to fly out of Houston early Wednesday morning for a glorious 4-day dive trip to Cozumel, Mexico.  Well, thanks to (what will soon-be) hurricane Ernesto, our plans have come to a screeching halt and we had to officially pull the plug this morning.  Looks like the little island of Cozumel will be empty and bracing for the full impact of a storm.  (I hope everyone there is ok — I do actually understand that more than my mini vacation is at risk!) However, I will still be crying in my umbrella-less drink this weekend.  Boo!

fighting cancer with a mustache

Oh the mustache, that fun little facial accessory that can simultaneously invoke horror when paired with the right glasses or make your mark as the ultimate hipster.  But the mustache is not as vile as it was once considered.  It seems there was a cultural shift sometime between the glory that was Tom Selleck in the 80’s and the Abercrombie man-boys of the aughts.  But the “mouth-brow” has made a comeback, and has been made particularly prestigious with the invention of Movember.  Movember allows men to showcase their manliness while supporting prostate cancer research.  These dapper-dudes agree to grow a ‘stache for contributions to the cause.  And the hubs drinks enough coffee that he thought he should chip in too.  For those that know him, they know that he is no stranger to facial hair.  Many (many) a men have stopped, stared, and even asked him about the hair protruding from his cheeks and chin.  However, the real estate  just above his perfectly full upper lip and just below that perfectly proportioned button-nose is a bit….thin, in height.  Rather than invoking the spirit of the aforementioned hairy hero (Tom), his looks a bit more like Ron Burgandy. (She says with love!)  But December has arrived and the moo-stache (as we call it), will be no more.  It’s time for winter scruff and then the eventual glorious, just-for-men ad that is his dark, thick, full beard.  But, you can still support the cause by donating here.

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See us both with mustaches here!  And here are a few of my favorite items for bearded dudes.

texas is hot

In fact, Texas is experiencing its hottest summer on record.  So hot in fact that some bales of hay are spontaneously combusting!  The Bastrop fires have consumed over 1500 homes.  Although I’m about 3 hours from that town, we have seen lots of smoke and even a few small fires.  The first photo is of a smokey downtown Houston on Thursday evening and the second photo is from my sis as she was driving to her office on Sunday!  A little too close for comfort.

 

But all these fires have made me think of The Burning House Project.  Have you seen it?  People photograph what they think they would grab if their house was on fire.  I’ve made a list before, but I don’t know what it would really be like.  These Texas fires have been moving so fast, people have not had time to grab anything.  I can’t imagine being in that position!  I would like to say that I would grab our wedding album (since those photos are not digital), the hubs guitar (it has the perfect sound and action), the hard drives, Manchester kitty (of course), and our firebox of important documents.  I would like to have all my journals, but they aren’t exactly easily accessible these days.  Who knows what else.  But here’s what others would take.

all photos here

the rising sun

I was insanely busy (& productive) this weekend.  I seriously can’t believe just how much I got done.  But all of it seems to pale in comparison to the crisis in Japan.  I really can’t believe the devastation and amazing pictures constantly on the news.  I wish I was able to lend a physical hand, home, or help.  It seems the only thing I can do is donate to any number of organizations.  Good has a nice round-up of opportunities, including purchasing this thoughtful poster (created by Max Erdenberger).  You can purchase one here and 100% of proceeds go towards aiding Japan.

 

 

goodnight sun

Tomorrow is the winter solstice and well it certainly feels as if we are coming upon the shortest day of the year.  There is so much to be done (at work and home).  Thank goodness the hubs is around during the day to help me get it all wrapped up (yes — pun intended!)  And although I am short on time (and energy) I’m hoping to rob myself of a few precious sleeping hours in order to catch tonight/tomorrow’s lunar eclipse.  I’m hoping the weather clears in order to see it in all its glory.  The moon has been so beautifully bright and full, I’m sure it will be marvelous!

{image: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images}

civic duty

Go check out the interactive website Project Vote Smart to find out which candidate you best match.  And kudos to the graphic design team who flawlessly executed the site.  The graphics are quite nice and laid out simply, cleanly, and aesthetically pleasing.  I like that they have done all the research (everything from voting records to campaign finance) for me and then wrapped it in a nice package.

new life

I can’t seem to get enough of the miracle happening right now in Chile.  I watched as they hoisted the first miner to safety last night and have been glued to the live coverage this morning.  Watching each man’s resurrection from the depths of the earth I find new tears.  The power of this story is beyond words…

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