Holy mother of god, the sky is on fire…

February 15, 2013 4:08pm
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This is pretty wild.

I haven’t read much of the news about this meteor crash over in Russia yesterday, except that it sounds like it injured a lot of people, but how any of these drivers didn’t just swerve off the road like the world is coming to an end is beyond me!

I mean, seriously – when the sky is ON FIRE, I’m pretty sure it’s socially acceptable to crap your pants no matter what you happen to be doing at the time.  😯

10 Killed, Another 40 Injured

July 20, 2012 2:08pm
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I just finished writing my review of the new Batman movie, but I also wanted to write just a few words about the horrifying news that I’m now hearing of about the shooting that took place at one of the midnight premieres of the film out in Aurora, Colorado.

So far they’re saying that 10 people were killed, with another 40 injured, including a 3-month-old baby. (this part confuses me, but I suppose now’s not the time…)

He was a lone gunman – 24 year-old doctoral student in neuroscience – and he basically kicked in the emergency exit of one of the theaters, threw a smoke canister across the room, and then started shooting at people.

Until the actual shots were fired, many thought that it was just part of the theatrics associated with the movie premiere.

I don’t really know what to say, except that I hope the movie doesn’t get pulled from theaters because of this. I kinda doubt it will because not to be insensitive, but you don’t spend four years making a $250 million movie to shelve it after a senseless tragedy that you couldn’t have possibly had any control over. I’m seeing a lot of random rumors flying around that Warner Bros. is canceling a premiere over in Paris and other talks about pulling the movie from US theaters entirely, but they’re all just rumors so I’m not even going to bother with links to anything.

The thing is, it was a great movie, albeit very dark and sinister, but you can’t be responsible for how people choose to react after they’ve consumed your content. There have been a lot edgier movies than this (Pulp Fiction, Natural Born Killers, anyone???) and they didn’t result in any real world violence, so it’s silly to associate the motives of one lone lunatic with a story from Hollywood.

Besides, in a way silencing the movie really just gives the shooter even more power that he doesn’t deserve. You can’t shut everything down and call it a day in the face of terror – you have to take a moment to honor those lost, and then persevere. It’s crazy to think that this happened, for one, because my wife and I were at one of those midnight premieres ourselves last night, too. You never think when you go out to enjoy a nice movie with friends that the night could end in tragedy.

It’s really just a very sad, shocking story, and that’s all there is to say.

Yesterday was a lot of fun, albeit also particularly damp and also just a wee bit scary!

A Day at the Water Park
We ended up going over to Aquatica (Sea World’s water park) in Orlando as an early celebration of my sister-in-law’s birthday. It’s always a little weird for me to walk around any non-Disney theme park because I tend to compare and contrast the crap out of them, but overall I think we all ended up having a pretty good time. If I do the math, we were really only able to do the slides and stuff for maybe 3-4 hours … we got there around noon, and then some really ugly weather rolled in mid-afternoon and pretty much closed everything down until we finally decided to throw in the towel … pun intended. 😉

I’m not sure how much I want to go into everything because I think I’m going to maybe do something comparing the park to Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon (which we visited for my birthday last year), but on average I thought that the attractions at Typhoon Lagoon were all a lot better designed than the ones at Aquatica. Their star attraction, the Dolphin Plunge, which features clear slide tubes running underwater where you’re supposed to be able to see Commerson’s dolphins swimming around, ended up going by so fast that I really couldn’t see much of anything except that I knew I was underwater.

We also had a bit of a mishap on HooRoo Run, which we thought all 3 of us could ride on together, but had overlooked until halfway up the tower that although we met the weight requirement, there was also a height requirement that the 3rd rider needed to be under 5 feet tall. And the reason that this posed a problem was the goofy seating configurations that they offered – 2 or 3 riders, but no single-riders. This is where I felt Aquatica really dropped the ball because when we went to board the tube and the lifeguard pointed out our dilemma … that was about it. She didn’t suggest for me to wait and see if there was another single rider who I could ride with, or even hop over to the other slide on the same tower that did allow for single-riders so that I could at least ride something … instead, I let the two girls go down together, and I had to walk back down the entire six flights of stairs back to the ground by myself.  😳

Nonetheless, we all still had a fun day … there was at least one slide that all three of us were quite convinced we were going to die on (Walhalla Wave) because we damn near flipped our tube inside the pitch black part of the slide … but I think we got to do most of what we wanted before the gigantic thunderstorm moved in and brought a series of closures that they never really recovered from. I was a little bummed that we didn’t really get to do the lazy river, aside from maybe 50 feet of it which feeds one of the slides in a weird way, anyways … although upon a second glance at the park map, that may have actually been half the river to boot, so maybe it wasn’t such a big deal to pass on after all! 😯

The park is definitely a lot smaller than Typhoon Lagoon is and if we’d had maybe another hour (or just waited for lunch instead of trying to beat the first sign of rain), we’d have likely gotten everything we wanted to do in with time to spare.

A Night at the Movies
Anyways, it was maybe around 5:30pm when we finally decided that it wasn’t worth waiting around any longer to see if they were going to re-open the attractions before the park closed at 7pm, so instead we decided to pack things up, get changed, and head on over to Downtown Disney to treat Christina to a birthday dinner at the AMC Dine-In Theatre – one of our favorite places to eat these days! 🙂

The movie was Prometheus … in truth, our third choice – the first being Snow White and the Huntsman, which was completely sold out, and second The Avengers, which I would’ve gladly seen again if not for the only seats available being in the front row … so even though it looked scary, I sucked it up anyways in the name of not heading home early, downed a bit of liquid courage even though the truly scary parts wouldn’t end up coming until halfway through the movie, and we dined upon a mighty, yet excessive feast while we watched scientists break pretty much every rule of being a scientist as they explored the ancient ruins of mankind’s creators…

Now I cannot tell a lie – in retrospect, apparently there were a ton of things that went over my head because when I got home I probably spent another three hours reading through this thread on reddit that analyzes and overanalyzes every facet of the movie, picking it apart in true Internet style, but also offering a lot of interesting insight that I didn’t really pick up when my main focuses were “I think there might still be a little rangoon dip left!” and “Don’t look now – the scary part might not be over yet!!!”

Hell, I didn’t even realize that it was a prequel to Aliens until the last 15 seconds of the movie! 😯

That said, it was still more or less entertaining and gave us something to do that night while we dined on succulent dishes a’plenty, and sometimes, you really can’t ask for much more than that… 😛

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vleQ1bh-YAM

Skip ahead to about the 2:00 mark to watch this 80 year-old woman practically having to get forced out of the plane, and then a few minutes later the dive camera zooms in to see her falling out of the harness 12,000 feet up in the air!

The thing is, until I watched this video, that thought would’ve never even crossed my mind! Sure, the chute might not open – that’s still a pretty big concern, but who knew that falling out of your harness was even another option on the table?!?!?!

Yeah.

So just in case there’s ever any inkling, little shadow of a doubt … skydiving – most definitely not on my bucket list!  😯

Now whether this story happens to be a bit dramatized or not remains to be debated … I guess I’d like to think that a multi-billion dollar company like Pixar would have backups of their backups of their backups when it comes to their production movie files, but either way, talk about an absolutely terrifying account nonetheless!

That’s a BIG SNAKE!!!!!!!!!!

March 28, 2012 7:42pm
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The Smithsonian has had some really interesting articles recently, though admittedly this one steers more in the vein of terrifying than just plain awesome

Seriously – can you imagine a snake that was over 40-feet long, weighed over a ton, and literally ate crocodiles for breakfast?! It’s name *dramatic pause* was Titanoboa!

(note: the pic is actually a replica based on fossil findings – the beast itself lived about 58 million years ago, give or take a day…)

(Boy, that’d be something to find out in your living room when you’re still trying to wake up on a Sunday morning, wouldn’t it?!)

behavior modification for kids

February 27, 2012 1:45am
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This is crazy.

I’m not gonna lie that I’ve spent the better part of this evening sorting through this thread on Reddit, and I think it’s one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever read. It tells the story of a kid who, after admitting to his parents that he was an atheist, was kidnapped by strangers in the middle of the night under direction of his parents and driven 200 miles away to a facility designed to isolate children from the outside world while workers attempt to correct their behavior and alternative views.

WTF?! times infinity

What’s frightening and what took up so much of my time tonight is that this isn’t just one story – as the thread evolved, dozens of other kids came out of the woodwork, too, citing that this same thing happened to them, whether it was because they were atheist or gay or maybe just outspoken or misbehaved. Entire communities exist of survivors who made it through this horrible experience, trying to form a support system wherever they can because their most basic supporters – their own families – can’t be trusted because they were the ones who had them committed to these kinds of places in the first place.

In the recent years, several of these “schools” around the US have been shuttered, but some still remain. There are also a lot of talks about programs that would fly kids out of the country to places like Jamaica, where US law no longer applied and parents basically signed over custody of their own children to these programs because they felt that something was wrong with them and this was what it would take to help them get better.

I know that in reality, my childhood was probably pretty tame in comparison. I never really acted out – I may have fought with my parents from time to time, but never constantly and it never came to the point of physical violence. They also never saw fit to force their own beliefs upon me … maybe not really being religious themselves had something to do with that … I don’t know if I really would’ve identified myself as an atheist back then – I just didn’t really care about religion one way or the other, and the only point that even stands out in my mind was having to do some fast-talking about “my religious beliefs” at my review before I got Eagle in scouts. But it was never really a big deal, and I couldn’t in my wildest dreams imagine it being anything like this if it had been more in the forefront…

I don’t know how any parent could fool themselves into thinking that their kids would ever trust them again after doing something like this. The ones “taken willingly” weren’t much better, but to actually sign on a dotted line stating that strangers can come to your house in the middle of the night and throw your child in an unmarked van is simply unconscionable. How this is even legal, I have no idea, but if I made the rules, those children would immediately go into custody of the state because they don’t even have parents anymore. And granted, I also probably can’t imagine how to deal with truly out of control kids to the point where you can’t trust them or even feel in danger around them, but that whole debate can also be considered a product of their environment … to simply cast your children off into the unknown because they don’t have the same religious beliefs as you – I wouldn’t blame these kids if they never talked to their parents again after they got out.

Some talk of escaping, while others just endured and learned how to play the game to survive … either way, it’s reprehensible.

I don’t know what else to say. More here.

So I almost killed somebody tonight…

February 8, 2012 10:30pm
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I was driving home on the freeway with Sara – having an intriguing conversation about God, of all topics – and out of the blue, I almost hit somebody running across the three lane, 60-mph road.

I think it was a worker with the State – he ran over to one of those flashing signs that they use to move people over during lane closures, and I didn’t even see his truck until I was right up alongside it in the left-most lane. It was very dark – maybe around 9:30pm – and traffic was still pretty heavy.

I remember about a year ago, there was a story in the paper about a road worker getting killed in the middle of the night when he was trying to move one of those kinds of signs and got hit by a drunk driver at 3:00am. For the longest time I thought the story was deplorable and couldn’t imagine what it’d be like for this guy’s family – he was young and I think just had a baby, it said – to deal with such a loss when the guy was just doing his job.

After tonight’s incident, though, now I can’t help but wonder … what if the road worker was being an idiot when he got hit???

I’m certainly not excusing the drunk driving by any stretch of the imagination, but comparing the unknown to my situation – some guy decided to run across three lanes of heavy traffic traveling at 60mph. If I would’ve hit him, would it have been deemed an accident or would I have gone to jail over it? Sure, it was a construction zone, hence the reduced speeds, but doesn’t that also still elicit a little common sense from the guy doing the work? I mean, we teach look both ways before you cross the street to kindergartners…

As our conversation continued, all I could think about was how my life could’ve been potentially ruined by some other guy’s poor judgement, and sure, technically we’re subject to that on varying levels all of the time throughout the day, but still … if I had been driving just a little faster or he had slipped or something, I probably would’ve taken his life with my car.

If there is a God, he’s sure got a sick sense of humor towards us non-believers… 😯

I remember snickering to myself about a poster for one of these movies during a bus ride over at Disney World a couple of years ago.

“Talking dogs … dressed up like Santa?!” I laughed. “That’s ridiculous – nobody would ever pay to sit through an entire movie of that…”

So long story short, it looks like I might’ve been wrong. 😳

10 Random Misconceptions…

January 24, 2012 11:55pm
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I really hope that last one isn’t true!

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