Wednesday, November 18, 2009

We Remember...

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the collapse of the Aggie bonfire back in 1999. It's hard to believe it's been 10 years. I was in college at the time and remember waking up and hearing the news, and just being in complete shock. For those not familiar with the Texas A&M tradition, here is information about it here. It was built every year before the big game between the Aggies and the University of Texas Longhorns. For those of you not fortunate enough to be from the great state of Texas, the Aggies/Longhorn rivalry is as great as the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry in baseball.

Even though I did not attend Texas A&M, I've had a connection to it my whole life. My oldest sister graduated from there (in fact she was in college when I was born). I grew up in Austin, but did not attend the University of Texas. But, I have always felt some sort of connection to this rivalry despite not attending either school.

The collapse was tragic, but it brought the state of Texas together like nothing I had ever seen at that time (this was pre-9/11). Aggies, non Aggies (including Longhorns), came together for a time of mourning and healing. Even if you didn't "bleed maroon", you felt like you were a part of this family known as Texas A&M, and you shared in the sadness.

I was on YouTube earlier and found some videos I wanted to share.

The first one is the tribute the Longhorn band did at halftime during the Longhorn/Aggie football game. They dedicated their performance of "Amazing Grace" and "Taps" to the 12 Aggies who lost their lives.

The second is a recap that CBS News did of the bonfire collapse and a recap of the football game (which, by the way, the Aggie won).

Finally, a tribute to the fallen 12. We will never forget. God bless.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

What's your favorite scary movie?

I started writing this post a few days ago, but I haven't been feeling that great, so I haven't had time to finish and post it.

It seems the past few days I've been discussing scary movies a lot with different people. Probably because Halloween was last week and most cable networks were having horror movie marathons. Or perhaps because I am one of those people who love a good scary story.

For as long as I can remember, I've loved scary movies/stories. I think it started when my brothers let me stay up late and watch The Twilight ZoneThe New Twilight Zone and Amazing Stories when I was little (say, around 7 or 8). Not sure if I ever told my parents about that. Oops. Or I could thank my dear, sweet, loving, grandma. I vividly remember being 11 years old and being in my grandma's room, learning how to plastic canvas cross stitch, while she and I watched The Omen. I can still hear her saying, "Don't tell your daddy I let you watch this." I remember, looking at her with wide eyes, saying "Grandma, that man's head just got chopped off!"

I've seen all of the classics. Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th. I remember one time in high school my friend Jami and I stayed up and watched all the Friday the 13th movies (well, those that were around at that time-more have been made since the mid 1990s). They were on the cable station USA, part of USA: Up All Night (for those of us who remember that Friday night show). We made a game out of watching them. We decided which girl would die first. It was always the one who went running into the woods at night (in heels I might add).

Last Saturday some friends and I took advantage of Halloween and decided to go see the new "thriller" Paranormal Activity. If you have any plans or desire to see this movie, I would stop reading this post now. I'll try not to put too many spoilers in it, but I don't want anyone mad that they read something ahead of time. Okay, I'm serious. I'm about to start talking about it. Last chance. Don't say I didn't warn you!

Okay, if you are still reading, you either have already seen the movie or have no desire to see it. Let me start off by saying, it wasn't a bad movie. It was made in the same style as the 1999 movie The Blair Witch Project. For those who haven’t seen that movie either, it was filmed with hand held cameras (lots of shaking-like a home movie). Paranormal Activity started out making it sound like this was a "true" story, and the footage was discovered after the fact. That would have been fine, if the cast of the movie hadn't been on the cover of every magazine or the topic of numerous internet blogs the past few months. Also the cast was interviewed on The Bonnie Hunt Show the day before I saw the movie (we'll get into the fact that 1) Bonnie Hunt has a talk show, and 2) I actually watch it, another time.)

Like I said before, it wasn't a bad movie, it just wasn't scary. There was all this hype about it being the scariest movie ever and how people were scared to see it alone. I saw the movie with four of my friends and not one time did any of us jump. Okay, one of them did, but I promised him I wouldn't use his name and call him a wimp on my blog! :) After the movie we just sat there, looking at each other going, "Are you serious? That's it??" We kept waiting for something to jump out on the screen at the last minute, but nope, after a few seconds, the theater lights came on. Honestly, the episode of The Waltons where the kids play with the Ouija board was scarier than this movie (yes, I have finally worked The Waltons into one of my posts, you knew it would happen!)

I do have a point to this blog (I blame the Dayquil for my more than normal randomness today). So, why do people watch scary movies? There are so many real life scary situations out there, why do we let “make believe” stuff scare us? I had a very similar conversation with a friend of mine last week (oddly enough, he and I were attending Fright Fest at Six Flags while having this conversation). I don’t really have an answer. I guess it would make for a great “round table” topic. If you are a fan of scary movies, feel free to comment and say why you watch them.