Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Welcome To Austin, Texas - 2 days ago it was 80 degrees and sunny...

Yesterday, the temperature dipped into the low 30s by 4 p.m., while I was still at work (my paying "day" job), and the sprinkling of rain began. By 10 till 5, it was 30 degrees and ice was accumulating on vehicles in the parking lot. I called to let Angel know I was braving the weather to get home.

I figured the normal 30 minute cross-town commute would take about 45 minutes instead, if I took the highway feeder roads. Then the sleet mixed with snow starting falling, at times quite hard.

Two hours later, I was still stuck in traffic and laughing at the ridiculousness of the situation. You see, Austin never gets snow, rarely gets ice. And in February??? The last time we got any accumulations in February in Austin was 1985!

I had to drive between 5 and 15 mph, tapping on the brakes every few feet to give myself the impression I had some traction on the road. When every other tap produced a slight sliding effect, I was not comforted. By the time I got off the highway and onto back roads, where it was really icy, I was in full praying mode. Eventually, I made it home.

So Angel and I are watching the weather at every opportunity, wondering whether our oldest son would be attending school the next day (today). There was no doubt when we woke up. Ice was still everywhere...and now it was in the 20s!

No school and no work, nothing that had been planned occurred today.

Tomorrow is supposed to creep above the freezing mark, so life should get back to something resembling "normal" -- at least by late morning!

That's all for now...

Best Wishes,

Friday, February 14, 2003

St. Paul and New England radio coverage and, oh yeah, now I'm A Movie Star...

Happy Valentine's Day

I apologize for the lack of blog in the last week or so but I have more than enough exciting info to make up for it!

Last Monday (2.3.03) I got a call from a radio show producer in St. Paul, Minnesota. She had seen the TIME Magazine article I was quoted in and wanted me to appear on the Arnie Arneson show. Arnie was a most gracious radio host, included me in her morning topic prior to discussing ISAA and the TIME article; I had about 25 minutes on her morning show. Then, after we finished, she called me personally at my home and said she felt things went so well that she wanted to include me in her afternoon show. She told me she is heard throughout New England on her afternoon show and of course I agreed. The afternoon show was even more productive, as we discussed size acceptance, health, fitness, the decline of physical fitness in schools, Without Measure, Entitled 2003 and more! All in one day...

That same Monday, I got a call from a filmmaker named Morgan in New York who's shooting a documentary concerning the recent fast food lawsuits. This has the potential to be a major documentary that could be released in theaters around the country. After communicating via phone, voicemail and e-mail for over a week, Morgan and Steve The Cameraman arrived in Austin late yesterday afternoon. I asked Gia Melissa Marciano, my co-host from The ISAA Rapportand the President of the ISAA Austin chapter to be a part of the documentary; I also asked if we could film our segment of the documentary at her and Darren The Producer (her partner)'s house; she agreed.

After waiting a mere 45 minutes for them to make the house environment suitable for filming, Gia and I were miked for sound and the interrogation began. Actually, Morgan and Steve were perfect gentlemen (although I think they would cringe at being described that way) and went out of their way to make everyone comfortable and engaged in what we were doing. I'm not going to go into much detail about the film because I don't want to give too much away, it's a really great concept and should help inform a lot of people about health- and size-related issues. Morgan seemed to be very pleased with the sound bites he got from our interview and felt it would get some good facts out to the public, which what ISAA is all about.

Now, considering that the whole interview was somewhere between one and two hours, (where does the time GO?) we'll probably be fortunate to get 10 minutes in the film, but that's fine. This was a great opportunity.

...and now Gia and I can say we are movie stars...

...non-paid movie stars...

...but movie stars nonetheless!

Best Wishes,

Saturday, February 01, 2003

I'm Still Having A Hard Time Believing It Happened...

Thanks to Wil Wheaton for the image!

PRESIDENT BUSH: My fellow Americans, this day has brought terrible news and great sadness to our country. At 9:00 a.m. this morning, Mission Control in Houston lost contact with our Space Shuttle Columbia. A short time later, debris was seen falling from the skies above Texas. The Columbia is lost; there are no survivors.

On board was a crew of seven: Colonel Rick Husband; Lt. Colonel Michael Anderson; Commander Laurel Clark; Captain David Brown; Commander William McCool; Dr. Kalpana Chawla; and Ilan Ramon, a Colonel in the Israeli Air Force. These men and women assumed great risk in the service to all humanity.

In an age when space flight has come to seem almost routine, it is easy to overlook the dangers of travel by rocket, and the difficulties of navigating the fierce outer atmosphere of the Earth. These astronauts knew the dangers, and they faced them willingly, knowing they had a high and noble purpose in life. Because of their courage and daring and idealism, we will miss them all the more.

All Americans today are thinking, as well, of the families of these men and women who have been given this sudden shock and grief. You're not alone. Our entire nation grieves with you. And those you loved will always have the respect and gratitude of this country.

The cause in which they died will continue. Mankind is led into the darkness beyond our world by the inspiration of discovery and the longing to understand. Our journey into space will go on.

In the skies today we saw destruction and tragedy. Yet farther than we can see there is comfort and hope. In the words of the prophet Isaiah, "Lift your eyes and look to the heavens. Who created all these? He who brings out the starry hosts one by one and calls them each by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing."

The same Creator who names the stars also knows the names of the seven souls we mourn today. The crew of the shuttle Columbia did not return safely to Earth; yet we can pray that all are safely home.

May God bless the grieving families, and may God continue to bless America. (View This)

I was 16 when Challenger blew up in 1986 and I remember watching that disaster on television. I got the news mid-afternoon while in one of my high school classes and I got to see news coverage on one of the classroom tv's.

This morning, I turned on the news and thought I was seeing a flashback segment on FOX News (like one of those "seventeen years ago today, such-and-such happened.."), then they said the name -- Columbia -- and I realized a new disaster had happened. I was floored. I saw the pictures of the flight crew and the descriptions about the people and the continous replay of the burn-up and all I could say was "Oh my God." I went and told my wife and she couldn't believe it, either. We had to explain what was on t.v. to our kids, which was eerily like what we had to do on 9.11.01.

It was kind of chilling to hear my oldest son say "so those seven people died?" Of course, I had to answer "yes." In one respect, I'm glad that my son is mature enough to understand things like another sense, I'm sad he understands things like this.

Imagine this flag at half-mast...

Best Wishes,