Game Show Ponderings

Recently I submitted an online application to Ellen DeGeneres’s Game of Games television show. I answered a few simple questions, hit send, and promptly forgot about it. Then last week I received an email from someone on Ellen’s staff asking me to submit a brief video audition.

I hadn’t checked my email until late in the day and had only a few minutes to shoot something before their deadline. My audition was a very bland production, and I am sure it will get no farther than the first level of examination, but it was fun to briefly consider how I might fare on the show. I already had the grand prize of $100,000 spent several different ways.

If you’ve never seen the show, Ellen’s Game of Games is a hoot. Contestants compete in physical and/or mental challenges with the winner of each game advancing to a general knowledge round. The winner of that round goes on to play Hot Hands in which they must quickly identify people or objects that appear briefly on a screen. I’ve been practicing Hot Hands using Ellen’s app on my iPhone. I’m absolutely awful at it, but that’s another story.

Years ago I auditioned for Jeopardy. I didn’t make it past the first rounds, but a friend did and made it on to the show. Likewise, I passed the preliminary round for Who Wants to be a Millionaire, but wasn’t selected to be on the show. Maybe I’m just not cut out to be a game show contestant. Perhaps I lack charisma. Naw, that can’t be it.

Last night I was watching Family Feud and considering which family members I might choose to play with me. My kids and Studly? My sisters-in-law? Decisions, decisions. Given my record of not being selected I guess it’s all an exercise in futility.

What about you? Have you ever been chosen to be a contestant on a game show? What shows do you see yourself auditioning for? I’m going to go practice Hot Hands again just in case I get the call.

Peace, people.

Random Photos from Austin, Texas, plus Bonus Footage of Me on Drums

On my recent trip to Austin, Texas, I took a good many photos. Surely some of them are worth sharing.

These photos below are of random works of art I saw on the Austin Tour of Weird Homes:

The one above was part of the black light decor in a bathroom!

One home had two rooms dedicated to various images of Marilyn Monroe.

We stopped for lunch at Lucy’s where darned near everything is deep fried and delicious, even the deviled eggs!

I did find a sandwich that wasn’t fried:

Oh, except for the fried chicken in the chicken salad sandwich.

Sister-in-law, Angie, struck a pose at Lucy’s.

We also strolled around the expansive grounds of The Great Outdoors nursery.

But best of all, I got to play drums at the house we rented!

Autographs, anyone? By the way I’m well aware I am holding the sticks incorrectly. Don’t be haters.

Peace, people!

A Snore Thang

I flew home from Austin yesterday. My original flight, scheduled to leave the Texas capital at noon was cancelled, and I ended up on an earlier flight. My 5 a.m. alarm came much too early, especially since I hadn’t slept much anyway.

Not long into the first brief leg of my flight from Austin to Houston I must’ve dozed off, something I’m rarely able to do on a plane. Unfortunately some pesky person near me jarred me awake with their snoring. The same thing happened on the flight from Houston to Dallas. Just my luck to get stuck by two snorers the one time I’m able to catch a few much needed zzzz’s.

It wasn’t until the third leg of the trip from Dallas to Panama City Beach, when once again my sleep was interrupted by snoring, that I realized the culprit was me. I guess the drool on my chin was the giveaway.

At least my seat mates were different on all three flights so my embarrassment was diffused. I do so hope my snores were ladylike.

Peace, people.

Sunday Shenanigans in Austin

Sunday was my last full day in Austin, and what day it was. We started with brunch at Brooklyn’s in Buda, Texas, and then headed to Bass Concert Hall on the University of Texas campus to catch a matinee performance of The Book of Mormon.

The Book of Mormon is not for the easily offended, but it is hysterically funny. From the opening number, “Hello,” to the closing number, a delightfully different version of “Hello,” the play was one irreverent romp about the misadventures of a pair of Mormon missionaries.

(Above is our mandatory selfie. From left, niece Christie, her daughter, Sophia, sister-in-law Lyn, me, sister-in-law Angie and friend Mauri.)

Below I posed with the young man who played Elder Cunningham (Connor Peirson) and the young woman who portrayed Nabulungi (Kayla Pecchioni). It won’t surprise me if they go on to even bigger roles on grander stages. They’re both impressive actors.

There was a bit of a downside to the day that had nothing to do with the play, though. Just a few minutes before the curtain was raised on the opening act I received a text saying my flight for Monday had been cancelled, so of course part of mind was fretting even as I guffawed during the performance. After the play I spent nearly an hour on hold with Southwest customer service agents.

I think we finally got everything ironed out even though it means we now have to get up really early in the morning so I can be at the airport on time. So I need to brush and floss my teeth and go to bed. Right now.

Peace, people!

Austin’s Weird Tour of Homes

Saturday in Austin was spent touring weird homes around the city. In a town known for being weird, it takes a special kind of home to qualify for this tour.

I’m not even going to try to explain what we saw on the tour, but here are a few photos I thought it would be fun to share with my readers.

Pictured above are the weirdest people in Austin this weekend. From left, my sisters-in-law Lyn and Angie, friend Mauri, niece Christie, and yours truly. We’re not nearly as innocent as we look.

Too much happened today and I’m too tired to post much, but suffice it to say I had way more fun than is probably legal in the state of Texas.

Goodnight and peace, people!

Fasten Your Seatbelts

Lately it seems as though all I’ve done is travel with brief periods of rest at Doright Manor between trips. On Friday I flew on Southwest Airlines from Panama City Beach, FL, with a brief layover in Houston before reaching my final destination in Austin. I’m meeting up with two of Studly’s sisters and my niece for a girls’ weekend. It promises to be way more fun than I’m accustomed to. But first I had to survive my flight!

The first leg of the flight was routine. The pilot found a smooth route and we cruised without incident to Houston Hobby Airport. The flight, though, from Houston to Austin was a bit of a nail biter.

We hit turbulence upon takeoff and it was constant the entire flight. Thank goodness the ordeal only lasted 32 minutes. But the flight attendants were never instructed to take a seat and they served passengers as the plane bucked like an untamed bronco until the very last seconds. I was reading and in the back of my mind wondering when the attendants would announce that our tray tables and seatbelts needed to be secured and our seats in the upright and locked position.

The message to secure the cabin never came, though, and the plane landed jarringly, resulting in cups and cans from the back of the plane becoming airborne. I’ve flown thousands of miles and never experienced anything quite like this landing. The flight attendants were visibly shaken, but there was never a word from the cockpit. Weirdest landing I’ve ever encountered.

But I’m here! Our niece, CB picked me up at the airport and then we rendezvoused with her mom (Studly’s eldest sibling) and her aunt (Studly’s middle sister) at CB’s home in Buda, Texas outside of Austin.

So far I’ve had terrific Mexican food at Garcia’s, a family owned restaurant in Buda, played a fun strategy game called Ticket to Ride, at which I thoroughly sucked, enjoyed some good red wine, and laughed so hard I cried. CB’s family joined us for the fun and games last night adding to the hilarity.

I never could remember which color my train was!

{In Ticket to Ride (above) I never could remember which color our train was! I thought we were blue, but midway through my sister-in-law informed me we were red. Needless to say, we didn’t win.}

We’re staying in a lovely “vacation rental by owner” place, with plenty of room to spread out, and today (Saturday) we’re going on a tour of weird homes in Austin. I have no idea what we’ll see, but it should be a hoot. Austin is famous for its weirdness.

On Sunday we’re seeing a production of The Book of Mormon, and I’ll fly home on Monday. Unless, that is, I get a look at my pilot and recognize him from the flight on Friday. I might be looking for the nearest Greyhound bus station if that’s the case.

Peace, people.

What Kind of Traveler Are You?

Do you go where the pavement leads, facing sternly forward, the periphery merely, well, peripheral? Or is your

Head on a swivel, a series of exclamations perching just atop your tongue? Look there! Did you see that? Oh! That cardinal!

Those colors! The gypsy in me sees the forest, the hidden pathways, the possibilities in every turn and untaken road.

Murmurations of starlings, point no way and all ways, unlike the Canada geese who arrow forth, eyes forward, honking

Relentlessly. Following the curves I discover a stand of firs, surprise a doe and her fawns, utter a cry of delight.

For today this poem was wishful thinking. I am traveling, but I have no time to dally on my way to the airport in Panama City Beach. My flight leaves at 9:45 a.m. and should arrive in Austin, Texas, at 3:15.

Mag Lab Tour

Tallahassee is home to the one of the largest electromagnetic field labs in the world. I didn’t realize that until today when I toured the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.

I was supposed to have met a member of the Tallahassee Women’s Social Meetup Group for the tour, but she didn’t make the trek out to the lab. There were plenty of others signed up for the tour, though, so I wasn’t the only visitor.

The MagLab was once located on the campus of M.I.T., until a group of researchers from Florida State University in Tallahassee joined forces with researchers from the University of Florida, and Los Alamos National Laboratory to make a successful bid for the facility. Now researchers from all over the world come to Tallahassee to conduct cutting-edge research.

Below: This decorative piece made up of magnet components is displayed in the lobby. I tried to figure out how to smuggle it out, but my purse isn’t large enough. It’s beautiful!

Below is a set of stacked magnets. If you imagined large horseshoe-shaped magnets, join the club. These are all discs, that when stacked, form a helix-type structure.

Below: The outer ring is a magnet, while the silver colored disc is a cooling mechanism. Tiny slots cut into the cooling disc allow de-ionized water to flow through and around the magnets. Because electricity powers the magnets, it’s necessary for the water to be de-ionized otherwise researchers’ findings would be shocking–and not in a good way.

Below is one of the lab cells where researchers from all over the world test out their theories using magnets. That large robot-looking thing beneath the yellow guardrail is the magnet for this cell which is in the process of being set up for a group of researchers.

The magnets are used to study energy and the environment, the foundational science of protein and disease molecules, and a vast array of other subjects. Recently researchers using the lab have discovered connections between the way sodium impacts and interacts with malignant tumors and are looking for ways to put that knowledge into practical applications.

Below is a superconductor. Cool, eh? Literally cool. The temperatures necessary to operate a superconductor are similar to what one might find on Pluto. That’s -271.3° C.

I need to take another tour. There was way too much for me to take in on this visit.

If you’re interested in reading more about the MagLab, check out the website at NationalMagLab.org. Tours are offered every Wednesday starting at 11:30.

Picasso, or the Not-so-Wonderful World of Makeup

For most of my life I’ve been told by well-meaning women, “You’d be so pretty if you’d just learn to apply your makeup properly.” I know they meant well, but those words, rather than feeling like a compliment always came across as put downs instead. What I heard was, “Damn, girl, you’re ugly, but you’d look better if you’d cover up your sad looking face.”

I’ve worn makeup since my early teen years, but I never learned the fine art of turning the bare canvas of my face into a work of art as so many women can. Unless that work of art is akin to a Picasso. I’ve got that whole cubist period look down pat. Or was that his blue period? I forget.

Several years ago I discovered a makeup brand I loved. Pür Minerals 4 in 1 foundation provided appropriate coverage for me–not too light, not too heavy–in an easy, breezy format. Makeup application took all of two minutes, including a swoop of blush, a splash of finishing powder, and a dash of mascara. I wasn’t going to win any beauty pageants, but hey, that was never on the table anyway.

Then just a couple of months ago I realized that my foundation was gathering in the creases and wrinkles of my face. It looked as though someone had crumpled up my skin like a sheet of parchment paper and dusted it with beige powdered sugar. It was not becoming.

Since that discovery I’ve been on a mission to find a new foundation, a new routine, an entirely new look. And the whole thing is pissing me off. Liquid foundations don’t stay where I want them even after applications of primer and finishing powder. I end up with a ghostly white upper lip after only a couple of hours of wear. It’s discouraging.

Today I spent thirty minutes in Ulta allowing an enthusiastic young woman to try out a new foundation on me, and then she filled in my eyebrows to make a frame for my face. Why do I need to frame my face?

Oh, yeah. Picasso.

Even after all the young woman’s careful ministrations, the makeup around my mouth wore off much more quickly than it did on the rest of my face. I look like a reverse raccoon. My eyebrows are holding up nicely, though.

Peace, people.

Huey Lewis, I’d be a Fool for You (Again)

I once spent about half a minute conversing with myself in a mirror. Yes, I was rather inebriated, and yes, it was quite late, but I suppose neither of those are good excuses.

Studly Doright had taken me to see Huey Lewis and the News in concert at the Amarillo Civic Center. At that time in our lives we weren’t able to go out often. We had two small children and almost no disposable income, but we’d scrimped and saved enough for the concert because Studly knew that I needed to see Huey in person.

After the concert we met friends at a club in Amarillo where I had a drink, maybe two. In those days, I was literally and figuratively a lightweight when it came to drinking and it didn’t take much to get my skinny self drunk.

The DJ, ensconced in his booth high above the crowd, wasn’t playing anything I liked, so I wrote a request for a Huey Lewis song on a slip of paper and then navigated around and through an energetic knot of dancers on the floor to offer up my request. But I couldn’t figure out how to deliver my piece of paper to the guy in the booth.

Looking around I spied a friendly, albeit concerned looking woman and asked, “Where do I put this?” indicating my request.

Oddly enough, she asked me something at the same time, and when I bent forward to try to hear her better I bonked my forehead on a mirror and only then realized I’d been talking to myself. I compounded my error by apologizing.

“Ha! I’m sorry, I didn’t realize you were me!”

“No problem,” I replied, giggling.

Of course a couple dancing by caught the gist of this whole exchange and gave me a wide berth as they navigated around the dance floor. I can’t say that I blame them. I finally located the proper request slot and enjoyed the rest of my evening, basking in the memory of Huey.

Huey Lewis is still one of my favorites, and I’ve gotten to see him and the News in concert a few times through the years. Huey has recently contracted an illness that’s caused partial deafness and resulted in a cancellation of his tour for the foreseeable future. For a musician this has to be devastating. I’d go talk to myself in a mirror again in front of a crowded dance floor if I thought it would help. Maybe he just needs a new drug.

https://youtu.be/N6uEMOeDZsA

Peace, people.