Friday, October 19, 2012

Doesn't Everyone Hang Out With Vince Lombardi?

I was thinking I was pretty much the most awesome girl on the planet because I was all hey, honey, guess what? We're going to go see Vince Lombardi tomorrow night! And Big V was all who? And I was all duh, Vince. Lombardi: coach of the famous GREEN BAY PACKERS, yo! And he was all you do realize he died before we were even born, right? And that's when I explained that we were actually going to go to see a guy pretend to be Coach Lombardi on stage at Young Auditorium in Whitewater (which, by now all my faithful readers realize is my most favorite place in the world, second to Starbucks) in a one man show called: Vince - The Life and Times of Vince Lombardi, starring John Pinero.

The seats were AWESOME and I was getting giddier by the second. Big V loves - and I mean LOVES! all things Green Bay Packers. However, this obsession is nothing to be concerned of since we do live in Wisconsin and the majority of the people here suffer from the same obsession, including, but not limited to, my place of employment. I submit the following as evidence:

These framed pictures can be found in various public meeting rooms throughout the building.

Monday Night Madness
(Coincidentally, most meetings occur on Monday Nights.)

What the hell is going on out there?
(Coinicidentally, this question is asked during and throughout most meetings.)

But I digress.

We're at the theatre, waiting in our awesome seats, when it hits me:

Me: [whispering] oh my god. V! Switch places with me.

V: What? [totally NOT whispering]

Me: [still whispering] You have to switch places with me.

V: Why? [still NOT whispering; what is wrong with him?!]

Me: [whispering] She smells.

V: Who smells? [ Why the hell can't he figure out how to whisper?! When someone whispers to you the correct and appropriate response is to whisper in reply. Everybody knows this! Why doesn't he know this?!]

Me: [straightening in my seat, pretending to read the program]

V: Who smells? I don't smell anything. [he's still NOT WHISPERING! I could kill him. Seriously, I could reach out my hands and strangle the voice out of his voice box. He's an idiot.]

Me: [glaring. but still whispering.] Shut. Up.

V: Well, you're the one going on about having to switch seats because someone stinks ---

Me: [grabbing his arm and whispering as meanly and as quickly as humanly possible] Seriously?! The lady next to me reeks of tomatoes and it's making me sick and I'm going to vomit now so shut the hell up. Please.

Then the show started so we couldn't move so I was forced to sit next to the stinky tomato lady. And then I thought that maybe since Big V couldn't smell anything maybe my sense of smell was heightened because I was pregnant but didn't know it yet so I spent the next seven minutes praying to God to please let me not be pregnant and I'd promise to be nicer to people, starting with the tomato woman.

Apparently, Vince Lombardi needed a translator, or at least I did, because I couldn't understand half of what he said. He spoke incredibly fast and with an Italian accent. If I had enough brain cells I'd totally make an App to close caption theatre performances. Except I'd have to find a way to get past that whole Please Turn Your Cell Phone Off thing.

Not only was Big V in Packer heaven, he was getting a fat head because every two seconds I had to ask him what was going on. (I quickly learned following football is not my forte.)

At intermission I leaned over to the college kids on the other side of Big V and asked what they thought of the show so far. The one kid glared at me with so much contempt I almost stopped pestering them. But then I remembered that making people feel uncomfortable is what I do best so I continued to drill them. Turns out the other kid is from Green Bay and his mother grew up on the same street as Lombardi. "I grew up with all these stories," he smiled. I asked if the actor was portraying Lombardi's speech accurately (lord knows he totally looked the part!) and he said as far as he knew, yeah, it was pretty dead on. I admitted I was having trouble following along and just wanted to see what other people thought. Uncommunicative Glaring Boy spoke up and deadpanned, "we just had to watch a play with no plot so this is pretty good." Well, okay, then.

Tomato Woman was super nice, even if she did smell a little saucy; and I didn't forget my earlier promise to God so I obliged in small talk. She asked me if I ever watched Days of Our Lives which was the most out of left field question ever, except I had to say yes because of course everybody has watched Days of Our Lives, including me, and I couldn't lie to an elder. Turns out that according to the actor's bio he had a recurring role on Days of Our Lives and she asked if I knew who he played. (I still can't figure out who he played. Readers: commence google search actor "John Pinero" now.)

She was an older woman out with her older women friends and I could totally picture myself being her thirty years from now. She told me that she grew up "following the football" and that her husband would never have missed the Green Bay Packers playing. I didn't ask, but I got the feeling her husband had passed.

See, that's another cool thing about theatre: it can take you back to a time before. A time of remembering. A time of youth. A place of fond remembrance.

Overall, Big V liked the show and was glad he came, although he was kind of hoping it would've been more like a coach talking to his players, hyping them up, and we'd all be the players. I propbably wouldn't go see it again unless I studied up on Italian accents and brought a clothespin for my nose.

Oh. Big V also liked the car. A lot.

I told him no.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Felix Baumgartner: Insanity Never Looked So Good

Sometimes, something happens, and then I want to talk about it, but there's no one to talk to about it, so I just spend days thinking about it, but feel like that's not enough, so then I decide I have to write about it. And that's where you come in. Because today, I'm gonna talk about Felix. Felix Baumgartner.

Top Gun flashbacks, right?

You're welcome.

See, this daredevil? Waaayyy sexier than Steve-O.
Just sayin'.

Now, Felix has been around for a LONG time. He's spent the past 10 years jumping illegally off of all sorts of buildings around the world... but until he jumped out of space no one really knew him. Or how hot he is.

See, the man jumped out of space. For the past five years he's been practicing and planning and keeping this secret that he was going to jump out of space and come hurtling to the earth at ridiculous speeds.

The first thing that bugs me is how few people in my circle of acquaintances watched the live jump. My whole family sat glued to the tv all Sunday afternoon as he climbed into this tiny, claustrophobically small capsule and ascended slowly --- and I mean slowly --- to a point that was so high above the earth's atmosphere there were no air molecules. Let me say that again: no air molecules.

I sat silent as my 11-year old asked why he was doing this. How the hell did I know? The man was obviously delusional and had a death wish, I wanted to say. But really, I knew that wasn't it. This man felt a purpose. A dream. A vision he had but one life to achieve and, by God, he was going to do it.

My heart ached as the camera cut to his mother, stoically watching from her seat in the command center. As a mother, who would want a first row seat to their son's possible death?

My breathing stopped - literally stopped - when Colonel Kittinger talked Felix through the checklist: Unhook the oxygen. No response. Unhook the oxygen, Felix. Still nothing. Was he panicking? Felix, I need you to unhook the oxygen now. NO! Don't do it! Tell them you changed your mind! Tell them you just want to come back down slowly to earth!

But then he did it. He unhooked the oxygen.

And he slowly slid out to the edge of the capsule. And he placed his feet on a step that's the size of a skateboard and all I could think of was what if he slips in those huge moon boots he's wearing? Why didn't they make the step wider?

And as he stepped off that little ledge I covered my daughter's eyes because I didn't want her to be traumatized when this man vaporized on live tv - because do you know what happens to your blood when it's exposed to temperatures of 70-degrees below zero? It vaporizes. What if that stupid suit rips? I'm not sure I wanted to watch that on tv. And don't think it couldn't have ripped, because I'm sure Joe Kittinger didn't think his suit was going to malfunction, either.

Luckily, the camera feed cut away and we were left with two nervous news anchors... and the whole world waited.

I kept thinking about his mom. When she watched him toddling around, jumping off the couch cushions, did she really understand the depth of her proclamation that he's such a daredevil? I've always said I want my children to do anything their hearts lead them to do... could I encourage my son to realize his dream of falling at a rate of speed completely incomprehensible to my feeble mind? Or would I try to talk him into doing something more logical? More reasonable? What about working as a luggage carrier? You like airplanes; they're union.

One of the news anchors stated that at first she thought he was just crazy, but as she watched him stand outside the capsule, facing his dream, she thought him nothing but courageous. How many of us don't have even the courage to dream that big?

A couple thoughts though:

#1:  How on earth did cameras capture him free falling? Big V said they were on nearby satellites. But I can't believe Big V because he also said there's no way a human being could go that fast without exploding. To which we had to discuss (1) the importance of the pressurized spacesuit and (2) the fact that the atmosphere is so thin you can't actually "feel" yourself falling. You're just there. Chilling. Watching the earth come to you. But then once you hit all those air molecules that are closer together you (a) start slowing down and (b) start feeling things. Yes, without the helmet your face would probably rip off.

#2:  Felix landed about 40 miles away from where he left. They said they had helicopters out that would pick him up and, as we've seen with the constant footage streaming across the world, there really was a helicopter right there when he landed. How did he not get stuck in their propellers?

#3:  How freaking cool would it be to work for Red Bull? We were talking about this last night at a volleyball game and my friend turned to me and said her cousin works for Red Bull, and actually on this project. I'm going to update my resume now.

photo credits: google images. There were so many I almost couldn't tear my eyes away!