Candid Footage of the Hail Storm that hit Austin

Our very own resident journalist Adi brings you candid footage of the hail storm that hit Austin yesterday evening between 9-10pm CST.

The last time I encountered hail was in Summer 2010. Hail hit us hard (literally and figuratively) in the wilderness at about 12,000 feet as Kumar and I were trying to race towards Mt. Whitney’s peak at 14,500 feet. We couldn’t find a place to hid and save ourselves from the hail. Well, that is another story.

Yesterday’s hail storm was loud, but much less dramatic given that we were safe at home.

Here is how the 3 boys reacted to the hail storm:

Ari kept asking me the following questions: Why ice was falling from the sky?  Could we taste the ice?

Adi grabbed the umbrella camera and went about shooting pictures and videos.

Kumar worried about what was going to happen to our cars that were parked outside.

Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling

These rules were originally tweeted by Emma Coats, Pixar’s Story Artist.

  1. You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.
  2. You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be very different.
  3. Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about til you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.
  4. Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.
  5. Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.
  6. What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?
  7. Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.
  8. Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.
  9. When you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.
  10. Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognize it before you can use it.
  11. Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.
  12. Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.
  13. Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write, but it’s poison to the audience.
  14. Why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.
  15. If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.
  16. What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against.
  17. No work is ever wasted. If it’s not working, let go and move on – it’ll come back around to be useful later.
  18. You have to know yourself: the difference between doing your best & fussing. Story is testing, not refining.
  19. Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.
  20. Exercise: take the building blocks of a movie you dislike. How d’you rearrange them into what you DO like?
  21. You gotta identify with your situation/characters, can’t just write ‘cool’. What would make YOU act that way?
  22. What’s the essence of your story? Most economical telling of it? If you know that, you can build out from there.

The Starfish Story

A young man is walking along the ocean and sees a beach on which thousands and thousands of starfish have washed ashore. Further along he sees an old man, walking slowly and stooping often, picking up one starfish after another and tossing each one gently into the ocean.

“Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?,” he asks.

“Because the sun is up and the tide is going out and if I don’t throw them further in they will die.”

“But, old man, don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it! You can’t possibly save them all, you can’t even save one-tenth of them. In fact, even if you work all day, your efforts won’t make any difference at all.”

The old man listened calmly and then bent down to pick up another starfish and threw it into the sea.

“It made a difference to that one.”

Rainbow Days – Falling off the Morning Routine Bandwagon

We all know that morning routines are the toughest.

After years of work, I got the boys “CRAZY” weekday morning routine tidied up.

The rule is simple. Most of the early morning work needs to be finished up the previous evening.

Snacks packed.
Water bottles packed.
Backpacks packed and left near the door.
Coats left in the coat stand.
Shoes near the door step.
Pants, shirts, socks etc..set out near the shower.
Car keys in a little box…so, we are not looking for it in the morning.

I even threatened some of us in the household with severe consequences (for example, “loss of wifi password”. I know, the chillls ran through your spine as you read those 4 words, did it not? Yep, I can be quite evil if I choose to!) if I ever catch them reading in the restrooms in the morning.

The 12 year old and the 6 year old are doing a phenomenal job of getting ready in the mornings.

Every other day, I catch the “other” grown-up kid falling off the bandwagon and not following the “military-like” routine. Playing with Rainbow. Rubbing her tummy.

Granted, he gets up earlier than me and gets the boys started on their morning routine. But, damn it! Can’t he get in row and follow the “military-like” routine?

If I catch him not following the routine, I am going to be my evil-self next week. If you see him, tell him “Consider yourself warned buddy. If I were you, I wouldn’t mess with her.”

Also, my “turning bad” next week might explain any whiny “I hate her” messages you might hear from him. If that happens, you already know whose side to take. Don’t you? Morning routines are the toughest and the ones that work hard to get the routine in place…need support (pun intended). Remember that when you take sides.

“Life is life’s greatest gift. Guard the life of another creature as you would your own because it is your own. On life’s scale of values, the smallest is no less precious to the creature who owns it than the largest.”
— Lloyd Biggle Jr.

And, in case you are wondering, how the story lines runs in the evenings…

Falling off the Morning Routine Bandwagon - 2 - Ambal Balakrishnan

Falling off the Morning Routine Bandwagon - 3 - Ambal Balakrishnan

P.S. I love him very much and it is very hard for me to be my evil-self with him. The post is meant to be a fun Friday post to help us all think about morning routines. So, chill. Happy Friday!