Wild Horses Movie Review

Wild Horses

Have you ever seen a movie so horrifically bad, you feel compelled to warn others not to waste two hours of their lives?

This movie, Wild Horses, stars Robert Duvall. He’s an American legend. Usually, his stuff is amazing. Somehow though, in between writing, directing, and starring in this movie, he completely failed. His biggest fail was casting his wife as one of the main characters. Luciana Pedraza, aka Luciana Duvall, plays a Texas Ranger so wooden, Pinocchio looks real by comparison. The only other movie she has been in was another Robert Duvall movie. Look Robert, I get you love your wife, but that doesn’t mean she can, or should, act in your movie.

I wanted to turn the movie off after the first 10 minutes, but I held out for James Franco and Josh Harnett.  (Also, there’s a Tropical Storm happening, so I can’t go play outside) Even these two couldn’t save the film. The scenes involving them were slightly better, but I just felt sorry for them being in this movie, and trying to act off the rest of the cast. Franco acted his ass off 127 Hours, and he didn’t have anyone to act with in the majority of that movie. I guess that’s easier than trying to act off people who are just terrible actors. The casting director of this film should be thrown out of the Casting Directors association. Did he even have these people read their lines before giving them their jobs? The other “Rangers” and cast members seems to have taking acting lessons from William Shatner, but forgot to use facial expressions.

The movie wasn’t helped along by my other pet peeve in movies; filming locations that aren’t remotely like the place that they’re set. I know the Texas Film Commission fucked up a few years ago by taking away film incentives, so now all these movies that are set in Texas go film somewhere else, but seriously, how do you make a movie that is supposed to be set on the Rio Grande in Texas, in Utah? Sure, Texas and Utah might both have some rocky regions, but I can assure you that nowhere along the Mexican border does it look like the Mountains of Utah. There’s no mormon tabernacles, and I laughed my ass off when the fictional LaBelle County Sheriff car was parked, and they forgot to take the Utah license plate off of it.  Also, why do people think that every movie set in Texas needs to be all about cowboys wearing wranglers and Stetsons. I was so confused when I moved to Texas and there wasn’t cowboys everywhere. Every Hollywood movie made me think there was nothing but horses and oil rigs in this huge state. Sure, there are cowboys, but that’s not all there is. It’s such a cliche.

So, save yourself the time, and the frustration, and probably your voice as you start screaming at the screen. Find something else to watch. Pretty much anything that Duvall, Franco or Harnett are in. Anything would be better than this. I guess at least Matt was amused, but I think he was watching me watch the film…. Let’s just say, I got more animated than anyone paid to be in this film.


Flying frustrations

Pacific Wings

How I wanted to love you Pacific Wings/ Sun Air International. You’re a small plane at a tiny airport. Hearing you existed in my small town gave me visions of that great 1980’s TV sitcom, Wings.

When my husband assured his boss that by leaving San Antonio and it’s big international airport he could still get around, we had no idea… His first flight to Houston went fine. He said it was cute. But then he tried to return. Granted, there was a bad storm, and I fully understand your not wanting to fly. You even did the right thing, and gave your 6 passengers a cab. He got some random cabbie from a far off nation, who didn’t understand road rules, or stripes, or accelerators. He was in that cab with a kiwi, a local military guy just back from war, and my husband, who has lived through cab rides in China. All three sent messages home telling people they loved them. Not your fault,  but still, not a great experience.

So he tried again. He went off to Tampa without a hitch, but his flight back was running late. He was going to make it, but it would be tight. I called you guys to say he would be there, but it would be close. He got there, and you had left. Not late, not on time, but early. He was told by the people at the next counter you had left 3 minutes early, with only one passenger on board. This time, he was pissed.

I however, decided to give you one last chance. We’re headed to Albuquerque tomorrow. Instead of driving to our house in San Antonio, leaving a car there and flying to Albuquerque, where we are picking up a new car and driving back to Texas, we decided to just fly out of Victoria.

Our friend who we’re buying the car from is also flying into Albuquerque. I picked our right times so we would arrive at the same time. However, someone just called me to tell me that our 6am flight is cancelled, and they’re going to put us on the next flight. Yeah, that doesn’t work for me. My connection leaves before your next flight to Houston does. When I explain I have a connection, she tells me she doesn’t see that. Right, cause I booked it separately. You don’t fly anywhere else. She then said I should email someone for a refund…

So, now I have to work out how the hell we’re going to get to Houston tomorrow before 9am for my other flights.

So Sun Air, I tried. I tried to give a small operator a chance. I tried to give some money to the little guy. But you failed, and now I’ll never get my husband to use you guys again. I’ll never experience my fantasy of Wings.

There’s rumors a new airline is coming to Victoria. One that will fly to more places than just Houston. One that will actually fly out when it’s supposed to. I look forward to that day….


Accurate geography in reporting

When reporters can’t use a map

I know I shouldn’t let it bother me so much, but since news.com.au just loves to make a huge point of everytime an American report screws up geography about Australia, I feel it’s probably time someone pointed out when they drop the geographic ball.

Now, I know that some people in Australia think that in the US there’s LA on one side, NY on the other side, and not a whole lot in between, except for Texas. But that doesn’t mean that everything that doesn’t happen in LA or NY is therefor in Texas.

This case first came to my attention a couple months ago, because Calhoun County in Texas is in my area of operations at work. I read the article out to everyone, because we couldn’t believe we hadn’t heard about it, but it was on an Australian news site. Then when this popped up again today, well, lets just say I’m not impressed.

Texas Rape?

Now, I’m going to give the writers a bit of a break, and acknowledge that there is a Calhoun County in Texas. But this article states they are Calhoun High School students. So it’s the town, not the county. The article then states in happened in Gilmer County. Yes, there is also one of those in Texas. But the dead give away should have been the fact that they linked to an article; Gilmer Sheriff Stacey Nicholson told The Atlanta-Journal Constitution.

Atlanta is most definitely NOT in Texas. It’s in Georgia. Where, if anyone had even Googled this event, they’d immediately see that this is where this event occurred.  So please, before you make another article on your site about how bad the US reporters are at geography, make sure you also know how to use a map….

US-map-for-kidsCalifornia on the left, New York way up on the right, the big yellow one in the middle is Texas, and then there’s 47 other states in there where things happen too.


Tiny House Movement

Joining the tiny house movement, kinda.

I’m pretty excited to see that there’s about to be a TV show starting called Tiny House Nation on FYI channel.

John Weisbarth and Zack Giffin of Tiny House Nation

I’m a huge fan of the Tiny House movement. I also love Earthships, Eco Domes and other forms of natural building. I love the idea of being off-grid, and leaving a smaller footprint. I’m not into stuff. I don’t collect designer handbags or watches. I don’t covet expensive things. I don’t need a mega mansion. I’d rather use my money to travel, or have experiences. I’d rather collect memories than stuff that will just sit on a shelf somewhere.

I first got interested in Earthships several years ago. I was wondering what we could build down at the ranch. It’s pretty remote, and I love the idea of being completely self sustained. If there ever is an actual Zombie Apocalypse, I want to be somewhere far away, and not be relying on anyone to save me. I’ve always said if there’s ever a major glitch in the system, while ATMs are down, and everyone is freaking out about no internet, or electricity, the Hamish will be fine. Well, until the guys with guns show up and take their stuff…


The Earthship is a pretty hefty investment, and one has to live in it full time for it to really work. So then I was looking at eco-domes. I thought about building one of those, until I started an earthbag kitchen at the ranch. It’s a LOT of hard, heavy work, and the summers here are just too hot for any kind of manual labour.


While I’ve been deployed, I have been living in a vintage Airstream. I loved her. She is old, and was pretty gross when I bought her. I’ve done lots of work on her, but she’s really small.

My 23' vintage 1972 Airstream Safari
My 23′ vintage 1972 Airstream Safari

I absolutely loved living in her. She was small and cozy, and had everything I needed. It’s perfect for the dog and I. However, when Matt would come visit, it wasn’t fun. It’s got twin beds, so not so romantic. It’s also very small, and Matt is claustrophobic. He would hit his head on the door every time he stepped inside, and he grew to hate it with a passion. I think it set back my quest to get Matt to join the tiny house movement.

One day though, Matt woke up, realized that since he works from home, and could work from anywhere, while I work in a city 2.5 hrs away, he decided he’d rather live small with me, than live in our 2400 sq ft house in San Antonio without me. We knew we couldn’t live in the Airsteam together, and so we started looking at more practical options.

5th wheel toy hauler

We didn’t build a tiny house. Matt is a Texan and I just don’t think I’ll ever get him in a true tiny house. We did however end up with a 5th wheel toy hauler. We wanted something to be mobile, because we still like the idea of traveling. When I’m tired of working here, we can pick the next place on the map, and just move our house there. We love the idea of moving to Florida, but not packing boxes and unpacking boxes. We ended up getting a toy hauler, because it has the garage in the back, which Matt uses as an office. After traveling in a Class C motorhome for a couple years, we understood it was important to have a separate room for him to work. Plus, when we do finally move, we can put all our outdoor stuff back there while we’re moving.


It’s not really all that tiny either. At 44′ it’s actually pretty damn big. Probably the biggest one in our RV park! But it’s certainly way smaller than our house. In fact, it’s probably smaller than our Master Bedroom at home. It’s got everything we need though, and find we are actually way happier in it than we are on the weekends we go home to our stick house. I’ve even got veggies growing in pots down here. We’re still on the grid, but figure we’ll get off grid eventually. Baby steps. At least it’s got a big generator in it for if the power goes out. It’s even got it’s own gas tank with pumps near the back.

Lots of room inside
Lots of room inside

So now we’ve got our house in San Antonio for sale, and we hope it sells quickly so we can just enjoy being full time RVers. We love living in the RV park. No, it’s not the same as a trailer park. There’s a trailer park up the street. They are “mobile homes” but there’s really nothing mobile about them. RV parks have a great mixture of people. Where we are, there’s full timers, who are mostly retired people, and there’s a bunch of oil field workers. Then in winter, we get all the snow birds, or “winter Texans”. There’s also regular travelers who pass through for a few days while exploring the nation. We don’t have to mow the lawn, or clean the pool. Everyone is social, and people get together for pot luck dinners, or a beer after work. We pay a monthly slip fee, but it includes everything except electricity. No more property taxes, water bill, cable TV bill or trash collection fee. Being fully self contained, we got a traditional mortgage, so it’s not even a huge monthly payment for the RV. This one is high end, but my airstream was under $7k, with repairs. It was cheaper to live in that than an apartment. (Yes, I’m very frugal)

We love the RV life so much, I’m actually thinking of buying an RV park if we ever do move to Florida. Even more than that, I’d like to start a tiny home community. I’d buy some land, or an existing RV or mobile home park that has lots of green space. Then set up a tiny home park, with communal vegetable gardens. – I must sound like such a hippy!

Anyone else dream of getting rid of their solid home, and living small? Or anyone already gone off grid? Do you love it, or hate it?



House for sale in San Antonio

imageSo for years I’ve been fascinated by the tiny house movement. The last 2 years I’ve been living in a little Airstream during the week while deployed for work, and going home on weekends to San Antonio. Matt now has a job where he works from home, and can be anywhere in the South. So he decided to move down and be with me. We upgraded from my tiny vintage airstream to a giant 5th wheel. It’s not quite a “tiny house” but it’s pretty awesome. So now our house in San Antonio went on the market this week. So if you’re looking for a big house on the north east side of Spurs town, check it out. It’s halfway between Joint Base Fort Sam Houston and Randolph AFB, so it’s perfect if you’re PCSing here. We’re one block away from the immigration building, and you could walk or ride your bike to the RackSpace castle.

The house is in the city of Windcrest. It has it’s own police and fire departments, with an average response time of 90 seconds. – yep, we know from experience…

The 2,400 sq. ft house was built in 1984, but we’ve done a bunch of upgrades. We replaced the windows with super high efficiency ones. We cleaned out the old insulation in the roof and had bio-foam sprayed up there. We replaced the air conditioning units. We changed the pool equipment and now have a salt water pool. I really missed salt water pools from Australia, so Matt upgraded for me. It’s 12,000 gallons of backyard bliss. image 20 foot tall red tips all around ensure lots of privacy. We could skinny dip as much as we wanted and didn’t worry about anyone seeing us 😉imageDownstairs is a huge master bedroom with master bath. We just replaced the old tub and shower with a huge double rainfall shower. image image imageThere’s his and her walk in wardrobes and a separate toilet. All new lighting and faucets.

Open plan living area. image image   image   Large living area with a fireplace, peaked roof is almost 30′ high. Upstairs area opens onto lounge below. Super open and spacious. image Super huge kitchen. When we had parties you could fit 30 people in here mulling around. Open to lounge area, also has a wet bar area. Huge windows allow natural light in and a view of the side yard.  The AC unit is here. You can’t see it from inside. When we replaced the AC, we had them move it here. It used to be in the backyard, where you could hear it from the pool, and the bedroom. The new one is super quiet. Way nicer.imageAlso off the kitchen, headed to the backyard, is the laundry and a half bath. Great for when everyone is in the pool and you don’t want wet feet coming through the other back door. image image   There’s also a “dining room” downstairs, but since there’s room for a dining table in the kitchen, Matt has the front room set up as an office. I think it would make a great nursery if you have a baby.image   Upstairs is another large bedroom with walk in closet. image   Attached bathroom which has also been updated. There’s a bathtub in here if you like to soak. image Upstairs is a huge play area. It’s got a media area, with room for a giant screen tv, lounges, and we’ve got a pool table up there too. imageimage There’s a tonne of natural light throughout the house. It’s all very open plan, there’s no hallways. Its set way back from the road, and there’s an alley behind the house, which has access to a detached double garage with lots of storage space in a loft area above. image There’s an empty lot next door, which we own, and you can buy that too if you want to make sure you never have a neighbor on that side. It’s on a quiet circle, and we’re the house in the back corner with the pool. image   And here’s where we are in relation to the NE side of San Antonio image And all of San Antonio image So if you’re looking for a beautiful retreat in San Antonio, call  John Foster and tell him you want him to show you our house. Perfect for anyone working at Fort Sam Houston, Randolph AFB, RackSpace, DHS, or need a close drive to the airport. It’s been a wonderful home for us. I’ve actually lived there longer than any other house. We threw amazing parties there, it’s perfect for entertaining. We’re sad to leave such a beautiful home, but we know someone else will enjoy it as much as we did.


Exciting Day at Work

Love my job


We had a super exciting day at work yesterday. We had a visit from a group of Brazilian Military officials, with their NCIS attache. The Brazilians were the nicest group of people, and what we thought would be “death by powerpoint” turned out to be an awesome day. We all swapped FB details and instagrammed ourselves! After lunch, I came back to the office and found a bunch of NCIS goodies on my chair, which thrilled me to bits, cause I’m a huge NCIS fan, and to have the real life NCIS guys here, and get a cap from the real NCIS and not a TV show one was incredible!

As a kid I so badly wanted to be in the military when I grew up, and every now and then I wake up and realize I’m living the dream.


Thank you QANTAS!

Why I love flying the Roo.

If you follow me on Twitter or FaceBook, you’ll know I was back in Australia last week. I’ll write a different post about that later, but for now, I wanted to send a shout out to the crew of QF7, the flight from Sydney to Dallas on Monday, March 18.

I had used my American points to book my trip to Oz. It doesn’t let you book Premium Economy, which sucks, cause I really wanted to try that out. However, I saw a business class flight on the way to Oz, so I snagged it. I booked in economy on the way home, cause that’s all there was. I was happy to be able to try out QF8 and QF7, because the direct flight from Texas saved me about 16 hrs in layovers in cities like LAX.

So, Business class on the way over was amazing. There’s no First Class on this plane, and I got to sit in row 3. That’s the last seat inside the pointy bit. I had a headache getting on the flight because I had worked crazy hours, driven back to San Antonio, and was just exhausted. I got onto the flight, and they greeted us with drinks. Then came the prettiest little amenity kits with good stuff in it, including moisturizer and lip balm. Then, they brought everyone pajamas. They were super soft and comfy, and everyone seemed to change into them. They had little mattresses for the seats, and proper blankets, and a BIG pillow. They chair had it’s own pod, and a massaging seat. So after about an hour, instead of exploding into a full blown migraine, I was able to lay back, relax, and feel much better. I got off the flight in Brisbane, changed planes to Sydney, and was feeling awesome. I felt like all those supermodels and rockstars look when they get off a long haul flight.

So I had an awesome trip. But the last day, I started to not feel quite so awesome. It was just a little queasy thing after I ate, but it seemed to pass. So I get on my flight home. It was packed, and I had a middle seat. We got served dinner, and then it hit. I still don’t know if I had gastro, or food poisoning or what, but it was bad. Really, really bad. So after asking the cute French guy sitting next to me to move for the third time so I could go be sick, I hid in the back corner near the lav’s for a while. Unable to crouch anymore, I asked the flight attendants, who were finally eating their own dinner if, even though we’re not supposed to, if I could use their jump seat for a bit till the vomiting subsided. They jumped up, said no, it’s against FAA rules, but we’ll find you a seat. They found one in the bulk head right behind the toilet, where I could access it quickly if I needed. (and I did. A lot) They brought me blankets, some electrolyte solutions, a ginger ale, which I spilled all over myself and it looked like I had peed myself, so they got me some pajamas to change into. I had a wicked fever, and they kept checking on me and bringing me water and supplies. They were super caring and really took care of me. The staff really lived up to the new slogan, You’re The Reason We Fly.

Being that sick is bad enough on the ground, but being sick in the air is just miserable. I’m pretty good at gauging how long I had between each bout, and could time it to get up and in line and not make a mess in the aisle…. Thankfully at some point my stomach was pretty empty, and I could sip water and it didn’t come back up again, and they had me eat some fruit for breakfast, even when I said just OJ. After we landed, the boys saw me in baggage collection and checked on me again, commenting I finally had some colour back in my face.

I wish I had been well enough to write down their names to call Qantas and thank them, but here’s hoping they get this Thank You. You guys really did help me get through a really rough 15 hours.

Now, can I just borrow one of them to take care of me now while my stomach is still growling?


Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

Well, it’s almost 2013….

Matt & I are out at the ranch, trying to get some work done on the camp out here. I turned on my live stream from 2DayFM and realized its already New Years Eve in Australia.

Without a doubt, Sydney has the best New Year’s Eve party in the world. The problem with growing up in Sydney, is that any other NYE party seems lame in comparison… When I explain to people here the massive scale of the fireworks, all over the Harbour, with a live simulcast on the radio, with everything choreographed, people are amazed, and jealous. I just don’t get the oohing and aahing over the ball drop in New York. The 15 minute display of fireworks in other cities, that just seem like someone sets off random boxes doesn’t compare.

Tomorrow it’ll be NYE here in America. I’ve got watch at work, so I’ll be busy till about 10pm. Matt will be joining me in my little town. We’re not really sure anything will be going on at all, but at least we’ll be together. That’s all that really matters.

I hope 2013 is a big year for all of you. A lot of people got hyped up over the end of the world with the Mayan calendar. It was never supposed to be the end, just a new beginning. I see several things changing in 2013. A few things got started in 2012 that will really evolve in 2013.

The Royal Commission should get into full swing in 2013. The Jimmy Saville case in England is only going to get bigger. I have a feeling that I’ll be in Australia taking care of business in 2013. 😉

Come January first, I’ll have been at my job for a year. I actually really enjoy it. Next weekend I go off for some training, and then I’ll get put in for a promotion. No pay change, just a shiny new rank.

I’m not making any New Years resolutions, but I am going to be good to myself this year. I’m going to get back into shape, both physically and mentally. I’m going to do all I can to keep up the fight to make changes in the world. I’m going to enjoy work this year. I’m going to give Matt as many kisses and home cooked dinners as I can.

I hope all of you have an awesome New Year, wherever you are. I hope 2013 brings you joy and happiness and all that you want to achieve.

We  just have to hope on January 1st in America we don’t all get pushed over the “Fiscal Cliff”….

If we survive, maybe we’ll make it to Sydney for 2014!

Sorry about any typos. I’m doing this from my iPhone at the ranch…


ICE arrests convicted sex offenders

ICE teams throughout Texas arrest 50 convicted sex offenders and other criminal aliens

This is awesome! Every day at work I read reports of aliens caught on the Border who have some kind of criminal conviction, usually pretty terrible ones. The USBP Agents and the other law enforcement Agents do their best, but so many just keep on slipping through. The US Marshals do round ups, and sometimes we just get them by chance, while they’re doing something else stupid, like Drinking and Driving. It seems like ICE has had their hands tied for a while, but after they came out against the Administration a month or so ago, complaining they were being prevented from doing their jobs, they’ve been going into overtime, making up for lost time. It’s super busy right now. Since Obama announced the Dream Act, it’s a non stop flow of people trying to make it over….

So here’s this press release from ICE. Of course, since they were targeting sex offenders, you know I’m a super happy camper. Kinda awesome it came out the same day as Bravehearts put out a statement on their views on convicted sex offenders having passports.

Here’s a snippet of the ICE press release:

Following a five-day Texas-wide U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) operation, 50 convicted alien sex offenders and other criminal aliens were arrested by officers with ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), and the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).  ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) also assisted with this operation.

The goal of this operation, dubbed “SOAR” (Sex Offender Alien Removal), was to identify, locate and arrest aliens who have convictions for sex crimes, especially sex crimes against children.  This is the first statewide operation that specifically targeted this criminal element. This operation was coordinated with ERO’s 16 Fugitive Operations Teams throughout Texas, and Texas DPS.  Four Fugitive Operations Teams operated from Dallas and north Texas.

Of the 24 men arrested in north Texas, 15 had prior convictions for sex crimes such as:  indecency with a child, sexual conduct; unlawful sexual intercourse with a child, aggravated sexual assault of a child; sex offense against a child, fondling; and sexual battery of a minor. Seven of those arrested in north Texas had been previously removed from the country and illegally re-entered the United States, which is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison.

Bravehearts Position Statement on Child Sex Offenders and International Travel:

Recent media reports have highlighted the issue of hundreds of convicted child sex offenders travelling overseas.  In just the first two months of 2012, Australian Federal Police (AFP) statistics reported that 195 of the 143,000 offenders registered on the Australian National Child Offender Register (ANCOR) travelled internationally, with many offenders travelling to known, vulnerable countries.Australian Federal Police statistics show that over a quarter of these offenders travel to Denpasar, with Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Nadi, Hong Kong and Manilla among the ‘top ten’ destinations.

While the Australian Federal Police Child Protection Operations Intelligence Unit assists in monitoring individuals who are recorded on the Australian National Child Offender Register travelling overseas, tracking offenders in many countries remains exceedingly difficult.

The Australian Federal Police work closely with local authorities, alerting them when a registered offender is travelling to their country and deploying liaison officers to many international jurisdictions. However, in some cases local authorities do not have the resources, support or experience to appropriately respond.

Bravehearts position on child sex offenders and international travel is that:

On release, and until such time as the offender is no longer under supervision orders, all child sex offenders must forfeit their passport.

Where the offender is no longer under a supervision order, as long as they remain a registered person on the Australian National Child Offender Register, the offender must inform police within at least 7 days advance if they intend to travel outside of Australia.

So ICE wants sex offenders to go home, and Bravehearts wants them to stay home. If only I could get the two to team up together…

Oh, and I just noticed my face on the Bravehearts page! Cool. Hope everyone had a great White Balloon Day. I hope when the case is over, I can come back and attend some events at the next one.


The New Idea Article

New Idea Article

Here’s the New Idea article for those that missed it. The guys in the photo are not in my unit, they’re all Public Affair Officers. We were at a conference with the National Guard that weekend.

My home unit now has 3 Aussie in it! One day I’ll post pics of us all together on here.


^ Click on the link above to see the PDF version. It’s much easier to read.

I’ve really enjoyed the Guard. I’ve even got 2 ribbons already! Now I just need to get a dress uniform so I can wear them.