Viva Fiesta Part 2; April in Review

Fiesta’s second weekend is full of parades and another of my favorite events, the King William Fair. King William is a historic district (the first ever in Texas, in fact) with a bunch of gorgeous homes. On the last Saturday of Fiesta every year, the neighborhood’s streets are lined with artists’ booths, food booths and stages for live music. There’s always a crowd, but this year it was so packed that I got annoyed and left without seeing all the vendors’ wares. 😦

After the fair is the Fiesta Flambeau parade, which is touted as the nation’s largest illuminated night parade. This year’s theme was “Saturday Night at the Movies” and don’t ask me how somehow they nabbed Willow Shields, a.k.a. Primrose Everdeen from “The Hunger Games” as grand marshal. Check out my interview with her. Sadly, I didn’t get any photos. My camera + night + moving objects at a distance = no. (My cousin and her friend hilariously screamed “I VOLUNTEER!” at the tops of their lungs as Willow’s float went by. That was awesome.)

Here are some shots of the King William Fair and Battle of Flowers parade:

The least crowded street of King William Fair.

You're gonna wear that hat and then give me that look when I take your picture?

Pretty house decorations. 🙂

In the backyards of King William residents. So pretty.

A smidge of the Battle of Flowers parade route.

Pretty horses. 🙂

Fiesta parade etiquette: always cheer for the pooper scoopers.

Marching mariachis. Viva San Antonio!

Keeping it green, y'all.

Mayor Castro, rocking a sash full of medals.

Fiesta royalty show us their shoes. I don't know why, but its tradition. And we love it.

The train of her gown. They'll get started on next year's gowns pretty soon.

The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile knows what's up!

My alma mater's float. Go Runners!

If you want to see some really great Fiesta photos, go here.

Fiesta is a HUGE distraction from everything else, so I haven’t done much work on the book these past couple of weeks. My goal for May is to have a fully edited draft in the hands of my volunteer readers. That means May’s review might be as sparse as April’s, but that’s okay. Quality, not quantity. Am I right?


The only thing I read this month was “Before You Know Kindness” by Chris Bohjalian. It’s a family drama that surrounds the accidental (but not fatal) shooting of a man by his own daughter. The overall lesson of the book is that people should place as much value on other people as they do on their own careers and beliefs. It’s a good lesson; I just wish the characters teaching it were more redeemable. Even the ones I sympathized with were difficult to like. And if a reader doesn’t care for the characters, generally they won’t care for the book.


April was the month of documentaries, both of which happened by chance. I was assigned to the first, “American Man” by filmmaker Jon Frankel. Here’s my story. The film is about Kevin Turner, a former NFL fullback who was diagnosed with ALS two years ago. He struggles to reconcile the idea that the injuries he sustained from the game he’s loved and played since he was five years old could be a contributing factor to the development of the disease. It’s a very sad story, but an important one to tell. I love football, you guys. This movie doesn’t damn the game; it just suggests that there needs to be a better way to play it.

I caught the other documentary, “I Am” by Tom Shadyac, on TV. I’ve wanted to see this one ever since I saw Tom as a guest on Oprah. (Don’t judge me.) He directed “Ace Ventura” and a slew of other movies and made a flippin’ TON of money. In the documentary, he says all the houses and cars and private jets didn’t make him happy. After a near fatal accident, he went on a quest to find out what was really important. Tom spoke with scientists, religious leaders and his family and discovered human beings are not naturally selfish. Rather, we are meant to be part of a community. American culture has somehow become a competitive one where we are all judged based on material things. We think we need more money, more stuff, better stuff. But when do we actually FEEL great? When we’re doing something good for someone else. The lesson: take only what you need, give everything you can and you will be happy. (Tom sold almost everything and now lives in a trailer park near the beach and loves it.) Remember, “he who dies with the most toys, still dies.”

Internet Highlights

Speaking of doing what you can for others, this story about how one guy used social media to change a 9-year-old boy’s life made me cry.

There’s a ton of negativity out there. Real Simple helps us with ways to be more optimistic.

Celebrities’ letters to their younger selves, courtesy of Oprah. (I would say don’t judge me, but I think you probably already do.)

An article about how authors are using Pinterest as a platform. Shall I make a board for my book?

Lover or villain — which Shakespearean character are you? (I was neither. I was one of the dummies used for comic relief.)

A Huffington Post piece about 10 beliefs that may be keeping us from the lives we want.

How creativity works, by Maria Popova at Brain Pickings.

I love books. I love the Internet. This chart shows that those two things are not enemies. Yay!

I also love movies. And I want to go to every single movie theater on this list of the 10 most unique.

(Almost) Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Creativity, from The Creativity Post.

I leave you with two last photos. But first, context — during Fiesta, it’s tradition in the newsroom to wage cascarone war. Everyone gets everyone. No one is safe. No one is exempt. (I got my bosses thrice.) We will all find pieces of confetti in our desks, cars and homes until Fiesta rolls around again. Just when you think you’ve cleaned up the last of it, a piece will flutter out from under your bed or appear between the keys of your keyboard. So if you are no fun at all don’t like confetti, don’t live in San Antonio.

The floor at my desk. Most of this was in my hair at one point.

Not even Harry was safe! 😉


National Poetry Month

This month, BBCE shook things up a little and shared poetry instead of reading a book. Everyone brought a couple of choices. I love poetry, but I’m not… ahem… well versed in it, so my first choice was my favorite from high school — “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Man, I love that poem. I love the idea of possibility in it.

Dianna recommended “Forgetfulness” by Billy Collins, who is a former U.S. Poet Laureate. I read it and loved it so much I put a hold request on one of his books at the library because I can’t wait to read more.

The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read,
never even heard of,

as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye
and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,

something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.

Whatever it is you are struggling to remember,
it is not poised on the tip of your tongue,
not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.

It has floated away down a dark mythological river
whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall,
well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.

No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.


Then, Dianna found this:

Very cool.

Do y’all have a favorite poet or poem? As long as it doesn’t involve a man from Nantucket, I want to know about it. Share!