happy birthday, dude

My little brother turns 25 today. That’s a quarter of a century. Makes a girl think … mostly about how if her “baby” brother is now 25, than that makes her … Anyway. Usually we phone each other on our birthdays and leave messages with odd movie quotes on them. I’m not sure how the tradition got started. This year, I emailed him with one of our favorite birthday quotes, mainly because I do a rotten imitation of the actor in question. I’m reprinting the quote here, and following it, quotes from several other movies that we both have enjoyed watching and quoting together. Feel free to guess, but I’m not trying to make it at all difficult:
“Five long years, he wore this watch up his ass. Then when he died of dysentery, he gave me the watch. I hid this uncomfortable piece of metal up my ass for two years. Then, after seven years, I was sent home to my family. And now, little man, I give the watch to you.”
“Hell, I can get you a toe by 3:00 this afternoon… with nail polish.”
“Put it on a plate, son. You’ll enjoy it more.”
“Now listen up, you primitive screwheads. See this? This… is my boomstick! The 12-gauge double-barreled Remington. S-Mart’s top of the line. You can find this in the sporting goods department. That’s right, this sweet baby was made in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Retails for about $109.95. It’s got a walnut stock, cobalt blue steel, and a hair trigger. That’s right. Shop smart. Shop S-Mart.”
“Let’s go do some crimes.” “Yeah, let’s get some sushi and not pay.”
“Hey, careful, man, there’s a beverage here!”
“It’s a trick. Get an axe.”
“Dr. Jones. Again we see there is nothing you can possess that I cannot take away.”

unto us a film geek is born

My brother and I spent some time together on the day after Christmas, eating sushi and driving by old ex-movie theaters (more on this another time) and listening to selections from the eclectic CD collection strewn throughout his car. We even stopped at Lakeside Mall and I caught a glimpse of the hoilday train setup with the little village that had blue FEMA roofs.
We got back to my parents’ house to discover that my dad was watching my nephew, who is about 3.5 years old. Usually he is a very active, mischievous child, but he was lying on the sofa near the TV. My dad was semi-napping in a nearby recliner, and Madagascar was playing on the TV screen. My dad has three primary methods of babysitting: take the child shopping, feed the child, put a movie on TV for the child. I can’t argue.

Continue reading unto us a film geek is born

waiting for my charbroiled oysters

I couldn’t resist sharing this bit of news from the Times-Picayune weblog. Drago’s is the restaurant where my family has always held big important dinners and reunions and things, even after they shut down their private dining room:
“Already back in business Tuesday was Drago’s, the Fat City oyster house. Though none of the 140 sacks of oysters that were in the restaurant’s refrigerator before the storm survived the recent electricity loss, its owners used propane to heat 1,300 meals of pasta, chicken and sausage since Monday for relief workers and returning neighbors.
“Tommy Cvitanovich, who runs a restaurant with his parents, said the donation was the least his family could do after a storm that ravaged so many restaurants, especially in New Orleans, but left his with only temporary loss of power and water.”
Also, Drago’s has the best charbroiled oysters in the universe. I don’t even like oysters and I can’t get enough. I am so happy to see Tommy out there getting everything going again and feeding everyone. My only worry is that my parents may go back to Metairie before they should, figuring that if Drago’s is open, everything is okay.
Sometimes it’s the smallest bits of news that get you choked up … you know … even though you’re not sure why. And no, it’s not because I’m mourning 140 sacks of potential charbroiled oysters, either.

Southern hospitality

I have been amazed and pleased with so many people last week. Two people emailed me and offered space in their Austin-area homes for my family, if my family wanted to stay in Austin. All kinds of people have emailed, phoned, or stopped by my desk at work to ask how my family is doing, do we need anything, etc. My hairdresser even called. People have been buying my t-shirts, some of them people I don’t know. Links to the t-shirt site are appearing all over the place.
(Feel free to link or to email the link to anyone you like, by the way. Someone asked me about that and I wanted to make sure it was clear that the more the merrier.)
The Red Cross chapter in Austin is taking applications for volunteers … they have more than they need at the moment. Hopefully when they call the rest of us in a couple of weeks, we’ll still be eager to help. Austinites have donated tons of clothes and shoes and food and anything else they can. Businesses are pitching in too.

Continue reading Southern hospitality

a little something

I applied to volunteer with the Red Cross on Sunday but it might be a short while before they need my help. While I was there, I saw about a dozen other people also applying. I think it is fabulous that they have more people than they can use at the moment. I’ll bet they will need help for awhile, so I’ll wait.
But I wanted to do a little something. Obviously, hurricane relief organizations need money most of all. So I designed a CafePress shirt, which looks very spiffy. I will donate all the money from the sales of the shirt to the American Red Cross.
I would like to thank the cinetrix for inspiring the “second line” theme of the shirt in this entry. My boyfriend and I already ordered a couple of shirts for ourselves because they are pretty cool looking, if I say so myself. My boyfriend owns a few other CafePress-manufactured shirts and they appear to be holding up quite well (at least as well as the stuff I buy from Old Navy). I used a high-res PNG image file so I’m hoping the shrit graphics will look nice and crisp.
You can see (and buy) the shirts here. I also made some buttons and magnets.
If you want to buy a different type of shirt, email me and I’ll add it to the selection. Feel free to steal the graphic for the t-shirt from my sidebar and post it with a link to the CafePress shop, or just post the link anywhere you like.
Here are some links to Web pages about second lines: FrenchQuarter.com, Mardi Gras Digest, and nola.com.
Anyway, hope you like the shirt. If you don’t, um, don’t buy one.


I can’t do any clever writing tonight. Just the facts. Let’s see. Where were we.
My married brother lost his job because the Catholic high school where he worked is under six feet of water and won’t open before January. In January they’ll need him, but in the meantime he is having to look for work where he is now. Fortunately he is a teacher and teachers are in demand right now, to handle the overflow of refugee students, so I think he’ll be fine. I haven’t been able to talk to him yet. His houses are in an area that appears not to have flooded badly.
My sister’s ex-husband was kind enough to drive by her North Shore house and then let her know that a tree fell smack into the roof. She’s mad because he didn’t put a tarp over the hole or anything, but he’s about as handy as I am so I can’t blame him. However, every day it rains, my sister is worried her stuff is being ruined, and she’s frustrated because she can’t do a damn thing about it. Yeah, it’s only stuff, but when you’re an underpaid teacher and a single mom, money is tight and how are you going to replace all of that? Not to mention the unreplaceable items.

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New Orleans is hurting and so am I

My sister called me at work today. “I’ve got to talk to you right now. This is an emergency.”
I froze. “Oh my god, what?”
“We need the recipe for fudge that we always use.”
Later, I had a talk with my mom where I asked that no one use terms like “emergency” right now unless they really meant them. Our family does have some serious chocolate love, but needing fudge still does not qualify as an emergency.
“I’ve got Na Na’s fudge recipe at home. When I get home I’ll call you with it.”
“No, we need the recipe for the one with the chocolate chips and the little bitty marshmallows. We bought the ingredients already.”

Continue reading New Orleans is hurting and so am I

more than they could handle

My grandfather has probably never seen the movie Raising Arizona, since his TV tastes run more toward sports events and old Charles Bronson or James Bond movies. And if he ever did see that hilarious Coen brothers comedy late one night, flipping through the channels, my guess is that he would not remember much about it. Not really his type of humor.
So my grandfather doesn’t even know that he missed the perfect opportunity to utter one of the most memorable lines from that film. It was the kind of opportunity that few of us will ever experience, although not exactly the kind that we would dream about.

Continue reading more than they could handle

I saw dead people

I saw some fascinating movies this week, movies that none of you will ever see.
I have my family’s Super 8 movies here in Austin. A few years ago, I thought I might transfer them all to video by hand using a projector and video camera. I wanted to find out if I could transfer them to digital media but at the time, people looked at me like I was crazy when I suggested it.
However, these days you can find all kinds of services to transfer Super 8 movies to digital files. I found a nearby local company, Dub King, that transferred the movies to miniDV format and then used the DV master to make me some DVDs and even a videotape (my grandparents don’t have a DVD player).
Eventually, I would like to get a miniDV deck (probably by getting a digital video camera) and edit the two hours of footage into something more interesting and watchable. In the meantime, though, we have the DVDs to enjoy, and we can always fast-forward past the parts where my dad overexposed the film at the beach when he was trying to film young women in bikinis, or the footage from my parents’ trip to Mexico that has no people in it, only scenery.

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DVD killed the video packrat

At work, I have a small stack of videotapes on my desk. There’s a sticky note on top of the stack: “Free to a good home.”
A couple of weeks ago, my boyfriend gently hinted that I might want to organize my big bookcase of videotapes and DVDs. I had so many videotapes that they were falling out of the bookcase (which is actually designed to hold videotapes) and stacked on top of my CD shelves, next to the VCR, and even on the floor. It wasn’t a pretty sight.
My first task was easy. I pulled out all the commercial videotapes that I now own on DVD, such as The Princess Bride and Ed Wood, and put them in a stack to give away. It was a substantial stack since some people gave me DVDs for Christmas.
The second task was harder: Figure out what was on each videotape that I had taped myself, and throw away the ones that were poor quality, or that I simply didn’t need and never watched. I have had some of those videotapes since high school, and throwing them away was a real wrench.

Continue reading DVD killed the video packrat