aGLIFF: Chronicles of Halcyon

aGLIFF, the Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival, starts on Friday night and lasts until October 8. I’m volunteering for a few nights and hope to see some of the 150 short and feature-length films.
I’ve seen one already that I’d like to recommend: not a feature-length film, but a pilot for a TV series, Chronicles of Halcyon. I can’t review this hour-long episode as I normally might review a movie, because I know some of the people involved. It’s not just that I am biased, but I had a different viewing experience than you would if you saw the show. For one thing, you don’t know such-and-such actress as a former co-worker who dressed as Ed Grimley for the Halloween office party one year. You see what I mean.
Also, I am proud of and pleased with my friends for creating a video that turned out to be more entertaining than I thought it might be. I hope they are able to expand the pilot into a TV series because now I want to know how the cliffhanger ending turns out.

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Muppets for everyone!

I had this dream last night in which I was trying to buy stamps somewhere nebulous and the cashier kept offering me those generic-looking American flag stamps. I said that I’d been to the post office and all they had to sell me in 37-cent stamps were the flags and the Love stamps, and did she have anything else here? She did not. I had to buy the flags.
I don’t know what this dream Meant, subconsciously speaking, but I was browsing Metafilter this morning and found a link to some new 37-cent stamps, released today … with Muppets on them!
I have to go to the post office soon anyway, and you surely know that if I can buy the Muppet stamps, I am going to pick up a half-dozen packs at least. I am so tired of the Postal Service releasing some very cool type of stamp in a limited quantity, and then when I want stamps a couple of months later I have to get the flags or the Love. Ugh. I am stocking up on Kermit and Piggy (and better yet, Rowlf and Waldorf and Statler) ASAP.
I bet I end up sending a lot more postal mail in the next couple of months.
Hey, they also have Robert Penn Warren and Greta Garbo 37-cent stamps too. (I mean, those are two different types of stamps. Warren and Garbo were never a couple. Can you imagine?)

the other side of the little window

I realize that this may sound shocking for a 36-year-old film geek, but I had never seen a modern movie theater projection room until this morning.
I don’t know what I expected; some part of me had retained an image of an old-fashioned projection booth, a small and musty cube containing a big projector with reels of film on it. I knew about the platters used instead of reels nowadays, I’ve seen photos of platters, but I guess I didn’t put it all together. My brain was still stuck in Cinema Paradiso or Sherlock Jr.
I signed up for some volunteer shifts for aGLIFF to monitor the digital projection setup; most of the festival’s movies will be digitally projected this year. A bunch of us met in the theater this morning to learn what we would be doing. We walked upstairs and I found myself in a much larger room than I expected. It looked like the engineering room in a television station where I used to work.

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what’s bred in the bone

I can write for hours about how my family is doing, about how my sister’s roof damage and my brother’s work in Houston and my grandparents feeling lonely in Alabama and wanting to at least go to Baton Rouge for awhile … and so on, and so on. I can recount any number of silly conversations with them.
What’s difficult for me to write about is how I have felt about the recent disaster and how I dealt with it … or didn’t. I can tell you this: however bad you think it might be, if you haven’t ever experienced your hometown being devastated and nearly destroyed, it’s gonna be a whole lot worse. I had imagined the possibility, because every year someone would predict terrible things happening to New Orleans if a hurricane ever hit it outright. But I was never, ever prepared for what actually happened, particularly regarding the survivors left in New Orleans. The Superdome is essentially ruined for me as any kind of event center; it’s a symbol now.

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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.

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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:, Mardi Gras Digest, and
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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