itinerary geochemistry sweat

A meme is just what I needed today. Too bad the only one I could find is full of rehashed or boring questions. But has that ever stopped me before?

1. Are you named after anyone?
Nope. But the first recorded appearance of my name is in The Merchant of Venice. Shylock’s daughter, Jessica, screws him over and runs off with a Christian. Snap!

2. Name someone with the same birthday as you.
Jonathan Taylor Thomas. Or JTT.

3. Are you allergic to anything?
Penicillin, Sulfas and mold.

4. Are you bisexual?
Everyone’s a little queer.

5. Have you ever made out with anyone of the same sex?
Yes.

6. How many U.S states have you been to?
39. Most like have flown over a few more.

7. How many of the U.S states have you lived in?
Six.

8. Have you ever lived outside the U.S?
Yes.

9. Name something physical you like about yourself?
Tits.

10. Do you have any pets?
Tobe the Special Needs Cat.

11. Have you ever had someone of the opposite sex sleep over?
Been living in sin nigh on 11 years now.

12. Are you bipolar?
No.

13. What’s your dream ride?
Captain Spaulding’s Murder Ride.

14. Where would you want to go on a first date?
Putt-Putt Golf and Games.

15. Would you date the person who posted this before you?
Nope.

16. Has anyone wrote/played a song for you personally?
Written, no. Played, yes. On several occasions, I have been serenaded with acoustic Oasis songs. Works every time.

17. Ever been kissed under fireworks?
Yes. It’s not really that much cooler than being kissed anywhere else though.

18. Has anyone ten years older than you ever hit on you?
Do creepy dudes on the bus count?

19. What song are you listening to right now?
The Smiths, “William It Was Really Nothing”.

20. What's your favorite song at the moment?
The Jello Pudding song about wiggling free.

21. What was the last movie you watched in the theatre?
V for stupid fucking Vendetta.

22. Where was the last place you went besides your home?
Stupid fucking office.

23. Have you ever seriously vandalized someone else's property?
No. But it’s been tempting on occasion.

24. Have you ever hit someone of the opposite sex?
Once. He asked me too. Apparently, he didn’t think I had it in me.

25.What was the last prezzie a friend brought you for no good reason?
”Prezzie?” Faye bought me a kitten magnet-ie.

26. What's the first thing you notice about the opposite sex?
Body hair.

27. What's ur fav. body part on the opposite sex?
Tummy.

28. What do you usually order from Starbucks?
Chai.

29. Your least favorite thing?
How can I possibly choose between the hundreds of things I hate?

30. Would you be lost if you lost your cell phone?
Oh yes. As evidenced by a recent incident, it would ruin my night.

31. Do you have an iPod?
Yep.

32. Has anyone ever said you looked like a celebrity?
I get Patricia Arquette the most.

33. Do you have freckles?
A few tiny ones on my nose and a bunch on my shoulders from the bastard sun.

34. Are you comfortable with your height?
Most of the time.

35. How tall are you?
Not tall.

36. Have you ever ridden in a limo?
Family weddings only.

37. Do you watch TV?
And how.

38. Do you like Michael Jackson?
The real Michael Jackson, yes. The one who has been parading around in his ill-fitting skin for the last 20 or so years, no.

39. Can you dance?
No, but I do it anyway.

40. Have you ever surfed?
I’ve boogie boarded. I’m terrible at anything that involves coordination.

41. Do you know how to pump gas?
Of course. You put the thingy in the thingy and squeeze.

42. What's the latest you have ever stayed out?
I don’t know. 7am?

43. Have you ever thought that you were honestly going to die?
Yes. But never for more than a few seconds.

44.Were you ever rushed by an ambulance into the emergency room?
No.

45. Have you ever been dared to do something you didn't want to do?
Isn’t that the very nature of a dare?

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My cat can eat a whole watermelon!

It’s widely known that my cat, Tobe, is Special Needs. Whatever happened to him before he came to live with me took quite a toll on his little brain and there are many normal cat activities he has been unable to comprehend. For instance, try as he might, he is terrible at grooming himself, and seems to clean every part of his body except for the one that actually gets dirty. This has recently earned him the nickname “Stinky Britches” from Auntie Faye.

Another kitty activity he has been unable to grasp is the Laser Pointer Game. For months, he has watched Marilyn chase the red dot around the apartment, and, when faced with it himself, it has either frightened him or confused him into sleepiness.

This all changed last night! I don’t know what happened, what clicked in his sweetly challenged brain, but somehow, he suddenly understood what he was meant to do.

My baby learned a new trick!

Granted he looks silly as ever clumsily bounding his 15-pound ass through the small space, and he still gets a little confused and/or distracted after a few minutes. But the bottom line is that he did actually learn something new. Something I’d previously thought was far too complex for him. This warms my heart to no end.

I love my retarded little kitty cat.

V for Vendetta

The Wachowski Brothers get 4 hacks. The first part of V for Vendetta is an unholy mess. They somehow took a very straightforward graphic novel screwed it up. I don’t know why these things surprise me anymore.

Note to filmmakers who adapt graphic novels: the whole thing is basically STORYBOARDED FOR YOU. You don’t need to change anything. You don’t even need to think. It’s a cut and paste job. See “Sin City” for reference.

With someone like Alan Moore, the story and characters are already beloved. They have a built-in box office. They have every fanboy’s wet dream, Natalie Portman attached. They have the badass Hugo Weaving who all of their pre-existing fans love. They didn’t have to DO anything to the story OR the images.

But they did. They made an exciting and thought-provoking story into a flashy chaotic mess. They took a futuristic cautionary tale, a “what might become” situation, and tried to make it into a “what IS” story. Of course, I’m against the Bush regime as much as the next CapHillian, but this was neither the proper forum, nor proper manner for such things. If you have something to say about the modern political climate, Wachowskis, write your own damned script. And leave the fabricated and unnecessary love story out of it.

And you know what? None of this would bother me so much if it weren’t for the fact that, in the middle, they managed to capture some of the original story beautifully. The depiction of V’s back story, the letters that Evey finds in the prison and the bit with the lady doctor were very faithful and very moving. So I KNOW they COULD have done a good job if they’d wanted to. And that is why they don’t get the full 5 hacks that they probably deserve.

But clearly, they didn’t have enough respect for the fans or the source material. They just wanted to blow shit up. I hope they’re happy in the life they’ve chosen.

SXSW Part 4

SXSW Part 4

SATURDAY

Brugos and I met downtown and sought out an entire set of The Research. Despite technical difficulties on the part of the keyboardist, I thought they were really good. If a shitty show is that much fun, imagine how great they are when all their equipment is working. It helped that they brought in a cute bohemian girl as a guest vocalist.

We also partook in a free buffet at the venue. More free stuff! This time, my body was overjoyed to be eating free carrots and green beans instead of free booze.

Next we took a long stroll toward the University area to try and find the venue where Matthew Sweet and Susannah Hoffs were to play together. When we got there, it appeared that everything was behind schedule. We figured we had at least an hour to kill, so we walked further into the university area and saw all the vintage shops and super cool college kids.

When we got back, we sat through one more set before Sweet and Hoffs came on. In the meantime, there was plenty of people watching. It was clear that we’d stumbled into the “older person” tent. The older crowd was having a great time, dancing and singing along to the bands. It was kind of a refreshing sight, after having spent a week hanging out with hipsters who don’t smile and insist on wearing black even in hot weather. (And yes, I’m aware that I am one of these people.)

Sweet and Hoffs finally came on to a very receptive audience. They played all covers of 60’s songs including one of my favorites, “Different Drum” (written my Mike Nesmith from the Monkees!).

We were hungry and had our eyes on an Indian restaurant across the street. By the time we got in there, it was very full and there was a 45 minute wait for a table, but we were able to finagle our way into the bar and eat appetizers for dinner.

We headed back downtown to meet Andrew. He was delayed at a wristband party but convinced us to wait for him inside the Emo’s Annex, where a band that he really wanted to see was going to be playing later that night. We paid our cover and secured a nice cushy spot on a ledge by the side of the stage. We watched a few really good bands and waited to hear from Andrew. Eventually, he called and told us that he was stuck outside and they weren’t letting anyone else in. This time, there was no Aziz to help us out. I went to talk to him. There was nothing they could do. He didn’t get there in time. He was really pissed that he wasn’t going to get to see I Love You Buy I’ve Chosen Darkness. With a name like that, they HAVE to be good, right? Well, Andrew…you didn’t miss much. The best bands came on before them. By the time they went on, they have been overshadowed by their peers and couldn’t live up to the hype. Brugos and I left after the first song or two, and went to find Justin, who was also stuck outside the tent.

Andrew went back to his VIP situation. Justin, Brugos and I were left to our own devices, and, at that point, there wasn’t really a music venue we could get into, so we went back to the Fox and the Hound. By the time the our first round of drinks came, I realized I was EXHAUSTED and just wanted to go to bed. I tried to drink my drink but I couldn’t do it. Justin, who had been in bed all day, was raring to go. He said he didn’t mind sticking around, though, we our unfinished drinks. So Brugos and I shared a cab to our respective hotels and called an end to our last night in Austin.

SUNDAY

The next morning, Justin, Brugos and Andrew convened at my hotel (Jacob had gone home the previous morning). I checked out and we got some breakfast at the Star Seeds café next door.

I took advantage of access to proper grits. Meanwhile, Andrew and Brugos both ordered something called the A-Bomb. From what I could tell, the A-Bomb consisted of two English muffins topped with scrambled eggs, sausage, and queso. It was HUGE and very daunting. Andrew’s was heavy on the queso, while Brugos’ appeared to be heavy on the egg. Either way, finishing it might have killed them. But somehow it didn’t. Justin and I were not able to join the clean plate club that day.

We had a few hours to kill before we needed to get to the airport, so we decided to call a cab to take us to a multiplex. We were going to see Dave Chappelle’s Block Party. Our cab driver dropped us off, and offered to come back and get us after the movie to take us to the airport. It was only 11:30 at the time and the movie didn’t start till after noon, so we dragged our luggage around the deserted strip mall in search of coffee for Andrew. Multiple buffet options they had. Coffee, they did not.

When we got back to the theatre, it was open. They let us stash our luggage in the box office. At the last minute, we forfeited laughter for the option of watching people die. We bought 4 tickets to “The Hills Have Eyes”.

There was still time before the movie started, and guess what they had in the lobby…DDR!! The perfect way to burn off the A-Bomb or a plate of fried eggs and grits! I’m sure the employees of the theatre aren’t accustomed to having a group of young adults with suitcases come into their theatre on a Sunday, buy tickets to a horror movie and then play 3 rounds of DDR.

The movie got out a little late. Andrew called out cabbie. I guess he had been there already and waited for us, then drove off. He came back about 10 minutes later. It was 2:20. He said it takes 45 minutes to an hour to get to the airport. Our plane was taking off at 3:53. He told us we might miss it. Andrew and Brugos said we’d be fine. I was worried because I like to worry.

But we were fine. It didn’t take 45 minutes to get to the airport. I don’t know why the guy told us that it did. Maybe he likes to make his passengers sweat. Maybe it was revenge for making him wait. Regardless, we checked in and got to the gate no problem. I even had time to buy a sandwich.

On the first flight we had both Hotchip and the Research. I felt pretty cool to be flying with rock stars.

For some dumb reason, our flight connected in Chicago. When we taxied, the captain told us we weren’t able to get to the gate. The time of our connecting flight drew near and even though it was due to leave from the same gate we were landing in, it seemed like we might miss it.

Andrew and I passed the time by looking at pictures on his camera phone. He also logged onto MSN and sent Sherwood a message saying we were stuck on a plane. This confounded Sherwood, who then texted me on my cell and said “I just got the strangest message from Andrew.”

Eventually, we got to the gate. When we de-boarded, we discovered that not only was our connecting flight delayed, but that it was actually THE SAME PLANE we were just on. It would have been nice to have that information earlier.

On the flight from Chicago to Seattle, Andrew was kind enough to share his video I-Pod with me. We watched several episodes of Futurama, the Apache video, the first 10 min of Rear Window and half a Seinfeld episode before the battery died. Unfortunately, there was still quite a bit of time left in the flight. Andrew nodded off. Brugos was a row up and over and asleep. I cursed people who are able to sleep on planes and then I restlessly took to my puzzle book. And for some reason, the grumpypuss stewardess didn’t want me to have any water.

We finally landed in Seattle, were picked up by Andrew’s lovely friend Libby and home we went to sleep and prepare ourselves to come back to reality.

Who wants to go to Austin next year?!

SXSW Part 3

WEDNESDAY

Jacob and I met Brugos, Justin and Cherry at Baby Acapulco’s, a Mexican restaurant by their hotel. I was finally getting my appetite back. The waiter fattened us up with tortilla chips, bringing a second basket when Jacob and I arrived. We had only gotten through half of one basket before they took it away and brought us another one which was OVERFLOWING with tortilla goodness. Out of control. By the time out food got there, we had completely spoiled our appetites, which was too bad because our plates were HUGE. My breakfast quesadilla was THREE LAYERS THICK, and it came with a huge side of beans and potatoes. We ate as much as we could. Luckily, we had a long walk ahead of us to the bus stop. On our way out, Brugos attempted to play a quick game of Star Wars pinball (the original, beyotch!). Sadly, the machine ate his ball, but we were still able to listen to the glorious electronic version of the score.

As we meandered through the suburbs, it amazed all of us that Brugos had been able to find the bus stop to downtown in the first place. Somehow, on his first day, his instincts had led his through twists and turns and down random streets in entirely the right direction.

We stopped briefly at a corner shop so that I could buy new sunglasses and we could all get some water, and then we got our bus which took us down a very cute section of town and through the University.

When we got downtown, Cherry picked up her car and went home to get some sleep.

Jacob, Justin, Brugos and I wandered around downtown looking for some music. We ended up at a place called Headhunters, where we saw several bands both in the upstairs and downstairs section. None of the music was that engaging to me, but I was enjoying just hanging out in a cluttered tiki environment. One of the bands that we saw was made up of ex-member of Nashville Pussy.

At one point the 4 of us became engaged in a video trivia system downstairs. One of the games was a “spot the difference” game featuring half-clad ladies. Even with the 4 of us, we still couldn’t manage to beat the high score. We were able to at least get our name on the high score list though. Team Surf Taco! One word of advice when playing that game: Always start with the boobies.

Next, we headed to the Alamo Downtown to catch a showing of “The Cassidy Kids”. Again, it wasn’t much of a problem for us to all get in. Jacob and I got in first and saved seats for Justin and Brugos. The whole thing was really low pressure. I LOVE this festival.

The movie, however, totally sucked. The script was heavy handed and repetitive. The child acting was rather poor, and the whole thing lasted about 40 minutes longer than it needed to. Still, it’s hard to be TOO upset about a bad movie when you are being served beer whilst watching it.

After the movie, we attempted to meet up with Andrew, Derek & Aiyana, but they were in a venue we couldn’t get into without wrist bands. So instead, we went to the rooftop bar right NEXT to where they were. It was actually the best possible place to be if you couldn’t get into the venue, because we were able to hear the band clear as day. And the super-secret band in question? The Flaming Lips! They opened with a spot on cover of “Bohemian Rhapsody”. We heard another 4 or 5 songs before we had to split to catch a midnight movie.

We went back to the Alamo Downtown to watch “Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon”. It starts off documentary style as an aspiring slasher killer prepares to fulfill his destiny as the next horror legend. It’s a very cleverly scripted, well acted, suspenseful and funny movie. It ended being the best movie we saw at SXSW and I really hope the guys get distribution for it.

After the movie, it was definitely sleepy-time for us.

THURSDAY

While Jacob went off to catch some bands down South Lamar way, I met Brugos downtown. We finally met up with Andrew, Derek & Aiyana at Emo’s. We were able to catch the end of a set by a band that I’d never heard before but REALLY liked, called The Research. They consisted of a girl bass player, girl drummer and guy with a tiny Casio keyboard on his lap. Their songs were light and fun and I really wanted to hear more of them.

We sat in the backyard area of Emo’s at a picnic table and had some refreshing beverages in the sun for a while. Eventually, Derek & Aiyana had plans to catch a band elsewhere. Andrew, Brugos and I attempted to get into the Filter party, but they weren’t letting anyone without a wrist band in. Andrew was nice enough to forgo the party for a while, and went back to the Fox and Hound for drink.

Whilst there, Andrew saw a band that he recognized, called Hotchip, and he said hello. Andrew is such a scenester.

Brugos and I were severely hankering to check out Peter Pan mini golf. It was a really nice day and the timing felt right. Andrew wasn’t into it, so he went back to find Derek & Aiyana, and Brugos and I trekked across the bridge to our mini golf destinies.

Peter Pan mini golf is AWESOME!! First of all, there’s no discernable reason why Peter Pan gets the whole thing named after him, since there’s no theme within the course itself. There’s one hole which features pan, another hole with a nazi pirate and one hole with a VERY small crocodile head, but, as far as I can recall, there were no whales, big red dogs, giant angry bunnies or T-Rexes in Peter Pan. It didn’t matter though. The randomness was part of its charm.

Another part of its charm was the fact that most of the hole involved shooting balls into the mouths of things and having them shoot out what can only be described as their butts. Whoever designed this park had a definite fetish.

It turns out Brugos and I are worthy adversaries in the game of mini golf. I beat him by 1 point the first round, and he barely beat me in the second. And both of us were pretty close to par.

After getting our fill of mini golf, we hopped on the ‘Dillo and met everyone back at Emo’s. We got there just in time to catch the end of an Of Montreal set. Andrew texted Sherwood to tell him that they played an awesome cover of “The Final Countdown”. (Which Brugos and I sadly missed). Sherwood apparently didn’t know who sent him the message so he texted back “Thank you for the information, kind stranger”.

Next on the agenda was to find some dinner. Since we needed to be back by the bridge later that evening for Spoon and Echo and the Bunnymen, we headed toward a sub shop in the area.

On the way, we crossed back over the bridge just in time to see the thousands of bats who dwell underneath, leaving their home for the night to find food. It was really cool looking, but, unfortunately, I was on the wrong side of the bridge to take a picture. The one I took makes them look like birds or a cloud of dust.

At the sub shop, I had the most AMAZING vegetarian chicken sandwich and a piece of carrot cake. I will never forget you, veggie chicken sandwich.

We got to the big outdoor venue in time catch the Spoon set. Cherry, Brugos, Jacob and I got suckered into buying some “alcoholic” frozen drinks for $7 in novelty plastic coconuts. Said drinks were nothing more than frozen Boon’s and it was impossible to finish them. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Brugos took advantage of the free mini Spam burgers from the happy Spam truck. Jacob took off to get a closer look at the stage, and Cherry, Brugos and I rested our barking dogs under a tent.

Echo came on and they sounded really good from where we were sitting. I felt no desire to get closer to the stage. Near the end of the set, we wandered around looking for beer, but could only find bud. Eventually, we settled on Tecates. Jacob appeared and we left during the encore to avoid the crowd.

On our way back across the bridge, I saw what is currently my favorite piece of graffiti ever: “Fuck Ice Cream”. Some poor lactose intolerant person felt the need to express their frustration in permanent maker on a bridge. I feel their pain.

The plan was to meet Justin and Andrew at a show back downtown. Unfortunately, the venue where we were to meet them had become wrist bands only. If we’d gotten there slightly earlier, we probably could have gotten in. Regrettably, Justin had already PAID to get in, and he hadn’t yet met Andrew, who was already in the venue.

I saw this as an opportunity to try and get into the Twilight Singers show. I wasn’t terribly optimistic that we would be able to get in, but I wanted to check out the line, so we headed over there and scoped out the scene.

During the music part of SXSW, there’s a lot of “wait and see” time. We were told that they MIGHT let in 25-30 more non-wristband people if they got the word from on-high to do so. So we waited in line. Meanwhile, Brugos called Justin and told him to hurry up and get to the club. Before long, they started to let us in. Justin was still nowhere to be found and not answering his cell, so Brugos did all he could by texting the word “run”.

We all paid our money, got in, and set about finding a good place to lurk. I got my first bizarre interpretation of a Greyhound of the trip, which featured a cherry. (Later, they mixed it up by putting salt on the rim the cup.) We sat next to a wooden statue of some Robert E. Lee looking dude. Miraculously, Justin WAS able to get in. We found out later that it was an error on the part of the door men because the show was over capacity and the fire chief threatened to shut the whole thing down.

Thankfully, that didn’t happen, because the Twilight Singers put on an AMAZING show. Holy shit! I forgot how engaging a musician Greg Dulli is. He’s looking pretty bloated these days, but when he starts singing, he’s still as sexy as ever. I was once again an enraptured 17-year-old girl.

The downside to us being over capacity was that there was NO WAY that Cherry and Justin could go outside for a smoke and get let back in. They overcame adversity, however, when they noticed that members of the band were actually smoking. SO they threw caution to the wind and lit up.

After the show, I saw Greg signing autographs and decided I wanted a picture with the big sweat man. Just as I approached him, he began to head outside. He said he’d take a picture with me if I came outside, so Brugos and I begged the doorman to let us back in after and he agreed. Cherry and Justin were also able to bargain their way outside for a cigarette.

Once outside, Greg seemed very distracted. And by distracted, I mean he was hammered. He was busy hugging people and I felt like an utter tool standing there waiting for him to remember why I was standing there. I gave up and went back inside. But Brugos stayed outside and Cherry eventually got a picture with him. I wouldn’t be surprised if he thought that Cherry and I were actually the same girl.

Back inside the club, the New Amsterdams were setting up. The New Amsterdams are made up of the pussy half of The Get Up Kids. (The rock half went on to form Reggie and the Full Effect). I used to be really into both halves of the The Kids. Turns out, I’m over that. I was SO bored during their set. Cherry and I gabbed loudly through it and annoyed the piss out of Jacob, who actually moved to the other side of the stage to get away from us.

An evil lady came around with free samples of Jack and Coke, which I had the good sense to refuse. It still amazes me how much free stuff was CONSTANTLY being thrown around for the sake of advertising. And how much of that stuff was actually alcohol based. Did I mention I LOVE this festival?

After the show, we headed out into the post-last call infested streets. We lost Justin and had to scout around for him. When we finally found him, he was sitting on a curb, surrounded by newspapers…ASLEEP. I really wish I’d taken a picture before I called out his name. It was so adorably sad looking.

After we woke Justin up, we went on a mission for food. There was a line for the “Best Wurst” which went around the block. I ducked into a convenience store and bought some Chex Mix. Justin and Brugos settled in Gyros.

Fully carbed, we headed to Cherry’s car. Justin said he had to pee and disappeared. Unfortunately, Cherry and I ALSO had to pee, and we weren’t about to follow Justin under a bridge to do so. We hoped he was just on his way back, but 10 minutes later, he was still nowhere to be found. Brugos insisted that we should just leave and he would find his own way. Apparently, this is pretty normal behavior for him.

Just as we were about to pull onto the freeway, Justin called. He had apparently made friends with a hobo under the bridge. I’m thinking of creating a children’s story character based on Justin.

FRIDAY

Cherry picked us all up around 11:30 and we drove to Japanese Garden type venue where were saw an adorable band called Little Brazil. They were serving free beer (some of it green. Happy St. Paddy’s!). It was way too early for beer for me, but Brugos and Justin partook. I saw a guy who, for a while, had me convinced it was Zach Galifianakis. But upon closer inspection, and spy-camera tactics, I realized it was just an indie musician doppelganger. Bummer.

Next, we went back to Headhunters to see a band called Von Iva who Jacob had encountered in San Fran. They were a really rocking all girl band and very animated for so early in the day. Cherry and I each bought a CD and the lead singer said that if we liked the show at 1:30, we should catch them at night because then they would be at 100% capacity.

Jacob had devised a tight schedule for us to follow. But rule #3 of SXSW music fest is to never PLAN on anything. Bands cancel, shows get moved. You can never be sure what’s actually going to happen. Because of that, we rather unexpectedly ended up at the Emo’s Annex, watching Patton and Aziz Ansari doing warm-up bits in between band sets. We got to see Patton do his Black Angus bit, which is NEVER not eye-wateringly funny.

Once again, we lucked into a place right before it was over capacity. Andrew was not so lucky. He really wanted to get in to see the next band. We were already in and ambivalent. Andrew was stuck in a line outside. We planned on leaving which would, hopefully, free up some space for Andrew to get in eventually. But before we left, Cherry and I wanted to introduce ourselves to Aziz and tell him how much we enjoyed his set at Emo’s. He was really nice and made small talk with us. He noted that there were a lot of people stuck in line outside. I agreed and said that my friend Andrew was one of those people and that he really wanted to get in to see the next band. Aziz IMMEDIATLEY volunteered to BRING ANDREW IN THROUGH THE BACKSTAGE ENTRANCE! What?! Seriously?! I just MET you, threw a few compliments your way and you volunteer a favor like that? The Comedians of Comedy are the nicest people on the face of the Earth.

Aziz followed me to the entrance and I pointed out Andrew, who was “the guy in the Ghostbusters t-shirt and aviator glasses” and Aziz went out, grabbed Andrew, and took him around to the back. Unbelievable. I should send that guy a basket of muffins or something.

We had a little time to kill, so we went to find some food. I scored an incredible Portobello and bri burger, and got yet another weird interpretation of a greyhound, this time with a lime.

Next we went to see if the Brian Jonestown Massacre was indeed going to play a show. They weren’t. Our plan B was to catch Clap your Hands Say Yeah. Of course, the line for that was around the block. Jacob was determined to wait in it. The rest of us were kind of restless. First, Cherry, Justin and I wandered around to see if we could get in anywhere else. Justin toted around a rebar that he’d found. Perhaps he had hoped to intimidate someone into letting us in? No such luck. Back in line, we noticed that there was a very large hill above the venue. Even if we couldn’t SEE anything from on the hill, it would be a great place to sit and have a drink while listening to the band. Cherry waited in line with Jacob while Justin, Brugos and I went off to find a liquor store. We bought some champagne and a six-pack of cider and checked back in line. Cherry and Jacob had moved quite a bit, but the door man was saying that they weren’t letting anyone else in. This was our cue to carry on with the Drinking on the Hill Plan. Jacob persisted in waiting in line and the rest of us scouted a way onto the hill. Cherry suddenly realized she was very tired and left us. Justin, Brugos and I found a nice little spot on the hill, waved to Jacob in line, and cracked open some beer. It wasn’t long before other people joined us. Soon, the hill was full of people, and we felt pretty cool for being the pioneers of a really good idea.

Jacob eventually made it in to the venue, but somehow got confused and thought he’d missed Clap Your Hands, so he joined us on the hill. He got there just in time for the unmistakable sounds of CYHSY’s first song. Doh! I think he made the right decision though. The hill was the place to be.

After our hill party, we went to another venue to check out some bands that were on Jacob’s list. The rest of us weren’t feeling any of them though. We stuck it out for as long as we could, before resolving to wander around instead.

We easily snuck into a party at the Speakeasy, a place we’d been briefly a few nights before. We ordered some drinks and killed time on their cushy couches. The plan was to attempt to get into the world premiere of “Slither” at midnight.

But like I said, plans are not easily kept in Austin. As we headed out, I realized I no longer had my cell phone. This was bad. Jacob had left his cell phone in the hotel so the only way I could get ahold of him would be to find him at the movie. But the time we got to the theatre, he had already been let in. There was no way all of us could get in, but I was able to go with my badge (thank god for that) and find Jacob. I told him I’d lost my phone and, even if I could sit down for the movie, I didn’t want to because I’d be worried about my phone the whole time.

As I emerged from the theatre, I saw a familiar face. It was the Creepy Dude who’d kidnapped up in his van! I instinctively changed course, hoping that he wouldn’t see Brugos and Justin, but when I looked back, I saw that he had.

I reluctantly approached the group and said hello to him. He asked me when I’d lost my phone. I could tell he was hoping it had been days ago, thus providing an explanation as to why I hadn’t called. I told him that it was just a few hours ago. He seemed pretty pissed about that. He and Brugos took turns calling my phone while Justin went back to the Speakeasy to ask around in there. Finally, someone answered my phone. They said they were a waiter at Speakeasy and they would hold the phone until we came and got it. Just then, Justin walked around the corner talking into my phone. Silly Justin.

The first crisis was averted, but Creepy Dude wanted to hang out. We said we were tired and were going back to our hotel. He offered us a ride. We said we’d get a cab. He got the hint and angrily walked away. I felt kinda bad, but I wasn’t in the mood to have my urine collected that night.

SXSW Recap Part 2

SUNDAY
Oh we had plans for the day. Such plans. And then we passed Coyote Ugly and two large, bald bouncers pitched us with $2 Bloody Marys. We collected Brugos from his breakfast of Crawfish and resolved to have 1 drink at Coyote Ugly and maybe wander around town before going to see a movie at 4:30.

Jacob put the first round on his card. The bartender told us there was a $10 min so of course that was easily solved by ordering another “quick” round. We took in the décor. The bartender, who’s name was Trish, joked around with us. I never caught the name of the other bartender, but I’ll just call her “Yoko”, on account of her distinctive singing style and generally insanity. Random frat guys came and went, but mostly we had the place to ourselves. One frat guy revealed (or perhaps pretended) that it was his birthday, so Yoko wrote on his back with a Sharpie: “Enter Here” with an arrow pointing to his ass. Every once in a while, the girls would get on the bar and do a choreographed dance to a song. They played ice cube tiddlywinks. Yoko put the mic between her legs, pushed a guy’s face into it and yelled “I taste like Chicken!” She grabbed my camera and took a picture down her shirt and pants. She cut eye and mouth holes in a black plastic bag and put it on her head. She pranced around on a hobby horse. She put the bag ON the hobby horse and pranced around some more. It was a never-ending circus of crazy hot chicks and somehow we found round after round in front of us. Somewhere around the 4th drink, we forfeited going to the movie. I was having so much fun, I bought the wifebeater. While I was picking out my shirt, I saw a cigar case and couldn’t resist buying one. Trish kept trying to get me to do something with her. She suggested that we hula hoop, but I assured her that the only way in which I could get the thing to stay on my hips would be if I used one that was way too small. She slowly wore me down with alcohol and conversation until she finally convinced me to actually get on the bar and “just stand in front of the fan”. Once I got up there, I felt stupid just standing still, so I started dancing. I made it through half a song and then sat back down again, miraculously to a round of applause. That one definitely goes on my very short list of Things I Never in A Million Years Thought I Would Do Without a Gun to My Head.

After that, I was ready to smoke my cigar. Jacob bought one too, and the 3 of us went to the back porch.

We finally headed out after my songs played on the juke box.

Let his be a lesson: No one is safe from the Magic of the Coyote Ugly.

Next we did a little drunken wandering and ended up at the Hilton bar where I’d read was a good place to schmooze. It wasn’t. Or, at least, not that night. Instead, we decided to check out yet another Irish pub called Mother Egan’s, this time for karaoke.

Am I ever glad we did. Despite exhaustion from having already been drunk once that day, their selection was AMAZING. SO MUCH BRIT POP! These people had Oasis B-Sides! They had Peter Schilling! Jacob sang “Common People” and “Girls and Boys”. I got to sing a guilty pleasure song “Karma Killer” by Robbie Williams to a very small crowd of Austiners. One of the other bar patrons was a skinny lad in a white, homemade t-shirt and a plastic MP hat who had some interesting stage moves. This spawned a new game “Drunk or Weird”. It was later determined that this fellow, named Brian, was a little of both. He was nice though. And so were his friends. Around 1, Jacob and I decided to take our leave of the bar scene and get some sleep. Brugos stayed behind to hang with our new friends.

Jacob and I walked to edge of downtown to gas station so I could get a big bottle of water. Then we waited on the corner for ages for a cab to come along. As we waited, the station attendant chased some teenagers out of the car wash. I guess they had been peeing in there.

Finally, a cab pulled in and picked us up. It pulled away JUST as some serious shit started going down behind us. He sort of scolded us and asked us what we were doing at that gas station at 1:30 in the morning. He said next time to wait in town, because the gas stations along the highway get robbed about once a month. He attributed it to vagrants coming up from New Orleans.

The cabbie later revealed that he had come to Austin to be a filmmaker.

MONDAY

Jacob and I decided to finally spend the morning doing something useful. We went to a distribution panel and a theatrical acquisitions panel. I had a celebrity sighting in the form of Judah Friedlander. That’s one of those sightings that would be absolutely meaningless to most people.

After the panels, we headed to McCormick & Schmick’s (yes, there’s one in Austin too) for the Oklahoma Film Office party. A wiry fellow who’s voice sounded like a bad Woody Allen impression adopted me and Jacob for a while and told us, me especially, that we really needed to sell ourselves. While he talked to us, he called over everyone in the room on an individual basis and had them look at a trailer that he’d made in 3 days for SXSW.

Eventually, we were approached by one of the people in the film office (and also a waiter with booze…thank god), and we ended up pitching our movie to her. She said she really liked it and would love to read the script. She also tried to sell shooting in OK to us. Apparently, they have the same tax incentives for filmmakers that WA is trying to get right now. Hopefully the bill will pass in WA so that we don’t HAVE to shoot in OK.

After we warmed up with the first lady, we felt a little more comfortable. Everyone we talked to after that, though, also worked in the OK film office. We literally met and pitched our movie to everyone in the office. Granted, that’s only 3 people, but it still seemed kind of impressive to me.

We had planned to try and catch a screening of “The Notorious Betty Page” after the party, but by the time we got out of there, the line was wrapped around the block and there was no way we were getting in. T’was like free beer off a duck’s back, however, because who wants to see a movie about Betty Page that's starring A WOMAN WITH NO TITS OR ASS?!

Instead we changed course and went to a bar called The Ginger Man in search of dinner. We began to realize that while pubs in Seattle are an ideal place to eat, it is not the case in Austin. They didn’t even HAVE most of the stuff on the menu and what we did order was lackluster.

Not to worry. We eventually found our way to a filmmakers tent which was serving FREE TACOS, BEER AND ICE CREAM!! The nice lady at the door told us not to get the “nucular” unless we were really serious. Jacob, of course, heeded no such warning. Brugos got one regular and one “nucular”. I got a tortilla filled with cheese and tomatoes. They were still grilling the veggie meat. Eventually, the veggie meat was hot, so I got a new taco. I guess they decided to make the veggie tacos nucular too because one bite was enough for me. Luckily, ice cream and beer are the perfect combo for cooling off your mouth and stomach.

After our free taco orgy, we caught “Punk Like Me” at the Convention Center. Again, we had no trouble getting in, even though we were cutting it close to the show time. I love this festival.

The movie was cute and funny. Some of the animation conventions were a little irritating, but overall, I was entertained. During Q & A, the filmmakers mentioned their after party, so of course, we headed right over.

At the door, they checked IDs. They glanced briefly at our badges and we headed in. They stopped Brugos and asked him where his badge was. I said “He’s with us” and they actually waived him in. I can’t tell you how cool it made me feel that they didn’t see through my ruse of pretending to be someone important.

Next to the bar, there was an American Spirits booth where they were giving out FREE CIGARATTES. More and more, Austin was beginning to feel a bit like the American version of Amsterdam.

Outside in the courtyard, Jacob spotted the elusive Mark Bell and friends. We were very excited to hang out with Mark, who is hilarious and a lot of fun.

Just then, I spotted a familiar face walk past “Oh shit!” I said. “There’s Eugene Mirman!” “Who?” was everyone’s reply. So I pointed to the button on my bag and explained who he was. So they convinced me to go talk to him. One of Mark’s friends helped me out by approaching first (even though I was already on my way) and saying “Hey, that girl over there really wants to meet you”. Thanks, guy.

But it worked out just fine. Eugene was very approachable and friendly and we actually ended up talking for quite a while. Eventually, one of his friends arrived. She bore a VERY striking resemblance to Elyse and we told her so. She said she was often told she looks like people’s friends. That seemed odd to me because until then, I had never met anyone that looked like Elyse besides Elyse. Does everyone in New York look like that?

After a while, Eugene and his friends decided to go next door to check out the Red Bull party. He invited us to come along. We only got as far at the door, however. They said they weren’t letting anyone in if they weren’t on the list. Mark was on the list. For a few minutes, Jacob, Brugos and I were actually stuck outside of a party with Eugene Mirman. That is, until one of the door people recognized him and let him and Elyse in. But here’s the amazing part: As he was headed in, he actually said to us that he would try really hard to find someone in there who could get us in. Whether or not he really intended to do that, it was incredibly considerate of him to even mention it in the first place.

He didn’t have to keep his promise, however. A few minutes later, the door people waived us in. Inside we learned that the Mighty Mark Bell was responsible. I love that guy.

The Red Bull party was full of lots of crazy interactive stuff including some Matrix Alien type TV display, instruments, shadow dancing and, of course, tons of free Red Bull. Too bad I’m off the stuff ever since the Worst Bus Ride in History 2001.

The party wound down shortly after we got in there, but we still had time to take part in the festivities before cabbing it back to our hovels.

TUESDAY
I woke up SOOOOO hung over. Despite much adversary, including me being wicked hung over, realizing on the bus that I’d forgotten my badge and having to walk 20 minutes back to the hotel, Jacob and I still somehow made it to the Ain’t It Cool News panel. We only missed the first 10 minutes or so. It turned out fine because the panel went over by 30-minutes.

Afterward, I gave Harry a DVD, and we ran into Mark again. Mark was pretty much done with work, so he had time to get some food with us. We waited a while for his boss to get done with work and then we met up with Brugos and headed to the Taco Shack for a little taco breakfast.

The Taco Shack was probably not the best choice for my hangover, but I’m not really sure what would have gone down right at that moment. We got our food and sat at the tables outside. Everyone was feeling pretty rough right then, including Mark’s boss. He asked us what we did for a living and Jacob and I told him we were filmmakers. The conversation naturally went to our projects but unfortunately, Jacob and I were not at ALL in pitch mode. What followed was basically a reality check from a guy who has been in the business for a while and has had a lot of experience with indie filmmakers and first-time features and people biting off more than they can chew. He told us that our plan was probably on too grand a scale and that he would hate for us to fail so miserably that we never make another movie again. He had some really good points, and said some stuff that was kind of hard to hear, but he also make us feel like we were actually pretty prepared. He made a lot of suggestions for things that we had either already thought of or already taken care of. I definitely think we’re much further along and foresighted than a lot of our feature-virgin brethren. I just wish I hadn’t felt like I was going to throw up the entire hour and a half that we talked.

After we said goodbye to Mark and the Boss, we set to wandering. The idea was to too find a park so that I could take a nap. Little did I know then that while we were sitting outside having our Hollywood brunch, I was developing a nice harsh sunburn.

Hangover + Sunburn = worst hangover ever.

As we waited for the bus that would take us to the park, it became increasingly apparent to me that if I was too make it to the evening’s festivities, I would need to lie down in a bed with a giant bottle of water, and soon. Brugos headed to the springs without us and Jacob took my sorry ass back to the hotel for a nap. A while later, I woke up feeling only slightly better. My face now resembled that of an Irish priest on a 3-day bender (which, I suppose, wasn’t that far off).

Shortly after I woke up and tended to my burns, Cherry called, followed by Brugos, to sort out the evening plans. Jacob headed off to have dinner with a colleague and Brugos and I strolled up to the Red River café, which was a suggested dining location from Derek. I ate what I could, but was starting to get the old Sunburn Fever which was taking all kinds of liberties with my faculties. I tried iced tea, hot tea, water and food, but nothing was really helping. Still, I pressed on.

Brugos and I decided to walk to Emo’s, the venue wherein we would see the Comedians of Comedy show that night. It was a really lovely walk through the UT campus and I think it helped. Regardless, by the time we got to Emo’s, I knew I had better find a bathroom quickly. I raced past everyone in line and dashed into a restaurant with a clearly labeled sign “Restrooms for Customers Only”. Sorry, dudes. It was either disobey your policy or throw up on your doorstep. I think my decision benefited both of us.

We walked back toward the Emo’s line and found Cherry, who was befuddled as to why we had gone right by her the first time. Luckily, she was right at the front of the line, so we didn’t have long to wait before getting in and securing a nice spot right at the front of the stage. In retrospect, this was the worst possible place for me to be, but at the time it seemed like a great idea.

I thought perhaps a little hair of the dog would help. Not so. It wasn’t long before my stomach was empty once again. I decided to lay off the drink for the rest of the night. We were introduced to a young, possible couple called Robbie and Robert, who were both quite drunk already.

Meanwhile, Justin and Jacob were waiting in the ginormous line outside. They had not yet met so we couldn’t consolidate our efforts for getting them in. For some reason, the line wasn’t moving at all. Eventually, they both got in to the very packed house. Justin made fast friends with Robbie (who looked like a young, Hot Topic version of Val Kilmer). My area was getting smaller and more smoke-filled and it wasn’t long before I had to run back to the bathroom. I thought that surely this time, I had nothing left to give. I was wrong. A word of advice: If you find yourself nauseous in Austin, the worst possible place to be is in the Emo’s ladies room. The stalls are not only tiny, which prevents you from being able to kneel without literally hugging the toilet, but also the toilets themselves are FILTHY, which only makes you want to throw up more. I had to pay a total of 3 visits to my new frenemy that night.

The show started and Patton kicked things off with a warm-up. Throughout the night, he performed during the interludes and then did a longer set at the end. The first comedian was pretty terrible. Very Comedy Central: Premium Blend blasé. But everyone else was really good. I’d never heard of Aziz Ansari before, but the guy was HILARIOUS. I wish he’d gotten to do a longer set and I hope to get to see him again in the future.

Eugene Mirman did some bits I’d seen before, and one hilarious “impression” of Darth Vader lip synching to a Belle and Sebastian song before having a nervous breakdown.

As much as I love the Comedians of Comedy, I will never again situate myself in the front row for a show wherein alcohol is being served. Drunken indie kids are some of the most IRRITATING and non-sensical hecklers I have ever encountered. Mostly, their heckling consisted of them loudly repeating one word or phrase from a joke and then laughing at themselves. In my ear. I was also surrounded by smoke. Of course, this would never be a problem in Seattle, and usually, it doesn’t bother me. But I was in no state to be barraged with inane yelling and cigarette smoke at that moment.

At one point, apparently, Robbie began to take some swigs from a little vial containing clear liquid. We hypothesized about what he could be doing. Was he taking GBH? Was he roofying himself in case Robert didn’t want to take him home that night? Who knows with the kids anymore.

Robbie also spent about 20 minutes leaning on me to take picture after picture of Patton on his camera phone. No. More. Front. Row.

After the show, I realized that I hadn’t gotten a picture with Eugene the night before, so I went over to ask him for one. Brugos went with me and talked to Elyse 2 again. Eugene’s response to my asking for a picture was “Of course. Because no one would believe this otherwise.”

Jacob and I waited around for a while to introduce ourselves to Patton. He was swigging from a bottle of Scotch, being very personable and generally very excited to talk to his fans. I honestly can’t believe how nice all the guys in that group are.

As we reconvened and tried to figure out what to do with the rest of our night, we were approached by a guy who had been standing behind us during the show. He followed us to Club DeVille, where we were getting a night cap. He bought two rounds of drinks since it was last call. 20 minutes later, we had to down the drinks and leave.

There was nothing much left to do with the night, so we said we were getting a cab to go back to our hotels. Our new friend, instead, offered us a ride home in his van. Yes, I realize how that sounds now. But in our fragile states, it sounded like a grand idea. We told him that our hotels were north. He headed south. At first, I thought perhaps he, being a local, just knew a super secret way to the freeway. Cherry mentioned that she had to pee, and he suggested that she use the toilet AT HIS HOUSE. We said “that’s ok, we can just go back to the hotel”. We continued south. Cherry said again that she had to pee. “Let me just take you to my house,” he said again. “It’s closer.” Sure, NOW it’s closer since you’ve been DRIVING FOR 10 MINUTES IN THE WRONG DIRECTION.

We pulled into his driveway. Jacob and I grumpily stayed in the car. Brugos and Justin wisely accompanied Cherry into the house. After Cherry went to the bathroom, apparently, she checked out the guy’s kitchen and asked for a beer. His fridge was FULL of beer, but he kept giving weird excuses to her about why he couldn’t give her one. “That’s the last one,” he said. “Those beers are expensive.” “I’m saving those.”

Is he, perhaps, collecting urine samples and only offers beer to those house guests who can’t go to the bathroom? Does he hide his urine samples in sealed beer bottles in his fridge? We’ll never know.

Eventually, they came back to the car. Finally, we can go home, thought I. But then Cherry wanted cigarettes. “I’LL GIVE YOU SOME CIGARETTES,” said Brugos. But Creepy Dude insisted on taking Cherry to 7-11. Was 7-11 on the way to our hotel? OF COURSE NOT! It was east. So now we were south east of where we wanted to go and we had been in the car for 40 minutes. We could have walked home by then. We are fools.

At a stop light, he slammed on the breaks and slid into the intersection, narrowly missing an oncoming car. We wanted to go home. He pulled into the 7-11 parking lot and we anxiously watched Cherry buy cigarettes. After she got back in the car, Creepy Dude at long last said “Now I’ll take you back to your hotel.”

He got on the freeway going north. Salvation was in sight. At our hotel, everyone got out of the van. Brugos decided to call a cab. The extra $7 or $8 would be worth it not to get chopped into little pieces. The Creepy Dude made sure to give me his phone number right before we got out. Sure dude. I’ll give you a call next time I have to pee…

SXSW Recap Part 1

SATURDAY
I woke up at the ass crack of dawn. Brugos hired a town car to take us to the airport. I said goodbye to the kitties and hauled by suitcase down the stairs. It was early. I am not into early. My stomach gets all rumbly. But we still made it to the airport with enough time for me to grab a nice stomach-settling breakfast of coke and Chex mix. Since it was going to be a long day, Brugos also bought us sandwiches for later. Mine was a no-frills cheese sandwich: white bread and 3 slices of cheese. No mayo, mustard or lettuce. Fuck you, vegetarians.

On the first flight there was a movie. Most of the time, I will watch the airplane movie no matter how bad it sounds. That’s how I know that “Sweet November” is one of the most ridiculously clichéd scripts every written, or that “The Princess Diaries 2” is so embarrassing that it almost cancels out the triumphs of the early the careers of Julie Andrews and Michael Caine. But I just couldn’t bring myself to shell out $5 for “The Family Stone”. The trailer they showed features lots of yelling and falling. But as Brugos and I talked through it, it appeared that the trailer was pretty misleading about the slapstick. Mostly, actors just stood there and talked to each other. And whatever they were saying was apparently HILARIOIUS to everyone around us with headphones. Still, I feel I made the right decision on this one.

We quickly changed planes in Dallas and hopped on a smaller plane. The flight was only about 35 minutes long so we were pretty sure there would be no drink service. But lo and behold, right after the captain announced that we would begin our decent in 10 minutes, the stewardess brought out the drink cart. Brugos thought this the perfect opportunity squeeze in a Gin and Tonic, but the Stewardess had other plans. “You don’t have time to drink a Gin and Tonic”, she said. Brugos protested that he could drink one pretty quickly in a pinch. She didn’t believe him. We’d get non-alcoholic beverages or we’d get nothing and we’d like it. Why she didn’t just say “We’re not serving alcohol right now” instead of making a character judgment about the speed at which he can consume a drink, I don’t know. I’ve since come to the conclusion that Texan stewardesses are a surly bunch.

We landed and met Jacob, who had been dropping off his rental car. The three of us hopped in a cab and headed to our respective hotels, with the requisite careless cabbie at the helm. Jacob and I checked into the Days Inn and freshened up. I changed out of my heavy dark winter clothes into my thin, dark summer clothes. We downed some delicious, wet-dog infused tap water and then headed to the bus stop to go downtown. The first stop was the Convention Center to pick up our film badges.

Already, everyone in town seemed to be revealing themselves as extremely and genuinely friendly. I hadn’t realized how much I’d trained myself to ignore strangers who call out to you on the street. In Seattle, it either means they want money, they want to canvas you, or they just want to talk to you at length about some sort of conspiracy involving the government, the police and/or badgers. In Austin, they want to tell you that you dropped something or that you have nice hair. It takes some getting used to.

After picking up our badges, we grabbed our schwag bags which were nice SXSW canvas bags filled to the brim with magazines and ads and two bottled of flavored Aquafina each. Since paper is extremely heavy, and we had miles to go before we slept, we emptied as much useless crap as we could into a garbage can. The thing still weighed a ton though.

We met Brugos on 6th street for dinner. We were pretty hungry by then, so we weren’t too picky. We settled on an Irish Pub for our first Austin meal. On our way in, Brugos ran into someone he knew from childhood, thus cementing him as the surrogate Ben for the trip.

Brugos and I shared some sub-par queso and quesadillas and Jacob had the Irish stew. That’s what we get for going to an Irish pub for Mexican food.

We decided to catch a 9:30 showing of “Brothers of the Head” at the Alamo South Lamar. We had plenty of time and it was a beautiful (albeit hot) night, so we decided to walk. Brugos was none-too-pleased with his digs at the Super 8, which was much further north than our hotel, so we foolishly thought we would see if we could find a room in a different, less dodgy and inconvenient hotel.

As we walked, I answered a call from my mom. I never would have picked up if I’d known what was about to transpire. I had been worried that she was mad at me, after she’d called my office the week before and hadn’t wanted to speak to me. Turns out she WAS mad at me, since the last time she was in town, I’d told her to cool it with the “What the Bleep” talk. Perhaps I hadn’t phrased it in the nicest possible way, but she didn’t seem so hurt at the time so I thought I didn’t apologize. Apparently, she took it to mean that she couldn’t tell me ANYTHING anymore, and didn’t know what to say to me. That’s why she didn’t tell me until that night that her mom was sick and she had to go East to tend to her. Yeesh.

So this lead into a marathon argument about whether or not what she believes in is a religion or a methodology and whether or not I was a closed-minded asshole for not trying out every single “cure” that she learned in her workshops. She used logic like “you can see gravity or wind, but you can feel it” to explain it all to me. Finally, I told her I was an atheist, thinking this might better explain where I was coming from. She got really quiet for a minute and then said in the most hurt voice I’ve ever heard, “So you don’t believe in anything just like Ray…”. I explained to her that my lack of “faith” had nothing to do with my father, since it was a conclusion I came to entirely independently of him. Furthermore, it didn’t mean that I didn’t believe in ANYTHING, just that I didn’t follow any of the existing faiths. She still didn’t believe that this didn’t make me an immoral heathen, so I attempted to convince her that basically all of my closest friends are also atheists and they are all very nice, very moral people. At one point, in response to my saying that I wanted to be able to hang out with her whilst agreeing to disagree, she told me that if she had to censor herself around me that it made me “as bad at people who burn books”.

As my mom compared me to Hitler, Jacob and Brugos noticed that we were all hopelessly lost. We were in a very suburban looking area with little promise of stumbling across a movie theatre. As they stood in the road scrutinizing maps, some folks who were drinking beer on their porch called out to us “Hey, are y’all lost”. Unbelievable Austin hospitality struck again. The lovely people not only told us how to get to the theater (we weren’t that far off track), but they also gave Brugos a beer.

At that point, the argument with my mom was winding down, but I still couldn’t hang up. As we walked in the direction of the theatre, an SUV pulled up behind us. It only took us a second to realize that it was one of the people from the house. He offered us a ride which we graciously accepted. My mom finally guessed that I was a little busy and let me off the phone.

We got to the theatre 10 minutes before the movie was to start. Knowing what we did about the structure of other film festivals, it seemed hopeless that we would get in, but we decided to try anyway. Miraculously, Jacob and I were let right through with our film badges. We said we’d try to save Brugos a seat, thinking he was out of luck. To our surprise, the theatre was only about half full and Brugos came in about 3 minutes later with no problems.

I really liked “Brothers of the Head”. Thematically, it’s a lot like “Twin Falls Idaho” but, I suppose there are only so many different themes one can explore in regards to young, attractive conjoined twins. The music was also really good. It was very authentic for the style they were going for (early 70's pop/punk). And lucky us, we even got free CDs featuring music from the film.

Next, we decided to try and catch the bus back into town for the “after party” at Maggie Mae’s. When a bus finally showed, the driver told us that he was “not going downtown”. However, after it drove off, it became apparent to us that it was at least getting pretty NEAR to downtown. It was then that we realized that Austin is not a bus city. Not only are there no schedules ANYWHERE to be found, but people seem to think that if the bus isn’t dropping you off at your door, it’s not the bus you want.

We got some quick reinforcements at a gas station and waited for a cab. While waited, Brugos and I were mesmerized by a giant orange T-Rex which who clearly resided in a mini-golf course. This was Peter Pan mini-golf, and we resolved to go back before the week was out. Seeing our new dexterously challenged friend also allowed us to conceive a new character: Rex T, the foppish T-Rex. Stay tuned for his adventures.

Our cab driver was very surprised when we told him our destination. “You don’t look like the type of people who would want to go to Maggie Mae’s,” he said. Apparently, both the bar, and 6th street in general is usually the fratty part of town. We explained to him that we were attending an after party for a film. Evidently, he was more correct than we were. The “after party” was letting everyone in off the street. The Filmmakers, from what we could tell, didn’t even go into the bar. Perhaps they couldn’t afford to reserve the place? Regardless, we had a few drinks and then hopped into a cab to go back to our hotels. In a small town moment, we realized that it was the same cabbie who picked us up from the airport.