Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Hey, Baby, Que Paso?

Holy shit, time goes by fast. I do owe you a follow-up: for the starter smackdown/ cookie contest, I made sausage balls and the Tartine gingerbread cookies. I really hesitated on the cookies, because I hatehatehatehate rolling out dough, but I was pretty happy with the way they turned out, so I guess you can say it was worth it. The cookies took third place, in spite of my FORMER BFF's not voting for me because she doesn't like "those old-fashioned, cake-like cookies." You are dead to me LVC. See if you get any maxi-pad crafted Christmas gift from me this year.

Another awesome party we went to was the East End Christmas Toy Drive and Freddy Fender Tribute Concert. Los Skarnales and Umbrella Man played, and they were fucking fantastic. I'm still amazed that Umbrella Man hasn't broken out more--I expect they will be any day. [They're supposed to have a new album almost ready.] You can check them out on YouTube; my favorite live performance is "Cumbia del Sol."

The party also featured a side-show by the Latin Fantasy Lowrider Club. My favorite car had these murals of absurdly voluptuous Aztec goddesses. You think I'd be used to it, but it's still so embarrassing to see my image airbrushed on cars.

party poster via Orange Show
car photo via Dipity

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Holidays on the TeeVee

Here is an amazing guide that not only includes movies, but also Christmas episodes of shows in re-runs. In case you missed Coach, "My True Love Gave to Me," back when it first aired.

I will be setting the DVR for:

Scrooged, Wednesday 11/30 at 9 pm (CST) on AMC.
Santa Buddies, Thursday 12/1 at 7 pm on Disney Channel.
Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Friday 12/2 at 7 pm on ABC Family.
Home Alone, Saturday 12/3 at 5:10 pm on Encore.
Crazy Christmas Lights (special), Saturday 12/3 at 6 pm on TLC.
The Nightmare Before Christmas, Saturday 12/3 at 11 pm on ABC Family.
A Charlie Brown Christmas, Monday 12/5 at 7 pm on ABC.
Disney's Prep and Landing 2, Monday 12/5 at 7:30 pm on ABC.
The Pink Panther in: A Pink Christmas, Wednesday 12/7 at 5 pm on ABC Family.
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Wednesday 12/7 at 8 pm on ABC Family.
The Muppet Christmas Carol, Friday 12/09 at 12 noon on Discovery Kids (HUB).
Frosty the Snowman, Friday 12/09 at 7 pm on CBS.
Elf, Saturday 12/10 at 12:00 noon on USA.

In It to Win It

So I'm invited to this cookie swap/contest again this year, and this year it also includes a "starter smackdown." So I have TWO CHANCES to win this thing. Come on people; help me out. Your best cookie recipe and your best appetizer recipe. Or even just tell me what you would most want to see in the competition.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

What mamacita is...

Thanksgiving edition

I have to agree with my friend Mike that this isn't my favorite of Sarah Vowell's books, but it's still a good read.

And now back to bed with that bottle of Nyquil.

Friday, November 18, 2011

How Married People Fight

"Don't fuck with me, son, I'll make you watch Wendy Williams."

Monday, November 14, 2011

Ren Fest Best Practices

Papi had to hurry and finish his turkey leg before the Birds of Prey show started.

Man, I love the Texas Renaissance Festival. We go every year with the kids. In the interest of public service, here's my list of Best Practices for the festival.

[1:21 video from School of Sword]

Buying a ticket:
  • This year there was a pretty good offer at Urban Dealight (sic)--something to keep in mind for next year.
  • If you try to buy on Craigslist, you won't get much of a discount, and it's usually people selling free passes they got in a pack. I used those one year, and they worked, but they made me awfully nervous. 
  • If you've missed getting another deal, try to buy the tickets from one of the retail outlets (HEB, Woodforest Bank) or buy them from the website (where there is a "convenience charge." GRRR.) They are more expensive at the gate.
  • This past weekend set attendance records--something like 42,000 on Saturday and 27,000 on Sunday. The lesson here is go on Sunday.
Click to enlarge.
The Night Before:
  • Print out your tickets (if you bought them online) as well as directions to the festival.
  • Check out the acts listed on the website and get an idea of what you might want to see. Most shows repeat every 1-2 hours, but it's good to know the times in advance.
  • We would never miss the Joust, the School of Sword, the Family Jewels (an ersatz gem mine) or the Falconer's show. There are also mud wrestlers, belly dancers, jugglers, musicians and just all kinds of other acts on EIGHTEEN stages. A few acts are PG-13, but these are clearly marked in the program, online and in person.
  • Also check out the map online and maybe even draw a rough sketch of it, noting the places you definitely want to see. [That's mine above.] You can get a real map at the festival, but this will help you get started.
  • Charge your cell phone.
  • Pack a tailgate! I'm always surprised that more people don't do this. I packed salami, cheese and crackers and some bottles of water in an insulated bag. You could go all out and bring wine, beer, etc.
  • We even brought an electric kettle (the car has an outlet) and packets of hot chocolate to drink at the end of the day, but it was way too warm for that. Don't forget the lawn chairs, napkins, cups knives, cutting board, etc.
  • Get some cash. Some places take plastic, but many of the food and drink vendors don't. His Majesty's ATMs levy a hefty charge. [Prices are pretty typical for a festival--bottles of coke for $2.50, etc.]
King Henry VIII giving Becca & our buddy Toby a chopping tutorial.

The Day of the Festival:
  • Wear light layers and your most comfortable walking shoes. There is period-appropriate mud all over the place, so be warned.
  • Leave reasonably early. Traffic gets bad within 10-15 miles of the festival. It took us about an hour and a half to get there from Oak Forest.
  • I always carry a small backpack to carry the crap the kids get, as well as Aleve and Icy Hot patches (because I'm 100 years old).
  • When you get inside you can buy a program with a map inside. [It will be mostly the same year-to-year, so you could hold on to it and reuse it.]
  • If you're traveling in a group, set meet-up times. I was there with a couple of teenagers, and we had them meet us at the performances we had planned to see, but walk around independently between those times.
  • You're supposed to tip the performers at the "free" shows. Make sure you keep some small bills on hand. You should also tip any of the people in elaborate costumes who stop to take photos with you. [Try to be subtle about it, though--it kinda takes everyone out of the moment to see Robin Hood taking a fiver.]
  • Take photos. The light is usually good, and everyone is having a good time.
Emmet showing off his sword skills to the King and Queen

    Saturday, November 12, 2011

    I dare you to go into Neiman's and pay with folded-up singles.

    I was going to say this must be a sign of the economic times, but it may in fact be a sign of the apocalypse.

    Tuesday, November 1, 2011

    Let's Get Excited for November

    October went out with a bang: two kids with gastrointestinal distress for Halloween. Onward and upward:

    Movember--I love it when people come together to do stupid shit like that
    Renaissance Festival
    Nonnie's birthday
    My mom's birthday
    Thanksgiving--hellz yeah, it's pie time, y'all. Nonnie and I will be cooking again. I've already been planning it for a month.

    Photo via Surviving Oz

    Saturday, October 29, 2011

    What mamacita is...

    Listening to

    Happy Halloween, y'all. Our party is tonight. I hope to have pics later this weekend.

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011

    Wednesday, October 19, 2011

    I Get Email

    from Daddy:
    Well, I went and bought some Rye and Sweet Vermouth in anticipation of creating the perfect Manhattan.   Results: Let's say I'm not a big fan of rye, but I can see acquiring the taste for it.  However, that vermouth crap is just NASTY!  Who can drink that shit and say they like the taste?  I had to catch the cat and lick his ass just to get that vermouth taste out of my mouth.  YUCK!  Pass the raw oysters and broccoli please.

    Wednesday, October 12, 2011

    What mamacita is...


    This is a fine book. I like the chatty introductory bits before each recipe. The recipe for Figgy Piggy Drumsticks looks good, and it's hard to find fault with a chapter called "Things With Cheese." Really, though, I find that my cooking really always comes back to two places:

    1. Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa, for those times when I'm having my fabulous Hamptons friends over in their matching pastel cashmere sweaters, and

    2. Pam Anderson's How to Cook Without a Book, for those times I have to face the people who show up to my table every day and be told that according to Momma's Ridiculous Rules of Etiquette, one is required to wear a shirt to dinner.


    If you ever get one of those free Redbox codes, use it on this. Just don't keep the movie for four days, because regret will set in.

    Listening to

    It's sometimes hard to listen to tribute albums, because you can't help but compare the remake to the original, all the while thinking "that's not how it goes!" But this record turned out better than I thought. I don't mean to go all Pitchfork on you, but I think that Buddy Holly's songs were so elemental--just bare sketches of songs, ready for any embellishment--that lots of other people can actually do them well, too. There are a few irritating songs on the record (Paul McCartney--WTF was that about, sir?) but there are also some great ones (The Black Keys and, surprisingly enough, Fiona Apple).

    You can stream the record here.

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011

    Work Woes

    1. THIS ^.

    2a. My desk is essentially in the office lunchroom. That means I get to smell everything that everyone in the office eats. Most people are considerate of this, but one person is not. Last week for lunch she had garlic-dipped garlic sticks in garlic sauce. I had to leave the building.

    2b. People keep leaving shit to rot in the refrigerator that sits 2 feet from my elbow.

    2c. There are also numerous discussions of the condiment that dare not speak its name.

    3. Sometimes the effort to avoid f-bombs is so great, I think I might sprain something.

    I know I shouldn't bitch, because I'm lucky to have a job. BUT BITCH I WILL.

    On the plus side:

    1. I get adorable art projects from preschoolers all the time.

    2. I get to see my friend Cayce all the time.

    3. Old ladies bring us brownies all the time.

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011

    The Coolest Thing This Weekend

    I was walking into Spec's (world's greatest liquor store) on Saturday afternoon and there was a band playing outside on the patio. I stopped and listened for a while...and they were fantastic. There is nothing quite like live music, is there? Even though jazz isn't my thing, I loved them.

    But it seemed like an odd place for a gig; there were 16 musicians, plus a director--most were horns, plus a percussionist, a standing bass, and an electric guitar. It must have taken a while to set up. The only clue I had about who they were and what they were doing at Spec's was the name on the speakers: Conrad Johnson.

    WELL. It turns out that Conrad Johnson was the band director at Kashmere High School for many years. His band (of teenagers!) played original music he wrote; they had a recording contract and were sought-after all over town for parties. The Conrad Johnson Orchestra is a group of his former students who play semi-professionally now.

    Their appearance at Spec's coincides with last Friday's release of Thunder Soul, a movie about Conrad Johnson produced by Jamie Foxx that won a bunch of festival awards this year. On Monday, a Kashmere Stage Band anthology was released on CD. [iTunes.] I cannot even tell you how awesome this record is, and how happy it will make you.

    P.S. If you book the Conrad Johnson orchestra to play your party, it would be the best party EVER, and I would absolutely crash it.

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011

    Snack of the Week

    Suddenly everyone in the house has gone crazy for Chessmen cookies and Lady Grey tea. Awfully civilized for this bunch of cretins.

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011

    Advice Needed

    Have any of you ever made salt cod--as in, cod baked in a salt dome? I have a ton of egg whites leftover from making ice cream*, and cod is on sale, so it seemed like a possibility. I was wondering how difficult it is; if it results in black smoke coming from the oven; and, most importantly, is it worth it?

    *So you wanna hear about that ice cream? 'Twas Pumpkin ice cream, and I thought it was delicious with gingersnaps.

    Tuesday, September 13, 2011


    I was the first one in line this morning. Most of it is going up on eBay, but holla at your girl if there is something you desperately want.

    Monday, September 12, 2011


    via Flubmaster Grand Flubby

    Wednesday, September 7, 2011

    Lock up your credit cards...

    Zara opened up their online shopping in the US today. [I wrote this down in my calendar weeks ago.]

    In the cart:

    Hello Kitty underpants (um, not for me, obvs.)

    Emmet would hate this, but I'm dying over the silkscreened pocket protector.

    Can anyone speak to the quality/ sizing of Zara shoes? I've never bought them before.

    Yeah, that cart needs some editing...

    Tuesday, August 30, 2011

    Birthdays are awesome

     Brownie cupcakes with brown sugar frosting, by Letitia. Homely and delicious.

     Tulips from the Papi and the babes.

    Poster by my fan club. What, you don't have a fan club?

    Thanks e'rbody for a lovely day.

    Thursday, August 25, 2011


    I think I achieved Nirvana when I found Textbook, the fashion blog that dresses literary and historical celebrities.

    Ever wonder what Anne Boleyn would wear?

    Or Viola from Twelfth Night? Or Eleanor of Aquitane?

    BTW, I've been slacking recently on the ol' blog, but I've been busy on Pinterest. Follow me there, if you like.

    Thursday, August 11, 2011

    Neko Case

    I guess this must have come out 189 years ago or something, but it's new to me.

    Monday, July 25, 2011

    The Boob Tube

    First of all: here's an awesome Metafilter thread about pre-teen group adventure movies (think The Goonies, Space Camp, Spy Kids, etc.). Bookmark it.

    Next: Commercial Kings--boy did I love the idea behind this show. Local commercials can be pretty awesome. [I am privileged to live in the same town as Hilton Furniture -- and that's a F.A.C.T., Jack!] But these two assclowns are so condescending to their clients, and so bereft of cinematic skills (or so willing to ignore them) that they pretty much ruin the show.

    Just look at them -- did someone give them a hipster checklist? "Hoodie: check. Fauxhawk: check. Nerd glasses: check." Anyway, sometimes the commercials turn out well, and those are available on YouTube.

    Far better: Watch the shorts made by Kenny Powers, new MFCEO of K-Swiss. You will be glad you did.

    Tuesday, July 19, 2011

    Double-Check Their Credentials

    Emmet went to the dentist and cousin Cole tagged along. They charmed the nurses out of face masks and latex gloves, then they got fake mustaches from the prize box. Cole's plan was to go around telling people that they were midget dentists.

    [This was a welcome change of pace; on the way to the office, there was a 20-minute discussion about doo-doo.]

    Tuesday, June 28, 2011

    The Black Belles

    Did you see them on The Colbert Report last week? While I was watching them I kept thinking about Emmeline Grangerford from Huck Finn -- the one who wrote poetry, kept a scrapbook of obituaries and painted "And I Shall Never Hear Thy Sweet Chirrup Again Alas." I forgot how much I loved that book.

    Don't you think Jack White should dye his hair white as he gets older and start dressing like Mark Twain?

    Anyway, The Black Belles: thumbs up, I guess. For a Halloween party.

    Sunday, June 26, 2011

    Happy Birthday to the Greatest Babe of All

    Babe Didrikson Zaharias would be 100 years old today. She was the greatest American athlete of the early 20th century. She was a basketball champ; she held world records and Olympic medals in track and field; she was even a competitive billiards player and bowler. At the age of 24 she took up golf, then she founded and dominated the LPGA. She's still the only woman to ever make the cut in a regular PGA tournament.

    Babe Zaharias was from Beaumont. She was my hero when I was a kid. A couple of weeks ago Becca picked up an old biography about the Babe and started reading it. It's really a shame the Babe isn't better known today -- but you can fix that. Earlier this month a new biography about her came out that you should read. Happy birthday, Babe!

    Monday, June 20, 2011

    Wimbledon Fashion Show

    Did you see Venus Williams' jumper at Wimbledon today? The bar is set HIGH, ladies.

    Photos via Getty

    Wednesday, June 15, 2011

    Your Kids Will Never Be "Bored" Again

    Sarah's Fab Day: It's summer and I'm not so ship shape

    Papi came up with a brilliant solution to cries of "I'm so bored."

    E&B started acting squirrelly and trying to change the channel when ads came on for Sylvan Learning Centers or Kumon or whatever. Papi asked why, and they said it's because they didn't want us to get any ideas about sending them there. So now when they say "I'm bored," we say, "well, we could always call Sylvan..."

    Thursday, June 9, 2011

    If You're Aiming to Buy the Best Father's Day Present Ever...

    Check out the Nerf Super Soakers:

    I got Papi a pair of these Hydro Cannons so he could have some lovely bonding time with his children. [Don't mind the negative reviews of the Hydro Cannon -- for an adult, the pump action is easy and it delivers a good blast of water. Ask me how I know.]

    But if if you're looking for something more lightweight and maneuverable, the Thunderstorm might be the way to go. Extra clips are a must.

    However, it's no fun to play by yourself. So get him a pair, or better yet, buy something for the kids that will be dwarfed by dad's power. Life's a bitch, kiddo. This two-pack of Hydro Fury Water Blasters  should do the trick.