Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Party Like It's 1969

As I mentioned earlier, the Wife and I went out of town this weekend. Friday night, we went to my 30th reunion. But the reunion was a two-night event. We missed the second night because we did something else. And that involved my Big Sister (who's 5'4'').

Actually, it was her husband that had something going on. He had his 60th birthday party Saturday. And it was lots of fun.

You see, her husband, the Chief, has been in law enforcement for 36 1/2 years. And, he says, he has loved every minute of it. So, Saturday night, they had a party. And lots of law enforcement folks from three cities where the Chief has worked during that time showed up.

There was food ... lots of food. And liquor ... lots of liquor. And not the cheap liquor either. The old women that got drunk, got drunk off the good stuff! Oh, and soft drinks for folks like me.

And the other day, when my Big Sister (who's 5'4'') mentioned a "project" that I did for her, she was talking about a video. Actually, a bunch of pictures showing with music playing in the background. Or foreground, since it was loud music.

She collected together a bunch of pictures of the Chief as a child, as a young man, as a sailor in the Navy (including being visited by Bob Hope and Billy Graham while in the hospital during Vietnam), and much of his adult life.

Now, I need to pause for a minute and tell you that I've known the Chief longer than my Big Sister has. A few years longer. Sure, she knows him better, but I knew him for a bit before she ever met him. 3 or 4 years, anyway.

That means that I also knew the Chief's first wife. And, to this day, my Big Sister has never forgiven me for actually knowing her.

Now, I knew her from two aspects. From knowing the Chief (he was the Chief then, too, but Chief Detective, not Chief of Police), I knew his first wife. And, from my work at the radio station (I was a newsman), I knew her because my work often brought me to where she worked.

So, yeah, I knew her. Thought she was a nice lady. Of course, I wasn't married to her, so I didn't know her quite that well.

Anyway, my Big Sister is still mad at me for knowing her husband's first wife years before she ever met her husband. Or something like that.

Now, back to the video.

There was a gap in the pictures. Most of those pictures from the 1970s never made it to me for one reason or another. Whether the Chief's ex-wife has them, whether others have them, whether they were burned under a full moon in the deep, dark forest ... I don't know. None made it to me.

So, I found a song that ... well, shall we say, called the ex-wife by name. It wasn't mean. Not at all. But it was a situation of those that knew the Chief in the 1970s murmered "ooh, that's right, he was married to her, wasn't he?" kind of thing.

Again, not mean, but I had a line in a song cover about 10 years and two children. Well, there were a couple of pics of the kids. But only a few. My niece's and nephew's pictures ... most of them ... went with their mother. So, I had very few to work with.

Still, I was worried about how the Big Sister would react. She was cool with it. But the other sisters looked over at me when the line was sung.

Enough of that.

The rest of the video was at times fun ... like when a picture of his shipmates from the Coral Sea showed when Jimmy Buffet sang "Good times and riches and son of a bitches, I've seen more than I can recall" ... that brought a smile and a nod from the Chief. Things like that.

Now, before all that "oooh, they mentioned her" and the "awww, look at the grandchildren" and all that stuff in the video, there was the issue of actually making the video.

You see, my Big Sister thinks you can just take a laptop and hook it up to a TV and play stuff. Okay, she really doesn't think that, but she makes the assumption that it probably can be done. I make the assumption that it can't be done until I see it can be done. Especially if it going to be shown to 120 liquored-up folks with guns.

Anyway, I was given the task ... on Wednesday night ... late Wednesday night ... really late Wednesday night ... of bringing the video with me when I went that way Friday.

Late Wednesday night is when I go the pictures and the music suggestions.

Since it's going to be a video to be played on a Windows computer (or so I thought) I figured I could use Windows Movie Maker to do it. It's simple enough to drag pictures and play music ... and that's what I was told we needed.

Then, after I left the house with the movie on my laptop (the source files still on the desktop), I found out that they didn't have a hookup from PC to TV at the party house.

So, the next option is to drive back and re-do it so that it can go on DVD. But the heck with that. We paid $50 already for the reunion food and stuff, and doggone it, we were going.

So, that means convert a WMV file to a DVD format.

Okay, smarty. You try it. I'll wait.

Go ahead.

Yeah, that's what I thought.

So, I ended up buying a piece of software that would do that. Yeah, it's available for free (okay, open source) on Linux. But my laptop is Windows. And that software ain't free.

So, I bought the software, converted the file, then burned a DVD.

So, after staying up till 4:00 AM Thursday night, I was up till 2:00 Friday night. But I got the DVD done.

And everyone enjoyed it.

Except the Chief's ex-wife. She wasn't there. But everyone who was there had a good time.

And I'm retiring from the movie-making business. And if I win an award, I'm sending Sasheen Littlefeather to refuse it.


  1. You didn't tell me you had to buy some software to do that. But it serves you right for spending a good bit of this post discussing my ex-wife-in-law.

    I do appreaciate all the effort you put forth. The video was a huge hit. The chief loved it. I loved it.

    Until I read this post...

  2. What a good brother to go to all that trouble! In today's families you sometimes have to walk a mighty fine line! ;)


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