Another hellacious work week is almost behind me, and I now have two paragraphs composed on bullwinkle's story--at this rate, I should probably give it a Christmas theme so it will be appropriately seasonal by the time it's done.
I am terribly behind on my blog reading, since I collapsed in from of the TV to watch the Oscars when I got home from work last night. What was with the broadcasting some awards from the audience? Odd.
Of all the nominees I had pretty much only seen Ray and The Incredibles, although I was rooting for Lemony Snicket to win the score award since I really like the music (which is loud enough to carry through the entire lobby during the end credits when the house doors are open).
Since I now know that Finding Neverland is not about Michael Jackson I'll probably rent it.
Tomorrow is shaping up to be homework catchup day. Oh joy. I think I'll go slay some monsters for stress relief....(Neoquest II at Neopets, in case you were wondering...Hey, it keeps me from smacking the customers!)
fpmy jsbr yo,r yp n;pg....
13 hr workday yesterday-- both the owner and the DM stopped in-- over 1100 customers-- wrong showtimes in newspaper-- blurble blurble Sqwigglies....
So, say that our movie line recording says that we show a certain movie daily at 5pm, with a Saturday and Sunday matinee at 1pm. Further stipulate that customers were confused by this, so we altered our wording to "showing every day at 5pm, with a Saturday and Sunday matinee at 1pm and a Friday and Saturday late show at 9pm."
Now, consider that yesterday I personally answered several phone calls from people calling to say "Your recording says it shows every day at 5pm; is there a 5pm show on Saturday too?" or "Your recording says it plays every day at 5pm, and there's a 9pm show on Friday and Saturday. What's the last show on Sunday?" and you can see why I am a little frustrated by the apparent lack of intelligence in the populace at large.
If we had the recording time to list each day separately for each movie ("showing Friday at 5 and 9, showing Saturday at 1, 5, and 9, showing Sunday at 1 and 5, showing Monday at 5, showing Tuesday at 5...") we would; unfortunately, the alloted time is finite and unalterable.
So, Dear Readers, is there any way to inform people that Saturday and Sunday are "days" and therefore to be included in the "showing every day" portion of the recording?
Again my work week dawns, and with more hours in store for me than usual due to the arrival of "The Incredibles" at a Dollar Theater near you.
If you haven't heard from me by Tuesday, send inquiries to the the local Mental Health facility. I'll be the one in the padded room, gibbering about Sqwigglies and haunted toilets....
I now have one paragraph of bullwinkle's story written. I spent much of the day doing homework and household chores, but did find the time to watch a DVD: Shaun of the Dead.
I loved this movie! No one beats the British at subtle, understated humor. It wasn't too gross, either--just enough to make me grimace (except one scene when I had to voice "Oh, YUCK!" because it was really yucky). If you rent this, tho', I recommend you watch it with the English subtitles--Like Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, the British accents take some getting used to, but it's really worth the ear strain (and eye strain, if your TV screen is small).
Meanwhile, I'm heading over to Amazon and BestBuy.com to see who's selling it the cheapest....Hey, I've got a bunch of Vampire and Werewolf movies in my collection, it's about time I got a Flesh-Eating Zombie movie, too!
So I'm working on this story for bullwinkle and---look! Something shiny!!!
The trailer for Hitchhiker's Guide looks wicked cool. Only I expected Marvin to be taller.
I accidentally read a Ted Rall column. He said that "Death threats against liberal pundits are commonplace among, and essentially unique to, the right-wing blogs." At first I was annoyed that he could get away with such a smear against conservative bloggers, but then I realized he was telling the MSM version of the truth--left wing blogs never threaten death to liberal pundits. It's all how you word it, I guess.
I may start posting my "To Do" Lists...only they wouldn't be half as entertaining as this one...
Movie projectors are not intelligent. Start a projector and it will happily turn its little gears until it is told to stop. You could take a six foot length of 35mm film, splice the ends together, and the projector will play that endless loop forever.
A "brain" is an electronic gizmo that sits in the center of a film platter and controls the speed at which the film pays out--optimally, the same speed at which the projector gears are turning.
Basically, a movie leaves the platter through the brain, runs through the gears of the projector where it just happens to pass in front of a very powerful light that is shining toward a movie screen, and rewinds onto another platter.
Quite a few things can go wrong even with this apparently simple system. My least favorite is the "brain wrap." If the brain fails to do its job properly, the feeding-out platter could turn at the wrong speed or even stop, and instead of paying out smoothly at the same speed that the projector is turning and the other platter is rewinding, the film begins to wrap it self around the brain (hence the term). Eventually the film wraps itself tight enough that it can't pay out anymore. The projector, however, does not know that the film has stopped advancing--it just happily keeps turning its little gears while the take up platter pulls harder and harder. Eventually one of two things happens. Either the film breaks (which is unlikely unless there is a splice at one of the major stress points) or the frame stuck in front of the 2000 watt Xenon bulb begins to melt. At this point a patron usually mentions it to the theater staff.
The big problem with fixing a brain wrap is not cutting out the melted frame and splicing the movie back together. The big problem is that the film projection system is a one-way process. There is no re-wind on a movie projector. When the film is wrapped snugly around the brain like thread around a spool about the only thing you can do is cut the film out of the brain, unwind it onto the floor, and manually try and wind it back onto the platter. Unlike thread, though, film has a front and a back, and a tendency to curl up--imagine trying to put fly paper back into its can (without the stickiness, thank goodness) and you can see the chore it is.
Depending on many variables, a brain wrap can be fixed in about 10 minutes, allowing the movie to be resumed, or it could take several hours, in which case the patrons all get passes and are sent home. Either way, a brain wrap is not fun.
We had another brain wrap on Saturday. The sound in theater two continued to act up intermittently, although thankfully the customers were decent about it. One of the toilets in the the west men's room wouldn't stop flushing, and there were two major leaks over the concessions area that were steady enough to require buckets. I'm thinking about making a horror film called "The Curse of the Dollar Movies."
This story has a happy ending, though. Thank God for Monday! Repairmen work on Mondays. The landlord brought roofers to patch the hole in the roof over one of the leaks, and add flashing to the air conditioning ductwork, the runoff from which was causing the other leak. The plumber came and fixed the haunted toilet. The projector repairman promised to come out today and see if he could fix the sound in theater two and repair the brain that hemorrhaged. And I have today off!!!! Hurray!!!!
Now that two different movies had both had sound problems in theater two, it appeared that the projector was at fault. I called the DM to report the problem, and he suggested trying to clean not only the light head but the sound drum as well. Huh. Who knew you could clean the sound drum? Armed with my handy Q-tips and rubbing alcohol, we stopped the movie and gave all the available surfaces a quick wipe. The movie restarted, I sent one of the clerks to monitor the sound, and after a few minutes he returned to report that all was well.
That settled, I retreated to my office to start working on next week's schedule. A little while later I detected people trickling out of theater one. Only, it was way too early for the show to be over. A quick re-con revealed one of the clerks handing out apologies and passes to the departing guests. Oh. My. God. While I had been busy shuffling papers, the movie in theater one had brain-wrapped* and my Assistant was upstairs franticly splicing. I bolted upstairs to help, but she had it all in hand and shortly the film was rolling again.
There are days I wish we had a liquor license, because a gin and tonic sounded really tempting around then, especially since folks starting leaving theater two again--the sound was back to fading in and out. Sigh. One of the groups that left consisted of several wheelchair-bound individuals whose van's chair lift had been made inaccessible by a car parked in the access-ramp space between our two handicapped spaces. I had actually called a towing company to remove the car when my cashier pointed out that it, too, was a handicap-stickered vehicle, and he persuaded me to cancel the tow, and the van's driver to move the vehicle to the side door of the theater where the lift could be used unobstructed.
Meanwhile, the employees had gotten to the point where, when someone came up to concessions, the query of the day was not "Would you like a refill?" but "Do you need a pass?"...
My Assistant and I worked out that we would forewarn customers to the 9:20 showing in theater two that we were having sound problems, and that the next day before opening she would play musical movies--the movie in two would go back to one, the movie in one would go to three, and the two movies in three (which we have had for several weeks) would go into two. That settled, it was (finally!) time for me to go home and put the day's troubles behind me....
When I got out to my car, the door was frozen and wouldn't stay closed.
*I was going to explain a brain wrap, only the theater's landlord just called and I need to go in early to show the roofers where our own personal Niagara Falls is pouring water onto cash register 1.
To be concluded....
First part here.
Regular readers know that my theater has state-of-the-art 1970's equipment. Recently, some of the studios began using a new kind of sound encoding on their films' audio tracks which cannot be read properly by the exciter lamps in old projectors; it takes a new (expensive) laser reader to properly play the sound on those films. Only two of our three projectors have been upgraded, so when customers began coming out of theater two complaining of the sound quality ("It's too quiet!" "It's too loud!") it seemed like the problem must have been the exciter lamp in that projector. So after all the five o'clock shows had finished we switched out the movies in theater one and theater two.
That sounds so simple when written. In actuality it takes two people to wrestle the five-foot wide reel of 35mm film from one side of the projection booth to the other, and then do it again in reverse. But we managed to get everything switched over for the seven o'clock sets.
The people who had problems with the sound at the five o'clock had been mildly annoyed and accepted movie passes as an apology. The 7 o'clock complainers were totally psycho. One woman in particular (with her daughter in tow--that child has a wonderful role model!) figuratively stamped her little feet and flailed her little fists as she demanded her $3.00 back.
I suspect that if we had a computerized ticketing system there would be a method to account for refunds. As it is, refunding someone's money would make the box office total short that much cash. This is why we don't (and have a sign in the box office stating it) give cash refunds.
Note to people who would like a retail manager to go against company policy to appease you: Do not start your conversation by insulting the staff, premises and management abilities of the person from whom you are requesting a favor. Particularly do not assert that you are never returning to the establishment before you have gotten your way, as that removes any incentive the manager might have to placate you in order to retain your business. Furthermore, consider that the manager may be of the school that believes it is a mistake to reward bad behavior: just as a good parent will realize that purchasing their child the candy they have already been denied--solely to stem a tantrum--is very poor parenting, so the manager may be of the opinion that indulging a fractious customer's unreasonable demands--merely to make the customer go away--reinforces that customer's tendency to screech rather than persuade reasonably.
To be continued....
No, it's not bullwinkle's story, it was yesterday's workday.
I've never had so many things go wrong in one day before, at least not that I recall--if I had, I've probably repressed the memory for the sake of my sanity.
The day started out badly to begin with--instead of arriving early, as is my habit on inventory day, I got there on time, which meant I really was going to have to scramble if there were any unexpected matters I'd have to deal with before opening. Something always crops up on my day off, and even if my assistant handled it, I still have to get up to speed.
I walked in to find the lobby trashed. No, not burglars or vandals--what it actually looked like was that the cleaner had keeled over in the middle of cleaning: popcorn remnants everywhere and an open trash bag sitting next to one of the benches. I found a note in the office telling me that the vacuum cleaner had died.
I think I need one of those blood-pressure monitors for days like this. To say I was annoyed would be understatement. In fact, just recalling it is aggravating me again! I called my assistant and left her a message concerning my displeasure, hoped that the concessions clerks would show up a little early so I could put them to sweeping the the lobby, and went to take the trash bag to the dumpster. It wasn't trash. It was marquee letters, obviously left over from the movie change the previous night. Grrrr......I left those for the clerks, too, and started the weekly inventory (which has to be completed before we open and start selling stuff again).
I unlocked the door to the supply room, and blocking my entrance was a mountain of marquee letters, just piled up instead of stored in their individual, alphabetized cubbyholes. Blood....pressure.....rising.....
Over the next hour I finished the inventory, starting making the day's popcorn, determined that we needed ones and quarters in change from the bank, and filled out the week's supply order form. I only burned one batch of popcorn. As the employees started trickling in I set them to cleaning the lobby, putting away the letters and checking to see what was wrong with the vacuum. (The belt was broken). By opening time I was pretty much caught up, although I still had to start working on next week's schedule. I figured I had survived my day's allotment of annoyances and frustrations and it was all going to be downhill from there.
To be continued....
Haven't gotten to bullwinkle's story yet (found a new role-playing game and have been fighting cave slugs and grizzly bearogs), but I have a few ideas roiling around in my skull, so be patient, especially since today is the start of my work week.....
We have a winner!!!!!
And commenter #4000, winner of the fabulous prize (determined by reader vote):
bullwinkle!!!! Don't worry, bullwinkle--for the sake of your namesake (Rocket J. Squirrel's best friend), I won't "be making him/her into something indecent like a liberal or French or anything like that..."
I guess to a non-blogger, a story is a better prize than linkage afterall...
Well, I was hoping that when I got home from work tonight I would have a winner in the "Be Susie's 4000th Commenter" Contest, but, alas, we are still shy of the magic number. It looks like the lucky winner is going to be the title character in a short story. You guys hate me, don't you?
I happened to notice that I am closing in on 4000 comments to my blog, and was thinking about giving a prize to the lucky commenter who makes the digits show the triple zeros. But what should the prize be?
I could write a poem in the person's honor. I could write a story using their name for the main character. I could highlight their name on my blogroll somehow, the blogging version of "your name in (blinking) lights."
Please leave your suggestions* for a prize in the comments. You will also be helping some other lucky person attain the magic 4000....
This week's "Special" Customer Award goes to the gentleman who so selflessly took the trouble to inform the concessions staff that it was "dark" in the theater. Apparently he was unaware that it is customary to turn off the lights while a movie is running. Here's to you, Mr. It's-Dark-In-That-Theater Guy!
I think it was the fur handcuffs that made me realize what I was missing....
My FDNY calendar came yesterday. If you don't hear from me by Wednesday, send paramedics (preferably shirtless)...
So much to say, so little inclination to say it. Maybe I haven't had enough coffee yet for rightous indignation. I could go on amusingly for several paragraphs about having to suffer through Ted Kennedy on Charlie Rose only to discover that Evil Glenn's segment wasn't airing. Or I could wax indignant about the pathetic state of a society where people toss their newborns out their car windows. That story definitely goes into the "What is Wrong With People?" file. I suppose could talk about the headache I have this morning, which is most likely sinus-related (one beer does not a hang-over make), or the horrors of the weekend to come with five "family" movies showing.
Then there's the annoyance of JIT (just in time) which we are covering in class this week. JIT is the latest business trend. It means that rather than keep stocks of materials on hand, businesses order them "just in time" to lower their inventory costs. So what happens? The customer gets screwed. Of course, they don't tell you that in the text book. In theory, the JIT "philosophy" sounds great. But in real life, it means that I have to make three or four trips out to Office Depot to see if the thermal register paper I need for my cash registers is in stock yet, and when they finally do have it, I buy twice as much as I really need just so I won't run out. Then, when I do run out, they are out of stock again! So guess what? I am now going to Staples to buy my thermal paper. How's that JIT working out for you, Office Depot? Because, as long as I am already there at Staples, I might as well pick up white-out and notepads and a few other odds and ends that I need...
Well, I have the day off, I'm caught up with my homework, and I've taken care of some routine phone calls I'd been putting off.
I'll be breaking out the Amber Bock shortly. Tomorrow: Hang-over blogging!
Dude! I want a farm subsidy! I have a six-foot square patch of land that hosts tomatos and peppers in the summer, and since I'm not making a profit off of those veggies it's obvious I need a government hand-out...
Say that you decide to call the movie theater where your son is seeing a movie, perhaps because there is a family emergency of some kind. [Note: in most cases, being out of milk does not constitute an emergency.]
To begin with, it would help if you knew which movie he had planned on seeing.
Next, understand that movie theaters do not have PA systems for announcements during the movie (this is why your car would not start when you came out after leaving the lights on for two hours--the staff noticed it, but had no way of informing movie viewers).
Thirdly, be appreciative of the fact that the woman who answered the phone--a mere two minutes prior to the start of the next scheduled show--is willing to take a flashlight and search a darkened theater for you.
And, finally, for God's sake, when she asks you for a description of your son, do not tell her that "He's tall and wearing black pants" as if this will be helpful in a pitch black room full of seated people.
I guess watching the Super Bowl was pretty popular because business yesterday plummeted like an anvil off a skyscraper once five pm rolled around. One minute the concessions area was knee-deep in children clamoring for SpongeBob Sour Gummies, and the next the lobby looked like a grocery store snack aisle after a Michael Moore shopping spree. Yes, it was that empty.
In a way the respite was nice, since we had been hopping all weekend. But it was also sort of a shock to go from bustle to boredom in the space of one set of shows. The employees started throwing ice at each other, which I had to put a stop to before somebody put an eye out. Sometimes I think they view me as the person put on earth to take all the fun out of life. Which, of course, I am.
It started as a tickle--an annoying, persistant tickle in the back of my throat that caused a cough. Next came sneezing. Except for the surprise factor, the sneezing wasn't so bad. But follwing that was the never-ending deluge of nasal drippage. How can one small nose produce liquid at the rate of a gallon a minute? I can give the theater's leaking roof a run for its money in the speed and volume department.
I know this is all my body's defense against virii, but I also know what comes next, and I'm really not looking forward to the switch from "drain" to "clog." My voice sounds funny already....
UPDATE: I'm looking for volunteers to spread Vicks on my chest....
Unfortunately for them (but luckily for me) things have been going fairly smoothly at work lately. Either that, or I've become so accustomed to disaster that I don't notice it anymore.
The roof now leaks in a couple of new places. One of the women's restrooms is down to a single working light fixture. Someone cut a foot-long slit down the upholstery of a seat-back, and another seat lost its cushion. Oh, and the owner is talking about turning us into a first-run. (Insert loud, prolonged, raucous laughter here). I have customers complaining about the amenities on 50¢ day--I can't imagine the reaction we'd get if we tried to charge $6 or $8 a ticket...Wait, yes I can: loud, prolonged, raucous laughter.
What's even funnier is, according to the DM we have one of the nicest theaters in the chain. Oh. My. God. Our carpeting and seats were installed in 1971! Our projectors and popcorn popper are so old they don't make parts for them anymore, and the repairmen have to jerry-rig them on a regular basis. Duct tape is our #1 supply expense. Imagine, if you will, having to choose between spending $7 to see a movie at one of the two (soon to be three) multiplexes that have stadium seating with cup-holders, digital projection and DTS surround-sound, or at our three-screen theater with its thirty-five year old lumpy seats, rickety projectors and state-of-the-art monophonic sound. There's a tax-loss waiting to happen.
Now that I think of it, the walls in the two new theaters still don't have the sound curtain up--drywall, baby, yeah! The new decorating wave of the future....
Now, before you check the extended entry, I want you to keep in mind that my ancestors came to America from Germany, England, Ireland and Prussia. You can judge the accuracy of the rest of their "analysis" based on the accuracy of their racial profiling....
UPDATE: Having analyzed most of my siblings and several nieces and nephews I can categorically state that this thing is pure hogwash. Our "race" has been identified as East Indian, Middle Eastern, Southern European, South East Asian and Korean/Japanese. In fact, the only one who got the correct racial mix of Eastern European and Anglo-Saxon was my blond niece (although my red-headed niece was determined to be 100% Chinese!). As to Gay Factor, well, the lowest rating there for my entire family went to my gay brother. I will have to tell him that the rest of the family is gayer than he is....but he probably knew that anyway....
It seems Pixy had to turn off our comments and trackbacks because we were inundated with crapflooders and denial-of-service attacks. Somebody needs to make these guys get a different hobby--weaving rugs or collecting sparklely rocks would be socially acceptable alternatives. In the meantime I will assure myself that the only reason I haven't gotten any comments in the last 24 hours is not that my last post was totally lame, but because hundreds of my adoring fans had been silenced....
I'm trying to remain calm about the groundhog's prediction that Spring is not just around the corner.
There's some music thing going around and because Harvey wasn't practicing safe blogging he passed it on to me. I hate playing games without knowing the rules! Oh, well--I am a good sport, you know.
Random Ten Albums So like nobody explained this to me...a random list of ten albums I own? A random list of albums I've heard of? A list of random albums I wish I owned? Can I list CDs and cassettes or do they have to be albums?
Okay, here is a list of albums I remember I owned in the days of record players:
Toys in the Attic (Aerosmith)
Chicago Transit Authority (Chicago)
Santana's Greatest Hits (Santana)
Best of the Doobies (Doobie Brothers)
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Beatles)
Pieces of Eight (Styx)
Out of the Blue (Electric Light Orchestra)
Works Volume I (Emerson Lake and Palmer)
Hotel California (The Eagles)
Some of those I also have on CD. Some I outgrew.
1. What is the total amount of music files on your computer? I have 14 mp3s. I didn't count the .wavs, since one game alone had a gazillion.
2. The last CD you bought is: George Thorogood & the Destroyers 30 Years of Rock
3. What is the song you last listened to before this message: (Grumbles. Goes over to CD player to find case for The Brian Setzer Orchestra and find title to last song on disc.) "As Long As I'm Singin'".
4: Five songs you often listen to or that mean a lot to you:
Bad to the Bone--George Thorogood & the Destroyers
The Immigrant Song--Led Zeppelin
Fortress Around Your Heart--Sting
The Devil Went Down to Georgia--The Charlie Daniels Band
5. Who are you gonna pass this stick to (five persons and why)?
I hate chain letters. I tear 'em up and throw 'em away. But since these folks will only know I picked 'em to play if they actually read this post, maybe they won't be annoyed with me. Or maybe they will. Um, anyway...
Tiger, because he doesn't get nearly enough linky love from me these days
Jennifer, to give her a break from the History 'n Stuff
Ted, because unless Ted plays, nobody has any fun
Tuning Spork, for something to do when he's got nuthin'
And finally, the Great and Powerful Pixy Misa, just to see if even he can determine the total amount of music files on his computer(s)....