Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Home Theater

number twenty-nine

In San Pedro it is possible to feel like a VIP in their special movie theaters, even after a week of being a menial laborer in my own home. Our home. 1,079 words.

[NL]—Tonight we went to see Sahara at the VIP theater in the mall. We live very near the mall—it is located just on the other side of the grocery store form the Costco—and last time we went to a movie there (the Interpreter), we walked. Today we drove, though, because if we hurried, we would be able to catch a show in one of the multiplex’s VIP theaters: plush recliners with footrests, wait staff, alcoholic beverages and sushi menus on little tables between every cluster of two seats. Having worked at the Janus Theaters in Greensboro, NC, I had a little trepidation about the whole idea of “lounge” theaters. At my ex-employer’s, the special theater was a dismally dark and musty place, with the atmosphere and squalor of a neighborhood tavern. Spilled beer and stronger smuggled substances had managed to seep into plush, but uncomfortable, squares arrayed before a disastrously incorrectly-shaped and misaligned rear-projection system the size of a large sports bar TV. The few times I actually went and saw a film there (at least in its later days), I was dismayed at the dank, blurry, and cropped-down spectacle of it all. When the theater finally burned down, this room was shielded by its own crust and left vulcanized but otherwise untouched.

But this is the culmination of a fairly busy week. The bookshelves had finally arrived, hours after they were expected, and ten minutes before we were to attend a smallish dinner party thrown by one of Sunshine’s coworkers. Thus, there had been no time to put them all together; but the penne was excellent, and the salad we took was pretty spot on, too. This was the first time I had taken the opportunity to meet the people that Sunshine works with, and I found them friendly and charming. The next day, I’d just spread bookshelf pieces all over the kitchen floor when a man with a lot of pagers came by to install grounded wall sockets in all of the outlets on the outside of the house. He didn’t speak any English, but I don’t really worry too much about that, anymore. I just apologize, make the universal call-someone-else sign with my thumb to my ear and my pinkie at my mouth, and hand out a cold Coke from the refrigerator. This guy was in a hurry to get on with it anyway since I was following him around the house with a hammer. Next time the doorbell rang, it was some English-speaking folks dispatched by the make-ready coordinator to pick up the welcome kit full of appliances they gave Sunshine during the months she was waiting for her stuff to get here by truck. We’d put it all in one place (the kitchen table), and so they busied themselves with boxing it all up while I crawled around the kitchen, fitting cams into locks and lining up wooden pegs. The next time the doorbell rang it was Hector, the man Sunshine had hired to “do the yard.” Hector is round and very friendly and only speaks Spanish. This is the first time Hector had been by in the three weeks since I had arrived in Mexico, and I was unsure how I was supposed to proceed. The back had never been mowed (it had reached a height that would keep kids out of school if it had been snow), and the front yard had been tended to right before Sunshine had come to Laredo, but had not been paid for. Plus, the poor grass had not been watered during the time Sunshine was acclimating, and the sunny front yard had been burnt to a bright brown. Luckily, the make-ready guy could translate for us, because I was running out of Cokes.

Eventually everyone cleared out of the house, and I got the bookshelves finished up, too. By the time Sunshine got home from work, all of the boxes were unloaded and we busied ourselves with the last few hours of putting things away. Then we ordered a pizza and looked around because there just wasn’t much else to do besides break down and give away the empty boxes and sweep up. This was easily handled the next day because there is always someone moving out of town. We celebrated the next night, too. Heck, we’ve been celebrating ever since.

The VIP theaters here are totally different from the Janus, thankfully. I should have expected this, owing to San Pedro’s tony urbanity. The standard theater that we had seen the Interpreter in was pretty nice, much like what is expected in the new millennium from a stadium theater: THX Digital Sound, Very large screen, and no seat in the house too awkwardly forward or to the side. It had been crowded (it had been a Saturday night at the mall), and the theater had pretty much filled to the brim, but it had remained comfortably roomy. Theaters here get very dark. Dark enough that it is almost impossible to see the person sitting in the seats on either side. Plus, they usher the crowd into one door at the beginning, and out a different door at the end. Otherwise, there is nothing terribly exotic about the experience.

Not so, the VIP treatment. The theaters are pretty much the equal of the standard theaters (all have excellent sound and light quality), but the chairs are very far apart and very comfortable. I would imagine that it is most difficult to remain awake in these chairs, in the dark, if the movie proved to be even the slightest bit underwhelming. Plus the wait staff is efficient, and clears out by the end of the trailers and PSAs against DVD piracy. The intermittent clinking of silverware as patrons eat their baguettes or crepes would have been far more irritating if there had been more than two other people in the theater. A tip: movies in the mall in San Pedro are far less crowded in a theater costing twice as much and during the middle of the workday. All in all, it was a very good experience: and my crepe was excellent, the movie highly enjoyable, and the place was unbelievably clean. But, honestly, the best part was that when we went home, it was to a finished home, filled with easily accessible things, put away where they actually go. I could keep celebrating all week.

Click here for a look at the floor plan.

Photo and construction by the Author

Quiet Reading Room

This is a quiet reading room. Often, I find it is uncomfortable to digest long tubes of columned text directly off a computer screen. This journal is dedicated to the collection, percolation, and ultimate integration of my personal experiences. Subjects that I want to examine and then talk about--sometimes talk a lot about--€”are presented here. This central content can tend to thousands of words, maybe millions. I was afraid that readers were leaving the presentation boggled, spinning, googly-eyed. Or perhaps when confronted with twenty-four inches, or yards, of monitor sprawl they were just giving up. I am not even certain that I have necessarily solved this inevitable content problem of modern information enjoyment, but here is what I have done.

After long and highly scientific routines manipulating double-blind control- and test-subjects, peer reviewed journal publications, and hours and hours of hands-on experimentation, I have crafted this quiet reading room. There is no scientific way to control the length of the articles I write, but careful handling can somewhat soothe the contextual presentation. In other words: I have dropped the traditional speculation about lexicon, and attacked the question of the matrix itself instead. Brilliant. After years of diligence what I eventually crafted is this reading room.

The walls are contoured to relax instead of constrain; the paper is made to soften instead of reflect. The light is dimmed--just so--€”to prevent strain, angled to prevent umbra, and color-coded to soften harsh red lights and deepen wimpy light reds. There is nothing I can do to control aural environment, but my recommendation is that it should be kept quiet. About ambient sound: these entries are probably best read as far as possible from emergency vehicles, preferably from beneath the muffler of a vintage fire fighter pilot's scarf, puffy old duvet, or snow that is still falling.

My theory is that the wide web world is filled with potent and material opportunities that are just too difficult to digest for many people to take part. Enjoyment of this stuff is regulated to the routines of crawlers and robots at the peril of humankind's peaceful future survival. In an attempt to delay this likely outcome: welcome to this quiet reading room. It is for people like you to relax, kick back, and hate my content for better reasons than the dizzying vertiginous specter of its lousy dpi presentation.

Return to Previously

About Mr. Cavin