[name here] is out of the office.

Yes, Axis of Awesome is as good in person as they are in that YouTube video, and they're as awesome as the name implies.

But besides that, I'm on vacation.  It's nice to be on vacation for a change, since my last job had me working six to seven days a week at $6.40/hour after tips and taxes, so there really wasn't any leverage for time off.  Literally, when I started my new job and I had two days off in a row, I looked around and said "Hey, this is nice!"

And here I am, out of state without cell reception and only checking my email at the end of the day and again I'm looking around saying the same thing.

Tip of the day: take a vacation.  Just don't do it at the same time as everyone else.


That sounds familiar...

Have you ever seen that YouTube video of the Australian rock comedy group, The Axis of Awesome, performing their "4 Chords" routine, where they explain that every pop song in the past 50 years use the same four basic chords?

No? Well, here's the link:

Anyway, these Aussies have a point.  When musician are limited to 12 notes, not including octaves, you can imagine how hard it might be to come up with new riffs after several centuries of musical history.

And it's true.  There really is no more originality when it comes to music.  Even the lyrics these days rarely stray from tales of love, violence or growing up.  If they're feeling clever, artists might try to spin lyrics about love during their violent youth.

The derth of originality is, of course, rooted in the instrumentals.  It's downright impossible to find a song that uses A minor in a fresh and unique way, because every artist is influenced by another artist who came before them.

This, of course, makes it easy for musicians.  All we have to learn apart from technique is the basics of a genre and of a handful of influential artists and we can fake our way through almost any song.

Now the secret's out, and of course the Musician's Alliance will never stand for this.  I will soon be abducted and never be heard from again.



I seem to be missing the point.

Clearly, I'm not a naturally born blogger.

I'm afraid I've never really been good at keeping up with voluntary routine stuff like blogs, reading the comics, online forums, restocking my supply of rum, clean laundry and oral hygene.  If it weren't for DVRs, I wouldn't even up to date on the new Doctor Who season.

But as I sit here watching old episods of Cheers on Netflix after a rather dull night out, I realize that by starting this blog, I inadvertently made a comittment to keep this updated.  Yes, I understand that nobody would hold me to it.  I really don't get any readers, so there's not really anyone to bang on my door demanding an update, and it's not like Squarespace gives a shit, since I pay the monthly subscription regardless.  No, I made this committment to myself, and if I'm honest, I can be kind of annoying when I see committments unfulfilled.  With that in mind, why shouldn't I hold myself to the same standard?

Sure, I could make excuses.  Until recently, all my time was taken up by a thankless job that paid next to nothing for all the grief I had to take.  Yes, it was the very same job I was blogging about in previous posts, and I'm glad I never mentioned it by name because now I can start thrashing it in my posts without concern for retribution.

But even that's not the full story behind my absence.  I've been away from that job for 2 months now, and now I make the same money at my new job (managing a far more legitimate drafthouse movie theater), but without 50-hour weeks stacked ad infinitum, or having to endure the ceaseless drunken tirades from my boss.  I have time to decompress now, and that should mean finding time to write, regardless of whether my readership is in the single-digits.  But to be honest, I was so relieved to finally have any time at all that keeping this updated never occurred to me.

So, with that in mind, here's the sitrep: I got a new phone (Windows Phone 7 rocks!). My laptop got stolen and I haven't replaced it. Even with the new, better-paying job, I still can't afford a place of my own in the DC area, so still living with my folks.  Still driving the same car I was, and I don't love it any less.  Lastly, I still don't have a job in the film and video production field and, surprise, surprise; zero help on that front from my school.

Since I didn't make it explicit when I started this blog, here's my committment in writing: I solemnly swear to keep this blog up to date, regardless of my traffic.

And this post will make for some lovely ironic hindsight when I completely forget about it for another 3 months.


What's so hard about being on time?

A week or so ago, we had a patron come out and complain that the movie was supposed to start 5 minutes ago, and that being late was "very bad business practice."

Now I wasn't able to properly address the issue at the time, so I'll take this post to do so in a much more carefully constructed manner than would have been possible on the spot.

See, we don't show trailers before the start of the movie.  Amazing, I know.  Nobody like the trailers, right?

"But why don't you show trailers," you may ask.  See, having only two screens makes us a small theater.  This means there's a high likelihood that we won't be showing the films advertised in the trailers.  It's only logical, then, that we wouldn't show trailers to movies we aren't going to have, since doing so would just send you to a different theater.  Make sense?  Good.

But this is a hard concept to grasp for most people, since they're conditioned to expect trailers and always show up late to the movie.  And when everyone shows up late, we have to start the movie late.

On the particular day in question, it was on a Saturday at 7:15, our busiest showtime.  This meant a line of people almost out the door.  Our job is to get everyone processed and in their seats so everyone can enjoy the full movie with minimal interruption.  And with only 3 people, that can occasionally be challenging.

Five minutes after the scheduled start of the movie, a woman came out and told us that the movie hadn't started yet.  We explained to her very calmly (while at the same time schlepping beer and wine to the line of patiently waiting people) that it's our policy to typically start 5 to 10 minutes late to get everyone into the theater.

"Well that's a very bad business practice!" she said, then going on some rant about how you can't keep people waiting like that.

Seriously, woman?  You can't sit an extra 5 minutes for a movie with no trailers during our busiest time of the week?  And did you not see the huge-ass line of people waiting to be served just like you were only moments ago?  We even gave you a drink and play music through the speakers to keep you occupied!  What's wrong? Is your bladder set to go off at a specific time determined by the rotation of atoms relative to planetary alignments?

And by the way, it's very good business practice to start a little late.  You have no idea how many people are relieved when they find out they haven't missed the movie.

And at the end of the day, we had a theater full of happy patrons who were glad we waited so they could all watch the whole movie, trailer-free.  And since we waited for everyone to be situated, there were no bothersome interruptions by people who came in 5 minutes into the movie. That's worth the wait, in my opinion.


At least it's not a 4 drink minimum.

It's not a hard concept: you buy a ticket, then you have to buy at least one drink.  It doesn't have to be alcoholic, just needs to be a drink.  The tickets are $9, and the cheapest drinks are $4, so the least you're walking away with is $13 per person.  Considering you get a drink in the deal, that's pretty freakin' sweet compared to a major theater chain.

And yet some would equate that with asking for 8 pints of blood!  We've had more than a few people walk out in a rage when we tell them about the 1 drink minimum.

The ones most upset about the policy generally tend to be older folks who probably see an old theater and think that ticket prices will be as old as the building.

But quite frankly, tickets don't cost a nickel anymore.  The movies we show have to be paid for somehow, and it's only going to get more expensive.

And to be honest, it's not like the theater even makes money on the tickets.  Out of those $9 we charge, around 7 of those George Washington portraits go to the studios and distributors.  That's right: we don't make any profit on the tickets.

And it's not like we get the films for free, either.  With us making about $2 per ticket, we'd need 1000 people to come see the movie in order to cover the cost we pay the distributor for the right to play it in our theater.  You can understand how difficult it can be to run this place when we get suckered into playing bad movies.  And this doesn't even bring into account the operating costs of playing the film, like electricity, replacement projector lamps, and equipment maintenance.

This is why the concessions at movie theaters cost so much.  It's the only way we can make money.  We can't raise the prices of the tickets, of course, since the studios would demand an even bigger cut of the ticket sales.  The only way we can stay alive is by selling concessions, and having a 1 drink minimum is really the least asshole-ish way of staying afloat and stopping people from smuggling in their own food.

That's another thing: people who bring in their own food are also more likely to scream bloody murder over the 1 drink policy.  Jerks.  Let he who is without sin cast the first stone, right?

Besides, who's going to sit through a 2-hour movie without a soda or something?  If nothing else, the minimum gives you an excuse to have a beer or glass of wine, right?

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