Full and happy

Los Angeleno by birth, Northwesterner by choice, Second-hander by nature. Librarian, housebound chef, father, and lowly subject ruled over by the needs and whims of a very old house.
Partial to Mexican, Italian and Vietnamese cookery but will eat damn near anything. Collector of many strange things..the result is chaos and anarchy and a very pleasant place to live.
There is pleasure in accumulation, not just "collecting": music, books and film, in all their multi-formated glory. Outsider artists and those kinds of prints you would recognize if you took liberal studies classes in college. Cooking implements and gadgets for recipes still untried or those ventured. Glasses for most types of libations. Flowers in the garden, herbs in the pot.
It's a life of the senses and a good home life reflects that. Walking helps take in all the rest. Requires no special equipment, opens up the pores, brightens the taste buds, clears the decks for further adventures, puts on the miles, widens the eyes and helps fuel the imagination.

Live boldly, play graciously and love with all your heart knowing that true love comes only once or twice in this lifetime. Speaking of which..donde estas, Empress of my Heart?


"Lack imagination and miss the better story" Yann Martel

"Life is a great adventure and I want to say to you, accept it in such spirit. I want to see you face it ready to do the best that lies in you to win out. To go down without complaining and abiding by the result....the worst of all fears is the fear of living." Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.

"Not I - not anyone else, can travel that road for you
You must travel it for yourself" Walt Whitman

And above all, friends should possess the rare gift of sitting. They should be able, no, eager, to sit for hours-three, four, six-over a meal of soup and wine and cheese, as well as one of twenty fabulous courses.

Then, with good friends of such attributes, and good food on the board, and good wine in the pitcher, we may well ask,

When shall we live if not now?

-From Serve it Forth,
M.F.K. Fisher

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Small thrill, new skill, big passion

Today I started a new "job", well, rather, a new volunteer position. It does come with perks, will be teaching me a new set of job skills and shows me that passions don't necessarily come with big paychecks attached. I already knew that from my years in the librarian profession. Considering how many things in that profession fall under "manual skills" I have to wonder half the time if we shouldn't just label it a "trade".

I digress.

Today I started my apprenticeship in the fine art of film projection. And really, it is an art, in the way that cooking or painting or mud wrestling is an art. No one way to really do it. It's somewhat like brain surgery or brick laying or souffle building, every time you do it seems to be a different thing altogether. Today I went in at two in the afternoon and came out at eight a different man. I finally got to see movies from the other end of the beast. That sounded strange, sure, but there's some crazy stuff afoot in a movie house once you climb up and above the comfy seats and go up into the projection booth.

My teacher and boss felt I had a leg up on the rest of his trainees he's had if only because I used an 8MM at home and was familar with threading my old reel to reel. I suppose in some ways, yes, that old up and over and around threading thing I was used to was there with me today, but man, it was a completely different ball game being up there in the booth with two movies going round and round simultaneously, with paying customers in the lobby wanting popcorn and waiting patiently in the auditorium for their films to start. You can dabble all you want at home with your music and old flicks but once you get paying customers in your midst all the variable change and everything you do becomes all too real. Or "reel" in my case.

Picture a large circular dining room table, oh, say, six feet or more in diameter..that's how big a platter is for films. Then picture this strange, overhead and underfoot sort of freewheeling jungle of film vines snaking in and out of a projector, going back and forth onto that huge platter, then top that off with old school projection technology and you get the kind of day I got to have four or five times today. My boss was patient...he's been in the business for a dozen years or so..and he walked me through the steps more than once. It felt like the first day of school. I couldn't absorb enough information fast enough, and frankly it made my head spin faster than those gigantic reels spun the film.

But you know what? I did it. With help, sure, but I managed to pull off threading and setting up four different movies today. Plus I learned how to work the popcorn machine. And I got to watch part of a Korean vampire film, the whole of the new Kevin Spacey film Shrink and even swept the floor during intermission. Next week I get to unload films from the platters and break them down into their shipper boxes, load up an upcoming film. All that for free.

All job descriptions I see these days ask for experience. Sometimes you have to go out of your way and be willing to grab that experience without pay. For me it's gravy, or rather a free movie, a bag of popcorn and a Coke on top of the new skill set. For others it would be out of the question. Will I get to use this new found experience later on? Who knows? But for the son of a grip and an old movie maven this is a job made in heaven. For the moment, anyhow. See you at the movies!


Need movie times? Here's the Historic Orchard site:


Thaydra said...

Ooooh! What was the vampire movie? I love vampire movies.

It sounds like you had a great time. I imagine that type of work would be fun! And getting free concessions and watching a free film would be icing on the cake! Bravo!

Anonymous said...

hoo. Good to read this and imagine you up in that twilight of the [projection room with film whirring around ya. My first job in libraries was in a regional HQ of a public library system. We had a 16 mm film library and projectors we loaned out to schools, the university and so on. We had a projection room in HQ to review, rewind and generally check for damage or whatever. Was the coolest part of a job: film review. Sometimes we would show movies to staff on quiet Friday afternoons in HQ too (when I was in charge....)....of course that was way back in the day and in another country where library material had to really earn it's worth, documentaries and educational/training films, not entertainment. Lot of good stuff on art and artists however. Reading your post just reminded me of the silver halide kind of smell of the films and their metal cannisters...