House of Games

Night at the movies

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Update: Bob's video

Over the weekend, I went to Twain Harte to see a movie. But first, an air travel rant....

"Attention, passengers on Southwest flight 162 to Ontario. The aircraft for your flight is coming from LAX and it is still on the ground there, so your flight will be delayed at least a half-hour. Instead of leaving at 5:20pm, it may leave closer to 6 o'clock."

Yeah, right, I'm thinking, and Bush will resign tomorrow morning. The whole process of traveling by plane has become really onerous. The scene at the airport is one of barely controlled chaos, as cars, taxis, shuttles, and buses jockey for position at the curb to disgorge passengers filled with trepidation. Inside the terminal, lines of people snake around through a maze of chutes. Present your photo ID and boarding pass. Take off your shoes. Empty your pockets. Thank the nice lady for picking up your cell phone from the floor. Remove all 3-oz toiletries in their 1-quart plastic bag from your suitcase and place it in a plastic bin for screening, along with your cell phone and any other electronic or metal objects. Put your laptop in a separate plastic bin. Push everything into the x-ray screening tunnel and hope you will see it again on the other side. Step through the metal detector. Present your boarding pass again. Gather up all your things and try not to drop any as you move to an area when you can reassemble yourself. Go to the departure gate, packed with people pulling wheelie carry-on bags and their "one personal item." If it's Southwest, sort yourself into three lines A, B, and C for boarding, which queueing begins at least half an hour before the plane even arrives at the gate.

Glance up at the video monitors and see "August, 26 2007" — Doesn't anybody learn punctuation anymore? Doesn't anybody proofread stuff in public displays?

Get on the plane, on which there will not be a single empty seat, much less an empty middle seat in your row. Pin your elbows at your sides for the duration, scowling periodically at the small child in the seat behind you who keeps kicking the back of your seat. Upon arrival, deplane into a terminal packed with people trying to get on the plane you're trying to get off of and try to resist elbowing them viciously aside. Stand in line again and wait for the bus to the parking lot. Hope you can remember where you parked your car. Take the on-ramp to a freeway jammed with five lanes of cars in each direction, moving slowly in fits and starts. Breathe deeply and entreat Sophie (the Prius, née Cleopatra), "Just get me home, pretty please."

popcorn and margarita machines Popcorn and margarita machines

A few years ago, friends Bob and Carolyn decided to use their sloping driveway in Twain Harte as an outdoor theatre. Since then it has turned into an annual event to which they now invite half the town to join them for margarita happy-hour and a movie and popcorn.

I flew to San Jose and rode up to Twain Harte with Jim and Angela, thus reconstituting the original MovieMax mavens.

audience Free margaritas really attracts a crowd

This year was actually a double feature with the main attraction preceded by a short video shot by Bob during last summer's season in Twain Harte. Most of the people in the audience were in the video, and they hooted and hollered at each cameo appearance. Several asked afterwards if they could buy copies — Who knows, there may be an Oscar nomination in the offing.

Bob has produced an abridged version and posted it on YouTube. Click here or on the image at the bottom of the page.

the usual suspects The usual suspects doing the usual. (L-R) Carolyn, Jim, Angela, Bob

The rest of the weekend was mostly spent doing what we always do — sitting around talking and eating. Occasionally we change venues. For example, on Sunday morning we did our sitting and talking at the Twain Harte country club, enjoying Big Daddy's Smokin' BBQ breakfast entrées.

Jim with TomTom We're getting warmer!

The other "highlight" of the weekend was our first experience of the GeoCaching phenomenon, directed by the intrepid Jim and his trusty TomTom GPS.

For those not on the cutting edge, geocaching consists of zealous people with GPSs going out and hiding a little cache of worthless trinkets and then posting the latitude and longitude coordinates on a website so other zealous people with GPSs can try to locate the cache and report back on the website. Cache GCQWAF eluded our search, so I am unable to report on the thrill of finding "a large ex-peanut butter jar with an assortment of knickknacks." No, it doesn't make sense to me either.

For more pictures, see the slideshow (sidebar).

Watch Bob's video here: