My Own Little Brush with Celebrity — November 4, 2014

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I was lucky enough recently to rub elbows with some of the staff from CinemaTour!  That was really exciting to me.

CinemaTour is a website that documents history of theaters around the world.  I have been a huge fan of this website for many years.  (I have even talked about them on my blog before!)  They get the opportunity to go all over and take pictures of cinemas.  That is such a neat idea to me.  I would love to do something like that!  (It would combine two of my curiosities:  cinemas, and urban exploration — since they often photograph old, abandoned cinemas whose glory years are long forgotten.)

I’ve said this before, but I really admire people who have a real passion for what they do in life.  (Exactly the reason why a Bigfoot Conference would be enthralling to me!) CinemaTour definitely represents a life of immersion into one’s work, and I like that.

Cinematour came to visit us at Marshall Cinema once before, back in 2005.  I was working there then, but I didn’t come in that day until after they had already left.  I was really let down that I had missed them!  So I sent them some pictures and got them posted on their site.  :)

Fast forward several years to the present.  We finished our cinema remodel in early summer, and I had been trying desperately to remember to send some of our new pictures to Cinematour.  It was one of those mental note kind of things that would occur to me only at the least opportune moments.  :)  I wouldn’t be anywhere near a computer, and I’d suddenly think, “Oh, I need to send those pictures!”

So a few Saturday nights ago I had just gotten to work at the cinema.  I had settled in at my usual register behind concession.  It was unfolding as any other typical night, we were telling corny jokes to each other (my favorite) and we were waiting for customers to start coming in.

A group of three people came to the door and the usher pointed them towards me.  The woman walked up and shook my hand and said, “I’m Emma from CinemaTour!”

OOoooooh yay!!!!!!  I was so excited!  I got to talk to them all about what they do, and where they go, and they were just as enthusiastic about their work as I hoped.  Our manager showed them my photobook!  He loves to show the book to everyone, and they really liked all the construction pictures.

So I finally got to meet my own version of celebrities, AND my memory became permanently etched to get those pictures sent in!  All my pics and their new pics are up on their site!  Feeling:  accomplished.  :)




That Awkward Moment When…..You Realize That You’re Not Anonymous — January 12, 2014

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There are few things more cringe-worthy to me than hearing my own voice on a recording.  I think a lot of people are that way, but it’s been my own phobia for years.  Remember the days of answering machines?  I remember recording and re-recording that outgoing message a million times trying to get it to sound just right.  Actually, the worst part was the replaying of the recording and having to listen to it, oh goodness.

Well, life at the cinema means that there’s always a movie time phone line people can call to get the showtimes.  Our manager loves to do this recording. He’s been recording the showtimes for, I don’t know, decades now and he’s just about famous for it.  I can’t tell you how many new employees have come to work at the cinema and say, “I just met the guy who does the movie times on the phone!” hehe.

There have been a few times in my tenure there where I have had to do the recording.  Cue the cold sweat and rapid heartbeat!  It’s not really the recording part (although holding a microphone and talking into it is a phobia all its own), it’s the listening to the playback that gets me every time.

I always soothe myself with these thoughts: “It’s a digital age we live in.  Everyone uses apps now instead of calling the phone.”  “Who really notices who is doing the talking?  They just care about the movie titles and the time.”  “No one even knows it’s you!”


So this past week I had to do the recording.  It was a hurry-up-we-have-to-get-this-done-immediately kind of thing, so I didn’t really have time to mentally prepare!  I just had to grab the mic and start reading, and there wasn’t really any time for backsies, so I just did it and went on.  (Again, giving myself my soothing inner messages to make it through.)

I thought I had nearly escaped all notice, but no.

I was working at the bank a couple of days after the recording went into effect.  A customer drove up who I’ve been waiting on for years….simple transaction…..told her thank you….very routine.  Then she says,

“Hey, I have a question…”

Me: “Okay.”

Her: “Was that you reading the movie times when I called the recording?”

Oh my goodness.

Fear = Realized.


Me: “Yes!  It was me!  I can’t believe anyone would know!”

Her: “Oh, I knew it was you from the moment you started talking!  It sounded really good!”

I was a puddle on the floor.  Never so glad for a new movie week to start so we could change that recording!

A Bittersweet Loss of Competition — July 9, 2013


One of our cinema competitors closed its doors a few weeks ago.  Hollywood Movies 9 in Longview closed down at the end of May.  Regal Entertainment Group bought the Hollywood chain at the first part of the year, so I guess they are starting to analyze and cull out their underperformers.  This is somewhat sad to me.  It always seems a little melancholy to lose a cinema.

I have very fond memories of the little cinema we attended as I was growing up.  I lived in Texas City and we were only a few mere blocks away from the Tradewinds Theatre.  My grandmother and I would often just take a walk over there in the afternoons to see a movie.  (I even remember winning tickets to there from a contest in the newspaper!)  It was only a little tiny two screen cinema, probably independently owned, and I loved that place.  You had to walk up these tall (to me) steps to get to the box office, and then you either went in the door on the left or the door on the right depending on which auditorium you were going to be in.  The concession stand ran down the center of the lobby so you couldn’t very easily cross over to the other movie.  Neat setup.  I remember seeing “Home Alone” (the first one!) there with my friend Allison.  We were obsessed with Kraft macaroni and cheese at the time (not that this has ever changed, really), and we got super excited when Kevin heated up macaroni in the microwave, hehe.

I was nearly out of elementary school when our mall opened up in town and that was when Cinemark came along.  Suddenly we had a Movies 12 and we felt so fancy!  Tradewinds Theatre nearly immediately turned into a second-run dollar cinema house, and it slowly declined its way to being closed forever.  It was sad to watch it slowly slip away and I always wanted a reason to go back in there and just look at it all again.  It eventually became a church for awhile, and last time I was past there it was looking pretty pitiful.  I almost still want to go in there again, just for nostalgia.

Now Longview has closed another cinema.  We didn’t go to Hollywood Movies 9 all that much, really.  It was pretty out of the way and of course, once I started working at Marshall Cinema, there was no need to travel to Longview and pay to see a movie!  I think the last movie we saw at Movies 9 was probably “Head of State” with Chris Rock, hehe. (Don’t ask me why we paid to see that.)  That was a very long time ago!  Hollywood opened a new cinema across town from Movies 9 several years ago and then turned Movies 9 into a second-run house, so everyone basically knew it was going to close eventually.  They stayed open because they had such amazingly cheap prices!  Lots of families would go there because even though the movies were pretty old, it was still something to do together to get out of the house.

We went past there when we were in Longview the other day.  I just wanted to see it again before the building meets whatever fate it may have.  It’s just sad to see everything all closed up; it looks so empty and forlorn.  I pressed my nose against every bit of glass I could so I could see as much as possible.  Practically everything was gone from the lobby, but I wished I could tour the projector rooms and just see it all.

Old cinemas are just a neat piece of our history.  It’s interesting to compare the old style buildings to the new ones and note the advances in cinema design and in technology.  Old cinemas are also full of personal histories:  first dates, new favorite movies, time with friends….there’s just a lot of life that centers around movies.  And of course, now that I’ve spent more than six years of my life working for a cinema, I have a really special attachment to everything about that world.

So, we’ll see what happens to old Movies 9.  For us in Marshall, we have been getting emails from people in Longview inquiring about our prices and our schedules.  I guess perhaps we’ll attract some business since our prices are lower than the rest of the theatres in Longview.  Good for us!  Lots of memories still to be made.


By the way, if you click on the links for the various cinemas mentioned, you will be taken to Cinematour, a website I completely love.  Don’t miss Marshall Cinema and the Athene Hopkins photo collection! :)

What Time is it Again? — November 7, 2012

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I was working at Marshall Cinema last night, Tuesday night.  It was just about 8:10 pm. Movies were letting out and we were just starting to clean the auditoriums.  (Nope!  No bodies this time! hehe!)  I was walking across the lobby with the broom when a little old guy walked in looking very intent.

Old guy – excitedly- : “I need to buy at ticket!”

Me: “Okay.  Well, the box office is closed for a few minutes while we get everything cleaned.  Can you wait just a little bit until we open?”

OG – confused -: “What?  I can’t buy my ticket?”

Me: “Well, not just yet.  We need to get everyone out before we start selling to the next show.”

OG: “But I really need my ticket!”

Me: “It’ll just be a few minutes.  Or, wait, are you buying for ‘Twilight’?  I can go ahead and sell you those.”

OG – now totally confused – :”‘Twilight’?  What is ‘Twilight’?”

Me: “haha, okay, sir, come on, I’ll just go ahead and sell you your tickets. Come out outside and come around to the box office.”

OG: – “Oh, I’m trying to see ‘Alex Cross’ at 9:10.  I’m really in a hurry to get in there.”

Me: “Well, it’s only 8:10 right now, so really, you still have an hour.”

OG – confused again – :”8:10? Really?”

Me: “Yes sir.”

OG: “Well, gosh, my watch says 9:10.  Why is my watch so off?”

Me: “Did you change your clock over the weekend, sir?”

OG – incredulously -:”WE HAD A TIME CHANGE?”

Me: “hehehehehehehe!” (I know it’s so mean to laugh at little old people, but he was so funny about it!)

OG -“I have been rushing around like crazy trying to get here on time too!  Oh well. A whole hour!  I’ll come back in a little bit.”


That just cracked me up.  This was TUESDAY night!  That means the little old guy went ALL day Sunday, ALL day Monday, and ALL day Tuesday on the wrong time!  So funny.  I can see that happening if  you didn’t work or really didn’t have any other social obligations, I guess.  But, wouldn’t you at least notice that your tv schedule was totally off?

Good thing he came to the movies!  We saved the day for the little old guy!

Run For Your Lives!! — October 24, 2012


I massively scared myself while working at Marshall Cinema tonight!  Despite the fact that several of my co-workers strongly believe that the building is haunted by a ghost, I normally keep myself enough in check that I can keep my imagination from running wild most of the time.  Well, tonight was the end of whatever level of bravery I ever possessed!

Movies were letting out and we were cleaning the cinemas.  I got a late start on the cleaning, so even though we usually all stay together while cleaning, I decided I would just go into the cinema that was closest to me and start from there rather than walking all the way across the building and then right back again.  I figured I could help everyone out by doing one or two of the auditoriums myself.  So, I went into “Here Comes the Boom” during the credits and proceeded to look around for trash.

I had my head down while walking through the auditorium because I was mainly looking at the floor for trash.  I was going up the center steps, looking left and right for anything I needed to pick up.

Meanwhile, I was thinking to myself, “Wow, this cinema is very clean.  There’s no trash here… trash on this side….no trash here…..(as I reached the top step)…oh, there’s some popcorn…OHMYGOSHWHATISTHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

A kid had fallen asleep during the movie and was stretched out across several seats at the top corner of the auditorium!  My mind was in such shock in the second that I saw him that I was like, “This has to be a prank!”  “Is that a real body??”  “Is he asleep….IS HE DEAD?…no, surely he’s just asleep.”

I conflicted over whether or not to wake him up, but fight-or-flight kicked in and I decided to choose Flight!  I headed down the stairs at a normal pace, but when I reached the bottom I fled from the cinema – giggling at myself the whole time.  I needed out of there!

Turns out the guy’s mom was waiting for him in the lobby.  hehehe.  She saw me come out of there all wild-eyed.  That’s embarrassing!  We all trooped back in the cinema just as the kid was waking up.  He groggily staggered out of the auditorium as we all stared at him.  Poor kid!  Poor me!

It’s just too close to Halloween, I guess.

Don’t Spill Your Soda! — July 16, 2012


I was working at Marshall Cinema over the weekend, and since it was Ice Age 4’s opening weekend, we were pretty busy.  I was standing in the lobby near the box office when a little boy came in.  He came right up to me, as if he knew me, and just stood there staring at me.  (I had never seen this kid before!)  Seeing as how he was standing totally in my comfort zone I finally said hi to him and he said hi back.

After a few more seconds of weird silence, he finally spoke.  Without any glint of mirth, he flatly stated:

“I spilled my soda in my chicken nuggets.”

Then he walked away.


I was glad he walked off since I definitely had nothing to add to that conversation!  I looked over at the usher and we both laughed.


Turtle Babies Update! — July 8, 2012


Whew!  Life has been extremely busy lately!  I’ve started to wake up every morning with these questions first in my mind:  1. Where am I going today?  2. What time do I need to be there?, and 3. Did I get up at the right time?  So far I’ve made it to the correct job on the correct day at the correct time, but you know it’s only a matter of time before I show up at the right place with the wrong keys, or something similar!

I am very much enjoying being back at the cinema.  It felt like I was back home from my first evening there and it’s been really nice to be back in that little world!  It’s funny that it has hardly changed at all! (And yes, Clarissa, you were right – you never forget how to make popcorn!)

But today we are going to talk about all the cuteness of the little baby turtles living in my house.  I can’t help but marvel at how they continue to do cute things every day to impress us and make us laugh.

Peanut and Cashew still take their morning baths every morning.  My morning schedule is different just about every day, so sometimes they are waiting by their water container for me to hurry up and get there, and other days I have to unbury them from the depths of their cage and wake them up.  (They’re so cute with their little sleepy eyes!)

Cashew is on the left and Peanut is on the right.

Peanut is much larger than Cashew these days!  In fact, Peanut sometimes nearly crowds Cashew out of the water.  He just shoves Cashew to the side when he wants to walk around.  Cashew is still a little runt, but he eats worms like crazy now so he’s sure to start catching up soon.  (And yes, those pink things to the side of the water are doorstops.  We are using them as turtle ramps!  They have a bit of a time trying to get into that water container, so we were hoping the ramps would help.  Well, they love going up the ramps….but then they can’t decide what to do next!  They can’t quite make the connection that they’re by their water, so they just end up coming back down the ramp.  Hehe. I finally bought them a very small water container that they can step in and out of more easily, so they do have access to water when we’re not around.)

Cashew is contemplating getting out of his bath. (Peanut is hoping to see worms appear.)


Cashew is moving so fast that he’s a blur! (And yes, Peanut’s lips are stained black from eating worms covered in dirt! I think it gives him a hilarious little smirk.)

Cashew’s little routine in the mornings is to get out of his bath and start munching on his morning leaf.  Sometimes he is so loud with his leaf that I can hear him all the way into the bedroom!  Peanut isn’t much of a morning eater.  He likes to dry off under his log, nap a little, and then come back for his leaf.  It’s unusual to see both of them at their leaf together.  They’ll nibble on just about any green leaf, but they love butter lettuce the best.  They eat nearly a whole leaf every day.  (I think this is Cashew’s favorite food next to worms.)

Peanut has long ago decided that worms are the best food ever. (Second choice might just be tomatoes.) If you remember, it took Cashew a little longer to get on the worm bandwagon, but now he loves them too.  It was funny how one day he just turned!  I was offering him worms every time I fed Peanut, but he would always walk right past.  Then one day, he picked up a worm in his mouth and carried it off and buried it.  I thought that was weird, but then the next day, he went and unburied it and ate it!  And that was all it took!

Of course, this has led to some funny moments between the two turtles.  I started out trying to feed Cashew surreptitiously, trying to give him his worms before Peanut even noticed.  That did not work out well!  Cashew is a slow eater and it was only a matter of time before Peanut noticed what was going on.  A mad turtle would suddenly appear at the opening of his log, glaring out at the sight before him.  Then Peanut would take off running like a freight train, straight for Cashew and the worms!  (A running turtle is truly a most hilarious sight.  He looks like he’s doing a very fast army crawl, and it’s surprisingly loud!)

One time Cashew was eating his worms and had his back to the oncoming freight train that was Peanut.  Peanut was barreling ahead at full speed and Cashew was completely oblivious.  Peanut clamored over into Cashew’s bowl, started to stomp right on Cashew, trampling him, and had just about reached for the worm in Cashew’s mouth when I stood up and said, “NO! We do not steal food!”  All the scuffling in the cage completely came to a stand still!  Two little turtle heads looked straight up at me, and then Cashew bent his head down and went, “Ptooey!” and spit out the worm.  hehe!

So now we have to feed the babies separately.  Peanut eats his out of his worm plate outside of the cage.  Cashew prefers to eat his in the water, so he stands in the little water dish and eats his.  Peanut knows his worm plate and he seems to always have one eye looking out for it.  Watch him appear at the end of the log –

He’s very dramatic about his eating.  He loves to chomp down on them.  The pieces are usually still wriggling and I think he likes to make it a challenge by swooping down on them.   One day I cut the segments a little longer than usual, and when he chomped down on one, the worm jerked up and the other end of the segment hit him in the eye!  He was completely unfazed by it all and just kept eating.

And we can’t forget our little Cashew:

Lately we’ve been experimenting with letting them swim and dive for their worms.  They like to swim!  We put them in the water together so they sometimes end up battling over the worms.  There was an epic tug-of-war the other day!  (Peanut used his size to win, hehe)

Every day is fun with these little babies!


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