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Sunday, July 16, 2000

Last week was intense here at Green Acres, and a few routine tasks fell by the wayside. So this weekend was primarily devoted to catching up. It'll be late, but I finally wrapped the present for my cousin in Iowa. (He's thirteen today. Happy birthday, Dillon.) I also wrapped up the pictures that he and his brother and cousins took when we were in Colorado last month. The four young photographers will have the results of their efforts in their hands some time later this week.

By the end of the week the company finally had money in the bank, thanks to some unusually aggressive (for us) collection methods. This would involve presenting an invoice and standing over the customer's desk until he wrote a check and handed it back. So I've had to catch up on paying company bills, which is okay, and I've finally been able to deposit my own paycheck and pay a few of my bills.

I hate getting behind on bills, either mine or the company's. I hate late fees and second notices and friendly reminders and less-than-friendly urgent messages. Please contact our credit department. We will be forced to turn your account in for collection. Go cut a switch and meet me in the woodshed. That kind of thing. How dare anyone question my integrity, when I make every effort to fulfill all my obligations? I really hate that, when I think of it that way.

The other thing I've been catching up on is reading newspapers. I get them every day intending to read them, and I end up on Saturday four or five days behind. Then I skim through them, reading only the headlines in the largest typeface, looking for stories that matter to me. Although I pay attention to the news, business and technology sections, I'm mainly looking for something with emotional impact. And this could be almost anything.

Personalities: How did I miss the engagement of Drew Barrymore and Tom Green? The princess and the court jester, a true-life fairy tale.
Science: Scientists in Colorado trying to save the Boreal toad don't want it placed on the federal endangered species list. It seems that makes it harder to save them, because property owners, fearing land use restrictions, refuse to cooperate by reporting existing populations. So biologists are taking advantage of the absence of federal regulation by removing the animals from their habitats and placing them in hatcheries for rehabilitation.
Sports: Say goodbye to the dynasty once known as the 49ers, who have chosen a bottom line-oriented toy company executive as their new president.
Human interest: A Little League baseball team from Humboldt County (the Lost Coast Pirates — how great a name is that?) is on its way to Cuba to play a little ball. They're sponsored by a group called Pastors for Peace, but family and friends helped them raise the money to go.

If I'd kept up with reading every day, I might have been able to give these stories more than a cursory glance. And I might also have known that Santa Rosa's newest city park was being dedicated yesterday, and on my side of town, too. I really must get out more.

But I did get out today. Mom and I went to see Disney's The Kid (is that the real name?) at the new Roxy theater. Charming movie — 'nuff said about that. Bruce Willis is at his charmingest, and the kid could charm the socks off a house elf. It's a kid-friendly take on the theme of Frequency. I liked both movies, actually, and don't think there's any need to compare them. This one was just about right for the intended audience, I think.

But I want to talk about the theater. It's the first time I've been there since it opened this spring as the second theater in the county with stadium seating. The other one is in Rohnert Park, and so I walked in with that in mind. The main lobby of the Rohnert Park theater is huge, but the Roxy has a small lobby just inside the entrance and another more spacious snack bar and arcade area upstairs, where about half of the fourteen screens are located.

Plush red carpeting is everywhere, including the walls. We took the escalator up to Theater 13, and as soon as we walked in we noted that it's a much smaller room than any in Rohnert Park. The seats are lower in the back, and the rows are therefore much closer together, so you lose the ability to walk down any row as if it were an aisle. The seats also rock, not in the sense of rock and roll but rather in terms of being like rocking chairs. There's no good reason for this, but it's all right unless you have a hyperactive (or even normally active) child sitting in front of you. Or behind you, or on either side.

Ah, but the screen is huge, the picture is bright, and the sound is ... well, it's loud, as you'd expect, but one of the papers I read today mentions that the decibel level has been turned down twice since the theater opened, due to customer complaints. Apparently in a smaller room, 6.0 is quite loud enough for everyone to hear every pin drop. They started at 7.2 and lowered it to 6.8, but after more grumbling from deafened patrons, they've toned it down to the minimum level.

For all the minor carping, it's still the best facility in Santa Rosa. Plus, they validate your parking ticket, so I will definitely be back. But I'll probably go to Rohnert Park just as much, out of both loyalty and the allure of shorter lines.

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