Camera Lenses and Humidity

I had some time to kill before breakfast this morning, so I was going to take some pictures. As soon as I stepped outside, the lense fogged up. I guess that means there are already enough pictures of Bali around the ‘net…

It should be better in Soroako…

– peeps

Time Zones Suck!

My body isn’t real sure what time it is right now. It just knows that it is tired.

Here in Bali at the hotel. It is 10:45pm here. Didn’t get checked in until about 9 pm, so didn’t get to do much of anything other than just walk around the resort grounds. It looks just like Mexico at night…

Well, I better try to get some real sleep to get better adjusted to the change…

– peeps

Missed Flights and Broken Movies

Well, we missed our flight to Bali because the delayed flight from Vancouver to Hong Kong. So when we arrived in Hong Kong (just as the Bali flight was leaving) they ran us through security and took us to a Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong to Singapore, then we will catch a flight from Singapore to Bali.

On the flight to Hong Kong, all 14 hours of it, the in flight movies did not work. The power port for my laptop didn’t work either, so I listened to music for a while before the battery got close to dying. After that I was finally able to get some sleep, but not sure how much. Once morning came we were watching the time, hoping we would make our flight, but no luck. The flight to Singapore was much better than our flight to Hong Kong. The movies actually worked….and it wasn’t 14 hours. I watched the Incredibles. It was pretty good. I think I might pick up a copy in Indonesia. I hear “DVDs” are only a couple bucks! 🙂

So, now I am sitting in the Singapore Airlines Lounge at the Singapore Airport writing this. I may go and try to grab a shower here in the lounge. I’m sure I am getting pretty ripe…

We get to Bali at about 7pm. I’m sure it will be almost dark when we get there, so we won’t have time to do or see much. That kinda bums me out since that was going to be one of the bright spots of this trip. Now it is just a bright speck…

If I can get any good pictures, I will…

– peeps

Business Class is Pretty Swank!

I’m not sure I will be able to travel coach ever again! I am chilling (very tired chilling that is) in the Cathay Pacific’s Swanky Lounge (for free) reading email and eating some Chinese food. Beer and wine is free as well, but it is really late and I am getting sleepy.

Our flight has been delayed 2 hours (so hopefully I can get some sleep in the lounge here), so we will be leaving Vancouver for Hong Kong at 5 am (7 am CST).

Peace out!

– peeps

The Never Ending Flights!

Here is what my flights look like on the way over to Indonesia. Hopefully I can get some sleep on the plane!

  • 4.33 hrs – Dallas » Vancouver B.C.
  • 13.66 hrs – Vancouver B.C. » Hong Kong
  • 4.66 hrs – Hong Kong » Bali
  • 1 night at the Sheraton Laguna Nusa Dua in Bali
  • 1.25 hrs – Bali » Ujung Pandang
  • Then a puddle jumper to Soroako. Not sure how long that flight is…
  • 24.9+ hrs

The way back is similar but I get a night in Hong Kong instead of Bali…

  • A puddle jumper from Soroako to Ujung Pandang.
  • 2.25 hrs – Ujung Pandang » Jakarta
  • 4.92 hrs – Jakarta » Hong Kong
  • 1 night on Hong Kong
  • 12.08 hrs – Hong Kong » Vancouver B.C.
  • 4.13 hrs – Vancouver B.C » Dallas
  • 23.4+ hrs

The longest flight I have ever been on was probably 4 or 6 hours. This should be an experience for sure! Maybe I will post something while flying over the Pacific! 😉

– peeps

5 Days Until I Leave for Indonesia…

Well, on Friday I leave for 4 weeks. This will be the longest period in almost 9 years that Tasha and I have been apart.

For work, we have been working on a design for a plant in Indonesia for the past 18 months and it is time for commissioning. Five us us from our company are going over there for 1-4 weeks to make sure the system starts up right and runs as designed. I am the only one who gets to go for 4 weeks. Most of the time will be spent working, probably even on the weekends, but it should be a fun trip.

Tasha isn’t looking forward to it. She has class 2 nights a week and has to come home and take care of the dogs. That means feeding them and playing with them ’til they drop and then heading off to bed. I know it will be hard for her. Luckily, my company has agreed to pay a pet sitter to come over 3 days each week to play with and feed the dogs. That way, on nights she has class, they get to have a bit of fun before momma gets home at 9pm. If you want, feel free to call her or email to keep her company…

If all goes well, I will be back by May 13th.

It will be very strange. From what I hear from coworkers over there, there is limited internet access and what I may have will be, at most, a dialup connection. After having broadband for the past 4 or 5 years, that may be pretty painful. I will purchase a SIM card for my phone when I get there, so I will have a different phone number while there if you need to get in contact with me. I will send out an email letting everyone know what the number will be. I am not positive I will be able to access email while there, but if you need to contact me, use my philpeepsATalumni.utexas.net email address. If I can access email, I will do my best to let you know how things are going.

I will try to post updates during my trip to let everyone know how things are going. If not, I’m sure I will give everyone a detailed update when I get back.

With the recent earthquakes and tsunami over there the past several months, I’m sure everyone is concerned that I may be in danger. The island that we will be at is well over 1,600 miles from Sumatera where most stuff has taken place.

– peeps

Were we like this at Tinseltown?

The Junkman would have been crackin’ some heads back in the day…

Long lines? Managers that don’t care? Scratched prints? All in one visit?

Below is the email I sent to cinemark.com and the theater GM regarding my recent experience at their new Denton location.

To whom it may concern,

I just returned from your 10:05pm showing of Sin City at your new Denton, TX theater.

When I approached the box office from the parking lot, the line extended approximately halfway through your front drive towards the fountain. Upon further inspection (at 9:45pm on a Saturday night), I noticed that only one cashier was working your box office. During my 15 minute wait in line, a female manager stood in the box office, observing the line, and formed an expression of “wow, that line sure is long,” and proceeded to stand idle, without opening up 1 of the 3 remaining box office stations to help out.

After receiving our tickets, my wife went to the theater, while I purchased concessions. On my way to the theater, I saw a couple managers in the main hallway. The same female manager made a comment about maybe sending someone to help the poor soul in the box office. I promptly advised them that it had been that way for 20 minutes now and it was a very good idea. The male manager informed me that they would take care of it and they began to nonchalantly walk down the aisle with no sense of urgency.

About halfway through the movie, while drinking the large drink I purchased, my wife sucked some unknown substance or item through the straw into her mouth. She placed whatever it was on the lid of the drink and I immediately sought out light to see what this was and to speak with a manager. Once I got into the light, I still could not determine what the item was that almost caused my wife to vomit while watching this movie. A kind concession worker fetched a manager for me. I did not catch the manager’s name, but when I informed him what happened, he looked at the item, laughed a bit, and confidently stated that it was a piece of napkin or paper towel.

I personally think the manager acted as if this was not a serious matter, just piece of paper with some diet coke flavor. Was it trash that somehow found its way to the ice bin? Was it really a napkin? How am I to know? The manager offered to refill my drink, but how that will help my concern that it was trash, I am not sure. It was obvious he didn’t really care that we were thoroughly disgusted by this.

Wanting to get back into my movie, I told him never mind and walked back into the theater. After about a minute or 2, while trying to get back into the movie, this manager walked into the theater and up to my seat and began bugging me about wanting to make it right, even if it meant distracting other patrons trying to enjoy a movie.

On top of this, upon retuning to the movie, I noticed that a nice green emulsion scratch on the right side of the screen for the entire ~4th or 5th reel. Let me also mention that this was the second time we have been to your new theater, the first of which I suffered through an entire scratched print of Sideways. There was no notice posted at the box office that night either, or notification by the cashier that there were nice green and black scratches, not only through the entire set of trailers, but through the entire movie as well.

I write this, not because I am some greedy customer wanting free passes to future shows. Let me give you a bit of background on your potential customer base.

I worked at Movies 12 in Pflugerville and when it closed I worked at Tinseltown 20, which opened in its place. I put up with late night hours and low wages through high school and college for 6 years (yep, even got a great 5yr Swiss Army watch), to pay my way through college, to get a good job and earn some decent money. Apparently, to wind up now spending my money at Cinemark instead of (alot of) my time. 🙂 I worked every position during my employment, aside from concession manager and general manager.

When lines got long at the box office, any managers, ushers, concession workers that were properly trained jumped on open register and emptied lines.

When customers had a problem, managers, myself included, empathized with the customers, we didn’t laugh it off and then harass the customers when they went back to watch their movie. We apologized and told them to seek us out after the movie (so they could return to the movie they paid to see) and waited for them with proper compensation when the movie dropped.

When reels were scratched, we ordered replacement reels as soon as they were noticed. When entire prints were scratched, ordered new prints and until they were received we posted signs at the box office and instructed the box cashiers to inform all customers of the problem so they could consider a different movie if this type of thing bothered them. Many have no idea when a print is scratched. For me though, after spending 5 years of my time at Cinemark as a projectionist or projection manager, I cannot stand bad presentations. Film scratches are caused by neglect and improper presentation checks throughout the shift. In other words, improper training or laziness.

It seems that somewhere, your training of management and subordinate staff has gone astray.

I write this not to get anyone in trouble, but to try and help customers have a better experience, and to let upper management know that they have some more work to do.

Please pass this on to the theatre management and others you feel may have an interest. I hope this, in some small way, can help allow Cinemark to maintain its edge of the other chains in the metroplex by making sure customers receive the best from all those involved with the movie going experience.

Philip Peeples

Actually, we probably did this stuff or at least had some other managers that did, but at least we acted like we cared in front of the customer and had a bit of hustle when needed, right Ron?

Now I might have tail wrapped a few prints in my day, even ran an entire print of The Empire Strikes Back – Special Edition off one of the rollers (somehow it didn’t scrath despite whay Ray Belmares told me 😉 ), but despite that, to my knowledge, I NEVER scratched an ENTIRE print…

– peeps