A Rambling Man 5

I have a theory about popcorn. I will illustrated by an anecdote.

In 2011 I began managing a brand new theatre. This was exciting as it would be the first time I had total control of a brand new, clean and working properly, popcorn popper. All the training I’ve given culminated in teaching the kids how to keep this clean and have pride in it.

After a month there were a few kids beginning to slack on cleaning. They felt it didn’t make a difference. Some of the other kids were curious if it did. I gathered them together and gave my most important lesson.

When you pop popcorn you must pop it with love.

Some snicker, some scoff, some are curious. I began a batch. When you fill the container with seed too quickly you don’t get the correct amount. If you throw or pour popcorn salt in the container, you don’t know what it will taste like. If you hit the oil dispense button haphazardly you won’t get the correct amount of oil. Did you close the lid properly? Are you listening to the pops like I taught? Do you make sure the lid opens correctly? Do you wait til the right pop rate to dump it?

They taste the corn. It’s bland. Like store bought popcorn.

I pop another batch and do everything right. Dump. Taste. It’s not bad but not as good as cinema corn can be. Why is that?

Because you need to pop it with love, the ingredient everyone misses. I go thru the process again but put the amount of popcorn salt I prefer in. The corn container is full with a little dumped out. I do two oil pumps. I listen intently. I dump it exactly at the right pop. They taste it and even the most firm non believer says it tastes better.

I have each person pop a batch with love, and explain that they need to make corn that they want to eat. Not what I did or some formula or by rules. Each one pops slightly different but delicious popcorn.

They get excited. They clean that kettle perfectly. They get compliments from customers. They get speed and consistency. They make the best corn.

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A Rambling Man 4

Rocky 2 taught me the power of film. My dad got tickets for opening night from work. The auditorium was the biggest in the area, filled to capacity. Everyone loved Rocky and was pumped for the sequel. It was mind blowing that the story would continue. I had to sit far from my parents, which was fine.

The audience was pretty active, more than normal, from the sheer excitement. It didn’t matter. The film gripped the crowd and controlled when they were quiet, screaming, shadow boxing, crying. Emotion was a physical attachment joining the audience and the film.

The mayor was in attendance. He was behaving the same as everyone else. There were other local celebrities engaging with the movie. The gentleman next to me would jump to his feet and cheer. A fella two rows up kept turning around and asking if everyone saw that.

The final fight begins, everyone jumps to their feet and is absorbed by the film. The film ends and everyone is joyfully exhausted. People staggered out, trying to talk, pretend fighting, singing the theme. Everyone was suddenly friends.

I could not believe what I was experiencing. Adults were all cooperating to allow people to leave the auditorium. That never happened. I could see my parents s o I wasn’t worried.

Look at these people, I thought, they are in the grip of the film. This is more than a shared experience. The impression stayed. I was curious and began learning more about film and meaning.

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A Rambling Man 3

Shrinky-Dinks. Back in the 70s there was a ‘toy’ that was a chemically enhanced sheet of clear plastic the you colored on, baked in the oven, and were rewarded with a smaller, thicker piece of plastic. Cool, right?

I made so so many Star Wars shrinky-dinks. some were freehand, some were tracing over trading cards. I was told by various individuals that this was copying and wrong

High school art changed this, educating me that there is copying for different reasons and photo reference. You need to copy to learn. Find an artist that clicks with you, copy everything they make over and over. This will teach you their technique. This is a new set of tools for you to use in your style.

Copying a work and saying it is yours is theft. This is different. You can also copy small sections of things to add to your work. This must be acknowledged and purposeful.

What is this ramble? I get frustrated when people say all copying is wrong or theft or plagiarism. I get frustrated when artists that copy something with no transformation or or intent as their own. There is a misunderstanding on both sides that causes young artists to wrongfully give copying a stigma. An important tool to learn with is presented as shameful. I would like this to stop.

Encourage kids to copy. Encourage them to think about what they are doing and what the artist may have been thinking. Children doing this are outwardly expressing a need to create. Use it as a teaching moment. This could be the exact support that changes the child’s dna and births an artist.

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A Rambling Man 2

I began watching anime with Battle of the Planets. Not Speed Racer. No. Yuck.

Eventually my family went to inner harbor in Baltimore. There was an incredible comics store there. I had my summer cash and was hungry for new comics. I got a couple issues of Longshot and something Paul Gulacy. I got the first graphic novel collection of Nexus. And a Macross VHS tape. Super dimension fortress Macross. Life altering Macross.

Harmony Gold, Carl Macek, pre robotech, had a version of the first three episodes with most of the robotech voice actors, some name changes and a little less edited released to see if there was a market. There wasn’t. I was lucky as hell to have found it. I still have it.

Summer of 84 was the Macross movie event. I got it in 85 from one of the tape trading clubs I belonged to. No subtitles. Just me and the video and my abusive passion for trying to learn Japanese. That movie blew my mind, I imprinted on it, and I’m now it’s child. Still love that film.

I’ve seen most of Macross. There is too many series and not enough free time to see all of it. Check it out if you are interested.

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