“You call that a death ray? It doesn’t even slow them down!”


I took Wednesday off of work to help my dad and stepmother move houses, from Mount Airy, Philadelphia, to the house that’s just across the street and a few doors down. My brothers Oliver and Sam (my stepmom’s sons) are in town from Milwaukee and Albuquerque, too, and they’re busy working on the Benson Family Basement Archive of Simultaneously Extremely Heavy And Very Delicate Items. It’s a burden they bear philosophically. And with many shipping blankets.

Sam gave me a gray military tripod we found in a corner of the basement; it turns out to be a 1945 US Navy signaling searchlight mount, and it’s perfect — freaking PERFECT — to support the heavy green Eiki classroom film projector I bought on eBay for the Guerilla Drive-In. Man, I’m excited about this. The tripod weighs about forty pounds on its own, is made of hardwood and turned brass, and has spikes to anchor it in turf. I’ll need to make a plywood mount that screws into the tripod’s brass head (and to which the projector can be clamped.) Once that’s ready, I’ll be the mil-spec-innest AV geek on the block!

Of course, it’s anybody’s guess whether the projector will actually, you know, work. It got pretty dinged up on its trip to me from Ohio. It seems to run okay, with a loud clattering noise and that hot, greasy, dusty smell that I was looking forward to. I took some pictures of the bent bits and sent them to KMR Electronics in California, where a guru named John has been working on Eikis for twenty-three years, and had plenty of good advice for me. Now I just have to wait for the print of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off to arrive from Chicago to know whether this summer will be filled with outdoor movies, or, um… not.

“You call that a death ray? It doesn’t even slow them down!”

2 thoughts on ““You call that a death ray? It doesn’t even slow them down!”

  1. There are no other AV geeks on our block that I’m *aware* of, but I want to bring my A game in case anybody swaggers up in a “there’s no place like 127.0.0.1” T-shirt and starts giving me a pop quiz on whether Rick Berman is an Enemy of Humanity, and the current price of Warhammer figurines or whatever. If necessary, I will point out that my naval searchlight tripod would be the correct item to use to mount some kind of superhero-summoning signal (I actually asked Kate’s dad about the feasibility of making such a device; he’s skeptical.)
    On the other hand, I could just immediately let any passing nerds tend to the projector, in which case we could all assume the tribal role of Jock, turning our collars up and sneering. I call Frederick “Orgre” Poliwatski!

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