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City Hall blockbusters Carlos R. Davalos | Sat, Jul 21 2012 12:00 PM

I haven’t seen any of the recent summer blockbuster movies. I’ve wanted to but something usually comes up —fatigue, chores, family matters.

When I was younger those were flimsy excuses. Nothing could keep me from going to the movies every weekend, buying a pack of licorice, a pop and settling back in a crushed velvet chair to watch action and romance unfold on the silver screen.

But that was decades ago and I have long since transitioned out of Hollywood’s coveted demographic. Besides, there are far more convenient, economical and entertaining alternatives.

Beginning in June and usually through September, clubs, museums or municipalities offer free movie screenings in outdoor settings. Last weekend the city of National City hosted a showing of “Happy Feet 2” at Las Palmas pool. Imagine that: sitting on a pool deck or floating in the water while a movie plays on a giant screen. For free. There are worse ways to spend a summer evening than lounging in a pool and watching a movie.

When National City hosts its next outdoor screening at Kimball Park in August it’ll be a great opportunity for anyone who has always wanted to have a picnic during a movie. Or carne asada.

Streaming video and companies like Netflix make going to the movies almost an archaic endeavor. Sure, I may have to wait a few months to watch the next “Best Picture” but it’s a small price to pay for the comfort of watching from my couch and avoiding people who have misplaced their “inside voices” and whispers.

Lately my entertainment of choice is reruns of Chula Vista City Council meetings. This week I’m looking forward to sitting on my deck with a drink and a cigar while watching Tuesday’s meeting.

This time I can freely guffaw when Councilwoman Pamela Bensoussan — who in the middle of delivering remarks about redistricting — pointedly asks someone to her right if they would like to share what they are saying with the rest of the council. It’s the sort of rebuke I haven’t heard since I was scolded in junior high for talking in class.

Or, when Councilwoman Patricia Aguilar or Councilman Rudy Ramirez take what feels like hours to convey a simple thought, I can blurt: “Spit it out already!” Decorum and professionalism prevent me from doing so in public settings.

In a recent episode the strain between City Attorney Glen Googins and council members when they were talking about recruiting a legislative counsel is something you might have seen on HBO or some other cable network — minus the profanity and murder of course.

As with any new drama it may take time to get to know the cast of characters and what motivates them. But it’s ultimately worth the investment.

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