Penny ante

Isn’t Poker Night something that only middle-aged men and college students do?

Was watching the 1944 version of Gaslight, a delightful film which has, as one of its many high points (has Joseph Cotten ever made a bad movie?*), an 18-year old Angela Lansbury in a maid’s outfit. Angela Lansbury. Was she ever 18 years old?

Only now, after watching it again, I can’t tell whether it’s more that she’s always had something of a youthful face or if even in her teens she looked plenty mature for her age. It’s one of those things one frets about until the realization comes that there’s only one “Angela Lansbury” look, an ageless one — lucky her. Her voice, on the other hand, definitely belongs to an adolescent in this movie, and I can’t deny that she sounds old now. The Voice of Dorian Gray, I guess…

* IMDB notes that Mr. Cotten appeared in a 1979 film entitled Island of the Fishmen which promises to be fantastically bad. Not having seen it, I reserve judgment.


Via academia

Oxford | June 1995


The political beast

I’ve never been very political in my life, and I’ll apologize in advance for this brief foray into political content here. I promise to get back to minutiae very, very shortly.

In 2000, my ballot was marked with a mostly Democratic ticket, but I really have to admit that I didn’t have any strong feelings in either direction* (still, with the benefit of hindsight it helps to know I voted for the good guys). Certainly, though, circumstances have changed drastically in the meantime, and this year that’s meant doing a lot of things that would have seemed over my head in the past: donating money to political campaigns, chatting & debating politics with friends, filling out petitions, and simply following the national scene more closely. All this, and somehow I found myself in a high school cafeteria way too early on Saturday morning, to caucus for the Democratic presidential nominee in 2004.

The scene was chaotic; loud and crowded, with not nearly enough room for the turnout, one thing was made perfectly clear: Democrats are mobilized and ready to get out the vote in large numbers. Beyond that, though, there wasn’t much of a united front. Also, with so many first-time participants, the arcane caucusing process frustrated many, including our well-meaning but befuddled precinct chair. Still, it was a fascinating learning process and I was happy to chat with some other young, energized people about what needs to happen to get this country back on the right track.

In the middle of all this, somehow managed to get elected as a delegate for Howard Dean to the legislative district caucuses on May 1. I guess that means we get to do this all over again in a few months (and even got a cute little certificate in the bargain!).

As for the results, I guess it’s frustrating that our guy did so poorly in this state, one which we thought was a stronghold for his campaign. Still, for better or for worse, it seems that a lot of people are hung up on this idea of “electability.” I won’t get into that, since others have already done so. Still, I don’t blame anyone for their choices, and likewise hope they respect that I personally think the electability argument is pretty thin.

And just in case 2000 didn’t teach you a lesson, every vote does count — if I’d slept in, Dean would probably have ended up with two delegates from our precinct (instead of three). Democracy in action, indeed!

* I could lie and tell you the reason I voted for Gore was because I felt guilty that I had caused him to spill coffee all over himself while shaking his hand. This actually happened! But it wasn’t why.


Separated at birth

Odd sense of deja vu browsing the new releases at Barnes & Noble:

Solitaire: A Novel by Kelley Eskridge Holy Fire by Bruce Sterling

Seems odd that this kind of snafu would happen in a niche genre (in this case, dystopian cyberpunk sci-fi), especially given the high profile of the earlier book (Holy Fire) and author (Bruce Sterling), and the fact that the artwork dates from as recently as 1994.

I don’t know why that made an impression on me, but I guess I’ve always been the type to judge a book by its cover — at least when it comes to actual books! Obviously this is a deep and troubling character flaw. Then again, nobody actually asks me for book recommendations, so it’s just as well.

In the meantime: Alton Brown is on TV making homemade corn dogs with onions and jalapeños in the batter, proving once again that he is the most powerful man in America.


Wedding shuffle

While we are left to wonder how in the world anything ever gets done in the Massachusetts state legislature, more than 1600 gay and lesbian couples were married during an historic weekend in San Francisco. The first of these, Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin, have been together for 51 years. Isn’t love beautiful?

Spent the last couple days carrying a deck of cards around, learning how to shuffle while waiting for dinner or watching a movie on the television. Came to twin realizations that (a) shuffling seems to be easier for my clumsy hands when I’m not actually looking at the cards (cf. clumsy feet and Dance Dance Revolution), and (b) Intolerable Cruelty is just as good, if not better, the second time through. I know nobody went and saw this film in the theaters, but do yourself a favor and give it a try (conveniently, it’s just now out on DVD).


Celebrity cameos

I guess we’ve discovered that science-fiction authors may be either neurotic or vain, and proficient in the use of search engines. Still a bit shell-shocked (though pleasantly), and the tactic seems to have worked because I’m now sufficiently intrigued to pick up Solitaire (Eskridge’s site is quite interesting, by the way, and a local talent too!). Also check out the cover artist’s (covers artist?) website as well — v. nice.

Authors! This is the lesson of the day: Comment in my blog, guaranteed sale.

(Sterling’s own site points to another fascinating destination: Postcards from the Future)


Turnip cakes would have been nice

Interesting weekend: Dim summed with friends old and new, caught a Broadway musical (Avenue Q — full-frontal puppet nudity was as advertised), attended a bridal show, almost killed in horrific car crash minutes before reaching the airport. Thankfully, now safely ensconced at home in Seattle, tired but in one piece.

Predictably my mind is filled with two things only: adrenaline and showtunes.

Part of B.’s birthday dinner was a 5 1/2 pound lobster. 5 1/2 pounds! Poor thing’s claws were bigger than my own — !! — though, presumably, much tastier.

Main problem with lobster for me is trying to reconcile nummy lobster meat with this kind of thing, which, if you’ve lived in Boston for any length of time, is inevitable.


New Car!

NEW. CAR. Was somewhat unexpected, but delightful nonetheless.

It’s absolutely lovely! Having trouble coming up with a name, but one must certainly be found. Suggestions?


Justly married

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