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Saturday, February 2, 2002

I don't know why I get fascinated by strange number combinations, but I'm not the only one. I saw on at least two news shows today the startling information that today was 02/02/02, or some variation thereof. So I guess I'm over it now, but I wonder how my 1986 Compaq 286 computer would be coping with such a phenomenon. I suppose those of us who are permanent residents of geekdom will go all loopy again on the twenty-second day of the month.

We've been meaning to see Gosford Park for weeks now, and today Mom just made up her mind that this was the day, even though we were out late at the theater last night. It's been out for awhile now, but it keeps getting held over at the Rialto. That should have clued us in that the room would be crowded, and that no matter where we sat, some guy with giant flapping arms would sit next to me and overlap my space. And that the last two people to come in would find that the perfect seats were exactly and precisely in front of us. And that the people sitting behind us would think we couldn't hear them whispering, and that the smell of popcorn would almost make me pass out. But hey, I love people. That's why I go out so often.

The movie itself was thoroughly enjoyable, although I can't wait until it's on video so I can click the close-captioning button and find out what the actual words behind those accents were. It's a Robert Altman film, so you know that the characters will be many and varied, and that more than one thing will always be happening. That's another reason to see it again, in a more controlled situation.

But we liked it a lot. We laughed, we chuckled, we snorted (at least, I did), and in one scene we even gasped (and I mean absolutely everybody in the audience sucked in air at the same time). The one thing we didn't do was try to figure out the solution to the mystery, because that part of the story was secondary to the relationships of the characters. If there had been no plot at all, the movie would be worth seeing for the performance of Maggie Smith.

On the other hand, when the mystery was finally revealed, it gave us yet another reason to see Gosford Park another time. There were probably clues, if we'd known to look for them.

If I weren't trying to be all happy and stuff, I'd recount our dining experience at the grill next door to the theater. We both thought we wanted a hamburger, and this place specializes in them, so how could we go wrong? Well, for one thing, the menu could be on a big board hanging high above the counter, printed in type too tiny for old eyes to read.

For another thing, unsupervised children could have had the run of the place, which had no ambience to speak of anyway. I love kids, everybody knows that, but there's a time and a place for rambunctious ten-year-olds to be running back and forth across a restaurant dining room and shouting to each other. Or maybe there isn't a time and place for that. I think we might have been in the wrong time and place trying to enjoy a meal today.

Oh, yes. One more thing could go wrong. After all this effort, including standing in line at the counter and ending up with the wrong drinks, the food could be dull and dry and could get caught in my throat and make my eyes bug out for a good ten minutes. That could happen, too, but other than that not much could go wrong. I don't think we'll test it again soon, though.


The top of the eucalyptus I see from my back porch.

Since no one asked, I'll just have to volunteer my Super Bowl prediction. It's a tradition around here, although it's one that's never extended into February before (11 days until pitchers and catchers report). I made the mistake of telling my friend Barry in Houston that he should take the Rams and give the points, no matter how big the spread was. He turned that into a bet. If the Rams cover the 14 points, he's sending me some real Texas barbecue. If they don't, I have to send him fresh California artichokes. So now I have to watch the game all the way to the end.

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