Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

11 Jan 2002, 21:48 p.m.

Today, after absolutely hating hating hating my parents' constant bickering,…

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2002 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

Today, after absolutely hating hating hating my parents' constant bickering, I practiced driving and went to Kaiser Permanente to rid the house of old magazines and get some pills and get some bloodwork done. (By the way, I wouldn't be surprised if my mother secretly believes that my refusal to pray before my driving exam caused me to fail.)

Then my mother and I, on a rather spur-of-the-moment decision, saw Gosford Park, an upstairs-downstairs drama set in a country house in 1938 England. I enjoyed my first Altman film; my mother said that it was more like a book than like a film, but that she enjoyed it nonetheless. And Stephen Fry, a.k.a. Jeeves, played a substantial role!

Those of you who have seen Pleasantville probably experienced a suddenly renewed appreciation for color upon exiting the theater. Well, similarly, after Gosford Park I saw servants all around me. I saw the red-vested cinema employees waiting to clean a room and serving refreshments and conversing in between ticket-takings.

I certainly try not to treat service-industry employees as though they're nonpersons, or invisible. But sometimes they surprise me with quiet efficiency that I only notice afterwards. Believe you me, after today I'll endeavor to tip more regularly.

While "Monica" drew my blood, I tried to distract myself with Hofstadter's explanation of the difference between representation and expression of a predicate in a formal system. It didn't help much.

While waiting at the pharmacy, I ran into Shelby from high school. I barely knew her then, and I still can't recall her maiden name, although perhaps it matters little since she's taken her new husband's surname for her own. I kept thinking, "Shelby...Shelby Foote? No, that's wrong, that's that Ken Burns historian."

Oh: today, while sorting magazines, I came across a US News and World Report with a cover headline: CHEATING, WRITING, AND ARITHMETIC. Not quite as funny as the San Joaquin Delta College ad I saw flashed on the cinema screen before the previews before Gosford Park:

Work Is The Key.
Unlock Your Future.

I didn't stop laughing for two minutes. Not only has someone else deliberately locked my future (To keep it from me? To keep it from others?), but my future is a lock. It wasn't "Unlock the Door to Your Future." I saw no implication that my future is protecting anything! Some futuresmith has created an access control device, and I will have to work the rest of my life to unlock it, because that's my future, a lock!

I scored 705 in Solitaire.