Words, Words, Words

March 14, 2000

My wrist has improved since I last wrote, although typing is still slow. In fact, it got significantly slower yesterday, when my therapist fitted me with a new splint that uses rubber bands to gradually pull my wrist straight. It doesn't interfere with most uses of my hand, but the pull makes typing awkward.

There's no telling how much function I'll get back in my wrist, but I'm getting pessimistic about much further improvement. Those of you at Lunacon will have the chance to see for yourselves.

I could use the hand as an excuse for why I've fallen behind on my journal entries, but computer games and catching up on sleep are just as much to blame. It's not uncommon for me to take a nap after work and not wake up until it's time to go to bed (at which point I'll get something to eat, maybe read e-mail and newsgroups or watch Jeopardy!, but I usually won't do anything that takes concentration).

And while my weekends have been productive lately, they haven't involved writing. Last weekend I moved all my files over to a hand-me-down computer my sister gave me. I now have a faster computer, more hard drive space, and a faster modem, but it took a lot of time to get everything working, partly because the software wasn't as user-friendly as it could be and partly because I'm not as smart as I could be. I also bought a comfortable chair for my computer, a nice high-backed padded chair on wheels. This is a huge improvement over the metal folding chair I had put a couple of pillows on. And I got a tremendous amount of housecleaning done.

The weekend before that I went to the Contemporary Hungarian Comedy film festival at the Kennedy Center. The first movie I saw, 6:3, was really good. The protagonist was a soccer fan who's transported back in time to the 1953 England-Hungary soccer match, which is in his mind the single greatest moment of the century. He can't help expecting his fellow citizens to share his enthusiasm, even when he provides a running commentary on the game, predicting each goal in advance. His odd mannerisms and the 5000-forint note he flashes also attract unwelcome attention, and when a group of outraged fans isn't prepared to lynch him, he's close to being arrested by the secret police. Fortunately he's befriended by a streetcleaner who has the sense to drag him away every time he attracts too much attention; eventually she falls in love with him. Consistently charming. I may well be the only person who nominates this movie for a Hugo, but what the heck.

Unfortunately the three movies I saw after that were not as good. I should know better than to buy tickets to a "subtlety-be-damned farce", but Feri's Gang had the same writer/director as 6:3. The best that can be said about it is that I didn't actually want to leave the theater. The next movie was a grainy black-and-white picture about twentysomething Hungarians who are completely aimless and uninteresting, and who think "I want to grab your ass" is a clever pickup line. My attention wandered during this film, so I'm not sure, but I think the point was (and I am not making this up) that eating refined sugar is bad. The final movie, Gangster Film, was not a comedy. Squalid and unappealing, yes; funny, or even trying to be, no.

Seeing bad movies is the price you have to pay for taking chances at the theater, and usually I have pretty good luck picking foreign and art films, so I can't really complain about wasting a day. But those are a whole bunch of hours I will never get back.

Moving back to the present, I got my census form yesterday. I was looking forward to it, because I don't have many other opportunities to practice civic virtue. My voting rights are limited, I don't weigh enough to give blood, and I've never been picked for jury duty, so I was actually a little disappointed that I only got the short form.

However, today I got a jury duty notice that falls into the category of "be careful what you wish for". It's for what they call a "special" trial, starting April 25th and lasting ten to twelve weeks. I wouldn't mind so much if I weren't planning to go to the Stratford Shakespeare Festival with my family in June. They do ask about nonrefundable travel plans, though, so I may get out of it. (I actually wouldn't mind serving on a long trial if it didn't interfere with my vacation. But I'm really looking forward to this trip, and my civic virtue doesn't extend to the point of missing Titus Andronicus, even if it is a lousy play.)

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