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small blue square Dinner last night at a Japanese restaurant in Los Altos; I had a teriyaki & sushi Bento. <1> Way to much food and it was too expensive; I can understand the cost, given the territory, but why do they have to give you so much chow these days? My theory is that this satisfies the microwave & eat-at-their-desk set; coming away from dinner with leftovers in a styrofoam clamshell solves their problem of what to do for lunch the next day.

small yellow square G called this morning and we had a long pleasant chat as el Niño rains splashed against my windows. All is well; we agreed that relying solely on email for communication just doesn't cut it. He's had an accomplishment at his job which should sound real good as he interviews for his next, an event which better happen soon because his current working conditions sound deplorable, devolving from an ideal environment of idiosyncratic productivity into a Dilbert-esque bureaucracy.

small green square After a bit of work and PhotoShop play on-base, I drove down to San Jose to see "Ulee's Gold", an excellent drama about a Florida beekeeper named Ulee (short for Ulysses), played by Peter Fonda. It was wonderful to immerse myself once again in the world of smokers, supers and extractors; for it's rather difficult to defend now, but I learned all about this stuff in college, when I took both Beginning and Advanced Apiculture. As was to 'bee' expected, it was mostly theoretical and biological, although we did have labs in Advanced. This film showed what hard work that trade is. Although "Blues" <2> has aged now, it was still a pleasure watching him in action. The conflict resolution involving the criminal low-lifes his son was mixed up with was hopeful in a low-key way; I was glad the grumpy Ulee was allowed to hold forth a bit on the contemporary plight <3> of the honeybee at the conclusion. Plus I enjoyed his granddaughter, who reminded me very much of my own goddaughter V.

small purple square As the film ended we heard the predictable yet apt strains of "Tupelo Honey", the very flavor Ulee was harvesting. Contrast this with my disappointment at "Starship Troopers", whose soundtrack did not include the appropriate Yes song (and that lengthy bit of Prog-rock's third section, "würm", would've been perfect for the final credit scroll). I suppose that film's producers weren't aware of it, unlike the unavoidable Van Morrison ditty from the same era. I made up for this deficiency when I saw that film by blasting "Starship Trooper" at maximum volume as I both arrived and left the parking lot of the theater.

small red square The cinema today was a large multi-story multiplex in a redeveloped area of downtown San Jose. The furnishings were very adequate, yet the screening was a candidate for what Michael Legeros rails against so articulately in his Movie Hell column: for the entire screening the frame was maladjusted such that top fifth or sixth was cropped, despite repeated requests for correction. Also, at least until their containers were exhausted, it seemed that all the other movie-goers were "eaters", noisily chomping away on their popcorn. Nowadays I generally eschew food at the cinema, although I understand the importance of the concession in keeping ticket prices low (my understanding is it accounts for at least 50% of the revenues).

Apiculture - Beekeeping, from the Latin apis, the honeybee.
Supers and extractors - The upper boxes of a beehive are the supers - they contain frames whose honeycomb contains just honey, unlike the lower hive body where the comb's full of larvae. These frames are loaded into an extractor at harvest, a big machine which works via centrifugal force.

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<1>A form of Japanese meal presentation where it comes in a lacquer tray composed of several square compartments, each containing something different. Kind of like a real high class TV dinner. Back

<2>The motorcycle gang-leader Fonda played in "The Wild Angels" (1966). Back

<3>Populations are way down due to two different types of mites. Back