Kage Baker loved those  little intermission film clips you used to see in newsreels and the like. You know – a sort of Whoo-WHOO-Whoo-WHOO carnival score on organ, with hypnotically swirling coloured background patterns and a neatly lettered advisement to Let’s All Go To The Lobby!

This was originally back in the Very Old Days, you understand. Back when double features and a cartoon were actually standard fare. In that break between the films, you could sprint up to the candy counter and renew supplies for the next movie. But the efforts of the theatre to get us to eat expensive junk have never flagged. Some of them still use the good old film strips; and even nowadays, if you’re fast, you can achieve the same determined supply run between the commercials clip (disguised as a trivia game) and the 23 Previews.

Of course, nowadays you can also get bottled water and nachos and Cinnebons and soft pretzels and other fancy crap (as well as the old-fashioned crap). As long as the old-fashioned crap is still there, all is well. Kage actually boycotted one theatre chain when they stopped carrying Mars and Nestles chocolates in favour of some Japanese  gummy       crap …

Intermission is time for popcorn and watery Coke and Ice Cream Bon Bons.  I liked Jordan Almonds and Black Crows; Kage liked Baby Ruths and Junior Mints, so all was equitable and awkward sharing was not required. And then Kage could sit and enjoy the mind-emptying kaleidoscope on the screen, while we waited for the movie to resume. Intermission was a time to get comfortable. Kage would stretch out her long legs and settle down with a happy sigh, waving one hand in time to the honky-tonk  organ music … she loved that stuff.

I am attempting to get comfortable now, as the temperature finally drops below 80 degrees here. And where I am, on the edge of Griffith Park, is better than most of Los Angeles – it’s been triple digits in the San Fernando Valley, and off in the Eastern Wastes of Chino and San Berdoo and the ill-named Riverside. Most of the day I have been indoors, hiding from the heat and sleeping.

I haven’t even been productive – I had to go out this morning and got caught in the early furnace blast while driving home from the Westside. However, it was for the quarterly check up with my oncologist, and the news is splendid: I passed my C-125 test with flying colours and a paltry score of 8. So I continue cancer-free! I cock snooks at you, carcinoma!

But it’s just been too hot all day to do much of anything. Kimberly has just come in from courageously watering the garden in the gloaming, and the most beautiful perfume is wafting in from the new, wet lawn …. time to eat watermelon and relax. Time to eat the last of the Magnum Minis (itty tiny ice cream bars on miniature sticks!) and watch some mindless telly.

Tomorrow, I will share with you, Dear Readers, some fascinating news I have just discovered about Sir Flinders Petrie. But tonight is intermission. Have some popcorn and candy, and relax.

About Kate

I am Kage Baker's sister. Kage was/is a well-known science fiction writer, who died on January 31, 2010. She told me to keep her work going - I'm doing that. This blog will document the process.
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8 Responses to Intermission

  1. Neassa says:

    Hurrah for passing your quarterly with flying colors!

    And for temps below egg-frying. It’s just going to get hotter up here for the next several days…


  2. Kate says:

    Here, too. My cardiologist has advised me not to leave the house in the heat at all. Very early morning, and after sunset – otherwise, I shall be here in the house with fans and cold drinks. Which I advise everyone to do as much as they can.


  3. Jan Foley says:

    Aw, that was fun! Took me right back to the days of going to the movies. Which I haven’t done in years, because Scotland’s cinema experience isn’t that much fun. About 20 minutes of ADVERTS (just like TV!), then another 20 minutes of movie trailers, then the film — with the sound turned up so high it’s difficult to keep your eyes inside their sockets, never mind enjoy the film. My husband (a Scot) actually bought himself a set of earplugs to take to the cinema. Me, I just wait for the DVD.

    But oh, going to the movies, back in Days of Yore, when I still lived in Michigan. What fun! My particular favourite snack was a wee box of Dots. Remember them? Little cardboard box didn’t rattle, so it was quiet to eat from. The candies were gummy indeed, but soft, fruit-flavoured. I remember holding each one up to the screen before popping it in my mouth, to tell what flavour it was going to be (by the translucent colour.) I don’t think I ever ate them outside of the movie theatre. They were my movie candy.

    Double-features, cartoons (expecially cartoons) …I miss all of that! Thanks for bringing it all back for me today.


    • Kate says:

      My pleasure, Jan. The entire movie experience was quite enjoyed by our family, and still is. Special sweets, special popcorn – we only order popcorn in the few theatres that still use real butter. Dots, now – I never cared for them that much, but my sister Kimberly adores them! She still buys them outside theatres, because most movie houses don’t stock them anymore – they’ve gone to chocolates and nachos. What I really loved, and pursue wherever I can find them, are Black Crows – which are nothing more or less than licorice Dots. I loooove those things. And you are so right about the quiet box!


      • Jan Foley says:

        Black Crows. Oh. Now that’s something I never ate, although I do remember seeing them. Mind you, I’m not a huge fan of licorice …having made myself utterly sick with a box of Licorice Allsorts as a child …even the SIGHT of them makes me queasy, even after all those years. (In fact, licorice is the ONE foodstuff I really don’t like …I’m otherwise an omnivorous and enthusiastic consumer of eatables!) But popcorn. Nice and buttery and salty. Yum. I make it here at home, but it was never a movie snack for me — although it HAS become a DVD-watching snack, in the utter absence of Dots.

        Here in Scotland, for some reason, they don’t go for buttered, salty popcorn at movies anyway. Instead, theirs is usually covered with sticky caramel coating. Nice but not the same. It’s easy to think, when you visit Britain, that it’s more or less the same as the USA. The longer you stay here, the more the differences become apparent.

        Do you remember when movie theatres always had red velvet curtains, and they would snake open just as the lights were dimming, as if the screen were actually a stage. (Which sometimes lurked behind the screen anyway.) I miss that! I used to attend a cinema as a young adult which not only had the velvet curtains, but a tall mural painted on each side of the curtains of a man and woman in tropical island dress and 1930s hairdos, to add to the atmosphere. Sadly, the theatre has now been converted into a CHURCH, of eternal grace and holy favour, or some such schismic claptrap. I have no idea what has happened to the scantily-clad tropical man and woman, but I doubt they’ve been allowed to remain. What a shame.


  4. Medrith says:

    Yay test results!


  5. mizkizzle says:

    Congratulations on your clean bill of health. Snook cocking is indeed in order.
    Where I live, a modified version of the movie palaces of the 1920s and ’30s is becoming popular. They’re really pretty swell, in a garish kind of way. Instead of sweeping marble staircases, crystal chandeliers and cacading fountains the new luxe theaters feature valet parking and insanely comfortable seats from which one can dine on anything from cheeseburgers to filet mignon. Beer and cocktails are available but I opt for a Coke and a box of Sno-Caps for dessert.
    Can’t wait to hear about Sir Finders Petrie. Has his noggin turned up for sale on eBay? A great man in many ways, but foolish to have advocated eugenics. Didn’t he know hybrids are hardier than purebreds?


    • Kate says:

      Sno-caps! Good stuff, those.

      I figure Sir Flinders was entitled to one silly theory, and eugenics is only a little insane. After all, he succeeded in breaking free of his father’s cult of the Great Pyramid, and then elevating archeology to the level of an actual science.


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