Life moves on, and I've been busy painting. What a difference the right paint sheen can make! There are some basic factors to consider in selecting paint sheen, like durability, touch-up potential, desired gloss, etc. But I can't think of a good reason why the previous resident painted the wood board-and-batten laundry room ceiling in high gloss. It only serves to highlight the very imperfect and rough texture of the cheap plywood panels. And I'm sure he wasn't up there scrubbing them regularly, because they were filthy.
I had already painted the crown molding months ago, so it was finally time to give the ceiling a nice, clean coat. I really like Benjamin Moore's ultra flat ceiling paint; it's so thick it rarely drips and it's tintable to any of their thousands of wonderful colors. I had to do a lot of cutting in, due to the little batten strips. But now it looks like a velvety soft cloud overhead, instead of a prickly, stubbly, garish glare.