Re: A Few Simple Rules

1

Thank you, ogged. Thank you.


Posted by: arthegall | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 10:47 AM
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I will not go to your be-themed party. I am not six years old.

Yes, yes, yes. Agree wholeheartedly.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 10:47 AM
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A party also needs an outdoor space that's reasonably comfortable--i.e., not being rained on, provided with a bench or something--for the smoker pariahs to sneak away and bond.

But yeah, witty flirty banter and dressing up good. Watch out everyone doesn't decide you're an elitist with that dressing up bit, though. Next you'll want them to wear jackets at the opera.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 10:49 AM
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That is a gathering, or if you go all out on the food, it is a dinner party. If you are looking for good conversations, perhaps you are thinking of a picnic. Talking can be engrossing and interesting and fascinating, but it doesn't make a party. Parties should be fun; you have to DO things to have fun.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 10:49 AM
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My old roommate was from California and I admit I looked askance at her when she mentioned that she had gone to a party with a costume theme. Maybe it's a California thing.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 10:50 AM
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I think it was a terrible mistake for my son to go to school in Boston. In Boston people didn't hang out, either. All activities were purposive, and people didn't talk to strangers.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 10:51 AM
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I think Megan's scenario is more properly termed a "bash" or "kegger".


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 10:51 AM
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Maybe the group will jump in the pool or make an impromptu bonfire or throw things off the roof; I want everyone giddy enough that they will do something outrageous just for the fun.

Myself, I'll be smearing shit all over the bathroom walls. It's outrageous and fun, but mostly it just calms me down enough that I don't start throwing things off the roof.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 10:52 AM
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Really, apostropher? You wouldn't go to a pork- themed party? The themes don't have to be inane, but they give people a direction for their imagination and a way to participate.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 10:52 AM
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The best way to avoid having fun is to make a determined effort to have fun.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 10:52 AM
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I would howl at Lindsay Beyerstein, however.


Posted by: sam k | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 10:54 AM
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10 gets it close to exactly right, and I have no improvement to offer.

That said, apparently Megan did not have a good time at this themeless, screamless gathering. What's to be done?


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 10:54 AM
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I'd leave the party Megan's describing as quickly as I could, presuming I'd have been invited in the first place. Is there an age beyond which even Californians don't do it this way? Or am I to imagine fifty- and sixty-year-old people acting like this?


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 10:55 AM
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10 - Forced fun is shrill and awful. I'm totally with you there. But deciding that fun is a very high priority, and going to the trouble to create conditions that make fun likely is a good way to invite fun into your life.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 10:56 AM
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a pork- themed party

This is known locally as a pig-pickin' and I go whenever possible. If it's a party where people are supposed to dress up as a pork product, then no thanks.

you have to DO things to have fun.

I find drinking fills the bill nicely.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 10:57 AM
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5: Firmly denied. Partly age, and partly just aesthetics--there is definitely a version of west-coastyness (not limited to Cali) that likes parties that give adults a chance to be silly and play. Often such parties also involve little kids and/or large dogs. Which, you know, is fine. But yeah, snob that I am, I like the dress up, witty banter, good booze kind of party myself.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 10:57 AM
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Most of the Californian parties of this sort I attended were broken up by the cops.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 10:58 AM
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Pig-pickin'.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 10:59 AM
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Look you guys, cool it with the ragging on Californians. I am from CA and so is Bitch, and we do not celebrate the way Megan's friends do. And I know (or think I know) people in NY and NJ who like to frolic and bellow when they attend a bash.


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 10:59 AM
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Oh yeah, and JM too.


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:00 AM
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12 - I did have a very good time, because I met smart, nice, interesting people. But fun is different.

13 - Maybe you would leave. But what if it were neat? What if there was a lot going on, including spaces for people to talk, and people making things, and involved decorations that were fairly clever? What if the rhythm of the party slowly escalated, so you got caught up into it, and enjoyed doing things you wouldn't normally.

You're acting like we're barbarians, but we put a hell of a lot more work into it than that. I am not talking about a drunken kegger.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:00 AM
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Last year I went to a party in honor of the anniversaries of the birth of two fine gents in my department, which had the rule that everyone attending had to dress up as one of them. It was a fun party.

Re this: maybe a project about to be finished that everyone will cheer for

Whaaat?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:02 AM
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He was delicious. 12hrs over charcol at 250F. Smokey, moist meat falling off the bone topped with Eastern NC vinegar-based sauce.

Drool.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:03 AM
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I am unabashedly with Megan here. I'm a fan of both sorts of gatherings - one type is interesting and intellectually stimulating, the other is fun and freedom.

However, Utah's good at neither.


Posted by: ptm | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:03 AM
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I will not go to your be-themed party. I am not six years old.

How can this even need to be said? Damn Bushies.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:04 AM
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17: Way back in 1969, kiddies, I met an LA teenager (14, jailbait) who said that party planners always started off with three locations to be used in sequence as required by the arrival of police.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:04 AM
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I think ragging on Californians is cool. But it should at least be reality-based. The people I know who throw these parties most often are from Kentucky. (And Megan's right--they aren't the same as just a drunken kegger--it's more, as I said upthread, about being playful.) I think it's more of a crafty/hippie aesthetic than it is Cali per se. Though probably it's helped along a great deal by living someplace where you can actually go outside in the evening.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:04 AM
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Actually, also, the first of my two german teachers this summer, the cool one, said that for each of his birthday parties he's had a theme, and the last one was Hitchcock, and he wore a bloodied suit. The way he described it, it sounded pretty cool. But probably such things only work if you've got a damn good theme and the right sort of people.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:05 AM
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But I still don't see the necessity of starting bonfires and throwing stuff off the roof. Even though I am in favor of fire, it's not really what I consider a necessary part of a party.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:07 AM
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26.--Well, at one stage in my life, I was calling anonymous phone numbers for directions en route to this sort of party. The cops often found those, too.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:08 AM
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You're acting like we're barbarians, but we put a hell of a lot more work into it than that.

The work-ethic Barbarians are the worst.

The people I know who throw these parties most often are from Kentucky.

One of the big warning signs, B., is when you start associating with ever-lower classes of people.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:08 AM
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19 - I think my post was the one that set up those types of parties as Californian. I could well have characterized that wrong.

I am totally down with the witty banter, and set up opportunities for that. But when I hear that people are only willing to do witty banter, I also wonder they are only willing to be cool and present themselves as smart, detached people who observe and snark. Having fun means being more interested in the doing than the talking, and being willing to be goofy and silly.

29 - Fire is a huge boost to most parties or gatherings.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:10 AM
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I’m going to an Ugly Shirt party this weekend; just by thinking about what shirt to wear, I’m invested in the party.

Invested or divested. That is a lame theme, yo.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:11 AM
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32.--Fireworks, on the other hand, bring the cops pretty quickly.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:11 AM
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Also a big boost: bare room with a greased tarpaulin on the floor and sign directing partygoers to remove their clothing at the door.


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:13 AM
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I had this conversation long ago when someone was explaining that during his year abroad he taught the Germans how to party. Their idea of a party was sitting in a circle and drinking and talking.

I like the rowdier, unplanned parties the best, but on my own I do German-style parties. I'm arguing in favor of theme parties here just to annoy Ogged, who I actually agree with.

One of the PDX papers did a survey of Portland parties by neighbothood. The St. Johns (hillbillyish) party had one four-wheel-drive for every 1.7 people, and the refreshments consisted of 12 Winchell's doughnuts per hundred people.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:14 AM
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And huge vats of Yves Klein blue!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:14 AM
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My fiancÚ used to throw great parties out on his grandmother's farm that involved lots of alcohol, music, and a bonfire encircled by short squat stumps for sitting on, or as the evening wore on, using to fuel the fire. They were fun.

I've been to a few costume parties (just Hallowe'en, usually) that were a lot of fun. But I'm not sure it makes a good rule, that there must be a theme. I've never been to a party that I thought was lame where I thought it would have been magically improved by dressing up.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:14 AM
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37 -- good idea.


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:15 AM
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Ugly Shirt is a lame theme if you are cool. If you don't dismiss it offhand, though, there can be the fun looking-through-thriftstores and deciding what makes a shirt especially ugly. You can see your friends in ugly shirts, and discuss why that shirt is ugly and how they found it. But you have to be involved and open to enjoy that theme.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:15 AM
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Young Germans actually know drinking songs, though; that's a cultural edge on us.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:16 AM
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You can see your friends in ugly shirts

I see this all the time already.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:17 AM
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But you have to be involved and open...

And have lots of spare time best filled by preparing for a party.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:17 AM
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People should both act like monkeys and engage in witty conversation. Ideally in the reverse order. Or one could be a monkey one night, and a more relaxed macaque on the next.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:18 AM
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38 - A theme doesn't require dressing up, or mean a costume. I've had a Wreck the Carpet party, where the theme was destruction. Costumes (and that may just be a color or feather boas or glitter) help, because they draw people in and help them lose their self-consciousness. But they don't have to be a big, formal deal.

35 - I have, in fact, been to that party.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:19 AM
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I mean, who cares about ugly shirts? How long can you talk about the ugliness of a shirt? "discuss why that shirt is ugly and how they found it."—this would be a good language-school exercise.

I'm actually potentially on your side here, Megan, at least regarding themes. A theme need not be a bad sign. But "the theme is—ugly shirts!" is a bad sign.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:19 AM
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(Does an orgy count as a themed party?)


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:20 AM
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Eh, I can't say I'm coming around to Megan's rule, but Halloween parties and the like can be fun. But, per OFE, you really can't force fun. It has to be an organic outgrowth of the people involved. That you need to make particular plans to get the invited guests to have fun is a tipoff that those people are not fun, and your plans will be for naught.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:20 AM
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People should both act like monkeys and engage in witty conversation.

Hence my comment 8.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:21 AM
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(Or does it have to be a costume orgy to qualify?)


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:22 AM
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What's the difference between a "Wreck the Carpet party, where the theme was destruction", and just having a party where you've told everyone that you're destroying the carpet or some shit? Is there some capital-t Theminess involved?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:23 AM
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38: Even so, you seem to be equating 'having fun' with 'doing things you wouldn't normally do' and the theme will get you there if you're sufficiently involved and open. But it's not like people who are sitting around bantering are moping about not enjoying themselves. Talking to an interesting person can be fun. Hell, it is fun.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:24 AM
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I'm with the "Megan is insane" team. I have never been out, gone home, and thought "That event would have been better with more chanting. Or things being thrown off the roof. Then everyone would have been having a real good time. Like that time we all had to follow someone's premade agenda, and do activities, and wear stupid outfits, and hold at the moon, and manly roughhousing. No, not summer camp, Megan's party."


Posted by: BrownE | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:26 AM
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43 - Good parties are work. I won't throw one unless I have the time to prepare for it.

48 - No way. You guys are potentially fun, because you are smart and witty and like each other. But when you got together, you would first want to be all restrained and show off for each other about how clever you could be. I would have to bust my ass to turn you guys into a fun gathering (although ptm would help). But I bet I could create a setting that would draw you out of being verbal and pleased with your cleverness, and into being involved and fun. And, I bet you would talk about that party for a good long time.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:26 AM
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54: "bust" s/b "offer"


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:28 AM
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Maybe we could get Ben to bring the pretty girl from his class along.


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:30 AM
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Parties should have dancing. Witty banter is fine, but isn't enough.

Themes are depreciated. Holloween is such a big deal out in san francisco, you would think frankenstein died on the cross. That shit is for kids.


Posted by: joeo | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:30 AM
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51 - Yes, you tell people in advance, so they can think about it and bring stuff, like half-opened containers of paint. They come a little prepared and ready to go.

52 - Yes, good conversations are great. I love them myself. But they are not exhilarating and exciting and utterly joyous. So, you can do better when you get a bunch of neat people together.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:30 AM
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Good parties are work.

But trolling around thrift stores to prepare for the "ugly t-shirt" themed party is work that the guests are supposed to undertake beforehand.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:30 AM
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54: I think the idea was that the attendees also need to prepare.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:31 AM
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FtLoLA, it isn't about being pleased with my own cleverness. Talking is fun. Dancing is fun, too, but having to dress up in a boa or find the time to find an ugly shirt, dance and say, 'Sorry, didn't hear you?' for anyone I do find interesting to talk to doesn't necessarily lead to fun.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:32 AM
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good conversations are great. I love them myself. But they are not exhilarating and exciting and utterly joyous

This might be the crux of the biscuit difference in opinion.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:33 AM
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59 - Yes, good guests also do work, to anticipate and amplify the fun. Most guests don't do work in advance, and when they get to the party, they wish they had come up with that clever joke or were dressed more appropriately. Sadly, you have to do their work on their behalf, and offer ways for them to get involved.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:33 AM
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Megan's right that parties can be a bust, even with people you like. But I don't think themes are the solution. Alcohol is the solution.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:35 AM
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Holloween is such a big deal out in san francisco, you would think frankenstein died on the cross.

First-rate comment, right there.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:35 AM
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51: Yes, I am wondering if what this means is that it is best for parties to have an excuse or raison d'etre, rather than what I would think of as a theme. I might be able to get behind that, I guess. I don't wanna throw anything off the roof, though.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:36 AM
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I would do work for a non-lame theme. Sadly, the only non-lame theme I've seen in this thread is the one I myself mentioned, videlicet, Hitchcock.

"Destroy a bunch of shit" isn't a theme, though it is lots of fun.

Actually, if you really wanted a fun party, you should just get lots of big cardboard boxes, big enough for someone to crouch in. Cardboard boxes are the most fun thing in the world.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:36 AM
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when they get to the party, they wish they had come up with that clever joke or were dressed more appropriately

This statement qualifies as "weird".


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:36 AM
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61: Fort Lola? Where Old Soho meets the Old West? Now there's a theme even I might enjoy.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:37 AM
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I love the idea of dressing up like the honorees at an academic shindig, though.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:37 AM
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Hrm. I think what's going on here, for me, is that I don't actually like fun. I can conceive of having a good time at a party like the one you describe, if there were a kitchen I could hide in making food, or washing dishes, or something. Other than that, I have nightmares about this sort of fun.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:37 AM
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66 is why destroying shit isn't a theme. It's an excuse. No shame in a party having an excuse.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:37 AM
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I went to a Sinatra themed party that was actually a lot of fun. To comply with the theme, you had to get a dressed up, engage in some witty banter, and drink hard liquor.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:38 AM
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Alcohol is the solution

Can I put in a plug for marihuana here?


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:38 AM
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Megan's right about the lighting at a good party, though. Warm colors make everyone look sexy.?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:38 AM
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So Megan's post about certain her party preparation, including space-changing and light-changing, is far more persuasive than the excerpt here makes it out to be.

Apo, I heard about this book on the radio today, thought you might appreciate it. It discusses the somewhat elusive bacon ice cream.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:39 AM
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Actually, if you really wanted a fun party, you should just get lots of big cardboard boxes, big enough for someone to crouch in.

Just wanted to see this again. Ben, are you crouching in a cardboard box right now?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:39 AM
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Sadly, the only non-lame theme I've seen in this thread is the one I myself mentioned, videlicet, Hitchcock.

You should be banned from discussions of fun as well as discussions of sports.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:39 AM
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62 - Yes, good conversations are also on offer. I create lots of spaces for people to be in during a party. I also make it very easy for people to start talking. BUT, in a good party, you should be able to go back and forth between a good conversation, dancing, good food, and also (I'm making this up) a spontaneous touch football game, or deciding, what the hell, let's all run to someone else's house and make pancakes, or make dried ice bombs, or build something, or paint something or do something. When talking is all you do, and all you expect to do for the evening, the party never transforms. (Those are hard to achieve, by the way, and I am not always successful.)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:39 AM
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I've been to a party where everyone wound up jumping in the pool, but that wasn't a theme, it was a bunch of horny young people wanting to get each other in their underwear. It was good.

I've also been to a party (in Berkeley, naturally) where we each had to change into a dress (naturally) and try to eat a chocolate bar with chopsticks, for as long as it took the group to finish some simple puzzle. That's "fun," but fun ain't for everyone.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:39 AM
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???s?x?


Posted by: ?? | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:40 AM
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69 -- "For the Love of Little Apples".


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:40 AM
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LB: In the absence of a kitchen to do dishes in, would a cardboard box to crouch in suit you?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:40 AM
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77: if only.

The last party I went to in SF involved someone who recently got a t-t job fitting herself entirely into a washing machine. So awesome. That was, of course, completely unplanned.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:41 AM
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BUT, in a good party, you should be able to go back and forth between a good conversation, dancing, good food, and also (I'm making this up) a spontaneous touch football game, or deciding, what the hell, let's all run to someone else's house and make pancakes


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:42 AM
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82: thank you
81: No doubt


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:42 AM
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Oh, um, 81 is me when my keyboard switched into Hiragana for no reason.

I think managing the space is more important than having a theme, and having plentiful alcohol is even more important. One of the best parties I've been to recently was in an apartment that had a roof as a balcony, and people sort of swirled from drinking in the kitchen, to drinking in the living room, to hanging out on the balcony with the smokers.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:43 AM
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Also, I think the med students two houses down from me have parties like Megan's, what with the cheering, chanting, and howling at the moon, and around two a.m. I would cheerfully strangle every one of them.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:43 AM
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I don't actually like fun

LB gets it exactly right.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:44 AM
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83: It'd be better than nothing, but still not my idea of a good time.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:45 AM
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71 - How did you survive your co-op?

67 - Honestly, cardboard boxes isn't a bad idea, if people were willing to play in them. Mazes can also be fun, but they are a hell of a lot of work to prepare.

68 - What is wierd about getting to a party, realizing that other people are wholeheartedly involved and you kinda wish you had joined them?

64 - Alcohol is necessary, but it is only part.

80 - Forced fun isn't fun. I work to create the potential for fun, which is way harder.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:46 AM
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71: My reaction is close to yours, but I would never say of myself that I don't actually like fun. I have lots of fun, spontaneous and planned-for, all the time. And a great deal of the fun I have is social, and has nothing to do with being pleased with my own cleverness, nor other people's. But this kind of fun doesn't appeal at all.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:46 AM
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I'm totally with ben on the carboard boxes. Also, I've been to a lot of little kid birthday parties recently that have been held at those big indoor playgrounds that are essentially human habitrails. Those were heaps of fun to party in. Every time I'm in one, I wish as was at an adult party with drinks, adult music, people making out in the room with all the plastic balls, etc.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:48 AM
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68 - What is wierd about getting to a party, realizing that other people are wholeheartedly involved and you kinda wish you had joined them?

What is wierd about it is making your invited guests feel uncomfortable, left out, and vaguely guilty.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:48 AM
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In college a friend of mine built a ball pit in his dorm room. That was pretty cool.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:50 AM
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Jeebus, after thinking back about parties I've enjoyed, I'm wandering over toward Megan. But there is a limit to the frequency with which these sorts of parties can occur and still be awesome. Maybe that's where I got hung up before.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:50 AM
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Friends of my ex's used to have a yearly 24-hour "Tom Waits" party upstate, which once got written up in the NYT Styles section. They had a makeshift bowling alley out back, spam-carving contests, a live marching band, ugly tie competition, etc. etc. I love TW, but this sounded horrifying to me, and I never went, not least because I would have been trapped in a rural farmhouse with no way of escaping if I had to.

Not only that, but by the 9th or 10th year, attendees were much older and started bringing their kids. Hookers and down-and-out drunks are appropriate for a Tom Waits party, not kids.


Posted by: dagger aleph | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:51 AM
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LB is reminding me of this great quote from Sarah Vowel: "I will go on the record as being against snowmobiles in Yellowstone - not because I'm an environmentalist but because I am not 'fun.'"


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:51 AM
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I associate theme parties with feeling like I couldn't go to the party because someone said the dress code meant we all had to dress like [pick something I didn't have and would have to buy] that all the other girls had. Let's all wear yellow shirts, or funny hats, or fishnets, or flapper dresses. Of course, if you don't have the cash for the theme, you can either go and be out of place (don't you like having fun? why didn't you dress up?) or stay home because you couldn't be bothered to make an effort.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:56 AM
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A friend who's an aging metal freak described a "Teenage" party they once gave where they spent the day before putting piles of imitation vomit on thr furniture and hand drawn cigarette burns on the carpets. You can take this stuff too far.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:57 AM
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89 - I didn't like fun until I became un-cool.

Also, I haven't met LB, so I can't say, but Ogged, I would be surprised if you hate fun. You said you love sports, and fun feels a lot like playing in a great game.

85 - You're emphasizing the spontaneous nature of those acts, and I am fully with you that you can't force them. But you can set conditions that make them more likely, and a polite party of standing around talking doesn't make fun things more likely to happen.

94 - I've never done that.

95 - See? Fun.

96 - Two a year is a lot. One per year should be do-able.

97 - That sounds fun, but types of parties have a lifespan. Like you said, you have to quit before they are forced.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:58 AM
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I'm pretty sure I'm more on Megan's side here, though of course there's a risk of such a party failing in a big way.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 11:59 AM
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Aw, Megan, I'd come to your party.

66 nails it in that people like to have a reason for the party. It sets the mood ahead of time, it gets people anticipating what they'll wear or what they'll bring, it gives people who don't know each other something to bond over when they get there and it can potentially weed out people who aren't willing to stop taking themselves so seriously.

Doesn't have to be a kegger, either -- I've had a chocolate tasting party with 6 people and a low-alcohol barbecue of 30 or so with kids, quiet music and plenty of conversation (Hawaiian-themed housewarming). No one felt coerced into fake cheerfulness. People had a great time. I had an excuse to buy a bunch of cheesy tiki decorations. Where's the harm in that?


Posted by: Magpie | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:01 PM
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Failing in a big way is mortifying. I don't try unless I know I can pull it off, which means being sure I've got the numbers and two or three days to prepare. I'm not kidding about the work.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:02 PM
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“Not fun.” I asked how he knew and he said “That’s how parties are here.”

I think what's been overlooked here is that for DC this statement obtains, especially for the yuppie/hippie crowd. And I say that as someone who loves DC and was at a [different] party there on Saturday.


Posted by: mike d | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:02 PM
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95:

A friend of mine did something similar in college, but with garbage, rubbish, and filth, rather than little plastic balls.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:04 PM
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I think the distinction isn't between being cool and affected and wanting to impress people vs. being fun; the distinction is between being cool and affected and wanting to impress people vs. being hyperactive.

Throwing paint on a carpet or deciding "let's all go make pancakes!" does not sound like fun. It sounds annoying. Not that I'm against hanging out and making pancakes with friends, but as a wacky hijink? Forget it.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:04 PM
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I should probably explain that the ball pit was there all the time because he ordered 4000 plastic balls off of eBay (or something like it in 2000. It was new and interesting back them.)

Other than that the party was like any other college cram-people-into an 11 x 14-room party, though.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:06 PM
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103 is perfect. Magpie, you are so invited.

And it reminded me: redfoxtailshrub, throwing things off the roof is great and harmless.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:06 PM
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Kidding aside, Megan's advice for throwing parties of the kind she wants to throw is good, but, as should be clear in the thread by now, there are major temperamental differences between people, and "fun" as it's typically construed here in these United States isn't fun for everyone. Is it really any surprise that at a party full of pundits and journalists people wanted to talk? As someone who's a talker and not a dancer, it's always bugged me that the things I enjoy are "no fun." I could even live with that, if not for the pressure, to "come on, loosen up, have some fun!" That seems exactly like saying "Come on, buckle down, let's do some math problems!" to someone who doesn't like numbers. Do your thing, and quit acting like I'm missing out.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:07 PM
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I had an excuse to buy a bunch of cheesy tiki decorations. Where's the harm in that?

Having to figure out what to do with a bunch of cheesy crap after the party's over?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:07 PM
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as a wacky hijink

Exactly right.


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:08 PM
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101: Sadly, I am neither cool nor do I enjoy fun.

I like projects and doing stuff -- I'll help paint anyone's apartment any time I have free -- but not with loud music and the expectation of high spirits.

I am Eeyore.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:09 PM
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Wacky hijinks are probably not fun, although they can double back and become fun. But spontaneous doing is way better than talking, and I do believe that smart verbal people get afraid to do things and be involved, for fear of being awkward and gauche and not cool. I have to work much, much harder to get smart people to relax into silliness.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:10 PM
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I'm totally with ben on the carboard boxes. Also, I've been to a lot of little kid birthday parties recently that have been held at those big indoor playgrounds that are essentially human habitrails. Those were heaps of fun to party in. Every time I'm in one, I wish as was at an adult party with drinks, adult music, people making out in the room with all the plastic balls, etc.

You know what else would be a good idea? An obstacle course. Not that you would have an OBSTACLE COURSE PARTY, but if you've got the space, obstacle courses (that aren't likely to hurt anyone) are fun. Just settin' there.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:10 PM
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110: ogged stays firmly planted in the "no fun" crowd. Shocking.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:10 PM
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110 gets it exactly right. At some point hearing 'Oh, you can't be having fun because doing what you enjoy isn't fun' grates. I like dancing, I like fun, I like talking, but I have really low tolerance for gimmicks. (This includes all bridal shower word games, by the way.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:11 PM
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79: You may just have missed those opportunities. I didn't go to the party, but I understand that for some it concluded with an unsuccessful coed attempt to get into DC's K Street (yet still infinitely sad) strip joints. Not the most outrageous party expedition theme in the world, but I think it counts. At a fairly recent gathering of the same folks, a carload of people drove to Atlantic City at 2 or 3 am.

I like random craziness during the party, too, but you can't force it. Not because you'll be unsuccessful, but because it'll frequently be executed by people who aren't qualified to do it: they'll be too drunk to realize that they're ruining the host's stuff, or they'll be irritatingly loud, or they'll think they're much much funnier than they actually are. It's painful to watch.

I view parties as an opportunity to entertain others and be entertained. Alcohol sets the progression: ideally, people start off being interesting, then witty, then hilarious. If you stick around long enough, the physical comedy routines start to appear (generally after the booze has degraded motor skills enough to ensure that they'll be funny no matter what).

Expecting a party to be a homogenous soup of wackiness is wrong, I think. They've got a lifecycle. To observe it in all its variegated splendor you generally have to tough things out until very near the end. The fact that you had and/or were capable of interactions with your roommate after getting home implies that you probably didn't stay long enough.

I do agree that having dancing is a big help though (and I say this as somebody who doesn't really like to do it).


Posted by: tom | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:11 PM
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115 -- also something that could be constructed with garbage, rubbish and filth.


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:12 PM
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And it reminded me: redfoxtailshrub, throwing things off the roof is great and harmless.

The part I hate is when the people all say "woo!" afterwards.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:12 PM
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I am Eeyore.

They used to call me "Eeyore" at a previous job.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:13 PM
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Witty banter can be quite enjoyably silly.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:13 PM
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Ack! My accursed <cite> habit strikes again.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:14 PM
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117 -- Wow, people play word games at bridal showers? Like, Scrabble and Boggle? This is not exactly what I had been envisioning.


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:14 PM
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spontaneous doing is way better than talking

More oppression from Megan.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:14 PM
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throwing things off the roof is great and harmless.

This is not a universally true statement.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:15 PM
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Witty banter can be quite enjoyably silly.

Oh hellz yeah.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:15 PM
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121: Megan, on the other hand, is an obvious Tigger. Not that there's anything wrong with that, Dr. Oops is one.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:16 PM
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125: Megan's just more Heideggerian than you.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:16 PM
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120 is amusing.


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:16 PM
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"I am Eeyore."

or as E.E. Milne put it, "Eeyore, c'est moi!"


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:16 PM
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117: Cala will never play Boticelli again.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:16 PM
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My first impression was that Megan played a significant role in the planning of her high school prom.


Posted by: Anderson | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:17 PM
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115

In high school a friend of mine was left to fend for himself while his mom was away for like a week. He built the most enormous pillow fort I have ever seen, mostly out of old mattresses and bedsheets. When you opened the front door, you had to get down on your hands and knees and start crawling through a maze. One path led to the fridge, where there was beer. If you followed the other path to the end, you would find two skinheads watching a small black and white television. I have no idea who they were, or why they were always there, but they never left.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:17 PM
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I thought baa disposed of the question of "fun" quite effectively.


Posted by: standpipe b | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:18 PM
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I threw a party once which consisted of sitting and talking and drinking, listening to Tibetan monks chanting, and watching occasional mice run here and there in the apartment. And we realize that one of the monks really was consistently making his entrances late and screwing up the chant. Does that count as a theme party? Probably not.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:19 PM
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124, 132: No, bridal shower word games aren't like normal word games. They're evil and stupid.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:20 PM
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That's a pretty classic thread, by the way. For the newish folks who rankle at schoolmarmish condescension, consider it your assigned reading for the day.


Posted by: standpipe b | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:22 PM
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Yeah. There are people who won't join, and I imagine they won't come to the party in the first place. I do feel bad for them, though, because I think they are missing out on a type of euphoria. Still, if this route wouldn't get them to the euphoria, the rowdy portion of the party would just annoy them.

Bridal shower games are wretched.

Throwing things off the roof is safe when I do it, because safety comes first.

I am down with the banter. I should go write up my instructions for pleasant gatherings, so y'all believe I throw those, too.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:22 PM
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"And we realize that one of the monks really was consistently making his entrances late and screwing up the chant. "

That was me. And all those years I thought nobody noticed. Damn.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:22 PM
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124: The sort of games where everyone has to name cleaning products or types of cake for prizes and elderly great-aunts quarrel over the answers. Only entertaining if you take bets on which aunt will win.

132: I've never played Botticellli because I don't understand the rules except that some questions are second-order and apparently the person who makes up the answer spends most of his or her time trying to figure out who the questioners have in mind when they ask their questions.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:23 PM
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137: Christ on a bike, like that site!


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:23 PM
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134 sounds like a good starting scenario for an IF game.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:23 PM
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I agree that the link to baa's comment puts it about as decisively as it could be put. But there appear to be good-hearted people who just won't believe it.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:24 PM
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The schoolmarmish condescension was a joke, to mock my parochial Californian ways.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:24 PM
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I'm trying to imagine what I could throw off the roof of this apartment building that wouldn't get me kicked out by the first-floor landlady. Maybe twigs.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:25 PM
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146: Doves.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:26 PM
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110 is good.

i'm sorry megan didn't think it was fun. if she'd introduced herself to me, i certainly would have been happy to throw her in a pool, or off a roof. whatever it took.


Posted by: catherine | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:26 PM
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I am Eeyore.

Someone called me Eeyore last year and it almost put an end to the friendship.

Tom's 118 gets it exactly right.


Posted by: dagger aleph | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:28 PM
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My first impression was that Megan played a significant role in the planning of her high school prom.

Nope. But I've been thinking recently about throwing a prom. It would be super fun to rent a high school gym and spike the punch and spend $15 on an awful prom dress at a thriftstore. For grownups, prom is a pretty rich theme.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:28 PM
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The schoolmarmish condescension was a joke, to mock my parochial Californian ways.

The giving you assigned reading was also a joke, to mock my schoolmarmish condescension.


Posted by: standpipe b | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:29 PM
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Has anyone else read Robertson Davies' Leaven of Malice? There's a (cruel and hostile) description of a similar party-throwing philosophy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:30 PM
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I had a good time at the party, and enjoyed talking to lots of people. I would have liked to introduce myself to you. But fun is different from a good time.

I'm sorry I used a party that y'all were involved in as the example, because I know that is rude and I didn't mean to offend.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:31 PM
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"The fact that you had and/or were capable of interactions with your roommate after getting home implies that you probably didn't stay long enough."

That's an awesome rule of thumb.

Even more awesome given that my roommate is an ex.


Posted by: ptm | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:32 PM
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147 -- you mean, pacifists?


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:32 PM
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My father has almost certainly read Leaven of Malice.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:33 PM
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I used to have a complete set of Davies's novels because my Canadian relatives thought that everyone with Canadian backgrounds should enjoy them, a presumption I resented enough never to read them. About a month ago I ended up giving the set away, as I couldn't manage to sell them.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:33 PM
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153: But fun is different from a good time.

How?


Posted by: Doctor Slack | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:35 PM
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157: I really kind of love them all. I'm not sure that I'd defend them as great literature rather than silliness, but they're fun as anything.

153: I'm sure no one's seriously offended, just being play-hostile. And it's not like there isn't plenty of rudeness directed toward your conception of the Good Party.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:36 PM
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152 - Oh, and LB? Your book recommendations? Man, you read some harsh stuff. You didn't warn me about Edmund in Lark Rise to Candleford, and it took my breath away. And London's On the Road? That was pretty rough going.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:36 PM
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I too am very fond of Robertson Davies, especially the Cornish trilogy (the one with The Rebel Angels, What's Bred in the Bone, and The Lyre of Orpheus), but Leaven of Malice is definitely fun, too.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:38 PM
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157: Agree about Davies, who always seemed way overrated to me. (As could be said of many a CanLit icon, actually.)


Posted by: Doctor Slack | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:39 PM
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I'm not caught up yet but so far I'm with 48 and Cala's 117. I have a low tolerance for gimmicks and forced fun. That said, not all themes are gimmicky or forced fun and it depends on the group (just the next day, we mused about someone throwing a Prom Party.)

I won't defend the Mid-October Party because I don't think it needs defending -- it was a great party. The part of the party that Megan was at was definitely skewed towards more of the standing-around-and-talking but as the night wore on other things happened organically (like dancing and other stuff) based on the personalities of the people who had showed up. I'd much rather let the night unfold like that than go in with an idea of what I want to happen. Especially since the theme of the night in retrospect was "have people bring friends of friends of friends and let other people just wander in off the street because they think the party looks cool", so there is no way one could have anticipated the types of people who would show up and what they'd find fun or interesting.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:40 PM
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I am an HTML genius.

To be fair (?), the party-throwers in Leaven of Malice are more into jolly jolly organized fun, rather than howling at the moon.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:41 PM
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You didn't warn me about Edmund in Lark Rise to Candleford, and it took my breath away.

Wasn't me. But On the Road was mine.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:41 PM
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I can go either way. A friend of mine throws a huge, themed Halloween party every year and I love to go. She has an attic filled with Halloween decorations, she spends weeks working on her yard and house to get ready, she has a sign up year-round with "X days until Halloween," etc. You don't have to go in a themely costume if you don't want to, but she sees it as a way to give people who are otherwise shy or whatever an automatic hook for getting involved in the party. Her parties are usually half people sitting around the porch talking and half people locking themselves in the bathroom to throw empty beer cans out the window at someone in the yard. Really, all Megan seems to be saying is exactly that: a good party has something for everyone. If they want the witty banter, great, the witty banter! If they want to climb up on the roof and have a farting contest, hey, no problem. It seems to me like she's not saying you need a schedule and you're out on your ass if you don't follow it, she's saying you need to feel like the whole spectrum is available to you at one of her parties, not just one specific corner of it. As someone who is very shy and can have terrible trouble relaxing around strangers, I prefer that kind of party if it's one where I'm not going to automatically know the majority of attendees. An activity I can use as to mediate the introductions makes everything tremendously easier for me.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:42 PM
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I rather enjoyed the Robertson Davies novels I read of my uncoerced choosing.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:43 PM
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163: But looking at the photos, it looks like y'all did have a theme: Midnight Cowboy.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:43 PM
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Davies, who always seemed way overrated to me.

Heretic.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:44 PM
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158 - You can have a good time doing lots of stuff. Talking and cleverness and banter is a genuinely good time. I really like that.

But fun requires more selflessness and abandon, and it is sillier. It is more bodily, because it feels electric and manifests as a flush and lots of laughing. Running down a disc, or dancing to incredible music, or having great sex feel similar. Fun is a loose willingness to be present and joyous with the people around you.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:45 PM
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Impromptu humor workshop!!! Feigned misunderstanding is funnier if you use the ambiguous word or phrase in its unintended sense in a self-contained comment, as opposed to just pointing out the unintended sense. Or funnier still, if you draw your interlocutor into a series of comments that builds to a climactic awareness of the conflicting use of terms.


Posted by: standpipe b | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:45 PM
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When I was in 7th and 8th grade, most of my classmates' parties were about making out. In high school, most of the parties involved a keg and some remote location on Lake Champlain or Shelburne Pond. Even then, I sensed that this did not represent progress.

That said, drinking is one of two acceptable party themes. That and making out.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:46 PM
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All revolving around Megan's idea of fun, which is not everyone's idea of fun.

And, according to Megan's friend: “That’s how parties are here.”

Well, then, you aren't invited to the right parties. Sure, DC is more reserved, I suppose, then some other cities; and the particular party she is referring to was low-key, but jesus. Some of the wackiest (sometimes fun, sometimes not) parties I have ever attended have been in the District. And while we're stereotyping cities: LA, what the hell is up with you? Your parties made me want to stab myself in the eardrums, if only to never again hear someone say the following words: "I'm in casting!" Omaha! Why do you people insist on talking about insurance and cattle? Partykillers!

I was at said party, and I had genuine fun. But that was because I found a tiny plastic catapault belonging to Armsmasher in the kitchen, and tried to hit people in the eye with peppercorns.


Posted by: the g. | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:47 PM
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Mmm, perhaps the element of fun which Megan is trying to get in her parties and which she found missing from the conversation-themed DC party, is "the abandonment of self". Allow me to reiterate my advocacy above of marihuana, which I find to be a far more effective party refreshment than alcohol.


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:48 PM
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Now I will eat a cookie, and be gone.


Posted by: standpipe b | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:48 PM
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166: See, I'd have sort of the opposite problem. Megan's prom dress party sounds like the sort of thing I'd likely skip. To go I'd have to first find a way to obtain a prom dress. Not hard, but involves coordinating with the roommate to get the car to find a place to spend a couple hours finding something to wear, and really, that's more effort than I want to put into unstructured leisure time.

And I wouldn't want to feel like I was letting the host down if I went, had a great time, danced, chatted, got drunk, but wasn't kerrrrazzzyy.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:49 PM
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I wonder how deep the distinction between the "fun" and the "not fun" goes. Are people who are "fun" also more likely to be kinesthetic learners?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:49 PM
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Megan! Catherine! LB!

Quit apologizing! Don't you know how to have a flame war? You're being all ladylike and civil. This is the third millenium, you know. Get it on!

I can find the Troll of Sorrow anytime I want to and send him after all, y'all, you know.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:51 PM
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As the host, I would never feel let down by any guest who had fun, whatever fun is to that person.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:52 PM
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But that was because I found a tiny plastic catapault belonging to Armsmasher in the kitchen, and tried to hit people in the eye with peppercorns.

Totally fun.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:53 PM
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in a good party, you should be able to go back and forth between a good conversation, dancing, good food, and also (I'm making this up) a spontaneous touch football game, or deciding, what the hell, let's all run to someone else's house and make pancakes, or make dried ice bombs, or build something, or paint something or do something.

That might describe a fun night at college, but post-all-living-on-the-same-floor it sounds more exhausting than really fun. I can imagine such an event being memorable--even entertainingly so, but not something I'd want to do very often. Whereas, IMO, good parties are fun in a less high-strung way. Parties are about the comforts of good food, good booze, relaxed circumstances, and interesting friends who have smart and funny things to say.

Theme parties can be fun, though. A friend used to throw amazingly elaborate "medieval" parties usually including a roasting suckling pig. One year I painted myself blue and got my Pictish groove on. Still, how often do you want to paint yourself blue?


Posted by: Paul | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:54 PM
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179 -- Would you feel let down by a guest who persisted in chatting wittily and refused to abandon his/her self, thereby bringing down the general vibe of self-abandonment?


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:54 PM
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Megan, some of us just ain't going to buy your concept of fun no matter how many times you repeat it.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:54 PM
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176: See, I'd probably go to that. I mean, if it's going by the Goodwill and dropping $5 on a bad suit so I can laugh it up about bad suits when I get there, sure, no problem. Whether I was able to get themely or not, though, I'd probably go because I know there's at least going to be something to talk about right off the bat. Once we've all laughed it up at the frock someone managed to dig out of the bottom of the bargain bin, though, I think I'd just have a regular fun time. I wouldn't feel pressured to be keeraaAaAazy, it would just be another party.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:57 PM
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182 - I deliberately provide space and food and light for those people, where the music won't overwhelm them. And I make it easy for them to talk to each other, both in the party structure and by making introductions.

I would be bummed about a guest who stayed detached and snarked on the goofier people.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 12:57 PM
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Actually, now that I've associated styles of fun with styles of learning, I'm wondering if there isn't an imperfect duty to broaden your sense of fun. In other words, those of us who are not particularly Megan-fun might, as a self improvement project, try to be more Megan-fun. Or maybe learn another language.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:00 PM
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interesting friends who have smart and funny things to say

Nice -- this clause and my self-abandonment fixation are making me wonder how much actual distance separates the having-fun advocates and the partisans of enjoying a cultured conversation -- it could be that the people at the Mid-October party actually were having fun as Megan defines it but she wasn't able to enter into it because of trouble with her preconceptions. And it could also be that Megan and her associates are enjoying themselves in exactly the way that LB likes but LB cannot visualize herself in this scene because she is not getting that it's her scene. So I believe comity is still possible.


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:02 PM
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1. A proper California party is at the beach with plenty of alchohol and a gigantic fucking bonfire. Alternatively, out in the desert or something.

2. Fire makes everything better. Especially if it's in the form of a roasting pit with a pig.

3. Costume parties blow. The obvious exception to this is Halloween. Not because costumes are fun, but because many of the ladies, bless their hearts, see Halloween as their chance to wear the world's sluttiest outfits.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:02 PM
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186 - I think they already feel hounded enough to try my type of fun.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:02 PM
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pwned by rob.


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:03 PM
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I would be bummed about a guest who stayed detached and snarked on the goofier people.

Again with the assumption that enjoying conversation more than hijinks is about being too repressed to let go. Where's that coming from? Some people might actually be comfortable enough in their own skins that they don't have to set aside their normal ways of acting to have fun.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:04 PM
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Boy, am I late to this party.

Theme parties with enforced cheer. "Now let's play this great mixer game! Come on, Halfway, you can balance this chair on your head!" Gah.

There are only two reasons to attend those sorts of parties. Well, three, if you're into throwing things from roofs. Two basic reasons.


Posted by: Halfway Done | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:04 PM
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188 -- Wasn't one of our Mineshaftly ladies complaining about your point 3 just the other day, in the context of mouse costumes?


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:04 PM
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185: Would you be bummed about a guest (or a host) who had keeerrrraaaAAAAzzzy fun and snarked on the non-keeerrrraaaAAAzzzy fun people?

Wrt the idea of guests pulling up carpet, painting, etc.: I'd rather the person just ask people to help. I don't want to go to a party and be surprised into a home improvement job.


Posted by: annie | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:05 PM
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117, 137: All bridal shower games are heinous. I remember a particularly bad one where I sat in a room with a bunch of Texas grandmothers and we all tried to identify various powders in plastic baggies. Guessing "cocaine" would probably have gotten my ass thrown out of the party, but I didn't want to piss off the bride so that particular out wasn't available to me.

176: Party themes that are optional but that people are interested in participating in, not rigidly enforced and shame-inducing for those who don't want to play, is the goal. We're not talking about being Wackytanamo here. People seem to be associating themes with a sorority-style conformity, and that's really off-base. (Hell, I didn't even *go* to my prom, let alone help plan it.)


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:05 PM
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180: to clarify, would have been just as fun if I didn't do that, I just really felt like bringing Armsmasher into this mix. I'm a bitch like that.


Posted by: the g. | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:07 PM
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189 - There's that scene in the opening of the Bacchai where Tiresias and some other old guy are standing around in fawnskins holding little wooden penises in honor of festival the god Dionysus. The other old guy says something like “I feel like a complete tool standing here in this outfit.” Tiresias replies that Dionysus is a god, too, and worthy of respect.

I always liked Tiresias for being a good sport there.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:08 PM
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Agree about Davies, who always seemed way overrated to me. (As could be said of many a CanLit icon, actually.)

Excuse me while I just whistle tunelessly and gaze off into the distance.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:08 PM
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Detached observation and snark is the opposite of relaxed abandonment and joyousness. Thinking that someone looks funny doing goofy things prevents people from doing even the goofy things they would enjoy. Audible snark draws goofy people out of their present enjoyment.

Conversation can be great, and I would bet that the people who love it would describe good conversations in terms of being drawn in, having a flow and a quickness and a rhythm. Detached snark isn't even living up to a conversationalist ideal of fun.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:09 PM
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188 -- Wasn't one of our Mineshaftly ladies complaining about your point 3 just the other day, in the context of mouse costumes?

I don't remember that. No one's going to kill my enjoyment of good clean holiday sluttiness.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:11 PM
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194 - I would never surprise guests into home improvement. Where did you get that? They came and thrashed the carpet, which I took up the next day. Painting things, like, recreationally, if they want to create something, which some people do.

Why do you guys automatically assume that I push things on my guests and am dogmatic about forcing people to participate? I said very explicitly that I try to create the conditions for potential fun. I've never been a shrill cheerleader type and I never force people to dance.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:15 PM
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(200(!)) -- Now I'm not sure it was actually someone here, maybe it was like a newspaper or magazine columnist I read recently.


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:17 PM
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Because you seem to be assuming that if I'm not getting into the spirit of the party, where I must decide to be spontaneous and make pancakes or sing sea shanties, that I'm not enjoying myself. Or if I'm enjoying myself, I'm not living up to the Platonic ideal of fun because I'm not being silly. And maybe because you went to a party where people danced, had a good time, and talked a lot, thought it was lame and assumed they needed instructions on how to have fun.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:18 PM
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199 is more or less accurate but not on point. You've been conflating all conversation with detached snark pretty much throughout the thread.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:21 PM
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Well, let's be honest: the real reason is that Ogged set her up by dragging her weird but probably harmless idea of fun over here, to the land of the introverts.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:22 PM
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205 is true but irrelevant. Introverts need their weekly ration of red meat too.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:23 PM
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Introverts need their weekly ration of red meat too.

I need two rations, because I threw my first one off the roof.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:24 PM
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207 - Three. You had sex with the other one.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:25 PM
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And maybe because you went to a party where people danced, had a good time, and talked a lot, thought it was lame and assumed they needed instructions on how to have fun.

Yes, well, that. I am sorry, because that was presumptuous. I will say again, that I didn't think the party was at all lame. I was impressed by the all the guests and the number of guests, both of which are hard to accomplish. I also had a good time, although I don't think I have much hope of convincing people.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:26 PM
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Actually, if you really wanted a fun party, you should just get lots of big cardboard boxes, big enough for someone to crouch in. Cardboard boxes are the most fun thing in the world.

Ben should give a party for cats.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:28 PM
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All the guests I talked to, who were really interesting.

204 - I have not either. See my 185.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:29 PM
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Nobody else is pointing out Becks' weird anticipation of rob's 134 above.


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:29 PM
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I'm going to contradict myself and support Ben's cardboard box idea, but only because my brother and I entertained ourselves for the better part of a year with a large cardboard box when I was four years old.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:30 PM
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185 doesn't count because you're still insisting on a distinction between what the conversationalists are doing and fun.

Does having a whole bunch of people yanking your chain count as fun?


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:32 PM
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It's kind of sad and irritating to reflect that we just spent a few hundred bucks on a bunk bed and a bunch of pillows to create a cozy li'l reading area for PK on the bottom bunk when yeah, if I'd thought about it, I could have just given him a cardboard box. Shit.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:32 PM
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yanking your chain

I wish to point out, for the benefit of Mr. w-lfs-n, that "yanking your chain" is clearly not a phrase that I invented.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:34 PM
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One of the nice things about having small children is that you have an easy excuse to enjoy all the things that you haven't enjoyed since you were small yourself, and sitting in cardboard boxes tops the list. I also sit in the playpen with Joey a lot.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:34 PM
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208: No, that second one is still okay.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:35 PM
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212 - that wasn't a weird anticipation. It was a reference to this.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:36 PM
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217 -- Joey's playpen must have an unusually sturdy base. Or is it one of the ones that rests directly on the floor?


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:36 PM
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214 - No. This has not been fun.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:37 PM
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219: Oh.


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:37 PM
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Don't take it personally, Megan. I'll still dance with you.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:38 PM
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195 was me.


Posted by: Magpie | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:38 PM
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35 gets it exactly right.


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:39 PM
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It does have a sturdy base. We've gotten the whole family in there. I forget who made it. Damn fine engineering.

Also, you tip the playpen on its side and put a blanket over it--instant fort. I invite Becks over to join us.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:40 PM
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221: Just remember that we like you and we're doing this for your own good.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:41 PM
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Woo hoo! I'm there!


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:42 PM
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I have not read this whole thread, but I recently attended a party at the home a friend of ac's that had a room for cultured conversation and a room to play Dance, Dance Revolution and every element of that party was awesome, and I felt I could switch back and forth with ease. I do like games and activities, and wouldn't mind more of them in my life. I remember at my first job out of college, as newbie I was assigned to the holiday party planning committee, and I suggested that we all got materials to make ornaments (and we could make em all ecumenical n such) and I got these looks of complete astonishment that apparently they'd hired an 8 year old (well, a Californian). "That's an interesting idea," they said carefully. In the end we got a karaoke machine, though, which is another example of fun I like.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:42 PM
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I second the "fumer de l'herbe" and "abandonment of self" recommendation.

I actually find it surprising that there are so many "extroverted party-goers" on a geeky blog. One would think that most people who comment on this site are mainly conversationalists. And perhaps the only way for these people to unwind is alcohol or herb.


Posted by: Willy Voet | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:42 PM
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dragging her weird but probably harmless idea of fun over here, to the land of the introverts.

I'd guess this is really the core of it. A friend of mine (and fellow introvert) with a doctorate in physchology remarked to me once that it's roughly 80/20 in favor of the extroverts, and that the two camps just don't understand each other at all.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:43 PM
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Oh wait, its a Graco, a lot like this one


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:43 PM
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I am an introvert, and I like Megan fun.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:44 PM
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(actually, I find an activity to focus on a relief from the burden of gracefully carrying a conversation. So Megan fun makes my introversion less of a problem.)


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:46 PM
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223 - Yay! Dancing! (with a voluntary partner!)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:49 PM
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205: It's precisely *because* I'm an introvert that I enjoy Megan-style parties. The theme is an instant conversation-starter ("hey, nice prom dress -- where'd you find it?) and people tend to be more open to sharing activities with strangers than opening up a group conversation to people they don't know.


Posted by: Magpie | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:53 PM
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There will be no howling.

For one lovely, blurred-vision moment, I read that as "There will be no bowling" and thought, yay, Ogged is the person I really want to party with, because dressing up & relaxing & engaging in witty banter and not having to go bowling is my idea of great partying. Ah, well...

I'm on the chatting-with-interesting-people-whilst-swilling-plonk [or a good champagne] and-munching-on-decent-cheese-is-fun side.

The last theme party I threw was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle party, where the guests wore headbands and made T-shirts and cardboard turtle shells and had a "pizza" cake and wished the Offspring a happy 5th birthday. Nothing was thrown from the roof, but there was a modicum of howling.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:53 PM
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I think Megan-fun sounds like fun, too. I think hackles were raised at the idea that non-Megan-fun is not, in fact, fun. I think I'd both have a good time and have fun at either a Megan party or a non-Megan party, although I'd be more likely to attend a non-Megan party due to my reflexive too-cool-for-school reaction to a party with a theme. Unless the theme was awesome.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:54 PM
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You are all freaks.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:57 PM
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The themes are awesome, although I now think "reason for the party" is better description for some of my themes. Others are just purely themes.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:58 PM
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I'm sure there's a thread somewhere in netspace, Timbot, where people are saying how much fun it is to tell women that their thighs are fat.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:58 PM
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"the burden of gracefully carrying a conversation"??????

I don't really understand this. Why is it a burden? Personally, if I feel like I have to impress people with my conversation, then I wouldn't really consider them my friends and wouldn't really be encouraged to talk with them. Maybe initially you have to spark off a friendship with a good conservation, but going to repeated parties with the burden of being witty? Not my ideal of fun. It goes back to the intoxication recommendation though. With intoxication, there's less of a need/desire to impress people.


Posted by: Willy Voet | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:58 PM
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239 -- as if this were ever in question!


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 1:59 PM
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Also, Ogged? You mentioned once that you enjoyed Sherry's instructions for giving parties. I would be shocked if you liked her parties and not mine. I bet they are VERY similar.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 2:05 PM
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I realize that all my favorite parties have been:
a) Themed, usually costume themed, sometimes other themes
b) Mostly people in small groups having flirty witty banter, not having "Megan fun"

In college (on the east coast) my roomates had a bit of a running joke where when someone came back from a big loud party we'd ask "how was it?" and the person would reply "parties suck." The loud drunken dancing type of party just doesn't do it for me. Ditto for frisbee parties, landsharking and filling disks with four beers may be crazy late party activities, but I don't enjoy them.

So I guess that I'm strongly disagreeing with Ogged and Megan.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 2:06 PM
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I would be shocked if you liked her parties and not mine

But she never said that other-fun is not-fun.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 2:14 PM
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Wait a minute, what do we mean by introvert? Because "It's precisely *because* I'm an introvert that I enjoy Megan-style parties." sounds a bit like "It's precisely *because* I'm straight that I enjoy the gay sex."

Enjoying the dress up party doesn't sound introverted at all. It sounds like extrovert, but shy, so enjoys mechanisms that facilitate extrovert type interaction.

But this is way outside my area of expertise here, so maybe I'm way off.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 2:19 PM
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This Rauch article on introverts always makes me laugh.

http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200303/rauch


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 2:22 PM
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The introvert/extrovert thing is actually pretty complicated. Tia could easily be an introvert and prefer raucousness to party-type conversation. I am pretty much the same.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 2:22 PM
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Oh, I'm an extrovert, mostly, and I am not a fan of themed wacky parties at all. It's true that if you can get into the spirit, it's fun, but one so often has to get dirty.

Or maybe it's because 217 gets it exactly right, and those of us who are real adults, with children--the rest of you wouldn't understand--get plenty of play in appropriate venues, while the rest of you have to go out and buy used prom dresses and tiki decorations in order to approximate it.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 2:31 PM
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246 - But does the conversationalist type of fun feel like I talked about in 170? Because, from the outside, you (generally) don't look like it.

The conversationalist fun, I maintain, can be engrossing and interesting and rhythmic and enjoyable. But is it a comparable high to playing great baskeball, loose, sweaty, laughing?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 2:31 PM
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It's funner, because you don't have to sweat.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 2:31 PM
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My perception is probably skewed by my biases. That party Ogged describes in 80 would likely result in me stabbing someone with chopsticks.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 2:32 PM
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250 - I hate to think there are appropriate venues for play, and that play shouldn't be brought to all-adult gatherings.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 2:32 PM
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I hate to think there are appropriate venues for play, and that play shouldn't be brought to all-adult gatherings.

What about formal dinners? Or the opera?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 2:34 PM
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In 244, I think "parties" may be a euphemism.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 2:35 PM
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Or picnics, or barbecue, or un-themed parties where so far, everyone is standing around, eyeing each other, wishing something would happen. Play, leading to fun, is a great option there.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 2:35 PM
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253 - I dunno, I could use more parties where horniness is the theme. The chocolate with chopsticks thing does sound infuriating though.

The other big problem with "Megan Fun" is that it's generally messy as hell. That's great if you don't give a shit about the place you're holding the party, and I've had some great times at loft parties held by artist or musician groups in town whose housing was one step from condemned. I, however, have a nice place where another renovation would bankrupt me. If I throw a party, it will be a pleasant talking adult party where no one gets shit on my nice rug or screws up the teak table I got from my parent's old house. The alternative of renting out some place to hold a "wacky hijinks" party is just way too much work for some fun when I could go out with a few of my crazier friends and some booze and coffee and have the same time with fewer people.


Posted by: JAC | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 2:40 PM
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Sure, but that kind of awkwardness can happen at a themed party, too. Everyone stands around thinking "I'm not going to do that, do I really have to?" The point is that a good party requires a good host who knows how to socially lubricate, and a well-selected group of guests who are willing and able to enjoy the entertainment that's on offer.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 2:40 PM
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259 to 257.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 2:41 PM
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241: I'm sure there's a thread somewhere in netspace, Timbot, where people are saying how much fun it is to tell women that their thighs are fat.

Yeah, I don't get who the women are supposed to be here. I am fascinated by the speed with which this thread took off. Normally the specific anxiety at work is pretty obvious ("I'm not a misogynist," "I'm smart," etc.), but I'm at a bit of a loss to sort this one out. Maybe that smart people are often the same ones who weren't invited to Becky Sue's party in fifth grade, and so worry about being "not fun"? (FWIW, in my case it was Bryan and eighth grade.)

250: I think most of us realize that kids kill their parents sense of fun. Or maybe just "big fun."


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 2:44 PM
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Messy as hell. Can be, takes work before to manage the mess, and after to clean it.

I've said time and again that the theme is an opportunity, not forced, and it allows people a way to participate that they might not have come to on their own. And, I think a party with a solid infrastructure can lift willing guests into more fun than they would have reached without the infrastructure.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 2:44 PM
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I think most of us realize that kids kill their parents sense of fun. Or maybe just "big fun."

That's probably it. Schlepping around thrift shops and throwing shit off roofs takes too much fucking energy.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 2:45 PM
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Maybe that smart people are often the same ones who weren't invited to Becky Sue's party in fifth grade, and so worry about being "not fun"?

This is it, at least for me. Not fun, never been fun, felt bad about my lack of funness throughout my adolescence, thought that one of the advantages of being a grownup was that people were going to stop telling me to have fun, and I could just have friends over for dinner or go to bars with them, and get all prickly at any suggestion that I'd be happier if I had more fun.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 2:50 PM
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263: Yeah, as I see friends go through parenthood, I am astonished by the effects. Lots of good stuff, but lots of stuff you don't much see in the movie.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 2:50 PM
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I am fascinated by the speed with which this thread took off.

Most of us here verbal internet geeky people have spent our party-going lives being told by people like the Evil Megan to "loosen up" and "have fun," and when there's an opportunity to say "Shove it, lady!" folks are going to take it.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 2:51 PM
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262: Well, yeah, you need infrastructure. But that doesn't have to mean a theme or a fun activity. Infrastructure can mean good booze, good food, and a kid you hire to take coats and circulate with food and pickup glasses. Or it can mean that one person does all the planning and rearranges the furniture to promote conversation and access to food/booze and checks regularly to make sure both are available and replenished, while the other person answers the door and circulates and introduces people to one another. For instance.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 2:52 PM
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Sigh. Megan, how can I explain this to a young, athletic person? You propose basketball as a fun aspect of a party?

I am an eeyore (an ass, maybe?); I cannot play sports. I'm fat. I'm clumsy. I have nightmares about long-ago gym classes. I know, I know: right now you're saying "But my team wouldn't care if you were fat and clumsy, we'd let you play anyway!" And I'd groan at the pity-prompted inclusion of my sad self into your svelte, athletic group, where I clearly do not belong.

Ditto the prom party. How hard was it for me to find a size 16 dress the first time around? Do I really want to relive that hell? No. I do not.

This may be why I despised our previous neighbors, who routinely held bonfire-keg-amateur band parties in their basement/our yard. I am not one of those people. I will never be one of those people, and having them around me makes me feel inadequate in ways you can only imagine.

However, themed parties seem to be the, uh, theme today:
http://www.overheardinnewyork.com/archives/007533.html


Posted by: Wrenae | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 2:52 PM
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Well, and everyone, internet geek or no, has been to an awkward or awful party. It's something we all have an opinion on.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 2:53 PM
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267 - That is the bare minimum. I do a lot better than that.

268 - I was asking Ogged specifically, because I think he can appreciate the comparison to basketball and tell me whether it is the same fun he feels in conversation.

Also, I go and cringe at parties where the hosts are lightyears cooler than I am. But a good party should have a niche for everyone, and, I still believe, expand what they thought they would enjoy.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 2:57 PM
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Most of us here verbal internet geeky people have spent our party-going lives being told by people like the Evil Megan to "loosen up" and "have fun," and when there's an opportunity to say "Shove it, lady!" folks are going to take it.

I'm not convinced there's that big a difference in personality (along this vector) between you and Megan. Loosen up and understand she's just got a slightly different approach to the same concern about akwardness at parties.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 2:57 PM
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I'm trying to decide which side of things I fall onto. I go to party where there's very little drinking, lots of laying around on couches and beanbags talking, lots and lots of flirting, naked hot tubs (with more flirting), fire spinning, a barn with horses and people smoking weed who weed doesn't make stupid (mostly people with latent social anxiety). And once I went to a party with fire eating, and that was cool and a good way to impress women.


Posted by: NBarnes | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 2:58 PM
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I do a lot better than that.

Huh. Well, the nicest parties I've ever been to have been ones where people did exactly that. My friends must suck.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 2:59 PM
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I'm not convinced there's that big a difference in personality (along this vector) between you and Megan

I'm quite certain you're wrong. In many situations, I am the most uptight person in the room. I doubt this is true of Megan.

comparison to basketball and tell me whether it is the same fun he feels in conversation

Not at all. But if I want that kind of fun, I'll play basketball. The kind of fun you're talking about seems, to me, more like dancing, which I don't do.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:01 PM
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Joe D. and I have decided that the difference is that if you hang out with a group of young people who know one another well, theme type parties are fun, because you are among friends. Otherwise, you would feel like an ass dressing in ridiculous clothing and playing leapfrog with total strangers.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:02 PM
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The conversationalist fun, I maintain, can be engrossing and interesting and rhythmic and enjoyable. But is it a comparable high to playing great baskeball, loose, sweaty, laughing?

Says someone who spends as much time as she does discussing the topic with the Internets? And anyway, I call apples and oranges. Work isn't nearly as "fun" as basketball, but basketball can't be "satisfying" in the same way as work. Because they are categorically distinct aspects of social life.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:04 PM
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Is Joe D. commentng by proxy now? Or did you just violate the sanctity of the offblog communication again? And if he is commenting by proxy, why isn't he doing it through someone his own age?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:05 PM
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Most of us here verbal internet geeky people have spent our party-going lives being told by people like the Evil Megan to "loosen up" and "have fun," and when there's an opportunity to say "Shove it, lady!" folks are going to take it.

You are saying "shove it" to me, but I am not the shrill girl who tried to drag you out of your chair to dance. I am the one who spends hours and days trying to think of ways for parties to accommodate everyone and also get them to a shared euphoria.

By the time the party happens, I shouldn't have to urge anyone to do anything, because I should have made it a place where participating and fun is the natural thing to happen, because the decorations are smart, so you want to improve on them, and you want to climb up to the tree house we built for the event, and because people are focused on whatever they're doing, so you all have something to talk about.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:05 PM
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I don't want to climb up to the treehouse, and I never will.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:08 PM
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Smasher, is "Diabetes" an attempt to let a prospective audience know that your music will be sweet and cloying?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:09 PM
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274 and 275 - I'm going to get back into trouble, but I'll say it anyway. There is an intersection of that movement and participation and cleverness and joy, and I call that "fun". Lots of other things are great, including good conversation and playing sports and hard work. I genuinely see that. But they are not "fun", and fun is the goal of everything I do voluntarily. It is certainly the goal of something I put a hell of a lot of work into.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:10 PM
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There should be a lot of intermingling, with hugs getting passed along; since men can't do that, they'll be roughhousing, manly style.

Men can't do that? Is Megan talking about California, or a frathouse?


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:10 PM
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The kind of fun you're talking about seems, to me, more like dancing, which I don't do.

Me neither.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:11 PM
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By the time the party happens, I shouldn't have to urge anyone to do anything, because I should have made it a place where participating and fun is the natural thing to happen, because the decorations are smart, so you want to improve on them, and you want to climb up to the tree house we built for the event, and because people are focused on whatever they're doing, so you all have something to talk about.

This sounds to me like a message from some sort of Saved By The Bell fantasy land. I can't imagine ever encountering a party that fits your qualifications unless it was thrown by some sort of organization or Saudi Prince with tens of thousands of dollars to burn.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:11 PM
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I think that B was saying that if you have little kids your appetite for goofy fun was satiated by the kid, not that you weren't fun any more.

I think that shy people might like more structured parties where what you're supposed to do is spelled out. I knew some very shy workaholics who went on a cruise liner vacation with structured play, and they loved it.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:11 PM
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Lots of other things are great, including good conversation and playing sports and hard work. I genuinely see that. But they are not "fun"

Just as we have o-earnest, we can have m-fun.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:11 PM
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a good party requires a good host who knows how to socially lubricate

I'm picturing B calmly walking around carrying a bucket, introducing people and then schwacking them in the crotch with a handful of the KY she had in the bucket.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:12 PM
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285: I think that shy people might like more structured parties where what you're supposed to do is spelled out.

That's what I a little bit what I was saying about Megan and ogged. Or maybe Megan's friends and ogged.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:14 PM
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284 - I throw them once every two years or so, and go to them once a year or so. They might cost me a few hundred dollars, if I get really spendy. The hard part is the thought and work, not the money.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:15 PM
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Treehouse? I hope you'll continue to tell people that the party was no fun because it lacked a treehouse. If the hosts aren't willing to provide for the basics. . . .


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:17 PM
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Euphoria seems like a very strange goal for party-planning. I usually aim for ease, hospitality, full bellies, good company---things like that.

It's not as though I don't understand how planning and games and silliness and vast numbers of guests and a big-ol' space could sometimes induce euphoria; I haven't always lived in a cave. It's more that Megan's rules for party-planning seem to deprecate the other kind of party--and the other kind of good time to have at such a party--unnecessarily. Comments along the lines of "that's not fun, you want to see fun?" get my back up a bit.

Also, if I want to ensure joyous exhileration, I know where to buy it.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:17 PM
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Also, if I want to ensure joyous exhileration, I know where to buy it.

Baby, I give it away for free.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:19 PM
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280: Diabetes is the product of somebody's drunken talk that in no way includes me except, apparently, in my roommie's imagination. I'm working on acoustic songs.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:19 PM
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People seem to maybe getting their nose out of joint for no reason. As ogged rightly noted, we're talking about m-fun, not fun.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:20 PM
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The thing is, how big is the party? If it's like 20 people, and 5 decide they want to start dancing? Awkward. If it's 100 people, and there's a dance floor set up over there so people can shake their body down to the ground if Michael Jackson calls them to do so? That's cool. And fun, even.

If it's a theme party where everyone has to dress up like a Tv character from the 70s, and no one knows each other, and only 25% of the people end up following protocol? That's embarrassing for everyone, including the party planner, and especially the people who made the effort.


Posted by: Joe Drymala | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:20 PM
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I thought it wasn't going to be fun because I couldn't sense an arc leading to shared exhilaration. I thought it was going to stay very pleasant and enjoyable the whole evening. It was a good party, and I liked you and your guests. But I couldn't see it developing into fun.

You can provide props, like a treehouse or a cardboard boxes or karaoke or Dance Dance Revolution or romance novels or anything. I wasn't saying those are the basics. But they are ways to draw people out of themselves.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:21 PM
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I don't want to climb up to the treehouse, and I never will.

I dunno -- Megan's propensity for talking to strangers inspired Ben to talk to a stranger out of the blue, so who knows what she could get you to do.


Posted by: dagger aleph | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:22 PM
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280: Diabetes is the product of somebody's drunken talk that in no way includes me except, apparently, in my roommie's imagination. I'm working on acoustic songs.

Dude, you should be in the band!!! AFAIK, you're the only one with demonstrated talent.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:23 PM
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Prior to a remodel, my wife and I had a graffiti/ demo party. Good food, wine, beer, liquor, and the added benefit of graphic one upmanship on the walls. No clean up either.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:25 PM
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275 is a fine observation. I would like to add as a data point that I adore dancing and am still crotchety about parties of Xtreme Fun.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:27 PM
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291 - Shared exhilaration is exactly my goal for a good party. If I can't pull that off, I call it a gathering, like my Pie Contest. Ease, hospitality, and all-around good time - great.

But since I know what a great party is capable of, I am not going to work that hard for less.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:29 PM
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242: Yes, burden. Having witty conversations with strangers can be hard, because strangers tend not to want to talk to other strangers. If you don't have an immediate icebreaker, and enough in common to talk about, then conversation can be work. Now, if you have that hard a time talking to your friends, then yeah, you need new friends.

247: I mean "introvert" in the Meyers-Briggs sense of getting worn out by demanding social interaction. Going to a party where there are built-in topics of conversation, there are alternate activities to focus on and people are feeling more open and playful is easier. My idea of hell is a talky party where I don't know anyone and because I don't know anyone, people are not open to letting me join their conversations. (Well, that and bridal showers.)


Posted by: Magpie | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:31 PM
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301: The Tracy Flick of partying.

I was beginning to come around to you, Megan, but now frankly I'm kind of back to being scared?


Posted by: whoa | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:32 PM
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So, this must be exactly how y'all felt in the o-earnest thread. You think you're discussing big ideas about the good life, but really you're discussing someone's idiosyncratic definition of X. I feel hoodwinked.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:33 PM
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If I want exhilaration I'll go paddling. Social stuff that can only be accomplished with weeks of work and a cast of thousands isn't exhilarating.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:36 PM
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You wouldn't be scared. I sound all intense here, but in person, I am totally mellow and smiley. You would walk in, and it would smell good, and people would be happy and excited over something they are doing. You could do it too, if you wanted, or you might notice that I put a couple couches over by the firepit. And casually, the evening would have an arc that gathered people in and kept the whole place humming. Some would start to dance and others would be giggling over something, and before you knew it, there was a Big Plan! To do Something!


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:36 PM
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Shared exhilaration

This sounds like bungee jumping or simultaneous orgasm rather than a party. Which is not to say it's not a worthy goal, I just can't imagine being exhilarated by a party.

And this

since men can't do that, they'll be roughhousing, manly style

sounds like someone's using an Abercrombie catalog as a party manual.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:36 PM
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Aren't bridal showers particularly awful because you basically have two armed camps who may or may not like each other forced to be in the same place at the same time to have "fun" and celebrate the impending nuptuals? I think the games are to make both sides feel equally stupid.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:36 PM
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305 - Where are you getting this? I said, 2-3 days work, $100s, 70-80 people min, 200 or so max, depending on the venue.

I don't know if my idea of fun is totally idiosyncratic. I know lots of people who really enjoy that state. But I mean a very specific thing when I say "fun".


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:41 PM
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before you knew it, there was a Big Plan! To do Something!

I give up.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:41 PM
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306: It's not that this doesn't sound attractive, it's that any social event I've ever been to that appeared to be an attempt to do this sort of thing was offputting and alienating. Possibly it's different when you do it; I've just never seen it done in a manner that didn't leave me wanting to find a novel and hide in the coat closet with a flashlight reading.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:42 PM
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Or did you just violate the sanctity of the offblog communication again? What's with all this sanctimoniousness from you lately? Eschew sanctity! You'll have more fun! Boundaries are for losers!

287: You wish.

Re. euphoria, eh. I neither expect nor want euphoria from a party. If I want euphoria, I'll go lie on the beach all by myself.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:42 PM
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If my party experience has a narrative arc, I want to be one writing it. Most of the exhilarating parties I remember had more of a picaresque form, anyway.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:42 PM
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Ogged, how about if you and Megan each throw a party, and everyone can go to whichever one they prefer?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:43 PM
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Also, this is the sort of fundamental disagreement that makes me wonder sometimes whether I could ever live in California again.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:45 PM
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309: There's this rhetorical thing we do sometimes where we exaggerate a bit for emphasis.

You can use "fun" to mean whatever you damn please, but that doesn't mean the rest of us have to accept that your definition is either (1) an accurate understanding of what the word "fun" is commonly used to mean, or (2) descriptive of a state that we would find enjoyable.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:45 PM
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What's with all this sanctimoniousness from you lately?

That's a yes, I take it. I'm never telling you anything in email again, that's for sure.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:47 PM
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314 - Or how about if I invite all y'all to all my events, and let you know upfront what type of evening it is going to be?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:48 PM
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308: Like the last company I worked at, everyone has a different reason for hating bridal showers. The reason why I hate them is because they reinforce the worst stereotypes about women and marriage: that the bride's life is now complete, that the families should not only be happy but grateful and relieved that the bride is "settling down", and that we should snow her with kitchen appliances* and play stupid games that reflect total identity-melding and an all-around '50s outlook on what marriage means.

*Not that I have anything against kitchen appliances, mind -- it's just that it's rare that presents at a bridal shower reflect anything personal about the bride.


Posted by: Magpie | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:50 PM
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Lets face it, "fun" is a central concept in american consumerist society and one that advertisers play on a lot. The pressure to have "fun" is closely tied in many situations with the pressure to consume.

I am certain there is a lot of work on the sociology of fun out there, perhaps even the social construction of fun. Look, google just showed me a course on the sociology of fun.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:51 PM
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320.--Related, there is no word in French that adequately translates this concept.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:54 PM
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Lets face it, "fun" is a central concept in american consumerist society and one that advertisers play on a lot. The pressure to have "fun" is closely tied in many situations with the pressure to consume.

Hmm. The first sentence seems right, but the second sentence isn't doing much for me. People consume alcohol to have fun, but they were doing that long before consumerist culture. What else?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:56 PM
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Centrifugal Bumblepuppy! Now that's fun.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:56 PM
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320.--Related, there is no word in French that adequately translates this concept.

Like we couldn't tell that from their movies.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:56 PM
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Can I go to both parties? I only stipulate that they must each be thrown in Nashville.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:58 PM
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Yes, we were eating before consumer culture, too, but now we are told to cram fries and high fructose corn syrup down our throats until we are obese.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:58 PM
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I find the whole physical activity euphoria vs. conversational euphoria thing a little weird. I'm fond of both, but it doesn't seem to me like they're thing that can be ranked as more or less "fun" than one another.


Posted by: Doctor Slack | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:58 PM
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322 - I am strongly of the opinion that consumption and hedonism are often proxies for fun, when people don't know how to access the state they are seeking.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:59 PM
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324: That doesn't make sense even to me.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 3:59 PM
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Shared exhilaration is exactly my goal for a good party.

Okay, and that's simple enough to attain, but it would have to be a small party because MDMA is really expensive.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 4:00 PM
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326 to 322

Also, Megan's concept of fun seems like an important thread in the American ideology of fun. The experiential nature of it seems especially important to American Fun. It is related, I think, to the idea of The Vacation as Transformative Experience.

Every year I write the words "the unexamined life is not worth living" on the board, and ask the students what they think this means. Every year about half the answers talk about "living life to its fullest" "having no regrets" and "not looking back"


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 4:03 PM
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330 - Might be cheaper than three days of my labor and the cost of the props.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 4:03 PM
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Reality TV / gameshow event, So You Think You Can Throw a Party. To be judged by Preston Bailey, Paris Hilton and Patrick Tribbett.


Posted by: Doctor Slack | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 4:04 PM
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333 to 314.


Posted by: Doctor Slack | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 4:04 PM
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I thought fun was "jouissance":

The first paradigm is the imaginarisation of fun. It specifies the consequences of the first movement in Lacan's teaching as regards the doctrine of fun, springing to life with the introduction of the symbolic as composing a dimension distinct from the analytical experience, and a register proper to existence.....It's on account of Lacan pursuing the signifiantisation of fun to its very conclusion that the need of a third paradigm is set up. This change, this correction, this addition, this distinct paradigm, which is introduced in Seminar VII, The Ethics of Psychoanalysis,10 can be termed as the paradigm of the impossible fun, that is, real fun. Lacan considered this Seminar as effecting a sort of scission. It constitutes a privileged reference as far as it bespeaks his third attribution to fun - assigned to the real."


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 4:05 PM
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328 - I think you are right, and this is exactly what advertisers exploit. People who use pleasure to sell product take an urge to attain a certain state that is valued in our culture and channel it into the urge to buy some product. In the process of doing this, they also change what we think the state we are seeking is.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 4:06 PM
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Every year about half the answers talk about "living life to its fullest" "having no regrets" and "not looking back"

That's because they read those retarded phrases on various Myspace pages all day long.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 4:08 PM
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331 makes me sad.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 4:08 PM
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Also, this is the sort of fundamental disagreement that makes me wonder sometimes whether I could ever live in California again.

Megan doesn't speak for all of us, you know.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 4:10 PM
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Thinking about this more while I was out picking up lunch. I think I do recognize the state of mind that Megan's trying to reach with her parties, but it's one that I'm far more likely to attain by myself than in a group, particularly a group that's setting out to entertain itself. Maybe it's a introvert/extrovert thing.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 4:10 PM
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"The impossible fun -- that is, real fun" is, of course, Lacan's concession to surfers and stoners, for whom no amount of fun is quite enough.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 4:12 PM
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"Jouissance" doesn't at all work for "fun" in casual conversation. There's a presumption of innocent---even virtuous, solidly work-based---pleasure in "fun" that the sexual undertones in "jouissance" make impossible. I'm not saying that that presumption is true, mind you.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 4:13 PM
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339 - Just, you know, the fun ones.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 4:15 PM
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342: Janeane Garafolo had a routine about people who use the word "fun" to describe an article of clothing. "Oh these shorts, I just thought they were fun!" Part of the "fun" outfit is that it can't be too sexy or skanky. The French word "jouissance" doesn't sound like a good substitute for this American usage.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 4:16 PM
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Tell it to Lacan, JM. Or the surfers. Screwing is lots of fun.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 4:16 PM
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343: see, joking or not, attitude like that is what's spurred the Comment Section That Didn't Die.

You can be fun, Megan, without partaking of your Strict California Regimen of Fun.


Posted by: whoa again | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 4:18 PM
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I'm going to donate my fun interpretation of Lacan to Kotsko. He's such a sourpuss it will do him lots of good. I can see a film introducing Lacan to beginners using surfer language, with lots of cool shots of people hanging ten, wiping out and doing the various other fun things surfers do.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 4:20 PM
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The only philosophy class I took in college was "Theories of the Good Life". Although we started with Hedonism, we actually had to read Epicetus, Aristotle, Plato. What a gyp.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 4:21 PM
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346: "attitude like that" s/b "boredom at work"


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 4:21 PM
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You can be fun, Megan, without partaking of your Strict California Regimen of Fun.

Why does anyone care if m-fun = fun? That's the thing that seems weird to me.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 4:21 PM
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I didn't say that "jouissance" could be used as an adjective the way "fun" can.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 4:21 PM
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317: Did Joe D object? No, he didn't. Different strokes for different folks, my friend.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 4:24 PM
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I care a lot whether m-fun = fun. On the other hand, I am quite certain that there is no One True Fun, the way I think there might well be a One True Justice. M-fun is clearly an important strain of fun in our culture, though, and I'd like to know how it relates to other kinds of fun.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 4:25 PM
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Different strokes for different folks

Promise?


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 4:28 PM
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If I want exhilaration I'll go paddling.

DaveL clearly goes to some interesting parties...


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 4:28 PM
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M-fun is clearly an important strain of fun in our culture, though, and I'd like to know how it relates to other kinds of fun.

It is better.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 4:30 PM
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As for non-chemical social lubricants, the rule I learned from a canny events planner was to make sure the space is a little too small for the number of people present. That may mean starting in a subset of the apartment/house/whatever as people are first arriving, only expanding later.

The observation way upthread about not having stayed long enough if nothing strange has happened is quite right.

And I've only skimmed the thread, but I don't think anyone has mentioned introducing Hungarians. This is a sure-fire method for jump-starting a party, particularly in urban areas where actual fire is likely to be frowned on. Germans, no. French, periodically. Russians, very mixed results. But Hungarians, always.

BTW, "party" = "event designed to bring about out-of-self physical experiences and shared euphoria" is a very non-standard definition. If the flame war weren't so much non-m-fun, we could probably stop at a definitional quibble.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 4:30 PM
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355: Sometimes there are dolphins. And turtles. Not box turtles, though.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 4:30 PM
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Emerson: Lacan goes into the systematic pursuit of jouissance in Kant avec Sade.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 4:32 PM
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354: Oh, but of course. One must dress for the occasion; same principle applies.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 4:35 PM
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And I think that Szeklers are the most fun Hungarians, especially if you want things thrown off roofs.
"
Jouissance, for Lacan, is not a purely pleasurable experience but arises through augmenting sensation to a point of discomfort".

Why does this not describe Megan's parties?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 4:38 PM
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358: But are there the boxes the turtles came in?

330: Megan's parties do sound a great deal like E-xperiences. All that hugging.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 4:41 PM
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I think turtles mostly come in holes in the sand.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 4:44 PM
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I am reminded in email by my sister that I am a complete amateur at my kind of fun compared to most competitive Ultimate teams. Just so you can be horrified, you should know the scale goes on way past me.

But Hungarians, always.

And Punjabis. Punjabis are no-fail.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 4:46 PM
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Oops. "Holes in the sand" s/b "in the water, just offshore".


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 4:47 PM
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Punjabis are no-fail.

And IMX, Iranians of the secularized L.A. variety.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 4:58 PM
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Jouissance is mostly a fantasy and a memory, Emerson, but I think this bit from "Direction of treatment and principles of its power" would be more a propos here:

But sometimes desire is not to be conjured away, but appears as here, at the centre of the stage, all too visibly, on the festive board, in the form of a salmon. It is an attractive-looking fish, and if it is presented, as is the custom in restaurants, under a thin gaue, the raising of this gauze creates a similar effect to that which occured at the culmination of the ancient mysteries.

To be the phallus, if only a somewhat thin one. Was not that the ultimate identification with the signifier of desire?

Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 4:59 PM
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And IMX, Iranians of the secularized L.A. variety.
I can't tell if you see that as a compliment or an insult to the Iranians (or Megan).


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 5:03 PM
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367: Besides, Megan doesn't have a penis. All that Lacanian phallocentrism never sounded like all that much fun, jouissant or not.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 5:08 PM
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368: Secularised Iranians = wild partying in LA.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 5:09 PM
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Iranians know how to party. According to Ogged, his mom knows how to party. I stopped at an Ethiopian bar in DC this weekend, entirely full of beautiful people who know how to have fun. Punjabis yes, and Indian aunties. Mexicans, Brazilians, Ultimate players, all know how to commit to the fun.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 5:10 PM
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>"the unexamined life is not worth living"

This is just wrong. Socrates is trolling.



Posted by: joeo | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 5:11 PM
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Lacan's salmon should have been the kind of French sturgeon called "le real". I can't believe he missed that one. (Explained at my URL).

If Lacan had properly understood jouissance and le real, the world would be a funner place, and probably we wouldn't be in the middle of a terrible war now either.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 5:14 PM
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My Url on this one.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 5:15 PM
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Seriously, tell me that Tyler's party was more fun.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 5:39 PM
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375 - Tyler's party was very pleasant and enjoyable. It wasn't more fun because there was no more goofiness and action at his party than there was at yours. I liked both very much; neither were in any danger of approaching fun while I was there. Tyler's met my expectations better, because that is what I expect an afternoon gathering of economists to be like. Yours only surprised me because I expect a bunch of people in their mid-twenties living in a group house to want the same things I did when I was in my mid-twenties, living in a group house.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 6:05 PM
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376 - approaching m-fun while I was there.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 6:07 PM
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When little kids are running around at a playground, are they having m-fun?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 6:25 PM
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I happen to be reading a David Rakoff essay in which he describes the experience of a midnight scavenger hunt in NYC and concludes:

I am no fun at all. In fact, I am anti-fun. Not as in anti-violence, but as in anti-matter. I am not so much against fun--although I suppose I kind of am--as I am the direct opposite of fun. I suck the fun out of a room. Or perhaps I'm just a different kind of fun; the kind that leaves one bereft of hope; the kind of fun that ends in tears.

David Rakoff, you speak for me.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 6:26 PM
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Yeah, "fun" in the sense of "mild depressive episode". Me too.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 6:31 PM
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378 - Yes, they are very close. Adults can also appreciate additional levels of cleverness, but can't get as utterly absorbed.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 6:35 PM
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Yours only surprised me because I expect a bunch of people in their mid-twenties living in a group house to want the same things I did when I was in my mid-twenties, living in a group house.

that is making the huge assumption that all people in their mid twenties are like you.


Posted by: whoa III | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 6:41 PM
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The thing is, little kid fun is closely related to little kid narcisism. Little kid fun is so perfect, because they equate themselves with the universe. When they are having fun, everything else is fun. The rocks and stones themselves are fun.

This narcisism, I think, is different than the sort of flow state that adults attain, playing basketball, for instance.

Now we are into the psychology of fun. I wonder if there is a journal of fun studies.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 6:42 PM
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that is making the huge assumption that all people in their mid twenties are like you. Evidently they aren't.

Evidently some aren't. Maybe just the ones I hang out with, the ones I meet playing Ultimate, are like me.

The flow state from sports is a close analogy. The fugue state from dancing is a better comparison. But fun also involves a lot of laughing, silliness and playfulness that I haven't found in sports. All of those require moving your focus into your actions.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 6:47 PM
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neither were in any danger of approaching fun while I was there.

That's why everyone was so glad when you left. "At last," they said, "we can have fun!".


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 6:49 PM
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I would like someone to come up with an authoritative typology of mystical, ecstatic, and otherwise elevated states, so I can know which ones I’m shooting for.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 6:51 PM
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But Megan, you are/were a pretty serious athlete, yes? I had a hell of a lot of fun playing Ultimate the first year or two in law school, but periodically it got too serious and those of us who were just out to have fun would stay away for a while until it mellowed out again.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 6:51 PM
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But fun also involves a lot of laughing, silliness and playfulness that I haven't found in sports.

Good conversation also often involves a lot of laughing, silliness and playfulness. But then, maybe you're doing it wrong.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 6:51 PM
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385 - No doubt.
388 - Sometimes, even my conversations are playful.

387 - Casual ultimate can be VERY fun.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 6:54 PM
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So is this the first official physical-space banning for things said while blogging?

I ban you...from my house!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 7:02 PM
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384. In college I often wondered why those of us in non- revenue intercollegiate sports participated. I mean, it takes up alot of time, drills are boring, and while there is the thrill of victory, there is the agony of defeat. Best I could come up with was that it was "fun", but not like a kegger or smooch session was fun. I need the definitions as requested in 386, also.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 7:06 PM
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157: I really kind of love them all. I'm not sure that I'd defend them as great literature rather than silliness, but they're fun as anything.

Anthony Burgess thought Davies deserved the Nobel.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 7:07 PM
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390: Well, I've repeatedly told you that you're unwelcome in my pants for things you've said while blogging.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 7:07 PM
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You know, if there are people looking over our shoulder as we argue angrily about the definition of fun..... they're having fun.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 7:07 PM
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386: There should be a "heroin" in between "shooting" and "for".


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 7:08 PM
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I wonder if there is a journal of fun studies.

It's probably edited by depressives.

Recreational sports are fun. Competitive sports are also fun, but in different ways.

And this probably doesn't surprise anyone but my conversations are often very silly.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 7:09 PM
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Clown&aelig;'s continued use of "marihuana", rather than "marijuana", makes me want to deck him.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 7:09 PM
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Ben's method of writing CÆ's name makes me want to deck him.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 7:10 PM
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Ben makes me want to deck him.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 7:12 PM
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Or maybe it's Michael I want to deck . . .


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 7:13 PM
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This is a good essay:

Over the years I have developed a distaste for the spectacle of joie de vivre, the knack of knowing how to live. Not that I disapprove of all hearty enjoyment of life. A flushed sense of happiness can overtake a person anywhere, and one is no more to blame for it than the Asiatic flu or a sudden benevolent change in the weather (which is often joy's immediate cause). No, what rankles me is the stylization of this private condition into a bullying social ritual.


Posted by: joeo | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 7:14 PM
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Decking can be fun, but only if done recreationally.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 7:14 PM
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If it's a theme party where everyone has to dress up like a Tv character from the 70s, and no one knows each other, and only 25% of the people end up following protocol? That's embarrassing for everyone, including the party planner, and especially the people who made the effort.

The first hume society party of last year was scheduled for the anniversary of the day Marty McFly went back in time, or the release of Back to the Future (also Guy Fawkes day), and people claimed it would be a BttF theme party. Maybe four people dressed up, but you know what? Those four or so people were still cool.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 7:18 PM
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I actually think that the unexamined life is the only one worth living.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 7:22 PM
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Unfortunately, no one living that life is aware of it.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 7:23 PM
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I'm mildly suspicious of programmatic attempts at euphoric fun. I think you're more likely to end up with hysteria; it seems like euphoria, but it's really only dizziness associated with hyperventilation and too much oxygen. I think Megan's project probably serve to limit the pool of people who join in to people who are otherwise fun; the only work the project does is to act as a filter.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 7:23 PM
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teo in 398: what if I wrote it "Clown&ælig;"?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 7:27 PM
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That is a good essay, though I confess I am fond of the French style of picniquerie.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 7:29 PM
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But I have to say that Philip Lopate is fucking hard to please.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 7:39 PM
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406 - I wish I got more of the benefit of the doubt from you guys. Maybe my parties are filters that screen out people who aren't like me.

But maybe, as a result of literally years of watching and thinking about parties, and a willingness to do a lot of work, I create parties that let people have more fun, in the ways they want, than they would have expected. And maybe that fun isn't shrill or forced or wacky.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 7:41 PM
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FWIW, I don't doubt that your parties are enjoyable. I just doubt that they're transcendently enjoyable in the way that you assert they are, and I think that your liking for your kind of parties has more to do with what kind of parties you like than with universal truths about what's fun. And I think that's mostly what this thread is about.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 7:44 PM
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And by using poor grammar and sentence structure, I'm carefully creating the conditions for bwo-fun.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 7:44 PM
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The last "gathering" I hosted had about 10 guests, pretty much all I could have fit comfortably into that living room. I made lots of ratatouille and rice, my mother (for she was there) made bacon-wrapped water-chestnuts, and we worked together on desserts. I rearranged the furniture, adjusted the lighting, and made sure everything was clean. And then we all played cutthroat bridge with a silly partnering rotation scheme until midnight. It could have gone later except that my mother was getting sleepy and my guests were polite enough to catch my signals about that. I had a great time, especially when I redoubled East's insane five-spade bid and They went down 600 points.

When I think about some of the crazy-zany parties I've attended and enjoyed and remembered, I can honestly say that if a good bridge party gathering had been available that night, I would have chosen it.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 7:46 PM
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Really, your parties sound great, Megan. I honestly think it's the "poor little dears, don't know how to have fun, I will now enlighten them" tack, especially because you referenced an actual party, thrown and attended by actual people who post and comment here, as deficient that's caused the ruckus.

I realize you were just joking, but pretty obviously you weren't very successful in that attempt.

Also, your post seemed to not give anyone who throws and enjoys parties of the type you disparaged the benefit of the doubt.

Maybe, as a result of literally years of watching and thinking about parties, such people have decided that they prefer the type of party that you think isn't fun.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 7:50 PM
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411 - Most of them don't hit that transcendental fun I aim for; every third or fourth does, and they make the effort worth it.

413 - I am very sorry I wasn't more tactful. The worst part of this is that I wasn't kind to people who were kind to me. I also *didn't* post this here. But that is barely an excuse, because I knew they would see it at my blog.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 7:59 PM
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There doesn't appear to be.

A cursory scan of the literature suggests to me that most fun-related science is published in the Journal of Consumer Research, the Journal of Tourism Research, or the International Journal of Tourism Research.

Also a lot of computer programming journals address the topic of how fun can be achieved. This often involves the word "ludic" (good example PDF here).


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 8:04 PM
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Argh, that was in response to "I wonder if there is a journal of fun studies.".


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 8:06 PM
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There's a journal of happiness studies.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 8:10 PM
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The first sentence of the paper Ned links in 416 is missing a comma.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 8:10 PM
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Ben, the Danes who wrote that paper are clearly following an ancient Muslim tradition...an obvious error is intentionally included so the authors will not be accused of trying to achieve the perfection that only Allah can deliver.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 8:19 PM
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397: I don't think you're allowed to deck somebody over that until you've actually smoked it, Ben.

Also, when was the last time you threw a real punch at somebody?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 8:59 PM
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The last time?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 9:05 PM
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One suspects that B-Wo is somewhere down in the non-pugilistic tail of a pretty non-pugilistic group. But we're fun anyway.

On preview, pwned by the man himself.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 9:07 PM
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re:406/411/414/415

The context of this covnersation wasn't entirely clear to me, since I missed the previous party posting. To be less witty and more serious--I was honestly surprised at how culturalist & non-universalist your collective standards are for this most basic of social joys. There must be alcohol, for instance? Seriously? Surely, you must be joking? To me that's kind of like someone saying that music has to have brass horns, or dance is no good if its not en pointe, or food prepared without wheat is inedible. Isn't a party just like, friendly people getting together for unsad, unwork purposes? Does form really matter so much? This seemed a bit over the top for even unfogged levels of sophisticated snark, so I'm a little relieved to find the seeming haterade was really just a friendly blogspat.


Posted by: Saheli | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 9:27 PM
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There mustbe alcohol, for instance? Seriously? Surely, you must be joking?

That's it. I'm never coming to one of Sahelli's parties, I don't care how many treehouses she builds.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 9:39 PM
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422 - Too bad you went to the second S-K show instead of the first. Then you could have punched the guy out instead of me and I could have swooned and written a blog post about how you were all manly.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 9:40 PM
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the ones I meet playing Ultimate,

Well, there you go. Some people wouldn't play ultimate frisbee if you held a gun to their head.

403 sounds absolutely dire. Back to the Future? I'd rather stay home and pick my nose.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 9:47 PM
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410: To be clear, I don't think filtering out people is a bad thing, and, as I said way above, I've come around on your parties sounding like a lot of fun. But, in my experience, people make the party, and you have to have people involved who are naturally inclined to make the leap that you're talking about. I certainly have friends like that, and I'd sit in traffic with them, on the off chance something weird would happen. It's perfectly possible that certain types of parties make the weird stuff more likely, but I think you have to have the human catalyst as well.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 9:58 PM
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I once met a big jolly drunken rugby player guy at a party in Edinburgh. Extremely exuberant, he was, one might even say exhilirated and joyous. So exuberant that at one point he decided I myself wasn't having enough exhilirating fun, so he wrapped his huge bear arms around me, right about at the point where chest becomes abdomen, my arms pinned to my sides, and lifted me up off the ground while roaring some racous yawp or other or other.

Let me tell you, cracked ribs are not fun. Not m-fun either.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 10:02 PM
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what if I wrote it "Clown&Šlig;"?

That's even worse.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 10:15 PM
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429.---Yeah, that's how the Naked Dinner Party ended. All fun and Graeco-Roman games until I realized a couple days later that my cracked ribs meant I had to punk out of a couple of dance ensembles.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 10:23 PM
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I just want to know what Megan has against tweed. The cloth of Kings, I tells you.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 10:30 PM
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Hmph, M/tch M/lls--fine no treehouses for you!

This is neither here nor there, but when I was in 9th grade, my English teacher--a very sweet, tall, athletic lady--had the most awful post-bronchitis coughing condition. She wasn't contagious, she was just coughing, horribly. And one day in the middle of class she coughed soooo awfully---and then she cried out in pain, and clutched her chest, and said she needed to go home.

Luckily at home was her doctor-fiance, and he realize she had cracked her ribs while coughing. Freaked the hell out of us when we heard.


Posted by: Saheli | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 10:30 PM
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And one day in the middle of class she coughed soooo awfully---and then she cried out in pain, and clutched her chest, and said she needed to go home.

I was preparing myself for that to end with "clutched her chest, and died" instead. That would have been sad.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 10-18-06 10:35 PM
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361: Szeklerek, yes indeed, nagyon jo.

364: Not much experience with Punjabis. Which leads me to wonder, do Hungarians (Szekler or otherwise) and Punjabis mix well? Or does one run the danger of something that is a really good party but all things (cops, property damage, etc) considered would have been better at someone else's place?


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 2:09 AM
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Dear Americans,

That fucking chanting whooping noise you make when you're having fun is a pretty important part of the reason why we all hate you and secretly cheer for the terrorists.

Love,
The Rest of the World.

PS: Dear FBI, that was a joke, love dd.

PPS: Is it me or does it look like someone's chopped the "Hey, Christian Teens! You Don't Need Drugs To Have A Real Neat Fun Par-Tay!!!" header off those instructions?


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 4:26 AM
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re: 436

Seconded, on the whooping thing.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 5:22 AM
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Saheli is othering me and my drunken Dutch and German ancestors all the way back to Beowulf. (On her theoretical point, I think that partying is one of the areas where ethnocentricity is strictly necessary. "This would be regarded as fun in many cultures" is not very persuasive.)

Doug, "mixing well" includes brawling in a fun way, right? Yes, they mix well.

BTW I have been told that the oldest Unitarians (Socinians) in the world are the Szeklers. And through me, a lot of other people have been told that, so don't bother to tell me if I'm wrong. The concept of hoodlum Unitarians is too much fun.

DD, should nuclear-armed soccer-hooligan lapdog countries point fingers? Or are you just quoting TROTW eather than claiming to be part of it? All y'all Brits are going to be the last rats leaving this sinking ship.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 5:26 AM
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Also, anyone setting fire to shit or throwing shit off the roof of any party I am hosting will find themselves persona non grata.*

* persona non grata s/b beaten into bloody pulp


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 5:26 AM
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I regret to say that in the past I was that person screaming 'satan' at the top of my lungs, setting furniture on fire with a blowtorch/crack lighter, egging cars, throwing things off the roof, and making pancakes at 5am. having me over to a party at that place you were housesitting was not a good idea. sorry, nameless fellow party goers of the past. in my defense, I was fucked-up wasted.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 6:29 AM
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That's OK


Posted by: nameless fellow party goers of the past | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 6:40 AM
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I've been to a few otherwise fun parties in other people's houses where I had to leave because of 440-like behaviour. Mostly because I couldn't trust myself not to spoil everyone else's fun by going postal on the offender.*

Being loud, or a bit obnoxious, or whatever, is all cool. Talking total shite, drinking too much, cooking wierd/bad food and dancing like a fool is all to be encouraged.

It's the breaking of stuff and/or total disrespect for other people's stuff that makes my hackles rise.

* Teenage parties are different, you expect people to behave like that. Once people get past about 20 though, they really need to cut that shit out.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 6:40 AM
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440-like behaviour

So I was confused for a second that ttaM meant "4:20-like behavior," which doesn't seem like the same thing.

Then I was going to make a 440 Hz joke somehow, and decided not to. You're welcome.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 8:46 AM
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But maybe, as a result of literally years of watching and thinking about parties

This I believe—you not only stood off to the side, watching, for much of the time I observed you, but you also actively resisted attempts by hosts to introduce you to good people. As a host I'm now fully rankled: Where do you get off telling the Internet that these people, whom you know aren't n00b5, that their party sucked? That's a needlessly passive aggressive response to folks who only tried to entertain you. And I suspect that dsquared has it exactly right: If the look of disgust on your face—which you don't bother to disguise—was any indication, you were put off by the fact of everyone drinking. You were probably the only person there who didn't have a sip. As is your right, of course, but please don't get cranky when others do.

Honestly! Who responds to hospitality with broadcasted pointed comments and non-apology apologies? That is no response to hospitality! Don't come back, okay?


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 8:47 AM
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'meida, you're a delightful guest. We look forward to hosting you again.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 8:48 AM
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Is the whooping in 436 the same as my "people all say 'woo'", or are there two w(h)ooish phenomena to deplore?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 8:50 AM
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Is the whooping in 436 the same as my "people all say 'woo'"

No, he couldn't have meant those people. . . .


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 8:52 AM
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444 -- yay, comity!


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 8:52 AM
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436:

"I don't need drugs or alcohol; I'm fucked up on Jesus".


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 8:53 AM
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445 -- Wait, so Al visited just recently? Somehow I thought she was coming at New Year's, and that I might get the opportunity to meet her if I came down to DC for your-all New Year's Eve party.


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 8:53 AM
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444: Come on, be nice. Megan's apologized already, here and on her blog, for being rude about your party; I get the feeling that she really didn't have a sense that you guys would see the post, and was thinking of her blog as a private place for musing about parties she likes versus parties she doesn't. Ogged, by posting it here rather than leaving it at her blog where you mightn't have read it as directed to you, really set up a "Let's you and her fight" dynamic. (Which is his function in the blogosphere, of course, but should be noted.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 8:55 AM
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"It's the breaking of stuff and/or total disrespect for other people's stuff that makes my hackles rise."

Yeah, and then there's that whole invading faraway contries shtick. Although even that's pretty good with Hungarians (Unitarian or otherwise; and Emerson, if I remember my early modern history of Central Europe (that's what studied, not when taken) Transylvania was indeed an early hotbed of Unitarianism, back in the days when a lot of the Polish nobility went over for the Reformation, too), as, historically speaking, Hungarian armies have been much better at partying than invading. Generally, though, once countries get past about 200 or so, they really ought to cut that stuff out.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 8:58 AM
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443: My first thought was 'What's he got against concert A?'


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:01 AM
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I'm with 'smasher. I'd be pissed too.


Posted by: Joe Drymala | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:07 AM
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I'd want an apology, but Megan's apologized, and has said nice things about the party, and has said she had a good time. She screwed up in using it as a springboard to talk about her (not universal) conception of fun, and I can totally get being annoyed by the initial post, but I think it's worth accepting the apology and treating it as a awkwardness rather than as an attack.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:11 AM
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Megan seems to have a problem with excessive frankness combined with a desire to be liked. I have the former problem and I'm cool with it, but it requires the willingness to be disliked.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:15 AM
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453: Maybe he could never manage more than a concert B-plus, or worse yet, the dreaded gentleman's middle-C...


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:19 AM
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Hungarian armies have been much better at partying than invading.

Only for the last millenium or so.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:20 AM
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458: Oh yeah, there was that whole "scourge of God" business, wasn't there? Something in the Danubian basin seems to have mellowed them considerably. Did they get there in the year 420?


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:23 AM
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Before that the line between "invasion" and "party" was much less sharply drawn.


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:23 AM
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"I don't need drugs or alcohol; I'm fucked up on Jesus".

I used to get fucked up on Jesus, but it turns out you build a tolerance to it really, really quickly.

And I'll still dance with you, Megan, even if mean old Armsmasher won't. Just, you know, not near the edge of any roof.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:24 AM
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The Hungarians nonetheless were an imperial nation up until 1918. Bela Bartok wpent his whole early life in parts of Hungary which now are part of Rumania, Slovakia, or the Ukraine.

Bela Bartok was a Unitarian, and his Bela was important in the Hungarian Unitarian Church.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:26 AM
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The Szeklers are off-brand Hungarians who claim to be descended from Attila the Hun. Their homeland is now in Romania.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:27 AM
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I thought the Hungarians were considered the best by far of the satellite armies fighting alongside the Germans on the Eastern Front. They haven't been on the winning side in a long time.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:28 AM
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I confess: I find it fun when Ogged picks a fight, on highly principled grounds, about something relatively trivial and the ensuing conversation then devolves into genuine hurt feelings. I am a bad person.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:30 AM
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There are significant Hungarian populations in a half dozen other countries. To say that Wilsonian National Self-determination through creating homogeneous nation states was not our least-informed policy ever is not saying much.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:33 AM
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I find it fun

In the sense of genuine shared, sweaty exhilaratioon? Or just a conversation-having level of fun?


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:34 AM
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It does give otherwise perfunctory squabbles that air of possibility and importance that they'd otherwise lack. Enjoying it still makes you a bad person, though.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:34 AM
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460: I heart Clownae.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:35 AM
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456 - I'm usually very guarded and relentlessly positive. This year has been an experiment in saying what I think, and I can't say it is working out well.

If I were Armsmasher, I'd be pissed too. What I did was rude. I'm sorry.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:36 AM
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Never mind concert A, screw that whole equal-temperament thing...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:36 AM
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On her theoretical point, I think that partying is one of the areas where ethnocentricity is strictly necessary.

Doesn't this mean that therefore you would not be willing to try to party with people of other ethnicities? Since obviously one of you is bound not to have fun?

/slinks out of the room. . .;-)

I was preparing myself for that to end with "clutched her chest, and died" instead. That would have been sad

Oy, that would have sucked. That would also have been a lot more neither here nor there.

Funny, b/c we were studying Beowulf at the time, and I think I have actually been invited to a Beowulf-themed party. I heard later that mead is actually surprisingly awful.


Posted by: Saheli | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:37 AM
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Ogged treats comity the way Chris Burden treats his body-- as an object to be destroyed for aesthetic insight-- and for that he is my personal hero.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:39 AM
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I confess: I find it fun

So do I. We're going to hell.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:40 AM
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That mead, not now produced except by the kind of people who dress up for medieval faires, is not generally good is not surprising. My daughter says it's been ok. What says LB, forsooth?


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:42 AM
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Depends on the mead. I've made very nice mead (served it at my wedding, and another batch at a friend's wedding) and people drank it as if they were lost in the desert with no other beverages in sight. I think, if you don't know what you're doing (Buck and I don't really, but are better than most at following a recipe precisely) the fermentation has a tendency to stop before it's all done, and you end up with something unpleasantly sweet.

Ours was dry and interesting -- not wine, not beer, but a third thing in that same area.

470: I wouldn't worry about it too much -- I think everyone who starts blogging has a couple of "Oh shit, people read that?" moments. I know I have.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:42 AM
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473, 474: Of course, there's a reason I started hanging out here.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:44 AM
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I love you a little bit, Abu Labs.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:45 AM
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462: Imperial, but in a legacy sort of way. They suborned the Ban of Croatia back in the 1100s or something like that, didn't they? Not a whole lot of conquering after that, iirc (which I may not, palinka and unicum being what they are). And the Szekely story is interesting, but I don't remember the details, and I just took the Lendvai book to the other office, and the Wiki entry looks only semi-reliable (surprise), so hmph.

So I'll just note that as an imperial power the Hungarians had an inferiority complex about the Austrians, which is just not very high on the sun-never-sets scale.

464: Not a high standard. Most effective German allies were probably the Finns, who held off the Soviets for quite a while and eventually persuaded them to go in the other direction. (Through a great deal of collective loss-of-self/transcendence, rather than good food and conversation, I imagine, though 'fun' is not the word that immediately springs to mind.) Anyway, having temporarily allied with the Nazi regime is not generally held against the Finns. Do we have to invoke Godwin now?

Still, Hungarian armies have a history of getting wiped out, the best treatment of which that I know of is in Tibor Fischer's Under the Frog.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:45 AM
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(Through a great deal of collective loss-of-self/transcendence, rather than good food and conversation, I imagine, though 'fun' is not the word that immediately springs to mind.)

This is wonderful.


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:50 AM
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re: 479

Under the Frog is very funny...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:50 AM
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I suspect I have only had bad mead. It is sort of thrilling to know that there might be another kind.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:50 AM
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This year has been an experiment in saying what I think, and I can't say it is working out well.

Saying what you think is bad times if you're going to care a lot about other people's reactions. You need to tap into that inner heartless bitch. Not sure where to point you for an example though. Certainly not around here.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:50 AM
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Commercial mead (including the Ethiopian fermented-honey beverage called tej) almost always tastes strongly of honey. I drank one very good, dry bottle a few years ago but I cannot remember the brewery's name. I hope someday to get an invite to an LB/Buck event and there to taste LB's brew.


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:53 AM
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I've seen the term co-belligerent, as opposed to ally, used for the Finns. Apparently they refused to participate fully in the seige of Leningrad, once the Karellian areas were occupied, although they did straffe the ice road on Lake Ladoga.

By the terms of the armistice with the Soviet Union in 1944, they were required to drive the Germans out of the north of Finland, which they did in a little-known campaign in the winter of 44-45, as the German's retreated into Norway via the North Cape. Northernmost land fighting in WWII, beats that crossword puzzle word, Attu, by many degrees.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:53 AM
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470: Goodness, Megan, that's no way to run a flame-war...

What if I said what you called parties, I would prefer to call Events, and what you refer to as fun, I think is short-lived unplanned transcendences? Could we then gin up (bathtub or otherwise) a couple hundred posts on the gender-related implications of the acronym generated by my second term?


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:54 AM
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I should make a batch -- it's about 9 months from start to finish. (That may be another source of bad mead -- you ferment it in a carboy for a month or so, but it tastes disgusting (think wet, moldy cardboard) until it's been in the bottles for six months or more.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:59 AM
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483: "heartless bitch" s/b "Ogged"


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 10:02 AM
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Am I really getting the credit for this one? Reputation is a wonderful thing.

It's pretty clear that Megan thought the jokiness of her first paragraph would blunt the funner-than-thou-ness of the rest of her post, but it worked in precisely the opposite way. That's kinda dumb and insensitive of her, but a friend tells me that if you write enough posts that try to get people to say interesting things, you're going to make some missteps and really piss people off occasionally. It's all in the game. I'm pretty sure she feels like shit about the whole thing, unlike this heartless friend of mine, and she's apologized, so maybe you don't need to invite her to your next party, but you can forgive her online self.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 10:03 AM
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480: Thanks, I took my snark pills today. Fortunately, it'll be time to shut down the computer for dinner soon. (Mmm, chips!)

485: Co-belligerent works for me. Read a book recently by Alan Palmer on Baltic-area history, UK title was Northern Shores (US title was different), that had a lot of detail on this, none of which has stuck in my grey matter (see palinka, unicum, above), though in my defense the book is v drily written.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 10:03 AM
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48: I only blame everything on you because you can take it. Or, if you can't, because I enjoy making you suffer. (I didn't really mean that you were intentionally trying to make trouble, just that bringing the post over here did have the effect of rubbing the DCites' noses in it, an effect that I don't think Megan intended or foresaw when she posted.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 10:10 AM
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LB -- does one normally add hops to mead? Or if not, have you ever considered adding it the the mix to see what would result?


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 10:11 AM
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491: Don't be nice to him, LB. He doesn't have cancer anymore.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 10:11 AM
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But he still has a dent.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 10:19 AM
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492: No, and I think it would be nasty. Dry mead has a sharper, winier taste than beer -- it doesn't want hops to give it an edge. The recipe we used had some ginger and some lemon rind -- not enough in either case to make it ginger or lemon flavored, but both softened it, rather than making it bitterer.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 10:19 AM
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491: Not really, LB. The post was floating around our house before Ogged pointed to it. If anything, Ogged merely provided the forum in which pee and comity might prevail. Give it another couple hundred comments.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 10:22 AM
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The Finnish snow troops used reindeer as pack animals. I have a photo but no scanner. The wimpy Rudolph you heard about as a kid was a myth.

Saheli, I think parties should ethnocentric for the people throwing it, and on an "if you like it" basis for everyone else. Perhaps at some point a composite party might be throwable with a mixed group, but I don't think people should aspire to the universal Platonic ideal value-free party.

Also, quit othering me. It rankles my ass.

Megan, an effective way of definitively exiting this kind of unpleasantness, one that works for me anyway, is to tell people to go fuck themselves. Then again, most people don't want to be me.

I for one was in no way offended by your original statement, which was quite reasonable.

Also, DC is not a place to be frank.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 10:23 AM
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The wimpy Rudolph you heard about as a kid was a myth.

I was stunned when I found out that reindeer were caribou. I always thought of reindeer as delicate and Bambi like, and of caribou as something between an elk and an ox.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 10:30 AM
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The wimpy Rudolph you heard about as a kid was a myth.

[Lip quivers, eyes well up]


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 10:32 AM
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They never let poor Rudolph (rudolph!)
Join in any reindeer games (like trampling and stampeding!)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 10:33 AM
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500!


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 10:33 AM
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FUCK.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 10:33 AM
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NOW?


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 10:37 AM
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RIGHT HERE?


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 10:37 AM
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Wiggle a little to the left. It's hard bending through all of these tubes.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 10:39 AM
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w00t! Tube-sex!


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 10:41 AM
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What about it?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 10:44 AM
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Popular illustrations of Santa's deer always show them as delicate Whitetails, never as the blade-antlered, shuffling animals reindeer actually are. For them to fly in our imagination, we need to see them as light and graceful, using as metaphor the leaping deer we have actually seen.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 11:19 AM
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Early Nast cartoons did show tiny reindeer, as in the poem. The white tail image is strictly from the Rankin Bass stop motion annual extravaganza, I believe.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 11:22 AM
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498: Strangely enough, I happen to have a small chunk of caribou steak in my refrigerator at this very moment. I'll try it this evening and let you know how it is.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 11:31 AM
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I honestly wasn't trying to be provocative or trying to get people to say interesting things. I don't like drama. Part of the problem is that I keep forgetting that people aren't like me. I know it consciously, but I can't hold it in my mind on all fronts. I wrote this back in September, so maybe it has some credibility:

"I constantly critique our events, and love hearing from someone who is mad enough about something that she’ll give me a full-fledged rant about how some detail ruined her day. I’m sorry about that, but thrilled someone will let me know why something didn’t work. "

It isn't like I was sincerely just trying to help; I knew my post was a poor return for hospitality. But the fact that I really do react like that made me underestimate how much it would bother other people.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 11:35 AM
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Now that so many reindeer are irradiated, maybe the Rudolph effect is more realistic, at least.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 11:35 AM
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I missed the party.

This is just to say that it does sound like Megan throws good parties but that I suspect that if I went to one there is about a 50% chance that after half an hour I would be mentally calculating whether there was a bus that I could take home because I would have to leave but wouldn't want to drag whoever I had gone with away.

328 gets it exactly right.

I am surprised that nobody else has comented on the fact that Megan not only wants to assert the superiority of her definition of fun but also her definition of ultimate frisbee.

I do have very enjoyable experiences of "living in the moment" or physicality playing sports but I wouldn't describe them as either euphoric or, exactly, as a sense of abandon. Closer to a very intense and efortless state of concentration.

Of course, this may just be a different way of describing what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls flow.

Actually, Rob H-C, if you haven't read that book, I suspect you would enjoy it and that it speaks to many of the ideas you muse about in this thread.


Posted by: Nicks | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 11:38 AM
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Ahem

Cluedo is fun. Backgammon is not fun
Old Maid is fun. Poker is not fun
Go-karts are fun. Formula One cars are not fun
Frisbee is fun. Football is not fun
Painting pictures is fun. Writing poetry is not fun
Rossini is fun. Beethoven is not fun
Rock is fun. Jazz is not fun.
Karate is fun. Boxing is not fun.
Beer and champagne are fun. Bordeaux and brandy are not fun.
Clowns are fun. Lenny Bruce was not fun

In general, things which are not fun are better than their counterparts in the world of fun.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 12:07 PM
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Megan, repeat after me: "Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke". Seriously.

Hey, East Coast guys, loosen up!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 12:12 PM
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Ignore the shorty dark dirty fellow.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 12:13 PM
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A caribou steak in a Hawaiian freezer. For some reason that strikes me as Krazy.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 12:15 PM
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Hey, I occasionally make very valid points!


Posted by: Shorty Dark Dirty Fellow | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 12:18 PM
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517 -- How else is one to make Hawaiian Caribou?

518 -- I call shenanigans -- you are neither short, dark, dirty, nor a fellow.


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 12:19 PM
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In my immediate family, I'm short; I'm black-hearted albeit fair-skinned; I've been dirty (although I admit that I'm fairly clean right now); and I just put in the 'fellow' bit to make it hard.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 12:21 PM
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dsquared, your credibility lies in smoking ruins. All of poetry is not superior to all of painting. Anyone who thinks so has not read enough poetry. There is a whole interweb of bad poetry, for which "fun" is the only possible excuse, at your fingertips. How can you not know this? Furthermore, if you think painting pictures is "fun", you haven't painted enough of them, either. Now I'm going to find out where u live, and put a rat in ur mailbox.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 12:24 PM
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(Hey, I never noticed your blog before, nor realized you were an artist. Interesting stuff.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 12:25 PM
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Thanks! My blog is pretty new.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 12:27 PM
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Actually, it's just a crummy Live Journal.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 12:29 PM
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Check out her Flicker page too.


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 12:29 PM
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clowns are not fun. anethetize them all.


Posted by: clowns | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 12:30 PM
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I liked the description of a heron as pterodactyl-like, because I've had exactly the same thought. (Well, my thought was more like "What the fuck was that, a pterodactyl!?" But along the same lines.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 12:31 PM
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LB, that's the perfect New Yorker meets Nature moment.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 12:34 PM
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Oh, the heron was a New Yorker too. My local park has a little tidal marsh that gets some really surprising birds. I've only seen the one heron, but I've been told that we have both great blue and little green herons. And at least one egret, who really classes the joint up. The heron just flew about eight feet from my head, and made a really unsettling noise.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 12:39 PM
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Watch out for herons flying overhead. They're up there close to seagulls for messy.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 12:40 PM
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I live within 2 miles of a heron rookery which is near a pelican rookery. The advantages of small town life are few and scattered, but in this case, excellent.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 12:41 PM
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The river which runs through South Orange has as its bird life mainly ducks which have migrated from the pond in the nearby park, and migratory geese. But the one egret does indeed class up the joint when s/he puts in an appearance.


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 12:45 PM
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>Lenny Bruce was not fun

Lenny Bruce was not funny


Posted by: joeo | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 12:49 PM
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521: Also, anybody who thinks that Mingus isn't fun is just wrong.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 12:51 PM
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Oh, Megan. 534 comments and it's still that we detached intellectuals just don't understand what's fun.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 1:11 PM
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Do you remember that moment in "Arrested Development" where Buster gets all "why are YOU hitting yourself? Why are YOU hitting yourself?" with Gob? I kind of feel like her blog is turning into that moment, only without Hot Cops.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 1:39 PM
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"Deep in my heart, sir, I know I'm funny. I have several humorous anecdotes being considered for publication by the Reader's Digest".


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 1:46 PM
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I've been thinking that this earlier post by Megan is kind of apposite, in terms of her apparent "must. . . make. . . things. . . BETTER!" compulsion.

Also Megan, JMMP seems to frequently say exactly what she thinks. Not exactly an admirable trait.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 2:01 PM
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Her mistake was in trying to defend herself, apologize, or explain. She should have said, "Hey, I'm sorry your party sorta sucked" and left it at that. Or "Just because your parties sorta suck doesn't mean you're bad people". Or maybe "I don't belong in this fucking town", which would have required people to think of good things about DC.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 2:02 PM
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before you knew it, there was a Big Plan! To do Something!

You know, Hitler had a Big Plan. Stalin and Mao had lots of successive Big Plans. And they all seemed to get a whole lot of people excited, even exhilirated. Just sayin'.

As to what meaning lies behind the fact that Death Cab for Cutie has Plans, but not necessarily big ones, I'm not sure.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 2:06 PM
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497 et seq.: Yeah, maybe I should have mentioned that the Sovs invaded Finland, which put them on the German side by default, but I did figure that most everyone here knew that.

And reindeer troops kick ass. Did you know that reindeer are like only semi-domesticated? But that they've been semi- for maybe longer than any other domestic animal?

And shamanic rituals are all about the flying reindeer.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 2:19 PM
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Mongol horses are also only semi-domesticated. And they're really more like ponies than horses, and have points of resemblance with Norwegian and Shetland ponies (stiff manes, for example).

Also, Iceland comes in second after Mongolia in equids per capita.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 2:22 PM
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Doug -- any idea why reindeer are semi-domesticated in northern Europe but caribou are not domesticated in America?


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 2:23 PM
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(Also, do they produce milk for human consumption?)


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 2:24 PM
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513: "Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi" -- Our first Hungarian! (This party is apparently just getting started. Hope I have the stamina to hang about until the really weird stuff starts to happen...)

So far we also have m-fun, the invocation of Csikszentmihalyi gives us flow fun, or f-fun. Now we just need Samuel L. Jackson for our mf-fun.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 2:27 PM
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538: "apparent 'must. . . make. . . things. . . BETTER!' compulsion"

Have none of you lived with an engineer before? This is the default state, as near as I can tell. Though the exact vectors of improvement vary with sub-species.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 2:31 PM
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545: That's awesome.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 2:34 PM
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Thesis: all research programs named with the word "positive" are lame. Examples: positive psychology, logical positivism. Discuss.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 2:37 PM
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542: v interesting, in all of its points

543: Not offhand. Will have to check my copy of The Reindeer People (by Piers Vitebsky) in a coupla days. If memory serves (see palinka and unicum, as usual) there are subspecies of caribou, some of which semi-domesticate and some of which don't.

544: I think it's a yes on the milk, though. Seem to recall folks in the Vitebsky book having milking the reindeer as a chore.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 2:41 PM
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Yeah I checked Wikipædia and it says they give milk. Also that the owners of the Siberian subspecies, which is larger than the Scandinavian, ride it like a horse. No word on why the North American subspecies is not domesticated though. I was curious because one of the factors cited in Guns, Germs and Steel as making American cultures susceptible to colonization by European cultures was the lack of large domesticated animals. Though I suppose domesticating caribou would not have done much for the large body of American cultures.


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 2:51 PM
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BTW what is the palinka & unicum reference? I have seen it a couple of times here in the last couple, and have not understood it except from context.


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 2:53 PM
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551: Both are strong spirits native to Hungary with demonstrated efficacy at killing brain, presumably memory, cells. Palinka is a type of fruit brandy that will definitely paint yer wagon. I'm partial to the apricot business myself, but cherry, apple and plum are also available. Unicum is an herbal thingie, best described as a lot like Jaegermeister but not nearly as tasty. Liking it may have some correlation with Hungarians' effects at parties.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 3:08 PM
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460 is still crackin me up by the way...


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 3:15 PM
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I always thought of reindeer as delicate and Bambi like, and of caribou as something between an elk and an ox.

Elk are bigger, at least out here in the Rockies and Pac. Northwest. Caribou are around 400 pounds. With elk, the bulls average around 700, and the big ones can push up towards 1100 or so. The cows are a bit smaller, around 450-600.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 4:01 PM
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You see, I'm a city person. All those numbers sound merely like "Large Animal. Avoid."

(When I was in the Peace Corps, someone I knew had brought as something between a joke and something they hoped would be actually useful, a deck of cards of the flora and fauna of Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. It had apparently been issued by the Air Force in the Vietnam era for downed flyers, and would have a picture of some plant or animal on the front, and on the back a paragraph of information saying something like "Poisonous if eaten raw, but nutritious if boiled, and a natural antiseptic," or "Trap this sort of turtle by digging holes in the mud on river banks." There was one card with a picture of a tiger, and all the back said was "Large Mammals. Avoid.")


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 4:06 PM
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548: Is that not a tautology?

555: That is good advice. One of the things you learn when you go to Canada's national parks: more tourists are injured by elk than by bears, cougars, wolves, or any of the other wild cats that are basically cougars but have different names. This is for two reasons. One, the predators usually stay away from people. Two, the dumb tourists usually know enough to calculate that bears are bad news, but will attempt to approach the elk because they don't have sharp carnivore teeth and fangs. Of course, the elk don't like being cornered more than anything else does, and have very little problems with trying to gore the tourists or stomp on them with their hooves.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 4:15 PM
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Barack palinka is the apricot variety, no?

Csikszentmihalyi

I was just thinking of this guy earlier today. How's his name pronounced?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 4:31 PM
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Got up to 400 or so then had to comment - I went to some of these parties in the mid 90s that had costumed, sweaty, damn near orgiastic folks doing crazy involved things like dancing and making out and lord knows what else AND THEY WERE ALL ON DRUGS. So next time I have a party, I know to INCLUDE THE DRUGS. Because, truly, it makes a party come alive.

(Bonus points for administering said substances within the folds of some craft game.)


Posted by: KJ | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 4:32 PM
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Ben, Martin Seligmann says it's "Cheeks sent me high." Which is kind of funny.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 4:39 PM
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559 to 558.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 4:41 PM
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556: You don't have to be a dumb tourist to be threatened by elk; I got faced down by one in Yellowstone a couple of years ago. We were wandering around the geysers in the Old Faithful basin, and ended up with a couple of elk about 50 yards behind us near the boardwalk, plus another one further in front of us. So while I was waiting for the elk behind us to move so we could go back, the one in front of us started grazing closer and closer. It finally ended up about 10-20 feet away... and then it noticed me. And when I tried to sidle further down the boardwalk, it decided it didn't like that. It made for an exceedingly uncomfortable minute or so.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 4:43 PM
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I had a transcendently cool--but solitary!--experience early one morning when I'd settled myself under a bush beside an alfalfa field before dawn to see if I could catch Bambi trying to graze a little too long when it started getting light. It was quite foggy, and as shapes started to appear I found myself half-surrounded by a herd of elk. There were probably 20 or so, including three bulls, within the 50 feet or so that I could see in the fog. I didn't shoot them, they didn't gore me, and everybody went away happy.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 4:54 PM
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You don't have to be a dumb tourist to be threatened by elk; I got faced down by one. . .

Um, and this proves?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 5:06 PM
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And the moral of the story is that opinionated rants are something everyone enjoys, until they're on the wrong side of the opinion.

Also, Labs and gswift are mean. Conflict and hurt feelings can be highly entertaining, but shouldn't be when they're actually friends (online or otherwise).


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 5:16 PM
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There's an interesting discussion to be had about what's fun to whom and why. Maybe we can return to it when the dust settles.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 5:21 PM
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563: I've spent a lot of time thinking about what I could have done differently. (Once I got over the shock of nearly getting stomped, I got really pissed at myself for having gotten into that situation.) After talking it over with some friends, though, I've come to the conclusion that about the only thing I could have done to prevent it was just not have gone out on the boardwalk in the first place. Or turned around as soon as I saw elk anywhere.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 5:52 PM
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561: Oh, indeed. Elk are alternately aggressive and curious bastards. But the dumbness of the tourists! Elk on the side of the road along the Icefields Parkway; how do you know? Fifty cars pulled over, lots of people jumping out to take pictures. The brochure they give you at Parks Canada's entrances has a tourist crouching behind his SUV because an angry elk has decided to charge. (I think some other tourist caught a picture of it.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 6:04 PM
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Bear Jams! I was in Banff National Park and saw some idiot get between the Mama bear and the cub. No incident, however, just a realization that people can be really stupid.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 6:08 PM
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It's really pretty entertaining.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 6:13 PM
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567: Yeah, there are a lot of spectacularly dumb people out there. One of the videos that gets played a lot in Yellowstone is of a father with his young daughter standing about 5 feet from a bison, which suddenly decides to go after the guy. (I particularly like the sign in front of the visitor center at Old Faithful, probably the most-trafficked spot in the entire park, that says something to the effect of "In 2000, a tourist was gored by a bison at this spot. STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM THE ANIMALS, DUMBASSES.")


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 6:14 PM
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We had the young man from California who thought it would be really cool to stand over the blowhole out by Sandy Beach, disregarding not only warning signs but people who were standing right there telling him not to. And then his estate sued the city.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 6:29 PM
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Most people don't realize how big elk are. They think they're like extra furry deer or something. But really, they're pretty close to moose in mass.

Yellowstone is awesome. I bring my bear bait.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 7:25 PM
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Has everybody seen this already? Not that that matters. I still love it.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 7:28 PM
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Wow, that kinda scares the hell out of me. That deer is out to do some real damage.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 7:52 PM
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Sometimes the herbivore wins.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 8:06 PM
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Indeed. But watching feels a little like watching someone get run over by a car.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 8:08 PM
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575 is a pretty sweet epigram.


Posted by: standpipe b | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 8:12 PM
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It is scary. But the guy came out of it all right--you can hear him twanging on a bit behind the French narrator. And of course he planned on shooting the deer. This makes deer hunting seem almost...sporting. Fair is fair.

On preview, thanks, SB.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 8:18 PM
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A couple of people have referred to it, but I still don't see any apology, other than perhaps that politician's favorite, "I'm sorry if anyone was offended." She certainly hasn't changed what she's saying. As far as I can see, she has continued to insist that what she likes to do is fun, and what other people like to do is not fun, and to characterize her parties not as being different from those others might enjoy but as being "better," offering "more," and "taking the next step."


Posted by: keown | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 8:19 PM
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578: I couldn't tell from the video whether the guy was hunting or not--was that a bow he dropped at the beginning? On hunting, we're probably too deep into this thread to start yet another tangent, but FWIW I don't think much of hunting as sport or trophy-bagging but consider it a more defensible way of filling the freezer than buying factory-farmed beef.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 8:28 PM
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470 is a straight-up apology.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 8:29 PM
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I love that video. All camo'd out, but can't quite figure out what the hell to do when the animal comes at him. Dumbass.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 8:34 PM
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580: It's hard to see, but he does have a weapon. I thought it was a rifle, but it might be a crossbow. I won't criticize hunting for food. The deer population in New England is much larger than the habitat can support, and hunters are their only predators. But I very much dislike sport hunters.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 8:39 PM
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581: Sorry, this is the Ruminants Thread.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 8:39 PM
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I'm not sure I'd have much idea what to do either. I suppose either roll up in a ball and take it or try to knock the deer down and get a knee on its shoulder, but sweet little Bambi can be formidable when pissed. Those hooves are sharp.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 8:42 PM
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570: I love the signs in the bathrooms at Yellowstone that say: "Warning: Bison weigh over a thousand pounds. They can run thirty miles an hour, three times faster than you can. Hundreds of people are gored by Bison every year. Treat Bison with respect!"

Which we amended to:
"Warning: Mama weighs over a thousand pounds. She can run thirty miles an hour, three times faster than you can. Hundreds of people are gored by Mama every year. Treat Mama with respect!"


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 8:42 PM
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more defensible way of filling the freezer than buying factory-farmed beef.

Some animals are straight up pests too, like feral hogs. And a lot of areas now have programs where the meat can be donated to homeless shelters and such.

I'm convinced pigs were put here on this earth to be shot and eaten. I'm thining my next gun just might this, so I can go out to visit my brother in Georgia where the tasty piggies be.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 8:43 PM
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Apparently there's an island around here that was overgrown with fennel, so they introduced wild pigs to eat the fennel, but then the pigs took over, and now they need to bring people in to kill the pigs, and they can't find anyone to use the meat because it tastes like fennel.

I, however, am interested in trying it.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 8:48 PM
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What? I don't believe that. Who doesn't like pork with fennel?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 8:50 PM
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583: It might be a compound bow, but I'm pretty sure it's not a rifle or a crossbow. And I wouldn't expect to see camo on someone who was deer hunting with a rifle, although God knows what people will get themselves up to.

I'm not sure whether you're defining sport hunting in exactly the way I would, but I'm very much disgusted by people who treat hunting as something like a bloodier form of golf or some kind of testosterone display. I tend to think that hunting only works if it's something you grew up with, and even then maybe only if you're living pretty close to the land.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 8:50 PM
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Hey Ben, where is that island? I'm not interested in the pork, but in the Fennel.


Posted by: Saheli | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 8:53 PM
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And I wouldn't expect to see camo on someone who was deer hunting with a rifle, although God knows what people will get themselves up to.

A lot of places though your average shot is under 200 yards. Plenty close enough for the animal to get a good look around and see you coming.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:02 PM
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590: Sport hunting: You know, shooting quail and pheasants raised in pens, chasing polar bears in helicopters, traveling to exotic countries to kill big cats, that kind of thing.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:04 PM
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Which we amended to:
"Warning: Mama weighs over a thousand pounds. She can run thirty miles an hour, three times faster than you can. Hundreds of people are gored by Mama every year. Treat Mama with respect!"

Great. You know, B, there are lots of women who--usually without any cause--have weight issues. And a fair number of them are mothers. A little sensitivity doesn't seem like too much to ask.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:04 PM
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593: Yeah, we definitely agree on those. Yuck.

592: But deer are color-blind and not much good at picking out shapes. They're very, very good at seeing movement, but if you don't move when they're looking you can be very close and not be seen.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:07 PM
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But deer are color-blind and not much good at picking out shapes. They're very, very good at seeing movement, but if you don't move when they're looking you can be very close and not be seen.

True. I was thinking more of pigs, but yeah, deer not the best at visually picking things out.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:13 PM
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Ick, fennel. Definitely not fun.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:16 PM
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596: Which is pretty cool when you do get close. Somehow being close to a truly wild animal is just a different experience than being close to an animal of the same species that has developed a taste for hot chocolate. And being close to a deer in the woods during deer season is different from being close to a deer in the rose bushes in May. I don't know why exactly, but maybe because of the feeling that you're both stretching your senses in a way that you wouldn't be at other times.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:21 PM
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And I should have said before, re 581 among other things: Ogged, you're really extraordinarily good at making this place work. Thanks.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:25 PM
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gswift: a pistol, for boar hunting?


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:25 PM
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I tend to think that hunting only works if it's something you grew up with, and even then maybe only if you're living pretty close to the land.

I hope not. I'm trying to pick it up this year. My dad didn't hunt, and I live in the middle of a city.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:28 PM
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I've been derelict in my zoological-blog-networking duty. Ladies and gentlemen, I refer you to the Babirusa, the Indonesian Pig-Deer.


Posted by: Saheli | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:35 PM
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Somehow being close to a truly wild animal is just a different experience

I was once riding my bike on a trail in suburban Chicago when a deer jumped out of the bushes and ran alongside me--close enought to touch--for about 20 yards. Scared the shit out of me.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:35 PM
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600: I believe the guys who hunt pigs around here will often use a knife or spear to kill the pig. They're using dogs to get it cornered first, but I think that's standard practice in pig hunting in most places (pigs being pretty good at staying out of the way of people who are trying to kill them).


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:40 PM
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I was once riding my bike on a trail in suburban Chicago when a deer jumped out of the bushes and ran alongside me--close enought to touch--for about 20 yards. Scared the shit out of me.

Probably b/c I read too many Amar Chitra Katha comics where the heroine plays in the deerpark, and not enough Ramayan, I wasn't scared of deer growing up, whomI'd come across fairly frequently. It was just exciting. But I've been a little scared of them (and still see them fairly frequently) ever since I read Laura Hillenbrand's New Yorker essay about her illness. Totally irrational, but there it is.


Posted by: Saheli | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:41 PM
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603: Was it in one of the Nature Preserves? It's weird how you're in some suburbs, then some woods, then some more suburbs, only richer and newer than those pre-woods suburbs. On the Southside at least. But an interesting conservation idea, and certainly more than they're doing 'round these Virginny parts.

Oh, and did you have sex with it or what?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 9:42 PM
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I'm with DaveL and Chopper. Like (probably) the rest of you, I deplore "sport" hunting, but I'd happily sign up for the first-ever Unfogged boar hunting trip.

A few years ago I came face-to-face with a moose -- like three feet away. As my father used to say, I didn't know whether to shit or go blind.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 10:04 PM
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I used to work at a sporting goods store where we carried camoflage-patterned coveralls in hunter orange. Didn't make a lot of sense to me until someone explained that deer see movement, but not color, so breaking up the outline of a person would make sense, and the bright orange would keep your fellow hunters from shooitng you.

There's a guy my fiancÚ knows who hunts for most of the meat his family eats. (only takes a couple deer, really) Unrelated to that, there is apparently a group of people petitioning to allow atlatl hunting in Pennsylvania during deer season. Sounds more 'sporting', but less about eating, because if you're killing to eat something and not just for sport, take the damn weapons upgrade (+10% to deer death.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 10:18 PM
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608: Maybe the orange camo does something, but I suspect that it's more of a marketing/cool thing. I've stood right out in the open within 30 or 40 feet of a deer, with a gun in my hands, and had her just stand there until I moved. I was duck hunting at the time and she walked out right in front of me as I was quietly moving from one slough to another. She was looking around like she had an idea something wasn't right, but she wasn't picking me out of the background as something threatening.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 10:25 PM
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gswift: a pistol, for boar hunting?

Absolutely. Boar hunting tends to be short distance shots in heavily overgrown terrain where lugging a rifle around can be a huge pain in the ass. Pigs are tough, and a big fat pistol round with the right loads works well.

A Ruger SuperRedhawk in .454 is good for anything in North America. It comes with scope rings, and the frame is pre milled to fit them. Top it with one of these.

.454 can be blasty and uncomfortable to shoot for some, but the beauty is you don't have to. .454 Casull is an elongated .45 Colt at higher pressure, so a revolver chambered in .454 will run .45 Colts fine. .45 Colt is very rangy. There's reams of soft shooting cheap cowboy loads around for practice and plinking. For hunting there's companies like BuffaloBore, DoubleTap, and Grizzly offering great hunting rounds. Those +p .45 Colt offerings are more powerful than most .44 mags, and are good for anything short of grizzlies.

If you scroll down a little here at Hunter you'll see a good bandolier style holster made for large scoped pistols. In the accessories there's good stuff like belt cases for extra cartridges.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-19-06 11:43 PM
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559 is just right. To which it's obligatory to add "just like the name is spelled."

584: So ungulation will just have to go somewhere else. We're ruminanting.

594: What are the five letters before phd?


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 10-20-06 1:48 AM
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Wild boar and wild bear are the only sources of trichinosis any more. So cook them thoroughly. But you can safely eat rare storebought pork nowadays.

Some hunters end up believing that game animals know when the hunting season is, and stroll around unconcernedly before it starts.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-20-06 6:40 AM
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Anyone else still here?

No?

[turns off stereo]

Nice party.

[pours off leftover beverages, puts cups in trash]

It was,

[herds ungulates into customary migration pattern]

y'know,

[does not howl]

fun.

[turns off lights]


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 10-20-06 9:04 AM
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Some hunters end up believing that game animals know when the hunting season is, and stroll around unconcernedly before it starts.

They certainly act like they do. Two weeks before hunting season, deer eating rosebushes outside front door. Hunting season, deer hiding. But for waterfowl, it seems like more an urban-rural thing. Urban waterfowl will practically crap on your shoes, but the rural ones will usually flush if you come within shotgun range even when it's nowhere near season.

Caribou was excellent. Flavorful but not particularly gamy.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 10-20-06 12:44 PM
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The high-pitched cries of "Help, Donner, Blitzen, somebody, help!!" from the broiler notwithstanding.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-20-06 12:50 PM
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607: "my father" s/b "tubgirl"


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-20-06 12:51 PM
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Well, it was pretty much dead anyway, so I figured I might as well eat it.

(How I came to have caribou in the fridge: my parents finally find themselves with the time and money to do a bit more traveling, and instead of Europe or something they went way the hell and gone up in the Northwest Territories on a caribou hunt. It's a bit closer to the sport hunting thing than I'd go myself, but for a guy who grew up poaching deer so his family could eat I don't think it's beyond the pale. And besides, he's my dad and the caribou was tasty.)


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 10-20-06 1:00 PM
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My brother-in-law has a brother-in-law who lives in South Africa. We're going over in a few years, primarily for the non-hunting safari, but if I can swing it, we're so going hunting (we'll get things that we intend to eat (boar, antelope) rather than trophies).


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-20-06 1:55 PM
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Jackmormon is from the Yukon and kills elk with her bare hands.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-20-06 2:47 PM
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Sorry to have mostly missed this one. Does anyone doubt that a very interesting time will be had by the guests at Megan's wedding?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-20-06 8:08 PM
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