kitchen table


sock wrestling, fork in the head & other past times
October 5, 2006, 7:55 pm
Filed under: Darn Kids, friends, funny fun fun, the Farm

sock wrestling alex
Sock wrestling my former camper, Alex. In Germany! (Photo by Zeb)

In preparation of yet another weekend away with friends–aren’t I spoiled?–I’ve been thinking of all the fun games we can play at night, or as my pal Sean said, “When we have nothing left to say to each other.” I don’t think that’ll happen but I’m still bringing Scrabble, Boggle, and Cranium. I’ve also been racking my brain for other games, ones that don’t require a board or dice or a deck of cards. Enjoy:

1) Sock Wrestling. This game is played with two people, both of whom are wearing socks. To make things as fair as possible, each player should wear socks of equal length (i.e., knee-high, ankle, trouser). In actuality though, the only rule of sock wrestling is that a player cannot pull his or her sock up once his or her opponent has begun pulling it down. Otherwise, it’s a free for all.

The objective is to get your opponent’s socks off before they get yours. I like to call it the scrappy-est of scrappy games. It is perfectly okay to employ the following “tactics” to one’s strategy: biting, pinching, tugging, rubbing, chewing, flipping, punching, throwing, tripping, banging, faking, crying, yelling, screaming, and flailing. This game was taught to me by my friend Abi.

2) Fork in the Head. Games similiar to Fork in the Head exist under other names with slightly different rules. This version can be played with as many different people as you’d like and is somewhat casual in its rules. For instance, there does not have to be a particular order in which each player proposes nor is there a limit to the number of proposals a player issues.

Getting on with it: each player names two people–living, dead, or fictional, it doesn’t really matter–and the other player must choose which person he or she would rather have sex with. A player must choose one person or, if the selection is too gross, he or she may utilize their single pass for that round (a round lasts the entire length of the game, usually the day or evening). When a player wishes to pass, he or she answers, “Fork in the Head.” There is a possibility for players to add twists to their proposals by stating, “His/her way” or “Your way,” meaning that either the chosen character dictates the details of sex or the player gets to decide how it all goes down.

Potential for disturbing scenarios is high so choose wisely and consider your guests when picking this game. It is also recommended that the occasionally softball is thrown to a player who is obviously becoming disgusted with the game. If for instance, you propose “Geraldo Rivera or Ann Coulter, their way,” try the following during the next round: “Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie, their way.” This game was taught to me by Carissa.

Share your own games–share! share!

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Frickin’ amazing
September 1, 2006, 10:35 am
Filed under: Buffalo, Darn Kids, friends

Anyone with any association with Buffalo should watch this.



straddling adulthood, or something like that
August 30, 2006, 12:01 pm
Filed under: Blogging, Darn Kids, Growing Up

This morning before work I took my brother out to coffee. Well, he got some ridiculous strawberry-shake drink and I got tea so coffee in the atmospheric sense, not the literal. We had a bit of banter about the worth of classical music: he took the “it’s outdated” argument while I insisted that respect for the likes of Beethoven and Mozart was essential for a musician. It is a clear example of my getting older, of gaining significant distance from the youthful inclination to dismiss the accomplishments of those that came before. But it’s also evidence of a trait I’m not eager to embrace: the inclination to argue on behalf of people for whom or ideals for which I don’t really care about just for the sake of pointing out to a young person what they should respect, what they should know.

I like to think that I redeemed myself somehow though as I spent the rest of the conversation, and the ride to drop him off at home, asking him what he thought made a good teacher. Picking his brain, I was reminded that if I want to know what makes a great teacher and if I want to be one, I need to listen to some of their greatest fans and critics: their 15 year old students. At times it’s hard to get my brother to talk about anything passionately besides his music but when I asked him that simple question–what do you think makes a good teacher?–he was practically tripping over his words, they were coming out so fast.

This straddling of adulthood and youngin’-life is a funny thing. In any given day I feel hypocritical, responsible, wise, and compromised. Or contradictory, sold-out, and doing-the-best-I-can. Just the other day I read through my journals from the first couple years of college and I hardly recognized the girl who must have held the pen, the girl who must have written the words. And again I felt those mixed emotions: embarrassed by her ignorance and yet moved–inspired–by her innocence.



the perfect crime
August 17, 2006, 6:22 pm
Filed under: Darn Kids, friends, funny fun fun


Not exactly criminal: My brother & his friends rolling another kid around in a trash can.

When I was younger, I used to fantasize about all the cool things I could do if I was only willing to be bad. Spray-painting the sides of parked cars–in the middle of the night, of course–and slashing tires seemed totally fun as well as the kind of crimes no one could catch me doing. Sitting in the back seat of my parents’ car, I’d gaze mournfully at all the clean, shiny cars lining the streets–untouched! If I could just get past the stupid dichotomy of right and wrong, I’d be rolling in fun and easy criminal activity!

My friend reminded me of these fantasies today when he admitted, without any provocation, that somtimes he wants to dump a gallon of black paint into a post-box. He said it would be even better if his enemy had just dropped off a bunch of letters in said mailbox!

I related to him my own fantasies of stupid–or as he put it, “Fuck You”–crimes which only encouraged him to open up even more. He also thinks it would be the ultimate to sit on a bridge and throw eggs on passing cars. Ha!

What I think is actually the most fun is not the doing of such immoral activities–frankly, we’re too wussy–but rather the detailed descriptions of how such crimes would be executed. Any fantasies of your own?



Loads of bull
August 3, 2006, 2:42 pm
Filed under: Darn Kids, the Farm, Uncategorized

When I worked on the farm, in its educational program, the visiting kids would always be obsessed with the bull. The first summer at Hawthorne Valley, he was a giant named Leroy. The second summer, and that following fall, it was Odysseus:


Photo by my friend Zeb Millett.

During our Thursday lunch, when the herdsman would eat with us and answer questions from that week’s group of kids, the bull was the center of the conversation. They wanted to know about why there was only one bull, how old he was, if it was true that he gets angry if he sees red (not true), why he was so dangerous, and on and on. One of my favorite questions though came from a fourth-grader named Lucas. He asked Farmer Dan, with quite a bit of sincerity, if Odysseus ever had to defend the herd from wild coyotes or a lone wolf. I almost choked on my organic apple juice.

Anyway, check out the farm in yesterday’s New York Times.