Nomological Net

Stray thoughts from here and there. The occasional concern for construct validity. No more logic. Fish.


faults in the clouds of delusion

Friday, January 26, 2007

The hippest game I ever invented

and we never even gave it a name.

It happened some time during rehearsals. Act 1 Scene 1, midway through, C and I had to step to the rear and pretend we were discussing something while other stuff went on up front. At first C was happy to pretend we were peeing on the College walls. Then we decided to take things to the next level. So off we'd shuffle to the back, and the negotiations would begin.

C: Whose call?
I: Yours.
C: Oh, ok. Let's see, hmmm, 1 club.
I: 1 heart.
C: 2 diamonds.
I: 2 hearts.
C: 3 clubs.
I: Pass.
C: Pass?! WTF do you mean "pass"? I thought we had a game there.
I: Hardly, man. I had nothing but a few hearts.
C: But you made two forward going bids.
I: Yes but I left you on your main suit. We don't go down so much this way.
C: Okay, okay, your deal now.

All this, of course, with not a card in sight. (Except maybe, in retrospect, the jokers.) Very hip.


Side comment 1.

I love the word hip. It originates from the the West African Wolof words "hepi", which means "to see", and "hipi", "to open ones eyes". The deeper connotation is that of knowledge, insight, and being in the know. Indeed, the word for one who has access to such knowledge is "hepikat" -- the source of the term "hip cat", from which Louis Armstrong popularized the term "cat". Two other Wolof words that made it into the lingo are: dega - "to understand" - dig, and jev - "to disparage or talk falsely" - jive. Brilliant, isn't it? I got this from "Hip: The History", by John Leland.

Side comment 2.

It was during those same rehearsal sessions that we (A and I, while C was off taking a break from being hip to be cool with the ladies instead) invented another game, which consisted of trying to guess a famous person's name within 20 attempts, under a time limit. We played the game a few times and liked it; then thrashed around for a satisfactory name. Finally A suggested - with no justification whatsoever - Tintoretto. The sheer randomness made the name stick, and the game definitely had more mass appeal than the one C and I devised. So A and I debuted Tintoretto at the College festival the next year. And that was that, or so I thought, and so I was very pleasantly surprised to hear the game mentioned on 2x3x7 (I think) a few months ago. Cool :-)

A was the first guy up the wooden staircase that had been built along the outside of the building as part of the set for the play. He charged up to the top, looked over, paused, then declaimed: "I came here to do susside, now I think I'll only do susu by the side."

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Cosmic Sunny

Previous separateds: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

Friday, January 12, 2007


Q: Why did John Nash go schizophrenic?
A: Because he couldn't decide whether he was Player 1 or Player 2.

Saturday, January 06, 2007


Water does not boil at 104 Fahrenheit. However, when a large enough volume of it is placed in an ambient temperature that is closer to 10.4 F, indeed a few degrees below, interesting clouds of steam rise from the surface. That is one of the first things I observed after realising that I hadn't yet frozen to my death. There were three of us in this tub, out in the open on a cold, cold night, on the back patio of a cottage nine thousand feet above sea level in the Rockies. 1/1/2007.

The tub was placed a few feet away from the french windows of the cottage living room. The wooden slats that formed the patio were iced over completely, making them cold, naturally, but also dangerously slippery. The three steps that led to the tub were as icy, and jagged to boot. The balcony that surrounded the tub on two sides was covered with three inches of snow.

We had arrived at the cottage late in the afternoon. The previous day, driving through a twisty mountain road, our car had gone into an extravagant 90 degree spin and ended up perpendicular to the lane, smack bang in the path of any vehicle approaching from either direction. I felt lightheaded after the experience (it was exactly a year to the day that I'd been parasailing at 800 feet, almost exactly a year to the bungee jump). A couple of the others had felt deeply disturbed. Earlier in the afternoon we had had to dig our way through over a foot of snow to someone's house to ensure that her cat - home alone - had enough to eat. The cat liked to watch people and rub noses.

That was the previous day. This day, we drove more slowly. On arrival at our cottage we played Pictionary and drank tall glasses of rum punch that I made. My glass got kicked over by accident. We then went out for sushi. Hot sake went well with the weather. An hour or so later, we were skating barefoot over our frozen patio, mince-stepping our way up into the hot hot glorious tub.

We cleared some snow off the railings and balanced our plastic glasses precariously. Each glass was six inches deep in Baileys. I hadn't realised how big they were -- the bottle finished with that single dose. The next evening, as the glasses emptied, the wind knocked them off their perches. We lay back in the steaming heat. Ten-minute long jets of hot water drilled into our backs and shoulders. We lay back as if in our own separate trances. There may have been conversation -- I do not recall it. (The next night we talked about the Godfather series, and Ozu.) We looked up at the clear sky and the almost-full moon. A frozen river ran soundlessly by. Every few minutes, we changed places, moving anti-clockwise to get the new view. Every so often, we'd stretch an arm into the cold dark night and retrieve our fading glass. Sometimes, we dipped the glasses into the water, watching them bob as they balanced, and the ice warmed its cockles inside.

I lay back and closed my eyes and thought about the year gone by.

We must have been in that tub for over two hours that night. When we got up, it was past midnight. Navigating the three steps and four feet from the tub to the door was an adventure and a trial. Once inside, recovering from the twin shocks of the fierce cold outside and the raging fireside within, I wondered at the state of relaxation that my muscles were in -- all wobby-dobbly from the their two hour long massage. It was only the next morning that I realized that the alcohol may also have played its part.

I wobbled my way to the shower and thence to bed. And slept nearly nine hours that night. Over three more than any night in as long as I could remember.

May the rest of the year be as good.


Goodbye, 2006

Hello, 2007