Again with the Hiatus

Given the culmination-like message of my last post, and my smug-like experience of having done what I set out to do, fun-flavor-wise, and my recurring need to pay closer attention to family and friends, and the endless joys I find in intimacy... well, it all seemed inevitable.

And so it goes.

And so do I.

from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

Complete Fun

With this post, I simultaneously complete, and, given the last-in-first-out nature of basic bloggery, introduce my collection of actually more than 54 Flavors of Fun. I do this by playing with two related, but clearly distinct tastes of fun: "completed fun" and "complete fun."

Let us begin with the taste of completed fun, insofar as this post is in itself a completion, and the taste of the fun of it all is still very fresh in one's mental mouth. The deliciousness of the fun of completing something comes completely from its aftertaste. When it is at its best, it tastes like something both well done and rare.

Which brings us to complete fun, the kind of fun that you have when everything is fun, when you are not only having fun, but being fun, with people who are fun, doing fun things in a fun place, having a fun time. It is complete fun. Well done. And rare. The most delicious of all possible delicacies.

Fortunately, the subtle complexities of this aftertaste I was describing has a way of making everything seem complete anyway. So, since this is both the first and last in my collection of fun flavors, it can taste like the whole thing was completely fun, every taste, every exploration of fun. Completely fun. Complete fun. Completed.

And if our little exploration of what fun would taste like (if it had a taste) worked, you may very well find yourself feasting on endlessly subtle varieties of fun, rolling them around with added appreciation on your newly educated conceptual tastebuds, discerning amongst the many works of fun, those prepared by masters, those straight from the garden, those well done, those exceeding rare.

from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith



Home made checkersTake a closer look at this checker set. Nothing but a random collection of bottle tops and a piece of cardboard. And yet, it's checkers, and it's most clearly as playworthy as a checker set should be.

This is the lesson that AfriGadget teaches us, post after post after post: that we can make do. We can make do beautifully.Even without the newest and jiggiest. We can make do. Especially when we have to. Which, given the current state of the world, is something we should strongly consider making part of the basic curriculum, if you know what I mean. Courses in ingenuity and junkwork.

Founded by Erik Hersman, AfriGadget is edited by a team of African bloggers, and was recently selected by Time Magazine as one of the 50 Best Websites of 2008. You'll want to know more about Erik. Here's a recent interview.

from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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Drinking Straw Construction Kit

The Drinking Straw Construction Kit provides a collection of rubbery plastic soda-straw connectors that can be used "to construct a variety of designs, including straws that allow you to drink from multiple glasses at the same time."

The idea of drinking from multiple glasses at the same time makes me think about what one might put in those multiple glasses - perhaps chocolate milk in one, seltzer in another, and cream soda in a third for a kind of chocolate/vanilla egg cream delight. Which makes me wonder how good, exactly, all this would taste, and whether using longer and shorter straws between the various glasses would impact the taste. Which, of course, leads us directly to the contemplation of yet one more flavor of fun - a flavor one might call the taste of "constructive fun."

This could easily lead us to a contemplation of the many kinds of construction toys, and their inherent deliciousness. They seem to have a meaty, almost steak-like taste. Steak-like because only dedicated chewing can release their flavor. Because they require an investment - it takes time to eat a steak. Because their pervasive smells allure you to exploring their possibilities in depth. Because often the best taste lies close to the bone.

from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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Hopscotch 2.0

I found this hopscotch court outside my very own house. It was drawn by 9-year-old girl named Erica, our neighbors' kids' cousin (artist's name and relationship included to establish proper "provenance").

According to my unfounded deductions, it began life as what one might consider to be a regulation hopscotch court. For some reason, Erica decided not to stop when she reached 10. So she continued. By the time she reached 12, she decided that the next square should not be a number, but rather an L, as in "Left foot."

She goes on, the next square being also an L (requiring a hop), the next an R, then another L, then two more hopworthy Rs, followed by two Ls, an R, and then a "clap" square. (A clap square! O, the intimations of hopscotchly variations yet unexplored!) Followed by more Rs and Ls, and so on, into illegibility.

My point: Contrary to popular opinion, kids are not only still playing games like hopscotch, they are still inventing it.

For more detailed hopscotch contemplation study, view the image in its full, hi-res glories.

from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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Rethinking Work

I'll be speaking and playing at the Rethinking Education conference in Dallas, Sept. 4-7.

I'll also be giving a keynote on "Rethinking Work."

Should you be so moved, you can read and download the abovementioned here.

from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

Faux Fun

The problem with things like drugs, alcohol, sex, food, pornography, gambling, shopping, and related acts of consumption, from the fun perspective, is that they are, in fact, up to a point, exactly that - fun. And then they aren't as fun as they used to be. And then you do them anyway. You do and overdo. Dose and overdose. And then they kill you.

This is because they are each, in one way or another, artificially sweetened. Artificial. They look like fun. They feel like fun. But eventually they turn into its opposite. They take life away.

What we have here, especially vividly given these extreme cases, are examples of what I choose to call "faux fun."

Faux fun looks like fun, acts like fun, tastes like fun, even calls itself fun. It tastes good, very good, sometimes extraordinarily good, and then it sours, becomes rancid, bitter. It tastes like sweet fun, only to become sickeningly sweet.

The taste of faux fun feeds on you until there's nothing left. Eventually, it's not you at all, it's the alcohol, the drugs, the game, the machine, the insatiable need, the disgust. You can have faux fun seeing people in pain - schadenfreude - from making other people afraid, from hurting people. And it tastes just like fun. But it's not.

Faux fun also tastes like something bad for you, something you shouldn't be having. Real fun, the fun that faux fun is falsifying, tastes like life, like health, like you at your best, like a day at its finest, like love at its deepest.

from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith