Wednesday, July 31, 2002
Wednesday, July 31, 2002
May your misery have company
...today's blessing courtesy of the Blessings Game
101 Fun Things to Do
"The frog," writes Ted Andrews, "is a totem of metamorphosis. It is a symbol of coming into one's own creative power. It changes from an egg, to a polliwog, to a frog. Even after it becomes a frog, it lives close to and spends much time in the water. It always has contact with the creative force out of which it came."
How do you say "croak" in French
Here's a little language sampler in case you find yourself in an international gathering of Frogs of Enlightenupment:
Arabic (Algeria): gar gar
Chinese (Mandarin): guo guo
Dutch: kwak kwak
English (USA): ribbit
English (GB): croak
Finnish: kvak kvak
German: quaak, quaak
Hebrew: kwa kwa
Italian: cra cra
Spanish (Spain): cruá-cruá
Spanish (Argentina): berp
Spanish (Peru): croac, croac
Thai: ob ob (with high tone)
Turkish: vrak vrak
Tuesday, July 30, 2002
The Game of ME/WE/WE as purportedly played by Oaqui
Among the mysteries of the Oaqui is game of "ME\WE\WE." It is said that to play it, the Oaqui would sit or stand or lie down in a circle. The randomly volunteering game-starter would then turn to the personna on his/her right/left and say either "Me" or "We." The next personna immediately would turn to the personna on his left/right and say either "We" or "Me." It didn''t seem to matter which is said, nor to whom. The game would continue in this manner until quite a good speed was reached, or everyone decided which way it's supposed to go around and what - "Me" or "We."
It is also said that the Oaqui would often evoke the Circular Butterfly of Benevolence and even the Circular Frog of Enlightenupment during this very exercise, thus compexifying the experience beyond mortal ability while at the same time giving silent voice to the collective conscious.
"Can Meditation be Fun?"
Alan Watts says "it's supposed to be fun" - and I quote:
"What we call meditation or contemplation -- for want of a better word -- is really supposed to be fun. I have some difficulty in conveying this idea because most people take anything to do with religion seriously -- and you must understand that I am not a serious person. I may be sincere, but never serious, because I don't think the universe is serious."
Consulting the Oracle Butterfly
The Cross-Butterfly of Benevolence, as graphically depicted below (that's me and Rocky - could you tell?), is known for its uncanny oracular powers.
According to legend, the Cross-Butterfly of Benevolence, when asked a question, will flutter its wings once for yes, and twice for no (or vice versa). Since the Cross-Butterfly of Benevolence is, at one level of reality, two separate people, it is likely that, in answer to a given question, one wing will flutter twice (to indicate no) whilst the other once (as in "yes"). This is considered to be an indication of ambivalence, and the seeker is advised to consider either rephrasing the question or playing something else.
Monday, July 29, 2002
Many of the Meditation Games I've been designing lately have been for groups of meditators, or meditating groups, or both. These games involve an unyet-documented and significantly amusing leap in the art of Frog of Enlightenupmenting: Cross-Frogging.
Clearly Cross-Frogging is something for which you will require another Frog with whom to cross. Successful Cross-Froggery, then, becomes an act of transpersonal communion, wherein each participant is actually only a half-Frog, and yet combined, becomes a mutually manifested Frog of Enlightenupment. Genetically altered to produce a Frog that is neither your Frog nor the other's.
A frog that can speak for both of you, with oddly one voice.
A Frog of Mutual Enlightenupment.
Game Theory and Popular Culture
I like to think of game theory as a tool for exploring at least two of the three Glees (see below). Fortunately for the frolicsome few, here's a site that relates game theory to fun - which, as any follower of game theory will tell you, is a most praiseworthy accomplishment. The authors have created a compilation of movies that illustrate, in full cinematic clarity, some of the key insights of game theory.
Sunday, July 28, 2002
The Good Glee, the Bad Glee, and the, uh, Glee
A toy maker appeals to adults
This from an article about Japanese toy makers, called "Toy makers see future in adults’ dreams of childhood":
Popular among women in their 40s and 50s is Bandai's Purimo Pueru, a doll that says, “Good morning” in the morning and “I'm sleepy” at night. Patting the doll several times prompts it to say, “Stop touching me.”
This wish to return to one’s childhood when life was full of dreams has reportedly contributed to the phenomenon in which adults buy snacks that include figurines of fictional characters popular with children.
Glimpses of Glee in Las Vegas
I could use a little help here. There we were in Las Vegas. 110 degrees and crowded. Who'd think that there'd be so many people willing to endure the heat and the prices (which didn't convey the least hint of off-seasoning) just so they could roam amongst the remarkable similitudes of Italy, New York, Paris, and the Disneyed world whilst gambling and spectating, dining and purchasing kitsch.
Before leaving for Vegas, I promised myself that I'd carry forth my newly restored dedication to the Guruness of Gleefulness that I am, and seek signs of actual delight amongst the myriads. For the most part, I failed. People, especially those with families, appeared stressed and lost. People were gambling like factory workers, pulling handles, pressing buttons, the same expression of tense boredom regardless of win or loss. When I saw something gleelike it was usually from a child celebrating life in general, or, in particular, a cookie.
We were there for a wedding. Odd thing, weddings in Vegas. The chapel we used had a new wedding every half-hour. The service was like another Disney ride - a smiling, rotund chaplian (if chaplain he was), speaking sweet, ecumenical (no mention of uneartlhy powers), carefully timed and choreographed wishes for eternal happiness. I got to hold a baby (glee there). I got to kiss my neice and nephews and manifest the eternity of our relatedness. I got out of there as soon as I could.
Tell me, what did I miss? What is the attraction? Where is the joy? I asked Rocky. She said "in the casino-owners' wallets."
But nowhere in their hearts.
Friday, July 26, 2002
Guru of Glee Goes Global
Global Glee? The avowed mission of the Guru of Glee. But how long, lord, how long will it take? The Guru (who could very well be your personal guru) of Glee vows not to rest until Global Glee has been achieved (except when sleeping or taking naps or watching TV or lying on the beach). To that end, yours truly is offering personal instruction to the broadbanded many.
You call me. We'll talk. We'll get online. We'll play. We'll produce. It'll be like being there, or somewhere else, together. e-me for more. (Remote Frog dialogue is available for the webcam-enabled)
Thanks Chris for the patience and encouragement and the shared Guffaw.
Too deep for fun? - Musings in the mines
So I pretend that there I am, your Guru of Glee, basically waiting there with these men, basically doing nothing else but waiting to get rescued. Or to die. That's it. Water up to my waste. Trying not to breathe too much. And I'm realizing that, after a while, that sooner or later even hope won't be enough to keep my well-grounded fears from overtaking me. I mean, there's nothing to do. Move as little, talk as little, breathe as little as possible until something happens one way or basically another.
As the Guru of Glee, I'd recommend that we all visit our personally inner playgrounds, perhaps to join Silly and Serious for a ride on their Inner Swings.
warning - subtle shifts in the focus of my meanderings
As the mantle of Guruhood settles upon my humbled shoulders and I grow more comfortable with the heft and hew of the yoke of Glee, I am feeling subtle shifts in the focus of my meanderings, so to speak. Consider this a warning - perhaps an apology- at least an excuse for the abovefollowing.
Thursday, July 25, 2002
Your Personal Guru of Glee
You know how you get, after days, weeks of working with people in pain? You get so you forget about fun. You know how you get when you spend too long thinking about all the terrible things people are doing to each other in the world and around the block? You know how things get crazy, sometimes, and after a while you just forget to do the fun thing, so you do the angry thing, or the mean thing, or the impatient thing? Well now, for a mere pittance (as advertised), you, too, can have more or less immediate access your very own, personal, Guru of Glee!
Here's a game I wind-up playing alot in my workshops. I guess because it's easy, fun, silly, only remotely competitive, and rich with discussion-worthiness.
There are three positions.
Each position has an accompanying sound. I like to ask people to make up both the position and the sound. The Panther position, for example, might be hands like claws, extended, with accompanying roar. The Persimmon position, of course, will require an leap of silliness. If you don't like persimmons, you can try perhaps porcupines or perhaps purple painted palomino ponies.
Like Rock/Scissors/Paper, each one beats the other - the Panther bets the Person,the Person the Persimmon and the Persimmon the Panther.
People get into three teams. Each team, as a whole, decides what position it wants to take. When ready, all three times line up in a triangle and display their choice. The team that wins gets a point for each team that it beats.
There are two ways that the game can be tied - when all choose the same or when all choose something different. The vast implications of this are quite potentially significant.
Playing to 5 points usually takes around 30 minutes and leaves a lot for processing: leadership, decision-making, strategy and counter-strategy, what was fun, etc.
Have fun with it, and the learning will
The Two-Handed, Thumb-Mouthed Butterfly of Benovelence Talks With its Fingers
This just in. Contrary to popular assumptions, it appears that the Two-Handed, Thumb-Mouthed Butterfly of Benovelence does not use its twin-thumbed mouth to talk, but rather, when fully evoked, talks with its fingers. The implications of this finding are, to say the least, profould. It appears that the THTMBB (Two-Handed, Thumb-Mouthed Butterfly of Benovelence) can, if it so wishes, outtalk the Frog of Enlightenupment him/her/itself.
Those of you who have been following the evolution of DeepFUN Meditation (and who among you could resist the fascination?), will find yourself/ves curiously excited, if not downright gleeful, to learn that everything on the DeepFUN site that used to say things about DeepFUN Meditation, is now saying the same things, and more, about Meditation Games.
Yes, the DeepFUN is gone. I've decided to drop the fun part and the deep part, too. Just in case this time of downturning makes "fun" too hard of a sell. I figured maybe its easier for people to buy meditation games than fun. Games, because they are kinda like things, and people like to buy things more than ideas. Because the Frog of Enlightenupment really doesn't care what you call it. As long as it gets to play with the people and the people they play with, as long as it helps them connect with the sheer fun of it all.
Get out of Hell Free
Get out of Hell Free, and cheap, too, thanks to the unflagging humor of Randy Cassingham who writes a column called "This is True" who says "Truth is Stranger than Fiction Because Fiction has to Make Sense." Examples of some of his poignant observations:
A man sued his doctor because he survived his cancer longer than the doctor predicted.
Two robbers were in the process of their crime when one changed his mind and arrested the other.
A woman had her husband's ashes made into an egg timer when he died so he could still "help" in the kitchen.
Only 68 of 200 Anglican priests polled could name all Ten Commandments, but half said they believed in space aliens.
(link by way ofEverlasting Blort)
The Insanity Test
Tuesday, July 23, 2002
Icehouse - it's not a game, it's a game system!
The Apostrophe Protection Society
Frog of Enlightenupment found on Blort
Blort blogs Frog of Enlightenment. O, it is to hop with froggish joy!
More on 1KBWC
1KBWC? One Thousand Blank White Cards. The Game. Revealed.
Large Group Activities and Initiatives for Community Building
Here is a collection of games facilitators' play. They're scripted. They're for working with big groups. And they're fun, even.
What do you mean, "game"?
Here are the items associated with "game" on thesaurus.com:
Dan Baum wants you. To help him. With his book.
"Fortress Childhood aims to do for children what Susan Faludi¹s Backlash did for women. It will trace how and why their lives were altered over the past three decades. It will demonstrate that a culture of fear is in itself harmful. It will introduce strategies for alternative parenting. And it will urge parents to relax, take reasonable precautions, connect with other parents, engage politically, train their kids in street smarts, make informed choices about where and how to live. . . and then give the kids a hug, open the door, and let them run."
He is "eager to speak with any and all who can broaden my understanding of this important topic."
Monday, July 22, 2002
Swami Beyondananda Opens New Online Om
Swami Beyondananda, he of serendipitous silliness, has launched his much improved website chock full of swamiisms. Want to know more? Here's an excerpt from his bio:
The Swami came of age during the “sects revolution,” and Swami too experimented with wild sects. He became a follower of the guru of rock ‘n roll, Baba Oom Mow Mow (his was a simple philosophy ... “Do wop unto others as you would have them do wop unto you” ...), and this in turn led him to explore Presleyterianism; he even became an Elvis’s Witness for a short while, presleytizing door-to-door and asking, “Are you lonesome tonight?”
He went through a period of great exploration, confusion even, and he now says, “I tried so many spiritual paths, I was pathological.” He became addicted to Spirit (“I was hitting the Source pretty hard in those days”) and finally hit bottom. As the Swami tells it, “I woke up one morning in a strange biker crash pad with a terrible sugar hangover. Everything reeked of incense, and I looked around and those bikers all wore orange leather vests and strange ponytails. And that’s when it occurred to me. I had become a Harley Krishna!”
At that moment, Swami looked in the mirror and attained Fool Realization. “I realized, ‘I’m a fool!’ and there’s nothing to do but laugh.” Since that time, the Swami has been practicing FUNdamentalism (with the accent on “fun”) and has as his mission to increase the laugh force on the planet so that “everyone can see farce fields and hear the laugh track.”
Frog of Enlightenupment Extends Family
As I continue to share the Frog of Enlightenupment with the fortunate few, I've found that, for some, the difficulty of frog-making becomes an obstacle to the ultimate experience of the power of Silent Puppetry. Hence, I introduce to you, as representatives of the universe, the simpler, but no less enlightenup-capable members of the extended, and extensible, Frog Family:
The Arm-and-Hand Swan of Serendipity
The Fist Fish of Festivity
The Thumb-and-Fingers Chicken of Cheer
The Two-Handed, Thumb-Mouthed Butterfly of Benovelence
being but an exemplary few.
Of Games and Meaning
There are finally enough pages of my stuff on the DeepFUN website that I can dip into it almost anywhere and get surprised.
Today, I found my article on "Near Myths" (get it? like near miss? o, the cleverness!) and I was, again, surprised by how clearly it states a core concept of DeepFUN Mediation.
Please forgive the self-referentialness of it all:
"I have learned to see games as social fantasies. They are, to me, recurrent dreams in which certain themes are being toyed with - investigated and manipulated for the sake of some future reintegration into a world view. They are reconstructions of relationships - simulations - (myths) - which are guided by individual players, instituted by the groups in which they are played or abstracted by the traditions of generations of children."
So, when we are in a state of DeepFUN meditations, games function as total immersions into the wisdom of the collective conscious. And the meditation and conversation surrounding the game reveal the wisdom of the game, and of us.
The Bubble Solution
Playmore and The True Definition of Silly
"Playmore came about when I realized the true original definition of "silly" was prosperous, blessed and happy and I wanted all of these things!"
Sunday, July 21, 2002
Here's how an interview with Stevanne and Bernie found its much abbreviated way into a story about big kids and expensive toys in today's Cleveland Plain Dealer:
"Steveanne Auerbach, a Ph.D. from San Francisco who bills herself as 'Dr. Toy,' is a toy consumer advocate, author and a major proponent of play. She believes toys are essential and play is important. And not just for kids.
"'Every adult needs to play. Playing keeps people young mentally and physically fit,'" Auerbach says.
"'Some people mourn things they didn't get in their childhood. I always tell them, Don't look back and feel deprived. Look forward with pleasure. Go out and get the Lionel train set you always wanted.'"
..."Further championing the concept of play and the joy of the toy is Bernie DeKoven, the self-proclaimed "Guru of Glee" who runs what he calls "Deepfun" retreats in Los Angeles. He says that the playful path is the shortest road to love, health and happiness.
"'Adults need fun in their lives, and if people have to spend some money to find out what's fun for them, so what? When you stop playing, you stop evolving,' DeKoven says. ;Don't worry about the cost of things like toys. If it is fun, it's a good investment.
"'My advice to people is to put fun first in their life and all the rest will follow,' says DeKoven, who is author of the book The Well-Played Game. "'So many people today are fun-impaired.'"
Friday, July 19, 2002
Adventure Playgrounds are places "where children of all ages can develop their own ideas of play."
The rationale for these creative junk piles is ironclad: "Most young people, at one time or another have a deep urge to the experiment with earth, fire, water, and timber to work with real tools with out fear of undue criticism or censure." More power to the playful!
Ten Top Reasons to Play
Linda Naiman's Ten Top Reasons to Play (at Work) is a thought-provoking little manifesto for anyone hoping to validate fun in the workplace. The sidebar to this provocative list: "A work/life balance (not money) is the number one concern of employees at all levels, in Canada and the U.S. The ability to achieve this is the top determinant in whether they are happy on the job, and whether they stay or leave...Play is crucial to attaining a work/life balance."
Thursday, July 18, 2002
The Truth Will Make You Laugh
The Oauqui is/are quoted to purportedly have said that "the truth will make you laugh." This, coincidentally, is the closely, but inversely correlated to the insight that led me to concocting DeepFUN Meditation. The underlying premis of DeepFUN mediaton is that when you laugh, you are the truth. The purpose of the meditation being to reflect that truth back into the world.
Laughter, claim/s the Oaqui, is a Oaqui invention. The Oaqui explain/s:
"For example, it is likely that the sound people make when they laugh is a genetic memory of the actual sound of the Big Banging: reminding them thereby of the infinite humor of it all when it was all for fun.
"We/I also believe that the real reason I/we invented laughter could very well have been to remind humanity as a whole of something.
"Then there's theory that laughter is the sound of the energy that is released when the unfun becomes fun again: a quantum releasing of fun to yet another level that is more fun than that.
"It also could very well be the sound of the soul applauding, of the whole body clapping, returning to a state of primal health, resonating with universal glee.
"Then it occurs to me/us that I/we might have very cleverly created laughter so that we/I could leave humanity with a spiritual Heimlich Maneuver: whenever the spirit gets blocked by the unfun, a little laughter is all it takes to resuscitate the soul.
"In sum, I/we don't exactly know why, or when or actually if we created laughter or even what laughter is for.
"In the beginning it was fun.
"In the end, it was all for fun.
"And in between is where it tickles most."
OK, if they're not cooperative, at least they're not predatory. Kate Jones makes a case for Non-Predatory Games in this informative article from an increasingly respected source on commercial games - The Games Journal.
What, you ask, are non-predatory games?
"The goal of getting to the other side first (symbolic of migrations) is best illustrated by Chinese Checkers. No capturing, no chance elements, just the strategy of jumping over conveniently located pieces. It's non-predatory, not even a territorial acquisition game, since each player relinquishes the starting territory to the incoming player. "
Definitely check this article out, and the many remarkably insightful articles collected in the journal's archives.
Cooperative Games - a rationale
Family Pastimes, one of the oldest commercial sources for cooperative games, explains itself:
"PLAY AS FRIENDS, NOT AS ENEMIES.... Our games foster the spirit of co-operation. Players help each other climb a mountain, make a community, bring in the harvest, complete a space exploration... They are never against each other.
"After all, the initial impulse to play a game is social; that is, we bring out a game because we want to do something together. How ironic then that in most games, we spend all our efforts trying to bankrupt someone, destroy their armies, in other words, to get rid of one another! We soon learn how to pick on the other person's weaknesses in order to win the game.
"LETS TAKE AN EXAMPLE.... A simple, common party game for socializing youngsters illustrates our point. MUSICAL CHAIRS fosters aggression and elimination. Played co-operatively ( see our GAMES MANUAL ), you will see how hugging replaces pushing, how ability & strength are used to help rather than push out of the way.
"People of different ages & abilities should be able to play side by side, each making their best contribution. In a co-operative game, someone young and little can play with others older and bigger and not worry about being wiped out. We are all there at the end of it.
"SOME CAUTIONS.... We don't protect children from not making it to the summit or completing the space voyage. Our games are designed to offer realistic challenges. But the cultural habit of competing and confronting adversaries runs deep. Some players end up fighting the game itself. We suggest that you'll get better results learning how to get along with Time, Winter, Gravity, and Mountains rather than fighting them.
"Aside from all these serious considerations, some people just want to share an enjoyable and challenging time with friends. We feel that co-operative games will prove to be that friendly form of fun.
"THE CHALLENGE.... In sum, games are used in various settings and for various reasons, Socialization, entertainment, academic learning, character growth, etc. Whatever your objective, we invite you to realize them by co-operative means. Parents and teachers trying to teach children to share, be kind to living things, and help others out often are troubled by games and recreation programs which undermine these values. Our games provide the opportunity to experience sharing and caring behavior. We simply don't have enough of such experiences."
Wednesday, July 17, 2002
Cooperative Tennis - from the people who brought us Cooperative T-Ball
"The object is to play a predetermined number games as fast as you can. A sports wrist watch with a stop watch function should be employed. The timer should be running whenever the ball is in play, but you may stop it when you need to retrieve balls, switch sides of the court, or you simply want to take your time getting back into position for the next serve.
"A set consists of six completed games. At least one set must be played before a score can be calculated.
"When you rotate to a new server, the player who is the time keeper should rotate as well. Pass the watch or use additional watches to keep time, but be sure that only one watch is running at a time so you can add the times from all watches when you are done playing to calculate your score.
"Once you have completed at least one set of six games, you may calculate your score by dividing the total lapsed play time by the number of games you completed. "
feedback is invited
Cooperative T-Ball - it restoreth the faith
"The object is to get as many points as possible in a set time limit. The clock never stops during the game. A regular diamond is the best playing field, but any open space that is big enough will work just as well.
"Any reasonable number of athletes can make up a team."
Cooperative Games and Activities
Here's a sweet compilation of cooperative games for children's physical education, and the rest of us. Though the majority of them would be familiar to anyone who's experienced New Games, it's at least encouraging to discover that this site is still online.
Nomic is a game of changing rules. Nomic Wiki is "a space for collaborative maintenance of various documents related to the GameOfNomic."
Slashdotters Contemplayte Non-Zero Sumness
Searching for "New Games," I came across some this Slashdot conversation regarding Non-Zero-Sum games.
Here's my favorite:
I will not play at tug o' war.
I'd rather play at hug o' war,
Where everyone hugs
Instead of tugs,
Where everyone giggles
And rolls on the rug,
Where everyone kisses,
And everyone grins,
And everyone cuddles,
And everyone wins.
-- Shel Silverstein, "Hug o' War"
And this game:
Everone stands in a circle. One person chosen as "It" approaches one of the circle-members and says either "Bippity" or "Boppity". If It says Bippity, then the circlemember must respond with Boppity. If It says Boppity, circlemember may not say anything. It may repeatedly say both words to anyone any number of times. i.e. you can go up to someone and say "bippity bippity boppity bippity" and the circlemember must make the proper response, then move on to someone else. When a circlemember either fails to say boppity when required, or says it out of place, they become It.
The Coin Game:
Get a bunch of change and a pal or two.
Go to a public place and split up the change.
Each player places a coin on the table in some fasion.
At time take coins off the table.
Other times act surprised by a move.
Make up credible names for the moves you are making.
Never make the same move more than twice.
Sometimes get up from the table and say "Do not move until I get back."
The objective is to see how many people you can get to watch you play. See if they guess the rules.
and maybe this:
This is a game that my friends and I invented at a party. It's really simple, and we set the core rules up after just one round. First you get everybody in a circle(you don't have to but it just makes it go easier), then you have everybody write down 3+ questions and 3+ answers, they do not have to match each other, just no one word things like "Why?" and "Yes", and you need to make as many questions as you do answers and visa versa. Then you put all the questions in one hat, and all the answers in the other. You pass the hats around and 1 person draws 1 question, and the person next to him/her draws an answer. Then the question is read exactly how it is written on the paper, and then the answer is read. Note that it will make little or no sense 50% of the time, but of the other 50% that does work it is soooo very funny(especially at 4AM, or after a few shots). The trick to making it work well is to use as general a question and answer as possible, it seems to work better that way, and no one word questions or answers, even though they may work some times it just isn't normally funny.
I'll elaborate on Monopoly with Crap. To play, you need not only the standard board, but a deck of playing cards, a pool table, crepe paper, a baloon, a stairmaster, and a Dr. Seuss book. And a radio. Substitutions are encouraged.
The rules are altered thus:
* all properties are distributed randomly at the beginning of the game ("Communist Monopoly!" my girlfriend said). No houses are built.
* everybody gets a fixed sum of money ($300 - $500 works best) and doesn't receive anything when they pass go.
* when landing on a property, you draw (from the deck of playing cards) the number of cards equal to the first digit in the propert rental price. You then must run to the pool table (which is preferably kept in another room, or perhaps another building), and shoot the balls corresponding to those cards into the pockets. You can't return to the board until you do. If the person who owns the property is present, you must pay them rent before you go shoot pool. If not, you can stiff them.
*If your turn comes and you aren't present, your fellow players may steal $20 from your stash and put it in a pot in the middle.
*Anyone going to jail must go work on the stairmaster until the song that was going when they started is over. Then they must wait to play Baloon Volleyball (set up the court with the crepe paper) with the next person who finishes playing pool (who is required to play with them). They get out of jail if they win.
*The game ends when someone runs out of money. That person is then forced to read everyone else a Dr. Seuss voice. If the balloon has been helium filled, that person should inhale the helium first.
Variations are, of course, encouraged.
Victorian Parlor Games
Perusing the pages of Victorian Parlor Games, I rediscover my roots.
"All the apparatus required in 'Parlor Games' is good temper good spirits, and gentleness, so that at any moment amusement for an evening can be obtained by anybody who wills it."
~The Sociable 1858
The Tongue(s) of the Frog of Enlightenupment
When the Frog of Enlightenupment opens its mouth, a curious phenomenon is revealed:
The Frog of Enlightenupment is apparently twin-tongued!
Tuesday, July 16, 2002
Break Dancing Demystified
Adult Coloring Books and Playgrounds
Here's one response from a discussion about Adult Coloring Books and Playgrounds from the ever-expanding silliness of the HalfBakery.
"Jungle gyms, slides, swings, teeter-totters, and human-powered merry-go-rounds (especially the ones with push-pull drive levers so you can drive and ride at the same time) should all be fair game for adults. When my wife and I were in college, we considered them fair game anyway. I am convinced that the biggest reason people want to have kids is so that they can have an excuse to use the playground. I love this idea. I'd order a whole set of playground equipment for my backyard if I knew it would hold up to me using it."
Yeah, adult playgrounds. Or even better, family playgrounds that are as much fun for parents and grandparents as they are for kids and infants.
We have completely confused genuine fun with mere distraction
"It seems that one of the issues I'm plowing through at mid-life is the amount of anger I carry around at people for not choosing what is good for them. We are a fun starved culture. We have completely confused genuine fun with mere distraction. And yet I have to admit that I don't do a very good job of dealing with fun myself. I'm reminded of the quote: Why are you so angry that you can't control others when you haven't yet figured out how to control yourself?"
in a correspondence from WM Eades, author of the website Practical Spirituality.
OK, so there are hundreds of online miniature golf games around. And this is only one of them. But it's clean and clear and challenging and fun, even. I mean, if I were designing it there'd be more windmills and silly mini stuff, but it's very true to the physics and feel of the game, and it's one of a collection of funny fun things from ebaumsworld - providing the e-universe with "A Hilarious Collection Of Media For The Masses"
Monday, July 15, 2002
Of Frog, Mouse and Forked Tongue
Raphael Blue writes:
"So the next technological advancement must be a desktop cam, operating from
your Web site through our monitors, which captures to video the hilarious
new creative mousing techniques discovered by people trying to scroll down
to the photo of the completed frog with fingers all intertwined and
"Or maybe that's just me."
This is a profound observation. I've created a "frog-making at-a-glance" view of the Frog instruction page to ameliorate these difficulties, though I can but only encourage the multitudes in their attempts to Mouse while Frogging. It can lead to significant silliness.
As to the related Frog query - why does the Frog of Enlightenupment have a forked tongue? - I have no answer yet, but am hoping that you of the cherished myriad will provide the necessary conceptual leap some time before I croak.
Original Play Center
Original Play offers programs that validate play between children and adults. It is sad that we need such validation, but wonderful to know that there is an organization that is able to respond to that need. Here is an explanation from their website:
Original Play is a gift from creation that connects all of life. It conveys the message that "You are loveable and that there is nothing to fear." Original Play promotes a sense of belonging, which is the most powerful alternative to human fear and contest behavior. Original Play is manifested by a sequenced pattern of touch, which allows you to lovingly respond to aggression and violence while maintaining self-esteem and not diminishing the esteem of the other person. O. Fred Donaldson, Ph.D., who has been studying play with children, adults and animals for nearly three decades, coined the term "Original Play."
Mission & Objectives:
To substitute play for contest in human relationships; to influence and change patterns of interaction from aggression, anger and violence to kindness, caring and affection.
To prepare adults and adolescents to function effectively as playmates for children.
To educate the public through workshops, training and courses on the importance of play in the lives of children and adults.
To create self-perpetuating playmate programs in education, business, child-care and health-care facilities.
For more information and validation, see their FAQs page.
Tales from the Vault
"'Tales from the Vault' consists of stories and poems which are told in segments by our visitors. This storytelling method, sometimes referred to as an "Exquisite Corpse" exercise, gives each reader a chance to take an existing story in whatever direction their imagination suggests to them."
For those of us who wonder about laughter, sex and sociery, here are a couple pithy observations from the PBS - Scientific American Frontiers article "He Who Laughs Less"
"People laugh 30 times more often with other people than when alone."
"The evidence is clear...Women seek men who make them laugh, and men are anxious to comply with this request."
Healing a Broken Community with Play
The following quote comes from an organization called Play for Peace. It says a lot about play and kids and the sensibiities that drive this important effort to revitalize community through play.
"Play is a contemplative act. For children, who have a genius for play and for being completely in the moment, play is a kind of prayer, a way in which they are authentically who they are, spontaneously and purely themselves in their joy and capacity for sharing."
Sunday, July 14, 2002
Deep Play - Spirit in Sport
There's an excellent article by Andrew Cooper on "Spirit in Sport." It's a deeply provocative exploration of the connections between Zen and flow. One of the many citations that caught my attention refers to the philosophy of George Gadamer and his use of the term "deep play" to refer to that moment when "the game plays the player." This is the essence of the experience that led me to write The Well-Played Game.
"The German philosopher George Gadamer writes of that 'deep play' in which the individual's actions so thoroughly merge with the intrinsic designs of the game that 'the game plays the player.' No doubt this experience will likely occur with greater frequency and be both more evident and impressive among expert athletes. But excellence and perfection do not belong to the player; they belong to the game itself. And all those who have felt themselves given over to their power—the little league pitcher, the junior varsity linebacker, the weekend softball player and the devoted fan—come to share in some measure of the experience."
Many years ago, my friend Charles Parsons introduced me to his Spinnie Machine. He used an old record player, removed the spindle, and taped an index card on to the turntable. Then, using a collection of fine-tipped markers, he'd turn on the machine and make the most beautiful designs. Markers that are a little dry produced some remarkable effects.
Here's a virtual version - not as satisfying, but good enough to give you an incentive for making your own.
Free Introduction to DeepFUN Meditation
If you'll be near Redondo Beach this Friday, around, say, 3:30, you could very well be experiencing a free introduction to DeepFUN Meditation. Think of it as an opportunity to meet your Frog.
Friday, July 12, 2002
The Sun, animated
The Only One
I know I'm not the only one.
I tend to think of myself that way, though. As the only one. Because I live in a world where it is increasingly difficult to develop healthy, supportive human relationships.
Go ahead, count them. The healthy, supportive relationships in your life. The time you actually spend doing healthy, supportive things together.
Sometimes I think of myself as the only one who wants to play, the only one who wants to have fun and be loving and feel free. Because I'm alone alot. Not because I want to be alone, because I live in a world that isolates me and categorizes me, a world whose major entertainments are created for people who want to be alone, where people put doors on their office cubbies.
In fact, I'm probably so far gone after twenty minutes in an office that it would take an ordained intervention to make things fun again.
Which is why I invented DeepFUN Meditation. So I could have an ordained intervention. So I could take the time I need with the people I need. And have a concentrated dose of healthy, supportive fun. With people around me playing deeply, teaching me again that I'm not the only one.
I'll be teaching DeepFUN Meditation hither (my house in Redondo Beach) and yon (Esalen, Malibu, Santa Barbara and points beyond). For more info,
The More Merrier Multiplier
The Oaqui Guide to Moral Action
Imagine yourself saying something at a meeting, for example, and simultaneously wondering to yourself, "I wonder if I'm doing the right thing, saying this, being here."
If you were Oaqui, you wouldn't have to wonder. Because, knowing that 1) the only thing that really counts is fun, and 2) fun is the one thing in life you can count on being fun when you have it; you would simply do a Fun Count.
you'd count how many other people seem to be having fun,
then multiply the sum by how much fun you seem to be having,
and then multiply the product by how many more people will seem to have fun because of the product of the fun you seem to be having.
Then you'd be absolutely sure how right the thing you're doing actually is.
Decimal Dust "In 1999, Gonzalez received $1.4 million from the National Institutes of Health to compare his enzyme-nutritional therapy with the best chemotherapy now available for the treatment of advanced pancreatic cancer. As a percentage of the fifteen billion dollars that the federal government spends on medical research annually, the grant amounts to what one federal health official described to me as "decimal dust."
—Michael Specter, "The Outlaw Doctor," The New Yorker, February 5, 2001"
From Logophilia - Paul McFedries' admirable one-man campaign to bring definition and attribution "to recently coined words, existing words that have enjoyed a recent renaissance, and older words that are being used in new ways." Thanks Shikencho for another admirable finding.
Thursday, July 11, 2002
The Miniature Golf Version of Anything
"Think about your favorite sport.
Now think about your favorite sport with a giant windmill in the middle.
"A lot better, isn't it?"
...The Miniature Golf Version of Anything
"And McCann has the ball, he skips round Cole, cuts inside and beats Ferdinand and he is clean through with only Seaman to beat! This will seal it for Scotland! And...oh dear, the ball seems to have been caught up in the Fairy Castle..and...well...and we might be here some time."
Blog of Note
Thought it noteworthy that this humble weblog is Blogger Blog of Note . I'll take this seriously when I stop dancing.
Three Criteria for Smart Toys
From puzzle artist's Scott Kim's Newsletter
"1. Open anywhere (a phrase I heard from user interface guru Bruce Tognazini). No introductory screens, no long manuals. Just start playing. Wherever you start it makes immediate sense.
"2. Nonmodal. Most electronic kid's toys create depth through modes. Slide the mode switch and everything changes. But modes tend to be confusing, and allow younger kids to get into advanced material too quickly. Both Tap, Type, Write and Music Blocks avoid modes by offering richly recombinable elements that become more rewarding as you discover more sophisticated things to do with them. The modes are in your mind, not the machine. Actually both toys do have modes, but they are clearly marked and easy to understand: type a number key in Tap, Type, Write, or change cartridges in Music Blocks.
"3. Behavior fits the physical form. The physical form of Music Blocks is tactilely satisfying, and strongly suggests what can be done with it. I consulted briefly with Neurosmith on a project to put Music Blocks behavior into a different physical form. Although kids found the new form compelling, it encouraged a different pattern of play that did not suit Music Blocks content. Tap, Type, Write uses an existing physical form -- the computer keyboard and monitor -- but with a freshness that makes you look at computers anew."
They say these bathtub toys are for kids. How little they know about tubby time.
Laws of the Game
Wednesday, July 10, 2002
Apparently, key to one's enlightenupment is the simple mastery of the art of Silent Puppetry, as purportedly revealed by the Oaqui and myself . "...learning to let your frog "Speak Your Mind," silently mouthing whatever words or thoughts or song or operatic chorus you want, in whatever accent or voice or instrument you can imagine."
I'm Less Competitive than You
Fun things to do on an elevator
Yup. Fun things to do on an elevator. 26 of them. Some not actually cruel.
Very Stupid Human Tricks
Fun, community and life expectancy
Stefani writes to the DeepFUN group:
Not seen any on fun and life expectancy, but there is
plenty of research on something related. community.
Most of the longest lived communities and individuals
have strong family or community ties. They feel loved,
cherished, that they are an essential element in the
happenings of daily life, and it imparts a sense of
Fun is more fun when it's done with others. Laughter
and sharing is a strong motivation to stay around.
When you feel you don't fit anymore, when all around
you who use to share in your fun have died, or it
becomes difficult to play, laugh and enjoy (due to
pain, illness, etc), I think that's when many let go.
Out of curiousity, I started searching for "life expectancy and community" and arrived at this rather sobering site called "LongToLive.com" - just in case you want to start thinking in terms of revising expectations.
Piyorod - a funny flash game with a difference
I'm always enthralled when I find a game that uses some new play principle, however silly. Piyorod is definitely one such. You "balance" a bird on a stick. Moving your virtual hand to the right or left causes the bird to move in that direction. Every now and then, the bird drops an egg, which you try to catch without losing your basic bird-balance. Every then and now the bird drops something else, which you hope to avoid. Just challenging enough to make you want to master it, just silly enough to make you want to keep trying.
Thanks Milk and Cookies for the tasty break.
Tuesday, July 09, 2002
Department of "Right On": Fun in Marriage is Serious Business
Fun in Marriage is Serious Business is a "talk about the importance of building the couple friendship and putting more fun in marriage through dating." I was cheered, anyway.
Department of "Well I'll Be": Analemma
Having Fun in Marriage
What a concept! Having Fun in Marriage is a collection of links sponsored, unfortunately for the pop-up-shy, by About.com. But links to breakthrough concepts like the Silly Supper have got to be worth at least a window or two. For even more outlandish moments of supper silliness, see the Oaqui Family Picnic
Intrinsic Motivation and my kids
"It has been suggested by researchers that extrinsic motivators, such as
points and prizes, may have temporary positive effects, but in the long run
work against the very behaviors a parent may be trying to instill. It has
also been suggested by my daughter's teachers and friends' parents that the
only or best way is through extrinsic motivators, like little presents, or
stickers on a chart.
"To the playful parents (and others interested) amongst you: How do you feel
about stickers and charts? What do you recommend as intrinsic motivators?"
Extract from my overlong response follows:
"Anyhow, here's my take on the charts and stickers thing:
"As a parent, while I really want to reward you for your achievements and
compliance and support, I want even more to build on your own sense of
competence, judgment and authority.
"So, when it comes to charts and gold stars, I'd like to see Maya involved in
deciding what gets charted, and by whom. I'd like to see maybe a family
chart and a family giving of stars so Maya can give stars to you, too.
"And I'd like to take this opportunity to give you, one, too."
2000 Uses for Peanutbutter
Two thousand uses for peanutbutter, classified. e.g.:
Drop it from a plane over Ethiopia to feed all the starving children.
Keep out of reach of children.
Drop large globs of it out of an airplane over New York City.
If you are a doctor, prescribe it to your patients regularly.
(top four from the Grape Jelly-rated collection)
(Thanks, as usual, Shikencho)
Nothing About Us Without Us - Helping Children Respond Creatively to the Needs and Rights of the Disabled Child
Making playground building and design a collaborative activity that includes children with different abilities makes for a playground that gets used and celebrates community and humanity.
Nothing About Us Without Us - Developing Innovative Technologies For, By and With Disabled Persons provides a remarkably empowering view of playground/community building. David Werner's entire illustrated text is available online, free. Even if you aren't interested in building playgrounds or especially in kids with physical challenges, there's a lot to learn here about the power of fun and loving.
Monday, July 08, 2002
Make Learning Fun
"When people are intrinsically motivated they enjoy learning. They are more likely to succeed at what ever tasks they do. They are less easily discouraged. They work harder, longer and more effectively at learning. They take on challenges."
Any attempt to make learning fun is to be lauded. Insofar as the above quote comes from an article that quotes me heavily and was written by friends, I was loath to laud. But sometimes the need to laud outweighs the loath to loath, hence this.
The KnotPlot Site
Now that the Frog of Enlightenupment finds us hopping inward to the playground of the soul, our interest in frogs grows by both bound and leap. See, for further example, The Somewhat Amusing World of Frogs. And, of course, don't forget that now you, too, can be the owner of the fabulous frosted finger-frog mug.
Sunday, July 07, 2002
User Empowerment and the Fun Factor
"Designs that engage and empower users increase their enjoyment and encourage them to explore websites in-depth. Once we achieve ease of use, we'll need additional usability methods to further strengthen joy of use....
"the greatest joy of using computers comes through user empowerment and engagement. It's very enjoyable to visit a website that works, where everything just clicks for you. In contrast, a user interface that doesn't do things the way you want feels sluggish, unpleasant, and possibly even hostile, despite the designer's no doubt sincere attempt to invoke positive emotions. A user's personal experience trumps anything the designer is trying to communicate. In talking about a design's 'look and feel,' feel wins every time. "
From Jacob Neilsen's Alertbox
Yeah, baby. From ease of use to joy of use. Beautiful.
Thanks, Rod, for the link.
"Counterculture Game Grows Up--Sort of" (with Bernie briefly qouted)
Here's an article that has the intelligence to extoll the virtues of Ultimate Frisbee and has even the more intelligence to mention, in passing, a certain Redondo Beach consultant who writes and teaches about games.
"A child of the counterculture, Ultimate has no referees. For the most part, players must decide themselves whether someone has deliberately slammed an opponent or has held the disk for more than the 10-second maximum. Players even are expected to call fouls on themselves, as required by the Ultimate ethic reverently called 'the spirit of the game.'
"'It's the only sport I know of that has a mandate like that built into it,' said Bernie DeKoven, a Redondo Beach consultant who writes and teaches about games. In addition to speed and agility, Ultimate requires carefree zest. At some games, men play in skirts. Two California teams fought what they called 'the holy wars,' with Catholic players outfitted in monks' robes and hora-dancing Jewish players in yarmulkes. A Las Vegas team features players in sequin-bedecked Elvis outfits."
Saturday, July 06, 2002
Happiness goes way beyond doing
"Happiness cannot be objectified as possession, it always needs to be experienced subjectively, somatically. (“With happiness it is like with truth: One does not have it, one is in it.”) Happiness cannot be prescribed and ordered; nothing can be done to guarantee happiness. (“Happiness goes beyond doing”.) Happiness (like fear) has to do with being open to experience which can overwhelm the self. Sexual and aesthetical experience are models for such overwhelming happiness. The sensation of happiness always is very personal, but in this experience the individual leaves its particularity behind. One has to differentiate between goal and object: Happiness may be a goal, but not it itself, only what obstructs it, can be an object of Critical Theory."
Abstract from an article by Norbert Rath, "The Power to Feel Fear and The One to Feel Happiness are the Same." in the Journal of Happiness Studies Vol 3, No. 1 2002
See also: Happiness Happens by yrs trly G¿G
Friday, July 05, 2002
e.g.: Four-Player Chaturanga
1000 Blank White Cards
"The rules of this game are simple: get some friends and a bunch of blank index cards, draw pictures and write words on the cards, and then, keeping five cards in your hand, play them on each other. Though it doesn't sound very exciting, the game has many enthusiasts and there are many web sites devoted to it (of which this is the best)."
(found on Larkfarm)
The site cited didn't work, but I did find The Discordian Intelligence Agency Edition of 1000 Blank White Cards . See also the Seattle Electric Grimmeldeck.
Though I have apparently left the task of Meeting Improvement to better minds, I must admit that I am somewhat mystically encouraged by Dynamic Meetings, the creators of a table whose chairs move around, automatically. "The quality of a meeting at table depends on the number of relationships anyone had," explain the manufacters, "Who meets more people is more satisfied, enriched and has more fun."
A.I.R. - a scientific gas
A.I.R. - The Annals of Improbable Research.
"To be funny, and to explore this question: How do you tell what's important and what's not, and what's real and what's not -- in science and everywhere else?"
Thursday, July 04, 2002
On Demand Publishing Meets T-Shirts
Here it is. After all these years. The long-awaited opening of the DeepFUN Stuff Store where you can buy DeepFUN T-shirts and Frisbee-like throwing saucer things. Through the miracle of on-demand t-shirt and frisbee-like-throwing-saucer-thing printing.
Car Games for Kids
Given the holidayishness of our current continental reality, and the myriads of mobile American families driving hither and yon in search of celebratory ceremonials, it seemed an act of sheer funnish patriotism to publicly cite these Car Games, courtesy of MomsMinivan.com, wherein we will find, for example, the oft-sought-after secrets of How to Make a Cootie Catcher.
Happy Birthday America
And Maya, sister of Reina, daughter of Julie and Elyon DeKoven, granddaughter of me.
Wednesday, July 03, 2002
Shot Glass Chess
Added Aural Delights - ". . . an eclectic guide to internet radio" - to the blogroll.
The author explains why: "internet radio and streaming media sources that are distinguished by the quality, diversity and novelty of their programming. ever since they finally brought dsl to my brooklyn neighborhood, i've been finding amazing programming in the least expected places. because there's no real guide that i know of, because the internet radio landscape is constantly changing, and because searches turn up thousands of stations... i thought i'd throw my two cents in and offer some opinions to fellow musical adventurers."
The Frog of Enlightenupment
Today I decided that the Frog of Enlightenupment will become a kind of mascot for DeepFUN Meditations - an aid to playful reflection and meditation - soul puppetry of sorts that will be part of every meditation.
And why, I ask you, not?
Cheapass Games is one of a very few commercial game companies with a real sense of the funniness of fun. Their games tend to be light-hearted, often silly, and yet always playworthy, genuinely well-designed.
Most games range in cost from $1.00 for Landyland to $14.95 for Diceland.
There are also some free games (well, game rules and instructions on how to make them) on their site. For a good example of their wit and wisdom, see Ceiling Fan Baseball. And, yes, it is exactly as you surmised, a baseball-type game played with a ceiling fan.
Tuesday, July 02, 2002
From the Washington Post:
"Frisbees started out as good, clean, cooperative anti-establishment fun. Frisbees were self-expressive, marked by leaping, somersaulting, bandanna-wearing dogs. In fact, for all the millenniums of co-evolution between canines and humans, the apex of interspecies cooperation was arguably attained with the Frisbee.
"Frisbees forever changed the nature of the first day of spring. You knew enough snow had melted from the quadrangle to mark the change of seasons when the Frisbees first appeared.
"The catches and launches of Frisbees were legion, from the clap catch to the between-the-legs catch to the delicate one-finger catch of a high soft floater. There was a matador quality to snatching it out of the air, coiling the body and snapping it back in one fluid motion. Only much later did Frisbee pros emerge who could hiss a decapitation strike right past your ear.
"Frisbees fostered group socializing, as opposed to dating, for it was a sport in which any number of players could participate. It was a sport that girls would play with boys, even as beginners. ("How come it doesn't work for meeeee?" was always followed by a pheromone exchange as the boy put his arm around the girl to demonstrate the proper throwing technique.) Players could come and go as they pleased. There were no rules. And there was certainly no commitment. It was, in short, a perfect metaphor for the sexual revolution."
Fun and Games and Chicken Feed
Fun and Games - "Games and Resources for Working with Children"
Here's one from their card game collection:
"This can get quite rough and boisterous, so clear the table of anything precious and use a pack of cards which you don't mind getting damaged!
"Spread your oldest pack of cards face up on the table or floor. One person is caller and sits with his or her back to the cards. The caller, working through a separate pack, shouts out a card, and everyone scans the table for it. The first player to spot it pounces on it with a forefinger, dragging it back to his place. Of course, as soon as his finger lands on the card, it will be joined by many others, all determined to make off with the prize.
"Successful players use a combination of brute force and skilful manoeuvring. The winner is the one who captures most cards. Anyone using more than one finger, or applying elbow techniques is instantly disqualified. Cards torn due to rough play are void."
Kids in Space
The Picnic Initiative
As we contemplate the vast (or perhaps, half-vast) implications of Toilet Seat Horseshoes on our vision of what might take place during a, for example, Fourth of July celebration, we might at last be prepared for a meditation or two on the significant joys to be derived from participating in a Oaqui Family Picnic. I quote:
"For example, there's your M&M** games: M&M Checkers, M&M Table Olympics, M&M Fork Pass, et, obviously, cetera. M&Ms have a special significance for the Oaqui and are classified as semi-sacred candy-coated play objects. Hence a great many of our games involve the gathering, sorting, moving, stacking and flinging of M&Ms.
"We also might play, for random example, the infamous card game known variously as: Elephant, Elephant, Elephant, and Rhinoceros, Rhinoceros, Rhinoceros, and Elk, Elk, Elk."
Collaborative Captioning and Toilet Seat Horseshoes
One would think that a photo of men playing horeshoes with toilet seats would generate a cornucopia of new Fourth of July family festivities. On some other site, it might. However, this photo was found on The Caption Machine , a site devoted to a community captioning contest. People send in photos and suggested captions. Other people suggest other captions. And still other people (or the cleverly disguised same) vote on which captions they think most fitting. A few such:
-> I'd hate to clean up after the horse that could step into those shoes !
-> Well, our buttuckseses is too big to fit on 'em no more, so we's gots to use them for somfun.
-> The brothers Coen trying to find a new purpose for their failed invention. Originally they tried to design a new boomerang – then they tried to use it as a toilet seat – after which they failed to market it as a life saving swimming device – and now they’re promoting Horseshoe-throwing-for-people-lacking-some-visual-potential.
Monday, July 01, 2002
Music and Math Mindtoys
Virtual fun may not be as deep as the flesh kind, but the Internet continues to encourage the production of significant wonders. Witness Lotus Artificial Life - a visually delicious collection of further explorations of Conway's Game of Life - "This game became widely known when it was mentioned in an article published by Scientific American in 1970. It consists of a collection of cells which, based on a few mathematical rules, can live, die or multiply. Depending on the initial conditions, the cells form various patterns throughout the course of the game."
After you've reached an end of your mathematical profundity, you'll find some wonderfully bizarre, light-hearted, animated music-play with Dub Selector.
(thanks to the frolicsome folk of zFilter)
Virtual Animated TinkerToys
After years of deep browsing, I still haven't found a mindtoy as elegant and absorbing as SodaConstructor. Visiting them today, I learned about a new project in the works: sodarace "Robots created by both humans and Artificial Intelligences race against each other over a variety of simulated terrains and in the resulting Sodarace league we see how human creativity measures up against the best of machine learning."
This soda toy is a very deep fun thing. And it keeps on getting deeper. It's clearly designed by people who appreciate play, which makes it all the more wondersome that it's a joint venture between: Soda and Queen Mary, University of London and supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.
This, from Joey Grey of the Ultimate Players Association on the passing of Arthur Melin:
"Our own Stork (now WFDF Exec Dir), and Ed Headrick, can be credited as much or more than anyone with the idea of Frisbee as sport not toy. Ed hired Stork with this in mind. Stork then worked at Wham-O promoting the Frisbee as sport idea for over 20 years...Stork is featured on the cover of the current UPA Newsletter, as a hip youngster in 1957-8.
"The fact that disc as a sport is mentioned in Spud's obituary is very significant - a tribute to Ed and Stork's promotional work. The authors of the announcement below could have chosen any other quote instead of the one about 'Sport not toy.' Spud was a one man brainstorming session. For example, he would come into Dan's office and, without any real idea of what Dan was actually working on, say things like, 'Do you think cats might chase minis? Is there anything there? What about an edible frisbee? Do you think people would eat them?'"
Further Adventures in Flow
Here are a couple of articles that you might find illuminating as you take time to explore the deeper ramifications of fun in your life - articles about Cisikszentmihalyi, of course:
This one, called "'Flow' and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi" was written by a very good listener who was at the time new to Csikszentmihalyi's work. Based on a lecture he gave in 1999, the article examines some of Csikszentmihalyi's more recent reflections on his work. I liked his use of the term "apathy" -
it's the first time I've heard of his using that term in relation to the flow experience. It made me wonder whether apathy actually has something to do with the flow experience - maybe as a motivator for our seeking out flow.
And here's an earlier article from Wired where he relates Flow to site design.
Turn-it-Off is one of the only books I know that addresses the reality of the over-connected. Written by Gil Gordon, one of the more notable pioneers and advocates of teleworking. So Gil really knows what he's talking about when he talks about "How to Unplug from the Anytime-Anywhere Office without Losing Your Career."
For the fun of it, and to see how addicted you might have become, take Gil's "Turn it Off" Quiz.
Blogmaster: Elyon DeKoven