16 March 2007

breakfast vs. laziness

by Cecily
My roommates and some other friends have started a Breakfast Club. Every Friday morning at 7:30, a potluck breakfast occurs at someone's house. Occasionally, some or all of the club members gather the night before for pre-breakfast merriment in the form of beer and a slumber party.

Like any organization, Breakfast Club has come in for its share of controversy. For example, there was a lot of uproar about coffee one time. A nasty rumor was started (by me) accusing Trim Zander* of not being able to make coffee at his house in the morning. A spate of increasingly vitriolic responses followed.

I would like to propose, as cofounder and acting chief financial officer of Breakfast Club Inc., that the minimal coffee-making capacity for a Breakfast Club host be defined as 4 cups per 15 minutes (in other words, 16 cups per hour), and those who cannot provide this capacity must either apply for Club funds or add capacity out of their own pocket (or make other suitable arrangements, perhaps through borrowing of equipment), or forfeit the right to host Breakfast Club. Unfortunately the application for funds does not exist, and as every single member of the Club is delinquent on dues, the treasury contains no money, so at the present time every member must provide his/her own coffee capacity. Also, no decaf. Any objections?

Trim* was quick to defend his ability to provide coffee, and out of desperation he wildly proposed that instant coffee be provided as a failsafe.

I would like to add a correction to previous statements regarding the
coffee-making capacity of this week's selected Breakfast Club location, herein referred to as 321 Cherry Tree Lane NW. It should be noted that although previous statements were made stating that coffee-making capacities were absent from 321 Cherry Tree Lane, these statements have proven to be false. A coffee maker does indeed exist at 321 Cherry Tree Lane, it was just in the corner and dusty from lack of use. Coffee filters and fresh coffee need to be purchased, and these transactions will be completed by this week's host, herein referred to as Mr. Trim Zander*, before the scheduled meeting of the Breakfast Club. In the possible event that the coffee maker does not function properly, instant coffee will be provided on-site by Mr. Zander* as an alternative.

I hope these amendments assuage the fears proposed by Ms. Whitworth
and Mr. Popkin, and will result in an approval to continue this week's
Breakfast Club at 321 Cherry Tree Lane NW.

Trim's* claims were accepted on a temporary basis, but his misguided backup plan was rejected out of hand.

I propose that Trim Zander* be granted provisional hosting status, until such time as his coffee-making capacity can be fairly and objectively assessed, without bias, by those members of Breakfast Club who have proven themselves to be experts in the field of coffee assessment. The record will show that will include, at the very least, every current member of this house (123 Main Street #2). Upon satisfaction of these members' criteria, Mr. Zander* may apply for official hosting status.

Also for the record, potential member Cecily Whitworth has expressed to me that instant coffee is not an acceptable alternative to real coffee.

I provided a helpful visual aid to further demonstrate my feelings about coffee:

At this point, the quality of the debate deteriorated rapidly, at one point reaching the low of

you guys are such babies.

Eventually, however, a consensus was reached (no instant coffee was produced) and everyone was greatly relieved. The group moved on to less stressful issues, such as the arrangements for the slumber parties:

Phew- I am so glad the great coffee controversy of 2007 was settled. That was nearly a deal breaker. I believe the most important question that was posed to the group was if we could handle a slumber party and getting up in the morning. I for one guarantee many shenanigans during the slumber party. But fridays are essentially throw away days for me, so I can afford a night with less then ideal sleep. I respectfully propose a shenanigan room and shenanigan-free room to accommodate for all levels of desire to participate in shenanigans.

This zoning of shenanigans was duly implemented, and things settled down for a few weeks, in what was probably an unrealistic "honeymoon period" of the Club's history. This week, a vicious power struggle occurred, complete with bribery and graft.

As a charter member of both Breakfast Club and 123 Main Street #2, I feel I am in a strong, perhaps even unparalleled, position to confirm that said house will be hosting both this week's Breakfast Club and an optional pre-breakfast sleepover, commencing at 9:30, for those who wish to avoid an unpleasantly early rise from slumber, or who need a few extra shenanigans in their lives.

Accomodations are, as usual, a hodgepodge of floor space, couch space on our inadequate 2-seat couches for those of you who are short or don't mind sleeping like an accordion, and space in beds of those house residents who are willing to accomodate you. Those seeking an early respite from the night's activities are encouraged to speak with Cecily.

This rampant abuse of power by Gabe was quickly challenged by me, and I did not fail to attempt to use the situation for my own benefit.

Gabe did you just invite the entire Breakfast Club membership to sleep in my bed? I don't know if your charter membership authority extends that far.

Anyone who thinks they want to sleep in my bed better start trying to buy my affection now. I like ice cream and sparkly things.

My objection was overruled, and I was chastised by Trim* for having a bad attitude (this is not an unfamiliar situation for me).

In closing, I would like to correct Ms. Whitworth. Mr. Popkin is in his full authority to invite whomever he wishes to sleep in your bed. The priorites and needs of the Breakfast Club override those of each individual member. There are rules for a reason.

I was unrepentant, however, and my demands for bribes became even more blatant.

Be that as it may, I still expect presents, compliments, and the pretense that my jokes are funny. My bed has rules too, you know. The rules of bringing me presents and saying compliments to me and laughing uproariously at my jokes. These are demanding rules, it is true, arduous even, but then again, my bed is a very comfortable bed.

My favorite kind of ice cream is strawberry, but I like anything as long as there are no cherries in it. Also I like caramel topping.

This controversy was eventually settled by the fact that it was raining very hard last night so there was no sleepover after all. I had my comfortable bed to myself, but I had to buy my own ice cream.

Also, for the sake of honesty, I should admit to you that although the club has met twice at my own house, I have yet to actually participate in a Breakfast Club meeting. Really, what kind of crazy person voluntarily gets out of bed at 7:30?

*Not his real name, although a relay operator apparently thought it was a reasonable guess

05 March 2007

war, peace, etc

by Cecily
More of the war and less of the peace, these days, hm?

painting of children's faces in tents
the picture links to where you can buy the book

Last summer one of the people I met and drank wine with was Sybella Wilkes Moumtzis. She has done a lot of interesting things, one of which is publish the book from which the painting above is taken. (One Day We Had to Run!; Brookfield, CT: The Millbrook Press)

This is a painting by Binti Aden Denle, age 12, in the Ifo refugee camp in Ethiopia. The story Binti told about the picture:

"All night we wait in tents for the day to come. This place is very dangerous, bandits attack us at night. I am showing the frightened faces of the children in our camp."

I just bought and started reading Dave Eggers's* new book What is the What, which is about the Lost Boys of Sudan. I already wanted to read it because an excerpt was published a couple of years ago (or not an exerpt exactly but an article that would sort of become this book) as 'It was just boys walking' in The Believer. And then I went to the bookstore for happy hour last week and saw The Lost Boys of Sudan on the shelf and that reminded me of the other book plus also someone was talking about the documentary.

Don't you wish you had a bookstore where you could go have happy hour? Beer and books!

Anyway, the topic keeps coming up in my head, and it should come up in everybody else's head too. Someone I know once told me they didn't want to think about refugee children because it was too sad and there was nothing they could do. To which I say, if you need help thinking of something to do, let me know. I can think of some things.

*Yes, I know you are not supposed to use another S if the noun ends in S. I don't care, and I am a linguistics major so I can do whatever I want to language and it is automatically right. Leave me alone.