Tasty America

Festive Feelings

Tis the season for Christmas ‘holiday’ gatherings! Kristina’s Santa & Elves party last weekend demanded some sort of dressing up so in the spirit of lazy recycling I wore my one-of-a-kind SexFest 09 Santa hat, and then spent the evening trying to explain how this legendary brand of New Year parties came about. (Josh would have been proud of me.)

The next evening, Agata hosted a gingerbread baking party, which was as well-organised and delicious as it sounds. In a crude attempt to curry favour with US immigration authorities I produced this patriotic American flag cookie, and it was only afterwards – over a fiercely competitive game of Munchkin at Catherine and Jason’s – that anybody pointed out there were too many stripes. Sigh. That Green Card isn’t getting any easier now.

Tasty America

Tasty America

Tuesday night was the culmination of the SPARK mentoring season. Each week, a group of us at work have mentored a middle-school student and worked on a project together, which we now exhibited to their parents on ‘Discovery Night’ in the style of a science fair. (I got unreasonably excited about the opportunity to set up a tri-board, having never done a science fair before, and only recognising it from old episodes of The Simpsons.) It’s been a really rewarding experience – hopefully not just for us – and I’m looking forward to doing more next year.

Earlier in the month, Randi and I had performed the usual routine of going to Common Room and then deciding which plays to see. This time, a quirky two-hander called Matt and Ben seemed promising – a bromance imagining of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck writing Good Will Hunting together back in the 90s, and played by two women. The only problem was that I’d never seen Good Will Hunting, so we watched this first in preparation. And it was… OK. I mean, I didn’t hate it, and there are good performances, but something about characters rubs me up the wrong way. Especially the confused depiction of intelligence as some sort of all-encompassing magical gift. It felt like, and I realise this is stating the obvious, a film written from an actor’s view of the world.

However, it was absolutely worth watching for the sake of the play the next evening, because Matt and Ben was fantastic. The cast were terrific, the direction was tight and pacey, the set had some great 90s touches – everything about it was just well-honed and fun. By the time anyone reads this, I believe the last performance has already taken place, making this quite useless as a review. But if you were thinking of time-travelling a short hop and looking for somewhere to sit inconspicuously to make sure you didn’t upset casualty too much, go see this.

Friday night was the annual Groupon Holiday Party – my first, or my fourth, depending on how you look at things. Feeling like an old man, I took a nap in advance, and this very much enhanced my enjoyment of the whole thing. And Jill was there!

Reunited at the Groupon Holiday Party

Reunited at the Groupon Holiday Party

Reasoning that only Sam and Michele would notice, I recycled my one-nice-jacket the next night for Nisreen and Mike’s ‘Glimmer and Glitz Winter Cocktail Hour’ (which proves that the SexFest tradition of branding your own events is alive and well in Chicago). This culminated in a game of Apples to Apples, which I’d never played before, but – despite everyone’s best efforts – was not quite as amenable to cheap innuendo as I’d hoped. (Yes yes, as everyone pointed out, that’s what Cards Against Humanity is for. On my list.) But the company was great, and as I wandered home to my increasingly Christmassy apartment, I felt pretty damn festive indeed.

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Festive Feelings

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