food Personal

The saga of Aquarion and the second bath of beer.

The title is not a typo.

As part of my attempt to vary the kinds of geek that I am, I’ve taken up Interesting Alcohol. I’ve been playing with vodka infusions for a while, mostly to delight and disturb fellow larpers, and coffee/rum liquors to make you see though time though a sparking haze. But last year I got some home brew equipment and started playing with stuff from the Brooklyn Beer Shop. First their Brewdog-licenced Punk IPA pack, which tasted close enough to the real thing to impress, and latterly with their Chocolate Maple Porter, a beer whose style I’m a fan of. Dutifully I Sanitized, Mashed and Sparged, Boiled, Fermented, Waited, Bottled and Waited a bit more.

Today, we were playing D&D over Google Hangouts, and our characters chanced upon an inn, and ordered some beer. A player needed to take five, so we took a time out, and I – inspired by my character’s actions – decided beer was a fine idea, and got a bottle of the new home-brew. Now, this was not the first bottle I’d opened, and last night’s, while a little lively, mostly lulled me into a false sense of security for what was about to happen:

I have created a beer volcano.

I think I must have oversugared the bottling process a bit, because once the cap was off it leapt half a foot in the air. I tried to get as much in the glass as possible, but in the end my desk was awash, and the floor below a spreading puddle of porter. Thank general deities for laminate floors, is all I can say.

I quit the chat channel – my collegues were tremendously amused – cleaned it up, changed trousers and shirt, and – like an idiot – decided that must have been a fluke and got another bottle from the cupboard.

Being a wiser man, I opened this one carefully over the sink. This helped somewhat, in that most of the beer went down the plughole, but sadly it did so via my shirt, glasses, hair, and also the walls, cupboards ceiling, and yay unto the window beside me.

I gave up and went to get, in short order, a shower, a glasses cloth, a new set of clothes and a moderate glass of whisky.

I’ll deal with the other bottles when I have waterproofs and it’s not raining outside.


The Teapot theory of contextual humour

The context for this was a discussion on the American healthcare system, and how everything this particular person knew about it was based on episodes of Scrubs. The response was a pretty predictable “I’ve never seen this scrubs thing, but if it’s anything like everything else Hollywood put out it’s talking bollocks”. I’m paraphrasing here, but you can see the rough idea. He’d have put comedy dollar signs in the esses in Hollywood if it had any. (Incidentally: Stop doing that. If you’re typing “Micro$oft”, even in rants about how evil they are to free software? I don’t want you on our side. It’s the satirical equivalent of comic sans).

Anyway, I think that comedy is context, pretty much, and in order to have comedy, you need the comedic thing to work the wrong way, but – and this is the key – for the rest of the universe to be predictable. Unless you’re subverting, in which case you’re living on the edge, I salute you, and if you get it right you can have a cookie. The rest of you need teapots:

Because sitcoms generally take an accepted situation and place a surreal
teapot on it to focus the humour. The sureal teapot on a fractal
landscape of spinning vortexes and melting concepts is not inherantly
funny. The sureal teapot on an elephant has a context that it is out of.

In the case of Scrubs, the hospital, patients and outside world are the
frame of reference and thus the audience need to understand and connect
with it, it does not and should not act out of “character”. The characters
and eventual situations (mostly, in Scrubs, the characters) are the teapots.

(Mostly this is here because I’m forever losing bits of text I enjoyed writing in the depths of usenet)