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month 1 = fun

June 3, 2011

There is so much about the world I just don’t getLed Zeppelin, fondue restaurants, the death penalty, mayonnaise, Fargo (the movie), Scotch…  the list goes on and on.

I swear I've tried. Just don't get them.

Some are cultural phenomena I’ve attempted to unravel, only to find myself wandering, wanting, and confused.  My list is also populated by an ocean of experiences I’ve ignored, figuring if they didn’t mess with me I wouldn’t bother with them.  This project — Chasing Maybes — promises the opportunity to cannonball smack dab into waters I’ve scorned or overlooked, challenging assumptions about their temperature or their currents.

Okay, enough already with the ocean analogy, and on with the rules of the game.

Those of you who followed my a gift a day project may remember my forced simplicity in the area of rule creation.  Because my perfectionism likes to rear its head in paralyzing ways, that project’s guidelines were designed to foster my success.  Similarly, in Chasing Maybes I will keep my thinking small.  Like your Geology 101 professor, I’ll give extra points for attendance and class participation.  Beyond that, the project looks like this:

  • each of the next six months, from June to November, will be assigned a Trivial Pursuit category (Genus edition)
  • during each month, I will challenge myself to engage in a behavior/research a topic/attempt an activity I’d ordinarily never try related to the assigned theme
  • I’ll show up to write about my experiences at least three times a week (I might invite some of you to join me once in a while — what do you think?)

Easy, right?

So, with the terms of the project clarified, let’s talk about this month’s theme.  I’d be lying, incidentally, if I claimed to have chosen June’s theme at random.  I picked it because I thought it would be a gentle entrée into the world of maybe-chasing.  We’ll see if I was right, but my first category is “Entertainment.”

I won’t bore you with the Webster’s definition of entertainment — I trust that you understand the concepts of diversion and amusement — but I will mention a secondary definition which calls entertainment “generally passive” as opposed to the active “recreation” (this secondary definition was from Wikipedia, however, so it might have been penned by a twelve year-old typing from his playroom).

Regardless, I’m going with the sixth-grader’s definition.  After a long Thursday, settling in to watch a movie seemed about all I was up for.

This was the movie on last night’s agenda:

As you might guess, given this project’s bent, I was not looking forward to watching National Lampoon’s Animal House.  The 1978 frat boy comedy, widely believed to be the vehicle that launched Hollywood’s gross-out genre (inspiring future gross-outs like Porky’s, American Pie, and There’s Something About Mary) stars John Belushi — another example of a cultural icon I just don’t get.  Adding insult to the injury of considering National Lampoon’s Animal House generally unappealing was the fact a weeknight movie is a rare indulgence — typically, the end of a long day finds me in bed before ten — and I hated to waste a late night on its viewing.

Still, I’ve been accused of cultural illiteracy for never having seen the John Landis-directed film.  Countless Animal House references have been wasted on me, and I figured this oft-quoted movie (which is allegedly one of the most profitable films of all time, thanks to its meager three million dollar budget coupled with video and DVD sales) was worth a couple of hours of my time.

Another reason to watch it last night?  My supper club, mentioned previously for its Mad Men-themed evening, chose “Toga Party” for Friday night’s dinner theme.  How could I, in good conscience, don a toga and have intelligent conversations with other similarly-clad thirtysomethings without ever having seen this seminal flick?

So, notebook in hand and devoted husband by my side, I settled in for my first viewing of Animal House last night.  While my notes are meager, these are some of my takeaways from the experience:

  • Kevin Bacon is in Animal House?  This is a total game-changer.
  • The movie’s soundtrack is great.  Having heard the song “Shout” played four hundred thousand times, I now understand why it often begins with a male voice (Pinto)  asking, “Do you want to dance?” and his date’s reply, “YES!”
  • References to “double-secret probation,” at long last, make sense to me.
  • Donald Sutherland, as the pot-smoking dirtball professor, is pricelessly repulsive.

Overall?  I was entertained by the movie.  Absent the prod of this project, I never would have spent a precious evening watching John Belushi simulate a zit.  I am not, however, sorry that I did.  The next time someone rues “seven years of college down the drain,” or says, “I, state your name,” I will consider myself an informed member of the conversation.

When I join my supper club tonight for moussaka, pastitsio, and bed sheets, I’ll take comfort in the knowledge that (according to the fictional Faber College motto) “Knowledge is good.”

Today, I hope you learn something you never knew you wanted to know.  Thanks so much for showing up.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Aimee permalink
    June 4, 2011 9:37 am

    Uh, your first sentence is everything I love! Well, maybe not the death penality or mayo. 🙂

    Good luck with the new blog!! I have a new appreciation for the written word now, damn you English class!! We all miss you and can’t wait for you to get to Austin!

    • June 6, 2011 7:43 pm

      Envisioning you swilling Scotch while rocking out to Zeppelin at the Melting Pot just made me smile. Thanks so much for the well-wishes; I look forward to hearing how everything is going for you. We can’t wait to hang out with you guys in Austin soon!

  2. Jeff permalink
    June 6, 2011 10:25 am

    The appeal of Led Zeppelin largely escapes me, too, though the bass line of “Ramble On” is kinda fun to play.

    • June 6, 2011 7:45 pm

      I’ll have to trust you on that one, Jeff. However, I do now have “Ramble On” indelibly stuck in my head. Thanks for checking out the blog. I’ll be looking for your next venture — I loved the 30 Day Song Challenge!


  1. called to draw a larger circle (part 2)* « Chasing Maybes
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  3. well, whaddaya know? « Chasing Maybes

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