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A ginger-ale drinking game

Thank you, everyone, for your good wishes last entry. The healing angel is recovering quite nicely, though still with lingering joint pain. Hope that goes away for him. This week is winter vacation, so that gives him more time to recuperate without missing more school (he's already missed two weeks).

In English he's supposed to be reading The Kite Runner. Although I was pleasantly surprised by his last book, Angela's Ashes, this one is every bit as awesomely depressing as Good-for-You English-class books come. We've been reading it out loud, and to get us through the current chapter (we're still in the very early part of the book), we together created a drinking game--but with the drink being ginger ale.

Behold:



The check marks represent how many times the thing in question came up (and consequently how many times we took a drink). Hassan is the narrator's childhood playmate and servant, whom the narrator treats rottenly. The narrator's got Big Regret about this as the adult telling the story, but right now we've been working up to whatever Really Terrible thing he's going to do to Hassan. Hence drinking game prompt no. 1: take a drink every time the narrator makes a dark allusion to the thing that made him what he is today.

Drinking game prompt no. 2 and no. 4 are self-explanatory. No. 3 is my shorthand for "disappointment in failing to receive his father's love"--the narrator's father is emotionally distant and not very interested in his son. Drinking game prompt no. 5, Hazaras, means take a drink every time Hazaras, the despised ethnic group that Hassan belongs to, are mentioned.

(In writing this entry I went and looked at a plot summary to see just how bad a thing we're in for. Oh. My. God.)

Let's change the subject. Here is a photo of a fire hydrant with a metal marker on it. It looks sort of like the hydrant is a child holding a balloon. If the snow gets high, the idea is that the metal marker is still visible, so (a) snowplows will be careful and (b) people will dig it out. As you can see, one of the neighbors did indeed dig it out. Thank you, civic-minded neighbor!



For a couple of years, someone or ones went around bending and twisting the markers . . . but that person (or those people) must have lost interest in that very mild form of troublemaking, because there's the marker, tall and straight.


Comments

( 42 comments — Leave a comment )
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teenybuffalo
Feb. 16th, 2016 05:06 am (UTC)
Oh thank goodness, I'm glad he's OK. I was worried but didn't want to bug you about it because I figured you'd rather not keep having to go into it. I hope the after-effects fade quickly.

You're affirming my life goal to never ever read "The Kite Runner." I had confused it with "The Maze Runner," and boy, was I wrong. (Though that one just seemed dull and same-y to me, whereas "The Kite Runner" sounds soul-crushing.)
asakiyume
Feb. 16th, 2016 05:30 am (UTC)
Yes, a worthy life goal: stick to it!

(And Maze Runner was a very boring movie; don't know about the book.)
(no subject) - thewronghands - Feb. 16th, 2016 08:33 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - asakiyume - Feb. 16th, 2016 12:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - xjenavivex - Feb. 17th, 2016 02:24 am (UTC) - Expand
gwynnega
Feb. 16th, 2016 05:37 am (UTC)
I'm so glad he's on the mend!

But I'm sorry he has to read The Kite Runner. I had to read it for a class and completely loathed it...
asakiyume
Feb. 16th, 2016 05:42 am (UTC)
All of us can bond in our loathing :-P
browngirl
Feb. 16th, 2016 06:01 am (UTC)
Your drinking game made me WHOOp.
asakiyume
Feb. 16th, 2016 12:49 pm (UTC)
Haha!

In addition to being awesomely depressing, the book is, in its way, hugely predictable, so we were able to get down lots of ginger-ale shots!
heliopausa
Feb. 16th, 2016 06:58 am (UTC)
Gratitude indeed! I'm very glad the healing angel's starting to recover from whatever it was. and also it's so good to hear of civic-mindedness - cheers for your unknown neighbour!

I love your drinking game! :D
(a great way to identify what an author's up to, when they're running a relentless glum-means-grown-up line.)

asakiyume
Feb. 16th, 2016 12:53 pm (UTC)
a great way to identify what an author's up to

As the healing angel has observed, there's a relentless obviousness about the book that makes it easy to pick things he harps on. I feel like its actual literary merit is not that high, that it's just a book that was in the right place at the right time to swoop into popularity.
mnfaure
Feb. 16th, 2016 10:51 am (UTC)
So happy hear the healing angel is on the mend.

Your game sounds like a fun way to try to get through that book. *puts on Never Read List*

And snow! :D I doubt we'll have any in France, but you never know. At least we'll get some wintry temps.
asakiyume
Feb. 16th, 2016 12:58 pm (UTC)
I mean, maaaaaaaaybe I'll see some merit in it by the time I finish it, but based on the lurid plot points in the synopsis and what I've seen of the author's writing style to date, I doubt it. I've been interested in the descriptions of life in Kabul in the 1970s--they had a thing like a Japanese kotatsu for keeping warm in winter: namely, a low able with a heater underneath it and a thick blanket put over the top. You sit at the table with your legs under the blanket; the heat collects under there, and you're nice and toasty warm. So, yeah: that's mildly interesting. But not enough to outweigh the other stuff AT ALL.
frigg
Feb. 16th, 2016 10:56 am (UTC)
Good to hear he's on the mend.

The Kite Runner has been on my "to read" list for years. I really need to get round to it. :)
asakiyume
Feb. 16th, 2016 12:59 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I've always meant to, but I'm finding it a huge disappointment.
(no subject) - frigg - Feb. 16th, 2016 05:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
puddleshark
Feb. 16th, 2016 12:05 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad to hear that he is recovering well.

...every bit as awesomely depressing as Good-for-You English-class books come...

Oh, my. Doesn't sound like ideal convalescence reading. But the drinking game is a splendid idea! I wish I'd had that to help me through Jude the Obscure...
asakiyume
Feb. 16th, 2016 12:47 pm (UTC)
A good drinking game puts in place great psychological (and toxicological, if you use actual alcohol) defense mechanisms against the bleakness of whatever Awful Literature you're being subjected to!
amaebi
Feb. 16th, 2016 12:13 pm (UTC)
"as awesomely depressing as Good-for-You English-class books come"
Crikey, that's an apt characterization.

And then there are those movies that are often widely but usually briefly popular, because they suggest that Even in the Direst Situation People are People / Can Love / Have Uplifting Imagination / et cetera. "Life is Beautiful" comes particularly to mind....

Now I have read up the comments, which I should have done before posting. Agreed about the dullness of The Maze Runner movie.

The Kite Runner as a date movie: Oh dear, oh dear. Now, I decided early in life that I hated dates, that it was because people are Testing Each Other /Shopping on dates, and that I wouldn't ever do another*. So that colours my immense amusement and horror about The Kite Runner as a date movie. *peek* Is s/he being Moved? *peek* Should I be Moved? *peek* Is my soul dead if I'd just like to leave? *determined non-peeking when it comes to a central turning point*

Not that I've seen the movie.

But The Kite Runner was on the United Methodist Women reading list when I pastored in Rock Springs, and dutifully read a snootful of the books to reflect glory on my church's quite active UMW. I often wondered, however, what discussion groups for the book were like as concerned *central turning point*, which is not exactly the usual conversational matter of Ladies' Fork Luncheon.


* In fact, one time in college, I found that what I'd assumed was going to a movie with a friend and his friends was something he was thinking of as a date. So my resolve failed, though not through my fault.

Edited at 2016-02-16 12:22 pm (UTC)
asakiyume
Feb. 16th, 2016 12:45 pm (UTC)
Re: "as awesomely depressing as Good-for-You English-class books come"
I remember a date I went on when I was a freshman in college. The poor guy had thought he was picking one movie, and then it ended up being a Cheech & Chong movie instead! He was hugely embarrassed, but the date went off okay anyway. (I had never seen a Cheech & Chong movie--I think I thought it was silly and amusing.)

Sheeah, re: Central Plot Point--which we haven't reached yet and which yikes almighty, THAT is not going to be fun to read out loud--but how does that get talked about in prudish book groups?!
amaebi
Feb. 16th, 2016 12:16 pm (UTC)
Aching joints
That illness sounds like a wowzer. :( I'm so glad the healing angel is recovering!

Was a diagnosis made? Is it revealable?
asakiyume
Feb. 16th, 2016 12:38 pm (UTC)
Re: Aching joints
There are two possible diagnoses on the table now (neither is Lyme--mentioning that because that's one that was tested and rejected and one that many suspect when they hear about the joint pain), an early one, which the illness seemed like at first (but then the disease progression deviated), and a later one that seems pretty much on the nose, especially given that his getting better has coincided with his taking antibiotics, which would have no effect if the illness were the first thing. The specialist is running tests that should reveal whether it's one of those two. In other words, we should know eventually. Superstition and other not-clearly-thought-out fears make me reluctant to mention either publicly until we know for sure.
Re: Aching joints - amaebi - Feb. 16th, 2016 05:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
cmcmck
Feb. 16th, 2016 01:05 pm (UTC)
Great song choice!

Do you know this version?

asakiyume
Feb. 16th, 2016 01:25 pm (UTC)
I had not, but how wonderful!
osprey_archer
Feb. 16th, 2016 01:56 pm (UTC)
Everything I have heard about The Kite Runner has made it sound like a book I would emphatically not enjoy. And I can't imagine how discussion of *central plot point* would go in a high school English class; that seems like an even worse place to discuss it than a prudish book group.

I'm glad the Healing Angel is starting to feel better, though!
asakiyume
Feb. 17th, 2016 12:15 am (UTC)
Yeah, I would not want to be the high school teacher! (OTOH, she chose it, so...)

queenoftheskies
Feb. 16th, 2016 02:07 pm (UTC)
That's very neat about the marker. I've never lived in a place with deep enough snow to need something like that.

Also, glad to hear that Healing Angel is improving. Hope he's completely well soon!

Edited at 2016-02-16 02:08 pm (UTC)
asakiyume
Feb. 17th, 2016 12:16 am (UTC)
Yeah, some years you really do need the marker! This year we haven't had that much snow.

And thanks ♥
sartorias
Feb. 16th, 2016 03:09 pm (UTC)
That's a great way to get through depressing and manipulative books.
asakiyume
Feb. 17th, 2016 12:16 am (UTC)
Yeah, it's a good way of holding them at arm's length.
negothick
Feb. 17th, 2016 01:26 am (UTC)
Kite Runner was the "One Book, One Region" (Eastern Connecticut) selection the year after it appeared (2003). It was "challenged" by parents at several of the participating high schools, so some of your commenters are right in their speculations. I was not asked to lead any library book discussions on it, so I gave it a miss. Now I'm glad I did!

Edited at 2016-02-17 01:26 am (UTC)
asakiyume
Feb. 18th, 2016 01:18 pm (UTC)
I have no problem with schools reading books that contain plot elements like this one does. Shying away from traumatic material simply because it's traumatic seems like intellectual and moral dishonesty. What I object to about the lurid plot event in this book (the first big one; I think there are other, lesser ones upcoming) is that it's used simply to be a (missed) growth opportunity for the main character, and not even in any way that's meaningful for his relationship with the victim. It's really an example of "I need my main character to have something he's utterly ashamed of. I know. I'll have him witness sadistic violation of a kid whom he himself has a half-friendship, half-abusive relationship with, and have him do nothing. I'll making it the most lurid thing I can think of." And then that just gets turned into fuel for the main character's navel gazing and thoughts on his relationship with his father. Charming.

So yeah, I don't object to the book on the grounds of the plot elements, and I think kids can "handle" it, it's just that I don't think the book is very good.

Edited at 2016-02-18 01:21 pm (UTC)
xjenavivex
Feb. 17th, 2016 02:27 am (UTC)
Thinking about you and the healing angel. I'm glad he's recovering and I am sorry he's missed so much school.
asakiyume
Feb. 18th, 2016 01:07 pm (UTC)
Thank you--I know you guys have to live with this situation as a permanent state, and it makes me sad for you. I hope B and you get to do the equivalent of ginger-ale drinking games from time to time.
(no subject) - xjenavivex - Feb. 22nd, 2016 01:53 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - asakiyume - Feb. 22nd, 2016 02:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
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