"A Charlie Brown Christmas"
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OF PARTIES AND STUFF
11 December 2005
Good grief! Three parties in one weekend. Who do I think I am? My mother?
Three parties is probably more than we attend in six months.
We started Friday night with my favorite party of the season, that held by the entertainment editor of the paper and his wife. To say Derrick is a Peanuts fan is to make such an incredible understatement you can't even believe it.
For one thing, he wrote a book called Fifty Years of Happiness: A Tribute to Charles M. Schulz, and collaborated on another book about Peanuts collectibles.
If there is anyone who should know about Peanuts collectibles, it's Derrick.
...and this doesn't even begin to give you an idea of what the house is like!!! (You'll have to watch the video for that.)
The party is always a low key one. Mostly folks I know more by face or name than actually know, since I don't work in the newspaper office itself, though I did enjoy spending time with the wife of the guy who writes the beer column.
But to fill the gaps, Derrick passes out quizzes for people to take, if they want. It's not unusual to see people all over the house hunched over some brightly colored pieces of paper, a pencil in their hand and an intense scowl of concentration on their face.
One game is to count the number of Snoopys in his family room--I don't know the number, but it must be nearly 100 (this includes all images of Snoopy, whether a stuffed animal, or a banner or an ornament, or a tiny image hidden in a photo somewhere. I don't even try to do this one.
Then there is the "find the two pictures which are the same" (which Walt is determined to get right each year, and usually does). There are six nearly identicial pictures hung around the house, some upstairs, some downstairs. You have to first find them and then figure out which two are alike. People step over other people climbing up and down stairs to check pictures.
There is a quiz about Christmas carols, which I am determined to get right each year (and do half the time). For the Christmas carol quiz, you must identify 22 carols from the oblique description that he writes. For example, "Boulder of the Tinkling Metal Spheres" is "Jingle Bell Rock" and "Diminutive, Masculine Master of Skin-Covered Percussion Cylinders" is "Little Drummer Boy." "Natal Celebration Devoid of Color--Albino, Rather--Experienced as a Personal Hallucinatory Phenomenon" is "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas." I love stuff like that.
However, I was terrible at "Twisted Christmas," which would be a fantastic game for Says You. The instructions say to start with any familiar title and change just one letter, which creates a witty new title, further supported by a wry definition." Got that? Here are some examples, the last of which is my favorite:
match" - Silent Fight
There was also a "skull-busting Christmas quiz" which asked such multiple choice questions as: "In Guatemala, Christmas Day is celebrated....," "Medieval English Christmas pantomimes did not include which character...," "Electric Christmas tree lights were first used in...," and "In Armenia, the traditional Christmas Eve meal consists of..." I didn't even try this one, figuring that I would be lucky to get half a dozen of the 20 of them right.
So that's the tone of the party. Add in a cup of hot apple cider or a glass of wine and some interesting conversation and you have the recipe for a perfect evening...and you get to listen to Derrick's low frequency radio broadcast in your car as you leave--the signal lasts all the way to the corner.
We came home from that party and I threw myself back into cleaning up for my own dinner party. By the time I went to sleep, the dining room table was in place and partially set for dinner, though there was still crap to clean up around it. Dessert was made, the ham was marinating and there was a light at the end of a tunnel that was not an approaching train.
I got up at 5 a.m. to continue cleaning and, of course, stopped to write a journal entry. My mother will be here soon and we will continue to get things ready. Just to be on the safe side, however, I posted a warning on the front door.
They are my cousins after all and have to love me no matter what, right?
Tomorrow we are going to a party in Sacramento, given by a couple of guys from the Davis Comic Opera Party. The house will be immaculate, there will be no party games, but the people will be people I know enough to actually have a conversation with, so that will be lovely.
PHOTO OF THE DAY