March 13th, 2005


St. Patrick's Day Party, March 2005

Our party went pretty well last night.

We didn't get as many people as we sometimes do; by my estimates, we had about 60 people total, with a peak of about 30-35 people. (I tested an estimator that turned out to be reasonably accurate: mentally inventory the spaces where people are; for each space, count 5 for some people present, and 10 for a place where people gather, such as the kitchen near the food table. This estimate worked out pretty well.) One indication of the smaller size: there was never a large population in the family room, and there was only a group in the dining room very late when we played games there.

We seemed to get a few people from a lot of social groups. We got more Apple folks at this party; four of the younger men from the office joined us. They seemed to hit it off well with Onny, whom I'd invited from the Stanford alumni party a few weeks ago.

We tried a couple of new experiments with this party:

In order to try to draw in people with children, we started the party at 6pm instead of 7pm and mentioned the kid-friendly early evening in our invitation. Lori felt really pressured by the earlier start time, and woudl rather have had the 7pm start. We didn't get many people coming early, but we did get the Maltzes and Kevin and Alaina coming then--so the quality added by the 6pm start time was high, if not the quantity.

In order to get only recycling in the recycling bins, we bought a large trash can to put among the recycling bins. We also got large blue recycling bags to put in the recycling bins. These changes seemed to work. I'm not aware of any non-recycling put into the recycling bin. (We did get some ribbing because we hadn't changed the sign that referred to the white trash can when we got the black trash can, but it seemed to work fine.) The large blue recycling bags were a great help with the fact that we'd missed the previous recycling week, and our recycling bins were nearly full. One error: we didn't have trash bags large enough for the black trash can. We compensated by just putting trash in it and hoping that we wouldn't overflow; we'll hose out the can if necessary after trash day.

After working hard all day to get shopping done and food prepared, I felt tired and sort of out of it by around 9:30. I kept hosting, though; I closed the door on the last people at 3:30am.

I actually got to play some games late at night. Marc asked about Cthulhu 500, so we sat down to play. This was actually one of the best games of Cthulhu 500 I've played; there was a lot of back-and-forth among the pack. In the late game, it was very hard for me to pass anyone else, because I didn't have many speed enhancers, but I was able to wreak some havoc with the Giant Tentacle. After Cthulhu 500, we were all too frotzed to play that again, but I pulled out Cosmic Wimpout and we had two fun games.

Logistically, I think we really succeeded this time. We had plenty of food, but we generated very little leftovers--but a fair bit of that is because people ate things because they were there, even though they weren't particularly yearning for food. I think that we could have hosted another 20 people without any feeling that we didn't have enough food.

Our menu, with annotations and commentary:
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