Friday, January 27, 2012

Long Break and Answering One Important Question

Okay, so it has been a long time (half a year!) since I have posted a blog.  At least I have good excuses with a new baby, graduate school, and family drama and such.  And then of course there is my camping club GUCK and actually getting out into the woods!  Just went last weekend to a lovely spot I never camped at before with my club, and it was amazing.  A few friends made some requests for blog articles quite some time ago, and I finally will get around to them sometime soon (a week or so).  Just thought I would get this obligatory disclaimer out of the way first before jumping back into things.

The topics for the next three blogs I have planned will be:

1.  A Guide to Buying/Building a Very Cheap, Effective, and Comfortable Set of 3-Season Backpacking Gear

2.  A Guide to a Serious/Passionate Ultra-Light Backpacker's 3-Season Backpacking Gear

3.  A General Guide to Winter Backpacking (Temperatures Below Freezing)

Now however, I want to answer one very important question a friend and professional philosopher asked me that I think I can answer somewhat quickly.  Joakim asked me what the best things to talk around the campfire are with friends.

I really enjoy discussing politics and religion, but some people are a bit sensitive about these subjects.  One fun and easy question I like to ask people is what they would do with a million Euros as an icebreaker if camping with people I don't know as well.  Mafia is also a fun game, but it requires a larger group.  But once I get to know people a bit more, I like to play a little game I call the "what if" game, and can be played with only two people.  With close friends, this game can get really crazy and hilarious, I might add, because of details that intimate relationships offer that can be used in game.

It's a pretty simple concept, you have to pick between two choices.  They can either be pleasant or unpleasant choices, but I have found the trend is to stick with more unpleasant choices for some odd reason.  I think it is because this produces funnier reactions from people.  To make the game more concrete, and to keep people from sneaking out of a given "what if" choice, here is a hypothetical I like to use:

Imagine you are kidnapped by a crazy billionaire.  This rich person for whatever insane reason wants to present you with two choices and you must pick one of them.  You simply must answer the question, or else the crazy billionaire will will make not only you suffer, but all of your family and friends and even your pets.  You can't run away, you can't resist, you can't kill yourself, all you can do is tell the crazy billionaire which of the two choices presented you would prefer.

An mild example of a pleasant "what if" is to pick between a fancy sports car or a yacht as a gift, both worth about 1 million Euros brand new.  This of course begs other questions afterwards, like would you keep the gift or sell it, and if so, which would be easier to sell?

A mild example of an unpleasant "what if" is to pick between being permanently blind or deaf, and why.

You go around in a circle at the campfire and let everyone come up with their own set of choices and everyone must answer.  An optional rule is that if everyone agrees on a choice, that choice is retired, and another one is set up against the choice that no one picked.  For example, if everyone chooses to be deaf rather than be blind, the next choice could then be say, between being permanently blind or to lose both your legs from the knee down.

It makes for an interesting game, and some pretty unique and funny choices and reactions to these choices inevitably come up.

Hope this answers your question, Joakim.  I will hopefully have another post up soon to answer my friend Nico's question on how to camp for cheap.