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After the smoke cleared...
We had about 60 people in our house last night for the CS department faculty / staff party. The party was to start at 6 and the last people left around 10:30 or so. Because everybody brought food, we didn't have to cook that much, but we cleaned up the house and provided drinks. I had hoped our wild CS department would, well, go wild, making Ben's crew party look like a girl scout meeting. Actually, from what I heard, that party was a lot like a girl scout meeting because the crew team went in drag. I'll have to suggest that idea for next year's CS party.
Because I assume most people in this town get their fill of Budweiser, I bought a lot of esoteric beer: XX, Moosehead, Becks, Hefe Weiss, St Pauli Girl, etc. There is a surprising amount of beer left; wine was by far the more popular beverage: Merlot, Pinot Grigio, Red Zin were most preferred, judging by the number of empty bottles. Suggestions about hwo to dispose of the beer are most welcome.
Betsy and I made baked salami, cold-cut sandwiches, and a brie/cranberry puff pastry thing. All manner of appetizers and desserts were brought, and there was an abundance of food.
One of the evening's more exciting moments was putting out the fire in our study. Our house has two fireplaces: a big one in the den and a small one in the study. To me, a fireplace should be just that: a place for fires, so I dutifully armed both fireplaces with a 4-hour duraflame log, and then counted down the minutes to ignition.
While in prinicple, both fireplaces should work fine, we haven't used the one in the study for some time. I opened the flue, felt an adequate updraft, and so I lit the duraflame log. At first, things seemed just fine, but in about 15 minutes, the study was a little smokier than it should have been. Apparently, a nest or something was clogging the chimney at the top, and we all know the fun a flaming bird's nest propelled from a chimney can be at a party.
I went to the kitchen for the fire extinguisher, but, luckily, Berkley Shands attended our party, and he suggested the wet towel approach. I brought him a wet towel and he basically put the fire out with his bare hands and then carried the smouldering log outside.
All of this was happening while guests were arriving. The smoke gave our house a kind of rustic, al carbon atmosphere. Those without respiratory problems commented favorably on the smell.
We departed from tradition and welcomed kids to the party, since have some of our own and thought they would have fun playing. Mark Goldman (Sally and Ken's oldest son) brought his saxophone, and we were treated to the jazz stylings of Goldman and Gill, as Mark joined Chris Gill (on piano) for an informal concert.
Dan Kimura discovered our marimba, an instrument he planed some time ago, and we learned the secret behind his Americanized nickname (Dan). You'll have to ask him if you want to know.
One faculty member who was supposed to come didn't make it. It was rumored he was briniging ritz crackers, and I did receive a one-line email from him earlier in the day, asking "Do you have ESPN?" I replied that we did, and that evidently kept him from attending.
I think everybody had a good time, and I hope we can do this again soon. Next time I'll have the chimney checked out prior to log ignition.
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