Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Who Knew Physicists Liked To Dance???

Matthew's lab's Christmas party was last week. Matthew was one of the organizing committee, and he got a little bit stressed about it, not gonna lie. It was a pot luck dinner so Matthew made a Google doc that could be modified by each person as they added what they were bringing. What Matthew didn't know is that in England, "pot luck" means you don't tell anyone what you're bringing - hence the 'luck' part, I guess. So a couple of really funny guys in his lab added what they were bringing - my favourites were: Crystal-Meth Stuffed Mushrooms, Spam A La Croute, Sandwich from the Vending Machine, Pond Water, and Leftovers from the Canteen.

We had a babysitter for the night - our friends Helen & Gabriel and their daughter Amy. Amy and Elizabeth are the same age, and they are besties for sure. When I said I was leaving, they were going for walks around the house with a stroller & a shopping cart, and I said, "good night Elizabeth! See you tomorrow morning!" and she said, "Bye Mummy. Walkie walkies!" 

The party was so much fun! They had a ceilidh band there: For those of you who don't know, let me reference Wikipedia:
Céilidh music may be provided by an assortment of fiddle, flute, tin whistle, accordion, bodhrán, and in more recent times also drums, guitar and electric bass guitar. The music is cheerful and lively, and the basic steps can be learned easily. Dancing at céilidhs is usually in the form of céilidh dances, set dances or couple dances. A "Set" consists of four couples, with each pair of couples facing another in a square or rectangular formation. Each couple exchanges position with the facing couple, and also facing couples exchange partners, while all the time keeping in step with the beat of the music.
 Who knew that so many of the smartypants physicists would volunteer to dance? I think about a third of them were too bashful to even try, but the ones who did were so gung ho and it was super, super fun! Very square-dancey feeling, with a caller who tells you the steps. As well, I must tell you that the band were maybe the Most British Looking People In The World. Exhibit A:

But the dancing was so much fun, and we all had a great time. Sometimes, you have to just buy into an activity - organized dance parties are so much better once you accept that you're going to look ridiculous, and you just let go and have fun.

A couple of Matthew's colleagues have kids who are between 6 and 10, and they came and had the most fun of everyone. There is nothing sweeter than when a 6 year old girl asks a 6 foot awkward guy to dance, and then they have no choice but to say yes. We can't wait until Elizabeth is old enough to come to these events with us.

As expected, Team Hawkeye put in a good show. It was so much fun!

The guys who weren't into dancing avoided it by cleaning up after the dinner. It just so happens that the youngest and most socially awkward fellows in Matthew's lab are German. Most hilarious conversation of the night:
Georgina: "This is hilarious - an international dance party, and all the Germans are in the kitchen working."
Petros (a Cypriot): "Yes, just like the Eurozone!"

One of the German guys, Christian, brought this awesome German thing as his contribution to the pot luck. Essentially, you put a bowl of mulled wine over a heat source (in this instance, a colander upside-down over candles), put some cinnamon sticks and orange slices in, and then you lay this garden-spade looking thing over top of it. The spade-thing has a slit down the centre, and on the spade you lay a cone of sugar. Then, you pour really high-proof alcohol in a ladle, light the liquor on fire, and pour it on the sugar. The sugar then catches fire, melts, and the liquory sugar falls into the wine through the slit. It was beautiful - not very tasty, but beautiful!

But what is the true evidence of a good time at a dance party?

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