Monday, September 11, 2006

Homo Ludens or The Word of the Day is Play

WELCOME FELLOW TRAVELLERS! Given that it’s Monday and on top of that Sept. 11, you are most likely bitter and sullen. Accordingly, either to cheer you up or perhaps to make you more miserable we have elected PLAY to be the inspiration for the day.

Playing carries with it many connotations from the ridiculous to the sublime. It is of course the oft desired and too little achieved antidote to work. That which we do to counter our more stressful and less enjoyable obligations. It is also a forum to break with convention and escape the dictates of social conformity.

Play crosses over from the elemental to the technical. From building blocks to xbox. Some of us play by writing and others choose to write plays. Play is even religiously sanctioned, or at least the absence of work.

Much of our play subverts our pathetic pretenses to cleanliness. Hence so many forms of play being exceedingly dirty some of them downright dirt-tastic still and some are so mindblowingly filthy we blush just to think. Don’t even go there. Even though I know you undoubtedly just did.

Accordingly, we dedicate this day to play and we'd love to hear your ideas about this fascinating little word.


1) RECESS: Call me crazy but it seems to me that the american workplace (and possibly european, asian and middle eastern although obviously to a much letter extent) has become for many a place of drugery. How is it tenable that our society founded on precepts of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness (see happiness) has allowed the condition of the modern workplace to become the glaring antithesis of all these things. Step 1. Bring back recess. Why shouldn't we be allowed 30 minuts, an hour, or two hours to blow off steam during the day run a lap, grab an ice cream cone, surf the internet for a riding crop. My prediction: Bring back recess and watch worker productivity soar to astronomical new heights.

2) DEEP PLAY by DIANE ACKERMAN: Here's a book idea for you. Explore this spiritual and philosophical perspective on play.

3) PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD: That's right we're breaking every rule in the book on this one, but playing with your food doesn't have to be a disgusting, wasteful affair. We are recommending a new type of restaurant or home dining experience where the eating is bundled with some sort of fun activity. So maybe its a board game where you get to take bites if you correctly answer some trivia. Or maybe it playing chinese checkers with m&m's. Speed eating, Slow eating. My favorite would probably be sushi chess where you get to eat a piece of your opponents sushi whenever you capture it from the board. Mmmm sushi. Playing with your food is not only some kind of childish impulse mind you, not only would people learn to enjoy family dinners a little more, it would facilitate a whole bunch of other much needed rule breaking such as talking with your mouth full and yelling at the dinner table and eating your desert first.

4) PLAY WITH YOURSELF: That's right we're breaking every rule in the book on this one, but playing with yourself doesn't have to be a disgusting, wasteful affair. There are millions of ways to have fun with yourself. Let's start with the classic: a game of solitare. It's not so much the game that is fun but the rhythym of putting down the cards, kings and queens, aces and jacks. It's kind of meditative. You never win, but it's still fun. Hitting golf balls on the driving range is another great way to play with yourself. Treat yourself to a bucket of balls and a few hours smacking them as hard as you can. Really, how far can you drive them? It's a great way to relieve stress. Why not get even more creative? Turn on the radio or your favorite CD and dance with yourself. When dancing alone, you're much less likely to step on your toes, and if you can't keep rythym, who cares? FYI - This is also a great way to get exercise. These are just a few of the many ways you can have fun alone. Now that you've got your creative juices flowing get out there and come up with some great new ideas!

5) Play-Dough Challenge: one more from the kitchen.


Playdough Recipe

  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 cup water
  • food coloring

Combine ingredients in a saucepan. Heat gently, stirring all the time. When the dough has a good consistency, take it off the heat and allow to cool.

As play-day draws to a close we want to leave you with a challenge. Spread the word, tell your friends, let your parents know, call up your cousins, email your brothers and sisters, send faxes to your business associates. We are proud to announce the first ever


THE CHALLENGE: 1) Make a batch of fresh playdough (for the truly hardcore see sand playdough recipe). 2) Think of an awesome idea – it could be anything – and represent that idea using playdough. 3) take a digital photo of the idea sculpture and send it to YOFAD (your five a day). 4) We will judge the sculpture-idea-photos based on originality and design-aesthetics.


THERE WILL BE A PRIZE OF UNDISCLOSED AND DISPUTABLE AWESOMENESS WHICH WE WILL SEND TO YOU. You will also be featured on our blog and allowed to pick the theme for a day.

Entries must be received by 12:00am Greenwich Meantime on Tuesday the 19th of September 2006!

If you intend to compete, please RSVP by email and tell us your team name and where you’re from.



Four cups of sand
2 cups of cornstarch
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 cups of hot water

Mix sand, cornstarch and cream of tartar in a large pan. Stir in hot water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until water is absorbed and mixture is too stiff to stir. Cool until it can be handled.


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