Wednesday, June 25, 2008

propinquity and the cursed bean game

In the picture: (back) Rachel, Anna, Terry, me, Javier, (front) Katie, Joel, Serena, Tammy, Becky, Ray.
Sure enough, as predicted, Serena did move away. This is getting a tad ridiculous - I've had that game on my wish list for a while, but now I'm not so sure I want it anywhere near me!

One up side to friends moving away is the send-off party. We ended up at High Cliff State Park, throwing and losing boomerangs, smoking cigars, making s'mores, and tweaking Serena about ditching us.

On the seriously un-up side, it came up kind of quickly, and now she's GONE! She got a job with her company in Chicago, so we of course all wish her well. :-P To give her full credit, she has been pursuing multiple options outside of this area pretty much ever since I've known her, so I really am excited for her as this time it's really happened.

We will get to see "old" game night members in fits and starts over the next month or two - I just found out that Aaron and Patrick are going to make it for Terry's wedding the weekend of July 4 (hooray!), and then Serena, Javier, Tammy, Tom and I are flying out to Colorado for a backpacking trip/game night reunion in the Rockies! Zah hoo! We'll get see for ourselves if all the stories that Bill, Aaron, Patrick and Justin have been telling us are true (I have my doubts).

I read an article today that talked about "propinquity":
"that is, physical distance and frequency of interaction. It turns out proximity and interaction have a greater effect on likeability, collaboration, respect, and inclusion than virtually any other variable. When you examine social patterns or conduct surveys that surface friendship patterns, distance and the subsequent frequency of interaction account for a great deal (often almost all) of the variance. You like people you see all the time. People you don’t see, you don’t care for as much. In more common relationship terms, “Absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder.” The more likely outcome is “Out of sight, out of mind.”" full, unrelated article here.
If you're well familiar with the concept, my apologies for canvassing it here; I just hadn't run across it before as a packaged concept. I'm not sure how I feel about this one. Propinquity IS absolutely a key component of relationships as they're forming , and I think has a real effect on how close you feel to someone. But there are definitely people that I feel closer to, even when I don't see them for a long time, than I do with people with whom I have much greater propinquity (co-workers that I have to "work hard to like" - continually! - for example).

If I have a point, I probably can't start threatening all my moved-away friends to move back immediately if they want to maintain the friendship, gosh-darn-it-any-how. I hate it when manipulation and coercion fail to deliver. Am I the only one who's new to the propinquity concept, though?

Friday, June 13, 2008

Meet me in St. Louis

I'm here! We had a fun day of travel, and I think the kids will be great fun. Small group; six of kids, two "grown-ups" (smirk). I did get busted this evening for being the one shooting the straw wrapper. Posts from the group will be at, so check that out for general updates. We wrote a short children's book in the car on the way here that was illustrated by one of the students - click here to check it out (and let me know if you have problems running it!)!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Heading to New City

Tomorrow morning is St. Louis!
A bunch o' high schoolers, Mike, and I will be trying to avoid flash floods and driving down in a van to work with New City Fellowship. Projects will include tutoring students in the morning, working in the afternoon, and helping with a VBS-type thingy in the evenings. We did this last year, had an amazing time, and came back with all sorts of stories. Mike will be posting updates of our trip, and if my laptop can pick up wireless down there, I'll post it here once I get it; if I get ambitious, I may try blogging myself - we'll see!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Isle Royale

Backpacking trips to remote islands in the middle of inland freshwater seas: categorically recommended. Here are some pics of our trip - I tried adding a captions enough to them so one would get a bit of the "story" of the trip from viewing them. I'm trying to do that with the full set of pics that were taken, but that's taking quite a while; there are heaps o' them! Here's a very cool map of the island, and I've mapped out the path we took here in yellow (click on it to see it a tad bigger):A few pointable points:
  • ongoing discussion about pronunciation. Tom tried to tell is us that it's actually pronounced "Isle Royal", not "Isle Roy-Al". I'd heard it pronounced both ways in the Fox Valley area (and they must be experts here), but the locals did seem to go more along the path of the first pronunciation. I tried to stand my feeble ground by saying that the locals actually seemed to say "Isle Roll" which would be the same shortened either way, but I think he had me on that one. But really, what's the blinkin' "e" doing there at the end of "Royal"?!
  • Prior to the trip, Javier had much to say about the class of human that wanders about creation in hiking boots, socks, and zip-off pants. 'Nuff said.
  • Moose. Apparently there are gobs of them charging about the island. But they are shy of folks, so this was the best glance we got of 'em (you could see it in outline, but only as it moved). If you can find it in this picture, I'd love to know where it is and will give you 7 points on the spot! It was noisy though, so pretty awesome to hear it come crashing through the woods. We saw tons of moose and wolf scat on the trails we walked, so it was cool to see evidence of the creatures about. (Uh, not quite cool enough for me to keep all of the pictures Tom took of the wolf scat in various stages of... returning to the soil).
  • the Naming of Things: So, first there was Bomber Hanks island - an island which Javier and Tom were the first to brave the cold water to circumnavigate (though others came after, they were just too late). Then there was Nettekoven Knob - which (from the evidence to the right) was not enjoyed by Nettekovens alone - and yet was so named. But in spite of me madly trying to claim spots for my very own, nothing stuck. Ray and Becky were more forbearing about the whole thing, and didn't try to inflict their names or personhoods (what's the plural of "personhood"??) on the beautiful spots we encountered. I have much to learn.
  • Reflections: We went at a fairly leisurely pace on this trip - between 6-8 miles per day. It was nice in that it meant we generally had time while walking and at the end of the day to lose ourselves in our own thoughts. And to stop at charming spots like the still pool below a beaver dam to paddle our feet in the water and gaze at our own "reflections"!
I could tell many other stories of ups and downs of the trip - the divot Tom took out of the roof of his mouth, the hardhearted locking-out in the freezing cold of one member of our party, a detailed saga of the wildflowers I saw but couldn't identify, the fights we had when Ray and Becky refused to help with doing the dishes, the sunset on Night 2 of the trip, our hurried trip to Scoville Point on the last day (very worth it!), or the miserable 3-hour return ferry trip - but I then what will we have to talk about when I see you next?!