Finding a Book Club

Tonight, I tried to go to a new book club. This one was promoted on Craigslist, organized by a Yahoo groups mailing list and generally seems to be a tough club to participate in. Last month one new attendee ended up going to the wrong Subway (bad address). This month, I tried to go to a movie/book discussion hosted at a private house and couldn’t get past security. The host didn’t provide a phone number, locked the door, didn’t answer it when I knocked, didn’t provide a door bell and didn’t even so much as have the windows open so they could see if a guest had arrived but lacked the brute force to pound on the door loud enough to be heard over the movie. Another potential attendee on the mailing list hours before the event started still seemed to think the event was at Subway and decided not to go because they couldn’t tell if anyone was going to attend at all.

Given that joining a book club means giving about 6 hours a week every month in addition to 2 hours a month attending and discussing the book in addtion to 1/2 to 2 hours a month finding the book and potential some money paying for the book and probably 1-2 hours a month preparing a potluck and 24 hours preparing for your turn to host–you’d think that organizers would try to make things a bit easier rather than harder to participate.

News

So far, this week I’ve:

Gone to the Washington NaNoWriMo kick off, talked with some random people. I’m looking forward to the write ins, although the forums are about the worst way to organize in person meetups possible.

I went to a meetup.com Book club held at Barnes and Nobles. The format was interesting. For example, the book club was held at a book store, after discussing the book, everyone left the table and tracked down copies of potential books, everyone passed them around and then voted on next months book. There was rule that no hardcover books would be considered. On the down side, the group had 12+ people, but as I sat and watched the discussion, only about 5 spoke much, and about 4 never said a word. This ratio seems like an important metric for measuring the success of a group.

This weekend, I’ve got an Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment stream clean up event I want to go to. If I’m reading my mailing lists correctly, a UU group will also be participating.

News: Time for something completely different

About every year or so, stuff happens and think it is time to reconsider everything. Usually, after all is said and done I don’t actually do much different, but sometimes it leads to some minor changes in how I putter around.

I’ve tried socializing at singles events, I’ve given up on that and tried just socializing at regular events (making especial effort not to try to find a girlfriend–its important to sometimes go to an event without having to focus trying to find someone special). And I’ve been having mixed success.

Going to all events, all the time–is a good idea. Just getting out of the house can help prevent depression, even if it is a trip to a spectator event, or a social event where I don’t actually connect with anyone.

Ren Faire and Real Beauty

I noticed that at Ren Faire, that even though the dress code hailed from a time when women were not exactly well treated, the dresses were complementary to a wide variety of frames– compared to modern clothing which is often drawn to be most complementary to a body with a 9-1 height to head ratio. Not saying that corsets and bodices are exactly humane when the strings are pulled tight–Wikipedia seems to think that the bad rep for the style has to do with ill fitting garb. Anyhow, just came to mind again when I was watching the Real Beauty Campaign movie.

Social Activities in Arlington

I’m going to join yet another organization! Huzzah! This time it wil be the Young Democrats. I figure I should join just before I get too old to join.

At least I’ve put a bunch of VSDC events on my calendar, which I probably will fulfill.

This weekend, the project is go make sure my son makes it to at least one play date. What do the schools teach? They don’t teach math. They don’t teach programming. They don’t teach social skills either. My son has no idea how to find someone to play with in his neighborhood after school. Well, this weekend I’m back on dad duty, so I’ll have to see if I can teach ‘em some relevant scripts.

How to fill the calendar?

On one hand, there is no free time. After work, study for work and running errands is done, there isn’t much time left.

On the other hand, there isn’t a good way to fill up the rest of the free time.

[This is just some thinking with a keyboard, I'm not really writing prose in this post]

Let’s start with past events that I really liked:

Treasure Hunt.

Volunteering at the Charity Kitchen

Eating out–many excuses

Youth group at the church, various events

Movie club- Current movie club kind of quiet

Writing club–Kind of time expensive

Book club–But they are so time expensive!

Hiking events–although I haven’t joined a hiking club yet

Subtract Events that didn’t work out

Speed Dating- You never meet anyone again from these events.

VSDC- maybe I haven’t gone to the right events.

Meetup.com- I’m still mad at them for changing their format.

Sidenote: What are the elements to a worthwhile event?

Opportunity for conversation. A music concert would fail this test. So do movies. (Unless you are into talking to strangers cold)

Possibility of ever seeing the same group of people again. Clubs often pass this test. Lots of events that are not in the context of an organized group fail this test.

Fairly low entry and continuation costs. Commercial events, like ThingsToDo, ProsInTheCity and LearningEscapes are not cheap $ wise. On the otherhand, book clubs and some other clubs are expensive time wise, especially if you have to be an organizer.

Don’t compromise one’s principles. I can’t imagine joining the Mormon Church for the social life–I just can’t buy into their world view. I can’t imagine going to an event primarily to smoke and drink, either.

Conclusion.

I am going to keep up with the UU, movie club (when they have events), maybe the volunteer event, try to find a hiking club, a SF book club and hurry up and finish writing some movie club software.

A timely post

Events OK, the social group I’m trying to get involved with just had two cancelled events in two days. If tomorrows book club gets cancelled I’ll–I’ll–jump up and down. Which should be good exercise to replace the cancelled hike. People, if you organize events, use evite or meetup to help people know if the event has been cancelled, who’s going and so on.