Saturday, February 24, 2007

Duke Plays and Serves Sorbets

Yesterday, at the weekly Visualization Forum, Jeremy Block gave an interesting talk on biochemistry modeling using the DiVE, the "cave" or virtual environment cube that has images projected on all six sides. We had penne pasta with eggplant and great desserts, so it would have been enjoyable regardless.

Last night I met AE, KD and JH at Chai's, followed by Shade Tree Coffee. We had a lot of fun and celebrated JH's two job offers. He accepted both of them!

After that, I went to Duke Plays, a huge party that was an effort by two Duke seniors to provide alternatives to lacrossesque drunken off-campus debauchery. The huge party (and I do mean huge) was hosted in the first floors of the two library buildings. As far as locations, they could not have picked one that was more convenient. I really liked being able to lock my heavy leather coat and purse in my office. The party was open to faculty, staff and alumni and since I qualified on two counts and am even library staff, I thought I should attend. I believe it was actually only the second alumni event that I have attended since graduating seven years ago.

The food they served was absolutely incredible. It was all dessert hors d'oeuvres and was all delivered by by roaming people with serving trays. Again, it could not have been more convenient. They served mini-chocolate ├ęclairs, weird little pies with a cherry in the middle, mini-creme brules, mini-white chocolate thingies, chocolate dipped cheesecake on a stick, samosa-like pastries containing warm peanut butter and jelly, canolis, pineapple mousse with whipped creme and pistachios, and more. The two best things were individual spoons filled with orange honey sorbet and skewers with balls of melon and pineapple dipped in honey and chopped mint. Wow. They also had lime sorbet, but I never ended up getting a scoop of that. I got three scoops of the the orange, due to AT's help, for which I am very thankful.

It's a good thing they had the roaming serving platters, because it was simply impossible to move once the party got going. I would guess that there were at the very least a thousand people there, if not more. I look forward to hearing the official estimates. It was a semiformal occasion and most of the attendees dressed up quite a bit. The library was almost completely transformed into a glitzy nightclub. There were four different bars, colored spotlights and exhibits depicting recreational activities of Duke students since the beginning of time. There were two bands, Katharine Whalen of the Squirrel Nut Zippers and Pulsar Triyo, both of which I inadvertently managed to avoid for the most part. I spent the majority of the time talking to LA and YB safely between two bookcases. I also got to chat with with several other co-workers, too. I even had a couple of very brief encounters with actual undergraduates, which were entertaining.

Was it a success? By most measures, absolutely! I couldn't have been happier with the food and that is, of course, my main criterion of judgment. I had a great time. Alcohol, however, was served and I certainly witnessed some things near the end of the party that suggested to me that not all were partying in the spirit in which it was intended.

Today, I saw part of West Side Story. In the middle, it suddenly started freezing up. It would just lurch along. It eventually became ridiculous enough such that we gave up. It's possible that my DVD player is particularly sensitive, because I suspect it's not a particularly good one. It came free with my television, after all. Believe it or not, but I think that this is the only (albeit partial) live action musical that I've ever seen other than Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

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