How to Judge a Facebook Event Invite by the Numbers

I’ve been using a very basic set of formulas to figure out how big a Facebook party is going to be, based on these numbers:

# Going, # Maybe, and # Invited, that’s all I care about.

Here’s the math. It’s simple because I may have a pre-party whiskey in my hand when I need to use it:

Going × 80% + Maybe × 50 % = estimated attendance

and

Invited ÷ Going = desperation index

1 = they only invited their good friends….or their only friends. 3 = approaching desperate, or they might just be popular. 5 = this is the only big party they have ever thrown, plz come!!! 10 = goddamnit promoters.

Some of you smarty pants types may have already crunched the numbers from my initial example, and found very promising figures. Indeed, I would say those numbers just about represent ideal. While it was a great party, there are a few factors I’ve left out.

RSVP Inflation

RSVP Inflation occurs when people feel some sort of obligation to go…or at least say yes. I haven’t figured out an exact number to subtract in these cases, but I do know people are lying liars and will say yes and hope the host doesn’t notice they didn’t make it. (Ummmm…so sometimes I say yes because I want show my support, since maybe just seems disappointing.)  Here are common causes:

• Housewarming party  <– this is our example
• Going away party
• Birthdays
• Anniversary party (an event that happens every year)
• Inconvenient but exciting party
• Ridiculously well-themed party

Ultimately, I don’t think this factored heavily in the attendance of my example. I do think attendance was near or exactly 57.5 people. (Half person = child?? or..) Yet the practical attendance (a.k.a how the party feels to me during the actually-relevant-to-my-life hours of 10pm-3am) was about 15 people lower. Which brings me to my next point…

Time Dilution

Time dilution occurs when the event spans additional, unconventional party hours, such as starting in the afternoon. This happens with:

• Ambitious housewarming parties (<–)
• Parties that start as a BBQ
• Parties thrown by lonely people
• Parties thrown by people with kids, or who have a lot of friends who have kids
• Summer parties (I know it is summer year-round here in San Diego, but June-August months are just treated differently, you know?)
• People who are really into day drinking

You’re just not going to see the people who leave early. It’s ok. They’re not your type of people, anyway.

Making An Appearance

The making an appearance factor has the same basic effect as time dilution, and of course occurs when the event or the attendance-base lends itself to briefer party visits. Either people are making their obligatory stopover before leaving to sleep/take care of kids/return to their lairs of introversion, or they are popular kids doing what popular kids do: party hop.

For example, take a look at this:

What is this? More maybes than going?? What is the meaning of this anomaly?

The desperation index seems high, but actually what is going on here is that a popular person has invited his very popular friends and, oh, wow, they’ll make it if they can, they really hope so. Looks delightful, I so want to be there, xoxo.

Umm, eff yes I’m going. No, not to brush against popularity and hope it rubs off on me, but because attending an event where dynamic, gregarious people are coming and going as they make their Saturday-night rounds is a revolving door of delight for me.

Many of those 97 weren’t sure they could commit to even a maybe, or swiped yet another Facebook invite out of their mobile notifications, but still found the event when they were buzzing around town on party night looking for the next bit of excitement. And many of those 30 did, in fact, make their appearances.

My Weird Friends

This is why I’m writing this. I am all mixed up. When I throw parties with my best friends, at my house, the math just doesn’t work. Here’s what I see:

Desperation index makes sense. I’ve invited only my best friends. But actual attendance was somewhere around 30.

It seems like all goings go, and most maybes make it, and the rest of my weirdo friends who totally ignore their Facebooks somehow get the memo that there’s something happening tonight, come over.

Love you kids <3

Cases I haven’t Examined

Here are party-types I haven’t examined because I don’t friggin go to them:

• Baby showers
• Weddings
• Fundraisers that are really fundraiser-y
• Most board game nights
• Movie nights
• Video game nights
• Gender-themed parties (such as “battle of the sexes” or pearl/tie parties) that aren’t awesomely queer and/or subversive

How to Find Your One True Friend

In a courtyard of an odd, multi-unit residential property (house and apartments) in Normal Heights, 30 or so people gathered on the flagstone, clipboards and drinks in hand. Periodically, one of them climbed a ladder to stand above the throng and announce pairs of names from a laptop computer, and a single question. The crowd swiftly reorganized and, nearly manic, shared their answers.

This gauntlet of extroversion lasted from 8pm sharp to midnight. Never before at a party had I connected with so many people so deeply, and, paradoxically, to find my one true friend. You see, we sought to answer the question:  “What if you could only have one platonic friend?” You could take on as many romantic partners and lovers as you want, sure, but pretend you only get one friend.

This whole party premise may just be a joke by and for polyamorous folk.

The event was called “Speed Friending,” and we referred this idea of our “one true friend” as our, “monoplatonic partner.” Much like in speed dating, we rated our time-limited interactions and organizers planned to use computer algorithms to crunch the numbers. (I’m told one organizer wrote the algorithm himself; if there is interest I’ll see if I can provide it.)  One of my friends potential monoplatonic partners disagreed with the premise of rating people he cared about with a number, and participated sans clipboard. “Really,” I had texted him, “the only ethical thing to do is burn all the ratings at the very end.”

For the questions, the organizers chose the 36 that are meant to make you fall in love. That is how I found telling someone that night a self-truism I’d carried with me for a long time, but not really ever voiced out loud, about whether I’d rather be rich or famous. (Seems like I’ve always thought I wanted to be rich, but everything I do seems more geared toward famous. Certainly not rich.) “So to answer the question, yes, I’d like to be famous. A famous writer.”

The rest of us, including myself, did submit the ratings after all. Blank ratings threw wildcards into the system, and some had to leave before data entry concluded and the results could be shared. I made a friendship bracelet while I waited. My monoplatonic friend, actually, was one of the people who left, and so I left that bracelet on a table. Someone seems to have picked it up when I wasn’t looking and, ostensibly, wears it now.

News from the Resticles (Post Update: Burning Man 2014)

Deborah Colotti found my affectionate description of her Burning Man art installation and sent along some pictures.  She says:

I created the Resticles for Burning Man.
A few years ago I created BreastStop, a similar artwork with two smaller trampolines, and two not-dyed parachutes (they arrived pink from the surplus British military)

Here are a few images….

So very glad you enjoyed them so immensely.
Best,
Debo

I absolutely enjoyed them. 1. Comical premise felt appropriate in the festival context. 2. Excellent construction made them sturdy against the wind and clambering campers. 3. They created a must-needed bit of shade out in the deep playa. 4. Despite resembling hairy sacks of balls, they were very pretty.  See for yourself.

Please visit Deborah Colotti’s website for more art (frequently made from Barbies).

http://www.dcolotti.com/

…My first foray into deep playa, with my friend Alexis, was also on bike. I don’t have bicycle muscles. Soft playa is impossible. The word “disaster” stood out among jagged pieces of painted-black plywood and I moaned that that was where we belonged. “We can make it past disaster!” Alexis said and steered us toward what appeared to be a hairy purple caterpillar. I just wanted that caterpillar to eat me right up, it looked so friendly.

Correction, not caterpillar; balls. Two huge testicles, dubbed “Resticles.” We crawled inside the giant genital orbs and “hung out” in the lower sack for at least 2 hours. The scrotal skin, a dappled purple and pink, shimmered beautifully above me. Goddamnit, my first deep playa art was a gargantuan pair of bollocks and I really fucking loved them. I returned to this installation at least two more times during my burn…

Festival Packing List

A festival must-bring: tuna salad with crackers. Looks like sparkling cat barf; tastes like home sweet home.

Things You Bring But Never Use

• 4 extra friggin shirts
• 2 extra friggin blue jeans
• Book for “downtime”
• Pee funnel
• Towel

Things That Prove You’re THE MOST Prepared

• Toilet paper
• Hot pink duct tape
• “Portable bowl” (sandwich box from dollar store) and spork
• Parasol
• All of the sunscreen
• All of the zip ties
• Like 17 carabiners
• Magnets to put up decorations / MOOP bags on your tent walls
• Solar powered string lights from Amazon so you can find your tent at night
• Hand sanitizer AND
• Wet wipes AND
• Mini spray bottle full of rubbing alcohol

Things You Took Out of Your Duffel at the Last Second (and Wish You Didn’t)

• Dust goggles because this isn’t Burning Man
• Dust mask because this isn’t Burning Man
• Your extra zebra-print furry coat that you could have totally loaned to the shivering cutie you met at Ego Trip

Things You Forgot

• Re-usable drinking cup. Shoot.
• Scissors. Dammit.
• Earplugs. FUCK.
• Air mattress. FUCK FUCK.
• Your super comfy galaxy-print leggings. 3X THE FUCK.

Things You Say You’re Going To Bring Next Year

• More mixers. Way more mixers.

Burning Man 2014: Before and After

This post comes to you a day late because I had another priority yesterday: sleeping.

Before Burning Man

I did none of the things in last week’s blog post, and, just as my friends had warned me, did not make or keep plans besides trekking home every night for camp dinner.

After Burning Man

My first impression of Black Rock City was that it was very small. I learned to ride a bike at Burning Man (I am serious) and did not realize right away just how much more ground I was covering with two wheels instead of just two legs. Lol what are miles? For the first couple of days, I felt like a happy little boy in a tiny town, singing, “I want to ride my bicycle,” in my head.

Remember the space koozie I was so proud of….?

My first foray into deep playa, with my friend Alexis, was also on bike. I don’t have bicycle muscles. Soft playa is impossible. The word “disaster” stood out among jagged pieces of painted-black plywood and I moaned that that was where we belonged. “We can make it past disaster!” Alexis said and steered us toward what appeared to be a hairy purple caterpillar. I just wanted that caterpillar to eat me right up, it looked so friendly.

…it didn’t last two days.

Correction, not caterpillar; balls. Two huge testicles, dubbed “Resticles.” We crawled inside the giant genital orbs and “hung out” in the lower sack for at least 2 hours. The scrotal skin, a dappled purple and pink, shimmered beautifully above me. Goddamnit, my first deep playa art was a gargantuan pair of bollocks and I really fucking loved them. I returned to this installation at least two more times during my burn.

On the third day I spent more time on foot and finally realized BRC is huge. I never made it past 7:00 in any of my wanderings (everything is laid out in a radial “clock” pattern, so that means I did not explore about the first 4th of the city). On foot, I also interacted more with themed campsites, such as the “TSA” who ushered in partiers with orange safety vests and runway lights, and “Strangers with Candy” who gave me a lollipop and a margarita.

Beyond the third day, my memories begin to blend together. I recall feeling stunned by the beautiful, handmade books with thick, pulpy pages in the library. Someone wrote, “If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you do?” As an answer, someone wrote in slow, large, childish letters with a hot pink marker, “I would have a baby.” I nearly cried.

It isn’t quite true that Burning Man is beyond imagination, at least not for me. Once I solved the distortion of scale caused by bicycle, the city was about as large as I expected it to be. The people were about as weird and wonderful as I expected them to be. The art was as varied from bizarre and/or obvious and/or large as I expected it to be. My emotions were about as powerful as I expected them to be. I am familiar with burners, I am familiar with festival art, and I have quite the ability to imagine.

The one thing, I suppose, that really surprised me was Burning Man at night. I had not anticipated the overwhelming lights, sounds, and flurry of bicycles and art cars. To describe it in two words: “Camping Vegas.”

Packing notes for next year:

Bring more:

• lights
• bike decor
• juice

Bring less:

• clothing
• beer (I always think I want a 30-rack of Tecate and then I just end up drinking mostly water when I camp in hot places)
• baby wipes (6 packs were excessive)

Prophesy and Mad-ness in Black Rock City: Space Case goes to Burning Man

As you read this I am huddled inside of a fire-breathing octopus while a dust storm rages. I drink beer out of a space rocket. I have already begun to envy the alien inside, hermetically sealed against the powder clay in his plastic egg. Someday, when I am rich, I will trade my plush NASA helmet for a real one, with climate control and a respirator.

Tonight, I will drink Baileys from a shoe.

Tomorrow I will make my own loincloth.

I will be beaten by gladiators with NERF axes and swords.

I will buy a soulmate at Costco.

I will customize a flamingo.

I will go to every camp having anything to do with space; Gravity, Celestial Bodies, Moon Cheese.

I will go Down The Rabbit Hole.

I will make smoothies in the desert.

I will do some or all or none of these things. Next week, we will see which of my predictions have come true.

If you see my name blinking pink in the darkness, shout it.

SPACE CASE

Yes, I’m going to Burning Man

Friends have been asking have I gone or will I go to “the burn” for about 2 years now. Yet, I’ve never been. In 2012 I was offered a ride and a ticket (well, I’d still have to pay) and I said no. I said no to Burning Man. I regretted this such that I said yes to Electric Poncho in Mexico, a treacherous adventure filled with scorpions and heat (and oh my god I have never witnessed so much assault). I’ll probably have to do that one again, just to be sure that I hate it.

Cue 2014, and the usual questions abound;

Hey Sami … are you burning this year?

nooooooooopeeee

:(

unless it fell on my lap on a silver platter

which it did 2 years ago and i said no b/c i’m an idiot

IDIOT!

gonna miss you there!

The thing is, if you invite Burning Man to arrive on a silver platter, it will arrive. My phone rang when I was still in bed, late, on a Sunday, like noonish. Last Sunday. Friend (quoted above) called with a chance to test if I’m an idiot, again. “Hey Sami, I know someone with a ride and a ticket for you at face value. Want to go to Burning Man.”

“Umm,” am I awake yet? “Ye–ess?”

Turns out, this ‘someone’ has a non-split-able will call ticket, and needed to find a trustworthy adventurer to both buy the ticket and ride with him through the gates. So yes, I am hopping in a car with a guy I don’t know to camp in the barren desert of Nevada for the first time, and with only 2 weeks preparation. It sure sounds bad when I put it like that.

The night after “Hmm, maybe I’ll go,” turned into “Yes, obviously I have to go,” I felt like my chest was split open, my ribs pulled apart. My blood was cold and it drenched me from the inside out. I began foreseeing the emotions that I will have out there in the dust. Raw, grateful, alone, together, crying tears of joy and sadness. The ghosts of future feelings have landed in my lungs and are growing, growing to burst.

I am lucky this is so last-minute. I don’t have time to do anything but prepare. So I make a Koozie spaceship.

So I adorn a rabbit fur coat with EL wire.

So I take on the role of Art Director for this 8-foot tall monolith.

So I make my loved ones write me letters.

I am crossing my arms over my ribcage. I am holding it all in. I am telling myself, Do Not Open Until )'(

Just Drive

I am beyond the days of earning my fun. Why then, would I drive to Santa Ana to see Le Butcherettes open for a band I don’t know, on a Sunday night? I could have put Sin Sin Sin on the turntable and drank a much nicer beer than Bud Light for my \$8.

I let myself run late. I couldn’t be hurried for fun. What is this, a job? Do I always have to try to get my money’s worth? So what, I’ll miss a couple songs. So what, I might miss them all together (right, traffic is a thing) and just have to watch the headliner. I let these trivial worries go and I just drove.

I could hear Bang! from outside and I knew we were late, but not too late.

I saw Teri Gender Bender, the lead singer, dance. I saw her pulsate and shake in a way that defies sexually-charged gazes. I dare you to objectify me. I heard her waa-ooo and aaah-aah in an extended breakdown of Leibniz Language. “I never knew you, no no.” I saw her gesture to her drummer, and not being seen, hesitate. She materialized from the disembodied voice in my headphones into a real person, wearing a bloody apron, and her feet were on fire, “en fuego.”

And so, after enjoying the warm night air on the patio for awhile during the switching of the bands, when I realized my date was just as tired as me, I decided we ought to just go home. I don’t know who Antemasque is. I did know I was happy, and I had a good night, and I saw what I wanted to see. So I just drove.

This is how you rave, babies

Rave Review

“Enter the Tech” by Rock the Discotek
March 1st

Rating: 3.5 pieces of candy

Negatives:

• 18+ …still weirds me out no matter how nice the kids are
• Some DJs were obviously underprepared
• Too much publicity = too crowded
• Too crowded = long ass lines
• Too crowded = vandalism & early shut down, apparently

Positives:

• Several projectors with visuals
• Great sound system in both rooms
• Most DJs were creative
• 2 rooms = less overwhelming
• Bathrooms weren’t bad at all, if that matters
• Casual atmosphere (e.g. friendly security)

Overall, I’d go again as long as they continue to keep the entry cost low.

I think a lot of us have been hoping for the “rave” scene to expand in SD. I’m no veteran raver but I’ve been tracking underground EDM events around town for the past couple of years and I can speak for everyone when I say we were all bummed when Gage’s warehouse basically shut down.

Since then, there hasn’t been much in the way of conveniently located regular underground events (that aren’t hyper-commercialized trash…No thanks “Somewhere Loud”) so driving to Mira Mesa actually sounded like a cinch. Event page said: “dress like Bruce Lee, get in free” which is a dumb and impossible, but Katelyn confidently put me in a cheongsam-inspired top and a tutu and said it would count.

I did NOT know it was an 18+ event, so I was a bit stunned to see so many youngins in the line and probably accidentally gave some of my pre-party Ancient Age to a child. And it was a line. The event was over-publicized, and they invited teenagers, so it was no surprise it took at least an hour to get through. Nevertheless, I ran back to the car to grab my whiskey and made fun out of the time.

Our dedication to dressing up was rewarded when an organizer strafed the queue, shot fingers at us with a big smile and, “You are getting in for free and you are getting in for free.” Pretty much at these things if you look the slightest bit fun say to the gatekeepers “I was told I would get in free because of my costume” and gesture emphatically. It’s worth a shot. There were tons of dudes in gray sweatshirts and jeans without even a speck of adornment, not even Mardi Gras beads, which is beyond disappointing. Again, teenagers.

The neat thing about partying with kids is that it makes you feel like you can reach out and indoctrinate them while they’re still young and impressionable. I felt like I needed to “community build” or some sappy shit so I ran off and collected glow sticks to put on a guy’s crutches and broken foot. It really did help people stop tripping all over him. Then I found some girl who could barely cope with reality and tried to entertain her for awhile, until I realized I was probably over-enthusiastic to the point of being scary and dropped her off with her friends.

The gig did get shut down early at 3am. Yes it was fully permitted and the noise wasn’t an issue (sounded good and loud from the inside, yet barely audible from the street), but some asshole tagged and broke windows of the surrounding businesses. I would say that’s what happens when you invite teenagers to raves, but I suspect it was the 30-something guy I saw trying to sneak in, pissed he couldn’t trick his way into the over-packed venue.

It didn’t occur to me that shutting down was what was happening, so when the music stopped I sat in the middle of the floor and shouted, “MASSAGE CIRCLE.” I was going to save this rave. 2 people joined me. “C’mon babies, this is how you rave,” I yelled. Soon we had about 10 people and next thing I knew we were playing some sort of crowdsurfing leapfrog hybrid.

Katelyn had seen the cops, so she came in and told me it was time to leave. “Do we have to?” I said. Boy, I would have liked to see that thing go til 6am.

Is San Diego Really Boring?

San Diego Survival Guide just hit its 6 monthiversary. Yup, that means I’ve made about 24 regular weekly posts (mostly on time, too). I’ve been thinking about what I’m doing with this blog, and my relationship with this city.

In college I sustained a group created by Robert Turner and Grace Nam, in which we made an effort to go out exploring almost every Thursday night (…hey that’s when this blog updates). We took turns leading adventures, burning mixed CDs, and sharing adventurous spots in San Diego. We made a night of surveying pedestrian suspension bridges (there were three). We looked at the topiaries off vine street. We climbed the Secret Stairs of La Mesa. We went to a steel bridge in Jamul because it looked cool on Google Earth.

A blurry nighttime photo of the Secret Stairs of La Mesa

In the past two years, I’ve made going out part of my regular schedule. Katelyn and I get cabin fever because our hobbit-hole apartment has low ceilings and our third roommate is her extensive hookah collection, which really doesn’t leave much room for us… Really, it is all of her research and voracious appetite to get out of the house that I have to thank for my knowledge of places, events, subcultures and what’s happening right now in the city.

So, I feel more focused than most on discovering the truly interesting parts of SD and analyzing its culture. Most people living here are transplants, lost in a sea of tourist traps. The locals that remain are either jaded and fantasize about leaving, or they are comfortable, heavy with their habits.

This town is uniquely apathetic in a glossy-eyed, vacationer-sucking-on-a-Mai-Tai kind of way. We just don’t care, and while this may make us seem culture-less and unambitious, we also are strangely accepting of weirdos. This is where the subcultures have room to flourish. Punks throw subterranean rock shows, burners dance naked in large suburban backyards, polyamorous lovers gather in gigantic cuddle puddles, kinky kids suspend their wives from rafters.

When I started the Guide, I envisioned a personal blog which would examine my life’s intersection with the SD underground. I’d gather email addresses and beacon out parties to the people. I’ve found, however, that I am protective of the secret places and secret societies. I want the world to know they exist, but only the worthy to find them.

The truth is, this Guide is still very necessary.  Yes, when I first did a Google Trends analysis on “San Diego nightlife,” my heart sank.

The golden years seemed to be 2004 and before. Had I missed my chance? Was I wasting my efforts on non-“trending” topic?

But, no, this is only further evidence that the few young and exciting people out there need help. We’re the last fun warriors. We are in survival mode.

So many people find my blog because they search “Why is San Diego so boring?” or some variation thereof. There’s bored people out there hungry for something real, something exciting, something fun… or just pizza.

Also one lonely person found my blog by typing “baptism vagina” in the Google. I don’t even…

I know there’s plenty to do, I know there’s stunning and quirky and intelligent and sexy people in this city. I am making it my mission to connect these people together.

Soon, I’ll get my first smart phone and I’ll take care of my more casual visitors by posting pictures and short reviews when I’m out at my favorite late-night establishments to this blog and/or my facebook page. I may be very drunk. There may be selfies.

Next, I’m gathering an army of survivalists and I need your help. If you have interest in being part of the movement, put your facebook profile link in the box below, and we’ll form a group (and I’ll add you as my friend). I’ll be working with local business owner and my good friend “Keshet” to set up parties with all sorts of crazy bad stuff and alcohol, and more alcohol, and unlike the other guys out there, there’s no way we’re charging cover.  Here’s a teaser picture:

Fill out the form if you want to help me throw parties…

I’m pretty excited. But also I made this today and it makes me happy:

AnimalsHurtingSmallChildren.tumblr.com … I have problems.