Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Cachinnate: Laugh Loudly

I did a Google image search for 'different types of laughter' and this is one of the things that popped up in the results:


Please correct me if I'm wrong, but he looks like the only reason his abdomen may be hurting is from some suspect consumables. This is more along the lines of what I was looking for:


Now he looks like he is laughing for a genuinely happy reason. The kid doesn't look so sure, but pish tosh. He probably just thinks the person looks weird. But here is something that fits the search even closer:


See how he seems to be 'Ha-ing' and she seems to be 'Hee-ing'? Well I was talking to myself this morning - don't be alarmed, that happens all the time - and I laughed at something I said. And then my mind rambled along and tried to pinpoint how I demonstrated my amusement, which in turn made me think on the different laughs people have; not just the person-to-person changes by the actual types of laughter. Did I giggle, snigger, snicker, chuckle, chortle or guffaw? Did I titter, shriek, crow or howl? I chuckled I think. Yes, definitely a chuckle.

And through all of this walk-about in my head, I have learned two new things:
  1. There is an International Moment of Laugher Day - April 14th. A day when clowns are off-limits if they are doing their jobs correctly. I am marking it down in all future calendars.
  2. There is a word synonyms with guffaw: cachinnate; a verb meaning to laugh loudly. I love learning new words!
SO! Yes. Laughter is on the brain at the moment and I know that I'm being silly and people look at my strangely and I know that one of the reasons I've been so happy and bubbly for the last two weeks or so involves me being a stupid female, but right now I care not. I haven't been happy, even superficially so, in such a long long time that I intend to take what I can get and enjoy it while it lasts.

So with all that in mind, I will leave you with the wonderful song 'I Love to Laugh' from Walt Disney's Mary Poppins. I hope you start to hum it if you know the tune and if you don't that you go look it up. They landed up on the ceiling so it must be good for you.

Uncle Albert:
I love to laugh
Loud and long and clear
I love to laugh
It's getting worse ev'ry year

The more I laugh
The more I fill with glee
And the more the glee
The more I'm a merrier me
It's embarrassing!
The more I'm a merrier me!

Mary Poppins:
Some people laugh through their noses
Sounding something like this "Mmm..."
Some people laugh through their teeth goodness sake
Hissing and fizzing like snakes

Bert:
Some laugh too fast
Some only blast - ha!
Others, they twitter like birds
Then there's the kind
What can't make up their mind

Uncle Albert:
When things strike me as funny
I can't hide it inside
And squeak - as the squeakelers do
I've got to let go with a ho-ho-ho...
And a ha-ha-ha...too!

All:
We love to laugh
Loud and long and clear
We love to laugh
So ev'rybody can hear
The more you laugh
The more you fill with glee
And the more the glee
The more we're a merrier we!

Friday, 2 November 2012

.... they party hard when the wine flows

I'm back in Durban now after an enjoyable visit to the Western Cape. Let me pick up where I left off with a bit of important math...
academics + booze = interesting times

This equation becomes exponential when booze is pre-multiplied by (free). Which tends to be the case at the usual conference/workshop dinner towards the end of the work. So here are some of the highlights...

Our big dinner was on the Sunday night, after having half the day off from work. Now my Sunday had already been full of excitement and hilarity (alcohol-free, mind you). A bunch of us had gone to Langebaan beach for a change of scenery. It was there that those of us without swimming costumes got manhandled into the sea and unceremoniously dumped in it - drenched head-to-toe. It was actually quite fun, even though I was one of those being dumped. Sand everywhere is always uncomfortable but I got my shirt to dry quite successfully by stripping down to my bra on the beach. NOT a usual occurrence for me I assure you. Plus friends lent me a towel so I was only semi-naked for a few moments. It was all in fun and there was much laughter and it ended off with interesting conversations over a drink or two at a beach-side pub.

Now back to Saldanha and the dinner. Without going into a blow-by-blow account of things, the food was delicious, the wine flowed freely - between myself and my seated neighbour (forthwith named N) we finished off at least 3 bottles on our own, and the company was excellent. Topics ranged from the rivalry between northern and southern Englishmen to the suitability of 'pineapple' as a safe word, with many strange and delightful detours in between. A fellow student, M, and I started singing; Piano Man by Billy Joel being our normal song of choice. I don't think we did too damn badly either. We've decided that we need to extend our repertoire of songs-to-sing-whilst-inebriated. Suggestions are welcome. Has to be a good sing-a-long with easy-to-remember words. Or at the very least easy-to-learn ones.

Four of us ended up on the beach, but not before attempting to salsa on the deck which ended with that same M on her ass. By this time I had a blanket over my shoulders which N had graciously lent me while still at the dinner table. The walk on the beach was an enjoyably long one during which I had enlightening conversations with a lovely person named A, had many interludes with M shouting out to me about something or another, tonnes of laughter and all of this leading up to the point where I fell in a river. Well. It was more of an estuary, but it was still wet. I had overestimated my ability to jump across the flow. The irony of it all is that I had wanted to jump so that I didn't get the bottom of my jeans wet, and instead I got the entire backside of it sopping. After landing I remember asking 'Did I at least fall gracefully?' and having M laugh out loud with an emphatic 'No!'. Good times :) So the outcome of Sunday night was me having a cut on my hand, a bruise on my ass and a messed up toe. All fixed now though!

That's only some of that night but suffice it to say it was wholly enjoyable and it wasn't just the students and postdocs imbibing with subsequent frolicking. Some other events, on separate occasions though, included Gangnam Style moves outside and then being jokingly invited onto the dinner tables by our superiors, someone streaking for their birthday (suiting down I'd say), and some very impressive piano-playing with accompanying lyrics by one of the organisers. It was fantastic.

To sum it all up, the week in Saldanha was amazing and I met many new and fascinating people, re-socialised with old friends, and enjoyed rambunctious times with them all. Great memories. The next conference is at the end of November. My goal is to NOT land up asleep on the bathroom floor.

As an afterthought: I'm sure a shrink would have a lot to say about the fact that I am generally very well-behaved, with many people regarding me as boring, but all that changing when conference dinners with people I know happen. Hmmm...