fun but structured


Growing up in the 1980s, I knew that season 4 would spend my afterschool time playing Dungeons and Dragons like the kids in “Stranger Things,” which returns on Friday. I wasn’t one of them. I played with Barbie. I thought doing homework, school dances, and puppets acting out scenes related to what happened at the plastic pool last weekend was far from the secret world of D&D tables, with mystical myths and complex rules.

It wasn’t until 2000 that I showed kids doing D&D in an episode of the “Freaks and Geeks” show and got a glimpse of how role-playing games work. Essentially, it wasn’t much different from what my friends and I were doing with our Barbie dolls. It’s about imagining a character and then living in it, co-writing a story, and developing real-world social skills while escaping from reality.

Although Barbies retired before puberty, the world of Dungeons & Dragons is complex and vast enough to continue to attract adults. In fact, it has emerged entirely from the geek dome and “became something of a social bend, the antidote to the popular rivalry of the 1990s and early 2000s, an antidote to our more basic tendencies.” Times this morning. Vin Diesel plays. The same goes for Tiffany Haddish.

I recently wrote about how weird socializing is. D&D offers one way to relieve anxiety. Rules govern the interaction, and the dungeon master, acting as the narrator and referee, enforces the rules. Inside this secure container, players explore, improvise, and co-create the world.

“All of us sometimes feel a bit inadequate for dealing with the modern world.” gary gygak, as one of the founders of D&D once said. “It would feel a lot better if we knew we were superheroes or powerful wizards.”

D&D and other role-playing games, improv comedy, murder mystery parties where each guest is assigned a gang role, and even escape rooms are all real-time scene-generated, unconventional, creative, regular fun. Success requires teamwork and trust.

It’s a lo-fi way of socializing through gigs, and it’s a relief in social media venues that insist that we perform like ourselves for an audience of friends and followers. These activities allow us to play games, let go of inhibitions, and try new personas. They take us to another world for a while.

Any ideas for structured fun you recommend? Drop me a line.

🍿 movie: Five action movies are streamed.

🎧 Audiobooks: six picks.

👟 Exhibition: Sneakers, one of designer Virgil Abloh’s final projects, are on display in Brooklyn.

I’ve always been a strong advocate of having dessert for breakfast, and this is partly why. Jordan Marsh’s Blueberry Muffins It’s been on my radar for a while. I finally whipped out the batch last week using thawed frozen strawberries as suggested in the recipe notes. And I’m here to report that these purple speckled beauties deserve 11,000 5-star ratings. Yes, they definitely look like cupcakes. Fluffy, sugary, and totally delightful with a cup of morning coffee or tea. But if the thought of a cake before noon is boring you, serve it as an afternoon snack or dessert. That is, dessert after dinner.

Carolina Hurricane v New York Rangers, NHL Playoffs: Rangers are hot. After losing 3-1 in the last round, they defeated the Penguins in three straight games to win the series. “They have the best goalkeeper in the league this year, Igor Shesterkin,” said Times reporter David Waldstein, who has covered the playoffs. “They are really fun to watch and they’re a big deal in New York. A lot of people are on their bandwagon.” Game 3 is Sunday 3:30 PM EST on ESPN.

More than:

Yesterday, Spelling Bee’s fangram was zizzy. Here is today’s puzzle. Or you can play online.

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