Yes I did attend the Mayhem in D'arcy last week. The weather on Friday was cold and wet and the only accommodation was field space for tents, so a lot of guests bailed. I don't blame them, it didn't look good then. But Saturday and Sunday were very fine days.
There were five of us who did arrive in the rain; Dan and Aimee got the guest bed in the attic, Pascal and I slept in our respective trucks, and Shane decided not to put up his tent in the rain and the dark but sleep on the couch instead. Good plan.
Dan, Pascal and Shane are very old friends of Sam's, they have at various times lived together and share some common interests. If anybody was going to show up in spite of the weather, it would be them.
The Mayhem was basically a gamers' heaven, Pascal brought a truckload of strange card games, there were lots of munchies and barbecue foods and soft drinks, and the wide outdoors for taking breaks from the main activity of the weekend, which was the card games.
We played Munchkins, Killer Bunnies and Chrononauts. Munchkins is a kind of role-playing game with a lot of silly adventures and actions, "munchkin" is a nickname for a role-playing gamer. Killer Bunnies involves collecting "killer" bunnies and other objects as if you were trying to win by accumulating stuff, but the winner is actually pre-determined and has very little to do with the actual playing of the game. Chrononauts involves changing historic events, as represented by certain cards, to get a particular historic outcome described in "Mission" cards. There was another game we didn't play called Flex, in that game you get to change the rules of the game in mid-game.
Not being a gamer I had never heard of any of these games, let alone played any of them, but they were sufficiently simple enough to learn and at the same time complex enough to maintain interest.
The dogs of course were not impressed by all this indoor activity.
We got out for one fairly good walk with them though.
On Saturday night Sam got a campfire going and we sat around into the night poking at the burning logs and discussing a variety of topics. Shane was a bottomless well of information on every topic we managed to cover, he reads pretty broadly. Pascal is a very imaginative "what if..." kind of guy, proposing all sorts of oddball topics and projects. So the conversation ranged widely and was never boring. We got out Sam's star charts and looked for various stars and constellations, and we watched Jupiter rise above the trees.
There's a configuration called the Summer Triangle, a fairly obvious triangle of stars located fairly high in the sky roughly in the south. The triangle is made up of Vega, Altair and Deneb, in the constellations of Lyra the harp, Aquila the eagle and Cygnus the swan respectively. I was looking for Arcturus as well (you find it by following the arc of the Big Dipper handle, arc to Arcturus), but the moon was too bright or the trees too tall, I couldn't find it.
On Sunday the swords came out and there was a bit of sword and knife play. On previous Mayhems there has been archery, but the bows and arrows were left at home this time.
What impressed me was that this was a crowd of young people that manages to have great fun together without any drugs or alcohol involved. None of them appear to have any particular objection to the use of such things, they just don't bother with it. Mind you, they are not so young, all of them being in their early 30s. But I think this is a long standing habit with them, they were never great indulgers in mind-altering substances.
I know this doesn't sound like much mayhem, but it was fun and we did manage to leave Sam's place in a pretty good mess.