Saturday, 31 January 2015

It's All About Community

The first time I hashed was quite an eye-opener. After finding out about it while looking for activities to expand my horizons abroad, where cultural norms can sometimes feel a little stifling owing to the expectations I brought from the homeland, I suddenly found myself surrounded by people who shared many values that were often met with a frustratingly deadpan incomprehension by locals.

 In a beautiful vineyard, after a very fun trail, a charmingly shitfaced RA grimaced the other way as he sprayed some insecticide into a cloud of bees hovering over a barrel of grapes we would soon be stomping, while he boomed some tripe about virgins having to pay their dues. I was sold.

The most amazing thing about that experience for me was the trust and camaraderie that permeated the event. No one needed to keep an eye out worrying about when someone would run off with their back-pack. Topics of conversation ranged from the mundane to the edgy with a fluid comfort that I had not seen in a while. Old hands exchanged an easy banter while making an effort to be inclusive of visitors and new arrivals. It just felt like community.

There's no question that hashing is not for everyone. The encouraged silliness can easily grate on people, and there is a carefully orchestrated level of dropping inhibitions through drinking, song, silliness, and shared experience, that helps hashers open up, while it can definitely be off-putting to those who depend on a level of straight-laced propriety to feel safe.

In the interest of keeping our kennel thriving, we just ran a survey of the SHHH membership to see what it is about hashing that people really like, and how we can improve our events programming. Admittedly, ours is a small kennel; six of the twelve jobs that make a hash run are done by a single person at this point, so the ability to organize anything with a level of complexity is limited, but we try. The survey was also run during the lowest part of the season, when many local hashers are away, so that may introduce some bias, as it collected answers from a very small sample of mostly die-hard hashers. The results are interesting, though. It seems I am not alone in what I value.

Without further preamble ramble, here's how hashers responded:
After all is said and done, a week before a hash, about 1/3 of the people who know about the hash plan on attending. Keeping in mind the number of people reached who are geographically dispersed at this point in the season, this number indicates a very committed bunch. Once people become hashers, it would seem, they make time for the hash, leaving their loved ones to worry what sort of cult this is they have joined. "Have you heard the one about the Jonestown Massacre? No? - Nevermind: the punch line is too long"...

Word of mouth, our Facebook group, and direct mail seem to carry the day, hinting at the antediluvian demographic skew of our regular membership. Of course, keep in mind that Facebook and direct mail were the two ways the poll was announced...

By a margin of nearly two to one, friendship and camaraderie carry the day as the reasons people say they like to hash. Of course again that could be blamed on the fact that so many of the respondents are stranded in this exotic metropolis so far away from their loved ones, but that is a very significant part of hasher culture. If we add Expat Culture and Mingling into the equation, most people who come to the hash are not there to hash as such. Thank God for the small cadre of stalwarts who preserve the tradition that makes the gathering what it is, no?

Interestingly, hashers are not the tight-wads one might think. However, an important part of hashing is accessibility, and many a stranded foreigner has shown up at our door jobless and barely able to afford a US$5 admission fee, so we believe that even though most hashers are flush with cash, there should always be an event that welcomes new arrivals of modest means. Particularly in cultures where empathy is not a widely practiced sentiment, this is one of the aspects that bonds people to the hash.

Everyone loves a field-trip. Not everyone can manage one. No one likes to be left behind. Duly noted.

What our dedicated respondents seem to be saying is pretty clear: the hash is, overwhelmingly, a social event abut enjoying some time with like-minded people. Inclusiveness and variety in the activities seem to be valued as well. Beer and the trail, along with the circle, are more polarizing, but, of course, they are the very heart of the Hash. Good: proper hash behavior.

-Your friendly local GM,
Multiple Entry

On on!

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Hash #167 - Back in Black!

It was inspirational.
Such a nice, tranquil courtyard at The Black Rock, suitable for the opening scenes of a Parisian thriller, where everyone is just enjoying the sun with cosmopolitan smugness, oblivious to the tempest about to unfold!

Usually, people forgo telling you to keep calm unless there's something going on that fully merits blowing a gasket. Here, Sir Turtle-Head, wearing a 'Keep Calm' shirt, is practicing his new gesture. He's learning to say 'hello' in Swiss German. This quickly spiraled out of control, and led to some misunderstandings, a broken heart, and a small pregnancy scare. In the end, it all turned out just fine, though.

Most hashers mingle oblivious to the treachery underfoot while our intrepid Hash Flash, Maxipad (with Wings) - locates the first hidden camera.

 But it would seem there's not that much to worry about: the spy running the video-surveillance operation is clearly starting to feel the effects of the mirth, as we can see from the deteriorating focus. Here, Eat my Whalie is once again defending her position that baby whales are the tastiest meat and should be enjoyed in that capacity at every available opportunity, preferably eaten alive, like oysters.

 These guys showed up with an attitude, but once they got into the swing of things, they were as much fun as anyone else. They couldn't help it. They tried to look menacing, but Dick So Soft lost his focus when he noticed Multiple Entry's untied shoelace.

 Oh, it's on, motherfuckers! Maxipad(with Wings) has found yet another spy-camera, and now he's on the trail. He won't rest until he gets to the bottom of this! Notice Lame Judy Stank looking a little guilty and clutching a second beer in her wanking hand as the intrusion is discovered. The guys in sunglasses are trying to blend in and get close, seconds before the arrest. This may be a clue.

As we prepared for the circle, Dick So Soft demonstrated the strength of his Jedi powers by drinking and getting refills with his eyes closed. His new theory was that if you don't see the beer, it can't make you drunk. Shits & Swallows is scouting for another girl to complete the picture with that cup. Vini V.D. is intrigued and thinks he might be a lesbian, while Eat My Whalie, from a long tradition of pagan rituals, bows down to the unfolding bacchanal and is sure that if she'd only made it through book 4 of Knausgård, she would have been better prepared for what's developing here. 

You may remember that at the Christmas Beach Hash Bi-weekly Deposit suffered a serious injury in the line of duty, run-over by no less than a cart laden with the very fuel of the Hash, brew.

 Well, Service Guarantees Citizenship! Congratulations, Sir Bi-weekly Deposit! In a poignant but comfortably brief ceremony, Spoodgebob Stainpants conferred the title of Knight of the Hash on Bi-weekly Deposit for either valor or clumsiness in the line of duty - we're never sure about this nuance in the hash - by inducting him into the Order of the Purple Shart.

 Some time passed, some brew flowed, and the next thing you know it's turning into the Back in Blackout Hash... All in good fun & among friends; no harm, no foul. 

 Here we have Likk'Em, our spy from Switzerland, living up to his name. NoName Cicilia tries to join in as Maxipad (with Wings) protects her virtue at the last moment!

Noname Daniel is pretty damned proud that he finally managed to get his sunglasses to stay in his shirt like that. After practicing for a while and finally getting it down, Sir Turtle head demonstrates how to say 'hello' in Swiss German, as taught to him earlier by Likk'em. Maxipad(with Wings) is just making sure everything is under control.

Bushy Pussy has infinite patience. That is all.

Spoodgebob Stainpants is looking a little peeked after performing that intense ceremony bestowing the Purple Shart on Sir Bi-weekly Deposit, but he's playing it cool. He knows that if Sleeping Beauty, Maxipad(with Wings), or especially Eat my Whalie smell blood in the water, it could all be over in mere seconds.

On the left, Mark and MariCarmen, two of our virgins, are holding up really well and starting to see the humor in this, while Strip, Minor!, Multiple Entry, Maxipad(with Wings), and No Cuntry for Old Men are mostly confused about whether to do a duckface (seriously or ironically), smile, or look 'bad-ass' for the picture. Takes all kinds...

All in all, it was a fine hash. We made some new friends, had some great conversations, and learned a few things along the way. Sir Turtle-Head learned to wave hello in Swiss, and Bi-weekly Deposit became Sir Bi-weekly Deposit.

Thanks again to everyone who helped pull this off! Maxipad(with Wings) really put the elbow-grease back into Hash-Flashing (and took some great pictures, too). Bushy Pussy poured piss again. A saint. Lame Judy Stank, but she laid a great trail and told a wonderful story about discovering lighters in the strangest places. The Black Rock was perfect. Shane and Sol were kind enough to make us a great menu of gas-grilled organic South American free-range mountain chicken with fair-trade domesticated Thai Jasmine rice imported via reed-rafts, and a garden-fresh salad of autochthonous berries on a bed of wild greens, in addition to pouring a great deal of delicious Stella and putting up with our slurred off-key shenanigans for many hours. It didn't even seem to bother them, or Hugo, in the least!

Stay tuned. Summertime is not over and there might be some more fun stuff coming up!

-Your friendly local GM,
Multiple Entry

On on!

===============================Original Announcement========================

 Anyone up for a pint with Angus?

It's been a busy week in Australia, what with Foundation Day, Anniversary Day, Survival Day, Invasion Day, and Day of Mourning celebrations - and that was just Monday!

Saturday, January 31st come celebrate the return of the Hash to the Black Rock, the finest Australian pub in Santiago. Join us for a trail (hared by a real live Australian) and indulge in the most Pythonesque après-ski  in town (hosted by a real live Australian). Hell, if you can down it with the best of them, one day you could be Prime Minister!

The deets:

  • What: Hash #167:
  • When: Saturday January 31st, 2pm. (beat-the-heat time)
  • Where: The Black Rock Pub.
  • How Much: 5000CLP for the Hash. There may be a special, attractively priced Hasher's menu offered in the 3000-3500CLP range.
What to Bring:
  • sunscreen
  • a hat
  • cash
  • tall stories about your time eating snakes in the Outback.
** For the uninitiated
We are a drinking group with a running problem. If that sounds a little de trop, don't worry. It is. We follow hashing traditions, singing songs, drinking beer, and following silly rules. We start with a ~7k run / 4k walk (your choice), then do our circly ritual (which may or may not happen this time), sing some ribald songs, and finally we relax, and eat a little. This time we're expecting 8-12 hashers. Come check it out, or join us next time, in 2 weeks on Valentine's Day.