Okay guys, I've been reading up on bidding systems, and I've decided that the next time we play I'm bidding according to the Eclectic Symmetric Pass system, in which I open one heart regardless of distribution if I have 0 to 7 points, one spade if I'm 4-4 in the minors, and pass if I have 13 or more points. Got it?
I read over this collection of bidding systems and I'm pretty impressed. They're categorized by opening style, into "Standard Systems," which we've been using; "Strong 1C Systems," in which an artificial club opening shows extra strength (this incidentally is the collection's author's recommendation); "Weak/Strong 1C Systems," wherein the one-club opening has multiple possible meanings, inferrable from context -- for example, in Cloudberry, my 1C bid means I have either 8-10 points and a balanced hand, OR 17-plus points. Hmm. Then we get to "Artificial 1C/1D Systems," a wide variety of systems involving artificial 1D responses to 1C openings; and "Strong Pass Systems," -- such as Eclectic Symmetric Pass -- in which you pass to indicate strength, and bid to indicate weakness. Presumably the "responder" doesn't pass too, but still this last category is a little fringy-sounding to someone raised on a standard system.
It'd be interesting to play around with some of these ideas, maybe a strong 1C, if we feel up to it. I'd love to have a better way to show 18-21 points than opening one of my suit and hoping the bidding comes around again.
What we need first though, grrr, is a system for actually getting four people at the same table at the same time!