Monday, August 18, 2014

Gishwhes 2014

Gishwhes 2014




we had to create an angel from feminine hygiene products. my weeping angel is completely made from maxi-pads, panty liners, and tampons (with hot glue) (her insides are made from the inside of a maxi-pad). I left her sitting on a table in front of an open window on a humid night and the next morning she had plumped up. Hmmmmm.



have a wedding or vow renewal in a stunning location. bride/groom must be wearing items from the kitchen and the officiant is a ship's captain.
Bride is wearing: pie tins, cupcake papers, rubber gloves, forks and spoons, colander with cheesecloth veil, oven mitts with coffee cup heels, steel wool, with slip made from shelf liner. Bouquet made from cheese grater with mixer utensils, sponges, and measuring cups
Groom is wearing: Aluminum foil suit with drawer pull buttons, sponge bow tie and boutonniere, dish towel cummerbund, rubber glove cuffs, shelf liner vest, oven mitt shoes, and colander hat



This was our second year competing in GISHWHES, we were slightly more prepared than last year but it was still a crazy, chaotic, creative week.

After all of the brainstorming on names for our team, we all just kept coming back to "monkey brigade", just seemed to fit us best. (I now realize that is the name of Indira Gandhi's child "army" created to help end British rule in India - although she created this in 2004 and Gab and Chimp Jones have used the name since the mid 90's). Due to this fact, I will likely suggest a name change next year.

Unfortunately, Gab's dad passed away right before the hunt. His family held their reunion/memorial on the same weekend that the hunt kicked off. I prepared HQ (our house) as best as I could and gave the key to Chimp Jones. I tried to do what I could from St. Louis but felt like the first full day/night was wasted (for my part), thankfully - the team was really rallying and got off to a banging start (especially cindy/pete, and colin). Gab's cousins did help me out with the candy bathing suit so I got one challenge done on the road (but with very minimal supplies, it was definitely not my best work).

Reading through the list, I came to item #75 and realized they used my suggestion for having a magnificent Elopus related art piece in a real gallery show. That was a fun surprise and obviously I "claimed" that one.

Stopping in Springfield on the drive home ate up more time but was necessary because Gab's Grandmother had fallen and was in the hospital. We were glad to see her and she was more clear and alert than we expected. She recognized the whole family!

Back on the road and another stop in Bloomington at Best Buy. My laptop charger had crapped out the night before (GREAT timing, ugh). Grabbed a charger and some dinner and finally on the road for home. 4pm and I enter HQ and see what everyone has been up to.

The kale throne was being assembled in the front room (it was amazing), costumes, laptops, legos, and wine were spread across the dining room. Action. I got my bearings and jumped in.

The Judester and Rick the Cat posing regally. It wasn't hard to get him to be serious as he was angry about the number of mosquito bites he had endured while we finished setting up the shot.

A lot of lining up of props and costumes, creating a wedding dress from kitchenware, making an angel from maxi-pads, texting team members, updating lists, finishing the elopus costume, photo shoots, filling water balloons (thanks to gab for this), helping create a Rube Goldberg machine...

Gab got a tattoo of the pope.

What I learned and what was helpful and what was not:

Having people over to party and drink is NOT a good idea (and believe me, it was not MY idea). Not sure that my house will be HQ next time.

I appreciated all of the extra help but I have a pretty high level of expectation and if you're just going to fuck a tweed purse on video, I will not be happy about it.

Don't get on a horse if you aren't experienced. Seeing Donnie get bucked off of a horse was a terrifying experience, very thankful he was not seriously injured. Think things through!

The dry-erase board was helpful for me to keep track each morning.
We definitely need a team member in Vancouver/Seattle area!!
Line up a military pilot before the event.
Team members need to be able to take some time off of work during the week
Pay attention to hints ahead of time (acorns, batman costume/bingo...)



All of the tips from last year were helpful, the submission process went much better having just Cindy in charge. (not sure how she felt about it). I would try to go through the spreadsheet daily and update and make sure people who signed up for things were on track, etc. We did have a few challenges where we doubled up and that is fine, nothing that was too time consuming and was good to have the backup in case.

One thing I didn't do that I promised I would was to attempt the impossible tasks, and i'm kicking myself a bit. I didn't even attempt to tweet NASA or the government. I didn't even attempt to get an interview with Larry King. I'm not sure how many teams accomplished those but I should have at least tried. I was super impressed with my team's ability to get some of the really difficult challenges like getting a NYT best selling author to read the California DMV book and scoring some IMDB celebrities to wear MB shirts, also Duffy's connection to Ed Westwick for the paper "machete" head (although it wasn't completed as directed, it was a great effort).

Will I do this again next year? Well of course, there is always some "down" time right after the hunt where we doubt we will do it again but ultimately I know that I thrive on the challenges and love the creative burst it gives me.  I did feel this year's list wasn't as "fun" overall as last year. A lot of pandering to (and stalking of) celebrities, a lot of negativity online surrounding the hunt (not blaming Shatner but he did create negativity whether he was joking or not and after a while it got old), and I really disliked the addition of the time and location specific challenges vs. last year's "bonus" item which was a creative one. I know next year will be a totally different list with a totally different set of experiences.


Troy Baker IMDB challenge


four people, formal dinner off of lego dishes

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

GISHWHES - what not to do.

Medieval Runway: unconventional challenge using kale to create a dragon dress.


I am coming down from the GISHWHES high. Relieved it's over, but also feeling a bit empty and lost just sitting here quietly wondering what to do (believe me, there is PLENTY to do given that my entire house is trashed from 7 days of sewing, gluing, cutting, and painting. Not to mention the costumes, wigs, props, and borrowed items that all need sorted out and the laundry, dishes, and cat litter that have been neglected for a week.)

In the last three years I have run a 10K, competed in a Sprint Triathlon, and performed a Spartan Mini-Beast and this scavenger hunt was every bit as physically demanding, mentally challenging, and emotionally draining than any of those (if not MORE SO).

This blog isn't to talk about everything we did but more to document what we will do differently next year. If any of my team members read it, please don't be offended. I understand we all did the best we could given that we jumped in with four days before the hunt started, little time to prepare, and NO WAY to know what was in store for us. I had a GREAT team but there was room for improvement (on all of our parts, mine most of all). 

I guess because I am the one who discovered this hunt and begged my friends to jump in with me at the last minute, then we were paired up with a team of teenagers - I became the unofficial "leader" of the group. My competitive nature and natural bossiness were probably not well received by my team (especially the teens who I imagine kept thinking "um, you're not my mom"). 

I will be referring back to the list next summer when Gishwhes (Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen) begins registration.

in no particular order:
1. Gas up your car before the hunt begins - not just $20 but fill it up - you never know where you'll be driving at a moments notice and it's very frustrating to have to stop for stupid reasons like gas and stop signs...and police.

2. Clean your house, do your laundry, and mow the lawn before the hunt begins. I should also add shower - you might not get to it in a few days.

3. If you are married or in a committed relationship, have sex with your spouse the morning of the hunt. It will help ease the tension over the next 7 days while you are a total psychotic bitch. (sorry to the teens, guess what - adults have sex)

4. A month or so before the hunt, start saving weird stuff like cereal boxes and cans and stuff. You just never know.

5. Have a costume box and hit some garage sales.

6. Groceries. Whichever house you are going to call "central station" needs to be fully stocked with drinks (RedBull is helpful), healthy snacks that are easy to grab, aw fuck it - frozen pizzas and chips it is.

7. Cancel all appointments and other engagement for the week. Trust me, you will either forget you even have the appointment OR you will go to the meeting/appt and not be paying any attention because all you can think about is getting home to finish sewing a Flash costume. If you work full time, you might consider taking a day or two off. 

8. Your team. In one sense I can see it being much easier if you actually know your whole team - easier to communicate (cell, texts, meet ups, etc.), it's easier to tell them when you think they need to "get their asses in gear" (because you know they will forgive you and vice versa), and it's easier to know which task is best suited for which member. On the other hand, we had a nice little group of teenagers who all seem like really good humans and we enjoyed meeting them. We grew especially fond of one who was dealing with some major unexpected drama during the hunt and he still came through while living in a hotel/hospital combo all week.

9. Unless Gishwhes changes their upload system then ONE person needs to track what items are submitted. There is no way to ensure stuff is getting submitted the way it is set up currently. (maybe that is part of the challenge on purpose - who knows but it sucks). That one person should be your MOST organized team member. 

10. Don't spend stupid amounts of time on things that will barely be seen. I spent several hours sewing the entire GISHWHES logo onto a sweater that would be put on a statue and you can really barely see it in the photo. A simple logo tacked on would have sufficed and freed up a lot of my time to make other stuff for other shoots.

11. Make sure your printer has ink.

12. Switch to unlimited texting or plan to exceed your minutes.

13. You are going to get tired. Pulling one or two all nighters will probably happen (as long as you aren't also working full time or going to school it's fine). BUT when you are so tired that you are no longer productive (like when you start burning your fingers on hot glue or talking like you just had a stroke) then GO TO BED.

14. Get an IMGUR account now and start using it so you are familiar with it - also Dropbox (this is mainly for me because i hate technology)

15. A few people on your team need to have some editing software and ability to use it 

16. You will want a musician on your team

17. If you claim a challenge then you are responsible for it - get it done! If you realize it's not going to happen (and we certainly know stuff happens) then UPDATE the group as soon as possible - another person might have a solution or be able to get it done. There were several "easy" challenges that got left on the floor because we all thought someone else was doing them.

18. DON'T have more than one spot where you are communicating. Some people were keeping track of the google doc and others were just posting their stuff on the FB page and it wasn't getting updated on the google doc page. Too confusing. Having only one person submitting entries will help with this also. The person submitting can be the one updating the google doc. maybe?

19. Even if someone has claimed a challenge - if you have the opportunity to achieve the same challenge without too much effort/time/money - just go ahead and do it! Having a back up version of a challenge can only be a good thing - 

20. Plan play dates and sleep overs for any nine year old boys who might live in your house. They won't be a fan of GISHWHES unless there are farting challenges that involve watching Adam Sandler movies. Grandmas come in really handy in a pinch.



if you have suggestions or notes, please feel free to comment and i can add it to our plan for next year (unless all of my team member's spouses plan surprise trips to bora bora during gishwhes week)





Monday, January 23, 2012

triathlon

I thought I blogged about my spring tri experience. I better get it down while I still remember it.

Last year at Easter my sister in law asked me to do a 5K run through the woods for the Children's Advocacy center. I laughed because I have never ran in my life. I was told in high school (by the track coach) that I didn't have a runners body (big boobs and about 25lbs over weight) so I assumed that meant that I "could not" run. I fully was under the assumption that I could not run so I never attempted it (though what I wanted to do in high school was run the 2 mile).

I did agree to do the run (figuring I could walk it) since it was for charity. As it worked out, we were out of town the day of the run so our other sister in law (Liz) ran it instead (she also had never ran and never thought she could). She did run it and finished, she says "it wasn't pretty but she did it". It inspired her.

Liz started looking up other local 5K races and stumbled upon a sprint triathlon that was to take place early August (2011). This race was a quarter mile swim, 15 mile bike ride, and a 5K run and was in New Glarus, Wisconsin. This one especially appealed to her because of the New Glarus Brewery. She asked me if I wanted to do it and I laughed. I told her "I can't run" and she said "you can do ANYthing for two hours", claiming that the longest times were around 2 hours and she pointed out some photos of finishers, who were quite large. She said "if that person can do it, WE can do it". Their were other heavy people in a few other photos and I started to think, "no kidding, MAYbe I really can do it".

I mentioned it to our other sister in law (Kathy) and she was all about it. She got me excited and we told Liz we would do it. Gabriel came in and told me that he was going to do it too. I laughed and asked him if he should see a doctor first (I have been working out with a personal trainer for 3 years and he had not done any physical exercise for..well...ever). I said "great, i'm glad you're going to do it. Seriously, can you swim?" he answered "nope". He figured he would just work it out.

We made a plan to start training June 5th. I walked Magda to her girl scout meeting at the church about 3 blocks away and decided I would run back home. THREE blocks and I was DYING. After half a block I sounded like Darth Vader but I made it all the way home.

The training schedule said to run 20 minutes, so I set my ipod and ran - once I hit 10 minutes, I turned around and ran home so my total time was 20 minutes. I did this for about 5 days then switched to running 2 miles. Once I could 2 miles pretty easily, I upped it a little at a time. Finally after about 5 weeks, I had Gab plan me a 5K route. I set out and did it without stopping at all. I was very excited. I thought about that coach who 25 years ago told me I didn't have a runners body and thought "screw him". If he had encouraged me then, who knows what might have happened.

During this whole time, I also started riding my bike. The first time Kathy and I decided to ride to Humiston Woods. We knew it was 16 miles from my driveway to the woods and back. We checked the time and set out. The ride out was pretty easy, more worried about getting ran over because the roads were busy. Coming home was harder because of the wind and by the time we got home our legs were a little like rubber. It took about an hour and 2o minutes. We felt pretty good about that but knew we wanted our bike time down to under one hour.

We started riding in the country where there was no traffic. There was one good hill also. We would do the 10 mile ride a few times a week and we felt pretty confident with the bike portion.

Swimming...we needed to time ourselves at the swim because we had to have a time for registering for the race. Gab and I went to the Elks and I swam first. My time was 13 minutes (can't remember exactly). Gab got in and panicked and had to get out of the pool. He said he would try again next time. Same thing happened the next time we swam. My time got better and he could never get past the first lap without feeling like he was going to vomit. I asked him again "are you sure you want to do this? seriously, how are you going to get through the swim?". He said his plan was to "drown in the first event and then he didnt' need to worry about the bike or run".

I added bricks. I rode 10 miles on the bike and then immediately ran a mile. My feet felt like bricks but I ran through and knew it would take about half a mile to work it out. I was prepared (i thought).

Finding something to wear. Big boobied women are s.o.l. when it comes to athletics. Performance swim suits don't come big enough so I had to wear a lycra sports bra under my swim suit.

The weekend of the tri came (too fast) and I prayed for a severe thunderstorm that morning. We did get a thunderstorm but it came (and went) too early and by the time the race was to start, it had cleared up. We headed to the park and all the other athletes were there and they all looked totally buff and fit. I looked around the park for the other out of shape runners and said to Liz "um, where are all the freaking fat people Liz?". She looked around and pointed at us and said "right here". We realized that WE were the ones people would look at in photos and think "well if SHE can do it, then I can do it". I was terrified but had come too far to not go through with it. I put my bike in the staging area, got my ankle timer and number and lined up in my swim group. Gab was in the first group (slowest times went first). We had just guessed on his time (20 min.) since he had never actually completed a run. Luckily they put him the lane next to the wall, he got through by walking, hanging on the edge, and doggy paddle. He kept going though and was out and on the bike within 18 minutes.

When it was my turn to get in the water, the other people in my lane looked all athletic and skinny. A young girl was right in front of me (there were 3 people per lane - i think, maybe 4, i'm forgetting now). Anyway, we swam down one side of the rope then swam back the other. A few head bangs but I swim with my face up so I could see. I totally lapped the skinny young girl and felt awesome about that. My swim was 12 minutes.

Jumped out of the pool and ran/walked to the bikes. Dried off a bit, shoes on, tee shirt on, helmet on. Grab bike and walk it to the street, jump on bike and take off. I seriously UNDERestimated how long it would take my heart rate to come down from the vigorous swim. The bike ride went around the corner and immediately started going UPHILL. It basically never stopped going up hill, it was INSANE. The one part of the whole race I was not worried about was the bike ride and here it was killing me. I seriously almost started crying at one point. At the top of every hill I expected some relief but was met with another series of hills, mostly going up. As bikes would speed past me, I felt like I was crawling. The young skinny girl who I had lapped passed me pretty quickly into it. Ah well. Just when I started thinking I couldn't do it, an athlete would come up on me and encourage me "good job" and "keep going" and "you're doing awesome" REALLY helped keep me going. I thought "i have been out here for HOURS" (definitely taking a watch next year). I wished I had my cell phone so I could call Gab and see if there was ever an end to this bike ride. The people along the route would yell to me "this is the last hill, then it's all downhill from there" and I would be like "YEAH" then I would get to the top and see four more hills and think "those fucking liars". All I kept thinking was "well at least I know I'm not totally last since Kathy hasn't passed me yet" and then I hear "SHANNON!" and thinkg "oh damn". The very last mile of the ride, Kathy caught me and we rode in together.

Hang the bikes back up, helmets off, bandana on. Start running. OMG. I was prepared for my feet to feel like bricks for a little bit but this was something totally different. My feet didn't feel like bricks but my thighs were quivering and shaky. Because all the hills worked totally different muscle groups. I ran for about half a mile and then took three small steps and that was a huge mistake. Kathy kept going like a champ. I completed the 5K doing some run, some walk but I kept going. I honestly thought Gab, Liz, and everyone else had finished so far ahead of me that I pretty much gave up and just was going through the motions. As I headed out, some runners were heading back in (the 5K route was straight out one side of the road and then turn around and head back the other side). I see Gab coming back and he's going strong. I think "damn, they aren't even finished yet, WHY did I slow down so much?". About half way through I see Liz coming back, I yell "I fucking hate you Liz vincent" (only half joking because she convinced me to do this). Some very kind people had set up a table with water half way through and that was very much appreciated. As I approached the end, Gab had come back and was running with me encouraging me to keep going. I crossed the finish line and was SO glad it was over.

I got my medal, we took some pictures. I could barely walk at this point and we had to walk back to the hotel (just a few blocks) and clean up and pack and get checked out. Definitely next time we'll stay two nights so we aren't in such a rush after the race. We missed the big awards, etc. and the free beer was all gone by the time we got back so we just headed to the brewery. I was driving to Lake Tomahawk after that so I wasn't able to ease my pain with beer either (another reason I will be staying a second night).

For the first couple of hours after the race I said there was "no way I would do that again" but by the next day we were all talking about "next year" and we realized what we were saying. Soooo, as it turns out I am a runner. Not a very good one, but who cares. I finished and I wasn't even last (5th from last) and a whole bunch of people dropped out altogether so I feel pretty good about that.

2012. practice on more hills or take spin class. get a better swim suit/sports bra, wear a watch/pedometer



Sunday, July 24, 2011

happy to be alive.

yesterday i had a booth at our downtown festival. it was extremely hot (near 100 degrees) and no one was in the shopping mood - the people who did come out were basically trying to get from their cars to anywhere with air conditioning fast so they weren't even stopping to look at our hand made goods. I was feeling crabby and complaining that we'd barely recoup our booth fee.

at about 2pm, i figured i should eat something as i was getting sick - it was just so freaking hot - the last thing you want to do is eat. Right next to our booth was a group making rib-eye sandwiches so i bought one of those and sat down next to rhiannon and started to eat it. she was telling me a story and i have NO idea what she was talking about because the first bite of rib-eye contained a great deal of grizzle and it had lodged in my throat.

she kept talking, oblivious that i was beginning to panic as i realized i was actually for real choking and could not dislodge this piece of meat from my throat. i looked at her panicked but she must have thought i was just interested in her story because she kept talking. I tried to cough, tried to swallow, tried taking a drink of my soda. when I took the drink it all just pooled in my mouth and i stood up fast thinking "I need to find someone to help me RIGHT NOW". I looked toward the sidewalk at a little old couple and thought "no, they won't be able to do heimlich" and Rhiannon wasn't catching on that i was choking (yes, i should have done the international symbol for choking by wrapping my hands around my neck but i really thought the gasping sound and pointing at my throat would have done it). My thought was "i am going to walk back over in front of those guys selling the sandwiches, they'll be strong enough to help me or at least call someone". At that point I tried really hard to take a breath and the sounds was awful but the panic was definitely setting in. The old couple FINALLY looked at me and said "is she choking?" and Rhiannon said "what? are you choking?!" At this point i'm doubled over in our little booth area and she stands up and gives me a good whack on my back, at the same time I am able to cough the piece out. It was actually two pieces of meat connected by grizzle so I thought I had chewed the first piece well and swallowed without realizing it was connected to the other piece (gross i know - it was my own fault for taking too big of a bite).

i of course threw the whole sandwich away and was shaking and had a moment where i almost started crying because i was so freaking relieved and scared and emotional. Then we started laughing at the absurdity of it and how Rhiannon was just talking. (I told her I had NO idea what she had been saying the past five minutes and we laughed some more). Gab showed up about ten minutes after it was over and of course he told me i should have done the hands on throat thing and Rhiannon agreed (I said she probably would have thought I meant "kill me now" in referring to her story being boring or something).

After that I really didn't care if I sold anything because I was so relieved to be breathing. The day could have gone MUCH worse. I had stress dreams about it last night and while I was on my run this morning it played through in my mind again, i just needed to get it out.

My new Mantra: Take small bites. Chew thoroughly. Be Happy to be Breathing.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

what's new?

just stopping by to check things out in blogworld.

i have been very busy with my new crafting business. Zombie Food officially launched in January and though right now it's available locally and through it's facebook fansite (zombiefood crafts) (via messaging special orders), it has taken off. check it out if you are so inclined. paypal and shipping to anywhere.
i am planning to create an etsy page in the near future also.

i have a partner in crafting crime with zombie food, rhiannon. she is sewing up the cutest toddler dresses out of old tee shirts. she also makes cuff bracelets from old quilt tops and hand made tutus. sweeet.

this week a cold turned wicked sinus infection knocked me out of the loop for several days. ugh. i finally went to the doctor and told him "i'm way too healthy to feel this bad" so i got a shot (seriously, a shot in my butt - can't recall the last time i got a shot at the doctor's). also some antibiotics (really hate having to take them).

starting to gear up and get plans going for the annual summer party. Video Games this year. i have heard a few people's costume plans and already can't wait for this group to get together in one place. 

peace

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

tie dye cake

my husband found a recipe for a tie dye cake and i couldn't wait to try it. 
quite simple and also delicious.

jude had already stuck his finger in the icing on this piece.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

top chef

still watching Top Chef.

tonight's episode is a reunion show with past all stars...hmmmm, should be interesting.


haha, just realized that was more of a facebook status than a blog post.
might take me awhile to get back into blog groove.