Friday, August 21, 2015

gishwhes 2015 Monkey Brigade

This seems to be my yearly post...GiShWhEs time of year again.

a dignified game of croquet on an historical lawn (Abe Lincoln's house) zombies

2015 was a great hunt for us. For the first time, many of the Monkeys took most of the week off from work so overall the team wasn't as tired as we have been the past couple of years. It absolutely makes a difference when you don't have to work 8 to 10 hours during the day when you'd rather be creating an Amish App or driving to Chicago to take trapeze lessons in a business suit.

The majority of the Monkeys came back with just a couple of new members. Lindsey joined the team to replace our LA connection and she was excited and immediately got friends involved and seemed to have a blast. Her pet hair portrait was hilarious but made epic by actually meeting the CW actor and giving it to him (she said he was thrilled to have a pet hair portrait of himself).

Stephen Colletti and his dog hair portrait by Lindsey S.

Our other new Monkey was Karen who lives near our Texan Tremmels. Karen was on last year's winning team but met Cindy and Pete and they all became friends. When Karen asked to join the MB, I was hesitant (not because I didn't think she was a great gisher but worried having a previous winner would handicap us). I wanted the Texan two to have more help so after  long conversation with Karen, invited her to the brigade. Thankfully it was early enough in the year that we all had time to get to know her and we were not disappointed in her efforts. Her skydiving Elopus is masterful and though I have not seen ALL the videos, I can't imagine there are ANY that are better. She had a full on furry pink elephant head on when she jumped out of the plane. Crazy. She also tackled a lot of other challenges...

vacuum the lawn like june cleaver

This year, Colin and his mom actually planned ahead to be in Pontiac for the first couple of days of the hunt. We all wanted them to be part of some of our epic group shots and it was super fun having them around. Considering this was really only the second time we had met, they just felt like old friends and it was easy to have them here (we hope they felt the same). Fortunately for us (not so much for Chantal who got to do all the driving), one of the challenges was to go on the ultimate road trip (48 states hitting major landmarks along the way) - you had to get a friend and hit at least 9 of the places on the list (both posing in a funny way doing the same pose in each picture). When we did the croquet at Lincoln's house, they got a photo there then they drove on down to St. Louis and got the Arch and they drove back to Pontiac for the night. They hit the road the next day to conquer Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Delaware, DC, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.  They got home and then did several MORE challenges (as if that wasn't enough).

ultimate road trip

one of the epic group shoots. love that colin and chantal are in this one with us.
team member Joe actually submitted this challenge so we had to make it a great one. Rick the cat once again makes a gishwhes appearance in his own tin foil hat. By far my favorite thing in the photo is Jude's "Bart Simpson hat" and the hilariously appropriate shirt he wore by happy accident that day.

This year we were lucky to have Donnie here the whole week and he was a great asset. Besides his amazing musical talent, he is a lovely human being and kept us entertained. He was on a mission to kiss all the monkeys in one challenge or another. He started with Chimp (same sex kiss tweeted to Rick Santorum), then me in the "break the internet" challenge as we parodied the old Lennon/Ono Rolling Stone cover, and then Kathy after he got drunk while tilling up our community garden. He plans to kiss the rest next year...

show Kim Kardashian how to really "break the internet"

I especially loved all the nights when Donnie's friend Hannah would come hang out and they would play guitar and ukelele and sing while we were all working. It reminded me of being in college when so many people played music and I miss it. It was lovely.

The whole team really pulled some wonderful stuff from deep deep down. On Sunday we were all exhausted of course but more than that we were all emotional and the only way I can describe it is "transcended". I know I just felt really at peace with what we accomplished and felt that we didn't leave anything on the table - we gave it all. Joe definitely had some of my favorite pieces - his Portal Toilet to Tap is really clever and his Nimoy tribute is spectacular. Obviously Pam is invaluable as our photographer but she is also great for bouncing ideas off of and when i was struggling with my maxi-pad dog she was a great set of clear eyes to tell me where I was going wrong (and right). She also made the flower dress and she and mazzy whipped out the construction paper dress too.

Dress made from construction paper, posed in front of a vintage car or magnificent building

Stunning origami bouquet. Mazzy created all the flowers and geometric designs.

I usually make some notes about what worked and what didn't but I just really feel so satisfied with our efforts this year I am not sure I need those notes. I know many other teams made some amazing stuff so I am not at all confident we are the winners but win or lose, I know we gave it all this time around so no regrets.