Monday, 11 August 2014

What I Did on my Summer Vacation

On Friday night, I sat on my computer watching a green and black clock countdown to midnight at the end of the 2014 GISHWHES campaign. We had a flurry of last minute submissions from our Australian team mates and I was amazed at how much we had achieved in just a few short days. For a team of almost completely new participants - save two of our South Carolina team mates - I think we did really well.

I first heard about GISHWHES from William Shatner tweet. It was during last year's GISHWHES and it sounded interesting so I did a little investigation (I read to learn more then filed the information in the back of my mind as I may like to participate in a future event.

Three months ago, my friend Stephanie and I were talking about GISHWHES. A few days after our discussion (and while drinking my 5th cup of coffee), I texted Steph that we should totally do GISHWHES this year. To her credit, Steph's first response was 'really?' But when I confirmed I was on board, Steph ran with it.

When people asked what GISHWHES was, I always found myself at a loss to try and explain it. It was fun, it was crazy, it was the promoting of random acts of kindness, it was hysterical, it was the start of a few new friendships, it was art, it was being outside of your comfort zone. In short, it was one of the best ways I could think of to spend a week. Still not convinced? Well, then how about some stories and pictures?

ITEM 28. Stage a mini-newspaper boat regatta in a public fountain with at least four competing vessels. We must see intense competitiveness and gambling.

We convinced a family from Texas to help us. We wanted to have one of the boats on fire but it sank early in our shooting and so it never made the final cut.

ITEM 103. Using charcoal or chalk, stencil the term "D2N" on the exterior of a factory. (The "2" must be backwards, but I can't figure out how to do that on this keyboard.)

I can't state this enough, we think we're hilarious.

ITEM 86. Ask a senior citizen for their "buck list". Help them achieve one of the items on their bucket list.

A's neighbour wanted a new computer before she died. A helped her go and pick one out and bring it home. See? It wasn't all goofing around. Also, no pictures for this one because I don't know A well enough (and I don't know her neighbour at all) to go splashing their pictures around the internet.

ITEM 169. Jared Padelecki does not love Excel Documents. Post one to him on twitter that might change his opinion of Excel.

I love Excel. I use it as my default for program for anything that slight resembles a list. Excel is my secret lover that keeps me warm at night. Okay, maybe not quite. But I do really like it and think it is often underutilised by people who just don't understand how to use it.

The Supernatural cast (of which Jared and Misha - creator of GISHWHES - are members of) are known to prank each other a lot on set, so I created an Excel document that Jared could keep track of who and pranked him and who he had tracked. The function kept a running total and if someone had pranked him more than he had them, the difference would turn red so he'd know that he 'owed' them a prank.

Seriously, how can you not love Excel when it can do awesome things like that?

ITEM 41. Go through a TSA (or your country's equivalent) checkpoint dressed for snorkeling. Explain to the TSA what you're doing, prior to doing it. If they don't allow it, don't do it.

I saved this one for last because it makes me laugh the most of any of the challenges I did. We went to the US border check at the Victoria Clipper office. Big ups to the people there for making this happen. They were the ones that pointed out that no photos are allowed at the border check but they have a baggage scan just outside of the border check so, you know, would that be close enough? Yes. Yes, it would.

This is just a small sampling of items we completed (never mind the items on the list we didn't do). Being my first time doing GISHWHES, I really didn't understand exactly what I was getting myself into. And I can't wait to do it again next year.

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