Prepare for the Weird--I Joined a GISHWHES Team This Year

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Wondering why I was AWOL last week?  It's because I made the best decision EVER, to join a GISHWHES scavenger hunt team.  The hunt is officially over for the year, so now I'm allowed to share my efforts with the world.  

What is GISHWHES, you ask?  It's the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen.  It's all about going out and making the world a weirder, more whimsical and wonderful place.  I was lucky enough to be invited to join Team Bangarang, and while all of us were new to the GISHWHES experience, and I hadn't met any of them in real life, I personally think we kicked some serious butt!  And, even better, I've made some amazing new friends, was endlessly entertained and impressed, and brought many smiles to my small corner of the world. 

Our team submitted 118 items (out of a possible 178).  Other teams definitely did more, but I am SO proud of what we submitted!  If my teammates allow me to, I'll definitely share some of their epic submissions, too.  Here are some of mine (some weren't so photogenic--twitter based stuff, etc.  Or were just not up to my standards for sharing with the general public.)  In no particular order:

#76, 97 POINTS

Nobody ever talks about the fact that 250 years ago, stormtroopers who had been abandoned on planet Earth were forced to assimilate into pre-Industrial culture. Dramatically re-enact this difficult time. Show a stormtrooper getting back to basics using a spinning wheel, butter churn, or other old-fashioned tool or machine in a rural setting. Feel free to add accessories to the stormtrooper’s outfit to make their assimilation more complete—a Shaker-style hat, a musket slung over the shoulder, etc.

My caption:  Damn, it's hard to get whites really white like this.  Alternate caption I almost went with:  By my pretty floral bonnet, I will wash you!

#11, 47 POINTS

You (a human) must re-enact this photo (not pets allowed):

Caption:  Nothing builds sisterly love like a high powered jet of water to the face.

#61, 93 POINTS

Gymnasts around the world are gearing up for the Olympics. Show a gymnast in action on a balance beam, vault, floor exercises, etc. proudly wearing their “pizzatard" (unitard made from pizza). If that sounds too challenging, you have the option of putting them in a fishtard, a fruittard or a friestard. Any of these options garner the same point value.

This is obviously a photo, not a video, but it's better at showing the gold pizza medal and basil laurel crown I also made.  Here's the video we submitted.  Thanks to Gold Medal Gymnastics for connecting me with Ani, my intrepid gymnast, and use of the facilities!  Here's the video of Ani and the Pizzatard in action.

#101, 59 POINTS

It's been a very hot summer! Help out the first responders in your area by bringing ice-cream to your local police, fire, or EMS department while dressed as the world famous Dessert Fairy. - Danielle D.

Sprinkle-covered wings, cotton candy colored wig, cupcake liner flowers on the tutu, gumball necklace and earrings, sprinkle sunglasses, an edible sugar wand, and a tiara made out of rock crystal candy.  Oh yeah, that's definitely the dessert fairy.
We delivered ice cream to some local firefighters.  In summer.  In PHOENIX.  They deserve ALL the ice cream!



Recreate a painting by Goya in candy. know me and gingerbread, so of COURSE I had to do this one!  
Caption:  Goya's Saturn Devouring his Son, painted in candy, on a gingerbread canvas.  It's entirely edible, baby.

#64. My grandmother, Dorris, lives in a retirement home called Roland Park Place (RPP) in Baltimore, MD. A few years ago, I put RPP in the Hunt. People started showing up with flowers and cookies. She called me in a panic, “WHAT IS HAPPENING?! CALL IT OFF!” A few hours later, she called back, “Well, it isn’t so bad…. Maybe just tell them to come during visiting hours.” The next year she said, “You’re going to put RPP in your hunt again, right?!” Clearly she was excited by the prospect. So, we did another RPP item last year. This past year she’s had some health problems. She’s 92, a bit tired, cardiologists, etc. She has been vacillating. She told me to put RPP on the list, to take it off again, and finally yesterday she said, “I think we should do it.” So, if Gammy says “do it,” it is a choiceless matter— it must be done. Visit RPP and take a photo with a resident. Bring a small gift: cookies, flowers, a deck of cards, a board game for the rec room, some water colors, etc.… One more thing, your photo must show you dressed as a pirate. The RPP resident should have at least one pirate accessory on as well (a hat, an eye patch, etc.), which you must furnish for them. If no member of your team lives within 50 miles of RPP, you may perform this item at any retirement home or assisted living facility anywhere in the world. This item must strictly be performed between the hours of 9AM and 5PM, on a weekday (not the weekend).

What did I learn doing this?  Joanna still has a mighty fine fencing stance!

#90, 44 POINTS

Many people think superheroes have a great life of running around saving people with lots of public recognition for their grand deeds. But we know the truth. They have to do the same domestic chores in their off time that we do. Let’s see a superhero performing a tedious domestic chore. -Monica M.

My caption:  Superman can take his Superdumps somewhere else from now on.

#49, 47 POINTS

Cosplay a thunderstorm, in public, complete with sound effects, lighting and rain. - Karen Hutchinson

It's a little hard to hear, but this is what it says:
Big Sister:  What are you?
Little Sister:  I'm a fast moving lightning storm!  (squirt squirt, runs away)
I said a BOOM chicka boom, I said a BOOM chicka boom, I said a boom chicka LIGHTNING chicka LIGHTNING chicka boom.

#104, 42 POINTS

Dress up as a Bellossom or other grass-type Pokemon and plant some beautiful blossoms at a nearby Pokestop.

#19, 58 POINTS

It’s such a strange feeling lying in a coffin almost completely buried in popcorn with only your face showing. Trust me. I know.

It turns out most people with coffins tend to be using them full time, so I had to make my own.  I'm rather proud of the popcorn wreath I made to go with the coffin, too!

#46, 66 POINTS

This video may be up to 20-seconds. Everyone knows how important specific diets are in developing a chiseled physique. Find a bona fide, professional, competitive bodybuilder or ultimate fighter in peak condition and have them create a 20-second infomercial touting the muscle-building, fat-burning, nutrient-loaded virtues of aerosol spray cheese (like Cheeze Whiz). We must hear the athlete’s name, credentials and see their glistening, oiled, body as they “sell” us (however they best can do that) on the benefits and delicious taste of the aerosol spray cheese. This should probably include ravenously squirting the cheese directly into their mouth. Bonus points if you get a former World Champion.

Many thanks to Julian Brown, an exceptional trainer and professional bodybuilder from The Yard Fitness for making this infomercial with me!



Happiness DAY 4 (must be submitted on day 4 of the hunt). What have you done today to make someone else happy?

I have the best neighbors ever, and I gave them a small token of my thanks.

Item # 176
Resume for your freeloading pet.  Post to LinkedIn and get at least 20 likes.

FYI: I'm now getting regular emails from recruiters about good job matches...for Murlin.  I think there's something terribly wrong with either LinkedIn's algorithm or those jobs.

#39, 67 POINTS

There's a lot of talk about how undocumented immigrants or "illegal aliens" are taking away our jobs and using public services such as hospitals and schools. But I think the real thing to worry about is actual aliens from other planets. Prove that aliens are a drain on our civic infrastructure by showing an alien from space (this costuming has to be impeccable) displacing a citizen's job or clogging up our hospitals or prisons. Caption the image with a message about the dangers of aliens draining our civic infrastructure.

Caption:  You do NOT want to meet a Blagnastic Snot Monster with a head cold.  My thanks to Groovy Ghoulies Costumes for the prosthetic noses and the advice!

#12, 58 POINTS

I have to travel a lot for work, so I’ve learned a thing or two about working the system. It turns out, if you package yourself properly you can send yourself by mail for a fraction of the cost of an airline ticket. Transform your appearance into a first-class parcel and have a friend deliver you to the post office for shipping. Don’t actually ship yourself— just get a photo of your packaged self being weighed at the post office, in a bin at a post office with other packages, or being loaded into a mail truck.

Have fun at Grandma's!

#45, 46 POINTS

Isn’t it great to get your friends and family together for the holidays?! But it’s so hard! Sometimes all you can manage is getting everyone together for one holiday a year. But then you have to choose a holiday, and that’s so hard, too! Wait a minute... not if you decide to celebrate ALL holidays in that one night! Let’s see that night. - Inspired by Nicole Bowman

This was a still photo challenge, but I also submitted a link to Ainsley Irish dancing to Christmas carols while Niamh decorated teh tree with Easter eggs and skulls, and ate turkey.



As you all know, Saturday the 6th of August is International Find Another Gisher Day. Meet up (reach out over social media to find gishers in your area) with AT LEAST 5 other Gishers that aren’t on your team at a bus stop and, together, decorate the bus stop with post-it notes inscribed with a mix of delightful, surreal, and uplifting messages. One must read, “Be the unicorn you want to see in the world.” . one image of all 5+ people standing in, on, or around the decorated bus stop. The submission description must include the gishwhes usernames of each Gisher in the photo. Each team can . the same image if a team member was there representing the team.

I KNEW all that practice drawing unicorns in 5th grade was going to be useful someday!  Also, I had a perfect excuse to wear my unicorn horn from Niamh's My Little Pony birthday party in public.

#147, 31 POINTS

As we all know Matt Cohen is legendary for taking off his shirt to raise money for charity. His 6-pack abs have single-abdominally raised thousands of dollars for great organizations like Let’s thank his abs for their altruistic humanitarian work by using Photoshop to digitally remove his abs and then place them on a vacation around the world. (Unfortunately Matt can’t make this trip himself as he’s busy shooting his TV show.) His abs can visit anywhere on the planet that you can capture in an image. Let’s make sure they have the proper tourist accessories, too.

I'm pretty awful at photoshop, but I still had fun helping Matt Cohen's abs go ceili dancing in Cornwall on Perranporth beach!  Wearing a Cornish kilt, of course.  I like that it looks a lot like Misha's tartan.

#100, 60 POINTS

Rob Benedict created a video instructing people how to detect someone having a stroke so people can help save lives: Tweet this link from 15 different twitter feeds and put links to all 15 twitter posts into a single screenshot that you did it.

My screenshot isn't particularly lovely, but I did it!  But showing the original video here is much more important than showing a screen capture of people on twitter sharing the content.

#43, 52 POINTS

This video may be 25 seconds or less. Create the world’s first human piano. Get multiple people to stand in one line dressed in black and white as piano keys, with each leg a different key (two keys per person). Then “play” them: have them lift their heels several inches off the ground, and when you press down their leg they sing, hum or grunt the corresponding note (pitch perfect, please). When you remove your hand, their leg goes back up. Two or more legs down at the same time makes a chord. Play chopsticks (or another familiar ditty) more or less in tune.

And the very last item I submitted, my human piano!  Thanks to these Bracken School of Irish Dance dancers (and their families) for their help at the end of a VERY long day of competition.  

I also helped out or participated in a few other items (like the collaborative twitter poem), but these are all the ones that are fun to look at.  

And now I'm dealing with the emotional hangover of GISHWHES being over.  And the truly astounding mess I made this week.  I'm sure there's a house under there somewhere.

Are you a Gisher, too?  I'd love to see what your team did!

Nicole Wills, creator of Tikkido

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