Sometime Saturday afternoon a list is going up.
This will be my third year participating in GISHWHES (the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt The World Has Ever Seen) and I’m starting to feel the excitement. This hunt began when actor Misha Collins was asked to “do something cool on the Internet”; thinking back to his time at the University of Chicago and the campus scavenger hunt, GISHWHES was born.
This is a short piece I wrote two days after the hunt ended in 2014. Inside are links to the events we completed here in Michigan, there were many other contributions from my team competed all over the world. I joined a team randomly by answering a call for teammates on Reddit. I have kept in touch with almost all of my team mates and we acquired a few new ones last year and again this year.
I’ve never met most of them in person, but for one week in August they are the people I’m up with in the middle of the night causing peaceful trouble with, the people I look forward to catching up with each morning to see what they’ve completed, the people I laugh and brainstorm with and bounce ideas off to create art. We share memes about our favorite shows and books and of course lots of duckies. We don’t sleep and we go a little mad by the end of the week.
For the other 51 weeks of the year, they are a support system online, cheerleaders for my successes, and people whose graduations, weddings, pets, projects, promotions, and healthy days in the sun I love to see and support as well.
If you get a call, text, or message from me next week, chances are it’s the prelude to some fun.
August 11, 2014
It is Monday afternoon, and it’s possible I have recovered from last week. Maybe. Then again, hopefully I never recover.
Last week I participated in G.I.S.H.W.H.E.S (The Greatest International Scavenger Hunt The World Has Ever Seen) http://www.gishwhes.com . Many of you have asked about it, helped me participate (albeit at first skeptical and maybe slightly scared), or just shook your heads at the seemingly unending stream of weirdness coming from me all week.
G.I.S.H.W.H.E.S is the largest media scavenger hunt in the world. For the first week in August, international teams of 15 people work together to complete a list of very interesting items; items ranging from volunteer projects to crazy art installations. We believe that being normal is just not enough and that everyone has artistic talent and gifts to share with their families, friends, communities, and the world. We aim to make the world a better and brighter place through random acts of kindness and fun. The hunt benefits the non-profit Random Acts http://www.therandomact.org , which works to perpetuate random acts of kindness all over the world. The hunt also benefits the thousands of participants and those they come in contact with.
This was my first year doing G.I.S.H.W.H.E.S and to be honest I joined to see what I could do with my “spare” time. I didn’t take time off work or cancel any of my standing plans. I still made time to vote on Tuesday and see my friend James defend his Master’s Thesis. I got together with my friend Lisa Monday night and we made awesome jewelry holders. I kept my Tuesday plans to meet up with my old management team and catch up. I had a great time doing those things. Plans I might have flaked on, made an excuse and stayed home from. I have more time than I was aware of. I want to use my time more efficiently.
My dad always used to talk about the things you know, the things you don’t know, and the things you don’t know you don’t know. This week I learned about the things you know but don’t utilize or take action on. I saw what I am capable of. I am an organizer, a motivator, an innovator, a creative and resourceful person. I can take a large and hard task and find people to get it done, efficiently and well. I know so many people with so many resources and it never hurts to just ask. Most people are willing and able to help you if you just explain what you need. I learned, really, truly saw, the value of working with others to complete a task and the value of trusting completely in your team. I thought a great deal about how I really spend my time now and how I want to be spending my time moving forward. I’ve thought about what I can do for others and seen how my actions have inspired them to do something for someone else. My neighbor Shannon, whom I just met was inspired by my offer to make her family dinner and bought coffee for some people behind her yesterday. I have seen my brother and my friends use skills they have to do amazing things. Skills they don’t use all the time. George is amazing at video editing, Cassie has great skill at stage and costume makeup.
I’ve met new friends from England, The Netherlands, Malaysia, and the U.S. I have seen their wonderful artistic talent, their creativity, and leadership skill. I’m amazed at what WE were able to do together.
I’ve gained a new view of my city and the people in it. These are people who are willing to participate in art and fun. People who love to see something created. People who will welcome a hug and a smile. Detroit is a wonderful and beautiful city. We can make it better with a little kindness and effort.
I have been happy, sad, energetic, exhausted and determined. It would be another whole blog to relay all the tiny amazing things that happened.
I want to thank some folks who helped me on my journey and without whom it would have been impossible:
My team, the AbnosomeDuckies: Joanne, April, Claire, Dorothy, Kelly, Lisa, Tim, Andrew, Carol, Chris, Mark, Michele, and Sander. There’s no better team out there and that’s the truth. You made my first year an amazing one. Next year: WE COMPLETE THE LIST!!!!!
My brother George: You are certainly an Honorary Duckie. You are abnosome to the fullest and so willing to play along with our shenanigans. Thank you again for your time, your camera skill, your video editing, and probably most importantly for taking a bowl of chicken noodle soup to the face. I love you.
My wonderful boyfriend Jason: you played along when you probably didn’t want to, you let me run around like a fool all week and most importantly you supported my journey. My heart is always yours my love.
My good friends who came along and played all week: Cassie, Aaron, Jeff, Samir You have reminded me about how fun it is to spend all night driving around and causing the most peaceful of trouble. You have refreshed the 19 year old in me who didn’t have a house to be lazy in and didn’t drink on a night out and instead found joy in a great night of laughter, topped off with crappy food at the all night diner.
Everyone who helped me with a setting, object, stood in for a video I needed, or shared my requests via social media/put me in touch with someone: Jason, The City of Detroit, Cassie, Aaron, Jeff, Samir, my new friends Doug and Shannon, Chris/Jacky and the wonderful staff at Parts Galore, Greg, Jeremiah, Rachel, Danielle at Sanctuary at the Abbey, Danielle, Alyson.
The people I approached for help but couldn’t: Rob, Mike, Andrew, Laura and the building dept at the Detroit Renaissance Center, James, Selfridge Air Base. Thanks for responding to my requests. I know you are all charming the world with your own art and science and knowledge and skill. I thank you deeply for what you are giving to us already.
Finally, Misha Collins and the staff at G.I.S.H.W.H.E.S.: for making and maintaining the hunt and inspiring me to take action. I am forever thankful for this experience and eagerly await next year’s hunt.
All the best,
Debbie A. Leggett
THESE ARE THE ITEMS WE COMPLETED HERE IN MICHIGAN, MANY OF YOU HAVE ASKED TO SEE THEM SO PLEASE ENJOY, the original challenge is posted followed by the link to the submission.
12. IMAGE. GISHWHES has taken its toll this year. You deserve a break. Hit the hot tub with a couple of friends… wearing hats made of ice cream.37 POINTS
17. IMAGE. You are off to a most elegant formal evening gala. Disaster strikes! Your outfit is ruined! Dress yourself in an outfit fit for such an evening, using only items found in your bathroom. -Hutchinson49 POINTS
42. IMAGE or VIDEO. Some regions have legendary monsters like the Loch Ness Monster in Loch Ness, Scotland or the Abominable Snowman in… well, wherever that creature lurks. Catch the mystery monster on camera that haunts your hometown.41 POINTS
53. IMAGE. Not to throw around big words, but “Hirsute” means “goat-like or hairy.” Shave a recognizable corporate logo onto a hirsute man’s back or chest hair. Bonus points if the man is holding a product emblazoned with the same logo.23 POINTS
74. IMAGE. Be the messiah you were always meant to be. Walk on water (must be a lake or pool). We must not see anything under your feet except for water. Not that we need to say this, but: no photoshopping!56 POINTS
96. IMAGE. Many people go their whole lives without really getting to know their neighbors. Find a neighbor you’ve never met and offer to sweep their patio, mow their lawn or help them with some other task they have to do.27 POINTS
99. IMAGE. Zombies need to buy toilet paper too, right? What does that transaction look like?67 POINTS
105. IMAGE. You’ve heard of Ronald Reagan’s “Trickle-down Economics”? The idea is that when rich people get richer, they spend more money doing things like getting their nails done and having their Porches waxed, and that in turn creates more jobs for pedicurist and car washers and other lower income families. Show us what trickle-down ice-cream-onomics looks like: One person on top, messily eating an enormous, melting Sunday, with two people on the floor below, trying to catch the drippings in their mouths as they fall. This needs to be a real mess.38 POINTS
111. VIDEO. There is a retirement home in Baltimore, MD called Rolland Park Place. My grandmother lives there. Bring flowers, chocolate or funny homemade or store-bought cards for some of the residents. Since this is a bit nepotistic, if Rolland Park Place is out-of-the-way for you, do the same at another retirement home. You must interact with the residents.68 POINTS
119. VIDEO. “Jump the shark”. You will be penalized if you are bitten or eaten by a shark, so plan accordingly. (Liberal interpretations of this item are encouraged.)21 POINTS
164. VIDEO. Your friend is in bed, not feeling well. Feed them a big bowl of warm (not hot) chicken noodle soup. One caveat: instead of feeding them with a spoon, use a leaf-blower.73 POINTS
http://youtu.be/4OyxjEbFWQk – the whole cut
181. VIDEO (20 seconds). The 1980s were great for break-dancing and neon clothing. Remember the “backspin?” Have a junker car do a “backspin” (upside down) on a piece of cardboard set to 1980s rap. The car must have some neon decoration.167 POINTS
118. VIDEO. More Youtube videos should be close-captioned. Using YouTube’s close-captioning, close-caption one of the videos you submitted for another item. It must have significant dialogue in it. 26 POINTS
173.VIDEO. You see people holding up signs from time to time that say “free hugs.” I have always been wary of those people. I don’t know what it is they’re after. Are they trying to cop a feel? Get me to buy a timeshare? I avoid them. But your “free hugs” sign won’t leave any doubt in the readers’ minds… Wearing a bathing suit, cover every inch of your exposed skin with honey, whipped cream, syrup or jam (if you’ve already submitted an image with peanut butter it will be accepted). Hold a sign on a busy public sidewalk that reads, “Free Hugs.” Enthusiastically attempt to recruit hug-victims.98 POINTS
195. Michigan I don’t have the original text but we had to find a woman in Livonia Mi at 8 pm and must have your hair in a unique style to get your picture taken I think it was 31 points.