Gishwhes 2016

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As if I wasn’t aware already of how fast time goes by, it’s been a month since I participated in the craziness that is “gishwhes“.  This was the fourth year The Sis and I challenged ourselves in the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen, and as always, it was the creative boost I needed.

For those of you unfamiliar with the hunt, it was started by actor/philanthropist Misha Collins.  He plays the angel, Castiel on Supernatural.  The week long adventure includes making things, doing things, finding things, and taking pictures or video to document your achievement.

Falkor2014The Sis and I are part of Team Falkor, and always will be!  This year our team was comprised solely of amazing women who are among some of the best people I have never met.  As the scavenger hunt is international and online, I have yet to meet some of my teammates, although the friendships formed despite this last a lifetime.  The group is encouraging, supportive, and just plain awesome all year round (a few of them were my beta readers for my pilot).

It would be amazing to win just so we could all get together, and yes, a desperately needed vacation to a foreign land would fantastic as well. 😉

It is surprising what you can accomplish in a week, and what people are willing to help you do.  There were about 175 items on this year’s list, and while some are easier than others – repurpose artichokes, there are some that seem almost impossible – one included NASA.  The Sis and I are usually on our own, moving has not been overly helpful to creating a core group of fellow geeks who can help, but together we were able to accomplish 14 items and had 2 more we were so, so close to finishing.

The hunt always includes good deeds among the crazy antics, and for the geek in us, there are always a couple Star Wars themed items, one usually includes a stormtrooper.  Most of our team members areFreckles devoted Whovians, so we always include at least one Doctor Who reference.  This year was a freckle constellation.  The Sis and I like taking our time on items, so we generally choose those that take planning and effort and then go out and snapshot like 8 in one day.  We have one team member, fondly nicknamed “The Hammer”, for her sheer mind-blowing ability to hammer out multiple items every day.  I think her name was on 35 items this year.

She’s awesome.

PopcornCoffinGishwhes is one of those rare things that brings people together to have fun and do good deeds.  It’s an event that you look forward to all year and plan for by saving random things you think could be useful for an item.  It helps to break you out of your shell by having you approach strangers for hugs while covered in chocolate, or helps you overcome a fear, like jumping out of an airplane, or giving blood, or even being buried in popcorn.  With roughly 175 items each year, you can imagine the possibilities.

It’s also one of those things that makes you a little more brave and leaves you with good feelings that you want to maintain the rest of the year.  You may be willing to try new things and continue those good deeds because being a part of gishwhes makes you a part of something bigger.  You’ve become part of a group of similarly minded people who will support you and encourage you and in turn, you will want to do the same.

I know, all that from a scavenger hunt…you’d be surprised.  Click the link above to learn more, and hopefully you’ll be a part of the fun next year!

Miss Jean Louis

MJLThere are a number of rumors circulating about the elusive Miss Jean Louis, and as we all know, rumors are generally based in fact.

There are also a number of questions in regards to her true nature and why she has taken on the the monumental task of babysitting Misha Collins.

To tell this tale, like any good story, we must start at the beginning…

Miss Jean Louis was born on July 28, 1887, and the fascinating thing about this date is that according to records, nothing of significance happened on this day.  Nothing at all, except for the seemingly innocent birth of this soon to be revered woman.

A confident, independent, and adventurous spirit, Miss Jean Louis soon bored of the tedium of “regular” life and dedicated herself to finding someone else in the world who could see it as she did.  She needed a partner in crime, so to speak, and so she set off on what can only be described as an odyssey in the vein of Homer.

She would have to wait many years, more than she imagined, for the stars to align and bring about the birth of a similarly minded individual.  In that time, she would experience a full life, one of which most people would not believe, nor could be discussed in polite society.  What she did not know, could not know, was what was in store for her by seeking out such a kindred spirit.

MishaSockMonkeyInstead of finding someone with whom she could share a life designed to keep the mundane at bay, she found a cyclone encapsulated in human form, one that needed structure and oversight.  Not one to give up, no matter the odds, Miss Jean Louis decided to help her newfound ally.  She would guide him, and offer him her sage wisdom of a life well lived, knowing that eventually, together, they would do great things.

History will remember them fondly, for if they do not, Miss Jean Louis will be there with an encouraging word to ensure it.

How to Recover from Burnout

SherlockBoredAs many of you are aware, I like my routine, but something about it recently has created the side effect of “burnout”.  I’ve had little motivation to do much beyond what is absolutely necessary, and even those things have taken great effort.

I’ve been tired.  I don’t feel compelled to write anything.  I haven’t done those responsible things you’re supposed to as a grown up, and it sort of came out of nowhere.

I feel that some of the blame can be placed on the vicarious living I’ve been doing through books and gaming, even my own stories.  All these characters are having adventures, meeting new people, and are seeing amazing sights, while I sit on my butt.  The other day at work, it was yet another slow night and I was writing notes for my fanfiction when the cook asked me if I was writing about my own life.

I couldn’t help but laugh, like a big hearty laugh.

I told him I write fantasy and science fiction, so that didn’t really apply, and then I waved my hand about the bar/restaurant as an explanation.  This is my life, well, my working life any way, and it blows.

We moved back to a city I don’t like to get back on our feet, and all we’ve done is struggle.  I was unemployed in LA for two years, and since taking this current job a year ago, all I’ve done is job hunt, so I feel like I’ve been perpetually searching and sending out resumes for a good job (to no avail) forever.  This in turn affects my writing.

I think it’s this cycle that has caused the burnout.  I’m just frustrated and bored with my life.

Falkor2014Luckily, I do have one thing to look forward to, and it couldn’t be more timely, Gishwhes is upon us.

The Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen begins tomorrow morning.  This will be the fourth year The Sis and I take part on Team Falkor.  It is a crazy week of creative endeavors, acts of kindness, nearly impossible tasks, and sometimes utter nonsense that brings together a group of people from around the world with one purpose – to make a change – for ourselves and for others.

So, what does this have to do with recovering from burnout?

The routines we rely on, the normal day to day that sometimes wears us down is something we occasionally need a break from.  This is why vacations are so important for overall well being – they tend to relieve all those internal and external pressures we put upon ourselves and bring us back to our equilibrium while reinvigorating our passions.

But…sometimes we are constrained by our circumstances, and yet we need to find avenues we can explore that inspire and invigorate us.  Gishwhes, for me, is the perfect example of that.  It’s challenging and creative, makes you think outside the box, and for the most part, costs very little to be a part of.  Also, the feelings of creativity, inspiration, and kindness last long after the hunt is over.

I’ve been trying to find inexpensive means of enjoying things in my current city, and you’d be surprised what you can do as a local.  Often times museums, shows, even restaurants offer special deals for locals.  Some movie theaters offer specials on a certain day of the week – here in Vegas we have $5 Tuesdays.  Some communities offer a number of free events through the county government, the library, or the arts district, you just have to do a little searching.

It’s no vacation to a tropical island or London, but it’s a step in the direction of doing something different.

If you’d like to a little break from the monotony, and maybe escape the threat of burnout, Team Falkor is always looking for unofficial team members.  Sometimes, an item calls for a specific landmark somewhere in the world, or the use of technology most of us don’t have access to, or something so random we have no idea how we’ll accomplish it, and yet, you could be the answer.

Next week will be a little unconventional, so keep an eye out for the unusual requests, and if you’d like to help, let me know, and join me in saying goodbye to burnout!

Have a great weekend everyone!

GisHWheS 2015

The first week of the month was the crazy, creative/inventive, do-gooding time known as the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen aka GisHWheS.  The Sis and I participated again, our third year, although due to a maddening work schedule, I had very little hand in doing much this year.  My only contribution was an item that required we make an evening gown out of construction paper, and a minor role towards the completion of a couple other items.  The rest was all The Sis.

LeiaBreadonPlateShe did an amazing job of making Princess Leia out of bread, an Italian landmark out of food on a pizza, a kale hat, Hoover Dam out of cake, a Winter Soldier arm for our cosplay, and my personal favorite, a dog of mass destruction which we based on an episode of Doctor Who, entitled A Town Called Mercy, and a few other things like doing an impression of June Cleaver vacuuming the lawn, making a video called Tai Chi Breakfast, and writing a Yelp review for the hunt.Loki Cyborg Gunslinger

If you’re interested in finding your creative side and discovering how far you can push yourself in a week to go out side your comfort zone and do things you thought impossible, visit the website to learn how you can become a part of the madness.  The teams consist of 15 people, but if you don’t have 14 friends who are willing to be as crazy as you are, you will be matched with a team, or you can create one with those you do know, and by the end of the registration period, the empty slots will be filled with those other abnosome people around the world who want to be a part of it.

It’s a great time that is really hard to explain.  Here’s my Yelp review for a little insight. 😉 I wrote it with about 15 mins to spare.

GisHWhes RevIEwYou don’t need to wait for this one time of year to be creative or do nice things for others, but you’ll find yourself more inspired to continue to do such for quite sometime afterward.  The event sort of changes your perspective and you’ll make great friends with people you may never meet, but find you have a lot in common with.  You’ll look at mundane objects differently, wondering if you should save them for next year’s hunt, just in case.  You’ll consider buying a stormtrooper costume, want to learn how to sew, and begin stockpiling random information that may prove useful in the future.  Seriously, so much fun and so exhausting.

As next year’s hunt starts registration, I’ll send out the word again, and maybe, we can work together!

Have a great weekend everyone!

I’m Baaack (and I Have a Few Things to Share)

Hi everyone!

GISHWHES has ended and I’m trying to return to my abnormal normal.  That routine I love so much was completely lost in a week full of chaos, slapdash, and mind-numbing exhaustion.  Saturday I had to put my house back together, and Sunday I slept about 12 hours and still only felt partially coherent.  There’s still cleaning, laundry, and reorganizing to be done, but for now, at least I can see my floor again.  For a little insight into what we do, one of my team members created a Tumblr account last year and has been slowly adding pictures from this year’s hunt.  You’ll quickly understand that I am not joking when I say it’s a crazy week; 15 people to a team, usually not in the same place, trying to accomplish 185 items.  Madness.

So, now that that’s over, I need to get back to work.  It will probably take a few days to read all the articles and such that are pending in my inbox, but here are a couple things in particular I’d like to share, both found via Aerogramme Writers’ Studio –

1.  The Cesar Egido Serrano Foundation’s ‘Museum of Words’ International Flash Fiction Contest is accepting entries until November 23rd. The competition is for very short fiction pieces (max of 100 words).  Top prize is $20,000, with three runners-up each receiving $2,000.  Not too shabby. 🙂  Here’s the link for more information.

2.  Wattpad (this is the link to the article) – for writers and readers.  This sounds like a wonderful opportunity, and as I’m still making my way through this labyrinth of information, if any of you are familiar with this site, please share your insights.

And to get myself back on track, here’s the quote of the week:

Sometimes we have to let things go

Happy Monday!  And best wishes to you!

The Insanity Has Begun

Falkor2014GISHWHES  started on Saturday, and this is what I forewarned you all about…the craziness that would ensue.  I apologize now for my absence, and will be back and in the swing of things come next Monday.

If you’re on Twitter, you may have witnessed some of the randomness that occurs during this time aka “the hunt”.  Keep an eye out.  I’m on Team Falkor, that’s him on the left, from the movie The Neverending Story.  If you’d like to help, please follow @FishinOrlando to help our team earn some points.  Thank you in advance!

When it is safe to post images, I will, to show you what creative genius lies in all of us.  If you’re interested in joining next year, visit the GISHWHES site and take a look around.  It is a lot of fun.  It’s challenging.  And completely worth the effort.  You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish in such a short time.

Have a wonderful week everyone!  Keep up your hard work and “see” you next week!

GISHWHES Is Coming!

WoosterLast year I participated in something unlike anything I ever had before, the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen, fondly known as GISHWHES, and it is upon us once again as of August 2nd.  If you’re unfamiliar with this madness, here’s the link to the site, although that probably won’t give you any further insight…it didn’t for me last year.  So here’s a little overview without spoiling the unknown:

It was created by the ingenious mind of Misha Collins, Castiel from Supernatural, who I knew nothing about until this event.  I only watched Supernatural this past year.  Fellow geeks are mocking me.  I can hear it.  As the title reveals, it is a team oriented international scavenger hunt; a list of items with corresponding values to accomplish in one week’s time is the goal.  The quest items are a mix of creative ingenuity, random acts of kindness, and everything in between.  You take pictures or video, depending on what is specified, to prove the tasks have been completed.

Last year my sister and I participated with our friends in Arizona, and as we hadn’t made many friends in LA yet who could offer their support both emotionally and/or physically, we were left to our own devices.  We accomplished 20 items.  Not too shabby.  Here are a few pictures of what we did – Commemorate a fictional location (we chose this location as the Entrance to Hades) by placing a historical landmark plaque, create a teddy bear hostage situation, place a purple GISHWHES sweater on the statue of a famous person (that was the best we could do), and “release the Kraken”.

Hades(totheEntrance)BearHostagesBeethoven2Kraken2

Why I am I sharing this with you, you might ask?  As a forewarning. 🙂  Firstly, I may be absent for the week because it takes a lot of time and effort to accomplish the tasks, but it is so worth it.  Secondly, because now that I have a small group of international friends at my fingertips, you could offer your support by aiding with items I would otherwise not have access to, i.e. last year one of the items was a specific task photographed in front of Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany.  And finally, if you’re looking for something to jumpstart your creative juices, this will do it.  So if you’re up for the challenge you can join and start your own team, or be added to one randomly.  If you’d like to offer your support, that would be appreciated as well.

And as a bonus, if you are on the winning team, this year’s prize is a trip to King’s Landing (Game of Thrones) in Croatia.  Awesome!!  And I want it!  I better get my passport in order.

*Oh, and that strange creature above was last year’s mascot, the wooster.

Have a great week everyone!