'stina (texaslawchick) wrote,


GISHWHES is over, and I can now share everything that happened over the last week or so.

This year, I was a team leader, Team Gigsville, to be exact. It was made up mainly of people who were from my camp at Burning Man and the people they recruited.  The biggest bulk was from Austin, but there were some from other parts of the country as well.  I was the only GISHWHES vet in the group, and I think we worked really well together. Everyone was extraordinarily creative and put a lot of effort into the week. We had one no-show, but other than that everyone contributed something.  At the end of the week, we had submitted 127 of the 178 items on the list to scavange.
So to start on Sunday night, I said to Graham, "Let's go to Walmart." and he said, "We're going to get arrested, aren't we?" "Of course not!" I marched for the pool noodles. Graham rolled his eyes for the first, but certainly not the last, time of G.I.S.H.W.H.E.S.

So I wandered the aisles awhile, and I found a tin water dispenser, and some car floor mats. I was looking for the trash can lids to make a shield, when I passed the bathroom fixtures aisle and found a toilet lid. Graham rolled his eyes, sighed, and followed me to the ladies lingerie section, where I donned my armor and handed Graham my phone.

He took a few shots, and then instructed me to hold the toilet lid higher. I couldn't see very well because my "helmet" kept falling over my eyes.

And this is what the item number #69--Dress up in armor from items you find in a big box store and, using a pool noodle or tube of gift wrap, defend the perimeter of the ladies’ undergarments department.--looks like.

A good hunk of Sunday, I spent online looking for an inexpensive way to acquire a hundred or so "Botts Dots", which are those white or yellow or orange or red reflective dots on the highway that sometimes designate lanes or that you're about to drive off the highway. They're supposed to be inexpensive, and I suppose in the realm of multimillion dollar high construction projects they are. But for my purposes without a connection in TXDOT, the real thing wasn't going to happen.

So at lunch on Monday, I went to Academy for my substitute. And since hunting season starts soon, they were on sale! A box of 135 for $10.
I went home that night and there was plenty of daylight left to be able to put the project together and get a photograph before it needed to be reflective. I had several left over in case any of the clay pigeons broke, and they turned out to be the perfect substitute for visual purposes, though they wouldn't hold up very long if a car actually drove over them. Only two neighbors asked what was going on. I explained that I was doing a photography project.

The hardest part was getting good photos. The message was long, and I couldn't get the whole thing in a picture. So I put together the first of many G.I.S.H.W.H.E.S. collages.
And item number 84--“Death 2 Normalcy”, written in “Highway Braille” (Botts Dots) on a city street. The message must be at least 20 feet long.--looks like this:

My next project was my most ambitious, and it took several days of construction. I debated with my teammates about the interpretation of the G.I.S.H.W.H.E.S. item--#109 Make a sock monkey hat from orphaned socks.

Ultimately, I decided to go with the less obvious interpretation and decided to make a hat out of sock monkeys I made out of orphaned socks. My teammates pointed out that the sock monkeys should be wearing sock monkey hats. We started calling it the Inception Sock Monkey hat.

So most of Monday and Tuesday nights were spent making sock monkeys and then hats for the sock monkeys.

When we woke up the next morning, I made Graham take a picture of me wearing my sock monkey hat.

I almost feel like we cheated with this one. Graham and I were grocery shopping on Tuesday night, at the last second, I made him make an extra run to Whole Foods for an item.

I'm pretty sure that they wanted people to actually find and make such a thing, but it already exists here in Houston. It used to be at DiverseWorks, but at some point the Art-o-Mat (http://www.artomat.org/) moved to Whole Foods on Montrose.

G.I.S.H.W.H.E.S. Item 140--A functioning vending machine that dispenses emotions and memories. Show a customer making a purchase.--was already made for me. All I had to do was make a purchase.

The Tuesday night grocery shopping trip also yielded items for anotherG.I.S.H.W.H.E.S. project. Graham and I went up and down aisles we generally don't go to, and twinkies are not stored in where I thought the obvious place would be. But along with some colored sugar, some whipped cream in a can and a bag of twizzlers, five minutes on Wednesday morning yielded item number 47--Submit two images, side-by-side. Recreate a famous, iconic photo from junk food. For example, you could submit the black and white photo of Einstein sticking out his tongue, next to another photo of your best attempt to recreate that photo using various junk foods as your paints. I hope that makes sense. For some reason it sounds confusing as I type it. But you have to somehow figure out what I mean here and then do it. Best of luck.--was created.

I give you, the twinkie-berg.  I probably should have redone it with a more delicate tower, but it was one of those things that I wanted to go back for if I had time, and
that never turned out to be the case.
During lunch on Wednesday I got some G.I.S.H.W.H.E.S. items out of the way.

#119--Your pet has just released their first, much anticipated, heavy metal rock album. Show us the cover art. - Jessica Hicks


#151--Generate an application form for the job of “Director of Imagined Realities.”

#139--We’re writing an e-book and we want you to do our work for us. There’s a habit that was hard for you to change, but you changed it anyway. What is the habit, and what is your number one piece of advice for making that change? Please submit an image of one paragraph of text.

On Wednesday I also took a white bra to work with me. During a conference call, I decorated it with butterflies and a message of hope.  (A co-worker walked into my office as I was making it, but I was also on a conference call and he saw me on the phone before he saw me drawing on a bra and backed out of the room quietly.)  I put it aside thinking that I wouldn't be able to finish the item until Friday, when I had daylight for the photoshoot.

Graham was at rehearsal on Wednesday night, but he called me to tell me he was coming home much earlier than I anticipated. I quickly donned the bra, a corset, found a hat that went with the corset, and threw on some makeup.

And as he pulled up, I jumped in his car and said "drive!" He was a little flustered (especially since I was in my underwear and he had Thai and Chineese food sitting in the passenger seat). But we drove to the neighborhood park, and I did an impromptu photo shoot for Item number 168--At Hope Chest they create butterflies and transform lives http://www.myhopechest.org/ Channeling your inner Monet, pen a message of hope with colored ink on a white bra. Then, channel your inner supermodel and stage a public photo shoot of someone wearing this “support undergarment." (You may wear a shirt underneath it if you prefer and you must adhere to local laws. Please note that Gishwhes does not provide bail money.) Once completed, submit your image on the gishwhes website and also tweet to @MyHopeChest your awesome results on the final day of the game. Extra points for incorporating butterflies into the design.
It was one of my more nerve wracking items. I think even the less body conscious among us gets a little nervous about posing in your underwear in public, and more so for posting it. But this is a good cause. Saturday, I tweeted the photo.

Wednesday night I also worked with Play Dough for the first time in 35 years or so. I bought a newspaper on Monday and Tuesday, hoping for a good story.

Unfortunately, front page photos are either really boring or morbid. But the Monday morbid one had a bit of color, so I went for that one. The Monday story probably had a lot to do with one of the items from the list being pulled, since it involved two hot air balloons and a knock knock joke.

I submitted this for item #107--Did you see the startling news on the front page of the newspaper today? Of course you did. Using Photoshop, replace the front-page photo with a photo you’ve taken of a play-dough re-enactment of the original photo. Did that make sense? No? Figure it out. You are not allowed to email support for ANY clarification on this item. (What I lack in eloquence, I make up for with capriciousness.

Thursday turned out to be a frustrating day where I didn't really get all that much accomplished. We were trying to work out a complicated twitter call and response effort that didn't work out as well as we had hoped, and I struggled mightily with some toilet paper to attempt to make an origami sealaroo.  It was not my best effort in paper craft.

I took Friday off from work a) for G.I.S.H.W.H.E.S. and b) because I have a day to kill before the end of the fiscal year or else I lose it.  I spent a good hunk of the morning unrolling fruit rollups and organizing them according to color and wondering how on earth kids manage to have the palate to eat that stuff.  It is very sticky.  I had to take a break, though, to get Fusilli to his annual vet appointment.

So after Fusilli went to the vet in the morning (he's fine,), I put Graham in a new jacket. I justified this because Gigsville is a bona fide club (more or less) and some of its members do ride motorcycles. There was a lot more eye rolling with this one. Which is number 57--A Hell's Angel (or other bona fide member of a known motorcycle club) in a fruit leather jacket sitting astride their bike.

We couldn't find the key to his scooter to move it into better light, and I really wish we'd been able to capture the other arm better, because it's very complete and looks less like it's all kept together with tape. But this will have to do.    My husband is an unbelievably good sport.

On Friday afternoon, Graham and I went to the Buffalo Bayou Cistern for the first time. It's very recently open to the public, and it's a very neat space that I've wanted to see for a while.

There was a G.I.S.H.W.H.E.S. motive as well. Item #117--Gishwhes has conquered the Great Wall, South American waterfalls, the Champs-Élysées, and even SPACE! Help gishwhes conquer new territory— take gishwhes somewhere epic that it’s never been before.--would be perfect there, since it's pretty awesome AND it's only been open for a few months.

I overlayed the echo from the chamber on a video I made of photos from the room:

Friday night was art night. I completed a few paintings for items

#159 Zachary Levi is one of a kind. But what would be better than Zachary Levi? A pair of Zachary Levis, naturally. Paint a portrait of Zachary Levi on a pair of jeans. (The jeans may be distressed, but the depiction of Zachary should not be.) Feel free to get Zachary to model the pants.


#13 It’s a well-known fact that Pablo Picasso was a huge “Supernatural” fan. He painted portraits of Mark Sheppard, Jensen Ackles, Ruth Connell, Sam Smith, Richard Speight Jr., Matt Cohen, Jared Padalecki, Andrew Dabb, Rob Benedict, Misha Collins, Bob Singer, and many of the other cast and crew members. Sadly, until now, these great works have been lost to the world. Fortunately, your team has unearthed one of these priceless works.

I went with a Chuck portrait for the Levi painting, because I really loved Chuck, and I went with a version of Castiel from Supernatural done in the style of Picasso's Don Quixote because I like that image a lot. I tried to replicate the sun.  I'm really, really happy with the Picasso knockoff, and I may very well frame it.

Friday night I also worked with sand as my media for the first time in quite awhile. We bought a bag of sand at Southland Hardware for about $3.50, and I went to work with a loaf pan and some water. The car, my friend Dan gave me when we were in the wreck several years ago. The path is a toy we bought for Flipside. There's a puli sculpture in there as well along with a miniature of a trio of kitty cats playing under a door mat and another of a puppy dog back in the distance.

The item #85--It's summer (for those of us above the equator)! Time to go the beach! But sand castles are so dated, so gauche, so elitist, so medieval. Catch up with the times and build a sand trailer park.--was tons of fun to photograph.

Friday evening, right before it closed, I went to the Museum of Natural Science, and it turns out it's free in the last 30 minutes. I wanted to get some good video of the Foucault Pendulum, which is really awesome in theory, but can be boring through execution, especially waiting for something to happen.

I asked my professional voice over-ist for help on this one. Item #50--Virtual reality interfaces are absolutely amazing. The technology is mind-blowing. Using virtual reality and augmented headsets like the Hololens and Oculus, I have stood on the surface of Mars at Jet Propulsion Laboratories and examined the undercarriage of the Mars Rover, been in the eye of a hurricane, and have been attacked by heavily-armed 19th-century militia. It’s mind-blowing. Your task is to create a virtual reality experience totally unlike any VR experience to date. This video will require a super-short, adrenalin-pumping intro-teaser, which will let the viewers know that they are about to experience VR like never before. THEN, abruptly cut to a 360-degree clip of the most mundane activity you can imagine. BORE US TO DEATH.

Saturday, I had two items on my list left to do. First, I needed to cosplay. I knew that all of the tutus I have would come in handy one day!! And Graham has a pair of superhero socks that were perfect for this.  This was a little ridiculous.

So once again, I dressed up, dragged him outside and he was principle photography for this, item #49--Cosplay a thunderstorm, in public, complete with sound effects, lighting and rain. - Karen Hutchinson

Second, I needed to find a failure. I remembered that I have a notebook full of all of my research for my job search right after law school. I wrote down every single place I could think of to find a job: names, addresses, etc. And then I kept track of the dates that I applied to make sure I didn't double up or miss something. And then, increasingly,  I attached all of the rejection letters to the respective pages for the job to keep track. There are over 200 entries in there. I don't know why I kept it. I haven't looked at it in years. It was active from 1998 to 1999 and there is not a positive thing in there.
Interestingly enough, I did find the first two pages were all of the items that my sister Olivia and I put together for a polaroid scavenger hunt when she was in high school, probably from 1996 or 1997.  I ripped out those two pages to show her later.

So it was perfect for item #115--We all have failures and regrets. Bury one of yours and provide a tombstone with copy.After that I went through the items that were unclaimed or undone on the list.  Most of my teammates were working overtime at this point, and submissions were coming in right and left. Some people would say that they weren't able to do something and release it back to the rest of us. Someone else would ask if an item had been done yet because they had a quick idea that would work. Almost always whoever had the item would give it up so it could get done.

I had avoided item #55--Gishwhes has broken 7 Guinness World Records. Let’s see how many records you can break in 10 seconds. (Hint: record=LP)--because I didn't want to break any of my records. But I came up with an idea for submission instead.  We could have had better light and it could have been shot differently, but I thought it was pretty funny.  Celosa's appearance at the end was adorable too.

Finally, I grabbed three more items on Saturday to grab as many points as possible:
#120 Beauty is on the inside. Photoshop a revised version of your reflection in a mirror. Show us a photo of you standing in front of a mirror. But the reflection we see is what you look like on the inside. Interpret this however you like with the caption on the image: “Beauty is on the inside.”


#144 Submit two images, side-by-side. They say you regress to your childhood as you get older. Show us a photo from a part your childhood you’d most like to return to, and a photo of your current progress toward that regression.


#124 Submit a screenshot. Create a website, blogpost, or in-depth social media post explaining an aspect of the elusive Miss Jean Louis’ biography.

I didn't follow the first one very closely, but I photoshopped wording on a picture I had taken earlier because I think my beauty is in my words and memories and stories. I argue that looking in to a selfie phone is looking in the mirror.

The second is of me in Mexico as a child and my constant travels there. I loved it but hadn't been since 1992 and really wanted to go back. A series of weddings and parties reintroduced me to my love of Mexico, and I went in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

The last one was just fun to do.

And so G.I.S.H.W.H.E.S. is done! I did a bunch of other stuff on my twitter handle (@stinapag) and participated in some group items and I did one last minute item because I happened to be at a speakeasy on Saturday night and someone happened to be wearing a zoot suit.. I had a really amazing and creative team. Everyone worked really well together and everyone did what they could to help. The creativity and whimsy and giving nature of every person was just outstanding, and I really had a great time with these weridos.

Our team submitted for about 127 or so (I didn't see the final submissions at 1:00 am when they shut down the list) of the 178 items, and if you thought some of my stuff was weird and creative, you should see the rest of the team.

A special shoutout to the spouses, offspring, and friends of the various team members. I know Graham was not the only person handed a camera and told to document something weird in public. And they did such a great job helping us out! Outstanding work!

This is the list of the items for GISHWHES 2016. The items in blue are the ones that our team submitted a video or image. Day one is always overwhelming and you think "there's no way we can do any of these" and then you find yourself doing more than the majority. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1265WSmglLZnOHnp2J8D1fmHO2pA2bCEK8wYlVaNjfsQ/edit#gid=0

Tags: absurd, art, costume, gishwhes

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