Friday, July 9

2020 GISH OR The Year We Finally Got Into The Book

Everyone knows 2020 was weird, blah blah blah.  And while Gish was different than previous years, it was even more welcome and as usual it was such a bizarre, much needed experience.  If you're unfamiliar, Gish is an experience and creation based scavenger hunt which happens each summer.  Our team, the Lunicorns, has participated for the last 6 years with a variation in team members and it's the highlight of the year. Jump into the pool for some camping.

You can check out some previous Gish (previously known as Gishwhes) here.  A long list is dropped at the start of the hunt, topping out at about 200, and teams are given about 1 week to complete as many items as possible and complete them as well as possible.  As the week progresses we get more tired and start asking our friends and family for more obtuse favors ("Do you know anyone with an industrial cotton candy machine?") and just try to get things done and submitted.  The hunt went on, despite covid.  Because of covid, the list also included a "kids menu" of some silly and less elaborate things for folks to do with their kiddos.  As per usual, we had a team scattered around the world and managed to get a lot of things submitted.  This was the first year I wasn't captain of the team and I feel validated that apparently it is as much work and difficult as I thought... Our 2020 Captain, a veteran Gisher, said, "Never again."  She made a great cotton candy hairdo though.  Every year there is a coffee table book published with some of the best items from the hunt.  Our team never made it, though, obviously we should have.  But this year we got some recognition.  It was item #54, underwater camping, which finally got some external love.  Here's the hard work. 🥰

#2 Carry on and on and on, wayward son! Select up to one minute from the provided backing track of Kansas' classic anthem, Carry On Wayward Son. With at least five physically distanced people, record yourself singing along to the track - the more singers, the merrier.

#4 Plant the seeds of change to end food waste. Grow something from your food scraps or waste in your kitchen. Show us you planting it, then if there is any sprout or progress by the end of the week, show that, too. Oh- and you should upcycle something that’s not typically a planter as your pot (an old shoe, a disused jewelry box, etc.) Post an image of your planter on social media tagged #WeSowWeGrow!


#5 The LEGO Master Model Builders are working to #RebuildtheWorld, which is full of undiscovered creatures. Luckily, Gishers are on the job. Build a hybrid animal or cryptid creature out of the legendary LOCKING BRICKS, then take a forced-perspective picture of it coming after you. Post your creation to social media tagging @LEGO_Group (@LEGO on Instagram), #RebuildTheWorld & #GISH

#9 Nail art has reached new levels these days, but it hasn't forayed much into the fine art of nail signage. Let's see a miniature protest poster painted on a fingernail.

#10 Don't you hate being called two-faced? Maybe they meant something different than what you think. Using make-up or body paint, let's see an exact replica of your face on your belly. Take a pic proudly showing your two faces.

#11 The art of rock balancing is said to open up creative pathways in your brain. But potato balancing has been proven to actually provide a shortcut to enlightenment. That's why we found you, in nature (or your backyard), meditating near the balanced potatoes.

#12 Carve a piece of soap into something you definitely wouldn't want near or touching your hands. (Make sure to save and re-use the shavings.)

#13 When "our favorite childhood toy" slams full speed into "things that can be preserved in vinegar" the result is the "Pickle-Me-Elmo". Show us one. - Dave L.

#14 Tie-dye something that definitely, absolutely, should not be tie-dyed. (You can use homemade vegetable dyes, if you like.)

#19 (TIMELAPSE) A melted-crayon rainbow "drip painting" portrait of an LGBTQIA icon or message of LGBTQIA inclusion and support.

#20 In some circumstances, blind or visually impaired people can sometimes use a little assistance from sighted people. If you're a sighted person, sign up for the Be My Eyes and submit a photo with the open on your phone. We trust you that you will actually use it and not just download it. Don't practice bad karma.

#21 Gyms have closed due to the pandemic, but luckily Gishers have innovated "gym workout machines" made from household liances and objects. Let's see your workout video set to rockin' music.

#22 Depict something you struggle with (mental health issues, a personal issue, etc) as a strange cryptid you encountered in the woods. Portray yourself befriending it as a new camp buddy or defeating it powerfully.

#28 Movies and lore often focus on the everyday scaring and terrorizing that monsters do. Let's see one of the most mundane things a horror icon has to do in their daily lives.


#32 (SIDE-BY-SIDE) Your loved ones have merit. There are so many things that are great about them! Create a merit badge for at least one person in your life showcasing a quality about them that you really love, and then present it to them (over Zoom is fine). Submit the close-up of the badge and the image of your friend receiving it, with a footnote describing what it signifies, if it is not obvious.

#33 You have Merit, too! There are so many things you know how to do, and do well — as well as many things that you are just good at naturally, like being a good friend. Create a sash and decorate it with two or more merit badges identifying all the things about yourself that you are proud of. If the badges don't make it clear, make sure to list their meaning in a footnote at the bottom of the image.

What's something that you've never cooked or baked because it just seemed too daunting or difficult? Something you would never even begin to attempt to create no matter how good a chef you were. Cook that thing. Submit a side-by-side image showing what you created in one image; in the other, an example of an expert-level creation of the same food.

#38 Writer's Block

#39 Flower petal mandala with a belly button at its center


#40 Create a message of hope on your mask. Wear it proudly.

#42 What is GISH? We're not exactly sure, but we sure want to read what you think it is. Write a 250-500 word essay and have it published to, as an op-ed in your local paper, or on any other curated blogging site (cannot be just a social media post). Your essay must employ the following phrases, "unreasonable pain and suffering," and "it seemed like a good idea at the time." Submit a screenshot of your essay and provide a link to your public post in the comments.

#44 (STOP MOTION) Plant a "seed," and using stop motion, show us something unexpected sprouting from the ground. - Cass

#46 Halloween is just around the corner, and COVID concerns are likely to interfere. Design a physically-distanced trick-or-treater candy delivery system. You must demonstrate that it can deliver candy into the bags of a trick-or-treater from an impressive distance. You may not use a drone to complete this item. -Dawn T.

#47 It wouldn't be summer camp without a game of physically-distanced Capture the Flag! Create a team flag and hang it somewhere publicly accessible outdoors that is NOT at your home or yard. Post the GPS coordinates on the GISH or social media so other teams can locate it. Then go find at least one other team's flag and "capture" it with a photograph. (No actual touching or taking of the flag allowed.) Make sure to include your victorious self in the picture.

#51 Present your significant other with a beautifully hand-cut, dramatic, 24-carrot ring. That is not a typo. - Dave L.

#54 Anyone can camp in the middle of the forest, but with wildfire season at a high, that's just too risky, and campgrounds are too crowded. Pitch your tent underwater to be safe! We want to see it all: a tent, cooler, sleeping bags… and, of course, a lone camper, roasting marshmallows over a "campfire."

#55 UP TO 30 Seconds- Don't touch that dial! Make a cheesy, 80's-style sit-com "opening credits" video of your team.

#58 (TEAM GRID ITEM) Some people have politicized the wearing of masks as a violation of freedom. Create a stealth mask that people can wear around anti-maskers without stirring controversy: paint a photo-realistic face of YOUR face on a mask so casual observers won't know that you're actually a thoughtful citizen. Take a photo of each member of your team wearing your not-a-mask mask and submit a grid image. You should all be recognizable.

#59 The interior roofs of most cars are boring — but not yours. Paint a re-creation of all or part of the Sistine Chapel ceiling on the interior roof of your car. — Inspired by Rebecca T.

#60 They say you shouldn't bury your feelings, but in this case, we'll make an exception. Bury your anger or frustration and give it a proper funeral. - Misha’s Mom

Nothing's more annoying than cracking an egg over the campfire and getting shells in the pan. But now with new, patent-pending GISHCORP Zippable Eggs, it's no longer a problem! The zipper must go around the circumference of a real eggshell and really work to open and close the shell and release real egg yolk and whites.

#69 Let's Tulpa COVID out of existence. Create your own artistic version of the Amabie, a Japanese monster said to cure disease if a picture of it is displayed. You may use any medium. - Laura B

(Up to 2 minutes)Interview someone who was there for a momentous time in history at least 50 years ago: D-day, the dust bowl, Depression bread lines, Pearl Harbor, Woodstock — you get the idea. Check out StoryCorps for examples, and Story Corps Questions for ideas on conversational prompts. #MyGISHStory

#80 Gourd your loins. Create a swimsuit out of the exterior of a gourd. Remember: it's a zero-waste hunt, so find a way to use or consume the interior of the gourd. (Of course, you always wear a fresh gourd, not a dried one, for health & safety reasons.)

#83 They say you can't get blood from a stone. Prove them wrong: draw blood from a stone.

#88 In the past, we asked you to Salt and Pepper Iron Man, so it seems only fitting you create a Spice-Art tribute to Iron Man's creator, the late, great Stan Lee. Whether it is the man himself, or his comic book creations, create a Spicy-Art tribute to Stan. Excelsior!

#91 Bugs get bored, too. Build a tiny board game for bugs and show them playing.

#97 In Supernatural, Sam and Dean use salt to fight against the bad guys. Depict a cryptid or monster using only salt. - Ashlynn A.

#106 The Curiosity rover has been driving on Mars since 2012, collecting close-up images of the Mars surface. The rover team uses these images to train the rover how to recognize different types of terrain by itself, to improve the rover's autonomous driving ability. Help classify some of the Mars images that the rover team will actually use to train the rover. Sign up at AI4Mars, complete the tutorial, and complete at least one image classification exercise. Send us a screenshot of your completed image classification. - Dave L.

#107 One of the best things about summer carnivals is food on a stick, but it's usually junk food or shish kebabs, and that's so limiting! Make an upscale 7-course dinner-on-a-stick worthy of a Michelin 4-star restaurant. Every course, from the amuse-bouche to the salad to dessert, should be represented, and it must be beautifully presented. All courses must be served on a single stick.

#109 (SIDE-BY-SIDE) You've heard of friendship bracelets, yes? We're making Friendship FaceMasks! Using our guide, make a mask for you and your friend. Pose side-by-side and 6 feet apart.

#110 NASA launched the "Perseverance" rover to Mars this week. The rover is carrying "Ingenuity" tucked underneath the rover - the first-ever planetary helicopter. Create your own model version of Ingenuity using only paper and glue, no other materials. - Dave L.

#116 The members of our community experiencing homelessness are struggling the hardest with lack of access to disinfectants, hand sanitizers, and masks. Set up a physically-distanced donation station in an ropriate area with cloth masks and hand sanitizer, soap, bottled water, pre-wred snacks or other survival needs in ziplock bags clipped to a fence or other location. IMPORTANT NOTE: If you do this, take the utmost care so you do not transmit the virus in case you're an asymptomatic carrier: Only handle items with gloved hands and only while wearing a mask yourself, and stay away from others.

A person sporting a pink cotton candy beehive hairdo, made of real cotton candy.

#124 Invent LEGO Socks. Not socks made out of LEGO (we already have those). We mean socks that protect your feet when you step on a LEGO brick in the middle of the night. Not shoes. SOCKS.

#125 Create a physically-distanced show of SUPPORT for hospital workers. If it is safe for you to do so in your area, place a sign outside a hospital wearing a mask and gloves showing your reciation. Do not come into contact with others.

It's hard not to be dazzled by your favorite celebrity. Create a bedazzled portrait of them, then post it to social media and tag @GISH and the celebrity with #YouDazzleMe. Then, submit the original image and the social media link to us.

#137 Create a "beaded" curtain out of whatever you can find in your kitchen that is NOT beads or pasta.

#140 You know the old saying: something old, something new, something borrowed and something polyethylene. Create a beautiful wedding gown made out of recycled plastic shopping bags and other plastic refuse. (Recycle afterwards!)

#145 Lasts: Find an old photo that depicts the last of something for you. For example: 1. The last time I held your hand 2. The last time I saw you 3. The last time we hugged 4. The last time my parent carried me in from the car 5. The last time I felt truly carefree 6. etc.

#152 Using forced perspective, take a portrait with your pet aligned so that the pet's nose and mouth become your nose and mouth, as though you are one entity.

#153 At Camp Welaka, the Girl Scouts write wishes on paper airplanes and send them out into the world. But we don't trust airlines to get our wishes where they need to go. Write your wishes on tiny pieces of hand-made biodegradable confetti made from leaves and cast them into the wind. — Inspired by Katie

#156 In our most recent mini-hunt, we wrote letters to Willie Simmons, a man who has been jailed in Alabama for 38 years over a matter of a $9 robbery. He's still in prison, despite good behavior, a clear victim of the inequities of the for-profit incarceration system in the United States. Let's do something about that. Send an origami dove to Gov. Kay Ivey (600 Dexter Ave, Montgomery, AL 36130). On it, write a quote about justice and "Uncage Willie Simmons."

#159 Every 2 minutes, a child dies of malaria as a result of a mosquito bite. But we can help. Get at least 10 people not on your team to chip in at least $1 each to Nothing But Nets (for a total of $10) to provide at least 2 long-lasting insecticidal bed nets to families in impoverished countries. Submit an image with proof of your donation(s).

#166 Burning Man has been canceled, but COVID can't take the festival of radical self-reliance away from us. Introducing Backyard Burning Man! Build a miniature version of "The Man" in your back yard or driveway and burn it in effigy. (You may ONLY set it ablaze if you can do so safely-- otherwise, you may submit your unburned work.) And of course, remember: leave no trace when you're done.

#169 (SIDE-BY-SIDE) Last year, we started the #GISH International Forest. (If you played last year, how are your trees doing? Check in on them regularly!) This year, we're doubling-down on the challenge: plant at LEAST one tree for the #GISH International Forest -- in person if you can safely do so, or through an organization like One Tree Planted, if you prefer. Then, start a tree in your own home from a seed. You can plant seeds from a citrus fruit, an avocado seed, pine cone seeds, etc. Show us a picture of your sapling and your seed being planted. (If you don't have a way to safely plant a seedling, you can use One Tree Planted or another tree-planting site.)

#170 Bogie and Bacall. Sandy and Danny. Doc and Marty. Turner and Hooch. Some movie duos stand the test of time, and Misha and the Queen are no different. Draw or paint a poster of HRH and Misha as an iconic pairing in a scene from a classic or beloved film. You must digitally (or old fashioned) paint or draw this. You're not permitted to simply photoshop their heads on the bodies of actors on a movie poster. For obvious reasons, you may not depict any scene from Titanic or Gone With The Wind.

#173 You're watching your carb intake, so skip the pasta today... literally. Create the longest linguine noodle you can and attempt to use it as a jump rope. PS: This is a zero-waste Hunt, so be prepared to eat what you make - make sure to skip your noodles over a clean surface! (Need help learning to make long-guine? @hipcooks has a lesson in the longest linguini-making.)

#174 How are horn players weathering COVID? Show us a pandemic-safe wind instrument, such as a saxophone or other horn modified to be n95 filtered (without muting the instrument.) Hint, the instrument wears the mask, not just the player.

#177 The Black Lives Matter movement inspired a lot of people to take action to address the realities of police brutality and the oppression that people of color live within many parts of the world every day. Thousands of people from all walks of life have been protesting, but with shelter-in-place restrictions and health considerations due to COVID, not everybody who has wanted to attend a rally or protest has been able to do so. We're changing that. We're hosting a virtual rally: post an image of yourself holding a poster with a message supporting equality or calling for an end to police brutality. Tag it #GISH4Equality and encourage your friends and teammates to participate, too. Then, submit your photo grid of yourself with your poster as well as the photos of other friends and teammates that joined in. Please submit the original picture grid of yourselves with your posters, NOT a screenshot of your posts.

#178 Ruth Bader Ginsburg is known for her strength, her measured and wise jurisprudence, and her signature lace collars. But as all Gishers know, lacework used to be used to depict historic moments, so clearly you should crochet or knit a lace collar featuring a portrait of RBG or that conveys a message to her.

#179 Starting last week, Italy began debate on Alessandro Zan's anti-discrimination bill to make hate speech and discrimination against LGBT people a punishable offense. Show your support: draw an Italian landmark in rainbow colors.

#180 A hinged jewelry box, but instead of a spinning ballerina inside, it's a pole dancer. (no nudity)

#185 (UP TO 1 MINUTE) Our friend Shoshannah Stern reads children's stories in ASL with her #OperationASLStorytime. Let's take a page out of her book: Find your favorite childhood story and read a page from it, all in sign language. (If you aren't fluent, contact someone who is to verify accuracy. Any dialect is fine.)

#190 Remember how the United States is holding children, separated from their families, in cages at the border for the "crime" of asking for legal asylum? Yeah, we haven't forgotten either. Sign up to volunteer remotely with Every Last One, an organization that helps advocate for the children and is guiding them out of detention and into the arms of their families when possible, or screened sponsors when not. Submit a screenshot of your completed volunteer form. (On your honor, follow through!)

#196 (Up to 30 Seconds) No matter where you live, chances are you live on someone's indigenous land — but unless you are an indigenous person, you may not even know it. One person member of your team is to research the region you live in and discover more about whose traditional territory they live on. (Native-land is a good place to start if you're in North America.) Then, make a territory acknowledgement of the area. If you are an indigenous person, please introduce yourself and your territory.

#199 We’re all here because of Steve Wozniak. Why? He’s the co-founder of Apple and spearheaded the creation of the very first Apple personal computer. He was also the first to bring color to personal computers. So clearly without Steve, we wouldn’t have GISH… or at least it would otherwise be played with carrier pigeons for communication (many of which wouldn’t make it over the oceans). So actually, Steve has also saved millions of carrier pigeons from drowning (not sure why that’s not in Wikipedia). Anyway, it’s Steve’s birthday on the 11th of August, so we’ve decided to honor him with a little of the GISH Community’s creativity as a thank you for helping steward in personal computers as well as for saving so many carrier pigeons. He’s a prankster, so he’ll enjoy it. Your first Woz birthday item is: Have you ever heard of Woz’s happiness algorithm? No? Well, we’re about to blow your mind. Here’s his secret to happiness: Happiness = Smiles - Frowns. That’s it. It’s that simple… and it works. We think that algorithm will stand the test of time, but we’ve heard you have a better one! Have one person on your team write out their personal “formula for happiness’ in an equation (simple or complex) on a chalkboard, piece of paper, or artistically using flower petals, twigs, or stones and take a picture of it so we can read it. Post your image on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, and make sure to include the hashtags #GISH and #WozdomDay2! Then upload the original photo to us and include a link to your public post on social media in the comments!

#202 Rocks feel left out… side. Perfectly paint a rock to look exactly like a household tech gadget or kitchen utensil. Then lay it next to the real thing for your submission.

#205 New Zealand PM Jacinda Arden has led her nation to being one of the few to get COVID completely under control. Create a portrait of her, carved into the side of a kiwifruit, in honor of a job well done.

#209 KIDS MENU. Find 10 different things that are all yellow and arrange them into a pretty picture.

#210 KIDS MENU. Line up every item in the door of the refrigerator from shortest to tallest.

#214 KIDS MENU It's time for the Great GISH Leaf Census! How many different kinds of leaves are in your backyard? Count them, then take a photo of one of each leaf arranged on the kitchen table

#217 KIDS MENU How many books can you balance on your head? Take a picture to prove it.

#224 KIDS MENU. (UP TO ONE MINUTE) My daughter Maison is secretly a superhero named, "SuperBat." You have a secret superhero identity, too. Dress up as your superhero self and explain your name and your top 3 powers. (If you can't dress up, you can also draw it.)

#232 KIDS MENU. Find something in nature that is shaped like a heart, but is not a heart.

#238 KIDS MENU. Use chalk to draw a line outside your entire body, then draw in your face and clothing. Lay down beside it and have an adult take a picture of you with your drawing. Submit the photo of you with your drawing!

#241 KIDS MENU. How many coins or buttons can you stack without them falling over?

#247 Where do stormtroopers go in the summer? To summer camp, just like the rest of us. Show us a Stormtrooper engaged in a typical summer-camp activity: canoeing, sailing, archery, making s'mores or playing guitar by a campfire... you get the idea.

#255 Make an image of one of these 2020 Calendar Grids (like this) for any #Supernatural actor (or any other celebrity of your choosing). Post it to social media tagging the actor, #GISH & #2020MakesMeFeelLike.