Friday, June 1, 2007

Are There Any Witty Quotes on Scavenging???

Hey hey, there! I apologize somewhat for the cryptic content of my last post. Maybe I'll get to it more later, but for now, I think I'd like to talk about something else.

I won't bore you too much with the backstory (you probably wouldn't understand it anyway), but I'm currently participating in an Alternate Reality Game, or ARG. It just began this week, but it looks as though it should be fun. In it, there are going to be tasks that I have to complete. The first task was called the "Gleemax Pixel Project" ("Gleemax" is the name of an evil, sentient brain that's trying to take over the world). Despite the somewhat fancy title, what this really is is a photo scavenger hunt; one in which I have to find things and then take a picture of both myself and the thing. Well, some things were easy: I either already had a picture of them, or I could get one fairly easily. Others, however...well, you'll see.

(Note: Even though this is going to be full of pictures, I don't want to suck up your bandwidth every time you visit here, so I'm just going to link to them. Yes? Good! On we go!)

There were 47 possible things to scavenge. I was able to get 28 of those (with 31 total pictures). This seems pretty good when you consider that the person with the next highest amount of pictures (so far) has only 10, and he's ugly as sin, to boot!

One unfortunate aspect was that I had to...fib to people. However, I think eventually things will come to pass which make them not fibs anymore. Basically, I told them that I had a deadline (true), that there is a large prize (not true...though I think it may be true as time passes), and that I'm one of the front-runners (which appears to be true). The problem, especially with some of these, is that people seem to have a difficult time understanding that I will go through all this for the fun of it. Most people expected that there would be some sort of reward/compensation. I suppose they don't share my philosophy. But let's get to it, shall we?

-with a person showing at least 3 tattoos
This one was supposed to be one of the first to be completed (with the exception of the stuff I already had). One of the first places I visited when I left on Thursday was a place that, among things, was a tattoo parlor. Because it always seems like the people who work at tattoo parlors are customers as well as proprietors. So I go to this guy and ask him for a picture, if only with his arm (which was fully covered in tats). His response: "What's in it for me?" He refused to help me at all. "You unbelievable jackass!" I thought, "I'm not asking for a pint of blood." But I left, sure never to buy anything from that man ever.

So the task then became much more difficult. However, as I was later walking down a street to get to some other picture, I saw this guy with one, two, three(!) tattoos on his arms. I approached him carefully (which is an art you have to master in Berkeley...well, I guess the fact that I was properly dressed, smelled decent, and had iPod earbuds coming from my pocket probably signified that I wasn't a bum) and asked to take a picture with his arm. This guy, was very nice, as were most of the people I dealt with. That's the thing about people, I find: they want to help.

-with a stuffed animal at least 5' tall
This is the first picture of me being clever (my coup de gras, however, is lower down). When most people think of "stuffed animal," they think of these. And the only places you're going to find a 5-footer is at a carnival or a spoiled girl's bedroom. I, however, thought more along the lines of this. You know, "Joes Taxidermy: You snuff 'em, we stuff 'em." And, thankfully, there is a conveniently-located stuffed bear in one of the on-campus food courts. (A quick aside: being at a university made finding a lot of this stuff so much simpler. You'll see more later.)

-with at least 10 animals
This was recommended to me by one of my coworkers. I thought I'd only be able to get 10 animals by chance in the wild; I never thought to go to a pet store (mainly because I didn't realize Berkeley had any). However, it turns out that we have a bird store, and after asking the owner nicely, she let me take a picture with these...16 (by my count) birds.

-with a copy of a book printed in the 18th century
Okay, don't be fooled by the fact that this is so early on the list. This thing was a stone-cold bitch to find. 18th Century books (i.e. written in the 1700s) are really hard to find, particularly in California. Furthermore, I was working against the clock. My coworker suggested that I should go to Doe Library (our main one) to look for a book. Unfortunately, the library closed at 5pm, and it was already 4:30. I jogged over to the library (on the middle of campus) and looked around in the "old-timey" section. Unfortunately, only the decorum was old-timey, not the selection. I ended up asking one of the information people. He told me that my best bet would be to go to the Bancroft Library (which has most of the old and/or rare books [including one made of human flesh]), which was closing....9 minutes. And so, I had to run all the way there. Here's a map of the path I took:
It was tricky, but I made it (I thank my new training regimen). I got into the Bancroft Library at 4:56pm. I explained them my (slightly totally fabricated) story about needing the picture by 9pm in order to get the prize. They resolutely told me that no pictures - not even non-flash ones - could be taken of anything, and that they'd be watching me the whole time. Having just sprinted my way there, my panting mixed well with my disappointment. They directed me to the Berkeley Public Library, which they said probably didn't have anything, but was open later.

So, there I went. As big a place as it was, my hopes weren't exactly set high. I first went to the Information Desk, and flat out asked "What's the oldest book you have?" They didn't know, so they sent me to the Paging Desk, where I asked the same question. They told me that most of their stuff was newspaper articles on microfiche, so I was then sent over to the Reference Desk. And there, thankfully, the guy remembered seeing some really old book in the basement. So, he goes to check for a couple minutes, and comes back with a book printed in 1784. Brilliant!

(Oh, if you're interested, the book's title is: The Philosophical and Political History of the Settlements and Trade of the Europeans in the East and West Indies, Vol. 2. No, it's not very catchy, but you definitely know what you're getting.

-with a magazine issue printed before 1990
This is one I'm not sure they'll count. Thing is, it is a magazine printed in 1980. Problem is, this is part of a number of magazines in a single book that I found in the stacks of the Life Sciences Library. Plus, all you can see of me is my goatee (though I think it's pretty obvious who it is, considering the other pictures). Still, it's the best I could do (though knowing that there are plenty of old magazines at my SoCal home, I can't help but feel a little cheated there).

-A bowl of nuts
Remember how I said that some of the items were easier to find than others? Yeah, this is one of them. It's just a bowl of nuts...*cough*

-next to a person dressed as a cartoon character
Among the unseen benefits of going to Comic-Con last year was having plenty of pictures of people dressed as cartoon characters which could be used for a scavenger hunt. I actually had a couple more, but I felt like any more than four would be going overboard. I told them that any or all of these could be used, with the hope of getting bonus points. (By the way, I still don't know what the heck the people in the last picture are supposed to be).

-with a celebrity
Okay, more than likely, this person is not a celebrity to you. In fact, you've probably never seen her before. But in the group that this game is playing, this probably is a good example of a celebrity. You see, most of the people who are playing this game also play Magic: The Gathering. This person, Rebbecca Guay, is one of the most famous/infamous Magic Artists in the game. Whether or not the people like her, there is no question that she is well-known in the community, thus making her a celebrity. So it probably wouldn't count in any other scavenger hunt, but it counts here, dagnabbit!

-with chocolate icing covering your face
Yes, I do realize that the stuff on my face is chocolate syrup, not chocolate icing. However, someone else got away with sending in chocolate syrup, so I figured I might as well, too.
Yes, I realize I have a really creepy face. I thought it worked well for the shot.
Yes, I realize that there is chocolate going into my goatee. That wasn't fun. :(

-A full-scale dinosaur skeleton
Remember what I said about being at a University. You have full, easy access to stuff like this! I mean, c'mon, who else has a 15-minute walk to a full-fledged dinosaur skeleton (or several, as the case was).

-next to a piece of farm equipment
I actually got to this hardware store when it was closed (and had been closed for a while). However, as Fate would have it, one of the owners was coming in for some reason. I told her my predicament, and she let me take a picture with this pitchfork (though I'm actually behind it and not next to it...semantics). She also said she had a nutcracker that looked like a squirrel (which actually would have gotten me another picture), but said she couldn't find it. Shucks.

-ordering food at a fast food restaurant
Even though this picture appears to be (and is) totally posed, I actually did order from that fast food restaurant (Blondie's Pizza, if you were wondering). I was walking by, and some bum was handing out coupons. "I haven't eaten yet," I thought, "Might as well kill two birds with one stone." (No, not those birds!) The employees were kind enough to oblige me in what would have otherwise been a very awkward situation.

I love the look on my face, by the way. It's so spaced out.

-wearing a giant shirt
Yes, I did take the shirt out of the dressing room, if you were wondering. Other than that, though, this shot isn't...well, I wasn't exactly allowed to take it, per se. You see, the store has this policy of not taking pictures of merchandise in store. In order to legally take this picture, I had to shell out $20 for this hip-hop inspired shirt for sweaty fat men (and 4XL is big, my friends. Big!). So, I just asked where the dressing room was, and took my picture in secret (as I, unfortunately, had to be wearing it). I think my face, unlike normal, was not posed for this picture.

-with half your face painted an unusual color
It's my face...half of which is green. What do you want, a song and dance?

-wearing a hat with ears
As you may be able to tell by the unusually large number of hats in this picture, I'm in a hat store - the same hat store in which I bought my new hat. It's a good thing I had gone to that hat store before, too, or else I may not have thought to gotten this hat. I must say, though, I look cute and huggably soft with that hat on. Maybe I should have bought that hat, to join the other hat I had bought at that hat store.

(Number of times "Hat" was used in the preceding paragraph: 9)

-performing a piece of interpretive dance
What the hell is interpretive dance? I mean, really? I could stumble and fall down and still call it "interpretive dance." So I figured this shouldn't be too difficult. I just contorted my body a little bit, and called it a day. The tilted camera is especially juicy.

-with a balloon at least 5' tall or wide
Again, Comic-Con comes to the rescue. I didn't actually think of this until I perusing through my pictures, looking for things that would satisfy the requests. I would say this giant Blastoise fits the bill quite nicely.

-next to a modern art sculpture
Another benefit of being at a university? Modern art is abundant in all its worthless glory! This particular one was the closest one I could find, conveniently located just outside Ramona's cafe in our upper campus. I also wanted to buy some snacks while I was there (with the exception of that pizza, I didn't eat much that day), but it was closed for the summer. :(

-with a shirt that has a picture of a monkey on it
Uh, oh, another picture that's not completely, fully endorsed by the store in which it was taken. Luckily, I didn't have to wear the shirt, so all I needed to do was hide in a corner of the store and take the shot. But, c'mon, when one of the first shirts you see in a store fulfills a requirement, that's a good sign.

-watching a TV show about Napoleon
Wow, what are the odds of a show about Napoleon coming on when I needed it? Almost nonexistent, which is why I had to go onto Netflix and watch a preview of some documentary on Napoleon. I had two pictures of myself: this one, and one with some random French dude on the screen. I opted for this one, mainly because very few people have names ending in "POLEON."

-holding or beside a picture of a president
I love my face in this one. But, yeah, this was pretty simple. Print out a picture of a president, hold it up, win. I made sure to include the president's name and term of office just to make sure nobody thought it was just some random guy. Why, though, did I choose Martin Van Buren? Well, I think he's probably the most comedic president we've ever had. Not that I actually know anything about his policies or personality, mind you, but look at him! He's funny-looking, has a funny name, and is an all-around character. I think he'll have many a guest appearance on a particular show.

-in front of a purple or pink house
According to one of my Finnish residents, pink houses are fairly commonplace in Finland. Unfortunately, this is America: Home of the Free, Not Home to Pink and Purple Houses. I was actually coming back from another place on the bus when I saw this thing. Even though it meant I'd have to wait another 15 minutes for the next bus to arrive, I had to get off then and there. I asked some lady if she'd take my picture in front of the house. "Oh, did you use to live there?" "It was another life." I replied. (I wasn't actually answering he question, mind you; that was just a non-sequitur.)

And what are those flowers doing in my hand...?

-A red & white checkered object
When I was at a Safeway, I was keeping my eyes peeled for something that was red, white, and checkered. They'd have tons of it, I figured. Tablecloths, napkins, plates, the whole shebang. Apparently, that was only in the 80s. Nowadays, it's all greens and blues and Spongebob Squarepants (hasn't that died yet?). So that was a no-go. However, I did manage to find this lovely Smuckers jar, the lid of which was red, white, and...checkered! What'd'ya know! And for those of you keeping track, I wasn't 100% fully allowed to take pictures in Safeway.

(Oh, another item that I was looking for in the Safeway: a durian. Unfortunately, they happen to be out of season at the moment, so only people who had previously owned a durian-based picture would have that covered.)

-at a retirement village
It just so happens that some of the buildings at Clark Kerr Campus were used as a retirement home called "Redwood Gardens". Convenient, no? Unfortunately, although there were several signs around the place that said "Redwood Gardens," there was nothing that said "Retirement Village" or "Retirement Home" or "Old Folks Home" or anything of that nature. However, if you search "redwood gardens retirement" on Google, it's the first thing that shows up. That counts for something, right?

...Am I right, folks?

-with a member of royalty
Ah, I believe this was me at most clever and/or smartass. When I saw "royalty" I thought to myself, "Wow, that would be such an awesome picture. Too bad I don't live in England...and have connections to the royalty there." Apparently, some of the Indian girls staying here for the summer are royalty, but whose going to believe that? (Answer: a couple people, but not the right ones.) Then, I had a shocking revelation: who said they had to be living royalty. And so I decided to go to the Hearst Museum of Anthropology (again, on campus - being a college student is great) and took a picture with good ol' Nes-Khonsu-pa-shered, in what had to be the most not-exactly-100% approved picture of them all. But I didn't use flash, so that's good.

-in front of a sign with letters at least 3' high
That's a big X, wouldn't you say?

-outside a haunted house
I have no proof that this place is haunted. I heard there was a ghost in there once. Does that make it haunted? No, not necessarily? Does it look like it could be haunted? Eh, it kinda has that "look." But really, when you think about it, how can you prove in a picture, unless it had a ghost in it, that a house was haunted. So I figured I'd put this in. I called it "Supposedly Haunted House" to show them that I wasn't fully convinced myself, and that I'm not just pulling stuff out of thin air (as I'm sure some others are doing).

-dressed in a wedding gown made of toilet paper
Sense of dignity? You jest! This better get a boatload of points (and I better get a second boatload for actually making a somewhat decent-looking gown; I'm sure other people will just look like mummies). I must say, for having done this completely on my own, I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. The only problem was actually taking the picture, as it's not really one you can do at arms length. I considered bringing someone in to take it, but...that would be awkward, wouldn't you say? So, I wracked my brain until I finally figured out how to use the timer on my camera. And I like how it all turned out.

(Oh, and yes, this picture was the only reason why I bought those flowers. I felt I had to accessorize. If you're going to do this kind of picture, you may as well go all-out, y'know?)

...So, there you go. That's my scavenger hunt loot. I hope you've enjoyed all my pictures, as well as the stories behind them. It was a long, exhausting day, but I thought it was great fun.



Anonymous said...

You looked so beautiful in your dress, Andrew. You'll make a lovely bride, I mean groom, someday. *snicker* Your face in that picture was priceless!! I think i have a new wallpaper for my computer. I'm also thinking i'm going to print it out and use it as blackmail. *snicker* ^_^;;

Isn't comic con wonderful? Isn't cosplay at comic con wonderful? You simply must cosplay this year as that assassin with those nifty looking boots. You'll see how fun it can be when some asks to take your picture. ^_^ I still really want you to cosplay ganon..I think you would be good at it.

Anonymous said...

Is it odd that both rin and I thought of blackmail? I lol'd at your picture in the dress.

I'm not sure blastoise was a balloon, but then again, even if he wasn't pikachu behind you was.

I counted 18 birdies in your picture.

Oh, and Andrew, that chest hair of yours really makes you look cute in your dress. Are you sure that was an april fool's joke?

Andrew Schnorr said...

You know, blackmail isn't really as effective when the picture is already in the public domain...

Anonymous said...

We now have a new screen saver!

Anonymous said...

Well, when this fades, and you seek to escape being employed as my secretary of state, I'll always be able to use this to keep you working for me. I'll keep it for that purpose.