general wackiness, humor, Uncategorized

The Greatest Internet Scavenger Hunt The World Has Ever Seen

When Dave and I got married all those years ago, I pledged to take him for better, for worse, for richer, for poor, and so on.

There was nothing in those vows about creating him undergarments out of toast.

“It keeps falling off!” he protested.

You try securing toast to someone’s underwear while they are standing there complaining about it,” I said, as I struggled to extend the transparent tape around Dave’s waist in a manner which would hold up for at least a few minutes.

I had made sure to toast the bread earlier. I had even, thoughtfully, let the toast cool off before slapping it on my husband’s body. What more did he want?

At about this point in the blog post, you may be wondering what in the world I’m talking about. You see, Dave and I were participating in one of the wackiest weeks of our life, also known as the Greatest Internet Scavenger Hunt The World Has Ever Seen, or GISHWHES  for short. Started by the Supernatural actor Misha Collins, for reasons that remain murky at best, it involves a weeklong frenzy of weirdness. Thousands of people all over the world compete in teams to see who can earn the most points by doing things such as:

No. 69:  Provide a picture of someone wearing toast for underwear. Butter and jam are optional.


Yes. Most seriously.

Below is visual evidence of our “success” for this item. It may be interesting to note that, later, I was scrolling through my cell phone pictures to show someone the toast underwear when a teenage boy standing nearby happen to glimpse the uncropped version of this photograph. He shrieked and called for bleach to soak his eyes in. He may still be blind to this day.

Underwear made from toast

GISHWHES consists of around 150 items that are so bizarre, so insane, so unexpectedly brilliant that you can only laugh, and then get busy trying to figure out how to accomplish them. Evidence:

No. 2 Create a video. Go order food at your favorite fast food restaurant. Greet the attendant, explain how hungry you are, what you want to eat, and how good it will make you feel. One thing, you must speak as the Bard wrote. Place your order in Shakespearean verse.

(The sound is quite low at the beginning of this 30 second video, but hang in there, it gets better)

No. 14. Create an image. You, dressed as The Flash in the Large Hadron Collider tunnel. If this is too difficult, you will get full credit for dressing as The Flash in any actual, operational particle accelerator.

Luckily, Dave had one of those at work. And making The Flash costume turned out to be the biggest hassle. It resulted in Dave buying a women’s small red shirt and decorating it. Getting the shirt off his head afterward involved some personal injury and a visit to the chiropractor.


Work was also useful when it came to:

No. 121. Create an image. Enjoy a burrito standing in front of a laboratory. The international laser warning sign must be visible behind you.


Lest you wonder where I was with all this craziness, I was doing things such as:

No. 56. Take a picture. Create an online dating profile for your pet on a real dating site.


Why did we choose to participate in such an offbeat event? God only knows. The entire endeavor involved an exhausting, stressful, bizarre, hilarious week. Most of the people who join in this challenge are college-age, and rightly so since it takes a lot of energy, fearlessness, and dedication.

If this blog post has not discouraged you, but intrigued you instead, you are in luck. Sign-ups are currently open for this year’s GISHWHES, which will take place from August 2 – 9.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

inspiration, Uncategorized

How to Enjoy Your Day No Matter What Happens


Look to this day!
For it is life, the very life of life,
In its brief course
Lie all the verities and realities of your existence
The bliss of growth
The glory of action
The splendor of beauty.

For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow is only a vision,
But today well lived makes every yesterday
A dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.

Look well, therefore, to this day!
Such is the salutation of the dawn.


travel, travel memories

What Do You Bring Home from Your Travels?

There’s a scene in the movie Titanic in which Rose, as an old lady, is shown in her home, surrounded by many treasures she has acquired over her lifetime of adventure and travel. Seeing the unusual lamps, fabrics, and beads made a real impression on me. I decided right there and then that I wanted to have a similar collection. Since that time, I’ve made a point of buying souvenirs that I can use – or at least see – on a daily basis. That way I get to relive my travel adventures whenever I use this belt or that plate.

I’ve still got a long way to go to get a collection like Rose from Titanic had, but I’m committed to continuing to build it!

As you can see, not all souvenirs need to be costly or even all that imaginative – you just have to keep your eyes pealed for things that fit your everyday needs. And when the item wears out? Well, you’ll just have to go on another trip to replace it!

Street vendors in Arizona and New York sold me these pieces of jewelry.
Street vendors in Arizona and New York sold me these pieces of jewelry.
This beautiful picture was purchased from St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. Cost? About $12. Frame was about $20.
This beautiful picture was purchased from St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.
Warning: this poster from Italy was a weird size and framing it was not cheap.
Warning: this poster from Italy was a weird size and framing it was not cheap.
Probably the most economical souvenir (after postcards), magnets populate the outside of my refrigerator and get seen numerous times a day.
Probably the most economical souvenir (after postcards), magnets on a refrigerator and get seen numerous times a day.

The best souvenirs are memories, of course. The second best are photographs and videos. But these items pictured here solidly occupy third-place on the must-have list, in my opinion. What about you? Do you have any strategies for your souvenirs?

mental health, travel, Uncategorized

Audiobooks to Improve Your Brain

Today, I learned that one of my favorite habits – listening to audiobooks – is also on the list of habits that rich people do frequently. I tend to do most of the other habits as well, and a money tree hasn’t sprouted in my yard yet. I think I’ll have to write an angry comment to Anyhow, audiobooks are great companions on long road trips, much like dogs and beautiful scenery. They’re also, it seems, helpful in improving one’s mental health. As a longtime sufferer of depression, I can definitely use that.

download (1)I listened to two great books on my most recent road trip – both of which deal with the brain. Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior by Leonard Mlodinow is 7 cds worth of entertaining and, at times, fascinating studies about the role that humans’ unconscious behavior and thoughts plays on everyday life. Told in a conversational tone, with occasional forays into warm humor and dry wit, Mlodinow examines memory, lust, feelings, racism, and more with gentle, thorough insightfulness.  He somehow makes dry and incomprehensible journal articles and scientific research come to life in an easy-to-understand fashion. Although he delves into the history of psychology, he also discusses the role of new technology such as the fMRI, which looks at the blood flow to certain parts of the brain.

Many of the reviewers on Amazon do a vastly better job than I could of assessing the merits and failings of this book, so I will point you there if this little review interests you, but both my husband and I found the entire book engaging and even useful. Basically, if you have a brain, you should listen to or read this book. It will help you understand how the brain functions and why evolution designed it that way. Having such knowledge will allow you to make better use of said brain. Theoretically.

At times, especially in the later cds, I tired a bit of hearing about yet another study. And sometimes said studies didn’t seem to have enough detail, and I was left wondering about why certain rather obvious facets or opinions were not taken into account by the researchers, but these are minor quibbles in an otherwise enjoyable listen.

Mlodinow narrated the book himself and he has a wonderful speaking voice – very professional. I would have pegged him for a radio announcer or even an actor if I didn’t know he was a physics professor and author.

Highly recommended.

downloadHardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence by Rick Hanson 

This book also explained the structure and functions of the brain – most especially why it’s so easy for us to dwell on bad or traumatic happenings rather than good, pleasant things. You can blame evolution. Basically, it was more important for your survival that you remember and be deeply affected by that tiger taking a chunk out of your leg than when a housecat snuggles into your arms and purrs contentedly. Your near death experience could end your life, so evolution has arranged your brain so that negative things take up more real estate than positive ones. An unfortunate fact. But there’s hope – we can retrain our brains to bring more pleasure and happiness into our lives. And this is the awesome part – it feels good to do so.

I’ve started using some of the techniques recommended in the book and although I’m not a changed woman just yet, I’m definitely going to keep at it. Hanson’s observations make a lot of sense to me, and his status as a psychologist lends weight to his suggestions, as does the fact that he’s used these techniques himself to improve his quality of life.

A negative about the book is that Hanson’s techniques are not all that in-depth that they need to be repeated quite as often as they are, but he does make an effort to present a slightly different take on the information each time.

Hanson narrates the audiobook himself, and he has a pleasant voice that did seem a bit too slow at times. If you’ve ever had therapy of any kind you’ll likely recognize his tone and lack of judgment. Overall a good read through on a very worthwhile book.