|Oh. my. god. We had the greatest day today—such incredible, incredible fun running all around Raleigh (sometimes literally), with a great group of folks, learning tons about the city, and trying establishments (including a lot of bars!) that I would never have otherwise ever ventured into.|
We had a team participating in Raleigh Typhoon 2, a downtown Raleigh scavenger hunt of epic proportions—a team consisting of several tweeters: @kitch (our Team Captain), @ginnyskal (our Team Project Manager), @nematome (that's me!), @dtraleigh, @DiMambro, and two non-tweeters: Robert and Matt.
We started at 1:00, and in retrospect, probably should have started at noon.
Here's twitterer extraordinaire @waynesutton with a little footage from our planning session, including divulging our super-duper top-secret "team strategy." :-)
Our first task was to take place right outside of Tir Na Nog, on Moore Square, and was one of the several "time constrained activities," this particular one having to take place between 2:00 and 2:30. We got a team picture taken with a guy on a Segway, who was actually right across the street from Tir Na Nog,
and then Robert and I went over to Triangle Segway, where we picked up our first puzzle piece.
Wayne nabbed a quick one-and-a-half-minute interview with Bruce, the man on the Segway, with whom we were photographed.
I will never remember the order in which we did things today, or all the places we went to, so I'm just going to list them as they come to mind. Suffice it to say that we did as many was we could of the ones that had specified times, but at least two of the specified time activities were in the puzzle, and by the time we got enough puzzle pieces and started to solve it, those two times had passed.
Early on in the day, we barged in on Touché Fine Chocolate & Gifts thinking they were the answer to one clue about a chocolate place, but it turned out they weren't.
When they saw our team of seven swarm in there, one of the ladies sort of threw her hands up and said, "We're not part of that thing," but then, thinking like a retailer added, "But you're welcome to buy some chocolates while you're here."
We made a stop at a vintage clothing store, where we bought our "team uniform," which consisted of one men's necktie each, the prices for which we negotiated a "group discount"—from $7.50 a piece to $5.00 a piece. Before leaving there, we found a puzzle piece, one of which we were told could be found in the pockets of some of the shirts hanging around the place.
Before registering, we hadn't had any intention of getting uniforms, but we did pass several teams that had them, so it sort of inspired us. Okay, it inspired Ginny. My favorite team uniform was one that consisted of cut-off t-shirts that said, "Youso Nasty" on them.
Another stop was at Dos Taquitos Centro, where our clue sheet said we had to "count the number of Frida Kahlo images in the place, give the total to the bartender, and collect a puzzle piece."
As soon as we got in there, Robert recognized that Frida Kahlo was an artist whose work usually contains self-portraits with a mustache or a "uni-brow." There were said images all over the place, including on the tabletops and all over the walls.
After a very brief strategy session, we had two teams counting so we'd have a number to compare for the total. Good thing we had a woman on our team as Ginny counted 14 images in the ladies room alone. Actually, she counted 12, and started on a recount when a woman in there actually using the bathroom, who presumably would have appreciated some privacy, said, "There are 14 in here."
We came up with a total of 37, but when we went to the bar to tell the bartender our total, we strained enough to hear the team before us report 47, which was confirmed by the bartender.
"47," we said, and collected our puzzle piece.
We did our first team-on-team activity at Woody's. First we took a team picture under the moose—a requirement.
Then, Jake played some game of poker (Poker? You poker, you brought her!) against someone on another team, while the rest of us ran throughout the bar answering clues—most of whose answers could be found in things hanging on the walls. Sample questions included, "Who has famous chicken and waffles?" and "What are the ACC coaches playing?"
We stopped in a bar, I think it was Alibi, where we had to play some games before getting a puzzle piece: bouncing a ping-pong ball into a plastic cup of water, bouncing some quarters into a cocktail glass, shooting darts, playing Connect Four, and making a combo-trick shot in pool. Various people on the team completed various tasks.
Robert and I tried the combo trick shot, and after a couple of tries each, Ginny, said, "Can I try?" On her second shot, she aced it.
Robert, Ginny, and I left Jake, Jason, Leo, and Matt there drinking and moved ahead to our next place. [This was actually to become a "team norm," but in all honesty, it never really slowed us down, and they did eventually show up to every "next place."]
Another team-on-team requirement was at a bar called Landmark, where we had to throw three sets of two balls connected by a string onto a rack that consisted of three bars. If the balls wrapped around the top bar, it was 2 points, the middle bar 3 points, and the lower bar 1 point. The first team that reached 25 points won the game, and then each team could collect a puzzle piece.
We lost. A few of our team members drowned our sorrow in an adult beverage before we left. Before leaving, we also had to get a required team picture in front of the place. In the picture, we had to look "silly," so we all pulled the end of our neckties up to the side, and leaned toward one side like we were falling over. Team picture caption: Falls of the Noose. (A sort of snub to outside-the-beltline living, if you will.)
At one point, when we figured out that Tir Na Nog was "deja vu in the land of eternal youth," we returned there where we were led to believe we had to do a crossword puzzle and complete 80% of it to get a puzzle piece. However, it turned out to be a "Word Search" and not a crossword puzzle.
Robert got a lot of answers in spite of looking at the puzzle upside-down, and we're attributing that to a "different perspective" instead of the Strongbow. We did 100% of the puzzle (hoping we'd get extra points being the point whores we were), but when we went to turn it in, found out no puzzle piece was even involved. We just had to turn it in later somewhere else to get something or other.
At another point in the day, we had to find players of the Carolina Rollergirls, who were going to be "somewhere on Glenwood Avenue" between 4:00 and 4:30, or maybe 4:30 and 5:00, I can't remember. Robert, Ginny, and I found them and got a picture of the three of us with them. This was another situation in which "the boys" had lagged behind to finish an adult beverage at our previous stop, and eventually caught up with us.
We all ended up rendezvousing at The Armadillo Grill (whose clue was: "little armored one"), where we had to unscramble several jumbled words and then use some letters from each word to solve another little puzzle, like these:
This one, of course, included words of food items, and drinks, from their menu.
We had a little mini-dinner snack-craze here. I bought three large Chips and Quest Dip for the group, which Robert and I ate as our "meal," and with which most of the others supplemented other menu items.
It turned out "the boys" had also run into the rollergirls on their way here, got a picture of that half of our team with them, and we'd each gotten a (the same) puzzle piece from them.
This would be the point in the day where all hell broke loose, and by that, I mean from the heavens. The clouds started getting very black, and as we made our way up that end of Glenwood Avenue, it got darker and darker, and the big drops started, first big and slowly, later big by buckets.
We stopped at FM Goods and Sounds, where we had a team picture taken with the Vitamin Water man, and were able to get a puzzle piece inside without having to play the bean bag toss game out front.
In the interest of moving on in the rain, and the approaching end of the day, we crossed the street to Escazu Chocolates, where one team member had to taste a filled chocolate drop, and identity its flavor as either: Amaretto, Chai Tea, or Lemon-Ginger. (I think it was ginger. It was lemon-something.) On the last bite, Ginny was able to nail it as Amaretto.
From here, we again crossed Glenwood, and stopped in Endless Grind, a skateboarding store, where they had already stopped the things you had to do to get a puzzle piece, so we just nabbed one and moved on.
Now, thinking back on the whole day, to me, this seems to be the place where things got kind of out-of-control. I mean if it were a movie (love the subjunctive mode there), this would be the place where you could speed up the next hour to two hours of events into some kind of hyper-determined-crazed-we'll-do-anythin
This first manifested itself as beginning to stop complete strangers in parking lots and on the streets to give us rides to places. In the parking lot of Endless Grind, we asked these two—very attractive I might add (Even I noticed; I'm gay, not blind.)—women if they'd take two of us over to Seaboard, which wasn't too far away, but it was in terms of the rain and the time we had left.
To my stunned surprise, they said they would. Ginny and I hopped in their back seat, which was immaculate I might add, and they dropped us off at Seaboard Fitness, where Ginny and I had envisioned us running in, counting the fish in their fish tank, telling the person there our count, and collecting our next puzzle piece.
But no, that's not how it happened. Here's how it went (up and) down:
- We had to sign in our team on sheet of paper.
- We had to walk around into their fitness area, and up to one of their abs machine, and I sat on this chair, put my feet under the foot rollers, leaned back, and did crunches as I tossed a ball into a sleeve just ahead and above. I did 25 of these.
- We had to do 50 jumping jacks, so we split this task, each doing 25. On about her fifth one, Ginny did not step on a pop top, but she did blow out one of her flip flops.
- We had to do 30 reps on a rowing machine. Again, we split this, each doing 15.
- They had a person stationed in both of the areas in which we did these things, and the guy that was here was particularly nice, fun, and sexy to boot. Ginny boldly asked, eying two fish tanks, "How many fish are in the tanks?" "11 in one, and 13 in the other," he said, "but at least walk up to them and pretend to count them. 24 in all." (I think that was the right count.)
- We each spent a shamelessly short time in front of a respective tank, and then reported the total to the guy back at the front desk, and collected our puzzle piece.
He said yes, and right then, we noticed one of the wolves we were supposed to take a team picture in front of, and she ran over toward it (klipity-klop-one-broken-flip-flop-at-a-s
There was an older, bewildered-looking couple outside in that area, and as we left the area Ginny said, "We're on a scavenger hunt," to which the woman replied, "I wondered why you were so excited to see that rickshaw guy." She was probably really thinking:
After Ginny snapped a picture of me sitting in the rickshaw in front of the wolf, she hopped in and that poor guy pedaled us all the way up to Napper Tandy on West Street, in the rain. I asked, "How much?" having no idea what it cost, and he said, "Oh, we work purely on tips."
I had no idea they worked solely on tips! I gave him a ten. I hope that was enough.
Just as Ginny and I joined the rest of the team in Napper Tandy's, the bottom absolutely fell out outside. Incredibly hard rain.
In Napper Tandy, we, again, had a sheet full of things to find around the bar, with clues such as, "Who luvs Napper Tandy?" and "Who won [some horse race—The Grand National something?] in [some year]?" These were definitely harder than the ones at Woody's, and we got that last one about who "luvs" Napper Tandy after I asked some of the staff for a clue.
"Drumhead. Up in the front of the bar." As it turned out, in the entryway, there was a glass case with a drumhead in it from some band that had evidently played there at some time, on which some band member had signed, "Sixx luvs Napper Tandy's." [That all sounds wrong now, but it was something to that effect. You get the gist.]
As if that wasn't tedious and time-consuming enough, after getting all of the answers, we had to sign up as a team and sing a dreadful karaoke song. I thought it was a rap song, but it was Angel, by Shaggy. Who knew? (Actually, the rest of my team did!)
Okay, at this point in the day, we had several things left to do, not much time, and in the driving rain. Jake called Cardinal Cab and told them we had several people, asking if they could send a van.
While we waited for its arrival, we schemed out our next few stops in a way that we could take full advantage of the taxi. It arrived, and the seven of us piled in, Jake up front. He negotiated a flat rate with the driver, which was very generous I might add, and who in my opinion ended up being less gracious for it than I thought she should have.
At The Borough, since I know Liz pretty well, I hopped out, and ran inside to do whatever I had to do to collect a puzzle piece. Liz wasn't there, but Seth was (who I happen to know fairly well, too), and he started to make our team do "The Macarena" before collecting a piece, to which I said, "Seth, I have six team members outside in a taxi, which we're holding," to which he said, "Here, take this (handing me one of those little plastic swords that you use to put hors d'oeuvres on or olives on in a martini), and said, "En garde!"
We hit one way, turned our wrists, hit the other way, and my sword duly snapped in half. "Here you go!" he said handing me the coveted puzzle piece and saying, "You lost."
I think we made one more stop before arriving at White Collar Crime, but I can't remember where it was, if we did. Since we had used (and kept) the cabbie a lot less time than we thought we would, we tried to negotiate the price down a little, but she said, "We had a contract." Something to that effect. [Jake, this is what I thought I heard "going down." If it's not true, please comment to clarify.]
White Collar Crime was perhaps one of our funnest stops of the day. We started this stop off with drinks (let me put a look of surprise on your face), and found out that we could essentially show our receipts from the drinks to get our puzzle piece. But then we found out that we could do a skit, for a possible THIRTY POINTS, as well as getting a puzzle piece, so Ginny and Jake immediately went to work.
This was kind of brilliant. Since the name of the bar is White Collar Crime, they had a sheet with a list of all kinds of crimes that are considered "white collar," and you could choose one to make up a little skit about. They also had a table full of props you could use, as well as three judges who each could give your skit up to 10 points when it was over.
The official white collar crime represented in our skit was blackmail. However, it did have a sub-crime of bestiality, though in North Carolina that's probably officially known as "Alienation of Affections," or some such dribble.
This is a complete aside, but for some reason, that reminds me of the old Sophie Tucker joke:
|Ernie said to me, "Soph, you've got small tits and a tight box."|
I said to him, "Ernie, get off my back."
Perhaps it's the sodomy (another North Carolina crime favorite) allusion in that joke that reminded me of it. But I digress...
Ginny and Jake "starred" in our skit, which started off with Jake "humping" the "horsehead on a stick" prop; squealing like a banshee; saying dirty, dirty things to the horse; and wearing a sign around his neck that said, "Kitch 4 City Council," while Ginny pretended to be recording him using her digital video camera as a prop. Jake really worked that horse. It was hysterical. But most importantly, the judges were laughing.
With the bestiality scene out of the way, they quickly moved into scene two, the blackmail part of the skit, where Ginny lets Kitch know that she has caught all of his antics on tape, and that for a mere $2500 (oh yeah, and a coveted umbrella, extra valuable in this rain) she won't release it to the media and ruin his campaign for city council.
We were so proud of our teammates, and we all squealed (sans horse-humping) when the three judges displayed, respectively, a 10, a 9, and a 10! We collected another puzzle piece and 29 points!
While that was finishing up, Jake, Matt, and I walked around the corner to a bar called Deep South, where we were presented with three impossible questions on a sheet of paper.
Jake said to the bartender, "So what's the best way to get these answers?" to which he replied, "By buying a drink."
I'm not sure if it was our quick-wittedness, the enticement of another liquid snack, or having white collar crimes freshly on our minds, but we ordered three Pabst Blue Ribbons before you could say, "What was the answer to number 3 again?" as he spoke all three of them out of the side of his mouth to us. I half expected him to knit his eyebrows and tap the ash off a stogie while he did it. It all seemed so clandestine.
Bribery was our new white collar friend.
Leaving there, our project manager called to let us know that the rest of the posse was on their way over to Moonlight Pizza, where we thought we had to turn in our day's work.
While we were in Deep South, Ginny, Robert, Leo, and Jason had done some good work in terms of solving the puzzle, with which we'd had very little luck with all day.
Leo, realizing the answer to a clue in the puzzle, "Go 90 steps from a tombstone, look down, and take a picture of a fountain," and facing the quandary of a lot of beer just bought, was rescued by the bartender who said, "Wait, we have a beer bong to help you finish that up real quick!"
That out of the way, they set out for the tombstone and following those directions, they found a fountain that was slightly underground—hence the "look down" clue—and they snapped a picture of it.
[Note: I'm not at all sure this actually took place during this time frame, but that time frame was pretty much the only time during the day that I wasn't with Ginny, so that's why I think it happened then.]
While Robert, Leo, Jason, and Ginny were doing that, Jake, Matt, and I were making our way over to Moonlight Pizza. On the way, Jake ran up to this guy that looked like he might give us a ride if we asked him, but as Jake got close to his car, the guy sped off like he was scared.
Around the corner, while Jake took a leak in some bushes, Matt and I were approached by a guy who "was from Greenville, was trying to get just enough money for a bus ride back, and wanted $5.00 from us to do so."
Oh yeah, we also asked this guy who was in an SUV and trying to park near Humble Pie if he would give us a ride. You could tell he was a little scared, but didn't want to appear so, so we gave him a break and left him alone.
To our surprise we reached the West and Morgan street intersection at the exact same time as the rest of our team did, and we all walked together (though I think maybe Leo was missing at this point, and maybe even Jason). Believe me, it was pretty much a blur by then.
Finding out, that V21 Productions, which is actually where we were supposed to be going was back on West street (and Jake, Matt and I had just passed it), we returned over there to turn in our day's work. And as that turned out, we got there just in the nick of time, as it was a pretty slow process turning in all the "proof" of the day, and the line got very long, very quickly right after we got in it!
Robert and I had to leave by 8:00 to get to dancing by 9:00. We said our goodbyes to the team, with appreciation for a fun, fun day of camaraderie, spending money, and learning a great deal about downtown Raleigh.
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all of our teammates for a wonderful, wonderful day. It was a great way to get to know each other better, and in spite of of our "diversity" (both in attitude and approach), we worked well together!
Also, if any of you have anything at all to correct, or add, to contribute for posterity, please use the "Leave a comment" link at the bottom of the entry to do so. (Include your initials, or your Twitter name if you have one, so I'll know who wrote what.) Thanks, again, everyone!
I'd love to have a pointer to that video of our skit if it gets posted online somewhere! Update: Here it is!
We got to dancing at just after 9:00, and we left shortly after it ended at 10:30. We were both exhausted. Gee, I wonder why.
For my records: I did do my lower body workout today before the scavenger hunt.