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Sunday, 26 February 2012

Jason's Fantastically Epic Adventure/Quest/Brithday Party!

It has been far too long since I have gone on an epic adventure. I've found, as of late, my life to be entirely too busy and somewhat regular to allow for adventure. My parents, who I regularly keep updated with photos outlining my quests and exciting times with friends, mentioned a noticeable lack thereof lately.

But no fear! My friend, Jason, turned 24 this year and in celebration, his girlfriend Brandy, whose awesome blog can be found at that link, decided to plan an event of legendary proportions.

In the style of a fantasy theme, combined with the classic scavenger hunt, we were split into teams and sent out, competing for prizes unknown. It was one of the best events I've ever attended, and I want to thank Brandy, here and now, for orchestrating such a fantastic time.

So, here are the details. Knowing that we would be competing in some sort of group contest, and knowing beforehand how the teams were organized, it was not until slightly before the starting time of 3pm that we received our instructions. Said instructions contained a list of items to collect for the scavenger hunt, quests of a specific nature, and some open to interpretation. We had to collect and fulfill as many items/tasks as possible before meeting up for dinner at 7:30pm that evening.

For those unfamiliar with Dungeons and Dragons, or the classic role-playing game archetype, often there are tasks or quests to complete, with rules regarding proper conduct, and outlines on the rewards of completion. Sometimes, tests of knowledge or skill, are called Checks. In the same manner, our group was given the following list and we carried it out in the following way:

On our way to collect some distant members of our team, we stopped along the way to pick up some scavenger items. The list of items included:
  • Spoons
  • Straws
  • Coffee sleeves
  • Napkins
  • Coffee stir sticks
  • Stickers
  • Business cards
  • Coasters
Stopping at as many restaurants and places of businesses as we could, we collected many of the above items, focusing on unique ones as points were allotted for uniqueness.

Arriving at the Royal Ontario Museum, we took a picture in front of this place, thus fulfilling a Perception Check (taking pictures with Torontonian landmarks) and Intelligence Check (taking pictures with places of learning).

 Great way to start the day!

Additionally, my friend Mike tried squishing a UofT building:

While some friends grabbed a coffee, and collected some more items for the above list, a stranger approached me asking if I knew the location of the nearest library. Directing him to one of my friends, with a smartphone, we helped the stranger, thus completing another Streetwise Check, and just feeling good about helping a stranger!

This one is so perfect, it looks like it should be a stock photo.

An interesting rule I have not yet mentioned is that in order to get on or off a subway or other form of public transit, each person had to roll a 20-sided die, called a d20 for short, and get a 10 or better. If you failed, you had to spin around, touch your nose, and introduce yourself to a stranger. A friend of mine failed a considerable number of times in a row and spent a lot of time introducing himself to random groups. It was pretty hilarious.

 A nice group shot of us all passing our checks, able to get on the subway!

I like this one because it looks like a tesseract.

Anyway, we got on the subway and made it to our next destination, where we succeeded on a Religion Check by taking a picture of an angel, which was on a cenotaph. We had to show off our acrobatics as well and so my friend did one of these!

I forget what it's called, my other friend called it Splintercelling, haha

We then wanted to complete two tasks at once, so while passing a skating rink, so amazing to see people using it by the way, we succeeded in "photobombing" some people. Photobombing is when you sneak into someone's photo effectively ruining it. Funny enough, they were on a scavenger hunt too and had to complete the same task, so they photobombed us, haha.

Pose as a team! (almost, as one of us had to take the picture)

Next, was finding a person named Jason. Writing, "Is your name Jason. (We're on a Scavenger Hunt)" on a big piece of paper and standing by the rink, eventually, a man skated over declaring his name was Jason. We told him what we were up to and we even shot a video of him wishing our Jason a Happy Birthday! That was a pretty cool part of the day.

Making our way to the Eaton's Centre, we decided to get some food, milkshakes (having one gave us 3 points!) and catch up on things. Planning our next couple of moves, we were on our way! We needed to take pictures of aliens, so we took some photos of Superman and Yoda on some t-shirts. We then needed to blend into a crowd, so we posed with the Old Navy mannequins, or humanniquins, if you prefer. (I think these people-ikens are really creepy and have a few photos posing with them, or as them, as seen below).

 Kind of looks like I'm trying to touch "her" butt. Just pretending to steal a phone...that's not better is it?
 Seriously, those things are creepy, and me too!
Where did we go?

Getting a birthday card for Jason, and having the cashier sign it wishing him a great day, we made our way further downtown. We needed to take a picture of a horse, Nature Check, and while we really wanted to see a mounted police officer, they were not out today, so we took some photos with War Horse, still playing at the Princess of Wales theatre (also contributing to our landmark/Perception Check), while some of our group had some shots at a local Elephant and Castle, contributing 3 points for each shot. Meeting back up, we were almost done!

 ya, I'd be afraid too.

We're watching you!

 These next couple of photos were our attempt to look like "business people".

Haha! Business!

And here are some silly ones with various things we saw around the city.
 So dreamy...
 Snow-Penguin and me!

We're both saying, "Hey, it's this guy!"

Taking some last minute photos, we were asked to meet a Lady Carol-Lynn and Lord Jonathan at the Scotland Yard pub/restaurant. When we met them, it seemed they had a puzzle for us.

The following arrangement of toothpicks were arranged below and we were asked to remove 4 of them so that only 4 triangles, or equal size, remained, with no left over sticks poking out.

It took us a few minutes and was honestly one of my favourite parts of the day because everyone got involved. While everyone was participating all day, it was nice to not run around crazy and just work together to achieve one goal. The answer, by the way, is a little later on in this post.

At last, we made our way to dinner. Enjoying the rest of the evening, catching up with some old friends, comparing adventures and quest strategies, and of course celebrating Jason's birthday and Brandy's success at throwing a party, it was a very excellent evening.

Honestly, I have not had that much fun in a long time. I have had great times with my friends, don't get me wrong, but I am really glad to have participated in this event. While a little chilly outside all day, it was a fantastic way to enjoy the city, taking in sites and events not normally considered and even meeting people. As some of the photos show, I dressed up in my cape, red side out because I'm awesome, and my friend was dressed basically as a business wizard, and we met so many people. It was great to see so many people happy and excited and curious as to what we were doing instead of looking at me like I was insane for wearing a cape.

Finally, it was just an amazing event. There were some set tasks to complete which drove us to specific locations but there were also some left open for the sake of seeing what we would come up with. For example, one task asked us to prove we had traveled a long way. Our group grabbed transfer stubs from every transit station we had been to, but another group had a far more creative idea. At the waterfront is a beach called Sugar Beach. At said beach, another group decided to sit in some fancy lawn chairs, with their shirts off, making it look like they were in a tropical area or something. Really clever idea, looked awesome, but was probably very cold, haha.

It was really well organized, and I think I am pretty correct when I say that everyone had a wonderful time. The tasks, along with the rules, and items for scavenging, gave everyone something to do, and I did not get the impression that anyone felt overwhelmed or left out. The first time you run an event is when you work out most of the kinks, but I can honestly say that there were very few, and none which actually posed a problem. If you're looking for a great, new activity or way to get people together, I highly suggest you make an event like this one; if you do, please let me know how it went.

Oh, the answer to the toothpick puzzle is here, below:

And that's that. There were some people who could not make it out today, either because they had another party to go to, or were provinces, or even an ocean away. I want you to know that you were there, in spirit, and I hope reading about this makes you happy rather than jealous.

To conclude, thanks again to Brandy for getting it together, thanks to everyone who came out and made it a roaring success, and thank you for reading this; I hope you enjoyed it!

Oh, and my new favourite picture is the one below, celebrating a job well done!

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