T-minus 9 Hours – Getting Ready for GishWhes


T-minus 9 hours, 8 minutes and counting.

The item list goes live Saturday morning. After we crash the site a few times, we can sign in and see this year’s items. I’m told to expect over 200 items to choose from. Even with fifteen people on a team, no one group has ever completed every item. Fortunately, that’s not the objective.

I expect to talk more about how this week will be going, and I’ll try to post some pictures of some items-in-progress. We can’t share submissions (or finished items to be on the safe side) until after the hunt is over next Saturday.

I thought I’d share how to get ready for GishWhes and what to expect, at least in my little corner of the world.

For starters, I try not to panic. This is my third year, and what I’ve discovered in the last two hunts was that I’m gung-ho, planning, organizing, plotting, and then on Tuesday I’m wiped out. Like wiped out to the point that I wish everyone a good weekend, not realizing that the weekend is a long way from Tuesday.

Each year the hunt is different. As I said, this is my third year, and my third team. This is the first year that my team kind of knows each other. We can thank our teammate, D for that. She wanted to get a group together early, so we’ve been getting to know each other since registration opened. I really like my team. We’re a good group of people. Our teammates are based in CA, CO, TX, NJ, NY, GA, and Denmark. We have two sets of husbands & wives. I think we have a total of 12 kids between us to help us out. Usually, I’m the only one with kids, so this is kind of novel to me.

There were some problems last year (in general, not with my team) with the Shatnerhate, bullying sci-fi writers, and a more competitive streak than I think is intended. Some people spend a ton of money, some don’t sleep.

Personally, I don’t go that far. I’m in it for the fun, the stepping outside of my comfort zone, new experiences, and the new friends I’ll meet. That doesn’t mean that I’m not competitive. Once I get started, I want to keep going and take on more items than my original choices. My average is about ten items each year.

I don’t have a lot of money to spend, and at almost fifty (that really hurt to type), I need my sleep. I have high blood pressure and depression and three kids that pop in and out of the hunt with their needs. Don’t they understand that Misha needs me this week?!

Last year, I spent $14 and the year before I spent $28. I don’t think that’s too much to contribute. I also conscripted my kids into helping where I thought they could. Whether they wanted to or not.

This year, I’ve already spent $30 for my team t-shirt and a team pin. My shirt was a little more expensive than my teammates because I didn’t want white and I needed a larger size. I’m also a pinaholic. I got t-shirts for my two youngest kids as well, but that doesn’t count as part of my gishwhes budget.

I was informed that the gishbot (the computer that assigns teams and stuff) marked me with a star which means I’m the team captain. I have no idea how they arrived at this decision or what it means. Like most things GishWhes related, there is no rhyme or reason. My teammate declared that I needed to make a captain’s hat, which I spent today doing:




I’ve already told my husband and kids that tomorrow morning right before 9am, I will need my actual computer to access the team documents, my Facebook, and the item list.

Every year, the item list is full of surprises. However, there are some things that you will always need, and they will always be on the item list:

1. Kale

2. Sanitary napkins

3. Children and/or Old People

4. A Twitter item

5. A Stormtrooper item. Yes, from Star Wars. The 501st Legion has contacts to help out any teams that ask, and that they are able to help. They are very generous with their time, and do  help when they can.

6. Sock Monkeys

7. A Hair Item. It’s actually time for me to get my haircut but I’m going to wait until after the hunt in case I need to do something for my team. (NOTE: I will NOT shave my head)

8. There is a messy item – like death by chocolate and the elderly mud wrestling. See item #3. They might be related.

9. Some kind of Supernatural co-star harassment.
10. Other CW show involvement and/or harassment.

11. And of course, acts of kindness

Other useful items to have on hand include:

1. Chargers in a handy place for my phone, Kindle, and camera

2. 1st Aid supplies. If I have them, no one will need them, and the reverse is also true.

3. About $10-15 in cash

4. Granola bars and water bottles

5. Duct tape

6. Ziploc bags. Quart is the most universal size, freezer is the sturdiest. Use the zipper ones, not the slide; they are more secure.

7. Wet wipes, and whatever I have prepared won’t be enough

8. Make a list of local people and their skills/connections. Meet people and network.

9. Imgur, YouTube accounts for the Team. This year having a Tumblr is a good idea but not required

10. Internet Access

11. A Group Facebook and a Group Google Docs is an extremely helpful way to communicate and keep track of your submissions. (Make sure everyone on the team knows all the user names and passwords.)

12. Some way to take videos and photos. Last year, I used my cell phone for everything when I couldn’t find my camera. This year, I’m planning on using my camera – a Nikon Coolpix. Depending on what i”m photographing, I might also use my Kindle.

You’re never prepared enough, but it’s a good way to see how you work (and play) under pressure.

I think I’m ready. No, no, really, I think I’m ready, but we’ll find out tomorrow at 9am!

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