Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Dare Game

What To Do?

There I was. At a bar with my best friend and a bunch of other people in October 2008. The problem was that Missy and I were kind of bored after trying to make small-talk with friends-of-friends. So we were just sort of hanging back, people-watching at the bar.

That's when I noticed some poor woman come out of the ladies' room with toilet paper stuck to her shoe. "Ooh, that's unfortunate for her." I tried not to giggle at her expense, though I concede that a few 'nyuks' may have escaped my lips.

The First Dare

Minutes later Missy declares that she has to go to pee. I remember the poor woman from before, and I say to her "I dare you to come out of the bathroom trailing a super long piece of toilet paper." I figured Missy could purposely take the brunt of the spectacle so the other woman didn't feel bad.

Missy took a couple more minutes than I would have expected, but I didn't comment because I'm totally a gentleman. It turns out that Missy took that extra time to fully eclipse my concept of 'meeting the dare'. She came out of that restroom wearing a full bathroom tissue headdress! With curls and twists of paper coming out of every part of her tank top!

With such a spirited display, I could do nothing but concede the point. She had unconditionally 'won' that dare.

Dare Numero Deux

And, after such a stunning display, it was only fitting that reciprocate, so I told Missy to think up a dare for me. After a few misanthropic (or just downright mean) ideas came and went, she came up with something... Something very Missy.

You see, the thing that you should know about Missy is that she is a 'collector'. No, she doesn't collect sports memorabilia or crystal animals or antique Coke products... She collects pieces and parts of people, the grosser the better. (Like that time I collected 1 month of my bellybutton lint for her.) And in fitting fashion Missy dared me to bring back, from anyone at the bar that we didn't know, a fingernail clipping.

You have to understand that I've spent most of my adult life wondering how people can be so... social... at a bar, especially with people they don't know. I never understood it, and I never thought I could be someone like that. But what I learned that day is that when I am 'on a dare', I'm pretty damn fearless (socially-speaking).

I took a minute or two sizing up the other people in the bar, trying to identify which unsuspecting victims would be most likely to play along. Then I did it. I just went up to someone, a complete stranger nonetheless, and asked them for a fingernail! And it worked!

Sure, I had to explain to the guy that this was all just a silly and fun dare that I was on, but he ended up playing along. We walked over to where I had been sitting with Missy, then right there he bit off his excess pinky fingernail and presented it to her. SCORE!

Our fingernail donor ended up sticking around for a beer or two. He even helped out coming up with ideas for the next few dares. I was kind of in shock. We were just being silly troublemakers, yet somehow we had found a way strike up conversations with totally random people.


The First Ever Dare Game Rolls On

Now, we knew we were on to something, so we kept up the dares.

Our friend Bubba [*name changed to protect the innocent] opted out of participating due to a traumatic memory of a previous drunken dare at a crowded restaurant wherein he full-voice asked to fuck a waitress in the ass. Knowing this, we didn't push him too hard.

The rest of the night is a bit of a blur, but we achieved several more dares. I can only remember two:

  1. Missy had to find a stranger who would let her lick his armpit.
  2. I had to convince this Midwest-looking tourist young man to take photobooth pictures with me.

All told, we had done about 6 or 7 volleys. Regardless of how many or what kind of dares happened that night, we learned a few things and a revolutionary template had been set.

Structure Starts to Form

A couple of weeks later Missy and I are at another of our favorite bars when she gets a glint in her eyes, "Nelz, I dare you to bring me a used sock from someone in this bar." 

How could I resist!?! So, I set out with my new Dare Game-inspired gregariousness and found a young man who was willing to give me his sock for the pure ludicrousness of the idea. WIN! (Sidenote: Missy washed the sock and now hangs it on her mantle for me at Xmas time.)

Through the subsequent dares of that evening and future playings, it becomes clear that we are operating off of some basic principles:
  • The Dare Game is best when playful and good-natured and not mean to anyone
  • dares are best when involving people outside your current friend group, though if the darer doesn't specify "someone we don't know" it is permissible for a daree to take a known-person shortcut
  • It is entirely optional, but sometimes fun to document the progression of dares on your favorite social networking site
  • You can adapt the game to most situations. (E.g. If you have a lot of people, create teams.)
  • It's fun to involve your out-of-town friends by asking them for dare suggestions

The Dare Game Examples

The Dare Game has been played in many bars spanning several states (and countries). Here are some examples of memorable dares:
  • "Bring back the saddest true story you can find in the bar"
  • "Find two people to mime out a horrible accident"
  • "Get someone's underwear"
  • "Have your team perform a song-and-dance number on that flight of stairs"
  • "Collect a lock of someone's hair"
  • "Stand on a table and sing 'I'm a Little Teapot'"
  • "Assemble an Air Guitar band to play 'Bohemian Rhapsody'"

You Can Play Too

The Dare Game is easy to play. You can play it with as little as two people. Why don't you give it a try?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Quitting Booth 2011

A little over a year ago (from the writing of this blog post) I ran in the SF Kaiser Half Marathon. It was my first (and as of yet, only) half marathon.

Somewhere near the 10 mile marker, amongst all the spectators clapping and urging the runners on, there was this one guy sitting in a chair next to a wooden table. The table had a hand-made sign that said "Bacon Station". And sure enough, there were several pieces of crispy-looking bacon just calling out to me. I am pretty sure I would have puked had I taken a piece, but I was sorely tempted to stop and have a piece of 'the candy of meat'.

The idea of the Bacon Station really stuck with me over the year. I liked how the little bit of temptation actually helped me solidify my resolve to finish the run. If the Bacon Station could work for me, couldn't I build on that idea in shenanigan-style and bring that playful, tongue-in-cheek motivation to a bigger audience? Sure, why not!?!

And hence was born the idea for "Quitting Booth 2011". Since I wasn't running that same half marathon again this year, I figured that would be the best time and place to make homage to the Bacon Station of 2010.

I (dis-)organized with a couple of friends. We chose to be just past the 10-mile marker so the runners would pass our station with just under 3 miles to go. The majority of our pranksters chose to go with the angel/devil costume theme.

We brought a bunch of tasty (and not-so-tasty) treats: homemade cookies, scones, McD's cheeseburgers, BK breakfast sandwiches, 1.5 dozen doughnuts, 3lbs of bacon (cooked the night before), and 2+ cases of beer.

The intention was to set up a booth right next to the course where we'd try to entice people into quitting. We'd taunt them with food and drink and cigarettes and beer and even massages. Unfortunately the terrain didn't cooperate, and we just ended up standing along the edge of Great Ocean Highway, yelling our offers to the running crowd. However, looking back, I feel that everything worked out as it needed to.

The biggest surprise for me is that we actually had runners take us up on our food offers. (Even the 12-hour old McD's cheeseburgers!) I thought all the pranksters would have to divvy up the leftovers, but we gave out all our supplies within an hour and a half.

As one of our Preachers noted, 'The reactions ran the gamut from completely ignoring us, to "you guys suck" and "you guys are awesome".' Most everyone who said anything to us did so with a smile, making me believe they 'got' that we were there to encourage them.

Here are a couple of other interactions that really made my day:

Ed had the foresight to download 4 running-related songs, which he played through one of the ever-present (amongst pranksters, at least) bullhorns. The runners really got a kick out of "Chariots of Fire" especially.

At one point after we had run out of doughnuts, one of the runners jokingly asked for a doughnut. Someone yelled back "We had some earlier. You should have run faster." This became our default answer to anyone who asked for a specific thing that we didn't have.

Sandra, who was dressed as an angel, got quite a few runners to interact by yelling "I put out for quitters!"

Here's a couple of videos of us 'working our magic':

Monday, October 18, 2010

My Work With The Corporate Manglomerate

Over the last few months I have been devoted some of my spare time to working with EDW Lynch Corporate Manglomerate (the worlds first man-corporation hybrid) as Director of Social Resources.

Most of my work for this organization is in the background, but the role requires infrequent and short public appearances during the press conferences that EDW Lynch has in order to communicate with investors and the greater San Francisco dating market.

Here is one example of the kinds of support I provide:

EDW Lynch is a very strong brand in the San Francisco dating market and I hope to continue providing support for the Corporate Manglomerate for years to come.

Monday, August 2, 2010

I Heart TSA - A Recurring Shenanigan

At some point this past February as I was getting ready for my trip to SXSW, I got a bit annoyed with the 'standard' rite of passage that we all must go through: Airport Security.

Like many of you, I'm sure, I carry lots of stuff in my pockets. In addition to the customary cellphone, keys, and wallet stuff, I also have to remove my studded belt and wallet chain. It's all a big pain in the rear end to take them out of my pants, put them in the little tray (or 'hide' them somewhere in my carry-on), and waste valuable tens of seconds putting all this stuff back into place on my person.

I realized that all this stuff is either attached to or stowed within my pants. Taking a look at this situation I figured I could cut out the middleman by just sending my pants, still-attached contents and all, through the scanner.

Now, this settled my need for a pragmatic solution. But being a quietly weird guy with no pants at the security line lacks a certain... pizzazz... that I want to exhibit when I'm doing something so socially challenging.

Inspiration hit when I saw a woman wearing sweatpants that said "Juicy" on the butt: I can write something on my ass! That will give me the extra "oomph" I'm looking for!

What did I want to say with my ass while going through security? I thought I could up the shenanigan ante by bringing my persecutors in on the joke, and from this my slogan was born: "I [heart] TSA"!

Since I have all the crafting ability of a Gumby, I threw the idea out to my circle of ne'er-do-wells, and Brody (the brilliant creator of the Desaturated Santa costume) offered to pick up my crafting slack. I went out, bought a brand new pair of boxer-briefs, and handed them over. Within just a couple of days Brody returned the undies all shenanigan-ized!

My new travvelin' undies!

It is now several months later, and I've managed to wear my shenani-pants on every flight I've taken. I gotta tell you, the TSA agents at Oakland airport are some stone cold professionals! No matter how I shake my ass around (in a very subtle way, of course), they never react. In Austin, I got an understated and under-the-breath compliment from the metal-detector lady, and in Seattle I got one truncated guffaw, but in OAK I've gotten nary a smirk!

Not to worry - the steadfastness of the Oakland TSA only has me more resolved to eke some kind of reaction out of them. (Hopefully not of the handcuff and interrogation type.)

You can be sure this is a prank I'll be doing for a long time!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

SF Spy Hunt

On Saturday May 9th, I, along with my friends Skippy and Evan, threw a motorcycle-based scavenger hunt for a whole passel of our friends.

Stop #1
The day started off with a mystery, as the participants had to decipher a clue just to find the starting point.

Inspect this video:
At five 'til eight, you'll see a turnoff... Follow the radio until it runs out.

If they read the clue right, it lead them to the top of San Bruno Mountain State and County Park. (Where the 'Seven Sisters' radio towers live.) Evan, Skippy, and I met them all at the start with a couple of breakfast snacky items (and some fantastic views, too!). Once everyone showed up and had a quick bite to eat, we explained the game to them. Here is the overview, as written by Skippy:

Gallimaufry is a tiny land-locked island nation, and the only source of Unobtainuium, the world's most precious and rare substance. Gallimaufrians have obtained great wealth through the export of Unobtanium, and have used it to purchase high-tech weapons and an extremely effective mercenary army, in order to protect their watery, landlocked borders.
Recently, a small band of disgruntled former Gallimaufrian postal workers have used their connections to smuggle out the olios, the national artistic treasures of Gallimaufry.
Olios are the pride and joy of Gallimaufrian artisans, and the nation will do anything to get them back. ...Even if it means giving away exclusive redistribution rights to Unobtanium.

We took this time to break all the attendees into three teams:

  • Team GUPPI (Gallimaufrian United Postal Parcel Instituion) - Trying to find all the olios that they lost - Consisting of Rick, Switch, and Erika

  • Hawaii Five-O 2.0 - Hawaiian Detectives trying to win Unobtanium for their own goals - Consisting of Slim, Audrey, Keith, Carrie, and a late-arriving Nifer

  • Team Casual Friday - A bunch of Financial District types trying to profit from Unobtanium so that every day can be a 'casual Friday' - Consisting of Reed, Nina, David, Krissa, Simon, and Annie

After the teams received their little bits of thrift-store bling, we gave them their next clue...

Stop #2
Referee = (41.7 - 3.940178) X (314.159265 - 436.585498)

This clue pointed to a latitude/longitude in Dolores Park. Our friend James was waiting in the park to play the part of the referee. Once the teams all arrived and assembled themselves, he told them that they had to drum up as much support in the form of a cheering section from the uninvolved people in the park. The cheering sections (dominated by Team Casual Fridays') supported the teams through a grueling round of (Best of 3) Ro-Sham-Bo, which Team GUPPI won.
(Note of interest - Slim and Audrey totally embraced resourcefulness and stopped at a thrift store on their way to Dolores park to outfit their entire team with Hawaiian shirts. This was a most excellent idea.)

After the last blows of rocks, papers, and scissors fell, all the teams were given little notebooks that had been shredded and had the word "rock" painted on them. (Rock, paper, scissors, y'know?) Along with some random favorite quotes scrawled in the notebook, the teams found their next clue.

Stop #3

Wire Intercepted: Transcript reads-
Mars: --- Delivered to the Deity Dormitory on Mt. Olympus.
Zeus: -- It just showed up on Upper Terrace?
Mars: - humans looking for it.
Zeus: Meet you at the obilesk - Noon.
Mars: Sir, Yes, Sir. I will bring the Olio.
---- Wire Ended

This clue lead the teams to Mt. Olympus, which is a small park and monument at the geographic center of San Francisco. Here, the teams crossed paths with two very intimidating Russian characters played by MassiveBri and Damon.
The teams had to appease these (ethically misplaced?) gods ("Bring us a potato."), before they were subjected to a thumb-wrestling tournament. Rick handily won the tournament for the GUPPIS.
The teams then received the next two clues...

Stops #4 & #5

Obtain proof you have met with a Mr. Higgins. He can be found lounging under the veteran's 40 motorcycles of yesteryear. He has no Olio for you, but his friend Edward does. Edward can be found on the fore arm of parts at SF Moto. Show Edward the image of his favored drinking pal Higgins and ask for two BP7EVX for a Norton Commando. Edward will direct you to the recovered Olio.

Clue #4 directed the teams to grab a photo of Mr. Higgins, the resident cat at the bar Eddie Rickenbacker's in SOMA. The teams then had to deliver the photo to Edward at SFMoto. (Edward is the name of the cat that is tattooed onto the arm of the 'parts guy', and everyone working in the store knew this.)
Mr. Higgins is a hugely fat cat, and the teams quickly figured out who our subject was the moment they saw him sitting on the couch in the front of the bar.

At SFMoto (Clue #5), the teams were given a (mysterious) key to the case on one of the scooters out front. Here, the teams found their next clue.

Stop #6

A l b a c o r e T u n a

C n d c e q t g V w p c

Rtgukfkq Ctiwignnq icvg, vjg Urkte. Oggv cv vjg hqtm kp vjg tqcf hqt aqwt ejcnngqig.

This (+2 character) cipher directed the teams to the Andy Goldsworthy piece called "Spire".
Our friends Starchy and Mella were waiting here, playing the parts of Eastern European guides recreating an old Soviet family pastime of racing to the border on flat-tired bikes built for 5-year-old girls.

After much lolly-gagging, dangerous border racing (winner:Hawaii Five-O 2.0), and a PB&J lunch, the teams were given bent fork olios and their next clues.

Stop #7

The youngest mayor of San Francisco,
met his ruinous end in the bath.
Wear all your safety gear to the terrace
in hopes of avoiding the same path.

This lead the teams to the Sutro Baths, where the teams chose Champions to play ATGATT strip poker. ("Poker" here is defined very loosely as "Hi-Low-Smoke-Fire".) The last player still wearing their motorcycle safety gear won the round. Via cleaver teaming up of safety gear, Switch brought home the winning olios for the GUPPI's!

After re-assembling their gear, the teams were then directed to speak to a mysterious stranger on the beach across the Baths, to dig up their next clue. Their clues were wrapped in a bag that also had a teaser t-shirt that had been printed to commemorate the SF Spy Hunt, which they would all receive at the end of their ordeal.

Stop #8

The only neighborhood in San Francisco where a lady can stand exposed topless all day and all night, and not be bothered; although impervious to cold, wind, and fog, this lady is always perky.
In a Glass Coffin, another woman sits ready to be charmed. A double-agent of the GUPPIs, she is willing to trade her olios, for the right price. This moll is armed, but if you give her your best pick up line, she is willing to be charmed. If you succeed, she will give up your next clue, between her boulders.

This lead the teams to the Twin Peaks bar in the Castro, where another friend of ours - Lisa, was waiting to be charmed. The teams had to use their best pickup lines to get the next clue out of our moll. Later, Lisa rated David's (of Team Casual Friday) pickup line the best that she heard all day!

Stop #9

I see London, I see France
From Geneva I see Edinburgh and Naples, too.
Go too far, and you’ll wind up in the Amazon.
And this is your final clue.

May 28, 2008: A British man named Richard Jenkins has just broken the world land speed record for a wind-powered vehicle.
July 2, 2008: Yuji Hirayama and Hans Florine have broken the speed record for climbing the Nose of El Capitan.
April 3, 2007: A high-speed French train named V-150 has broken the world speed record for trains or rails.
May 21, 2004: A Nepalese Sherpa has broken the record for the fastest ascent of Mt. Everest, scaling the world's highest mountain in 8 hours and 10 minutes.
September 26, 2008: Motorcycle speed record broken by Rocky Robinson.

This last clue brought the teams to The Broken Record in the Excelsior neighborhood of San Francisco, where everyone met back up for food, drink, and a review of their day.

(Photo credits: All photos [except for the Twin Peaks one, which I just found with a simple Google search] come from either my set, Evan's set, or Audrey's set.)

Friday, May 1, 2009

No Pants Day!!!

D'OH! I didn't hear about it until today.

No Pants Day is a day where everyone, be they students, respectable businessmen, or cherished community leaders, leave their pants behind. Usually this means wearing thick, appropriately modest boxer shorts, but bloomers, slips, briefs, and boxer-briefs all work as well.

I gotta put in a reminder for myself, the first Friday in May is No Pants Day.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Wordle Makes Word Art!

This is the one of the tag clouds created by Wordle when given this blog as content.

Wordle: SFShenanigans