Thursday, October 8, 2015

"Such Great Heights" Quest

The eighth quest we attempted was all about heights (not our specialty, unless it is hiking up mountains!). We are still juggling several quests at once in our effort to "catch up", but I DO think we are making progress on that goal! The information below shows the requirement for each of the main quest categories and what we did to satisfy the requirement.

We had our choice of 3 documentaries to watch and we chose Beyond the Edge.

127 Hours. Directed by Danny Boyle
Pollock. Directed by Ed Harris
Beyond the Edge. Directed by Leanne Pooley
Nova Season 12 Episode 3: Ben Franklin's Balloons

Martini Man's comments: We just completed watching Beyond the Edge and talk about a nail biter! For knowing what the outcome would be, we were still on the "edge of our seats"! What a magnificent story about human courage and fortitude. Well worth watching.....

Wisconsin Hiker's comments:We just watched "Beyond the Edge" and I found it fascinating (and intense). It is inspiring to watch people persevere in such harsh conditions and ultimately succeed. We had to take a couple of short breaks to refill wine glasses during the movie because I was getting too tense, even though I knew they would be successful. I hope we are able to achieve our (much easier) goal of hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back out a month from now...

The second media objective asked us to listen to an audio program describing the an epic back and forth struggle for the glory of ruling the New York City skyline in the late 1920s.

The Chrysler Building and The Manhattan Company Building

Wisconsin Hiker's comments: It was a good story about the competitiveness of people who try to set records. I also was interested to hear that this "race" was going on JUST before the crash on Wall Street and the Great Depression. Such a quick change from the "Great Heights" to the depths of despair so many felt. I was surprised to hear that Chrysler tried to get out of paying the architect, especially since he had splurged so much on the building itself.

Even though I am a constant public radio listener it felt odd that there were no visuals. Instead of hearing this on the radio, I listened to this on the computer, where I expect photos & video. So I just kept scrolling between the few photos that accompanied the article.

Martini Man's comments: Not done yet

Read A Bucket Full of Spit by Michael Martone and comment on it.

Wisconsin Hiker: It took me a bit to sink into the rhythm of the story, but once I did, the story flowed along and had some interesting imagery. My mind went to the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, or perhaps a post-apocalyptic world (such as "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy). I imagined the "beanstalk" to be a water tower. I then reread a version of the original "Jack and the Beanstalk" fairy tale and was amused to find this, which has a tie-in to the "Bucket Full of Spit Story":

I smell the blood of an Englishman,
Be he alive, or be he dead
I’ll have his bones to grind my bread.”

I'm sure I missed a lot of symbolism in the story, but thought it was amusing until the end. It seemed so inconclusive and I thought it must be continued somewhere, but apparently that was it. Hmmmm....

Martini Man: I normally do not like to read my colleagues' reviews before I write mine. Hoever, in this case, I was a bit confused by the abrupt ending and wondered if I missed something. Nope......

So not my favorite Quest Scouts reading. This seemed like a riff on the Oklahoma Dust Bowl days and perhaps an analogy about the migration of the Okies to California. But I fear I am stretching that a lot. Odd prose.

For this we had to determine the tallest building in our state and then visit it and take a photograph of ourselves in front of the building.

Martini Man: Today Wis Hiker and I visited the US Bank Center, which is the tallest building in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Hiker: It was easy for us to get to the tallest building in our state, since it is only 17 miles from our house. Here I am (sitting on a ledge way at the bottom) when we visited it today in Milwaukee, WI. The US Bank building is 42 stories tall and 601 feet in height. (Note: many of us that have been around for a while, still call it the First Wisconsin, since that was its original name when it was built by a different bank and completed in 1973).

For the art component, we had to watch a video about the work of Jackson Pollock and then create a "drip style painting" inspired by Pollock.

Wisconsin Hiker: Creating the drip painting was fun!  Since it looked like Pollock just tossed paint around, that's what I did.  I used a pre-stretched 16"x20" canvas and a variety of paint.  This included some ceiling paint, some wall paint and some acrylic paint in handy squirt bottles and some tempera paint in a tube. I got out a variety of brushes to flick the paint, but ended up just using the paint stir sticks instead for the house paint.  I flipped the sticks around to "paint" and also let some run down between the holes on the stick onto the canvas. I squeezed the bottles and tubes for the other paint. The paints were different thicknesses and the tempera was the gloppiest.  Since this was going to be a messy process, I created my "masterpiece" outdoors.

Martini Man: I had to get talked into this, but I have to admit I enjoyed myself making this. I doubt it will be the topic of a video telling the story of a long - lost masterpiece. However the strains of "When I Paint My Masterpiece" keep coming up in my head....

While laying on our back, we were supposed to photograph a subject above you in order to capture height in our photo.

Martini Man: I give you a different perspective on Holy Hill

I also wanted to share a different side of me in getting the nice picture of the steeple at Holy Hill

Wisconsin Hiker: Our friends Tiptoe & Tonto were visiting us this past weekend and after finding some letterboxes we headed over to the nearby Holy Hill Shrine because they had never been there before. We figured it was a great opportunity to take our "Looking Up" photos. (If you look carefully, you will see Martini Man at the top inside the tower. It was 178 steps up and we had some great views!)

This was a challenge that encouraged a bit of silliness - building a catapult from a mint tin.

Not done yet

This requires us to find a letterbox that requires climbing vertically/straight up. Not many options around here - the one that we know about we already found years ago. But luckily our friend PackerBacker came through for us again!

Martini Man: I was along for the find of Ski Jumper. A clever hide, in my opinion. Only issue we had was looking nonchalant off the trail. But the ruined brick grill down the slope served as a reason for being so far off the beaten path. Kudos to our pal, Packerbacker for this one as well as a lot of great boxing experiences over the years.

Wisconsin Hiker: I had to climb up a few fallen trees to put the Ski Jumper letterbox back in the correct spot. It was a gorgeous fall day for letterboxing in Beloit, WI!

We had to play a tower building game to satisfy the objective.

Not done yet, but we will be playing JENGA


This was an "index card" art project where we were supposed to fill the card with a towering city skyline.

Wisconsin Hiker's index card artwork

Martini Man: Not done yet


Here were were supposed to "raise the bar" by doing any task on our "To Do" list a little bit better than you were planning.

Wisconsin Hiker: I was vacuuming window sills and cleaning the inside of windows in the house. My "reach higher" was deciding to climb out a window onto the roof so I could also clean the skylight!

Martini Man: Not done yet


Watch a video from about 9-year old rock climber Ashima Shiraishi and comment on it.

Martini Man: OMG! Such a little cutie and such determination and focus! Not for this wimpy boy! The only thing that went creeping through my mind was if the gent doing the narration was perhaps pushing her a bit....... Ah well, always suspicious.

Wisconsin Hiker: Wow - she is a talented little monkey! Such strength & determination! However I think I would be torn as a parent - it would be great to see a child develop and excel, but scary to see them at risk of injury.


Watch the Tall Painting video by Dave Kaufman and comment on it.

Wisconsin Hiker: Very cool! It makes me want to try something similar on a smaller scale. I also wondered what part of the painting is preserved, or if it is preserved as 2 or 3 separate pieces (block tower, base and floor). I just need to figure out how to get the right viscosity of paint to try this.....

Martini Man: Fascinating use of gravity, geometry and the knowledge of colors and how to match them up. The effect was riveting to me and frankly I thought this required more skill then anything Jackson Pollock ever did. Bravo!


For this we had to do a puzzle that asked us to estimate the heights of each of the items listed without doing any research. We then added all 8 estimates together to get a total estimated height.

Wisconsin Hiker: I was off by 43,651 ft. My guess was much too low - EMBARRASSING!
I had the Tallest Man right and was very close for the basketball hoop, Willis Tower and the rollercoater. My downfall were the mountains - I don't know what I was thinking when I put down such low numbers.  I did enjoy it, but we don't need to talk about it anymore. :-)

Martini Man: Well this was interesting.

1) I was 14,597 below the actual cumulative height.
2) I'd say I was closest on Everest, although you could look at my numbers and contest that. I am speaking more in terms of scale. I was stunned to see how tall Mauna Kea is, so wondering how they calculate the tallest mountain in the world now.
3) We can do this again. I learned some things and that's OK.

We needed to get at least 1,000 points to complete the quest and we both exceeded that.  We thereby earned our eighth badge! We are also excited to know that several of our letterboxing friends have joined us in Quest Scouts.

"Such Great Heights" badge

Monday, October 5, 2015

"Micro Quest BINGO"

In an attempt to introduce more people to Quest Scouts, Dylan created a BINGO game consisting of multiple Micro Quests.  Each day a new micro quest is published and if you do the activity within two days, you can cross off the corresponding square on your Bingo card:

SEP 14: N-38 Media – Watch kite video

Wisconsin Hiker: I kept trying to figure out how it worked, how one guy could be controlling all those kites. Were there separate strings for each kite or were several connected? It was interesting to see how a few landed early, but didn't seem to affect the others that were still flying. Overall it was pretty cool and reminded me of my dad (deceased), who had some great kites that he flew on the beach.

Martini Man: It actually seemed like an animation of birdlike figures basically dive-bombing some real or imagined threat. So strange to consider this was a little over one minute video of collapsed twenty minutes of what I presume was a single kite flying. Very nice........

SEP 15: I-23 Literature – Write a book review on a 3”x3” piece of paper

Wisconsin Hiker's review

Martini Man's review

SEP 16: I-17 Game – Play GeoGuessr, a fun game in which you are "dropped" in a random place on google maps. You then navigate around and use context clues to guess where you are in the world. When you have an idea, you place a pin on the map and click "make guess" to see how well you did.
Wisconsin Hiker: Wow! What a COOL game! I'm not that good with flags and languages, but I managed to do pretty well. I played one game of 5 rounds and my score was 15,416. The total number of miles I was off for the 5 rounds was ~3,200. I was really close on one: less than 35 miles off! I was also pretty close on two others (135 miles and 210 miles). The other two I was off by over 1,000, but I still felt I had done pretty well guessing. Thanks to Quest Scouts for introducing us to a very entertaining game!

Martini Man: OK, I really sucked. Off by over 25,000 miles!!!! Score was only 3762 for 5 rounds. Not so very hot at all............

SEP 17: O-64 Art – create an abstract work of art

Wisconsin Hiker's creation

Martini Mans's creation, Title: The Shattered Mind of the Soon-to-Be Retired

SEP 18: G-57 Travel - get a bit more exercise than normal today  (Didn't do - we just did a 5-mile hike with our hiking club, but didn't do anything "extra")

SEP 19: G-45 Game - Play an arcade game (Didn't do - it was our niece Amanda's wedding day!)

SEP 20: B-11 Research - Pick out something you own to get rid of by donating or throwing away (Didn't do - we cleaned a lot out last year so didn't take the time to identify something for Bingo. But we certainly do still have a lot we can get rid of!)

SEP 21: I-16 Media - Watch a a short video/animation about the history of light.

Wisconsin Hiker: I loved the black & white images and immediately thought of carvings for letterbox stamps. The "evolution of light" story seemed to start with destructive fires, which was unsettling, but then paralleled so many important inventions. We are now so used to artificial light and "light on demand" that it is an eye-opener if we lose power. Then we are back to candle light (and our electronics, only as long as the battery lasts). I enjoyed the short, but interesting, video!

Martini Man: I thought it a tad "in yo face", but that is probably due to the fact I did not like the music much. I did think the metamorphosis of imagery was interesting and that sustained my attention.
SEP 22: O-69 Art - Draw an artistic interpretation of the word BINGO on an index card. (Didn't do. It was my mom's last day of her visit from FL and we did other things)

SEP 23: G-48  Art - Post an eye-catching pattern

Wisconsin Hiker: Mosaic on the floor at the Wisconsin Center
Martini Man:  Patio Pavers

SEP 24: B-14 Game - Complete an on-line jigsaw puzzle of the Quest Scout logo.

Martini Man finished in a bit over 17 minutes and Wisconsin Hiker require 22 minutes.

SEP 25: no call

SEP 26: I-29  Find - Find a letterbox

Martini Man:  We took a historic and FREE ferry across the Wisconsin River to find the "Teas by the Ferry" letterbox.

Wisconsin Hiker:  We enjoyed walking on a beach on a gorgeous fall day to find "The Dirty Turtle" letterbox.

SEP 27: G-53 Literature - Write an acrostic poem using the word BINGO as your base word.
Wisconsin Hiker:

Martini Man:

Basements and halls are lined with folding tables and chairs;
In anticipation of a crowd of life-weary people looking for a diversion at the local parish
Now observe the eager players as they file in to their favorite seats, hoping for good fortune.
Greens, blues, reds are some of the colors that brightly decorate the cards as the calls are made.
Oh, jubilant the winning cries when Lady Luck smiles down on the winner!

SEP 28: N-32  Travel - Take a short stroll outdoors and breathe deeply for several minutes.  Then use one word to comment on how you felt or what you were thinking about.

Wisconsin Hiker: Warmth

Martini Man: Serenity

SEP 29: B-9 Media - Watch Slomo video

Wisconsin Hiker:  The idea of "doing what you want" definitely becomes stronger the older you get. After years of working and acquiring, the prospect of just relaxing and having fun without needing so much "stuff" is very attractive. It's nice to see someone that has found his "bliss". However I'm curious about his vision problems - were they fixed? Getting worse? Obviously to skate he must be able to see well enough to avoid obstacles.

Martini Man: I must confess I found it rather moving. Not sure everyone has the financial wherewithal to perform the escape Slomo made. But he certainly gave up much to get to the place where he is and it was inspirational to watch and listen to. Find Nirvana on a pair of skates..... who knew......

SEP 30: N-39 DIY - Leave a cheerful note in a public place for a stranger to find.

Wisconsin Hiker left a note at a local grocery store
Martini Man left a note on a ledge in his office building

OCT 1: O-71 Photography - Take a photograph that captures balance or symmetry.

Wisconsin Hiker: The iconic arches!

Martini Man: Now here's some symmetry I can relate to!

OCT 2: no call

OCT 3: O-80 DIY - Design a Quest

Wisconsin Hiker:

Quest Theme: Long distance trails

Title: Hit the Trail!

Media: Watch one of the following movies and comment on it: “The Way”, “Wild!” or “Tracks”

Literature: Read Barefoot Sisters Southbound by Lucy Letcher and Susan Letcher

Research: Research the history of a trail over 200 miles long. When was it established? When completed? What type of transportation allowed? Where is it located? How many hikers typically visit the trail in a year? What are the highlights of the trail?

Travel: Take a hike or bike on a portion of a long distance trail. For this objective, the trail should be at least 25 miles in length, but you need to only travel on a portion of it. Write about your experience and include your distance traveled on the trail.

Art: Go to any trail and create a public work of art with materials along the trail. This could include rocks, feathers, pine cones, sticks or any other materials you find along the trail. Take a photo of your completed masterpiece.

Photography: Make a photo collage of a hike along a trail showing the trail name/symbol, a trail blaze/marker and a landmark or scenery along the trail. (Pic Monkey is a free & easy on-line tool for making photo collages.)

DIY: Trail magic often refers to the act of providing food or beverages for people traveling along a long distance trail. Find a spot to provide “trail magic” and report on your experience in the comments section.

Find: Find a box/cache along a long distance trail. Report the name of the box/cache below and any comments about your experience in finding it.

Game: Get outdoors on a trail and play one of the outdoor games described on these websites. Describe what you played (and post a photo if possible)

Micro Quests:
Literature: Research blogs written by people currently hiking a long distance trail. Read entries from several days of their blog.

Other MQ: TBD

Martini Man:

"Discover Your Past" - a Quest based on genealogy and family research.

Media: Watch The Human Family Tree
Literature: Read up on how to do genealogical research.
Travel: Travel to a regional ethnic resource like Bishops Hill in Illinois.
Visit: a Local genealogical research facility. It can be as simple as your local library.
Research: One family member at least two generations back. Find out more than vital statistical dates. See if you can construct a story about them
Art: Find a picture of an ancestor and make a sketch.
Photography: Arrange some old family heirlooms and make a nice artsy photo of them.
Diy: Make a shadow box of old photos and keepsakes with the theme being a cherished relative.
Find: The gravesite of an ancestor.
Games: Play the Game of Genealogy.

OCT 4: G-51 Art - Interpret the prompt "On the winning team" to make index card art. (Didn't do)

OCT 5: B-8 Travel - Think about your normal routines and make a slight change to one of them.

Wisconsin Hiker: I get three daily emails from Page-a-Day calendars with interesting information about sights to see, books to read and a trivia question. However I usually skip opening them, thinking I'll go back later to read them. Starting today, I will read them first thing in the morning to start the day with some inspirations for future trips or reading!

Martini Man: So let's see. Rather than goof around on the computer in the morning, maybe a nice short walk in the neighborhood would do me more good. Might try that tomorrow if the weather cooperates.

We had fun doing these Micro Quests and earned our special badge on October 5.

BINGO! on the diagonal

Our final comments:

Wisconsin Hiker: BINGO! We have a Digital QS membership since May 2015 and enjoyed doing the BINGO micro quests. However since we're still trying to catch up on completing some of the regular Quests, it got to be a lot of stuff to fit into a day/week, especially when my mom was visiting us. I completed 15 of the 20 Bingo Micro quests posted so far. Hard to say which ones I liked best... probably the GeoGuessr game and designing a quest. However some of the videos and art projects were also very entertaining and the BINGO poem stretched us a bit in a good way.

Martini Man: Well, the whole experience with the Bingo Microquests kept me on my toes (as well as my ever vigilant Wisconsin Hiker). Tell you what. Surely hope you liked the genealogy idea for a Quest Badge. Also liked the little walk I took to achieve that one Zen moment you asked us to find the other day.

This is now our 7th badge:
"Micro Quest Bingo" badge