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

No comments:

Post a Comment