6 O'Clock BS – Cuddly Creatures Giveaway Winners!

The internet can be a complex and infuriating place. Let’s all take a moment for simple, sweet cuddly knit creatures. You can read about why I’m giving away simple, sweet, cuddly knit creatures here.

I entered the nine names into a random name selector, and the first three names generated were (in order):

  1. Ophelia Benson wins the Trilobite
  2. Casper wins the Microbe
  3. Brian Gregory wins the Neuron

There was no rhyme or reason to matching the winners to the creatures – I lined them up and said whoever gets selected gets [creature].

I’m notifying the winners tonight by email. Congrats and thanks for entering the giveaway!

6 O'Clock BS – Cuddly Creatures Giveaway Winners!
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6 O’Clock BS – Cuddly Creatures Giveaway Winners!

The internet can be a complex and infuriating place. Let’s all take a moment for simple, sweet cuddly knit creatures. You can read about why I’m giving away simple, sweet, cuddly knit creatures here.

I entered the nine names into a random name selector, and the first three names generated were (in order):

  1. Ophelia Benson wins the Trilobite
  2. Casper wins the Microbe
  3. Brian Gregory wins the Neuron

There was no rhyme or reason to matching the winners to the creatures – I lined them up and said whoever gets selected gets [creature].

I’m notifying the winners tonight by email. Congrats and thanks for entering the giveaway!

6 O’Clock BS – Cuddly Creatures Giveaway Winners!

Book Giveaway Contest!

My friend Amy Gregg published a book called Magic & Madness. Here’s a link to her book on Amazon. I bought a copy when it came out in 2009 and we were both working together at a bookstore. It’s an urban fantasy about witches and wizards (it is not teen fiction and contains adult themes). It takes place in Minneapolis and St. Paul and she has included many references to buildings, stores and streets that anyone from the area might recognize.

Amy has just given me a signed copy of Magic and Madness to use as a contest prize on the blog! I love contests and giving stuff away. If you want to sponsor a contest, contact me!

Here’s the contest rules. You can do one of two things:

1) In 13 words or less, write a sentence or story that includes the words “magic” and “madness”. That’s it. Throw your 13-word entry in the comments.

OR

2) Draw a picture incorporating the themes “magic” and “madness”. Throw a link to your image in the comments.

Picking a winner: On TUESDAY FEBRUARY 21st 8pm CST I’ll pick my top 5-10 favorite entries, throw those names in a hat and have the Hubby pull out a name. That person wins the book. I’ll announce the top 5-10 entries and the winner later that evening. If there are less than five entries, all entries will be thrown into the hat and a winner drawn from that.

You can enter as many times as you want, but only the most recent entry will be considered for the top 5-10 spots.

So, in words or pictures, tell us a story!

UPDATE (2/21/12) – On the advice of a reader, I am including the website of the publisher, North Star Press. If you have any interest in buying a copy of Magic & Madness, you can buy it directly through them rather than through Amazon (same price both stores). North Star Press is a local publisher that supports Minnesota writers.

Book Giveaway Contest!

Minneapolis Chevy Sonic Adventure

On Saturday I participated in the Minneapolis Chevy Sonic Adventure. I posted about the race last week, and since then I’ve had people emailing me for more information. Apparently the race is going to be held in several cities across the U.S., and enterprising individuals are looking for clues or trying to decide if they want to get in on the action. I’m not going to share specific clues that we given here on the blog, but I’ve made a couple of lists about my experience with the Minneapolis race.

Top Ten Highlights

1) It was FUN. I had a really good time.This was an enjoyable scavenger hunt, especially for someone like me who enjoys logic games, friendly competition, a little exercise, and exploring.

2) Well-organized start. The starting location was huge and there was plenty of room for people to leave the park at their own pace when the race opened up. There was no craziness or fear of being trampled as people raced out of the area. Not getting trampled was a nice way to start the day.

3) The clues were really quite well done. I was worried that the challenges would either be too easy or impossible, but the people who were responsible for creating the clues for Minneapolis managed to make them challenging without being frustrating. We didn’t have to know the city to figure out the clues, but it did help to have a general sense of direction of where we were and where we were headed.

4) We got some exercise. My partner and I walked several miles on Saturday, which was lovely because the weather was PERFECT – sunny, a gentle breeze and somewhere in the low 70s.

5) I love group activities. The organizers handed out pale pink shirts with the logos all of the supporters written on the back. When we were walking around the city we’d run into each other and there was a sense of camaraderie. Also, there was a bit of hint-helping – you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. No one that we ran into were super-competitive jerks, and most of the teams were smiling and laughing. It felt nice to be part of the group. And one amusing thing about 500 people running around the city in pink shirts was that it confused the crap out the cabbies and other downtown Minneapolis regulars.

6) Seeing the city with new eyes. I’m pretty familiar with downtown Minneapolis, but I discovered new parks, landmarks and stores that I had never noticed or paid attention to before participating in the race.

7) They planned ahead with the no-bike rule. The organizers did not allow bikes or other wheeled transportation (with the exception of medically necessary wheelchairs). There were up to 500 people racing around crowded downtown Minneapolis on a Saturday afternoon. I am so grateful that no one from our group was on bikes; that would have been a nightmare with the pedestrian and car traffic.

8 ) Well-organized ending. When the game was over, the app and text number were disabled. It was a very clear message that the game was over and it was time to head back to HQ.

9) Treats and Prizes! At our game the organizers had a bunch of different kinds of granola bars, fruit snacks, candies and water waiting for us at the end of the race (totally not expected as we hadn’t paid an entry fee). And at our location, one of the local radio stations helped sponsored the event and handed out some swag by random drawing. Finally, the organizers awarded tickets for local events, an MP3 player and a couple of digital cameras to the top eight finishers. I’m not sure what the first runner-up won, but…

10) Someone actually won a freaking car! As I mentioned in my earlier post, the details for the race were quite vague. There was a statement about how participants might win a new Chevy Sonic. My partner and I thought maybe the top winner would get entered into a drawing, or maybe someone would have to hit a certain number of points to win the car, but no. At the end of the race they actually gave away a car to what I’m assuming was the team who ranked the highest in points. That was really neat.

Top Five Disappointments

1) Crowd control during registration. The race was advertised as starting at 11am. We showed up at 10:30 to register and were told that registration didn’t open until 11am (oh, that’s what they meant by starting at 11am). There was no help for queuing up, so at about 10:50 everyone started bunching up and pressing into a huddle around the reg tent. When emcee announced that registration was open the crowd surged toward the table. A couple of orderly lines eventually formed, but not without some shoving, nudging, elbowing, grumbling and generally jerkiness. It took the organizers over an hour to register everyone and we didn’t leave the park until sometime after noon.

2) Runners had the advantage. The name of the game seemed to be hit the most number of clues (and correctly answer them). Those who were able to keep up a steady jog made it to more places. I’m not saying that it was unfair, but those who were used to walking or jogging for long periods of time definitely had an advantage.

3) SCVNGR sucked it up BIG TIME. Don’t get me wrong – the SCVNGR app is really well designed. We pulled it up at the start of the race and all of the  locations were mapped out and the clues were all listed. We planned a route that would cover the greatest number of points in the most direct lines. The app was beautiful. And then the f*cking thing crashed. They weren’t ready for the traffic and we ran into many groups who were having trouble getting the map and clues to refresh or open up. We eventually switched over to the text mode of playing, but we lost a lot of time and a few clues in the process, and…

4) The text message mode of play is at a big disadvantage to the SCVNGR app. The text message mode of play was more reliable than the SCVNGR app for us, but WAY more inefficient. With texting we were sent to one location at a time and we couldn’t pick or choose which location it would send us to. We were sent back and forth across several blocks and had no ability to plan our route. E.g. – it sent us to 7th Street, then up to 10th street, then back down to 8th Street, then to 10th street again. That was frustrating. If they wanted to make the race more even, they would limit everyone to use of text messaging.

5) Battery Life!!! My phone had a 2% charge left at the end of the race. If it had gone any longer we would have had to stop and charge up or throw in the towel. All answers were tied to one phone – not an account that you could log in to from anywhere – so once we had started answering questions, we needed to keep using the same device.

Conclusion: DO IT.

Overall it was a GREAT day and I would recommend the race to anyone and everyone who likes this kind of competitive gaming. The few annoying things were not enough to ruin the overall awesomeness of the event. The thing that made participation a no-brainer for me was the free entry. For $0 from all of us the organizers provided a wonderful afternoon of entertainment, plus a free t-shirt, snacks and prizes.

I would suggest getting a bunch of teams together that all know each other. My teammate and I didn’t know anybody else, so we were our own little world of two. Teams were strictly limited to two people, but there were a couple of larger groups of two-person teams who all sat together before and after the race, and I imagine they had fun running into each other downtown and competing against each other.

And, you actually have a pretty decent chance of winning a car. In Minneapolis the challenge was limited to 250 teams, and one of those teams won a car. If you consider that some of the groups that pre-registered probably didn’t show up, that means each team had a better than 1:250 chance of winning the grand prize. Those are better odds than most of us will probably ever have of winning a car in other types of contests (radio call-in contests, raffles, etc.).

There are photos and video of the event over at the official Minneapolis Chevy Sonic Adventure website. And knowing what I know now…there are some clues about the types of questions and answers you might expect if the Chevy Sonic Adventure comes to your town!

Minneapolis Chevy Sonic Adventure

Ack! I need a teammate!

I signed up for a treasure hunt that’s going on this Saturday. It’s called the Chevy Sonic Adventure, and the big prize is a new Chevy Sonic Sedan 2LT. I have no idea how big or difficult the event is going to be, but I had a free Saturday and I like scavenger/treasure hunts so I thought, why not?

Here’s the description of the event from the Minneapolis Chevy Sonic Adventure Facebook page:

Chevy Sonic Adventure is a one-day, real world treasure hunt throughout the city. Teams of two answer riddles and complete challenges via standard text message or SCVNGR app for iPhone and Android. Score the most points, and someone could drive away in an all new Chevy Sonic Sedan 2LT!

Oooo…pretty new car. Hey, you never know until you try, right?

So, now I need a partner! An oddball fascination with general or car trivia may be useful. Cheverolet knowledge specifically may be good too. And it might be helpful if you have a grasp of downtown Minneapolis geography. Maybe we can do a little research beforehand. You know, stratergize?  The website is annoyingly vague about what kind of questions will be asked, although the facebook page does promise to drop some clues prior to game day. They’re also a little cryptic about how much distance we might be covering, although the website does say that everyone must play on foot/wheelchair – no bicycles allowed.

The hunt starts at 11am at Loring Park, so all of my friends who like to sleep in on Saturdays – no worries! There’s plenty of time to roll out of bed, eat some cereal, drink some coffee, walk the dog and still make it down to the park on time. Also, the event is completely free.

Here’s the website. Take a look, decide if you might be up for a good ol’ scavenger hunt dealeo with your buddy, Brianne. If you’re interested, you can contact me here in the comments, or by email at bio_dork – at – hotmail.com, or on twitter @abiodork or on Facebook. Let me know soon, though, because we totally have to come up with a team name.

Yay for grownups playing!

Ack! I need a teammate!