Commuter Challenge

Folks at work got us out on the patio for a barbecue at lunchtime to tell us about the [Commuter Challenge](

My Daily Commute(For some reason, I keep wanting to insert a ‘p’ in “commuter”).

I was torn between feeling guilty and virtuous. I mean, my “commute” is only 5km a day total, and I’d be walking that if I could. Even if I drive every day, the distance traveled in one year is about as much as one SUV driving coworker who lives somewhere in the 905 does in two weeks. (I noticed he wasn’t at the barbecue…). But I haven’t been walking much (due to pain, which I guess is understandable).

Even though I’m fully on board with the principles and goals of the event, it all seems a bit silly to me. I suppose that’s my non-conformist nature shining through again. This is all stuff I know about, but I guess there are people for whom “you can bike! or take the bus! It’s better for everybody!” is news.

I do want to start getting out on the bike more. I haven’t done that in ages.

Photo Scunt

I’m not having a whole lot of luck getting my head back into work stuff. It probably doesn’t help that the people I’m meant to be working with are still stuck in their own projects. I need people to talk to.

But instead of complaining about work, I think I’ll write up some sort of [Anime North]( thing.

Last year, John, Bill and I decided that we needed something to do on Saturday afternoon because we usually just ended up wandering around the dealer’s room spending money and getting annoyed with the kids doing security. So John came up with the idea of a [scavenger hunt](, except with cameras so as to discourage the usual vandalism and destruction inherent in scavenger hunts.

Thus the [photo scunt]( was born.

We wanted to start it out small this year with a few teams and lower expectations. And with those, things went swimmingly and we’re now thinking about ways to grow it next year. I’ve got a few ideas, anyway.

* Next year, I think it would be nice to just print out lists for non-participants. I mean, it’s all for fun anyway. Full contest participation is probably more commitment than a lot of people want, and we don’t have the man-power for everybody to join in anyway.
* The contest doesn’t really scale very well, because there’s a whole lot of downloading and sifting through photos that needs to be done. In Physical scunts, the participants are restricted by how much stuff they can carry, so they’ve got to go back to the judges frequently and get things checked off the list. In a photo scunt, you just leave all the photos on your 2GB card and come back at the end for judging. Which means lots of tedious work for us. We’ve got to find a way to speed up that process if we’re going to have any hope of increasing the number of participants.
* From my little window on the proceedings, people seem to think in terms of collecting series and then collecting characters. I think we can work with that. Our list was kind of all over the map, in terms of what it wanted from people. We can probably be a bit more flexible while still getting people to find the things we want them to find. I hope, anyway.
* When we were tallying up photos, we had people saying “Oh, but I have a much better photo for [insert anime series]”. But we only count the one, so it doesn’t matter. Personally, I think a quantitatively cooler photo *should* count for more points. We can possibly do that with things like modifiers and combos. Maybe provide *hidden* combos for more points for things that make sense specific to the series or fan culture. That way, we could simultaneously simplify the list and make it more interesting.
* For example, we had on our list something like “Sailor Moon Cosplay.” So we accepted only the one Sailor Moon picture. But if someone found an incredibly adorable little girl in a Moon Princess costume with a plush Luna it would be worth a bit more than your typical sailor scout. Because we’d have modifiers like “cute” and “little kid” and series-specific modifiers like “Moon Princess” and “Luna mascot”. Likewise, we’d have modifiers for group sizes and other things. We need to be doing more to reward awesomeness.
* We were assuming people would get on the Internet and look things up, but I don’t think that happened. The hotel has free wifi. I’d like to find ways to encourage people to do this. :D
* We seem to have a bit of overlap with the masquerade ball with regards to required IT resources. Maybe we could work something out there… Just an idea…

I’ll see if John’s willing to put up the list for people to look at. I think it was a good first stab. Maybe we can get some feedback…

Anime North 2k7 Halftime Show

Anime North is a bit painful this year. I mean literally. My back kinda hurts. I don’t have my recliner to resort to.

I complain, but I actually think things are getting better. I can actually stand and walk around most of the day and end up tolerating it. More or less.


We spent most of the day sitting in the fountain in the basement of the Toronto Doubletree airport hotel running a photo scavenger hunt. That actually turned out to be pretty awesome. I don’t think we’ve managed to convey the true spirit of the photo scavenger hunt concept to our participants, but we’ve got a year to think about it before we try again. They did an okay job, though. I only fear they didn’t quite grasp how much you could get ahead with a little creativity and an eye for the less well-traveled paths of fandom. They will learn.