Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Highlander 2007

Highlander 2007 has come and gone. Despite some initial misgivings, I had a good time. My clan was MacMayan (because all clans have Scottish names, and we go to the Mayan, natch), and even though we were a completely new clan with 20/22 new members, we ended up taking second place overall. We could have taken first, though, if not for some questionable ref calls. Our team was really great- everyone worked together, there were no conflicts, just pure teamwork.

Going in, I had wanted to do the Video Game Challenge, but the games were Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero, which I had never played. I also wanted to play paintball, because I had never been, but this was not the venue for trying new things- every event is worth points, and there's only one opportunity for each (no practice). I ended up working on two events- Orienteering and the Genius Challenge.

Orienteering consists of your team trying to find flags in the woods around the camp. The team has a compass and elevation map with marks where the flags are, but the compass doesn't help a whole lot. We ended up going for the hardest ones first in effort to sweep around the perimeter going out and pick up the easier ones coming back, but we spent a lot more time trying to locate the harder flags than we expected. We ended up finding only about 4 of them, but they were all worth big points, including the highest valued one. We were exhausted coming back to turn in our results on time, and half of the group stayed behind until the last minute to find the highest valued flag. They found it, and one guy ran about 1.5 miles uphill back to the starting point to turn in our results. He was incredible. We ended up winning by such a large margin that we didn't even need the last, highest-valued flag. We were also covered in crazy little thorny things. The guy in this picture ended up throwing out his socks.

The Genius Challenge consisted of 50 questions of various sorts, mainly logic puzzles, but a fair number of questions that required outside knowledge to solve- e.g., the capital of Ethiopia (Addis Ababa), the number of Stanley Cups that Wayne Gretzky won (4). Our team knew some of the answers, but we weren't allowed to get outside help. A number of questions were worded very poorly, and I know we would have done better if the test had been more clear. And the question that I just couldn't come up with the answer for the life of me- make 21 from the numbers 1, 5, 6, and 7 and the operations addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. (The answer is 6 / (1 - (5/7)).

Overall, we did awesome, especially against so many other groups- 250 other people in 9 other clans; we were one of the smallest at 22 people, and only one other group had as many new people. Considering our start, where our clan leader couldn't make it for the opening ceremonies, and nobody knew anyone else or what was going on, we really turned heads at the closing ceremonies when we took a close second place.

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