2010-02-11 -34 138
Ever had a moment where everything you'd worked so hard on suddenly goes pear-shaped? A failure of catastrophic proportions? A fiasco?
For UnwiseOwl, there was the oral in which he froze up and was utterly incapable of saying a single word, losing 20% of his term grade in one fabulous foul swoop of failure. There was the time a device of his construction burst, launching litres of water all over the stage in front of 300 of South Australia's finest minds. And then, there was this...
 In which a boy has a dream
Since the day that I discovered geohashing, I have dreamt of completing a MacGyver geohash, of pitting my engineering skills against the unpredictable nature of geohashing and proving myself its master, of building something truly great (although not in the least conventional) and traversing the streets of Adelaide, attracting strange looks along the way.
 In which an opportunity arises
The hash for the 11th of February was on the edge of the Monastery Oval, just 3km or so by road from my house. Here was my chance! After getting home from work at 6.30 PM, and cooking dinner until 7.30 PM, I rang Tin-Tinn and asked her to come and visit, we had some work to do!
 In which adversity is overcome
The nature of the MacGyver geohash is to create something out of the materials available to you. Still living at home, the materials available at UnwiseOwl's place consisted of whatever was lying around in the shed that my father no longer wanted, and being the organised man that he is, he wanted everything. The creative process was marred slightly by a complete lack of material, but we soon decided that the base of an old office chair combined with an old bike wheel (UnwiseOwl fell of his bike and totalled it a few years earlier) would make an excellent start to our vehicle.
 In which a dream comes to pass, and is ridiculed
An hour later, there lay the "St Jude" (the patron saint of lost causes), a two-person dream machine, with the wheel separated from the chair by some old furniture pieces, all roped together due to all of the drills in the house being out of batteries, the seat covered with an old t-shirt stuffed with rags, and all topped off by an umbrella to keep the rain off. Tin-Tinn went and got UnwiseOwl's parents, who weren't impressed with the mechanical contrivance, mocking the undersized back wheels, the lack of steering, the inferiority of the mode of propulsion (the sitting person turns the bike wheel with their hands) and the general look of the "St Jude", but they hung around long enough to take some photos of us.
 In which a journey is undertaken
And so, with our heads full of dreams of completing the first ever MacGyver geohash, and adequately protected by bike helmets, the crew of the "St. Jude" began their journey down the driveway and out onto the footpath, when some of the more impractical parts of the design started to cause problems. "St Jude" wouldn't move straight, the wheel kept hitting the chair, and the person on the back kept falling off with the jerkiness of the movement. A few quick modifications, keeping in mind that the hours left to complete this task were quickly fading away, and the brave adventurers were off again. A total of about ten metres (and about ten minutes) from UnwiseOwl's house, after two changes of driver and one blister, it became clear that this trip was beyond the "St. Jude". Our heroes struggled on a little longer, but then they had an idea.
 In which success is redefined
The "St Jude" was promptly loaded into the back of Tin-Tinn's car, and the short journey to the hashpoint was filled with joy that we weren't still trying the ride the mechanical monster in the back seat all that distance. The "St. Jude" was dumped at the hashsite, finally reaching her intended destination, even if she didn't make it there in the method that was intended. The crew left behind a plaque commemorating the journey, and then picked up the St Jude (and a little rubbish) and made the drive home.
 In which no lesson is learnt
The trials of building and piloting the St. Jude had sapped up of all our energy, so there was to be no attempt to walk to the hash, meaning we came out of the whole thing with no geohashing ribbons to our name. But we don't count it as a loss, we had a great time constructing a useless vehicle, riding it around and laughing at our incredible ineptitude, and isn't that what geohashing is all about. Have no fear, friends, the geohashing sprit lives on, and the "St Jude" will ride again...
| UnwiseOwl and Tin-Tinn earned the Amateur Engineering Prize
| UnwiseOwl and Tin-Tinn earned the Badge of St. Jude