[TAE] A Few Cubes Between Friends

Monday, September 1, 2014

Happy Labor Day, all! (Or at least, those in the USA!)

I’m sure every one out there has heard about the “Ice Bucket Challenge” being put on to raise funds and awareness for ALS. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis – also known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” in honor of the baseball star who famously suffered and died from it – is a¬†debilitating and little-understood illness.

Though I do not personally know anyone who suffers from this condition, I do understand the importance of raising funds for research. And anything that brings awareness to something that most people don’t recognize as anything other than an exotic sounding, sciency name, is always good. Awareness is the first step toward doing something about any issue.

As you all know, I suffer from a few issues that have fairly low public awareness. While none of them are as dangerous and fatal as ALS, when I found out about the Ice Bucket Challenge, I knew I wanted to participate.

The first IBC that I saw was Robert Downey Junior’s, in which he makes the absolute best cross between a startled yelp and an elephant sound I have ever heard. I had no idea what the IBC was at this point, nor that it would get so widespread.

Over the following days, as I saw more challenges go up from celebrities and regular people alike I became more intrigued. As much as I wanted to participate, I didn’t think I’d have a chance. After all – one of the rules was that you had to be challenged, and no challenge I had seen yet applied to me personally. Then there was the problem of the fact that I would do it alone if I had to, but I didn’t particularly want to. Both for safety sake, and convenience.

Then, one night, I saw Dan Povenmire’s video. He’s a voice actor who plays the “villain” Dr. Doofenschmertz in Disney’s smart, funny show, Phineas and Ferb. His challenge at the end – to all fans of the show – made me light up. All my problems were solved at once.

Recently, I introduced my best friend, Nyx Goldstone, to the hilarious wonders of Phineas and Ferb. And, like I knew she would, she quickly fell in love with the show like I had. That made us both fans.

Now what I did next was a tiny bit sneaky – I sent her the video without telling her what it was or what I’d gotten from it. She watched it. When she laughed with me about it in instant messages, I shared my thoughts – that as fans of the show, technically we’d just been called out.

Nyx was excited by the prospect. Since the next day was our day to go to my wife’s grandparents house where we water the plants and then use their pool for what amounts to aquatic physical therapy for me and swimming for Nyx, it seemed like the perfect opportunity.

Part of the trick with the IBC is that it’s to be completed within 24 hours of when you were challenged. For the two of us, based on when we saw Dan’s video, that gave us until around 10pm on the next day, Friday, to complete the challenge.

The rules of the challenge itself are fairly simple, and it’s an easy to follow progression of events.

  1. Be challenged.
  2. Gather supplies (bucket, ice, water (recycled in some way if you happen to be in California – we are in a serious drought right now), video camera, and personal help – if needed, and towels.)
  3. Choose the people or groups you wish to challenge.
  4. Choose your spot.
  5. Record your video – you will be wet and cold when you’re done!!
  6. Make a donation to the ALS Foundation. (Any amount works – if you can’t afford the minimum $100 that the challenge requests, they also accept any amount down to $5. Every little bit helps!)
  7. Edit and post your video! Don’t forget to tag and @ people who you’re challenging so they see the challenge!

See? It’s a simple, easy thing to do, and you’ll never know just how much difference you made.

For Nyx and I – we chose the next day as our when, grandma’s back yard as our where, and each picked different people to challenge. As there’s a pool in grandma’s yard, it seemed the perfect opportunity to not waste water by using the pool water to perform the challenge.

We also recycled our buckets – they had been buckets that large containers of cat litter came in. Before we used them, they were washed out completely and thoroughly, and after we did the challenge they were actually recycled – put into grandma’s recycling bin to go out the next week.

The ice, however, proved to be problematic.

We have a dollar store near us that sells five pound bags of ice for a dollar. But as I mentioned before, our area is in kind of a severe drought. The dollar store was completely out of ice. We ended up going to a grocery store that was past where grandma’s house is, a Stater Brothers.

I waited outside in the car while Nyx ran in to get the ice. But unlike most grocery stores where the ice is right there next to the checkouts, the ice in this particular store turned out to be the entire length of the store off to one side. Nyx came back, lugging a ten pound bag of ice (she hadn’t thought to get a cart when she went in, so getting one on the way out seemed silly, and the car was right there), and loaded it into the car with the rest of our supplies.

We headed back to grandma’s and watered the plants, as well as made sure we had permission to film in the back yard, then we headed back to the pool.

Our first attempt to place the camera was thwarted by the sun, which insisted on glaring in either my face or Nyx’s and completely washing us out of the video. Switching sides of the pool with the camera resulted in our being in our own shadows. Obviously that didn’t work, either.

Nyx commented at one point that maybe the universe didn’t want us doing this. I laughed and said that since nothing overly difficult had actually happened, I was more looking at the universe making this interesting so we could blog about it.

Finally the sun sank low enough that grandma’s privacy trees mostly stopped the glare problem we were having. At around 4:30 in the afternoon, we finally got on with filming.

Nyx and I had each written our own scripts the night before, and I spent time before we’d left the house on the day of the event editing the two together into something that kept most of what both of us wanted to say and yet allowed us to share the spotlight and have fun as well. The result of that is what you’ll see in the final video.

However, even filming didn’t quite go off without a hitch. We had a small blooper when we initially started recording – well, a couple of them. But you’ll see those edited in at the end of the video.

Everything worked out in the end, though! We ended up soaked, freezing, and very proud of ourselves. When we got home, we each edited the video (including a special guest appearance from Phineas and Ferb’s Perry the Platypus [AKA Agent P]), and posted them up on our respective YouTube channels.

Now, with all this build up, I’m sure you can’t wait to see the video! But before you do – if you’ve taken the time to read this, surprise! You’ve been challenged! No, no, you don’t have to do the IBC if you don’t want to – but I would really like it if all of my readers would go ahead and donate to ALSA.ORG anyway.

And now, without further ado, the video!