Earning Eternal Respect In 48 Hours The Twitter Way

I had a fun weekend this weekend. Thanks to a number of things.

1. Weekends are good anyway.
2. The weather was pretty nice.
3. I did normal stuff with Sophie like have nice lunches. Laze around. Drink a bit of wine. Get some chores done. Etc.

But in addition this weekend was a bit more exciting because of something that happened on Twitter on Friday night.

I was trying to decide whether to spend the weekend catching up on emails and that kind of thing. Or whether to go the other way and sod it all, so I posted:

Iain Tait (iaintait) on Twitter

To which Jason replied:

Twitter / @iaintait

And Andy provoked me with:

Twitter / @iaintait

Which is pretty much the same as a double-dare, and being the child I am I thought. I’ll show them guys. I’ll go offline and I’ll do them things. Then Andy will have to respect me, and not just for a bit. For the rest of eternity!

And you’ll never guess what. It was fun to do a bunch of freaky things. And it wasn’t just the act of doing the things. It’s was the other stuff around doing them that was interesting. Like having to go and acquire knitting needles and wool. Or spending time in the heavy dairy section of the supermarket.

So here’s what happened…

I started out with a shopping list.

Challenge Shopping List

Task One – Learn to Knit.

Acquire wool and needles first. I went to the Open Market in Brighton which is quite a place. I think it deserves it’s own post so watch out for that.

Here’s the wool stall.

The Wool Stall

And as you might have noticed on my shopping list I also needed knitting instruction. Which I got like this.

Absolutely brilliant! I’d have never had a knitting lesson off a geezer if it hadn’t been for Jason’s challenge. Although, to be honest, I did have to cheat a bit later on and look up a couple of how-to videos on the internet. The bloke’s instructions were too fast for me.

And here’s me with my sorry-raggedy-ass knitting.

My Pathetic Knitting

It’s too tight. There’s dropped stitches and all sorts. But fact is I’d learned how to cast-on and to knit (a bit). So in my book that’s task one passed.

Needles and wool cost about £2.50 and it was quite fun after I’d got past the initial frustration. I reckon I should have got bigger needles and bigger / sturdier wool to make it easier. Would I do it again? Maybe.

Task 2 – Make Your Own Butter

Then I went shopping for some cream so I could make butter. And here’s what happened when I got home and tried to make it.

But you know what, after that minor fuss it tastes pretty good. And it didn’t work out to be stupidly expensive either. I made loads of butter out of 2 medium cartons of double cream. I might even do that again one day. I’m guessing you could do flavours and all sorts :-)

The home made butter turns up again during the Cheese Eating Task.

Task 3 – Make a Weapon

Simple. A throwing device made out of various sized screws and foil.

My Weapon

It may not look much. But during this photo:

My Weapon In My Hand

It rolled off my hand and onto my bare foot. It hurt. Therefore it works as a weapon. Task 3 – complete.

Task 4 – Make a Fort

I quite enjoyed this. I think if I’d been making it with more of a purpose it would have ended up better. To be honest as a 30-something guy making a fort on your own is a bit of a sad and lonely thing so I just wanted to get it out of the way really.

Here it is.

Fort Close Up

The close up perhaps disguises the overall lameness of the fort:

Fort in All Glory

But it’s a fort. And I made it. So Task 4 is technically complete.

Task 5 – Eat Cheese

Both simple and fun.

Here’s the cheese board.

Cheese Feast

Here’s cheese + chutneys + home made butter.

Cheese Feast Plus

Here’s me eating some cheese.

Me Eating Cheese

Task 5. Smashed it!

Task 6 – Paint a self-portrait

Here’s the one task where I may have technically ‘failed’ but I think it would be a tough judge who failed me because of choice of media, especially under the circumstances.

Here’s my excuse. I didn’t want to get out loads of paints and make a mess because we were trying to tidy up the house at the same time. So I decided to do a self-portrait in charcoal.

If you think this is a cop out on my behalf you are very much wrong. Art was my lowest GCSE subject and I’ve never been good at drawing or painting so even trying to do any kind of self-portrait was a big ordeal.

And here it is:

My Self Portrait

Here it is next to me:

Me and My Portrait

So, self-portrait done. The rules didn’t say it had to be good.

UPDATE: Shit, Missed the poem writing thing!

Task 7 – Write a Poem

Arse. When proof reading this post I realised that there was ‘write a poem’ snuck in the middle of the Tweet. Oh well here goes…

Writing poems is never easy,
Specially when I feel this cheesy,
I enjoyed my time making a fort,
A little more than perhaps I ought,
Making butter was a lot of fun,
But my weapon wasn’t quite a gun,
I suprised myself by learning to knit,
And home-made butter didn’t taste that bad,
I’m afraid my portrait weren’t in paint,
But it’s clear an artist, that I ain’t.

It might not scan quite right, but it’s late and it’s an emergency last-minute poem.

Anyway like I said it was fun. I learned a few things and it snapped me out of a few bad / lazy weekend habits. Like spending it doing pseudo-work on the internets.

So next time your not sure what you’re going to do at the weekend why not get some friends to give you a bunch of stupid things for you to do. You might enjoy it. And you might earn their eternal respect. Right Mr Whitlock ;-)

I guess this is kind of connected to the whole Mental Detox thing – which looks like it’s coming around again soon.

45 thoughts on “Earning Eternal Respect In 48 Hours The Twitter Way”

  1. Wow, that was much better than the idea we sent you. It shows the Internet is only a tool for us, Offline is where the real inspiration should take place, it provides the lovely feeling of doing something tangible that spurs on that awesome intangible feeling.

    Congrats to you on a proactive weekend and cheers for the inspiration.

  2. Oh Iain, I love this.

    Right, I’m off to the open market for some geezer knitting lessons – did you invite him to likemind?

  3. fantastic

    I’m intrigued by the sheer randomness of it all… this story could have taken so many turns….

    imagine if Jason would have said instead:

    go deer-hunting, try nude modeling, kidnap a kitten, learn ballet, minor shop lifting, etc…

  4. fuck.

    If I were wearing a hat it would be well and truly off. And on fire.

    We’re going to have to re-write my contract aren’t we…

  5. brill, i feel my weekend wasted in comparison.

    if you feel you’d like to take the knitting futher, i’ll exchange tutelage for homemade butter..

  6. I’m actually a bit jealous of your self-portrait; I’m shit at drawing. But congrats on earning eternal respekt – how does that feel?

  7. That, Sir, was awesome. And that weapon looked fierce!

    RE: The self portrait. As one who’s trying to get back into old school tactile creative – the drawing and painting lark – I’ve found the most difficult thing is having the courage to just have a go. I remember it being so much easier when I was a kid to just get out paper and draw. Didn’t need to even have anything in the room really, just made it up as I went along. As adults, I think we find ourselves too concerned with the result, worry too much about if it’s going to be good or not, and hesitate to make that first stroke at all. I applaud your self-portrait and would call it WIN not FAIL.

    Thanks for sharing and apologies for rambling. :)

  8. That’s a fantastic post and use of a weekend. I like this game. I’m inspired to cook my own bread tonight. Lets do twitter dares every friday in a ‘yes man’ kind of way.

  9. Thanks for all the comments.

    Nicky – I agree it’d be fun, but I worry it’d descend into evilness very quickly – a bit like the Dice Man did.

  10. I actually think your self-portrait is alright! PS also loving the slight irony in the fact this has come full-loop and ended up fully recorded, edited and digitised ;)

  11. Yup Jonathan – the irony didn’t escape me. Nor did the irony that it took almost as long to document all this stuff as it did to do it ;-)

  12. Nice idea. What about using a #gooffline hashtag on twitter? People could post suggestions, other people, i.e. those going offline, take the one of the top when they search for the hashtag. You could also do it with a twitter account and @ replies. Just a thought.

  13. Offline is where the magic happens!!!

    Reminds me of this quote by Karl marx

    In communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, herdsman or critic.

    Perhaps you should try hunting in the morning, fish the afternoon rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner.


  14. Out of interest, what are you going to do with your fort?

    I mean, is it going to just sit there?
    When people come round, they’ll ask: What’s that?
    And you’ll reply. It’s a fort I made, because of this thing.
    What thing?
    It’s hard to explain.

    Is that how this pans out?
    Or have you donated it to a local school, along with your weapon?

  15. This should be mandatory exercise for the month of March, break the winter blues…help get motivated for Spring.

  16. Oh…and I wonder how many people read your headline in a RSS reader, came to this post and thought ‘this has nothing to do with twitter…how does knitting and fort building get me respect in 48 hours on twitter?”

  17. I honestly can’t work if this whole post is entirely ironic or just a bit ironic.

    This comment surely must be a joke: “What about using a #gooffline hashtag on twitter?”

    Since I got a dog, I have become pretty good at not going on the internet at home, as the dog gets bored and attacks me if I stare at any screen for longer than about 45 minutes.

    some suggestions:

    1. Go to a magnetic hill. These are natural hills where if you go to the bottom and put your car in neutral, your car gets pulled up to the top, magically and weirdly. You can find a list of them on wikipedia, and there is one in Essex (Hangmans Hill) for Londoners.

    2. learn how to make a new cocktail. it’s like cooking, but with booze. very soothing. it also has all the characteristics of activities that geeks like us love – knowledge required, measuring stuff carefully, mixing stuff. plus it impresses girls.

    3. repair a piece of clothing you own. this one is really good for the environment too.

    4. catching, killing and eating an animal is for me, the activity that makes me feel most refreshingly offline. The easiest way is fishing, if you don’t live on a farm. You can prob. catch mackerel really easily in the sea near Brighton?


  18. Thanks for an inspiring post. I often stop myself from posting off topic or personal material. Bollocks to that from now on – you’ve shown that it works best of all.

  19. wow! I will try the same… Interesting… My eternal respect:)

  20. some how i randomly found your site and from what i gather you are pretty awesome. i really dig the fact that you actually go out of your way to try new things and experience something different. yup, so i just wanted to give you some props and let you know you have my respect. (even though that doesnt count as much cuz im a complete stranger..) oh well! and by the way, sewing is much easier than knitting, you should try it.

  21. Thanks Abby – the kindness of strangers actually means more than you might think :-)

  22. Hi Ian,

    This is quite spectacular. I just stumbled upon this because I know a guy who does this “likemind” thing in Seattle where I used to do make things out of pixels and electrons and I just moved to London in August to check out the vibe (also I was born in Stains… so perhaps it was inevitable that I should come back) and I got an email from said guy and I was like “oooh, dude, I can’t come cuz I’m living in London, now” but it occurred to me to check the Interwebs and see if there was a London likemind meet up. Miraculously there was, and coffee was provided by some outfit called “poke” which I checked out and found quite inspiring and then found the Fox brothers which was a trip in itself until I saw Flipper02’s tweet encouraging some guy named Ian to unplug and “make butter” and lo and behold, here I am sitting at my kitchen table with a pile of plastic homemade shrinky-dink business cards fresh from the oven to take to tomorrow’s likemind event.

    Thanks for inspiring me to do something different… I hope I can buy you a pint one of day and we can jam out with my kalimba and your OP-1. Do drop me a line. Seriously, I’d love to meet up. Perhaps I’ll see you tomorrow if you are in fact mixed up with these Poke peeps. Cheers. Peter (Yet another random stranger inspired to build a fort)

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