So, as you found out in my last post, the theme of my stack was Fight Club. One of the lines in that movie is "I want you to hit me as hard as you can." To go along with this line, the first activity on our stack was to hit tennis balls covered in plaster with a baseball bat. This is an idea that we took from our freshman year. How you make these tennis balls is to cut regular tennis balls in half. You then fill them with flour (or clues) and cover them in plaster of paris. This holds the two halves together. However, when you hit them with a bat (or throw them at a wall) the plaster breaks and the tennis ball explodes in a puff of flour. Our stack had to break open all of their tennis balls to find the clue they needed:
Our next activity was a pinata, which we had filled with Fight Club soap (in the movie, the main characters make pink soap that says Fight Club, though you'll have to watch it to find out why).
After the pinata, they put the 800 water balloons I made to good use by playing water balloon dodgeball. I was pleased that they were able to play three games before they ran out of balloons. It's very hard to make enough water balloons to keep a group of people occupied for more than two minutes. I estimated that the burn rate would be about one balloon per person every ten seconds. I think the estimate worked out pretty well.
Of course, once one side ran out of balloons, the dodgeball game degenerated into an all out water war:
Their next activity was to "fight" each other using toy swords. To make it more of a challenge, we had the contestants stand on a balance beam. The first person to touch the ground lost. After they played one round they began to challenge us seniors, who were hanging around to watch. This is fellow senior Tom (left) winning his "fight" against one of our frosh, Abel (right):
As you can see, normal swordfighting rules don't quite apply, as the optimal strategy seemed to be to move as little as possible no matter how much the other person hit you with a sword.
After swordfighting, we sent our stack to lunch. After lunch, we gave them a clue which told them that the soap they had been carrying around was more than met the eye. We had hidden strips of cloth with clues written on them inside the soap. So they had to break open the soap to find out where to go next.
This is where things got a bit odd (or odder). When my friends and I were originally planning our stack, we couldn't decide on a single theme. So eventually we decided to do two themes and change after lunch. So the soap clue sent our frosh to watch a video, which explained that during lunch the world had been taken over by zombies, and they were now Zombieland the stack. We gave them new shirts to go along with the new theme, and off they went to play "capture the twinkies," a version of capture the flag with twinkie boxes as their "flag." (In Zombieland, one of the characters is constantly looking for twinkies.)
The next activity was zombie darts, where they threw darts at posters of zombies covered with balloons:
Their final activity was to play laser tag. After laser tag they were sent to a clue that was made of heat activated paper, so they had to heat it up with hairdryers to be able to read it. This clue sent them to the front of the Keith Spalding building, where a bus was waiting for them.
The bus was to take them to "Pacific Playland" (Santa Monica Pier). The characters in Zombieland are trying to get to Pacific Playland for much of the movie, having heard that it is a zombie-free area. So we took our stack to Santa Monica for an afternoon/evening at the beach:
I was really pleased with how well the stack went, and seeing everyone have a good time definitely made all the hard work worth it. It definitely made it hit home just how much I'm going to miss all the friends I've made at Caltech, and also the quirky sense of fun that keeps traditions like Ditch Day alive.
Now that Ditch Day is over, the class of 2011 are known as "ghosts," and the class of 2012 has taken up the title of seniors. It's been a great four years.