The Guinness World Record Art Project
Where Thousands of Questions Get Answered

The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. After a long day in Plymouith, I set my hotel alarm clock for 12:01am, it being an abomination to wake up for Sunday on Saturday evening. But, the body just wasn’t having it. I finally got myself up at 2am. But Lo! The clock in my room is set wrong. It’s actually 1am. I’ve only lost an hour. Thanks, Daylight Savings Time!

I have no idea if I’ve left myself enough time to answer all the questions before the festival begins again today at 11am. We will see.

I started by Saturday by staying up all night Friday getting the blog ready and fiddling with my new camera, a Canon FS200. It’s a highly rated camera in its price range ($299), and more than sufficient for making Web-only video. Then my buddy Rickland came at 6am and we did our best to load his van without waking up my roommates. No such luck! Sorry about that!

Then we zipped out to Plymouth, Massachusetts, the home of the original Pilgrims who landed here in 1620. Massachusetts, my home state, “owns” Thanskgiving so to speak, because the first Thanksgiving feast was of course here. The place was mobbed yesterday by 120,000 visitors or more for a parade that stretched for 2 miles.

As you know, this week I’ve been challenged by HP, Intel, and Best Buy, who are trying to sell the HP Envy laptop, to give 1,000 answers, as part of the Wheel Questions project. Considering that it took me 4 months to write the first 7,000 answers, stuffing in an additional 1,000 may not even be possible. But it would be a world record, set both my me and by the community of people who ask!

The first order of business is to attract 1,000 contributors to ask a question, either in writing, or on video. That’s why I’m here for this giant festival, and I really couldn’t have had a better location, amongst all the food vendors and home insulation vendors and parading pilgrims and indians and pirates. I asked for (and got!) a spot right on the sidewalk, out in front of everyone else.

The set up looks like a big black drum, a “wheel” on its end so to speak, like a Tibetan prayer wheel, but secular. I hang nearly 300 colored cards on the Wheel, all dangling from clips that let them spin in the wind. Each card has a question on the front and an answer on the back.

I also set up a table, because it’s always good to have a table you can sit at or stand behind. It signals, “Look! I’m the one to speak to here!” and is a lot better than me simply standing next to the Wheel hoping I look authoritative so I can approach people. Blogger Steven Hughes came out to help me, whose photo and blog link I will attach here later.

So this is me all day, greeting people: “Hi there! This is my art project, Wheel Questions! People ask questions and I answer. So far I’ve gotten 11,000 questions and answered most of them! This week, HP is giving away this laptop computer and I’m trying to set a world record by answering 1,000 questions in a single week. Do you guys have any questions for me, in writing or on video?

Tons of people said yes. People are drawn to the Wheel Questions installation in any case, even if I weren’t there hawking it. From a distance, it looks unusual, worth checking out. Up close, it’s a thrill to read people’s secret thoughts, since each card says something very personal, like “How can I get kids in school to stop teasing me?” or “When will I find love?”. Best of all, Stephen and I discovered that the queue of people lining up for the lunch tent went directly down the sidewalk.

So basically, if you went to eat lunch, you spent 2 minutes in front of Wheel Questions, just waiting in line, whether you ignored me or not! Glare from the sun meant I couldn’t really show off the HP Envy, although I had it there on the table. I did bring along a couple of computer monitors, only to find… the HP Envy does not come with a VGA or digital external monitor plug. Hmm. Well, i’m sure you can buy one dangling from a USB connector. Maybe I’ll pick one up this week.

Also, it doesn’t come with an Internet jack, but the wireless works fine and I’ll be reviewing the laptop, the HP Envy 13, as I use it this week for the first time.

But now, to start answering questions! I’m sitting here in the breakfast nook of the Governor Bradford Hotel typing away to you. It’s clean but dimly lit and the tables are tiny. I’ll answer the ones in writing first and then record video responses to all the video questions. That will be the real test of the Envy. Can I really edit hundreds of short videos, all on a same-day basis, to get to 1,000 answers by next weekend?

Wish me luck!

Oh, and to enter the contest to win the HP laptop, just subscribe to the Wheel Questions blog (or stop by in person at one of the festivals and drop your name in). I’ll choose someone randomly at the end of thsi week.

More later with the results before today’s (Sunday’s) festival begins!