The Commuter Challenge

3 December 2012

The December 2012 Challenge

by CC @ 22:35

Create one (or more) pages for a calendar for the year of 2013, like the ones that seem to fill up the chain bookstores around this time. It can be a wall calendar, a desk calendar, or something else entirely.

Your only constraint is that the calendar must in some manner reflect the fact that it is meant for the time after the 13th baktun.

The Results

Ryan Finholm

How to make your 2013 Card Calendar

What you’ll need (note: you should be able to get most of these items from a dollar store)

  1. 7 identical decks or cards, preferably half-size cards or smaller (remove all of the jokers from all of the decks; keep one joker and discard the rest of the jokers)
  2. 1 wall calendar for 2013, the larger the better
  3. 31 pushpins (or perhaps a gluestick instead of pushpins)
  4. 1 large candy/cookie jar
  5. 60 pieces of your favorite non-perishable candy
  6. $500 cash

The setup

Hang your calendar in your home office, or your kitchen, or wherever.

Shuffle all of the card decks (including that one joker) together and put them in a facedown stack close to the calendar.

Put your jar of pushpins (or the gluestick) close to the calendar.

Put $500 cash in the bottom of the candy/cookie jar.

Put all of the (non-perishable) candy on top of the money in the cookie jar, and keep the jar close to the calendar.

What to do

Each day, draw a card and pin or glue it to that day on the calendar. If you draw a facecard (Jack, Queen or King) on Saturday or Sunday, you win a piece of candy from the jar. If you draw an Ace on Monday, a Two card on Tuesday, a Three on Wednesday, a Four on Thursday or a Five on Friday, you win a piece of candy from the jar on that day. When you draw the joker, you are compelled to run out and spend as much of the $500 as you can on something nice for yourself (maybe a new tablet device, or some pricey clothes, or an extra-fancy night out).

The number of cards should equal 365 (7 decks x 52 cards per deck = 364 plus one joker = 365 total). Running through it a dozen times or so I would typically get 2 to 6 wins every month. On the attached scan, for example, the person with the calendar has won three pieces of candy so far – December 2 (facecard on Sunday), December 11 (Two card on a Tuesday) and December 15 (facecard on a Saturday).

It’s a low-stakes game of chance for every day of the year. If you don’t want to run through seven decks of cards every year, just keep a discard pile instead, and write the card number drawn on the calendar to mark the day instead of using pushpins through the cards (which you would otherwise have to remove every month) or gluestick.

Brian Raiter


  1. This was my attempt to draw something vaguely familiar in shape but alien in detail. I drew the original image using colored inks with a dip pen and a sable brush. In a couple of spots I added water to try to get some of that color-bleeding effect that watercolors do so easily. Then after I had scanned the image, I used value-invert to change it into a dark background with fluorescent-looking colors. (The original looks more like a bunch of tree trunks surrounding a mossy clearing.)

    The calendar for the new world has twelve months in which every month is a different number of days, going from 25 days all the way up to 36 (or with two months of 35 days for non-leap-years).

    by Brian — 3 January 2013 @ 15:52

  2. Okay, my entry was crap. I did a lot of studying up on the Baktun, read a ton of idiot blog entries and non-idiot articles on the internets, watched countless YouTube short documentary clips (both cuckoo alien nonsense and actual historical/archeological/anthropological/astronomical info). One of my original ideas was to put the current Gregorian calendar into a Mayanesque format, but I quickly found out that the stone disc with all the ornate heiroglyphs that is most often represented as the Mayan calendar is really an Aztec sun god altar thing (and only sort of has peripheral Aztec calendar properties anyway). I looked into transforming one of those Mayan gear representations into whatever it would look like for the the current Gregorian calendar date format (in cardboard and/or foam rubber) but it would have been too big and too time-consuming; also, that popular gear representation is not really a Mayan model, but rather a western academic’s portrayal of the progression of the Mayan dates. A lot of the rest of what I found was wild numerological number-juggling (which I’m not dismissing, I just found it difficult to incorporate it into the challenge). So last minute I came up with that game thing. And no, it’s not like I’m actually going to be doing the game, during this (or any) year.

    How does it relate to the Baktun? Maybe it encourages people to eat chocolate in celebration of winning this simple game of chance throughout the year? Chocolate was a treasured crop and delicacy of the Mayan people, who considered it a symbol of life and fertility, and I’m sure it would be consumed during an event as notable as the Baktun. (Yes, that is utter B.S., an extremely flimsy connection at best, but that’s all I’ve got.)

    by RyanF — 8 January 2013 @ 21:49