Friday, June 15

Lego Interpretations of Scav 2012

It's been more than a month since Scav, you guys. You know what that means. Only 11 months until Scav! I've been busily tinkering away on my item submissions for 2012, flipping through my pictures, and crying, mostly. I was happy to see so many of you at the Judge party. You should know that I sat in my apartment with my Judge shirt on-- shoes tied and keys in hand--for at least an hour before it was time to head over. I miss you real bad, Scavvies.

But as much as I miss Scav, I think I know someone who misses it more. Nathaniel from B-J made these lego interpretations of Scav items. Enjoy.

Have a lovely eleven months, my friends.


All masterpieces courtesy of Nathaniel Rossum, of Burton-Judson.


Sometimes, the Internet can make you so angry you cannot type straight. Fix this problem by creating a sturdy keyboard with fist-sized keys. At Judgment, the device should allow me to leave a rude and inane comment on YouTube by punching the keys. [35 points]

Play me a drink, Sam, for old times’ sake. . . on your piano that dispenses a beverage component with every keystroke. Changing the melody should change the mixology. Instruments and their compositions will be judged both on the quality of the cocktails and the musicality of their recipes. [250 points, 25 extra points if your keyboard can play a different melody to create a different drink] †

Red Grooms may no longer reside in Chicago, but show us that his influence lives on here. Create a sculpture that displays the spirit of Chicago in the way that Grooms’s latest piece captures the spirit of Miami. [125 points] †


Did you ever build those balsa bridges in high school physics? Well, let’s raise the stakes. Deploy and cross your bridge made of nothing more than balsa and glue across ten feet of Botany Pond on Friday at 5:00 p.m. [60 points]

Wednesday, May 23

Page Six Revisited

87. Imagine one thousand suns in the sky at the same time. Let them shine for one hour. Then, let them gradually melt into the sky. Make one tuna fish sandwich and eat. [4 points, floating in perfume, served in a man’s hat]

This is a performance art piece by Yoko Ono, featured in her 1964 book 'Grapefruit'. Buy this book now. It has greatly improved the quality of my life. Most just made me a video performing the general actions of the piece in the style of Yoko Ono, which was great. But ONE team made me a very artistic video reminiscent of Yoko Ono's "Cut Piece" (A CLASSIC), where one dude was standing on a rock in the middle of the lake wearing a trash bag, and a girl waded out and cut the bag off him and he walks into the lake and it was so artistic and great! I forgot what team this was. SHOW YOURSELVES. I mean, one of you already did.

88. Fish with man with “Man with Fish”. [6 points]

"Man with Fish" is the most glorious piece of art in all of Chicago, as far as I'm concerned. For those who don't know, it's this huge statue outside of the Shedd Aquarium of a man embracing a giant fish. I strongly support fish-human harmony (Hail Sturgeon Mary), so I wanted teams to reproduce this masterpiece. Mad props to Snitchcock, whose giant fish head was excellent, especially when it appeared at Prom. Way to go, fish guy.

89. Through the turbulent millenia, two things have remained constant. Societies have always predicted the end of days, and parents have always asked their humanities-minded children, “What are you ever going to do with that degree?” In this two thousand and twelfth year of Our Lord, both eternal questions will be answered once and for all. Bring a published eschatologist to Judgment Day. [7th seal points]

I'm an anthropology major, and I like to say that I specialize in the apocalypse. This basically means that I watch a lot of post-apocalyptic dramas and reality TV shows, but also means that I'm generally interested in what eschatologists (those who study the end of days, usually in a religious context) have to say about the end of the world. Three teams completed this item (South Campus, BJ and Snitchcock I believe). When I asked them how the world will end, they all basically agreed that it won't be anything flashing, and that we'll probably just peter out. One said, "How do you know it already hasn't?" But the best answer came from BJ's eschatologist. I asked him how the world will end, and he said: "Not with a bang, but a whimper." #POEMMMZZZ

90. In Japan, everything is cute—even the bread. Bake a loaf of bread that reveals an adorable animal’s face in every slice. [6 points]

This was Cynthia's item! Yeah, you guys googled it and found the recipe for panda bread. Good job. Full points went to the team that made me HELLO KITTY BREAD. IT WAS ADORABLE. The MOST.

91. A card-carrying Republican faculty member of the Humanities Division. [5 points]

IT DOESN'T EXIST. IT. DOESN'T. EXIST. NO ONE FOUND IT. NO ONE. Someone brought me a Spanish Republican. Well played.

94. It can be embarrassing to nod off in HUM class when you’re sitting right next to your professor. That’s why there’s a new line of custom roasted coffees for HUM sequences, complete with elegant packaging and flowery descriptions! Create signature roasts for two classes, and brew me a cup of your favorite. Remember to roast your own beans. Cite your sources: your writing tutor hates a plagiarist. [18 points]

I tried to test this item myself a few times before the Hunt, and I just ended up making coffee-bean sized charcoal. That made me even more impressed by this item's completions. The guy from Snitchcock was an experienced coffee roaster who made me a cuppa joe that rivaled anything I've ever had. Bravo, sir! All of the descriptions were hilarious. Overall, pretty darn tasty. Thank you all, so so so much--NO ONE gave me cold coffee. A logistical feat if ever there was one. Also, several people made Media Aesthetics light roast. Heh heh.

95. “Merry Menstruation!” and up to four other unwanted greeting cards. [4 points]

Okay BJ, I don't know what your deal was, but this item did not call for menstrual blood. That was straight nasty. The best completions of this item were the ones that made me sad, for some reason. The invitation to a child's funeral, formatted like an invitation to a child's birthday party sticks out in my mind. I am so sad. Even now. It seems like you guys had a lot of fun with this item! This was probably the item I looked forward to most while walking around at Judgment. But I'm still so so sad. On a theoretical note, I think the greeting card is the absolute best test of comedic timing. Greeting cards are an art, you guys.

96. Be sure you’re alerted when the Judges come to call by installing a Downton Abbey-style bell board that can summon your captains to at least three locations in your headquarters. [21 points]

Obligatory Downton Abbey item omg~~! I got some amazing completions for this! Breckinridge's whole HQ was wired with an electric system that turned on little lights when a trigger was pulled. It worked from the basement, it was awesome. Snell-Hitchcock's system went in and out of their HQ, and was well polished and sturdy. It was probably the most practical installation, just what you'd need in a stately manor! Stylistically, BJ's is the only one that came close (they had the metal curly-cues and everything!), but theirs only had about a three-foot range.

97. A 9,720-calorie sculpture and the packaging to prove it. [9.720 points]

Snitchcock gave me a beautiful butter sculpture of a guy playing basketball! The NET had TEXTURE! Blintstone made a white castle out of White Castle! They used the MEAT as GLUE! GASH gave me a BALL of LARD!

98. My God! That’s the most erotic “Dear Abby” column I’ve ever seen! I can’t believe they put that in print! [2 points]

Dear Abby,
Sleepless in Chicago, Kirsten

Dear SICK,

100. Who is she? Where is she going? Well, she’s probably an urban bee farmer attending the daytime Emmys ironically. And nothing says hipster couture like a red carpet gown made entirely out of plaid flannel. Cozy! [16 points]

First, what the hell is a bee farmer? I meant beekeeper. What's wrong with me. Second, oh man. This item blew me a way. My pointing for this item was based on the hipster and the couture; it had to look like, totally better than that mainstream department store crap, and it had to be well-sewn and custom fit. Head and shoulders above the rest was Snell-Hitchcock. Their dress was well constructed and actually gorgeous. It looked like you'd find it on the runway, and not in a lumberjack's laundry pile. This was a shining moment in Scav fashion. The fullest of full points to Zsofi, Mandy, and Isabel for their spectacular work.

101. Sure, you follow the Dalai Lama, but does he follow you? Get a religious leader to follow you on Twitter. [5 points for a local leader, 10 points for a national leader, 15 points for a world leader]

There were two great completions of this item; South Campus who got the leader of an international Sufi Order, and another team, who got Rev. Al Sharpton. Someone tried to give me Yoko Ono. I see what you're doing, scavvies. Also fyi, the Dalai Lama actually has a Twitter. It's inspiring.

103. Patty-cake, patty-cake, baker’s man. Bake us a cake as. . . small as you can? As green as you can? How does that rhyme go again? Oh well. Send a baker to the baking aisle of Treasure Island at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday. I bet I’ll remember by then. [Up to 30 points]

See my other blog post, "Patty Cake: A Retrospective", for details. Michelle and MacPierce, I still love you and your delicious cake.

104. Go to a book-signing and have the author autograph your chest. [14 points]

GUYS, WE BOTHERED GREGG ALLMAN SO MUCH. I mean, the guy has played some pretty sick beats, so I'm sure he's signed some chests. But the spectacle of having your chest signed by someone who wrote a book called "My Cross to Bear"? Hilarious. At least three teams got Gregg Allman. One team got this author of some education book, which was funny. GASH got Judge Connor Coyne--well-played!

That rounds up my page! Thank you guys all so much for an amazing Hunt! I'm already plotting and scheming for next year. See you then!

Saturday, May 19

Page 11 recap

Hello all! Much of what was written on page 11 of this year's list was my doing. I wanted to go over my items and let you know about them. I was very pleased with how they were completed this year! One fact I've found to be almost universally true about Scav judging is that the items that you are less excited about ahead of time are often super fun and great in practice. So thanks to all the teams for being so awesome - really, every team had something that impressed me greatly at some point in the hunt, so I hope that you are all very proud. Scav is the best!

So with that said, here are my items and thoughts:

177. A teammate whose facial hair rightly earns him the nickname “Starburns.”

This is, of course, a reference to the TV show Community and the recurring character Alex "Star-Burns" Osbourne, who, if you are curious, got his nickname because he looks like this. So all you needed to do for this item was give yourself some star-shaped sideburns, and, if possible, yell Starburns's catchphrase: "MY NAME IS ALEX!" (the catchphrase was not required).

When I wrote the item, I had no idea that the show was planning to kill of Starburns the week before Scav Hunt, so the RIP pointing was a nice touch from the pointing committee. Scav Hunt always wants to stay relevant!

I believe it was Breck whose Starburns also made sure to wear a vest and top hat, so if I had to pick a favorite completion, it was that one. Still, many teams got full points for their 'burns.

178. A book from the UofC library system that features irony marks, an interrobang, or both. The glyph must be used as intended; the book may not use the glyph in a discussion about punctuation.

The Interrobang is a combination of a question mark and an exclamation point in a single mark ("interro," like "interrogate" for the question mark, "bang" is sometimes a nickname for an exclamation point). Here: ‽ Alas, the brilliant and brilliantly named mark never did catch on, and nowadays we tend to just use the two glyphs side-by-side instead, as in, "You drank how much salad dressing for that item?!" or "Where the hell is our dancing robot?!" Irony marks are backwards question marks used to show irony or sarcasm in a question.

For the record, I did not have any particular books in mind for this, and wasn't even sure the Reg had such a book, or how one might go about looking for it.

And, indeed, perhaps I should have. No one ended up getting these to my satisfaction. Some people brought microfilm of documents from long before the interrobang was invented, some people brought a book describing how easy it is to get used to writing irony marks, and one team even drew a small line next to a question mark to make it look like an interrobang. Very clever, but AFeld found the original on google books, and all it had was a question mark.

179. Perform the Hamster Dance in the following styles: gospel, Cajun dance, sea shanty, acoustic rock, renaissance polyphony.

This item was really just an excuse for me to try to listen to some good folky music (with some other categories thrown in because other people may like those as well). And to force you to learn to play the music I like. The original item was going to use the Badger Badger Badger song, but then it was pointed out to me that that song has like, one note, so I should choose something more musically interesting.

Since it called for five different performances and was only worth five points, many teams understandably did not put in the time or effort to create timeless musical masterpieces. I completely understand. That said, MacPierce outsourced the work to a teammate's brother who is studying music, with excellent results, and Burton-Judson made videos with a lot of the right instruments for the genre (accordion and fiddle for the Cajun version, for example). Many teams got partial credit for doing a few but not all of the styles (gospel and sea chanty, for example, were fairly easy to do with no instruments needed).

Now go listen to some Cajun music!

181. Gather at the center of the quads at noon on Friday for a simple game of Name That Tune. No tricks, no lies, we’ll play a tune, and you have to name it. We’re not going to secretly make it trivia about Sir James Tune, or actually make it Name That [Obscure 1970s car]Toon or anything like that. We’ll play the melody from a piece of music, and you name it. It’s that simple.

As I am sure you all guessed, there was indeed a major twist to this item, though I tried to take care that the wording of the item did not contain any actual lies. Taken at face value, of course, you might assume that this item means we would play a recording of the music on a cd player or computer, but no, the secret twist is that the music would be played live, on an instrument. And if you are going to play an instrument, why not play the largest instrument in the world? Especially since it's right on campus.

That's right - all our tunes were played on the Rockefeller Carillon by expert carilloneaurs Oliver McDonald and Hunter Chase. A more detailed explanation and some photos are in my previous blog post.

One million thanks to Oliver and Hunter for working so hard to arrange and play songs, and one million more thanks to Dean Elizabeth Davenport for finding us time on the carillon schedule and being so enthusiastic about the event. And one trillion thanks to them all for keeping it a secret, even though in scheduling time on the carillon, they had to lie to a carillon student who was the South Campus page captain for this very page! oh, scav hunt.

I hope that if you guys were walking around campus at Noon on Friday, you got to hear some of the music!

182. A word chain, but for real! Since we’ve already got us a “LIST,” take that word and change a single letter. Bring us the new word - and the object is signifies - physically chained to the first one. Change a letter again, and chain it to the previous word. Continue ad nauseum - and at the end, chain that last word back to the beginning!

This item is I suppose a distant cousin of an item of mine from 2010, "Add, remove, or change a single letter in any item on this year’s List and complete the newly created item." (item #243 that year). What can I say, I enjoy quick little word games like this. Of course, in this one, you are limited in which words you can make by the fact that you will literally have to produce an example of the new word. So for the first move, you may have an easier time finding a LINT to chain than say, LUST.

That said, I was surprised by how many ways teams figured out to show me naked people, for a variety of words. I guess there's no use stopping someone if that's what they want to do! Notable completions included Snell-Hitchcock, who had the longest chain by far, and GASH, whose final word before coming back to LIST was FIST, represented by an old FIST team shirt. May they rest in peace!

Since I didn't specify a minimum or a maximum number of links, most teams got full points for this, if they attempted it.

Thanks to Judge C-Kam for changing this item for the better - originally there was no physical chaining involved, it didn't have to go back to the beginning, and the start word was the harder-to-work-with SCAV. Each of those changes made the item much better.

184. This Scav Hunt, why not take a break from the stresses of all these items and events? We’ll give you a nice relaxing jigsaw puzzle. Just bring it back to us at Judgment, completed.

Ah, the puzzle item. This one probably consumed 90% of my total pre-scav efforts and energy. Was it worth it? Who knows. It was a major headache for me to set up, so I hope people enjoyed it.

Like the Name That Tune item, the wording here was misleading. In this case, possibly to the item's detriment. Despite the wording, there was in fact more to do than just solve the jigsaw puzzle. The jigsaw itself was just the first step in a small series of puzzles.

Here's the full story:

This was originally just supposed to be a giant jigsaw puzzle, nothing more. I got the idea at a very cool game store I was at where they were selling 10,000 piece jigsaw puzzles. I liked jigsaw puzzles a lot as a kid and I thought it would be a fun, social thing that the teams could work on. I don't think you could solve it on your own, you would need to have a group of people, and it would take a while, and I thought that might be fun to do. Alas, it turns out that such things are expensive, and few judges were convinced that a giant puzzle for each team was worth the hundreds of dollars it would cost. Instead, with some brainstorming, we came up with the idea of a smaller puzzle, but one custom-made with our own picture, which would contain within it the clues for a broader puzzle (or "metapuzzle," as I called it). I worked with a few people (notably Judge Sarah, Judge Puzzathon, and a long-time puzzle-loving friend of mine named Greg) to figure out the details.

I should note that I drew heavy inspiration from the MIT Mystery Hunt, in which I participated this year for the first time, and the Washington Post Hunt, which I've done a few times now in DC. Both are very fun and often diabolically clever (of course, the Mystery Hunt is about 100 times more difficult and more expansive than the Post Hunt. but whatever, Scav is clearly the greatest of the bunch).

So, here was my goal in making this puzzle: I wanted the image on the puzzle to correspond to a location on campus, and I wanted to hide a clue on campus with its location indicated on the puzzle image. I also wanted a further puzzle within the jigsaw puzzle, but one which you a) needed the campus clue to solve, and b) couldn't solve without first assembling the jigsaw puzzle. And I didn't want it to be too hard. I guess I'd say my hope is that any team that put the time in to do all the steps would be able to solve it. But that's hard to calibrate ahead of time. So, with that in mind, here was the sequence of events if you solved this whole puzzle:

1) you got the bag of puzzle pieces at Captains' Breakfast.

2) you assembled the puzzle, hopefully noticing that the backs of some pieces are blacked out in permanent marker. The solved puzzle looks like this:

If you look closely, you will see an arrow pointing at one of the lampposts on the left-hand side of the image. It was a bit easier to see on the puzzle in real life, though due to the nature of iron-on transfers, it wasn't quite as clear as it perhaps should have been.

Anyway, if you flip the puzzle over, the back look like this:

It should be pretty clear that there is some kind of meaning behind this, and if you want to try and decode this message right now, you can, but you will hopefully find it extremely difficult without the clue.

3) you visited the area in front of Harper Quad and, specifically, the lamppost circled in the image. And - I say, is that a clue? Locked to the lamppost was a luggage tag, and on the inside was this:

If you play the music, you'll (hopefully) recognize it as the second half of Amazing Grace (appropriate enough, as the luggage tag I used was borrowed from Judge Grace). There are a few verses of the song, but the first is the most famous, and that's the verse I wanted people to think about. The notes here correspond to the lyrics "I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see." This was meant to be a clue for how to decode the pattern of blacked-out puzzle pieces. They represent braille.

I figured at this point you'd have to do some trial and error to see how, exactly, the letters are broken up, but it's fairly straightforward. Each 2x3 block of pieces represents a single braille character. Blacked-out pieces represent raised dots; untouched pieces represent blank spaces. So this:

becomes this:

becomes this:

becomes this:


which I chose because that's where the Shady Dealer meets every Sunday at 7:00! Good old shady dealer. Go write for them.

So, for full points on this item, you had to solve the jigsaw, find the clue, decode the message, and present me with the completed puzzle with the room just to the left of the main door circled.

In the end, only one team presented me with that (it was Max P). I was overjoyed to see it, because I had been hoping more teams would solve it fully, and then I was super worried that no one would get it.

I should make it clear that I in no way blame any teams for not solving the puzzle - it's totally my fault for making it too hard. I haven't really done anything like this before and it's very hard to figure out how difficult it will be to solve. In the end, I blame two factors, both of which I was responsible for: 1, the wording of the item which implied that there was nothing else to do once you solve the jigsaw, and the quality of the printing, which made the arrow more difficult to see and meant that fewer people went to go find the clue. Still, for those of you who worked on it, I hope you enjoyed putting the puzzle together and I hope you keep the finished product on your collective mantlepieces for years to come.

(come to think of it, I had a sort of puzzle item in 2010 and that one was also too hard...maybe I should stop trying to make puzzles....?)

I also have got to take a moment here and thank Andy Jordan for the enormous amount of work I made him do for this - as the only judge with a color printer, I had to print all the puzzles at his place, and then the huge amount of ink we needed meant he always had to run off to Office Depot to buy more, and then there were more teams than we expected so we had to make more on thursday afternoon, oh my lord it was so crazy! Thanks andy. He had no idea what he was getting into when he said I could use his printer.

185. A door that, when opened, creaks out the opening notes of “The Final Countdown”. [1 points for the first four notes; 2 points for the first nine]

Not too much to say here! This item is inspired by a door at my office, which does this. I was intrigued by the idea of how one could fashion a doorway to do this intentionally, and I was amused at the thought. So there you have it.

No one found such a door, which is understandable given how hard it would be and that it was only worth one point. Some teams showed me videos of doors opening while someone played the Final Countdown, but this was not what the item called for.

186. A bookshelf that spins around to reveal the entrance to a secret lair. [24 points, 6 bonus points if the spin is triggered by pulling a particular book from the shelf].

Man, who wouldn't want one of these! Quite frankly I'm surprised I hadn't thought of this item a year or two ago.

Two teams did a great job with this, Breck and MacPierce. MacPierce tried to get me to go to Maclean and see it in person, at 4:00 am on Sunday, and after several hours of dinner pointing and HQ visits there was just no way at all that that was going to happen. I watched a video of it, though, and it seemed quite cool, so I gave them the benefit of the doubt on pointing.

Breck's, meanwhile, I did get to see in person and it was awesome. I could have played with that shelf for days. Here's a video of it in action. You can't quite tell how it works from the video, but the basic idea was that there was a weight pulling at the shelf/door from one side, and a locking mechanism to keep it from spinning around. When you pulled the book, the lock was removed, allowing the weight to pull the door and spin it around 90 degrees. It was very low tech, but it worked perfectly every time. The bookshelf was just made of of a door with two-by-fours on it, but it certainly functioned as a bookshelf and had books on it, so I counted it as 100% bookshelf. Pulling the book really did feel like you were in some kind of spy movie. Full points! Great work, Breck.

So, that brings to a close my role in Scav Hunt 2012. I hope you enjoyed it, and perhaps even enjoyed some of my items. If 2012 was your first Hunt, I hope you come back for years. Scav is a very special thing in my life and it's always so exciting to see people get so excited to work on items, go to events, and just have a blast together. See you in 2013!

Friday, May 18

Page 16 Reflections

Tricky, here! Scavhunt 2012! This was the year of the event, and man, was I run down by the end. Maybe Scav Judging's a young man's game, but anyone who still had even 5% left on their health meter by the end of this hunt should take a well-deserved A. Bow, B. Nap, and C. Bottle of Day-Quil. Anyways, congratulations to Snitchcock for their close victory, the cabal for putting this whole thing together, our university liasons, and, of course, all scavvies everywhere. I hope it was fun! Anyways, as per tradition, here are a couple of notes on Page 16 which contained the bulk of my items, as well as a few miscellaneous observations.

293. Render a group portrait of the current Supreme Court, one justice represented in each of the following styles: manga, Mii, Ralph Steadman, H.R. Giger, Jules Fei↵er, Raymond Briggs, Matt Groening, Jack Kirby, Al Hirschfeld. [9 points]

Notes: In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that it was Judge Ezra who came up with the basic concept for this one during a cabal “Write an item in the style of another judge” challenge. Actually, it was meant to be in Judge Sarah's style (because of the law school connection), but I assumed it was me since I can't seem to go one year without an item with a huge list tacked on to the end.

Best Completion: Don't know how useful the “best completion” notes are going to be this year, because nearly all of my items were either excellently done or not even attempted. Is it true that someone on Twitter offered to purchase the really good ones? Because that's smart. Trust me, it's a buyer's market when it comes to quality multi-stylistic Supreme Court portraits at the moment. Be sure to look for the NINAs!

275. Up at the Law School they work all day. Out in the sun they slave away. Couldn’t they use the distraction of mermaids in their fountain? [8 points]

Notes: I really didn't know that the fountain had been reduced to a half inch of water when I wrote this. That just made the item better!

Best Completion: All teams that did it were wonderful (and I hope they got to it before the rain/temperature drop on Saturday). Have to give the slightest of edges to Carolyn from Max P, who found that awesome red Ariel wig. Pretty girls doing cosplay truly doesn't grant any additional favor in my judging, but brother, it don't hurt.

276. SCAV TEAM MEMBER–MIP. Carded bubble packaging for your team’s official action figure, complete with accessories, and filecard bio. Also, the figure this package is for should be life-size. [18 points]

Notes: This one came for a collection of photos taken at Comic-Con, which I saw online. Please note that the item does not require an actual life-sized figure, the hope being that teams would make it easy for an actual person to act as the figure and get their photo snapped.

Best Completion: Very pleased with how these turned out. Snitchcock's was definitely the most polished construction-wise, BJ had some awesome accessories, and MacPierce had that Pac Man mask, which probably was their team's Most Valuable Player this year. Of course, I do have express appreciation for Max P, whose packaging had, at most, three inches of space between the plastic and the cardboard, and yet still was able to wriggle a poor first year in there for the presentation. That was fun.

278. A branding iron of the UChicago seal. No points will be given for testing on a living creature, but if you want to sear us up a mighty fine steak, we can get on board with that. [16 points]

Best Completion: I'd like to say that all of these couldn't have been better, but that wouldn't be strictly true since I wasn't fed any steak. Yeah, you demonstrated that the item worked, but you couldn't have kept it going to medium rare, thrown on some Dale's, a few mushrooms, some onions, maybe a couple shrimp on the barby? You guys have completely forgotten how to effectively bribe a judge.

281. Make a huge racket. [15-love points. 5 bonus points for serving and returning a proportionally large tennis ball with another team]

Notes: This was definitely an old-school kind of item, being A. A pun, B. A large version of a normal item, and C. Something definitely ill-advised to wave around indoors. I think when I tested South Campus's, I knocked the hat off their gnome king. So uh, if there's locusts next week, that was me, my bad.

Best Completion: BJ and Macpierce had the only match of the hunt, done outside in the rain Saturday night. I shouldn't have to tell you that it was awesome. In the end, though, BJ's greater maneuverability took the game, set, and match. On the other hand, when I judged Blintsone, they let me have a Random Encounter by tossing their suspiciously balloon-like Malboro at theirs, which the player smacked across the room right into a trash can. That's what I call a One Hit KO, baby!

283. Stuff and mount the head of a Goomba, a Malboro, a Hard Hat, and a Zombine. [16 points]

Notes: These are enemies from Mario Brothers, Final Fantasy, MegaMan, and Half-Life, respectively. Hope Gabe Newell appreciated the shout out, Team GASH. You should've given my Mom a sentry.

Best Completion: Damn these were good. The Goomba's had some pretty across the board quality, as did the Zombines. But, by the thinest of margins, GASH put together an awesome Malboro, and BJ's Hard Hat was absolutely top notch. These had better all be on someone's wall somewhere. Don't make me regret not being the “I'M TAKING ALL THESE ITEMS HOME WITH ME!!!!” judge.

284. The other 361 days of the year, we don’t have Scav, but we could use an incredible simulation. Holophonically record and upload a compilation of the best sounds of the Hunt that, when we close our eyes and put in the earbuds, will put that Virtual Haircut thing to shame. [6 points]

Notes: The Virtual Haircut referred to in the item can be found at . Well worth a listen.

Best Completion: This was the kind of item where I expected to be more impressed at the teams completing it, rather than the actual quality of the completion, but actually these were a lot of fun to listen to. Snitchcock probably had the best use of the holophonic technology (walking a drill around the speakers, moving a banging hammer from left to right), but I also kind of dug the teams that just left the microphones going for the uncut Scav experience. Also, apparently the uncut Scav experience involves dudes being yelled at to get their pants on, which occurred in three separate completions. I would suspect coordination, but I think we all know better.

286. An edible balloon. Must float. [22 points]

Best Completion: BJ managed to finagle their way into reservations at Alinea Restaraunt which apparently serves these, and I was THIS CLOSE to getting to go along with them. Not that I'm bitter or anything. Other teams resorted to pumping helium into bubble gum or, in at least one case, threatening to gnaw through a sheepskin condom. Oh well. I promise BJ, I'll let you buy dinner for me at a 4-Star restaurant soon enough.

287. The ToyOtterTM came up with all sorts of ideas for moichendizing that saga of a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Sadly, none ever were put into production until now. Make one of Jason Geyer’s ideas come alive. Points will be awarded based on the unrealized product chosen. For instance, expect higher points for the R2-D2 Portable Wet Bar than for the Land Speeder Koozie. [up to 20 points]

Notes: If you haven't looked through these yet, you really deserve to. Some are more clever than others, but I still want a Death Star basketball, dammit:

Best Completion: Max P made me the R2D2 Wet Bar, and even if it was clearly a converted mini-fridge it was still pretty cool. Also got a couple of foosball tables, of which Breck's was probably the best, both for it's solid construction and inclusion of Kit Fisto. (In other news, the Star Wars saga canonically involves a guy named “Fisto” in a supporting role.) The winner though had to be MacPierce's life-sized Jabba body pillow. That thing had better be a fixture in some house lounge for the next decade.

288. At Judgment, escape from a pair of UCPD handcuffs. We’ll provide the restraints. [9.11 points]

Notes: Yeah, this one was a bit of a Cluster-Eff. First, I proposed it without knowing the UCPD used zip-tie for restraints. Also, apparently, neither did everyone else, so we had people practicing their hand-cuff picking during the hunt, then being very disappointed that they wouldn't get to show off. Then the duct-tape I was required to put on to protect people's wrists so reinforced tensile strength that brute forcing them were a snap. Oy. Can't win em all.

Best Completion: Snitchcock, who refused the duct-tape, and then continued on to attempt their escape even after it had become apparent that the tie was attached too tightly, and I was willing to give them full points for judge error. “DAMN FOOLISH PRIDE! DAMN FOOLISH PRIDE! DAMN FOOLISH PRIDE!” was one of my favorite chants of the weekend.

289. Here's some Disney Afternoon irony for ya: A Gummi Bear mosaic of Winnie the Pooh! [7 Points]

Notes: Were current undergrads even alive when the Disney Afternoon was still on the air? I'd hate to think the current generation has only limited knowledge of the Rescue Rangers or Gargoyles.

Best Completion: South Campus had one that was truly demonic looking. Like “I just ate Christopher Robin, and now I'm coming after you too”. High comedy.

All right! On to the 2013 Hunt! I'll come back, if you come back! Peace!

Please share, and comments are always welcome!

Thursday, May 17

Visitation Rights

This year was my first Scav since 2008 (I graduated in 2005). Somewhat unsurprisingly, I feel like I took up the mantle of The Old Judge this year (even though Christian! is older), boring regaling everyone with stories of Back In My Day and How It Used To Be.

Now, one of the wonderful opportunities for Judges to interact with scavvies, albeit (too!) briefly, are our headquarters visits. These aren't laid out in the by-laws, and they're not required; they're just us wanting to go around and say "hi!". They usually occur Saturday night, inevitably spilling over to Sunday morning.

When I first became a Judge in 2005, it was a really interesting experience, as I had never been to another team's HQ during the Hunt (except for any teams headquartering in BJ, where I ate). It made me realize how all Scav HQs, and too some extent, all teams (at least the Shoreland did in my day), have a common end state: complete chaos and mess.

So here are some photos I took of each HQ we visited (with the inexplicable and self-kicking omissions of BJ and I-House, and with one surprise addition). (Note: I will happily use anyone's photo of those HQs in an edited version of this post if they OK it!)

HQ Visits: GASH HQ Visits: Blintstone
GASH's HQ was in the Piccadilly. I immediately got nostalgic for the Shoreland, with wonderful views and stately decrepitness. WHY AREN'T YOU SELLING IT, UNIVERSITY? NO I'M NOT BITTER (*shhhh*) sorry, it's quiet hoursBlintstone was based in Broadview. My HQ visit in '05 was my first trip to Broadview, and this year I got to see their kitchen! It was the same amount of crazy in the rest of their HQ, in a substantially smaller space.
HQ Visits: Breck HQ Visits: South Campus
This was my first visit to Breck, if memory serves correctly! They led me down into their basement, where I found their construction pit and carrot carving. I believed I signed in as Karl Davis to throw off signature hunters (sorry Katie!).This was obviously my first trip to South Campus. I got to see a dog play Space Invaders in Halperin House, the spiritual successor to my home, Michelson House! Note that OUSH has deemed the dorm new enough to merit a ground tarp.
HQ Visits: MacPierce HQ Visits: Max Palevsky
MacPierce treated us to a great xyloexplosive (in the basement, which I'd never visited previously) and a broken (read: crowbar'd) heart. I'm intrigued that TANSTAAFL has a tarp floor as well. Also, everyone say hi to Leah! Max Pavelsky! Also beplasticed (beplasticked?). I've visited Max HQs in West and East—I'm not sure if they've had one in Central. We witness a xyloexplosive here, and Paul got to use the big keyboard (aka PAUL SMASH).
HQ Visits: Snell-Hitchcock Lounge From Study Room
The only times I've visited Snell-Hitchcock have been for Scav. Back in 2008 there was a beast rotating on a spit in the courtyard. Sadly by the time I got here I was deliriously tired (curse my old man bones!), but I remember the flurry of activity.Here's the requisite Old Judge Story Time! This is the Shoreland HQ (in Michelson House) in 2002. Taken at 6AM on Judgment Sunday, you can see that really, the fundamental chaos of Scav HQ transcends time and team.

Wednesday, May 16

Patty Cake: A Retrospective

103. Patty-cake, patty-cake, baker’s man. Bake us a cake as. . . small as you can? As green as you can? How does that rhyme go again? Oh well. Send a baker to the baking aisle of Treasure Island at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday. I bet I’ll remember by then. [Up to 30 points]

Standing in the baking aisle of Treasure Island watching Scavvies grab multiple bags of flour and dash toward the register was an excellent start to the Hunt. This item was envisioned as a test of baking ingenuity, time management, and creative problem solving. Mostly, I just got piles of cake.

The best completion of this item was definitely MacPierce; they rolled in with about twelve layers of delicious chocolate and vanilla wedding cake and stacked like crazy, reaching an ultimate height of 9.5 inches. Of the cakes that arrived within the two hour time margin, this was the only one that actually resembled a cake, and allowed me to taste without fear of salmonella. Did I mention it was absolutely delicious? Mad props to Michelle and the rest of the MacPierce team.

The rest of the cakes looked like this. I admire you all for facing this trial with poise and optimism! Faced with uncooled layers and the terrors of gravity, you rolled with the punches, and showed up anyway! These teams still got points for height, and many managed to be downright tasty.

Speed-baking isn't a cakewalk! I hope the bakers enjoyed the challenge, and the teams enjoyed the results!