Sunday, May 24

Reflections by Chris

Alright; I've put off doing this for a while. But, it's almost to the point where the memories will begin to fade and blur together.

The 2009 University of Chicago Scavenger Hunt was probably one of the greatest endeavors I've ever involved myself in, if greatness can be measured in terms of laughs, putting smiles on people's faces, and overall community endorphine count. It has allowed me to get to know some of the most talented people at this university (and the most good looking, prudent, best accountants, etc.) and given me one of the most positive outlets for my creativity I've ever experienced.

I was concerned that my lack of experience would impair my abilities as a Scav Judge; until this year I had only really experienced being a scavvie on the road trip. This was my first Scav Hunt spent on campus, witnessing almost all of the events first-hand, and I was pleased to see that our items were completed in such amazing fashion (on most accounts).

So let's talk about my items. Almost all of my items come from page 4, but I'll also throw in a few items that wound up in other places.

Item #2: Somewhere on the quads lies the Scav Needle, hidden amongst the tall grasses. Bring it to us.

Alright, this was one of the first items I ever brainstormed. No team ended up bringing the needle to us. I planted it on Wednesday evening, on Eckhart quad. To be honest, not even I remember the exact location... I suspect to this day that a bird took it.

Item #58: Wow, those kids by the Reg are rad, smoking their hand-rolled cigarettes and discoursing on Pitchfork's latest reviews. Who would have thought those vents were such a great place to hang out? Oh, probably the hipsters sitting on every other vent. Spring has come, and we have reached Regenstein Hipster Critical Mass. This begs the question -- how many hipsters can you fit on one vent at once?

This item was pulled by ORCSA on the first day of the hunt, out of concerns that the grating of the vents would collapse under the weight of so many people. I guess something just like that happened in New York recently? Still, even if the item will never be a reality, I am glad that it will stand on the list as a testament to my frustration of visiting Bart Mart late at night and seeing a pair of hipsters under EVERY VENT! Ridiculous. So far we're 0 for 2, items-wise.

Item #59: A five-minute highlight reel featuring a color commentator and play-by-play analysis in the style of a classic announcer. The sport? Medieval Times: Dinner and Tournament.

This item sounded pretty clever in my head, and a lot of teams did a decent job on it. But I only really watched a few minutes of each given the Judgment time constraints. And by the fourth one I was really starting to get tired of it, to the point where if teams told me they didn't complete it I breathed a sigh of relief. Best performance by far goes to GASH, who performed a life commentary to a video in the style of Madden and Harry Caray. Completely enjoyable and hilarious.

Item #60: Ronald McDonald is an amicable fellow, and we would all bend a knee in allegiance to our Burger King, but don't the local restaurants deserve a mascot of comparable level? Choose a Hyde Park restaurant and design an appropriate mascot. If it's a legit mascot, you'd better have a legit commercial filmed in front of the establishment.

Alright, this was one of my favorite items by far, and I had a lot of favorites. MacPierce did the Orly's O RLY Owl, which was hilarious. I only wish their video quality was better -- the youtube clip is extremely choppy, but the setup and script was nice. On the flip side, Snitchcock's Rajun Cajun commercial was filmed pretty well, but they just ended up dressing in one of their armadillo costumes which was slightly disappointing. Shoreland had a Snail commercial that was done pretty well and made me laugh. Personal favorite goes to BJ's Harold's Chicken commercial though. There was a lot of customer interaction (Chicken: Why do you like Harold's? // Man: It goes good with weed and liquor.) which was hysterical!

Item #61: Blog about your day. Now write it all out by hand with quill and ink. Now transfer it to a wood carving. Okay, you still with me? Now inscribe it in a tablet of baked clay. Bring us the electronic, paper, wood, and clay blogs. Now that's what I call a chronological scale of blogological technology.

Not much to say about this item; teams either did it or they didn't. One team tried to substitute play-dough for their baked clay. Tsk tsk.

Item #62: Here's a metaphor: life is a role-playing game. Here's a challenge: Bring us the appropriate real-life form of Experience Points. Points will be judged on the appropriateness of the example.

I got a lot of condoms. A lot of them. My favorite takes on this item were Breck's and MacPierce's, with honorary mention for FIST. Breck filmed a video of someone killing their boss. MacPierce gave me a bottle of tears, which I thought was clever. For FIST, Sam PH's sister showed me every scar on her body which took probably 7 minutes.

Item #63: Pull a Bill Nye and turn an everyday situation with strangers into a science experiment. Remember, they won't appreciate it unless you give them a detailed explanation of the science occurring in your demonstration.

Two teams gave me social scientists, which I didn't dock points for. GASH received points for demonstrating the principle of displacement with their Scav Tree Showcase item. I think my personal favorite was Shoreland's, which incorporated a five-minute long musical number into theirs (I regret that I did not have time to see the whole thing.)

Item #64: A book written by a President of the United States and signed by its author [45 - Y points, where the author is the Yth president of the united states]

In descending order, I got one Barack Obama, one JFK, one Woodrow Wilson, and one George Washington (but on a pretty short manuscript, for which partial credit was awarded). I feel like I'm forgetting one. Was there a Thomas Jefferson somewhere in the sleep-deprived memory that is Judgment Day?

Item #65: A formal painting of a current Resident Head in the Renaissance style. He or she must be present for the painting, and we'll want footage of the process. Naturally, this will include dressing your Resident Head in the Renaissance style. [34 points, 5 bonus points if you can tastefuly portray your subject about to behead a Resident Head from a separate dorm. In the Renaissance style.]

This is another one of my favorite items. I enjoy the spirit of it, because Resident Heads could put it up in their apartment and pretend that it's a picture of their ancestors (thus supporting the Blackadder theory of inheritance). Every team that completed this item did an absolutely GORGEOUS job. It was an item that really allowed me to see the raw talent of these scavvies.

Item #66: As kids' meals have taught us, tiny toys based on Disney movies make everything more enjoyable. But Disney hasn't made a decent movie in years! With that in mind, make this the best Scav Hunt ever by bringing us fast food kids' meal toys from the major Disney theatrical cartoons of the 1990s.

Scavvies...they did not read the wording of this clue at all. I got so many toys from pre-90s movies, or direct-to-DVD/VHS movies... I also got a lot of 101 dalmations toys. That movie came out in the sixties, people, (even though it enjoyed a theatrical re-release period in 1991).

Item #67: Why do you cherish that tea cosy so much, mother? I daresay you love it even more than your own daughter. It's just an old tea cosy, mother. It's just a ratty old Mr. T cosy...

The Mr. T cosy is my guilty pleasure item. I did not write this item. Rather, it was thrust upon me by the Scav Muse. I woke up one morning, turned on the light in my bathroom, and immediately thought "Tea cosy! Tea cosy? Uh...uh...Mr. T cosy!" Very strange. I was pleased with each one I saw. They were all unique and special. I hope they are also all in use. If you know of one that is lying around unwanted, I would love to take it off your hands.

Item #68: A Trojan horse made out of Trojans (R), or your preferred method of birth control. Caution: 'pulling out' may be too insubstantial to build with.

FIST gave me some coathangers tied together. Ugh. Shoreland's was sticky. Sticky with lube. Some were made out of unwrapped condoms, others were made out of blown-up balloon animal type condoms. Some opened like true Trojan horses. Others did not. Some had viruses inside, which I thought was adorable.

Item #69: This one time I dreamed I was eating a giant marshmallow, but when I woke up my pillow was gone. I would so like to see that pillow again. Err, on second thought, bring me a new marshmallow pillow, along with its non-marshmallow pillow case.

Once again, this is an item that was done or it wasn't. I tested each for softness and deliciousness. I felt somewhat diabetic by the end of it. Actually, some teams just gave me a bunch of individual marshmallows inside a cloth bag. Tsk tsk.

Item #70: An 879-page completed and bound dissertation. It'll be three times more fun than finding a 293-page completed and bound dissertation!!

Some judges placed a bet on whether or not this item would be completed. I actually received three. Worst completion goes to MacPierce, who gave me a dissertation that was like...50 pages more than 879!

Item #71: R.O.B. Is this real octopus butter? Or perhaps a randy optometrist barrier? You know what we want, and it's not a rub on the behind.

The Robotic Operating Buddy. Only Snitchcock brought me an actual one. Some team made me a lovely substitute out of duct tape. If the latter is lying around somewhere unloved, I would like to have it.

Item #98: Construct a seedling that through a seemingly automated process will slowly grow into a plant in full bloom.

Some of us were skeptical at how this item would turn out...but there were a few that really blew me out of the water. Snitchcock's, while not the best at slowly growing, had the showmanship element down pat, and the oranges that came out at the end (WITH REAL FUCKING ORANGE JUICE) met my wildest expectations. If you watch the Youtube video you can hear me flipping a shit. GASH's was elegant in its simplicity, and suffered only for its simplicity. I forget which team did the palm tree, but that was another personal favorite of mine. It was almost cartoony in its presentation, and did the best I thought at coming out in stages.

Item #181: Speed Dating, the Race: 6 PM Thursday on the Kent quad. Because nothing makes dating easier than sweating everywhere and showing what a terrible athlete you are. Points will be awarded for both speed and charm.

This event was my brainchild. The pointing had two components -- who completed the race first, second, third, etc. followed by a dating-game style Q&A segment where the players had to answer questions about the people they have only known a brief time. I told the contestants about this; I thought it would be interesting to have to juggle the physical challenge aspect with the getting-to-know-you aspect. But...the teams just ended up racing to the end without getting to know each other at all! The Q&A segment did not go well. People barely knew each other's names. Perhaps it was ill-designed, but it happened for better or for worse, and I hope that the scavvies involved had a good time.

The problem about Scav Hunt is that I could probably type out five times what I already have with memories, but a lot of it either extremely mundane or super secret Judge secrets. Plus, I'm tired.

I will say one more thing... I feel very much like everyone who participated in Scav Hunt was whisked away to some kind of magical world...and once Scav Hunt was over the world dissolved, and we all went back to our day-to-day normal lives. But walking around the quad and seeing all of you handsome assholes, I like to think that we share the experience of having interacted in some way in this transient, magical world... and I look forward to recreating it with you guys next year.

-Judge Chris Havlin

P.S. I am happy to report that Splash Woman has died at my hands. The healing can finally begin.

Sunday, May 10

Highlights from Day 2

Here are some more moments that deserve preservation:


Ain't no rule says the deer can't climb a tree!
That's true, Dan Kimmel. Now could you please come down from there before the fire department shows up?

BJ's campout skit

The GASH's radio show

WHPK = world's highest pile of 'kraut

Tricky getting caught in a box trap. The bait? Snitchcock's so-called "sex tent" at the campout.

Sam PH's Bigfoot, and Christian's response to it (see photo below)

FIST dropping the F-bomb over the air: What were you thinking?

Saturday, May 9

Saturday Already?!?

Time takes a narglatch
Puts you in its mouth
You pull on a finger
Then another finger
The waterwall is calling
But you linger
Hey, there's sasquatch
You're a rock'n'roll scavicide...

Item 196

Enough said.

Friday, May 8

Neck to Neck

As promised, the ridiculously quickly-delivered and sole point-garnering hickey, from the Bee-J team.

Shoutouts from the halfway point

Hey there, folks. By my reckoning, we're at just about the 50% mark. Some shoutouts are in order:

- Unknown B-J teammember, who presented us with a hickey on the neck before her(his?) captain had left the room with the missing words 'hickey' and 'neck'.

- Tara Chandra of Snell-Hitchcock, who was searching the quads as early as 12:35am Thursday morning, and brought us a ribbon-wrapped safety pin at about 12:40am, in the (soon dashed) hopes it was the Scav Needle.

- GASH pioneers, who got something of a bum rap in the first wagon race, but had the good grace to deal with it and move on. As one Judge remarked, "I suppose if there's one team that we might expect to show their age in a good way, it'd be GASH"

- Snitchcock and FIST for mounting extremely impressive Gossip Scavvie campaigns. I don't have unlimited text messages, but my bill this month will be worth it.

- Max P's Bowie Captains, whose costumes have each been extremely well-realized.

- FIST for their pitch-perfect Moai Head.

- All my friends who Scav. Under pressure, facing challenges far beyond that which school or work throw at them, they reveal those traits that I admire most in them, and in those few grand Scav moments that we all have each Hunt, they surround themselves with a positive aura. So, to those I've seen so far: Cat, Alan, Dan, Joan, Evelyn, Max, John, Amber, Nikki, Erica, Sam, Pranks, Ramya, Gerbil, Meredith, Zach, Sarah, Ian, Grace, Richard, and more. And to rest of my Scavvie friends: I know you're out there!! Stop hiding in your HQs!

More on the origami later, as it deserves its own entry.

Parappa the Rapa Nui

Papa Moai to passersby: "IGNORE ME!"

Unfortunately, this produced at best a Spagett-like response from random people walking through (yes, that's right, I just made a Tim and Eric reference. I feel so dirty. So very, very dirty.) The Heads themselves were awesome, though, most especially FIST's and MacPierce's. I must question the intent of whoever did the vampire sock with a traffic cone, though. Seeing those little flashlights in the back that might have been shining at 5 in the morning but certainly weren't by 11:45 AM made me a little sad. Chairman Maoai, though--that's gold, Jerry! Pure gold!

Easter Island Heads

Ohhhh my god. SO cool. I have a three-way tie for favorites. The first is the most easter-islandy one (closest to you on the right as you're approaching Cobb). When I look at it, it is basically like I am on that frigging island suffused in mysticism and fog. My second favorite is the one that seems to be composed entirely of steamer trunks (on your left as you approach Cobb, probably 2nd to last) because it is like a steampunk interpretation of the theme and also has a great gaping mouth thing going on. My third favorite is the giant Chairman Mao, because it surprised me delightfully and I giggled out loud thus startling various passers-by. You should all know that even at 8:00 in the morning, people were gathering around the heads and pondering the mysteries of the civilizations responsible for their construction. That's right -- you guys are like ancient extinct cultures. How cool is that?

Let's talk about the diner challenge last night. First of all, an excellent opportunity to get out of Hyde Park and do some raucous car-dancing to 'Single Ladies' with Judges Jim, Leila, and Ben Umans (we like to rock the party, in case you haven't heard). Secondly, I was really impressed with the breadth of the diner lingo knowledge demonstrated by all of the participating teams, and with the exquisite control and focus of the BeeJAY team member who managed to extract that damn stuffed witch from the skill crane. How did you do that? It is a miracle.  

Dudes, I am so excited for campout. Team Judge has been planning our skit and it is going to be marvelous. I can't wait to see the histories of your teams and I am really excited about Chubby Bunny Spelling Bee. Oh yes. Make sure to bring lots of people to Capture the Flag -- the more gigantic it is, the more fun we'll have!

Day 1 Highlights

Here are some moments from Day 1 which in my opinion deserve as much attention as they can get:

The Bowies' reactions to the word "Bitch-ham" - Collective thought bubble: {Uh, what did he say? It sounded like "bitchum." I've never heard of that before. Could it be that they have invented a new pizza topping? Am I the only one who doesn't understand what bitchum is?}

Twi'leks at 58th!

MacPierce's origami dragon - Though I am no origami expert, I still must say that I was very impressed by MacPierce's Iron Oragamists. I have no idea how that the folded dragon, supporting its golden fan of flame, managed to remain balanced upright.

Blint's courageous and inspiring Scavgon wagon race - They were so far behind, and yet they had the heart to follow through and see the race through to the end, despite the fact that their wagon crumpled with a delightful crash immediately after crossing the finish line. Their enthusiastic example should be a lesson for us all.

Radio Broadcasts! (What a great item.)

CPD in the RC - Imagine my surprise when the Snitchcock radio broadcasters and myself were not allowed to leave the Reynolds' Club on the grounds that we were trespassing.
(Further apologies to the delegates from Snitchcock: We should have seen this coming and prevented it.)

Scavifest Destiney

Also, I thought Scavegon Trail got off to an awesome start, and I understand that some of you may have felt frustrated or defeated when your covered wagons broke down, but JUST IMAGINE HOW THOSE PIONEERS MUST HAVE FELT. That sort of thing happened to them ALL THE TIME. It is AUTHENTIC, and it is a necessary step along the long, dusty road to MANIFEST DESTINY.

Scavegon Trail was also not boring, as was originally predicted by Judge Tricky on the Judges' listhost, many months ago:

"Live Action Oregon Trail has one fatal flaw: whereas Battleship consists of hot Submarine Sinking action, Oregon Trail's gameplay consists solely of 'Waiting around and hoping no one gets cholera.'

In other words, it's pretty much every Hunt ever."

rebel rebel, your face is a mess

We're here in Judge HQ, listening to David Bowie, as you do. Loving on the David Bowies today, by the way. One Bowie transformed in front of our very eyes. That was cool to watch. One David Bowie was dressed entirely in silver, including silver high-heeled boots. David Bowie himself has never looked so good.

I loved the go-go dancers at 58th and Ellis today! I have been dreaming of this item for probably five years now, so to actually see it realized is so fulfilling. Plus, some of you lot can dance! I am jealous of your moves. I can't wait to see the rest of the go-go dancers tomorrow. If I had it my way, the List would consist of 300 interpretive dance items. But I guess that's why I am not the only judge.

I also today enjoyed seeing an uncanny number of people walking around with hickeys. Sadly, we can't all get points for this effort. But we can all look like sluts.

Finally, a quote from HJ Emily, not about Scav. (Isn't it bizarre to imagine us discussing anything other that Scav?) We were talking about Lindsay Lohan, and I said, "She used to be so pretty, with her red hair and big boobs, but now that's all gone. Plus, I've seen so many pictures of her cooch in magazines that I'm just not impressed any more." To which HJE wisely agreed, "Why buy the cow when you can get photos of the milk for free?"

This is something all Scavvies can stand to remember before getting naked for items.

Judge Leila

Thursday, May 7

Day 1 thus far

I am sitting here, listening to judges Tricky and Christian list every single possible cold-based Megaman villain and thinking about how excellent today was. It was so marvelous to see Scavegon Trail get off the ground and then onto the ground again as wagons ground to a grinding ground halt. All of the teams had a remarkable showing, and we admired all of your spunk and vim and vigor and whatnot. It was like we were back in olden tymes, especially when Scaveneers died of air-bear mauling and ill-advised river fording. Judge Ben would like to comment that some of you will perhaps benefit from this being our last wheel-based race, and I would like to comment that some of you will be in real trouble once you have to caulk that wagon. It's going to be a long road to the New Dorm, and we can't wait to see you all at hunting and berry-picking tomorrow.

Iron Origamist was very impressive and also involved all kinds of obscene penis folding which I found remarkably humorous. We also really enjoyed the first radio show -- great work on the slide whistle, Shoreland!

Gossip Scavvie has been tittilating us to no end -- please keep it up but note that we don't actually want to work for these texts so do not ask us to sign up for your twitter feed because I do not understand this hippity-hop-jetpack technology and just want your juicy details to be sent to my eyeholes without my input. That said, the texts we have been receiving have been delightful and we have been having a grand old time insulting each other via anonymous Gossip Scavvie texts.

Speed Dating was also a hoot and a holler. As Judge Chris noticed, it seems that when Scavvies are given the decision between racing and talking to others, racing will always win out. It was a hilarious time and we really enjoyed that everyone seemed to think that everyone else was from Blint.

Okay we're about to leave for diner challenge. We'll be seeing you and your mysterious giant heads appearing out of the fog at 5:00am!


Oregon Trail race: delicious.

Wheel deaths: many, but actually less than expected.

Hilarity that will ensue when teams attempt to "caulk" these wagons down the line: night infinite.
Where is the Scav Needle? I am still waiting for people to reunite me with my missing piece. My needle-piece.

In other news, the captains are Bowie-tastic, and I hope the road trip teams heed my warnings and are having an awesome time.

Also: Splash Woman is a bitch!!!


Mischievious and Devious

Just to echo HJ Emily's comments, we were blown away by the force and rapidity of suction demonstrated by the Bee-J Team. While all the Captains were still hastily scribbling away on their persons, I was lurking behind the front door to Ida, ready to send any Scavvies searching for their leaders packing. So I see two BJ girls running up to the door, get myself ready to send them away, they let out a yelp and do a cartoony-skidding-in-place thing for a second as I say, "Shouldn't you be doing items right now?" They reply, "We already did", show the hickey--one of the biggest, reddest suckers you've ever seen, and shocked and amazed, I just wave them into the library. Picture to follow. And thus, the Bee-J Team takes an early lead in this year's Hunt.

List Release and Captain's Oddity

First of all, you are all awesome and we love you.

List release went better than we could have anticipated (even the projector breaking -- it's all part of the plan). We really enjoyed seeing your other assholes rolling across the Cloister Club, into a table, back across into the wall, and towards the door. We want to know -- did you fall for it? How did the list reading go (reading off of your captain's asses?).

The Bowies were stunning, especially with regards to facial makeup and package-display (why do you all have so many bodysuits at the ready?). We're also so pleased about the Road Trip costumes. You basically took what was in our imaginations and hearts and then put it onto your bodies and cars.

So that you know, the hickey winner was the Bee-JAY team. How did you guys figure out that we wanted a hickey (a girl on girl hickey at that) before your captain finished scrawling the list all over his legs (good choice with the Utilikilt, Kyle)? My favorite hickey, however, was delivered by the GASH. When you all spilled out clown-car style, I knew something great was about to happen. "Come on! I had to get it from a DUDE!" Awesome.

You may notice that this post is ridiculously effusive. This is because I could not be more excited. We're off to see Trackers now! We look forward to hearing more gossip scavvie gossip from you and seeing more of your excellence.

Wednesday, May 6

Scavenger Hunt Begins Ever So Shortly...

Recruit Recruit Recruit! You'll need scavvies of all shapes, sizes, and geekological persuasions for this one.

Here's some viewing material that should put you in the mindset for the hunt. I hope you enjoy them as thoroughly as I have.

  • Amazingly faithful to the original game. Inspires horrible art.
  • Read the damn title. Why haven't you clicked the link yet? What's wrong with you?
  • Sanford and Son. Run. A. Circus.
-Judge Paul Davis (that's the Honorable Mama Luigi to you)

Tuesday, May 5


Scav Hunt starts in exactly 24 hours!

Y'all ready for this?
I like to move it, move it.
I like to move it, move it.
I like to move it, move it...
WHOOMP! There it is!

And the beat goes on...

Boss: So why are you taking Thursday and Friday off again?
Me: (three sentence explanation)

I go downstairs to make him some copies. Five minutes later, I knock on his office door and find him hunched over his laptop, reading last year's List.

Boss: Oh, hi.


Boss: Tell me more.
Riddle me this: when did scavvies lose their ability to trash talk in anything other than rhyme?

And so it begins...

Less than 48 hours to go.

"Engines pumping and thumping in time..."