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.

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