Sunday, May 16, 2010

Page 11 Reflections

Scav 2010.

First of all, congratulations to Snitchcock for the hard-fought victory, to all the other teams that made it so close, and to the Cabal for keeping the dream alive. It was a great hunt. I got to see a bunch of old friends, met wonderful new people, and saw some amazing things. Anyways, let’s get to the items.

Item 178: 2010: The Year ScavHunt Made Contact. . . with the future! Prepare a lockbox that will serve as your team time capsule, to be displayed in the Scav trophy case until 2061: ScavHunt Odyssey 3. This box should contain: (1) messages to the future, (2) a food item you think will remain edible, (3) an object with receipt costing less than $10 that you think will gain the most value, and (4) a bottle of wine that you think will age well. Please note that half your points for this item will be awarded now and half by the cyborg Judge Cabal of the far-flung future to any remaining participating teams still active. You know, should the world survive 2012.

Notes: I think that one of the things we all look for in life is a little permanence. My high school is about to be torn down. I’m not one who forever looks to the past, but I did take some kind of solace in the idea that my name would be spray-painted up in the drama-basement, along with all the others that had walked through those doors for a long time. I wouldn’t say this item was directly influenced by that fact, but I sure as hell wanted Scav, the other school organization that means so much to me, to proclaim “Hey… we’re going to be doing this for a long time.” Anyways, until Haley’s comet comes in 2061, these things will be chilling out in the Scav trophy room. I’ll be there when they’re opened, hope you are too.

Best/Worst Item Completion: While I don’t want to spoil things for the future cabal, let’s just say some teems will be happy with their $10 worth of gold, their excellently preserved honey, and their fine bottle of Bordeaux, whereas others will be pissed off with their bottle of water, their already-smushed Twinkee and their bottle of Boone’s Farm, a drink which, let’s remember, has an alcohol content so low, it can legally drive in most states.

I also gave teams the option to spend two points now in exchange for a fifty-point Scav savings bond, maturing in 2061, an option four teams took. I look forward to seeing what havoc that causes to Point-Bot 6000 in fifty years.

179: A hollow-face illusion self-sculpture.

Notes: Hollow-face illusions are inverted facial reconstructions that cause you to think the impressions are popping out at you, the main effect being that their gaze is able to follow you around the room. I first came into contact with them on the Haunted Mansion ride at Disney World. Very cool.

Best/Worst Completion: I have to give it to Max P., whose emoticon inspired work was not only quite illusionary, but also creepy as hell. Worst goes to South Campus who gave me a piece of tin-foil. Not a piece of tin foil in which facial features were obvious. A piece of tin foil. Sigh.

Item 180: Bacon + Erdos number

Notes: A Bacon number is how many films connect you to Kevin Bacon. An Erdos number is how many paper collaborations connect you to Paul Erdos. It turns out that while there are some good candidates for both, PHD candidate Borja Sotomayor has the lowest Bacon + Erdos number of 8.

Item 181: Butter that can cut through a hot knife.

Notes: Originally, this was “Butter that can cut through Bread”, but in my absence it was changed to the above. Anyways, most completions of this item focused on the heat of the knife… warm it up enough till it’s in a melty stage, then break through it with a frozen stick of butter katana-style. Good times.

Best/Worst Completion: BJ was the only one to do it with a metal knife which involved some pretty serious torching. Contrarily, Snitchcock’s completion, as presented by my good friend and yours, Richard Tobias Ruiz, consisted of pouring some melted butter onto a shard of dry ice: something that is not a knife, pretty much the opposite of hot, and failed to cut through it, as the liquidy butter solidified almost immediately upon coming into contact with it.

182: Catalonian Auca Depicting the 12 Stages of UofC Life.

Notes: Auca’s are comic works, with panel counts in multiples of 12, usually depicting the lives of saints. That’s really all I have to say about this one.

Best Completion: All of them were awesome, as have been all the creative writing items I’ve ever managed to get on the list. I’ve got to give best completion to Ramya’s from Snitchcock. Scan that, and get it online now, alright?

183. Your headquarters are already pretty okay, but we all know that a true enclave of heroism requires one particular item: a six foot tall penny. Or are you just a cowardly and superstitious lot?

Notes: As the wording should make clear, Batman has one of these in the Bat Cave. I hope they become a part of someone’s apartment decoration. It adds so much to the Feng Shui.

Best/Worst Completion: With all due respect to Snitchcock’s Two-Face coin and Max’s Octo-Lincoln, I have to give it to the Steel Wheat penny of BJ’s. They let me call it in the air. That’s all you need to know. Worst goes to GASH, who had Sam PH do his best circle imitation while saying “I’M A PENNY!”… That got a marker goatee.

184: Start up a copy of Super Mario Brothers 3. Put the sound on mute. Your jazz quartet will be performing all the music and sound effects the Judge should need. [30 points]

Notes: I really, really like this one. Originally this item just had any video game theme, but it was suggested to pick a specific one so we wouldn't get ten variations on the Tetris theme. When I heard it was Super Mario 3's 20th anniversary, I went with it. Turned out to be a good choice. The general path I took through level 1-1 was as follows: forward to get the mushroom and leaf, fly up to get the 1-up, fly over to the pipe to go to the underworld to get the coins there, go up the pipe to the regular level, go back a little to hit the P-block, straight out to the finish. Did I mention this rocked?

Best/Worst Completion: I really can't choose. So many different quartets, so much awesomeness. Should I take the big-band flavor of BJ? The funky improvisations of Snitchcock? The Dueling Violins of Breck? Seriously, I'm just reduced to saying "This was awesome." You wish you got to judge this one.

185. A Marian apparition on a car windshield, composed of bug splatters.

Notes: In the original form, this was a dust-streak art item, converted by the cabal into a bug-splatter art item. I wasn’t really comfortable with the idea that at least one team would interpret this into going out and getting a bunch of bugs to kill for this item, so I said at the captain’s meeting that I wanted this to be a “Go Find It”, if possible. The torrential rains pretty much ruined that idea. One of the few true failure on the page, but I gotta give it to anyone who attempted it.

186. Social life is hard at the UofC. It's difficult to demonstrate your evolutionary fitness, even if your body structure shows you are clearly able to produce scores of offspring. However, now is that time when the Northern American Scavvy goes into heat. We Judges will be waiting in the bushes with binoculars as your plumage-bedecked hopefuls spray their pheromones, prepare a nesting ground, and perform a mating dance that would make Jack Hanna proud.

Notes: My original conception of this item just had every team member sporting some plumage at judgment, until the Cabal told me to rewrite it to include a mating dance. I think I planned on someone editing it before it reached the list. After being sprayed with Orange Juice "pheromones" during the en masse completion, it quickly became an object lesson on how assumptions make an ass out of u and mptions. Anyways, I hope video of this gets posted somewhere, especially the frenetic Australian commentary of Judge Ian and I.

187: Utilize Rabelais's favorite choice of all torcheculs, arsewisps, bumfodders, tail-napkins, bunghole cleansers,and wipe-breeches for its intended purpose. [12 points, but only if you feel in your nockhole a most wonderful pleasure]

Notes: The inspiration for this item is a question from the excellent British Panel show, QI, which is a show that every scavvie will like. In his satirical treatise on the subject from which the wording is a direct quotation, Rabelais said that a goose-neck will give you the best wipe.

Best Completion: Really, I was pretty lose on the standards with this one, but I have to give it to Snitchcock for doing it with an actual goose-neck, presumably the one from the rest of the goose they served us for dinner Saturday. They did, indeed, feel in their nockhole a most wonderful pleasure.

188. For the Emperor! A small-scale recreation of Perlia's tribute to Ciaphas Cain, Hero of the Imperium!

Notes: Confession: I’m not actually a Warhammer 40k player, but I do enjoy the Ciaphas Cain series of novels by Sandy Mitchell. The main character is Ciaphas Cain, a political officer in the fascist empire of The Imperium who, despite his cowardly nature and attempts to get as far away from trouble as possible, keeps ending up becoming more and more of a hero by complete accident. The interposition of such a blatantly comedic character in such a grim-dark universe makes for much hilarity. The tribute referred to here is a clock that features a figure of Cain decapitating an orc every hour on the hour.

Best Completion: No one gave me the converted cuckoo clock I was hoping for, but I applaud Max P. for submitting an actual working clock, though Snitchcock definitely had the best lil’ Cain figure.

189. A paperclip menagerie.

Notes: Animals made of paperclips. Who says there are no simple explanations?

Best Completion: BJ, if only for how they used their paperclip goose for that Rabelais item. That takes guts.

190. Falsely shout “THEATRE!" in a firehouse.

Notes: I had forgotten that this was a reference to a Steve Martin routine, until Judge Citron reminded me. Anyways, let's give a big hand to the 55th street fire station! Thanks for playing along, guys.

Best Completion: BJ, who actually got two firemen to complete the item for them. I briefly considered being a jerk and giving the two points to Team Fireman, but hey, I'll let it slide this time.

191. If you wanted the Judges to like it, you shoulda put a ring on it. During the judging of this page, a single Scavvy should be flashing the following rings: Class, Championship, Signet, Purity, Archery Thumb, Mood, One (to rule them all, of course), Green Lantern, -PopTM, and one containing the largest precious gem you can find. That's ten, so don't go all “The Mandarin" on us.

Best/Worst Completion: This one’s pretty self-explanatory. Best completion goes to Snitchcock, the only team to legitimately complete both hands, with the particular highlight being the 2005 Colts Super Bowl Championship ring. There’s a great photo of me just looking in disbelief at it. Worst completion goes to any team that I had to have the following dialogue with: “So… you only have the class ring.” “Yep.” “You don’t have the Ring-Pop?” “Nope.” “The candy easily bought or shoplifted from any drug-store nationwide?” “Nope.” “...huh.”

192: Darn. With Scav going on, you forgot to do your reading for class. You're really screwed if the professor calls on you. Good thing you showed up in your ghillie suit.

Notes: Ghillie suits are the suits of faux-foliage worn by hunters/snipers in forest environments. Kind of a low-key class-interruption items, but I think it was the only one on this year’s list, which is a shame.

Best Completion: Best goes to the teams that got an actual suit, and didn’t just tape a bush to their shirt, but also to BJ’s, which was made of unneeded Doc posters and discarded copies of The Maroon. Believe me, you could blend in anywhere on the UofC campus with that thing.

Scav Olympics

3. P-p-p-poker race! You've got to know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em, but you should always run. The deck will be split among five stations; you will have to visit each to pick up a full hand. Highest five-draw hands takes first, second, and third. Standard rules apply. Mum mum mum mah.

Notes: One of the general themes I kept returning to over the hunt was the statement "You guys think the judges are three steps ahead of you, when we're only two." Having to tell the two dudes shivering in full Gaga-apparel that nowhere in the item did it actually state one would gain any advantage by affecting her style of dress in 40-degree weather, was a Saturday highlight.

6. You spin me right 'round, baby, but hope you do it the longest. Bring your top top for a Beigoma battle for the ages.

Notes: I want to take this moment to rant at MacPierce, who tried to pass a plunger pushed through a trashcan lit as a legit top, even when it was clear it couldn’t spin. They seemed to be personally angry at me that, even, against my better judgment, I let them compete in the event, that it wouldn’t turn for more than two seconds before slumping over.

Anyways, to wrap up this note, I leave you with a Hunt Deleted Scene: The Firefly/Simpsons/Star Wars trivia contest ended up being about insects, OJ, and SDI, but I had written some Quiz Bowl style questions for a straight interpretation of the events. As I can’t really see them being used for anything else, here they are now:
"Titling a genus of Paleozoic gastropods, a play by Euripedes, and the first exosolar planet discovered around a main sequence star, this Greek hero was best known for slaying the chimera. Perhaps that's why Durran Haymer was impressed enough to settle him and his Lassiter there. Name the planet that Mal and the crew gate-crashed in "Trash"

(Answer: Bellerophon)

First going on the air in 1970, Barret Eugene Hansen's pseudonymous show is still syndicated nationwide. However, several of the artists he discovered have gone on to eclipse him in fame, most notably Weird Al Yankovic. Name the stage name of the Comedic DJ who is Bart Simpson's mortal enemy.

(Answer: Dr. Demento)

It is the official military rank held by such notables as Empreror Wilhelm II, King Oscar II, and Alfred Von Tirpitz. As you might guess it's the highest position in the German Kriegsmarine. Tell me the naval rank that Imperial Leader Mitth'raw'nuruodo adopted, or, as you may know him better, Thrawn.

(Answer: Grand Admiral)

The words were originally written in 1773, though the complete version would not be settled until John Newton's published it in 1779. Of the twenty competing arrangements for the work, the most well known is based on the forgotten folk song "New Britain." It's sung an estimated 10 million times annually, including at the funerals for both Mr. Spock in Wrath of Khan, and Nandi in "Heart of Gold", proving that even centuries of time can't kill it. Its message of forgiveness and reformation has made it one of the most popular religious songs of all time. Name it.

(Answer: Amazing Grace)

First used by Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel in 1838, and termed by Herbert Hall Turner in 1913 it defined as the length of an adjancent side of an imaginary right triangle, defined by the parallax angle of one arcsecond and the opposite angle as the distance between the Earth and the sun. It equals just under 31 trillion kilometers. Name the astronomical distance that confirms Han Solo was talking out of his ass when he said he made the Kessel run in less than twelve of them.

(Answer: Parsec)

Shown to enhance seedling germination and emergence in greenhouse trials, but recently investigated by European Food Safety Authority for its possible carcinogenic properties, this substance is formed by the controlled burning of sawdust then passed through a capturing and dissolving water layer. Name the condiment that is one of the main flavors in processing bacon, jerky, and hot dogs, and is one of the secret ingredients of Homer Simpson's Patented Space Age Out of this World Moon Waffles.

(Answer: Liquid Smoke)

A veteran of science fiction literature, television, film and comics, he is best known for winning the first Hugo Award in 1953 for his work "The Demolished Man." Those that followed in his genre have seen to honor him by giving characters his name: in the Callahan's Crosstime Saloon series as a pesky time traveller, in Babylon 5 as a ruthless Psi-Corpsman, and as the mechanic that Kaylee replaced. Name him.

(Answer: (Alfred) Bester))

There are two stated sources for this term. The first suggests it was modified from a term used for dark warriors in the Barsoom literature series by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The second came to George Lucas while watching Japanese soap operas, and hearing the phrase that we would translate as "Period Adventure Drama" : Jidageki. Millions of people have tried to dick with their census workers by listing it as their religion, though none of them had the last name of Kenobi. Name the creed.

(Answer: Jedi)

Known by the nickname "The Supermex" and "The Merry Mex", this Hispanic athlete turned pro in 1960. His awards include five Vardon trophies, the 1971 Player of the Year, and 89 PGA wins, making him 29th of all time. He also released a video game with his name in the title, though Bart thought the fictionalized equivalent of "Fighting Golf" wasn't worth stealing. Name the golfer that was the inspiration for "Lee Carvallo's Putting Challenge"

(Answer: Lee Trevino)

This person once worked as a ranch hand, wrangler, blacksmith and body guard to Howard Hughes before starting his acting career. He has had parts in such films as Cocoon, John Carpenter's The Thing, an The China Sydrome, the television series "Our House" and portrayed the classic C-Canon role of Noa Briqualon in the tv-movie "Ewoks: The Battle For Endor". Today he's best known for having Liberty Medical help with his diabeetus. Name the actor.

(Answer: Wilford Brimley)

The last ferry boat service on the Potomac is named for this confederate lawyer and general. Rising from regimental command to the rank of lieutenant general, he was the key commander of the Valley Campaigns of 1864 which included raids to the outskirts of Washington DC. Nathan Fillion claims to be descended from him, which is the behind the scenes reason how the bounty hunting character last seen as an Object in Space shares his name. Name him.

(Answer: Jubal Early)

Though the company that makes the line is best known for it's leather tanning kits and the Cabbage Patch doll, it branched out into video games, first in 1976 with the Telstar, then again 1982 with a system that sold itself on the best home version of Donkey Kong until the NES hit the scene. After the video game market crash of 1984, the company unsuccessfully entered the home computing market with an underpowered machine known as the Adam. Ol' Gil is still trying to sell them, but Springfield Elementary had better have gotten the rust-proofing as they'll rust up on ya just like that. Name the modern name of the business, formerly known as the Connecticut Leather Company.

(Answer: Coleco)

Derived from the flower of the Crocus Sativus, it was originally discovered during extensive artificial selection of it's host plant. It is most likely to be cultivated in climates where hot dry summer breezes sweep semi-arid lands, the same locales that use it the most in their cuisine. Dovonvan was mad about it in his 1966 song, though the fact that it's the most expensive spice by weight is enough to make anyone a little peeved. Name the yellowish foodstuff that shares it's name with the first-known alias of Our Mrs. Reynolds.

(Answer: Saffron)

A 1950 crime mystery film starring Toshiro Mifune and Mayasuki Mori, it won an Honorary Award at the 1952 Oscars and was remade by Walter Ritt as The Outrage. Marge said that Homer enjoyed it when he saw it, though that wasn't how he remembered it. Name the movie, perhaps Akira Kurosawa's finest, that focuses on the subjectivity of truth through multiple depictions of the same scene.

(Answer: Rashomon)

Termed by St. Albertus Magnus in 1270, though popularized by Auguste Villiers in his 1886 novel L'Eve Future, it comes from the Greek words for "mankind" and "liken to". According to the US patent office, they first went on sale as toys in the US in the late 19th century. George Lucas ditched the common prefix, perhaps as his use refers to all of its kind, not merely the human. They aren't allowed in the Mos Eisley Cantina, and these certainly aren't the ones you're looking for. Name the term.

(Answer: (An)-Droids)

Debuting in 1987, it was originally to be based on the movie "The Black Hole", but once the film bombed it was reinterpreted to its current form. Featuring Paul Reubens as RX-24, an annoying pilot robot, it replaced "Adventure Thru Inner Space" at its Tomorrowland location, and can now be found in four Disney theme parks around the world. Name the Star Wars themed flight simulator ride that makes even the most dedicated fan wish they had just stood in line for Space Mountain.

(Answer: Star Tours)

Written around 1610, scholars find this work notable for two reasons. 1. It is one of the few works written by its famed author without a previous singular historical source, and 2. It is generally agreed to be the final play written by the author as a solo work. Two planets visited by Mal and his crew are named for characters within it: an appropriate inspirations for brave new worlds that have such people in it. Name this Shakespearean play about a shipwreck on Prospero's island.

(Answer: The Tempest. The characters are Ariel and Miranda.)

Born in Caldwell, New Jersey in 1837, he became sheriff of Erie county, mayor of Buffalo and Governor of New York, before aspiring to the highest office of the land. He was the only Democrat to hold the presidency in the time of Republican domination from 1860 to 1912, and won the presidential election popular vote three times. Name the president Grandpa Simpson claimed to have been spanked by on two non-consecutive occasions.

(Answer: Grover Cleveland)

Till we meet again, people.

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