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Splutschnik: More than Just a Pubcrawl

Late in 2006 I invented a pubcrawl that was intended to involve more than just getting wasted in bars. If that's what people really wanted, then they were free to plonk away at their livers. But the real goal, in my opinion, has always been to get people together, and establish new friendships the best way I know how: competitive boozing.

Here follows the invitations to the event that I have sent out about a month before each. People tell me they enjoy reading them, so I figured it'd be nice to put them all in one place. So enjoy, if you go in for that sort of thing.

Splutschnik I: 2/3/2007

I've let these opportunities pass by enough times now. It's time to crawl again. There'll be a fair-weather pubcrawl when the sun comes back into the proper position for warming the Northern Hemisphere(April I'd say), but I think everybody has enough clothes to pull off a crawl to herald the coming of everyone's least or second-least favorite month: February.

To make this one distinctive in your memory, it will be a competition, a scavenger hunt, a pubcrawl, and a party all rolled into one. As such, it has no name in English. So I must therefore defer to gibberish, and give it the name "Splutschnik."

The event will begin at the Quaff, seeing as they have the space and the foosball table to accommodate a relatively large group. Depending on the number of attendees, we will divide up into teams and attack our objectives. Our objectives are currently being established by the Splutschnik Planning Committee, and will be announced in the initial briefing, on the day of the event. All I can fully tell you is to bring a digital camera. If you don't have a digital camera, bang someone who does and secure their digital camera.

The full details of the competition portion of the Splutschnik will be ironed out in the coming weeks, but what I definitely can tell you is that it will be followed immediately by a party at John and Jeff's house in Quality Hill, featuring a fully repaired railing system on the back deck, for more effective death prevention. It is there, once all the teams have assembled and calmed down, that a winner will be determined, possibly arbitrated, and shiny prizes will be disseminated to teams of qualifying awesomeness.

So clear your calendar. Push that visit to your aunt to another weekend. Tell the family to stall the funeral. Tell your college roommate that someone else will have to be his best man. Do your taxes later. There's Splutschnik afoot, and your presence is threateningly requested.

Splutschnik II: 7/21/2007

It would seem that after the runaway success of the inaugural Splutschnik in February requires a proper follow-up. Since the first one took place on a day when the high temperature could be counted out on a shop teacher's hand, it would follow that the second one should take place in completely unreasonable, surface-of-the-sun heat.

For all the people that are new to this list, didn't pay attention the first time, or are just dense, here's an overview.

The group assembles at the Quaff at 3pm. Not 3:30pm, not 3:07pm. 3pm. The best way to accomplish this, I find it extremely effective to arrive prior to 3pm. 2:30pm works well. As does 2:45pm. I'll leave it to you, but with a stern admonition: if you're fashionably late, you'll miss it.

At the Quaff, groups composed of five or six each will be set up and partitioned according to public status, voting tendencies, whether I think any of the women are attractive and want them in my group, and knowledge of the 5th season of TNG(when Picard lives an entire man's life during a 45-minute dream). It will be very scientific. Also, if boyfriends/husbands/life partners and girlfriends/wives/life partners want to be boring and stay together, then it shall be so, to the detriment of all.

From there, the groups will set out. Full scoring details will be released on the day of the event, but each team will be given a list of items to photograph as they crawl from bar to bar in Downtown Kansas City, thus categorizing Splutschnik in the realm of scavenger hunts. However, in addition to the point available for photographing items in and our of bars, teams will receive points for the number of bars they visit, after meeting some light conditions.

This brings up the next point: the point of Splutschnik is *not* to get drunk. It's a fun way to experience Downtown in a relatively safe manner. If you're getting loaded from boozing at bars all day, feel free to take a break. The per-team drinking requirements will be nowhere near what it would take to get someone drunk. You're not going to get drunk unless you want to. In that case, please secure a ride home afterward, as I will kick you in the genitals rendering you impotent if you try to drive your drunken self home.

Each team will have a digital camera to prove their findings and justify their scores. Scores will be tabulated in full at Jeff and John's house afterward, where there will be food, beer, music, and general ambiance until such time as eyelids droop, babysitters call, obligations are suddenly remembered, or law enforcement officials see fit to dismiss us.

It's going to be excellent, and I hope to see you all there.

Splutschnik III: 1/26/2008

Like Steve Guttenberg as Officer Mahoney before us, we've all fallen from grace. All these intervening months of accelerated cold have driven us inside to eat cakes and cookies of increasingly elaborate make and expense, and drink cocktails of such alarming eccentricity that even our respective pets have lowered their plaintive yowling voices as if to say, "you damned cream-puff."

So, out with it! End this crap! Downtown is just sitting there, taunting us, making faces at us behind our backs. "I'm filled with interesting bars with plentiful comfortable seats and superlative items inside to photograph, and you can't do anything about it!" it seems to say, though it might at first just sound like honking and wind. In light of this pressing situation, combined with the state to which you've allowed yourself to fall, I deem that enough time has passed for another iteration of Splutschnik to iterate. Mark your calendars for 3pm on January 26th, 2008, or you lucky gmail users, just mark this invitation with yes. If you mark it with no, I offer my condolences to you for your loss, or to your family for their loss of you for responding no to this invitation.

Here, for the benefit of all the new/slow people, I will detail the nature of Splutschnik, two occurrences of which have now passed without arrest, knee injury, lost credit cards, or sadness of any kind. Essentially, Splutschnik combines the elements of an enforced drunken pubcrawl, a photo session, and a girl scout scavenger hunt. In the coming weeks, an official set of rules will be distrubuted to this address group, but the basic gist is that each team will have a list of items which they may prove through digital photography that they have encountered one time in each bar they visit, and an associated point value for said encounter.

For example, if the sheet you'll receive that day details that you'll receive five points for a picture of an orange roll of toilet paper, and you find said unlikely object in more than one place, you may photograph it in all the places for points. It's really not that complicated. I don't know why i'm even taking the time to explain it to you. The absolutely salient point is that when you arrive, you're in for an afternoon and evening of fun, and hopefully, the chance to meet new people with whom you can argue about sports.

The most important part is that the event begins at 3pm at the Quaff. The Quaff is a bar that is famous for its douchebag density at night, but is actually spacious and comfortable during the day. It is located on the west side of Broadway, about a half a block south of 10th Street, right next-door to Tanner's. Please be there by 3. Please don't say, "I have a thing, but I'll be there by 9pm!" Let's just consider showing up at 3pm to be "mandatory." There, Jeff and I will distribute the full score sheets, and divide you cruelly into dischordant teams, assuring the victories of our own teams.

After a hearty run around downtown, everyone will reconvene at John and Jeff's place at 8pm for pizza, more beer, and the compilation of scores and subsequent disbursal of prizes hardly worth your trouble, but still somehow incredibly coveted by all.

So celebrate the icy cold. Bring your favorite scarf or scarf-like object. Tell the kids to make their own dinner and to babysit themselves. Splutschnik is upon us. See you there.

Splutschnik IV: 7/19/2008

I set my alarm for June 27th to write up the invitation to the fourth iteration of what is quickly becoming the greatest periodical event in the history of the galaxy, and this time, I managed to locate the "Bcc:" field in my email program, so you don't get a list of farmable email addresses to sell to Chinese syndicates and the bulk-mail marketing arm of the Yakuza.

Yes, my young apprentice, I refer to the time-honored tradition of Splutschnik. That's right, I just used the nonsense word, "Splutschnik." It's a word in a language I made up. It means, "Splutschnik." If you're unfamiliar with the event and the proceedings, allow me to give you the Cliff's Notes version.

A group of people of my choosing, and of the choosing of those people I chose, assemble at a downtown bar, get cruelly sorted up into teams of four or five members, and at a specified time leave the first bar in search of another to gather points for their team. All point-rewarded items are documented and proven with pictures from a designated team digital camera, and are verified later in a lengthy process by John and Jeff. A list of items that will give your team points will be distributed on the day of the event, but to just give you an idea, we have awarded points in the past for getting a picture of a bartender giving a member of your team a piggyback ride. That was a fun one.

The main rule of Splutschnik is that all travel between bars and to the after-party at John and Jeff's place must be done on foot. In the grand semiannual tradition, it will be held at a time of year when it's statistically horrible to be outside: high summer. The other time of the year is when it's so cold out that you lose feeling in your gonads. Rest assured though, there are plenty of bars within walking distance downtown. Enough even that it's possible that no teams could go to the same bars as any other.

I've lived downtown for a couple years now, and I like to think I know where the homeless people go after they get their spare change from passing motorists. With filthy dives, classy bars, dance clubs, uppity snob bars, GLBT bars, and bars posing as restaurants, downtown Kansas City easily has more bars within its small area than any place within 500 miles, possibly more. Within a 25-minute walk of the corner of 14th and Grand there are over 110 bars, and still people are surprised that entire pubcrawls can be held there without gigantic shuttles or party buses. If you only knew the power of the dark side of downtown!

And now, the Power and Light District is fully open, blurring the lines of what is a bar, and what is not. With over 20 new bars, and more on the way, it's changed the face of downtown. Naturally, since other people think it's cool, I think it sucks. Just kidding. Some of my favorite places in downtown are there, and I plan on visiting them dozens of times between now and Splutschnik proper.

But here are the full details that you've patiently read through my crap to get to: We'll be meeting at 3pm on Saturday, July 19th. We'll be meeting at the Quaff, due to its position directly beneath the sun and because of the high caliber of staff they have there on any given Saturday afternoon. The competition will go on around downtown until 8pm, when everyone needs to converge back at John and Jeff's place for some Tarantino's pizza and some more beer for anyone still willing to drink it.

So cancel your plans. Avoid my cousin Clare's 29th birthday party. Watch the Royals game from whichever bars you choose, and may the force be with you.