MillionairePlayboy.com's Ka-Pow-BQ 2004
by Mr. Stinkhead
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Autumn is under way, and that means its time to bring you news from an event that happened over the summer. Actually, this wasn't any old event, it was the 2004 MillionairePlayboy.com Ka-Pow-BQ, where free beer meets free toys, and the MPb crew gets down with MPb readers and friends.
Last year, we threw the Tiki-Jam, to much success. We've moved away from the tiki theme... actually the new theme is more Game Show meets Comic Book, so we went with Ka-Pow-BQ. We pulled some sponsor cash to buy beer for everyone, and tons of people donated some great prizes to give away. This is our yearly opportunity to give back to our friends and readers, and celebrate another year. Plus, the Washington Post was coming this year, and we felt the pressure to impress a bit.
Where it was held
We knew that if we went back to Buffalo Billiards, we'd have a great time. Buffalo Billiards in Gaithersburg is a great place to go for dinner, or a night of drinking and socializing, or for hosting a medium-large sized party. Suzanne and Emily were very helpful during the night, keeping everyone's bottle fresh, and our stomachs full. We were able to set-up all of our trappings without disrupting their place.
One of my favorite things about the event was the large Ka-Pow banner I had printed up. We hung this on the wall, people grabbed the Hulk Hands and go to town decking out their buddy. We also had a Polaroid camera set up so people could take home a memento of the event. The only other major decoration was our MillionairePlayboy.com Game Show backdrop, but I'll touch on that more in a minute. Oh that, and my five foot tall
Although we have a great group of social self-starters, we wanted to have plenty to do. Besides drinking beer on my tab, we had two raffle-type contests set up. One was "Guess the Number" of LEGO pieces inside the new Millennium Falcon playset. The person to guess the number closest to the actual number without going over, got to take it home. We thank LEGO for donating the set, and we congratulate Carrie for guessing closest to 980 somethin. I was a little drunk by the time her guess was read out as the winner, but I know a lot of people were in the 2000 pieces range. Silly guessers. I also remember waking up the next morning.
We also had a cool USB Pocket Knife from ThinkGeek.com. We had $1 raffle tickets, randomly drawing one ticket to take home the prize. And then, we dumped the roughly $40 into the server's tip jar at the end of the night. The tip jar did pretty well on its own, but I come to this bar almost twice a week, I gotta grease the wheels, my friend. The cool thing about the knife is that it's a real Victornox Swiss Army knife, but one of the flip out tools is a 64Mb USB thumb drive. Sweet! (They also have an airline-ready travel version that doesn't have a blade. Cool!)
The Game Show
The featured activity of the night was our game show. I have an obsession with game shows and game show hosts. The hosts are the quintessential Millionaire Playboys. They have all the money, all the answers, and they're always getting the girls, even if it's just an excited hug or soggy kiss. Playing game show host allows me to live the dream without endangering my relationship. Unfortunately it also allowed me to sweat my knees off... it was 90° plus, and I'm wearing a suit jacket. A woman's suit jacket, to boot.
So, like last year, we had an assortment of prizes generously donated from manufacturers and online retailers. This year we had about 80 prizes to hand out. Wowzers. So we wrap up a little more than 2/3rds the goods in brown paper bags, and keep the unwrapped ones in a pile. One by one I call out volunteers from the audience. My helpful assistant Jager lines up a couple of bags and picks up an unwrapped toy. I then pitch to the lucky contestant the eternal question that has led to disease, famine, despair, and moral debauchery...do you keep the toy or go for one of the bags? Well most contestants felt they would do better to take their chances with one of the bags, but then that leads to the inevitable Bag #1 or Bag #2?? debate. The audience is always eager to weigh in their opinion. We had enough prizes to keep going for several rounds, and everyone was able to go home happy.
We had all kinds of great prizes to give out. SweatyFrog.com sent a great sampling of the type of Japanese action figures they're known for selling. They sent a big box of assorted Kubricks, MicroPets, and a few Austin Powers mini-figs for balance.
KillerToys.com sent along a big treasure trove of, well stuff... there is no one word for summarizing the diversity of goodies. There were a few cool urban-styled yet fully articulated Citizen figures, and a cool Buddy Christ from the movie Dogma. Also included were a couple of plush dolls and a My Little Pony for the ladies, and a couple of Killer Toys ballcaps. KillerToys.com has always been very helpful, and behind the spirit of the hobby.
I already mentioned the cool USB pocket-knife that ThinkGeek.com sent along, but they also included a cool looking lantern/flashlight, and they are the guys who sell the ultra sweet 007 Spy Cam. (that looks like a Zippo®) Infact a camera like that is great for snagging some spy pics, or times when you don't want to carry around a large camera that you have to worry about breaking, or making you look like a mugging target.
Plan B Toys sent along a case of their Ladder 49 figures, based on the upcoming film set in Baltimore. We got two styles of Travolta (one as Capt Kennedy, one as Chief Kennedy), one Joaquin Phoenix (as Jack Morrison), and one Robert Patrick (Lenny Richter). The figures are ultra detailed and come with some great accessories. Many of the women in the audience swooned for a Travolta action figure. Infact, poor Bubba, was not able to take home his Travolta figure because of someone with sticky fingers. For shame.
LEGO gave us a great box with the aforementioned Falcon, a Spider-Man II playset and a hockey playset. Grace took home the hockey playset to some very happy grand children. And to think, she almost snagged a promotional can of VaPOOrizer from the movie Envy with Jack Black.
Princess of Prizes
The Princess of Power has been longing for a newly designed She-Ra figure ever since I brought home my beloved Skeletor two years ago. We were unable to go to SDCC, but Logix in his infinite wisdom, did attend, was able to pick up a con-exclusive P.O.P to give to my P.O.P. Things are now right in the world, and as promised, my slime pit can now go on display. Thank you Logix. Thank you.
Food & Drink
One of Buffalo Billiards' featured burgers is the Bison Burger. In addition to tasting just like a hamburger of the cow variety, bison meat is much more lean, and thus better for you. We also had a steady supply of their famous Buffalo wings and quesadillas on hand.
Last year we had swanky lightswitch plates to hand out to every guest as a memento of the event. This year we made up a load of ligthers. We simply designed and printed a label, put them on a Bic, and then used packing tape to "laminate" them. Most of our audience were not smokers, but everybody dug having one to take home. There was a leopard pattern, and this fez-wearing monkey. The point was to make it look as if his hat was on fire when you're holding it... I tried anyway.
Till Next Year
It's great having a physical location and happening based on a hobby web site. People are able to congregate, I get to pretend I'm a publishing mogulthe beer coupons I handed out looked like little dollar bills, so I'm just throwing money at people so they can keep drinking... ah, the dream and everyone was able to get some free toys. This year consisted mainly of close friends and family, but Simian heeded the call I put out on the internet and decided to stop by and see what it was all about. It was pretty cool meeting someone that knew all about me and my collection, but our only previous connection was having a bit too much free time at work.
I'm hoping we continue this summer tradition and that the parties just keep getting bigger and bigger. Maybe we'll actually have local celebrities actually return my invites next year. Perhaps, we will be local celebrites by next year... ah the dream.
You can read the resulting article in the Washington Post here.
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Article, all images © 2004 MillionairePlayboy.com