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October 23rd , 2017

The spoils of trivia

As a rule, I don't talk to people. Bartenders yes, other people at the bar, not so much. Being out and around other people is usually enough for me. If I go to a place a lot, I'll usually have one person to quip with, but again, it's usually the bartender or trivia host.

Yet somehow, despite my reticence to engage, I'm somehow part of the local trivia "scene". It's probably a combination of being good and recognizable (the stupid hair does most of the work). Another guy who plays solo a lot befriended me about a year ago and now we play together quite a bit. A player he's friends with asked me to play with them at a tournament last Saturday. We won $2500.

 

The weirdest thing is, that write up isn't from the company, it's just some local trivia nerd. I suppose if I'm going to be known for something outside of my circle of friends, I'll take this. Especially if more people want me to come with them to sit around and drink beers for a few hours and then win a bunch of cash.

Posted 1:55pm
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October 19th , 2017

Irrational disdain

tbaggervance.com is known for its disdain. Of the modern GOP, of solipsism, of the band Pavement. Those first two are ideological differences. Today's Republican party suffers from a lack of empathy and uses tactics that I find to be dishonorable at best. And solipsistic assholery, well that's the scourge of our society. My well documented disdain for Pavement, well that's mostly just a symbol for a certain hipster ethos of groupthink and malaise. That and look at Stephen Malkmus. If his mere visage doesn't make you want to punch him in his stupid face, you should hear him opine about how little he cares about his self-importance.

While my hatred for Pavement may be outsized for myriad factors that I've laid out over the years, they are one of many bands whom I hold in a similar disregard. Any band that is self-styled as a lifestyle - The Grateful Dead, Jimmy Buffet - I shouldn't need heavy psychotics or to be dead drunk in bad cabana wear to enjoy your music. Bands that produce milquetoast, bland versions of popular radio hits by talented people - Coldplay, Nickelback - fuck you for playing to the lowest common denominator. On various levels, I dislike these musicians, their music and perhaps most of all, their fans.

Last night I was working my weekly volunteer shift at the Michigan Theater, when I found myself surrounded by a thousand fans of O.A.R. If you weren't in a midwestern fraternity between 1997 and 2002, you might not know who this is. Consider yourself lucky, don't google it. Imagine a supergroup of the least talented members of Rusted Root, Dave Mathews Band and moe. Now imagine a bunch of college frat guys get together to form a tribute band to that group who then convinces themselves to write their own songs. That's O.A.R. Oh, and before we move on, their name is an acronym for Of A Revolution and they went to school at Ohio State. So there's that.

ANYWAY, they were at the Michigan Theater last night and so was I, so were their fans. If I haven't painted you a word picture yet of who these people are, let's just say mostly they were people I didn't like in college. And some strung out hippies. And lots of suburban parents, many of whom inexplicably brought their under 10 year old children to the show, all of whom looked like they would have rather been in church.

After about an hour of selling people their temporary memberships so that they could drink the place out of Labbatts, I started to wonder why I had such disdain for these people. No matter the reason, I'm self-aware enough to know that it was an irrational amount. What's to hate about suburban thirtysomethings who want to hear the music they used to fuck to in college? I mean, I've answered that already. I didn't like those people then, I don't like them now, and it makes me a little angry that they're still the same people.

Hate's a strong word. The wrong word. I hate Trump. I hate the NRA. I hate homophobia, Islamophobia, racism and misogyny. These people I just wish were more aware of themselves and the world around them. I'm sure they don't care for intellectual snobs who pass judgment on people because of their taste in music. So eh, c'est la vie.

Posted 3:42pm
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September 20th , 2017

I don’t know how anyone survives working at Disneyland

I am two weeks into my solo hosting gig at Geeks Who Drink. I have yet to have anyone show up to play the quiz. For those of you who may still think it would be awesome to get paid to stand around and do nothing, let me open your world view.

Standing on your feet for 3 hours and smiling at people isn't as bad as I thought, to be honest. I mean, it sucks - especially for me personally, but it's not unbearable. I can look at my phone. I'm typing this on my laptop as I'm supposed to be administering a quiz. I still have to keep an eye on the room, but it's less boring than church.

What's frustrating is that unlike church, I'm supposed to be here doing this irreverent, fun thing that I think I'd be good at. Instead I'm politely smiling at people and trying to be a genial carnival barker on the mic - convincing people with pre-purchased movie tickets in their hands to abandon their plans and come play trivia instead.

The real bitch of it is that I'm in a movie theater lobby. Not even a bar off of a movie theater lobby, just the lobby. I'm literally standing next to a player piano. The worst part about that, other than feeling like I'm selling something to people who came here for a completely different reason, is that they play the same five commercials/trailers on a loop right over my head. I'm not even sure I want to see The Last Jedi at this point. I certainly don't want to stop at Target ever again, much less hear someone say "when we say STUDY you say HALL!" Kill me.

Maybe people will start showing up and it'll be fine. I'd need like 4 a week to make it work for the interim. Then maybe more would see how much fun we're having and join in. Or maybe some manager with the semblance of a brain will put this show out of my misery and I'll be a guest host for awhile until a new show pops up in A2. Those are both fine outcomes. If it's standing here for another month and a half wading in indifference, shit is going to be rough.

What I'm saying is please come to the show next week. You'll win stuff.

Posted 4:15pm
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August 30th, 2017

Hostus Mostus

Welcome back to my trivia blog! Or so it will probably seem. For those teeming with anticipation: no, Sporcle never admitted we were right, no I haven't quit participating in their quiz, and no, I'll never truly be over it. Like a poker player, you remember the bad beats way more than the quality wins.

I've loved trivia since I was a kid. I have distinct memories trying to participate in Trivial Pursuit as an 8 year old, crying in frustration over the fact that no one would listen to me, even though I had memorized about half the deck through osmosis. Ever since I've been obsessed with information. Knowing stuff is quite literally my favorite thing in the world. So far, the older I get the more information I have at my disposal. I've become quite good at the pub quiz (see previous post) to the point that I go out and play three nights a week and as such I haven't paid for a drink on those nights in over a year.

The other company I frequent is called Geeks Who Drink. Their pub quiz is harder, asks a lot more questions in a two hour span and is a bajillion times more sarcastic and pop culture oriented. I enjoy these nights so much I've decided to join their ranks and graduate for weekly pub quiz champion to Quiz Master. In two weeks I'll be hosting the weekly Geeks Who Drink Pub Quiz on Tuesday nights at the Emagine Cinema in Canton.

Why? Well as good as I am at playing, this pays more. Plus, unless I bring a partner, I'm usually doomed at GWD by the very important music round (this quiz is geared towards folks younger than I, and I can't tell Taylor Swift from Katy Perry.) More than anything though, I keep going back to what my friend who used to be a croupier in Vegas once told me about his job. He said it's like being the host of a very cool party every night.

So I'll be the only one with a mic. I get to decide what music gets played. I get to spend two hours a week drinking and being smug about information and telling people they're wrong, all while getting paid for it. Hopefully it'll even make me a better trivia player. It'll definitely be a good time. You should come and hang out. Assuming you aren't tired enough of my smug bullshit to the point that adding a microphone sounds unbearable.

Posted 3:26pm
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August 8h, 2017

The devil's in the details

I've spent the last 48 hours discussing intellectual property and copyright law, as well as, most importantly, the Ship of Theseus. All because I like to go to bars and play trivia. Let me explain.

Sunday night was the Sporcle trivia championships. Sporcle hosts weekly tirivia nights all over Michigan (and the country) and three times a year, the most successful teams (about 50 in our region) compete for a grand prize of $1500. It's a lot of fun. My team and I are very good at it. Unfortunately this time, we may have been better than the people writing the questions.

Cut to the chase: the final question works like Jeopardy. We were in first place by a couple points, but it was tight, so we bet the maxiumum points allowed, 30. It was for all intents and purposes, get the last question right, win the whole shebang.

I don't have the actual text of the question, but it was basically as follows: name one of the two primteime network scripted shows, currently in productioin, that has produced at least 220 episodes and has had original episodes appear on more than one network. There was some caveats about how scrpited isn't news or sports or reality tv, but that's the gist.

Now, spoiler alert, according to the question writers, the two correct answers are American Dad and Supernatural. That's not really the dispute. After much hemming and hawing, we answered One Day at a Time. It is a primteime scripted show that has had 222 episodes, is currently being produced and appeared on CBS and now Netflix. When we pointed this out, we were told to fuck off.

The crux of their argument seems to be that the current iteration of One Day at a Time isn't the same show that appeared on CBS from 1975-1984. Our argument, which we've dubbed the Doctor Who conundrum, is that if it has the same executive producer, the same premise, the same name and the same damn theme song, how is it not the same show?

The frustrating thing is that I think we are right on the facts, but our only arbitration involves making an argument to the people who fucked up and don't want to pay us and have really no incentive to do so. I get that the answers they provided are easier to see and had we thought of either we would have chucked our answer for one of those. However, I also think our argument is valid. It meets all the requirements of the question and there are countless examples to defend any counter arguments (Doctor Who invalidates most of the holes you could find, as everyone agrees that's the same show for 50 years even though it's a Ship of Theseus).

The worst part is perhaps that I'm stuck in an Amazon paradox. Yes, Amazon.com advertises on sites like Breitbart and I'd love to boycott them over that, but I've become too reliant on it. Sporcle has all but monopolized trivia in this town and I play it at least twice a week (and win a lot of money doing so). So what's a nerd to do? The only answer is: Up on your feet. Somewhere there's music playing. Don't you worry none, we'll just take it like it comes One Day at a Time.

Posted 11:13am
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August 4th, 2017

5 innocuous things that are making me happy in and around the present moment

- I was right! When Orange 45 was elected, I decided to make monthly donations to the ACLU, the NAACP, Planned Parenthood and The Trevor Project, because while we are all under attack, those were the people I thought would need the most help. Guess what happens when our narcissist man baby POTUS decides to he needs to reassure other close minded bigots to feed his ego? Obviously this doesn't make me happy, but if you vacillate between sad and angry all the time like me, consider a donation to assuage your seething. Oh, and actually help some people that need it.

- Afterwards, watch this adorable Pixar-esque short to remember that love is love is love is love is love.

- Net Neutrality isn't dead yet, but raise your hand if you think we're going to win this one. As such, another consequence of electing the tiny hands oompah loompah was me purchasing a VPN for all my computers and internet connected devices. The good news is that folks over at CERN and MIT have created a free VPN! I haven't used it (since I already paid for one) but give it a whirl if you're an ounce of protection kind of person.

- Mueller is impaneling a grand jury! This is innocuous because it doesn't necessarily mean impeachment and it sure as shit doesn't mean anything for a long, long time. Still though, high fives all around.

- Finally, this is old(ish) but as the world burns, we could all use a little silliness. And Star Wars. There's four of 'em, so take 20 minutes to giggle like a middle schooler.

Posted 10:42am
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July 28th, 2017

#resist: A Republic, if you can keep it

My final thought last night, right before I fell asleep, was "We no longer live in a democracy." The BDGF assured me I was being both hyperbolic and dramatic, to which I said "Fine, then we're no longer a representative democracy."

I was of course expecting things to go the other way. It's been too long since I went to bed thinking the worst and not have it come to fruition. It's a nice feeling. I hope it stays. Of course as they might say in the Trump administration, let's not start sucking our own dicks just yet. While they are woefully incompetent, they will try to use public fatigue to eventually screw all of us over, you can count on that.

Because the biggest takeaway from all of this is that we did it. All the respect and love to Murkowski and Collins, but it's you that forced their hands. It's the calls and letters and constant pressure that kept the grand ol' party from trying to take healthcare away from millions so that billionaires can buy a ten foot longer yacht. McConnell is waiting for people to get tired, so we can't. I mean it sucks that I have to write "stay vigilent" amongst the high fives, but stay vigilent <high five>.

Posted 9:41am
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