The Stir Crazy Gang: Wanted – Dead or Alive

Last year, I had a tremendous amount of fun as a member of the Stir Crazy trivia team.  We competed in the World Tavern Trivia national championships in Atlantic City, and out of over three dozen teams, we came in second place overall.  That was seventeen levels of awesome.

This year, I’m joining the Stir Crazy squad again, as we compete in the third annual World Tavern Trivia National Championships.  Once again, we’re heading to Atlantic City for the April 30-May 1 two-day event.  And once again … there’s a theme for the competition.

Continue reading “The Stir Crazy Gang: Wanted – Dead or Alive”

Week 3 of the Graney’s Stout 2017 Spring Trivia League

Little by little, I think I’m getting the hang of this new competitive team trivia format.  It’s not easy … but I’m understanding it.

While the original “Trivia Nights Live” trivia format had 20 questions with varying point levels, along with multiple-answer bonus questions, this new format features a music round (two points to name the artist, two points to name the song), a “huddle round” (five answers to one question, with a possible 25 points on the line), and a difficult movie round (see the still, name the film – a great area for me to dump off my two “skip the answer” options). Continue reading “Week 3 of the Graney’s Stout 2017 Spring Trivia League”

Help Ryan West Win the #RyFight

Nearly eighteen months ago, I learned that my good friend, bar trivia host Ryan West, was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. He was only 31 years old at the time of the diagnosis.

Ryan’s friends rallied around their stricken comrade, and through all of Ryan’s next months of chemotherapy and treatment, they kept his spirits high and helped him every single day of this new journey.

And although the journey has been difficult – as it would be for anyone – there were moments of brightness and joy.   He married his longtime love Clover, they traveled to far-off and amazing locales, and he received several personal tributes and cheers from a growing rooting section of friends, trivia associates, Ultimate Disc aficionados, and the like.

The journey’s not over.  Every single day that Ryan adds to his timeline and to his lifeline is another day when cancer gets beaten back.  Every day that Ryan lives is another day that cancer loses.

But we know cancer doesn’t completely go away.  And these last few months, according to his blog, have been brutal.  On April 4, his wife Clover posted on Ryan’s blog that his cancer is still growing, and new medications must be taken.

Son of a bitch.  The cancer is fighting back. Continue reading “Help Ryan West Win the #RyFight”

Week 2 of the Graney’s Stout 2017 Spring Trivia League

So I’m ready for another round in the trivia league, and now that I know there’s a different permutation of how the questions are set up – and the best strategies for scoring and points – let’s say that I’m better prepared.

And as the game started … I used that preparation well.  Since this permutation of Trivia Nights Live included video and audio questions, as well as various “huddle” questions (one question, five answers, each worth points), I figured out the best way for my one-man Street Academy team to compete with the rest of the trivia squads Wednesday night.

Yeah.  Probably the best strategy – get the damn answers right and you won’t have to worry about anything.

Continue reading “Week 2 of the Graney’s Stout 2017 Spring Trivia League”

Week 1 of the 2017 Graney’s Stout Summer Trivia League

“No, I am not putting Mexican wrestling on the TV for you, Chuck!”

I swear, this was what one of the waitstaff said to me the moment she saw me back at Graney’s Stout for my first Trivia Nights Live game in nearly six months.  Oh boo hoo, one time I wanted to watch Lucha Underground on one of the big screens – seriously, how the heck was I going to not see a “Grave Consequences” match between Prince Puma and Mil Muertes?  Ha…

But anyway, it felt really great to be back at Graney’s Stout for the start of another Trivia League series.

And … hey, wait a minute.  Why is trivia host Kevin Baker fiddling around with the television connections in the bar?  Maybe he wants to watch Lucha Underground as well…

No, the trivia league is going through a bit of a revision.  And here’s the new format.  Pay attention, there’s a test afterwards.

  • Raffle tickets are only handed out for the leading halftime team (one ticket per team member) and at the end of the night, one ticket per every ten points accumulated for the night.
  • The television screens now have the questions on them, and there are visual and music rounds as well.
  • And rather than keeping a running total of accumulated points for the finals, the top three teams each night receive “starter points” for the final game – three points for first place, two for second, one for third, with teams needing six games of appearance to qualify for the final night.
  • There are only two raffle nights during the entire trivia league season.
  • There are now six rounds, five questions per round, with varying point totals.  No more quadruple bonus questions, but one of the rounds is a “Fast Five” round where you get five points apiece to name five answers in a theme.
  • The “starter points” will be used in the thirteenth and final contest, where the winning team receives $500 and the second place team receives $100 and everybody else receives awkward handshakes.

Yeah, I’ll get this figured out at some point in time.

The other thing that was great last night was seeing all the teams again.  There’s Woo Hoo a Go Go and New Phone, Who Dis? and Nacho Punch.  There’s The Fist and Dan 2017: The Next Generation… and another squad who I didn’t recognize, calling themselves Stephen Hawking’s School of Dance.  Man, that’s a tasteless trivia nickname, I’d better censor it before someone at the – oh wait, yeah, that’s not a problem any more.  Old habits, you know…

First round went well, I knew the game show that was revived to replace the failed Time After Time series (Match Game), and the last time that Jack Nicklaus won the Masters (1986).  The second round was rougher, it was a “name the corporate logo” round – and I didn’t recognize a couple of the logos (they showed half a set of blue bubbles and I’m supposed to know it’s JetBlue?

The third round was a “Fast Five” round, and the question involved naming the five largest grossing concert tours in history.  I knew two of them – the Rolling Stones and the Roger Waters “The Wall” tour, but didn’t remember that the other three involved U2, AC/DC and Madonna.  Now that would be a combination.  Madonna and The Edge teaming up for a version of “It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock and Roll).”

Near the end of the night, I was mired in fifth place with 86 points.  And since I didn’t have to worry about accumulating massive point totals over a twelve-week span, I figured I’d play conservative this week – bet only a few points and concentrate on snagging some raffle tickets.

The category was 90’s movies.

I bet a few points and handed in my slip.

“Good Will Hunting” and “The Full Monty” and “As Good As It Gets” were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, but what film beat them out that year?”

Okay, Miller.  Remember your 90’s movie history.  Helen Hunt won an Oscar that year for “As Good As It Gets,” who did she beat out in that category that might have been in that other Oscar winning film?  Think, think… come on, you can draw this in your mind… you can see it right there on the couch, a woman being drawn in charcoal pencil, she’s wearing a blue heart-shaped jewel on her neck…

Yep.  Helen Hunt beat out Kate Winslet, who was in Titanic.  Wrote down Titanic.  If nothing, I guaranteed myself nine raffle tickets for the win.

Five of the seven teams put down Titanic as the answer.  Stephen Hawking’s School of Dance went with Aladdin – and Nacho Punch went all in with Forrest Gump.

Nopes.  Cue Celine Dion.  The correct answer was Titanic.

Nine raffle tickets for the Street Academy, and a good start to the trivia league run.

Oh, and now I get to put together another scoring table.  The list below will include each team’s “starter points,” along with a mark to determine that they’ve played six games and are post-season eligible.

Week 1 of the Graney’s Stout Summer Trivia League  Starter Points for Final Game
Dan 2017: The Next Generation 3
New Phone, Who Dis? 2
Woo Hoo a Go Go 1
Street Academy
The Fist
Nacho Punch
Stephen Hawking’s School of Dance

One week down, eleven weeks to go until the final game on June 28.

Man, it feels good to be back in the competitive team trivia game.

It just feels really good.

Week 5 of the 2016 Graney’s Stout Fall Trivia League

I should not be here tonight.  My leg still feels like someone injected me with a can of Fix-A-Flat.  Yet while I’m aching, I have to gtet back to some semblance of normalcy.

And “normalcy” means competitive team trivia.

Playing team trivia has gotten me through various humps and valleys in my life, and the ability to reconnect with friends and competitors each week is actually refreshing.  All I need to do is just get through this week, pick up some points, and hold on for another week.  I’m sure I’ll feel better next Wednesday.  Mountain, get out of my way.

The questions were pretty good this week, I was able to name three of the last four World Series opponents for the Cleveland Indians (Florida Marlins, Atlanta Braves, Boston Braves), but I said Brooklyn Dodgers for the fourth when it was the New York Giants in 1954.  Also picked up points for naming the first 3-D monster movie from 1953 (the Creature from the Black Lagoon), and the Broadway play that has four sections – spring, summer, winter and fall (gee, might that be Jersey Boys?).  Whiffed on a 10-pointer about the country directly south of Egypt (thought it might be Syria, was in fact Sudan).

But in the end, I had 104 points going into the final question.  “Foreign Cars on American Soil.”

Yeah, I’m not going to wager anything.  Let this one pass, and I’ll keep my points.

“In 1982, what Japanese auto manufacturer became the first to make cars in America?”

Woah.  Good thing I skipped this one.  Because I didn’t know if it was Toyota, Nissan, Honda or Mitsubishi.

Some teams did get it right – Honda – including Nacho Punch, who actually pole-vaulted over me to claim fifth place in the overall standings.  Yeah, I’m down to sixth place, but – and this is an important but – the point totals between first and sixth are getting tighter and tighter.  And although the current point leaders – New Phone Who Dis – are still atop the leader board, their margin is shrinking faster than a leaking tire.

And believe me, I know where’s there’s s spare can of Fix-A-Flat if that’s the case.

And after five weeks, here are the standings.

  1. New Phone Who Dis – 548
  2. Dan 2016: You Only Dan Twice – 445
  3. The Fist – 445
  4. Woo Hoo a Go Go – 441
  5. Nacho Punch – 428
  6. Street Academy – 396
  7. Miguel Hunt – 291
  8. Stern Fans – 266

Five weeks down, seven weeks to go.

Week 4 of the 2016 Graney’s Stout 2016 Fall Trivia League

Before I stat with this week’s Trivia League recap, I want to mention something.

Last Tuesday, my friend Matt and I checked out a different trivia game over in Niskayuna at the Tilted Kilt pub.  This trivia game was associated with the World Tavern Trivia company – the same company for whom I played on the Stir Crazy team in the World Tavern Trivia championships last summer.  Although the Stir Crazy team is qualified for the 2017 championships (hello Atlantic City again), I wanted to see how this version of trivia would work out.  And since Matt has played on my trivia teams before (he was a part of my “We Are Your Nemesis, Fear Us” squad that played at the Ruck a couple of years ago), he and I looked forward to seeing a different trivia game and experiencing its benefits.

What a surprise.

We were the only people in the bar that wanted to play trivia that night.  The host walked over and said, “You’re the only guys interested in trivia tonight, so do you want to play against each other?”

We discussed it, and agreed that instead of Chuck versus Matt, we would pay as one team and if we scored a threshold of points, we would receive the prize – a gift card at Tilted Kilt.

The host agreed, sat at our table, and started asking questions.  We played for a little while, and then we talked about how the trivia game operated at Tilted Kilt.

“Well, we have this program where if you play a certain number of games and earn points, you can qualify for the national game,” the host said.  “But since we’re a new bar in their operation, we wouldn’t be able to qualify anybody until the 2018 championships.”

Okay.

The host then showed me the list of questions that were provided by the trivia company.  Trivia heads, listen to me.  These questions were brutal.  They were Trivia Bowl level brutal.  These were Watson vs Ken Jennings Jeopardy! level brutal.

Examples of two of the questions that could have been asked that night.

“The Sam Maguire Cup is the championship trophy of what sport?”

“Vitamin B1 deficiency can cause what disease in the human body?”

If you said Gaelic football and Beri-Beri, then congratulations.  Matt and I looked at each other as if we were asked questions about cold fusion and the infield fly rule.

These questions weren’t designed for having fun at a tavern and playing team trivia.  These were questions that should have involved a sound-proof booth and Charles Van Doren giving you the death stare.

The three of us talked some more, and we agreed to come back this coming Tuesday.  Matt would bring his trivia team Woo Hoo a Go Go, and I would bring my Street Academy trivia team – yeah, I know, that’s me and my three other internal personalities.  But if, for one week, we could maybe help the Tilted Kilt get their trivia game at least dialed in the right direction, maybe it could become an additional team trivia destination.

So I’m sending out a message to all trivia teams in the Capital District, whether you’re involved with Trivia Nights Live or Memorama or any of the other bar games… do me a favor, come out this coming Tuesday to Tilted Kilt in Niskayuna and play in a game of competitive team trivia.  First question will be at 7:00 p.m.  Hope to see you there.  At least give the game a chance, and let’s see how things turn out.  One week.  One night.  That’s all I ask.

Oh, you want to know about the Wednesday night game I currently participate in?

It was a good, high-scoring game, and I was able to nail questions about the cartoon character whose measurements are 19-19-19 (Olive Oyl), the last four American League teams to win the World Series (Kansas City, Boston, the Yankees and Boston), and the name of the first helium-filled balloon to float above the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (Felix the Cat).

The final question was “World Series trivia,” and I bet a small amount.  Just stay consistent, Miller.

“Who was the first World Series team to win the championship as a Wild Card playoff team?”

Okay.  Did the Yankees sneak in as a wild card team at some point in time?  Yes, in 1995 they did… but did they win the World Series that year?  Damn, brain is hurting…

Ah what the hell.  I wrote down Yankees and hoped for the best.

It wasn’t the Yankees, and you already know that.

It was the freakin’ Florida Marlins in 1997.  Most teams got that, but I wasn’t one of them.  The Nacho Punch also missed the question (they wrote the Yankees), and they bet it all, so they’re still stuck in eighth place overall.

So I didn’t advance past fifth place in the overall standings.

And you want to see the overall standings?

Got ’em right here.

  1. New Phone Who Dis? – 468
  2. Woo Hoo a Go Go – 414
  3. The Fist – 352
  4. Dan 2016: You Only Dan Twice – 333
  5. Street Academy – 292
  6. Miguel Hunt – 291
  7. Stern Fans – 266
  8. Nacho Punch – 200

After the regular game, each team receives a raffle ticket for every ten points they’ve earned that night.  So that was eight more tickets in my bag.

Well, one of those tickets was a winner.  Nightly drawing, and $100 in my pocket.

Another car payment.  😀

Four weeks down … eight weeks to go.

And if you get a chance, I’ll say it again.  Please come out this coming Tuesday to the Tilted Kilt in Niskayuna, first question at 7pm, and let’s see if we can get this trivia game going in the right direction there.