When I used to work in the newspaper biz, this week of the year – which is the week between Christmas and New Year’s – was usually a dead week for news stories, since most businesses, government offices, etc. were closed down. There were exceptions, of course! Like that Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, which occurred during this “slow news week” – specifically Dec. 26, 2004. This was the sixth-deadliest natural disaster in history with an estimated death toll of 280,000.
I was working during this particular week in 2004 at a small news office in Plymouth, MI. My task was to try finding a local angle to the story – which means finding a local person who was involved in this disaster. I managed to get a satellite telephone interview with a Plymouth, MI woman on the scene! She and her husband (or boyfriend, I can’t recall) were in Phuket, Thailand when this shit was going down. I was very happy to have gotten my story! And this was all because I happen to overhear someone’s conversation in a Panera restaurant (I used to walk down there on some of my lunch breaks). Yes, Panera is kind of a snooty place, and I rarely ever set foot in there anymore! But at the time, it was a decent lunch spot I could walk to, so there’s that for you…
When there are no tsunamis, celebrity deaths, mass shootings or other events to write about during the “slow news week?” There are the “year in review” pieces that some news rags like to publish this time of the year. Though writing these pieces is pretty much pointless busywork for those reporters who are too low-ranking to have been able to score the week off, they do take up some space in between the almighty ads!
On that note, here’s a list of my most-viewed blogs from 2017! And also a look at the “behind the scenes” of some of these blogs!
I’m still puzzled as to why this blog has had 113 views as of this posting – more than any of my other blogs from 2017. In this game, we had a “guest” player named Scott C., whom I’ve known for a few years. He plays on a rival trivia team called “More Beer Less Pants,” but has helped out my team from time to time in various ways, whether by playing with my team – or by BEING my team! He and his trivia teammate Damon B. played under my team’s league number in October, 2016 at the Ypsi Alehouse in Ypsilanti, MI while my husband and I were on vacation “Up North” (that’s Michigan slang for ya…and Up North’s definition definitely varies from person to person). I say “Up North” starts at West Branch, for the record! In the game where they subbed for us, they did pretty well, finishing in second for the night. They missed a question about female pirate Anne Bonny that I would’ve known (Murphy’s Law of trivia – when you are absent, they WILL ask about stuff only you would know)! It was still awesome that they were able to help us out. Sniffle…it takes a village (LOL). Thanks again, you guys!
This marked the third time my team played in this venue, which was in this case, a banquet center called 59 West in Highland, MI. This marked the first time that the Sporcle Live trivia league had a championship after dividing its Michigan teams into three different leagues. For this game, I had myself, my husband Mike, Brad, and Geoff from my team, and a “guest” player named Kevin, from the rival team Ennui. Sadly, we didn’t even place in this tournament 😦 There were some good instances of teamwork, however – especially on the mystery rounds – and that tough, tough final question. You know when they hand out a piece of paper for your final question, it’s going to be very, very tough!
Team More Beer Less Pants did something that season that they never, ever do – and probably had not ever done up until that point – they didn’t manage to win a semifinal – or “venue tournament” going into this championship! I’ll never forget the text I got from Scott C. when this happened, the word “crestfallen” is still the word I would use to describe his tone to this day! I know too well how disappointing it is to not get a tournament spot! This is why my team often plays in at least two trivia spots so that we have two chances to get in. I ended up suggesting to Scott that they try to find another team to play with to try winning a spot, which they wound up doing. It would NOT have been a championship without those guys there! They would up playing with occasional trivia partner Michael B.’s team that day, and that team wound up winning first place. All was well that ended well! Well, for them, anyway! 🙂
There was quite a bit of drama leading up to this tournament! My team was playing in two different trivia leagues at the time (and we still are…for now), and (gasp) – two trivia tournaments were scheduled on the same day – and around the same time! What were we going to do? I didn’t have enough players on my team to be able to “split our ranks,” so that wasn’t an option. Our choices were to play our semifinal game for My Trivia Live, which if we won a spot, would advance to the regional tournament the following weekend. Or we could play our finals spot in the Sporcle Live league championship, which we’d earned through “barhop” – which means playing in enough spots to automatically qualify. I decided to try finding another team to take our Sporcle Live spot that day, which wasn’t exactly easy! I had to play the waiting game, and see which teams DIDN’T win a spot in the tournament. I asked a few teams at a watering hole known locally as “The Corner Brewery, “and got a whole lotta nope.
The tournament was right around the corner, and I was running out of time! So I decided to play in the venue tournament (fancy name for semifinal) game at a local bar called the Ypsi Alehouse, and see if I could find a team there to “sit in” on our spot. I kind of knew the teams there pretty well, since my team had played there for a couple of seasons. I was eyeing a team in particular called “Teamy McTeamface,” whom were a relatively new team that was kicking a lot of ass! It was kind of a gamble, though – for if they managed to win this tournament, I couldn’t very well ask them to play for us. Luck was in my favor (though not in theirs) – a team called Izzy and the Peeps wound up winning the tournament spot. I wasted no time approaching team “Teamy” and offering them our spot. They were all too eager to say “yes!” After weeks of rejection from other teams/players…this was a huge relief! Our agreement was that they would keep 80 percent of any prize money they won – and my team would keep 20 percent. I felt that was a generous offer, and only fair, since my husband and I had worked pretty damn hard playing in enough bars to get to that point!
So “Teamy” went to finals and “sat in” on our spot – and they wound up winning second place/$750. Our team played at the same time and wound up winning a MTL finals spot, and we finished in sixth place at the championship the following weekend (no prize money). Teamy continues to be a trivia team to be reckoned with, and they still kick lots of ass at the Ypsi Alehouse. A couple of sisters named Sarah M. (five-time Jeopardy champ) and Rebecca M. make up their ranks, in addition to Jason S. and Josh C., and one other person who plays with them occasionally whose name I do not know. Josh C. wound up helping my team win a tournament spot at a July, 2017 game – mainly by helping us wager high on a question about rodeo movies (so, so helpful that he was an Oklahoma native). One of the funniest FB posts I have ever seen was posted by him – when he mentioned the horror of being in an airport named for a person who died in plane crash. I have a strange sense of humor that borders on the macabre sometimes!
Though this isn’t the most neatly titled blog in the world, it’s one of my most viewed blogs of 2017! I wrote this one on a day off in June, and toward the end, it was starting to feel like a marathon. I wrote this blog to be a “study topic” since my trivia team had proven to be notoriously bad at answering questions about U.S. state borders. I tried to include at least a few facts about each state, no matter how boring the state may have seemed to me. This blog has definitely paid off! We wound up getting a state borders final question right back in October, asking about states bordering the Missouri River. This was the question:
The Missouri River provides part of the border for five states.
For two of those states, it is the only river that forms part of their border. Name those two states.
Me at some watering hole on Cross St. in Ypsilanti, MI – circa 2006
Before I became obsessed with pub trivia, I was obsessed with karaoke. I would go out at least a couple of times a week and get on the “mic!” Fortunately, my friend Dave also kind of shared my karaoke obsession, and though my husband Mike was not really a “sing in public” kind of guy, he would go with the flow! And yes, he would occasionally get on the karaoke “mic,” too (sometimes even by himself)! This is purely an opinion piece about some of my favorite ’80s songs to sing…and includes a horribly grainy photo of me singing, which was taken on someone’s cell phone (probably Dave’s). I have done a bit of karaoke this year, BTW!
I don’t really know what’s so special about this post, other than that I had difficulty posting it on Facebook, which means I included a link to this site, which my FB followers likely followed. There is a bunch of narrative at the beginning about the movie The Deer Hunter, which includes one of the most tense scenes I’ve ever seen in a movie – which was the “Russian roulette scene.” Definitely some of Robert DeNiro’s best acting!
This tournament marked a first for my team – we had three female players playing on our team that day! Myself, Stacy (a MTL trivia host and sometime trivia partner), and Kim – a frequent trivia/name that tune partner) in addition to regular Mike and Brad. I knew our chances at landing in the prize zone weren’t that good, but I also knew that it would be a fun mix of players at the very least! While we were driving here, we ran into snarled traffic from a horrific accident, which involved a moving semi – which didn’t stop – when other cars were stopped for construction traffic. I’ve never seen so many wreckers in one place! There were at least a couple of deaths and multiple serious injuries resulting from this accident, which (thankfully) was on the other side of the highway. I was actually kind of disturbed by this accident for days, which is not surprising since I have been involved in a serious car accident (1989). This caused enough trivia teams to run behind schedule that the start time for the tournament was moved back a bit. On a trivia note, did you know that the bars mounted to the rears of semi trucks to prevent cars from sliding underneath the trucks are sometimes called “Mansfield Bars?” Yeah, look up how Jane Mansfield died…when you’re a hot blonde bombshell actress and die in a horrific car accident, the U.S. Department of Transportation will pay attention! Read more about that https://roadtrippers.com/stories/jayne-mansfield-bar
Caption contest? Sophia Loren eyeballs Jayne Mansfield’s future wardrobe malfunction…
This blog is about mine and my husband’s recent road trip to Virginia…I’d never done a “travel” blog before, so I figured – why the hell not? This chronicled our trip from Michigan to Virginia, which marked our 20th wedding anniversary (though a few months belated), and was also an excuse to visit one of our best friends, who moved to VA in 2014.
This was the second My Trivia Live game I’d ever played, and it was with Angie C., the wife of trivia player Scott C., who is mentioned in the first entry. Angie and I were looking for a place to have a weekly “girls night,” and Scott wound up suggesting this place, which I did not know had a trivia scene. So I still credit..blame him for getting me involved with this trivia league (his doing so was not unlike dangling a baggie of heroin in front of a junkie). For a few months, Angie and I had a “girls night” of trivia at the Wurst Bar in Ypsilanti, MI, where we played under the name “Generation Double X,” which was usually shortened to GDX. This recap definitely has kind of a silly tone! We were both just there to have fun. A highlight was me asking Angie to flirt with another player to get an answer, to which she responded bluntly – “I should have worn a low-cut top.” Classic…Another highlight from a later game was her calling me a “whore,” which I still cannot recall the context…still funny! Also, she said that she felt like she identified with Hester Prynne when she was reading The Scarlet Letter, which she said she read while she was pregnant with her first child. This prompted me to say…”Why? Because your baby was illegitimate?” It was all in jest, of course…since there is NO way that the baby I was referring to does not belong to both her and Scott!
Easily one of my most “personal” blogs…and that’s all I gotta say about that!
Just another opinion piece I did…
Questions from a 2014 “theme trivia night” about Star Wars, which Mike, Sam and I played at Doc’s Sports Retreat in Livonia. These were really, really tough!