Saturday, October 14, 2006

Saturday Morning Ramble

This post is really about nothing
So I missed Friday. Been busy. Finding my co-ordinates. Oh right. I'll tell you where I am at the moment - the twilight zone. Notice the lack of capitals. I have been grating my eyeballs with words and dragging my brain through a metaphorical hedge way past the wee small hours of the morning. Uh-huh, it's setting time.

Talking shop, sending you to sleepy bye byes
When I write starter and bonus questions or "packets" as our Transatlantic cousins would say, I tend to do them in one fell swoop. All or nothing. It's when I really get to work. When scleras slowly start taking on the colour of watermelon flesh. Three-day blocks speckled with cursory sleep and wreathed by a smokey torus.

Stating the bleeding obvious
So far, I must confess, I'm going a tiny bit haywire. This is because when exhaustion sets into the setting, you do tend to wonder why the hell you do this sort of thing. Then you start questioning your life. Your destiny. If today is actually the day it is. And why I always watch the whole of The King of Queens when an episode pops up on Channel 4. Then it's time to go to bed and replenish the stocks of will and sanity. They do tend to come back in the same amounts though. I think.

Call this news? No, 'tis a blog
This time I am flying by the seat of my Next boxer shorts and have not set any thematic quotas. I'm being spontanouse and want thoroughly random quiz matches - I love it when a team on University Challenge answers a question on present day chart music and then receives bonuses on RNA transference. Life is brightened up by such beautiful moments. I want the same effect of ever amusing despair.

Aren't you glad you don't pay for this?
This means excess: I have already written more TV questions than I will need (damn you Penguin Guide to Television). This is because of the seductive qualities of thinking of something and saying to yourself in a rising and nutty crescendo: "Yeah, that should be a question. No! That will be a question right now. Let the magic commence". That's the root cause. It's a let there be light sort of thing.

Wooh, I work so hard, take a Centre Parcs weekend break why don't I?
So far I have done 71 starters and 50 bonus sets in about two days. Thousands of words already proofed more than a half dozen times each. You see, I'm a perfectionist about something. Far better than collecting train numbers, Babylon 5 merchandise and human scalps, I'm sure you'll agree. Perhaps, the questions are a bit long (I like tripartite starters, okay?), but at least I won't be using them to mumble people into complete irritation. Let other people enunciate. I have enough problems as it is saying the right vowels at the moment. Blame it on too much watching repeats of 'Allo 'Allo and having a volume control that dies on me midway through a sentence. There's drunken tongue too. I called Jesse, "Jeshee" the other day, like I was the top draw at a bad Sean Connery impersonators' convention. All I was drinking was an ice-diluted Coke. No, not even Magners.

More blech about blah
I am also aware of the fact that even when I am writing particular questions that there's no way they will make it into the final five-set competition. Over-writing, over-cooking, over-flowing the bath - its my excessive pecadilloe. I was thinking about posting them here, but then realised that would clue-in people in to my direction, especially when they are spares from bonus questions. Foolish me.

Wait, is blech a word? I'm sure MAD thinks it is
Then there is the realisation that I am writing certain questions because I believe they should be asked at a quiz tournament. Too long have we lived under the burden of other setters' restrictive knowledge paradigms. You've never heard of Lily Cole? Then get Karen Elson and Erin O'Connor down yer gullet. But then again, I am only oppressing other people with my own prejudices and think okay there will be something about breweries in there. Possibly because it is a bit of an in-joke between a few select people. Possibly because what is needed is balance not a twenty-something's gleeful revenge. Give something to every demographic. Don't just feed your own.

The False Farewell
So now I am returning to my "Liverpool starters" file to mine more ore and meld more disparate facts into sturdy things in this tortured and silly blacksmith craftsman metaphor.

Here We Go: typing fingers outpace common sense
Talk about moulding and brewing and blending, I was thinking about the drug dealer and quiz-setter comparison yesterday: we gather the right ingredients, mix them together into an attractive product that makes our customers happy and has them coming back for more. The profit margins may be wildy different, but we each hit people's pleasure centres. There's also the adage that the longer you quiz, the harder and increased volume of stuff you look for because you get desensitised to what you started out with. I ask myself too am I getting high on my supply? You dig? But then I slap my head and call myself a Silly Sally because the funny tunnel vision has crumbled to reveal the wider world.

You see I was thinking rollocks
The comparison works with everything we consume. You can apply it to any manufacturers or food restaurant chains. Look at McDonalds, Coca-Cola and Marlboro and everything that is even mildly bad for you. Even a hot dog vendor is like a drug dealer, though the former is far more likely to kill you, especially when you encounter one at 2am in Trafalgar Square. I'm also pondering pear drop producers I sampled during my youth (mix petrol fumes and concentrated sugar in a sweetie and pluck a fruit name out of the air - that's a recipe for toxic dependency I gobbled down many a time). I blame them for making me feel that every pear I have eaten throughout my adult life is a crushing disappointment, as if I was eating a potato because my neurotransmitters were still attuned to the penny sweets that bore its name and was forming unholy expectations that could never be met with something made of vitamins, fibre, goodness.

I should have stopped right here
And what about visual media? There are TV shows like Lost and three-minute trailers for forthcoming naked Spartans fighting movie.300. Then audio: the musical ohrwurm compelling me to download America by Razorlight (no way, not yet). Songwriters and film directors, hell, the guy who cuts film trailers with lots of enigmatic footage and soundtracks it with Nine Inch Nails. Therefore I would like to confirm, having led you through the merry maze of Idler-style 'my God, visiting a prostitute is like visiting your grandma in an old people's home when you set the similarities side-by-side' realisation, that quiz questions are nothing like drugs. The former is intangible, the latter is chemical gunk made in places where health and safety officers have never roamed. Colombia. Somerset.

The Russell Brand Riffing Rip-off with Lame-Arsed Philosophy Coda
Their writers are not like dealers. I mean, do I get people phoning me up at midnight asking me for a bag of high-grade arts and culture trivia cos they've now gone through their new 2,000 question supply in next to no time and now they're clucking like blanched, puking ghouls? And I'm going, this might be a bit too pure for you, what with these Yiddish novelists and klezmer musicians, you might need to cut it up with a few chestnuts. How preposterous. We're just all getting by the best way we can by giving things and services to people in such a competent fashion as to retain their custom, their interest, the lucre to live.

More Nonsensical References to Crappy Movies and Hard Drugs
(Admittedly, the comparison works better when applied to my modelling The 501-question quiz biz action plan on the methods used by the CIA to decimate the black community by flooding inner cities with crack in the 1970s ...the free samples you see ... the ache ... the feeling of absence ... as you can see I believed every word that Dave Chappelle said in the film Undercover Brother and think that the Julia Roberts and Mel Gibson movie Conspiracy Theory is a documentary up there with The Sorrow and The Pity and Nanook of the North ... please put the word "allegedly" somewhere else in this paragraph).

The Non-Sequitur Post-Modern Touch
Did you know that Patrick Stewart collects Beavis and Butthead merchandise? It's true. I read it in a book that didn't have any coherent paragraphs.


(No, that was two, then three, these increase at a geometric rate)

Wait: one more more thing
I never talk about music anymore. I won't discuss the sweet, dulcet tones of sadness I am currently privy to here either. Instead, have a list.

The first eleven tracks I downloaded off eMusic thanks to their freeby offer.

1. Run - Ben Kweller
2. Making Plans for Nigel - Nouvelle Vague
3. Bob Dylan Wrote Propaganda Songs - Minutemen
4. Fewer Broken Pieces - David Bazan
5. Some Jokes - Demetri Martin
6. My Favourite Things - John Coltrane
7. Don't Forget Me Little Darling - The Carter Family
8. Twilight on Prince George's Avenue - John Fahey
9. Become the Enemy - The Lemonheads
10. Say Yes - The Blood Arm
11. World's First Two Gay Guys - Norm MacDonald


Post a Comment

<< Home