Paralysed by An Empty But Full Sked
That familiar feeling. Post-major championships time and everything winds down to a sort of bored murmur. What to do? The landscape is bare and the next monuments so far in the distance that they take on a surreal appearance.
You start to feel the suggestion of emptiness, what with the lack of quiz stuff, asking yourself whether life has suddenly turned grey and mindnumbingly boring and then you get hit by the Christmas break and all sorts of social engagements and friends begging you to get smashed in the spirit of the season. Repeatedly. Thus, the blog suffers. Or at least, that's my excuse.
I have thought about putting the blog into cold storage - well, some kind of storage out of my reach - for a long-ish amount of time, letting it lie fallow and therefore encouraging some fresh impetus to hit me with regards to subject matter. In fact, it might be happening right now. I mean, it's not as if there is much writing going on here at the moment?
Frankly, I was winded by my grandmother's funeral and the hectic rush and travelling about of the week before. Some of the energy I can usually call on wasn't there. Granted I did okay at the EQC, but a feeling of disappointment still lingers; a feeling of what could have been (a moderate improvement in placing if truth be told. There were so many questions that I should have got (RITOLA! Aargh and aargh again). The sharpness I felt at the WQC was absent.
More pertinent to this here web thing though, another side effect was the dumping of some carefully planned blog posts to coincide with various happenings and events, such as the EQC. The will to write them vanished. I was happy to compete, but the idea of constantly writing notes and observing with wily eyes and an ear for hilarious quotes, just as I had done at the BQC, was about as appealing as sticking my head in a super-sized vat of gelatin. But it is not a mild depression, no Sir, more a renewed desire to waste time visiting all my bookmarked websites and to watch every episode of the American version of The Office
(it grows on you, it really does) and Scrubs
on Daily Motion.
I "relax" by sinking into sloth, something I can do very well. I am an expert in distraction. The clutter in my room pays testament to this overwhelming tendency. Sometimes, I have to go back home to LA to stop myself from rubbishing around on the web like someone who thinks they have all the time in the world.
So at least I've written summat. Self-indulgent twaddle (would you expect anything less), but 'tis better than nowt innit? Even if I have begun using turdy words that will make any lover of the English language want to hunt me down and gut me as if I was no better than a wild boar. Back to The Castle
Today is the last in the first half of the President's Cup season. We are playing the Mastermind Club at home. And I have done my utmost to prepare for it in scholarly and fastidious and serious fashion by going to a party last night in Brighton and not actually bothering to go to bed yet. Way to go, captain!
At this very moment I am inserting a coffee drip into all key entry points in my body (no, not those filthy minded you) in a bid to stay awake, never mind answer questions on breweries, birds, bombers and utter bollards. You see, I live on the edge. It's just a pity that I tend to fall off it more often than not.
I can also confirm that I am barely coherent having just talked to one of my flatmates. When she could understand what I was saying - which wasn't very often - she gave me some, ahem, quizzical looks, while I started rubbing my eyes and the squeezing the bridge of my nose to indicate some vague reason for my alternately babbling and quietly whimpering derangement.
Kids, sleep is good for you. It prevents you from turning into a crazy person with speech problems.You want some questions?
Okay, I can give you some. During Arko's excellent Estonian quiz I got the notion that eight esteemed Brit quizzers may want a quiz league match away from home - in France no less - and, hey, have some Merseysiders play against Londoners and add some format virgins to make it a bit more interesting.
And so it came to pass that whilst doing our Broken-Hearted best to finish two points behind the Ashman-Edwards-Gibson triumvirate in the final reckoning that I took Stainer's copy of Trevor Montague's A to Z of Almost Everything
and set a regulation eight-rounds, 64-question quiz from it in a jiffy. Crude when laid side by side with its predecessors, but it did the job. Slight boredom (with the amorphous Sunday schedule, not Arko's quiz) can make me do the funniest things.
Writing it did make me think something: do not underestimate Trevor's book. It is a brilliant quiz resource. There is a huge amount of interesting and relevant stuff in there that is vital to a decent triviaholic's competitive health, which I have a tendency to forget. Later Bayley set an entire international format match from the book too and he certainly dug out some gems.
So I will use it a bit more in future. I might even buy my third edition. Yes, what I need is more reference books ... you wonder when such consumer habits started and will end. I can see no finish in sight. And maybe I like it that way.
(The score, I think, was 49-30 or thereabouts: Bayley, Gibson, Kerr and Stainer beating Cox, Edwards, Pearson and Ashman. Naturally, Kevin still got the highest score - 19. He always does. Like the cycle of the seasons. Inevitable. The rounds have not been mixed on account of it being handwritten and my not wanting to confuse myself further. It's bad enough when I write them on a computer - missing rounds! Screwed-up pairs! Naughty naughty.) EQC quiz league friendlyRound 1
1a La Atalaya is the highest peak in which group of European islands?
BALEARICS (on Ibiza)
1b Morro Grande is the highest point in which European island group?
AZORES (on Flores)
2a Whose Symphony No. 2 is nicknamed The Age of Anxiety
2b Whose Symphony No. 2 is nicknamed Lobgesang
or Hymn of Praise
3a Which pop group did Jacqui O'Sullivan join in 1988?
3b Lyne Elklnad provided vocals and guitar for which band, but was replaced in the mid-80s before they had numerous big hits?
4a At which cathedral city was the first Eleanor Cross placed?
4b The last Eleanor Cross was placed where in London, a replica now standing at that location?
CHARING CROSSRound 2
1a Who beat Leicester City 1-0 in the 1969 FA Cup final?
1b Who beat Leicester City 3-1 in the 1963 FA Cup final?
2a Which French president was assassinated by a Russian emigre in 1932?
2b Which nominee for the German Chancellorship was forced to resign after the Nazi general election victory of 1932?
FRANZ VON PAPEN
3a What is featured in the centre of the flag of Cambodia?
3b What is featured in the centre of the flag of Albania?
4a What does the "E" in the medical condition BSE stand for?
4b What does the "CJ" in the disease CJD stand for?
1a Who played the title role in the 1964 film Becket?
1b Who played the title role in the 1954 film Beau Brummel?
2a Originally developed for use in the UNIX operating system, what high level computer programming language was introduced at Bell Laboratories in 1974?
2b A teaching language developed in the late 1960s, what ALGOL-related language was named after a 17th century Frenchman?
3a In which month were Brian Lara, Jimmy White and David Beckham born?
3b In which month were Jimmy Connors, Franz Beckenbauer and Seb Coe born?
4a Which rhythm and blues singer died whilst playing Russian roulette in 1954?
4b Which Supremes vocalist died of a heart attack aged only 32 years and seven months?
FLORENCE BALLARDRound 4
1a Which French writer's dying words were either "Let down the curtain, the farce is over"
or "I am going to seek the great, perhaps"
1b Which Italian composer's last words were "My poor Elvira, my poor wife"
2a What did Adolph E Fick invent in 1887?
2b What did Harold Brown and EA Keneally invent in 1890?
3a Which senator was the seventh husband of Elizabeth Taylor?
3b Which film producer was the third husband of Liz Taylor?
4a Born in the 6th century BC, which founder of the Eleatic School included among his pupils Zeno and Melissus and wrote his great work On Nature
in hexameter verse?
4b Born in Ephesus in the 6th century BC, which Greek philosopher was called "the obscure"
and "the riddler"
and famously stated that everything is in a state of flux and that fire is the ultimate constituent of the world?
1a Meaning "dark colouring", what term describes the sombre and atmospheric painting particularly seen in the works of early 17th century Neapolitan and Spanish artists who were much influenced by Caravaggio?
1b Taking their name from a Biblical inspiration, which group of early 19th century German and Austrian Romantic religious painters was founded by Friedrich Overbeck and Franz Pforr?
2a An inflammable liquid that could be propelled through bronze tubes, what weapon was invented by Kallinikos of Byzantium in 671?
2b The Agilofings made Ratisbon their capital in 700. They were dukes of which area or region?
3a The Bassa alphabet of 29 letters was formerly used in which West African country?
3b The Buhid alphabet of 48 letters was used to write which Asian language?
4a What did Samuel Champlain do in 1605 and John Smith do in 1614?
4b Which two US states were separated by the Mason-Dixon line?
PENNSYLVANIA and MARYLANDRound 6
1a In which city is the Huey P Long railway bridge, the longest in the world, found?
1b In which US state is the Hell Gate railway bridge, the third longest in the world?
2a Sharing its name with the fifth brightest star in the night sky, what was the first ship to achieve the Northeast Passage in 1878-9 under Nils Nordenskjold?
2b What became the first ship to reach the North Pole in 1977?
3a Bole airport serves which African capital?
3b Menara airport serves which North African city?
4a Which teen TV series was set in Capeside, Massachusetts?
4b Which TV soap opera was set in a winery in Tuscany Valley in California?
FALCON CRESTRound 7
1a Which Dutchman was chess world champion from 1935 to 1937?
1b Which Russian chess player seized back the world title from Euwe in 1937?
2a Who was the first president of the International Olympic Committee, serving from 1894 to 1896?
2b What was the real name of Lord Killanin, IOC president from 1972 to 1980?
3a The American Donald Glaser won the 1960 Nobel Prize for Physics for the development of which device?
3b The American Otto Stern won the 1943 Nobel Prize for Physics for discovering the magnetic moment of which subatomic particles?
4a Also the name of a Billy Wilder film, which Milan-based socialist newspaper was edited by Mussolini from 1912 to 1914?
4b Japan's leading newspaper has been produced "untouched by human hands" since September 24, 1980. What is it called?
ASAHI SHIMBUNRound 8
1a Beginning with the letter "H", which Eurasian bird is renowned for raising its crest when excited and emitting a foul-smelling liquid?
1b Beginning with the letter "S", which bird has Arctic and great varieties and is renowned for stealing food from other birds in mid-flight?
2a Also known as Rumra literally "rosy", which Hindu god of dawn and charioteer of the sun is often identified with the Greek and Roman goddesses Eos and Aurora?
2b The so-called "mountaineer", which form of Devi and as such, the mother of Ganesha, became the golden-skinned Gauri?
3a Which male ballet dancer defected while dancing with the Kirov in Toronto in 1974?
3b Which female ballet dancer defected while dancing with the Kirov in London in 1972?
4a Sharing its name with a Mexican city, at which Spanish Civil War battle of March 8, 1937 did the Republicans defeat the Nationalists under Franco and the Italian fascists under General Roatta?
4b Named after the equipment that was liberated from the beaten soldiers, by what other name is the July 11, 1302 battle of Courtrai also known and which saw untrained Flemish guild workers defeat French cavalry in Flanders?
1 Also the name of an Italian fashion company, what is the tenth letter of the Greek alphabet?
2 What vice did Emperor Yongzheng ban in China in 1729?
3 Manga is the capital of the Zoundweogo region. In which African country is it located?