Sunday, February 06, 2011

A New Decade

(The time was right for that Verve reference)

And I'm Rusty as Hell (A Blog about Nothing really)

Yesterday saw me do my first GP paper since October (!!LOLOMG!!!). Suffice to say, I'd be driven by arty/entertainment passions during these last few months and these are reflected in the two relevant scores. I mean, wow, buying those 50 art books (no lie) in that period has really helped me with the old paintings and what not.

As for the others (esp. PW and S&L), well, it was all meh to me and was entirely my own fault for not taking proper care of the relevant GK areas during the last few months, in the same way that Dr. Johnson says that friendships should be kept in constant repair.

Funniest thing on the drive back to London was Paul pointing out the above 'answer' (see rare pic). Even I hadn't noticed it until I brandished my scoresheet in his car like a bloody rag of defeat, scorched with red-tipped pen and other OTT descriptions (Paul was driving at about 100 mph at the time and maybe it wasn't a good idea to draw attention to it; what with the waving and gesticulating, and then the onset of light screaming, as I once again glanced at the run of mindless answers (BLOOMBERG/NICKY), spoonerisms (BECKITT RENCKISER) and cross-out swaps (doing a last minute HEBREW for ARAMAIC on the Zohar Q) I'd written on the second page of Lifestyle that cost me a win in the category).
So I wrote RODINIA (yeah, I know it's blurred, but that's what it says, not anything like RODIWA; damn midget N combined with the red crossing) - the Russian name derived from 'motherland' that was a supercontinent many many many many many moons ago) - and then Jesse crossed it out and wrote ... RODINIA. (So why didn't he cross out ALUMINIUM?)
Because I was in such a frantic rush to get back home I didn't check my answers with due diligence and this is what I got. A 0.2 point penalty, which didn't cost me any places or ranking points (phew); only the miniscule jump from 103.8 to 104.0 (aww, 104.0's still better than 103.8, but then I would say that, it's BIGGER).
So rather than a lurid story of self-flagellating idiocy recounted in even more hysterical style (I mean, it's only 0.2pts), it reminds me more of a cautionary tale I am doomed never to learn as it has happened before, on two far more crucial instances. Once where a right answer was marked wrong at a BQC meaning I lost a place in the top 5 (Ian). Once again last year at the Northampton GP where two correct answers were ignored in the tallying and I was bumped down from second to third (Sean). And now Jesse.
Strangely this has only happened when my close associates (Broken Hearts players) mark my papers (it's an internal conspiracy!). Nobody else - thank you guys, who I never play on quiz teams with, you're frickin' awesome for being so careful! - has done it, like ever.
But I can see exactly why it happens: we often mark our own papers mentally, rather than the one before us. Even I was doing it on Saturday and stopped myself, thinking "No, the answer before me is right; the answer over there is the one that I have foolishly put on paper and now I want to kick myself in the head". Then, after we had swapped our papers back, Jesse pointed out that I had marked something correctly and left my tally the same when going on to the next right answer. Doh. My bad.
So the moral is: always check your answers, no matter how much you want to stick the damn disappointment-riven question-sheets in your bag and just exit the premises.
There was something else I find far more worrying about the scoring. Leniency. Powers of discretion. Yesterday, I put down Tigering as the answer, when Tiger-proofing was what was needed (the capitalisation on the screen pointing out what was required). I could have pressed my marker to allow it, but it missed the 'proofing' part (a pretty vital part of the answer) and so I told Jesse to mark it wrong. But then later you hear of several others (no names of course, you naughty people you), who did accept 'Tigering' and gave the mark. Why does it make it worrisome? Because single-answer margins make a lot of difference in the ranking points game.
In such cases, it shouldn't be up the leniency of your marker; it should be what is capitalised on the screen or negotiated with the person giving out the answers, especially when what we want is a fair result. Everyone has to play by the same rules (says me perched on my bloody hoity toity high horse dishing out the injustice spiel, but you know it makes absolute sense ... think of everyone else).
Oh. HAPPY NEW YEAR! (I know it's now February; time moves too rapidly when you get older. The Grim Reaper comes skipping towards me at an ever increasing gait.)