Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Day 2: Not in my wheelhouse

My strategy was better on Day 2, but the questions were harder and I took another psychological beatdown:

1. In soil science, this word refers to the stable and fully (or mostly) decomposed organic matter of soil, characteristically dark brown or black in appearance.

I could think of only mulch and compost, despite my sinking feeling that neither of these was scientific enough to be a word in "soil science," and guessed mulch. The answer was something I have not heard of, unless spelled differently in the context of a shawerma plate: humus.

2. What is the full name of the antiheroic protagonist of 'A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man', who also plays an important role in 'Ulysses' and serves in both novels as author James Joyce's literary alter ego? 

Although I was an English lit major, I’ve never read either of these. I did faintly remember that the protagonist of Ulysses was Leopold Bloom, and only thought of that name after (w)racking my brain to unearth it. Good old Leopold didn't feel like the right answer because he was more than just "an important role" in Ulysses, he was the guy, but that was all I had so that was my guess. Unfortunately, the answer was Stephen Dedalus, who I assume was the father of Stephen Icarus.

3. Identify this woman.

She looked vaguely familiar, but I’d have needed a few Castrol and STP logos on her outfit to place Danica Patrick. I wrongly figured a photo of a generically pretty, presumably famous woman in a sleeveless dress was probably a paparazzi shot of an actress at an event, so I guessed Anna Kendrick even though it only looked a little like her. They didn’t even give me partial credit despite the existence of a NASCAR racing team called Hendrick Motorsports. That sort of sounds like Kendrick.

4. Alejandro Jodorowsky is perhaps today best known for directing and starring in what 1970 Spanish-language cult film, whose title translates to English as The Mole?

NAFC. The closest I could get to this question was that I once met Stephen Tobolowsky. Plus I speak French and not Spanish. I did know that Boca Raton translated to Mouth of the Rat, so I extrapolated to a smaller (?) animal and went with El Ratonito. Incredibly, this was not correct. The answer was El Topo.

5. The Renaissance in Italy was fostered by the patronage of a small number of familial dynasties, including the House of Gonzaga in Mantua, the House of Este in Ferrara, Sforza in Milan, and Montefeltro in Urbino. Most prominent of all was the House of Medici, in what city?

Figured this had to be Florence, but given the difficulty of the other questions it seemed too straightforward. I started wondering whether the Famiglia Medici were associated with Florence despite being actually based somewhere else. But eventually I just guessed Florence and it was correct. For this, my only correct answer of the day, my opponent showered me with zero points.

6. The catchphrase 'Bazinga!' was first popularized on what television sitcom (and, as a result, subsequently trademarked by Warner Bros. Entertainment)?

NAFC. I guessed It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. The correct answer was The Big Bang Theory, a show that I have yet to watch despite actor Jim Parsons’ two consecutive Emmy awards.

So my strategy was better than Day 1, but the questions were harder (to me at least) and I dropped from two correct answers to one. My opponent also had just one correct, Danica Patrick, but I gave her a 2 for it so she won the match. Maybe I should have given her a 1 for it, but I usually know my celebs and I figured if I didn't know it, it might be kind of difficult. In any case there was no way Florence wasn't going to be my 0, so I was doomed.

In order, I assigned my opponent 1 2 2 3 0 1; she in turn gave me 2 1 1 3 0 2. She didn't know Florence but to her credit she knew I would know it. And unlike most of my opposition, whom I'd never heard of before the season began and still haven't met, we happen to be friends outside of the trivia league; if I have to lose a match, it might as well be to an official follower of this blog.

With just three correct answers in the first two days, I was lucky to have a 1-1 record. At least I was starting to put more thought into my answers before submitting them. Now that I was getting the hang of it I was all, can we please get some baseball, Shakespeare and pop music trivia up in here?


Elaine said...

So, you have no sense of humus?

And to be fair, that is NOT how Danica Patrick usually dresses, so it was a trick question.

Pete M said...

I have an invite for next round -- I'm so going to have my ass handed to me.