Friday, August 31, 2007

We got a thing goin' on

Last night's final question:

During the lunch hour at school, five boys from Mrs. Jones's homeroom visited a nearby lunch wagon. One of the boys took a candy bar without paying for it. When the boys were questioned by the principal, they made the following statements, in order:

1. Rex: "Neither Earl nor I did it."
2. Jack: "It was either Rex or Abe."
3. Abe: "Both Rex and Jack are lying."
4. Dan: "Abe's statement is not true; one of them is lying and the other is speaking the truth."
5. Earl: "What Dan said is wrong."

When Mrs. Jones was consulted, she said, "Three of the boys are always truthful, but everything the other two say will be a lie." Assuming that Mrs. Jones is correct, who stole the candy bar?

Addtional questions:
Don't those boys have excellent grammar and speaking skills?
Where are they going to school that they have an open campus and nearby lunch trucks?
Couldn't Mrs. Jones be a bit more helpful in identifying the rascals in her class?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

But I did know how fast Han Solo made the Kessel Run

A word about team names:
Each team submits a name at the beginning of trivia night. We are asked to keep the name to three words, but they'll let longer names go (my all-time favorite was, "My other team name is a Porsche"). The only hard and fast rule is "keep it clean," although there's always some bunch of brain-dead juveniles who think it's funny and original to call themselves the "Sofa Kings." Anyway, this week, given a certain prominent South Carolina-related story, no fewer than four teams made reference to Lauren Caitlin Upton (including "South African Mapmakers" and "Like, Such As"). I couldn't think of a good map-related joke, so I was "Your Next American Idol." It got me a free drink, as I was asked to come up and sing a song.
On the surface, it would appear to be an easy week, as I only missed three questions. However, I made an inordinate number of good guesses on questions where I wasn't at all sure my answer was correct. Despite my solid showing, I wound up second, because I spent three points on one missed answer (worse, during the post-trivia call to the gf, she immediately came up with the name I couldn't remember. Darn that no-calls-during-the-game rule).
The first three were my misses. I liked the halftime questions, so those are 4 through 6. The final was a logic puzzle, which I'll post in a few minutes.

1. Name the twins on the TV show Thundercats.
2. How many different actors have played Batman (in movies and live-action TV shows, not cartoons)?
3. On the TV show Home Improvement, what are the names of Tim Taylor's three sons? (the characters, not the actors)
Halftime: which came first? The second two are based on movies, and refer to the time period shown in the movie (as opposed to the year a particular movie was released).
4. Which came first: the invention of the thimble, or the extinction of wild boars in England?
5. Which came first: Bill & Ted's kidnapping of Napoleon, or Don Diego de la Vega first donning the mask of Zorro?
6. Which came first: Michael Corleone's ascension to Don of the Corleone family, or Superman's (the Christopher Reeve version) arrival on Earth?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

More Crazy Competitors! More Insane Obstacles!

Tune your channels to G4 this week. For the next four days, on Attack of the Show!, the gf's brother competes in the finals of the American Ninja Challenge. If he wins, he gets to go to Japan and compete on Ninja Warrior. Did I mention all of this already?
Anyway, watch tonight at 7 Eastern. If you miss it, it's on again at 11.

Friday, August 24, 2007

I thought that WAS his first name

Tough night at trivia: first, it was announced that there was a tie for first in the trivia league, and... I get the feeling it was a manufactured tie, but if I had been there last week, my team would have won easily, so I can't really fault anyone but myself. Then, I proceeded to stink up the joint, missing five-pointers in three rounds; even if I had gotten the final question right, it wouldn't have made a difference. I did get a free drink (management likes me) and a free milkshake (they accidentally made one too many for a table, and, well, management likes me), plus I picked up twenty bucks for guessing the number of beds at the local student farm that's been sponsoring trivia, so it certainly wasn't a bad night. I'll stick with "tough" as my adjective. The misses:

1. What athlete has the most appearances on the cover of Sports Illustrated, with 49?
2. What is the only continent without any deserts?
3. Who was the first U.S. President to visit China?
4. What was the name of the first airplane flown by the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk? (the category for this was "Damn Klingons.")
5. "Silent Night" was first played on what instrument?
6. Which country has the longest continuous coastline?
7. What is the longest word that can be typed (on a standard QWERTY keyboard) using only the left hand?
8. What "birthday" do all racehorses share?
9. What is MacGyver's first name?

Worship The Comic

Tomorrow is the tenth birthday of my favorite webcomic, Sluggy Freelance. The sci-fi strip is in the middle of an odd "dimensional portals gone awry" side-story, but it's really at its best during its frequent parodies - everything from Star Trek (obviously) to The Blair Witch Project to the brilliant Harry Potter sendups (their use of the time-turner in the Prisoner from Azkaban parody makes me wonder why Harry and Hermione didn't do the same thing).
If you start reading the archives rightnowthisminute, and forgo eating and sleeping, you might be caught up in time for tomorrow's anniversary. But it's not necessary to have read every comic to join in the fun. Happy Birthday, Sluggy!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

What Not To Do

A few things I did today that perhaps I should have re-thought:

  1. Driving to campus on the first day of classes is a bad idea. Driving to campus at 10:30 any day of classes is a bad idea. Doing both contributes heavily to global warming. Did I say a while back that I wasn't going to complain about not getting employee parking?
  2. After telling the students that I wasn't going to discuss personal course policy (because, thanks to a departmental oddity, many of them will be in someone else's class come Monday), I proceeded to spend ten minutes doing so anyway. This made today's class take twenty-five minutes instead of just fifteen.
  3. Even though today's class was just going over administrative stuff (they have a skills test tomorrow, so there's no material to cover), I under-prepared, and stammered my way through said administrivia.
  4. Never go shopping the first day of class; the stores are out of everything, because all the new roommates go out shopping together, and even though they all drink the same kind of milk, they all feel the need to purchase their own half-gallon. Communism can work on a small scale, kids.

Too Hot in the Hot Tub

So we've had two straight weeks of 100-degree days here. My air conditioning has been broken for - you guessed it - two weeks. I cannot get the guys who fix it to come out and fix it, because, when you have this kind of heat wave, everyone's A/C breaks.

The last two days, we've had rain, which usually helps break things up. Unfortunately, when the rain lasts for five minutes, all it means is that it's 100 degrees and humid.

But it's all okay, because there's a new Ice Age coming!
I'm sorry; I mean, there's a new Ice Age coming!

Monday, August 20, 2007

An Error In Judgment

Last week, I made a claim that I was a reserve outfielder for the 1996 Boston Red Sox. I have since learned that this is not true. My initial excuse, that I drafted a Sox reserve for my fantasy baseball team, is also false; I did not begin playing fantasy baseball until 1998. It is also unlikely that my claim that the '96 Sox "couldn't have been any worse if I HAD been there" will hold up to scrutiny.

I regret misleading the public, and would like to thank my loved ones, and the readers of this blog, for sticking with me during this difficult time.

To further clear the air, it is also not the case that this site was featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show.

I am, however, married to Neve Campbell.

Friday, August 17, 2007

There Can Be Only One

I am in Michigan, in the last house in the U.S. that can receive neither DSL nor cable internet service, so this will be brief. I am told that, even without my help, my team has finished first in the trivia league. The hostess saved the questions for me, so I'll try to post some when I get home. In the meantime, I leave you with a baseball question:

The original American League, chartered in 1901, consisted of eight teams. Some teams have changed names, some teams have changed cities, some teams have done both. Only one team has done neither. Which team?

Friday, August 10, 2007

Finally, A Reason To Watch Nash Bridges

If a third-place finish at trivia can be called disastrous, this was it. We still lead the trivia league by a hefty margin, but we finished behind the two teams still able to catch us. I made things worse tonight by second-guessing three correct answers, thus costing us a shot at second place.
I'll be out of town next week, but I'm looking for surrogates to take my place, and I'll ask them to collect the questions. If they don't, I'll just make up some of my own.

1. What television series has won the most Emmy awards?
2. The mythological Cyclops is now believed to be based on the fossilized skull of what ancient mammal?
3. How many grievances against King George III of England are listed in the Declaration of Independence: 5, 18, 27, or 72?
4. Halftime: Give the real names (first and last) of X-Men Beast and Gambit.
5. According to a 1980 survey, what STD ranked among the top 10 most beautiful words in the English language?
6. Which of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World was built on the island of Pharos?
7. What was the name of Boba Fett's ship?
8. In which city does the television show Boy Meets World take place?
Final: Six Degrees
Connect Tommy Chong to Cobra Commander (yes, the arch-enemy of G.I. Joe) in six degrees or fewer. It can be done using only movies, but you can use TV as well, as long as it isn't reality TV or awards shows (I used the WWF, and apparently that was okay).

Thursday, August 9, 2007

A Running Commentary

Late in 2001, I started running, after several years of general inactivity. It was a frustrating process; my legs didn't have much of a problem (I had lost 30 pounds over six months, and carrying my suddenly-lighter frame was surprisingly easy), but I was nine months removed from a pack-a-day smoking habit, and I would have to cut runs short because I was gasping for air. I tried to stick to it, but the running program ended after three weeks, when I sprained my foot on some uneven pavement.
This attempt at running is meeting with similar results. I'm better at controlling my breathing; even when my chest sounds like a blast furnace, I can breathe evenly, and this encourages me to ignore my burning quads and push on. Unfortunately, the sure sign that I still lack the cardiovascular fitness for longer runs is the lightheadedness. Seeing spots = time to stop.
Tonight's run is scheduled for 11:00, when the temperature should only be in the low 80s. I just have to remind myself how much I love this place in the winter.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Back off the horse

Tonight's run, which was meant to be a little over two miles, included one stop for "sniffing," and ended just before the two-mile mark, when Ginny refused to run any further. I considered unhooking the leash and letting her trot home, but we were still a little too close to the highway, and I was feeling a little lightheaded myself, so we got a quarter-mile or so to cool down. "Cool," of course, is a relative term around here.
The running journal is a little light on entries. In my defense, I have been playing softball twice a week, and Frisbee once a week, so it's not like I'm sitting on my duff playing Halo all day. However, I said I'd be running, and here I am, showing off my lack of progress to the entire blogosphere (or, at least, the portion of said sphere that reads this blog, a number rumored to be in the low two digits). Well, softball season is over, and my high school reunion is in ten days, so it's time to wear out those Asics. If you don't see new entries in the journal this week, it means I've suffered a stroke or been hit by a car.

Friday, August 3, 2007

I may need less fiber in my diet

I've been waiting for the trivia manager to mail me last night's questions (usually, they have a hard copy available, but not last night), but they haven't arrived yet, so I'll see how good my memory is.
Despite some early struggles (saved the five-pointer for last in one round, only to run into a "guess a number" question; most teams got a five-point bonus at halftime, but not us), we pulled out a second-place finish. Better still, it turns out that we're in first place in the league. By quite a bit, too; a strong showing next week, and it may not matter that we'll miss the final week of league play.

1. In Louis Sachar's Wayside School series, which floor does not exist at Wayside School?
2. How many times does the average human being fart in one day?
3. "Kwispelbier" is a beer specifically brewed for what?
4. In what year did a woman first run for President of the United States?
5. Halftime bonus: Give the names (first and last) of the founders of each of the houses at Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
6. What song was number one on the Billboard pop chart this week in 1994? (As a hint, the category announced for this question was "Victoria.")
7. The Twenty-seventh Amendment to the Constitution, affecting the salaries of members of Congress, was ratified on May 5, 1992. Prior to this, how many times had the Constitution been amended?
8. According to recent articles, who is believed to be the actual author of the play Hamlet, Prince of Denmark?

Thursday, August 2, 2007

He should just go to Sam's Club

Tonight's final question:
A butcher goes to market. The market sells cows for $15 each, geese for $1 each, and chickens for 25 cents each. The butcher buys exactly 100 animals, and spends exactly $100. If he bought at least one cow, one goose, and one chicken, how many of each animal did he buy?

He's running, vote for him!

Before I get to tonight's trivia questions, I'd like to take a moment to ask you to head to G4's Ninja Warrior page on Friday, and vote for Brett Sims in their "American Ninja Challenge." For those not familiar with this particular bit of awesome, Ninja Warrior is a Japanese game show in which contestants run a series of obstacle courses. Each "season" starts with 100 contestants, about half of whom are comedians, local celebrities, or novelty acts, and half of whom are are actually serious competitors. Usually, around 10 people finish the first course, and maybe four or five finish the second course. Occasionally, someone finishes the third course, which is brutal; there's no time limit, but it mostly involves supporting your entire body weight with your forearms for three or four minutes. Finishing the final stage earns you the title of "Ninja Warrior," which I'm guessing is sort of like being a Knight of the Realm; it gets you past the lines at all the tourist-y spots.
Anyway, Brett is one of the ten finalists in the "American Ninja Challenge," and if he wins, he'll go to Japan to compete on the next season of Ninja Warrior. I imagine they'll have his entry video on the page; it is also available here. Vote early, vote often (if you're allowed to, that is)!

Update: As of 4:30 P.M., G4 is still encouraging us to "check back on Friday, August 3." I'm still fairly certain that is today, so do keep checking. Perhaps the voting will begin at 6:00, when the first episode of the evening airs.

Update to the update: Voting is open! As this is America, you must first register to vote, which is apparently how G4 intends to lessen the effect of "voting often." You have until August 12 to vote.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Make it Work, People!

I've attended several dressy events lately, including a perfectly lovely wedding in Chapel Hill (ironically, the ceremony was not performed in a chapel), and been privy to some atrocious fashion crimes. Most of us know better than to mix stripes and plaids, but there is one choice in particular that I feel I must address. I realize this may be an unpopular fashion opinion, but here it is:

Wedge heels are tragic.

I realize they're comfortable. So are my skate shoes, but I don't wear those to a banquet. Most of the time, when I see a woman in wedge heels, I think that either she's trying to look much taller than she actually is, or she doesn't know how to walk in heels. And by that, I mean she looks off-balance; wedges actually look more difficult to walk in than regular heels, though I know they aren't.
Supermodels can pull off the wedge. Streetwalkers can pull off the wedge. If you are neither, go with flats, go with a low heel, but I urge you to ditch the training heels. In return, men of the world will promise to forgo the clip-on tie.