AODC 2010: Uncle Dave’s Trivia Night
Over the past few days I’ve posted a number of sober, studious, serious summaries of the sessions at AODC 2010. “A three-day technical writer talk fest, yawn.” Not so! On occasion we do break out and indulge in a trivia night. 😉
Uncle Dave’s Trivia Night is an AODC tradition. It happens in the evening of the conference’s second day, usually a Thursday, and attendance is compulsory. Well, it’s as compulsory as anything at AODC. It ranks up there with the AODC rules, read out dutifully by Tony or Dave at some random time during the conference. “No swearing”, “no mobile phones” and “no hooking”. Almost all the rules are merrily ignored.
Anyway, I digress. (Digression is of course encouraged at AODC. I would win a bonus point for it at Trivia Night.)
The Trivia Night trophy is of incalculable value and much coveted. It’s a fully automatic, magnificently functional antique shoe shiner. You can get some idea of its value from the way Tony holds it as he shows it to us awe-struck trivia devotees:
Of course, the winning team gains the privilege of having their name engraved on the trophy for all eternity:
Dave Gash is the intrepid compiler of the questions and the hero of the night. Here he is, introducing the first round (of questions, that is, though beer was well represented too):
We divided into teams of four or five. (Numbers are approximate, just like quantum physics.) I was in the best team of the night. As you will see, we excelled throughout and in every way. To begin with, we chose the name “Team Rocket”. Judging from Tony’s expression when we announced our name, it was not a good choice. And so it turned out. Tony deducted a point from our score immediately, for a poor choice of name!
Tony is the judge, final arbiter and awarder of points. Scrupulously fair, benevolently strict, unfailingly impartial and completely incorruptible, the judge responds well to a free beer or any other suitable bribe.
The other teams were the “Mindel Maniacs” (boo, hiss), the “Dribbling Scribblers” and the infamous, annually-sprouting “Farkin Iceholes”.
The trivia quiz consists of 5 rounds, each containing 8 questions. Then there’s that final, 41st question where fortunes are gambled, lives are won or lost, and strategy is all. You can wager all or part of your total score on that single last question. If you get the answer right, the number of points you wagered is added to your score. If you get it wrong, the number is deducted from your score.
Round 1 came in with a bang. Team Rocket scored a big fat zero. We also lost a point for being slow. We did temporarily gain a point because our team name had become amusingly ironic. Alas however, in the face of our judge’s unmistakable disappointment at the original name, we had sneakily changed it to “Pocket Rockets”, so we lost another point for that deception.
To our utmost surprise and no little pleasure, Tony then awarded us a round of drinks. “Why?” came our started cry. As encouragement, was the reply. Our total score was now -3 points + 4 drinks. I think I lost count somewhere along the way.
During the proceedings, the Dribbling Scribblers lost a point for attempting to bribe the judge. The amount offered, 50c, was considered demeaning.
By the end of round 3, the Pocket Rockets (aka Team Rocket) had managed to bring our score up to the grand total of zero. In round 4, we scored 7 points (wow!) and gained a bonus point by bribing the judge with some jelly beans:
And now the decider! It was time for that all-important, win or lose last question. Our total score was 13-and-a-half. The Dribbling Scribblers had 16. The Mindel Maniacs (boo, hiss) had 22-and-a-half. The Farkin Iceholes (it got funnier and funnier through the evening as Tony and Dave tried to pronounce this name politely) had 24.
Strategy is all. We wagered 13 points, got the final answer wrong, and ended up with a grand score of half a point. The Mindel Maniacs (who?) were the only team who got the answer right. They won the contest with a total of 42 points.
Here’s Dave with the winning team (what was their name again?) and the magnificent trophy:
Here’s Team Rocket (aka the Pocket Rockets) proudly displaying our prizes for coming last. We were instructed to look disappointed, but only Matthew could pull that off:
Wanna know what we won? A coaster, a pen and a sweet. The sweet was an afterthought:
Dave paid us the final accolade:
You played a hell of a game!
I think he meant it sincerely. 😉
The end (but not really)
If you came here looking for the serious side of technical communication, you’re in the wrong place. Ha ha, just kidding. I’ve already posted a number of summaries from this great AODC conference and there are still a few more sessions that I want to write up, including my own. Coming up just as soon as I find the time to convert my notes into blog posts.