I Competed in a Geek Trivia Night (and Lost)
Liz OhanesianMiles Taber of Geeks Who Drink
Tuesday night, Geeks Who Drink, a pub trivia night, launched at Complex in Glendale. The night served up lots of alcohol and some really tough trivia questions on topics ranging from geography to comic books. I went down to the event thinking that, as a pretty nerdy lady, I could probably do well at this. But this crowd blew me away.
Geeks Who Drink is a Denver-based company that holds weekly trivia matches across the country. There are already several Geeks Who Drink events in the L.A. area. Our host for the evening, Miles Taber, is actually the quizmaster at the Auld Dubliner in Long Beach. An actor and puppeteer by day, Taber has been running these quizzes for over two years. He frequently helps the company launch new nights at bars across Southern California (and, sometimes, his hometown of Sacramento). That's what he's doing at Complex right now. Taber will be hosting the event for the next few weeks, until they find a permanent fixture for the club's trivia stage.
As a host, Taber gets to see a lot of interesting things happen in the bar. Once, at a trivia night in Riverside, a woman went into labor. "Her water broke on a bar stool," he recalls. Nothing that dramatic happened at Complex on Tuesday. There were about 25, maybe 30, people inside the bar, not too shabby for a new night at a venue that's been open for less than a week. We divided ourselves up into teams and gave ourselves names. At Geeks Who Drink, you can play solo or join a team of six or fewer players. I played with my boyfriend and two close friends. We called ourselves The Funky Homosapiens, because Del the Funky Homosapien's track "Dr. Bombay" is still a jam.
Taber rattled off a list of rules before the game. The biggies are: do not use your cell phone and do not shout out the answer. That last one is tough. I tried hard to avoid raising my hand up in the air and screaming, "Ooh, ooh!" all Welcome Back, Kotter style. Some people couldn't resist that urge. At least our quizmaster has a good sense of humor.
My team consisted of four confirmed music nerds. We were confident about the music questions. Maybe a little overconfident, since we got a few of those wrong.
As for the other stuff, who knew how we would fare. After all, that's why we're here, to test ourselves. What kind of knowledge have we stored in our brains? As it turns out, we know a lot about movies. Give us a collection of movie stills and we can name them all, even the flicks we haven't seen in years, without the aid of Google or IMDB. We were pretty good with murders too. Rattle off a list of assassins and we can identify the victims immediately. Actually, we weren't too shabby when it came to late 20th century history. Maybe there's something to be said for being part of a generation who grew up reading newspapers.
Geeks Who Drink is divided into eight rounds. For most of the rounds, our host asks a question and we write down the answer on a sheet of paper. We try to do this as a group, without speaking so loudly that the rest of the room can hear us. For some rounds, we have to listen to audio clips or look at images. At the end of the round, someone from the group will turn in the sheet of eight or so answers. The host then corrects the quizzes and announces the answers to a room full of mixed cheers and groans.
There are also bonus rounds, where an individual player runs up to the host with an answer. The person with the first correct answer wins a prize. In this instance, the prize was a shot. I didn't play any of the bonus rounds, mostly because of a fear that Jagermeister might do me in before I could get the story to my editor.
Throughout the night, our host announced the rankings of the handful of teams in the bar. For a while, the Funky Homosapiens remained solid in third place. Considering that three out of four of us were pub trivia n00bs, we thought this was pretty amazing. But, our celebrations were premature. In the end, we didn't place at all.
Not placing stung. I always thought of myself as a geek, mostly because that's what people called me in grade school. Maybe being a champion geek could make up for being the only 5'7" 12-year-old to ever get cut from the sixth grade basketball team. Alas, I'm only a mediocre geek. I'm good with certain subjects. With others, I answer questions as badly as I dribble.
But it's not over yet. The Funky Homosapiens will return and, one of these weeks, we will be victorious. It will make up for those party invitations I never got, for the times when even my best friend picked me last for kickball. My teammates and I will raise our drinks and bathe in champions' glory.
Maybe I'm taking this pub trivia thing too seriously.
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