Annie’s Angels Trivia Night

Saturday night, the Trivia Dream Team (my parents and sister, the Galles, Katie, Jen and myself) went to a trivia night in St. Charles to benefit The March of Dimes. After our disappointing showing at Breaths for Blake 2010, we were looking to get back on the winning track and this was the perfect venue. We started out strong and never looked back, taking a small lead in the third round and hanging on to the end, only to be caught by table two in the tenth round. Our final score was 90 points (out of 100), but our tiebreaker guess was 86 points and table two guessed 84, so we won!

Yay! Seriously, it felt really good to win again. We were beginning to wonder if we had lost our touch. But onto the important stuff: Jen and I brought chocolate chip cookies and chicken parm bites. Tom and Debbie came in with their famous guacamole and a beer bread that was made with Sprite instead of beer. Cheese, crackers, salami, non-pareils, and mini-muffins rounded out the spread. Tasty!

The categories were a fun mix as well:

  • TV Threesomes (Given 3 characters, name the show)
  • Sports (a surprisingly diverse and challenging sports category)
  • “Baby,” I love this song! (Songs with the word “Baby”)
  • Questions and Manswers (Stereotypically manly questions)
  • Potpurri
  • Freeze Frame (Guess the animated movie by a single image)
  • Reality Check (Reality TV questions)
  • Who’s Bad? (Michael Jackson trivia — Jen has the “Free Wily” song on lockdown!)
  • Get your mind out of the gutter (Double entendres – Sample answer: Lake Titicaca. Of course we dominated this category.)
  • Bar exam (Mixology)

As you can see, the categories were diverse. And since there wasn’t a Presidents category, we had a chance to win. Of course, we did miss the one president-related question. Anyway. It was a fun night and a good cause. We win a trivia night and I got this posted in the same month. Things really are getting back to normal.

Breaths for Blake 2010

Blake is the son of a friend of mine who was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis a couple years back. In order to help cope with the costs of his medical care, Blake’s family has hosted the Breaths for Blake trivia night. The first two years went very well for us. Feel free to click through on those links and read about our winning exploits because there was no three-peat. Despite our poor performance, we had a great time, as always. Our team (Jen and I, my parents and sister, Tom & Debbie Galle, and Katie) came prepared with a huge spread — the spinach balls were my favorite — and we definitely took advantage of the open bar. Carrie Spalding was the MC again, and she did a great job, both with devising difficult and interesting trivia questions and with running the show. Of course, she also put a massive jinx on us by announcing us as the two-time champions and by placing the leader balloons on our table to start the night. Additionally, the evening was a success, with a crap ton of money being raised to help with Blake’s medical bills, and also a major donation being made to help find a cure for CF. All in all, we had a great time once again. But what trivia night would be complete without our patented, detailed, blow-by-blow review?

We should have known we were in trouble this year when the first category was American History, a sneaky-hard starter. We started with a measly five-spot and also began a troubling habit of talking ourselves out of correct answers. We always say that we’re going to bone up on history, but we never do. We rebounded with strong showings in the Phobias and James Bond categories, and ran off a string of three straight perfect tens (Movie Theme Songs, Stuff You Read in High School, and Sports Nicknames) but by then, the damage had been done.

One of the hallmarks of the BFBTN (You like what I did there? It’s like we’re being charged by the letter) is the round where Kirk and Rebecca film Blake and Ethan reading the answers. This year, it was round 7, Fruits and Vegetables, and watching the kids squish grapes while jumping on the trampoline was probably the highlight of the evening. Either that, or watching their dog looking mortified whilst displaying lettuce ears.

Riding high on a string of strong rounds, we ran into the monolith that was Almost Called It. This round was a diabolical multiple choice exercise in trying to figure out what well known products or services were almost called before the PR people were called in. In addition to not having any idea on half of the questions, I accidentally picked “Backrub” as the previous name for Yahoo!. Turns out that in fit of tricky and evil genius, Carrie wrote that question as a trap to ensnare geeks. Google was the one, of course, that was called Backrub. Damn. So that completely kaiboshed our chances to win again.

The trivia wrapped up with Wild Things (a musical category with animal-named songs) and St. Louis by the Numbers (an interesting category where every number 1-10 is used once). And while the end of the night did not bring victory for the Dream Team, we had a great time and were happy to help fight CF. Looking forward to redeeming ourselves next year for sure.

Trivia Night + Genealogy = Getting Your Ass Kicked By Old People!

Friday night we gathered up a gang of peeps and hit the Maryland Heights Community Center for a trivia night in support of the St. Louis Genealogical Society. Katie’s mom is involved somehow, so it was a good thing to support, and my main man, Kevin Carbery was the MC, so we figured we’d go and have a good time. Of course, we did manage to have a good time, but it wasn’t due to our trivia skills. Carbery’s trivia skews a little bit older, question-wise, so we knew we’d face an uphill battle. In fact, I’m not sure if we’ve ever finished better than third in a Kevin Carbery event (if that doesn’t seem shocking, you had best educate yourself on our illustrious trivia history). Regardless, we went into this knowing it would be a challenge, and a challenge it was.

Somewhere along the way I lost the sheet with all of the categories, but I remember we did really well in Sports. The TV and Movie categories were heavily loaded with 70’s and 80’s answers and we got killed on Presidents yet again (always presidents. You’d think we’d learn — it’s not like there’s a dearth of presedential information out there. We should just read a friggin’ book). St. Louis History was a good category, but we didn’t do very well in that either. Makes me want to take a trip to the History Museum in Forest Park.

Perhaps the biggest shocker of the night was the Celebrity Couples category. We had Jen’s sister Chris (and her US Weekly addiction) as our secret weapon for that one, but it turns out that old celebrities can be couples too! Also, I think the concept of celebrity was stretched a wee bit when there were not one, but two questions about famous composers. Really?!?

Small gripes aside, when everything was said and done, we weren’t anywhere near the top. In fact, I’m not sure that anyone knows what our final score was because it got to the point where we were more focused on the food and drink than the competition at hand. In the end, everyone had a good time, but let this beatdown definitely proved the age old adage: if the oldest person on your team is 31, you better hope for lightning in a bottle if you want to compete in trivia against people who map their family tree for fun.

When Pigs Fly Trivia Night

Saturday Night, Jen, Kate, Katie, Jim, Paul, Steve, Colleen and I joined together (like Voltron) and went a’ triviaing at St. Martin Des Porres up in Hazelhood. A friend of Katie’s from high school has a couple children with genetic disorders and the proceeds from this trivia night went to help with these costs, and with a trivia challenge on the line, we were happy to help.

While the charity benefit is important and the trivia itself is key, anyone who has been to trivia with us knows that the real focus of the evening is on the food. Kate brought the incomparable You-Can’t-Eat-Just-One Spinach Balls. Katie made cookies, Jim baked brownies. Paul brought the White Cheddar Popcorn, while Steve and Colleen chipped in with a great guacamole taco dip thingy. Our pulled pork recipe that went over so well at the Botanical Gardens made another appearance, this time on dollar buns, and a veggie tray rounded out the main courses. Throw in a cooler of beer and some assorted candies and I feel pretty confident when I say that we had the best spread of any team.

Also, I think we had the best team name, “Team Ramrod”. The Super Troopers reference probably went over a lot of people’s heads, but it wasn’t nearly as classy as the team who dubbed themselves “At Ur Cervix”. Nice.

As far as the trivia was concerned, things did not go as well. Granted, we were tied for first place for a couple of the middle rounds, but in the end we finished tied for fifth. Not a bad showing, with over 40 tables, but not quite what we had hoped for. The problem, I think, was not us so much — it couldn’t possibly be our fault — but rather, the fact that the questions came from a pre-made trivia night kit. Now, I’m all for someone trying to make a quick buck, but in my humble opinion, these questions were not up to snuff. My biggest complaint were that the questions were way too general. For example, some of the categories were Sports, Movies, True / False, Music, Geography, and U.S. States. If these categories seem generic, it’s because they are. I don’t mind difficult trivia, but these questions were all over the map. Without any focus to the categories, you either knew the answer or you didn’t. In addition, there were several questions that could generously be considered “trick questions”. Also, the Geography and U.S. States questions were pretty much interchangeable. In spite of all my kvetching, we still came in fifth. Everyone was able to contribute some clutch answers, and we did have the balloons on our table for a couple rounds at least. We all had a good time and we can only hope that our contribution goes to help a family in need.

Breaths For Blake Trivia Night 2009

Last night, the Extended Trivia Dream Team (Bob, Jen, Katie, Larry, Pam, Tom, Debbie, and special guest Kate — filling in for Kim) went down to Assumption Greek Orthodox Church to partake in the Breaths For Blake Trivia Night, benefitting Blake Smith. Blake, the son of our friends Kirk and Rebecca Smith, was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis about a year and a half ago, and the proceeds from this and other fundraisers goes to defray the extreme medical costs. Regular readers may recall that we won last year’s edition so the pressure was on to put on a repeat performance.

The categories this year were a fun mix, with the overall theme of “That’s Entertainment”. We thought we would be in for a rough ride with Kim, our resident Pop Culture Guru, visiting relatives in Freeburg, but other than the fact she totally would have known that Berlin sings “Take My Breath Away”, our diverse ages and experiences helped to cover most of the bases.

We did well in the early categories, but were 3 points back of the lead after the first three rounds — Entertainers Born in Missouri, Books Adapted Into Movies, and Singers Who Later Became Actors (editor’s note: these are not the exact category names, rather brief descriptions of the category). Round 4 (Place-Names In The Titles Of Things) began our comeback as we had a perfect round with a bunch of us coming in with clutch answers under the gun: Katie with John Wayne’s “North to Alaska”, Larry with “WKRP in Cincinnati”, Debbie with “Chicago Hope” and myself with “Raising Arizona”. Round 5 was an audio category (TV Show Theme Songs) and we had a near perfect round, only to talk ourselves out of the very last one — The Greatest American Hero. Well, in all honesty, it was the older 4 members who did the most discussion on that one, since none of the 30 and under crowd had ever heard of that show. To be fair they did make up for it by knowing Dallas, Rockford Files, and Soap (who knew that was even a show?!?!).

Round 6 (Based On A True Story) was another sweep for us, which leads us to the real crown jewel of the night: Sink or Float. The premise is simple enough, given an item, will it sink or float? The truly genius twist on the Late Show staple was that they had Blake and his brother Ethan testing the actual items in a big fish tank on their front sidewalk to see if a particular item will, in fact, sink or float. Now, for those of you out there who were not at one time a little boy, you might not know that dropping shit into a body of water is one of the most fun things to do in the world. Watching these kids find out if something will sink or float at the same time that the audience does as the answers were revealed was really fun. It truly brought home the idea that these are just two boys doing what little boys like to do, CF or not. This category also prompted the most discussion at the table of any category, and some interesting revelations:

  • Sunglasses sink (thanks, Brandon, we couldn’t have done that without you)
  • Tom relayed a childhood story to prove that watermelons float
  • Videotapes sink, but only after the water can get inside the cassette. It took a moment, but it did go down
  • Candy bars float — a la Caddyshack, and the Holidome in Columbia during the Optimists Junior Golf Tournament
  • A can of Crisco will float — sorry Dad — that was the only one we missed
  • A 12 pound bowling ball will sink, but evidently, a 6 pound bowling ball will float

So after 7 rounds, we were at 71 out of a potential 77 points (each round had a bonus question about Cystic Fibrosis) and 4 points back from the leader, a table entirely composed of young people. We had our work cut out for us, to be sure, and the next round was the dreaded Dead or Alive category. I had checked that day, like I always do before trivia nights, to see if Abe Vigoda was still alive (click here to check for yourself), but sadly, that question did not come up. We missed Dear Abby (Alive — Ann Landers died) and John Mahoney from Frazier (Alive — my dad said either Mahoney had died or the dog Eddie had died: turns out, it was Eddie.) and we geeked on the CF bonus question to only score 8, but it pulled us closer to the lead.

Round 9 was the Sports in Entertainment category, and we scored 10 / 11 on that one, which pulled us into the lead by one point going into the final round. I checked out the scoreboard and noticed that the team one point back had a closer score guess on the tiebreaker, so we would have to win outright to repeat as champions. OH THE DRAMA!!!!!11!ONE!

Round 10 was Medical Music, an audio category where they played a snippet of the song and we needed to provide the medical-themed song title and the artist who recorded it. With the pressure on, Jen came up with The Corrs to pair with the song “Breathless”, Tom got Huey Lewis and The News’ “I Want A New Drug”, Dad got “Rocking’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Blues” by Johnny Rivers, Kate got “Like a Surgeon” by Weird Al and I got “Dr. Feelgood” by Mötley Crüe (yes, I had to löök up how to do the umlauts — the lengths I go to for proper blögging).

With the answers turned in, it was all over except for the waiting. Driven crazy with anticipation, Tom waltzed up to the front to check on the scores. We’re all holding our collective breaths for a sign, when Tom turns around and from across the hall flashes that classic Tom grin. We had won by one point again! For the second year in a row, we were victorious, and I can honestly say no other trivia victory is as sweet as this one.

Our thanks go out again to Carrie Spalding for putting on such a great event, and our thoughts go out to Blake, the Smiths and Tolberts, and all of the others out there dealing with CF. Last night, $10000 was raised to help Blake, but so much more needs to be done to make this disease a thing of the past. We look forward to doing our part next year as well!

Jen’s Note: I just wanted to say that the trivia night was a whole heck of a lot of fun. There were so many baskets that were raffled off (both Katie and Debbie won two baskets each!), a great silent auction, including a signed Albert Pujols bat, and jello shots! Really, you need jello shots at a trivia night, it really is what makes it awesome! It was a well executed trivia night and Carrie, you did an amazing job again! We will be there again next year to defend!