This time, it’s urgent

     Last time I went to O’Brien’s pub, I regretted not blogging about it the same night no matter how tired I was. On the ride to the hotel this time, I was so lost in composing this post in my head that I wouldn’t immediately notice I’d stopped on a station or song I’d normally skip after a second or two. I would not wait this time, and I wasn’t too tired anyway. It helped that the Wawrinka/Berdych match was only one set in, and my plane didn’t leave til like 4 the next day. (I didn’t get home til 5 a.m. the next day!)

     Which brings me to my team’s name: “This Time It’s Personal…Grrr.” Apparently my team was out for revenge due to a close, contested match last time they were together. We didn’t have a name yet when I arrived. Had I known I’d have thought about it. It would’ve been the only contribution to my team, come to find out. Okay, I did recognize an image from the Reading Rainbow theme song; big whoop! I failed on a handout on which the teams were to identify the city with the pictured religious structure. I pointed at one and wondered if it was Mecca. Teammate Colby Burnett showed me which one was Mecca, and it looked nothing like what I’d pointed to. 
     The rest of my team consisted of Stefan Goodreau, Stephanie Jass, her husband Doug and pub quiz regular Mark May.
     I expected the room to be stuffed because the 1990s and 2000s pieces of the 30th anniversary tournament taped this week, but somehow it appeared less full than the previous two times I’d been there. Don’t get me wrong: Stefan counted 8 Tournament of Champions winners in the room. And that’s just for starters! The people who taped this week that I saw: Shane Whitlock (we sung Happy Birthday to him!), Fritz Holznagel, Pam Mueller (she hosted and looked great in a great dress), Brad Rutter, Mark Dawson, Roger Craig (very briefly), Celeste DiNucci, Michael Falk, Vinita Kailasanath, Tom Kavanaugh, Russ Schumacher and Maria Wenglinsky. Not that I spoke to everyone or even most everyone! Erin McLean didn’t tape this week but she was an alternate, and I got to meet her too. I also finally met both Bill MacDonald and Hans von Walter. Both were at the taping that day but I didn’t meet Hans til that evening.

Hans von Walter

     I also finally spoke to Brad, which I was eager to do after seeing him play in person this week. Luckily I caught him by himself so I could spill my guts without worrying about spoilers for people listening. I had to chase him and yell his name several times! It was loud in there, and then someone decided to play the guitar in the next room. “Seriously?” said one of my teammates when the music started. It helped a little when someone closed a curtain between the rooms.
     Yet with all those champs, and despite the fact I contributed less than either of the last two times, we won. Well, sorta. The room got chaotic and the microphone never did do its job, so I just know there was lots of shouting, chanting, and numbers being thrown around. When it was pretty much over, a guy who turned out to be Brian Fodera yelled in the microphone something like, “I’m hosting next week, when there will be a return to normalcy!” Now I understand his reaction. He was on the other winning team!

     I didn’t know Erin and Hans were on the winning team til the picture tweeted, either.
     It seems to me that the scores changed even without a tiebreaker, but a tiebreaker we got. Remember the “this time it’s personal”? Apparently there was a tiebreaker that last time, too. Would you believe this tiebreaker was something not one, not two, but three of knew by heart? The books of the Old Testament in order. Stephanie, Stefan and I knew it, but I wouldn’t quiz me on it. This is one of the many times Stefan sang, because he knew a song in which the books were listed in order. He sure didn’t need my or Stephanie’s help. In the end, though, two teams were declared champions – right *after* a teammate paid my table’s bill, unfortunately for him. This was my dream – wearing the fez and having the picture tweeted (though it hasn’t yet as I’m typing this)! By the time I got to my team though, Stephanie was wearing the fez.

     After I mentioned it to Bill, he took pictures of me by myself with the fez! Before this one, he said, “You’re gonna like this one most of all.” Check it out.

     Or maybe it was before this one!!

     I didn’t find out til I was on my way home that he’d done it twice. Since I have ’em (thanks to Bill), here are two more:

     Michael Falk was at the next table during the quiz. He said in my ear, “That looks like Stefan Goodreau.” I thought he was joking so I laughed, but he waited and then he said, “Is it?” And I said “Yes!” So Michael introduced himself to Stefan. When Michael walked away I said to Stefan, “You know he taped today, right?” Stefan didn’t recognize him til I said his name, and then the two laughed and talked some more.

     Tom Kavanaugh is very funny. I saw him take a lime and breezily toss it into a far-away trash can like it was nothing. When I confirmed it went in, he acted like of course it did. Earlier, Tom got up to the microphone and said Celeste had arranged for a karaoke contest after the pub quiz. I was pumped and was so gonna be there, but the whole thing wound up falling apart. Stefan passed because he was working early the next day, but he made up for it by belting out songs a lot throughout the evening, as I alluded to earlier. I also liked it when, after the answer “ligament of Bigelow” was revealed, Stefan said “The Ligelow. The Bigament.”

Tom Kavanaugh

     Colby is funny too. I loved it when he told Stefan to “turn the nerd down” when the latter was belting out the TV theme songs that appeared on a handout. I wondered who else can get away with that, but now I know Colby may not have known who Stefan was. Come to think of it, the contestant who with mock fury said to Stefan “GET THE [BLEEP] OUT OF MY WAY, MAN!” when Stefan was blocking the water probably didn’t know him either.

     I spoke at length to Mark Dawson. I had met him the day before at Jeopardy!‘s post-taping party. Like the last time I’d gone to the pub quiz, a handful of us went to the coffee shop next door for what they call a “post-mortem”: talk about the questions of the evening, how many people got each one right, etc. Mark May walked me over, and then Mark Dawson was there, Jerome Vered, Pam, Warren Usui, Brian Fodera and Raj Dhuwalia, who has appeared twice on The Experts Show.
     Regrets? Not officially introducing myself to Colby or telling him about the blog. Not getting a picture and talking more with Erin. Not communicating with Roger except for a friendly wave after the taping today. Not communicating with Bob Harris in person except for a warm smile the day he taped. And I didn’t see Ryan Chaffee, Marty Butterick, Cat Still or Alan Bailey (at the pub anyway). And you know what else? I could’ve gone to that day’s contestant party where Jeopardy! tapes. I didn’t find out til I got to the pub, though. A guy told me he’d asked Maggie if it was all right, and she said yes. But then the guy couldn’t find me. And then I find out after I get home, a contestant wanted to invite me too but couldn’t find me! 🙁

Thank you, Bill MacDonald!

     I’d gone to the party the day before, with the guests of one of the contestants. I found out at the pub, that contestant didn’t even know that’s how I’d gotten in! He was cool with it, though.
     Was the whole day a success? Of course. Was I tired yet after writing this post? No! I could’ve sung all night. Or watched tennis.