Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

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Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

Postby augustusmelmotte » Fri May 04, 2012 3:35 pm

Yo,

After reading that new slate article, I decided to check out this website to see what quizbowl has been up to for the last 9 years. My last tournament was Swarthmore's QOTC in 2003, which I was cajoled into attending after a few years of semi-retirement, and I've been more or less in the real world since then. My best playing years were during the heady transition of the game from CBI's dominance to the emergence of NAQT and the ushering of ACF into the modern era. 10 years later, my prodigious powers of spite and enmity of Gossolalia seem near-forgotten.

In many ways, it looks like not much has changed. The memes and in-jokes are different, but I could almost smell the quizbowl funk in the air while reading that article, and the side observation that the trophies sat next to a case of Pepsi was priceless.

Khon Hoc, Harvest Bowl, Commandante Meow Meow, the original Format Warriors. These must never be forgotten.

:chip:
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Re: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

Postby marnold » Fri May 04, 2012 4:53 pm

Alright, I'll start with a couple.

- How would you describe your reaction to seeing that ACF as an organization is still around? Happy, I assume, but surprised? In 2006-07, various people proclaimed that quizbowl was going to die within 5 years, and it's managed to survive that, so I wonder whether previous generations were similarly negative.

- Who would you say are some of the most underrated players from your era? The article linked to in that article (here) was the most recent attempt to synthesize modern and ancient eras into one comprehensive list - I'd be curious whether your impression of the old players was mostly the same as Andrew's and Seth's.
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Re: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

Postby augustusmelmotte » Fri May 04, 2012 5:58 pm

Of course, it's great that ACF is still thriving. What is particularly impressive is the number of volunteers listed on the website. At one point, I was concerned that it would not be sustainable after Andrew and Zeke retired, but that doesn't look like an issue anymore. Despite the consistent griping about the difficulty of ACF by a certain percentage of the QB population, demand for consistent, quality questions will always be there. I haven't read an NAQT packet in ages, but I imagine they are producing a high-level product at this point too. If not, as they well know, I will not hesitate to call them out on it.

ACF leaned heavily on just a few people in the early years. I think I edited two Nationals and a Regionals and maybe one other tournament. After 5 years of editing tournaments and writing questions and being a TD, I was ready to move on after that.

What was the reasoning behind quizbowl dying within 5 years back in 2006-7? I'm sure many predicted the demise of ACF and/or NAQT, but the high-school circuit is strong, and lots of those kids want to keep playing on college, so they will always figure something out.

As for underrated player - almost everyone whom I considered underrated eventually got their due. Although Maryland alums are remembered too fondly on those lists, I believe Arthur Fleming should have been given more props. The UMCP teams of our era were notoriously self-destructive, often to his detriment. Brian Rostron has fallen into obscurity, but was an underrated (and often bizarre) player. He also played a prominent role in the infamous 1997 UVA - CBI Nationals skirmish.

I'm not sure it' even makes sense to compare players from the '80s to players nowadays, since the game has changed so much, but that's another discussion. I do remember seeing the despair in Tom Waters' eyes as Yaphe tore him a new one at a masters tournament. Perhaps my fondest memory of Tom is his exasperation at a (by 1995 standards) pyramidal ACF question on Mr. Belvedere that flummoxed both him and Vishnu Jejjala.
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Re: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

Postby Dr. Loki Skylizard, Thoracic Surgeon » Fri May 04, 2012 7:11 pm

Not asking in a sense of "magically transported from 19XX to 2012" but in a sense of "these players came along in the past few years, where this form of question was expected and fully prepared for": do you think players from before the "modern era" would still have been successful?

What's an under-told story of a cluster at a tourney? Like, Harvest Bowl is notorious, as is the "College Bowl apparently roots against Virginia" incident. Asking for more of a "not the craziest thing, but this was a personal favorite moment" kind of thing.
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Re: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

Postby augustusmelmotte » Fri May 04, 2012 9:31 pm

Well, sure. The talent and motivation characteristic of the best players in 199x or 198x would ensure they were the best players in 201x. Players who were second or third tier back then would continue to be so. And that's fine; some people just enjoy the game and hanging around with other similar-minded people, but don't want to devote "outside" time to improving.

Maryland always had a love/hate relationship with Penn Bowl. Due to the huge number of teams, it was always chaotic and featured lots of inexperienced staff seemingly brought in off the street. The insistence on having such a huge field and a timed format naturally resulted in a myriad of fuckups. Still, despite all that, it was a chance to play a huge number of rounds and see the best and worst of quiz bowl culture over the course of a weekend.

I seem to remember my team once winning a tournament despite having two more losses than two other teams, due an inscrutable tie-breaking method. I can't remember the particulars, however, so I may be wrong. Maybe another geezer will remember what I'm talking about.

The Khon Hoc tournaments are not celebrated enough nowadays. There was and has been nothing else like them. Khon was a C-team Maryland player who decided one day that he would write his own tournament. He wrote all the questions himself, with a distribution heavily skewed towards both his and his friends' favorite topics (wrestling, Playboy, board and video games, bible minutiae, etc). Normally that would be shocking, but this was Khon. There were also lots of academic questions of wildly varying difficulty due to his poorly calibrated estimation of topic difficulty. Added to this was a format that included trades up until a certain round, halftime games and lightning rounds, his 11 or 12 year old sister as a team member who once chewed John Nam out for spite buzzing in on questions designed for her, team names picked by Khon himself that were all puns on his name, and other baffling Khonisms. I believe there were five Khon Hocs in all. He was rumored to be working on a sixth, but I think we can safely say that he has retired the format for good. I'm not sure if the questions still survive. I should ask Khon.

Quizbowl legend Al Whited decided to play at Khon Hoc II for some unknown reason, but was not prepared for the tremendous force that is Khon, and became a little unglued either at the overrepresentation of pet topics, or at the Playboy questions in particular.
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Re: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

Postby Birdofredum Sawin » Fri May 04, 2012 10:01 pm

augustusmelmotte wrote:The Khon Hoc tournaments are not celebrated enough nowadays. There was and has been nothing else like them. Khon was a C-team Maryland player who decided one day that he would write his own tournament. He wrote all the questions himself, with a distribution heavily skewed towards both his and his friends' favorite topics (wrestling, Playboy, board and video games, bible minutiae, etc). Normally that would be shocking, but this was Khon. There were also lots of academic questions of wildly varying difficulty due to his poorly calibrated estimation of topic difficulty. Added to this was a format that included trades up until a certain round, halftime games and lightning rounds, his 11 or 12 year old sister as a team member who once chewed John Nam out for spite buzzing in on questions designed for her, team names picked by Khon himself that were all puns on his name, and other baffling Khonisms. I believe there were five Khon Hocs in all. He was rumored to be working on a sixth, but I think we can safely say that he has retired the format for good. I'm not sure if the questions still survive. I should ask Khon.

Quizbowl legend Al Whited decided to play at Khon Hoc II for some unknown reason, but was not prepared for the tremendous force that is Khon, and became a little unglued either at the overrepresentation of pet topics, or at the Playboy questions in particular.


Al Whited and I (and, I think, Adam Fine?) won Khon Hoc II, despite Al's consternation over the high concentration of questions on Playboy! I believe that allowed me to defend my Khon Hoc I trophy, which, I also believe, consisted of a Maryland dining hall salad bowl with the words "Khon Hoc Champion" taped to it.

In short, Dave is correct that those tournaments are insufficiently lionized by modern quizbowlers.
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Re: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

Postby The Motley Eye » Fri May 04, 2012 11:17 pm

Are you disappointed by the demise of your eponymous tournament?
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Re: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

Postby Dr. Loki Skylizard, Thoracic Surgeon » Sat May 05, 2012 1:16 am

augustusmelmotte wrote:Added to this was a format that included trades up until a certain round, halftime games and lightning rounds, his 11 or 12 year old sister as a team member who once chewed John Nam out for spite buzzing in on questions designed for her

Quizbowl legend Al Whited decided to play at Khon Hoc II for some unknown reason, but was not prepared for the tremendous force that is Khon, and became a little unglued either at the overrepresentation of pet topics, or at the Playboy questions in particular.


Not that I wasn't before, but I am now definitely totally fine if this thread just turns into "entertaining old quiz bowl stories."

Edit: I am also fine with more odd Atari box art avatars.
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Re: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

Postby augustusmelmotte » Sat May 05, 2012 4:12 pm

The Motley Eye wrote:Are you disappointed by the demise of your eponymous tournament?


Not really. Attendance had been declining for a few years before it was put out of its misery, IIRC. Writing and editing questions for it was a huge pain in the ass due to the intended difficulty level.

Here's the backstory about that tournament.. In the mid 1990s, there was an emergence of outspoken feminism (or pseudo-feminism, depending on your viewpoint) on the qb mailing list. The overarching gripe was really just stating the obvious - lots of quizbowlers are incredibly socially awkward. I'm not sure how much I want to delve in the details or discuss the notable participants of the debates, although I saved some of the more amusing posts. However, one of the more contrived controversies revolved around the supposed sexism and misogyny displayed by the Maryland team due to the name of the Terrapin Invitational Tournament. After a lot of back and forth between the two factions, an ancient (i.e., Nam's undergrad days) Maryland player named Li Sparks, whom had not been heard from in years, joined the debate. She proceeded to set the matter straight in typical Maryland fashion by telling them go kindly fuck off since they had no idea what they were talking about. The new junior bird tournament that year was not really named in my honor, but because Josh Allen had fortuitously noted that my initials produced an obnoxious acronym that would further irritate the easily offended in quizbowldom.
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Re: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

Postby theMoMA » Sat May 05, 2012 4:56 pm

How do you feel about the demise of spite?
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Re: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

Postby grapesmoker » Sun May 06, 2012 11:40 am

Dave Hamilton?! This is the best Christmas ever!

How do you feel about the current state of quizbowl as a community? I realize that you might not be totally keyed in on what's going on these days, but it seems to me that in the past, there was a higher degree of "fracture" if you want to call it that, in the sense that there was more inter-team strife (spite, even) and these days the game is far more cooperative in many ways.

Of particular interest to me is this: what kind of resources did you use when writing questions, way back when? I have a feeling that today internet sources are far better developed and a lot more people have access to diverse scholarly material and such. How do you think this has affected the clue space?
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Re: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

Postby Muriel Axon » Sun May 06, 2012 8:35 pm

There was a discussion here some time ago about classic stock clues like "son of a sailmaker" for Victor Grignard. What are the stockest of the stock clues you remember from your time?
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Re: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

Postby augustusmelmotte » Sun May 06, 2012 11:46 pm

grapesmoker wrote:Dave Hamilton?! This is the best Christmas ever!

How do you feel about the current state of quizbowl as a community? I realize that you might not be totally keyed in on what's going on these days, but it seems to me that in the past, there was a higher degree of "fracture" if you want to call it that, in the sense that there was more inter-team strife (spite, even) and these days the game is far more cooperative in many ways.

Of particular interest to me is this: what kind of resources did you use when writing questions, way back when? I have a feeling that today internet sources are far better developed and a lot more people have access to diverse scholarly material and such. How do you think this has affected the clue space?


Shit, I have no idea what's going on nowadays. All this talk of the decline of spite makes me sad, though. Surely there are team rivalries and self-loathing still.

My guess is that there is, more or less, a stasis in the quizbowl world nowadays. ACF, NAQT, and Trash all have matured and have their own philosophies and goals. In addition, there is a diverse range of tournament options, like theme packets, singles tournaments, masters tournaments, Division II, and so on. The debates about what is canon-appropriate still continue, but most of the hard battles have been fought already. Especially in the first year or two of my college career, there was CBI, "old" ACF, and everything else. "Old" ACF at that time was a vast improvement over CBI at that time, but still was raw and inconsistent.

There was a tremendous amount of posts to a.c.c-b from the proponents of the various formats, some of whom were quite tenacious and outspoken. Among the great format warriors, Colvin and Vishnu Jejjala were the self-appointed rabid ACF defenders from Maryland, incessantly dueling with the likes of Doug O'Neal and Mike Obstgarten. Volumes of posts were written about every aspect of tournament structure, various formats, and general theory of the game itself. I don't want to overly romanticize those debates, but, amongst all the rhetoric and bile, a lot of good came out of hashing through the issues. As one example, it seems crazy nowadays to have variable-value bonuses, but it used to be commonplace. The powers of Colvin science were used to demonstrate the Colvin Unfair Result, leading to their relatively quick disappearance from the game. It was also a fertile period for new innovations including the power tossup, trash-only tournaments, and the like.

Perhaps some other players of the time can chime in on this issue.

I should also note that the Colvin-Obstgarten 1995 grudge match is not adequately described in the qbwiki article. The two parties had been bickering interminably for months before Penn Bowl, so the match was truly a spectacle, awaited with great anticipation from all in the quizbowl community. The matches featured "celebrity" moderators, a ton of trash-talking, and the humiliating defeat of Matt, which took a long, long time for him to live down..

Mike Starsinic added some pre-game color:
http://groups.google.com/group/alt.coll ... 37ff6b0478

As for writing questions - it was almost entirely through reference books or textbooks. Using the internet was frowned upon, except for perhaps verifying other sources. There wasn't a lot of info out there, and it wasn't particularly reliable. That had changed to some extent by the end of career in the early 2000s. This led to an over-reliance at times on some reference books, the most notorious of which is Benet's Readers Encyclopedia. The best players of that era could get ridiculous buzzes based off of seemingly nothing but well-worn phraseology. Even in that era, writing questions directly and completely out of Benet's was considered extremely lazy, however. There were plenty of sources of "fresh" material for those willing to dig a little deeper, as the best question writers of the era did. I can easily see a similar situation nowadays, where players are tempted to rely on a few internet sources, one of which I'm sure is Wikipedia.

Trite leadins of time included hoary chestnuts like "apprenticed to a bookbinder" or "son of a watchmaker." Memorizing birthdates of, say, architects, would yield a surprising number of points. But, as Matt Colvin once observed, today's difficult clues become tomorrow's leadins.
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Re: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

Postby ValenciaQBowl » Mon May 07, 2012 9:23 am

If indeed this thread is accepting "entertaining old quiz bowl stories," I'll chime in (after all, sniff, I am OLDER than Mr. Hamilton by about a decade, I imagine).

Anyway, one story I'm not sure has been shared online comes from a 1990 (maybe '91?) fall tournament that my UF program hosted. Each of the 8-9 players was to write a packet, and since the Southeastern Invitational (the gateway to ACF) had occurred once or twice, we decided to try to emulate that format, rather than the CBI which was about the only type of question we played in our practices. Distribution was, uh, hazy; I recall writing a packet that probably had 8-9 literature questions, with maybe one or two absurdly non-sciencey science. The rest of the pack was filled out with art and history, probably (wish I had kept these things). I don't recall this actually bothering too many folks, either.

But wait, there is an entertaining part: two of my teammates decided to write all-music packets, one with all TUs and bonuses on metal music, and the other with all on Classical. None of the rest of us knew, as packets were copied and brought to the Reitz Union on campus that morning, so we only found out in the reader room when those rounds came up. After the metal round was read, I remember seeing Jim Dendy of Georgia Tech in the hallway completely flipping out and screaming at our club president, Mike Brooks. If I recall correctly, the Tech team actually left after the Classical packet got read.

Let's see, though, if I have a question for Dave: did you play at a master's/open tournament at South Carolina (Columbia) in '97 or '98 (it was only held once)? It was the first time I'd played in years, and I recall that the two best teams at the tournament were a Maryland team and a SC host team. I'm pretty sure Nam was playing for Maryland, as was a good female player whose name I don't recall. I just remember getting mostly throttled and being surprised at the difficulty of the questions (which was easy by today's standards, I'm sure). I probably have the packets at my office and will see if I can clarify details.
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Re: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

Postby Ethnic history of the Vilnius region » Mon May 07, 2012 1:28 pm

ValenciaQBowl wrote:Let's see, though, if I have a question for Dave: did you play at a master's/open tournament at South Carolina (Columbia) in '97 or '98 (it was only held once)? It was the first time I'd played in years, and I recall that the two best teams at the tournament were a Maryland team and a SC host team. I'm pretty sure Nam was playing for Maryland, as was a good female player whose name I don't recall. I just remember getting mostly throttled and being surprised at the difficulty of the questions (which was easy by today's standards, I'm sure). I probably have the packets at my office and will see if I can clarify details.


This thread is a treat. I know this question is directed at Mr. Hamilton, but I definitely remember Maryland coming to the 1999 Gamecock Invitational when I was a freshmen and staffing that event. I think the team they brought had Mr. Hamilton, John Nam, and Julie Singer on it (maybe Mike Starsinic?). And I seem to remember you being there, Chris. That Md was a hella good team, but the tournament was won by one of the best forgotten teams ever, which was Virginia Tech. That team had Roger Craig, Jason Thweatt, Elliot Brenner, and someone else (Ryan Gundersen, perhaps?).

I remember the two main writers of that tournament (TC Ford and Adam Humphreys) wanting to write a really high difficulty event. Ultimately, though, the Gamecock Invitational darn near destroyed the South Carolina team. It was this close to being a Harvest Bowl-level disaster and scared the team off from hosting anything for years, and the frantic question writing in the days leading up (and the hours before (and during)) the tournament scared at least a few players away from quizbowl. I wrote at least a few hilariously hard questions for that tournament (like, one on the Russian spy they traded Francis Gary Powers for) and I remember writing a terrible question on Cornell West. The neg prize for that tournament was some No Limit record.

Anyway, that might be the event you're thinking of, Chris.
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Re: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

Postby Birdofredum Sawin » Mon May 07, 2012 1:45 pm

First of all, it's good to hear a shout-out for the Virginia Tech teams of the late '90s. I still have fond memories of their leader, Jason Thweatt, exhorting them to "push, push!" no matter how many points they were down.

Second, I would hate to see this thread come and go without commemorating the debacle mentioned in its title. So, a brief capsule summary of my favorite Harvest Bowl memories:

(1) Beating a Maryland team thanks, in part, to a "physics" bonus whose prompt read "Did Albert Einstein win the Nobel Prize for the following achievements?" (with the parts being something like "A. General Theory of Relativity" and the desired answers being "yes" or "no")

(2) In response to increasingly lengthy inter-round waiting periods, presumably to allow Shawn Pickrell to write more questions, deciding to cut our losses and go eat lunch, even if that meant forfeiting further rounds.

(3) Returning from said lunch to discover that no further rounds had been written, and that the tournament had apparently dissolved.

(4) Brian Rostron writing "HAVE YOU NO SHAME, SHAWN PICKRELL?" in enormous letters on most, if not all, of the blackboards in the game rooms.

(5) Discovering belatedly that we had, apparently, won the tournament.

(6) Brian angrily demanding prizes from Pickrell for our triumph, a demand to which Pickrell acquiesced, sending us all Randolph-Macon T-shirts several weeks later. I, for one, wore mine with pride for many years.

I can only hope that Dave and other "survivors" of the event have even better anecdotes to share about it.
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Re: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

Postby fett0001 » Mon May 07, 2012 2:03 pm

From the archives of Archive.org, as VT ate our website, a gem:

http://web.archive.org/web/200501141152 ... /hb-96.htm
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Re: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

Postby The Motley Eye » Mon May 07, 2012 2:22 pm

Ethnic history of the Vilnius region wrote:That Md was a hella good team, but the tournament was won by one of the best forgotten teams ever, which was Virginia Tech. That team had Roger Craig, Jason Thweatt, Elliot Brenner, and someone else (Ryan Gundersen, perhaps?).


According to the Internet, that fourth was Dennis Loo.

Edit: Sadly, beaten to the punch by my own teammate. I will say that this thread has prompted us to find the data from our now-lost website and attempt to resurrect it.
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Re: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

Postby AuguryMarch » Mon May 07, 2012 2:59 pm

I wasn't at Harvest Bowl, but I believe that one of the attendees (John Nam maybe?) told me that Shawn Pickrell reportedly defended himself by saying something to the effect of, "It was a perfectly fine tournament except the lack of questions."

I felt that was too amusing not to share.
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Re: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

Postby Cheynem » Mon May 07, 2012 3:22 pm

Some of Shawn's defense is still extant and can be seen here:

http://www.studentorg.umd.edu/maqt/9697/harvest.html
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Re: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

Postby AuguryMarch » Mon May 07, 2012 3:32 pm

Ah yes! There it is--
"The problem revolved mainly around the fact that we didn't write enough questions. Other than that, what was _so_ wrong?"

That is simply superb.

Thanks Mike!
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Re: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

Postby Birdofredum Sawin » Tue May 08, 2012 7:12 pm

It occurs to me that this thread is as good a place as any to post an explanation of why ACF games currently feature 20 tossups, as I'm not sure I've ever related this anecdote.

Back in the day -- where "the day" is roughly the late '70s/early '80s -- quizbowl tournaments in the southeast (i.e., "proto-ACF" tournaments) actually featured packets of 24 tossups and 24 bonuses. Then, one year, the writers for one of Berry's Southeastern Invitationals failed to get their acts together, and on the eve of the tournament found themselves short a significant number of questions. Suddenly, somebody had a brilliant idea: "What if we were to make our lives easier by going with 20/20 questions in each round, instead of 24/24?" And thus, a new era of quizbowl was born.

I was told this anecdote by Al Whited, so I don't know who exactly was involved in this, or when exactly it took place, or even whether it really happened. However, it strikes me as plausible enough, not least because of its suggestion that extreme, irresponsible procrastination in question writing has been around since the dawn of time, or at least the dawn of ACF.
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Re: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

Postby Matt Weiner » Tue May 08, 2012 8:13 pm

This article says that Jacques Derrida's friend was the person who made the decision, specifically.
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Re: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

Postby AuguryMarch » Tue May 08, 2012 8:18 pm

Just to add more evidence for Andrew's story--at ACF Nationals in 2003 at Georgia Tech, Gordon Carper himself watched us play a round. Afterwards he told Ezequiel that he was glad someone still reads the works of Herbert Marcuse. He also told us the same story about the reason why ACF was 20/20--and he was at that Berry tournament.
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Re: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

Postby augustusmelmotte » Tue May 08, 2012 11:39 pm

Ethnic history of the Vilnius region wrote:
This thread is a treat. I know this question is directed at Mr. Hamilton, but I definitely remember Maryland coming to the 1999 Gamecock Invitational when I was a freshmen and staffing that event. I think the team they brought had Mr. Hamilton, John Nam, and Julie Singer on it (maybe Mike Starsinic?). And I seem to remember you being there, Chris. That Md was a hella good team, but the tournament was won by one of the best forgotten teams ever, which was Virginia Tech. That team had Roger Craig, Jason Thweatt, Elliot Brenner, and someone else (Ryan Gundersen, perhaps?).

I remember the two main writers of that tournament (TC Ford and Adam Humphreys) wanting to write a really high difficulty event. Ultimately, though, the Gamecock Invitational darn near destroyed the South Carolina team. It was this close to being a Harvest Bowl-level disaster and scared the team off from hosting anything for years, and the frantic question writing in the days leading up (and the hours before (and during)) the tournament scared at least a few players away from quizbowl. I wrote at least a few hilariously hard questions for that tournament (like, one on the Russian spy they traded Francis Gary Powers for) and I remember writing a terrible question on Cornell West. The neg prize for that tournament was some No Limit record.

Anyway, that might be the event you're thinking of, Chris.


Yes, this is correct. Julie was a strong player who could hold her own in most subjects, but who had tremendous depth in some areas of the humanities. The fourth on that team was some upstart named Ezequiel Berdichevsky whom we never heard much from after that.

This post and the next will be a tale of two crises, and lessons to be learned from each. I now recall the near disaster that was the Gamecock. As we were walking to the building (after a very long drive), one of TC and Adam came running up to us to tell us that they both had been up for multiple days in a row with minimal sleep, and that the writing still wasn't done. I believe once a lot of the teams had arrived, we had a discussion and came to an agreement on a format that would work for the projected number of rounds. The tournament still was extremely slow, and it was a war of attrition, but Virginia Tech did best us.

For future TDs: Write enough questions! Give yourself enough time to write enough questions and edit rounds. If it's your first time editing, give yourself way more time than you think you need. If you can't manage that and aren't ready by the day of the tournament, then please be open and honest upfront. Teams won't be happy, but they will be much happier than if you try to hide it. Push, push!
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Re: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

Postby augustusmelmotte » Wed May 09, 2012 12:32 am

Birdofredum Sawin wrote:First of all, it's good to hear a shout-out for the Virginia Tech teams of the late '90s. I still have fond memories of their leader, Jason Thweatt, exhorting them to "push, push!" no matter how many points they were down.

Second, I would hate to see this thread come and go without commemorating the debacle mentioned in its title. So, a brief capsule summary of my favorite Harvest Bowl memories:

(1) Beating a Maryland team thanks, in part, to a "physics" bonus whose prompt read "Did Albert Einstein win the Nobel Prize for the following achievements?" (with the parts being something like "A. General Theory of Relativity" and the desired answers being "yes" or "no")

(2) In response to increasingly lengthy inter-round waiting periods, presumably to allow Shawn Pickrell to write more questions, deciding to cut our losses and go eat lunch, even if that meant forfeiting further rounds.

(3) Returning from said lunch to discover that no further rounds had been written, and that the tournament had apparently dissolved.

(4) Brian Rostron writing "HAVE YOU NO SHAME, SHAWN PICKRELL?" in enormous letters on most, if not all, of the blackboards in the game rooms.

(5) Discovering belatedly that we had, apparently, won the tournament.

(6) Brian angrily demanding prizes from Pickrell for our triumph, a demand to which Pickrell acquiesced, sending us all Randolph-Macon T-shirts several weeks later. I, for one, wore mine with pride for many years.

I can only hope that Dave and other "survivors" of the event have even better anecdotes to share about it.


I can add some more to Andrew's recollections. By 1996, Shawn had established himself in many ways at the proto-Goss: Boundless yet malinvested enthusiasm for the game, youthful arrogance, an obsessive focus on stats and self-aggrandizement, a disdain for ACF and harder questions, and little compunction about airing his views in public fora. Given this reputation, Maryland and Virginia and other good teams were understandably hesitant to register for Harvest Bowl. Shawn proceeded to hype the shit out of it and oversold the tournament to the point where we agreed to go (I imagine the Virginia team's thought process on this was similar). Perhaps we all subconsciously wanted to be present, given the high positive EV of a train wreck.

Anyway, the tournament started out (by our very low standards) auspiciously. The first round was complete and not terrible, other than the lazy Colvin science, extremely heavy religion distribution, and goofy bonuses. The second round, too, was palatable. We first noted some portents of disaster in the third round, as a single typewritten sheet of paper was unceremoniously shuttled through the bottom of the doorway midway through the round. Once this happened a second time, the more experienced players knew something was awry.

We then were crushed by Virginia on the miserable round with the Einstein yes/no bonus. Due to the importance of our match, Shawn ensured we had his top talent: our moderator, a largish bearded fellow, would fling each page over his shoulder with a dramatic flourish as he finished reading it. This was just a curious affectation until he threw a page too quickly and then had to stop the match in order to dig through the papers to find a bonus. Good times.

By this point, the delays between rounds had grown abnormally long, to the point where everyone just left for lunch after round 6. The Maryland team ended up eating in the RMU cafeteria and then playing stickball with unripe walnuts while awaiting the inevitable implosion of the tournament.

So, take note, future TDs: 1) Don't procrastinate to the point where you are still writing the day or two before the tournament; 2) If you do run out of time, don't try to hide the fact that you are not ready, because quizbowl players are not idiots and will figure everything out pretty quickly; and 3) Restructuring the format of a tournament is better than running out of questions.

To be fair, unlike Goss, Pickrell did learn something from his mistakes, and even gained some humility, and had (has?) a decent second QB career working in the high school circuit.
Last edited by augustusmelmotte on Wed May 09, 2012 10:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

Postby ValenciaQBowl » Wed May 09, 2012 8:37 am

Anyway, that might be the event you're thinking of, Chris.


Right--that's definitely it, Eric. I'm surprised you were there--you ARE old! And it's interesting to hear Dave say that Zeke was on that Maryland team, too. I remember a very long wait in the room before our match with Maryland, during which Julie from Maryland (now that Dave has ID'ed her for me) was talking about obscure Blues musicians with the moderator. I'm pretty sure I have the packets somewhere, but as that was my first foray back into playing since about '93, I mostly remember thinking how crazy hard and obscure some answer lines like "Scriabin" and "Akutagawa" were. Ah, innocent times.
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Re: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

Postby grapesmoker » Wed May 09, 2012 9:15 am

augustusmelmotte wrote:We first noted a fourfold root of sufficient reason in the armor in the third round


This is my favorite part of the story.
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Re: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

Postby Scipio » Wed May 09, 2012 9:55 am

Wasn't the Gamecock the one where Robert Whaples showed up after, like, a thousand years off playing? I seem to recall that. And I want to say that Colvin was there playing with Adam Fine, as well.

At the time, I didn't think the tournament was too bad. I guess hastily-written questions agreed with me back then.
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Re: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

Postby augustusmelmotte » Wed May 09, 2012 10:09 am

grapesmoker wrote:
augustusmelmotte wrote:We first noted a fourfold root of sufficient reason in the armor in the third round


This is my favorite part of the story.


Apparently some overzealous filtering software didn't like my original wording... Interesting.
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Re: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

Postby ValenciaQBowl » Wed May 09, 2012 10:51 am

Wasn't the Gamecock the one where Robert Whaples showed up after, like, a thousand years off playing?


Yeah, that's right. I met him there and got him to write one packet for each of the first couple Delta Burkes. I can't remember if he was a grad student in economics or teaching it at Wake Forest. Cool guy.
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Re: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

Postby Ethnic history of the Vilnius region » Wed May 09, 2012 5:47 pm

ValenciaQBowl wrote:
Wasn't the Gamecock the one where Robert Whaples showed up after, like, a thousand years off playing?


Yeah, that's right. I met him there and got him to write one packet for each of the first couple Delta Burkes. I can't remember if he was a grad student in economics or teaching it at Wake Forest. Cool guy.


Other people there were Al Whited reading and I'm pretty sure Steinhice played solo. In retrospect, that tournament had a lot of very interesting characters there, and some really good players. As a freshmen, it was fun to watch, but a little terrifying given the circumstances. It had a lot of geographic diversity too, which is something you don't see much of anymore at your garden variety tournaments. Oh, the days of 99 cent gas.
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Re: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

Postby Mechanical Beasts » Wed May 09, 2012 8:48 pm

augustusmelmotte wrote:
grapesmoker wrote:
augustusmelmotte wrote:We first noted a fourfold root of sufficient reason in the armor in the third round


This is my favorite part of the story.


Apparently some overzealous filtering software didn't like my original wording... Interesting.

the best part of chris frankel's legacy
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Re: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

Postby fryede » Tue May 29, 2012 7:32 pm

Birdofredum Sawin wrote:It occurs to me that this thread is as good a place as any to post an explanation of why ACF games currently feature 20 tossups, as I'm not sure I've ever related this anecdote.

Back in the day -- where "the day" is roughly the late '70s/early '80s -- quizbowl tournaments in the southeast (i.e., "proto-ACF" tournaments) actually featured packets of 24 tossups and 24 bonuses. Then, one year, the writers for one of Berry's Southeastern Invitationals failed to get their acts together, and on the eve of the tournament found themselves short a significant number of questions. Suddenly, somebody had a brilliant idea: "What if we were to make our lives easier by going with 20/20 questions in each round, instead of 24/24?" And thus, a new era of quizbowl was born.

I was told this anecdote by Al Whited, so I don't know who exactly was involved in this, or when exactly it took place, or even whether it really happened. However, it strikes me as plausible enough, not least because of its suggestion that extreme, irresponsible procrastination in question writing has been around since the dawn of time, or at least the dawn of ACF.


I remember Gordon Carper proudly admitted this during a smoke break at one of the Berry Early Birds I attended. (Probably 1995 when a significant number of our players smoked.)

Speaking of Early Birds, I stopped speaking to Gordon after the 1997 tournament. He gave us the wrong directions to the tournament site (long before Google Maps and GPS) and we ended up arriving three minutes after the start of the the first round. Even though we were late because of his mistake and even though our opponent (Florida) was willing to play the match when we showed up, he wouldn't allow it. It was our only loss of the tournament and it forced us in to a single game playoff against the only other one-loss team, Florida. Which we promptly lost.

Ah, the bad old days...
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Re: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

Postby STPickrell » Mon Jan 07, 2013 2:21 pm

Harvest Bowl. Not my proudest moment. David Hamilton's TD advice remains as true now as it was over 15 years later. I do wish (3) had occurred to me at the time.

Hopefully I've learned something since then, and the folks I've played with and against some 20 years are doing well.

(Sorry for necroing the thread)
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Re: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

Postby augustusmelmotte » Wed Feb 20, 2013 1:14 pm

Anyone interested in Andy Goss' ridiculous recap of the 1999 Philly Experiment?

Also, does anyone know what John Edwards is up to nowadays? He was the only person I've ever met with whom I could unironically discuss my love of Mama's Family without judgment.
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Re: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

Postby Cheynem » Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:57 pm

Mama's Family is an okay show; it always seemed to be confusingly a mix of period and contemporary pieces to my idiotic, youthful eye.
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Re: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

Postby Dr. Loki Skylizard, Thoracic Surgeon » Wed Feb 20, 2013 3:03 pm

augustusmelmotte wrote:Anyone interested in Andy Goss' ridiculous recap of the 1999 Philly Experiment?


Yes
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Re: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

Postby Susan » Wed Feb 20, 2013 3:57 pm

augustusmelmotte wrote:Anyone interested in Andy Goss' ridiculous recap of the 1999 Philly Experiment?

Also, does anyone know what John Edwards is up to nowadays? He was the only person I've ever met with whom I could unironically discuss my love of Mama's Family without judgment.


Working in Philly at the Mazzoni Center, it would appear. I last saw him when he made a (very welcome) surprise appearance as a staffer at the SCT Chicago hosted in 2003.
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Re: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

Postby augustusmelmotte » Wed Feb 20, 2013 3:59 pm

and THAT's why.. you always leave a note. Taste the happy! :chip:

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Well, as you might have expected, I was in Philly for the
Experiment, my first ever excursion to seemingly the most notorious
summer tournament in quizbowl. And, as you might have expected, I have
much to say about it. Rather than post anything general, though, I'll
focus on my own experience. Delete at your leisure.

The day began with a long car trip, where I rode up with
moderator-at-large Shawn Pickrell. It was an eventful car trip,
including a ten mile trip down the New Jersey Turnpike (don't ask).
Needless to say, we arrived late. When I finally found Williams Hall, I
was told the rest of my team hadn't arrived yet (not true, but I didn't
know what they looked like). Fortunately, all of this was slightly
irrelevant as we were locked out of the rooms (DOH!). This was one of
the few bureaucratic slip-ups, and it at least didn't put a damper on the
proceedings, so there you go. Oh by the way, I did find my teammates
(Kieran Wong of BU, Matt Dworkin at Penn, and Waichi Chan of NYU). I'm
going to take this opportunity to thank them for playing and putting up
with me.

Game 1: For obvious reasons, the tournament started with Round 12. That
put us against Three Boys and a Goy on a John Nam packet. At least, on
his team's packet. Even without Boy #3 Dan Fuller, the then-only-67%
Jewish team was a considerable force. The main problem with this match
was the buzzer set, which can best be described as being in severe need
of repair. This makes me feel even worse for ours being unavailable.
Anyway, our team went 1/4/3 and I went 1/2/0, which I need not tell you
wasn't enough. RESULT: Loss, 335-85.

Game 2: For less obvious reasons, the next round was Round 16. (Not that
it mattered, mind you, but it was funny that their schedule was
rearranged.) Anyway, that meant that we faced Smooth Operators
(Hamilton, Goodman, Colvin, Hayeslip) on Andy Wang's team's packet. We
used the same buzzer set as for the previous game. This buzzer set had
"UMCP" written on its travel box, so it was slight poetic justice that
they were forced to play us on it. Not that it mattered. It would have
been nice to stop after Question 3, as we were up 40-30 at the time.
Hey, after Question 6, we were only down 90-65. They then reeled off 190
unanswered points and never looked back. Our team did, however, go
2/4/0, and I went 0/3/0 to be team high scorer for the second straight
game. Again, not that it mattered. RESULT: Loss, 405-105.

Game 3: This time around, our opponents were Fouling Up Can Kill Us,
consisting of Adam Fine, Brian Goldenberg, Fred Bush, and Jacob "Das
Wunderkind" Mikanowski. This was on the House Prelim packet, with the
first tossup being on David Rittenhouse. Ah, science trash. By the way,
I was shut out in this game, primarily by Mikanowski, who went something
like 0/7/1. Our team, by contrast, went 1/1/2, with Waichi going 1/1/0.
Hmmm, I wonder how we did? RESULT: Loss, 340-55.

Game 4: The good news: the packet was written by Matt Hofer's team, so it
was reasonable. The bad news: Our opponents were merciless. The insane
fun was this time had against Vish 'n' Chips, consisting of Vishnu "Vish"
Jejjala and three other Maryland alumni, who went as Chips. Ken LaSala
was Chip Beall, the author of the worst sets of questions ever (yes, I'm
including the stuff I wrote). Mike Starsinic was Chip Lohmiller, a
flash-in-the-pan former Redskins placekicker. Jesse Molesworth rounded
out the team as Erik Estrada, who wasn't a "Chip", but a "CHiP". As you
can guess, the reason I'm not writing about the game was that we were
treated like jabronis. Two highlights, though, were my getting the
"Manos: The Hands of Fate" question (Manos is considered the worst movie
ever) and the "Count to five in Chinese" bonus. What made this second
part funny was Waichi's immediate question, "Do you want Mandarin or
Cantonese?" We gave both and got 30. The team went 0/5/0, and I led by
going 0/3/0. However, five tossups never beats a team like this.
RESULT: Loss, 360-120.

As I passed Colvin in the hallway, he asked me point-blank, "So
do you still think these questions are better than Yaphe's [from two
weeks ago]?" I told him that I did, and that these were more
consistently gettable, but less consistent from pack to pack. Which they
had been.

Game 5: This was a good packet, and a good match. Our opponents were
"Samer's Evil Twin" (a Penn Bowl reference), starring captain Michael
Brian Angel with cohorts Subash "Suby" Maddipoti, Jeremiah "Was a
Bullfrog" Thompson, and the replacement Schmidt, Chris Vicich. Tom
Chuck was moderating, and I dare say he is the best damned moderator on
the circuit today. At the half, we led 110-65 and wondered whether we
could keep it up. It wasn't happening. We did go 2/5/1, including my
1/3/0 performance with a power on Sydney Carton (yay!), but it wasn't
quite enough. By the way, before I forget, Kudos to Doug O'Neal and
his crew for that nice pack. RESULT: Loss, 270-190.

Then we went to lunch. Lunch was the Food Court, where I visited
a nice burger joint. We discussed the teams we had played so far as well
as our respective histories and programs. My teammates all told me I
knew too many people on the circuit, at which point I explained that
nearly everybody was from DC. We all agreed that Maryland teams kick
ass, and then returned for our next game.

Game 6: Our opponents for this game were Gundroppers, featuring Phil
Groce, Jeremy Horwitz, Joe Wright, and NYU's Ross Hooper. Waichi was
especially looking forward to this game. During lunch, Jeremy actively
seeked out somewhere to get drunk. All he could find was some beer,
which he promptly bought. He got back to Williams Hall, took a few sips,
then fumbled the container, causing a huge mess and a rather nasty beer
stain near the elevators. We heckled him for it. Questions were by the
Yale/Brown team. The highlight was Joe Wright powering "Twinkies" off of
the clue of failing the Turing test and exploding in 90 seconds. Sure.
We went 0/5/1, I went 0/3/0, and the results were respectable. RESULT:
Loss, 210-125.

Game 7: Our opponents this time around were Happiness is a Warm Buzzer (I
think that's a take-off on a Beatles White Album song), featuring VT's
1998-99 quasi-A-team (Dennis Loo, Roger Craig, Eliot "One L One T"
Brenner, and Ryan "BFD" Gunderson). Questions were presented by Steve
Lawrie's team, and were definitely the only thing that made the score as
close as it was. They weren't that bad, they were just weird. The team
was 1/5/0, and I was 1/2/0 to continue the pattern of being top dog on
the team. Not that that's important, but I'm just saying it because it's
my post, dammit! Like I said, you can delete this at any time! RESULT:
Loss, 205-155.

Game 8: It was time for the Eagles and Redskins to meet. Okay, maybe
not. But our opponents were Knobel Spice, with Rob Knobel, Cindy (sp?)
Pruss, a pair of sisters whose names were I think Raina and Rheanna
Weaver (they went as 11 and 12 for the tournament). Questions were by
Jason Arvey's crew Three Generations Under a Mattress, and they were good
and hard. They could have gotten worse, and I'm sure they were great for
top teams, but a pair of 0-7 squads were stumped. Moderator Tom Chuck
even considered bending the rules and giving each team an extra Lame, but
the players declined. Our team went 0/5/0 and survived ugly bonus
conversion, although we were helped by their four negs and 1.5 TUI for
the game. Waichi and I were both 0/2/0. And to top it all off, we
actually got a victory! RESULT: Win, 100-75.

Game 9: These questions were by Fouling Up Can Kill Us, which was
essentially Adam Fine and Brian Goldernberg. Our opponents were the
Post-Raphaelite Brotherhood, consisting of Tim Young, Edmund Schluessel,
Rick Grimes, and Rick Terpstra. This was an awful game from our
perspective, as they rattled off the first 10 tossups in a row to go up
325-(-10). Tim assured me he had received similar beating in his
career. I believe it... sort of. Anyway, the team woke up in the second
half and finished 1/2/2, with yours truly getting 1/1/0. You do the
math. RESULT: Loss, 425-50.

Game 10: Up next was the Basil II Fan Club, a team with Matt Hofer, Matt
Reeser, Tom Shields, and Tim Sullivan. The match was moderated by
Shawn Pickrell, who had his girlfriend doing scorekeeping. Yes, she was
with us for the entire trip. She's a very nice girl. By the way, as
cute as some dogs are, never go to pet a seeing-eye dog if they are in
their harness. The harness means they're on the job. Oh, as for the
game, it was painful. We played on Guy Jordan's packet, easily the
toughest I had heard so far in my _life_. I told Guy about this, and his
response was along the lines of, "I didn't think it was so hard." Yeah,
but you wrote it, Guy. Anyhow, the team went a nice 0/3/2, with Waichi
and I both going 0/1/0 to lead the team. That should tell you all you
need to know about this game. RESULT: Loss, 160-50.

Game 11: Yale Men, Brown Woman awaited us in the next game. The Yale men
were Ramin Fatehi, David Davies, Aaron Lichtig, and Thad Novak. The
Brown woman was an old friend of mine named Fran Bigman. The good news
is that our teams were of approximately equal talent in this game. The
bad news is that it was a Vishnu and Company packet. Joy. Our team
flunked bonus conversion 101 again, and it cost us the match. We went
0/4/0, with Waichi and me splitting the four tossups 0/2/0 each.
Surprisingly, this was almost enough. The final score should tell you
the rest. RESULT: Loss, 65-50.

Game 12: The last game of Day 1! Yay! We were playing Three Generations
Under a Mattress, a team of Samuel Bennett, Jason "Fezboy" Arvey, Matt
Kiefer, and Josh Levy. The packet was by Three Boys and a Goy, and it
was reasonable. Their team was very, very good. I would offhand say
that Andrew will have some good teammates at ACF, as if he needs them.
Josh had two powers in the first half, both of which he said were not
even in his specialties. Ah, the sweetest of sticks. They also told us
that they thought their packet was harder than most. No problem,
really. We won on it. Our team went 0/6/2 in this game, and I went
0/5/1, finally recording a neg. It didn't matter. RESULT: Loss, 265-115.

After the match, I was upset about the neg because I though I
could go the whole tournament without one. When I told Dave Hamilton
this, he wondered why anyone would want to go an entire tournament
without negging. The only reason I was trying is because it seems that
making All-Star sans a neg is the equivalent of pitching a no-hitter in
baseball. That would have been fun. Not that I had much of a chance at
All-Star, but hey.

That night, Waichi and I checked in to the hotel and made dinner
plans. We decided to eat at Shula's, within the University City
Sheraton. We dined alongside Shawn and his girlfriend. We had a
wonderful dinner, and a nice conversation, one which will not be repeated
here.

After dinner, we got a good night's sleep and prepared for the
next day. We saw that the "main" entrance to Williams Hall was locked,
so we entered by the "side" entrance I had discovered yesterday. We were
surprised when it was 8:40 (games were scheduled to start in 5 minutes)
and very few people showed. Samer asked me to look into Logan Hall and
see if people were waiting there for a morning meeting. I left to do it,
thinking of how funny that would have been.

The truth was even better. When I went to the "main" doors to
Williams, practically everyone was waiting outside for them to be
opened. There were a few policemen and custodial people, too, trying
every key they had. Apparently, no one had bothered to say, "Maybe
there's another entrance." Heh heh heh.

While helping to set up for Day Two, we learned that Kieran's
aunt had been in a serious car wreck and that Kieran rushed home to be
with her family. I sympathize and wish to pass on my sympathies to her
family as well. Also, Matt decided he had had enough yesterday and
didn't show up for Sunday's play. Punk. Anyhow, that meant that Waichi
and I were what was left of the team known as Some Assembly Required,
which /really/ lived up to its name.

Game 13: This game was against Quizbollah, featuring Guy and Carol
Jordan, Joon Pahk, and Ed Cohn. The packet was by the Samer's Evil Twin
team, not that it mattered. I wasn't awake yet, and while Waichi carried
me with his 0/4/0 performance, it was nowhere near enough. Our bid to be
Chaminade to their Virginia failed. Highlight was our team getting a
poetry bonus and scoring ten on it. This was a highlight because on the
third part, Joon was visibly knowledgeable with the answer and we were
clueless. Naturally, I designated Joon. It didn't count. Darn.
RESULT: Loss, 405-75.

Game 14: This game got off to a slow start. The reason was that no
moderator was assigned to the room. Tom Chuck left the war room to
moderate the game, for which we are indeed thankful. It was us against
Chicks Dig the Power Tossup (Nike ad thing), which had John Nam, Arthur
J. Fleming, Esquire, and Ezequiel Berdichevsky. (NOTE: I doubt Art's
middle initial is J, but it fits the best.) Questions were by
Gundroppers, not that it mattered. The team went 0/3/1 and divided labor
in a quirky way (I had the "0/3" part, and Waichi had the "/1" part).
Highlight was a tossup beginning "It crossed 18 mountain ranges and 24
rivers" (or vice versa), on which John Nam buzzed and powered with, as he
put it, "The Long F***ing March". Beautiful. I used the strategy of
only getting questions right if they were negged on first, a strategy
that obviously failed. RESULT: Loss, 320-55.

Around this time, all hell broke loose in another game.
Quizbollah and Smooth Operators were playing a close match, one which was
unofficially a 10 point game but had enough points in protest to swing
the outcome. This tied things up for a while.

Then came our packet bye. I volunteered to read for a room, and
was placed in the match featuring World's Strongest Men (the
aforementioned Doug O'Neal along with Ilene Morgan, Adam Schaible, and
Dale Hinote) versus Three Generations. It was a fun little match, and
the teams seemed to enjoy it. Three Generations went 3/7/2 and won,
255-95. Highlight was Jason Arvey executing the Power Rebound (degree of
difficulty 2.3). General reactions seemed to be that the more wins a
team had, the worse they thought the round. Unfortunately, my reading
duties prevented me from seeing, or hearing, the Nam vs. Wang showdown.
Eh. I heard everything from "Finally, a packet with stuff I knew" to
"Get ready to be lynched after the tournament".

Game 15: We played this game on the Virginia Tech packet. Our opponents
were Expletive Deleted (not their original name), consisting of Andy
Wang, Todd Gregory, and Kyle Atwood. Wang was only getting 2 negs per
game, which surprised me, and was just barely ahead of a teammate in the
neg department, which really surprised me. Chuck was again moderator.
Wang and his crew managed only three negs and were actually playing well,
not that this surprised me. Our team went 1/6/2 (I was 0/4/1, Waichi
1/2/1). The game turned on the SportsCentury non-human bonus, which
their team got a slam-dunk 30 on. Yuck. RESULT: Loss, 175-115.

I was still smarting over the horses bonus being in their and
told Goodman as much as we passed. He responded, "You know, you should
spend less time posting to the list and more time studying." Yeah,
that's right, Dave, I should. After all, why should I waste my time
being social or playing in the gym when I can put every ounce of energy
into making myself better at something which will not help me graduate,
earn a living, or contribute to society? And we all know what a social
benefit this is, based on the droves of people who care about it!
Especially the multitude of women who go to things like this! I would
really love to study quizbowl non-stop, but I have classes. And class,
for that matter. And a life, while we're on the subject. Where was I?
Oh yeah. Same to you, Goodman. AND the horse you rode in on.

Next was another bye while Rob Knobel's packet was being read.
Cindy was moderating in the room where I scorekept. It was once again
Three Generations, this time against Vish 'n' Chips. Despite a
miscommunication on one of the questions (which was my fault, and I
apologized after the match to those affected), things went very well,
with the teams combining for 19 of 20 tossups. Vish's team won by over 100.

Game 16: This game featured World's Strongest Men on a packet written by
the way-too-aforementioned Dave team. Going into the match, both teams
expected questions to be too tough. They weren't, thankfully, but the
gratuitous bonus leadins were annoying ("David Hilbert thought he was a
bad-ass for posing 23 problems..." is NOT the way to start a question).
However, in this game I played like I was in another dimension, going
1/5/0 to couple with Waichi's 1/2/2. We pulled it out on the final
bonus, which dealt with tennis players from media sound bites and other
facts. Other than that, things were pretty much what you'd expect,
namely a lot of attitude. I did, however, nail a question after two
words, which was sweet. RESULT: Win, 165-160.

Lunchtime. We headed to Mad Mex's, where we ran into Ross's
team. The food wasn't as spicy as I had expected, and we had plenty of
time for lunch. Other teams may not have.

Game 17: This game was played on the Brotherhood's packet. Our opponents
were the Psychic Scully Network, consisting of Steve Lawrie, David Sachs,
David Madden, and Laura Lee. To put it bluntly, we were toast. Our team
went an abysmal 1/1/3, doing the same quirky split we did against Nam's
crew. The match just plain wasn't pretty. RESULT: Loss, 200-20.

So, we had finished the prelims 2-15, guaranteeing we would be in
the last playoff bracket. While waiting for stuff to be compiled, I
talked to the Quizbollah and Happiness teams, and we were all yucking it
up in a way. I spent much of the time listening. One of the things they
were joking about was if it would be funny if two teams intentionally
tied a playoff match. How they would go about doing this brought much of
the laughter ("That's George Washington. No, wait, it's Thomas Mann!
Oh, damn!").

Then the playoffs finally began. We were odd team out first
match and watched Knobel Spice and World's Strongest Men compete.
Strongest Men won the match, meaning we would have to take both games to
move up to 16th and could not be in outright last place. Whew.

Game 18: Our first playoff opponent was Knobel Spice. Not much to
report, other than the game was very close. I got all the buzzes on
tossups, going 0/5/1. The one neg was a classic brian cramp where
instead of powering Ken Kesey, I blurted out Kasey Kasem. My punishment
was to self-inflict five cranial shots with the nearest wall. It was one
of the finalists for the Best Wrong Answer award. We were saved by our
opponents' three consecutive bagels on bonuses. RESULT: Win, 105-90.

Game 19: Now, we faced World's Strongest Men. We got off to a flying
start, getting the first four tossups to dart out 95-0. However, they
pulled within 15 after question 8. Two straight negs by them gave us a
115-70 lead at the half. They got a 10 and 20, then the two teams
exchanged 10 and 10s. At this point, their team unraveled, committing
three negs in four questions which sealed their fate. Our team went
0/9/1, with Waichi going 0/3/1 and myself going postal on Strongest Men
for the second time that day with an 0/6/0 performance. RESULT: Win,
180-145.

After the match, we were herded into one of the rooms for an
awards ceremony. I talked to Ryan during the waiting time, and he
informed me that his team and Smooth Operators played to a stunning
(-40)-(-40) tie in the last match. They decided beforehand to shape the
outcome of their meaningless game ("Throw is such a dirty word!") and for
originality stopped at -40 ("Minus 50 is just cliche").

Then, the awards. There should have been a final match between
Quizbollah and Three Boys and a Goy, but half of Quizbollah left to catch
a plane. Rather than have the other half play the final, the PE5 staff
awarded the co-championship. Applause.

Awards were also given for best answers. Edmund Schleussel of
the Brotherhood got best power for scoring 15 on "smegma" (A substance
which you're better off not knowing the identity of). Third place in
best wrong answers went to Brown woman Fran Bigman, who said "Branch
Davidians" when the answer was "The Cult of Pythagoras". Second place,
and the sentimental choice for first, went to Roger Craig of Happiness,
who said "breast implant" when the real answer was "public key
cryptography". The best wrong answer in the eyes of the tournament,
however, went to Tim Young, who negged on the Twinkie question with
"Furby" (although I don't think that passed the Turing test either).
After that, we left.

All in all, this was a much better experience than the Masters
tournament of two weeks prior. The main reason is that the questions
were more gettable and often of better length, meaning that you weren't
faced with stretched of six-liners that were read to the end.
Admittedly, the rounds varied in difficulty, but I suppose that is to be
expected in a submission tournament. Most importantly, the tournament
promised a certain level of scoring and delivered -- our games involved
at least one team that was at the low end of the pool (us) and still
averaged 343 ppg. I imagine it was higher for the overall average.

In the end, our team wasn't the best, but it wasn't the worst
either. We were #16 with a bullet, pulling a double Stonybrook as
Maryland would say. We also came reasonably close in several other
games, and the levity of the atmosphere helped things immensely. I know
I'll be back. And hopefully, my packet will be better.

Andy Goss
Publicist, Duke University Academic Team
Editor-in-Chief, Quiz Bowl Media Guide

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From dhamiltn@wam.umd.edu Mon Aug 16 14:54:28 1999 -0400
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Date: Mon, 16 Aug 1999 13:58:59 -0400 (EDT)
From: Josh the Obscure <jtallen@wam.umd.edu>
Subject: QB: How Andy spent his weekend... (AKA Are You Ready to Laugh?)
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First, a kudo to the team that played as Samer's Evil Twin. That is still
one of the funniest things I've ever seen.
Second, a little note -- according to Maryland's Official Lexicon, "to
Stonybrook" is to beat one team 3 times in a tournament, and have those 3
wins as your only victories. Alas, pitiful as Andy's team performed, they
didn't pull off the Stonybrook. And I would know, as a member of that
1997 NAQT Maryland C team.
Third -- wow. That post was the most time consuming thing that anyone has
ever posted to the list. Did anyone actually read the whole thing? I
know I just skimmed for things to make fun of and to see how bad he lost.
Fourth -- lay off of Goodman. If you complain about the hardness of
questions, you should study. If you write 30 page accounts of your
weekend at a quiz tournament, you shouldn't complain about studying taking
up your "social time."
Fifth -- if anyone complains about this being private and not deserving of
going on the list (and I mean anyone), please direct your complaints to
that brick wall over there.

Josh Allen
jtallen@wam.umd.edu
www.geocities.com/Area51/Corridor/4670


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From dhamiltn@wam.umd.edu Mon Aug 16 23:25:16 1999 -0400
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Date: Mon, 16 Aug 1999 22:37:38 -0400 (EDT)
From: Wai Chi Chan <wcc200@stern.nyu.edu>
Subject: Re: QB: How Andy spent his weekend... (AKA Are You Ready to
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To Josh Allen:

Whether or not your post deserved to be on the QB mailing list, you showed
the same lack of tact as Andy. I am left wondering if you have any human
decency. Your post appeared, mostly, to excoriate and insult Andy rather
than to intelligently challenge his post or its blatantly inappropiate
sections. Using a public forum, such as the QB mailing list, to purposely
embarrass another person is shameful.

When deeming "Andy's team" pitiful, you not only insulted Andy but also
me, Kieran, and Matt. I did not appreciate this attack, but I was not
surprise. From the last two years that I have played quizbowl, I have
learned to dislike most of the people associated with MAQT - though, that
was not my initial plan. MAQT is apparently full of mean, spiteful people
who make a game like quizbowl totally unpleasent. For the last two years,
NYU has not attended any tournaments operated by MAQT, and as its current
president, I'm sure that we won't this year or next year either.

-Wai Chi
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Dave Hamilton
UMCP '99, '03
Elon '12
Co-founder, ACF
Living the spite-driven life
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Re: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

Postby Cheynem » Wed Feb 20, 2013 4:54 pm

I'm glad that Maryland has survived its reputation as being mean and unpleasant to improve to being merely surly, loud, and moody.
Mike Cheyne
"He has a PhD in SUBURBAN STUDIES!"--Marshall Steinbaum
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Re: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

Postby Whippet96 » Sun Jul 13, 2014 10:28 pm

I'm glad Andy Goss put in a good word for me. I also have fond memories of playing against Jason Thweatt.
Matt Hofer
Downingtown '96
Penn State, December 2000
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