VCU Trash Discussion

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VCU Trash Discussion

Post by Cheynem »

Hi. Discuss the trash tournament here. I wrote the vast majority of the movies, television, video games, and "other" questions, and about half of the music, sports, and comics; George Berry wrote the other half of the music, sports, and comics questions; and Donald Taylor wrote a few questions in many categories. Zach Foster wrote a couple sports tiebreakers. I was the head editor, so any critiques should probably be directed at me, not those guys.

Obviously, this was a pretty vanity set at times, especially in terms of video games and music. If I were to do this again on a more polished scale, I would recruit people who could write modern video games and some music on genres I don't listen to (like rap/hip-hop). However, I also wanted to write on a lot of fun topics I don't think pop up a lot elsewhere, so that's what I did. I deliberately avoided some things that are pretty popular question choices.

Bonus variability may be the biggest issue, which is a hard thing to work through for trash. I think some bonuses, probably those involving genres I'm less familiar with, ended up being easier than others. Many bonuses used a style I enjoy in writing in which the parts are only vaguely related to each other, which may also lead to variable difficulty.

On the whole, I hope people had fun. There were some really wacky tossup ideas, but also a lot of questions I'm happy with.
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Re: VCU Trash Discussion

Post by MLafer »

This was a good tournament. I'll preface my comments by saying that I only have tossup answers in front of me, not full text of the questions nor bonus answers.

First I want to say I seem to make this complaint after nearly every trash tournament, but recent TV & music categories again seem to skew way towards the 'trashy' side of trash. I can't recall a single tossup on say, any HBO show, or critically acclaimed shows like Breaking Bad or Mad Men. Most of the recent music seemed to be on pop/top 40 stuff and ignore 'genre' music other than a token question on the hot indie act of the moment.

Sports: I thought the sports in this tournament was quite above average. There wasn't anything overly obscure, and clues were substantive instead of just naming off statistics and trades. The tossups that required 'team and position' were quite good, as were the ones on specific colleges. Perhaps the questions that ask for a specific year (such as 2000 World Series) could be modified to be like the COLT answers where naming both teams and the event was acceptable; I don't think anybody likes playing 'try to remember the year' bowl. I think 'Henman Hill' might have been dropped too early in the Wimbledon question. The 'He Got Game' clue was pretty early in the Ray Allen question.

Music: I really liked the questions on The Association, 'paranoid', Cheap Trick, and Paul Whiteman. Some other answers seemed to be stuff that were trash favorites that come up at every damn tournament (Strokes, O'Jays, Jack White, Fountains of Wayne). Ryan Westbrook thinks the Taylor Swift lead-in is too easy.

Movies: I liked how pretty much every round had a tossup on a classic Hollywood movie and there were also some tossups on recent movies that were actually good (3:10 to Yuma, Michael Clayton). The questions on Robert Duvall, Marilyn Monroe, Dirty Harry, Commando, and the Untouchables were appreciated. The 'Beetlejuice' tu probably mentions 'Otho' too early. Don't know where to put this but putting two Star Trek questions in back-to-back packets seemed to be at the least bad feng shui. Mention of solitaire early in the Manchurian Candidate TU seemed misplaced.

TV: I'm glad this tournament had some good tossups on cartoons (Yogi Bear, Gargoyles and especially Darkwing Duck; bonus on Foghorn Leghorn). Maude, Rowan Atkinson and Dave Foley were also good answer choices. Some of the answers in this category seemed hard (Shego, Snorlax, Buzz Bissinger). I've always hated questions on a specific channel and the TruTV one was no exception.

Other/random: The Bart Simpson question based on video games was a good change from the boring old Simpsons question.
Jose Feliciano seems pretty damn hard.
The comics questions were good. I especially liked the one on 'Jameson'. Could maybe have used one or two questions on non Marvel/DC comic books, other than the bonus part on Wanted.
I have no idea what is going on with the question on 'jumping over a car' but it seems like a stupid thing to write about.
The Game Gear question was awesome and I was glad to see a little Sega love in the bonuses. Genesis was more popular than SNES in some years but never seems to get asked about.
While I'm an idiot for negging with The Thing on the Human Torch question considering the earlier clues, I think there's a legitimate issue with confusing people by saying this character dates Alicia Masters.
I'm a bit ambivalent about the academic content in this tournament. I think the Naomi Klein question was good and appropriate, and of course most people should be able to answer the bonus part about Marx, but putting regionals+ answers in a trash tournament (Empire, Lord Acton, Roy Cohn) does not seem like a great idea.
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Re: VCU Trash Discussion

Post by Frater Taciturnus »

MLafer wrote: While I'm an idiot for negging with The Thing on the Human Torch question considering the earlier clues, I think there's a legitimate issue with confusing people by saying this character dates Alicia Masters.
Yeah, I see how this is an issue and am fixing it before the mirror this weekend.
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Re: VCU Trash Discussion

Post by Auroni »

Snorlax is hard?
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Re: VCU Trash Discussion

Post by Cheynem »

Thanks for the comments, Matt.

Regarding the lack of critically acclaimed shows, I was trying to avoid some shows which I feel like come up a ton (I think Mad Men does at least). I asked about some shows which I find entertaining that I don't recall getting tossup play like The L Word. I agree with you on the music questions, but I think this reflects more of what the authors were interested in (which isn't an excuse, just an explanation). I do think country music was more represented here than some tournaments.

Sports: After seeing COLT, I should have modified the "year and team" or "year and event" questions to allow what COLT did and just say the teams or some other thing (I tried to compensate here by picking what I thought to be reasonably well remembered years).

Music: I don't remember seeing any O'Jays questions lately, so sorry if that was trendy. The Taylor Swift lead-in may be too easy, I don't know anything about her.

Movies: Sorry for the bad job randomizing the Star Trek questions, although they were at least from completely different aspects of the Star Trek universe. I was honestly surprised people remembered Otho's name so well from Beetlejuice. I can see the solitaire thing being too early from The Manchurian Candidate.

TV: The TruTV one was pretty vanity. I was surprised at the questions you're labeling hard--I would disagree with Snorlax (which was supposed to be a video games question with one TV clue) being too hard. For the others, Buzz Bissinger (also not a TV question, for what it's worth) is a fairly well read author/buffoon and at least in my mind, Shego is one of the more memorable characters from Kim Possible. Surya explained to me that Shego's name is not quite as memorable as other Kim Possible characters, so I can see that. There was also some grumbling about the Kronk tossup.

Yeah, the Feliciano tossup is hard.

Some comic strip questions also appeared--I should have included more non Marvel/DC comic book questions.

The jumping over a car thing would end by talking about Blake Griffin's dunk at the slam dunk contest. Not knowing anything about the NBA, you'd have to ask George about that one.

The academic stuff is somewhat a product of the tournament morphing from its original conception to what it currently is. I was also hoping to provide a few bites for people who are not trash players. The Empire bonus is pretty hard (although it was originally harder!), as is the bonus with quotes including Lord Acton. In each case, I did try to provide an easy part gettable for someone who is not a good academic player.

I agree that the Alicia Masters clue could be negbait, although as far as I know the Thing never married Alicia.
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Re: VCU Trash Discussion

Post by Rufous-capped Thornbill »

Though they never married, they flirted with it many times, so yeah, I'd say that's negbait.
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Re: VCU Trash Discussion

Post by Cheynem »

The clue probably could work with just snappier rewriting--the point of the clue is saying the Human Torch married Lyja, the Skrull posing as Alicia, which is definitely not negbait for the Thing. Probably by just saying "married the Skrull Lyja," it's okay.
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Re: VCU Trash Discussion

Post by vcuEvan »

I read at this tournament today. I've seen a lot of the questions before, and my complaint about the answer selection remains. I'd like to see a much higher portion of the distro dedicated to things from the last decade or so. Other than that, I liked this tournament. Clues in all categories seemed really well selected to be both useful and interesting. Very few bonus parts seemed impossible. I liked the pinches of academic content. Really, the only thing that annoyed me about this tournament was the oldness of the answers.
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Re: VCU Trash Discussion

Post by dtaylor4 »

The Snorlax question was mine, and was meant to be written as a VG question.
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Re: VCU Trash Discussion

Post by Cheynem »

I'll admit the oldness of the answers stands out. Again, part of it is due to this being a vanity tournament merged with a presumably more mainstream tournament (the mind boggles as to what the answers would look like without George's involvement). I'll again stress if I do this again I'll try and produce a more logical time distribution.
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Re: VCU Trash Discussion

Post by mastaloo »

Off the top of my head, I can't remember hearing many tossups on internet related things (i.e. memes). I don't play trash enough to know if this is the current trend, and I understand that the answer space is limited, but it would've been nice to hear a few questions on that topic. That being said, I really appreciated the Pee Wee's Big Adventure bonus. Large Marge still scares me to this day.
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Re: VCU Trash Discussion

Post by theMoMA »

I enjoyed myself, though I was worried that nothing I knew was going to come up after playing the first two packets. But then there turned out to be a lot of fun questions. Aside from the time period thing, which I figured would happen going in because of the original intent of the tournament, my one critique was that many of the tossups on players in sport seemed to focus on random game anecdotes that were more helpful to reveal the identities of the player's teammates than the identity of the player himself. The Stockton question was somewhat like this (something about his son's hockey team, then a bunch of things that I thought were fairly difficult other than for laterally telling you which team he might have played for, then the fact that he was a point guard). Maybe a tossup on "Utah Jazz" with clues only from the Stockton era would have been helpful to finding more interesting clues (or maybe people actually know those game anecdote clues and I'm just the anomaly). On the other hand, I really liked the tossup on Jack Nicklaus and thought it was one of the better tossups on a golfer I've ever heard because it didn't focus on scattershot tournament victories.

Finally, I thought there were a few times when a richer description of an event could have resulted in a better question. In retrospect, the fact that Michael Barrett was making some play at the plate should have made me say Coors, but if the question had said something about a "terrible slide that resulted in a faceplant" (without naming Matt Holliday, obviously), I think people who watched that play would have a better shot at contextualizing it. There was also that clue in the Dirty Harry tossup about Harlan Rook getting killed by a harpoon; I've seen the ending of The Dead Pool on TCM fairly recently, but it's hard to remember somewhat minor character names; had it been described as "this character shoots a harpoon, causing Harlan Rook to fly up and get pinned to a dockside door," I surely would have buzzed. There were a few other instances in which I remember wishing that an incident had been described in more detail; in retrospect, it's easier to place character names, but in the heat of the moment, it's usually a lot easier to remember things if distinctive actions are described alongside the names of the people involved.

Overall, I had a lot of fun and thought this was one of the better trash tournaments I've played. I would have liked some more modern music and some of the TV I like to come up, but those (along with the above) are only minor complaints.
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Re: VCU Trash Discussion

Post by Cheynem »

Andrew has good points--I particularly could have taken some of the tossups and focused on less things but in more detail (I had forgotten what happens to Harlan after he gets hit with the harpoon gun, for instance). The Stockton tossup was tricky to write because he didn't have a ton of anecdotes that I could tell, so perhaps a tossup on the Jazz might have worked better--I'd argue that the 3-pointer to kill the Rockets is notable, but I'd concede that the other clues might not have worked. I'm glad that you found the Nicklaus one okay, I know little about golf and read up on Nicklaus to try to find good clues. Out of curiosity, what kinds of clues would you have preferred for player tossups?
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Re: VCU Trash Discussion

Post by theMoMA »

Cheynem wrote:Andrew has good points--I particularly could have taken some of the tossups and focused on less things but in more detail (I had forgotten what happens to Harlan after he gets hit with the harpoon gun, for instance). The Stockton tossup was tricky to write because he didn't have a ton of anecdotes that I could tell, so perhaps a tossup on the Jazz might have worked better--I'd argue that the 3-pointer to kill the Rockets is notable, but I'd concede that the other clues might not have worked. I'm glad that you found the Nicklaus one okay, I know little about golf and read up on Nicklaus to try to find good clues. Out of curiosity, what kinds of clues would you have preferred for player tossups?
For the most part, I like to blend in a mix of contextual clues (teammates, coaches, stats that illuminate a general skillset, time period, position clues, etc.), on-court anecdotes that people remember (Nicklaus conceding the putt to Jacklin was a good example of this; perhaps the Stockton three was as well, but I couldn't place it on the fly), and amusing off-court anecdotes (Nicklaus being on UK currency was something that, in retrospect, I did know, though I didn't buzz on it at the time). When I can't find an acceptable mix of the three that I think will produce an amusing and thoroughly buzzable tossup, I tend to zoom out and write on the team or the position and team.

I think a lot of the player tossups did a good job mixing these factors, though there were a few that I thought strayed into over-contextualization because the on-court anecdotes used weren't particularly notable. Of course, that could also be a product of me just not knowing those things, so mileage may vary.
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Re: VCU Trash Discussion

Post by Cheynem »

The player tossups I wrote (and I mean I looked over and edited them all, so obviously I'm responsible in a sense for the others too): John Stockton, Jackie Robinson, Walter Johnson, Ray Allen, Rick Barry, Albert Belle, Nancy Kerrigan, Jack Nicklaus, and Gary Sheffield (as well as common link "Boone" and "Hernandez" questions). I'd appreciate any feedback on those if you felt they didn't mix helpful and amusing clues enough.
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Re: VCU Trash Discussion

Post by OctagonJoe »

Because I feel like wasting time doing this:

I'm sad in general that, for the second straight trash tournament, FX got summarily dismissed in a single bonus part rather than anything substantial on its dramas (which I don't watch but lots of people do) or its comedies (which include some of the best on television but never seem to get play in my limited trash playing experiences). AMC also got short shrift from this tournament.

Looking through the extras for the packets I heard at Maryland, the WR for the Vikings tossup had two clues in power before it cut off mid-Gus Frerotte, which seems absurd since it didn't even mention a year or say why Gus Frerotte was important to the team/position in any way at that point. I also think mentioning the ESPY Favre-Lewis play to beat the Niners would've made for a good recent clue. Sure, I'm complaining about a tiebreaker that presumably no one played on, but it seems hard to power unless you know Ahmad Rashad's former name or remember the 1987 playoffs when Anthony Carter did pretty well.

Backup GB QB seems like it could've been less stupid, although I didn't play that round. I also found it odd that clues about Looking Glass' "Brandy" and Principal Prickly were so early in their respective questions.

The Snorlax clue about being a "cat with a glandular disorder" meant it was either going to be Snorlax or some pokemon from the games after red/blue that no one cares about.

I liked The Strokes tossup's early clues (though you'd think a trash tournament written by quizbowlers would mention Is This It having its risque cover art being replaced by a picture from a bubble chamber for the American version), but looking at the whole tossup, it seems really odd that Is This It never actually got dropped as a song or album title. And I generally hate albums being mentioned in any way.

Why did The Manchurian Candidate mention solitaire that early?

Like with The Strokes, Muse is a band I've learned some stuff about from Pandora and sort of reading about them, but the tossup seemed like something where you had to really, really like Muse (or maybe go to/watch their concerts) to get before power ended, and only had two small sets of clues actually relating to lyrics to their songs or titles of their songs.

Like Trevor Davis, I hate names, so the Little Miss Sunshine tossup just naming names with no context other than one being a "rival" and the other having someone trying "to win the favor of" him doesn't do much for me. Sure, there were clues before and after that sentence which were better, but that one just irked me.

Lisa Cuddy's "daughter once swallow[ing] a dime" could've used some more description. It sounded familiar, but saying something like "Her daughter swallowed a dime after change from a Chinese food order was left out" or anything more than just the throwaway phrase probably would've been more helpful.

Even though I negged with Nathan Fillion when I meant to neg with Noah Wyle, the Newhart tossup probably should have placed Wyle before The Librarian since I assumed you would ask for the star of The Librarian and not the not-star because who has actually ever taken the time to watch those movies.

The Brendan Fraser tossup should not have been a tiebreaker because everyone loves Brendan Fraser and he should always be in the first 20.

I look forward to being called out on my stupidity for saying things about questions in a discussion forum.
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Re: VCU Trash Discussion

Post by Cheynem »

I admit I didn't write on FX or AMC shows. I sincerely feel like I have heard these stations and their programs come up a lot at quizbowl tournaments, so that's why I didn't write on them (does the world need ANOTHER question on Mad Men, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, or Sons of Anarchy?). Maybe I'm wrong or maybe I was placing too much stock in less mainstream quizbowl trash tournaments.

You have complained about powermarking! On a tiebreaker question! You, you DISGUSTING ANTEATER!

I think if you know lyrics to Looking Glass' "Brandy" or who Peter Prickly is, I'm okay with you powering those tossups.

I will admit failure on putting "solitaire" that early in the Manchurian Candidate. I like the film, but in my odd memory of the movie, I didn't remember the card thing that much and I especially didn't remember he triggered the card by playing solitaire. I was wrong.

I'll defend my Little Miss Sunshine question...like there really isn't a good way to put "Larry Sugarman" or "Stan Grossman" quite frankly. Sugarman is a fellow Proust scholar, which is explained later, and Grossman relates to Richard's motivational speaking thing, which is also explained later. Stan Grossman is also a name frequently uttered in the film.

I'm like mildly sympathetic to your Wyle almost neg, but "Judson, the head of the library" isn't Wyle's character at all. I guess I should have said "Wyle reports to him" or something like that, but I don't really think it's that confusing.

I was a fan of my Brendan Fraser tossup, I admit.
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Re: VCU Trash Discussion

Post by dtaylor4 »

OctagonJoe wrote:The Snorlax clue about being a "cat with a glandular disorder" meant it was either going to be Snorlax or some pokemon from the games after red/blue that no one cares about.
To be perfectly honest, if you were able to figure that one out with where that clue was, you deserve those points.
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Re: VCU Trash Discussion

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dtaylor4 wrote:
OctagonJoe wrote:The Snorlax clue about being a "cat with a glandular disorder" meant it was either going to be Snorlax or some pokemon from the games after red/blue that no one cares about.
To be perfectly honest, if you were able to figure that one out with where that clue was, you deserve those points.
I don't really think it's that hard to identify Snorlax as the most notable fat, vaguely cat-like Pokemon.
I think if you know lyrics to Looking Glass' "Brandy"...I'm okay with you powering those tossups.
Empirically, it seemed like many people did know that, though it was an exciting thing to come up.
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Re: VCU Trash Discussion

Post by theMoMA »

Cheynem wrote:The player tossups I wrote (and I mean I looked over and edited them all, so obviously I'm responsible in a sense for the others too): John Stockton, Jackie Robinson, Walter Johnson, Ray Allen, Rick Barry, Albert Belle, Nancy Kerrigan, Jack Nicklaus, and Gary Sheffield (as well as common link "Boone" and "Hernandez" questions). I'd appreciate any feedback on those if you felt they didn't mix helpful and amusing clues enough.
I don't want to make this all about me, so I'll just say that I enjoyed the tossups on Nicklaus and Sheffield (making deliberate errors for the Brewers was a good clue that rewarded Baseball Think Factory reading) and Boone (I didn't know and don't remember the first couple clues, but the things after that were interesting and gettable). I wasn't so much a fan of the Stockton question, which I thought was more contextual than anecdote-based, or the Ray Allen question, which shouldn't have dropped "Jesus [Shuttlesworth]" so abruptly; that's something that quite a few people know, definitely a lot more than the clue that preceded it (something about Kobe wanting help after Shaq left, if I remember correctly). Various other questions, which I gather were not written by you, suffered from being overly contextual in my opinion (in other words, the clues were mostly helpful for context: teammates, era, coaches, hinting at position, and stuff like that). Anyway, I don't know if that's too specific or too vague to be helpful, and like I said, a lot of it could be how I happen to remember things, not a trend generalizable to the greater sports-fan quizbowler.
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Re: VCU Trash Discussion

Post by Cheynem »

That's good feedback, thanks. The Ray Allen question empirically did drop the He Got Game clues too early, which I'll chalk up to my continual inability to write quality NBA questions (I didn't know much about the film).
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Re: VCU Trash Discussion

Post by dtaylor4 »

theMoMA wrote:
dtaylor4 wrote:
OctagonJoe wrote:The Snorlax clue about being a "cat with a glandular disorder" meant it was either going to be Snorlax or some pokemon from the games after red/blue that no one cares about.
To be perfectly honest, if you were able to figure that one out with where that clue was, you deserve those points.
I don't really think it's that hard to identify Snorlax as the most notable fat, vaguely cat-like Pokemon.
True, but you had to figure out at that point that it was talking about Pokemon. All clues save the Grapefruit Island clue were from video games, which I'll admit I haven't played most of. If that many people are able to figure it out at that point, I'll concede it should have been moved back.
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Re: VCU Trash Discussion

Post by Cheynem »

(Donald, I edited it to include obvious Pokemon references in the beginning, so that's on me to move that clue back)
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Re: VCU Trash Discussion

Post by dtaylor4 »

Cheynem wrote:(Donald, I edited it to include obvious Pokemon references in the beginning, so that's on me to move that clue back)
Ah, my bad. I hadn't seen the finalized version of the set, let alone that TU.
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Re: VCU Trash Discussion

Post by Cheynem »

Yeah, I was dickering with it during playtesting and it was a touch short, so I put in one deep cartoon clue at the beginning to make it longer, which had the unfortunate problem of making it obvious it was Pokemon.
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Re: VCU Trash Discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater »

This tournament was a delight to play and I hope that it has upped my trash cred lololol
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Re: VCU Trash Discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater »

To change tack for a minute, the leadin to the water tossup also applies to carbon dioxide, whose supercritical form is also a hallmark of green chemistry and can be used for oxidation.
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Re: VCU Trash Discussion

Post by Cheynem »

Is this actually referring to a trash tossup or is it just in the wrong thread?
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