Geek Fight!

Geek Fighting is Manila’s latest sport. What’s a book geek to do? :D

(First published in Manila Bulletin, Students and Campuses Section)

The trivia culture has invaded Manila!

Pub quizzes, the quaint British tradition of publicly matching wits and exchanging useless information over drinks and bar chow, have been a great addition to the social scene around the city. On any given week, you’re bound to find one or two trivia showdowns in bars around the metro, and for geeks such as myself, the glory of being the geekiest of them all proves to be difficult to resist.

I’d heard about Geek Fight for some time now, and I’d always intended to join, as I’ve never been known to back down from any geeky challenge. So when I chanced upon the Facebook page calling for an all-Pinoy Geek Fight Friday of last week, I was determined to give it a good try.

On Friday night, the ragtag team I assembled met up at the Quantum Café in Makati for what (save for two of the members) was our first foray into Geek Fight: me, my cousin Dianne, our book club friends Czar and Marie (a writer and a geodetic engineer), my office’s finance officer Ate Chi, my lawyer friend Ryan (also a political science teacher), my long-time friend Joseph (who works in advertising), and his pal Norman (a banker).

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Flash Reviews: Book Trivia

(I’m back! Sorry for the lack of new entries last week — was on a business trip up north, and there simply wasn’t time to blog. Here’s an entry I’ve wanted to do for a long time now, and will (hopefully) resume regular blogging this week.)

If you’re joining a book trivia contest (like I did), or if you’re a sucker for trivia (like I am), or you simply love books (like I do), trivia books about books are great for cramming in some literary trivia and finding more good books to read.

In the couple of weeks leading up to the Ultimate Book Geek finals, I managed to pore through a bunch of literary trivia books, and they were a big help in the contest. Here’s a quick run down of the books I read, in capsule reviews, as they’re just too many to review individually!

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I am the Ultimate Book Geek

As promised, here is the full account of the Book Geek experience, published Feb. 27, 2010, Manila Bulletin Students and Campuses section:

I am the Ultimate Book Geek
by Blooey Singson

I eat, live, and breathe books – ask those who know me and they can tell you as much.

I read over 200 books a year, maintain a blog devoted solely to books and reading, add half a dozen books to my collection every week, trade books with readers from all over the world, discuss books on both online forums and face-to-face book club meetings, and storm bookstore sales and warehouses with equally bookish friends.

So when I saw the announcement for the Book Geek contest on the Fully Booked website, I knew I just had to join. Little did I know that there were bigger things in store for me many months later.

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More Book Geekiness

Remember when I won Book Geek of the Month last year?  Well, today they gathered all the monthly finalists once again for one final showdown: The Fully Booked Ultimate Book Geek Challenge!

I had to miss this month’s book discussion (and The Shadow of the Wind is a favorite of mine, too!) but it turned out to be very well worth it — I ended up taking home the title of Ultimate Book Geek.

I won’t spill the details just yet — am writing an article about it for the Saturday issue of Manila Bulletin (Students and Campuses), so the story will have to wait until then :)

2010 is shaping up to be another awesome year of books!

Ultimate Book Geek -- receiving my certificate and the whopping grand prize from Fully Booked's events manager Ms. Aimee Diego

Book Geekiness

This is a long over-due post on my Book Gook Geek experience over at Fully Booked last month.

… hehe, here’s the new and improved banner:

A bunch of Flipper friends and I joined the Book Geek challenge, our second time actually, because we are suckers for book trivia and free books and a shot at P5000 worth of Fully Booked gift certificates (just under $100).

The actual contest went by in a blur to me, so I’m borrowing my cousin Dianne’s (she has her own book blog now too by the way, which recounts bargain book hunting adventures) recap of the event, and also her photos:

Blooey and I arrived at Fully Booked High Street at around 3 PM. We went straight to the fourth floor, only to find the venue completely empty (which was unsurprising, since we were about 30 minutes early). We decided to kill time by browsing around and gazing longingly at books we would never buy at full price. I kept asking Blooey whether she was anxious or excited, and she just shrugged and replied that she was “ok”. I think I was a lot more anxious than her.

At exactly 3:30 PM, we returned to the venue and registered. Joel G was already there, together with one other non-Flipper contestant. We were offered frozen raspberry shakes from Bo’s Coffee (one of the sponsors of the contest), which we gladly accepted. As we slurped our yummy creamy raspberry shakes, more people started to file into the room. One of them was a strange lady with big curly hair who later introduced herself as Madam Dementia. Turns out she was the host of the contest.

The contest proper was supposed to start at 4 PM, and around this time, more or less 10 contestants had shown up. Other Flippers who participated were Joel G and Marie. As Madam Dementia started to explain the mechanics of the contest, Honey arrived, barely making it past the cut-off time. Due to the brevity of last month’s contest, Fully Booked decided to change the rules a bit. The contestants were seated in a circle and were to pick out numbers (corresponding to book-related questions) from a bowl. However, in contrast to last month’s “sudden death” rule (i.e. you fail to answer the question correctly, you’re eliminated), contestants could either skip the question or pass it to another contestant. Should the person decide to skip the question, he/she has to answer 2 questions correctly in the next round to avoid elimination. If the person decides to pass it instead, he/she selects another person to answer for him/her. But if that person gets the question wrong, both of them will be eliminated. Contestants can only use pass and skip once.

Honey, me, and JoelG

This newly implemented rule was shamelessly abused the moment the first question was asked. The contestant was asked, “What was the crime in ‘Crime and Punishment’?” She decided to pass the question to another contestant, who also decided to pass it to the person sitting beside him, who passed it to Joel G, who passed it eventually to Honey. Just imagine the absurdity of the situation – 5 people faced elimination with just the first question. Luckily, Honey – the Classics expert/book lover extraordinaire/Literature goddess – hit the nail on the head by answering with, “Murder”. Several people remained in the contest (even several rounds later) thanks to her.

Marie answers a question

Honey’s turn

The funny thing was, despite Honey’s vast knowledge in all things bookish, she managed to draw questions regarding relatively unfamiliar territory – Harry Potter. Which was ironic because her downfall became Blooey’s saving grace. The same was true for Marie, who completely forgot the name of the street where the Dursleys lived. And so, after several nerve-racking rounds of questions about Harry Potter, Little Women (whoever created the questions was obviously a fan), The Count of Monte Cristo (ditto), Narnia, The Little Prince, Jane Eyre, Perfume (where the Flippers all laughed conspiratorially when Blooey was asked, “What is the one thing Jean-Baptiste Grenouille cannot smell?”), chick lit, popular thrillers, Pulitzer Prize winners, authors’ initials, pseudonyms and what not, Blooey and Honey made it to the Top Three.

There was a short break for everyone to catch their breath (the “sudden death” round lasted for about an hour). Afterwards, the Top Three contestants were each given white boards and markers. The rules were simple. Questions would be drawn by the judge and a point would be awarded for each correct answer. Whoever gets five points first wins the contest. The first question was drawn, and to Honey’s horror and Blooey’s delight, again, it’s Harry Potter-related (What was Lily Potter’s maiden name?). For the first round, only Blooey gets it right. The next question was about E.B. White, which all the contestants answered correctly. Another Harry Potter-related question pops up, (What is the title of J.K. Rowling’s late
st book?), which Blooey and Honey answer correctly. The final question, as luck would have it, was about Twilight. (What was the name of the book that was most often mentioned in Twilight?) When Blooey and Honey revealed their white boards, they had different answers. Honey answered, “Pride and Prejudice” and Blooey went for “Wuthering Heights”. In the end, Blooey had Heathcliff to thank as she was declared Book Geek of the month.

Lily Evans!

Tales of Beedle the Bard

I really wasn’t sure, but the gamble paid off!

Checking my answers…

The prize consisted of Fully Booked GCs worth P5,000, Outback GCs worth P750, plus a random book. Other contestants were also given random books as consolation prizes. Pictures were taken and congratulations were given out as Blooey was now eligible for the Book Geek finale this November. Meanwhile, Madam Dementia invited the other contestants to join next month’s contest, as they were all still eligible to win.

with Madame Dementia

With Beth and Honey, who were in the top three with me

Book geek!

There you go. The final competition is in November, hopefully I can cram more book trivia in by then.

Hahaha, I was so indebted to Harry Potter, I used part of my book geek winnings to buy another book for my collection. Watch out for tomorrow’s post :)