Too Much Trivia in the Pants

Another Wonderful Year in the Books

§ Wednesday, January 28, 2009 @ 2:03 AM

In less than four hours now I’ll be on a plane headed back to Minneapolis, but before that happens I wanted to write a few words here. I want to thank everyone for another great year. Our success two years ago — when we finished fifth, but appeared to have a chance at a top-three finish most of the weekend — might have given us some unreal expectations, but the truth is that I’m personally more than happy with finishing how we did because we had a blast doing it. Thank you to everyone who came from across town, across the state, or from out of state. Thank you to everyone who took off of work to be here, and thank you to everyone who squeezed in a couple hours to play with us between work and sleep. And, of course, thank you to our fabulous hosts, without whom none of this would have been possible. It sounds to me like everyone is really excited about next year, and that being the case, I see no reason why Too Much Trivia in the Pants shouldn’t return for a thirteenth year in 2010.

I managed to get photos posted from this year while I still have Internet access, so go check those out. I know that there were several people with cameras around the War Room this year, and if you have photos you want to share, feel free to e-mail them to me and I will try to get them posted as soon as I can (again, no guarantees on a timeline here, as I don’t have Internet access at home).

And so, with that, trivia officially closes for us for the year. (Yes, for those not in-the-know, trivia for our team is practically a week-long affair.) Planning is already under way for next year, and — to the best of my knowledge — the dates for next year’s contest should be January 29-31, 2010. I will try to make it back to town at some point over the next year to see all of you here, but, if not, I hope to see you when we gather again next year for Great Midwest Trivia Contest XLV.


Another Long Weekend

§ Sunday, January 25, 2009 @ 10:29 PM

After my last experience staying up the whole weekend back in 2006 I hadn’t planned on doing it ever again, but this year — like that year, really — just sort of happened. I’m not going to lie — I’m tired — but I think I might actually be in much better shape than I was three years ago. We definitely had our lumps this year (mostly the result of incompetent phone answerers who unscrupulously stole points from us over and over again) but whatever. Anyway, the Garrudas are coming soon, so we’re gearing up just like everyone else to sprint to the finish and still have time to hit last call tonight. And to think that this is my vacation!



§ Sunday, January 25, 2009 @ 4:28 PM

Wikipedia douchebag/trivia-asshole Halfazebra just got banned from Wikipedia for vandalism. The system works!

Mystery wikipedia editors

§ Sunday, January 25, 2009 @ 2:11 PM

Another downer for this year’s contest. Throughout the weekend, critical information for trivia questions has been edited in Wikipedia as the questions are being asked. We tracked down at least one IP from these cheaters to Lawrence University. Are the Triviamasters doing this because they are lazy question writers or are the trivia teams doing this to prevent other teams from getting the right answer?

Other trivia teams, check the history if using Wikipedia or you may be misled.

If you are the ones doing this, stop being assholes.


§ Sunday, January 25, 2009 @ 1:26 AM

We’re still having fun — don’t get me wrong — but a few things are a little frustrating this year. For one, the extremes in volume between the music and the trivia masters’ microphones is pretty annoying. Our volume control is getting quite the workout this weekend. And second, we don’t want to sound like jerks, but there is one very specific trivia master this year who, well, is pretty much intolerable. He is rude to those who come down to answer phones, he is rude to off-campus teams, he is rude to teams calling in with answers, and we can never understand what he says when he’s reading off questions and answers. Oh, and he was quite rude and most unhelpful on the complaint line. Whatever. Anyway, we’re still having fun.

Party hour

§ Saturday, January 24, 2009 @ 10:41 PM

We’ve got a ton of people here, 40s, food, and a party panda. Unfortunately, we’re sucking it up on the actual trivia questions.

Shout out to Jay and Pete

§ Saturday, January 24, 2009 @ 10:40 PM

Jay and Pete have been rocking Neverwinter Nights for most of trivia. That’s dedication.

Party Panda

§ Saturday, January 24, 2009 @ 10:30 PM

It’s party hour and the Party Panda is awake again.

Go, Trivia Pirates, Go!

§ Saturday, January 24, 2009 @ 9:44 PM

Arrrrrrrrrrrrgh!!! We ♥ you guys! Keep it up….


§ Saturday, January 24, 2009 @ 9:30 PM

The panda bear got all tuckered out from eating cigarette butts all day and fell asleep.

The Forty-Ounce Cavalry Arrived

§ Saturday, January 24, 2009 @ 7:21 PM

I think we were showing signs of fatigue, but then Sean showed up with another case of 40s and now we seem to have caught our collective second wind. Dick Enrico would be proud.

12 people

§ Saturday, January 24, 2009 @ 1:05 PM

We’ve got 12 awake and more or less sober team members right now. Also, Wisneski is here.

Not Doing So Well

§ Saturday, January 24, 2009 @ 7:30 AM

I think we’ve hit a collective wall as a team. Haven’t been getting so many right lately (of course, as I typed that we finally got one). I think everyone is getting a little tired, but we’re still going.

Seven Hours and Forty-Five Minutes…

§ Saturday, January 24, 2009 @ 5:44 AM

…is waaay too long to wait for “Africa” to make its first appearance during trivia.

“Sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti.”

It’s About Time!

§ Friday, January 23, 2009 @ 11:43 PM

The cheeseballs have finally been broken out. It’s about friggin’ time.

Hour 4

§ Friday, January 23, 2009 @ 11:29 PM

We’re only four hours in but we already reek of liquor and broken dreams.

Long, Long Questions This Year

§ Friday, January 23, 2009 @ 11:06 PM

I’m trying to type out the questions in our database as they are asked over the air, but, man, are they ever long, long, long this year! Dang….

Poised to Rock

§ Friday, January 23, 2009 @ 9:50 PM

T-minus ten minutes and counting. We stopped by the station shortly after nine and talked to the trivia masters. Grand Master Erin said they would play “2 Much Booty (In the Pants)” for us. Kick ass, sea bass!

I Just Have to Share This with All of You

§ Friday, January 23, 2009 @ 12:18 PM

Doing a little shopping for the friend who owns everything? Why not get that special someone his or her very own skyway? That’s right — an architectural firm in Minneapolis is selling an old skyway on Craigslist for $79,500. This particular skyway formerly connected the old JC Penny’s and Powers Department Stores downtown over Fifth Street before it was removed to make way for construction of the Hiawatha light rail line. I know it sounds crazy, but if I had the money I could think of about a million awesome uses for it (the ad lists some as well). You know, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and nothing says “I love you” quite like a genuine Minneapolis skyway designed by Ed Baker.

» Skyway for sale - THAT'S RIGHT - AN ACTUAL SKYWAY! [Minneapolis Craigslist]

Kinda Sorta Setting Up the War Room / Speakeasy

§ Thursday, January 22, 2009 @ 10:28 PM

Ahoy-hoy! We’re getting the War Room / Speakeasy set up as has become our Thursday-night ritual. Thereଁs not a whole lot of “setting up” going on, but it seems, amazingly, that there is not as much to set up this year. Hey, just as long we’re ready at 10:00:37 tomorrow night it’s all good, right?


Let’s Make It Official

§ Wednesday, January 21, 2009 @ 3:01 PM

For those who haven’t set eyes on it yet, here is this year’s official press release concerning trivia:

44th Annual Lawrence University Trivia Contest Puts Spotlight on the Offbeat, Little-Known

APPLETON, WIS. — Not only will Lawrence University senior Erin Watson preside over the 44th edition of the nation’s longest-running trivia contest, she will become a trivial footnote in its glorious four-plus decades history.

Lawrence’s annual 50-hour mental marathon dedicated to mindless minutia returns Friday, Jan. 23 for a weekend rife with questions and answers as obscure as they are inconsequential. And for just the second time since the contest debuted in 1966, a woman will reign over the weekend ridiculousness.

“It’s exciting,” said Watson of her position of power. She joins Melinda Young, who in 1977 served as the first female grand master. (Three other female students have served as co-grand masters, the last in 1989). “I hope to bring a little different perspective to the contest. I think all the female trivia players out there will be excited about the change.”

Watson, a studio art and English major from Milwaukee, played trivia as a freshman, but served as a trivia master the past two years. She credits her “extreme dedication” to trivia for her ascension to this year’s grand master’s chair. By tradition, she was hand-picked for trivia’s top spot by last year’s grand master, James Prichard.

“It’s not exactly a democracy,” said Watson.

Even if it is all only for fun, the logistics of pulling together an enterprise of this size and scope is daunting.

“It’s a lot of work, but it’s fun work,” said Watson, who managed to stay awake, if not completely alert, for 46 of the contest’s 50 hours last year. “The contest always presents challenges that you have to figure out as go along. I don’t know if I can make it all 50 hours this year, but now I at least have some powers of delegation.

“Trivia is a quintessential Lawrence event,” she added. “It’s an weekend unlike any over at Lawrence. A lot of what makes trivia great is the spontaneity and the unexpected things that happen during the weekend.”

Just as it has since 2006, when WLFM, the Lawrence campus radio station, switched to an Internet-based format, the contest will be webcast at

Some 350 questions of varying point values will be asked during the course of the weekend, with teams on campus and off, including some at distant locales across the country, calling in answers to a bank of phones in the WLFM studios.

For Sarah Davies, trivia weekend provides a welcome mid-winter rush.

“I love the feeling of everyone in the room working to find some stupid answer to some stupid question, but taking it all very seriously,” said the senior from Forest Lake, Minn. “Everyone needs to have some total ridiculousness in their lives, and if that’s dashing around campus at 4 a.m. to complete an action question to get 10 more points or calling museum curators in New York at 1 a.m., so be it.”

Since its founding in the mid-1960s as an alternative for students who didn’t participate in a serious academic retreat with professors, this game of questions and answers on steroids has managed to maintain its irreverent charm and quirky appeal, annually converting new students into trivianatics while bringing off-campus teams back for more.

James Breen, a senior from Cottage Grove, Wis., blindly stumbled into trivia after transferring to Lawrence as a sophomore and instantly became hooked, participating for 46 of the contest’s 50 hours last year.

“It is a weekend of sheer bliss, a rush of adrenaline and quite a bit of crazy all mixed into one,” said Breen. “It is arguably the best weekend on campus every single year. It is the one weekend where you will spend 30 or 40 hours straight with someone you might not know very well, but the need for manners or even proper hygiene are thrown out the window. Why else would this competition have lasted since 1966? It is a Lawrence University tradition that no one will forget.”

In keeping with the spirit of the contest, team names often reflect the combatants sense of humor, ranging from the self-deprecating (Baltimorons, for a team from Maryland) to the topically irreverent (Mark Foley’s Trivial Interns) to the tried-and true (Jabberwocky, which is celebrating its 30th year with the same name).

And in keeping with one of many trivia traditions, Lawrence President Jill Beck will get things rolling by asking the contest’s first question at precisely 10:00.37 p.m. Friday. Also by tradition, the final “Super Garrauda” question from the previous year’s contest will be this year’s first question. To wit: In the “Citadel of Opportunity” section of “An Invitation to the International Olympic Committee to Celebrate the XIX Olympiad at Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.” there is a photograph of a girl wearing a sign around her neck. This sign bears the name of what notable figure? Sadly, no one knew it was singer/entertainer Josephine Baker.

For most of this decade, the contest has been ruled by two teams. Student members of the Yuai community have rolled to six straight on-campus crowns, while the Bank of Kaukauna has dominated the off-campus competition, winning every year since 2001.

Count Breen among those who are looking to unseat the long-time champions this weekend. He’s part of a coalition of four residence halls whose goal is to end the Yuai’s reign at the top.

“It won’t be easy. I may not get much sleep. I may not do any of my homework that weekend, but if we can stand atop the con(servatory) steps Sunday night in victory, however, all will be worth it,” said Breen.

“Is that rational? Probably not, but it’s trivia,” he added.

See you all this weekend.


The Pants Are Back

§ Tuesday, January 13, 2009 @ 6:28 PM

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, Lawrence University’s Great Midwest Trivia Contest XLIV is only ten short days away, and for the twelfth consecutive year those titans of trivial terror known as Too Much Trivia in the Pants will be dropping anchor in Apple-town the final weekend in January to devote another lost weekend to lime-vodka shots and twelve-ounce curls. And — if there’s time — we might even play us a little trivia.

This year’s edition of PantsWire has finally been sent. If you’re still not on the e-mail list after all these years, you didn’t miss much: The War Room / Speakeasy returns to the same not-so-secret location as last year; feel free to arrive any time throughout the weekend with food and booze (especially booze); bring a computer if you’re planning on rating poo or ogling Buck Angel. Oh, and we still need 40s — Mickey’s, OE800, Colt 45, whatever.

If you need to know more, drop me an e-mail and I’ll try to get back to you. And, of course, we’ll be blogging here again and updating the score throughout the course of the weekend, so all you outsiders feel free to visit the site during the contest and see how we’re doing, leave comments, etc.

See you all on the 23rd!


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