Meet Your Quizmaster
Every first and third Friday of the month. Interviews by Dallas's foreleast quizmaster, Jason Guynes!
Take a peek behind the host with our in depth interview series with the men and women who help run Geeks Who Drink each and every week! Click Here to see a list of who we've already interviewed!
Today's Episode of MYQM comes straight from Beantown, from a time in the far distant past, some two weeks ago when we were still prepping our livers for Geek Bowl. I picked Tyler Crosby's brain (or rather, what was left of it after Jeopardy! had its way with him) to see what really made him tick, and here's what I found out.
Hey Tyler! Tell me - How long have you been with Geeks Who Drink? I need to know what I'm dealing with here.
A little over a year - my first quiz was on October 30 2013, the night the Red Sox won the World Series. So that was an interesting first quiz.
How did you even...
It's not a big sports bar, but people were there to watch the game. We ended up just playing the game audio rather than music and skipping Rounds 2 and 7. We were done by the 6th inning.
I fumbled my way through an NBA Finals game with the same format.
One of my training quizzes with Ryan Bersani was during Game 1. That was nuts.
So before all this started, were you a quizzer beforehand?
No, actually. I saw that Geeks was hiring in Boston and jumped on it - I'd always wanted to do something like this. I went to my first GWD quiz the day before my audition.
Did your first quiz dig its claws into your brain like some bird of prey?
Well, I've always been a trivia nut, so I was ripe for the picking, as it were. I really enjoyed the format - funny, quick, lots of questions and not too much waiting. That first quiz was just two of us and we did *very* poorly, but yeah, I was pretty sold.
You did poorly? Someone told me you were on Jeopardy! once. (Ed. note: It was him.)
I was! Just the once.
On a scale of 1-10, how much do you hate jazz music now?
Easily a 15. I can still feel the panic and creeping dread I felt standing there during FJ. Thinking to myself "wait, this is a music question about baseball and I have no f-ing idea what the answer is?!?!?" The other low point was never having opened The Great Gatsby to page 5 and missing a Daily Double because of it. If that one thing had been different, I would have had a runaway going into Final. I ran into my AP Literature teacher at some point afterwards and told her she owed me $15,000. She still hasn't paid up, surprisingly...
Regardless, you made the show, which is a feat in and of itself. That test is hard.
It was a dream of mine, to be sure, and I try to remind myself that just getting there was a huge accomplishment, but it's hard to not be just a little bitter about it. Going at age 24 was maybe a tactical error.
So Jeopardy! isn't paying the bills, and I assume Geeks isn't either. What's your day job?
I'm an underemployed attorney! I work for my alma mater (Northeastern University School of Law) developing some content for a new online degree program. I have a few private clients, but right now I'm working towards perhaps starting my own business teaching acting to lawyers.
Interesting. Do you have a theater degree?
Not a degree, no, but a lot of experience and training.
Well, they are meaningless. I have one - it's totally useless.
Heh. Yeah, I sussed that out early on. Performing was my first love, but I figured out when I was a kid that I prefer being able to, you know, buy food. So I pursued the theater as a hobby rather than a job. Maybe it has turned out well?!?
I've been able to get back into community theater after law school, which is great. Tech week is about the only thing which gets me to miss quiz.
I've considered doing it quite often, but Geeks fills the performance void enough.
Not for me, man. It's a great outlet, but I need more.
So having a law degree, what do you consider your quiz strong suit? Is it stuff related to that, or just other knowledge you've amassed across the years?
Definitely other knowledge. Despite my nerd credentials, sports is probably my strongest category, but the only thing I'm really bad at is music. Pop, classical, you name it, I suck at trivia about it. Like, I recognize a lot of songs, but am pretty bad at telling you their titles and artists.
So you go by "Renerdssance Man" as your blog handle on our site. Any significance to that?
It's the name of my blog (PLUG: www.renerdssanceman.com), where I write a bit every day about something I learned that day. Been going for about two years now! I started it to force myself to go out and read and write something every day, and it stuck. The name just came in a flash of brilliance, I'm quite fond of it.
Does writing it down help you retain that knowledge? Is that part of it?
That's probably part of it; I definitely found that to be the case taking notes in law school. More than that though is just making sure my writing skills stay sharp generally. Hah hah! Case! Get it? IT'S A PUN!
How do you not win every court case?
I mean, that's what I tell people.
Except that's not what I tell people because that would be unethical. You hear me out there, Board of Bar Overseers?
Your latest Renerdssance Man post is about Jackie Chan, on how he's an accomplished singer.
That blew me away.
I actually already knew this, in spite of not knowing most things - I read his biography, "Jackie Chan - My Life In Action". It sounds like such a weird book to read, but he has had a fascinating life.
It certainly seems that way; from opera school as a kid to being a martial arts movie star? That's some range. I have a whole new level of respect for the man.
With all this random knowledge floating around in your brain and your blog, should I consider you more geek than drink? Or are you a closet alcoholic as well?
I probably fall on the geek side, but don't get me wrong: I enjoy my craft beer and single malt too.
Any particular beers demanding your attention right now?
Hmm... let me think about that for a minute.
I think mostly right now I'm stewing about the fact that winter beers are already giving way to spring ones. I'm a dark, malty beer person, so the spring and summer are just vast wastelands of beers I don't like. It's especially annoying considering Boston is under about 6 feet of snow right now with more on the way -- it is decidedly still winter.
I always feel like seasonal beer is an arms race. Pumpkin beers start rolling out in August now, it's ridiculous!
Definitely. My house is a 15-minute walk from the Sam Adams brewery, so we see the beers change really quick. It's nice in August when the fall beers start, but really tough round about now when it becomes wheat beers and IPAs as far as the eye can see. One beer in particular that I tried recently is the Embrr Rye Porter, from Ithaca Beer Co. (my hometown brewery). Really good. Nice to see them do something which isn't an IPA.
So you've been around long enough to have a weird quiz experience - is there one in particular you'd like to share? Or just a fun/memorable one?
I had quiz the day before my birthday this past year, and my quizzers brought me cupcakes and flowers. It was adorable. I've always wanted to be the subject of a cult of personality, and now I am.
That's awesome. I don't have even the slightest following. And I can guarantee you that no one knows me well enough to remember my birthday.
Oh, they didn't remember it, I told them ahead of time that I expected presents and bribes. I just didn't think they'd go through with it.
That still counts though! We've got a lot of themed quizzes coming up this year. What subject would you like to host (or play) if it were entirely up to you?
Hmm.... that's a tough one. I'm pretty excited about the Parks and Rec quiz coming up after Geek Bowl. Also, this would never ever happen, but I would love a Survivor theme quiz.
Oh shit! Now we're talking. The problem is, as soon as I watch a season of Survivor, I completely forget anything about it.
I fell off watching the show for years (I watched from the beginning up through... Russell's first season, wherever that was) but started again for the first Blood vs. Water. Rob Cesternino (of Amazon and All-Stars fame) does a podcast about it which is pretty good.
I love it, man. Great strategy, really interesting psychology, and it's just fucking good TV. I finally got Stephanie into it for the last season, and we just rewatched S1, which was mind-blowing.
Season 1 sounds painful to rewatch. Dr. Sean voting alphabetically?!
I KNOW. It was so great to watch the first words out of Richard's mouth be "I've already won, they should just give me the million bucks right now."
I've heard really great buzz about the new season.
I haven't heard anything, but it's gotta be premiering soon, I'd imagine.
Feb 24? Somewhere around there.
Anyway, yes, Survivor theme quiz. A team gets voted out after every scoring break.
The lobbying starts next weekend at Geek Bowl.
You, me and JWarr.
You'll be there next weekend - will it be your first?
Yes, this GB is my first. I'm really excited. Oh, that reminds me... I should learn that dance for the opening number.
I haven't looked at it either. Don't worry, Dicker doesn't read this. So if you could host a QFAC for any organization, what would that be?
A few possibilities jump to mind. MassVote does nonpartisan voter outreach, education, and election reform advocacy here in MA. They're a fantastic organization I've done work with before. Any organization doing civil legal aid I'm sure would love to have the support, as would any of the community theaters I've worked with. And Planned Parenthood League of Mass -- my partner works there and they've had QFACs before, including one coming up in the next few months.
All noble causes indeed! Any advice you want to give to new hosts?
Relax, read the quiz ahead of time, and get a mic stand. My mic stand has made hosting and scoring *so* much easier and more efficient. I forgot mine last week and was all flustered.
Do you have a tall one or a little one that's supposed to go on a table?
A tall one. My table is so small that a little stand would defeat the purpose by taking up too much room.
I bet that's fun to lug around!
Luckily my Wednesday venue is three blocks from my house, so it's not too bad...?? Bringing it on the train to my Thursday venue (or to work with me, depending on scheduling) will be more interesting.
For sure. Any other final thoughts? Like I said, it's your show.
I'll just say that this is the best job I've ever had. The very first thing I ever said I wanted to be when I was a kid was a game show host, and now I am one! Living the dream.
See Tyler live out his dreams at Centre Street Sanctuary on Wednesdays and Blackstone Grill on Thursdays.
We're back with a fresh Meet Your Quizmaster! This one comes Straight Outta Austin... or like, the northern suburbs of Austin. Let's just say Hill Country. And the leader of the Hill People is none other than Gerald Dudley, who was kind enough to spill his guts to me. Read on!
Alright, let's get this show on the road. You're Gerald from Houston and you host at...?
I'm actually from Austin, and I host at Rogness Brewing Company in Pflugerville on Thursday nights.
Snap, I thought you were H-Town! Now I don't have to hate you.
If I lived in Houston, I might hate myself. Sorry, folks who live in Houston, but your city is a mess with all the heat and humidity. Good natural history museum, though. Also good beer. I'm drinking a Karbach Mother in Lager, right now, so they've got that going for them. (Ed. note - it was like 11:30 AM at the time. On a Tuesday.)
You mention Rogness Brewing Company - does that mean you just get to drink all kinds of specialty craft beer while you host?
Truthfully, I usually have only one or two beers when I host, but yes, I do drink good stuff. It's stuff that's brewed right there in the brewery itself, by Forrest and Diane, and their employees, Zack and John. Nice folks, all of 'em.
That's a pretty fortunate setup!
I limit myself when hosting so as not to wear out my pipes, and because also, duh, I gotta drive home. So I basically have a beer at the beginning of quiz, and I've usually not had anything in the final hour or so. I generally host about as sober as a Mormon, truthfully. The more I drink, the more distracted I get, and my brain is all over the place anyway.
So how long have you been with Geeks?
I have been with Geeks since October of 2013. I got a quiz about two weeks after my audition.
Were you an avid quizzer first?
Yes, totally! My wife and I regularly destroyed the quiz down the street from our apartment in Brighton, Massachusetts at Devlin's. We played as The Hackensack Mackerels, which was a tribute to jokes or phrases from our fathers. I can explain said jokes, if you would like.
I won't stop you.
Hackensack Mackerels was a combo of a couple of things. Deirdre (that's my wife and partner, who kicks ass and is a leukemia survivor, more on that later) used to ask her Dad where her Mom was whenever her Mom went out for errands, and he had a couple of stock answers. One was, "She just went out for a short beer," and the other was, "She has roller derby practice." He went so far as to tell Dee that her mother's roller derby name was The Heavy Handed Hackensack Mamma. And my dad uses a great many phrases, some of which are common, and some of which he invents - but one of them is "deader than a mackerel." So we combined the two, because it's got a nice cadence. Anyway. I have a story or anecdote about damn near everything.
Yeah, this interview is probably just going to conduct itself most likely.
My therapists have given me similar feedback.
What's your day job? I assume Geeks doesn't pay all your bills.
Nope. I work in the beer aisle at Whole Foods Market in the Domain. My unofficial title is Beer Dude. I work for the Beer Princess, Teresa Mikulastik, who is a badass lady. Lucky to have her as a supervisor and friend. I'm also going to start a freelance consultation service for businesses. Someone will pay me money, and I'll spend a day with them, and the following day, I'll tell them exactly how much they're full of shit, and how to fix it.
I'd do that for free! I mean, the first part.
I have a great name for it, but I don't want anyone to steal it.
You can share it here. No one reads this.
No Bullshit Consulting & Workflow Analysis. I'm gonna put that on a business card. I should get a Vistaprint order in, and soon. Also, I'm gonna be sending this to everyone I know. I've never been interviewed to this degree before!
I was going to ask if you're more geek or drink, but if you're the beer dude, should I even bother?
Well, I'm definitely more geek, but here's the rub: I'm most a geek ABOUT drinks. I'm planning to do my Cicerone certification soon. It's like being a sommelier, but for beer.
Nice. So what do you normally drink, beer-wise?
It varies, seasonally. I tend to go for what's local, and of limited availability.
Recommend a good winter warmer.
I love most anything aged in a bourbon barrel, don't listen to anyone who says that trend is played out, they're all delicious. The Rahr & Sons Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer tastes like a milk chocolate butterscotch bourbon sauce. It's fantastic. I remember the first time I had it in 2007 or 2008, still one of the best things I've ever tasted. The Sam Smith Winter Welcome is always a good choice, if you don't want something aged in a barrel. Avery Old Jubilation is good, too, and you can age it for a year or so.
We could just talk about beer for the rest of this interview, you do realize that...
Yep. It's my job. I could also talk about space exploration, electric engines, sustainable energy, feminism, video games, comics, food, construction, movies, music, the state of education, blah blah blah...
Let's keep it light.
Good point. It's a Geeks interview, after all.
You chose your alias as Professor D on your Geeks blog. Any significance there?
It's my Twitter username, X Box handle, and other things as well. It's a nickname given to me by my Uncle John when I was younger. D because my last name is Dudley, Professor because I was the type of kid who corrected my teachers, or expanded on the lesson they were trying to teach.
Nice, so I take it you geek out about things other than beer?
Oh yeah, I geek out about geeking out! I was just having a conversation about this with a new friend the other day, that if I met someone who said, "Actually, my hobby is that I modify blenders, my reaction would be, "Please tell me more about this." Once, in a coffee shop (the sadly long departed Panther City Coffee House, to be exact), I listened to a guy talk about tattooing for an hour and a half. I do not have any tattoos, but I still recall information from that conversation to this day. But yeah, I'm into anything in which someone has cultivated an intense passion.
Any weird or fun quiz experiences to share (as a host, of course)?
Well, there are three dogs that regularly come to my quiz. And we don't have food regularly, so people order pizzas. I've not had anything terrifically unusual happen at quiz, though John did almost spray me and my equipment with a fermentation tank drainage hose last week. It came VERY close to dousing my laptop. I would not have been happy.
What music do you prefer to play in your quiz playlist?
Interesting you should ask. The other night, when we had that round on pioneering women, I realized that I had very few lady musicians in my playlist, which I deemed unacceptable. I consider myself a feminist, and I take that seriously. But sometimes that stuff sneaks up on you without you realizing it. Anyway, this last week I used Spotify to play all women musicians. I had at least one quizzer go, "What's with the lady jams?" but in a good way. I had Kelly Clarkson, Lily Allen, Lady Sovereign, whole buncha others. Gonna do that for a while, then go more 50/50, strike a balance. Gonna work some Freezepop in there, too! Discovered them at PAX South this weekend.
Do you have a dream themed quiz? Like, if you could host on any subject, what would it be? Dream big.
Well, I can't reveal, but I'm getting a pretty good one soon. But I would love to do a quiz based on classic stand-up comedy, and do the whole thing as George Carlin.
Hang on, hang on. ... I would host a quiz ON THE MOON. And people would answer questions to which I only know the answers and the losers would be EATEN BY GALACTUS.
I would host a quiz for all the deities in the universe! And I would get Buddha ripped on shots! Jesus would dance on the tables!
Didn't you submit some weird ideas on our internal themed quiz subject poll? I remember not even knowing what it was and I had to look it up. Then again, I thought you were from Houston so maybe I'm thinking of someone else.
I think I just went with Legend of Zelda? I forget what the other one was.
LoZ would be great! Alright, I think we all know the answer, but what is your ideal QFAC beneficiary?
Already had it - We had a QFAC for Deirdre's leukemia treatment at Black Star Co-Op in Austin. Evan Boston hosted, Kavi Kardos kept score, and we raised about $1350. And then John Dicker, because he's a motherfucking sweetheart, had Geeks match that donation. Even with insurance, without stuff like that in 2014, we'd have been in deep shit financially. I can't think about it too much or I'll cry about how generous people have been. I still have a lot of thank you emails to send. And stories to write as donation rewards from our GoFundMe.
I don't see you as a good meth cook, so yeah, I can see how it would have a huge impact.
I told Dee that she was not allowed to start cooking meth just because she had cancer. Actually, she wouldn't watch Breaking Bad with me. Said the idea of the show was too stressful.
I'm with her on that.
Having now watched the entire series, I cannot say that she was wrong on that point. Can I just throw out again that my wife and partner is the coolest and I love her a lot? It's sappy, but true. Also, hi Mom.
I realized it's clear that I don't like my wife nearly as much as you like yours and it's starting to make me uncomfortable.
I'm just effusive.
Or maybe you married a bad ass!
She IS pretty bad ass. She couldn't work with flowers during her treatments, which sucks, because she's a florist. So in the last couple of months, she's taught herself how to crochet flowers from yarn. She's unstoppable.
We're getting towards the end here. Just need you to be prepared for that. Do you have advice for new hosts?
Yeah, get organized! Buy a pencil sharpener. When it comes to bonus questions, don't wait for people. Say, "I'm gonna read the bonus in 15 seconds," and then DO IT. They'll learn. Keep an eye on pacing, color commentary is great and creates some lovely moments, but it can make the quiz run long.
If you're fun enough, no one really cares if you're ten minutes over, but still. If you have a venue owner who actually promotes your shit, TREASURE THEM. Bar owners are the worst.
Bar owners can be the worst. Unless they're reading this, then they are specifically not part of the bar owners we're talking about.
No, not at all! And Dianne and Forrest, at my venue, are GREAT! They tweet out the quiz before I do! They're causing me to have to raise my social media game! But others can be horrible, yes.
Understand that you will have quizzes that will fail, and it will not be your fault. Quizzers will follow you to another bar. Leave old bars behind. Learn servers' names. Learn people's names in general.
Any other final thoughts? I think we're at the end.
If you don't have a cast iron skillet in your kitchen, then what the hell are you even doing? Love people, be kind, keep on rockin' in the free world, and fight the patriarchy. Also, fuck GamerGate.
Find Gerald at Rogness Brewing Company in Pflugerville on Thursdays at 7 PM.
This week's Meet Your Quizmaster is a 2-for-1 thanks to the husband-and-wife duo of Stefani Thomas and her husband Josh. (Stef is an OG Geeks host, so I gave her first billing.) We discuss furries, little people, and Josh made sure to fit in a shameless Geek Bowl plug. Read on!
Hey guys! Let's dive right into the questions. How long have you been with Geeks Who Drink?
Stefani: 3 years, 14 weeks. Jesus.
Not even Jesus has enough cheeks to turn to be a suitable quizmaster.
Josh: I’ve hosted a little over a year… though I’ve been a QM hanger-on for as long as Stef has been a QM.
How did you first hear about GWD?
Stefani: In the old days, when all our friends were still promising us they wouldn’t have kids, we played bar trivia. It was the awful, inferior kind- 20 questions, 20 songs, all the time in the world to google stuff in the bathroom…except this was before really smart phones so the googling took forever. Someone mentioned there was a different format, one that required you to actually KNOW stuff, and we gave it a shot. We got hooked, played at some venues where we did a fair job dominating the winnings, had our asses handed to us at Geek Bowl 5 (FUCK mariachi’s covering Michael Jackson songs btw), and watched QMs browbeat people into submission. I’ve been browbeating my husband for 16 years so I thought I could handle the gig.
Josh: Much like Stef said. We had been playing another trivia format for a while before we realized that it was pretty basic. Once we stumbled on the GWD style I knew there was no going back. If for no other reason than GWD QM’s tend to have much better musical taste than some of the “Trivia” company hosts. At one point we were playing 2-3 times a week
So, other than Geeks, what pays the bills at the Thomas household?
Stefani: My job during the day is to build up a super human immunity to croup, flu, lice, bed bugs… I work as an elementary school secretary.
Josh: I am a Cyber Security Analyst by trade. I’ve been doing that kind of work for the last 13 years and it’s been interesting to see how the industry has evolved. It can be fairly solitary work so hosting quiz gives me just enough people interaction for the week. I also am a Psychological Operations Specialist in the Army Reserve a big part of that requires face-to-face interaction with potentially hostile crowds. I find that this parlays in to the life of a QM as well.
No doubt. I think Geeks might be able to employ its own Psychological Operations Specialist. So tell me about your blog nicknames. I always like asking about this because I usually learn something about you. What exactly does “Who the hell moved my vagina” mean?
Stefani: It’s a vague TV show reference. Back to those days when I was a quizzer, there was an episode of “Raising Hope” – Cloris Leachman has a fake beard on, I believe for the Christmas special actually. She looks at her face in the mirror and thinks her vagina has been moved there. We felt this was infinitely funny and had previously gone by such clever monikers as “We suck at team names” so we made the switch. I also suck at nicknames.
I watched the entirety of Raising Hope and just barely remember that, even after being reminded. Vague indeed!
Josh: My blog nickname is Wurm Boy. Long story short, I had pin worms when I was a child. Often times in order to positively identify pinworms the Dr. will have you stick a piece of scotch tape to your anus before you go to bed at night and if there are worms stuck to the tape when you wake up in the morning… you have worms. Stef uses this as an example of unconditional love and has shared this story with other QM’s on multiple occasions… Thus Worm or Wurm Boy (I thought Wurm looked more exotic) was born.
I now regret asking! One thing I noticed is that you guys host separate nights (and Stef twice a week), which means three nights out of the week, one of you is hosting but the other isn’t. Is that ever a difficult schedule to maintain?
Stefani: Well first off, Josh is the good spouse in this relationship, so he attends most of my quizzes. But I should also state that both of my quizzes have an excellent beer selection which usually results in no money actually being made when he is in attendance.
I think the key to not losing money as a quizmaster is to hosting at a bar with a crappy beer selection. You knew I would ask at some point - Are you more Geek or Drink?
Stefani: Drink. It took playing quiz a lot to develop a taste for beer… I was drinking Coors Light or Colorado Bulldogs (uh, yum) and began to broaden my horizons. I also have a bizarre need to hoard things and “win” at finding rare stuff (let’s not talk about the beanie babies and the unfortunate wingless “Quackers” fiasco) so finding rare beers and storing them in my basement has become a past time Josh and I have really gotten into.
My geek side is probably more centered on old (and possibly bad) horror movies, or reading about the occult and fantasy/mythology. I can quote along to all the words in the movie “Ghostbusters” and have seen “The Last Unicorn” …a lot.
Josh: 100% undoubtedly Drink. I love beer, collect beer, and on average probably spend at least 2-3 hours out of my day discussing beer with people. We have easily spent a small fortune on building up our beer collection. Honestly, I don’t think I have much of a “Geek” side, at least not in the traditional sense. I’m not in to video games, Sci-Fi,TV shows, Comic booky stuff. I’ve never had the attention span for those things. I do geek out about music though and I’ve got a solid collection of different musical instruments.
What is your weirdest quiz experience?
Stefani: Without a doubt, it was subbing in Boulder. Colorado people will just say, “Well of course, it was Boulder.” But, I was promised a chill night with some quiz loving hippies and instead found myself battling hordes of hippies who just wanted to see a jam band playing next door, a “little person” who refused to wear her shoes and actually said on more than one occasion, “It comes in pints?” and then a guy got his face kicked into a curb. It felt like an episode of “Twin Peaks”.
+2 Geek Points for anyone who picked up on the Lord of the Rings reference there.
Josh: So this isn’t directly related to playing or hosting a quiz per se nor is it all that weird but I stopped in at a venue that I was scheduled to begin hosting at a few nights before our opening night. It was primarily a live music venue and was sort of off the beaten path. I walk in, take a seat at the bar, order a beer at the bar, and introduce myself to the bartender. Meanwhile, there is a band rehearsing on the stage in the corner of the venue. At this point it is basically myself, the band, the bartender, and maybe 2-3 other people in the space. The bartender at one point leans over and says to me, one of the people on stage is in the Lumineers. Having heard of the Lumineers but not really knowing any of their music, I was like “Oh, that’s neat”. About 45 minutes later another Guy and Girl walk in to the bar and walk over to the stage to talk to the band. Turns out they were in the Lumineers too. So that happened.
What about your most fun quiz experience?
Josh: In my mind it’s an obvious answer. Anytime you get to travel for Geek Bowl is always pretty awesome. I worked as a Chaperone in the spectator section the first year in Austin (Prior to being a QM) and that was a pretty sweet deal. The crowd was pretty laid back and I got to watch the entire “show” from the opening number until the end. I love to travel and Austin is a damn fine city. I don’t know… this GB coming up is positioned to be pretty awesome. Who doesn’t want to spend a long weekend in a Casino!
Stefani: I’ve had a lot of fun quiz nights- that’s the good thing about quiz…even when I don’t want to go, the right mix of songs come up, the right jokes are made, and the right “wrong” answers are given and everything just kind of clicks.
You don’t want to go to quiz sometimes? I think I’m going to have to edit that out. Do either of you have a dream private event?
Josh: I think a PE at a Furry Convention would be fun. Probably breaks some Furry Code of Conduct but I’d try to cajole the losing team in to shedding their costumes.
There’s probably various kinds of shedding happening at any furry convention. What about a dream Quiz for a Cause?
Josh: Alright, serious response time I guess. I’d love to host a QFAC for any Veteran related cause.
I’m supposed to have some sort of quippy response here, but I’ll just say “Thanks for your service!” instead if that’s OK with you. Stef, what topic would you love to host as a themed quiz?
Stefani: A few years ago we did a music quiz. Pretty broad topic, but I would love to play, let alone host, a hardcore/punk quiz.
Can either or both of you give me some advice to pass along to some of our newer hosts?
Stefani: Try to keep things natural- you already have a script of questions so creating a script of jokes is just overkill. Get a really, really good playlist. More Wesley Willis, less Journey. Don’t be a dick for no reason. Sure, we aren’t to be fucked with but I have never seen a positive result come of acting like a dick. Of course, I’m not big enough to stomp anyone’s trachea, but I could pull hair or pinch really hard if push came to shove.
Josh: Take deep breaths and relax. I had no clue that there was so much multi-tasking involved with being a QM, it can be a bit overwhelming at first but try not to get too bogged down. It’s supposed to be fun and if teams hear you having fun, it’ll help them have fun. Don’t take things to personal either, you are going to have bar patrons and staff who aren’t in to quiz for whatever reason. It’s probably because they have a few extra chromosomes but don’t let them ruin your good time.
I have to agree with Stef on choice of music playlist too, I think it’s really important and in my opinion you have to look at it with some objectivity. I’d love to play Jandek all quiz long but that would drive 99.9% of the people out there crazy.
Any other final thoughts?
Stefani: Do you need anything else?
Just the acceptance of my father.
Josh: Final thoughts? I find this applicable in all facets of life: Admit Nothing, Deny Everything, and Make Counter-Accusations.
I’ll admit that you can find Stefani at World of Beer Belmar on Wednesdays and Denver Bicycle Café on Saturdays, and I won’t deny that you can find Josh at Jagged Mountain Brewery on Thursdays.
This week I sat down with the original Quizmaster of the Year, and former MYQM editor Michelle Miller. We discussed chimichangas, Supernatural, and the terrestrial form of Ursula from the Little Mermaid. (Unfortunately, I had to edit out the part about chimichangas.)
OK Michelle, so let's battle. How long have you been with Geeks Who Drink?
I actually just celebrated my 4 year anniversary as a quizmaster. Four long...grueling years.
I know actual humans that can talk to you and stuff who aren't even four years old. That's a long time.
No doubt. In liver years it's like 12.
So I'd imagine you've seen it all. How has the company changed since then?
I've seen round types come and go. Thank the geek gods that "say when" rounds are gone. The way we get our quizzes distributed has changed. They used to arrive by carrier pigeon. Now we use fancy computers.
Also, this company has grown immensely in my time here.
Besides meeting me, any highlights?
Being named Quizmaster of the Year at Geek Bowl 6 was pretty awesome.
Listen, we were going to get to that at some point.
I bring it up every chance I get. I can't help it! But as far as highlights go, I've made some pretty good friends. I suppose I've also made a few formidable enemies too.
I'm sure there's some overlap.
More than I'd like to admit.
One of the most interesting and quite often "inside baseball" things I see with Geeks is quizmaster aliases on their blogs. Yours is OG QMotY, which I guess you don't really have to explain now.
Yeah, mine is pretty much a given. QMotY as a word was actually coined by one of my first regular teams the was present when I was bestowed the honor. The first quiz back after Geek Bowl they had gotten a banner and a giant cookie made for me.
Damn. The only thing a quizzer ever gave me was a plastic triceratops. You're living the life!
Much like middle children they are willing to buy my love and adoration.
Obviously the "OG" part of your call sign is to remind everyone that you're the first.
The first, their last, their everything. I'm like original coke. There will be imitations after me, but they'll always come back to me.
Unless someone tries the other kind of coke, then they're probably done with caffeine altogether.
So you've been around for over 4 years, how did you even get started with Geeks? Was there even a presence in Fort Worth at that time?
My day job requires me to deal with bar people. One of the regulars at the bar that I work for knew the owners were trying to find new ways to bring business in so he sent me a link to geekswhodrink.com before one of our meetings. I fished around on the website and determined that it wasn't really the right fit for our bar but it seemed like an amazing fit for me. They basically asked if I wanted to get paid to drink. I was already drinking so why not get a paycheck for it. There had been one bar in Fort Worth prior to my getting hired but the bar tanked so there wasn't really even a presence here in FW but there were a few bars in Dallas.
Dallas, yuck. So you mentioned your day job. What is that exactly?
I'm an accountant for a real estate broker and a few pool halls in the area. Pretty riveting work.
I was going to say, "you mean billiard rooms" but, no, you probably really do mean "pool halls".
Technically they have the word billiard in the name. But when I'm in them I only see pool happening.
Fair enough. So besides getting cookies from quizzers, what was one of your most fun quiz experience as a host?
Probably getting to host the Doctor Who quiz during the show's 50th anniversary celebration. It was a theme quiz that I was prepared to host because of years of lonely Saturday nights as a child. Just me and PBS and Tom Baker.
Does that mean you're more geek than drink?
I don't think so. My whiskey tolerance says I'm more drink.
So you're a whiskey gal?
Most definitely. I love a good whiskey or scotch. I'm currently working on a bottle of Laprohaig 18 at the house.
I just drink rubbing alcohol, so I'm not sure what that means, but I'm sure everyone else is impressed.
Well, the ones that aren't animals are.
OK, so you had a blast hosting the Dr. Who quiz. What would you call your weirdest hosting experience?
Wow. In 4 years there have been a few.
I've got time.
The first one that stands out is the guy that would ask multiple clarification questions during a round.He would do so by walking up and standing directly in front of me.
Like there's no one else in the bar?
Like it was just me and him. He had been coming for a few weeks and I guess I just made him feel at home. When I politely (at least politely for me) asked him to not do that he got REALLY defensive and demanded an apology. I then demanded that he respect my personal space.
The second one is a story that is still told by my regular quizzers. I was hosting near TCU and had a packed house. I had about 20 teams in a bar with only 19 tables. I had one table in the entire place that wasn't playing the quiz and of course they were front and center. They also decided that they were going to compete with me to see who could be the loudest.
This sounds like a losing battle.
After getting several complaints and asking bar/waitstaff to handle the situation and getting no resolution, I took matters into my own hands. I simply asked the table to keep in down and reminded them that no one wants to be considered the ass hole table in a bar full of people. The response from the drunkest person at the table was to threaten to fight me. Aggressively threaten to fight me. I told her I was done hosting at 10 and she could wait to battle me just like everyone else does. She then waited outside the bar in the parking lot for about 45 minutes. She gave up around 9:45 and headed home.
Probably to go fight a pint of ice cream, if I had to guess.
She looked exactly like Ursula from The Little Mermaid. I assume she was off to steal someone's voice.
I assume you've had your fair share of private events in the last four years. What would your ideal PE be? Dream big.
I waffle back and forth on this. Sometimes I think sports related with old 90's Cowboys players or something for the Mavs. Then I go back to nerdy stuff and think that I'd love to do something at our comic con in Dallas. Maybe cohost something with John Barrowman or the guys from Supernatural.
Can't believe we went this long before you brought up Supernatural.
Is this where I get to give you my Supernatural fan fiction I've been working on?
Spoiler Alert: They all end with me and Dean eating pie.
Spoiler Alert: You can catch Michelle at Zio Carlo Magnolia Brew Pub on Tuesdays in Fort Worth.