Writer’s Block, Harry Potter 7.2, & A “New And Original” Trivia Format: I’ve Seen And Judged Them All!
Thursday July 14th 2011, 10:10 pm
Filed under: Denver, Family, Me, Myself, and Reid, RestauRants, Sodapopcornculture

I’ve been having a hard time writing for awhile. I don’t know why exactly. I love writing and it has definitely helped me get through the past several years. I suppose it’s some sort of writer’s block, which is really just a broad term that means, “I’ve been having a hard time writing for awhile. I don’t know why exactly.” I have always believed–and have always told others–that the best way to get around writer’s block is to simply start writing. It doesn’t matter what the words say or where they go. Just write.

Unfortunately, the one big problem I can identify seems to be more of an editorial problem, as evidenced by the 22 blog entries in the “drafts” folder. Or those four drafts in the trash from this week alone and the countless entries trashed before this week. So my follow up advice to myself right now is “just post.” I’ll keep trying to figure out what the other components are to this blockage, but in the meantime, right now, here’s a blog entry that’s not going to end up in draft limbo or the trash… no matter what.

I’ve got some catch up to do and I’m going to start small: the past two days.

Yesterday afternoon, my folks and I attended a special pre-release screening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2. This was the third or fourth Harry Potter pre-release I’ve been to since getting sick. Each of them has been a fundraiser for There With Care, an organization the helps families of children with critical illnesses by doing everything from making meals for the families to finding them convenient housing. They’re really amazing.

I thoroughly enjoyed the film. It is much faster paced than its predecessor, beginning with the quick final scene from the last film, and launching at Nimbus 2000 (NERD!) speed from there. The emotions I felt reading the story were the emotions I felt watching the story on the big screen. I was very pleased with this, as some of the previous films in the series have seemed to lack the strong emotions conveyed in the books. Together with Part 1, this is a very good adaptation of the book. There are differences between the book and the movie, of course, but I think most of them worked very well for this different medium.

I try to approach movies based on books as one might approach the Gospels. They tell the same story, but in different ways. That doesn’t mean I’m not a little sad or bothered when something I particularly liked in the book doesn’t wind up in the film adaptation, but in general, I do my best to consider them as two distinct works. There is one thing I missed from the book, which was the story of Dumbledore and Grindelwald. This was a huge part not only of the book, but of the series. It redefined Dumbledore by showing his flaws and weaknesses, and eventually revealed his greatest strengths. I wish this had been integrated into the two films.

I have a strong suggestion for anyone who is going to see this movie. As someone who has read all the Harry Potter books, I’ve always wondered if the movies make any damn sense to people who haven’t ever read the books. With this movie, some of the people I attended the movie with, despite having read the book, still had some problems reconciling some plot details because they didn’t remember them. I highly recommend re-watching Part 1 before seeing Part 2 if you can. They really are one long movie, so Part 2 doesn’t take much time to re-explain anything.

It’s a great movie and I hope you find it as satisfying an ending to the series as I did!

Two night ago, despite missing half our regular contingent, my folks and I set out to play trivia. We called in my Aunt Stacy’s reliable-at-knowing-things family to join us, and we were set. We arrived at the DTC Tavern, full of confidence about our familiar trivia game that we’ve been attending for over two years. How naïve we were. Or, to put it another way: How naïve were we? Very naïve.

Almost as soon as we sat down, we noticed that everything was different. The format of the game. The host. Even our regular waitress was nowhere to be seen. Our team name came easily: WE FEAR CHANGE. The new host, a man named Orion, thought this was just a funny dig at him. It was not. It was genuine fear that the game we’d grown to know and love over the past few years had been transformed into something from a completely different and alien universe, where people have names like “Orion” instead of “Dan.”

However, our fear quickly faded as we realized this newfangled trivia was strikingly similar to another game we’d played. No, not Red Rover. That’s a good guess, though. Here’s a hint: it starts with a “Geeks” and ends with a “Who Drink.” That’s right, you got it: the coincidentally Denver-based, much more successful, nationally renowned (or at least infamous in many states) Geeks Who Drink!

There were several corporate bigwigs (who were young and hip, but still bigwigs) in attendance, observing the totally “new and original” format of their trivia game. When asked, they denied that their innovative new pub quiz bar trivia had anything to do with Geeks Who Drink. I’m certainly not saying that Geeks Who Drink own the concept of pub quizzes or bar trivia or obscure and twisted questions about the 80’s or anything. However, the similarities were pretty hard to miss, in that it was exactly the same as Geeks Who Drink with two differences:

1) Scoring. There’a nothing like a joker to double your points and in the last round, you lose points for wrong answers.

2) Dignity. As players, you are not constantly insulted or berated.

My dad pointed out that the Quizmaster Trivia Host was not ceaselessly tormenting anyone or crushing people’s spirits, abilities required of Geeks Who Drink quizmasters and quizmistresses. That whole dignity thing was pretty nice, I have to say. It was almost enough to make me forget I was taking part in blatant copyright infringement. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed myself and will gladly go back (after all, I’m no stranger to *ahem* allegedly infringing on copyright myself). But the prizes–previously money towards dinner and drinks, have been changed to things that are not money towards dinner and drinks–shook me out of my dignity-inflicted stupor.

I’m not going to tell Geeks Who Drink that their well-developed homegrown copyrighted quiz format has been blatantly ripped-off. But somebody will eventually. And then what? We’ll walk into the Tavern one night and there’ll be a new trivia format that’s even newer, scarier, and crazier: we’ll have to answer in the form of a question.


3 Comments so far
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As a former quizmaster, I’ll have you know that not all quizmastering is necessarily dignity-crushing. My quizzes were distinctly huggable, not unlike a Secret Circus show.

Fewer juice boxes, though.

Comment by Dave 07.15.11 @ 11:08 am

Were you an official Geeks Who Drink quizmaster? Because if you were, I think you might have been doing it wrong. Of course, I’ve never been an official quizmaster of any kind; I’ve only been insulted by lots of them. So this is based purely on observation.

Surely, you were at least vulgar and offensive, right?


Comment by Reid 07.15.11 @ 12:22 pm

For the record, I agree completely on you Harry Potter assessment.. (assesment? asessment? ass-is-mint?)

Comment by Doc Gallo 07.27.11 @ 8:29 am

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