Dr. M and I have been residents of the state of Colorado for about a week now, and last night we went out for our first proper social outing, i.e. an adventure beyond the walls of our temporary condo that wasn't geared explicitly toward the gathering of food or some other tedious errand. Okay, well, technically we went out and did a photo scavenger hunt on Saturday, but that was a Bay Area-based event so it doesn't count.
Anyway. Dr. M has been researching things to do in the area and came across Geeks Who Drink, a bar trivia operation that hosts events all over the Denver metro area (and is also available for private parties, as it turns out). Last night they had a trivia contest at an Irish pub-themed bar in Aurora, so we decided to check it out. Bar trivia veterans by no means, our experience had been limited to serving as dead weight on various teams at Berkeley's Albatross trivia nights, where the questions are so difficult that no normal human being who doesn't do bar trivia every week should be able to answer them.
The bar itself was in a very elaborate outdoor mall in Aurora that was reminiscent of Bay Street in Emeryville except that it was larger and we were able to drive there without wanting to kill ourselves afterwards (the roads leading there tended to be in straight lines, signage was manifestly adequate, turning lanes gave more than about ten feet worth of notice, etc.). There were about ten or eleven teams playing, including one group of folks consisting of a few over-served women headed by a very loud man who decided to sit right behind us and make his feelings known on every conceivable issue (more on this later).
The bartender carded me and seemed a bit flummoxed by my California ID. It turns out his flummoxment was more directed at the East Bay address on my license, as he himself was an East-Bayer (which is almost "Easter" in Piglatin) who had been living in Denver for twelve years. The trivia questions were a more digestible mix than I was used to at Albatross and at the first scoring break we were actually tied for third. At the next break we were holding third and going into the final round we were standing alone in second place. We ended up getting fourth place and here's why.
The answer sheet for each round has a joker head on it that you're supposed to circle if you want your points for that round to count double. The first seven rounds were all worth about the same number of points (most questions were worth one point), so we used our joker on a later round on which we thought we had done well. Well. Round eight was a hodgepodge round in which point values for each question ranged from one to four points, and the whole round was probably worth over twenty points. Almost nobody had used their joker before round eight, so everyone except us got double points for the final, giant round. A newbie blunder on our part, to be sure, and one that will not be repeated. Still, we (or at least I) felt soured by the experience and we didn't stick around for the photos.
Over the course of the evening the loud guy behind us took a shine to us for some reason and we ended up chatting with him. He ended up being a nice guy, who also has a home in Northern California and whose wife grew up in my Southern California hometown. He also had a Starbucks insulated coffee mug full of wine, which I feel is worth mentioning. He told us he was really pulling for us to win it at the end and was sorry we didn't.
On our way out I went to settle up at the bar and the bartender said it was on the house because we were from the East Bay. Very nice.
So, during our first (sort of) social outing we got niced up by a couple of folks from California and screwed over by a Denver-based trivia operation. I'm sure things will turn upward from here.