Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Old college threads.
Locked
Strongside
Rikku
Posts: 475
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 8:03 pm
Contact:

Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by Strongside » Tue Apr 20, 2010 1:47 am

Edit: Updated Google Doc Version: http://docs.google.com/View?id=dfgxr8s3_77gt2snmhk

I also attached a new copy of the word document of the changes with the title updated comp guide qb.doc

Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at Quiz Bowl)

Getting Better at Quiz Bowl.

Hey. So with ICT and ACF Nationals completed, and with three high school national tournaments coming up in May and June, I figured now would be an appropriate time to finally post this. I say finally because I first started working on this in August of 2009. The actual content of this guide is attached as a word document, and I also posted links to a google doc/website where it is also located. (The google version isn’t formatted properly, so if you want to see it in its original format read the word document). I can also e-mail it to people if they want.

Here are those links:

https://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=0AcA2 ... 1ocg&hl=en

https://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=0AcA2 ... ZneA&hl=en

This is one way to give back to the “quiz bowl community.” Writing this up is sort of similar to writing a side tournament. When this is completed, it will be like a miniature autobiography.

If you have questions or things you want me to talk about, e-mail me, pm me, or post in this thread, and if the questions/comments are reasonable I will make sure to address them.

There are also a few more things I might add eventually to this. I made a note of this in a few places. It was originally going to be longer, and I was planning on posting it in mid to late May, but then I decided to post it now. Also I didn’t edit this like I would a paper, so if it has errors, things that don’t make sense etc. that is why.

Also, if you read this make sure to keep in my mind that I am kind of a weird dude.

Here is an outline of what I will talk about.

Links to posts on hsqb that I think are useful/interesting/insightful

Detailed summary of my past quiz bowl experiences

Various principles/theories of quiz bowl

Question Archives/the importance of old tournaments

Getting Better at Specific Subjects

Differences in Preparing for NAQT/ACF

Some techniques I used to get better

“Real” vs. “fake” knowledge

What I like about quiz bowl, and what annoys me

Why I think quiz bowl is great

What to look for in college quiz bowl programs

Quiz Bowl Stories

Robots

Best tournaments to look over if you want to improve

Stuff about me that isn’t quiz bowl, but loosely pertains to quiz bowl, and that I think is interesting.

And a bunch more
Attachments
updated comp guide qb.doc
(167.5 KiB) Downloaded 329 times
comp guide better at qb!!!.doc
(158.5 KiB) Downloaded 401 times
Last edited by Strongside on Thu Apr 22, 2010 10:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Brendan Byrne

Drake University, 2006-2008
University of Minnesota, 2008-2010

User avatar
Cheynem
Sin
Posts: 6613
Joined: Tue May 11, 2004 11:19 am
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by Cheynem » Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:14 am

I actually like a decent amount of what Brendan has to say, but one thing I do disagree with. For those who do not know me, I did not play collegiate quizbowl for six years after I graduated from high school. I remember last year not doing very well at all at hard tournaments like Minnesota Open and ACF Nationals. This year, I had satisfying buzzes at both of those tournaments and felt pretty happy with my performances. The big thing that helped me in this was the fact that I wrote a decent amount of questions for tournaments I helped edit or packets I submitted. For example, at MO, I answered questions on The Idea of Order at Key West and Scylla, both of which I had written questions on for other tournaments. At ACF Nats, I answered questions on Brian Mulroney, The True Story of Ah Q, Mrs. Warren's Profession, Virgil Thomson, Catal Huyk, the Rum Rebellion, A Fable, John Major, Our Man in Havana, Folkways, the War of the Regulation, Strange Interlude, Loas, and Minos all because I had written questions on them for other tournaments (including one for my own side event). For those of you interested in improving at quizbowl, I highly recommend writing questions and also writing on things that you don't know very well.
Mike Cheyne
Formerly U of Minnesota

"You killed HSAPQ"--Matt Bollinger

User avatar
Auroni
Auron
Posts: 3002
Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2007 6:23 pm
Location: Brooklyn

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by Auroni » Tue Apr 20, 2010 3:03 am

This was an interesting read. I naturally disagree with some of its main points, such as its implication that intellectual curiosity is "optional" in the process of getting better at quizbowl and that writing questions is unhelpful (at hard tournaments, a vast majority of my satisfying buzzes were on things I've written questions on before), it is enlightening to see the different ways with which others approach the game.
Auroni Gupta
UIUC
ACF

User avatar
tiwonge
Tidus
Posts: 745
Joined: Sun Mar 19, 2006 5:54 pm
Location: Boise (City of Trees), Idaho

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by tiwonge » Tue Apr 20, 2010 4:21 am

I must have missed this part:

What to look for in college quiz bowl programs

It's something that interests me here, trying to build the program.
Colin McNamara, Boise State University
PACE
Idaho Quiz & Academic Teams

User avatar
grapesmoker
Sin
Posts: 6365
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 5:23 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Apr 20, 2010 11:38 am

There's a lot of interesting stuff in here; I'll probably have a few comments eventually, and maybe even my own quizbowl memoir.
Jerry Vinokurov
ex-LJHS, ex-Berkeley, ex-Brown, sorta-ex-CMU
code ape, loud voice, general nuissance

User avatar
Down and out in Quintana Roo
Auron
Posts: 2907
Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2008 7:25 am
Location: Camden, DE
Contact:

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Tue Apr 20, 2010 1:19 pm

This thing is really long, but i like it and i'm going to recommend it to my high school players.

I like the conversational tone that it takes and its ease to follow. I can't imagine any 15-year-old reading one of these from Dwight or Zeke or something.
Mr. Andrew Chrzanowski
Caesar Rodney High School
Camden, Delaware
CRHS '97-'01
University of Delaware '01-'05
CRHS quizbowl coach '06-'12
http://crquizbowl.edublogs.org

Strongside
Rikku
Posts: 475
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 8:03 pm
Contact:

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by Strongside » Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:10 pm

Okay. So I am glad that people seem to have liked this for the most part so far. I will probably make some changes/edits to it eventually, and will note that when it happens.
Brendan Byrne

Drake University, 2006-2008
University of Minnesota, 2008-2010

User avatar
dxdtdemon
Rikku
Posts: 387
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2007 4:46 pm
Location: Beavercreek, OH

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by dxdtdemon » Tue Apr 20, 2010 3:02 pm

I would like to see you specify which attributes of playing bridge are beneficial for quizbowl.
Jonathan Graham
Beavercreek HS 1999-2003, Ohio State 2003-2007, Wright State (possibly playing)2012-2015
moderator/scorekeeper at some tournaments in Ohio, and sometimes elsewhere
"Ohio has a somewhat fractured quizbowl circuit, with a few small pockets of intense competition (like in Mahoning County) and with the rest scattered around the state."-Chris Chiego

User avatar
Sir Thopas
Auron
Posts: 1330
Joined: Tue Mar 28, 2006 10:10 pm
Location: Hunter, NYC
Contact:

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by Sir Thopas » Tue Apr 20, 2010 3:06 pm

grapesmoker wrote:maybe even my own quizbowl memoir.
i41 can't wait to read From Bear to Buzz.
Guy Tabachnick
Hunter '09
Brown '13

http://memoryofthisimpertinence.blogspot.com/

User avatar
Cheynem
Sin
Posts: 6613
Joined: Tue May 11, 2004 11:19 am
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by Cheynem » Tue Apr 20, 2010 3:09 pm

The one thing I really like about it is that it uses concrete examples a lot--sometimes "how to get good at quizbowl" things seem so abstract, and this document helps to really show how even simple practices or mental exercises can help out in big games. What I also liked is that it shows that getting good is a process--people don't just suddenly get good or great or even capable, it's a lot of work.

I'd be interested in hearing about interesting things other people do to improve at quizbowl or remember things. I know Bruce was talking last night about his memory devices to help him remember stuff like battles or councils. What I do on flights sometimes is try to write lists of stuff--usually, it's silly stuff like Oscar winners or things, just to keep my mind fresh. I also do vice presidents or losers in presidential elections (this helped me to get that tossup on Adlai Stevenson the elder, although it again caused me to invent a fictional presidential election year for the tossup on the election of 1892). These rarely help in concrete forms during matches, but I think keeping your mind active is a good thing.
Mike Cheyne
Formerly U of Minnesota

"You killed HSAPQ"--Matt Bollinger

User avatar
Mechanical Beasts
Banned Cheater
Posts: 5673
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:50 pm

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Tue Apr 20, 2010 3:21 pm

From high school, "could real cats patch cops' clothes?" still reminds me of the major layers of the sun. As does "never take heroin, and please make acid" for the Five Good Emperors.
Andrew Watkins

User avatar
Skepticism and Animal Feed
Auron
Posts: 3182
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2004 11:47 pm
Location: Arlington, VA

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Tue Apr 20, 2010 3:27 pm

Cheynem wrote: What I do on flights sometimes is try to write lists of stuff--usually, it's silly stuff like Oscar winners or things, just to keep my mind fresh. I also do vice presidents or losers in presidential elections (this helped me to get that tossup on Adlai Stevenson the elder, although it again caused me to invent a fictional presidential election year for the tossup on the election of 1892). These rarely help in concrete forms during matches, but I think keeping your mind active is a good thing.
I used to do this a lot. It was fairly helpful.
Bruce
Harvard '10 / UChicago '07 / Roycemore School '04
ACF Member emeritus
My guide to using Wikipedia as a question source

Strongside
Rikku
Posts: 475
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 8:03 pm
Contact:

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by Strongside » Tue Apr 20, 2010 4:02 pm

Colin: It's in page 24 in the word document. It's kind of hidden, so sorry about that. I also talk about it here. viewtopic.php?f=28&t=9734

Jonathan: Basically they are very similar in my experience. Bridge is sort of like quiz bowl for older people in some ways. I started both activities in the same year. I wasn't good at either at first, but I worked at it and improved, which was a sort of theme in what I discussed. Both activities require concentration, time and effort to improve, teamwork, fighting hard when one is down, etc.

Question Writing: So I though about this a little more. Both ICT and ACF Nationals had a surprisingly high number/proportion of things that I had written questions on in the last year or so. I think question writing depends on how you approach it. The reason for this is that when I write questions I tend to write on things I already know a few things about, so I will generally mention those, and then try to find other clues. The problem is a lot of instances I make little to no effort to remember the stuff I just learned/looked up. As I mentioned, I have written tossups on several things that I thought were unlikely to be tossed up, and then were tossed up, although as I mentioned, my results on these tossups (a small sample) isn't very good.
Brendan Byrne

Drake University, 2006-2008
University of Minnesota, 2008-2010

User avatar
... and the chaos of Mexican modernity
Rikku
Posts: 378
Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2008 9:30 pm
Location: Orlando, Fl

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by ... and the chaos of Mexican modernity » Tue Apr 20, 2010 9:31 pm

Hey Brendan thanks for posting this. It's quite an excellent if not superb guide.
Zach Foster
North Myrtle Beach High School class of 2009
George Mason University class of 2013

PennySalem
Lulu
Posts: 35
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 5:31 pm

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by PennySalem » Wed Apr 21, 2010 2:50 pm

If you look at old packets, is it important to look at bonuses?
Penny Salem
Novi High School

User avatar
Rufous-capped Thornbill
Tidus
Posts: 711
Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2009 5:03 pm

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by Rufous-capped Thornbill » Wed Apr 21, 2010 3:50 pm

PennySalem wrote:If you look at old packets, is it important to look at bonuses?
I learn more from bonuses than tossups.
Jarret Greene
South Range '10 / Ohio State '13 / Vermont '17
Member, PACE

Strongside
Rikku
Posts: 475
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 8:03 pm
Contact:

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by Strongside » Wed Apr 21, 2010 4:56 pm

PennySalem wrote:If you look at old packets, is it important to look at bonuses?
If I'm going to look over/practice on a tournament I will look at both tossups or bonuses (obviously assuming the tournament has both).

When the Minnesota team practices we generally alternate tossups and bonuses (even if the tossup goes dead, we read a bonus).

If I look over a tournament on my own, I will generally look it over by packet, and go on to the next packet (alternating tossups and bonuses throughout the tournament). I also like to look over the packets in the order I played/practiced them on (if i played/practiced on them).

So if you're going to look over old packets, I would suggest looking over tossups and bonuses, but you should do whatever you prefer/find most efficient.

As for whether looking over either tossups or bonuses is more helpful for getting better, it is not something I have thought about much. They are both helpful. I hope this helps/answers your question.
Brendan Byrne

Drake University, 2006-2008
University of Minnesota, 2008-2010

User avatar
Jesus vs. Dragons
Tidus
Posts: 615
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2009 10:04 pm

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by Jesus vs. Dragons » Wed Apr 21, 2010 11:04 pm

Thanks for posting this man.
Ethan Hewett
UF 2013
Chipola College 2010
Sneads High School 2009

Strongside
Rikku
Posts: 475
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 8:03 pm
Contact:

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by Strongside » Thu Apr 22, 2010 10:32 pm

So this thing appears to have a relatively positive reaction to it. I made some changes to the original document and updated it. The updated version is noted in the first post in this thread, (I edited the post).

The changes are in blue font, so you should be easily be able to tell what I added to the document.

Also, there hasn’t been a lot of discussion, so if people have things they want to say, feel free to do so. This isn’t meant to be a demand that you comment/discuss things after reading it. I realize that this a busy time for some people for a variety of reasons, so don’t feel rushed or obligated to respond to it (I know I have schoolwork and stuff I need to start doing at some point).

If you disagree with me and want to note it, don’t feel overly shy about noting it. It would be boring if everyone agreed with each other, and even I sometimes disagree with people I tend to agree with.

Also, I agree with Paul Litvak that 2001 MLK is underrated.
Brendan Byrne

Drake University, 2006-2008
University of Minnesota, 2008-2010

User avatar
Kwang the Ninja
Rikku
Posts: 480
Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2009 3:25 pm

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by Kwang the Ninja » Fri Apr 23, 2010 12:11 am

What should you do when traveling to and from tournaments? section of the guide wrote:Andrew Hart’s 2008 Illinois Open Speedcheck [set]
Is this available anywhere? I am really interested in seeing/playing it, and it doesn't seem to be on the Stanford or Collegiate archive.
Dallin Kelson
Chipola '11, UF '13

User avatar
grapesmoker
Sin
Posts: 6365
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 5:23 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by grapesmoker » Fri Apr 23, 2010 1:04 am

Ok, so, I hope this won't come off as snarky because it's a serious question but I keep coming back to this part:
I will admit that for the most part my knowledge isn’t real. I am not close being an expert on anything. I don’t like to read adult fiction, philosophy, social science stuff, history, learn science, listen to classical music, learn about art, etc. I do stuff that like on occasion, but not as much as other players. My knowledge is very mechanical and largely manufactured, a lot like a robot.
and I'm honestly wondering: what's in the game for you? Like, why do you play it? I mean, I think most people play the game with an eye towards expanding their horizons, but it just seems like you're not really interested in that. I don't want to read too much into this but I'm genuinely curious as to what your motivations are for playing quizbowl besides the obvious fact that you're good at it. It's just odd to me since I've never met such a high-scoring player who openly professed to be uninterested in the very subject matter in which he was racking up points.
Jerry Vinokurov
ex-LJHS, ex-Berkeley, ex-Brown, sorta-ex-CMU
code ape, loud voice, general nuissance

Strongside
Rikku
Posts: 475
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 8:03 pm
Contact:

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by Strongside » Fri Apr 23, 2010 2:21 am

grapesmoker wrote:Ok, so, I hope this won't come off as snarky because it's a serious question but I keep coming back to this part:
I will admit that for the most part my knowledge isn’t real. I am not close being an expert on anything. I don’t like to read adult fiction, philosophy, social science stuff, history, learn science, listen to classical music, learn about art, etc. I do stuff that like on occasion, but not as much as other players. My knowledge is very mechanical and largely manufactured, a lot like a robot.
and I'm honestly wondering: what's in the game for you? Like, why do you play it? I mean, I think most people play the game with an eye towards expanding their horizons, but it just seems like you're not really interested in that. I don't want to read too much into this but I'm genuinely curious as to what your motivations are for playing quizbowl besides the obvious fact that you're good at it. It's just odd to me since I've never met such a high-scoring player who openly professed to be uninterested in the very subject matter in which he was racking up points.
Looking back on what I said, I suppose I might have been exaggerating a little bit. I am just different than a lot of other people in quiz bowl (and in general).

One thing I have noticed about quiz bowl is that of the top/most successful players, a good majority of them are...

1. Majoring in or are studying some type of science (this includes math, and computer science).
2. Majoring in or studying English/Literature.
3. Going to law school, graduated from law school, or planning to go to law school.

Of this list http://www.acf-quizbowl.com/current_members.php, the only members that don't fall into the above 3 categories as far as I know are Jeff Hoppes (who I believe is close to getting a PhD in history), and Matt Weiner (who I have heard has considered law school).

There are some exceptions, but this covers a lot of people. There are people with diverse backgrounds/interests in quiz bowl, but there seem to be a significant group of academic interests/majors that aren't very well represented.

I do not fit into any of those 3 categories, and I know I discussed some of my thoughts on school in the document. As I said, maybe I will look at school differently some day, or maybe even go to graduate school at some point, but I have no immediate plans to do so.

Quiz bowl has just been something I have enjoyed ever since I began doing it, and it is clear that I have approached differently than a lot of other people.

You learn things in quiz bowl that can sometimes be helpful in everyday life, and can impress random people, and make you more culturally aware or whatever.

Also, your question reminds me of something I neglected to mention. I remember that back in December you noted in the "awesome people dying" thread that the guy who inspired the movie Rain Man died.

Around that time, I looked that guy (Kim Peek) up, and watched this documentary of him on youtube. http://www.youtube.com/results?search_q ... n+man&aq=0

It would have been interesting if this guy had played quiz bowl, because I have a feeling he would have been the ideal quiz bowl player because of his memory.

Hopefully that clears things up a bit.
Brendan Byrne

Drake University, 2006-2008
University of Minnesota, 2008-2010

User avatar
Mechanical Beasts
Banned Cheater
Posts: 5673
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:50 pm

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Sat Apr 24, 2010 8:08 pm

I wanted to stop by to disagree with your argument that bonuses favor generalists because you can choose what tossups to buzz on.

1) You can't quite choose what tossups to buzz on: you have to buzz on a bunch of them, particularly if you're playing a good opponent. You actually have very little choice: if you're playing a team with Jonathan and Eric on it, you can't (to a great extent, at least) buzz on lit or science.

2) I don't have specialist knowledge of physics or biology. I have better knowledge of both than almost all teams I end up playing; I get those tossups a lot in games against people who aren't Gautam, Eric, Mike, Jerry, and Seth. I get those tossups, and that's the end of the story: all I needed, to get everything I could out of those tossups--in the majority of rounds--was to know epsilon more about the subject than my opponent. I didn't need specialist knowledge as long as my opponents weren't better generalists. But on bonuses, I fall way, way behind. I get tens and occasional twenties on nationals-level biology, Eric gets thirties and twenties. That's a huge difference, and my knowledge of biology, when our team gets a biology bonus--in order to be a net positive--has to be better than our opponent's average knowledge of the subjects they draw bonuses in. My generalist knowledge fails me on bonuses, even though it allows me to convert tossups.

I think there are strong arguments to be made for the power of a generalist on a team with multiple specialists; I can't tell you how many times Dallas pulled an answer, usually a named equation from thermo or something I'm especially weak on, that I couldn't and got us an extra ten points on a bonus. But I don't think that bonuses systematically favor generalist players over specialists; I think they do the opposite.
Andrew Watkins

Strongside
Rikku
Posts: 475
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 8:03 pm
Contact:

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by Strongside » Sun Apr 25, 2010 12:12 am

Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:I wanted to stop by to disagree with your argument that bonuses favor generalists because you can choose what tossups to buzz on.

1) You can't quite choose what tossups to buzz on: you have to buzz on a bunch of them, particularly if you're playing a good opponent. You actually have very little choice: if you're playing a team with Jonathan and Eric on it, you can't (to a great extent, at least) buzz on lit or science.

2) I don't have specialist knowledge of physics or biology. I have better knowledge of both than almost all teams I end up playing; I get those tossups a lot in games against people who aren't Gautam, Eric, Mike, Jerry, and Seth. I get those tossups, and that's the end of the story: all I needed, to get everything I could out of those tossups--in the majority of rounds--was to know epsilon more about the subject than my opponent. I didn't need specialist knowledge as long as my opponents weren't better generalists. But on bonuses, I fall way, way behind. I get tens and occasional twenties on nationals-level biology, Eric gets thirties and twenties. That's a huge difference, and my knowledge of biology, when our team gets a biology bonus--in order to be a net positive--has to be better than our opponent's average knowledge of the subjects they draw bonuses in. My generalist knowledge fails me on bonuses, even though it allows me to convert tossups.

I think there are strong arguments to be made for the power of a generalist on a team with multiple specialists; I can't tell you how many times Dallas pulled an answer, usually a named equation from thermo or something I'm especially weak on, that I couldn't and got us an extra ten points on a bonus. But I don't think that bonuses systematically favor generalist players over specialists; I think they do the opposite.
Yeah. You bring up a point that there isn't really any empirical evidence that can prove what I talked about. It was something that me as a generalist has felt in past tournaments (that is do better on bonuses than tossups).

The thing is that it is hard at times to distinguish between a generalist and a specialist. Where is the line between a generalist and a specialist. What about someone who is really strong in one or two subjects, but also a really strong all around player? Are they considered a specialist, generalist, or both? I say both.

It might be interesting if someone were to write an all bonus side tournament, have players play solo, and see how specialists, generalists, etc. do.
Brendan Byrne

Drake University, 2006-2008
University of Minnesota, 2008-2010

User avatar
Skepticism and Animal Feed
Auron
Posts: 3182
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2004 11:47 pm
Location: Arlington, VA

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Sun Apr 25, 2010 12:36 am

Bonuses, at least at higher levels, require very deep knowledge to get all 30. On a random history bonus, I dare say that I have a much better chance at unilaterally getting a 30 than do Andrew Yaphe or Jerry Vinokurov, though they would destroy me in any 20/20 head-to-head matchup because of the existence of non-history/rmp/other science categories.

Of course Jerry or Andrew have a better chance of 30'ing a random bonus than I do, but this is an unexciting instance of the principal that people who know more thins will get more points.

I can think of a few tournaments last year where Harvard A had a higher bonus conversion than objectively better teams like Brown (e.g., ACF Regs 2009, though we ended up beating Brown in the final but come on Brown was clearly the better team that year). I think this is tried to the fact that Harvard A at the time consisted of 3 specialists and a freshman generalist. This probably led us to get more 3rd parts than a team based on generalism.

Since Harvard A is really the only major team that relies on multiple specialists as opposed to an all-powerful generalist, comparing Harvard's bonus conversion to other teams might be one way of getting empirical data.
Bruce
Harvard '10 / UChicago '07 / Roycemore School '04
ACF Member emeritus
My guide to using Wikipedia as a question source

User avatar
Mechanical Beasts
Banned Cheater
Posts: 5673
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:50 pm

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Sun Apr 25, 2010 2:22 am

Though I'd caution against straight-up comparisons, given that last year we were two sophomores, a freshman, and a 2L. Other teams have multiple graduate students in their third or later year. Their bonus conversions are helped by sheer experience!
Andrew Watkins

Strongside
Rikku
Posts: 475
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 8:03 pm
Contact:

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by Strongside » Wed May 05, 2010 1:36 am

I wanted to bump this. If people have anymore comments/questions about this, you can post here, or contact me privately.
Brendan Byrne

Drake University, 2006-2008
University of Minnesota, 2008-2010

User avatar
No Rules Westbrook
Auron
Posts: 1223
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 1:04 pm
Contact:

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by No Rules Westbrook » Wed May 05, 2010 8:04 pm

The bonus question is an interesting debate. I've always thought of bonuses as the domain of the generalist (and an impoverished domain no less, since I think bonuses get the shaft). Particularly the veteran generalist, who can go to the "well of past answers" and make reasonable guesses on a range of things.

Of course, specialists will get you some 30s you would never get otherwise, but I think it's rarely enough to be more valuable bonus-wise.
Ryan Westbrook, no affiliation whatsoever.

I am pure energy...and as ancient as the cosmos. Feeble creatures, GO!

Left here since birth...forgotten in the river of time...I've had an eternity to...ponder the meaning of things...and now I have an answer!

User avatar
Auroni
Auron
Posts: 3002
Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2007 6:23 pm
Location: Brooklyn

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by Auroni » Tue May 11, 2010 2:13 am

So I would like to bring attention to this part of your document.
Questions don’t magically appear. Sometimes I wish there were several new tournaments that were well written available, but that is not the case. The better-written tournaments there are the better. It’s not like a tournament like Harvard International will randomly appear.
You wrote this in a section about the future of the game . I apologize if my analysis is off-base here, but I think it is important for you to hear this. By writing this, you are giving me the impression that it is not your responsibility in any way to help shape the future of the game. You are conveying the impression that you just want good tournaments to fall out of the sky to help yourself.

Haven't you considered that this is sort of a selfish approach to have toward the game? I understand that you do not regard yourself as a good writer, that writing has been unhelpful to you, and that writing this document is your one positive contribution to the community. Isn't this sort of a needlessly precarious position to put yourself in? There is so much you can do for this game, and you want to limit yourself to this autobiography. Moreover, what is the point in explicitly stating "Questions don't magically appear" if you are 1) not doing something to remedy the situation at hand and 2) not encouraging readers to remedy this situation in your stead, if only so you could have access to new and good practice material.

Bottom line: I think that this paragraph conveys a very negative vibe in an otherwise very good and enlightening work, because it suggests that newer players should selfishly attempt to improve as much as possible from the works of other members of the community without contributing some of their own.
Auroni Gupta
UIUC
ACF

User avatar
nobthehobbit
Rikku
Posts: 293
Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2006 1:18 am

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by nobthehobbit » Tue May 11, 2010 2:24 am

Strongside wrote:Question Writing: So I though about this a little more. Both ICT and ACF Nationals had a surprisingly high number/proportion of things that I had written questions on in the last year or so. I think question writing depends on how you approach it. The reason for this is that when I write questions I tend to write on things I already know a few things about, so I will generally mention those, and then try to find other clues. The problem is a lot of instances I make little to no effort to remember the stuff I just learned/looked up. As I mentioned, I have written tossups on several things that I thought were unlikely to be tossed up, and then were tossed up, although as I mentioned, my results on these tossups (a small sample) isn't very good.
I haven't had time to read your memoirs yet, but I did want to mention something on this. I don't write much, so my experience is probably different from anyone else's in this thread, but when I do, I find it helps me to write on both things I know and things I don't know. The questions I write on things I know usually involve me looking up (depending on tournament difficulty and my prior knowledge) anywhere from none to half the question and slotting in the stuff I know appropriately. This helps me practice the more technical aspects of question writing that aren't really second nature to me. (Even stuff like pyramidality or easy-medium-hard bonus structures.) Writing questions on what I don't know is a way for me to expand my knowledge base. Maybe this goes back to your admitted lack of intellectual curiosity, though.
Daniel Pareja, Waterloo, Canadian quizbowl iconoclast

Stats zombie.
William Lyon Mackenzie King wrote:There are few men in this Parliament for whom I have greater respect than the leader of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation. I admire him in my heart, because time and again he has had the courage to say what lays on his conscience, regardless of what the world might think of him. A man of that calibre is an ornament to any Parliament.

Strongside
Rikku
Posts: 475
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 8:03 pm
Contact:

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by Strongside » Tue May 11, 2010 12:32 pm

Ice Warrior wrote:So I would like to bring attention to this part of your document.
Questions don’t magically appear. Sometimes I wish there were several new tournaments that were well written available, but that is not the case. The better-written tournaments there are the better. It’s not like a tournament like Harvard International will randomly appear.
You wrote this in a section about the future of the game . I apologize if my analysis is off-base here, but I think it is important for you to hear this. By writing this, you are giving me the impression that it is not your responsibility in any way to help shape the future of the game. You are conveying the impression that you just want good tournaments to fall out of the sky to help yourself.

Haven't you considered that this is sort of a selfish approach to have toward the game? I understand that you do not regard yourself as a good writer, that writing has been unhelpful to you, and that writing this document is your one positive contribution to the community. Isn't this sort of a needlessly precarious position to put yourself in? There is so much you can do for this game, and you want to limit yourself to this autobiography. Moreover, what is the point in explicitly stating "Questions don't magically appear" if you are 1) not doing something to remedy the situation at hand and 2) not encouraging readers to remedy this situation in your stead, if only so you could have access to new and good practice material.

Bottom line: I think that this paragraph conveys a very negative vibe in an otherwise very good and enlightening work, because it suggests that newer players should selfishly attempt to improve as much as possible from the works of other members of the community without contributing some of their own.
As for helping shape the future of the game, and limiting myself, I wouldn't say this is my only positive contribution to the game, but I will admit I haven't done as much specifically for the good of quiz bowl as some other people. I was thinking of doing some stuff in the next few months to "positively contribute" to the game, but we will see if that happens.

The main reason I included the quoted section is to emphasize the more well written tournaments, the better (more tournaments to look over, practice on, learn from, etc.)

I understand that may give off the impression that people that players, "should selfishly attempt to improve as much as possible from the works of other members of the community without contributing some of their own." That was not my intention.

The main goal of this was to talk about strategies and ways to get better at quiz bowl, and this is largely what I did. I didn't talk much about questions writing as I am not as qualified to talk about that.

When I did quiz bowl in high school, high schoolers writing tournaments wasn't as big of a thing as it is now. What I did in high school to get better, was look over tournaments, lists, etc. and I continued that in college. During my freshman year at Drake I didn't spend as much time on quiz bowl, and my sophomore year my main quiz bowl goal was going to tournaments and trying to keep the program going. When I got to Minnesota, my main goal was to improve at quiz bowl, because we had other people to help with funding, logistics, etc. I wrote/edited questions for several tournaments that we hosted, although I did not do as much of that as some of the other people on the team.

When I write questions, I generally write them as a prerequisite to play in a tournament, or to help for a tournament that we're hosting. Whatever improvement I get out of writing is more of an added benefit/bonus. If my main goal is to learn more about a specific subject, I will generally search a question archive, look it up on Wikipedia, etc, though I might end up writing a question on it at some point.
Brendan Byrne

Drake University, 2006-2008
University of Minnesota, 2008-2010

Strongside
Rikku
Posts: 475
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 8:03 pm
Contact:

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by Strongside » Tue May 11, 2010 12:42 pm

nobthehobbit wrote:
Strongside wrote:Question Writing: So I though about this a little more. Both ICT and ACF Nationals had a surprisingly high number/proportion of things that I had written questions on in the last year or so. I think question writing depends on how you approach it. The reason for this is that when I write questions I tend to write on things I already know a few things about, so I will generally mention those, and then try to find other clues. The problem is a lot of instances I make little to no effort to remember the stuff I just learned/looked up. As I mentioned, I have written tossups on several things that I thought were unlikely to be tossed up, and then were tossed up, although as I mentioned, my results on these tossups (a small sample) isn't very good.
I haven't had time to read your memoirs yet, but I did want to mention something on this. I don't write much, so my experience is probably different from anyone else's in this thread, but when I do, I find it helps me to write on both things I know and things I don't know. The questions I write on things I know usually involve me looking up (depending on tournament difficulty and my prior knowledge) anywhere from none to half the question and slotting in the stuff I know appropriately. This helps me practice the more technical aspects of question writing that aren't really second nature to me. (Even stuff like pyramidality or easy-medium-hard bonus structures.) Writing questions on what I don't know is a way for me to expand my knowledge base. Maybe this goes back to your admitted lack of intellectual curiosity, though.
This might be better suited for the Writing a Packet thread, which I think is pretty good.

It seems difficult to draw a line between writing on things you know and what you don't know. If you have heard of something, but don't know anything about it, is that something you know or don't know? If you know a few cursory things about something, is that something you know or don't know?

One thing that I haven't done much of and can be helpful is to have someone assign answers to you, and write on them. This way, you are forced to write on things you might not know.
Brendan Byrne

Drake University, 2006-2008
University of Minnesota, 2008-2010

User avatar
Cheynem
Sin
Posts: 6613
Joined: Tue May 11, 2004 11:19 am
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by Cheynem » Tue May 11, 2010 12:44 pm

We're getting afar from robot memoirs, but I am a big fan of having answer lines assigned to you. I know some people aren't, but this worked for me when I wrote some VCU Open questions and for NASAT. Even sometimes you get an answer line and you're like, "This is dumb," but then you start researching it and you learn things and lordy lordy lordy, you're buzzing on something a few weeks later. I agree that when done right, it can open up different avenues of thought.
Mike Cheyne
Formerly U of Minnesota

"You killed HSAPQ"--Matt Bollinger

User avatar
Down and out in Quintana Roo
Auron
Posts: 2907
Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2008 7:25 am
Location: Camden, DE
Contact:

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Tue May 11, 2010 1:01 pm

Cheynem wrote:We're getting afar from robot memoirs, but I am a big fan of having answer lines assigned to you. I know some people aren't, but this worked for me when I wrote some VCU Open questions and for NASAT. Even sometimes you get an answer line and you're like, "This is dumb," but then you start researching it and you learn things and lordy lordy lordy, you're buzzing on something a few weeks later. I agree that when done right, it can open up different avenues of thought.
This is something i might try with my kids for next year's team. Here're 20 tossup answers. Write questions on them. I'll bring it up at the end of the year and see what they think.
Mr. Andrew Chrzanowski
Caesar Rodney High School
Camden, Delaware
CRHS '97-'01
University of Delaware '01-'05
CRHS quizbowl coach '06-'12
http://crquizbowl.edublogs.org

Charbroil
Auron
Posts: 1145
Joined: Fri Jun 09, 2006 11:52 am
Location: St. Charles, MO

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by Charbroil » Tue May 11, 2010 5:09 pm

Carangoides ciliarius wrote:
Cheynem wrote:We're getting afar from robot memoirs, but I am a big fan of having answer lines assigned to you. I know some people aren't, but this worked for me when I wrote some VCU Open questions and for NASAT. Even sometimes you get an answer line and you're like, "This is dumb," but then you start researching it and you learn things and lordy lordy lordy, you're buzzing on something a few weeks later. I agree that when done right, it can open up different avenues of thought.
This is something i might try with my kids for next year's team. Here're 20 tossup answers. Write questions on them. I'll bring it up at the end of the year and see what they think.
Speaking of which, what are you going to do with those questions? I imagine there are any number of tournaments that would love freelance questions, so it might be cool if you decided to turn in freelance packets to those events (presumably ones your players aren't playing in), especially given that I imagine your players might enjoy knowing that the fruit of their labors is being appreciated all across the nation.
Charles Hang
Francis Howell Central '09
St. Charles Community College '14
Washington University in St. Louis '19 (President, 2017-19)

Owner, Olympia Academic Competition Questions, LLC
Question Writer, National Academic Quiz Tournaments, LLC and National History Bee and Bowl

User avatar
Down and out in Quintana Roo
Auron
Posts: 2907
Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2008 7:25 am
Location: Camden, DE
Contact:

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Tue May 11, 2010 7:19 pm

Charbroil wrote:
Carangoides ciliarius wrote:
Cheynem wrote:We're getting afar from robot memoirs, but I am a big fan of having answer lines assigned to you. I know some people aren't, but this worked for me when I wrote some VCU Open questions and for NASAT. Even sometimes you get an answer line and you're like, "This is dumb," but then you start researching it and you learn things and lordy lordy lordy, you're buzzing on something a few weeks later. I agree that when done right, it can open up different avenues of thought.
This is something i might try with my kids for next year's team. Here're 20 tossup answers. Write questions on them. I'll bring it up at the end of the year and see what they think.
Speaking of which, what are you going to do with those questions? I imagine there are any number of tournaments that would love freelance questions, so it might be cool if you decided to turn in freelance packets to those events (presumably ones your players aren't playing in), especially given that I imagine your players might enjoy knowing that the fruit of their labors is being appreciated all across the nation.
Sure, that would be cool, i'll bet they would enjoy that. I'll see what they think.
Mr. Andrew Chrzanowski
Caesar Rodney High School
Camden, Delaware
CRHS '97-'01
University of Delaware '01-'05
CRHS quizbowl coach '06-'12
http://crquizbowl.edublogs.org

User avatar
AKKOLADE
Sin
Posts: 15273
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2003 8:08 am

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by AKKOLADE » Wed May 12, 2010 2:26 pm

Cheynem wrote:We're getting afar from robot memoirs, but I am a big fan of having answer lines assigned to you.
Me too! Assigned answer lines are good.
Fred Morlan
PACE President, 2018-19
International Quiz Bowl Tournaments, co-owner
University of Kentucky CoP, 2017
hsqbrank manager, NAQT writer (former subject editor), former hsqb Administrator/Chief Administrator, 2012 NASAT TD

User avatar
No Rules Westbrook
Auron
Posts: 1223
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 1:04 pm
Contact:

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by No Rules Westbrook » Sun May 16, 2010 11:39 am

Something people who haven't done a lot of writing might not realize is how much time is spent coming up with good answers. Picking answers is a really time-consuming part of the writing process, which itself is absurdly time-consuming when done correctly.
With the exception of writing literature, choosing answers that are creative and explore new material is very hard in a lot of contexts.

Though, now that I think of it, I think this problem only sets in once you've written quite a bit. There's a time when everything's fresh and new and you're like "sure, I'll write on the Wade-Davis Bill, I haven't done that before!" Five years later it's more like "bleh, I've already written a tossup on Caleb Cushing!" I understand that you can write a bunch of unique tossups on the same subject, but when I write, I tend to like to try to learn everything I can about that subject and be done with it. I don't wanna be coming back four months later - I figure I'll do one tossup on the Wade-Davis Bill in my life, and by golly, use it as the opportunity to learn everything I care to know about the subject. Like I said, literature is always a bit of an exception, because there are so many authors, titles, etc.
Ryan Westbrook, no affiliation whatsoever.

I am pure energy...and as ancient as the cosmos. Feeble creatures, GO!

Left here since birth...forgotten in the river of time...I've had an eternity to...ponder the meaning of things...and now I have an answer!

User avatar
tiwonge
Tidus
Posts: 745
Joined: Sun Mar 19, 2006 5:54 pm
Location: Boise (City of Trees), Idaho

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by tiwonge » Sun May 16, 2010 5:35 pm

I keep a text file on my computer (laptop, which is nearly always with me) of things that I think would make good questions to write later, or that I want to learn more about to write. This way I don't forget later on--"what was that thing I thought would make a good question?"

I agree that it would probably be harder later, once I've exhausted this list. Also, this list is skewed towards things I'm interested in, or have some familiarity with. There's less on the list of subjects I either have less familiarity with or am less interested in.
Colin McNamara, Boise State University
PACE
Idaho Quiz & Academic Teams

User avatar
Skepticism and Animal Feed
Auron
Posts: 3182
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2004 11:47 pm
Location: Arlington, VA

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Sun May 16, 2010 8:08 pm

What I write is frequently determined by what clues I discover. I'll be reading something, find an amazing clue, and think to myself "OH MY GOD, I absolutely have to share this clue with quizbowl!" Then I think about what question I could write where that clue would be a lead-in.
Bruce
Harvard '10 / UChicago '07 / Roycemore School '04
ACF Member emeritus
My guide to using Wikipedia as a question source

Strongside
Rikku
Posts: 475
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 8:03 pm
Contact:

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by Strongside » Sun May 16, 2010 10:28 pm

Yeah, I think that Ryan brings up a good point that choosing answers takes a non-negligible amount of time, especially in certain situations.

Also, once could write a common link tossup on Wade Davis (the bill, the anthropologist, and the baseball player). I don't think that's been done.
Brendan Byrne

Drake University, 2006-2008
University of Minnesota, 2008-2010

Strongside
Rikku
Posts: 475
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 8:03 pm
Contact:

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by Strongside » Thu May 20, 2010 9:14 pm

So it's been a month since I posted this. I am glad there has been some discussion, but I was hoping there would be a little more discussion. I would specifically be interested in hearing if anyone has any more strategies/tips to improve at quiz bowl, or share some stories/anecdotes like I did. I realize this is a busy time with the end of the school year, and high school nationals, so if people want to wait until after then to post, that is fine. Also, the player poll has some interesting discussion that pertains to this. viewtopic.php?f=9&t=9915

I will say that one of the main reasons I posted this that I do not think I explicitly mentioned is because quiz bowl (at least for me, and presumably others) is a lifestyle and a way of life. Some people might think of quiz bowl as just an activity or a silly trivia game, but I feel it can provide a lot more. This may sound silly, but quiz bowl has the power to change and drastically improve lives.

An random example of one reason I like quiz bowl is something that happened earlier today. I was at Birch Bark Books, a Minneapolis bookstore owned by Louise Erdrich. It is a small bookstore that has an American Indian theme, but also other books (Erdrich is a an American Indian, and she wasn't at the store when I was there today). There was a copy of Too Loud a Solitude by Bohumil Hrabal. There was a handwritten note by Erdrich below the book that said something about it being Kafkaesque, and was her favorite book of 2009 or something like that (it wasn't published in 2009, but maybe that is when Erdrich read it, I don't remember the exact reading). If not for quiz bowl, I would be unlikely to know Hrabal was, but because of quiz bowl, I knew who he was.
Brendan Byrne

Drake University, 2006-2008
University of Minnesota, 2008-2010

User avatar
Cheynem
Sin
Posts: 6613
Joined: Tue May 11, 2004 11:19 am
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by Cheynem » Thu May 20, 2010 9:45 pm

There are a number of ways in which I think quiz bowl has helped improve my life. Here's four of them:

1. Retention. In a collegiate life, there are times when remembering things proves to be really helpful. There was one American History course as an undergrad I just owned because it was all about remembering things. On a more serious level, I like when I can answer questions on things that relate to my own field of study because it shows I remember it well. On a more abstract level, I think playing quizbowl improves sort of memory and thinking skills that make it easier to do research and create annotated bibliographies and the like.

2. Enjoyment. Grad school, as I'm sure most people can attest, is pretty tough and stressful. It's pretty cool to hang out a few times a week and sometimes on weekends with people for an enjoyable activity. Quizbowl has also brought me in contact with a number of people I'd call a community of friends, which I've found to be essential for collegiate survival.

3. General Intellectual Curiosity. Like Brendan said, it's fun to be able to intelligently know about authors and historical events and the like. Here's my random example: I was watching the MST3K episode "The Starfighters" and there's a scene where an Air Force officer flips a coin. The joke is "It's heads every time! Rosencrantz and Guildernstern Join the Air Force!" It was pretty cool to be able to understand that joke.

4. Improvement of General Work Habits. Like any sport or organized activity, quizbowl promotes strong work habits. Knuckling down and writing packets/tournaments/questions can be stressful, but here's a good story: after spending hours on MUT, my own research paper doesn't seem so bad anymore.

I'm not sure how much of this made sense, but I think it is why I consider quizbowl important to me.
Mike Cheyne
Formerly U of Minnesota

"You killed HSAPQ"--Matt Bollinger

User avatar
Sir Thopas
Auron
Posts: 1330
Joined: Tue Mar 28, 2006 10:10 pm
Location: Hunter, NYC
Contact:

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by Sir Thopas » Thu May 20, 2010 9:51 pm

Strongside wrote:An random example of one reason I like quiz bowl is something that happened earlier today. I was at Birch Bark Books, a Minneapolis bookstore owned by Louise Erdrich. It is a small bookstore that has an American Indian theme, but also other books (Erdrich is a an American Indian, and she wasn't at the store when I was there today). There was a copy of Too Loud a Solitude by Bohumil Hrabal. There was a handwritten note by Erdrich below the book that said something about it being Kafkaesque, and was her favorite book of 2009 or something like that (it wasn't published in 2009, but maybe that is when Erdrich read it, I don't remember the exact reading). If not for quiz bowl, I would be unlikely to know Hrabal was, but because of quiz bowl, I knew who he was.
I hope you bought that book. I just read it a couple of days ago; it's fantastic.
Guy Tabachnick
Hunter '09
Brown '13

http://memoryofthisimpertinence.blogspot.com/

Strongside
Rikku
Posts: 475
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 8:03 pm
Contact:

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by Strongside » Thu May 20, 2010 10:03 pm

Sir Thopas wrote:
Strongside wrote:An random example of one reason I like quiz bowl is something that happened earlier today. I was at Birch Bark Books, a Minneapolis bookstore owned by Louise Erdrich. It is a small bookstore that has an American Indian theme, but also other books (Erdrich is a an American Indian, and she wasn't at the store when I was there today). There was a copy of Too Loud a Solitude by Bohumil Hrabal. There was a handwritten note by Erdrich below the book that said something about it being Kafkaesque, and was her favorite book of 2009 or something like that (it wasn't published in 2009, but maybe that is when Erdrich read it, I don't remember the exact reading). If not for quiz bowl, I would be unlikely to know Hrabal was, but because of quiz bowl, I knew who he was.
I hope you bought that book. I just read it a couple of days ago; it's fantastic.
I didn't buy it, but it's a short book so maybe I will read it someday.
Brendan Byrne

Drake University, 2006-2008
University of Minnesota, 2008-2010

User avatar
bmcke
Wakka
Posts: 235
Joined: Sat Apr 18, 2009 1:47 pm

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by bmcke » Thu Jul 15, 2010 9:39 pm

Brendan:
What's an example of something you're interested in that you first discovered through quizbowl?
VCU thing. I don’t know much about it, but as far as I know people read a packet. After each question or so, they talk about things, look at stuff online, and search archives. I have done this on my own, but have never done so in a group. If anyone wants to expand on how this works, and how helpful it is, feel free to do so.
Can someone do this? This sounds really interesting.
Brendan McKendy
University of Ottawa 2011
Ontario QBA 2019

Strongside
Rikku
Posts: 475
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 8:03 pm
Contact:

Re: Quiz Bowl Memoirs of a Robot (A Guide to Improving at QB)

Post by Strongside » Fri Jul 16, 2010 12:36 am

What's an example of something you're interested in that you first discovered through quizbowl?
I would not say that I have a really strong interest in a specific subject because of quiz bowl. I will note that it has helped me learn more about history, and give me a better idea of what has happened in the past. It can also help if one is at an art museum, because they are more likely to know what works/artists are important. If I am in a bookstore, I might recognize a book or author because it has come up in quiz bowl.

It can also be helpful if you are talking to someone about a subject they know a lot about it, and that you don't know much about, but have cursory knowledge of it. People might be impressed that you have above average knowledge in their area of expertise.

In general, quiz bowl has expanded my intellectual base, and I suppose it has made me more observant in certain situations.

An example of this was during my senior year of high school in 2006, I was putting books in boxes at the house of a retired classics professor, because the professor was planning on moving. As I was helping move the books I found a book that included a written letter that George Bernard Shaw had written to the professor's father. While Shaw is considered one of the most famous playwrights of all time, I am pretty sure I didn't know who he was before I was in high school, but learned about him because of quiz bowl. If I didn't know who he was/how important he was I might not have noticed or ignored the letter. I showed the letter to the professor, and the professor said something like, "I was wondering what happened to that," and seemed glad that I found that.
VCU thing. I don’t know much about it, but as far as I know people read a packet. After each question or so, they talk about things, look at stuff online, and search archives. I have done this on my own, but have never done so in a group. If anyone wants to expand on how this works, and how helpful it is, feel free to do so.

Can someone do this? This sounds really interesting.
It seems as if you are asking an open question to other people, but I will try to answer this. Say if an answer/topic/subject comes up, you can learn more about it my searching for it in question archives, old questions, online, in a book, talk with people about it etc.

I just remember hearing that the VCU team tried something like this, but I do not know much about it.

I hope this answers your question.
Brendan Byrne

Drake University, 2006-2008
University of Minnesota, 2008-2010

Locked