Friday, January 30, 2009

Empoprise-NTN High Noon - Aussie's (Austin, TX)

Yes, this is the Buzztime site featured in Michael Barnes' recent blog post.

The Buzztime site reviews do not mention greasy fries, by the way, although Yelp reviewer Camron R certainly did:

I'm guessing when you have this kind of location, you can get away with whatever you want. If you want to serve sub-par bacon cheeseburgers with sub-par French fries it doesn't really matter because you've got the beach volleyballers and captive, Embassy Suite market covered.

Aussie's own website is here, by the way.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Transferring from a defunct location

Paul Ryburn finally made it to Calhoun's, but ran into a couple of issues - one that he solved, and one that he didn't.

The difficulties come from the fact that when you join NTN Buzztime as a Players Plus member (not required, but nice if you want to keep track of your scores), you are assigned a home location. If you want to play at another location, such as Calhoun's, you need to append a three-digit code to your ID when logging in. (For example, the code for Tequila Hopper's in Upland, California is UQR; if I play elsewhere, I need to append this code.)

Paul's current home location is Sleep Out Louie's, which has the three character code "gWW."

Or, more accurately, had the three character code "gWW" - you see, Sleep Out Louie's is apparently closed.

However, Paul remembered the old code, or found out what the code was, and shared it in his blog post so that other Sleep Out Louie's patrons could log into their accounts.

But then Paul ran into Problem Number Two:

I haven’t been able to find a way to transfer my home site (and my points) from Sleep Out Louie’s to Calhoun’s, because Buzztime no longer recognizes SOL as a valid location. If anyone figures out a way to do this let me know.

Well, I searched the Buzztime site:

My site has closed how do I transfer my points?
If you wish to change home locations permanently, you are allowed (but not required) to transfer your Players Plus account from your old location to a new one. The easiest way to do this, is to use the transfer page.

First, go to the new site and register as a new Players Plus member. You can use the same PIN and handle at your new site as long as that particular PIN isn’t already in use at that site. Begin using the new PIN immediately and completely stop using the old PIN once the new PIN has been created.

Once you have created the new account, wait at least five working days to allow the new account to show in our database. Then you must contact Players Plus to initiate the transfer. Go to our web site’s Contact Us page. For “Category” select “Players Plus,” and for “Issue” select “Transfer Account.” Fill out the form and send the message. Once the transfer is completed we will notify you via e-mail. Note: the information in both accounts must match in order to complete the transfer, so be sure to use the same contact information when you create the new account.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

When social columnists tolerate fries

First impressions are just that - first impressions. Maybe they're accurate, maybe they're not.

Take a look at this January 9 post, written by Michael Barnes, the social columnist at the Austin American-Statesman. (That's funny - when I think "social" and "Austin," I think Connie Reece, one of the principals at Every Dot Connects. But that's just me.)

In the process of discussing the BCS Championship Game, Barnes said the following:

Meanwhile, if you can believe it, Kip, gallery owner Jeff Kirk and I played NTN Buzztime electronic trivia. Now, you’ve probably read how Kip and I, along with former Paramount Theatre/State Theater bigwig Dan Fallon, would play NTN on Sixth Street at BW3, now called Daddy’s Bar & Grill. It was our lowbrow release...

Hold it right there. A "lowbrow release," "if you can believe it"? Perhaps this is an unfair picture, but you get the feeling that Barnes would prefer to watch cricket rather than the obnoxious behaviors of American football.

But, for what it's worth, Barnes and his friends reacquainted themselves with the lowbrow game...and loved it:

So the three of us...plunged into our first game, a simple set of 10 questions. We were hooked. Kip won a round. Jeff won a round. I won a round. Eventually, we were placing in the Top 10 in the country. Ah, the unquenchable fires of competition. A great deal of fun and, again, swell Aussie’s service.

But Barnes had to suffer one more problem of immersing oneself in the unwashed masses:

But those grease-drenched fries! Ick.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Empoprise-NTN High Noon - Calhoun's (Memphis, TN)

After Thursday's post, I guess you saw this coming...

It's interesting to see the leader board for an NTN Buzztime location that has just opened. As of 7:00 pm Central Time on Thursday evening, the trivia scores at Calhoun's looked like this:

1 WTDT 5,800
2 MAX 5,000
2 BENJIE 5,000

Presumably by the time you read this post, the figures will have increased. But look what this means - you have people showing up and playing multiple games. Impossible to know whether these were people who would have been regular customers anyway, but at least things are moving in the right direction.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Did I forget to mention, did I forget to mention Memphis?

Paul Ryburn blogged this way back on January 9:

BIG NEWS for trivia fans this morning. Buzztime Trivia, formerly known as NTN Trivia, will return to Downtown Memphis in 3-4 weeks. Last week I mentioned that Calhoun’s sports bar on G.E. Patterson was adding more TVs… the reason why is that some of those new TVs will become monitors for Buzztime Trivia....

For a long time Buzztime was easily accessible to Downtowners, available at Sleep Out Louie’s and TJ Mulligan’s. However, Mulligan’s decided they didn’t want to spend the money, and Sleep Out’s closed down to become a steakhouse that would attract “a different clientele.” So, since February 2007, Downtowners have had to travel to Buffalo Wild Wings at Poplar and Highland to get their Buzztime fix. Within a month they’ll have a local option again.

Interesting story from Paul about how things ebb and flow in the NTN Buzztime world. And it turned out that Calhoun's underpromised and overdelivered, as Paul posted this on January 21:

This morning I got word from the owners of Calhoun’s that NTN/Buzztime Trivia is being installed at 2 this afternoon, so it should be working by this evening.

Later that day, Paul posted another entry:

Not sure whether I’ll make it to Calhoun’s tonight to try out Buzztime Trivia. I have a meeting at 11 AM tomorrow for which I want to be at the top of my mental game...

Ah, but Paul, shouldn't an envigorating round of trivia put you at the top of your mental game? perhaps I should avoid the $1.50 PBR

Presumably this is a reference to Pabst Blue Ribbon, so Ryburn's reluctance to show up is understandable.

But Shane A praises the $1.50 PBR (and looks forward to NTN in his review on Yelp.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Empoprise-NTN High Noon - Blue Goose Sports Cafe (Sharonville, OH)

Remember the story I ran on Tuesday about the fictional Sharonville, Ohio bar that was infested with a so-called "Trivia Master"?

Well, it turns out that there is an NTN Buzztime site in Sharonville, Ohio. It's not called McSorleys, though; it's the Blue Goose Sports Cafe.

No word on whether a "Shawn Guase" plays there, but the reviews are positive.

P.S. This post marks the official end of my (almost) 36-hour "vow of semi-silence."

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

There's always the danger

While looking for trivia information on the Web, I found this Onion article from 2002:

SHARONVILLE, OH—Shawn Gause, 34, a Cincinnati-area resident and bar-trivia champion, is a real dick about his trivia prowess, patrons of McSorley's Pub reported Tuesday....

Gause first visited McSorley's on March 4 after hearing brother-in-law Douglas Lang mention the bar's weekly trivia night. He decided to participate, Gause said, to "show them how it's done."

"I'm way into trivia," said Gause, an associate manager at Fast & Reliable Electricians. "No, let me correct that. I am the Trivia Master, the undisputed King Of Knowledge. Anything about baseball, don't even bother asking. Name a Beatles song, I'll tell you the year it came out and what album it's on. History, literature, pop culture... you name it, I am The Man."

More here. A warning to us all...or at least to those of us who are true Trivia Masters...I'll shut up now.

Monday, January 12, 2009

How do you say "NTN Buzztime" in Russian?

I read the blog of Ken Jennings (yeah, the Jeopardy guy) and he's had a couple of posts about Russian trivia.

The first post came out on January 8, and began as follows:

Ilya Ber is an editor for Svoya igra, or “Own Game,” the Russian version of Jeopardy!...

Ilya emailed me out of the blue a few months back to say he liked my book and was working on a Russian translation so his fellow trivia-buff friends in Moscow could enjoy it! I was flattered and surprised, having had no idea that there was a quiz scene of any kind in the former Soviet Union.

Jennings interviewed Ber about the Russian show. This is (part of) what he said:

As far as I can see Svoja igra is the official Russian version of your Jeopardy! Not only de jure (of course it’s a licensed show), but also mentally. And moreover maybe it has some bit of so-called “enigmatic Russian soul.”

During the first several episodes in 1994, players didn’t really want to win or earn money. They got fun by answering questions and helping opponents to find the right answers. They tried to advise with their opponents and prompt them if they could. It was a problem for editors and producers. I didn’t see it myself–I was only twelve in 1994–but my elder colleagues told me about it.

Now times have changed and so have people....

I can’t say that game shows in Russia can compete with soccer or pop-music or cinema, but they have got a rather wide audience. For Svoja igra it is about 3 million people for each episode, if what Gallup says is true (population of Russia is about 140 million). We go on the air twice a week, Saturday and Sunday at 3:05 p.m.

More here, and in the follow-up post here.

So in the future, who knows what this might mean for NTN Buzztime? They have never demonstrated an ability to penetrate any foreign country other than Canada, but perhaps in the future we may see trivia in a Cyrillic font.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Empoprise-NTN High Noon - Capital City Bar & Grill (Springfield, IL)

First, an apology to those of you who read last week's Empoprise-NTN High Noon installment and were puzzled by the title "Empoprise-NTN High Noon - where?" You see, I started to write the post before I had identified the NTN Buzztime location(s) that I was going to feature - which, in the end turned out to be the same two locations that I blogged about on November 14, 2008. (So if I'm ever short of ideas, I can write the "where can the Supreme Court justices play trivia games?" post and recycle the same two locations yet AGAIN.)

So anyways, I wrote the post, but forgot to edit the title and change the placeholder "where?" that I had put there. I didn't realize my mistake until after the post had been published. I'm just thankful that my editing error wasn't as serious as the "John Doe" letters that the U.S. Army accidentally sent out.

OK, now let's turn to this week's installment of this fascinating series about different NTN Buzztime locations. And once again, I'm thinking about politics - in this case poor Rod Blagojevich. I mean, in earlier times a guy like him would be praised as a "bastion of free enterprise" for his actions in (allegedly) trying to sell Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat to the highest bidder. But now everyone, Republican and Democrat alike, is saying that this is a bad thing, and now even anyone who remotely comes in contact with him (can you hear me, Roland Burriss?) is shunned by everyone as having the super-duper cooties.

So poor Rod doesn't have anyone to pal around with any more, and probably is feeling a bit down in the dumps. What better way to leave your troubles behind than with a nice round of NTN Buzztime trivia?

I know that Rod's from the Chicago area, but I've already written a couple of High Noons dedicated to that area, so I'll concentrate on the Governor's worksite of Springfield, Illinois.

The Illinois Executive Mansion is located on 410 East Jackson, so I kept that in mind while using Buzztime's Site Finder.

Within 12 minutes, the Governor could drive the 5 miles to the Capital City Bar & Grill on Dirksen Parkway.

Who would he find there? As of Thursday, January 8, 2009, some of the players included "NOT U," "CUBZUK," "PADRE," and "STUPID."

Make your own jokes.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Empoprise-NTN High Noon - where?

Before I continue, let me wish a Happy New Year to the Empoprise-NTN readership.

I've published an on-and-off Friday afternoon series called "Empoprise-NTN High Noon" for some time now, which features various NTN Buzztime locations in the United States and Canada. After I had covered most, if not all, of the sites that I had visited personally, or wanted to visit, I began looking at NTN Buzztime sites in other areas.

For example, back on Friday, November 14, 2008, I blogged about two NTN Buzztime sites within walking distance of the White House. I figured that I'd help Barack Obama find some places to play after he moves into his new home.

Well, it's time to return to Washington again. You see, Obama has had to quit his old job so that he can take the new job, and all sorts of issues have resulted because of that. For various reasons, I have declared (under my Ontario Emperor pseudonym) my candidacy for Obama's U.S. Senate seat.

Which raises the obvious question - where are the closest NTN Buzztime locations to Capitol Hill?

Guess what? The two closest locations are the same two that are closest to the White House - Fast Eddies and the Hyatt Grand Slam. Those are the only two NTN Buzztime locations within the Washington city limits.

But perhaps this is a good thing, and will help to achieve a one-ness in the nation's Capitol that has not existed for almost two centuries - in fact, since the Andrew Jackson administration. Because I've lived not only in Illinois, but also in the Washington DC area, I'm privy to this little tidbit about executive-legislative relations:

The Main Treasury Building is the headquarters for the Office of the Secretary of the Treasury and the Departmental Offices. Its location is immediately east of the White House on the corner of Fifteenth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. The Main Treasury Building itself has an interesting history. In the early days of Washington, the White House and the Capitol faced each other at opposite ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. However, President Andrew Jackson's relations with the Congress were very bad. Many people believe that he ordered the Main Treasury Building placed in its present location so it would block his view of the Capitol. Despite whether this story is true, it adds to the historic tradition of the Main Treasury Building.

They say that many marriages end in fights over money, so I guess it's fitting that the Treasury Building got in the way between President Jackson and Congress.

But if - I mean when - I secure a seat in the U.S. Senate, perhaps NTN Buzztime trivia can bridge the executive-legislative gap. Imagine how the wheels of Washington would turn more smoothly if President Barack Obama and the successor to his Senate seat could bond over a game of trivia and some Jack Daniel´s Sesame Chicken Fingers (see the Appetizers menu).

But if he's President, does that mean that I have to let him win?