Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Badge 9: Golf

A picture of a golfer much better than me teeing off
Golf. A fun game for some, a source of great frustration for others.  Of all the sports I’ve played in my life, golf has definitely caused me the most anger. You’d think that being in the sunshine and fresh air would have a calming effect on a person, but one can only take so many 12 over par scores before they stop having fun.

The first golf-like game emerged way back in the 1297 but golf as we know it came to be in Scotland in the middle of the 15th century. While golf was initially banned by King James II of Scotland (for distracting men from their archery practice for military purposes) the game quickly caught fire and became ubiquitous in Scotland and later the entire world.

Here is a quick origin of some of golf’s more interesting terms:

Birdie: this term for scoring one stroke under par, came from the early 20th century slang term, “Bird”, which just meant anything excellent.
The 'Eighteenth Hole' Badge
Bogey: a term for scoring one stroke over par. Came from the 16th century Scottish terms 'bogle' which meant goblin and a Bogey-man which was a widely used term for a goblin or devil.
Caddie: the term for the person who carries a golfer’s clubs during a round. The word derives from the French word 'le cadet', meaning 'the boy' or the youngest of the family.

The task required to attain this week’s golf related badge was simple: Play 25 Golf themed games. I powered through the quizzes, mostly about the four Major Tournaments, and scored the badge with little incident or fanfare. I hope this week’s post was on par with your expectations.


Sporcle released new badges this week and I received the ‘When in 2010’ through previous quiz play. So that’s good. Find out more about it here.
The 'When in 2010' Badge

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Badge 8: Money, Money, Money!

There are hundreds of active currencies in the world
Money makes the world go round
While that may be one of the more cynical quotes out there, the fact remains that money is the driving factor for most things in today’s society. Wars begin over money. Lives end over money. It is kind of a big deal.

Currency has been around for thousands of years. The first form of currency emerged in 2000 BCE. Metals were stamped to represent the value of stored commodities. This form of currency eventually made way in favour of the coinage system (First made of silver, then a combination of silver and gold, and now bronze and zinc).

Paper money emerged in a gradual process in pre-modern China. It began as a promissory note a vendor would give out in exchange for coins. By the 11th century, paper money was being mass produced across the country.

Seeing as money makes the world go round, it seems fitting that my Sporcle Quest would feature a badge about money. This badge required me to achieve a 50% score on three quizzes.

The "Loose Change" Badge
As a native of the Niagara region, I have had my fair share of contact with American money, so quiz #1 was no problem. Additionally, I had little trouble with quiz #2 as I was able to name the few currencies I did know (Franc, Drachma, Lira) to get over the threshold.

Matching the currencies to the countries (#3) was a taller order. I was only able to use my existing knowledge to nab seven or eight answers. The rest of the time I was trying to match the look of the word to the country (For example, I guessed that Yuan was the currency of China). This inefficient approach led to four tries at this quiz before I managed 50%. It was a tough day at the Badge Factory, but a new badge is mine either way.


Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Badge 7: The Ides of March

Julius Caesar was assassinated on the Ides of March 
Beware the Ides of March!

Many of you may have heard that phrase at some point in your life. Whether it’s a George Clooney film, or a Simpsons episode, the phrase has become ubiquitous in today’s society. But what exactly are the Ides of March and why do people use the phrase?

The Ides were simply a division in the ancient Roman calendar. The Romans did not label their calendar days sequentially, but instead counted back from three fixed point: the Nones ( 5th to 7th), the Ides (13th or 15th) and the Kalends (1st of the next month). Since March has 31 days, the Ides of March would have been on the 15th

So why is this important? Julius Caesar was assassinated on March 15th, or the Ides of March. However, the date was not considered unlucky until William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar. In the play, Caesar is warned to “Beware the Ides of March” by a soothsayer. Since that time, the phrase has been associated with death.

The "Ides of March" badge
What does this have to do with my Sporcle Quest? The answer is simple. This week’s badge required me to play three Roman themed quizzes on March 15. The quizzes were:
While quizzes #2 and #3 were standard, I found the murder match-up quiz to be very fun. It provided a wide array of political figures and required the player to match the names with the dates and locations of their deaths. I was surprised to find that I actually knew 2/3 of the answers. I guess I must have been paying attention in high school history class. The completion of this quiz earned me a prize worthy of a Roman Emperor; a new Sporcle badge!

I woke up this morning and Sporcle had created two new badges that I achieved through my previous Sporcle play!  You can find out about the "Shoot for the Stars Badge" here and the "Who Are You?" badge here!
The 'Shoot for the Stars' badge
The 'Who are you?' badge

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Badge 6: The Rolling Stones Albums

The Rolling Stones Members. 
Left to Right: Watts, Richards, Jagger, Wood
When listing off famous rock bands, one band is almost always featured on that list. The Rolling Stones. The Rolling Stones were founded in 1962, and have had the same consistent lineup of Mick Jagger (lead vocals), Keith Richards (guitar), Ronnie Wood (guitar) and Charlie Watts (drums) since 1975. Since creation, the band has released 22 albums and has had eight of their songs reach #1 on the Billboard top 100 charts. The Sporcle Badge Challenge for this week was straight forward. Name all 22 albums released by the Rolling Stones.

The 'Gimme Shelter' Badge
Let me preface this by saying I had no idea what I was doing going into this quiz. For some reason, I do not remember very many album names. In addition, I am familiar with maybe 12 or so Rolling Stones songs (Check out the video below for some song recommendations). Given these two factors, I had my mother Fran (an avid Sporcler in her own right) aiding me for this whole badge attempt.

I started off by simply naming the band’s name, which led me to two albums (The Rolling Stones and The Rolling Stones No.2).  The rest of the quiz was my mother entirely going to work. Of the other 20 answers in the quiz, I had only heard of one of the albums. The rest were a mix of amusing alliterations (Beggar’s Banquet, Between the Buttons), simple rhymes (Tattoo You, Steel Wheels) and fascinating imagery (Goats Head Soup, Let it Bleed). In the end, my mom pumped all the answers in two and a half minutes. 
This badge is not just a victory for me, but for the whole Lyons’ pride!   

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Badge 5: Leap Day

February 29th, or Leap Day, occurs every four years
A view of NYC from
 atop the Rockefeller Centre.
The tall structure
 is the Empire State Building
Every four years, our calendars get one day longer, and people just don't think anything of it. There is actually a very good reason for February 29th. While the usual year is 365 days, in reality, takes 365.2422 days for the Earth to rotate the Sun. In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII introduced the leap day as a way to account for the .2422 of a day we`d be losing every year (The leap day actually does not deal with the difference perfectly. You can check out this New York Times article if you`d like to find out why). This week`s badge had a simple task: Play 29 quizzes on Leap Day.

On Leap Day this year, I was on vacation in New York City. However, I made a special effort to find WiFi so I could play the quizzes. I didn't want to wait four years for the next Leap Day to come around!

This badge was different than any other I've achieved during this Quest. It did not require that I play a specific quiz, but simply 29 quizzes during the time frame. As such, the first 28 quizzes I played were one minute quizzes to speed up the process. I decided my 29th quiz would be about some of the New York City landmarks I had visited during my first trip to the city. I was only able to name 10/20 of the landmarks on the quiz, but that was immaterial, as I had played my 29th quiz and earned a badge!

This is one small step for man, one giant Leap Day Badge for mankind
The 'Hey, it's Leap Day!' 

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Badge 4: James Bond

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Casino Royale (Eon)
James Bond. Secret Agent with a license to killOne would be hard-pressed in the English speaking world to find someone who has never seen a James Bond film, or at the minimum, not be aware of the films’ existence. James Bond, or 007 to use his code name, has been played by six different actors. The character has appeared in 24 films, and most recently has been played by British actor Daniel Craig. This week’s badge had a straightforward task; name all the James Bond Films.

George Lazeby as
James Bond in On
Her Majesty's
Secret Service (Eon)
The 007 Badge
I am definitely not a James Bond connoisseur (Check out my colleague and friend's recent blog post for an expert opinion), but I do have a certain degree of knowledge on the subject simply from existing and taking in information (Also from this fun BuzzFeed quiz). Additionally, I’ve only ever seen one James Bond film (Skyfall). 

The actually quiz taking for this badge was relatively painless. I started with the recent Bond movies that I knew from the last decade or so (Spectre, Casino Royale etc.) and pretty much gave the answers from newest to oldest. With two minutes left, I was missing only one film. I knew the film had something to do with majesties and the secret service, so I played around with the wording for a little while and finally got the answer of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. (Interestingly, that was the only film where Bond was played by Australian actor George Lazenby). I heard the notification on my phone, which meant I had achieved my goal!

The name’s Badge. James Badge.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Badge 3: Saturday Night Live

The Original SNL Cast (NBC)
The badge I chose this week focused on quizzes related to Saturday Night Live (SNL). For those of you who are unaware, SNL is a sketch comedy show that has been on the air for over 40 years. The show began in 1975 with seven cast members, and has been the starting point for many famous comedians including: Chevy Chase, Eddie Murphy, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tina Fey.

Tina Fey impersonates
 Sarah Palin (NBC)
To achieve the badge, I had to get 50% or better on four different quizzes. They were:

Of these four quizzes, the only quiz I found easy was the celebrity impersonation quiz (#1), as it had little to do with SNL itself, and more to do with recognizing the photos.The other three quizzes were much harder. I had to play both quiz #2 and #3 twice before I was able to get 50%. I apparently had less knowledge of Saturday Night Live than I thought I did!  Because of the trouble I was having, I went into the final quiz (#4) a bit discouraged. I will now give you a brief play-by-play of how that quiz went:

The Live From
New York
1. I started off fine as I knew Chevy Chase from NBC’s Community.
2. I knew of the SNL sketch The Blues Brothers, so I next got Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi. This left me one answer short of 50%.
3. I was vaguely aware of a famous female comedian who died of cancer but for the life of me I couldn’t come up with the name. I literally spent three minutes trying to come up with it. Finally I caved and yelled for help. My sister gave me the answer, Gilda Radner, immediately.

This gave me 4/7 of the answers and pushed me past the 50% threshold. This met my requirements for the badge. 

LIVE FROM NEW YORK, it's a new Sporcle Badge!