Friday, September 16, 2011

An anniversary GAME for you

Gosh, I've been so 'busy' (i.e., as my dear friend The Bookseller used to put it, in his quaint Scottish vernacular, "stotting drunk") all week that I had almost forgotten that today is the momentous day.... the 5th Anniversary of Barstool Blues' shambling debut on the interwebs.

To mark the occasion.... how about another 'competition'?

This is not a new idea by any means (is there any such thing?), but it's NEW on this blog, so let that be good enough.

I was reading an online article a while ago about American academia, looking at attempts to develop new methods of testing for college admissions that might be more incisive and less arbitrary than the dreaded SATs. One progressive Dean was advocating the use of essays with a rather more quirky and creative focus than we usually see in a personal statement or whatever (although you do occasionally find a good one!). And one of his suggested topics was.....

If you were a super-hero, what would your distinctive super-power be? And who would be your Nemesis?

It was a rather interesting item, but I can't dig it up again now, I'm afraid. Anyway, I was reminded of this the other night in the bar, while test-driving the new 'iTunes Challenge' with some other punters: one young chap, an American tourist named Eric, appeared to have a superhuman ability to anticipate what song was going to come up next on the iTunes playlist. (Our game was to try to be the first to identify the artist for each song; he was naming some of them within nanoseconds of the tune starting!!)  Presumably his Nemesis would be someone like me, who is absurdly competitive about bar games and insists on getting him so drunk that his phenomenal speed of mental reaction progressively slows down until eventually it is no better than mine.

Then, LJ, our lovely new landlady at the bar (it will be her and MB's One-week-iversary of taking over the place tonight: reason enough for another session....), revealed an exceptional knack for opening stuck-fast pickle jars and the like. I suppose her Nemesis would be pickle jar manufacturers??  The Nemesis part of it is harder than you think!

My super-power (one of them, one of the MANY) is that I do not - ordinarily - get hangovers.  And my Nemesis would therefore be the guy who distributes all that nasty fake booze around Sanlitun that would give anyone a hangover.

Get the idea?  Now it's your turn.... (yes, yes, in the comments below).

JES reminded me below that he'd issued the same invitation to his readers on his blog last summer - a subconscious inspiration for me here; I'd completely forgotten about that! He'd been given the idea by this set of cartoons by Mark Stivers.

And while we're at it, does anyone remember the highly amusing Band Names game? Go and kickstart that thread again as well.  Pretty please.


David said...

My superpower is I can hit a golfball any way but straight.

My nemesis is my coach who keeps trying to drill conformity into me.

Anonymous said...

My superpower is being a white chick that speaks Chinese - it's totally awesome having the power to freak people out just by opening your mouth ;)

My nemesis is those Beijing taxi drivers with the super strong accents that remind me that my listening comprehension is still crap.

Froog said...

Is that you, Suzie Q?

Being a laowai who can speak Chinese isn't a rare enough ability to count as a 'super-power', I fear.

But I think it's what you say, and the attitude with which you say it, that freaks people out, not what language it's in. That could be your super-power - the ability to discomfort people within a 10m radius with your devastating frankness!

Froog said...

Hi David, welcome. Is this your first visit here?

I'm not sure that a wonky golf swing is rare enough to count as a 'super-power' either. Of rather limited usefulness in fighting crime, no? But thanks for the suggestion.

I hope we'll hear from you again.

Gary said...

My Superpower: the ability to anticipate the punchline of any joke

My Nemesis: unfunny comedians

Froog said...

Good one, Gary! With so many of these "superpowers", it's really more of a curse, isn't it?

I was originally going to nominate being invisible to attractive women - but that's more of an anti-super-power.

The Weeble said...

My superpower: Super-sensitivity to flaws in other people's writing.

My nemesis: Solecism Man.

Froog said...

Yes, it's true: I've seen The Weeble writhe and cringe as his supersense alerts him to grammatical errors being perpetrated on distant continents, in languages with which he has only a trifling familiarity. Again, it's more of a curse, really - a 'Fall Of The House Of Usher' kind of thing.

I am reminded of a Peanuts cartoon in which Snoopy, lounging atop his kennel, suddenly cocks an ear to the wind and mutters, "Sometimes I wish I didn't have this uncanny ability: somewhere - I'm not sure where, but somewhere - I can hear a packet of chocolate chip cookies being opened."

Froog said...

I had suggested to The Weeb that his trademark ability wobble but never quite fall down might just possibly be considered a super-power.

I understand he's also learning Manchu, just so that he can intimidate Beijing taxi drivers with put-downs in the style of the Emperor Kangxi.

Antonio said...

My superpower (admittedly of limited use): being able to tell the colour of a Haribo gummi bear just by taste alone.

My (unrelated) nemesis: the barman at the Swan and Castle. It's a long story.

Froog said...

Again, hard to see how this could thwart the designs of super-villains, Antonio (whereas, you know, unsealing pickle jars has obvious applications)... although it might earn you a regular income in a sideshow freak tent.

You've got us all curious about that barman now.

The Choirboy said...

Three superpowers I wish I had:

1)To be able to use the force

b)To have a cologne that 60 per cent of the time worked every time

iii) To be able to think before speaking or acting

Froog said...

And should we add to that a consistency in numbering bullet points, my friend?

Froog said...

I feel bad about missing the Dirty Deeds reunion at Yugong Yishan last night. I'm sure it was an awesome show, but... the English football turned out to be even more awesome. Sorry, boys. Next time!! (In another couple of years??)

Jaime Welton's super-power is that he is Jaime Welton!

Some people don't need a "super-power", they just ARE one.

Big Nige would be another one in that category.

T-Man said...

My "Unusual Superpower" of choice would have to be the power to turn world leaders homosexual.

Presidents, prime ministers, army generals, and whoever else would then have fashion shows instead of wars and horsduver parties instead of famines.

Froog said...

Good one, T-Man.

I always like to raise a toast to 'World Peace'!

el said...

Superpower: Drink most men under the table.

Nemesis: British men.

Seriously, after seven whiskeys most American men are putty in my hands. Stupid British boys.

Froog said...

I think I could be putty in your hands without being drunk.

My tolerance is somewhat depleted of late, but I find myself wondering how I'd fare on 7 whiskeys these days. Not that I'm competitive or anything!

[And now I think of it, I did down two Long Island Iced Teas and a tequila slammer the other night, without any serious loss of function.]

Trena said...

Oddly enough my superpower would be that I've incredibly lucky at games of chance, but only at very white trashy games of chance. For example penny slot machines (on which I won $250 last week thank you very much) and Pull Tabs.

Pull Tabs of course only being available at the lowest caliber of bowling alleys and the seediest dive bars. As proof
Note the number of places listed under the category of "dive bar."

My nemesis would be the damn old ladies who sit down at the machine to bet away their grand kid's inheritance and won't let me play.

Froog said...

But at least they're loading the machine with money for you, Trena.

Your 'luck' depends on all those dumb losers being willing to spend hours pouring their entire worldly wealth into the machines before you take your turn.

A very useful superpower to have, indeed.

I confess I have no idea what 'pull tabs' are? Is that what we call 'scratchcards' in the UK??

Trena said...

Not quite scratchcards are still a little too fancy and technologically advanced. Pull Tabs literally have a set of three tabs that you pull in order to reveal if you have a winner (ie three of a kind). Yes I stand in awe of the amount of time and creativity that went into naming them.

On another note good for you with your non-drinking challenge! I assume this only applies to booze as water seems rather essential.

Froog said...

Quite so, Trena.

The major problem is finding something else to drink when I go out to a bar. Soda water is usually favourite, because it's the only thing you can get here that's no-cal.

That leads on to Problem No. 2. Such a large percentage of my calorie intake comes from beer these days that when I abstain, my metabolism just crashes: for the first week or two, I have no energy at all.

Gary said...

My alternate superpower:
Being able to guess people's weight to within a few pounds.

Talk about a power too terrible to use!

Nemesis: the metric system. More like kryptonite - making the conversions disrupts my special ability.

Froog said...

Too terrible indeed, Gary! Don't come anywhere near me with that!!

I have a similar spanner-in-the-brainworks problem with temperature conversions. I can judge the temperature in Fahrenheit very accurately most of the time, because it's what I grew up with in the UK. The conversion to Celsius is pretty straightforward, and I've been doing since chemistry classes when I was 11, but... I still find it a bothersome and laborious step, and it somehow throws my temperature-sense off; just thinking about having to convert to another temperature scale messes with my perception of what the temperature is in familiar Fahrenheit. It is an odd phenomenon.

The Lunch said...

My superpower would be to forget each of the truly terrible things I've done/said/eaten rather than being haunted by them.

My nemesis is my (hardcopy) address book which, as it's so old, contains names which remind.

McGlynn said...

Well, not sure it's a "super" power, but I do have the ability to drink vast amounts of Malort. Teir old marketing slogan "Only 1 in 49 men actually like this."
Sorry guys, only availible in Chicago.

My nemisis I guess would be the check.

Stevo said...

My superpower is being irresistible to Chinese girls.

My nemesis is their 'elder brothers'

Froog said...

Lunch, I'm not sure that an inanimate object can properly be a 'nemesis', but... oh, well, what the hell? Let's not impose nitpicky restrictions!

Mr McG, good of you to drop in! Another exotic new drink for me to try one day (although I suspect I would be one of the more 'normal' 48)!!

Stevo, I think a lot of people share that superpower in China, and that Nemesis. Be careful!

JES said...

I did something similar a little while back. You couldn't make up your mind which power to claim but the first one you mentioned cracked me right up: Everybody's Second Best Friend.

As I mentioned in one of the notes on the post, my own super-power is probably (one of those muddled ones), Can Spot Important Trends with 20/20 Hindsight. My nemesis: any villain with membership in the League of Distractors. (They tend to congregate on the Internet.)

Froog said...

Ah, thank you, JES. that post of yours on this topic had slipped my mind somehow (well, it was over a year ago).

I don't think I can insert those Mark Stivers cartoons you found in the comments here. Maybe I'll add them to the original post.

The British Cowboy said...

My superpower is the ability to appear sober when completely and utterly smashed. The number of times I have gone back to bars to apologize for my behavior the night before, ask if I paid my tab, inquire if I am banned from the place etc only to be greeted by disbelief from the employees is numerous.

I'm not sure how this helps in any way, though.

My nemesis, on the other hand, is connected. Those who I speak to when in said condition expect complete recall on my part, as well as me to act on promises made and then forgotten.

Froog said...

Very good to have you back, Cowboy!!

And that's an admirable, enviable 'power' to have.

I suspect, though, that a large part of it depends not just on your own own impressive self-control but on the far greater drunkenness of all those with whom you interact.

I think I should nominate Being the least drunk person in the room (even when I've had a skinfull) as another of my own 'superpowers'.

Froog said...

And JES just reminded me above that a year or so ago I suggested (forlornly!) that Being everybody's second-best friend was another.

I had hoped to tackle Best Man duties one day - but even The Bookseller/Bookbinder passed me over!

JES said...

This may fall under the "urban legends" rubric, but I remember reading years ago that the Japanese (maybe Chinese?) have a running in-joke about the capacity of Westerners for imbibing without falling over or even staggering much. Supposedly they trade stories about legendary American, Brit and other European drinkers they have known, just shaking their heads and laughing in wonderment. Always wondered if that were true. Now I'm thinking the British Cowboy may have been somehow involved in that in-joke's beginnings.

Froog said...

Ah, heroic drinkers - that's a post all of its own.

I think it's natural that the East Asians are awed by - and will easily mythologise - the exploits of experienced Western drinkers. Most of them are deficient in the capacity to metabolise alcohol, and will get red-faced after a few sips, woozy after a couple of glasses, and throwing up incontinently inside the hour.

There are exceptions, though (perhaps alcohol tolerance can be 'trained', even in those who have a severe genetic disability in processing the stuff?). In the far north-eastern province of Heilongjiang they drink a hell of a lot more than most Chinese (nothing else to do in the 6-month winters, and they hang out with Russians a lot), and produce some legendarily tough drinkers. I've seen some pretty impressive drinking performances in Hubei and Szechuan provinces too. Perhaps it's only up here in the north-east corner of the country, around Beijing, that they're such wusses?

I have heard tell (and have often thought of trying to build a story around this) that an exceptional drinker can get hired by a big business here to act as the drinking proxy for the CEO at banquets to celebrate new contracts, partnerships and so on with another company - a modern-day 'hired gun' facing a possible duel-to-the-death on baijiu for the honour of his employer.

The Lunch said...

My superpower is meant to be "being a good role model to my children", being respectable and all that sh1t.

Sadly, I am my own nemesis. The kids have seen my old photo albums and have met my old friends.

My real superpower is the ability to put chopsticks or spoon handles up my nose. My real nemesis: the person who thought it was a trick and gave one a shove.