Here’s proof that life sometimes winds around in bizarre directions that one never expected.

The game show fanatics in the room will recall that back in 2005, Jeopardy! mounted its Ultimate Tournament of Champions — or, as I like to refer to it, the Quest for Ken Jennings. 145 of us former Jeopardy! stalwarts were invited to participate in a mega-round-robin that played out over half a television season, for an opportunity to win major cash and reclaim a smidgen of (for some of us, anyway) long-faded glory. Brad Rutter, who had won a previous Jeopardy! super-tourney called Million Dollar Masters, plowed through the field, ultimately besting Mr. Jennings (no relation) and Jerome Vered in the finals to claim the two-million-dollar grand prize.

Shortly after the UTOC concluded, a group of Jeopardy! veterans from around the Bay Area — including your Uncle Swan — got together to play an evening of pub trivia at a Berkeley watering hole. We dubbed ourselves the Ruttersnipes, in Brad’s honor. Jon Carroll, the San Francisco Chronicle‘s human interest columnist, tagged along to document the event.

Now, four years later, I’m hosting a weekly game for the same quiz company.

I landed the gig via a serendipitous confluence of circumstances. As many of you know, a few months ago my wife KJ involuntarily retired from work on medical disability. Almost simultaneously, our daughter KM finished junior college and continued her studies at a state university. With our income shrinking and our expenses rising, I had my eyes open for opportunities to generate some additional revenue.

At the same time, Brainstormer, a San Francisco-based pub quiz company that runs trivia nights in taverns and restaurants around the country, was looking for someone to host the Tuesday night game at an establishment a mere stone’s throw from my house. (Assuming, of course, that you’re throwing your stones with a rocket launcher. A howitzer, at the very least.)

As Cinderella once said… put it all together and what have you got? Bibbidi bobbidi boo.

So, if you happen to be cruising through Sonoma County on a Tuesday evening, and experience a hankering to challenge your mental faculties (and perhaps nosh on a few freshly crafted tacos for a mere one dollar each), stop by The Cantina in downtown Santa Rosa around 8 p.m. We’ve got music, we’ve got laughter, we’ve got mind-bending trivia. Best of all, there’s no cover charge.

If the sleek, dashingly handsome quiz host looks familiar… I’m probably home with the creeping crud that night.

But if there’s a nerdy, middle-aged fat guy running the game, that’s me.

Explore posts in the same categories: Aimless Riffing, Jeopardy!, My Home Town, Reminiscing, SwanStuff, Teleholics Anonymous, That's Cool!

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