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#507902 - Tue Jan 12 2010 07:33 AM Interview with Ozzz2002
BxBarracuda Offline
Forum Champion

Registered: Wed Sep 05 2007
Posts: 5117
Loc: Bronx
New�York�USA�...
BX & LeoDaVinci
What region of Australia do you live in and can you tell us what the area is like, urban/rural etc.?

I live in Sydney, the largest city in Australia, and it is very urban. We are about 40kms from the CBD (Central Business District). I rarely go to the city- all we need can be found locally (except Opera Houses- there are none out our way.)

Sydney is probably the fastest-paced city in Australia, and a lot of people find this a bit disconcerting, but not me! Even though I am slowing down a bit with the march of time (ok, more than just a bit!), I still enjoy the place.


Ren33 & LeoDaVinci
Have you travelled outside of Australia? Where would you like to go to if given a choice?
Where would your ideal vacation spot be?

I have been to USA and a brief visit to Canada. It was exciting seeing Niagara Falls and some of the wildlife, eg chipmunks, squirrels, buffalo and deer. Because of missed flight connections, I was in Los Angeles for about 24 hours, so jumped on a tourist bus. I saw the houses of the stars, or their high front fences at least, the Hollywood sign, Grumans Theatre, but the highlight for me was the Getty Museum.

For my next trip I would probably go to Europe and go to places like Italy, Spain, France, Germany, etc. For an offbeat holiday, perhaps something like Brunei, or Chile or Morocco.


Ren33
What is your current job!? Do you enjoy it?

I am a Security Officer in a university, and it is a quite enjoyable job. It is more of a Customer Service role than security, and I seem to spend most of my time walking around the campus talking to people. Incidents are not that common.


Ren33 & LeoDaVinci
Tell us about your love of Scrabble.
How did you discover your passion for Scrabble?

I was bored with watching TV and reading books, so on a whim, I Googled scrabble clubs. There are quite a few in Sydney, so I just turned up at one and was instantly hooked. That was in 2002, and I played my first tournament in January 2003. To my surprise I won all seven games that I played and won Recreational division, the lowest of four grades. I have been working my way up the ratings list and now play in Masters, the highest level.


Ren33, gtho4, Exit 10 & LeoDaVinci
How long have you been playing competitive scrabble?
What was the most impressive/important Scrabble word you ever placed?
What is your best score/word, and why are you so good at it?
What have been your most important achievements playing Scrabble to date?

I have had a few High Word prizes, but am probably most proud of playing INVERTED for 167 pts. My best game score is 588, which included four bingoes, and I had the highest opening word in 2007 with ZENITHS for 106. At the other end of the scale I was also in the record books as being on the receiving end of a national record high score- my opponent scored 698, to my 284. It was also the record for the largest winning (losing) margin. I felt like a rabbit in the headlights of a very big truck.

I had a final rack of EILNPRU, with an open Y on the board- I was about 80 points behind and needed the 50 point bonus, so I took a deep breath, crossed my fingers and player UNRIPELY. My opponent challenged it, and the verdict was- ACCEPTED! I won the game by about 15 points, and finished in third place in the tournament. Another word that I am quite proud of was finding a word in EFIKLOX. You will have to read to the end of the interview to see what it was.
A funny coincidence- I played the word EQUINOX in two successive Australian Championship tournaments. I think that is the only two times I have ever played the word!


gtho4
What is your highest scrabble ranking, in NSW, and Australia-wide?
Have you ever played a top 5 seed; and what happened?

I have been to 15th in the state and about 40th in the country. There are probably about 1000 players nationally, so I am quite pleased with my achievements.

I have played almost all of the top players, but do not have a good record against most of them. I have fluked a few wins, but do not do the study that they do.


Exit 10
Do you have a life outside Scrabble and FunTrivia?

No. LOL. I like spending time with my family, but with work commitments and their busy schedules, that is getting harder to do.


LeoDaVinci
When did you start collecting stamps? How extensive is your collection?

I started when I was about eight or nine- in those days, a petrol company used to give away small packets of stamps from all sorts of exotic countries, most of which I had never heard of! How many people can honestly say that they knew where Shqiperia, or Helvetia, or even Suomi were, at that age? For those that do not know, they are, respectively, Albania, Switzerland and Finland.

When I started work, and was living on my own, I had no room for my hobby, and my albums stayed with my parents. After a 20-year hiatus, I finally started up collecting again, but I limited myself to Australia, New Zealand and Australian Antarctic Territory. Trying to keep up with stamps from more than 300 countries is impossible, and well beyond my bank balance, too.

I have an almost complete collection of Australia- I am missing about 50 of the higher value stamps- and also have about 15 albums full of First Day Covers, Stamp Packs, Booklets, and various other bits and pieces. New Zealand is about 60% complete, but slowly getting there.
I also dabble in coins, mainly Australian, and have a couple of cupboard drawers full of mainly special issue coins.


Santana2002
You probably have many, but what currently is one of your best memories?
What makes it such a special memory?

Probably the birth of my daughters, but more recently, the birth of my granddaughter, who is just as cute as a button. She is 3 years old, and has just discovered that she can talk non-stop.


Exit 10
Which other FunTrivia members have you met?

The Sydneysiders are a sociable bunch, and we have had quite a few get-togethers over the years. I will try to remember them all, and if I forget anyone, I apologise profusely.
From Sydney- Gtho4 and his wife, SoozyWoozy and Mr Soozy, Meifeng, BlinkyBill

From Regional New South Wales- Copago, Nannanut and Mr Nanna (huh?), MarchHare007 and her hubby Steve

From interstate- Exit10, Dalgliesh, MotherGoose, Maynooth, Coolcat90
From overseas- Terry, Skunkee and Mr Skunkee, Ren33, Sypher and his parents, Leau, LeoDaVinci, Uglybird


BX
You mentioned you met some other site members recently, including Exit10 and LeoDaVinci who are taking part in the interview. Who was there for the get together(s), without getting anyone in trouble, what was your favorite occurence.

The pre-Christmas shindig was only small, with seven people there. Besides Exit10 and LeoDaVinci there was Marchhare007 and her husband, Gtho4 and myself and my partner, Colleen. I guess the highlight was the stroll around the opera House at about 1am. It was a lovely cool night and the Harbour looked just magnificent.

I do recall a previous gathering where a highly respected member of the FT community was sitting on the floor trying to figure out the dynamics of a spinning top. The fact that we were in a rather large club did not faze that person (who will remain nameless).


Santana2002
Imagine there's no more beer, no more FunTrivia, no more Scrabble ... (Hmm, guess I'd better eliminate jigsaws, stamps and books from the potential choices too) (I'm so evil) ...
Would you still want to exist? What on earth would you do to fill your free time?

Hmm- I guess I would have to find another tipple! If there was no FunTrivia, that would mean that this interview is not taking place, and we are all products of each others imagination. J
What would I do? Perhaps do some long overdue exercising to get fitter instead of fatter, or discover what those green things in my garden do, or maybe even relearn to play the piano.


BX
You have written over 50 quizzes, many with sunglasses and two Editor's Choice quizzes. What was your favourite quiz to compose, which was the most fun to compose and do you ever find yourself rereading though the entire quiz after it's been online for awhile.

One of my favourites is called Australian History. It is a 25-question job with a question from each decade of the history of my country. I learned a lot doing the research of that one. The most fun would have to be the Cryptic Crossword Clues that is rated way down in the 30,000s and rated Very Hard. My Scrabble Anagrams series seem to be well received, and are a good study tool for me, too.
I often review my quizzes, usually from the Recent Scores list, just to see what players are interested in.


Santana2002
You have just won the multi-million lottery, paid off your debts, assured your kids security and your own retirement, invested a huge chunk and kept a paltry couple of million as 'pin money'. How would you fritter it away?

Have you ever heard of Wowbagger, the Infinitely Prolonged? I would try to duplicate his efforts, but would NOT insult people- I would just like to say Gidday in person to all FunTrivia players, in alphabetical order!


BX
Does being a Moderator and Editor take different techniques? ?
Have there been any members who have influenced you?

I became an Editor not long after I joined, back in 2001, and started in Sports. I was terrified when I saw what was expected of me, as I only knew sports such as Australian Rules and cricket. All I saw was baseball, American football, ice hockey and the occasional soccer quiz. Gtho4 mentored me, and I soon felt more comfortable. I have also worked in General, and am currently in Hobbies and Geography.
Moderating is not very strenuous, as I think I have the easier forums- Sports Stadium, Tipping Competitions, Games and Challenges and Jokes and Humour. The hardest thing I get to do is censor a few of the more off-colour jokes. (I usually keep a copy for myself, though!)


gtho4
How did an Aussie rules fan end up supporting Eastern Suburbs?

I was brought up close to the Victorian border of New South Wales, where the only game was Australian Rules. When I left school, I moved to Sydney, which refused to acknowledge the existence of my favourite sport! They only played this brutal game called Rugby League, which I had never seen before. When I got here, I was living in Randwick, one of the eastern suburbs of Sydney, and as the Eastern Suburbs Roosters were going through a purple patch (they won the flag in 1974, and also 1975), I just jumped on the bandwagon. After the woeful year they had in 2009, and all the players drunken antics, I am currently reviewing my support.


BX
Do you have a favourite badge from quiz writing and a favourite one from quiz playing?

From writing, it has to be the 15 Categories badge. When Terry brought it in a couple of years ago, I had no idea that I had covered so much ground. All three badges, 5, 10 and 15 hit my Mailbox together- it was a nice surprise.

From playing, the All Round Quizzer was tough to get, especially in categories that I do not normally play. Thing such as Video Games and Celebrities are definitely not my areas of expertise.


gtho4
Do your mates call you grand-dad as well?

No, they call me Greg. lol


LeoDaVinci
From what I saw and heard, Melbourne and Sydney vie to be the best city in Australia constantly. What side of the fence do you fall in the Sydney-Melbourne rivalry and why?

Melbourne and Sydney have had a fierce rivalry dating back to the late 1800s and it will never change. It even led to the creation of a new city as both places felt that they deserved to be the capital of Australia. No-one could make a decision, so they built Canberra.
I am definitely a Sydneysider for several reasons. The most important reason is the weather- Melbourne is one of the dampest places in Australia- it is also totally unpredictable and is known for having all four seasons in one day. Another reason is the rolling deathtraps called trams. They hog the road and are impossible to overtake, they are noisy and they are ugly. The Victorians seems to love them but I have no idea why!

There are lots of jokes about Melbourne; eg

Q- What is the best thing to come out of Melbourne?
A- The Sydney Road

Or

Q- Why is Tasmania getting closer to the mainland?
A-Because Melbourne sucks


Exit10
Think very carefully - what is your favourite AFL team?

I have followed the same team since the mid 1960s. The St Kilda Saints have only won one premiership, way back in 1966. They have been in the competition since 1877. They came close last year, leading the competition for most of the year, but fell in the Grand Final to Geelong. 2010 will be the Year of the Saint!


BX
Are there any quiz topics that you keep telling yourself you want to do, but haven't started.
Are there any topics you have half finished stage and what is the longest amount of time from first question to last a quiz has taken to complete?

My mind is always churning over with ideas for quizzes popping in at all hours- usually when I should be working. I have some rough notes for a quiz on proverbs, and also a word quiz to go in the For Children category. Not sure what format that will take, but there is no rush.

All my quizzes take ages to write. The most recent was probably one of the quickest, and that 'only' took about three weeks. Some have been sitting in embryo format for months at a time.


BX
You mention you moderate the Tipping Forum. How does that forum work? How are the events to include chosen? Can anyone jump in at anytime and once they jump in would they be obligated to play all the events? Where are the odds for the games/matches taken from?

There are a small but loyal group of FT forum members that think it is fun to try to tip winners in sports that they know absolutely nothing about. Many events have been running for some years now, but we always have an open ear for suggestions.

Anyone can join in any tipping thread that they want, and as many or few as they wish. At some stages we have had up to 18 competitions running simultaneously; if you wanted to join ALL of them, you need to set aside several hours every week just to enter your tips. The only proviso is that you try to enter every week and play the whole competition to the end.

We cover many sports- basketball, baseball, Australian Rules, both codes of Rugby, various soccer comps, tennis, horse racing, and we have even had darts competitions. Quite apt, because that is how some of us work out our tips, hehe.

Odds are not used in most comps. It is generally 'pick the winner of each game' with first past the post getting admission into the FT Hall Of Fame, a VERY prestigious honour.

Feel free to have a look- we would welcome new blood.

Guest Interviewer
So where is Barooga and which FT member would ask such a question?

Barooga is a tiny dot on the map on the north side of the Murray River- the border between New South Wales and that other place. It is also who I first played football for, way back when dinosaurs ruled the earth. I believe my Guest Interviewer has family there.


EFIKLOX= FOXLIKE


Much thanks to all involved.

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#507903 - Tue Jan 12 2010 08:18 AM Re: Interview with Ozzz2002
Exit10 Offline


Registered: Fri Sep 28 2001
Posts: 4253
Loc: Brisbane QueenslandAustralia
Top interview Ozzz if I do say so myself!

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#507904 - Tue Jan 12 2010 10:41 AM Re: Interview with Ozzz2002
Pagiedamon Offline
Moderator

Registered: Sun Jun 15 2008
Posts: 2592
Loc: North Carolina USA
Excellent questions and answers! These interviews are quite interesting!
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#507905 - Tue Jan 12 2010 10:09 PM Re: Interview with Ozzz2002
LeoDaVinci Offline
Moderator

Registered: Fri Mar 23 2001
Posts: 11259
Loc: Ontario Canada
Excellent interview! Pardon my previous jetlag and lack of coherent thought processes, but I'd really like to know:
How much of Scrabble is luck, and how much is skill?
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"La divina podestate, la somma sapienza e 'l primo amore."
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#507906 - Wed Jan 13 2010 03:48 AM Re: Interview with Ozzz2002
ozzz2002 Offline
Moderator

Registered: Mon Dec 03 2001
Posts: 19611
Loc: Sydney NSWAustralia
Quote:

How much of Scrabble is luck, and how much is skill?



Depends who you ask and whether they are winning or losing.

My opinion is that luck would be about 30% and skill is 70%. It is a question that regularly pops up at tourneys but no-one has come up with any sound theories. There will always be the 'horror games' where you will have tiles like AAAIIIO or VVWWTTR constantly. My philosophy is to just get the game over with, accept a loss and concentrate on the next game.
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The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not smashing it.

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#507907 - Fri Jan 15 2010 07:35 AM Re: Interview with Ozzz2002
ozfei Offline
Multiloquent

Registered: Mon Sep 25 2006
Posts: 2272
Loc: Deception Bay QLDAustralia
Quote:

I am definitely a Sydneysider for several reasons.




You still have some Victorian in you, or you wouldn't be faithful to The Saints after all those years

Great interview
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If you see someone without a smile, give him yours.

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#507908 - Fri Jan 15 2010 03:28 PM Re: Interview with Ozzz2002
ozzz2002 Offline
Moderator

Registered: Mon Dec 03 2001
Posts: 19611
Loc: Sydney NSWAustralia
Thanks, all, for the grilling- I had a lot of fun doing it. And ozfei, please do not tell anyone, but I was actually born there. Oh, the shame!
_________________________
The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not smashing it.

Editor, Hobbies and Sports, and Forum Moderator

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#507909 - Sat Jan 16 2010 06:46 PM Re: Interview with Ozzz2002
Nannanut Offline
Multiloquent

Registered: Sat Jan 10 2004
Posts: 2470
Loc: Wollongong NSWAustralia
Isn't it a good thing that what happens at FT get-togethers, stays at FT get-togethers?
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#507910 - Sun Jan 17 2010 01:01 PM Re: Interview with Ozzz2002
ozfei Offline
Multiloquent

Registered: Mon Sep 25 2006
Posts: 2272
Loc: Deception Bay QLDAustralia
Quote:

And ozfei, please do not tell anyone, but I was actually born there. Oh, the shame!




Your secret is safe with me
I was also born in Melbourne and lived there for most of my life - and proud of the fact
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If you see someone without a smile, give him yours.

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#507911 - Mon Jan 18 2010 12:11 PM Re: Interview with Ozzz2002
mountaingoat Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: Fri Jun 22 2007
Posts: 390
Loc: Blue Mountains NSWAustralia
Do you play online at the Internet Scrabble Club. Also say G'day to Tony Hunt at the next tourny from Glenn in Katoomba.

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#507912 - Tue Jan 19 2010 01:28 AM Re: Interview with Ozzz2002
ozzz2002 Offline
Moderator

Registered: Mon Dec 03 2001
Posts: 19611
Loc: Sydney NSWAustralia
I do play ISC, Glenn, and will say G'day to Tony for you. Not sure when I will see him next, seeing as he lives way down in Woop Woop now.

And Ozfei, I did not say I was born in Melbourne- being born in a small Wimmera town is hard enough to accept!

Quote:

Isn't it a good thing that what happens at FT get-togethers, stays at FT get-togethers?


If that does not attract three dozen people to the next one, nothing will!
_________________________
The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not smashing it.

Editor, Hobbies and Sports, and Forum Moderator

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#507913 - Tue Jan 19 2010 04:00 AM Re: Interview with Ozzz2002
srini701 Offline
Forum Champion

Registered: Wed Jan 04 2006
Posts: 9164
Loc: Hyderabad India
Just came across this...wonderful interview...great questions and fantastic answers...My admiration and respect for you has grown a little more now, Greg
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#507914 - Tue Jan 19 2010 12:11 PM Re: Interview with Ozzz2002
MadMags Offline
Star Poster

Registered: Sat May 03 2008
Posts: 17092
Loc: Orosi CostaRica
Very enjoyable reading, Ozzz, thank you for sharing a glimpse into the man behind the screen name.
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#507915 - Fri Feb 05 2010 03:08 PM Re: Interview with Ozzz2002
BxBarracuda Offline
Forum Champion

Registered: Wed Sep 05 2007
Posts: 5117
Loc: Bronx
New�York�USA�...
This may sound like a dumb question, but when playing scrabble online this answer would be very helpful.

Some online word games, even from the same site, use different dictionaries, to decided which words are valid or legal and which ones are not for that game.

In most cases being wrong just means try again with no penalty, but in Scrabble you lose a turn if you put down a word not in that games dictionary.

Is there a standard dictionary which is used for Scrabble Tournaments, or does whoever is runnig the tournament chose which dictionary to use?

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#507916 - Fri Feb 05 2010 06:07 PM Re: Interview with Ozzz2002
ozzz2002 Offline
Moderator

Registered: Mon Dec 03 2001
Posts: 19611
Loc: Sydney NSWAustralia
Quote:

In most cases being wrong just means try again with no penalty, but in Scrabble you lose a turn if you put down a word not in that games dictionary.



Depends on where you are. America, Canada and Israel usually play Double Challenge rules. If you play a phoney, and your opponent successfully challenges it off, you lose your next turn. Conversely, if your word is allowable, HE loses his next turn. I do not like this version, as it invites bluffing and gamesmanship. If I wanted that, I would play poker.

Single Challenge allows for unlimited challenges without penalty. If you play a phoney which is challenged off, you only lose your current turn. If your word is okay, there is no loss of turn for your opponent. This is the version played in most English-speaking countries.

Five Point Challenge (sometimes 10-point), is played in New Zealand, Singapore and a couple of African countries. If the challenge works, the challenger gets an extra five (or ten) points. This system is also used in the World Scrabble Championships to quell arguments of favouritism from both sides of the fence, I guess.

Quote:

Is there a standard dictionary which is used for Scrabble Tournaments, or does whoever is runnig the tournament chose which dictionary to use?



The biggest bone of contention in the game! Again, this breaks down into geographic areas. USA uses OSPD (Official Scrabble Players Dictionary), UK uses OSW (Official Scrabble Words), and the rest of the world combined both dictionaries to create SOWPODS. This has since been superseded by CSW (Collins Scrabble Words).

The OSPD contains about 170,000 words, but only contains words up to nine letters long, the OSW has about 30,000 more entries up to nine letters and SOWPODS/CSW has more than 275,000 but includes all words up to 15 letters- the width of a Scrabble board.

An interesting comparison can be seen in the 2-letter word lists. OSPD has 101, OSW has 110, and CSW has 125.

The long running argument between the two combatants runs like this-

Americans say "You should use our dictionary because we invented the game."
The English reply is "Perhaps, but we invented the language!".

It amount to an irresistable force meeting an immovable object, and the rest of us just leave them both to it, and use the best of both worlds.

Sorry for being so voluble, but it is a topic I never tire of.

Oh, and thanks Mags and Srini- it was a lot of fun!


Edited by ozzz2002 (Fri Feb 05 2010 06:17 PM)
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