Event 4: Masterbrain Phase II

The Fourth Event of the 2008 Mancathlon – “Masterbrain Phase II”  – was held on a Sunday in The Mancathlon Subterranean Studio Complex and was attended by the following Mancathletes:
Duncan Reynolds, Rodney Macfarlane, Jared Trail, AJ Sutton, Brydon Price, Reg Watson, Dr Todd Keenan, Conrad Blight, Dr Kirk Stevens, Thomas Rowe, Shane Munro, Gavin Marshall, Phillip Guthrie, Leighton Agnew, Simon Judkins & Stuart Brooke.
They say that the Schlong is the largest organ on a Mancathlete’s body. But what of the Brain? That precious, pudding-like grey sponge slopping about in our thick monkey skulls. That 3 pound chunk of electrified meat that pilots our powerful muscular frames and controls the huge jets of testosterone that are constantly pouring into our testes & adrenal glands. What indeed?
And so it was on an incredibly clear and beautiful Auckland day that 16 Mancathletes gathered inside a dimly lit Irish Bar for an afternoon of beers lightly sipped, hot chips sauce-dipped and brains torn & ripped by the Cerebral Savagery of Masterbrain Phase II. Senor Juarez was not present for the inaugural Masterbrain, but all reports presented an horrific ordeal in which the Mancathletes threw their finest efforts against the might of the Masterbrain only to be crushed, embarrassed & intellectually deflated by it all. With the discordant strains of a Short & Sutton duet providing a soundtrack to their nightmare no less. Now in 2008, the Mancathletes were back and facing off against the giant, crushing brain himself once more, their encephalonic nemesis…Quizmaster Staines. 
Staines had gone back to the drawing board and constructed the most diabolic set of general knowledge questions his hideously swollen brain could possibly conceive of. And when I say drawing board I mean a  tank full of life-sustaining liquid in Staines’ basement where he lies naked and suspended with thousands of filament thin wires hooking directly into his central nervous system and flooding his mind with all the pulsating knowledge of the muntranet. And when I say general knowledge I mean the kind of knowledge that scientists & philosophers sacrifice years of their life, marriages, money and professional advancement to acquire…
First up to bat was Duncan Reynolds. With the relentlessly catchy Masterbrain Theme Tune ringing in his ears, Reynolds hobbled up onto the stage, past Staines’ futuristic lectern and lowered his old body into the comfortable salmon lazy-boy that awaited him. He began the event in casual reclining mode, but soon his arms were crossed in angry frustration as Staines fired a series of searingly hard questions his way including a particularly cruel Great Gatsby number that had Reynolds gnashing his teeth with chagrin & regret. He posited that Peter was the first chapter of the Old Testament. He identified Pink Floyd’s iconic ‘prism on black’ record cover as being…”The Wall”. Not Mr Reynolds finest moment but fear not viewers, he’ll be bringing the West Coast thunder back to an event near you soon! 
Rodney Macfarlane, scientist, lawyer, lover. An almost perfect combination to take on the Masterbrain. Except for his lovemaking abilities, which would not be required at this particular event. Rodders came hard out of the gate with 2 correct answers earning him an enthusiastic round of applause from the gathered Mancathletes. Take that Masterbrain! He stumbled on the Chinese Unlucky Number question and from there on his success was somewhat sporadic. Somehow the usually confident Rodders seemed dwarfed by the massive salmon lazy-boy, like a child quietly attending a stern lecture that he did not comprehend. His knowledge of science provided his redemption though as he nailed two inorganic chemistry questions that drew him back up to a respectable 6 NerdPoints. 
The ‘Beast from The North-East’ was next up. Lumbering onto the stage like a hairless gorilla; his knuckles dragging across the wooden slats and his protruding mandible jutting angrily as he sniffed the air, he lowered himself into the chair and stared challengingly at Quizmaster Staines. He started off strong too, correctly naming the chambers of the heart to a round of applause. But then the crushing blow from Staines – “What substance is controlled by Anti-Histamines?”. Trail faltered and passed; and the answer came back… “Histamines”, Trail looked to the pitiless sky for support as the gathered Mancathletes laughed nervously, glad that they were not the recipients of that particular barb. 
AJ leaned back into the plush salmon lazy-boy, sipping on a tall, cool glass of domestic beer. He felt confident. He felt good. He would not feel that way for long. “What car was designed by Ferdinand Porsche?” “Wrong…it was the Volkswagon”. “What does a polyorchid man have?” “Wrong…Three Testicles”. “What is the nearest star to the earth?” “Wrong…the Sun”. It just was not AJ’s round, a couple of missteps and some particularly cold-blooded questions from Staines saw Sutton blown out the back end of the Masterbrain, shivering and coated in ectoplasm.
Price continued his lusty thrust for points in the 2008 Season in a huge round against the Masterbrain, facing down Staines without fear, just the determined clarity that has seen him rise swiftly in the points table this year. He walked calmly off stage with an impressive 8 NerdPoints stuffed in between his pocket-protector and his scientific calculator, sipping on a warm bottle of fanta. Next up was Reginald Watson, who had stolen away from his work for a quick faceoff against the Brain. It was obvious from the start that Watson was terrified of the Brain, he was constantly looking around the room for some sort of touchstone of normality but there was none to be found in this house of nimrods. Nevertheless he came out guns blazing like a true Mancathlete, swatting aside questions with disdain one second, scooping answers from the brink of the buzzer the next, coming up with 7 NerdPoints before disappearing in a cloud of smoke leaving only the traces of his mocking laughter behind.
Dr Todd Keenan. The first of our two resident doctors to attempt to apply his Phd in “Fighting & F*cking” to the intellectual rigours of The Masterbrain Phase II. He started off strong with the classic 2 for 2, but then got caught out by the Spanish tongue of the 3rd question. He memorably but incorrectly identified “The pause that refreshes” as a semicolon. And as the stakes rose over his round, his considerate pauses seemed to stretch ever closer to infinity, the ticking of the clock slowing & becoming lower in pitch as he crumpled his forehead in gymnastic expressions of deep thought. But it worked for the good doctor, who lowered himself from the stage clutching 7 NerdPoints in his sweaty hands. 
Secretly Blight fancied his chances in the Masterbrain. He was a secret self-fancier. He had sat hunched on his bar stool clutching his thick bottle of domestic beer, thinking to himself how easy it could all be; his mouth watering at the prospect of Precious Mancathlon Points, his private school educated brain ready to kick in hard against The Masterbrain. But once up on that vaulted stage would he revert to the terrible choke-artistry that defined his 07 Season? No way bitches! Well okay, maybe a bit. The definitive moment came on the penultimate question when an image of Humphrey Bogart from his most famous movie almost derailed Juarez; he ummed, he ahhed, he named all the lead actors & supporting players, but still the title would not come. 44 Calibre sized beads of sweat erupted from his receding forehead and poured down his finely tailored shirt, time passed, the clock ticked down until, right at the last second…”Casablanca!”. Baaaaam, 9 NerdPoints in the bank for Blight!!
Dr Kirk Stevens rolled up his scrubs & prepared to enter the fray. He reclined easily into the ease of the salmon-coloured easy chair, clasped his hands in his lap and prepared for the onslaught. He got off to a strong start with several questions back to back. Earlier in the game this would have elicited a hearty round of applause from the gathered competitors but by this time energy levels were running low, “desultory” would best describe the scattered & feeble handclaps. After having the best parts of their cerebral cortexes drained by Staines’ savage, greedy proboscis the Mancathletes were feeling a little flat. Not to mention the stiflingly nerdy atmosphere which had gradually worn down this group of finely tuned athletes, who were used to being in near constant states of powerful & balletic physical motion. Nevertheless, the Doctor steered a steady course; remaining cool & consistent throughout his round & coming off the stage with a bellcurve-beating 7 NerdPoints (not “bell end” Jared…). 
Next up on stage, the big man, Thomas Rowe. Would his lofty stature result in oxygen starvation issues for his quickfire noesis? Had his upbringing in sleepy, banjo-picking Marton prepared him for this kind of high-level cognitive gameplay? Why was Juarez using so many questions this report? And so many hyphens? And such a lot of gratuitous self-reflexivity? Had the creative barrel run bone-dry? Hell no suckas, there’s zeppelin loads of this shit waiting off the coast to bombard your senses over the next 6 weeks leading up to El Grand Finale. Best believe it! Anyway…Thom Rowe…good round…nailed what floor Luka lived on in the 80’s…didn’t know the names of Magnum PI’s dogs though…
Munners ambled onto the stage in the relaxed shorts & jandals combo that befitted his Fijian upbringing. And while Stu Beef looked on from the pinkeye quarantine area, Munro proceeded to give a scrunch-faced rendition of a man in extreme psychic pain coupled with a general disdain for the nebbishness of Event 4. “What the f*ck are we doing here?” his face seemed to convey, with an articulateness that words could never capture. 4 NerdPoints was his pain’s reward. 
Gavin Marshall. Tough questions for a tough man. Tough, tough questions…
Guthrie was returning to Masterbrain as the incumbent Champion of Nerds. Countless hours in a dark room with vaseline smeared over his hairy chest and the irradiant glow of wikipedia on his laptop screen bathing the horrific tableau had honed Guthrie’s nerd powers to Laser Strength. Laser Strength. He blazed through Staines’ questions with confidence. With alacrity. And with hairiness. The prospect of his Italian sojourn taking him out of contention for the next 5 weeks provided this man with devastating focus. Once that dust had settled from his Laser Blast, Guthrie looked set once more to be hailed as King Geek with a massive 10 points. Only 3 men stood in his way, Agnew, Judkins and Brooke. 
Leighton. I can’t remember. Sorry bro. No offence, you’re a legend. Maybe I was in the bathroom. Send me an account of your experience in the salmon armchair and I’ll replace this forthwith.
S. Judkins. You wouldn’t know it to look at him. But he’s smart, damn smart. And virile. Ridiculously virile. He got 9 points. 
Beef had his jaw set. He was ready to fight. But what can you do against an opponent you cannot see, an opponent who exists only in your mind…the Masterbrain. 
And finally. After a record 16 Mancathletes had each reclined within the enveloping folds of the soft, salmon armchair and had their minds brutally probed by Staines’ thousand-tendrilled Masterbrain. There was one clear winner, nerd balls McGuthrie. But it was up to Stevens, Rowe and Keenan to duke it out for 4th place, with Reg having returned to work, servicing sporty types on K’ Rd. Staines brought the three up on stage and threw a maths question at them. Their faces immediately contorted into hideous expressions of psychic anguish as their brains attempted to perform arithmetic calculation without the aid of their cellphone for the first time in a decade. It was Stevens who fought through the pain to snatch the spinning gold chain of victory and claim his 2 Mancathlon Points. Then it was time for the big boys to play, Blight & Judkins. Their pencil necks straining to take the weight of their monstrously swollen brains they climbed gingerly up on stage and stood swaying back & forth slightly. Staines threw another maths question into the air, Blight was already halfway through thinking it. Bam! “42”. Yes! Yes! No…”Wrong, it’s…40″. And that was that, Judkins dancing a victory dance, his tiny daughter cheering her applause, Blight on the floor with his head in his hands crying and another fine day in Mancathlon World. 
NERDPOINTS – Won against The Hideous Masterbrain (over 12 Verbal Questions & 2 Visual Challenges)


Duncan Reynolds 3  
Rodney Bueller 6  
Jared Trail 3  
AJ Sutton 3  
Brydon Price 8 4th – 2 Points
Reg Watson 7  
Dr Todd Keenan 7  
Conrad Blight 9 3rd – 3 Points (After Playoff)
Dr Kirk Stevens 7 5th – 1 Point (After Playoff)
Thomas Rowe 7  
Shane Munro 4  
Gavin Marshall 4.5  
Phillip Guthrie 10 1st – 5 Points
Leighton Agnew 6  
Simon Judkins 9 2nd – 4 Points (After Playoff)
Stuart Brooke 6.5  
Guthrie (10)
Blight (8)
Price (6.5)
Trail (6)
Keenan (6)
Judkins (5)
Stevens (4)
Agnew (4)
Marshall (4)
Rowe (3)
Watson (2.5)
MacFarlane (1)
Brooke (0)
Munro (0)
Reynolds (0)
Sutton (0)
Ballard (0)
Gregg (0)
Potter (0)
The Following Mancathletes were absent from Event 4:
Randall Potter, Jason Gregg & Gareth Ballard.




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