Sunday, May 10, 2009

Oceania

"I'm obsessed with sporcle.com."

That's how I wanted to begin this entry before I saw that my friend Matt began a recent entry with "I love sporcle.com." Phew, dodged a bullet there! I wouldn't want to be a copycat or an aper...or an...armadillo. (I know armadillos aren't particularly well-known for copying but I still wouldn't want to be one, would you?)

Anyway, for the past couple weeks I've been consumed by one particular Sporcle challenge.
The game: Can You Name the Countries of the World. My nemesis: Island Nations.

I recently made it as far as 194/195 countries with time to spare. Bahrain? Antigua and Barbuda? Naturally. São Tomé and Príncipe? CHILD'S PLAY. Still, time ran out and I still hadn't come up with that elusive 195th country.

The suspense is killing you, right? Well, it was Tuvalu.


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I understand that the average person's sense of self-worth doesn't hang on the completion of a Sporcle quiz. I recognize that I have a problem. Still, you might find handy this list of the sovereign states of Oceania:

Australia
Fiji
Indonesia
Kiribati
Marshall Islands
Federated States of Micronesia
Nauru
New Zealand
Palau
Papua New Guinea
Samoa
Solomon Islands
Timor-Leste
Tonga
Tuvalu
Vanuatu

The Pacific islands are the bane of geography dilettantes everywhere, wouldn't you say? They're just so damn hard to remember. In light of that, I have crafted this small story as a kind of memory aid. Please enjoy:

Marshall was a wealthy Australian shipping magnate in the autumn of his life. Having tired of his playboy ways, he decided to find a wife and settle down. Though his wealth meant he had his pick of Hollywood starlettes, he eventually Naurued it down to two who particularly struck his fancy: Keira Knightley and Vanna White. Night after night he tossed and turned, punching his Palau in frustration. How would he ever choose between them? He really liked Kiribati wanted Samoa Vanna too! On one such evening, unable to restrain himself, he called Vanna. When she answered he whispered, "Vanuatu wearing?" "Look, I don't have time for you anymore," she replied. "Marshall, Islands are calling my name. I'm going to Fiji to relax on the beach in my Tonga bikini." "Mmmm, can I buy a...towel?" he asked, undetered. Vanna sighed. "Listen, I shouldn't chaTimor-Leste your suggestive wordplay lead me astray." Just then he heard the beep of his call waiting. It was Keira on the other line! "Oh Marshall, you're so handsome," she said, "and as wise as King Solomon. Islands are so nice this time of year. Let's take a vacation together!" Marshall hesitated. "Keira," he replied, "I don't think this is going to work out, though I promise Tuvalu our friendship in the future." Keira was beside herself with rage. She shouted, "He'd beat you up if my Papua New! Guinea pigs are better lovers than you! This womIndonesia anymore. I'd rather date New Zealand's Jemaine Clement of the novelty band Flight of the Conchords!" Now defeated and alone, Marshall lived out the rest of his days in a hut on a remote island in the Federated States of Micronesia.

Okay, now that you're an expert on naming the countries of Oceania, I have one warning. Demonstrate your knowledge of semi-obscure geography sparingly. I recently drove a guy right out of my apartment after an over-zealous recitation of the world's island nations. Okay, he didn't actually leave because of me, but the timing was a little troublesome. It went something like this:

Julia: "KIRIBATI!"
Guy: "Actually, I really need to get going."

The point is, I think I was actually trying to flirt. Sad, I know. If "guys don't make passes at girls who wear glasses," they definitely don't make passes at girls who have a couple drinks and start yelling about the Asian Pacific Islands. Just a heads up.

3 comments:

Aisha said...

You got 194/195?!?!?!?! I bow down to your superior knowledge of the world's geography. God help us when they make a "capitals of the world's countries" quiz...

Remus Thirty said...

Nauru was my bane for a while. We should do a sporcle name the countries race some time.

Sara said...

I almost applied for a job in the Marshall Islands, but I think there was math involved, so I opted out.

Your Oceania knowledge is frightening... and oddly alluring.