Friday, May 25, 2012

She Blinded Me With Science

It's hard to even know exactly how to approach today's entry. But the first thing I'm going to say is that I will also be doing an entry tomorrow, so if you were hoping I'd shut up already, sorry! The second thing I'm going to say is that it's been too long since these entries involved a song to get stuck in your head, so here you go.

When the category headers are revealed and you're watching at home, you might look a little askance at one or two and wonder what on earth that might mean, but generally you just accept them. When they're revealed for your all-important game, your brain is racing and you're wondering things like: Seriously, what does that one mean? What do I know about that topic? What the heck is that? But before you know it, the champ is selecting the first clue and there's not much more time to think from that point forward.

...Because before you know it, you're getting the first question of the entire game wrong.

You know, if you'd asked me before I did this, "what would be the absolute worst thing that could happen on the show?" Well okay, "getting the very first question wrong" isn't what I would have said. I would have said, "answering with something like 'a threesome,' resulting in having Alex make fun of me and becoming YouTube famous." I told myself that if I could avoid that, I'd consider the experience a success. (High standards, I've got 'em.)

It's funny about that clue though - watching it on tv it looked very strange. Alex says "yes," and then I make a face and Julie rings in and gets it. Alex didn't correct himself out loud, but right as he was saying "yes," the judges were yelling "NONONONONO!" and that's why I made a face. I knew as soon as I heard them that I'd added a stupid 's' onto their name. Oh well.

I was doing okay as we went into the first commercial break. As I've mentioned before, at the break, the makeup artist comes over and touches up your face, and the coordinators come over and talk to you. You also get offered a little bottle of water if you want a drink. I did, so I opened it up, took a drink ... and promptly dribbled it down the front of my shirt. I had to explain that this wasn't nerves - I do stuff like this at home all the time. I was freaking out that there was going to be a big dark spot on my shirt when we came back from commercial, but the coordinator said, "oh honey, it'll dry, you'll see." And then she spent the entire commercial break standing and pressing a paper towel against my chest. All while saying "it's fine, I'm just going to stand here and press on your breast!"

I hated that Discount Tent category. It wasn't that hard, it was just random. We didn't get to the Daily Double in the Jeopardy round, which none of us had realized until the coordinator mentioned it during the commercial. I think I went to Shakespeare because it seemed like the most likely place for it, and I felt okay about the category. But even so, by the time the round ended, I remember all of us just looking at each other in a daze when he said we'd missed the Daily Double.

Things were good when the Double Jeopardy round started, and I felt like I did all right, although Joel running that Roman roads category didn't help me any. I knew the first few, but Joel was too fast. I was momentarily glad he got the Daily Double because I wouldn't have come up with "milestones" with a million years. Of course, it was only momentary relief since I found the Daily Double just a minute later in Opera Characters. This is not what I would consider a strong category for me, but time was running out and like I said before, I had decided before walking out on the stage that I'd play to win. In this case, I didn't have the confidence level in the category to wager enough to try to take the lead, but I picked something in the middle that hopefully wouldn't sink me even if I got it wrong. Which I did, because I had never heard of that character in my life.

Just like in yesterday's game, a wrong Daily Double by a challenger ended the Double Jeopardy round. Time for the Final, and I was in an awkward 2nd place position.

Quick note about wagering - as I said in a previous post, I practiced my wagering. However, I practiced it like this:
Normal pen, notebook paper
and on the stage, I was faced with this:
Half a sheet of paper and a Sharpie (which was considerably
duller than this one)
It's like practicing calligraphy and then being presented with a crayon and an index card. Bottom line, practice your wagering with a crayon and an index card!

It was all irrelevant though when I saw the Final Jeopardy clue. I read the clue and tried to think of it in every way possible, since I didn't know it right away. Balkan? That wasn't going anywhere. Invented the 20th century? Twentieth century inventions didn't really take me anywhere that sounded Balkan. Back to thinking about Balkan countries and ... nothing. If I'd been able to come up with anything at all, I'd have written it down, but I don't know that my mind has ever been blanker than it was in those 30 seconds.

And then it was all over, and Joel had now gone through 7 of his 11 possible competitors. Julie and I signed our paperwork and got our stuff from the green room, and were ushered to seats in the audience. The people in front of us told me I'd done great and some other nice things. I was still basically in a fog. Then in a blur, Friday's show was starting, with Joel now a 4-time champion.

Tomorrow I'll talk about Friday's game as well as giving a post-mortem on the experience, including why I wrote all of these posts when I knew it ended like this. I hope you'll come back to read it.


  1. Sorry; I did that from my phone, which has its limitations! In any case, you did very well and have everything to be proud of. Cheers to you.

    1. I guess you deleted your original comment? I taped on January 17.

  2. No. I don't know what happened to the first one then! You must've seen it or you wouldn't have known I asked what day you taped...? Anyway I had also said I for one hope you don't "shut up already." And I was wondering whether you watched the taping the next day, but you'll probably answer that in today's post! :-)

    1. I saw it in my email but it wasn't here when I came to blogger.

      Yes, today's post will answer that question. :)

  3. This post was entirely entertaining.
    Hysterical about the water, and I like your answer that you do it at home also. I also like the few times when Joel and Julie gave wrong answers and you stood fast. Good strategy.
    I was at home playing along, mostly lost in the opera, roman and 2B(?) category.

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it! Yeah, particularly on the Cuban missile crisis question, I had a feeling it was October, but I wasn't sure enough to negate the present they'd given me by both getting it wrong. I figured it was better to get the moderate reward without any risk than to try for the "free" money.

      It was so like me to spill water on myself. When I told Morgan about that, he wasn't surprised at all.

    2. A few times, I think I saw some honesty in your facial expression at the situation. Before I even read the post I was thinking about how quick everything must have happened. It seems very little time to process it all and I wonder how I would have handled it.

      You played very well.

    3. Watching on tv, I counted how many times I shook my head during Final Jeopardy (3), not including doing it when Alex was revealing my (lack of an) answer. I don't have much of a poker face. :)

  4. I've been trying for years to get on the show. (Have you seen "White Men Can't Jump"? That's me. Rosie Perez, not the dudes.) So, your posts are fascinating to me: So much I always wondered about - like how long between shows and figuring out the wagering, etc. Did you read much Shakespeare beforehand? I was an English major but know almost no Shakespeare so I would concentrate on that simply in order not to embarrass myself when it came up. Seems like knowing the Presidents of the U.S. would help. I thought the comment about Wheel of Fortune in your previous post was hysterical. Every day I rail against the money won on Wheel - "That's four days' winnings on Jeopardy!" Thanks so much for doing these posts!

    1. Benjamin, I have a lot to say in reply to your comment, really, but it ties in with some of what I have been intending to say in tonight's post, so I'll leave it till then.

      I had a thought that I might actually read some Shakespeare - in the past, I've read Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, King Lear, and Taming of the Shrew - but there's just not enough time for that sort of reading in the month and a half or whatever before the show. Instead, I made index cards (always with the index cards!) for each play, with the major characters and plot points. I read synopses of the plays, and hoped for the best. Luckily, the Shakespeare that came up on my show was pretty easy for me. (I was annoyed by Joel beating me to Two Gentlemen of Verona.)