OK, this blog has officially gone All-Jeopardy.

I originally wrote this for the Jeopardy website but they don't seem to have posted it. Possibly because I said inappropriate things about drug use. ANYWAY. If it seems different from my usual LJ style it's because it was originally written for a different audience, although I've played around with it a lot now and it's got lots of bits that weren't in the Jeopardy version. For copyright purposes it's an entirely different blog post!

Ye Jeopardy Saga:
At the studio, before the first game.
Then this entry has the stuff about the first game. (links to video here; j-archive transcript of all the clues from the game here)
The second game (links to video here; j-archive transcript of all the clues from the game here)
Jeopardy party and aftermath, aka I had an awesome cheering section."

After I had watched two games, my name was called for the next one, and every butterfly in my stomach started going crazy! I was playing against Peter, who had done great on the previous game, especially with some movie categories that I would have been completely hopeless at, and Dan, who was kind of an unknown quantity for me, though he bore a distinct resemblance to a friend of mine from college (which asvern and slicegirl also commented on). I tried to turn up the confidence and channel all my nervous energy into Jeopardy! awesomeness.

Once the game started, I started to feel a little panicky - I felt like I was just flailing with the signaling device, really not getting the hang of it at all. When you're playing everything goes by so fast - the whole game seems to last only a few minutes (well, it really does only last about 20 minutes) and individual clues and categories go past like blinking (the commercial breaks, on the other hand, seemed to last forever). I went negative on the second clue I rang in on (it was about Greek columns - Peter guessed Ionian, I guessed Corinthian, and I was shocked when Dan didn't ring in after that with the correct answer, Doric, and you can see me give him a Look). Anyway I was in third place going into the first commercial break, but I was starting to feel better, and the interview segment went pretty well.

There were a lot of clues where I knew the correct response but I just couldn't buzz in fast enough. But by the end of the Jeopardy round I was in the lead, with almost as much as my competitors combined. It was time for another commercial break, and I was feeling better already.

Then in Double Jeopardy we started right off on the category Viral Videos, which Dan chose the $2000 clue on. Not usually a good idea to choose a high-value clue on a goofily-titled category. The category turned out to be about viruses - as a librarian at a pharmacy school, dealing with videos and books and other media about medical subjects is my job! We actually have at least one of the videos that were mentioned in the category at the library where I worked at the time. And possibly guys don't know what HPV stands for as well as women do, although really they should! Genital warts and penile and anal cancer are no joke!* Anyway, I tore that category up. Go me!

By the end of Viral Videos I felt great, and by the end of the Classical Music category I felt even better - I minored in music and I have been an active choral singer since high school. I hate to think what my chorus friends would have thought if I had missed the question about Handel's Messiah, probably the most famous piece of choral music of all time (though not one of my faves). Watching the show, it sounds like I put an extra R in "Thus Spake Zarath(r)ustra" but Alex didn't call me on it and it didn't end up significantly altering the outcome of the game (although if he'd called me wrong and Dan had gotten it right, I would have actually had to risk some money in Final Jeopardy and I might have ended up with a lot more money, depending on how much I dared to wager, but neither of the guys got any of the other questions in the music category so who knows how likely that would have been). The last clue in that category was "This Italian composer known for his Concerti Grossi, Opus 6, played violin, not mandolin," and my first thought was, "It's not Vivaldi," and then Peter rang in and said "Vivaldi", which was, indeed, wrong, but I couldn't come up with the correct response (it was Corelli, duh).

Towards the end of Double Jeopardy I knew I had a chance at a runaway win going into Final Jeopardy - my score was just barely more than twice Dan's score, so as long as I didn't lose any money and he didn't win any, I would be guaranteed a win. There were a bunch of questions about world leaders that I probably should have gotten at least one or two of, but they were photo questions and I am absolute pants at identifying people from photos. Or, indeed, in real life. I don't have actual prosopagnosia but I have, for instance, failed to recognize my own mother after she dyed her hair. So I don't feel too bad about not recognizing Robert Mugabe, even with a clue about a dodgy 2006 election. Chavez I probably should have got, but I was feeling really, really cautious by that point in the game.

We ate up a lot of time at the end on a category of sports clues - apparently neither Dan, Peter, nor I are big sports fans, and I've been roundly mocked by friends, family, and strangers for not getting any of those. MOne of the last clues to come up on the board was about the New England Patriots, my hometown football team. I was almost sure the Patriots were the correct response, but I knew we were very close to the end of the round and I didn't want to put my lock in jeopardy (that's where they get the name!), so I didn't ring in. Sorry, mom! (My mother has Patriots season tickets and her TV room is basically a shrine to the team.) And sorry, me! I could have have used that extra $1600.

Going into Final Jeopardy with a lock on the win felt great! And getting the right response to Final Jeopardy made me feel even better, even though it didn't earn me any money, since I had bet $0. I had thought about betting my age or my sister's birthday or something, but Dan's score was so close to half my score that I couldn't rationally risk more than $199 and I superstitiously didn't want to risk even a safe bet. Since I got the correct answer in Final Jeopardy (and Dan didn't), it didn't matter, but I was happy with the bet I made. The clue was "She's seen wearing a rebozo in her 1937 'Self-Portrait Dedicated to Leon Trotsky'" and Peter and I both wrote down the most famous female Mexican Communist self-portraitist of them all, Frida Kahlo, but Dan guessed Georgia O'Keeffe and crossed out Mary Cassat. I suppose it is slightly more likely that Georgia O'Keeffe would have done a self-portrait than that Mary Cassat would have worn a rebozo and dedicated a painting to Trotsky. I think it was the kind of clue where if you've ever, ever even heard of Frida Kahlo you're going to get it right but if you've never heard of her there's nothing you can do. Not that it mattered, because Dan had a lock on second place! It was a pretty boring Final Jeopardy round.

The next thing I knew I had won $19,000 and I was out from behind the podium talking to Alex and the other contestants about a bad reaction Alex had had to hydrocodone (aka Vicodin) prescribed after his surgery for carpal tunnel (I would not make that up so you have to believe me). I felt great but I could still feel my heart going a mile a minute. I could've used a Vicodin myself right around then. (Not really! Vicodin makes me sleepy.)

Then it was lunchtime! Which I covered in the entry about the second game.

*This last sentence was not in my original blog entry I submitted to Jeopardy, just so you know! I had my annual(ish) physical the week after the taping, and I told the nurse practitioner about being on Jeopardy because, what the hell, she doesn't know anyone I know and she's professionally bound to not tell anything I say to her! She made some joke about not a lot of gynecology questions coming up on Jeopardy, and I was like, it's funny you say that! Because I won $2000 on a question about HPV!

Probably the last Jeopardy entry, unless anyone has Jeopardy questions as yet unaddressed.

So, I had a Jeopardy-watching party, and it was loads of fun! It was the funnest party I ever expect to throw on a Wednesday night. I had a bunch of my family and friends come (and at least two people I'd never met but who were very big Jeopardy fans). Most of the people who came didn't really know how I had done, although some of them had guessed, so there was a fair amount of suspense. There was a lot of cheering - it was kind of like watching a sporting event on TV with people who are really into it (cf. my mom watching a Patriots playoff game). No one knew that I had gone into Final Jeopardy with a lock on the win, so that was kind of awesome! When the end of round beeps went off, the crowd went wild, and as soon as the show was over people started calling me and screaming and I got loads of happy texts.

Then I got home and my facebook was just ridiculous - practically every one of my US-based facebook friends had something to say about it, and I was up until all hours responding to wall posts. Such a fun night. Plus a bunch of people I'd completely lost track of (and a few complete strangers) submitted friend requests when they saw me so I got to reconnect with people, which was fun.

It's weird I posted that entry the other day where I mention the US Women's Olympic Hockey team because yesterday I was in the car with my dad driving through my hometown and all of a sudden he pulled over to say hi to someone, and it was a friend of my sister Ashley's who, oddly enough, was on that very team. I had met her a few times when she was like 11 or 12 years old, and she didn't remember me from then but she was like "Hey, congrats on Jeopardy! That was awesome!" And I was like, "You've been doing OK for yourself too, from what I hear!" So we had a weird little moment there.

Construction follies

There's some construction going on in the ceiling above the library, so half the library is taped off with caution tape. Yesterday one of my coworkers called me to come tell some kids to get out from the caution-taped-off area* - they had just ducked under the tape to get to the photocopiers. This morning, one of my student workers asked if we should put up a sign saying you couldn't use the photocopiers but I feel like surrounding them with caution tape counts as a sign, don't you? And if people are going to ignore bright yellow caution tape they will probably also ignore a 8.5"x11" black and white sign.

In less-frustrating news, I have a new apartment lined up! Hooray! It is super tiny, and it is in an attic, and I think I am going to love it. It's in Easthampton, which is kind of a ways from Springfield where I'll be working, but a very cute little town. They were having their Memorial Day parade and festivities while I was looking at places, so that made it seem extra-cute. Now all I need is a car! (Well, and some furniture. And friends. But still!)

*Incidentally, being the sole enforcer of all library rules is one thing I will not miss one bit about this job. I have no idea why telling people to shut up, put away their food, and/or get out of construction zones is my job any more than anyone else's, and yet when anyone sees anything wrong, they come get me so I can deal with it. Infuriating.


Augh! I am feeling very stressed out about my need to find a place to live and something to drive. One or the other I think I could just about handle but both is difficult. Especially since having something to drive would make it a lot easier to look for a place to live. In short, augh.

Oh! But good news! I asked my sister if I could borrow her car for the weekend since she is going away for her anniversary, and she just emailed me and said yes! So I'll have something to drive for the weekend at least.

But still, feeling a bit a-tizzy in general... I work on one important thing to procrastinate about another important thing, then feel guilty and go back to the first thing I was procrastinating about (which is really just procrastinating about the second thing). Anyway, it will all work out. The absolutely worst case scenario is I live someplace I'm not crazy about for a while and/or I get a not-so-great car. Neither of those is not exactly the most terrible thing in the world.

(no subject)

Yesterday I went out to dinner with my dad, and before dinner we met up at a bar downtown where he was attending a work function - my dad sells "network solutions" (and possibly other kinds of solutions, I don't know how it works) and this was a bunch of his coworkers and prospective clients.

It was a little weird! First of all, people get confused when my dad introduces me, because he looks a lot younger than he actually is. (I do too, actually; it runs in the family. Possibly my grandmother has a stack of portraits aging away somewhere.) First people ask me if I'm a student, and when I say I'm not they try to find other ways of figuring out how old I am (I could just come out and say, "I'm 32" but that seems presumptuous, like I'm calling them out for wanting to know) and once they've got a general gist of my age they start trying to figure out how old my dad must be.

Another weird thing was this one guy who I am pretty sure was hitting on me, albeit in an extremely inept fashion. It was a very strange conversation (who brings up religion in a conversation with complete strangers in Boston? who hits on a woman who is standing right next to her father?) and I'm pretty sure he gave my dad his card in hopes that I would get hold of it (because he had not spoken to my dad at all before I got there and he professed to not know exactly what it was my dad was selling). There is actually also a chance that maybe he was trying to get me to join his church; like I said, it was an odd conversation. I'm tempted to blame the gender imbalance in the IT industry for this guy's awkwardness - I was one of maybe three women in a room of 30-40 people (which doesn't usually happen to me - I'm 1) a librarian 2) at a university that specializes in 3) health sciences and my hobbies include knitting and choral singing; in my world, women outnumber men by about 2:1).

Anyway, had a lovely dinner with my father at Abe & Louie's, which is good and a nice treat but honestly the pricing at these steakhouse places is nothing short of ludicrous. And the service was fine but nothing to write home about (they were a little rushy-rushy - which was a nice change from when I went out with my sister to a little Japanese restaurant and waited 20 minutes with empty plates and glasses for them to bring our check, but still). The food was great, though, and it was so hot out last night and A&L's was just down the street from the place we met up, so it was a good choice.

My fascinating life! Bask in it, people!

French letters

So, I have been conducting a very brief email correspondence with someone at a library in Montreal and to judge from his spelling and sentence construction English is definitely not his primary language (though he's perfectly comprehensible), so I thought, "ah, I shall use a French-language closing to my email as a vague sort of gesture of something or other," but then I realized that I don't know how to close an email in French, so I tried to look it up online but everything is either insanely formal (the closing would be longer than the text of the email!) or "grosses bises" (and although this guy seems nice enough we are not quite on those terms).

Do people actually close letters with "Veuillez recevoir, Monsieur, mes salutations distingués"? Even in Canada? If this is actually the way French-language business correspondence is conducted I don't think I'd ever be able to write a proper French business letter and keep a straight face.

Actually, poking around a bit more it looks like "cordialement" could be a way to go for an informal email. Although that still sounds odd to me, but so would "sincerely" I suppose, if I weren't familiar with it.

Combining several things that really, really ought to get their own entries but I can't be bothered.

My grandfather died over the weekend. I'm sad, and I'm sure I will cry lots once I am hanging out with my family and reminiscing about him (we are pretty close) but mostly I feel fine; he was in his late 80s (his mother lived to over 100 and his sister is into her 90s now, so late 80s still seems a bit young) and he died at home (well, at my aunt's house) in his sleep, and he didn't have any long period of illness or anything, which seems like the sort of death most people would want.

It's hard to imagine that he won't be here anymore, but at the same time, he almost seemed to be getting crowded out as the family got bigger - with his grandkids grown up, and their spouses and children and what not, Grampie (who was a physically small man) just seemed to fade away. He'd had Parkinson's or Parkinsonian symptoms over the past few years (not sure if he was ever officially diagnosed), which sometimes made him shy and uncomfortable around people, and he just seemed less and less present. So his dying makes a lot of sense to me, even though it's not something I wanted to happen right now. He had been fading away for a long time.

First unrelated topic: I want to be a park ranger (the interpretation/informal education kind, not the law enforcement/zebra mussel checking kind). Is that crazy? The idea just popped into my head, fully formed, but the more I think about it the more it makes sense. I love public speaking and informal education, I love American cultural and natural history, I like being outside even in bad weather... it seems like an oddly good match. I'm actually going to apply for some seasonal positions for this summer because why not? Sadly, this look is no longer an official NPS uniform, but still, you get to wear a great hat!

Of course part of the reason I'm daydreaming about running off to Yosemite (or something) is that regular work is pretty unpleasant lately. Just the same old things that you have heard me bitach about before, but some of the most unpleasant things are back at the surface again. I have no power to change any of the things that need to be changed, and I am not learning anything new or developing any new skills. So why not spend the summer in the woods instead of sitting in an office doing nothing all day?

And on a last unrelated note, tonight I am going to the Red Sox/Yankees game (assuming it does not rain, fingers crossed etc.) with my dad and my sister (I think). But I haven't heard from my dad about any details. So that will be fun if it happens!

(no subject)

My latest work-related trauma, in cased your missed me ranting about it EVERYWHERE ELSE ON THE INTERNET, is that I apparently have negative 30 hours of vacation time. I want to barf. I've emailed the human resources guy to ask WTF and left him a voice mail but he hasn't responded. I absolutely cannot face the idea of having to work with no vacation for the next four months just to get back to having zero hours of vacation. Also, if this is correct, every vacation I have taken for the last year and a half has had me in negative vacation hours. I foolishly assumed that the amount of vacation hours listed on my pay stub was somewhere within four weeks of the actual amount I had available (last I checked I had more than 110 hours).

Five second rule

Last night I was cooking up some frozen Trader Joe's potstickers and I put my recommended serving size of seven in the pan (seven is the number on the bag, and seven is the number I eat) then dropped one on the floor. Almost without thinking about it I picked it up off the floor, dusted it off and tossed it into the pan with the others. But I absolutely would not have put it back in the bag with the other still-frozen potstickers.

I realized that to me, at least, five-second-rule foods are OK for immediately consumption but NOT for storage and later consumtion. Does the five second rule work like that for you?

It reminded me of something from an L.M. Montgomery book, The Blue Castle, I think. Roaring Abel (I think) is talking about how mean the woman who kept house for him was and says that when the cat (or dog) got into the jam jar she wrung the jam back off its paw into the jar. Which is, indeed, pretty gross. Grosser than just eating up the rest of the jar of jam right then.