Saturday, August 19, 2006

In Lieu of Jeopardy.,..

We found something else to entertain us last night. Not quite the same but hey, what are you going to do when you live in a country where the virtues of Jeopardy have not been discovered. Ok, so we went to the 'Games' area on the interactive service of our cable program. There weren't any trivia games but something called "Stoned Invaders". We gave it a go. It was sort of like Space Invaders if you were getting high as a young 'un when playing Atari. There was a bong in the background instead of space. Ok, so first you need to shoot down joints, then bongs, then cannabis leaves....and then the munchies begin! First came pizza that shoots darts at your ship, then some chinese food, chocolate bars and hot dogs!

And then our entire system crashed. Far out!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Live From Manchester...

Yup, that's right...the blog has gone wild with all its satellite offices...Ealing, London, Berlin, and now Manchester....
I received my Ken Jennings trivia newsletter and I have got to say..I may have not met many Mormons (I have been to Utah twice) but I do think that Ken Jennings may be one of the funniest of the bunch!

GOOOOALLLL. (sorry for the interruption but England just scored. ie the reason that I am in Manchester)

Well, Ken has a section with Last Week's Answers and this is what went down:

2. The Siege Perilous was the name for the empty seat where?

The Round Table at Camelot. It was reserved for the knight who found the Grail. Many, many guesses of "Parliament" and the like. "Passover" was also a common guess of many players. We call those players "Gentiles."

So there you have it. Sometimes he's even a bit snarky!

Sunday, August 13, 2006


I was checking out Ken Jennings' blog and found out he will be in New York City at the Union Square Barnes and Noble signing books on September 14 at 7 pm. You will find me there as well if the class I will be taking on Tuesday and Thursday nights starting on August 31 has a professor with a lenient attendance policy and if the class has a syllabus that does not include a quiz, presentation or interesting guest speaker on the 14th.
So, that being said - exciting, huh?! Whose in?!

In the meantime, to properly do my duty as a blog writer of Jeopardy-ish things, here's a link to a site for which Ken writes for from time to time and more interestingly, the site has great (i.e. short, informative) quizzes on a different topic each week. Quick to complete, even quicker to find out your score, and even quicker (wow - that is pretty quick) for you to determine if you know anything about the topic or are in need of a refresher course, say before a quiz night, board game night where Trivial Pursuit will be played, or better yet, before a night where you will be watching Jeopardy (or Jeopardys) at a friend's house.
Wow your friends! Amaze your family and look like a trivia whiz!

On another note, in the interest of not only "prepping" for competitions (you really never know where or how these types of questions can come up), if you are thinking I am embracing dorkiness just that one shade too much, it might have something to do with a fantastic book I just finished reading. (True, it might also have nothing to do with that).

Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld is a fictional work told from a 20-something character's point of view. The view is about her 4 years at a prep school in the Northeast. The main character, Lee, is a smart, wallflower type who feels she is on the wrong side of the crowd. That is, not "in". It's a great book and I will leave it at that.

But what does this mean?
No, I did not go to prep school and no, I am not making a statement about my high school years. True, I was certainly not on the right side of the lunchroom most of the time I ate lunch in the cafeteria but what I enjoyed about the book so much was that Lee's feelings could hold to true to anyone in their high school years, as a private school attendee or not. Her inner thoughts and outward actions transcend (is that not the most book critic-ish word you have ever heard?) whatever clique you may have been in as a high school student. Even for those post-high schoolers who don't even know what clique they were in or for those who were not in a clique, I truly believe there is something in the book you will relate to. (that's the transcending part).
And that is really where I will leave it.

And that's all about the book I finished reading last week. (Had to get that LAST in there to make some sense of its relation to the niche topic.)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The blog never rests

Given my evening activity plans, it was easy for me to wake up today thinking there would not be an entry tonight. But in the end I was wrong. I mean, what really happened this evening is not indicated by the invitation alone. (The photo below may give you a clue.) But sometimes pictures just can't say it all.

So, on to the evening. I arrive at Gracie Mansion about 5:45 on one of the most beautiful nights of the summer. 80 degrees, low humidity, nice breeze kinda night. Also, feeling quite beautiful, if you must know. My hair came out great! I used the flat iron to straighten it encouraged by reports of no humidity this morning and thinking that I wanted to look nice on my first visit to Gracie Mansion. Immediately after check in, I am handed a card in which I am instructed a photo opp with the Mayor was going on right now and if I wanted to take advantage I should quickly get in line and fill out the card with my address so the aforementioned photo can be mailed to me. I comply. (Again, my hair did - still does as of this writing - look pretty good and well, even if it didn't, that is, even if the humidity had skyrocketed up and my hair was a frizz bomb, I would still have waited on line to meet His Honor.)
The line is abnormally fast, I whiz by the Mayor, while shaking his hand, smiling and having photo shot. I proceed to the BBQ under a lovely (and huge) tent, meet up with some familiar faces, grab a bite and wait for the Mayor to come on stage and do his Mayoral thing.

So, he presents us with this pretty cool tidbit. He explains he has just taken photos with approximately 700 people in under 45 minutes. It was 44 minutes he notes which means it was 4 seconds per person. Whoa. And I (will) have the photo to prove it!! check this space in the following weeks for a scan of said photo

Next the Mayor is cracking jokes left and right telling the audience of 1,000 that we each own 1/8 millionth of Gracie Mansion and if we want to live in it one day the lease will be up for grabs soon. Then he screams out, "I will be here all week, two shows on Saturday!" (hahaha) Actually, I thought that to myself as he continued his stand-up.

But then, oh then! He's not done. He's got a game for us to play. And surprise - it was New York City Jeopardy! He's going to pick party attendees to come up on stage and play a few rounds of trivia!

I practically pee in my pants. I am naturally freaking (actually I am starting to think it is not so natural - my reaction to anything Jeopardy! - but that is for another day and most likely, another venue).

I quickly turn to the woman on my right - she's with my bunch - tell her I am a Jeopardy freak right around the same time she tells me - "oh a Sony show." (She works for Sony Television - more on that in a bit) A friend overhears and says, "Jess - try to get up there." But I've been, too "Oh this is weird - Jeopardy! The blog! My readers!" that I've paused and didn't think fast enough. I shrug and I wave my hands semi-frantically in a 'Pick me! I kinda sorta want to go up there' way. But alas, we are too far from the stage and so others are selected to go on stage and answer questions about New York City. He even has buzzers for them in which they can ding in. Or honk. Or ring. (One is a bicycle horn, another a bicycle bell and the third, I don't recall as I don't think that 'contestant' used it)

So that's the photo above - three non-Jeopardy bloggers up answering questions about the Big Apple. One question informs us that Angelina (Angela in Bloomie talk) Jolie auctioned off a signed lunchbox with her likeness on it and gave the money to the Fund for New York City schools. Another informs us that the Executive Director of the Mayor's Volunteer Center was once a chef and another more interesting question lets us know that there are at least 500,000 trees in New York City (or maybe just Central Park - I can't remember). The reason I can't remember is I wasn't quite listening, as - remember the Sony TV friend?
Well, she hears (from me) that I love Jeopardy and her reaction was perfect. She immediately whips out her cell phone and starts texting a good friend who works on the show! Seems that Jeopardy schwag might be coming my way! To be continued. . .

So, a BBQ. At a famous house. An extravagant mansion. An estate, if you will. And Jeopardy comes up, it's there. It's everywhere!

Editor's Note:
Regarding last night's surprise (Celebrity Jeopardy coming to NYC this fall!) please note I have already sent in my application to receive 4 tickets and of course, I filled it out with my Jeopardy pen. Oddly, I didn't even specifically look for the pen, but in my practically robotic motions to print out the application and begin to fill it out, that was the pen my fingers reached for first. Really. It was only after I had begun to complete the form that I realized the coincidence.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Yin & The Yang

We flipped on the tube as we sat down to dinner and decided to watch Jeopardy. A collective groan from the crowd was heard since it was the College Tournament but instead of watching something else (a recorded 30 Days by Morgan Spurlock to be precise) we thought Jeopardy better suited our multi-tasking. Sit, eat, watch.
(This anecdote of how we came about to be watching this particluar episode is neither the Yin nor the Yang)

The first category the kids selected was MC Trebek. And we loved it for a moment there. "MC" Trebek recited lines from rap songs such as Lose Yourself by Eminem, It's Getting Hot in Here by Nelly - Imagine, if you will a straight faced Alex,
"It's getting hot in here (so hot) so take off all your clothes" and then a line from Gin & Juice by Snoop Dogg.
It was the last two answers that bit our asses. And this is why. We're innocently watching/listening to the category getting the first three ($200, $400, $800) along with the contestants and then bam!
Answer: Mom busted in and said what's that noise. 'Aw, Mom you're just jealous it's' them"
Mom busted in and said what's that noise. 'Aw, Mom you're just jealous it's' them"
Mom busted in and said what's that noise. 'Aw, Mom you're just jealous it's' them"

We didn't hear a thing.
No one buzzed in.
You could here a pin drop, a cricket cricketing.
Nothing! The kids didn't know it.
A loud groan sounded (it was us).
And then, and then!!

MC Trebek for $2000, Alex.
Answer: I've been here for years. Rockin' my peers and puttin' suckas in fear. Momma said knock You Out.

Quiet. Silence. Not a peep.
I screamed, "No! No!"

And just like that. . . we decided to never watch the college tournament again!

And now the Yang. Sure we have a DVR and sure, this is how we always watch Jeopardy. But I am not the best with the rewinding and fast forwarding. Even though I'm fast approaching three years of practice with this particular piece of technology, let's just say I have many talents and fast forwarding through the commercials ain't one of 'em. (Let's not mention the times we've missed an entire (critical) scene or finale due to mishandling). But sometimes, just sometimes, catching a promo bit or commercial, if you will, is not necessarily so bad.

So, I press play.
Alex and what looks like the set of Final Jeopardy. The category is Family Fun.
Answer: It's the hottest ticket in New York this fall.

We both immediately scream out Mary Poppins!! (is this sad?) and we quickly learn this is a promo for a Jeopardy event and before I have a chance to laugh, I hear what the event is and ok - I can face it - I pretty much freak out. I got up quickly from the table put both hands over my head (like when I crossed the finish line at the marathon having just run 26.2 miles) and I lightly jog to my computer in the office on the other side of the apartment. My hands come down. I go to this site and well, the Yang to our earlier Yin.

This is the best day of my life!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Fine, Fine. . . I'll tell you.

I've got a new Sunday ritual and it involves a radio show. I know. Am I moving backwards? Wow. Radio. What a concept.
It's an NPR show called "Wait, Wait. . . Don't tell me!" on Sundays at 11 am and it involves testing contestants knowledge of current events from the previous week. The show is taped in front of a live audience in Chicago and the contestants are listeners who call in. There is also a celebrity panel which usually includes Paula Poundstone and Mo Rocca. Now I think there are different people every few weeks on said panel but all I've heard is Paula and Mo.

This week, old portions of prior shows were played (re-runs) but I was delighted. Your friend and mine, Ken Jennings, was on the show. Remember him? The last we heard of him here on AALNJ he was snarking it up. But this was pre-publicity hound Ken and Ken. It was a cute bit. You definitely would have liked it. Basically Carl Kasell (I always think it is Carl Castle) and Peter Sagal (the show's hosts) came up with questions they thought the man-who-knows-everything (KJ) would not possibly know. Now it was only three questions and you might think, how do you listen to this show? But they've got funny banter, ok?! It is all about the funny banter now, isn't it?!
First they asked him a question based on the Worst Case Scenario Handbook. I thought that was pretty funny. Like, really one of the last items you would think a Ken Jennings type might know about. The other two questions were about Nascar and People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive issue. Believe it or not, Ken got all three correct. I did mention the questions are multiple choice right? Well, they are so, as much as this blog is about Ken Jennings worship, don't be thinking he REALLY knows everything since he could answer three questions about People's Sexiest Man Alive, Nascar, and the Worst Case Scenario Handbook. There was a funny comment in the end - I think it was Peter Segal who said something along the lines of..."I know, it was not only three multiple choice questions but it was three IN A ROW that you answered correctly." That Ken.

Anyway, that is all about this morning's radio show that has a little bit to do with a Jeopardy contestant and nothing to do with last night's Jeopardy.

But let's, for a moment, take note that both shows Jeopardy! and Wait, Wait. . . don't tell me! officially have exclamation points at the end of their names.

I want one. (whine)

From now on, I am Jess!