girafferty: (jeopardy)
First, the most important thing of all-we moved our TV to the other wall in the living room and rescanned the channels.  Now we get ABC and thus I can get my Jeopardy! fix.  Whew.

I am good and out of the running for the Tournament of Champions now, with the five wins of Dr. Jay Rhee from Annapolis and the amazing 4-day, $153,800 total of cute college student Mark Runsvold from Idaho.  I think there's only been five times in the past 28 years that they've had to dip into the three-time winners for the TOC, and this is not one of them.  I'm still happy with my big pile o' cash.

Finally, an update to my first game.  Tom Kunzen got a letter from Jeopardy saying that after further research, they determined that his answer of "sari" should have been deemed correct.  To remind you, the Final Jeopardy clue was:

The custom of hijab, Arabic for "veiling", can include this garment, mentioned by Kipling.

Jeopardy! is very highly researched, so its rare when the response they are going for is wrong, but sometimes it happens that there is another response they didn't think of that is just as right.  In this case, saris were definitely mentioned in Kipling's works, and some Muslim Indian women do wear saris as part of their veiling.  I still would have won the game, as I bet to beat Tom's doubled score by a dollar, but it means Tom would have come in 2nd place instead of 3rd, so they sent him a check for $1,000 to make up for it.
girafferty: (jeopardy)
First, the most important thing of all-we moved our TV to the other wall in the living room and rescanned the channels.  Now we get ABC and thus I can get my Jeopardy! fix.  Whew.

I am good and out of the running for the Tournament of Champions now, with the five wins of Dr. Jay Rhee from Annapolis and the amazing 4-day, $153,800 total of cute college student Mark Runsvold from Idaho.  I think there's only been five times in the past 28 years that they've had to dip into the three-time winners for the TOC, and this is not one of them.  I'm still happy with my big pile o' cash.

Finally, an update to my first game.  Tom Kunzen got a letter from Jeopardy saying that after further research, they determined that his answer of "sari" should have been deemed correct.  To remind you, the Final Jeopardy clue was:

The custom of hijab, Arabic for "veiling", can include this garment, mentioned by Kipling.

Jeopardy! is very highly researched, so its rare when the response they are going for is wrong, but sometimes it happens that there is another response they didn't think of that is just as right.  In this case, saris were definitely mentioned in Kipling's works, and some Muslim Indian women do wear saris as part of their veiling.  I still would have won the game, as I bet to beat Tom's doubled score by a dollar, but it means Tom would have come in 2nd place instead of 3rd, so they sent him a check for $1,000 to make up for it.
girafferty: (wheel)
I was recognized in public from Jeopardy for the first time today at Port Discovery Children's Museum.  I was also asked when I was due by a different stranger there.  So I guess I really am showing now.  I'll have to take a picture.

I was also recognized by the employee at the front desk.  I'm a regular!
girafferty: (Default)
I was recognized in public from Jeopardy for the first time today at Port Discovery Children's Museum.  I was also asked when I was due by a different stranger there.  So I guess I really am showing now.  I'll have to take a picture.

I was also recognized by the employee at the front desk.  I'm a regular!
girafferty: (jeopardy)
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I should wrap up my story here.  I had a great viewing party for my first game.  We took over a bar in Charles Village connected to a pizza place (Maxie's). I bought pizza and beer/soda for everybody, as well as Smarties and these neat Trivial Pursuit chocolates.
 

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About 25 of my friends made it on a Tuesday night, from as far away as Pennsylvania, DC, and Boston.  I don't get a chance to go out much these days, so it was great to get together with everybody.  They were so great cheering me on, and of course it was down to the last minute before they found out I won, so that was fun to see everybody's expression.

When I got home I had about 35 posts on my facebook wall.  I even got messages from people I didn't know!  I discovered that I don't really like being the center of attention for that long, though.  I had a constant ball of anxiety in my stomach that whole week.  I was even anxious watching my shows, even though I knew what had happened. But it was great connecting with practically everyone in my life.  My freshman year roommate found me on facebook.  I lost touch with her after college, so I'm glad we reconnected.

I was surprised to find out that some people don't think stay-at-home-mothers are very smart.  I hadn't run across that before.  I'm still the same person I was when I had a paying job!  One blogger even suggested that Tom must have thrown his final game.  How else would he have lost to a "mere housewife"?  One woman of my mother's acquaintance even came up to her and said "I knew Megan was too smart to be a stay at home mother.  I know she went to college."  Gee, I thought all that Mommy War stuff was over in the 1980s.  I just assumed that every woman was doing the best she could for her family.  Well, maybe I caused a few people to rethink their prejudices.

I also had many people I don't know say such nice things about me.  One poster on a message board said I was "cute in a hot nerd way," which is exactly what I've been going for, so thank you!

I made the Jeopardy!  Hall of Fame four times!  Three times for highest one-day totals, and once in the  $50,000 plus winners list.  I'm one of only four people this season to break 100k.  Tom Kunzen is one of the others.  Its neat that two of us were in the same week.

I was interviewed (with Matthew and Biggie) on the 11 o'clock news .  I like how Cheryl introduced me as "mother by day...Jeopardy! champion by night!".  I also was featured in my high school alumni newsletter, and just interviewed with a reporter from my hometown paper.

Right now, I'm on the list for the next Tournament of Champions.  I'm only 11th out of a possible 13 right now, and they rank us first based on number of wins, and then by money won.  So unless something really wacky happens in the next six months and there aren't more than two 4+ winners, I'm out of contention.  I think that they'll be taping the TOC around my due date, so I probably wouldn't be physically able to travel cross-country then, anyway.  I'll be rooting for Tom to take it all!

I still don't have the money.  Its going to take 120 days to arrive, they said.  And I'll have to set aside a good chunk for taxes, but we'll still have a big bundle left over after that.  We were so happy when we figured we could live on one salary and I could stay home with the babies, but we neglected to include plans for how we were going to save for a house.  But now we have a hefty downpayment.  We're hoping to find a place and move in before the new baby arrives in September.

Its even better than if I was working, because then we would have to pay for daycare and gas and clothes, but now its coming to us all in one chunk.  So I'm thrilled this windfall fell in our lap.  I feel really lucky.  I thought going out that maybe I would win one game with the average 20k.   I never dared imagine I'd win six figures.  

Now, my goal is coach all my friends who want to be on Jeopardy!  So let me know if you want any advice! 
girafferty: (jeopardy)
Photobucket

I should wrap up my story here.  I had a great viewing party for my first game.  We took over a bar in Charles Village connected to a pizza place (Maxie's). I bought pizza and beer/soda for everybody, as well as Smarties and these neat Trivial Pursuit chocolates.
 

Photobucket

About 25 of my friends made it on a Tuesday night, from as far away as Pennsylvania, DC, and Boston.  I don't get a chance to go out much these days, so it was great to get together with everybody.  They were so great cheering me on, and of course it was down to the last minute before they found out I won, so that was fun to see everybody's expression.

When I got home I had about 35 posts on my facebook wall.  I even got messages from people I didn't know!  I discovered that I don't really like being the center of attention for that long, though.  I had a constant ball of anxiety in my stomach that whole week.  I was even anxious watching my shows, even though I knew what had happened. But it was great connecting with practically everyone in my life.  My freshman year roommate found me on facebook.  I lost touch with her after college, so I'm glad we reconnected.

I was surprised to find out that some people don't think stay-at-home-mothers are very smart.  I hadn't run across that before.  I'm still the same person I was when I had a paying job!  One blogger even suggested that Tom must have thrown his final game.  How else would he have lost to a "mere housewife"?  One woman of my mother's acquaintance even came up to her and said "I knew Megan was too smart to be a stay at home mother.  I know she went to college."  Gee, I thought all that Mommy War stuff was over in the 1980s.  I just assumed that every woman was doing the best she could for her family.  Well, maybe I caused a few people to rethink their prejudices.

I also had many people I don't know say such nice things about me.  One poster on a message board said I was "cute in a hot nerd way," which is exactly what I've been going for, so thank you!

I made the Jeopardy!  Hall of Fame four times!  Three times for highest one-day totals, and once in the  $50,000 plus winners list.  I'm one of only four people this season to break 100k.  Tom Kunzen is one of the others.  Its neat that two of us were in the same week.

I was interviewed (with Matthew and Biggie) on the 11 o'clock news .  I like how Cheryl introduced me as "mother by day...Jeopardy! champion by night!".  I also was featured in my high school alumni newsletter, and just interviewed with a reporter from my hometown paper.

Right now, I'm on the list for the next Tournament of Champions.  I'm only 11th out of a possible 13 right now, and they rank us first based on number of wins, and then by money won.  So unless something really wacky happens in the next six months and there aren't more than two 4+ winners, I'm out of contention.  I think that they'll be taping the TOC around my due date, so I probably wouldn't be physically able to travel cross-country then, anyway.  I'll be rooting for Tom to take it all!

I still don't have the money.  Its going to take 120 days to arrive, they said.  And I'll have to set aside a good chunk for taxes, but we'll still have a big bundle left over after that.  We were so happy when we figured we could live on one salary and I could stay home with the babies, but we neglected to include plans for how we were going to save for a house.  But now we have a hefty downpayment.  We're hoping to find a place and move in before the new baby arrives in September.

Its even better than if I was working, because then we would have to pay for daycare and gas and clothes, but now its coming to us all in one chunk.  So I'm thrilled this windfall fell in our lap.  I feel really lucky.  I thought going out that maybe I would win one game with the average 20k.   I never dared imagine I'd win six figures.  

Now, my goal is coach all my friends who want to be on Jeopardy!  So let me know if you want any advice! 
girafferty: (jeopardy)
For some reason this game wasn't as fun for me to write about.

The paperwork they sent us said to bring two changes of clothes.  Now, they tape five shows a day, so conceivably you might need 5, but by the fourth show the viewers at home will have forgotten what you wore on the first.  I wasn't going to tempt fate by bringing more clothes than they asked and losing my first game, then having to haul my sad unworn clothes back through the airport.

But I didn't want to rewear any of my clothes, so Rose literally gave me the shirt of her back the night before so I would be prepared.  I got more compliments on that shirt than anything else I wore.  I should have just raided her closet when I got to L.A.

I was going against Eric, the opera-loving pig farmer, and Julie, a managing editor of BlogHer.    That morning when we were rehearsing I was sitting next to contestant coordinator Robert and Julie.  Robert asked me about my time on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.  I was telling him that I liked the format of the clues on Jeopardy! more than on WWTBAM.  On Millionaire, they might ask "The American Visionary Art Museum, which only shows untrained artists, is located in which city?"  and give you  four choices.  If you didn't already know it was in Baltimore, there would be no way to figure it out.  While on Jeopardy, they would say "The American Visionary Art Museum is located in this largest city in Maryland."  Much easier to figure out.

"Blah blah blah largest city in Maryland," Julie said.  The way she phrased it immediately reminded me of Prisoner of Trebekistan, which is a fantastic book to prepare for being on the show.  I highly recommend, nay DEMAND you read it if you ever want to be on Jeopardy!

"You've read Bob Harris's book, haven't you?"  I said, and she said yes.  We had a nice chat about it, but I was mentally making a note that she would be tough.  As she proved to be.

Watching the game now, it wasn't as bad as I remembered it.  I was actually very close to Julie through most of the game, until she went on a tear through INDONESIA.  I am in awe of her Indonesian knowledge.  Then I made a guess on the 2k clue which turned out to be wrong.  The big difference in this game from my others were my number of negs.  I rang in and guessed wrong four times this game, equal to my number wrong in my first three games total. Julie's skill had me running scared, and I was flailing around up there.

Including the last clue of the game, the Daily Double.  I looked up at the scores and saw I was ahead of Eric but behind Julie by quite a lot.  I was having trouble doing the math. so I just bet 6,000 because I knew that would put me in the lead.  I was so overwhelmed by by huge wager in a science category that I had trouble focusing on what Sarah was saying in the video.  "Bleep bloop bloop particles in the sky," and she put her thumb up.

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All I could focus on was "particles", so I guessed "dust".

"Ooh, sorry," Alex said, and I dropped down to $2800.

When they brought out the scrap paper for figuring our wagers, I realized I was screwed.  Julie only had to wager $1801 to cover Eric, and I knew from talking to her before that she wouldn't be so foolish to give me a chance to gain on her.  The only way I could even advance to 2nd place was for Eric to get it wrong, and since if he bet to get higher than Julie's pre-FJ score he would drop below my $2800, my best move was to risk nothing.  I spent a lot of time playing around with J! Archive's wagering calculator before I went on the show, and I remembered its advice that "you'll have better chances of advancing to second place if you have a larger sum left over on a Triple Stumper".  But betting zero is so boring. I figured out the results would be the same if I bet my favorite number 16, so that's what I did.

For a while I felt like I was tricking Eric out of $1,000 by what I did, but as nice as he was, when's the last time I gave a grand to someone I just met?

The category was PHILANTHROPY, and the clue was "The Pink Pony Fund, for breast cancer care & prevention, is a philanthropic initiative of this fashion company."  So what's the fashion line with the horses on their shirts?  Hm, I just saw a perfume ad with horses, Polo by Ralph Lauren!  Julie got it right too, so I don't have to kick myself about my DD wager too much.  She was a fantastic competitor, and she invented a delicious Jeopardy pie.


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Then it was over.  Alex Trebek consoled me that I had qualified for the Tournament of Champions, but I waved that away as unlikely.  They only drop down to the three-time champions if there's not enough four and five-plus champions.  "I'll just have to root against everyone on my TV set from winning a fourth game now,"  I said.  Alex chuckled.  I made Alex Trebek laugh!

You know, this could have just as easily have been my first and only game, and I would probably still be kicking myself over my mistakes.  It just goes to show you how much luck is a factor in Jeopardy

I signed my last two pink slips for my money (it won't come until 120 days after my shows aired), and went back to the Green Room to get my stuff.  I had lost on Jeopardy, but I wasn't sad.  I was a three-time champion!  There will still three more shows to tape that day, so I asked if I could stay and watch in the audience.  Its my favorite show, after all, and when will I have the chance to see it live again?  It was much more relaxing watching the games after I played than before.

All in all, it was the thrill of a lifetime playing on America's favorite quiz show.

J! Archive transcript
girafferty: (jeopardy)
For some reason this game wasn't as fun for me to write about.

The paperwork they sent us said to bring two changes of clothes.  Now, they tape five shows a day, so conceivably you might need 5, but by the fourth show the viewers at home will have forgotten what you wore on the first.  I wasn't going to tempt fate by bringing more clothes than they asked and losing my first game, then having to haul my sad unworn clothes back through the airport.

But I didn't want to rewear any of my clothes, so Rose literally gave me the shirt of her back the night before so I would be prepared.  I got more compliments on that shirt than anything else I wore.  I should have just raided her closet when I got to L.A.

I was going against Eric, the opera-loving pig farmer, and Julie, a managing editor of BlogHer.    That morning when we were rehearsing I was sitting next to contestant coordinator Robert and Julie.  Robert asked me about my time on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.  I was telling him that I liked the format of the clues on Jeopardy! more than on WWTBAM.  On Millionaire, they might ask "The American Visionary Art Museum, which only shows untrained artists, is located in which city?"  and give you  four choices.  If you didn't already know it was in Baltimore, there would be no way to figure it out.  While on Jeopardy, they would say "The American Visionary Art Museum is located in this largest city in Maryland."  Much easier to figure out.

"Blah blah blah largest city in Maryland," Julie said.  The way she phrased it immediately reminded me of Prisoner of Trebekistan, which is a fantastic book to prepare for being on the show.  I highly recommend, nay DEMAND you read it if you ever want to be on Jeopardy!

"You've read Bob Harris's book, haven't you?"  I said, and she said yes.  We had a nice chat about it, but I was mentally making a note that she would be tough.  As she proved to be.

Watching the game now, it wasn't as bad as I remembered it.  I was actually very close to Julie through most of the game, until she went on a tear through INDONESIA.  I am in awe of her Indonesian knowledge.  Then I made a guess on the 2k clue which turned out to be wrong.  The big difference in this game from my others were my number of negs.  I rang in and guessed wrong four times this game, equal to my number wrong in my first three games total. Julie's skill had me running scared, and I was flailing around up there.

Including the last clue of the game, the Daily Double.  I looked up at the scores and saw I was ahead of Eric but behind Julie by quite a lot.  I was having trouble doing the math. so I just bet 6,000 because I knew that would put me in the lead.  I was so overwhelmed by by huge wager in a science category that I had trouble focusing on what Sarah was saying in the video.  "Bleep bloop bloop particles in the sky," and she put her thumb up.

Photobucket

All I could focus on was "particles", so I guessed "dust".

"Ooh, sorry," Alex said, and I dropped down to $2800.

When they brought out the scrap paper for figuring our wagers, I realized I was screwed.  Julie only had to wager $1801 to cover Eric, and I knew from talking to her before that she wouldn't be so foolish to give me a chance to gain on her.  The only way I could even advance to 2nd place was for Eric to get it wrong, and since if he bet to get higher than Julie's pre-FJ score he would drop below my $2800, my best move was to risk nothing.  I spent a lot of time playing around with J! Archive's wagering calculator before I went on the show, and I remembered its advice that "you'll have better chances of advancing to second place if you have a larger sum left over on a Triple Stumper".  But betting zero is so boring. I figured out the results would be the same if I bet my favorite number 16, so that's what I did.

For a while I felt like I was tricking Eric out of $1,000 by what I did, but as nice as he was, when's the last time I gave a grand to someone I just met?

The category was PHILANTHROPY, and the clue was "The Pink Pony Fund, for breast cancer care & prevention, is a philanthropic initiative of this fashion company."  So what's the fashion line with the horses on their shirts?  Hm, I just saw a perfume ad with horses, Polo by Ralph Lauren!  Julie got it right too, so I don't have to kick myself about my DD wager too much.  She was a fantastic competitor, and she invented a delicious Jeopardy pie.


Photobucket


Then it was over.  Alex Trebek consoled me that I had qualified for the Tournament of Champions, but I waved that away as unlikely.  They only drop down to the three-time champions if there's not enough four and five-plus champions.  "I'll just have to root against everyone on my TV set from winning a fourth game now,"  I said.  Alex chuckled.  I made Alex Trebek laugh!

You know, this could have just as easily have been my first and only game, and I would probably still be kicking myself over my mistakes.  It just goes to show you how much luck is a factor in Jeopardy

I signed my last two pink slips for my money (it won't come until 120 days after my shows aired), and went back to the Green Room to get my stuff.  I had lost on Jeopardy, but I wasn't sad.  I was a three-time champion!  There will still three more shows to tape that day, so I asked if I could stay and watch in the audience.  Its my favorite show, after all, and when will I have the chance to see it live again?  It was much more relaxing watching the games after I played than before.

All in all, it was the thrill of a lifetime playing on America's favorite quiz show.

J! Archive transcript
girafferty: (jeopardy)
Matthew woke me up at 5 in the morning. "You were up this time yesterday!" he said. Yeah, but I got used to the time change and I had trouble falling asleep the night before. Heavy lies the head that wears the Jeopardy! crown. I was convinced that I was going to lose my first game and have wasted an entire day away from my baby. But then I told myself to shape up. An extra thousand dollars at least was nothing to sneeze at, and everyone who's ever played longs for just one more game. I had that chance.

When I went down to the lobby, Tom was there to give me his message board handle so I could find him when I got home, and let him know if he would get to play me again in the Tournament of Champions. I met Michael, who was from Rochester. I discovered he was only a grade above me, and went to Liam's alma mater UR. We found out on the shuttle that Jennifer was also from upstate New York originally, and probably annoyed all the other passengers by singing old local commercial jingles all the way to the studio.

When I got to the studio, everyone from the contestant coordinators to security addressed me as "Champ". I got to sit on the couch with fellow holdovers Eric and Connie while Maggie went through her spiel again. She always uses the same examples to minimize the chance of them coming up on the show. When she brought up how the boards are chosen randomly as well as the contestants, so its just coincidence if a doctor gets a medical category, I complained, "Yeah, that happened to me last game. I was playing against a doctor who not only got a medical category, but all three Daily Doubles right!"

"Wait, there was a doctor who got all the Daily Doubles, but Megan still won?" Jennifer asked. All the new contestants stared at me. I realized I was now the Tom, the one everyone feared and wanted to take down. It seemed ridiculous that it was me here now.

They picked the new contestants to go against me. Michael and Connie. I was sorry that I had to beat Michael. Wait, what was this? I thought that I was sure I was going to lose. But now I was on stage. I am super-competitive and I only play games one way-to win.

It turns out Connie is the same way. I was a little taken aback. I had sat with her in the audience the day before and had lunch with her. She was such a sweet soft-spoken lady. Then I got over my stereotypes and began to slug it out with her.

I apologize to all my Russian friends for how I pronounced Stolichnaya in the RUSSIAN FOOD & DRINK category. I rang in and realized I had never heard it pronounced. But the rule on Jeopardy is that as long as you pronounce it in a way it could conceivably be pronounced from the spelling, you get credit. So you could rhyme Yeats with Keats and they would credit you. I uncovered the Daily Double in A FAIR TO REMEMBER, and got to tell Alex to "make it a true Daily Double".

Then we had our chat with Alex. I feel really badly that I painted Matthew in a bad light by saying he was bummed out that he had to "babysit" an extra day because I kept winning. Matthew is a wonderful father, but Biggie had only ever fallen asleep after nursing, so when I left, he woke up every half-hour to and hour crying and looking for me. Next baby we will teach to take a bottle, for sure. I thought we wouldn't need them since I'd always be there, but when I was hospitalized for a week and when I went to L.A., he refused to drink any pumped breastmilk or cows' milk when I was gone.

During the day Biggie was perfectly happy, and Matthew was doing a great job on no sleep. But when I went to the Green Room that day, my storyteller impulses kicked in and I had to make it more amusing, and then of course Alex was using it as a punchline, so all the extra explanations were cut and it made Matthew sound like a jerk who couldn't even stand to be around his own kid. Nothing can be less true. As soon as he gets home, he takes over so I can have time to myself, and he makes us dinner every night and breakfast on the weekends. If anything, he does more than I do.

In Double Jeopardy, I got a few clues right up my alley and one category that definitely wasn't. I rang in for the toddler toy (Sit 'n Spin), and the Catholic clue (Limbo), but was totally lost in MAN UP, about astronauts. Its my own fault too, because I kept telling myself I didn't know much about the history of the space program, but never got around to studying it. Connie surged ahead, but lost $1600 on the DD in that category (Which I actually knew, because I had seen Buzz Aldrin talking about his book on the Today show).  The last category was ALL GODS' CHILDREN, which turned out to be mythology.  Yes!  And they said my Classics minor would never make me any money.  I got the second DD, and gained $2,000.  Connie grabbed the last clue in the category.  At that point I put my buzzer down, because she was $2,600 behind me with only a $2,000 clue in MAN UP left.  The only way she could pull ahead would be if I foolishly rang in, got it wrong, then she rebounded.

FJ was 19TH CENTURY LITERATURE.  Only the time period I concentrated on for my English major!  Of course, that made me nervous because if I did somehow get it wrong, I could never show my face in front of my professors again. The clue was "Armor-clad knights face off in a game of baseball in an 1889 work by this author."  It had to be A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.  I was about to write that down when I realized the response started with "Who", so it had to be Mark Twain.  They tell you what interrogative to write before the clue is revealed, so nobody loses just because he forgot to put it in the form of a question.

I had so much time left over that I see I was bopping my head in time with the "Think Music".  Megan, remember you're on TV!

Connie was an English major too, and Michael got it right.  So once again being slightly ahead at the end of Double Jeopardy won me the game.  Oh wow, I had won over a hundred thousand dollars!

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J! Archive transcript
girafferty: (jeopardy)
Matthew woke me up at 5 in the morning. "You were up this time yesterday!" he said. Yeah, but I got used to the time change and I had trouble falling asleep the night before. Heavy lies the head that wears the Jeopardy! crown. I was convinced that I was going to lose my first game and have wasted an entire day away from my baby. But then I told myself to shape up. An extra thousand dollars at least was nothing to sneeze at, and everyone who's ever played longs for just one more game. I had that chance.

When I went down to the lobby, Tom was there to give me his message board handle so I could find him when I got home, and let him know if he would get to play me again in the Tournament of Champions. I met Michael, who was from Rochester. I discovered he was only a grade above me, and went to Liam's alma mater UR. We found out on the shuttle that Jennifer was also from upstate New York originally, and probably annoyed all the other passengers by singing old local commercial jingles all the way to the studio.

When I got to the studio, everyone from the contestant coordinators to security addressed me as "Champ". I got to sit on the couch with fellow holdovers Eric and Connie while Maggie went through her spiel again. She always uses the same examples to minimize the chance of them coming up on the show. When she brought up how the boards are chosen randomly as well as the contestants, so its just coincidence if a doctor gets a medical category, I complained, "Yeah, that happened to me last game. I was playing against a doctor who not only got a medical category, but all three Daily Doubles right!"

"Wait, there was a doctor who got all the Daily Doubles, but Megan still won?" Jennifer asked. All the new contestants stared at me. I realized I was now the Tom, the one everyone feared and wanted to take down. It seemed ridiculous that it was me here now.

They picked the new contestants to go against me. Michael and Connie. I was sorry that I had to beat Michael. Wait, what was this? I thought that I was sure I was going to lose. But now I was on stage. I am super-competitive and I only play games one way-to win.

It turns out Connie is the same way. I was a little taken aback. I had sat with her in the audience the day before and had lunch with her. She was such a sweet soft-spoken lady. Then I got over my stereotypes and began to slug it out with her.

I apologize to all my Russian friends for how I pronounced Stolichnaya in the RUSSIAN FOOD & DRINK category. I rang in and realized I had never heard it pronounced. But the rule on Jeopardy is that as long as you pronounce it in a way it could conceivably be pronounced from the spelling, you get credit. So you could rhyme Yeats with Keats and they would credit you. I uncovered the Daily Double in A FAIR TO REMEMBER, and got to tell Alex to "make it a true Daily Double".

Then we had our chat with Alex. I feel really badly that I painted Matthew in a bad light by saying he was bummed out that he had to "babysit" an extra day because I kept winning. Matthew is a wonderful father, but Biggie had only ever fallen asleep after nursing, so when I left, he woke up every half-hour to and hour crying and looking for me. Next baby we will teach to take a bottle, for sure. I thought we wouldn't need them since I'd always be there, but when I was hospitalized for a week and when I went to L.A., he refused to drink any pumped breastmilk or cows' milk when I was gone.

During the day Biggie was perfectly happy, and Matthew was doing a great job on no sleep. But when I went to the Green Room that day, my storyteller impulses kicked in and I had to make it more amusing, and then of course Alex was using it as a punchline, so all the extra explanations were cut and it made Matthew sound like a jerk who couldn't even stand to be around his own kid. Nothing can be less true. As soon as he gets home, he takes over so I can have time to myself, and he makes us dinner every night and breakfast on the weekends. If anything, he does more than I do.

In Double Jeopardy, I got a few clues right up my alley and one category that definitely wasn't. I rang in for the toddler toy (Sit 'n Spin), and the Catholic clue (Limbo), but was totally lost in MAN UP, about astronauts. Its my own fault too, because I kept telling myself I didn't know much about the history of the space program, but never got around to studying it. Connie surged ahead, but lost $1600 on the DD in that category (Which I actually knew, because I had seen Buzz Aldrin talking about his book on the Today show).  The last category was ALL GODS' CHILDREN, which turned out to be mythology.  Yes!  And they said my Classics minor would never make me any money.  I got the second DD, and gained $2,000.  Connie grabbed the last clue in the category.  At that point I put my buzzer down, because she was $2,600 behind me with only a $2,000 clue in MAN UP left.  The only way she could pull ahead would be if I foolishly rang in, got it wrong, then she rebounded.

FJ was 19TH CENTURY LITERATURE.  Only the time period I concentrated on for my English major!  Of course, that made me nervous because if I did somehow get it wrong, I could never show my face in front of my professors again. The clue was "Armor-clad knights face off in a game of baseball in an 1889 work by this author."  It had to be A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.  I was about to write that down when I realized the response started with "Who", so it had to be Mark Twain.  They tell you what interrogative to write before the clue is revealed, so nobody loses just because he forgot to put it in the form of a question.

I had so much time left over that I see I was bopping my head in time with the "Think Music".  Megan, remember you're on TV!

Connie was an English major too, and Michael got it right.  So once again being slightly ahead at the end of Double Jeopardy won me the game.  Oh wow, I had won over a hundred thousand dollars!

Photobucket

J! Archive transcript
girafferty: (jeopardy)
I had to go backstage and get changed for my next game.  What?  I had just gone through one of the most intense experiences of my life and now they want me to do it again?

The contestant coordinator Maggie came up to give me a pep talk.  "So you've won a game.  That's great.  A lot of people will say they can go home happy now."  Then she leaned in closer.  "Bullshit!  You get out there and do it again!"

This time I was playing against Jamie Santo, a bow-tied writer from Delaware, and Dr. Janet Russell, the Kenyon Mom from Arizona.  As we started, it was much easier for me to ring in without Tom there.   Imagine that.  My Jeopardy round was a reversal of the day's before.  Today I was getting a bunch of the lower value clues and losing on the higher value ones.  Dr. Russell got an entire category on OLD NAMES FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, but I managed to grab two of the clues away from her, including the old name for tuberculosis (consumption) which I had just learned on the plane to L.A. the day before when I bought a New Yorker to read instead of studying.

During my chat with Alex, I got to give a shout out to the Gros Ventre and Assiniboine in Hays.  Wa Hey!

In Double Jeopardy, Janet got both Double Jeopardies!  She got the one in the first round too.  By the third one, I was switching my "I hope everyone plays to the best of their abilities", to rooting for her to fail.  But she didn't.  I was able to just pass her by picking up the last two clues in AMERICAN RED CROSS HISTORY.  Who knew that going to visit my brother at Walter Reed every other week when he was hospitalized there and taking that stained glass workshop at the Kenyon Craft Cottage would come so in handy?

The Final Jeopardy was "In his journals he described how he once set 2 groups of boys against each other, likely inspiring his 1954 novel."  So they're obviously looking for the author of Lord of the Flies.  I know that, its William Golding!  Or wait, is it William GoldMAN?  I always get those two names mixed up.  So I spent the Think music going back and forth before finally deciding that Golding sounded more British.

Alex went to Jamie first.  He picked Golding too, and it was correct!  I tried to keep a poker face until Alex revealed my response.  I was a two-day champion!

When we were standing around at the end of the show, Alex asked me if I had any friends or family in the audience.  I told him my college friend [livejournal.com profile] duckierose was there and waved to her.  "I'm going to take her out to dinner to thank her for staying all day to watch me," I said.

Alex cupped his hands and shouted, "Hey, College Friend Rose!  She's paying for dinner!"  Rose was excited that Alex knew her name now.

As we left the stage, Tom came down from the stage with a big smile to congratulate me.  He had stayed behind after our game to see how I did, which was awfully nice of him.  Rose drove me back to the hotel as I kept looking at the pink receipts I had signed for my money which would be my only proof of what happened until the shows air.  They say you can turn down the money for tax purposes.  But you can pay your taxes out of your winning, so you'd have to be in a much higher tax bracket than I am for that to make sense.

A bunch of the contestants were in the lobby when we came in.  Barry was trying to organize us all to go out to dinner.  We agreed to meet up in an hour at the hotel restaurant.

"You should get a crown, because you're the reigning Jeopardy champion tonight!" Barry said.  Rose was so good to make me one out of a brochure in our hotel room.

Photobucket

It was so great to have dinner with my fellow contestants after it was all over so we could relax. We all had a laugh over the LIGHT BEER and MIXED GREENS on the menu, categories from the last two games. If only we had known we should have been studying the menu instead of our almanacs! Since I was dining with the four people I beat that day, I offered to pick up the check. They graciously agreed. I was so confused when I got my credit card bill later because it came to the same amount as my hotel room. For a moment I thought they had double-billed me.

I didn't go against any weak players when I was there. There is so much luck involved in Jeopardy!, its a shame they only give you one shot at it. I didn't go in thinking I would be making friends, but I'm so glad I got to meet all of them.

Photobucket

L to R Christine, Janet, Jamie, Barry, Tom, and me in front.

J! Archive
girafferty: (jeopardy)
I had to go backstage and get changed for my next game.  What?  I had just gone through one of the most intense experiences of my life and now they want me to do it again?

The contestant coordinator Maggie came up to give me a pep talk.  "So you've won a game.  That's great.  A lot of people will say they can go home happy now."  Then she leaned in closer.  "Bullshit!  You get out there and do it again!"

This time I was playing against Jamie Santo, a bow-tied writer from Delaware, and Dr. Janet Russell, the Kenyon Mom from Arizona.  As we started, it was much easier for me to ring in without Tom there.   Imagine that.  My Jeopardy round was a reversal of the day's before.  Today I was getting a bunch of the lower value clues and losing on the higher value ones.  Dr. Russell got an entire category on OLD NAMES FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, but I managed to grab two of the clues away from her, including the old name for tuberculosis (consumption) which I had just learned on the plane to L.A. the day before when I bought a New Yorker to read instead of studying.

During my chat with Alex, I got to give a shout out to the Gros Ventre and Assiniboine in Hays.  Wa Hey!

In Double Jeopardy, Janet got both Double Jeopardies!  She got the one in the first round too.  By the third one, I was switching my "I hope everyone plays to the best of their abilities", to rooting for her to fail.  But she didn't.  I was able to just pass her by picking up the last two clues in AMERICAN RED CROSS HISTORY.  Who knew that going to visit my brother at Walter Reed every other week when he was hospitalized there and taking that stained glass workshop at the Kenyon Craft Cottage would come so in handy?

The Final Jeopardy was "In his journals he described how he once set 2 groups of boys against each other, likely inspiring his 1954 novel."  So they're obviously looking for the author of Lord of the Flies.  I know that, its William Golding!  Or wait, is it William GoldMAN?  I always get those two names mixed up.  So I spent the Think music going back and forth before finally deciding that Golding sounded more British.

Alex went to Jamie first.  He picked Golding too, and it was correct!  I tried to keep a poker face until Alex revealed my response.  I was a two-day champion!

When we were standing around at the end of the show, Alex asked me if I had any friends or family in the audience.  I told him my college friend [livejournal.com profile] duckierose was there and waved to her.  "I'm going to take her out to dinner to thank her for staying all day to watch me," I said.

Alex cupped his hands and shouted, "Hey, College Friend Rose!  She's paying for dinner!"  Rose was excited that Alex knew her name now.

As we left the stage, Tom came down from the stage with a big smile to congratulate me.  He had stayed behind after our game to see how I did, which was awfully nice of him.  Rose drove me back to the hotel as I kept looking at the pink receipts I had signed for my money which would be my only proof of what happened until the shows air.  They say you can turn down the money for tax purposes.  But you can pay your taxes out of your winning, so you'd have to be in a much higher tax bracket than I am for that to make sense.

A bunch of the contestants were in the lobby when we came in.  Barry was trying to organize us all to go out to dinner.  We agreed to meet up in an hour at the hotel restaurant.

"You should get a crown, because you're the reigning Jeopardy champion tonight!" Barry said.  Rose was so good to make me one out of a brochure in our hotel room.

Photobucket

It was so great to have dinner with my fellow contestants after it was all over so we could relax. We all had a laugh over the LIGHT BEER and MIXED GREENS on the menu, categories from the last two games. If only we had known we should have been studying the menu instead of our almanacs! Since I was dining with the four people I beat that day, I offered to pick up the check. They graciously agreed. I was so confused when I got my credit card bill later because it came to the same amount as my hotel room. For a moment I thought they had double-billed me.

I didn't go against any weak players when I was there. There is so much luck involved in Jeopardy!, its a shame they only give you one shot at it. I didn't go in thinking I would be making friends, but I'm so glad I got to meet all of them.

Photobucket

L to R Christine, Janet, Jamie, Barry, Tom, and me in front.

J! Archive
girafferty: (jeopardy)
Wow, that turned out longer than expected. Here is my account of the first game.

When the game started, I quickly found out that I was going up against not one but two buzzsaws. Barry was the one in the audience who seemed the least afraid of Tom, and I could see why. He really knew his stuff, and he was quite aggressive on the buzzer too. He was reminded to wait for Alex to say his name, because he was interrupting him in his eagerness to get his response out.

But I was able to get in and correctly answer the $1,000 clues for the first two categories. Yeah cuneiform and Paint Your Wagon! But then we went to the COUNTDOWN category. The $1,000 clue was "49.Alaska 48.Arizona 47.This" It sounded like the start of the Animaniacs 50 States song, so I rang in and said Arkansas. Wrong. Tom jumped in and said New Mexico. Right. They were counting down from the last states admitted to the US.

I had just lost half my money! I kicked myself for ringing in when I wasn't sure. That was my #1 strategy. Playing at home, I noticed that if I guessed on the high-level clues I was usually wrong, and its so much more painful and costly to get it wrong and see my competitor answer than if I just stayed silent. It is really hard not to ring in when its a triple stumper, though. I'm the kind of person who finds it hard not to answer when Ms. Roseanne asks Biggie's storytime what sound the cow makes. The seconds seem to go on forever when nobody answers. But this was a good kick in the pants to me and I didn't ring in again that game unless I was sure.

It was now time for the first commercial break. The contestant coordinators came up and brought us water, and tried to keep us cheerful while Alex went upstage to take questions from the audience. He does that at every commercial break, and its really nice of him, because I'm sure he gets the same questions every time. "Why did you shave your mustache?" "What do you think of Will Ferrell's SNL impression?" "Can I have your Lakers tickets?"

Now it was time for the little chat, which I always use at home to decide who to root for. Alex asked me my starred anecdote, about how Matthew proposed to me with a scavenger hunt across Baltimore. I managed to get it out without too much stumbling. As Alex chatted with Barry and Tom, I used the time to look up at the categories and try to pre-call some clues. One was "BIRD" IS THE WORD. So what phrases or words had bird in them? Birdbrain, free as a bird.... my brain was stuck.

Tom immediately went to the bird category, and the $600 response was birdbrain, which I managed to ring in on. I also got the $1,000 railbird clue. Then Tom missed the correct number of tribes in the Iroquois Confederacy, which I knew since I grew up in New York and learned all about them in our state history units.

The first round was over. I had a grand less than Barry and a little less than half of Tom's score. "Megan gets to go first in Double Jeopardy", Alex said, which is the little sop they throw to the third-place person. But its easy to make up ground in Double Jeopardy, so I was still hopeful I could at least stay within half of Tom's score and have a chance of beating him in Final Jeopardy.

My weakest area of knowledge is probably music, so I called for the $400 clue in TASTY MUSICAL ACTS, hoping that my competitors would stick with that category in case there was a Daily Double in it. That way he wouldn't have as much money to wager. But Tom was on to my clever plan, and immediately jumped to THE SUNSHINE STATE. Oh, great. Not only am I playing a 5-day champion, they have an entire category on his home state? But Barry got the first clue and I grabbed the next three. I think what happened to Tom there, which happened to me later, is when you see a clue that has great personal meaning to you, you  get excited and ring in too early, locking yourself out.

The $1200 clue was the first Daily Double! I was always scared of Daily Doubles, whether I got them or my competitor did. I was scared that I didn't know enough about Florida, but this was my best hope to gain some ground, so I bet $3,000, enough to put me in the lead, but not enough to dig a hole for me if I got it wrong.

"What is the Bay of Pigs?" I was correct! Tom and Barry leaped around the board. I managed to get a couple WORLD AUTHORS and one of the FISCAL EXAM clues. The next fiscal clue was the second Daily Double. Well, $3,000 worked for me last time, lets try that again. It was probably too low, since that would only tie me with Tom and there weren't many clues left.

The rest of the round was over in a flash. Alex announced I was in first place going in to Final Jeopardy. I looked up at the scores displayed on the wall for the first time and laughed out loud. That was the best moment of my entire experience. I knew that there was a 50-50 chance I would get the final wrong and lose, but I felt like I could go home proud of myself for getting the closest to beating Tom up to that point.

The contestant coordinators brought around scrap paper and markers (but no calculators!) for us to do our calculations for Final Jeopardy. This is the one time you have time to think. I figured out how much to wager to beat Tom's doubled score by a dollar and wrote $18,801 down with the light pen. But when I looked up at the scores again I realized that I had bet $800 too much, so I had to ask them to erase the screen and wrote down $18001. Then I tapped the bar that locked in my wager, and tried to think of GARMENTS OF THE WORLD before the clue was revealed. All I could think of was Kemal Ataturk and the fez.

The clue was "The custom of hijab, Arabic for "veiling", can include this garment, mentioned by Kipling." Doo doo doo doo doo do doo. Hm, I usually see hijab associated with burqas, better write that down until I think of something better. Now, what did Kipling write?  The Jungle Book, Just So Stories, Kim, "If", that one about the kid on the boat, what was that called?  Can't think of any veils in those books, better stick with burqa.  At least it will be a shout-out to my Dad if I'm wrong.  He sent home a burqa he bought in Kabul when he was deployed to Afghanistan.

Barry just wrote a question mark and bet all but $2, so he dropped down.  Tom wrote "What is a sari?" which was also incorrect.  He bet everything!  Now I knew I was going to be a Jeopardy champion.  The only question was would I be making less that what 2nd place gets ($2,000), or more than I've ever made in a year?  My knees were trembling as I tried to stay standing when Alex came to me.  

"Megan Barnes, over to you," Alex said.  "A stay at home housewife who wrote 'What is a burqa' and that is correct-a."  I was the new Jeopardy champion with $37,601! 

Photobucket

I shook Barry's hand and told him he did a great job.  If he hadn't grabbed so many clues from Tom I never would have been in first place going into final, which means I would have bet a lot less money.

We tottered over to our places in the stand around credits time.  This is the only time contestants can really talk to Alex about anything they like.  I told Alex my father had given us a burqa, and he asked if I ever wore it.  I told him it was too small for me, I would be scandalously showing my ankles if I went out in it.  Tom told Alex he guessed sari because Kipling set most of his stories in India.

"Ah, but Kipling wrote wherever the British soldier went,"  Alex said.  "and the Khyber Pass was very important to the Empire."

I know some people say Alex isn't very smart because he has all the answers in front of him, but I'm sure that wasn't on his little card.

As he left the stage, Tom told me, "see you in the Tournament of Champions", which was nice but a little premature.  Plenty of people win big in one game then promptly lose the next.  I told him I would see him on the message board.  I didn't know he was a poster there already, but I figured with his success, he would come there when his games started airing.

Then I had to do a Winner's Circle video, which absolutely nobody watches but they are up on the website.  I had just gone through so many ups and downs I just disconnected my brain and babbled on. 

Then they told me to go change my clothes.  I had to play again.


A record of all the clues: www.j-archive.com/showgame.php

My friend Jessie's post about fashion in the U.A.E. which I had read before the show: http://inthehotshadeofislam.wordpress.com/2010/06/17/adventures-in-burkas/
girafferty: (jeopardy)
Wow, that turned out longer than expected. Here is my account of the first game.

When the game started, I quickly found out that I was going up against not one but two buzzsaws. Barry was the one in the audience who seemed the least afraid of Tom, and I could see why. He really knew his stuff, and he was quite aggressive on the buzzer too. He was reminded to wait for Alex to say his name, because he was interrupting him in his eagerness to get his response out.

But I was able to get in and correctly answer the $1,000 clues for the first two categories. Yeah cuneiform and Paint Your Wagon! But then we went to the COUNTDOWN category. The $1,000 clue was "49.Alaska 48.Arizona 47.This" It sounded like the start of the Animaniacs 50 States song, so I rang in and said Arkansas. Wrong. Tom jumped in and said New Mexico. Right. They were counting down from the last states admitted to the US.

I had just lost half my money! I kicked myself for ringing in when I wasn't sure. That was my #1 strategy. Playing at home, I noticed that if I guessed on the high-level clues I was usually wrong, and its so much more painful and costly to get it wrong and see my competitor answer than if I just stayed silent. It is really hard not to ring in when its a triple stumper, though. I'm the kind of person who finds it hard not to answer when Ms. Roseanne asks Biggie's storytime what sound the cow makes. The seconds seem to go on forever when nobody answers. But this was a good kick in the pants to me and I didn't ring in again that game unless I was sure.

It was now time for the first commercial break. The contestant coordinators came up and brought us water, and tried to keep us cheerful while Alex went upstage to take questions from the audience. He does that at every commercial break, and its really nice of him, because I'm sure he gets the same questions every time. "Why did you shave your mustache?" "What do you think of Will Ferrell's SNL impression?" "Can I have your Lakers tickets?"

Now it was time for the little chat, which I always use at home to decide who to root for. Alex asked me my starred anecdote, about how Matthew proposed to me with a scavenger hunt across Baltimore. I managed to get it out without too much stumbling. As Alex chatted with Barry and Tom, I used the time to look up at the categories and try to pre-call some clues. One was "BIRD" IS THE WORD. So what phrases or words had bird in them? Birdbrain, free as a bird.... my brain was stuck.

Tom immediately went to the bird category, and the $600 response was birdbrain, which I managed to ring in on. I also got the $1,000 railbird clue. Then Tom missed the correct number of tribes in the Iroquois Confederacy, which I knew since I grew up in New York and learned all about them in our state history units.

The first round was over. I had a grand less than Barry and a little less than half of Tom's score. "Megan gets to go first in Double Jeopardy", Alex said, which is the little sop they throw to the third-place person. But its easy to make up ground in Double Jeopardy, so I was still hopeful I could at least stay within half of Tom's score and have a chance of beating him in Final Jeopardy.

My weakest area of knowledge is probably music, so I called for the $400 clue in TASTY MUSICAL ACTS, hoping that my competitors would stick with that category in case there was a Daily Double in it. That way he wouldn't have as much money to wager. But Tom was on to my clever plan, and immediately jumped to THE SUNSHINE STATE. Oh, great. Not only am I playing a 5-day champion, they have an entire category on his home state? But Barry got the first clue and I grabbed the next three. I think what happened to Tom there, which happened to me later, is when you see a clue that has great personal meaning to you, you  get excited and ring in too early, locking yourself out.

The $1200 clue was the first Daily Double! I was always scared of Daily Doubles, whether I got them or my competitor did. I was scared that I didn't know enough about Florida, but this was my best hope to gain some ground, so I bet $3,000, enough to put me in the lead, but not enough to dig a hole for me if I got it wrong.

"What is the Bay of Pigs?" I was correct! Tom and Barry leaped around the board. I managed to get a couple WORLD AUTHORS and one of the FISCAL EXAM clues. The next fiscal clue was the second Daily Double. Well, $3,000 worked for me last time, lets try that again. It was probably too low, since that would only tie me with Tom and there weren't many clues left.

The rest of the round was over in a flash. Alex announced I was in first place going in to Final Jeopardy. I looked up at the scores displayed on the wall for the first time and laughed out loud. That was the best moment of my entire experience. I knew that there was a 50-50 chance I would get the final wrong and lose, but I felt like I could go home proud of myself for getting the closest to beating Tom up to that point.

The contestant coordinators brought around scrap paper and markers (but no calculators!) for us to do our calculations for Final Jeopardy. This is the one time you have time to think. I figured out how much to wager to beat Tom's doubled score by a dollar and wrote $18,801 down with the light pen. But when I looked up at the scores again I realized that I had bet $800 too much, so I had to ask them to erase the screen and wrote down $18001. Then I tapped the bar that locked in my wager, and tried to think of GARMENTS OF THE WORLD before the clue was revealed. All I could think of was Kemal Ataturk and the fez.

The clue was "The custom of hijab, Arabic for "veiling", can include this garment, mentioned by Kipling." Doo doo doo doo doo do doo. Hm, I usually see hijab associated with burqas, better write that down until I think of something better. Now, what did Kipling write?  The Jungle Book, Just So Stories, Kim, "If", that one about the kid on the boat, what was that called?  Can't think of any veils in those books, better stick with burqa.  At least it will be a shout-out to my Dad if I'm wrong.  He sent home a burqa he bought in Kabul when he was deployed to Afghanistan.

Barry just wrote a question mark and bet all but $2, so he dropped down.  Tom wrote "What is a sari?" which was also incorrect.  He bet everything!  Now I knew I was going to be a Jeopardy champion.  The only question was would I be making less that what 2nd place gets ($2,000), or more than I've ever made in a year?  My knees were trembling as I tried to stay standing when Alex came to me.  

"Megan Barnes, over to you," Alex said.  "A stay at home housewife who wrote 'What is a burqa' and that is correct-a."  I was the new Jeopardy champion with $37,601! 

Photobucket

I shook Barry's hand and told him he did a great job.  If he hadn't grabbed so many clues from Tom I never would have been in first place going into final, which means I would have bet a lot less money.

We tottered over to our places in the stand around credits time.  This is the only time contestants can really talk to Alex about anything they like.  I told Alex my father had given us a burqa, and he asked if I ever wore it.  I told him it was too small for me, I would be scandalously showing my ankles if I went out in it.  Tom told Alex he guessed sari because Kipling set most of his stories in India.

"Ah, but Kipling wrote wherever the British soldier went,"  Alex said.  "and the Khyber Pass was very important to the Empire."

I know some people say Alex isn't very smart because he has all the answers in front of him, but I'm sure that wasn't on his little card.

As he left the stage, Tom told me, "see you in the Tournament of Champions", which was nice but a little premature.  Plenty of people win big in one game then promptly lose the next.  I told him I would see him on the message board.  I didn't know he was a poster there already, but I figured with his success, he would come there when his games started airing.

Then I had to do a Winner's Circle video, which absolutely nobody watches but they are up on the website.  I had just gone through so many ups and downs I just disconnected my brain and babbled on. 

Then they told me to go change my clothes.  I had to play again.


A record of all the clues: www.j-archive.com/showgame.php

My friend Jessie's post about fashion in the U.A.E. which I had read before the show: http://inthehotshadeofislam.wordpress.com/2010/06/17/adventures-in-burkas/
girafferty: (jeopardy)
I knew today was going to be the day I was going to lose on Jeopardy, so I was going to take it easy.  Then at 4:30 Cheryl Conner of ABC2 news called and asked if she could come interview me.  We frantically cleaned the living room, shoving all Biggie's toys into the nursery.  It turned out really nicely. Click here for the story.

It was a thrilling, wild ride to win three times on Jeopardy. Thank you to everyone who watched and cheered me on.
girafferty: (jeopardy)
I knew today was going to be the day I was going to lose on Jeopardy, so I was going to take it easy.  Then at 4:30 Cheryl Conner of ABC2 news called and asked if she could come interview me.  We frantically cleaned the living room, shoving all Biggie's toys into the nursery.  It turned out really nicely. Click here for the story.

It was a thrilling, wild ride to win three times on Jeopardy. Thank you to everyone who watched and cheered me on.
girafferty: (Default)
I really want to post about my games, now that they've started airing and I can talk-I wrote 50 pages in my paper diary on the plane ride home because I didn't want to forget anything.  I've just been overwhelmed by all the love and support I've gotten, and want to respond to all my friends and family who are calling and messaging me..  My extended Rafferty family is so proud, and I keep getting messages from strangers who want to thank me for showing Baltimore in a positive light, or my high school and college, or stay at home Moms.  All those things are great, so I'm glad I could represent where I'm from and what I do

Also, I apologize for my extreme dorkiness.  I forgot that I wasn't in my living room and they were going to show this on TV.
girafferty: (Default)
I really want to post about my games, now that they've started airing and I can talk-I wrote 50 pages in my paper diary on the plane ride home because I didn't want to forget anything.  I've just been overwhelmed by all the love and support I've gotten, and want to respond to all my friends and family who are calling and messaging me..  My extended Rafferty family is so proud, and I keep getting messages from strangers who want to thank me for showing Baltimore in a positive light, or my high school and college, or stay at home Moms.  All those things are great, so I'm glad I could represent where I'm from and what I do

Also, I apologize for my extreme dorkiness.  I forgot that I wasn't in my living room and they were going to show this on TV.

Taping Day

Mar. 22nd, 2011 01:21 pm
girafferty: (Default)
Today is my Jeopar-day! I'm excited. I think there are going to be about 30 people at my viewing party tonight. It will be like my wedding, all my different groups of friends coming together.

Now that the first three games of my tape day have aired, I can write a little about how my day went up to the taping of my game.

Still on EST, I woke up at 4 a.m., and was too excited to get back to sleep. Trying not to wake [livejournal.com profile] duckierose  up, who stayed the night with me and was going to be my guest in the studio audience, I snuck out downstairs and grabbed a bite to eat.  I called my brother Trevor in NY.  He had just gotten out of the Army and I figured he'd still be on military time.  Sure enough, he was awake and we had a nice talk.  Trevor is such a funny guy and he always puts people at ease. 

Then at 6:30 I went back upstairs and woke up Rose.  "I'm going to be on Jeopardy today!"  I said.

"I know!"  she said, and we squealed for a while.  Then I started getting ready, packing all the stuff I needed for the day and getting dressed.  They tell you to bring two changes of clothes to the studio, in case you win.  They tape five shows a day, but viewers at home think its a whole new day by Alex Trebek going backstage and changing his tie.  I said goodbye to Rose, who didn't have to come to the studio until a few hours later.

With all my running around, I didn't make it down to the lobby until five minutes before the shuttle was due.  A man carrying a suitbag came out of the elevator next to me.  This was Barry, one of my competitors for today.  We found the Jeopar-crowd in the lobby and sat next to a quiet man from Florida, Tom Kunzen.  After exchanging pleasantries, I said, "So who here is the returning champion?"  Tom slightly nodded and mumbled something I didn't quite catch.  I had to ask him twice more before I understood that he was saying he was the champion.  

"So how many games did you win?"  I said.

"I don't think I'm supposed to say," he said.

"Oh well, I'll find out at the studio, I guess."  I said.

The shuttle to the studio came and we all piled on with our extra clothes.  I sat next to Christine, who I found out was a Ph.D in English.  I was telling her how my brother is finishing up his Ph.D this year and looking for a job.  This led to a general discussion on college, and I said I went to "a small liberal arts college in the Midwest" which is what I usually say since not many people have heard of Kenyon.  But a woman in the back perked up and asked me which one.  It turns out her daughter went to Kenyon, too!  Small world.  She was class of '08, so I wouldn't have known her, but maybe I will see her at my next reunion.

We got to the studio lot, and saw a big poster for Wheel of Fortune that covered an entire wall.  That's when it really hit me that I was going to be on Jeopardy! that day.  We lined up and went through a metal detector, and one of the contestant coordinators pulled me aside and told me when I would have time to pump breastmilk that day.  They were very accommodating to me, which I appreciate, because it was hard for me to call ahead and ask for special consideration.  But also I didn't want to explode on on national television, so I had to ask.

We went into the Green Room and Robert went over our interesting stories.  These are for the chat segment of the show where Alex tries to humanize the three terrified contestants and ask them something about their lives.  They put three stories on the card, with a star next to the one the contestant would prefer to talk about, but Alex can choose whatever he likes.  They told Zack, for example, that Alex would probably want to talk about him meeting Gordie Howe because he's a big hockey fan.

They had a nice breakfast spread set out for us.  My friend Colette, who was on the show a few years ago, emphasized to me that it was important to eat well at the start of the day, because it might be a long time before lunch.  So I made sure to grab a bagel and an Odwalla "C Monster" drink, for some carbs and Vitamin C to get me through the day.  

We had a bunch of forms to go through, and people kept getting called back for makeup.  I don't usually wear much makeup, but I loved sitting in the chair and getting fussed over.  We found out that Tom was a two-day champion.  Well, that's not too scary, I thought.  Lots of people win two games who maybe just got lucky with categories or a Final Jeopardy.

Maggie, the head contestant coordinator took over.  She was just as loud as she was at the audition, but in a much smaller room.  I love her.  She's just a big ball of energy and she does such a good job of relaxing us and getting us ready to play.  She went over the rules, like you must bet at least $5 on a Daily Double, and you have to answer in the form of a question.  Mostly she told us to be proud of making it this far, not to psych ourselves out, and have a good time. 

"Even if you end up in the red," she said, "It means you took some chances to try to beat the champion." 

That's when we found out Tom had been in a standalone FJ his previous game.  Okay, he was starting to sound scary.  He remained very quiet and focused through the morning.

Then we were led out to the Jeopardy! set.  There it was...Shangri-La.  I was going to be one of the little people in my television set that I watched every weeknight!  We got to practice on the buzzer and writing our names with the light pen.  Tom got less time to practice, but the rest of us were given plenty of time.  There's a certain rhythm you must get into.  Alex has to finish reading the clue, then someone backstage releases the buzzers.  If you ring in too soon, you get locked out for a fraction of a second, giving the other two smart people you're playing a chance to take it from you.

Two names were picked randomly to be the first lambs to the slaughter.  Please not me, please not me, I thought.  Zack and Mary.  Whew!  Zack was the best on the buzzer, so I thought he might unseat Tom.  He made it competitive, but Tom still won in the end. 

In the second game, Tom had a lock, meaning he had twice as much money going into FJ than the 2nd place person.  We were starting to whimper in the audience.  Barry tried to keep our spirits up.  "Everyone is beatable," he said. 

For this game, I decided not to play along and just watch the lights.  The lights are not shown on television, but they're small white lights that line the sides of the game boards.  When they light up is when you can ring in.  Tom was so fast that the lights were barely flickering on.  Later he told me that he played Xbox for a week before the show to get his thumbs ready.  I decided I would have no chance if I waited for the lights, and decided to use Colette's  "duh" method.  She told me to say a short syllable after Alex finished reading the last word of the clue.  I chose "duh" because it amused me.  When I practiced at home, it seemed to synch up with when the contestants were ringing in, but we would see if it worked when it counted.

The third game was the closest yet, but then we had a break for lunch, so Tom had a chance to rest up.  Robert went with us, as a pleasant guard to make sure there was no meeting with any Jeopardy writers who might slip us the answers.  They take the security of the game very seriously.  We are only allowed to talk to Alex on camera, because he knows the clues, and we weren't allowed to talk to our guests or make any gestures towards them, in case they found out something about the game.  Rose was sitting right across the aisle from me, and it was so hard not to at least look at her!

So what did the erudite Jeopardy crowd talk about at lunch?  Zombies, of course.  All the contestants I met that day were not just smart and accomplished, but very nice and fun to hang out with for a day.

When we got back, Barry and I were chosen.  I was glad I got a chance to see a few games, and still get to play that day (two would have to wait until tomorrow).  Robert showed us two pieces of paper so we would randomly choose our positions.  We grabbed them with gusto.  "Woah, these two are ready to play!" he said.

We went back to get our makeup retouched, and took our places. 

Taping Day

Mar. 22nd, 2011 01:21 pm
girafferty: (Default)
Today is my Jeopar-day! I'm excited. I think there are going to be about 30 people at my viewing party tonight. It will be like my wedding, all my different groups of friends coming together.

Now that the first three games of my tape day have aired, I can write a little about how my day went up to the taping of my game.

Still on EST, I woke up at 4 a.m., and was too excited to get back to sleep. Trying not to wake [livejournal.com profile] duckierose  up, who stayed the night with me and was going to be my guest in the studio audience, I snuck out downstairs and grabbed a bite to eat.  I called my brother Trevor in NY.  He had just gotten out of the Army and I figured he'd still be on military time.  Sure enough, he was awake and we had a nice talk.  Trevor is such a funny guy and he always puts people at ease. 

Then at 6:30 I went back upstairs and woke up Rose.  "I'm going to be on Jeopardy today!"  I said.

"I know!"  she said, and we squealed for a while.  Then I started getting ready, packing all the stuff I needed for the day and getting dressed.  They tell you to bring two changes of clothes to the studio, in case you win.  They tape five shows a day, but viewers at home think its a whole new day by Alex Trebek going backstage and changing his tie.  I said goodbye to Rose, who didn't have to come to the studio until a few hours later.

With all my running around, I didn't make it down to the lobby until five minutes before the shuttle was due.  A man carrying a suitbag came out of the elevator next to me.  This was Barry, one of my competitors for today.  We found the Jeopar-crowd in the lobby and sat next to a quiet man from Florida, Tom Kunzen.  After exchanging pleasantries, I said, "So who here is the returning champion?"  Tom slightly nodded and mumbled something I didn't quite catch.  I had to ask him twice more before I understood that he was saying he was the champion.  

"So how many games did you win?"  I said.

"I don't think I'm supposed to say," he said.

"Oh well, I'll find out at the studio, I guess."  I said.

The shuttle to the studio came and we all piled on with our extra clothes.  I sat next to Christine, who I found out was a Ph.D in English.  I was telling her how my brother is finishing up his Ph.D this year and looking for a job.  This led to a general discussion on college, and I said I went to "a small liberal arts college in the Midwest" which is what I usually say since not many people have heard of Kenyon.  But a woman in the back perked up and asked me which one.  It turns out her daughter went to Kenyon, too!  Small world.  She was class of '08, so I wouldn't have known her, but maybe I will see her at my next reunion.

We got to the studio lot, and saw a big poster for Wheel of Fortune that covered an entire wall.  That's when it really hit me that I was going to be on Jeopardy! that day.  We lined up and went through a metal detector, and one of the contestant coordinators pulled me aside and told me when I would have time to pump breastmilk that day.  They were very accommodating to me, which I appreciate, because it was hard for me to call ahead and ask for special consideration.  But also I didn't want to explode on on national television, so I had to ask.

We went into the Green Room and Robert went over our interesting stories.  These are for the chat segment of the show where Alex tries to humanize the three terrified contestants and ask them something about their lives.  They put three stories on the card, with a star next to the one the contestant would prefer to talk about, but Alex can choose whatever he likes.  They told Zack, for example, that Alex would probably want to talk about him meeting Gordie Howe because he's a big hockey fan.

They had a nice breakfast spread set out for us.  My friend Colette, who was on the show a few years ago, emphasized to me that it was important to eat well at the start of the day, because it might be a long time before lunch.  So I made sure to grab a bagel and an Odwalla "C Monster" drink, for some carbs and Vitamin C to get me through the day.  

We had a bunch of forms to go through, and people kept getting called back for makeup.  I don't usually wear much makeup, but I loved sitting in the chair and getting fussed over.  We found out that Tom was a two-day champion.  Well, that's not too scary, I thought.  Lots of people win two games who maybe just got lucky with categories or a Final Jeopardy.

Maggie, the head contestant coordinator took over.  She was just as loud as she was at the audition, but in a much smaller room.  I love her.  She's just a big ball of energy and she does such a good job of relaxing us and getting us ready to play.  She went over the rules, like you must bet at least $5 on a Daily Double, and you have to answer in the form of a question.  Mostly she told us to be proud of making it this far, not to psych ourselves out, and have a good time. 

"Even if you end up in the red," she said, "It means you took some chances to try to beat the champion." 

That's when we found out Tom had been in a standalone FJ his previous game.  Okay, he was starting to sound scary.  He remained very quiet and focused through the morning.

Then we were led out to the Jeopardy! set.  There it was...Shangri-La.  I was going to be one of the little people in my television set that I watched every weeknight!  We got to practice on the buzzer and writing our names with the light pen.  Tom got less time to practice, but the rest of us were given plenty of time.  There's a certain rhythm you must get into.  Alex has to finish reading the clue, then someone backstage releases the buzzers.  If you ring in too soon, you get locked out for a fraction of a second, giving the other two smart people you're playing a chance to take it from you.

Two names were picked randomly to be the first lambs to the slaughter.  Please not me, please not me, I thought.  Zack and Mary.  Whew!  Zack was the best on the buzzer, so I thought he might unseat Tom.  He made it competitive, but Tom still won in the end. 

In the second game, Tom had a lock, meaning he had twice as much money going into FJ than the 2nd place person.  We were starting to whimper in the audience.  Barry tried to keep our spirits up.  "Everyone is beatable," he said. 

For this game, I decided not to play along and just watch the lights.  The lights are not shown on television, but they're small white lights that line the sides of the game boards.  When they light up is when you can ring in.  Tom was so fast that the lights were barely flickering on.  Later he told me that he played Xbox for a week before the show to get his thumbs ready.  I decided I would have no chance if I waited for the lights, and decided to use Colette's  "duh" method.  She told me to say a short syllable after Alex finished reading the last word of the clue.  I chose "duh" because it amused me.  When I practiced at home, it seemed to synch up with when the contestants were ringing in, but we would see if it worked when it counted.

The third game was the closest yet, but then we had a break for lunch, so Tom had a chance to rest up.  Robert went with us, as a pleasant guard to make sure there was no meeting with any Jeopardy writers who might slip us the answers.  They take the security of the game very seriously.  We are only allowed to talk to Alex on camera, because he knows the clues, and we weren't allowed to talk to our guests or make any gestures towards them, in case they found out something about the game.  Rose was sitting right across the aisle from me, and it was so hard not to at least look at her!

So what did the erudite Jeopardy crowd talk about at lunch?  Zombies, of course.  All the contestants I met that day were not just smart and accomplished, but very nice and fun to hang out with for a day.

When we got back, Barry and I were chosen.  I was glad I got a chance to see a few games, and still get to play that day (two would have to wait until tomorrow).  Robert showed us two pieces of paper so we would randomly choose our positions.  We grabbed them with gusto.  "Woah, these two are ready to play!" he said.

We went back to get our makeup retouched, and took our places. 

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