Filming Jeopardy! and the Aftermath

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Note: If you’re interested in reading about my history with Jeopardy! and how I got to be on the show, that post is here.

As soon as Emlen and I were chosen to compete in the Wednesday game against returning champion Kevin, we had our makeup touched up, and we had a few minutes to use the bathroom and get a drink. Then we went back to the studio and out on the stage to our podiums (which are also randomly assigned, except for the returning champion, of course). The contestant coordinators came over and made sure we knew which camera to look at for the intros and had our names written on our screens. They asked if we had anyone in the audience, and they had our friends and family wave to us — Jeremy was a little salty that he hadn’t been allowed to look at or talk to me, and at first he didn’t believe that he was finally allowed to interact with me.

I don’t remember a whole lot about getting started. I know I was feeling really anxious, and I kept telling myself I was just on stage for a performance like I’d been zillions of times before. The stage manager called for quiet and started the show, and hearing the opening music while standing on the stage felt a whole lot more surreal than it had when I’d been sitting in the audience.  Continue reading “Filming Jeopardy! and the Aftermath”

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How I Got to Be on Jeopardy!

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I’ve been a fan of Jeopardy! for literally longer than I can remember. When one of my former neighbors, who lived across the street from me for the first several years of my life, found out that I was going to be on the show, she said, “That’s been your dream since you were in a high chair!” My parents tell me that when I was a baby, I would get really excited and kick my feet when I heard the Jeopardy! theme music. Nerdery starts young in my family, for sure.

When I was in elementary school, I enjoyed watching the show, even though I could hardly answer any of the questions. I had a Jeopardy! computer game for Windows 95 with a digital Alex Trebek (still with the mustache and glasses), and I could hardly answer any of the questions even on the easy setting, but I still played it a lot. (I remember one particular game when I was actually certain about the Final Jeopardy answer – Giancarlo Menotti’s operetta Amahl and the Night Visitors – and I felt like I’d won the actual show!)

I didn’t watch the show much when I was in middle school and high school, because most evenings I was either at the dance studio or busy with homework, but I still caught it whenever I could. My Algebra 2 teacher would occasionally give us a break from regular classwork on Fridays and give us a fun math problem to solve, and once she had us figure out the maximum amount of money a contestant could win in a single Jeopardy! game. (I’ll post the answer in my next blog post, in case you’re interested in solving the problem on your own.) I had a bit of a leg up because I was already really familiar with the show, and I remember thinking it was pretty cool that this young, cool teacher whom I really liked was a self-professed fan of the nerdy show that I secretly wanted to go on someday. Continue reading “How I Got to Be on Jeopardy!”

Permission vs. Blessing

This blog post was supposed to go up on Friday, but I got a medium-bad migraine that day and couldn’t sit and type in front of a computer screen. 😦 But anyway, this week on one of the shows I watch (which is fairly progressive), a character asked his girlfriend to marry him, and when they announced their engagement to their friends and family, the girlfriend’s father (who’s a fairly progressive character) got really salty that the boyfriend hadn’t asked his “permission” first. I was rather annoyed by this, and I talked about it with a close friend. I would totally have been in favor of the boyfriend asking the father’s “blessing,” but I’m not okay with the word permission being tossed around like that, and I’m not okay with the writers making the father upset that he didn’t get asked. To my surprise, my friend basically said “Meh, permission and blessing are essentially the same thing.” To me, they are extremely different, and here’s why.

In many world cultures for many thousands of years, women were treated as property by men (and of course, this practice continues today in some places). Fathers controlled their daughters’ lives — their education, their opportunities, their money, and more — until those daughters got married, at which point their husbands began controlling their lives. Often, marriage was literally a business contract between father and future spouse: a man might refuse to marry a woman if he didn’t get enough money, land, livestock, or other possessions as part of the bargain. In any case, these sexist beliefs completely discounted a woman’s desires and her ability to make her own choices about how the rest of her life was going to go. Continue reading “Permission vs. Blessing”

That Time My Grandparents Went to Antarctica

Today would have been my grampy’s 100th birthday. I can just about hear him spouting off interesting facts about the number 100 and the etymology of the word “century.”

When I was helping my parents get ready to move a few weeks ago, my dad gave me a small stack of photographs from my grammy and grampy’s trip to Antarctica (fortunately labeled on the back in Grammy’s neat handwriting). I’ve been meaning to post them online for other family members to see, and I realized today would be a good day to do so.

We’re very fortunate that Grampy was working on an autobiography of sorts during his later years. I don’t think he had any serious plans to get it published, but he typed up numerous pages (on the computer, because he was hip like that) of memories in first person. In the last section my dad has, Grampy wrote about how the Antarctic trip came about, although it unfortunately stops before they actually went. My dad isn’t sure whether there’s more to the file and he just doesn’t have it, or if that’s where Grampy stopped writing. (Wilson family, if anyone has more of this document, please pass it along!)

But at any rate, my grandparents went on an Intourist/Linblad expedition to the Soviet Union in 1988, and they encountered several problems. Continue reading “That Time My Grandparents Went to Antarctica”

The Problem We STILL Live With

Hello. It’s been a while. My life has been absolutely insane.

In January, I took a contract to write thirty 600-word articles for a VA loans company, and fortunately the friend I report to let me have some flexibility in my regular monthly article-writing deadline, but that meant that when February rolled around, I was already behind on my regular work for this month. Also, my parents finally sold their house after more than a decade of attempting to do so, and they bought a nice, smaller house across town, and then they thought they were going to have to move to Kansas because my dad got a job offer there, and then they decided moving to Kansas was prohibitively expensive even with the prospect of a new job, but in any case they had pretty short window of time to get out of the house they’d been living in for the past fifteen years. So for each of the last four weeks, I drove two hours down to central Ohio for a few days to clean out/pack up my childhood room, pack up my sister’s room since she’s so far away, and help my parents out with whatever else they needed. Then I came back up to Akron to babysit, go to hula class (oh yeah, I’m taking hula now!), do my writing/marketing work, and spend a few minutes with my boyfriend in between everything else.

So I’ve been pretty busy, and I haven’t really had any time for blogging, although I did manage to finally upload the beautiful unicorn art that my sister drew for me! She takes commissions…if you’re interested, let me know! I’ve also been trying, like so many other citizens of the United States, to wrap my head around the new normal of having a narcissistic psychopath as president of the country…which brings me to the actual topic of this blog post. Continue reading “The Problem We STILL Live With”

An Open Letter to the Obama Family

Dear Barack, Michelle, Malia, Sasha, Shirley, Bo, and Sunny,

I can’t believe it’s been eight years already. I’m sure you can’t believe it either. When I stop and think about all that’s changed — how I’ve changed, how you’ve changed, how our country has changed — then it seems rather astonishing that it’s only been eight years. But still, January 20, 2009, feels like it really wasn’t that long ago.

I was a sophomore in college at the time, and I remember grabbing lunch from the cafeteria in the basement of my dorm and taking it back up to my room so I could watch the inauguration ceremony. I had to run off to one class, but it was a short one, and the parade was still going by the time I got back. I remember feeling so proud that day, watching the installation of my first president, the first one I had been old enough to vote for. Continue reading “An Open Letter to the Obama Family”

A Prayer for Carrie Fisher

Yesterday, while she was flying home from London, Carrie Fisher had a massive heart attack and stopped breathing. Apparently they performed CPR for quite a while on the plane, and she was rushed to the hospital as soon as the flight landed at LAX.

As soon as the news broke, millions of Star Wars fans around the world took to social media, terrified that 2016 would take one more beloved figure from us. It’s widely agreed that 2016 has been “a dumpster fire of a year” (I’ve seen that phrase in way too many places to have any idea of its origin), and while some very positive things have happened in my life this year, I’ve been drained by the number of celebrity deaths like just about everyone else. Continue reading “A Prayer for Carrie Fisher”