Impromptu Saturday Post for Jeopardy Fans! :-)

Oh my goodness, that was silly of me — I completely neglected to update my website before the Jeopardy episode, and now all of a sudden people are looking at it!  Yeep!  Lots of things to run around and fix!  For instance, I have updated my homepage, so now hopefully it’s much more informative and current (although still a little messy, I know).  🙂

Also, I neglected to mention that I’ll be participating in an online chat tonight at Wands and Worlds with the other Erin Hunters — although I think you had to register ahead of time to participate — but hopefully the whole chat will be posted eventually for anyone who wants to read it!  (I’ll let you know when it is.)

But mostly I figured I’d come on and post about last night’s episode for any Jeopardy fans who are curious — especially since I was a TOTAL FLAKE and never sent in a "winner’s blog" to the official site (I’m sorry, Maggie!  Can I blame my book deadlines?).  

First!  For any of my friends and family who (a) don’t have TVs (who ARE you?) or (b) live in foreign countries (helllooooo New Zealand relatives!), or (c) missed the show (I suppose I’ll forgive you eventually) 😉 — guess what?  Part of it is online!  Thanks to some awesome Weird Al Yankovic fans, you can watch the Double Jeopardy round on YOUTUBE!  So exciting!  Susy, hopefully that’ll tide you over until I can send a DVD to NZ.  🙂

The main thing I have to say is how awesome everybody at Jeopardy is — both the contestant wranglers (Maggie, Robert, Glenn, John, Corinna, Mitch!) and the other contestants.  They film five episodes a day (and only on Tuesdays and Wednesdays), so we actually got to sit in the audience and watch the previous episodes being filmed, plus we spent most of the day backstage with the other contestants (everyone you saw this week, plus two alternates).

If you watched the Monday-Thursday episodes, you saw that it was one impossible Final Jeopardy after another, which nobody got right all four days.  But I was sitting next to Emily in the audience for the first three episodes, and she got at least two of them right (maybe all three of them; I’m sorry I can’t remember), so I KNEW she was scary-smart and awesome just from that!  Plus she’s SUPER nice and fun to talk to — as was everybody — I wish they all lived near Boston so I could hang out with them!  James, the champion earlier in the week, was very cool and funny backstage, and Jennifer (the brilliant blond girl from Monday) was the one who got everyone talking; she’s just the coolest person.

In fact, on the shuttle from the hotel to the studio, we were going around talking about what we all do, so I was like, "I write children’s books" and then we all turned to James, who said, "yeah, I write encyclopedias."  !!!!!  So THAT wasn’t intimidating or anything!  🙂

And speaking of intimidating, I was kind of hoping I wouldn’t have to play against Bryan right off the bat, because he was really smart in the rehearsal games, and you could just tell he’d be a power player (he sure knows his Jeopardy lore!).  He was also very funny and charming backstage — I thought his "Stop! I’m a track star!" story was hilarious — and he was a really good sport when we saw him later, back at the hotel.  It’s awfully weird to play against people you’ve been hanging out with all day…you can’t help but feel kind of bad about trying to beat them. 

Our game was the last game of the day (although you don’t find out until right before the game who is going to be on), so my parents, sister, husband, and cousin, who were sitting in the audience, were starting to get really nervous.  They could see the contestants sitting across the aisle (although we were forbidden to make eye contact!), so they could see the two alternates with us, and they started to worry as the numbers dwindled that I might not be playing at all that day, which would make it most silly that they’d flown all the way to LA to not see me on TV.  

All day, every time they didn’t call my name, I crossed my fingers and hoped, "please save Shakespeare for me! please save Shakespeare for me! I just want one Shakespeare category and I’ll be SO happy!"

And then, in the Thursday game, right before mine, the very first board pops up: Shakespeare Quotes and Ben & Jerry’s Flavors.  WHAT.  Shakespeare and ice cream?  Those are LITERALLY MY TWO FAVORITE THINGS!  Oh SIGH!

But I was thrilled to see Emily win, because she was seriously one of the nicest, friendliest (smartest!) people I’ve ever met, so that was awesome. Although then I knew I’d have to play her, which made me nervous!

And then it was finally my turn!  Eeeeeek!  More makeup!  You know what’s surprisingly soothing?  Sitting in a chair while someone pats your face with a sponge.  Although possibly it was the calming presence of Barbie, the brilliant, lovely makeup person, that made it so soothing.  She’s preternaturally calm and sweet.  I wish I could hang out with her before all my author talks; it would calm me down so much!  Also, boy did she do a good job.  I never wear makeup (see: I never leave the house), so last night I was watching myself on TV like: "who IS that?  where did her eyelashes come from?  my GOODNESS!"

OK, onto the stage!  Warning to future contestants: it’s shockingly cold in the studio!  You’d think the lights would warm things up, but OMG, my hands were so cold I couldn’t believe I’d be able to hit the buzzer at all.  Dress warmly!  🙂

I knew right off the bat that "State University Alumni" was not a category for me, but the rest of them seemed OK (if we don’t mention my Astronomy grade in college), and then the first clue was about The Princess Bride, one of the best movies ever, so yay!  We were off!

Boy, do you know how lucky I was to get all the Daily Doubles?  Especially since Bryan was looking for them!  And if he’d gotten one, I’m sure he would have bet a lot and got it right, since he was wicked smart, and then I would have been in much more trouble.  It seemed like every time I had absolutely no idea on an answer, he’d ring in and say a word I’ve never even heard before. 

We don’t get to talk to Alex outside of what you see on the show, so it was very exciting when he came over for the chats — I mean, I’ve been watching this show since I was literally about seven years old, and suddenly THERE HE WAS!  And he looks exactly the way he does on TV!  OK, I suppose that shouldn’t have surprised me, but it was still really cool and freaky. 

The dog named Jeopardy is in the sixth book (Smarty-Pants Sheltie) of my new Pet Trouble series — the first three are out now, and I think that one’s scheduled for early next year sometime.  I had a HILARIOUS joke all ready to go for the chat, too, but there wasn’t a suave way to work it in…it’s actually one I stole from my v. funny/awesome editor Amanda.  I told her that I’d named the dog Jeopardy, and then a week later Jeopardy called to tell me I was going to be on the show, and she was like, "OMG!  We’re totally naming the next dog Million-Dollar Lottery Ticket!"  See?  Hilarious!  Ah, well.  I may not have come across as funny, but at least I think I established my "extremely giggly" qualifications pretty well.  (That’s what happens to me when I’m excited…OK, which is a lot of the time…oh dear…)

By the way, by far the weirdest thing for me about watching myself on TV is listening to my own voice.  I mean, I’ve heard it before, but it always startles me, because in my head I sound a lot deeper and more sarcastic than I apparently do in real life.  I know!  It’s weird! 

OK, and I have to admit I went on the Jeopardy message boards afterwards, even though I SWORE I wouldn’t (I always read the boards for, like, The Amazing Race and So You Think You Can Dance and think, "gosh, I hope these poor contestants are too smart to read what people say about them!" and then of course, moments after my own TV debut, there I am, all: "do they like me?  do they like me?"  Bad Tui!  No willpower whatsoever!). 

Luckily everyone was really nice (I kind of want to hunt them down and hug them, actually), and my favorite comment so far is the person who liked my voice because it’s "right on the border of pixie and annoying!"  HEE!  That should totally be my new tagline!  I’m so getting it on a T-shirt or something.  😉

Oh, dear, I have to run to the chat soon…so quickly, through the rest of the episode:

The question that surprised my husband the most when I got it was in the "I Lost on Jeopardy" category — Adam was like, “how in the WORLD did you recognize Charles Barkley?”  And I was all, "that is an excellent question."  I have no idea!  I mean, I am the least sports-y person in the universe!  My only guess is that I may have actually seen that Celebrity Jeopardy, so that might be where I know him from.  Certainly not from basketball!  ;-)  Much silliness.

My favorite category in the Double Jeopardy round was probably "White and Nerdy" (hey, I got them all! which just tells you how well I fit the category…hmmm…).  Although "I Lost on Jeopardy!" was really awesome, too — I LOVE the book Prisoner of Trebekistan, as I think I’ve mentioned on this blog…everyone should read it!  Whether or not you want to be on the show (but definitely if you do!). 

I was pretty thrilled about the "alpaca" Daily Double (you might have been able to tell), because I grew up in South America, and I’ve met plenty of alpacas!  (Been within spitting distance of them, ha ha ha.)  (Er, with them doing the spitting, not me, just to clarify.)  😉

As for that "Bologna" Daily Double, would you believe I’ve actually flown into that airport?  I’m pretty sure, anyway…one of my best friends lived in Bologna for a while, and we visited him there, so I’m just waiting for him to call me and be like: "WHAT?  Are you RIDICULOUS?  GARIBALDI?"  I mean, I do know who Garibaldi is, but I couldn’t think of any Italian inventors, and I’m pretty sure there is a Garibaldi airport in Italy somewhere, sooooo…you know, better than saying nothing, right?  Maybe?  :-)  La la la.

And then the round ended, and I stopped to look at the scores, and I pretty much had a heart attack.  Like, SERIOUSLY?  Was that true?  For real?  That couldn’t be right!  I couldn’t even wrap my brain around it.  They put up the shields so we could write down our wagers, and I just stared at the screen forever, thinking: "That can’t be right!  My math must be wrong!"  That’s why, in the end, I wrote down $0 for my wager…I mean, I even thought to myself, "I bet the answer has something to do with Nathaniel Hawthorne"…but after the string of impossible Final Jeopardy’s that week, and considering how absolutely freaking out I was right then, I just couldn’t bring myself to wager anything more.

Then when Alex got the card with our scores written on it, right before the lights came back up, he looked at me and went, “Tui,” in this very serious tone, and then he made a YAAWWWN face. 

YES.  I TOTALLY BORED Alex Trebek.  I wanted to be like, “I know!  I’m sorry!  And I’m even pretty comfortable with 19th Century American Literature!”  But you know what I’m not comfortable with?  MATH.  Especially when my heart is going a million miles an hour (and my fingers are still cold!). 

I kept staring at the scores and thinking, “I must be doing the math wrong!  $9800 doubled is…$19600…right?  Or is it?  Am I right?  WHAT IF I’M WRONG?”  Because if I did the math wrong and lost that way, I would look like the world’s biggest idiot.  SO.  Safer to bet $0.  Right?  Sorry, Alex….

Besides, my hands were shaking too much to write any more numbers than that anyway. I had to stand there and take several deep breaths to wait for the shaking to stop.

And I made such a mess of my answer, too. I wrote “What is the Scarlet Letter?” and then I looked at it and thought, hmmm, that R doesn’t look like an R, let’s fix that, just to be safe, but the more I poked it, the more it muddled into the A and then finally I just scribbled it out and rewrote the A and the R above it, and then I was like MAN it’s going to look like I can’t SPELL SCARLET for the love of PETE.  Luckily it didn’t matter anyway, but that’s why I was kind of laughing and shaking my head at myself as the lights came back up. 

Anyway, now I know why they call these “game shows” – that was the most fun I’ve had maybe EVER.  I wish I could do this every day!  Have someone make me all sparkly and fancy-looking, and then answer lots of thrilling trivia questions?  Oh my goodness, what could be better?  🙂

More next week, although my memories of what happened after this game are a lot more fuzzy…hmmm, we’ll see if any of it comes back to me as I watch.  Thank you to everyone who watched!  And everyone who came here to visit afterwards!  I hope you’ll come back!  I promise to try and be more fascinating on my blog…I was reading the last few posts and realizing I don’t exactly sound like a Jeopardy champion (although I’m sure we’re all secretly enormous So You Think You Can Dance fans…right?).  ;-)  So, you know, I’ll work on that.  🙂

Quote of the Day: 
"MC Escher that’s my favorite MC
Keep your 40
I’ll just have an Earl Grey tea….
I memorized Holy Grail really well
I can recite it right now and have you ROTFLOL
I got a business doing websites
When my friends need some code who do they call?
I do HTML for them all
Even made a homepage for my dog!"
"White and Nerdy", my new favorite song from Weird Al Yankovic  :-)  (especially since…have you seen the Pet Trouble website?  it essentially IS a homepage for my dog!  Oh DEAR!)