First, some non-Jeopardy-related news! 
PetTrouble3 cover2 

I have a new book out this week!  Woo hoo!  Mud-Puddle Poodle!  It’s book three of the Pet Trouble series, and I’m really excited about this one…and not just because the puppy on the cover looks like Sunshine!  Well, OK, mostly because of that. 

But also because the puppy on the inside (Buttons!) acts just like Sunshine!  Puppy Sunshine, that is; Sunshine nowadays is of course perfectly sophisticated and mature and certainly never freaks out about polar bears on TV, for instance.  (Her own person-mom on TV, however, is apparently not worth waking up for.)  🙂

Yawn.  Wake me when Lost comes back. 

Speaking of which…so that’s the end of my Jeopardy run.  Enough to call myself a Jeopardy champion, not enough to make it to the Tournament of Champions (or as my mom puts it, "now you don’t have to study for the Tournament of Champions!  hooray!"  What, hours of running through trivia questions with me wasn’t fun for you?  Color me befuddled.).

Well, I knew I’d never be Ken Jennings, because about once every ten games one comes along where the categories are not on my side, and unfortunately for me I got one of those in my third game…not to mention the buzzer-demon at the far podium!  Holy bats, Nina was fast!  And smart!  I must admit, it makes me feel better to be beaten by a librarian, since they’re the best people on Earth, and especially by a librarian as sweet and lovely as Nina was backstage (we briefly met her family in the audience, and they were awesome, too!).

But of course, Larissa Kelly is my idol, so I was kind of hoping to stick around long enough to get invited to the same parties as her.  :-)  Think she wants to try out for The Amazing Race with me?  How could they resist a pair of Jeopardy champions, right?  Maybe that’s the way to get an all-female team to win; never mind all those pretty cheerleaders.  😉

As I mentioned in my previous post, Friday’s game was the last one filmed (of five) on Wednesday, so after I won, I knew I’d have to come back the following Tuesday.  Which meant practically a whole week of building up all my nervousness again!  We’d planned to stay a few extra days to hang out in L.A. anyway, so when this happened, Adam and I decided just to stay the whole time, rather than fly home and fly back again. 

I have to admit that by the time Tuesday finally rolled around, I was feeling nervous and worried all over again, especially that I wouldn’t be able to recapture the buzzer zen.  Plus, as readers of this blog know, I am NOT a morning person.  Making me do anything in the morning, particularly answer trivia questions with camera-ready hair, is bordering on cruel and unusual.  But I crossed my fingers, and off we went!

Some thoughts and internal-brain-notes on Monday’s game:

This is the game where all my studying actually did make a difference, sometimes in really weird ways!  For instance, I was both pleased and nervous about the "In the Bible" category, because I went to Baptist missionary school for five years when we lived in Paraguay…and those were the early formative years, so the Bible should really be well stuck into my brain. 

And yet, just to be safe, I got an audiobook of "Don’t Know Much About the Bible" by Kenneth C. Davis, figuring I’d listen to it on the plane.  Instead we listened to it on the drive to the airport (which I’m sure the rest of my family really enjoyed!), and the crazy thing is, that’s how I got the Samson clue.  If I hadn’t just heard the retelling of the foxes story, I’m not sure I would have dared to ring in on that. 

Also, I’d brought a lot of random documentaries with me to watch, again hoping I’d get to them on the plane (what I actually did on the plane: SLEPT).  So instead I watched a couple of them over that weekend, while we were hanging out in the hotel room…and you know what one of them was?  THE BEATLES ANTHOLOGY.

Music before 1980, and particularly the Beatles, is an enormous hole in my knowledge, so that was something I particularly tried to fill in before the show.  I literally had the Beatles documentary running on my computer as I dashed around getting dressed that morning.  And if I hadn’t, there is no way I would have gotten that Final Jeopardy clue — I would probably have guessed "Yellow Submarine," actually, like Kelani did (and how beautiful is the name Kelani?  I totally want to steal it for a book character.).  🙂

I’m lucky it wasn’t essential to winning the game, but it still makes me happy that I got all my Final Jeopardies right…I always thought a FJ mistake would be my downfall, actually!

Another funny coincidence is the 12-Letter Words Daily Double I got — I’m not sure, but I doubt I would have come up with "intermittent", except that Adam had actually watched that movie on the airplane…you know, the one that came out recently, where Greg Kinnear invented the intermittent windshield wipers and then spent forever trying to get credit for it?  (Is called Flash of Genius, apparently.)  A movie I doubt I’d ever watch myself?  But luckily Adam did, and luckily I still find him fascinating enough that I’ll let him recap thrilling movies about windshield wipers and actually listen to him while he does.  😉

Regarding the Sex & the Kitty category (and I cannot believe I had to say "Sex and the Kitty" on national TV), I like to think of the second clue (where the answer was "queens") as a Warriors shout-out (yay Warriors!).  At the front of each book (which are about clans of wild cats), there’s a cast list dividing each Clan into "Warriors", "Elders", and "Queens" — meaning those cats who are currently in the nursery with kits.  I have spent COUNTLESS HOURS of my life editing those cast lists (there are only about three hundred thousand of those books by now), so thank goodness I got that one right!

Double Jeopardy:  When Tim Time popped up, I have to admit my first thought was: "Tim Gunn!  Tim Gunn!"  (He’s the dapper, adorable host of Project Runway, Mom.)  So I kept expecting him to pop up, and then felt most silly when the clues dealt with a few shows I actually watch and love, and I couldn’t come up with Tim Roth or Timothy Hutton.  I absolutely watch Lie to Me, and I LOVE Leverage (if you don’t watch it, you should!), so that was just bonkers that I got that wrong.  Bad, bad Tui.  (I do not, however, watch Private Practice, because bleeyargh, but I loved Tim Daly in Eyes and think they should bring that back instead, please.)

Some people have wondered why I rang in on the last clue, when I should have just shut up and not risked my runaway game.  The answer is twofold: (1) I really thought I knew the answer! I love that show! I have no idea why I said Tim Robbins instead! and (2) I wasn’t watching the scores.  I didn’t look at the scores during any of the games, unless there was a Daily Double or a commercial break.  This was very unstrategical (<– made-up word) on my part, but the truth is I could either concentrate on the clues, or on trying to do the math to figure out where I stood, and as I have said before, math is…not so much my thing.  🙂

But the best part of the Double Jeopardy round was that my beloved Shakespeare category made an appearance, which is really what I’d prayed to the Jeopardy gods for.  Yay!  My friends know how much I love Shakespeare; in fact, my first novel was a modern-day update of A Midsummer Night’s Dream called This Must Be Love, my college senior thesis was about Ophelia, and I’m currently working on YA ideas involving Much Ado About Nothing and The Tempest

So my one quasi-strategic move in this round was something I picked up from Prisoner of TrebekistanBob Harris suggests that if you see a category you love, you should save it for later in the round, because just in case you get a Daily Double there, you’ll want to have as much money to wager on it as possible.  And it totally worked!  Thank you, Bob!  🙂

(On the other hand, I’m glad I didn’t get that Milk River DD — poor David!  I would never have gotten that, either!)

If you stuck around to the very end to watch us chatting with Alex, he was asking us who we had with us in the audience, so that’s me pointing out Adam and waving to him (and giggling at Alex some more, of course). 

And then I had ten minutes to zoom backstage and hustle into an entirely new outfit (they tell us: "If Alex Trebek can do it, so can you!") and get my face patted with another sponge and then hustle back out again.  On to Tuesday’s show!

The strange thing is that what I remember most clearly are the questions I got wrong — like neurologist and Tim Robbins in the Monday game — and for some reason I was left with the impression after Tuesday’s game that I’d been more nervous, rung in on things I didn’t know, and gotten lots of things wrong.  So it was really weird to watch it back and realize I totally didn’t do that at all!  I stuck to my (also Bob-Harris-inspired) strategy of only ringing in when I really knew the answer, so the only two I got wrong were those Daily Doubles (bleh!).  Of course, in this particular game, I didn’t know as many answers as in the other two…and for the ones I did know, Nina got in ahead of me on at least half of them!

I’m quite pleased to see that my first answer involved Dr. Seuss, though.  (I’m not sure my editors would have taken me back if I’d gotten that one wrong!) 
:-)  And I HAD to get the Kerry Blue Terrier question, or else I’d lose both my Pet Trouble and dog-walking street cred!  Hopefully that made my dog-friendly friends proud, anyway (hi Jen & Jen!).  Sunshine, on the other hand, is still like, "Whatever.  You don’t look like a polar bear, so I’m not interested."

(Funny story: during my weeks of studying, I sometimes found myself hanging out at Sunshine’s doggy daycare with nothing to study except an adorable poster of lots of puppies, all labeled with their breed names.  And there IS a Kerry Blue Terrier on there!  Is that how I got it?  Or is it from watching the Westminster show a little obsessively?  Could be either!)

This is also a game where, upon watching it, I was completely startled by some of the questions I answered.  How on Earth did I know "The Reader" and Digg?  And most bafflingly, VERMOUTH????  Seriously?  Where did THAT COME FROM?  I know literally nothing about alcohol.  I can spell vermouth, and that’s about it.  My guess is that it was one of the millions of things my mother spontaneously decided was Vitally Important about a week before the show, when she began deluging my inbox with scores of Absolutely Essential Articles that I Had To Read At ONCE because it was DEFINITELY GOING TO COME UP ON JEOPARDY OMG PANIC PANIC PANIC.

(I hope she noticed, however, that neither Woody Allen nor Gilbert and Sullivan made an appearance, despite her Extremely Strong Psychic Intuition telling her they would.  Phew!)

Chat with Alex!  This chat actually totally unbalanced me, because I wasn’t expecting Alex to ask me that cocktail party question every author dreads: "Oh, you’re an author!  Anything I might have heard of?"  Good GRACIOUS HEAVENS.  Note to people meeting authors: this is a terrible question!  We’re almost guaranteed to go: "Um…have you heard of blah?  How about blah?  Maybe blah?  OK, then I guess not…" and then WE feel useless and unpopular, and hopefully you feel woefully under-read, and then there’s an uncomfortable pause until I go: "Hey, shrimp on a stick!  Excuse me, I have a waiter to chase down."

I do actually have a couple of books that people have probably "heard of," because they’re movie tie-ins, but (a) those aren’t the books I most like to yap yap yap about, and (b) even as I was starting to say that, it occurred to me that I probably shouldn’t go mentioning Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean in the middle of a Sony show.  YURP.  AWKWARD.  In fact, I thought they’d told me backstage specifically not to mention my book titles, but how else could I answer Alex?  So…I felt like I kind of fumbled that question.  But run out and read Avatars anyway!  :-)  It’s my favorite supernatural teen post-apocalyptic trilogy that I’ve written so far!  And then if you meet me at a cocktail party, you WILL have heard of something I’ve written, and we’ll be able to have a perfectly scintillating conversation, uninterrupted by shrimp scouting missions.

As for the Double Jeopardy round, I liked the Multiple Word Capitals category, particularly since (a) I lived for two years in Santo Domingo (thank you, Nina, for letting me get in on that one, or I’d never have heard the end of it!), and (b) we just went to New Delhi last year (whee!).  Although the geography game I’d been using to study says Dodoma is the capital of Tanzania, not Dar-es-Salaam, so that threw me off a little bit.

I did NOT like the Daily Double I got, though.  So much for all my Bible wisdom!  Although I have heard that phrase before…but hey, isn’t "greed" the same thing as "love of money"?  Surely SOMEONE has translated it that way! 
:-)  Let’s start a petition!  Get me back on the show!  ;-)  Very glad I didn’t get Nina’s Economics DD, though, because I wouldn’t have known that at all.

And then, sad, sad Final Jeopardy.  I really thought, going into it, that my only chance was if I got it right and Nina got it wrong.  Because surely if she got it right, she’d wager enough to beat me by a dollar, right?  Like every other Jeopardy champion in history?  So I CANNOT BELIEVE we could have tied if I’d wagered everything.  OMG BANG MY HEAD AGAINST A WALL.  I’ve decided to assume that Nina was doing this to be nice…rather than because she knew I’d spend the rest of my life torturing myself about it.  😉

Also, side note: I’m very amused that Alex stopped to apologize for calling Nina "Gina," but constantly kept slipping into calling me "Twee."  DUDE.  Mr. Trebek, I mean seriously…you can pronounce everything in the known universe!  And he said it so nicely most of the time.  :-)  Well, it’s Too-ee, y’all, for when we do meet at that cocktail party.  🙂

All right, that’s probably enough nonsense for tonight…but I’ll be back next week with some Jeopardy FAQs, such as how I got on the show, how & what I studied, what Alex Trebek is like (well, that’s easy: charming, nice, and pretty much exactly as he seems on TV), and what I wish I’d done differently (apart from the obvious…SIGH FINAL JEOPARDY WAGERING SIGH!).  If you have any particular questions, please feel free to send them to me using the Contact Form on the Pet Trouble site.  I’m SUPER excited about the questions that have been sent in to Sunshine there, so keep checking her blog (new on Mondays!), because I promise she’ll get to them! 

(Sunshine, by the way, just woke up and decided that 2am was a perfectly reasonable hour to go outside and bark at imaginary squirrels in the dark.  Yes, she’s very sophisticated and mature.)

Thank you all for watching the show!  Hope you don’t mind all this behind-the-scenes/inside-Tui’s-brain chatter.  :-) 

Quote of the Day:
Eliot: What are you going to do when she finds out you still live with your mom?
Hardison: Age of the geek, baby. We run the world.
Eliot: You keep telling yourself that.