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Well, I Tried (Out)

Last Monday was the Jeopardy! audition, and it went relatively well, but I'm not confident that I will actually make it into the contestant pool.

Contrary to what I had thought, everyone got to do the mock Jeopardy! thing (with real buzzers!), not just those who passed the written test. And they don't tell you how you did, either on the written test or in general. If you make it into the contestant pool, it then becomes random chance whether or not your name comes up in the next 18 months to go on the show. (They said that the go through about 400 contestants a year, but didn't indicate how big the contestant pool is.) If you didn't make it, well, you won't know -- as said, they don't tell you how you did. In either case, you can't take the online test (or try out in person) again for 18 months.

I think I did okay on the written test (where we had only 8 seconds to answer after the clue was read), but I didn't do so well on the live stuff. In the warm up section, where they explained how things worked, what to look for in clues, etc., and did some practice questions just raising our hands to answer, I couldn't come up with answers quick enough (before lots of others raised their hand) and the first time I did raise my hand I blanked on the answer. I did manage to answer another one, though, but I was the only one to miss an answer that I can remember.

In the mock Jeopardy! part, with three of us at a time using real buzzers, my performance was mixed. When I knew the answer before they finished reading the clue, I was the first to buzz in except for once, and I got the answers right -- I think I answered maybe 4 questions (they didn't do a whole game). But I didn't try to buzz in as much as the others. Also, after answering some clues, the three playing the mock game had to talk about themselves for a minute, and I don't think I did so well in that.

It's amazing how hard the live thing is -- there are so many things to keep in mind. In addition to the basic trying to answer the questions, there is trying to be interesting to watch play, remembering to project when you speak, quickly indicating the next category after answering, and so on. For me the projection was the most frustrating because I know how to project, I have even had some theatrical training in projection and can really do it well when I try. But in the mock game the first time I spoke I forgot to project, then projected well when they reminded me, but then I can't remember if I projected again the rest of the game.

So, I'm not holding my breath about getting on, but I did pay attention to the whole process so that if/when I try out again, I will do better. They are just about to go on break, so if I do get called up it won't be until July (or later). My plan for the next 18 months is to practice, practice, practice and study, study, study. Since my parents moved (in November -- have I mentioned that?) I am mostly on my own in the house, so I can even practice projecting when I answer (in the form of a question, of course!) And I've encouraged my co-workers to fire random Jeopardy!-like questions at me -- mostly they stump me, but then they tell me the answers and thus I learn more trivia. (I know know the names and locations of all the Canadian provinces and territories, thanks to our resident Canadian, and the names of the Great Lakes, thanks to my Hive-mate. I even know the first line of T.S. Elliot's The Wasteland, thanks to the ATS for English, and that the first line of the Canterbury Tales has something to do with April.)

Thank you to everyone who helped me with the five interesting bits, both here and elsewhere. Below is the five I settled on, two of which are pretty much wasted because they ask you what degrees you have in the application form and likewise your job and employer:

• From when I was a pre-schooler, my family played an unusual car game: my parents would say a binary number and we children would try to be the first one to translate it into decimal (and vice versa).

• As an undergraduate I double majored in physics and medieval studies, then went on to do my PhD in late medieval Scottish women's history (at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland).

• One of my hobbies is onomastics (the study of names). I specialize in medieval personal names.

• I work in Academic Computing. I help faculty at (.../my university) work with other researchers around the world, primarily in the humanities and social sciences.

• I once called my parents from a police station in Paris, France, to tell them I had broken a glass door in the Gare du Nord train station and that they might be getting a bill.

I'm really kicking myself about not mentioning the cancer -- I should have, not least because it would have explained the head wear. I could have made it more entertaining by giving as chemo brain as my planned excuse for any missed answers or something. And I should have said something about either the web site, or historical re-creation, or teaching history for fun, or something alone those lines, but preferably indicating it wasn't all online. In the one minute about yourself bit, they asked what you did on weekends and my answers was a bit garbled and made it sound like I had no friends but was a reclusive computer geek. (As said, I need to practice, practice, practice!)

On the plus side, with the intensive help of my best friend from high school and her husband, I now have a one sentence, human understandable explanation of my job! It took me nearly the entire time I worked at the Young, Upstart University the last time to come up with one of those for my previous job there.



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 7th, 2008 08:11 pm (UTC)
I hope you make it. If not, practice and try again. I have a friend who made it through the tryouts nine times but never got called (because a male computer geek, which they told him they get a lot of -- big surprise).
Apr. 8th, 2008 02:56 am (UTC)
What an interesting new lens with which to look at one's self. Good luck, I hope you make it on the game!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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