Tuesday, April 26, 2005

My Jeopardy Journey

Chapter 2

(in which our heroine takes the contestant test again in the Mall of America.)

Skip forward a few years. Its now 1998, and we've moved back to Minnesota after our excursions on the West Coast.

When we first moved to the Twin Cities, Jeopardy was shown at 1am. (for a long set of reasons that was too boring to include). In 1998, the syndication agreement was up and that station lost the show to another show that would show it earlier (5pm). Now, this matters nothing to me, as I usually get home after six, so I'm taping it anyways.

So, why is this important? Well, to celebrate showing Jeopardy, and to boost viewing awareness, the new network held a open contestant search at the Mall of America. This time, the first 1500 people in line each day (Saturday and Sunday) would get to take a 10 question pre-test. Get enough right on that, and you get to take the big test. I think I was approximately 500th in line on Saturday. (Go look at the map of the Mall. The mini-test was given in the rotund (middle of the East side, one of the short sides of the Mall). When I got there (early...) the line already stretched around to mid-way on the North side. Soon after, the line was to the west end of the North side - this was a popular event!

I passed the mini-test, and was told to go to the bowels of the Mall to take the test at 1pm.

The test was very similar to taking it in California. The main differences - Alex no longer read the answers on the tape, nor did he show up to answer questions while the test was graded. Too bad, because that is an amazingly stressful time. However...I passed. About 10 of us passed (I really don't remember how many people passed the test in CA. Entirely because I didn't).

After passing the test, (yay!) we got to play a mock game. They bring with the same buttons the contestants use on the show. That's where the true likeness to the real show ends, though. They put 3 cards up with categories on them. You are asked to pick a category, then a random dollar amount. The contestant search person asks a question, and you really buzz in to answer. And, you do what I call "inane blather" - the part where the contestants get asked a question. Our question was the same - what would you do if you won big on Jeopardy. I said I'd go to France (since I studied French in college, yet had never gone to a French-speaking country). Then they take a picture, and tell you you'll go on file for 2 years. If they don't call you in that time, you're out of the file. Then you're done.

At this point, I had a great story to tell. I told it over and over - along with this likeliness of being a contestant evaluation, based on the info we all were given:

They do 11 set contestant searches around the country each year (the San Fransisco one was one of those). In addition, they do another set of "on demand" contestant searches (at request of a local station, just like the MOA one). Also, they give the contestant test regularly in California, at the studio. I figured they gave the test 100 or so times a year. Each test yields (as a guess) at least 5 potential contestants. They tape 20 weeks of shows in a year - that's 100 shows. If noone ever won, they'd go through 300 people a year. They go through less than that - so say 250. They find at least 500, and probably more contestants a year. Your odds of being called are 1 in 2. I was sure I'd never be called.

Stay tuned for Chapter 3.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Quick post with actual knitting content - story-time continues later.

(Aside - you know how long it takes for me to really write? I didn't know either, until I started working on the first part of my story.... which took a week. But, now I'm committed. There are 4 parts. (at least, there are 4 parts the way I'm thinking I'm breaking the story up.)

1 - knitting. I'm being a very, very fickle knitter. Astute readers may have caught that I've started Klaralund and Blaze in the last couple weeks. Have I worked more on them - NO!

I did finish a Coronet hat. (oddly enough, in almost that exact color...). This should be a Dulaan Project hat - if I can convince my 3 year old forget about it.

I also started a Crumpets dress for the 3 year old. I'm planning on making 2 of them - one for her and one for her very good friend - who happens to be the daughter of my very good friend from elementary school. I'm thinking matching dresses for the two will be absolutely adorable! (yeah, don't remind me about biting off more than I can chew...)

Actually, I started Crumpets twice. I'm using Cascade Sierra, which is slightly thinner than the Cotton-Ease called for. The pattern calls for a 3.75mm needle, so I went down to a 3.5mm and started the knitting. (note - no pretense at a gauge swatch... my folly!) When the bodice was coming up around 3 inches too wide, (only 4 rows in, though!) I pulled, went down to a 3.25, did a mini-swatch, and started again. This time - much better!

2- Reading. I am reading Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell. This is a wonderful book. Its a description of Ms. Vowell's travels to visit Presidental Assassination historical sites and memoriblia. While I am learning a lot about Lincoln and Garfield so far, it is essentially a travelogue, not a history book. I would recommend it to anyone - well, anyone who leans left in their politics. If you lean right, and you don't mind occasional short left-ward comments on current politics - then I recommend it to you as well. I am thoroughly enjoying it, but when Ms. Vowell drops a short bit on current politics, I could see right-leaning readers being jarred out of the happy spell her writing can send you into.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Story time.

(Knitting is slow these days. So, we enter story time!)

My Jeopardy Journey

Chapter 1
(in which our heroine takes the contest test in San Fransisco)

All my life I have loved game shows. I used to play 100,000 Pyramid with my mother during the summer and days I was home sick. Wheel of Fortune - early days - I loved it. Joker's Wild, Tick-Tack-Dough, Hollywood Squares, Match Game, Family Feud - yep. However, one game show has always held a special place in my heart- Jeopardy.

Ah, Jeopardy. The game show for smart people. Where people got paid money for coming up with jaw-droppingly amazing answers. I loved that show. Smart kid in small Midwest town - a place where you were rewarded and lauded for being smart seemed amazing.

Fast forward a bit...

Around 9 years ago, while my husband, daughter and I were living in Cupertino, CA, one of the local stations held a contestant search. (KGO-7? I forget). I sent in a postcard, and a month or so later was invited into SF to take the test.

One problem - I had yet to drive up into the city. Ever. We had only lived in the Bay Area for about a year, and I have this... thing.. about city driving. In addition, I had only been up to the city once. My husband didn't know the area at all either (he also had only been to the city a couple times). My co-workers rallied around me - they got me good directions, pointed out good parking, and best of all - gave me directions out of there. (not that I can follow directions that well - but that's for later)


I drive up to San Fransisco, and promptly get a bit turned around. I find the hotel, and run in to the testing location just in time - if you're late, the Jeopardy folks don't let you in. Whew - but I'm now a bit rattled.

Trying desperately to settle down, I listen to the description of the test. 50 questions, needing 35 right answers to pass. The test questions a recording of Alex Trebek reading questions of a hardness of the bottom of the board in Double Jeopardy (at the time, that would have been the 800 and 1000 questions). He reads the category, then the question. (It was just like playing the TV game!) You fill in the blank on your answer sheet - which consists of 50 entries of "What is ________________" so you remember to answer in the form of a question.

I remember knowing a bunch of them, but being stumped often as well.

While the testing crew was grading the tests, they had a surprise for us. Alex Trebek was there to answer questions! This was seriously cool - in the same room as Alex Trebek.

After that, they came in and read the names of those who passed. I didn't. Holding to the memory of being in the same room as Alex Trebek, I head back to my car, and try to find my way out of SF. Somehow, I manage it. (I will never forget going down one of those _really_ steep streets while lost, though - the feeling as you drive straight ahead and the ground drops out from under you is freaky!)

Next - The Jeopardy Journey continues with Chapter 2 - in which our heroine takes the contestant test again, in Minnesota, in the Mall of America.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


That's right... 21st. We came in 21st! That's the same we did last year - but we didn't prepare as well, so we were expecting to drop. I'm pretty darn pleased with 21st (out of over 400 teams - probably 100 or so playing seriously)

Thanks for the assistance with the pictures! I'm trying to get my stuff together to match answers and answers - I'll be emailing for addresses to send Koigu by the end of the week.

I did knit on the way to and from the contest - I now have 2/3 of a (proper sized) Klaralund back. For some reason, its going _very_ slowly.

And, I'm tired. I don't bounce back from being up for 22 hours straight the way I used to! (Who am I kidding... I never bounced back from being up for 22 hours)

Since knitting is slow... tomorrow is storytime!

Friday, April 08, 2005

Off Trivia-ing

Worlds Largest Trivia
Stevens Point, WI.

Remember, if you recognize any of these -
Trivia Pictures
email me at mgaul at mac dot com. Koigu as prize!

Wish us luck!!

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Quick Posting - a Contest! (otherwise known as bribing for help...)

This weekend, a bunch of my crazy friends and I are playing in the Worlds Largest Trivia contest in Stevens Point, WI. And we need help! Could any and all readers of my blog Pretty Please look at these pictures:

Trivia Pictures

If you recognize anything from the pages, email me at mgaul at mac dot com.

To sweeten the pot, if you email me the right answer, I'll send you 2 skeins of Koigu KPPPM. I need answers by 6pm CDT Friday, April 8 to be entered in this contest. I'll post any results on Tuesday.


Monday, April 04, 2005

Picture day!

Really nice picture first - a finished object!:

This is the finished Matinee sweater from Debbie Bliss' Baby Cashmerino book. On the baby - isn't she cute? The mom liked the sweater too :-) I was very happy with how it turned out.


Here is the back of my Klaralund sweater. I'm liking the colors, and the striping is coming along very nicely. I managed to hit gauge - I was using the back as the gauge swatch. I'm almost done - 13 inches up. I'm still thinking of getting a second colorway, and doing a second of these sweaters. (maybe a cardigan version like Greta is talking about).

What's that? You can't see the back of a sweater - all that's there is 2 balls of yarn? That would be because I also ripped out Klaralund this morning. I read Phyllis' post about her (quite lovely) Summerlund where she mentioned errata. Errata. Crap, I remember Errata. Wendy talked a lot about it, and hosts the errata on her site currently. Crap. Turns out I'm short 8 stitches. Crap.

Well. You see the result.


So. Here is my gauge swatch for Blaze.


(shh... its really the first sleeve.)

I had started "swatching" Blaze in a pretty chocolate brown. I love chocolate brown... but knitting a half-sleeve sweater in chocolate brown seemed wrong when I started. I wanted a bright color. I got this lovely orchid color... still a smooth yarn. Its a silk/merino blend. (forgot the brand. I'll look later).


I dropped off the Alpha SSRP box to the next recipient yesterday... as I admit (and apologize for) sitting on the box for 2 months. I made the mistake of moving it out of my main floor space. Sigh.... but, any excuse for going to Needlework Unlimited (she was teaching a class there). I did have an odd experience. I had overheard a conversation wondering why the Koigu KPPPM was priced by the ounce instead of by the skein. I knew why, and after offering knowledge of the situation * a woman said "Is that Melissa" and showed me the YUMMY cashemere that was in. The unnerving part... I have no idea why that woman knew me. Fortunately for my confusion, I didn't need to talk long, as she was helping a lady with a pattern. If this is a blog reader, I REALLY apologize for not recognizing you. (and, if so, could you comment and let me know?) I am very bad with names and faces - I sometimes think everyone should wear nametags :-)

Sigh again. I had something else to mention today - hopefully it will come back later3.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Happy April Fool's Day.

I see that its Flash your Stash day. Well... no. My stash is currently busy breeding to fully take over the Yarn/Book room, and from there take over the house. It has sent trial colonies into my bedroom, my living room, and my office to test the waters (so to speak).

You don't need to see it. Really.

Also... this is the best knitting April Fool's Joke I've seen...

How to Felt Acryllic.

Thanks for the cheerful comments... I'm in a better mood. I've started Klaralund. I'm almost done with a Panda wrap for my sister. And, I have a finished object picture for the next posting!