Monday, September 22, 2008
I don't know how I feel about the Seinfeld commercials. They're weird and avant-garde and memorable, but I can't say that they're funny. They're just weird for the sake of weird, and since they are both famous, people notice. The question, though, is when did Seinfeld stop being funny? Actually, Gates isn't too bad. But that's because he's Bill Gates on a tv commercial telling Jerry Seinfeld that he doesn't wear his clothes in the shower. That's weird for the sake of funny.
The other one is the answer to the Mac vs. PC commercials. It isn't that funny either, but that's not really what they're going for. It's actually a pretty cool commercial, except it's like 5 years too late. The Mac vs. PC commercials are ridiculous now (although I did laugh at the pizza one) and not really that relevant anymore. Where have you been, Microsoft ad people? Or Windows ad people? I don't really understand what the companies are anymore.
Friday, September 12, 2008
It all started about eight months ago when
Before the 8:00 pm start time, the 50 question exam could he about anything, from Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” to the reign of Tiberius Caesar or this year’s Best Picture winner. I do not remember a lot of the details, and since they kept most of the details hush-hush, they kept my score a secret. It reminded me a lot of “the permanent record” that teachers kept in elementary school. They also tell you that there is an element of randomness involved, I assume to keep your ego in check enough not to go around to your friends and discuss how you knocked the test out of the park. You cannot get on the show with out a little luck. In fact, you cannot even make it past the first cut.
Last month, though, I got word back. After eight months of waiting on pins and needles, I got an e-mail telling me to arrive at a hotel in
When I got there, they gave us a little history of the show and explained how the trick is as much about timing as it is about knowing the answers to Alex’s Questions. Or questions to his answers. Or whatever.
The written exam was another 50 questions with eight seconds for each. It was just as tense as it sounds, since the questions about opera are just as hard in
The next step was the mock game and the personality interview (they happened together). They ask you about your inane cat stories and your job and what you would do with the money. The trick, though, was that they did it at a rapid, television pace to catch the unwitting civilians off guard. Everyone did ok, unfortunately. The herd was not thinned that much at this stage.
They insisted that the mock round would not be “graded,” but I am a little skeptical. I think it was an effort to try to diffuse the nervousness, and every wrong answer was really black mark on our secret Jeopardy permanent record. It is a bit intimidating, there’s a lot to think about: wait for the question to be read completely, think of the right answer, buzz in, answer loud, smile, and please oh please do not forget to answer in the form of a question. This is all while you are standing in front of the other Jeopardy gladiators. One question sticks out in my mind – to which dynasty did Mary, Queen of Scots belong? I knew the answer, and kept saying in my head, “It’s Stuart, do not say Tudor.” Yet, invariably, I buzzed in and said, “What is Tudor?” Wrong. That is a black mark on my Jeopardy record forever, I just know it. I did get other questions right, but Mary, Queen of Scots will haunt my dreams.
They told us that they keep us on file for eighteen months. So, anytime between next week and a year and a half from now, I might get a phone call (hopefully from Alex himself) saying, “Mr. Hathway, we need you in