Sunday, October 30, 2016

The New House

We've now been here about two months and slowly things are coming into shape. For the last two weeks we've had landscapers shuffling and rooting around the home's perimeter. The dog is a constant state of furor and working on anything requiring unbroken concentration has proven impossible. But--and it's a big but--our yard finally exists. We no longer are surrounded on three sides by piles of grassless dirt. We have planter boxes and climbing jasmine and Backstar gravel (which is gray) and all variety of flowering plants. And our sprinklers have been made to work. The inside of the house also progresses. Two of our rooms are still uninhabitable, however--the formal living room and the dining room. Our dining room table, ordered off EBay, arrived last week. Then, as the movers were bringing it inside--check that: after they had brought it inside and were in the final stages of lowering it to the floor, the table slipped. A leg broke and they took it away. They claim they can repair it back to how it was, however. We'll see. Regardless, we have no light source for that space--the home sellers took the chandelier--so it's not likely we'll have any dinner parties very soon. Maybe before the New Year. In an hour I'm going to a football game--the first professional football game I've been to in maybe twenty years. My wife's father has season tickets to the Texans and he's been good enough to let us borrow them. We're going to go early and experience the tailgating. The way our QB is playing, I wouldn't be at all surprised if Coach O'Brien asked me to suit up, either. Given my knowledge of 19th century French poetics.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Jeopardy Test

First off, I am aiming to get back to regularly weekly blogging.  We've been laboring mightily these last few months to get our new house operational.  At the same time, I'm trying to reestablish my tutoring business in the city after many years away.  Add my growing cosmetics empire to all of that, and it leaves very little time for blogging.

But I will make the time.  Damn those women and their mascara needs!

Last night I took the Jeopardy qualifying test.  (They are offering it today and tomorrow as well, if any reader wants to sign up for it).  It went well, I think.  It's not a hard test--I passed it fifteen years ago, and I know more now than I did then.

The challenge, though, is blocking out one's nerves and focussing on the questions.  Not that I should be nervous, sitting in my room, typing answers into computer, but somehow I was.  It gives me insight into the real challenge of going on the show.   It goes without saying that it's far easier to summon up a fact when you're out with your friends than it is to do so when you're standing in a TV studio with lights and cameras all around you.

When I tutor, I suggest to my students that to really KNOW a fact means you can be woken up at three in the morning and instantly summon it up.  That's how it is with your name or your birthday--that's information that's always accessible.  For me, that's going to be the challenge going on the show: instant recall, no matter the situation.   At this point, I would say I 'know' 90% of what's likely to be on the show.  The question is, can I recall it all under pressure.  We'll see.

The test, though, was easy.  Easy easy easy.  A few questions that I can recall (not the exact wordings):
1) In what month was Julius Caesar murdered?
2) Biggest hit of Meghan Trainor  (knew this only b/c I'd studied pop music--and found I really like M Trainor, btw)?
3) What's the stuff in plants that effects photosynthesis?
4) What animal's name means 'water horse?'
5) What's a ten letter word to describe a country that doesn't border water?
6) Recent musical about someone buying an old shoe factory (knew this only b/c I'd studied musical theater)?
7) Where's the Simpson desert?
8) Who was ruling England when Shakespeare died?
9) What former first lady wrote a memoir called "Woman from Plains?"
10) in 2017 Charles Darwin will be taken off the UK 10 pound note and replaced with this woman.  (Did not know this)
11) The seven largest starts of Ursa Major are better known as ___
12) Who wrote 'The Naked and the Dead'?
13) What does LAN stand for, in computer-speak? (missed this)
14) What word that starts with an 'a' means 'to give up a throne'?

I think last time I took the test, a passing score was 30 out of 50.  Maybe 35?  But no more than that.  I can only think of three questions that I missed so far, and I doubt I missed more than six.  So, I should be ok.

Next step is to do some kind of physical audition.  If I get invited to do so, I'll let you know.