Friday, September 5, 2014

Jeopardy J Style

It's Secret Subject Swap day for September hosted by Baking in a Tornado. There were 11 brave bloggers that joined in today. We each submitted a prompt and were given another in secret to be interpreted in our own way and posted simultaneously today. See the end for the links to all the others and to check out the interpretation of the prompt I submitted :)

For now, my prompt was submitted by and is: Having a chance to be a candidate at the Jeopardy show, what excites / scares you the most? If you could chose the categories, which would you feel comfortable with?

I’ve never really been a big fan of Jeopardy unless the skits on Saturday Night Live with Will Ferrell as Alex
Trebek count as fanship. So, that might be my biggest concern being on Jeopardy—the overwhelming desire to make my name “Turd Ferguson” a la Norm Macdoanld as Burt Reynolds or maybe to make jokes about sleeping with Trebek’s mom as was the running gag on those skits when Darrell Hammond played Sean Connery. Who could help it? Celebrity Jeopardy were some of my favorite skits on the show.

I have a bit of stage fright and nervousness being in big crowds. I’m painfully introverted; I’m not an in-the-spotlight kind of girl. So, that, in and of itself, would likely make me a piss-poor game show contestant. I’m not really squealy or jumpy or too excitable.

All my *girl screams* are mostly internal.

I don’t know that I would really be all that excited, but I’d certainly be afraid I’d trip, fall, and show my entire ass to the audience since I always wear dresses. I’d most definitely stutter, forget to phrase my answers as a question, and make those goofball, idiotic faces when I talk like always especially when I’m nervous. But, it could be fun if I could choose the categories. There are some things I know far more about than others. For example, I don’t know a fucking thing about sports, ballet, or opera which are common categories (according to my limited Google research). There are times I’d like to completely avoid Facebook during football season just so I don’t have to see the idiotic “Let’s Go Dickheads” and “We nailed them (even though I never left the fucking couch!!!!!!!!!!)” posts. And, quite honestly, I live in a town of 297 people. Seeing a ballet or opera isn’t really the easiest thing, and if I’m even more honest, it’s not even a thing that I’d make that much of an effort to do. The closest I really want to be to an opera is watching reruns of that episode of Looney Tunes where Elmer Fudd runs around singing “I killed da wabbit….I killed da wabbit…”

So, what DO I know about then?

Classic Rock History: if you ever want to know the history behind Layla or who was even IN Derek and the Dominos, I am your girl. “These classic rock artists all died at the age of 27.” “Who are Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, and Brian Jones, Alex.” I can answer questions about Woody Guthrie, Bobby Fuller, Duane Allman, Skynyrd…When I love something, I want to know more about it. it’s just my thing. I grew up on classic rock and some outlaw country but mostly classic rock, so of course, it has always stuck with me and continues to be a big love of mine today.

Obscure bands: Yeah, some people say this would make me a music snob, but I just like to say that I love what I love, and I listen to what I love. Once a true, self admitted music snob told me that I didn’t know a fucking thing about real music. It really pissed me off... In fact, I can’t tell you at the time how angry I was. I have to say it was a good thing he was all the way in Boston while I was here in Georgia on the other end of the phone. He insisted. I argued. Music had always been a huge part of my life, so how could this person say this absolute garbage to me? He told me to listen to a band named Baroness, a song called Couer. So, I did. I downloaded the first couple of EPs and their first full length album. I liked what I heard. I did. I didn’t love it at first, but then the song Red Sky came on. Right from the start, it captured me. Something sparked. A minute into it, I leaned back in my chair with my glass of wine and the whole house around me just faded away. I closed my eyes and felt something stirring in my that had long been asleep, coiled and waiting for the right moment to live and man, did it fucking live that night. It started a musical evolution, maybe revolution is the right word. So, no, I don’t really listen to whatever or whatever comes on the radio typically, but it’s because I worked for it. My asshole friend was completely wrong. I did know a lot about music already, but he set me on the right path to find things that meant more to me….that hit all the right notes, so to speak. I’ve expanded on that quite a bit on my own to include so many genres of music, but I found those on my own, listening, opening myself up to it, and caring about more than a catchy tune… So, I reserve the right to be picky. It’s not really a bad thing.

Death penalty statistics: Having written and helped a person on death row for 7 years does not come without knowledge. Well, I suppose it can. If you’re in it for the wrong reasons, if you only care about yourself then yeah, sure, you’re only going to write. You’ll never get informed. And, you’ll move on to the next one like some execution conveyor belt. I’ve seen it happen. But, for me, at least, writing and helping hasn’t come without knowledge. So, I can tell you exactly what the costs are, how much certain states can save. “$90,000 per inmate, per year.” “What is the cost of housing on average for a death row inmate over that of someone given life without parole, Alex.” Correct. I can tell you the projected error rates and the number of people who have been wrongly convicted who were later exonerated. “145.” “The number of death row exonerees up to September 2, 2014, Alex.” I can tell you about the people who aren’t included in the error rates because they’ve already been executed. “The Texas man wrongly executed for the arson murder of his young children which forensic evidence now shows was not arson.” “Who is Cameron Todd Willingham, Alex.” I live and breathe these statistics. Every time I look down at the callous on my finger from writing so much, so often, I think of them in complete and utter horror. It’s amazing what a country can fool itself into believing is the right thing, isn’t it? (Read more of my writing here and here and here.)

Counseling Theories: I’ve been fascinated by human behavior for decades. Analyzing, wondering, interpreting… It was my friend’s murder and the way I eventually dealt with all of that which eventually shaped my career goals to include counseling inmates. And, it’s not *just* about the counseling…it’s about social advocacy and preparing these individuals (who are often thrown in a cage and forgotten until they’re returned to society and pretty much given zero chance to make it) to come back to their homes or make new homes without returning to a life of crime. It’s not going to be easy. I’ve spent the last few years attempting to earn my master of science in forensic counseling, and much of that time is spent learning counseling theories and how those theories apply to every aspect of the field. We’re expected to develop a theoretical orientation while still in school—a theory or combination of theories which form the foundation of our theoretical approach with clients—so it’s important to know the ins and outs of each before making the kind of commitment that will shape the way you conceptualize every case that you ever encounter and with the fascination that comes so naturally to me, the knowledge of those theories has stuck with me especially since I know how important it is to treat the client as an individual and not stick inflexibly to just one theory. There is no one-size-fits-all approach.

Cult Movie Quotes: I suppose this applies to any movie I love and not just the ones that have developed a cult following, but most of the ones I do love end up being cult films. Did I mention I’m an ordained Dudeist priest? Yep, I love The Big Lebowski that much. So, it’s no wonder that I often have a movie quote at the ready in almost every situation to lighten the mood or make things awkward. And then even more awkward as I explain that it’s a line from a movie and I’m not completely incapable of normal social interaction which truly shows that I’m completely incapable of normal social interaction. “The snozberries taste like snozberries” was uttered in the back of a police car.” “Well, meow, that would be What is Supertroopers?” Pretty much any Coen brothers or Tarantino film, Guy Ritchie films excluding Sherlock (D’ya like dags?), SLC Punk, Dazed and Confused, Grandma’s Boy, anything with Will Ferrell except that shitty buddy cop film he did with Marky Mark, Scott Pilgrim, Taxi Driver, Rocky Horror, Kubrick films, Pineapple Express, High Fidelity, John Hughes films…oh god John Hughes films should have their own category. I won’t bore you with all the films I love, but the fact is that sometimes when my words fail me, I don’t mind stealing others’. lists: WatchMojo has a youtube channel. I hate this fucking channel. I really do. I don’t even like youtube as a whole. But, my best friend got me started watching these lists. Top 10 Musical Acts of the 90s. Top 10 Cult Action Films. Top 10 Cash Cow Films. Top 10. Top 10. Top 10. What can I say? I’m a sucker for lists. So, that part of me--the sucker, the lover of High Fidelity, the mental mistress of one Rob Gordon--craves her lists. The rational part of me knows that every.single.time. I watch said lists I get pissed off and yell at the TV screen “you have no fucking idea what you’re talking about!” and then I say, “I’m never watching this shit again.” And then I do. The very next day.

Dating Profile Dos and Don’ts: I’ve had dating site profiles for a number of years now on both Plenty of Fish
and OkCupid. In fact, I have a blog project with More than Cheese and Beer at DoucheArt where we take messages we get and reader submissions to make kitschy art. It’s been sort of a social experiment for me in many ways even though I have met some great friends that way. If I honestly expected to meet the love of my life on a dating site, I’d be sorely disappointed, I’m sure. But, after so many years of this, I can truly say that I can no longer be surprised. “This is something you should never send in a first message to a woman on Plenty of Fish.” “What is ‘i no i dnt no u but wld u kcik me in the balls as hard as u can, I lik ur tats.’”

80s and 90s Cartoons: On OkCupid, one of the sections of your profile asks you the most intimate thing you’re willing to admit. Most people skip over this entirely which always kind of bothers me. I mean, why go on a dating profile if you’re going to be so secretive that there’s nothing that comes to mind to add here. Anyway, my answer is that I cannot escape the comfort of the cartoons of my youth. It’s true. I still watch Ducktales every chance I get. Scooby Doo. Pee-Wee’s Playhouse (it still counts). Tailspin, Batman the Animated Series, Tiny Toons, Darkwing Duck, the Wuzzles, Wacky Races, Gummi Bears, the Smurfs, Animaniacs, Doug… I love sharing these with my son and knowing that he loves them just as much as I do no matter how different they look than what’s available today. We laugh at old Looney Tunes and both find comfort in old Scooby movies. I have an entire cabinet full of DVD seasons of cartoons from this time period, and I would own this category. Like a boss.

Third, Fourth, and Fifth Generation Video Games: So, maybe I’ve played a lot of video games in my time even though there have been occasions in my life when I’ve criticized the video gaming industry for being a bit misogynistic and one-directional. The time period mentioned extends from the original and unbeatable
NES to the original Playstation. I still love games, but these days I watch more than I play. I stay too busy to play many myself and watching someone else play allows me the opportunity to multitask, so I think, even though my knowledge extends to current era gaming, I’d feel safer with the generations I’ve played myself. I actually read Game Informer, watch a couple of video game channels on Youtube, and learn a lot from those stupid lists that end up pissing me off. And, no, I haven’t fully revealed my nerdery….To do so, I have to admit that I have a pair of Super Mario Bros 3 earrings that look like actual NES cartridges. My love is mighty and would serve me well in such a category. Unfortunately, my bias is strong, and I would probably get into a fist fight with Alex over my beloved games and turn the real Jeopardy into some awful parody of an SNL skit. If any question asked the number 1 NES game of all time and the answer was not Mario 3, it would be on like Donkey Kong.

Stephen King Novels: I have been a constant reader since the age of 13. I preorder them, devour them, complain when the story lines seem similar to prior works, absorb the insightfulness of the characters, reread them—something I can’t do with most novels, and get inspired by them. He’s one of my favorites not because of the genre he so often writes in but the way he uses these insane plots, these horror and sci-fi worlds, to talk about humanity, to reveal something about a person—a commentary on humanity overall at times—that would not have been revealed through every day, mundane life. Is he the greatest writer? No. And sometimes that side of his humanity makes me like his work even more.

Non-chocolate Candies: I get cravings for chocolate like anyone else, I guess. Ok, maybe not as strong as some people I know, but I have zero will power when it comes to fruity or gummy things. If it’s in one of those categories, I’m all over it. “The combination of Haribo gummies that is like an orgasm in your mouth.” “What is Happy Cola and Twin Cherries,Alex.” Correct.

4th Wave Feminism: I don’t think anyone ever has been an expert feminist. That may sound at odds with including this category for Jeopardy. But, what I really mean, is that feminism is a different experience for every woman. We don’t have to agree on every little tidbit. Some people love that Beyonce has embraced the feminist title and I do agree wholeheartedly that she has pushed it and pulled more women into understanding that feminism isn’t the dirty word we thought it was. I had to learn that the hard way myself. But, do I agree with a big fraction of feminists who think that the way she shakes her ass on stage is her display of radical feminism and embracing her sexuality without fault? No, I think it sells more records than it would if she relied solely on her intellect, and I think that’s a sucky image to give to her younger audience. So, there’s no right way to feminist, but there’s no way to come to some sort of agreement enough that any of us are experts. Or maybe I’m the only one that sees it that way. ha. But, I do know enough about the basics that I would love for this category to be a part of the epidode I’m on. “The aspect of modern society which consistently puts blame for rape and other sex crimes solely on the victim and rarely puts responsibility on the rapist.” “What is rape culture, Alex.” I know what feminism is and isn’t and what the myths are. It’s one of those labels I use to identify myself and my beliefs and something I feel strongly about, so while it may be more serious than a lot of my categories here, I think it’s necessary to shine an intelligent light on the truths in a more mainstream light without the interference of those godawful Jezebel writers.

And since we need 13 picks to include final jeopardy, I’m throwing in Privilege: Privilege has become a big deal topic to me. It’s not something everyone likes to discuss, and it surely makes a lot of folks angry to even so much as see that word. Privilege. Privilege is one of my son’s 3rd grade level homeschool vocabulary words…simple yet so misunderstood in the context of sociology. The idea that we’re born into a lot in life that makes it easier for some and harder for others is a concept that people continually try to deny but that has been irrefutably proven to exist in study after study after study. It’s sort of the climate change of the sociological world. All the experts agree but people have such a hard fucking time changing their world view to align with the evidence thrown before them that they shout and scream and rail against it like somehow being loud and obnoxious suddenly makes the truth no longer true. Privilege is not guilt. It doesn’t mean you have to feel guilty for being born White or male or into a wealthy family. You don’t have to feel guilty for not having mental or physical disabilities. The whole point of the matter is that it’s important to recognize that we aren’t all born on the same playing field. We don’t have the same capabilities when it comes to succeeding by whatever definition we think success is measured. Some of us absolutely cannot just pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and work our fingers to the bone to make it out of whatever dire situation we were born into… We were sold that idea a long time ago…the American Dream. It seems relatively impossible for people to give up that idea that working hard and buying more stuff is the answer to everything. But we have to and until we acknowledge that systemic racism and sexism and other biases are holding people back from reaching their full potential, until we acknowledge that people are targets of the police and the justice system, this country is going to continue to polarize and divide until we absolutely implode into civil unrest, war, and destruction. So, it’s an important topic to me, a vital one really. And I think it’s one that I would treat seriously on the show…

So, it’s not categories like Shakespeare or Before and After but I think it would make a hell of an episode.

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.  Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:                             Baking In A Tornado                                           The Momisodes                         Spatulas on Parade                    Stacy Sews and Schools                              Sparkly Poetic Weirdo                   Evil Joy Speaks             Confessions of a part-time working mom                       Someone Else’s Genius                                     Dinosaur Superhero Mommy                       The Bergham’s Life Chronicles


  1. Yes, it would make one hell of an episode, and one I'd love to see. I think we have more in common than I thought, except for the ballet thing, I love ballet.
    In terms of privilege, I agree that there are many flaws in our system and in our society. There are ways we can impact that and other ways we try that's as useful as spitting into the wind. I think the biggest impact we can have is in how we raise the next generation.

    1. Feminism and privilege are things I already discuss often with my kiddo. He'll be 9 in October so he doesn't really understand the full weight of it, but I'm planting those seeds (like I said last month) and I hope more and more parents are doing the same. It's going to take that--teaching a new generation without the holdups of the former--for things to really be more widely acknowledged. And without that widespread acknowledgement, you're is like spitting in the wind.

  2. Definitely an episode that I would want to see!!!
    There's so much here that I don't even know where to start with my comment! THAT is the sign of a spectacular blog post!!!
    I agree with so much of what you wrote.
    GREAT JOB with your prompt!!!!

  3. I would suck at your jeopardy. So I'm glad you're the one competing.

    But to be fair, I would probably suck at regular jeopardy too.

    Maybe, maybe do okay cartoons, King novels, and feminism movies. Hell, even the music would be okay to fair.

    I daresay I would be comfortable in the Cult Movies. I spent my teens watching most of those movies (&and a ton more) and wondering why more people didn't know/quote/love them as I did.

    Now I have to watch SLC Punk.

    R.I.P. Heroin Bob.

    1. ***categories***

      It should say categories after feminism, not movies....

    2. God the end of SLC punk makes me ugly cry every single time... Jenn, your mom and I would also excel at a coffee category, but if she were on, she would absolutely need one called "how to not so innocently embarrass your son-in-law" I love your stories about her.

    3. It makes me cry too friend.

      You and mom would OWN the coffee category hands down.

      And she would definitely rock the son-in-law one...and subsequently embarrass Trebek like no other.

  4. We watch Jeopardy but I'm not very good, my husband on the other hand is.

  5. Jeopardy J Style - love what you did with my prompt! Interesting categories, too.

    I thought I knew a thing or two about music as well, but frankly, the bands and artist you mention… Duane who?

    I am not surprised about your in-depth knowledge on death penalty, I've read about it on your blog before.

    I think you'd totally rock that J edition of Jeopardy! The bonus word would be "climax", and while the other contestants would become red faced and sweaty and start stuttering, you'd be all cool, calm and collected and say "where does the infamous Jenniy French live?"

    1. And I'd say it with the most coy of smirks. hahaha.

  6. I'd rock out with my cock out on King novels, for sure. The rest... eh.

  7. Best.
    EVER!!!! lol

    On a side note, I met my husband of 6 years on Plenty of Fish.

  8. While I don't watch jeopardy, I would love to watch your show...At this point in my life, all I can really answer are books I've read and kids TV shows, LOLOL