Do you think being on Jeopardy! will help you land a job?
I hope so. Um, I--I'd love to be a writer in the future, so it's definitely something that I can, uh, can draw on, and there are so many different details from--from this event that you can really, um, you can really incorporate in other ways, so... yeah.
What will you do with your winnings?
I would like to go on a Best Buy shopping spree. Uh, I'd like to go and--and just surf through that--that $5 movie bin and just grab everything I can find. Um, I also like to, um... I'd also like to put that money away towards maybe taking a trip someday. Um, I'd--y'know, you never know. [Laughs]
Where do you hope to be in ten years?
Ten years? Um, my dream has been to host my own podcast, um, um, hopefully do, like, some sort of pop culture-related. Um, maybe be a writer. Um, uh, I also like to act, so I think it would be cool to be part of, like, an ensemble AMC/HBO drama, I think that would be pretty cool, too, so...
2010-B College Championship wildcard semifinalist: $10,000 + a Nintendo Wii + the Wii Jeopardy! game.
Steve was the alternate for the 2009 College Championship.
November 5, 2010
They say that when you get a new car, it's only then that you notice everyone on the road that has your car. Well, being associated with Jeopardy! is like driving a new car and seeing ads for it on billboards, bus terminals, the back of the seat in front of you in an English lecture, the bushes out in front of your apartment complex, the screen on your cell phone when you're dialing a relative, everywhere. Ever since mid-September, I've heard more “Daily Doubles,” “Trebeks,” and people whistling “Think!” than in the decade and a half previous.
I was visiting my great-grandmother the day I got the call. As an alternate last year, I had the general Jeopardy! office number in my phone, so for me, it wasn’t from a generic 310 area-code number. I had three seconds or so to mentally prepare before I answered.
When Maggie said the magic words, I don’t think I responded with coherent English. It was more primitive exhaling, a happy grunt. Judging by Maggie’s response, I think she gets that reaction pretty often.
The timing was perfect, though. My great-grandmother was one of the first people to show me the joys of crossword puzzles and Jumbles, so it was only natural that she’d be the first one to share my big news. Like so many people I’ve shared the news with, her face lit up with a toothy grin.
As many people have theorized, Jeopardy! is one of those tests of innate skill that doesn’t really lend itself to heavy preparation. Normally, my penchant for pop culture minutiae brings me to Sporcle.com, the one site that allows me to justify the time I spend perusing movie, TV, music, and sports blogs. But while identifying television shows by their episode titles and recalling Oscar Best Picture winners from the 1940s and 50s may be nice in the confines of my apartment, Jeopardy! requires a tad more breadth of skill. So, instead of bypassing quizzes involving architecture, geography, or past rulers of Malaysia, I indulged some of my trivial blind spots.
Another of my favorite preparation methods that amounted to a simple change in my normal routine was listening to podcasts. At any time, I usually have 5-10 GB worth of podcasts on my iPod that I'll listen to on my way to class or as I'm falling asleep. Whether it's Filmspotting, This American Life, Slate's Culture Gabfest, All Songs Considered, The B. S. Report, or the Tony Kornheiser Show, I usually try to research any of the hosts' obscure references. But, for the last month, every name, place, or event has been transformed from tidbit to treasure, the potential magic ingot that would help me sound like I knew what I was talking about.
All of this hyper-absorption of intellectual fluff probably makes me sound just a peg higher than a mental hypochondriac, but as any of the contestants will tell you, this is the only shot we'll get at this. Being a part of this show, even if there have been 6,000 episodes worth of players that have preceded, is truly an exclusive privilege, one I've tried not to take lightly.