Thursday, June 29, 2006

Is That Your Final Answer?

So today I took a flex day from work to drive to New York City, for a purpose that I've kept hidden from all but just a few people in case it blew up in my face.

That being said, I guess its safe to divulge what happened now that its over... I drove to NYC and back today to audition for Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. (Yes, its still on.) On a lark, I had signed up for tryouts last month online, and received an email the next day telling me a time and place to try out.

So what was it like, you ask?

I got to NYC at about 12:15, after leaving straight from crew practice and very nearly falling asleep on I-95 several times. Not really the best way to prepare for a trivia competition, but what the hell, I'm an insomniac, I live on no sleep anyway. I had a 12:45 "appointment" for my audition. All I knew was what the email said, fill out a 3 page application with questions like "What should Meredith Vieira know about you?", and that I'd be taking some sort of written test, if I passed then there would be a short interview.

I arrived at the ABC building where a bunch of interns in headsets stood us all up against the wall (apparently a lot of people had 12:45 appointments). They then led us into a closed restaurant across the street where tables were set up with scantron sheets and number 2 pencils... SATs all over again! Thank god I aced those! ;)

The test was 30 question multiple choice, we had 10 minutes to complete it, and then our tests would be scored immediately so we'd know if we passed. Sample test questions:

What color is a typical daffodil?
A. Yellow B. Blue C. Pink D. Purple

What city is the northernmost world capital?
A. Oslo B. Reykjavik C. Helsinki D. Copenhagen

What magazine does not come out weekly?
A. People B. Good Housekeeping C. Time D. Sports Illustrated

So anyway, 10 minutes pass... I think I guessed on about 5 or 6 of the questions. They collect the tests start grading them. I'm trying to guess what a passing score is, would have to be at least 25 or more I think. They announce they will say the numbers of the people who passed, (we were assigned a contestant number). Out of 40 of us in the room (of which I was the youngest by at least 10 years), only 8 people passed.

I was one of the 8! :)

So the failing people all leave, and the 8 of us have polaroids taken and 5-10 minute interviews with one of the producers. Before that though, we were discussing some of the tougher questions. Based on everyone's answers, the passing score had to be at least 27 if not 28 or 29. Go me! Basically the producer asked me about my job, about crew, and about eating guinea pig, which I had mentioned on my application... no idea if it went well or not.

But basically the deal is this... sometime in the next month or so, I'll receive a postcard from Millionaire saying either "We are happy to tell you you have been entered into the contestant pool, and may be called to appear on the show," or "We're sorry to say you have not been entered into the pool, thanks for your interest." Even if they say yes, its still not certain that I'm in the show, but it would be cool... So fingers crossed!

Anyone up for some Trivial Pursuit? I might need the practice!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Retreat! Retreat!

So this afternoon, I will be attending a team retreat with many of my coworkers. Basically anyone in my department is going to my boss's house in Georgetown for 5 hours of group discussion, motivational training, and insight into our work styles. Needless to say, I'm not looking forward to it...

They had us take a survey yesterday with a variety of words starting w/ the same letter and pick the one that most typified ourselves... Examples include "planner, patient, positive, promoter" or "cheerful, consistent, cultured, confident." Supposedly we'll find out what our selections mean about ourselves at the retreat, but it was frustrating to take, because obviously the words aren't remotely exclusive of each other, so how can I decide if I'm most "doubtful, disorganized, domineering, or depressed"?

Anyway, I'm sure there will be a story later... oh yeah, quick story now. My boss just comes up to me, in front of two other coworkers (one of whom is my direct supervisor) and says "I had a dream about you last night... it was amazing."

Me- "Umm, okay..."

Her- "Yeah, I guess its because we've been talking about your apartment." (I got flooded) "We were sharing a bedroom..."


At least if I ever need to sue, now I have grounds. :)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The U.S. Cup is Empty

So I refrained from writing about the first two games for a couple of reasons:

A. I wanted to give the U.S. the benefit of the doubt and grade them on their total performance, especially after the Czech game.

B. There were plenty of other DC bloggers already writing, some of whom actually had decent recaps/opinions on them.

C. I'm not a real big fan of all the people who suddenly come out of the woodwork and act like they know alot about soccer because they watched part of the game and saw a Sportscenter feature. I've played soccer for the better part of 27 years, I'm more qualified than most to tell you what's really going on.

That being said, I just watched the US-Ghana game, which saw us dumped out of the tournament with one solitary point, one goal scored (by us) and a general lack of imagination and intelligence from our head coach, Bruce Arena.

So here we go: In my opinion, Arena screwed up, he never had the team ready to play. In the opener against the Czechs, he expected the CR to play a passive game, where their defense would sit back, afraid of our speed. Instead, they played high pressure, testing our inexperienced back line, and forcing mistakes. It worked to a tee, the early goal from Koller killed the US confidence, and we got torched.

In the Italy game, which media across the country have hyped as a major "victory" for US soccer, the team definitely played with more spirit, and Arena made the right move to bench Beasley, but he still finished a game w/ 9 men where HE STILL HAD A SUB. I'm not saying it had to be Johnson for McBride, Johnson is really too young to play solid defense. But there were other defense options that would have given some extra fresh legs during that last 10 minutes where the team was barely able to walk.

And today, 2nd half substitutions were too late, the team looked they had no idea what they wanted to do on set pieces, and Landon Donovan's confidence has disappeared. I doubt he'll even dominate MLS in the near future the way he played. Arena blew it on the biggest stage of all. And the US may need more than 4 years to recover.

All that being said, the officiating in this World Cup has been a joke. I don't care what FIFA said, Mastroeni's tackle was a yellow at best, the penalty kick given today was a complete phantom, and other teams have gotten burned by it too. The US has just had the consequences hurt more than most.

Not sure who to root for from here on out. Maybe Spain, they seem fun to watch... so Bruce Arena, its time for you to move on. You built the team up great the last 8 years, but you choked in the clutch.