Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Double Jeopardy --- Day 299

Walk: Union Square, Mindful Body
Distance: 1 Mile and take yoga class

OK, on Halloween Eve, THIS is the long-awaited scoop on Jeopardy! 

Sony Pictures Entertainment is about 6 Miles, 20 Minutes by Town Car from LAX.

All visitors enter here.  This is where my Town Car and I were such a hit until they realized I was
'just' an audience member.

About 45 minutes before taping, Chris from the show sets up a table and audience members who have been waiting on benches or just standing around are instructed to come up and show him the Jeopardy pass we've downloaded after being approved on line.  (Passes are free; you go to Tickets, pick a date, sign up and then call about a week ahead to confirm).  He gives you a red "Jeopardy"wrist band after he has checked you off, and then you return to bench sitting and a 10 minute "Introduction" by a man who has been giving it for 30 years.  He tells you how to act (cell phones, cameras, walking no more than double file through the lot), the type of questions to ask/not ask Alex, etc.  He tells you so much, in fact, you kind of remember nothing and hope you're doing the right things anyway.

Then you're picked up and led to Studio 10 (a pretty good distance) by a staff member whose name I didn't get.

Studio 10

After entering the actual Jeopardy door to Studio 10, you have just a moment to walk down the hall and observe pictures, trophy cases for awards they won and other memorabilia.

The cut out of Alex in the hall is the only picture you get of him.  Right after it is the door to the actual taping room where no cameras are allowed.  You've already been told by the Introductions man that Alex only takes pictures with the 3 daily contestants, so you won't get one of you and Alex.  This a factor of time. (You can contact the studio for a signed photo which they will send; might do this now that I remember).

But you do get to see a lot of Alex - much of it up close.  His stand during the taping is maybe 80 feet away from the audience so very visible.  And during the various breaks he comes and stands directly in front of the audience where he talks and answers questions from audience members.  He looks exactly as he does on TV and, to me, seemed more gregarious and chattier than I would have imagined. A nice man, and a bit of a character (which I also didn't imagine).

Johnny Gilbert (age 88 and really you wouldn't guess this!) is very present.  Talking a lot to the audience - especially at the beginning where he assigns our 'roles' - specifically 1. Silence and 2. Applause.  When the taping is about to start they have a sort of count down and several men stand in front of the audience like traffic cops with their arms up for Silence - which we are unless we see a light that blinks "Applause." Then of course we do that. 

We're watching the actual show so we have a sense of when to clap. But even so, the blinking lights help (or helped me) stay present.  Because I've watched for so many years, and there is an actual TV screen you can turn to, it took a bit of effort to stay alert/present.  Part of my brain was back at home where I'm fixing/eating dinner, talking to Callie and phasing in an out of rapt attention - and it was almost weird to remember I was there live. 

The contestants are off to our right side.  A little more difficult to see than Alex, but definitely visible.  They look directly across at the clue board which is Huge.  If they or Alex makes a mistake, time is taken during each break to correct/retape the line or lines that were flubbed.  Apparently the contestants have a private, coaching time early in the day to get used to the buzzer and who knows what else.  (They'd probably have to give me a new brain if I were a contestant because I'd be reacting like mad if I got the answer wrong - scowling, blurting out answers, etc.  I'm always amazed at how composed and TV-ready the contestants are).

Breaks are taken for commercials.  They don't play commercials, but they stop and attend to business during the commercial time.  Altogether there are probably at least 15 people other than Alex and the contestants active in the studio: producers, clue crew members, camera and mic people, Johnny Gilbert.  There is a long break after the first show is taped when Alex goes wherever and changes into a new suit and Johnny talks with and answers questions from the audience.  When Alex returns, we are reminded "It's a new day, you're a new, fresh audience!" and we return to our Silence and Applause.  At the end of the second show, the afternoon taping is complete. (They have 2 taping sessions; one in the morning and the afternoon one I was at which began at 2:30 and was over by about 4:15).

Two shows was about right for me.  I was actually kind of tired after all that Silence and Applause and staying present.  It's intense! Just sitting around being quiet/silent is one thing; concentrating/working on Being Completely Silent turns out to be quite another thing.  But luckily my Town Car was close at hand so I sank down into its leather seats and rode in comfort back to LAX.  Probably because of Sandy on the East Coast, I had LAX virtually to myself, whisked through security and was easily able to get on an earlier flight back to SFO.

Highly recommended for Jeopardy fans.  And, to everybody out there this dark and stormy night, BOO!!!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Small Jeopardy Recap Delay --- Day 298

Walk: JCC, Trader Joe's, Best Buy, Mindful Body
Distance: 3 miles, take yoga class, give yoga class

"I'm running short on time.  But, I'll be back tomorrow to tell you all about Jeopardy.  Stay tuned."

Monday, October 29, 2012

Town Car and Me --- Day 297

Walk: SFO Short Term Parking, Virgin America, Sony Pictures Studios Visitor Center, Studio 10
Distance: Maybe 1 mile

The question is:  Which Jeopardy audience member arrived at the taping in a Black, shiny Town Car?
The answer is:  CIWT writer, yours truly.

Having no idea how to navigate L.A. - especially on a short, turn-around trip - I threw up my hands and said "Town Car!"  Which was totally the right decision with an unexpected result.  When I arrived at the Sony Pictures Visitor Center, they fawned all over me: Hello, Where Would You Like To Go?, that sort of thing - much more fawning than my very nice driver.  Finally, he was the one who said, "She's here for a taping.  A Jeopardy taping."  Their response: "You're an audience member?!"  They couldn't have been nicer even then, but my sense from what happened is that very few, if any, audience members come (and later go) in a town car - so they assumed I was someone.

Good day.  Report later. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

It's Always Sunny in L.A. --- Day 296

Walk: Not much - Sunday more and more is becoming a day of rest
Distance: 6 blocks?

Busy figuring out what to wear to meet Alex at Jeopardy tomorrow.*  84, clear and sunny in Culver City tomorrow.  Sunglasses for sure! 

*I haven't left yet, but it is looking better and better for those of you with money on "Yes" in the Will/Won't She? pool.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Inside Out --- Day 295

Walk: Mindful Body, Sundance Kabuki (The Perks of Being a Wallflower), Trader Joe's, Wells Fargo
Distance: 3.5 miles and teach class

Another Beautifulll day - So, I spent it inside of course.  It's my regular teaching day, and I was happily surprised quite a few people came to class.  Mostly men.  More men than women is unusual in the yoga world but is quite often the case in my classes.  I grew up with all brothers, many male cousins, a totally athletic father who actually manufactured sports clothes and brought professional athletes into my growing up life on a pretty regular basis. So I'm very used to being and doing sports with boys. It's where I'm most comfortable actually; maybe they sense this. Anyway, it is unusual - and it works for me.

Then, being as incapable as I was yesterday of knowing how to structure a sunny, warm, Indian summer day in the city, I just carried on as if it were winter and walked leisurely in the beauty to a movie.  A very nice little indie titled The Perks of Being a Wallflower which I recommend for you indie people.  Finally another leisurely stroll admiring the day to Trader Joe's where I  cornered the market on Alstromeria lilies.  And now I'm 'in for the evening' for the 3rd World Series game which starts in a couple of minutes.  Go Giants.

Got this color:

And this:

And this:

The beautiful outdoors comes In!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Keep Breathing -- Day 294

Walk: Nail Salon, Mindful Body, Trader Joe's
Distance: 2 Miles and take yoga class

Our summers and glorious Fall days are wonderful but sometimes confusing.  Periodically we wake up to balmy brightness that demands going for a run, playing some tennis, even sun bathing.  But it is the end of October; there are Fall things on the calendar: winterizing roofs, taking classes that began in September, reading voter pamphlets, and, you know, just going to work.  And of late the Giants and the playoffs and World Series.  These last have been so entertaining and riveting, they've captivated our imaginations, galvinized our energies and blocked our brains from having to figure out what else to do except stay centered on baseball.

Now now, suddenly, we have to contend with a day too nice for our empty and unmotivated heads.  Clear, warm, Indian summery and No Baseball.  What's a girl to do?  All options lack the automatic get up and go of the Series - they actually demand, ugh, work, making yourself run or work out, paying attention, knuckling down, thinking, being present.  Ie, they are not natural highs which we've been on for a few weeks now with the Giants.

Such, sometimes,  are the travails of living in the Bay Area.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

"Wow!" ---Day 293

Walk: De Young Museum (African Masks and Masquerades), Mountain Lake Park
Distance: 4+ miles

There's a lot of great writing about last night's World Series game.  In case you haven't heard, the Giants won 8-3 in a game that seemed deliriously and personally delivered from outer space.  You can track down the articles in The Chronicle, NYT and elsewhere.  This exchange in the Comments section of Bruce Jenkins' article is my personal favorite, and pretty much sums it up.


9:57 PM on October 24, 2012

Justin Verlander*, October 24, 2012


1:01 AM on October 25, 2012

God, October 24, 2012

*Verlander, the Detroit Tigers' pitcher,  is considered by many/most to be the most formidable pitcher in major league baseball right now. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Private Chef As Cost Cutting Measure ---- Day 292

Walk: Fillmore Street
Distance: 8 Blocks

A friend saved me big bucks on a cooking school I was thinking of attending.  For those of you who don't know me, this was a Basics series.  On top of that, the online description of the series essentially wasn't; just send in your money and trust that you'll know everything you want/need to know in six weeks.  I don't buy the Brooklyn Bridge, so let me say the school itself was recommended by a local chef who had her own TV show in NYC - ie, a very well-known local chef.  So, I  'know' the school to be reputable, but a three sentence 'description' along with no contact information is skimpy even for the most famous school in the world.

Anyway, my friend suggested deciding what exactly I want to know and then hiring a young (hungry) chef to come over to my place and teach me.  That's something I've considered over the years, but thought was out of my league financially.  But, as she pointed out, at the per session cost of the 'repudable' school, I could probably pay for several hours of that young chef's time.  And if it was a he .....

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Reigning in the Rain --- Day 291

Walk: JCC, TJ's, Mindful Body
Distance: 3 miles, Take yoga class, Teach yoga class

In the ninth inning of the 7th playoff game, a chilly, torrential rain blew into ATT Park, and this is how the people at the park reacted.

Marco Scutaro, second baseman with a story.

Last play.  Pop Fly caught by Scutaro - Hit by the man who had tried to injure him in a deliberate slide into second at the start of the series.

9-0 Giants!!!! Division Champs! World Series Next...

Closing Pitcher, Sergio Romo, jumps for joy.  Another man with an endearing story, like so many of the Giants.

Every seat stayed filled in the pouring rain until long after the TV interviews.  It was like it wasn't raining at all for the players and fans.

Giants Manager, Bruce Bochy, walks to center field to receive winning trophy.  In the background, every fan still in the stadium.

Scutaro celebrates the Giants' win and his MVP trophy.

If you don't want to talk elections, come to San Francisco where there is so much going on!!!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Moby Dick Afterthoughts --- Day 290

Walk: Mindful Body/JCC
Distance: 16 blocks, take yoga class, 1/2 hour on treadmill

Early blog today because of overstuffed evening coming up: Final Giants playoff game, final Presidential debate, Dancing with the Stars (yup).

Called to confirm my Jeopardy 'Priority Seating' ticket, so even I might bet "Yes, she will go to Jeopardy next Monday" at this point.  But I have been known to go right to the wire then cancel.  So, feel free to take your time.

Speaking of taking time, I think about yesterday's opera, Moby Dick, and the time it devoted to the actual destruction of Ahab by the white whale.  If the opera ran 2:45 hours, at least 2:35 of that time was the lead up to the abomination by Moby Dick.  Ie, it was in the air, on the viewers' minds, the entire time.  And when it actually happened, you weren't even sure it had  - no visible white whale, no dramatic music, no 'famous final scene' at all.  Strange.

It isn't a new, new opera having had its premiere in Dallas in 2010.  So if it is possible to change an opera after it has been staged (I don't know the answer to this), that could have been done.  And I imagine it had many rehearsals and tryout/previews on its road to the premiere.  So apparently this is how the lyricist, librettist and set designer understand the dramatic scene and music to be staged.

I know in the book the Pequod does sink rapidly - maybe just a page in an 800+ page book.  But it seems to me the book depicts a definite, deep, intense drama surrounding Ahab's death/Moby Dick's destruction of him and the Pequod.  Why it is nearly a non-event in the opera seems an odd decision. Even if it was calculated to convey something, it seems to have missed the mark and just leaves some - like me - leaving the opera house wondering and a bit disappointed.  What could/should have been great, seemed very, very, very good instead. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

San Francisco Sunday --- Day 289

Walk: Sundance Kabuki (The Sessions), SF Opera (Moby Dick), Home (Giants Baseball)
Distance: 4 miles

Beautiful day for walking to a pre-release movie, The Sessions - I'd been seeing the previews, and thinking naw, but it is Much better than I assumed. Then on to a front row center seat at modern opera, Moby Dick - which also was excellent as well as a little challenging. Grrreat male energy. I'd seen a panel a few weeks ago, then the pre-Opera talk today, then the opera itself and that was a fulfilling way to go. Now, all that has to happen for the day to be perfect is for the Giants to win tonight. We'll see, and maybe more on all these matters another time.

Meanwhile, for those of you in on the Will She Go to Jeopardy? pool, Lookie Here:

Depart San Francisco (SFO) Arrive Los Angeles (LAX)
10:45 AM 12:05 PM
Monday, October 29, 2012 Monday, October 29, 2012
Flight Number: 924 Duration 1 Hr 1 Min
Terminal: 2 Terminal: 3

Depart Los Angeles (LAX) Arrive San Francisco (SFO)
07:25 PM 08:40 PM
Monday, October 29, 2012 Monday, October 29, 2012
Flight Number: 945 Duration 1 Hr 1 Min
Terminal: 3 Terminal: 2

Odds are getting more toward "Yes" but there is a week to go...