10 year flashback to WWTBaM


Jason in the hot seat

Here’s a short summary that I wrote 10 years ago about my ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’ experience:

Well, we didn’t come back millionaires, but we had a great time in NYC and we didn’t come back empty-handed. In the morning (last wednesday) we went to the ABC studios for orientation activities, instructions, rehearsal, etc. We were able to try out the fastest finger competition and get familiar with the monitors, etc. They walked us through some staging stuff and went over details regarding the rules. They fed us breakfast and lunch (lousy food, we were a little disappointed). The whole studio was sort of trashy looking, old and alley-like…I guess they save the glitz for on-stage. Anyway, it was cool to see the backstage side of things and how the show is produced. We spent a good portion of the morning rehearsing what we would talk about if we got in the hotseat with Regis. It was pretty scripted. Each contestant has a producer who helps develop this dialogue and practices with you. After the rehearsal, we were off to lunch and then wardrobe and makeup. Then it was showtime. We waited backstage and then they introduced each of us to the audience and we ran out and took our seats. It was a pretty intense feeling. Regis showed up just a few minutes before the show and shook each of our hands. Then it was time to start. The first contestant was a carryover from the night before…he was going for $125,000…he guessed wrong and went back to $32,000. Then our first fastest finger:

Put the following animated tv series in order of their release:

  • Smurfs
  • Powerpuff Girls
  • Flintstones
  • Beavis & Butthead

(answers below)
I got them all right but I think I was just behind the winner. So, we watched as the first contestant bombed out on the $2000 question (or somewhere in there)
So, time for the 2nd fastest finger:
Put the following musical groups in the order of their first release:

  • The Who
  • Duran Duran
  • Earth Wind and Fire
  • Foo Fighters

I plugged in my answers, knew I had it right, and knew that I was pretty fast. So, I looked up to the board and saw my name flashing and I bolted out of my seat to Regis. I was in the HOTSEAT.

I can remember most of the questions I got, but not all the possible answers. I’ll put what I can remember:

$100 Chlorine Bleach is commonly used to do which of these tasks?
a. clean clothes b. Fuel cars c. Paint portraits d. Remove Third World debt

$200 Which of these items commonly holds a database?
a. Vitamin b. Stapler c. Computer d. Meatball

$300 What should you do to incense to produce a sweet smell?
a. burn b. freeze c. Soak in water d. Propose to it

$500 Which TV family had a dog named Astro?
a. Waltons b. Leave it to Beaver c. Jetsons d. Jeffersons

$1,000 In which of these languages is the first-person singular subject pronoun always capitalized?
a. Spanish b. French c. Italian d. English

$2,000 Pasta cooked Al dente is served how:
a. cooked firm b. cooked soft c. frozen d. chilled
I was pretty sure of this one, but asked the audience just to confirm it. You really start second-guessing yourself when you’re sitting there.  75% of the audience gave me the correct answer.

$4,000 What did the 1970’s “Wacky Packages” spoof?
a. Rock stars b. Fashion industry c. Politicians d. Household products
I couldn’t remember this for the life of me. It didn’t ring any bells at all. I sat there for quite a while thinking about it, then something started coming back to me. I started to vaguely remember it, but I still wasn’t sure so I used the 50:50. That left me with ‘Politicians’ and ‘household products’ so then I know I had remembered it correctly.

$8,000 The 1992 song by En Vogue says “Free your mind” and what:
a. The rest will follow b. love will survive c. your troubles will be gone d. let your body rule

$16,000 Over who did the “Praetorian Guard” watch:
a. Greek senators b. Roman emporers c. Chinese Soldiers d. Egyptian pharoas (I had no idea, I thought it was probably Greek or Roman, but wasn’t sure. I called Steve Jenkins, a former MBA classmate. I knew he would be searching on the internet and I figured that would be one that could be found quickly. I asked him and he told me he was 100% sure it was Roman. So I went with that and it was right.
So now I’m at the $32,000 question with no lifelines left. If i miss now I go back to $1000.

$32,000 Papua New Guinea and what other country comprise the island of New Guinea?
a. Brunei b. Indonesia c. New Zealand d. Malaysia

I was not sure and didn’t want to risk $15,000 so I walked away. I guessed Brunei and the correct answer was Indonesia. So I was glad I didn’t guess.

So, $16,000 and a fun, free trip. We were pretty happy with that.

Don’t forget to watch 8/14. Check out what Regis and I talked about.


Beavis & Butthead
Powerpuff girls

The Who
Earth Wind and Fire
Duran Duran
Foo Fighters

$300 burn it
$500 jetsons
$1000 English (I)
$2000 firm
$4000 household products
$8000 the rest will follow
$16000 Roman emporers
$32000 Indonesia

TED talks–amazing stuff

Have you heard of TED? Technology, Entertainment & Design. It’s an annual conference…kind of an exclusive event, hard to get a ticket. Anyway, leaders or innovators in those fields are invited to come and present. Here are a few of my favorites:

Jennifer Lin an amazing 14-year old pianist. Her improvisation at about 20 minutes in is incredible. Proof, in my mind, that Richard Dawkins is wrong.

A demo from a Microsoft guy of future image-handling software (seadragon and photosynth). If you think Picasa is cool…wow.

A really interesting way of presenting data. No powerpoint slides for this guy.
Lots of others.

How not to talk to your kids

How Not to Talk to Your Kids
This is an interesting read on how to correctly praise your kids…and the potential harm of over-praising or always telling your kids they are “smart.” It stresses the importance of praising your kids’ effort, encouraging them to develop persistence and a desire to work hard at things, and not to be discouraged when something doesn’t come easily. It’s a bit of a longer article…but worth the effort. As it says in the article, “the brain is a muscle. Giving it a harder workout makes you smarter.”

It’s written by Po Bronson, an interesting author and lecturer. I’ve enjoyed skimming through some of his books (What Should I Do with My Life and Why Do I Love these People?)and reading his essays.

The Power (and Peril) of Praise