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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Rebecca's Wheel of Fortune Blog Part 4

If you're here because you saw Rebecca on Wheel of Fortune, you need to start here:

If you haven't read part 3 yet, you can click here to read it.  There are links there to Parts 1 and 2 as well.  There's also a nice little disclaimer there you should read if you haven't already.  Basically it asks Sony that if they'd like me to remove something I'd be more than happy to, and acknowledges that the people at Wheel have no idea that I'm writing this blog.

Where we left off last time, we had just completed the final practice before our episodes would be taped.  There was an odd mix of excited and nervous throughout the room.  They whisked us back into the contestant Green Room while the audience was seated,  they brought "Game 1" people back to makeup for final touchups and practice interviews, and Games 2-6 people were free to wander about as we wished.  This TOTALLY floored me.   In New Orleans (and assumably any city that Wheel travels to), the contestant area is not very secure, so contestants do not have free reign to wander about.  You move in packs with escorts to the bathroom, lunch, dinner, and the audience (to watch the other shows tape)-- and if you for some reason need to move outside of the pack you have to do so with an escort.   In Los Angeles, the Green Room, makeup room, bathroom, and staircase up to the audience's level 2 chairs were all interconnected.  The audience was not allowed to use our staircase (which made me feel special), and only a few of them who had to were allowed to sit anywhere near us, so we could pretty much stand up in the middle of an episode, walk downstairs to get a sandwich, go to the potty, or do whatever we wanted.  That was awesome.    I was preparing to not be able to move around, so I didn't drink nearly as much water as I should have, nor had I changed into my comfortable shoes because I wasn't sure I was going to be able to change back into them, but otherwise I was feeling pretty good about the whole situation.  It was also a blessing that I was able to freely move about, because I was feeling pretty bad and made several bathroom trips-- more on that later.  (Don't worry, it's not going to be nearly as disgusting as it sounds).

I spent the next 4-5 hours basically going back and forth between watching the shows tape live in the audience (which was thrilling but it was hard for me to sit still),  watching them in the green room so I could shout out the answer,  nibbling on things here and there, talking to other contestants in hallways and areas we were allowed, and the above mentioned bathroom breaks.  I watched almost all of Episodes 1 and 2 from the audience, but as the day went on, I could feel myself getting more and more tired (remember, I was on about 2-4 hours of sleep the night before, and only about 8 hours of sleep total over the last 72 hours),  so I was doing everything I could to stay awake.  Drinking soda, walking around, trying to jump up and down, you name it- I was doing it.

I saw most of all of all of the other Spa Fantasy episodes, so here are a few comments about each one.

Episode 1 (Monday) - Karla was perfect in her interview,  I clapped and cheered when she said "There's all kinds of generosity in that hand, Pat!"  --  Katy looked super cute, and Joel was so sweet (although shy and quiet)  and had really bad luck on the wheel. I felt a little bad for him.   I got SUPER DUPER right away (why couldn't I have had that instead of Little Green Men?  Ha) -- their trip to Greece was awesome, probably the best one of the week.

Episode 2 (Tuesday) - I knew "Rest and Relaxation"  the moment the X popped up, and it was only the 2nd letter.  I thought it was pretty obvious-  It's actually one of the things I studied when I found out we were Spa Fantasy week.   I loved Bob, Alfred, and Kira  (Alfred was on my bus in the morning)-- but then again I loved all of the contestants our week.  I remembered feeling somewhat comforted when Kira said she was "in between jobs"  because my profession these days (Auction hunter) sounds kind of weird and it made me feel better  that Pat seemed to just not ask too many questions about it.   I KNOW THAT YOU AREN'T GOING TO BELIEVE ME, and I'm totally prepared for that, nor do I care, really-- but when "Everything I do, I do it for you"  popped up as a puzzle (Song Lyrics), I knew it without a SINGLE LETTER.    I saw the _ __ _ __ and knew it was I something I something.... DO came to mind,   I repeated "I do I do" in my head, and the rest just came.   I love that song.  Had I gotten that puzzle I am unsure if I would have solved it with 0 letters to have a Caitlin Burke moment (and be all over talk shows and things the next day)  or waited for the Jackpot wedge.   Someone (Alfred)?  actually landed on the Jackpot wedge and I was trying to will him the answer but I couldn't.   As much as I loved being Friday, a part of me is a tiny bit disappointed that I couldn't have those Tuesday puzzles.    I also knew BITE-SIZE PIECES at the RSTLNE.    Sigh.   For some reason Tuesday was filled with puzzles I instantly got--  I wonder what would have happened had we gotten that one (and I was the one who randomly picked our day out of the hat) -- but you can't really go back now.   I was happy Bob got the bonus, but sad he didn't get the million.  Even Pat and Vanna's "recreating a picture"  at the end was hilarious-  this episode might have been one of the better episodes of Wheel of all time.

Episode 3 (Wednesday) -- probably the most exciting money wise.  Craig totally dominated-- it was a little luck and a little skill, but if memory serves correctly, he got the car and a trip. Jessica is gorgeous, and is still my facebook friend to this day.   I was super jealous that she got to pick up SO many tags, the berry gift tag, and the Wild card.   She was playing by the book on Round 1 and got totally screwed by that bankrupt.  Tia had SO much energy-- I don't remember her being like that backstage or in real life but she was jumping up and down and screaming on the show!     There is absolutely no way Craig knew "Johnny on the spot remover"  because he kept spinning even though he had the car.  Talk about lucky though, he landed on the $10,000 AFTER all that that-- and it was the right choice not flipping it, but if he had, he would have netted $25000 in ONE round.  Wow.   He finished with $40k, without a bonus round win.

Episode 4 (Thursday) -  Kyle was hilarious, Jim was pretty cool too, and Debbie was such a character.   They were all some form of writers, which was pretty interesting.   Jim used to be a writer on the TV show Sister Sister, which I LOVED as a kid, so I sort of worshipped him for that. Kyle, I think was one of the quirkiest characters Wheel has ever seen.  He reminded me a lot of my friend Shawn D. from Foods week.  He probably gave one of the most memorable interviews ever.  Oh, and he was totally cute-- probably the cutest guy of the day.  Debbie was backstage singing us songs that she wrote about Wheel right before she went on.  She even had a little dance to go with it-- I don't remember the details but I remember she sang it at the Wheelmobile event and it had a lot of spelling and letters involved in it.  She's from Neenah (not Nina as I previously thought-- thanks for the comment correcting that).   I knew "MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU"  after just the TH's.  I thought it was pretty obvious-- and I haven't even ever seen Star Wars.  It's just one of those quotable movies.  We were all excited to see another Million Dollar Wedge, I have to admit I didn't watch the bonus round at all because at this point I was preparing myself mentally for my show.  They do breaks in between each show so you CAN watch the end of it and then go to makeup and practice interview-- but I was freaking out at this point and pacing back and forth while poor Bethany tried to make me feel better.

Show 5 -- our SHOW.   Finally.   First you have to know a few things:

1)  I'm not sure if I mentioned it before, but when I arrived at the studios in the morning, I scoped out the contestants and the only ones I didn't want to be up against were Jessica S. because I thought she was gorgeous and Bethany D. because I thought she had the cutest outfit imaginable. She's also gorgeous.  So of course, Bethany is selected as part of my 3 person group.   I was slightly bummed, but then I got over it.  And now, I wouldn't have had it any other way.   Once I found out she was in my group, I tried not to be too friendly with her (I didn't want to subconsciously miss puzzles so she could solve them or whatever)--- but she ended up sitting right next to me almost the whole day and we got to chatting.  We realized right away that we have an awful lot in common.  We both love nail polish, and clothing and accessories (explaining both of our outfits),  we're both highly independent women (and are both mid-twenties-late-twenties and single),  we both have jobs in fields dominated by men and have gotten considerably up the ladders for our age (I was upper level management before I started my own business, she's a personal banker).   We talked and chatted all day long -- I promised I'd send her my favorite nail polish that she loved (It's OPI "Make Love"  if anyone is interested),  and she promised she'd call me if she were ever in New Orleans.   We're still friends to this day.   At some point, I commented to her "I don't want to play against YOU" --- and she quickly corrected me, "you're not. We're ALL playing together, AGAINST the wheel."   She was totally right.  I'll never forget her for that.  She only won $1,000 and had some really bad luck on the wheel, but she called all of the right letters and didn't make any mistakes.  She was such a class act too!   Smiling and charming and perfect all the way through. Even now, she says she's thrilled she knocked an item off of her bucket list. I'm thrilled I got to do it with her.    We've talked on Facebook here and there, and she sent me some pictures of her beautifully decorated office ( a surprise from co-workers) the day our show aired,  I sent her back some from my party,  and texted her the night of the show---  it's really nice to have someone to share the experience with like that. I only wish I had contact information for Brent, also from our show.   He was a total sweetheart and we talked with him a lot (and bonded as SHOW 5) -- but I just didn't have as much in common with him.  If someone has his information, or would like to direct him here, please do so.

2)  Wheel picks the 3 person contestant groups--- they don't leave it up to chance like other things because they want to make sure there is a good geographic and racial mix between contestants.  They also want to make sure they do both genders--  you will usually find "2 Males and a Female" or "2 Females and a Male" -- it's to make every show as good and as interesting as possible.  The other things are random, though.  One player from each set of 3 gets to be the "ball picker"  and close their eyes and randomly pick a ball marked 1-6, indicating number of show.  I was the ball-picker for our group (not sure how they picked that, either)--- secretly, I think it was because I was an alternate at some point and it was a way of giving me something a little extra, but I'm sure it was just random.   I wanted to pick 2, 3, or 4--  but I picked 5-- it was okay though, because I really didn't want to be first and I really didn't want to be last.  Plus, I pointed out, we were the Friday episode so we could have amazing viewing parties.    After that, each player picked a ball indicating color position on the wheel (red, yellow, or blue).  I wanted blue for three reasons,  1) I was wearing blue,  2) in New Orleans all but 1 episode featured a blue winner and I couldn't get that out of my mind, and 3)  Most of my friends had been blue.      I picked my ball first so had all 3 to choose from, and I just closed my eyes and hoped the right ball would shake out of the bottle.   It did.  I was ecstatic, I jumped up and down.   The other contestants were laughing at me, but I didn't care.

3)  In part 1 I mentioned about the trip to LA, the plane ride, the riot, and the lack of sleep---  in part 2 or 3 I mentioned how I had been up since about 4am on under 4 hours of sleep.  It was now probably about 4pm, and I was exhausted.  Somewhere around the start of episode 4 I realized I couldn't keep my eyes open, so I started walking in a big circle, from the contestant room, to the studio audience, back to the contestant room, to the makeup room, to the bathroom, and back again.  I tried slapping my face, I tried throwing water in my eyes,  I tried jumping up and down, drinking caffeine, whatever I could do.  I also had cramps, and they were starting to get the best of me.  It also didn't help that everyone had told me the studio was FREEZING (and this particular day the a/c was broken so it was like 95 degrees in there.  If you look at the play backs of the M-Th episodes, you'll see that  a lot of people are fanning their faces and Pat even asks one of them and she says "it's hot in here" --   They had to install a fan into Jim Thornton's booth during one of the episode commercial breaks, and Pat made the comment to me that "it's usually cold enough to hang meat up in here but today is just amazingly hot"    -- By our episode it had gotten a little better, but it was still pretty hot in there.  They were also having problems cooling the place, because apparently, that's the soundstage where the tornado scene for the Wizard of Oz was filmed, so the humidity and stuff in there is kind of off kilter.  I don't know, that's just what they told us, or what they told the studio audience, rather.  (Apparently where we walked into the lot was also where the Yellow Brick Road had been--- Sony Studios used to be Paramount in the day, I believe).  But I digress. So where was I? Oh, right.  I had cramps, and since I was told it was going to be freezing (but had no sweater thanks to the cops making me leave it in the store the night before at the riot)--  I compensated by wearing THREE pairs of tights.  Combined with the spanx I had on, 3 pairs of tights + cramps + a too tight skirt is NOT good.     I removed tights pairs 2 and 3 about an hour before and a half hour before the episode (each time having to take shoes and skirt off as well)  and I was NOT feeling well.  The makeup lady found me doubled over near tears about 10 minutes before I was going to go on and gave me some aleve--- I don't think I would have made it without those.   I think they kicked in about 8 minutes after our episode started and I think you can tell that.     Between the pain, and the tired feeling-- I was not a happy camper and even considered sending an alternate on.  But, I knew I wouldn't be able to afford the trip back out to LA for awhile (both time wise and money wise) and I didn't want anyone to be disappointed in me, especially the people who had come to see the episode being taped.   More importantly, I knew the alternate (only 1 left now)  clearly did NOT want to go on today.   So I tried to make the best of it.  In my practice interview, they asked me my name and I had to start over.  I couldn't remember what I did for a living.  It was a hot mess.   I just couldn't think, literally.  I didn't know what I was going to do.  I started to completely panic and fall apart.

Let's be clear-- I wasn't nervous about being on TV.... I wasn't even nervous about the show.   I'm good at the game, and I knew it.   I'm also pretty good in front of crowds.  I was freaking out at this point because I had waited SO long (9 months now since my first audition) and worked so hard (2 auditions, a written test, 100+ hours of Wii and Droid and iPad WOF games,  not to mention the 9 episodes I had watched live and the 1000 episodes I had watched on TV up until this point) -- I was nervous that I would let myself down.  That I wouldn't make the most of the opportunity.  That it would pass me by.  Eminem's "Lose Yourself"  kept running through my mind.

They finished touching me up and interviewing me, and it was time to get mic'ed.  The microphone lady was so sweet and she had a considerable amount of difficulty getting my mic to stay on my shirt even though I had followed all the rules about what kind of clothing to wear for this very purpose (and it was very hard to follow all of those rules).    (At some point during the game, maybe even between the 2nd Toss up and the 1st Round, I had to be re-microphoned.  They taped it down this time so it wouldn't go anywhere. ) Like I needed anything else to worry about besides the Wheel, the name tag (a lady the previous week had lost her nametag into the wheel on a spin and I was paranoid that would happen to me),  the used letter board, the puzzle, Pat, etc.   But there was nothing I could do -- it was go time.

Wheel of Fortune is a 30 minute show, and with commercials it's more like 22.  The show is filmed "real-time"  meaning that when there is a commercial is real-life, we pause for the same amount of time in the studio.  They obviously don't have to do that, because it's taped, but they do. I guess they figure it's good for the contestants and audience, because that's what they are used to when watching Wheel of Fortune at home.  Either way, it doesn't feel like 22, 30, or even 45 minutes.  It seriously feels like 8 minutes.  It went by SO FAST-- I still don't remember everything, and I'm still not fully aware of everything that went on-- even after re-watching our episode about a dozen times.   But, here is what I remember, from start to finish.

I told you already about the makeup, the over-the-counter pain meds, the clothing changes, the microphone, and the interview which I botched.  Between all of it, I was feeling pretty crummy.   I wasn't at all ready for the contestant coordinators, even though I love them all dearly. I was just trying to hold it together.   Wheel has 3-4 contestant coordinators that are in charge of you from start to finish.  They are at Wheelmobile, auditions, they send your acceptance letter, they call you to let you know your tape date, they answer all of your questions, they walk you through the entire day, and they are there for you, in triplicate, when it is your time to film.  They are amazing.  They know their job and they do it well.  They also want you to do as well as you possibly can.  They are also the most enthusiastic, energetic, and boisterous people I have ever met in my entire life.  Usually I'm totally ready for this.  At this particular moment, on this particular day, I wasn't.   We walked out to the Wheel, I looked up to spot my family & friends, just to make sure they were there-- I saw them,  and looked away from them (we aren't supposed to make eye contact or anything with them for possible cheating reasons).   One of the coordinators came to coach me, and she knew I wasn't feeling well and was falling asleep so she said she'd wake me up (which I appreciated).  She said (like she says to all of the contesants) " GIVE ME A T!"  and I shouted, "T!"   and she said (not surprisingly)...  "NO!  LOUDER!  GIVE ME A T!"  and I shouted with all my strength, "T!"  and she said "NO! COME ON!  SHOW ME THE JUICE" (that's Wheel of Fortune lingo for energy)  "GIVE ME A T!"  and I don't know what it was, I was frustrated, and frustrated when I don't feel well is just a bad combo-- and I turned right towards her and screamed at the top of my lungs "TTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!"     She looked right back at me (remember, I'm miked) and says "Next time can you do it without spitting so much?"   Hahahahahahahaha.  I couldn't help it, I turned around my shoulder and looked up at Brian and he was laughing his ass off at me.  I guess he heard the whole thing.  It was pretty funny I guess, but I didn't think so at the time.  And apologizes to the contestant coordinator J--- you TOTALLY helped wake me up, even a little bit, and I'm sorry I was feeling so bad!      I told her that after the show though and I think she totally understood.

Toss-up #1
Toss-ups are usually my strength.  They're also one of my favorite parts of Wheel-- I just love them.  I like to think on my feet and they are perfect for that.   Toss-ups are great also because it has nothing to do with the Wheel or luck of the Wheel, it's just wit and quickness alone. I had kind of thought in advance that I really didn't want to get Toss-up #2, because I didn't want to lead the first round, because it's barely ever a Prize Puzzle and whoever wins a Prize Puzzle 60% of the time wins the game-- and I knew that, so I wasn't going to sabotage myself on Tossup 2 by any means, but I wasn't really that worried about getting it.   Toss-up #1, I really wanted though.  Before I even was ready for the show to start, it was-- and it seemed like Pat came out and letters started flashing, and I don't even remember grabbing my buzzer (but the video shows me otherwise).  I had no idea what the Toss-up #1 was.  I even knew it would be Spa related and I had even studied Spa and Fitness related items before the show, for the 2 weeks since I knew I'd be on Spa Fantasy week.   Honestly, when the letters were flashing, I was still so tired at that point that I remember thinking to myself "How am I supposed to get the letters that aren't present when I can't even comprehend what the letters that ARE present are?"   Brent solved it - FITNESS CENTER -- and we were off to the Interview portion.

Interview -   Watching it back now, I think that Brent's story about how he got married was adorable.  I also think Bethany's accent is precious.   Back then, I had ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what anyone was saying.  All I could think about was the fact that I blew Toss up #1,  that I had absolutely no idea how I was going to pull this off,  terrified that my brain would not turn on in time and that my thoughts would sound as cloudy as they were sounding in my head.  I was in a slight panic.  Also, the practice interview had not gone very well so I had changed a few things at the last minute.   I hoped that sticking to one topic (my new business and this blog, which are very much my heart at the moment) would make it a little easier for me to not sound like a crazy person.  Hopefully I was right-- that's subjective and totally up to you guys!    I felt okay with the interview, but I was kind of upset that when Pat asked me what the craziest thing I had found in a storage locker was, that I didn't have a better answer for him.  I should have expected that!  But everyone else, he didn't ask further questions, so I was surprised that he asked me so many about that.   Honestly, the first thing that popped into my head were the dildos we found in a safe (it's still the craziest thing we've ever found)-- but how am I going to say that on Wheel of Fortune?  My Grandmother watches Wheel of Fortune, for crying out loud.

Toss-Up #2 
There was so much going through my mind on Toss-Up #2.  I was still not feeling well, it was still a jumble.  I was still going over my interview and what I had said, and trying to decide if I embarrassed myself or not. I remember thinking "GREEN, GREEN"  and I buzzed in.  I think I knew it was LITTLE GREEN MEN, but when I went to speak, all my mouth could form was "Jolly Green Giant" ---  I knew not to say it.  You see me form a J sound with my mouth, and then I say nothing.  Actually, that's not true.  I say nothing, get buzzed, and then mouth the word F--K.   Not loudly, but VERY noticeably.   You can tell on the tape that they cut out about 8 seconds of this, because instead of getting 10 seconds and the buzzer, I get about 2 seconds and then Pat abruptly says "Everyone else now!"   Not my proudest moment, but thank goodness for video editing.  Also, you should all appreciate my honesty.  Only the best for the readers of this blog.    After the entire show, the F--- was still pretty much one of the top things on my mind, and as soon as I saw Brian, this is how our conversation went...
me:  "Did you see me--"
Brian:  "Oh yeah.  I saw it."
me:  "Did anyone else--"
Brian:  "Oh yeah, the entire audience saw it."
me:  "Are we talking about the same thing?"
Brian:  "You mean you pulling a Sean Payton on Wheel of Fortune?  Absolutely.  It's okay though."

Right now, I think it's hilarious.  It's a funny story-- it proves how well my business partner knows me, and above all else- it sets me apart.  Not many people can say they dropped the F-bomb on Wheel of Fortune.  I really will start watching my language just a little more.  My friend Colleen was right-- I should have not cursed so much in practice.    At the time, though, I was mortified, and it's all I thought about through Round 1.

Round 1:  Jackpot Round

I was desperate to make up for the Toss Ups, and at this point I knew that Brent had $3000 and Bethany and I had nothing.  I also REALLY REALLY REALLY wanted that Utah trip.  I love Spa services, it was a trip full of nothing but Spa Services,  I'm not keen on flying far distances (which it wasn't) and I have always wanted to go to Utah.  So when Bethany landed on it, I was more than devastated.  I don't think you could tell that at all (Brian says he could in the audience, not sure if they edited it or he just knows me that well) - so that's at least good.  I really was genuinely happy for Bethany and I was sorry when she Lost a Turn.  Had she been behind me and not in front of me position wise on the wheel, I might have actually considered calling a bad consonant so she could have solved it.  Who knows if I would have or not, all I knew is that Brent was next in line and he was $3000 ahead of me.

I was super surprised that Brent had called a T.   I was even more surprised that there wasn't one in the puzzle.  For me, though, the category THING*S*  always has an S-- so that was going to be my first letter.   Bethany called an N and there were 4,  she picked up the 1/2 car wedge right away and now I really thought I was in trouble.  She landed on the Utah trip (see above) and I was super sad but happy for her.   She bought the E, I thought I was in trouble.  Had no idea what it was when she landed on Jackpot, and was equally as surprised when there was no R.    I spun, just barely missed the Lose a Turn for $300,  got 2 S's.  Bought an A (have *NO* idea why I didn't buy an I,  A didn't seem obvious, and I got lucky it was there).    As soon as the A popped up, I knew it was Noise-Canceling Headphones.   I had a blonde moment, and was unsure whether canceling has one L or two-- but I figured I would call the other letters, make sure, and then call L and see what happened.  Had I landed on a gift tag, or a car, or a wild card, or $2500, I swear, I would have stopped, but all it seems like I got was $350 and $400 and $600.  I picked off letter by letter until there were hardly any left, and then I solved.     I missed the Wild by one space, the $2500 by one space, and the 1/2 KIA by one space.  If only my spinning hadn't sucked so hard.      All I left in the puzzle was a G and some vowels-- I could have spun for it, but the way my spinning was going I didn't think it would make much of a difference, and honestly,  after I cleared up the one L or two thing- I was ready to solve.    And yes, all of this WAS going through my head.   At least the embarrassment/mortification of the previous rounds had waken me up into a semi-alert status.

Pat came over to me, that was super cool to see Sajak up close and personal.  I realized I had $2850 and immediately relaxed.  I heard Brian in my head say "you made enough to cover the trip" -- he's always thinking like a businessman.  I realized that was true, we spent $2400 and I had made $2850.  I wouldn't be the person who only got $1000 and I was halfway to my goal of solving at least 2 puzzles and winning $5000.   I just had to do that and I was halfway there.    Pat asked me if I knew it and I said yes, and he asked if I was just trying to get a little more and I admitted that yes, "I was just trying to get a little more money,"    I was behind!

Round 2:  
The category was Same Letter and I usually love it because it gives you, obviously an opportunity for lots of one letter.  I was kind of bummed when I realized I wouldn't be starting out on Same Letter, but then I remembered that meant I would probably be starting the Prize Puzzle round so that cheered me up a little bit.    I was SHOCKED when Bethany guessed T and there was none.  I thought for sure there would be a T in THIS round-- that was two in a row with no T!  We had some of the craziest puzzles ever, I'm telling you.  And not a lot of lyrics quotes or any of those kinds of things that always have lots of "THE" in them.    It was my turn to spin and I landed on $800, probably my highest amount so far.  When I saw the N I realized it was an ING and I got lucky enough to get 3 G's,   the puzzle now read  _ _ _ _ ING   _ IG  _ IG  _ _ _ _ _ E _ .           I'm telling you, it NEVER OCCURRED TO ME that it could be "Big Big"  in a row.    I didn't think that was probable.     So for some reason, my mind thought it was "Calling Big Rig Trucker" or SOMETHING-- and I thought there was an R.   It also occured to me that even if it WAS "Big" "Big"  that there WAS a B, but that there would probably be more B's than R's, so I should call the R on the lower dollar amount $300 and save the B's for later.  I don't know. I was shocked when there was no R and really upset when Brent called the B and got a ton of money.  My only saving grace was that at least I had gotten the N's and G's off the board so he won a little less.  It also really aggravated me the way he said he wanted a "B"  like it was the easiest letter in the world to see.   Sigh.  I still love ya, Brent.   He won $2800, so now he was at $5800 and I was at $2850.  It lit a fire under me.  I was letting the game go, and for some stupidity reasons of mine, and not even by that much money.  I was determined that no matter WHAT, I would get the prize puzzle.

Round 3:   Prize Puzzle / Mystery Round

I hate when the Prize Puzzle is the Mystery Round, but there was nothing I could do about it.  A good player knows that you never go for the $10,000 mystery wedge when it is a prize puzzle and a trip is at stake.  I'm no exception to that rule.   We'll get to that in a second.   There weren't a lot of letters there, which was bad for me, but it was a "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?"  which thrilled me, because pending no goof-ups or bad wedges on the wheel, I was guaranteed at least the ING to buy me some time until I could figure out what the heck it was.  I have to say, that as much as I complain about not getting to pick up any wedges or do anything cool, I also did not get Lose a Turn or Bankrupt not even once-  I don't know that many people who can say that-- it happens to almost everyone.  I spun low dollar amounts, yes, but it could have been much worse.

I started of course with the N, it was there,  bought the I, made sure it was there, called the G.   Some guy on the boards said that was totally stupid but he clearly doesn't know how to solve "What are you Doings".   Get the N first, always, if it's in the second from last position in the first word, you're pretty much guaranteed an ING-- buy the I just in case (because more of a chance for an I than a G) and then if it's IN-  It's GOT to be either G, or very very very rarely, K or Y.  But more than likely 99.9% a G.  So I did that, and after the I appeared and wasn't the one letter word, I knew there had to be an A.   (BTW, I missed the 1/2 Kia again by ONE wedge here).     I was also lucky enough to have 2 G's.   This is what I had now --   _ _ A _ I N G   A  G _ A _ _   _ _ I _ _.    I had NO IDEA what it was.  AT ALL.     I know the possibilities between G an A are really only L and R, so I just picked what I thought was the better choice and went with it.   This was also on a Mystery Wedge.  I had 3 R's (I was excited just to have one and gain control), so there was no doubt that I would not flip over the mystery wedge.  It was $3000 + a possible trip over $10000 or a possible bankrupt.   In case you aren't aware, $3000 + the $6410 trip is actually pretty darn close to $10000, so I have no doubt I made the right decision.  It was indeed a bankrupt, so that does make me feel a little bit better that I don't have to second guess myself at all on that decision.  Had I lost control of that round, Brent would have won it, and I would have never come back. I  knew I HAD to win that round to stay in the running for the bonus round.     After the mystery wedge I bought the E,  just to buy time, and after he said vowels were gone I had no idea what to do. I still had NO idea what this puzzle was, or else I would have solved it right there.   I guessed the first word was Wearing (thank goodness it wasn't Bearing) -- and once that was completed, I still kept trying to figure out what the last two words were.  No idea.  The T was a shot in the dark---  I was just calling a common letter to buy some time and I was actually praying it was in there.    I should have remembered about the no T in the previous 2 puzzles, but I didn't, I just went for it.   When it popped up, I knew it was either SHIRT or SKIRT and I still had no idea what the puzzle was--- I kept racking my brain-- shirt, skirt, what do you wear, and WHERE would you wear it to?    What kinds of places have a special shirt?  A special skirt?    I don't know if someone was willing me the answer or what-- but all of a sudden, it just popped in my head.  A grass skirt!  Hawaii!  Duh.  I solved the puzzle.   WEARING A GRASS SKIRT.   I maybe should have gone for the 3 S's, but I didn't want to take a chance of losing that round--  I won $11,060 in that round alone (cash and prizes).

Pat came over and I was so excited, not just because of the trip, but mainly because I knew that I had enough money to be in the lead.  I also was excited because I did it.  I could have very easily gotten flustered, especially when I had no idea what it was, but I just kept control of myself, and tried to make the best decisions and most educated guesses possible.  And it paid off.  A total victory.  It was also a PERFECT ROUND-- which is rare in Wheel of Fortune, but I'm super proud that I've had one.  It basically means that you never lost control of a round from Start to Finish and that you solved without major mistake.   I don't know if either Bethany or Brent was lucky enough to have a start to finish round, and I'm super proud of myself for that accomplishment.   I did not watch the video at ALL, as previously mentioned-- Pat was talking to me, and I let him know that my mom had just been talking to me the day before about what would I do if I won a trip to Hawaii.  She sure called that one--- didn't she?  Pat was super amused by that.    I'm not sure how I knew to look directly ahead at Camera 1 and smile, but I sure did.  Round 3 was definitely my proudest moment in my short-lived Wheel of Fortune career.   I don't know if Mary A. from Michigan reads my blog, but she won the trip too (Wheel Watchers club) and I would love to meet her.  Maybe in Oahu!

After the trip, I was at $13,910-- I believe Brent was at $5800, and I thought it was in pretty good shape.  I also knew I was over my goals-- now it was total relaxation time! :)

I've heard rumors that at this point Brian and my Mom and Holly were also relaxing at this point and not nervous at all for me anymore because they knew at least I had some winnings.  I also have heard rumors that Brian leaned back, right before the 3rd tossup, to another contestant's family and said "Now she's relaxed... now watch this!"

Toss Up 3 -
Admittedly, I got this one fast, but I don't think it's as fast as everyone else says I did it.  It's a phrase I use ALL THE TIME-- so I guess that's a big part of the reason.  When I solved "HAPPY CAMPERS"  what was showing was - - P - -    C - MP - - S.    I guess I knew it was an A in Camp, and the rest just came from there?  This is the only puzzle that I can't remember thinking out-- it went too quickly.  I'm just happy I had something to say after the buzzer this time!   If you watch the tape, you can see Bethany buzz in a SPLIT second behind me.  I was super blessed that it clicked so quickly.  And that I was buzzer happy, apparently!

Round 4 - 
The other rounds I blew were because I was tired, not feeling well, not mentally alert, in a haze.    Once I woke up and got determined to "get great" - things were going very well.  Round 4 I didn't get because it's not a phrase I've ever heard before.  There's no way I would have gotten it unless I worked REALLY hard mentally and made some pretty good guesses. I do admit though I made some stupid mistakes-- I guess I was too excited and not paying attention.   I guessed that T again, there was no T again-- how many games of Wheel of Fortune have you ever seen where there is no T in FOUR of the puzzles?  Insane.   Also, you don't know this, but they cut a TON of this puzzle out--- we went around at least  4 whole times,  me, Brent, Bethany, me, Brent, Bethany, me, Brent, Bethany, guessing letters---what seemed like tons of letters, and nothing was there.  It was insane.  I was totally thrown off by the time someone finally got a letter right.  We all thought it was A REAL HARD WORKER--- and when Bethany guessed H, it was a good guess, and it wasn't there. I should have known then that there was no D.  I don't know if I didn't hear her, or if I just wasn't paying attention, or whatever--- I'm not sure.    I still say though that I had no idea what a BARN BURNER is.   The B's REALLY got me this game of wheel.   And what is with the bad grammar "A REAL" as opposed to "A REALLY" ?    It's just funny how slangy it's gotten.  But it's not Wheel's fault I missed this one, totally my own.  My number one mistake is that I should have called the L, which I did, and then bought a vowel when I didn't know what it was, but no.   On the bright side, again, most of the letters were gone by the time Brent got to it, so I still had my lead.   Brent was at $8,100, and I was at $16,910.   I remembered thinking that I was up by more than half, so I was pretty comfortable with that.  I was just praying that Pat wouldn't spin a $5000 in the final round.

Round 5-  Final Round
The category was Show Biz and Brent was able to start.  He guessed an S, it was there-  he guessed an R, it was there.  he bought an E and the SECOND it popped up I knew EXACTLY what this puzzle was.  I was hoping he wouldn't solve it before the Final Spin because I really wanted a final spin.  But not a $5000 final spin (man, I'm picky!)  - I have no idea why he called an M.    I knew now it was ENCORE PRESENTATION-- and in my head, the N was the best letter to call, followed by the T-  when Bethany called the T, I thought for sure she had it.  When she didn't guess it, I knew I was going to call the N and then solve.  I did, and I did.  I waited for Vanna to turn over all the letters (because you're supposed to) and I don't know why but I waited an extra second just to be polite.  Then I shouted it out.  So it probably looks like I didn't know it, but I promise you I did.  Brian and my Mom both said it looked like I was jumping up and down from the excitement of knowing it and maybe I was.  I did.  I solved it.  End scene.    Another $3900 and I was at $20,810.  I knew I was at $16,000, I guess, but I had no idea it had gotten up to $20,000.

Final thoughts before Bonus
I was thrilled to be going to the Bonus round.  I was beyond proud of myself.  I had so much adversity and things go wrong that day, many of which were my fault (should have drank more water and ate almonds like my mom had told me to, for one)--  but I pulled it together. I caught myself in the middle of a very embarrassing and out of control situation and PULLED IT TOGETHER.  And really fought hard to turn it around, and I did.  That to me is worth more than all of the money in the world.  I know I can handle ANYTHING now.     I was also super excited that I had some money---  I had solved 4 puzzles-- it was more than double my goals of 2 puzzles and $5,000.   I had a trip to Hawaii.  I wanted to go back and do it all over again but when you're going to the Bonus a lot happens very quickly.

The first thing that happens is the second the main part of the show ends, they whisk away the other two contestants (they are not allowed to talk to ANYONE) upstairs to legal where they fill out confidentiality agreements and disclosures and sign paperwork on the prizes they won. I had to do all of that as well, just later.  They send someone to go get your family to move them to the chairs right in front of the camera (the poor people who are in those chairs have to relinquish them for a few minutes-- they get them right back and they also get some cool Wheel swag for their troubles),  and they walk you over to the Bonus Wheel.  I was really proud that my family was going to get tapped on the shoulder and MOVED out of their seats and get that experience of being the contestant's families-- a once in a lifetime experience.   I tried to look up to where they were being moved and in which order so I would be prepared with my introductions.  They could at least TELL you who's where, but they don't.  Fortunately I could see them from where I was standing at that moment near the bonus wheel.  The Legal guy and another guy come out and re-introduce themselves, they show you where to stand, where to place your hand, what wires to watch out for, and they let you spin the little Bonus Wheel to practice.  They tell you to spin it harder and let you spin it again.  You practice a few times and they scurry off.  You don't get to spin the bonus wheel unless you GET to the bonus round (it's not something we get to practice on earlier in the day) so I was super excited to even get to touch it.  They kept reiterating how fast you have to spin it (I guess so you can't aim, because everyone knows the good prizes are more often than not in the punctuation marks as opposed to the regular letters), and I agreed to do my best.     At some point after they went away, I looked down and realized my strapless bra had fallen WELL BELOW the area it was supposed to be.  I didn't think anyone could see anything but with bright lights I wasn't sure, so I started to adjust it.  I knew the cameras were off but I guess I forgot about the studio audience and that they would be watching me, because before long someone appeared and said "You know, we can get you a private room for that if you'd like"  -- oops.  First I cursed on TV and now I'm jiggling my breasts around, if only to cover them up-- but still.  Oops. I'm a common Wheel of Fortune harlot.   Oh well.  At least I'm memorable.

Bonus Round
The Bonus Round starts and Pat asks me to repeat the story I told him about my mom predicting that I'd win a trip to Hawaii.  I don't know why he's stuck on this-- my mom does crazy stuff like that ALL the time-- we both have weird psychic dreams, but I didn't want to waste time talking about THAT, so I just answered his questions.  I didn't have any time to think about what letters I was going to pick, although CMDA were up until that point, always my standbys. I should have realized that today's Wheel puzzles were ANYTHING but ordinary.

I introduced my people, something I had practiced over and over again for about 3 days until that point (so it at least SOMETHING was planned) -- "My Mom Debbie, my Best Friend Brian, and my Childhood Friend Holly."  I had tried very carefully to pick the truest and most interesting sounding introductions.  I hate when people just say "my friend, my friend, my friend, my mom"  - BORING.    I was super impressed with them all because they all looked happy and precious and magical all at the same time.  They definitely weren't your run of the mill "I look miserable to be here but am going to half-heartedly wave anyway"  contestant families.  They looked super excited. And I was SO PROUD that I PUT them there.

I spin the Wheel and am more than dismayed when it lands on some ordinary letter.  I think E in America.  I hadn't spun a big dollar amount all day, I don't know why I was surprised that I didn't do the same in the Bonus Round.  It was all I could think about for about 10 seconds.  Oh, and btw I was trying to make my hand look as pretty as possible while the wheel was spinning.  I'm very happy that it did.  Kudos to OPI for it's Make Love nailpolish (if you'd like to send me some, I'd be more than happy to accept it!) --  I'm also super happy I have a cute butt because I was not aware that they film you from behind.  The puzzle pops up and the category is PLACE.   I'm happy it's two words and then I realize that RSTLNE only yields me one letter.  CRAP.    It reads _ _ _ _ _    /  _ _ _ E.     I guess CPM and A. Pat can't count, and I have to tell you that my Grandmother STILL thinks that "Pat Sajak is SWEET on me"  -- I keep telling her she's wrong but she keeps insisting.  It doesn't help my case when there are pictures of him allegedly grabbing my butt (it never happened, just a bad angle) or that he forgot how to count, whatever.  I think he thought I was a fun contestant but it's not like that, Grandma.  Haha.   Not sure what made me guess P although it was a good choice I think considering that last E.   After my choices  I got C _ M _ _  / _ _ M E.    I should have went with O instead of A, and actually thought about that but didn't.   Even if I would have had the O, I'm not sure if I would have gotten Comfy, although I certainly would have gotten home.  COMFY HOME popped up and I was not a big winner-- the $30,000 would have REALLY helped-- it's a shame that more than DOUBLE your money comes from the Bonus Round on Wheel.    It's my biggest regret to this day about the show that I didn't get that round, but I really don't know what else I could have done.  It's not a word that's normally in my vocabulary and I consider it more of a phrase than a place.

Final Thoughts
I know, who am I , Jerry Springer?  I've covered basically everything already and I want to thank and applaud you if you've made it this far-- usually I can write a blog in just under a few hours but this one has taken DAYS because I wanted to make sure not to leave anything out.  Things change over time and our memories fade and get remembered incorrectly, so I'm sure in 20 years when I'm telling friends about Wheel of Fortune that this will be my first point of reference.  And it will help if I all know that you've read it too.   I'm still more than thankful for the experience-- I did some math and realized that if I was show number 5470 that means that 5470 X 3 = 16,410 contestants have gone on Wheel of Fortune in the last 29 years.   That's an average of 565 a season (less than 600 is right), and only a THIRD of those go to the Bonus Round.  I am beyond blessed to have had this experience, and even though my money won't come until January 30th or so (it's 120 days from the episode air date)--  it will be just in time for my 30th birthday and more than appreciated.  It's $14,400 I didn't have before, and a trip of a lifetime-- and I certainly will be going on the trip very soon.   I'm beyond thankful to have met Bethany and the other contestants and I'm sad that I can't do it again (why can't it be like Jeopardy where you can keep going until you lose)--- but I understand that other people want the chance, too.   I will never forget this experience, both good and bad moments-- and above all, I'm proud of myself.    I welcome (and hope for) comments on this blog-- would love to know what you all think.  Thanks for watching and sticking with me this long, and I promise, the very next blog WILL be storage locker related.   It's been so much fun, y'all!



  1. Still I have a question - can we expect for some reviews on virtual data room software ? Or it is not your topic? Thanks in advance for your reply



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