Happy April Fool’s Day, My Online Jeopardy Tryout and Living in Hollywood North

Gotham Lg
I’m some­what relieved that April 1st fell on a Sat­ur­day this year, as I learned that there were sev­er­al peo­ple in our office who were real pranksters, and I don’t rel­ish the thought of return­ing to my desk to find my desk­top changed to a snap­shot of my open win­dows, my new mail noti­fi­ca­tion changed to a fart sound, or oth­er such geeky tricks. For­tu­nate­ly the rel­a­tive dif­fi­cul­ty of doing these things in Win­dows com­pared to the Mac make this a lit­tle less like­ly, but I won’t count out these get­ting tried on Mon­day, even if its April 3rd at that point.

Ever won­der how April 1st got such a des­ig­na­tion? The Muse­um of Hoax­es has a whole page on it. My favourite bit on this page is this story:

British folk­lore links April Fool’s Day to the town of Gotham, the leg­endary town of fools locat­ed in Not­ting­hamshire. Accord­ing to the leg­end, it was tra­di­tion­al in the 13th cen­tu­ry for any road that the King placed his foot upon to become pub­lic prop­er­ty. So when the cit­i­zens of Gotham heard that King John planned to trav­el through their town, they refused him entry, not wish­ing to lose their main road. When the King heard this, he sent sol­diers to the town. But when the sol­diers arrived in Gotham, they found the town full of lunatics engaged in fool­ish activ­i­ties such as drown­ing fish or attempt­ing to cage birds in roof­less fences. Their fool­ery was all an act, but the King fell for the ruse and declared the town too fool­ish to war­rant pun­ish­ment. And ever since then, April Fool’s Day has sup­pos­ed­ly com­mem­morat­ed their trickery. 

I like this not only for it’s nod to bureau­cra­cy, but also the fact that it involves King John. King John is so deli­cious­ly bad (he is the King who the Sher­iff of Not­ting­ham reports to in the Robin Hood sto­ry as well), and despite the fact that he signed the Magna Car­ta — he was forced into it, the his­to­ry books say — he was, accord­ing to some accounts, such a dis­as­trous­ly bad king that the Eng­lish woud nev­er again have a king with the same name. Hmm, we can only hope that there will nev­er again be a Pres­i­dent (who acts pret­ty much as if he were a King any­way) with the name ‘Bush’ for the same reasons.

I’ll Take “Game Show Try­outs” for 200, Alex
On Thurs­day Night at 8:00 PM I took the Online test for Jeop­ardy. I did OK, I think, but missed a few (the movie title ‘Brave­heart’, for exam­ple) because I could­n’t type the answer fast enough. There was an unnerv­ing ani­ma­tion in this Flash-based triv­ia test that if you did­n’t make it in time, the let­ters of your answer-in-progress were lit­er­al­ly swept off the field as you were typ­ing, like so much alpha­bet­i­cal detritus.

At the end of the 50-Ques­tion 15 sec­onds for each answer (and No, one did­n’t have to answer in the form of a ques­tion) test, a mes­sage appeared that the show would tab­u­late the answers, and if there were more than enough qual­i­fy­ing con­tes­tants, there would also be a draw­ing among those. I haven’t heard any­thing since Thurs­day, and I have no idea if I even made the draw­ing. Oh well. I tried out for Jeop­ardy some 15 or so years ago in Boston (in per­son), and near­ly made it (or so one of the women grad­ing the entries said). Maybe the third time will be the charm.

My Office is so Typ­i­cal Look­ing That…
On Thurs­day and Fri­day of last week, a group of peo­ple parad­ed through the offices I work in on Water Street in Gas­town. They were scout­ing spaces for film­ing some scenes for a TV Series. Appar­ent­ly the pilot has been shot already, and one of the scenes involves the char­ac­ter’s father who works at a soft­ware com­pa­ny. The main char­ac­ter is a kid who ‘has the super pow­er that he speaks bina­ry’ (I remem­ber see­ing that movie back in 1969, when it was called ‘The Com­put­er Wore Ten­nis Shoes’ with Kurt Rus­sell). So, it’s now look­ing as if the sil­ly TV Show called ‘Kyle X/Y’ will be shot at our offices, because they look so ‘soft­ware company’-ish.

Ear­li­er in the week, there were lights and cables every­where on Water Street because they were film­ing the movie ‘Rogue’, an action flick with Mar­tial Arts Star Jet Li. On Fri­day while walk­ing back from lunch, one of my co-work­ers point­ed out one of the build­ings where they shot an exte­ri­or for the movie ‘I Robot’ (it’s the old build­ing where Will Smith’s grand­moth­er lived).

While I’m tick­led that the Van­cou­ver Film Indus­try that is so preva­lent here is now bump­ing into my real life, it’s the not the first time that I’ve come close to a film in pro­duc­tion. When we lived in Cam­bridge, for about a week there were sev­er­al trail­ers in the park­ing lot of the Dante Alighieri Cen­ter behind our town­house, for the film­ing of David Mamet’s movie, ‘The Span­ish Pris­on­er’ in one of the offices in the One Kendall Square plaza across the street from us. We’re not pos­i­tive, but we believe that for a few days, Steve Mar­tin, who was the main vil­lain in that movie, was in one of those trail­ers, about 200 feet from our back door.

One Reply to “Happy April Fool’s Day, My Online Jeopardy Tryout and Living in Hollywood North”

  1. I real­ly enjoy the film indus­try when you man­age to get the detour route cor­rect. It is great for jobs and the food indus­try (every­one on a set eats very well) but sor­ry when it clogs a traf­fic route and you are late already, well it just does­n’t do it.

    April fools — Tid­bits had the best one releas­ing their week­ly jour­nal ear­ly. The IT peo­ple at work laughed when they point­ed out how impos­si­ble some of the things were, after I shared the find. Just wait until next year!

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