Friday, July 16, 2010

Who wants to be a millionaire?

That would be me.

I have come to this conclusion because I got up this morning at the crack of dark and drove dazedly over to Seattle, miraculously managing not to destroy any cars, pedestrians, trees or power lines along the way. Jenny came along, hanging on for dear life.

The auditions were held at the Bell Harbor Conference Center, right on the waterfront.

It's much more comfortable inside than out, and although the Millionaire people were quite nice and friendly, the staff at Bell Harbor seemed more interested in denying us access to their pristine venue whenever possible. We had to wait outside the building in a long line for over an hour on an unseasonably cold and overcast July morning, shivering, cracking jokes...

...and staring at the cruise line passengers who ambled out onto the balconies of their staterooms to stare curiously back at us.

Finally, the line started moving. We went into a large room where we were given #2 pencils, manila envelopes and Scantron forms, and answered a battery of general knowledge questions. Then they passed out a second set, this one for movie trivia. After a bit of a wait, during which time they started flinging out T-shirts to appease the masses the way folks fling beads on Mardi Gras, the numbers of those who had received a passing grade were announced. I was a bit dazed to find out I had passed. So they took my picture (ugh) and gave me a sooper-seekrit pass to return around noon for an interview.

Meanwhile we did what any self-respecting folk with time to kill would do in Seattle: we went to the Market. Bought some luscious stone fruit, had breakfast at Lowell's, picked up some new cheeses at DeLaurenti...

...(where Jenny discovered, to my great glee, that they stock Amano chocolate bars! Yay), window shopped at Market Spice, did some people-watching, and by then it was about time for me to head back.

So Jenny peeled off for some serious shopping at H&M while I wandered back to Pier 66. Once again we had to deal with the wily guardian trolls of the Bell Harbor Conference Center, who this time would not even allow us to queue up outside the building. Yes, I'm serious. You'd think we all had ebola or something. They deigned to suffer our presences only grudgingly, when the Millionaire crew arrived.

I think the interview went well, although individual perceptions are always so subjective. By the way, just to make it clear: this does NOT mean I'm guaranteed to be a contestant on the show, merely that I could be selected from the pool of possible contestants. I should know one way or the other in about three weeks.

Anyway, after all that was done we gathered our belongings and went off to the Bite of Seattle (which is going on the rest of this weekend, if you're anywhere near the area).

It was, as always, Seattlicious, although the bands performing on site were almost uniformly crappy. We tried a number of bites and noshes: deep fried mac & cheese (too greasy), mango lemonade (nom), Thai fresh rolls (needed peanut sauce), cinnamon almonds (too much coating), beef pel'meni (delicious, but they were so hot I burned the roof of my mouth), chicken satay (mmmm)...

...and coconut prawns (mmmmmmm) and a couple of crêpes, one with sweet strawberry filling and one with savory vegetable filling (OMNOMNOMNOMNOM).

Then we fled the sound of "music," did a bit more shopping and called it a day. Now I'm back at home, savoring a bit of dark purple plum (which tastes like unadulterated childhood to me) and wondering what will come of this whole experience. Even if this is as far as it goes, it's interesting to know that I passed the test; I wasn't sure I could.

Also, Jenny is the cutest thing EVER. The end.

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