Monday, June 13, 2011

Country Mouse in The Big City!

I had my audition for "Who Wants to be a Millionaire", and my big day in the Big Apple Friday, and I had a friggin' BLAST!!! I got in around 9:30 that morning and took the Subway into the city. I had to get off the "A" train and transfer to the number 1 train to get to the ABC studio, and it took me quite a few minutes to realize that, while I was on the right train, it was going in the wrong direction! After staring at the subway map and then staring at the destination signs on the tracks back and forth for half an hour like an idiot, I realized that I was indeed a moron and therefore could not translate the alien symbols that should have led me to my destination.

Finally, I threw up my arms and went up into the light of day to hail a cab! I got to the studio with time to spare, so I grabbed a mediocre Philly Cheesteak sandwich from a food cart, and enjoyed my lunch from a patio across from the Lincoln Center. Upon arriving at the studio, I was directed to join the line of about 150 potential contestants on the other side of the building. It was around 90 degrees, and we had to stand in line for over half an hour, but luckily, my wife convinced me to wear jeans instead of the comfy shorts that I had preferred. Once we made it inside, we had to go through a metal detector and were seated at tables in the ABC cafeteria. Once seated, we had a pencil, sealed envelope, complimentary WWTBAM fridge magnet and a scantron sheet. We were informed not to open the envelope until we were told to, and that we would have ten minutes to answer thirty questions. Cell phones were to be turned off and NO TALKING!
 Once we were told to begin, I realized that most of the questions were really easy, and that there were only a handful that I wasn't sure about. I even finished with enough time to go back and check all of my answers, so I felt pretty confident all in all.

 After the thirty minutes were up, they told us that they would grade all of the scantrons and announce the winners by the number written on each test envelope, and those people would move on to interview with a producer, and if they passed that, they would be considered for the contestant's pool.

After about five agonizing minutes, they announced that they were ready to um, announce the winners. After calling only five numbers in which none of them were mine, they declared; CONGRATULATIONS, and the cafeteria erupted in applause. "What just happened? Is it over? Only five freakin' people passed the test?!? And none of them were me?!? Before I could begin to cry, I was hurried back out onto the sidewalk. I felt confused, disappointed, sad, and I had to pee. I was certain I only missed two or three questions (this was confirmed for me by my fellow table-mates after the time was up). Were they only taking people who had answered EVERY question correctly? Or were they (and my ego tells me that this was the ONLY possible scenario) only taking the people with the lowest scores so that they would be less likely to have to cough up a cool mill? Anyway, I got over it quick enough as my mind shifted priorities to finding me a bathroom.

After that, I realized my feet were a little sore, and I decided to jump on a sightseeing double decker bus and take in the sights while being regularly swatted in the noggin by low tree branches. This was really fun - we went all over the city for well over an hour, and the breeze was a nice respite from the heat. After awhile, I realized that noone had asked me for any money, and the woman sitting next to me (who was  from my home town of Mobile AL, strangely enough) told me that I was supposed to buy a token at the start of the tour. Great. Now, how was I supposed to get off the bus without a token? The bus made stops periodically throughout the tour, and when we stopped across from the Apple Store and FAO Schwartz, I realized I had found my stop. Upon leaving, I left the tour guide a generous trip and exited the bus without any trouble. SCORE!!!
After that, I logged in some major mileage on my chucks - stopping by Trump Towers, Tiffany & Co., Radio City Music Hall, and even enjoyed a $15 Pina Colada in front of the iconic Prometheus statue where the Ice rink usually is at Rockafeller Center. In the Summer, it's a bar and cafe. My favorite stop was at the World-famous Midtown Comics; 2 stories chocked full of geeky-gravy goodness!!!

For the rest of the day, I pretty much just walked all over Broadway and 7th Avenue as I really didn't have time to do much else. I tried to save money and take the dreaded subway back to JFK, but the damn thing broke down, so I took a $50 cab ride back to the airport. When I finally sat down at my gate, I pulled put my phone, looked at my pedometer app., and realized that I had walked over 8 miles for the day! I got back to Portland at 11:30, and finally collapsed in my bed at around one AM.

Me on the sightseeing tour!

A woman peddling another woman around in a little cart-bike-thingee!
NYC is full of weird shit like this ;-)

The Dakota's Apartment building where that douchebag  Mark David Chapman gunned down John Lennon and where Rosemary's Baby was filmed. Did you know that Yoko Ono still lives there? Neither did I.

Awesome William Blake-esque sculpture depicting St. Michael defeating Satan near Central Park.

Check out the swag I scored!

 I wanted to play on the "Big" piano, but the line was too long :-(

The second story at Midtown comics - that wall-long display case was full of gorgeous Bowen statues! I got some pics of the first floor too, but they came out blurry.

Even though I didn't get on the show, I still really, really enjoyed my New York adventure! I was also really surprised by a few things;
1.) Everyone I spoke with was really nice and helpful - no big city attitude there!
2.) The city was a lot cleaner than I expected. I especially loved how they had a whole lane permanently blocked off in Time's Square with plenty of patio tables and chairs for people to sit and hang out  in.
3.) I was a little nervous to roam New York alone and risk getting mugged, killed, raped, harassed by Mormons, etc.. But actually, I felt really safe - even in Harlem!
The only downer was that everything was wicked expensive, and the subway was confusing as Hell! All in all , I could not recommend  New York as a travel destination any higher - four stars!!!!


  1. Wow, sounds like you had quite the adventure! I am going to agree they were probably taking the people who got more questions wrong to save money and to make the show drag a bit.

    Midtown Comics rocks right? When we went that was one of the stops I had to make and of course the toy stores, the Apple store wasn't there yet though.

    Cool post man, I enjoyed the hell out of it!

  2. Thanks Chunky! I can't wait to go back with the whole family!