A: Just over five hundred.
Once upon a time, from a close friend was working towards his Masters of Professional Writing at the University of Southern California, I was showed an odd Xyanga site that led to my first blog. That was sometime in 2004, and I think I quit less than a month after that started. Sometime in 2005, when I was between my last employer and my current, I started a second attempt at blogging that only lasted one post.
Then on January 26, 2006 I started blogging on MySpace. My first post was my infamous face breaking story from November 22, 2005 and my second was the story of my Apprentice Casting Call (the lone post from my second attempt at blogging). Amazingly, I stuck with it this time. I posted 300 nonsensical posts up until my exodus from MySpace to Facebook shortly before my 30th Birthday in January 2009. View de TQ (http://blogs.myspace.com/aquinasmu) was officially shut down and I began posting through Blogger, which imports automatically to my Facebook.
This is my 200th post of Today's Quiz (http://todaysquiz.blogspot.com/), making 500 total. However, I should declare that the number is inflated due to lazy re-posting of older stories and the occasional foray into "live blogging" (for example, last summer's San Francisco vacation travelogue).
Speaking of re-posting, I've decided to share the previously mentioned Apprentice Casting Call story because I haven't shared this story on Facebook yet, so here it is... Thanks everybody for reading (although I never know which ones of you do), and I really appreciate the random acts of feedback and encouragement.
(The following is the un-abridged journal of my attempt to get on The Apprentice. This took place on 2/19/2005, when I was between jobs)
I was planning the whole routine a week in advance... The night before I purposely slept only two hours, which allowed me to hit sleep hard at 3 pm.
3 PM: Fall asleep
12 AM: Awake
1 AM: Meal
2 AM: Shower/Prep
3 AM: Depart from home
3:30 AM: Arrive at CTA station River Road
4:15 AM: Streets of Chicago
It was the only time Chicago felt like Milwaukee. There was NOBODY on the streets. You look in all directions and nobody is around. I stood at the corner of Michigan and Wacker - looking at the Wrigley building and thought of er scenes - nobody was in eyeshot.
4:30 AM: Arrive at NBC Tower
Walking up to it from its west side, I don't see anybody, I walk around to its east side and see about 75 people already in line. I was expecting about 200. Thankfully my spot was near a garden box and I had a place to sit.
It was rather cold, but with the exception of my frozen feet, I was fine.
Martha: Not there for "The Donald." I learn that The Apprentice Open Casting Call is for BOTH the Trump Apprentice and the new Martha Stewart The Apprentice. Martha is in her early fifties, a smoker, and very outgoing and funny. She and her friend, Kim, drove down from Detroit for this special event. They arrived about fifteen minutes before me.
Linda (Martha wannabe) - 2nd grade gym teacher - non-descript but nice
Brian: (Trump candidate). A non-descript young man. He's 23, already married, already in a job he hates. Went to Indiana State University and lives in downtown Arlington Heights. He didn't have anything to add to any conversation. He was wearing dress shoes and pants, a button down shirt and tie. His leather jacket was not doing the warmth job and was bitching a lot. Martha and Kim finally gave him one of their MANY blankets to warm him. Martha and Kim also had gallons of water and their own fold out chairs.
The Mafia: (All Trumps). Three people who all knew each other arrived about fifteen minutes after I did. All very well dressed. One girl and two men, none of them over the age of 28. Talked a lot of business... Boring
Mafia-attachment (Trump). A 40 year old woman (she said her age) that didn't look a day over 30. This very well dressed Wrigley woman (I know because she wouldn't shut up about how close she lives to the park) bonded with the Mafia and participated in their many runs to Starbucks. Thankfully she steered the all business talk to reality TV and it made my conversations with the mafia worthwhile.
Madison Morons (1/2 Trump, 1/2 clueless). Bryan and Sidney. These two young twentysomethings (not college age) were making a weekend out of this deal. They arrived in the city last night and got a hotel room. I don't know when they got there because the 23 year old Brian was holding their space since before I got there. Bryan was wearing business casual sweater and kakis and Sydney was wearing jeans. I must've personally saw Sidney spend 50 dollars in the form of three different cab rides to and from our line and Starbucks goods. Supposedly he went back to his hotel room on two occasions to warm up. I think he went to his hotel room to smoke up. Sidney did not have an application and therefore was just there for the ride.
Dennis (aka Cowboy - due to the fedora he wore). This guy was an all-star. Most enjoyable person of the experience. This guy worked the line like an Al Roker wannabe. He must've walked up and down the line - telling us our place and how many people were behind us ten times. He was wearing Jeans and when Martha asked him why he's not wearing a suit he said, "I'm a Martha. I can't help it?" I really hope this guy makes the Martha Stewart show.
ME: I'm wearing black shoes, gray pants, and my black "Employee of the Month" shirt. Most people thought I was an NBC plant because of my casual attire and because I was participating in about three conversations at the same time. I just told them that I didn't want to be a lemming and wear a suit like everybody else.
7 AM: On one of Dennis' frequent trips he tells us of the information he got when he first got here. Dennis got here at 6:30 PM last night and is #2 in line overall. He tells us that the WRISTBANDS won't be handed out until 9 am (an hour later than I thought) and that the interviews will start at 10. He also said that they are only handing out 200 wristbands.
The 200 number shocked me because I thought there would be more - I was very confident I was in the first 100, so it didn't worry me.
9:15 AM: The hot apprentice girls (I call'em hot because every body with an Apprentice badge was overtly attractive) pass out the WRISTBANDS. I've been typing that in all caps because it was THE hot word of the past 3 hours. It was all about the WRISTBANDS! We gotta get the WRISTBANDS!
10:20 AM: The doors open and we enter the NBC Tower lobby - we wait in the long serpentine line that usually holds the Jerry Springer crowd. There is a large metal detector at the end of the line. As soon as we gather in line indoors myself, Martha, Kim and Linda peel off our layers and get themselves ready. I stash my sweatshirt and jacket in the backpack to have a full display of my Employee of the Month shirt. It got many compliments and smiles and several conversations with the hot apprentice girls. Martha and Kim did a near 180 of appearance as they adorned their Martha type Armour of hand crafted jewelry and crazy sweater knit combinations.
11:00 AM: After an elevator ride and a couple more lines to stand through I'm brought into a room about the size of a Marquette classroom. There are three large tables and I sit at one of them. It is a large square with me and 11 other people around three sides and a casting director woman at the fourth side. All the people described above are at the table (with the exception of Sydney who got his application-less ass bounced at the table). Even the "Marthas" are at the table.
The casting director asks us to say our name, age, where we are from and what we do.
After two blah blah forgettable introductions it is my turn,
"Hey my name is Tom, I'm 26, unemployed, and live in my parents' basement."
Huge laughter from everybody including the casting director.
The first question is asked - it is not important what it was, what is important is that 11 other voices just amp up and give their answer. No one is heard and I just sit back and make my comment at the very end when everybody finally shut up at the casting director's request.
The casting director then started a "one at a time around the table policy" Another meaningless question is asked and there are no memorable responses. Actually, the question was about if you would tell a prospective employer if you were having a baby during an interview. I said that if I was asked that question I would walk out, for it is unethical. I've been in intrusive situations and I wouldn't want that again. Somebody retorted, "so what if you boss asked you know if you wanted kids, would you walk away from the job." I quickly responded with my arm up on the table and a game show like voice, "did I mention I was unemployed?" (more laughter).
The last question is to name somebody at the table (not yourself and not the casting director) who would be the project manager of the group. nobody said me, which pissed me off. Three people said Linda, and I didn't know what the hell these people were thinking of that dumb gym teacher martha'wannabe. Looking back, I shouldn't have taken the guy that made the smart-alecky comment about my boss. I should've picked one of the Marathas because I'm not competing with them. However, I picked the other guy because he was also wearing a t-shirt - so I wanted to compliment him on that, and draw more attention to my own shirt - which got me more laughs. Someone in the group actually called me, "what do you think employee of the month" during this table session.
11:30 AM: I walk out of the NBC Tower, walk back to the CTA station, drive back home in my car.
12:30 PM: Arrive back home Ive yet to be called back.
It's been years since I've read that story myself, and some of the memories are still vivid today:
My jokes KILLED. Seriously, I know I'm being horribly immodest, but I couldn't have scripted my antidotes any better. It was clutch time and I performed smashingly. It's almost insulting how I wasn't called back. Writing that last sentence has just given me a moment of clarity: Is this how rejected American Idol contestants feel? And do I look just as bad?
As long as I'm piling on, let the record show that the Trump show went downhill with the season in which "they didn't pick TQ." And that Martha show only lasted one season. I'll blame the incarceration on the death of the Martha vehicle, but I long since said that the producers made a bad move not putting me on that show, and it suffered the just consequences.
Feel free to remind me that nobody's life is "worse" for having been rejected by a Reality TV Show.