(Originally published March 25, 2012)

On Wednesday morning after my tape day, I tried to sleep in later but couldn’t. I still had “If only …” running through my head, but I decided to try to be content and prayed that God would help me handle everything well.

I cracked open my Bible to Ecclesiastes 12 and read some very fitting words:

Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.

King Solomon (or whoever) was right, in the grand scheme of things — but he’d probably make an awful game show contestant! (Not that he would need the money, of course.)

I hadn’t planned any big tourist activities for my time in L.A., so the day before, I had asked if it was OK if I came back to the studio to watch more games. It was, so I did – going through the audience gate this time and getting treated a little bit like a rock star. It was fun.

I wanted to see how Dennis did, plus Jeanie and Mithun, who were left over from the Tuesday group. I also got to see some other great contestants and hung out with them later, and you should definitely watch them this week.

If you’re an aspiring “Jeopardy!” contestant, here’s my advice:

  1. Play the game in the way that works best for you. If you like to ring in with your index finger, like me, then do it — if not, don’t. If you like to hunt for Daily Doubles, knock yourself out. If you find the buzzer works better when you have your arms crossed, go for it.
  2. Go with the flow. There will be things that go wrong or surprise you, but you just can’t let that stop you.
  3. Learn how to wager properly (there are tons of other websites that can help you with that) — but again, do what works best for you.
  4. Bring extra clothes and plenty of money.
  5. If you like to bake, try 2011 champion Julie Ross Godar’s “Jeopardy!” pie — I made it the other day and it’s delicious!
  6. Have realistic expectations, and be aware of the downsides of being on a game show.
  7. Don’t drink too much caffeine in the green room.
  8. Study dead celebrities! Besides J.D. Salinger, I almost got a question right about songwriter Jerry Leiber — although I misspoke and said “Stieber.” You can find lists in the year-end issues of magazines like Time and Entertainment Weekly, as well as almanacs.

Besides the books I already mentioned, another one that helped me was “Once Again to Zelda: The Stories Behind Literature’s Most Intriguing Dedications.” It’s a good overview of famous authors, their best-known works and important details about their lives. (Thanks to my sister, who gave it to me for Christmas a few years ago.)

And in addition to Sporcle, I benefited from the Mental Floss Geography Challenge and Sheppard Software’s Geography Games.

Good luck, and I’ll be watching for you!

Postscript, originally published March 26, 2012:
Here’s a roundup of media mentions about my appearances:

Thanks to everyone who interviewed me or said nice things about me.