in which I apply for a reality tv show

Fullscreen capture 1042011 70136 PM

Re: King of the Nerds App – James Chu

Ever since a young age, my inner nerd manifested itself stronger than even my Asian parents might have liked.  Learning long division before the other toddlers in kindergarten quickly cemented my dominance in mathematics, later allowing me to advance to Mathcounts nationals in middle school and attend the most prestigious of math camps in high school.  I was sure to develop the skill toolkit crucial to every to every self-respectable nerd; while other peers were out busying themselves with “sports” or “a girlfriend” or even “a life”, I made sure to learn how to speak knowledgeably about science (ultimately leading my high school team to Science Olympiad nationals for the first time), forming a bridge club, and, of course, devoting a significant time to music.  While I could name all the major piano composers from every major music period, I could not even tell the difference between Backstreet Boys and N-Sync.  In my spare time, I spent hundreds of dollars on Magic: the Gathering cards and trained my Pokemon extensively.  While other kids were sneaking out, my friend and I would secretly wake up to play Starcraft online (it was the only time we could play because we had to hog the phone line for a dedicated dial-up connection).  

Through college, I continued my streak of nerdiness by participating in egg drop competitions and programming an Othello AI and took a class about Lord of the Rings and its similarities to Wagner’s Ring cycle.  I won a variety of all-around nerd competitions that involved everything from CS trivia to trebuchet construction to a sudoku variant superimposed on a word puzzle (Google Games, twice, and the Microsoft Puzzle Challenge, whose wikipedia page proudly displays my team, Tyrannosaurus PAX). It was in college when I experienced the vibrant Bay Area puzzle culture that culminated in designing a 6PM-to-noon LOST-themed puzzle hunt that required participants to solve puzzles while descending hatches or following a compass that led them to a giant electromagnet on campus.  My online dating handle is named after an arena shooter, and I have earned a total of eight (8) impossible badges on flash game aggregator Kongregate.  I have qualified for the Platinum league in Starcraft II, and on my bib for my first half-marathon (which… alright, fine, is not that nerdy), I printed “ZEALOT CHARGE”, which is, of course, the upgrade that allows your Zealots to move from being ambling octogenarians to whirling dervishes of death (The “Centrifugal Hooks” Baneling speed upgrade was my second choice).   My brushes with celebrities include having a photo taken with one of the most famous Starcraft II casters, HDStarcraft, and riding in the same train as the US/World Puzzle/Sudoku champion, Tom Snyder.

I am excited to dominate or even have a chance to experience the miracle of reality TV.  I wholly believe that reality TV is some of the most exciting TV available and able to showcase some of the highest and lowest emotions in the human emotive spectrum.  In fact, my first and only fantasy sports experience is based off Survivor.  Anyway, send this to all the other so-called competitors: “There are 1,000 buckets, one of them contains poison, the rest of them are filled with water. They all look the same. If a pig drinks that poison, it will die within 30 minutes. What is the minimum number of pigs to you need to figure out which bucket contains the poison within one hour?” Doubt that 90% of them will be able to get it.  Booyah.  I’ll be waiting for your call.

photo1: my “headshot”, if you will 

photo2: my team competing at Google Games 2008

photo3: my team’s “victory shot” at said Google Games

photo4: my friends working on a puzzle hunt from 2011 in San Mateo, California that involved an anagram variant



  • I have always wanted to apply for a reality tv show.  if not just for validation.  !??!?!
  • “what reality tv show would you apply for”, yes.  fine.  “amazing race”, blah. 
  • the puzzle hunts actually did mean a lot to me in college.  definitely things that I had a lot of fun doing, that I’m proud of my performance at.  but that will come in a later entry
  • I don’t think I’m seriously applying for this show, but if you really were to get accepted to a reality tv show, would you put your life on hold!?
  • writing the email was a super fun exercise.  for whatever reason.  maybe it’s because I got to brag backhandedly.  because it’s fun to reminisce about past achievements.  because it’s fun to be proud of being a nerd.  because it’s fun to think about your life thematically. 
  • really, hands down, google games wins and microsoft puzzle challenge were definitely in the top 10 highlights of college.  same with LOST: the game.  can’t wait to list my top 10 highlights of college. 
  • I would like to throwdown the brainteaser to my readership.  I do think it’s quite clever and interesting.  good luck.


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