Sunday, February 28, 2010

February 28, 2010

As the Olympics draw to a close today, I have to take a moment to talk about the U.S.-Canada dynamic throughout the duration of the Games. It's always a rivalry to say the least, but this Olympics has had it's share of moments highlighting that rivalry.

From the opening night, when Jenn Heil won her silver medal, and was flanked on either side by American skiers waving the American flag, it looked like a dim premonition of what may be to come. In the first week, after the U.S. took a lead on the medal count, and Canada conceded that they would not be able to catch them, it appeared that the dream of leading the Olympics in medals had been lost to our neighbours to the South.

But 13 gold medals later (one possibly one more to come), Canada leads the medal count in Golds...the most ever by any country at the Winter Olympics, and a total medal count higher than ANY host country, including the U.S. at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.

Now people are saying that we actually have WON the games due to our gold medal count, and here's where I disagree. It's a uniquely American trait that when you aren't the best, you simply adjust the parameters so that you are now defined as the best. Remember Michael Johnson and Donovan Bailey? Historically, the title of 'Fastest Man Alive' was always reserved for the winner of the 100 meter-dash at the Olympics, but when Donovan Bailey won in 1996, all of a sudden, the American speedster Michael Johnson was now the fastest man in the world, because he won the 200 meter-dash. It was an ignorant attempt at patriotism by the U.S., and I refuse to play the same game by saying we won the Olympics because we have more Gold Medals. The goal was to win in overall medal count. We didn't, but that doesn't mean it was a failure in any way. It was fantastic...but let's not go the American route and make up reasons why.

These Olympics have had a lot of U.S.-Canada subplots, none bigger than the hockey rivalries on the mens and womens sides, but something happened the other night that said a lot.

In the 500 metre Short Track Speed Skating Final, Charles Hamelin and Francois-Louis Tremblay were both skating against the U.S.'s Apolo Ohno and Korea's Song Si-Bak. Coming around the final turn, Ohno clearly put a hand on Tremblay, causing him to fall, and in turn causing Bak to fall, with Hamelin crossing the line first and Ohno in second.

I immediately screamed at the TV that Ohno needed to be disqualified for the contact, and sure enough he was. But after the fact, Ohno skated around the ice demonstratively protesting that he did nothing wrong.

After the race, on NBC, Ohno was asked by Cris Collingsworth about the incident, and Ohno replied by saying that he disagreed with the ruling, but that since it was a Canadian referee, there were two Canadians in the race, and "we're on Canadian soil", that explains why he was disqualified so that they could get two medals. To his credit, Collingsworth pushed him on that statement, asking him if that's really why he thought he was disqualified, and Ohno replied "Absolutely."

What an ignorant comment. I was disgusted by Ohno, widely regarded as one of the greatest Olympians in U.S history, spewing his sour grape wine all over the camera for the world to see. And even more ignorantly, there were no U.S. media outlets that reported his inane comment, other than one that proclaimed that "Ohno was in a position to win a medal when the incident happened" and that the Canadian ref essentially stole it from him.

Well, Ohno was in 4th place of 4 skaters going into the final turn, and since they only award medals to the top three, I would hardly consider that "in a position to win a medal." Ohno owes an apology to Charles Hamelin, and the Canadian Olympic Team.

Sour grapes indeed.

There will likely never come a time when the U.S.-Canada rivalry isn't in the forfront of the Winter Olympic Games, but let's have some decency when we are defeated fair and square.

Friday, February 26, 2010

February 26, 2010

As I mentioned in a post last week, I’ve been following the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics pretty closely. While I have wanted to do a new blog post every day, I didn’t want this to become an Olympic Blog, which is what would have happened if I had been writing every day for the past 2 weeks. I’ve tried to make notes of what I wanted to talk about, and encapsulate them all into one post. So, on that note, here are my Random Olympic Thoughts so far:

- How exciting was Jon Montgomery’s win in the Men’s skeleton race last Friday? The fact that it came shortly after Melissa Hollingsworth missed the podium in the same event made it that much sweeter. I think the reason I enjoyed it so much was the genuine emotion that Montgomery showed after winning the Gold Medal. His interview was fantastic, and when he jumped on the podium, it was an adrenalin-filled moment. I loved the footage of him walking through Whistler afterwards and chugging half a pitcher of beer as he was walking. So Canadian!
- Nice to see Canada win gold and silver in the women’s bobsleigh event the other night, and to see University of Waterloo (my alma mater) Hall of Famer Heather Moyse on the Gold Medal-winning team. Moyse was a track and field and rugby star for the Warriors…talk about an all-around athlete.

- I’ve really been enjoying the curling this time. It’s great to have the Canadian rinks being so dominant, and with both of them competing for the Gold Medal, it’s pretty awesome. For those of you out there that don’t enjoy curling, and think that it’s just a larger version of shuffleboard, give it a shot. The thing that makes curling such a fantastic spectator sport is that the participants are all miked, so you hear everything they say. Imagine being in the huddle for an NFL game, and hearing the quarterback calling the play…or being on the pitcher’s mound to hear the manager talk to the pitcher. That’s what you get in curling. Plus, as the world has noted, Cheryl Bernard is pretty easy on the eyes. (Kevin Martin, not so much.)
- Joannie Rochette was obviously the emotional centre of the Canadian focus on the Games, and her bronze medal on Thursday night was inspirational. If you aren’t impressed with the way that this young woman performed, considering what she was going through, then you must not have a heart.

- I hated that Rod Black was the voice of Rochette’s performances. Rod Black is without a doubt the worst sportscaster I’ve ever heard, and some of the things that come out of his mouth are just painful. How does he even have a job? Remember “Henderson in ’72, Weir in 2003!’, as we all were shocked out of our excitement at Mike Weir winning the Masters to think collectively, “Wait a minute, did he just say that?” Get your head around THIS nugget…Rod Black has earned five Gemini Award nominations for Best Sports Broadcaster.

- I understand that “I Believe” is the theme song for Canada at the Olympics, and if you want to play it for the vignettes, or when we win a medal, or at key moments, I’m all for it…but every commercial break? I’ve heard that song (or portions of it) hundreds of times in the past 2 weeks. How many of you are going nuts not being able to get it out of your head?
- Clara Hughes winning a bronze medal at the age of 37 is one of the most amazing stories of this Olympics. Consider this: Clara Hughes has now won 6 Olympic medals…in 2 different sports…in both Summer and Winter Olympics…over the span of 14 years! That last part is the most amazing to me…that her first medal came in 1996 in Atlanta and her sixth medal came in 2010 in Vancouver. I would argue that she is Canada’s greatest Olympian ever, and if you disagree with that, I’d love to hear your argument why, and who you would choose over her. In 20, 30, or 40 years down the road, when the Olympics are back in Canada, and the talk begins of who should light the cauldron at the Opening Ceremonies, Clara Hughes is the no-brainer choice.

- Earlier this week, Lucas and I were home in the afternoon watching the women’s Ski Cross event before he had to go to his swimming lessons. We watched the quarterfinals, and the semifinals, and just when the final four skiers were set, we had to leave to get to swimming on time. I set the race to tape and we got in the car and rushed off for his 5:30 lesson. Just as we were pulling into the parking lot (at 5:27), the radio station announced that they were going to go to the race live so that we could hear it. Lucas said, “Please Dad, can we listen?”, so we waited in the car and listened as Ashleigh MacIvor won the Gold Medal for Canada. We got out and started high-fiving each other as we rushed in to get him changed. As soon as we walked in to the Rec Center, we saw a large group of people gathered in the main foyer…and then saw that they had a big TV screen set up, and they had all just watched the race!
I’ll do another post after the Closing Ceremonies to wrap up the event as a whole, but Vancouver sure has done a great job welcoming the world. Here’s my question to you: If you could choose, who would you pick to carry the flag for Canada at the Closing Ceremonies and why?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

February 25, 2010

Tonight's episode of Survivor started off with the repercussions back at camp following Stephenie's vote-out last week. I expected James to keep ranting "One Voice" like he did all of the last episode, but thankfully we didn't hear it again. The one interesting thing that came out of this opening was a conversation between Colby and Tom, where they talked about their recent revelation that playing nice wasn't going to work for them.

Really, Colby? You didn't already know that playing nice doesn't win the game? I know that it's been 10 years, but don't you remember being 'the nice guy' and doing the nice thing by taking Tina to the final, where she promptly beat you for a million dollars? I shake my head at you...go have another sleepover with your mom in the back of your Aztek.

Rob's theory of watching who people sleep with to see the tribal alliances is pretty smart. And his assessment of the danger of Coach and Jerri or Parvati and Russell being in a position of strength as a visible couple is pretty obvious since it's exactly what he and Amber did on All-Stars. He even said, "I've seen this go down before." Could you imagine if Coach proposed to Jerri on the finale like Rob did with Amber? Imagine the boos!

Parvati (on Russell) - "I actually do trust him, even though he's kind of a lunatic." Great line.

When Randy found the giant clam, and didn't know what to do with it since he didn't want to eat it all, my immediate thought was "Dude, just put it back in the water." It's not like it's going to swim away! And then nobody other than Sandra wanted to eat it? Since when did refusing food become an option on Survivor?

Did J.T. just say 'strategical'? I think he did.

Courtney's facial expressions are the best since Eliza. If she goes far this season, she may top Eliza as 'Best Survivor Eye-Roller' ever. And since I mentioned Eliza, let's take a moment to enjoy one of my favourite Survivor moments ever. (Jason's face still makes me howl.)

Why is every challenge a combo Reward/Immunity challenge now? Did the staff spend so much time building this giant raised Tribal Council set (which admittedly is pretty damn awesome) that they were only able to build HALF of the challenges that they usually use? And on top of that, they're recycling all of the challenges, so it's not like they don't know how to do them already. Seems lazy...maybe they're too busy stashing 'wild' chickens and giant clams around the camps.

The challenge itself was pretty interesting. I had to laugh at the Rupert vs. Coach matchup when Coach thought he had won and started celebrating ridiculously. Just when I thought that he couldn't look any more foolish, Coach finds a way. Thanks, Coach. And by the way, you can't claim to know everything about the world since you've been "coaching female varsity soccer for thirteen years,"especially since it's a lie due to the fact that you were FIRED for going on Survivor in the first place! Funny how they showed that clip right after they showed him saying that he doesn't lie.

What was with the kiss from Tyson on J.T. after getting pummeled? Pre-game alliance? Hidden message? Or just Tyson being Tyson?

Colby vs. Rob looked painful. I was grimacing as I was watching it.

James vs. Randy - we all knew that it was going to be ugly, but one shot? Unfair to blast James for that since he had nothing to do with the matchups.

An 8-0 win for the Heroes. Dominant. But why did they show us that part of the Reward was the luxury items from home if they weren't going to show us the items back at camp?

Russell's strategy of hiding the machete back at camp seems to have backfired. No real response to it that we saw, other than a passing comment at Tribal Council where they essentially laughed and shrugged it off.

Sandra's 'Lemming Strategy' doesn't seem to be the wisest move. "I'll just vote who the majority wants." Did she really win the game once?

Jerri is so ridiculously jealous of Parvati that it's laughable. Jealous of her looks, jealous of the attention she gets, jealous of Coach paying attention to her, and jealous of her ability to play and win the game. Yes, Jerri is the 'black widow', and the first villainess in Survivor history, but she has never been a good player, just a good TV personality.

I can't decide which of Parvati's nicknames for Jerri is better, "Fakest Fakey McGee", or "Bitter Old Cougar."

Here we go again with Coach talking about who is honourable and who isn't. Blah blah blah. he really quoting Martin Luther King Jr.? And now he's just rambling some mumbo-jumbo BS's actually quite laughable. If anyone has the exact wording of what he said, put it in the Comments section, because I'd love to break it down.

And then Coach had a little tantrum at Tribal Council when Sandra mentioned a passing comment. "I gathered firewood for three hours!" Man, this guy makes great TV.

Randy was an outcast, and definitely not destined to last long in this game, but he was right...Parvati is the threat. As much as I like her, they are foolish not to get rid of her. I liked Randy's gesture of throwing his buff in the fire. So cantankerous. Please remember that Randy is a wedding videographer. Would you hire him for your wedding?

Next week on Survivor:
Coach catches Rob's crybaby-itis and we see the return of the Hidden Immunity Idol.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

February 23, 2010

I’m loving this season of Lost so far. I was skeptical of this Flash Sideways idea, but I’m loving the concurrent storylines. Tonight’s episode was filled with lots to talk about, so let’s get started.

In the opening sequence, as Jack was getting dressed, I thought to myself, “He’s going to see the scar”, and sure enough, there it was. But as much as I’d like to take credit for figuring that one out, what I was referring to was the scar he got in the Pilot episode when Kate stitched him up on the beach, and not the appendectomy scar. So alas, I was only correct by coincidence. Full disclosure.

As he pulled up to the school, I said out loud, “What the hell? Jack doesn’t have a kid!” Turns out I was wrong…that’s a pretty big reveal.

Dogen to Jack – “Everything is an option.” This line clearly means a lot more than the context of that specific conversation. Jack and Dogen are having a little Honesty Party, aren’t they?

Miles is relegated to one snarky line per episode he appears in, now? Tic-Tac-Toe with leaves and branches. Hurley - "Tie again.” Miles - “Shocker.” Either give Miles a purpose or kill him off.

I get seriously excited every time Jacob appears on screen. As I said in my post for last year’s season finale…you can’t introduce such an enigmatic and charismatic character and not use him well. I’m glad he is around this season, and whenever he shows up, it makes me happy.
Did we really need to see so many closeup shots of Jin’s mangled leg? Seriously…four separate times? And then Claire-sseau (yeah, I’m sure I’m not the only one who has come up with that nickname but I’m going with it) actually asked him, “Think you can walk?” Hey, crazy lady…you just nearly chopped his foot off with a bear trap…not likely!

I loved the cheat sheet on Hurley’s arm, but I really wanted to see the conversation between Hurley and Jacob that gave him all that info. But then again, didn’t we all?

“It’s bad enough you made me write down, like, way too much stuff, and now I just lied to a Samurai.” I love Hurley.

An Indiana Jones reference and an Obi-Wan Kenobi reference in the first 15 minutes? Geeks unite…this episode rocks!

Claire-sseau keeps ranting about her son and “infection”. Hmmm. Wait a minute…there’s Justin! And Justin knows her? What the hell? And what the hell did she mean when Jin asked her if she was there for the three years? She said “Not by myself.” Interesting. Who is this ‘friend’ she is referring to? And by the way, the last time she saw Jin, he could barely speak English. Not even a line noting “Your English is much better”?

I wasn’t a fan of the Kate and Jack drive-by at the river. “I hope you find what you’re looking for”? Weak.

When Jack was helping his mom look for the will, his mother referenced that David was very upset at ‘the funeral’. So, did they still have the funeral without the body? I thought that she was upset on the phone earlier that they couldn’t have the funeral without the body. Was she talking about a different funeral? And then she noted that it was good that Jack didn’t have the drink when she offered it to him, which would lead us to believe that Jack’s alcohol problems are/were present at some point in the Flash-Sideways. But if that’s the case, and it’s good that he’s not drinking, then WHY IS HIS MOTHER OFFERING HIM A DRINK?

The return to the caves was a neat touch. I was waiting for them to show the white and black stones in the Adam and Eve skeletons after last week’s moment with Flocke and the stones, but it was not to be. I loved when Hurley gave the hypothetical “maybe this could be us” argument.

Ok, I have to say, when Jack took off for David’s mother’s house, my anticipation level was through the roof. Who was it going to be? Sarah? Penny? Miss Klugh??? I was peaking…and then they don’t even show us! We’d better find out soon.

And then we see Dogen at the piano audition? Is that relevant, or just another happenstance meeting to entertain the viewers? Remember when Jack was playing the piano when he was living at the Dharmaville barracks for Ben’s surgery?
Why was Justin so defiant and aggressive with Claire-sseau when she was threatening him, but then calm and composed when she appeared to have calmed down after Jin told her about Kate and Aaron? And then that axe in the chest…wow…see you later, Justin. Quite a graphic episode.

The scene with Jack and David after the audition was very emotional. As a dad, and a son, obviously, I saw a lot of parallels in my own life in this scene, and it was difficult to watch at times. It made me remember how grateful I am to have a wonderful son who is my best friend in the world, and who I will always be proud of.

“Me and you trekking through the jungle with no real idea what we’re doing. Good times.” Man, Hurley is getting some good lines tonight.

Last week we get the hidden cave and ladders on the coastline, and this week, a lighthouse? (In case the title of the episode didn’t give it away that THAT was coming.) I don’t know if I buy it, but I was still excited to see what it means.

“Does it say anything on your arm about the door being jammed?” Ok, so they gave Jack a good line too.
The whole sequence up in the lighthouse was pretty awesome. I spotted the 108 degrees on Hurley’s arm before he said it, and it was another one of those GASP moments. When we saw the names on the dial, and saw that the numbers assigned to each name matched up with what Sawyer saw on the cave ceiling last week, that’s definite confirmation that Flocke was telling the truth. But his toss-aside “Jacob had a thing with numbers” was definitely NOT true, as now we see that the names corresponded with the angles on the mirror at the top of the lighthouse. (By the way, I spotted #20 – Rousseau on the dial.) And the whole dial itself was very similar to the Frozen Donkey Wheel, which leads me to my new Lost slogan, "When you turn shit, big things happen."
As I mentioned last week, I thought that whoever was #108 was going to be relevant. I guess it’s not Kate, since Jacob said ‘he’ needs to find the Island. I hope it’s not some metaphorical way to say that Jack needed to ‘find’ the Island by realizing how important he was, but I don’t think it was. Unless the #23 on the dial isn’t actually Jack, but instead Christian Shepherd. That would explain the house in the reflection as Christian and Jack both lived there. Maybe I’m grasping at straws. Probably. But either way…who the hell is #108!?

“Am I interrupting?”


“That’s not John. THIS is my friend.”


One funny story to close out this recap. My friend Ron watches Lost and we discuss the show quite often. Today he was saying to me that in the Flash-Sideways, he was noticing that Locke was one of those bald guys who always has it shaved right down so that his head is glistening, as if he uses a straight razor on his dome every morning in the shower. But on the Island, he stays that bald and doesn’t get the stubble you would expect.

My response to him, “So, in the show about a magical Island with time travel and smoke monsters, your major continuity flaw is the amount of stubble on the bald guy’s head?”
Until next week…

February 23, 2010

Well, here's a sentence I bet you never thought would be the first line a news story. This is possibly the only time in the history of the written word that this phrase has been printed.(From today's Waterloo Region Record - click to enlarge.)

February 23, 2010

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir win Gold!
(Yeah, that's right, I'm celebrating Ice Dance. Deal with it.)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

February 21, 2010

Before I get to the recap of this week's episode, I noticed something interesting this week. The Amazing Race has always made a habit of only referring to a team one way. By that, I mean that you never heard Nick and Starr referred to as Starr and Nick, or Flight Time and Big Easy referred to in the opposite order. I get that...I understand that you're trying to brand the name to breed familiairity. But what I don't get is why you would ask a couple from Big Brother to compete, who were always referred to as 'Jeff and Jordan', use them as the major draw for the show, and then call them 'Jordan and Jeff'. Doesn't make much sense to me.

But regardless, on to the episode, which was entitled "The Time The Cow Kicked Me In The Head", and I'm not joking about that...that was the real title of the episode.

They noted that Jeff and Jordan (I'm still calling them that) left the Pit Stop at 3:21 am, but they didn't show anyone else leaving, instead showing them all bunched up at the bus depot at 5 am. I thought, "Wow, if they're eliminating the traditional 'time-check and rip open your first clue' moment, we must be in for an action-packed episode.

Boy, was I wrong.

The first clue contained instructions for the racers to take a take another drive a take a walk a path...all to find their next clue. That seems like a lot of work. The only thing mildly entertaining about this opening segment was watching Jordan try to explain to the taxi driver that she wanted to go to the bus station. "Bus-a-bus," she told him, channeling the spirit of Bustah Rhymes.

So, after a comedy of errors including teams traveling to different cities to take different buses, and some teams missing their buses (why would you leave the terminal if you knew there was another bus leaving in 30 minutes?), all the drama-filled 'bus footage' saw teams finally arriving on an island to open their first clue...26 minutes into the episode! Good thing they cut the opening departure footage so we could see a whole lot of nothing.

And then, after they got there and received their Detour clue, all they had to do was turn around, walk down the path, get back on the boat and go BACK to do the challenge on the mainland. It was the least exciting clue retrieval since last season's elevator trip up the Burj Dubai.

Why on earth would you come on The Amazing Race without one of the team members knowing how to competently drive standard? I have to think that you have advance knowledge that you're going on the Race...take a lesson!

Before Jet and Cord even mentioned that their cowboy hats had "covers" on them, I noticed that the interviews featured one of them with a plastic cover on top. Made me think back to every Italian Aunt and Uncles house in my family, with plastic covers on the furniture upstairs. One of the cowboys was smart enough to bring his cover with him (get your head around that one!), while the other one improvised by using a trash bag. Here's my question: isn't a hat, by design, intended to cover your head? Why does IT also need a cover?

Words of wisdom from one of the lesbians while they traveled on the boat - "If you're gonna throw up, you're gonna throw up." And in related news, blue is blue.

I was noting to myself that this was the least foul-mouthed cast on The Amazing Race when I kept hearing phrases like "Oh my gravy!", "Holy Shikey Bikey!, and "We're gonna enjoy the Dickens out of this." But then the Handlebar Twins (Louie and Michael), upon realizing that they drove past their destination, declared, "We went right the f*ck by it!" Ahhh...leave it to two guys from Rhode Island, hotbed of profanity.
Remember how awesome the past couple of seasons have been in terms of challenges? Remember the cheese rolling Roadblock where everyone was falling down the hill, or the Wasabi bombs? Well now, in one episode alone, we had challenges that consisted of putting a blanket and a scarf on a llama, collecting ingredient for baking, and wearing what looked like a parade float and just falling into the water.

What was with that Condor choice anyways? The clue said that you had to fly out to the clue in the water. If all you had to do was dress silly, and look like you tried, why wouldn't you pick that one? For a show that penalizes the smallest rules violation...seemed kind of odd. On a side note, I liked how Caite made sure to specify to Brent that when they were dressed as the condor, the should run together, as if running independently was an option.

Oktoberfest in Chile? Sounds exciting enough to make a beauty queen spit. You can expect to hear more about that in future episodes, I'm sure. Otherwise they wouldn't have shown it.

Undercover cops declaring "Drive it like you stole it." Your department must be so proud. Part of me really wanted the Handlebar Brothers to get eliminated, but let's be honest, like Coach on Survivor...they're better for the show, and this blog!

I called it last week that Granny and the girl would last 2 episodes. Other than getting kicked in the head by the cow (so THAT'S what that cryptic title meant!), the one big revelation coming out of it was that Granny plays favourites. I'm sure her other grandchildren were thrilled to hear that Shannon is her favourite. No more 'Grandmas Try Harder' shirts for you this Christmas!

Did you see Caite leave Brent hanging with a high-five at the Pit Stop? That was awesome. There's no defense against a rejected high're just standing there. You can't wave to someone in the distance, or point at a bird...your only option is to shamefully lower your hand and admit that you were just shunned.

In the least appropriate prize since mother and son Margie and Luke won a romantic sunset catamaran ride (no joke), the Cowboys won a sailboat. There's simply too may easy jokes for me to choose from, so I'll let it go.

Next week, the return of the exhausting 'Carry The Travelocity Gnome For The Whole Episode For No Reason" challenge. Can't wait... (yawn)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

February 18, 2010

Tonight's episode of Survivor was teased last week as having Boston Rob in grave danger. And why are we still calling him Boston Rob when he's the only Rob on the show this time? It's obvious from the Red Sox cap, and that sweet accent, like when he told us that he was on The Buffoon Tribe, "just like in Mah-kay-sus, and in Ahhl Stahhhs." I expected him to say it was wicked bad.

I'll be honest, he didn't look good when the medics were checking him out, but it was obvious due to the fact that it was shown last week in the preview that he wasn't going to be removed. They never would have spoiled that a week in advance.

I found it funny that Coach mentioned that "it's all gonna come down to what people got upstairs." I found that interesting since Coach is crazy. And speaking of nicknames, why are we still calling him Coach? He was fired from his coaching job when he left to film Survivor Tocantins.

I have to say, with the constant Heroes vs. Villains branding, there had better not be a tribal switch-up like they usually have. That would make absolutely no sense. And it should be a late, late merge.

Why is it that most of the women on Survivor always try to wear as little clothing as possible, but Jerri seems to be adding more layers each week? I mean, Amanda, Parvati, Courtney, and Danielle are basically wearing dental floss, and Jerri looks like she's heading out to the tundra in cargo pants, a long sleeved shirt, and now a scarf! Is she part of the Coach Wade school of "I'm going to try to cover every inch of my body?"

And speaking of Danielle, what is up with that bathing suit. Frills? Really? It's Survivor, not the first section of the Fredericks of Hollywood catalogue.
Did you notice how Rob was a monster in that immunity challenge, lifting a block up on his back? That was insane! And then Russell had to do it next? These two egos are going to clash eventually.

What is this, the Island of the Wild Chickens? This is filmed in the same place as Samoa last season...why did nobody see any live chickens running around then? And we saw that Russell can do something else other than find hidden immunity idols, when he bagged one of the chickens.

Cirie and Candace made the right choice in not flipping and voting Amanda out. Their alliance to each other is still concealed at this point, and they can make a move later without drawing a line in the sand against the rest of their tribe so early.

Is it just me, or does Sandra look like Mowgli from The Jungle Book?

James was a little brash in his "One Voice" rant after the Heroes lost the challenge. I think his "One Voice" repetition will be this season's "Don't eat the damn apple" mantra that he used last time to describe the girls going all Adam and Eve on him, and eating the poisoned apple which turned them against him. Which goes to re-enhance my theory that James (while clearly having muscles ON his muscles), can only think of one thing at a time.

The worst part with his aggressiveness was that he was right. The core of his point was correct, that in the challenges, the Villains are functioning as a cohesive unit and the Heroes are not.

James did have the best line in the episode, as he told Stephenie "I'll be damned if anybody named 'Y'all' in here." Made me laugh.

At Tribal Council, after Stephenie was voted out, I was a little surprised to hear his 'shut your mouth' response to her barb at him, but if Colby and Tom wanted Stephenie to be able to defend herself against his attacks, then the same should go the opposite way, and he should be able to fire back at her when she says that. I may have chosen a less direct statement, but his point was valid.

It's shaping up to be a good season. We need the Heroes to start winning some challenges, if only for us to see more of the Villains camp, because they are much better TV.

February 18, 2010

I’m an Olympic junkie. It happens every two years, Summer or Winter Games, where I find myself glued to the TV, absorbing as much as I can. Staying up late to watch Olympic coverage, or even setting the alarm to wake up in the middle of the night to watch an event if the time difference from the site of the Games necessitates. These Olympic Games from Vancouver have been no different, and if anything, I’m soaking it up even more since it’s in Canada.

I read an article from The Guardian that referred to the 2010 Vancouver Games as “the worst Olympic games in history.” I’ve actually been hearing that more and more from some international media outlets, and it’s pretty shocking to hear based on the success that is being reported from Vancouver, from media, fans, athletes, and the residents of Vancouver.

Yes, these Olympic games have had their share of problems:

A) Georgian Luger Nodar Kumaritashvili being killed in a training run on the sliding course on the morning of the Opening Ceremony.
B) The Cauldron malfunction that occurred at the end of the Opening Ceremony. (now casually called the Erectile Dysfunction)
C) 20,000 General Admission tickets being cancelled for one of the Snowboard events.
D) The Zamboni/Olympia debacle from the Richmond Oval speed skating events.
E) Complaints about concessions and bathroom issues from venues, such as the Richmond Oval.
F) The unseasonably warm weather that has been affecting many events.
G) Long waits around town for most of the Olympic-themed events and pavilions.
H) Complaints about the fence separating fans and disallowing access to the Olympic Cauldron.

To categorize the 2010 Vancouver Games as the worst ever is an unfair statement without looking at the problems on a case-by-case basis.

A) This was a tragic event that no doubt cast a dark shadow on these games from the opening day. If you haven’t seen the footage, I caution you not to. I turned away at the last moment, but still saw too much, even after being warned about how graphic it was. I’m no engineer, but I have to think that an open pillar/pole near the end of the course (padded or not), is a bad idea…and that an open area, or simply a solid, continuous wall would have been a better idea, but I don’t have the knowledge to insist on either of those things from a structural standpoint.
B) When over 32 million people are watching, and there is a mechanical malfunction at the key point of the Ceremony, yes it’s rather embarrassing. But give the producers credit for still getting it done with only 3 of the 4 pillars up, and having the flame still ignite, even though Catriona LeMay Doan was left standing there with nothing to light.
C) I heard a lot of complaints about this one, and it was the top story in many Canadian newspapers earlier this week, but the only reason that these tickets were cancelled was due to safety concerns. The rain had caused such a muddy and mucky mess that there were points where the structured standing area was slipping and people were sinking down up to their waists in mud. We really have a problem with not allowing people to stand where they may sink?
D) This was rather embarrassing, on a number of fronts. But again, as with the Opening Ceremony, they still got it done! Yes there was a delay, and yes, it was unexpected…but the event still got done.
E) This is poor planning on VANOC’s part, I’ll admit. To have no bathrooms on site, and not allow spectators to bring their own water into the site, and then have to wait sometimes up to an hour at concessions to get a bottle of water, seems absurd. But is it a determining factor to assess whether these games are the worst ever? I doubt it.
F) Vancouver and Whistler are having the warmest winter in the past 114 years. This is VANOC’s fault? I give them credit for scheduling the events that could be affected by weather so early in the schedule, so as to allow backup dates should problems arise. As well, the plan to transport snow in to Cypress Mountain, while less than ideal, still worked.
G) It’s the Olympics! When you invite the entire world to your city for a party, you can’t be surprised when there’s a 7-hour wait for a 20-second zipline ride across Robson Street.
H) I have no problem with this, considering the well-publicized attempts by protesters throughout the Torch Relay and in Vancouver to tamper with the flame. The organizers reacted promptly and: a) shortened the distance between the fence and the cauldron, b) removed a section to allow for pictures without having to include the chain link fence, and c) erected a viewing platform.

From everything I’ve heard, this games are being received remarkably well. My local radio station had a reporter going around Vancouver asking people about The Guardian’s assessment, and of the 211 people asked (all of whom were international visitors, non-Canadians), all 211 said that the games were fantastic, and a resounding success.
My friend Matt lives right in downtown Vancouver, and he and his wife (and 11-month-old son) have been taking in the Olympic experience without actually attending any of the events. They live on the 28th floor of a building overlooking B.C. Place, so they’re right in the middle of everything (see photo above). To quote him, “I love the Olympics, the emotion and vibe is awesome.” Other than the wait times and sheer volume of people, everything is very accessible, and if I lived there, I would be taking it all in as well.

My son Lucas just returned from Vancouver yesterday, as he went out to the Olympics on a trip with his mother. They saw the Opening Ceremony, Team Canada Hockey, Speed Skating (where Kristina Groves won a bronze medal), the medal ceremonies for both Jenn Heil and Alexandre Bilodeau, as well as the Gold Medal Snowboard Cross Event that saw Maelle Ricker win Gold for Canada. He called me from the venue after she won, screaming into the phone because he was so excited. Yes, they were some of the 20,000 people who had their tickets cancelled the day before, but I challenge you to try and tell Lucas that these were the worst games ever.

I understand that when you invite 50,000 media to cover an event, it’s going to be examined and scrutinized pretty closely, but let’s give credit where it’s due, and not grasp at straws looking for excuses to complain.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to watch Figure Skating...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

February 16, 2010

Just finished watching Lost.


I'll work chronologically from my notes since my mind is so jumbled from what I just saw.

In the opening segment, it was made very clear from the moment we saw Helen (Katey Sagal) come out the front door of the house, that, as we suspected, the past is indeed different prior to the crash-time of Oceanic Flight 815. Did you catch when she was talking to John about their wedding (it is still on!), she was talking about inviting her parents and "your dad." Looks like John's relationship with his father is a bit better than it had been in the past. Although to be fair, it doesn't take much for a relationship to be deemed 'better' than the one where your dad stole your kidney and threw you out a window.

I found it interesting that Helen said "What are the odds of you running into a spinal surgeon?" Eerily reminiscent of Ben on the Island...what are the odds of a spinal surgeon just falling out of the sky?

I liked the Point of View camera shot of Flocke (I will now refer to The Man in Black/Fake Locke as Flocke) searching around the Island and finding Sawyer at the Dharmaville barracks. Creepy having the clicking sound as it searched the Island.

"All Right, Richard. Time to talk."

Awesome pre-credits opening. Perhaps the best one yet.

Back in the Flash-Sideways (the 8 pm Enhanced version of last week's episode confirmed that it is indeed referred to as 'Flash Sideways'), it was nice to see that one thing that didn't change was that Locke's boss Randy was still a douche. (I actually wrote 'Randy = douche' in my notes before we saw Hurley say the same thing!)
A-ha! A picture of Locke and Anthony Cooper together on his desk! So Locke got his daddy after all. See it in the picture above?

All this talk of candidates is very interesting. Remember Bram and Ilana last season talking about who may and may not be a 'candidate'?

Flocke goes from sympathetic, to evil, and in this episode, completely seductive when he said to Richard, "Come with me and I promise I'll tell you everything." Richard knows that seductiveness is a lie, and amidst the pain of his clearly throbbing neck (did you see that bruise?), he refuses.
Who was the Kid in the woods? What the hell was that!? His hands were bleeding the first time we saw him, and then the second time, he spoke to Flocke, saying "You can't kill him. You know the rules." Was the blond hair supposed to tell us it was Jacob? Was it a young Richard? Is it young Flocke? I have no idea!

All this talk of rules is clearly related to the rules that Flocke/Jacob had, and Ben/Widmore had about what they can and can't do to each other. Or is this another set of rules that Flocke has to follow with regards to someone else? Is he referring to Sawyer? Or the castaways in general? Or the ones that Jacob touched? ARGH, my head!

Flocke yelling at the mystery kid, "Don't tell me what I can't do!" The spirit of John Locke lives on!

Ben is telling Ilana the truth about what happened in the foot, and then flat out lies about what happened to Jacob. It's no coincidence that right after that scene, Flocke is telling Sawyer the truth...that he (Locke) is dead. And why did Ilana gather the ash from the fire where Jacob burned?
Flocke's seductiveness again, "I'm the person who can answer the most important question in the world. Why are you on this Island?" Man, I wouldn't have even had to be drunk on Dharma whiskey and grieving over losing my girlfriend (twice) in a hydrogen bomb blast that caused me to time travel to fall for that one! Boy, if I had a nickel for every time I've heard that one...

Sawyer - "Guess I'd better put some pants on, then." Um, yeah...maybe because it looks like you crapped yourself.

The scene in the Flash-Sideways between Locke and Hurley really gave some insight into Hurley's new demeanor. Just as he appeared on the plane, he really is optimistic in life, and things are going well for him. He's confronted with an angry guy in a wheelchair, and handled it well, apologetically, and ended up offering him a job. We see some of the old John in his response to Hurley asking about the handicapped spot, "I don't have to park here!"

I'm not buying Sun's standoffish-ness. She is currently a character who serves no other purpose than to ask questions so that others can answer them. I'm not buying her relevance at this moment...she seems useless. They're running the risk of Ben (the greatest character on Lost) heading this way, too. I sure hope not.

Rose still has cancer? I guess the Flash-Sideways changes aren't all rainbows and unicorns, huh?

I loved when Sawyer asked Flocke about John Steinbeck and Flocke replied that it was "A little after my time." Great line.

When Sawyer was ready to shoot Flocke, he was told he had the choice whether to do it or not. Here we go will and the power to choose. I told you last year this was at the core of the show's mythology. Remember in the season 3 premiere, at Juliet's book club meeting, when she was starting to say "I thought on this Island we still had free wi..." before the crashing plane brought them all outside.

Interesting to hear Flocke say that he was trapped, and that he used to be a man. He went on to say that he feels joy...and pain...

(Sorry, I couldn't resist...)

I wonder what Ilana meant when she said that Flocke can't change his face now, and that he's stuck. Why is that?

Ben's final words at Locke's burial were chilling. "John Locke was a...a believer. He was a man of faith. He was...a much better man...than I will ever be. And I'm very sorry I murdered him." Now, he's telling the truth again? Ben, make up your mind, are you the evil mastermind still, or are you trying to become a sympathetic character? And by the way, I didn't really need to see the giant spider run across Locke's bald head as his dead body was laying there!

Frank - "This is the weirdest damn funeral I've ever been to." Funny line, but now Frank is apparently just around for sarcastic one-liners, like "We're not going to Guam, are we?" Somewhere, Jerry Orbach is looking down and smiling at Jeff Fahey.
John tells Helen that there's no such thing as a miracle. So, in the Flash-Sideways, he is no longer a man of faith. And did you notice that Helen's shirt said 'Peace and Karma'? Does that mean something? Probably not.

I like the different sound effects for the Flash-Sideways. Totally different from the Whooosh sound we're used to for the Flashbacks, and Flash-Forwards.

In the Flash-Sideways, nice swerve with Locke as the substitute teacher asking the black student...who wasn't Walt (ha! Fooled ya!) for directions. Did you pick out Ben's voice in the staff room before you saw him? Wow, Ben's a super-geek when he's not an evil genius.

The black and white stones in the seaside cave made me gasp when I saw them. But when Flocke chucked the white one out into ocean and said "Inside joke", I actually laughed out loud. Damon and Carlton, you kidders with your knowing nods to us Lost geeks! We luv ya!
Ok, I have to say, the moment when Sawyer's torch illuminated the writing on the ceiling and I saw "15-Ford" and "16-Jarrah", I jumped off the couch and started yelling, "Oh my god! Oh my God! They're the f*cking numbers!" It was...without a doubt...the biggest "OH MY GOD!" moment in the entire six seasons for me.

I couldn't stop saying it for the entire commercial break. "They're the numbers! They're the numbers!" Blew my mind.

And for those of you that missed it, here is the summary of what we saw:

4 - Locke
8 - Reyes
15 - Ford
16 - Jarrah
23 - Shepherd
42 - Kwon

"Jacob had a thing for numbers."

But where's Kate? Where's Austin on the ceiling? Jacob touched her too when she was a kid. Is this a hint that what Flocke is telling us is a lie? That he's making this up? I doubt it. Is Kate #108 perhaps (the sum of the rest)? Or is a possible hint that Kate is actually the crux of the show, and that in the endgame, it will all be related to her somehow? Something is amiss with her name not there.

More talk of being a 'candidate', and now Flocke's seductiveness is back as he tempts Sawyer with 3 options. Damn...why is this show only one hour?

Please chat away in the Comments section. I'm so geeked out right now, I want to start a good discussion.

Here is next week's trailer for the fifth episode, "Lighthouse."

Monday, February 15, 2010

February 15, 2010

Sunday night was the premiere of the 16th season of the Amazing Race, and as I did last season, I will be writing a recap after each episode. Usually they will be up on Sunday night, but with the Olympic excitement last night, I didn't even watch the premiere until Monday. For the opening episode, with so many jumbled thoughts, and not really knowing any of the teams yet (except for Jeff and Jordan), I figured I would just group my thoughts into each team.

Brent and Caite (The Models)
For Caite to describe her Pageant answer as a YouTube Sensation is a bit of an understatement. I've seen and heard it so many times that I can pretty much recite it from memory. I had to laugh at their 'model posing' footage as they were being introduced. It looked like a promo shot for Grease. Who wears a leather jacket on the beach?

At one point, Caite said that she 'almost pooped herself.' For the record, I can't think of a possible situation on The Amazing Race where this would be a good thing.

Jet and Cord (Cowboy Brothers)
Wait a minute, weren't Jet and Cord the names of the two Duke cousins that were brought in on that horrible season of The Dukes of Hazzard when John Schneider and Tom Wopat were in a contract dispute? No...that was Coy and Vance...ahhh...well, close enough.

I love the black hat/white hat that the producers obviously told them to wear. Which is shocking, because they normally like teams to be wearing the same colour all season long. The best part of these two yahoos is the ridiculous music they play whenever Jet and Cord are doing anything. Is that the soundtrack to City Slickers?

Steve and Allie (Father and Daughter)
I'm already stick of Steve padding his baseball credentials, and comparing everything in life to baseball...and that was in the first ten minutes...AND I'm a big baseball fan. Let me give you a couple of facts on Steve Smith: Yes, he was indeed on the coaching staff of the Philadelphia Phillies when they won the World Series back in 2008 (he was the third base coach), but at the end of the season, he was fired, and every other coach on the staff was brought back. He is currently the third base coach for the Cleveland Indians, and how do you think they feel that he didn't mention them, his current employer, and instead mentioned the team that fired him?

I loved that they went in the house and painted the whole area before realizing that it was the wrong place. The best was self-congratulatory Steve talking about how proud of himself he was that he had spotted it. I can just imagine how he got fired from the Phillies. "Yeah, I know he got thrown out at the plate, but I couldn't see the ball in his glove, so I just assumed it was a home run."

That's pretty much all I have on this team so far, except to say that Allie is kind of cute. She'll probably be engaged to a major league ballplayer within two years.

Dana and Adrian (High School Sweethearts)
The footage they show as they're introducing the teams is always so enjoyable, and Dana and Adrian were shown putting together. No, I mean 'PUTTING'...with a golf club! Are you telling me that this is how they golf? With only one hand each on the club as they putt the ball together and smile. Unlikely.

Not sure whey they thought a guy Adrian's size should do a challenge like the walk across the wire, but it certainly didn't work out for them.

Jeff and Jordan (Cute & Dumb)
I loved these two on Big Brother, and I think theyll make for some great TV on The Amazing Race. I love that they are playing up the 'stupid' angle with clips from Big Brother, and then seeing that Jeff and Jordan came first in this opening leg. I will re-state what I said last summer about these two, they will definitely have the best-looking, dumbest kids in school. But I still love 'em, and I hope they do well.

Jody and Shannon (Granny Tri-Athlete and Granddaughter)
Not a lot to say about this team, except that it seems like the producers handed them bunch of green clothes and said "Enjoy the first couple of episodes before you get eliminated."

Although Granny did get the line of the night when explaining why she didn't do the challenge walking across the wire, "I have the balance of a drunken elderly person on stilts."

Louie and Michael (Undercover Detectives)
First of all, if you're an "undercover" detective, you sure as hell don't advertise that before you go on a TV show! There goes your cover. And what are these two guys going undercover as? Based on what I've seen so far, I can't think that their range is very broad. Pretty much always 'tough guy with tattoos, buzz-cut, and horribe moustache'. Is there a big need for this undercover Rhode Island? And just because you're an "undercover" detective, are you always going to wear the camouflage shorts all the time? We can still see you.

The thing that makes me most uneasy about these two is the fact that when they are talking to each other, they always call each other 'Baby.' Really? I can see it on a couple, and I can stretch it to allow a parent and child (while still awkward), but these two rejects from Hill Street Blues, Rhode Island? Very very weird.

Dan and Jordan (Brothers, Half Gay/Half Straight)
It's been a while since The Amazing Race has had an overly swishy gay contestant to give them all of the crowd-pleasing "Oh snap!"-esque soundbites that they love so much. Seems they've got that now, and right from the intro, where Dan (or Jordan, I don't know which one is which yet) declared that "Gay is the only way," I thought to myself, I'm going to count the Clever Gay Lifestyle Ryhmes this season. (CGLR Count - 1) This could be last season's Brian and Ericka's black-and-white marriage token lines.

I also loved in the intro how they showed the gay brother dropping the football, and the straight brother catching the football. What are you telling us, TAR producers? Hmmm???

Joe and Heidi (Asian Parents)
What was with the intro footage of them where Joe keeps hipchecking his wife? When they were riding their bikes along the beach,I almost expected him to knock her off. They tried to bill him as the confrontational one on the race, but we haven't seen much of them yet. Tidbit: their last name is Wang (snicker).

Carol and Brandy (The Lesbians)
I loved the intro footage of them playing with their two dogs, and then cooking lobster. That said to me "We're animal lovers...unless the animals are tasty with drawn butter!" They're clearly billing them as the elitist group always talking about designer clothes, valet parking, and Martha Stewart. It's tired already.

Monique and Shawne (The Lawyers)
These two almost deserve an entire post all their own, I have so much to cover. First of all, with their intro footage...what better way to prove that we are lawyers than to have footage of us walking out of a courthouse? I mean, for all we know, that's the back entrance to a Kinko's, but it looked like a courthouse.

But here's where I got confused. They billed them as the Lawyers, but the first thing you heard them say in person was that they were "Moms that make it happen." And then you saw them on the race with not one, not two, but THREE different Mom-Power slogan T-shirts: 1) Mompreneuer, 2) Mom's Rule, and 3) You Don't Scare Me...I've Got Kids! The third one takes the prize as the worst T-Shirt Slogan I've ever seen, narrowly edging out the leader for the past decade, "Just Give Me My Timmies And No One Gets Hurt."'re not going to promote them as 'The Lawyers', they're going to be 'The Mom's'. All right, I'll get behind that. But now, as they're walking the paint and supplies up to the painting challenge, the one that was carrying the ladder on her shoulders declared, "If Jesus can do this, I can do this. I'm trying to be more like Jesus." So, now they're the Christians??? And I'm pretty sure Jesus wasn't on his way to paint something. It was a little different.

So, are they the Moms, the Lawyers, or the Christians?

And in L.A., when they were trying to find the public transportation to the airport (great twist), they were scrambling around for someone to talk to, and then shouted "Black Person, Go!" when they found a black person to ask. So, they only feel comfortable asking black people for help? And what makes them think that a black person in LA is the expert on public transit...and a black person driving a car no less!

Lawyering, Christian, Racist Moms?

That covers all of the teams, so let's wrap up some other random elements of the race and the episode itself.

Second season in a row that Phil has not given us The Eyebrow to open the race. Come on, Phil!

When they were in Chile, and had to go to Valparaiso, I only thought of one I can't even hear the word Valparaiso without thinking of the following shot from the NCAA tournament in 1998. One of the best NCAA moments ever.

Anybody on this race who ever says "Unbelievable" should be given some sort of time penalty. Last night we heard it with regards to a cab driver not knowing where he was supposed to go. Really? Have you never watched this show before? A lost cab driver is "unbelievable"?

On the challenge walking across the wire, everyone was saying to themselves "I can do this." It was all very 'The Little Engine That Could." I think I can, I think I can...

Why make them carry all these painting supplies to paint a patch that takes 3 minutes to paint? Give them a real task! Like painting inside one of the houses, like Steve and Allie did. And did you notice the painter in the house who was so confused? He was wearing a shirt that said Sudoku...with 9 empty squares. I would LOVE to know the story behind that!

Good to see Jeff and Jordan win the leg, and winning a trip to Vancouver is a pretty cool prize. But you have to think, considering the tragedy on the sliding course on Friday, they may not have wanted to mention that Jeff and Jordan will be doing the skeleton on the course. Just sayin'...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

February 14, 2010

Alexandre Bilodeau wins Gold!
Tell me your story. Where were you when it happened?

February 14, 2010

Higher, Faster, Stronger
(now with more Dancing Indians)
Friday night, I watched the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics Opening Cermonies fom start to finish. I have a few thoughts:

My first instinct an hour into the Ceremonies, was how stereotypical everything appeared to be. I mean, if you had no prior knowledge of Canada, then based on the opening segments and the parade of athletes, you would pretty much think that Canada was just Mounties and Dancing Indians. It was so stereotypical, I almost expected polar bears and beavers to come out next. And yes, I know that it's proper to call them 'First Nations Peoples' or 'Representatives of Canada's Aboriginal Communities', but when you boil it all down, in reference to the opening ceremonies, it was 2 hours of Dancing Indians.

I thought at the very least that the musical segments would be pretty strong, considering the pool of talent that Canada has to draw from. But Nelly Furtado and Bryan Adams? Ok..ok...I'll get behind that...
But then they started singing. And when I say singing, I clearly mean 'lip-synching', because that was one of the most embarrassing things I've ever seen. With the entire world watching, BOTH of them made mistakes, and made it painfully apparent that they were singing along with a recorded track. And then Sarah McLachlan performed later, and she was lip-synching too!

I never thought I would say this sentence, but Thank God for K.D. Lang. Let me preface this by saying that I am NOT a K.D. Lang fan in the least, and her music generally drives me away. And I'm not sure what she was going for with the 'David Byrne-Giant White Suit' look, but when she appeared on the screen, I just assumed the musical portions were heading further south.

But then she started singing (actually singing!), and it was awesome. Now, I'm sure it helped that she was singing one of my favourite songs of all-time, Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah, but she nailed it, and it was amazing!

I enjoyed the parade of athletes, and it's always interesting to see the nations that only send a handful of athletes...or even just one, like Ghana, who sent The Snow Leopard (best nickname ever) to compete in the skiing competition.
With all the talk leading up to the Opening ceremonies as to who was going to light the Olympic Flame, I was wondering all day, but I had said that my vote would have been for Steve Nash. I have to say that I thought they did a pretty good job choosing the final 5 to light the torch together. Unfortunate that there was a mechanical problem, but it was still pretty spectacular.
Overall, I thought they were pretty good, even with the lip-synching and Dancing Indians. I'm a big Olympics fan, so it's even more exciting that they're coming from Vancouver, a place that I know so well. It should be an exciting time for the next couple of weeks.

One of the things that was very exciting about the Opening Ceremonies was that Lucas got to be there! He's in Vancouver right now with his mom for the Olympics, and he had a great time. I'm so happy he got to experience such a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Here's a couple of pictures.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

February 11, 2010

Survivor's 20th season, Heroes vs. Villains, kicked off on Thursday night with a bang. As I did with last season's Amazing Race, I will be doing a weekly recap after each episode. Here are my random thoughts after watching the season no particular order.

From the second I saw Coach on the helicopter on the way in, I was excited. Yes, he was, and is sure to be again, a total jackass. But you have to admit, he is good TV. The show would be much worse without him.

What was with the helicopters dropping the contestants off? What happened to the days that they made them paddle their own boat, or better yet, just threw them off the side of a ship? How is Coach supposed to communicate to the rest of the tribe 'with just his eyes' with all that noise and wind?
Stephenie is tough. I mean hard as nails, man. I've seen someone have to pop their shoulder in after having it dislocated. That is a LOT of pain. And Rupert breaking his toe? Two big injuries in the first challenge of the first episode? Wow.

That first challenge was awesome. Topless Sugar turning around and giving Sandra the double barrelled finger was fantastic! And did you see Coach riding on top of Colby. There was one moment just before he climbed on to Colby's back where he actually reached under and grabbed a handful of Colby's crotch. I'm not joking! If you PVR'ed it, go back and look. (insert Dragon Slaying joke here)

At the end of the challenge, why did Jeff toss the flint to Stephenie, who just had her shoulder popped back in the socket? You couldn't give it to any of the other nine players? Did they edit out when Jeff also went over and stepped on Rupert's toe?

Let's talk about bathing suits for a minute, shall we? Now, In the Fans vs. Favorites season when Parvati wore her little black bathing all season, let's just say I was a fan. But now the new yellow one is quite nice, and I have to say that Amanda's green bathing suit and Courtney's 'Neopolitan Ice Cream'-themed suit are both quite nice as well. One that was NOT pleasant at all, was Tyson's jungle themed nut-hugger. What the hell was that?

I thought it was a bit convenient that a rooster and 3 egg-laying hens just 'happened' to wander in to the Heroes' camp. I'm not suggesting that they were planted there (or maybe I am), but did you notice the camera knowingly zoom in on the first one that appeared. Something is fishy. Although it was quite impressive to watch them work together to catch them.

Coach and Jerri? Really? Their kids would have the pointiest noses in history, and be the biggest jerks in school. And remember in Survivor: Australia, when Jerri was actually attractive. Now she looks like an old handbag. And what's with dressing in long sleeves and cargo pants? Yeah, keep talking about how you'll use your feminine wiles, Jerri. Kind of tough when you look like Sarge from the Beetle Bailey cartoons.

Tom and J.T. talking about how they need each other was a very smart move for each of them. They're right, no one would vote for a previous winner at the end.

I had to laugh at Cirie criticizing Rupert's attempts at making a fire. Admittedly, he was doing a pretty crappy job, but let's remember that Cirie was eliminated from Survivor: Panama in the final 4 when she lost a fire-making challenge! Irony, anyone?

Russell is still awesome. Period.
I like how they seem to be recycling challenges from past seasons. Should make for some fun viewing with certain contestants having done a challenge before.

Is there no Hidden Immunity Idol this season? Are they waiting until later to introduce it, or did they decide that since Russell just finds them all without any clues anyways, to not even bother?

I love Sugar, but the crying in her Gabon season was WAY over the top, and it started early in this one. Unfortunately (or thankfully), we won't have to see her cry any more.

Did you notice that Jeff Probst is very blunt with this cast already? I guess after you've been through a season (or two) with all of these contestants, you don't pussyfoot around things as you're getting to know them. Sugar is crying "right on cue", Probst told her. And he told Coach he was leading his team 'based on his extensive kayaking experience', referring to Coach's mumbo-jumbo Amazon tales.

Next week's episode looks bad for Boston Rob. Hope it's just a tease. I can't think if it was as bad as it looked, that they would spoil it a week early.

Now, I don't normally do this on the blog, but I'm going to give my pick(s) for this season. I think that the 'less prominent' players this season have a distinct advantage, since they'll be less of a target. For that reason, I think that Danielle and Candice are the front runners, with an outside shot to Stephenie. Candice and Stephenie are solo players on their respective tribes, which makes them valuable to existing alliances...the floater strategy. I think if they make it to the merge, they could band together and join with an existing alliance. If pressed to pick only one, I would go with Candice, but I wouldn't be surprised to see them both in the final two. We'll see at the end of the season if I was right.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

February 9, 2010

Episode 2, "What Kate Does", is in the books, so let's get started on this week's Lost recap.

First of all, I'm going to have to remember to work in the 8:00-9:00 hour on a weekly basis, because I really do enjoy watching the previous week's episode with the "pop-up-video" feature. Yes, it tells me everything that I already knew or suspected, but it's still a good feature to have on a second viewing that doesn't need to be as intense as the initial episode.

I liked the title of the episode, calling back to "What Kate Did", from Season 2, where you see most of Kate's backstory prior to the island. I'm shocked that we didn't see that damn black horse again in this episode.
Sawyer - "Of course, he's an Iraqi Torturer who shoots kids. He deserves another go-around." Yes, I understand that Sawyer just lost his beloved Juliet, but I'm just not buying the flick-of-a-switch change back to super-douche Sawyer. Mere hours earlier they were all on the same team and he was fighting for Sayid to survive, and now he's painting him with a big sarcastic brush. Convenient.

And speaking of Sayid's torturous past, how odd was it to see him being the one that was "tortured" on the table by Dogen? For 5 seasons, we've seen Sayid on the other end of that equation, and now we see this. Interesting juxtaposition, and pretty graphic.

Dogen reminds me of someone, and it was bothering me last week, until I realized it this week. He looks like Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters if he were to be in a cheesy kung-fu movie! Come on, tell me I'm wrong.

Who the hell were Aldo and Justin? Seriously, I understand if you want to give a voice to these characters since they're sharing some relevant information, but why did every sentence either one of them spoke, include the name of the other one? Did the writers really need to make sure we knew their names before they offed them? It was a total Abbott and Costello routine between the two of them...well, maybe not so much Abbott and Costello, but more like Spike and Chester.
I also find it really hard to believe that guy's name was Aldo (looked more like a Kyle), and his anger over taking Kate's rifle butt in the kisser three years ago was lame, but still a tad humourous. And while his 'Saved By The Bell School Of Overacting' classes rang through loud and clear with his performance tonight, I did still enjoy the line "You ever see a big black smoke thing? Goes Ticka-Ticka when it gets all pissed off? That!"

Jack to Dogen's entry guards - "Step aside." It was that easy? Ok, Jack...try 'Open Sesame" next.

Sayid - "I am not a zombie." What a GREAT line! Obviously referencing Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse's constant tongue-in-cheek references to a seventh season of Lost, the "zombie" season.

I'm not liking a potential re-connection between Kate and Sawyer. Not at all.

* Digression *
Why the hell is it that when you're coming down with something, and you're getting sick, every single commercial break was advertising some sort of cold relief product. 6 commercial breaks in a row...6 different products. Cough, Cough.

Ok, there were two 'Whoa!" moments in this episode, and when I say "Whoa!" moments, I mean moments that I actually sounded like Keanu Reeves in Point Break or Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (but not Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey - that one sucked). I actually let it out on both of them.

Whoa! Moment #1
Ethan is the doctor in the hospital! Again...I was so glad I blocked the guest cast credits at the beginning of the episode, or I would have known this was coming. My geek-dom is paying off!

"Are you ready to have your baby?"
" I don't want to stick you full of needles if I don't have to."

Creepy creepy scene when you think back to Ethan and Claire in Season 1. Very very eerie.
Back in the present, alternate timeline, did you see Kate's eyes when Claire said Aaron's name for the first time. Very similar to when Jack met Desmond last week. There's something deep inside all of them that just "knows." But they don't know that they know.

Sawyer crying on the dock and getting all sensitive? Now he's blaming himself for Juliet's death. Make up your mind! Is he Jerk Sawyer or Lovable Sawyer? You can't have both!
Jack's scene with Dogen regarding the pill for Sayid was very telling. As we know from the Jack-Locke relationship being the Man of Science/Man of Faith analogy, Jack has always been the Man of Science. He appeared to switch over with his faith in the plan to get back on Ajira, and the bomb/reset plan...but now he's back to Man of Science? When Dogen asked him to "Trust me", it was a turning point for Jack.

Kate to Claire - "Would you believe me if I said I was innocent?" Did you notice that after Claire said yes, Kate didn't say she was innocent...just establishing trust. Very telling...especially right after that Jack/Dogen scene.

Whoa! Moment #2
Dogen - "Because it your sister." WHAT!? And then the final scene with Aldo and Justin biting the dust, I just knew that it was going to be Claire, but even though I saw it coming, the payoff was awesome. (That's the mark of a great scene, when you know it's going to happen, but it still blows you away.)

The gun, the traps, all the talk of infection and 'the sickness'...Claire is now Rousseau. What does it all mean?

I have no frickin' clue.

Can't wait until next week...