Saturday, December 24, 2011

My 10 Favourite Things About Christmas 2011

With Christmas right around the corner, I thought I would offer my favourite things from this holiday season. Of course, my list may be different after Christmas, but at the time of this writing (on December 24th), this would be My 10 Favourite Things About Christmas 2011.

10. The Return Of The NBA On Christmas Day
I'm a big basketball fan, but I'm not a huge NBA fan, so I honestly didn't care whether the NBA returned for this season or not. I was more than happy to focus on NCAA basketball and CIS basketball in Canada. But since it was announced that the NBA was returning on Christmas Day, and I saw that the Miami Heat were playing the Dallas Mavericks in an NBA Finals rematch, I relished the opportunity to yell "Suck It LeBron!" at my TV on Christmas Day. (Twitter users, please join my mission to have #suckitlebron trending at some point during the NBA Season.)

9. Visiting Niagara Falls
We go to Niagara Falls a number of times each year, but nothing is better than seeing the Falls in the Winter when the snow and ice have formed. It's an unbelievable sight, and we always make sure to take advantage of the fact that we live so close to the Falls by making an annual Winter trip.

8. Getting A Phone Call From My Friend Randy
This entry may seem a little out of place, but I had to include it because in the week prior to Christmas, Randy had something pretty unbelievable happen to him...not once, but twice. The first time, he was sitting in his car in a mall parking lot waiting for his wife, when the door opened, a woman got in and sat down and started yelling and swearing at him about his attitude, before looking at him and screaming "OH MY GOD, THIS ISN'T MY CAR!" and running off. When he stopped laughing, he called me to tell me the story.

Three days later, he was once again waiting in his car while his wife was shopping (don't ask me why he waits in the car while she shops, I have no idea), and while I am talking to happens again! I can actually hear someone in the background open the door, and then say something...and then say "Oh, I'm so sorry", and Randy say "Happens to me all the time." Then he tells me that another woman tried to get in his car, and I didn't believe him. So, what does he do? He gets out of the car and goes over to the woman (a few cars away) and gets her to confirm so that I can hear it.

Moral of the Story: Randy needs to lock his car at the mall.

7. Our Christmas Tree
This year's Christmas tree was quite an adventure. This was the first Christmas for Devena and I under one roof, so we both had full Christmas trees and ornaments, and trying to figure out what made the A list and what was relegated to the B list from each house was an interesting task. We ended up getting it figured out, and I think it looks fantastic...the best tree I've ever had. Take a look and see if you can find the following ornaments: all 4 characters from The Wizard of Oz (and the Witch!), Indiana Jones, and Where The Wild Things Are.

6. Holiday Favourites On Galaxie
I love Christmas Music. Period. If you don't, there's something seriously wrong with you. This year, we've been listening almost non-stop to the Christmas music on our satellite (Bell, Channel 936). There is also another station with the same music but with the traditional yule log burning on the screen. My favourite Christmas song: Holly Jolly Christmas. Fact.

5. Taylor University's Silent Night

This is one of the most amazing basketball traditions I've ever seen. At Taylor University, they have an annual 'Silent Night' game, where everyone in the crowd remains completely silent until the team scores their 10th point, at which point they erupt and make an incredible amount of noise for the rest of the game, culminating in the entire crowd putting their arms around each other and singing "Silent Night" at the end of the game. Watch the video...guaranteed goosebumps.

4. Yoda Christmas Card
Yes, I had seen the cartoon online, but I was thrilled to actually find this card in a store last week. I bought multiple copies of it. Don't be surprised if you get one from me in the next couple of years.

3. Father-And-Son Elf Shirts
For as long as I can remember, A Christmas Story had been my favourite Christmas movie, all the way back to Grade 5 when I went to see it at the Odeon Theatre in Guelph with Christine McEvoy, in what was essentially my first date ever. I just now realized that, on that night, I was younger than Lucas is now. Wow.

In recent years, a new favourite Christmas movie has emerged in our home, and that is the Will Ferrell classic Elf. So when Old Navy released these "Son of a Nutcracker" Elf shirts, it was a no-brainer that Lucas and I needed a matching set.

2. Devena's Christmas Baking
I had never really been a huge fan of Christmas Baked Goods. I was always a salty snack person (chips, popcorn, etc...) instead of loving sugary treats or baking. But when I started tasting the things that Devena makes for Christmas, my tune changed in a hurry. Shortbreads that melt in your mouth (just ask anyone who has ever tried them!), Seven-Up Cake, Christmas Mice, and that traditional Italian favourite: crostoli (pictured above). My girl makes the best. If you were lucky enough to get a package from her this season, you know what I'm talking about!

1. The Return Of SNL's Christmas Song

Last week's episode of Saturday Night Live featured an unexpected reprise of one of my favourite moments on the show: Horatio Sanz, Jimmy Fallon, Chris Kattan, and Tracy Morgan performing their original Christmas song. Enjoy Tracy Morgan as the highlight, and click here if you want to see the original from 2006.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Survivor South Pacific: “Season Finale Recap”

Tonight is the Season Finale of Survivor South Pacific, yet another season where the Redemption Island concept has been an absurd addition in my eyes (6 people left in the Finale? Really?), and we will see a winner crowned before the night is over. Can Coach pull a Boston Rob and win the million? Will Sophie steal the crown? Does Albert have a shot after what happened last week? Who the hell is Rick? And who will win the Final Duel and return from Ozzy's Pleasure Dome...I mean, Redemption (Non) Island.

My Random Thoughts:

- Previously on…Survivor, 5 minutes and 44 seconds spent recapping the entire season (seriously, I timed it), from pork ripping to Ozzy fishing. We waited half an hour because of football (Damn you, Tim Tebow!), and we still have to sit through this? I propose that in the event that Survivor is delayed because of football or golf in the future, then the excessive recap gets ditched off the top. The only thing I think that was relevant from this segment was Coach saying that swearing “as a Christian man” is an irrevocable promise.

- For our final Night Vision Recap at Redemption (Non) Island, Brandon wakes up Ozzy, laughing about his own demise. Brandon says that it hurts to be stabbed in the back by your closest friend, but that it’s ok because he forgives Albert for “what he did.” Presumably that means that he feels Albert should have given him the necklace back, or does he think that Albert was the deciding vote that eliminated him?

Ozzy scoffed at Brandon’s decision-making, correctly calling his move to give the Immunity necklace away as foolish, and criticized L’il Hantz for apparently thinking that he’s playing the game with God. “He’s playing with human beings who are greedy and want that money”, Ozzy told us.
- Back at camp, the Final Four Upolu members were talking about Brandon’s decision and Albert’s choice to keep the Immunity necklace. Coach verbally berated the Baseball/Dating Coach for lying about not knowing Brandon was going to go home if he didn’t have Immunity, saying “I’m sick of people coming out here and trying to look like they’re holier than thou.” Irony, thy name is Coach.

Benjamin then went on to say “I am not going to sit here and have people bullshit me”, and rant about how he refuses to be made a fool out of, because he’s been made a fool of “too many times” because of this game. I have to say, that’s probably his own fault, because of his ridiculous antics the first two times he played the game, like calling himself the Dragon Slayer, Coach Chi on the beach, and all the fake stories he would tell at Tribal Council. Sorry Benji, you made your own bed on that one.

- The Final Redemption (Non) Island Duel, which I saw a preview for earlier in the week, was to simply hang on to a pole as long as possible…or as I called it, “what challenge can we make the easiest for Ozzy to win?” Remember that this is a guy that I have referred to as Survivor’s Spider Monkey since his first season on the show. Upon hearing Jeff explain what the Duel would be, there was a fantastic camera shot of Brandon gulping as if to say “I’m screwed.”
Forget the editing, forget the dramatic music, forget the reactions from the others, there was no way that Ozzy wasn’t going to win this. After his defeat, Brandon Tebowed in the sand and left with a smile, telling the rest of his Tribe that he loved them. After 15 days alone at Redemption (Non) Island, Ozzy was back in the game, and Sophie told us “If Ozzy keeps winning immunity, there’s really only so much I can do.”

- Ozzy was insincerely welcomed back at camp, and Coach had a heart-to-heart with him, hinting that if he won Immunity, he would consider giving it to Ozzy since Coach already has the Hidden Immunity Idol. Ozzy wasn’t buying into his vagueness, and flat-out asked him if he would hand one of them over. Coach’s response was that he would if he thinks Ozzy is in jeopardy.

HA! Of course, Coach didn’t give him a straight answer, and if you noticed, he didn’t say the magic words: “as a Christian man!” Ozzy was rightfully skeptical, and said “who in their right mind would want to take me?"

- What the hell?? A close-up shot of a spider?? After a FULL season with no spiders, now my arachnophobic ass has to get blindsided by one in the Finale?? Unbelievable!
- Coach says that everyone wants to take him to the Final Three, so “it’s my game to lose.” He compares it to the NBA finals, saying that he’s up by 14 points with only 4 minutes left on the clock. Not a bad analogy, but I have to know…in this scenario, is LeBron James on your team? Because if so, you’re definitely screwed. LeBron and the NBA Finals don’t go very well together. Suck it Lebron.

- The Immunity Challenge was a twist on the old Survivor standby, building a House of Cards, except that there was an added portion that would see the castaways have to build the tower with only one hand while the other one was balancing a teeter-totter. Jeff gives us one final dirty innuendo: “Everybody grab your handle,” which obviously confused Sophie.

- Speaking of Sophie, she told us that she builds Houses of Cards for fun. She also has a book on how to make them. (Also, don’t forget she knows Russian. Why were we ever even told that since it never came up in the show again?) The only thing I was sure of, was that with Sophie boasting about her skill, there was no way she would win…a notion confirmed with her inability to keep track of how many pieces she had, and coming up about a foot-and-a-half short. On a second try, her stack fell, leading to this amazing exchange:

Sophie: "Hey Albert, drop your stack and come pick up my pieces."
Albert: "I’m in a pretty decent spot right now."
Sophie: "Drop your damn stack and pick up my pieces! I’m going to beat you!"
Albert: "I gotta..."
Sophie: "Albert just drop your stack!"
Jeff: "Let me make it easy for you. There is no helping in this challenge. It was designed as an Individual Immunity. It will be played as an Individual Immunity. If you want Ozzy out of this game, beat him."

Ozzy wins, of course, and punches his tile tower in celebration. Sophie says “I should have won that.” Yes, you probably should have…but only if you could count tiles. Bad tile management.

- Back at camp, Ozzy talked about how he won the challenge, and Sophie sulked some more. Coach and Albert talked about voting out Rick since he’s “got the best shot to win this game right now.” Ozzy wants Sophie gone because “She’s a frickin’ brat.” Coach says he’s not voting for Rick, but that he thinks Sophie has turned on the Silent Cowboy.
“I’d vote for Sophie”, Coach tells Rick. “Would you vote for me?”, asks Rick. Coach answers “No”, but with the GONG sound effect and the fact that he didn’t say “as a Christian man”, it’s not looking good for our ass-grabbing rancher.

- Right before heading to Tribal Council, Albert confronts Coach and asks him if he told Ozzy he wanted him to come to the end? Coach answers “I can’t wait to vote his ass out of here”, but doesn’t actually answer the question. Albert sees through this and follows up with “Did you tell him it was going to be you, him, and Sophie?” Coach shakes his head, but doesn’t actually say no.

- At Tribal Council #1: Savaii excited to see Ozzy, Coach is wearing his (no longer Hidden) Immunity Idol, and Ozzy reminded us that as much as you may like him, he is completely devoid of personality. Seriously, this was the exchange between him and Jeff right at the beginning of Tribal Council:

Jeff: “You knew you had to win, or you were gone tonight.”
Ozzy: “I’m not an idiot. I knew that if I didn’t win, I’d be going home tonight.”
Rick said that it’s about a 90% certainty that Ozzy will win Immunity tomorrow, and since he can’t beat him in the end, Rick should be kept. It’s actually not a bad argument, but it’s a horrible argument to make IN FRONT OF THE JURY.

Coach talked about family, Ozzy revealed Coach’s proposed plan, and then Sophie and Ozzy got into a schoolyard argument about who respects who. It was Junior High BS, ending with Sophie saying the only thing that proves you lost an argument: “Whatever.”
She then got weepy, but I’m not going to comment on it, because I wasn't interested in the impromptu therapy session with Dr. Probst. I thought she was about to be forced to get her tissue in the Jury Tent, but Rick was eliminated, and shunned Coach on the way out, later saying “I was just blinded, thinking that Coach was playing true to his word.”

- Two quick side notes: First, I had some fun at Rick’s expense earlier this season, joking that he was using the term “Prince Albert” without really knowing the dirty reference. Many of you Googled it, and I’m sorry if you were actually subjected to a photo when you did. I just wanted to point out that earlier today, Edna tweeted out this photo of Rick, saying “Cowboy Rick just has been educated on what a Prince Albert actually is! This is his reaction.”
- Second, I forgot to mention the winner from my caption contest on November 23rd (the week of the recap show). With honourable mentions to Choirchick22 and R.P. McMurphy, the winner of the best caption was MacGruber, with “Mikayla, the invisible whore: A painting by Brandon Hantz.” Thanks to everyone for playing along.

- Back to the episode, where Ozzy is hoarding coconuts, and Coach is pissed at Ozzy for spilling the beans. Coach says he wants to clear the air, but then tells Ozzy that what he did was disrespectful and that it saddened him. How is that clearing the air?

Ozzy malaproped (if that’s not a word, it damn well should be) that he was putting “all my cards in one basket.” He then talked about how he felt like he can’t trust Coach, because any time he has trusted someone in the past in this game, he got burned. But he still said “I do want to go to the end with you because I still believe that that’s how this game should be.”

- The Final Immunity Challenge (Once again with no Fallen Comrades Walk!) was an obstacle course and puzzle. I was half expecting Sophie to just tell Albert to go and get all of her pieces for her, but she was content just to yell at him as he was crossing the same areas as her. Spider Monkey whizzed through the whole course gathering puzzles pieces, and Coach inexplicably decided to do somersaults through a net tunnel.

Ozzy reached the puzzle phase first, but it was Sophie who ended up winning Immunity by being the first to solve it. Clearly this must have been because she knows Russian. No? We’re seriously not going to hear any more on this Russian thing?

- At Camp, Coach symbolically relinquished the title of Dragon Slayer to Sophie. He then told Sophie and Albert not to talk to Ozzy, because “I don’t want him to cause dissention.” He then idiotically followed it up by essentially saying “But…I’m gonna go talk to him right now.”
- Ozzy pleaded to Coach to let him have a chance and go to a tie-breaking Fire Build against Albert. Coach re-iterated that he wanted to take the best to the end, and Ozzy is a warrior. Ozzy asked if he really wanted the Warrior Battle he claimed to desire, and then reminded him that he swore on it “as a Christian man.” OH SNAP! That just happened!

Did anyone think it would matter?

- Tribal Coucil #2: In short, Sophie feels amazing, Coach’s heart is breaking again, Ozzy says that Coach should force a tie so they can sit beside each other at the Final Tribal Council with Sophie, and Albert compared Ozzy to Jeff Gordon. In the end, the Upolu alliance was too strong to break, and Ozzy was voted out.

“Third time’s a charm, baby”, Ozzy said before he sprinted down the Blue-Lit Walk of Shame. Wait a minute, wasn’t he runner up the first time? How is the third time a charm? Is it because of all the fish he ate?
- Back at the Ozzy-Free Camp, Albert, Sophie, and Coach celebrated, and Coach was so excited that he was quoting people without actually knowing who said it…and admitting it! They then had their celebratory sausage and pancake breakfast along with the customary Survivor Mimosas, and made some small talk about their individual strategies at the Final Tribal Council. That was followed by some Coach Chi, and the idiotic tradition of burning down the camp.

I have to say, I was honestly happy to be heading to the Final Tribal Council with three players who, in my mind, all had a legit shot to win the million.

- At the final Tribal Council (where Ozzy appeared to be doing his best impression of Wendy), the three opening arguments went like this: Albert: This is a social experiment, a game about people, and I like you all. Sophie: Outwit, Outlast, Outplay means I played the best. Coach: I can’t believe I’m here, I had an uphill battle, I played with compassion, love, appreciation, and respect.

- The Jury members then had their opportunity to question or comment to the Final Three, and here’s a brief summary of what happened:

- Ozzy: Sophie is a brat, Albert was in the right place at the right time, and Coach, did you play with honour and integrity? Coach answered that he did most of the time, but there were some times when he didn’t. Honest answer.

- Jim: Albert, why should the other two not be here, and don’t start with a compliment. Albert responds by complimenting Jim.

- Dawn: Sophie, what was your strategy behind aligning with Coach and Albert? Sophie answers that she wishes she were a man, and compares Coach to a young girl.

- Floral Print Rick: Coaxes an apology from Coach, then calls Albert a scumbag for taking Brandon’s necklace and “using the God thing” (Albert’s response not permitted).

- Brandon: Coach tries to kiss his ass, tells him he should be up there, and that he wants to make it up to him. Brandon forgives him, but then asks Albert, “Did you know I was going home?” When Albert tries to justify, Brandon demands a Yes or No answer, and after some awkward back and forth, Albert finally responds with ”I didn’t know that you were going home”, and L’Il Hantz said simply “You lie.”

- Whitney: Said to Albert, “You’re sleazy”, and then I stopped listening, because how awesome is it that the married woman who cheated on her husband while she was on Survivor is calling someone else sleazy?
- Edna: Says that everyone gets manipulated, and the most historic way to manipulate people is through religion. We all got duped. Congratulations to the three of you. No question for anyone, just a 100% true statement. Kudos to Edna…that was fantastic!

- Keith: Asked Coach if he was going to play the Idol for himself or for the team. Coach gave a BS answer, and Sophie revealed that Coach had the Idol longer than he claimed, and the entire lie to make it look like the prayer was the reason they found it. Brandon was visibly shocked…and don’t we all wish Brandon hadn’t already asked his question?

I think that was a million-dollar answer from Sophie.

- Cochran: Tells Coach that he played an impressive game, but asks him to share his strategy without talking about honour. Coach said “I came in trying to do the right thing, and I ended up doing the wrong things. I came up short, and I’m sorry. I wanted to get to the end and I kept justifying my actions. I’m a terrible strategist.” Again, a very honest answer.

- Coming in to the Final Tribal Council, I thought it was even across the board, and after the questioning, I gave it to Sophie, until Coach’s final answer to Cochran, then I put it as an even shot between Coach and Sophie.

- The only votes we see are Cochran voting for Coach, and Dawn voting for Sophie, while Rick pulled the Eliza Orlins trick of acting like he was still undecided in the voting booth.

And with that, Jeff and his Bluest-of-Blue Shirts exited Tribal Council with the votes in hand, magically appearing in Los Angeles to read the results. The votes went like this: Coach, Sophie, Coach, Sophie, Coach, Sophie, Sophie, Sophie, final vote unseen (but presumably Sophie, or we would have seen it).

- Congratulations to Sophie Clarke on a well-deserved win in Survivor South Pacific.
Things I Learned From The Live Reunion Show:

- Sophie is flustered, is Facebook friends with almost everyone in her town of 1500, and wants to be more like Dawn. I would have liked to hear Jeff ask her if it was by design that she revealed the info about Coach's lie about the Hidden Immunity Idol. I'm wondering if it was something she specifically kept in her back pocket to only come out in front of a Jury at the end.

- Did you notice how Jeff always hears things from “people on the street?” Are you telling me that he just stops on the street and talks Survivor with random people? Does that really happen? I doubt it.

- Coach talked about having a “Prayer-palooza” with Albert and Brandon,,,and 3 people clapped in response. He then learned that that he would have won if he brought Rick instead of Sophie. In short, Coach can now talk to Colby about million-dollar bad decisions on who should go to the Final.

- Cochran wrote a paper at Harvard on the Survivor Jury system, and said “I can’t play an under the radar game, because I’m perpetually over the radar…freaking out all the time.” He also revealed that he was single and invited people (presumably women) to “come at me.”

- New Ink Brandon revealed that nobody is proud of him, and nobody came to the show, except for Uncle Russell, who looked miserable. I was disgusted that we saw that little sock-burning Hobbit only 90 seconds into the Reunion Show, and that we had to talk to him at all.

Probst went out in to the audience to talk to his favourite villain, saying “Stand up, Hantz” when he got to his seat. How awesome would it have been when the vertically-challenged Russell stood up, if Probst would have said “No seriously, stand up”?

What a garbage speech, too. More self-congratulatory bullshit from the best player to never actually win anything. “I made greatness”, he told us. What a load of crap. And please keep in mind that I was one of the biggest Russell fans for his first two seasons, and I still insist that he should have won both of those seasons, but I’m just sick of him.

And when Jeff suggested Russell vs. Brandon for a future season, while there was polite applause from the studio audience, you know that most of the viewing audience at home screamed at their television “NO F**KING WAY!”

- Papa Bear hugged everyone in sight, Edna is pregnant, Angry C had giant earrings, I still couldn’t understand a word Stacey said, and Jeff is disappointed in Jim for not lasting longer. He also pointed out that Whitney was in “another relationship” when she hooked up with Keith, which was a super-polite way of saying she cheated on her husband. No interaction with Papa Bear, Semhar, Elyse, or Mikayla, and Rick remained silent…but Jeff may not have noticed him sitting there in the front row.

- Survivor 24 will be called Survivor One World, and will feature Men vs. Women as two tribes live on one beach . No Returning Players. No Redemption Island. Thank God.
(Sean bends down and Tebows)

Even thought Survivor is now gone until February, I hope you’ll visit this site regularly. With over 600 posts here, I’m sure you can find something you want to read. Please feel free to bookmark the site or add your name as a Follower on the sidebar to the left. I’m glad you found me, I hope you’ll stick around.

Remember that you can also add me on Facebook or on Twitter, where I post all new posts as soon as they go up, as well as other non-Survivor related posts. Don’t forget to mouse over the pictures for captions, and please leave a Comment in the Comments section if you’re so inclined. I’d love to have your thoughts on the Finale…Let’s set a record for number of Comments!

Thanks for reading this season. See you in February for Season 24…Survivor: One World!

Survivor South Pacific: Season Finale Recap

Tonight is the Season Finale of Survivor South Pacific, yet another season where the Redemption Island concept has been an absurd addition in my eyes (6 people left in the Finale? Really?), and we will see a winner crowned before the night is over. Can Coach pull a Boston Rob and win the million? Will Sophie steal the crown? Does Albert have a shot after what happened last week? Who the hell is Rick? And who will win the Final Duel and return from Ozzy's Pleasure Dome...I mean, Redemption (Non) Island.

Here's what I’m planning to do tonight: I'm going to watch the 2-hour Finale as it happens, and then once the winner is announced, work on my recap so that it is up within an hour of the show ending, as it usually is. So, if it all works out, it will be up right around the time the Reunion Show is ending.

Make sure you bookmark and come back then, because I’m hoping it will be up…and if it’s not, it will be posted shortly after. Then, after it’s posted, I’m going to go back and watch the Reunion Show, and write an addendum on the end of the recap afterwards.

Please check back. Thanks.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Survivor South Pacific Recap: “Cheer Up, Man. God’s Got Everything Under Control.”

This week’s episode of Survivor finds the Upolu 5 with no one else left to eliminate but each other. Will Brandon’s erratic behavior finally catch up with him? Will Coach be forced to use his Hidden Immunity Idol? And will the Duel between Ozzy and Edna actually be as dramatic as last week’s preview would lead us to believe?

My Random Thoughts:

- Previously on…Survivor, Albert and Brandon were in the same alliance, but Albert was trying to mix things up in terms of the pecking order, which was starting to annoy his allies. Meanwhile “Brandon was also infuriating the Tribe”, and Papa Hantz tried to bully Coach. Edna did some scrambling, but still was sent to Redemption (Non) Island, where Jeff told us that “Ozzy lies in wait.”

- Night Vision Recap at Te Tuna camp: the Final Five celebrated because they did what they said they were going to do, stick together to the end. As we watched them hold hands and pray together, we heard Coach say that the real game begins tonight, and now it was “every cat for themselves."

- The next morning, Coach and Sophie were chatting over what appeared to be morning coffee, when we saw Albert get up and start working on the rest of the Tribe. But all I could notice was that Albert was sleeping in his blue sweater. There goes my theory that it stayed immaculately clean so that he could wear it to Tribal Council. Albert says that he likes Rick the least, but since he’s also the least dangerous, he wants him there at the end since he will be easy to beat. Ideally, he wants to be sitting beside Coach and Rick.
- Ozzy and Edna’s Redemption (Non) Island Duel was a multi-layered challenge that saw them first have to solve a slide puzzle which would release a hatchet, then use the hatchet to chop a rope that would release a bag containing coloured puzzle cubes. After that it was essentially just a version of Instant Insanity, where they would have to arrange the cubes so that all 4 colours were on all 4 sides, with no repeated colours.

Ozzy finished the slide puzzle first, and when Edna was having trouble, Albert started giving her directions on what to do. I’m not sure if it actually helped her, nor am I sure that she should have been listening to him, since he was referring to a hatchet as a machete. When she finally caught up to Ozzy on the final stage of the puzzle, all 5 Upolu members were trying to help her, as Jeff constantly reminded us that they were “the same people that voted Edna out.”

Johnny Blue Shirt then told us “this would be a major upset if Edna defeated Ozzy.” Why would it be an upset? At the point he said it, it was essentially 6 on 1, wasn’t it? Isn’t it more of an upset if Ozzy wins at this point?
Of course, Ozzy ended up winning once again, ensuring that CBS gets their show pony in the Finale once again. I have to point out what a terrible, terrible decision it was to show that footage last week in the preview where Edna appears to win, because anyone with half a brain realized at that point that there was NO WAY that she would win if they were showing that a week in advance.

Edna was a good sport on her way out, at least. Instead of getting weepy and trying to keep her buff, she was ready to throw it in the fire, saying ‘this smells so bad that I’m going to be happy to burn it.”

- At Camp, Albert talked about the concept of honour and integrity within the group, and then said “the interesting thing about the honour and integrity card is…in the game of Survivor, I don’t care a single thing about honour and integrity. I really don’t.” I think we all knew that, but it was a sign of things to come for Albert in this episode.

- Sophie pointed out to Coach that Ozzy has spent his days on Redemption (Non) Island making inroads with the Jury members. She astutely pointed out that he’s the last person that really gets to talk to them before they leave, he feeds them, and he comforts them after they get voted out. “Every single Jury Member has gone through “Ozzy’s Pleasure Dome” on the way out.” (On a side note, I think “Ozzy’s Pleasure Dome” was also the name of one of his pre-Survivor soft-core porn movies.)

Sophie then suggests that the smart move would be to send Brandon to Redemption (Non) Island, because it would pit “the two most dangerous players” against each other in a Duel, ensuring that at least one of them is out. Sophie believes that Brandon would definitely win the game, since he is the most trustworthy and godly. I’m not sure I agree with that. I definitely agree that Brandon is the most trustworthy and godly…but a favourite to win the game?

- Albert tells Coach that Sophie is dangerous. Coach disagrees, and thinks Albert is intimidated because Sophie is smarter than him. Brandon enters and in about 15 seconds, Coach is calling him a bully and comparing him to Russell. Coach talking about Russell reminded me of this classic picture from Heroes vs. Villains.
Long story short…Brandon’s feelings are hurt, Coach apologizes, Brandon apologizes, and then they hug it out. Coach seemed annoyed at having to get out of the hammock for the consoling hug. Also, did you notice that everyone was talking strategy while laying down in this episode? What is this, Big Brother??
But man-hug notwithstanding, Coach then told us that “the apple never falls far from the tree. And meeting his father was double confirmation of what I need to do for my next move.” Which was followed by a cheery Brandon offering Coach some coconut, and a message to “Cheer up, man. God’s got everything under control.” I actually felt bad for Brandon seeing this scene for the first time tonight as he watched this episode.

- I’m not even going to bother with breaking down the Immunity Challenge: bright colours, climbing walls, raising flags, winning pizza. What else do you need to know? Brandon wins, gets all Tim Tebow in celebration, and chooses silent Rick as his pizza buddy. (By the way, screw the jet ski delivery, bring back the damn helicopter!)
The only relevant info that came out of the challenge was that Coach felt that divine intervention saved Brandon, and he told us “I’m pissed, but I’m fine with that.”

- During Pizza time, Sophie went to smell the pizza (which regrettably is not code for anything, I’m sorry) and talk strategy, and before we knew it, Brandon had called a family meeting where everyone seemed to be yelling. Albert lied about what he said to Rick, Rick got mad, Albert got defensive, Sophie swore, and Albert just tried to talk louder than everyone else as his defense. Sophie summed up Albert’s new situation by saying “instead of a nice little blindside, he gets to go out looking more pathetic than he’s looked this whole game.”
- Then, just as soon as it happened, everything changed again as Albert was talking to Brandon, who appeared to be hammering a chisel into a piece of wood for some reason. While Albert was trying to plead his case to L’il Hantz, all of a sudden, this look came over Brandon’s face, and he said “I’m not voting you. I just made up my mind.” Then, they held hands and prayed together, and Brandon went a step further and said “if I have to, I’ll give you my Immunity Necklace.”

Brandon then went to Coach and laid out his entire plan to save Albert, including the offer to give him the Immunity Necklace. He told Coach “I know you’ll never vote against me. And I know you’d never do anything or vote any way that you knew that I was going home.” Did anyone else think that Brandon was already halfway down the Erik Reichenbach Hall of Shame at this point?

Coach’s response was a bullshit vague answer of “I need to pray, and I promise you this. I will do whatever God tells me to do.” He then hit the beach and assumed the position. He prayed, and the name came to him. “My soul has never grieved like it does in this moment”, he told us.
- Tribal Council started with this exchange between Jeff Probst and Brandon:

Jeff: “So…the long awaited Tribal council where there are only 5 left, and look at you Brandon, sitting with Immunity. Very powerful spot for you.”
Brandon: “I want to give my Immunity necklace up.”

Nothing like getting the big elephant in the room out of the way as soon as possible, huh Brandon? Why not just give it up at the end of Tribal Council and see what happens? Handing it over right away and laying out the plan was absurd. But then again, Brandon has never really done anything that’s in the best interest of his overall game. The shocked looks all around were something to see, weren’t they?

Brandon then told a story about what his life was like when he was in a gang, and as much as I’ve given him a really hard time this season (and justifiably so), this story resonated with me because I could see how much he wanted and craved for someone he was loyal to, to actually give back to him in the way he gave to the ones he cared about. He talked about “people taking my loyalty for…what they wanted to use it for, and then leaving me hanging.” At that moment, I said, out loud: “If Coach votes for him after hearing that…he’s a scumbag.”

Sophie’s rolled her eyes, Rick said something inconsequential, Coach has the Idol, and Jeff suggested the option that Albert give the Immunity Necklace back to Brandon. Albert said he would “if I realistically believe that he’s in trouble”, which means “no friggin’ chance, Blue Shirt.” I can’t even argue this, because the only thing dumber than giving the Immunity Necklace away, is giving it back when you know you need it. (By the way, no blue sweater for Albert this time, must be because he slept in it.)

The votes were counted, and how alarming is it when the quietest guy on the show says the smartest words of the episode (“Dumb Move”)? Coach did end up voting for Brandon, and solidified his stance as a scumbag in my eyes. Not because he voted for Brandon, but because he voted for Brandon after all of his high and mighty “honour and integrity” talk. Just when I thought we were indeed seeing a new Coach, I was wrong. Same guy, same dirt, same lies.
And his words to Brandon were hollow: “It’s God’s will. Go win Redemption.” Here’s my question, if everything is in God’s hands, and He’s deciding everything…why do we even have a Jury? Why not just wait for a sign, like a piece of toast that looks like Sophie or something?

- I never thought I’d say this, but I really want Brandon to win the Final Duel on Sunday, and see what happens when he returns to the game. The Finale should be good, regardless of who wins the Duel.

This Sunday: The 3-Hour Season Finale and Live Reunion Show

One note about this Sunday’s Season Finale. What I’m planning to do is to watch the 2-hour Finale as it happens, and then once the winner is announced, work on my recap so that it is up within an hour of the show ending, as it usually is. So, if it all works out, it will be up right around the time the Reunion Show is ending.

Make sure you bookmark and come back then, because I’m hoping it will be up…and if it’s not, it will be posted shortly after. Then, after it’s posted, I’m going to go back and watch the Reunion Show, and write an addendum on the end of the recap afterwards.

Survivor Fans, please feel free to bookmark the site or add your name as a Follower on the sidebar to the left. You can also add me on Facebook or Twitter, where I post all of the recaps as soon as they go up. I’m learning the power of Twitter, as some of the Survivor cast has been retweeting my recaps, so please feel free to share a link to this page if you feel like recommending it to others.

Don’t forget to mouse over the pictures for captions, and please leave a Comment in the Comments section if you’re so inclined.

Thanks for reading.

Survivor South Pacific Recap: December 14, 2011

This week’s episode of Survivor finds the Upolu 5 with no one else left to eliminate but each other. Will Brandon’s erratic behavior finally catch up with him? Will Coach be forced to use his Hidden Immunity Idol? And will the Duel between Ozzy and Edna actually be as dramatic as last week’s preview would lead us to believe?

My recap should be up by 10:00 pm ET. Make sure to check back.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Amazing Race Recap: "Racing To The Finish Line In Atlanta"

I’m still annoyed about last week’s Cab Collusion, as were many of you (43 comments for last week’s recap!), but it’s time to move on and focus on the Season Finale of The Amazing Race. Will Jeremy and Sandy be able to pull out a win? Can Amani and Marcus be victorious in their own personal Super Bowl? Or will anyone (including me) who used the hashtag #AnyoneButCindy on Twitter today be eating crow?

My Random Thoughts:

- From Panama, the three teams (who were only separated by a total of two minutes) discovered that they would have to travel to Atlanta, their final destination, and make their way to Flight Safety International, where they would find their next clue.

- Jeremy and Sandy said that they have to be perfect this last leg, and have a good shot to win it. Ernie and Cindy said that the race is the ultimate “pre-marital counseling,” and that it has been a strong bonding experience, and Marcus and Amani, upon learning that the final destination was their home town of Atlanta, fist-pumped and said that they had “home field advantage.” (Not so fast…remember Tara and Wil in Season 2 in San Francisco?)
- In Atlanta, Cindy tried to jump the cab line, promising to pay the driver “lots of money”, and Sandy made the wise move of telling their cab driver specifically NOT to tell the other cab drivers where they were going. Don’t even get me started…

- When they arrived at Flight Safety International, they found out that they would have to enter a Learjet Flight Simulator, and successfully land the aircraft from 25,000 feet. In short, it was the best video game ever, and somewhere, Ron and Bill cursed that they didn’t make the Final Leg of the Race.

- Captain Jeremy and Co-Pilot Sandy did it on the first try, but both of the other teams had trouble. Cindy told Ernie “let’s get it right the first time”, but then was too concerned barking orders at Ernie to remember her job as co-pilot to maintain an air speed of 135 mph. Instead, she dropped their plane out of the sky and they had to start over. Lesson: Yelling instructions at your teammate might kill you.
Amani and Marcus had a really tough time with it. On the first try, they landed but crashed; on the 2nd try, they tried to taxi while still in the air, and on the third through sixth tries, they kept skidding off the runway after landing. Marcus tried to use the analogy that he was open in the End Zone and dropped the pass, but if I may give a more apt analogy, he was wide open in the End Zone…in the Super Bowl…with nobody near him…and the Quarterback threw 6 passes right at him…and he dropped them all…in his home stadium. That seems about right.

At this point, it was a two-team race. And Marcus should never own a Wii.

- After the flight simulator, teams were instructed to “find the former residence known as ‘The Dump”, which was Margaret Mitchell’s home, where she wrote Gone With The Wind. Neither cab driver knows what “The Dump” is, so they take 2 entirely different strategies.

Ernie and Cindy borrowed their cab driver’s phone and called somewhere, and figured out the location. I’m wondering where they called…is there an ‘All About Atlanta’ hotline or something? Do you just call the operator? Maybe the library?

Jeremy and Sandy, meanwhile, took a completely different approach, instructing their cab driver to “take us to an intersection where we can ask somebody.” Really? This is the strategy you want to implement on the final leg where the million dollars is actually on the line? They find some random guy in a truck, who instructed them to go to “the old Home Depot store.”

- In their respective cabs, both teams talked about how stressful the race has been. Cindy continued her elitist ways, saying that it would be like “losing to the C student when we’re the A+ student”, while Sandy said that “I have to get on Priolsec when I get home.” You know what that means…next season, one of the prizes for winning a leg will a 6-month supply of Prilosec (for all the GERD caused by the Race!)
- Personally, I was shocked that when Jeremy and Sandy got to the furniture store, it was actually called ‘The Dump.' After running around the entire store, they finally asked themselves “are we idiots and in the wrong spot?” They then borrowed a smartphone and figured it out.

- At Margaret Mitchell’s house, the Road Block asked teams “Who gives a damn?”, and required one member to type out their next clue in the very room where Gone With The Wind was written. They would have to do it on an old-school Remington 3 typewriter which was missing the number ‘1’, and teams would have to figure out that they needed to replace it with a lower-case ‘l’. Is it just me, and the fact that I write a lot…or was that pretty easy to figure out? Seems like the actual typing without making a mistake was more difficult.
Cindy was mad that she didn’t choose to do it, because she types “ten times faster” than Ernie. But in essence, speed was a non-issue here. The passage they had to type was only 2 or 3 lines long. But she still kept telling us as many ways as possible that she should have done it. Ernie eventually figured it out after a few incorrect tries.

- Ernie and Cindy completed the Road Block first, and then had to decipher that the numbers on their clue: 44-715-74 were all related to Hank Aaron (uniform number, home run record total, and year he broke the record), which would lead them to Turner Field.

Ernie and Cindy wondered if the numbers were highway exits, and then went to a hotel, where Cindy asked "is there an internet we can use?” as if it were an actual material object she could borrow. The clerk behind the counter then logged them in to the hotel computer, and let them come behind the counter to use it (how many of you were wishing along with me that someone would try to check in at that point at that counter?) He was very helpful, and said that even though they shouldn’t be allowed back there, he would let them “just for this time.” That basically means “you have a TV crew and I’m going to be on TV. You can do whatever you want.”

After Sandy completed the typing Roadblock—commenting that the Remington sure wasn’t a Mac—they looked at the numbers and said “we need to Google it.” Yep, no more depending on random guys in trucks to help you.

- At Turner Field, the teams were greeted with a massive mental map challenge, that they would have to complete with no notes. On the giant map of the world, they would have to climb up via rope, and successfully map out the entire race, passing a red rope through carabiners that were situated on certain countries. (For the record, the correct order was: Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand, Malawi, Denmark, Belgium, Panama, USA.)

- Cindy looked at the giant contraption and exclaimed “Holy bananas”, which is so much better than last week’s “Holy balls.” Then, she and Ernie got it on the first try, which didn’t surprise me at all, because I’m sure they studied world geography before the Race…or at least bought an Atlas. They were done before Jeremy and Sandy had even arrived.
I know some people will say that this was a relatively easy final task compared to some of the extensive memory challenges from past seasons, but I didn’t have a problem with it. The only suggestion I would have made would have been that if you made a mistake, you had to start again. When Jeremy and Sandy missed Indonesia, it was just a quick clip into the carabiner to correct it. I think you should have had to re-thread the whole thing. Not that it was an issue…

- After leaving Turner Field, they had to travel by Taxi to the Swan House and the Finish Line. Ernie and Cindy’s cab kept having to recalaculate the GPS, and even though it was edited to make us believe that Jeremy and Sandy were close, it was certain that Ernie and Cindy would win.
- And win they did, with one last “Oh My Gaaaaad!” as they opened the gate and saw the Finish Line, Cindy and Ernie took home the one million dollar prize, which they then exclaimed vaguely that they were going to use to “multiply the million and help those in need.”

Ernie said that his parents are probably “passed out in disbelief”, while Cindy said that her parents would have expected her to win. “My parents definitely have an expectation for me to be perfect,” she told us, before also adding that the Race is worth more than a million dollars. Easy to say now that you’ve won. The whole Race, she specified that it was about the prize, not the experience.

- Jeremy and Sandy finished 2nd, and talked about how they learned how to communicate better with each other, and how they will now have a stronger relationship because of the Race. Amani and Marcus finished 3rd, and Marcus promised to never become a pilot, while Amani essentially told her kids that she really loves them, but they should never slam doors in the house. One final NFL analogy from Marcus tells us that he thinks Amani is smarter than any Quarterback, and tougher than any Linebacker. (Awww)

- Look, I gave Ernie and Cindy a really hard time over the course of this Race…well, mostly Cindy…but I give them a lot of credit. They ran the best Race overall, and deserved to win. Just because I didn’t like them or want them to win, doesn’t change my opinion on that. I respect what they did and congratulate them on the win.

I still think that they should have been penalized for not having tickets on that train ride back in Brussels, but who knows if that even would have eliminated them on that leg? I still maintain that it was theft, and opens a tricky door for TAR to deal with in future seasons, but no one can say if that would have had an overall effect on the Race as a whole.

- Speaking of future seasons, one final note: Season 20 of the Amazing Race is currently filming right now. I generally don’t put spoilers on here, but I’ll put something in the Comments section regarding a location and a team, for those of you who are interested.

That's going to do it for another season of the Amazing Race, but I hope you'll bookmark the site or add your name as a Follower on the sidebar to the left for when it returns next season. If you're a fan of Survivor, make sure to check for my Finale recap next Sunday, December 18th. I hope to see you back here, even when The Amazing Race is not on.

Remember that you can also add me on Facebook or Twitter, where I post all of my recaps (and other Random Thoughts) as soon as they go up. Don’t forget to mouse over the pictures for captions, and please leave a Comment in the Comments section if you’re so inclined.

Thanks for reading this season.

(Photo Credits: Reality Fan Forum, CBS)

Amazing Race Recap: December 11, 2011

I’m still annoyed about last week’s Cab Collusion, as were many of you (43 comments for last week’s recap!), but it’s time to move on and focus on the Season Finale of The Amazing Race. Will Jeremy and Sandy be able to pull out a win? Can Amani and Marcus win their own personal Super Bowl? Or will anyone (including me) who used the hashtag #AnyoneButCindy on Twitter today be eating crow?

My Season Finale recap should be up by 10:00 pm ET. Make sure to check back.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Survivor South Pacific Recap: “The Second-Class Citizen Fights Back”

It's that time again,'s the Dreaded Loved Ones Episode. Will Brandon be getting a visit from Uncle Russell? Can Cochran upset Ozzy in the Redemption (Non) Island Duel? And just how awesome is the new Sprint EVO 3D?

My Random Thoughts:

- Previously on…Survivor. A random conversation on the first night evolved into a Final Five pact between Coach, Brandon, Albert, Sophie, and some guy with a moustache I’ve never seen before. Edna was then added as the 6th, and Cochran was later added as 7th. Brandon can’t keep his mouth shut and infuriated his allies by revealing the Final 5 plan, and as Jeff ominously told us “Cochran heads to Redemption Island, and Edna has to figure out a way to stay in the game.”

- Night Vision Recap at Redemption (Non) Island: Cochran makes his 73rd “drank the Kool-Aid” reference, and says that, in retrospect, flipping wasn’t a great move because Upolu used him. Then he and Ozzy talked about whether he had a chance to win in their impending Duel, and made a ‘sort-of’ pact to vote for each other in the event one of them made the final. Did anyone else notice that as they were laying there in the shelter, even though Ozzy was on his side, and Cochran was on his back with his arms crossed, it looked like Ozzy had his arm slung over Cochran like they were snuggling?
- The next morning, Rick is toasting his sock as Brandon prepared everyone for the Te Tuna morning prayer. Edna decided this was the time to have a hissy fit, and apparently threw on her business suit in an attempt to be taken more seriously. She excused herself and went off to cry, because she was “not part of Tribe.” As the other five prayed in the smoke of the fire, Edna told us that she feels treated like a second class citizen.

She tried to talk to Coach about it, who responded by telling her that “everybody gets deceived.” She was trying to plead her case when raccoon-eye Brandon started hollering about Sprint Tree Mail. She did, however, get one final spectacular burn in, saying that she didn’t want “a nineteen-year-old high school dropout who’s advertised that he’s crazy to dictate to me the direction of my own destiny here.”
- Regular readers will know how much I hate the Dreaded Loved Ones episode, so I won’t give this all too much space, other than to say that the Sony EVO 3D looks awesome! (that’s how we’re supposed to feel after this episode, right?) Here’s the summary: Brandon says that he wants to cry before he even turns the phone on, Rick’s wife calls him “Ricky” (and since his last name is Nelson, do you think he gets asked to sing ‘Helly Mary Lou’ at karaoke?), Sophie’s Dad didn’t think she would get this far, and the EVO screen looked like the only feature it didn’t have was the ability to wipe beads of water off of the screen…or were those Brandon’s tears?

- But wait, before any of you get to see your loved ones, it’s time for the Redemption (Non) Island Duel, another rehash where you had to use a grappling hook to get 3 bags, then get a ball, and use it to solve a table maze. Sure, it was another former challenge, but in my mind, anything with grappling hooks is always awesome. Star Wars, Batman, Deadliest Catch…see what I mean?
Ozzy got his 3 bags quickly, while Cochran looked out of place throwing his hook, which was accentuated by the springing sound effects that were inserted. The rest of the Tribe was encouraging Cochran, but it looked like Ozzy was too far ahead. Then, suddenly, Cochran made a rush, and Ozzy’s ball fell through a hole and he had to start over.

It was neck and neck as they both worked their way through the maze, and even though Brandon yelled for Cochran to “take your time” at least 15 times, in the end, Ozzy pulled out a narrow win, eliminating my pick to win it all.

Cochran then gushed as he was leaving, and Jeff pumped him up talking about how he’s a new man after what he dealt with in the game. Enough with the sugar-coated goodbye speeches, bring back ‘the old torch snuff and hit the bricks.’ No offense, Cochran.

I did notice, however, that the Buff Burning Urn was unlit at the beginning of the Duel. Does anyone else find that odd? Are you telling me that after the Duel (or (Non) Duel) is over, someone comes out with a BBQ lighter and fires it up just to burn the Buff? Do the players have to wait until the fire gets hot enough? Wouldn’t it be a good twist to have the Duel be “Here’s a flint. Go light that urn?”
- Then Jeffy brought out the loved ones: Sophie’s dad Thurston (who got an order for Reese’s peanut butter cups at the airport and fresh made banana bread), Edna’s sister Debbie, Coach’s brother Pete (who I imagine has a T-shirt that says ‘Brother of the Dragon Slayer’), Rick’s wife Katie (who Rick helped himself to a double ass-grab from), Albert’s mom Annie, and Brandon’s dad Sean (who was embarrassingly introduced as 'Russell Hantz’s brother').

Actual conversation between my girlfriend Devena and I upon seeing Sean Hantz:

Devena: “He’s better looking than Russell.”
Sean: “Who isn’t?”

The twist was that only 3 of the 6 loved ones would get to visit, and as the winner of the duel, Ozzy would get to decide. He chose Albert, Coach, and Brandon, and the other 3 got the Probst send-off “I’ve got nothing for you, head back to camp.”

- So the loved ones got to visit at Redemption (Non) Island with Ozzy, where they seemingly ate all of Ozzy’s fruit, and took spiffy pictures with the EVO 3D (from Sprint!) Do you think Ozzy should have received a visit from a Loved One, too? Or since he’s on Redemption (Non) Island, is that still considered ‘out of the game’ in terms of who they bring in? Frankly, I don’t care. I hate the whole concept of the visits anyways.

Coach made a deal with Ozzy to go together to the Final Three, and he swore on it “as a Christian man.” We then learned that if Coach says “as a Christian man”, then it is an irrevocable promise. Other than that, anything he says might be total horseshit. I guess it’s his own version of Simon Says.

Then Brandon’s Dad--um, I mean, Russell’s brother—explained to Brandon that even though he is trying to be a good person and do the right thing, he still needs to understand that he is “here to do a job”, and that he needs to open his mind to potentially do other things to get to the end. Brandon says no, and then Papa Hantz plays the ‘guilt in the name of God’ card, saying that God wants him to win so that it puts their family in a good position. I think it’s safe to say that Sean Hantz won’t be winning any ‘Father of the Year’ awards anytime soon. No wonder this kid is screwed up.

I did, however, have a laugh at Brandon’s response, saying that “our lives have been planned out since we were born, bro?” Who the hell calls your dad ‘bro’????

- The Immunity challenge was painfully boring, as the 6 remaining castaways played life-size Othello on a giant Fruit Ninja-esque pineapple board. Coach won easily, but the big story was Brandon putting his foot in his mouth again, gloating after being eliminated that he did his job, not allowing Edna to win. Kind of like a sacrifice fly, huh Brandon? Except that no one ever comes back to the dugout and brags about increasing the pitcher’s ERA.
- Edna scrambled at camp, and I’m not going to get into everything that happened, because it was all wasted time, since Edna was eventually eliminated. She was making a pretty solid argument to keep her over Brandon, and I thought she was making headway, but after Brandon apologized to her, and she (correctly) branded it as insincere, she dropped this nugget: “It’s like beating your wife and then apologizing or buying her a diamond necklace.”


Ok, Edna…just back away from the ‘what makes a good sound bite’ textbook and repeat after me: “Domestic Violence is never a good topic to joke about.”
Edna asked for the Idol. Coach said no. Edna went to Albert. He asked if Coach was on board. She said yes. He wasn’t sure, so Edna offered to eat a piece of Coach’s feces to prove it.

Please, please, please, for the love of GOD tell me that confused you as much as it confused me.

- At Tribal Council, it was Edna vs. Brandon, and even though we were led to believe that there was a chance Edna would stay, it never happened. And after an awkward lingering hug from Coach, she went off to Redemption (Non) Island where she promptly woke up Ozzy.

Next week: Upolu Infighting and Edna Duels Ozzy.

Don't forget to listen to my guest appearance on David and Nicole's Survivor Podcast from last week, where we spent a lot of time breaking down this season, and who has a chance to win the whole thing.

Survivor Fans, please feel free to bookmark the site or add your name as a Follower on the sidebar to the left. You can also add me on Facebook or Twitter, where I post all of the recaps as soon as they go up. I’m learning the power of Twitter, as some of the Survivor cast has been retweeting my recaps, so please feel free to share a link to this page if you feel like recommending it to others.

Don’t forget to mouse over the pictures for captions, and please leave a Comment in the Comments section if you’re so inclined.

Thanks for reading.

Survivor South Pacific Recap: December 7, 2011

Tonight's episode of Survivor is entitled "Ticking Time Bomb", and is teased on the CBS website as follows: A relative crosses the line during the emotional family reunion, and an unlikely secret alliance threatens the pecking order of the Te Tuna tribe.

That's right,'s the Dreaded Loved Ones Episode. Will Brandon be getting a visit from Uncle Russell? Can Cochran upset Ozzy in the Redemption (Non) Island Duel? And just how awesome is the new Sprint EVO?

My recap should be up by 10:00 pm ET. Make sure to check back.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Amazing Race Recap: “Cab Collusion In Panama”

There are only four teams left on the Amazing Race, and after tonight's episode in Panama, the Final Three will be set. Will Sandy be able to conquer her fear of heights? Will Cindy continue to hate my recaps? (True story) And what effect will the local taxi drivers have on the outcome?

My Random Thoughts:

- As I predicted in last week’s recap, this episode started with Andy and Tommy online at the Ford website customizing the Mustangs that they won on the last leg of the Race. I’ve expressed my frustration with the constant ad placement we see on shows like TAR, Survivor, and Big Brother, but I was reading last week that Jeff Probst addressed it, saying that since so many people use a Tivo or DVR, and zip past the commercials, advertisers are more apt to place the products in the episodes now. We’d better get used to it, it’s only going to get worse.

- The final task in Belgium had teams dressing up like the hapless detectives from the comic strip Tintin, and trying to find out who they were. The costumes were rather entertaining, and I thought it was hilarious that people who already had moustaches, had to wear a second one overtop.

Sandy asked Jeremy, “Do you like me as a man?” and Jeremy responded that he did…which then transitioned into the obvious comment from Ernie, smiling at Cindy and saying “Nice moustache.”

Also, for the record, I have to think that wandering around the streets of Belgium at 3 am in suits, hats, and fake moustaches with a camera crew and asking locals in front of a Pizza Hut, “Are you into comics” would usually result in some sort of arrest.

- After they got their next clue from a remarkably lifelike Tintin, the teams were all off to Panama, where they proceeded to yell “Rapido” and “Andale” to every person they encountered. Marcus was given some “bad luck rocks”, which he had earmarked for Andy and Tommy, but since he forgot to give them to Team Snowboard, he just chucked them out the window.

And Yes Marcus, we get it: this leg is the Conference Championship, and if you win, you’re going to the Super Bowl. Yawn.
- After a train ride, a plane ride, and a cab ride, teams now had to board a boat and speed up a river in the pitch black of night. “Homey’s drivin’ by the stars right now,” the always affable Tommy told us. When they reached their destination, they would have to sign up for morning tattoo appointments, which were staggered by 20 minutes.

Here’s what I don’t get. It’s ok to drive at this hour of the night, it’s ok to race up a river in the middle of the night, and it’s ok for a musical welcoming party to be there in the middle of the night, so why make teams wait until the morning to have their tattoos done? Is it just so that the daylight makes for better TV viewing? And why wasn’t there 20 minutes between the 3rd and 4th appointments? Why was it 7:00, 7:20, 7:40, and 7:40? Why wasn’t the last one for 8:00?

- Andy and Tommy were talking once again about how much they were loving the experience of the Race, and the thrill of experiencing another culture. And the other teams were talking about how the Snowboarders were so strong. Only 20 minutes in, and with all the talk of Andy and Tommy winning 6 legs, I was worried this would be the last of them.

- The tattoos that the teams received said San Francisco Bay, meaning they were to now head to the San Francisco Bay Towers, despite the fact that I was really hoping Cindy would misinterpret the clue and hop a flight back to the U.S. There, they were faced with a Roadblock where one member would have to walk a tightrope between the towers 35 stories high, get a clue, and walk back.

Well, I say “one member”, but based on who had already performed previous Roadblocks, the clue specified that “Andy, Sandy, Cindy, and Amani MUST perform the Roadblock.”
- That was less than ideal for Sandy , who is afraid of heights. But she powered through it and got it done despite her fears. I was really impressed with that, because in the past, we’ve seen Sandy get dramatically frustrated at tasks, holding her head in her hands and making statements like “we’re done”, “we’re screwed”, or “we’re out”, but here, she just sucked it up and did it. Well done, Sandy.

- Cindy’s response to the tightrope was “Holy Balls”, which would have been a lot funnier coming from Ernie, and as she was crossing the rope, she kept saying in her grating Chicago accent “Oh my gaaaaaaaad!” Even when she completed it and they were down on the ground again, she looked up and said “Oh my gaaaaaad, is that where I just was?”

- Amani got through the tightrope by picturing her kids at the end, knowing that they would see them soon, and Andy breezed through it, giving Tommy a “low-five” at the turn.
- The next clue would send the teams to a Panamanian Sno-Cone cart at the statue of Ferdinand De Lesseps. Since it was located beneath a rooster, every team tried to communicate this to their cab drivers by saying “cock-a-doodle-doo.” Yes folks, the language of farm animals is universal.

- The next challenge was a Detour, which gave teams the opportunity to work in two of Panama's oldest trades: Filet or Sole? In Filet, teams would visit the largest fish market in Panama, and deliver exact amounts of seafood to different vendors scattered throughout the market. In Sole, working with a single piece of leather for the sole and straps, teams would have to make one pair of sandals.

- Three of the teams chose Sole, and Amani and Marcus’ cab driver tried to make it all four by taking them to the wrong place. Apparently there was a Cab Driver Pow-Wow, and the taxis were working together, despite directions from the teams to the contrary.

The task was relatively easy for all three teams, but my favourite moment was when Ernie and Cindy were done, and the judge was coming over to check. Cindy asked him, “Bueno?”, as if he didn’t know why he was coming over, and he threw a hand up in her face before telling her it wasn’t good enough.

- Amani and Marcus were the only team that chose Filet, and soon learned that they had to transport all of the fish by hand. I can’t decide if that would have smelled better or worse than having to work with Panamian feet in the other part.
And weren’t we all expecting Marcus, at some point with a giant armful of fish, to tell us that this reminded him of playing the Miami Dolphins?

- Now, teams had to go to the public dance at Cathedral Square, and figure out that the Pit Stop (Panama Viejo) was on one of the dresses, and one of the bronze plates. Between Andy and Tommy gawking up close, Sandy on her knees pointing at a woman’s crotch, and Marcus wiping sweat off of one of the dancers (imagine how bad that smelled after just coming from the fish market), it appeared to be an overall violation of the dancers’ personal space.

Andy and Tommy deduced that the Pit Stop destination was Balboa, but they were wrong. Their cab driver took them to the Panama Canal for some reason, and then another cab took them to the Balboa statue on Balboa Avenue, which was wrong again. How bad is your cab driver, when you tell him you want to go to “Balboa” and even though there is a BALBOA STATUE ON BALBOA AVENUE, he still takes you to the Panama Canal?

- Ernie and Cindy and Amani and Macus both thought the answer was Balboa as well, so they left in their cabs, while Jeremy and Sandy sketched a picture of the building from the bronze necklace, and went to ask their cab driver if he recognized it. As they were leaving, Sandy reverted back to her over-dramatic ways, saying “if that’s not it, we’re done.” Lo and behold, their cab driver knew it was the Panama Viejo.
- Cindy told their cab driver not to communicate with the other driver, yelling at him “Don’t tell him! We have to win!” Interesting juxtaposition between Cindy and Sandy, who earlier in the episode, expressed that they don’t need to come first…they just don’t want to come fourth.

- So, to recap, Jeremy and Sandy are on the way to the Pit Stop, Team NFL is on the way to the wrong place, Team Cindy-Controls-Ernie is on their way to the wrong place, and Team Snowboard is presumably on their way back to Cathedral Square to figure out what they missed.

And here’s where the shit hit the fan for me, because the three cab drivers (not the snowboarders cab) started communicating with each other, and Jeremy and Sandy’s cab driver told the other two that they need to go to the Panama Viejo.

So, in essence, two teams that didn’t figure out where the Pit Stop was, then had their cab driver decide to take them to someplace other than where he was instructed to, and reaped the benefits of Jeremy and Sandy figuring it out. Cindy doesn’t want her cab driver sharing information, but she’s only too happy to take it. Shameful.

I can’t even begin to explain how angry I am about this. I know many people feel the same, so I look forward to the Comments section this week.

- I would have been even angrier if Jeremy and Sandy hadn’t won this leg, since they were the ones who solved the final clue. Good for them on their first win, where they received a trip to Turks and Caicos.

Was anyone else as outraged as I was at Cindy’s insincere “I’m so happy for you guys” at the Pit Stop mat? I wanted some Panamanian children to come out of the bushes and start randomly punching and kicking her in her already-bruised legs.

- Amani and Marcus finished in third, setting up the Season Finale, and all three teams did a “we beat the boys” celebration while Stringer Bell did an ass-slapping dance and launched into a self-congratulatory speech about David and Goliath.


You just lucked into the answer from another cab driver. Period.

- Andy and Tommy were eliminated, which is unfortunate, because they were the best team by far this season. I’m not sure they would have been back in time to survive anyways, but cab collusion is a pretty brutal way to go out.
I loved their attitude, and I have to point out once again that Andy and Tommy always talked about the race as an experience, and were never upset at not winning prizes, even when they lost out on first place. The raced with class, and they went out with class.

Next Week: The teams head to Atlanta for the Season Finale.
(I'm rooting for Jeremy and Sandy)

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