Monthly Archives: April 2011

‘Let’s do it!’

I can’t name another season of Survivor that I loved watching pre merge and hated pretty much all the post merge episodes so far. Or one that now has so many storylines, none of which pick my interest at all. Or one in which all my favorites went home two or three episodes after I’ve started rooting for them. Personally, I’m ready to wrap Survivor: Redemption Island and move on.

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God’s not done with you!

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First order of business: saying goodbye to the awesome Julie. After losing the more than pathetic three way duel, she became the second member of the Jury. I have to ask…Survivor shuffleboard as a duel? Yes, that is great challenge to watch when the contestants are playing for a harmless Reward, but when your life in the game depends on it, it’s sort of lame.

A few words about Matt, who again stayed alive yet again: I can’t stand him. I just can’t. Props to him for not quitting though; at one point I really thought he would throw in the towel.

Wasn’t it weird Philip had found his shorts? I’m guessing it was more luck than his great grandfather, but you never know.

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Roll it, baby!

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The Immunity Challenge was entertaining, though I really wasn’t rooting for anyone. Grant, Philip, Ralph and Ashley moved on to the next round. Grant and Ralph made it to the final round, which Grant ultimately won.

I really missed the Reward Challenges and I was happy this week we got to see one.  But what was surprising to the players was a Mystery Package Jeff told them to bring at Tribal. I immediately thought of the mystery bottle in Survivor: Cook Islands. To this day I can remember what the piece of paper inside of it said: You have just voted out a member of your tribe. You will now vote out another. I never saw that coming then and completely freaked out. This time around – meh. I guess I would have reacted better, had I cared enough about at least one of the remaining players.

This season’s mystery package was somehow different, though: it announced the players would have an Immunity challenge before the second elimination. After Ralph was, unsurprisingly, voted out each contestant was given a set of cards and shown a sequence of images which they had to remember and then replicate. Whoever missed one was out.

The best part of the entire Tribal Council segment was Julie’s comment. ‘Steve’s gonna win’, she said smiling. I thought he had no chance, but in the end it came down to him, Rob and Ashley. Still, it was Rob who took home the prize and with the help of his alliance of brainwashed people, he sent the last Zapatera member to Redemption Island. I’ve always liked the Zapatera tribe more, so seeing Steve go was not that pleasant – even though I never liked him.

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Thoughts

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Ihave to say, could the Redemption Island twist have turned out any worst? I understood the three way Duel, but a four way one? Redemption Island was supposed to be a place where one person lived in solitary until someone came and challenged him to a Duel. Yet there they are, half of the once powerful Zapatera Six and Matt, having a pajama party.

So now there are only six people left in the real game. My prediction is that Rob will win. Nobody is ever going to vote Philip out (sadly), everyone seems to be keen on getting rid of Andrea and Grant’s a huge physical threat. Ashley is also on Rob’s black list and I can’t imagine anyone being smart enough to make a move and take Rob out. Besides, he still has the Idol. And if he makes it to the Final Three with Philip and Natalie, he’ll win by a landslide. The Zapatera folks aren’t the ones to hold grudges.

Would I be OK with this scenario? I guess. I don’t know. I don’t really care.

As I’ve said, I’ve grown tired of this season with all the Matt drama, Rob dominance and Philip. But do you still enjoy it? Or do you, as me, can’t wait for the regular season, with new players?

‘Beep beep – that’s international language’ :(

I was on the edge of my seat during the first half of last night’s episode of The Amazing Race, all because of Gary and Mallory’s Speed Bump. Would they be able to overcome it or would the final moments of the show be very painful to watch? Turns out, we can have both.

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To measure a country

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After checking out their 2012 Ford Focuses, Zev and Justin left off for the tiny country of Liechtenstein, where the Oompa Loompas live. Well, not really, but the country is only one fifth of New York – pretty small.

Everybody caught the same train and arrived at the Roadblock around the same time. Everybody except Gary and Mallory – they chose one of the two worst cab drivers in the country. On top of that, their Speed Bump occurred right before the Roadblock. Still, I thought that would give them plenty of time to catch up.

For their Speed Bump, Gary and Mallory had to prepare the right mixture of gas and oil to power a motorized bicycle – a solex. Now, just because the task wasn’t to build up a replica of the Eiffel Tower, that doesn’t mean it was easy. I, for one, would have figured out the right combination after about four hours. Fortunately, Captain America and his adorable companion are smarter than I am. They quickly figured it out and went on to perform the Roadblock.

The Roadblock required one member to ride a solex and measure the entire length of Liechtenstein.  A few people managed to get lost on the way: Vyxsin was one. I really wonder why she volunteered to do the task, since a few legs ago she almost got her team eliminated by not being able to read a map. Jen also had some troubles – she lost her map. The other ones were Flight Time and Jet. The difference between them was Justin told Flight Time what the answer was -22 km- and so he was then able to complete the task. Jet, however, got it wrong the first time, after briefly working with Gary. This meant he had to do it all over again. All the other teams finished before him and got on trains to Zermatt, Switzerland.

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Pot of cheese

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The next clue waited at the train station and it was the Detour. In Calcutta, teams had to transport books. In Varanasi, they delivered hay while last leg they moved a huge couch. I actually couldn’t believe it when I saw that the ‘Wheeze’ part of the Detour required to transport 20 pieces of luggage to five hotels. Why are there so many similar tasks?  For the other side of the Detour, ‘Cheese’, teams had to eat a huge quantity of cheese fondue.

Also, a Double U-Turn was to be found at the end of the Detour. That was a little unfair. Since there were no other tasks after the Detour, whoever got U-Turned had no chance whatsoever of catching up.

Zev and Justin and the Sisters arrived first and they both initially chose to eat the cheese. A surprising decision, since neither of them did well with last leg’s food eating challenge. Upon tasting the fondue, though, Kisha and Jen decided to change Detours and went for the luggage. Zev and Justin decided to stick with the cheese.

I don’t know what that fondue tasted like, but it sure didn’t look very appetizing. Justin didn’t like it either, the only reason he stuck with it was for his teammate. As Gary and Mallory, the Goths and the Globes arrived at the train station and all opted to carry the luggage, Justin took a break to puke. I was really afraid he won’t make it, forcing the team to switch, but eventually they finished the task. They then took an electric cab to the Pit Stop, for their fourth first place finish. Soon after, Jen and Kisha checked in second – their best placement so far. I really like the sisters; they ran a quiet, but strong Race and definitely deserve to be in the Final Three.

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Moaning and crying: A sequel.

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Meanwhile, the Cowboys finally arrived in Zermatt and made up quite a lot of time. The third team to finish the Detour (and ultimately arrive at the Pit Stop) was, sadly, Kent and Vyxsin. This week, believe it or not, Kent hit an all time low. Complaining, moaning and crying aside, he actually asked Vyxsin to carry him in the cart they use to transport the luggage. Not to mention he didn’t help at all during the Detour. In fact, what did he do this entire Race? Besides, the only reason they didn’t U-Turn anyone was because they couldn’t, having already used theirs on the Cheerleaders. (Side note: I still miss them.)

Gary and Mallory arrived at the Pit Stop in fourth, where Mallory made Phil, the pit stop lady and I laugh. I’m glad they’re still in it.

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Oh, my gravy!

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This was the last leg for the Cowboys.

This left The Globes and The Cowboys to battle it out for the last place. The Globes made a mistake and lost two of their tickets, which meant they had to transport two extra pieces of luggage. Still, they arrived at the Double U-Turn first. Being the second to last team, what they did was a no-brainer: they U-Turned Jet and Cord.

I knew this was coming ever since the Cowboys went for the luggage, because the clips at the end of last week’s episode showed them eating cheese. I don’t blame Flight Time and Big Easy at all, they had to do it. Still, that didn’t make watching Jet and Cord being eliminated easier.

I know they made a lot of mistakes this time around and didn’t seem much focused at times. But they’re the Cowboys. I can’t help but like them. They were my pick for the Final Three from day one and I’ll miss them.

‘Full throttle of trust’

This week’s episode of Survivor was all about Philip, so naturally it annoyed me beyond limits. On top of that, the sole person I was rooting for got voted out – it wasn’t surprising, just hard to watch.

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Trial? Truel?

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Let me just say this right now: I am sick and tired of Matt. He started out as this nice kid who then won me over by winning all those Duels and making it back into the game. But then he proved he has no idea how to play the game and got himself blindsided for the second time. Ever since, I have had a hard time even seeing him. In this episode, he was worse than ever. I don’t know how much longer I will be able to listen to him praying or saying the word ‘God’.

David arrived to Redemption Island and all three inhabitants speculated what that might mean. Would the next Duel be a truel? Or a trial? Matt suggested it was the last one, but I didn’t know where that came from. Surely you don’t think the producers would let you get back in the game after just one duel…err, truel.

Once again, everybody was invited to witness the Duel. Damn, I meant truel. It would have been more interesting if only two people were allowed to. Had those two people been from the former Zapatera tribe, it may have given them a slight advantage.

I was relieved when Jeff said two people would survive the Duel, because that meant at least one of the former Zapatera would survive. The challenge itself was a re-use, of course, but I loved it. The contenders had to build a house card 8 feet tall. It brought back the memory of Susie winning it without even reaching that mark.

Mike made quick work of his tower, only to struggle with the last tile. His tower looked as if it would collapse numerous times and this gave Matt and David time to catch up. Eventually though, he managed to reach the 8 feet mark and stay alive. I like Mike, so I was happy about this. Unfortunately though, Matt finished soon after, so David became the first jury member. Although I never really rooted for him until last week, Matt has had his chance and he blew it. He should have lost.

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‘Bon appétit!’

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Back at camp, Julie, Steve and Ralph are having a small feast in every meal. They have more than enough rice left and since they know they’ll be going soon, they decide not to starve. Since Rob decided the tribes should have separate shelters and eat separately, this was more than fair.

Philip however, the one who has premonitions and talks with his ancestors, the FORMAL FEDERAL AGENT for God’s sake, had problems with it. So what does he do? He steals some cups of rice from Zapatera’s tin when they’re away.

Karma is a bitch though, because after they came back from seeing the Duel (and after we have been treated with a wonderful song, sung by Rob, Grant, and Philip), Andrea discovered their tin had maggots in it. Philip decides to dump the rice on a blanket in order to separate the maggot. But now they don’t have where to put the rice, so Andrea asks Steve if they could put it in Zapatera’s tin. Steve denied politely, as Julie muttered ‘Bon appétit’.

Again, since both tribes have been divided since they merged, they had every right to do it. I would have done the same thing, even if only to infuriate the ones who are beating me.

Andrea took it well, though. She just said ‘OK, I’m gonna go tell the others’. Guess who took it personally? Yep, Hawk-man. He went nuts and started arguing with Steve in front of everybody. Sorry buddy, but you are the one who stole rice before and now threaten to steal the tin as well.

But that wasn’t enough for him, he had to play the one card he should never have: the race one. Just because Steve called him crazy (which I’m sorry to disappoint, he is), he automatically assumed he was being discriminated.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen an argument this big and this ugly on Survivor before. Alicia’s ‘I’ll always wave my finger in your face’ seems childish compared to this. Philip had no reason to go there though: it’s their tin, they can do whatever they want with it. You have the numbers advantage, shut up and wait until you vote them out, then take the damn tin. At this point, the urge to hit my head against the wall was almost irresistible.

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Puzzle time x2

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The Immunity Challenge this week involved solving not one but two puzzles, yet it still felt rushed. Six castaways would get to the second round, the winner of which would win Immunity. I was hoping they would narrow it down to three people first. Even so, two puzzles for the same challenge… do you think they knew Rob was going to take part in it?

Nobody really had a chance at it. It was clear from the beginning Rob was going to win. Major props to Andrea though; she was in the lead a few times. It was impressive to watch her, though I wanted someone from Zapatera to win it.

Two things I liked about this episode. The first – Mike surviving the Duel.  The second – Julie stealing Philip’s shorts. If somebody who knows her reads this by mistake, please give her a hug from me. She is really awesome.  I remember a secret scene I watched, in which Kristina broke the zipper on his trousers, after Francesca was voted out. I really wish she and Julie had the opportunity to play together.

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Therapy session

Julie was, unfortunately, sent to Redemption Island.

Seeing Philip walk into Tribal Council with nothing but his pink underwear was hilarious and I took great joy in it. Now, am I being mean? Probably, but that guy’s been annoying me for 10 weeks now, so I’m just going to have my laugh. Besides, Philip still had his shirt which he could have taken with him, but he chose not to. So whatever.

Tribal Council was basically just part two of the race issue, so I’m not going to go over it again. I will say that I love listening to Jeff Probst’s assessment of the situation.

So in the end, who was voted out? Julie. For some reason, I am not allowed to have my favorites stay in the game very long. I do hope we’ll see more of Julie though, because she’s awesome.

Who do I root for now? I have no idea. As I’ve said, I thought Andrea’s performance at the challenge (and game play overall since the merge) has been pretty impressive. But the preview clips hinting at an early departure from her…

It does annoy me Philip is still in the game. No matter what he does or say, he never gets voted out. Yes, I get everyone wants to sit near him at the Final Three, but for the viewer in me, it is pure torture having to put up with him every week. And Matt, just hurry up and quit already, so that Julie can win the Duel and stay in the game.

What did you think of this episode? Did you enjoy it more than I did?

‘Biggest blessing in the world’

*Great sigh of relief*

It was nerve wracking to watch last night’s episode of The Amazing Race. The reason being, my favorite team -Gary and Mallory- quickly found themselves at the back of the pack. The eight leg was ultra stressful for them, since it was the same one that previously got them eliminated.

Teams were instructed to fly from Varanasi to Vienna, Austria. Getting tickets shouldn’t be hard, especially if at the travel agency there is a team you can point to and say ‘we want the same thing’. Still, Jet and Cord voluntarily chose a flight that landed almost half an hour later. Although they did know about the earlier option (which had two connections), they didn’t want to take a risk. Now explain to me what is risky about taking the same flight everybody else is on? Wouldn’t you want to be in the same group with everyone else?

Worth noting is also the dating Goths’ dialogue at the travel agency:

K: ’Don’t pinch me.’
V: ’Don’t talk to me.’
K: ’I’ll step on your face, I don’t care.’
V: ’I’ll kick you in the head.’

*Love is in the aaaair…*

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Aah, Austria

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Much to the cowboys’ horror though, the first flight arrived as scheduled, giving the other five teams a thirty minutes advantage. Teams had to make their way to a parking lot and get in a Ford Focus. Using the backup camera, they had to figure out the name of their next destination was written on the ground.

For some reason, Gary and Mallory didn’t understand what they had to do and lost precious time looking at the navigation system. Eventually though, they got it: Schloss Schallburg.

The first to arrive to that castle were Zev and Justin. They got a big book ‘from the chick from Harry Pooter’, chick which Kent thought was a man… a ‘special man’. The book had to be delivered to the National Library, which looked awesome. I am disappointed they didn’t have a challenge there.  Gary and Mallory made up some time here, as The Globes and Goths wandered around.

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Schnitzels

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The Detour this week was a choice between ‘Long, Hard Walk’ and ‘Quick, Easy Meal’, although the names should have been ‘Long, Easy Walk’ and ‘Quick, Hard Meal’. The first one involved transporting a Freudian couch from a museum to a University. The latter one – shoving down inhumane quantities of food in only twelve minutes.

Three teams chose to eat: Zev and Justin, Jen and Kisha and Gary and Mallory, and all three failed to complete the task. I really hoped Gary and Mallory would be able to pull through and they seemed pretty confident as well. But as soon as the timer showed four minutes and their plates were still half full, I knew they wouldn’t be able to make it. Since they arrived at the challenge just as the other two teams were leaving, they fell to last place. This is when I began to panic, though I have to admit: I chuckled when Mallory  said ‘I could just throw up and try again’. Isn’t she adorable?

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‘Walking a couch to some chick’s office when she could have paid somebody to do it herself’

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Meanwhile, the other teams rocked the other side of the Detour; some with more moaning than others. I’m looking at you Kent. They finished the task second, but they completely lost me as a fan in the process. That’s not to say I was their biggest supporter before or I overlooked everything they did last week. But this was just the drop that spilled the cup. ‘Stoooop, stoooop’ and ‘I caaan’t, I caaan’t’ – that’s all we’ve heard during the Detour. Sorry, but I can’t root for such a baby.

At least Kisha and Jen (see quote above) and the Cowboys were hilarious. ‘It might be faster if I could lay on the couch, tell Cord about my feelings and he could push me’ is what Jet said.

After finishing the Detour, teams had to drive to the city of Salzburg, where the Roadblock took place. Of course Kent and Vyxsin had to argue on the way. They’re dating, you know. Not once, from the beginning of the Race did they do something to make me think ‘wow, they really love each other’.

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 ‘Santa Close came through the window’

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The Roadblock was without a doubt the easiest thing teams had to do this season: clean out a chimney. I’ve been praising the challenges ever since Leg One and what do they do now? With four legs to go you throw in such an easy challenge? I was disappointed. Not to say, it wasn’t exactly the type of challenge that would allow Gary and Mallory to catch up.

Flight Time and Big Easy left the Roadblock first, with Zev and Justin right on their tail. The Globes however lost time asking for directions, thus allowing Zev and Justin to win their third leg. The Globes then checked at Villa Trapp in second, followed shortly by the Goths. Jen and Kisha and The Cowboys arrived at the same time soon after.

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Hope springs eternal

Gary and Mallory are still in it!

That meant last place for Gary and Malloy. When they hit the mat, I almost was on the verge of tears. Since this wasn’t a ‘super leg’, I really thought they were out. But there is a God up there and they’re not! What do you know; this was a non elimination leg. Never in my life had I gone from feeling utterly miserable to being in the seventh Heaven so fast.

Sure, Gary and Mallory now have to complete a Speed Bump and they seem to be having taxi problems, but teams have managed to survive similar stuff. Here’s hoping they have a great leg next week! At this point, I am willing to see any other of my favorites go but them. They are awesome. :D

What did you think of this episode? Were you happy Gary and Mallory were spared? Who do you think will be eliminated next week?

‘It’s not even a tribe – it’s a cult’

Unfortunately, I do not have the time to write a full post on last night’s episode of Survivor. Fortunately, I pretty much hated the episode – yes, I hated it. So my usual post would probably have been a huge rant. Instead, here are some random thoughts, presented with the old fashioned bullets.

 

  • I couldn’t help but laugh at Matt’s little ‘speech’ at Redemption Island. If anybody had doubts he’s not the worst player this season, they must have evaporated last night. If he somehow reenters the game again, he will still stick with Ometepe.
  • Immunity Challenge #1 was good. Remember a couple of episodes ago when David stated he’s good at puzzles? Yeah, he lost this Challenge. And to a former NFL Player.  What made the loss more humiliating was that the puzzle was the first one his tribe completed in the first episode.
  • Tribal Council #1: Mike was voted out. Not surprising, considering he was one of the people I liked and almost won the last two challenges. Boston Rob’s not stupid; of course he’ll take out the strongest players first.
  • I was surprised Steve opted not to take part in the second Immunity Challenge; you’d think when you don’t have numbers on Day 24, you would try everything you can to get Immunity – even if it’s not your type of challenge. In the end, Andrea won it. Speaking of Andrea, I hope she’ll make a big move soon, so I can fully root for her.
  • At the second Tribal Council, David was voted out. I didn’t exactly like the guy, but I wasn’t rooting against him either. And he was much more interesting to watch than Steve (and even Ralph). I was sad to see him go, especially after his hilarious quadruple vote for Rob. :D
  • Zapatera tried their best to break the Ometepe alliance – it’s just that Rob is better. I have said it from the beginning and I will say it again: It is extremely unfair that he had already played three times. That gives him loads of experience and it shows. Personally, I’m not enjoying this ‘Rob-domination’. On top of that, I am very annoyed that nobody at Ometepe has a problem with being told what to do, when to do it and how. Come on, you won’t eat the fish just because one guy told you so? What are you, four years old?
  • Philip is by far the most annoying player in the game right now. At both Tribal Councils he went on and on about how Ometepe is such a great team, how he’s got his great-great grandfather give him feathers and how he ‘likes being on the bottom’. Those speeches, coupled with the fact yet another one of my favorites was voted out, was what made me strongly dislike the episode. It annoys me that players like him always make it so far.
  • Judging from the preview clips at the end of the episode, the Ometepe alliance will not be broken anytime soon, which leaves the question: which former Zapatera will be voted out next? My guess is Julie, since she’s the only one I still 100% root for.

 

I am curious… am I the only one who doesn’t like how Rob keeps on dominating? I’m sure this would have been very interesting to watch, had he been playing for the first time. But I just can’t over the huge advantage he was given. What do you all think?

‘The crap you do for a million dollars’

After two long weeks, The Amazing Race finally returned last night with one of the funniest episodes of the season. Sure, since pretty much all other episodes so far have been great, that doesn’t say much. Nevertheless, it was a delight to watch.

Holy City

Teams had to fly from Calcutta to Varanasi, which turned out to be a Holy City with waters that have the powers to wash away ‘the sins of mortals’. Although something tells me she doesn’t need those waters, Mallory was very excited about this.

While everybody rushed to get tickets, Ron and Christina (having already gotten theirs) decided to go eat – Ron’s idea, obviously. Still, they were not the one team that got on a flight arriving an hour later. That honor went to Jet and Cord. It was pretty ironic those tickets were from ‘Jet Airways’.

The meaning of life

Once teams landed, they made their way to a Tonga Station, where the Roadblock took place. Teams had to search for holy men who would give them a piece of paper. When all pieces were put together in the right order, the meaning of life would be revealed. For the record, at some point I thought that sentence was ‘Once you speed up, you can’t slow down’. Isn’t that deep? :P

I’m not sure how I felt about this Roadblock. I mean… another one that involves searching? Last leg they had the cups of tea, then a few legs back the Chinese charms… it seems too crowded.

Jen, Big Easy and Justin all finished quickly. Shortly after that, Jet and Cord arrived. But you know who annoyed me? Kent. He made a deal with Gary to work together, but once they had all the pieces, he completely abandoned him. That was unnecessary and rude and mean. And I have a feeling Kent wasn’t the one to spot those men.  As he said, ‘when in doubt, follow Gary’.

Gary and Mallory left the Roadblock in fifth place, leaving Ron and Christina and Jet and Cord behind. Ron really struggled with the task, though. He wondered way off, which gave Cord plenty of time to surpass him.

Cows & Buffaloes

The Detour was either Feed the Buffalo (transporting a large load of hay) or Feed the Fire (making fuel patties out of manure). Jen and Kisha’s reaction after figuring this out was funny: ‘I’m getting gloves, no worry’.

After a small argument over the size of the patties, they had their judge disapprove of some of them, which resulted in more funny comments from the sisters: ‘Are you serious lady? We trying to feed yo’ kids’. Eventually though, they finished the task.

Apparently not fast enough, since they landed at the Pit Stop in third place. The Globetrotters and Zev and Justin, who chose the other side of the Detour, finished first and second, respectively. They were just ‘running with haaaaay, in the middle of Indiaaaa’.  The teams from the 15th season performed really well this leg, especially Flight Time and Big Easy. Not only they were the funniest so far in this Race, but they also got from last to first. I am impressed.

Déjà-manure-vu

Gary and Mallory also chose the Feed the Fire side. Since, you know, Mallory is used to working with manure. In her season, a Roadblock in Russia involved working with cow manure. The funny thing? She was wearing the same outfit. Awesome. :D

Kent and Vysxin were already there when Gary and Mallory arrived and finished just before them. This meant nothing, since they fell behind so much they almost got eliminated. Karma is a bitch, Kent.

I don’t know what to think of that team. At the beginning of the season, I didn’t like them. Then I started to like them. After that they screwed up big time the first half of the China leg. They U-Turned one of my favorite teams. They sort of made a comeback. And now? They Kent complained the entire leg about how he’s tired and had Vyxsin carry his pack. Vyxsin jumped in the water and pulled back to the shore the water taxi she and Kent hired to take them to the Pit Stop. She and Kent then screamed at each other for no apparent reason. They then screamed at an innocent man to get out of a taxi.

Ronald and Christina were eliminated from The Amazing Race.

The father and daughter are out

Ron and Christina never really had a chance to catch up after Ron screwed up the Roadblock. Although they did take a water taxi (which apparently was faster), they couldn’t catch up with the Goths and were eliminated. They were the only team I wasn’t rooting for so I was actually happy to see them go. Though, Kent and Vyxsin are very close to replacing them; especially with another meltdown coming next episode.

Post Read-a-Thon thoughts

The 24 Read-a-Thon is officially over and although I am saddened by how quickly it flew by, I could definitely use some rest. This was a great experience and I probably had the most fun I had this year so far. I can’t wait to do it again, in October.

Let’s see some stats, shall we?

Pages read: 950

Books finished: 3 and 1/3 of the fourth one

Total time spent reading: I’d say it was 17 hours. Although I did stay up 18 hours, I most likely spent one updating the blog, doing mini challenges and so on.

Mini Challenges completed: 9

  • Introduction meme: It involved answering five questions about yourself
  • Where in the world are you reading: It involved going to Google Maps, finding your location and placing a placemark with your name or name blog or whatever. Although now that I took another look, I realized I managed to place mine in the middle of some sea.
  • Book recommendation: Recommending a book that would spark interesting discussions at a Book Club meeting (+bonus: naming foods that would go with it)
  • Book Trailer: Sharing a book trailer
  • Survey: Fill out a survey about your experience
  • Referral link: Sharing who told you about this, basically
  • Oldies, but goldies: Naming one of your favorite classic books
  • Funny: Sharing something funny
  • Collaborative fiction: Someone would start a story and you had to write one line to continue it.

While I did have fun for the most part, one unfortunate thing that happened was that I had no Internet for some 12 hours, because of a storm. This resulted in me having no one to talk to, no challenges to complete, no connection with everyone else involved. And because of all this, I fell asleep. I slept for about 6 hours and I woke up feeling terribly disappointed and sad. I know I would have been able to stay up and read the entire time, had it not been for the Internet incident.

But you know what? It was still tons of fun, I don’t regret doing it at all. Those organizing it, those hosting mini challenges, ‘the cheerleaders’, all did a great job. The Read-a-Thon was a great way to get away from it all for a little while. And I DID manage to read almost 1000 pages in 17 hours. That’s pretty cool, if you ask me.

Read as if your life depends on it!

You may remember another post I wrote, in which I was briefly talking about my New Year’s Resolutions. One of those is to read 100 books in 2011. Well, after a great first month, I’ve basically stopped reading altogether. I think I finished two more books since then, so I need to do something to get back on track.

I am happy to announce I’ve found the perfect solution: Dewey’s Read-a-Thon. What is this?

For 24 hours, we read books, post to our blogs about our reading, and visit other readers’ blogs. We also participate in mini-challenges throughout the day. It happens twice a year, in April and in October.

 

Is it crazy? Maybe, but it involves completely eliminating sleep from my schedule, reading and writing (i.e., updating this blog on my progress) for 24 hours. That sounds good to me. As I’ve already said, it will also help me get back on track with my readings; the pile of ‘to-be-read’ books is getting dangerously high.

The Read-a-Thon starts on the ninth of April, at 12 PM GMT, which means less than 20 hours from now. I know I postponed writing this for almost a week, but if you want to join in, you can still do it: sign up and get more details from the site. Cancel your weekend plans, run to your local library and grab a bunch of Goosebumps books and start reading.

Alternatively, cheer me on and take on the challenge in October. :D

‘Genius is what that was’

What. An. Episode.

Not only did the merge happen, but we also had two amazing challenges, a lot of strategy talk and a tribe named after Amber’s stuffed animal. What more can you ask from a Survivor episode?

But let’s start with the start.

 

‘The winner of this Duel…’

 

Sarita arrived at Redemption Island and began to tell Matt how awesome everyone back at Zapatera is. Considering she’s talking about the people who just blindsided her, that just about shows how awesome she is herself.

When everybody from both tribes was invited to witness the Duel, it occurred to everyone the merge may be coming. When they arrived at the Arena, they were also informed the winner of the Duel would go back into the game. Sure, we’ve known this for a week now, but all the players were shocked. If Sarita was to reenter the game, she was going to stick with Zapatera. But what would Matt do? Stick with Ometepe or go with Zapatera? Rob in particular was worried about this and rightfully so; he was the one who orchestrated his blindside.

It was only fitting for the ‘Last Duel’ to be an endurance one. The same challenge from Tocantins was used: standing on narrow footholds. Remember Coach falling to the ground and crying because of the pain he was in?

When the Duel started, I was really rooting for both of the contenders. Phillip gave Matt a 15 minute speech about some sort of Samurai Code, which could have been reduced to ‘stay focused’. Meanwhile, Zapatera (especially Julie) kept cheering for Sarita; I loved that. It reminded me of the early seasons of Survivor.  That made me root for Sarita a little more than Matt. So naturally, she had to lose. I was sad to see her go, because she was a genuine, caring person. I wish she’d gone farther. At the same time, I was happy to see Matt win his way back into the game. He fought for it and deserved it.

 

‘We are merged’

 

Jeff then announced the tribes merged into one (which Rob later named Murlonio, after one of Amber’s stuffed animals – how awesome was that?). But that’s not all: Redemption Island Duels start all over again. I’ll admit I did not see that coming and I’m not so sure how I feel about it. If the next player reenters the game when there are (say) seven people left, great. It would bring drama; it will cause power shifts and everything you might want. But if the player enters the game when there are five people left…then they’re basically handed Final Three on a silver plate.

I thought Matt would receive Individual Immunity for the first Tribal Council he goes to, so that he has a chance to get back into the swing of things. I remember that was the case in Pearl Islands, so I was surprised they didn’t do something similar.

After the merge feast and the building of the new shelter, the hunt for Matt was on. Everybody realized he was the swing vote and everybody wanted to win him over. Mike even went as far as promising him Final Four and revealing he has access to an Idol.

To be honest I think Mike made a rushed decision there. Yes, he had to convince Matt to vote with Zapatera, but why wouldn’t you keep the Idol as a last minute resort? If I was in his place, I wouldn’t have brought the Idol up at all. Instead, I would have played it at Tribal Council; that way, the chances of being able to blindside someone from the other tribe would have increased.

 

‘I am impressed’

 

The first challenge for Individual Immunity involved standing on a log and balancing three balls on a disc – not easy. And can I just say it- the Immunity Necklace looks awesome this season.

Although this challenge didn’t require any physical strength, I never would have expected Julie and Ashley to be the first ones out. Everybody else did pretty well, with the final four people being Mike, Ralph, Steve and Natalie. When both Ralph and Steve dropped their balls, I was sure Mike was going to win. He hasn’t moved the entire duration of the challenge; he was ‘like a statue’. Still, it was Natalie who won. Natalie, the little girl who was plucking hairs out of her body a few episodes ago. Kudos to her, though I am tempted to say it was the fly’s fault Mike lost. :D

That meant, however, that Mike might as well go home. Rob thought he could get Matt and Andrea to flip, so he wants him out. Mike came up with a great plan: They were going to use the Idol and take out Grant. After that they’ll reel Mat and Andrea in and they’re good for the rest of the game. If only that plan worked…

 

All about Matt

 

Matt screwed up big time though.

Firstly, in the dead of the night he told Andrea he wanted to take down Ometepe and blindside Rob. He was so passionate about this and Andrea’s reaction was just hilarious, so I really wanted the plan to work. It would have been amazing.

But after that, because of ’God’s will’, he ran to Rob and confessed everything. He told Rob about the plan, the Idol, Andrea wanting to flip… what was that? As Andrea said it, it was just ‘plain stupid’.

In Rob’s words, I also ‘don’t have a problem with God’, but it wasn’t God who won all those Duels. It wasn’t God who kept Matt in the game. It was Matt. He kept himself in the game. So he should have tried to do everything he can to stay, not run back to the person who voted you out and admit you wanted to flip.

All that reminded me of the joke with a man praying in front of the statue of some god every day: ‘Dear God, please, please let me win the lottery’. After a while, the exasperated statue comes to life and says to the man ‘Dear child, please, please buy a ticket’.

 

History repeats itself

 

As a result of Matt’s crazy actions, Rob got all nervous again and convinced his former tribe mates (including Matt’s ally Andrea and Samurai Phillip, who until a few days ago wanted to eliminate him) to vote Matt. Still, as Murlonio prepared to vote at Tribal Council, I didn’t know what to expect. All the talking made me think Matt considered changing his mind.

In the end though, Ralph played the Idol for Mike, who ultimately received no votes. Everyone at Zapatera voted for Grant. Everyone at Ometepe voted for Matt. Matt voted Steve (Why? I have no idea). Matt was eliminated. He eliminated himself. He came back into the game just to be sent right back to Redemption Island. And he deserved it: he has no idea how to play this game.

Now the Ometepe Six are in a great position, since they have the numbers advantage. Rob still is their leader and no one knows about his Idol. Zapatera doesn’t have an Idol anymore. What will happen next week? I can’t wait to find out.

Did you love this episode as much as I did? Can Matt reenter the game again? Leave your thoughts below.

 

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