Monthly Archives: February 2011

The Amazing Race: “Please get me children!”

The second episode of The Amazing Race was so chaotic and I was (and still am) so tired that I could not keep track of who’s first and who’s last.

The clue each team had received at the Mid Point instructed them to find ‘To Sail to Stop’. For some reason, this puzzled a lot of teams. Including my favorites Gary and Mallory; who just searched aimlessly for hours. I’m not even sure they asked people about it.

Why didn’t anybody ask the cab driver to take them to a place where they had Internet and Google the thing? Out of the three leading teams, only Kisha and Jen did it and as a result, they found Town Hall first. This meant they were on the first plane to Broken Hill.

Meanwhile, we find out Jaime and Cara are Luke’s ‘Race Girlfriends’ and that Big Easy is ugly and Flight Time looks good. Oh, and Jet and Cord finally solve the flag puzzle from last week and sail their way to the Mid Point.

But Gary and Mallory and Amanda and Kris are STILL looking for Town Hall. They lost so much time that even Ron and Christina ran into them. And they were the ninth team to check in at the Mid Point. Predictably, Jet and Cord were the last team to find Town Hall. But it’s fine; they’re just happy to have caught up with four other teams.

I personally found this part of the episode not very entertaining: so many confessionals and not a single challenge. The only thing that I kept asking myself was if Amanda and Kris would be able to catch up, given they have the U-Turn and are on the second flight.

 

Ancestral spirits

 

The teams flew to Broken Hill, where they had to choose a car and drive into the Living Desert. Zev and Justin arrived first, which sort of annoyed me. I’ll once again make the point that they didn’t place high enough on their first season for me to care about them. Yes, they’re proving to be a strong team, but I just don’t care.

My heart stopped when Mallory, already in the bottom five teams announced they ‘have a map and know where we’re going’. After what happened in Oman, I thought they decided not to rely on maps again. I was beginning to think if they would be forced to use the Express Pass already, just to stay in the Race. Luckily though, this time they didn’t screw up and were the first team from the second flight to arrive at the Detour.

Detour which was sort of interesting, but I don’t know if the tasks were balanced enough. ‘Spirit world’ involved creating a ground mosaic using diverse materials and then dance on top of it. That, to me, looked like a lot of work. Especially since ‘Natural world’ basically required you to spit colored water in order to create four shapes on a tile. Unless I didn’t understand the task, ‘Natural world’ was obviously easier, so I was quite surprised everybody chose to do the other one.

 

“I need you to get me children”

 

I can only imagine the stress of having to do a challenge with 10 other teams running, singing, dancing and shouting around. Kent and Vyxsin were actually the first team to finish, but they mistakenly thought they had to dance around the mosaic so they lost precious time by doing that. And, of course, they lost time by running to get children. Kent was hilarious when he asked Vyxsin to ‘go get children’. I’m surprised none of the other teams laughed out loud, like I did.

As for the dance, the most entertaining one was definitely Margie and Luke’s. Margie just jumped on the mosaic, put her hands up in the air and started shouting-singing-chanting-whatever.

Zev and Justin again finished the challenge first and Margie and Luke second. Since Amanda and Kris had a U-Turn, it was no surprise they left the Detour last. Still, they finished the other side of the Detour quite fast, proving my point. At that point it was between them and Ron and Christina, who all throughout the episode moved like zombies. I know Ron’s old, but so is Mike; and he kicked it into gear. I was really hoping Amanda and Kris would somehow be able to pass Ron and Christina.

 

Hop like a kangaroo!

 

Next thing teams had to do was to dress up as kangaroos and find the intersection of Mercury and Bismuth streets. Thing is, they had to figure this out, being given only the Periodic Table of Elements. I love kangaroos and thought the teams looked very funny in those costumes, but really? Who names streets after chemical elements?

Margie and Luke and Zev and Justin decide to work together, since they are the first two teams. And because, you know, since you’re on the All Stars season you can’t figure out anything on your own. And shouldn’t they be pissed at Zev and Justin for not helping them previously? Or am I the only vindictive one? 😛

Margie lost a part of her costume and had to go back and retrieve it. The thing is that someone from the huge group of kangaroos, including everyone but Gary and Mallory, Amanda and Kris and Ron and Christina picked it up and brought it to her. Now I’m sorry, but why would you do that? Don’t you want to beat this people? Aren’t you racing for a million dollars?

And now to the thing that annoyed me this episode. I don’t know where I’ve read it, that this season needs a villain. In this case, Ron and Christina, I award you this title. They and Gary and Mallory decided to work together, so that Amanda and Kris won’t beat them. Instead of actually doing something helpful, Ron started calling Mallory ‘hysterical’. What is wrong with him? That, to me, was enough to start hating the guy. At this point, I started hoping with all my heart they would get eliminated, so imagine how heartbroken I was when they managed

Amanda and Kris were the first eliminated team.

to avoid it.

In the end, it was Amanda and Kris who were sent packing. Those guys are cursed; a U-Turn did them in both times they ran the Race. Even though I didn’t really care for them much, I was sad to see them go. But at least all my favorite teams are still in it. They’ve now made it through two episodes.

This may change next week, though, when Jaime will apparently cause an accident in Japan. I hope it’s nothing serious, because I don’t want to see them go just yet.

So what did you think of the episode? Were you happy or sad that Amanda and Kris were eliminated? What did you think of the cowboys’ comeback, who managed to place third? Anything else you want to say, leave it in the comments section!

Survivor: ‘You own my vote’

Before I start writing about the second episode of Survivor: Redemption Island I want to ask a question. Has anyone else paid any attention to Philip’s job caption? Formal Federal Agent? is what he’s credited as. I’m not kidding. I only noticed that a few days ago, but the question mark made my day. 😀

The episode opened with a few shots of Francesca arriving at Redemption Island, which I was very happy about. Francesca said her being on Redemption Island is ‘the best thing that could happen to my game’. She still has a positive attitude, which is great. You’d think most people would be pretty down if they were the first person voted out of Survivor, but she seems to be content with it.

Francesca also said she preferred living alone than with Philip and I completely agree with that. After seeing this episode, I can honestly say that man bugs me. I felt embarrassed watching him hunt crabs half the size of his palm. And his speech about patriotism, his uniform… I’m sorry, but what was that? It felt like it was straight out of a very cheesy, corny movie. Everybody was making fun of him, but I felt embarrassment rather than joy. Rob summed it up pretty well: “Government jobs – stressful”.

After the awkward moments at Ometepe, we went to Zapatera and indulged on yet another portion of Arrogance a Russell. He went looking for the Immunity Idol without a clue, but little did he know everyone was watching him.  I’m starting to have faith; these people seem to want him out pretty badly. I can’t wait for them to lose an Immunity Challenge.

Meanwhile, Ralph found the Idol. He was collecting rocks and he found it by pure, sheer accident. Are you serious? What is the point of Idols if people literally run into them? It only makes me angry, but if we look on the bright side, at least Russell doesn’t have it. Still, they worked so much better with Exile Island.

 

Is Mandrea the new Romber?

 

Boston Rob is really observing and the fact he’s played three times already is showing. He is worried about the relationship between Andrea and Matt. He’s used that strategy himself and knows how powerful it can be, so he’s considering voting out Andrea, should they lose the challenge. That’s a great thing – if you identify a threat you take them out as soon as possible.

But is he playing a bit too hard? He’s already thinking about whom should he bring to the end and it’s only Day 5. And to be honest, his strategy didn’t seem very different than Russell’s. He’s planning on ‘picking the girl up, putting her on my back and dragging her ass all the way’. Also, he picked the one girl who has a crush on him and follows him around like a puppy dog. I guess we’ll have to wait and see if this strategy will work for him.

 

Two For The Price of One

 

The Reward/Immunity Challenge this week had two parts. The first one was the classic challenge used in Micronesia – contestants have to swim to a platform, smash a tile and retrieve a key. That challenge is one of my favorites, so I was very excited to see they’re doing it again. But the second part… again tiles? I am a bit tired of seeing any sort of tiles after Nicaragua. The Reward consists of fishing gear, which everybody is excited about.

One highlight of the challenge was Grant, who grabbed the key but didn’t smash the tile. For a second I thought Jeff will put him to climb up the platform and smash the tile, but that didn’t happen. Also, Jeff demanding to ‘see that animal, Philip’ and him totally failing was pretty funny.

In the end, Zapatera won again and Matt did the unthinkable: he congratulated them. I was perplexed when I saw that. Why would you do something like that? To be honest, I found it amazing that only Rob was bothered by it.

 

‘I know how to play this game’

 

After the challenge, Russell went for the Idol clue hidden in the basket, but Ralph saw him. As a small observation, Sarita looked like a witch with that hat and that’s enough reason for me to like her :D. But anyway, Ralph confronted Russell about the clue in front of pretty much everybody. His response was sort of stupid, in my opinion.

Why did he say ‘maybe there was a clue’, if he was going to deny it a minute later? Now everybody knows he has the clue and Ralph looks like a hero for confronting him. I think Ralph’s likable enough. He was smart enough not to tell everybody about his Idol… so far. And that  ‘ol’ boy right here does too’ know how to play the game. 😛

 

He’s a formal federal agent

 

If there’s someone who doesn’t know how to play the game, that’s Philip. As soon as Ometepe returned from the challenge, he gathered everybody around and gave them a ‘vote for me,

it’s okay’ speech. He told Rob he would vote for whoever Rob wanted. He then actually ASKED Rob who to vote for. At Tribal Council, he pointlessly talked about his tattoos for about

ten minutes. He talked about meeting his ‘nemeses’ at Redemption Island. He looked like a fool. Utterly ridiculous.

Matt got voted out of Survivor last night.

I really hoped he would be sent to Redemption Island so that Francesqua can kick his butt. But in the end, Rob told Philip (at Tribal Council!!) to vote for Kristina, who played the Idol.

Meanwhile he blindsided poor Matt for shaking hands with the other team. Yep, the kid never saw it coming and neither did Andrea. I thought, for a second, he started crying before bringing Jeff his torch.

I have to ask though, was that a good strategic move? Now there are two people at Redemption Island and both pretty much hate Rob. Plus, he pissed off Andrea and I’m guessing Kristina is still against him.

It seems like next week we’ll finally see a ‘Redemption Island Duel’. I’m definitely hoping Francesca will win this one, since Matt is so… soft. And innocent. And I really don’t think he’d do better than Francesca, if he was to reenter the game.

A few questions for you to answer in the comment section: What did you think of this episode? What did you think of Rob’s plan to take out Matt? Who would you like to win the Duel?

The Amazing Race: “Second chances don’t come free!”

The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business premiered on the 20th. Last night. And I want to say right now that I loved the episode. I actually was so excited the entire time I couldn’t really take notes. So a word of warning: I may get all over the place in this post. 😀

Anyway, the returning teams all aligned at the Starting Line and Phil revealed the Express Pass is also returning this season. And there’s also a new twist.

“Second chances don’t come free” he said. In order to get their first clue, the teams had to search through God knows how many paper planes for those who had QANTAS written on them (short for Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services). The first eight teams to find it would be on the first flight. And, the last team to find the plane would receive an ‘automatic U-turn’, meaning they’ll have to complete both sides of the first detour.

I was pretty perplexed when the first two teams who found the clue were Mel and Mike and Zev and Justin, who I don’t quite care for. And heartbroken when everybody but Amanda and Kris, Kisha and Jen and Gary and Mallory had found theirs. I adore Gary and Mallory and for a good minute I thought they were going to receive the U-Turn. Fortunately I was wrong in my assumption and Amanda and Kris who came in last. Seeing them receive yet another U-turn – hilarious.

 

Scares & Sharks!

 

After teams received the clue from Phil, they had to fly to Sydney, Australia. The first flight, carrying eight teams got delayed because someone had a heart attack. This meant the trailing teams arrived in Sydney first. The dialog between Kisha and Mallory on the train was pretty funny:

M: ‘Aren’t you excited?’
K: ‘No. I think you’re a liar!’
M: ‘You’ve been to Kentucky before, you know we don’t lie there’

The first Roadblock of the season involved searching for a compass in a shark infested tank and then deciphering a clue. Mallory, Amanda and Jen took on the task, with Mallory finishing first. When that enormous sea ray went over Jen’s head, making her put her hands above her head and say ‘Duck!’ – that was awesome. Either am I really easy to please or this episode rocked! And I’m inclined to think it’s the latter.

The other plane finally landed and the teams made their way to Oceanworld Manly, where Kent will fit right it. I actually didn’t like Kynt Kent and Vyxsin in season 12, but after that line…

On the other hand, the cowboys disappointed me. Going into the season, I thought for sure they are going to be in the Top 3 again. And here they are, losing not one but two ferries, on leg 1. What’s gotten into them?

More teams arrived at the Roadblock just as Mallory, Kisha and Amanda finished deciphering the phrase. Jaime and Cara and Margie and Luke decided once again to work together. This is something that bugged me; I don’t want to see anymore season 14 alliances. Hopefully, someone from that season will be eliminated soon. My prediction: Mel and Mike – one of them will get an injury in the next episode, as shown by the clips at the end of the episode. Vyxsin struggled underwater and Jet struggled with the message. Poor cowboys!

 

‘Hey all, here’s the answer!’

 

Zev and Justin. A team I don’t care about, mainly due to the fact that they places so low on their first season. And now, they decided to help the Globetrotters with the clue, but not Margie and Luke or Jaime and Cara. If you ask me, it might have been wiser not to help one of the strongest teams and hope they’ll remember it later. It also would have been wiser, given you’d already done that, to actually help the teams who saw you are giving information. Now both Margie and Luke and Jaime and Cara are pissed at Zev and Justin.

That didn’t make a difference, though. Ron and Christina gave them the information anyway. They also helped Kent and Vyxsin. Why is everybody helping everybody? This is a race and you’re doing it for the second time… surely you can figure out the answer on your own.

Honestly, that’s the only thing that bothered me this episode: the excessive sharing of information.

 

Sailing…?

 

The next task involved sailing a skiff, which Gary and Mallory also rocked at.  When Jaime and Cara arrived at the challenge, though, they managed to sink their skiff. Smooth! And later, after they’ve gotten the clue, Jaime proceeded to shout at one of the assistants ‘Off my foot! Off my foot!’, bringing back the attitude I love so much. 😀

Meanwhile, Gary and Mallory arrive at the Pit Stop in first and win the Express Pass. Woo-hoo! Finally, after all the second place finishes in Season 17, it was about time they won a leg. They looked just as excited as I was, yet that didn’t last long. Because Phil dropped another bomb: they’re still racing. Yes, the return of the double leg! I loved it, because I didn’t want to see someone get eliminated in the first episode. Not even a team I dislike.

Gary and Mallory’s reaction to that news was priceless. Mallory looked as if she had been punched in the face at first. Then she threw a few Holy Moly’s, before starting to scream and run in a different direction than Gary. Awesome. Just…awesome. 😀

Amanda and Kris came in right after them. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing them perform the double U-turn in the next episode, aka second half of the leg. Jen and Kisha came in third, Zev and Justin in fourth. Flight Time and Big Easy didn’t stand out to me in this episode, but they managed to land in fifth. Jaime and Cara, with Margie and Luke arrived in sixth and seventh, respectively.

The cowboys are still solving the Roadblock puzzle. How is it possible to not get it with information flying left and right? And who says ‘gracias’ in Australia?  I am so disappointed. *sigh* I just hope they’ll somehow manage to make a comeback, because I still like them.

I thoroughly enjoyed this episode. We’re off to a great start! 😀

What did you think about it?

Survivor: “You’re a crazy person”

The first episode of Survivor: Redemption Island is here. And what an episode it’s been…

It all started with a huge plane transporting the castaways to the main island, while Jeff Probst did his usual talking. I wonder what was going through the contestants’ heads when Jeff said ’18 people…’, since they were only 16.

The answer to that came as soon as the castaways hit the ground and Jeff said two more players will join them. A helicopter then brought the two players and the familiar faces of Boston Rob and Russell were revealed to the cast.

And this was when we learned Francesca has a big mouth. “They’re sizing us up like we’re pray” is what she said, before everyone ever knew her name. She then proceeded to call them the ‘biggest trouble makers in Survivor history’. Now, why would you do that? I have no idea. Rob and Russell both drew for buffs and Rob ended up on the Ometepe tribe, leaving Russell for Zapatera. On a side note, are these the weirdest tribe names since Thailand?

What I liked about this episode is that it really wasn’t Rob or Russell centered. Of course, we were treated with a dose of Russell’s specific arrogance when his tribe arrived to the camp, but that was pretty much it. Thank you, producers.

 

The Tribes


At Ometepe, Natalie is having a crush on Rob. Apart from that, Philip is annoying everybody with his ‘in your face attitude’ (Francesca’s words). Kristina was already on the lookout for a Hidden Immunity Idol clue. She searched through the supply box they’ve been given, but didn’t find anything. And although no one seemed to be bothered by it, Rob knew exactly what she was doing. Loved that.

At Zapatera, Stephanie is having a crush on Russell. Russell told her he wants her in his alliance because you know he ‘never plays the same game twice’. And she more than eagerly accepted. Unless she tries to blindside him later on, Stephanie will not be one of my favorites. Fortunately, most of the guys saw through it and devised sort of a plan to get rid of Russell.

You know, I thought Russell would start looking for the Idol as soon as would get there. He knows he’s a threat. And he has found Idols in the past without clues. So I was quite surprised when Kristina went looking for it and actually found it. That made me happy because now nobody can call Russell the only one who has found an Idol without a clue anymore. I just hope this doesn’t mean we’ll have another season clogged with Idols.

Kristina told Phillip about her plan to get rid of Rob that night, should they lose the challenge. And once again, Phillip annoyed her and Francesca. And me. The good thing is that this resulted in a funny dialog between Francesca and Kristina. 😀

F: “Oh, OK, I’m sorry. You go, Kristina! I’ll wait.”

K: “Thank you so much.”

F:”I’m not allowed to talk when you’re talking.”


Pre-Tribal Stuff


The challenge this week was pretty awesome in concept: each tribe had to push four blocks along a track to build the base of the temple. Then they had to run up the steps where a person chopped some ropes and released another set of stairs. At the top of the temple, a puzzle that looked pretty complicated awaited. The first tribe to solve it would win Immunity.

Unfortunately, it didn’t quite turn out to be the exciting challenge I had expected. Zapatera had an early lead, which they then increased. Ometepe sort of caught up, but it was clear they wouldn’t be able to finish the puzzle faster than Zapatera. In the end, they lost and had to go to Tribal Council. And Russell was nice enough to inform us he can read Rob’s mind and know he’s thinking ‘crap, I’m stuck with a bunch of whinnies’.

There are quite a few plans going on at Ometepe.

First of all, there’s Kristina. She told Francesca she had found an Idol and wants to vote Boston Rob out, because down the road he’s such a threat. Good point.

Then there’s Francesca, who wants to vote Natalie, because she’s the weakest link. They need Rob’s strength in the challenges and around camp. Plus, with the Redemption Island twist, he could easily come back and haunt them. A much better point.

And then there’s Rob. He wants to split the vote between Kristina and Francesca. Kristina because he knows she was looking for the Idol and he thinks she has it. Francesca, because of the idiotic comment she had made when he first arrived there. Excellent point.

So going into Tribal Council I thought anything could have happened.

 

The Tribal Council

 

Now, wasn’t that the craziest Tribal Council?

Previous to TC, Kristina had told Phillip about her Idol, which I didn’t think it was such a good idea, based on what we’ve seen of him. And at Tribal Council, it was confirmed I was right.

Francesca started it. “If Boston Rob’s going out tonight, which he’s not going to, but if he did, he’d probably be fine” is what she said. And it didn’t sit well with Phillip. So he started talking. He told everybody Francesca and Kristina were plotting to vote Rob out. He told them he was asked to vote for Rob. He told them Kristina had the Idol. And he concluded letting us know he’ll vote for Francesca.

But it didn’t stop there, oh no. Francesca called him ‘a crazy person’, which made me laugh. Francesca and Kristina mouthed ‘Phillip? Okay’ to each other. Kristina admitted to have found an Idol, which Rob asked to see. He then asked Kristina for the Idol, assuring her if she gives it to him, she’ll stay. Kristina chose not to and I think she made the right choice.

At this point, I really didn’t know who was going to go. I thought for sure Kristina would play the Idol, but she didn’t. She took a gamble and it paid off. Francesca was voted out in a 4-3-2 vote and became the first person sent to Redemption Island. So now Kristina has the Idol and three more days to try and built relationships with the tribe. I hope she uses that time well.

Now, let’s talk about Francesca. She was one of my favorites going in. And she made a good point to not vote for Rob, since they didn’t have the numbers. But she wouldn’t shut up! So I don’t know how to feel about her being voted out in the first episode. I would have never predicted this, that’s for sure! As far as actually having a shot of coming back into the game…I don’t know; she’s not that physically fit. But if she somehow manages to survive there and reenter the game, she’ll be one of my favorites.

So overall, I loved this episode. I really did! I can’t wait for the second one; I can’t wait to see Redemption Island really come into play. The clips at the end of the episode showed Russell and Ralph going at each other, so that ought to be fun.

So what did you think of the episode? Also… since this is my first review-recap-thing that I write, how do you feel about it?

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January Books

I love to read. I always loved to read. I remember when I was about 12 years old, I spent a good part of my summer reading, among other things, Winnetou. I remember wanting to catch up with my friend, who was one book ahead of me. Oh, childhood… The first book I ever read is, I think, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Or The Goblet of Fire. Or it could have been even Winnetou. It’s sad that I can’t remember. 😦

Anyway, back to the topic of this post, which is: books that I read this last month. If we count the one I finished yesterday (and we DO count it), then the grand total is: seven. Now, I have no idea if that is brag-worthy or not, but if you know let me know in the comments section.

The first book I read this year was Witches Abroad, by Terry Pratchett (now one of my favorite authors). This was  also the first book signed Terry Pratchett I read and it was part of his Discworld series. I loved its relaxed atmosphere, likable characters and funny, witty dialog. As I already said, this was part of the Discworld series (the 12th book, I believe), yet it was like reading a stand alone fantasy novel. I’m really looking forward to reading more novels in this series.

Also by Terry Pratchett, this month I read the complete Nomes Trilogy. The three books told the story of  the nomes, four inches tall creatures lost in the human’s world. Yeah, they were all children books. So what? They were still funny and enjoyable. If there will ever be a fourth book, I will buy it as soon as it comes out.

Perhaps my favorite book that I read this month was Scott McBrain’s The Mastership Game. I loved everything about this book; the premise (five ‘players’ compete for the most powerful job in the world, that of The College’s Master. The College being a prestigious, selective institute with access to all the information you would want. The leaders of the world constantly come and speak to The Master, seeking advice.); the characters, the ending, his style of writing… The book was published in 2002, yet nobody seems to know about it. It’s a shame that everybody reads Dan Brown instead. If you can get your hands on it, I definitely recommend it. It’s really worth it.

At the pole opposite sits The Theory of The Clouds, by Stephane Audeguy. It took me almost a week to get through this book. It really is a weird specimen; this chapter is interesting and the next one is boring as hell. And it doesn’t have one single line of dialog. *sigh*. If you ever want to learn anything about clouds, this book may be perfect for you (mind you, it’s still fiction!!). I think the only reason I kept on reading was one character, who I thought had an interesting past. And that I don’t like leaving a book half finished.

Shape of Water by Andrea Camilieri is, I believe, the last book I have to talk about. I thought it was an OK read, but I also thought I would enjoy it more, since it was labeled as ‘mystery’.  I felt the book’s ending didn’t give closure to the characters. The mystery was solved, though, so I guess it gets points for that?

That was January in terms of books, for me. Now I’m reading Water for Elephants, and then I will probably take on a Stephen King novel. I have about 7 that I need to read. But meanwhile, what was the last you read? Did you like it? Or not that much? Leave the answer in the comments below. 🙂

(And as promised, no Survivor or TAR in this post.)

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