Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Amazing Race 30: January 17 Episode Blog Party

I'm ready for tonight's show! How about you? I'll be live blogging the major happenings the best I can as they air here on the East Coast. But the real party is in the comments area -- come join in on the fun!

The Left Coast Lovely SqueeGee SueGee has updated the blog pool! I'm still in it to win it!  

#TeamBigBrother (Cody & Jessica)    DeLee, ChicMc, Megan H
#TeamChomp (Joey & Tim)    David, Chrob61, tbc
#TeamExtreme (Kristi & Jen)    Janice from GA/FL, Kristen From Ohio
#TeamFirefighters (Eric & Daniel)    Judi Sweeney, Indiana Jane
#TeamIndyCar (Alex & Conor)    SueGee, Brian, Brenda
#TeamOceanRescue (Lucas & Brittany)    Donna in FL, Glenn Allen
#TeamSlamDunk (Cedric & Shawn)    Nickelpeed, Willie in NC
#TeamWellStrung (Trevor & Chris)    Fred aka TwoBlackAces, Petals
#TeamYale (Henry & Evan)    Jackie, Ed in Ohio

#TeamRingGirls (Dessie & Kayla)   
#TeamGoatYoga (April & Sarah)    Sharon N, Merrilee

Are we ready? Yep! Let's get this show ON!

Ohh ... teams are going to Tangier, Morocco. The have to find a clue in the "Sea of Chaos" -- a rather crowded and unorganized seaport. Then they have to meticulously stack fish in a crate thingee. Both Cody and Evan speak some Arabic, a rarity in cast members these days! 

The fish smell is really affecting NBA, as well as the others. More the NBA guys, though. Heehee, Jess is being distracted by the stray cats hanging out at the fish stacking! Unfortunately, the TeamExtreme gals are totally lost. I think they might be the only team not yet making it there.

Jess and Cody make it out of the fish first. Other teams finishing up. The Ski Gals finally arrive at the fish. Teams will head out and pick up the TAR traditional Roaming Gnome. Whoa! The gals beat out Alex and Conor, now they're in last.

Roadblock -- Who's ready to rock the Casbah? -- The Roaming Gnome will get to ride a zipline! Once the gnome does the zipline then the chosen team member must go find it. Interesting and different. They don't just have to do it one time -- once they find the gnome, they have to go to a second zipline. The leading teams are working together. They did well the first time. Not so good the second time. Jess and one of the Indy Car drivers seem to be getting very frustrated. The local cats still like Jess.

CEDRIC of the NBA is in the lead! How cool is that? He loses that, though. Sigh. 

Now the Yalies are in the lead, Detour. Pick up foodstuffs and deliver them. Or belly-dancing. Oh my. 

Oh-uh. Brittany forgot her gnome at the Roadblock. Jess knows that she's one of the last two teams and just can't call her back to retrieve it without putting her own race in peril. I don't really blame her.

Yay! My blog pool Yalies are now in the lead, first out of the belly-dancing! No, they didn't have to really belly-dance so much themselves. It was more like dancing around reading clues. Conor and Alex are on their tails.

Pit Stop:
1. Evan and Henry! Won a trip to Switzerland. 
2. Alex and Conor 
3. Kristi and Jen
4. Trevor and Chris
5. Cody and Jessica

Joey Chestnut is totally screwing up finding the clues at belly-dancing.

6. Joey and Tim
7. Eric and Daniel
8. Lucas and Brittany 
9. Cedric and Shawn ... and it's a non-Philimination leg! YAY!

Next week is a two-hour episode and another head-to-head challenge.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Amazing Race 30: January 10 Blog Party

I'm ready for tonight's show! How about you? I'll be live blogging the major happenings the best I can as they air here on the East Coast. But the real party is in the comments area -- come join in on the fun!

SueGee, or as we affectionately like to call her, SqueeGee, has made the random picks for the blog pool. We don't start with the first team out because we don't even get to know them. (Sorry, Ring Girls.) Here are the picks:

#TeamBigBrother (Cody & Jessica) DeLee, ChicMc, Megan H
#TeamChomp (Joey & Tim) David, Chrob61, tbc
#TeamExtreme (Kristi & Jen) Janice from GA/FL, Kristen From Ohio
#TeamFirefighters (Eric & Daniel) Judi Sweeney, Indiana Jane
#TeamGoatYoga (April & Sarah) Sharon N, Merrilee
#TeamIndyCar (Alex & Conor) SueGee, Brian, Brenda
#TeamOceanRescue (Lucas & Brittany) Donna in FL, Glenn Allen
#TeamSlamDunk (Cedric & Shawn) Nickelpeed, Willie in NC
#TeamWellStrung (Trevor & Chris) Fred aka TwoBlackAces, Petals
#TeamYale (Henry & Evan) Jackie, Ed in Ohio

Ready? Let's GO! 

Ten teams remain. Who will be eliminated NEXT? 

They're headed to Antwerp, Belgium. Mmm ... chocolate! All teams will be on the same flight. Well, of course, as long as all make the flight! Once they land in Amsterdam, they need to take a train to Antwerp. 

Oh, the Roadblock is WAY up high on a crane, called Sky Climb. Oh my. Cedric and Shawn find it first. They have to climb a chain ladder and get their next clue before the crane descends.

Onto the Detour. Printing presses are the topic. They need to print a clue. Or the have to evaluate three diamonds. 

Cody seems to be taking to the printing idea. But then the Yale team came along and they figured out holding the card backwards to the light gives them the exact mirror image they need for the letters. 

Whoa! The NBA guys figured out the printing and are currently in 1st place! They are followed by the Ski Girls.

Now it's "Time to go head to head." A member from each team must race in a French Fry costume steering a dolly of "frites", loser races the next team. Jess and Cody will go against the NBA guys as the Ski Gals got a bit lost. The last loser from the race will result in that team being eliminated.

Cody wins over Cedric.

Pit Stop:
1. Cody and Jess -- won $2500 each

Uh-oh -- the Twins (Firefighters) switch from the printing Detour to the diamond one which actually seems a lot harder.

To the race - Shawn against Henry. 

2. Cedric and Shawn

Race -- Evan against Kristi.  

3. Ski Girls

Race - Henry against Chris. 

4. Team Well Strung 

Race - Alex against Evan 

5. Alex and Conor - The Indy Racers

Now Henry is trying again against Lucas

6. Lucas and Brittany 

Wah ... the Yalies are my blog pool team. They're wearing themselves out racing and not winning!

Race - Evan against Tim 

7. Tim and Joey Chestnut 

Race - Henry against April ... FINALLY

8. Henry and Evan! 

April against Daniel

9. The Twin Firefighters

Team Goat Yoga -- April and Sarah have been Philiminated.

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

The Amazing Race 30 Blog Pool Sign Up!

Welcome to The Amazing Race 30 blog pool! The esteemed SueGee, also affectionately known as Squegee, is running the pool this season. Want in?

I want in! What do I do?
If you want in to the blog pool, you need to sign up in the comments of this post and this post only! Please don't try signing up on any other posts -- we might miss your comment.

Is there money involved in this?
Of course not! You needn't pay anything to get into the pool. You don't need to buy a pool pass or anything! Mind you, you don't win any money either. What you do win is bragging rights until the next season and the smugness that goes with it.

How does it work?
 SueGee makes random picks for the teams and the blog folks. You cheer on that team all season until they either win or get their torch snuffed along the way.

When is the cut-off for entering?
All pool requests must be in comments to this here post and submitted by midnight Monday, January 8. Be there or be square. 

We skip the first team out on the premiere as we never really get to know them.
Here's a bit on the remaining teams who will indeed be competing in our blog pool --



Alexander Rossi and Conor Daly

Both are 26 years old, both are race car drivers 


April Gould and Sarah Williams

Both are 39 years old and both are from Arizona 


Cody Nickson and Jessica Graf

Cody is 32 years old while Jess is 26.

BB fans know all about them

#TheFirefighters or my own #TheTwins

Eric and Daniel Guiffreda

Amazingly, these twins are both 33 years old!

They hail from Louisiana


Henry Zhang and Evan Lynyak

Dating debaters, they're both 22 years old and live in California


Joey Chestnut and Tim Janus

Joey is 33 years old; Tim is 41

Competitive eaters -- Joey from California, Tim from NYC


Kristi Leskinen and Jen Hudak

Kristi is 36 years old, Jen is 30

Both are professional skiers and and more towards the X Games kind of skiing


Lucas Bocanegra and Brittany Austin

He's 35 years old, she's 33

Dating Miami lifeguards


Cedric Ceballos and Shawn Marion

Cedric is 48 years old and Shawn is 39

Retired NBA players


Trevor Wadleigh and Chris Marchant

Trevor is 31 years old, Chris 33

Both are musicians (violin) from NYC

The Amazing Race 30: Season Premiere Blog Party

Wow. It's the 30th season of this show? It's hard to believe, isn't it? It looks like we have a very strong cast this season -- almost all of the teams seem to be very competitive. I guess we'll see what happens!

Will there be a blog pool this season? Why, yes! I'm glad you asked! SueGee has offered to run it. We're going to skip the first team out. After all, we hardly get to know them. I will be posting a separate blog pool sign up post later tonight after the show airs here. Please do not ask to join here on this blog party post! Your request might be missed! Watch for the actual blog pool sign up post.

As the show airs here on the East Coast, I'll be live-blogging the events to the best of my ability. It's often rough at the beginning as I'm try to get used to the new teams. So, bear with me. 

Amazing Race fans ready? Let's GO! 

Phil promises us the most competitive teams ever as the teams head to the starting point at Washington Square Park in NYC. (Had I known, I would have headed there for photos!) We're getting team intros now. 

They have to all go in the fountain to get the clue to where they're going. It's Iceland! 

It's gorgeous in Iceland. The teams have to pick up an Icelandic flag from a zip line. So far, all the teams seem to be likable. That, of course, may change. Some of the teams are having problems finding where they need to go.  

Uh-oh, the Goat Yoga Girls are bickering a bit. More than a bit. Not good, even if they are lost. Other teams had problems finding the zip line place, but no quarreling!  

Roadblock! The teams have to traverse in a dune buggy looking for letters and the correct order to spell the location of their next clue. 

Whoa! Cody and Jess are now in the lead! The Yale Debaters are in second place.

At the location, Jody are serenaded and asked questions to which they must find an answer. They each have to drink a shot of "The Black Death" -- a potent drink indeed.

Jess and Cody are now headed to the Pit Stop. The Skiing Women are right on their tails. Now Jess and Cody are lost. Cody won't stop to ask for directions. The Ski Women asked before they headed out.


Pit Stop:
1. The Ski Women -- won a trip to Greece. 
2. Cody and Jessica
3. Yalies
4. Trevor and Chris (Daytona Dudes)

Uh-oh. The Goat Yoga Girls were inadvertently assisted by the NBA Guys at the Roadblock. Now the NBA Guys are in last place. 

5. Joey Chestnut and partner
6. Who are they??? 
7. ?
8. NBA but not allowed to help -- one called out to the other. Penalty.
8. Twins
9. NBA
10. Goat Yoga Girls
11. Ring Girls

It all came down to the last few seconds as the NBA waited out their penalty and both women teams raced in.  The Ring Girls have been Philiminated.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

The Amazing Race 30: Meet the Cast

Tomorrow night -- Wednesday, January 3. at 8pm ET/PT. it's the season premiere! Had I known they were taking off from Washington Square Park when they did it, I would have been there. It looks like a strong cast; hopefully it will be a good season! I only "know" three of them -- Cody and Jessica from BB and Joey Chestnut because he's always in the big Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island every summer. I'm wondering if the twins might have an edge because twin's are so bonded together. We'll see!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Off Topic: That Was the Year It Was - 2017

It's not only a Sunday, but it's the last day (Sunday or otherwise) of the year. This is my last off television topic photo post of the year. Television fans should make note that The Amazing Race season premiere will air this coming Wednesday, January 3, at 8pm ET/PT. I will be posting about the cast before the premiere and, of course, live blogging the show and hosting the blog party as it airs.

So ... to the off television topic stuff. Between really feeling horrible and the bitter cold this past week, I don't think I took any photos at all. That's a first in years. What I did do for this week's post is go through photos I've taken during 2017 and pick out my personal favorites, one for each month. Then I threw random photos I took of Vincent the Cat just because he's such a big part of my life.

To be honest, I won't be sorry to see 2017 go away. Between the political landscape disharmony, my increasing dissatisfaction with my workplace, declining health and more ... it's not been a good year for me. For years I had planned to retire this year. Health insurance costs, not a benefit for retirees in my company, have made that impossible. Maybe in 2018 I'll have some way to get out of the rat race. 

I even had more problems on the blog this year than in the past. I was about ready to throw the towel in on it with the Big Brother blogging this past summer. I find it ridiculous that people get so hung up on the show that they feel the need to turn their vitriol on "fans" of cast members they don't like. Sheesh. Not only was there controversy, but BB used to be my summer cash cow. I once got paid good freelancing money to cover the shows and live feeds. Neither the ads revenue nor the donations make the work I put into it worth the headaches I had this past year with it.

I am grateful for the friends I have, the roof over my head, enough money to live on without worrying that there will be more bills left than month to pay them in. I've certainly gone through worse financial years in my life. I've also gone through worse personal loss times in my life -- flashing back on decades (scores) of years ago when I lost my parents five months apart. So, it hasn't been a good year for me ... but, in many ways, it hasn't been the worst year of my life, either.

I hope 2018 is a better year for everyone!


My train home arrives in Bridgewater as the snow comes down. I must have left early that day because it was still daylight! I probably headed out early due to the snow.


Historic train wheels captured in a sculpture at the Somerville Train Station.


After snow cover went and before new snow cover arrived, this is a shot of the main building at the Plainfield Train Station.


A hawk on the stadium lights at the TD Bank Ball Park in Bridgewater. He seemed to be watching the game.


The coolest looking potato beetle (or false potato beetle, not sure which) posed for me at the Bridgewater Train Station.


Making eye to eyes contact with a starling.


I took so many photos of the Plainfield 4th of July Parade that it was hard to pick just one. So, I picked none. Instead, I went for this photo I took of one of the painted utility boxes in Plainfield. This one is at the corner of Watchung Avenue and East 4th Street.


Gull on a lamp post on North Avenue in Plainfield.


The marigolds in planters at my workplace were fun and colorful to photograph.


Yep, like birds, the trains and train stations are repeating photo fodder for me. This was taken as the sun was setting at the Bridgewater Train Station.


What year would be complete without a moon shot from me? This one is the Full Beaver Moon.


The great escape from the rat (pigeon) race. I envy that bird.

And then there's Vincent ...
He isn't always sleeping, mind you. But it's easiest to photograph him when he is! 

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Off Topic: That Was the Week(s) It Was - December 24, 2017

An oldie, but a goodie

I'm not sure where the Santa suit is these days. Vincent probably destroyed it!

Happy Holidays! photo HapHolidaysLgJackie09.gif

Another oldie, but goodie. This was created some years back for the blog by Zoetawny. I miss her! Not quite the best photo of Vincent, though.

I apologize for my absence the past few weeks with the exception of covering Survivor. I've had a mix of bad health issues, overwork and severe stress on my job, a lost camera memory card and, to be honest, the holidays in general aren't a good time of the year for me. They were great when I was a child and I do have precious memories of those days. 

Tomorrow I'll cook the small ham I bought on sale, make some side dishes and bake the Mrs. Smith's apple pie to round out my feast. Vincent and I will be alone for the day. That's been the story of my big holiday doings for most of my life. Well, not always with Vincent, but with a cat or two. Oh, well. It could be worse. I could have to work. I've had to do that some Christmas days in the past.

I hope those of you with families and loved ones have a good Christmas -- but try not to overeat!

The majority of the photos this week were taken with my cell phone camera. Although I have a different memory card in my camera, I just didn't see much in the way of photos to take this past week.

Brightly lighted these days

The white lighting at the Plainfield Train Station does seem to cut down on the vagrants hanging out at night. Yet, they're still there in the daytime.

Crescent moon

My camera picks up detail not noticed by the naked eye. You can actually see the whole moon, even a touch of detail with the markings.


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Survivor 35: Heroes-Healers-Hustlers - Season Finale Blog Party

As the show airs here on the East Coast, I'll be updating this entry with the latest happenings during the two-hour finale. Refresh the page to get the latest! The party itself is in the comments -- join in on the discussion! Come the reunion show in the final hour, I'll more likely be hanging out there than posting on this entry.

Lifeguard Laurie has updated the blog pool and here ya go:


Ben D. - Donna in FL, Merrilee, Tammy.
Chrissy H. - Donna in Alabama, meb, SueGee, KelseyNY

Devon P. - David, Margo, Laurie, Fred aka TwoBlackAces
Mike Z. - Becky, Janice, Rbennie, PDX Granny
Ryan U. - Anonymouse, Glenn Allen, Nickelpeed

Desiree W.
Cole M.
JP H. 
Joe M.
Lauren R.
Ashley N.

Five are left. Who will be the sole Survivor? 

Hmm. Los Angeles once again for the show. They used to flip back and forth each year between NY and CA. I should mention that two fellow New Jersey people are still in it to win it --Chrissy and Ryan.

Mike is grateful that they voted Ashley out instead of himself. Once back at camp from Tribal, Ben is already out looking for an idol. Ben is once again named Public Enemy Number One, this time by all four with him.

Ben is determined he will find an idol while the rest sleep. So far, nothing. 

And, then ... he finds it!  

Oh my. Chrissy decides that she will make up with Ben. Of course, she's using him. Will he fall for it? Nah. He thinks she's his biggest competitor and wants to blindside her at the next Tribal. 

Right to the Immunity Challenge! Swim to platform, climb stack of crates, leap, retrieve keys, balance board, more keys and then a roulette type puzzle thing. Reward is a chicken feast. 


She brings Mike, then Devon. Hmm. Ryan and Ben get nothing. 

Mike has them looking for a clue, but obviously the last idol isn't there for them. Chrissy wants a contingency plan in case Ben has an idol. Mike wants to use Chrissy's dead super immunity necklace. They figure they can trick Ben with it. No, they don't think he has one.

She shows Ben her necklace and the letter from Ryan. Ryan and Chrissy think Ben bought the story. Meanwhile, Ben is laughing about the fake idol. 

Ben tells us he will decide who goes home. His strongest competitors are Devon or Mike. He dismisses Ryan. And, of course, Chrissy is safe. Devon is considering a Mike vote just to make sure his own butt is safe.

Tribal Council time. Chrissy puts on the necklace. She talks about finding a clue to the idol and digging it up. Ben admits she told him about it. He plays being dumb at an Oscar level. Ben claims she gloated about the idol. He's really putting on an act. Heh. While I want Ryan or Chrissy to win, Ben does deserve it. Or Chrissy. 

Heehee. Ben pulls out his idol and shocks them all!

The tally:
Ben, Ben, Ben, Mike, Devon.

It's a tie. Ben, Ryan and Chrissy must re-vote for either Mike or Devon. 

Devon, Mike, Mike

Mike is out. He takes it well.

Caution: Twist Ahead. 

At camp, they talk about a record for playing idols in a row. Ben knows no one will take him to the end. If he doesn't win Immunity, he'll lose it all.

Immunity Challenge time, for the last time. Stack letter blocks on a wobbly platform. Must spell Heroes Healers Hustlers. Twist is the winner receives a final secret advantage in the game. 

Ben is done, but a letter is upside down. Whoa, he loses almost all. Then Ryan and Chrissy and then Devon. It's anyone's game.


She reiterates the idea that Ben will go home. 

Ben tries to schmooze Chrissy. She promises him that she will hear him out at Tribal. She tells us Ben needs to go. She runs off to read her advantage. She has won information. Tonight she will cast the final vote. She will sit next to one to "save" him. The other two will do a fire challenge for the final spot in the final three. She thinks Devon will do better. She warns Devon. She tells Ryan. 

As Ryan says, his inability to make fire will get him into the final three.

Devon starts practicing to make fire. He broke the flint. He decides it's meant to be. He doesn't want to expend more frustration. Ben still has no clue. 

Tribal Council time!

Jeff asks if Chrissy shared the advantage. She admits sharing it with Devon and Ryan. Then she reads it to the jury. 

As discussed, she chooses Ryan to sit next to her. So, Devon and Ben must make fire. 


The final three are Chrissy, Ryan and Ben. 

Ryan knows he's the underdog. He feels he needs to convince the jury that he's been in control of the game all along. He admits that's not true, but ...! 

Time to face the jury.
Jeff tells them it's all about Outwit, Outplay and Outlast. 

Desi -- Ryan, all thought they could beat him. He tells of finding the advantage, building alliance with Chrissy and Devon. Had to depend on social game. Devon admits that Ryan's social game was sent via him. Joe tells Ben and Chrissy that their social games were horrible. Ben says he's been trying to work on his social skills. Chrissy said her social game was remaining loyal to her alliances. She points out that she remembers all that people told her. Ryan is really playing his social game even now. Oh my, Chrissy is being rude to Ryan. 

Cole respects the shelter building, Chrissy wins challenges, Ben finds idols. What has Ryan done? Ryan claims he's never done any of the things and didn't want to mess up. He says it wasn't his strength in the game. He then talks about the advantage and finding the idol. The jury brings up that women won eight of the nine challenges. Chrissy talks about her wins. Ben talks about knowing no one was on his side and how hard he looked for idols.

Ryan couldn't rely on winning challenges. His name never on chopping block, not due to pity but due to the social bonds, finding an idol, finding an advantage. He says he's now looking introspectively. Ben said all the others were hurdles, wanted to win for family. Joe tells him he needs more and Mike wants to know why he should win. Ben says he got himself there and fought all the way. As expected by me, he brings up the military and PTSD. Chrissy says she came in underestimating herself. She thinks she kicked ass in challenges, played a good clean solid game, all Moms are heroes. They're also healers and hustlers. She's been applying for 16 years.  

Lauren votes Ben. Devon votes Ryan. Ashley votes Chrissy. They show no more.

Back to California --
The tally:
Ben, Ryan, Chrissy, Chrissy, Ben, Ben, Ben.


Next season - Ghost Island. 

Jeff tells us that bad decisions by former players will come back to haunt the Ghost Island season.

The "reunion" show is only going to be a half-hour. 

Congratulations to blog pool winners - Donna in FL, Merrilee, Tammy.
If I'm not mistaken, this might be the fourth blog pool win for Merrilee.  

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Survivor 35: Heroes-Healers-Hustlers - December 13 Blog Party

As the show airs here on the East Coast, I'll be updating this entry with the latest happenings. Refresh the page to get the latest! The party itself is in the comments -- join in on the discussion!

Lifeguard Laurie has updated the blog pool and here ya go:

Ashley N. - Donna NY, MikesGirl, tbc.
Ben D. - Donna in FL, Merrilee, Tammy.
Chrissy H. - Donna in Alabama, meb, SueGee, KelseyNY

Devon P. - David, Margo, Laurie, Fred aka TwoBlackAces
Mike Z. - Becky, Janice, Rbennie, PDX Granny
Ryan U. - Anonymouse, Glenn Allen, Nickelpeed

Desiree W.
Cole M.
JP H. 
Joe M.
Lauren R.

I'm not sure how well I'll be able to keep up with updates tonight -- I've been having some rather severe sciatica issues. But I'll try.

Six are left. Who will be voted out tonight?

Ben tells us it was all a ploy to keep Chrissy in the game by deflecting the votes to himself and using the idol. Of course, now they're all more determined to send him home and he (currently) doesn't have an idol. Devon tells him that he won't be winning immunity because he (Devon) won't let him.

Ben gets up before the rest and goes off idol searching in the guise of collecting firewood. A few get up and realize what he's up to.

Reward Challenge time. Divided into pairs, tied together, obstacles, target toss. Feast on a private island is the reward -- with an overnight stay. 

Devon and Chrissy win! They can choose one person to go with them. Chrissy suggests Ryan and Devon agrees. Ashley is upset. But, heck. Ryan needs the food!

Mike thinks Ryan was the least deserving one to go and he's upset. He's also suspicious that Devon is trying to flip Ryan back. Ben thinks that both Ashley and Mike are whiners. Ben tells us that Mike is his next target because Mike wants him gone. Ben tries to work on Ashley to little avail. So he goes idol hunting.

Par for the course, the ones on Reward decide to make a final three pact. So, Devon is back with his buddy Ryan. 

Chrissy tells us that she thinks it makes more sense to vote Ashley out first because of the Devon connection, then Ben next (as he's not really attached to anyone). 

Time for the Immunity Challenge. Race through articles, release two different ladders and climb, solve cog puzzle. 

CHRISSY wins Immunity! 

Ben offers to get water for people to go idol searching. He's surprised no one is following him. I am, too. Ashley thinks they should split the vote between Mike and Ben to flush any idol. Chrissy still wants Ashley and tells Mike, Ryan and Devon.

Devon isn't too pleased with that idea.  

Meanwhile, Ben finds the clue to the idol which is hidden right in their shelter at camp. They don't show him actually getting the idol, but I would guess he has it.

They go to Tribal Council. Jeff rubs the salt in the wound over Ashley not going to Reward. He continues to ask his Probsting questions. As the questions go on, Ben pulls out his idol even before the vote. Then he plays it before the vote.

The tally --
Mike, Ashley, Ashley, Ashley, Ashley.

Ashley is gonzo, just as Chrissy wanted. Not that it went down quite the way she planned, mind you.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Survivor 35: Heroes-Healers-Hustlers - December 6 Blog Party

As the show airs here on the East Coast, I'll be updating this entry with the latest happenings. Refresh the page to get the latest! The party itself is in the comments -- join in on the discussion!

Lifeguard Laurie has updated the blog pool and here ya go:

Ashley N. - Donna NY, MikesGirl, tbc.
Ben D. - Donna in FL, Merrilee, Tammy.
Chrissy H. - Donna in Alabama, meb, SueGee, KelseyNY

Devon P. - David, Margo, Laurie, Fred aka TwoBlackAces
Lauren R. - Brian, Jennasmom, Rochelle, Judi Sweeney
Mike Z. - Becky, Janice, Rbennie, PDX Granny
Ryan U. - Anonymouse, Glenn Allen, Nickelpeed

Desiree W.
Cole M.
JP H. 
Joe M. 

We get the "loved ones" visit tonight. Gee, golly, whiz! You'd think they're being reunited after a lifetime apart instead of around a month. I know this episode always seems popular with many, but it always comes across as super schmaltzy to me. 

Seven are left. Who will be voted out tonight?

Once again, Mike is blindsided by the vote. Ryan is a bit worried as his only ally is Chrissy and now he doesn't have his idol. Ben and Chrissy are having words ... heated ones at that. She feels that Ben betrayed her and was being a jerk. She's determined to make it to the end and get back at Ben.

Time for the Reward Challenge. Another new challenge -- running in pairs with loved ones. Here comes the schmaltz. And, it's delivered. Bags with marbles, one black, one white. Must match. Last pair survives and gets a feast, goes to camp. Lauren/sister out. Mike/wife out. Ryan/Father out. Ben/wife IN. Chrissy/husband IN. Ashley/father out. Devon/mother out.

Second round -- Ben/wife out. Chrissy/husband IN. Chrissy and Keith win! In charge of love. Can take one -- she chooses Ryan and father. One more -- Mike and wife. One last choice -- Ashley and father. 

Chrissy is looking at this as vengeance on Ben. Hmm. I'm not sure if it's the best path for her to take. But I am happy with her Ryan choice. 

Ben decides to make and hide a fake idol to cover his search for a real one. Devon and Lauren know. Lauren knows that Ben wants to embarrass Chrissy with it. She has a problem with him taking things to a personal level.

Ohhh ... Lauren finds one half of an immunity idol with a note that the other half will be at the Immunity Challenge. Of course, Ben and Devon were nearby and know all about it.

Immunity Challenge time! Arms stretched out, fingertips holding against two wooden disks, disks drop, you're out. Jeff goes on about the heat to make it feel even hotter for them. Ben out first. Chrissy out. Ryan out. Lauren out. Mike out. Devon says to Jeff that he and Ashley are strong allies. Then he negotiates for a massage with Ashley and he drops the disks. Ashley wins Immunity!

Meanwhile, Lauren did get the other part of the idol. 

Oh my. While she has a solid alliance, Ashley is thinking that she needs to get out the stronger players. She wants Ben gone. Devon wants Chrissy out. Ohh, Ben is eavesdropping on them, but didn't hear what they said. He just thinks they acted suspicious. They tell him the target is Chrissy. Ben thinks they might be targeting him. 

He runs and talks to Mike. He tells Mike about Lauren's idol and how she has both the idol and the extra vote. Then he tells Ryan that he wants Lauren out. Ryan knows they need Chrissy aboard and she despises Ben.  

Ben decides he needs to get Chrissy to save himself in the game ... so he tells HER about Lauren. Oh. And he apologized to Chrissy. She's not too quick to trust him, though. 

Devon runs to Lauren and tells her about Ben's work to blindside her and how he told everyone about her idol and advantage. Lauren gave Mike one half of her idol. Hmm. 

Tribal Council comes rather early -- something will happen! Jeff talks about the Devon/Ashley deal. Devon says he would have done the same with Lauren. Ben pipes up that his name wasn't mentioned. Now they're all talking about Ben telling all about Lauren's idol. Lauren claims she left the advantage at camp and can't use it. Then she tells that Mike has half the idol. She tells of Ben's fake idol. He's wearing it. Mike throws his own real idol into the campfire.

Oh my.

Mike and Ryan are whispering that Lauren needs to go. Lauren tells Chrissy that she'll give her the advantage. Lots of whispering Ben and Lauren going home.

The tally.
Ben speaks up. WHOA! He has a real idol he found! He plays it for himself.

Ben, Ben, Ben, Ben, Ben, Ben, Lauren.

Lauren is out!  

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - December 3, 2017

Good early afternoon! Yeah, I'm getting this up a little late this week. Since it's a Sunday, it's time for my off television topic reflection of the week gone by in both words and photos I've taken along the way. If you're not interested in either, please feel free to check out my previous and newer posts I will put up after this -- they will be television related! You can find my Survivor posts at this link.

Nothing really exciting went on this past week. One interesting thing ... maybe. I think my upstairs neighbor with the booming loud stereo may have moved out. He was extremely loud for about a week and a half leading into Thanksgiving. Then I heard no more from him since the Wednesday before Thanksgiving night. No stereo. No footsteps. In the daytime on my day off this week, I heard someone enter the apartment, walk through each room, then leave. Sometime yesterday while I was at work, a ton of furniture was dumped by the dumpsters along with several contractor type bags of trash. It might not be related, but ...! This morning when I took my own trash out to the dumpster, I noticed his air conditioner was gone, as were his two over the air digital antennas for TV that were always in his living room and bedroom windows. Hmm. The shades are all drawn. 

I know his lease renews/expires in the beginning of December. When he first moved in, he showed his lack of consideration by vacuuming (for the first time) at 3:30am on Christmas morning. Since he's lived there, he might have vacuumed a half-dozen times. While my apartment is hardwood floors, there's wall to wall carpeting up there. If he's indeed out, they'll probably have to replace the carpet. I'm sure to have to endure daytime noise of work crews up there fixing the place up. But at least they won't have booming stereos vibrating my ceiling, walls and floors at any hour day or night.

I just hope the landlord decides to follow their own rule that no more than two people are allowed to live in a one-bedroom apartment. I've had toddlers up there before and the noise of them running is ridiculous. This landlord has decided to advertise vacancies as "luxury apartments" when they're not. Then they go ahead and let couples with two kids into a one-bedroom! I'm hoping they'll be a bit picky as they know I've filed numerous noise complaints about the guy (who's hopefully out). Maybe they'll rent to a single retired person! That would be perfect.

If wishes were horses ...

Anyway, onto this week's photos ... 

It's a bird's world

A seagull poses on a lamppost as one flies overhead. North Avenue and Gavett Place in Plainfield.

Pedro's latest

Pedro Baez, commissioned by Plainfield to paint some of the utility boxes, has added some color to the corner of Watchung and East Second. That's the Main Post Office in the background. 

The eye has it

I edited this shot to leave only the orange eye of the pigeon in color.