Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Amazing Race 19 Blog Party - 10/30/2011

The show is delayed AGAIN here in the NYC area. 60 Minutes is starting at 7:29 PM ET, so we're talking a half-hour. Grr. Once it starts here, I'll update this post with the major happenings. But the real fun is in the comments; please pipe in with your thoughts! See you there!

The teams are flying off to Africa! They're all on the same flight, so it will be an even playing field once again. Roadblock -- they have to deliver tobacco bales to a warehouse.

Detour - Building toy trucks or sewing. Uh-oh! My blog pool pick team has fallen into last place (Amani and Marcus). Eep. They're still in the warehouse with Bill and Cathi ahead of them. I expected Marcus to do much better with the bales than he did. The last task they have is taking two beds to the Pit Stop.

Pit Stop order:
1. Justin and Jennifer - did not pay their truck driver. Oops. Penalty -- must go back.
2. 1. Andy and Tommy - won a trip to the Virgin Islands
2. Justin and Jennifer
3. Bill and Cathi (didn't pay, must go back) - Sandy and  Jeremy
4. Laurence and Zac
5. Ernie and Cindy
6. Bill and Cathi
7. Amani and Marcus - NON-PHILIMINATION LEG! YAY! They're still in it! 

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was - October 30, 2011

Yes, yes ... it's late for my weekly off television topic reflection on the week gone by in both words and photographs I've taken. I have a valid excuse, though. Due to a freak (yet not major) snowstorm, my power was out from about 1:30 PM yesterday until almost 10 AM today. I didn't go out for photos yesterday, nor yet today as the power outage messed with various plans I had and I'm playing catch up now. However, just before the power died, I made this video and posted it on Facebook:

This past week was my last full week off from work and boy did I test that knee on a few days. On Tuesday I went to a work-related awards luncheon in northern New Jersey. It always surprises me to see windy little mountain roads and a country atmosphere in the state. I'm so used to densely populated and flat here. The leaves up there went from peak to nearly bare as we headed further north. As a side note: the storm whopped them with 18 inches of light fluffy snow. Since they had fewer leaves on the trees and it was a lighter snow, we suffered more here with our wet slushy four inches (or so).

On Wednesday, my brother and his wife came down from Albany and we met up in the city (NYC) for lunch at Katz's Delicatessen and roaming at large. I roamed at large a wee bit too much and could barely walk the next day. Ow! It didn't help that NJ Transit thought it wise to TURN OFF THE ESCALATOR and make folks climb the equivalent of almost four flights of stairs on a narrow single-file turned off escalator with steep steps to get to my bus gate. That after a day walking almost did me in. But after a day of rest on Thursday, my knee was workable on Friday.

Then came the snow and power outage. What a week! Make sure you click the "read more" link at the end of this post to see all the photos this week!

Color in da 'hood
This tree is always beautiful but one of the first to go naked in the 'hood.

Plainfield Train Station
From a very different angle. I actually took the stairs on the east bound platform on Tuesday. I would not have done that on Thursday!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Survivor South Pacific 10/26 Episode Blog Party

Survivor South Pacific

Survivors ready? It's almost time for the show to start here on the East Coast. As it airs, I'll be updating this post with major events.

But the real fun and active discussion can be found in the blog party comments. Stop on in and share your thoughts on the show!

Christine wins another duel! Mikayla is history now.

Hmm ... Ozzy told Cochran that (worse case scenario) someone needs to beat Christine and he might hand off the idol to someone, beat Christine so he'd come back. Hmm ...

Meanwhile, Coach is getting Coachy praying and leading others on a wild goose chase for the idol he has. Oh my gosh, the praying worked! They miraculously found the hidden idol! @@

Immunity challenge's reward is a screening of Jack and Jill w/Adam Sandler.

Upolu wins! More thankful praying.

Since Cochran screwed Savaii's chances for immunity, all of a sudden Ozzy doesn't want to go to Redemption Island.

YIKES! Ozzy retrieved his idol and is once again saying he'll go.  Despite his tribe's disapproval, they do his bidding. He gives the idol to Cochran who does NOT play it.


Ozzy goes to Redemption Island. Go figure.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Amazing Race 19 Blog Party - 10/23/2011

The show is actually starting on time here in the NYC area. I might just faint! Once it starts here, I'll update this post with the major happenings. But the real fun is in the comments; please pipe in with your thoughts! See you there!

Pitstop order:
1. Marcus and Amani! (My pool pick!) Won a trip to Bali
2. Bill and Cathi
3. Ernie and Cindy
4. Justin and Jennifer
5. Andy and Tommy
6. Laurence and Zac
7. Jeremy and Sandy
8. Liz and Marie - Philiminated just when I started enjoying them

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was - October 23, 2011

It's Sunday morning once again -- time for my weekly off television topic  reflection on the week gone by in both words and photographs I've taken. I've had yet another quiet week on the home front. I seem to have picked up a cold. That or perhaps just really bad allergies. I'm congested and sneezy. But, no. I haven't been hanging around Snow White.

The weather here has really seemed to become fall-like this week. I don't mind that at all. Autumn is one of my favorite seasons. I like temperatures in the high fifties, low sixties in the daytime. I enjoy wearing a sweater. I really enjoy not sweating while I'm walking! 

Walking with leaves crunching under my feet or just shuffling (not like the Party Rock Anthem ... "every day I'm shuffle-in, I'm shuffle-in'" -- I mean really shuffling not dancing to the beat!) through accumulations of them. Pumpkins abound. I bought some apple cider which I'm mulling over mulling. Alas, I can't find any really local apple cider doughnuts. Unfortunately it doesn't look like we're going to have great foliage colors here this year, probably due to the severe rain totals over the summer. The winds are also blowing many leaves down before they even get the chance to go out with a blast of brilliance.

My knee is doing okay. I go back to work in less than two weeks, so it better be doing well! Weather permitting, I have been going for daily walks so it won't be a total shock for the knee when I walk back and forth to the train station daily. I had some unexpected pain one cold and rainy day this week. That needs to stop!

Those of you who only check in for the Sunday posts might (should) notice I've changed the format of the blog. I've updated it to the latest Blogger platform and I'm still experimenting around a bit. One of the things I'm doing with these photo posts is just having a few photos showing on the main page. Never fear, though! If you click the "read more" link, the full post will open before your very eyes.  By doing it this way, my main blog page isn't a huge long scroll to get though to the posts. So, here goes ...

Frost is yet to come
Some flowers are still sitting pretty on East Front Street in Plainfield.

Ahem ... fashion police, please!
But some fashions aren't sitting as pretty -- also on East Front Street. I thought wearing pajama pants was passe.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Survivor South Pacific - Returning Castaways Ozzy and Coach Observations

Remember now, returning reality "stars" on some of my favorite shows aren't necessarily my favorite casting choices on said shows. I've seen these people already and, in some cases like this, I've seen them more than one season. Folks are dying (figuratively, not literally I hope) to get in on the more popular reality shows. So, why do we keep getting retreads? I don't really care if the producers "like" someone. They tend to like the contestants I tend to want to throttle. That would be figuratively, of course.

Case in point: Coach Ben Wade ...

Let me make this perfectly clear -- in his previous two seasons on Survivor, Coach Ben Wade did absolutely nothing to endear himself to me. He was whacko, wore odd clothing, had feathers in his hair, thought that he was "all that and the bag of chips," did poorly in competitions often whining about his back while all the time being under delusions of CIA (whatever) grandeur. 

When I heard he was returning this season, I prayed his tribe would pull a Redemption Russell and vote him out first. I had trouble facing the prospect of being annoyed by him for more than an episode, two at the most. But then something happened ...

Coach no longer seems to be playing the character this season and, instead, he's actually playing the game. He's doing better in challenges and not whining. He's not acting as whacky as in both previous seasons and ... get this ... he's kind of likable. Surprising, I know. 

Sure, every now and again, I see brief glimpses into the "old" Coach. But, for the most part, he's strategizing fairly well, thinking ahead, showing quasi-solid leadership abilities, and exhibiting a very shrewd understanding of both the game itself and his fellow castaways.

I can't believe I'm putting these words to paper (maybe because they're on my monitor, maybe I'm just being figurative once again), but if he continues in this vein, I won't mind if he wins. Yeah, you can hold me to that.

Then there's Ozzy Lusth ... 

In his first season on the show, I really liked Ozzy. He was the Jungle Boy who could jump up palm trees, swing from vines, spear a slew of fish in one outing. While his social game wasn't always the best, his work ethic endeared him to all. His good looks didn't hurt him any either. His abilities allowed him to remain after all of his tribe got the boot. He lost to Yul Kwon, an athletic thinking man kind of dude.

In his next outing (Micronesia), he realized his social game was lacking and worked a bit more on that aspect. However, he made the classic Survivor blunder of being voted out while possessing the hidden idol in his pocket. So, you'd think in this third shot he'd continue to work on his social game and not make any more stupid blunders. Not quite so ...

First off, with his Jesus hair, he seems to have developed a Jesus attitude. Nah, not that Jesus had an attitude, more like those who worship him. Nothing wrong with worshiping Jesus, mind you. But it seems like Ozzy thinks he's worthy of some sort of castaway worship because of his past deeds on the show. Okay, Nature Boy ... it's not happening for me.

He's still not playing a good social game, perhaps worse than his first outing on the show. Even his work ethic has slumped. He'll go out get a fish or two, then nap while the others are working. He has temper tantrums when things don't go his way or his minions don't bow or kowtow to his every whim. He found a hidden idol and, knowing that he's irked his whole tribe, he told them he has it in a fit of anger. Sheesh.

When I heard he was returning to the show, I really didn't mind. I enjoyed watching him in the first two seasons he was on. But now he irks me as much as the "old" Coach, but in a different manner. He's not entertaining me. He can go away.

There. I said it. (Sorry, Petals.)

Your thoughts?


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Commercially Speaking

Commercials. They're the bane of existence to folks watching television shows live as they air. Of course, that's probably fewer and fewer folks every year thanks to zapping them on DVR recorded shows. While some commercials can be entertaining, others just irk me to no end. I'm here today to share but a few observations.

An example of the irksome would be the FiberOne commercials. Fiber in foodstuffs is never a bad thing. There's no need to hide it (especially if your company has the word "fiber" in its title!). What the heck is this "fiber makes me sad" bit? Now, a lot of things in life make us sad. But fiber? Who's writing these things? Who's approving them?

The Dairy Queen ads, while I like the kittens in bubbles, seem to be a cheap takeoff on the Old Spice commercials. The Old Spice commercials were creative and different as the Old Spice dude went through a series of bizarre set transformations. DQ is trying to do the same sort of thing. Now, I like a good Brazier Burger, but get serious and be innovative ... Old Spice was! Plus, their man is so much more sexy!

The commercials for prescription drugs just frighten me. I know it's a government regulation that they have to list known possible side effects, but really ...! Oh, I have sinus congestion. Let me just ask my doctor to prescribe me this drug which might cause heart disease, strokes or thoughts of suicide! Feh. I think I'd rather keep the sinus congestion or go for the over the counter medicines instead.

I will admit that I do tend to fall for gimmicks like cute little urban hamsters selling cars ...

How about you? Are there some commercials you have to pause to watch each time you notice them? Are there others that make you wonder who's getting the big bucks for boring or annoying content?

Disclaimer: I have nothing to do with any of the companies mentioned, good or bad. About the closest connection would be that my father always had Old Spice back in the '60s.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Survivor South Pacific 10/19 Episode Blog Party

Survivor South Pacific

Survivors ready? It's almost time for the show to start here on the East Coast. As it airs, I'll be updating this post with major events. But the real fun and active discussion can be found in the blog party comments. Stop on in and share your thoughts on the show! And ... I hope everyone enjoys the new digs! 

Ozzy, in his own little pity party, told his tribe (ex-alliance) that he has the idol. Meanwhile Runt Hantz has found the idol at their camp.

Time for the duel! Christine wins her 4th duel!

Coach worked on his Edna minion while Ozzy apologized to his tribe.

Immunity -- wheelbarrows, slingshots, coconuts and targets. Reward is a water slide area and picnic lunch.

Savaii wins immunity after a horrible start! Mikayla really lost any edge Upolu had by using the slingshot one-handed. Why she did it that way, I haven't a clue. But now Coach wants her out.

The tally --

Mikayla heads off to Redemption Island and lemmings follow Coach.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


I've gone and done it. I've updated my Blogger platform to the latest. It seems all of my posts and all of their comments have made the move intact. I'm still playing a bit with the sidebar content. There definitely are benefits to the new style - my followers actually show, I can post spoiler posts with an actual jump page so they're not blatant on the main blog page, posts can be linked to Facebook or Twitter easily, the blog is easier to edit and move things around in the design and I don't have to worry about Blogger sunsetting the format for a while.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Amazing Race 19 Blog Party - 10/16/2011

The show is actually starting on time here in the NYC area. I might just faint! Once it starts here, I'll update this post with the major happenings. But the real fun is in the comments; please pipe in with your thoughts! See you there!

The teams are off to Phuket, Thailand.

Detour - Helping rebuild Phuket by working with coral or set up the beach. Such a gorgeous and stunning country!

Roadblock is "Who wants to be king of the hill?" Racers have to climb a really tough rock wall. Andy and Tommy have gained a huge lead. I knew they, as snowboard champs, are of the fearless variety and would be great at almost any physical challenges.

Wow! Bill did great on the rock climbing! Meanwhile, Zac the world sailor, is having trouble navigating to the pit stop.

1. Tommy and Andy - won $5,000 each
2. Justin and Jennifer
3. Jeremy and Sandy
4. Laurence and Zac
5. Ernie and Cindy
6. Amani and Marcus
7. Bill and Cathi
8. Liz and Marie - non-Philimination leg. They're saved but will have a speed bump next week!

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was - October 16, 2011

It's Sunday morning, time for my weekly off television topic reflection on the week gone by both in words and photographs I've taken. Unlike last week, I actually got out and about a bit this week. This week's weather was nice for the most part, but the pleasant autumn days will be turning cold soon enough.

I had yet another follow up visit with my orthopedic surgeon this past week. He took more x-rays ... still looking good. He's still concerned about the kneecap dislocation. I myself have noticed that my stability is increasing, so I don't think I'm as worried as he is about it. Yet I do think my gait goes wonky sometimes if I'm not being careful. Anyone walking in back of me might think I've imbibed. Uh-oh! I also still have some pain issues, usually after putting stress on the knee. But it's still better than pre-surgery!

Welp, I've not much more to say -- onto the photos for the week! Clicking on an image will open it larger in a new window, then just hit back on your browser to return to the blog.

Ohh ... fancy-schmancy new city flags!

They might have been up for a while, but I just saw them this week. Corner of Watchung and East Front, Plainfield.

More photos after the jump

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Survivor South Pacific 10/12 Episode Blog Party

Survivor South Pacific

Survivors ready? It's almost time for the show to start here on the East Coast. As it airs, I'll be updating this post with major events. But the real fun and active discussion can be found in the blog party comments. Stop on in and share your thoughts on the show!

Oh geez ... more Hantz runt crying.

The duel is on! They have to catch balls as they spiral down a metal "track." Christine wins again! I guess just as well ... I can never understand her rants. But they are fun to watch.

Albert found the idol clue, but couldn't find the idol. He told Coach and Sophie. Coach found it. He told the other two, but he's holding it.

Immunity challenge has them chewing off roasted pig with hands behind back -- they cannot eat it, must spit it in bin, most after a certain time wins. Reward is spices and bread. Savaii 22.12 pounds. Upolu 22.14. Upolu wins! They're excited to keep the meat, spit and all. Ew.

Ozzy wants Cochran to go, the others have their eyes on Elyse to weaken Ozzy.

Time to tally the votes --

Elyse is voted out!

Sunday, October 09, 2011

The Amazing Race 19 Blog Party - 10/09/2011

The show is running about 36 minutes late here in the NYC area. If it's on time in your area, feel free to jump in on the comments! Once it starts here, I'll update this post with the major happenings. See you in comments!

They're heading to the Dutch colonized Indonesia. They have to join a bicycle guard. Oops! Ernie loses a pedal and all the other teams are passing them!

They're at the next Detour -- deliver meals to those working in fields and plant 300 rice seedlings or chores with sheep.

After climbing the steps of a temple, they run into a Roadblock examining Buddha statues. Whoa! Tommy gave Marcus and Amani (last team) the count and hand signals of the Buddha statues!

Team 1 - Laurence and Zac -- used more buckets with the sheep, have a penalty.

Team 1 - Tommy and Andy
2. Laurence and Zac
3. Jeremy and Sandy
4. Justin and Jennifer
5. Ernie and Cindy
6. Marcus and Amani
7. Bill and Cathi
8. Liz and Marie
9. Kaylani and Lisa - Philiminated

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was - October 9, 2011

It's Sunday morning time for my weekly off television topic photo post. I don't really have any photos I've taken during the past week. Yep, you heard me. After I returned home from vacation, I kind of became a hermit. I think that I only went out Thursday evening for dinner and a Trader Joe's trip with a friend.

Most of the rest of the week I've spent with my knee elevated. I swear it took three days to get the swelling down. I guess I really did overdo things with both the knee and the lack of stamina post-surgery issues. However, I'm up to snuff once again and should be out and about more.

Since I took a gazillion photos on my vacation, I don't lack for photo fodder. I also put together three videos ... enjoy!

Fox-tailed squirrel

Unfortunately I spooked him, so it's not the best of shots. But check out that glorious tail!

Wild horses with cattle egret

The cattle egrets often sit atop the horses to eat flies and other insects. The horses seem to appreciate and accept them.



Walking stick bug in the grass

I haven't seen any walking sticks since I was a child!

Looking out over the Currituck Sound

Flowers on a power pole

Pelican flying low over the ocean

Osprey nest atop a power pole

Rough surf

As a storm approaches

Neighbors heading out during high tide

Cool. I found investment property!

What can I say? It was there in Kill Devil Hills.

Sunrise with which I took editing liberties.


HUGE spider has a meal.

Tanning, I presume.

Reflection and its bird

Vincent wanting out of boarding!

He's a real happy kitty now. I think he purred two days straight.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Survivor South Pacific 10/05 Episode Blog Party

Survivor South Pacific

Survivors ready? It's almost time for the show to start here on the East Coast. As it airs, I'll be updating this post with major events. But the real fun and active discussion can be found in the blog party comments. Stop on in and share your thoughts on the show!

The duel -- Christine beat Papa Bear although it was very close.

The Immunity Challenge has three from each tribe bearing weight. Uh-oh ... two men and one woman from each. The reward is a rooster and two hens.

Savaii wins! And Dawn has really redeemed herself by holding onto 140 pounds (guys Brandon and Jim went out earlier loaded with 240) and being the last person standing.

Tribal Council time.

The tally --

G'bye Stacy

Sunday, October 02, 2011

The Amazing Race 19 Blog Party - 10/02/2011

The show is running about 24 minutes late here in the NYC area. If it's on time in your area, feel free to jump in on the comments! My updating of this entry is going to be a bit sparse tonight. I'll definitely include the two eliminations. However, while I was away on vacation, my little cable digital box doohickey on my TV near my computer decided to stop working. So I'll be watching my TV in the other room and checking in during commercials. (No, I don't own a laptop. Sigh.)

Are you ready to race?

Gah! Ethan and Jenna arrived 10th, Philiminated.
Ron and Bill last, Philiminated.

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was - October 2, 2011

It's Sunday morning, time for my off television topic reflection on the week gone by in both words and photographs I've taken. I'm cheating a bit this week because I'm totally exhausted. So, I'm using photos I've already posted during the week on Facebook. I will be going through my photos and putting together albums rather than posting thousands of images here on Blogger.

I had a fantastic time last week in Corolla (NC) -- the Outer Banks. I did do a bit too much standing and walking and by Friday I could barely walk at all. But it was all worth it! I gave that new knee quite a work out even if I didn't try surfing, nor did I end up renting a bike. I got very little sleep and tended to stay up later than everyone else, then get up early almost every morning so I could watch (and photograph) the sunrise and take walks on the beach.

We ate very well with meals in local restaurants and fantastic meals cooked by my fellow vacation friends at the house. Marge made us all breakfast daily. (Hey! Where's my breakfast today? I'm hungry!)

When it came to the ocean, I was a bit of a wimp. I don't really trust my knee -- sometimes it gives way on dry land. Plus I have a caught in the rip tide incident in my past when I almost drowned. So I limited myself to about knee-high wades in the surf. I do love that hot tub, though! That felt like heaven!

I became mesmerized by the abundant ghost crabs in the area. I had brought a flashlight to look for them at night, but it wasn't needed. If they weren't so darned cute, I'd say the area was infested with them. I took some video of one eating a Cheez-It and another working on his hole. I have to edit them a bit, but will let you know when they're up.

The big highlight of the trip was our Jeep-ish vehicle guided tour of the northern part of Corolla where the wild Spanish mustangs live. They used to be all over Corolla, but too many were being hit by cars as the town developed. Now they're fenced away from the lower part and have a huge expanse of land only accessible by 4x4 vehicles. Yes, (sigh) there are houses up there. The horses date back 500 years when they were abandoned by Spaniards fleeing the Outer Banks. They're gorgeous.

Oh. And they pronounce it Cah-RALL-ah, not like the car.

Margarita on the front deck

We did see quite a bit of rain in the first few days, plus thunderstorms nearly every overnight. The wind blew the rain onto the back decks facing the ocean. But the front deck, at least a part of it, usually stayed dry.

Gulls on pylons in the sound

We de-crabbed our pool on a regular basis

Isn't he cute? We rescued some alive, but unfortunately we didn't get to others in time. This one was very alive. He jumped out of the net and skittered away on his little crab legs.

Keep off the dunes!

The dunes protect the homes and the Outer Banks itself from hurricane tidal waters. I couldn't get up the dunes if I wanted to. Going up and down the stairs from our crow's nest private beach access was grueling enough on the knee.


Dead jellyfish were found every morning on my early walks, but I didn't see any live ones in my ocean forays.

At the local library

Surf's up!

I can't remember if I took this one in Kill Devil Hills or Nag's Head. I only saw one surfer near our house and I didn't think the waves were that great for surfing for the most part.

Early morning


Solitary sunrise

But he likes Cheez-Its!

Vincent at Best Friends

He comes home this afternoon. Yay!