Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Survivor: Caramoan Fans vs. Favorites - February 27 Blog Party

Survivor fans ready? Let's see how big a fool Brandon makes of himself tonight. If he indeed does some of the stuff threatened on the promos, he's more of a jerk than I thought he was before. I didn't think that was possible.

As the show airs, I'll update this entry with major happenings. But, as always, the real party is in comments. Come join us!

Sherri tried to talk behavior sense into Shamar. Malcolm found the hidden idol in the favorites camp while he and Corinne searched for it. So, she knows, but it's his.

On the Faves, a movement is afoot to get rid of Corinne. On the Fans, poor Shamar is not a happy camper and is pondering quitting. Oh, now he'll save because of the loyalty of the two girls. @@

Immunity Challenge time! Race out to large bamboo cages in the water, go over it, get large chest, drag it to shore. Then they have to complete a track by snagging sections with a grappling hook and rope. They have to move their trunks along the track. Reward is comfort -- pillows, blanket, tarp, chairs.

Favorites win immunity and reward!

The Fans scheming a three way vote - Eddie, Hope and Shamar. They hope to flush out Reynold's idol. Shamar told Hope about the plan and now they all know.

They're making it seem like Shamar is almost a sure bet to go with editing. So, now I'm doubtful.

Tribal Council time.

Reynold does not play the idol. The tally: Shamar, Hope, Shamar, Hope, Shamar, Hope, Eddie, Eddie, Eddie. A three way tie! Revote time -- they can only vote for those three and those three cannot vote.

The re-tally: Shamar, Hope, Hope, Hope, Hope ...

What did I say about editing? Hope is out. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Amazing Race: Blog Party - February 24, 2013

Tonight, tonight ... the Oscars are tonight! But so is The Amazing Race! I anticipate our party might be a bit quiet due to the Oscars, but we're here anyway. Not only that, but the show will be starting on time tonight. So there, Hollywood!

As the show airs, I'll update this entry with the major happenings. But (unless everyone is watching the awards), the real fun is in the comments area. Come join us!

The teams all have to take a water taxi which doesn't leave until morning ... so the four hour penalty teams will start off a bit more even than expected, I believe. Dave and Conner expect the second Express Pass to be given to them, but it might not come about that easily.

Detour -- Pick a Pearl, diving for pearls or Take a Trunk, diving for trunks and set up an underwater dining experience.

Gah, Dave and Conner were in first, but had to go back for their snorkeling gear. The twins can't swim well and are talking about taking the penalty. @@ The lagging two teams haven't arrived yet.

The last two teams will only be an hour and a half behind with the water taxi schedule. The twins decided to try. Too late, they've already disappointed me! Dave and Conner made excellent time and are in second at this time, only team ahead is the YouTube couple.

The Roadblock has them kicking a coconut across the beach on stilts. Who's a well-balanced individual?

1. Bates and Anthony - won a trip to London
2. Dave and Conner - Dave may have ruptured his Achilles tendon
3. Jessica and John
4. Joey and Meghan
5. Chuck and Wynona

The twins are still struggling with the Detour. Now the two last teams are heading to the Roadblock. Pamela and Winnie are lost on their jet ski heading to the Roadblock.

6. Mona and Beth
7. Caroline and Jennifer

The twins switched Detour tasks but they're woefully in last so far.

8. Max and Katie

Pamela and Winnie are struggling with the Roadblock while the twins are heading their way. They're through it!

9. Pamela and Winnie
10. Idries and Jamil -- Philiminated

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - February 24, 2013

Once again it's Sunday. Odd how that seems to happen once a week, huh? Well, that means it's time for my weekly off television topic reflection on the week gone by in both words and photographs I've taken along the way.

I realize the Oscars are on tonight, but there will also be a new episode of The Amazing Race. Despite the red carpet, the blog party for the show will go on as scheduled. You're all free to wear gowns and tuxedos if you wish. Check back at 8pm ET for that post!

I have a lack of photos this week, so you're going to get a lot of Vincent. I was on a staycation and the weather was mostly dreary and warmish or really cold. Thus, I napped a lot. I stayed home for the most part. Yeah, I got some of the chores I planned to do done.

But I really napped a lot.

And it felt great!

Onto the photos I took ...

Dreary photo fe2a3261-9477-474b-9e3a-94d066242276_zps916b70af.jpg
Damp and dreary

It seems like most of the week was damp and dreary. But I didn't mind. I feel rested for the first time in months! This is looking down Berckman Street towards East Third Street in Plainfield.

Vincent - B&W&green photo IMG_5126a_zpsf794e0c7.jpg
Vincent in B&W and green

In this shot, I left only Vincent's eyes in color. In fairly close up shots like this, his scar on his nose shows. I always wondered how he managed to get such a scar in his previous life. It was already a well-healed scar when the shelter got him, so it either didn't happen while he was a stray or he was a stray for a really long time.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Survivor: Caramoan Fans vs. Favorites - February 20 Blog Party

Okay, one favorite down ... who will be next? How many times will Phillip refer to his Secret Agent Man days? Will Baby Boy Hantz actually be able to go bad boy without crying? Will we have enough booze on hand? Who's got snacks?

As the show airs here on the East Coast, I'll update this entry with the major happenings. But, as always, the real party is in the comments area. Come join in on the fun!

Immunity Challenge time! Done in threes, three to a raft, three pull them out to platform, three play huge ring toss. Reward is a fishing kit.

The Favorites win immunity and reward!

Reynold found a hidden immunity idol. There are factions for both Shemar going home, as well as Allie. One of the ones who want Allie out thinks he has it. She outs him for it at tribal council.

Reynold does NOT play the idol.

The tally: Shemar, Shemar, Shemar, Shemar, Allie, Allie, Allie, Allie, Allie, Allie.

GAH! She was my pool pick! She's gone. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Amazing Race: Season Premiere Blog Party and Pool Picks!

Come one, come all! It's time for the new season of The Amazing Race! We can only hope it's on time on the East Coast more often than not this season. (Sigh.) Whoa! A few minutes after 7:00 (ET), the golf on CBS actually switched over to the Golf Channel. I fainted. So, we may be a few minutes late tonight, but they're apparently learning.

The Esteemed Margo (rockin' Margo) has the pool picks chosen for the season. You can still jump in the pool by choosing a team and cheering them on your own if you missed the cut off! Now, TV Guide et al are saying that three teams quit in the first Roadblock. I'm thinking that they just quit the Roadblock, not the entire race, and suffer penalties. If we do indeed lose three teams in the season premiere, Margo will juggle around the picks. If only one team goes home in the premiere, then the pool picks remain as they stand.

Here they are:
Idries & Jamil - Donna in AL, Monty924
Mona & Beth - Laurie, Margo
Chuck & Wynona - JOEY, SueGee
Max & Katie - MEB, PDXGranny
Anthony & Bates - Merrilee, Rbennie
David & Connor - Auntie Leigh, Delee, Lynn1
Pamela & Winnie - Jackie, Zoetawny
Matthew & Daniel - Ed in OH, Karen in CA, Sharon S
John & Jessica - Becky, Brian, Jennasmom
Caroline & Jen - Brent MeKee, Nana in NW
Joey & Meghan - Donna in FL, Glenn

As the show airs here in the East, I'll update this entry with the major happenings. But, as always, the real party is in the comments area. Come join us!

Teams ready? GO!

We're starting from Los Angeles. This season the first leg winner wins not just one Express Pass, but two. They have to give the second one to another team of their choosing. They're heading to Bora Bora.

Who's ready to take a giant leap? Tandem skydive Roadblock from a helicopter.
A second Roadblock -- who likes to play in the sand? Searching through sandcastles for a clue. They have to rebuild sandcastles if they don't find the clue. It's tougher than the skydiving.

Phil said the last team WILL be eliminated. So, someone will go tonight. No one has quit at anything yet.

1st at Pit Stop == Jessica and John. They have to give the second Express Pass before the fourth leg.
2. Bates and Anthony
3. Dave and Connor
4. Pam and Winnie
5. Mona and Beth
6. Joey and Meghan
7. Chuck and Wynona
8. Idries and Jamil

The final three teams are discussing quitting the Roadblock and taking the four hour penalty. It's down to a canoe build/race to the Pit Stop for them. Uh-oh, the firefighters are behind.

9. Mona and Beth
10. Max and Katie

Both will start out four hours later at the next leg.

The firefighters, Matthew and Daniel, were Philiminated.

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - February 17, 2013

It's Sunday morning. You know what that means! It's time for my weekly off television topic reflection on the week gone by in both words and photographs I've taken along the way.

Before I get really into things, I want to touch on television for a moment. Tonight is the season premiere of The Amazing Race. I made a post for folks to sign up for the blog pool right here. Poolkeeper Margo hasn't announced a cut-off, but you best get your name in there this morning if you want to take part in the pool!

Let's see ... onto the week gone by. Well, it was an odd week in the world, for sure -- a Pope resigning for the first time in six hundred years, a disgruntled ex-LAPD officer manhunt in California, a meteor damaging buildings and injuring 1200 people in Russia. My thoughts? Well, I would guess the Pope made the right decision in view of his health and age. Although, it would have been more interesting if he had chosen to retire because he wanted to get married and have a family! As for Dorner, the ex-cop, I just don't know. His manifesto was definitely wrong-minded. But, I can't help but wonder if he did have something in his original impetus to his trail of destruction. Not the way to go about things, though. The meteor? Eek.

My own personal life has been quiet for the most part. The old work, home, sleep, eat, work, on and on all over again. Yet I knew I was working for a goal -- yes, it's a staycation this week! Unlike last year, I will NOT go to the Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown. I almost died in the crush of the crowds last year there. Well, didn't really almost die, but I did fear ribs would be broken in the crush! I have no real plans. I do have some housework stuff I plan on doing -- sorting through closets and such. I also plan to take a lot of naps! It's quite likely, weather permitting, that I'll take some walks around with the camera.

But, for the most part, I just plan to relax for the week. Yay!

Onto the photos ... 

Landing gear photo IMG_5045a_zpsec79fbf2.jpg
Deploy landing gear

As the sun rises, the seagulls claim their places atop the parking lot lights in Bridgewater.

Hawk photo IMG_5106a_zpsae43be12.jpg
Cooper's Hawk on Watchung Avenue

I believe this is the same hawk that buzzed me last week. It followed pretty much the same flight path. However, I was a few feet away this time. It swooped across the street to the bushes at the front of the police station. Then, without stopping, it flew to a tree branch at the far side of the lawn. Although he's not huge, his wingspan is certainly impressive.

Narcotics photo IMG_5063_zpsd85cd5b7.jpg
Hopefully not too near me

And, while I'm right on Watchung Avenue by the police station, congratulations to the newly promoted Sergeant Fusco! Others were promoted, as well. But I don't believe I know any of them. I seem to only know narcotics and gang unit detectives in town. Mind you ... that doesn't mean I'm into drugs or gangs! My drugs of choice are ibuprofen and caffeine. My gang, I guess, is Vincent the cat. Probably not the stuff of good busts. I know them because their annex is where I often wait for a bus when I don't feel like walking home after work. The bus is free on my monthly train pass.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Amazing Race: Cast Video and Blog Pool Sign-Up!

The new season of The Amazing Race makes its debut this coming Sunday evening, February 17th! The Esteemed Margo has been kind enough to once again take charge of the blog pool for the show. I do apologize for getting this post up a bit late -- real life and all that mundane stuff, y'know.

The way the pool works is: Margo's Mom randomly picks names out of the hat (perhaps bowl or other such container of said names) and each blog member is randomly assigned a team to cheer on until they get Philiminated or win The Amazing Race. Nah, the winning blog members unfortunately don't go home with a million. But they do get bragging rights to hold near and dear until the next season comes around!

The official CBS website with the bios is here for you to check up on them.

Here's Phil's introduction to the cast:

If you want in on the pool, please respond here on this very post in comments. If you're signing on as Anonymous, we do need some sort of sign off name on your comments. Heck, you can be a boy named Sue if you wish, but we do need a name. Please get your name in there as soon as possible as we'll have to cut off the entries sometime Saturday!

Then join the blog parties during the shows as they air in East Coast time! Hang out with a great bunch of friends and get ready for a whirlwind trip around the world ... from the safety of home.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Survivor: Caramoan - Blog Pool List and Season Premiere Blog Party

Tonight, tonight, tonight we party, tonight! Yes, it's time for the big Survivor: Caramoan Fans vs. Favorites season premiere blog party! Jeff Probst has been saying this is going to be one of the best seasons yet. While he tends to get excited and try to give out positive vibes each season, I myself think we're in for an entertaining season. And, after all, that's what we're here for, right? Entertainment!

Lifeguard Laurie has stepped up the pool a bit for us this season -- giving each of us a fan and a fav. Here's the pool list -- if you didn't submit your name on time, feel free to just declare a favorite (or fan or both) to cheer on through the season! It's all in fun.

Becky Andrea
Brent McKee Brandon
Brian Brenda
DKNYNC Corinne
dla Dawn
Donna in AL Erik
Donna in FL Francesca
Ed in Ohio John Cochran
Glenn Malcom
Jackie Phillip
Joey & Julie Andrea
Karen from CA Brandon
Laurie Brenda
Lynn1 Corinne
Margo Dawn
meb Erik
Merrilee Francesca
ML John Cochran
Monty Malcom
Nickelpeed Phillip
Nana in the NW Andrea
PDX Granny Brandon
Petals Brenda
Rbennie Corinne
Rochelle Dawn
Shayne Erik
SueGee Francesca
Terry in TX John Cochran
Zoetawny Malcom

As the show airs, I'll update this entry with the major happenings. However, the real party will be in the comments area. Jump in! The water's fine!

Survivor fans ready?

It's all starting out with a physical competition for beans and the all important fire. Favorites win!

Immunity Challenge has them climbing up a structure by twos, flinging crates to break them, the crates contain sandbags. Then they toss the sandbags into a grid for the win. FANS WIN FIRST IMMUNITY CHALLENGE!

Tribal - the tally:
Andrea, Andrea, Andrea, Francesca, Francesca, Francesca, Andrea, Francesca, Francesca, Francesca.

They did it again, Francesca is first out.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Survivor: Caramoan - Checking Out the New Castaways

The series premiere will be this coming Wednesday night, February 13, at 8pm ET/PT. As always, the blog party post will be up and running! Laurie is running the blog pool (she rocks, y'know) and you can get aboard with that by contacting her at lifeguardlaurie at

I checked out the returning "Favorites" in this post a bit ago. Tonight I'll be looking a bit more at the newbie "Fans." While I'm not huge on returning players on reality shows, I think I'm actually looking forward to watching some of the returnees this time around. Well, that is, except Brandon Hantz. He can't have changed enough for him to ever be in good graces with me. I'd like him to be the first one off, thank you very much.

For a peek at the new castaways, check out the Jeff Probst cast assessment --

My own quick assessments from reading their bios on the CBS website:

Laura Alexander: Age 23, from Washington D.C. Um, well. She seems to have a bit of a chip on her shoulder. Unless she's too abrasive, some of her qualities might lead to a win. That's not to say she's someone I think I'll like.

Sherri Beithman: Age 41, from Boise, Idaho. Hmm ... in her bio, she twice refers to herself as "lovable." That makes me not love her all that much. I could be wrong, though. I guess she could be lovable. Maybe.

Matt Bischoff: Age 38, from Cincinnati, Ohio. Ah, the weird beard dude! His inspiration in life is the man who grew the longest beard ever (17.5 feet). Okaaay. He thinks he's going to play a good social game. I think he's going to be easy to differentiate from the other new male castaways until I get the names down.

Hope Driskill: Age 23, from Jefferson City, Missouri. A recent college grad hoping to use winnings from the show to finance law school. I kind of like this kid. She seems bright and athletic. She might do well.

Eddie Fox: Age 23, from East Brunswick, NJ. Homeboy in da house! He's eye candy and a fireman, too. Huh ... not far away from where I live, either. Hummahumma! Ahem. Actually, in reading his bio, his chances look good. If anything, he might be not sneaky enough, I say.

Julia Landauer: Age 21, from Stanford, California. Racecar driver, eh? She apparently has turned 21 since the season was filmed, so she's but a child. Despite being a child, I think I'm going to like her and she just might be a strong competitor. We'll see.

Allie Pohevitz: Age 25, from Oceanside, NY. Oceanside would be on Lawn Guyland (Long Island for the non-natives) as that's the only ocean side New York has. She's a bartender and probably of the ilk we'd see on Big Brother. For some reason, the word "annoying" comes to mind as I read her bio.

Michael Snow: Age 44, from New York City, NY. I'm not sure if film, theater, knitting and photobombing are great qualities for competing to be the sole Survivor. I do think his social game might be good. But if his physical game sucks, he's gone.

Shamar Thomas: Age 27, from Brooklyn, NY. My gosh, my little corner of the world is getting well represented in this cast -- NJ and NYC Metro Area! I'm of two minds about this guy. On one hand, he could very well do well. On the other hand, it seems with all he's out to prove, all may backfire.

Reynold Toepfer: Age 30, from San Francisco, California. He's the wild card player according to the Jeff Assessment. He claims (twice) to be a charmer and says he "dazzles" people. Let us be the judge of that.

So, there you go. Ten new "fans" aboard the cast. Most are young. They're all fans of the show. I think it's going to be an interesting season. Your thoughts?     

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - February 10, 2013

Good morning! It's Sunday. You know what that means. It's time for my weekly off television topic reflection on the week gone by in both words and photographs I've taken along the way.

Survivor begins this coming Wednesday. Of course, we'll be partying here along with the show as it airs in East Coast time. A week from today, it's the start of a new season of The Amazing Race. I will have posts up before the shows make their debuts. I promise! I just feel like I've been running on empty a lot lately.

Another winter week behind us, we had our first more than an inch or two storm. Although nowhere near as bad as hyped, nor as bad as any of the big storms a few years ago, it provided some beauty to the season. Some areas got record snow totals, us not so much. 

I ended up taking a vacation day due to it mainly because the streets and sidewalks weren't cleared as quickly as they would have been on a weekday storm. No way was I going to struggle through the snow on the sidewalks all the way to the train station! As usual, cars weren't towed from my street even though there are signs that it's a snow emergency route. So, the snowplow just plowed about a lane and a half worth of a swath.

Onto this week's photos! If you click on an image, it will open up in a new Photobucket window, clicking again will make it larger. To return to the blog, just close out the Photobucket window.

Out the window
Looking out the window

This is Saturday afternoon, looking out my window at the fallen snow. I didn't go to work and remained inside all day. So, this was as close as I got to it.

On the windowsill

According to my ruler, that's nine inches of snow on my windowsill.

Gimme Shelter

Although you can't tell, it is snowing in this Friday morning photo. I edited it to leave only the shelter in color. Plainfield Train Station


Sunday, February 03, 2013

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - February 3, 2013

It's Sunday morning, time for my weekly off television topic reflection on the week gone by in both words and photos I've taken. If you haven't checked it out yet, I have a post about the returning castaways on Survivor and hope to get the remaining cast up soon. If you want in on the blog pool for that show, email lifeguardlaurie at gmail dot com or reply to the show cast post. Please don't ask for in on the pool on this post as I'm not sure she'll see the comment!

Today is Superbowl Sunday. Huh. I don't watch football, not at all. I can catch the commercials on the internet. I will have to keep track of when the game ends as they're broadcasting a new episode of Elementary after it. That's one of my favorite new shows even though I think Sir Arthur Conan Doyle might disapprove if he were alive to see it. Two shows down, I'm still intrigued by The Following on FOX, too. It makes me feel a bit creeped out to be an Edgar Allen Poe fan, but I'm not about to be part of the cult! Heck, my latest favorite shows are quasi-literary related and feature killers. But I'm normal. I swear I am! Really! Er, maybe not normal-normal ... but not dangerous. We'll leave it at that.

I apparently am a danger to myself, though. On Tuesday, after a smattering of icy snow the night before (when I took a cab home from the train station as the sidewalks were icy), it was nearly forty degrees. The sidewalks I encountered on the way to the train station were just wet. That is until I hit North Avenue by the train station. ICE, ICE, BABY! I went right up in the air and slammed back down on the concrete (whatever). I'm still bruised and a bit sore. Thankfully both knees made it through the event without permanent damage. I SO don't want to have those operations redone! I hit my head pretty hard, but I do have a pretty hard head. That's fine -- a bit sore to the touch still, but it's a surface hurt, not a Hillary Clinton double-vision hurt.

It snowed last night, maybe an inch or two. Everything outside is pretty and white, but I doubt I'll be going out in it. I don't have much on the table for today other than housekeeping which has suffered a bit here this week as I felt sore due to my fall. On Friday I went into Westfield to run some errands as well as a Trader Joe's run (thank you, Russ!). So, I have some cool Trader Joe's goodies in the house. Vincent can have cat treats. Have a great Superbowl Sunday, folks!

Clicking on an image will open it in a new Photobucket window, clicking again on it will make it larger. To return to the blog, just close out the Photobucket window and, like magic, you're right back where you left off! 

Track 1
Track 1 Sign

I took this shot at the Westfield Train Station, South Avenue side. I felt it screamed for black and white.  Although it's not particularly noticeable, there was a snow squall going on cutting visibility down quite a bit. The spiky things which look like comb's teeth are there to keep pigeons from the top of the sign. Gee, maybe they could put little fake coyotes up there!

Plainfield Train Station 2
Plainfield Train Station

And this is the Plainfield Train Station last night after I got off the train and everyone had boarded. I used a cartoon effect in my photo editor which seemed to lend itself for this photo. There wasn't a crowd on my train home and the regular train bums must have warmer new diggings. So, I was all but alone. Even Omar, the regular train station homeless dude, has gone missing again in this rather indecisive winter (very warm, then very cold). Of course, his missing is quite likely jail related rather than warmth issues.


Yay, decorative kale! This was in Westfield. I do see some growing across the street from my apartment, but don't want to upset folks by going up on the lawn there.