Sunday, December 29, 2013

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - December 29, 2013

Good morning! I hope everyone who celebrates the day had a fine Christmas this past week.

Unfortunately, I had a few issues over the week that are totally abbreviating my usual off television topic rambling. One of my brothers is quite ill and his situation looked dire at the start of the week. However, as I write this, he's out of the ICU and his prognosis is better.

Then, while not life-threatening at all, my sciatica has been horrible. I missed Friday and Saturday during an already shortened by the holiday work week. It's hard to stand or sit for any period of time without being in excruciating pain. I'm hoping another day mainly in bed will ease the pain. Man, it makes my old knee pain feel like it was child's play!

That's what's happening with me. Of course, it didn't stop Vincent from having a fine Christmas Day ---

Christmas catnip

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Happy Holidays! photo HapHolidaysLgJackie09.gif

My best wishes go out to all the blog readers here, hoping you're having a wonderful holiday full of love, fun and food. (And catnip, according to Vincent.)

Although some pesky health issues have kept me from my Christmastime photo stomp in the city (NYC) this year, I put together a slideshow of photos I've taken the past few years ...

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Thank you all for being in my life!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - December 22, 2013

Good morning! It's Sunday, time for my weekly off television topic reflection on the week gone by in both words and photos I've taken along the way. As we approach the holidays, I'll admit I haven't really been posting about (or watching) much television anyway. I've been working. And working. And working. Sigh.

Overall, it hasn't been a great week here for me. I'm still a bit banged up from being in that cab accident last week and now I've had a problem with sciatica the last week or so, too. Ow! Ow! It's like have a constant leg cramp running from my butt down through my calf! Ow. Yet, work is in such a state that I haven't taken any time off other than my regular days off (like today). It's not that I haven't been asked to work extra; I just can't. I'm barely making it through my scheduled days. Gah. It needs to go away!

We had more snow early this week, but today promises to break records as far as warmth. It could very well go about 70 degrees. That should melt most of the snow we have on the ground, definitely de-ice the sidewalks. Good. While I like snow for Christmas for the children, I can do without it myself. Sure, it's pretty. But after dealing with icy sidewalks for a few weeks already, I don't mind a reprieve at all.

Nothing much else is happening here. I didn't and probably won't go into the city (NYC) to take photos of the holiday happenings. I'm really not feeling up to it. I've pretty much been coming home from work and collapsing.

I'm a bit worried about the Target store security breach. I was only there once during the period that the card information was stolen, but once is all it takes. I've been monitoring my account used and haven't seen anything suspicious. However, I think I might just contact my bank anyway. I went into Target yesterday on my way to work and took advantage of their 10% off this weekend for my normal Saturday (mostly grocery) purchases. It was kind of sad. The rest of the shopping center parking lot was crammed (Old Navy, Costco, Marshalls, PetSmart, Michaels, Home Depot, Bed, Bath and Beyond and others) ... Target's lot was only about a third full. I've never seen that on the Saturday before Christmas. It has had a huge negative impact on their business.

I do plan on making some actual television posts this week. I really do. But, for now ... onto the photos --

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Snowy station

On Tuesday, we had our fourth pre-winter snowstorm within nine days. True, they weren't huge storms. But many sidewalks were icy messes until Friday when the temperatures got warm enough to melt them. I took this one as I headed home from work on Tuesday. Plainfield Train Station.

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Sunset in da 'hood

Thursday's skies were pretty as I headed home.


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Survivor: Blood vs. Water Season Finale and Reunion Show Blog Party

Well, this is IT! Keeping with the standard CBS silliness called a Sunday night schedule, the show will be starting a few minutes late here tonight. Grr. With three hours of Survivor ahead of us tonight, any lateness is not appreciated. They need to get their act together!

Tonight is going to have to be pretty action-packed to get the playing field narrowed down to three. One person will need to return from Redemption Island. I hope it's Hayden for personal likability reasons, but wouldn't be upset if it's Laura who has done spectacularly on challenges.

Here are Lifeguard Laurie's latest blog pool standings --

Still on the Island
CIERA -- Andrea J, Karen in CA, Rochelle
GERVASE -- Jackie, Pam in NJ
MONICA -- Becky, KayBeeRN, Russ
TYSON -- Delee, meb

Redemption Island
TINA -- Cheryl in NC, Lynn1, Terry in TX
LAURA M -- AlbGlinka, JOKATS, rbennie
HAYDEN -- Joanie, Quixotic Elf

ARAS -- Donna in FL, MikesGirl
VYTAS -- Donna NY, ML
CALEB -- Glenn, ORKMommy
KATIE -- David, Margo, Zoetawny

As the show airs here, I'll update this entry with the major happenings on East Coast time. Refresh the page to get the latest! But, as always, the real party is in the comments area. Come join in on the fun as we watch the show together!

Survivor fans ready?

8:06pm ET and it's starting ... recapping the season.

Tyson, in a play to keep his ally in Monica, offers her the hidden idol. She's reluctant. She claims not to be his lapdog.

Time for the final Redemption Island duel. One will reenter the game, the other two will join the jury. They have to stand at a teeter-totter type thing balancing a vase with one foot. Wah - Hayden is out first and is now a part of the jury. Laura's out! Tina returns to the game! Tina keeps the clue to the hidden idol for herself. Too bad Tyson already has the idol.

Immunity Challenge time! Pull on a rope, leveling out an uneven table, back out and balance ten blocks on said table. If blocks fall, they have to upright them, all the time balancing the tables evenly with the rope.

Tyson wins immunity! Gah. I'm so not liking him this season. Hey, wait ... I didn't like him before, either! At least he's consistent.

Gervase would like Ciera to go as he thinks she can beat him at the end with the jury. Monica wants Tina to go because everyone on the jury likes her. Tyson is undecided. Meanwhile, Gervase has now alienated Monica and she seems will to work with Tina and Ciera to vote him out.

Tribal -- Jeff really draws too much out f them! Tyson doesn't give Gervase his idol even though he has no use for it as he has immunity and this is the last time it can be played. DANG! He did give it to Gervase! One of the women will go home. Grr. Tyson had said he wanted to keep the idol as a souvenir to give his girlfriend.

The tally --  Gervase, Gervase, Ciera, Ciera. Ciera would have gone anyway as Monica voted with the boys once again.

Final Immunity Challenge time! Race through obstacles, collecting bags of puzzle pieces, slide down water slide to gather more, unlock lock with puzzle solution.

Tyson wins final immunity. The plan is that the three will vote Tina out. Tina would like Monica to join in with her and make it a tie. The boys are wondering if they have a chance against Monica. Tina thinks that she could beat Gervase in a tie fire comp.

Final tribal council - the tally -- Tina, Tina, Gervase, Tina. Monica is sticking with the boys once again.

Speech time!
Gervase - Used old and new school, thirteen years, did big blindsides like Aras, warrants the win.
Monica - Address the elephant in the room, NOT dragged along by Tyson and Gervase, less blood on her hands, less broken promises, would be on jury otherwise.
Tyson - Target Numero Uno from beginning, have fun, no regrets (tears up talking about his girlfriend), made huge moves, found idols, won idols, all strategic ... all thanks to Rachel.

The jury --

Vytas -- Tyson, you get before you got got. Problem is I promised not to give you my vote and will stick to that. Gervase, you didn't adapt. Monica, we had a friendship, you turned on me.

Katie -- Congrats. One question for Tyson ... nothing out of malice, what he said to her after rock about her jury seat was malice. He apologizes.

Caleb -- Gervase, what was your big game-changing move? Voting out Aras. He thinks it's genius that Tyson took the heat for that. Monica -- be vulnerable. Whole life about Brad, really wants this and to be about me for once.

Ciera -- Tyson, do you see yourself as villain or hero? Not villain, all strategy. Gervase, ever vote out Tyson? He would have voted in the F4 if he could. He thinks he can beat Tyson.

Laura -- Monica, I don't know who you are. Monica points out how out of place she feels in the game, she's grown. Monica is shedding a lot of tears.

Tina -- One word that best describes your core. Monica, missed. Jazz? Gervase, honorable. Tyson, fun-loving.

Hayden -- Where was the idol you found? Monica, I love you and Brad. "I made him." A little fake, need to see inside Monica. More tears. Y'all keep punching me.

Aras -- Gervase, assume I can only vote for Monica or Tyson. Who and why? Gervase says Tyson, the hidden idol finding, can't knock game. Monica, vote for Tyson out of Tyson and Gervase. Charging horse for 30 days. Tyson says vote for Monica. Her big move was getting information for us.

Caleb votes Tyson, Vytas Monica.

Onto Los Angeles,

The Votes -- Monica, Tyson, Tyson, Tyson, Tyson, Tyson.

I don't like him, but he did outwit, outplay and outlast. He was the best choice for the win of the three.

Short hint for next season ... B B B. Hmm.

A bit of oddness this year with no ritual walk honoring the fallen castaways and no fan favorite vote. Hmm.

Next season is Brawn vs. Brains vs. Beauty.

Thanks for hanging out on the blog all season, folks!

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - December 15, 2013

Yes, it's Sunday once again. While tonight will be the huge LONG Survivor finale blog party starting at 8pm ET, this here post is my weekly off television topic photo post. In it, I reflect on the week gone by in both words and photographs I've taken along the way.


It hasn't been a great week for me. First off, I ended up working six days due to circumstance. I had to go in for about three hours last Sunday on what was one of my two days off. Thankfully, I don't have to go in today. I think I'd refuse -- it's a mess out there today!

More often than not, this area has little to no snow in December. Usually there is no white Christmas. This week, we had three storms in the space of less than a week. Eek!

Sunday evening into Monday morning, we had an inch or two of snow followed by ice. Since the WCBS 2 (Manhattan) weather lab was set up in the Plainfield Train Station parking lot that morning, I made the decision to call a taxi instead of walking on the icy sidewalks.

Then there was a daytime snowstorm on Tuesday. It started after I arrived to work and ended before I went home. It was about three to four inches. It was a pretty sticky snow, good for snowballs and sticking to trees.

Then, on Saturday (yesterday), we went from a winter storm watch to a winter storm warning before I left for work. As I left my apartment, it was snowing heavy in Plainfield and sticking. I should have turned around and headed home. But, by the time I got to work, it was only heavy flurries there.

Alas, it changed to heavy snow. Although I left a couple of hours early, I still had problems getting home. While walking down hill on the untreated walk near the Bridgewater Train Station, I slipped and fell on my butt. Grr. While I wasn't hurt, it was a struggle to get up. Once I hit Plainfield, I took a taxi home. First off, they (illegally?) overcharged for the ride. Second, a car slid through an intersection and hit the cab. My shoulder banged into the door and is bruised and sore this morning. Then, the cabbie headed to East Seventh Street instead of my street; he had forgotten where he was going! Sheesh! Since there had been a lot of talking on his radio in Spanish, I thought he might be picking up another passenger. But, no. We were taking the scenic route and he had forgotten where I was going. Grr. (Although, I must say, all the Christmas lights on the homes were very pretty in the snow.)

Then the snow turned to ice in the late evening hours. Then it turned to rain. Now, as I write this up, it's below freezing out there. So, everything is frozen again. The landlord's crew hasn't been by to do the lot or walks yet. I don't care. I'm not going out until work tomorrow morning. My Sunday hardcopy newspaper, the only day I get so I can have full access to the online versions (that's the way to go, Doc, if you're reading this), was very late. I've been going down every half-hour since 6am looking for it. Finally it was there at 8am. I refuse to get really dressed. I've been going down in my leopard print pajama pants and a hoodie. On my last trip down, someone was heading down to a car outside to clear it off, but he didn't see me. I could also smell breakfast cooking smells in the hallway on that trip. Mmm.

Onto this week's photos ...

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Tuesday approaching sunset

Tuesday's storm left three or four inches on the ground, all coming down during my workday hours. Then the sun came out. I liked how it played out on the lines, angles and lamps at the Plainfield Train Station.

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Saturday morning train

The snow was coming down steady by the time I made it to the Plainfield Train Station for my morning commute on Saturday. Thankfully they had salted the platform. Later on, that won't make a difference.

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Tuesday afternoon train home

After the snow stopped, the sun came out. This is my train approaching the Bridgewater Train Station. You can see that, in this direction, the engineer (driver) is working with the diesel locomotive engine pushing the train, much in the fashion of the engineer in that horrid train crash at Spuyten Duyvil a few weeks back. In the previous photo, the locomotive engine is pulling the train.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Survivor: Blood vs. Water - December 11 Episode Blog Party

Oh my gosh ... this is the penultimate episode of the season! They're going to have to do some number crunching before the finale this Sunday. Did you notice that this is the first season in a long time (maybe since early on) that there was no "unseen before" clips show?

As the show airs tonight here on the East Coast, I'll update this entry with the major happenings. Refresh the page to get the latest. But, as always, the real party is in the comments area ... come join us there!

The Lovely Lifeguard Laurie has updated the blog pool --
Pool People
CIERA -- Andrea J, Karen in CA, Rochelle
GERVASE -- Jackie, Pam in NJ
HAYDEN -- Joanie, Quixotic Elf
MONICA -- Becky, KayBeeRN, Russ
TYSON -- Delee, meb

Redemption Island
TINA -- Cheryl in NC, Lynn1, Terry in TX
LAURA M -- AlbGlinka, JOKATS, rbennie
KATIE -- David, Margo, Zoetawny

ARAS -- Donna in FL, MikesGirl
VYTAS -- Donna NY, ML
CALEB -- Glenn, ORKMommy

Although my random pool pick is Gervase, I'm sort of shocked that he's still in it. I personally would like to see Hayden win. Although I don't care much for either of them, Monica and Laura M. have played incredibly strong in challenges. Tyson has been disappointing in challenges for the most part, but very astute at finding idols. It all may just crash down around him.

Survivor fans ready?

Hmm ... Tyson, thinking it will make Monica his loyal ally, tells her and Gervase that he found the other idol. It actually makes her distrust him a bit more as he held out about it.

Time for the Redemption Island duel -- Using sticks and rope to fashion a pole, retrieve keys. Probst is telling them that two will live to remain in the game, one will go home. I don't see any number crunching there, do you? Laura wins it again! Tina gets second and Katie will be heading to jury. Laura gives Ciera the clue to the hidden idol.

Ciera and Hayden both work on finding the idol. After all, it's them versus the other three. Of course, they don't know Tyson already has it.

The immunity challenge has them diving, pushing a buoy, retrieve letter tiles, solve a classic Survivor phrase puzzle. Reward has a custom dinner delivered to the winner. Ciera WINS Immunity and Reward! She can choose one person to join her for reward, goes for Hayden.

Ciera and Hayden know their only chance is to get Monica on their side. It just might work. They want to target Gervase.

Tribal Council time. The whole Monica-gate thing is discussed. Hmm.

The tally -- Hayden, Gervase, Hayden, Gervase, Hayden.

Ack. She didn't take the bait. Hayden goes to Redemption Island.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

The Amazing Race: Season Finale Blog Party - December 8, 2013

Okay, it's actually going to start on time here! Woot! Tonight's two-hour season finale will have four teams whittled down to three into the final dash of the world whirlwind race. I know many don't like Leo and Jamal. But I don't mind them so much at all. It's Tim and Marie (my fellow NJ peeps) who irk me. Please don't let them win!

For those who want to know and didn't catch it, I posted the casting spoilers on next season's race. Beware, these are SPOILERS. Don't click on the link if you don't want to know. Please keep casting comments on that post -- I don't want folks complaining here about revealed spoilers.

That's because we're here to PARTY tonight! As the show airs here, I'll post major happenings in real time on this post. Refresh the page to get the latest news! But, as always, the party is in the comments area. Come join in on the fun!

Here's the latest blog pool standings from the Magnificent Margo --

Jason And Amy - Nicklepeed, PDXGranny, Brian, DLA
Leo And Jamal - MEB, Margo, Brenda, Caela
Tim And Marie - SueGee, DKNYNC, Rbennie
Travis And Nicole - Delee, Laurie, Lynn1, Merrilee

Sorry you have been PHILIMINATED
Hoskote And Naina
Rowan And Shane - ML, Becky, Cheryl in NC, KayBeeRN
Chester And Ephraim - Buzzmaam, Donna in AL, Sharon S
Brandon And Adam - Donna in FL, Monty924, Sharon
Tim And Danny - JOKATS, Dusty, Zoetawny
Nicky And Kim - Nana in NW, Jennasmom, David
Ally And Ashley - LafayetteLisanne, Jackie,Tammy

Got your snacks? Got your beverages? Let's race! Er, let's watch them race while we imbibe, that is.

Teams are flying to Tokyo and have to find their next clue amidst cat statues reminiscent of Hello Kitty a bit. Leo and Jamal got an earlier flight than the other teams.

Detour - Knock it Down or Call it Up -- they have to be a human bowling ball or call from roughly inside a fish tank. The first is one of those rather wacky Japanese game shows. The phone call bit is in a defunct phone booth turned goldfish tank.

Leo and Jamal are in the lead after the Detour, but hit their speed bump. They have to catch a fake rhino.

Roadblock - has them building robots. Gah! Marie finished first with the robots! Nicole once again is working with Amy because she can't do a task! Tim and Marie are at the clue for the Pit Stop.

Pit Stop order:
1. Tim and Marie (grr). Won a trip to Aruba.
2. Jason and Amy
3. Nicole and Travis
4. Leo and Jamal - Philiminated

At this point, I really would like a Jason/Amy win. The other two teams irk me, Tim/Marie more irksome than Nicole/Travis, but ...!

Teams are flying to Alaska, their final destination. All three teams are on the same flight.

The Roadblock is a flight task in which they have to drop flour bags onto a target from a small plane.

They have an ice expedition coming up, then have to chip a clue out of ice.Right now, Jason/Amy are in the lead, Tim/Marie quite a bit behind, Nicole/Travis struggling to get through the Roadblock. Nicole has been doing horrible at the tasks, but Travis's attitude about her doing so poorly is getting on my nerves, too.

From there, they have to paddle a kayak to an island to get the next clue. Amy/Jason still in the lead. Nicole/Travis finally made it to the ice expedition bit, but are still struggling.

The final task has them making totem poles representing the currencies of the countries in order. Amy and Jason still in the lead.


Travis is being obnoxious, Nicole is being inept.

2. Tim and Marie
3. Nicole and Travis

The outcome was as it should be given the final three teams.

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - December 8, 2013

Good Sunday morning to all y'all! Y'see, I've been working with someone originally from Alabama. You're lucky I'm not calling y'all "darling." As it is Sunday, this is my off television topic reflection on the week gone by in both words and photographs I've taken along the way. If you're looking for TV talk, tonight is the season finale of The Amazing Race and I'll have a blog party post up by 8pm ET for that. Plus, yesterday, I revealed the cast of next season's TAR in this post.

After I posted last week's photo post, the news came in about the train derailment at Spuyten Duyvil. As some of my Facebook friends were worried, I thought I should mention it here -- although I commute by train to work, I take NJ Transit, not Metro North. And, other than the cool name of Spuyten Duyvil (which means Spouting Devil), little in the Bronx holds reason for me to visit that area.

My own regular train line, NJT Raritan Valley Line, isn't as lengthy a trip end to end as is that Hudson River Metro North line. I have ridden that train once, but it was about thirty years ago heading into the city from the Poughkeepsie area. My regular commute train doesn't have any huge curves in it, either. We do have some gentle bends and there have been times that new engineers miss or almost miss the shorter train platforms due to going too fast, but nothing of crash or derailment level that I've ever experienced in the past ten years.

While I can tell if the train is going either faster or slower than usual, I really couldn't tell you the speed. Even going slow, we tend to go faster than cars on the nearby parallel roads. Those roads tend to be 30mph speed limits, so that doesn't say much. I don't believe that NJ Transit has had any passenger or crew deaths this year although I think I read that there have been 27 suicides with people jumping in front of trains, etc. That isn't enough to derail a train. Heck, once my train hit a car and that didn't derail it. Passengers do stand a chance of falling over during rough stops, but that's about it. I always hang onto something as the train is stopping.

I don't think my train line has that technology they've been talking about which automatically slows the train down per conditions although it's supposedly being tested on NJT. We do go over a detector doohickey outside of Dunellen which broadcasts over the walkies the conductors have. Hmm -- there's actually a very short YouTube bit on it. That detector checks the journal boxes for heat and dragging equipment to make sure a wheel isn't going to fall off or anything. I asked one of the conductors if it has ever sensed a defect. He told me every time he's had a defect, it's been a defect in the detector itself, not the train! It would creep me out if my own job had something called a "dead man's switch" -- but that's standard equipment on trains. That detects that the engineer's hands or feet (?) have dropped off the controls and stops the train.

On the whole, even though NJ Transit was SO foolish when Sandy hit (storing all the rail equipment in the flood zone), I feel safe on the trains and have faith in the quality of the equipment and the crews. I know older train cars are in use on the NJT rails, but my line is all the fairly new (some even newer as they're Sandy replacements) double-deckers. Every now and then heading into the city, I'll get the old Comet cars with the brown seats on the Northeast Corridor line. But I mainly stick to my own train line and I have no worries -- it's far safer than being in a car!

After all this train talk, it's evident that not much happened in the Life of Jackie this week, huh? True dat! Work, eat, sleep, had a stomach bug for a couple of days, icky weather going back and forth to work ... not any great photo opportunities to speak of. Today we're supposed to get a bit of snow and the cold has set in once again. At least snow will be pretty, but it's not guaranteed to be a white Christmas at all. It rarely is around here.

Anyway ... onto the photos I took this week --

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Gobble Gobble!

I don't recall this being there Thanksgiving week. But it did indeed show up this past week on a porch on Berckman Street in Plainfield.

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While I do enjoy it, the house at the corner of Richmond and East Front is looking a bit like Clark Griswold (National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation/Chevy Chase) had a hand in it. If it seeps to the upper floors, we'll know for sure. Plainfield.


Saturday, December 07, 2013

The Amazing Race: Season 24 (Winter) Casting SPOILERS

Get yer spoilers here! Yep, I got your spoilers! It's safe to assume you might be a bit familiar with some of these team members as I'm making a post about it. But, if you don't want to know the cast ... do NOT click the 'read more' link.

But ... if you DO want to know who we'll be watching next season on the show, click that good old 'read more' link. You might be happy; you might not be happy. I'm not here to promise happiness, goodness and light. I'm just here to give you the skinny --

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Survivor: Blood vs. Water - December 4 Episode Blog Party

Ohhh! From the promos, it looks like tonight's Tribal Council vote will result in a stubborn tie! That means all of the castaways will pick a rock, the one with a rock of a certain color will go home. Now, that hasn't been done but once before in all the seasons the show's been on the air.

In Survivor: Marquesas, Paschal English selected the Purple Rock and got the boot even though he had NEVER even had a vote in any Tribal Council at that time. I'm calling it "certain color" rather than Purple Rock (which we've referred to over the years) as it seems to me the promo is saying white. We'll see.

As the show airs here on the East Coast, I'll update this entry with the major happenings. Refresh the page to get the latest! As always, the real party will be in the comments area. Come join in with us cool kids!

Before we get started ... Lifeguard Laurie's latest pool standings are as follows:

Pool People
CIERA -- Andrea J, Karen in CA, Rochelle
GERVASE -- Jackie, Pam in NJ
HAYDEN -- Joanie, Quixotic Elf
KATIE -- David, Margo, Zoetawny
MONICA -- Becky, KayBeeRN, Russ
TYSON -- Delee, meb

Redemption Island
TINA -- Cheryl in NC, Lynn1, Terry in TX
LAURA M -- AlbGlinka, JOKATS, rbennie
CALEB -- Glenn, ORKMommy

ARAS -- Donna in FL, MikesGirl
VYTAS -- Donna NY, ML

Survivor fans ready?

Heh. Hayden mentioned that Tyson will win it all. Then, prior to the duel, Caleb called out Tyson and Gervase as liars. The duel is building a house of cards. Laura wins. Dang, she is good at challenges! Argh! Caleb was just about there when his whole stack went down. Grr. I liked him. Tina and Laura remain at Redemption. Laura decides to give the Immunity Idol clue to Ciera. Ciera keeps it this time.

Ciera reads the clue with her buddies Gervase, Tyson, and Monica. Hayden and Katie are on the outs.

Aw, Tyson cried. Too bad, so sad. ARGH! And, he found the idol!

Immunity Challenge -- Race through obstacles balancing a ball on a pole, poles get longer, then throw sandbags at target. Reward is an ice cream party.

OMG! Gervase won immunity! Is that a first or what? He chooses Monica (his closest competitor and she gave up burgers) and Tyson.

Hayden tries to convince Ciera and Gervase that they need to blindside Tyson tonight. His chances don't look good.

If Ciera was a wishbone, she would have been torn in half in Tribal, Hayden tried to convince her that she would be number four in the Tyson alliance; Tyson tried to keep her.

The tally: No idol played -- Hayden, Hayden, Monica, Monica, Hayden, Monica. It's a tie. The revote -- only for Hayden or Monica.

Re-vote: Monica, Hayden, Monica, Hayden.

Another tie, Purple Rock time! Monica and Hayden are SAFE! Ciera, Katie and Tyson draw rocks, this time it's the white rock. Katie goes to Redemption.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

The Amazing Race: December 1, 2013 Episode Blog Party

After two weeks of the show actually airing on time (8pm ET), tonight it's scheduled to start at 8:30pm ET after football and 60 Minutes. Now, we know that's no guarantee that it will even really air at that time! But, I'll be putting this post up at its standard time -- by 8pm ET. I will take off the word verification once it starts here.

As the show airs, I'll update this entry with the major happenings. Refresh the page to get the latest! Need I remind you, the party is in the comments area? Nah, didn't think you needed that reminder at all. Come join us there!

The Magnificent Margo's latest blog pool standings --

Jason And Amy - Nicklepeed, PDXGranny, Brian, DLA
Leo And Jamal - MEB, Margo, Brenda, Caela
Tim And Marie - SueGee, DKNYNC, Rbennie
Travis And Nicole - Delee, Laurie, Lynn1, Merrilee

Sorry you have been PHILIMINATED
Hoskote And Naina
Rowan And Shane - ML, Becky, Cheryl in NC, KayBeeRN
Chester And Ephraim - Buzzmaam, Donna in AL, Sharon S
Brandon And Adam - Donna in FL, Monty924, Sharon
Tim And Danny - JOKATS, Dusty, Zoetawny
Nicky And Kim - Nana in NW, Jennasmom, David
Ally And Ashley - LafayetteLisanne, Jackie,Tammy

Ready to eat funky stuff? Let's race party!

UPDATE: The show will start approximately 8:51pm ET. Grr. See you then!

Finally ... four teams remain. Who will be eliminated NEXT?

The teams have to eat grilled cobra in order to get their next clue. Although I'm horrible with weird foods, I bet I could do that! Ah, two entrances, north and south, and Tim and Marie went to the wrong one. Plus, Marie is a finicky eater. I hope this knocks out my fellow New Jersey team. I don't like them.

Roadblock has a team member boiling eggs in volcano steam.

Detour -- Paint your partner or turn over a new leaf. The first has them painting partner as a Japanese bride. The latter has them delivering tea leaves.

Heh. Kim doesn't know how to boil eggs. She doesn't even have them in the water!

Pit Stop -
1. Jason and Amy have their first win! They also won a trip to Cancun.
2. Tim and Marie (grr)
3. Nicole and Travis
4. Leo and Jamal

It's non-Philimination leading into next week's season finale. All four teams are still in it.

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - December 1, 2013

Good morning! It's Sunday morning. You know that that means, right? 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. Later on tonight I will get back on the topic of television with The Amazing Race blog party post. If you watch the show, c'mon back for the party as it airs!

Let's see ... what happened this week? Oh, right. Thanksgiving! I hope everyone had a good holiday with family, friends, food, whatever brings contentment to your soul. I'm thankful for a lot of things, too many to name. I'm thankful for the friends I've met through the blog. You all rock!

I had a quiet holiday at home. As I have no family nearby and don't really have enough time off to travel any distance, I usually fix a small feast for myself and spend the day with the cat. Often, when people hear I'll be alone for the holiday, I'll get invites. But I'd feel out of place trying to fit in with a family I don't really know. I'm a bit of a strange duck ... I really enjoy my holiday in the comforts of my own home, eating what I want, enjoying the company of a certain cat and just doing my own thing.

This year, instead of my usual turkey breast, I made prime rib with mashed potatoes and broccoli. For dessert, I had Trader Joe's Ultra Chocolate ice cream topped with Kahlua (also bought at Trader Joe's). It's odd they have hard liquor there now. When I was in there, I swear I heard the Kahlua calling my name. I haven't had any in years and the price seemed quite reasonable. That was my little feast and I was very pleased with how it all turned out!

I made my Trader Joe's run to nearby Westfield on Monday after work, just staying on the train a few more stops and then taking the bus home. I figured I'd avoid the bad weather expected Tuesday and Wednesday and the crowds on Wednesday. Well, I avoided the bad weather. The crowds were so bad that they had someone in their parking lot directing traffic. Yipes! But, in the newly expanded store with many more registers, the wait in line wasn't bad at all. It was much shorter than the wait people had trying to get through the parking lot. Just walking across the street to the bus was so much easier, too!

The cold rain and winds started here on Tuesday. Although I had to fight through the weather on my way home from work Tuesday, I had Wednesday and Thursday off from work -- regular day off and paid holiday. I made sure there was no need for me to go out in it on Wednesday. And, no sales will ever drag me out on Thanksgiving Day even though I'm usually alone on the holiday. I know that if I need something grocery-wise in an emergency, the bodega around the corner is open every single day of the year. Since the owners also man the store, that's their decision and holidays are lucrative for the small business. But I made sure I needed nothing!

How was your holiday?

As a result of the shortened work week out and about and the bad weather for part of the week, I don't have a lot of great photos this week. Most of them, I took the day I hit Westfield after work. But, here goes ...

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Happy Hanukkah!

This is the Menorah at the Westfield Train Station. None of the lights are lit as I took the photo on Monday. 

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I'm surprised some of the mums in planters in Westfield are still hanging in there. Most around here have been taken by the cold nights (and some days!). I was going to take a shot of a dead rose on East Front Street in Plainfield, but it was all too darn sad.

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With a red bow

Watchung Avenue in Plainfield on Tuesday afternoon as I headed home from work. Despite the fact they said the rain would start in the evening, it started by noon. Grr. I edited this shot leaving only the bow in color. After the jump, I have a similar photo in actual color.