Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Survivor: Caramoan Fans vs. Favorites - The "Favorites"

Survivor: Caramoan Fans vs. Favorites cast

Although I'll be focusing on the "favorites" in this entry, here's the new cast video featuring all --

 The season premiere is Wednesday, February 13. Be there or be square. Lifeguard Laurie has once again graciously volunteered to run the blog pool -- you can contact her at lifeguardlaurie@gmail -- just add the dot-com at the end. I don't want her getting swamped by robots, y'know!

For those unfamiliar with the blog pool, not to worry ... you won't lose your shirt in this one. Well, unless you're swimming, maybe! Cast members are randomly selected for our blog community members. We cheer on our chosen castaway until they get the boot or perhaps become the sole survivor. That, of course, is not to be confused with the Soul Survivors. Those folks who get the ultimate sole surviving castaway retain any bragging rights until the next season when the slate is wiped blank once again. 

Okay ... onto the returning so-called favorites. Yes, that term certainly doesn't apply to at least a few for me.

Brandon Hantz. Say WHAT? Why must we endure this little whining sexist wussy jerk Hantz again? What kind of hold does this twerp have over the producers? He wasn't even enjoyable to watch, not at all. Of course, we could always bet on when he'll cry or try to push his extremely narrow-minded ways upon others. 

Brenda Lowe. She was in Nicaragua. While she certainly doesn't bring about such vehemence and vitriol in me as much as does Brandon, I'm not classifying her as a personal favorite. If memory serves, she played well and managed to manipulate folks some, then depended on Sash to save her with an idol. He didn't, she fell and went boom. I didn't NOT enjoy her before; I was just a bit ambivalent.

Corinne Kaplan. Gabon, 12th castaway out, 4th jury member. Um. Okay. She didn't make much of an impression on me the first time around. I recall her mouth tended to get her in hot water with others at times. My favorite? Nah. I'd have to actually remember her more for her to qualify.

Erik Reichenbach. Now, here is someone who's certainly memorable on the show. Memorable for making the most foolish naive bone-headed move ever in the game, that is! He's the guy from the Micronesia season who trusted the girls and gave up his immunity in a wham-bam-off the island eviction. Let's see if he's smartened up a bit. Not really a favorite, but it might be interesting to see if the past repeats and he's trust foolworthy.

Phillip Sheppard. SAM is back, the best drinking game ever on the blog! SAM stands for Secret Agent Man -- every time he mentions secret agent work, we drink! He was on the original Redemption Island. I was initially annoyed by him, but the man has an odd way of growing on a person. He's a hoot to watch and very entertaining in a whacko sort of way. I see he has fresh new pink tidy whities (pinkies). For some reason, I actually liked him while I didn't like Coach (another whacko).

Malcolm Freberg. Hey, wasn't he just on last season? And, I really don't doubt that he would have won it all if not for Denise. He's a strong player, smart, likeable, easy on the eyes.

Francesca Hogi. Or, as SAM would say: Franquesca. The most memorable thing about her for me was the tribal council smackdown with SAM. She was a fairly decent player, but I'm more interested in seeing her reunite with Phillip Sheppard, this time supposedly having to work together.

John Cochran. Huh. The Woody Allen of Survivor has returned. Most likely the palest castaway ever and most inept at the game to have actually made an impact on the game. Sure, there have been more inept folks on the show. However, they leave little impression on me. I actually liked Cochran and, if I have to suffer through returning castaways (never my favorite reality show gimmick), I'd just as soon watch him again. Will he win? Bwahahaha!

Dawn Meehan. Dawn was in the South Pacific season. I remember her as a strong woman in the game, but not surrounded with the best crowd. She was an ally with Cochran, so this reunion should have them working together again. I'd like to see her do well.

Andrea Boehike. Another Redemption Island alumni. She's hoping all the crazy people target each other and she will rise to the top. 

I'm not sure of the criteria used to select these "favorites." Some we could almost predict would be multi-season -- like Cochran, Phillip Sheppard. Others seem to be favorites of casting, not of the real fans -- Brandon.

What's your take on the returning castaways?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - January 27, 2013

It's Sunday morning, time for my weekly off television topic reflection on the week gone by in both words and photographs I've taken along the way. For much of the week, all of it really, it was too cold to take photos. But I did come across a few things photo-worthy of taking off my gloves and risking the batteries in my camera.

This way below freezing usually accompanied by biting winds weather this week has taken a toll on me. I think I could sleep three days straight in my nice warm bed. I've also been really cranky this past week. I blame that on the weather, too. While I don't really mind the cold itself all that much -- it's the bundling all up and the wind which just won't stop. 

The knees are doing fine. However, one day when I was walking against strong wind, I felt a weird sensation in both of them. I believe it was so cold, the wind was so strong and I was out in it long enough to drop the temperature of the metal in both knees. It was a weird tingling almost burning sensation from deep within the knees, not really painful, certainly not like the prior arthritic pain. Just very bizarre. It went away when I warmed up inside work.

Once again this week, I keep falling asleep in front of the television. Thankfully Letterman was in repeats this week, as were many of the CBS shows I usually watch. I've been watching American Idol auditions and I'm really not keen on Nicki Minaj. Not at all. While at times I do like how she interacts with the contestants, her speaking voice and weirdness just to be weird bugs me.

I watched Kevin Bacon's new FOX show The Following and, despite the pans I've seen from critics, it kept my interest. I'll be watching it again this week. I'm still ticked that Criminal Minds killed off Reid's first love interest, but I'm stuck on that show anyway. I fell asleep right before the end of The First 48: Missing so I don't know if he's missing, found or dead. Oh my.

Really ... I know I need to post on both the Survivor and Amazing Race casts. I know this, then I fall asleep. I blame the weather. It's been bitter cold all week and was the coldest week in 17 years. Our big snowstorm on Friday evening ended up being less than a half-inch.

Onto this week's photos. 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. 

City possum

This was an unusual sight. I got off the train after work one day and saw this opossum lumbering alongside one of the car repair places by the 4th Street side of the Plainfield Train Station. They're generally nocturnal and tend to stare like a deer in headlights or run when they see a human. He did glance my way but ignored me and kept lumbering slowly.

He didn't really look sick, but his behavior was a bit off for an opossum. As there have been rabid feral cats on and off in that area (none lately that I know of), I was cautious. But he just ignored me and made his way under a bush. When I got home, I Googled opossum rabies only to find out that opossums rarely contract rabies as they have a natural immunity to the disease. Huh. I did not know that. Maybe the cold week got to him. 

While they're as ugly as all get out, I do kind of like his two-tone ears. This one was quite large. When I first noticed it, I thought it was a GIANT rat.

Watchung Avenue before the dawn

On Monday morning, I took the bus to work as the train was on a holiday schedule and I had an 8am meeting. I took this shot looking down Watchung Avenue from the corner at East Front Street in Plainfield. 


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - January 20, 2013

It's Sunday once again -- time for my weekly off television topic reflection of the week gone by in both words and photographs I've taken. My apologies for not getting up the Survivor cast posts yet. I have no real excuse but tired. I'm not ill. But every evening I'm coming home from work exhausted and I keep falling asleep while watching television. The next thing I know, it's time to start another day!

I suppose it could be the winter doldrums. Although we really haven't had any snow to speak of -- an inch or so now and then -- it still indeed is winter. The days are short. Everything outside is dirty and dead. The daylight is fleeting. For a good part of this week, we didn't see the sun at all. Yes, the temperatures were high for January. But all was foggy, misty and grey. I think the weather and time of year are taking a toll on me this month. There's little new and exciting around the corner to photograph. 

While tomorrow is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and a holiday for many, it won't be for me. I even have a meeting well before the holiday scheduled trains will run. So, I'll actually have junk food. Y'see, I never eat at McDonalds or Burger King. Not only is it mostly unhealthy, they're overpriced and not in my pedestrian ways walks. Supposedly inner-city and poor folks tend to inhabit the unhealthy fast food joints, but I'd have to walk out of my way for a number of blocks to get to one. Tomorrow, due to the holiday train schedule, I'll take a bus to work. I'm going to get off at the Burger King and have a breakfast croissandwich and hash browns -- something I haven't eaten in years. Then a co-worker will pick me up there and take me the mile or so to work.

Well ... that was boring, wasn't it? I tell ya ... it's winter doldrums! Onto the photos (which reflect the doldrums, too). Clicking on an image will open it in a Photobucket window, clicking again will make it larger. To return to the blog, just close out the Photobucket window.

NJ Transit
Here comes the train

Not to worry -- I'm farther away from the tracks than it looks in this shot. I took this while "up" on the platform at the Bridgewater Train Station. Unlike Plainfield's high platform, in Bridgewater the platform is equivalent to a high curbed sidewalk. You have to take steep steps up into or out of the train. On high platforms, they drop a plate over the steps and you just walk directly in. I'd personally vote for all high platform stations. But they don't let me decide these things.

Of course, I wouldn't have decided to leave the train cars parked in a flooding zone during a hurricane. But maybe that's just me. The vast majority of train cars I'm riding are brand new due to that decision. They're nice. However, I see rate hikes down the road. Or, more precisely ... down the tracks.

New Cowboy
New cowboy in town

Where have all the cowboys gone? Well, to New Jersey, but of course! We have many shops catering to western gear in town. And, while a couple of decades back, cowboy hats and cowboy boots wouldn't have meshed well with the bow-tied suited black men handing out leaflets, today the local Muslim population has changed away from the bow-ties and there are cowboys all over the place.

I'd kind of like a pony, please. (By the way -- it was nowhere near warm enough for short sleeves!)


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - January 13, 2013

Welcome to Sunday morning! Since it's that day once again, it's time for my weekly off television topic reflection on the week gone by in both words and photos I've taken along the way. I do have plans (don't faint) to make a post looking at the cast of the upcoming Survivor season. If not today, that should be up within a day or two. I haven't completely forgotten the main reason behind this blog!

The shows I'm watching these days include: Elementary, Hard Core Pawn, Letterman (naturally), if I'm up I'm liking Jimmy Fallon lately, Blue Bloods, CSI: NY, Castle, The First 48, and more. Lots of crime going on there. Hmm.

This was yet another week in which I didn't find a heck of a lot of photo fodder. Some weeks I feel I'm posting really neat photos; other weeks I'm just giving you a glimpse of what I saw during the week. This is one of the latter. I don't really want it to snow. However, if it snowed I'd have all new photo fodder!

Work has been, well ... worky. Or something like that. I miss the four-day work weeks I enjoyed through Christmas and New Year's. My added new vacation week showed up (company giving those who have been there 20 years or more an additional paid vacation week) while Social Security increases took a huge chunk out my paycheck. When I add up that increase, it could pay for my electricity, cable television, and part of my internet and phone bill per month. Or, perhaps my monthly grocery bill. Ouch. I realize the increase was decided back in the 80s, but ...! Ouch. 

Please don't go all political with the above paragraph. I'm not here to hold a presidential debate. Thank you.

I made a video of Vincent fighting a shiny paper this week --

If I had left the shiny paper there, it would have become a gazillion pieces of spit out paper confetti within hours. He can't be left with either cardboard or shiny paper. Other cats sit or sleep in cardboard boxes. Vincent bites off pieces until there is no box at all. 

Onto the photos for this week -- clicking on an image will open it in a Photobucket window, clicking again will result in a larger image. Just close out the Photobucket window to return here to the blog.

Peeping Vincent
How can you leave when I'm so cute?

This is what I saw when I left for work yesterday. I usually don't go by that side of my building, but I had to take some trash to the Dumpster as I left. I had opened the window a crack due to the nice temperatures and there he was.

Pretty sunrise
Spectacular pre-sunrise

I'm still inside my workplace by the time the sun actually rises. I do get to see some very cool beginnings of the sunrise, though. Bridgewater, NJ

Crescent moon
Crescent moon

They say the darkest hour is before the dawn. Well, I'm out in that walking to the train on weekdays. This is what I saw one morning.


Sunday, January 06, 2013

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - January 6, 2013

Good morning! It's Sunday morning. That means it's time for my weekly off television topic photo post reflecting on the week gone by in both words and photographs I've taken. Not to fear, TV fans ... I'll be talking about television again before you know it. 

Welp, it was New Year's this past week. Years ago, I did celebrate. But nowadays I prefer to stay home or, if out, only to the home of friend for a mini-celebration. I find the amount of drunk drivers out there on the roads is scary to begin with. When you add in the amateurs, it's much better to stay inside!

We had some snow and ice here on the Saturday before, so when I headed out to work pre-dawn on New Year's Eve (day), I had to deal with lots of ice on the sidewalks. It's sad that I'm walking up on people's lawns to avoid their icy sidewalks! The snow is easier to walk on -- more traction. Of course, if they had salted their walks, I wouldn't be all over their lawns.

The sun has taken care of most of the snow on the walks and many lawns since. Although we've had typical cold January temperatures, only snow piles and snow in areas which don't get much sunlight remain.

Since I didn't take any impromptu trips into the city this week, it was a rather mundane kind of week. I like a four-day work week for sure. But, since it's dark when I go to work, getting dark or outright dark when I get home -- my photo taking tends to suffer. Plus, it's been COLD. So, last week was an overabundance of photos, this week not so much.

I did encounter two cute kid tales this week. Since I don't have children, I just have to watch what the children of others are doing. On Monday, with the snow still all about, I saw three kids playing with the snow -- making snowballs, dunking snow on each other and such. The youngest was perhaps three or four years old. As their mother told them they were going into a store, I saw the youngest duck down around the corner and ... wait for it ... he FILLED ALL HIS POCKETS WITH SNOW! Jacket pockets, pants pockets, too. I don't think he grasps the concept that it's going to melt. And, I could just see the mother wondering why her child is dripping all over the store.

The other cute kid story was something which probably isn't really allowed by the company, but she was adorable. Last night, a young girl, perhaps six or seven years old, was helping her father at his job. His job is being a New Jersey Transit train conductor. She was having such fun that it was infectious. I made her father get out the special flashlight to shine on my monthly pass which now bears a snowflake under its light. He told me that she begs to go with him all the time and this was the third time he's taken her along. Later in the evening when the train gets a bit rougher, he sends her to the back (in an empty car) for a nap.

Clicking on an image will open it in a new Photobucket window. Clicking again on it will result in a larger image. To return to the blog, just close out the Photobucket window. 

Sunset at the Plainfield Train Station

Once again, lots of overcast skies this past week. But one day boasted a nice sunset.

Stoned 1
What is going on here, Vincent?

Has someone been rolling in catnip?

It's spring! It's SPRING!

I spotted several dandelions trying to thrive on a hill which takes advantage of good sun cover (when the sun is out). However, this contradicts the old Rolling Stones song. Dandelions DO lie. It's far from spring. Sigh.


Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

Oh my. How did Vincent the Cat get atop the building in Times Square?

My best wishes to each and every one there for a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year!