Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Survivor: Cagayan - Season Premiere blog party!

It's HERE -- the 28th season of Survivor! Of course, with two seasons per year, that's only 14 years, but still ...! This is the first time they've gone with a brains, beauty, brawn scenario on the show, so we'll see how that works out. I still say the qualities tend to overlap and infringe upon each other.

Lifeguard Laurie's random blog pool picks were posted late last night. However, for ease of trying to pick out your pick when we don't know these castaways yet, here it is again for easy reference:

Jeremiah Wood - LostChyld
Alexis Maxwell - Donna in FL, Petals
Brice Johnston - Karen in CA, PDX Granny
Jefra Bland - David, Sharon S.
LJ McKanas - Lorraine, ML
Morgan McLeod - Donna in Alabama, ORKMommy

David Samson - Jennasmom
Garrett Adelstein - Brenda, Paula Bell
J'Tia Taylor - Knickelpeed, Merrilee
Kass McQuillen -Delee, MikesGirl
Spencer Bledsoe - Becky and Monty924
Tasha Fox - DKNYNC, Rochelle

Trisha Hegarty - Jackie
Cliff Robinson - Dusty, Margo
Lindsey Ogle - Brian
Sarah Lacina - Buzzmaan, Tammy
Tony Viachos - Lynn1, Zoetawny
Woo Hwang - Laurie, SueGee

As the show airs here on the East Coast, I'll update this entry with the major happenings. Refresh the page to see the latest! As always, the real party is down in the comments. Come join us! And, if you're not in the pool, go ahead and find a castaway to cheer on for the season!

Each tribe chooses a leader -- LJ Beauty, Brawn is Sarah, Brains is David

Leaders have to decide who is the weakest and most expendable. LJ picks Morgan. Sarah picks Trish (my blog person, eek!). David picks Garrett. The three chosen head to camp early, don't leave the game, and need to make a "decision" on the part of their tribes.

Notes on trees -- help themselves with a clue to a hidden idol or help their tribe  (bag of rice for the tribes). Garrett helps himself. Trish goes for the rice. Morgan goes for the idol. Garrett found his idol. Morgan, caught by her arriving tribe members, lied and told them she picked the supplies over comfort for them. Not too shabby thinking, I must say.

Oh my. Beauty got fire first!

The immunity challenge is a convoluted obstacle course ending in a puzzle. First two tribes done win immunity. The reward is fire. First is a fire-making kit, but the second winning tribe only gets flint to make fire.

Jeff calls the Brains effort one of the worst ever coming out of the gate. Beauty wins! Brawn is second. Brains will go to tribal council.

Time to tally the votes:
J'Tia, David, J'Tia, David, David, David ... Yay! He's obnoxious!

Second immunity challenge time! Swimming out into bamboo cage, retrieve fish traps, puzzle. First two win immunity. Reward - 1st tribe, large fishing kit. 2nd, fishing supplies. Brawn tribe wins! J'Tia is once again screwing up for Brains. Beauty was way behind, but is now pulling into second place. Beauty is second place. Brains goes to tribal once again.

Tony (Brawn) found a clue to the idol in their reward basket. He's got the idol! He sounds like he's having an orgasm. :X

Second Tribal Council. J'Tia admits she threw the rice in the fire after Garrett decided they should have an open talk about voting her out.

The tally -- J'Tia, Garrett, J'Tia, Garrett, Garrett ... voted out with his idol in his pocket. Wait, even worse ... he forgot to bring it to tribal because he was so sure it would be J'Tia going home!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Survivor: Cagayan: Blog Pool Match-Ups

Survivor fans ready? The Lovely Lifeguard Laurie has made the random picks for the blog pool. So, the pool entries are currently CLOSED. If you missed signing up, you can choose your own castaway to cheer on throughout the season. After all, it's not like we're in this for the big bucks, right?

Jeremiah Wood - LostChyld
Alexis Maxwell - Donna in FL, Petals
Brice Johnston - Karen in CA, PDX Granny
Jefra Bland - David, Sharon S.
LJ McKanas - Lorraine, ML
Morgan McLeod - Donna in Alabama, ORKMommy

David Samson - Jennasmom
Garrett Adelstein - Brenda, Paula Bell
J'Tia Taylor - Knickelpeed, Merrilee
Kass McQuillen -Delee, MikesGirl
Spencer Bledsoe - Becky and Monty924
Tasha Fox - DKNYNC, Rochelle

Trisha Hegarty - Jackie
Cliff Robinson - Dusty, Margo
Lindsey Ogle - Brian
Sarah Lacina - Buzzmaan, Tammy
Tony Viachos - Lynn1, Zoetawny
Woo Hwang - Laurie, SueGee

Wednesday night, 8pm ET. Bring snacks and tasty beverages!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Amazing Race: All-Stars season premiere blog party

Yep, the time is here! Of course -- delayed by golf about fifteen minutes, not a good way to start out the season. (Grr.) It's the season premiere of The Amazing Race: All-Stars! Have I ever told you I'm not too keen on returning competitive reality show teams, houseguests, castaways (you name the term)? I'm not. And, many of the teams this season will irk me. Yet, I'll watch this show no matter what. You know that.

Yet, there's one team out there I really would love to see. That's Dave and Connor, the father/son team. In their season, they were at the top of the pack when Dave ruptured his Achilles tendon and they had to stop. I'm thrilled they have another chance.

If you haven't signed up for the blog pool yet, you still have time. We're delaying the pool as there might be some cast changes in tonight's episode. If I'm wrong, I'll apologize. But both spoilers and the promos indicate something is up. If you want in on the pool, you need to sign up at this link right here. Please don't sign up on this blog party post as your comment might be missed. And, of course, we don't want that!

As the show airs here on the East Coast, I'll update this post with the major happenings. Please refresh the page to get the latest news. However, the real party and the real skinny on our reactions to what's happening will be in the party in the comments area -- come join in!

Ah, the UCLA marching band is doing the show's theme song.

We have Jet/Cord, Caroline/Jennifer, Natalie/Nadia, Brendan/Rachel, Jessica/John, Flight Time/Big Easy, Dave/Connor, Joey/Meghan, Leo/Jamal, Margie/Luke, Bopper/Mark.

Uh-oh. Phil says that one of the racers had an emergency visit with the race doctor. Bopper is out -- the doctor doesn't think he's healthy enough. (Just as the spoilers said.) Phil offers to team up Bopper with someone else so he can still race and race for Bopper, too. Mallory, also from Kentucky, will be racing with Mark.

The first leg has them heading to China, again with two Express Passes ahead -- one to keep, one to give away.

Afghanimals, cowboys, Dave/Connor, twins on the first flight. Once in China, they have to search wedding dress stores for clues in a town known for its wedding dresses. From there, it's onto Canton Tower, home of the world's highest Ferris wheel. The Cowboys are currently in the lead.

The Roadblock has them doing acrobatic wire acts. It's Cowboys in the lead followed by Brenchal (ick).

From there, they need to head on foot to the Pit Stop.

1. Jet and Cord. They get the Express Passes and win apparently nothing else.
2. Brendan and Rachel
3. Dave and Connor
4. Margie and Luke
5. Leo and Jamal
6. Mark and Mallory
7. Flight Time and Big Easy
8. Jessica and John
9. Caroline and Jennifer
10. Joey and Meghan
11. Natalie and Nadiya - the "Twinnies" - PHILIMINATED

Good. That's one team I didn't like down the drain.

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - February 23, 2014

Good Sunday morning to y'all! Since it is indeed Sunday morning, 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 we get started with that, I want to mention that blog pool sign ups for both The Amazing Race and Survivor are up! If you want to be in the pool, please sign up on the appropriate post (just click on the links below); requests on other posts might not be noticed --
The season premiere of The Amazing Race is tonight, 8pm ET/PT. We'll see if it starts on time! It's only an hour premiere, so be there or be square. Or something like that. I'll have the blog party post set up shortly before 8pm ET, so come join in on the fun!

Other than that, not a heck of a lot going on here. I actually did a full work week with no snowstorms keeping me from work (although it snowed some early in the week), no health issues keeping me from work (although the sciatica is still making its presence known), no deaths in the family. Oh my. I did have to deal with bad weather including, of all things, a tornado watch this week.

It's supposed to snow or "wintry mix" a bit tonight although the daytime hours are going to be nice with a high in the 40s. Tuesday night into Wednesday, they're talking about a "plowable" snow storm coming. Argh.

We've had such an extreme winter that I've decided I want an extreme spring. No, I'm not talking rain and flooding. I want flowers blocking the sidewalks! Flowers blocking the streets! A cacophony of bird songs to the point of madness! I want SPRING!


Without further ado, onto the photos for the week. Similar to last week, I didn't really have a lot of artsy shots. It's more like showing you what I'm seeing here. For those folks like Lifeguard Laurie over there in always wonderful weather San Diego, it's a view of how the other half lives!

 photo IMG_2120a_zps3d784772.jpg
Happy robin

With the rain and warmer temperatures at the end of the week, much of the snowpack on top of the planters in Bridgewater melted so that the robins no longer needed to peck caves into the snow to get at the berries. Surprisingly, most of the berries were still in good shape after the snow left!

 photo IMG_2061a_zpscdcee67b.jpg
"Accessible walkway"

I'm surprised NJ Transit is keeping this walkway on the westbound platform side of the Plainfield Train Station in this good of a condition this year. One year with bad snows, it was like a luge run for months. On the eastbound side, the similar walk isn't cleared at all. But, what I like about this shot is that I didn't mess with the colors at all. Taken with no flash just before dawn, it came up with the blue for the snow and the yellow for the light on its own. Note the parking meter poles at the top of the photo. No one can put money in them because NO ONE SHOVELS THAT CITY SIDEWALK ON NORTH AND WATCHUNG AVENUES! I saw two people fall on ice there last night. I won't walk on it. I will walk on the street instead. This has been going on for years. IT NEEDS TO BE SHOVELED. IT'S DANGEROUS! Sorry for shouting ...

 photo IMG_2087a_zpsb2728350.jpg
More yellows into blue

Catching the early train at the Plainfield Train Station shortly before dawn.


Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Amazing Race - Premiere tomorrow, blog pool opens!

Welcome one, welcome all! The season premiere is tomorrow night after 60 Minutes! Why no pool yet? Well, first off ... I was lackadaisical. Oops. But, I have another reason:

When I posted the cast spoilers last December -- which are gleaned from folks actually seeing the teams race through airports and such -- one of the teams had a change. That particular team is intact in the promos for the show, yet the promos also keep going on about one team "might not even make it to the starting line." Thus, we have a quandary. I believe there will be a change.

So ... the blog pool won't officially begin with the premiere. Please sign up right here on this post for the pool. The cut-off for signing up is Thursday, February 27th, 6pm ET. Come join in on the fun as the Magnificent Margo randomly matches blog friends with teams ... ohhh ... who's going to get Brenchal? Remember, Margo and her Mom randomly pick the match-ups! She has no agenda!

And, if you want to read the spoiler I posted way back when, here it is. Remember ... it is a spoiler!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Survivor: Cagayan - Blog Pool is OPEN!

Survivor fans ready? The wonderful Lifeguard Laurie will be running the blog pool once again. Have I ever mentioned how much she rocks?

The season premiere is next Wednesday, February 26 at 8pm ET/PT. About time, I say!  I recently posted a bit about the upcoming castaways and Jeff Probt's cast assessment right here at this post. Join the fun with friends at the blog party as the show airs on East Coast time.

Okay, here's how the blog pool works:
  • Names are matched up randomly with the castaways.
  • You get to cheer on your chosen castaway until they're kicked off the island or named the sole Survivor.
  • If your chosen castaway is creepy or cries a lot, we won't hold that against you personally.
  • Not much, anyway.
  • Heehee
  • There is no wagering of monies.
  • The winner(s) of the blog pool retain bragging rights until the premiere of the next season while we all bow to them and lament on what could have been.
How do you get involved? Sign up right here on this post! If you're posting anonymously, you need a sign off name on your comments. We don't care if you're a boy named Sue, we have to know something other than anonymous. The cut-off for entering is this Sunday evening 9pm ET/6pm PT.  

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - February 16, 2014

Another Sunday morning is upon us. Yay. Thankfully, today (at least) we don't have another snowstorm upon us. Well, not here in northern central New Jersey, anyway. Sorry 'bout that, Maine. Since it is Sunday, 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. Earlier this week I posted about the upcoming Survivor season cast. I'll be writing more about the new Amazing Race season this coming week -- they'll both be here soon!

Let's see ... what's new and different around here this past week? Oh! I know! It snowed for a change.

There was something slightly different with the big storm this week -- thundersnow! While the winds weren't strong enough to make it technically a blizzard here, a round of thunder actually shook my whole apartment building in the wee hours. As I awoke, I saw about five more flashes of lightning, but was unable to catch them with my camera.

If we didn't go into deep freezes after each snowstorm here, things wouldn't be as bad. If the snow cover could melt a bit in between each snow, I don't think I'd be as tired of it as I am. I feel like I'm back in my childhood year or two in upstate western New York where the "lake effect" snows buried us in the winter. Back then it was fun, at least for the kids. It was pre-snowblower days, so my father certainly had a workout. We'd build tunnels through the snow and have a ball.

For some reason, as an adult, I have no desire to build tunnels through the snow. I guess I've gotten old and cranky, eh?

About the only thing good about this week's multiple snowstorms is that, like a school child, I actually had two "snow days" off from work. Of course, there's a price to pay -- the pay came out of my paid vacation time. While it was indeed relaxing, it wasn't my choice vacation. It's not like I could go anywhere!

My photos this week, for most part, aren't really artsy. Due to the weather conditions, staying in a lot, and fighting through the elements just to get back and forth to work ... they basically show you what it's like here. Eat your heart out, Florida!

 photo IMG_2040a_zps4f4e42eb.jpg
Made his own little snow cave

The robins in Bridgewater near my workplace have really proved to be determined to survive despite their untimely arrival this year. They've laid claim to the berries in the planters, digging holes to get at the frozen berries. The other birds still show no interest in the berries at all. That doesn't keep the robins from getting all territorial about them, though. I saw a seagull just pause to sit atop of one of the planters. A robin zoomed in from nowhere and chased off the seagull.

 photo IMG_1968a_zps2d1fef78.jpg
Before it snowed more

This was early Monday morning at the Plainfield Train Station. While we had snow Sunday evening, our big storm hadn't happened yet. Yeah, it's pretty. But I've taken enough "pretty" snow photos this year. Spring can come.

 photo IMG_1985a_zpsc1673a1c.jpg
Male Lady Liberty

Tuesday afternoon on Watchung Avenue in Plainfield, there were five hulking big male Lady Liberty "statues." They were dancing, playing music and singing (at times). It was bitterly cold, yet they kept their spirits up. They were handing out little bags with Tootsie Rolls and a coupon for $50 off tax preparation at Liberty Tax. Hey, for how they were handling the elements, the silly costumes and all, probably for minimum wage, they could probably do well in steady gigs.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Survivor: Cagayan just around the corner!

As we all know, three tribes will compete this season on Survivor: Cagayan -- Brains, Brawn, Beauty. I'm really not sure how keen I am on this concept. After all, a person CAN have all three qualities. In looking at the cast, some of the brawn have brains as well. Some of the beauty have brains and brawn. The qualities are overlapping all over the place! It doesn't look like they selected any dumb bunnies for the beauty or brawn tribes. Well, with the exception of Miss Flirty, maybe. Will the intellectuals suffer? Hmm.

Here's Jeff Probst's cast assessment --

It's definitely an interesting cast. What do you think? The show premieres Wednesday, February 26 at 8pm ET/PT.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was - February 9, 2013

Yes, it's Sunday and I'm returning with my weekly off television topic reflection on the week gone by in both words and photographs I've taken. I want to thank folks for the condolences and prayers expressed in the past week. They meant a lot to me in a really bad time. Thank you.

A few notes:
  • Today marks 50 years since The Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan. It's scary that I remember watching that. I'm not that old! I remember saying they'd never be as big as Elvis. Later, I decided Paul was the cute Beatle.
  • My bank finally sent me a new card after my account was compromised with the Target store hack. Good. I was tired of watching my online account a dozen times a day!
  • My sciatica has improved a great deal. I'm still having some problems standing for any period of time and sitting for long periods. Oh, well. It's definitely better than it was!
Since I'm really photo-heavy this week, I don't have a heck of a lot to say at the start here. Might as well get on with it ...

 photo IMG_1959a_zps5da355ae.jpg
Icicles at the Plainfield Train Station

I took this shot last night at the train station. At night, when it's as cold as it was, they present no danger. They're not going anywhere. But in the daytime sun even if the temperatures are below freezing ... danger, Will Robinson!

 photo IMG_1930a_zpsfe17daea.jpg
Chubby spring robin

I've seen four robins hanging around my workplace in Bridgewater. While they normally are ground feeders looking for worms and such, they're here way too early. They're subsiding on the berries in the planters. None of the other birds in the area this time of year -- seagulls, crows, sparrows -- have any interest in the berries.

 photo IMG_1833a_zpsaee56872.jpg
Stunning beauty

But so will be spring blossoms! C'mon, winter, give us a break! Yes, we're due for more snow later today. Wah. Outside my window on Tuesday.

 photo IMG_1761a_zps2c31eee3.jpg
Hawk alert!

Bridgewater, NJ.


Sunday, February 02, 2014

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - February 2, 2014

Gary Schnoop 1954-2014

This week, I lost my brother Gary, my constant childhood playmate and "partner in crime" of my youth. He died in his Florida home early this week. Oh, yeah, we defended our wagons, too!

I took very few photos this week due to circumstance. Next week I'll resume my normal off topic photo post.

I leave you with the ocean he loved so much ...