Sunday, May 28, 2017

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - May 28, 2017

Good morning! Welcome to my weekly off television topic reflection on the week gone by in both words and photos I took along the way. The latest season of Survivor finished up this past week and this week will wrap up The Amazing Race. Then I have a bit of a blogging rest until Big Brother starts up. The premiere for that is slated for June 28, but the cast information and such should start coming out a week before that. I'll be watching for news.

It's Memorial Day Weekend, with tomorrow being the official holiday. While it's turned into the unofficial start of the summer season and folks tend to have all kinds of fun plans for an extended weekend, we need to remember the reason behind the holiday. It's the time to honor and remember those who gave their lives in service to this country. My father and grandfather both served, but both made it home although they're both long gone now. I salute those who serve!

I myself actually have a weekend off. No, not a three or four day weekend -- just two days in a row. That's one more than I usually have, so I'll take it. I may or may not go to a cookout at a friend's home either today or tomorrow, weather permitting. I may just rest up and goof off for the two days. I don't know. I do know that I'm constantly tired. So, a rest will do me good.

My leg seems to be healing up nicely from the varicose vein treatment despite the fact I had to give up the thigh-high compression stocking due to it cutting into my skin and rolling down all the time. I've been wearing the knee high and hope that will suffice. My follow-up visit with the doctor will be this coming Friday.

Other than that, not a heck of a lot going on here. So, it's onto this week's photos -- clicking on an image will open a larger version in a gallery setting.

Stars and Stripes

An iris grows in Plainfield

As with so much that's beautiful in nature, these don't last long enough. At least I can capture the image. Berckman Street in Plainfield.

A bug on the marigolds

I'm not sure if the bug makes the shot or takes away a bit of the marigold magnificence.

**CLICK THE 'READ MORE' LINK TO SEE THE REST OF THE PHOTOS**

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Amazing Race: Blog Party - May 25, 2017


I'll be live blogging the show's events as they air here on the East Coast. Refresh this page to get the latest news! The real party is in the comments area -- come join in on the fun!

Lifeguard Sharon C has made the random match-ups for the blog pool I might even have a chance at my first blog pool win this season!

London/Logan - Delee, Sharon N
Brooke/Scott - Chrob61, Becky
Tara/Joey - SueGee, Willie J, Monty924
Matt/Redmond - MerriLee, Jackie

PHILIMINATED:
Jessica/Francesca - Brenda, David, Sharon C
Seth/Olive - ML, Cheryl in NC
Shamir/Sara - Indiana Jane, Jenna's Mom
Vanck/Ashton - Nickelpeed, Donna in FL
Liz/Michael - Judi Sweeney, Dolores in Hollywood, Ed in Ohio
Becca/Floyd - Janice, Brian

Are we ready? Yes, we are! 

Teams are heading to Seoul, South Korea. All teams are on the same flight, so they'll all start out even. Matt/Redmond took the subway while all the other teams took taxis. They're heading to a disco place to get their next clue from Gangam (sp?) dancers.

Roadblock -- Who stacks up? Sports stacking of cups. The subway had the boys running in last. Uh-oh. Yikes! BROOKE finishes first and remained positive through it!

Teams next have to make kimchi, the national food of Korea. They have to make six batches, then bury them to start fermenting the dish. 

After all the other teams left the Roadblock, Matt/Redmond arrived -- subway and a bad cab ride. 

Joey and Tara finish the kimchi first and are in the lead.  Oh, geez, Scott and Brooke passed them in the cab.  

Another Roadblock - Who's going to take control? Win a round of a martial arts video game against pros. They are not having a good time with it.

Matt/Redmond are making the kimchi.

If I vanish, I'm hearing severe thunder out there. Just a warning!

They are handicapping the pro video players -- first down to one handed, then a blindfold. London's through, Scott's through. They're off to the Pit Stop. 

Pit Stop:
1. Brooke and Scott. Gah. 
2. London and Logan 

The last two teams are racing in cabs and then on foot ...
3. Tara and Joey

I'm keeping my streak of never winning a blog pool Matt and Redmond are Philiminated. 

Yipes! I thought tonight was the season finale! I guess it's not!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Survivor: Game Changers - Season Finale/Reunion Show Blog Party


Everybody ready? Got your snacks? Got your tasty adult beverages? As the show airs here on the east coast, I'll be live-blogging with all the major happenings. Refresh the page to see the latest news! But, as always, the real party is in the comments area. I hope to see you there!

We're in for the big two-hour season finale followed by the one hour long reunion show. I'll probably fade away a bit live blogging during the reunion show, yet the party will keep going in comments!

Who will be the sole Survivor? Who will win the blog pool?

Here's the updated pool from the Lovable Lifeguard Laurie:
 
Aubry Bracco - Ed in Ohio, meb
Brad Culpepper - Brian, Sharon N
Cirie Fields - Leonia Hart, Terry is a Texan
Sarah Lacina - Delee, Rbennie
Tai Trang - Cheryl in NC, Sharon C
Troyzan Robertson - Donna in Alabama, Lifeguard Laurie

JURY
Hali Ford
Ozzy Lust
Debbie Wanner
Zeke Smith 
Sierra Thomas
Andrea Boehlke
Michaela Bradshaw

Survivor fans ready?

The finale reunion is in Los Angeles once again. I'm biding time as Jeff goes through narrating what's gone on so far this season. 

Sarah tells us she targeted Michaela because she was Cirie's right hand man. Cirie wants to salvage her relationship with Sarah. She tells Sarah in front of Tai that Tai was the "rat" who wanted Sarah out. He admits it -- he wanted to vote out Sarah. Now he's known as Tai the Liar (in his words). But he does have two idols. He tells Brad about them. Brad doesn't quite trust him, but thinks he might be able to use him.

Immunity Challenge time -- Race through maze, collect three bags puzzle parts, rose dial puzzle. The winner also gets a feast reward. It's also not an easy puzzle -- 41 pieces!

Brad wins! He picks Troyzan to go with him to eat, then goes for Sarah, too. The three decide that Aubry should be a target. Brad wants to flush out one of Tai's idols. He tells Tai that Aubry is going home. He wants Tai to play one idol for himself and let him hold onto the other one as a show of trust.

Oh, my.

Tai goes to Aubry, tells her that Brad said she's going home. He shows her his idols. Cirie joins in and talks nicey-nice to Tai. She tells him they need to unite and vote out either Sarah or Troyzan. Tai goes off crying.

Why do fools tell people about their found idols!?!?! 

Tai cries some more.

Tribal Council time! They talk about Tai being the rat in camp. They're acting like all will be voting for Tai. He doesn't cry now ... not yet, anyway.

Jeff tallies the votes. Tai plays an idol.  Then he plays the second idol for Aubry! Sarah plays the Legacy Advantage to save herself. Troyzan gives up his idol to save himself, too!

The tally:
Cirie is the only one who can go. No one voted for her, though. She's voted out without a single vote. She's gracious and gets kudos all around. In LA, she gets a standing ovation from the crowd. 

It's right to the next Immunity Challenge. Use paddles to maneuver balls through a series of obstacles. First to get three balls through wins. Sheesh, Brad is blowing them all out of the water even though it's not a water challenge! He wins his fourth individual immunity challenge. I have to say he needs it, though. He cries.  

Aubry is worried. She needs numbers. She plans on making a pitch to Brad. My guess is that it will either be her or Tai out. Maybe I'm wrong. 

Troyzan, Sarah and Brad want Aubry out. Aubry and Tai talk to Sarah -- telling her Troyzan is too close to Brad and they need to target him. Sarah isn't sure she can trust Tai. She talks to Tai; he tells her Aubry should go tonight. Brad tries to bully him into voting whoever he (Brad) wants him to vote. 

Tai tells Sarah he won't be bullied. He will now vote for Troyzan to go even though he had already decided Aubry.

Tribal Council time. Whoa. Troyzan may have blown his game -- says no one could beat him in the final three.

The Tally --
Aubry, Troyzan, Aubry, Aubry 

What a shame. They should have gone for Troyzan! 

Final Immunity Challenge! Race through an obstacle, down a waterslide, collect bags of puzzle pieces, solve puzzle. Sarah is in the lead. But, of course, the puzzle solving can change that all around. Brad has taken over the lead.

Brad Culpepper wins Immunity for the fifth time. 

He's very smug. I hate to see that in a winner, no matter how good they do. He tells us no one can beat him and Tai will go home. 

Tai wants Sarah to consider a tie ... and the fire challenge.  

Tribal Council time. Lots of tie talk.

The Tally:
Tai, Troyzan, Tai, Tai

Bye-bye Tai. 

After their peaceful night and food, it's time for the jury questioning.

Jeff says they're changing things up -- center around Outwit, Outplay and Outlast.  

Outwit - Social Aspect
Zeke - Sarah, gave you my jacket. Bad-ass. Sierra gave you Legacy advantage. I'm your champion tonight.
Sarah tells them her personal relationships were 100* real. Ozzy accuses her of going low. He gives Brad props for his wins. He will be Brad's champion. Cirie said that Sierra was voted out because she was Brad's brains. Brad speaks of his tie with JT. Michaela asks Brad how much he knows about her seeing as it's a social game. Tai thought Sarah was real with him. She claims she did whatever she needed. Sarah brings up her undercover police work. Debbie doesn't respect her. Debbie is for Brad. Michaela asks Brad what he's done in the social aspect. Ozzy calls Troyzan a passenger rather than a driver.Brad is once again defending his social game. Tai brings up the bullying aspect. Heh. Hali says he used condescension as a tool. 

Outplay - Shelter, etc.
Ozzy says Brad leads in this aspect. He's really in Brad's camp. Debbie agrees with Ozzy. (Troyzan is really getting neglected in all of this despite the fact that he claimed he could beat them all.) Sarah says building the shelters, etc. weren't what it's all about. She claims that her own gameplay got her there. 

Outlast -
Brad tells them you don't have to deceive and lie, talks about relationships and relying on winning immunities. 
Sarah tells them you have to strike first. Sarah thinks the jury members could have beat her. She was in on every vote. Again talks about police work.
Troyzan tells them he wasn't the best, appreciates them all for the adventure. (He knows he's out of the running.) 

As we could guess, Michaela voted for Sarah as did Zeke. Ozzy voted Brad as did Debbie. 

It's off to the arena in Los Angeles. 

The final tally for the win:
Sarah, Brad, Sarah, Brad, Brad, Sarah, Sarah, Sarah, SARAH!

SARAH wins! 

Congratulations Delee and RBennie, winners of the blog pool!

I'm glad Sarah won. Sure, she was sneaky and all. But one thing she never was ... was smug. Brad's cockiness made me want him to lose. And, Troyzan was never in the running, as it should be.

I want to thank everyone for taking part here on the blog this season. Y'all rock! 

Next season is in Fiji, separated by Heroes and Healers. Oh, and Hustlers.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - May 21, 2017

Good morning! Welcome to my weekly off television topic reflection on the week gone by in both words and photos I took along the way. If you're here for Survivor -- you can find any Survivor posts I make at this link right here You can find any posts I make about TAR at this link -- The Amazing Race. The season finales for both shows are coming up this week -- how time flies!

In regard to television watching -- I haven't been able to get into this season's Fargo like I have the previous two seasons. I fell asleep the week before last and I actually forgot it was on this past week. I'll catch up with it today. Maybe if I'm not watching it after live blogging a show and at such a late hour, I will be more into it.

So, how is my leg doing? Hmm. I went to the hospital this week for the scheduled follow-up Doppler ultrasound test to make sure no blood clots have formed and to track the progress of the injected vein-collapsing Varithena. The tech performing the ultrasound told me all looked good to him, but the doctor will read the report more thoroughly. My next doctor appointment isn't until June 2nd. I do see improvement. Where I had the bundle of veins like snakes under my skin in my calf, a marked improvement. There is a rather large painful swelling at one of the injection sites, but I'm thinking that should diminish in time. The blisters from the tape are gone, but my thigh still has a lot of discoloring and bruising from that big injection site and that foam roll thing that was so tightly strapped to it in the bandaging.  All in all, it feels better than it did pre-Varithena even at this early stage. But, then again, I have been taking it easy on it although I do my daily walks as recommended.

A shout out to blog reader/friend Leonia and her husband for their graciousness in offering me rides to medical dealings! I try to schedule things I can get to via train, bus and/or cab, but life is so much easier when someone goes that extra mile and offers a ride when you're not feeling well! 

We had our first heat wave of 2017 earlier this week ... in MAY. Grr. The criteria for a heat wave is three consecutive days of over 90 degrees.  One day we maxed out at 97. I don't like the heat. As I get older, I like it even less. I'd actually prefer the cold of winter (sans ice and snow) than hot humid weather. Of course, I'd prefer spring to be SPRING, not SUMMER! 

Onto this week's photos -- clicking on an image will bring up larger versions in a gallery setting ...

Is it a Potato Beetle? Or is that a falsehood?

This beetle showed up as I was shooting mites on concrete at the Bridgewater Train Station. I got a bunch of great photos of him/her. But, upon returning home, I wanted to make sure I knew what it was. I thought "Potato Beetle" but found out that this area also has False Potato Beetles! The way to tell the difference is something about white showing under its wings when it flies. I didn't see it flying, just checking out the concrete for mites or something. So, I don't really know. 

Posing for the camera

The A Team - Azaleas and Allium

It's a good thing I took this photo last Sunday when I went for my walk. Yesterday the azaleas were brown and the allium had passed and was drooping. Berckman Street, Plainfield.

Friends-ly flowers

A row of irises grow in front of the Friends (Quakers) Meetinghouse on Watchung Avenue in Plainfield.

**CLICK THE 'READ MORE' LINK TO SEE THE REST OF THE PHOTOS**

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Amazing Race: May 18, 2017 Episode(s) Blog Party


I'll be live bloggig the show's events as they air here on the East Coast. Refresh this page to get the latest news! The real party is in the comments area -- come join in on the fun!

Tonight is actually two episodes in a row. Fun, fun, fun. Keep in mind that I'm going into this tired. But I'll do my best to keep up with what's going on.

Lifeguard Sharon C has made the random match-ups for the blog pool:

London/Logan - Delee, Sharon N
Brooke/Scott - Chrob61, Becky
Tara/Joey - SueGee, Willie J, Monty924
Becca/Floyd - Janice, Brian
Matt/Redmond - MerriLee, Jackie

PHILIMINATED:
Jessica/Francesca - Brenda, David, Sharon C
Seth/Olive - ML, Cheryl in NC
Shamir/Sara - Indiana Jane, Jenna's Mom
Vanck/Ashton - Nickelpeed, Donna in FL
Liz/Michael - Judi Sweeney, Dolores in Hollywood, Ed in Ohio

Last week was a non-Philimination leg so Michael and Liz (last place) will encounter a Speed Bump tonight.

Are we ready? Yes, we are! 

Teams are heading for a canal. Joey and Tara have it out for Brooke and Scott due to the U-Turn of Michael and Liz.

Roadblock - Who's ready for the long stretch? It's bungee jumping.

From there, they're heading to Hanoi, Vietnam. 

Scott fusses and whines about doing the Roadblock. If I were there, since he's all strapped up and stuff, I think I'd push him just to make him stop whining! 

All five teams are on the same flight to Vietnam. After finding a clue among a gazillion women exercising with fans, teams head to a BuddhistTemple. Floyd and Becca are currently in the lead. 

Detour - Bamboo Climb or Window Design. Retrieve bird cage from a roof with a bamboo ladder or design a store window with three mannequins.

Scott and Brooke are having a meltdown because they can't get a ladder. Too bad, so sad. 

Floyd/Becca followed by Redmond/Matt finish the Detour and are headed to the Pit Stop. 

Pit Stop 
1. Floyd and Becca - won a trip to the Galapagos Islands
2. Matt and Redmond 

Ack! Joey and Tara misread the mannequin clue -- Tara takes the blame. They forgot the child mannequin. Hopefully Brooke and Scott won't get by them. GAH. They did. 

3. London and Logan 
4. Brooke and Scott
5. Joey and Tara - Non-Phimination leg! 

I figured it would be because they will go into the finale next week with a final four. I just would have preferred Brooke/Scott to be last. Even though the clue misread was all Tara, Joey didn't berate her. 

Teams are headed to another location within Vietnam.Ninn Binh (sp?)

Becca/Floyd and Matt/Redmond made the first bus. The other three teams are all on the next bus. 

Bicycle to a temple and pick up a Traveling Gnome.

Roadblock - Who's feeling trapped? Carrying shrimp traps to fishermen. Oh, my. Floyd isn't doing too well on this. He's dropping traps and he fell over just before the commercial. The boys will probably finish the Roadblock first. The other three teams aren't at the Roadblock yet.

Speed Bump has Tara/Joey collecting six dozen duck eggs before they can continue on. 

Meanwhile Matt finishes the Roadblock. Floyd is still struggling. Matt helps him. Floyd thought he could unload what he has and go back for the fallen. But he has to take the whole thing back to pick them up.

The next clue leads them to rowing a boat of supplies ... with their feet and gnome, too. 

Oh, geez. Scott beat out Floyd on the Roadblock. 

Matt and Redmond are heading to the Pit Stop. Gah! London is having trouble on the Roadblock and is calling for Floyd to help her. Don't do it, Floyd! You have to stay in this thing! He helps her, but doesn't realize he dropped a trap. He has to go back for it. Meanwhile, Joey is loaded up and going.

Joey beats London back. 

Pit Stop
1. Matt/Redmond - won a trip to Costa Rica 

Uh-oh. Floyd is in rough shape. He may have just passed out. I fear they won't be in the final four. Sigh. 

2. Brooke and Scott (Wah)

Floyd is getting medical care. It looks like heat exhaustion to me. 

3. Joey and Tara
4. London and Logan 

Phil comes to Floyd and Becca. Philiminated. Sigh. My favorite team out.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Survivor: Game Changers - May 17 Episode Blog Party


Everybody ready? Got your snacks? Got your tasty adult beverages? As the show airs here on the east coast, I'll be live-blogging with all the major happenings. Refresh the page to see the latest news! But, as always, the real party is in the comments area. I hope to see you there!

Here's the updated pool from the Lovable Lifeguard Laurie:
 
Andrea Boehlke - Indiana Jane, ML
Aubry Bracco - Ed in Ohio, meb
Brad Culpepper - Brian, Sharon N
Cirie Fields - Leonia Hart, Terry is a Texan
Michaela Bradshaw - David, Jackie
Sarah Lacina - Delee, Rbennie
Tai Trang - Cheryl in NC, Sharon C
Troyzan Robertson - Donna in Alabama, Lifeguard Laurie

JURY
Hali Ford
Ozzy Lust
Debbie Wanner
Zeke Smith 
Sierra Thomas 

Survivor fans ready?

Andrea is a bit leery of Sarah. Of course, she doesn't know that Sarah hoodwinked Sierra, turning the vote against her to get the promised Legacy Advantage. Now Sarah has two advantages -- a steal a vote one and the Legacy one which promises her immunity when the castaway count is down to six. Meanwhile, Cirie knows that Sarah's up to all kinds of sneaky stuff. But that's okay with her -- it would make her easier to win against at the end.

Whoa! Right to an Immunity Challenge. One hand steadies a balance board while the other hand builds a house of cards. Hmm. Aubry wins it in six minutes!

Aubry wants Brad out. Michaela goes out in the woods to see if Brad is looking for an idol. She suggests he needs to go fishing and bring back some fish. He doesn't buy it. Andrea is still leery of Sarah. Cirie and Sarah are contemplating ousting Andrea.

Right to Tribal. They're wasting no time tonight! A lot of questions about good game play or good relationships winning the game. Culpepper votes Andrea for the third time.

The Tally:
No, it's a commercial.
Andrea, Brad, Andrea, Brad, Andrea, Andrea, Andrea.

She's the sixth member of the jury. 

Cirie now thinks Aubry needs to go, she can't really trust her. Cirie is thinking Tai consoling Aubry is suspicious. Uh-oh, Tai! 

Yikes! It's immediately time for Immunity on the show (albeit daylight for them). Perched on a post in the ocean, bucket, pour water down a chute to raise key, unlock puzzle pieces, solve puzzle. 

Hey, Michaela is actually in the lead, followed quickly by Troyzan. Cirie, as usual, is rather sucking at this one. She almost wins it.

Brad Culpepper wins Immunity!

Cirie says, that since Brad is safe, someone who's a threat to her must go. Hmm. Sarah? Tai?Aubry?

Troyzan says he'll bring his idol and use it if needed at Tribal. 

Aubry thinks it's Tai who needs to go. Sarah gives Cirie her advantage of steal a vote to get her trust. Now, she plans to take Sarah's vote. Oy! Cirie wants to convince Tai he's safe in case he has an idol (he has two). She works on him. She tells him all will be voting for him. He's a bit skeptical. He's terrified, he says.

Tribal time once again. 

Cirie stands up and says there's a rat in the group and takes away a vote from Sarah. Sarah points out that the advantage isn't transferable. Oh my. She's right! Sarah is the only person who can use it! Yipes, Cirie! All goes to whispers about voting out Tai or Cirie or Sarah. 

Sarah takes Tai's vote. She will vote twice, Tai won't vote. 

The tally ... Tai does not play an idol.

Tai, Tai, Aubry, Michaela, Michaela, Michaela, Michaela.

Wah! She's my pool gal!  

Next week is the two-hour season finale and hour reunion!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - May 14, 2017

Happy Mothers Day!

Good morning! Welcome to my weekly off television topic reflection on the week gone by in both words and photos I took along the way. If you're here for Survivor -- you can find any Survivor posts I make at this link right here You can find any posts I make about TAR at this link -- The Amazing Race.

My best wishes for a happy Mothers Day to all the mothers out there reading this! 

I didn't really take a ton of photos this past week. It was the week of my vascular surgeon procedure for my severe varicose veins on my right leg. The procedure (Varithena foam injection into the veins to collapse them) seems to have gone fine. But, right now I'm wrapped up tightly with foam cylinders under tight pressure bandaging under a thigh high compression stocking. I have no clue what the leg looks like under all of this. The back of my knee is severely itchy with no relief.  Due to my rather chunky (okay, fat) thighs, the top rubbery part of the stocking wants to roll up and cut into me.  I can't sleep well, not at all.

I have to keep the whole thing on until late this afternoon -- 48 hours from the procedure. Then I get to remove the bandages. But I'm supposed to wear this thigh-high stocking for two weeks, night and day. I'm not sure how that's going to work out.

I go to the hospital to have a Doppler ultrasound test on Thursday to make sure the procedure didn't create any blood clots and that it worked properly to close down the problem vein(s). 

I'm not in actual pain, per se. Just a heck of a lot of discomfort. Oh, well ... onto the photos. Clicking on an image will bring up a larger image.

Colorful lawn

Berckman Street in Plainfield

The deadly pollen shark

We need a bigger box of tissues. As seen looking for victims on East Front Street in Plainfield.

**CLICK THE 'READ MORE' LINK TO SEE THE REST OF THE PHOTOS**

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Amazing Race: May 11, 2017 Episode Blog Party


I'll be live bloggig the show's events as they air here on the East Coast. The real party is in the comments area -- come join in on the fun!

Lifeguard Sharon C has made the random match-ups for the blog pool:

London/Logan - Delee, Sharon N
Brooke/Scott - Chrob61, Becky
Tara/Joey - SueGee, Willie J, Monty924
Becca/Floyd - Janice, Brian
Liz/Michael - Judi Sweeney, Dolores in Hollywood, Ed in Ohio
Matt/Redmond - MerriLee, Jackie

PHILIMINATED:
Jessica/Francesca - Brenda, David, Sharon C
Seth/Olive - ML, Cheryl in NC
Shamir/Sara - Indiana Jane, Jenna's Mom
Vanck/Ashton - Nickelpeed, Donna in FL

Last week was a non-Philimination leg so Michael and Liz (last place) will encounter a Speed Bump tonight.

Are we ready? Yes, we are! 

Teams are headed to Greece. Both the Redmond/Matt and Becca/Floyd teams remark about how well they're getting along. Meanwhile, there's Brooke and Scott -- no drama ... ha! All the teams are on the same plane, then will be on a sixteen hour ferry. There will be a Double U-Turn ahead.

Brooke and Scott U-Turn Michael and Liz. Joey and Tara U-Turned Becca/Floyd to give Mike and Liz a chance ... they say. Mike and Liz are already lost. Sigh. So are Becca and Floyd.

Detour - For the Bride or For the Groom --  Greek customary treatment for the bride racing up a gazillion steps or delivery of milk for cheese on a donkey for the groom.

They head next to a stadium where they must complete one "Lap of Honor" to get their next clue. Tara and Joey are in the lead. 

Mike and Liz are really ticked off that Scott and Brooke U-Turned them after Michael had helped Brooke and she had promised not to do so. Becca and Floyd name their donkey Speedy McSpeederson. Mike and Liz are actually ahead of Becca and Floyd right now, but haven't done the Speed Bump.

Roadbock - Must master traditional choreography. 

Uh-oh. Mike and Liz didn't do the second part of the Detour right and have to go back.

I know I'm being partial, but I certainly hope Becca and Floyd put it in gear and beat them. I enjoy watching them!  

Tara and Joey are the first heading to the Pit Stop at the Acropolis.  

Pit Stop:
1. Tara and Joey - won $7,500 each
2. Matt and Redmond 
3. Brooke and Scott 

Mike and Liz have to wrap meat in intestines before they can run the lap. Of course, Mike is a butcher, so that will help them. 

4. London and Logan

Becca and Floyd are starting the Roadblock before Mike and Liz. Whoa! They finish with Mike and Liz on their tails.

5. Becca and Floyd
6. Michael and Liz -- Philiminated 

Next week is two hours. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Survivor: Game Changers - May 10 Episode Blog Party


Everybody ready? Got your snacks? Got your tasty adult beverages? As the show airs here on the east coast, I'll be live-blogging with all the major happenings. Refresh the page to see the latest news! But, as always, the real party is in the comments area. I hope to see you there!

Here's the updated pool from the Lovable Lifeguard Laurie:
 
Andrea Boehlke - Indiana Jane, ML
Aubry Bracco - Ed in Ohio, meb
Brad Culpepper - Brian, Sharon N
Cirie Fields - Leonia Hart, Terry is a Texan
Michaela Bradshaw - David, Jackie
Sarah Lacina - Delee, Rbennie
Sierra Thomas - Becky, monty924
Tai Trang - Cheryl in NC, Sharon C
Troyzan Robertson - Donna in Alabama, Lifeguard Laurie

JURY
Hali Ford
Ozzy Lust
Debbie Wanner
Zeke Smith

Survivor fans ready?

After his allies voted against him, Tai is worried. Brad, Sierra and Tai are certainly on the list for next out at this point. Sierra wants to mend fences with Sarah. So, she tells her of her Legacy Advantage. She tells her that if she goes, she will will it to her. She will do whatever is needed. So, it looks like Brad will be the main target.

But we'll see how that all works out. 

It's time for the Reward Challenge. Winners will have an American barbecue and it's tearjerker time -- they are playing for their loved ones. Sarah immediately bursts into tears.Tethered together groups of three, race obstacles, keys, sandbags, knock down articles. The respective loved ones will go with the winning teams.

Brad, Aubry and Andrea win. They can choose one player abd loved one to join them. They choose Cirie and her son. One more ... Sarah and her husband. 

Michaela thinks it's time she works with Tai -- after all, her "friends" didn't pick her to spend time with her Mom. And Sierra wants to bring Tai back into the fold along with perhaps Michaela. An oust Andrea plan is now afoot. 

Immunity is once again up for grabs. Balance on a narrow perch while balancing a buoy between two handles. The handles are small poles, they have to hold with the pokey ends. Aubry out. Sierra out. Andrea, Sarah out. Cirie out. Troyzan out. Michaela out. It's between Brad and Tai. Tai out. Brad Culpepper wins Immunity!

Welp, Brad won't go home tonight!

The names being tossed around are Sierra and Andrea. Tai and Michaela are sought after by both camps. Sarah wants Sierra voted out due to the Legacy Advantage. She tells Michaela about the advantage, but leaves out the fact that Sierra plans to will it to her. 

Tribal Council time is here. No fireworks this week.

The tally:
Sierra, Andrea, Sierra, Andrea, Andrea, Sierra, Sierra, Sierra.

Ah, so Sarah will get the Legacy Advantage.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - May 7, 2017

Good morning! Welcome to my weekly off television topic reflection on the week gone by in both words and photos I took along the way. If you're here for Survivor -- you can find any Survivor posts I make at this link right here You can find any posts I make about TAR at this link -- The Amazing Race.

Another week in the life down. We've gone into a chilly time weather-wise as well as plenty of rain. One day (Thursday) we had nearly three inches of rain! I know that come August we'll be praying for rain. But, sheesh. Enough already. The saying is APRIL showers, not MAY downpours!

I thought it was storming late one night when my apartment building actually shook. I mistook it for thunder. Nope. Just Trump's entourage flying extremely low heading to Bedminster. His golf course is in the next county over, not all that far from my workplace. I know he'll never show up in Plainfield!

Last night when I got home from work, I noticed the yellow caution tapes were lining Watchung Avenue in anticipation of today's New Jersey State Bicycle Championship Race today in downtown Plainfield. If I felt better, I'd go take some photos of the action. This is the second year in a row that we've had the privilege of hosting the race. (And the second year I've missed it.) The weather is a bit chilly and skies are overcast but not really expecting rain. I'd say it's probably perfect weather for it. 

Some of the hall kids have already started again -- not really the ones from the overcrowded apartment in my hallway. I've got some names now -- Brian and Kevin from the third floor, Nigel from the first floor -- and will be calling the landlord's office tomorrow. Last night they were running back and forth (and back and forth) for almost two hours in the third floor hallway. You can hear that all the way down on the first floor when they run back and forth (and back and forth). Plus, when I came home from work one day I caught the three of them with a POGO STICK on the first floor! A pogo stick! That is SO not an indoor toy! I sent them outside with that. I notice that whatever parent(s) had to pay for the broken security glass in the back first floor door to the staircase must have paid for it. There's new glass.

I have just a three day work week ahead of me (yay!). It's not all fun and games, though. On Friday I have to go to the vascular surgeon for the first phase of healing my out of control varicose veins. I don't care about pretty. My legs are too scarred up from knee replacements and more to be "pretty." I just want to feel better! It's more of a treatment than a surgery, per se. I'll be getting Varithena foam shot into my great saphenous vein on my lower right leg. It will fill the vein, then collapse it. It sounds a lot easier to deal with than the old-fashioned vein stripping remedy! I'll be bandaged and wearing a thigh-high compression stocking for 48 hours afterward. I don't know if I'll be able to bend the leg much, but I guess I'll find out. I do have a three day weekend next weekend. So, if I feel okay, I might do something other than nap it away.

Onto this week's photos ... clicking on an image will open it in a larger format. 

I said DON'T ruffle my feathers!

See! See! This is what happens! A starling at the Plainfield Train Station.

The prettiest time of the year

Okay ... autumn is very pretty with its brilliant foliage. Winter is pretty when the world is white and quiet. Summer, not so much as things around here tend to dry out and lawns turn brown, especially in the late summer. But spring is a renewal -- flowers are blossoming and the array of greens is amazing to behold. Yes, it wreaks havoc with my sinuses, but I still love the spring sneezes aside.

Uniquely marked pigeon in Plainfield

All pigeons do not look alike! This pigeon hangs out on North Avenue in the vicinity of the Plainfield Train Station.

Coral-colored azaleas

As seen on Berckman Street in Plainfield

Here I am, but the action is behind me!

As I waited for my train home in Bridgewater last night, a baseball game was in full swing at the adjacent TD Bank Ball Park (home of the Somerset Patriots minor league baseball). Although sunset hadn't hit yet, all of the stadium lights were lit and ready for the dark. I saw a big hawk fly over me and didn't get my camera out in time to catch him in flight. But I saw where he landed -- right on one of the stadium lights stanchions! You'd think he'd be looking for prey and would shun the cheers, music and other noise at the ball park. Nope. He eventually went to the top of the lights and appeared to be watching the game in progress. Now, the crowds there for games usually measure in the thousands and, unless he plans to grab the ball, I can't see why a Red Tailed Hawk would watch the game. He is probably trying to figure out humans, I guess. (More on the hawk after the jump!)

**CLICK THE 'READ MORE' LINK TO SEE THE REST OF THE PHOTOS** 

Thursday, May 04, 2017

The Amazing Race: May 4, 2017 Episode Blog Party


I'll be live bloggig the show's events as they air here on the East Coast. The real party is in the comments area -- come join in on the fun!

Lifeguard Sharon C has made the random match-ups for the blog pool:

London/Logan - Delee, Sharon N
Brooke/Scott - Chrob61, Becky
Tara/Joey - SueGee, Willie J, Monty924
Becca/Floyd - Janice, Brian
Liz/Michael - Judi Sweeney, Dolores in Hollywood, Ed in Ohio
Matt/Redmond - MerriLee, Jackie

PHILIMINATED:
Jessica/Francesca - Brenda, David, Sharon C
Seth/Olive - ML, Cheryl in NC
Shamir/Sara - Indiana Jane, Jenna's Mom
Vanck/Ashton - Nickelpeed, Donna in FL

Are we ready? Yes, we are! 

Liz and Michael are missing their families. He's especially missing his daughter and is in tears. But they can't sit around because the teams are going to be heading to Venice, Italy. There are two buses, a four-hour bus ride. From there they need to take a water taxi and it's finding a clue held by a sweeping worker next. Scott is bummed that he's stuck with Brooke because she's a "glass half empty" pessimist type person. I don't blame him.

Detour -- Sing It or Bring It. They have to learn and perform an Italian song or lug much luggage up into a hotel. 

Matt and Redmond took the physical detour and are now the first team to complete the Detour. Joey practically hauled the luggage by himself. They're running in second.

Who has Masked Intentions is the Roadblock. They have to pick an actor and recreate the mask. There is a demo going on, so they're not totally clueless. 

Finally, Becca and Floyd finish singing. They're on the way to the Roadblock.

Brooke is fussing once again. 

Redmond finishes his mask just as Joey and Tara are arriving. Redmond and Matt are headed to the Pit Stop. Floyd arrives at the Roadblock and follows the painting instructions which he mentions to us that Tara isn't doing.

Michael called out LoLo (London/Logan) for not helping him find an earlier clue after they had helped LoLo a lot before.

Pit Stop order:
1. Matt and Redmond, won a trip to Grenada 
2. Becca and Floyd
3. Tara and Joey

Brooke is running around asking so many others and no one wants to help her. Liz is doing the mask wrong. But it's getting so it's every team for themselves a bit. Tara finished her mask.

4/5 Logan and London, Brooke and Scott
6. Michael and Liz -- NON-PHILIMINATION LEG

All teams are still in it. Michael and Liz will encounter a Speed Bump in the next leg.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Survivor: Game Changes - May 3 Episode Blog Party


Everybody ready? Got your snacks? Got your tasty adult beverages? As the show airs here on the east coast, I'll be live-blogging with all the major happenings. Refresh the page to see the latest news! But, as always, the real party is in the comments area. I hope to see you there!

Here's the updated pool from the Lovable Lifeguard Laurie:
 
Andrea Boehlke - Indiana Jane, ML
Aubry Bracco - Ed in Ohio, meb
Brad Culpepper - Brian, Sharon N
Cirie Fields - Leonia Hart, Terry is a Texan
Michaela Bradshaw - David, Jackie
Sarah Lacina - Delee, Rbennie
Sierra Thomas - Becky, monty924
Tai Trang - Cheryl in NC, Sharon C
Troyzan Robertson - Donna in Alabama, Lifeguard Laurie
Zeke Smith - Janice from GA, Paula Bell

JURY
Hali Ford
Ozzy Lust
Debbie Wanner

 Survivor fans ready?

The blindside of Debbie hit Brad. It's a subdued group back at camp after the Tribal Council. Cirie knows they can't get complacent.  

Straight to the Reward Challenge. Two teams of five, one person race to a chair, team will lift chair, person will retrieve numbered blocks, 30 bats in all, solve puzzle. A helicopter ride to a luxury resort with a feast, overnight in a real bed. It's a schoolyard pick. It's a very tough puzzle. It's taking forever.

Reinventing how the game is played is the answer. Zeke, Aubry, Andrea, Brad Sarah win.

Uh-oh. Zeke and Brad are bonding. That raises Anrea's eyebrows. She and Zeke just worked things out before on the Debbie vote. Aubry is leery now of Zeke. too. Heck, even Cirie seems to be on the Oust Zeke Train.

In order to tell Cirie why and how she wants to keep Zeke right now, she tells her of the advantage she has. She thinks Zeke could be useful now and eliminated easily with her advantage to steal a vote later. 

Zeke notices the mood at camp seems to have changed. Sarah tells us it's Zeke she trusts, not the girls. Zeke tells her that he wants to make a final five deal with her, Brad and Troyzan. He tells Troyzan and Brad. Oh my. The plot thickens.

It's time for the Immunity Challenge. Stack blocks on a beam while avoiding a trip obstacle, the blocks to eventually fall like dominoes. Brad is the first one to hit the obstacle and have to start over.

Andrea wins Immunity! 

She wants to go after Zeke. She thinks her plan is brilliant because he won't see it coming. She goes to Cirie. Cirie tells her she doesn't know if Sarah would go for it. They go to Sierra.  

Time for them to talk to Sarah. Sarah isn't too pleased with it -- she needs Zeke for a few more votes, but doesn't want to push the issue and put the target on herself.Michaela isn't too keen on the plan. She talks to Sarah. Hmm.

It's to Tribal Council. Sarah tells Jeff she owned up to flipping last week. Tai is worried because he feels like he's on the bottom. He thinks he might be going home tonight. 

The tally --
Tai, Sierra, Tai, Sierra, Tai, Zeke, Zeke, Zeke, Zeke, Zeke

Tai is stunned. Michaela cries. Yet another blindside for the season.