Thursday, June 22, 2017

Big Brother 19: Julie Chen House Tour and Season's Theme Twist

This season has plenty of new twist to it. No, nothing that's been done before, no same old/same old. No returning players. No relatives.

It's going to be all about temptation. When I first heard the "Summer of Temptation," theme, I thought they were pushing showmances and cringed. But it's not that at all. 

Viewers will decide each week which hamsters they want to enter the special "Den of Temptation." In the den, the chosen will be tempted with all kinds of stuff which may end up altering the course of the game and/or affecting the rest of the hamsters. The temptations could include money, power and safety in the game. But they need to be wise ... each temptation comes with a consequence. It could come back to bite them in the butt!

Cool. Let's shake it up!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Big Brother 19: Meet the Cast - Part 4

Cameron Heard is 24, originally from North Aurora, IL and now resides in Woodridge, IL. His bio on lists him as a microbiologist. Hmm ... I'm of two minds regarding Cameron. I like that he names Ian Terry as his favorite. I like that he's smart, a gamer kind of guy and a rather newly-hatched BB superfan (BB14 start). He has watched the live feeds and follows RHAP and all.

That's all in his favor. What I don't like is that he is a bit cocky about it. True, he might have a better social game than either Ian or Steve (which he mentioned) ... but don't knock them until you bring home the moolah, Rubik's Cube Boy! 
Megan Lowder is 28, originally from Cathedral City, CA, currently living in Phoenix, AZ. Her online bio lists her occupation as a dog walker. Another professed superfan, at least of the last five seasons or so, her favorite previous hamsters are Frank Eudy, and Victor/Paul from last season. 

In her Jeff interview, she brought up her Rachel-like laugh. Oh, geez. In her bio info, she mentions that she will need to control her constant analyzing everythin because she doesn't want to end up like Tiffany Rousseau. I guess we'll just have to see how it goes.
Matthew Clines is 33, from and still living in Arlington, VA. His online bio lists his occupation as a renovation consultant. In that bio, he lists Donny Thompson as his favorite -- cool beard, fun guy he says.

Hmm. He mentioned in the Jeff interview that he's actually in sales, not the renovations themselves. For the Jeff question about losing but being loved or winning and being hated, he chose losing. Not a great sign right there! He also mentioned how nice he is several times. Y'see, in my book, nice guys don't need to mention how nice they are. Prove me wrong, Matt. Right now you're not on my list of favorites.
Alex Ow is 28, from Thousand Oaks, CA, currently residing in Camarillo, CA. According to her CBS bio, she's an eco-friendly marketing rep -- whatever that is! In that bio, she also thinks she's adorable. Sigh.

She loves Nicole Franzel and claims to be a huge show fan. Yet, in her Jeff interview she started talking about a BB wedding and it didn't even dawn on her until Jeff mentioned it was his wedding. Oh my. Yes, her boobs are fake and she admits it. She will miss seeing herself on TV while she's on TV. Um. I don't think there will be too many mind-provoking late night talks with Alex! 

While this is my last Meet the Cast installment, there will be more to come as I post about this season's house and twists in the coming days! You can catch all my Big Brother 19 posts at this link right here.

Big Brother 19: Meet the Cast, Part 3

Mark Jansen is 26, from and still residing in Grand Island, NY. His CBS bio lists him as a personal trainer. Being originally from New York myself, I had to look up exactly where Grand Island is -- it's in Erie County in western New York. Y'know, I honestly LIKE this guy. He seems like such a nice, well-balanced good guy. Alas, that isn't always the best candidate to win the show.

His favorite previous hamster is Brandon. I'm not all that keen on that choice, but Brandon too had a lot of nice guy kind of qualities. I do understand his choice. While Mark comes across as a nice guy, he also seemed interesting and intelligent enough that he won't bore me. But he just might be too nice a guy to win it all. He will need to throw some sneak in there. 
Raven Walton is  23, from and still living in DaValls Bluff, AR.  As per her CBS bio, she's a dance instructor. I need to get this out of my system -- I'm not a fan of Mickey Mouse ears hairstyles with bows. I'm just not. That said, I kind of like this gal.

Mentioned in the Jeff interview, but not her online bio, Raven has a pacemaker and takes life on as a second chance to live. Very admirable! Yet, she did turn me off with mentioning Frankie as her favorite previous hamster. It makes me wonder if she'll treat this opportunity as some kind of audition much as Frankie did. Gah! I'll have to play a wait and see game whether I'll enjoy her on the feeds or not.

Dominque (the Dominator) Cooper is 30, originally from Tuskegee, AL, currently residing in Woodbridge, VA. Her CBS bio lists her has a government engineer. While she claims in that bio that her hair and skin mean everything to her (and she's very pretty), this young lady is anything but shallow!

She boasts advanced degrees, likes to write and is definitely a very intelligent woman. What is she doing on the show, I ask? Well, she's a fan. Hopefully her people skills and intelligence will keep her in there for some time to come. I'm a bit tired of vapid folks in the house.
Cody Nickson is 32, from Lake Mills, IA, but currently residing in Plano, TX. I actually liked a lot of things in his CBS online bio -- he knows the show, he has never taken a selfie shot, his favorite previous hamster is Evel Dick, he's a show fan, he will never allow himself to be put up as a pawn, like Cameron (to be delved into in my last installment) he's into Rubik's cubes, etc. 

But his Jeff interview was disappointing -- he came across as boring, hating his job and rather distant. Some of the things he mentioned in one or the other is that he never cries, never wore a suit, never wore cologne. Hmm. Will the real Cody please stand up? 

More to come! You can catch all my Big Brother 19 posts at this link right here.

Big Brother 19: Meet the Cast, Part 2

Jessica Graf is 26, originally from Cranston, RI, but now residing in Los Angeles, CA. According to her CBS bio, she's a VIP concierge.  She's a fan of the show, listing Janelle as far back as BB6 as her favorite player. She says her boobs are real. Um. Okaaaay.

She wants to team up with a strong male competitor. She claims that, when she was young (!), showmances made the show for her. Yuck, I say. She isn't adverse to being in one. I'd be willing to bet she just might try her hardest to get in one. Next!
Christmas Abbott is one of the "older" hamsters at 33, originally from Lynchburg, VA but now resides in Raleigh, NC. Her CBS bio lists her as a fitness superstar. Now, I personally have no clue about any fitness superstars. But I am impressed that she has written a bestselling book and just published a second book. Her favorite previous hamster is Helen Kim because she could manipulate people.

That aside, I liked her in her Jeff interview -- she made me laugh! If they can get me in that interview, they just might have me on their side for the entire season. We just might have a contender in Christmas.
 Elena Davies is 26 years old, originally from Fort Worth, TX but now living in Dallas, TX. Her CBS bio lists her as a radio personality. She lists James Huling as her favorite hamster because he made things fun. Okay. Not sure I'd want to be the recipient of his pranking, but I have my own James soft spot. 

We know her boobs are real -- she mentions that she had a breast reduction. Now, that's different for a BB hamster! I kind of like her. Will she win it all? I just don't know.
Jason Dent is 37, the second oldest hamster. He is from and still resides in Humeston, IA. I have no clue where that is. From his Jeff interview, I see he has no clue about BB. So, we're even. His CBS bio lists him as a rodeo clown. And that is what he is -- a rodeo clown named Whistlenut.

I've seen rodeo clowns -- they're the ones who distract the charging bull. They have to be very fit. If he makes it to a slip and slide comp, he should fall well and recover! While he doesn't know the show, he realizes that he can't really set a strategy beforehand because conditions may change. Many of the big show fans going in don't realize that. He, like Christmas, made me laugh a bit in his Jeff interview. I think he will be entertaining.

More to come! You can catch all my Big Brother 19 posts at this link right here.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Big Brother 19: Meet the Cast, Part 1

Jillian Parker is 24, originally from Celebration, FL but is currently living in Las Vegas. According to her bio on, she's a timeshare sales rep. She says she's bubbly. Hmm. I'm not too keen on bubbly. One thing not in her bio online is that she told Jeff that she has lost 50 pounds since January with weight loss surgery. 

Her favorite BB hamster is Daniele Donato. She has this convoluted strategy of an alliance of guys and giving them information from the girls. We'll see how that works out. I say ... I doubt she'll win it all.
Josh Martinez is 23, originally from Miami, FL and now residing in Homestead, FL. According to his CBS bio, he's in hair care saies. My gosh, this guy is jumpy. I watched his Jeff interview and he couldn't keep still. Plus, he seems to have no control of his cussing in an interview like that! 

He's way too confident in his own bad little self. He might rub people the wrong way, I think. His favorite previous BB hamster was Evel Dick in BB8. I liked Evel Dick, but I'm not sure I like Josh.
Kevin Schlehuber is 55, from Boston and still residing there. According to his bio on, he's a stay at home father. Oh geez, BB did it again -- stick ONE person who's more than 20 years older than the rest of the cast! Gah! He likes Derrick, possibly because he met him. It sounded to me in the Jeff interview that his kids wanted him to try for the show. He has seven of them!

Huh. He was Mr. Massachusetts in 1986 and won a Hunk contest on Geraldo Rivera. Oh my. He came across as mellow. I think I'll like him, but I don't think I'll like him for the win.
Ramses Soto is the youngest hamster at 21. He's from Grand Rapids, MI and still resides there. According to his CBS bio, he's a cosplay artist. I watched his Jeff interview. He comes across as a bit Floyd-ish (TAR fans will get the reference). He's a comics fan. I like that! He calls himself a superfan, but he's only two years older than the show!

His favorite previous BB hamster is Dan Gheesling. Well that's a good choice. He has all these big strategical plans that I feel will all fall to the wayside once he's in the house. He thinks his social game will be strong. That I do believe. 

I will be following up with more tomorrow evening ... and at an earlier hour than this!

BB19 Cast Reveal on CBS All Access Today!

Unfortunately, due to my work schedule, I won't be able to post immediately today on the cast. Expect me to delve into a few of them late tonight, more tomorrow evening and I should have a look at all of them posted by Wednesday!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - June 18, 2017

Happy Father's Day!

An undated photo of my father and I in sailor hats at my grandparent''s house. I recognize the furniture and wallpaper of that home! I'm thinking I was about two years old or so in this photo. My father was a great guy; a hard-working man who passed much too young. He's been gone around forty years now. I often wonder what he would think of the world today. I wish I had gotten to know him better on an adult child level, but that opportunity never really came.

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. Things here on the blog will be changing up this week.

Tomorrow is the cast reveal for Big Brother 19. Unfortunately, I won't be home from work until after 10pm and have to be up early for work on Tuesday. But I'll post what I can and should be all caught up by Wednesday, my day off. 

Life goes on here. Well, to think of it, that's a good thing. The alternative isn't really acceptable. Let's see ... what's been going on here?

Um. Um. They've been repainting the fire escapes at my apartment building. Ten years ago they did that. The last state five-year inspection passed them. Now they failed once again. I'm not quite sure how painting them increases a safety level, but there ya go. I also noticed the super doing lots of work in the apartment next door which was a showplace just over a year ago and the current tenant fought to keep the state inspector out. I wonder what happened.

I haven't heard anything about my apartment. I would guess I'll get word that they will need to replace my bathroom ceiling tiles, damaged from the last flooding from upstairs but not a current leak. I don't think there's anything else. I certainly hope they don't feel the need to paint. I hate my life disrupted.

The landlord/company raised my rent with the lease renewal. Yeah, I have an increase of $3 a month! Outrageous, I say. Heh. An ex-landlord here raised it $50 a month more every year he had the building. Now that I have the letter with the increase, I'm going to call the landlord office to complain about kids once again -- 1A and 3G. I see the security glass near 1A is now broken. (I think it was intact during the inspection.) NO, it's NOT okay to let your children run loose in the hallways. Be a parent, for gosh sakes! 

I'm also going to report Joe's apartment across the hall. I really think he might have passed (at a hospital, not in the apartment) and relative/friend squatters are in there. They put trash bags in the hallway for hours or even overnight before taking it to the dumpsters. There are people coming and going at all hours. Joe wouldn't accept that. He's definitely not there. They also threw out most of his stuff. I didn't want to complain until I got my rent increase/renewal notice because I don't want them to think I'm a chronic complainer. But things are going downhill after doing so well under this new owner. Sigh.

Oh! Something good! I bought an 8-speed tower fan with a remote control this past week. I LOVE IT! It works so well that I'm sure to save on some air conditioning bills this summer.

Onto the photos for this week ... clicking on an image will open a larger version in a gallery setting.

One open, three closed

The flower of an hour was closing as I caught this shot. They seem to actually be open for a bit more than an hour. In this shot, it's clear they are related to hibiscus.

New awnings

They installed awnings on Maria's and the adjacent restaurant on North Avenue. Nice, but now you can't really see the names on the businesses -- which is why I'm calling the one restaurant "adjacent." I forgot its name.

Where is he?

A solitary starling on a wire. She seems to be looking for someone.


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - June 11, 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. I have a bit of a blogging rest before 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. Stay tuned right here!

Until the last few days, we had more rain and more cool temperatures. As of yesterday, that's all changed. We're facing what should be the first day of a heat wave, the second one this year. Temperatures are supposed to be in the 90s starting today and lasting through Tuesday. I'd actually prefer the cooler temps. I hate the heat!

Every five years in New Jersey, multi-family dwellings get inspected by the state. This past week we had our inspection in my apartment building. It's a big pain, but I do understand that these inspections can catch fire and safety issues and neglect by landlords. The first time I went through this here, they came up with tons of violations resulting in new power outlets in the kitchen and bathroom, scraping down and painting all of the fire escapes and more. This time it didn't seem like much at all. We have new windows, the fire escapes remain in good shape, etc. The main thing the inspector seemed to be concerned about was working smoke/CO detectors.

Earlier in the week, the super (who is no longer Mario ... sniffle) came through testing to make sure the apartment doors self-close, have the privacy chain locks and testing the smoke alarms. Mine is working although my door likes to self-close rather slowly. The inspector never actually checked my door. If I have to run from a fire, I'll make sure it closes! That, or I'll buy a tiny can of oil and oil it. I think that's all it needs.

Vincent is tired of hearing the smoke alarm tests! (So am I.)

Joe's place across the hall apparently had a broken chain lock. Hmm. I would guess someone forced it at some time or another. Mine is always in use yet vintage to the building.

Both times of the visits -- the super's initial sweep and the actual inspection -- my neighbor next door fought with them refusing to open the door for the longest time. Now, I don't answer my door usually, either. But I could hear it was the super and he even yelled, "It's the super! I'd like to check your smoke detector! We have a state inspection coming!" I let him in.  Technically, other than an emergency, we're supposed to have (I think) 48 hours notice for them to enter. But it wasn't a huge deal. He tested the door, the smoke alarm and made sure my chain worked. 

The neighbor finally let the inspector in for the inspection -- we did have two weeks notice and then a 48 hour reminder the inspection was coming. But there was a whole lot of yelling goin' on. Sheesh. Well, maybe it made the inspector inspect less on me because he was so bad! I didn't want to move furniture to show them outlets and such aren't overloaded. He didn't ask that -- the whole inspection took about a minute. He didn't even look under my sinks for leaks, just asked me. (And, no, I have no leaks under my sinks.) He never even turned lights on in the bathroom, kitchen and dining room (built-in fixtures they tested last time) or flush my toilet to make sure it works and doesn't leak. Of course, my toilet is only a few months old and still looks brand new, so maybe that's why he didn't check that. 

The last five-year inspection was a huge headache with the inspector going through everything with a fine-tooth comb, wanting to look at every electrical outlet, check all possibilities of leaks and more. This time, quick and easy -- test smoke/CO detector, glance about in kitchen and bathroom, check access to the fire escape in the bedroom. Now, since the last inspection, I do have a new bathroom vanity and sink, toilet, new windows, new refrigerator (my own, but my last used one looked horrible; this one still looks brand new), new kitchen floor and more. So, maybe the apartment just looks like there are fewer problems and he didn't feel the need to inspect as much.

The neighbor also gave the exterminator a lot of grief early in the week. I don't know what's going on there. The inspector was in his apartment a lot longer than in mine. He better not have safety or bug-causing issues going on there! When Carlos left that place about 18 months ago, it was a showplace in beautiful condition with an updated kitchen, gorgeous hardwood floors and all. Mine has beat-up hardwood never refinished before I moved in 17 years ago and original building kitchen cabinets.

Oh, well. It's over for the next five years now.

Onto the photos from the week -- clicking on an image will open up a larger version.

The flower of an hour has sprung!

Last fall Bernice gave me some seeds to grow these. I tossed them across the ground in an area adjacent to the parking lot at my apartment building. It's on the neighbor's property, but a small strip between our fence and their garage. They seem to neglect that rocky strip in their lawn maintenance, so I didn't think they'd mind flowers. There's no good place on the grounds of my building to plant them. They took root!

Yay, it's bee season!

Although I've an allergy to bee stings, these little guys are a vital part of nature. And, for the most part, bees tend to be non-aggressive. Yellow jackets and other wasps are a bit different. 

Caught at the right time!

These "flower of an hour" blossoms come to life in the vicinity of 9am. They're closed up for most of the day and night.


Sunday, June 04, 2017

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - June 4, 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. I have a bit of a blogging rest before 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. Stay tuned right here!

We had more rain around here this past week. We're expecting more rain this upcoming week. Well, I must say all is green and lush. But ...! Although, I certainly prefer the cooler temperatures rather than heat waves. So, that's good.

I had the follow-up visit with my vascular surgeon on Friday. As expected, the most recent Doppler ultrasound showed nothing alarming. He's very pleased with the progress ... even though I stopped wearing that horrible thigh-high compression stocking after the first week. It kept rolling down and cutting into my skin. I have been faithful with the knee-high compression socks. I can definitely feel and see a difference in the leg. I no longer have a bundle of veins like snakes sticking out on my calf and the pain level after standing and walking has improved a lot.  Thanks go out to Leonia and her husband for driving me to the appointment!

Today would mark my brother Gary's 63rd birthday. He and I were the middle children of four, only 14 months apart. He passed away at the age of 59. Time marches on.

Other than that news, nothing much is going on here. Work, work, work. Sigh. Onto this week's photos ... clicking on an image will bring up a larger version in a gallery setting.

The Magical Marigold

What's so magical about it? Beside the opportunity for alliteration, all of nature is magical and wondrous!

The uncooperative bee

This bee just wouldn't pose for me! He's missing out on becoming famous on the internets! Bridgewater, NJ

I see dead people

... with feet on seat! Ack! Why can't people just SIT? You don't need to sprawl all over the place! It's not your home! It's a commuter train! I personally don't understand the sleeping on the train line -- I think from end to end it may be about an hour, perhaps an hour and fifteen minutes. I always think if I fall asleep in a public place, someone will steal my stuff. Or worse, take photos of me and post them online! New Jersey Transit, Raritan Valley Line.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

The Amazing Race Season Finale Blog Party - June 1, 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 

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

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
Matt/Redmond - MerriLee, Jackie

Are we ready? Yes, we are! 

Okay, a brief recap of the previous and remaining teams is over. It's time for a commercial! 

Teams will be flying 6,000 miles to Chicago. They'll get some rest, for sure! Once they land, they need to head to ChicagoLand Speedway. One team member gets behind the wheel, the other must change a tire in 40 seconds. The "race" has to finish in 48 seconds to move on.

Brooke is freaking out changing the tire. Why am I not surprised? Oh, geez. Scott got it first. They have to go downtown to a train station for their next clue.

They next have to solve three puzzles regarding the city's landmarks. They have to collect postcards at each site. Next it's off to City Hall to collect a clue from the city beekeeper.

Uh-oh. Joey/Tara are at a wrong place to pick up one of the postcards. Meanwhile, Brooke is whining. But we knew that would happen. 

Scott and Brooke are leading. (Grr.) They're off to Wrigley Field. They have to make Chicago style hot dogs, deliver them to people on a rooftop overlooking Wrigley Field. After the delivery, they have to go to the marquee entrance to Wrigley Field.

The last challenge of the race was posted on YouTube. Phil explains it better than I can, so I'm embedding it here.

Ack. Scott and Brooke are in the lead. Sigh. They have their clue to head to the Pit Stop.  Joey/Tara are doing the scoreboard bit. London/Logan are far behind.


I think I need a drink. 

Tara and Joey are in second place.