Thursday, December 21, 2006

Quote of the day

"I've been here less than 12 hours, and I've already seen 2 women get on each other. If that's happening on the first day, the sky's the limit, let's go."
- Tyrie, Real World: Denver

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Survivor: Cook Islands Final Thoughts

Let's do this Rapid Delivery style:

  • One thing that I should have picked up on sooner: the final comparison between the first Survivor and this Survivor. You had many players who had not been previously exposed to Survivor. You had the inevitable mistakes that new players make. And you had a final two of the dominant physical player (Ozzy/Kelly) and the brains behind a dominant tribe (Yul/Richard Hatch). Much like the first Survivor, brains beat brawn.

  • My friend Boyd came up with the only workable way to have another All-Star season: take the 3 most dominant players ever and then have them draft a tribe of 6 people (including themselves) from all of the previous Survivors. He suggested Terry from Panama, Tom from Pulau and Ozzy from this year to be the captains. My changes that I would make:

    • My 3 captains would be Tom from Pulau, Brian from Thailand (he might be an ass, but he dominated that game unlike anybody before him) and Rob Mariano from the original All-Stars (though he didn't win, he ran the show and won challenges, which is the definition of domination).

    • I would force each tribe to be comprised of 3 men and 3 women. (Maybe 4 men and 2 women if you pushed me.) This would force them to make a few more interesting choices

    This is the only way that I could see this working, and I'm pretty close do demanding this to happen. An All-Star season that did not suck would be great, and a certain rarity in reality game show history.

  • After watching Yul on the Early Show the next day, after getting only an hour of sleep and picking up a large novelty cheque for $1 million, it is safe to say that Yul is never off.

And finally, the rankings. First, where Yul stands in terms of overall Survivor winners:

1. Tom (Survivor 10)
2. Brian (Survivor 5)
3. Rich (Survivor 1)
4. Yul (Survivor 13)
5. Tina (Survivor 2)
6. Aras (Survivor 12)
7. Chris (Survivor 8)
8. Jenna (Survivor 6)
9. Ethan (Survivor 3)
10. Sandra (Survivor 7)
11. Amber (Survivor 8 - All-Stars)
12. Danni (Survivor 11)
13. Vescepia (Survivor 4)

And finally, a ranking of each Survivor season:

1. Survivor 1 (Borneo)
2. Survivor 2 (Australian Outback)
3. Survivor 6 (Amazon)
4. Survivor 13 (Cook Islands)
5. Survivor 7 (Pearl Islands)
6. Survivor 10 (Pulau)
7. Survivor 3 (Africa)
8. Survivor 12 (Panama)
9. Survivor 11 (Guatemala)
10. Survivor 9 (Vanuatu - Island of Fire)
11. Survivor 8 (All-Stars)
12. Survivor 4 (Marquesas)
13. Survivor 5 (Thailand)

I'll probably come back to this list to explain why I ranked them as I did. But for now, discuss amongst yourselves.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Survivor: Cook Island Finale Thoughts

Last Thursday, I thought that Aitu had made a huge mistake in choosing to keep Adam over Jonathan.

On Thursday, I said that Yul had thrown away the million dollars.

Before the finale, I had intended on editing my post to explain how Yul blew tribal council on Thursday (by overplaying the "Yes, I am playing to the jury" statement).

During the final I said that the final vote would be 8-1 Ozzy.

During the final vote, I changed that to 7-2.

As the votes were being announced, I came up with 6-3 Yul Ozzy.

Needless to say, I was surprised when Yul won 5-4.

I feel like I'm in crazy town. Voting Jonathan out did not hurt Yul, but helped him in the end. Adam lived up to his promise even though he wanted to vote for Ozzy, and that was the swing vote. Also, because of "suspense" purposes, we were not shown that Aitu had decided on Jonathan before Adam, which would have made the agreement with Adam look a lot smarter. Yul's sucking up to the jury was ignored because Yul owned up to it. And the jury got over Yul masterminding a lot of their demises by viewing that as a positive.

Meanwhile, Ozzy, who had to think he was going to win the million tonight, is left with $100,000 and a lovely new SUV. Why did he lose? Probably because his biggest weakness was more emphasized during the final tribal council. Ozzy is not the social player that Yul is. And he wasn't able to truly get across why he should win when faced with an equally deserving opponent. Plus, Adam's promise meant that Ozzy was competing to win 5 of 8 votes, which is a disadvantage under normal circumstances, but in a situation where you are facing somebody who has as impressive credentials as you? That's a very tough road. Oh, and bringing up throwing challenges to claim that you were the Yul of the Latin tribe? Not the best of moves. Yul could claim many positive moves in the game as his. Ozzy's only claim that he could make? He threw a challenge to get rid of somebody. Not the smartest of moves.

This was actually a great finale. So many little things kept everything entertaining throughout:

  • Adam being a dead man walking, but still trying to stir things up as he went. When I first saw it, I was against Adam's move, as it was pointless - Adam was going no matter what. But if he had convinced Sundra and Ozzy to make Yul use the immunity idol, there were a couple of possible developments:

    • Adam could have tried to convince Yul and Becky to throw a couple of votes on Sundra for "sympathy", thus keeping him in the game. This is a long shot, but heck, if you are basically in a situation where you knwow you are on the chopping block, why not try anything and everything?

    • Adam was trying to find a way to get Ozzy the easy win. I actually think this is the case. Adam knew that Ozzy automatically wins against anybody against Yul. He also knows that Yul is going to be in the final three unless the immunity idol is taken out of the game. He also knew that he would have to vote for Yul unless Yul hit the jury. So he did his best to help that along. (And if he knew that the jury was going to be final three, I think he would have pushed even harder for the idol to come into play)

    • Adam was just trying to inject some excitement into the final 5 and final 4 votes. Obviously, Adam was going to go. But how boring is it for him to get voted out 4-1? And how boring is the final four going to be when it's only Becky and Sundra (two non-entities) on the chopping block?

  • I thought that Yul was stupid for even offering the immunity idol to Becky. Don't you think that would drive Sundra to vote for Ozzy? But again, this was an example of a seemingly bad decision by Yul not working against him, as Becky was made to bear the brunt of not accepting Yul's offer.

  • And quite honestly, Becky should have been punished for not taking the idol. That fire-building tiebreaker was painful to watch. As they begain to build the fire and tried to get the flint to work, we started to make jokes about the show putting a sub-title on saying "elapsed time: 30 minutes". Then they did. And we started to crack up. Then we started joking that they would keep on going and there would have to be another manner of determining who makes the final three. And up came the "Elpased Time: 1 hour" sub-title, and Jeff said "Okay, we're going to give you matches." Even that wasn't enough, as we went to 1 hour and 30 minutes, with everybody mocking the two competitors. And to top this off, Sundra announces that she has no more matches! Cure even more laughter amongst the watching crowd. Finally, and thankfully, Becky won and considered that to be an accomplishment instead of the finishing blow to whatever small chance she had of winning.

  • The jury questions were fun. Nate's question to Becky of "Why do you deserve to win?" was fantastic. Not because of the question itself, but because of Nate's response to Jeff's "Satisfied with the answer" question. Nate actually said "no". After Becky tried to answer a second time, I thought Nate was going to ask Jeff if they could just cut through the BS, and announce Becky as the third place winnner right now. Sadly he didn't.

  • Candice's question of Yul was loaded. I knew as soon as I heard it that he would get tripped up on the word "shamelessly", because I don't knwo if he thought that it was shameless. But to his credit, he answered as Candice asked and only really added more thoughts when Candice looked like she was going to say something else.

  • Jonathan's though took the cake. He tried so hard to be Sue Hawk, and he failed. I don't know if his "entitlement and arrogance" comment played on the jury's thought process though.

  • Parvati does clean up well. (Sorry, it's in my contract that I must point out the hotness of a woman in as many posts as possible.)

  • As always, Jeff did a fantastic job on the reunion show.

  • Seikou's Survivor song? Not so good.

I'll have some more thoughts probably on Tuesday, including where I rank Yul among the various champs and this season against the other seasons, and the best idea for another Survivor: All-Stars season.

(Edited to correct Yul/Ozzy mix up early on, along with a few typos.)

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Survivor: Cook Islands Episode 13 Thoughts

To steal a quote from Graham, Yul is the worst best player ever.

Up until last week, Yul played the game perfectly. He could be seen as a threat to win immunity challenges. He was running the show, but wasn't completely overbearing about it. Then, he decided to play with his heart, not his brain. There was no reason to vote out Jonathan. And that only came back to haunt him as Parvati tried to flirt her way into Ozzy's good graces and back into the game. Instead of realizing that this isn't that huge of a deal and eliminating the larger threat in Adam, Yul decided to pull the plug on Parvati, to keep Ozzy in the fold. Now Yul is in a position where Adam or Ozzy could make the final and win over anybody, including himself. And the worst part is that he recognizes this. So why didn't he just get rid of Adam then Parvati?

In other news, we had a hot tub of doom, with Ozzy and Parvati getting liquored up, and Yul joining them in some nude frolicking. Ozzy had me worried when he asked if we wanted to see the great humpback whale of Cook Islands (if he said "here's the blow hole", I was out of there). The mud scene was fun if only to see what shots of Parvati they would show (let's say all of the sexy ones and leave it at that). And it was fun to watch Adam's ineptness at the balance beam in the immunity challenge. A special thanks to Becky for taking one for the team and giving us our MXC moment of the night with her fall.

Unrelated to this, I promised a link to a lot of my faithful readers which was going to be special. Unfortunately, I forgot who I was up against, and the link is not going to happen in the way that I hoped. Instead, I offer this link as a hint of things out there.

(I am also disappointed with myself as I didn't pick up on it earlier. Parvati is most proud of being a Perfect 10 boxer? I know that I would be proud of being a fighter for a promotion ran by a magazine best known for having "all natural" women. *Links NSFW*)

Onto the rankings:

Most likely to win the game:

LW TW Name
2 1 Ozzy
1 2 Yul
4 3 Adam
3 4 Becky
5 5 Sundra
6 - Parvati

Who I want to win:

LW TW Name
1 1 Yul
2 2 Ozzy
3 3 Becky
4 4 Sundra
6 5 Adam
5 - Parvati

I won't bother choosing who is getting the boot, as who knows how that will be run. I will choose a winner though, and that person is Ozzy. I just don't see him losing an immunity challenge again, and that combined with Yul's horrendous showing at Tribal Council (just say "I returned it because he asked me to." Don't start talking about how it was good for your jury vote!) means that he will defeat anybody he faces.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Selective Analysis Part 2

Colby Cosh seems to have caught a bit of Mark Steyn-itis when talking about Leander Khaney's review of the Zune.

Here's Colby's parsing of the review:
The Zune desktop software crashed right after installation and I had to restart... the sign-in procedure was long-winded and tedious... The catalog [of the subscription service] is smaller than the iTunes Store's... The earbuds aren't much good... Battery life isn't great. The big screen sucks juice dry a lot quicker than the latest iPods... The Wi-Fi is essentially useless. There's no one around to share songs with, and I expect it to be turned off permanently...

Pretty ugly. And yet Khaney says:
I've been playing with a Zune for a couple of weeks, and I like it. I like it a lot.

Huh? If the Zune has so much wrong with it, why does Khaney like it so much?

Just for fun, let's expand those passages that Cosh quotes (initial quote in italics, addition in bold).

The Zune desktop software crashed right after installation and I had to restart. Back up and running, the sign-in procedure was long-winded and tedious -- typical Microsoft. But since then, the software has worked very well.

The marketplace is easy to navigate and has a good choice of songs. The catalog [of the subscription service] is smaller than the iTunes Store's but I found pretty much everything I was looking for.

The earbuds aren't much good (neither are the iPod's), but they are magnetized so they stick together to reduce pocket tangle. One idea Apple should definitely steal.

Battery life isn't great. The big screen sucks juice dry a lot quicker than the latest iPods. (This hasn't yet been an issue. I'm never far from a charging point, but I can see it running dry on a long trip.)

The Wi-Fi is essentially useless. There's no one around to share songs with, and I expect it to be turned off permanently. I'd rather pick and choose songs from other Zune users' libraries -- the same way you can browse other's iTunes libraries on the network -- than have them send songs to me.

Other than the Wi-Fi complaint, it looks like every negative had some sort of rider or complimentary statement to go with it, which contradicts that impression that Colby's quotes give.

The lesson, as always, is to read the source material when something isn't adding up. Even if you enjoy the author's work.

(Edit 12/16: I'm a reader. Colby explains his position more, and his post becomes more even-handed.)

Next up, Top Gun without the planes!

Taking this report at face value, the live action Speed Racer movie is not going to have any cars. Hopefully they mean that the cars will be done in CGI, or else the Wachowski brothers will have managed to beat their record for ruining a franchise (set by The Matrix Reloaded)).

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

When columnists get bored

Mike Strobel of the Toronto Sun asserts: Smoking ban in condos the next step. But if you read the article, it certainly seems like the only person arguing for this, is him. And he's arguing against himself.

Diamonds (and trademarks) are forever

On the list of people that I thought would sue Kanye West for being ripped off by him, Evel Kinevel was just below Elmo. I guess I have to re-think the list now.

Assault on your senses

After listening to this, I will never mock my friends, family or any other person for their singing skills(*).

(*): Except Clay Aiken. And probably Matty P and Graham.

Survivor: Cook Islands Episode 12 Thoughts

Welcome to the post I've been trying to avoid writing.

(Well, avoid is pretty strong. It's been a long week of celebrating birthdays and continuing my drive to make the 12 hour work day a reality.)

The thing is, it's a bit depressing to talk about what happened on this episode. There was a fun moment when Ozzy, Yul and Becky talked about hiding food on Raro, only to get shamed into not hiding it once Parvati and Adam brought food back. And the family competition was fun to watch (especially Jonathan blatantly wishing his wife good bye before going to Exile Island even though I'm pretty sure he wasn't going to be allowed to). But beyond that, this was an episode where logic went out the window.

Really, it begins and ends with the decision to give Jonathan the boot instead of Adam. Let me count the ways that this was stupid:

1. Jonathan has never won a challenge. Adam has won immunity once.
2. Jonathan is not a threat to win the game over anybody else. Adam will rock the Raro vote all the way to victory (deserved or not).

3. Jonathan does work around camp. Adam prefers to spend time with his harem. (Not that I necessarily blame him.)
4. Parvati will not team with Jonathan in an attempt to swing the 4-2 situation to a 3-3 situation. Parvati was jealous that Adam wasn't spending enough time with her. Do you think she might try to work with Adam?

The last item is the one that really gets me. Previews for next week show that the Aitu alliance is starting to crack, with Ozzy thinking of making the jump, while Yul et al think of giving Ozzy the boot. While this means that it won't be happening this week, it does mean that Parvati or Adam stands a shot at Final 4. If Ozzy doesn't win immunity, Aitu has to start thinking about getting rid of him because he's always a threat to win challenges, and Final 4 is crunch time (more on this in a second). Ozzy's show of rebellion might push them to make the move. (And yes, this is the same Ozzy that threw a challenge because he didn't like somebody in his tribe.)

The fine Survivor podcast Armchair Survivor has this pegged - it is much like Survivor: Vanaatu where the women had the game in the palm of their hands, but turned on each other before eliminating the last surviving man (Chris), leading to Chris winning the game. Another comparison would be to Survivor: Guatemala where Stephanie's tribe turned on each other before eliminating Danni and Gary, leading to Danni hanging around and ultimately winning the game. The one huge difference between this vote and the others is the make up of the jury. Danni and Chris won because of lingering bitterness over the dominant tribe's break up. This year though, the "losing" tribe has more members on the jury than the dominant tribe. And we know that at least 2 members of that tribe will have no ill-will to their former tribe members because they were betrayed in the same act. 1 member of the "losing" tribe jury members will have spent no time in a tribe with the remaining members of Aitu, while the other 3 will have spent the first 6 days with them, which is not enough time for bonds to have grown. So why bring somebody who was in the tribe and seems to be liked by said members of the tribe any further along than necessary? Because the other option annoys you? Suck it up! Nobody said this was going to be easy, and if the worst thing you have to deal with is an abrasive personality, then I think there are many other Survivors who would have gladly traded spots with you.

Onto the lists.

Most likely to win the game:

LW TW Name
1 1 Yul
2 2 Ozzy
3 3 Becky
5 4 Adam
4 5 Sundra
6 6 Parvati
7 - Jonathan

Who I want to win:

LW TW Name
1 1 Yul
2 2 Ozzy
3 3 Becky
5 4 Sundra
6 5 Parvati
7 6 Adam
4 - Jonathan

This week is odd for predicting who gets the boot. There are only 2 episodes left, but 6 survivors. Which means we are going to see a double boot this week (which I don't see happening), or they are going to do something wacky on the finale (Run the final 5 challenge normally, but run the final four and have the top 2 as the finalists? Do something completely wacky and have 3 finalists?) So I'll just make a prediction of Adam to go this week, and let things fall where they may.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Survivor: Cook Islands Episode 11 Thoughts

An open letter to Adam, Candace and Parvati.

Dear fucktards,

Stop it. For the love of god you are all stupid, nasty, superficial hypocrites. (Yes even you Parvati. You might be hot and all, but that doesn't stop you from having the personality of a rabid rat. Oops, there's that word.)

Way back about, oh, 4 days ago, you really had no problem with Jonathan. Sure, he had just betrayed people, but it wasn't you, so what's the problem? But now that he's betrayed you, he is the devil incarnate. Who cares if it is better for him in this game? He just screwed over your god given right to coast to the final 4, so it's time to be as nasty as humanly possible. (Let's ignore that you didn't vote him out when you had 3 chances to previously. It's rather inconvenient for you current story.) Whether it be traitor or rat, no word was out of bounds to use to describe Jonathan. But to call him vile while calling him the words that you were? Rather hypocritical.

And then there's your actions after Nate got voted out. While consistent with previous actions, you would think that you might do something to help out at camp. But instead, you chose to lie around and cuddle, further separating yourself from the people who could save your sorry asses. Once they decided to eat without you (since you had done nothing to help with getting the fish or preparing it), you got rather angry and complained about everybody not thinking of you, along with (shockingly) blaming Jonathan for not sharing. (Nevermind that when earlier Jonathan went to share some coconut, you chastised him for taking Adam's coconut.) Hey, I'm just going to throw a thought out here. If you want to save yourselves for another few days, it might make sense to not insult anybody who can help that process. Also, it would be of great help not to hitch your cart to the idea that (a) you would appreciate not being voted out before Jonathan and (b) if you don't make it longer than Jonathan, you might hold out your jury vote from Yul. (a) There's absolutely no reason for Aitu to give up their dominating position just to satisfy your desires. (b) is stupid because there are 3 other people who need to vote out Jonathan, and they would rather see Yul not get jury votes.

Just one more thing. When Aitu had their backs against the wall, they battled back and came up with a strong plan, pouncing on an opening when they saw it. When you had your backs against the wall, you whined about it, and when Jeff gave you the opportunity to get "a lot of power" in the auction challenge, you choose not to even put the full effort into tgetting the power, instead throwing it away and Candice once again getting sent to Exile Island.

Well played, indeed.

Yours truly,

(Check back here later, as I include my lists, predictions for next week, and some more thoughts about how things went last week.)

December 4th entry:

So, what about everybody else? Yul had almost a perfect episode. He was in control of what was happening, and managed to deflect a bit of heat from himself to Jonathan. And heck, I've even come around on the hidden immunity idol stuff - ultimately it doesn't matter because the only way for Yul to have any worry about using the idol would have to involve somebody who knows he has the idol. So why not tell the world that he has the idol just to cement that he should not be fucked with in any sort of scenario?

(The answer of course, is that it could be perceived that he was rubbing the idol in Team Jackwad's face. Hell, I'd guess that they are already practicing their snake and rat speeches for Yul.)

So what was the mistake, beyond the schadenfreude? Yul discussed jury strategy with Becky. That wasn't a mistake per se, but the way he went about it was horrible. "If we vote Jonathan off, I guarantee myself 3 votes. Maybe we should dump Jonathan to cement my votes." Did it not occur to Yul that maybe, just maybe, Becky might face him in the finals and if she did, she probably wants Yul to lose those votes?

The Aitu tribe sticking together and not feeding Team Jackwad was pretty entertaining, and their half-hearted attempt to defend Jonathan (okay, Yul's half-hearted attempt) was a touch bit touching. And I would be remiss nto to note the disappointment of the day, which especially affected Mike: With Candice getting the boot, there is no more comedy in Candice automatically being sent to Exile Island. The real question is, will Aitu answer Candice automatically if they get to send somebody to Exile?

Let's be honest here, a contentious and bitter tribal council is a lot more fun than the normal tribal council. And Jeff Probst? On fire this tribal council. First, he calls Yul the UN becuase of his "not going to rock the boat" answers, and then he gives us the line of the show, after Candice and Adam spend 5 minutes making out once Candice gets the boot:

"A kiss is nice, but if it was really love, he would have given you the immunity necklace."

Jeff Probst: Just as tired of Team Jackwad as the rest of us.

And now, the lists:
Most likely to win:

LW TW Name
1 1 Yul
2 2 Ozzy
4 3 Becky
3 4 Sundra
5 5 Adam
6 6 Parvati
8 7 Jonathan
7 - Candice

(Congratulations to Jonathan on moving up the list!)

Who I want to win:

LW TW Name
1 1 Yul
2 2 Ozzy
5 3 Becky
3 4 Jonathan
6 5 Sundra
4 6 Parvati
8 7 Adam
7 - Candice

My predictions for this week? Parvati is gone, after Adam saves himself for a second week in a row with an immunity challenge victory. Don't worry though - Adam's time is coming.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Your political discussion of the day

The federal Liberal leadership convention is just about over, and it looks like the best thing for the party is about to occur. Stephane Dion looks to be the new leader of the party, after Gerard Kennedy threw his support behind him, and delivered 80% of his delegates.

Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae had many strikes against them, but mostly it's their obvious unelectability and their being the choice of the old Chretien and Martin regimes that need to be removed from the party. Dion and Kennedy were the most likely to be able to unite the party together, and renew the party to provide another option to the Canadian people. And Dion gives them an intellectual to battle Stephen Harper. If anything, Canadians can look forward to some very interesting debates.

(PS CTV, who's coverage has been a lot better than the rest of the major networks, just showed Dion winning with 57% of the vote, and Ignatieff getting 45%. Can't somebody just do math?)