Thursday, April 26, 2007

Survivor: Fiji Episode 11 Thoughts

Let me just get this out of the way: Thank goodness Alex is still around. After this week's farce, I am looking forward to next week when Alex concocts another scheme, only to have it blow up in his face. Last week was the attempt to use the immunity idol, only to have Earl et al get rid of Edguardo. This week, they tried to blackmail Yau Man with revealing that he had the immunity idol. This was foiled by Yau Man...revealing to his team that he had the immunity idol and Alex and Mookie attempted to blackmail him with that knowledge. The fact that they went through Yau Man's bag to find it horrified the team, and the secret that Yau Man had the idol was overlooked. Not to mention that Alex took out the one person he could count on to vote for him should he make the final two. It's been a banner last two episodes for him.

So a hearty Huzzah! to Alex. Maybe this week he can come up with a plan of telling everybody that he wants to leave in an attempt to actually convince people to keep him. I'd imagine that this would work out as well as his other schemes.

I have to admit, after Boo went down and started to yell about his ACL, I thought we might see an injury removal. Instead Boo soldiered on, which is pretty impressive. I guess he's gone in two weeks though.

Meanwhile, the other immunity idol is officially out in the open, which means Yau Man can probably cruise into the final 6, when he might use it. At the same time, it seems as though Cassandra and Stacy were rather not shocked by this, and were more angry about Alex and Mookie's sneakiness. Maybe they won't even think about the idol going forward.

Who goes next week? Alex, of course. Even though we can remember the times when somebody needed to win immunity to stay on the island and did, more often than not they don't win and get the boot. So, sorry Alex.

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Survivor: Fiji Episode 10 Thoughts

Well, this is a bit late. And I'm a bit ashamed because this is the first time since the first episode that I was actually excited to write about an episode.

The have/have not twist was tiring only because the only thing that wasn't predictable was who would get voted out next. Sure, they switched up tribes, but the pain continued. The merge and team challenge was actually a good idea to shake up the game...then Jeff basically asked everybody their voting plans at tribal council and messed up that "no team play" plan. But this week was probably the best self contained story that Survivor has ever shown, because it had so many twists. Let's start from the beginning:

  • Earl catches Dreamz talking to LAX about the immunity idol. Rather than lie, Dreamz tells everybody else that Mookie has the immunity idol. I don't know what to say about this. He went from a four person alliance to a six person alliance. But it worked out for him, so I guess I can't come down too hard on him.

  • Earl's crew talks to Stacy and gets her on their side. The catalyst for all of the game play. Why choose Earl over LAX? Honestly, I don't know. Maybe she likes them more than LAX? Maybe out of Moto v2.0 loyalty?

  • LAX talks to Stacy to make sure that she is on board. She is rather non-commital (or more specifically, she is "hot and bothered"). All of the sudden, LAX is scrambling to come up with another plan.

  • LAX decides that Alex is going to be the target, so they will give him the idol, he can use it, and then they will vote out Cassandra. Brilliant idea to an extent. The problem is, even if they vote out Cassandra, LAX is in a tie 4-4. They really didn't think that through. What they should have tried to do was bring Cassandra to the dark side. For whatever reason, they chose to do the exact opposite and they decided to tartget Cassandra. Did they think that Dreamz would go with this plan? Not the best of moves, but they are thinking.

  • Dreamz tells Earl and company that they are going to use the idol and Alex is the person they are going to use the idol on. Earl/Boo/Yau Man/Cassandra decide to turn them on their ear and instead vote out Mookie. Smart move, and Dreamz is either brilliant or lucky. If he saw that LAX was not really furthering their chances, then it's a brilliant move to offer up the idol information. It earned him some instant trust to get into a new alliance. But more than likely, he just got lucky and was trying to keep Cassandra around. It will be interesting to see how stable he is votingwise later on.

  • Earl tells Stacy the plan, but Stacy suggests that they vote Edguardo to make sure they get somebody. This was the best decision made of all of the decisions from this episode. If Dreamz is actually a spy trying to run Earl's team into a trap, this is the best counter possible. Especially since they decided not to tell Dreamz that the plan had switched. They got a buffer from a trap, and they got a relatively fool proof way to test Dreamz's loyalty.

And then we got the tribal council voting. Alex confidently offering the immunity idol. LAX smirking as Cassandra's name is pulled. The smirks becoming shock as Edguardo's name is pulled. And Dreamz wondering if he had been double crossed even though he had remained true to Earl's team.

(Note: This is where I had predicted Alex's boot, but having seen the show it would be foolish to post an official prediction.)

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

From the home office in the Mill-Town...

Only threefour weeks late, but hey, who's counting.

Mike hit me with another tag from new father Jorge.

The idea of this list is to give 10 things you are unable to live without. The twist is that you can not include people or animals (not that this mattered to a heartless, materialistic person like myself, but still).

So, let's give this a go.

10 Things I Can't Live Without

  1. My DVR. Those on Facebook have read bits and pieces of my ongoing saga with my DVR (current status: now functioning normally, except for a small detail of not producing any sort of sound at a normal volume level). It has taught me two things: To be thankful for re-runs and that I like the convienience of just pressing the record button on the program I want to watch a little too much. With baseball and the hockey palyoffs here, the ability to rewind to be able to watch plays over again while not missing anything is key. (Trust me, I used it about 500 times while watching Dice-K's start against the Blue Jays.)

  2. My laptop. When I first got my laptop, I had intended on using it to replace my 4 year old desktop, but also for travelling. Then I got it and realized that a 17" screen might be a bit too big for travel. That would be the only downside to it.

  3. My favourite blogs. From Paul Wells to Andrew Coyne to Perez Hilton and beyond, I am provided entertaining and thought-provoking reads. Then there's my friends blogs, which let me know what they are thinking at a particular time. Not to mention the Hunter and the fine folks over at Two Way Hard Three. And numerous others that I am forgetting. Blogs provide a diverse range of thoughts and opinions, and can make you look at things in a different light.

  4. My MP3 player. (A Creative Zen Touch, to be precise.) At work it lets me listen to my favourite podcasts, along with listening to music. It's indispensible for any sort of lengthy travel as well.

  5. Air conditioning. As cold as it can get for 8 months of the year up here in Canada, the other 4 months tend to get warm and humid, which I don't like. Air conditioning lets me be comfortable indoors for 4 months of the year, which is all that I ask for.

  6. Vacation. I like to travel. New places are fun to explore, while familiarl places are also fun to go back to. Getting to know a city can be its own reward as well, whether it is finding an area that I haven't seen yet, or if it is going back to a favourite place..

  7. Alone time. I'm separating this from vacation, even though they are kinda related. One of the other reasons why I like vacation is that I get time to myself. It gives me a chance to recharge and refresh. And I know that I need this time, so it's always a pleasure to get it.

  8. Games. No specific one, but all games. I am a competitive person at heart. Unfortunately, my athletic career (which is a term I use extremely loosely) was derailed by a combination of recurring knee injuries and assus lardius (the latin term for my particular condition). So games give me an outlet for my competitive streak. Not only that, but the also help to improve my critical thinking. 99% of all games involve some sort of decision. And the best way to approach those decisions is with a logical progression, and then look at the decision again.

  9. Heroes and Friday Night Lights. This is probably better stated as "quality entertainment", but these are the best shows to have debuted on television this season. On the surface, these shows have very little in common beyond being dramas on NBC. Heroes is based on a geek reality, where people are discovering that they have superpowers and have to save the world. Each episode has many plot twists that do not feel contrived when they are revealed. Secrets exist that the fans do know know the answer to. Meanwhile, Friday Night Lights is a drama based around the coach of a high school football team. While marketed as a sports drama, it is truly a family drama at heart. While serialized, the show does not rely on cliff hangers. So why do I have them linked? Because the reason both shows work are because of the characters and their interactions. Friday Night Lights might have the most realistic characters on television. None of the characters are cliches. They are real, and their reactions ring true. Heroes has one of the all-time great characters in Hiro. The chemistry between him and Ando could singlehandedly carry the show if the writers chose. Instead, they can barely appear in an episode because the rest of the ensemble is just as strong. I highly recommend that you find a way to watch each of these shows from start to finish.

  10. Baseball. Baseball is a game of contradictions. It is a team sport, but ultimately it is played as a series of 1 vs. 1 confrontations between the pitcher and hitter. It is a game that you can look at statistics and get who is good and what isn't, but you will not understand without watching many games. And that's why I can't live without it.

So, who am I going to tag for this? We're going to go the famous route again, except for one exception. I tag:

I will update this page for their responses (if any).

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Homerism sucks

I'm just watching the Anaheim/Minnesota game, and Francois Beauchemin and Marion Gaborik just got coincidental minors for roughing. Both deserved it. However, if you listen to the announcers, Gaborik is the dirtiest player in the game for reacting to two punches to the head by punching Beauchemin in the face (Beauchemin has a fractured jaw and is wearing a protective cage). I mean, it's one thing to criticize Gaborik for swinging at somebody with a broken jaw; it's another to ignore that the player with the broken jaw provoked the incident by playing dirty himself.

(Oh, and punching a player in the back of the head isn't a penalty, it's a good play by Chris Pronger to clear out the front of the net.)

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Survivor: Fiji Episode 9 Thoughts

I hereby declare that Michelle Yi gets to slap Jeff Probst one time at a time of her choosing.

(If you do not get the reference, you need to watch more How I Met Your Mother.)

Seriously, what is the point of setting up two teams after a merge and then sending one team to Tribal Council immediately to vote someone out when Jeff Probst goes overboard on his "probing questions", basically allowing Alex to state who he is targetting for voting? This was not Jeff's shining moment.

The sad part is that they did a lot ot mess up the strategy of the players. From the merge on Exile Island to the return to Moto's camp which had been stripped of everything, to the random tribes, everything went so well. Then they throw it away by asking leading questions to havepeople reveal who they are voting for.

My guess is that this has just delayed the inevitable meltdown of the Alex/Eduardo/Dreamz/Mookie alliance. What am I basing this on? The preview, of course. Mookie told Dreamz about having the immunity idol this week, but next week he's giving Dreamz trouble about the way he voted (to eliminate Michelle). Dreamz then tells the Earl team about who has the immunity idol. And the title for this week's episode? "It's a Turtle?!" The immunity idol is a turtle. You think it gets revealed in some way (or used?) and this is the reaction fo somebody who is outside of the loop (hello Stacy)?

So, who is the lucky loser to be sent to the jury this week? I'm going with Alex getting blindsided. Mookie will think that he is in danger and will play the immunity idol. But it will be just a ploy to get rid of the actual target - Alex, with Dreamz flipping sides to join Earl/Yao Man/Cassandra/Stacy.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Again with the Pussycat Dolls

Let me understand this - you have 4 people left. One person admittedly can't dance and they have a horrible solo performance. Another has a strong performance and is a really good dancer. You decide to keep the non-dancer because the other is "generic"? Meanwhile, the only thing non-generic about the non-dancer is her backstory?

(Yes, I know that I already said they were setting Asia up for the win. And yes, I know that this is basic storytelling: the bad person - Melissa S. - mocks the good person - Chelsea - only to get her comeupance. But still, come on now.)


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Survivor: Fiji Episode 8 Thoughts

Let's make this brief (since I'm off schedule).

Yao Man is the greatest thing that could have happened to this season. There is no argument - the season went from cruise control to "what will Yao Man do next?" and the man delivers! If I can go further, he is going to be the most beloved player in Survivor history, including over Rupert (who I only remember for the opening episode; someday I will get the Pearl Islands set and watch that season again).

Lisi, OTOH, is one of the worst things that could have happened to this season. It really only turned around once she started her "I'm quitting, no I'm not" act (if only for Jeff's mockery of it, along with the subsequent mockery that the rest of the work got to join in on). And she did bring us one of the most enjoyable Tribal Councils in recent memory, with Dreamz not only battling for his spot in the game, but utterly destorying Lisi at the same time. His best line was at the end though. "Jeff, I'm ready to vote" put the cap on a tour de force of making sure you stay (or at the very least make everybody else feel foolish for voting you off).

Who goes this week? Well, it depends. If it's a team immunity challenge, then I'm going with Mookie, who gets the boot only because individual immunity challenges are coming up. If it's individual immunity, then it's bye-bye time for Alex to go. His strength will be too much for people to ignore.

(In an unrelated note, you might have noticed a post on a previous entry about the SurvivorWiki project. Like you, I took it to be just another spam message and ignored. As it turns out, it is officially endorsed by CBS, linked to off of the main Survivor: Fiji page, and is now housed on a CBS domain. Jonathan Penner from last season is answering questions, apparently along with Bob-Dawg. So maybe I was wrong.)

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This just in: The awesome is back

No longer just a rumour: MTV figured out the only way to top the ridiculous season of Real World: Denver. Reunite the Real World: Las Vegas cast in Las Vegas and film it!

You know, if gambling was legal, you might be able to make some money off of Bill Simmons for such bets as the over/under on how long it takes for Trishelle to hook up with somebody and the number of times Frank awkwardly makes advances at a woman.

(Huge props to Norm for breaking the news first.)

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Well that blew

To sum up my thoughts on the travesty that was the Montreal/Toronto game, it is very difficult to win a game when (a) all of the bounces go in your opponents' favour and (b) when you play at least half the game as though you want to be golfing instead of playing in the plaoffs. Also, with any luck this is the last time that Alexei Kovalev wears a Montreal Canadiens jersey.

What a fucking frustrating game to watch.

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Monday, April 02, 2007

Survivor: Fiji Episode 7 Thoughts

What a fantastic contrast of characters in this episode.

On one hand you had Rocky, he who never learned his lesson. Openly mocking your teammates for eating too much after a victory (especially when it is your first victory in the game)? Way to shoot yourself in the foot there, champ. So after the predictable Ravu loss, Rocky thought he was cool, and Lisi was going. But Lisi was willing to work to save herself, and had the advantage of coming into the tribe after Rocky had his first blowup. Combine that with Eduardo's manueverings and you had Rocky surprised at taking the walk of shame. Unfortunately, Jeff revealed that Rocky was the first member of the jury, so we will see him week after week (on the plus side, his question could be fantastic).

But at the other group, we get our hero of the season. Yao Man is arguably the most popular Survivor since Rupert, and this week he did not disappoint. First, he finds the immunity idol and celebrates. Then, he tells Earl matter of factly that the mission had been accomplished. And finally, he comes up with a plan that nobody had come up with to that point - creating a fake Immunity Idol. Now granted, the fake Idol looked a lot more like Wilson than an immunity idol, but who knows? Maybe the "II" (for immunity idol) on the fake idol will trick somebody.

This also gave us a chance to take see Earl in action. He got everybody away from the camp so Yao Man could look for the idol, but did it in a way that did not bring any questions to him or Yao Man. If they aren't careful, this could be the final two.

Who goes this week? Lisi bought herself one week, but I'm afraid that will be it for her. She is still firmly on the outside of Ravu, and the most vulnerable.

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