Saturday, April 30, 2011

UFC 129 Predictions

Some quick picks for UFC 129:

Yves Jabouin over Pablo Garza
John Makdessi over Kyle Watson
Jason Macdonald over Ryan Jensen
Charlie Valencia over Ivan Menjivar
Daniel Roberts over Claude Patrick

Sean Pierson over Jake Ellenberger

Pierson is the definite underdog here; I am betting on the crowd pushing him to the upset.

Rory Macdonald over Nate Diaz

This will be an interesting fight. Macdonald is a prospect who almost beat Carlos Condit; Diaz is, well, Diaz. It's intriguing and I think Macdonald takes it.

Ben Henderson over Mark Boeck

This will be a really fun fight. Henderson might be best remembered as the guy who Anthony Pettis kicked Matrix style, but Henderson is a former WEC champion, and is really, really good. I like him to win.

Bet: $20 on Ben Henderson at 1.75 odds - win $35

Vladimir Matyushenko over Jason Brilz

I saw Jason Brilz basically end the Little Nog myth, even if he did not get the win. But I think he's going to lose to the Janitor, who is a very good wrestler in his own right.

Randy Couture over Lyoto Machida

Randy Couture has said this will be his last fight. He also chose to fight Lyoto Machida, presumably because he saw something in Machida's game. Add these together with a lacadasical fight from Machida in his last fight, and I think Couture will win.

Bet: $15 on Randy Couture at 3.20 odds - win $48

Jose Aldo Jr. over Mark Hominick

This pick pains me, but quite honestly Jose Aldo Jr. might be a top 3 pound for pound fighter in all of MMA. Not selecting him is shooting yourself in the foot.

Georges St. Pierre over Jake Shields

It's said that Jake Shields poses the biggest threat to GSP because he could be a sumbission threat. If you saw what happened between Shields and a gassed Dan Henderson, you know how ludicrous this sounds. I fully expect GSP to avoid any submission threat by standing and pounding Jake Shields.

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Survivor Redemption Island Episode 11 Power Rankings

(and extraneous thought)

It's been joked many times that Jeff Probst has a crush on Boston Rob, and will do a lot to help him out when he can. Tonight at tribal council though, he went into full on shill mode for his pal "Mariano".

Steve found a line that he really needed to take earlier when it came to Rob - his history. Steve pointed out the All-Stars incident, where Rob asked Lex to save Amber, only to then betray Lex at the first opportunity. Lex felt as though this was a personal attack on their friendship, and the two really haven't talked since. If Steve had been hammering this point earlier and to the right audience (Andrea definitely, and even, *gasp* Philip), he might have been able to turn the game. Instead Steve chose to belittle Philip and partiall bring us that horrendously uncomfortable Tribal Council from last episode.

Still, Steve had it in his head that the girls might still flip on Rob, and he brought up the All-Stars incident. This is when Jeff Probst sprung into action. He took the lead from Steve and went into spin control. When asking Andrea about Steve's point, he made sure to mention first that Rob hadn't betrayed Amber in All-Stars, and still hasn't to this date. He continually pointed out that Amber was not betrayed, while burying the lede that Lex was betrayed. It was a bit offputting to say the least.

One key thing about Jeff Probst as Survivor host is that he is supposed to be the viewer's representative on the show. When he narrates the action of a challenge, he is telling the viewers what is going on. When he asks questions at tribal council, he is supposed to be asking the questions that we would like to be answered in front of the other players. When he attempts to lead the players to his desired conclusions, he is betraying the trust of the viewer, and that harms the game and the show.

It's likely that Probst's actions had no impact on the voting. But it shouldn't have occurred in the first place. As viewers, we shouldn't be left wondering if the impartiality of the game has been compromised. And that is something that Jeff Probst is normally good at controlling.
And off to the power rankings:

I hope this is just a single elimination duel...

10. Steve (8)
9. Ralph (7)

The Pagong-ing of Zapatera is done, with Steve and Ralph headed to Redemption Island. Omatepe wouldn't have a problem with Steve returning, since he's been rather unsuccessful in challenges. Ralph though, would be problematic. He has shown a bit of an affinity to do well in challenges, even without winning. The last thing Omatepe needs is somebody to go on an immunity run.

You Can't Always Get What You Want

8. Matt (10)

Matt certainly seemed like he was ready to quit. And quite honestly, it would have been easy to quit at the shuffleboard challenge. Make a bad throw here, another one there, and you are soon out of the game. But something snapped into place during the competition, and Matt ended up surviving another duel. He is a huge threat if he gets back into the game. you can bet that Rob already has a plan in place for his eventual return.

Insert witty title here

7. Mike (9)

I wish I can say more about Mike; he's just as big of a threat as he was prior to being voted out; his only chance of winning is going on an immunity run. Sadly, this isn't going to happen. Just as importantly, I think his jury question is not going to be interesting in any way. Maybe there's another chance for you to get back on the show Mike; I thing you'll end up doing better.

Crazy unlike a Fox

6. Philip (6)

It's a close to safe bet that Philip is here until the very end. But I get the impression that as much as he claims to have a plan, he has no plan to get jury votes. If he realizes this, he is going after Boston Rob. If he doesn't then he's going to be baffled at why he received no votes.

Hush little baby
don't say a word

5. Andrea (4)

Rob and friends have lulled her into a sense of security, which seems to be her downfall. Well, that and apparently having some human emotions in the game of Survivor.

The sweetest two words in the English Language

4. Ashley (5)

The default bump. If she makes final four, she might sneak into the final three as a "the jury doesn't like her" selection.

I'm not Amber Rob, I swear

3. Natalie (3)

I still don't understand why Rob sees value in bringing Natalie to the final three. He's played the game with Amber, and knows that vote parking in protest against someone is a real possibility. My guess? Rob thinks that the 4-3 vote for Amber might be indicative of a trend, but he can get one extra person in this game to vote for him.

Frontrunners can be fun sometimes

2. Grant (2)
1. Rob (1)

This week was interesting because we got to see Rob's future planning vis a vis Grant's.

Rob's experience helps him in a lot of situations. Tonight was one such night. The tribe was given a mystery package, and Rob immediately goes into control mode. He doesn't know what's in it, but he assumes it's going to be something that will have an immediate impact that is meant to shake up the game. What does he do? Immediately start planning who to vote for after Ralph, their initial target. He does this just in case there's a second vote. As it turns out, Rob was right and yet his machinations really ended up meaning very little; the tribe was likely to vote for Steve without prompting. But that thought to make sure that Plan B was already decided is what puts Rob ahead of everybody else.

Grant was much different in his future planning. He started looking at a long term plan, knowing that soon Zapatera would be gone and Omatepe would have to start getting rid of one of their own. Grant, knowing that he might be a target for this, starts laying the ground work for Andrea to go two votes down the road. Thanks to Steve, Andrea was spared one more vote, but her time is coming. And Grant might have set himself up to be Rob's right hand man. That could be an impressive feat.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Blog post - saved

I was going to go tackle this article by John Doyle in regards to the apparent flood of singing competition shows (which is to say, the three of them). But then I saw this article by Doyle and see that he's really just repeating an article that he wrote 6 months ago. If he's not going to bother to put in an effort, why should I?

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Friday, April 22, 2011

It returns

Once again I've become a little angry with my blogging. Other than my Survivor posts, I've been pretty negligent with posting anything. So, much like last year, I'm going to do Manic May. What does that mean? A post every day.

The hurdles this year? Another trip to Vegas at the end of the month, and a trip to UFC 129 around the beginning of the month. The Vegas trip will probably be the most difficult time yet again, but I think last year's eperience will help me to be more prepared for this year.

As with last year, expect a fair bit of Survivor content, along with movie reviews (the summer season is here), some UFC thoughts, the return of Monday Musings and Random Thoughts and other minutia.

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Survivor Redemption Island Episode 10 Power Rankings

Given up on the game

11. Julie (6)

One thing about Julie's stealing of Philip's shorts is that it indicated to me that she felt there was no chance of her making final tribal. It was an act of frustration for sure, but it was also an act of somebody who knew that her actions were not going to impact her game going forward. I'd go so far as to say that her actions were those of someone who desperately wanted her actions to have some sort of impact in the game. Much like the rest of her game, stealing the shorts reflected poorly on her, and ended up meaning very little to the rest of the game.

You still aren't welcome

10. Matt (11)
9. Mike (10)

Nothing has changed here - whomever of these two come back into the game will just be voted out at the net tribal council in which they do not have immunity.

Living on a Prayer

8. Steve (9)
7. Ralph (8)

Pagonging in full effect.

Everybody else

6. Philip (6)

Philip drops behind Ashely because I believe there's no chance he will get any votes from Zapatera, making his chances of winning even more difficult.

5. Ashley (7)

If Rob is serious about finding a Public Enemy #2, he will know this is his best choice.

4. Andrea (4)
3. Natalie (3)
2. Grant (2)
1. Rob (1)

No change in the top 4 is a good inidication that we are still in a holding pattern for another couple of weeks.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Survivor Redemption Island Episode 10 Thoughts

You know, after my disasterous pick of Misty to win Panama, I like to think that I've improved my abilities to pick out potential winners and losers. That's why I put no faith in what seemed to be somewhat consensus picks to win in Kristina and David. They both fell under the same category: too strategic.

One thing that I've figured out is that as time has gone on, being a strong strategic player is nowhere close to being as important as being a good social player. The jury is more likely to vote against you if they do not like you, even if you were the greatest strategic player of all time. Players like David and Kristina tend to put a target on their back by asserting their intelligence, which in turn ends up getting that player voted out. The strategic player tends to not make as many connections, as the connections amke it more difficult to eliminate a player. That lack of connection makes it more difficult for a juror to vote for the strategic player.

Ultimately, what did Kristina and David in was being a transparently strategic player who was in a minority situation. And it was their own actions that put them in the minority situation. Kristina chose to make a move on Boston Rob and isolate herself. David chose to throw a challenge in order to remove Russell from the game. Their own strategy and drive ended up working against them in the long run.
Everything after the Redemption Island duel was just uncomfortable. Unlike Cook Islands, where the producers interjected the race situation in about as innocuous a way as possible, seeing somebody accuse another of being a racist is not a good time. Throw in that the one accusing the other has acted in an, um, unusual manner, and it's even worse.

It's pretty obvious that Philip has faced sever racial prejudice before, and that has impacted the say he sees things. It's also pretty obvious that Steve wasn't trying to imply any sort of bigotry. What should have happened was both taking a step back to realize what they were arguing about - storing rice. is there a compromise there?

But it's more than that. Julie's "I stole the shorts and you'll never find them" comment was stupid and uncomfortable. Ralph's laughing at Philip's underwear while voting was uncomfortable. I mean, here's Philip basically pouring out his heart in tribal council, and Ralph mocks him in private, while Julie mocks him TO HIS FACE! For Julie to say afterwards that Philip is the poison in the tribe after she intentionally poked and prodded him (along with Steve) to get a reaction is laughable at best. It's pretty obvious that Julie has given up on the game at this point, but more on that tomorrow.
Enough about this thoroughly unenjoyable topic, here are a few things that I enjoyed:

  • The only thing amusing about the blow up at camp was that they cut away from Philip giving the "kiss my ass" sign, as though this is the most offensive thing in Survivor history. I mean, really?

  • Also amusing, when Rob mentions who he wants to make "Public Enemy #2," (with Philip being Public Enemy #1) we get a cut to Ashley.

  • Ashley falling down due to her dizziness during the immunity challenge made me giggle. Granted, I have an issue with laughing inappropriately at people falling down, but still...

  • Philip imitating Jeff Probst's inflection and line when Philip proclaimed that he had finished the puzzle wheel...only to find out that he actually had not finished the wheel.

  • Steve's weak "Steve's done" while Probst was checking Rob's puzzle also amused me.

I'm calling it right now - the Redemption Island winner will not come back until the final 6, which coincidentally is the number of Omatepe members remaining. It's the sort of cute thing that ends up happening on Survivor.

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Grind My Gears: A random thought as I catch up on my DVR

I'm watching this week's Poker After Dark, and a situation arose which has annoyed me with a lot of the televised poker that will no longer be on television is on television currently.

They are playing PLO, and Phil Ivey just went all in against Patrick Antonius. Ivey has a pair of aces, while Antonius has KK99. Antonius in theory only has 4 outs - 2 kings and 2 nines. However, thanks to the hole cams, we know that other players have already folded both kings and 1 nine, leaving Antonius only one out. But the graphics on the screen and the announcers act as though Antonius has all 4 outs available to him. Why not be honest about this and give us the correct odds?

(What makes this case particularly irksome is that in a previous hand, the graphics and announcers reflected the true situation, noting a folded card as being an out that is no longer available to a player.)

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Survivor Redemption Island Episode 9 Power Rankings

Good night, this is the end...

12. David (7)

I never bought the "so smart he's probably going to win" hype that some gave him. He struck me as somebody who didn't have the social skills necessary, and was most likely to overplay his game. Getting rid of Russell was definitely an overplay; in the end it cost him the game.

Welcome back, now get out.

11. Matt (12)
10. Mike (8)

I don't know which of these two will come back from Redemption Island; I am willing to wager that it is one of those two though. It won't matter. The only way they will make final tribal is if they go on an immunity run a la Fabio.

Living on a Prayer

9. Steve (11)
8. Ralph (10)

Pagonging in full effect.

Sacrifice on the altar of votes

7. Ashley (6)

I can see Ashley getting voted out before the last Zapatera memember as a concession to that Zapatera member to have outlasted Ashley, similiar to Adam and Candace on Exile Island when they asked to beat out Jonathan.

Let's not kid ourselves, you aren't going anywhere

6. Julie (4)

Julie could have been a contender, but chose the easy way out by getting rid of Russell. Where would she be if she went with him instead? In a group of 4 which includes 3 players who are tought to get along with. What a horrible position to be in.

Power player?

5. Philip (9)

My friend Gary made some salient points about Philip's play today, specifically that you have to get people to vote for you. I agree. I'm just not sure that what Philip did in tribal council is the reason why he won't get votes.

One truth about who votes for who is that at a minimum, the juror who is casting the vote has to respect the person who they are voting for. They don't have to like them; we've seen many examples of people voting for someone they dislike. But the juror has to be at ease with their choice. They have to be able to justify it in some way. Without some sort of respect for the player, they will not vote for them. Right now, Philip does not have the respect of anybody. While he still has time to change this (much like Fabio from last year), he needs to change this view quickly, or else his chance of winning will quickly fade.

Keep on keeping on

4. Andrea (3)

Bumped down, but she is still in a position to make a big play and get to the final three.

A new contender emerges

3. Natalie (5)

Rob's right hand girl, and the person he wants to bring to the final three. She did get on the nerve of a few of her tribemates, but not to the level of Ashley. If Rob ultimately annoys his tribe too much, Natalie is the safe place to park votes as a protest against Rob. Kind of like Amber.

It's yours to lose. Now stop trying to lose it.

2. Grant (2)
1. Rob (1)

Both Rob and Grant are making small moves which could end up destroying their end game. By eating the fish offered by Zapatera, he rebelled against Rob, who has already shown an inclination to get rid of people who even slightly cross him. Throw in Grant's apparent edge in a final tribal situation, and Rob is starting to think of getting rid of Grant.

Meanwhile, Rob seems to be misjudging who is most likely to be hated by the jury. Natalie is more likely to be liked by the jury than Ashley, but Rob is almost rewarding Natalie's loyalty over Ashley's non-likeableness by planning to bring Natalie to the final three.

Both of these moves can easily be corrected, but they are the small things that can turn into big things, that can cost someone a million dollars.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Survivor Redemption Island Episode 9 Thoughts

Ah, Live Blog. You never fail me when I realize I haven't watched this week's episode and it's almost 11 at night. Let's get this party started!

- What the heck was with that green screening of Sarita at the last duel?
- And now Natalie is Rob's closest ally? Why were you trying to fit in all of this
- Oh Matt, you aren't the most naive player to ever play Survivor. Erik the ice cream scooper from Fans vs. Favorites was much more naive.
- I am shocked at how much they are playing up Matt's faith (still!) They're trying to lead us down another road.

- Uh-oh. I think David has a crush!
- Mike congratulating Rob on his move? My goodness.
- Meanwhile, Julie description of the Matt vote as "cold-blooded" is apt. Her questioning of whether Omatepe has any feeling at all for a human being? Not so apt. It is a game. And to think you aren't going to break their loyalty because they were willing to vote Matt out again? That's just dumb. If anything, it's a better indication that you could break their loyalty. You just have to present a logical reason for their loyalty to break. Now, breaking Zapatera's loyalty shield? That's going to be difficult, which I think Rob has figured out.
- Ralph understands this and tries something. Unfortunately, his something is a desperate attempt to swing for the fences to stay longer, with a dash of extreme paranoia thrown in.
- "How can we play a game when we don't know where to start?" For starters, you can calm down Ralph.
- Rob puts the buddy system in place. What, are they going to head to a museum on a field trip?
- On the other hand, Rob's plan to keep the tribe separated and to play an "us vs. them" game is pretty smart...for now. Once the Omatepe pecking order is very apparent, you could see a flip.

Quick aside

In Canada, we are currently having a federal election, and the leader debates finished off today. Our Prime Minister tried to maintain an appearance of being calm, soothing and collected in order to favourably compare to his opponents in the debate. At the same time, his party is issuing rather personal attack ads against his opponents. This is pretty well Rob's current plan in a nutshell. Rob himself looks like the good guy by never badmouthing Zapatera, even though his tribematesare ignoring them, taunting them and generally acting cocky.

- So Jeff tells us that Natalie is Rob's closest ally in the game, and now we see Natalie ratting out Ashley for not telling Rob about Ralph's desperate plea.
- The Robfather is almost in full effect. But his decision that Ashley (the person second best suited to bring to the final three in Omatepe) is expendable could be an issue if he decided she's expendable this week. Hopefully he's done the math on this.
- Reward challenge?
- Philip created an eagle feather WITH HIS MIND! (Or something like that. You can't assume what he's ever going to say.)
- Philip: "Things are looking good for the alliance of former Omatempo ... Omatepe tribe."
- How often do you think Jeff Probst gives thanks to some sort of deity for giving him Philip?
- Ah, immunity challenge
- Another multi part challenge, where people are eliminated in waves.
- Up first, dig to find a club, then break a hanging plate. Top 6 move on.
- We get our Rob inadvertantly attacking Jeff with shards of the broken plate scene that we saw in the preview.
- Next is first three to fill a water tube using only their mouth move on. That they have to dig under the tank they're getting their water from is a bit unsanitary.
- Shockingly, Grant and Mike are quick to finish. Then David beats Rob, whose mouth is too small for the task.
- Up last, build a pyramid using blocks. What's surprising isn't that Grant won. It's that Mike was close to winning, while puzzle expert David was nowhere close to winning. Good way to keep the target off of your back, I suppose.

- Mike is incredibly observant. I don't think i woud have noticed the flagpole had moved.
- Then again, eagle eyed Rob sees that David and Mike are digging, so Omatepe stops celebrating to, um, "help" David and Mike to search for a possibly-existant-but-we-have-no-proof-beyond-Mike's-flagpole-observation immunity idol, with the chage being lead by Federal Agent Philip, who is obviously used to charging after suspects.
- Rob categorizing this vote out as a "gamble" shows the depth of his paranoia over an idol. If I were a betting person, I'd say that an idol will end up doing him in.
- I don't get why Rob wants to send somebody who can beat Matt to Redemption Island. Sending somebody to Redemption Island means at a minimum you won't have that person trying to work against you in the short term, and possibly the long term if they lose the duel. Sending somebody who can eliminate Matt doesn't mean much of anything unless you are afraid Matt will run the table of immunity challenges should he come back. And if Matt does get eliminated, it would presumably mean that whomever eliminated Matt is pretty good in challenges and thus is a physical threat who now wants to get rid of Boston Rob. That isn't a winning situation either.
- You know, I could see how people would say that Philip and Coach were similiar characters, but I resisted calling Philip a Coach knockoff. Then he started in this tribal council talking about how his grandfather came to him and told him that Omatepe would survive a long time and instantly flipped to the knockoff side of the argument.
- Julie's comment that it's obvious to Zapatera who's at the bottom of the Omatepe 6 alliance, but it isn't obvious to that person indicaates one of two things. Either Zapatera attempted to flip Philip before this tribal council, or they're dumb.
- Is Philip's feather really a serious topic of tribal council?
- And did Zapatera really think they'd get somewhere by mocking Philip? Or have they just given up, but they don't want to anger Jeff by quitting?
- David got badly sonned by Philip when Philip told him that David sounded like somebody at the bottom of a cess pool trying to claw their way up. (This after David told Philip that he sounded like a lunatic.)
- Targetting Philip is actually not a half bad idea on Zapatera's part, but it would have been more effective at next tribal council, when Omatepe could feel comfortable in dispensing of Philip while still holding a numbers advantage.
- Your spelling check for this week: Ralph voted for "Philite", while Philip presumably voted for "Mike".
- BTW, we're half way into the show. Another person is getting voted out. I might have something to say about this at a later time.

- Rob immediately makes sure that Philip is okay with what happened at tribal council
- Whoa, whoa, whoa. Rob, Natalie and Philip are the final three in Rob's eyes? Is this going to be Samoa again?
- And now Philip is admitting it's all a strategy to get Boston Rob to take him to the final three? Wow. It's time to re-evaluate a lot of things.
- Ralph feels as though it's time to make his move, so he approaches Ashley and Philip and throws in a commentary about how Rob's going to win, which Philip blows off.
- Then David makes the funniest statement of them all: "When nobody is willing to play the game, it's not a lot of fun." The irony meter just blew up. Funny, when Krista was voted out, you had no problem in "not playing the game". You threw a challenge so you could stop somebody who was playing the game from actually playing the game. Playing the game only became an issue to you once you started losing challenges, and continued to lose them. Here's the bottom line kids: if you throw a tribal challenge so you can vote a tribe member out, YOU GET WHAT YOU DESERVE! THROWING CHALLENGES IS THE ULTIMATE ACT OF A LOSER TRIBE! So spare me your whining now that you are at a disadvantage about people "not wanting to play the game". You forfeited all rights to complain about others not playing the game when you decided to play the game in a manner that went against two of the three main tenants to the game - Outplay and Outlast.
- Hey, it's the food or immunity challenge. Jeff always likes this more than most.
- Simple challenge - hange from a bar for as long as you can.
- (So did Philip, but I almost expected that based on his I'm smart comment.)
- Rob going out first surprised me.
- The "Elapsed Time: 20 minutes" "Elapsed Burgers: 5" made me howl with laughter. After 22 seasons, you can tell that the production crew is willing to put in little things to make regular viewers enjoy the show.
- Also, Steve is eating his burgers protein style.
- Julie out next after the switch to legs.
- Then we lose Grant and Ralph.
- The celebration of David lsoing was a bit untoward
- A tweet from Eliza Orlins:
I'm pretty sure @andreaboehlke quoted @parvatishallow when she said "I really want this one."

- Rob doesn't want any sort of momentum to
- Man, eating washed up dead fish? Can't say as that's something I would do.
- And now we get Rob saying he's like a general in an army, while Zapatera basically calls him a dictator.
- BTW, my Boston Rob = Stephen Harper comparison is becoming even more apt.
- Grant eats the Zapatera dead fish, which means he needs to start winning more immunity challenges.
- Where does this "vote Steve out as a mercy killing" thing come from?
- Back to Philip's feather and meditation
- I wonder if Philip understands what Stealth actually means and if so, why it would be unstealthy to mention the existance of Stealth R Us?
- Wait, Stealth R Us now includes the three girls?
- Also, listening to Philip, I couldn't help but think of this:

- (It probably helped that I watched it just recently.)
- No really, Jeff Probst loves
- Steve's rationale for eating boiled down to "Eh, I felt like it."
- And then Philip says way too much. He might know Boston Rob, but he doesn't know Jeff Probst. But then Julie puts the finger on Boston Rob, so Jeff lays off the questioning to make sure that Rob doesn't get into trouble.
- Okay, David's vote for Rob was pretty funny. (Though voting for Jeff Probst would be funnier.)
- Aaannnd....David goes. It's the right choice If anybody was going to get anything going, it was him.
- If Jeff continues to refer to Omatepe as Stealth R Us, it will be the greatest thing ever.

Pretty basic show this week, with one major development - the Rob/Philip/Natalie final three being discussed by Rob and Philip (kinda). Rankings will be out tomorrow.

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Thursday, April 07, 2011

Survivor Redemption Island Episode 8 Power Rankings

Welcome home

12. Matt (Last week: 12)

Remember when I called Matt a target? I thought it was because of his dominance in Redemption Island, nto because of his poor play.

You couldare be in trouble

11. Steve (10)

Avoided being the target this week, but next week he is gong to be the target if Mike wins immunity. He's also too nice; people are going to be reluctant to bring him to final tribal for fear of votes going to him by default.

Hey, where'd your idol go?

10. Ralph (7)

Lost in Matt's blindsiding was Ralph giving up the immunity idol. It sure looked like Zapatera didn't think Matt was going to be voting with them this week.

The Crazy House

9. Philip (11)

Philip's rants are the best thing about tribal council. And now that he's moved to a more serene mood, we're getting much more of a Coach vibe out of him.

Okay, now's the time to step up

8. Mike (5)

Mike made a bold move this week by trying to swing Matt and Ashley. It's not his fault that Matt has a conscience or something. But Mike now has a huge target on his back, and no back up idol behind him any longer. He needs an immunity run (or Redemption Island run) to stay in this game.

The very lippy scorpion

7. David (4)

How great was it when David called Rob's play great strategy? And how frustrating was it that David decided to give lip to Philip at tribal council when he thought Zapatera was going to be putting one over on Ometepe? David is free and clear for the next couple of weeks, unless he starts speaking out too much. I don't know if he can keep quiet though.

Now you have some use

6. Ashely (9)
5. Natalie (8)

A two vote bloc who aren't going to win the game unless they completely change their antics at camp. Congrats to Natalie for winning immunity; if she can win a few more challenges she might be able to put together another story at final tribal.

By luck of the draw

4. Julie (3)

Nobody is going to go after Julie any time soon. She's aware enough to know that her tribe is in trouble, and flipping to the other side might be a better move for her. The question left is whether she will or not.

Being lifted by buoyancy

3. Ashley (6)

Smartly cut bait on Matt, knowing that the opportunity to make a move with Zapatera will still be available later on. Seemingly well like by everybody, so she can win the game. I'm probably underrating her by putting her at 3; that says a lot.

Birds of a feather

2. Grant (1)
1. Rob (2)

Rob moves up to the top because he is playing the game so much better than anybody else. Grant moves down because Zapatera seems to be on to the idea that Rob could have a trick up his sleeve, so Grant will be the target for Zapatera going forward.

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Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Survivor Redemption Island Episode 8 Thoughts

One thing that Jeff Probst has been repeating throughout this season is that Redemption Island is here to stay. So I'm confused about why they would restart Reemption Island after sending Matt into the game. That's the sort of thing that could be used as a twist after the third or fourth season, when people think they've got the game figured out. Instead now, you've already planted the thought that Redemption Island doesn't necessarily go away after the first person returns to the game, so they will consider the possibility.

As well, the dynamic brought to us by having the two tribes meet and interact in a non-challenge environment is lost here. Instead, you have a forced situation where people will be forced to have alone time with one another. That'd be fine, but we already have that dynamic available to us in reward challenges. I don't know what other twist they're going to add to this, but they need to do something to replace what was the best part of Redemption Island.
When the Immunity Challenge was over, I had to rewind it. I heard the dramatic music reaching a crescendo, so I knew that it was going to be over. But I had just assumed that Mike was going to win since he hadn't moved, well, ever. But instead Natalie won, and we got a crazy half hour that cumulated in our second blindside of the season - both of which happened to the same person.

Matt might be too honest for this game. Or at least too naive. If he honestly thought that the reaction to his revelation that he had a chance for final three with Mike if he voted out Grant would get him on Rob's good side, he hasn't been paying attention. I don't know which reason drove him most, but either way he was in trouble.

Matt was also crazy to consider switching to Zapatera. He's 6 of 7 in Omatepe, true, but in Zapatera he'd be in the same position AND getting more people angry at him. When he said that the game respects bold moves, he was only partially correct. The game respects bold moves that make sense. Matt failed to understand that he was making a lateral move, and it ended up hurting him in the end.

It's also worth noting that Rob's understanding of the game is even more obvious now. Rob doesn't care about the possibility of Matt coming back into the game again. He just knows that he wants to remove Matt's vote from the equation. That he also flusted the idola the same time was just gravy.
One quick thought: you can't vote Phillip out any time soon. His gold in Tribal Council is needed.
Random observation: Jeff didn't ask Natalie if she wanted to give up the immunity necklace. Change in the rules that you can't give up the necklace any longer, or just an oversight on Jeff's part?

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