Sunday, November 30, 2008

Amazing Race - 11.30.08

Where will they go from Moscow? Will Dan and Andrew survive their Speed Bump (hope not!). Will the dancing be as hilarious as the marching?

Let's see - tonight, on The Amazing Race! (That was in my best Phil

From their Moscow pit stop, the teams head out by taxi to a retired Russian Nuclear submarine, and have to search the sub for an actor who was in The Hunt for Red October. The dreaded Moscow Taxi drivers strike again, and teams resort to drawing and miming to trying to get their destination across. Starr and Nick are hoping for better luck than the last leg. Andrew and Dan thought they might be searching for Sean Connery in the sub. Because he doesn't have anything better to do.

All of the teams got to the sub at almost exactly the same time. Dallas, Ken, and Nick got their clues right off. Andrew and Dan were nowhere to be seen. I didn't see them arrive at the sub, so I guess they were farther behind.

Their next destination is Park Iskusstv. They have to search the Graveyard of Fallen monuments for the next clue. Ken and Tina lucked out in getting a cabbie with GPS. That hardly seems fair.

Andrew and Dan managed to get their clue and then had a hard time finding another cabbie (and got drenched by a passing car going through a puddle.

Tina got pissy about the cabbie smoking. Ken basically told her to deal.

Nick and Starr got to the park first, and it's a Roadblock.

The team member needs to find all of the statues of Lenin (6) and Stallin (2), with the help of the Cyrillic spelling. They then have to go to a bookstore and tell the shopkeeper "62" to get a book. If their number is wrong, they have to wait 10 minutes before trying again. If they get the right book, they have to go to page 62, which will lead them to an apartment of a famous Russian author - Mikhail Bulgakov, where they will get their next clue.

Nick decided to do the roadblock for their team, and I think that's a good decision, given that he seems calmer than Starr and more able to handle something kind of complicated like this Roadblock without flipping out.

Andrew and Dan got to A park, but it turned out to be THE WRONG park, after they had driven about 40 minutes to get there.

Dallas and Toni arrived third. Dallas decided to do the Roadblock...

And his mom told him to take the money and the passports.

I think that means they are the foreshadowed team who loses passports and money.

Nick got 6 and 2 properly and headed off to the book store. Ken and Tina arrived at the park and Nick got their GPS-cab. Tina flipped out about being cold and dug through the bag.

And mentioned money and passport. More foreshadowing. Who will lose it all?

Tina did the Roadblock.

Toni mentioned that she was not sure Dallas knew who Stalin and Lenin are, though she spent a lot on his education. Dallas proves not to be the sharpest crayon in the box, mixing up Stalin and Lenin and getting some of them wrong. Then, on the way out from the bookstore, Nick passed Dallas, who seemed like he had his head in the clouds and totally missed seeing Nick pass him. Tina also seemed to get the tally wrong on the first try.

Dallas had to wait 10 minutes after his first faulty guess, then another after yet another faulty guess.

Meanwhile, Nick and Starr headed to a children's park to find a woman with a Shetland Pony for their next clue.

Dan and Andrew ended up getting to the park finally, and Andrew did the Roadblock, leaving his ...

money and passport with Dan!

Tina and Dallas ended up helping each other with the numbers, and still didn't get it right.

Nick and Starr arrived at the Shetland Pony Lady and got a clue for a Detour.

Ride the Rails - Go on foot to a metro station, ride to the proper stop, then find the marked snack shop, get a traditional pastry - with a clue on the wrapper that will lead them to their next stop, where they have to find a statue dedicated to the creators of the Cyrrilic alphabet. Near the statue, there is a babushka, who will give them a postcard in exchange for their pastry, with the name and picture of their final destination, where they have to find the next clue.

Ride the Lines - Go on foot to a bus stop and go to a particular station, where they will find a key maker who will give them a key to a storage locker. They need to catch another trolley to another station, then find the locker that matches their key, and inside is the same final destination postcard as the babushka has in Ride the Rails.

Nick and Starr decide to Ride the Rails, since Nick is a New Yorker and is used to subways.

Tina and Dallas corroberated several times more and Tina finally got the right answer and told Dallas what it was.

Andrew got a Russian to show them all the proper statues, and was finished readily, though the number was wrong (he got 6 and a 1).

Tina was sure to tell Toni that she helped Dallas. Ken was upset with her for helping, but she didn't think Dallas would ever get it by himself.

And it turned out to be Dallas who lost the money and passports. He left the bag in a cab, which took off.

(If this was Sweden, the bag would probably be quickly brought to a police station. Seriously. My sister left her purse full of money and and a passport on the street in Stockholm and it was found very quickly with nothing taken. The same thing happened to a co-worker last year - he lost his passport and it was brought to the police station and, although he missed a flight home, he got one the next day, passport back in hand. In Moscow? Not sure the same thing is true.)

Dan was not sad to see Toni and Dallas with a problem, because it gave him and Andrew a chance. Andrew got the number right on his second try and was off to reunite with his teammate. Andrew thought that Mikhail was a woman's name, but that still got him to the apartment.

Toni and Dallas decided to try begging for money. They found out that the metro is much cheaper than a cab, and some nice Russians gave them some money, and they took the subway, even though it was against what the clue told them to do (which was take a cab).

Tina and Ken decided to do Ride the Lines.

Nick and Starr were doing a good job with their Detour.

Toni and Dallas got to the park at the same time as Dan and Andrew, but were denied a clue because they didn't arrive by taxi. They went off in search of a taxi. What they are planning to do with it once they find it, I am not sure.

Dan and Andrew were treated to their Speed Bump.

They need to perform with traditional Russian Dancers for one song, to the instructor's specifications. They were absolutely dreadful.

Toni and Dallas met some more wonderful stangers who gave them money, and they went back to where they needed to take the cab from - via trolley.

So, before even doing their Detour, they are experienced in both metro and trolley travel. How ironic.

Tina and Ken were on a bus, not a trolley, and had to go back to the beginning, while Nick and Starr found their Babushka without problems.

Dan and Andrew managed to only do their dance two times before getting approval. They decided to Ride the Lines.

Toni and Dallas finally got a taxi, and had enough money thanks to the kindness of stangers.

Nick and Starr got their final clue and headed to the pitstop on foot, VDNKh park.

They found the park easily, and won a trip for two to Anguilla for 5 nights to the Cuisinart Resort and Spa, a Foodie retreat. mmmmmmm.

Tina and Ken got their key and headed to the next stop. Dan and Andrew also got the key and headed to the next stop. They got to take the trolley to the Pitstop. Dan and Andrew also got their postcard and headed to the park.

Dallas and Toni finally got the clue for the Detour, and decided to Ride the Lines, since they were familiar with them. More kind strangers gave them money to take the trolley. They got their key and then needed to get more money.

Amazingly, Andrew and Dan came in second at the pit stop, followed by Ken and Tina. However, Ken and Tina didn't pick up the clue at the station, so they had to go back and find the clue to tell them to go to the mat.

Dallas and Toni got enough money to take their next trip, as Tina and Ken searched for their final clue. They found it before Dallas and Toni (were shown to) got their postcard. Instead of making them beg more, Phil found Dallas and Toni before their next ride and told them the sad news that they were eliminated. It was very sad to see them go. I wonder if the Race will help them get their passports replaced (or back, if a camera man found their bag or something). I feel badly for them, and really think that they deserve a spot in the top 3 more than Dan and Andrew.

I am hoping for Nick and Starr to win. How about you?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Survivor Gabon: Thanksgiving Recap episode

Let's go back in the season, shall we? Let's remember when Fang was totally floundering, and when it looked like the end for the whole tribe. Goodbye Paloma, Goodbye Spunky Grandma, Goodbye the first girl I forget. And the Onion? The Onion looked so strong, like such a sure thing, didn't they? Well, look how the mighty have fallen, that Onion peeled back layer by layer and discarded until only Corrine remained at it's bitter center.

This is the kind of story Survivor has been wanting to tell for a long time in a recap episode. The grand comeback of the underdogs.

And there's going to be audition videos! Yippee!!

Ace's Audition video featured him on a beach in a suit.
Randy's Audition video featured him loving his dog (bald).

Bob's video showed him doing science and being chased by a "bear" in the woods and hanging out with the cafeteria ladies saying he can eat anything since he was eating cafeteria food for 20+ years. He he.

Crystal apparently auditioned at a casting call, and she claimed to have "beauty, brains, and blazing speed." Yeah, haven't seen any of that.

Susie just wanted to bring her tweezers so she wouldn't have a mustache and a beard.

Ken had braces in his video.

Corrine graduated at the top of her class, in three years, with a full academic scholarship. She planned on flirting and manipulating her way to the top, and then she got into a bikini and jumped into the pool.

Sugar was featured homeless with a tongue ring. She wanted to eat a whole lot of funky food and do whatever it takes.

Matty's video showed his girlfriend and his dog, and he said he wanted a little pain and suffering. He sure got that with Fang.

It's back to the recaps. Kota was living large and Fang was scraping the bottom of the barrel and eating "Gabon Pears," which they said were icky, and grasshoppers. Randy got a leach. Matty was safe, or so he thought, but he had one.

The formation of The Onion over at Kota was cemented by the continued winning. Dan's ineptitude at idol searching was showed again. Apparently at Kota, Marcus was getting chummy with Jacquie, and Corrine disapproved of their possible relationship.

Sugar was horrifically maligned by Kota when she was sent to Exile. Corinne thought she would be clutching herself and shaking instead of doing anything clever. Little did Corinne know that Sugar was handily finding the Idol. He he.

Ah, Ace. He was so cocky about everything. He was so sure that Sugar would set him up to be safe with her idol. Over at starving Fang, Matty sang a song in honor of his girlfriend because he missed her birthday. And made everyone else sing with him. He seems a little like a stalker and I hope his girlfriend loves him as much as he loves her. Randy said that the only thing he ever loved was his dog who died five years ago, and he plans on getting a new dog when he gets home.

A Fang alliance was formed with Randy, Susie, Matty, and Dan - just in time for the first Tribal shakeup. The new Fang proved to be as inept as the previous Fang. Jacquie was sent home, and I hardly had a chance to know her. Sugar missed Jacquie. Corinne missed Jacquie. Marcus missed Jacquie.

Bob's awesomeness was featured. He made a bench. He made a slingshot. He made a tripod for over the fire. He made a spoon. He made a sundial. Yup, Bob pretty much rules.

Crystal and GC's "Eat your rice" spat was shown again, and it is a poor imitation of Alicia's finger waiving moment. GC quit, and I cannot respect a quitter.

Kota continued to dominate, and Crystal called Randy a troll when he complained about her crying. Kelli went home.

Kota got to have a picnic on the mountain, with their letters. The picnic was fantastic looking, with pickles, various cheeses, etc. Corinne thought everyone was an idiot because they didn't know what some of the picnic items were. The champagne was a bone of contention, with complaints about people getting more than their share.

Sugar got some screen time for the Sugar Shack. She made herself a new dress out of a rug at the shack. She picked flowers. She had a lot of guilt about food when no one else had it in the tribe.

Ken's dominance began to emerge, with the ouster of Ace, and the lawyer was sent packing at Kota.

Next came the presumptive merge and the idol that was tossed into the ocean (*or was it?* I am pretty sure it was, but there's some gameplay going on with it next week. Can't wait)

And the non-merge came, with Matty telling Sugar that Ken fooled her into getting rid of Ace. Marcus was totally cocky. This was his downfall and Marcus was gone.

Poor Bob didn't find the idol, and then made his Most Awesome Fake Idol. I wish Bob had been my physics teacher. Seriously. Awesomeness.

The domination of the Underdogs came to light with the ouster of Charlie. Sugar tried to talk to Corinne about how to get along with people. Corinne was completely unreceptive. Sugar said Corinne's complaints about people are "like cancer in my ears." Corinne went off because Sugar is not college educated and has no job right now. Corinne and Randy had a complaining whispering conversation in the woods about how stupid Sugar is (I don't think she is), and how much she hates Sugar. She really is a bitter, total elitist, isn't she?

The Randy vs. Sugar Cookie Debacle was recapped. Randy was so sure that Sugar was a complete idiot and couldn't possibly have found the idol that it was his downfall. Randy decided his strategy was to be an ass to everyone, and people were scared he was going to sabotage the camp before they had a chance to vote him out.

I still can't freaking stand the fact that they named their merged tribe "Nobag." That has got to be the stupidest merged tribe name ever.

The Fake Idol came into play, and it was classic and hi-freaking-larious. I would have been giggling like Sugar if I had been there. So glad to see him gone.

And next week, we'll get our first joyful Randy-less week. Yippee!

That was a pretty good recap episode. It ended with the boys of the original Kota getting naked and jumping into the water, with cat calls from the girls. Including Bob - who didn't seem to get any cat calls, but he is still full to the brim with Awesome.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Top Chef - 11.26.08

It's a Thanksgiving Episode! I always think the Holiday themed episodes of any previously-taped reality show are a bit weird, but I like to see what Top Chef has to say about Thanksgiving, so I guess it's ok.

Richard revealed some of the other Cheftestant's nicknames in the house - Jeff is Don Johnson, Fabio is the Cute Italian, Leah is the Fun Flirty One with "the nice rack," and Richard and Jamie are living on with Team Rainbow.

Time for the Quickfire! The Guest Judge this week is Grant Atkins, a molecular gastronomist, and the challenge is about "rolling with the punches."

Everyone pulled knives, with seemingly random numbers on them.

The numbers refer to page numbers in a Top Chef cookbook filled with recipes from chefs from previous seasons, and they have 60 minutes to put their own spin on them.

Jeff has Howie's Fennel Crusted Pork Chops with a three apple salad and is feeling pretty cocky about it, calling it basic and claiming he can bang it out in 15 minutes.

Melissa has CJ and Trey's Black Truffle and Parmesan Linguine with Kale, Tomato Confit, and Grilled Chicken.

Leah has Hung's Tuna Tartar with Nicoise Olives, asparagus, and egg vinaigrette.

The challenge comes to a screeching halt when a few minutes in, Padma and Grant come in, and tell everyone to STOP and declare that they now have 50 minutes to use their ingredients to make a soup (using Swanson broth, since there is a time crunch, and the segment is obviously sponsored by Swanson).

Daniel's inspiration dish is Black forest ham and egg bundle.

Carla's inspiration is Poached Shrimp from Leah. She claims to be a soup McGuyver.

Jamie declares her love for soup, and her inspiration is a deconstructed falafel by Miguel.

Richard's inspiration is Sara M's Chile Relleno with roasted red pepper sauce. He missed his final garnishing with lime juice.

And it's time for judging.

Stefan's original recipe was a scallop and shrimp burger, and he has done a thai green curry bisque with shrimp and scallop dumplings. The judges like his broth.

Ariane had a Colorado rack of lamb with ratatoille by Dale, and ended up making Diced Lamb, eggplant, red pepper and couscous soup. The judges thought it might be overcooked. Ariane couldn't hind her wince. She has the confidence of a mouse, apparently.

Daniel has ended up making a hama nd egg soup with sauteed mushrooms, corn, and cheese. It looks really delicious. Padma said "I don't think I've ever had ham and egg soup. I like ham and egg soup!" This made me want to go try making ham and egg soup. Ideas are floating around in my head.

Richard did a black bean and roasted pasilla pepper soup with rice cooked with broth. The judges bemoaned the lack of acid. Guess the lime juice would have helped. To his credit (or at least the editors), he did not jump in with excuses, just took the criticism. Thanks for that.

Melissa's linguine has morphed into a version of Italian Wedding Soup. This did not go over well. "We blurred the line here, and not necessarily in a good way." Ouch.

Fabio was working from a recipe of Michael's, a trout and salmon duo. He made it into a mushroom and asparagus soup with seared trout and salmon belly. The flavor is called flat, to which Fabio said "fair enough." More salt? Isn't that the call of many-a-judge's table?

Carla ended up with Shrimp, tomato, and coriander soup with cucumber and avocado salad. It got good marks.

Leah seemed apologetic about her chilled asparagus soup, with brioche, and tapanade with tuna tar tar (she mentioned while cooking that she didn't really like white asparagus, but didn't think there was anything else to do to play off the tuna tartar.) Still, the judges liked it, and even said that white asparagus is not an easy thing to work with. Leah admitted to them that she doesn't like the flavor, but even so, she seemed to do it well,

Jamie's falafel inspired soup is a chickpea soup with pickled chilis, yogurt, and crispy shallots. They really enjoyed it.

Again, we did not see everyone's soup. That is disappointing. I want to know if Jeff pulled something delicous out of his cockiness. I haven't seen Hosea all episode. Did Radhika make a curry soup? I don't like this selectivity. I want to see what everyone is cooking!

Jamie, Leah, and Daniel got top marks. Leah won, and I think deservingly so, for making a yummy soup with something that she didn't personally like. Being able to make something delicious out of something you personally don't care for is truly an art.

No bottom tier is mentioned. Humph. I know it doesn't matter in a quickfire, but I like to know.

For their Elimination Challenge, the Foo Fighters show up via video tape. They have to make Thanksgiving dinner for them, working in two teams.

Because she won the Quickfire, Leah got to choose her team, and she chose Jamie, Hosea, Melissa, Stefan, Fabio, and Radhika. They end up calling themselves "Team Sexy Pants."

The other team is Daniel, Richard, Jeff, Alex, Carla, Ariane, Eugene. They end up calling themselves "Team Cougar." They say that Ariane is their Cougar Mascot.

They have to cook a Thanksgiving Feast for the Foo Fighters and their entourage, including vegetarians, and plan according to their Rider, which is full of their likes and dislikes. The winning team will get to watch the gig, and the losing team has to clean up. They have to cook in microwaves, no fridge, no freezer, one burner, toaster ovens, cooking outside. This could get really tricky.

They have an hour and $1200 to shop.

Back at the venue, the chefs got to cutting up turkeys and other prep. They have 3 hours to cook. Eugene decided to build a grill using a chafing dish rack and some charcoal. That could be very clever.

Team Cougar's menu is Butterball (think they're a sponsor??) turkey, stuffing, roasted potatos, sweet potatoes, pork roast, macaroni and cheese, pumpkin parfait, peach cobbler, and banana s'mores.

Team Sexy Pants' Menu is Butterball turkey, stuffing, mashed potatos, sweet potatoes, gravy, side salads, pumpkin tiramisu, and fruit crisp.

Mother Nature decided to throw a curve ball at the cheftestants, and it started to rain. They managed to get it done.

The Foo Fighters came in to eat, and Richard spent some time mooning over Tom Colichio again, which was cute.

Team Cougar served first. The Foo Fighters were really funny. The stuffing did not get good marks, with figs in it. The mac and cheese with Bacon went over really well, as did the pork roast with the makeshift grill and the turkey.

Team Sexy Pants served next (they waited for desserts), and Jamie's Vegan Stuffing got really high marks, as did the yams with marshmallows. Ariane's turkey won in that battle, though.

And it's dessert time. The banana s'mores looked fantastic. I want to make them. Team Sexy Pants' Pumpkin Tiramisu went over very well. The crumble was also given high marks. Team Cougar's Pumpkin Parfait got very low marks. The S'mores amazingly did not get high marks.

The winning team (and the team going to the Foo Fighters concert) is Team Sexy Pants. Team Cougar was grumpy about losing and having to clean up and also be up for elimination. The concert looked like fun, and the cleaning looked like hell.

Team Cougar went before the Judge's Table. Jeff complained about the curveballs and the rain, and Tom basically told him to stop complaining, because it was nothing the other team had to deal with. Jeff was put forth as a leader or an organizer or what have you. Ariane's turkey got very good marks, and that was good for her. The potatoes were al dente, and that is not good, Daniel. Carla's cobbler was not executed well. The pumpkin mousse with berries made by Jeff was not good. The S'mores were not gooey and had no warm chocolate, so that's a problem. The vanilla cream on top ended up looking like spit, and that's really bad. The desserts are the worst, though Daniel's undercooked potatoes are in the mix for the worst. Carla's seems to be "fine" and "least offensive." Jeff's spoonbread and pumpkin berry parfait were both executed badly. Grant's least favorite dish was the S'mores.

In the Stew room, Daniel made himself a sandwich, and dripped some on the floor and got snipped at by Jamie as being the reason why there are flies all over the place. He decided it must be "her time of month." Ugh.

Back to the business at hand, Eugene, Alex, and Carla are sent to safety, and so was Ariane, who redeemed herself with good turkey. The person going home is Richard, and I am very sad. I liked him. Team Rainbow is shattered! I wanted to see Jeff gone. I think it was a bad decision for him, but I sure do wish he hadn't gone home because of badly executed s'mores.

And there is no winner this week. Next week they are doing The Today Show. Ought to be fun.

What do you think? Did the right person go home? Would you have been able to better execute Banana S'mores? (I think I could). What dishes do you want to make right now (I want to try making Ham and Egg soup!).

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Amazing Race - 11.23.08

It's the final four, and I think it's a pretty good race. If Dan and Andrew get eliminated this week, as they should, it will be a really good Final 3.

The teams start out in Khazakhtstan, and Nick and Starr are the first to head out to Moscow. Once in Moscow, they have to get to a monastery, and enter the church and light a candle to get their next clue. It's Nick's birthday, and Starr made him a t-shirt that said "It's my Birthday!" They get a flight to Moscow that is at 6:05 AM. This gives them a whole night at the airport. That sucks.

To keep them company, Toni and Dallas (who's hair is kind of hilariously "finger stuck in a light socket" this week - more so than I've seen in the past) show up and get on the same flight. Dallas and Starr spent some of the down time flirting. Nick appreciates the prospect of the Dallas/Starr romance.

Arriving third at the airport are Ken and Tina, who get on the same flight. Dan and Andrew forgot their shoes at the last Detour and ended up wearing hotel slippers, and then had to haggle with the taxi driver to get the price down. And, in the end, they all get on the same flight.

Dan and Andrew checked out a 24-hour shoe store in the airport, and spent over $100 on two pairs of sneakers. I think it was probably the best bet, since they weren't going to get far in hotel slippers.

Off the plane in Moscow, Dan and Andrew used their new sneakers to run to the first taxi. Nick and Starr got a taxi driver who spoke no English, and they ended up behind Dallas and Toni and following them. Ken and Tina were also unsure if their driver knew where they were going, and he ended up stopping to ask for directions, along with Dan and Andrew.

Turns out the following was a good idea, and Starr and Nick and Dallas and Toni got to the monastery first. The women had to cover their heads and they all lit candles and got their clues.

They have to travel by taxi to a decommissioned military base at the outskirts of Moscow, to search for their next clue. Dallas and Toni worried about running out of money, and Nick and Starr worried about getting lost. Meanwhile, both of the other teams headed to the military base.

Dallas and Toni were the first to arrive at the military camp.

It's a Detour:

Don a traditional Russian military uniform, including foot wraps, and choose from:

Boots - learn a traditional parade march and march a lap of the parade grounds.

Borsht - serve borsht to 75 soldiers, and be clean about it.

Nick and Starr's taxi driver got very lost and everyone else got to the military base first. Dallas and Toni chose Boots, and were pretty uncoordinated at first. Tina was uncomfortable changing in front of everyone, but ended up sucking it up. Dan and Andrew thought they would be good for the Boots, because of years of marching band experience. Unfortunately, they had troubles getting the uniforms on. Toni and Dallas and Ken and Tina did a good job with their marching and got their next clues, just as Nick and Starr were arriving.

Somehow, Dan and Andrew thought they could get past the uniform by choosing Borsht, but they didn't seem to realize they needed uniforms for that, too. Way to read the clues, morons. Nick and Starr had no troubles getting into the uniforms, and began the marching.

Dan and Andrew read the clue again and realized they had to go back and do the uniform. Their ineptitude at dressing themselves sent them into last place, and then, even with "years" of Marching Band experience, they were truly embarrassing at the marching. They had band members heckling them. They really should have served soup. Dan was the offending party with the marching. He said "I'm not arts and music based, I'm sports and tv based." After several failures, they switched to Borsht.

Dallas and Toni reached the next clue first, and it's a Roadblock.

One team member must deliver 50 x 55 lb bags of flour to a bakery by placing them horizantally on the floor. Once delivered, they get the next clue.

Dallas did the Roadblock, and got reprimanded by the shop owner for not being neat, but managed to do a good job of it, and worked it out. Ken and Tina arrived second, and Ken did the task. Nick and Starr's taxi driver had a hard time finding the bakery. Dan and Andrew did a better job of serving and headed to the bakery.

Dallas finished the Roadblock first, and they headed to the Pit Stop, which is a park in the middle of the city. Ken made up a lot of time and they weren't far behind. They drove off as Nick and Starr headed into the Roadblock, and they dismissed their taxi driver, deciding they would find a new taxi driver if they needed it. Nick did the job, and was heckled by the bakery woman - who said "He is not fit." Still, they finished the task before Dan and Andrew showed up.

Nick and Starr did have a hard time finding a new taxi, and Dan did the Roadblock. He seemed to do an ok job with it.

The next clue sent them to the Pit Stop. Nick and Starr found another taxi, who also had no idea where the park was. They finally got a driver who knew his way around, as Dan and Andrew worried that they would not have enough money to pay their cabbie.

Toni and Dallas got to the Pit Stop first, and they were thrilled to win one. They won a trip for two to the Dominican Republic, including all sorts of kooshy things, like a helicopter ride, spa, and lobster dinner on the beach. Ken and Tina came in second. Nick and Starr finally got to the park, and had a hard time finding the pit stop. Dan and Andrew fought with the cabbie about money, and Dan even offered to sell his shoes, and finally offered what I think was money out of his own wallet.

Happily, Nick and Starr came in third. Dan and Andrew arrived last. Tragically, it is a non-elimination leg. They have to do a Speedbump during the next leg. I hope it trips them up.

I want to know what they gave the cabbie in the end! Did anyone catch it?

Next week looks insane. More fun from Rhythmically-Challenged Dan, and one team loses their passports and all their money! Any bets on who?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Oh no! Pushing Daisies!

As you may know, Pushing Daisies is my favorite show on television. And I watch a lot of television, so that's not a statement lightly made.

This was recently posted on a message board I frequent, and I wanted to share it with you, my dear readers.

‘Move Pushing Daisies’ Campaign Begins


With the ratings for “Oh Oh Oh… It’s Magic” reaching a series low, PD future is looking ever more grim. But at this time, giving up is something that we should NOT do!

So we are going to start a new campaign, the “Move Pushing Daisies Campaign”, to e-mail, send letters to Warner Bros and try to convince them to move it another network or if this doesn’t work — at least a Direct-To-DVD 2 hour movie special that wraps up the show.

Sends letters and packages to:

Pushing Daisies Warner Bros. TV
300 Television Plaza Burbank, CA 91505

And you can contact them online here:…mer_service.jsp


So, do your part and join in the fight for Pushing Daisies!

Here's the email I sent - to the Feedback section of the website.

It has recently come to my attention that the decision has been made to not order any new episodes of the best and most unique show on television, Pushing Daisies.
I am writing to urge you to try to move the show to another network. I think that ABC Family might be a perfect choice. This show is sublime on so many levels, and I would mourn the loss of it. The acting is amazing, the characters are completely appealing, the writing is quirky and imaginative, and each week, it's the show that I want to give a big hug to.
I think that television would be a much more interesting genre if shows like Pushing Daisies were given more of a chance before getting the axe. I have no interest in watching CSI: Albequerque. I don't care about another Grey's Anatomy spin-off. I want the fantastical world of Pushing Daisies, for many many years to come. I know I am not alone.
Give it a chance, please, I implore you.

I have not yet decided if I will commence sending pies to them in protest.

I also wrote to ABC - and encourage you to do the same.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Survivor Gabon: 11.20.08

I'm still mad that they named the merged tribe Nobag. Really? Really?

Randy is stunned that he was not voted out, because he has no friends, but he thinks that they made the right choice. The remaining Onion, mainly Corrine, is feeling nervous about her future.

Sugar is gunning for Randy. She had a chat with Bob and he told her that he made a fake idol. She was impressed. He says he is only going to tell her about it. I would love to see a Sugar/Bob alliance to the end. That would be pretty cool.

Corinne and Randy had a talk about the peeling of the Onion alliance, and they agreed that they hate everyone else. They want to work on Matty, and try to pull him over to their side.

Treemail has individual envelopes for everyone, and it's time for the Survivor Auction!!!

They each have $500, bidding in increments of $20, and they cannot pool or share.

The first item is beer and peanuts. Randy and Sugar bid on it, and it goes for $180 to Randy. The next item is hidden, and Ken and Randy bid back and forth. Ken got it for $340 and it turned out to be a scroll reading - "Send yourself or someone else to Exile, and if you send someone else, you get all their money." He sent Bob, and took his money.

The next item was also covered, and Randy and Ken went back and forth, until Sugar upped it to $340, and she got chocolate and peanut butter. This was enough to get Heidi and Jenna naked a few seasons ago, so I think she got a bargain.

The next item is a hot bath and grooming materials, and a clean set of their own clothes. Susie got it for $340. Sugar said Ken should have gone for it, because she would have cuddled with him with no clothes on, and he said "Would you cuddle with a rich man?" no answer.

The next item is burgers, fries, and a soda. Matty got it for $400.

Susie decided to get out of her bath after a really short amount of time because it was too hot. Crazy.

The next covered item went to Randy and it was $280 - Spaghetti, garlic bread and a glass of wine.

Corinne got the next item (for all of her $500) when Ken gave it up. It's a bottle with a clue in it, and it remains sealed until the next immunity item.

Next, Randy bought a covered item for $20 for the whole tribe, and it was a tray of chocolate chip cookies. Sugar wanted to give hers to Matty, and he said no, and gave it to Corinne, and then Randy offered Sugar his own cookie, and she gave it to Matty. And the auction is over. I don't get the animosity between Sugar and Randy. I don't think we have seen the whole story.

Randy is out of his mind mad back at camp. about a cookie. Insane. Matty went to chat with Randy and Corrine, and told him that he set himself up, and needs to drop the attitude.

Over at Exile, Bob goes for a clue and realizes he's already gotten the clue, so went off on his own personal safari, and just enjoyed it. It was a breathtaking bit of editing, and I still love his attitude.

Back at camp, there are talks amongst everyone. Everyone wants to get rid of Randy, except Matty wants Bob gone because he's more of a physical threat. Sugar thinks that Matty is really playing the game, and as a physical threat, he doesn't want Bob, the other physical threat around. He is sure it needs to be Bob, then Randy, then Corinne.

The next morning, Randy talked to Corinne, and told her he was going to crash and burn all day, and make everyone miserable, and hopes that Bob will give him the Hidden Idol. Little does he know that it's fake. I hope that Bob gives him the fake one and says nothing. That would make me laugh and laugh and laugh.

Randy followed his plan pretty well, and Crystal said he was "wreaking havoc in the Nobag Tribe." I can't take that tribe name seriously. Randy calls his plan "Operation Strongarm." We'll see about that.

And it's time for an Immunity Challenge!

The challenge involves racing across balance beams carrying a bag of puzzle blocks. The first two people to get three bags across the line move on.

The final round involves Puzzle blocks arranged on a multi-level platform, avoiding trip wires, to arrange them like dominos, to fall and raise their flag.

Corrine's bottle is opened, and she gets an automatic pass in the first round, so the first two people move on.

Matty and Ken are first across, followed by Bob and Susie. Matty and Ken get their second bags, and poor Bob fell off right at the end with his second bag and missed it. Matty got his third bag across, and then it was a battle, ending with Ken securing his place in the next round.

The Domino round is tricky. Corinne and Matty started at the beginning, and Ken went to the end first, and that was not the best strategy, because he tripped the wires easily. He picked up the pieces and kept arranging. Ken and Matty seemed to finish at about the same time, and Ken gave his a shot first. His spacing was off and he failed the first time. Matty and Ken both gave it a try, with Corrine following suit. It was a fight to the end, and Corrine's stopped short, along with Matty's, and Ken managed to work it out and win Immunity. Good for him.

Back at camp, Ken is pretty happy about his win, and Randy is grumped out. He thinks the majority is gunning for him, and he wouldn't be wrong. Sugar tells Bob that he should offer Randy the fake idol, and looks forward to seeing the hilarity. So do I. Bob acknowledges that he can't save himself directly with the fake idol, but he could keep his longevity a while longer with the fake one. Corinne talks to Bob and tells him that she hopes he can share the idol with Randy. Bob did a wonderful acting job, acting unsure about what to do with it, and then ended up giving over the (fake) idol in the forest. Tee hee.

I think if nothing else, Sugar is on Bob's side wholeheartedly now.

Sugar told Ken and Crystal "Tonight is going to be the funkiest night of your life. Wait for it. Wait for it." I am so excited.

At Tribal, the Cookie Fiasco is brought up again. Randy won't let it go. I forsee this being an issue at the Reunion. Susie says that she thinks Randy is probably a sad person inside, and she feels sorry for him. He gets defensive and says that he feels that's like her saying "You're so pathetic." To me, that would be about right.

Let's get right to the vote. There were some unpleasant words from Sugar towards Randy (and I can't say I disagree.) As most of them whisper at the vote, but Crystal practically yelled her joy at voting for Randy, and the people back at the benches looked incredulous.

And hilarity ensued. Randy played the Fake Idol. Go Bob.

Sugar and Crystal tittered as Jeff tossed the Fake Idol into the fire. Corinne looked stricken. The votes were read, and Randy is outta here. I hope that Bob manages to stick around for a while - and that this doesn't potentially cost him jury votes.

Corrine looked pissed.

I'm kind of sad that Bob's wonderful fake idol got burned. It was so good.

And next week, it gets more interesting. There was a scene of Bob telling Corinne that Marcus hid the "disposed" Immunity Idol at camp (after hiding it in his pocket), and told him (Bob) where it was. Is this an attempt at fooling Corrine right out of the game, too? We'll see.

Can't wait to see it!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Top Chef - 11.19.08

Let's see if I can keep everyone straight this time! I apologize for my sometimes lacking formatting, it's a busy time.

Richard laments the loss of Pat from Team Rainbow. Ariene feels vulnerable, and Stefan feels pretty good. Fabio says he doesn't mind Stefan winning the challenges. "In Italian, we have a saying. It doesn't matter how many dragons you kill, it's who takes home the princess."

And with that, onward to the Quickfire, where the guest judge is Donatella Arpeia (sure I messed that name up). I wish I knew these guest judges more.

Their quickfire is all about cooking something New Yorkers love - hot dogs. They are cooking against a famous hot dog cart cook - Angelina. Chef with the best hot dog in 45 minutes wins immunity.

Some are making hot dogs from scratch, and both Stefan and Fabio decide to make something on the panini side of things. Radhika, who doesn't want to be called the Indian cook, is making an Indian-inspired kebab-dog. Sounds good, so hopefully it won't pigeon-hole her.

Jill - Summer Roll hot dog cooked in chili, soy sauce, and rice wine vinegar. She did not make her own hot dog, and they didn't say much about it.

Radhika - Kabob-stule sausage (lamb, pork, ground chuck) with caramelized onions, cucumbers, and tomato jam. I would so eat that. Of course, I love Indian food, and I love kabob, so I am predisposed to cheer for Radhika.

Daniel - Pork Hot dog with horseradish mustard, fried onion, garlic powder. He used his own casing. They looked like they liked it.

Eugene - Maki roll hot dog with pita bread, boursin cheese, and red onions. The guest had an almost pained look on her face. Probably not good. I don't know if I would have called it "maki" because that brings to mind the horrors of Spam Musubi.

Hosea - Pork Hot Dog with Roasted Poblanos, Jalapenos, smoked bacon & red vinegar. They seemed to appreciate the smokiness.

Stefan - He called this a "world dog" - Italian Sausage on French Bread with Wisonsin Cheese and Irish Tartar Sauce, served with a German beer. Padme appreciates a cocktail, so she looked pleased. Sounded yummy. I think I could have skipped the tartar sauce.

Carla - Lamb & Pork sausage with sauerkraut, caramelized onions. They liked how moist it was, or at least commented on it.

Ariane - Chicken sausage with bacon, celery seed, garlic and white pepper. They commented on how strong the celery seed was. Probably that's not a good thing.

Fabio - Andouille sausage with goat cheese, roasted bell pepper and sundried tomato. They commented on it's mediteranean flavors.

Jamie - Pork & Beef sausage with bacon, onions, and cayenne pepper. Oh nooooo - Padma got a piece of bone. That's such a no no.

The judges then enjoyed a hot dog from Angelina, and it looked yummy.

They skipped some people. Were they that bad, or just in the middle of the pack and not worth mentioning? Curious.

Jill is called out for using a store-bought hot dog, which is one thing, but then she used it in an unimaginative way. The guest judge said that she wouldn't travel anywhere for Stefan's "World Dog" and he is upset by that.

On a positive note, she loved Radhika's offering, along with Fabio and Hosea's. The win is given to Radhika. I am happy.

For their challenge, they are going to be opening a Top Chef restaurant in Manhattan, with a 3 course New American menu.

They split up to do appetizer, entrees, and desserts. They had $1500 to shop between themselves.

Hosea made the dubious decision of taking the only crab available, in a carton, that he couldn't look at, smell, or anything first. That could bite him. Fabio is planning a carpacio. Jill was drawn to ostrich eggs and decided to do a quiche. I am not sure how a store has only one kind of crab, in a carton, but has ostrich eggs. That seems a bit off to me.

They have 2 hours to prep.

The appetizer group is Fabio, Hosea, Melissa, and Leah.

The entree group is Stefan, Alex, Eugene, Jill, and Jeff.

The dessert group is Carla, Ariane, Daniel, Richard, and Radhika.

Tom arrived to tell them that they would be cooking in one of his restaurants - Craft. All the diners will be 50 NY chefs that tried out for the show and didn't make it. Ouch. This should be interesting.

Back in the Chef apartment, Fabio dropped his favorite quots about princesses and dragons again. The next morning, Carla and her crazy eyes were feeling the pressure of working at Craft. They get to the restaurant and they have 2 hours to prep.

Jamie is doing a cold corn soup, and Fabio is doing a funky olive technique, and Hosea is feeling good about his crab after adding some seasoning. Ariane wanted everyone to taste her Lemon Meringue Martini, and there seems to be some consensus that it's too sweet, but she decides to keep it, and tells them "if I go under, you're all going to hear it." Way to stand up for your own product.

The disgruntled diners arrived and started complaining right off about the menu, but mostly because it wasn't theirs. Tom and one of his chefs is expediting.

Appetizers go out.

Jamie has made a chilled sweet corn soup with chili oil and mint. She is pretty confident about it, and the judge's table liked it.

Hosea's dish is Chilled crab with citrus vanilla dressing, mango, and avocado. The judges called it slimy and muddy, and one of the diners called it tinny. Not good at all. I wonder if Hosea actually tasted it.

Leah made Yukon potato, seared scallops, with chives and pink peppercorns. The scallops were called sandy, and the judges called it "very 80's." Yipes.

Fabio's appetizer is a beef carpaccio with arugula salad, parmesan, and his spherical olives. The judges appreciated his olive technique.

Melissa's dish is grilled avocado, white peaches, nectarines, and a light balsamic vinagrette. Nothing special, seemingly.

Onto the entrees!

Jill's offering is ostrich egg quiche with rice-pecan crust, asparagus, and aged cheese. It's taste is likened to glue and dog food. Not good.

Eugene has made an open meatloaf sandwich with ciabatta, gouda fondue, and portobello ragout. The presentation is called bad.

Stefan's entree is a pan seared halibut with micro greens, ravioli, champagne sauce, and dill oil. The judges liked it a lot, as did the diners.

Jeff's behind serving his dish, which is southern chicken, with honey mustard, and corn spoon bread. It seemed to go over well.

Alex has made a grilled pork tenderloin with potatoes and mixed vegetables. It's called "not good at all."

And it's dessert time.

Radhika made a citrus avocado mouse with chocolate wontons and a chocolate milk kalhua shot. The judges called it sweet guacamole, and she was lucky to have immunity, and they said you could tell she had immunity, because there was no real other explanation for that dish.

Daniel made a ricotta pound cake with toasted pistachios and strawberry lemon coulis. It gets good reviews.

Ariane's Lemon Merinque Martini has hidden cherries under a cookie at the bottom. The judges looked like they wanted to spit it out because of the sweetness. Not good at all.

Richard's looks much better - a banana bread sandwich with peanut butter and banana brulee, served with grape gelato. The judges called it an after school snack.

Carla made a rustic apple tart with ginger peach tea, apple cider reduction, and some cheddar cheese. The judges did not appreciate the plating of the cheese, but liked the flavor.

Once service was over, Tom tasted all of the food in the kitchen in front of the chefs. They looked about ready to throw up with nerves. The diners seemed even more bitter about not being chosen for the show after tasting some of these dishes.

It's time for Judge's Table. Tom appreciated the way they worked in the kitchen, but did not like a lot of the food. Jamie, Hosea, Ariane, Fabio, Carla, and Jill were sent back to the Judge's Table.

Carla's dessert is given high honors, and Fabio got defensive about his dish before they even told him how they felt about it, and was humbled when they said they liked it. I am little disappointed that it is the same dish he has made at his own restaurant. Jamie's corn soup is lauded. They liked how fresh it tasted.

Fabio is named the winner, and they really loved his olive trick. I still wish it was a new dish for him. He's happy to be tied with Stefan.

Hosea's crab salad was one of the worst ones, and they said it was underseasoned. He thought he was going to win. He was obviously delusional. Ariane's martini was pretty dreadful. Padma spit it out. Jill's ostrich egg quiche didn't go well together and she couldn't answer when the judges asked her how she would make it better if they keep her. She floundered a bit and looked lost.

It's Jill going home, and Ariane thought she was going. I was happy to see Jill gone, because she also failed at the Quickfire. Ariane felt that she didn't deserve to stay, and broke down afterwards.

Next week is a Thanksgiving episode. Fun.

Do you think the right person went home tonight?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Amazing Race - 11.16.08

I am so happy that Kelly and Christy are gone, I'm nearly giddy.

The teams start in Delhi, and Nick and Starr are the first to leave, heading for lovely Almaty, Kazakhstan, to then head to a chicken factory. I'm sure you've seen the Borat-heavy promos for this week's show, so this destination is not exactly a surprise. At the travel agency, while their team members look for flights, Starr and Dallas took a moment to do some flirting.

I'm kind of missing Tina's bright green hair. Starr and Nick were upset to see Ken and Tina getting in line for the same flight, and Toni told them to not be catty about it, pretty much. The three of those teams got on the first flight, and Terence and Sarah got onto a second flight, arriving an hour and a half later. Dan and Andrew got on a third flight out.

In lovely Kazakhstan, the first teams headed out to the chicken factory in the middle of the night. Ken and Tina made the obligatory joke about not counting chickens before they hatch. It would seem that the three different flights don't make a lick of a difference, because the chicken factory doesn't open until 7:30 AM. I hate when that happens. The bottlenecks are frustrating for a race. Dan and Andrew arrived after daylight, and after their cabbie had a hard time at first finding the place, they eventuall caught up just as the gates opened. It was a mad race for the clue.

It's a Roadblock - Close encounter of a "bird" kind. They need to search among a huge amount of chickens for one of seven golden eggs.

There is also a Fast Forward opportunity. Teams must travel to a restaurant and both team members must eat a traditional Kazhak feat, consisting of the fat from the rear end of a sheep. Terence and Sarah and Nick and Starr went for the Fast Forward. Everyone else searched for the golden egg. Having smelled chicken poop before, I might choose the sheep ass fat.

Toni was the first to find her golden egg, and the next stop is to take a crane truck to a Mongol warrior recreation to get their next clue. Andrew got his clue next, and Tina finally found hers, too. There are only two Mongol warriors, so someone is going to have to wait for their clue.

Meanwhile, at the Fast Forward, both teams arrived and ordered their food. Starr wisely skipped looking at the part of the menu that outlined what the food they were ordering was, while Terence turned out to be a vegetarian, so he was not so pleased to see piles of meat served to him. I couldn't suppress a giggle. Don't choose a Fast Forward at a restaurant when you have such dietary restrictions. It's a pretty good bet for it to be meat filled.

Toni and Dallas arrived at the Mongol warriors first, and a giant eagle flew in to give them their Detour Clue.

Play like Mad - Go to a musical museum and learn to play tradional musical instruments to play a folk tune, then once they have learned the song well enough, go to a local park and play until they get the equivalent of $1.50 in tips before moving on.

Act like fools - Go to a children's puppet theatre, find the wardrobe department, dress in a two person cow costume, wander the streets to a marked stall, drink a glass of milk, get the next clue, which will lead them to a butcher where they are to "deliver themselves." Hilarious.

Dallas and Toni are up to being a cow. As they are leaving, Ken and Tina show up, while Dan and Andrew are still having a hard time finding the place.

At the Fast Forward, Terence gave up, while Nick and Starr worked on finishing theirs. Terence took the time to throw up before heading back to the Roadblock. Nick and Starr got their sheep ass fat down and off to the Pit Stop they went. I am proud of them. Each of them won a 180 HP Wave Runner for using after the race.

Sarah went out in search of golden eggs, and she was asking the chickens to "move please." Because chickens always appreciate courtesy. She found the egg, but I don't think the niceties helped.

They could be in the game still, because Dan and Andrew are having a hard time finding the Mongol Warriors.

The first cow heads out into the street, with Dallas in front, and Toni in back. They headed out into the street with moos all around, and were having fun with it. Ken and Tina went out as well, and Ken tried to moo as well, but Tina scolded him for having fun. Tina found the milk stand fist, and called it "warm and strong." She drank the milk down, but she didn't see that she had to read a clue on the bottom of the glass. Toni and Dallas got their clue properly, and headed off to the butcher. Tina finally realized that she made a mistake and returned to the milk stand, got the clue, and then they made the (possibly) fatal error to return their cow costume first. Ken questioned this decision, but went along with it anyway. The cow that was Dallas and Toni got the clue to the pit stop, and are told to bring their cow head with them. On their way out, they met up with Ken and Tina, and told them that they had to be wearing their costume. Ken and Tina went to the meat section anyway, but were turned away for lack of costume, so back they went.

Dan and Andrew got their cow on, but left their shoes in the costume shop. Not sure about that decision. Terence and Sarah also chose to wear the cow, and Sarah mentioned putting her shoes in her bag. Probably a good idea. I don't like her much, but I am still impressed with the fact that Sarah seems to know a few terms in most languages they are encountering. Dan and Andrew offered a guy "1000" in unnamed currency to show them to the places they had to go, and they quickly got through their task, but they decided to take a cab to the pitstop. Phil sent them back to the end of the pitstop, to walk back. They cabbed it back, to return by foot. Terence and Sarah mooed their way to the meat market, and started out. Dan and Andrew realized their mistake in not grabbing their shoes, because it's hard to run in cow costume boots. They got into a tiff with each other about pace, and got kind of lost. Still, they managed to beat Terence and Sarah to the pit stop.

My hopes for an elimination leg are granted. Stalker Terence and Sarah are eliminated. I will not miss them. I am thrilled.

And you? Who are you rooting for now? I'm really loving the way that Dallas and Toni and Nick and Starr are running the race, so I'd be happy with either of them.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

On the bubble: Pushing Daisies

It's fate is unsettled currently.

I have signed the petition (not sure if this will do anything to help, but it certainly can't hurt).

I will cry and cry if it gets canceled.

I'll be buying whatever seasons they do make on dvd, but I don't want the forensic fairy tale to end.

Hope hope hope hope hope.

I don't want a CSI: Peoria, I want more Pushing Daisies.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Survivor Gabon: 11.13.08

Probst was sounding pretty gleeful about the show pulling a fast one on the Survivors last week. Back from Tribal, Ken says that his Inner Crystal came out at Tribal, and he stood up for himself. I feel very badly for Bob. I hope that the game changes in such a way to keep him in it.

My friend and reader Ed brought to my attention last week that they changed the opening credits to only include the Survivors still in the game. That's new for this season, and I like it. This week, they also included "The Jury" in the opening credits, which so far is just Marcus. I really like that.

Fang is looking pretty pitiful. They retrieve Tree Mail, and it's Survivor Golf with a sling shot. The Onion is rocked to it's inner layers at the vision of Kota without Marcus. Corinne is pissed, and says so. Charlie is sad and looked about to cry. Ken asserted that no one really deserves to leave the game, so it's all in the fair and part of it. I tend to agree with him.

The slingshot takes the place of a club, and the tribe that takes the least amount of shots to get in the hole (a big sand pit) wins. The reward is a wonderful cultural experience.

Bob helps Kota get a really good drive, and Fang does a good job, too. It's close. Bob's second shot brings it right next to the pit. Fang's gets a good bounce and ends up pretty close. Ken takes the third shot for Kota and drops it in. Kota wins the first hole.

Bob's first shot for the second hole brings them over 125 yards, and Fang also gets close. Fang's second shot is amazing and they end up bouncing to just 6 inches from the hole. Ken's second shot for Kota is long, and Matty pops their close shot in for Fang.

The third shot stars for Fang and does a decent job. Bob's shot is wonderful. Matty has a good bounce off the second shot and they get really close. Bob launches the second one for a good bounce and ends up near the hole. Ken (the putter) misses by about 6 inches and goes past. Matty ends up just short for Fang. Ken putts again and gets very close, but misses. Randy talks too much and there is a lot of discussion about how to get the ball in for Fang. Randy is pissing everyone off, but Matty ends up getting it in. I am happy for Fang's win, though Bob is wonderful. Randy can't be happy about the win, because they didn't win it on his terms. Fang decides to send Bob to Exile, in hopes that he finds the Idol. Sugar is acting pretty sure that Bob won't find the idol, because it's all hers, and though I love her, I hope for Bob's sake that there is another Idol out there and that he finds it.

The Reward started with them getting washed by the tribe members, and they got new tribal clothes. Corinne got chummy with a little girl, and admitted that she was the last person who you would expect to see making friends with a little kid. Charlie admitted that Marcus did a lot of the strategic thinking for The Onion. Randy thinks that one of the tribal women was coming onto him when they were all dancing, and I don't know about that, but they had fun. Sugar looked like she had a total blast. I was happy for Matty, because he was just stuck in the pit of despair that was Fang for so long, he deserved a respite.

Over at Kota, Ken was stuck going around in circles in the boat until he finally figured out how to get moving. He managed to bring in three tilapia, and that is cool. He is justifiably proud of himself for being the tribal provider while Bob is at Exile. Good for him.

Bob is doing his best to find the (hopefully) hidden Idol. He quickly found the clues and waded through the same river that Sugar had ... and found no idol. The nail was there in the tree, but no idol. I am saddened. Bob comes up with a Yau plan to build a fake idol. He did a good job - he used tree resin and very decorative looking things to make a very convincing idol! Much better than Yau's stick. Good luck to him!

There was a tree mail about a fire starting immunity challenge, and it sounds individual. Randy made some pretty disparaging comments about Crystal, calling her Sasquatch, Big Foot, and other nasty things. When they get to the challenge, it's a merge. Bob handily replaced his old Buff Bow Tie with a brand new bright blue one. Have I mentioned that I love Bob?

Immunity is simple - it's a redux of the Stephanie/Bobby John challenge from a few seasons ago. Flint, steal, kindling and the like, and they have to be the first to start a fire and burn through a rope to raise a flag. I like this kind of challenge, which is actually relevant to something they need to do to survive, literally. Bob was getting some pretty good looking sparks, but Susie was the first to get a flame. That was surprising. Matty cut himself but kept going. Sugar gets flame second. They both build impressive fires. Susie wins the immunity, and Sugar pouted. No one else even began to get flame.

They get reward items from the Kota camp, but the merged tribe is going over to old Fang camp. Matty was thrilled with the luxury items - mainly the food. People then took off to the forest to start strategizing. The Onion (well, Randy) wants Crystal out. They need Sugar to help their plan. Sugar doesn't want to work with Randy. Corinne makes a good show of caring for Sugar's feelings, but admits it was a complete strategy, and that she thinks Sugar is a moron for believing her. The original Fang wants to split up Charlie and Corinne. They were leaning towards Corinne, but Ken convinced them that Charlie needs to go, in reality because he was mad at him for taking the Immunity clue, but he convinced them that Charlie is the brains behind the whole Onion. Ken tries to chat Sugar up, and Sugar listens to him, but admits that she doesn't trust anyone, so it is unclear who she is going to vote for.

The new tribe name is Nobag, which is Gabon backwards. Come on, they could have come up with something more original than that, don't you think? I like when they get the name from a word in the indiginous language. Oh well.

It's Tribal time. Randy is defending his behavior at the Reward Challenge, and still looks like a complete moron. Crystal asked Randy flat out why he has an issue with her. Randy said that she and GC ran the tribe like a gang (he called it a posse) in the beginning of the game. He ends up just sounding like a racist bigot, which I would not doubt. I don't doubt that Crystal is kind of annoying and not very strong, but Randy is just being obnoxious about it. Charlie says that people really need to process what comes out of their mouth at this point in the game. Ken says that he likes Charlie (but does not admit that he wants him gone), and Charlie says that he likes Ken. Even Randy says that he likes Ken's growth in the game. Sugar says that she doesn't like talking crap about people, and she is hoping that being gone at Exile so much didn't hurt her.

Randy's sole word when writing down Crystal's name was "Bitch" but only wrote down C.C. God, I hate him. Charlie is funny, though, voting for Crystal because "you took out my Marcus, and that makes me really mad." Sugar was in tears before casting her vote.

How is it going to end up?

Probst called out Randy for his C.C. vote, asking who wrote it, and then when Randy said it was him, telling him "you want to vote somebody out, you have to write their name down." It's 4 vs. 4, and Sugar voted for Charlie! He gets to be with "his Marcus" in the jury, and the Fang alliance looks to be taking down The Onion. I hope that they get rid of Crystal in their alliance and bring in Bob! Maybe he can fool them with his fake idol.

What a good episode! Next week, Randy looks to be even more obnoxious. I didn't think that would be possible, but it is. And yay, he's getting naked. Can you feel my sarcasm? Hope so. Until then.

Can't wait to see what Probst blogs about this episode.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Yay for a New Season - Top Chef!

Oh, how I love a new season! It's in NYC this year. I'll try to keep the contestants straight.

Fabio is from Italy, and he's never been to NYC before.

Jamie Lauren is from San Francisco and she's an executive chef.

Eugene is from Hawaii, lives in Vegas, didn't go to culinary school, and worked himself up from a dishwasher.

Jeffrey is a vain surfer dude from Miami. I instantly dislike him.

Radhika is ethnically Indian, but sounds like she was brought up in the states.

Lauren is a chef in Georgia, and her husband is deployed in Iraq.

Alex and Carla got no real intro, but we hear that Carla is a caterer later.

Ariane is an executive chef and a mom from New Jersey.

Daniel is from Long Island, and works as a Chef de Cuisine.

Patrick is at CIA and is a former classmate of Lauren's.

Stefan is from Finland, but has lived all over Europe.

Richard's "inner queen" (yes, he said that) wants to see what Padme is wearing.

Leah vows not to cry.

At least Melissa was not even mentioned. Perhaps others.

Their first Quickfire challenge comes right off. One person is going to be cut right away. Whoever is last, they are gone.

Round 1: Peel 15 apples with a paring knife, no peeler, to Tom's specifications.

First 9 will be safe, the remaining 8 go int the next round.

Hosea says that he has entered a lot of cooking competitions in the past few years and has won them all, so he's not worried.

Someone cut through his thumb (Richard) and didn't quit.

Stefan is the first one done, and won immunity, and then is followed by a slew of others. Blood and all, Richard (I think) made it.

Round 2: 2 cups of brunoise the apples (a very small dice, and Tom says it has to be perfect). 4 will be safe.

Jill, who got no intro, had some issues with her first try, but made it through as the final spot in this round.

Lauren, Pat, Radika, and Leah move on to Round 3: To cook something in 20 minutes with the apples to convince Tom that they deserve to be in the competition.

Lauren made a salad with bacon, apples, blue cheese, spinach, and orange.

Pat also made a salad - an apple slaw.

Radhika made a pork with apple chutney.

Leah made a scallop dish with lots of apple through it.

Leah was immediately safe from elimination. Radhika joined her in safety. The two classmates and salad chefs are in trouble.

Lauren is gone. It's a shame, because I thought she had a good personality, but I guess not the cooking chops.

For the elimination challenge, and they pull knives, each with different locations around NYC, paired up. Each pair will cook against each other with dishes inspired by their part of the city. Chefs with winning dishes will be safe, and losing dishes will be up for elimination. (One

Their apartments are incredible.

Pat, Richard, and Jamie call themselves "Team Rainbow" as the gays and lesbian of the show. Stefan and Fabio bond over being European, but Fabio gets on everyone's nerves, and Daniel thinks they are snobby.

Everyone is trying to get to know their partner, and trying to figure out recipes. Richard and Jamie are going head to head (he calls her "my little lesbian friend"). Carla wants to be led by her spirit guide for her recipe.

Fabio and Jeff are going up against each other doing Latin food. Jeff is feeling sure of himself.

I lost track of who is doing what cuisine, but I do think it is really neat that each group gets to go shopping in their specific area of NYC. I wanted to crawl into the Indian store, because it is my favorite kind of food to cook. Eugene has never cooked Indian food before in his life, she he is nervous.

I can't wait to see what they come up with.

In the kitchen, there is predictable chaos. Some people look right at home, and others are floundering.

Pat was using black rice noodles, which he had never cooked with before, and they turned out gummier than he was thinking of. Jeff was very cocky in the beginning, and then his time rand down and he ran out of time to plate everything.

Jean-George Van Grishman (I'm sure slaughtered) joins Padme, Gayle, and Tom in the judging.

First up is Long Island City - Middle Eastern

Ariane made a Crusted rack of lamb with farro risotto and dates with chickpeas. She told the judges she was completely unfamiliar with middle eastern food. Don't admit you have no idea what you are doing! That is pretty much never ok.

Stefan made Lamb chops with Tabouli Salad and a beef skewer.

Gayle liked the lamb on Ariane's side, but not the farro. The judges really loved Stefan's dish, and he went to the winner's side of the challenge, sending Ariane to the losing side.

Next up is Team Greek.

Richard (who commented in his interview segment that Tom is a cutie with great eyes - and I cannot disagree - saying he would "buy him a drink if I saw him in the bar." I hope that Richard sticks around, because he is a good character) made a Greek Style Lamb slider, and a greek orzo pasta salad.

Jamie made Eggplant puree, seared bass, and a wild arugula salad.

Jamie's dish was a winner, because Richard's lamb was overcooked and dry.

Team Jamaica is up next.

Jill made plantain fritters and jerk spiced scallops, with three sauces.

Radhika made jerk rubbed halibut on top fo three bean rice with a mango salad.

Neither of these is really stellar, but Jill edges Radhika out.

Latin Cuisine is up next.

Fabio made a mango and jalapeno demi-glace pork with mushrooms & avocado salad.

Jeff made coffee seared pork tenderloin with smoked plantain, black beans and rice.

Both are criticized for their plating, and it's a split vote, with Tom prefering Fabio's dish, but Jeff is sent to the higher scoring side of the board.

It's time for Russian cuisine from Brighton Beach.

Hosea made smoked fish trio with caviar and creme fraiche and apple chutney.

Carla made smoked trout and salmon cake with potato latke, with caviar and Russian sour cream.

Hosea's dish was called Culinarily Eloquent. Nice.

Little Italy is up next.

Leah made a Farro Risotto with Seared red snapper and mushrooms.

Melissa made a seared rib eye steak, arugula salad, fried mushrooms, and tomato sauce.

Melissa's lack of enough salt and pepper sent her to the losing side of the board.

Chinese is up next.

Daniel made a poached chicken salad with bok choy, shitake mushrooms, and fried wontons.

Pat made seared salmon, bok choy, black rice noodles, and soy and sesame.

Pat's gummy noodles are a problem. Daniel's salad is called unoriginal, but he's safe.

Next is Indian.

Alex made grilled lamb chops, spicy ragout, and basmati rice.

Eugene made Masala rubbed lamb with basmati & tzaziki.

Eugene's dish is a winner, and Alex is in the bottom. Padma said that without knowing it, Eugene had prepared a dish that is in all South Indian homes. Good job to him.

First back to the judges table, are Stefan, Eugene, and Leah. From the losing group, Pat and Ariane are going back. Stefan is the winner of the first challenge, and the judges say that all but one season, the winner of the first challenge has gone on to be the winner. Wow, didn't know that little tidbit.

Ariane said that when she was planning, she just looked around the store to find what there was the most of, and figured they were popular and would go together. Patrick's problem was that he didn't really make the dish taste Chinese. Tom called it cliche sanitized Chinese. The fact that Ariane is from New Jersey and doesn't know cuisine that is available right in her own back yard works against her. It also didn't help her defense that she said "well, I have books for that!"

The judges said it was lack of technique vs. lack of inspiration. In the end, Patrick is gone, and Team Rainbow is split before it even had a chance to gel. He's so young, he can just go back to school I suppose. He left with a leaping hug for Richard, and I wish he had stuck around because he would have been fun to watch.

Looking soooo forward to this season. Who do you like best off the bat? I think Stefan has a good chance, but of course, I do like Scandinavians. It's a weakness. Some sort of ethnic imperative.

If I have time tomorrow, I will format this tomorrow.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Amazing Race - 11.9.08

In New Delhi, India, the teams are at the Bahai House, the pit stop. From there, they head to Deshbandu Apartments, find the central park there, and get their next clue. Nick and Starr head out first, followed by Kelly and Christy. Nick and Starr say that their strategy is little white lies, and Kelly and Christy strategize on the proper hair do for India. They decide that their hair up is better. Dallas and Toni are off next, and Sarah and Terence are next. Meanwhile, Kelly and Christy decide which one of the frat boys they would make out with if they had to. Seriously, they are the kind of girls that I hates in high school. And college. And junior high. And now. Ugh. The Frat Boys and Ken and Tina bring up the rear.

Arriving first at the apartments, Nick and Starr are first to the Roadblock.

One person from a team have to take place in the traditional Holi Water. This basically involves being pelted with powdered dye and water while trying to climb to the top of a pole and search through hundreds of envelopes marked "Try Again" for one of six labeled "Amazing Race."

Starr managed to get through without being too colorful.

The next stop is the Charity Birds hospital. As they headed out, Nick got whacked with some fuschia dye. Oops.

Dallas begins his search, and Kelly and Christy on their way declare that India is smelly. Yup, hate them. Dallas did a good job and seemed to get through with most of his original color intact.

Kelly did the Roadblock for the Divorced Bitches team, and I couldn't help but cackle at how much dye she got pelted with. She was completely covered and had to take a water break. They again failed at the reading of the clue and Kelly ran each envelope back to Christy before opening it.

Terence and Sarah arrived next, and Terence did the Roadblock. In a bit of hilarity, he said to her "Who's my girl?" and she said "You are! I mean, I am!" He turned completely fuschia and they were on their way. He complained relentlessly about the dye he breathed in, but I expected as much.

While Kelly continued to suck at the reading of the clue, the Frat Boys speedily did the task. They said it was like a crazy rave that the chicks didn't go to, since it was men throwing the dye.
Kelly ran back out and did a header into the dye and declared the task to just be too hard. Maybe if she was doing it right, she wouldn't be sucking so badly. Finally, they decided to actually read the clue and found it pretty quickly. Unfortunately, they didn't have their taxi stay and no one wanted to take them all dyed up.

Ken and Tina arrived seemingly just as the girls were trying to leave, and Ken did the task. Tina got pelted with dye as well, and ended up a lovely shade of green. She declared everyone a bunch of morons. Nice.

At the Bird Hospital, Nick and Starr arrived first, to find that they had to search, barefoot (in respect for the temple) through the rows of bird cages, for their next clue, which is a Detour.

Bleary Eyed - Follow a power line and keep track of the specific sporatic numbered tags along the line, then give a man at a stall the list of correct numbers. If they are right, they get a little electic Ganesh (elephant god statue) to plug in across the street and light up for their next clue.
Yipes, that one looks really hard. The power lines are all tangled together and the tags are very small.

Teary Eyed - Teams have to go to a spice market and carry two 40 lb bags of dried chilis to another place 1/4 mile away. They have to crush the chilis to fill a container. These are hot chilis, and they could be in for some pain.

Nick and Starr did Bleary Eyed, as did Dallas and Toni.

Terence and Sarah are disturbing the poor birds in the hospital (Classic - "These birds are really messed up, babe," Terence said. "That's why it's a bird hospital, babe.") They went to Teary Eyed. The Frat boys went to Bleary Eyed.

Meanwhile, Kelly and Christy made jerks of themselves by making faces at passers by in the taxi. Their driver looked like he wanted to punch them. So did I. Ugh.

Ken and Tina hit their Speedbump, for coming in last on the non-elimination leg. They have to serve Holy Water at a temple, until there are no more temple goers desiring water. That is a tough one.

Kelly and Christy went for Bleary Eyed.

Dallas and Toni and Nick and Starr ended up working together on the task (after Nick and Starr tried to do it on their own and decided it was too hard). Terence and Sarah started on the chilis, and complained about how heavy it was, then how spicy it was. Kelly and Christy were in a bike taxi, and their driver was pointing out sights to them. Not so helpful. When they got to the street with the power line, they had the taxi go down the street with them looking. Not sure that was allowed.

Ken and Tina spent a lot of time serving water, and didn't seem particularly reverent, but did their task, and headed back to the Bird Hospital.

Nick and Starr and Dallas and Toni finished up the task and headed off to the Pit Stop.

Crushing peppers, Sarah and Terence felt like complaining some more, and Sarah said that she didn't think that the shop owner was very nice or generous with his evaluations. She doesn't seem to understand that it's the same type of thing he probably does every day. Sarah wished that some other teams were their suffering with them. Spread the wealth.

Andrew and Dan and Kelly and Christy both get numbers missing in their lists. I think they were looking at the wrong numbers entirely.

Nick and Starr fought through the traffic and got to the Pit Stop first, winning a trip to Hawaii. Dallas and Toni arrived next.

Andrew and Dan were still getting their sequence wrong, and Kelly and Christy complained about how hard the task was. Meanwhile, Ken and Tina arrived at the task. Andrew and Dan offered to work with Christy and Kelly, but they declined. Ken and Tina finished their first run down the street quickly, and Kelly and Christy were getting their numbers checked when they got to the man to check it, and the Not So Super Divorcees held up fabric so that Ken and Tina couldn't see their numbers. So infantile. Ugh.

They were wrong again, of course, since they aren't even looking at the right numbers.

Ken and Tina got it right the first time. Terence and Sarah also finished their task, and Sarah proclaimed that if someone told her that putting cow poo on herself to make her feel better, she would do it. Sadistically, I wish that someone would tell her that.

Ken and Tina helped Dan and Andrew out by telling them to look for the little tags, and Kelly and Christy figured out their error at the same time. They both got their clues to the Pit Stop at about the same time.

Tina looks kind of nice with green hair. It was a good job of thorough dying on the part of the dye pelters.

Christy and Kelly complained about the traffic and that "India has a lot of people, it's gross." I hate people like them. Joyfully, they came in last, and they are gone gone gone. I will not miss them even a little. Goodbye.

(I'll try to format tomorrow)

There is a Fast Forward next week, and it looks like a close one. Can't wait for it.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Survivor Gabon: Probst Blogs!

Check it out - very cool.

But still read my blog. I need love, too.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Survivor Gabon: 11.6.08

After Kota's tribal council, Randy said that this Tribal Council was hard unlike the other ones he's gone to. Susie immediately started snickering, and Randy took offense. Marcus said that they need to find the weaknesses and fix them. This weakness, according to Corrine, and Marcus and Charlie, is Susie. She seems to be deluded into thinking that she has all the power. Hmm. Wonder where she gets that idea.

Fang is back from their Tribal, and Sugar is feeling pleased with herself (with reason). Matty was stunned. Sugar wisely said that she trusts Ken a lot more than she trusted Ace. Crystal seems kind of cocky and says that Matty has the chance to clear the slate. Ken says that he has a plan for the Fang Four to be the Final Four. I wouldn't mind seeing Ken and Sugar there, but I don't particularly want to see Crystal or Matty there.

Corrine is still out for revenge on Susie, and it's ominous tree mail. Time for a beach bash, and it's looking like a merge with lots of food. I'm guessing this is not the straight forward merge it looks like. That would be too easy.

The feast is definitely amazing looking. Chicken wings, mangoes, fruits, veggies, meatloaf.... The Starving Fang is thrilled.

There is a big ol' box on the table with a not for them not to open it until they are done eating. Under the box was a clue for a new hidden immunity idol. Ken spied it first, but then Charlie shared it with everyone. Marcus said that they should just find the idol and not use it, and Randy said that they should set it free into the ocean. Randy found it in less than 10 seconds. Randy says he doesn't want it, and offered it up to anyone who wanted it. It's the Apple in the Garden, according to everyone.

They tied it to a wine bottle, and tossed it out into the ocean. Randy declared himself King of Gabon, because of this plan, but I am not so sure about that. Marcus seemed to be more in charge of the idol situation.

All done with their feast, they opened the box.

Note #1 - 10 numbered stones are in a bag. Each tribe member grabbed a stone without looking.

Note #2 - They are two new tribes!! Ha ha. Odd numbers = Fang, Even numbers = Kota.

Time to go back to their respective camps.

New Kota = Bob, Marcus, Susie, Crystal, Ken

New Fang = Randy, Charlie, Corrine, Matty, Sugar

Marcus is feeling very sure of himself, and Susie is feeling very sure of herself. Crystal is worried.

Pointedly, there was a camera shot of the idol floating in the ocean.

Over at the new Kota, it turns out that one of Marcus' best friends is Crystal's cousin. They decide to form a loose alliance. She says that she won't write his name, Bob's name, or Ken's name. We'll see about that.

At the new Fang, Charlie plans on sticking with Corrine and Randy. Corrine wants to boot Matty. Matty has a chat with Sugar and tells her that she was tricked into getting rid of Ace, and she feels terrible. I do not.

Crystal is off with Susie, and seems amazed that Susie is doing work. Marcus is confident in Bob, but not in Susie, who seems willing to flip no matter what.

Corrine and Randy and Charlie are talking about the survival of the Onion. Randy has no faith in Sugar's intelligence, and thinks there is a "one in a million" chance that she has the idol. Much higher than that, Randy. Cocky ass.

The Challenge is for whole tribal immunity. They have to hold two poles on the tops of their outstretched hands to hold an overhead board. Drop a hand even a little, the board drops. Winner gets immunity for the entire tribe.

Crystal barely gets her hands under the boards before she drops them. She's out in about a second. No exageration. Sugar lasts about 10 seconds. Susie is down next. Randy and Corrine are down next, followed by Ken. Bob and Marcus are left for Kota, followed by Charlie and Matty. Marcus loses is, and Bob is totally The Man. I'm in love with him a little. Charlie is out. Matty is making obnoxious sounds to try to distract Bob, but only managed to make his own poles slip further. He managed to hold onto it long enough for Bob to lose it, so Kota is going to Tribal Council. Still, Bob is officially The Man.

Trying to figure out who to boot on Kota, Marcus is trying to bring Crystal into the Kota Six, instead of Susie, but at this point he wants to get rid of Ken. Crystal is not liking that idea so much. He says the best thing about her screwing up at challenges is that no one thinks she is intimidating anymore. bwah ha ha. So true.

Marcus then went to talk to Susie and tells her that they need to get rid of Crystal. Crystal went to Ken and told him that they want to vote him out. They need to talk Susie into keeping Ken. Crystal talked to Susie and let her know that the Onion Core doesn't really like her, so bringing her to the final three with them probably wasn't going to happen.

Nothing seems decided on the way to Tribal. Sadly, I don't see Susie going at this point, and she is annoying and kind of nuts.

Tribal Council.

Probst asked Crystal what it's like at Kota. She said it fees like Corporate Espionage, as opposed to living in the Projects over at Fang, trying to survive desperately. Ken called Marcus out for being a mastermind. Bob says that his vote is clearcut. Susie said "I've made my decision, and I'm ok with it." Ominous.

The first member of the jury is Marcus. Charlie is going to be so sad. I am actually hoping that somehow Bob makes it to the end, because I am in love with that man. Still, second blindside in two weeks, and I do like Ken a lot, so am glad to see him stay.

A good episode - I'm glad that they didn't do a straight merge. It makes it a lot mroe unpredictable and the strategy of shaking everyone up at this point, just when they were getting settled into their final game plans - fascinating.

Next week looks interesting - and I'm happy that Marcus at least made the jury. If he had somehow pocketed the Hidden Immunity Idol instead of tossing it in the ocean, wouldn't that have been interesting? I found it interesting that Probst didn't ask them about that (on camera) at all.

What happens if they actually merge next week? Will Bob be able to survive? Please?