Survivor: South Pacific Season Thoughts (And How Coach Could Have Won)

A recreation of the logo for the first America...

Those people who really know me know that I am a huge Survivor fan.  I have watched every season and rarely have I ever missed an episode.  I do have to admit that before last season my interest in the show was starting to wane but Boston Rob‘s brilliant game really re-energized my love for the show.  I must admit that when this season started up and they used the same gimmicky crap as last year and were bringing back two former stars of the show I was a little put off.  And when I saw that the two former stars were Ozzy and Coach I was watching with my finger on the remote and ready to change the channel faster than Jeff Probst can don a blue shirt.

I had no problem with Ozzy.  The guy can catch fish in the desert and climb a tree like someone was chasing him.  He also is probably one of the most physically gifted people who have ever been on Survivor.  A truly dominant force in all the challenges.  So I knew that he was going to fit right in on whatever gang he was “jumped” into.

English: Coach Wade, also known as a huge cock...

Coach…Freakin’ Coach, Man.

I told Deb, who really didn’t watch the show before I kind of made her last year, that Coach was going to be right up there in the Crazy Stratosphere like “Pink Panty” Phillip from last year.  This guy had been the epitome of Douchebag in earlier seasons and I knew he wasn’t going to disappoint this year either.  I was pretty sure we would all see his morning routine of “I saw this on TV and I pretend to know what I am doing because it makes me look deep” Tai Chi  while half-naked and alone on a beach.  I was also confident we would all be subjected to his constant Sun Tzu, Shakespeare, [insert your own long dead but highly quotable figure from history here], etc. quotes during his confessionals to let us all know just how much smarter he is than the rest of us.

And he didn’t disappoint either.  I was surprised at how much he toned down the more outrageous aspects of his personality but for the most part it was the same old Coach Wade.

The one aspect of the show this year that I did not see coming was Jesus.

Not sure which one is scarier

The real name of the show for season 23 should have been Survivor:  The Cult of Jesus.  Holy shit, was there a ton of praying on this season or what?  There was so much Jesus-freakery that I almost tuned out at about mid-season.  I know that it was all because of the God-Warrior Schizo Brandon Hantz.  This kid got his entire tribe cult to get in a circle and pray for everything.  And I mean everything.  They prayed before and after absolutely everything.  I am gonna go out on a limb here and say that I am pretty sure that the entire group was getting in a circle and praying before someone headed off into the woods to take a coconut laced dump.  It was almost unbearable.

And if you wanted to have a shot at any money this year you had to drink the Kool-Aid and get in there and get your Jesus-hands dirty.  If you didn’t bow your head and thank Jesus every time the wind blew you were going to be ostracized and have zero chance at seeing the endgame. It was all pretty sickening.  I felt like I was being forced to watch a version of Survivor that was somehow taken over by the 700 Club every Wednesday night.

I wish the producers would have had the foresight to stick some Jewish or Muslim players in the mix.  It would have been incredibly entertaining to see a Holy War erupt on that little island in the South Pacific.

I would like to point out that I did correctly make the prediction that every bit of prayer would stop once Brandon got the boot.  There wasn’t one mention of God by the other players once he was kicked to the curb.  Thank God.

Ozzy Cornell

And then there was Ozzy.

When the season started I wanted nothing more than to see him voted off early.  Especially when my lady kept getting all school girl crushy on him because he looked to be a mixture of Chris Cornell and a dirty pirate.  But about 5 or 6 weeks ago I started really pulling for him to win.  The little beach-hippie was not only surviving over on Redemption Island, he was prospering.  This cat was catching and eating more than the rest of these chumps combined.  So he pretty much had energy to spare at every duel and it really showed.  Ozzy just stomped every single competitor into the ground on his way back into the game when there were  just 5 people left.

You could almost smell the fear in the other four remaining members of The Jesus cult when Ozzy got back into the game.  And you could almost taste it when he won that next Immunity challenge.  It seemed like there was no stopping the Ozzy train as he just steamrolled over everyone on his way to the million dollars.

I have to give credit to Coach, Sophie and Albert for their smart decision at that Tribal Council.  They had to get rid of Rick.  He had no shot at winning at the next challenge and they needed to make sure Ozzy did not win immunity because if he did he would have won the game outright.  That jury wasn’t going to give the money to anyone but Ozzy if he was in the final three and everyone knew it.  So because Sophie was more of a man than Rick…he had to go.

And it turned out to be a brilliant move because Sophie bitch slapped Ozzy right out of the winner’s circle at the next Immunity challenge and pretty much sealed both of their fates.  If they voted Ozzy out…Sophie was going to win, hands down.  She did the least amount to piss off the members of the jury and at this point in the game that is what it is all about.  I honestly don’t think there was any way she wasn’t going to win if Ozzy was voted out.  But…..

The Final Three

Coach could have made things a bit interesting and even given himself an outside chance at winning the game if he just had the balls to stand up to his convictions.  Albert had about the same chances of seeing his name on any of those votes as he did seeing mine because he had pissed off every single member of the jury and there was not going to be any forgiveness during that last tribal council.  The only way Coach had a shot at winning was to vote against Albert and tie up the votes at 2-2 with Ozzy.  He could have (and should have) made a big “Dragonslayer” production out of that vote and make it known to everyone on the jury that he wanted to live up to his “play with the best” credo that he had preached since day one of his first season on the show.

Had Coach voted for Albert and forced the tie-breaker the most likely outcome would have been that Ozzy would have made his fire faster than Albert and been in the final three.  But there really would have been no difference to Coach if Albert or Ozzy were sitting next to him and Sophie up there at the end…he wasn’t going to win.

Oh FFS! More praying?

Now, had Albert beaten Ozzy in that tie-breaker then the outcome of the game would have most likely completely changed.  The jury would have seen Coach live up to his honor and integrity mantra instead of just wading around in the bullshit that it became.  The jury would have seen Coach take a gamble and give Ozzy the shot to win his way to the million.  So because Albert beat Ozzy in the tie-break, the same three people are still sitting in the Final Three but this time I honestly believe that Coach would have received every single vote from the jury for the payday.

Coach making that move (with the Albert beating Ozzy stipulation) was the only way he could have won.  He had to know he wasn’t going to beat Sophie…I knew it, so he had to.   So I don’t see why he didn’t at least give himself a fighting chance.

All in all it was a pretty entertaining season.  I could have done without the constant browbeating by a 19-year-old kid that was replacing his addiction to drugs/booze/gangs/tattoos/etc. with a Jesus addiction but overall it was enjoyable.

I guess I will be back again next year.

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Welcome to the club, Mr. Santo

Ron Santo Field of Dreams

“The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh… people will come Ray. People will most definitely come. ”

Although it came a bit too late for you to see it….Congratulations on Cooperstown, Mr. Santo!  I know you are jumping up and clicking your heels right about now.

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What would you do during a Zombie Apocalypse?

Week 6 of taking care of Deb after she broke her leg during the Run For Your Lives event back in October.  She would totally be in the Red area of this pie chart.


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Happy Veterans Day from an Army Brat

My Young Pop while stationed in Turkey

Yep, I was an Army Brat.

This means that my younger years were unlike anything most people experience.  When I look back on my childhood I sometimes feel like I missed out on some of those things that make up those typical early memories.  I don’t have a house that I grew up in. The one that had the tree house outside and those little hiding places you found under loose floorboards or vents. You know, the house with the kid your age that lived right next door.  The kid that became your life long friend and is about as close as any brother could have been.  The house that was a few blocks from the elementary school you walked to every day.  The house that was just down the road a bit from Grandma and Grandpa’s house. That house that your parents still live in and you visit and relive all those memories whenever there. Nope, I didn’t have that.

We grew up away from our extended family. We had 14 cousins that all lived in the same city that my parents were from in Central Illinois.  All of those kids grew up with each other and to this day are the best of friends.  But going back every couple of years to visit as a kid didn’t develop the strongest of bonds with the rest of the family.  Sure, when we were there we were the center of attention and we loved to head back and visit.  But, at least for me, it always felt like exactly what it was:  a visit.  It always felt great to visit the Grandparents but it was never the home that it was for the rest of the family.

And we moved around a lot.  Because of this, we made some good friends and then they moved away or we did.  And this was back before the internet and mobile communications made the world so much smaller so once they weren’t around they were gone for good.  With no Facebook, Twitter, Skype, texting, and emails there was really only one way to keep in touch and that was through writing letters.  You could use the phone, I guess, but this was back in the days when you would have had to take out a loan to pay for that long distance bill if you tried that.  I can honestly say that I don’t ever remember writing a single letter to a friend that was no longer around.  Looking back on it now, it was kind of shitty of me…but then again, I don’t remember ever receiving any letters either.  Once they were gone…they were just gone for good.

So, yeah, there were some crappy negative aspects of growing up an Army Brat.  Some of those probably left some emotional scars that affect my relationships with other people as an adult.  But you know what? I wouldn’t trade growing up on the move like that for anything because, as far as I’m concerned, the positive aspects rocked.   And here are just a few of the reasons why:

-Was born in a Castle.  Well, not really.  I was born in a town called Kassel in Germany.

-We traveled A LOT!!  This meant long car rides.  But they were long car rides to kick-ass destinations…sometimes while sitting amidst a bunch of cantaloupes (which is why, to this day I still can barely stomach the smell of them)

Check out that safe as shit car seat back in the 70s. 🙂

-Lived in a city that was completely surrounded by the Cold-War enemies, West Berlin.  I remember the bleakness that was the Berlin Wall.  But I also remember that this is where I was when Star Wars was released.  I don’t think any other book or movie was as big a part of my childhood or really my whole life.  It’s what, 35-36 years later and I am still obsessed with pretty much all things Star Wars.

-Went though Checkpoint Charlie into East Berlin for day trips.  Was pretty crazy different on the other side of that wall.

-Went to a real Kris Kindel Market (and have one of the most embarrassing pictures on the planet to prove it…check out the clothes and my Pop’s porn ‘stache)

-Spent a night sitting next to my Pop in our van as we raced through East Germany to make it back to West Germany.

-We were racing time because I needed to catch a bus for a week long Outdoor Adventure Course at Hinterbrand Lodge.  This was a lodge down in the mountains in Bavaria that was once used as a mountain retreat for the Nazi Party.  It was a week away from school for my little group of friends just hanging out in the Alps.

-Lived in the home of Oktoberfest, Munich.

-Spent a few years in one of the most beautiful places on earth: Monterey, California.

-Lived right next door to these big buildings that had lots of cute furry animals that we could walk over and pet in Fort Detrick, Maryland.  Which when I was a kid was some really cool shit…but when I grew up and found out that these animals were all being used for testing all kinds of nasty stuff I am surprised that I don’t have the tumor the size of a fucking football sticking out of my neck right now.  Thanks Mom and Dad.

-Visited Disneyland and stood under the shadow of the iconic Disney Castle.

-Better than that, I visited the castle that the crappy fiberglass one at Disneyland was inspired by:  Neuschwanstein.

-And that wasn’t the only castle we visited while in Europe.  Visited them all up and down the Rhine.  And visiting castles as a young boy = FUCKING AWESOME!

-Had Thanksgiving Pizza in London.

-Had “Strawberries and Cream” in Paris.

-Shot a guy in Reno just to watch him die. (ok not really…but we did go to Circus Circus while passing through)

-Spent 4 years in a gorgeous little river valley town in Germany called Bad Kreuznach that I still miss from time to time.

-During my high school years in Germany, I got to play sports where away games meant overnight trips

-And I could hang out in bars when I was 15 too.  Was quite a culture shock when moving back to the states.

And those are just a few of the highlights.  While most of my extended family have spent their entire lives living within a 100 mile radius of where they were born I was able to travel the world and travel to sometimes live in places that I would never have been able to had my father not been a member of the Armed Forces.

Thanks Pop.

And thanks to all the Dads and Moms out there that are serving or have served their country.

Happy Veterans Day!

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Dr Pepper Ten’s 23 Flavor Combination?

I couldn’t believe it when I saw this commercial the other night:

Dr. Pepper has been around for over 100 years now. A big part of their marketing over those 100+ years has always been that the unique taste comes from a unique 23 flavor combination.  And now they have come out with “Dr. Pepper Ten”, a 10 calorie version of the drink that is supposed to be just for men.  I have no idea why the good folks over at the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group think that a 10 calorie drink is more manly than the zero calories in the already available Diet Dr. Pepper.  The only thing I can think of is that they have modified the 23 flavors to be more mantastic.

So after consulting with several highly trained theoretical faux scientists and spending countless hours breaking down this new beverage to a molecular level, we have determined what those 23 flavors are that make up Dr. Pepper Ten.  As you can see from the results…there is a reason that only men will like this drink.

The 23 Manly Flavors

1.  Bacon
2.  Sweat
3.  Dirt
4.  Football
5.  Old Spice
6.  Steak
7.  Beer
8.  Motor Oil
9.  Sawdust
10. Denim
11.  Fire
12.  Farts
13.  Explosives
14.  Porn
15.  Guns
16.  Socket Wrench Set
17.  BBQ Grill
18.  A DVD Copy of Braveheart and/or The Godfather
19.  Crowbar
20.  A big scar with a good story behind it
21.  WD40
22.  Fresh Cut Grass
23.  And last but not least…Vagina

So go buy some if you think you can handle it.
Pour yourself a nice tall glass with some ice.
Kick back, close your eyes and take a sip….
See if you can taste the manliness.

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Run For Your Lives: 33% of the day was great zOMBie fun.

I wish I could say that the entire day was a blast…but it wasn’t.

Saturday was the Run For Your Lives Obstacle Course Zombie Race. Deb and I had looked forward to this for months and couldn’t wait to get “zombified” and get out on the course to terrorize some runners. (Watch the video at the bottom of the post to see what happened on our day of Zombie adventure)

The basic premise was for runners to navigate a 5k race through various obstacles while also avoiding being “killed” by zombies that would be stumbling or chasing after them. Each runner would start out with a set of flags (a typical flag football belt and flag setup) and the zombies would try to relieve them of said flags as they worked their way through the course.

We were really looking forward to this for months. We spent the night before the race really getting our costumes nice and grimy out behind Deb’s place. We stomped and dragged our clothes through dirt, mud, grass, leaves and puddles to get them that crawled-out-of-the-grave look. Neighbors were really looking at us strange until we explained what we were doing.

The morning of the race we got up extra early and jumped in the car and got on our way. We left 5 hours before our scheduled shift as zombies was to begin. We wanted to make sure we made it the 90 miles with plenty of time to spare so that we could take in the entire experience.

But we were not that fortunate.

We made the first 86 miles with no problem but once we got off the highway the logistical nightmare began. We sat in traffic for nearly 3 hours just to get into the parking area. The parking area was an enormous field of what appeared to be foot deep car devouring mud. Cars were getting stuck everywhere and making navigating to an available spot an adventure.  We had to park so far in the back of the parking area that there wasn’t any mud…but there was 3 foot tall grass to get through instead.

Then, once we found a spot, we had to stand in an hour-long line for the shuttle bus to take us to the event.  By now, we were already beyond our 1pm shift start time.  Without the traffic backup we would have arrived right around 10am…but almost 3 hours had passed and we were just getting on the bus.

And then the bus dropped us off with about a half mile to walk until we reached the check-in area.  Luckily checking in was fast and we were quickly inside the event area and on our way to get into our Zombie gear.

It really didn’t take us all that long to get our clothes changed and rushed through the makeup and blood and grime application process.

Getting into makeup

Getting nice and bloody

And then we were ready to head out to our little hill to try to kill off some runners.

Zombie Deb

The zOMBie

From the moment we stepped onto the course we were having a great time.  Our little area was a hill not to far from the main party area and it was on a pretty severe slope.  The runners would start at the top of the hill and then come barreling down into our group of zombies.  I was slammed into, knocked down and jumped over.  There were also times when I was straight up pummeled with forearms, shoved, punched and kicked.  While we were having a great time stumbling around and trying to grab the flags I do have a few things I would like to ask any future runners to take into consideration:

  • The Zombies aren’t real.  We are just people (like you) out there trying to have a good time.  There is no need to throw punches, stiff arms or knees.  Seriously, the odds that you are going to actually win a prize is so slim that there isn’t really any reason to try and hurt someone volunteering to try and make your race that more enjoyable.
  • Flags on your crotch.  Really?  Do you really think that is going to stop us from trying to grab your flag?  All it did was get all of us zombies together, in an Us vs. Them mentality, and make us want to go after your flags that much more.  After jamming my fingers on about 100 crotch shots I finally decided to go in fist first.  So if I punched you in your junk or slapped you square in the hoo-haw…it is your own fault.
  • Don’t be a cheater.  If your flag gets grabbed just suck it up and move on.  Don’t pick one up off the ground like a little punk.  Also, don’t wrap your flags around your belt, tuck them into your pants or hide them under your low hanging gut and XXXL t-shirt.  Saw so many people doing each of the items above that it was ridiculous.  Have a bit of class.

Even though there were an inordinate amount of dicks barreling down that hill it was still a fantastic time.  The other zombies were making the day so much fun.  That was until Deb had a runner slam into her at full speed and knock her down and out.  She immediately moved off the course saying that her ankle was really hurt.  She was being really tough about it and kept telling me to stay out there and have fun even though I could see she was in some serious pain.  She did take a bunch of videos with the Flip while she was sitting on the sidelines but I felt so bad for her.

After 2 waves of runners had passed and Deb was still hurting we decided it would better to get out of there and make sure her ankle wasn’t messed up bad.  So she leaned on me and we made our way back to the Volunteer shack to see if we could find some help.  We found a couple of nice people who said they were EMTs but I am not really buying it at this point.  Everyone felt that Deb had a pretty bad sprain but we weren’t offered any help other than wrapping up the ankle.

Even though we could see carts zooming passed the doors of the shack every few minutes we were told that they weren’t allowed to give us a lift to the busses to try to make it back to the car.  So we had to slowly start making our way to the busses.  That is a half mile of Deb struggling to take every step and me trying my hardest to carry all of our bags and have most of her leaning on me.  It seemed to take forever but we did make it to the busses and then back to our car.

And after visiting the doctor today we found out that my little soldier did that all on a broken leg.  A broken leg that is more than likely going to have to have surgery to repair.  So yeah, thanks for the help EMTs.

So pretty much, the first third of our day sucked with the traffic and parking situation, the middle third was just awesome and the last third was just ultra shitty.  My poor woman is now going to be laid up for at least a month with this injury and I feel so bad for her.  But this is how cool she is…she said it was all worth it because she loved that middle third so much and she is ready to go again next year.

That is one crazy lady.  And that is why she rocks.

See you again next year Zombies.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Comfort

Comfort: It is what Ripley provides.


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Monday Night Football: Skins vs Cowboys

To All the Redskins Defensive Players,

Please don’t pay attention to this picture.


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Ummm…what? Did I just hear that right?

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Path

This week’s photo challenge is “Path“.  I chose this pic from a walk around Lake Accotink.  This was taken last summer on a little Geocaching afternoon.


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