Monday, October 31, 2011

Amazing Race 19, Episode 6

They've really front-loaded the Non-Elimination Legs this time, huh? But I like Marcus and Amani, so I'm not going to get too snarky about it. I figured it was a Non-Elimination Leg when I found out they would be sleeping in the remote African would be hard to get that team to Sequesterville.

Jennifer and Justin have redeemed themselves a bit....after the first couple of episodes, I thought they'd be bickering and arguing their way around the world, but they seem to have calmed down and get the job done.

Jeremy mentioned at the beginning of the episode that he and Sandy went on this show to "figure out what their (8 month) relationship is all about". Good God, man, give your head a shake. I've been with the Mister for over 20 years, and we've been through all kinds of travelling and babies and re-decorating and shit together, and we STILL don't know what our relationship is all about. Good luck with that.

Definition of Irony: There was a "No Smoking" sign in the tobacco warehouse.

Best Line of the Night: from Bill: "When it's time to cut the hay, it's time to cut the hay". I have no idea what that means, but it sure sounded deep.
Also, Cathy said "I hoped I could go a whole day without bruises."

Did anyone else notice the similarities between the racers' warehouse uniforms and prison jumpsuits?

Thing 1 and I were joyously shouting about the sewing task; we'd rock that. And who knew Marcus's grandmother's skills would help him out so much?

Lawrence is fast becoming my least favorite racer....what an ass. You know, for someone so pompous and full of himself, he's not exactly the most stellar performer here; to hear him talk, he's Indiana Jones. He can't even read the clues right, and he doesn't seem to let his son at them, either.
And don't even get me started on the "you're a woman, why aren't you sewing" schtick. Ass.
I also liked the bit where he was at the truck-building task and said something like "I'd love to spend more time with these children" and then the next shot saw him snatching the clue out of that kid's hands.

Speaking of trucks-building, I know what every kid on my Christmas list is getting this year.

The bed falling on top of Cindy and her laughing about it was certainly the episode's highlight for me....I thought she'd whine about it, but she took it pretty well.

Seriously, not ONE Madonna joke at that school? No one said anything about picking up a kid and taking him or her home? Thing 1 and I couldn't stop ourselves, once we got started.

There wasn't much of a chance for anyone to change their position, once they got off that plane. I wonder if Tommy and Andy will win this whole thing because someone else made a mistake.

Until next week!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Slip Sliding Away

Way back when, when I was in University, I caught the bus to campus one very rainy day. It was about this time of year, and it had been a wet autumn.

It was the middle of the morning, and there weren't too many people on the bus. There was a row of single seats on one side of the bus, some doubles on the other side, and some benches at the back. I was at the very back, facing forward, and a middle-aged woman sitting in the singles near the middle. There was only one or two other people on board, all ahead of her and I, up near the driver.

As I said, it was a really rainy day, and everything was pretty wet. The woman sitting in the single seats was wearing a longish yellow rain slicker.

At one point, the bus made a hard, fast right turn, and the rain on her jacket must have made the seat very slippery, because she shot right off that seat and onto the floor; she didn't even have time to catch herself. It was like she'd been shoved off by invisible hands. She landed right on her bum, and pretty solidly, too, and she made an impressive noise, sort of like an "ooof", but deep and low, like someone had punched a bagpipe in the stomach. One second she was sitting on that bus seat, minding her own business, and the next she was sitting on the floor of the bus in a puddle of water, wondering how the hell that happened.

And the only one to see it all happen....was me. I quickly made like I was looking out the window and didn't see her, because I figured her day was going to go a lot better from here on in if she thought no one was looking. Meanwhile, I was practically herniating myself trying not to laugh. Not only did she shoot off that seat like a cartoon coyote off a cliff, but the noise she made was unlike anything I've ever heard before or since.
I got off a few stops later and couldn't hold it in one more second. I was laughing so hard and so long I gave myself the hiccups. And then I giggled about it every ten minutes for the rest of the day.

You know, that was almost 30 years ago, and I still laugh whenever I think about it.

I'm sure someone else has their own hilarious story that day, about seeing a young woman laughing her fool head off in the pouring rain, all by herself.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Amazing Race 19, Episode 5

Man, Lawrence is a tool, isn't he? He's not Ron, but still. Maybe that kid sailed around the world by himself to get away from his dad for a while.

The Twins bugged the living shit out of me last week with their whining and bitching with the beach umbrellas, but they totally won me over with their enthuisasm and excitement at the elephant Speed Bump.....they were pretty thrilled at shovelling elephant shit. Of course, I did have to turn the sound down there for a bit, since their screeching and squealing was bothering the cat. There's a couple of deaf elephants in Thailand, now.
The way the leg was set up, they had very little chance to catch up, though. I'm glad they at least got to scrub down a baby elephant, since it meant so much to them.

Seriously, how cute are baby elephants? Those little punk hair-dos are bad ass.

I felt a bit sorry for Ernie when he said that he couldn't believe Cindy loved him, because she's and A student and he's not. Because, really, nothing defines partner suitability like your mark in Grade 11 calculus.
And then he was such a dick-wad to that cab driver, and I didn't feel so sorry for him anymore. I think Mr. Phuket Taxi Driver had every right to demand correct payment in the currency of his country, no matter what Cindy and Ernie chose to pay him. And I know U.S. dollars are often accepted in many countries around the world, but no one has to take them, they're not magical beans. And then telling him he was a terrible driver? WTF? I loved the lady who got all up in their faces and offered to call the cops. You go, Anonymous Avenging Transportation Fairy!

Speaking of cab drivers, what was with the guy wearing the wooly purple gloves? Did you notice they matched his cab? I think I would love Thailand.

My snowboarder love dropped a notch this week. I get that you are devoutly Christian, and you can believe anything you want, but saying "it's okay that I'm here because I dont' get any creepy vibes from this psudo-religion, and I know my God is the real one so neener-neener-neener" was a bit hard to listen to. On the other hand, Jennifer impressed me a lot. She showed some actual respect for another religion, while Andy and Tommy gave themselves a pat on the back for being so tolerant of others. But actions speak louder than words, and the snowboarders have given me no other reason to think they are narrow-minded jerks, so I'll give them a pass. They're no Lawrence.

What was with that teacher? "Okay, let me look this up for you, I'll be back in a minute" actually meant "You are of no interest to me, I might be back in an hour or so"? She was the worst helper ever.

No detour this week? And I notice the regular clue boxes are not around this time either....maybe the last task will be to remember what your clues came in? Poor Ernie, if they get to that point; he's going to suck at that.

I loved that nobody (except Smug Justin) thought they were safe this week; they all thought they were fighting to stay in the game. Makes it way more fun to watch when there's no clear front-runner. And seeing everyone's glee when they found out they were at the front of the pack was a riot.

Is this the Amazing Race Around Asia?

Until next week!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I Got The Power

We've had a dull couple of days here, not in terms of the goings-on, but in terms of weather. Autumn in Ontario looks a lot like summer in western Ireland, by the way. It has been cool and wet and grey.
Last night things turned nasty; the wind picked up and the rain came down. It looked a bit like we might start gathering the animals two by two.

We had our two trees in the back yard trimmed last week. Our neighbour to the north asked us (very politely, I might add) back in the summer if we would take a look at the branch that hung over her backyard and threatened her kitchen roof. You know, you live with things for so long, you don't even notice them anymore? When we took a look at that tree, we were surprised at how much it had grown, and readily agreed that it was time we trimmed it. Then we realized that another limb from the second tree hovered right over our bedroom, and would render us paste if it ever fell down. We called the tree guy and paid him a shitload of money so that I could sleep better at night.

Let me tell you, I must told the Mister a dozen times last night that I was so glad we had trimmed those trees. I would have lain in bed all night waiting for the inevitable crash that signalled my untimely death. Most likely, I would have been writing the news story for the next days paper in my head all night, too...."A local woman and her husband were killed last night after a tree limb fell directly through their roof and onto their bed. Neighbours say they had begged the couple to trim the tree for weeks before the storm. The couple's two daughters say their parents were too busy fighting over who would call the tree guy to actually call the tree guy."

We've had the power go off now and again here, no big deal. I remember once the power went off when the girls were about 3 and 5, and they were in the bathtub. As luck would have it, I had just left the bathroom to go grab some towels when the lights went out. The wail and splashing that came from that bathtub would have raised the sounded like bagpipes on the Titanic.
I remember another time being in a movie theater when a thunderstorm turned the lights out. Man, movie theatres are dark. I know they are supposed to be dark, but still, the darkest dark that ever darked was in that theater. And about 100 people just sat there in silence for about 10 seconds wondering if they had just had a stroke and died.
Another time, the power went off when I was in the staff room in the basement at the salon. I was eating lunch and one of the little assistants was doing the laundry in the next room. When it all went black, I heard the most pitiful little whimper from her, and I was able to keep her from losing her shit altogether by calmly talking to her and producing a cigarette lighter. I don't know what she'd have done if she'd been down there by herself. She quit shortly thereafter; I don't know if it was because she was afraid to go down into the basement by herself after that.

It's funny how, when you know the lights are out, you still keep trying to turn them on anyway. I went into our bathroom to brush my teeth and flipped the switch. And then tried it again. And one more time for good measure. All the while pointing my flashlight at it. And then I tried it in the bedroom. Right after I went looking for the tv remote. Some habits are hard to break.

At around 11:15 the lights all came back on, the microwave beeped and the fridge hummed to life again. And the cat that was sleeping on my hip jumped about 10 feet in the air and let out a squawk that made sure I was wide awake too. I went around the house fixing all the clocks that were flashing, and turned off all the lights that were on. And tried to calm down the cat that had burst into flames in my bedroom.

All was fine this morning, no tree limbs down, the power back to normal and a slightly twitchy cat. I keep my phone handy, though, just in case.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Amazing Race 19, Episode 4

I never did get to see last week's episode. Thank God for the internet; at least I got an idea of what happened.

Who knew it was so difficult to pronounce "Phuket"? At least if you are not in th e 6th grade? I'll bet the censors were tearing their hair out...."you're sending them to where??? You have the whole freaking world to choose from and you send them there? What the hell are you doing to us??".

We never did see the fall out from the Twins not having any Thai money. I wonder if that explains their taxi driver's glum expression when they hugged him; that guy looked like his dog just died.

I loved that wobbly pier! I could have bounced around on that all day! I'm kind of surprised nobody fell off it, though.

So, the Twins thought that setting up beach chairs was MORE like lifeguarding than setting up a coral nursery? Hmmmm. And apparently they had a guy that did that anyway. It would appear that neither one had anything to do with hauling lifeless bodies out of a pool. Few things do, really.

You know, if you are "kicking the tires" of your relationship, as Jeremy so charmingly puts it, I think barking at your girlfriend like she's a bad dog is one way to burn out the clutch, so to speak. I'm not sure there are many relationships in which "come here now" is an appropriate phrase, unless, of course, you do happen to be a bad dog, in which case you can go pee in someone's shoes to get your own back.

Tommy and Andy seem to be having a whole lot of fun on this race, which is more than I can say for most of them. Cindy does not appear to have ever had any fun in her entire life (unless, of course, it was scheduled into her Blackberry a couple of weeks ago, and she's allotted exactly 17.3 minutes for it.) Ernie isn't allowed to have any fun; maybe when he has earned it by mastering Portugese and can do his own dental work. Jennifer is too busy whining to have any fun. Justin is with Jennifer, so fun is out altogther. Maybe if Zac and Lawrence smoke a bit of Andy and Tommy's dope they could have some fun.

That greeter looked like a little Thai hillbilly! Did you see the size of him? Phil could have scooped him up and put him in his pocket! Actually, on second viewing, he looked a lot like the Travelocity Travel Gnome....Jerome the Gnome!

If Jennifer ever gave me that look I would punch her in the throat, no questions asked.

Until next week!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The A-Blazing Pace.

We just finished our Thanksgiving weekend here, and I was way too busy stuffing my face and talking to relatives to be able to watch "The Amazing Race" yet. (Fingers crossed that the PVR actually recorded it...that thing can be a bit of a bitch sometimes.)
After work tonight, I have to go to the girls' school and attend an "information session" about trip their drama department is taking to DisneyWorld in the spring. Both girls want to go, so I think it's only fitting that I find out the where, the whens and the how muches. If it sounds like fun, I may volunteer as a chaperone....wouldn't they like that??

I will post about the Race as soon as I can!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Too Bad, So Sad.

Last week was a bit hectic here at Chez Loudshoes; the Mister was bulldozed by another kidney stone attack, which resulted in two trips to the hospital, there was a skunk lurking around our front door all week, which made me very twitchy, and the weather got cold really fast, which meant I had to scramble to find shoes and socks that actually covered my entire foot, something I have not needed in almost 6 months.

While at work last Wednesday, I plugged in the kettle to make my co-worker a cup of tea, and set the Tassimo machine to make myself a cup of coffee. About half way through both processes, the coffee machine sighed heavily and stopped dead, and the kettle swooned and fainted altogether. The ventilation fan stopped, leaving the room in an ominous silence, and the lights went out. I'm no electrical engineer, but I was pretty sure we'd popped a circuit somewhere. I went down into the bowels of the basement to suss out the fuse box (and I do mean bowels...the building the salon is in is about a hundred years old, and the back room in the basement has a dirt floor and has a single naked light bulb and looks like Tiny Tim and his family might have lived there. It's pretty grim.)
Nothing looked out of place.

Normally, I'd have gone home and told the Mister (who wasn't working that day) and had him sort it out the next morning. But he had spent the day in the hospital writhing in pain (they actually gave him morphine, if you can believe it.) and had lost two night's sleep. I made an executive decision and called the electrician we usually deal with.

Our electrician's name is Steve, and he is possibly the most morose, despondent, world-weary man I've ever met. He's about 60 or so, and gives the impression of having been disappointed and disillusioned more times than you could ever count. Until, of course, you call with an electrical problem, wherein he sighs heavily and says he will be right there, and you know you have just added one more stone to the Everest of despair that he has to climb every day. He's like Eeyore.

Steve showed up, disheartened and let down by our electrical system, and indeed, the world at large. He poked around and sighed and stifled a sob once or twice, and quickly got the fan, the lights and the outlet working again. Except, there was a set of lights over the shampoo basins that he could not get to work. He tried this and that, he flicked switches on and off, he had a little cry, and finally gave me a look of deeply wounded disappointment and said he couldn't figure it out. I was afraid he would leave and slit his wrists in his truck.

Just then, the Mister came in. He had been at the hospital again that morning, getting an ultrasound (so that they could tell him he definitely had kidney stones.) and he was able to tell Steve/Eeyore that those lights didn't work because the bulbs had burned out and had not been replaced; people complained that they shone in their eyes when they were getting shampooed.

Poor Steve. He looked at me as though I had drowned his boyhood puppy while eating all his birthday cake. I've never felt so totally responsible for one person's happiness as I did at that moment.

He eventually packed up his stuff and left. I couldn't bear to tell him about the switch we have that nobody knows what it does. Or the light fixture that goes on and off according to it's own whims. (Sometimes we come in in the mornings and it's on for the first time in months. Or it just goes off for no reason at all.) Or the outlet that hates the straight iron. I'm afraid he'd lie down and weep.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Amazing Race 19, Episode 2

Colour me surprised! I thought Ethan and Jenna would go way further than the second leg. I guess starving in the jungle does not train you to read signs.

I would have done just fine last night, because I am physically incapable of NOT reading every. single. sign that comes in front of me. I read them all. In Ontario, they have these blue, historical plaques up all over the place that tell you of some significant event or person that is relevent to that location. My kids groan with dispair every time they see one, because they know I am going to have to go up and read it. In London England, they have plaques on houses where famous people lived. I stopped and read every one, and there are hundreds of them....."Oh, look...Lord Kelvin patented his mirror galvanometer while living here!" You can only imagine how enthusiastically my little quirk was recieved by my family. Anyway, I'd have read that damn sign.

That last twist was excellent! It really changed up the order of the teams. And who knew the Snowboarders and the Showgirls would be the first ones to get it right! See? Reading really IS fundamental!
They all seemed to take the return to the orphanage pretty calmly. I know I'd be cursing up a storm and my head would burst into flames.

You know what's worse than seeing dating couples bicker? Siblings. Because listening to people have the same arguement over and over again that they've been having since they were three is so not entertaining.
Christmas dinner at their house must be a riot.

Did you know Cindy is Asian? That was brand new information for me.

Line of the Night: From Pa undoing the knotted rope: "Like Christmas lights from hell!"

Did anyone else think the drumming at the dancing task sounded a lot like the theme from The Twilight Zone?

Ron and Bill looked more like siblings than any of the siblings do, including the twins. I was never going to be able to tell those two apart.