Monday, November 28, 2011

Amazing Race 17, Episode 10

Cathi and Bill were very nice, I really liked them but they lacked hustle. (Exhibit A: the first episode where they wandered around Taipei for hours and make me very shouty.) I think they were pretty tired, too. Killer Fatigue must be brutal by this point in the race. But anyone who can rock a bikini and speedo in their sixties like those two did totally get kudos from me.

It's about this time watching the opening credits when I find myself saying "hey, remember them? I forgot they were even on this thing!"

When that band was playing in the little pavilion at the Non-Pit-Stop, were they all playing the same tune?

I would have loved that Roadblock; I thought it looked like so much fun! (Thing 2: "That's because you drive like that every frigging day.") Any legit reason to do donuts is fine by me. And just to tell you, doing donuts in a K-Mark parking lot at 1 am in January is ridiculously easy and not for the faint of whip around really fast on icy ground, and that will make you puke faster than a tea-cup ride at Legoland.

There is a tv show here called "Canada's Worst Driver", and which is fabulous by the way, it will make you feel incredibly and vastly superior to almost every person on it. They make people do slaloms all the time, and you wouldn't believe the number of people who cannot, cannot do it. They take 20, 30 tries at it and still carreen wildly out of control or hit every single pylon. I love that show.

Why was Cindy wearing a helmet while she waited for Ernie to do the Roadblock. Is there a danger of head injuries while sitting in a tire that I'm not aware of?

I loved the teams snarking on Lawrence while they built those rafts. He must have been a real pleasure to be around.

You know, I spend two weeks travelling around three countries in Europe with my family this summer, and there were several times when I was so tired and overwhelmed and weary that I wanted to curl up in a subway station and cry. I can't imagine how exhausted and pooped these guys must be. I liked Marcus's little pep talk to himself; that was cute. And even cuter was Amani's little smile while he was doing it. I have a major girl-crush on that woman.

I don't think anyone was more relieved when Jeremy and Sandy got that waffle thing right than that 14 year old judge. He was practically crying when they said they might do the other task. I would have been very hard pressed not to take a few waffles with me, for a snack later.

Atomium! I was hoping they would go there!

The greeter looked like maybe she was Jimmy Neutron's older sister who ran off to become a stewardess.

Until next week!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Amazing Race 19, Episode 9

Man, of all the tasks they've had in 19 seasons of this race, I think the bodybuilding task will go down as the most soul-destroying. That is the first time Thing 1 and I have ever looked at each other and said "maybe we aren't cut out to be racers".
I'm just glad Lawrence wasn't there.
Apart from the idea of Lawrence in a speedo making me queasier than doing a puzzle on a tea-cup ride, I can just hear him going on and on about how his being the front man in a rock and roll band prepared him for posing semi-nude, and how Zac sucks at it.

Note to self: on "List of Preparations to Particpate in the Amazing Race", add "full body wax" to "know how to drive a manual transmission", "be able to read a map" and "learn Chinese".

I now have a full-fledged girl crush on Amani. I lurve that woman. Not only is she competent, calm and capable of anything, she does it all without any drama or whining. She kicks all kinds of ass, and I want to be her when I grow up.
And she puts up with Marcus relating every. single. damn. experience to being in the NFL without losing her shit and beating the snot out of him.

I can tell you, from personal experience, that riding a bike on cobblestones is really very unpleasant. Not only is it freaking hard work, it will rattle the fillings right out of your teeth, and your eyeballs are bouncing around in your head so much it's hard to see where you are going.

Nice to see Willie Wonka getting some work after Charlie took over the Chocolate Factory.

I want to go to Legoland!!

I'm a little disappointed that Sandy didn't throw up after all that talk about it. She kept promising.

Who knew that the Snowboarders' Achilles heels would be drama and speedos?

Until next week!

full body wax in preparaton cath's former students
i want to look like cathi
amani really does kick all kinds of ass

Monday, November 14, 2011

Amazing Race 19, Episode 8

First of all, Ernie, first place was NOT STOLEN from you last week, you LOST it. Someone else got to the mat first. That's how a race works. Secondly, it was not yours to begin with, so no one can "steal" that from you. Maybe if you were an "A" student you would have got that.

Thing 1 and I were all "I've been to that airport in Amsterdam!!", even though all airports look pretty much alike, and we didn't see anything remotely familiar in that footage. But we were there! About a month after this was shot! (I wonder if Marcus and Amani got any cute windmill fridge magnets, like we did.)

Man, I love Marcus and Amani, I really do, but they are making it very hard for me to keep loving them when they make such freaking stupid mistakes. When the clue says "you may search for other flights" it means "get off your ass and look for a better flight because there is one! Or two! Maybe even three!! Seriously, get moving!!"
And dude, if you are lost, you have already lost control of the situation. Suck it up and ask.

God, I'm glad Lawrence is out, only because I got tired of that egotistical blowhard tooting his own horn. If he's so freaking good at everything, why did he let Zac do most of the Roadblocks? And somehow, fronting a rock and roll band (I'll bet it was the Beatles!!) has very little to do with Renaissance Danish dancing, methinks.
Also, I'm glad Lawrence is out because it will spare us the sight of him in a Speedo next week.

Speckles for the win! How cute was that bunny? (I guess all bunnies are inherently cute; they're bunnies!) But Speckles really seemed to turn it on for the racers.
And how cute was Marcus cheering on the bunny and giving him a pep talk? When he came up to the cages and said "is that a rabbit", when it clearly wasn't an elephant, Thing 1 remarked "he's been travelling a lot, and had a rough day".
And I really got a kick out of Phil and the bunny steeplechase....he seemed to really be enjoying himself. Phil, not the bunny.

I think I know why Cindy U-Turned Bill and Cathi, and not the more obvious choice of the snowboarders: because Bill and Cathi were the biggest threat to her getting a first place finish, and nothing in the world is more important than a first place finish! I'm still glad Cathi and Bill came in second, not bad for being U-Turned.

How the hell did Zac get himself all around the world in a yacht by himself when he can't get around Copenhagen with a map and signposts?

I kept expecting the guy at the Pitstop to bust out into the "Spongebob" theme.

Until next week!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Heart to Heart

No one ever hangs around a hospital for fun, but somehow, everyone seems to have to spend some time there,whether they like it or not.

My father has been having heart trouble for the last few years, and it finally got bad enough that he had to have surgery. He's never had surgery in his life before, and for his first one, he sure picked a doozy, a triple by-pass. He came through the initial surgery just fine, and then they had to go back in and repair something else the next day. Two heart surgeries in twenty-four hours is hard on any body, but particularly tough on a 76 year-old body.
He did spend a night in the hospital a few years ago, to shock his heart into normal rhythm when it was rattling away like a roller coaster. He didn't like it much, and has spent a great deal of time avoiding going to a hospital ever since.

I find hospitals endlessly fascinating, mostly because I'm rarely in one, and am dying to know what's going on in all the other rooms.
Also, I suspect I watch too many medical tv shows, and have an idea that wildly interesting things are going on in other rooms.
I am always wanting to know what that machine is for and what does that number mean and what does that noise mena and where did the nurse grow up and what is she getting her boyfriend for Christmas. I went up to sit with my dad for the afternoon, so my mom could go and do a few things, and just as I got there, they took dad up for some x-rays. So I chatted to the man in the next bed and his wife, and I learned all about them. (And they had a dog! In the hospital! She was a lovely little dog and very well behaved, but I've never seen a dog in a hospital before. I'm not even sure they do that in France.)

It's hard to see someone you love vulnerable and diminished in a hospital bed. Especially someone you've never seen in a hospital bed before. (And why does everyone look so small in a hospital bed? )But he's doing well and coming along just fine.

We are hoping he will be home next week sometime. My friend Kelly, who's own father was in and out of the hospital a lot the last year of his life, says that when someone you love first comes home from major surgery, you're so happy to have them there you'd do anything for them, and then within a couple of days, you're back to treating them like you always have. In her words, "things go quickly from "Yes, of course, I will happily drive an hour out of my way to go get those imported kumquats from the Congo that you like" to "you'll eat the damn apples from No-Frills I bought the other day and you'll like it."" I'll be sure to treasure the honeymoon while it lasts.

If the heart surgery doesn't kill him, the hospital food might.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Amazing Race 19, Episode 7

I officially LOVE Marcus. And I'm pretty hot on Amani, too. But he totally won me over with his appreciation of that two hour bus ride, being able to take it all in and enjoying it so much. Plus, no one else could have carried 8 people through the water without getting them wet.

Man, I was hoping Marcus and Amani didn't get U-Turned....that would have broken my heart. In the end, they did get U-Turned, but it was moo. (Joey, "Friends": " "Moo", it's like, a cow's opinion. It doesn't matter. It's "moo". ") Colour me confused, but HOW did Lawrence think that Marcus and Amani were behind them? He saw them five seconds earlier going away from the U-Turn station.

Speaking of Lawrence, I wouldn't have blamed Zac one bit if he had hauled off and beaned his dad in the head with that paddle. If Lawrence knew how to steer the canoe, then why wasn't he in the back? Oh, that's right, because Lawrence knows how to do everything, and no one else is as awesome as he is. Zac is a saint.

Those slidey puzzles are my Kriptonite; I cannot do them. And after a bad night's sleep, a crowded two-hour bus ride and with 40 people hanging over my shoulder, plus the pressure of keeping out of last place? I would have laid down and wept. And they did it without cussing or bitching or losing their shit altogether.
I especially loved Amani when Marcus was giving his "NFL" pep talk to the cab driver, which I'm sure she's heard like a million times, and she still thought it was hilarious.

Poor Jennifer, that killer fatigue really did a number on her...."I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do so I'll stand around with my thumb up my ass for a very long time." I've had that brain seizure from time to time, and I'm pretty thankful no one else has to put up with me but me when it happens. And I'm ususally not on television, either.

I don't blame Cindy and Ernie for using the Express Pass this leg of the race; it expires next leg and they may as well use it to get out of doing something they thought they couldn't handle. But the whining about not being first? They get no sympathy from doesn't matter if you're first, you just have to not be last. Besides, the snowboarders were right, Cindy and Ernie wouldn't have first place away, either. AND Tommy and Andy won after completing the canoe task and beating them in a foot race....they rocked this leg.
You just know all the people back home who have to deal with Cindy's over-acheiving, hyper-prefectionism every single day are whooping and hollering with glee.

If anyone had been U-Turned (and it had mattered) they'd have been out for sure. That hauling stuff from the boat task would have been impossible for anyone else but Marcus....can you imagine the Grandparents doing that?

Just to tell you, Justin pinged my gaydar right from Day One. Just sayin'.

Next week: Bunny show jumping in Denmark! How weirdly awesome is that!?!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Halloween used to be a MUCH bigger deal when I had kids out it's just a couple of hours of hanging out in the kitchen and answering the door every now and again.

The girls are too old to go out getting candy anymore....Thing 1 stayed home and answered the door with me, and Thing 2 went to a friend's house. (Where they watched scary movies and screamed themselves hoarse. I'm so glad they were at the friend's house.) Last year they went out together; Thing 2 had the brilliant idea of dressing up as Wayne and Garth from "Wayne's World", and Thing 1 had to go because what is Wayne without Garth? They said a couple of 40 year old dads were thrilled at their get-ups, but a couple of cranky old ladies snarked "is that even a costume?". (Thing 1 was offended...."like I'd ever be caught dead in real life dressed like this!")

They both dressed up for school; Thing 1 went as a flapper (and a very pretty one, at that) and Thing 2 went as a fairy princess, a good excuse to wear her grad dress and high heels again, just add a tiara and wings and, voila!

Thing 1's best friend is VERY into her Halloween costumes, and makes magnificent ones. One year she went as Pac-Man ("no more costumes with no arms!") and last year, she was a Lego man, and THIS year, she went as a dragon:

40 pieces of bristol board, 4 rolls of tape, 4 metal frames and one very, very focused teenage girl. Note that the horns are touching the cafeteria ceiling. Also note the considerably shorter door she has to exit the cafeteria from on the right of the picture.

We had the usual 3 and 4 year olds, looking particularly adorable, at around 6 pm, and then the kids getting older and older as the night wore on. One little guy, a toddler, was way more interested in Toby than the treats, and another kid declared "I LOVE this house" after we gave her a large handful of Starburst Fruit Chews and Skittles.
At around 8 pm, I heard someone say "hey, there's Toby!", so I knew it had to be one of the girls' friends. Sure enough, three rather large young men, wearing hoodies as costumes, came to to the door. They were careful to pull down their hoods to hide their faces, but Mrs. Loudshoes is a hard-ass (as they should well know from many years of pizza days at school) and demanded full disclosure. "How do I know who I'm doling out to, if I don't know who you are?" I said. "What if I was unwittingly giving out Halloween candy to Al-Quida?" They all gave in pretty fast; who knew their price was a handful of Starburst Fruit Chews and Skittles?

We got about 30 kids altogether, which means that we have lots of candy left over. So I had Starburst Fruit Chews for dinner. How come it doesn't feel so bad to eat your weight in candy when you have to unwrap 72 little portions?

Bring on Christmas!