Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Amazing Race 8

New season, new travelblog: ar8.universeofsynergy.com

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

WOW! What a finish to the race!

I don't know what to say... the finish to the Amazing Race 7 was nothing short of AMAZING!

I have to admit, the first hour of the 2-hour finale was less than incredible. London to Jamaica? What happened to the "race around the world"... I guess it's more "wandering around the world" rather than actually circumnavigating the globe. Oh well, honestly, I liked it... it kept things interesting.

You can't say that Uchenna and Joyce didn't fight through a lot of challenges to win this race, even just in these last legs. First, getting a last-chance reprieve but losing all of their money and merchandise. Their money stretched as far as it could, but the last minute drama of not having enough money to pay the taxi driver while they are wating just a few yards from the finish line was almost the most tragic loss in history. It should be noted that it was that taxi driver who won them the race... unfortunately there must be a distinct rule that does not allow them to tell anyone that they are on the Amazing Race... or that they will win $1 Million Dollars if they just get across the finish line. Hopefully they went back and found that taxi driver and gave him a nice tip. :)

But I really don't think it was as close a finish as it seemed... either a) the taxi driver wasn't as stubborn as the show editing made it seem, or b) Rob and Amber weren't as close as they seemed. I think probably it was a combination of both. But my hat goes off to Uchenna and Joyce for an outstanding finish! I was cheering them all throughout the last legs of the race.

Question? Did the producers monkey with the race? Well, of course they do in small ways... but obviously the pivotal moment in the entire last leg was when the plane from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Miami actually stopped it's push back and came back into the gate to pick up Uchenna and Joyce. Hands down if they had not made it onto that flight, Rob and Amber would have been the winners. It's hard to believe that someone didn't pull some strings to make that happen though. Either the producers wanted to make it close and pulled some strings of their own to get them onto the flight, or U&J begged enough that the fine AmericanAirlines gate attendants convinced the pilot (obviously an American... maybe he was a fan of the Amazing Race?) Well whatever it was, it made it work.

And now that the race is over, I feel obliged to make a few remarks for my loyal readers (all 2 of you...). First, I realize I have been extremely critical of Rob and Amber throughout the course of this season. While I admit I was glad to see that Rob and Amber did not win the race... I seem to recall predicting that they would be in the final 3 teams... and they were. And I have to say they did indeed race an outstanding race, and are excellent game players. I also believe that when you take out the competitiveness of the race, and the no-doubt strategic editing by the show's producers, Rob is probably a perfectly nice guy and I credit both Rob and Amber for being such a good team.

It was nice to see all of the eliminated teams one last time to cheer in the finishers. Congratulations to Uchenna and Joyce!

That will wrap things up until the Amazing Race 8 is ready to roll. To the best of my knowledge, it's taping over the summer (with it's teams of 4 family members) and will air sometime this fall. Could be interesting, but I have to admit I'm skeptical... we'll see. And until then... find something else to watch on Tuesday night. :)

Thanks for reading over these past months...

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

YO-Leg Eleven!

Time for the Amazing Race!

Random trivia fact of today: Istanbul is the only city in the world to occupy two continents.

Whirling dervishes... lots of spinning people. Kinda twisted, but interesting. I think I'd be a little dizzy. :) And they're off to London, England. That is quite strange that they are doubling back to London, when we know they're going to have to go around the world.

Now it's turning into mind games. But we'll see what happens... Rob & Amber and Ron & Kelly take the gamble of going to Frankfurt, knowing that the flight from Frankfurt to London is sold out.. but if they manage to get tickets they will have a 1.5 hour head start on Uchenna & Joyce and Gretchen & Meredith, who took the safer confirmed direct flight. And Rob/Amber made it onto the flight. Ron/Kelly also make it on the flight. So everyone is happy. Rob continues to be a dejected Wyle E. Coyote.

I have to say one thing, Rob and Amber are very good at recruiting additional help from wherever they go. And now Rob and Amber are in first place. But they have to go up in the ginormous ferris wheel type dealiebob... to try to find where they have to go.

Blah blah blah, I was uninspired by the rest of this episode... not to mention I got sidetracked. So I guess it's safe to say that Rob and Amber are first yet again... and Gretchen and Meredith got eliminated. What a shame... but certainly if they had just taken the train once in a while they wouldn't have been nearly as far behind. Oh well, my hat goes off to them for a race well raced.

And from London we race home next week... cheerio!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

And then there were 4... - Leg 10

Back for yet another week of the Amazing Race. It's getting down to the wire... "4 teams remain, who will be eliminated next?".

And off to Istanbul, not Constantinople? Why did Constantinople get the works? That's nobody's business but the Turks apparently.

Gretchen and Meredith are currently in last place, but as usual everyone will end up on the same plane, and it's anybody's game.

It's amazing how 4 teams of 2 become 2 teams of 4. Gretchen & Meredith and Uchenna & Joyce... and then the other fools.

Wow, paranoia is setting in, it seems. Rob tries to be an ass by convincing Gretchen that there is an "earlier" flight than they were already on, even though he doesn't believe one exists. But now Uchenna catches wind of this, and actually FINDS an earlier flight from Dehli to Istanbul, while Rob is still convinced he's on the earliest one. HAHAHAHAHAHA! Classic! Time to pull out the ole Wile E. Coyote card by Rob. Now Rob continues talking smack against G&M/U&J because they're not on the earliest flight, when really they all left the night before, and will arrive 2 hours earlier. That puts the old and the bald at the front of the pack... if they can stay there through the pitstop, I can only imagine what the remaining fools will be saying.

Find the Travel Gnome! HA! Travelocity product placement at its finest! I'm just waiting for the moment where the last teams realize that the other teams are in front. OOH, such excitement.

DETOUR: Kilos or Columns. Columns is cool, it's like a treasure hunt... anyone rememeber the game Myst? Yeah, sounds like one of those games. Kilos is simply a matter of weighting people to have a whole lot of kilograms. Well, that's not too great. Uchenna and Joyce opt for the kilos. What a challenge... once you convince people to step on the scale, it's all good. G&M also take the kilos approach. I really hope someone does the Columns... though I do admit it probably would take more time, it would be so immensely more fun! Ron & Kelly were the only ones who decided to do the columns, and they just cruised through it, but will it be enough for them to catch up? It would appear that it will come down to the roadblock.

AND Rob and Amber just now find out that the other 2 teams were there 2 hours before them!

Flight to Istanbul: $1000
Ferry ride to the lighthouse: $5
Realizing you're in 3rd place instead of 1st: Priceless

Suddenly Rob and Amber are moving really fast!

And the roadblock was to climb a lot... kinda strenuous, but yeah. Well, the pit stop is mere walking distance from the roadblock, but the old folks are going to have a serious disadvantage at this one. I hope they don't get eliminated based on a silly roadblock that they were at an obvious physical disadvantage from. That would border on unfair.

Uchenna and Joyce check in far ahead of everyone else. Gretchen and Meredith cruise through to the pitstop before the remaining 2 teams even make it to the roadblock. Gretchen is a superstar... way to be a trooper. Rob and Amber check in 3rd place... or as I prefer to call it... second to last. :)

Ron and Kelly are last... but it's a non-elimination leg! They will lose their stuff though.But they had the "super gnome" worth $20,000 to spend on travelocity AND instead of spending the night at the pit stop they get to go spend the night in a suite at the Four Seasons. Being in last place never felt so good.

For the record, I'm sure Phil will be staying at the Four Seasons as well... but he's probably used to that. :)

Until next week!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Lucknow? Not now. Leg 9

So even more proof that nobody besides me watches The Amazing Race... everyone seems to have missed last week's episode. :) So here I am with leg 9 (or is it 8.5?)

Either way, I guess I should actually pay attention to the instant review at the beginning of the show.

Elephants... Botswana to India... alliances are formed... Ron and Kelly are still freaking out. Rob pisses people off... so not much is new. The big news apparently was the big twist at the end where the teams made it to Phil but found out that he did not have the next pit stop, but rather just another clue to continue on this leg. What a surprise. What will these producers think of next?

So everyone's still here, and it's time to keep going. Woohoo!

And we see the remaining 4 teams arrive at Phil, and he gives them all the next clue. And now they board the Mystery Train... a 24 hour train ride... good times.

And more waiting until 10am. Wow, good times. Well at least the teams should be well-rested at this point. Time for the next clue. The second fast forward comes now. Gretchen and Meredith could certainly use that. Shave their heads. HAHA... that's quality. The smart teams are gambling not to use the fast forward. Did anyone even bother with the fast forward? Yes, Uchenna and Joyce did. And they're gonna shave their heads. Joyce has probably the most hair of anyone left on the race... but what a trooper! Essentially at this point it's "shave your head, or leave the race"... you have one choice. Now as for myself.. shave your head would probably take about half a minute... but that's another story. :) You can't help but feel bad for Joyce.

Now we're going to drag elephants through the streets. Classic. "We have a bad elephant!" Well this is a lot of film but not a lot of action. Wow... ok, I don't even know what to say now.

Now for the Roadblock. Camel cart riding. well, that doesn't seem hard, but somehow, I think the camels will be stobborn beasts. :) Ron and Kelly are the first out and toward the pit stop, second only to Uchenna and Joyce who took the fast foward. Rob and Amber out in third place. Lynn and Alex out in 4th place... and Gretchen and Meredith tailing in 5th place but will they be close enough? It could be about time for the second reprieve of the race... but after such a long leg, I doubt it will be quite that time.

And of course U&J made it to the pit stop in first place. Everyone else as expected. And somehow Gretchen and Meredith ended up in 4th place! Nobody knows how it happened! Phil informs them that they are the oldest team to make it so far in the Amazing Race. Outstanding! Lynn and Alex have been eliminated. That's too bad, they were good people.

And then there were 4. Next week... off to somewhere else... and I'm going on record right now that no team will be eliminated next week. I also expect a yield next week... if so, Rob and Amber are in a very bad position being in 3rd place, because if Uchenna and Joyce make it to a yield first, I GUARANTEE they will yield Rob and Amber. Until then...

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Missed episode... :(

Well, as you may have guessed, I missed this week's episode of the Amazing Race. I know... I'm as shocked as you are. In my absence, I am soliciting a blog from someone who DID see the episode. If you are so inclined to write me a fascinating summary of what happened, I will post it to this site. Add a comment to this post. :)

Until next week, when I should be back on track...

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Ostriches, Elephants, and Zebra, oh my! - Leg 7

Once again it's time for the Amazing Race. Now I have to admit, after all the excitement of last week's episode, I'm skeptical that this week can be nearly as exciting. But we'll have to see.

Today's side-comment from the introductions, I enjoy the Amazing Race theme music, though I'm not sure why. It's not like they use it for much other than the credits, but it's catchy.

More driving through the desert. Rob's quote of the game "At this point the gloves are off... we have no friends left in this game." Again, I ask the people of the jury, did they EVER have any friends in this game? Or is he talking just to keep his mouth moving.

"Big bucks, big bucks, no whammies!" THAT is awesome! Press Your Luck was one of the greatest game shows... ah, the memories. Er... yeah, the race... right...

Detour: Carry it or milk it. Carrying food balanced on their head, or milking a goat. Hmmm... now that's a challenge. Now I have pretty good balance, but I don't know if I could balance a bucket of water on my head very easily.

First rule of the race... read ALL of the instructions in the envelope. Is that so hard? So many people would be much better off if they just did that.

Hmmm... grab the goat by the horns? haha... OK, milking the goats is the most hilarious thing. But WHOA, can Uchenna and Joyce carry stuff on their heads. "They're born to do that" says the boyfriends. Well, as questionable taste as that comment was made, it seems to be true. Definite credit to U&J on that one.

And more driving and Lynn and Alex' car breaks down. A new vehicle arrives shortly. So far, I think it's safe to say that it's not a glowing advertisement for Land Rover. If it's any consolation, it looks like Gretchen and Meredith are lost in BFE. But they really aren't... just some strategic editing by the producers. Touche.

And Ron and Kelly, along with Rob and Amber arrive at the roadblock at the same time. Now it's time for the extreme driving challenge, through a real roadblock. Through the croc infested swamp... followed by pulling a bunch of logs off the roadway. The logs were a bit of a stretch for me... why not just drive around them? hmmm...

Now I'm no lawyer... but I think there is a clear distinction between removing the post, and removing the flag from the post. And the careful zoom-in by the cameraman on the post tends me to think that Uchenna may be in trouble for that one.

And Rob and Amber are first ones off from the roadblock... heading to a lovely safari lodge that looks like the Hilton compared to where they just came from.

Now Lynn and Alex, currently on Land Rover #2, break ANOTHER car. Along comes yet another vehicle from the producers seemingly endless fleet of Land Rovers.

Doh! Those seven words I hate to hear once again "Rob and Amber, You're Team Number One!". Oh well, I guess I'll have to wait until next week to see them lose. And just as expected, Uchenna and Joyce are the 3rd team to arrive, but are denied admission to the magic carpet because they did not remove the pole. And back they go 9 miles to the roadblock. They make it back in excellent time and then make it back to lock in the 3rd team to arrive. But don't feel too embarassed, because Gretchen and Meredith forgot to grab their clue, and have to go back to the roadblock once again to fetch the clue. Somehow I don't think they will make it back in time...

"Lynn and Alex, you're team number four. " L&A: "WHAT?!" That was classic. That should make the highlight reel. Never assume you're last.

And the brothers think they can outsmart Phil by wearing swimsuits and guilting Phil into keeping them in the race. But it won't work, and the brothers become the latest victim of the amazing race. Tragic... seeing as my latest favorites have been eliminated I have to find a new team to cheer for. I guess it's Uchenna and Joyce, or Gretchen and Meredith. G&M keep sliding into second to last place, but unfortunately I think their luck will run out. But for now, I'll choose both of these teams as my favorites. We'll see what mayhem ensues next week!