May 25th, 2011

mr men lazy

10 days worth of slapfights

Wow. I knew it had been a while since I posted here but even I was surprised to see that it's been 10 days. It's not like I haven't wanted to make entries, but things just never seemed to work out. There was always something else I was doing or I was feeling too crappy to want to right myself and tap out the entry. That said, I'm sure absolutely no one is really interested in what I spent the past 10 days doing but I figured I'd share at least some of it.

First and foremost, I've been watching The Amazing Race. It's a reality show about a bunch of teams racing around the world in competition for a million dollars and over almost a decade, has been one of the most popular reality shows in production. I think it's actually won more awards than any other reality show and there have been 18 seasons in 9 years, with spinoffs in half a dozen foreign countries.

That said, until a couple weeks ago, I had never seen a single episode before. It's not like I didn't know that people raved about it, it's just that I never really got on the ball when it came to the show. So what I decided to do was download all 18 seasons and watch it from the beginning. It's quite a feat given the amount of time we're talking about but I've got notta but free time. I'll probably end up posting another entry about the show that will discuss it more in depth but I'm an episode away from finishing Season 4 and still going strong.

Second: I've been spending a lot of time collecting SwagBucks for fun and profit. I've mentioned SwagBucks before as a site where you can easily exchange online activities into useful things like Amazon gift cards. I've now been on the site for around six weeks and have already cashed in for $40 with enough points for another $30 yet unexchanged. It's easier than I thought it would be and there are few things in this world as appealing as free money.

BTW, if you're interested in joining, now's the time. They once again have a promo code which will give new members 80 points. If you want in, just register with the link above and as a code enter 'MemorialDay'. I'm not sure how long this will stay active but I figure it has to stick around until Monday at the earliest.

Third: Since I've been diddling around on Swagbucks, I've also been visiting their facebook page for fun and some trolling. It's entertaining and I find it to be lotsa fun. I spend my time chucking out witticism and then roll with the punches. In case you're wondering what that's like, I just happen to have a screenshot of a recent exchange.

See? Fun, right? Well, okay, it might not appeal to most people but I found it to be entertaining. Most of the exchanges aren't nearly as volatile but it does give me something to do and fencing with internet hoodlums can be fun.

So that's mostly it. I'm going to try to update more regularly but God knows I've made that promise and failed before. We'll just have to take it one day at a time and see how it goes.
sign twisty

Lets do the Timewarp again....but pretend it's a sprint

So here it is, my promised entry about The Amazing Race. As you may have read in the previous entry, I will now begin discussing the first few seasons of a show that first aired almost 10 years ago. Imagine if someone came up to you in 1990 and wanted to tell you all about a great show they're watching called Three's Company. Well, yeah, sure, no one would ever say that, calling it a 'great show' but even the hyperbole aside it's likely you would give the antediluvian nutjob a cautious look and move on as soon as you could. Because I fully recognize the validity of that reaction, no one out there is obligated to read this entry. Yes, it's true. All of you lucky bastards get a pass on this one. Now hurry up and move along before I change my mind.

For any who are left (of which I assume the composition is made up of either The Amazing Race fanatics or people so bored they're willing to watch mold grow) prepare to enter the world of reality television. Welcome to.....The Amazing Race.

(It's at this point the show's theme song starts running through my head and I imagine seeing a montage of difference scenes of me typing out this entry.)

The basic concept of The Amazing Race is that teams with a 'pre-existing relationship' will travel around the world searching for clues and completing tasks. At the end of most of the legs of the race the team that checks in last will be eliminated until only three teams remain. Those three teams will then race in the finale and the winners will receive 1 million dollars.

First, I just love the term 'pre-existing relationship'. It makes it sound like they have a disease that needs to be treated which, if you've watched this show at all, isn't really far off the mark for some of these teams. There were multiple visits to dysfunction junction if you get my drift, though some of it is pretty understandable. After all, we're talking about 4 weeks of zipping around the world with never enough time or money along with the high stress of various tasks and trying to avoid elimination. It would put a strain on just about any relationship, and luckily there is a set of cameramen following each team, ready and able to catch the carwrecks on film when they occur.

So lets meet our first contestants:

I started a tradition with this season that I've kept through all the others I've watched so far. Based upon only the first episode, I will pick one or two teams which I think will end up winning the race. It's always more fun to have something to root for, though I've gotten myself snakebit a couple of times down the road. In the first episode, each team usually has very little screen time and there have been times that my chosen horse has been a disappointment not only in their ability but personalities as well. It's one thing to end up having to cheer on a loser but it becomes insufferable when said losers are also assholes. Luckily, that didn't happen to start things off. Based on the introductions alone, I figured Rob and Brennan had the best chance to win. From my perspective, they seemed like they were in really good shape which has to be a major plus in any competition where the word 'Race' enters the picture. To boot, they were both lawyers which I figured satisfied the mental component. I took to mean that they weren't likely to be complete morons and besides, no one can screw other people over as much as lawyers.

It was also part way through this season that I discovered something that went perfectly with watching the episodes, Television Without Pity's The Amazing Race Recaps. I've never actually run across in-depth recapping before but it's pretty entertaining all on its own. It's like being able to watch each episode with snarky subtitles. I only wish there was really some way to integrate the two so I didn't have to pop back and forth between windows.

The main point of contention during this season was the team of Joe and Bill, the gay couple, also known as Team Guido having been named for their small yippie dog back home. They helped to fuel my Evil Homo theory which has migrated over from watching season after season of Top Chef. It seems that it never fails that once every other season there's always some evil Lesbian on that show whose repugnant inside is the only thing more horrifying than their repugnant outside. I always found it sort of ironic that this occurred repeatedly on a network which tries so blatantly to be gay friendly, even having one of the most iconic tasks during the first season be the catering of a gay wedding. Well, the Evil Homo theory has survived and made the transition to The Amazing Race as Joe and Bill showed their fellow racers and the world that homosexuals can be every bit as conniving and assholish as any straight person. It may have been a blow for equality but not exactly a pretty one.

In the beginning, they didn't really rub me the wrong way. Sure, they were arrogant, but a lot of people on reality shows have that tendency. They soon added a large helping of condescension to their plates which didn't help. Just for the record, it is possible to have an inflated self-regard without also thinking that other people are beneath you. The two normally go hand in hand, but it is possible to parse it. The real nail in the coffin for Team Guido was their ill-conceived 'Flying Wedge' maneuver at one of the airports. They knew that a bunch of other teams had secured better flights than they had and so purposely waited in front of the security line for the other teams to arrive and then attempted to block their way. This would be bad enough but they knew ahead of time that the other team's flight was leaving soon and so they were hoping to delay them long enough for the plane to take off without them. During the altercation, it was also alleged that they shoved one of the other contestants, a middle-aged woman, who had been about to make it pass their blockade. They denied it but all the other teams present were pretty adamant it occurred. Not to mention that Nancy was probably the only person present who they could have shoved and not gotten their teeth punched in. All in all, this wasn't an example of just poor sportsmanship. It had escalated beyond that and into something that I think was not only cheating, but immoral. Of course, when asked about what had happened by teams not present at the time the Guidos lied their asses off claiming that it had been an innocent encounter rather than pre-meditated. The lie seemed all the more egregious with all the camera footage of them planning the maneuver in advance.

Despite the persistent stench of evil about them (The matching clothes didn't help in this regard. All they were missing were matching white cats, though I imagine they're not much into pussy cats.) the Guidos were pretty competent racers, managing to keep at the front of the pack. In the end, they made it to the finale along with my lawyers, Rob and Brennan, and separated couple, Frank and Margarita. The Guidos got knocked out of the running, ending up a whole day behind the other two teams as they raced to the finish line in New York City. In the end, only around 10 minutes separated the two teams but Rob and Brennan pulled it off and won the million dollars. It also made me 1-0 in predicting winners. There was also a bit of added satisfaction when the Guido's opened a clue while still in Alaska to find out the other team had won and they would never even get the chance to cross the finish line.