Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Survivor Samoa - The End... the sweet sweet end

Without further ado -

Final Standings:
Fifth Place - Goody Two-Shoes (28 points):
1. Good Russell (5 pts)
2. Liz (3 pts)
3. Kelly (20 pts)

Fourth Place - Pizza Place (73 points):
1. John (28 pts)
2. Brett (42 pts)
3. Ashley (3 pts)

Third Place - Cutesiness (83 points):
1. Monica (22 pts)
2. Mick (29 pts)
3. Laura (32 pts)

Second Place - Dachui (101 points):
1. Jaison (29 pts)
2. Dave (22 pts)
3. Natalie (50 pts)

Winner - Evil 'Box (126 points):
1. Evil Russell (72 pts)
2. Erik (32 pts)
3. Shambo (22 pts)

For our pool there was no blind side at the end. But as with the rest of the season, the show finished with an oh-so-satisfying blind side. Dachui put in a valiant effort at the end, getting almost half their points from Natalie's win, but it just wasn't enough to overcome the immunity-idol machine that was Evil Russell.

This season we consciously decided that we wanted it to be possible for someone to win the show and not have that be the deciding factor in who would win overall. And it actually turned out to be true. Which is kind of ironic since Danielle was one of the biggest supporters of the change in point amounts. There has already been some discussion of changes in the point system for the next season (see my future blog for thoughts on how awesome that's going to be). Suggestions such as earning and losing points based on players' success at the auction certainly seem entertaining.

For the record, here are the total number of points LOST for sitting out challenges:

Pizza Place: -6 points total
John -4 pts
Brett -2 pts

Goody Two-Shoes: -8 points total
Good Russell -2 pts
Kelly -6 pts

Cutesiness: -10 points total
Monica -4 pts
Laura -6 pts

Dachui: -10 points total
Dave -8 pts
Natalie -2 pts

Evil 'Box: -13 points total
Evil Russell -5 pts (but that's because of an idol misplay)
Shambo -8 pts

The difference seems negligible in this case. If anything, we should be grateful for the negative points, because it helped hold the leaders in check, if just a little bit.

A more interesting topic, though, is the fact that Natalie, a coat tail rider in many peoples' opinions, beat one of the craftiest players in the game, Evil Russell. I watched with a large group of survivor fans, and I think that all of us were confident that if Evil Russ made it to the final 3 he'd beat everyone else easily. How wrong we were!

I know a lot of people are claiming that Evil Russ was more deserving of the win because he set up most of the blind sides that happened, and that Natalie wouldn't have gotten that far if it weren't for him. I disagree. We have no idea what Natalie would have done if Russell wasn't on her tribe. She adapted to her situation and chose a strategy that optimized her longevity in the game. (I guess that's obvious since she won.) Some people claim that riding coattails isn't a strategy, but from my count, it worked for 7 of the 19 winners in Survivor so far: Tina (Australia season 2), Vecepia (Marquesas, season 4), Jenna (Amazon, season 6), Amber (All-Stars, season 8), Chris (Vanuatu, season 9), Bob (Gabon, season 17), and now Natalie.

I think coattails is a valid strategy, but players need the right counterpart to make it work. Namely, the counterpart needs to piss off a lot of people, while the coattail rider needs to be sweet and gain friendships. That way they make the jury vote more on an emotional basis than a strategic basis. Which, in the end, is just as strategic as the strategist's game... just on a different level. It's a symbiotic relationship in a way - the strategist needs the coattail riders to get enough votes and protect them from other strategists voting them off, and the coattail riders need the strategist to take the spotlight and the fire when it comes their way.

I could go on about this, but I used up a good amount of time researching previous seasons, and now it's almost time for me to go home. I will add one thing that I was very wrong about. It felt like lately there was an advantage to coming into the merge with a minority... somehow the majority alliance seemed to keep cannibalizing themselves before dismantling the other tribe, thus giving them the advantage. So I looked into it, and so far as I can tell, this has only worked for 5 winners: Chris (Vanuatu, season 9), Danni (Guatemala, season 11), Yul (Cook Islands, season 13), J.T. (Tocantins, season 18), and now Natalie. So I was wrong about that... but it does seem to be a more recent trend, at least for now.

Final Individual Power Rankings: The Most Impressive Wins
1. Richard Hatch
2. Earl
3. Parvati
4. Yul
5. Amber
6. Tom
7. J.T.
8. Brian
9. Tina
10. Natalie
11. Danni
12. Todd
13. Sandra
14. Bob
15. Jenna
16. Ethan
17. Aras
18. Vecepia
19. Chris

p.s. Congrats Bag!

p.p.s. Excellent showing for the rooks, congrats for a strong 2nd place, Dachui!

p.p.p.s. I have no idea what the standings are now... can someone verify this for me? Number of wins: Michal (2), Doug (2), Bag (2), Tom (1)*, Alia (1), Dachui (0)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Reflections on Survivor Samoa...

Will have to wait. Sorry. I will try and have it posted by tomorrow afternoon.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Survivor Samoa - the end is near

A great season is coming to an end.

Current Standings:
Evil 'Box (90 pts):
1. Evil Russell (36 pts)
[2. Erik (32 pts)]
[3. Shambo (22 pts)]

Cutesiness (63 pts):
[1. Monica (22 pts)]
2. Mick (9 pts)
[3. Laura (32 pts)]

Pizza Place (57 points):
[1. John (28 pts)]
2. Brett (26 pts)
[3. Ashley (3 pts)]

Dachui (46 pts):
1. Jaison (19 pts)
[2. Dave (22 pts)]
3. Natalie (5 pts)

Goody Two-Shoes (28 pts):
[1. Good Russell (5 pts)]
[2. Liz (3 pts)]
[3. Kelly (20 pts)]

Power Rankings:
1. Evil 'Box: Evil Russell, and consequently, Evil Bag, have had a death grip on this game for the past month. There are ways that Bag won't win... but they are unlikely scenarios. If Russ doesn't make top 3 then someone else would win, but with the way the game's being played right now, I just don't see that happening.

2. Everyone else: Here are the possible points that can still be won:

  • 1st place: 45 (+15 for sweep)
  • 2nd place: 30
  • 3rd place: 20 (+10 if makes the jury)
  • Jury: 10
  • Individual Reward challenge: 4
  • Individual Immunity: 6
I don't want to call it a lock, but it appears that so long as Evil Russ makes top 3 he has won it... and no one seems to even be considering eliminating him before then. Here are the two "best chance" scenarios that I can see for anyone besides Evil 'Box to win:

1. Brett wins - if Brett sticks to his "plan" and wins the rest of the immunity challenges and ends up winning the game, Pizza Place would end up with 57+6+6+4+45=118 points. (I threw in a reward win too.) Let's say this happens, and the Foa Foas finally realize that they can't beat Evil Russ, and vote him out immediately (unlikely), then Bag would end up with 90+10=100 points. But if he gets through to top 3, I think he's definitely finishing ahead of any other Foa Foa in votes, which would give him 2nd place points of 30, thus giving him 120 points - just enough to beat Brett, who would have won everything else.

2. Dachui finishes 1 and 2 - if Dachui finishes 1&2, and Russ finishes 3rd, then Dachui would win (this doesn't count any reward/immunity points either team may earn). However, if Dachui even finishes 1&3, and Russ finishes 2nd, then Evil 'Box still wins.

Hopes for the finale:
1. I hope that the final tribal is between 2 people, not 3 - although that seems unlikely based on how many people are left, that the jury would have a even number, etc.

2. I hope that Evil Russ doesn't win. Which is weird because I've been rooting for him this whole time. But I would LOVE to see if his face if Even Dumber Blonde Girl ends up getting the best of him. It would be so priceless.

3. I hope that the entire pool will watch the finale together on Sunday.

Individual Power Rankings:
1. Evil Russell (1)
2. Jaison (4)
3. Brett (5)
4. Natalie (3)
5. Mick (2)
6. Shambo (6)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Survivor Samoa - the gap closes... a little

I was a little disappointed in this last episode because there was no blindside, and there certainly was an opportunity for it! It's the first non-blindside episode in a really long time, and I really missed that element.

I'm happy that Dave got sent home for three reasons: 1. he was disturbingly thin and probably needed a decent meal more than anyone else, 2. his performance has been disappointing for a few weeks now and I'd lost all hope that he was actually a good strategist, and 3. we got a chance to see his CRAZY hair when he came in as a jury member.

I appreciated that Monica tried to stir the pot a little bit, but she did it in all the wrong ways. She tried to bargain and deal with the exact person she should have been plotting against. Even so, at least she was daring enough to actually try something, unlike Dave. Although her suggestion that Shambo would win Galu votes on the jury was laughable. I do hope she lives up to her promise though of spreading seeds of poison throughout the other jury members to try and stop Russ from winning. I don't think she'll succeed, but I can't wait for Monica's to say at final tribal: "Raise your hand if you're a millionaire."

Current Standings:
Evil 'Box (72 pts):
1. Evil Russell (32 pts)
[2. Erik (32 pts)]
3. Shambo (8 pts)

Cutesiness (63 pts):
[1. Monica (22 pts)]
2. Mick (9 pts)
[3. Laura (32 pts)]

Pizza Place (51 points):
[1. John (28 pts)]
2. Brett (20 pts)
[3. Ashley (3 pts)]

Dachui (42 pts):
1. Jaison (15 pts)
[2. Dave (22 pts)]
3. Natalie (5 pts)
Goody Two-Shoes (28 pts):
[1. Good Russell (5 pts)]
[2. Liz (3 pts)]
[3. Kelly (20 pts)]

Power Rankings:
1. Evil 'Box: Bag's still sitting pretty. The only negative to last week's episode was that his team was the only one that didn't bring in any points (except mine, but that's nothing new). But Russell and Shambo are still going strong, and still have a healthy lead. Their relationship is completely ridiculous though. They remind me of Pinky & the Brain: one's an evil and conniving genius, and the other is stupid and says things that are absolutely ridiculous.

Russell: "Shambo, are you pondering what I'm pondering?"
Shambo: "I think so Russell, but I'm just not sure I can interpret the chickens' prophetic dreams now that they're dead."

2. Dachui: Dachui has lost a player, but it was their most useless one, so I still think all is well and good with them. More importantly, Natalie and Jaison are both threats when it comes to challenges, unlike Russell and Shambo who really suck at them (a topic I'd get into if I had more time). This means they should be able to close that points gap even more over the last two episodes (hopefully) to make them competitive with Evil 'Box. It's a long shot for sure, but I'm cheering you on, Dachui!

3. Cutesiness: Monica is gone... Moon's #1 pick. We watched the show together last night and when she was voted off, he admitted being happy to see her leave. He said that having her on his team was an embarrassment. I'd like to take this opportunity to go back in time and revisit some of his comments from the night of our picks. He asked me to post my list of players in the order I'd ranked them because he thought they were so ridiculous. I believe he said something along the lines of, "we need to have this on record so you can see how bad your picks are by the end of the season." Well, Moon, here are my top 5 picks: Jaison, Good Russell, Evil Russell, Liz, and Mick. 3 out of the 5 are still in the game (unfortunately the other 2 were my picks). And as I said in that blog: "Moon laughed at these rankings, but I think he'll be sorry he did that later... Only time will tell..."

4. Pizza Place: Brett - wow, he actually spoke, won a challenge, even did some strategizing! He IS real! I was starting to be concerned that he'd make final 3 just because no one ever voted him off because they forgot he was there. But he went and made himself worth noticing and now seems to be Evil Russ's primary target for the next vote. Sorry Doug.

5. Goody Two-Shoes: Dachui finally has more points than me. Sigh.

Individual Power Rankings:
1. Evil Russell (1)
2. Mick (5)
3. Natalie (3)
4. Jaison (2)
5. Brett (6)
6. Shambo (8)
7. Monica (7)
8. Dave (4)

Friday, December 04, 2009

Survivor Samoa

Last night's episode of Survivor was another good one. The blindsides keep on coming, and I hope they continue! It's been awhile since I've posted, so let's get right to the standings:

Evil 'Box (72 pts):
1. Evil Russell (32 pts)
[2. Erik (32 pts)]
3. Shambo (8 pts)

Cutesiness (53 pts):
1. Monica (12 pts)
2. Mick (9 pts)
[3. Laura (32 pts)]

Pizza Place (45 points):
[1. John (28 pts)]
2. Brett (14 pts)
[3. Ashley (3 pts)]

Goody Two-Shoes (28 pts):
[1. Good Russell (5 pts)]
[2. Liz (3 pts)]
[3. Kelly (20 pts)]

Dachui (26 pts):
1. Jaison (9 pts)
2. Dave (12 pts)
3. Natalie (5 pts)

Power Rankings:
1. Evil 'Box: Bag's team is running away with the game at this point. If Shambo doesn't make top 3 after the lunacy she showed last night I'd be surprised. I think the only way she doesn't make top 3 is if someone stupid took control of the game (e.g. Monica) and voted her out out of spite. Evil Russ's hold on the others is nearly complete. Previews for next week indicate that Jaison and Mick finally realize they need to take him out, but I don't think that either of them actually have the moves to outplay the master. We'll see though...

2. Dachui: This last episode was great for Dachui because not a lot of points were won, but they got a chunk of them! Plus, they're still sitting strong with 3 players despite a close call with Dave. Jaison is thinking and strategizing, which I really appreciate. But he's prone to inaction most of the time, which could cost him the game. Dave - well, Dave is turning into a huge disappointment for me. I'd really like to see this guy try and make some moves! But what I really want to know is, how did that chicken end up tasting? No one ever showed the results of the 2 hour boil! If any team can take down the Evil 'Box, it's this one. Dachui has enough players that they can hopefully start pulling in a lot of points, and even get one or two players into the top 3. I hope Natalie is one of them, she's really winning me over!

3. Cutesiness: Moon informed me last night that he's no longer rooting for his own team. Hurrah, welcome to the club! Monica and Mick are in my eyes basically the same player. They ride coat-tails, don't help a lot with the challenges or strategizing, and generally annoy me. I think that it is impossible that either of them could get enough votes to win - unless they were going up against each other.

4. Pizza Place: Doug's team is all but gone, with only the ghost, Brett, left. I honestly cannot remember a player more overlooked by the TV crews and the other players in the game than this guy. And he's lost what little alliance he may have had when John got voted out. While John may be some brainy rocket scientist, he actually turned out to be pretty dumb when dealing with other people. He was in a hugely vulnerable position and then went to Evil Russ trying to get Mick voted out! I know they made that deal before, but he should have realized that deals like that are made to be broken. It was like watching a sheep try to tell the wolf stalking it what to do.

5. Goody Two-Shoes: I'm STILL ahead of Dachui, lol.

The Future?
With only 8 people left, it's really getting crucial that the players start to strategize about who they are hoping to take to the finals with them. Who can beat who in jury votes? I think it's pretty clear at this point that Russell would beat everyone else. The only upset I could see was if Dave made the finals and the old Galu alliance outweighed the "outwitting, outlasting, outplaying" aspect of the vote.

If Russ doesn't make it to the final 3, I think the next most likely would be Jaison then Natalie. I think that Natalie would probably have the edge over Jaison initially if they went to the finals together, but that Jaison would win in the end because he seems like a better orator.

So if Russ, Jaison, or Natalie makes the final 3 I think they'd win, with Dark Horse Dave being the spoiler. If none of them do, which seems pretty unlikely, it would be more of a "who's not the absolute worst?" tribal council than anything else. Then the victory would probably go to whoever orchestrated the overthrow, although I could see Eric and Russell voting for Shambo out of spite.

Individual Power Rankings:
1. Evil Russell (1)
2. Jaison (2)
3. Natalie (5)
4. Dave (3)
5. Mick (4)
6. Brett (6)
7. Monica (8)
8. Shambo (9)
9. John (7)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Survivor Samoa - a mighty hit!

Wow. Just when you think it can't get any better, it does! This season has been really fun to watch, especially if you're like me and cheering for the old Foa Foa tribe. Evil Russ found his THIRD hidden immunity idol, but this amazing feat was overshadowed by the biggest drama of the episode - John switching his vote at tribal council. I'm not sure what this "numbers cruncher" guy was thinking... I guess that a 0% chance of being gone at that tribal was too tempting v. the 12.5% chance that would have resulted from pulling rocks out of a bag to see who would go home. I sympathize with this, but only because I've lost credit card roulette 100% of the time I've played it. Pulling things out of hats/bags has not been good to me. Maybe he has similar bad luck in that way, but in the long run this move will hurt him a lot. Since we're crunching numbers, I'd say that John has a 64% chance of being voted out in the next episode.

Here's how things stand...

Evil 'Box (72 pts):
1. Evil Russell (32 pts)
[2. Erik (32 pts)]
3. Shambo (8 pts)

Cutesiness (53 pts):
1. Monica (12 pts)
2. Mick (9 pts)
[3. Laura (32 pts)]

Pizza Place (35 points):
1. John (18 pts)
2. Brett (14 pts)
[3. Ashley (3 pts)]

Goody Two-Shoes (28 pts):
[1. Good Russell (5 pts)]
[2. Liz (3 pts)]
[3. Kelly (20 pts)]

Dachui (20 pts):
1. Jaison (3 pts)
2. Dave (12 pts)
3. Natalie (5 pts)

... and here's how I rank us:

1. Evil 'Box: Evil Russell continues to impress. Moon, this sort of episode is exactly why Bag's team got moved back to the #1 spot last week. Besides having a comfortable lead in the scores right now, he has one of the most innovative players who's ever been on Survivor. Pretty much every week at this point Russ is bringing in as many points as a jury seat is worth. That's hard to beat. Obviously Russell's dominance makes him a huge threat to everyone else, and they'll be gunning for him. But he's as hard to take down as a Cape Buffalo, especially with the hidden immunity idol warming itself in his pocket.

2. Cutesiness: Losing Laura hurt a lot - this dreg was Moon's #1 point earner. But Mick really stepped up in this episode. We saw him wheel and deal with Monica, win an immunity challenge, basically he actually did something! Hopefully he can continue to maintain a low profile while bringing in some points for Moon. Monica is useless, especially now that Laura is gone. She has no one watching her back, and she brings in very few points. On the positive side, these negative attributes will probably help her get deep into the game, so she may end up pulling in 2nd or 3rd place points, which would be huge. But for the most part, the future of this team rests on Mick Dreamy's shoulders. We'll see if he can handle the pressure.

3. Dachui: Dachui is the only team that still has all 3 of its players, and this last episode probably helped this team the most, but I don't know if the rooks can overcome their massive point deficit. I'm excited to see how old Foa Foa will handle being in control of the game - I hope they do a better job than old Galu did! I'm pulling for you Dachui, but it's going to be a steep uphill battle. And I must add that I was disappointed in Dave this episode - I thought one of his greatest strengths was his adaptability and ability to make friends across lines - the gender line and the tribal lines. But he's not thinking enough. Him going along with Laura's ridiculous "let's vote for Russell and if he has the idol so be it" scheme was the dumbest thing he's done in this game.

4. Pizza Place: John made a bad play and I think he'll be voted out soon. He's an easy target now - both sides can consider him untrustworthy, and since he's also competitive in challenges it seems like a no-brainer to make him the next to go. Once he's gone, all Pizza has left is the ghost Brett. We saw a little more of him this episode, but I gotta say that I wasn't impressed by what I saw. This guy seems content with not thinking or playing the game. He hasn't tried to make any other alliances besides what was set up on Day 1, and that will hurt him in the long run, especially since his Day 1 alliance has crumbled.

5. Lil old me: Technically I'm out of the match, but I still have more points than Dachui. That's my positive thought of the day. But really Dachui, you gotta step up your game. That's just plain sad.

Individual Power Rankings:
1. Evil Russell (3)
2. Jaison (6)
3. Dave (1)
4. Mick (7)
5. Natalie (5)
6. Brett (8)
7. John (4)
8. Monica (9)
9. Shambo (10)
10. Laura (2)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Survivor Samoa - Ya Ballin'

I think last night's episode can officially be called a major comeback for team Evil Box. Bag looked to be for sure losing his only remaining competitor (Shambo cannot be considered competitive by anyone's standards, I don't think), when Russ managed to find another hidden immunity idol, play it to save his butt, and give the old Foa Foa tribe a fighting chance at this game. Instead of practically going out, Bag netted a whopping 24 points in one episode - the most one team has gotten so far - and launched himself back to the top of the rankings. Will Russ find yet another hidden immunity idol and boost Bag's numbers even more? Only time will tell.

Some points of interest from tribal council - I think Erik now hates everyone on his former tribe... except maybe Shambo. Last week's blind side may be fateful in the end if the final 2 end up being Foa Foa v. Galu. Also Jeff Probst officially announced that another immunity idol was out there - stating the obvious, but apparently everyone else needed to hear it from an authority figure to finally get off their butts and actually look for it.

The way things stand right now it's Dave, John, Brett, Laura, and Monica v. Evil Russ, Natalie, Jaison, Mick, and Shambo. 5 v. 5. It may be that Shambo switches back to her original tribe - she's so unpredictable that I could see this happen. But otherwise there's going to be a battle royale for control of this game. I myself am cheering for old Foa Foa, but even if they lose it will be highly entertaining. My early prediction on the final 3 is Dave, Shambo, Monica if Galu wins, or Jaison, Natalie, Shambo if Foa Foa wins.

Here's how things stand so far:

Evil 'Box (58 points):
1. Evil Russell (18 pts)
[2. Erik (32 pts)]
3. Shambo (8 pts)

Cutesiness (33 pts):
1. Monica (12 pts)
2. Mick (3 pts)
3. Laura (18 pts)

Pizza Place (31 points):
1. John (18 pts)
2. Brett (10 pts)
[3. Ashley (3 pts)]

Goody Two-Shoes (28 pts):
[1. Good Russell (5 pts)]
[2. Liz (3 pts)]
[3. Kelly (20 pts)]

Dachui (12 pts):
1. Jaison (3 pts)
2. Dave (8 pts)
3. Natalie (1 pts)

Team Power Rankings - I had to pause when reflecting on my power rankings, because people's rank keeps shifting so dramatically that I was starting to think I'm not very good at this. But in reality these swings are bound to happen. This isn't football, where the teams are pretty much the same the whole season. Alliances are made and broken, players' stocks can rise and fall at the drop of a hat. It's hard to judge how much worth a player will have long-term. Which, really, is why the survivor pool is so much fun.

1. Evil 'Box: Welcome back to the leader board Evil 'Box! Your dominating performance proved that even when you're down, you're never out. Evil Russ is quickly becoming one of my favorite players ever. He's devious, smart, and is willing to do whatever it takes to win. I suspect that he threw the reward challenge to give him time alone at camp to find the idol. 'Box's lead is so great right now that it will be very hard to overcome. Certainly two quick knock-outs would probably do the trick, but Shambo's ridiculousness may have moved her into a final 3 spot. Since no jury member would ever vote for her, she'd be a great partner for a wilier player to take with him/her to the end.

2. Cutesiness: There is going to be a war next week between Laura and Russell. I honestly have no idea who will come out on top, but if it is Laura, Team Cutesiness will be a force to be reckoned with even though Mick is a waste of space. He's a doctor and couldn't do a simple "match the shape to the hole" game. This is a game that 2-year olds play on a regular basis, come on man! But somehow he's avoiding unwanted attention. Maybe because he lays around all day and is useless at challenges. He's certainly lasting longer than I thought he would.

3. Pizza Place: John is definitely thinking and strategizing, but he's not doing anything about it. He tells everyone that Russell could easily have the idol, Dave says no and he drops it. His wussiness may cost old Galu the game. John dodged a big bullet this episode too - with Foa Foa essentially having a free pass, I was sure they'd opt for John. And I'm becoming more and more convinced that Brett is actually a figment of all our imaginations - does anyone remember the last time he had a conversation with another player? I don't. When the old Galu met to discuss who would be voted out next, Brett was not there. If that doesn't spell expendable I don't know what does.

4. Dachui: Dachui's reign at the top of the rankings was sadly short-lived. I still think that Dave is the most dangerous player in this game, but at this point Dachui is averaging a pitiful 2 points per episode. They are 46 points behind the leader, Evil 'Box. I'm afraid this deficit is too much to overcome. If Dachui is to win, they have to actually start winning - both challenges and ultimately the game. Laying low is all well and good, but it won't get Dachui the victory.

5. Goody Two-Shoes: So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, good night! My sadness over being first out in this competition was very short-lived. Now I am no longer conflicted; I can cheer for Evil Russ to my heart's content! Sadly this was exactly the sort of end I saw coming for Kelly - her lack of being a threat became a threat, but only because the main target was safe. I honestly think this was a bad play by Foa Foa, but what do I know? I thought Liz was a good pick. This does reveal a somewhat interesting trend though - I won last season and went out first this season. And two seasons ago Doug won and went out early the next season as well. Curse of the winners perhaps? We'll have to see if this trend continues.

6. Yasmin: Yas was the dreg that no one picked and was voted out the first episode after the pool started. I'm putting her in the standings to make myself feel a little better.

Individual Power Rankings: (I think I should clarify that these power rankings are based on their likelihood to win, not just go far in the game.)
1. Dave (1)
2. Laura (5)
3. Evil Russell (10)
4. John (3)
5. Natalie (4)
6. Jaison (7)
7. Mick (9)
8. Brett (6)
9. Monica (8)
10. Shambo (11)
11. Kelly (2)

Friday, November 06, 2009

Survivor Samoa - Yeehaw!

Yes!! I was hoping that things would be shaken up, and indeed they have! The merge was not kind to Evil Box, who'd been leading the whole season so far, much to my enjoyment. Of particular note: Evil Russell actually has negative points now due to his misplay of the hidden idol. Erik has scored more than twice as many points as anyone else (thanks to a 10 point boost for making the jury), but is now incapable of scoring any more. At this point, Bag's active players' points total less than mine... but since everyone from now on is guaranteed at least a 10 point boost for making the jury, this isn't much for me to brag about. Still, I'll take what I can :).

A couple of stand-out performances from Jaison and Natalie: first, for being able to see exactly what was going on, and second, for actually doing something about it. I was also pleased to see that the purple tribe is very willing to stab each other in the back, which should make for an entertaining rest of the season!

I hope Survivor will have a few more "double immunity" challenges in the future - my disappointment with the female lack of athleticism and basic softball ability notwithstanding, this could really mix up the dynamics of the post-merge game. I used to think that maybe the challenges were harder than they looked considering some of the poor performances by the women - but after the last episode I realized that the women that are brought on this show are just wusses, and that pretty much all the women I am friends with would do better than most of the ones on the show right now. And I think you should only be allowed to wear knee-high socks to a t-ball challenge if you can actually hit the ball. False advertising, IMO by both Monica and Kelly.

On to the standings:

Evil Box (34 points):
1. Evil Russell (-2 pts)
[2. Erik (32 pts)]
3. Shambo (4 pts)

Pizza Place (27 points):
1. John (14 pts)
2. Brett (10 pts)
[3. Ashley (3 pts)]

Cutesiness (23 pts):
1. Monica (8 pts)
2. Mick (3 pts)
3. Laura (12 pts)

Goody Two-Shoes (14 pts):
[1. Good Russell (5 pts)]
[2. Liz (3 pts)]
3. Kelly (6 pts)

Dachui (10 pts):
1. Jaison (3 pts)
2. Dave (4 pts)
3. Natalie (3 pts)

Team Power Rankings: Everything has been mixed up now! Last night was a great equalizer and now I'm not really sure how things stand. But I'll organize as best I can...

1. Dachui: That's right, I now consider The Rooks to be the front-runners in this game. Jaison still has a target on his back, but I was impressed by Dave and Natalie's ability to adapt in the game. They aren't leaders, but that's a good thing in Survivor. They'll lay low, let a bunch of other people get kicked out, and then all of a sudden it's the final 4 and everyone's wondering how they got there. Besides which, Dachui actually still has all its players in the game - a huge advantage. They only have 10 pts right now, but the stakes just got a lot higher, and they could make up their deficit in just a couple of episodes.

2. Pizza Place: Seriously, who is this Brett guy? I like that John got a little more TV time, but Brett is noticeably absent - could he be the most boring man in the world? I still don't expect either of these two to win, but even without Erik they're still largely in control of the game, and have enough brains and brawn to win a lot immunity challenges.

3. Cutesiness: Welcome to not-the-bottom, Moon! I actually struggled with who should be ranked higher, Pizza or Cute, but in the end settled on placing Cutesy third. Cutesy's strengths are that there are 3 of them, and that hopefully the women's physical weakness will leave them unnoticed for a few episodes. Cutesy's weakness is that all of the players' names keep being brought up right before tribal anyways. Well, not Mick's yet, but I think it will be soon. Keep clawing Moon!

4. Evil Box: Evil Box took a couple of HUGE hits last night - two of Bag's players had immunity idols, and now one has been voted out and the other misplayed his. Evil Russ basically defanged himself last night. Really, the hidden immunity idol is actually more powerful when it has the potential to be played, rather than when it actually is played. Evil Russell had one trump card and he played it too early. Having an immunity idol means you need to play a finesse game (dorky bridge analogies are running through my head) and Russell is not a finesse player. Shambo - the only player besides Erik to vote for Jaison - was really dependent on Erik, and completely disconnected from everyone. If the women start to become more powerful, I think Monica and Laura's dislike of her will get her voted out quickly. I'm not counting this team out though, even though previews for the next episode look dire for Evil Russell. If anyone can squeak out of a bad situation, it's Evil Russ!

Last. Goody Two-Shoes: Well, I'm pleased to see that Kelly has a brain and is willing to make moves as well. I'm also really starting to love her hair. Could mini-dreds be a good look for me too? Go Kelly!

Individual Power Rankings:
1. Dave (3)
2. Kelly (8)
3. John (5)
4. Natalie (6)
5. Laura (7)
6. Brett (4)
7. Jaison (11)
8. Monica (12)
9. Mick (10)
10. Evil Russell (2)
11. Shambo (9)
12. Erik (1)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Survivor Samoa - the trauma continues

This season of Survivor started off so promisingly, but I feel like it's starting to peter out a little bit. Not a lot has changed over the past several episodes. Yellow tribe keeps saying that they're just getting unlucky, purple tribe keeps crushing them, and one-by-one the women that Evil Russell doesn't like keep getting voted out. This week's victim was my own Liz, whose only chance lay in a merge that didn't come in time to save her.

Next week's merge I hope will reinvigorate the show. I think there is potential for a lot of scheming and drama once the merge happens, but it will only happen if Evil Russell makes a move. He seems like the only one smart enough to do any scheming at all right now. Eric is a runner-up in this category, but he hasn't been tested enough yet to see if he really got the skillz. But I would love nothing more than to see a yellow tribe + purple ladies overthrow of the purple guys + Shambo. It's probably unlikely to happen, but if there's ever a chance to knock those guys off their throne, this is it.

Evil Box (29 points):
1. Evil Russell (3 pts)
2. Erik (22 pts)
3. Shambo (4 pts)

Pizza Place (21 points):
1. John (8 pts)
2. Brett (10 pts)
[3. Ashley (3 pts)]

Cutesiness (17 pts):
1. Monica (8 pts)
2. Mick (3 pts)
3. Laura (6 pts)

Goody Two-Shoes (14 pts):
[1. Good Russell (5 pts)]
[2. Liz (3 pts)]
3. Kelly (6 pts)

Dachui (10 pts):
1. Jaison (3 pts)
2. Dave (4 pts)
3. Natalie (3 pts)

Here's how I rank us:

1. Evil Box - If anyone has a chance to win on the sad little yellow tribe, it's Evil Russell. Shambo doesn't know it but she's now a part of the most powerful alliance currently in the game. Eric may prove to be the canniest player this season. They will all rack up points in the individual immunity challenges. Nuff said.

2. Pizza Place - John and Brett seem to be Eric's lackeys. They could easily go deep, but I don't think Eric will risk going against them in the finals. They need to throw a coup before it comes down to that, but will either have the wherewithal to think of it? They'll probably win a lot of the upcoming individual challenges; hopefully a streak of those will put them in contention with Evil Box and keep things interesting!

3. Dachui - I would think that Jaison is more likely to bring in points with the upcoming merge what with his size and strength, but he's completely given up. Dave might take down a few, but Natalie probably won't. Since they're already behind in the points, I think it will be very hard for them to come back and win this game. All their hopes rest on Action "He got clotheslined... by the clothesline!" Dave, who's still a contender. He's in a unique position of being a part of the strongest alliance without being a physical threat, which I think will serve him well now that they've merged. The biggest negative is that the other people on this team are from the yellow tribe, so even if he makes it to the finals, Dachui may be so far behind in other points that even a win wouldn't be enough for them to take down the pool.

4. Cutesiness - Moon's picks have risen in my opinion, though not enough to move up any spots in the rankings. I think his team will greatly benefit from the upcoming merge. I don't think they'll win many individual challenges, but they might last longer than I predicted earlier.

5. Goody Two-Shoes - my team has crumbled. I'm down to my dreg, a scrawny woman who is unlikely to win many individual challenges. I hope for a lot of team challenges where she's paired with Eric and Russell. For me to have a chance at winning this I need her to win the whole thing, I need her to win challenges along the way, and I need the other finalists to be from low-point teams. I'm basically giving myself a 0.73% chance to win the whole thing, and a 38% chance that I'll be out completely within the next 3 weeks. Go Kelly!!

Individual power Rankings (parenthesis indicate last week's rank):
1. Eric (1)
2. Evil Russell (3)
3. Dave (2)
4. Brett (6)
5. John (4)
6. Natalie (11)
7. Laura (7)
8. Kelly (5)
9. Shambo (10)
10. Mick (9)
11. Jaison (8)
12. Monica (13)
13. Liz (12)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Survivor Samoa - it continues....

Sorry for my delinquency, but here's an update, after 2 more episodes, on our standings:

Team Evil 'Box (aka Bag): 21 points
1. Evil/Fat Russell (3 pts)
2. Erik (17 pts)
3. Shambo (1 pts)

Team Pizza Place (aka Doug): 13 points
1. John (5 pts)
2. Brett (5 pts)
[3. Ashley (3 pts)]

Team Goody Two-Shoes (aka me!): 11 points
[1. Good/Black Russell (5 pts)]
2. Liz (3 pts)
3. Kelly (3 pts)

Team Cutesiness (aka Moon): 11 points
1. Monica (5 pts)
2. Mick (3 pts)
3. Laura (3 pts)

Team Dachui (aka Richey and Danielle): 7 points
1. Jaison (3 pts)
2. Dave (1 pts)
3. Natalie (3 pts)

The points haven't changed all that much because - for the FIRST time in Survivor Pool HISTORY - no one actually won any points last episode. But some people did LOSE points for sitting out a challenge that no one won. It was a fascinating episode where no team won immunity or reward challenges, and it looked like 3 people were going to get kicked out... but in the end, only my #1 pick passed out of the show. Doug lost his dreg in the episode before, so we are both down to 2 players, while everyone else still has 3. On to the power rankings:

1. Evil 'Box: This team can do no wrong. Even when they do things wrong, it somehow works out. Take Shambo: this woman has lost their fishing gear, a chicken, annoys the hell out of everyone, and it's saving her from elimination! Crafty Eric, also on the team, has noticed her uselessness, and subsequent useFULness, and is turning what looked to be Bag's greatest weakness into a dark horse to go deep. And with Eric and Evil Russ both carrying hidden immunity idols, it looks like they're going nowhere soon.

I think that finally Russell is starting to realize that his evilness was played prematurely. If he'd saved all his early-game shenanigans for a merge (burning socks, dumping out water) I'd declare him an Evil Genius. Instead, he put his team behind before the game even started. If he doesn't win, it's his own fault, because I think if he'd had any restraint at all he could've taken this thing.

2. Pizza Place: Even with losing a player this team is still fairly secure. John has shown that he can indeed strategize, although I still doubt his first-round pick quality. I still have no idea who Brett is, but he seems safe for now at least. A merge could shake things up a little for them, because I have a feeling the purple tribe will not hold strong for long after a merge. But until that alliance crumbles, these two will do a good job racking up points for Doug. My only qualm is that these two players are too similar; if one of them gets voted out, I have a feeling the other will go shortly after. Doug needs a diversified portfolio, IMO. And losing a player hurts, of course, although since it was only Ashley, the hit was not too painful.

3. Dachui: Unfortunately, I wouldn't qualify this team as strong, merely the best of the bad teams. Jaison and Natalie could be strong contenders, I think, but they're on the losing tribe. They don't have numbers, and Jaison will have a huge target on his back once they merge. Natalie depends almost entirely on Evil Russ to get far, and if he sees a better opportunity come along, that guy will drop her fast. Dave is good though - I think he could do very well in this game. But I want to see more from him before I get too enthusiastic.

4. Cutesiness: Moon and I both breathed easier after Jeff announced that there'd be no votes at tribal, because we both had candidates on the chopping block. Monica, Moon's #1 pick, has proven to be a bad competitor in challenges and too obvious in her alliances. Even if there is a merge next week I feel like the purple tribe could vote her out first anyways, just to finish their plotting from last week. But I certainly don't think she has a chance if they don't merge, so she's likely screwed either way. Mick will be the obvious first target once there's a merge, and he has no idol like Evil Russ to protect him. Which leaves Moon with Laura. Laura is to Moon what Kelly is to me - a wish and a prayer. But if anyone wants to make bets, I'd put my money on our dregs lasting the longest on both our teams.

Last. Goody Two-Shoes: I lost my #1 pick, Good Russell, to a medical evacuation. That sucks a lot, and SERIOUSLY hurts my chances of winning this season. I wasn't counting on Russell to win the whole thing, but I was counting on him to win me SOME points! Now I have Liz and Kelly, who are both good players, but Liz is painting a huge target on her back first by calling out Evil Russell, and then saying dumb things like "our tribe needs the guys, so it'll be either me or Natalie" instead of arguing her case! What Liz should be plugging is something more like this: we need strong women on our tribe because most challenges pit guys against guys and girls against girls. If Natalie is your only female you're screwed! Not only would this save her ass, but it's TRUE. And the fact that she can't see that is making me lose respect, not only for her, but for their whole tribe. Liz needs a merge more than anyone else in the game. I hope we get one soon! But Kelly, my dreg, is my only real hope. I actually do like her chances more than any other woman left in the game. So I'm going to try and stay optimistic for now.

I'm going to keep doing individual power rankings too, just for fun:

1. Eric
2. Dave
3. Evil Russell
4. John
5. Kelly
6. Brett
7. Laura
8. Jaison
9. Mick
10. Shambo
11. Natalie
12. Liz
13. Monica

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

RE: Notes

I just got a shout out on Moon's blog which is making me smile :). Although still no cred for the "Old Whitey" moniker. WTF mate?

Survivor blog will be coming soon, but I keep leaving my spreadsheet at home. Also due: wedding blog and hit & run blog. Those will undoubtedly take forever to post, sorry for anyone who cares.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Survivor Samoa - it starts....

I know the season's already 4 episodes in, but I don't feel like Survivor really starts until the pool has begun! Last night marked what I consider to be one of the most serious, competitive, and well-organized pools we've done so far, which to mean also means the most fun. I spent a large part of last night sitting at a table in Murphy's with 5 other competitors, and 2 semi-supporters working through the rules, agonizing over picks, and taking copious notes. It's how I imagine a fantasy football draft must go.

The most notable change to this season is that team Dachui, elimated from last season's competition because of numerous absences, actually made the draft this time around. Good luck to you, rooks!


We've made some small adjustments to last season's rules, which I've posted here:

45 points (+15 for sweep) - 1st place
30 points - 2nd place
20 points (+10 if makes jury) - 3rd place
10 points - Jury
2 points - Wins a team reward challenge
3 points - Wins a team immunity challenge
4 points - Wins an individual reward challenge
1 points - Invited to share a reward challenge
6 points - Wins individual immunity challenge
10 points - Finds the hidden immunity idol
+10/-5 points - Plays hidden immunity idol at tribal council (+ 10 for successful, -5 if it was played unnecessarily)
-10 - Plays a fake immunity idol
-2 - Sits out a challenge

The first place prize was downgraded just a bit, while most of the early-game points were bulked up. I think this was a good decision as it increases the chances of someone winning the pool, even if their pick doesn't win the competition. However, it's still highly likely that whoever's pick wins Survivor, will win the pool too. Hopefully the scoring will make it as exciting as I think it will!


Team Evil 'Box (aka Bag): 15 points
1. Evil/Fat Russell (3 pts)
2. Erik (12 pts)
3. Shambo (0 pts)

Team Missing a Pizza Place (aka Doug): 7 points
1. John (2 pts)
2. Brett (2 pts)
3. Ashley (3 pts)

Team Dachui (aka Richey and Danielle): 6 points
1. Jaison (3 pts)
2. Dave (0 pts)
3. Natalie (3 pts)

Team Goody Two-Shoes (aka me!): 5 points
1. Good/Black Russell (0 pts)
2. Liz (3 pts)
3. Kelly (2 pts)

Team Cutesiness (aka Moon): 5 points
1. Monica (2 pts)
2. Mick (3 pts)
3. Laura (0 pts)

ANALYSIS (in order of the strength of teams):

1. Evil 'Box: Bag's team has already started with a huge leg up: two of his players have hidden immunity idols. Besides getting bonus points for that, it also makes his team a lot more powerful and dangerous. Both guys found them without having seen any clues, which speaks highly of their innovation and the fact that they're playing the game 24/7. Shambo could go out next week, but she could also be one of the key players in the game since she has a foot in both camps right now. Will she win? Probably not, but as a dreg, she has the potential to bring in a lot of points. And if she doesn't, no big loss.

2. Dachui: Dachui had a very scary episode to watch after the picks. Jaison looked like a quitter, Dave looked like he was insane, and Natalie looked really dumb. But they all pulled through and no one got the boot. I think that if anyone has a chance to win without having picked the actual winner, this is the team. Natalie somehow worked her way into an unstable, but potentially huge alliance. Jaison is a huge threat if he can get his head back in the game, and Dave is canny, if weird. They all have the potential for very deep runs in this game.

3. Goody Two-Shoes: I have some solid players, but none of them are real stand-outs. I picked Liz because I thought that she was good at allying herself with people while still laying low, and was disheartened by previews of next week's episode (please don't piss off Russell!) because it looks like she loses her composure. Good Russell right now is sitting very pretty, but he also needs to work on laying low. Finally, Kelly, my dreggery, actually seems like she could be really cool. I had no idea who she was when I picked her, but I thought she did well in this last episode. It seems like she has a good feel for the game. Fingers crossed that my dreg won't be the one carrying my whole team!

4. Missing a Pizza Place: Maybe this team doesn't deserve to be 2nd to last, but I really know nothing about these players, and I think that's a bad sign. Shows like this tend to at least introduce you to the finalists at the beginning, IMO, so if 4 episodes in I still don't know who they are, it doesn't bode well. And cameo sightings of Brett don't count.

5. Cutesiness: Moon, this is nothing personal, but I think your team sucks. I'm not singling you out. I'm singling out Monica, Mick, and Laura. Monica, Moon's #1 pick almost got voted out last night, which usually doesn't bode well for a team. Mick will be an easy target for the majority tribe, if they merge and the yellow team is still down players. And Laura could be good, but who really knows yet?

Overall there were a LOT of players we know practically nothing about, which made this season's draft very interesting. I think there's a lot of parity in the teams this year, and honestly whoever wins this season will have gotten lucky along the way. Should be really fun!!

Finally, as a sort of post-script (dedicated to Moon), I'm posting my "power rankings" on how I rated the players leading into the draft.

Top Tier:
Good Russell
Evil Russell

Middle of the Pack:

Hope I Don't Get:

Moon laughed at these rankings, but I think he'll be sorry he did that later (except maybe Dave; that guy impressed me last night). Only time will tell...

Monday, August 31, 2009

The wedding is less than 2 weeks away. My parents arrive in 5 days. The sound of inevitability is constantly in the back of my head. It sounds like Bag saying "Eeeeeeeee!"

(p.s. I am thrilled to get married and have a wedding and spend the rest of my life with the man I love. It's the planning of it that causes the stress!)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

You haven't heard from me because....

I (sort of) got a promotion! I've never been busier or happier at my job than I am right now. It's pretty awesome. Unfortunately the promotion is supposed to be only temporary because at this point they can't accompany my promotion with an increase in pay (thus the naming of it, a Dougmotion). But it is encouraging that it happened at all, and it's also encouraging that I'm enjoying my new responsibilities so much!

That's all for now... I no longer seem to have time for blog posts, what w/ work and the wedding less than 3 weeks away!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Nappy's Last Chance

Nappy, this is a public post directed to you - if you ever change the website your blog is on again, I will remove you from my list on my blogsite. I have no problem with you changing your outlook on life, changing gears in both poker and life goals. I do have a problem with spending 3 minutes trying to figure out how to update my blog. Yes, 3 minutes is enough to push me over the edge. This would be incredibly damaging to you, as it would mean losing 1/11th of your readership.

You have been forewarned.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Listening to Galileo by the Indigo Girls right now. (I prefer the Abby-a capella group's better, but I don't have an mp3 of it anymore :(.) It made me start thinking about reincarnation. I feel like I've got it pretty good right now, so my previous lives must have done a damn good job of "living right." But what if I'm messing it up? Am I just sitting back and taking it easy instead of taking that crucial next step to get me to Paradise? I imagine my soul living life after life, alternating between working my ass off to be a good person, then sitting on my heels, condemning myself to another grindy existence.

If I actually believed in any of this stuff I might get motivated to do more... but instead I'm just going to appreciate what I have and enjoy my life. What can I say? Current me's just a little too lazy :).

Monday, July 20, 2009

Holy bananas!

George RR Martin just posted on his blog that they've got Sean Bean cast as Eddard Stark for HBO's Game of Thrones pilot! Check it out here: http://grrm.livejournal.com/. I'm also really excited about their cast for King Robert (this guy's got "loud and drunk" written all over him and I thought he was great in A Knight's Tale) and for their choice of an "intense" unknown for Jon Snow. But getting Sean Bean attached to this project makes it feel like it's got a whole lot more weight and authenticity behind it now. (Peter Dinklage was previously cast as Tyrion... also exciting, but it's old news.) I can't wait to see who's announced next!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Money for Nothing

A few weeks ago Bag IMed me to see if I wanted to play in a softball game on Saturday. I told him I couldn’t because I was playing in some weekly freerolls. A scoffing Bag wrote, “softball >>>>>>>> freerolls” to which I replied, “not if you win.” Fast forward to last week, another Saturday where I found myself playing a few freerolls, and mercifully untempted by softball. Freerolls, more than any other tourney (that I play, i.e. turbos don’t count), are true donkaments. But I’ve been reading Nappy’s blog a lot lately and his crasian aggro style has been rubbing off on me, which means I’m currently playing a style ideally suited to a donkament freeroll. I played a lot of hands, called light, and put people on a weaker range than I normally would.

About 1,600 people played in the $75k freeroll and 288 made the money. With about 200 people left I felt like I was in complete control of the tournament. I told myself I would at least get top 18. I’d been ridiculously aggressive, raising and then calling all ins with hands like T8s, and even a 43s once, both of which I was delighted to win.

Soon after the money, I got moved to a new table, where I was pleased to be sitting directly to the left of the table’s big stack, Rhubarb. This guy was pretty open about the fact that he was robbing people blind. He probably raised about half the pots, and usually took it down. But when he got reraised he usually folded quickly, not getting into any pissing contests with the upstarts. This was an ideal situation for me because I was able to resteal from him most of the time, bringing in a hefty amount of chips but not having to risk mine very often. Unfortunately, when that table broke I got moved to a new one where the guy to my right, EasyY, was very good and started to knock large chunks out of my sizeable stack. He was moved to the new table in time to watch me raise one hand and take it uncontested, then double up in a 250k pot with JJ against AK the very next hand (3 for 3 on my flips). Two hands later I have 77 UTG and raise it to 12.5k with blinds at 2.5/5k. He reraised from the button to 40k and I flatcall. The board came 995 and he bet 44k into an 88k pot. I figured this was a good spot for me so I reraised to 109k, and he instantly went all in. With 97k left behind, I made a very difficult fold, but good fold all the same. I’m sure I wouldn’t be posting this blog if I hadn’t. Two hands later I get JJ in the SB, and after an EP limp EasyY raises 3x. I really should have seen that one coming, but I was pissed off from our previous hand and shipped it for 100k. EasyY with the obvious rockets called immediately, but BINK! a beautiful jack on the river doubled me up! (Sorry Nappy, but JJ is my new favorite hand. I’m probably the one sucking out on you constantly.)

Suddenly I’m there. I’d made top 18 and I paused for a moment of celebration because I’d achieved my goal and then some! I was sitting pretty at 5th in chips, and from there I cruised my way easily into the final table.

I wasn’t too happy with where I was sitting, as Rhubarb was three seats to my left. However, while still active I’ve still got a pretty good read on him. Easy_Y is there too, sitting two to my left. The two shortest stacks are sitting to my right, one of whom had been folding to me all through the last table. Of the remaining final 9, a guy named Freako8 had 500k, Rhubarb and I each had 350k, and 4 guys had around 250k.

The very first hand I get AK in the SB. Rhubarb, as predictable as pie raised to 18k w/ blinds at 3.5k/7k, and Freako called. I reraised to 69k, and they both folded. Good start! Rhubarb knocks out the smallest stack 4 hands in, and after that everyone’s stacks are so close it’s a battle to the end. With 7 left, 5 of us are right around 400k, EasyY was up to 600k, and one shorty had 150k. I continued my bludgeoner style and started shtealing my way up to a more dominating stack. I was up to 550k when I called a small-stack’s all in with AJo, running up against their QQ and bumping me down to 350k. I tightened up for a couple of orbits, when I played this hand:

With 6 left it folded to me in the hijack and I raised it to 29k w/ blinds at 6/12k with Jd5d. The player to my left flat called, and the board came 563 with two clubs (I had no clubs). I bet out 52k and he called. The turn was a non-club deuce, and I checked. He bet into me for a 90k and I considered my options. If he’d had a 4 I thought he would’ve checked, so I immediately discounted that option. He could’ve had a pocket pair, but if that were the case he probably would’ve raised the flop. Plus, with such a junk board it didn’t look like I’d hit anything, so he could be betting with crap just because he thought I didn’t have anything. So I shoved all in. He used up almost his entire timebank before calling with JcTc. No club or T, and I was up to 660k.

Down to 5: I was still in the middle of texting Wolf news of my double up when I woke up with AKo on the button. I raised to 29k (blinds still 6/12k) and it folded to Rhubarb in the BB with 600k who reraised to 51k. I wasn’t surprised; I’d been stealing a lot and was pleased to see him defending since I held a monster. I rereraised to $139k, and after tanking he pushed all in. I thought I was in a coinflip, but then he showed AdQd! In my mind I pictured his cheeks reddening in embarrassment as his cards were revealed. But AK < AQ was proven yet again when he hit a flush, and I was crippled down to 47k. Rhubarb now had 1.2M from the biggest pot—and biggest suckout-- of the entire tournament. I was confident that I would wind up in 5th place.

I folded until my BB where I got 82o. Rhubarb, reveling in his newfound wealth, raised to 30k and I glumly went all in for my pittance of 43k. He had AK, but I spiked a 2 and doubled up to 100k. The very next hand I woke up with aces and cheered. Rhubarb continued his raising ways and when I re-shoved he called with QJo. I held and suddenly I was back in the game with 210k. After that it was a grind as the nit to my right slowly got blinded out of the tourney. Then the other short-stack tight player at the table went into panic mode and started raising like crazy. EasyY and Rhubarb basically sat back and watched us try and knock each other out. In the end though it was Rhubarb who knocked out the other guy, and we reached final three with Rhubarb at 1.3M, EasyY at 800k and me with a small but feisty 300k stack.

We ended up making a deal, and I walked away with $8,000. It’s the biggest score I’ve ever made, and it comes from a tournament in which I invested $0 dollars and only 6 hours of time.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Survivor Tocantins - Crush like Brush

Survivor is over and therefore the pool is too. I'm pleased to report that the winner is... ME! And JT, I suppose, but who really cares, right? Here are the final scores:

Pickett - 132 points
- JT (104)
- Taj (22)
- Sandy (6)

Bag - 75 points
- Stephen (44)
- Joe (7)
- Debra (24)

Alia - 56 points
- Spencer (6)
- Erinn (28)
- Coach (22)

Moon - 40 points
- Brendan (24)
- Candace (0)
- Sierra (16)

Doug - 36 points
- Jerry (0)
- Tyson (29)
- Sydney (7)

The points look a little different because I realized in the very last episode that making the jury was supposed to count for 10 points, not 5 which is how I'd been counting it. The above scores are actually correct, but if we go with how I was scoring it all along it would look like this: Pickett (127), Bag (70), Alia (51), Doug (31), Tom (30). So the only difference is who ends up in last. Sorry for misleading you, Doug, but you did the worst this season.

Overall I thought it was a decent season, although without Coach it could have been one of the worst. For all the blindsides that the contestants felt, it actually seemed rather predictable from a viewer's point of view. And honestly, I was hoping/expecting a little more drama from Coach at the final tribal council, and felt a little disappointed when he didn't give a "one of you is a snake, the other is a rat" Susan-type speech at the end. But I am really happy that JT won - he seems like an all-around great guy who needed the money. Plus, he was my pick, woo hoo! I think I won a dinner sponsored by all the runners-up, which I will enjoy heartily.

I really liked doing our more complex pool this season, and I hope that we can continue it in the future. I do think there should be a few changes made to it though. Personally, I'd like to have more ways for players to lose points. We really didn't have all that many of those, but I think it could be really fun to add in something like "-5 points if one of your players cries" and stuff like that. Also, in the end it really came down to whoever picked the winner would win. Had Stephen won the majority of jury votes, then Bag would be the victor of this sesason. So I think that we shouldn't give the winner so many points next season. Maybe 40, 25, and 15 points, for 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Drop it down in baby steps.

Next season will be in Samoa, which I'm very excited about. It seems like such a cool, exotic place (which, I guess all of the locations are). I'd like to visit it some day. It makes me a little sad though because it would have been SO cool if Moon had actually made it on the show! I'd love to watch him on Survivor, I think he could be an amazing player in the game. So don't give up Moon! Apply every season until they let you in!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Survivor Tocantins

Bag (39 points)
- Stephen (13)
- [Joe (7)]
- [Debra (19)]

Doug (31 points)
- [Jerry (0)]
- [Tyson (24)]
- [Sydney (7)]

Pickett (30 points)
- JT (12)
- Taj (12)
- [Sandy (6)]

Moon (30 points)
- [Brendan (19)]
- [Candace (0)]
- [Sierra (11)]

Alia (26 points)
- [Spencer (6)]
- Erinn (8)
- Coach (12)

♪ Ding dong, Debbie’s gone!♪ Not that she was a witch or anything, but I believe she was the only one smart enough to coordinate a blind-side of JT (besides Stephen, but I don’t think he’ll do that). Getting rid of her greatly increases my chances of winning this season. With Debbie’s exit though, I must finally concede defeat. Debbie > Sandy. They were the last two picks and Bag took Debbie to leave me with the dreg Sandy. I was happy with that though because I was convinced that while Debbie would remain in the game longer, she wouldn’t earn very many points along the way. She turned out to be a much smarter and better competitor than I’d anticipated, so congrats to you Debbie for earning three times as many points as the other old white lady in the game! Sandy, you were exactly what I thought you’d be—totally nuts, but great for a handful of much-needed points.

Bag had a bittersweet week last week. He earned 10 big points while no one else got anything, but he lost a player. I’d say that losing Debbie wasn’t that great of a loss, but she brought in more points than Stephen so far (not even counting the 5 points she earned for making the jury). Stephen has always been a long-term threat, but I think Bag needed his “producer” in the game to ensure the win. Now I feel like the field is wide open. And by wide open I mean that it’s really come down to me and Bag, while Alia continues her insane claw to victory.

Quick note, in my first post I noted that Alia actually said she wanted the dregs since she hadn’t had time to watch the show yet. Instead, an ever-so-slightly-more-informed Bag picked for her. (Which means that 50% of all of Bag’s picks are still in the game. Impressive.) I predicted that—had Alia gotten what she wanted—she would have gotten Debra, Sandy, and Coach. Which would have given her 37 points with one player left right now. She’d probably be in the lead.

For me to win I need JT to start pulling his weight again and win some immunities. It would also be extremely helpful if either Taj or JT played the hidden immunity idol and Stephen did not. I think it could happen that they think of this (I think that the last week to use it will be this week) and play it “just in case”. If it’s played it’s possibly a 10 point swing between me and Bag. I also need the current alliances to hold as they are.

For Bag to win, Stephen needs to win the whole thing. Nuff said.

For Alia to win, the rest of the tribe except Coach needs to come down with a brutal case of giardia so they are all med-evacked, thus handing Coach the victory. At this point in the game, even if he or Erinn makes it to the final 2 (or 3) I just don’t see anyone voting for them, not even people from their own alliances. If Coach was in the final 2, maybe Debbie and Tyson would vote for him, but they both know that he was the pawn not the player, and I think they’d prefer to reward the person who outfoxed them, not their lackey. If it was Erinn, well, most people don’t think she’s all the smart, I don’t think. She’s always a name away from being the next to go. So what Alia really needs is for both Erinn and Coach to make it to the final 2, because then people would have no choice BUT to vote for her players.

I want to conclude this post with my favorite part of the episode, which is that Coach brought his assistant coach on the show as his “special someone.” Everyone else brought their husbands, fathers, siblings, but Coach chose his co-worker. And not just his co-worker, his professional subordinate. I think this guy lives to be on one long power trip. It’s also sad that there’s no one in his life who he’s really close to. I think that Coach is what Randy from the last season would have been if he was stupid. They are both awkward loners who don’t fit in with society. Randy knew that, but Coach is too ignorant to realize it.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Survivor Tocantins

Doug (31 points)
- [Jerry (0)]
- [Tyson (24)]
- [Sydney (7)]

Moon (30 points)
- [Brendan (19)]
- [Candace (0)]
- [Sierra (11)]

Pickett (30 points)
- JT (12)
- Taj (12)
- [Sandy (6)]

Bag (29 points)
- Stephen (8)
- [Joe (7)]
- Debra (14)

Alia (26 points)
- [Spencer (6)]
- Erinn (8)
- Coach (12)

Gaaah! We're all within 5 points of each other! It's this sort of score that makes me wonder if all this effort was really even worth it. But then I think about how much fun it's been to do, and I just don't really care. :) Plus, with Doug and Moon out, the rest of us will quickly pull away.

This last episode was really fun to watch. Particularly the part where Coach was revealed to be a liar and a freako. I'm okay that he didn't get voted out this week, because I do feel like his end is very near. I wish they'd voted Debbie out though; she's way too canny to keep in the game when they have a chance to get rid of her.

In any case, JT and Stephen's plan right now suits me very well. If their plan works then it's JT, Taj, and Stephen in the final three. Then, even if Stephen wins, I'll earn just as many points with second and third place. And I think that JT should earn a few immunities along the way, putting me ahead of Bag to eke out the win.

Other than that I guess there's not much to report. It's really getting down to it, I think there's only 3 or maybe 4 episodes to go!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Survivor Tocantins - 1.5 down, 2.5 to go!

Thursday marked the exit of our first player, Doug. Tyson got blindsided, and thus ended Doug’s potentially epic run for the win. With Moon crippled, that really only leaves me, Bag, and Alia racing to the end. Here’s our standings:

Doug (31 points)
- [Jerry (0)]
- [Tyson (24)]
- [Sydney (7)]

Pickett (28 points)
- JT (11)
- Taj (11)
- [Sandy (6)]

Bag (27 points)
- Stephen (6)
- [Joe (7)]
- Debra (14)

Moon (25 points)
- [Brendan (19)]
- [Candace (0)]

- Sierra (6)

Alia (21 points)
- [Spencer (6)]
- Erinn (8)
- Coach (7)

It’s interesting, because for a season that is so unpredictable, people are getting voted out essentially along the same lines as most seasons. Pre-merge, those voted out were fairly poor producers, but after the merge, the strongest, aka those who’ve made the most points, were the first to go. If that continues, then Debra will be the next to be voted out. I think it’s unlikely, but you never know!

Doug is currently in the lead, but without being able to earn any more points, he’ll likely end up in dead last by the end of the season. The only person with the potential to finish lower than him is Moon. And while his one pony Sierra did survive this last episode, I got the impression that absolutely no one likes her, so I think it would be very hard for her to win the whole thing. If people are smart, though, they should try to take her to the jury with them, so she could get 10 or 20 points, as opposed to the 5 a jury member earns.

The other three remaining players all still have 2 ponies in, and all of us have a good chance at going deep. I think that Bag is still in the lead because his two picks are probably the smartest ones left and the most capable of making plays. With Tyson gone, Debra will have to step up and make some decisions, since Coach is convinced he’s a dragon-slaying samurai that lives in the 13th century and is incapable of making plays.

I feel relatively secure at this point since both JT and Taj have access to the hidden immunity idol. JT still has a target on his back, and Taj isn’t doing much of anything right now, but I don’t think either will go out in the next episode.

Alia still has both Erinn and Coach in the game. I actually really like the game that Erinn is playing right now. She’s not in any alliance, but somehow she’s in all the alliances at the same time. It’s a surprisingly secure position to be in. And Coach, well, I think at this point Coach’s stock may actually be on the rise. He’s a loon and his puppet master Tyson was taken out. If Debra doesn't take control of his strings next, he’s just a powerless figurehead that no one will vote for when it gets down to the jury. Every week I hope he gets voted out, but as each week passes, my optimism dwindles a little more.

Friday, April 24, 2009

If you haven’t seen me lately it’s because…

I’ve gotten back into the groove of playing online tourneys lately. It’s something that I’ve been on a long hiatus from until just about a month ago. I’m not sure what made me stop in the first place, but I think it had something to do with a) sucking, and b) the introduction of Mario Kart Wii into my life. The break was much-needed. Now that I’m back, I’m only fiending for more. From two Sundays ago to last Sunday I played tourneys on 5 out of the 8 days. When I’m not playing, I’m thinking about it, and when it’s too late to get tourneys started, I’ve been analyzing past tourneys with Wolf.

I’ve never felt more confident about my play than I do now. I feel more focused, more educated, and straight-up just have more fun with tourneys these days. This time in my poker “career” is only rivaled by the last days of PartyPoker, where I really found my groove in their donkaments. But those tourneys didn’t take as much skill as the ones I’m playing now. I’ve moved up in stakes (slightly) from my usual $10 and $20 tourney’s to the $50 and $75 stakes. We even played the Sunday Million ($215) last weekend, which I had vowed to never play again two years ago because I was too intimidated by the players.

I’m certainly no pro, and in the past two weeks I’ve only made one final table. But I have cashed in 35% of all the tourneys I’ve played, and made the money in 3 out of 5 of the biggest buy-ins. I used to play with my heart and my guts. Now my brain is getting more involved and I feel like I’m finally truly starting to understand the game. Considering that this summer will be the first time I will ever visit Vegas since I’ve turned 21, the timing couldn’t be better.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Survivor Tocantins - Gnight, Moon

Pickett (26 points)
- JT (9)
- Taj (11)
- [Sandy (6)]

Moon (25 points)
- [Brendan (19)]
- [Candace (0)]
- Sierra (6)

Doug (24 points)
- [Jerry (0)]
- Tyson (17)
- [Sydney (7)]

Bag (20 points)
- Stephen (6)
- [Joe (7)]
- Debra (7)

Alia (19 points)
- [Spencer (6)]
- Erinn (6)
- Coach (7)

* I don't have my nerdy spreadsheet with me, but I think this is correct.

The latest episode should really be considered a continuation of the episode from the week before. The same intrigues continued through both. Brendan got slayed by Coach, the now-proven loon. I honestly believe that he spent most of his formative years on one big acid trip, which resulted in the human-like person we are now seeing on TV.

Tyson is proving to be a serious force in this game. He's Coach's puppet master who is winning every immunity along the way. He's set up what looks to be a perfect game at this point. I think he's only rivaled by Stephen, who's playing a more subtle game, but could be the true dragon slayer when he coordinates the Tyson blind-side. JT is playing an honest game, but the fact that everyone loves him and he's competitive, will at some point make people realize he shouldn't be around anymore. If he went to a jury today, I think he would win. But I seriously doubt that Tyson would let him get that far, if he continues to be the one in control. Erin, Debra, Sierra, and Taj may be the most useless women in Survivor history. I am really disappointed in the female performance this season. If any of them win, it will be because the jury was too angry with the man they are up against, not because they actually deserve it.

Looking at our current standings, Doug continues to get the scores he needs. Tyson is leading the active players with most points earned, 17. My only concern is that Tyson is looking TOO good. He needs to tone it down while he's still got a strong alliance, or people will start to notice that he's winning all of the immunities and vote him out. Brendan had already marked him as the biggest threat, and I think that Stephen and JT are concerned as well. (Hopefully they'll actually act on it.)

Moon's recently eliminated Brendan racked up 19 points (5 from making the jury), but is guaranteed to earn no more. Probably the worst part is that he had an immunity idol in his pocket, but didn't play it. I expect that's the part that burns the most, doesn't it Moon? Moon is pretty much dead in the water. His only remaining pick, Sierra, has earned a grand total of 6 points so far. Skeletor Sandy, who was eliminated almost a month ago, earned the same amount. This girl is NOT a producer. Even if Sierra doesn't go out next week, Moon is pretty much drawing dead. His K2o is up against KK.

Bag is still the front-runner for winning the whole thing IMO. Neither of his picks have been mentioned even once as far as getting voted out, and they've done nothing to give people a reason to put them there. Expect him to continue sitting in the 3rd place spot in our rankings, and then make a burst at the end of the season to take the whole thing.

I'm doing okay, but my place is still shaky. JT has a heart-shaped target on his back that I'm worried someone will take aim at. I feel like the biggest confrontation will be Tyson wanting to eliminate him, and JT and Stephen trying to take Tyson out instead. I just hope my team wins the battle!

Alia.... what can I say? She continues to survive and thrive. She's only 7 points off the lead right now and has two active players still capable of bringing in a lot more points. I thought that either Erinn or Coach would for sure be gone by now, so I can't really say with any confidence what will happen to her picks in the future. I still doubt that Alia will win the whole thing, but at this point, I certainly can't guarantee it. Is Alia screwed? Not nearly so much as Moon.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Survivor Tocantins - Dragon Slayer

Sorry for the belated Survivor update. I think it took me so long because the episode was kind of a let-down, so I didn't feel like posting. There was a lot of great drama and build-up right until the end, when Joe got med-evacked and therefore there was no epic upset at tribal council like they were hinting at through the whole episode. Overall I thought it was a solid episode, but the ending was so disappointing that looking back on it I thought it was weak. Hopefully this episode will be a great build-up for an epic show tomorrow, though!

There are many things that I liked about this episode:
1 - neither of my picks got voted out, and even more importantly, one of Bag's picks is gone now without getting a jury seat. My guess is that the next person voted out will be a jury member, so this is a big loss for him.
2 - I thought JT was going to be in really bad shape going into the merge. He's on the short-stacked tribe and is clearly both their leader and a really strong competitor. I don't think he could put a bigger target on his back. But the weird twistedness that is the other tribe instead loves him and they all want to be in an alliance with him. This is an unexpected and very welcome surprise.
3 - Tyson won the only points last episode. Considering that he is Doug's only pick and Doug was in last place, I'm fine with that. If I don't win the points, then I want Doug to.

Here are our current standings:

Pickett (24 points)
- JT (7)
- Taj (11)
- [Sandy (6)]

Doug (19 points)
- [Jerry (0)]
- Tyson (12)
- [Sydney (7)]

Alia (19 points)
- [Spencer (6)]
- Erinn (6)
- Coach (7)

Bag (18 points)
- Stephen (6)
- [Joe (7)]
- Debra (5)

Moon (18 points)
- Brendan (12)
- [Candace (0)]
- Sierra (6)

I haven't earned any points in two weeks now, so that fact that I'm still in first is remarkable. Based on the way things developed last episode, I think my team is likely to stick around at least a few weeks more (thank you, survivor gods!). It helps me that they are allies, so if one does well so does the other. If they lose I'll go down hard, but if they keep succeeding I will reap twice as many benefits.

Doug still only has Tyson... his personal sole survivor. Last post I said he needs to win the whole thing and a lot of immunity challenges along the way for Doug to have a chance at winning the pool. Last week, Tyson pulled through. He's in a pretty good alliance, so he'll probably last at the minimum a few more weeks. I'm still calling him a long-shot but if anyone can do it, Tyson can.

Alia's team continues to blow my mind. How Coach and Erinn are both still in- and are winning- I don't know. But Coach is leading the show in his wacko way. He's now calling himself the Dragon Slayer since he is hoping to blindside Brendan. He's also saying things like "the strongest deserve to be here, so we're going to vote out the weak" right as he plans on voting out the strongest person in the tribe. I think Coach may have either done a lot of drugs in his youth or is just straight-up delusional. In either case, I don't like him but I love watching his antics on TV. He may be one of the most entertaining cast members ever and will undoubtedly get invited back to any all-stars seasons in the future if he's not dead or in jail at the time. Coach is a lot like Dreamz (from the season that Earl won). They are both loose cannons, which makes for a really exciting competition.

Bag's team took a big hit with Joe being med-evacked last episode. He was a solid strong player who, had he not gotten injured, would probably have gone pretty far... although I don't think he would have won. Still, Bag has two other great players in Stephen and Debra. I think out of all his players, Joe was the most expendable. Don't expect Stephen or Debra to win many challenges, but you should definitely expect them to go deep in the show. I think at least one if not both of them will finish top 3.

Two weeks ago I said that Brendan was in the most secure position, and I would be shocked if he got voted out. But this season is one of the most unpredictable they've ever had, and sadly for Moon, both of his players were on the chopping block last week. Fortunately for him, they never actually went to tribal council, but he could still be screwed if nothing changes. Previews hinted that Brendan would bust a move in the next episode, but we won't know how successful that turns out to be until tomorrow.

This week it looks like either Brendan or maybe Coach will get voted out - if that happens then either Alia or Moon's dragon really will have been slain. Erinn and Sierra cannot win this survivor pool on their own.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Survivor Tocantins - it's baaaaack!

Survivor aired last night for the first time in three weeks, hurrah! Overall it was an entertaining episode, although points-wise it was disappointing (for me). Here's our current standings:

Pickett (24 points)
- JT (7 points)
- Taj (11 points)
- [Sandy (6 points)]

Alia (19 points)
- [Spencer (6 points)]
- Erinn (6 points)
- Coach (7 points)

Moon (18 points)
- Brendan (12 points)
- [Candace (0 points)]
- Sierra (6 points)

Bag (18 points)
- Stephen (6 points)
- Joe (7 points)
- Debra (5 points)

Doug (14 points)
- [Jerry (0 points)]
- Tyson (7 points)
- [Sydney (7 points)]

Currently the point differential is too close to really matter. The merge will be next week, and that's when the points go up and things start getting really interesting. It's 2 points for winning an individual reward challenge, 1 point for being invited to share the reward, and 5 points if a player wins the individual immunity challenge. Even more importantly, soon the players that are left will become members of the jury, which is worth 10 points each. (By the way, it's interesting to note that while having a player win the game will earn you 50 points, if someone else's players finish 2nd and 3rd, then they've made just as many points. Something I hadn't noticed before!)

What does this mean? It pretty much means Doug is screwed (and Alia still too). He's down to only 1 player, and he's already in last place. For Doug to have a chance at winning, Tyson needs to win the whole thing, and a lot of the challenges along the way too. Alia's players are bringing in solid numbers, but I just don't think they are in the position to make a run for the top 3.

Moon and Bag on the other hand are both looking pretty solid. The merge is coming, but never has it been less apparent who will be the first to get booted. However, none of the players that they have are on my list of who I think are the likeliest candidates. (JT, Tyson, Coach, and Joe are my top contenders right now for "next to go.") Bag and Moon's picks are all in good alliances, or are doing a good job of not putting a big target on their back. Moon though I think is now our new leader because no matter what happens next week I don't think Sierra or Brendan will get voted out. In fact, I'd be shocked if one of them was.

And me? I live in a constant state of fear. It seems that every week one of my picks is in the bottom two for potentially being voted out. Also, the Jalapao tribe did not kick nearly as much ass as I'd hoped. I was hoping to go into the merge with a sizeable lead-- and 5 points is anything but. In fact, the only reason I'm ahead at all is because Taj found the idol. And now the people who she's supposed to be aligned with are talking about voting her out so they can steal it from her! For me to do well, I need the Secret Exile Island Alliance to pull through big time. Moon does too I think. Alia and Doug need for it to fall apart, and Bag I think could do fine either way.

In any case, next week's episode will be very interesting...

Monday, March 23, 2009

It’s the end of an era!

I went to a very interesting lecture a couple of weeks ago that was the keynote speech of a colloquium that was right up my alley. It was called "Apocalypse and Transformation," and was essentially a discussion and analysis of books about the apocalypse. Sadly, the keynote speech was the only event that I was able to make in a week-long colloquium (stupid job), but I am grateful that I at least was able to attend that.

One of the most interesting points that was touched on was a fairly trendy term that’s used today: Anthropocene. This term is used by some scientists to describe the current geological epoch that we are living in. (Officially we’re in the Holocene, but maybe that will “officially” change sometime soon.) Basically the term Anthropocene was coined because human impact is so great that we are changing the face of the earth dramatically. Greenhouse effect and global warming aside, it was also mentioned that our presence is causing mass extinction on our planet on the level of the KT extinction event that wiped out the dinosaurs.

I’d love to go into more detail on this, but honestly most of the info I have is from Wikipedia, so if you’re interested, just click on the links above. The main point I have to make about this—besides blowing your mind— is that the human species has the same effect as a giant meteor crashing into the planet. When it happened 65 million years ago, dinosaurs went extinct and mammals became the new “power” on the planet. When our work as Species Destroyers is done, some scientists predict that we’ll have wiped out 50% of extant species, but I honestly think it’ll be more. I think that we’ll be the last species that we wipe out, since we’ll have changed our planet so dramatically that it will be unsustainable to us. I wonder what the next dominant species will be? Insects? Fish? Something completely new? Hopefully not something as destructive as we are.

I’m not trying to get too deep, since this is only a blog after all, but if you believe in an omnipotent and omniscient higher power, who knows exactly what's going to happen in the future, then what does that mean that they purposefully put our destructive species in this world? I can’t help but think of the line in The Matrix where the AI Agent Smith tells Morpheus that the human race is a virus that kills everyone else. Maybe that’s been our purpose from the start.

I have trouble wrapping my brain around the idea that I was created to be a harbinger of death. Most of the time I tell myself that it’s just my vivid and paranoid imagination running away with me. But every so often, I believe.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Survivor Tocantins

Two weeks ago Sandy was voted out, a sad but inevitable occurrence. She did get me 6 points though before going, which was better than could be expected. Last night Spencer, from Alia's team, was voted out. He'd also accrued 6 points, which ties him w/ Sandy for most points won for people who are no longer in the game. (Jerry and Candace, the other two who got booted, made 0 points each before going.)

Our current standings are:
1. Pickett - 24 points
- JT (7)
- Taj (11)
- [Sandy (6)]

2. Bag - 16 points
- Stephen (6)
- Joe (7)
- Debra (3)

3. Alia - 14 points
- [Spencer (6)]
- Erinn (4)
- Coach (4)

4. Moon - 12 points
- Brendan (9)
- [Candace (0)]
- Sierra (3)

5. Doug - 11 points
- [Jerry (0)]
- Tyson (4)
- Sydney (7)

At this point it really could be anyone's game. I don't think anyone is completely secure in their position right now; a lot of strong contenders seem to be putting big targets on their backs, and a lot of underachievers and pariahs are somehow sliding under the radar. If I had to pick though I think Bag has a very solid team, followed by Doug. Tom and I are kind of hanging around the middle right now- the next couple of episodes should clarify our fates-- and Alia, after losing her number one pick, is now firmly in last place contention. (If Coach ends up winnning.... well, that's a future I'm not ready to think about yet.)

I think the two players most secure right now are probably Stephen and Joe, which means that Bag, the only person left with all three players in, is my current favorite to win the whole thing. Coach and Tyson also appear to be in very secure spots, but on a tribe that I think in the long run will lose more than they win.

Taj and Brendan, two players who last week seemed safe, are now looking a little shaky. I'm hoping this was just overdramatized for this episode though, because the loss of Taj would hurt a lot. So long as she can make it to the merge, I think she'll be fine, but I'm worried about her lasting that long. If Brendan isn't careful, he'll be gone soon too. His surprisingly canny tribe may vote him out for their own self-preservation. If they do that next, they'll have voted out 3 of their strongest, most competitive tribemates. In the first episode Coach said that he wanted to keep the strong players around, but I think once he realized that he was not a strong player he changed his mind. And Sierra's fate is tied to Brendan's at this point, so if he goes, she'll be gone next.

JT is a great player who works really hard and is the leader of his tribe, but I think that he's setting himself up to be eliminated by proving he's so strong. He'll stick around for a while, but once the merge happens, he'll need to keep a low profile to get very far.

Sydney and Erinn I think are in some danger of getting voted out as throw-aways for either team. They've done nothing wrong, but they haven't really proven themselves yet. Their tribes' success is crucial to them getting to the merge. If they get to the merge, I think they'll both be in great shape.

Debra is actually playing a really good game. She's apparently made a pretty strong alliance with Coach and Tyson, so she probably won't get voted out any time soon since they're running the show (Sierra, Erinn, and now maybe Brendan are all higher on the chopping block right now than she is). She's certainly not a physical threat, and she seems really nice, so even if her alliance gets broken up later in the game, I could see her ingratiating herself with the other team. She could easily make it to the finals if it ends up being a Final 3, just like Suzy did last season. If it's a Final 2, I think it'd be harder for her to get there.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Tocantins is Portuguese for "Alia is screwed"


Bag's DVR "malfunctioned" last night, so Bag, Moon, and I-- being the fanatics we are-- decided to stay up til midnight when the show came On Demand to watch. After a rousing game of Trivial Pursuit and a few drinks, it was time. Overall I found it to be a very interesting and highly entertaining episode. Jerry was unfortunately booted due to sickness, which was a shame, but watching the tribe dynamic while making the decision was fascinating. I think Coach is without a doubt the most useless person on the Timbira tribe. But he does a really great job of acting like he's the most important, and unfortunately the other tribemates at this point are too dumb to see through the act. I don't think his stay in Brazil will last much longer though, since he'll undoubtedly stick his foot in his mouth soon and everyone will finally see through the charade.

I do hope he'll stick around longer though. I think one of the greatest strengths of my team is that none of them are stuck with Coach. So they keep winning. If the tribes get switched up soon though I might be in trouble!

Here are the current standings of the pool:

1. Pickett - 15 points
- JT (5)
- Taj (5)
- Sandy (5)

2. Bag - 9 points
- Stephen (5)
- Joe (5)
Debra (-1)

3. Alia - 5 points
- Spencer (5)
- Erinn (0)
- Coach (0)

3. Doug - 5 points
- [Jerry (0)]
- Tyson (0)
- Sydney (5)

3. Moon - 5 points
- Brendan (5)
- [Candace (0)]
- Sierra (0)

I personally am happy that Doug's strong team took a hit, although I'm sad about how it happened. I think Jerry had a lot of potential and it's always a bummer when a strong player has to leave because they get sick. He could've been a real producer. But it means that the rest of us have a better chance to win, so that's good! On the plus side, Jerry wasn't in any strong alliance that could have crippled any of Doug's other picks, so I feel like his other 2 team members are still very capable of racking up a lot of points.

Moon was looking to go scoreless again as his team is goose-egging every challenge at this point. But plucky Brendan came through in the end to get him 5 points by finding the hidden immunity idol. This pulled him into a tie for 3rd place. I still think Brendan will go far, but with his other picks failing to produce, I'm just not sure that he will be enough for the Moon win.

Bag and I have similar teams at this point and I think we're both doing very well. From previews for next week it looks like Stephen and Taj will become strong forces in this game soon, which means that JT will probably be brought in as well. I think our fates are in each others' hands at this point.

And Alia... poor, poor Alia. Her team is not only failing to produce big points right now, but they're also trying to cannibalize each other. Erinn just dodged getting voted out this episode by Coach, but I think either she or Coach will be next to go the next time their tribe loses. Spencer has been laying low at this point, but from what I can tell his performances during challenges seem to be only average. If he can get himself into a strong alliance he could go far, but I haven't seen that happen yet, and he could end up being a scapegoat vote-off if he somehow messes up a challenge in the future. I doubt he'll get voted out before Sandy, but once she's gone he could be next.