Ron & Kelly, Last Place

In this episode, teams made their way from Jodhpur, India to Istanbul, Turkey. Uchenna & Joyce started the leg in first place since they completed the Fast Forward and started at 11:24PM, but Rob & Amber and Ron & Kelly started the race at 11:26PM! Through clever editing they made it seem that Uchenna & Joyce were well ahead of the other teams in the last leg, but it turns out that they only had a two-minute lead over the others. They almost didn?t even get first place even with the Fast Forward!

Uchenna & Joyce and Meredith & Gretchen managed to get an earlier flight to Istanbul through Dubai, while Rob & Amber and Ron & Kelly took the direct flight arriving two hours after the others. This was a very big gamble which paid off big! Rob & Amber thought that they were in first place until they asked a ferry driver if they had seen other teams. The driver confirmed that there were two other teams about two hours ahead of them?they were bummed. They were ahead of Ron & Kelly by only minutes and they realized that they were fighting not for the lead, but to not be in last place.

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Obviously, the peeps at Google have nothing better to do with their free email system. I don’t know if the Gmail users out there noticed, but if you open your Spam folder and look below the Google search box at the top of the page, you’ll see a link to a spam recipe. To the right of the recipe are arrows you can use to navigate through the selections. Among the yummies you can create: Spam Swiss Pie, Cricket’s Spam Quiche, and Spam Vegetable Strudel. My fave, Spicy Spam Kabobs. Looks delicioso!

EDIT: I just discovered Gmail gives you recycling tips when you open your Trash folder. Sweet.

Function: noun
Etymology: French, from Old French fricons, pl. of fricon, a trembling, from Vulgar Latin *frīctiō, *frīctiōn-, from Latin frīgēre, to be cold
Date: Unknown
Definition: A moment of intense excitement; a shudder or thrill: The story’s ending arouses a frisson of terror.

A cinematography skydiver named Albert “Gus” Wing III was killed on Saturday when he was struck by–wait for it–that’s right, a wing! After opening his parachute the plane that he had just jumped out of with thirteen other skydivers struck him (with the wing) severing his legs at the knees. The guy survives the collision but dies from his injuries at the hospital later that day. Coincidence? A guy named Wing, first of all, ends up being a professional skydiver. And one day, in a seemingly routine dive, Mr. Wing is killed by well, a wing.

Maybe this is irony more than coincidence, but coincidence is a funny thing.

This is explained in the opening prologue of Paul Thomas Anderson’s film, “Magnolia.” The narrator guides the audience through several unlikely scenarios of chance and coincidence that display, with great humor, how past relevance can intrude on the present. In one scenario, a man plummets off the side of a building in a suicide attempt, but is inflicted with a shotgun blast on his way to landing in a net that would have surely saved his life. The shotgun was fired by his mother from an apartment several floors below. With shotgun cocked, she was violently threatening her husband when the weapon accidentally fired and struck their son on his descent. To her knowledge the gun was never loaded. Coincidentally, it was the suicide “victim” that had loaded the weapon a few weeks prior hoping that it would end his his parents’ years of fighting. The narrator tells us “these strange things happen all the time.”

The only thing that would make this incident, the wing incident, as coincidental as the one in the film would be if Mr. Wing was killed for giving the pilot a strong sedative from his bag earlier that morning that he mistook for a pain killer because his wife changed the containers in his bag in an attempt to be helpful but accidentally forgot to tell him. Or “something” like that, but we may never know it. Either way, life always finds a way to be stranger than fiction.

Yesterday’s Star Trek Enterprise episode titled “In a Mirror, Darkly” was a ripoff of the very popular “Mirror, Mirror” episode from the Original Series. This is really sad. The series has only a few episodes left and they can’t really come up with an original idea. Maybe they’ll have Q make an appearance before it’s all over. Lame.

I just pre-ordered the Halo 2 Expansion Pack that will be released on June 29th. The expansion pack includes a total of nine new multiplayer maps, a 1.1 version patch of the game, a documentary that describes the process of developing the new maps, and a new cinematic sequence that ties into the story of Halo 2.

The patch fixes a lot of the glitches of the game that have lead to cheating. Such as stealing flags through walls and other cheats that are unique to online play. The patch also increases the strength of alternative attacks to offset dual wielding weapons. Melee attacks have received a substantial damage bonus, for instance. Grenades will do more damage, and their timers have been shortened as well, making them much deadlier than they were previously. The brute shot has gotten the best improvement, since it has a strong melee attack (with the blade) and it also shoots grenades. Look for this to become a favorite weapon going forward.

In an effort to further balance online play, certain dual wield combinations were tweaked. For instance, many players have used the dual-magnum combo to score easy headshots, so it’ll now be more difficult to do so while using two pistols. The popular submachine gun-plasma combo has had its damage reduced as well, since it has proven so deadly. Overall, Bungie says its goal was to make Halo 2 play more like the original Halo.

The first four of the nine maps and the patch are currently available on Xbox Live. The remaining five maps will also be available later on XBox Live for those that don’t want to pick up the retail disc. Those that don’t use Xbox Live and use XBConnect instead will have to wait for the retail disc to be released in late June. It’s going to be one helluva Fourth of July weekend!

Read more about the expansion pack on Gamespot.

Lynn & Alex, Eliminated

In this episode, teams continued the leg from last week which is not over. According to Lynn & Alex, the leg had already been going on for two days. Surely the only sleep that teams have had has been on the airplane rides to India. Of course, the Chirpy Old Farts are chirpy as hell that they were not eliminated. The next clue sent teams to catch a train that bunched all of the teams up again. After all that shit everyone is again tied for first!

The teams have naturally divided themselves into Rob & Amber and Ron & Kelly and then everyone else. Teams were told to wait on the train patiently for their next clue. Of course, they were woken up with their next clue and found out that they would be on the train for about 24 hours! That’s a long time to be on an Amtrak train, let alone a beat up old Indian train. You could tell that the teams were really tired and in serious need of a Pitstop.

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Rob & Amber, First Place

In this episode, teams made their way from Khwai, Botswana to Lucknow, India. The Chirpy Old Farts are still chirpy, exclaiming “we don’t want to break a hip.” I am hoping that they will be gone soon–they are getting on my nerves. Sadly, Lynn & Alex are helping them “because we want you guys in the finals with us.” Of course they do, they can beat the old fuckers in a foot race!

All of the teams were bunched up heading to India through Mumbai and Delhi. At the Francistown, Botswana airport Lynn & Alex borrowed a cell phone and tried to squeeze out Rob & Amber and Ron & Kelly. However, Rob & Amber and Ron & Kelly managed worked with the counter person to get a flight that was scheduled to arrive 5 minutes before the flight that the other teams were on. It doesn’t sound like much, but 5 minutes is still a lead.

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An 81-year-old woman that was preparing to go on a test drive stepped on the wrong pedal and hit her husband, the salesman, a parked car, a tree, and eventually stopped at a wall. Luckily nobody was killed. I am sorry, but if you can’t tell the accelerator from the fucking brake pedal you should not be driving!

Brian & Greg, Eliminated

In this leg of the race, teams made their way to the town of Sankuyo Village in Botswana. Brian & Greg started tried to find a clue at the wrond water tower. Brian even climbed to the top of the water tower even though the clue clearly stated that the clue would be “beneath the water tower.” These guys are acting really dumb on this leg. Perhaps they bumped their heads pretty hard during their accident.

Uchenna & Joyce were the only team to do the Carry It challenge and they kicked ass doing it. Leaving the Detour they moved up to third place right behind Ron & Kelly and Rob & Amber. They were able to almost catch up at the following Roadblock. However, they failed to remove the post from the ground at the Roadblock and were unable to check into the Pitstop in third place. They had to drive nine miles back to the Roadblock to remove the post from the ground and still made it to the Pitstop in third place.

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Ray & Deana, Eliminated

In this special two-hour episode there were two separate legs as follows:

First Leg
In the first leg, teams had to make their way from Argentina to Johannesburg, South Africa. Rob & Amber’s eight-hour lead over the last place team was erased since everyone ended up in the same flight to Africa.

Upon arriving at the airport, teams were given marked cars with clue that had both a Detour and a Fast Forward. Only two teams, Ray & Deana and Rob & Amber attempted to get the Fast Forward. Rob & Amber got a little lost getting there and arrived at the task after Ray & Deana were already attempting to complete it. They waited a few minutes until they were informed that Ray & Deana completed the task. Needless to say, they wasted a lot of time going for the Fast Forward. They would finish fifth.

Meredith & Gretchen had a pretty big accident in the caves, although it wouldn’t be the biggest of the episode. They messed up and had to do the task twice, which tired them. The fatigue caused Gretchen to fall down and hit her head on the rocks causing a deep gash in her forehead that required one stitch. She was all bloodied and being treated when she instructed Meredith to finish the task and get the next clue on his own. They would have been gone otherwise.

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Susan & Patrick, Eliminated

Also, check out Larry O’Brien’s review here.

In this leg of the race, teams made their way from Mendoza, Argentina to Buenos Aires, Argentina. The biggest catch was that there were only two flights to Buenos Aires leaving five hours apart. So, it would have seemed that teams in the back of the pack would take a huge time penalty at the airport.

Before heading to the airport teams had to make their way to a ranch for a Detour. The leading teams, those who ate the four pounds of meat in the last round, were almost guaranteed a five hour lead over the other teams. Rob & Amber were the first of the “back of the pack” teams to reach the Roadblock and they even got lost heading over to it. Rob was able to complete the challenge in his first try with only 30 minutes time to reach the first departing flight.

They reached the airport right at 9:30AM and talked the person at the ticket counter to “hold the plane for them.” Through the magic of editing, the meat-eaters were gloating that the reason they were on the plane was because they didn’t “take shortcuts.” It was emotionally disturbing to all of them when they saw Rob & Amber walking onto the plane. Rob asked, “Ron, how’s your stomach?” as he got into his seat–it was awesome!

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I am very happy to say that my new TV arrived earlier today. However, the delivery wasn’t without a bit of drama. Upon the TV’s arrival, the driver informed me that “inside delivery” means inside the building structure not inside our home. This was a bit of a problem since there was no way that I could carry it up four flights of stairs on my own with the cast on my wrist.

I stood downstairs with the TV until I could call some reinforcements. I had called my friend Chris to help me but before he could arrive my neighbor helped me get the TV up the the stairs and my housekeeper’s husband helped me by taking the old TV off the TV stand and placing the new one in its place.

Thanks to the help and generosity of these people I am watching TV as we speak (or type). Or, as I like to call it, “establishing an emotional bond my new friend.”