Saturday, January 19, 2008

Thoughts From A Blah Friday

Thoughts On A Blah Friday

Note: The following was written this past Friday at work. Edits were made accordingly.

As I start this entry, it’s 7:50 a.m. I’m nowhere near a computer and I won’t be able to get online until about 4. That’s because I have a job. It’s been about six weeks since I’ve started this temp assignment and I’m a little surprised that I’ve lasted this long. I don’t have the gig, but I have to get here before 7, meaning I’m expected to get up around 5 . . . something unthinkable for me as recently as late November. Here’s a rough breakdown of a typical day:

7 a.m.: Arrive, get settled in,

7:15-12:30 p.m.: Arrange medical charts, fetch them for others, help out by running errands. Bigger priority: not falling asleep. Honestly, there are times where I have nothing to do, and I’ve barely improved on my nighttime sleeping habits. So I have to try and not drift off into sweet slumber. This is done by going outside in the cold (in contrast to my work area, which has gotten as warm as 80 degrees), drinking water, snacking, reading magazines and newspapers (my supervisor frowns on this, so I have to be sneaky about it), working on puzzles (usually copying the day’s Jumble onto an index card and trying not to get too stressed when I get stumped), working on potential blog entries, and talking to co-workers. I’ve connected with the others, though I could have done without suffering a serious allergic reaction in front of them.

12:30-1:30: Lunch hour. I always go out at this time. I get some fresh air, get the Village Voice (Wednesdays), The Onion (Thursdays) and drop off my check at the one bank (Fridays). Some days I bring lunch, other times I buy it.

1:30-2:55: More working, albeit at a more relaxed pace, since things have died down.

2:55-3:00: Mad dash to catch the ferry back home. Usually, I get to the terminal in time. I hate running, especially since it involves quick sprints following and walking and trying to cope with the burning in my legs, but I don’t want to wait another thirty minutes for the next ferry.

While I am making friends and developing some semblance of a work ethic, I can’t see myself staying at that place for keeps. A lot of it centers around the early hours, but it all comes down to me wanting to write. I still have a magazine that I freelance for, and if it really takes off, I could go there on a regular basis, hopefully getting up in the morning when there’s light out. That’s just the way I feel.

Onto two quick topics so I don’t doze off again (yep, I’m still weak):

The Amazing Rebound

When was the last time we went into the finale of The Amazing Race certain we’d be smiling at the end? After the utter crap that was All-Stars, we needed a comeback season, an edition that wouldn’t be the best but far from the worst. We started with donkeys, and we’re ending with no jackasses running for $1 million. Okay, there is Ronald Hsu, but at least he tried to be a better teammate for daughter Christina after he ripped into her a few times. It’s not like he constantly yells at her like Mirna did to Charla last season. He’s just another member of the Nice Person/Bad Racer Club (president: Flo Pessenti).

The Hsus’ wins in three legs puts them in position to become the first team bonded by blood – other than the Linzes from Family Edition to win the race, if not merely topping the current standard set by the Mycoskie siblings (TAR2) and the Duphiney brothers (TAR3). Another family team making it to the finale has proven to big a bigger shock: youngster Nicholas Fulks and his grandfather, Donald Jerousek. There hasn't been an age difference this great in the show's history, but these two have lucked their way towards the finish line. They've emerged as the cuddliest team remaining . . . mostly because of the 68-year-old Donald, who got muddy performing a pole-vaulting Roadblock in Ransdorp (The Natherlands), and had trouble playing robot soccer in Osaka. In addition to the memories, the duo will also be walking around with tattoos, which they received in Italy in order to receive a Fast Forward.

The logical favorites to win are TK Erwin & Rachel Rosales, another in a long line of dating couples. I haven't had much insight into these two, save that they are very laid back. They're like hippies, but not the dreadful "hippies" from three seasons ago. They have argued, but - and this is rare by reality television standards - they actually work through it as adults should. That alone makes them unique . . . which is ironic for me, considering that "TK" is a mark writers make when they don't have the information they need as they're writing. Just me? Okay, then.

The real miracle came in last week's episode, where Jennifer & Nathan got eliminated. They were the bickering couple, with the hook being that Nathan had cheated on Jennifer(or was it the other way around?), and they were now going to make things work, audience members' eyes and ears be damned. If you don't watch the show, then you don't understand; having a team like that in the final leg of the race is almost always a given. These two fought each other through most of their stay, and it was hard to watch. They were competitive enough, but they never won an individual leg. That was awesome, especially after Jennifer bitched about how everybody should get a chance to win after she and Nathan came in second right behind Azaria & Hendekea in Burkina Faso. At one point, they came out of a Detour in the lead in Croatia, but a cab driver wouldn't take them to the Pit Stop because Jennifer was wet. Meanwhile, a less discriminating cabbie took Ronald & Christina to another leg win. It was a great running gag while it lasted. The end came in Taiwan, when a squabble over getting to Youth Park in Taipei, Taiwan cost them the game . . . and on Jennifer's birthday to boot. When they arrived at the Pit Stop, I'm sure I wasn't the only one singing "Happy Birthday" at the TV screen.

Bottom line: Sunday, 8 p.m., one hour, happy ending. I'll be doing the usual thing: going to Stitch in Midtown for TARCon, followed by DimSumCon the next day. The best part is that the get-together at Jing Fong falls on national holiday, so I don't have to sweat losing a day's pay. For The Amazing Race, things have been great. Here's hoping they get even better.

A Token Gesture

Last month, I visited the recap site I used to write for. You know, the one where I spent my last few months getting flayed for my opinions before getting cut loose. Anyway, the head honcho was crowing about how Entertainment Weekly recognized the site as one of the best online, especially for their interviews with reality contestants.

First of all, the way interviews were handled wasn't too special when I was there. On the night where a contestant was eliminated, us writers would be asked for questions on the site's Yahoo groups forum. It wasn't that complicated. Secondly, I think most of the bigger reality sites get interviews, so it's not that big a deal. We're talking e-mailing questions to producers. The funny thing is that the site was second on "Must Click Television" sites list. The first entry? Television Without Pity. That just seems right to me.

Another thing I wanted to mention about the site is that they'll probably be doing their annual "25 Most Memorable People In Reality" list, or whatever it's called. Want to know who will be at the top? Dick & Daniele Donato from Big Brother 8. How do I know? For one thing, they've put participants from reality's foulest backwater on top in their first two editions: the "Friendship" alliances from Big Brother 6 (I have zero clue), and Mike Malin and Will Kirby from All-Stars (over Cirie Fields from Survivor: Exile Island and Yul Kwon of Survivor: Cook Islands). The fact that Alison Grodner, the show's executive producer, has been subject to speculation of rigging events to ensure a daddy/daughter finale will barely be noticed by the site. They just love to toss Big Brother salad. Besides, they lost all credibility with me two years ago, when they failed to place Tom Westman on the list. All Tom did was lead the Koror tribe to victory after victory on Survivor: Palau, snare a shark by himself, win all but two individual immunity challenges, not recieve a single vote the two times he was vunerable, and win the final vote 6-1. You know which Palau cast member did make the 25? Wanda Shirk, who spent a day and a half before getting pushed off after a "pick 'em" game to form the two tribes. Also getting the boot was Jonathan Libby, but he didn't make the list because he never sought attention by making up annoying songs on the spot. So if you get sucked into the countdown and find yourself pulling for Yau Man Chan or Jordin Sparks, don't say I didn't warn you.

It's about 2:50 p.m. now. I figure next time, I'll go into the TAR finale and aftermath, the unlikely resurrection of The Mole, and/or a review of a book written by Bill McDaniel, the Mole from the second season. In the meantime: stay warm, stay safe, and stay awake.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The All-New Atom In 30 Seconds

I'm not much of an artist. Let's not mince words . . . I donwright suck. But when Chris Sims of Chris's Invinicible Super-Blog set up a recap contest for his site's third anniversary, I answered the call. The following is a highlight sequence from 2007 for one of my favorite comic books, The All-New Atom. It's supposed to be a 30-second recap, but I just had to put more of my crap MS Paint skills into it. If I had more time and a higher ceiling, I would've thrown in stuff like Dean Maryland and his circus peanuts or Atom spilling his guts while hanging on Wonder Woman's girdle. In the end, I'm happy with the finished product, and I hope you are as well. Oh, and click on each pic to see it full-sized.