Sunday, February 28, 2010

Icy relations

First off, it seems trivial talking about today's huge gold medal between the U.S. and Canada without first giving our thoughts and prayers to those suffering in Chile after that 8.8-size earthquake hit yesterday. Our nations must provide aid and helping hands to those people in dire need. It surely won't be the last catastrophe and I'm hoping 2010 doesn't go down in history as the Year of the Earthquake.

All the way up the Pacific coast from Chile, an outstanding Winter Olympics prepares to close shop for four years, but not without first settling some serious stakes in the men's gold-medal hockey game. This is Canada's game and surely it will be watching to see whether Crosby and co. will claim yet another gold for the Maple Leaf. On the other hand, Americans see shades of "the Miracle on Ice" in this team and will no doubt be rooting for the Stars and Stripes to stick it to "America's Hat" in their sport on their ice. If the U.S. wins, it should lay claim to Vancouver Island and demand Canada cedes it to the U.S.

U.S. goaltender Ryan Miller has clearly been the story of this hockey tournament so far, but if Canada gets ahead early like it did against Russia, Miller's story ends here. Roberto Luongo has looked better than Brodeur and I think the energy of the home crowd will energize Canada to take this game. Canada will put a lot of traffic in front of Miller, so we'll see how the U.S. back line holds up.

I'm predicting Canada winning 4-3 after withstanding a late U.S. flurry. Either way, it should be a doozy.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Randy Man Can

Heh, got to give credit to the Randy man, he walked out without a word, the old grump.

Probst had a very good blog entry this week, wherever it is, but concluded with a stunningly dumb

At Least They Got The Vote Right!

Do they ever really? The Villains avoided the traditional slaughter of eyecandy which is a hallmark of Survivor, I guess we know how Jeff feels about that. And in doing that and getting rid of the old grump, who at least is an open and honest old grump who couldn't make a friend to save his life, they kept around...

A delusional maniac
An egotistical saboteur
A couple of hangers-on
Two evil witches
And Boston Rob.

And, well, you can fill it in yourself. I suppose had they gotten rid of Russell they'd never have a chance of finding the hidden, you know, machete.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Survivor: Heroes vs Villains -- Our picks for Episode 3

Reward belongs to the Villains

All of the competitors will "play dirty"

Nobody will play a hidden immunity idol this week

Devious Russell will stir up trouble and dissent again

Your Heroes will finally win an immunity

|__ And the bootee this week is...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Confessions of a Sports Junkie

Hello, my name is Thumper and I'm a sports addict.
What's that, you say? This isn't a 12-step meeting? Bummer... because I've got it bad!

I've been a pretty typical sports fan for a long time, following my favorite baseball and football teams and taking in the occasional basketball or hockey game.This in addition to personal participation in bowling leagues for many years, and 13 years as a player/manager of a company softball team.

Before long, the telltale signs began to emerge...
Season tickets for football games of my alma mater.
Then came half-season tickets for baseball, followed shortly thereafter by season basketball tickets for my old college. Along the way, I also took in assorted hockey, volleyball, baseball, and softball games.

It wasn't long before the truly alarming symptoms began to emerge.
I discovered fantasy sports.

It started harmlessly enough with a fantasy baseball league with some online friends. In the ensuing years, that branched out into football, basketball, hockey, soccer, NASCAR, and, so help me, golf!

This past football season, I had teams in 7 fantasy leagues. Made the playoffs in 5 of those, and took 2 championships. Pitchers and catchers have only just reported for spring training, but I'm already enrolled in my first fantasy baseball league. I suspect many more will follow.

Then there were the tournaments, NCAA March Madness, World Cup soccer, and the Olympics.

Ah, yes... the Olympics! I've been hooked on those games for a long time too. Both summer and winter games. I will watch just about anything that fits into the sports competition category: All the aforementioned sports, plus track and field, figure skating, skiing (both downhill and cross-country, and a mildly sick fascination with biathlon).

The sign that I've finally gone over the edge was the realization that I have become a hardcore fan of...
... curling! Yep, curling... that bizarre variant of shuffleboard with brooms on ice that's always dominated by the Canadians. Already twice this week, I've sat up until 2:30 in the morning watching tape-delayed curling matches... couldn't pull myself away.

... on the plus side, at least I haven't gone nutso for team handball yet.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Survivor: Heroes vs Villains - Episode 2 Haiku Picks

Villains rewarded
Immunity is their prize
Stephenie departs

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Heroes? Villains? Wowza!

As I'm sure you've heard, the new season of Survivor, which premiered a few hours ago, features a heroes vs. villains theme. They have selected twenty past Survivors and dubbed half of them heroes and half of them villains. Here's the list:

JT Thomas - Survivor: Tocantins
Rupert Boneham - Survivor: Pearl Islands, Survivor: All Stars
James Clement - Survivor China, Survivor: Micronesia
Tom Westman - Survivor: Palau
Colby Donaldson - Survivor: Australian Outback, Survivor: All Stars
Stephenie LaGrossa - Survivor: Palau, Survivor: Guatemala
Sugar Kiper - Survivor: Gabon
Amanda Kimmel - Survivor: China, Survivor: Micronesia
Candice Woodcock - Survivor: Cook Islands
Cirie Fields - Survivor: Panama, Survivor: Micronesia

Coach Ben Wade - Survivor: Tocantins
Tyson Apostol - Survivor: Tocantins
Randy Bailey - Survivor: Gabon
Rob Mariano - Survivor Marquesas, Survivor: All Stars
Russell Hantz - Survivor: Samoa
Jerri Manthey - Survivor: Australian Outback, Survivor: All Stars
Courtney Yates - Survivor: China
Danielle DiLorenzo - Survivor: Exile Island
Parvati Shallow - Survivor: Cook Islands, Survivor: Micronesia
Sandra Diaz-Twine - Survivor: Pearl Islands

If you missed the first episode, you missed a lot. Go find it on Hulu or at the CBS website or ask your friend to show you his DVRed copy. Cuz this was a great beginning to what could be an excellent season.

During the first challenge Stephenie (remember her? the last member of the doomed Ulong tribe from Survivor: Palau?) dislocates her shoulder and Rupert (arrgh! the pirate!) breaks his toe. Stephenie, the tough chick that she is, had them relocate it and she's fine. Rupert's toe was taped to the one next to it and he's determined to keep going. Now, there's not much you can do for a broken toe, but that doesn't mean that sucker won't be aching. I think Rupert's going to have a hard time lasting 39 days. Also in the first challenge, Sandra (Ms. I'll-vote-for-anyone-as-long-as-it's-not-me) proves she belongs on the villains tribe by playing dirty and unhooking Sugar's top thinking that will make her focus more on her modesty than winning. Best moment of the whole show was Sugar racing for a point for her team topless and turning around and flipping two birds at Sandra. And all that was before the first commercial break!

Later, we're treated to a possible showmance in the works between the original Survivor villainess Jerri and the crazy "dragonslayer" Coach. Seriously? Coach and Jerri? Fan fiction couldn't have come up with that pairing. Coach is also totally man-crushing on Boston Rob, who has already managed to reference his wife twice. (I think a drinking game could be based around the number of times Rob mentions Amber. And maybe add in every time Rupert's insecure nerdiness comes out. And every time Jerri cackles... I could go on and on....) Back to the man-crush.... Rob almost gets Coach to climb a tree 50 fifty in the air to retrieve some palm fronds. Palm fronds? Come on. I mean, if there were coconuts, maybe, but risking one's life for palm fronds? Coach, surprisingly, chickens out.

You have to give Boston Rob credit though. He made fire without flint. Aside from BB using his glasses in the original Survivor, has anyone ever done that? I seem to remember there was maybe one other time. But still - give the boy from Boston some credit - that was an amazing feat.

Russell is up to same game plan again - making alliances with everyone. (Although we didn't see him burning any socks this time.) Not surprisingly Danielle (who? why is she here?) falls for it. Also, not surprisingly Parvati sees right through him. I have to think Parvati is someone who could again go far. She's smart and knows how this game works.

All of these Survivors were playing the game from day one. James and JT seal an alliance with a handshake. And then JT and Tom hook up since as winners, they figure they have to go against each other at the Final 2 for either of them to have a chance of winning. Of course, Tom and Stephenie are allied too. Will the four of them create one strong alliance? Cirie and Amanda are more cautious with each other, clearly leaving their options open. Interestingly, Tom and Cirie both recognize the other as a major threat and float the idea of voting each other out. But in the end, it's the sweet sad Sugar who gets the boot. She was the weakest link, no question about it, but at least she had her moment at the Reward Challenge.

I can't wait til next week!

Survivor: Heroes vs Villains -- What we think will happen -- Episode 1

ACME will be posting our picks for the Survivor boot each week. Be advised that this weekly post can, and probably will, contain spoilers, so with that knowledge in hand, forge ahead if you wish. As the old saying goes: "Don't go if you don't want to know"

Our picks will probably be in line with pretty much every other "spoiler" board out there, since this season has been pretty thoroughly spoiled and vetted. Every now and then, we may take our own slant on things, and will always attempt to present our opinions in as humorous and entertaining a manner as possible.

So... if you haven't already wandered off because:
A. You don't want the show spoiled and you really don't want to know
B. You've already seen the picks from other boards and were hoping to see something different here
C. I've bored you senseless and your ADHD has sent you on a random journey across the internets
Here's ACME's prediction for what happens on Survivor this week
Spoiler space

With a 2-hour premiere, there will be, unlike nearly all previous premiere episodes, a Reward challenge. It will take place right after the "Apocalypse Now" opening sequence. It will be fierce and physical, resulting in injuries (reportedly a broken toe and a separated shoulder) and lots of blurred body parts due to nudity (I'm waiting for the "Director's Cut" uncensored DVD myself...).
We believe the Heroes tribe will be victorious here, at least partially due to the naked nymphet.

The two hours will not only allow for the inclusion of a Reward Challenge, but will also provide time for "filler"... introducing us to the cast of characters, all of whom we've already seen in previous seasons, some now for the third time! (Why the hell don't they do this for the regular seasons when we're trying to get to know 16 to 20 complete unknowns? Mark Burnett... if you got my memo, please make this a regular feature of the season opener!). We will also be treated to more scenes of Russell's obcessive quest for hidden immunity idols. Will he find one? (I dunno...) Will the veteran players be as casual and clueless about his furtive searching? (I doubt it...)

Immunity will be another multi-stage challenge involving (stunner!) puzzles, and we believe that this time, the Villains (MuHAHAHAHAHA!) will take the ugly immunity idol back to camp.

As for the boot, that will, of course, come from the ranks of the "Heroes". They will have a number of plausible options to consider with a couple of weaklings and two injured players to pick from, but we believe that their choice will be...

... but first some entertainment!

... so there you have it!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

"Heroes" Season Finale

In addition to "Reality" shows, many of us also love regular TV shows... particularly some of the serialized "quirky" shows. One of those that I enjoy is "Heroes".

This season's finale of "Heroes" aired last night, and I find some of the storylines very interesting... possibly tying back to "alternate timeline" stories from past seasons.

One involves Sylar's seeming transformation from psychotic killer to an empathetic good guy... as he put it last night, a hero... and his observation that "it felt good" might indicate that the change might take. That the transformation took place at the hands of former arch-enemy Peter might tie back to a story thread from a couple seasons back when Peter sought out Sylar to acquire his power-gathering skill in his quest to save the world.
The Sylar he encountered was very different from the one we had come to know... he was merely Gabriel, a mild-mannered husband and father living out what appeared to be a normal life. That was incongruous at the time, but now feels consistent with the "New Sylar" after his mind meld with Peter. I can actually see this guy renouncing his powers and trying to blend into normal society.
One thought that's been rattling around in my head is that in that alternate timeline (possibly one that derives from the current storyline) Sylar actually does reform and settle down as Gabriel. The intriguing thought I had was that his future wife might even be Claire! (after all... his son in that earlier storyline was blonde...). In recent episodes, their paths did seem to be intertwining more, and if his redemption is legit, could be something to watch for down the road when the next season cranks up.

I can hardly wait!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Food... Now THAT's Reality!

When we think of "reality TV", the first thing that comes to mind is "Survivor", the granddaddy of them all, "Amazing Race", "Big Brother" and similar competition formats.

One "reality" genre I've recently become a big fan of is the assortment of food and dining related shows on the Food Network. A particular favorite is "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives", where we go on a road trip with host Guy Fieri searching for unique and tasty food in unusual places. The funkier the better. As the title indicates, the focus is on the kind of places you might stumble across on an actual cross-country road trip, assuming that you're going "old school" and driving the back roads rather than zipping past on the Interstates, and are taking the time to actually sample the local flavor of the towns most drivers blink and miss.

Favorites are classic diners with their shiny machined aluminum interiors and neon lighting, the handful of remaining drive ins, some still featuring carhops on roller skates, and an assortment of other funky places under the catchall category of "Dives". Some of my favorites have been the dives that feature hamburgers that make standard fast food burgers seem like you're eating cardboard by comparison, and the little mom-and-pop ethnic food joints where you can get handmade tamales, falafel, perogies, or whatever other comfort food you might have grown up with in your old 'hood.

I've made an effort to check out the places featured on the show that are within reasonable driving distance from me, and Guy hasn't steered me wrong yet! I've added a couple of great burger dives, a diner, and a classic roadhouse grill to the rotation of my favorite "dine out" joints.

Someday I may just try a coast-to-coast "Route 66" run, and plan my stops around Triple-D recommended eateries.

I'm salivating already!

The Food Network also offers a range of cooking competition shows that can be a lot of fun to watch, but that's a topic for another day.

Friday, February 5, 2010

ACME enters the world of blogging

ACME has been around, primarily as a "Survivor" fan and spoiler group since October 2001, riding the crest of the wave of the reality-TV spoilerverse that followed on the heels of "Survivor" bursting onto the scene. For much of that time, we had a public face where we posted our musings (the late website) that faded into history last year.

Now, we're getting back into the public world through the magic of blogging.

The interests of our members is much more diverse than it was way back when we started, encompassing most of reality TV as well as numerous fandoms for regular TV (such as Lost, "24", Alias, As we get up to speed, ACME members will be sharing their thoughts on these and other areas of the entertainment world. I hope you'll find it entertaining.