Amazing Race 30 – 2 Head 2 Furious

Maybe delayed, but I’m still posting, dammit!  This latest leg on Amazing Race was fairly brutal, as the introduction of a new challenge type, Head to Head, guaranteed a dramatic finish.  And boy oh boy, did we get some drama.  I’ve not really had a reason to complain about the previous 29 seasons and how if you got to the Pit Stop last, after having had conquered a Roadblock, Detour, and other challenges, you’d have to confront the fact that your poor performance is leading to your likely elimination.  The Head to Head challenge acted as a gate before the Pit Stop – which is a glorious save for a team that is trailing the group.   Is it entirely fair?  I’m not so sure I think it is, but that chance to stay in the game is somewhat sporting.  Anyway, I don’t hate the new challenge, and I look forward to if it continues to show up and how often.  Is this like a U-Turn where it is an occasional thing, or will it be on every leg?   So many questions!

Amazing Race 30 – Leg 2:  Reykjavik, Iceland to Antwerp, Belgium

We left Iceland and again there was no competition about getting a better flight.   Making it so easy for these teams nowadays!  In my day, you had to spread misinformation and plead with ticketing agents to not issue tickets to others, dammit!  Anyway, everyone gets to Antwerp via Amsterdam, and taking an early lead are Cedric & Shaun, massively casting off their Leg 1 standings, and getting to the Roadblock first:

Roadblock:  Climb a Long-ass Ladder up to a Clue Hanging from a Crane

Oof.  I don’t know how well I would have done on that challenge.  The nervousness from climbing those heights on a rickety rope ladder as well as the physical fatigue is pretty harsh.  It does seem everyone managed it fairly well though, so maybe the support rope acted as a belay and helped pull you up too.

Once a team finished the Roadblock, they got their Detour clue with the choice being Diamonds or Fonts:

Detour:  Diamonds

I was kind of surprised that this was a challenge.   Not only are the teams handling actual diamonds worth tens of thousands of dollars, they also have to do MATH.  A calculator was blessedly provided as otherwise, I’ve no doubt some of the teams would still be there.  And based on the performance of some who chose this, even the calculator wasn’t that much help, as they had to pay attention to clarity and with all the fingerprints they left on the stones, it was throwing them off.

Detour: Fonts

This Detour option also required paying attention to detail, but the detail was to make sure you understood one major detail in that the type was reversed and upside down.  And if you were clever like some and used the shadows from the window, you could rip right through this.  Alas, some of the teams got massively hung up on this.  The Twin Firefighters were the key examples of this – they started on Fonts and could NOT figure it out, eventually switching to the Diamonds challenge.   That switch led them to be the last team in the standings…but fret not, Head to Head is here!

The First Head to Head

In this first instance of Head to Head, the first two teams to arrive would compete against each other in an obstacle course that required you to dress up as Belgian Fries and schlep a dolly of frozen fries around it.  Whoever wins that match wins the Leg!  The loser has to then race the next team to arrive, and so on.  The last race will be between whoever has just lost a match and that last team to arrive.  And if that last team can manage to win the match, voila, they stay in!

Cody & Jessica managed to arrive second after Cedric & Shaun, but Cody destroyed and got Team Big Brother their first (of many?) wins.  So as the teams kept rolling in, the major story of Head to Head was the awful feeling everyone had while watching Henry & Evan roll in around fourth…but then get utterly destroyed in the competition for like 7 straight competitions.  It was brutal to watch.  They were exhausted.  They got lucky, if you can call it that, by finally getting to race against a not so great team, the Goat Yoga ladies.  Exhausted and with plenty of experience under their belt by now, Henry felt got a win.  But it was very very close.  In the end, the Goat Yoga ladies didn’t have enough legs to figure it out as the Firefighters showed up last and due to pure strength, were able to power their way past Goat Yoga.

I’m of the mind that I understand this is a competition show, and if a new tweak is added, then you have to play and win.  The Firefighters won their way to stay, but their abysmal performance this leg definitely earned them an elimination.  Their elimination is likely coming soon as it doesn’t seem they’re a strong team yet.  And Goat Yoga was falling apart from Leg 1, so their elimination here isn’t a travesty by any means.  I guess I’m saying, a last place team always has a chance now…and I’m not sure I like that.

The Current Standings:

Off to Magic Mountain, for Work

PwC certainly does know how to hold ‘all hands’ events!   Our Promotion Days are almost always spectacular, with the three I’ve been to so far having been held at either Disneyland or Universal Studios.  The All Hands meetings for the local market usually isn’t so crazy, but that’s not to say we’re just meeting in the break room.   When I first started, we had a meeting at the freakin’ Jonathan Club in Santa Monica, nestled right on the beach.   Anyway, we’re off to Six Flags Magic Mountain today – and I’ll be presenting a small portion of it.  I’m unnecessarily and needlessly nervous.  I loathe having to speak in front of large groups.  I know I’ll be fine, but until it’s done, I’m going to be miserable.  I keep trying to make myself take deep breaths….and when I remember to do so, it helps.    Wish me luck.

Kylie!

I saw this news today about Kylie Minogue releasing a new album, Golden, this year, which got me to thinking about how much I love her music.  That love affair started back in 2001 when I first heard the truly amazing song, “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head”:

I was instantly hooked.  The video makes the song even more compelling.  The song is still incredibly catchy and danceable, and no big shock, it was in my mind a centerpiece of our reception’s playlist.  The dance floor was on fire with everyone going through the tunnel to this song.

Anyway, Kylie’s entire album Fever is a banger, and even with it being 17 (!!!!) years old doesn’t sound out of place nowadays.

Kylie has a lot of great songs, with some notable ones shown below.

“Come Into My World” is mesmerizing and was directed by Michel Gondry.   The song of course is rhythmic and beautiful, but what is done with that in video is just magical:

“Love at First Sight” was one that me and Jason Rubi definitely jammed to that summer of 2001 in the Azores.  Kylie is inextricably linked to the Azores for me in my memories, but I’m glad she’s continued to keep making fun, danceable music.

And she was the Green Fairy in Moulin Rouge!, so you know that means basically she’s grandfathered in, regardless.

Goals

Ah, Twitter.  Especially Gay Twitter.   Some days Twitter can be an awful awful place and serve to make you feel utterly hopeless and despair about the world.  And then?  Some days Twitter provides you this:

Holy hell.  Suddenly I’m going to be much more interested in the Winter Olympics.

These fine-ass specimens also help to reinforce my goal to get into better shape.  I’ve actually been really good about being a morning workout person.  I LOVE that I have the workout room here in this complex and I am a huge fan of the Fitbit Coach app – it’s always an interesting iteration of bodyweight exercises which keeps me from being bored.  But yeah, now being 41 means that it’s even harder to avoid being overweight as just it’s so easy to eat and enjoy oneself.  Anyway, just hope to be healthy and avoid bad things.  And in the interim, gaze upon some hot athletes.  🙂

Some “The Last Jedi” Love

I’ve seen The Last Jedi three times, and I think it’s possible that Larry is up for seeing it once again.  I ended up seeing it the third time on my own while Larry was at work during the Christmas/New Years week, and regardless I’m up for a fourth time.  You see, I loved the movie.  I do like to write, but I know I’m not very good at critical analysis writing, and instead, I’d like to provide some great writing that gets at what I did like about the movie:

I’ve shared this just a few posts ago, but I love Jenny Nicholson’s take on the backlash of the movie:

Luke Skywalker Isn’t Supposed to Be “Nice”

Here’s a Twitter feed that I thought was particularly apt in its discussion of how Luke was never going to be the “idealistic farmboy” from the original trilogy – you may need to click on the date/time link within to see the entire Twitter thread:

The article here discusses things that could be “problems” about the movie but really aren’t all that much:

https://tay.kinja.com/four-problems-with-the-last-jedi-from-someone-who-thou-1821630144

For me, I had some quibbles with certain scenes, but certainly not enough to make me hate the movie and declare Star Wars over:

  • Leia Poppins:  it’s a slightly jarring scene, but in that universe, I’m not at all of the mind that it’s impossible; after all, she IS the twin sister of the most powerful Jedi still alive and the daughter of possibly the most powerful Force user in history.
  • Holdo not telling Poe the plan:  As someone who was in the military, yeah, leadership does not always tell the plan to everyone.  ESPECIALLY if that one individual, as hot as he may be and my man Oscar Isaac is certainly hawwwt, just went and played hero, got the entire bomb squadron eliminated, and recently demoted.
  • The whole Luke thing:  I completely disagree with those who say Luke wouldn’t act the way he did in The Last Jedi.   And the articles above articulate it way better than me.

I loved the movie and loved that it basically wrapped up a lot of the “mystery boxes” from The Force Awakens.  Episode IX has the freedom to do something exciting and new, and doesn’t have to be a Return of the Jedi of this trilogy, and that’s amazing.  Who knows where it’s going to go next?  I love that unknown.

Another hobiebarnes.com beckons you…