Archive for November, 2010

Food Review: Dunkin’ Donuts Pancake Bites

November 14, 2010

I’ve said it before, we live in a truly amazing age for consumers. Toothpaste used to be just mint, Gatorade had maybe five flavors, and coffee was the only energy drink on the market. Now? They’re cramming pretzels into M&Ms and marketing chicken sandwich that use chicken breasts as bread.

So, when I heard Dunkin’ Donuts was going to start marketing Pancake Bites I had to jump on that. I love me some pancakes. Why hadn’t anyone though of this sooner? I soon realized why. Upon further investigation, I learned that there was a sausage center to these bad boys. I’d imagine scientists at the Dunkin’ labs stared at pancakes for decades wondering, “How can we jam meat into those things?”

(…grow up.)

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‘Survivor’ Castaway Interview – Marty Piombo

November 11, 2010

Marty Piombo was my guy.

In the pre-game interviews I’d pegged Marty as someone who was smart, strategic, and a student of the game. And for once, I’d called it correctly. He was all of those things. Unfortunately his admitted arrogance, a feud with Jane, and a poorly timed tribe swap combined to earn him an eleventh-place finish.

I spoke with Marty the morning after his elimination and touched on important topics such as what set Jane off, the origins of his clash with NaOnka, and the real reasons he went after Jimmy Johnson.

Quick Note: Have you voted for the “Survivor” Hall of Fame yet? If you don’t, the players you hate are probably going to win. Vote early, vote often.

Marty Piombo: Gordon, good morning!
Gordon Holmes:
Good morning, Marty. How are you?
Marty: It’s the day after, what do you think?
Gordon: You probably feel the same way I do. I’m in a bad mood because you were my pick.
Marty: Ah…man. As you can imagine my head’s been spinning, but I still hold strong on everything. I played a bold game and a game that may have made me not well liked and on the chopping block. But I played a fun game and I wanted to be memorable and I wanted to win. And I didn’t play a game that jeopardizes that. It was an amazing experience.
Gordon: I don’t know if you remember this, but there was a point before the game where you were being interviewed by the side of a swimming pool. When you were sitting there, a couple of pasty reporters were splashing around and debating the upcoming season. It was then and there that I said, “Marty is my guy. I think he’s going to go all the way.”
Marty: Well, I appreciate that. I know every contestant has their fair share of people that want them to go far, but I hoped that when the season was over no matter how far I went, that at the reunion when I came out that nobody would say, “Hey, who’s that guy?” I doubt that’ll happen with me.

Gordon: Let’s talk about your feud with Jane. I talked to Jill about this and she said that she couldn’t think of an inciting incident that turned Jane against you two. What do you think set her off?
Marty:
You know, I really have thought about this long and hard, and I don’t really get it. If you go back and look at the game, I never really said anything nasty about anybody. She doesn’t understand the definition of “slander” because it means false or defamatory. And, none of that was what I was doing. I exposed her as a legitimate threat in the game, and I will tell you this, within five minutes of starting the game, Jane’s statement to me was, “My husband just died, I need the money. Please don’t vote me off.” And that really turned me off personally. I’ve had more tragedy and loss in my life than Jane and Chase combined, and I chose not to bring that into the game. And combined with that statement and that she combined with Wendy Jo and Jimmy T. right away, they were just red flags that this is someone who was erratic and was making bad decisions. I didn’t think that she was someone that I’d want to have along with me. She probably sensed that and took it very, very personally and turned it around that way. It’s kind of inexplicable to me that it turned into that kind of hatred, and then she made the tasteless remarks regarding my children last night on national TV. That just goes to show you who she is.
Gordon: I wanted to run a strategy by you. When you end up in a heated feud like the one we saw with you and Jane, would it ever be possible to say, “This is crazy. It’s putting a target on both of our backs. Let’s work together and get our respective alliances to work for us.”?
Marty: We were very aware from the beginning that Jane was having issues. And I went and tried to make good with Jane on a number of occasions, tried to give her props, went into the jungle with her, helped her fish one day, helped her orchestrate one of her little fish dances in front of everybody. I really tried to make some inroads with her. But there were deep, deep issues with her. I really don’t know what it was. I would say that in retrospect it was much less about doing something with her, if I could do something else in the game, I’d try to come back to Holly and really work with her. I think I could have possibly made a wedge there.
Gordon: All that fish choreography didn’t help.
Marty: This is on the lighter side, but the toughest part of “Survivor,” worse than the lack of food, the lack of sleep, the conditions there, but it was frankly having to listen to Jane’s cackling laughter. I’ve got to tell you, this woman…the flatulence? Twenty four, seven….I’ve never seen anything like that in my life. That drove me crazier than all of the other things I mentioned to you. But you’ve got to give credit where credit’s due, she got farther than I did. I’m not bitter, my hat’s off to her.

Gordon: I spoke with Alina last week, and she seemed to think there was an air of arrogance about you. Is that something you were aware of during your time out there?
Marty:
I think in the game I probably did have an air of arrogance. I think it’s kind of funny because if you go back before the game started, Alina in particular, I must have a very strong presence or something, because the game had not started and we had not opened our mouths once, and one of the first clips she says, “There’s that guy with the gray hair, I hate him, I hope he gets voted off first.” And that’s Alina speaking and I’ve never opened my mouth. (Laughs) I don’t know how you get there, but that’s part of the game. But yes, arrogant? Probably in the game. I don’t know how I can say no to that.

Gordon: Now, you were instrumental in booting Jimmy Johnson out of the game. This was a strategy I disagreed with. If I were in the game I’d be happy to keep him around as a figurehead while I played the good follower. Could you take me through your thought process on why you decided that Jimmy had to go?
Marty:
Absolutely. And first off, and this isn’t kissing anybody’s butt, Jimmy Johnson is a class act. He’s a great guy and I had a great time with him. If Jimmy had ever come up to me and said, “Marty, I want to align with you,” or “Let’s work on something together,” I would have been all over it. We could have gone pretty far together. But the two things that made Jimmy dangerous were that he said, “I will not have alliances in this game.” And that to me, strategically, was extremely dangerous. Theoretically that means you’re not in my alliance, and if you’re not in my alliance you could be cooking up something with someone else. So, from a very practical perspective I couldn’t count on him to be riding with me. And I’d already begun to see Jane and Holly making strong connections with him, and I could see him roping Tyrone in too. If he was open to playing with me I would have loved to have played in his shadow. I wasn’t into being the top dog or the leader. I wanted to have control, but control in the sense of having numbers only. Leadership is a silly thing in this game, not something you want to necessarily have at all. What you want to have is control and those numbers.

Gordon: Last night at Tribal, you and NaOnka really got into it…which was awesome. But, it was a little out of the blue as we hadn’t seen you two butt heads before. Was that the first time, or were there moments we missed?
Marty:
I was very vocal, as was Danny, because we’re a little more old school, in regards to her stealing. And then her kind of B.S. confession to us, it started off with a lie by saying that she’d stolen all of these things to help us. I wasn’t ready to sit back and listen to that crap. So, I was pretty vocal about that.
Gordon: What do you think set her off at Tribal Council?
Marty: I really, truly think that the thing you’re seeing there is that they told NaOnka that we were trying to bluff and that we were voting her off and she was, as Jeff Probst had said in his blog, that she’s more or less a child. And that’s how she reacted, “Hey, this guy tried to vote me out and get me to play my idol,” so she just took a bunch of shots. I never really had any conversations with her. I had one conversation with NaOnka  and that was about her stealing the food and it wasn’t so much the act of doing it, it was that she did it with no strategy and no purpose and that it achieved nothing in the game. And in the end when it was edited it’d be something she wasn’t proud of when her family and friends were watching it, that they wouldn’t think highly of it.

Gordon: Did you know that Sash and Brenda were going to be voting for you heading into Tribal?
Marty:
When I came off that Tribal, in my mind I was convinced that it was Brenda. And after watching it last night, I realized that the plan I had with taking Sash wasn’t as good as the plan he had with taking different people to the end. He looked at the situations, and my situation involved Sash and Brenda having to say goodbye to some pretty strong alliances and then throw in their lot with me, Benry, Danny, and Fabio. I’m sure that made them nervous and it was less predictable than riding with this motley crew that’s left now.

Gordon: We’re currently in the process of electing members into the “Survivor” Hall of Fame. I know you and your wife have been fans for a while. Who would you pick as the five best players of all time?
Marty:
I get a lot of heat for this, but I really like Boston Rob. And there are elements of the following guy that I don’t like, but I don’t see how you can’t have Russell Hantz in there. I really like Tom Westman, Ozzy (Lusth)…and Richard Hatch.

Gordon: I like to keep things light here, and I hate to end this on a tough question, but we have to wrap it up so…what was going on with your hair out there?
Marty: (Laughs) My hair has been my trademark. It’s defined my game. It’s kind of crazy, kind of bold, kind of out there. And I think it was a distinguishing mark that came to me on its own.

Follow Gordon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute “Survivor” scoop: @gordonholmes

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‘Survivor: Nicaragua’ Episode 9 Recap: This Little Piggy Went…SMASH!

November 10, 2010

Last Week: The tribes merged, Jane and Marty’s hatred for each other surged, and Alina’s membership in Libertad was purged.

39 Days, 20 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog

Here is the tribe as it currently stands…

The Libertad Tribe (wearing red with lovely white highlights)
•    Benry – 24, Club Promoter
•    Brenda – 27, Paddleboard Company Owner
•    Chase – 24, Race Car Jackman/Country Singer
•    Dan – 63, Real Estate Executive
•    Fabio – 21, Student
•    Holly – 44, Swim Coach
•    Jane – 56, Dog Trainer
•    Kelly S. – 20, Nursing Student
•    Marty – 48, Technology Executive
•    NaOnka – 27, P.E. Teacher
•    Sash – 30, Real Estate Broker

Quick Note: As you may have seen, we’re working with Jeff Probst and the rest of the “Survivor” crew to elect the first class of the “Survivor” Hall of Fame. So, please swing over and vote for your favorite players of all time. Vote early, vote often!

Actually, if you’d like to vote right now, go ahead…I’ll wait.

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You’re back? Excellent, let’s do this.

We start off after Tribal Council and NaOnka is annoyed with how mean Marty was to Jane. She says that Marty was throwing punches and Jane couldn’t block. Kind of like a one-legged girl in a butt-kicking contest, right?

Jane decides that Marty deserves a new nickname. (Oh good, I love “Survivor” nicknames!) She decides on “Farty.” Works for me.

We meet up with Farty the following morning. He’s trying to figure out who voted for him. Sash tells him that he thinks it was Holly.

Marty isn’t prepared to give up the ship just yet. He approaches Benry and Dan with a plan to pretend like they’re going to try get NaOnka out, but to vote for Jane instead. He thinks Sash and Brenda will go for NaOnka after last week’s thievery. I don’t think Marty realizes how valuable it is to keep NaOnka around at this point.

Reward Challenge: The teams will randomly be divided into two teams. Both teams will run through a series of obstacles and try to retrieve three keys. Once they have their keys, they’ll unlock three locks. (Funny how that works.) First team to unlock all three locks and raise their flag wins reward. The winning team will get to go on a zip line tour through a Nicaraguan jungle and enjoy a delicious barbecue.

Quick Note: This challenge is fun because the players have to run through hay, sticks, and bricks just like “The Three Little Pigs.” Hopefully Fabio won’t hyperventilate when he tries to blow the obstacles down.

The teams are randomly drawn, and somehow they ended up with men on one side and women on the other. That is except for Chase who is the odd person out. He’s not out of the challenge though, he gets to pick a team to root for. If that team wins he gets to go on the reward.

Chase picks the ladies. They approve. I guess I can’t say Chase isn’t playing this game anymore.

The challenge starts off and everyone dives into a pile of hay (Gordon Holmes style!). The ladies get their key first, but only by a slight margin. Next up they barrel through a wall of sticks. That was awesome. A miracle someone didn’t lose an eye. They guys retrieve their second key and are cruising. Unfortunately, Immobile Dan slows the guys down on the net crawl. The ladies manage to catch up just as Fabio retrieves the third key. The guys plow through two brick walls, but they look exhausted. Jane looks worse. She barely makes it to the third key. The guys unlock all three locks and win reward. No barbecue for you, Chaseford.

During the post-challenge wrap-up, Kelly Purple Kelly breaks down a little. She’s very upset that she doesn’t get to eat barbecue and doesn’t get to milk her own milk.

JPro gives the gentlemen an opportunity to let someone take their place. None of them give up their reward. Chivalry is dead…and its corpse has been shoved through a brick wall.

We meet up with the gentlemen on their reward and a cloud of sadness has passed over the Holmes household. Why? Because we got to do a zip line tour when we were in Nicaragua. I miss me some Nicaragua.

Dan isn’t very impressed though. Apparently there aren’t any zip lines in Brooklyn. Yeah, there aren’t any in Philly either…

Next up, the guys enjoy their delicious barbecue. Marty uses this as an opportunity to push his agenda. Benry and Fabio seem receptive to it. Sash…not so much.

We return to Libertad and it looks like an otter is eating in the distance. So cute.

Chase’s ladies are giving him mad props for rooting for them. Brenda thinks it was a stupid move. Brenda, Chase, and the rest of them do agree on one thing – they want Marty to go home next.

Chase worries that he can’t trust Brenda after their time away from each other. Brenda thinks he worries too much. NaOnka thinks they might have to boot Chase if he gets too paranoid.

An immunity challenge clue pops up in tree mail that hints at a memory challenge. Jane feels like they have to beat Marty as he’s the only truly evil person left on the tribe. How she says that with a straight face while NaOnka is still around astounds me.

Immunity Challenge: JPro will show the players a series of symbols. They’ll have to use a cube to show the symbols back to JPro in the proper order.

Not much to describe here, so here’s the order in which they were eliminated. Jane and NaOnka were the first two to go, followed by Dan. (What! Eliminated in a challenge where he stands perfectly still!) Holly, Kelly, and Sash get the boot in the next round.

We’re down to Chase, Benry, Fabio, Marty, and Brenda.

Fabio goes out next with Chase right behind him.

We’re down to Marty, Benry, and Brenda.

Benry’s the next to go. They both get the next one right, but Marty gets the one after that wrong. Brenda wins immunity…and for some reason Jane is elated.

Back at camp, the Libertad gentlemen are discussing tricking NaOnka into playing her idol and then voting for Jane.

Benry tells Fabio that they should stick with that plan and that playing stupid is their best bet. Fabio agrees, but says, “I hate playing stupid so much, but it’s like the smartest thing to do right now.”

Excellent, I was looking for a new ring tone.

Chase tells Marty that he’s with Marty and Dan in the NaOnka vote.

NaOnka tells us that she’s feeling uneasy and that if she needs to play the idol, she will.

Chase and Holly talk some strategy and apparently Chase is on to Marty’s vote-for-Jane scheme. He tells Holly that he’ll be voting for Marty.

Marty brings his pitch to Brenda, and she seems to be somewhat receptive to it. But she doesn’t agree to anything.

Brenda and Sash sit down for a meeting of the minds. Sash would like Marty to stick around because he’s a good cook and shares information. They agree that whichever way they vote will show which side they’re aligned with.

That night at Tribal Council, Fabio does the math that there were five women plus Chase back at camp plotting against them during the reward. But he didn’t care because he got to have barbecue.

Marty again reiterates that Jane is a huge threat to take to the end. Brenda agrees that Jane is a threat and that she’d rather take a troublemaker like NaOnka.

Probsty brings up NaOnka’s food theft. She tries to change the subject, but Marty won’t let it go. He says there’s no bigger sin than taking food.

NaOnka responds by saying, “I’m not perfect, I’m a humanitarian, I’m a human.”

Two ring tones!

NaOnka continues saying that she hates Marty’s walk and his hair. She then says it’s like a track meet where you try to intimidate your opponent.  Fabio tries to interject, but she shushes him.

A teacher of America’s youth, ladies and gentlemen!

NaOnka and Fabio continue to get into it and it is en-ter-taining. F-bombs are dropped, Fabio facepalms himself, Marty laughs. Best of all, when it’s all over poor Probst is speechless.

Good times.

Voting Time: Jane votes for Marty (saying Marty is a disgrace to fathers everywhere), Marty votes for Jane, and the rest of the votes weren’t shown.

(Marty strutted back to the fire and was greeted with a middle finger from NaOnka.)

Probst asks if anyone wants to play an idol. Nobody does.

One vote for Jane, one vote for Marty, three votes for Jane, four votes for Marty, and the tenth person voted out of “Survivor: Nicaragua” and the second member of the jury is…Marty.

There goes my pick!

Verdict: I’m honestly shocked that Marty was able to sway that many votes. I honestly do hate to see him go because he seems to really understand the game, but this may just be one of those seasons where you need to throw the book out the window.

That being said, the reward challenge was very cool and the Tribal Council was hysterical. Hopefully things are picking up.

And, I have no idea who’s going home next.  That’s bad for my Power Rankings but good for the show.

Who’s Going to Win?
Could Fabio and Benry sneak in there? Nobody’s talking about them.

Power Rankings Results: Team Dragon Slayer and Team Truth Seeker tied again! They both had Marty in spot eleven. The current score is now Team Dragon Slayer 107, Team Truth Seeker 111.

Follow me on Twitter for breaking “Survivor” news: @gordonholmes

What Do You Think? Was tonight’s show better? Does Brenda like anybody? Would you put up with NaOnka for 39 days for a million dollars?

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Extra Whatnot

November 10, 2010

Here are some little bits of Whatnot that don’t deserve their own posts…

If you’re a waitress who has to put up with my dad’s terrible jokes, I’ll make sure you get a good tip.

The guy who takes tickets on my train wore a Phillies tie a few weeks ago that had flashing lights on it. I thought it was a special occasion tie, but now all of his neckwear has flashing lights on it. I guess if you find your thing you should run with it.

Is there a more polarizing food in the world than tomatoes?

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‘Survivor: Nicaragua’ Power Rankings – Haiku Edition

November 9, 2010

The Rules: Each week, “Survivor: Tocantins” and “Survivor: Heroes Vs. Villains” star Benjamin “Coach” Wade and XFINITY TV’s “Survivor” recapper Gordon Holmes will create separate power rankings. The ranking of the person who is voted out of the next episode will determine the number of points the two players will earn. For example, if Sash is voted out this week, Coach will receive 4 points and Gordon will receive 5 points. At the end of the season, the person or team with the most points will be named the “Survivor: Nicaragua” Power Rankings Challenge Champion.

Last Week: Team Dragon Slayer and Team Truth Seeker both had Alina in spot eleven. The current score is now Team Dragon Slayer 96, Team Truth Seeker 100.

This Week: Coach and Gordon are proving their worth as Renaissance men by attempting this week’s Power Rankings using haiku poetry. The traditional Japanese haiku form consists of one line of five syllables, a second line of seven syllables, and a third line of five syllables.

And before we start this week’s contest, let’s honor the most recent castaway…

coachrequiem

Once again, just the Dragon Slayer. Me, myself, and I. The ode this week will also be in haiku.

Ode to Alina:
Never quite the catch,
Distant, controlling and odd,
All ties were severed.

TEAM DRAGON SLAYER

Current Score: 96

TEAM TRUTH SEEKER

Current Score: 100

brenda .. brenda
#1:

The wind blows her hair,
She bats her eyes without care,
Align if you dare.

#1:

Her friends have idols,
Chase is around her finger,
Future millionaire?

chase . kellys
#2:

Strong, sturdy, and sweet,
But insecure if we meet,
Too much a good thing.

#2:

If Kelly Shinn talks,
And editors don’t play it,
Does it make a sound?

fabio . dan
#3:

Cunning but seeming,
Not too bright but mind preening,
Instincts are dreaming.

#3:

Oh, immobile Dan,
He’s as safe as he is slow,
Not a threat at all.

sash . benry
#4:

Arrogant whippet,
Making moves like a snippet,
Chuckerish puppet.

#4:

Benry’s term “Dirt squirrel,”
Is not very flattering.
Women should be mad.

kellys . sash
#5:

Starting to emerge,
From the hidden waves of sand,
Sweet so tribe won’t purge.

#5:

Move for Marty’s vote,
Will not make Brenda happy.
No cash for poor Sash?

jane . naonka
#6:

Big eyes and wide face,
But catching fish with poised grace,
Not much more timed space.

#6:

Sash is a bright guy,
Flour thieves don’t win jury votes,
Enjoy final three.

naonka . chase
#7:

Ghetto-fabulous,
No rose colored glasses here,
True colors shine through?

#7:

Big physical threat,
Puts a target on your back.
Nice guys finish last.

holly . fabio
#8:

Bold moves once you merged,
Begin to fade as heads roll,
Sense of fun replaces droll.

#8:

Too funny, too nice,
Immunity and vote threat.
They are watching you.

dan . holly
#9:

Out of comfort zone,
Must be strong and lying low,
Strike out a low blow.

#9:

If Marty goes next,
And the kids destruct after,
You could cruise a while.

benry . jane
#10:

Too much a good thing,
Charm and strength you always bring,
Time will end too soon.

#10:

Vote with Alina,
Probably not a big deal,
But not a smart move.

marty . marty
#11:

Cunning like a fox,
Duck and weave it’s time to box,
Time runs out on clock.

#11:

Sash kept his promise,
Keeping you for two more shows,
Now Jane will laugh last.

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Quick Note: Follow Gordon on Twitter for breaking “Survivor” news and updates.

What Do You Think: Who’s going to win this round; Team Dragon Slayer or Team Truth Seeker? Does Marty have a chance of surviving? Can you give your thoughts in haiku form?

Vote for the ‘Survivor’ Hall of Fame

November 8, 2010

You never really know when inspiration is going to strike. For some it’s in a field of beautiful flowers, for others it’s while listening to their favorite music. But for me, it came when I was in a dark parking lot with “Survivor” villain Jon “Jonny Fairplay” Dalton.

It was during last January’s “Survivor” reunion party. Mr. Fairplay and I were enjoying a heated discussion about a “Best Survivors Ever” piece that three-time Emmy winner Jeff Probst and I had done in 2008. I had my picks for the four best Survivors of all time, Mr. Fairplay disagreed. Eventually, Cirie Fields overheard us talking and shared her thoughts. Shortly afterward, a few other former Survivors joined in on the debate.

It was then that inspiration hit me – why isn’t there a “Survivor” Hall of Fame?

Now there is…and I want you to help me choose the Class of 2010.

The Rules
Fifty percent of the vote will be based on the ballots of the “Survivor” Hall of Fame Executive Voting Committee. This blue-ribbon panel will consist of “Survivor” luminaries such as Host and Producer Jeff Probst, Challenge Producer John Kirhoffer, and Executive Producer David Burris, members of the “Survivor” press corps, and XFINITY TV’s “Survivor” Know-It-All Gordon Holmes.

(I’ll have to think of a sweet title for myself. I’m thinking Senior Chairman of the Executive Voting Committee.)

The other fifty percent will come from fans like you. Simply enter your picks for the five best Survivors of all time into the comment section below to participate. Voting will end Friday, December 3, 2010 at 5 p.m. ET.

Once all of the votes are counted, we’ll unveil a new member of the “Survivor” Hall of Fame Class of 2010 each weekday in the week leading up to the “Survivor: Nicaragua” finale.

So, please cast your vote below, and bookmark this page as we’ll be updating it with the ballots of the Executive Voting Committee and a few other surprises. Also, you can follow the “Survivor” Hall of Fame on Twitter for up-to-the-minute updates and breaking news.

‘Survivor’ Castaway Interview – Alina Wilson

November 4, 2010

This might be the weirdest season of “Survivor” ever.

In what other season has food theft, borderline assault and property damage helped you progress in the game? Maybe if Marty wants to stick around longer he should consider cracking someone over the head with the skillet. Well, that is if he can find where NaOnka hid it.

Alina Wilson was the latest victim of this bizarro season, voted off because she was daring enough to try to come up with a voting strategy. I spoke to her the morning after her dismissal to find out if she thinks this topsy-turvy direction is the way “Survivor” is heading, her opinion on Sash’s sexuality, and the truth behind the peculiar nickname she received from Benry…

Gordon Holmes: Alright, first thing’s first…what is a “Dirt Squirrel”?
Alina Wilson:
(Laughs) Oh my gosh. The only thing I can think of is I was sleeping in the dirt, and I was always working so I was dirty, and I have a small nose so I kind of resemble a squirrel. Maybe that’s where he (Benry) was going with that. I don’t know. But, if he’d have said it last week I would have had a good idea for a Halloween costume.
Gordon: (Laughs) Cause I was watching it last night and I was thinking, either it’s an adorable thing between the two of them or he’s a total jerk.
Alina: No, I had no idea. I was shocked. I had no idea that he had so much animosity toward me. It was so random and out of nowhere.
Gordon: Do you think Benry may have been one of the driving forces behind sending you home?
Alina: I don’t think he’s smart enough to have done that. I think it was somebody else or a group effort. He wasn’t really running the show.

Gordon: You had an interesting relationship with NaOnka. She hated you at La Flor, you were buddies at Espada, then eventually she hated you again at Espada.
Alina:
NaOnka’s like a roller coaster. Like I said on the show, she’s like a girl on her period. You never know what she’s going to do, she’s always all over the place. And from day one I kept a very loose alliance with her. Even when she was such a b—h to Kelly B., I still kind of kept it cool with her. I figured, “Why burn this bridge?” When we joined Espada she really needed someone. I think NaOnka really needs people. She had Brenda, and when she lost Brenda to La Flor she needed a sidekick.
Gordon: Did you think she was actually considering quitting during the rain storm?
Alina: Oh yeah. At that moment I was so happy, I wanted her to quit really badly. I was tired of her. But at that time I needed numbers and she was my numbers. I did my best to encourage her leaving, “Don’t worry, whatever you choose you did good out here.”
Gordon: You were looped into the food theft but you were an accessory after the fact. Do you think that hurt you or were their minds set?
Alina: I completely hated that position I was put in. On one hand I had just realized that everyone had been lying to me and everyone was on NaOnka’s side. So, I really had no choice in the matter. What am I going to do, be a tattletale? Be like, “Hey everybody, I caught her stealing everything.” They would have just hated me more. Which is so weird. So I thought, either I can enjoy these oranges and mangos cause I’m screwed anyway, or try to tattletale and look like an untrustworthy person. They already looked at me like they couldn’t trust me. No matter how mad they’d be at NaOnka, they’d be madder at me for breaching her trust. So, I was between a rock and a hard place.
Gordon: Last night we saw you try to get Fabio onto your side. You wanted Marty to go, but he wanted NaOnka to go. Was there any way you could have gotten your alliance to go along with a NaOnka vote to appease Uncle Fabio?
Alina: NaOnka should have gone a long time ago. In hindsight I could have gone for NaOnka, but here’s the thing; she ended up being the one person who told me the truth about what was going on at Espada. So in that moment she became my only alliance. Nobody else was talking to me or telling me the truth. So, do I turn on my one alliance even though it’s a shaky alliance? That again would put a big target on my back. Everybody always knew that Fabio wanted NaOnka gone. Nobody put a target on his back because it was always a funny thing around camp that he always wanted her gone. But if I’d brought up her name it’d be trouble. They realize that NaOnka is the perfect person to take to the final three because everybody hates NaOnka.

Gordon: Holly’s still around after sinking Dan’s shoes and NaOnka’s stealing food. They’re somewhat safe because they’re good to take to the end. Meanwhile, you and Marty have targets for talking strategy and Kelly B. never had a chance due to her prosthetic leg. Has the game gotten to a point where being horrible is a benefit?
Alina:
I don’t know if it’s because I’m on this season, but it’s so different to me than any other season. I’ve never seen anything like this before. People are getting away with murder. I don’t get it. If anything, NaOnka should have gone home last night. She’s a thief. Marty illustrated it perfectly twice this season. When he found out that NaOnka had pushed Kelly B. over, he said “Guys, how did you let her get away with that?” And last night he said, “How is she getting away with this?” I don’t get it. I don’t get how she got away with everything. And it makes me mad. If I had done half the things she did, I’d have been booted a long time ago.
Gordon: You were guilty of this too. Early on you shared Shannon and NaOnka’s belief that Kelly B. should go home quickly because she’d be tough to beat in front of the jury. Is this just the way the game leans now?
Alina: I’m glad you mentioned that, because I wanted to clear that up.
Gordon: Feel free.
Alina: When I mentioned that on the show it was the first day when we found that clue together, and I thought, “Damn, I’m forced into an alliance with someone who is an easy target.” I wasn’t gunning for her at all. I knew that later on she’d be a threat, but not at that point. I didn’t want to align with someone that I knew everyone else was going to target. I knew they’d be thinking, “She’s got to go because of the leg.”

Gordon: How did your time in Nicaragua influence your art? Have you used it as inspiration?
Alina:
Oh yeah. Every night when we’d sit on the beach and watch the sunset, I was constantly inspired. I wish I’d had a paint set with me. I brought those memories home, and they still inspire me. And when I watch the show it brings me right back to my days out there. I’m working on a series of pencil drawings that are kind of like in memory of my time out there. There’s a drawing of the boots I was wearing and drawings of the bathing suit and things that I remember. And, it’s turning out pretty good.

Gordon: Alright, let’s bust out some word association. Let’s start with Kelly B.
Alina:
Awesome, bad ass, tough girl.
Gordon: NaOnka?
Alina: Psycho, crazy, unpredictable.
Gordon: Brenda?
Alina: Princess, cheerleader.
Gordon: Sash?
Alina: Gay, frustrating, hate the way he talks. Hatred comes to mind.
Gordon: Gay? Does that put you in the Shannon camp?
Alina: Well, good thing you brought that up. It looked like it was random that Shannon said that, but every one of us, even the girls, all sat around and said, “Sash is gay, right?” We all thought he was gay in the first six days. And it’s not like it’s an insult. He just comes across as gay.
Gordon: Is it possible that an entire tribe has broken gaydar?
Alina: I guess we do! We all thought we were right, but I guess not. And it doesn’t really say anything towards him. It’s just how he comes across.
Gordon: Alright, let’s get back into this. Fabio?
Alina: Loofy-doof. My brother in law came up with that word and it just means, “Out there.”
Gordon: Marty?
Alina: Schemer, strategist, involved in himself, very self centered.
Gordon: Chase?
Alina: Chase is a softie. Just a sweetheart softie.
Gordon: Jane?
Alina: Jane is awesome. I just love that woman. Awesome, tough, she knows who she is.
Gordon: And let’s finish this off with your buddy Benry.
Alina: Benry is a tool. He’s totally a tool. He’s a name dropper. He’s a Hollywood boy. He swears he’s the king of everything. He swears girls love him and he’s so full of himself.

Gordon: Sorry if this is out of left field, but can Kelly Purple speak?
Alina:
(Laughs) Aww….Kelly Purple. It’s awesome that she’s not getting any airtime. She was someone who was entertaining but irritating. She really had nothing useful to say ever. But at the same time you kind of like her. It’s funny that the one sound bite they gave her was “Umm…you get to milk your own milk.” I love that scene, it was so funny. It was perfect because that’s her personality. I wouldn’t say that she’s a dumb girl, but she really has the most random things to say. People like Kelly Purple and Fabio are just coasting along, and if they’re smart, they’re hiding it. Maybe if I was more of an airhead I would have had a better outcome. I just hate flying under the radar. I didn’t want to do that. You wouldn’t know who I am.
Gordon: Oh I know who you are, you’re G.I. Jane.
Alina: (Laughs) The dirt squirrel made her mark!

Follow Gordon on Twitter for “Survivor updates and news: @gordonholmes

‘Survivor: Nicaragua’ Episode 8 Recap: Grand Theft Flour

November 3, 2010

Last Week: Jane hosted a barbecue for one, Marty handed his immunity idol to Sash, and La Flor treated Jill to a one-way ticket home.

39 Days, 20 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog

Here are the tribes as they currently stand…

The La Flor Tribe (wearing yellow)

  • Brenda – 27, Paddleboard Company Owner
  • Fabio – 21, Student
  • Kelly S. – 20, Nursing Student
  • Jane – 56, Dog Trainer
  • Marty – 48, Technology Executive
  • Sash – 30, Real Estate Broker

The Espada Tribe (wearing blue)

  • Alina – 23, Art Student
  • Benry – 24, Club Promoter
  • Chase – 24, Race Car Jackman/Country Singer
  • Dan – 63, Real Estate Executive
  • Holly – 44, Swim Coach
  • NaOnka – 27, P.E. Teacher

Quick Note: XFINITY TV has some very exciting “Survivor” stuff coming up in the near future. (Yes, I’m aware that’s vague.) Be sure to check back here and on my Twitter account for details.

We start off at La Flor where a poor, deceased turtle has washed up on the beach and is being picked apart by vultures. Looks like the metaphor machine is working overtime.

The irony is not lost on Marty. He realizes that he’s in deep trouble. If only he had an immunity idol.

Shortly afterward, “Uncle Fabio” (his nickname, not mine) arrives with some tree mail. The tree mail alludes to a merge. I’m not sure if I buy that though. We’ve been tricked before. Drop your buffs indeed, JPro.

Over at Espadadada, the individual players are trying to figure out how the merge will affect them. Benry wants Alina to go next. Alina, however, pitches an idea that the current Espada six sticks together and goes after Marty’s idol.

NaOnka thinks this idea is ridiculous, saying “Uncle Dan” wasn’t even into Alina’s plan. OK, seriously, we can’t have an Uncle Dan and an Uncle Fabio. I’m going to talk to the nickname committee and get a ruling.

The La Floricans eventually arrive at Espada with a large chest. They crack it open and sure enough they discover a merge feast and some sweet new red buffs.

Quick Note: No lie, those buffs are awesome. The white trim really makes them pop.

Marty is given the opportunity to name the tribe. He goes with “Libertad,” which means “Liberty.” Dude, anything’s better than “Nobag.” And “Augaracin” would be too hard to pronounce.

The new tribe is super giddy when they discover some Nicaraguan rum. Not that I blame them.

Brenda and NaOnka take a quick strategy walk. High fives are exchanged when NaOnka learns that Sash has Marty’s immunity idol. So, the dominant alliance has two immunity idols. I wonder how they’ll mess that up…

Meanwhile, Chase and Jane are bonding over their North Carolina roots. She again busts out the “Ugly Duckling” analogy to describe how she was treated by Marty and Co.

The next morning, NaOnka wakes up still beaming over the merge, the sweet new red buffs, and the news that Sash has the second immunity idol. In fact, they say NaOnka’s heart grew three sizes that day. Actually, that’s not true, she was ticked that Fabio took a big bite out of a tortilla so she started sabotaging the camp. She swiped the flour from the chest, took it into the forest, and buried it.

One problem? Holly saw her do it.

She also swiped some fruit and hid several of the cooking items. Look at NaOnka going all Hantz on everyone!

NaOnka then takes Alina to the side and tells her that everyone is gunning for her. NaOnka follows that move up by sharing her stolen oranges with her.

What the what?!

Is NaOnka setting Alina up as the thief? Is she trying to win her jury vote? Is NaOnka a genius?

Back at camp, the Libertads are realizing that things are missing. Holly asks NaOnka if she put the flour back. NaOnka responds in a rational manner. Actually, that’s not true either. She flipped out. Uncle Fabio tried to get to the bottom of it, but it turned into Sock-gate Part Deux.

Chase and Alina confront NaOnka about the theft. NaOnka admits that she took the items, but can’t confess because she already told people that she didn’t. Chase responds with an early contender for line of the night saying, “You lied? You lied in ‘Survivor’? Everyone’s lied in ‘Survivor.’”

NaOnka returns to camp and confesses. She claims she was doing it for the benefit of the tribe, but Marty isn’t buying it.

Sash sees this as an opportunity; he wants to take NaOnka to the end as he doesn’t think she’ll receive any million-dollar votes. Well played, Sash.

Immunity Challenge: The players will each hold a pair of handles. The handles are holding a small pole in place. If the handles aren’t pulled together or pushed apart, the pole will fall. The last man and woman still holding onto their pole will win immunity.

Not much to describe here, a lot of standing and pole holding.

Grow up.

Purple Kelly and Dan go first. (What?! The challenge involved standing, Dan was a certain to win.) Alina, Brenda, and Benry go next, followed by Sash and NaOnka. Holly is out next, giving immunity to Jane. However instead of stopping, Jane decides to try to beat the guys.

That’s just foolish. Why make yourself look like a threat?

Marty is the next to go, bringing it down to Fabio and Chase (and Jane, technically). Chase’s bar eventually falls, giving immunity to Fabio.

Back at camp, Jane admits to the ladies that she only stayed in the challenge to beat Marty. So, it goes without saying who her pick is to send home at Tribal Council. The tribe seems to be on board with sending Marty home first as long as Alina goes home second.

Sash, however, lobbies to keep Marty around as he promised him safety at the next Tribal Council in exchange for his immunity idol. If I were in Sash’s alliance, I’d be very concerned with him lobbying for jury votes while we’re working as a team.

Later that day, Dan actually plays the game a little as he warns Marty that Chase could try to blindside him. Marty approaches Sash and Brenda with this concern and they throw Chase under the bus. They claim to have never discussed voting for Marty with Chase.

Alina crunches the numbers and realizes she needs one more vote. She decides that Uncle Fabio is her best bet. She makes her pitch and given the choice between Marty and Alina, he chooses NaOnka. I love this kid. His favorite peanut butter is probably Sprite.

That night at Tribal Council, Marty decides to clear the air, saying that he never had a problem with Jane. However, he thinks she made bad alliances early on with players who are no longer in the game.

Jane takes exception with this statement saying that she approached him and he “Fluffed her off.” Again, what does that mean?

Marty keeps at it, saying if Jane stays in the game, she’s going to win the million dollars. He says you couldn’t write a better sob story, and that if she makes it to the end, he’ll give her his vote.

I know a lot of people are thinking, “Shut up, Marty.” But I don’t blame him or Alina. When you’re in trouble, you need to do anything you can.

JPro asks Alina if Marty just made a mistake. Alina gives a very smart answer, saying that Marty’s speech shows how strategic he can be. She also says she’s a good swing vote and only a “pawn.”

Dan then brings up the point that two people from the tribe took food from the camp. NaOnka that admits that she acted alone and Alina was only an accomplice after the fact. She says she stole from camp, then gave it back. She’s like a redundant Robin Hood.

NaOnka thinks it’s OK though, because she was punished by getting the silent treatment. Fabio doesn’t think that’s a real punishment.

Voting Time: Jane votes for Marty, Alina votes for Marty, Benry votes for Alina (calling her a “Dirt Squirrel”), Sash votes for Alina, and the rest of the votes are as unknown as the definition of “Dirt Squirrel”.

JPro gets his tally on, then returns to read some votes. Two votes for Marty, six votes for Alina, and the ninth person voted out of “Survivor: Nicaragua” and the first member of the jury is…Alina.

Verdict: Looks like things are picking up now that we’ve hit mergeville. But I’ll tell you this, if Fabio gets voted out, one of you is going to have to take over these recaps until next season. I’ll be in a corner crying.

Who’s Going to Win? It seems like there are too many players in the dominant alliance right now. Once they start turning on each other it’ll get interesting. I’m still leaning toward Brenda though. She obviously very tight with Sash, Brenda, and Chase.

Power Rankings Results: Team Dragon Slayer and Team Truth Seeker both had Alina in spot eleven. The current score is now Team Dragon Slayer 96, Team Truth Seeker 100.

Follow me on Twitter for breaking “Survivor” news: @gordonholmes

What Do You Think? Should NaOnka have been booted over the flour? Would you have bounced Marty or Alina? What’s a “Dirt Squirrel”?

Why I Want to Date Taylor Swift

November 3, 2010

Now, I know what you’re thinking right off the bat, “Gordon, Taylor is twenty, you’re forty seven, that’s totally gross.” I agree. That’s why this relationship would be 100% platonic. My motivations in this union are totally non-physical.

They’re way worse than that…

(more…)

‘Survivor: Nicaragua’ Power Rankings – Merge Edition

November 3, 2010

The Rules: Each week, “Survivor: Tocantins” and “Survivor: Heroes Vs. Villains” star Benjamin “Coach” Wade and XFINITY TV’s “Survivor” recapper Gordon Holmes will create separate power rankings. The ranking of the person who is voted out of the next episode will determine the number of points the two players will earn. For example, if Sash is voted out this week, Coach will receive 3 points and Gordon will receive 6 points. At the end of the season, the person or team with the most points will be named the “Survivor: Nicaragua” Power Rankings Challenge Champion.

Last Week: The La Flor youngsters decided to keep Marty around again. Good for him, not so good for his buddy Jill. Team Dragon Slayer had Jill in spot thirteen while I had her in spot eleven. The current score is now Team Dragon Slayer 85, Team Truth Seeker 89.

Special Announcement: The gauntlet has been thrown down; next week the Power Rankings will be done in haiku form. Be prepared.

And before we start this week’s rankings, let’s pay tribute to the recent booted castaway with…

coach

Note: This week I am still on my own, with The King still MIA. APB on Randy Bailey. Someone either give him a job or contact me asap with his whereabouts!

Ode to Jill: You made all the right moves, getting a strong, smart player like Marty in the beginning on your side. You could have been one-two with Marty but alas the “Survivor” Gods would not deem it. The merge sealed your fate and the lines had been drawn. You didn’t get enough airtime to be missed, nor were you a personality that they will bring back, so parting this time is not such sweet sorrow.

Team Dragon Slayer’s Picks:

brenda . chase
#1: In total control. The girls are leaning on you for strength and the guys are eating out of the palm of your hand. Which way can you go? NaOnka, Chase, Sash, your options are unlimited! You go, girl. #2: See Brenda’s entry, except that you are NOT the one in control.
sash . fabio
#3: See Brenda’s line but perhaps you are the one in control? Could be a future battle of backstabbing with the two of you, or an alliance that could make it to the end. #4: This guy is the one to watch. Non threatening, funny, not making enemies. I am picking him to go to the finals.
benry . jane
#5: Very competitive in last week’s challenge. This bodes ill because although you are not making enemies people will start seeing you as a threat. #6: You are starting to get cocky, but not much of a threat. Keep working hard, keep ingratiating yourself with the young’uns and ADAPT at the merge. Do that and you will go far.
kellys . naonka
#7: Your good looks and subtle charms are going to take you to the finals, unless you cross someone. Keep saying “yes” to everyone that comes up to you and asks for an alliance. Play dumb if your cover is blown. #8: Still golden. Still obnoxious. Still class-less. DON’T QUIT ON US.
holly . alina
#9: You have turned your game around completely. You actually look happy out there. Adaptation to the elements is the key in coaching, life, and “Survivor.” See Jane’s comments above, you could be going all the way. #10: You think you’re on the ins but you are really on the outs. Your bitchy, indifferent, placid side will get you ousted sooner than you think.
dan . marty
#11: Your throw in the challenge was pathetic. Seriously? “Survivor” training hint: Stop lifting weights and start doing stretches and running and pilates. Jeez, that was embarrassing. Ever hear the saying “You throw like a girl?” #12: Giving the idol away was brilliant and stupid, all at the same time. My advice to you is to steal it from Sash when he is sleeping. I hope to hell you do some fancy alliance making once the merge comes this week. I’m pulling for ya, Marty! Stay strong.

.

Team Truth Seeker’s Picks:

brenda . chase
#1: The merge reunites Brenda with her BFFs NaOnka and Chase. She’s in a great slot and should really start thinking about getting on future jurors’ good sides. #2: You’re safe for now, Chasington. But you’re going to be in a world of trouble when your alliance realizes you’re built like Triple H. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see you go before Dan does.
benry . dan
#3: A lot of people are against Benry, but he’s starting to grow on me. With Marty on his way out, Benry could become my new pick to take the whole thing.
#4: Dan made a huge jump this week. Now that all the challenges are for individual immunity, I look for him to start racking up the wins. Oh wait, sarcasm doesn’t show up in text. OK, let’s just say there’s no reason to ever vote out Dan because he has the challenge prowess of a topiary plant.
kellys . sash
#5: “Milk your own milk!” I love this girl. Who do I talk to about getting her and Fabio a daytime talk show? #6: I don’t think Sash’s slip at last week’s Tribal Council is going to hurt him as much as JPro seems to think it will. But I’m dropping him in the rankings because it shows he’s capable of slipping up.
fabio . jane
#7: He voted for Brenda in the first Tribal Council and they blamed it on Kelly B. He urinated in the pool (when there were trees everywhere!) and everyone was cool with it. Forget Teflon Dan, we’re looking at Teflon Fabs.
#8: I like Jane a bunch, but that fish thing last week was just stupid. If she was caught, she’d be a goner.
holly . alina
#9: I think the merge will be fine for Holly. If I were her I’d start intentionally being terrible at immunity challenges. Then she can encourage the younger ladies to start taking out the physical threats.
#10: I never felt comfortable with the Alina/NaOnka alliance, and last week proved I was right. I think dear Alina might be in some trouble.
naonka . marty
#11: The previews show NaOnka gettin’ all Russell Hantz on the camp. In a post-Hantz world that’s a gutsy move. You think Fabio won’t suspect her immediately after sock-gate?
#12: You were my pick, Marty. I hope the idol play buys you some leverage with Team Sash, but I doubt it will.

Quick Note: Follow Gordon on Twitter for breaking “Survivor” news and updates.

What Do You Think: Who has the edge heading into the merge? Was Marty’s idol move smart or stupid? Why is NaOnka ripping up the camp?


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