Archives » October, 2006

October 16, 2006

The Amazing Race 10×05: I Covered His Mouth, Oh My Gosh!

My recap of the latest Amazing Race episode is now up.

Sarah, surprisingly, doesn’t wrap the rubber band around his neck, but instead waits until later to chew him out. And chew him out she does. “We’re a team and we have to work together. This isn’t just about you,” she says, and tops it off with, “I’m not really having fun with you.” Peter’s not getting it. He’s sitting there stuffing his face with some damn cookies or something, looking everywhere but directly at Sarah, and brushing off every one of her complaints by saying, “I like the way I am.” I guess that’s the white guy way of saying “I’m just keeping it real.” And it has the same meaning: I know I’m an asshole and I don’t care, and you need to accept it because it’s the real me. It’s one thing to be an ass, and it’s another thing to be unrepentant about being an ass, but there’s a third level here, and that’s Peter being proud of the fact that he’s an ass. We fade to commercial with the kind of slow-motion dramatics that normally indicate a team thinks they’re in a hopeless situation and losing as far as the race is concerned. But here it’s used to indicate that Sarah is in a hopeless situation and losing as far as her life is concerned, which is infinitely sadder.

Go read it all.

Episode links:
Miss Alli’s recap
TV Squad review
TV Guide review
Download the episode with BitTorrent

October 14, 2006


Dave Winer:

News is not like the symphony, it’s like cooking dinner.

Very few people, if any, will earn a living doing this, much as most of us don’t earn a living by cooking dinner, but we do it anyway, cause you gotta eat.

October 12, 2006

The Corley Ranch

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I made a visit this morning to the Corley Ranch south of Gardnerville. Accompanying me was about 50 3-to-5-year-olds; it was actually a field trip for my son’s school.

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The Corely Ranch is a real, working ranch with a history that goes back to the Dangbergs in the 1860s. But with times being so tough for small, family farms, the Corleys have branched out into tourism and entertainment. That’s why, every October, they open their doors for the Corley Harvest Festival. Part of their ranch is sectioned off and they set up a pumpkin patch, corn maze, petting zoo, and other activites for kids and families.

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The pumpkin patch is open to the public every weekend in October, and during the week they invite schools to come for field trips. They let the kids try their hands at roping cattle (or wooden cattle dolls, at least), they have a hay maze set up so the little ones can run around and still be seen by the adults, and they open up the petting zoo so the kids can see the goats, cattle, and little piggies.

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At the end of the trip they turn the kids loose into the pumpkin patch and everybody gets to choose their very own pumpkin to take home. It’s a ton of fun for the kids, and it was Sammy’s first real field trip.

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The Corley Ranch is one of the Carson Valley’s only actual on-ranch pumpkin patches. If you’ve going to visit, just drive south on 395 until you’ve passed the 7-11 and left town, then look for the signs.

I’ve picked out a few pitcures from the visit to highlight here. But, as usual, you can see many more over at Flickr.

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See the rest of the pictures!

October 9, 2006

The Amazing Race 10×04: I Know Phil, Little Ol’ Gorgeous Thing!

I’ve started publishing my weekly Amazing Race recaps for, and I just posted the first one on last night’s episode.

Now, let me take a minute here to go off track and ask what the hell is up with Peter and Sarah’s relationship. Their little relationship tag in the lower third of the screen says that they’re “recently dating”. But of this, I have seen no evidence. Aside from the pre-race interview where Sarah said she had a long time crush on Peter, and that it’s attractive that he can take care of her (which–to get even futher off topic–isn’t that just the most anti-feminist statement ever? I think a fairy lost its wings when she said that). But beyond that, what proof do we have that they’re dating? Maybe I haven’t been paying attention, but I don’t think I’ve seen them kiss once on this race. Or hug. Or get closer than two feet, except when they’re squeezed into the back of a taxi. And Peter really seems to have no feelings for her, aside from the rush he seems to get from “coaching” her. I mean, you could have told me they were brother and sister, and that would have been more believable. Or that they had just met on the street the day before, and I would have bought it. I know you’re supposed to have a pre-existing relationship going into this race, but I think that relationship needs to be a little bit deeper than “he sold me my leg.”

Go read it all.

Episode links:
Miss Alli’s recap
TV Squad review
TV Guide review
Download the episode with BitTorrent

October 7, 2006

Postcards From Mars

The Bad Astronomer points out some pretty cool pictures that are being taken by the new Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and its high-res camera. This is a crater on Mars, but it’s not just any crater. Poised right at the ledge in the upper left is the Mars Rover “Opportunity”. And you can actually see it in the photo if you zoom in close enough.

So not only are we sending robots to Mars, we’re also sending satellites that are powerful enough to take pictures of those robots.

Looks like Google Mars will have to update their imagery soon.

Now they’ve just got to point that camera at the “Face” on Mars and convince everybody that it really is just a big rock. The Mars Express orbiter took hi-res pictures of it not too long ago (and the Bad Astronomer was all over that too), but the camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is even better.

Not that anyone will believe the pictures when they come out, anyway. Because you know NASA is covering up what the Face really is and doctoring every image they release.


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October 6, 2006

The Amazing Race 10×03: Oh, Wow! It’s Like One Of Those Things You See On TV!

The Amazing Race slipped a little bit this week. Not as much fun to watch as last week. But I guess when you’re following on the footsteps of the wild hynik, it’s hard to measure up. It still feels more like the gool old Amazing Race, though, instead of the flaccid imitation the show’s become in recent years. So that’s good.

This week the teams have to “make their way” to Vietnam, and they’re given no money to do so. Usually the 0-dollar (or 1-dollar) legs come later in the race, but this time they’re throwing hardships at the teams right away. And, interestingly, they’re specifically told in the clue that begging for spare change is not allowed. This is an intriguing development, because the begging has always put me off in the past. I mean, here you have these rich Americans that are being sent on a multi-million-dollar jaunt around the world, but they’re so artificially strapped for cash that they’re reduced to taking money from the locals. Locals that probably don’t make a fraction of what the racers do back home. And yes, they’re usually only begging in places where there are a lot of tourists, so they’re mostly taking money from other Americans or Europeans. But still, even in that case it highlights the second thing I don’t like about the begging. It lowers the dignity of the competitors, and in turn lowers the dignity of the show. One of the most uncomfortable points in Amazing Race history was when Uchenna and Joyce were stripped of their cash in Season 7 and had to beg at the airport. So you had these two people, who had already been through bankruptcy in real life, forced to get on their knees and grovel for $5 bills to afford a cab. It was embarrassing, and not just for them but for the show itself. I’ve been hoping to see an end to the forced begging for a long time, and now this gives me a small bit of hope, that they’re being expressly forbidden from doing it.

Of course, it was probably only done in this case to create a little extra suspense, and because the producers knew they’d be getting money from the flower-selling later. I fully expect we’ll still see teams stripped of cash during non-elimination legs, just like they’ve done for the past five seasons, and forced to beg again. Oh well. This is the “New” Amazing Race, so I should just shut up and enjoy it.

Anyway, on to Vietnam. The cast is younger this time around, so we’re not getting a repeat of Ian’s “return to Vietnam” segment from Season 3. But we do get David trying to connect with what his father must have gone through, and Duke pointing out that his “number didn’t come up” during the draft, but he lost a lot of friends. The Race can’t go to Vietnam without highlighting the war, though, so they sent teams to the Hanoi Hilton to find John McCain’s flight suit. Now the existence of a shrine to John McCain in Vietnam is kind of puzzling to me, because first of all he made it home, so it’s not like it’s a memorial. And second, I can’t see why the Vietnamese would want to draw attention to any of the things they did to American prisoners during the war, especially not to the point of making an entire museum exhibit about it. “See, this guy didn’t die! And he became famous!” Anything for the tourists, I guess.

But they couldn’t even get to the prison without plenty of taxi hijinx, including an overturned truck that slowed everyone down. But poor Duke and Lauren had it the worst. Because they didn’t have enough money to take a taxi by themselves, they split a fare with a local woman they picked up at the airport. At first they were thrilled to have a local tour guide, but soon it turned into a nightmare when the woman wanted to be dropped off first, forcing them to make a half-hour detour. And then they realized that even with the split fare, they still didn’t have enough dough on them. Luckily they were saved by a friendly cab driver who let them slide on the fare. Or you could say they bamboozled this poor guy who doesn’t speak English by shoving a camera and bright lights in his face. Your choice. In any rate, the familiar Hours of Operation bunching came into play at the prison, so they managed to catch up with the crowd anyway.

“Take it and be happy.”

The teams finally get to John McCain’s flight suit (or, as the plaque calls him, JONH. MC. CAIN) and take a moment to pay respects to those lost in the Vietnam War. Well, actually only Tom and Terry and the *win brothers take a moment. And it wasn’t exactly a spontaneous gesture either; the clue specifically told them to do it.


But soon everyone’s back in the race and selling flowers on the street corner. Everyone is able to take a taxi, except for Duke and Lauren, who gave everything they had to the cab driver last night. So they have to walk to the flower shop, and already they’re behind everyone else. But not by much, because once again they manage to catch up. The flower-selling task itself was pretty uneventful. It was mostly an excuse for the sound effects people to have some fun sprinkling plenty of “Ka-Ching!” sounds around every time Peter sold a bunch of flowers. Getting on the right bus to Vac proved to be more of a challenge, as did actually reading the damn clue once they got there and walking instead of riding a motorcycle. I knew as soon as such a big deal was made out of the motorcycle rule, that someone was going to break it. Because the Race is full of insignifigant little rules like that, and the show never highlights them unless somebody’s stupid enough to break them. And sure enough, here come Tom and Terry, hopping right up there like a couple of fools.

“Do you think this is right?”
“Yeah, it is.”

Once in Vac, and after having to fend off a Chinese Dragon, teams have to make the choice of packing coal or weaving a birdcage from scratch. Everyone picks the coal, but Duke and Lauren get lost along the way and stumble across the birdcages by accident. So, what the hell, let’s make some birdcages. Apparently the birdcage was the “slow” Detour, because they end up seriously in last place, even behind the other teams that started the coal after they did.

At the pit stop, Tom and Terry manage to land on the mat in second place. But then comes the dreaded “However”. Phil has two “However”s. There’s the “However” he gives you when you’re in last place, and that’s a good “However” because he’s telling you that this is a non-elimination leg. Then there’s the “However” he gives you when you’re not in last place, and this is a bad “However” because he’s telling you that you fucked up.


So anyway, Tom and Terry got dinged half an hour for their little motorcycle stunt. So they had to stand off to the side and watch team after team check in in front of them. And although the editors tried to keep it suspenseful whether or not the Twin Ts would get eliminated, Duke and Lauren just took too long with that damn birdcage. Tom and Terry waited out their penalty and got to check in, and the father-daughter team was eliminated. Proving once and for all that gays are better than lesbians. Glad to settle that debate.

And will somebody tell me why Karlyn thought it would be a good idea to do the Detour, and the run to the pit stop, in her bra? Keep the shirt on, girl.

Miss Alli’s recaplet
TV Squad review
TV Guide review
Download the episode with BitTorrent

October 5, 2006

Survivor 13×03: Flirting And Frustration

I guess I never wrote anything about last week’s episode of Survivor. I must have just been too bummed out about Cecilia getting booted off. Here you have a girl that doesn’t fit into the normal Survivor mold of a walking skeleton with big eyes and big teeth (I’m looking at you, Eliza. And Janu. And Danielle). A girl who’s actually for real good-looking, and who also seems mature, and intelligent, and… Okay, so I can see why she didn’t fit in on the show. How’d she ever slip through the casting process? We hardly ever saw her on screen anyway. For a while I thought she might be getting the flying-under-the-radar edit, and they’d show more of her as the season went on. But no, they were giving her the this-girl-is-toast-so-let’s-not-waste-our-time-showing-her edit. Too bad.

Anyway, the other big news in last week’s episode was that the Race Wars are over and everyone got “integrated” into two tribes. Wow, they let their big gimmick last all the way until the third episode…they really are slipping. Last year when they underwhelmed us with the “big twist” of young men/old women, they stopped it five minutes into the second episode, just when it was in danger of getting interesting. This year they let the Race Wars get even closer to the point where it would have been compelling TV. Luckily for us, they orchestrated one of the most Rube-Goldbergesque merges ever, and quickly got us back to the same old boring two-tribe game we all know. Thank goodness, we wouldn’t want Survivor to start getting interesting, would we?

Only two hours until the new episode!

Miss Alli’s recap
Trevor’s review at RFF
TV Guide review
Watch the episode on InnerTube
Download the episode with BitTorrent

10 More Ways

Everyone’s got a list. In August I linked to 9 Ways for Newspapers to Improve Their Websites by Todd Zeigler. Now Doc Searls has his own list.

  1. Stop giving away the news and charging for the olds
  2. Start featuring archived stuff on the paper’s website
  3. Link outside the paper
  4. Start following, and linking to, local bloggers and even competing papers (such as the local arts weeklies)
  5. Start looking toward the best of those bloggers as potential stringers
  6. Start looking to citizen journalists (CJs) for coverage of hot breaking local news topics
  7. Stop calling everything “content”
  8. Uncomplicate your websites
  9. Get hip to the Live Web
  10. Publish Rivers of News for readers who use Blackberries or Treos or Nokia 770s, or other handheld Web browsers

:: Also on the topic of Changing Newspapers, Jeff Jarvis wrote about how newspaper editorialists have become irrelevant in this day and age, and need to evolve with the times. What especially needs to change is the anonymous, “Voice of the Institution” feel these editorials take on, like what’s being written isn’t the opinion of any one person, but the opinions of the newspaper itself. Like a disembodied voice emanating from the printing press. Of course, the editorialists attacked back with plenty of sputtering comments about how what they do is important to the community, and what the newspaper says is important because, well, because it’s the newspaper.

Is there a difference between the voice of and the voice of the New York Times? You bet — it’s the New York Times.

Nice how this sort of thing always evolves into bashing the bloggers. Feel threatened much? Anyway, Jeff defuses all the arguments pretty swiftly by pointing out that people don’t trust newspapers anymore. The “institutional voice” matters less when nobody likes the institution.

So it’s time to change or die, and there seems to be a lot of resistance to change.

Lisa Williams is giving a sneak peek of, the new site that will be acting as a directory and aggegrator for place blogs all across the U.S. Place blogs are local interest blogs, covering and talking about what’s going on in a community. And she says she’s found 700 of them so far, although she’s shooting for 1,000. was supposed to have launched last month, but I guess the project grew a little bit out of control, since now she’s saying it won’t launch until later this year. And the HTML is screwed up in part of the post, so until it gets fixed, here’s what’s missing:

Programming is being done by the folks at, and the design is a creation of Andrew DeVigal. I’ll be writing a blog on the site chronicling the drive toward an annotated world – picking out great examples of citizen coverage, innovative approaches to stories and new technology for online communities. The site will launch later this year.

I can’t wait! Especially since Around Carson is supposed to be one of the 700 on there.