gambitch - now available in blue Our constant efforts to reinvent ourselves reveal how much we fear our own images.
Saturday, April 14, 2007
So I've been called out of retirement again.
Twice in the space of two weeks, I have had to unhang my keyboard as emergency cover for people who were suddenly unavailable. While I don't really mind doing it, it's the frequency with which this is happening that surprises me. Not to mention that, clearly, people continue to regard me highly enough to be willing to fall back on me as some sort of universal failsafe.
But this was really not the best occasion to call me back. I had been wanting to spend some time doing my own stuff, and I gave up on it to come back into the game tonight. Not that I was against it - but it was also a matter of there not really being a wide range of alternatives. The other universal fallback was getting a good bit of games himself, but it cannot always be him either.
It wasn't great stuff to write on, to be absolutely honest. So I've had to struggle for the longest time before putting it together. Which partly does mean I ended up missing the totally artificial - and I dare say meaningless - deadline. I didn't care. To hell with it. I had to keep up the standards and put together a good work.
But now that that's done, I can finally go and sleep.
Not to mention hope that this kind of bailout situation doesn't keep happening. gambitch [
I am not sure whether I should be that pleased to announce that Uchenna and Joyce were eliminated in the eighth leg of The Amazing Race: All-Star Edition. In a way it's actually quite fine with me, because they were wearing my patience rather thin in a quiet, subtle manner, and I didn't really feel for them anymore. And it could have been worse - a team I actually liked could have gone off. But it might be because they were practically dead from the first quarter that I got not much satisfaction watching this leg.
Let's revisit the facts. Basically, at the end of the last leg, the teams were somewhere in Krakow or its vicinity. Their next destination as they got off the mat was straightforward enough: Malaysia. The show has been there before, I know, and its presentation of Malaysia was not half bad. But the point is that travelling from Krakow to Kuala Lumpur would always pose some interesting challenges, particularly in terms of flight changes. And that's where things like connections at the airport come in.
The summary gist of what happened to Uchenna and Joyce was that they gambled on a tight one-hour connecting time period at Frankfurt, and this is where we learn that when it comes to international flights, you have to check in 45 minutes before the actual flight time. Which, of course, Uchenna and Joyce fail to do. So they're stuck at Frankfurt, and for a very long time too. So that's them out of the picture.
But never mind them, there are four other teams who still need to race. Annoyingly enough, Charla and Mirna seem to be the very first to hit the tarmac at Kuala Lumpur with a ridiculously good flight combination that others before them contrived to miss. Which means they're the first to go to Batu Caves. Now, I've been to Batu Caves as a kid, and I have to admit I would really like to go again, because... my memory has already failed me, and I don't know where we kept all the photographs of that trip. So I find myself reliving memories of previous trips overseas through a reality television show. How odd is that?
Anyway, the Batu Caves get a very brief mention in the show, where we basically watch all the teams, in their own time, climb up and down the stairs. It's a lot of steps too, which moves Charla to comment that they don't need a Stairmaster in this country. Oh yeah, working out sure isn't that hard here, just as it isn't hard if you're willing to take the stairs to the top of your local 60-storey office building. Which of course you do not, but that's really besides the point. We watch the teams torture their feet to climb the steps, and there's a couple of adorable monkeys on the side for entertainment too.
The Detour was alright, although the fatigue and temperature must have drawn the teams to make some really stupid choices. Between making traditional batik prints and chewing your way through 600 boxes of cookies, I'm pretty sure I know which one I'll pick if I were in the race. Yet there were people who actually went for the cookies. Seriously, what's so hard about making prints?
Anyway, on top of the failure to pick the better option for the Detour, Charla and Mirna compound the situation by breaking the rules. How? By travelling in a cab when the instructions clearly say you're supposed to go to the place on foot. We've seen how that screwed Heather and Eve over several seasons ago, and teams have in the past been very vigilant about these little things - most of the time. And that again goes to show what stupidity Charla and Mirna have brought to this show. Mostly Mirna.
But there are also teams that do really well even in these sweltering and tiring conditions. Proof? I give you Exhibit A: Dustin and Kandice. I really love these Beauty Queens with every passing episode. They're like the good, clinical teams I love for playing the game efficiently and with no fuss. Plus, they're beauty queens, so they remember to do just about everything with a lighthearted smile. Without looking bimbotic too!
Of course, the BQs were involved in a little bit of drama over the Yield, which they dished out on Eric and Danielle. I'm not sure why they chose these two, but they figured, not altogether without reason, that it would be in their positive interests to use the Yield off. Funnily enough, this is going to be an incident that would be plastered to their names for the remainder of the season, I reckon. Because Eric and Danielle do not take this well, and Uchenna and Joyce are well out of the picture.
I'd think that the Yield should be introduced in some rather earlier legs than this one. But maybe that's just me.
Anyway, the cookie task is horrible. And it brings out the logic clouding that's happening to Danny at this point, even though Oswald does his entire "voice of reason" routine well. I might not mind eating those cookies properly under very different conditions, but not at a time like this when you're desperately hunting for what Oswald understands to be one cookie out of 600 boxes. I'm, like, whoa? Yet Danny still feels this task is doable.
But enough about cookies and printing fabrics. We get to see, through the whole exercise, who's got their cool intact and who's losing it. No surprise, then, that Dustin and Kandice are the first to the Roadblock, which Phil funnily introduces as Malaysia's "eco-friendly policy of recycling". In simple terms, the task entails collecting old newspapers. Or in Malay, "surat khabar lama". There's a different phrase for it elsewhere in this part of the world, I'm aware. But whatever. You get to see people riding bicycles that come with big, heavy sidecars to carry the papers, and as much as some of them struggle, they're quite game. Or at least Kandice is. And it doesn't hurt that she gets complimented for her beauty while on the task.
And it's not just her physical beauty that makes this team impressive. It turns out, a little later, that Dustin used to be a papergirl as a kid, which means she used to ride the bike around the neighbourhood and toss out those papers. This totally reminds me of this very old computer game I used to play, which was about paperboys. Not surprisingly, the name of the game was called just that - Paperboy. The point is, Beauty Queen Dustin has had some real experiences as an ordinary person, doing paper routes and such. It's good to know that beauty pageants are still not that rarefied, open to participation by only those super-pampered elites. Of course, this begs the question why Dustin didn't do this Roadblock, but I don't mind that.
Not much needs to be said about what goes on for the rest of the show. In short, the teams collect their papers, check in, and then Uchenna and Joyce's plane finally touches down at Kuala Lumpur. So they eventually make their way to the Pitstop, with most of the events happening in-between all disappearing into the void of the editing room. It's odd not seeing a team for an entire leg except at the very start and the very end, I know.
But on balance? I probably wouldn't have minded Uchenna and Joyce's elimination. It's just that they haven't been the same kind of positive personalities this season like they were for much of their original season. And perhaps that massive slice of luck they got to get onto the damn plane that won them the million got paid back this time. Maybe it's just me, and maybe it's my immense respect and even love for Rob Mariano and his game. But I thought it appropriate that, at the end, the airport screwed Uchenna and Joyce over.
Just that I wish Charla and Mirna could be booted out faster. But no, they're in the Final Four. And that's never a good feeling. gambitch [
Monday, April 09, 2007
Yes! I got a phone call!
I know, it's only the second step - the first was showing interest.
Am I happy or am I happy?
And thank you. Really. I can't thank you enough for everything you've said. gambitch [
Sunday, April 08, 2007
A thousand things I wished I could say A thousand instants I dearly wanted to share But to share them there and then every time Would have been at least both wrong and unfair
Yet failing to share them as they happen Here and now means you eventually forget And while you will regret now about forgetting later Once it is forgotten we will forget to regret
The train ride home was lonely.
Lonelier than I had understood the word 'lonely' to mean.
I sang alone to myself, as I so often did. Softly, with the occasional wince when I knew I got a note wrong. Hands playing the imaginary keyboard, or zither, or flute. I tried to take myself to a different world, away from the train.
But I could not.
It just did not feel right.
I've sung to myself a thousand times.
But I've not sung to someone else, alone, quietly, before.
And at that moment, I felt something sour in my throat. Sour and sad.