Saturday, October 11, 2008

Body of Lies Review

It's been years since I've seen a movie the same day that it opened but I got to go see Body of Lies yesterday.

The plot is a CIA agent named Roger Ferris (Leonardo DiCaprio) trying to bust an Islamic terrorist ring responsible for several bombings in Europe. To get inside the terrorist organization he has to rely on his boss and mentor, Ed Hoffman (Russell Crowe), back in Langley and Hani Salaam (Mark Strong), the head of Jordan's intelligence agency. Since they're all in the spy business, none of the three really know who they can trust.

The movie has lots of action and intrigue that keeps the plot moving at a good pace. Mixed in with the violence and seriousness of the situation is a surprising bit of humor. The sarcastic exchanges between Ferris and Hoffman define the relationship of the field agent trying to accomplish the mission (and stay alive) with his bureaucratic boss who may have other ideas. There's also something ironically funny about a CIA director discussing top secret life and death decisions over his cell phone while helping his toddler go potty in the morning or dropping the kids off at school.

Crowe, best known for his action roles, plays an out of shape, CIA bureaucrat only concerned about stopping the terrorists now. He leads operations remotely either in a command center in DC watching satellite feeds or from his kids' soccer games via cell phone.

DiCaprio's character is the one whose life is on the line. Before meeting an informant, Ferris and his partner agree to shoot each other if either is captured so that they don't get their heads cut off in a terrorist propaganda video. Unlike his boss, Ferris shows concern for his informants and views them as more than expendable resources.

The acting is pretty good and mostly believable. You assume the characters are using encrypted communications but it's hard to believe that spies would talk so freely on cell phones in public places about their missions. Other than that, the movie kept my interest and was worth watching in the theater. Some of the shots from the UAVs and satellites are pretty cool to watch on the big screen.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Squidoo Rocks! Record Payout and a Giant Squid

The global economy is in a rut and the US presidential campaign has devolved into an ugly unproductive mess but at least I'm having a good week on Squidoo.

Every quarter, Squidoo promotes a new batch of lensmasters to Giant Squid status. To qualify, you need a minimum of 50 good high quality lenses. I ended the quarter with 55 lenses and apparently they were deemed worthy because I got word late Monday that I'm now a Giant Squid!

So, what are the benefits of being a Giant Squid? First looks at cool new features, an extra lensrank boost for your lenses, an official badge (see above) on all your lenses and a bunch of other stuff that is probably interesting only to fellow lensmasters.

Monday was also when the August payouts were posted and I finally earned over $100 in a single month! On top of that, Squidoo HQ found an error in their payment calculations that caused lensmasters to be underpaid in prior months. They corrected that by issuing a one time adjustment to square everybody up. My share of that payment was nearly $80 which gave me a total of just over $200 for the month.

Granted, I should have been getting that $80 in bits over the last 2 years but I'm glad Squidoo owned up to the mistake and set things right. They're a good operation that works hard to do the right thing and I'm glad to be part of the community there.

I guess my next Squidoo goal will be 100 lenses. That's a ways off took me over 2 years to get 55.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

One Hundred Push Ups - Week 3 Update

I'm now into week 3 of my one hundred push up workout and seeing progress. The week 1 and week 2 workouts weren't easy but I could finish them. After completing week 2 I did the next max push ups test and cranked out 32. That's a 28% improvement over my initial test when I started the program.

The first week 3 work out was tougher...set one was 25 push ups which tired my arms enough that they gave out before I finished a couple of the later sets. I visited the workout website again and found that they had updated the workouts since I printed them out. Looks like they distributed the number of push ups across the sets more evenly so you don't burn out on the first set.

I did better with the "easier" week 3 work out, but my arms still hit muscle failure before completing the 3rd and 5th sets. So I'll keep repeating that workout until I finish it. Minor set back but the third time should do it.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

How Wendy's Tries To Rip You Off At The Drive Thru

Guard your wallet when ordering at the Wendy's drive thru. I went through the drive-thru at Wendy's for lunch today and placed my order for a #6 combo with Dr. Pepper. The cashier asked, "medium or large?" I don't eat at Wendy's very often so I assumed they must not offer a small size and replied, "medium". Then I took a quick look at the menu board and saw that they do have small and the medium size is an extra 59 cents!

After changing my order to the small size I pulled around and paid for my order. I could hear the cashier inside asking the next customer the same "medium or large" question. Drive-thru cashiers typically follow a script so I suspect this is Wendy's standard tactic to get people to spend more without realizing it.

Why do I say they're trying to rip us off? Because they asked if I wanted "medium or large"...that implies there are only two choices. They're not being honest about the choices. They could've asked if I wanted to upgrade to a larger size or simply asked if I wanted a small, medium or large combo. Instead they're trying to get customers to spend more by subtly removing the lower cost option from consideration.

To top it off, I got back to work and found that they didn't even give me any ketchup for my fries. It's doubtful I'll be eating at Wendy's again any time soon.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

One Hundred Push Ups Or Bust

Buy at Art.comOne hundred push ups. That's my new fitness goal. The other day my wife sent me a site with a training program to help you get to one hundred consecutive push ups in 6 weeks and I figured "why not?".

Like a lot of people, I've let myself get out of shape as I've gotten older. Even when playing sports in high school and college I don't remember ever doing one hundred push ups straight. 50 or 60 maybe, but not 100. So this will help me get working out again plus I'll be better at doing push ups than I was in my prime. Cool.

The program looks good, it's similar to a pyramid type work out and starts with an initial test of how many push ups you can do now. Then you follow one of 3 workout plans based on your initial number. The plan tells you how many push ups to do in each set and how much rest to take between sets. You do three work outs a week and each work out should only take 5-10 minutes total.

Last night was my initial test...25 push ups. Not too shabby. I'll do my first workout tomorrow. There's another push up test every two weeks to measure progress and adjust the plan as needed.

Will I be able to do one hundred push ups? We'll know in 6 weeks...hopefully less.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Finally Saw Pirates of the Caribbean III

We missed Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End when it was in the theater last year and finally got around to renting it Saturday. It was disappointing.

I've been a big fan of the original "Pirates of the Caribbean" ride at Disney World since I was a kid and loved The Curse of the Black Pearl. Dead Man's Chest was good but not as good as the first movie. This one had lots of action and was well produced like the first two but the story just got stupid.

It was a chore to watch in parts and I kept thinking "c'mon, c'mon get to some good stuff". Especially during the scenes in Davy Jones' locker and in the brig with the multiple Jack Sparrows. Those were boring and too artsy.

The first movie was a fun swashbuckler...At World's End wasn't. The plot was convoluted and it relied too much on the supernatural elements. Movies also get annoying when there's an unrealistic behavior like the pirate and East India Co. fleets doing nothing while the Black Pearl, Flying Dutchman and Endeavor fight it out at close range. The East India Co. fleet should have been protecting its flag ship at least.

On the plus side, I got to watch another film from my list of tall ship movies and did enjoy the ship battles. Those would've been even better on the big screen. And they left the door open for a fourth movie, hopefully that one will have a better story.

Drink up, me hearties. Yo ho!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Cramming For My Fantasy Football Drafts

Uh-oh, both of my fantasy football drafts are later this week and I've done zero prep work (unless you count 5 minutes watching the Redskins pre-season fiasco against Carolina). No cheat sheet, no draft strategy, no mock draft, nothing.

Time to start hitting the fantasy sites and cramming. Cramming is a bad thing for fantasy drafts...especially in a 14 team league where 210 players are drafted. There will always be last minute updates and adjustments to your rankings right up to draft day. But you have to be familiar with the players and their teams in order to make those tough middle round picks.

Can't do that all in a cram session. It needs to be started weeks in advance, even earlier for best results. That's something I didn't make time for this summer.

Fortunately both are online drafts this year. Might help if I'm able to do a quick search online before pulling the trigger on a pick. Yeah, I'll keep telling myself that.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Mole Revealed

My pick for the Mole (Mark) ended up winning the $420,000 prize. I was convinced he was the Mole. Mark played a good game and I'm glad to see he won the cash. He was surprisingly close to being executed many weeks while Paul, the guy who pegged Craig as the Mole earlier than anyone, got whacked at the final four.

This season was a big improvement over season #2 and those disasters known as Celebrity Mole. The game was better balanced and Jon did a credible job as the show's new host. We're looking forward to the next season.

Craig played a great game as Mole. He played up his weaknesses, got on everyone's good side and had them all rooting for him as a fellow player. Brilliant.

Now back to the Olympics...

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Fallen Sword Hits 2 Million Registered Players

The web based MMORPG Fallen Sword registered its 2 millionth player this week. I don't know how that compares to popular titles like World of Warcraft but considering that Fallen Sword is a free game, two million sounds like a cool milestone.

A friend introduced me to the game last year and it's one of the most impressive free games I've tried. Lots of features and no ads. Congrats to the FS team!

Survived The Great Urban Race

Didn't qualify for the national championships, but we had an awesome time running The Great Urban Race in DC last weekend! We finished in the top 100 out of 174 teams.

The race was fun and tougher than expected...there was only one mandatory clue on the list and none of the teams solved it. It was to take a picture at the address where XM Satellite Radio was established. We found out later that the correct answer was the NPR building.

We made a couple mistakes that cost us serious time. The biggest was not taking more time at the beginning to solve more clues and better map our route. Unlike The Amazing Race where teams get one task at a time, in the GUR you get a list of 12.

Several teams competed in costumes (there's a prize for best costume). Our favorite was the Yip-Yips. They were also the craziest for running around hot, humid DC in costumes made out of fleece blankets.

It was a great time and we got to see some cool parts of DC. We'll be back next year!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Mole - Final 4

Clay was executed on last night's show and now we're down to the final 4 players. 3 players and the Mole. Is Paul, Craig, Mark or Nicole the Mole?

It's Mark. Mark's the Mole. He was my top pick for the Mole after episode 1 and I'm sticking with him. In last night's episode, he was the only player who didn't obviously try to sabotage a mission...he even stopped Clay from using his wacky lawyer math to mess up the "Smart" team. Every other player was trying to make themselves look like the Mole.

Up until then Mark was usually the one stubbornly refusing to complete a mission or was playing the hyper-paranoid card. Now he's Mr. Mission a point in the game when every player is trying to get people thinking they're the Mole. Coincidence? I think not.

What about Nicole or Paul? Everyone's favorite obnoxious couple. Neither is the Mole. Although Nicole was making some odd faces when she survived the execution ceremony...she never intended to leave the game. That exchange between her and her mom about hiding dead bodies was funny...I laughed when her mom called Nicole "Omarosa". I like Nicole's mom.

What about Craig? He could be the Mole. He's played a good low key game so far and is my #2 pick as Mole.

I'm happy to say that this season has been good. Jon Kelley is getting better every week as host and isn't doing the cheesy announcer voice so much. The exemptions have been much better blended into the missions than they were in Season 2 and most of the tasks have been fun to watch.

Looking forward to the remaining episodes...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Mini Version of The Amazing Race

The Amazing Race is one of the best shows on TV. Similar to ABC's The Mole it takes players on an adventure around the world. My wife and I love the show and even applied once to get on...our video was horribly lame so no surprise that we didn't get selected.

Recently I discovered an event called The Great Urban Race. It's a race held in 19 US cities where two person teams compete against each other to complete a set of challenges throughout the city. It's a mini-Amazing Race that anyone can join. Brilliant!

Each team gets a list of 12 challenges to complete. The goal is to be the first team to complete 11 of the 12. Some tasks are mandatory and others are optional. Each challenge is different and could be a puzzle, physical task, scavenger hunt, etc. The rules are loose...basically you can bring anything you want (cell phone, laptop, GPS, etc) and can only walk/run or use public transportation.

The top finishing teams from each city qualify to compete for a $10,000 prize in the national championship race held in Las Vegas this November!

After securing a babysitter, we signed up for the Washington DC leg of the race on August 2! We're very excited about the race but have some preparation to do. Our knowledge of DC is mainly limited to getting around the Mall. We know the Metro system well but have no clue about the buses in DC. Odds are good we'll have to take at least one so we need to brush up on that.

I was tempted to forget the whole thing though after going through the online registration process and discovering there was a $4.19 per person "processing charge" that wasn't included in the already steep race registration fee. There was no warning about it before hand and the only way to register is online. That charge should have been included in the registration fee...not tacked on unexpectedly at the end. At least tell me about it earlier in the process. Bad form...very bad form.

Ok, I've got that off my I can focus on preparing for the race. It should be a lot of fun and I'll post about the experience here.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Fantasy NASCAR Mid-Season Update

Yesterday's Coke Zero 400 was the 18th race of the NASCAR season and the end of the season's first half. My fantasy NASCAR team finished the first half in the 85th percentile of all Yahoo! teams. Overall rank is 50,219 which means there are approximately 335,000 fantasy NASCAR teams playing in Yahoo! this year.

Within my league, I've been stuck in 6th place (out of 12) for weeks. Everyone ahead of me is in the 92nd percentile or better (1st place is in the 99th percentile). I'm only 51 points out of 4th place in the league. That gap could be made up in a single week. My team is doing well and the hope for a championship is still alive so I'm psyched about the 2nd half.

Yeah, I know, 85th percentile overall and 6th place in my league don't sound so great. Here's the kicker...I barely follow NASCAR at all. I've watched maybe 30 minutes of racing this season and I'm still leaving serious fans in the dust. This isn't the first time I've done team has finished in the top 3 of my league the last two seasons. And I play with some hardcore NASCAR fans.

How do I do it? Luck...and I pay attention to my team. Fantasy NASCAR could be the easiest fantasy sport to play. There are many variables that can change the outcome of a race. You never know when a wreck or car trouble is going to take out a driver. Skim through Yahoo's weekly previews, pay attention to your driver starts and you'll do fine.

Looking ahead to the 2nd half, I have some challenges. I used up my last start for Junior this week and only have 1 left for Kyle Busch who has been on fire this year. The times I started him were usually when he didn't win. I'll try to use that last start wisely. They're the top two drivers in the B class. Hopefully a lot of other fantasy teams have maxed out their starts for those guys.

In the C class, I have 2 starts left for Brian Vickers who is the top C racer. I've been spreading out the A class starts so I'm in good shape there. I need to make up a 312 point gap to win the league championship and 18 races to do it. That's just over 17 points a race, definitely doable.

Good luck in your 2nd half!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Fantasy Team Name And A Dream

With fantasy football season here, it's time to start thinking of good team and league names. The right team name could mark you as a fantasy pro in your league. The wrong name will make you the league laughing stock.

It seems my best ideas for a name happen while I'm driving, walking the dog, taking a shower or some other activity where I'm not near the computer or a pen and paper. Then I sit down to register my team and my memory fails me...along with all creative powers to think up a new one. That empty Team Name field just stares at me. C'mon, how tough can it be to think up a good name?

So I compiled a list of cool fantasy team name ideas that I use to help trigger the creative brain cells when needed. I found some good name generator sites and added those to the list for times when I need a name right now.

Remember that most fantasy sites allow you to change your team name whenever you want. I've seen teams change their name weekly. You'll want to keep your league names consistent to avoid confusion.

How do you think up your team names?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Fantasy Football Commissioner 101

Every fantasy football season brings a new crop of rookie commissioners. Many of them don't have a clue what they're supposed to do.

That was me 5 years ago. My very first season playing fantasy football I got talked into serving as the commissioner. Fortunately the season went well, but I had a few "crap, what am I supposed to do now?" moments.

I've learned a lot since then both by being a commissioner and by playing in leagues with different commissioners and observing what worked and didn't work for them.

Here are my top 3 keys for success as a commish:
  1. Plan early - Register your league, pick a draft date, set up the rules and get your invites out. The earlier you do this, the better. It will give you more time to deal with rule change requests and finding replacement players if needed. If you're doing an online draft, you'll have a better shot at getting a good time slot.
  2. Communicate with your league - Make sure they know how to sign up, when the draft is, what the rules are and when their entry fee is due.
  3. Be fair and consistent - As the commish, it's your responsibility to see that issues are resolved fairly and impartially. Not everyone will like your decisions but if they see that you're objective, they'll respect that and want to stay active in your league and play again next year.
Those 3 will give you the foundation to get the league running smoothly. Check out my full set of fantasy football commissioner tips to learn more.

Have a great season!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Blogging Bug

Wow, I only have a handful of posts here and I'm already starting a 2nd blog. The new one is called Lens Harbor and it will be focused on Squidoo related topics.

I still plan to post occasionally about Squidoo stuff here. The new blog is on SquidTop which is a blogging platform created for lensmaster blogs. It will mostly be quick posts about new lenses, tips and topics that other lensmasters might be interested in.

I'll add a Lens Harbor feed over on the side panel here. Please keep an eye on it and click through if you see something of interest.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Truelove

This weekend I finished reading The Truelove (aka Clarissa Oakes outside of the US). It's the 15th book in Patrick O'Brian's excellent Master and Commander series which I'm a huge fan of. There are 20 books in the series so I'm now 75% through...not counting the 21st book that O'Brian was working on when he died.

I like to read 2 or 3 Master and Commander books in a row to keep the story flow going then I'll read something else for a while. Otherwise I start talking like an early 19th century British naval officer and my wife looks at me funny...well funnier than usual. This time I read The Kite Runner and then The Mysterious Island during the break. The Mysterious Island takes place in the same part of the world as The Truelove (only about 50 years later) which got me in the mood to start the series again.

In this one, Aubrey's ship, the Surprise, is en route from Australia to South America when he receives new orders to stop a French attempt to take over the fictional island of Moahu. In addition, they are to recover the British whaler, Truelove, which was captured by the French. He also has to deal with an escaped woman convict (Clarissa Oakes) who one of the midshipmen smuggled on board while in Australia. Most of the book covers the events during the voyage to Moahu. Clarissa's presence on the ship creates tension among the officers which affects the entire crew's morale as they prepare for the upcoming battle.

The story telling was top notch as always. Not much combat action in this one but there were several sub-plots expertly woven in that defined this book and connected it to the overall series story line. O'Brian continued his style of abrupt endings that come too soon. I don't know why the publishers renamed the book for publication in the US. Clarissa Oakes is a more fitting title since so much of the plot revolves around her.

I suspect Jack is going to start having serious health issues soon. He's always been a heavy eater and his career is tough on the body. Maturin spent more time tending to him in this one. I'm sure he'll turn out fine though...he has 5 1/2 more books to star in. Up next: The Wine-Dark Sea.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Mole Episode1: Crowd Favorite Gets Executed

The new season of The Mole debuted last night with a twist. Marcie, voted at the start of the show to most likely be the Mole by the other players, was executed. She was my first choice to be the Mole when they were doing the introductions. Why? Because, as I told my wife, "stay at home moms are sneaky." According to ABC's Behind the Scenes blog, the show's crew thought she was the Mole, too! So I wasn't alone in my first impression...still wrong though.

Jon Kelley, the new host, looked more nervous at the start of the show than the players did and his delivery of the intro was cheesy. He was much better when he turned the announcer voice off and talked normally. It seems like he's able to develop good rapport with the players so I expect he'll get better as the season progresses and he gets more comfortable with the job.

The show itself was good...up until they announced the exemption. I'm not a fan of exemptions, they make the show distracting for viewers. I want to watch players complete the tasks and try to figure out who the Mole is...not scheme to win an exemption. The introduction of exemptions spoiled the 2nd season. This one was a surprise reward which makes it more acceptable since it doesn't waste as much show time. It sounds like players will know when it's up for grabs next week from the preview.

It's only the 1st episode but here are my top 3 picks for the Mole this week:
  1. Mark - He's a history teacher...he should have known during the Selkirk scavenger hunt that batteries and blue jeans weren't around in 1704. That sob story during his interview may be legit but the delivery was a scam. I believe he does need the money...the money he'll win as Mole.
  2. Liz - She seems very confident and she's got an inside joke. Her occupation is listed as "Retired". Retired what? Undercover cop or secret agent perhaps? She was also one of the appraisers...but she did get the bag over the falls...but she also knew it probably wouldn't have money in it. Keep an eye on this one, she's up to something.
  3. Paul & Bobby - Hey, it's the first episode and my #1 choice got executed so I'm calling a tie for the #3 spot. It won't happen again. Both of these guys were slackers in the scavenger hunt. Paul is over dramatic and is trying to get people to think he's the Mole...maybe too much. Bobby (aka Walking Skeleton...that dude is thin) was huffing and puffing from a collapsed lung while walking on the beach. Not sure if that's an act or not yet...from next week's preview it looks like he'll be doing more of it. He spends a lot of time hanging back and observing, letting others talk...good strategy for a player and the Mole.
Of course, the real Mole is probably someone who got little air time on this first episode. We'll learn more next week...

Friday, May 30, 2008

Give Your Old Jeans New Life...As Home Insulation

Few things are as comfortable as a favorite well worn pair of jeans. Unfortunately, even the best pair of jeans can become unwearable over time. My jeans tend to get rips and holes around the crotch for some reason, not an easy place to patch. I wear them as long as I can for doing household chores and yard work but the holes are way too big for that now. I'm too frugal to throw them out and have been trying to find a good use for them.

Then I came across an article in the local paper about an 8th grader organizing a denim drive sponsored by Cotton Inc. and the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. The jeans get recycled into a cotton fiber insulation that goes into homes Habitat for Humanity is building in the New Orleans area. What a cool idea! It's good for the environment and helps out a worthy cause. Bang! My search is over.

Yesterday I stopped by the local ReStore and dropped off several pairs of jeans. There was a big bin just inside the door that was filled with donated jeans. They even had a piece of the insulation there so you can see what your old jeans will turn into. It's about 4 inches thick, soft (it is cotton) and looks like really thick carpet padding.

It takes about 500 pairs of jeans to insulate one home. Here's a promotional video about the program. Contact the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in your area to learn if they are participating in the drive and where to drop off your old jeans.

I never heard of the ReStore's basically a thrift store for surplus and used building materials that gets donated by contractors and individuals. They had tons of, flooring, complete kitchen cabinet sets, appliances, doors, windows, plumbing name it. Most of it was in good condition (some brand new). The prices are low and the proceeds go to support Habitat for Humanity. It's worth the time to visit and check if they have something useful for your next home project.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Dutch Wonderland - A Fun Amusement Park For Families With Young Kids

We recently went to Dutch Wonderland for the first time and had a blast. If you've never heard of it, it's an amusement park in Lancaster, PA (Pennsylvania Dutch Country). It has a cheerful prince and princess theme complete with castle and a friendly dragon. Think DisneyWorld but much smaller with generic characters and a bit of Amish charm thrown in.

The park is perfect for kids under 10. Our little one was grinning from ear to ear the whole time...the kind of smile that lights up your world as a parent. I counted 34 rides...everything from a classic merry-go-round to a big wooden roller coaster. Kids under 36" tall can go on most of the rides and there were only 4 rides that kids had to be taller than 42" to go on. The rides are fun for adults, too, who can go on most although some are a snug fit. The smaller roller coaster had nice tight turns and good speed. The lines were short and we rode our favorite rides multiple times.

DW offers a preview deal that you should consider if you go. Buy a full day admission ticket in advance and you can go into the park after 3pm (or 3 hours before they close) for free the day before you use the ticket. We bought our tickets on Sat, went in to the park right at 3:00, rode a bunch of rides then came back Sun morning and spent the whole day there...all on the same ticket.

The park is clean with a friendly atmosphere. Maybe this was because we went early in the season, but the staff seemed really friendly and cheerful too. There are also live shows and carnival games. As I tried to tell my wife, you will get wet if you sit in the "splash zone" seats at the Frog Prince diving show. What else to tell you...oh yeah, the parking is free.

We stayed at the Old Mill Stream Campground which is right next door to DW. It took ~5 minutes to walk to the entrance of DW from our site so the location is great. Several restaurants and the outlet malls are also in walking distance. The campground has good facilities, friendly staff and is secluded enough that you don't feel close to the highway. Lots of big leafy trees and a stream running along the back of the property with farms and parkland on the other side. You can also buy discount tickets ($2 off) to DW at the campground office. Every evening an old Amish couple rode through the campground in their horse and buggy selling baked goods...cakes, pies, even farm fresh eggs. Delicious!

We'll definitely plan to go back to Dutch Wonderland if I can just get their theme song out of my head.

The Return of the Mole

Less than two weeks before the new season of The Mole starts! My wife and I are cautiously optimistic for the show. We loved the first season back in 2001. It had intrigue, exotic locations around the world and cool tasks to complete. It was the kind of show I'd like to go on.

In season 2 the show went down hill...the producers got exemption happy. Instead of players trying to complete tasks and identify who the Mole was, they were too busy competing for exemptions from the execution. The show lost focus and wasn't as fun to watch. ABC pulled it after only a few episodes.

Then the worst thing possible happened...Celebrity Mole. We saw maybe 5 nauseating minutes of it and never watched again. The show was dead to us.

Flash forward 4 or 5 years and a new non-celebrity season is about to start. The previews for this new season look good. It's got a new host...Anderson Cooper hosted the first two seasons but decided a serious journalism career was more important. Too bad, he had a great rapport with the contestants (to his credit, he didn't host the celebrity version) that added to the fun of the show. The new guy is a former sports reporter so maybe he'll do some cool stuff with the players, too. And maybe, hopefully, they'll go back to the original rules without all the exemptions.

We'll know on June 2. Stay tuned...

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Hello, world

Ladies and gentlemen, the award for "Most Original First Blog Post Title" goes to...not me.

Welcome to my first ever blog and blog post! Whenever I learned a new programming language, the first assignment was usually a "Hello World" program. This is my first blog so it seemed like an appropriate title. No doubt I'm the first person to think of it.

What is this blog about? Good question...guess I should figure that out. I've read that a good blog should be focused, preferably on one subject. That's good advice and I might like to build that kind of blog some day. First, I need to figure out which of my interests I'm able to write about well enough and in enough volume to justify its own blog.

So this blog will be about the "what nots" of life. What nots to me are the things that add flavor to every day life...little details, happenings or passing thoughts. It will cover a range of topics including entertainment, the internet, news, fantasy football, travel and what not. I'll do my best to keep it interesting and hopefully you'll find something of interest or benefit to you.

Who knows...eventually I may see a trend in postings to a specific subject and can spin off a good focused blog.