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. Correction...final 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 Success...at 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 chest...now 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 it...my 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!