Brain Spill: The Guatemala Jaguars

Okay, first and foremost, how the hell did the Chicago Bears get to be good? Is it just hype, or are these guys for real? I remember a few short weeks ago, it looked like the Bears were going to win the NFC North by default, since no other team wanted to win that division. Now all of a sudden, people are kissing their asses like they’re gods or something. I guess I don’t get it. And I don’t even dislike the Bears; I’m just surprised. Can’t wait for December when the playoff picture comes better into focus.

And our football theme continues into the world of Survivor. I named the column such this week because jaguars were mentioned this week, and the Jacksonville Jags are really good this year.

It’s so hard to enjoy Survivor at your Grandma’s house. There’s just so much going on, with cousins and noise and food and all. And I couldn’t even tape it as I usually do. So the one time I got to watch Survivor, I wasn’t even too analytical.

I realize I COULD watch the episode again online, but I challenge any computer geek out there to TRY to tell that to my computer.

A few things I noticed this week. It involves Cindy, Gary, and Lydia. With Cindy, I think I may have actually figured out what’s happening with her. And Lydia, poor Lydia, gets a bum deal. And Gary goes out in a blaze of glory. All of these I will discuss later.

But what was with all the playa hatin’ going on at Xhakum this week. I don’t know if everyone realized that someone from the core alliance is most likely to win, and they’re all pissed about it, but seriously! Six out of seven were Negative Nancies this week. And once again, considering she’s the only one out there who still remains positive and hot regardless, Danni is out of the loop. She just can’t win.

So here’s this weeks Nancies:

Gary: “Stephanie is only good for eating, and she needs to shut up”

Cindy: “I heard secondhand that you were talking to someone we don’t like, Lydia, so that means we don’t like you either.”

Rafe: see Cindy

Steph: “Don’t attack me personally, that’s not what this game is about!”

Judd: “We don’t like you anymore Lydia because you were talking to the enemy. And guess what, I’m telling all my friends, too.”

Lydia: “Steph, you eat too much, and thus it’s your fault I’m hungry.”

Everyone was right in their own regard. This season has been full of middle-schooler behavior, and this episode continued that streak. Lydia’s pissed that Steph has eaten a lot, and Steph’s pissed that Lydia’s pissed at her. Good thing Steph wasn’t on All Stars, where the theme was “if you had success the last time, I’m going to make sure you don’t succeed this time, even if it means hurting my game.” Imagine how hard she would have taken that.

Okay folks, quick column this week. But next week, I promise, I will do my very best to rock out. I have a special column planned for next week, which everyone will enjoy. And it will be a good, meaty, hearty column, chock full of goodness, to compensate for the slaking I’ve been doing lately.

So, time for the rundown. As always, this disclaimer is that the rankings reflect the contestant’s likelihood of winning, relative to everyone else’s. As far as quality of play, all but one person decreased their level of play. But if everyone slips a little bit, then there’s no harm no foul.

In memoriam:

18- Jim Lynch
17- Morgan McDevitt
16- Brianna Varela
15- Brooke Struck
14- Blake Towsley
13- Margaret Bobonich
12- Brian Corridan
11- Amy O’Hara
10- Brandon Bellinger.
*Loser’s Lounge Update* Scarface from Half Baked made a cameo for comic relief. Of course, pertinent to his character, he started calling everyone ‘B.’ This did not sit well at the lounge, as Brandon, Brianna, Brian, Blake and Brooke took offense to the overuse of their first initial. So Scarface’s time was cut short, as the Loungers decided to just vote him out. Of course, being out in the jungle messes with the old brain, so when they put him on the chopping block, they literally put him on the chopping block. So the name Scarface was relevant, after all.
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Jury Junction:

9- Bobby Jon Drinkard
8- Jamie Newton
*Update* These guys get along great now. They spend their days outdoors, hanging out, eating meals together, and then playing X-Box after dinner. They’re all smiles. But keeping with Survivor tradition, 30 minutes before Tribal Council, they have to put on their game faces. They practice who can get the better staredown with the active contestants. Both are great at it, but Jamie wins because not only is he serious, but his glare is perfect because it tells the contestants “I’m still pissed off at you.” And CBS also requires jurors to practice their eye rolls 20 minutes a day, so they can get plenty of those shots at Tribal.

7- Gary Hogeboom (7). Is anyone else surprised that the Thanksgiving episode of Survivor deals with a football player? In retrospect, I should have called this months ago. Sometimes what you’re looking front is in plain sight, and such is the case with Gary. On a side note, I also noticed during this episode that Gary reminded me of Survivor Africa’s Frank Garrison. Frank finished in seventh place too.

Anyway, about Gary. First off, I have to give Gary props. I docked him points early on in the season because I was convinced he should not have lied about his past. I thought it would eventually come back to bite him in the ass. Sure enough, it never did, so I commend him for that. This whole week for Gary he played as best as he could, and it simply was not enough. He knew that the only way to turn the tides was with Danni, Lydia, and Rafe. He has two of three on his side. Or he could have won immunity, and was seconds behind Rafe. Or he could have done the ballsiest move in the book, and try to convince people at Tribal Council to vote out someone a la the callout. I always love this last-ditch effort. It shows human desperation, and makes the audience all giddy. The nerve of someone to publicly announce how they feel about someone is just beyond words. It reminds me of my favorite Tribal Council ever, when Shii Ann was booted out of All Stars (well, maybe second favorite to the final TC of Vanuatu). It’s just so classic to go out in such a blaze of glory.

All in all, what else to say about Gary? Great player, great Survivor character, and great liar. It takes immense skill to call someone a liar in a public forum when you are an even bigger liar (his last name). And Gary pulled it all off. Note to remaining contestants: beware Gary at the Final TC, he’s got nothing to lose by being a tough vote to get.
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6- Lydia Morales (4). Don’t talk to the enemy, and it’s all good. Regardless of whether or not you were trying to be friendly, it’s not a good move. Especially if your teammates see you doing it. At first thought, I was puzzled because I thought Lydia was unfairly targeted. But now I see that it was totally fair. Talking to the enemy as Lydia did (one-on-one) shows people that you’re either trying to plan something with them, or you’re sucking up to them so you look good in case you make final two. And Lydia did not help her case by attacking Steph, the nucleus of the season. She could have gotten back in the alliance’s good graces by apologizing, but she did not, and that’s why she’s down here so low.

5- Danni Boatwright (5). Danni didn’t really do anything wrong, but she doesn’t improve because she lost her key ally and is the last one remaining on the Pagonging checklist. But, she has two plays which could save her. Lydia really pissed people off, and that could be enough to save Danni for this week. If she makes it further, then it could get interesting. If the alliance does decide to split, there’s no reason it would happen this coming week (why would Cindy and Rafe go from an alliance of four to a new alliance of four, pissing off both sides in doing so?). But, if the alliance is about to crack (and it may, given that they’re all too comfortable), it would be two on two, with Danni as the swing vote. And IF that happens, she’s suddenly in the final three, one immunity away from victory. If that’s not so Danni could be taken into the Final Two by the person who is immune, considering Steph likes Danni, or Danni could play the Nakum card on Judd or Cindy. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I hope Danni knows that she has to lay low this week, and then attack. My favorite can still do it.

4- Cindy Hall (6). Player of the week honors, here, folks. Cindy is the only one who did not decrease level of play this past week. Basically, I figured out what she’s been up to. Cindy is now an official part of the core alliance. She won the “who is the least objectionable” three chops challenge, and made a key move by selecting Rafe as her partner. It may end up with Steph and Judd together, so Cindy was smart to take Rafe, thus bringing the two closer. No complaints here (holy crap, that’s a first), and I want to see where Cindy goes from here.

3- Judd Sergeant (3). I was almost going to drop Judd one more spot, considering I think Cindy may be in a better position then him. I think that Steph and Judd are really close, and that may end up being their downfall. But if anyone is taking the heat for it, Judd would be first, followed by Steph. And add to it, Judd is now a known liar, and a bad one at that (courtesy of Gary). So why not drop him this week? It’s simple. Judd was pissed about the Jamie blindside, and he easily could have gotten the Lex Van Den Berghe Trigger Finger (TM), by going bonkers. But Judd was very smart to realize that Jamie leaving was not so bad, and go back to your alliance where things are happy.

2- Rafe Judkins (2). Rafe made friends with Cindy, such that he’s golden to both sides. A few weeks ago, when I had him at #1, it was because if there’s a coup, he’s the go-to guy. And I still hold to that. He’s currently in a good place, yet if things happen around him, it could get better. I was surprised at how he was so easy to cut ties with Lydia, considering I had those two pegged as allies for a while. The fact that he sold her upstream no problem does show that he’s a good player, but it may hurt him if it manifests itself in front of a jury. Also, he won immunity AGAIN, and may become a target because of it.

1- Stephenie LaGrossa (1). That leaves us with one person. I said I’d keep Steph here unless convinced otherwise, and I have yet to see any evidence of the contrary. She won bonus points in the game of life by sticking up for herself against Lydia. That may have hurt her in the long run in Survivor, however. With everyone else slipping a little, this little slip is not enough to drop her to #2, so she stays here. She’s at the center of the alliance, which is great, and she’s got Judd to block her in case of a coup. Judd will go before Steph does if the alliance cracks, so Steph’s not really in any danger for at least a couple weeks.

And that’s it folks. Hope you enjoyed it. I said today’s column was short, but it’s four pages, just like every week, so I guess I lied. And next week is a treat for the brain, so bring your creative side next Tuesday.

Oh, and while we’re on the topic of football, my Colts are 11-0.

Until next week, when we assess the murder scene and determine where Colonel Mustard and Miss Scarlett were when Mr. Boddy was murdered, and why there’s a lead pipe in the conservatory, stay cool.

~Dora