G3 Tech

Gaming, Gadgets & Gizmos (And Music, Movies & TV)

So You Think You Can Dance – Top 8

Posted by g3tech on August 10, 2007

This recap of the top 8 is coming a bit late since I haven’t been home to write the recaps but have no fear in the next four hours of my life (my own little SYTYCD marathon), I will be caught up with all the going-ons in the SYTYCD world and I’ll have the first of three recaps for today, right here. Yes, right in this post. Don’t believe me, read on.

Anyways, in my world, not yours, unless of course, like me, you haven’t watched for the last two weeks (which deserves a nice “shame on you” by the way), there are 8 dancers left.

Once again joining our panel tonight is Mr. Adam Shankman, who’s the director/choreographer of Hairspray which is one hell of a happy fantastic dancing/singing bonanza of fun. Go see it.

Each couple is performing two dances tonight. The dance world is getting exciting.

First couple up is Danny & Sara (unfortunately for Danny, his wish didn’t come true – he was hoping for Britney Spears as his partner, oh well). They’re gonna be dancing the argentine tango and hip hop (two polarly opposite dances). Alex Da Silva is their choreographer for the tango. The song is “Whatever Lola Wants (Gotan Project Remix)” by Sarah Vaughan & Gotan Project. Will they bring the sexy to the dance floor? Hmm… I definetly thought so and I think it was pretty hot (although, for some reason, I felt like there was a bit lacking but otherwise it was great). Adam thought it could’ve been a mismatch but it turned out to be un-beepin-real and he said that Sara is the most transformed dancer on the show and Danny is the best male dancer ever on the show. Mary loved it and Nigel would’ve liked a bit more from Sara and thought that Danny’s pirouettes were ridiculous.

After the break, Dominic & Lauren are going to be krumping (and later on they will be doing the rumba). Lil C is their krump choreographer. The song is “I Get Money” by 50 Cent. I definetly see a lot of attitude from both of them and it was a cool dance but I didn’t feel anything different towards them in terms of their dance skill. Adam thought they were hot and they were in character and that the dance didn’t really show them off as dancers but he still gives them two thumbs up. Mary felt that the first half had a lot of energy but the second half died down a little. Nigel felt that, with Krumping, it’s supposed to be tougher than hip hop, but he didn’t feel that. He also disliked the song and called it unrhythmical.

Next up is going to be Neil & Lacey with something called a “latin jazz” routine and, for their second dance, contemporary. Maria Torres is their choreographer. The song is “Acid” by Ray Barretto. And Neil is dancing without a shirt, the ladies are screaming no doubt. I thought it was pretty hot. Adam said that if Neil gets a lot of votes, this show is going to become “So You Think You Can Dance In The Nude?” (If I’m not mistaken all the guys, except maybe Dominic have all danced without a shirt at some point in the competition). Adam loved it and thought they were beautiful dancers and gives it two thumbs up. Mary thought the chemistry wasn’t there and thought some of the latin dancing lacked. Nigel loved the music, loved the choreography but not their performance. And he felt that they danced like dance school pupils.

And last up, is Pasha & Sabra doing some broadway and the quick step. Their broadway choreographer is none other than Tyce DiOrio. It’s going to be a wild party, will it really? Well it’s going to be a party because the song is “A Wild Wild Party” by The Wild Party (off broadway cast). But how will their performance be? I really enjoyed it. Adam thought that he was surprised and they got what he’d been talking about all along “character and overall performance”. And they got it. He also thought that Sabra was mindblowing. Mary thought that Pasha was also amazing. And she loved all of it. Nigel thought that they proved why they were here and he said that it was another great choreography by Tyce.

After the break, round 2 of the dances are heading our way, starting with….

Danny & Sara with some hip hop, choreographed by Shane Sparks to the song “Push It” by Salt-N-Pepa. At some points, I felt that they were completely out of sync and, for most of it, they weren’t together. It definetly wasn’t what I had expected. I think Sara brought it and Danny didn’t but it was hard to tell especially when they weren’t together. Adam thought that, first of all, they must’ve been punk’d by wardrobe, and that they were awesome and that they are the most versatile couple. Mary didn’t feel it, she thought it wasn’t hard-hitting enough. Nigel felt that they both went for it but they didn’t get there together.

Second couple of round 2 is Dominic & Lauren with a rumba, choreographed by Tony Meredith to the song “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers. Will they indeed raise the temperature? Let’s check it out. Wow! I really enjoyed it although I don’t know how their technique was, I thought that the dance was hot. Adam thought that they had a lot of chemistry but he felt that it didn’t look like a rumba. Mary felt that it was a little too stiff and she felt mixed. Nigel enjoyed the wardrobe and agreed with Mary and added that the choreographers change their choreography towards the dancers instead of having the dancers going up to the choreographers’ level.

Lacey & Neil are going to be performing a very emotional Mia Michaels’ contemporary routine. The story is a reunion in heaven between Mia and her father who she lost to lung cancer. Lacey represents Mia and Neil represents her dad. Both of the dancers feel like they must do it well for Mia. Will they? The song is “Time” by Billy Porter. That really did it for me! I truly, truly FELT that routine and it was absolutely beautiful. It also seems that Lacey is in all of my favorite of Mia’s routines. Adam thanked Mia for that routine and he loved what they did and said it’s going to go down as one of the great dance performances on television. Mary drew them a heart (and was crying) and Nigel tells us that Mia, who is Emmy nominated for her Heidi & Travis park bench routine from last season and he wonders how she could’ve choreographed a meeting between their late father and themselves and then just ask you to dance as if no one was watching. And he said they both did it and they danced with emotion and he was touched by it and it was one of the most beautiful things he has ever seen. MY FAVORITE ROUTINE OF THE NIGHT!!!!

Ending the night is Pasha & Sabra with the dance of death, the quickstep, choreographed by Tony Meredith. The song is “Mr. Pinstripe Suit” by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. I thought they absolutely brought it!! It was really awesome!! Adam thought that it was awesome. Mary said it was an incredibly difficult routine and they just tore it up. Nigel thought that they were the best couple of the night.

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Big Love – Episode 8 (“Kingdom Come”)

Posted by g3tech on August 10, 2007

Bill’s feeling overwhelmed with work and the Weber Gaming deal, so he asks his wives for a night off per week, and Nicki takes it personally. Barb’s not thrilled either, and decides to cut Bill off. Except Margene doesn’t get the memo, and then there’s all manner of jealousy and twisted group dynamics, with the upshot that while Margene and Nicki still get some action, neither Barb nor Bill are budging. Until Barb agrees to two nights off per month, spent with his children. The Henricksons’ old bishop betrays Ben’s confidence by showing up at Barb’s house and revealing that Ben’s been visiting him; as a result, Ben is forced to confess to his parents that he and Brynn have been doing the nasty. He tries getting out of trouble by asking Brynn to marry him, and she actually agrees. Until, that is, Barb sits her down for a heart-to-heart about the travails of a first wife, and she breaks up with him. Bill eases Ben’s broken heart by making him a priesthood holder. Frank has found Lois’s stash and cleaned her out, but he wants more. So Lois ends up betraying Bill, which results in Frank showing up at Home Plus asking for a cut and threatening to expose where Uncle Eddie’s piece of the earnest money really came from (and it’s not the Laundromat). Still, Bill continues to play both sides of the Greene/Grant conflict, but he blows it badly enough that he has to call in the ATF to save his own ass from the pissed-off Greenes. Hollis, Selma, and most of the rest of their cult flee across the state line. But two were left behind, which is more than enough to shoot Roman and leave him bleeding on the sidewalk. Dead or not dead? The preview for next week isn’t much help.

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Hell’s Kitchen – Episode 10 (“Finale, Part 1”)

Posted by g3tech on August 10, 2007

Gordon Ramsay’s Bleep-O-Fucking-Meter: 0 (is that possible?!?)
Best Guest Judge Quote of the Night: “You told me if I didn’t make a choice, you’d put a cleaver in my back.” — Robin Leach to Ramsay
Best Contestant Quote of the Night: “The whole thing is setting up so I lose to a fucking nanny.” — Rock

Awesome. You gotta love a finale episode where practically nothing happens. The first eight minutes are padded thicker than a Serta with what has already happened in the last nine episodes.

When the episode actually starts, Ramsay gives Bonnie and Rock the briefest of moments to hang with their families. Rock’s two adorable kids are even trotted out for hugs and kisses before both families are shooed off with nary a conjugal moment for Rock. The next morning, Bonnie and Rock meet with an architect to discuss their visions for their individual restaurant. They have opposite tastes, but it doesn’t really matter because, a) the place never really looks any different; and b) they always get thrown a contrived curve, like, “Your ceiling fell in,” or “We couldn’t get your wallpaper to stick”; and c) it’s never part of the final judgment. So please, people, let’s stop wasting precious time diddling over these unnecessary elements and devote it to watching Ramsay have the closest thing to a televised aneurysm outside of the surgery channel. There’s a direct correlation between how little Ramsay swears and how much the episode ends up sucking. Furthermore, I don’t watch FOX for decorating tips, I watch it to lower my IQ and to absorb highly useful insults.

After the architect, the two take fashion consults with Jean-Phillippe to determine the uniforms for their servers. Bonnie goes with classic all-over black, but Jean-Phillippe has to talk Rock out of putting his servers in jeans, which prompts Rock to comment that JP had a look on his face “like a French poodle.” When Mary Anne and Scott are brought in to help Bonnie and Rock set their menu, Bonnie hurls herself screaming at a totally resistant Mary Anne before going over her menu. Bonnie appears to know exactly what she wants, including having mini grilled cheese sandwiches and tiny cups of tomato soup and a pasta with a sauce that apparently has come to be known as “Bonnie sauce.” Yeah, so between Bourdain foaming and sneering about “Rocco’s Frozen Love Juice” and now “Bonnie sauce,” I may never want to eat pasta again. Thankfully, we don’t get such intimate menu details from Rock, who appears to be floundering as he tries to think out his menu.

Using the same private plane Jen and Julie were treated to, Ramsay whisks Bonnie and Rock off to Vegas. I could never be on one of these shows because I could never get that excited about going to Vegas. On the Champagne-fueled flight, Ramsay reminds them of their Hell’s Kitchen highs and lows, which means…MORE CLIPS! After Bonnie and Rock squeal over a suite they don’t actually get to sleep in and a plasma screen playing a promo featuring them, Ramsay drags them off to “have a little drink and relax.” I’m sorry, but Ramsay using the word “relax” should have been the first warning sign that there was no way in hell there would be any relaxing going on. Bonnie and Rock find themselves on an outdoor stage in front of a screaming crowd FOX dragged off the strip just for this event.

Ramsay announces that Bonnie and Rock have 30 minutes to whip up their signature dishes, which will then be judged by various Vegas chefs, Robin “I’m not dead, I’m just in Vegas” Leach, Season 1 Winner Michael, Season 2 Winner Heather, and the Executive Chef and General Manager of the Green Valley Ranch Resort. Luckily, Bonnie and Rock have Mary Anne and Scott to help them out in the kitchen. “Where did they come from? Did they stowaway on the jet?” the Evil Dr. Mathra wonders. Naw, they flew it. Rock prepares fried chicken with crab cake, and Bonnie makes her version of fettuccine Alfredo with Key West shrimp and lobster. Bonnie wins the taste-off, but I’m predicting they did that just to give her a feeling of accomplishment when she loses the war, because I’m sorry but Rock? His wife? Their kids? His career? There’s no way he can lose to a little blonde from Santa Monica who woke up one day and just decided to be a chef.

After the taste-off, Ramsay gives both Bonnie and Rock golden invitations to eat at his chef’s table at his new New York restaurant, Gordon Ramsay at The London, and then the two competitors are back in their Hell’s Kitchen dorm, eating a “last supper” together. Bonnie asks, “Who’s Jesus and who’s Judas?” Does that make Ramsay Pontius Pilate? Because someone’s certainly getting crucified.

The last moment of interest in this episode is when most of the ousted contestants arrive at the dorm the next morning. Most seem happy to be there, except for Julia, who can’t stop crying. It’s not a loud, sobbing sort of thing, though; it’s more like the kind when you just can’t stop the tears from spilling over no matter how hard you try to dry them up by opening your eyes really wide and tipping your head back to make them go back down. Poor Julia. I really hope she can get it together and take Ramsay up on his offer to send her to culinary school, because her career is the one I care to follow when this is all over. Down in the kitchen, Bonnie and Rock pick teams. Bonnie’s taste-off win gives her the first pick, and she goes with Jen, while Rock goes for Brad. In the end, it’s back to boys against girls with Julia and Josh being the last chosen.

Previews for next week promise that the second part of the finale will be way more interesting than this week’s flavorless crap on a plate.

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John From Cincinnati – Episode 9 (“His Visit: Day Eight”)

Posted by g3tech on August 10, 2007

The Big News: Shaun is totally missing. We should have listened to that nonsense-spewing weirdo when we had the chance.

So yeah, Cissy goes into Shaun’s bedroom one morning, and while his wetsuit and skateboard and juggling balls are there, he is most definitely not. As you can expect, Cissy freaks right the hell out. As you might not expect, everyone leaps into action — Butchie confronts Cass about John’s whereabouts and slugs Linc and winds up believing that wherever Shaun and John have gone off to, they’re going to return no worse for wear. Linc makes noises about hiring a private investigator and comforts Tina, who has concluded that, somehow, this is all her fault. Dickstein composes a response to Shaun’s abductors. Ramon cooks many, many hot dogs. Dr. Smith comforts a very unhinged Cunningham. Freddy prays to God, though honestly, it sounds more like a threat. Vietnam Joe enlists the help of his VFW buddies to comb the neighborhood looking for Shaun. Bill looks up his old friend Anderson from the police force, who proves surprising receptive to helping Bill out. Everyone deciphers the stick figure messages that start appearing in Avon catalogs and on the wall of the Snug Harbor bar.

The Unfortunate News: Zippy also disappears. Oh Zippy — would that it were any one of a number of characters other than you. Daphne. Dwayne. Mitch. Yes — Mitch. I would definitely be OK with Mitch’s disappearance.

The Really Unfortunate News: Mitch comes back from Mexico and he brings the guy who used to play Dr. Johnny Fever with him. Cissy is as delighted to see him as you would expect — i.e., not very — though Mitch does overcome his astounding self-absorption to aid in the Shaun recovery efforts.

The Unexpected News: I…uh…kinda liked this episode. I know, I know — I’m as unsettled by this as the rest of you.

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“Best of E3” Winners

Posted by g3tech on August 10, 2007

GENERAL AWARDS

Best of Show: Rock Band – MTV Games

Best Trailer: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare – Activision

Most Innovative: LittleBigPlanet – SCEA

Best Graphics: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare – Activision

One to Watch: Resident Evil 5 – Capcom

Best New Franchise: LittleBigPlanet- SCEA

Best Non-Game: Jam Sessions – Ubisoft

Best Music/Rhythm: Rock Band – MTV Games

Best Hardware: Xbox 360

GENRE AWARDS

Best Action/Adventure: Assassin’s Creed – Ubisoft

Best Puzzle/Parlor Game: Zak and Wik: The Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure – Capcom

Best Strategy: World in Conflict – Vivendi

Best Role-Playing: Eternal Sonata – Namco/Bandai

Best Sports: Madden NFL 08 – Electronic Arts

Best First-Person Shooter: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare – Activision

Best-Third Person: Fracture – LucasArts

Best Online: LittleBigPlanet – SCEA

Best Racing: Burnout Paradise – Electronic Arts

Best Fighting: Virtua Fighter 5 – Sega

PLATFORM AWARDS

Best Xbox 360: Rock Band – MTV Games

Best PlayStation 3: LittleBigPlanet – SCEA

Best Nintendo Wii: Super Mario Galaxy – Nintendo

Best Nintendo DS: The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass – Nintendo

Best Sony PSP: God of War: Chains of Olympus – SCEA

Best PC: Half Life 2: The Orange Box – Electronic Arts

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So You Think You Can Dance – Top 10 – Results

Posted by g3tech on July 26, 2007

The show immediately begins with their group performance to the song “The Moment I Said It” by Imogen Heap. Which was choreographed by Mia Michaels.

Cat reminds us that the guy and the girl with the least amount of votes will be leaving tonight, solely on your votes, the judges are no longer deciding who is going.

Apparently, last night, Mia offended the U.S. Marines with her jacket, nice.

The results are coming up after the break. Yay.

Before we get our results, Mika performs (wearing some blue pants) and, surprisingly enough, the drummer looks just like Sabra. Weird.

There’s going to be a bottom 4 (2 guys and 2 girls) who will then performs solos.

The girls start — Sabra, Jaimie, Lacey, Lauren and Sara.

Sabra’s safe. That’s awesome, I love her, she’s amazing.

Jaimie’s in the bottom 4 (bottom 2 girls). She’s a great dancer but she really hasn’t got a fan base (ESPECIALLY since Hok got eliminated)

Lacey is, to absolutely no surprise, safe.

There’s two girls left: Lauren and Sara, who will fill the last spot? We’ll find out after the break.

After 6.5 million votes, Sara’s safe. Lauren is in the bottom 4. Somewhat surprising because last night she did really good but before that I have to say I didn’t really see anything amazing in her.

The guys turn now — Neil, Danny, Dominic, Kameron and Pasha.

Neil, just like his partner, Sara, is safe. Not surprised.

Danny’s safe as well.

Dominic, to my surprise, was in the bottom. I know he lacked in technique (especially last night) but I know that he was a lot of people’s favorite guy (when he and Sabra were together, I thought a good chunk of the votes towards them was for him, but now I know they were for Sabra)

After the break we’ll find out if Kameron or Pasha is in the bottom.

Kameron is in the bottom, while Pasha is safe. I’m not really surprised especially after what they said last night about Kameron. But I think he was stronger when he was with Lacey (even though Lacey was stronger than him). And now, that there is only strong dancers left, we’re starting to see the flaws in his dancing. And since everyone just loves and enjoys Pasha, I’m not surprised he’s safe, I like him too. Now, since Kameron is in the bottom, Lacey is the only person never to be in the bottom.

The solos start:

Jaimie is first… it’s a nice little piece.

Dominic is next….. some great classic b-boy (song: “It’s Just Begun”)

Lauren’s up…. an interesting contemporary routine, although I’m not sure if her style is hip hop or contemporary… she should make up her mind (song:”I Can Only Imagine by Mercyme)

Kameron is last…. a good hip hop routine (“Oh Timbaland” by Timbaland”)

Who will be leaving: Jaimie or Lauren, and Dominic and Kameron.

The girls’ results are first: JAIMIE is leaving the competition to no surprise to me (because of the reason I explained before, about her fan base)

And the guys’ results: KAMERON is leavin’. I’m happy Dominic’s staying but I’ll miss him and his hair.

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So You Think You Can Dance – Top 10!!!!

Posted by g3tech on July 25, 2007

Welcome to the SYTYCD top 10 performance show!!! These 10 dancers will be the ones on the tour (no, Hok and Jessi won’t be there). And, this week, we have a new (contemporary) couple — Jaimie & Danny.

Tomorrow night (and until pretty much the end), the bottom guy and the bottom girl, according to America (no longer according to the judges), will be going home.

The guest judge this week is Mia Michaels.

Cat tells us that we will be voting individually and everyone will be performing the same solo, choreographed by, everyone’s favorite choreographer, Wade Robson. (They’re still doing a couple performance AND this solo).

Just a reminder: The couples have now been chosen randomly, so it’s probably gonna be interesting (This also means that Lacey & Kameron will probably not be together anymore, what’s gonna happen? We’ll see.)

Who’s couple #1 in our show tonight? It’s going to be Lauren and…… Pasha! They’re doing some hip hop (which is Lauren’s style), choreographed by Shane Sparks. (song: “Fuego” by Pitbull). It’s a really crazy robotic hip hop routine, it’s pretty awesome. 100% in sync and they both danced it amazingly. It’s completely out of Pasha’s style but I couldn’t tell, this REALLY tells me that he is VERY versatile which is exactly what this show is about, because hip hop is the polar opposite of latin dancing.Nigel said that he was the best russian hip hop dancer on the show and Mary said that it was a great beginning to the show and they had a great connection. Mia said that he pulled it off and Lauren is blowing up (in a good way).

The song for the solos is “Waiting on the World to Change” by John Mayer. It’s about world peace. And, as I mentioned before, choreographed by Wade.

First solo is performed by Jaimie.

Commercial break…..yawn…….

Second solo is performed by Dominic.

Next couple up is Sabra and…… Kameron! They’re doing a Wade Robson contemporary. They both have the awesomest hair in the competition. (song: “Amazing Grace” by Crystal Lewis). They were a very tiny bit out of sync but it really wasn’t easy to notice. I thought it was a beautiful routine. Nigel thought it was well danced but he didn’t believe Kameron. Mary said that they didn’t see the magic between them. Mia thought that Kameron’s damcomg was “immature”.

Third solo is performed by Sara.

Yet another commercial break…….

Fourth solo is performed by Pasha.

The couple that is up next is Lacey and……. Danny!!! Wow!! This’ll be an interesting dance!!! This is gonna be a samba and is choreographed by last year’s Dmitri. This is supposed to be incredibly hot and intimate. (song:”Hip Hop Chin Gin” by Club des Belugas). I thought that it was pretty hot, but i felt that there was a tiny something that was missing but it was very good. Nigel thought that what Danny lacked in technique he made up for in performance. Mary thought that Danny lacked in technique tonight and thought that Lacey was fabolous. Mia said it was the sexiest dance this season, Danny is the stallion of dance and Lacey was amazing.

Fifth solo is performed by Lauren.

Commercial……

Sixth solo is performed by Neil.

Seventh solo is performed by Sabra.

The commercial break begins….

And ends…. 

Eighth solo is performed by Kameron

The next couple shall be Jaimie and……. Dominic!!! They’re doing a Viennese Waltz, choreographed by Toni Redpath. This dance is supposed to have a bit of latin flavor. I enjoyed it and thought that it was good. Nigel was disappointed by Dominic (with his character and everything). Mary thought that it was waaaay over the top and there wasn’t good chemistry. Mia said that the technique really wasn’t there with Dominic and Jaimie keeps her mouth open too much.

COMMMMMMMMERCIALLLLLLL……….

Ninth solo is performed by Lacey.

Tenth (and final) solo is performed by Danny.

Guess what? Commercial. Nooo!

The final couple is Sara…. and who’s left? Neil. Their dance is none other than that fabolous disco stuff. The choreographer is Doriana Sanchez. (song: “Knock on Wood” by Rachel Stevens). There’s some really great moves in this routine, I love it. I really enjoyed that dance, it was awesome!! Nigel loved it and thought it was really entertaining. Mary thought it was really fun. Mia loved it as well.

This was certainly an interesting night — some couples soared and some didn’t do as well as expected. But now, it’s no longer about the couples, it’s about individual performances.

The judges now critique all the solos at one time, they begin:

Nigel felt that Jaimie has a single emotion (no dinamism). Mary felt her expression. Mia thought she danced it well but she doesn’t feel it.

Nigel thought that Dominic was a bit tight but he felt the emotion. Mary thought that some of the technique was lacking. Mia thought that it was believable.

Nigel said that Sara is small but she should make her dancing bigger. Mary said it grabbed her. Mia loved it.

Nigel thought that Pasha showed no emotion. Mary surprised her. Mia thought it was overdramatic.

Nigel said that Lauren was on the music and she was the first person to come forward with hope. Mary felt it all and thought she’s blosomming. Mia thought it was fabolous, beautiful, awesome…

Nigel felt that Neil didn’t show enough emotion and he lifts his shoulders up sometimes. Mary agreed with him. Mia agreed with them as well.

Nigel said that Sabra was small but she danced really large. Mary bowed to her. Mia decided that Sabra is her favorite.

Nigel felt let down earlier by Kameron but thought that he was terrific and gave emotion and danced really well. Mary connected with it and thought he did a great job. Mia thought he applied to what she said earlier to his solo.

Nigel said that Lacey is great at everything and it was tremendous. Mary thinks she can dance and she is a class act. Mia thought she was killin’ it but she still wanted a bit more.

Nigel thought that Danny was the first one to be smooth but he should be careful to stay on the music, but he wanted more emotion. Mary thought he gives more emotion each time, and danced effortless and she felt him. Mia’s goal is to get him to show his emotion and thinks he can be in the books if he breaks whatever is holding him down then he can go “beyond, beyond, beyond…”

Mika is performing tomorrow night. Stay tuned.

Peace.

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Post-E3: The (New and Improved) Console Comparison

Posted by g3tech on July 21, 2007

Now that the annual video games trade show E3 is over and done with, the state of the console market is a lot easier to predict. In short, the PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii are all hitting their stride and demonstrating outstanding lineups. No matter which machine you favor, you’re going to be torn between decisions. But for once, it’s easy for us to be optimistic about the future of all three major platforms. It’s looking to be an epic year indeed — even for the PS3.

Trimming $100 off the $599 price of the PlayStation 3 was starting to look like Sony’s first smart move this generation, but we really should have known better. After a flurry of mixed messages and rumors towards the end of E3 2007, details emerged that the price cut was more of a discount on end-of-line stock, and will run out within a few months. One step forward, one step back.

Sense isn’t something that’s been in ample supply with the PlayStation 3’s marketing campaign thus far. That’s a shame, because E3 saw the machine’s upcoming game selection really start to impress. Sony dished up exactly what we were hoping to see — a catalog of impressive, original, and tantalizing titles that, for the first time, really make the machine look like a good deal. LittleBigPlanet, Killzone 2 (for real this time), and Infamous all showed well, and the PS3 is also set to receive cross-platform sure-fire hits, Madden 08 and Grand Theft Auto IV.

Meanwhile, Microsoft’s games division could be forgiven for looking a little smug. Unusually, the company chose to focus its E3 presentation almost entirely on games coming out in the next six months rather than showing off flashy pre-rendered demos of games that could be years away. Given the lineup the 360 has to look forward to over the next six months, their confidence looks to be justified.

Chief among the holiday big hitters for the Xbox is, you guessed it, Halo 3. Can there really be any doubt that this huge first-person shooter is all set to post record-breaking sales, both for the game itself and for Xbox 360 hardware? It’s lining up to be another good year for the machine, and for Microsoft’s bottom line.

Backing Halo 3 is a strong selection of exclusives like the fantastic-looking Mass Effect. Of course, it’s sharing a number of big releases with the PS3, like Grand Theft Auto IV and Assassin’s Creed — and the 360’s decidedly slimmer price tag will make the machine look like a better buy for those looking to enter the next-gen market. Lest we forget, when the 60 GB bargains are gone, it’ll once again be possible to pick up an Xbox 360 and a Wii for less than the price of a PS3.

Assuming you can actually find a Wii, that is. If you’ve tried looking for one lately, you’ll know Nintendo’s budget-priced and innovative machine is still flying off the shelves. Reaching out to those traditionally untouched by video game marketing is undoubtedly paying off for the company. How many Wiis would have sold if Nintendo had been able to manufacture them fast enough to keep up with demand, we wonder? As Wii Fit demonstrates, this initial success is just the start, and if Nintendo can really deliver on the vast mainstream appeal of that title, you’re still not going to find Wiis on shelves any time soon.

Somewhat ironically, hardcore Nintendo fans are starting to wonder about the direction of the system. Recent Wii releases have tended to favor minigames and family-friendly hijinks in preference to the deep and multi-layered experiences that characterize the company’s classic franchises. That’s all about to change this year, though, with the return of three key Nintendo series: Super Mario Galaxy, Super Smash Brothers Brawl, and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. All are looking superb, and all will be out before 2008 rolls around.

But which console should you buy? If you positively must be playing right now, the choice is really between the Wii and Xbox 360. Nintendo’s kit is perfect for parties and family-friendly fun; the Xbox has its share of these types of games, too, but its specialty is satisfying gamers craving the high-end and hardcore. But if you’re more of a forward-thinking type, now is undoubtedly a good time to snag a bargain PS3 and wait for those awesome exclusives to start rolling in. Whichever you choose, you won’t lose out.

————————

Sony PlayStation 3

Released: Nov 2006

Price: $499

Hardware:
* Blu-Ray optical drive
* 60 GB hard drive
* Memory card reader
* Wireless network support
* Tilt-sensitive wireless controllers

Get it?
* Best high-def support
* Tantalizing exclusives

Forget it?
* Most expensive
* Current software library still limited

Top 2007 PS3 Exclusives:
* Heavenly Sword
* Ratchet and Clank Future
* Haze
* Lair

In a sentence: We’re withholding judgment on the price cut until its long term status is clear, but the PS3 is looking more and more desirable by the day.

—————–

Microsoft Xbox 360

Released: Nov 2005

Price: $299 (Core), $399 (Pro), $479 (Elite)

Hardware:
* Varies with package.
* Optional 20 GB, 120 GB hard drives
* Optional HD-DVD drive for high-def movies
* Optional wireless controllers
* Optional wi-fi networking

Get it?
* Superb online functions
* Broadest software selection
* Strong hardware capabilities

Forget it?
* Lacks genuinely original software titles

Top 2007 X360 Exclusives:
* Halo 3
* Project Gotham 4
* Mass Effect
* Eternal Sonata

In a sentence: The Xbox 360 is really showing its maturity this year, bringing a nigh-unbeatable lineup of promising games to holiday shoppers.

———————

Nintendo Wii

Released: Nov 2006

Price: $249

Hardware:
* Motion sensitive controllers
* Wi-fi networking
* SD card reader for photos and saves
* Gamecube controller ports

Get it?
* Original software library
* Classic Nintendo franchises, past and present
* Unique control method irresistible to non-gamers
* Strong multiplayer and family library

Forget it?
* Inferior graphics and sound
* Misses out on most big cross-platform releases
* Full-featured online games still a pipedream

Top 2007 Wii Exclusives:
* Super Smash Bros. Brawl
* Metroid Prime 3
* Super Mario Galaxy
* Nights: Journey of Dreams

In a sentence: The only place to get that unique Nintendo experience, the Wii is poised to captivate even more households this year.

Posted in Computers, E3, Games, Gaming, Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony, Technology | Leave a Comment »

Big Brother – Episode 7 (“Jiltin’ Joe”)

Posted by g3tech on July 21, 2007

Eviction Night! And the feeling’s right! Et cetera! Julie — in a simple black sheath, nicely complemented by a chunky necklace and Christian Louboutin heels — catches us up, and then we’re back to a blue-and-white flashback of Daniele undoing her nomination and Jen replacing her with Joe. Jen DRs that Joe is manipulative and so forth, and that there are a lot of reasons for him to get voted out. As the soundtrack slide-guitars us into colour footage, Daniele hugs Joe, and then DRs that she’s happy to be off the block herself (doy), doesn’t want Dick to go, and feels it “sucks” that she has to vote out someone else — the usual. We get a shot of a smug-looking Dustin at the Veto Ceremony (in which, as always, the Veto Medallion is shown not to fit in the Veto Humidor — again, the usual), and then Dustin DRs that when he saw that there was a chance Joe might go home, a wave of ecstasy came over him. Dick DRs that he’s confident about his chances against Joe, since Dick has done a better job than Joe at forging relationships with his fellow houseguests.

And Joe? Well, Joe knows he’s screwed. In the bathroom, Joe teeth-grittingly fake-fake-complains about his nomination to Daniele, who fake-apologizes. He tells her not to sweat it, since she had to take herself out of the running. Joe then DRs that he’s not “a sad little raincloud” who’s going to bring everyone down, and that he won’t freak out, like the women nominated last week did.

Cue the montage of Joe campaigning to stay in the house! He tells Kail that he wants to stay in the house. He tells Mike (and Mike’s pepperoni-esque nipples) that he wants to stay in the house. He tells Jessica that he wants to stay in the house, to which she DRs that Joe would probably sell her out to stay in the game (again: doy), so she’ll probably be voting for Dick to stay. Joe and Jessica snuggle down for the night — Joe is the big spoon, probably because Jessica wouldn’t get a very good night’s sleep getting jabbed in the chest with the knife in Joe’s back.

America’s Player. Eric is very happy to get to vote out Joe.

Kail and Dick chat on the hammock, where Dick states that Kail’s put a target on her back by making an alliance with Mike. Kail DRs that her concern with Dick is that he’s going to go after someone in her alliance. Back on the hammock, she tells Dick that she’s currently planning to vote for him to stay, but will let him know if that changes. Dick, in the DR, isn’t concerned, and knows “for a fact” that he already has six or seven votes in his back pocket, presumably all attached to a wallet chain.

Kail apparently goes straight from her conversation with Dick to…the HoH room? (Sorry, this is the first episode this season that I’ve seen, and if that is the HoH, it’s weirdly Spartan.) Anyway, she tells Mike, who’s chilling on the bed, that they need to oust Dick, and further DRs that she needs to line up five votes for Dick so that Jen can break the tie. Kail hisses to Mike that they might be able to convince Daniele that she’d have a better time in the game if her dad were gone and she wasn’t suffering from that tension; Mike agrees that it might work.

Kail then gets a quiet moment with Daniele (and Jameka, who of course says nothing) in the living room, and starts yammering about how great she thinks Daniele is — “How much you’ve overcame [sic]” — and how the one thing Dick did right as a father was to leave Daniele with his parents. In the DR, Daniele comments that Kail is one of the most paranoid people in the house right now: “I know what she’s doing. She’s campaigning against my dad.” You think? I was about to make fun of how bad Kail is at being sly…but she almost was, if Daniele thinks she’s cracked the Enigma code by seeing through it.

Later, everyone’s outside when Daniele comes out to tell Dick that Kail’s been turning the house against him. She keeps muttering at him not to say anything until the next day, so that it’s not obvious that she tipped him off, but…like, maybe she could have picked a time to say something to him when Kail wasn’t right there. Anyway, Dick says he’s going to call Kail out.

Later, in the kitchen, Kail urges Mike and Nick to vote out Dick, and seriously, she’s acting like it’s a matter of national security. Nick DRs that he doesn’t have a problem with either of the week’s nominees, and doesn’t really want to vote out either of them.

The next day (let’s say), Jameka, Jessica, Dustin, Eric, Mike, and Kail are sitting around the kitchen eating breakfast when Dick decides to make his big move on Kail. He kicks off by asking how the rest of the houseguests reacted when she started campaigning against him, and that he heard it wasn’t well-received. Just as this conversation is getting underway, of course, Daniele crosses through the kitchen to go lie out, not looking at anyone and with a giant thought bubble over her head that reads “JUST ACT NATURAL.” Anyway, Kail’s initial strategy is to say that she told Dick on the hammock that she would tell him if she changed her mind about her vote, but he’s all “we had an agreement about it,” so she gives up on that and instead starts tidying up, chirpily agreeing with everything he says and trying not to engage with him. Dick’s all “Tell them the truth” this, and “you can’t be trusted” that, and Kail pastes on her smile as she works way too hard at seeming unconcerned. And everyone else in the room, by the way, just sits there, not even looking at each other, possibly because they’re afraid they’re going to start laughing about how ridiculous this is. Anyway, Dick finally vents his spleen and takes off, and Kail is like, “WE HAVE FIVE VOTES RIGHT HERE!!!!!1!” Jameka says that she’s still on the fence, and Jessica DRs that she’s torn too, because Dick is annoying to live with. And look at.

Julie throws to some DR comments on the nominees. Kail doesn’t like the way Dick will pick one negative quality you may have and put it on shout to the house. Dustin can’t trust Joe to get him a glass of water without poisoning it. Nick and his sideswept bangs have a good rapport with Dick. Jessica objects to the way Dick burps and farts all the time. I really don’t think someone with a voice like that is qualified to comment on anyone else’s annoying habits. Nick has had lots of fun in the house with Joe, and doesn’t want to lose that. Jessica doesn’t trust Joe. Daniele and her bony arms feel it’s been awkward in the house with Dick, but she knows he’ll always have her back. Kail’s gut tells her that Dick has to go. Shut up, Kail. Shut up, Kail’s gut. I mean, not that I want Dick in the house any more than she does, but the more she beats the drum against him, the more I hate her.

Time for Julie to talk to the houseguests! Oh, this is always death. Julie tries to get Daniele to say she was conflicted about using the Veto on herself, but Daniele won’t bite, sing-songing, “It worked out for me!” Julie calls Amber out for all her crying this week, and Amber breaks bitchface long enough to laugh that she’s sensitive. Lame humour attempt involving Mike and Nick and their imaginary wives. Julie tries to get Nick to say that the name of his “wife” is Daniele, but that doesn’t work either, of course. Julie then “compliments” Jen on the many ways she’s found to wear her unitard, but I’m not going to give it any more attention than it’s already had.

Spotlight on Dustin and Joe! Remember how Dustin accused Joe of sleeping with Dustin’s best friend Nate, to get back at Dustin? Well, they beat the bushes and rustled up “The Man In The Middle,” whose head looks like a taxi with its doors open. Nate basically says that he’s a slut, and felt horrible for sleeping with Joe. He says that Joe has done a “grab bag” of awful things to Dustin, and as for the gonorrhea accusation? “Joe could have gotten gonorrhea anywhere,” Nate intones. Tractor seat? Nate says that Joe’s attempts to undermine Dustin in the house obviously aren’t working.

On the hammock, at some point since his nomination, Joe tells Dustin that he has a good chance of staying in the house, but that he will need Dustin’s vote. Dustin is impassive as Joe tells him, “This is the day I’ve chosen to be honest.” Oh, THIS is the day. I hope Dustin marks his calendar! Joe knows that it would mean Dustin’s putting himself “out there” to vote for Joe to stay. Dustin clears his throat and steps to the center of the proscenium arch as he declares that the way Joe’s played Big Brother reflects the way he’s “played the game of life.” For hours and hours, and with very little satisfaction or fun along the way? Dustin goes on to remind Joe that he’s slandered Dustin’s name, and has done nothing to indicate that he’s worth Dustin’s vote. “Your manipulation brought you to this point. I will not be voting to keep you in this house.” And, scene. Except then Joe tries to turn it around, saying that Dustin already had his mind made up when he sat down in the hammock, and then “manipulated” Joe into pouring his heart out to beg Dustin for his vote: “Everything that you hated about me, you now embody. Congratulations.” What? Dustin smiles faintly as Joe rolls out of the hammock, just glad to have had the last word.

More DR comments. Mike would take Dick out of the house because he causes “outbursts” that are uncomfortable for the other UN delegates who make up the roster of houseguests. Amber is “more closer [sic]” to Dick, who helped her out a lot last week. Joe is more of a threat to Zach than Dick is. Personality-wise, Jameka would miss Joe more than Dick. Zach, kind of awesomely, says that Dick has said he’s not even playing the game, but Zach has caught him playing the game “all over the place.” …No comment. Jameka still doesn’t know whom she’s going to vote for. Mike says that the only reason to keep Joe in the house is that then Dick would be gone. Can’t put anything past this guy!

Oh God, now it’s time for Julie to talk to Jen. How does Jen really feel about Dick? Jen actually thinks they’re a lot alike, except that Dick has a more explosive personality, so her strategy for coping with that is to be sweet and friendly back to him. What’s the deal with Jen and her photo on the memory wall? It’s a horrible photo! Did Jen nominate Daniele because she was jealous of all the attention Nick was paying her? Jen says no. I don’t quite believe her.

Live voting! Soon! First, Joe and Dick are dancing for their lives. Joe says that it’s been wonderful getting to know all his fellow houseguests. Now is the time for them to “take action” and prove that they’re as good as their word. It’s a very important vote, because they’ll be losing one of two great guys, and Joe hopes everyone does what they said they were going to. Dick and his weirdly high-waisted jeans also say it’s been great getting to know everyone; he hopes to get to know them better. He throws in a half-assed non-joke about how introverted he’s been so far (which earns a polite chuckle), and he hopes everyone can get to know him better. Kind of a weird note to end on, if the voters are like, “Nah, I’m good.”

Dustin is first to vote. Surprise, he votes to evict Joe. I don’t know whom he’s trying to impress with the super-deep v-neck, but he needs to throw that top away or get a camisole.

Will Daniele’s vote be emotional (because she kind of hates Dick) or strategic (because he’s her strongest ally)? If those are the choices, she’s going to be strategic, voting against Joe.

Eric goes through the motions of voting. Julie asks what he thinks of the weather, and he replies that it’s beautiful: “And remember, Julie, you can’t spell ‘America’ without ‘Eric.'” That poor chump sat on that line all week. You know he was practising it in the bathroom to make sure he didn’t need a retake on live television.

Amber’s had a special bond with Dick, apparently, and votes to evict Joe.

After the commercials, more voting! Kail risked reprisal with her anti-Dick campaign; unsurprisingly, she votes to evict him.

Jameka’s been on the fence, remember? She tipped over on the boot Joe side.

Mike’s been Kail’s strongest ally…until now, as he votes to evict Joe.

Joe’s had six votes, but in case you were wondering, Nick also wants to evict Joe. Jessica also wants Joe out even though they’ve been bedmates. And Zach has been vocal in his anti-Joe sentiment, but his two strongest allies– “I vote to evict Joe.” Ha! Zach totally announces his vote while Julie’s still talking, so she has to make him say it again. Finally, a fuckup that isn’t 90% Chen.

Julie announces that, by a vote of 9-1, Joe’s evicted. He smiles like he was expecting it. Everyone lines up for hugs. Joe wishes everyone luck. Kail? Shitting a brick.

As Joe and Julie settle in, more hugs are exchanged back in the house. Kail does her best not to wet her pants.

Chenderdome. How does it feel for BB-obsessed Joe to have been outplayed by Dustin? It sucks. As soon as he saw Dustin in the house, his game was blown. Joe likes to stir things up — was it smart for him to try to kiss Jen? Not really, but Jen and “everyone connected to Jen” (9-1 vote, dude) wanted him to stay, so it didn’t make that big a difference. Joe was just more open in stirring the pot than other players were. Hey, what about that thing where Joe was sleeping and thought someone latched onto his leg? Eric reveals himself as “America’s Player,” and we see green-and-white footage of Eric getting into bed with him. Joe is delighted about the big twist, and honoured to have been chosen by America to be snuggled by Eric.

Final thoughts. Dick won’t miss him. Zach won’t either. Kail says, “I campaigned very strongly for you” (…it was more against Dick than for Joe, but whatever), and martyrously adds that her alleged pro-Joe campaign probably means she “dug [her]self a hole” in the house. Yeah, probably. Jessica pretends she’s in the house missing him. Nick thinks Joe is the most charismatic person he’s ever known. “Hi, Joe, it’s Jen.” He…can see you. She hopes he’s not there seeing her goodbye message. Dustin doesn’t think that Joe is the same person he was when they met, but (as Joe smiles tightly) he hopes that Joe will take care of himself. As the Joe/Dustin splitscreen fades out, Julie tries to look grave, but Joe lets out one bitter cackle. Julie asks why he’s laughing, and Joe shrugs, “Because of that face he made.” I didn’t really see any face (and I backed up the recording to check, I swear). Julie promises that she’ll ask him about that on The Early Show. Oh, well NOW I’ll be watching.

After the commercials, it’s the HoH competition — this time, with a lame “school” theme. The houseguests are all at little elementary-school desks, each with a T/F cube. Answer wrong, you’re out; if everyone answers right or wrong, on to the next question. WOW, Amber is bitchfaced. Dustin’s out in the first round with a question about what Carol said when she got evicted. Jameka, Eric, Zach, and Jessica are eliminated with a math question about the butter competition. The third question is about the animal topiaries in the back yard at the house — are they based on Michelangelo’s “Garden Of Eden” sculptures? Uh, no, KAIL — and Julie rubs it in by adding that there are no Garden Of Eden sculptures by Michelangelo. Like Julie knew that. Amber and Nick are eliminated on a question about some stupid thing Jen said about guess what her unitard. Daniele, Dick, and Mike are left to answer the last question, about the pie competition. Daniele guesses wrong, and starts to mouth “fuck” before she catches herself, but it doesn’t matter, because Dick and Mike also got it wrong. There’s another question about guess what Jen’s unitard, and they all get it right, so it’s on to a tiebreaker about guess what Jen’s FUCKING unitard! What is UP with the UNITARD?! Even Jen, on the sidelines, can’t believe it’s such a topic of conversation. Was it stitched by hand by Les Moonves or something? Damn. Anyway, Dick guesses that Jen’s had the unitard for 120 hours, and since she’s actually had it for 125 (Daniele is over; Mike is under), Dick is the new HoH. Kail? Not that great at fake-smiling.

After commercials, we’re told we get to tell Eric which houseguest he should try to get nominated, and then we’re eavesdropping on the houseguests, not that anything interesting happens. I mean, we see Daniele hugging Kail, who apparently started crying during the break, but…even if we hadn’t seen it, we probably could have guessed.

Posted in Big Brother, Technology, TV | Leave a Comment »

Big Brother – Episode 6 (“Fear The Uni-Tard”)

Posted by g3tech on July 21, 2007

Okay, here’s the weird thing: Jen is totally self-involved, not very bright, and nobody likes her. And while that’s probably going to add up to her ouster very soon, it actually makes her a really strong and scary HoH. It’s all sorts of strange.

So previously, Jen was wildly jealous of Daniele being on the receiving end of Nick’s puppy-dog eyes and didn’t end up hiding it well, or at all. Kail tried to protect her alliance of straight dudes by encouraging Jen to nominate any homosexual who wasn’t nailed down. Dick was very upfront with Jen about how much he hated her, and was rewarded with a nomination for eviction for him and Daniele.

Blue-tinted flashback footage reminds us that Jen’s reasons for nominating D&D were so incredibly self-obsessed, I almost blocked them out of my mind. Way to bring the house down with your awkwardness over your two-year estrangement, assholes! Both Dick and Daniele take their nomination with the kind of tight-lipped “I’m fine” repetition that lets you know they’re really not fine at all. The not-finest of all, however, is Amber, who is full-on weeping in the diary room because she likes D&D so much. To Amber’s credit, however, she at least realizes she’s being ridiculous. Joe and Daniele separately shoot down Jen’s stupid “negative energy” rationale in their DR sessions. Daniele says the simple reason is that Jen is jealous that Daniele’s getting all of Nick’s attention. It’d sound ridiculous and conceited if it weren’t 100% true.

Speaking of the house fake couple, we’re treated to another bedside whisper session between Nick and Daniele. This looks suspiciously like the same conversation from which Nick’s “key to my heart” offer was culled on Sunday’s show. Here, Nick spills the beans about his alliance with Zach, Mike, and Kail. He wants Daniele to know she’s his primary alliance. Daniele, for her part, reveals her “shocking” “secret” that she’s a year younger than she told people. Miraculously, Nick’s eyeballs don’t melt right out of his head from that reveal. Then he starts to tell her he’s developing “feelings” for her after a week and a half, and it’s complete with the “I never expected to feel this way” clichés, and I desperately hope there’s at least some strategy to this, because otherwise Nick’s stepping right in it. Case in point: Zach and Mike’s hammock conversation, where instead of discussing how Zach looks like he could be Mike’s inbred country cousin, they’re bitching about Nick’s closeness with Daniele and how they hope he’s not being played by Daniele’s manipulative vagina. Women being the downfall of men and all. Zach ominously intones that Nick better be prepared to vote Daniele out. I wonder how widespread Zach’s influence in the house is. He certainly seems to think he’s running things.

America’s Player shenanigans. Eric was instructed to sleepwalk into someone’s bed. Really. America, being both mischievous, mean, and a smidge homophobic, has chosen Eric to try to snuggle up to Joe. So pretty clearly, Eric’s not sure how he’s going to be able to accomplish this task without looking like he’s a creepy night molester. Suffice it to say: he ends up looking like a creepy night molester. Through some combination of a) Eric’s unwillingness to snuggle up against a dude, b) that dude is Joe and thus repellant, c) there’s really no way to climb into someone’s bed and maintain the illusion of “sleepwalking,” and d) this whole enterprise is stupid, Eric ends up failing the mission. Which leads to awkward shower stall conversation the next morning (doesn’t it always?) where Joe asks Eric if he’s in the habit of sleepwalking and snuggling up at the end of people’s beds like a nipple-ringed kitten. Nice waste of an America’s Player mission, Big Brother.

Time to pick the players for the veto competition. Jen, Daniele, and Dick are already competing. Jen gets a “houseguest’s choice” and immediately chooses Mike, in case you didn’t realize that Jen is totally in that alliance’s pocket this week. Or is she?? Daniele pulls Joe’s name, and Dick pulls Amber. Which is going to be a problem. Much in the way that choosing breakfast cereals is likely a problem for Amber. She’s crying in the pantry with Dustin — and also in her DR session — because of all the pressure that’s now upon her. More pressure’s on the way as Jen barges into the pantry and very frankly tells Amber that if she wins the veto and uses it, or even works to prevent Jen or Mike from winning the veto, then Jen will put up Amber or Dustin for eviction. It’s the kind of balls-out, tactless gameplay that you can get away with when absolutely no one likes you, and it’s kind of fascinating to watch. Usually that kind of threat would be made in the most oblique and passive-aggressive way, and as hateful as she’s being, I have to respect Jen at least a little bit. Anyway, so this isn’t helping Amber’s fragile emotional situation in the slightest, and she falls apart on Dustin’s shoulder. Meanwhile, Jen is making the exact same threat to Joe in the room with the circular beds, though Joe has a better way of dealing with it: he tells Jen he has no allies in the house besides himself, so why wouldn’t he use the veto if he won it?

Amber goes to Nick, Daniele, and Jameka and tells them what Jen just told her, and Daniele gets pissed. She storms into the kitchen and yells at Jen for making Amber cry, essentially. From here on out it’s all a mishmash of passive-aggression and obnoxiousness, but here’s the gist: Jen’s a total bitch about everything; Daniele tells her to shut her smug face; Dick continues to rag in Jen in every way conceivable, even throwing a “fun nanny” jab in there (seriously, she cares for other people’s children — how scary!); Jen keeps saying “I love it!” like a bratty teenager would; Mike defends Jen, saying she was only being “directive” (mouth closed and back to the weights, sweetie); Joe tells Mike nobody was talking to him so he should butt out; Joe calls out Jen’s hypocrisy in making her nominations about “negative energy” and then swooping around the house like a mist of threats and nastiness; Zach makes an offhand comment about Amber being emotional, which acts like the Bat Signal because all of a sudden Jameka swoops in from two miles offscreen to defend Amber as being “empathetic” rather than “emotional.” And while I totally respect her standing up for her girl: overruled, Jameka. Zach then snottily tells Jameka that this is the first she’s ever spoken to him, which is true, but can you blame Jameka? Watching this show is all about making snap judgments about people based on very thin evidence, and my snap judgments are that I love Jameka and hate Zach, so: shut your cro-mag face, Zach. Joe chides Zach for being unpleasant (ha!). Jen goes to the pantry to apologize to Amber, but Dick follows her in there and rides her some more for being a bitch. I believe the phrase “nobody likes you, so why don’t you just leave?” gets used. Its childishness doesn’t really diminish its truthfulness.

Veto competition. The backyard is filled with fake snow for the annual Christmas In July-themed competition. Essentially, the game is a combination of curling and Yankee Swap (Yaaaaaaankee Swap!). You guys, I’m totally jealous. I have always wanted to give curling a try. Anyway, the players shoot a stone down the ice and the person furthest away from the target is eliminated and has to choose a present from under the fake Christmas tree. There are six presents, one of which is the veto. The next person eliminated then gets to either choose a new present or steal an already opened present. The upshot is that the last person standing via the curling competition will get to choose the veto unless they don’t want it. So here’s what we learn from this competition: both Dick and Daniele are very good at the curling part of the game. Joe is eliminated first and he opens a Slop Pass. Jen’s out next and she opens a red spandex unitard that she will have to wear all week. You will not be surprised to note that Jen is ecstatic about this development because, as Joe helpfully reminds us, Jen loves anything that makes people pay attention to Jen. Mike’s eliminated and gets a lame-o “Big Brother Date.” Mike totally makes a face, which I choose to interpret as dismay that there aren’t any girls worth taking on dates in this house. Either that, or Magnus wants to ask Kragnus but he’s afraid society will disapprove. Dick’s out next, and he wins a plasma TV that he totally doesn’t want. Dude, pass it down here, then. So it’s down to Daniele and Amber. Amber straight-up throws it and is rewarded with a pair of bondage cuffs. It sounds more exiting than it is. She has to choose one houseguest to be handcuffed to for 24 hours. And rather than choose her BFF Dustin, who’s sweet and pretty to look at, Amber chooses Kail, because “she’s a mom.” Okay, what the hell is this “she’s a mom” solidarity that Amber seems to feel is so prevalent in society? Anyway, Daniele wins the veto, which is good for her and bad for Jen. Which makes it good for me.

Jen debuts the unitard, which looks like the red catsuit Britney wore in the “Oops! I Did It Again” video, but more vulgar. Adding to the vulgarity is the fact that Jen isn’t wearing anything under it, so everyone in the house is suddenly subject to Jen’s complete gynecological profile. Joe DRs that Jen wasn’t upset at all that she had to wear the unitard. “Way to go, Big Brother,” he snots. “Your punishments blow!” Umm…word? Perhaps if someone photographs Jen in the unitard and frames it, that could work.

Amber and Kail’s “Chained Heat” segment is super boring and mostly features them having to negotiate the bathroom together. Oh, there is a cute “Red Rover” clip with Dustin that’s made funny by…well, Dustin. Amber does tell us that it gave her the chance to hang out with Kail’s friends in the house and vice versa, which certainly makes it seem like the house is divided into two camps and everyone knows it. Which is interesting. Kail, Mike, and Zach versus Amber, Daniele, Dustin, Jameka, Joe, and Dick, with Nick playing both sides and Eric and Jessica floating around God knows where? That about right?

Speaking of Eric, he sees Daniele’s veto win — and the looming need to find another nominee — as another chance to cash in on his America’s Player directive to get Jessica nominated. He cozies up to Jen in the hammock (the things we’ve made this poor boy do, I swear) and tries to push the Jessica agenda. But Jen? Is not having it. In the slightest. Every time he even mentions Jessica’s name, Jen shoots him down with an immediate “no.” Post-production adds a little buzzer sound just to reiterate how much Eric’s getting shut down here. See, if Eric was playing this one smarter, he’d be playing both sides of this and instigating an argument between Jessica and Jen. Then again, it is really hard to get stupid people to do what you want them to, especially when you’re using earth logic, so I can see where it would be like trying to play chess with helium balloons instead of chess pieces.

Zach and Nick conspire, with Zach obliquely accusing Nick of playing both sides, but Nick either being too dim to notice it or too savvy to respond to it. Much as I’ve grown to appreciate Nick, I’m betting against the latter. Zach pushes the idea of putting up Joe and voting him out, which Nick would be fine with. As would, I think, a lot of people. Zach once again really seems to think he’s pulling far more strings in the house than he actually is. Though this week, it seems, he’s pulling enough of them, as he bends Jen’s ear and plants the seed of nominating Joe. Not that it takes much, because Jen doesn’t like Joe anyway. Zach does get to use the phrase “golden opportunity to backdoor Joe,” which should make its way onto many a clip reel. But then here’s where Jen’s narcissism, self-obsession, and anti-social tendencies come into play: she tells Mike, Kail, and Amber (still handcuffed) that the fact that everyone in the house seems to want Joe put up makes her not want to do it. Because why not thumb your nose into the faces of the people who will control your fate next week?

Next, here’s what the editing would have us believe goes down: Jen leaves the HoH room, heads into the dwarf room where Nick and Daniele are busy shmooping to each other, stares them down for a moment without saying anything, returns to the HoH room, and states her desire to put up Nick instead. And, look, I realize the essential truth of the situation is the same: Jen would put up Nick for the same jealousy-based reasons she put up Daniele. But the way that segment was edited makes it look faker than it probably was. So for a second here, I start to admire Jen again, just for the fact that she’s so willing to cut the strings Zach’s group is holding on her and nominate Nick for the most petty reasons possible. Weirdly enough, she’s become the most dangerous player in the game (for this very short term that she has power) because she totally doesn’t care what you think. In the most literal sense of the phrase. You do not exist in Jen’s universe.

Of course, that’s all ruined by the time the veto ceremony comes around and Jen reveals she’s nominated Joe. Which is annoying as hell, not for the result (losing Joe is much preferable to losing Nick), but for the fact that the show’s efforts to build suspense and misdirection sacrificed a clear explanation for why Jen would go back to nominating Joe. I’m sure it’ll get explained on Thursday, but for now it’s really unsatisfying. And every step on the road to Joe’s eviction should be as satisfying as possible! See you Thursday!

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