Writers Block Sucks

For whatever reason, I have not been up to writing anything lately. Lots of stuff has been happening. Big Brother is back – still watching after all these years. The Mets are playing their best baseball in years (sweeping a two-game set with the Yankees and putting the hurt in the Braves. I saw the movie “Nope” in the theater (In my opinion “Nope” was a nope). I also watched a bunch of movies on Netflix as well as the classic “Better off Dead” which finally showed up on Showtime.

I went to see Elton John on the “End of the Yellow Brick Road” tour with my wife and daughter (and her boyfriend). It was hot, but there was a nice breeze in the stadium (plus our seats were up in the third deck). Great show and glad I went

We had a backyard screening of my daughter’s senior thesis film she made for Pratt Institute with several friends and neighbors. It was a lot of fun, and we are going to schedule another one soon for the local actors and crew who could not make the first one

Went to Las Vegas for work (HPE Discovery Conference). I had an enjoyable time but was inside for over 90% of the time between keynote speeches, breakout sessions, and corporate sponsored parties. I did go for a walk one day and it felt good to be outside. Next time I go to Vegas, I will spend more time out exploring different hotels and attractions.

Returned from Vegas to a crisis as work, which had everybody working overtime and weekends to get things resolved. It was an interesting but fun 2 weeks of work, but everybody worked together and did their parts.

This is way more than I thought I was going to write. It felt good to sit down and write and hopefully this gets me back into a rhythm

Lastly, Its Survivor Audition Time again. I hope to submit my audition soon, and will write some stuff about the process and how hopefully this is the year that Average Andy makes Survivor

Peace Out

Average Andy

Posted in Baseball, Concerts, Jeff Probst, Mark Burnett, Movies, NY Mets, Reality Shows, Sports, Survivor | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Philip Baker Hall’s One-Time Guest Spot on ‘Seinfeld’ is Arguably Series’ Greatest

Just a reminder on how great a show Seinfeld was

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June 2022 Update

Been sort of a crazy last few weeks so haven’t really had the time, or the desire to write anything for a while. But now things have calmed down, I’m feeling good and motivated to write on this blog

One the top of the list is a big congratulations to my daughter who put in a lot of time and effort the last 4 years and graduated from Pratt University in Brooklyn NY with a BA in Filmmaking. For here finale thesis project, she had to make a short film. At a showing on campus, it was a big hit with family, friends, students and faculty. She did a great job as one of the few women and held her own during the post viewing Q&A. Now she’s ready to face the world and use what she learned to become a world class film editor. Looking forward to see what she can do.

I took a trip down to The Philly Non-Sports Card Show at to the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks on May 22. One of the premier Non-Sports shown in the country, it was a lot of fun, and I got to see some of my fellow dealers and collector. The new location (this was the 2nd show here after years at the Merchant Square Mall in Allentown) is much nicer, with more room to walk around. Was able to pick up a bunch of promo and insert cards that I needed. Right now the trading card industry is booming which is both good and bad. Good because card values are going up and up which is good if you want to sell, especially sealed boxes of older sets but bad because it is becoming harder to afford things that I used to be able to pick up for fun. Will be interesting to see where the Non-Sport Hobby goes over the next few years. All in all it was a good time, I got some cool cards, and I am already looking forward to the next show in October 2022

Really liked how one of my favorite shows, “The Black List“, ended the season and I am happy it will be retuning for its 10 season in the fall. Was actually shocked that they killed off Marvin Gerard (Fisher Stevens) at the end. But thinking about it, this is one of the things that makes the show so good. By continuing to move forward and bringing in new characters and letting old characters go, it keeps the show fresh and exciting

I watched all episodes of Strange Things Season 4 / Part 1 and really enjoyed it. While it was a little disjointed (multiple story lines going on), it did end on a high note and I am looking forward to Part 2 in July. The show is very well done, with just enough pop-culture references to remind you that it takes place in the 80s, while making it feel new and relevant. Following up on card collecting, TOPPS did release card sets for Seasons 1 and 2. I have some cool cards (autographs / relics) and wish they had continues with Season 3 and 4. Was looking to pick up a box of these, but the going rate is around $250.00 for a sealed box ,compared to $75 – $100 a few years back during the pandemic.

After some time off, I got back to posting a random song of the day from my ITunes Library. Hopefully I will be able keep it going forward. Its funny how something that takes a minute or two to do, becomes a huge task if you have to do it day after day.

Saw “Top Gun: Maverick” and really enjoyed it

Enjoying “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds”

Fell behind on “Fear the Walking Dead” – Hope to catch up and finish it this weekend

Same with 9-1-1 and 9-1-1 Lone Star

Need to start Obi-Wan Kenobi

I have been going for a run / walk after work as much as possible

Reading “Ready Player Two” by Ernest Cline – Enjoying it so far

Enjoy watching “Food Theory” on You Tube – Never knew coffee was a fruit seed soup

Mets are playing some good baseball. – Hope they don’t falter in June / July like the past few years

Think the new LIV Golf league is a fad and feels like an exhibition (Which nobody will care about)

Looking forward to seeing Sir Elton John at Met Life Stadium in July

Sad to see “Dear Evan Hansen” will be closing in September – Really liked the show

Check out my daily Survivor Tweets

Getting ready to submit an addition video for “The Amazing Race” followed by one for “Survivor”

Have a great weekend

Average Andy

Posted in 9-1-1, 9-1-1 Lone Star, Amazing Race, Baseball, Books, Broadway, Card Collecting, Concerts, Dear Evan Hansen, Fear the Walking Dead, Food Theory, Fun and Games, Jeff Probst, Mark Burnett, Movies, Music, Non-Sports Cards, NY Mets, Phil Keoghan, Philly Non Sports Card Show, Reality Shows, Sports, Star Trek, Stranger Things, Survivor, Television, The Blacklist | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on the Survivor 42 Finale

Survivor 42 came to end last Wednesday, with 24 year old Maryanne Oketch from Ajax,
Ontario
who Outwit, Outplayed, and Outlasted 17 other contestants to become the latest Sole Survivor. Looking back and thinking about this season, I really enjoyed it, but felt it was missing a real interesting / charismatic / likable contestant who will be remembered. Even Mayanne, (who I liked and was glad she won), does not make it into my all time favorites. There are players who I will never forget going all the way back to season 1, and players that I do not remember or would not recognize if they were standing next to me. Not sure I will really remember any of this seasons contestants. Nobody who I would really want to come back in a future season.

As far as the show and game play goes, The show is still the best of all reality shows and has the best host and production crew making it a joy to watch. And for Season 42, it was really neat to watch especially how we the viewers were aware of certain things due to having been able to watch Season 41 while the contestants were on the island filming Season 42. This gave a great insight and made it feel like I was right there along for the ride.

I do like how Jeff Probst read the Final Votes immediately after the votes. Thinks it really shows the true emotion of the winner and runners-up instead of if they had 6+ months to think about things. The live after show was neat, but wished they could have had all the early eliminated contestants come out and join the party. I believe this was due to COVID so hopefully going forward things can be tweaked a bit.

I also miss the Ponderosa Videos of the jury members. Not sure why they didn’t do them this season. Always like to see how the players react to who gets voted out, and how they get to reflect on their journey. Again, maybe there were restrictions due to COVID and they will bring them back next season.

I will be submitting my next audition video in the next month or so (read they will be looking at new applications in August for upcoming seasons. It was really cool to see 57 year old Mike Turner talk about how he had been waiting and dreaming for 21 years for his adventure. That really hit me hard as I am 55 years old and have also have been waiting, dreaming, and imagining being a contestant on Survivor since It premiered in 2020. I cannot remember a day that goes by when I don’t somehow think about Survivor. It has been my companion for the past 22 years and continues to make me excited about each new season. I have seen and learned so much about different people and places over the years and am looking forward to many more

Have a Happy and Safe Memorial Day Weekend as we kick off summer 20022

AverageAndy

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Things never change

Back in 1991, Two friends and I decided to quit our jobs and go explore the United States. The original plan was to simply drive west from New Jersey and see where the road would take us. As we started to come up with ideas, and places we wanted to see (My 2 were Devils Tower, Wyoming (From “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”), and the city of Astoria, Oregon (Setting for “Kindergarten Cop”). My friends choose Yellowstone Park, and the Grand Canyon among there choices. We also decided to go to a bunch of baseball games, as well as stop by and see a friend on Boulder Colorado. As we started planning , we realized that we needed reservations to most National Parks and you had to make them nearly a year in advance. We decided to make out adventure more of a scheduled trip across the United States, so we rented a Mini Van and after some negotiations and assistance from one of my friends mother, (You need to be 25 to rent a Mini Van and you can only rent it for a maximum of a 1 month; which was not enough time for our trip), we got things settles and in July of 1991 we were on our way.

We did a lot of driving / camping / site seeing as we drive across the Northern United States on the way out to California (Where we needed to return our rented Mini Van and then re-rent it right back) and then across the Southern United States on the way back (including stopping in Boulder to see a friend, and take a bunch of his stuff with us since he was getting ready to move back east)

Eventually the together time and expenses caught up to as and we decided to cut the trip a bit short and after hiking down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, and then back up, we decided to head straight home.

As were were driving through Kansas, we were pulled over by state troopers. I don’t remember why they pulled us over, all I know if they told us to get out of the car, and they immediately split us up, one going in from of the van, one going behind the van, and one going on the shoulder of the road. I remember the office telling me that the were checking for drugs since we had NJ Plates, and any young kids driving through Kansas must be smuggling drugs. After questioning us individually, they made us empty out the van as they went through our stuff (which was basically tents, coolers, and dirty clothes. We got a little nervous when they started going through our friend for Boulders stuff, since we had no idea what was in it (Luckily it was clean). Then an officer asked me about a small locked box they found. I told him it had travelers checks (For those to young to remember – Travelers checks were used as money when traveling before there were ATMs; they could be tracked and returned if stolen, which was far more safe then carrying around a lot of cash). I also had some film (again, this was 1991, there were no digital cameras), as well as receipts and reservations needed for our trip). He made me unlock it, and then he flicked it open with a stick and ran back (like he was expecting it to explode). After about 30 min, they told us we were good to go, and left, leaving us to put everything back into the van before heading on our way. No Thank You, or any other explanation

This is where the title of this post comes in. Saw a story yesterday about the Delaware State University women’s Lacrosse Team bus being pulled over and searched for drugs. as they returned from a lacrosse tournament in Florida. The police searched through everybody’s stuff and kept reminded them that in Georgia, drugs are still illegal, if they found any drugs or devices used to smoke drugs that they would be in trouble. As I read this I though of our trip and the incident listed above. To make things even more similar, one of the girls had a package that she had gotten from a relative while at the lacrosse tournament and was told to wait until she got home to open it. The police questioned her about it, an then took it and opened it and went through it looking for drugs (it was actually a graduation present of jewelry).

We were pulled over for being young kids driving a van through Kansas (not necessary racial profiling), and while annoying, never felt threatened, or traumatized, and actually can look back at this and laugh

These women were pulled over for racial profiling, and according to what I read, some of them were pretty shook up and traumatized for being accused of things without any real merit.

You would think that after 31 years that state police would have better things to do then to racially profile people driving down the highway, and treat them like criminals and assume they may be running a drug ring out of there school bus. This is why there is such distrust among people and the police. Pull people over if you want, but if you treat people with respect and dignity (It wasn’t like this was a supped up sports car with tinted windows going 90 mph down the highway, it was a College Bus), things like this do not need to become major stories.

Thanks for listening. I will try and remember / track down some of the things we saw / did on our cross country trip and post them soon

Remember that there is a new episode of Survivor tonight. Getting intense and we closer to the end

Andy

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Survivor Recap – Everybody Lies

It always amazes me on Survivor (and Big Brother) when people get upset when somebody lies to them to help progress their game. Especially those who lie to everybody else to progress their own game. You would think going into the show, that you would understand that everybody is going to lie, and make your decisions not only on what’s best for your own game, but also on the assumptions that others are going to lie to better their game. So when somebody walks up to you and says “I heard your name being mentioned for tribal tonight”, in the back of your mind you need to be thinking if this is true or not before reacting.

Its also funny watching people think they are really smart and will try to outsmart people by lying and telling them they found and advantage or an immunity idol. This never seems to work. Once people ask to see the advantage or the idol, and you give an excuse, or try to come up with some story about how you want to keep it hidden, people see right through you, and now you become much less trustworthy, and a bigger target. While there are times to lie, you need to have it be part of a overall plan, and not just a desperate move to try and save yourself.

One of the many reasons I want to be a contestant is to see what really goes on between the tribemates before, during, and after Tribal Council. I’m sure there are lots of conversations and strategies thrown out that we never get to see on TV. Its just hard to believe that people don’t try to prove or disprove things that they hear and simple accept everything. I think I would always go up to people and tell them what I heard, and just ask them for the truth. Sometime being honest is better than lying

Going way back to early seasons of Big Brother, I remember watching Dr. Will nicely telling people that he was going to vote for them, that he was sorry, but that’s just the way it is. What was interesting is that people would thank him for letting them know as they were voted off and left the house. They were not mad at him, and even voted for him to win. Again honesty is better than lying.

Not to sad to see Hei go home. He fell into the trap of thinking he was making all the decisions and had an easy road to the finals. He forgot that its a game and everybody else is also trying to win.

The more I watch, the more I want to play – Not just for the money, or the adventure, but to experience the interaction with other people and see if its really that hard to read them to see if there lying.

AverageAndy (Future Survivor Winner)

PS – Was told its better to apply in the fall then now. Will need to verify this before sending my next application

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Random Stuff

New York Mets

Glad to see the NY Mets off to a good start. Although they have gotten off to hot starts the past few years, only to fall apart in the middle of the summer, this year feels a bit different. I think Buck Showwalter will be able to keep the team hungry and focused. And having an owner in Steve Cohen who will spend money if needed to improve the team.

New Your Giants

Usually I don’t get to excited about the NFL Draft, but it looks like the Giants picked up some good players who should step in and help. Hopefully with a new General Manager and Head Coach, they Giants can put an improved offense on the field and avoid getting of to bad start. See you in September.

Television

Been a while since I listed some of the shows I watched / am watching.

I am a bit old school and still watch some shows on network TV

Survivor (CBS) – The King of all Reality Shows

The Black List (NBC) – Still really enjoy this each week
The Endgame (NBC) – Kept me entertained. Hopefully there will be a Season 2

A Million Little Things (ABC) – Guilty pleasure

9-1-1 / 9-1-1 Lone Star (FOX) – Some of the things are over the top but keeps me interested

Severance (AppleTV) – Very strange and entering show

Picard (Parmount+) – Really enjoying Season 2 (Almost done, and looking forward to Season 3)

The Book of Boba Fett (Disney) – Really like how they have continued the Star Wars franchise

Also enjoyed Saturday Night Live this season (for the most part, there are still to many dumb skits)

Music

Congratulations to this years inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Eminem, Dolly Parton, Duran Duran, Lionel Richie, Pat Benatar, Eurythmics, and Carly Simon
Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Judas Priest, Harry Belafonte, Elizabeth Cotten
Allen Grubman, Jimmy Iovine, Sylvia Robinson

I’m happy with this years list. Unlike the past few years, where they seemed to push obscure acts and critical favorites, this years inductees are more mainstream and recognizable.

Its Wednesday, and that means another episode of Survivor tonight. I will be back tomorrow with my take and who I think will be the sole survivor this season

Andy


Posted in A Million Little Things, Music, NY Giants, NY Mets, Reality Shows, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, SiriusXM, Sports, Survivor, Television, The Blacklist, Volume 106 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Survivor – Still the best

I am really enjoying Season 42 of Survivor. Not just the scenery, challenges, and rewards, but the way the contestants are playing. Because we were able to watch Season 41 and have an insight into what twists and turns are coming, this season feels like we have an inside view of what’s going to happen before the players do. Add the in game narratives by Jeff Probst and its been a fascinating season to watch. Also, I like that the producers of Survivor have stuck to their words, and have made changes to the casting, adding a much more diverse cast in recent seasons. Add to that the current discussions of race going on throughout the US and it makes this season the perfect show for current time.

When Survivor started, the cast was made up of average people without much knowledge of what they were getting into. The same was true for Big Brother, as well as shows like Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. This made the show and the contestants relatable to the average person. I remember thinking how cool it was that anybody had a chance to be a contestant. Just fill out the form, or call a number and answer some trivia questions, and you had the same chance as everybody else. But then the shows started to get popular, and people started to see them as a vehicle to start / enhance their careers in the entertainment industry. Also, casting started to change who they selected with more of an eye to who would be good on TV and bring in higher ratings. This was interesting for a while, but started to feel much to forced and scripted. The things that made these shows popular and interesting were slowly removed for gimmick and Celerity Editions that kind of ruined the spirit of the shows.

Survivor / Big Brother were able to sustain this for a while, while shows like Millionaire and American Idol started to loose viewer who no longer saw the shows as representing themselves and most average people, but instead tailored to celebrities and want-to-be actors.

There were also some rumblings, and discussions about how African Americans were under represented on some shows. In order to try and help, the producers of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, changed there casting procedures. Originally, anybody could call a number at a given time and answer questions. If you were fast enough, and got enough right, you were put into a pool of contestants that would compete against each other during the show to see who could answer questions the fastest. The winner of this would then get to sit in the hot seat and compete for the million dollars. There were complaints that white males had an advantage because they played more trivia, or had faster reflexes because they played more video games. At one point the host Regis Philbin even pleaded for more women and minorities to call in. It took 192 contestants before the 1st African American made the hot seat

I was always torn on this. I can see tweaking things to make them fair to everybody of any race or ethnicity. But maybe some groups of people just don’t like trivia than others. Or some groups of people are not as interested in game shows as others. And this could be for a large variety of reasons (some controllable and some not). Poorer people might tend to have less access to phones or television, while rich people may just feel its not worth there time since they already are well off. Some trivia topics are always going to favor one group over another.

Fast forward to few years back when the the topic of race became a national issue. Not that is wasn’t, and still is a polarizing topic going way back, but with the killing of young black youths by white police officers brought things to the masses. This led to discussions and much more awareness which I feel is a good thing. Black people deserve to be treated as fairly as everybody else without bias. This brings us to the latest episode of Survivor and a fascinating tribal council.

The contestants were randomly split into 2 groups of 5 and after a immunity competition where one member of each team won immunity, bot groups when to Tribal Council separately. IN the 1st triable council, we saw the 1st member of the jury Chenelle, who is African American, and was voted out last week. The 1st group at tribal council proceeded to vote out Roxroy, who also is an African American. To me, in both these evictions, the players were voted out due to how they were playing the game and how they were perceived by the rest of the tribe. We did not see or hear any references to race being any kind of factor. When the 2nd group walked into tribal council, Drea looked and realized that Roxroy had been voted out, and that made the first 2 member of the jury African American. She was visibly upset and told Jeff Probst that it always seem that African American players get voted off early, and that she would play her hidden immunity idol to avoid being the 3rd African American in a row to be voted out. Maryanne, who is also African American joined here and said she would play her hidden immunity Idol as well and that there was no way she could vote for Chennell strictly based on principle and pride for here African American heritage. There was then a good discussion on how race becomes part of the decisions both consciously and subconsciously.

As a white male, growing up in a mainly white rural area, I cant say that race has ever been a hindrance to me. And while I will never be truly able to understand what if feels like to be part of a discriminated group, I think watching and listening to the discussions and decisions players make on Survivor (and similarly on last season of Big Brother, where and all African American Alliance was formed to get a black winner, with several moves and decisions made to advance this agenda, over moves based on friendships and trust), are important to study and learn.

I am happy and proud that CBS, Mark Burnett, Jeff Probst, and all the Producers and others in charge of Survivor and Big Brother have not shied away from these and other tough subjects, but have openly displayed and discuss them. Job well done

As we get towards the end of Season 42, I will be submitting another audition video. Its crazy to think that I have been watching and applying to Survivor for over 22 years. Some of this years contestants were not even born when Survivor premiered, and will never get to experience having to download and fill out the application forms (some up to 8 pages), figuring out how edit and create a 3 minute VHS video, going to a camera store to get an official passport photo, and then finally racing to the post office to mail everything to CBS / Survivor by the stated deadline. There were also some early open casting calls where up to 350 people showed up to apply

Early Survivor Open Casting Audition (NY Time Pay Site – Sorry, will try and find an open site)

If you’ve read this far, thanks for taking the time to read this post. Hope you enjoyed it

And finally if you happen to know anybody who could help in getting me (AverageAndy) closer to becoming a future contestant, let me know.

Hope all is well, and have a great day

AverageAndy – Because the world (and certain Reality Shows) need an average guy

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Quick note – Then back tomorrow after a new Survivor tonight

Sad to see that Randy Rand of the band Autograph passed away. While they never hit it big, the bands song “Turn Up The Radio” was a massive MTV Hit and still remains on most 80’s playlists today

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Awesome Transatlantic Weekend

Was able to catch the 1st 2 shows of the band Transatlantic’s 2022 Tour last weekend. Transatlantic is a progressive rock supergroup consisting of Neal Morse, Mike Portnoy, Roine Stolt, and Pete Trewavas. (for this tour they also added Ted Leonard)

They don’t tour to often (as the members are part of other groups), so when they do, I try to catch a show. Fridays show was at the Keswick Theater in Glenside, PA – Its a bit north of Philadelphia and about a 1 1/2 hour drive. The drive was worth it as the band was great and they played both parts of their latest album (The Absolute Universe) aw well as a medley of older songs. Great to see bassist Pete Trewavas jumping around and having a great time, since he just played 3 shows the weekend before in Poland with his main group Marillion (Who are one of my all time favorite bands).

I went with a few friends of mine who are progressive rock fans and who I get together with every now and then. We were thinking of going to see the next show on Saturday night at the Wellmont Theater in Montclair, NJ, and as luck would have it, both myself and one of my friends won a pair of tickets by entering on a Facebook post by the Wellmont Theater. So on Saturday, off we went again. The Saturday show was just as great and fun as the Friday show. The band sound just a great, (and seemed bit more relaxed after the opening night show), and the background graphics really popped.

Both nights were long (they played for almost 3 hours both shows) and I figured I would be tired for Easter Sunday, but I felt good and enjoyed Easter brunch with family at my Mother-In-Laws. Was a good way to end the holiday weekend.

If you get a chance to see Transatlantic on this tour, or on the “Cruise to the Edge” that follows you will not be disappointed.

Below are some photos I took of the venues and the shows.

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