Thursday, August 27, 2015

Big Brother 17 - Tenth Eviction

Well, for anyone hoping that the reign of Vanessa and the Austwins was over was surely unhappy with the way things went down this week. Certainly there was a lot of drama in the house, if somewhat manufactured drama. Because, yes, Austin won the HOH competition, keeping him and the twins in power for at least one more week.

They were a bit concerned about Vanessa and wondering if they should evict her, but, sadly, this did not happen. I'm sure Vanessa would start crying if she saw how many people get annoyed by her crying at feelings of betrayal, but there you have it. Anyway, Steve was very adamant that he did not want to go up on the block if it was going to be against Johnny Mac. Austin somewhat agreed to that, but in the end just put him and John up all the same. Because he made a "deal" with James that he would keep him and Meg safe for the week. Why, exactly? Who knows.
Johnny Mac in Big Brother 17 - not having it.
After a visit from the Zingbot, whose best zing was reminding Liz that Austin actually has (or had) a girlfriend at home when he came into the Big Brother house. Oh yeah, burn. The fact that he went after her even though he came in with a girlfriend is so sketchy. Ugh. Anyhow, when it came time for the veto competition, Meg, Julia, and Vanessa were chosen to compete alongside Austin and the two nominees of Steve and John.

In a competition they had last year as well, the houseguests had to figure out who was included in a mashup of three of their faces. Julia did pretty well in this, but in the end Vanessa kicked her butt and took home the prize. And this is where things started to get a bit crazy. She decided to go to John and ask if he wanted to work together. Seeing as he had no one else in the house to work with anymore, he was like sure! She then went to Austin to try to get him to let John off the block, but Austin was not into it.

Now even more up against the wall, John told Vanessa about the alliance between him, Steve, and the Austwins last week to evict her. She, of course, flipped out. She went straight to Liz and confronted her about it. Though she tried to deny it at first, Liz eventually owned up to it - or sort of did. She threw Steve under the bus, saying it was him who orchestrate the whole thing, which sent Vanessa on a rampage against Steve, who seemed bewildered by the whole ordeal.

So, Vanessa did NOT use the power of veto, which left Steve and John on the block. The only way John could get himself to stay was by getting Vanessa to sway the twins to his side, but it was to no avail. The house voted him out unanimously. But, after an entertaining exit interview with Julie, John, along with the other jury members - Shelli, Jackie, and Becky - were all given a chance to come back into the house.

Everyone headed out to the backyard for the next HOH competition, an endurance competition. Whoever stayed on the ropes the longest would win HOH, and whichever jury member held on the longest would come back into the house. If the jury member was also the last one on, they would win HOH too. The episode ended without showing the result. I may or may not have gone and checked who won, but I won't spoil it here for those that don't want to know. But - who from jury do you want to see back in the house?

A last aside about Vanessa - she can be super annoying, but you have to admire her game play sometimes. I think if her crying theatrics were all part of her plan, it might not be so annoying, but sheesh. So much crying. The thing is, she is kind of a lone wolf. Although she has an alliance with the Austwins, they will surely evict her before one of their own, so she knows she has to win when it comes time that some of them must go up on the block. It would be in her better interest to start dismantling them now, but who knows if she will. Anyway, those are some of my brief thoughts on that whole thing!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Big Brother 17 - Ninth Eviction

After last week's double eviction, this week it was back to the regular drama. Liz took home the HOH crown in an emoji memory competition, putting her, Julia and Austin in power for the week. Notice I didn't say Vanessa, but she was there whispering in their ears throughout the week, of course. It's what she likes to do, constantly talk game. Of course, I don't watch the live feeds, so I'm not sure she is actually always talking game, but it does seem like it.

Anyhow, she decided to straight up confront Johnny Mac about his feelings toward her, and he was pretty much honest that when there was that whole blow up a week or so ago, he felt bullied by her. She took this as, like, some personal offense, and decided that she would spin it so that he seemed crazy when talking to the twins. Luckily, however, Becky went and spoke to them earlier about just what Vanessa says behind their backs, and how she is really only ever looking out for herself in the game, which at least planted a seed of doubt in their minds.

Recap/review of Big Brother - Ninth Eviction episode - by freshfromthe.comThe seed was not enough to keep Becky or Johnny Mac off the block, though. In an interesting twist, Johnny decided to make something of a deal with the twins and Austin to throw the Veto competition if they would keep him in the house. That sort of deal is always a bit of a tricky one because it can blow up in your face, but he went for it, throwing the Otev Veto competition. I just now noticed that Otev is Veto backwards, so there's your trivia duh of the week. Becky was trying her hardest to win, but in the end Liz maintained her hold on the power, and despite the rest of the house really wanting Vanessa out, she decided that it was best for her game to keep the nominations the same.

I can see where Liz is coming from, but keeping Vanessa for too long is dangerous. It gives her more opportunities to win competitions and keep herself safe. And she knows that when it comes down to it, she will be the first one to go in their foursome, so she will start working against them sooner than later in order to keep herself in the competition. It is probably better to get her out after the jury members have the chance to come back in the house, but still, it's tricky.

Anyhow, all of that basically sealed Becky's fate. Though she kept saying in her diary room sessions that she was going to fight to stay, I'm not sure there's really very much she could've done. Particularly when Johnny Mac and Steve have seemingly aligned themselves with the twins and Austin now as well. The votes came back unanimously to evict Basic Becky, but I am rooting for her to come back into the house next week.

The episode ended with the next HOH competition under way, but we won't find out until Sunday who has won (unless you watch the live feeds, I suppose!). I'd like to see Johnny Mac finally take home an HOH victory, but the only person I really don't want to see win is, of course, Vanessa. Yeesh.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Big Brother 17 - Seventh & Eighth Evictions

Well, tonight's double eviction was certainly crazy and fast-paced! And played extremely late here on the West Coast, not sure it was the same on the East Coast, but I can tell you right now I hate having to write this so late when I have work so early in the morning! Anyhow, that's neither here nor there.

Recap/review of Big Brother season 17 seventh & eighth evictions episode.This week, Becky took the HOH crown and decided she wanted to create some waves in the house by backdooring Vanessa. She ended up putting Shelli and Steve on the block, with the plan to take one of them off and put Vanessa up. Everything went according to plan for a while, since even though Vanessa was chosen to participate in the Veto competition, she pretty handily lost, with Steve winning and taking himself off the block.

That left the door open for Becky to put up Vanessa, and she did, much to Vanessa's surprise, though to no one else's. Here's where everything went wrong, though. I feel like we didn't really get to see everything that went down, but basically Vanessa talked to James and turned that side of the house around, convincing them to take out Shelli instead. The whole house followed suit, and the vote went down unanimously to oust Shelli. If they were smart, they would have taken Vanessa out, but apparently they don't see how much she manipulates everyone. Particularly with all the high-voiced whining and tears. But I digress.

Shelli was the first to head to the jury house, but she wasn't going to be there alone for long - duh. It's a double eviction. Straight into another HOH competition the house went. And I said to my boyfriend, this is Steve's time to win if he's going to. And what happened? Steve won. I was thinking he might put Becky up since he apparently hates her, but I feel like something else must have happened offscreen here at this point, where John, he and Becky got together to form an alliance or something, because he put up Meg and Jackie! What!

Recap/review of Big Brother season 17 seventh & eighth evictions episode.They were both pretty blindsided by his nominations, and to be honest I kind of was too. He's a bit of a mystery, that mumbles-to-himself Steve. That led straight into the next veto competition, which Johnny Mac ended up winning. He and Steve had a brief conference about what to do, which ended up in them not changing the nominations. In the end, the house voted out Jackie. Apparently Steve thought she had been gunning for him in the past, when really she had been gunning for Austin. Now just who put that idea in his head? Who knows. We do know that Liz apparently really doesn't like Jackie thanks to her kinda bitchy "I vote to evict Jackie" evil grin, but maybe we'll find out next week.

So, the first two members of the jury have been evicted, but as Julie has been hinting, at a certain point they will have a chance to get themselves back into the game, but that may not be for one or two more weeks. Honestly, I wish they had voted out Vanessa, because while I liked her in the beginning, she's really starting to get annoying now. I think I am on team John-Becky-Steve if they are actually a trio, with Julia in there as well. If only she could get her sister away from Austin, maybe Liz would be slightly smarter.

That's all for this week! Phew!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Big Brother 17 - Sixth Eviction

The prince has been dethroned. I have to call Clay a prince because doesn't he look like the human embodiment of the ideal Disney prince? Particularly when he was in the knight getup for the Veto competition, which I included a screencap of below. Of course, a Disney prince would never be a champion of the mumble, but I digress.
Clay Honeycutt from Big Brother 17
Last I wrote, the houseguests were in the middle of an endurance competition that basically was all about them hanging onto a wall as long as possible, while cold water drenched them and weird felt eagles slammed into their chests. The final three remaining were James, Shelli and Johnny Mac. Shelli "made a deal" with James that she and Clay would be safe for the week, but that turned out to be a rather bogus deal.

James was still mad about the whole switcheroo the week before when Jason was sent home, and he had only one thought on his mind - get out the showmance. Rather than trying to backdoor either of them, he decided to just be direct about it and put Shelli and Clay up for nomination. With no more battle of the block, that meant the only way they could make sure at least one of them was safe from elimination was to win the power of veto.

That didn't work out so well. It would have been nice if the Veto competition for this particular week was a bit less random. I mean, did they get to practice on that thing at all? Otherwise it's kind of a crapshoot and doesn't really reward the person actually trying/doing the best. In the end, both Clay and Shelli lost the veto competition, with James taking home the crown instead.

Though they tried to campaign with James to take one of them off the block by telling him about Austin's alter ego Judas and how he swayed the votes away from himself and onto Jason, it wasn't enough. James kept the nominations the same. Which sealed the deal for the end of the showmance. Most of the house seemed to be in favor of taking Shelli out and keeping Clay in the house, despite the Sixth Sense alliance sort of wanting to keep Shelli. That is, everyone except Liz seemed to want to keep Shelli. I don't know about that Liz sometimes.

Clay Honeycutt from Big Brother 17
When Prince Clay loses the veto, he is so handsomely sad.
In the end, though, Clay must have really campaigned to get the house to vote him out instead of her, because the house turned in a unanimous vote for him to be evicted. Now I know some people in the comments on the interwebs aren't the biggest fans of the whole Clelli relationship and dominance in the house, but you can't say that Clay doesn't seem like a stand up guy. His exit interview with Julie only seemed to confirm that. Whether the relationship with him and Shelli lasts outside of the house remains to be seen, but they both seem to be into it right now.

I also don't get a lot of the dislike for Shelli. She seems like one of the more genuine people in the house, to me. Everyone has to manipulate the truth in the house sometimes. Anyway, I won't go on about it. Although I'm sure everyone will miss Clay's handsome Disney face, I kind of want Shelli to come back with a vengeance. Whether she is able to do that by winning the next HOH is left up in the air at the end of the episode, as it was another of the longer competitions cut off midway through.

Who do you hope wins the HOH crown? Of course I'd like to see what Johnny Mac might do with the power, but it would also be interesting to see how Julia would do things as opposed to Liz. And, um, is Steve even still in the game? He seems to be like a ghost, barely ever on screen. I will say Jackie has grown on me, she is showing some smarts that she was kind of hiding in the beginning.

And next week? A double eviction! Oh boy.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

I meant to write this post many, many months ago, but at the time life was very busy and I just never got around to actually going through the TONS of photos and video taken when I went to Orlando and visited The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Let me just say right off the bat - the best time to go here is the first week of December. The place was practically empty most of the time. We barely had to wait in any lines, even though we did have fast passes for everything since we stayed in one of the on-site hotels, which I do still highly recommend, particularly if you are going to visit the place in one of the busier times of the year, as you get both early admission and unlimited fast passes with your park tickets (double check this, as it may only be at certain on-site hotels), not to mention you can take the water taxi to and from your hotel right from the entrance of the park.

Hogwarts Castle in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter by freshfromthe.com
Hogwarts Castle! And yes, I AM wearing a Quidditch T-shirt.
If you're going to go to the trouble of going all the way to Orlando to visit the park, you definitely need to do the park hopper to get the full Harry Potter experience. That's right, the two sides of the park are in the two different Universal parks, which means a hopper is necessary if you want to visit both Diagon Alley and Hogwarts/Hogsmeade. If you can only afford to pick one of the two, pick Diagon Alley. It's so much more entertaining than the Hogsmeade side, and honestly makes you feel like you are right in the books/movies. I was in full on HP awe in Diagon Alley, it was that good. Obviously there are a bunch of tourists rather than witches and wizards milling about, but dang, it's still so cool. The attention to detail is really just amazing.

Diagon Alley Entrance at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter by freshfromthe.com
Where you enter Diagon Alley (from inside DA).
The Rides:

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts - In Diagon Alley, this is the main event ride. Really, it's the only ride. There was an area where it looks like they could expand and make another ride, but for now this is the big one on that side of the park. What makes these rides so cool is how much detail is put into all of the stuff you see while waiting in line. You go through Gringotts bank, down into the tunnels, seeing all kinds of cool stuff. I don't want to give it all away, because you really should experience it for yourself. The ride itself is fun, but is mostly the type of thing where you are watching holograms. How they combine the video with the background is pretty cool, and although I felt nauseous on some of the other rides incorporating that sort of thing, this one I was perfectly fine on.

Gringotts at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter by freshfromthe.com
The Head Goblin as you wait in line for the ride in Gringotts.
Hogwarts Express - You simply MUST ride the Hogwarts Express over to Hogsmeade if you want the full experience. It's a full-size train that you enter as if you're at King's Cross station in London, and while you're on the train you get treated to some more video through the windows, but it's all well done. You can also ride this back from Hogsmeade, and it gives you a different experience. Definitely recommended going both ways.

On board the Hogwarts Express at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter by freshfromthe.com
On board the Hogwarts Express.
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey - Full confession: this ride made me super nauseous. I didn't used to be the type who would get nauseous on rides, but this is a lot of jerking around in front of another screen, and during this trip that really got to me. It's a shame, because the ride itself is pretty cool. You go through various parts of Hogwarts, play some Quidditch, battle dementors and Harry Potter himself makes an appearance. You also get to walk through Hogwarts while waiting in line, which is half the fun.

The Sorting Hat at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter by freshfromthe.com
Passing by the Sorting Hat as you make your way through Hogwarts.
Dragon Challenge - I'm told this used to be a ride at Islands of Adventure before Harry Potter took over, so they just kind of incorporated this ride into the whole motif. So, the ride itself is a fairly simple roller coaster where you are riding on a dragon, but the line up to that point is, again, full of fun HP memorabilia, as you pass various items as if you're entering the TriWizard Cup.

Weasley Car in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter by freshfromthe.com
On your way through the line, you find the Weasley car.
Flight of the Hippogriff - To be perfectly honest, I don't even remember this ride. We went on it, but apparently it is very much not memorable! Ha. Honestly, I was wondering if somehow I had missed it. So, there's that. I don't even have any photos from in line!

The Classic Drinks:

Butterbeer - Butterbeer is hard to describe. It's lightly carbonated, so it has a bit of a fizz going on. I'm not sure that I was a very big fan of it, to be honest. It leaves an odd aftertaste. BUT, the Butterbeer ice cream? Now THAT is good. It's softserve, which I found surprising for some reason, but was delicious. The lines for the ice cream can get pretty long, so be prepared for that. I didn't try the frozen Butterbeer, which may have been a better option than just the straight up variety.

Butterbeer from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter by freshfromthe.com
You do get a fun mug to keep if you want to spend a little extra!
Pumpkin Juice - The Pumpkin Juice comes cold in pre-packaged plastic bottles with a pumpkin on the lid. It's super sweet, and definitely appropriate for the holiday months when pumpkin flavors are everywhere, as it has all of the spices you'd expect in pumpkin baked goods in it as well. It got a little too cloying for my taste after a while, but it was still good.

Pumpkin Juice from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter by freshfromthe.com
The best picture I have of the Pumpkin Juice, ha. This was in Citywalk at the end of our trip. I was exhausted!
The Food?
Alas, we did not eat in any of the HP-themed restaurants. I did sneak a peek in all of them, but we were trying to save money and they weren't the cheapest places to go for food. They did all have super fun decor, of course. Next time!

The Three Broomsticks at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter by freshfromthe.com
The Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade.
If you're a Harry Potter fan, you really should go visit. It honestly feels like you've stepped right into Harry Potter's world. They're building the Hogwarts/Hogsmeade side of the park at Universal Studios in Los Angeles, but you really should go to the Orlando one if you can so you can do Diagon Alley, which is so much cooler than the Hogsmeade side. Almost all of the shops are open and have stuff in them, from Madam Malkin's, to Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, to Ollivander's, and more, whereas the shops on the Hogsmeade side are basically just two things - the candy place and Ollivander's. Not sure how they will be doing it in LA, but I doubt it will be nearly as expansive, just due to space limitations.

Visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Calling up the Ministry of Magic in London.
We also did not do the whole wand experience portion of it all, though I'm sure if you're a kid that would be fun. Basically, you can go to Ollivander's and get your wand that is special to you (I think the only do this for kids), then take that around and, in certain spots, wave it a particular way and say the incantation, and magic will happen. It's pretty fun, but we didn't think it was worth spending the money for something that would then sit around at home.

Visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
The attention to detail is really quite amazing.
If you have any questions about anything specific that I might have missed, ask away in the comments and I will do my best to answer! Hope you enjoyed the look inside The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!