Perspective


getting betterIs there anything more glorious than feeling better after being ill? We often take our human bodies for granted, and whimper when they’re damaged. But wondrously, for most of us, the majority of our ailments can be repaired by modern medicine.

We take a lot of things for granted until they’re gone or disappear for a while. Sleep, for instance. I’m blessed to be an ‘insta crash.’ When I’m tired, the slip between awareness and deep sleep goes almost unnoticed. I sleep, perhaps dream, and then awake, refreshed and ready for another day.

But so many suffer from insomnia. There are those who dread night time, because their struggle to get a good night’s sleep is like trying to wrestle a wild animal into submission. And over time, that becomes what they expect to happen, and so the dread becomes normal, and waking up achy and groggy commonplace.

We take walking for granted too. And yet the differences in how we walk are mind-boggling. I’ll never forget watching this short film a lifetime ago, and marvelling at how very differently our bodies can move. The images have never left me, and when I see a real life example of some of the more extreme walkers, I even mentally hear the music that accompanied their animated gait.

things changeThat’s the thing about being human; what seems commonplace loses it’s mystery and beauty over time. Every decade, more wonders appear in our world, and we cast aside the things we had before, sure that our old toys are no longer relevant or worthy. And yet, someone from a place that has not reached our level of technology would seize upon what we so eagerly toss on the dust heap, with joy.

It’s all relative. We’re constantly balancing where we are with where we’ve been, and where we hope to go. We make internal compromises, knowing that some of our actions will harm us, but assessing just how much harm we can do to ourselves without suffering unduly. It is the human condition.

Over a lifetime, it becomes harder to shrug off what we remember of how it felt to be innocent of experience, and to embrace the new that is always beckoning. We remember how vibrant and alive we were as kids, and how passionate our emotions felt, and how everything we experienced was for the first time, fresh and intense and life-changing.

young people don't knowWe get better at the things we do, or maybe we just get more experienced. Either way, we become blasé, and start to judge those who’ve only just learned what it feels like we’ve always known. We forget the joy of novelty, and heaven help us, sometimes we mock those trying to do what we once did for the first time. How dare they try and do it differently and in their own way?

And with every year our fragile shells are getting older and less flexible, prone to wearing out and being damaged by a misstep or an unlucky chance encounter with something greater than ourselves, be it a virus or a Mack truck. Or a corporate raider, or a venture capitalist, for that matter. That’s when the rubber meets the road, and we find out what sort of base we’ve built for ourselves, internally.

bad times wake us upIf we were very lucky, our parents prepared us for both the good and bad that everyone encounters in life. I was blessed with a mother who survived hard times in her youth, and who instilled in me her ability to bounce back from whatever came along. Just last night I dreamt that I was penniless, homeless, and friendless, but in the dream, my mum appeared to show me the humour in the situation, and soon we were laughing and singing, ready to face the situation and begin again. Now, that’s a solid base. I’m a lucky woman to have had such a strong mother, who could put aside her own fears and troubles to raise me with the ultimate gift; the ability to survive any catastrophe that comes along, and to remember that we are stronger than adversity.

interesting timesWe live in interesting times. Some would say, we always have. Forces will always struggle to contain the masses who want autonomy over their own lives and thoughts. Change is inevitable, whether it be for the better or the worst. And yet we wonderful and very human beings seek to control what little we can; our bodies, our families, our fortunes, our realities.

In every generation, there will be those who revere the past, and those who want to destroy or rise about it. There will be those who say that today’s art is puerile and lacklustre in comparison to the art of their day. Some will plod along, making the best of their lot, while others will aim for the stars. Both will both fail and succeed. And it was ever so.

So, as awful as it is, it’s a good thing to get sick once in a while. Illness forces us to stop for a time, to step off the treadmill of what we and others expect of us. It’s a time to drink hot soups and read trashy magazines and sleep for hours while our antibodies and immune systems work tirelessly to get our fleshy selves back into a state fit to return to what needs to be done to keep us viable in our lives. We learn who cares about our well-being, who is kind, thoughtful and helpful, and sadly, we also learn that life will go on without us, no matter how important we think we are to the planet. Illness keeps us humble, because, in the end … we’re only here for as long as we’re supposed to be.

To quote David Lee Roth … “life goes on without me …”

(first published in Don’t Believe A Word I Say,  September 13, 2015)

Survivor : Worlds Apart – March 26, 2015 – Be Careful What You Wish For


Previously on, Survivor: After a surprise switch, Kelly was the only Blue Collar that landed up on the unimpressive new Red /Nagarote tribe with Will, Hali, Jenn, Carolyn, Max, and Shirin. The rest of the Blue Collars enjoyed a 4/3 advantage in their new Blue/Escameca tribe of Dan, Sierra, Mike, Rodney, Tyler, Joaquin and Joe. Sierra was not happy to be the only woman on the uber male team, as she disliked her former tribe mates. She hoped to connect with the three males of the former No Collar tribe.

Survivor WA MaxMax won the battle for most annoying tribe member, and became the 5th person voted out of Survivor: Worlds Apart. 13 are left – who will be voted out tonight?

Shirin is devastated to have lost Max, her closest friend and confidante. She had spent all of her time with Max, until the new players arrived on the team, and now, her efforts to woo the newbies to their side has angered her past team members. No one wants to play with her, she pouts. “Is there something wrong with me?” Shirin tells us about growing up in a rich, Orange County suburb amongst kids that were white and prettier than she. She’s going to have to do now, what she did then; deal with it, adapt, fix it.

On the Escameca beach, Rodney’s looking for a new BFF. He’s sick of Dan’s stories, and even Mike, who had been his bestie last week, has been found wanting this week for not being a big enough partier. Mike goes to church on Sunday, doesn’t drink, and doesn’t have sex. So Rodney decides to start a bromance with Joaquin. Joaquin’s good with that.

Survivor WA joaquin and rodneyWith a new bestie and ally, Rodney feels like he’s king of the world. “All the fools out there who think I’m dumb and ‘oh, he talks like an idiot’—wait till you see what I have planned for this game.”

The players greet Jeff Probst at the Reward Challenge site. This week, the teams will race up a giant tower and through a series of obstacles. At the top, they will launch sand bags, one at a time, at targets out in the field. First team to hit all six targets wins reward – a trip to a turtle sanctuary, where they’ll watch turtles migrating from the sea, back to the beach where they were born, to lay their eggs deep beneath the sand. While watching, they’ll feast on beef stew, mac & cheese, and hot chocolate. Survivors ready?

Both teams race through the beginning of the trial, but things get tense when Escameca takes a 4-2 lead. Determined to win, the Nagarote players dig deep, rally, and win the challenge!

Shirin hopes that their win and reward will help her to find a way to bond with the other players. Everyone else is just excited about eating real food with real utensils! After their feast, they take flashlights to the beach where the migration of the giant turtles occurs. Out of 120 eggs lain, only one will survive. Jenn is excited by the sight and the lesson. “It made me realize that a turtle’s chances in life are way worse than me winning Survivor. I do have a 1 in 14 chance of winning as opposed to a 1 in 100 chance of living. So that’s cool.”

When Joe, Dan and Mike head off to Escameca’s beach to fish, Joaquin approaches Sierra about forming an alliance with himself, Tyler and Rodney. She’s interested, but doesn’t trust Rodney. But if she has to work with Rodney to work with Joaquin, then so be it.

survivor WA RodneyRodney now thinks he’s got the game under his control … he can already taste the win. His first move will be for the tribe to throw the Immunity Challenge, so that they can vote Joe off the island.

Rodney sells this plan to Mike, who doesn’t think it’s a great idea; historically, throwing a challenge always backfires. But he doesn’t care about the current tribe, as his real alliance is with Kelly and some other players on the other tribe. If his team throws a few challenges, Kelly’s odds of being safe on the other side increase.

So, everyone troops off to the Immunity Challenge, which is a memory tester. There are a series of items in a specific order that two opposing players need to memorize. Once they have, they pull a lever to drop a curtain on the items, and then race back to put them in the right order before their opponent to score a point. First team to three points wins immunity, and the Immunity Idol, which to me looks like a rather dissolute Mr. Peanut ™. Survivor WA Mr Peanut

First up is Rodney vs Caroline. Caroline wins easily, especially as Rodney is a bad actor, who makes little effort in pretending to score the point. Hali wins the next point for Nagarote as well. The game continues, with Escameca coming back, bringing the score to 2/2, with Mike vs Kelly as the potential tie breaking bout.

Kelly is first to close the curtain, but Mike lingers, staring at the closed curtain. But Kelly can’t remember the order of the items. Mike purposely puts his items incorrectly, and they both have to go look at another set of items. Mike whispers to Kelly, “listen to me, I’m giving it to you. Listen to what I say.” He then proceeds to name all of the items, before they race back to solve the test.

Despite Mike continuing to give the order of the items aloud, Kelly again gets the order wrong. So it’s back to the curtain for a last try, this time with just five items. This time Mike tells Kelly, “I will call out the order, but I will switch the bottles.” The only way Mike could be any more helpful would be for him to actually place her items correctly by himself. And so this time, Kelly wins and Nagarote is safe from the night’s Tribal Council.

Once Kelly realizes that Mike threw the challenge, she’s surprised, but feels she can really trust him. She can’t wait to get back to her Blue Collar tribe, where she feels she belongs.Survivor WA mike

Mike, on the other hand, feels like, “a little something inside of me died today.” And he’s beginning to see Joaquin as a bad influence on Rodney. Rodney, meanwhile, is confident that he has everyone in his pocket – they’ll be voting Joe out that very night.

Mike lets Joe know that Tyler and Joaquin are gunning for him. Joe tried to reach out to them, but neither was interested. If Joe, Mike and Dan want to be safe, they’ve got to get Sierra on their side. The problem is, Sierra is still angry at Dan for being rude to her after Lindsey’s blindside.

But Dan’s willing to grovel if that’s what it takes to get rid of Joaquin. Sierra, as the swing vote, is now being wooed by both sides, unsure of whom to trust, but aware that she’s protected no matter how she votes.

Survivor WA tribal councilAt Tribal Council, Jeff wastes no time laying out where the tribe stands since the switch up. They have 4 Blue Collars, 2 White Collars, and one No Collar trying to work together. He asks Joe how the Blue Collars acted when they returned to the camp. Joe notes that they seemed one big happy family – on the surface. But that hid certain cracks in the group – dysfunctions, as Dan mentions. Tyler says they noticed a lot of bad blood and animosity, most of which revolved around Sierra.

Sierra agrees, adding that she was accused of being bad at challenges and around camp. She felt picked on, and Mike was the only person who stepped in and told the others to leave her alone. She’s felt more appreciated by the three new camp mates (Joe, Tyler and Joaquin) in three days than in the first days she shared with her Blue Collar mates (Mike, Rodney and Dan.)

With those cards on table, Rodney still can’t see the split in the tribe. He’s confident that everyone is behind him, and that he’s in a great position. Joe says that things may be changing, but as far as he knows, he’s on the very bottom of the structure, with no allies.

Jeff notes that the decision made tonight could be a very big one. And now, it’s time to vote. Jeff reads out the names – three votes each for both Joe and Joaquin. The deciding vote is for Joaquin, who becomes the 6th person voted out of Survivor: Worlds Apart.

Although Joaquin was the one blindsided, Rodney looks as though he’s just found a half worm in his apple. He’s furious! If this was a movie, he’d turn into the Hulk™ or Godzilla™ and destroy a city.

Jeff tells the others, “Your success in this game depends on your ability to exploit or repair those cracks day by day. “

Survivor WA JoaquinJoaquin’s exit interview: “I didn’t see it coming, you know, totally got blindsided by the four, I don’t know who. I have a good guess. I’m sure, you know, Mike was obsessed with Sierra, and I was getting too close to Sierra, I was getting too close with Rodney. They were feeling like I was pulling their tribe away from them, and they were like, you know, let’s get this guy outta here. But this is my fate, and I’m gonna take it, with a smile on my face.”

Next time on, Survivor: Rodney feels betrayed by his Blue Collar family. “The people who did me wrong today are gonna pay for that ^*^%.” But in Survivor, there’s always time for revenge. The tribes merge, which prompts Rodney to decide, “I felt extremely disrespected by this group, so – me and numbers are donezo.”

My take on this episode: Throwing a challenge is bad game strategy. Has it ever actually worked in Survivor gameplay? Kudos to Mike for realizing that he’d crossed a line when he agreed to go against his own morals.

Survivor WA JoeWhy is Joe always being targeted by his tribes? Is it his hair, his laid back attitude, his athleticism, his great smile, his team spirit? Agreed, all of these things make him a threat, but also a great person to work alongside until closer to the end of the game. For the last several seasons, the players seem to always be working the last part of the game before they’ve understood where they are in the beginning and middle.

With the merge next week, everything may change. I think that smaller alliances will spring up, working together when necessary, but ultimately dividing the tribe further. Rodney may find himself targeted from several sides. Shirin and Tyler need to make themselves more visible with the tribe to stay in the game.

Can Survivor Cure Cabin Fever? I’ll Ask the Cat


man freezingI’ll admit it – the frigid weather in Toronto is making me a crazy person. We’re having record low temperatures, my cats are in complete (and loud) cabin fever mode, and I haven’t left the house in days. For the first time since childhood, I’m even wearing a winter hat. Sometimes even indoors. This is serious cold.

dandelion smilySpring can’t come soon enough. I need to smell fresh air, and see green grass emerge from under the carpet of snow. I’m even looking forward to dandelions in the lawn. I just need a change of season!

There’s another reason I look forward to spring – the tv networks like to toss us a few new bones to chew on. Since April 2011, I’ve been doing recaps of television comedies, dramas and reality shows for an entertainment site called Starpulse. I’d trade off the unpaid writing as a way to legitimize my television viewing, and it has worked for us so far.

survivor borneoI’ve watched Survivor since the first episode, 15 years and 30 seasons ago. This year marks my ninth season of recapping Survivor episodes. What started as an exercise has become an obsession, it seems. I enjoy the show, and have many friends who do as well, so you might call it my ‘water cooler’ job; I get to chat about some of the sillier aspects, and sympathize with viewers when fan favorites are voted off the island.

A lot of people have nothing but disdain for reality television, and I’d agree that some networks manipulate the course of some series. But we love our scripted and unscripted dramadies.

reality show auditionsMany desperately want to be on a reality series. In our increasingly televised lives, there have been many ordinary people elevated to fame through constant television exposure. Some have done very well; others have crashed and burned.

renovate your wardrobe me and farley(I was on a reality show years ago called “Renovate Your Wardrobe.” It was a lot of fun. But alas, the public didn’t glom on to my smiling face. I got a renovated bedroom, closet, and some new clothing. Would do it again in a heartbeat!)

I’ve never enjoyed the ‘talent shows’ that feature wannabe musicians, dancers, and entertainers of all sorts, but I love the fact that those platforms are available for those who want them. Bless ‘em all for giving it all they’ve got.

sweeping-beach-pulau-tigaMe, I like Survivor, and shows of that ilk. And I am desperate to be somewhere hot and sunny, by a salty sea, even if only in my dreams.

Since I’m down a quart of blog for the week, here’s a link to today’s recap of Survivor: Worlds Apart, Spring 2015. Enjoy!

survivor worlds apart 2015

http://www.starpulse.com/news/Roxanne_Tellier/2015/02/26/survivor-worlds-apart-and-so-it-begin