Archive for March, 2010

Cannonball 23: The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book #2) by Rick Riordan

The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #2) The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Okay, so, I was pleasantly surprised by my second run-in with Rick Riordan. That said, my buddy JN, who lent me the book, warned me that the second book wasn’t nearly as good, but to keep hope alive, because books three and four were excellent.

With that warning in view, I dove into The Sea of Monsters.

And, BLAMMO, I get hit with a cheap retread of The Odyssey. Don’t get me wrong; I love The Odyssey. But Riordan’s version was particularly lacking luster.

After Perseus “Percy” Jackson discovers his heritage as a demigod (he’s a son of Poseidon — authenticity points to Riordan for not trying to sugarcoat the gods’ proclivity for adultery), he spent a whirlwind summer quelling a war between the gods. Now that he’s back to his normal life, he’s trying to make it through another school year before he can get back to Camp Half-Blood, the summer camp for demigods.

But before Percy is able to finish his first-ever school year without getting kicked out, the Laistrygonians, posing as giant middle schoolers, try to kill him. He’s saved by his new friend Tyson, who’s a bit slow, but super-strong. As it turns out, Tyson’s a baby Cyclops, and Percy’s half-brother.

Riordan plays with themes of sibling rivalry, but only for a little while, which is fine since that storyline wasn’t going anywhere anyway. For his part, Tyson is one part Sloth from The Goonies, one part Jar-Jar Binks, and was far from a welcome addition to the series, although he did grow on me in Book 4 (oops, SPOILER!).

So, anyway, the quest in this book is that someone has poisoned Thalia’s Tree. Thalia was a daughter of Zeus who was killed in a battle at Camp Half-Blood, and the tree which protects the camp from monsters was named in her honor. The only way to heal the tree and protect Camp Half-Blood is to find the Golden Fleece, which has been stolen by Polyphemus, Odysseus’ old Cyclops nemesis.

To complicate matters, Polyphemus has captured Grover, who was searching for the god Pan. Grover’s only alive because he’s tricked Polyphemus into thinking he’s a female Cyclops. He’s desperately employing Penelope’s trick of unraveling his bridal garment on the loom, but he doesn’t know how much longer he can keep up this ruse before Polyphemus insists on getting married.

And they don’t have much time; half-blood-turned-traitor Luke, son of Hermes, is trying to get to the Fleece first in order to reassemble and heal the Titan Kronos, who is mounting a Voldemortian effort to regenerate his body and revive his powers in order to destroy the world with his evil.

The heroes, led this time by Clarisse, daughter of Ares and self-avowed nemesis to Percy, will have to pass unharmed through the Sea of Monsters (featuring Scylla and Charybdis, natch), retrieve Grover and the Golden Fleece, and return to Camp Half-Blood in time to save Thalia’s Tree and Camp Half-Blood.

That description actually sounds a lot more exciting than the book actually was. I think Riordan just tried to cram way too much into this story. Besides introducing a new character, he’s also trying to tackle an classical tale of epic adventure in a mere 279 pages. In a children’s book. That’s just way too much for one person to chew.

Aside from these shortcomings and some instances in which the reader is asked to suspend his or her disbelief even more than normal, this volume is a rather weak read, but still a heck of a lot better than Riordan’s contribution to the 39 Clues series.

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Regular Read: Island, Book 3: Escape by Gordon Korman

Escape (Island, Book 3) Escape by Gordon Korman

My rating: 1 of 5 stars
By the time I got to the third book in Gordon Korman’s Island series, it was kind of a relief just to know that it would all be over soon.

To recap the events of Shipwreck and Survival (SPOILERS AHEAD, BUT THIS IS A REVIEW OF BOOK 3, SO I’D HAVE HOPED YOU’D HAVE FIGURED THAT OUT ON YOUR OWN), thirteen-year-old Luke Haggerty is framed for a crime he didn’t commit and is sent, as part of his sentence, to participate in a sailing trip with five other troubled kids. Charla Swann is an overachiever from the inner city, Will and Lyssa Greenfield are siblings who get into violent fights — Lyssa is super-smart and Will feels inadequate in comparison — Ian Sikorsky is a geek whose only contact with the outside world is the Discovery Channel, and JJ Lane is the spoiled son of a famous Hollywood director.

In the first book, their captain is swept overboard and the first mate abandons them. In the second book, they find themselves on a tiny island populated only by a wild boar and some international smugglers.

Now, in Book 3, Escape, the kids need to take drastic measures to get rescued. Will has a gunshot wound that’s gotten infected, and he needs immediate medical care. Reaching much, Korman? Geez. JJ has an idea: he’ll stow away in the criminals’ cargo plane and, if they find him, he’ll offer himself up as a hostage on account of his father being so rich and famous and all.

And the story just keeps getting more and more ridiculous from there. I don’t know; if I hadn’t read the Everest series first, then I might not have minded the ridiculousness so much. But I still think I would have minded it a little. The story starts with promise — it reminded me of Gary Paulsen’s excellent Hatchet in the beginning. But it slowly degenerated into a sensationalist tale of hiding from criminals using the most extraordinary means possible to get back home.

This sort of plot is just so trite. I wouldn’t tolerate it in a television series and I won’t brook tolerate it in a book.

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America’s Next Top Model, C14E03 Recap: “Let’s Dance”

I totally forgot that there might be DUDES who read this site, so I’ll just say right now: READ AHEAD AT YOUR OWN PERIL. IT’S GIRLY TIMES UP AHEAD.

Ahem. Recaps!

We had a nudie shoot, Gabrielle gets the boot, Alasia and Ren throw down, there’s a windy and watery fragrance shoot, and Naduah gets the boot. WHEW!!

We open on the girls returning to the house and Raina grins when she sees her winning pic “displayed as digital art” in the house.

Brenda complains about her hair AGAIN and now I know who she reminds me of. She totally reminds me of a ginger Laura Ingalls.

Oh, Pa, but I wanna be a Top Model!

I think that Melissa Gilbert has since gotten her teeth fixed. Brenda, on the other hand, has not.

See? I told you. Except that Melissa Gilbert looks a little younger. Oh, relax, I keed, I keed.

Brenda implies that her daughter will not recognize her because of her “drastic makeover,” and I laugh heartily at the ridiculousness of such a premise. But Brenda obviously thinks it’s true, so: was it worth it, Brenda? Was it worth it?

Renona Whiner confesses that she thought she was going to be eliminated at the last panel. She says that she would normally have quit after feeling like that, and I’m agog. So, basically, you’re saying that you would have quit if they booted you, but since they didn’t boot you, you’re going to stay. As always on ANTM, I’m astounded by the logic, here.

Our Renona has mommy issues. SURPRISE!! She says that her mother was never nice to her, except in the week before she came to the house. She claims that her mother prefers her brother because he’s an “all-american jockey type.” Your brother is super-short and thin and rides horses? No wonder Mommy loves him more! Jockeys make bank, yo.

She also complains about living in the house once again. I’m just glad that I don’t live there — with Ren.

Tyra Mail! “Your fashion knowledge can really take you places… or maybe not. Loooove, Tyraaaaa!!!” I may have exaggerated that last part just a little bit. But if you watch the show, then you know: not really.

Before we find out where they’re going, Simone informs us that she gave up school to participate in the show. I’m sure she’ll never regret that decision.

The girls are introduced to the FAB BUS. The bus looks like a lot more fun than a limo, because there’s room in it to dance around! Raina dances awkwardly and I take back what I said about the Fab Bus.

Toccara from Cycle 3 magically appears. Alexandra is happy because, for once, she’s not the biggest girl in the room. They’re playing a game in which they have to answer questions about the fashion industry. Toccara splits them into two teams: Red and Blue.

Anslee is on the Red Team and complains about “getting stuck with some duds.” You’d be hard-pressed not to get stuck with some duds as long as the teams are made up of ANTM contestants, honey.

(Psst! That includes you!)

Toccara explains the game. First team to get five questions correct will go on a go-see at the headquarters of Bluefly.com. Toccara then proceeds to rattle off a commercial for Bluefly, and the show adds in a game show applause track, which is pretty hilarious. Each member of the winning team gets $500. But the winner of the go-see gets a $2,500 gift card and will be featured in Bluefly’s spring campaign. Dude, can I participate? I wants me some free goods.

Still "big, black, beautiful, and loving it!" *snap* *snap*

Raina, who got best picture last week, automatically gets to go on the go-see, and doesn’t have to participate in the game.

Let’s get it started!

The girls quiz away. All of the questions are multiple choice, thank God. Can you imagine how many times they’d have to drive around the block at Bluefly Headquarters while they waited for girls to come up with the right answers? Hoo.

Simone is thinking they’re gonna lose because her team is down 3-0, but then she turns the tide of the game by getting an answer right and, before you know it, the score’s tied at 4. Sudden death!!

Simone and Brenda go head-to-head on a question, and Simone buzzes in first! She gets the answer right (it was Heidi Klum. Because, when it comes to modeling, Heidi Klum is always the right answer)! Blue team wins!

You're in! I mean, "right!" You're right! Auf wiedersehen!

Brenda’s team is mad at her, which is kinda understandable, since it was a pretty easy question. But she’s determined not to be too disappointed. Anslee, on the other hand, is madder’n a pig in a poke, and she predicts that she and Brenda will have problems as a result. Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but if the other team had a total of five points, doesn’t that mean that a few other people got questions wrong, too? Let’s hate them all equally, Anslee. That’s only fair.

Simone and her team are super-excited, and they show up to Bluefly’s headquarters with Raina in tow. Raina really wants to win the go-see, and she walks into hers with a goofy smile.

Jessica’s next, and they think she’s too skinny. Am I really hearing this? Wow. Could it be that the fashion industry is actually changing?

Ahahahahaha, of course not. And even if the industry were changing, I highly doubt we’d get our first inkling of that through ANTM.

In the meantime, the losing team gets a punishment: they have to help log Bluefly’s inventory. They go to the back room, where all the inventory is in what the copy editor calls “The Cage.” I think they should be more accurate and call it “The Fenced-in Area.”

Back to the go-sees. They like Angelea’s personality. That confuses me, but I don’t even have time to say, “HUH??” before they ask her to “sell” the outfit that she’s wearing. She busts out a bunch of awkward poses and the judges give each other confused looks. I laugh unreservedly.

The ladies say that they like Alexandra’s face and she’d be perfect for “beauty shots,” which basically means that they think she’s a fatty.

Renona Whiner again weighs the question of sanity and happiness vs. modeling. DUDE, just leave already. For the sake of MY sanity and happiness.

The ladies love Simone. Their only concern is that her shoulders are a little athletic, which I actually kinda love.

They also like Krista. They can tell that she loves what she does.

But THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE!! The winner is Simone. Good for you, girl.

Jessica plays the sore loser and snits that Simone is pageanty, which I find ironic, given that Jessica’s biggest critique is that she is too pageanty.

Ren and Brenda announce that they’re going to bed and that this means that everyone in their room has to go to bed. The other girls do not take kindly to this bossing and Krista calls her “Gepetto,” and it’s actually hilarious.

The Puppetmaster

Some of the girls wander into the other room for the express purpose of complaining about Brenda. One of them says that she looks like Miranda from “Sex and the City”, and the others laugh as though that were a really scathing insult. The heck??

Because if you looked like this woman, then life just wouldn't be worth living. *eye roll*

Then someone else tries, and goes for Chucky. A little better, I suppose.

A little closer, but still not particularly burnalicious.

Come on, people, if you want really hideous, try Clay Aiken!

Now, that's truly horrifying.

Renona Whiner claims that she just “can’t put up with this.” So she takes the high road — and tattles to Brenda. It stands mentioning that she was sitting in that room, listening to them gossip for the entire conversation. No wonder Mom likes your brother better.

Brenda, of course, is hurt — not because they’re insulting her, but because they insulted her makeover, which, to Brenda, is tantamount to “laughing in Tyra’s face.” Even after all the ridiculousness I’ve come to expect from this show, that statement still made me roll my eyes.

So she goes to confront the girls. Oh, excuse me, did I say “confront”? I mean to say “gossip about”. She claims to the girls in the kitchen about the other girls’ behavior, telling them that the other girls said that she was “ugly” (Brenda’s emphasis there) because of her haircut.

When Anslee says that she didn’t think that the other girls called her ugly, Brenda haughtily interrupts her, asking, “Were you in the room?” I will respond to your question with your own question and ask, “Were you in the room?” Because she totally wasn’t; she heard this from Ren. I’m actually quite shocked that no one else said that. Come on, people! It’s like shooting fish in a barrel!!

Oh, and did I mention that Brenda’s wearing the ugliest beanie ever knitted? That’s Ugly Headgear #7 for the series. She looks like a twelve-year-old chemo patient. If she really wants to be a model, maybe she should just call the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

So, anyway, Brenda and Anslee throw down. It’s nowhere on the level of Alasia’s screaming fits. She could show them a thing or two about stirring up drama in the house.

Hey, that reminds me: we haven’t seen her at all this episode. Could it be that she’s learned something about getting along with the other girls since the last ep?

Ahahahaha, of course not. I’m sure well see evidence of that soon enough.

In the morning, Anslee apologizes for waking people up with her yelling. She seems quite smug. I’m guessing she won the fight. Not hard to do, since most of Brenda’s comebacks probably amounted to “Oh, yeah?” and “Well… well… FINE!!”

Renona complains AGAIN and claims that she wants her quiet life back. THEN QUIT, REN. Seriously.

Tyra Mail!! “Top models always need to be in step.” Ooh, what in the world could that mean? Seriously, though, they’ve done a much better job of making Tyra Mail more enigmatic this cycle.

The girls arrive at a dance studio and are greeted by Jay Manuel. He asks them what their inspiration is, and we hear the standard answers: “my child” “my parents” “a cheeseburger” (that one was either me or Alexandra; I can’t remember).

Well, it turns out that today’s photoshoot is portraying dance. Which really has absolutely nothing to do with Jay’s question. Nice one, Jay.

Brenda says that she can only dance when she gets a little tipsy at the club. Correction, Brenda: you only think you can dance when you get a little tipsy at the club. I’m sure it just looks like a slow-mo version of the usual awkwardness.

Troy Powell is their coach. He danced for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre for ten years, which means that he must actually be pretty ossom. The girls will each be representing a different genre of dance, and Troy will teach them some moves and positions.

Vincent Oquendo is the makeup artist. What the heck happened to Sutan? Did he do something to provoke the wrath of Tyra?

Sutan with some of the models from Cycle 9 (clockwise from top left: Saleisha, Bianca, Chantal, Jenah)

Up first is Anslee, representing rhythmic dance. I always thought it was “rhythmic gymnastics,” which totally reminds me of Get in Shape, Girl!

Ahh, the 80s. It was… an ugly time.

And, OOH, SHENANIGANS!!! I totally just did, like, two minutes of internet research, and all of it is telling me that what we’re seeing Anslee doing isn’t rhythmic dance at all: it’s rhythmic gymnastics, just like I thought! Take that, show!!

But back to things that people other than I care about: Jay says Anslee’s lookin’ pretty (and you totally know he dropped that “g”), but missed the model flow. Maybe because you didn’t give her a real dance to do, show.

Jessica has salsa, and she keeps moving frenetically. It is not pretty.

Angelea is moshing. She gives a lot of angry faces and Jay asks if moshing is all about anger. Angelea replies that it’s also about pain, and, after that, her shoot goes a lot better.

Tatianna is tap, and her outfit is awful — hot pants cut to make her hips look larger than Alexandra’s.

Renona Whiner complains some more. PLEASE. PLEASE eliminate her.

Ren is disco. Jay confesses that, when he first saw her, he immediately thought she was a model. But every week she’s less inspired, and he thinks that the judges will eventually tire of her look and see through to whether or not she had talent or not. She is awfully boring on film. Even Angelea is easier to look at.

Alexandra is breakdancing, and she channels Run DMC. As though she’s ever heard of them, aside from possibly watching “Run’s House” on MTV.

Raina is jazz, and she does great. That’s nothing new, so: moving on.

Brenda proudly dons Ugly Headwrap #8!! One girl wearing ugly headgear twice and getting into a fight all in the same show? That’s gotta be some sort of record.

She has African dance. Her energy is way low, and Jay calls her on it. Anslee gloats openly at Brenda’s struggling. She’s trying to jump on a trampoline to get some action shots, but she’s not getting the count right. Hee, she can’t even jump correctly!

Krista has ballet. Her moves are, shall we say, less than graceful.

Simone is hip-hop. Jay says that she’s a little too studied and her face is vacant. Simone is disappointed with her shoot, and cries beautifully.

Alasia has interpretive dance. I’m sure that I’m not alone in expecting her to fall flat on her face, but she KNOCKS. IT. OUT. Jay is all praise and wonder, and she’s excited about it because she’s finally getting something besides snorting laughs and disappointment in reaction to her photoshoot.

Tyra Mail. Eliminations!

Ren complains as usual about “missing her life.” The girls finally can’t take any more of her crap and ask her: if she could be anywhere in the world, where would she want to be?

When she can’t answer right away, one of the girls asks if she’s going to cry, which send some of the other girls into gales of laughter. It’s actually quite cruel, the way they’re blatantly taking pleasure in her hurt. Granted, she is annoying, but she’s still a human being, people. It’s one thing for her to cry about something stupid; it’s another thing altogether to make her cry because you know she’s an easy target.

That said, she’s still ridiculous, and I hope to God she gets the boot.

Panel! We are re-introduced to the judges. Sean Patterson, president of Wilhelmina Models, is the guest judge. I find this a little odd, as he was not featured in the episode at all.

On to the photos!

Jessica is first up. Her salsa pic had no emotion, and not enough fashion in it. ALT tells her she’s patently gauche (it means awkward. That’s okay; I had to look it up, too. I’m learning so much more French since ALT joined the judging panel!)

Raina is jazz, and all the judges rave. It is a pretty good pic.

Anslee had rhythmic gymnastics (I won’t call it something it’s not, show), and her picture is too “conscious.”

Simone is also patently gauche, but in a good way, according to ALT. Tyra doesn’t like her picture, though. She thinks it’s too safe, and I actually agree with Tyra, for once. Tyra advises Simone to find a moment. Simone nods, but I’m sure she has no clue what that’s supposed to mean.

Tatianna’s legs are looking NARSTY in her tap dance pic. Yikes, does she ever look awkward. Nigel says that it’s a dynamite close-up, though. That’s because her mouth is closed, Nigel. But Tyra informs her that the rest of her film was a disaster, and she just lucked into a good shot.

Brenda came to panel dressed like a mom. ALT calls her “dreckitude,” a word that is working its way into everyday speech at an alarming pace. The judges keep talking to her about her age and how she needs to be mindful of how much of an old hag she is. Well, maybe they didn’t say it in those words, but you and I know what they meant. As for her African dance picture, Sean Patterson says it reminds him of an “SNL” skit, in that it looks like a farce. Anslee doesn’t bother to hide her mirth at hearing this.

Alasia is next, and ALT “ooh, child“s her, and tells her to take off her jacket. That turns out to be a huge mistake because girlfriend is wearing a skimpy, silver swimsuit underneath. The judges are agog with disgust. But they rave unanimously about her interpretive dance photo. Sean Patterson quips that her photo is as good as her outfit is bad. Nice one, Sean!

Alexandra had breakdancing, and the judges agree that her pic is amazing, except for her necklessness. Krista smugly points that out immediately.

Angelea’s moshing photo is also amazing. Even I have to admit it. But somehow, she doesn’t seem pleased, as she refuses to smile throughout the duration of panel.

Krista had ballet. Her neck is great. And Tyra says that her awkward hands make the shot “fashion.”

Ren did disco, and the photo’s “not fashion,” according to ALT. Ren complains about the “drama” in the house. Sean Patterson actually gives her some sage advice, telling her that she’s going to have to leave any personal stuff off set if she wants to be a successful model. They ask her if she wants to stay or go. Tension! And, then: commercial!

And we’re back, and where were we? Oh, yeah: tension! Will she stay or will she go? Aww, she says she wants to stay. Wuss.

The judges dismiss the girls as they deliberate.

Jessica: Her pic is okay, but too obvious. She wasn’t convincing, and the judges wanted to be convinced.
Anslee: She has no imagination. She had energy, but her body awareness was bad in this shoot. I’m going to give her a pass, though, because it’s not her fault that she got a bogus dance to do.
Simone: She seems confused. Nigel claims that he loves hip-hop, which makes me guffaw, and that what Simone was doing was not hip-hop. I try to imagine Nigel krumping, and am unsuccessful in my endeavor.
Alexandra: She has confidence. I think they’re confusing a competitive streak borne of bad body image with confidence.
Tatianna: ALT proclaims her dreckitude. I don’t get it; is it an adjective or a noun? Because I think he’s been using it both ways. In either case, I agree: Tatianna is dreckitude, especially when she bares those fangs of hers.
Krista: Her face is beautiful.
Angelea: The judges think it’s a “wow” shot.
Ren: Her pic is a mess. Will they boot her? Come on, boot her!
Brenda: ALT announces that she is the Dreckitude Winner of the Week. Um, yay? Her picture has no edge.
Raina: They love her pic; it’s high-fashion.
Alasia: Her photo is gorgeous — it is pretty amazing. But she’s only gorgeous in the photo; in person, she’s a wreck. A dreck wreck, André?

The Dreck Awards have been given, and the judges have made a decision.

The Spiel. Who’s this week’s winner?

It’s Alasia. She wins on a day in which she looks like absolute crap at panel. Good for her. The picture is gorgeous.

Next up:
Angelea, who finally cracks a smile for the first time all panel.
Jessica
Alexandra
Krista

There’s weird electronica elimination music this week. It is quite strange.
Raina Wait a minute, they called Jessica before Raina? If I recall correctly, they had complaints about Jessica’s picture and nothing but raves about Raina’s. Shenanigans!! SHENANIGANS!!
Tatianna
Simone
Anslee

Ren and Brenda step forward. Tyra whispers, “Two beautiful young ladies stand before me, but I only have one photo in my hands.” Hahaha, oh, Tyra. It stops being dramatic after fourteen cycles, you know.

Tyra looks at Ren and says that she’s doing it for the wrong reasons. Ren actually nods at this, and Tyra calls her on it. Cornered, Ren panics and babbles that she’s only doing this to get Mommy’s attention. Tyra asks her if she really wants this, and Ren says that she likes modeling…

What’s that noise? Oh, it’s the final nail in Ren’s coffin. Brenda’s still in the running to become America’s Next Top Model, and that’s actually as it should be.

See ya, REN!! And good riddance! Tyra encourages her to communicate her unhappiness with her mother. The other girls are practically grinning in their glee.

Ren waves a half-hearted goodbye to the girls, and hugs no one. None of the girls seem to much care. Good riddance, I say. Smell you later, Renona Whiner!!

That reminds me, KTLA 5, the local CW station, totally ran a news teaser that they’d have a morning interview with the latest model to get the boot on ANTM, and then they totally showed a clip of Ren. This was about fifteen minutes before the end of the ep. And you didn’t spoiler-warn me, you punks!! Boo on you, KTLA. BOO on YOU!!

But I digress.

Next week on ANTM: jumping and falling? I have no idea what they’re supposed to be doing. There’s going to be a Cover Girl challenge in Time Square. It looks like they’ll be doing a live commercial there. Ooh, that’s going to be just delicious. They’re also going to do a vampire shoot. I demand to know where all the glitter is. Stephanie Meyer told me that vampires are supposed to sparkle, dangit!!

Anyhoots, so here’s my take on the pics. As always, the photos are edited for modesty by moi (OOH, I just spoke French. Does that mean that ALT is influencing me?)

11. Ren

America's Next Top Model

Disco inferno? The roof, the roof, the roof is halfheartedly on fire.

What the heck is this pose? She looks like she’s trying to “raise the roof,” but she’s got mono or something, so she has absolutely no strength at all. Her face is all kinds of boring, too. This was deservedly the worst pic of the bunch this week.

10. Brenda

America's Next Top Model

I don't think Alvin Ailey will be calling you anytime soon.

Oh, Brenda. This pose is so boring, and your face is even worse. Not to beat a dead horse, but you look like a dead horse. You’re only lucky that Ren did worse than you did this week. But I’m sure you’ll remedy that next week.

9. Tatianna

America's Next Top Model

Gotta get the H, yo!

Good God, she looks like she’s taking a crap right here and now. Is this an ad for Oops I Crapped My Pants? Geez.

Lucky for Tatianna, though, her face does look okay, here. Thanks to the lighting, I can see her cheekbones. But I give her two more weeks; maybe three, if they eliminate Simone for being the “pretty, but boring” girl.

“I’m wearing them. And I just did.”

8. Alexandra

America's Next Top Model

It was the dog; I swear.

What’s with the toilet humor this week? Tatianna’s advertising an adult diaper this week, and Alexandra looks like she should be wearing a t-shirt that says, “It was ME!”

Oh, who am I kidding? I’ll work a good fart joke in wherever I possibly can. Because I’m twelve.

Seriously, though, I suppose it’s mostly not her fault that I don’t like the pic. I thought the wardrobe was SO not breakdancing. And who breaks in heels (give it the right inflection, folks. Obviously, I don’t mean “breaking them in.” I mean “breakin’.” As in Electric Boogaloo)? I would’ve bought the pic more, though, if she’d either straightened her leg or bent it across as though she were doing a freeze.

7. Jessica

America's Next Top Model

My name is Bo. Bo Ring.

I guess this picture is okay; her hands and legs are decent. But her face; dear Lord, her face! It’s so boring! So blank! Salsa is supposed to be full of passion and fire. I should know; I took my first Zumba class today. But Jess is looking bored, which makes me bored when I look at this pic.

6. Simone

America's Next Top Model

Hip-hop, she is not.

Okay, so it’s no secret that I think Simone is so pretty, but even I have to agree that this picture is boring. Her body language is slightly more interesting than Jessica’s, but only slightly. If she doesn’t shape up fast, she’s going to get the boot for being pretty, but boring. Oh, well; at least she’ll have a $2,500 credit at Bluefly.com and a pic in their spring campaign.

5. Anslee

America's Next Top Model

It's GYMNASTICS, people. GYMNASTICS. Not dancing.

I really didn’t get why this photo was so hated at panel. I actually think her movement in the pic is striking, and her face is interesting. She looks like she’s actually doing rhythmic gymnastics (because that’s what it is, show). Maybe that’s why the judges didn’t like it; she took it too literally.

Well, then, they should’ve given her a real dance to do in the first place.

4. Angelea

America's Next Top Model

I came to bring the pain.

I thought this was a pretty good pic. Her face isn’t great, but it never is. Her body, on the other hand, is amazing. I love the motion captured in this photograph.

3. Krista

America's Next Top Model

Like a work of art.

I’ll be darned if this ain’t a good pic. Krista’s neck looks beautiful, and her pose is actually reminiscent of a Degas painting. Given how awkward she was during the shoot, I was really shocked at how well her photo came out. I’d have liked it better if her toes had been more pointed, but, still, I was impressed.

2. Raina

America's Next Top Model

Bob Fosse would approve.

Two things about this pic that surprised me: the first thought that popped into my head when I saw it was “Bob Fosse!” So Raina really did a great job of evoking jazz here.

The second surprise was that I completely forgot about her eyebrows until right this minute. I know. That’s how good this pic is. Her body is interesting, her face is good, and her hands are so, so graceful. I think Raina’s really starting to win me over.

1. Alasia

America's Next Top Model

The unbearable lightness of being.

This photo was jaw-droppingly amazing. The flow of the garment, the relaxed position of her hands and feet, her serene expression — this picture is absolutely stunning. And it really does a great job of selling the garment, too. It really gets across the floaty feel of the fabric. I can’t believe that Alasia — our screaming, hissy-fit-throwing Alasia — was able to pull this off.

Don’t worry, I’m sure it’ll be right back to screaming and catfights next week.

Thoughts? Comments?

Regular Read: Island, Book 2: Survival by Gordon Korman

Survival (Island, Book 2) Survival by Gordon Korman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FROM ISLAND, BOOK 1: SHIPWRECKED. Consider yourself forewarned. There are no spoiler tags besides this one: SPOILER!! SPOILERY SPOILER TAG FOR A SPOILER!!!

Survival is the second book in Gordon Korman’s Island trilogy, and this is where the series takes a southward dip in my opinion.

Luke Haggerty has survived being shipwrecked only to find himself on a tiny island in the middle of nowhere. He and his fellow survivors Charla, Ian, and Will need to find food, fresh water to drink, shelter, and a way to get back home. To complicate their situation, Will becomes delirious with dehydration and crashes off into the jungle alone.

On the other side of the island, celebrity kid JJ Lane and Will’s sister Lyssa wash up on shore. JJ is convinced that the shipwreck is merely part of the “troubled kid” sailing program in which the kids were participating when all of this went down.

The kids find each other and a link to civilization — a small port that’s been overrun by smugglers. And that’s where the series took a bit of a dive for me. It’s just so cliché for the kids to find a link to the outside world only to discover that the only other people on the island are murderous criminals. Will’s hysteria, I could have understood. JJ’s constant name-dropping and refusal to see the truth of their situation, I could deal with. But all of that plus armed smugglers? It really made me roll my eyes.

The survival bits were decently fun, but not quite fun enough for me to really recommend this series wholeheartedly to lovers of children’s lit.

View all my reviews >>

This book could've used a smoke monster or two.

Regular Read: Island, Book One: Shipwreck by Gordon Korman

Shipwreck (Island, Book 1) Shipwreck by Gordon Korman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
These books were such an easy read that I was able to finish the entire trilogy in one day.

Gordon Korman’s Island series wasn’t as fun for me as his Everest series — possibly because the plot was a little less believable, in my opinion.

But the first book starts off in a promising way. It opens on Luke Haggerty, who’s being sent on a sailing excursion called “Charting a New Course”. He was framed by a classmate who brought a gun to school and is being forced to participate in the program as part of his sentence. The program teaches kids self-control and discipline through the hard work of sailing. Luke’s shipmates include the captain, his weaselly first mate, Mr. Radford, and a few other troubled kids.

As the book’s title leads you to believe, the kids do end up getting shipwrecked on an island. The first book covers their journey to this point. While there was a fair amount of action, I didn’t think that this series did as good a job fleshing out the characters as the Everest series did. Many of them seemed more like mere caricatures to me, especially the character of Mr. Radford.

And one detail that rather annoyed me was how one of the characters, JJ Lane, is supposed to be the son of a famous director. Korman tries to legitimize his fame by dropping names of actual celebrities, which I think was a mistake on his part. The book will not bear well with time as a result, and JJ’s relationships with these celebrities would be pretty improbable, even if he were a real celebrity kid. I personally thought it would have been better if Korman had made up celebrities instead of dropping real names.

All in all, though, I thought that Shipwreck was a fun read; not a bad way to pass time on the train.

View all my reviews >>

America’s Next Top Model, C14E02 Recap: “Dreckitude!”

So we’re back for another episode! I think we’ve got a relatively decent group of hamsters, there. There will be drama, I’m sure.

On with the show!

We cut back to the end of the last episode, and Jay says that this is their first official photoshoot. Uh, I seem to remember a makeover photoshoot that, like, just happened, Jay. Shenanigans!

Jay is also wearing a kilt. I don’t know how I missed that the first time around. I’m also not sure if I think it’s cool or ridiculous. I want to say it’s ridiculous, but, somehow, it kinda works on him. I know, I’m shocked at myself, too.

Jessica tells us she was raised in a religious family, and they are gonna FREAK. OUT. when they find out she did a nude photoshoot. Ah, so she’s That Girl this season. She’s concerned, but obviously not enough to blow off the photoshoot. Way to kinda rebel against your family, Jessica!

Jessica kinda reminds me of Christina Aguilera, when she had dark hair.

If Christina became Xtina when she dyed her hair, does that mean that Jessica is now JXica?

Raina sees a jacket and a shirt, and says that she just wants to grab whatever will offer her the most coverage. Hey, Raina, just use your eyebrows! That’s a lot of coverage right there.

Anslee feels sorry for the mannequin because it got totally manhandled during the clothing grab. That was a pretty brutal scene. Kinda reminded me of this:


This video is property of Disney

The girls head into hair and makeup.

We see blurring. The girls is nekkid, and ready for their nekkid photoshoot.

Alexandra has a necklace. I am reminded that she’s the plus-sized model this cycle — that’s a lotta body.

Angelea models shoes. Tatianna says that she wishes Angelea would get booted because her personality sucks. Ha!! But then what would entice the viewers back, Tatianna? Well, besides the raging battle being fought between your teeth and your gumline?

Raina has a ring. Her eyebrows insist that I compliment her shoot, and it makes me feel awkward.

Gabrielle has leggings, but she doesn’t know who her inspiration is. She gives some dead, dead face, and Jay wants to see more of a glint in her eye. Jay complains that she’s not modeling H2T (that’s “head to toe” for you ANTM newbies).

Jessica has shorts, and is worried about her grandma seeing her nekkidness on TV and freaking out. But not so worried that she stops.

Alasia gets a vest. She does a few boring poses before Jay finally asks her to “try something different.” She does something different all right: she puts the vest on backwards and then gives the photographer a butt-shot. Seriously. Just… all booty. Jay clearly thinks this is strange, but they shoot away anyway.

Ren has the hat. She boasts about getting along naturally with
the stylists. A real humble one, that Ren. Angelea says that she doesn't think much of Ren, but admits that she had a "bomb-a**" photoshoot.

Krista gets a shirt. I think it’s a dress at first, because it’s nearly long enough to be one, and we all know how much models love minidresses. But it’s clear that it’s a shirt. Oh, and instead of putting it on, Krista just drapes it over herself, like a tiny, ornate blanket. That’s just lazy, IMO.

Tyra Mail! Ooh, there will be an elimination right off the bat!

Naduah’s not nervous and doesn’t think that she, Brenda or Simone should be booted. Brenda hopes it’s not her. I kinda hope it is. But I suppose there’s someone who deserves to get booted more.

Tyra greets the girls at panel. Sally Hershberger is the guest judge.

André Leon Talley!! André Leon Talley!!! Holy freakin’ crap. I’ve never seen him without his signature shades before. I can’t believe they got him to be a regular judge on the show. Nigel bows to him, and rightfully so. I have to think hard about who the previous judge was before I remember that it was Paulina Porizkova (by the way, I just now realized that the world has been mispronouncing her name all along. It’s actually “Pavlína Pořízková”).

Ren goes first. She’s modeling the hat, and her picture is pretty good. ALT says that she’s showing some naïvete in it, and I agree. I can’t help but to agree with ALT, except in the incident with Jennifer Hudson’s Oscar dress.

Oh, ALT. Why? WHY???

Angelea is up next, modeling shoes. ALT says he loves her makeover. Maybe he thinks she used to be a man. The judges love her pose. It’s not bad, but I just can’t stop looking at her tranny face.

Alexandra has the necklace. She’s covering herself with her hands. The judges say that the handboob seems too forced. ALT also says that he needs “ZHOOSH” and doesn’t see it in this picture. I can already see that I’m eventually going to need to start a glossary of ALT terms.

Raina’s hands are graceful in her picture. She’s modeling a ring. ALT compares her to a courtesan. Raina doesn’t know what a courtesan is and when she finds out, she’s like, “Oh.” Ha. The picture actually is quite stunning — except that the eyebrows are coming to get me.

Anslee is wearing too much crap. The judges make her take a
bunch of it off. After all the seasons that the judges have been making the girls strip at panel, you’d think they’d learn how to go minimal on the accessories. And now for her picture. ALT says he has a telescopic view of her nether regions, but she works it. Yikes.

Simone. Tyra thinks she needs to smize more. And I need to smack Tyra more. I have never in my life hated a portmanteau, but, by God, I hate this one.

Gabrielle. She looks like a scared, little kid in her pic. The judges chide her for losing her neck a lot in her pictures. Her hair, which I actually kinda like when it’s loose in all its fro-ey glory, is pulled back by a headband with a random flower on it. She looks crazycakes at panel.

Jessica is wearing a twee, little skirt, and the judges make her take it off. She actually does look more high-fashion without it. I try not to think about the fact that she’s basically wearing a tank top over pantyhose. Speaking of high-fashion, the judges think her shoot with the shorts is high-fashion. She is happy that Tyra calls her a caméléon, with a French accent. That’s French for “chameleon,” I guess.

Krista. The judges are not pleased that she didn’t wear her switch (remember, in These Happy Golden Years, when Cap Garland teases Mary Power by pulling out her bobby pins, threatening to reveal to the world that Mary’s beautiful bun was actually a switch? Ahahahaha!!!). She promises not to disobey them again.

Naduah. ALT thinks her pic looks artificial. Her giant hoop earrings make her look like she’d be better suited for a street corner in Vegas than the runways of New York and Paris.

Brenda. ALT thinks the legs are awkward in the pic. They ask Brenda about her makeover. She confesses that she was uncomfortable with it because her hair has always been her security blanket. Sally says there were lots of models whose short haircuts launched their careers, but she gives no examples. Sally is totally the type of person who talks about books she hasn’t read as though she has.

Tatianna. Her pose is sexy (a little too much so, IMO), but Tyra complains that she just did this one pose the whole time.

Alasia. They picked the photo of her doing the butt pose. Alasia cries silently. ALT says that he liked it. Nigel laughs at him. He will probably turn up dead later as a result.

ALT continues to defend Alasia’s pic, saying he would have it framed and put up in his house. Tyra asks where he’d put it, implying that it would go in the bathroom with a sign over it that says, “Don’t forget to wipe.” He shoots back that he’d put it in his salon (which sounds so much cooler when you say it with a French accent), where he and his undoubtedly FAAAAAbulous friends would talk about art and culture and who-is-this-girl-and-what-makes-this-picture-so-beautiful?? DUDE, I totally wanna hang out with ALT in his salon. Tyra looks dubious. Alasia continues to cry. It is not pretty.

The judges dismiss the hamsters so that they can deliberate.

Ren is good. They like her pose.
ALT doesn’t approve of Simone’s pose. He thinks she’s boring.
Tatianna’s pose was good. The scarf is Roberto Cavalli-ish, Gucci-ish, Dior-ish. Apparently, this scarf is the ish.
Gabrielle’s pic is unanimously panned as awful.
Jessica’s pic is unanimously lauded as amazing.
ALT likes Krista in person, but her photo was not great.
Naduah is just “meh.” But Tyra would totally buy the shades.
Alexandra’s face is retro, and they love it.
Brenda’s face is good. Her photo is so-so.
Raina. They love her body language.
Alasia. Nobody likes her pic but ALT. They make an “asset” joke.
Angelea has delicate hands, according to Nigel. ALT corrects him and says that those are powerful hands. Man-hands, I’d say.
Anslee is generally loved.

A decision is reached. The girls file back in and Tyra whispers the typical spiel. She has thirteen beautiful girls standing before her, but she only has twelve photos in her hands. These photos represent the girls that are still in the running to become America’s Next Top Model. The first photo she is going to call represents the girl who the judges think had the best photo this week. And, ooh, a twist: whatever the prize is in their next challenge, the photo winner from the previous week also gets.

Best photo this week is: Jessica. Defying her parents and offending her grandma was totally worth it!

The runner-up is Angelea. Whatever, judges. And the rest of the girls, in order:

Ren
Brenda
Simone
(She is so pretty!)
Tatianna
Anslee
Raina
Naduah
Tyra kinda mimics how she speaks and it cracks me up.
Alexandra
Krista

Gabrielle and Alasia step forward. I think it’s safe to say that Gabrielle’s a goner because: 1. ALT likes Alasia. 2. Gabrielle’s photo was legitimately awful. 3. The teasers show Alasia having a fight in this episode, so we know she sticks around. Thanks for the spoiler, show.

The anticipatory plinky piano music is very creepy. If a clown walked into the room right now, I would totally scream.

Sure enough, Alasia’s still in the running towards becoming America’s Next Top Model.

Gabrielle is composed — so composed that it’s kinda boring. She breaks down in confessional, though. She says that she though she would be that “one” who broke the barrier. What barrier? First biracial top model? Okay, that’s specific. Now I wanna be America’s first fat and Asian Top Model Blogger.

After eliminations, Ren is wearing an awful headwrap. First of this episode, sixth in the series! She’s got a brutal headache — so she pours herself a glass of wine. Who needs aspirin? She snits that she’s “far too intelligent” to be here. Uh, that would be belied by the fact that you are there, honey.

Tyra Mail! “Why did the model cross the road? Guess you’ll have to find out tomorrow.”

Alasia screams guesses as to what this means at the top of her lungs. Ren shoots her a dirty look. Even I am annoyed.

In the girls’ bedroom, Naduah beats the cult horse again. But she says that she wouldn’t change anything in her life because those experiences were what made her stronger. Uh, not even the sexual abuse? Thousands of girls whose lives will never be the same would beg to differ.

She says that she has standards because she refused to work for Playboy. But she is here to make money. Apparently, she has a husband, and he’s black, and she announces that as though she expects someone to hand her a prize. You’re a regular civil rights crusader, Naduah.

She says that she was living on the street for a while. Raina confessionals that she thinks Naduah’s stories have a lot of inconsistencies. She tells Naduah that she should have just done the Playboy shoot to make money and not live on the streets. Forget Playboy, how about McDonald’s? If you choose to live on the streets in the name of pursuing your dream, then don’t complain.

Brenda doesn’t believe Naduah’s story. There’s no ring on her finger, so how could she possibly be married? Your deductive reasoning amazes me. Because if she were really married, she would have to have a ring!! And she wouldn’t physically be able to take it off! In short, they think she’s a liar. Anslee doesn’t feel bad for her at all.

Clearly the girls are somewhat threatened by her because of her dramatic story — it wouldn’t be the first time that Tyra kept a contestant around because of the drama factor.

The next day, the hamsters walk up to a “white carpet” and Jay Alexander pops out from behind a table. The girls scream their approval. As usual. He informs them, “A top model must keep her timing and pace perfectly.” He shows them how to take off a coat on the runway. He’s actually really good at it. I am totally going to be unbuttoning my coat from the bottom up from now on.

The girls take turns practicing. Alexandra says that she takes criticism well because she’s had coaches in her face all her life. She’s got a thick skin because she grew up having to get yelled at all the time. Oh, and, also, she’s fat. Get it? Fat? Thick skin? See what I did there?

By the way, I should probably explain here that when I say “fat” in the context of ANTM, I only mean that she’s not a size 0. Lord knows that I’m morbidly obese by those standards. So please don’t leave angry comments about how I’m being totally unrealistic and Alexandra is NOT FAT, SHE’S BEAUTIFUL.

Anslee slouches because she has a baby, apparently. She blames her slouchiness on the fact that she basically pushes around a stroller all day. LAME!!

Jay sees potential in Ren, but I think her walk is awkward. She looks like a teenager trying on her first pair of heels and pretending to be a model when she thinks nobody’s looking.

Angelea makes fun of Alasia. Her walk is undeniably awful.

Jay introduces the next exercise: they have to walk across the street. Impossible!! They have to walk across a New York City crosswalk fiercely, whilst unbuttoning their coats, and then walk back before the light changes. The girls treat this as though this will be the most difficult challenge of their lives. They do have to do it with a bunch of pedestrians watching, though.

Jessica goes first and causes a few people to double-take. She was pretty good, I must admit.

Angelea goes next — people are staring at her, and not in a good way.

Ren complains about the challenge. If you hate this so much, then GO HOME, REN.

Brenda looks weird.

Naduah loves the attention. That’s a shock. One pedestrian thought she looked really weird. Other pedestrians think it’s too cold to take off your jacket in NY.

Tyra Mail! “Tomorrow you will really need to be in the swing of things.”

Alasia screams her guesses yet again. Ren wants Alasia to shut up, already. Ahh, this is going to be great.

The girls are at Surrogate Courthouse. There’s a runway. It’s the first runway challenge! Rachel Roy is there. She is beautiful.

The girls will be modeling Rachel Roy dresses. The winner gets to keep the garment and be featured on rachelroy.com.

The runway will have giant pendulums swinging over it. They have to walk through swinging pendulums with perfect timing. I really, really wanna see a girl get clocked. Ooh, ooh! Do you see what I did there? I am on a ROLL!

There is actually an audience for this show. And it’s actually a cool concept for a runway show.

Simone goes first. They have to go down stairs before they hit the runway. HAHA!! Simon gets clocked like Flava Flav! The crowd gasps.

Brenda looks like slouchy to me, but Jay thought it was elegant.

Angelea and Krista walk without incident.

Jessica gets clocked. She has a jacket to unbutton, and she does a good job with it.

Alasia has bright red lipstick and it’s kinda cool. She makes it through without getting hit, which is fortunate for her.

Ren staggers to avoid getting clocked. She looks very awkward all the way through.

Anslee, Tatianna, Raina, and Naduah make it through.

Alexandra’s up. She’s nervous. OOH, she falls down the stairs!! Her competitive streak picks her up, but she’s definitely shaken. “Make it fierce, make it fierce,” she tells herself. She concentrates so hard that she looks mad. She makes it to the end of the runway without incident.

And then, on her way back, she gets hit with a pendulum — that knocks her right off the runway! She skins her knee and rips the dress. Ooh, if she wins, is she going to ask for an undamaged dress?

After the show, Jay and Rachel give the girls some feedback. Alasia needs to take longer, more elegant steps. Brenda was good. Raina gets better the more she walks. Ren was too tight. Naduah pouts as she walks. When she’s effortless, she’s beautiful. That’s actually true.

Brenda wins the challenge. She will get to keep her dress AND be featured on Rachel Roy’s website. MAN, her teeth are scary. Jessica also gets to keep her dress because she won best picture last week.

They go home and Alasia screams about something and Ren finally snaps and tells her to shut the *bleep* up. Alasia exploooodes. Ugly head wrap #6! It’s the battle of the ugly head wraps. She screams at Ren, like, right in her face. Krista laughs at the shenanigans. Alasia confessionals that she hates having to snap at people like that. Hee. Because she just had to.

Alasia’s all up in Ren’s face, screaming that she will not be disrespected. She viciously throws some utensils into the sink. Someone tells Alasia to calm down, which riles her up all the more, and she continues hootin’ and hollerin’. It’s all very entertaining. She shouts that Ren needs to calm the *bleep* down, and Ren retorts, “You’re the one who’s screaming, and you’re telling me I need to calm down?” She actually as a point.

Alasia storms out, and Ren complains about Alasia to the other girls. She picks up a wooden spoon from the sink and says, “And I just had this thrown at me?” Alasia screams from the hall, “If I’d wanted to hit you with it, I would have! Because I was standing, like, two feet away from you!” AHAHAHA!!!

In confessional, Ren cries because she actually chose to live in this crazy house instead of living a normal life. Might I also remind you, Ren, that you also chose to tell Alasia to shut the *bleep* up instead of going about it in a more civil manner. Granted, Alasia would probably have blown up anyway, but at least you’d be justified in your self-righteousness if you hadn’t been rude yourself.

Alasia gets in a parting shot as she flees the scene for good, shouting, “I know where you sleep, dogg!” AHAHAHA!!! Now that’s what I love to see!!

Anslee tries to talk to Ren about the incident. She calls Ren “Chikorita,” which makes me sad because a good friend of mine who used to call me that just got married and moved away and I miss her.

Aww, I miss you, Chikorita!!

Anslee comforts Ren, but later confessionals that if Ren doesn’t want to be here, she doesn’t need to be here. I quite agree. This is America’s Next Top Model, not America’s Next Top Ungrateful Punk.

Tyra Mail! “Make your mark before you disappear.” The girls think the photoshoot may involve magic. I think they are stupider than I could have hoped.

They go to a dilapidated building. Krista says, “I don’t wanna be here! I’m scared!” I am, too, Krista. Of your face.

They go to the rooftop, where Jay Manuel meets them and explains their assignment for the day. They’ll be modeling a fragrance — it goes on as a color and then starts to fade. There will be wind and rain in the shoot.

It is not a warm day, as is evidenced by Raina’s fur hunter’s cap. As though she needs more fur on her face.

Alasia goes first and, when the water turns on, it shoots her right in the ear. Alasia says that she thinks she got water in her briain. I think so, too. She’s shivering, and they keep telling her not to look so cold.

Jessica is using the fabric beautifully.

Alexandra thinks she needs to do really well because of her runway walk. Jay is enchanted with her shoot and he calls her Cindy Crawford. This should please her since she chose to model Cindy for the shoot that got her into the house.

Or need I remind you… of this??

Anslee says Naduah thinks that Naduah knows too much. Naduah thinks people are uncomfortable around her because she’s so confident. I think it’s because she’s practicing her poses in the corner with nothing but a bra on. Weirdo.

Despite her confidence, she doesn’t do well in her photoshoot. Everything she does is contrived.

Raina gets some gorgeous shots and was Jay’s favorite of the day. She nailed the straight-on shots.

Ren is cracking up and Jay stops the shoot. “Don’t look cold,” they say.

Naduah is wearing a crazy mask in confessional. Her attitude reminds me of Elina from C15. She’s so pretentious and thinks that confidence is more important than taking a good picture.

Elina -- embodying pretention and overconfidence since Cycle 11.

Tyra Mail! Eliminations!

Ren cries in confessional (again!) that she’s not willing to give up her happiness and sanity for this. If the other girls are willing to do that, then maybe they do deserve this more than she does. And yet she persists in not quitting. I don’t understand.

Alasia says that she’s sure that everyone thinks it’ll be her. Someone asks her why she thinks that, and she replies that it’s because her walk wasn’t that good. No one dares to contradict her. Because she knows where they sleep, dogg.

Panel! We get introduced to the judges for the second time in the episode. The guest judge this time is Rachel Roy. Tyra says that Rachel is her good-luck charm because she won an Emmy in a Rachel Roy dress. Tyra won an Emmy? For what??

Alasia: ALT calls her “dreckitude” — meaning that her look at panel is a wreck. I write “dreckitude” in my ALT glossary. But Tyra loves Alasia’s picture. Interesting that they disagree on her again.

Anslee has a beautiful profile. Tyra says that she’d buy foundation from her, but it wasn’t even her color. And foundation wasn’t the product. Wasn’t it perfume?

Ren tosses out excuse after excuse. Nigel says she’s her picture looksl like it’s selling H1N1 vaccine. It does look like she’s got a really hot cold. It reminds me of this:

Krista’s pic is stunning. Except for her face! ALT compares her to Naomi Sims, which is a fair comparison.

Like Krista, but better!

Naduah — ALT isn’t feeling it. It’s manufactured drama. Tyra thinks she looks like an ad all the time, and not in a good way.

Rachel loves Tatianna. ALT likes the fragility. I think: HER TEETH!! They’re totally losing the battle. CALL IN THE ARTILLERY!!

Brenda’s photo is no good. Side lighting is not her friend. It makes her look years older. That and the hair combine to make her a little, old man.

Jessica’s shot is okay; the fabric saves her. Her face looks lame.

Angelea’s hair is a mess. Nigel counsels her to open her mouth to get a little sexy.

Alexandra — it’s a good pic, but Tyra doesn’t get it as a fragrance ad. I’d totally forgotten that this was supposed to be a fragrance ad. The other girls just did such a good job!

Simone! She’s beautiful. The judges are wowed. But ALT doesn’t think we’ve seen the real Simone, yet; he thinks she’s holding back. I’ve decided that she looks much more like Kerry Washington than like Aisha Tyler.

So pretty! And she was the best part of Save the Last Dance, which was an abysmal movie with not enough dancing.

They love Raina’s picture. I think that’s at least partially because they nuded up her lips, so she’s not looking so Jokery. Her eyes are admittedly good.

The judges deliberate. ALT calls the shoot a train wreck, but Nigel thinks it’s not bad.

Rachel really likes Krista.
Naduah is “dreckitude”. She’s average. Her pix are flat.
Tatianna looks younger that she is, unlike Brenda.
Rachel is worried that Brenda can’t take pix because she’s going to be on Rachel’s website.
ALT wants to be étonné, but wasn’t by Jessica. I looked that up; it means “surprised” in French. There’s so much more French on this show now that ALT has shown up. That’s only because I’m not counting all the English words that Tyra just says with a French accent. ALT has a Masters in French from Brown, y’all.
They talk about Angelea, and how she seems all refined in photos, but is super-ghetto in person. ALT ghettos it up by imitating Angelea’s hood-rat attitude. I feel like the truth came out just a little bit, there. He did grow up in North Carolina, after all.
Alexandra is pretty, but not remarkable.
Simone is pretty, but not remarkable.
Raina’s pic was fearless. It looked like an ad for men’s perfume. Tyra says she looks like a fierce wolf in her pic. I say, “Well, the eyebrows are about right.”
Alasia doesn’t stand out, but Tyra likes it. She says Alasia looks like she’s going to open up a can of whup-a**. Nigels christens the fragrance, “Smell of Whup-A**”. Hee.

The Spiel. Who’s the best photo?

Raina is the winner. Tyra howls at her because she looked like a fierce wolf in her pic. She makes a halfhearted attempt to howl back.
Krista is next, and she makes a shocked face. She can’t believe she’s up so high on the list. I can’t believe it, either.
Anslee
Tatianna,
who smiles with her mouth closed, probably for my benefit. I appreciate that, thank you.
Simone
Alexandra
Angelea
Alasia
— ooh, she needs to stop wearing her glasses to panel. I’m surprised that the panel hasn’t called her on it, yet.
Brenda
Jessica

Creepy, plinky clown-piano. Showdown: Ren vs. Naduah. Hmm, who will get the boot? I’m guessing Naduah, since Ren has more drama potential. Also, she was hand-picked, people!

I was right and Ren is still in the runniing to become America’s Next Top Model.

Naduah hugs Tyra and struts back to the house and cries. She feels that she didn’t get the opportunity she deserved. Because she just deserves to win. And everyone should get exactly what they deserve. And you totally deserve everything you think you deserve.

Next week on ANTM: Toccara is on the Fab Bus. Brenda and Anslee throw down.

Okay, now here’s my take on the photoshoots. Let’s start with the nekkid one. I’ve taken the liberty of clothing them, for modesty’s sake.

Yes, I am a prude. Why do you ask?

13. Gabrielle

America's Next Top Model

America's Next Top Scaredy-Cat

Why does she look afraid? This looks like a cover for a supermarket novel in which the heroine has a deep dark secret that she’s never told any of her go-go dancin’ friends. Gabrielle was rightly booted.

12. Alexandra

America's Next Top Model

Awkward! And it's not just because of the hand-boob!

Poor Alexandra just looks so painfully awkward, here. Her bent left arm is trying to tell me that she’s going for the broken-down doll look, but it ends up looking more like she just can’t get comfortable on that cube. And no wonder. A cube does not make for a comfortable piece of furniture.

11. Alasia

America's Next Top Model

BUTT SHOT!!

I’ve gotta give Alasia props for making it into ALT’s salon. That said, I cannot ignore that this is a butt shot. It’s like she’s saying, “Hello, world! This is my butt! Have you met it?” And I agree with ALT (on pain of death, in my imagination) that she’s at least taking a risk and that it’s interesting, but I really, really, really don’t think that this pose is doing the vest any favors.

10. Naduah

America's Next Top Model

Look, everyone, it's Captain Obvious!

Naduah has the opposite problem that Alasia has. Alasia forgot that she’s supposed to be selling a vest. Naduah, here, is far too aware that she is selling sunglasses. And not just selling them, but modeling them. I think I would have appreciated it more if she’d just worn them. The way she’s posing here is just a little too, “Look at these glasses! I am modeling them!! I am HIGH FASHION!!!” In short, I thought it looked really contrived.

9. Tatianna

America's Next Top Model

I'm just thankful her mouth is closed.

Tatianna’s pose here is just a little too Maxim for my tastes, although I’m sure that Tom Ford would love this shot. She does a decent job of showing off the scarf, but she looks awfully tense. Look at how big her calves are in this shot. She’s giving Alexandra a run for her plus-sized money with them calves. If she’d relaxed her feet, it might’ve been better. But I will give her extra points every time she shields me from her teeth. EVERY. TIME.

8. Angelea

America's Next Top Model

And now think about what she sounds like, and I guarantee that the picture will look uglier to you.

Okay, I’ll agree that Angelea’s right hand is gorgeous in this shot. It’s a generally good pic except for two three: first, her handboob is just as awkward as Alexandra’s was. Second, I wish her toe was pointed a bit more; it would’ve been more graceful. Third, her face. She looks so sleepy. And, also: THAT’S A MAN, baby!!

7. Brenda

America's Next Top Model

If only she were selling this dress.

This is actually a great pic. Her body is good, and her face is fierce. My only big problem with this pic is that she’s supposed to be modeling the watch — and we can’t even see the watch face in the pic. But she is doing a great job of modeling this dress I made for her.

That said, I wish they’d given Brenda this hair instead of the makeover hair they actually gave her. But, nooo, they had to have a ginger on the show.

6. Krista

America's Next Top Model

What do you mean, 'Shirts are for wearing?'

I didn’t find Krista’s legs to be awkward at all. In fact, I think that her legs in this shot are amazing. And her lounging back looks natural. But her arm clamped across her torso does not. It looks like she started getting cramps in the middle of the shoot. And, also, please tell me that she at least tried on the shirt. Please tell me that Jay suggested that she take it off and drape it over herself. Because I can think of few things stupider than modeling clothing by just holding it up to yourself.

5. Ren

America's Next Top Model

What hat?

Oh, Renona Whiner. She looks gorgeous in this pic, but she’s just not modeling the hat. It’s there, but it doesn’t look like she’s aware of it at all. I kinda wish she’d reached up to touch the brim or something, just to acknowledge its existence in the picture.

Take a lesson, Renona Whiner. This is how you model a hat:

Now, this is a hat I'd want to buy.

I just realized that every time I even see a lolcat, I think, Suck it, Rowles.

4. Anslee

America's Next Top Model

So clutch, in more ways than one.

I love this pic. It’s interesting, and her hands are natural, but pretty. My only nitpick is that I wish she weren’t looking quite so far off to the right — from far away, I feel like all I can see is the whites of her eyes, which is scary. But I think she took a heck of a great pic. Good for her.

3. Simone

America's Next Top Model

I so want this jacket.

Now, Simone’s eyes are closer to where I wish Anslee’s had been. Her face and her pose are so elegant in this pic. And I want, want, want that jacket. I didn’t quite see why the judges thought it was so boring; I thought it was gorgeous. But I guess that’s why I’m not the Editor-at-Large of Vogue.

2. Raina

America's Next Top Model

Okay, I admit, it's a good picture. I can be a grown-up about -- EYEBROWSEYEBROWSEYEBROWS!!!

Okay, even I have to admit that Ol’ Eyebrows pulled it out for this pic. Her body is absolutely amazing in this pic, and the pose is just so elegant — perfect for modeling that ring. And I am also quite proud of the li’l dress I made her, and she is modeling it beautifully. My only tiny nitpick is that her eyes look a wee bit sleepy. But I’ll just blame that on The Eyebrows and move on (before The Eyebrows come for me).

1. Jessica

America's Next Top Model

I so want this jacket.

This picture is just amazing. There are all kinds of angles going on here, her neck looks looooooooong, and there’s a life and vibrancy to this pic that just grabs me. Jessica’s family should be proud, in a shameful kinda way.

And now for the colored fragrance pix, which, by the way: what the heck is the point of a colored fragrance that fades? Because I sometimes want to walk around with a purple splotch on my neck that dribbles into my dress and then gradually fades? Another win for the Useless Product Board of America.

Anyhoots, here’s my take on the pix:

12. Tatianna

America's Next Top Model

F-f-f-f-ierce? How about T-t-t-t-t-TEEF??

Tatianna WHAT did I just tell you about your mouth? KEEP. IT. CLOSED.

And Jay kept making such a fuss about the girls not looking cold in their pictures. And the first thing I thought when I saw this picture was, “She looks cold.” And her teeth are totally trying to bury themselves in my flesh to keep warm. *shudder*

11. Brenda

America's Next Top Model

Too bad for Brenda that the 80s are over.

Drop the “c” in “cold” and what do you get? OLD. And that’s what Brenda looks here. She looks about thirty compared to the other girls. She doesn’t look quite as nasty as Tatianna, but she still looks nasty to me, somehow. And her pose is so boring.

I can see why Rachel Roy was so concerned about Brenda winning a spot on Rachel’s website. I can just imagine Rachel thinking, This is Rachel Roy, not Talbot’s!!

10. Ren

America's Next Top Model

I'b DOT sick!!

The judges hit the nail on the head here when they said Renona Whiner looks like she’s selling H1N1 vaccine, here. Except that no one would ever do something stupid like make the vaccine purple for no good reason. And why is she doing the “vogue” here? It makes no sense to me.

9. Angelea

America's Next Top Model

I hate when the cat makes a kill and leaves it on my doorstep.

Okay, so I kinda have to give Angelea some slack because Jay was the one who kept telling her that the shots with hair in her face looked good. All the same, that does not change the fact that she looks like something the cat dragged in. She looks like she got caught in a sudden rainstorm, and not in the cutesy, romantic-comedy-first-kiss kind of way.

8. Alexandra

America's Next Top Model

Photoshoots are like the prom -- it's not good when things start getting too handsy.

Alexandra’s face is actually good here. But I don’t get what’s with her and the hand. It’s like her hand is the devil and she’s cut a deal with it to get a modeling career, but part of the deal is that she has to include it in every single shot, no matter how awkward it makes the shot. Hmm, that might be an interesting premise for a movie.

What? If people payed to see Norbit, why wouldn’t they pay to see AlexHANDra?

7. Naduah

America's Next Top Model

I! AM! A! MODEL!!

Here’s the thing with Naduah. I actually think this is a decent pic. But she just tries way too hard. Every shot is like she’s beating us over the head with her modeling. Every pose is so contrived. I used to wonder what the judges meant when they said a model was overthinking it, and now I know what it means. It means this. Naduah tries so hard to be all modelly, and we end up with an artificially modelly pic.

Did she do the worst? I don’t think so, but I’m not disappointed that she’s gone. She never would have won, and I’m rather glad that I won’t have to put up with her sense of entitlement and her “confidence” all cycle.

6. Krista

America's Next Top Model

Meh.

I have no idea why the judges went so gaga for this picture. It was okay, I guess, but she looks like she’s playing chess with you, and she’s waiting for you to make your move. And she doesn’t even look like she’s the type of player who’s trying to anticipate your move because she’s thinking three moves ahead. She just looks like she wants the stinking game to be over so that you guys can play Connect Four like she wanted to in the first place.

5. Alasia

America's Next Top Model

This is fierce with ferocity.

This picture scares me. Yet, I can’t stop looking at it. She looks like she’s telling me, “You should buy this perfume… if you know what’s good for you.” But there’s a wild quality to it that I kind of like.

4. Jessica

America's Next Top Model

ZHOOSH!!

It’s a pity that Jessica’s face couldn’t live up to the ossom that is the fabric in this pic. It really is amazing, and if she could have gotten her face not to look so much like she’s trying to figure out if that guy at the mall is the guy she has a crush on or some other random dude that she’s about to have a crush on, it could’ve been something else. I think if she’d parted her lips, that would’ve made a world of difference. Still, she gets points for utilizing the fabric. Jessica’s really good at taking photos with a lot of energy.

3. Anslee

America's Next Top Model

Action shot!

This pic captures the motion that Jessica was trying to convey with the fabric. Her jawline is absolutely striking in this pic, and her skin looks flawless. My only small nitpick is that her hand looks really stationary, like she forgot that it was in the frame. If she keeps that in mind in the future, she’ll give Jessica a run for her money for the most dynamic shots.

2. Raina

America's Next Top Model

Nude lipstick is her savior.

Okay, I’ll admit it. The Eyebrows actually really work, here. Tyra said that she looks like a wolf in this pic, and there certainly is a fierce, animal quality to her. This is a fragrance ad that would make me look twice. But I don’t really care for musky scents, and that’s what it looks like she’s selling, to me.

1. Simone

America's Next Top Model

SERENITY NOW!!

I love this pic of Simone. Because of the cold, all of the other girls tried to translate their shivers into ferocity and animal energy. Simone somehow managed to turn it into a romantic shot. She looks so wistful here, like she’s thinking about the wonder that was her first love. Madd propz to her for being able to convey that, despite all the water squirting about.

The photoshoots have been… rather pedestrian so far. I hope they liven up the themes of the shoots in future episodes. Come on, ANTM, let’s up the ante!

So what did you think? Agree? Disagree?

Cannonball 22: Everest, Book 3: The Summit by Gordon Korman

The Summitt (Everest, Book 3) The Summitt by Gordon Korman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The last installment in Gordon Korman’s Everest series begins with thirteen-year-old Dominic Alexis on the cusp of setting a world record and achieving a lifelong dream: he’s about to summit Mount Everest, the world’s tallest and most challenging mountain.

Along the way, he’s overcome many obstacles: his age, the fear of others that he’s too young and too small to do this, and the physical difficulties of the altitude and the mountain. He’s made a few friends: the Sherpas, his team leader, Cap Cicero; and the world’s top young mountaineer, Ethan Zaph. He’s also made an enemy: Tilt Crowley, who wants the title of youngest to summit Everest for himself. Tilt is older, bigger, and stronger, and he’s determined to win.

Korman has done an excellent job of building tension and anticipation throughout the series up to the moment of truth: who will be the youngest ever to climb Everest? And he also began the series with a funeral. We know that one of the climbers is going to die, and we finally get to find out who that climber is.

Throughout the series, Korman also did a surprisingly good job of giving some depth to his characters; more so than I’d expect in a short, goofy series like this. Perry Noonan is an interesting one. His rich uncle funds all of Perry’s climbing. He’s actually scared to death of climbing, but it’s the one common interest that he has with his uncle, whom he loves. He figures his uncle will be crushed if he doesn’t carry out this dream, and so he’s torn between his legitimate fear of dying and his love for his uncle and desire to please him.

Then, there’s Tilt Crowley. Tilt’s been a bully from the beginning, but it’s hard not to feel bad for the guy when you discover that he grew up in poverty and desperately needs the exposure and money from climbing to support himself and his family. He’s willing to take desperate measures to get what he wants out of his climbing career. We can see that he has twinges of conscience here and there, but will he do the right thing when it really counts?

And then we’ve got our A plot: Dominic’s quest to climb Everest. The Nepalese government is doing their best to prevent him from going because of the bad press they’re getting (thanks, in part, to Tilt, who’s been feeding sensationalist stories to a tabloid back home) for letting a mere child try to climb Everest.

All in all, this is one of the better adventure series out in children’s lit today. The action is suspenseful and entertaining, and there’s a surprising level of depth to the characters.

And, now, you must excuse me while I go and Google pictures of Everest.

View all my reviews >>

I'll probably never get there. Besides, I'm SO afraid of heights.

America’s Next Top Model, C14E01 Recap: “Be My Friend, Tyra!”

Confession: I have an unhealthy love for “America’s Next Top Model.” I started watching in Season — excuse me, Cycle Two and haven’t missed a cycle since.

The only only thing that detracts from my enjoyment of the show is that I don’t have anyone to complain about the delicious ridiculosity of the show with. But that’s what the internet is for, right? I am so totally going to recap every episode I get to watch.

Ostensibly, the purpose of this blog is to review books for Cannonball Read and possibly show off my writing chops to potential clients. But who am I kidding? This feature is for me. Just for me.

By the way, consider this a spoiler warning for the rest of the season cycle . Obviously, since this is a recap, I’m going to give away who makes it and who doesn’t.

Not that the pictures of the finalists aren’t already up on the CW website, either.

Vielen Dank to Intern Rusty, by the way. It’s only thanks to Pajiba After Dark that I was even aware that it was premiering tonight. Thanks, Rusty!

Here we go!

So, André Leon Talley is joining the judging panel and, I have to admit, that’s pretty schweet. And I’m rather excited. There are going to be a lot of capes this season, ladies.

First look at the hamsters. I’m just going to go contestant by contestant and try to cluster all of my comments about them until the first cut.

And here’s Tyra. I must admit, Tyra is lookin’ guuuuooooood. Didn’t nobody ever say girlfriend wasn’t FEEEEEAAAAHHCE. But a cutout blazer? I’m sure The Fug Girls are faint with horror.

Ooh, I really love Jay Manuel’s suit. And I really hate Jay Alexander’s wig.

OMG, it’s ANGELEA FROM LAST SEASON. Dude, does Tyra pick the ghettoest girls on purpose or WHAT? And she is just as abrasive and arrogant as last year. And just as plain, too. She says that she’s done some research since last Cycle. Okay, so you know one model and you mispronounced “Givenchy.” Anyone with access to the internet can do that.

Naduah. She sounds vaguely Australian to me, but says that her accent is funky because her parents are from all over Europe. Speaking of those lovely people, she was born into a cult where she was sexually abused as a child. MAN, that cult was messed up. She’s got a Natalie Portman in V for Vendetta vibe. Like, in a good way. She is beautiful. Aww, she drew a portrait of Tyra, which Tyra claims she’s going to frame. Yeah, she’s going to frame it. Frame it with the garbage can. Excuse me, the recycle bin. Tyra is all about going green, people! Seriously, that sucks about Naduah’s childhood, though.

Bald can be pretty tasty.

Danielle. Danielle has a lot of face piercings. She says that you don’t have to look “cookie cutter” to be a model. Honey, a few piercings does not an “original look” make. She’s trying to look very tough and hard, but her demeanor is so painfully mousy. She says she’s edgy, but she acts so awkward and uncomfortable that it makes me want to strap her to a yardstick to make her stand up straight.

Hallie. Hallie informs us, “I am a spoiled brat.” Yes. Yes, you are, indeed. She looks like Kate Mara. Later, she stands off to the side gossipping with Danielle. I’m sure that she hooked her claws in poor, mousy Danielle and prevented her from making friends with anyone else. She’s picking out all the people she doesn’t like and obviously pointing them out to Danielle. Those other girls are totally going to notice this and hate her and, collaterally, Danielle for it. She explains to Danielle that “we Southern girls are classy” enough not to be trash. Yes, Hallie. Ragging on people right in front of them isn’t trashy at all. And everyone know that a trailer park accent just screams high society.

Another talentless girl, but in ginger.

Gabrielle. She dives right in with this li’l gem: “I stand out from the other girls because I’m biracial. I can pass as black. I can pass as white.” Uh, you can pass as a skank. What is with this girl and her obsession with being biracial? AHAHAHA… she just informed Angelea: “We’re both gonna make it, or only one of us is gonna make it.” Duh, honey. Duh.

And it’s right back to the biracial thing. Dude, she is OBSESSED. She tries not to cry as she confesses to Tyra that people make ignorant comments about her dad not being her dad or her sister being adopted. Yeah, people make ignorant remarks. You’ve made quite a few already. They ask her if she thinks Angelea is her competition. She honestly replies that she does. At least she was honest.

Simone. She’s cute in a wholesome way (which, after some of these hood rats, I could use), but she’s a li’l too beauty pageant. She looks a little like Aisha Tyler. Oh, and she’s experienced being an outsider because she’s, like, totally the only girl in her sorority that’s black. She says that she wants to be either a Victoria’s Secret model… or Hilary Clinton. Okay, I know that beauty and brains aren’t mutually exclusive as a rule, but in this case, she’s kinda boxed herself in. I’m going to take a wild guess and say that the whole Hilary Clinton probably ain’t gonna work out.

Is this the future of American politics? I'm gonna guess that it's not.

Raina. Good God, those eyebrows!!! She’s talking about how she had buck teeth as a kid, but it’s her EYEBROWS that she needs to worry about. MY GOD, and her lips in the Polaroid!! “I was not a pretty kid at all” — and still ain’t, really. Good God, those brows. They are trying to take over her face. And succeeding, a little bit.

Jessica. We’ve got another Texas beauty pageant queen. She’s pretty, but not really memorable to me.

Brenda. She’s this Cycle‘s requisite ginger. The way she talks reminds me of somebody, but I can’t figure out who. Her teeth scare me.

Alasia. Apparently, she became a Christian a few years ago. At which point God apparently told her to lie to her church leaders and run off to sell her soul to television. She’s trying to quote a verse. She says it’s “Galatians 20… Galations 20…” It’s Galatians 2:20, honey. Despite that, I like her.. She’s totally this season’s Cycle’s funny hood rat. You know, like Dionne from Cycle 8. Man, she was so funny. I loved her.


Funny hood rats are the best kind!

Krista. She’s clearly this year’s cycle’s mean girl. She’s pretty urrrgly, too. She says that she’s a fierce competitor, and she’s “hungry.” I know you’re hungry, honey. That’s why you’re so skinny.

Aimee. She looks kinda like Blake Lively — until she bares her scary teeth. Apparently, she sings, so Tyra asks her to sing an impromptu song. Tyra warbles, “Whyyyy do you waaant to beeee a tooop mooooodeelllll?” And Aimee trills back, “Beecaauuuse it woul beeee a verrry niiice thiiiing to dooooooo.” Okay, she’s not going to make her living as a songwriter, that’s fo sho.

Triple threat: model, singer, songwriter. Not that she's good at any of them. Just that she does them.

Tatiana. This girl has quite a gummy smile. WOW, so gummy. It keeps getting gummier and gummier. I am afraid.

There’s an uncomfortable level of bad chompers in this competition.

Jeanna. OOH, I kinda love Jeanna. I love plus-sized models and their plus-sized personalities. They shouldn’t win, though, unless they actually outmodel the other girls (unlike Whitney from Cycle 10. Who, by the way, is not only not a worthy winner — whatever that really means — but, by some accounts, is not really a plus-sized model).

If this is America's Next Top Model, then I'll eat my hat. Or Whitney will eat it for me because, GEEZ, she's starving.


Moving on.

Nida. She is Pakistani and GAWGEOUS. And girlfriend has a sick bod. She wants to show other Pakistani girls whose parents disapprove of her “career choice” as her parents do that they, too, can make their parents regret sacrificing everything to move to America by stripping down to their skivvies for fifteen minutes of fame.

Alexandra. Her body is pretty sick, I’ll admit, but she’s the kind of plus-sized model I hate — the kind who has no real personality aside from “yeah, I’m a big girl, and I was captain of the cheerleading squad and Homecoming Queen and graduated top of my class and I can do everything to compensate for the fact that I love cheeseburgers.”

Speaking of which:

That’s right, Rowles. You can’t touch me in my own domain.

Anslee. She reminds me a little of Cassandra from Cycle 5. She’s pretty, but not all that memorable. She says she is fierce and then tries to prove it with some scary poses.

QUITTER!!

Okay, so we’ve got our first elimination coming up. Oh, Alasia. You are hilariously stupid and I hope you make it through.

The girls are told that they can check and see if they’ve made the first cut. There is lots of screaming and pushing and running to computer screens to rock music.

Aww, Nida was declined, but she’s handling it like a pro. And mousy Danielle didn’t have the personality to make it through, despite all the piercings and tats. She is handling the news quite badly. She sinks dramatically to the floor and — oh, and they have to blur out her London/France region. And — NOOOO. Girl, NOOOO. Never sink dramatically to the floor in a miniskirt. But I feel bad for the poor girl. She seems like the kind who will cut herself and start working in sleazy bars because she isn’t “good enough.” Honey, maybe you’re not good enough for “ANTM”, but that just means you’re still good enough for law school. Or Walmart.

So who’s left?

Raina’s eyebrows tell me that she must go home while her mouth tells me that she must not. I am sure that this means that she made it all the way to the house.

Now the remaining candidates have to do a photoshoot in which they have to evoke a supermodel. They are to do their own makeup to look like the supermodel they’ve chosen.

Hallie smugly announces that she is going to be Vlada Roslyakova. I’m sure she pored over a lot of fashion mags before finally deciding that Vlada’s last name was long enough to impress the Jays. Her shoot is mediocre at best.

You'll have to do more than correctly pronounce her last name to impress ME.

Angelea decides to go with Agyness Deyn, who is so not like Angelea that it makes me laugh. You see, sometimes, when you compare yourself to someone who is miles better than you, it makes you seem like an utter amateur.

Just like Angelea, but blonde. Oh, and she can model.

Ooh, and there is lots of awkward posing going on. This is so not pretty.

Tatiana picks Ed Hardy’s Tart of the Year, Megan Fox, who is decidedly not a model. The Jays purse their lips and berate her for failing to choose an actual model. “This isn’t America’s Next Top Celebrity,” chides Jay Manuel. Notice that he didn’t say, “This isn’t America’s Next Top Actress,” either.

It's sad when looks and talent are inversely related.

Angelea judges Tatiana for not knowing better than to choose Megan Fox. I then judge Angelea for the ridiculous purple outfit she has on.

Alasia chooses Naomi Campbell, because that is apparently the only black model she can think of. The Jays call her on this, exclaiming that “Naomi would neh-vurr pose like this,” with her arms over her head. They ask Alasia to name her favorite campaign of Naomi’s. Alasia is embarrassed because she can’t think of a single one except for “buhbuhbuh…” She should have thrown a phone at the Jays and made a mad dash for the exit.

Can YOU name your favorite Naomi ad campaign?

Krista smugly judges Alasia for not knowing more about Naomi Campbell and I can’t wait for her to fall flat on her face doing something. Because you know that’s gonna happen eventually. Because this is “ANTM”.

Oh, Alexandra. She’s chosen Cindy Crawford and, to make that clear to everyone on Mars, she has drawn a giant mole on her face. It looks more Fred Savage in Goldmember than Cindy Crawford. Cindy would not approve. But, apparently, she does a good job of asking herself, “What would Cindy do?” because she nails the Cindylike poses.

But, still:

I mean, come on.

Gabrielle chooses Freja Beha Erichsen, which is actually a pretty good choice — she kinda looks like her and is able to pose like her. Somebody actually did do her homework.

Freja Beha Erichsen: ur doin it rite.

Krista is next and takes the easy way out by choosing Giselle. Jay says that she’s doing it well by arching her back. I say she could be doing any number of celebrities on the red carpet.

It doesn't take a genius.

Naduah picks Kate Moss, and she does it rather well. They have a similar waifishness. And, possibly, coke habit.

Well, coke is good for keeping skinny, I guess.

Finally, Raina chooses Adriana Lima. They have nothing in common but their eyes, which have a similar intensity — powerful in Adriana; just plain scary in Raina.

You have no idea how difficult it was for me to find a semi-modest picture of this woman.

Poor Alasia. I need you to stay in for the comic relief. I hope you stay.

Tyra and the Jays get together to talk about final cuts. Once again, Tyra is looking hott.

They think Alasia’s profile pic is weak senior photo. They are correct.

Alexandra’s shot is bad; she’s going for a slouchy look, but it makes her
paunch look quite paunchy.

They talk about the “planes” of Angelea’s face. I think it’s more like the “plains” of her face because she doesn’t look at all remarkable to me. But that might partially be influenced by the fact that I’ve also heard her speak.

EWWW, Anslee’s profile pic is nasty. Her supermodel pic is decent, but unremarkable.

Jay says that he loves Brenda’s body. But her legs be lookin’ SHAWT to me.

Gabrielle impressed Jay. Her walk was good, and she seemed to know a lot about fashion. I actually have to agree.

They think that Hallie’s look is not fresh. Got that right, Tyra. In some of these shots, she looks about forty.

I love Jeanna’s personality, but the judges think that her photos were “meh,” and I have to agree.

They call Jessica a pageant girl (called it!) and wonder if she can be made edgy. Groan, that means she’s most likely in.

Simone’s model photo is not bad. Once again, I think she’s cute. But she probably won’t win.

The judges like Krista’s walk and personality. Her model shoot is decent, but her face is le nasty.

Naduah pretty much nailed it. Shoo in! She probably won’t win, though. And the fact that I think she’s pretty good more or less clinches that.

Raina — very Teen Magazine. That’s who she looks like: DENISE RICHARDS! Sarina knows what I’m talking about. But, unlike Denise Richards, girlfriend has no waist. Scary.

Even in the 80s, these eyebrows scared the crap outta me.

Tatiana’s hair be GREASY. The judges have concerns about her not taking modeling “seriously.” As seriously as you take yourselves? No, probably not.

I must be fully under the sway of the show because Ms. Jay’s ginormo rosette is starting to look kinda cool to me.

TYRA, you look SO GOOD. I’m as shocked as anyone.

So here’s our in list:

Naduah
Jessica
— but there’s no way she’s making it all the way. Lord, Angelea’s already crying. They’ve only called two people.
Simone
Raina.
Tyra keeps getting whisperier and whisperier.
Tatiana. Man, those canines are scary.
Alexandra. MEH.
Krista. She cries. Apparently, she’s been trying out since Cycle 1, which I find kind of pathetic. That also means that girlfriend must be pretty old.
Brenda. When she cries, she’s all red, as Josie Pye once said to Anne Shirley.
Alasia — YAY! It’s going to be a funny season!
Anslee cries and is generally unremarkable.
Gabrielle. Which, of course, means that Angelea’s in. Guaranteed catfights, y’all! Aww, I’m sad that Jeanna’s not in. Well, as sad as you can be for someone you’ve only seen on TV for, like, three minutes.
And, sure enough, our last contestant is Angelea.

I’m so glad Hallie’s not in. There’s only so much pettiness i can handle in one season, and Krista and Angelea are sure to provide plenty of drama on their own.

Hallie’s sure that she should have made it. That makes me guffaw. Aimee’s scary teeth faintly attempt a lame song: “Goodbyeeeeee; it was niiiiice — ” and then the camera cuts her off. I wouldn’t bank on that post-ANTM music career, honey.

The hamsters will be going to NYC, where a new girl will be handpicked to join them. New girl? Hmm, interesting. Upon hearing this, all of the girls look apprehensive. They are all dreading the devil they don’t know. But, for now, they celebrate their momentary victory. Awkward dancing ensues.

OOH, the premiere is 90 minutes long?? I’ve gotta go and record “Modern Family” (if you’re not watching it, begin doing so IMMEDIATELY. This show is TEH OSSOM).

Jessica had make a lot of sacrifices to come on ANTM. She had to leave her husband and baby behind. And yet she found room in her suitcase for the ugly hat she’s wearing.

Gabrielle has an ugly head wrap. So does Angelea. Is this the Cycle of the Ugly Headgear? It’s like bad hat after bad head wrap after bad head wrap, here.

Oh, who am I kidding? It’s always the Cycle of the Ugly Headgear.

The girls meet at Madame Tussaud’s in NYC. Simone pronounces “Tussaud” correctly, and I am impressed. They are greeted by a creepy wax figure of Johnny Depp. A man then comes up and starts snapping pictures of them.

OH, GOD, it’s that tool, Perez Hilton. Only a few of the girls recognize him and they halfheartedly scream in glee/fear. His hot pink sweater hurts my eyes. Johnny Depps’ wax figure does not approve. And he mispronounces “TOO-SOD.” I do not approve.

Anslee’s got an ugly head wrap. That’s four so far.

We flash back to footage of “The Tyra Show” that shows Tyra’s interview with Perez. They made a deal: if Tyra let him come on “ANTM”, he can’t cover celebrities’ kids for six months. Why do you care, Tyra? You ain’t got none. And yo hair in that clip is nasty.

Inside Madame Tussaud’s (aside: someone comments that wax figures freak her out. I am inclined to agree), the girls meet the final contestant: Ren. She’s twenty-two years old and from Dallas and she’s a “free spirit” who “can’t be caged.” She is Winona Ryder circa Heathers. I kinda hope she’s been planted there like a mole, to tattle on the girls to the judges. OOH, or unintentionally kills them!

Keep an eye on your valuables, girls!

Perez tells them they need work. “Look in the mirror,” I growl under my breath. “I want fierce” he blahs unconvincingly. Makeovers.

They pile into the ANTM limo. I hate limos. They’re so uncomfortable to get in and out of. But I do love pillows, and this limo is festooned with them. The arrive at the Sally Hershberger Salon.

Jay Manuel is wearing a bow tie. It is quite twee. He tells them where they are. They cheer. I’m sure they have no idea who she is. Especially Alasia, haha.

Gabrielle says that she is ready for whatever they throw at her, and that she wouldn’t mind looking like Dennis Rodman. Oh, honey, be careful what you wish for.

Is this really what you want, Gabrielle? REALLY?

Anslee nervously confesses that she doesn’t want her hair cut. BWAHAHAHA. This is Cycle 14; don’t you know better than to say that?

Once more for good measure: I can’t get over how good Tyra looks. Looks like someone cut back on her baby back rib intake.

Here are the makeovers:

Ren gets edged out with a fringy cut. Transformation to Winona Ryder 95% complete. She just went from 1989 Winona to 1994 Winona. OH, GOOD GOD. Her armpits!! NOOOOO!!!! Ren claims that she never shaves her pits in support of women’s rights. Her logic is just stunning. Ren’s support of women’s rights drift gently down to the salon floor with her pit hair. She looks good afterwards, though. Very Shalom Harlow.

Will she shoplift the title of America's Next Top Model?

Gabrielle is now very blond. Kinda like Foxy Cleopatra, but not as fierce.

I kinda dig this hair.

Krista’s up next. According to Tyra, her cheekbones will CUTCHA. I’m sure that she will cut you in a more direct way if you cross her. She gets a fake clip-in ponytail. Boring. Ooh, she makes a face — she doesn’t like it. But Tyra is feeling magnanimous and doesn’t punish her for questioning Tyra’s omniscient judgment by shaving the girl’s head. I kind of wish they had, though. That would’ve been fun.

Alexandra gets “fiercely real hair” to go with her fiercely real body. Basically, she gets a few highlights and a blowout. That’s not a makeover. That’s a touch-up. Her lipstick is pale and atrocious.

Simone’s current look is too safe and needs some edge. I actually agree. The sides of her head are shaved, and she actually looks GREAT. She looks — dare I say it? Fierce.

Brenda becomes Ugly Head Wrap #5. Tyra thinks she’s too sexy, so they’re going to cut her hair. And, of course, she cries. You know, the last few Cycles, we haven’t had all that many criers. I was starting to miss it. Brenda’s hair is short like Halle Berry’s. They comfort her by telling her, “Your hair made you look a little older.” And now she looks a little more masculine.

Would you like this better in ginger? I wouldn't.

Angelea judges her for crying over the haircut. I promptly judge Angelea for her ugly head wrap. Judge not lest ye be judged, Angelea.

Brenda thinks her hair was her best asset. She looks scary in her pic, but not because of her hair. It’s because of her face.

And now for Naduah. Ooh, it’s ANASTASIA, of professional eyebrow fame. Oh, no, they made her eyebrows peed-on-snow blonde. I hope she can carry that off. Naduah flogs the cult horse again. I’m sure she’ll be hard-pressed not to talk about it. But she is striking. I wish they hadn’t washed out her lips, though. They look dry.

Angelea gets a long, blonde weave, a la Heidi Klum. She looks great — until you see her face, and then hear her talking about how FIIIIEEEEERCE she looks. Proof positive that you can take the girl out the ghetto but you can’t take the ghetto out the girl.

Raina is getting “chocolate locks” (a look I actually love), but they are not touching her Martin Scorcese brows because Tyra loves them. She does look better, though. They give her lips like the Joker. Like, Jack Nicholson Joker, too.

Wait 'til they get a load of ME.

Alasia is gonna be ferocious. She gets curls, and she looks so cute. It actually looks good. She gushes that she looks girly because her hair is curly. She then explodes with enthusiasm because girly and curly rhyme.

Anslee cries as she realizes they’re going to cut off all her hair. But, ooh, she looks good. She sees high fashion in the ‘do, which Jay also does, and so do i. Her new hair is GREAT.

Tatiana is getting a gold weave. She looks very generic except for the black lipstick they give her in the photoshoot.

Jessica gets chocolate brown, too, and the color is great on her. It doesn’t do much to distinguish her, from the crowd, though. She’s still a generic beauty queen.

Now that the makeovers are done, the girls move into the loft.

Alasia remarks, “That crib is ill.” She wants to have a rave in the tub. I’m sure she would, too.

Angelea is looking… not good. The hair just accentuates her ghetto fabulosity, and not in a good way.

Anslee looks like a chemo patient when she pulls her hair back. She should leave it in her face.

Angelea is already stirring up trouble with Anslee about closet space. So we’ve got one conflict so far and the girls have been in loft for about fifteen minutes. Way to assert your dominance, Angelea!

The girls eat breakfast and are tensely quiet. Brenda complains about the negativity that Angelea brings. She gripes, “We don’t need that in the competition right now,” as though there might be other times at which Angelea’s negativity would be more conveniently received.

Angelea demonstrates what she calls the “b****, please” look to us. Multiple times. I realize that this is how I’ve been looking at Angelea every time she’s onscreen.

Alasia takes Angelea to task for being mean to Brenda. Krista conveniently walks by and forces her way into the conversation.

Ren complains about the fighting. She actually CRIES about it.

Angelea condescendingly informs Alasia that she’s young and accuses Alasia of judging Angelea before gettin to know her. That’s rich, considering how many times I’ve already had to judge Angelea for judging the other girls.

Alasia declares that she won’t hang out with Angelea and Krista. Krista accuses Alasia of being fake. She has pre-judged Alasia. Alasia gets mad. She says that she’s getting her “chocolate a**” outta there, and it’s quite hilarious.

Krista and Angelea self-righteously shake their heads at Alasia’s immature behavior. Krista bemoans it in particular because she and Alasia are the only “chocolate” girls in the competition. And now I totally want to eat one of the three chocolate roses that my sister got from the kids in her classroom for Valentine’s Day.

That’s two fights for Angelea in the first episode, and one each for Anslee and Alasia. Jessica says, “It’s not cool to fight.” This tickles me immensely for some reason, and I teehee about it for a good, long while.

Tyra Mail! “Top models get maximum exposure. You must learn how to cover yourself.” Is this another makeup challenge? Or are they modeling Snuggies?

First photoshoot. How long is this show? It’s gonna take a while to finish a photoshoot, and it’s almost 9:30 already. They’re going to be modeling pieces by Custo Barcelona. Modeling them for whom?

Jay shows them a mannequin with a bunch of clothes and accessories draped all over it. The challenge is this: each girl gets to pick one item and wear it for the shoot — but that’s all they’ll be wearing. It’s a nudie shoot! And it’s over! Ahh, that was satisfying.

Next week: the nude photoshoot. Alasia gets into her second fight (third fight overall). Her victim is Ren. I’m sure it’ll be ghettotastic.

And now that the episode is over, here is a rundown of the makeover photos. I’ve ranked them from lowest to highest in my opinion. I’ve also taken the liberty of using MS Paint to make the outfits a little more modest — and, in my opinion, a little cuter because Lord knows that the high-cut leotard should stay in the annals of 80s history, where it belongs.

I judged these based on how much the makeover improved the girl’s look, as well as how well the girl pulls off the new look in the photo.

13. Brenda.

AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL

Guess someone stole her Lucky Charms.

They gave the poor girl a boy cut, and wardrobe made the unfortunate to dress her in green. Now she looks like a tranny leprechaun dancing back-up in a Jane Fonda workout video from the 80s.

12. Krista

AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL

Quick, somebody call He-Man!!

You can’t just slap a ponytail on Skeletor and call it “high fashion.” She’s so skinny that I’m afraid she’s going to try to eat me.

11. Alexandra

AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL

Business in the front... business in the front.

Alexandra is lucky that I painted over these photos because this nice, black skirt covers the unfortunate things that those shiny, red tights were doing to her real-woman thighs.

Her “real woman hair” is just boring to me.

10. Angelea

AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL

A good photographer makes a world of difference.

Angelea actually looks much better in this photo than she did in the rest of the episode. Here, her hair just looks sleek and straight. In other portions, it looked stringy and very much like a bad wig. Even so, she still looks like a tranny.

9. Tatiana

AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL

Just be thankful she's not smiling.

Tatiana’s blonde makeover was boring, but still an improvement on the stringy hair she was previously sporting. But can we stop talking makeovers for a second and talk about gums? Being the oral hygiene freak I am, I know that gum recession is a serious problem. But Tatiana’s got the opposite problem, here. If her gums continue to aggressively attack her teeth, she may not be able to chew her food for much longer.

8. Raina

AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL

Ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?

This is the Joker pic I was talking about earlier. You need to see the close-up to see how Jokery her lips really look in this pic. That said, I think the dark hair suits her better than the blonde did, particularly because they don’t dare to contradict her eyebrows the way her blonde hair did. I’m a little sad that her hair didn’t win its battle against The Eyebrows, but there’s little you can do to fight evil in its purest form.

7. Naduah

AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL

Somebody get this girl some lip balm, STAT!

I actually love Naduah’s look. But she looks awkward in this pic, and the fact that they gave her peed-on-snow blonde eyebrows makes me sad for her.

6. Jessica

AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL

Who designed that adorable dress?

So, I like Jessica better with brown hair. But chocolate locks aren’t enough to edge out a beauty queen, really. And my favorite thing about this picture is how cute the dress I made her is. I would totally buy this dress.

5. Alasia

AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL

I feel girly when my hair is curly!

Alasia’s hair looks cute; much better than the funkiness she was rockin’ earlier. And I just love how hilarious she is, so she gets to be in the middle of the pack by default.

4. Anslee

AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL

Cassandra gone right.

I love Anslee’s hair. It looks SO much better short and blonde. I feel like ANTM finally accomplished what it set out to do to Cassandra in Cycle 5. Oh, ANTM. I’m so proud of you!

3. Gabrielle

AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL

Biracial! Biracial! Biracial!!

I’m sure Gabrielle is thrilled with her new makeover. It’s the height of biraciality — the blonde fro. And I have to admit, girlfriend is wearing it well. She looks good here; it’s one of the better pictures.

2. Ren

AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL

Girl, interrupting.

For all the whining and moaning I did about Renona Ryder, I have to admit that she has a Look, and it’s quite stunning. She looks great with her new hair, and is ROCKIN’ the ruby red lipstick. And the li’l dress I made her looks FABULOUS on her, too. Forget ANTM, I should start watching more “Project Runway”!

1. Simone

AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL

Hotness.

I love this look. I love Simone’s new hair — it totally does away with the “pageant queen” vibe I was getting from her before. She’s totally rockin’ it out, and she looks amazing. And the li’l red number I made her is HOTT. I would totally buy this one, too.

So that’s it for my opinions this week. I have so many opinions that it took me a full two days to write them all out, but it was a heck of a lot of fun, so I’m satisfied.

I can’t wait until next week!!

Cannonball 21: Everest, Book 2: The Climb by Gordon Korman

The Climb (Everest, Book 2) The Climb by Gordon Korman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The second book in Gordon Korman’s Everest trilogy follows thirteen-year-old Dominic Alexis and the SummitQuest Team to Everest’s Base Camp. Climbers rest and train at the camp for a few weeks before tackling Everest in order to get acclimated to the altitude.

I appreciated that Korman decided to dedicate an entire volume of his book to Base Camp because this is how it would happen in real life (well, except for the whole thirteen-year-old trying to climb Everest thing. The youngest person ever to climb Everest was a fifteen-year-old Sherpa girl. If not even a younger Sherpa could tackle Everest, there’s no way a mainlander could do it). The SummitQuest team, led by mountaineering legend Cap Cicero, spends a few weeks at Base Camp training for what’s ahead — which looms over them every day.

Dominic Alexis, our protagonist, is following a nameless urge to climb, climb, climb. Korman has gifted him with a natural climbing instinct — the Sherpas naturally recognize one of their own and accept him without a word. But Dominic becomes afflicted with HAPE (high altitude pulmonary edema) and it threatens his chances of joining the rest of the team on their push to the summit

Korman also spends some good time on character development here. The only girl on the team, Sammi Moon, comes off a bit flat as the “wild child” of the group, but there’s a surprising depth to the other climbers. Perry Noonan is the rich kid with the big secret — he’s scared to death and never even wanted to be here in the first place. Korman does a great job of building a realistic conflict in Perry between his fear of dying on Everest and his fear of disappointing his favorite uncle. Cap is totally believable as the experienced climber who alternately worries about the kids and pulls his hair out in frustration at their immaturity. And, all the while, he, like Dominic, is being driven by the siren song of Everest.

But the most interesting character to me is Tilt Crowley. Tilt is established as the camp bully and all-around jerk. He’s secretly sending exclusive reports to tabloids back home that are damaging the team’s public image. He accuses Cap of being reckless by including Dominic on the team when he’s so young. And he resents Dominic’s presence on the team because, if Dominic completes the climb, he’ll take the record of being the youngest person ever to climb Everest — an accolade that Tilt wants for himself.

But there’s a reason Tilt is the way he is. He grew up poor and with no opportunities. Mountaineering is a sport that requires money, and he never had any, so he had to work hard to continue pursuing the sport he loved. At the heart of it all, Tilt is just another kid who wants to rise above his circumstances to prove to the world — and to himself — that he is somebody.

This book was a fun, quick read and definitely a satisfying hour for anyone who’s ever wondered what it’s like to climb the world’s tallest and most unforgiving mountain.

The climber's ultimate conquest.

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Regular Read: Everest, Book One: The Contest by Gordon Korman

The Contest (Everest, Book 1) The Contest by Gordon Korman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
After my last experience with Gordan Korman, I was a little wary wading into this series. But my sister, who is obsessed with Everest insisted that I give it a try, so I picked it up one day.

Boy, oh, boy, is Gordon Korman back. His Everest trilogy reminded me that, despite his missteps, Korman can weave a pretty fantastic story when he wants.

The plot revolves around thirteen-year-old Dominic Alexis, a young climber whose brother Chris is the second-ranked young mountaineer in the world. He wins a contest that gives him the chance to go to a boot camp where he will compete with nineteen other people, including his brother, to become one of the youngest people ever to summit Everest.

Korman does a great job with the training scenes and with building up a rivalry between Dominic and Tilt Crowley, the camp bully. He did a good job of building the dynamics between the contestants as well as their individual personalities. He also gives the reader the perspective of the expedition leader, veteran climber Cap Cicero. He moves between different characters’ perspectives with relative ease and the story flows quickly and naturally.

And what a story! I’m thirty-two, out of shape, and afraid of heights, and reading this book made me want to train for Everest. If I did, it would probably look something like this, but with climbing instead of skiing:


(Sorry, but WordPress won’t let me embed the only full clip of the montage I was able to find. You can watch it here, though.)

I do enjoy a good adventure/survival story, and Korman came blazing back in my personal opinion with this li’l trilogy.

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