27 March 2010

Heroes vs Villains Ep 6

This blog post contains Survivor spoilers.

By far this was one of the best episodes I've watched. The twist in this episode was that both tribes would go to tribal council to vote players off and the challenge was only for food and the ability to watch the other tribe at tribal council. Boston Rob won individual immunity for the Villains and Candice won individual immunity for the Heroes. Boston Rob faced off against Candice and won for the Villains food and the right to watch the Heroes at tribal council.

The Heroes finally did what they obviously needed to do, which is vote off James. In the Villains tribal council, something very shocking happened.

Russell has the hidden immunity idol (HID) and pretty much everyone knew it. Russell is in an alliance with Parvati and maybe Danielle. These three are in the minority (3 vs 7). To flush the HID out, a simple plan to split the vote is required. Rob, Tyson, and Sandra vote for Russell; Courtney, Couch, and Jerri vote for Parvati. It was expected that Parvati, Russell, and Danielle vote for Tyson. If Russell plays the idol, there is tie between Tyson and Parvati (three votes each) and there is a revote. In the revote, those who voted initially for Russell switch their votes to Parvati and she goes. If Russel does not play the idol, there is a tie among Tyson, Parvati, and Russell and then those who voted for Parvati initially could vote for Russell in the second vote to get him out. What I don't understand (and this is because I am not exactly sure of the rules of Survivor) is whether Russell can play the HID in the revote.

In practice, the voting did not go according to plan. Russell lied and told Tyson that he would vote for Parvati and for some weird reason Tyson thought it would be a good idea to switch his vote from Russel to Parvati. This may be because he was worried about being the one voted against. Tyson, Parvati, and Russell were the ones on the chopping block, so Tyson may have felt like it was a good idea to attack Parvati to protect himself after he learned (wrongly) that Russell was going to vote for her. (Go to Ousted Villain calls his vote flip the dumbest move in Survivor history to see Tyson's explanation for why he switched votes.) In tribal council, Russell actually gave the immunity idol to Parvati and spoke to coach about how he was a player of honor and integrity. The four votes against Parvati were neutralized, Russel received two votes, but Tyson received three votes. Tyson went home.

Even though this was a very risky move that actually paid off. Russell's alliance is still in the minority (3 vs 5). But it is difficult to know whether Boston Rob's alliance will hold up. When Tyson left, he did not reveal to anyone that he was the one who screwed up and voted for Parvati. Rob may assume that Sandra, who was meant to vote for Russell, was the one who screwed up, and he may not trust her. He might think that Sandra was in the alliance with Russell and voted for Parvati maybe because she knew that Russell would give the HID to Parvati. Then there is Coach. In tribal council, Russell revealed that he and Coach had a discussion about the importance of honor and integrity and Russell illustrated these qualities by sacrificing his own HID. This then might put pressure on Coach to move to Russell's alliance. It may even make Rob nervous about whether Coach is with him or not.

Going forward, if the Rob vs Russell conflict intensifies, it will be interesting to see what happens post-merge. Will Rob and Russell unite to vote off the Heroes one-by-one (assuming the Heroes remain down in numbers compared to the Villains) or will either Russell and his alliance align with the Heroes to take down Rob's alliance? It will be interesting to see.

Towards 120 - Lowering Blood Pressure

I've been keeping some statistics on my blood pressure and my weight. I have my own blood pressure measuring machine that I purchased online. Here are the data so far:

Normal blood pressure is 120/80 (systolic blood pressure is the top number and diastolic blood pressure is the bottom number. My systolic blood pressure seems to average around 135 and can fluctuate to highs of even 155! Obvioulsy I am concerned about this, and I have to do something to try to get my systolic blood pressure back down towards 120.

I have noticed that blood pressure really fluctuates. For example, after you have done exercise or eaten, there is a good chance your blood pressure is high. However, in the morning when your tummy is empty and you are feeling relaxed, blood pressure seems to decrease.

Here is what I plan to do to lower my blood pressure:
  1. Light strength training - I have been reading articles online that say that although strength training can increase blood pressure, if you keep it low intensity with high reps, it should reduce blood pressure in the long run.
  2. Increase aerobic exercise
  3. Eat healthy food
  4. Reduce sodium (salt) intake
  5. Reduce alcohol intake
  6. Reduce caffeine intake
10 ways to control high blood pressure without medication (Mayo Clinic)

20 March 2010

Perpetual Demand for Residential Real Estate

According to Boom Town Glad Rags Tell Only Part of the Story, an article on the Commonwealth Bank website, the author argues that describing the recent property boom as a "boom" is inappropriate because it implies a bust. The author believes that, unlike shares, residential property as an investment always goes up in value because demand always increases.

According to the author, "everyone needs somewhere to live, but not everyone needs or wants to invest in shares – so residential property has a widespread and ongoing level of demand that stabilises the market."

This idea that there is neverending and rising demand for residential real estate is completely wrong. Firstly it assumes that there is rising population because a falling population will decrease demand for accomodation. Many cities are growing, but many cities are facing population decline as well (e.g. Detroit, where you can buy a house for US$1.)

Many people use the everyone-needs-a-house argument to claim that residential property prices must always go up, but this is also not a good argument. Everyone may need shelter as a basic necessity, but this does not guarantee that house prices will go up. Let us assume that population does increase and in addition there is rising demand for houses. Even if there is rising demand for houses, prices won't necessarily go up because supply may increase to catch up with demand. Even if more and more people want houses, which pushes up prices, property developers see the high prices and take advantage of these high prices buy building and selling more houses. Many houses flooding the market would reduce the price. This is how the price of many necessities like food remain cheap. It is true that all humans need to eat food but that does not mean that prices of food will continue to rise forever and investing in wheat is a good idea because there are many farmers out there willing to provide food.

Some people will argue, "Yes, but land is fixed. They are not making any more land, so if demand increases and supply is fixed, then prices must go up." This is the argument used by Mark Twain. This argument is also quite poor, in my opinion, because even though land is fixed, accomodation is not. What we are looking at is the necessity of shelter. Shelter only requires four walls, a roof, and a floor. It is true that in order to have shelter you need land, but you don't need much. By building a residential skyscraper, you can accomodate thousands of individuals on one block. In fact, structural engineering is so advanced that we humans can live in incredibly high density. This idea that we are running out of land to provide us with accomodation is completely wrong. The world has plenty of land. It is just that many humans simply choose to live on lots of land because it is more luxurious. I would prefer to live on a massive ranch than in a small apartment, but if I had to pay one billion dollars per day for the former and only one dollar per day for the latter, I would go for the latter. A small apartment is enough for me to live in. I won't die from exposure to cold at night by living in a small apartment. It provides me with the four walls, ceiling, and floor that I need. If residential property prices keep rising, people won't necessarily be forced out into the streets to die. They will simply cram themselves more. Property prices all over the world have gone down, but in Australia they continue to rise. If it continues, houses will be more and more unaffordable, and if this happens then young people will no longer be able to afford houses and will continue to live with parents and developers will build high rises and cram more people together. Even if this doesn't happen (e.g. if developers have troubling getting their building plans approved by the government) then demand will fall because you cannot buy something you cannot afford. If property is becoming unaffordable then because you cannot buy something you cannot afford then the buying of houses will decrease by logic and therefore demand will fall, which will push down prices again.

Wikipedia has a list of countries and dependencies by population density. According to this, the world population density is 118.414 people per square mile (this calculation excludes oceans). The most dense country is Macau, which has a population density of 48,003.479 people per square mile. Macau has proven that you can fit 48,000 people into a square mile, but the world is only fitting 118 people per square mile. This shows that when it comes to making the human population more concentrated, we have the capacity to squeeze a lot more. We simply choose not to because many people like to live on a lot of land. However, we would not necessarily do so if it was too expensive. All luxuries have a price beyond which you cannot afford it.

The Temptation of High-Risk Investments

The Australian published an analysis (Cash the Safe but Sorry Option) on the performance of super fund investment options on 19 March 2010. The article strongly denounces those investors who switched from shares into cash right after the GFC, claiming that they lost because they missed out of the post-GFC rally.

In my opinion, if you are in cash, bonds, or any other safe investment and a rally occurs in a non-cash or non-bond asset and you did not have the opportunity to exploit it, you should not feel bad. The reason why is because there will always be opportunities missed. For example, last week somebody won the lottery and with it millions of dollars. Had I known which numbers to pick, I could have won millions. Should I regret it? I don't think it's worthwhile to regret not having won the lottery because there is no way I could possibly know which numbers will appear. The same applies to investments. There is a massive random component to investing that makes investment results as random as the outcome of a lottery.

The article quotes someone named Warren Chant, principal of research house Chant West, who said the following: "It ... shows the value of taking a long-term view of investment markets when faced with volatility."

This idea that holding shares for a long time wil somehow decrease risk is one of the most puzzling aspects of investment and perhaps one of the biggest cons of all time. Professor Zvi Bodie has the opinion that buying and holding shares for a long time does not reduce risk (read Critique of Buy and Hold). In my opinion, I will assume that holding shares for a long time does not decrease risk and I will wait for evidence to show me that it is true. The burden of proof is on the investment to prove to me that it can perform well. Otherwise, I will diversify. There is insufficient evidence to prove that buying and holding shares for a long time will be safer than holding shares for a day or two. One argument given is based on historical prices. Shares indices like the S&P500 and Australia's All Ordinaries have gone up over many decades. Therefore, a simple risk analysis of statistics shows that there is more upside risk than downside risk. However, this is silly. If the price of an asset goes up considerably, that is not evidence that it will continue to go up. In fact, history shows that often when prices of assets go up sharply, it is followed by a sharp fall when the bubble bursts. If you invest based on past performance, it is highly likely you will buy into a bubble.

Many mutual fund managers claim that their mutual fund of diversified shares constitutes high quality investment because share indexes have gone up a lot over the long run. However, if past performance is the best indicator of future performance, you should not invest in diversified share mutual funds. You should invest in specific shares, e.g. in Westfield Group. Today (2010) the Westfield share price is $12.20 and in 2003 it was around $2.00, which is a 510% increase. The All Ordinaries in 2003 was 2900 wheras today it is 4890, which is only a 69% increase. Therefore, Westfield shares outperformed the All Ordinaries. Mutual fund managers will likely counterargue by saying, "How would know that back in 2003 the best investment would be to buy Westfield? It's better to diversify by investing in multiple shares via a mutual fund. Westfield may have outperformed the market in the past but that is not a guarantee that the market won't outperform Westfield in the future." Exactly! And that applies to shares versus other investments like cash and bonds as well. Even if shares have performed better than bonds or cash from one period to another, how would we have known back then that shares would have outperformed bonds? Shares may have outperformed cash in the past but that is not a guarantee that cash won't outperform shares in the future. Notice how share mutual fund managers argue for diversification when arguing for diversified share mutual funds versus specific shares but ditch this same logic when arguing for diversified share mutual funds versus cash or bonds.

Saving Hard and Working Hard

Many people seem to stress about work. They are worried that they will not get a promotion. They work hard doing trivial things to impress the boss, e.g. making sure they wear the right tie or making sure they are seen hanging around the office late at night. In my opinion, the best you can do is to simply do the work you are given to the best of your ability. There is no need to try to do anything unorthodox.

I find that it's much easier to make money by saving money rather than working hard for it. This is because of taxation. If you earn an extra $100, you may only see $70 of it because it is taxed. But if you work hard to save $100 then you get $100, and because your savings will likely grow, you will likely get more than $100. I'm not saying it's one or the other. You can focus on both working hard and saving hard, but very often people focus on one to the exclusion of another.

If you have saved up money, the need to work hard decreases. Even if you are fired, you have cash to be able to cushion the blow of unemployment.

18 March 2010

Money is Made to be Spent?

I think I am capable of saving 80 per cent of my net pay. That is my target savings rate. One friend of mine criticized me by saying the following: "Money is made to be spent. What is the point of saving money if you're not going to spend it? You get satisfaction from spending money, so by not spending you are denying yourself satisfaction. What if you died tomorrow? You would not get the opportunity to spend and you will have missed out on so much satisifaction."

I happen to think that my friend is not correct. The sentence I have issues with is the sentence about how you get satisfaction from spending money and so therefore if you don't spend money you deny yourself satisfaction. I find personally that spending does not give me much satisifaction. Saving money, on the other hand, seems to give me a lot of satisfaction. Saving money is a form of insurance because it allows you to be better off in the event of an emergency. An individual can spend money and receive satisfaction by buying income protection insurance. In the event of a job loss, that individual will not starve to death. Alternatively, instead of buying income protection insurance, an individual can save money and in the event of being fired from his job he will have a pool of money leftover to spend on necessities like food, which prevents him from starving to death. Hence saving money or spending money can both give satisfaction. That spending may give you satisifaction does not mean that not spending does not give you satisifaction.

If I died tomorrow, it is not as if I have missed out on an opportunity to achieve a very high level of satisifaction. If I spent all my money now and was broke, I would become fearful because I no longer have a safety net in the event of some unfortunately event. This fear would decrease my satisifaction. Therefore, if I spend all my money now till I was broke, I would become fearful, my satisifaction would go down, and then I would die. If I kept my money and saved it, I would be happy because of the insurance and security this cash gives me and even if I die, I die a happy man.

Carbon Offset with Land Banks

In life one can be selfish, but most people recommend that a person tries to be altruistic and help others. An individual can help other people monetarily e.g. by giving money to a poor person. Another form of altruism is improving the environment because it prevents or mitigates an environmental disaster, which benefits other people (e.g. future generations).

Many people accuse me of be environmentally unfriendly because I tend to use the printer a lot (instead of reading documents on the screen) and I tend to have long showers. One way I can show to others and to myself that I am environmentally friendly is to buy carbon offsets. There are many companies that allow you to purchase carbon offsets, but I believe that many people view this with skepticism. After all, if you pay $100 to some company and they promise to offset a certain amount of carbon, it may be difficult to know if they actually did it or not.

It would be good if a company existed that allowed me to land bank and carbon offset at the same time. When I register with this company, they open up an account, and I transfer money to this company often, e.g. $100 per fortnight. Whenever I send money to this company, they allocate a certain portion of land in the country for me and for a low cost (e.g. $1) they plant a tree there. What is important for this idea to really work is that the customer must actually legally own the land, that is have legal title to the land and the tree. This allows the customer to use this scheme as if it were a mutual fund or a bank account. Therefore, as the customer offsets carbon, he or she will also be holding assets that may appreciate in value. This I think will increase demand for the these services.

One potential problem is that when a customer is young he or she may be enthusiastic about improving the environment and plow money into his own land bank, which results in him buying up many acres of land in the country. However, when he is older, the monetary reality of retirement may force him to sell the land because he desperately needs more money to fund his retirement. He may sell his land to a developer who may cut down the trees and put accomodation (or something else) there. But this may indeed happen, I think that the net effect of this scheme is good because if you plant 100 trees and, say, 30 of them are destroyed for private development, you still have 70 trees that absorb carbon emissions, so 70 trees planted is better than zero trees planted. What a person does with his own property is his own business.

The value of the land that a person buys will depend on many factors, the most important factor of which is whehter the council or local government gives approval for owners to build profitable businesses on that land, e.g. a restaurant, a hotel, an investment home, etc. If the local government only allows the land owner to use the land for e.g. planting crops, its value may not be as high than if e.g. the local government allowed the owner to build a hotel there. There is then a tradeoff between the value of the land and how environmentally friendly the whole scheme will be because the higher the value of the land, the more tempting it is for land owners who buy land for the purpose of offset carbon to cash in once the total value of their assets grows significantly.

If land is sold to customers in small one-meter-by-one-meter blocks, it would be very difficult for private developers to use that use to build profitable enterprise because usually something profitable like a hotel needs a lot of land. The private developer may need to buy land off hundreds of land owners before it has enough surface area to be able to build a hotel, and gaining consent from all of these hundreds of land owners may be difficult because, even if many of them may be tempted by the developer's offer of cash, some may refuse not only for environmental reasons but also because they may think that if they refuse they will get a higher offer in the future. Hence a good way to prevent land from being developed is to divide it into small parts and to sell them off randomly to multiple buyers. Subdivision of land will be subject to government approval.

13 March 2010

Heroes vs Villains Ep 5

This blog post contains Survivor spoilers.

In this episode of Survivor, while the rest of the Villains tribe is doing tai chi, Russel finds the hidden immunity idol and uses it to set up an alliance with Parvati and Coach. Russel's intention is to take out Rob. Unfortunately, the Heroes lose both the reward challenge and the immunity challenge. In the reward challenge, James busted his leg up to the point where he was barely able to walk. The balance of power lied with JT who could take out either Tom, a strong and uninjured player, or James, an immobilized player. JT chose to get rid of Tom, which I think is a bad move. The Heroes are down in numbers, they cannot sit out players, and therefore James has to play in challanges. If these challenges involve anything remotely physical (e.g. swimming or jogging) then the Heroes tribe will lose. The only way the Heroes can win now is if there is a purely mental challenge, and it's clear from history that the Heroes are not good at puzzle challenges, so from here on I predict annihilation for the Heroes tribe. There is a possibility that James's leg might heal over time.

Spending Rate Falling

About a month ago, I started keeping a spreadsheet that detailed every bit of spending I did. I did this because I was worried that I may be overspending. Here is a sample of the spreadsheet. I made it using Google.

This spreadsheet has a column (column D) that tells me my rate of spending in dollar per month. The formula in this column simply takes the cumulative amount I've spent so far and then divides it by the number of months I've had the spreadsheet. This is useful because it allows me to measure my performance when it comes to reducing my spending. Recently I have been trying to reduce my spending, and it seems as if I am successful because my rate of spending has been going down. It is now at about $600 per month and I am aiming to get it down to $500 per month. Obviously as you have more data, your rate of spending will smoothen. The chart below clearly shows massive volatility (expected from a small sample size) at the beginning but as it smoothens there is clearly a downward trend.

Tracking your spending like this is useful because it allows you to look back on your spending and to see which areas can be addressed. As you can see on the spreadsheet, I have an essential that I cannot cut, namely buying petrol for my car. I cannot think of any way I can reduce costs there. I give about $150 per month to my parents. This is sort of an optional payment I make to my parents to keep them happy so that they let me live with them in their home. By living with my parents, I save a lot of money because I don't pay the market rate for rent or home loan interest. Paying $150 per month I think is a small price to pay for saving so much. I currently give $63 per month to World Vision, which in hindsight seems like a lot, but I would not feel too comfortable reducing this. If you look at the spreadsheet, it is clear that I love to eat out, and this is clearly an area where I can cut a lot of fat because eating out is not a necessity. In fact, eating out really makes no sense at all, and I don't know what I was thinking when I was spending all that money to restaurants.

I have tried to reduce spending on food. The spreadsheet shows that I go to McDonald's and buy value meals. When I go to pubs with work friends I always get the cheapest and smallest beer, which mostly happen to be the Carlton Draughts (plus Carlton and United Breweries is owned by Fosters Group, a company I'm sure I have quite a bit of equity exposure to). People often look down on me if I eat McDonald's, often saying that it is unhealthy, but I often buy those meals approved by the National Heart Foundation. They would often scoff and say that this certification process is corrupt, but seriously, do they think they know better than the National Heart Foundation? And why criticize McDonald's for being unhealthy then even commonsense would tell you that a McChicken, salads, and water is definitely healthy? I hypothesize that there is just some serious status snobbery going on under the cover of health concerns. McDonald's is like a victim of racism. Food snobs like to put the company down for no real good reason. McDonald's serves healthy food if you choose it, it is cheap, and it is served quickly, so what is the problem? I went to McDonald's once with three other work friends and purchased for myself the Seared Chicken Wrap with Chilli Sauce as well as a bottle of water, all for $5.95. This meal approved by the National Heart Foundation. My friends then started mocking me, saying that I was "deluding myself." How am I deluding myself for trying to be healthy? Furthermore, they had ordered meals with Coke (high in refined sugars) and french fries (high in salt), so clearly they were eating unhealthy and yet they criticize me for not being healthy!

I have gotten into a habit of eating out at restaurants with friends. This has happened so much so that my friends and I have gotten to expect it. When it comes to saving money, the worst enemy is an expensive habit. Eating out, regular lattes, smoking, home loans, car loans, children and so forth can suck you dry without you even knowing it because it just creeps in to your lifestyle to the extent that you think it's normal. You have to really attack the non-necessities. I understand that a necessity is difficult to define and I acknowledge that we humans can be weak when it comes to saving money. The best thing to do is to admit weakness and improve. The worst thing you can do is to try to rationalize your frivolous spending. We humans are all weak but it is better to acknowledge our shortcoming but still try to attain perfection rather than try to justify to ourselves why we should fail. What matters most is not whether you run or walk but rather if you're heading in the right direction.

06 March 2010

Heroes vs Villains Ep 4 - Survivor and Communism

This blog post contains Survivor spoilers.

Hidden Immunity Idols

When everyone in the Villains tribe realized that there was a hidden immunity idol on their camp somewhere, they reached a consensus that whoever went looking for it would be voted off next. Russel from Survivor Samoa went off and tried to find the idol, which I thought was a bad move because now he will be, as Boston Rob said, a "marked man." Even though there is an agreement to get rid of whoever looks for the idol, in practice this may be difficult as there will be a temptation among contestants to align themselves with whoever has the idol. Furthermore, the Heroes tribe has an oversupply of physically strong men whereas the Villains tribe has an undersupply, so getting rid of a strong man like Russel won't be a good idea for the Villains. I believe the Villains made a good choice to get rid of Randy the previous time they were at tribal council because Randy was clearly the oldest and weakest male. Voting off weak females would be a good idea as well, but because the Villains have a numbers advantage, they have the luxury of sitting out females in challenges.

When the players at the Heroes camp realized that there was a hidden immunity idol somewhere on their camp, there was no attempt to reach a gentlemen's agreement not to go looking for it. (Such behavior does not seem heroic to me.) Rather, everyone scrambled into the bushes to try find the idol, and Tom found it, although Amanda saw him finding it and then told everyone. Currently in the Heroes tribe there are eight members. Five players--Candice, Amanda, James, Rupert, and JT--are aligned, meaning Colby and Tom, the remaining Heroes, are on the chopping block. This makes absolutely no sense from a tribal strength perspective because Colby and Tom are physically strong players, but the history of communism shows that when great power is up for grabs, weak people acting together can overthrow strong people. That is exactly what is happening on the Heroes tribe.

Tribal Council

The Villains won both the reward challenge and the immunity challenge, although both challenges were very close and arguably the Villains were just lucky. Nevertheless, the Heroes were going to tribal council where they would vote one player off. The initial plan was for Candice, Cerie, Amanda, James, Rupert, and JT to address the hidden immunity idol issue by giving three votes to Colby and three votes to Tom. That way they flush out the immunity idol and get rid of someone outside the alliance. However, JT and Amanda then thought it would be a good idea to defect and vote with Colby and Tom to vote out Candice, a weak female (arguably Cerie is the weakest one). This would potentially be a good idea for JT and Amanda because it would strengthen the tribe and allow both JT and Amanda to be on the side with the hidden immunity idol. However, when Amanda went to Cerie and urged her to vote for Candice, Cerie argued that this was crazy because if Amanda voted against Candice then the girls would be up against the strongest males, and these girls would be able to win against these strong males. Weak players united are less likely to be defeated. I have seen Cerie Survivor play twice before and she has always used this tactic very well. I do not deny that Cerie is a a good Survivor player. Survivor Micronesia was absolutely horrific to watch because Cerie (and maybe Parvati) organized the weak females to vote off all the males one-by-one after the merge. Colby and Tom initially wanted to get rid of Candice but when JT informed them that Cerie was out to get Colby, they devised a plan that involved Colby, JT, and Tom voting for Cerie. Three votes would go to Tom. JT, who was originally voting for Colby, would defect and vote for Cerie instead, meaning Colby gets two votes. Because Tom plays the immunity idol, Cerie would go. The plan went off like clockwork at tribal council and Cerie was voted off.

When I think about it initially, JT made a bad decision to side with Colby and Tom rather than Candice, Cerie, Amanda, James, and Rupert. It's a bad idea because now everyone knows that JT is on Colby and Tom's side and now it is four versus three in the Heroes tribe with JT being on the side with fewer numbers. However, JT is on the side with the immunity idol, so there may be pressure from Candice, Amanda, James, or Rupert to switch sides and align with JT, Colby, and Tom.

Secret Scenes and Further Analysis

In a secret scene on the CBS website, Cerie complains about Rupert, someone she is aligned to. The impression I get is that one of the most difficult aspects of a game like Survivor is being forced to spend time with people you may hate. This may happen in real life as well. However, if you have a friend you don't like, you can just stop being friends with that person and avoid him. But in Survivor, you may have to continue to deal with that person if you want to win the million dollars. Sometimes you have to tolerate annoying people if you want to benefit. If someone is annoying at work but you need to work to put food on the table, you have no choice but to put up with it. Similarly, if someone in your family is annoying you and you need your family to feed you, you have to put up with it. This is why I think it's important for an individual to try to have an exit plan. If you own a small house in the outskirts and have enough money in the bank to afford food for the rest of your life, then if your family annoys you or if an employee or boss annoys you, you don't have to put up with it in order to live. You can just quit and live by yourself.

In another secret scene, JT weighs his options before tribal council. He reveals something that I didn't think about, namely that even though he is aligned to Candice, Cerie, Amanda, James, and Rupert, of that group, Candice and Cerie are at the bottom. Hence after this episode perhaps there is a four versus three split in the Heroes tribe with JT, Rupert, James, and Amanda on one side and Candice, Colby, and Tom on the other side. JT is the swing vote and holds the balance of power.

The secret scenes also show that on the Villains tribe, Coach is very much on the outside because of his eccentricity. Everyone mocks him and makes fun of him.

Cerie's final words revealed that the plan was for the girls (Cerie, Candice, and Amanda) to vote for Tom and for the guys (James, Rupert, and JT) to vote off Colby. Given that Colby only received two votes, Cerie believes on the guys cheated on her, and she thinks it is either James or JT. This means that JT may be able to hide the fact that he voted against the alliance. James and Rupert can declare that they voted for Colby, but JT can lie and say that he voted for Colby and point the finger at James or Rupert. Tom or Colby could tell everyone that JT was the rat, but I see no reason why they would do that.

04 March 2010

Survivor Pearl Islands

This post contains Survivor spoilers.

Survivor Pearl Islands was played during 2003. Right now it is 2010. Back in 2003, I was in university, so I didn't have time to watch TV because I was busy studying. Now that I work and have free time outside of work, I can indulge in leisure activities, my favorite of which is watching Survivor. I am currently watching the old seasons of Survivor, and I am up to Survivor Pearl Islands.

Iin this season of Survivor there were three cute girls: Michelle Tesauro, Christa Hastie, and Darrah Johnson. It was disappointing that neither of these three girls won. Whenever a pretty girl gets voted out in Survivor, I fell an immense pain in me. Michelle was a very sweet and cute girl but was voted out before the merge. Christa has a deep voice, which I think is sexy, and I really like her hair. Christa made it far in the game but was probably the victim of the infamous Jonny Fairplay. Darrah was thin and beautiful, and I loved her pigtails. I also loved her Southern accent. I could barely understand what she was saying though. Darrah was the victim of Lillian Morris, who arranged to have her voted out. Many players thought that Lillian would be a threat because the jury would vote for her at the end, but this turned out to be wrong. The final two were Sandra and Lil, and the jury voted overwhelmingly for Sandra. Lil was one of the most annoying players I have ever seen. I really hate it how she showed up to the game wearing a full-on scout uniform and then proceeds to go on and on about how she is a girl scout. It annoys me when people make a big show over some stereotype because it shows that they have no individuality that they have to conform to some stereotype in order to make an impression on others. It signals insecurity. It reminds me of another Survivor contestant I didn't like, namely Billy Garcia from Survivor Cook Island. Billy came to the game wearing a full-on heavy metal outfit. He didn't fit in--didn't even make an effort to fit in--and then went on and on about how he is interested in heavy metal music and therefore he cannot fit in with other people in his tribe because no one else shared his interests.

In the final immunity challenge, Lil won and surprisingly decided to vote out Jonny Fairplay, which was a really bad move that may have sealed her loss. She may have wanted the money to go to someone she thought deserved the money more. Sandra is a mother with children whereas Jonny Fairplay--although he has a child now--is manipulative and sexist.