The Amazing Race

Today Mandi took our application package to the post office...

Lets tell the whole story:

Several weeks ago the Amazing Race announced the next application period for the show was open. I have been checking their website for nearly a year waiting for the next chance to apply for the show. Finally, here was our shot.

I made all kinds of plans on how we would shoot our application video, a three minute video submitted along with your applications and pictures and whatnot... I had planned on shooting part the video on a backpacking trip we were supposed to do in September but work got in the way of that and we didn't go. I had hoped to get a permit to day-hike Mt. Whitney and do some video up there but couldn't get a permit. I had hoped to shoot some video on Mt. Baldy a few weeks ago but then Southern California caught on fire and we couldn't get up there...

So with the November 27th due date looming we finally had to just shoot where we could, when we could, and go with whatever material we could come up with.

I had read the application for the previous season months ago so I had an idea what was required for the process. When the new season opened up I immediate printed out the application and rules and poured over them then put them away. I just concentrated on the video.

All the while I'm working through this stuff in my head I'm preparing for my Ecuador trip departing November 27th, just after the applications are due.

For a few weeks I found dozens of application videos on YouTube. I watched those trying to get ideas. While I watched numerous videos I really didn't get a feel for what I wanted to do. I ran a bunch of ideas through my head and either the concept was goofy or logistics got in my way.

Finally last weekend I pulled the video camera out and shot some test footage of Mandi and I. Just some simple stuff of us around the house answering some questions. Some of it was actually pretty good. I put that on the mac and played with it a little bit.

Then we had the whole weekend and I didn't do anything else. We went for a hike Sunday morning, came home and showered, then watched a pathetic Chargers game. I got fed up with the game and said Lets Go! We headed off to REI for their winter sale, then came home and played with our new things.

I then realized it had to be now and it had to be whatever we could come up with!

I filmed Mandi on the floor and filmed various things, then I got the tripod out and positioned Mandi on the LuvSac. I hit record and hopped on the LuvSac with her. We, mostly me, talked for about 10 minutes then I shut it down. I imported it to the Mac and started to try to cut it up. I created an intro title and dropped a little music track on it. I then went to bed.

The next day at work, Monday, I was feeling sick. Really sick. I went home and laid down for a couple hours. I slept pretty good actually. I was feeling better so I got up and started playing with the video some more. I quickly realized I did not want our entire video just us on the LuvSac talking, mostly me talking.

I positioned two chairs in front of a white wall, and our copper turtle, and set the camera up pointed at that. Then I wrote a quick script for us to use and we shot a little more video in a setting similar to the interviews done in the show.

I cut that video into my movie and things were looking pretty good. I edited the video from my HI8 camera at 720P HiDef. I burned that HiDef video onto a DVD. Now unfortunately The Amazing Race requires their videos to be submitted on VHS. Uh, I haven't owned a VHS machine in years. So the hunt was on to find one. It was late and the museums were closed.

While thinking about this I re-read the rules and found that we needed to submit our applications with a passport picture of each of us and one picture of us together. The together picture was easy but I didn't have a passport picture of me. Mandi happened to have one of her.

So we headed out, it was 6PM... First we went to Ritz Camera to get passport photos. While we were there we saw that they had a DVD to VHS transfer machine. I asked about it and found out it does not go the other way. Damn Heteros...

So off to Costco we went. It was at Costco, with their friendly return policy, that we hoped to find a VCR (VHS??? Are you kidding me???). We found a Sony unit that was a DVD/VCR Combo unit. To me this was a blessing and a curse. A curse because I so dislike most any Sony product anymore. A blessing because with this machine it looked like it was be a simple task to copy from the ONBOARD dvd player to the ONBOARD vhs recorder.

Home we went where I carefully unpacked this Sony device. I connected it to the TV so I could confirm what was happening and I peeked at the user manual (yes, I really did.) I didn't find the section that talked about how to copy from the DVD player to the VCR but that didn't discourage me too quickly... I tried to perform this task anyway. Guess what. Couldn't.

I re-read the instructions and found that the ONLY way to record on this piece of shit machine was to connect a video input to one of the inputs on the VCR from an external device such as another DVD player or something. I'm sorry but what's the friggin point of putting a DVD PLAYER ON THIS MACHINE?????????? Sony! You suck sweaty swollen hairy Zebra balls!

Off to the garage I go to get a spare dvd player I happen to have down there. Connect that to the POS Sony and record my HiDef video onto VfrigginHS. I gotta say, my beautiful video really looked like crap. But the hour was late and nothing could be done. We had to live with what we had. I put the tape away and repackaged the POS Sony to get it the hell outta my house!

Then Mandi and I looked at our applications and the rules again. I went and found a picture of us that we liked and printed it out on the Photo Printer. I really didn't like the penmanship of my application so I decided to re-write it. During that same time I paged through Mandi's application and found it was about 1/2 filled in. Mandi said she wanted my help finishing hers but I needed to redo mine. So she took hers into the bedroom and I redid mine in the kitchen.

We decided to try to finish hers in the morning and I confirmed that we had everything else that we needed.

This morning we got up and started talking about the unanswered questions she had. We quickly came up with several good ideas for her questions and then I had to go to work. We chatted a bit more while I was at work and came up with good stuff for the rest of her questions. She made copies of our passports, packaged everything up and headed off to UPS. She sent it off around 3PM and now we wait... Like ten thousand other couples/pairs... Plus the people who have previously sent in applications. Ugh.

Well, the whole process has been fun and exciting so far. We really do hope to at least get a call back but if not I don't think we'll be too disappointed. So many people submit to get on this show, and we really would liked to have done our video better.

No regrets, we did what we could do with the time we had. Fun fun.

Here's to waiting.