I'm Jenn... one-half of The Amazing Race 4 virtual team, sponsored by Fans of Reality TV (the FORT). My partner, Jack (aka Lobeck) and I will trade off reporting our Amazing adventures for the season here, each week, for fans of the show.
You might be asking yourself -- virtual team? What does that mean? Well last season, Tracey (aka LurkingGirl) and I became the first ever team to compete in this race virtually. As in, on the Internet...not real. So if you want to be picky about it, we're not really there traveling the world with Phil and the other teams (darn it!). But we hope that our fictional adventures and storyline that follows throughout the season will be entertaining to you nonetheless.
Now that we have that out of the way, that's the last bit of reality you'll see from us for the rest of the season.
So...what happened to Tracey? Who is this Jack character? And why am I allowed to compete again?
Very valid questions, my friends. For those that didn't follow the journal last year, I'll give you the "Cliff Notes" version.
- Tracey met a great cutie guy named David during the race last year on our flight from Casablanca airport to Paris. She really liked him and we all teased her mercilessly, especially Ken, Gerard and the Twins.
- Phil accidentally eliminated us at China beach in a non-elimination round towards the end of the race and by the time everyone realized what happened, it was too late to get us back in the race
- Phil and Jerry (Bruckheimer) offered to let us compete again this season for being such good sports.
And that's pretty much it.
After Zach and Flo won TAR3, we were standing around chatting at the park in Seattle when David showed up! He had tracked Tracey down to ask her to go on a sabbatical with him around the world. The problems was that he was heading out the following month, the same time we would need to leave to compete in The Amazing Race 4. That meant she had a tough decision to make, and that's where we left our fans last season....
(Flashback - months ago to Seattle and the end of TAR3)
Phil: “Well Jenn, what do you say? Are you girls going to race around the world with me again in The Amazing Race 4?”
Me: “Well Phil, .....I’m just not sure.”
After witnessing the mutual attraction between David and Tracey, and seeing how excited she was about the prospect of traveling the world with him, there was no way I could expect her to pass up that opportunity. Tracey, being the absolute doll we all know and love was not about to let me give up a chance to do the race again, so we put our heads together and started throwing out ideas, but were not having much luck.
"Phil, I just don't think it's possible to find someone on such short notice to be my teammate."
About this time, Ken and Gerard were walking past and overheard the conversation. We filled them in on all the details, the opportunity presented, and the dilemma we faced. Ken and Gerard lit up as they proposed a good friend of theirs, "Jack," who lived in New Mexico and they had both known for years. "He's fantastic" Ken exclaimed. You guys will get along beautifully. He has a really flexible job so I'm sure he'd be able to join you. He's also been such a fan of TAR for so long there's no way he'd say no.
Gerard had to return to his family, but Ken and I took a trip down to NM, met Jack and informed Phil and CBS of our new team. They made an exception to that rule that teammates have to know each other for 6 months, and Phil must have pulled some strings, because they said if Tracey and I wanted to come back again as a team for a future installment they would be up for discussing that too! Wow, who knew being erroneously eliminated could be so rewarding!
You can read a brief Q&A about Jack and I here. We are both single, attractive professionals who enjoy quality reality television. I'm a 33-year-old super secret computer analyst and am unable to share the details of my job or employer with anyone (even Jerry and Phil!). Jack is a 38-year-old government employee, and that's about all he's allowed to say about his job as well.
Now, let's get to it and check out the competition. Wow, we really don't have a lot of time left at this first pit stop to give the scoop on everyone because we need to rest up for next week's episode. But we can give you our brief first impressions and then get in more details next week.
The first team that comes to my mind is Reichen and Chip, or ReichenChip. That's how I referred to them this week because it sounds like an ice cream flavor, and both the boys and ice cream are yummy. Now, Jack and I have a little wager going as he thinks that both Reichen and Chip are gay. I'm not so sure if they're a couple or not, but Jack says there is no doubt in his mind. "Jenn, please," he told me. "Think about it…they have matching wedding bands and they dress alike." I reminded him that Derek and Drew dressed alike in TAR3, and he said, "Well, maybe so, but these two don't wear God-awful shirts that look like picnic tablecloths. These two are dressed alike and are dressed well. Besides, they're just too pretty to be straight. I tell you, my gaydar was beeping like crazy when I saw these two." I guess we'll have to see, but Jack says this will be one of the easiest bets he's ever won. I guess I’d better bet something other than Paulie’s house if he’s that confident.
Jeff and David....are another couple of hotties. So I guess if it turns out that Jack is right about Reichen and Chip, and he gets them on his team, I'll go for team Jeff and David since it didn't work out so well for Elaine in the Seinfeld conversion episode. Jack reminded me of the old joke that the only difference between a straight man and a gay man is a 12-pack of beer, but he said I could "have" these two, since neither of them do anything for him. Jack did say, though, that he and I might have to come to blows if it were Russell we were talking about.
Monica and Sheree seem really nice, but they've hit some really bad luck along the way. I'm a huge football fan, so I'm hoping we get to spend some time chatting with them at pitstops. Jack likes them as well and thinks that if they can overcome their recent spell of bad luck, they could be someone we could work well with.
Jon and Al are awesome and I think we might be able to establish a bond with them this year like with Gerard and Ken last year. Of course, Jack might not be able to have as much fun as he could if it were Ken and Gerard, but he told me he thinks Jon and Al are pretty cool (at this point, anyway).
I'm not quite sure what to think about Tian and Jaree. My only hope is that there is another challenge coming up this year that involves a donkey and a cart. Jack, on the other hand, is very sure about what he thinks of these two. He doesn't like them, and he'll tell anyone who stands still the same thing. He happened to hear them taping their intro, and when Jaree said, "Thank God we're good looking", Jack leaned over to me and whispered, "Has she actually looked in a mirror lately? I mean, other than one at the circus Fun House?"
On to the first leg of the race – we started at Dodger stadium in L.A. Fortunately, when both Jack and I were in college we attended plenty of tailgate parties, so we felt right at home in the parking lot of a stadium and had no problem getting out of the parking lot. Jack drove and I navigated and we got to the airport right away and were one of the teams on the SwissAir flight. There was a lot of nastiness happening at the airport (Sheree and Monica took the brunt of that), but Jack and I managed to stay out of it all.
Milan was great because Jack has been there before, and I know 15 key phrases in Italian that I learned for a trip to Italy in 2001. We quickly found the bus ticket and were on the 2 am bus. Jack and I didn't hesitate to do the "rescue" at the detour and had a blast. Well, I should say that I didn't hesitate. Jack does have a bit of a fear of heights, but he took a deep breath and agreed to do the "rescue.” And he was awesome! It's a good thing we're both in good shape because there was a lot of strength needed to complete this first leg (although we never saw the need to tie one of us to the other and mule them up any hills).
Basically this leg was a breeze for us, we came in second, right behind the trio of 1st placers, and right ahead of the football wives. Darn shame that we missed out on the free trip to Hawaii, but we're in the upper tier where we belong, so I'm sure there are plenty of trips to be won in the coming weeks. And nothing strange happened either, but I'm sure this will change drastically as time goes on.
Well, we'd better sign off for this week. Jack looks like he’s a bit of a “sheet hog,” so I need to go stake my ground before he is completely out.
Thanks for joining us and stay tuned for next week’s adventures!
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The Amazing Race virtual journal is for entertainment purposes only and is not an account of actual events.