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Whimsy

S33.E03: Who Has This One in the Bag?

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I grew up and learned to drive (a manual) in the UK.  Having spent the last 20 years in the US driving automatics, one of the first things I do when visiting "home" is stall the rental at the first red light.  After that reminder, I'm good to go.  I spend most of my time there in the Peak District.  Hill starts?  Yeah baby!  I love driving a manual.

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I can drive stick but driving stick on the reverse side would be challenging. Very, very challenging. Penn said that they were struggling with it and that the people of Scotland were very kind to all the folks driving 10 miles an hour badly. 

Stick on the left side of the orad and I am good. Stick on the right side of theroad would be a problem. My husband doesn’t drive stick.

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On 1/12/2022 at 9:14 PM, iMonrey said:

I learned to drive on a stick shift and drove nothing but for more than 15 years, but that was a long time ago (I'm old). And if I got into a car today and the stick shift was on my left instead of on my right I'm pretty sure it would throw me. I wonder if the pedals are reversed too.

I also learned on a stick and drove one for many years. We recently bought one, and it had been about 20 years for me. Took me about 2 minutes to get used to hit. Like a riding a bike. Of course, I was still driving on the right-hand side of the rode, but I bet you’d be fine!

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On 1/13/2022 at 2:37 AM, GaT said:

Yeah, but they weren't in the US, they had to have heard about the fast growing cases all over the world, they had to have known there was a problem on the 22nd, what happened in that week that made them change their mind about running the race then? I find the fact that one of the prizes for coming in first was a trip to Cape Cod, those kind of trips are usually some place like Bali, did they think Cape Cod was safer? The whole thing is really odd.

I get what you’re saying, but at the time I didn’t think it was going to amount to anything. There had been other viruses in the news before: H1N1: Zika, Eboli. While there were certainly people who became very ill, people who died, family and friends affected, none of them affected anyone I knew. Even during the first month or so of lockdowns, I was expecting it to blow over any time.

I’m not so sure they had any reason to think it COVID was actually a big deal or actually going to affect the race. None of the other viruses affected the race. Why would this one be any different (said me 2 years ago)?

Edited by Ziggy
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2 hours ago, Ziggy said:

I’m not so sure they had any reason to think it COVID was actually a big deal or actually going to affect the race. None of the other viruses affected the race. Why would this one be any different (said me 2 years ago)?

There was no lockdowns, or safe distancing, or wearing masks for Zika or Ebola or any other virus. That should have given them a clue.

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Those ones stayed relatively isolated within areas of the world, and they routed the race around those regions. So it's not as if they weren't experienced with handling new viral outbreaks. 

 

The problem is, COVID went global (or more global than SARS, H1N1, the various avian flus, etc....) which was unprecedented in TAR history.  Usually the outbreaks are much more regional, and that's probably what they figured COVID was going to be at first; and they probably already nixed any China-legs of the race route if they had contemplated them. 

 

But once COVID broke loose on the global stage and countries were seriously talking about shutdowns, they ultimately made the right call to ship everyone home and pause/stop the race. 

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My 15 year old is learning how to drive a manual, so he was really excited to watch this episode with me.  We were both really confused when Akbar said, "I'm stalling out.  I'm taking to long to get off the clutch."  Do you think he misspeak?  Or did he really think that he was supposed to let the clutch out really fast?

I often wonder if teams who repeatedly stall at first are really in 3rd gear when they think they're in 1st.  That has been my mistake on more than one occasion, and that has happened to my son several of times (though he'll deny it) :-)

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7 hours ago, GaT said:

There was no lockdowns, or safe distancing, or wearing masks for Zika or Ebola or any other virus. That should have given them a clue.

Were there already lockdowns, safe distancing or masks in February?  There are always masks in China, so that doesn't count.  (It's customary in China to wear a mask if you have a bad cold ... so that you don't spread it to others.)

There hasn't really been a pandemic since the Spanish Flu, and it was very easy to dismiss concerns when that's the most recent, similar event.  Medicine has progressed so much since then.  We have an understanding of germs and how viruses are spread.  There is a real comfort in how much science has learned since the 1900's.  We really thought we had no reason to be concerned.

All I'm saying is, it's easy to look back now and think, why would they start a race in February 2020?  But remember, in February 2020, almost no one thought this was a thing!  Nothing was happening in February.  We didn't even start talking about this until March, and even then everyone report, every email from the school, every "we might go remote" from a company was still saying "Out of an abundance of caution ... "

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30 minutes ago, Ziggy said:

Or did he really think that he was supposed to let the clutch out really fast?

Once proficient, you can be quick on the release of the clutch. It's a matter of smoothly balancing the throttle going down as the clutch goes up. Novices/learners best achieve this by going slow. Let the clutch out slowly until you feel the engine start to slow, maybe the car leans forward a bit. Then you come smoothly up off the clutch as you go down on the throttle.

That's for starting off, of course. Changing up or down while rolling you just go for it. In, change, out, as quick as you can.

10 minutes ago, Ziggy said:

Were there already lockdowns, safe distancing or masks in February?

As far as I can recollect (without Google's help) in February there were still people saying that stopping flights and locking down was xenophobic, and suggesting that instead you should go party in... let us say regionally themed areas of town.

This in USA anyway. But why would TPTB follow the rest of the world? They are an American company, after all. It's only when their route onward started getting troublesome that you would expect them to start paying more attention to that than to the status quo at home.

Frankly, I think TPTB did a great job suspending when they did, and getting the TAR family home safely before the shit really hit the fan.

 

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To be fair, while TAR's TPTB are in the US, this is one of (if not the only) reality TV show that CAN'T ignore the rest of the world. The Challenge and Survivor also have to somewhat pay attention to the rest of the world because they film outside of the US, but they are at static locations. TAR is a VERY mobile production, rarely spending more than a few days total at any particular location. So they have to be a very flexible production, with Plan B's, C's and D's all set up in case something happens with Plan A (whether it be a natural disaster, political turmoil, a local pandemic, or just plain scheduling issues). COVID was the first time that it was obvious that all of their backup plans were going to be hit with the rising COVID threat.

 

Pandemic Timeline on Wikipedia

Looking at the timeline on Wikipedia. When the race started it was still mostly focused in China. Throughout early February, it was spreading, mainly in Asia, but North America and Europe were getting cases. And then at the end of February is when things really start blowing up, Very telling is the period starting on Feb 22, when Italy went from 3 to 20 to 79 to 152 to 229 to 323 cases each day. By Feb 28, Italy had 21 deaths and 888 active cases. Considering how often TAR likes to visit Italy, I suspect that (along with all the rest of the rising cases) was the wakeup call they needed to pull the plug. The Race losing access to Asia could probably be worked around; but they were on the verge of losing European stops while they were in Europe; that was about to kill all their plans in one swoop. 

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1 hour ago, Netfoot said:

Once proficient, you can be quick on the release of the clutch. It's a matter of smoothly balancing the throttle going down as the clutch goes up. Novices/learners best achieve this by going slow. Let the clutch out slowly until you feel the engine start to slow, maybe the car leans forward a bit. Then you come smoothly up off the clutch as you go down on the throttle.

That's for starting off, of course. Changing up or down while rolling you just go for it. In, change, out, as quick as you can.

Right, I don't necessarily stall when I release the clutch too quickly.  But there is a difference between saying that it is possible to release the clutch quickly and not stall and saying "I'm taking to long to get off the clutch."  He was saying that releasing the clutch too slowly was the problem.

 

1 hour ago, Netfoot said:

As far as I can recollect (without Google's help) in February there were still people saying that stopping flights and locking down was xenophobic, and suggesting that instead you should go party in... let us say regionally themed areas of town.

This in USA anyway. But why would TPTB follow the rest of the world? They are an American company, after all. It's only when their route onward started getting troublesome that you would expect them to start paying more attention to that than to the status quo at home.

Frankly, I think TPTB did a great job suspending when they did, and getting the TAR family home safely before the shit really hit the fan.

Exactly!  I do think it's a bit fair to say that TPTB are looking at the entire world and not just their little corner (like me in Illinois), so I do think they should have been more on top of it than me.  Still, I think most of the world was feeling pretty invincible.  Even if some countries were already starting to shut down and travel was a pain and flights were being cancelled, the reality of the next few months was simply not something anyone expected.

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25 minutes ago, Taeolas said:

To be fair, while TAR's TPTB are in the US, this is one of (if not the only) reality TV show that CAN'T ignore the rest of the world.

Obviously not. But I think they did a good job. A month after TPTB pulled the plug OLAM were still saying it isn't anything to be concerned about.

The USA's first lockdown was over seven weeks away. Italy's lockdown was still six weeks away. The UK's lockdown was eight weeks away. Switzerland, seven weeks away. As far as I can determine, the first lockdown in the world occurred in Finland, and that was on 2020-03-08, which is almost six weeks after TAR suspended the season.

So, I think they did pretty well by cast and crew, acting early and decisively. 

I'll be honest, we didn't lockdown here for another 8½  weeks, and it was over a month before I saw the writing on the wall and began stockpiling food, pharmacy, TP, gooking gas, water, gasoline, etc, in preparation for nobody-knew-for-sure-exactly-what.

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2 hours ago, Netfoot said:

Once proficient, you can be quick on the release of the clutch. It's a matter of smoothly balancing the throttle going down as the clutch goes up. Novices/learners best achieve this by going slow. Let the clutch out slowly until you feel the engine start to slow, maybe the car leans forward a bit. Then you come smoothly up off the clutch as you go down on the throttle.

That's for starting off, of course. Changing up or down while rolling you just go for it. In, change, out, as quick as you can.

As far as I can recollect (without Google's help) in February there were still people saying that stopping flights and locking down was xenophobic, and suggesting that instead you should go party in... let us say regionally themed areas of town.

This in USA anyway. But why would TPTB follow the rest of the world? They are an American company, after all. It's only when their route onward started getting troublesome that you would expect them to start paying more attention to that than to the status quo at home.

Frankly, I think TPTB did a great job suspending when they did, and getting the TAR family home safely before the shit really hit the fan.

 

The February shut down of the show seems right. I went to Mexico with my family in late January 2020. We flew home on Jan 29 and actually landed in Toronto airport at the same time as the last flights out of China before Air Canada suspended flights to China. It was super weird. And if Air Canada was shutting down flights I imagine other airlines around the world were too.

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While lockdowns in Italy etc. we’re weeks away when the race was suspended, I am sure that tptb could see that lockdowns were a possibility.   Even if the6 weren’t a definite, they didn’t want Phil, the Racers and the support team stuck abroad for who knew how long.  Good call.  

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20 hours ago, Netfoot said:

Obviously not. But I think they did a good job. A month after TPTB pulled the plug OLAM were still saying it isn't anything to be concerned about.

The USA's first lockdown was over seven weeks away. Italy's lockdown was still six weeks away. The UK's lockdown was eight weeks away. Switzerland, seven weeks away. As far as I can determine, the first lockdown in the world occurred in Finland, and that was on 2020-03-08, which is almost six weeks after TAR suspended the season.

So, I think they did pretty well by cast and crew, acting early and decisively. 

I'll be honest, we didn't lockdown here for another 8½  weeks, and it was over a month before I saw the writing on the wall and began stockpiling food, pharmacy, TP, gooking gas, water, gasoline, etc, in preparation for nobody-knew-for-sure-exactly-what.

The show suspended operations on February 28, 2020.  I do think it was a very wise move considering what was going to happen in the world in the weeks to come.

The United States as a whole never went into "lockdown" in the sense that other countries did.  I believe in countries like Italy in the hard hit areas like Milan I think they were arresting people for violating lockdown?  We never had that here.  It was up to each individual state's governor to decide what to do, and even then, they were usually "stay at home" orders that weren't necessarily enforced.  Grocery stores were still open, and a lot of businesses that were considered "essential businesses" were still open.  Some people hunkered down in their homes, ordered groceries and essentials to be delivered via instacart or Amazon.  Others carried on like nothing was going on.

In the weeks leading up to 2/28 I do recall thinking that it wasn't that bad here yet.  I was going to work every day as were my hundreds of unmasked coworkers and we thought nothing of it.  I vividly remember on Sunday March 1 when my wife dragged me to Costco and we loaded up a cart full of nonperishable food items.  I remember making fun of her because I was saying she was acting like there was a nuclear holocaust and we would be stuck inside our house for months on end.  I remember commenting that I had never ever seen people buy Spam in bulk, yet it was flying off the shelves.

March 16 was the day when (at least in my area) a lot of people got sent home from work and I believe schools started closing that week.

In watching the three legs of the race that had been run, I am wondering what was going through the racers minds... there was some inkling that things were getting bad in the U.S., but it had been a lot worse in Europe, especially Italy and Spain.  I wonder if racers had thought they would just avoid those countries where it was bad.  Clearly some of the racers thought nothing of hugging strangers or being in close proximity to them.  I do remember when I went to work in February and early March, I had already been avoiding elevators and climbed the stairs to my fifth floor office every day.  So maybe there was a little bit of that in their minds already.

I do think the racers handled the announcement well... there wasn't any "this sucks" or "why can't we keep going".  I liked the comment from the nerdier flight attendant that she is going to look forward to kicking everyone else's butts when they returned.

When they resumed racing 19 months later, it will be interesting to see how tasks change, whether everything will be kept outdoors or whether everyone will be masked up indoors 

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4 minutes ago, blackwing said:

The show suspended operations on February 28, 2020.

Oh crap! I've been under the obviously wrong impression that the race was suspended on 28th January. (Dumbass!) Which obviously skewed my response. 

Never the less, I still think that TAR should be commended for suspending when they did, on 28th February. This was still before any country in the world decided to 'lockdown'.

9 minutes ago, blackwing said:

The United States as a whole never went into "lockdown" in the sense that other countries did.  [...]  It was up to each individual state's governor to decide what to do, and even then, they were usually "stay at home" orders that weren't necessarily enforced.

Ok, I will concede that point, but whether it is a 'lockdown' or a 'stay-at-home order', it is a strong indication of how serious the situation is, or is perceived to be. At the suspension, the first SAHO in the USA was still nearly three weeks away.

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