Coca-Cola for your Office

The Breakmate was supposed to revolutionize how we consumed soda, on par with the advent of the soda fountain and soda bottles, and bring delicious sugary soft drinks to millions of disenfranchised American office workers. So why did Coca-Cola’s foray into small-scale commercial vending during the 1980’s flop so miserably?

It’s not particularly hard to sell Coca-Cola in America, or anywhere for that matter; the global brand is valued just north of $167 billion. It’s the number one soft drink in the US and has been for more than a century. But in the mid 1970’s Coke began looking into a new potential market, one under-served by traditional, full-sized vending machines: small offices and commercial spaces with 5 – 50 employees.

Coke’s solution? The Breakmate, a refrigerated, table-top mini-dispenser about the size of a ’80s microwave that mixed three Coca Cola syrup varieties (Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite) in the traditional soda fountain ratio of 5:1 syrup to soda water. Coke teamed with Bosch-Siemens to develop the device, which was essentially an early version of the self-service soda fountains you find at fast food joints today. It was meant to sit right next to the coffee machine and become a fixture in offices across the country.

“Coffee is a morning beverage, but soft drinks are an all-day option,” said Ira L. Gleser, a Coca-Cola spokesman, told the LA Times in 1988. “And soft drinks are now the beverage of choice in America with people consuming about 45 gallons per capita annually. That’s more than even tap water.” And modestly terrifying from a public health standpoint, no wonder we’re such a bunch of fatties these days.

The Breakmate did receive a modest amount of attention when it debuted, being installed in roughly 20,000 locations in its first year. Coca Cola anticipated the system earning as much as two percent of the company’s sales—roughly 20 million gallons of concentrate—annually.

This did not happen. The Breakmate turned out to be an especially finicky device. The pour quality was wildly inconsistent, cross-contamination of soda flavors was an occurrence, and the devices themselves demanded near-constant upkeep to operate properly. And while the system was designed to deliver a 6.5 ounce beverage at an average cost of 25.6 cents, the service calls quickly turned the Breakmate from a money-maker to a money pit.

As such, Coke pulled the plug on the Breakmate in 2007 when it stopped furnishing replacement parts, and buried the failed system in 2010, when it halted sales of the device’s 1-liter syrup tanks. For now, we’ll have to get our soda the same way we have since 1899: In a bottle.

SOURCE: Gizmodo

Weird Holiday of the Day – Read in the Bathtub Day

Read in the Bathtub Day

A day for relaxing in style, Read In The Bathtub Day gives you the opportunity to have a guilt-free early, relaxing night with no pressures.

Disconnect the phone, lock the door, turn down the lights and pick out your favourite book safe in the knowledge that all you’ve got to worry about is enjoying yourself. Why not splash out on some scented candles, posh bubblebath and – for the more adventurous – a rubber ducky to keep you company?

I have a bathtub, but I can’t recall the last time I read in there. Also, I feel like there’s a bit more danger and permanence in dropping a Kindle in the tub, rather than a standard paperback. The paperback can dry out, and while it may end up warped from the water damage, it can still be used. I can’t say the same for the Kindle if it decides to join you for a swim!

“I knew we were having problems when you put those piranhas in my bathtub again.” ~ Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Holiday of the Day – Kite Flying Day

Kite Flying Day

Find a sunny, public open place, and join in with Kite Flying Day! Take a picnic to the park and get competitive, seeing who can fly the highest, the fastest, and the most intricately!

I can’t think of Kite Flying Day without thinking of this classic…

“Imagination is the highest kite one can fly.” ~ Lauren Bacall

Big Brother: The Yak Chats with Nick Uhas

Nick Uhas - Big Brother 15
Nick Uhas – Big Brother 15

As one of the masterminds behind the all-male alliance known as the Moving Company, Nick Uhas knows all too well the cold sting of the Big Brother game chewing you up and spitting you out. In just the second eviction of the season, the second consecutive blindside saw Nick leaving the Big Brother House after a 7-4 vote against Elissa Slater. The Yak got a chance to sit down with the 28 year-old New Yorker today to learn more about living his life in front of all of America and what the future holds for him post-Big Brother.

The Yak: So, GinaMarie seemed to have built quite a crush on you. We saw Jessie following you around the House, but having seen and heard some of what happened after leaving the game last night, do you think her reaction was overboard at all?

Nick: Gina Marie was a fauxmance that turned into a showmance, and then once I began to see that these emotions were real… We’re in the Big Brother house so you’ve gotta take everything with a grain of salt. Once I started to feel that she was actually into me, I really wanted to protect her from herself. So I almost wanted to contain her emotions so that somewhere down the line, if the Moving Company had to remove her from the game, it wouldn’t be such a hard cut. In all honesty I did care about her. You’d have to be a total cyborg to not have any feelings in that situation. She trusted me and she treated me very well and when she’s out of the house, I’m keeping my word and we’re gonna go on our first date and we’re gonna go to a monster truck rally.

Nick also talked with several reporters at length about his feelings regarding the Aaryn comments, and in regards to his feelings about the comments while he was in the House, he said:

“I was not privy to a lot of those conversations, I wouldn’t partake in those kinds of conversations outside the Big Brother house, but I know outside the house, the best way to absolutely drop that conversation is to go radio silent. And for the most part, I was radio silent in the house, but when those conversations came up, I was really silent.”

Nick Uhas - Big Brother 15
Nick Uhas – Big Brother 15

He wasn’t surprised to hear that GinaMarie and Aaryn had both lost their jobs due to their comments, as it’s something that they would be fired for saying in the real world anyway. Nick doesn’t condone the behavior that both girls expressed, and he said he would have to “cross that bridge when he gets there” with GinaMarie after the season is over.

Nick believes his biggest downfall in the House was creating the Moving Company, while his best move was also in creating the Moving Company, but that paranoia amongst the group was the major reason for the breakup of the alliance. In discussing Spencer and Howard, he thinks that Howard and Spencer got to a point where they talked so much game among themselves that Spencer eventually made himself so paranoid and led himself out of the Moving Company.

Nick is debating getting his MBA now that he’s done with the game, and he plans on continuing to watch the rest of the season, believing that Helen or McCrae are in the best position to win the game right now. He’s also catching up with his fans on Twitter (@NickUhas) and looks forward to hearing what everyone thinks about the game as it continues on.

The Amazing Race: The Yak Chats with Winners – Anthony and Bates

Anthony and Bates Battaglia
Anthony and Bates Battaglia

After 25 days, over 30,000 miles, and 10 countries on 5 continents, Season 22 of The Amazing Race wrapped up last night with a blowout finish that left the hockey-playing brothers, Anthony (@fazo11) and Jonathan “Bates” Battaglia (@BatesBattaglia), as the winners of the one million dollar grand prize. The team not only finished with the cash prize, but picked up some nice first-place rewards along the way, including a trip to London, a trip to Phuket, a trip to Bora Bora, and $7,500 each. The Yak wrangled these two as best as anyone could to discuss their winnings, the race and a potential love interest in the Country singers, Caroline and Jen.


The Yak: That was quite a finish last night! Congratulations on winning The Amazing Race! It must be an incredible feeling.
Anthony: Thank you very much. It’s absolutely incredible. The whole ride and everything. It was pretty cool to hang out with the fans and taking photos. Bates is pretty used to it being an NHL player and having people want photos with him, but it’s pretty new for me. It’s cool to have people be my fans.

The Yak: How do you think this has changed your future?
Anthony: We have a new show coming up. It’s called…
Bates: “Hashtag: Hockey Brothers Do America”
Anthony: We’re pitching it. Just the two of us. Doing America. [Anthony and Bates laugh]

The Yak: People would probably watch that. So, everyone wants to know, what do you have planned for the money?
Bates: I was planning on getting Anthony new teeth, but he’s already going to get them himself, so now I really don’t know what to do.
Anthony: Bates has pretty much been taking care of me for a while now, and he’s taken me on a lot of trips, so I think I’m going to take him on a trip. Now that I have a little bit of pocket change.

The Yak: Bates, which is tougher: The Amazing Race or playing professional hockey? Also, do you think the intensity of the race is equal to the Stanley Cup Finals?
Bates: The Amazing Race is a lot tougher than you think. You watch it on T.V. and you think, “Oh, I can do that,” but it’s a lot tougher than you think. Don’t get me wrong, we made it look easy. [Bates makes a superhero noise “Baa-Baa-Baaaaa!” and Bates and Anthony laugh] Seriously, though, it was tough.

The Yak: I know that you filmed the race back in November 2012, but if the NHL Lockout hadn’t happened [October 2012-January 2013], would you have still been able to race?
Bates: Actually, going into it, I thought I was going to do the race and retire. That was it, so I did the race, and either way I knew I was going to retire.
The Yak: It seems like the decision worked out well for you.
Bates: Well, it wasn’t a bad situation. [laughs]

The Yak: So, you lost your bag somewhere along the race. Do you think that was actually an advantage since you didn’t have the extra weight to carry around, or would you have rather had your personal belongings?
Bates: Well, it was tough enough carrying my brother the whole time.
Anthony: Oh yeah? [laughs]
Bates: Actually, it makes you realize that you pack too much. You don’t even need that stuff. Honestly, if I had to do it again, I’d pack at least half of the stuff.
Anthony: Minus the brother, I guess.
Bates: And minus a brother, too.

The Yak: How close did you get with the country singers? Is there anything serious there or is there anything long-term for the future?
Anthony: Who are you talking about?
Bates: The country singers?
Anthony: Who is that? I don’t even know.
Bates: Kenny Chesney?
The Yak: I get the hint.
Bates: No, we’re really good friends. It’s funny. We actually got to be pretty good friends with the country singers [Caroline and Jen] and with the newlyweds [Max and Katie].
Anthony: Shockingly. I know not a lot of people liked them, but we really got to be good friends with them.

Anthony and Bates Deliver Food in Northern Ireland
Anthony and Bates Deliver Food in Northern Ireland

The Yak: So, obviously, you’ve kept in touch since the race has ended?
Bates: Absolutely, yeah. We’ve definitely kept in touch with them. The Roller Girls [Mona and Beth], we’re really good friends with them. You see each other every day, so you end up being really good friends with them.

The Yak: What was the biggest surprise that you weren’t expecting when going into the race?
Anthony: It was definitely harder than it looks.
Bates: We thought going into it, we were thinking we could crush all the competition and it’s going to be super easy. Whoever they put in front of us, we’re going to crush them. Then, we get there and it’s so much tougher than it looks. We obviously had trouble. We almost came in last a couple of times, but we persevered, and we came out on top. It was much tougher than it looks on T.V.

The Yak: Did you do anything special to prepare for the race when you found out you had been picked?
Anthony: I drank a lot of beer.
Bates: You did?
Anthony: Yeah, I did.
Bates: Oh, you drank a lot of beer. I thought I drank a lot of beer.
Anthony: We both drank a lot of beer.
Bates: And look what happened. We’re super quick!
Anthony: Super quick!
Bates: We’re light on our tippy-toes!
Anthony: [laughs] Tippy-toes.

Anthony and Bates Celebrate Winning $1 MIllion
Anthony and Bates Celebrate Winning $1 MIllion

The Yak: What was your favorite spot to visit?
Bates: We thought Africa was pretty sweet. I never thought I would be in Africa, and then we saw all these elephants.
Anthony: Plus, we can say we skied with crocodiles.
Bates: Yeah, with crocodiles.
Anthony: Who else can say they water skied with crocodiles? I know I can. Not too many people can say that.
Bates: I think it’s unbelievable.

The Yak: Aside from your upcoming reality show, what’s next for the two of you?
[Anthony and Bates laugh]
Bates: I wish that was a real thing, but… [Anthony laughs] I don’t know.
Anthony: We’re just living life. Hanging out. Being super…
Bates: Idiots.
Anthony: Super idiots!
Bates: Super idiots.
Anthony: We’re super idiots, but sweet guys.

The Yak: You’re super idiot, sweet guys who are a million dollars richer now. Congrats again to the both of you. Thanks for chatting with us!
Bates: Thanks.
Anthony: Any time!

The Amazing Race: The Yak Chats with Max and Katie

Max and Katie Bichler
Max and Katie Bichler

Starting out a new marriage in front of millions of people around the globe isn’t your normal honeymoon, but that’s exactly what Max (@MrMaxBichler) and Katie Bichler (@KatherinBichler) did on The Amazing Race. The newlywed couple stumbled at the beginning of the race, but triumphed toward the end of the 12 legs of the race, bringing home 3 first place finishes in a row leading into the final leg. They weren’t able to overcome the powerhouse team of Anthony and Bates, who took home the grand prize, but they ended up with the 2nd place finish in a race around the world. The Yak got a moment to sit down with the newlyweds today to discuss what married life holds next for them.


The Yak: It was a close call at the end of the race last night. It was tough to watch, but I have to commend you on making it to the Final 3. Very few teams get the opportunity to race all the way from start to finish, so congratulations on that accomplishment.
Max: Thanks. 
Katie: Thank you!

The Yak: Obviously, you didn’t have a “normal” honeymoon by any means, but how did you enjoy the race and have you been able to take a regular honeymoon since you finished the race?
Max: No, we haven’t yet. We decided that we’d watch the race through in it’s entirety, and then we’re going to go away for our 1-year anniversary instead. It was probably the most public honeymoon that anybody’s ever taken, and we invited all of America to come along with us, so it was definitely interesting.

The Yak: Max, in the beginning of the last episode, you mentioned that you were concerned with beating Mona and Beth. Why did you think they were such strong competition, and do you regret how you played that last U-Turn?
Max: No, I think it was Bates and Anthony that said their greatest competition was Mona and Beth because Katie and I knew that our biggest competition was Bates and Anthony. Although we were friendly with Bates and Anthony and Caroline and Jen, and we like them all as people, Katie and I were there to win and we had planned on U-Turning Bates and Anthony in Scotland if we would have gotten there first. We didn’t get there first, and we arrived after them, so at that point, it was time to U-Turn whomever was in the back and buy yourself some insurance in case you get a flat tire or something along the way. We knew all along that Bates and Anthony were going to be a problem for us, but we never had a chance to get rid of them because in Vietnam, the U-Turn was pretty much an impotent U-Turn there because Dave and Conner had already eliminated themselves that morning, so we didn’t want to waste our U-Turn on that.

The Yak: Was was the biggest obstacle or fear that you overcame while you were on the race?
Max: I think learning how to race and be married at the same time. There’s a huge learning curve on the race, and the longer you’re in it, the better you get at it. Maybe we were getting better at the marriage thing, and we were also getting better at the racing thing at the same time, but that’s the biggest obstacle right there. Having two things that you’re trying to nurture at one time.

Max and Katie During the Second Leg
Max and Katie During the Second Leg

The Yak: What was your favorite place to visit?
Katie: It’s hard to pick just one place that’s my favorite because everything was so different, culturally. We loved Switzerland. That was awesome. Bora Bora was the most tropical paradise you could ever imagine. Those would be my top two.
Max: If we were going to take a honeymoon, we had considered Bora Bora initially, and we definitely confirmed our suspicion. It made us want to go back there. For a honeymoon, I don’t think you could beat it. It’s absolutely the most gorgeous place I’ve seen on this earth.

The Yak: What was the toughest challenge that you faced on the race?
Max: The most difficult was probably Cheese Hill, maybe.
Katie: Yeah, Cheese Hill was hard.
Max: Physically, Cheese Hill was probably the most difficult and demanding thing we did. We did pretty well, but it was really hard. I remember climbing up the ladder with the 50-pound wheels of cheese, and Katie looked at me and said, “Do you got this?” I said, “I think so,” and she said, “Good for you!” I thought was going to puke because I was so gassed and so winded. You have to remember, we were at elevation as well, so it compounded everything. Physically, that Switchback may have been the most demanding of all of them.

The Yak: Would you consider doing Amazing Race again or another reality type show?
Max: Yeah! Katie and I, in coming as close as we did to winning, all we think about now is an All-Star season or “Unfinished Business” because we feel like just when we started to get really good at the race and figure it out, that’s when it ended for us. We really think about it pretty much daily. Katie is also a huge reality fan, and I think Katie would go for just about anything else, reality-wise. [Katie laughs] I know she’s been pushing me toward some other shows, too, so we’ll see. You only get 15 minutes of fame with the race, but if it turns into something else, it’ll be awesome. If people liked us and they’d like to see more of us on something else, then that’d be a great compliment. If they hated us and they want to see more of us because they hate us so much, that would be just as good of a compliment.
The Yak: Just as long as they’re talking about you, right?
Max: Exactly! Just like Yogi Bera said, ” Half of them will hate you, half of them will love you, and the other half won’t know who you are.”

The Yak: Was there anything that really caught you by surprise while you were on the race? Maybe something you weren’t expecting before you went into it?
Max: Yeah, for me, it was how hard the race was, physically, with the travel. You’re not sleeping in a hotel bedroom, you’re sleeping on a beach or an airport floor or in a tent or a hammock, so that was the thing that caught me most by surprise. It’s just so hard on the body, and you see why people make really poor decisions, like when the clue said to take a train and they take a cab. You’re watching at home with a bag of potato chips, and you’re like, “Oh, you dummy! How could you be so stupid?” Well, you’re so stupid because you haven’t slept in a bed in 4 nights, you haven’t had a shower in 5 days, and you’re probably starving, so that’s like the trifecta right there.
The Yak: That seems to be the consensus amongst the teams. It’s much tougher than you expected it to be before going into the race.
Max: I think everything translates well over the television, except for that part of it. You don’t see me on a plane for 17 hours, you see a yellow line darting from Zurich to Botswana. It’s definitely much harder, and I know that Phil told all of us on Day 1 at the starting line, he said, “For some reason, everybody says at the Pit Stop on the first leg, it’s much harder than it looks. I don’t know why everyone thinks it looks so easy.” I just don’t think it translates to really show how difficult it really is.

Max and Katie Run Through a Task
Max and Katie Run Through a Task

The Yak: Did you do anything special to prepare for the race once you found out you had been selected?
Katie: To prepare, we did a lot of homework on the past challenges, including every possible thing, like watching everyone’s exit interviews to see if they would have packed something differently or do something differently, so I definitely did my homework in that sense. Physically, we did cross fit, we ran with backpacks on, we did everything you possibly could to prepare.
Max: You could always do more, but we felt very physically prepared for the race, and mentally, we were pretty sharp. We knew capitals. We knew different flags. I think we felt very prepared going in, but nothing can really prepare you other than running it once. There’s too many unknowns out there, and it’s hard to say what you’re going to do when you’re under so much anxiety and so much stress. You can’t prepare yourself for that.

The Yak: What’s next for the both of you?
Katie: We’ve gone back to our normal lives. Everything is business as usual. We’re back to work.
Max: We’re waiting for the phone to ring, so help us by getting the phone ringing. We’ve got nothing right now, but we’re waiting for any opportunity that might happen.

The Yak: We’ll get the word out for you! Thanks for talking with us!
Max: Thank you!
Katie: Thank you, Yakkity Yaks!

The Amazing Race: The Yak Chats with Mona and Beth

Mona Egender and Beth Bandimere
Mona Egender and Beth Bandimere

In a race around the world, the Final 3 teams started the 12th Leg of The Amazing Race by making their way to London, England, where they enjoyed a pint of the UK’s finest brew, before they hopped a flight to our nation’s capital, Washington D.C. Once back on US soil, the teams raced their way to the Lincoln Memorial where they stood in the exact spot where Martin Luther King Jr gave his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech. The teams also had to take their photo with the President of the United States (well, close enough anyway), play spy with 50 briefcase carrying agents, and play catch at Nationals Park. When all was said and done, the Roller Derby Moms, Mona Egender (@MonaEgender) and Beth Bandimere (@BethBandimere), ended up with a third place finish. The Yak chatted with the derby darling duo today to discuss their time on the race.


The Yak: It was such a bittersweet elimination last night. Knowing that the race was over, but it was great to see you finish at the same time. You definitely did something amazing by making it to the Final 3, as it was something that a lot of the other teams wished they could have done.
Beth: Absolutely.
Mona: We keep saying that, “We’re number 3!” [laughs] We were proud of ourselves, though. Not a lot of people get to say that they completed the whole race. Heck, not a whole lot of people even get to go on the show to begin with, so we were definitely proud of ourselves.

The Yak: So, now that the race has ended, what did your kids think about how you did?
Beth: Our kids are proud of us. Our littler ones, they were excited and loved it from the get-go. Our teenagers, last night, we got some texts from the older kids that said, “Wow, Mom! We’re really proud of you!” To hear that from your 16 year-old kid, it means a lot.
Mona: Hopefully, they think we’re a little bit cooler than they did before the show aired.

The Yak: In regards to the Serving Detour, how long did it actually take you to do it? Was it as long as it appeared on camera, and was it not obvious that the menu was right there for you to follow?
Mona: It felt like we were there for a week. In reality, I think we ended up finishing about 40 minutes behind the other two teams. I completely missed that menu. I did not see it at all. I just had tunnel-vision, and I knew that something was off, but I couldn’t quite pinpoint what it was. The second we figured it out, we busted right through that challenge. It was really frustrating to know that if I had opened my eyes and paid attention to detail like I said I would, we could have had a completely different outcome.
The Yak: That seems to happen to quite a few teams, where you get focused on the finish line and you miss important details. We’ve seen it time and time again, so I can understand how that could happen in the heat of the moment.
Mona: It’s funny. There’s this killer fatigue that sets in and you get tunnel-vision. I missed it, too, when we first got to the challenge, I didn’t see it either. We were so tired by that point. It was terrible.

The Yak: Of course, it’s well known that you’re on a Roller Derby team together. How was this experience compared to your roller derby experience?
Beth: It’s funny. Roller derby prepared us for this, so the feeling of a really intense competition was nothing new to us. I mean, we may take it to a whole different level. In regards to the physical part of it, in derby, we let people knock us down to the ground, so we were prepared for being physically uncomfortable. We also do a lot of sports psychology training, so we were able to decompress and then move on when we had a bad leg or bad task. So, it definitely helped us.

Mona and Beth Paddle Through Another Challenge
Mona and Beth Paddle Through Another Challenge

The Yak: Would you consider doing The Amazing Race again or perhaps another reality based show?
Mona: We would do it again in a heartbeat. If they called and said, “Fly out tomorrow!”, we’d be on a plane yesterday. It was such an amazing opportunity. Absolutely. We love stuff like this. We love competing. We love seeing the world. We love meeting all the people we did. It was so great. We would be down for anything.
Beth: It was hard, and it was difficult, but to be able to do it. I mean, how many people in their lifetime get to do something like that? What an amazing opportunity. The only reality show we probably wouldn’t do is Fear Factor, just because we’d be really afraid of what they’d make us eat.

The Yak: What do you think was the biggest obstacle or fear that you overcame during the race?
Mona: The biggest obstacle for us was navigating foreign countries and figuring out how to get places. We got lost a couple of times. We didn’t pay attention to detail. We definitely had tunnel-vision more than once, where we would run straight past a clue box or look at a clue and assume it says something that meant something completely opposite of what it actually did say. We just needed to take a breath, slow down, and really make sure we understood what we were doing before we got started.

The Yak: What was your favorite place from the race?
Beth: My favorite was probably Switzerland. I’ve always wanted to see the Alps, so that was really cool. Also, traversing the Eiger. It’s such a famous mountain, so getting to do that was unforgettable.
Mona: Skydiving in Bora Bora was such a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I mean, who gets to jump out of a helicopter in Tahiti? It was awesome. My favorite country was Switzerland, as well. I felt like I was home. I love the mountains. I love the snow. It was really cool to get to go up to the top of Europe and be on that glacier. It was really pretty.

The Yak: On the flip side of that, what was toughest challenge that you had encountered?
Beth [to Mona]: Whiskey Barrels?
Mona: Yeah, I would say the leg in Scotland, where we had a speed bump and then they U-Turned us. [laughs] Oh, my gosh, that was grueling. The bowling was a lot harder than it looked. It was really hard to roll a strike because that lane was not smooth. Then, to do the Whiskey Barrels at the end of a really long leg, those things were stinking heavy. They were probably…
Beth: A hundred…
Mona: A hundred and fifty pounds. Then, to have to roll those up hill was exhausting.
The Yak: It was impressive to see you complete that task, especially after having to do the other side of the U-Turn, as well as the Speed Bump.
Mona: Boy, if you could have smelled us, too. We were bad.
Beth: Plus, the haggis. Oh…
Mona: Yeah, it was haggis, manure, and Whiskey. It was lovely.

The Yak: What was the biggest surprise that you weren’t expecting before going on the race?
Beth: The biggest surprise? Hmmm…
Mona: That’s a hard question. I guess it was mainly underestimating the amount of rest that you would get, plus the Pit Stops and the hunger. You would go days without sleeping. The show doesn’t always accurately depict how tiring it is.
The Yak: It makes sense, in that we see you sleep in some odd places, but we don’t really get a sense of how much sleep you’re actually getting.
Mona: Yeah, you’re just catching a few hours here and there, and then on the plane. You’re racing so much and using up a ton of energy, and you don’t really get to eat. I was starving. Starving! [laughs]
Beth: Mona, at one point, ate 5 cheesecakes on an airplane just because we were able to get some food.

Mona and Beth Hop Through A Task
Mona and Beth Hop Through A Task

The Yak: Did you do anything special to prepare for the race once you found out you had been picked?
Mona: We did. We actually studied geography. In Colorado, there’s Red Rock, and we’re training at altitude anyway, so we would put our backpacks on and we would hike at Red Rock to get a feel for the weight. We also did a whole lot of cross training because we knew as a female team, we weren’t going to be as physically strong as some of the men that are on the show, so we did a lot of weight lifting, a lot of cross training, a lot of running. Just to get ready.
The Yak: I’m sure studying the geography came in handy when it came to that last task before the finish line.
Beth: It did! It was so frustrating because we knew exactly what we were looking for. We knew the order of the countries. The issue was just finding them in that huge ball pit. The geography definitely helped though. We were prepared.

The Yak: Was there a certain point when you were working on that task that you knew the race was over?
Mona: Yeah, we knew we weren’t going to be in the lead when we got to Nationals Field because Bates and Anthony had been there, and Max and Katie were just wrapping up, but at that point, it was really disappointing, of course, but we knew we had to finish strong. Our family and friends would have been really disappointed if hadn’t ran just as hard as we did if we were in the front of the pack. Yeah, we knew. We knew that we weren’t going to win.

The Yak: Have you kept in touch with any of the other teams since the race has ended?
Mona: We actually had a bunch of beers with Max and Katie this weekend, since we were all in New York. We talk with everybody, though. Nobody really understands what it was like, unless they were the people on the show with you.

The Yak: So, what’s next for the two of you?
Beth: Mona and I are headed to Austin, Texas, on Friday. We’re competing with our team in a roller derby bout. We’re in the heart of our season right now with Regionals and Nationals coming up. Then, maybe another reality show. We’d love to do something else. Phil Keoghan has a new show coming up, so maybe we’ll put in an application for that.
The Yak: It’s worth a try! You already have the inside track with Phil!
Beth: You never know!

The Yak: Thanks for your time, and we wish you the best of luck with your upcoming bout!
Mona: Absolutely!
Beth and Mona: Thanks for having us!

The Amazing Race: The Yak Chats with Caroline and Jen

Caroline Cutbirth and Jennifer Kuhle
Caroline Cutbirth and Jennifer Kuhle

As the 11th leg of The Amazing Race completed on Sunday evening, the remaining 4 teams had worked their way through Belfast, Northern Ireland, by locating a giant ring, swimming in a muddy bog, and serving up trays of food for diners on the dry dock where the Titanic was built. After all was said and done, the country singers, Caroline Cutbirth (@TXSweetCaroline) and Jennifer Kuhle (@jenwayne), were the last to the Pit Stop and missed out on the chance to race for the million dollar prize. The Yak sat down with the girls to discuss their favorite locations on the race, their upcoming songs, and the flirtatious moments with Anthony and Bates.


The Yak: Thanks for chatting with us today, ladies! How are you both doing?
Caroline: Awesome!
Jen: Good.

The Yak: It was a pleasure watching the two of you race, so it made it even more heartbreaking to see you get so close to the end, but miss it by just a short distance.
Jen: I know, we were so close!

The Yak: You mentioned you’d be writing songs about your time on the race. When do you think we’ll be able to hear those songs?
Jen: Caroline, why don’t you tell them your latest song?
Caroline: We’re going to release a song called “Hockey Player Heartbreak”, and it’s about our romance with the hockey players and how heartbroken we are that we’re not together any more.
The Yak: Sounds like a hit song to me.
Jen: It’s going to be huge! Heard all around the world!

The Yak: The viewers were glad to see that you didn’t give up in the bog snorkel challenge. If you had been able to chose the other teammate to complete the Road Block, do you think you would have made it to the Final 3?
Jen: We couldn’t switch because Caroline had already done 6 Road Blocks and I had done 5, so I had to do that Road Block. If Caroline had done it, we absolutely would have been in the Final 3. She loves getting down and dirty, and she’s a swimmer and I’m not, but you can’t really look back because we didn’t really have a choice.
Caroline: And I think that’s the thing with the Amazing Race that’s so cool and frustrating: circumstances happen and there were certain Road Blocks that Jen would have been better at than me, but I was in them and you just have to roll with it. She did the best she could, and I think that’s why we had such a great experience. It killed me because I knew that I would have been fine, but that was Jen’s 3 worst things: being cold, claustrophobic, and swimming.
The Yak: So, Jen, that’s why you were ready to get out of the suit so badly at the end of the task? It was your claustrophobia?
Jen: Yeah, and I would have been fine if I had finished it the first time. Then I got out and jumped into the second bog, which was even worse cause it was 5 times more muddy. If I had just touched the end and gone back, I would have been fine. I had over a minute left when I was watching it. So, getting back in the second time was the killer because you’re frozen. It was so cold. My hands and feet were completely numb. I couldn’t feel them. When I got back in the second time, I started cramping from being cold, and then the worst part was I just couldn’t breath. I was claustrophobic, my wetsuit was choking me, and so I had to get out and change wetsuits. I literally changed wetsuits 6 times, and each one took a half-hour because your body is swollen. You should have seen Caroline and I trying to get me into the second wetsuit.

Caroline and Jen Discover Haggis
Caroline and Jen Discover Haggis

Caroline: It was a task all by itself!
Jen: So that was the struggle. If I had made it the first time, it would have still been awful and horrible, but I wouldn’t have had to get back in. The getting back in was the tough part.
The Yak: The important part was seeing that you didn’t give up.
Jen: We had made a promise to each other that we’d never give up, and if I had been by myself, there would have been no way I would have gotten back in that water, but I promised Caroline, so I really did it for her. I knew we made a promise that we’d never give up, and she’s the only person in the world I would have gone back in there for.
Caroline: I’m so proud of her because I knew how much Jen was struggling, and Jen’s not a quitter and not a complainer, so I knew she was really struggling. I’m so proud of her, and we just wanted to finish the race with our heads held high and know that we tried the best we could at everything. I think we did that.
Jen: Caroline was so supportive. She was a great friend the whole time. While I was doing that, it must have been frustrating for her to watch, but she was nothing but supportive and just a great friend.
Caroline: Well, you’re a great friend, too!

The Yak: Going back to the hockey players, Anthony and Bates: You seemed to get close during the race, and you touched on it a bit with the “Hockey Player Heartbreak” song, but have you kept in touch with them and with any of the other teams since the race ended?
Jen: We keep in touch with the hockey players, of course. We went and saw Anthony play a game. We became really close with Max and Katie and Chuck and Wynona. I text Wynona all the time.
Caroline: I know, me, too!
Jen: I know everything about her! [Caroline and Jen laugh] So, we really came out of the race with some good friends.

The Yak: What was your favorite location on the race?
Caroline: I love them all. It was so cool because you think, “When am I ever going to go to Africa?”, but it’s a place that Jen and I both wanted to go, so that was so cool to see. The same with Vietnam. It’s such a cool country, but I don’t know that I would have ever gone in my lifetime. Personally, I loved Scotland because I found my husband, Jim, there, and that was true love. [laughs]
Jen: Switzerland took my breath away. It was so beautiful, and I’ve never seen anything like that in my life. Obviously, it’s so expensive to travel there, so we feel so fortunate that we got to do it.

The Yak: Would you ever consider doing The Amazing Race again or another reality type show in the future?
Jen: Definitely, I’m waiting on All-Stars.
Caroline: I’d love to do The Amazing Race again.
Jen: We’re waiting for All-Stars to call us.
Caroline: Yeah, hello?!?

The Yak: What was the toughest challenge that you faced, and was there anything you weren’t expecting before going into the race that surprised you?
Jen: Everything surprised us. Every single challenge is so random and I don’t know how they even come up with this stuff.
Caroline: I think we had a lot of challenging moments. Jen, of course, struggled with the bog and the sand castles during the first challenge. I struggled with the bagpipe. I mean, you try to prepare for the race, but I would have never practiced blowing a bagpipe. I think it’s all kind of surprising. You just have to get in there and go for it the best you can because it’s crazy!

Caroline and Jen Become Graffiti Artists
Caroline and Jen Become Graffiti Artists

The Yak: Speaking of trying to prepare, did you do anything special to get yourselves ready for the race once you found out you had been chosen?
Jen: We obviously trained. We both tried to get in as best shape as we could. We went through a little camp at Caroline’s dad’s rance, and he taught us how to knot tie and balance and every kind of weird, random thing we thought might help for the race.
Caroline: Yeah, we tried to get into physically good shape. I wasn’t really a great runner before Amazing Race, and now because of Amazing Race, I ended up running a half-marathon because I was running so much and I just pushed it that far. It definitely pushed us to get physically fit.
Jen: Maybe I need to try out for the race again to get back into shape. [Caroline and Jen laugh]

The Yak: What’s next for the both of you?
Jen: We’re just working on music and we’re still best friends, so you never know what might be next.
Caroline: We’re just taking everything as it comes along.
Jen: We definitely feel like we have something special together with music and we like working together, so we are open to opportunities and excited to see where the road will lead.

The Yak: Thanks for chatting with us, and we hope to see you back on our television screens soon!
Caroline: Awe… Thank you!
Jen: Thank you!

The Amazing Race: The Yak Chats with Joey and Meghan

Joey Graceffa & Meghan Camarena
Joey Graceffa & Meghan Camarena

Airport mishaps and Double U-Turns faced the teams in the latest leg of The Amazing Race this week, as they continued their trek around the globe with a stop in Scotland. When the first 3 teams, consisting of Max & Katie, Bates & Anthony, and Caroline & Jennifer, grabbed an earlier flight to Scotland, it left Mona & Beth and Joey Graceffa (@JoeyGraceffa) & Meghan Camarena (@Strawburry17) to battle it out at the back of the pack. The Double U-Turn, which had the teams make (and then eat) haggis and roll barrels of Whiskey up-hill to a party, slowed down the YouTube hosts and ultimately led to their elimination this week. The Yak sat down with the peppy dynamic duo to discuss their race around the world.


The Yak: It was a great leg of the race, but it was tough to see you battle it out with Mona and Beth for last place.
Meghan: Right? That was sad.
Joey: Yeah.

The Yak: So, I have to know, which was tougher: the barrels of Whiskey or the haggis?
Joey: The barrels.
Meghan: Barrels.
Joey: They were like 10 times harder.
Meghan: That haggis was delicious! Haggis has a bad rap! We hadn’t eaten all day, so maybe it did taste just like chocolate cake for some reason, but that thing was amazing. The barrels were a complete hell.

The Yak: Obviously, both you and the Moms had to do both Detours thanks to the Double U-Turn. How far behind were you once you made it to the Pit Stop?
Joey: We don’t really know, but we want to say it was maybe a half-hour or so.
Meghan: We really had no clue. As we were racing to the mat, we were thinking, “Maybe… Maybe!”, but we had no idea.

The Yak: If you had made it onto the earlier flight with the other 3 teams, who would you have U-Turned or would you have used it at all?
Meghan: It would have been the hockey players.
The Yak: Did you perceive them as the biggest threats?
Meghan: They’re professional athletes. They’re everyone’s biggest threats.
Joey: Yeah, people are stupid for not seeing that.

The Yak: Joey, before you left for the race, you mentioned you had a fear of flying. Were you able to overcome that fear and were there any flights in particular that were terrifying for you?
Joey: I got over that fear real quick! Also, being with all the teams helped. It wasn’t a problem.

Joey and Meghan find their next clue
Joey and Meghan find their next clue

The Yak: What was your favorite location along the race?
Joey: Berlin, Germany, for sure. Well, I guess that was the most fun.
Meghan: I liked Bora Bora.
Joey: Yeah, Bora Bora. New Zealand.
Meghan: New Zealand.
Joey: Those were both great!

The Yak: What was your favorite challenge?
Meghan: It wasn’t a challenge, but when we got to jump off the building [The Park Inn in Berlin, Germany], that was sick.
Joey: Yeah, that was fun. My favorite Road Block was the labyrinth one inside the Salon.

The Yak: Even after being prepared for the race, did anything surprise you during your journey?
Meghan: This sounds foolish, but I really wasn’t expecting the amount of hate that we got from all the other teams. I felt like I was back in high school and being picked on. It felt like we were being picked on, and it was the worst.
Joey: Also, I thought we’d have a lot more money for food and stuff. I was hungry the entire race! I should have packed some Clif bars! The way they give us the money, they don’t tell us what’s ahead. We could have used the money for a cab or for a cheeseburger. It was our choice.
The Yak: That’s good advice for anyone that’s planning on applying for future seasons of the race. Make sure you come prepared!
Joey: Definitely bring Clif bars!

The Yak: Speaking of being prepared, did you do anything special to prepare yourself for the race once you found out you had been selected as one of the teams?
Joey: I was working with a personal trainer five days a week. So, I was prepared that way. We also watched a ton of previous seasons.
The Yak: Did you find that it helped you out on the race by studying the previous seasons?
Joey: Yeah, it gave us an idea of what to expect for our season.
Meghan: For sure!
Joey: There’s no way to know what we’re going to encounter, but it’s good to know what people do in different situations.

The Yak: Were you able to get close with any of the other teams beyond Mona & Beth, and have you kept in touch since the race ended?
Meghan: John and Jessica. We’re really close with them, and they actually live pretty close to us, so we still talk with them.
Joey: Yeah, we’ve hung out with them a few times.

Joey and Meghan race ATVs
Joey and Meghan race ATVs

The Yak: Was there ever a time when you weren’t entirely sure of yourselves or you second-guessed what you were doing on the race?
Joey: We were second-guessing ourselves all the time, and I think that’s what really screwed us up.
Meghan: At the beginning of the race, we did that a lot! Then we realized that we needed to make a decision and commit to it. In New Zealand, we did that the whole time, and we could have finished way sooner then we had, so after that, we stopped second-guessing ourselves.
Joey: Also, for a lot of the race we were busy worrying about what the other teams were up to, so in Berlin when we didn’t see any of the other teams, we focused on what we had to do and we came in second place. I think that was the key to it.
The Yak: Is that good advice for future teams: Make a gut decision and stick with it?
Joey: Yeah.
Meghan: Definitely.

The Yak: What’s next for the two of you?
Meghan: Geez, who knows what’s next? We’re definitely pursuing more acting and continuing our YouTube channel. Also, seeing what opportunities open up after this. We’re really creative people, so anything that has to do with that, I’m sure you’ll see us being a part of that.

The Yak: We appreciate you sitting down with us, and we wish you the best of luck to you in the future!
Joey and Meghan: Thank you!

The Amazing Race: The Yak Chats with Chuck and Wynona

Chuck and Wynona McCall
Chuck and Wynona McCall

After making their way to Switzerland, the Amazing Race teams had the difficult task of trudging through snow to collect rescue dogs, traverse the side of a cliff, and a facing a Switchback that brought up one of the most memorable tasks in Amazing Race history – the downhill cheese sled. Many of the teams struggled to transport the 50-pound wheels of cheese down the snow covered hill using the provided sled, so the husband and wife team of Chuck and Wynona McCall decided to roll the cheese down the hill and chase after it. While it worked to get the task done quicker, the pair learned at the Pit Stop that they incorrectly transported the cheese, so they incurred a 30-minute penalty. During that time, the other teams checked in and ended Chuck and Wynona’s dreams of the million dollar prize. The Yak sat down with the eliminated team to discuss their time on the race.


The Yak: It was a difficult elimination to watch, and I’m sure it must have been hard to get taken out of the game based on missing a step in the clue instructions. Since you had a 30-minute penalty before checking in, how close was Joey and Meghan to you after you made it to the Pit Stop?
Wynona: We were there, we checked in, and Phil told us we were fifth. We were all excited and happy. Then, Phil came back to us and said that we had a penalty we received, and we would have to wait out the 30 minutes. We were probably 15 to 20 minutes into the penalty, and then here comes Meghan and Joey. We didn’t know it was Meghan and Joey. It could have been anybody, since we didn’t know who was behind us. We knew that we were last off the hill, but we had no clue who it was.

The Yak: It had to be tough to know that you were only 10 minutes from making it through to the next leg.
Chuck: It was definitely difficult. Our smiles turned to frowns really quickly.

The Yak: Chuck, our members have been following you both all season, and now that you’ve had a chance to watch yourself on the show, they wanted to know if you feel bad for the ways that you treated Wynona during your time on the race?
Chuck: Yeah, when I look back and I see Wynona tearing up because she doesn’t think she can keep up with me, it definitely tugged on my heart strings to see her like that. In our normal, everyday life, we’re not under that much stress and we don’t act like that to each other, so it hurt to see me act like that toward her.

The Yak: You see it happen time and time again with teams on the race, where they snap at each other after being under that kind of stress day after day. It was good to see you mention during the exit interview that no matter what, you are both still a couple and it was nice to see the love you have for each other.
Chuck: We’re still together. We were never really pitted against each other in a competition like that. She’s the greatest mom, the greatest housewife, the greatest wife that anybody could ask for, so when she’s put in a spot where she feels like she has to keep up with me, since I like to get out and run like a gazelle and I was expecting her to do the same, so I think that’s where some of the bickering came into play. If I could take it back, I would.

Chuck and Wynona read the next clue
Chuck and Wynona read the next clue

The Yak: Obviously, you are really close with each other and you’ve been together a long time, but was there anything on the race that taught you something new about each other?
Chuck: When we got on the race, I told her that I would motivate her with kisses and hugs, but then it turned into “Faster. Come on! Come on!” Wynona is a trooper. We hung in there for eight legs in the race, even through being jet lagged and tired from no sleep. It really wasn’t that great, but I’m very proud of her. She made me proud of her through the whole race, and I wanted to get that out there.

The Yak: Wynona, are you proud of yourself for accomplishing things that you might not have had the opportunity to do without the race, like scaling the rock wall?
Wynona: I’m definitely proud of myself for finishing eight legs of the race. I never thought we’d even get chosen to go on the race, but to get that far even with me being injured at the beginning, it was amazing. Chuck really thought we were going to be out. It started with him being ticked off at me when I pulled a muscle before we even left, which hindered me the entire way, so I’m very proud of myself for making it through eight legs of the race with an injured leg.

The Yak: We hadn’t seen any of that backstory, so it’s impressive to see what you were able to accomplish with an injury.
Wynona: It was hard to run for the first couple of legs during the race. I really couldn’t run, so having a couple of long flights really helped us out, but it was making Chuck mad that I was injured. It was just like the father and son [David and Connor], when he got injured. I mean, nobody wants to get injured as you end up with limitations on what you can do and how far you can go.

The Yak: What was your biggest challenge during the race?
Chuck: As far as the Road Blocks or physical challenges we did, my biggest challenge was Vietnam. When we were over there, we had a bad day because we couldn’t communicate with anybody. Everything was “No problem! No problem!”, but we’d end up on the other side of town. We couldn’t get a taxi that would get us to the right place. That definitely sticks out in my mind as one of the toughest parts.
Wynona: My biggest challenge was the communication in places we went where they didn’t speak English. It was very hard. You couldn’t get from point A to point B with anyone who spoke English.

The Yak: Did you do anything special to prepare for the race once you found out you had been selected?
Wynona: We both did different things. We still had to handle our home life, as we have kids and had a house to take care of. I went to the gym and trained on my own at home. Plus, I tried to gather the items that I thought we’d need for the race, but you don’t get a lot of instructions for that. You plan on going from extreme hot to extreme cold, so you pack what you want to carry in your backpack and you try to be prepared for every scenario. As far as working out and things like that, we did.
Chuck: I went out and bought a world map, so I could study it. I was trying to do my homework in learning the dangerous cities and countries. I tried to spend more time looking at the map then in physically working out, as I thought I was in pretty good shape at the time. I got more into the studying the map type of working out.

The Yak: Probably a smart move! Did you get a chance to get close with any of the other teams, and have you been able to keep in touch since the race ended?
Wynona: Yeah, we keep in touch with pretty much all of them. We were pretty close with Max and Katie and the country singers [Caroline and Jen] and the hockey team [Anthony and Bates]. That was our group.
Chuck: Wynona is online with them all the time. Actually, Anthony has come down here and played hockey in our area, so we ran over and got to watch him play hockey, too. Those three other teams are probably our closest.

Chuck helps Wynona up the snow covered hill
Chuck helps Wynona up the snow covered hill

The Yak: So, what’s next for the two of you?
Chuck: We want to come back for [Amazing Race] Unfinished Business, so we can straighten this out. [laughs]
Wynona: I’m going to ship him off to Survivor, so we can see how he does by himself.
The Yak: That would definitely be entertaining to watch. I’m sure a lot of people would tune in to see that. [Chuck and Wynona laugh]

The Yak: Thanks so much for your time! We wish both of you the best of luck!
Wynona: Thanks!
Chuck: Thank you!