SURVIVOR Super Fan

A blog to document my passion and ongoing efforts to be cast on Survivor


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Cambodian Tummy Aches – parasites, pathogens & disease vectors!

This post is from what we have seen, what you can learn from Ponderosa & Survivor Talk (shout out to Dalton Ross and his umbrella!) and my experience as a Science Photographer.  We have seen the nasty bites, the nasty Hobbit feet (Stephen Fishbach), and #gastrointestinaldistress.  We witnessed a tremendous effort by Joe Anglim at the immunity challenge only to see his body fail him at the end as his legs gave way and he crashed to the ground.  What we learned on Survivor Talk was that Joe was sick the whole day and night before.  A “bug” was known to be going through camp and contestants were avoiding drinking from the same containers.  While Cambodia’s beaches look stunning and pristine, it is the things you cant’s see that could ruin your game and your health.

For the past 15 years, I have taken thousands of scientific photographs with many of them being photos through the microscope.  These photos have appeared in science textbooks, medical advertisements and medical journals.  So how does this help me?  Why should anybody care?  Well, it makes me keenly aware of the risks in far flung corners of the world.  It means I have a pretty good understanding of the medical risks faced when roughing it.  I tend to lean a bit towards being a Germaphobe, so I would be anal about boiling the water and keeping a clean camp and eating environment.  It shows I have a tremendous attention to the tiniest of details as well as the ability to recognize and opportunity (taking & selling science photographs) and the drive (15 years of technical & often tedious photography!)

 

The bites all over Stephen’s feet appear to be from the Sandfly (Phlebotomus papatasi).

It is said they are nearly transparent (when not viewed at magnification as seen in the photograph taken by the CDC) and smaller than a mosquito.  It is said their bite is slight and often you don’t even know you are getting eaten alive until 12-24 hours later when your feet erupt in sores.  Not only do the Sandflies bite, they are a disease vector transmitting Leishmania parasites.   Contaminated drinking water could have Giardia lamblia, a parasitic Protozoan causing nausea, fatigue and the shits.

 

Survivor Superfan Rob 1

Roundworms, Flukes and parasitic Protists oh my…  Hookworms, Flukes and parasitic Protists oh my…(assuming you got the Wizard of Oz cadence…  Strongyloides, Schistosoma and Trypanosoma oh my…

 

Survivor Superfan Rob 2

 

 

What about some good old fashioned malaria transmitted by the Anopheles mosquito or Yellow Fever from the Aedes argypti mosquito or African Sleeping Sickness from the Tsetse Fly.

Survivor Superfan Rob 3

All of this adds up to a lot of obstacles on your way to one million dollars!  Maybe it means wearing your socks throughout the day and running around like a black-footed ferret (sorry, I have no ferret photos) even if it looks a little silly.  It certainly means not drinking water that has not been boiled which brings us back to my ability to make fire from bamboo (see earlier post).

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Over the top things I have done to catch the attention of Lynne Spillman, Jeff Probst and Mark Burnett


This one is better with less said, and more shown:] but to answer a few questions that will probably pop into your head:

-Yes I really am this obsessed.

-Yes I really did do all these things as ridiculous as some of them are.

-And yes if I got a call from a casting director, I would do even crazier things in preparation.

Thanks for watching, and as always if you like us spread the word or give us a shoutout.


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Shelter Hacks – Warm, Warmer, Warmest!

I generally run warm.  I have a little body fat, and a tenancy to sweat, not shiver.  With that said, I have never been left on an island where it could rain for days on end (although I hope to be in the future).  A few thoughts on warmth… the worst situations seem to be when it rains (and rains, and rains…).  I believe using the overlapping split bamboo method, a “waterproof” fire shelter is possible.

Bamboo Roof

 

 

 

 

The roof has to be high enough to avoid situations that have happened on previous seasons. One of these instances occurred in Survivor Amazon when Butch obsessively gathered firewood and stored it underneath the shelter. This meant that when the fire went awry it sparked the stored firewood in addition to the shelter and the whole thing went up in a blaze. The other instance occurred in Survivor Nicaragua when they put wooden chests containing most of their food around the fire in an effort to protect it from the rain. Needless to say wood surrounding a fire is not the best idea and they too lost items. This leads me to the idea that a SEPARATE shelter for firewood  makes sense for a wet season of Survivor as long as it is done safely and correctly.

A fire reflector can be added to reflect heat towards the opening of the shelter. Again, THE WOOD MUST BE FAR ENOUGH AWAY FROM THE FIRE!

Fire Reflector

 

 

 

 

Hot embers should also be babied, cared for, nurtured.  Protect them in sea shells off the ground and under cover.

Lastly, the idea of “hot rocks” should be explored.  You can heat dry rocks (not rocks from a creek, river, ocean, or other body of water as they can explode!).  Place the rocks near the fire and when they are nice and hot, they can be wrapped in cloth and snuggled with for many hours on end.  Piping hot rocks could also maybe be placed under the shelter, radiating heat up or in the center of the shelter (on another flat rock) as a heat source.

All these things take time and energy, but I believe these things would put my tribe  ahead in the game as I can make fire from bamboo easily now.  This removes a big time/energy concern allowing for some effort towards “luxuries”.


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Shelter Hacks – Superior Waterproof Roofs!

A quick, easy (and logical) roof solution that I do not recall seeing done on previous seasons of Survivor. Simply split the bamboo lengthwise, remove the interior notches, and overlap the pieces creating a superior roof! Seems fairly simple and it looks like it would provide pretty good shelter from the rain.

 

bamboo-used-as-roof


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Fire!!!

OK, so this took a lot of research,tons of effort and countless attempts. Multiple youtube videos were sourced, watched and rewatched. I purchased bamboo, a machete, and coconut husk, all of which were easier to find than one might expect. Together with my two daughters, we tried this a couple dozen times resulting in smoke, smoke, and even more smoke! We almost set off the smoke alarm (although looking back we probably should not have been inside in the first place) and we got everything but a burning ember. Today, for the first time, we achieved our ultimate goal of fire! Turns out we were doing it correct from the beginning, but not blowing on the resulting charcoal long enough…I am going to attempt this again today, to ensure that I can do this from scratch 100% of the time and with little wasted effort. I feel like this is a great accomplishment. One of the most vital things is staying strong as a tribe from the minute you hit the beach. You can survive up to three weeks without food, but only three days without water. As evidenced by past seasons, especially both of the Fans vs. Favorites, having fire and being able to stay hydrated from the beginning has proved a momentous advantage.It also has proved to be important in challenges such as tiebreakers at Tribal Council. I feel that this skill already puts me ahead of both Sundra Oakly, and Rebekah “Becky” Lee from Survivor: Cook Islands, neither of whom were able to produce fire using flint in a crucial moment. I can now successfully start a fire using flint, and the bamboo saw, which was first demonstrated by Rob Mariano, or as any true fan knows him… Boston Rob!