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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Survivor Auction – Sometimes less is more

Here is a plea from me to Probst.  Let’s see a throwback auction in an upcoming season.  No advantages, no love letters, nothing but food.  While re-watching Season 2 Australia with my daughters this week (I re-watch all the Seasons to share with my youngest who is now addicted, but also to study the game) I enjoyed the simple food auction.  All the players were able to pool their money allowing alliances to be revealed, new connections to be made, and something as simple as peanut butter and chocolate that brought Elizabeth Hasselbeck to tears.  Producers would have to make it clear prior to the start that it is food and only food.  The simple joy of watching Erik Reichenbach pay $40 to lick Cirie Field’s  fingers….Priceless!

Reichenbach

 

 

 


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Open casting call video

I thought I would post a video from my recent open casting call.  60 seconds is what is allowed so there is no time to waste in making your pitch!  I would love feedback from my fellow Survivor fanatics- positive & negative.  I think I was able to share who I am and what I bring to the game that will allow me to compete.

 


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Open note to Lynne Spillman

So it is 9:15PM Wednesday, November 4, 2015 and I am tired…  I am sleepy and have been all day. Why might you ask?  Because I woke up at 4am today.  Why did I wake up at 4am? Well Lynne, because I had jelly legs!  I had made it past the merge, onto individual immunity and I was racing on the beach. It was near the end of the challenge, my legs went to jelly and I lost my lead before waking with a startle.  Yes Lynne, I am a (somewhat) grown professional man, and I had a “bad Survivor dream”!  I did the only thing I could under such circumstances – I have no one to comfort me and hold me, and tell me it was just a bad dream.  I have never been a “self soother”.  Nope, I got my ass out of bed and hit the stair master!  The only way to avoid my weak leg concerns is to be as prepared for that chance as possible.

Now, I have had many Survivor dreams before.  First day on the island dreams (good dream!), walking into a challenge to find out it I have to cling onto a totem pole (BAD DREAM!), tribal council dreams and snakes and rats (Worst!).

Anyway, I just thought I would share.  If you enjoy casting the Super Fan (Shirin, Penner, Eric), look no further.  If you enjoy casting the person that will fight for every second that they are on the island, and give the game 110% even on the 5th day of rain in a row, just call me up.  Who the Hell is Rob Folz?  I am the guy that woke up at 4:15 because of Survivor!


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If I had to earn a living with my hands…I would starve!

I can’t claim the title of this post as a quote of mine.  This one is from my father a highly successful business executive, and later in life, a business owner.  I do feel like I know where to point to when I note my own lack of “blue collar” genes.  As an IT sales person and a 15 year small business owner (as a science photo agent), I cannot point to my resume and find any shades of blue.  The fact that I can point to a resume definitely rules me out as a “no collar”!

I have long made my living with my mouth and my brain.  I have spent the better part of 23 years running a business, or selling in an office environment.  Until as recently as 2 years ago, I had never built something(successfully), grown something, moved things, or embraced the manual labor world.  No issue with it, it just wasn’t my thing as many of my friends could tell you. If I look back at Season 30: World’s Apart, where contestants were divided into 3 tribes based on their work background or lack thereof…  tt is hard to say that I related to any of the white collar folks.  I feel like they lacked the personable sales executive (this is what I believe I am).   A real people person.  Closest to this I would say was Carolyn.  She had some personality and had a successful game.  In a hyper environment where cast members are identified by collar type, I think it intensifies the stereotypes.  Blue people become the loudest form of themselves, and I imagine I would play right into the conflict that creates.  No collar people become…well…they are what they are.  Don’t understand them so I will not try to sum them up here.  I respect blue collar workers…don’t want to switch colors, but I can respect people that work that hard each and everyday.

At the end of the day, I know who I am.  I own it and I rather like it (whether other people like it or not is another story).  Blue collar folks work hard.  It is the working hard AND working smart that I think defines the white collar.  I would say that as a white collar I think outside the box, and a blue collar tends to try simply to move the box.  Applying this to the game of Survivor, I believe I approach a challenge by observing and listening to the instructions. However I tend to think of other ways to complete the needed tasks or to be successful.  Most people tend to follow the “rules” where I look at the needed outcome and try to think of creative and more efficient ways to achieve these goals.   Don’t get me wrong, I think I am plenty tough(again, I THINK).  I am not afraid to mix it up with anyone, but I will find an advantage…I always do.  I hope this doesn’t offend anyone as I truly appreciate all you bring to the world….and I may need your vote!


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Mirror, mirror on the wall…who’s your favorite Rob of all???

You can do a lot of research to prepare for Survivor, but many have said, ”you are who you are”. They even say you are an intensified version of yourself.  So going in, an advantage is to have some skills, some traits that are already you. You should go in recognizing skills that you already have, and attempt to bring them into your game play.  As a sales person, something that has always come naturally to me is: “Mirror & Match”. This is when you behave in a manner that helps listeners feel comfortable, and focus on the subject matter of the message without any distraction.  Think of it more like attempting to speak somebody’s native language, or observing local customs when visiting a foreign country.  Mirror and matching is extending a courtesy, by acting in a way that the listener wants you to act.

Five examples are listed below:

1: Physiology – Match their posture and physical mannerisms

2: Speech Rate – Speak at a similar speed and tempo

3: Volume – Speak as loudly, or as softly as them

4: Tonality & Pitch – Make your voice sound like their voice

5: Phrase backtracking – Restate their favorite words back to them

Now the above can be done by studying this concept before you hit the island, but it could come off as fake, or robotic.  But as a natural skill that I possess, I don’t think about it…it just happens.  The fun part is to imagine how I would do this with a slow talking Southerner, or someone from NYC.  I would not try to pull off all 5 with say… Fabio the surfer dude (winner of Survivor Nicaragua), but bits and pieces could go a long way.

It is a way to develop relationships by allowing the other person to have some source of comfort with you. On an island without your typical sources of comfort, people will take whatever little bit they can get. So employing this technique makes yourself someone that is easy to talk to, and most importantly… relatable.

 

 


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How I can sell my way to the million dollars; winning traits of a salesman

Why do I think I can win the game of Survivor???  This is the first question casting may ask.  A question friends and family frequently ask.  Most that know me, feel I would be entertaining on the show, but can I win?  Let’s look at the attributes of a good salesman.  The following list contains descriptions of an outstanding salesperson (like myself):

Assertive

Self-Aware (there’s that word again)

Empathetic

Problem Solver

Optimistic

Highly Motivated

Charismatic

Tenacious

Confident (with a touch of arrogance)

Opportunistic

I see a tremendous overlap between a successful salesperson with these traits, and someone that could have sustained success on Survivor.  With that said, some of these could also be my downfall.  One that is highly motivated, often struggles relating to those that are lazy.  Assertive people have a tendency of getting a bit bossy and voted out early.  When is a mature gentleman empathetic with females? And when is he creepy? (Vytas!)  As Christy would say…”he’s creepy…creepy”

Creepy

With that said, there is only one Vytas (I hope). So, how does a salesperson play the game?  The same way they do their job.  We relish and embrace contact, and communication (get to know everyone on the island whether they are in your immediate alliance or not).  We keep our mouths shut and our ears open (listening skills lead to opportunities and information).  We know that hurdles are meant to be overcome. To quote Mike Tyson, “Everyone has a plan until they get hit.” Much of my game plan will develop when the game starts and not before.  We sell by asking questions, not dictating answers (Questions uncover details you did not know).  It is much better for solutions to be their idea, and not try to dictate what they do.  When needed, maybe an elevator pitch.  5 or 6 questions, each intended to solicit a “yes”.  Start simple….and try for 6 successive “yes” answers as you build to the goal.  We set and hit our short term (day one and pre-merge)  and long term (post-merge and end game) goals.   If I can control my paranoia, and recognize who is a bit sensitive (so as to not let my sarcastic humor bite me in the ass), I am the winner.  End of story.  To quote Jonathan Penner, “This is Survivor.  Somebody is gonna win a million dollars and they are gonna have to cut the throat of the guy next to them at some point”