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

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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.



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Self-awareness Survey Results Part 1

Below you will find the results of a self awareness survey I sent to family & friends, along with my own answers. The goal here is to test my self awareness – how do I think I am perceived, compared to how others actually perceive me- glad I have a fairly thick skin! Overall, I believe the survey results are consistent with my feelings, showing that I am fairly self-aware.

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Self-awareness Survey Results Part 2

Word Cloud

The survey I sent to friends and family, included a section for the respondents to list five words that they would use to describe me. The top words are as follows:

Funny – 8 people
Loud – 6 people
Loyal – 5 people
Sarcastic – 5 people
Confident – 4 people
Outgoing – 4 people

The five words I listed for myself:

Below is the complete list of submitted words:
Survey Results jpg


Open Casting Calls

One way of being cast for Survivor is to attend one, (or many in my case) open casting calls. These events are typically run by local CBS affiliates, and in the early years they would draw many thousands of hopefuls. Camping overnight to be at the front of the line was commonplace. Nowadays the crowds are smaller, and there are around 250-500 folks, many of them being serial applicants like recent Survivor Dan Foley, who applied over 100 times! Here is a photo of him a few spots in front of me at a 2013 casting call in Massachusetts.


My first casting call was in October of 2010. As an anniversary gift, I received a ticket to fly from New Hampshire, to Dallas Texas, for an open casting call at a car dealership. I prepared, read all I could find online, and had a 2 minute speech rehearsed. After waiting six hours for my turn, my group was told that we would have thirty seconds to give our pitch to the cameras! After listening to the people in line around me talking for six hours all about their extensive outdoor survival skills, I simply decided to take the opposite approach. The camera started and I rattled off all of the things I couldn’t do at the time… I don’t camp, I can’t make a fire, I’ve never built a shelter, I can’t fish, I’ve never been away from my kids, I’m a germaphobe, etc. Six months later I got a call. Shocked, unprepared, and sick at the time with Lyme Disease, I blew the call (it’s really a 2nd audition). Less than 2 minutes later, it was over. It took me quite a while to get healthy and redouble my attempts and efforts to get cast (that would be a story for another post).

Since that first time, I have attended 5 additional open casting calls, from Miami, to Pennsylvania, to Massachusetts. I have submitted 4 audition videos, going back to the Sear’s Fan Favorite contest. The most recent being a video submitted to be considered for Blood vs. Water. Below is a link to the casting page listing upcoming casting calls:

I have met some great people at the casting events, I would say that the best way to describe it, is that it’s like Day 1 on the island. You meet people from all walks of life, age groups, demographics…and you get to practice reading people, as well as other social aspects of the game.

Springfield Audition Tribe



Survivor Casting Call Miami

I will continue to hit casting calls within driving distance, and attend others as the location and time allows. My hope would be that this blog catches the attention of Lynne Spillman and the casting folks…Call me! I am prepared this time!

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Self Awareness – Who is Rob?

Self Awareness. This is the one thing every great player has, according to Jeff Probst. Self awareness is huge in this game. The game is quite simply, one large social experiment, you don’t have a chance to strategize, if you ostracize yourself from your tribe within minutes of hitting the beach. Take Francesca for example, only person in the history of Survivor to be voted out first, twice! If she had even an ounce of self awareness she would have known the second time around to just keep her mouth shut for the first three days. She was perceived as an aggressive threat in this game because of how strong she came on. Below is my little self awareness experiment to see if I am self aware or I lack those skills like Francesca did. I will start with a list of words that I feel accurately describe myself. The list is a combined effort between me and my daughter. We will then email a survey to friends and family asking for 5 words that THEY feel describe me. Self awareness is a vital key to Survivor success.

Self Awareness

My List:
Eye roller
Facially expressive
Flexible loyalties…
Great at puzzles
Horrible memory
Line crosser
Sarcastic, sarcastic, sarcastic
White collar
Young at heart

Daughter’s List:

Click here to see survey results!


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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!

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Creating Fake Idols


I think last weeks episode showing Joe Anglim creating a fake idol offered some great ideas on material. It also gives us a great opportunity to scrutinize strategy surrounding making, and playing fake idols. Ultimately, you never know what is going to happen in this game, so having a fake idol to throw around doesn’t hurt. The forethought of scavenging materials throughout the first couple of weeks – material from a torch, clothing, a crate, etc…- was perfect. I believe his strategy would have worked better, had he not chose to use it on the one player that was in possession of an authentic idol. I would love to try this idea – being the one to find the real idol and also create a fake one to use for strategy. Can you gain someones trust and allegiance by giving them the fake idol? Can you give it to a target so maybe they scramble and plot less and it is easier to blindside them? Jeff Probst & Lynne Spillman click here for private thoughts – Password is eric’s call sign :

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Blueprint for the blog

I have sooooo many ideas on what I would like to include in this blog. They range from thoughts on strategy, and my tireless research on the past seasons of Survivor. To preparing physically to survive my time on the island, then to things like practicing challenges, that I am able to recreate at home. I will also share parts of my personal story and my previous attempts to be cast on the show. My partner on this journey is my 15 year old daughter who I have raised to be as obsessed as me. We push each other to think quicker, train harder and to learn to control the sarcasm that so naturally flows between us ( and could possibly end up offending people who aren’t as humorous as us). Together we hope to succeed in the goal of being cast, learn new blogging skills, improve my physical readiness to participate, and enjoy the time spent working together to create this blog.