SURVIVOR Super Fan

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


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What do Mike Tyson and Cambodia have in common???

I know this is a post title that may leave the younger generation scratching their head a bit, but the key I believe to being successful in the ever changing game of survivor…adaptability.  I have spent many years dreaming, scheming and preparing for my chance to play the greatest game ever.  I do believe my time obsessing will benefit me, but it will not allow me to enter the game with a plan that I anticipate working.  At best, if lucky (luck is another key to winning), my plan will get me off on the right foot.  Whether day one is a tremendous success or I am quickly on the outside of the numbers, every moment I spend fulfilling my dream will require adaptability.  Today’s well laid plan needs to be evaluated, tweaked, and abandoned as the other contestants move, adjust and realign.  I think this is something I bring to the Island.  I believe all the preparation and study of the game will help me identify paths, pitfalls & opportunities.  Sometimes being old enough to recall a famous quote from an athlete years ago can be just the advantage one needs.  Everyone starts day one of Survivor with a plan…just as every fighter has a plan when they step into the ring.

Mike Tyson – “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

Mike Tyson

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Less is more….A small lesson from this seasons winner

This season, this outstanding season brought us returning players.  Not only had they played once before, but many have waiting years for another chance.  That is a lot of time to study the game, think and rethink decisions, and prepare for their 2nd chance.  There is so much to take away from the season and we may find the game has had yet another evolution.  One of the biggest messages to me is “less is more” and by this I mean less talking.  By withholding the pending birth of his son, Jeremy was able to drop the news at the final tribal council cementing his victory.  By not revealing two idols to others he was able to keep the target off his back and play them at times of his choosing.  I can only imagine how difficult it would be to be trapped with the same people with so many hours to fill in the day and not divulge the new baby announcement.  I believe if he did leak it, it would have reminded players to not let the “good guy” get to the end.  This would go doubly for a season when the Jury is made up primarily of his peers and not Spencer’s peers.  Sorry Tasha, but I don’t think you had a chance.  Personally, I feel if you have to get “saved” while in the water, you are ineligible to win the title of Survivor failing the “Outlast” portion in a big way.    I am happy for Jeremy and his family (which is why you don’t let him get that far in the game).  It is too easy to give money to someone that likable.  I wonder if this will be a reminder not to bring the family guy to the end…Rob & Amber put targets on all future couples…has Jeremy done the same for the good family man?  What I do know if to hold the title of Sole Survivor, you MUST be able to hold your tongue!  I welcome your comments fellow Survivor geeks.  Opine below!


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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).