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).


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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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“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

The title of the post comes from J.K. Rowling, or should I say from Albus Dumbledore…This season, and recent seasons of Survivor, they continue to highlight choices.  Do I try to get an Immunity Idol during a challenge in front of everyone or  do I choose the puzzle with less pieces, but higher degree of difficulty.  The choices make for interesting events and variety in the game.  It highlights the differences in contestants and often creates tension and conflict.  It was tremendous television waiting to see if Kelley would make the choice and go for the idol at the immunity challenge. Just imagine Kelley got caught going for the idol!

So why do I dedicate a post to choices?  I think there are a myriad of choices made throughout the game and I think this is where the game can be won or lost..and I think I make good choices!  It is not that I think I always choose right and others choose wrong.  It is that I approach problems differently and don’t limit myself to the choices offered.  If offered A or B, I often identify C as a viable alternative.  Call it thinking outside the box, not caring if there is a box, or as I’ve been told – I simply don’t think the rules apply to me.  I tend to think of “rules” as “guidelines”.  I tend to step over the line in pursuit of options that meet my needs.

The title quote is known to millions of Harry Potter fans around the world.  Maybe after I play Survivor, the world will know my quote just as well…”You don’t know where the line is until you step over it and take a tiny step back.”

 


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Liar, Liar, no more fire! – Tips and tricks to tell if someone is lying

Put 20 people from various backgrounds on an island competing for 1 million dollars almost guarantees 18 of them will be lying contently.  So aside from making fire from bamboo, I believe one of the next most important skills revolves around lying.

 

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(SurvivorSuperFan Rob as Pinocchio and his girlfriend as Jasmine – Halloween 2014)

Tips for detecting a lie are as follows:

1. Behavioral pause or delay – If you ask a question and notice a delay before they reply, they may be trying to lie to you.

2. Verbal/non-verbal disconnect – A verbal “no” while nodding up and down shows their answer is false.

3. Hiding the mouth or eyes – This is the one I see most often when watching Survivor.  A hand over the liars mouth, or covering their eyes…they are “hiding” the truth.

4. Throat-clearing or swallowing – If done before answering, this indicates they are likely fibbing bigtime!  Though if done after the statement, it may not mean anything.

5. Hand-to-face activity – Biting of the lip, tugging on their lips, fiddling with their ears, tucking hair behind their ears…..Lies!

6. Grooming gestures – Fiddling with their buff, clothes, jewelry, hair….don’t believe what they are telling you to keep your game going.

 

So, to be a successful liar, learn to control the above, but a few more tips are listed here:

1. Keep it short, plausible and to the point.

2. Be Calm and confident

3. Include half-truths in your lie when possible.

4. Maintain physical closeness throughout – hand on the shoulder.

5. If accused, admit to something else to throw off the interrogator

6. Practice envisioning the “reality” of your lie.  I call this the Costanza Rule….”It’s not a lie if your truly believe it!”

 

 


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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:
Ass
Competitive
Sarcastic
Funny
Entertaining

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