Archive for December, 2010

A Christmas Stoolie

December 25, 2010

If I had to estimate, I’d say that I’ve seen “A Christmas Story” about a jillion times. I love it. Can’t get enough of it. When TBS breaks out the 24-hour marathon, I’ll sit through about half of it.

Good times.

When I rewatch a movie, I think it’s really cool when I pick up on things I hadn’t noticed before. As an example, for the first time tonight, I noticed that every light in the house was on when Ralphie’s mom turned off the leg lamp to save electricity. Hilarious.

However, sometimes you notice something that can sour you on a character.


Adventures In Clay: The Creation of Snowman Senor Chang

December 22, 2010

Note: We have a rule in the Holmes household that any gift that is meant to be enjoyed during Christmas should be given before Christmas. So don’t worry, this blog post isn’t spoiling my alliance partner’s holiday gift. Not that she reads my blog anyways…

“Community” is my new jam. It’s the show I watch on Thursday night, then put on again later that night while I’m writing. The alliance partner loves it too. In fact, after the claymation episode a few weeks ago (‘Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas’) she could not stop laughing at the sight of Senor Chang (Ken Jeong) in claymation form.

So I decided to make her a Snowman Chang of her own.


‘Survivor: Nicaragua’ Champion Interview: Judson ‘Fabio’ Birza

December 20, 2010

Some would argue that relaxing and playing under the radar, then winning every immunity when you’re in danger is a terrible strategy for winning “Survivor.” But it sure worked for Judson “Fabio” Birza.

Smart strategy or not, the floppy haired youngster from St. Louis, Missouri pulled it off and is now a million dollars richer. (Well, before taxes.) I spoke with the man with the unfortunate nickname the morning after his big win to find out if he bought Sash’s lies, why he never took his socks back from NaOnka and what he intends to do with the million dollar check.

Judson “Fabio” Birza: What’s up, dude?
Gordon Holmes:
How’s it feel to be a millionaire?
Fabio: Dude, it feels great. They say money can’t buy happiness, but it sure can fix a lot of things.

Gordon: Now I know you’ve been through an awful lot, but I think the most important question on everyone’s mind is; how do you feel about the St. Louis Cardinals signing Lance Berkman?
(Laughs) The Cardinals have the best fans in baseball.
Gordon: I agree.
Fabio: So, hopefully he likes it and will stay and help us out.

Gordon: Let’s start from the beginning, something I heard a lot is, “Why didn’t Fabio take back his socks from NaOnka?”
Could you imagine if I would’ve taken my socks back? All hell would’ve broken loose. It was just better to let NaOnka look like the bad guy. I tried to get a little sympathy, let the girls feel bad for me.
Gordon: How are you and NaOnka now?
Fabio: Immediately when we got out of the game we were at Ponderosa (where the jury stays in between Tribal Councils) dancing. It was pouring down rain and we were all together laughing and stuff. Even during the game we had our little moments where we got along.

Gordon: We didn’t see a lot of your strategy, but then at the same time we are seeing things like Purple Kelly wearing your yellow jacket.
You know when Sash does jury work that it’s obvious? I spent the whole month like that. I’d planned to get to the final three. I visualized my speech every day. I just set myself up. I didn’t need to do jury work because I’d established my relationships with everyone. And it paid off, I had Chase and NaOnka coming up to me and telling me what they knew. It’s more about listening than running around and thinking you’re a game player. It’s like Marty, he’s a good game player, but he’s putting a target on his back.

Gordon: I’m glad you mentioned people seeing through Sash. Because at home I’m watching it, and I’m not buying it. Now, that’s easy to say from the comfort of my couch, but could you sense it when you were out there?
Yes, there’s this look in his eyes. We were all watching the second-to-last episode together and I told him “Did you know we could see right through you?” It was a weird look, and I was like, “What the (expletive deleted).”

Gordon: One of the arguments against you was that you didn’t have to lie because you didn’t really know what was going on.
That’s not a case of me being clueless, it’s a case of people liking me more and people trusting me more. I call it a trust bank account. I swam in high school so I talked to Holly about that. Brenda and I discussed South American culture, Chase and I talked about music, Marty and I were just homies. You’ve got to let people see the potential for a game relationship with you.
Gordon: Speaking of Marty, did it break your heart when you found out he wasn’t really a chess grand master?
Fabio: I said in the interview, “It makes sense that Marty’s a grandmaster or whatever.” He is very intelligent. But that was me getting fooled.

Gordon: You were very upset when Chase didn’t take you on the family reward. Your mother talked you down, got your head back into the game. How important was she in helping you pull through and win the game?
It was great. I first got emotional on the Sprint 4G phone. They only showed my mom on TV, but it had both of my parents who’ve been divorced for a while. And them with my brother and sister there all together it was awesome. And then when I saw my mom out there I just let it fly. When you have an emotional reaction or you respond truthfully, it’s like a cleanse. And had I gone on the reward with her I probably wouldn’t have won the game.
Gordon: She seemed to know exactly what to say.
Fabio: Oh no, she always does have the right thing to say. When I was growing up she’d say, “Juddy, you need to talk to people in a tone of voice that’ll help you get what you want.”
Gordon: When are we going to see your mom play “Survivor.”
Fabio: I don’t know if I’d sign her up for that.
Gordon: I think she’d clean up. I think there’d be two millionaires in the Birza family.
Fabio: That’d be crazy, dude. Then we’d have to go on “TheAmazing Race.”

Gordon: Last night when Dan was finally allowed to speak, he had a few things to say about your buddy Sash. Had that been going on for a while?
(Laughs) Yeah, Dan is such a vindictive guy. I was usually laughing at whoever he was going at. Chase probably knows it, but Dan would talk (expletive deleted) on him. He’d talk (expletive deleted) on everybody. I laughed when Dan was doing his thing at final Tribal.
Gordon: Yeah, we all laughed.
Fabio: Sash got embarrassed at that final Tribal Council.
Gordon: He did, I kind of felt bad. I felt like his strategy was sound, but he wasn’t a very convincing liar.
Fabio: Yeah, it’s his tone of voice. It’s always the same. You can tell he works in the business world. In the final Tribal Council, they didn’t show this, but Purple Kelly said “If you give another diplomatic answer we’re going to tune out and not listen.”
Gordon: That’s exactly what he did.
Fabio: Yeah, he was doing it again. I don’t know if he’s aware of it or doesn’t know how to fix it. It’s like when we saw our Moms…wait this wasn’t part of your question.
Gordon: Eh…go for it.
Fabio: OK, it wasn’t an emotional thing for him. And he said this thing about growing up without any money, which may be true. Maybe it wasn’t fake, but some people aren’t as emotional or free. I think being an open book in “Survivor” is a good thing. Nobody had a reason to question me or investigate because they thought they had me figured out.

Gordon: OK, word association time. Let’s start with Benry.
Gordon: Alina?
Fabio: Misunderstood.
Gordon: Dan?
Fabio: Dan…wiseguy.
Gordon: Shannon?
Fabio: Shannon’s gotta be a good one…ignorant? There are so many words for what he did, and what he did again last night.
Gordon: Sash?
Fabio: He thinks he’s cooler than he is. Right now when I think of Sash I think of sympathy with the way it went down. He’s such a super fan and he did not get justice at the end.
Gordon: Marty?
Fabio: Awesome.
Gordon: Holly?
Fabio: For Holly it’s gotta be eavesdropper. She would just stand there and look over her shoulder, and I could see her listening to other conversations.
Gordon: Let’s wrap this up with Chase.
Fabio: Cowboy.

Gordon: Alright, Mr. Millionaire. Now that you’ve got that big check, what’re you going to do with it?
I’m starting a production company. We’re just gonna do 45-minute short films. I’d like to do a little bit of stand-up, I think it’d be really fun. I’ve written like 60 poems. Some really cool stuff.
Gordon: Anywhere we can see that stuff online?
Fabio: No man, I gotta get a Twitter and a Fabio Facebook.

‘Survivor: Nicaragua’ Finale Recap: Did Sash Get the Cash?

December 20, 2010

My Back-up Headline: Fabio or Fabi-no?

Last Episode: Chase again picked the wrong people to join him on a reward, Fabio’s immunity win provided him with a much-needed reprieve, and Jane was sent home but doused the campfire as a way to get revenge.

39 Days, 20 People, 1 ‘Survivor‘ Blog

Ladies and gentlemen…here are your final five…

The Libertad Tribe (wearing red with white highlights)
•    Chase – 24, Race Car Jackman/Country Singer
•    Dan – 63, Real Estate Executive
•    Fabio – 21, Student
•    Holly – 44, Swim Coach
•    Sash – 30, Real Estate Broker

We start off with Leslie Stahl telling us about biographical memory, a condition that allows people to remember every moment from their lives.


Oh, football ran long. This is “60 Minutes.” I’ll be back in a few.

And, I’m back. OK…let’s do this.

The show starts off with a recap of the trip to the final five. The highlight has to be Dan sitting in the giant Gulliver chair. They should make the quitters on the jury sit in ridiculously huge chairs.

We start off with Dan back at the Libertad camp. He’s carving a notch in a tree to mark how long they’ve been there. How he walked all the way from the shelter to a tree is a mystery. I’m going to assume Chase carried him.

Fabio shows how strategic he can be by saying that they need to break Sash, Chase and Holly up. You’re thinking of this now? You didn’t think of this when Jane was around to help you out?

Fabs and Dan follow this up with the worst alliance pitch ever. They basically say to Holly, “Hey, how about aligning with us?” For some reason, she doesn’t go for it.

Sash tells us that he’s prepared to make deals with everyone to get to the end. We then see him telling Fabio that he’d like to go to the end with him and Chase. I’m going to disagree here. I think his best bet is to tell Fabio that he doesn’t want to take him because he doesn’t think he can beat him. That way if Fabs does end up on the jury, at least he’ll respect his honesty.

Immunity Challenge:
The players will race out to a station and answer a question about Nicaragua. They’ll then grab a bag that corresponds to the answer they chose. If they chose right, the bag will have puzzle pieces. If not, they’ll have to go back. Once they have all three of the correct bags, they’ll put the pieces together to form a big “Survivor: Nicaragua” logo. First person to finish the puzzle wins immunity.

Everyone gets the first question correct.  Holly, Sash and Chase get the second question right, Fabio gets it wrong and has to head back. Uh oh…one of Chase’s pieces fell off of his board. Chase, Sash and Holly all get the third question right too. For some reason, they’ve stopped showing us what Dan’s up to. I’m going to assume he’s taking a nap.

Fabio eventually gets all of his pieces, but he has to make up a lot of time.

The rain pours down as the players go to work on their puzzles. Dan eventually wakes up and joins in the fun too.

It’s Fabio and Sash neck and neck toward the end with Fabio pulling out the win.

Chase complains that he was missing a piece, but Fabio points out that it fell under his board. Aww…helpful in victory. That Fabio’s a prince.

Once they get back to camp, Fabio goes to work on Chase trying to get him to vote out Holly. Chase doesn’t want to turn on Holly. For some reason, he’s decided that now is the time to stop stabbing people in the back.

Fabio and Dan then make a move for Sash. Dan shows that he is capable of a little strategy by saying that nobody will vote for him because the jury knows that he has money.

That night at Tribal Council, Jane proves that she’s forgotten how to properly use make-up during her time in the wilderness. It’s like she put on her eye shadow with a paint roller.

Dan again echoes his belief that people should take him to the end because the jury knows that he’s well off. That strategy didn’t work for Jimmy Johnson.

Holly is worried that Dan has been pushing for an all-male final four. Dan disagrees that he ever said he wanted it to be all males, but does admit that he thinks Holly is a threat.

Holly snaps back at him. Not sink-his-expensive-shoes snaps, but there was some anger there.

Dan tells her that as a woman from a small town she has a more touching story than he does.

Probsty tells us that Dan would be a good person to take to the end because he hasn’t done very much strategically. (He didn’t do much physically, either.)

Voting Time:
And…none of the votes are shown again! This is an ugly trend.

Jeff tallies, returns and here we go. Two votes for Dan, one vote for Chase and the sixteenth person to be eliminated from “Survivor: Nicaragua” and the eighth member of the jury is…Dan.

During the final confessional, Dan tells us he voted for Chase because he can’t stand him, that Holly should have her hands cut off for stealing his shoes and that Sash is a whiner.

WHAT?! Why didn’t Dan talk like this all season?! Put Dan back in the game!

Also, looks like Fabio has a vote if he can get to the final three.

We meet up with Team Libertad back at camp. Fabio talks to Chase and Sash and asks if they’ll take him to the final three. They of course agree. I can’t tell if Fabio’s buying this or not. But Sash assures us that he’ll send Fabio home if he’s given the chance.

Tree mail arrives in form of a very cool antique sword. Uh-oh…fallen comrades time.

I’m putting the over/under for the term “competitor” at four this time.

First up is Wendy Jo. Holly doesn’t bring up the alliance they created 15 seconds into the game.

Shannon’s next. Chase is sure that he’s an awesome guy outside of the game. Yeah, we’ll see at the reunion. Maybe he’ll try to out the entire cast.

Holly remembers how Jimmy Johnson kept her in the game. Fortunately we’re shown highlights of Jimmy talking to the monkeys.

Fabio thinks Jimmy T. is one of the game’s goofier characters. Chase agrees, but also thinks Fabio is among those ranks as well.

Ha! They don’t say anything about Tyrone. Well, Holly points out that he was a fireman.

Kelly B. is remembered as an inspiration by Holly. If NaOnka was there she’d remember her as “remarkably easy to knock down.”

Yve is next up. She’s called a hard worker.

Fabio wonders if Dr. Jill just didn’t click well with the youngsters when she joined La Flor.

BOOM! Sash refers to Alina as a “competitor.” I was worried we’d get through this mess without hearing that word once.

Fabio remembers Marty for always having a master plan. Well what do you expect from a fake chess grandmaster?

Brenda is remembered as a great strategist. Is “Strategist” the new “Competitor.”

Note: All of the tags up until this point have been in the tribes’ colors. NaOnka’s tag is black with a big X on it. Well played, production.

The players are all still shocked that NaOnka quit while still having an idol. During NaOnka’s voiceover she reminds us of how friendly she was. Also, she claims to be the smartest player in the game. Makes you wonder what color the sky is in NaOnka’s world.

Next us is Purple Kelly. Her voiceover informs us that she is not a quitter. I bet her sky is pretty too.

Benry is remembered as a very strong competitor. Benry’s “Loser” backflip dismount is shown.

Jane is remembered for how much work she did around camp…and the lovely steam bath she gave Dan before she left.

Dan is given props for lasting as long as he did. I give Dan grief, but give the guy credit for gutting it out while the NaOnkas and Purple Kellys of the world tapped out.

The final four arrives at a little barbecue and sets the players’ tags into the fire. It’s the circle of life…or something like that.

Immunity Challenge: Each player will balance a sword on a shield with one hand. With the other hand they’ll balance coins on the handle of the sword. If the coins fall, that person is eliminated. Last person standing wins immunity and a trip to the final Tribal Council.

Jeff informs us that the higher the stack gets, the harder it’ll be to balance. Also, water is wet.

Not much to describe here except for some coin stacking.

Holly’s the first to drop a coin, followed shortly by Chase.

Sash and Fabs continue on for a few more stress-filled minutes…but Sash’s stack eventually falls. Fabio wins immunity…and a million bucks.

Oh wait…he didn’t win a million bucks yet. But I’d bet he will in about an hour.

Fabio is downright giddy back at camp as he gets to watch everyone scramble for his vote. I’m not going to lie, I’m enjoying it too.

Fabio tells Sash that he hasn’t figured out who he’s going to vote for yet. You could tell he was trying to hold back the laugher. Sash goes over the potential jury votes with Fabio, saying that most of those votes will go to Chase.

Fabio then asks if Sash would’ve voted him off if he’d lost immunity. Sash says that he wouldn’t have and that Fabio is his best friend in the game.

Yikes, Sash. An ugly truth has gotta be better than a transparent lie at this point.

Later Fabio, Chase and Holly sit down for a heart to heart. Chase is annoyed that Sash was gunning for him. And again, Fabio is giddy throughout this whole thing. This is actually way too much fun.

Fabs asks Chase and Holly if they would’ve taken him to the final three if he’d lost immunity. They both own up to it saying that they wouldn’t have taken him.

Fabio does the math and realizes that Sash and Chase have been lying to him about going to the final three. He also realizes that Holly has never lied to him. However, he’s worried that he can’t beat Holly in front of a jury.

That night at Tribal Council, Probst makes light of how happy Fabio is. Fabio talks about how fun it was to watch the three-person alliance turn on each other.

Speaking of, that alliance never had a cool nickname. I tried “Chasholly,” but it’s not catchy.

Sash thinks that he’s been more committed to Fabio than Chase has. He also says he believes he would’ve take Fabio to the finals. J-Pro jumps on that asking if he believes he would have or if he actually would have. Sash says he didn’t have the idol so he didn’t have to make that choice.

Get out of real estate, Sash. You’re a born lawyer, buddy.

Probst gives everyone one more chance to pitch their case to Fabio. Both Sash and Chase claim to have been honest with Fabio. Fabio agrees, but they were only honest at the last minute when they had to be.

Holly admits that she would’ve booted Fabio, but says that she is glad that Fabio respects her.

It’s like it’s the final Tribal already and Fabio is the jury. Make ‘em squirm, Jud the Stud! (I also like “Judweiser” as a nickname.)

Voting Time: For the fourth straight time, zero votes are shown. Lame.

Mr. Probst does his thing and returns…one vote for Sash, two votes for Holly…and the seventeenth person to be eliminated from “Survivor: Nicaragua” and the final member of the jury is…Holly.

Note: Yikes, Holly looked livid as she was holding up her Sash vote.

Back at camp, Fabio tells us that he pitted Sash against Chase so the jury knows that he knew what was going on. Whoa…go Fabs.

Note: This has totally been the Fabio show.

Sash tells Chase and Fabio that he’s honored to have the two of them as his wingmen. Well, the biggest bachelor in New York would need two wingmen.

Sash and Chase realize they looked bad at Tribal, but they both promise to bring the big guns at the final Tribal.

The customary final three breakfast greets them the next morning. The three enjoy pancakes, sausage and more as they discuss strategy. Chase says that he thinks Fabio is going to win. Apparently this is part of Chase’s plan to make Fabio overconfident.

After that, the guys set fire to the camp…intentionally this time.

That night at Tribal Council, Chase is the first to give an opening statement. Chase fesses up to being wishy-washy and welcomes everyone’s questions.

Fabio is up next, claiming that his strategy was to be himself then to turn up the intensity when he needed to. He punctuated his statement saying he could have a lot of fun with a million dollars. Well, you can’t argue with that.

Sash goes last, saying that he played a different game than Chase and Fabio. They all outlasted the jury, but he did a better job outwitting and outplaying. He also says that he takes friendships more seriously than alliances and that he hopes the friendships last after the game.

OK, here’s my issue with Sash. I think he says the right things, but I don’t think he’s a very convincing liar. He could learn a lot from Todd Herzog.

Brenda takes the stand first. She says that she’s really proud of all of them. However, she gives grief to Sash for breaking all of his alliances. Sash defends himself saying it was part of his strategy and he still wants to be friends with everyone.

She goes after Chase next, saying it was shocking how easily he got over having to vote for her. He disagrees, saying he went right to her when he found out she was in trouble. Sash disagrees with that statement, saying Chase didn’t do enough to save her. Brenda then gives it to Sash, saying Sash could’ve given her his idol.

Meanwhile, Fabio giggles.

Marty’s up next, he asks Chase who should win the “Dumber Than a Bag of Hammers” award. Marty also states that as the creator of the award, that he is ineligible. This caveat frustrates Chase as he’d like to give the award to Marty. Chase eventually decides not to answer.

Marty then gives Sash credit for being a good strategic player. He then congratulates Fabio on his evolution as well as his immunity wins.

Holly takes the stand, she asks Chase what his best strategic move has been. He says taking out Shannon was his best move because it allowed him to play with people he likes.

She then asks Fabio if his immunity wins were too little too late.

Um, Holly? Gordon Holmes, XFINITY TV…I’d like to field this one if you don’t mind. It seems like those wins were just what he needed exactly when he needed them. Thank you.

Fabio agrees with me, saying it was the best timing possible.

Holly then asks Sash if he’d ever lied to her. He owns up to it, saying he voted for her when he said he wouldn’t.

Uh oh…Jane (and her eye make-up) are up next. She starts off by calling Sash a New York City gutter rat. Well…it’s possible she could’ve meant that in the nicest possible way.

She then tells Chase that she’s still mad at him, but being on “Survivor” with him was the most fun she’s ever had. She asks him what he’d do with the money if he wins. Chase says he’d donate $100,000 to cancer research. He then says he’d take care of his mom.

Fabio then steps in, saying he wants to take care of his parents too.

Benry gets to go next. He has nothing to say to Chase, he then congratulates Fabio on his immunity wins.

Benry then tells Sash that he was able to see through him the entire game.  Sash says that if Benry could see through him, then he should’ve tried to take him out.

Dan goes next. He calls Sash a liar, a phony and spineless. He also hates his smile and that he should go to a doctor and have him remove the trademark Sash wink.

He then tells Chase that he was the most paranoid player in the game. He also points out that Sash backstabbed everyone in the jury. He puts the cherry on the top by saying, “Beauty fades, dumb is forever.”

WHAT?! Did they recast Dan Lembo with Sue Hawk? Where was Dan all season? Can I get a DVD of his confessionals?

Purple Kelly gets to go next. She starts off by asking Sash to explain how he outwitted everyone. Sash thinks he should have been voted out at the merge. He says that it’s unfortunate that he hurt so many people.

And…that’s all she has. One question for one guy. And he didn’t even really answer it. What, they couldn’t have recast her with Corrine Kaplan?

Oh boy…time to hear from NaOnka. She tells Fabio it’s been a pleasure cursing him out. She asks Fabio if seeing his mom was what he needed to get him to the end. He starts off laughing at first, but breaks down a little bit when he talks about his mom.

Jeez…just hand over the check, Jeff.

Alina gets to go last. She tells Fabio that she doesn’t want to give a million dollars to a boy, that she wants to give it to a man.

That’s totally age discrimination.

Sash says that he deserves credit for outwitting people and that Fabio wasn’t involved in most of the votes.

Chase then claims that he wasn’t wishy-washy and that he was getting out of crumbling alliances before they took him down. He also says that usually after Tribal Council Fabio was trying to figure out what had happened.

Fabs parries that by saying he managed to get to the end of “Survivor” without lying to anyone.

Chase thinks that’s because he didn’t know what was going on and that the only reason he’s there is because he won immunity three straight times.

Voting Time: Marty votes for Fabio, saying he loved Fabio’s game. Alina votes for Chase because he had his game face on during the final Tribal Council. Dan voted for Fabio, saying he wants Fabio to win for his mom. Brenda votes for Chase…and the rest of the votes will have to wait until we hit Los Angeles.

And we’re instantly taken there. I miss the days when Jeff Probst would jet-ski to New York.

Whoa…Fabio has Justin Bieber hair.  I change my mind, give the money to Sash.

Alright…let’s finish this up. One vote for Fabio, one vote for Chase, one vote for Fabio, three votes for Chase, two votes for Fabio…and the winner of “Survivor: Nicaragua” is…Fabio.

St. Louis represent!

Wow…I can’t believe it was that close.

Fun Moments from the Reunion:

•    Fabio claims that he has been crazy for a while and that his family is responsible for the invention of the folding card table.
•    Chase and Brenda deny being romantically involved.
•    Terry Bradshaw was in the house to lend support to his buddy Jimmy Johnson.
•    “Survivor” Hall of Famer Russell Hantz, Cirie Fields, Rupert Boneham and Power Rankings star Benjamin “Coach” Wade were in the audience.
•    Dan wore a tuxedo. Seriously.
•    Holly bought Dan a pair of ostrich cowboy boots to make up for that little shoe-sinking snafu.
•    Marty still denies ever “fluffing off” Jane.
•    The whole NaOnka/Kelly B. feud started when NaOnka offered to carry Kelly B. on her back and Kelly turned it down.
•    There is a new rule that states that the producers can make the call as to whether or not to let quitters on the jury.
•    Jane won the Sprint fan favorite vote by the widest margin ever.
•    “Survivor” Hall of Famer “Boston” Rob Mariano is also in attendance and is a father for the second time.
•    The next season of “Survivor” (which will also take place in Nicaragua) will involve a twist where voted out players will go to a magical land known as Redemption Island. The first person who is voted out will live there alone. When the next person is voted out, they’ll visit the island and square off in a one-on-one challenge. The winner stays, the loser goes home. Eventually the last person standing will get to reenter the game.

Was this the worst season of “Survivor” ever? No. Was it the end of the strong run “Survivor” has been having since “Survivor: Tocantins”? Definitely.

I think “Survivor: Nicaragua’s” legacy will ultimately be that everything that was put into place to help it compete with “Heroes vs. Villains” fell short. The Medallion of Power was a dud, Jimmy Johnson was the third person out and the underdog older tribe wasn’t terribly likable.

I think Fabio’s come-from-behind win will leave people with a good taste in their mouths, but “Survivor: Nicaragua” will probably go down as one of the more forgettable seasons.

Power Rankings Results: Team Dragon Slayer had Fabio in the correct slot for two points. Team Truth Seeker had Chase, Sash and Dan in the correct slots for six points. The final score is Team Dragon Slayer 140, Team Truth Seeker 145. This bumps my record up to a barely respectable two and two.

Much love and thanks to Benjamin “Coach” Wade for being such a great competitor this season.

Follow me on Twitter for breaking “Survivor” news: @gordonholmes

Personal Note: I have a blast watching “Survivor” with you guys. I hope you enjoy it too and look forward to seeing you next season for “Survivor: Redemption Island.”

What Do You Think? Were you happy with Fabio’s win? Why didn’t Sash get any votes? Where does this season rank?

‘Survivor: Nicaragua’ Power Rankings: The Final Round

December 18, 2010

I have had an absolute blast competing in the “Survivor” Power Rankings against one of my favorite Survivors of all time, Mr. Benjamin “Coach” Wade. Coach has been a gentleman and a worthy opponent, but rest assured the time for poetry and joking is over. Only one point separates the two of us as we head into the finale.

Will the Dragon Slayer be the one who is slain? Or will the Truth Seeker’s truth be that he simply didn’t have what it takes?

The Finale Rules: The rules for the finale are a bit different. The competitors will receive two points for each player that is in the correct slot.  In the case of a tie between the second and third slots, the players will receive two points for each player they have that is a part of the tie. For example, if Sash and Dan tie for second place, Coach will receive four points (for having both Sash and Dan in the 2nd and 3rd slots) and Gordon will only receive two points (for only having Sash in the 2nd and 3rd slots). Whoever has the most total points at the end of the finale will be named the “Survivor: Nicaragua” Power Rankings Challenge Champion.

Last Week: Team Dragon Slayer called it again. Coach had Jane in spot six while I had her in spot five. The current score is now Team Dragon Slayer 138, Team Truth Seeker 139.


Current Score: 138


Current Score: 139

fabio .. holly
#1: The man, the myth, the legend. Great game and loved the emotions to top it off. #1: After the shoe sinking and the original Tribal meltdown, I though there was no way Holly would last. But, here she is. Her coaching of NaOnka and Purple Kelly may put her over the top. And, Brenda didn’t know she was behind her booting.
sash . chase
#2: Conniving little bastard. Trying to be the Wizard’s second coming. #2: I hate lies that don’t have a strategic benefit. And that’s how I felt about Chase’s latest reward challenge fiasco. Why set yourself up to stab potential jury members in the back?
dan . sash
#3: I’m going to call him Teflon Don. #3: Why does Jane hate you, Sash? Could she poison the whole jury? You seemed to have some votes in your pocket, but I could see them becoming Holly votes really easily.
chase . fabio
#4: Too harmless and charming for his own good. #4: If Fabio can string together two more immunity victories he’ll become a millionaire. I hope you can pull if off, Fabs. But I guess I’m betting you won’t.
holly . dan
#5: Being likable becomes a problem at this point. #5: I think I know why Dan didn’t align with Jane, he probably didn’t appreciate the face full of steam she gave him when she doused the fire. Anywho, Dan’s time is up. He’ll waddle his way to 5th place in the first challenge and be Team Chasholly’s first victim of the night.

‘Survivor’ Hall of Fame Inductee – Sandra Diaz-Twine

December 17, 2010

Fifty percent of the voting for the ‘Survivor’ Hall of Fame was based on the ballots of the Executive Voting Committee. This blue-ribbon panel consisted of “Survivor” Host and Producer Jeff Probst, Challenge Producer John Kirhoffer, Executive Producer David Burris, Producer Jesse Jensen, members of the “Survivor” press corps, and XFINITY TV’s “Survivor” Guy Gordon Holmes.

The other fifty percent came from “Survivor” fans like you.

Before we induct our final member in the “Survivor” Hall of Fame, I’d like to take this moment to thank the Executive Voting Committee members, CBS, and especially all of the “Survivor” fans who voted. I’d also like to once again congratulate our Class of 2010 members Parvati Shallow‘Boston’ Rob Mariano, Russell Hantz and Richard Hatch.

With all of that out of the way, I’m proud to announce that Sandra Diaz-Twine, the only person to ever win “Survivor” twice, is our fifth and final inductee into the “Survivor” Hall of Fame Class of 2010.

Note: This interview was conducted before last Wednesday’s episode of “Survivor.”

What does it mean to you to be voted by the fans and “Survivor” luminaries such as Jeff Probst and John Kirhoffer as one of the top five players of all time?
Sandra Diaz-Twine:
To be voted as one of the top five Survivors of all time is out-a this world, especially since in both seasons I went into the game feeling like I wouldn’t last long.  In “Pearl Islands” because I fell in with Christa and Rupert against the rest, and in “Heroes vs. Villains” because I feared what had happened in “All-Stars” with the winners being among the first to get voted off.

Both times I won so many people said I didn’t deserve it, because among other things I’m a weak physical player, so to find out I’m among the top five ever is crazy but wonderful. I wanna thank everyone that voted and a huge kiss to those that voted for me.

Sweet, I didn’t know I was going to get a huge kiss out of this. So, do you lose at anything? Checkers? Monopoly?
I’ve lost at checkers, not Monopoly cause I’m always the bank.  But, if you beat me at checkers then I want a re-match and when I win, we don’t play again!

How are you feeling about “Survivor: Nicaragua”?
The current season started out dry for me, to the extent that I was falling asleep before the episodes would finish and I never did that before.  But as of last week’s episode when Benry got voted off, I can’t wait for the next episode. Not because Benry got voted off but because I’m hoping that Holly knows Fabio (Jud) voted for her. And I’m hoping Fabio realizes that Dan, his buddy, and Benry threw him under the bus, and how lucky he was to survive that Tribal Council.

What the fans said about Sandra…

“She played the same strategy both games and won both times. She’s an amazing player and low-key target.” – Joey

“She was a master at flying under the radar. And the rare times when she was a target, she managed to divert attention from herself to someone else, and make it through Tribal Council unscathed.” – Tara

“She’s only had one vote cast against her. Say what you want, she was born to play this game.” – Adam

“Best player in my view ever.” – Alan

What the Executive Voting Committee said about Sandra…

“She plays a very subtle game that centers around “as long as it ain’t me.”  Easier said than done.” – Jeff Probst – “Survivor” Host and Executive Producer

“Winning twice should be an automatic inclusion in the Hall of Fame.” Gordon Holmes – XFINITY TV

“Plays one of the best under-the-radar games ever while still speaking her mind and not really ‘riding coattails.’” – Jesse Jensen – “Survivor” Producer

Final Thought: I’m really interested in your opinions for how we can improve the ‘Survivor’ Hall of Fame process for next time. Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

‘Elf’ Sits on a Throne of Lies

December 17, 2010

Dude, I loves me some Christmas movies. Whether it’s Randy freaking out over his new zepplin or Clark W. Griswold talking about his Yule log, I’m into it.

And I’d love to induct Will Ferrell’s ‘Elf’ into my playlist of must-watch flicks, but it’s just too unbelievable for me to truly support.

Yeah yeah, it’s a movie about a human child that’s raised by elves in the North Pole…how realistic can it be? Well, my problem isn’t with the main plot.


‘Survivor’ Castaway Interview: Jane Bright

December 16, 2010

Have you had trouble getting into this season of “Survivor”? It’s OK, a lot of people feel that way. But if you have free time this Sunday, be sure to check out the season finale. I’m not saying I know anything that’s going to happen, because I don’t. But, I do know one thing…

Jane Bright is going to make an awesome jury member.

The same Jane Bright who started a blood feud with Marty. The same Jane Bright who cooked her own fish in the forest. That same Jane Bright is probably going to have a few things to say about the people who stabbed her in the back last night. And I wouldn’t miss it.

I spoke with Jane the morning after her exit from the game and got her thoughts on her feud with Marty, the fish-stealing controversy and why she might be responsible for some cold, hungry nights at the Libertad camp.

Gordon: So, I was wondering last night when you doused the fire; do they have the resources to restart the fire again? Because I know a lot of the supplies were destroyed when the chests caught on fire.
Yeah, I made sure there was another flint. But they’ve still got to find it. (Laughs)
Gordon: (Laughs) Did you hide it?
Jane: I threw it in the back of the shelter and it probably went under it. It’s in there somewhere. I was really good at forecasting the weather, and I knew it was going to rain because you know, “Pink sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky in the morning, sailor’s warning.” I was up in the morning and I knew that at some point in the day it was going to be raining in Nicaragua. And that night at Tribal Council it rained, and it didn’t quit raining for a day and a half. It was like a monsoon. So, I sincerely doubt that they started that fire.
Gordon: So if they starve and freeze, that’s on you.
Jane: (Laughs) Hey, I’m out of the game, I’ve got nothing to lose at that point.
Gordon: NaOnka had a similar sentiment.
Jane: Well my point is this, I started that fire. And Chase and Holly knew that I wanted to be the last woman to douse the fire out. I said if I was in the final I was going to be the one to put the fire out. So, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise.

Gordon: Sash, Chase and Holly didn’t do a good job keeping their plans a secret from you last night. What was your response when you learned that they were turning on you?
There was a lump in my throat and my heart just sank when I realized that…I mean MINUTES prior to that everything had been set to take Dan and Fabio out based on who won the immunity necklace. We had a pecking order.  And when they didn’t say Dan I knew I was in trouble.

Gordon: Why’d you vote for Sash even though you knew it was his last night to play his idol.
Because of an incident that happened that night prior to Tribal Council.
Gordon: What was that?
Jane: I can’t talk about it. But I was saying you guys are making a big mistake. I’m writing his name down even though I know he has an idol. Cause he is a big rattlesnake. And if y’all don’t know it, you know it now. I’m not wasting my vote on Holly.

Gordon: Jeff Probst seemed like he was trying to get you Fabio and Dan to align. It was a little shocking because he’s usually not so blunt about things. But why didn’t you three align?
Dan and Fabio didn’t want to make anything happen. They knew I was a threat, so they thought, “Go ahead and vote her off.” Fabio had voted for me a few times and so had Dan in the past. The alliances the two of them think they have with Chase can’t hold a candle. I knew Chase had broken his alliance with Brenda, but the thing with Brenda was that she was talking about getting rid of Chase. So that’s why Chase came over to me and Holly. And Sash jumped in when he realized he didn’t have the majority anymore. Fabio and Dan realized it when Chase took Sash and Holly to the reward. They tried to get me to join, but why jump ship when you know you have a solid alliance? And all that time they were conniving behind my back. But you couldn’t have gotten Dan or Fabio to change their vote. You could’ve offered them money and they wouldn’t.

Gordon: Do you take it as a compliment that nobody wanted to go to the finals?
I don’t know if I take it as a compliment or not. But I just know I’m not sorry about any way I played the game. I didn’t do a lot of lying, I didn’t do a lot of conniving. I didn’t go into anyone’s personal property and steal something, and then say that I’m a mentor for children. I think I played a pretty good game. I’m proud of what I did.
Gordon: You’re of course referring to Holly wrecking Dan’s shoes. Some players, Jillian for instance, have taken you to task for keeping fish to yourself. Her reasoning was, while you’re fishing, people are taking care of camp, getting water and other things. Could it be viewed that hoarding fish is similar to Holly’s shoe incident?
Jane: Not necessarily, because in the morning I’d bring in three buckets of water. I’d spend hours back their fishing and you had to walk a mile, mile and a half. Most of them wouldn’t take the effort to go that far to fish. And, I look at it like this. I cooked my own fish. I’d already brought five in for dinner. I could’ve sat on my lazy ass like they did and not done a damn thing.

Gordon: You and Marty had some difficulties earlier this season. When I spoke to him he seemed shocked with your comment that you wouldn’t let your children have playdates with his children. How did that get so personal?
Well, when he threw me under the bus on national TV and in actuality had not had more that a two-minute conversation with me up until that point in the game. He didn’t know anything about me. And I sat around camp and knew everything he said about himself. So when he came down on me and women as a whole, I just put it right back on his plate.

Gordon: Let’s break into the word association portion of this interview. Let’s start with Fabio.
Surfer dude.
Gordon: Holly?
Jane: A cow.
Gordon: NaOnka?
Jane: A wildcat.
Gordon: Marty?
Jane: Devil.
Gordon: Dan?
Jane: Cool dude.
Gordon: Fish dance?
Jane: Funny.
Gordon: Chase?
Jane: Country boy.
Gordon: Sash?
Jane: River rat.

Gordon: What do you take from your time in Nicaragua that you can apply to your regular life?
I think people should always be the best they can be. When we flew over Nicaragua, there are a lot of people who have less than what we actually had. Those people down there, they have a whole lot of heart. So, there’s a lot of people in this world a whole lot worse off than we were on “Survivor.” Everybody should be appreciative of what they have. And be appreciative to live in country where you can have a voice and have a vote.
Gordon: That reminds me of what you said when NaOnka and Purple Kelly quit.
Jane: Well, it was a fact. I just wanted them to realize, “Guys, you’re just playing a game here, suck it up!”

‘Survivor’ Hall of Fame Inductee – Richard Hatch

December 16, 2010

Fifty percent of the voting for the ‘Survivor’ Hall of Fame was based on the ballots of the Executive Voting Committee. This blue-ribbon panel consisted of “Survivor” Host and Producer Jeff Probst, Challenge Producer John Kirhoffer, Executive Producer David Burris, Producer Jesse Jensen, members of the “Survivor” press corps, and XFINITY TV’s “Survivor” Guy Gordon Holmes.

The other fifty percent came from “Survivor” fans like you.

The dual-tiered voting system was designed to keep one branch from having more of an influence than the other.

It turns out it wasn’t necessary.

The committee votes almost perfectly matched the fan votes. Our first inductee, Parvati Shallow, had the most votes from both sides. ‘Boston’ Rob Mariano had the second most votes from both sides. And while Russell Hantz and our fourth Hall of Fame member tied on the committee ballots, Hantz only edged him in the fan vote by a tiny margin.

But as I said before, they’re all winners. So, I’m proud to announce that Richard Hatch is the fourth inductee into the “Survivor” Hall of Fame Class of 2010.

What the fans said about Richard…

“Set the bar for how to manipulate the game.” – Tom

“The first to win and the first to figure out the game.” – Eric

“Put ‘Survivor’ on the map.” – Kendall

“Whether you like him or not, he set the standard for all future Survivors.” – Christian

“This is an obvious one. HAS to get in. First winner and set the path for the way the game would be played from then on out.” – Matt

What the Executive Voting Committee said about Richard…

“Love him or hate him, there’s no denying he will always be the best sole Survivor.” Rob Moynihan – TV Guide Magazine

“Taught everyone else how to play the game. Every time anyone says the word ‘alliance’, Hatch should get a nickel…and then not pay any taxes on it!” – Dalton Ross – Entertainment Weekly

“I think the Richard Hatch persona, that of the mastermind who controlled the game with his social maneuvers and sound (not brilliant) strategy, helped rocket ‘Survivor’ into the pop culture stratosphere. I don’t think it’s overstating things to say that ‘Survivor’ might not exist today without Richard Hatch.” – Gordon Holmes – XFINITY TV

“We will never have another Richard Hatch.” – Jeff Probst – “Survivor” Host and Executive Producer

Be sure to come back tomorrow to meet the final member of the ‘Survivor’ Hall of Fame Class of 2010.

‘Survivor: Nicaragua’ Episode 13 Recap: North Carolina Hath No Fury…

December 15, 2010

Last Episode: Chase made bad reward challenge picks, Sash chose the side with which he best clicks and Benry is gone so now there are six…

39 Days, 20 People, 1 ‘Survivor‘ Blog

Here is the tribe as it currently stands…

The Libertad Tribe (wearing red with white highlights)
•    Chase – 24, Race Car Jackman/Country Singer
•    Dan – 63, Real Estate Executive
•    Fabio – 21, Student
•    Holly – 44, Swim Coach
•    Jane – 56, Dog Trainer
•    Sash – 30, Real Estate Broker

Quick Note: So far this week we have inducted Parvati Shallow, ‘Boston’ Rob Mariano and Russell Hantz into the ‘Survivor’ Hall of Fame’s Class of 2010. Be sure to check back tomorrow and Friday for the final two members.

We meet up with the Libertad tribe after Tribal Council. Sash pulls Fabio aside and lets him know that Benry had been gunning for him. Fabio pretends to believe him. Fabio lets us know that he can’t wait to prove to everyone how smart he really is.

We’re waiting, Fabs.

Tree mail arrives the next day in the form of an EVO cell phone from Sprint. And true to form, the phone contains videos of the castaways’ families.

Sprint…The Now Network.

Whoa…Jud’s mom is kind of hot.

(Where’s that delete button…)

Jud takes Chase aside to discuss the upcoming reward challenge. They both agree that they should take each other and Sash on the next reward. Yeah, we know how that turned out for Sash last week.

Speaking of reward…

Reward Challenge: It’s family time. J-Pro brings in Chase’s mother, Fabio’s mother (Rawwwr), Sash’s mother, Dan’s son, Jane’s daughter, and Holly’s husband.

Dan totally breaks down when he gets to see his son. Argh! I said I was going to get through a stupid family episode without getting teary. After weeks of being immobile, Dan finally moved something…he moved my heart.

OK, the players will run off a plank and jump into the pool that Fabio peed in to retrieve a bag of letters. They’ll then hand that bag off to their loved one and go back for a second bag. Once the loved ones have both the bags they’ll unscramble a phrase. First team to get the phrase wins a boating outing and a delicious meal.

Fabio jumps out to an early lead (he must not be grossed out by his own pee). Fabio and Chase hand off both of their bags before Dan gets his first. All of the players eventually hand over their bags.

Chase’s mother Connie unscrambles the words first, winning the reward.

Chase is given the opportunity to take one person on the reward, he chooses Sash. He’s then allowed to take another person and chooses Holly.

Wow, Chase is racking up the points. Dan even calls him a “Scumbag.”

A heartbroken Chase asks what will happen to the rest of them. Probst doesn’t miss a beat and deadpans, “They’ll be executed.”

Meanwhile, a recapper on a couch in Philadelphia spits southern ice tea across his living room.

Fabio breaks down a bit, telling Chase that he would’ve taken him on the reward if he had won. Fabio’s mother talks him down and tell him to keep his head in the game.

Beautiful and a strategist. Cast Mrs. Fabio for next season.

Dan, Jane and Fabio are livid back at camp. Apparently Chase had told Jane and Fabio that he was going to take both of them on the reward.

Meanwhile at the reward, Chase announces that he, Holly and Sash are going to be the final three. Chase realizes that he’s lost Fabio’s vote and states that he wants Fabio to go home next.


Go Team Fabs.

Afterward, Chase finds a clue to a hidden immunity idol.

Wait, what? Doesn’t this alliance already have like 40 idols? They could open a gift shop on the beach and sell them.

When Chase returns to camp, Fabio gives him the business. Fabio makes the point that Holly lives with her husband and Fabio only gets to see his mother a few times a year. Chase doesn’t do a good job explaining himself at all.

Fabio reasons that it isn’t wise to hold a grudge in “Survivor” and he will just have to win immunity.

Speaking of immunity…

Immunity Challenge: All of the players will be blindfolded. They’ll have to make their way over and under some posts. Once they get to the end they’ll find a shield with symbols on it. They’ll have to feel the symbols to remember where they go on the shield. They’ll then grab three bags of puzzle pieces.

Always puzzle pieces…always.

They’ll then make their way back to the beginning and put the pieces in the same places on a different shield. First person to get their pieces in the right places wins immunity. To add a degree of difficulty, some of the bags have incorrect pieces in them.

A lot of stumbling to start off. I don’t want to shock you, but Dan is the last person to make it to his puzzle. Probst thinks it’s because 36 days in the wilderness is taking its toll on Dan. I disagree, as Dan was slow on day one.

Fabio is the first person to make it back to his shield. Holly and Jane are behind him. Holly drops a bag and has trouble finding it. Sash and Chase eventually make it back to the beginning too.

Fabio is the first to finish his puzzle, but one of the wrong pieces is in place. He figures it out quickly, fixes it and wins immunity.

Politicking around camp centers around Jane and Dan. While they’re trying to bring the fire back to life, Fabio tells Chase that he wants Jane to go home. Chase disagrees.

Later during a strategy session with Chase and Holly, Sash makes the point that if Jane gets to the end that she’ll win the million dollars.

Jane comes up to Sash, Jane and Holly as they’re talking. She asks if Dan is going home and none of them respond. She puts two and two together and realizes that they’re voting for her.

Chase throws Sash and Holly under the bus saying he doesn’t want to vote Jane out so it’s up to them. Sash admits that they don’t think they can beat Jane in a final three. Jane responds by giving him the middle finger.

Later on at camp, Jane snaps at Sash for even looking at her. She follows that up by pouring water on the fire that she started.

Note to Self: Never cross Jane.

That night at Tribal Council, Jeff asks Dan to tell him what happened at camp. Dan starts talking, but then decides to hold his tongue. J-Pro isn’t having any of that, so Dan tells him that Jane doused the fire.

Jane asks to have her say, Probst is more than happy to oblige. Jane claims that her alliance was full of liars and backstabbers. She says that Holly claims to be a coach and a mentor, but that she destroyed $1,400 worth of property (Dan’s shoes). Apparently where Jane comes from you go to jail for that.


Chase admits that voting Jane out is their best bet for winning the money.

Probst asks who’s next to go. Chase says whoever doesn’t win immunity. He asks for Sash and Holly’s thoughts on the matter. They take longer to respond then Chase would have liked.

Jeff asks Fabio, Dan and Jane the question he thinks his own mother would ask; why don’t they form their own alliance? Best of all, Jeff does so using his impersonation of his mother.

Note: If you just read my recaps and don’t watch the show. You need to watch the show. Jeff’s Mama Probst impersonation is twelve shades of awesome, my friends.

Probst then states that this Tribal Council is the last time people can use their hidden immunity idols. Both Sash and Chase admit to having them.

Voting Time: And…none of the votes are shown again!

Jeff tallies and returns. He asks if anyone would like to play a hidden immunity idol. Both Sash and Chase decide to hand their idols over…hanging Holly out to dry.

Three votes for Jane…and the fifteenth person to be eliminated from “Survivor: Nicaragua” and the seventh member of the jury is…Jane.

Verdict: I think there are two different shades of “Survivor.” You’ve got your “Springer” and you’ve got you “Strategic.” Springer involves big, bold characters who freak out and yell and cause a fuss. Strategic is where players make smart moves to win over jury votes and advance in the game. The best seasons of “Survivor” are a mixture of both.

This season is pure Springer.

Between Holly, NaOnka and Jane’s bizarre behavior, Chase playing one of the worst strategic games in recent memory and Sash being the only real strategist left, it’s an off-balance season.

Who’s Going to Win? If it’s a final three of Sash, Chase and Holly…the biggest bachelor in New York is going to have a million bucks to put toward real estate.

Power Rankings Results: Team Dragon Slayer called it again. Coach had Jane in spot six while I had her in spot five. The current score is now Team Dragon Slayer 138, Team Truth Seeker 139. Could I blow a lead in the final episode again? It’s shades of Tamara ‘Taj’ George all over again!

Follow me on Twitter for breaking “Survivor” news: @gordonholmes

What Do You Think?
Was Jane right to douse the fire? Should they have kept Jane until the final four? Who’s your pick to win the million?

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