Archive for October, 2011

‘Survivor’ Castaway Interview: Mikayla Wingle

October 27, 2011

Mikayla Wingle would have killed it on “Survivor” a few years ago. She’s a hard worker around camp, a fierce challenge competitor, and  easy on the eyes.

Unfortunately for Mikayla, she played the game in a post-Phillip Sheppard world. A world where “Keep the Crazy Guy Who’s Prone to Tribal Council Meltdowns” is a valid strategy. This season’s crazy guy, Brandon Hantz, shunned her due to imaginary breaches of etiquette. If he hadn’t, she’d probably be nestled safely in Coach’s alliance.

Instead, the recently eliminated Lingerie Football star spent her Thursday morning talking to me. It’s not all bad though, while we chatted I had an opportunity to find out more about Albert’s allegiances, Coach’s coaching, and Brandon’s beliefs.

Gordon Holmes: Alright, before we get into this, Delilah…
Mikayla Wingle:
Oh! Already!
Holmes: I can’t have you being too flirtatious because I need to concentrate on my job.
Wingle: (Laughs) Let’s be honest now, I am one of the least flirtatious people I know. But I will hold back because I know you’re on duty now. I wouldn’t want to jeopardize your job by flirting with you.
Holmes: Good. Because I watch a little show called “Survivor,” miss. And I saw how horribly, ridiculously, blatantly you were throwing yourself at poor, innocent Brandon. So knock it off.
Wingle: (Laughs) I couldn’t help myself! I was just throwing myself on top of him. It was so bad. I couldn’t hold myself back.
Holmes: It’s a family show, Mikayla.
Wingle: Not anymore!

Holmes: Now, when you got home and you learned what Brandon’s opinion of you was, how did you react?
Wingle:
It was a complete shock mixed with a little bit of laughter. Because, I’m a major tomboy. And the fact that he thought me putting together a shelter was flaunting myself? Really? If you think I’m flaunting myself twelve hours in with no makeup and no shower, honey, you don’t know what the world is going to be like. Wait until someone is really flirting with you.
Holmes: When you were out there, did you notice the leering? Did you know that he thought you were too flirtatious?
Wingle: When we were out there, the only thing Albert told me was to “Be easy, because the cowboy (Rick) and Brandon are very intimidated by you.” I said, “OK, I won’t say a word to them.” I’ll be laid back. I’m cool, I’ll relax.
Holmes: Brandon seems to have a meltdown every time Upolu goes to Tribal Council. Actually, you could probably set your watch to it. Was there ever an opportunity for you to go to Coach and say, “This guy’s a loose cannon, swap him for me and I’ll stay loyal.”
Wingle: There were definitely times I could have said a lot of things. Being out there with a lack of food and all this garbage going on. Watching-wise you’d say “Why doesn’t she say this?” or “Why doesn’t she say that?” But when you’re in it, your head is in a totally different place. And my main thing was; I have younger siblings, I have a lot of family and I wanted to be looked at as a role model and not another loose cannon. So, there were a lot of things that I could’ve said, but I wanted to represent my family.

Holmes: Albert went to bat for you last week. What was the relationship like between you, him, and Sophie?
Wingle:
Aww…I love them. They were great. Day one we made an alliance. And as you’ve seen Brandon talked smack. And the lies that he was throwing around camp really put a burden on my relationship with Sophie. She never was really 100 percent with me. Albert and I always saw eye to eye.

Holmes: There was a lot of talk before the game about keeping a close eye on the returning players, especially after Boston Rob’s win last season. Did that line of thinking come into play at all?
Wingle:
I wish I’d stood up at Tribal Council. I wish I’d stood up and said, “Guys, we’re here to win and the past two out of three times it’s been a returning player.” Why didn’t we kick Coach off before the merge? We don’t need him at the merge. But when you’re out there and tired and hungry you can’t put that together.
Holmes: Is Coach in complete control at Upolu beach?
Wingle: Coach definitely was. Him, Sophie, and Albert have this crazy, annoying thing together. Working with Coach, we tried to talk, but it was so fake and so played out. I could not connect with him. As a coach, you’re supposed to watch and point someone in the right direction. He is not like any coach I’ve ever seen or had to deal with in my life. He’s a different breed, and it’s not a good breed.

Holmes: Alright, let’s do some word association. We’ll start with your buddy Albert.
Wingle:
Loyal.
Holmes: Edna?
Wingle: Oh, garbage.
Holmes: Brandon?
Wingle: Needs help.
Holmes: Sophie?
Wingle: Follower.
Holmes: Stacey?
Wingle: Outspoken.
Holmes: Christine?
Wingle: She’s a good friend…a great friend. I love her.
Holmes: Rick?
Wingle: Oh God…he’s just another number.
Holmes: And we’ll finish with Coach.
Wingle: Grow up.

Holmes: I played in the Lingerie Football League in the late ’90s.  And I was good, not great, I had my moments. But, I banged up my knee and had to call it a career. Now, I know you’re the best player in the Lingerie Football League now. Does it bother you that you missed out on the challenge that involved Brandon in a body paint brassiere?
Wingle:
You know, I laugh because Brandon is all, “God this, Jesus that, blah blah blah.” OK, um…so you’re doing this? What does that mean? Isn’t that hypocritical? Make sure you’ve read the book before you try to preach it. You criticize me for wearing a bikini? God forbid he was on the other tribe. If he was with Whitney and Elyse and Semhar his head would have spun. That would have been hilarious to watch.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

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‘Survivor: South Pacific’ Recap: The Dumbest Move in ‘Survivor’ History?

October 26, 2011

Last Week: Ozzy thought his alliance was totally dead-na, Brandon searched for the idol because he was misled-na, and Rick cast the deciding vote to boot Mikayla and keep Edna.

Quick Aside for Zelda Fans:
Doesn’t it look like Ozzy has a Tri-Force on his chest?

39 Days, 18 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog

Here are the tribes as they currently stand…

The Savaii Tribe (wearing red)
Cochran – 24, Harvard Law Student
Dawn – 41, English Professor
Jim – 35, Medical Marijuana Dispensary Owner
Keith – 26, Water Treatment Tech
Ozzy – 30, Slayer of Challenges
Whitney – 27, Country Music Singer

The Upolu Tribe (wearing blue)
Albert – 26, Baseball/Dating Coach
Brandon – 19, Oil Tanker Crewman
Coach – 39, Slayer of Dragons
Edna – 35, Anesthesiologist
Rick – 51, Rancher
Sophie – 22, Medical Student

Currently Residing on Redemption Island (wearing hatred for the term “Upolosers”)
Christine – 39, Teacher
Mikayla – 22, Lingerie Football Player

We get down to business over at Upolu beach. Edna points out the obvious by saying that Brandon’s wild mood swings make him a tough person to have an alliance with. In other news, water is wet and the sky is blue.

Rick lets Coach know that he’s worried about Brandon’s loose cannon ways. Coach compares Lil Hantz to Lennie from “Of Mice and Men” and says sometimes you have to put a bullet in someone’s head.

Tell me about the immunity idols, George…

Redemption Island Duel: Each player will take apart a crate and use the pieces to build a bridge. They’ll cross the bridge, then use some of the pieces to complete a puzzle. First person to complete the puzzle wins immunity.

Albert and Sophie are in attendance for Upolu, while Ozzy and Cochran represent the Savaii delegation.

The duel is very even. Albert shows his allegiance by openly rooting for his buddy Mikayla.  Christine manages to cross her bridge first, but Mikayla is right behind her.

The puzzle portion involves recreating a logo that’s featured in the Redemption Island set. Mikayla doesn’t figure it out. Christine does. Christine wins yet again.

Ozzy isn’t sure where Christine will go once the tribes merge. Um…has he been paying attention to the way she’s been tearing apart Upolu every time Probst lets her talk? He thinks it might a good idea to send someone to Redemption Island to knock her out.

An Open Letter to Ozzy Lusth

Dear Ozzy,

You are an amazing physical specimen. Maybe the best challenge performer in “Survivor” history. In a footrace, or a swimming competition, or a tree-climbing contest you would decimate Christine.

However, the Redemption Island Duels aren’t physical competitions. What’re you going to do if you ask to get voted out and then have to beat Christine in Monopoly or Tiddlywinks or a sweater knitting contest, or any other bizarre competition John Kirhoffer comes up with?

Think about it.

Your Friend In Time,
Gordon

Back at Savaii, Ozzy proves that they don’t have access to XFINITYTV.com on the beach. He tells Cochran that his “Worst-Case Scenario” plan is to send himself to Redemption Island to get rid of Christine.

Ozzy even agrees to give his idol to someone in the hopes that they’ll give it back to him when he returns.

Somewhere Erik Reichenbach is stoked that his Dumbest Move in “Survivor” History moment in Micronesia could possibly be topped.

Over at Upolu, Coach is harnessing his chi in an attempt to figure how to cheer up his tribe. He comes to the conclusion that the best way to do this is to “find” the hidden immunity idol with the entire group.

This isn’t a terrible idea. Everyone on the tribe who doesn’t know he has it (Brandon, Edna, Rick) are already pretty loyal to him.

Before they start their wild goose chase, Brandon and Coach lead the tribe in a prayer asking for help finding the idol and winning the next challenge. Sophie is understandably wigged out that Coach is praying for an idol he already has in his pocket.

As they’re “looking” for the idol, Sophie and Coach discover tree mail that tells everyone to use body paint to turn themselves into identical sets of twins for the challenge.

They return to camp with the idol and Brandon takes this as a sign that the man upstairs is on their side. I guess that’s true if Coach happens to be sleeping on the bunk above you.

Immunity Challenge Time:
One set of twins will be callers, while the other two sets of twins will be blindfolded and attached to a rope. The blindfolded twins will follow the rope to retrieve bags of masks. Once they have all of the masks they’ll have to put the masks in a proper order. First team to do this wins immunity and an exclusive sneak preview screening of Adam Sandler’s new movie “Jack and Jill.”

What?! That’s why they’re twins?! Oh man, I’d throw that challenge in a heartbeat.

Oof…and Whitney’s super psyched at the prospect of seeing that movie. Her enthusiasm for that movie dials back her hotness by about 20%.

Coach and Rick, Brandon and Edna, and Sophie and Albert are paired up for Upolu. While Keith and Dawn, Ozzy and Whitney, and Jim and Cochran are twins of Savaii.

Wow, these paint jobs are amazing. It’s like “Braveheart” mixed with “Avatar”

Quick Note: Yes, Brandon and Albert have on body paint bras.

Another Quick Note: You know, I pick on Brandon quite a bit in these recaps, but I think deep down he’s a good kid who is letting his brain get the best of his instincts. At least he has a sense of humor enough to go on national TV painted up like that. I hope he comes out of this “Survivor” experience with a lot of good things to build on.

Yet Another Quick Note: If I were in this challenge I’d paint my face like the Ultimate Warrior and my tummy like Kamala.

Jim and Cochran will call for Savaii while Coach and Rick will call for Upolu.

Not a lot to describe early on except for some comical bumping into things. Savaii did have a bit of a lead, but Upolu was able to make it up when the Savaii twins became tangled in their ropes. Cochran, who is responsible for the hooking and unhooking of the pairs, is apparently screwing this up royally.

Upolu has all of the masks first, but Savaii isn’t too far behind. Coach makes like Burt Bacharach and says a little prayer for his tribe. Apparently it works as Upolu wins immunity.

Ozzy is not pleased. He violently kicks at walls and slams his hands down on the table. While he’s going ballistic, Coach leads the Upolutians in a prayer. A merciful God wouldn’t make you watch “Jack and Jill.”

When Probsty asks Ozzy what happened, Ozzy has a fit. He doesn’t throw Cochran under the bus specifically. But it didn’t take much to connect the dots.

After the break, we meet up with Upolu as they’re watching the movie. Coach lets us know that the movie is funny, but it has a message that family comes first. Jeez, Coach…spoiler alert.

Meanwhile, Ozzy still hasn’t calmed down over what he considers an easy win. It’s almost like their manager called to the bullpen and asked for the wrong pitcher.

Ahem…

Ozzy doesn’t beat around the bush, as he says that Cochran cost them the challenge. Cochran says he feels horrible and should be held accountable. Ozzy thinks his previous plan isn’t such a good idea now that he’s faced with the prospect of actually going through with it. Way to be a stand-up guy, Oz.

The tribe eventually comes to the conclusion that Cochran can redeem himself by going to Redemption Island and eliminating Christine. It’s amazing how the tribe went from “You suck, you blew it” to “You can totally beat Christine” within a few cuts.

The following morning, Ozzy claims that he had a dream that he should be the one to take out Christine. Cochran agrees with Ozzy’s nighttime inspiration, saying it’s more likely that Ozzy would be able to come back into the game.

Keith and Jim, however, are worried that the merge might not be as soon as they think it is.

That night at Tribal Council, Ozzy admits to blaming Cochran for the immunity challenge loss.

Cochran confesses that he had panicked during the challenge.

Dawn tells us about their plan to oust Christine.

OK, am I the only one who watches the show where Christine Elrod hates her old tribe? It’s on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

Ozzy tells Probst that he’s prepared to go to Redemption Island for his tribe. He sees it as redemption for not following his heart during “Survivor: Fans vs. Favorites.”

He also tells us that his plan is to tell Christine that Cochran pulled a fast one on the tribe by finding the immunity idol and using it against them.

Quick Aside: I disagree with this move too. Wouldn’t it be better to act like Ozzy was an outcast? If he gets back into the game he would have a reason to pretend to side with Upolu. He’d be like a “Survivor” sleeper cell.

Keith doesn’t love this idea. He thinks it’s Cochran’s chance to be a team player.

Voting Time: Cochran votes for Ozzy and the rest of the votes aren’t shown.

J-Pro…you know…tallies. He asks if anyone wants to play the hidden immunity idol. Ozzy plays like he’s changed his mind, but instead he hands the idol to Cochran. So weird.

Three votes for Ozzy, and the seventh person to pay a visit to Redemption Island is…Ozzy.

Verdict: Ozzy mentioned this exact strategy during the pre-game interviews. I thought he meant it as a last-ditch effort. Apparently I was wrong.

I always felt like JT giving Russell the idol in “Heroes vs. Villains” was more of a big gamble than a dumb move. How was JT supposed to know Russell was the devil?

This seems like a way bigger gamble with a very small upside. If he’s sent packing by the Christine Express next week, or if the merge doesn’t happen and he finds himself squaring off against Cochran, he’s going to look dumb. So, I’ll reserve judgment.

Who’s Going to Win: Upolu might have this in the bag. Go Sophie.

Power Rankings Update: Andrea Boehlke pitched back-to-back perfect games! She had Ozzy in spot twelve and Christine winning at Redemption for a total of thirteen points. I had Ozzy in eleven and missed the Redemption Island extra point. The current score is Team Boehlke 88, Team Holmes 89. Tweeter @SherriErwin also picked a perfect game and became the first Tweeter to defeat me all season. Don’t get used to it, Sherri…

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

‘Survivor: South Pacific’ Power Rankings – Week 6

October 25, 2011

Quick Note: Andrea and I have a deal where when she wins, I’ll lead the next week with an Albert photo and when I win I’ll lead with a Mikayla photo. In the case of a tie we’d use a picture of Elyse. Since Elyse is out of the game, it only seemed fitting to use a picture of Brandon Hantz wearing a bra. Yes, I’m aware that there are some things you can’t unsee.

The Rules: Each week our two combatants will create separate power rankings. The ranking of the person who is voted out of the next episode will determine the number of points the two players will earn. For example, if Sophie is voted out this week, Andrea will receive 2 points and Gordon will receive 4 points. Also, each player will pick who they think will win at Redemption Island. If they choose correctly they will receive a bonus point. At the end of the season, the person with the most points will be named the “Survivor: South Pacific” Power Rankings Challenge Champion.

Last Week: A perfect game from both sides as Andrea and Gordon both had Mikayla in spot thirteen and Christine winning Redemption Island. The current score is Team Boehlke 75, Team Holmes 78.

Wanna Play? Tag Gordon (@gordonholmes) in your own Twitter Power Rankings. If you do better than Gordon does, (which is highly likely) he’ll give you credit in his weekly recap.

teamboehlke . TEAMHOLMES
Current Score: 75

Got any advice for Andrea? Drop her a line on Twitter.

. Current Score: 78
Got any advice for Gordon? Drop him a line on Twitter.
COACH . kEITH
#1 Coach: I didn’t think I’d see the day where I put a returning player on top of the rankings, but here we are! Sure, there was a little disturbance in the S.A.C. when Albert and Sophie voted to keep Mikayla against his wishes. However, we saw that Coach has the majority of his alliance-mates in order. At the very least he has C.R.E.B. intact, which IS a thing (it’s a cellular transcription factor, duh) and there is a good possibility that things will be patched up with Sophie and Albert. Oh, and he has an idol. . #1 Keith: Now that things have settled down a bit over at Savaii, it looks like Keith has moved back into his position as stud who’s super safe until mergeville. And if Elyse is to be believed, he and Whitney have a bit of a showmance going on. Could Keith and Whit (I agree, they need a nickname) go the distance and pull a Boston Rob/Amber? Doubtful. But he’s good for now.
SOPHIE2 . JIM
#2 Sophie: I honestly feel Sophie isn’t getting the credit she deserves in the Albert-Sophie alliance. I think she is doing more than just nodding her head and batting those baby-blues. Speaking of, have you seen her eyes? Incredibly fierce eyes. I believe Sophie is a silent assassin and although she voted against the numbers in her tribe this week, she is savvy enough to get back in with the crew. . #2 Jim: Yeah, yeah…Jim’s running things over at Savaii beach. Big deal. What impresses me is, both Elyse and Semhar have said how grossed out they are by the fact that Jim has dated his former students. HE’S NEVER HAD ANY STUDENTS! Best of all, he’s not making up lies that make him look awesome (ala Russell Hantz, Katrina fireman/dog rescuer), he’s making up lies that could make him look like a decent dude if he’s ever found out. Hilarious.
JIM . albert
#3 Jim: I have a love/hate relationship with Jim. First, he makes my life really easy by creating this 3+2 alliance and thus the Power Rankings are super simple. Then, he does this awesome blindside and messes up 3+2 and makes my rankings of Savaii close to impossible. He seems to be the only one dictating moves at this point, so I deem him safe this week. I hate/love you, Jim! . #3 Albert: Everyone’s making a big deal about the Upolu Five breaking up. I don’t buy it. Sophie and Albert could have easily turned Brandon against Coach if they wanted to by mentioning the immunity idol. I think it was just a disagreement where they decided to let Rick make the final call. I think they’ll stick together for a while longer.
RICK . SOPHIE2
#4 Rick: Well, here’s a classic rags to riches story! Mustache man goes from invisible to making huge decisions. Mustache spoke at the duel and I swooned. Then he spoke later in the episode and I bit my fist. It’s probably because I’m biased and totally Team Alphie (sounds better than Sophbert, right?) but I actually think he made the right decision for himself to not piss of Coach. . #4 Sophie: Like I said with Albert, I think things are fine with her and Coach. However, they will have to be wary of how loyal Brandon and Edna (and apparently Rick) are to the Dragon Slayer.

Quick Note: Sophie dropped me a line to let me know that she didn’t like how her Power Rankings photo had a white background. So, I added some disgusting, half-chewed pork.

BRANDON . COACH
#5 Brandon: I think it’s detrimental to keep Brandon so high in the rankings because I too am a man of my word and I also thinking smoking marijuana is going against your word and I’d rather put him this high even though from the beginning I wanted someone else high but I stick to my word. Does this make sense? Of course not, it doesn’t have to! . #5 Coach: Congrats, Coach. You won one last week. You get to keep your pocket Edna around for at least one more round. However, there is no more doubting who the power player on Upolu is. If your alliance breaks up, or heads into the merge down numbers, there’s going to be a huge target on your back.
DAWN . WHITNEY
#6 Dawn: In a world where nobody is really safe on Savaii, Dawn has done a great job proving herself valuable to the tribe. I don’t think Ozzy has it out for Dawn like he does any of the others, and Dawn seems to be tight now with Cochran and Jim, so if something crazy happens she could be safe. . #6 Whitney: Is it ‘Crazy’ to ‘Stand by Your Man’? Definitely not. No alliance is ‘Written in Stone’ in fact, many ‘Fall to Pieces.’ Worst case, she’ll still have a boyfriend ‘After the Fire Is Gone.’ (I’d like to thank Wikipedia for their help with that caption.)
albert . RICK
#7 Albert: Although I applaud Albert for playing for his own end game, it was Coach who got his way last week. While normally this could be a “dun dun dun” moment for Al, let’s not forget that he and Sophie know about the idol, which gives Coach incentive to patch things up.  Although he came close, close only showed that he’s thinking of moves but Coach is really the one in control over at Upolu. . #7 Rick: Rick! He speaks! He casts a vital swing vote! He…uh…he’s kinda boring. Although, it is funny that someone who was specifically anti-Coach during the pre-game interviews (and he had no idea that Coach was going to be returning) ended up siding with him.
WHITNEY . DAWN
#8 Whitney: Whitney went back to being “purple” this episode which gives me some hope she will make it past this round. However, with the beautiful train-wreck that is Savaii, there is literally no telling who is next to go. . #8 Dawn: Who’s had the best transformation so far this season? Coach. The change from pawn to prince has been fascinating. Second best transformation? Dawn. Remember her rough beginning? Is this the same woman who totally called out Ozzy last week during his hissy fit? Awesome. And all the Savaiians who have left the game seem to love and respect her. Put her in front of the jury and I can think of six kids who are going to get shiny new bicycles when their mom cashes a million-dollar check.
kEITH . BRANDON
#9 Keith: Keith is starting to remind me more and more of a South Pacific Grant. He’s cool, collected, amazing at challenges and everyone loves him. Although I think he is safe for now, I think he will inevitably be blindsided down the road. I wonder if he will talk to Coach at the reunion. . #9 Brandon: OK, here’s some truth for you…never (as in EVER) tell your tribe to vote you out. I think you’re safe because you’re Coach’s boy. But you’re playing a dangerous game.
EDNA . COCHRAN
#10. Edna: Mikayla has a point. How DID Edna get this far? Girl must be doing something right. I mean, according to Mikayla’s logic, Edna is like 2 foot something, 65 pounds or something ridiculous — just a little pixel of a thing!  However I do believe that if Upolu loses she will be next to go because she was never in the C.R.A.B.S. and people like Brandon and Coach are men of their words, you know. . #10 Cochran: Cochran and Dawn are both in a good position IF they can make it to the merge. They’re not quite out of the woods yet though, as we don’t know when the merge will take place.
COCHRAN . OZZY
#11. Cochran: Cochran is just so cute and nerdy and I can’t wait to meet his mom, but I don’t know what to do with him! I can’t pretend he is running things. And since Ozzy has the idol and has apparently had something against Cochran from the beginning, I feasibly can’t put him any higher in the chance that Ozzy turns the tables on little ole Cochran. . #11 Ozzy: The previews are hinting that someone has asked to go to Redemption Island. Ozzy talked about this exact strategy in our pre-game interview. Does that mean he’s going to go? Maybe not, Savaii could win immunity, the tribe could decide that ousting Christine or Mikayla isn’t that important (as they’d be likely to switch to Savaii). Either way, this strategy is dumb. Can Ozzy beat Christine in a foot race? Yup. Can he beat her in Chutes and Ladders? Who knows.
OZZY . EDNA
#12. Ozzy: So the previews for next week say that a person asks to go to Redemption Island and it is the most strategic gamble in “Survivor” history. Ummmmmmm. Can anybody see anyone else besides Ozzy asking to be sent to Redemption Island at this point? . #12 Edna: Coach saved you last week. He can’t do it again this week without getting rid of one of his original five alliance. The Dragon Slayer can’t do that without going against his statement that the best alliances start early and ride it until the end.
CHRISTINE . Mikayla
Redemption Island Pick – Christine: Matt—errr, I mean Christine wins. Although I think Christine will eventually be de-Elroded, I don’t think Mikayla will be the one to do it. First of all, with challenges like shuffleboard it’s not like you have to be super skilled or strong. Second, when Sophie says “Christine is the worst person to come back” I sense foreshadowing. Goodbye, Mikayla, I too hope “Survivor” helps you with your modeling career. What—I’m being genuine! . Redemption Island Pick – Mikayla: Is it bad to bet against Christine’s hot streak? Totally. Do I need Mikayla to stay in the game so I have someone’s picture to use when I win the Power Rankings? Absolutely.

How I Finally Won My Father’s Approval

October 25, 2011

The relationship between a father and a son is always a landmine of misunderstood expectations and things not said. It may seem like a “Cat’s in the Cradle” cliche, but the day when a father can finally look at his son and see a man can be life-altering.

I finally experienced that moment this past weekend.

We were at a youth figure-skating event this past Saturday, waiting for my niece to compete, when my father couldn’t quite place the music a skater was competing to.

My dad asked, “What is this song?”

I didn’t miss a beat as I responded, “‘Music of the Night’ from ‘Phantom of the Opera.'”

He didn’t say it. But I’m sure he’s never been prouder of me than he was at that moment.

‘Survivor’ Castaway Interview: Elyse Umemoto

October 20, 2011

‘Survivor’ doesn’t exist in a bubble. All of the contestants know exactly which strategies worked in the previous season.

Unfortunately for Elyse Umemoto, the last season before “South Pacific” was “Redemption Island.” Why was that bad news? Because Ometepe rode a numbers advantage into the merge and wiped out the Zapatera tribe. Any tribe that’s going to repeat that strategy is going to need to be strong in challenges, and that’s why Savaii voted her out instead of Ozzy Lusth.

I spoke with the latest victim of Redemption Island the morning after her elimination and had a chance to learn about a budding romance that seems to be taking place on Savaii beach, how Cochran is taking everyone by surprise, and how she nearly caught Jim in a major lie…

Gordon Holmes: You were the victim of a Savaii blindside last week. Did you have any idea that they would be gunning for you?
Elyse Umemoto:
No, none at all. Looking back, I’m not sure I had the capacity to see that. I don’t think there was anything I could have observed that would have led me to that conclusion. For the longest time it seemed like we were so unified and on the same page.
Holmes: It looked like Jim was the one who orchestrated the plot to send you packing. Did that shock you at all?
Umemoto: That definitely did not shock me.
Holmes: We’ve learned that Jim’s lying quite a bit. Jim even told the tribe that he was a teacher, even though he seems to have a dozen careers…none of which involve teaching.
Umemoto: Oh my gosh, the funny thing is he turns out to be this poker player and this business man. And that didn’t surprise me because he’s just got that big “I want to sell you something” grin. And he’d say things about how excited he was to be on the show because there were 12 million viewers so that means six million chicks. So, I wasn’t surprised. But he said he was a science teacher and he had this really convincing story where he had this rule where he wouldn’t date a student until three years after she’d graduated.
Holmes: Good cons have a lot of details.
Umemoto: But it was so slimy. But, I should’ve thought more about it when I asked him what the boiling point of water was and he couldn’t really give me an answer.
Holmes: Before the alliance break-up, what had the plan been?
Umemoto: We were all part of the same team, we were going to the final five, final four, whatever. And we just knew it. We’d look each other in the eyes and we had each others’ backs. And Jim just formulated a plan and put it into motion.

Holmes: They hinted at a bit of showmance between you and Ozzy. Any truth to that?
Umemoto:
(Laughs) No, there was definitely no showmance. We were just homies. We got along really well as friends and that made it nicer.
Holmes: On that same topic; Papa Bear hinted that there was a showmance between Whitney and Keith. Any truth to that?
Umemoto: Oh…I would definitely believe that. I remember when Whitney confided in me something that I thought was really surprising. She had said that she’d been with this man that she’d been dating and they live together and that she really thinks that she was falling for Keith. So much so that she could see herself with him and not this man she has a life with back home.
Holmes: In her defense; Keith is super dreamy, so I could see why that would happen.
Umemoto: (Laughs) He is so dreamy. And he’s such a good, wholesome guy. After every challenge, whether we won or we lost, he was always, “Hugs and high fives, guys.” And he’s totally easy on the eyes.
Holmes: Was there a pecking order with who got hugs and who got high fives?
Umemoto: No, it was just love for everybody all around.

Holmes: How’s Cochran doing out there?
Umemoto:
Oh, Cochran!
Holmes: Oh, Cochran.
Umemoto: (Laughs) I think we realized way too late what Cochran was all about. We underestimated him. He learned how to follow direction, but he couldn’t take the lead. He learned to adapt really well to the environment. And he knew so much about the game, he was so prepared.

Holmes: Let’s do some word association. We’ll start off with Dawn.
Umemoto:
Swimsuits. All Dawn would ever worry about is us getting our stinking swimsuits. And when they came, you would have thought it was the Ark of the Covenant.
Holmes: Now see, you’re not supposed to look at the Ark of the Covenant and when you got your swimsuits…I…uh…was looking.
Umemoto: (Laughs)
Holmes: Let’s try Ozzy.
Umemoto: Oh, that hair! All that hair. Ozzy was my buddy, and I think of him as Mowgli. We ended up as snuggle buddies and his hair made an amazing pillow.
Holmes: Whitney?
Umemoto: Barbie. I think that a little bit has to do with her beautiful looks and blonde hair and charm. But we built a second shelter and the only people who’d sleep in it were Keith and Whitney, so I called it the Barbie Dream House. And they didn’t particularly like that.
Holmes: Alright, Keith?
Umemoto: Baseball.  Because if I had to guess anything about Keith, I’d have guessed that he plays baseball. He seems like an athlete, and I was wrong.
Holmes: Is that because before the game he was running around in a Minnesota Twins baseball cap?
Umemoto: Oh, I didn’t even notice that! He just looked like a tall pitcher to me.
Holmes: Papa Bear?
Umemoto: Larger than life. Everything about him was so over the top. Him running around in his undies…ugh…please put your shorts on. He made such a production out of everything. Kind of a diva.
Holmes: Cochran?
Umemoto: Sneaky! Sneaky McSneaksalot!
Holmes: Chewed-up pork?
Umemoto: Ugh. Barf. I had sauce in my inner ear. How does that even happen? It was way too Hannibal Lecter.
Holmes: Let’s finish this off with Jim.
Umemoto: Goodness…lots of words. OK…creeper.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

‘Survivor: South Pacific’ Recap: Angry Nerds

October 20, 2011

Last Week: Stacey and Christine spilled the beans about the Upolu alliance, Albert buttered up Coach by helping him find the immunity idol, and Jim upset the applecart by turning on Elyse and voting her out.

Note: I shouldn’t write these recaps when I’m hungry.

39 Days, 18 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog

Here are the tribes as they currently stand…

The Savaii Tribe (wearing red)
Cochran – 24, Harvard Law Student
Dawn – 41, English Professor
Jim – 35, Medical Marijuana Dispensary Owner
Keith – 26, Water Treatment Tech
Ozzy – 30, Slayer of Challenges
Whitney – 27, Country Music Singer

The Upolu Tribe (wearing blue)

Albert – 26, Baseball/Dating Coach
Brandon – 19, Oil Tanker Crewman
Coach – 39, Slayer of Dragons
Edna – 35, Anesthesiologist
Mikayla – 22, Lingerie Football Player
Rick – 51, Rancher
Sophie – 22, Medical Student

Currently Residing on Redemption Island (wearing buffs they hope they won’t have to burn)
Christine – 39, Teacher
Elyse – 27, Dance Team Manager

This episode kicks off with a very dejected Ozzy returning to Savaii camp. He tells the rest of the tribe that he’s done with alliances and is now a free agent. Jim, Whitney, and Keith try to talk him out of it, but Ozzy thinks they need to be honest with each other.

Dawn calls Ozzy out, saying he’s been hiding stuff from them. He agrees, admitting that he has the immunity idol.

Ozzy then tells the tribe they’re forgetting about Redemption Island. Keith lets him know that if he wants them to send him there, they will.

Wha what? Two things. First, Dawn…loving her. Second, Ozzy’s blowing up his game. I haven’t seen a meltdown like this since Brandon Hantz admitted to gunning for Mikayla.

OK, so that wasn’t that long ago.

The following morning, Cochran claims that Ozzy is acting like a “stupid bitch.” Whoa! I thought Cochran’s mom was watching this show. Machetes, blindsides, and curses…they grow up so fast on the island.

Meanwhile over at Upolutucky, Coach lets us know that he’s made the decision to not tell Brandon about the immunity idol. The Dragon Slayer is wise.

So, Brandon spends some time looking for it. His Hantz idol sixth sense helps him uncover one of the clues. He shares the clue with Coach, then continues looking for the idol.

Coach is a little wigged out as the determination Brandon is showing reminds him of Russell. The accent helps too.

Redemption Island Duel:
It’s “Survivor” shuffle board. The first player to knock all four of the opposing player’s pucks off of the board will stay in the game.

Keith and Ozzy are attending the day’s festivities for Savaii, while Sophie and some dude with a mustache and a cowboy hat attend for Upolu. Before the challenge gets underway, Christine breaks down a little as Redemption Island is lonely…and not an island.

Christine scores first, knocking off one of Elyse’s pucks. Elyse responds by knocking off one of Christine’s.

The guy in the cowboy hat openly roots for Christine. She responds by not-so-subtly rubbing her nose with her middle finger. Oof…Cochran’s mom is witnessing all kinds of bad behavior tonight.

Christine scores again. Elyse follows that up by accidentally knocking off one of her own pucks. Doh. Christine has three pucks left on the board, Elyse only has one.

Christine misses with her next shot. Elyse doesn’t. Christine two, Elyse one.

Christine misses again, Elyse doesn’t. Each player has one puck left on the board.

Christine hits her shot, and since this isn’t little league, Elyse doesn’t get fair ups. So, Elyse has been eliminated from “Survivor: South Pacific.”

Over at Upolu, Edna confesses that she’s worried about her place in the game because of Brandon’s admission that she isn’t in the alliance. She figures her best plan of attack is to cozy up to Coach. Coach tells her he has her back because he feels like she’ll lay down her “Survivor” life for him. That’s certainly a new one.

Back at Savaii, Ozzy realizes that crying about his woobie probably wasn’t the best way to win friends and influence people. He takes Keith aside and they bro it out. Buddies again.

Immunity Challenge Time: Three players from each team will build a wheelbarrow. They’ll push the wheelbarrow through a zig-zag course. At two places they’ll untie knots on coconut-dropping contraptions. Once all the knots are untied, coconuts will drop into their wheelbarrow. Then they’ll have to deconstruct the wheelbarrow and create an ‘Angry Birds’-esque slingshot. They’ll then use then launch the coconuts at a series of targets. First team to take out all of their targets wins immunity, a trip to the sliding rocks, and an immunity clue.

Fun Fact: Challenge creator John Kirhoffer said this challenge is in his top-five favorite challenges of all time.

Another Fun Fact: These are the same sliding rocks they used for a reward during “Survivor: Samoa.” I went there during my visit and it was equal parts super fun and freezing cold.

Edna will sit out the challenge for Upolu.

Mr. Mustache, Brandon, and Sophie will do the first leg for Upolu, while Cochran, Dawn, and Ozzy will go for Savaii.

Team Upolu jumped out to a big lead as Team Savaii had a tough time maneuvering the cumbersome wheelbarrow.

Albert, Coach, and Mikayla had slingshot duties for Upolu and a decent lead. They’d already hit a few targets before Jim, Whitney, and Keith got to take their first shots.

Mikayla had a tough time working the slingshot. She was only using one hand and wasn’t getting enough distance on her shots. Apparently that made the difference as Savaii was able to catch up and win the challenge.

Back at Upolu, politicking seems to center around Mikayla vs. Edna. Coach is definitely gunning for Mikayla as she wasn’t accepting his coaching during the challenge. You’d think a professional athlete would be more open to that. (What? Lingerie football is a professional sport.)

Albert, on the other hand, tells Mikayla he’s going to keep her safe.

Quick Aside: Stacey did say that she thought Albert and her were close during her exit interview.

Albert makes the argument that Mikayla is better at challenges and that Edna is a strategy threat. Sophie and Rick (I looked his name up) seem to agree.

Brandon, however, gave his word that Edna would be the group’s sixth member, and he will stick to it because God hates “Survivor” blindsides or something.

I’ve said this about a dozen times; God has bigger business to attend to than “Survivor.”

Albert takes his case to Coach, but Coach takes the blame for losing the challenge because Mikayla wouldn’t follow his direction. Coach knows that Edna would have listened. Albert is worried that Edna is faking her loyalty to Coach.

So, we have Sophie and Albert wanting Edna and Coach and Brandon gunning for Mikayla. Rick and his mustache are the swing vote.

That night at Tribal Council, Coach makes the case that they could have won the challenge if they’d let Albert take all the shots.

Edna doesn’t like being the scrawniest player on the team, but apparently it is what it is. Way to make your case there, Edna.

Brandon says they have to be up in numbers at the merge and the next challenge is “detrimental” to the way the game turns out. He might’ve meant “crucial.”

Albert and Sophie think loyalty isn’t as important as numbers at the merge. Coach disagrees. Albert counters with a solid argument saying loyalty can be faked, but strength can’t be.

Oooh…

I check my watch and apparently it’s time for Brandon’s Tribal Council confession. Apparently they made a pact to stay an alliance of six through the merge and Mikayla isn’t part of that six.

Albert keeps with his strong showing going by saying they’re still loyal, they’re just having a difference of opinions.

Brandon says he’d rather be voted out than to play with dishonest people. He follows that up by admitting that he’d rather keep Mikayla, but that he gave his word to his alliance.

Coach tries to explain that you have to be careful with what you say in this game, but Brandon isn’t having it. Half-truths and withholding information are just as bad as lying.

Voting Time: Brandon votes for Mikayla, Mikayla votes for Edna, Albert votes for Edna, and Edna votes for Mikayla (and wishes her well in her modeling career). The rest of the votes aren’t shown.

What?! Hidden votes? That’s withholding information! The producers are liars!

Anywho, the lying liar Jeff Probst tallies and returns. One vote for Mikayla, one vote for Edna, one vote for Mikayla, one vote for Edna, one vote for Mikayla, one vote for Edna, and the sixth person to pay a visit to Redemption Island is…Mikayla.

Verdict:
Brandon turned up the crazy toward the end, but he wasn’t able to top Ozzy’s self-destructive showing. Strong effort though.

Another solid episode with good drama and gameplay from both tribes. But, I think I’m ready for this season to hit mergeville.

Who’s Going to Win: I don’t think the divide between Coach and Albert is going to be a big deal. It wasn’t like Albert outted his idol or anything. So, I’m sticking with Sophie.

Power Rankings Update:
A perfect game from both sides as Andrea Boehlke and I both had Mikayla in spot thirteen and Christine winning Redemption Island. The current score is Team Boehlke 75, Team Holmes 78.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

‘Survivor: South Pacific’ Power Rankings – Week 5

October 18, 2011

The Rules: Each week our two combatants will create separate power rankings. The ranking of the person who is voted out of the next episode will determine the number of points the two players will earn. For example, if Sophie is voted out this week, Andrea will receive 1 point and Gordon will receive 2 points. Also, each player will pick who they think will win at Redemption Island. If they choose correctly they will receive a bonus point. At the end of the season, the person with the most points will be named the “Survivor: South Pacific” Power Rankings Challenge Champion.

Last Week: The Cardinals beat the Brewers in the NLCS, and St. Louis’s Gordon Holmes beat Milwaukee’s Andrea Boehlke in the Power Rankings.

(Milwaukee? Isn’t that Algonquin for ‘The Good Land?’)

Gordon had Elyse in spot fourteen, while Andrea had her in spot twelve. Both participants predicted Christine would keep her Redemption Island run going. The current score is Team Boehlke 61, Team Holmes 64.

Wanna Play? Tag Gordon (@gordonholmes) in your own Twitter Power Rankings. If you do better than Gordon does, (which is highly likely) he’ll give you credit in his weekly recap.

teamboehlke . TEAMHOLMES
Current Score: 61

Got any advice for Andrea? Drop her a line on Twitter.

. Current Score: 64

Got any advice for Gordon? Drop him a line on Twitter.

SOPHIE . albert
#1 Sophie: As the merge approaches and crazy things start to happen, I must mix up my rankings a bit. Today’s big winner is the Sophster! Sophie is a proud member of several highly imperative organizations within the Upolu tribe. She’s in the C.R.A.B.S. and now the S.A.C. (Sophie, Albert, Coach) alliance. We found out last week that the S.A.C. is running the C.R.A.B.S. with Sophie being less of a merge target than her buddies Coach and Albert. It sure is a good week to be a Sophster! . #1 Albert: Whether you’re solidifying your alliance with Coach by helping him find a hidden immunity idol or leading the St. Louis Cardinals to the World Series, I’m all about dudes named Albert. Although, it does seem a bit odd that Coach gets to be the idol holder…
albert . SOPHIE
#2 Albert: Although I will miss having Albert on top, all good things must come to an end. He has just been exposed as Coach’s right hand man, and has “merge target” written all over him. Like I said in my bloggy-blog (which you all read, right?!) he is the poster child for merge targets. He still will be safe for a hot minute within his alliance and sub-alliance, but I will have to bring him down slowly but surely, even if it breaks my heart. . #2 Sophie: What was Sophie doing while the editors weren’t showing much of her? Apparently she was working her way into the dominant alliance within Upolu’s dominant alliance. Genius. Loving her. Whatever is she going to do with a million dollars?
COACH . JIM
#3 Coach: Coach has the idol. Coach has C.R.A.B.S. Coach now has a S.A.C. alliance as well. Although the merge is indeed drawing near, Coach seems to have a firm grip on his S.A.C. and C.R.A.B.S. and I don’t think they are turning on him anytime soon. (Oh boy, these alliance names—what have I done?! I promise I’m not this perverse in real life.) Note that the S.A.C. tops the Power Rankings, IN ORDER. Bam. See what I did there? . #3 Jim: Jim finally made a big “Survivor” move, and it’s probably the right way to go. If the “Three Plus Two” alliance got deep into the game, he’d have had a tough time beating them in challenges. Now he has to worry about what to do with Ozzy. Could Ozzy be sent packing with an idol again?
RICK . COACH
#4 Rick: Rick is one of my favorites, probably because we always want what we can’t have. I want more Rick and every week I continue to be Rick deprived! Rick does have good things going for him–he is an important part of Coach’s S.C.A.R. If anyone is getting sick of these alliance names, you should probably stop reading the Power Rankings. Or just read Gordon’s side, he is less obnoxious and less creative. (Kidding Gordo, I kid because I love!) Tune in this week to see what happens in part six of The Silence of the Ricks. . #4 Coach: Coach 2.0 is having an almost Mariano-esque run at Upolu right now. He’s in the key alliance, he has an immunity idol, and he has a wild-card sub-alliance with Edna. A tribe of newbies wouldn’t gift-wrap another win for a returning all-star, would they Dre?

(I also kid because I love.)

JIM . kEITH
#5 Jim: Jim had a great power move last week and may be in control over at Savaii at this point. That being said, Savaii alliances are a bit wonky right now with a scorned Ozzy, floaters Keith and Whitney and a potential strong three of Jim, Cochran and Dawn. Predicting the next Savaii boot and order has been the hardest thing I’ve done all day. I also haven’t gotten out of bed yet, but still. This is all your fault, Jim! . #5 Keith: Keith voting for Dawn to keep from voting for Elyse is the equivalent of asking your wife if she slept with someone else, and she says “no” because technically they didn’t “sleep.” Yeah, it’s correct, but it is going to kill all trust in the relationship.
BRANDON . RICK
#6 Brandon: Brandon is still safe with Mikayla and Edna as buffers. I also want to take this time to say I think Brandon is probably a sweet guy just trying to play that silly little game of “Survivor” that we love to pick apart. I know he is getting a lot of harsh words, so I hope he realizes that most of us aren’t attacking him personally in blogs or comments. At least I’m not. I appreciate anybody with the courage to sign up for such a crazy game, and I never mean anything personal when I poke fun at people. Keep your head up, Brandon! . #6 Rick: You know how I know Rick is in this game to win it? The dude pulled pork out of Brandon Hantz’s teeth with his mouth. Now that’s “loco.”
kEITH . WHITNEY
#7 Keith: After the awkward Dawn float-vote by Whitney and Keith (Kitney? Wheith? I wish they had a better couple name) I’m not sure how things are going to fall in place over at Savaii. Do they side with Ozzy or with Jim? And is the Wheith bond going to be targeted soon just like Ozlyse was? I’m thinking yes. . #7 Whitney: Elyse’s blindside was probably bad news for Whitney. The two of them could’ve cruised into the merge while the “Three Plus Two” guys took all the bullets. Now Keith and her have to be wondering if they can trust Jim.
DAWN . BRANDON
#8 Dawn: I really hope that the Dawnminator and her fierce headband stay in the game. Now that Savaii has experienced a little shake-up, Dawn may just find a way to creep up these Power Rankings… in style . #8 Brandon: Brandon’s crazy train seems to have hit a bit of a rest stop last week. But, it looks like we’re in for more fun soon. I think Coach is dedicated to keeping him around at this point. Maybe he thinks Brandon will make a good Federal Agent Phillip.
WHITNEY . OZZY
#9 Whitney: Even though Purple Whitney is finally talking, now what? One couple was already targeted and broken up on Savaii so could Whitney’s fate be the same? . #9 Ozzy: This week’s preview is leading us to believe that Ozzy’s on his way out. But, he still has an immunity idol and Savaii still needs to stay strong for challenges. Jim’s gotta realize that he’s going to be in a world of trouble if he goes into the merge down numbers and Ozzy comes charging back from Redemption Island looking for revenge.
COCHRAN . COCHRAN
#10. Cochran: I was so happy that Cochran stayed over Elyse last week in that amazing blindside. Now that Jim has reached out to him, Cochran may actually find his way in to an actual “Survivor” alliance. Oh my! Personally, I would never vote out someone that had so many fun facts about herpes. . #10 Cochran: It may seem weird to have Cochran and Dawn this low in the rankings after they were a part of last week’s blindside, but the fact remains that Savaii still needs to be strong for the challenges. And I love me some Cochran, but the kid’s as intimidating as a wet kitten.
EDNA . DAWN
#11. Edna: When it comes down to Edna or Mikayla things get complicated. I still do think Edna has a bit of an edge because she actually knows what the alliance lines are (cough, cough thanks, Brandon ) and she has a little something-something going on with Coach. Whether or not she hunts buffalo is still irrelevant but that could come into play later. . #11 Dawn: See Cochran.
OZZY . EDNA
#12. Ozzy: Hell hath no fury like an Ozzy scorned? I’d love to see Ozzy find a way to fight back, but when I hear words like “lone wolf” and “free agent” I start to lose hope. I kind of feel like a goober putting Ozzy so low considering the fact he has the idol, but perhaps the Savaii shake-up has made me a little delusional. . #12 Edna: The lower part of the Upolu totem pole comes down to one question; what does Coach value more at this point? If he wants to have some wiggle room when it comes to alliances down the road, he’ll keep Edna…
Mikayla . Mikayla
#13 Mikayla: She’s not in the C.R.A.B.S. or the S.A.C. or the S.C.A.R. or even the B.R.A.C.E.S (semi-fake alliance with an attached Edna). Apparently there isn’t room for someone with an “M name.” If Upolu loses this week, which I think they will, I’m banking on Mikayla going before Edna.  It’s too bad since she is a strong asset to her tribe and picks up meat with her mouth, but in a game about numbers things aren’t looking up for Mikayla. . #13 Mikayla: If Coach wants challenge strength in the stretch run before the merge, he’ll keep Mikayla. I’m thinking he’ll keep Edna.
CHRISTINE . CHRISTINE
Redemption Island Pick – Christine: Once upon a time Christine said she was going to “pull a Matt” and I scoffed. I’m not scoffing anymore. This mama is on a roll and I’m not putting anything past her! She took away my Spoken Word and Boom-Pows so chances are she can handle an Elyse. . Redemption Island Pick – Christine: Elyse might have a slight physical edge, but never bet against a winning streak. Christine takes it again.

‘Survivor’s’ Parvati Shallow Breaks Wrist, Completes Amazing Journey

October 17, 2011

People often wonder just how real reality TV is. And usually it’s with good reason, as some scenarios are obviously the result of a producer’s interference. However, when “Survivor” Hall of Famer Parvati Shallow went flying off a quad bike during the filming of “Around the World for Free” it couldn’t have been any more real.

Fortunately, Parvati isn’t the type of girl to let a little thing like a broken wrist stop her.

I recently had a chance to speak with the “Survivor” champ about the highs and lows she experienced during her 100-day odyssey, her thoughts on being name-dropped by Brandon Hantz, and why she thinks being the highest vote getter in last year’s “Survivor” Hall of Fame deserves a bigger reward than a crimson coffee mug…

Gordon Holmes: Alright, explain this “Around the World for Free” fiasco you got yourself into.
Parvati Shallow:
Around the World for Free” is an interactive Web series on CBS.com. I had to travel around the world in 100 days with no money. So essentially you rely on the kindness of strangers, audience participation…people can actually watch the show and interact with me. There was an online poll on CBS.com and sometimes they could dictate where I would go next.

Holmes: How would that work?

Shallow: One of the choices was; which island should I hop to? I had a free plane ticket from this guy who was sending me somewhere; Martinique, St Lucia, or Barbados. The viewers decided to send me to Barbados, and I didn’t have a contact person there, so it was up to me to figure something out. I met someone in the airport and he let me stay at his mom’s house. It was kind of cool, it was like “The Truman Show” in that you can watch and play a part in the host’s journey.

Holmes: Most people know you from “Survivor” which is all about lying and backstabbing. This seems like the exact opposite, having to trust people and rely on their kindness.
Shallow:
Honestly, it’s much closer to my nature. My natural center is to trust people right off the bat. I’m extremely trusting, sometimes overly trusting. So, it got me back to where I was before “Survivor.” Because, when you play “Survivor” you really have to put all of these walls up. You have to be guarded. The bonds you’re making are not real, it’s not true friendship. But in “Around the World” it was so different and I appreciated it so much because it gave me a chance to really get back to my root nature which is meeting people, talking to people, liking people right off of the bat. There was nothing bad I can say about “Around the World for Free,” nothing negative came out of it. I made friends with all of my hosts and I will keep in touch with them. It’s just totally different from “Survivor.”
Holmes: Nothing negative came out of it? Wasn’t there a bit of a dust-up with a quad?
Shallow: Yes, I got in an accident in Libya. I was on a quad bike and I was really going for it, throwing caution to the wind and going crazy. I wasn’t aware that there’s a certain slope to a sand dune, there’s one side that you can cruise up, and then the other side is a straight drop. So, I went over one side and just dropped and basically slammed the front wheels down into the ground and crushed my right wrist. I have a brace now, I had to have surgery in Johannesburg. It was the first surgery of my life, my first broken bone. A lot of firsts on this trip. But I can honestly say something positive came out of it because it wasn’t the worst thing that could happen. I was talking to the X-ray technician and she told me that most people who get into quad bike accidents either die or break their necks. So, all things considered I was really lucky. Right now I’m writing with my left hand, so that’s awkward. Everything I’m doing is a relearning process. It was part of the show, it was part of the journey.

Holmes: Two things. First of all as a left hander, welcome aboard.
Shallow: Thank you!
Holmes: And second, when I’m doing something physical, if I get hurt, even if I just get my feelings hurt, that’s it. I’m packing it in.
Shallow: (Laughs)
Holmes: But you stuck with it. The reason we’re talking right now is in celebration of your 100th day. How does it feel to face such adversity and see it through to the end?
Shallow: It feels really good because if there’s one thing I know about myself, it’s that I’m not a quitter. If I’m extremely passionate about a project, no matter how much of a toll it takes on me, there’s no room for even a moment’s thought of quitting.
Holmes: Now Parvati, I don’t want to be the guy that calls you out…but I’m gonna.
Shallow: (Laughs) Oh, please do.
Holmes: I saw an episode where you did some roller derby. You didn’t seem to like that very much.
Shallow: Dude, I loved that! I was like, “Hit me!” They wouldn’t hit me because they felt bad for me. They were like, “No, we’re not going to hit you because you’re little and you’re new.” And they were big girls. They play hard. Finally, they started throwing me on the ground and I loved it.
Holmes: Were you scared at all during the journey?
Shallow: The most scared I was was jumping off the cliff in Rio. That was the only time when I was like, “I’m nervous, I’m going to call my mom.”
Holmes: Was that your method for dealing with things when they got intimidating? You’d just drop your mom a line and she’d talk you through it?
Shallow: Yeah, my mom is really good at being more scared than I am. Then it makes me feel less scared. Now that I’ve displaced my fear and my mom’s holding it, I’m all good.
Holmes: My mom used to say, “Where’s your spirit of adventure?” But that was generally when she’d want me to try a new vegetable.
Shallow: (Laughs) I feel like you could learn a lot from me. I feel like we should take a trip together.
Holmes: Agreed.
Shallow: I’ll blast your life wide open, Gordon.
Holmes: OK, but if my feelings get hurt or if I have to try new vegetables, I’m done.
Shallow: Dude, toughen up. Man up! (Laughs)
Holmes: I know, I’m very sensitive.
Shallow: I’ll knock that out of you really quick.
Holmes: During your travels you got a tattoo from Shanghai Kate. The fans got to vote on it. I don’t know if I could’ve handled that.
Shallow: (Laughs) That wasn’t my first rodeo. I have a few tattoos.
Holmes: They’re addictive, right?
Shallow: The first time someone told me that I was like, “Yeah, freakin’ right.” But now I love them. They become a part of you. I hope you love every tattoo you have, because I love mine.
Holmes: I love most of them. The one that says, “Jeff Probst 4 Life” I regret a little bit.
Shallow: On your right butt cheek? I’ve seen it on your MySpace page.
Holmes: MySpace?

Holmes: One of the things that must’ve been pretty amazing was the opportunities your trip gave you to take part in some charitable initiatives. What was that like?
Shallow:
I was really interested in making it to Haiti and working there and seeing how things have progressed since the earthquake. Haiti was intense. It was one of the most intense experiences I’ve ever had in my life. It came on the heels of a wonderful time in Austin. I was just slammed in the face with that kind of devastation, that kind of poverty. I tried my hardest to be in the moment and just give these people all of the love that I could. It was so sad, the orphanage I was living in and these women who’d bring in their children, and not just one child, they’d be giving us three kids. They’d be like, “I can’t take care of these kids.” And it wasn’t even that they were sad, it was what it was, they couldn’t handle it. So seeing that kind of intense poverty and apathy for their own flesh and blood…that was just a shock to me. That was hard to take. But it was also something that was inspiring. I have a place in my heart for Haiti and I will go back and I probably will end up adopting a couple of kids. There’s something about those children that you just want to help them.

Holmes: You were one of the main the focal points for three season of “Survivor.” Did that fame come into play at all once you left the United States?
Shallow:
Oh yeah, it was wild. It’s crazy to see the impact of “Survivor” on an international level. When I was in Brazil, most people who reached out to me were fans from “Survivor.” And then in South Africa I did a radio interview on one of their most popular afternoon radio shows and they were huge fans of “Survivor.”

Holmes: Have you been watching “Survivor: South Pacific” at all?
Shallow:
I have not been able to catch up with it, but I really want to because I’m anxious to see how Ozzy and Coach are doing. Actually, how are they doing?
Holmes: Coach is doing well, he’s at the head of a dominant alliance. Ozzy…not so much. His closest ally was just blindsided.
Shallow: Uh-oh…Ozzy’s in a pickle?
Holmes: And uh…your name came up…
Shallow: I heard that. I heard Russell’s nephew said something.
Holmes: He’s worried that a woman on his tribe named Mikayla is using flirtatious ways. He said that she’s a Parvati-type. His actual words were something like, “Parvati has screwed many a man.”
Shallow: (Laughs)
Holmes: In his defense, I think he meant that within the context of the game, not literally. Does that bother you at all?
Shallow: (Laughs) It just makes me realize that I did have a huge impact on that game. When I played “Survivor” everyone was always trying to get me out. So, I guess people were threatened by me. But these new contestants have watched my seasons and my gameplay is influencing how they’re playing. I think that’s wild. I’m flattered.

Holmes: Now, as a member of the “Survivor” Hall of Fame, I wanted to get your opinion on…
Shallow:
Which I won a (coffee) mug for…thanks a lot, Gordon.
Holmes: Hey! C’mon now.
Shallow: I hope there’s a budget for trophies this year, because people are going to be upset if they don’t get a trophy. I’m just saying.
Holmes: Here’s the thing. Your trophy…I sent it to the engravers and they keep getting it wrong. The text was supposed to read, “Parvati Shallow – The Top Vote Getter…The Loveliest…Smartest…”
Shallow: Most bad ass, coolest chick ever.
Holmes: Exactly. It’s embarrassing that they keep getting it wrong. And you deserve nothing but the best. So until that gets completed, you’re not going to see that trophy, but know that it’s in the works.
Shallow: Alright, I’m going to hold you to that. I’m going to keep checking in with you, pretty much weekly to see what’s going on.
Holmes: Anywho, I wanted to get your take on the Redemption Island twist.
Shallow: I thought it was kind of lame. I thought it was just giving them too many changes. If you can’t win based on gameplay or social strategy, then you’re twisting “Survivor” up and making it a totally different game. It’s adapting, and they’re trying something new. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that and if people like it, that’s cool.

Holmes: I got a very specific question off of Twitter. They want to know if you found the immunity idol during your final visit to Exile Island, and if you did, why didn’t you use it?
Parvati:
The only time I was sent to Exile was one time during “Fans vs. Favorites.” I did find the idol, but I left it there because I knew if I brought it back people would make me empty my bag and prove that I didn’t have it. It’d just cause more chaos around camp. So, I left it on the island. But, it was a personal quest that I go and find it.

Holmes: Now, I heard a rumor that your “Survivor” Hall of Fame mug currently resides at your fitness center, ESP Wellness.
Shallow:
It does, it’s sitting on my desk. It’s holding a lot of pens.
Holmes: I also heard that the reigning Miss USA works out there.  So, if I go to ESP Wellness, I’ll probably have a shot to win that crown?
Shallow: Most likely. We have an unbroken record right now. We’re one for one.
Holmes: That’s a good advertisement, because I think I’d look good in a sash.
Shallow: We might actually do a Miss “Survivor” pageant. Rob Cesternino (“Survivor: The Amazon” and “Survivor: All Stars”) and his wife Nicole are coming up with a pageant, like Miss “Survivor.” We might do a swimsuit, talent, and beauty pageant. Eliza Orlins (“Survivor: Vanuatu” and “Survivor: Fans vs. Favorites”) might fly in for it.
Holmes: And, do they need judges for this pageant?
Shallow: It’s possible, if we do it I think you should be tops on our list.
Holmes: I need to drop Rob a line…
Shallow: You should!

Watch Full Episodes of “Around the World for Free

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

How I Jinxed the St. Louis Cardinals

October 17, 2011

I was discussing the Busch Stadium squirrel (some call him Stan the Squirrel, however I prefer the nickname “Buschy”) with a Phillies fan on Thursday. He let it be known that the Phillies’ experience with Buschy had left him hating the adorable woodland creatures. I laughed and told him he’d better hope the Cards don’t defeat the Brewers in the NLCS or there’s bound to be all manner of Squirrel Series talk.

When we finished our conversation, I hopped on Photoshop and started making my own Squirrel Series logo. I was about halfway through when I realized what I’d done.

I’d jinxed my beloved Cardinals.

(more…)

‘Survivor’ Castaway Interview: Stacey Powell

October 13, 2011

“Don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” – Cinderella

If you’re wondering why I decided to start off this week’s “Survivor” exit interview with a quote from an ‘80s power ballad, it’s because I didn’t appreciate Stacey Powell until her final episode. Sometimes when there are so many big storylines that deserve our attention (The Little Cochran That Could, Brandon/Mikayla-gate, The Break-up of Ozlyse) we miss out on some good stuff.

I spoke with Stacey the morning after her exit from “Survivor: South Pacific” and enjoyed more of the personality that we finally got to see in her last episode. During our discussion I found out about her feud with Benjamin (you may know him better as “Coach”), what she really thought was going on at Upolu, and her reaction to passing over a clue that could’ve been worth a million dollars.

Gordon Holmes: Hey, Stacey.
Stacey Powell:
Hey Gordon, how you doing, hon?
Holmes: I’m actually horribly disgusted.
Powell: Why?!
Holmes: Last night’s challenge. I know you weren’t there for it, but I haven’t been able to eat since.
Powell: (Laughs) Well, you’d better eat something, honey. But you’re talking to me now, so everything’s OK.

Holmes: Agreed. Let’s talk about what you were there for. Now, it seemed like you and Christine didn’t know Coach was running the show until it was too late.
Powell:
That is correct, we didn’t know. We did not know that that five had an alliance. We thought that we were talking with Rick and Brandon. We didn’t know that Rick, Sophie, Albert, Brandon, and Coach…excuse me, Benjamin were an alliance. We didn’t know. But you know what? I thought it was Sophie, Mikayla, and Albert. Those were the three I thought were together.

Holmes: You called Coach “Benjamin” again. Did you have any idea that he’d have that kind of reaction when he found out you were using his first name?
Powell:
No I didn’t, and no I don’t care. I’m stronger than him, what’s he going to do to me? Nothing. I’ll call him that any time. That’s his name, isn’t it?
Holmes: That is his name. When I talked to you before the game, there was a lot of talk about getting rid of the All Stars early. Was there any talk of bouncing Coach after the game started?
Powell: Yes there was, that is what myself and Christine were talking about. That’s how I wanted it from day one. I didn’t say it like she did because I didn’t know the guy when he first got there.

Holmes: Was there any chance for you to get into any of those Upolu alliances or did you feel shut out?
Powell:
Kinda both. I felt like they were saying, “I’ll play with you if my other friend isn’t here today.” You know what I’m saying? When I tried to make conversation or figure out what was the plan, I’d hear, “Oh nothing, nothing, nothing.” So, it was hard to get into an alliance with these people.
Holmes: It’s funny you mentioned that, because I was going to ask about how Edna didn’t come to you until she thought she was in trouble.
Powell: Honestly, Gordon, it was something personal. I was like that with her the whole time. You know when there’s something about someone you just don’t care for and you don’t know why yet and then all of the sudden it comes to you? There was just something about her. Ugh…I just have to block her, get outta my face because you’re nothing to me. I need some strong people. But, she was a number.

Holmes: You witnessed the Brandon vs. Mikayla fiasco first hand. I’m really interested in how Mikayla is acting around camp. Brandon’s accusing her of being a temptress, but we haven’t seen much evidence of that.
Powell:
Honestly, I really thought that it was OK. I didn’t know it was to the point to what we saw on TV. They talked, they’d go fishing together. So, I assumed that everything was OK. Eventually he’d say he didn’t care for her, but he wouldn’t say why. So I can’t explain what he didn’t like. But I thought Mikayla, Sophie, and Albert were good buddies.

Holmes: Now, I’ve never spent an extended period of time in the wilderness being dirty and hungry. I’d have to imagine it changes you a bit. What did you learn from your time in the Samoan jungle?
Powell:
I’ve learned to be appreciative of every little thing that comes my way. That was really a learning experience for me. It was an eye-opening experience. Being here, we complain about so many things and we have so much. So, be thankful for what you have.

Holmes: Alright, let’s do some word association here. Let’s start with Christine.
Powell:
Awesome, wonderful.
Holmes: Rick?
Powell: OK.
Holmes: Brandon?
Powell: OK.
Holmes: Mikayla?
Powell: Mediocre.
Holmes: Sophie?
Powell: Loser.
Holmes: Albert?
Powell: Can I say the word really?
Holmes: Go for it, if it’s too blue I’ll bleep it.
Powell: (Expletive deleted)
Holmes: (Laughs) Bleeping that…and Coach?
Powell: (Expletive deleted)
Holmes: And we’ll bleep that as well.

Holmes: Was it rough watching the episode where you were right on top of the immunity idol clue and failed to find it?
Powell:
(Laughs) Gordon, I could’ve kicked myself in the ass.
Holmes: (Laughs)
Powell: (Laughs) I’m serious! I’m scared of snakes, so I’m not sticking my hand just anywhere.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes


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