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Welcome to our newest edition of “Standing in the Shadows” for Survivor: Cook Islands! For those readers unfamiliar with it, each season our writers and mods “stand in the shadow” of a Survivor until their torch is snuffed. You get to read what we believe is really going on in the mind of each player. Without further ado. . . .

*Bangs head rhythmically* Rock and Roll!! Duh duh dunnut duh duuuuuuuhhhhhhh!!! The Hispanic Aitu tribe is going to rock! Still, there’s something wrong with this picture. It’s backwards…my parent’s paddled away from an island so that I could have a better life, and now I’m paddling towards an island in hopes of eventually providing myself a better life via a huge cash reward? I’m trippin’ out! Still, as Hispanics we will have a huge advantage. Think about it…our culture developed in Latin America, South America, and the Caribbean…we’re already built for the heat and the sun associated with island life. We’ll have no problem building a shelter and I’ll plumb us a luxury bamboo toilet. Trust me. It’s going to be like being backstage at CBGB’s out here. See? Mowgli’s getting us coconut cocktails already. Rock on!

They’re dividing us up by race? And there’s an “Asian” tribe? Geez, look at us…Cao Boi’s from Vietnam, Yul’s Korean, Becky’s Korean, Brad’s a mix of Phillipino and Hawaiian, and I’m Phillipino…we’re a big mix as a single tribe! It’s going to be a challenge just integrating amongst ourselves, let alone with 15 other people among 3 other tribes. I guess it won’t matter as long as we can keep winning challenges and not have to vote each other out. Yeah, Cao Boi might be a handful, but I’m more than happy to take the controversial, slightly crazy guy along for the ride. I watched last season’s shows…I remember Shane. That crazy Caucasian made it far in the game, exactly because he was crazy. Yep, I’ll just stay strong, let Cao make an asshat out of himself, and cruise to the finals without ever being a blip on anyone’s radar.


Team Puka! I love that the team is named after one of my favorite necklaces. So far, so good, despite Yul losing one of our chickens to that overly aggro screenwriter. We made the difference back when we won the Immunity Challenge! Go, green team!

I will be truthfully honest with you: When Cao Boi told me he wanted to pull a bad wind out of me, I got a little nervous. My manners are much better than that, desert island or not. Still, I went with it - it's good to trust a teammate. Besides, my sinuses were killing me. So, Cao began squeezing and pulling on my forehead. When he was finished, it looked like I'd had a very bad eyebrow waxing; good thing I brought that cute cap with me! A brim and some shadow will hide almost any flaw. Too bad my teammates noticed that scorching red mark anyway. They were so catty! Still, my headache's gone. Let's just hope Cao Boi can work the same magic if a bad wind hits the Island.


So far I'm having big fun. Even the boat lurching up and down on our way to Cook Island didn't faze me. After grabbing whatever I could off the boat, I wasn't sure what to do with myself. So I did what I always do when that happens: I stood around and smiled a lot. It worked, too. My teammates all seemed to smile back at me, especially the girls. Taking my shirt off as often as I can, helps with that one. They say the same thing in the frat house as they do in copier sales - always be closing. Hey by the way, think there's any money in coconut milk endorsements? Note to self.

Team Raro did pretty good on the challenge - our boat started falling apart, but other than that, at least we made it to the top three. Now, we have flint, so we can make fire. Jonathon got sent to the Exile Island by the Hiki’s but that wasn't so bad - at least it wasn't one of the girls. Dude can take care of himself. In fact I kind of like the 'odds' with him out there. Nights are really cold on the Island but I kindly offered my body heat to help the girls with their "windblocking". Well, I am a Southern gentleman, after all. Candice and I put out a lot of heat of our own. Who needs flint? Whatever tomorrow's challenge will be - I'm up for it!


Oh, man, I couldn’t believe it when we were told we had to jump off that big ol’ boat into the water with whatever we could get our hands on. But I showed the others how to do it because I have leadership skills. Me an’ Nate had to show the girls how it was – they just wanted to get off into a group and whisper, probably about how I look like a big, strong warrior. *Girls, go get me a drink of water.* Yeah, they need ol’ Sekou around to tell them what to do. We just got to remain focused on what we’re doin’ ‘stead of wanderin’ around takin’ in the scenery. I had to show them how to get started buildin’ a fire. *Girls, get over here and watch how I start this fire* Who-ooo, buildin’ a fire will take it right out of a man, so I had to take myself a little ol’ break. *Girls, y’all take over on the fire startin’, and don’t forget my water* I just don’t know what these people would do without my wisdom to hold us together as a tribe. Me an’ Nate decided to send that ol’ writer guy into exile because he stole that chicken from them other fellows. Them girls just stood there with their teeth in their mouth and somebody had to make a decision. Good thing I brought my leadership skills an’ ability to remain focused. When our tribe lost the immunity challenge- *Girl’s, I tol’ y’all to hurry up* - me an’ Nate decided to vote one of the girls out. There’s still two left to bring us water, though. What? Y’all votin’ ME out? Y’all took my leadership skills and used them against me!


I’ve been bucking for a promotion to detective for quite some time. I finally decided that the best way to prove to the brass that I’m plainclothes material was to go on Survivor and show that I know how to go undercover. Did anyone hear me utter a word until the challenge? I didn’t think so. I only spoke up when it was time to take charge and make sure Aitu wasn’t going to be spending the evening in the slammer visiting Jeffy at tribal council. I mean come on! That’s one sunken ship I don’t need to see up close and personal for quite some time. Besides, I figured that after almost being crushed to death by a drunk driver and being shot by a scumbag surviving on an island for 39 days couldn’t be that hard. So far, so good. I had a nice view of Ozzy’s backside on the way to Aitu Island and got to down some coconut juice. Taking charge during that challenge was sweet! I barked orders and my tribe listened just like the perps do when I’ve got ‘em at gunpoint. Now, I just need to remember to keep repeating my personal mantra of “What Would Dr. Phil Do?” and I should breeze through to the Final Four. If this Survivor thing doesn’t work out, I can always try out for Who Wants to be a Superhero? 2 as Invisible Woman.


Everyone here is just so nice! I’ve just made so many new friends, especially Adam. I ♥ that name, and I think we made a connection! I also like the other girls in my tribe, even that rollergirl. She let our chickens loose, but she didn’t mean to, and anyway, what were we going to do with them? Eat them? Ewww. And nobody told me the Cook Islands were so darned cold! I could’ve brought my school sweater, but no, I thought it would be hot out here. After all, I spent time in Africa, people, so I’m used to the heat. That’s why I snuggled up next to Adam that first night. He’s totally hot and dreamy *giggle* and I think he likes me. I got to spoon up real close to him, and his arms just closed around me and he held me tight all night. I wonder what his last name is, and I wonder how it would fit with mine? Adam and Candice… Wouldn’t it be funny if we ended up getting married and having babies? Of course it would have to be after I graduate from med school, but maybe instead of going back to Africa I could work with orphans in the Appalachians. And Adam could work with me! What does he do, anyway? He’s such a nice person, I’ll bet he’s really deep


I don’t want to be the leader. I am not the leader. I will not make others think I am a leader. That is my philosophy. Billy wanted the tribe to build a shelter and took charge of it. While he was busy barking orders I secretly built the whole thing. I hope no one noticed. The tribe started to complain about food and being hungry. I shimmied up a nearby coconut tree and threw coconuts down for everyone. I really hope that no one noticed that move either. When the challenge comes up I will not lead the team I will just follow along and secretly sneak around and make sure we don’t lose. I am glad I am athletic and have nice fluffy hair because I think that will give me the secret advantage. Just a reminder, I am not the leader!


Sundra is so nice. She is my new best friend. We are going to have so much fun hanging out, telling secrets, and staying up late talking. I am so glad she is on my tribe. The boys on our tribe are kind of icky and don’t really take us seriously but we really taught them a lesson when Sundra and I found the water. Yes, girls found the water. We really did not get it together during the challenge but I thought we came on Survivor to make friends and that is what Sundra and I did. We unfortunately had to get rid of someone from our tribe and I was not sad to see one of the icky boys go. Good thing Sundra and I told our secrets to Stephannie and convinced her to be friends with us. Next week, hopefully we won’t need her and we can go back to disliking her and talking about her behind her back.


The best thing about me being in the Aitu tribe? I’m the hottest person here, and that includes the women. Although I wouldn’t say no if that cop asked me to help her with her handcuffs, if you know what I mean. My strategy so far is just to stay quiet, and give the ladies something to look at besides Billy’s plumber’s crack. Speaking of Billy, I’m going to make him my personal project and whip that head-banging, beer-guzzling, fashion-impaired mess into some semblance of shape, because I don’t want him slowing us down in any more challenges. I’m going to show him that volleyball can be fun and exercise. Plus, it can’t hurt my career in modeling acting charity work for cancer research to show my ripped bod to its best advantage for the cameras, right?


Damn. Looks like Candice has already got her mitts on the hot guy in our tribe, Adam. Girlfriend moves quick, doesn’t she? That’s alright, I’m keeping my eye on those two. We don’t need any secret alliances in our tribe right now. If she gets out of line I’ll just use my boxing skills and give her a quick uppercut while nobody is looking. Heh. That’ll teach her to hog Adam in our nightly snuggle puddles. Our tribe isn’t looking too bad, otherwise. We kicked some major ass today, too! Yeah, we came in third, but still. If anybody should have been sent to Exile Island, though, it should have been Jessica! What was she thinking, lifting that box up like that and letting all of our chickens loose? All thoughts of a nice fire-roasted chicken dinner went clucking off into the forest. *sigh* I don't know about that girl. Well, our tribe is safe for now, so I guess I can go stand around in my bikini and practice my modeling poses. See? Here’s me looking fierce by the fire. Now, here’s me gazing thoughtfully across the beach….


Hi, it’s me, Cecilia! Oh, you don’t remember me? That’s because I only got about 2.3 seconds of screentime. Heck, even the chicken got more airtime than I did. But that’s okay. See, that’s my whole plan – to lay back, observe what’s going on, and not cause any trouble. I’m a risk consultant back in the real world, and I see no need to take any big risks right now! Why not let the guys climb the trees and grab the coconuts? (Especially that cutie, Ozzy! Muy caliente!) I'll just stand here, look cute, and show off my coconuts. I'm really liking our tribe, too. We all got that boat assembled in no time, and almost came in first during the challenge - this is our chance to represent!


Gosh! Didn't anyone get that my releasing of the chickens was performance art?? The chickens now represent freedom, plucking away at the palette of the island, which is the box we are confined in. Freeing the chickens was a beautiful metaphor for the freedom we will all experience as we grow and bond as a tribe, yet find wellsprings of resolve and strength within our own souls, eventually blossoming into true survivors. Or, until we get voted out. And with Jonathan on Exile Island, I've got time to make sure I'm not the first to go for that chicken mistake expression of art. Don't count your chickens before they hatch, Jonathan. Oh, and I hope you find peace and God while you're isolated, by yourself, on a sandbar, alone, in the cold.

Cao Boi

As my ancestors would have said, I am doomed. I am on a tribe with all Asians, all of whom subscribe to the high-GPA, material-wealth-equals-happiness mentality of the young Asian in America. No one is from the old country, no one believes, as I do, that happiness lies in the spirit. Aw, hell, nobody's going to listen to this old hippie. I help Brad push out his bad wind, and what does he do? Whine that he's got a bruised head. Well, that's how it works, you young pup! If only I could have been put on a tribe with kindred spirits, perhaps I'd have had a chance. That said, I'm totally voting out Brad. Or Yul. I've just got to get in good with the girls. They seem to like Asian jokes. I think I'll tell more of those.


Well, isn’t this great. Yeah, okay, maybe I sort of stole a chicken from one of the guys on the green team, but hey- you snooze, you lose buddy! Why have I been cursed by that one little insignificant bout of thievery? First, Flicka, (who is not my friend, by the way), lets the chickens out of the box… they escape and proceed to constantly taunt me from the safety of the woods. Next, I get called out for stealing the chicken, and have to lie about it and pretend I had no idea where it came from, and then my tribe has a little difficulty working as a team, and almost loses immunity! Finally, to top it off, I get booted to Exile Island for two days- the unhappiest place on earth. Fan-freaking-tastic. The one positive to come out of my first few days on Cook Islands? It can’t get any worse than this.


Rebecca is so nice. She is my new best friend. We are going to have so much fun hanging out, telling secrets, and staying up late talking. I am so glad she is on my tribe. The boys on our tribe are kind of icky and don’t really take us seriously but we really taught them a lesson when Rebecca and I found the water. Yes, girls found the water. We really did not get it together during the challenge but I thought we came on Survivor to make friends and that is what Rebecca and I did. We unfortunately had to get rid of someone from our tribe and I was not sad to see one of the icky boys go. Good thing Rebecca and I told our secrets to Stephannie and convinced her to be friends with us. Next week, hopefully we won’t need her and we can go back to disliking her and talking about her behind her back.


Eeek! I don’t like where I’m sitting at the moment. On one hand I’m like “Yay me! I swung the vote.” On the other hand, I’m clearly not as connected with Sundra and Rebecca. Do I align with Nate in case we end up in Tribal Council again? Then again, us sisters have to stick together. But then we’ll end up merging. Oh. My. God. This is getting nerve-racking. I’m just hoping one of my tribe mates steps on a spiny fish so I can put my medical skills to work. That should keep me around for a while longer. Btw…I’m really boring.


Man, I gotta tell you all. I almost bit my whole friggin tongue off trying to play nicey-nice. Our shelter looks g-h-e-t-t-o which is kind of funny seeing as how we’re stranded on a beach. We have got to win the next immunity challenge. I could be a goner if we don’t. Although, I do have some bulging biceps and I caught Rebecca checking me out. I might have to worm my way in. The lay-days do need some chocolate thunder up in the hizzy.


You’d think someone who passed the Virginia bar exam would be observant, wouldn’t you? Well, I’m embarrassed. I saw an ad for minority candidates for a reality television show and I just assumed it was Mike Fleiss looking for the token minority bachelorette to get cut during the second episode of The Bachelor. A free trip to Rome seemed worth a little humiliation. I knew something was up when I saw there were a bunch of male as well as female minorities. I mean, come on, it’s not like they are going to do a bisexual edition of The Bachelor. I’m thinking I would have enjoyed the constantly flowing champagne more than the coconut juice I’m already sick of. How many more days of this are left? All in all, I’m pretty happy with my tribe. Cao Boi provides belly laughs, intentional or not, and Brad is pretty except for that hickey Cao Boi left on his forehead. Plus, I get to look at Yul all day and Jenny and I are simpatico. I hate stereotypes, but I didn’t mind perpetuating the stereotype that Asian-Americans are intelligent achievers by helping my tribe to victory in that challenge. That fire making kit is sweet! Now if only we can stay on a roll and keep the head of the idol until the tribes merge.


Okay, so here’s the thing. We’re sailing along on the boat, when suddenly Probst announces the game’s on. Everyone begins grabbing items to take to their camp, and I’ve got a grip on a live chicken, when some big, burly guy takes it away from me. What the…? Fortunately, Probst asked me about it at the first challenge, and I was more than happy to point him out to everyone to begin my secret plan of revenge. At first I thought Cao Boi was a little nuts, and at night when it was quiet, I’d find myself quietly humming, “Momma, Don’t Let Your Sons Grow Up To Be Cowboys.” But after getting to know him a bit more, I decided he just might have a few nuggets of useful information under that unruly mop of hair of his. And damn, I was right. The losers of the challenge got to choose one survivor to send to Exile Island, and guess who they chose? Chicken-Stealer Man. That‘s right. And the beautiful thing is, only Cao Boi and I know that he was instrumental in making them choose him. By using some of that old-world mind-control of his, he was able to subliminally convince the Hiki team to make Chicken Man pay for his nasty deed. I’m telling you, these people better not cross Mr. Yul again, because I’ve got a secret weapon in Cao Boi, and he’s only begun to whoop ass.

We would like to thank the following writers for contributing to this article: mrdobolina, Brandy, Dinahann, Mariner, Yardgnome, AJane, waywyrd, Lucy, SueEllenMishke, speedbump and roseskid.