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Thread: Palau Perspective (Episode 3) - Getting Ulong in the Tooth

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    Come Along, Pond phat32's Avatar
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    Palau Perspective (Episode 3) - Getting Ulong in the Tooth

    Introduction

    This is something interesting I've noticed at the end of the third episode. Both Koror and Ulong have as their backbone a core comprised of three men: for Ulong it's Ibrehem/Bobby Jon/James and for Koror it's Tom/Gregg/Ian.

    Ian, of all people. Ian, who looks like he weighs 70 lbs. if he wore concrete shoes. Ian, who looks like a stiff wind would blow him off the island if he weren't anchored in place.

    I tip my hat to Ian. His perseverance during the search for the missing flint and now his endurance during the rope-a-dope immunity challenge have shown him to have the heart of a lion, even if that heart resides in the body of a newborn cub.

    In contrast, both Ulong and Koror have a member who contributes nothing and does nothing except add strife. For Ulong, it's Kim; for Koror, it's Katie. Neither seems to realize that not only is she not pulling her weight but is also upsetting the camaraderie (such as it is at Ulong). That double-whammy (uselessness and strife) could prove to be a kiss of death the next time one of the teams goes to tribal council.

    Caryn and Katie: Cat Scratch Fever!

    While we're on the subject of Katie, let's look at the argument between her and Caryn. While Caryn has not exactly been a rainmaker for Koror, she is at least trying. From what we can tell, all Katie is trying to do is stand around and criticize the work of others. This is an exceedingly annoying trait in any situation, much less a powder-keg where everyone is already under considerable strain.

    Katie strikes me as the sort of person that most people dislike on sight upon first meeting, even if they don't know why she's provoking that sort of reaction from them.

    Having said that, Caryn seems to have forgotten one of the most important rules about conducting a dialogue with anyone: The one who loses her cool first loses the listener and loses her argument. Even if the shouter's points are valid, any listener, any opponent in a verbal contest, will shut out a speaker shouting at her.

    While Caryn may love the opportunity to vote off Katie should Koror attend the next tribal council, she may realize it's more likely that a dead-weight like Willard or even herself would go.

    Caryn needs to put up with Katie until the time is right, rally the others to her cause and vote off this useless, expendable harpy once and for all. Koror will be all the better for it.

    Ulong: Zero for Three at Immunity

    While Ulong continues to win reward, the tribe continues to be beaten--soundly--at the more important immunity challenges. In the physically demanding dust-up that was the reward challenge, Ulong won as the challenge played to their strengths: lightning-fast and short, frenetic encounters.

    As for the reward? Big whoop-de-do. The tribe already possessed fishing equipment and as for the sewing kit, so what? Is skimpy clothing really the cause of their three losses at immunity? What are they going to do? Sew a few merit badges for laying around the beach to their new sarongs and ponchos?

    Ulong continues to lose and continues to spiral into disarray because of three things: leadership, leadership, leadership. They're so obviously and sorely lacking in leadership that it's not even funny.

    Of the six remaining Ulongers, three have the potential to be a leader: Bobby Jon, Stephenie and Ibrehem (in the order of likelihood).

    I think no one steps up at Ulong because of what I think of as Apprentice "Project Manager" syndrome: If the tribe/corporation wins--hooray. Everyone goes home and eats a coconut or drinks a bottle of champagne aboard a helicopter, as the case may be. But if the team loses, the leader is front and center and takes a considerable amount of heat for that loss.

    And with Ulong's track record, who wants that?

    Ulong continues to boot the weakest out of a sense of desperation, almost as if hoping that the eviction of the weakest will result, finally, in some magical, fairy-tale sweet spot where they may finally pull together and win immunity challenges.

    We Are Winning; Hear Us Koror

    At the immunity challenge, Koror pulled off what appeared to be an upset, thanks in no small part to Tom's formidable skills as Koror leader. Re-examine the challenge that appeared to be so utterly physical (and therefore in Ulong's favor) and you will find that the challenge was more like 50 percent physical, 25 mental and 25 percent endurance.

    Much respect due to Tom for his skillful leadership. Like a jockey, he seemed naturally to know when his team needed a rest and when they were ready to sprint.

    Also, his timing was impeccable. He seemed to know when Ulong's team felt strong and compensated by defending his position, by just surviving the next circuit. And, at long last, he knew when his opponents were finished and pegged the right circuit to deliver the coup de grace.

    With Tom's leadership and barring any major changes in tribal memberships, Koror can continue to lose reward challenges with shoddy rewards but still win the more important immunity challenges, ensuring Koror domination at this stage in the game.

    Predictions

    The inevitable reality program male-versus-female eviction question may come up among Ulong now that their members have been whittled down to six--three men, three women, and the distinctions stand in such stark relief.

    Stephenie may be the one who objects most to a break along male/female lines, even as Angie would feel uneasy but would be most realistic about it. Frankly, who cares what Kim thinks.

    Just a gut reaction, but if Ulong's membership remained the same and the tribe went to council three more times, I think the voting order would be: Kim, Angie, Stephenie.

    Rarely do you see someone like Tom in reality programming: the indispensable leader. This means, of course, that sooner or later, one or two of the weaker members of the tribe will start grumbling, will start to think about a jury, a jury that they have a snowball's chance in hell of facing, but one that is prominent in their minds, nevertheless.

    The only way I could see an ouster of Big Tom would be for Katie to plant the seeds of doubt about the jury/final two in the minds of the weaker players, such as Janu, Willard and Caryn, and their place in it.

    Theoretically, Katie/Caryn/Willard/Janu could upset the applecart by allying to vote off Tom. While it's possible, I see that as unlikely since I think even Willard and Janu recognize how valuable and necessary Tom is to their tribe.

    Besides, when Ian finally goes through puberty in a week or two, nobody but Tom would be willing to teach Ian how to shave and also explain the birds and the bees.
    "...Every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things donít always soften the bad things, but...the bad things donít always spoil the good things." - The Doctor

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    Staying Afloat speedbump's Avatar
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    Besides, when Ian finally goes through puberty in a week or two, nobody but Tom would be willing to teach Ian how to shave and also explain the birds and the bees.
    What a way to wrap up a fabulous perspective. I have to applaud you Phat32, you're insight into this maze of trickery is dead on and it makes my head want to explode thinking of all the possibilities.

    Great job!
    Last edited by speedbump; 03-05-2005 at 03:41 PM.
    You got to cry without weeping. Talk without speaking. Scream without raising your voice.- U2

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    FORT Fogey Leftcoaster's Avatar
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    Thanks for your perspective, phat32. I view the backbone slightly differently than you do, particularly in regards to Ulong, but almost everything else you stated resonated with the sound of truth.

    You introduced me to a new (to me) concept regarding the inevitability factor of the men and women forming up along gender lines. That is something I hadn't noticed even when seeing it occuring, probably because I can't think of a rational reason that it should. I've pretty much restricted my reality exposure to Survivor, TAR, and Big Brother, and when I've seen the male versus female action taking place I've up to now compartmentalized it to apply to just THAT season of THAT series.

    I'll be viewing events somewhat differently thanks to you, though I'll still end up wondering where the value is in allying solely (or at least primarily) based on gender with the likes of a Kim or Osten (after it was apparent he lacked heart).

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    Soccer Kicks Balls cali's Avatar
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    Phat, you see things that just go right past me, then I nod in agreement throughout the article! Awesome job once again.
    "Rice is great when you're hungry and want 2,000 of something' -- Mitch Hedberg

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    An innocent bystander nlmcp's Avatar
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    Great Job Phat! Although I'm not sure about James being part of the backbone, maybe because I just dislike him so much. I hope it doesn't break down along gender in Ulong because I think both Stephine and Angie are tougher then James.
    I could go east, I could go west, it was all up to me to decide. Just then I saw a young hawk flyin' and my soul began to rise. ~Bob Seger

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    Leo
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    Terrific article.

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    When I'm 64 William13's Avatar
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    Thanks again for the analysis. Your perspective gives me something to think about each week.

    As for the reward? Big whoop-de-do. The tribe already possessed fishing equipment and as for the sewing kit, so what? Is skimpy clothing really the cause of their three losses at immunity? What are they going to do? Sew a few merit badges for laying around the beach to their new sarongs and ponchos?
    I thought that it was because I am a fairly new to the Survivor universe that I was so underwhelmed by the reward.

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    I Think I Can Dance. Aota Bass's Avatar
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    Hmmmm... really interesting... although I also beg to differ about Ulong's core.

    Bobby Jon is definitely at the heart, although not exactly a "leader" in the sense of Tom- and I'd actually say Angie is looking like the right-hand "man"- she performed better in both reward challenges than most of them men from either team.

    So I'd say the Ulong core is BJ, Angie, and (before the injury) James. Now that James's position is open, it's looking like Ibrehem or Stephenie, but neither of them seem to have too much political clout within the tribe.
    And I sing sometimes like my life is at stake because you're only as loud as the noises you make.

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    Do the Kirby! Healblade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by William13
    I thought that it was because I am a fairly new to the Survivor universe that I was so underwhelmed by the reward.
    Well... in Survivor 7: Pearl Islands (the first and only other time the castaways were abondoned with the clothes on their backs), the reward of fabric and a sewing machine was of great use to the Drake tribe. Besides, if Rupert can sew hisself a kilt or sarong or whatever, then Ibrehem, Jeff, James, and Bobby Jon are just being pansies about not sewing themselves more clothing.

    For me, this reward would be of great use. Besides, if they aren't going to use the fabric for clothing, it can be used to patch holes in their shelter, as thin blankets for cold nights, as extra fabric for challenges such as the Thailand and Pearl Island prison break challenges, a noose for when they realize they're getting beaten by an overall physically weaker tribe, a drying cloth to aid in the cleaning of fish, and much more.

    This reward has extreme amounts of potential... if the tribe is willing and able to make use of it.

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    FORT Fanatic Danger Bunny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phat32
    IntroductionIan, of all people. Ian, who looks like he weighs 70 lbs. if he wore concrete shoes. Ian, who looks like a stiff wind would blow him off the island if he weren't anchored in place.
    First kudos for this work, your insights are incredibly , insightful!

    Ian has a body type that misleads many people. My dad had a very similar body type in his younger days and while he was "only" 6'6" he weighed 180 pounds. Ian is 6'8", I would expect him to weigh somewhere in the neighbourhood of 180-190 pounds.

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