Survivorman Calls it Quits

Filmmaker and Discovery and Science Channel star Les Stroud, known for his show, Survivorman, is calling it quits after three seasons. The 47 year-old Canadian earned street cred amongst survivalists by filming himself completing various week-long survival challenges. Unlike Man Versus Wild’s Bear Grylls, Stroud traveled without a camera crew and survival experts. I, for one, found his solo approach to film-making and survival refreshing compared to Grylls’ preening in front of the camera.

Stroud explained his decision to call it quits to Reuters: “You can only do seven days surviving without food a certain number of times a year. I’m pleased with what I have done, I’ve been copied around the world, but 25 times I’ve not eaten anything for a week while sleeping on rocks. I need to move on.”

Filming for the third, and now final, season is wrapping up in Papua this month. Though the tag Survivorman will probably always remain with him, Stroud plans to move on to other projects. He is writing a book about wilderness survival and is planning a new show where he will follow in the footsteps of famous explorers.

Galley Gossip: Snacks on the plane

“Diet Coke,” says the passenger after I ask him what he’d like to drink. While I’m filling a plastic glass full of ice, he asks the question I hoped he wouldn’t ask, “Can I get a sandwich?”

“Oh…ummm…I’m sorry.” I make a face, the I’m-sorry face, because I am sorry. Really, I am. I’m sorry I have to say I’m sorry all day long. “We ran out,” I continue, and before I can tell him that we actually ran out of anything and everything edible on the airplane, he asks “What else do you have?”

I take a deep breath, because I really don’t want to tell this guy we have nothing, not one thing, so I make the face again, the I’m-sorry face, and decide to make light of the situation. “Diet Coke. Sprite. Diet Sprite. Pepsi. Diet Pepsi. Orange juice. Apple Juice.” He’s looking at me like I’m crazy, so I make the face again, oh you know the one, and say, “I’m sorry, but we ran out of everything. There’s no more food.”

“What do you mean there’s no more food!”

“We ran out of food,” I say again, as I oh so gently place a can of Diet Coke and a glass of ice on his tray table. What I don’t say is that we ran out of food hours ago, due to the fact the passengers were starving because of the hour and a half weather delay we took on the ground. What this passenger and I do not know, and will not know for another hour, is we’re going to have another hour and a half delay in flight because the airport in New York is closed due to more bad weather . “Sorry,” I say again, and I am, sorry I’m forced to say sorry all day long.

“This is ridiculous!”

I agree, it is ridiculus, but that’s the way it is.

Last week Iva Skoch wrote about Passengers Revolting on a flight out of Beijing that was canceled due to weather. Fifty-two pasengers refused to leave the aircraft, so they slept on the plane for over twelve hours. “The biggest irony,” Iva wrote, “And something I can’t see happening on America’s cash-strapped airlines, the flight attendants kept serving food and drinks to the protesters.”

Well there are two reasons you won’t see flight attendants in America serving drinks and food to “protesters” onboard a canceled flight throughout the night until the wee hours of the morning, when the airline is finally able to get people onboard another aircraft.

  1. No food. At least there’s not enough to serve to everybody onboard. Sorry. These days flights aren’t catered full. Why? Don’t ask me. I’m just the messenger. But I’m sure it has something to do with those silly fuel prices. But who wants to eat airplane food that’s been sitting on an airplane for hours anyway? We’re talking astronaut food, people! We’re talking there’s a reason the fruit in first class doesn’t turn brown by the end of the flight.
  2. No money. Flight attendants aren’t making a dime until the aircraft door has been shut and the airplane has backed away from the gate. Now keep in mind we’ve already worked the first hour of our day for free, which is by far the most chaotic part of flight – boarding. And you’re right, we did agree to work that first hour for free when we took the job, but there’s no way, no freakin way, we’ll work one hour more. Would you?

Which brings me to the point of this post (there is one, I promise) – snacks. I’m talking food. You should bring some the next time you travel. At least something. Anything! An apple, a cereal bar, instant oatmeal, whatever.

I know exactly what you’re thinking. Why should you have to bring your own food when you paid for a ticket? Because you paid for a seat. That’s it. And as soon as you realize that, the better your flying experience will be. I’m sorry (always sorry) but that’s the reality of the situation. Unfortunately traveling today is like a real life episode of Survivor. You never know what’s going to happen next and you never know when you’re going to eat again.

Oh I know it’s inconvenient to pack food. Trust me, I’m right there with you, carrying a white plastic grocery bag full of Jiffy peanut butter to-go, a brown banana, two slices of multi-grain bread, and an old package of instant oatmeal, as I undress my way through security and make my way through the terminal – Just in case! Forget the clothes, the books, the DVD – pack the food! Mechanicals, weather delays, and cancellations do happen, and they happen often.

Take my five hour flight yesterday that turned into seven and a half hours of starvation for the people onboard who didn’t bring food, or purchase food when they had the chance. Me, I had a chorizo and egg breakfast burrito from La Salsa at the San Diego airport early that morning and I was STILL starving by the end of that flight! I actually got down on my hands and knees and dug through a dirty first class cart looking for something, anything, to get me through the last hour. But there was nothing – not one thing to be had. Which is why most flight attendants I know always – ALWAYS – bring their own from home.

Oh hold on a sec, my cell is ringing… “Hello?”

“Flight Attendant Poole?” asks the stern voice on the other end.

Oh no. The company. What now? “Yes, this is flight attendant Poole.”

“Your flight to San Francisco tonight has been delayed.”

The Amazing Race, season 12, starts Sunday

My best friend from college wants us to be in the The Amazing Race. She made it as far as having an actual interview for Survivor once, so who knows? Perhaps we’d have a shot at it if we could ever find out when the tryouts are. This coming Sunday, November 4 at 8 pm is the premiere of the 12th season.

I had never watched The Amazing Race until my friend said we should give it a shot. I’m always a bit wary when I look to see how cultures are portrayed by the mainstream media, but I have to say, from what I’ve seen, I’m pretty impressed. Instead of making fun of countries, it seems the show is fairly earnest about portraying them in a positive light. Considering the pressure and stress of trying to win by negotiating the details required to travel the 50,000 miles in 28 days, I’m also happy with the way the people on the show behave while traveling. Perhaps saying nasty things about the places does happen, but this seems edited out.

I’ve looked at the video of this year’s contenders and am not sure who I’m rooting for. I’m drawn to the grandson/grandfather team, but the Goth team looks like they’ll create a bit of a stir and might be fun to watch while they travel about the world.

Castaway New York Style: Stranded on a Deserted Island in Jamaica Bay

Purposely stranding one’s self on a deserted island and living off the land until help arrives is a deep-rooted fantasy for most males. Fueled in my youth by the adventures of Robinson Crusoe, the Swiss Family Robinson, and the characters in Jules Verne’s Mysterious Island, I too count myself as a wannabe castaway.

Grant Stoddard does as well. The only difference is that he went and acted on this fantasy. The only problem is that he did not do so on some tropical island full of fruit, fresh springs, and warm weather. No, Stoddard had to make things difficult and desert himself on a sorry little excuse of an island in the middle of New York’s Jamaica Bay.

Inspired by his favorite TV show, Man Vs. Wild, this urban adventurer was recently rowed out to Ruffle Bar, “a 143-acre sandbar in Jamaica Bay,” supplied only with fresh water, a Leatherman, knife, tarp, matches, and Bradford Angier’s How to Stay Alive in the Woods.

Stoddard should have read the book more closely because he nearly made a mockery of the title itself. Not only did he fail to even light a fire to cook the mussels he pried off of some rocks, but he also came down with trench foot–a horrendous condition which could lead to amputation if left untreated.

In this classic Man vs. Nature conflict (as humorously chronicled in this month’s New York Magazine) nature basically kicked Stoddard’s ass due in large part to a storm which blew in shortly after he landed on the island and drenched him to the point of near hypothermia. Falling into the ocean while hunting mussels didn’t help matters either.

Things did not go well for Stoddard and the irony of dying from the elements such a short distance from the world’s most cosmopolitan city weighed heavy on his mind. And so, he threw in the towel early and text his buddy to row out and pick him up–hardly an option available to our old friend Robinson Crusoe.


Word for the Travel Wise (04/20/06)

Even though I never watched a single
episode of Survivor: Palau, the seasons long reality show
always comes to mind when hearing the country name. (Now, that’s how you know you’ve got a show that works.) While I
lack the time to sit engulfed in primetime television, I’ve got nothing against watching the adventure armchair type
travel/challenge programming and I suppose with each season Survivor has given the hard working mother, under tipped
waitress, and the too-afraid to fly there themselves person the opportunity to see Palau up close. My only question for
all those religious Survivor fans out there is did they teach you any Palauan? If not perhaps it is time to start tuning
into Gadling as well.

Today’s word is a Palauan
word used in Palau:

chellimosk – expert; a
person who has in depth knowledge on his/her trade

Palauan (also spelled Belauan) is spoken by some 15,000 people
in Palau. It is considered one of the two languages of Micronesia and belongs to the Austronesian language family.
Palauan is 64.7% official in all islands except Sonsoral, Tobi and Angaur. Filipino and English are also spoken on the
island. Learning Palauan online may prove a bit difficult, but you can start at this Palau: Airai – Native Place site. The word list found
here covers family members, society and terms relating to geography. A small pronunciation guide is included below the
list as well. Palau Island has a phrase
list, common proverbs, and tons of info on diving and things to do and see when visiting one of Oceania’s most popular