A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

NYC Trip Recap: Survivor Know It Alls! (The nerdy part.)

This is a recap of the Survivor event we went to! I am recapping just the general NYC trip on Wednesday because I realize most people don't want to read a 2,840 word blog post about Survivor! But if you are really into Survivor, this post is for you!

Paul and I are huge Survivor fans. For several years, I have been listening to what I believe to be the BEST Survivor podcast out there- Rob Has A Podcast (RHAP). The host is Rob Cesternino, who came in 3rd place on Survivor The Amazon (Season 6) and was dubbed "The Greatest Player to Never Win Survivor." Rob podcasts about other reality shows but he mainly focuses on Survivor and Big Brother. (Big Brother is another show Paul and I are super into!)

Rob has connections with so many Survivor alumni, so it's not just his perspective we get on RHAP. He interviews all of the players voted out each week and also recaps episodes and takes voicemail with past Survivors as his guests. Rob is smart and HILARIOUS. There have been times I've been lifting in the gym and was worried I would drop the weights because I was laughing so hard. On dark, cold mornings, RHAP is sometimes the only thing that gets me excited to go for a run. I have run many miles listening to Rob's podcasts. At this point, he feels like an old friend. It's "homey" to hear his voice in my earbuds. When all I want to do in the winter is stay nice and cozy in my warm bed, the thought of listening to Rob gets me moving.

Each week after a Survivor episode, Rob and Stephen Fishbach (from Survivor Tocantins and Survivor Second Chances) do a podcast called Survivor Know It Alls. (It's a tongue and cheek name since both of them played twice but haven't won!) A couple years ago, they started doing a LIVE Know It Alls episode each season. I never find out about the event until it is sold out. But this year I was on top of it and was able to get tickets!

I really didn't know what to expect from this event. It was at Caroline's on Broadway, which is a comedy club right in Times Square. Doors would open at 7pm. We'd all watch the newest episode of Survivor together at 8pm. At 9pm, Rob and Stephen would do their live podcast. From listening to the other live podcasts, I knew Survivor alumni would show up to the event but it was never advertised who it would be... you just had to wait and see!

What I didn't know was whether we'd be able to talk to Rob or any of the other Survivors. How close would we be able to sit? Could we get pictures? What kinds of Survivor fans would be there? Would it be fun watching a Survivor episode in a room full of hundreds of strangers?

Well, I have all the answers for you now!

On Wednesday night, Paul and I hopped on the subway at 86th street and 15 minutes later, BOOM we were in the middle of Times Square! 

Carolines on Broadway was right across the street so we scurried over since it was cold out. It said on the ticket that doors would open around 7pm. Well, it was about 6:30 and the doors were open! I was excited to not wait out in the cold. We stood in line as people collected tickets. It didn't take long- maybe 5 minutes. As I stood in line, I was scoping out the room. RIGHT THERE AT THE BAR WAS ROB CESTERNINO!!!

"There's Rob!" I shouted to Paul. Luckily, it was loud enough that Rob didn't hear me fan girl. But then I caught Stephen's eye and I flipped out a little, "Stephen! Hi!" I squealed and waved. He smiled and waved back. Okay, I needed to calm down...

Once they took our tickets, we just kind of stood around for a minute and got the lay of the land. We were in a little bar area and it looked like the area we would watch the episode and the podcast was in another room. I had to pee really bad, and wouldn't you know it, by the time I got back from the bathroom, Paul had already met Rob! He had walked by and Paul shook his hand and told him he was huge fan.

I couldn't believe I missed it! But Rob and Stephen were both just kind of walking around and mingling, so I pulled up my big girl britches, put my game face on, and marched right up to Rob and introduced myself!

Oh man, what did I say? What did we talk about? Well first of all he was very nice and asked where we were from. He was very thankful we came all the way to NYC just to see the show. I told him how funny I think he is and that his podcasts are always with me on a run. Paul talked some fantasy football with him, and he was more than happy to snap a picture with us. Rob was so nice and seemed happy to meet fans! I wished him a happy belated birthday and left him alone. But seriously I wanted to stand there with his arm around me all night!

I was giddy. I just could not believe I got to talk to him! I was literally shaking.

Next, I went over to Stephen. I had to hover for a little while because he was talking to some other fans, but when it was my turn, I introduced myself and Paul. The three of us talked about our favorite seasons of Survivor for awhile. I told him how I was a little late watching some of the seasons, so I knew who he was from the podcast before I even saw his first season. I was a fan of his before I even saw him compete on the show, and he thought that was cool.

Man, I don't even remember what else we chatted about but it was very surreal.

It was getting pretty crowded so at this point we just found a corner to stand in. We kept saying how we couldn't believe we got to talk to Stephen and Rob! We pretty much felt like our night had already proven to be more than we ever hoped for... and it had only just begun!

A little after 7pm they started seating people in the area where we would be watching the show. I had never been to a comedy club in NYC before. The room was huge but seating was tight. Paul and I shared a tiny table about midway back from the stage. We quickly made friends with the two women  (Wendy and Linda) beside us who had come together.

Wendy lives in NYC and Linda flew all the way from Indiana! They are both active members of the RHAP community. They are patrons of the podcast (they donate money each month) and get together with other patrons online and in person to do fun Survivor themed events like karaoke nights and scavenger hunts. Geez, and I thought WE were into Survivor! Clearly there are people that take it to another level!

There was a two drink minimum (oh darn!) but I ended up having 3 glasses of wine over the course of the evening! The glasses were not big and it was over 3 hours, so I was just the right amount of buzzed. Oh, the small glasses of wine were $11 each!!! OH WELL, IT WAS A SPECIAL NIGHT! I also ordered a sandwich with fries. I ate the fries there but ate the sandwich later at the hotel. Paul had two beers! Over the past 3+ years he has only had ONE drink due to all his seizure meds. But last night he let loose and had two drinks! He really enjoyed them and they didn't mess with his meds at all. It's not something he is going to make a habit, but I am glad he got to enjoy two good beers.

We kept our eyes out for Survivor alumni, but there were so many people and it was a little dark, so it was hard. I did see Eliza (Vanuatu and Micronesia) come in and sit at a reserved table down front. She was very animated in her normal Eliza-like way. I went down to talk to her but then a whole POSSE of Survivors showed up and I was too intimidated so I ran back to my seat! The posse consisted of these familiar Survivor faces: Francesca and Andrea from Redemption Island & Caramoan, Brian from Guatemala, Aubrey, Michele, Liz, and Anna from Kaoh Rong, and Zeke and Adam from this season! I couldn't believe it!

Sneaky Aubrey pic when no one was looking!

The Survivor episode was about to start, so I quickly scooted out to go to the bathroom. In the lobby I saw none other than ERIC STEIN from Big Brother 8! I am a HUGE Eric Stein fan! He is a guest on RHAP a couple times a year and is so hilarious.

"Eric Stein!" I cried and walked right over to introduce myself. I had a glass of wine in me at this point, so I felt extremely confident just walking up to Big Brother alumni and striking up a conversation. We had "surface level" chit chat for a minute and then I let him go. I know from listening to the podcast that he feels very uncomfortable meeting fans at events like these and Rob actually has to semi twist his arm to get him to come out.

I couldn't wait to tell Paul, Linda, and Wendy that Eric Stein was here AND I MET HIM!!! Paul was very happy for me. A few moments later, the Survivor episode started!

It was very exciting to watch the episode in a room full of fans. It seemed like the room was cheering for the same people- Zeke, Michaela, and Adam. When Adam voted Figgy out, the room ERUPTED into cheers. Adam stood up and pumped his fist in the air. It was so surreal and cool!

When the episode was over, the podcast started. Rob and Stephen were on the stage analyzing the episode in the fun way they normally do.

But what was different about it from a normal podcast was that tonight they could call some of the Survivor alumni up onstage to give commentary!

Eliza being Eliza-y!

Aubrey had some stuff to say!

Liz popped in!


Last season's winner Michele!

Sophie... ugh, one of my least favorite winners.

The podcast seemed to be over so quickly, but in fact it was just over an hour long. Linda and Wendy advised us to loiter around afterwards because we would be able to get pictures with our favorite Survivors. They assured us the Survivors were there to meet fans and would love to say hello and pose for pictures. Well, they were correct! Paul and I loitered and I approached every Survivor I was able to!

Michele, winner of Survivor Koah Rong.
She was incredibly nice and charming! I will be honest, I was not a huge fan of her as a winner, but as a PERSON she was absolutely lovely and talked to me for several minutes.

Okay, now here come the pics with the horrible lighting where I look 90 years old!

My girl Aubrey!!!! She was the runner up on Koah Rong and I think she played the best game out there. I told her how well I thought she played and she was incredibly nice and gracious.

He was so hyper and nice! Zeke was very excited to meet fans and took pictures with everyone. We talked to him for a good 5 minutes. I asked him about the hunger. He assured me after 48 hours the hunger kind of went away.

I really can't say how nice everyone was!

Everyone was flocking to Adam so I didn't get a picture with him but I did get this sneaky shot.

There was an after party but Paul and I were tired and honestly felt like our night couldn't get any better. We got to meet and talk to so many Survivors, including Rob, so I didn't really feel the need to go out and party with them. I figured they had their little posses and it would be too loud and crazy.

We saw Rob again after the show and told him good job. He asked if we were going to the after party but we told him no. He thanked us for coming to the show. Ahhhhhh!!! It is so fun to relive this in my mind as I type!

But that wasn't the end of our excitement...

I had to pee before we left, so Paul waited in the lobby. But when I came out to the lobby he was nowhere to be found. I saw Francesca (the unlucky Survivor to go down in history as being voted out first, TWICE!) and since I was still a little wine happy, I went right up to her to chat!

Then... ERIC STEIN CAME OVER TO CHAT WITH US!!! I didn't know where Paul was, but at that point I didn't care if he was somewhere else waiting for me. I knew he would understand my need to chat with Francesca and Eric!

A couple minutes later Francesca left, then Paul joined Eric and I, and the three of us talked Big Brother for about ten minutes! I CAN'T BELIEVE WE GOT TO HAVE IN DEPTH BIG BROTHER TALK WITH ERIC STEIN!!!!!!

Seriously, so cool to chat so long with one of my FAVORITE Big Brother players!
And I found out he has a podcast now! I will be listening!

Finally, we wrapped up our chat with Eric and headed back to our hotel. The whole way back... and the whole next day... we were grinning from ear to ear about how cool our experience was! We were so happy we spent the time and money to travel to NYC for this awesome experience!

If you read this whole thing... WOW!!!!! I know I sometimes write about things that probably interest a very small number of people, but it will be fun to have my thoughts down forever so I never forget this experience!!!

What's your favorite/least favorite season of Survivor?

Who's your favorite/least favorite Survivor contestant?

What's your favorite/least favorite season of Big Brother?

Who's your favorite/least favorite Big Brother contestant?

Do you listen to RHAP?


  1. That is so awesome and what a super fun night! You got to talk to so many people and go amazing pictures. I will show Rick this post because I don't know any of these people (and can't answer your questions today!).

    1. I bet Rick will know most of these people! I hope he does! :)

  2. As you know I don't watch either of these shows but I enjoyed reading how much fun you had at this event. The excitement sure does shine through in your writing! So glad you and Paul could experience this!

    1. I'm glad I could properly express my excitement :)

  3. This sounds so cool!! I am glad that you enjoyed meeting all the Survivors and had so much fun! It sounds like a great experience!

    I'm glad that they were all nice, and friendly!

    1. I was shocked at how friendly they were too! But I mean, they're not FAMOUS, and I guess the whole reason they go to events like these is to interact with fans, so I guess it makes sense that they would be nice. :) I mean, they're there on purpose.

  4. I've never seen Survivor or Big Brother. Do you still like me? I don't know who Rob and Stephen are. But I am SO HAPPY that you two had so much fun and I'm really happy for Paul that he was able to kick back and enjoy two good beers. That makes me so happy. I love you guys!

    1. Of course I still you! You know they have Big Brother Canada and I am trying to get Paul to watch that with me because I heard it is GOOD. I bit different from the US version but in a good way.

  5. It's all good, the only way you would know these people is if you watch Survivor! I know $11 so crazzzzzzy for wine BUT ya only live once, right??

  6. This is all so cool!!! What a great night and adventure you and Paul had! It's funny because I've watched every Survivor season but after the show finishes I can't remember names, places or who won. But while I'm watching the show I'm really into it! Zeke is quite a character... and you got to touch him. !!! I do need to check out that podcast again. I've only listened to it a few times.
    I would want to get the low down on the hunger too. I feel like I'm borderline hypoglycemic so I think I would have a really really rough time if I ever went on the show. I'd be that whiny cranky bitch that didn't work because she was always just complaining about how weak she was from hunger!! (8 hours into the game) LOL!!!!

    1. Zeke was really really really nice, it was so cool to talk to him. I hope he does well.

      Girl, I would be so hangry too. I mean, I eat lunch at 11:10 and sometimes by 1:30pm I am like dizzy hungry at work...

  7. I don't know anything about Survivor or Big Brother but I love seeing/hearing people talk about things they are passionate about. I'm glad you had such a good time!!!!

  8. I am SOOOOO jealous right now. I can't even... I appreciated every bit of this post and felt like I was there with you (good job capturing several photos with everyone). How cool that you saw Zeke and Adam from this season AND it was the episode where Adam made his epic move to get Figs out of there. But wait, if Zeke and Adam are there in NYC, does that mean they didn't win Survivor? Adam is my guy so I am hoping this is not the case. :)

    And, can we talk about Eric. Loved him on Big Brother. He looks so cute in that photo with you. I'm curious what kind of questions you asked each person. Did you have the same questions or was it completely random and dependent on the person?

    What an experience! Thank you for sharing it with us.

    1. Okay my blog ate my own comment!!!! Here I go again. :)

      I am glad you enjoyed this post and I basically wrote it for myself, you, Lisa, and Susan's husband! I think you are my only readers who are into Survivor and/or BB!

      I didn't have questions prepared for anyone because I truly didn't imagine I would ever get to talk to them! Rob, Stephen, Aubrey, Michelle, And Liz... I just basically gushed and fawned over. THEY were the charming ones he asked ME questions. Zeke I did ask the hunger question to. I told Adam I was rooting for him.

      Now Eric Stein... We talked for awhile but it was mostly him talked. I asked him if he would play BB again and if he did, what would his strategy be. He said he would because it would basically be a business decision... they would be him like $30,000 to come back and he wouldn't care if he got voted out first because he still made a lot of money. But he said he would try and his strategy would be to crawl up somebody's butt and fall asleep for half the game! :)

  9. Wow... You are very excited about this. Haha! I have no idea who those people are, but it sounds like you had a great time!

    1. I'm glad I could properly convey my excitement. We had a blast.