Thoughts on Survivor Finale

It’s taken me a few days to reflect on the Survivor: Extinction Island finale and come up with my thoughts.  While watching it, I will admit, I did not like the way things ended and was a bit upset on how things played out.  From having Chris win while actually getting voted out 3rd and spending 2/3 of his time hanging out with jury (and being able to mend any hard feelings), to having the entire season come down to who can build a fire faster, it just did not seem fair and in the true spirit is Survivor.  I know things change and I like the fact they change things up each season to keep the contestants off guard, but there must be better ways then what happened this season (and actually the last few seasons with the final four fire making).  Outwit, Outplay, Outlast should no be boiled down to only “Outplay at making Fire and You Win”

I think it was totally unfair to have everybody voted off be part of the jury while still being part of the game.  I thought Gavin summed it up the best when he mentioned that both him and Julie had never even met Reem, while she spent 25+ days at Extinction Island with Chris, so who did you think she would vote for?   And in this case there was nothing Gavin or Julie could have done to change that. They had no opportunity to interact with Reem and explain or apologize for voting her out, while Chris was able to mend all wounds with the jury so they had already forgiven him for voting them out.

I also, felt it was very unfair to give Chris (Or whoever came back – and we all know it was set up for Joe) any sort of advantage (and especially this late in the game) when they reentered the REAL game.   Why not just set things up so past fan favorites all enter the game on Day 35 with an idol and basically hand them the win.   This way CBS / Survivor would not not have to keep bringing some players back for a 4th, 5th or 6th time to assure them a win.  In the world of sports, they use to have players or teams get free passes to later rounds of the playoffs, but found they it took away a lot of the spirit and competition of the game itself, so changed things to force all teams to compete throughout the playoffs.   Also, team don’t get to make the playoffs year after year based on their likability or past history.   They need to earn it year after year

I do believe that part of this issue with this season was that the audience never really got a true sense of  Extinction Island and how it played out (physically and mentally) for the players.  But if this was such a bid part of this season, then why not show more of it so we could get a better feeling of what the voted off players were going through.   They didn’t because it just would not of correlated well for TV.   If 1/2 of each episode was just watching the players on Extinction Island sitting around, waiting for their return challenge, the TV audience would be probably simply tune out.

Right now, Survivor needs to take an honest look at what works and what doesn’t (for both the contestants and the TV audience) to try and come up with a game that is fair to play, but also fun to watch.   Seem that the only thing that the fans seem to remember about the last 4 seasons was the dislike of the Fire Making Final 4 and how the winners were given to many unfair advantages.    This will start to become a problem as people will lose interest or not care about the first 2/3 rds of the season, or worse, start to think the game if rigged (which is a really bad thing)

I will continue to watch as I still find the game fascinating on a personal level.   I will also continue to apply as a contestant.  I think the main reason I want to be on the show now is to able to see the game from the players side of things, and to get a better understanding of contestants actually view the game.   I hope that the producers make some tweaks to get things back towards Outwit, Outplay, Outlast and having the winner be somebody that everybody agrees played the best game on all levels for all 39 days and not just made one big move or won one challenge at the end.

Average Andy

PS – Be sure to check out the Ponderosa Videos on as well as Jeff Probts and Dalton Ross’s weekly and season recaps on   Gives you a different but very entertaining perspective on Survivor and the contestants

Dalton Ross – Edge of Extinction Recap



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Crash Course on Average Andys Music

During my time looking for a new job, I have been trying to go on walks / runs to keep my mind and body fresh.   Most of the time I listen to music and like to mix things up and not just listen to the same things over and over.   Last time out, I listened to a few stations on Pandora – Started with “Passanger” Radio, and then followed things up with some classic “Marillion” Radio

Below are the songs played

Passenger Radio

Riptide – Vance Joy
Almost Lover – A Fine Frenzy
The A Team – Ed Sheeran – This guy is really good.  Going to listen to more of him
Let her Go – Passenger – Awesome singer / songwriter
Shallow – Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper
Give me Love – Ed Sheeran
I Will Follow You into the Dark – Death Cab For Cutie
Hello – Adele – Say what you want, but this lady can really sing
I See Fire- Ed Sheeran
The Boxer (Jerry Douglas / Mumford and Sons)
Facebook – Passenger

Marillion Radio

Trap The Spark – Marillion
Back on My Feet Again – The Babys
Red Rain – Peter Gabriel
Plague of Ghosts (V) – Rain Gods With Zippos – Fish
Kayleigh – Marillion – One of the great underrated songs from my all time favorite band

Listening to these fantastic songs made for a great walk on one of the best days weather wise of the year.

For those off you unfamiliar with Marillion,  you can check out their web page ( and even download a free sampling for free – Simply go to the music tab to read about the band, and look for the Crash Course Free Download

Below is the video for Kayleigh featuring original singer Fish.   He was an integral part of their early years and then was replaced by the incredible Steve Hogarth who has fronted the band for he past 30 years as they continue to release new music and tour.   Highly recommend you check them out.



Also check out Passengers website at –   He is an incredible and generous artist who also does incredible things for his community – All profits from his new album “Sometimes it’s Something, Sometimes it’s nothing at All” will be donated to Shelter .

“Shelter is an amazing uk based homeless charity . For those of you that are interested you can read about the fantastic work that they do here”

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Good Bye Chewie

Very sad to see that Peter Meyhew passed away.    He was the actor who played Chewbacca in the Star Wars movies.   His skills were able to make us believe that Chewbacca was a real life character and not just somebody in a suit.   He brought a warmth to the character that made fans (myself included) truly care for him and he will be trully missed

As a non-sports card collector, I have collected cards of Chewbacca going back 40 years to when Star Wars 1st came out.   Topps began putting out Star Wars Cards in 1997.  Back then, the cards were just pictures of the characters, some with wording on the back.   As card collecting evolved and expanded, cards with autographs became popular, and Peter was always willing to sign cards for Topps.   There are also sketch cards drawn by talented artists of Chewbacca available as well

As the years go on, and I get older, more and more actors / musicians /  authors / artists who influenced my life will start to pass away.   I hope I am able to take a minute each time to acknowledge them and thank them for the small (but important) part they have played in my life and the thank them for it

Rest in Peace Mr. Meyhew, thanks, and you will be missed

Average Andy

P.S. – I will be attending the  70th Philly Non-Sports Card Show this weekend in Allentown, PA.

70th Philly Non-Sports Card Show

Not sure if I will be picking up much this time as I am still looking for a new job so funds are a bit low, but will get to see some fellow card collectors, and see what new stuff has been recently released.

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Music, Movies and More

While out on a run last week (Trying to keep myself active while looking for a new job), I heard the song “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by the Proclaimers, and it made me immediately think of the movie “Benny and Joon” staring  Johnny Depp, Mary Stuart Masterson, and Aidan Quinn.   This got me thinking of other songs that immediately make me think of a specific movie.

Besides the obvious Kenny Loggins hits of the 80’s (Footloose from “Footloose”, I’m All Right from “Caddyshack” and Danger Zone from “Top Gun”), and many of the James Bond Theme Songs, there are are a few lesser known songs (and movies) that have stuck in my head for years

Runner by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band from “The Philadelphia Experiment” staring Michael Paré and Nancy Allen – A great and under appreciated science fiction, time traveling movie

On the Dark Side by John Cafferty from “Eddie and the Cruisers” – Another great performance from Michael Paré

St. Elmo’s Fire by John Parr from “St. Elmos Fire” –   One of the great ensemble movies of the 80s – Can watch this over and over and still enjoy it every time

I’m sure there are more, as there were lots of fantastic sound tracks released in the 80’s and early 90’s

Maybe I was more impressionable back then, but it seems that songs had much more of a role in movies back in the 80’s and 90;s, where they become part of the story,  and really help to set the mood.   Nowadays, a lot of songs in movies are used more for marketing purposes, or are played over the closing credits.   But they really have no connection, and don’t really bring back strong feelings about the movie.


Finally, I am currently reading the new Clive Cussler novel “Celtic Empire”, Number 25 in the Dirk Pitt series.   I have read and enjoyed every one of them and highly recommend them to anybody who likes this type of book

List of Dirk Pitt Adventures

Be back with my thoughts on the new season of the Amazing Race as well as my thoughts on Survivor as we are getting to the end


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Thank you to George Lucas and Star Wars

I can still remember the first time I saw Star Wars.   We use to go to Cape Cod each summer for vacation and I still vividly remember going to see Star Wars  at the Wellfleet Drive-In Theater.  It was raining the night I saw it, and back then you would put a single speaker in your car window, but none of that took away form the amazement I felt after seeing the movie for the 1st time.  I would go on to see Star Wars several more times in the theater during its initial run, as well as more time each time it was re released.   I was hooked and remain a huge fan of everything Star Wars today.   I would like to thank the great George Lucas for coming up with such a great story and making a movie that has shaped my life for the past 40 plus years.   I would like to thank all the actors, producers, cinematographers, editors, set decorators, art designers, … who worked to put together the movie.  And a bid thanks to John Williams for the magical score that forever shaped the way music helped enhance movies.

Besides the Star Wars,  I have great memories of seeing all of the other Star Wars movies in the theater.

I saw “The Empire Strikes Back” with my dad – one of the best nights of my life.

I remember waiting in line for hours with friend I still have today for “Return of the Jedi”

I saw “The Phantom Menace”, “Attack of the Clones”, and “Revenge of the Sith” with close friends from home and work.

And I saw “The Force Awakens” and “The Last Jedi” on opening night with crowds of Star Wars Fans making it special

Besides seeing all the Star Wars movies I also saw and really enjoyed both “Rogue One” and “Solo”

Besides the movies, I would like to thank TOPPS for putting out Star Wars trading cards starting in 1977.    I remember buying my 1st pack for 10 cents, and was hooked ever since.  Over the years I have attended card collecting shows, and collected all different types of cards (regular, widevision, chrome, autographs, sketch cards, …).  I would like to thank all actors who have signed cards and the artists who have drawn sketch cards for the cards I have in my collection, as well as helping the Non Sports Card community continue to grow.

There are many other ways that Star Wars has influenced my life and given me great memories and for that I would like to give one last thanks to everybody involved with Star Wars in any way and let you know you have made a difference


PS – Here is a article about one of the most famous Star Wars Cards

The story of the most infamous Star Wars card ever made

And here are some pictures


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Thank you to Marillion

Since first hearing the song “Kayleigh” off of their classic album “Misplaced Childhood” back in 1985, I have become a lifelong fan of the group “Marillion”    Their albums and songs have become a huge part of my life, and I want to thank them all for this.  Starting with original singer Derek Dick (Known as Fish), current singer Steve “H” Hogarth, along with band founder guitarist Steve Rothery, and longtime bassist Pete Trewavas, keyboardist Mark Kelly, and drummer Ian Mosley, their music has touched my heart and soul for well over 30 years.

I should have know they were special and would become a part of my history when I played “Kayleigh” to my then girlfriend (and eventual wife) and she actually knew the song and even quoted some of the lyrics.

Over the years, I have seen the band perform a dozen times, traveling near and far to catch them each time they make the trip from their home in England to the United States.   Some of my best memories have been going with friends to seeing them play.  I was there when they played the Ritz in NYC the day Buster Douglas beat Mike Tyson.  They had the  fight on a big screen, and as soon as it ended, the screen went up and the band started playing.   I was there both nights at the Irving Plaza, including the night Steve Hogarth’s keyboard collapsed and he ended up playing Mark Kelly’s keyboard backwards.  I even took a trip to Atlanta to see them when they toured the US after playing on the “Cruise to the Edge”.    Those along with seeing them in New Jersey (Asbury Park), New York State, Pennsylvania and Connecticut are all memories I will never forget.

Marillion – Wilipedia

Marillion was also the originators of crowd funding back in 1997, asking fans around the world to pay for their new album before it was even started.    It was a huge success for the band and allowed them to record and album and tour the US

Marillion – Crown Funding Pioneers

Always thinking of the fans,  Marillion put on “weekends” every 2 years where they play for 3 nights, playing special sets including one of their albums in its entirety

After 14 Studio Albums, the band is still going strong, and hopefully has many more years of making music.   And I plan on being there with them on their journey

So big thank you the the current band, all the past band members,  band manager Lucy Jordache, as well as all the producers, technicians, crew members, and anybody else involved in the band over the years for allowing Marillion to continue to exist and create new music and memories

Also a big thank you to Fish and his band for his excellent solo work once he left the band back in 1989.   I am grateful for his music as well and hope to see him one last time before he retires in 2020

And a special thank you to Mark Wilkinson for designing all the classic Marillion and Fish album covers (See below).

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PS – hope to attend a Marillion weekend or a Marillion Cruise in the future, but will settle for a US tour

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Open Thank You to American Idol

Continuing my theme of previous posts, I would like to thank everybody involved with American Idol.   Since premiering in 2002, it has been the gold standard for American singing competition television series’s.   I would like to thank the host  Ryan Seacrest (and Brian Dunkleman (Season 1)) for bringing American Idol into peoples homes throughout 17 Seasons on FOX and most recently ABC.   I would like to thank all of the judges (Originals Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell, as well as Kara DioGuardi, Ellen DeGeneres, Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler, Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban, Harry Connick, Jr, Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie) for bringing their industry insights and honest opinions to the contestants season after season.  And I would like to thank all of the contestants who were brave enough year after year to volunteer to sing for the american public.   Finally I would like to thank show creator Simon Fuller and all of the Producers, Directors, Writers, Editors, Production managers, etc.. and everybody else listed on IMDB for the hard work, time and effort in bringing American Idol to life each season

Wikipedia – American Idol

IMDB – American Idol Cast and Crew

Since its 1st season, American Idol has changed the way people think about talent shows and the careers of contestants.   Besides launching the careers of superstars like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, dozens of contestants have gone on to have hugely successful careers and for this everybody should be thankful to American Idol that we got to learn about and experience so much talent and music that otherwise we may never have heard

Unlike shows like Survivor and The Amazing Race, where I dream of one day becoming a contestant and experiencing things from that side of the show, I have absolutely no musical talent, and have no desire to try out for American Idol.   Instead I want to continue to watch as the show continues to showcase new and talented individuals who may go on to become superstars, but who touch millions of fans just for their own talents and uniqueness regardless of their ultimate outcome

From Clay Aiken, Ruben Studdard, Jennifer Hudson, Constantine Maroulis, Chris Daughtry, Elliott Yamin in the early seasons, to Jordin Sparks,  David Cook,  Adam Lambert, Lee DeWyze in the middle, and Scotty McCreery, Phillip Phillips, Candice Glover, and Maddie Poppe, the talent that come out of American Idol is simply amazing.

Add to that the memories of contestants such as Nikki McKibbin with her red hair, Sanjaya Malakar with his Mohawk, David Archuleta, and James Durbin (Currently singing for Quiet Riot), its been a fun ride

Again, thanks to every person involved with American Idol as you all have influenced my life in a amazing way and for that I am truly grateful

Average Andy

PS – Had to include the following 2 videos as the are some of my favorite memories


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