Monday, May 22, 2017

Bike and Brew: Fox Farm Brewery

Last year, I interviewed three people who were looking to bolster the somewhat anemic brewing scene in southeastern Connecticut. Each one was hoping to get their business off the ground by the end of year. Each one missed their target.

But over the weekend, one of these venues made its soft opening. After some careful renovations and some more recent tap takeovers, Fox Farm Brewery in Salem was officially open for business.

I was contemplating a bike ride on Sunday when my wife informed me of this development, having learned the news through Reddit. I immediately decided that another Bike and Brew was in order.

This marks the first time I've headed west from New London for a brewery trip. Until Fox Farm Brewery opened, there wasn't much in that direction. The last time I went west with a brewery destination in mind, I was trying to get to the 30 Mile Brewing Company in Old Saybrook and cut the trip short after struggling against scorching temperatures. The next closest breweries west of New London are Steady Habit Brewing Company in Haddam and Fat Orange Cat Brew Co. in Colchester. Those are both about three hours away by bike, not exactly a casual outing.

So it was nice to set out in a direction that didn't take me over the Gold Star Bridge's terrible bike route for a change. Instead, I took Vauxhall Street out of New London and into Waterford.

The denser urban area ends pretty much immediately after this sign. The town line is just beyond an overpass crossing I-95, with views north to the shopping areas that the highway has neatly sliced down the middle. Once you pass this, there's a single professional center and then nothing but residences.

Right after I moved to Connecticut, I heard a public service announcement on bicycling safety that bluntly stated, "Connecticut is not a good place to ride a bike." It's not strictly true; most drivers are actually pretty respectful of cyclists. But it can be a little scary trying to share the road on two-lane highways with nonexistent breakdown/bike lanes.

Vauxhall Street avoids one of these treacherous routes, since it bypasses a road which becomes absolutely clogged with drivers trying to reach the Crystal Mall and other retail locations. Instead, it loops around Lake Konomoc before intersecting with Route 85 in a quieter location. This part of Connecticut is full of relatively unknown parks and preserved spaces, so I was surprised to find an Audubon Society preserve not too far from the lake.

Up until this point, I hadn't been feeling particularly up to the task of this bike trip. Maybe I was a little undernourished after a late breakfast and no lunch, or maybe the hills were a little more than I expected. At any rate, the back roads had seemed much more arduous while the highway immediately seemed much speedier.

Soon after coming onto Route 85, you pass the Nature's Art Center and Dinosaur Place. This is something of a far-ranging tourist stop, encompassing such wares as jewelry and an antiques museum, but it's probably best known for the dinosaurs. Several life-sized thunder lizards are distributed throughout the place, including the mascot "Monty" (for the town of Montville where he resides).

Route 85 is almost a straight shot to Fox Farm Brewery, although it can be something of a challenge on a bike. Once the road crosses from Montville into Salem, the generous breakdown lane often shrinks to a white lane painted mere inches from the side of the road. There's also at least one section which is a rather relentless incline, though if you get past this you'll be rewarded with a steady downhill into one of Salem's central village areas.

The recently famous Salem rotary greets you not long before you get to the turnoff for Fox Farm Brewery. This used to be a dicey intersection before they decided to replace it with a dicey, overly complicated roundabout. I lingered here for a few minutes and heard maybe five car horns blaring, presumably as people confused with the concept of a rotary that requires you to choose a lane cut them off. It's apparently helped cut down on accidents, though.

A beer-conscious friend of mine has frequently checked in at 2 Brothers Pizza in Salem. This pizzareia is reportedly very knowledgeable of local craft brews, and was even mentioned by the Fox Farm Brewery owner when I did my interview. I was feeling a bit famished and contemplating whether to stop in for a bite to eat, but it was unfortunately closed on Sundays.

Before long, you get the turnoff for Music Vale Road. Then it's just a short distance to Fox Farm Brewery. The owners renovated a former dairy barn on the site, with about half the space dedicated to the brewing tanks and the rest given over to a taproom. There were also a few outdoor seating areas, although the outside crowd far exceeded the spaces available on such a beautiful sunny day.

Fox Farm Brewery has a few unique characteristics. For one thing, the tap handles are made of shovel handles. This was a result of a last minute creative impulse after the owners realized that the handles of the old shovel handles found in the barn could be put to new use. They even put out a call over social media not long before opening, asking if anyone could supplement their shovel supply.

The price list included the dollar amount for different sizes of growlers as well as full pours or half pours. The full pour glasses seemed a bit short of a full pint, while the half pour glasses usually went for three bucks. A sign at the counter warned that there was a limit of two full pours or four half pours per customer.

It was also interesting to see a certain regimentation at the brewery. Those interested in filling a growler were asked to take a number, and an LED display behind the counter added to the deli counter experience of waiting until your turn was up before you could get your beer. Similar to the limit on glasses, there was a growler limit of nine liters.

Word of a new brewery gets around quickly. Even though this was a soft opening, it was absolutely mobbed. There was some grumbling about the length of the lines, despite the fact that five or six people were manning the taps. But they were still able to keep people served fairly quickly.

For the opening weekend, Fox Farm Brewery was offering five beers: two American pale ales, an IPA, a pilsner, and a porter. There was also nitro coffee, but it was actual coffee from Ashlawn Farm Coffee instead of the nitro coffee stout I was hoping for. I went with the Hearthbound porter, which had a nice rich flavor, and enjoyed it in the upstairs seating/standing area which overlooks both the taproom and the brewing tanks.

I usually don't go for a second beer on these outings, but decided to max out my limit. When I joked about this while ordering one of the American pale ales, and the bartender replied that the limit isn't too strictly enforced.

Both of the American pale ales have the same ABV and name (Roam), but are prepared in different ways. One uses Nelson Sauvin hops which apparently give the beer a flavor similar to Sauvignon Blanc. I went with the other version, which uses Citra and Mosaic hops.

I took a brief stroll with this beer and found a makeshift hopyard at the silo. The strings only went about halfway up, but it was still a pretty neat sight.

I was hoping to find a tree to climb, because how often can you drink beer in a tree on a farm, but opted to settle down against a tree trunk instead. I finished the Roam while reading The Eternal Footman, the last book in James Morrow's trilogy on how the world reacts to the discovery of God's enormous corpse floating in the Atlantic Ocean.

For the route back, I took the more rural route recommended by Google Maps. The scenery was beautiful, although it could be challenging. In addition to some perpetual uphills, the side of the road was often deteriorating, full of random sand patches, or otherwise sketchy enough to force me more towards the middle of the lane on several occasions. Thankfully the traffic was very light.

Montville has a bizarre transportation layout. The major roads in town often do little more than nip through the corners, while the central villages are accessible by twisting minor routes. The return route passed through Oakdale, distinguished by a large shopping plaza which burned down in 2010 and has since been rebuilt. The pizza parlor and pet groomer and other shops which were once here have long since found other storefronts, and the new complex is oddly devoid of picture windows, so now it's apparently home to businesses like this net manufacturer.

Then it was back into the rural roads. Like, serious country roads. So country that I got the Bob Denver song stuck in my head.

So country that someone made a cinder block garage even uglier.

So country that I came across the other side of that Audubon Society bird sanctuary.

So country that it took me past the Waterford Country School.

Actually, this campus style school for at risk kids was one of the last landmarks before the route completed its circle back to Vauxhall Street. It was in the middle of yet another arduous hill, but not long after was the intersection for the way home.

Mileage total: 28.1 miles

Previous Bike and Brew Outings:
Outer Light Brewing Company
Beer'd Brewing Company

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Bike and Brew: Beer'd Brewing Company

The last time I did a Bike and Brew ride, it was just about the last day where temperatures were comfortable enough for casual biking. I was rewarded with a beer from the Outer Light Brewing Company and a massive hamstring cramp which announced itself at the dinner table.

During the beautiful sunny weather we got this past weekend, I decided it was a perfect time to do the first Bike and Brew of 2017. I had a choice of five remaining brewing destinations within a biking day trip of New London (four more are in the works). Once again I went east, this time with the goal of visiting the Beer'd Brewing Company in Stonington, Connecticut.

And once again, this required a trip over the Gold Star Bridge. It's still ugly, it still looks out over the less interesting part of the Thames River, and it's still too narrow to accommodate two bicyclists going in opposite directions. The bridge is slated for some major improvements over the next five years. The sidewalk will be open for much of the construction period, but apparently not subject to any upgrades.

On the plus side, the view north wasn't quite as dismal as it was on the gray day when I started this series. The Coast Guard Academy's sailing team was out and about during the crossing, and you could see up to the slowly blossoming hills of the river valley.

Somewhat counterintuitively, biking toward the shoreline requires you to head away from it when you first get off the bridge. Shoreline routes in this region hug the coast, lengthening the ride considerably. Plus, getting there would involve a scary ride down one of Groton's strip mall thruways.

It's easier to head through a quiet suburban neighborhood instead and hop onto Route 184. This road has a wide breakdown lane, is fairly flat, and offers a reasonably straightforward path to the Mystic/Stonington area. The only downside is that it's populated mostly with blocky business buildings and similarly blocky churches that apparently think aesthetically pleasing architecture is an affront to God.

First Baptist Church of This Used To Be A Linoleum Warehouse or Something

The suggested route continued along this highway, but it's much more rewarding to abandon it for the scenic route. I wound up taking some back roads past a small farm with enormous piles of firewood for sale as well as the trailhead for the Pequot Woods, a 140-acre parcel of preserved land not far from downtown Mystic.

Deviating from the suggested route also gives you an opportunity to check out Mystic, crown jewel of tourism in the region. If you hop off at Route 27 instead, you go past attractions such as the Mystic Seaport, Mystic Aquarium, and the impressively misspelled Olde Mistick Village shopping center. The way I took led directly into downtown Mystic.

Mystic is actually one of the innumerable villages of Groton, at least until you get past the Mystic River. It's a pleasant stretch of shops, restaurants, and art galleries, all leaning heavily on the maritime theme. There were already some pretty big crowds out enjoying the sunny weather, and it's certainly a nice place to stop for a rest on an extended bike ride.

Getting off the bike in Mystic also avoids the hazard of riding over the famous Mystic River Bascule Bridge. The bridge will turn 100 in 2020, and is distinguished by enormous concrete counterweights on the western side. It looks like the steel deck would be a little jarring to ride across, and you'd be hemmed in by parked cars on either approach. It's more pleasant to walk your way across; you might even join the legions of people getting a cone at Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream and enjoy it in nearby Mystic River Park.

The easiest way to get to Stonington from Mystic is to take Route 1. It quickly sheds its traffic lights and troublesome intersections, becoming an open highway with rolling hills and generous breakdown lanes. I was tempted to take a side road which crosses a causeway onto scenic Mason's Island and goes from there across another crossway to Ender's Island, but left those water views for another day

Stonington Borough is a skinny peninsula extending into Long Island Sound. The first time I went there, I came to the conclusion that it was exclusively populated with real estate offices, jewelers, and architects (and the occasional restaurant and plenty of expensive homes, of course). It hasn't really changed since. There isn't much room for cars and bikes to coexist, but the speed limit is low enough that drivers probably won't mind if you cruise along Main Street.

Getting to the tip of the peninsula rewards you with an expansive view of the sea as well as a monument recollecting Stonington's minor but proud role in the War of 1812. The town was able to repulse a bombardment by four British ships in the summer of 1814, holding out for four days with the modest defense offered by a pair of cannons. Artifacts related to this battle are displayed in the Stonington Historical Society, housed in a nearby lighthouse; the cannons are kept in the aptly named Cannon Square near the middle of the Borough.

The map shows an intriguing shortcut out of the Borough toward the Beer'd Brewing Company along Elm Street, although I trusted Google Maps' advice to take the long way around. Turns out the Elm Street way is a secluded walkway over the railroad tracks, which wouldn't be too fun to haul a bike over.

The Velvet Mill is a rambling brick structure located in a residential neighborhood in Stonington. The business got its start in the town because a malaria epidemic forced a Long Island company to look for other locations for its velvet weaving and dying operations. The mill once housed hundreds of looms and employed 450 people, but after its closure it became a haven for artists. It has now been subdivided into dozens of spaces housing businesses such as art galleries, photographers, metal workers, boutiques, and even an organ restorer.

While several breweries have started up or are underway in southeastern Connecticut today, there wasn't much of a scene as recently as five years ago. The Cottrell Brewing Company in Pawcatuck, a place I'll visit for a future entry, had been a mainstay since 1996. Aaren Simoncini apprenticed at Cottrell before opening the Beer'd Brewing Company in 2012 with partner Precious Putnam. The brewery had the misfortune of opening right after Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast, forcing them to rely on an emergency generator for their early batches. Luckily, Beer'd got past this initial hurdle and has been thriving ever since.

Before the taproom opens for the day, Beer'd hides behind a large sliding door with the company's logo, which features Simoncini's beard. The taproom occupies the front end of the room, with a scattering of individual tables and one family style tabletop in the center. The brewery is constantly whipping up new batches, and the bartenders are kind enough to give you a sample of whatever's on tap that day.

Beer'd posts its daily offerings on Facebook, and I was hoping to get a Nano-A-Nano, a Belgian style black IPA, but it had already sold out. Several other taps had kicked or were offered for growlers only, so my choices were fairly limited. I opted for a This Side of Paradise, a rather strong IPA (9.3 percent ABV) with a bitterness that was nicely balanced by the fruit notes.

For my return trip, I opted to stick with the directions that had been suggested on the route out. This once again took me away from the coast and through the small hamlet of Old Mystic. As with most New England villages, this involves a cluster of sites that are important to the community or at least were at one point. This picture of the general store cozying up to the post office about sums it up.

Most of the route back to New London was retracing the route along Route 184. I took this photo near the entrance of a small apartment complex, at about the time I was starting to feel the combined effects of the double IPA, treacherous westward winds, and a slowly increasing elevation. I eventually got a second wind and made it over the bridge, feeling quite rubber-legged by the time I got home but none the worse for wear.

Mileage total: 31.27 miles

Previous Bike and Brew outings:
Outer Light Brewing Company

Sunday, February 19, 2017

I Make Fun of State Quarters: Hawaii

I'm a U.S. citizen, so it's only natural that some of the states featured in this series are going to have a more personal connection than others. I ran into this for the Connecticut quarter, and the future entries for Massachusetts, Maine, and Minnesota (whenever they may appear) will likely feature some first person observances as well.

In one sense, Hawaii is just one of the states I've visited in my lifetime. But this was a special trip, given that my wife and I chose the islands for our honeymoon. It was an absolutely wonderful experience, which you can read about here.

So am I going to have to go easy on Hawaii's state quarter because it was such an incredible place to visit? Let's find out.

Wait a minute, is that Magneto? Is Hawaii's quarter just a mutant levitating the islands, preparing to rain them down on the mainland in a shower of lava and palm trees?

Before we get to that, it's worth mentioning that Hawaii was the last state to get a quarter in the Mint's series. The state wasn't admitted to the United States until August 21, 1959. So while the first quarters in the series started appearing in 1999, Hawaii's wasn't released until 2008.

Interestingly enough, the quarter was released just one day before that year's election. President Barack Obama was no doubt delighted to see the state quarter for his home state unveiled right before he was chosen for the highest office in the land. It's a happy little coincidence, unless you're one of those hollow-brained sapheads who takes the word of InfoWars as gospel. In that case, you're probably wondering if this quarter was a secret government device to rig the election results by assuring people that Obama grew up in Hawaii and not Muslim Socialist Kenyastan.

But back to the quarter. It's not Magneto, of course. Clearly this is meant to represent Hawaii's Gate of Kings. I'm not sure if that's Isildur or Anarion, but he's gazing toward the enemies of Gondor and raising his arm in a show of defiance.

OK fine, it's not that either. But it is a royal monarch, at least. The quarter depicts King Kamehameha I, one of the most well-known monarchs of the island's pre-state days. He is best known for uniting the Hawaiian Islands into a single kingdom, a feat he accomplished in 1810. Kamehameha's "Law of the Splintered Paddle" is also particularly well-regarded, as it held that citizens should be protected during wartime.

The fact that this design was chosen for the quarter is a solid affirmation of Hawaii's native culture and history. One other finalist's design also had King Kamehameha on it, with a Hawaiian beach in the background instead of the islands, but the two other finalists focused more on the touristy aspects of the archipelago. One of them had a hula dancer, which is indeed part of the Hawaiian culture but today seems to be more closely associated with the entertainment at hotel luaus. The last finalist had an awkward dude on a surfboard.

"I own a timeshare!" (Source)

It's also striking that the quarter uses a lengthy Hawaiian phrase. The other finalists simply stuck with "aloha," the word everyone knows as the traditional greeting and farewell. The phrase on the approved quarter, "Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono," translates to "The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness."

This gets a tad awkward for a few reasons. For one thing, the phrase was spoken by Kamehameha III, not Kamehameha I as the quarter design implies. There's also the fact that the phrase is celebrating how the Hawaiian kingdom was restored after the British briefly seized control of the islands in 1843. I guess the United States can share some solidarity with the Hawaiians in this regard, since we booted the British monarchy as well. Then again, Hawaii is a U.S. possession only because U.S. officials backed an effort to depose the kingdom in 1893.

So the Hawaii quarter has a celebration of the restoration of monarchy on a piece of currency of a nation that celebrates the overthrow of monarchy and also deposed Hawaii's monarchy. It's a little convoluted. But hey, it makes you think more than Craig the retired hedge fund manager/surfer dude would*.

"My golden parachute could pay your salary for your entire working life!" (Source)

*Addendum: A friend let me know that the man portrayed on the surfboard is Duke Kahanamoku, not some random hedge fund trader who retired to the islands on a government bailout. Duke was an Olympic swimmer who is credited with popularizing the sport of surfing in Hawaii. He's a fascinating character, and it's too bad that his quarter design wasn't able to include his name. You can read more about him here.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Whatever Happened To: The Contestants of Survivor Borneo

The subject of reality TV came up among friends some time ago, including shows we had seen and those we wouldn't mind being a contestants on. One friend said he considered The Amazing Race the only worthwhile show, since you got the advantage of traveling the world and the winners were determined more by intelligence, strength, grit, and so on.

Survivor, he said, was much less rewarding. "To win, you have to be the second biggest asshole," he suggested.

This seems to be true on the occasional times I've seen the show since the first season. There's plenty of backstabbing, underhanded tactics, and dirty tricks. Contestants are often more likely to despise each other than be friends by the end of the game.

While this strategy essentially developed during the original run of episodes of Survivor: Borneo, it was still enjoyable enough that I found myself getting sucked in. Sixteen people, from various different parts of  the United States and a range of ages and professions, played the part of willing castaways on the island of Pulau Tiga, near Borneo in Malaysia. After 39 days on the island and several elimination rounds, one person emerged as the winner of a $1 million prize.

So what happened to the people who kicked off the Survivor series back in 2000?

Sonja Christopher

At 63 years old, Sonja was one of the older contestants. She was part of the Tagi tribe, hailing from Walnut Creek, California. Although Sonja was kind and well-liked by her fellow castaways, she was also seen as more of a liability in the immunity challenges due to her age. After Tagi lost the first challenge, in part because of Sonja stumbling during the race, she became the first person voted off the island.

Now 79, Sonja had retired from her job as an elementary school teacher by the time she was selected for the first season's cast. According to her IMDB page, she is spending her retirement by acting in a local community theater and working part-time as a music therapist for Alzheimer's patients. She had a bit part on an episode of Diagnosis: Murder later on in 2000. Sonja used her $2,500 consolation prize from the show to help finance the expansion of her Unitarian church, an act which helped kick off fundraising efforts that resulted in $1 million in pledges.

B.B. Andersen

B.B. was another older contestant, 64 at the time of the filming. He was a particularly hardworking member of the Pagong tribe, and also proved useful when his fellow castaways found they could use his glasses to start a fire. He wound up clashing with other tribe members due to his belief that some of them were lazy,  and further annoyed them when he washed one of his T-shirts with clean drinking water. He eventually grew tired enough with the competition that he said he wouldn't mind if the tribe threw the second immunity challenge to get him off the island. Although they didn't try this tactic, they still lost and B.B. was the first Pagong member to be booted.

The chance to be marooned on an island naturally proved attractive to B.B., who enjoyed adventurous activities such as boating, scuba diving, and flying. A real estate developer from Mission Hills, Kansas, he also spent several years on the advisory board to the Defense Intelligence Agency after being appointed there by Ronald Reagan. He made a couple of appearances in commercials for Home Depot and Reebok after his appearance on Survivor, but soon returned to his regular life in Kansas. He died of brain cancer in 2013, at the age of 77.

Stacey Stillman

A lawyer from San Francisco, Stacey helped Tagi to their first win by triumphing in an "eat this gross thing" challenge. She was the first to propose forming an alliance, inviting the other women in the tribe to band together, but this scheme never came to fruition. Stacey never got along with Rudy and twice voted to kick him off, only to become the second Tagi member to be eliminated. She was visibly annoyed at the result, telling at least one person, "All switched your vote."

Stacey caused a stir after the show aired by filing a $5 million lawsuit against CBS in 2001, alleging that producer Mark Burnett had coerced fellow contestants Dirk and Sean to switch their votes from Rudy to her. These contestants were split on their reaction. Dirk said he did not consider that Burnett had manipulated or coerced the contestants, but believed that he had unfairly influenced the result. Sean said Burnett's advice to "vote your conscience" was not meant to persuade him one way or the other. CBS vehemently denied Stacey's claims, and even countersued her for defamation and extortion. The matter was eventually settled out of court.

Now 44, Stacey is currently a senior associate with the Silicon Valley law firm Orrick. She focuses on litigation related to technology and Internet companies, including patents and copyright law.

Ramona Gray

Ramona was a friendly, easygoing member of the Pagong tribe. Although she had a black belt in karate and was physically fit, she came down with an illness and was not able to help out around camp or perform as well in immunity challenges. Although she started to recover soon after, the tribe was worried enough about her physical condition that they voted her out.

Gray made a few more televised appearances after her time on Survivor. She served as a "challenge mayor" in the Real World/Road Rules Extreme Challenge reality show, and won $32,000 for charity by defeating five other castaways in a Survivor-themed episode of The Weakest Link. She used her $8,500 in prize money to travel, and raked in another $10,000 by auctioning off her Tribal Council torch. Ramona remained close with fellow tribe member Gervase, who attended her wedding when she got married in 2009; she gave birth to a daughter two years later. Now 45, Ramona continues to work as a chemist in New Jersey.

Dirk Been

Dirk was helping run his parents' dairy farm in Spring Green, Wisconsin, and working as a substitute teacher when he was selected as one of the show's 16 castaways. Although a pleasant person, his devout Christian faith sometimes put him at odds with his fellow Tagi tribe members. He was uncomfortable with Richard's homosexuality, and some castaways were annoyed that he seemed to waste his time reading his Bible or fruitlessly trying to catch fish. Due to his perceived lack of work ethic and the tribe's concern about his weight loss, Dirk was the third member of Tagi voted out; he was also the first person targeted by the alliance formed between Richard, Kelly, Rudy, and Sue.

Following his appearance on the show, Dirk was frequently booked as a speaker at Christian events and encouraged people to pursue education, serve as mentors, and stay away from drugs and alcohol. He also had a brief film career, landing lead roles in the 2002 Rapture-themed Christian movie Gone (along with fellow castaway Joel), the 2003 film Synthetic Truth, and the 2009 film A Rabbit's Trails. According to his LinkedIn profile, he now works as an admissions representative at the Modern Technology School in Orange County, California, and volunteers at the Boys & Girls Club. He was married in 2004 and now has two children.

Joel Klug

Joel was in a good position to be a valuable member of the Pagong tribe. He was particularly strong (working as a health club consultant at the time he joined the show) and this quality made it seem like he could last for quite awhile in the game. He also advocated for an alliance of Pagong members, correctly intuiting that Tagi would have one of their own going into the tribal merger. However, he irked the tribe's women when he laughed at a sexist joke told by Gervase (and defended him for it); they also worried that he would be more of a threat after the tribes merged. As such, Joel became the last person to be voted off before the remaining members of Tagi and Pagong became a single tribe.

Like many of the people in the first season of Survivor, Joel dabbled in acting for awhile. He appeared in an episode of Baywatch, joined fellow castaway Dirk in the film Gone, and returned after several years' absence to play bit roles in the films Zombie Wars and Consciousness. Although Klug's IMDB profile suggests that he wanted to follow a career in the pharmaceutical industry, his Facebook page says he's been working at Nielsen since 2014. He is now 44 years old.

Gretchen Cordy

Although Gretchen was working as a preschool teacher in Clarksville, Tennessee, when she was accepted for the show, she had a strong background in survival tactics. She had spent six years teaching these skills for the Air Force before getting married and having two children. On the show, she was well-liked on the Pagong tribe for her expertise and leadership. The Tagi alliance quickly deemed her a threat, however; in a blindsiding vote, she became the first person in the newly formed Rattana tribe to be ousted, as the Pagong tribe's failure to unify scattered their votes.

According to her LinkedIn profile, Gretchen quickly landed a job as a radio broadcaster after her time on Survivor. Now 54, she works as a morning host on Q108 in Clarksville.

Greg Buis

One of the most memorable contestants on Survivor: Borneo, Greg was a strange but likable fellow. Among other things, he would occasionally burst into song and puzzled his fellow Pagong castaways by "communicating" with the outside world on a coconut telephone. He was clearly having a great time and didn't take the competition too seriously, although he was a hard worker and often seemed to be trying to lighten the mood in the camp. Greg also became quite close with Colleen, with the other tribe members suspecting that there was romance between them. He was the second person voted off after the tribes were merged and the first to stick around on the jury that would decide the final winner. Greg was also notable for poking fun at the solemnity of the Tribal Council proceedings, pretending to sob inconsolably after getting voted off. During the jury proceedings, he simply asked the final two contestants to guess which number he was thinking of in order to win his vote.

Greg, now 40, seemingly had little interest in trying to capitalize on his time in the limelight, although he did sign a modeling contract soon after the show concluded. He continued his education, getting a master's degree in ecology from Colorado State University, and his LinkedIn profile charts a career in environmental protection. His past jobs have included forestry management, working with the National Science Foundation in South Africa, and serving as director of E.ON Climate and Renewables. Greg was one of the founders of the renewable development company Pioneer Green Energy in 2010 and is currently the company's president. Busy with this work, he's turned down subsequent offers to be a return player on Survivor.

Jenna Lewis

A student who grew up in Franklin, New Hampshire, Jenna earned a smattering of votes in the early Tribal Councils since the other castaways occasionally found her chatty and bubbly personality to be annoying. Originally a member of the Pagong tribe, she was chosen to attend a meeting with a Tagi member (Sean) and decide on a new tribe name. She had twin daughters at the time of the filming, and was disappointed at one reward challenge to find that her family had neglected to send in a tape for a prize. Jenna was the third victim of the Tagi alliance after the tribal merger.

Now 39, Jenna returned to join the cast of Survivor: All-Stars in 2004 and fared much better. In this competition, she made it to the final three before being voted out by lovebirds Amber Brkich and Rob Mariano. She had done some TV and movie work, appearing in productions such as Scorned; she also had a role in the 2012 made-for-TV movie The Mel & Wendi House. Around the time of her appearance on All-Stars, a sex tape featuring Jenna and ex-husband Travis Wolfe leaked to the Internet; she claimed to be horrified by the breach of privacy, but it was later revealed that she and Wolfe were benefiting from sales of copies of the tape. Jenna has since been remarried, had two more children, and goes by the name Jenna Lewis Dougherty. According to her Facebook page, she now works as a real estate agent in California.

Gervase Peterson

Gervase managed to stay in the game for quite awhile despite multiple missteps. He lost Pagong their first immunity challenge when Stacey beat him out in a grub-eating tiebreaker round, made the sexist remark about women being "the stupidest things on the planet next to cows," and didn't contribute much to camp work in an effort to preserve his strength for the challenges. While still on the island, he received word that his girlfriend had given birth to his fourth child. Gervase was the penultimate member of the Pagong tribe to be eliminated.

Gervase, now 47, has periodically shown up in TV shows and movies since his appearance on Survivor, including The HughleysAs the World Turns, and The Underground Kings. He's been a bit more active in these areas recently, and will appear in the upcoming projects The EvangelistRock Paper Scissors, and American Zealot. He also returned to Survivor for their Blood vs. Water competition, competing against his niece, and finished as second runner-up. A former YMCA basketball coach, Gervase now lives in Philadelphia and wears several hats. He's an owner of the Burnz Cigar Vault and Lounge in Lawnside, New Jersey; a custom clothier at the tailor Morroni Custom Clothing; vice president of a company called MFM N G Productions; and writes a column for JerseyMan Magazine.

Colleen Haskell

A cute brunette who was a total sweetheart and had a great sense of humor? Why yes, I did have a crush on Colleen; didn't you? She and Greg grew particularly close, even snuggling up together away from the other tribe members at night, although she insisted that nothing happened between the two of them. Colleen later exhibited some strategic maneuvering, spearheading an unsuccessful effort to unite the remaining Pagong members and recruit Sean to counter the Tagi alliance. She was the last surviving member of Pagong. Richard suggested that she would be spared for at least a little while, since the alliance was prepared to oust Kelly for voting independently at the previous Tribal Council. But after Kelly managed to win immunity, the alliance teamed up to vote Colleen out instead.

At the time of her appearance on the show, Colleen was attending college in Miami and hoping to pursue a career in creative advertising. Her popularity on Survivor led her to briefly dabble in film and TV roles, appearing on episodes of That '70s Show and Maybe It's Me and as Rob Schneider's love interest in the 2001 film The Animal before working as a production assistant on The Michael Essany Show. Now 39, Colleen has generally stayed out of the spotlight. She turned down a $100,000 offer to pose nude in Playboy, and also said she wasn't interested in being marooned again for All-Stars or Heroes vs. Villains. She has since gotten married, had a daughter, and seems to be living in New York working as a freelance interactive producer.

Sean Kenniff

A neurologist from Brooklyn, Sean was fairly vulnerable at the start of the game. His unsuccessful attempts at fishing didn't endear him to the other members of the Tagi tribe, and he was the one person left out after the formation of the Tagi alliance and the elimination of Dirk. However, he survived for much longer since the alliance began systematically offing Pagong members after the tribe merged. Sean, wishing to stay neutral, adopted a strategy of casting his votes in alphabetical order based on a tribe member's first name. After he confessed this strategy to the other tribe members, the Tagi alliance (whose names all fell near the end of the alphabet) used it to their advantage. Although the alliance considered ousting Kelly and replacing her with Sean, Kelly's continuing streak of immunity wins ensured that he was the first person voted off after all of the former Pagong members were eliminated.

Sean (now 46 and married with a few kids) had taken a break from the medical field at the time he appeared on Survivor, giving some consideration to being a writer. He realized this ambition in 2010, publishing both a novel entitled Etre the Cow and a non-fiction book, Stop Effing Yourself: A Survivor's Guide to Life's Biggest Screw-ups. In addition to an appearance on Guiding Light, Sean showed up several times as a medical correspondent for CBS and was part of the news staff at the station's affiliate in Miami. He also started a medical call-in program, The Dr. Sean Show, on an AM radio station in Florida in 2009.

Susan Hawk

A tough, hard-edged contestant, Susan quickly proved to be a strategic player. She became a member of the Tagi alliance, ensuring that she would last into the later stages of the game. Susan sometimes clashed with other women in the game, spurning offers by Stacey and later Jenna to join together to create a bloc of female votes at the Tribal Council. She was especially incensed by Kelly's decision to defect from the alliance, considering her to be manipulative and a liar, and became the first member of the alliance to be voted out.

In one of the show's more memorable moments, Susan gave an embittered speech at the final Tribal Council vote in which she criticized both Richard and Kelly. She reserved most of her ire for Kelly, comparing Richard to a snake and Kelly to a rat before urging the jury to let nature take its course and let the snake eat the rat. She carried on the invective to say that she would not stop to help Kelly if she was dying of thirst, and would instead leave her to the vultures. The remarks particularly rankled Gervase; while casting his vote for Kelly, he described Susan as a hypocrite and a sore loser.

Susan was a truck driver from Waukesha, Wisconsin, at the time the show aired. Following her appearance on Survivor, she appeared on a number of game shows including Hollywood SquaresThe Weakest Link, and Dog Eat Dog, on which she won the $25,000 top prize. Susan returned for Survivor: All-Stars, but became quite upset when her former Tagi ally Richard rubbed against her while competing nude in an immunity challenge. When it seemed like host Jeff Probst was trying to dismiss the incident as a joke, an angry Susan declared that she had been "sexually violated, humiliated, [and] dehumanized," then made the decision to drop out of the competition. She later appeared with Richard on The Early Show, and the tone of the interview suggested that they had gotten past the incident but not exactly reconciled. Susan has stayed out of the public eye since then; now 55, she was last reported to be living with her husband on a ranch near Clever, Missouri.

Rudy Boesch


Rudy was the oldest contestant on Survivor: Borneo, but he had the expertise to make him competitive. He was a career military man, joining the Navy in 1945, becoming a SEAL, earning a Bronze Star in Vietnam, and retiring in 1990 after 45 years of service. He was especially dedicated to physical fitness and performed well in the challenges, including one where he had to sprint across the beach while carrying a wooden chest. Rudy's gruff, curmudgeonly attitude rubbed some of his fellow Tagi members the wrong way, and he wasn't shy of expressing criticisms for other players (among other statements, he suggested that Dirk's luxury item of a Bible was only good for toilet paper, was critical of Gervase having children out of wedlock, and didn't much care for the video sent by Greg's sister that jokingly suggested the two were having an incestual relationship).

However, he was also impressed by Richard's leadership and later joined the Tagi alliance. This proved to be a wise move, since two efforts to vote him off early on had nearly succeeded. Although some members of Tagi clearly would have liked to see him go early on, he grew much friendlier with the remaining tribe members as the game proceeded and was popular among fans as well. His increasing likability ultimately became a liability, however. While he made it to the final three, he lost an immunity challenge to Kelly and she decided to vote him off after determining that she had a better chance of winning against Richard.

Third place still gets you some substantial prize money in Survivor, and Rudy shared his $85,000 consolation prize with his daughters. He earned a fair amount of publicity for his appearance, getting a guest spot on JAG and a hosting role on the show Combat Missions. He also wrote a book entitled The Book of Rudy: The Wit and Wisdom of Rudy Boesch. Rudy became the oldest person ever to compete on the show when he returned for Survivor: All-Stars, but was voted out after only six days due to an ankle injury and concerns that he was compromising the tribe's performance in the immunity challenges. Originally from Rochester, New York, Rudy is now 88 years old and lives in Virginia Beach.

Kelly Wiglesworth

Kelly was something of an under-the-radar player at first. A whitewater rafting guide from Nevada, she was dealt a blow when the Tagi tribe lost an immunity challenge where she was a designated rower. However, she managed to make it through the entire game without anyone voting to kick her off the island. Kelly was a member of the Tagi alliance, but ultimately broke away from this group on the belief that it wasn't a fair way of determining a winner. The remaining alliance members (especially Sue) targeted Kelly for elimination after learning that she had not joined their vote against Jenna, but she won four immunity challenges in a row to secure her place in the final vote. She made the case that she had played the game fairly and respectfully, noting how she won one challenge involving trivia on other tribe members because she had taken the time to get to know people. Kelly won the support of most of the former Pagong members, but lost the grand prize to Richard.

Second place wasn't too shabby for Kelly, as she won $100,000 for finishing as runner-up. A small portion of this prize went toward resolving an outstanding criminal case from 1995 in which she and a friend racked up charges on a stolen credit card; she was ultimately sentenced to pay $455 in restitution and do 75 hours of community service. Unlike many of the Survivor: Borneo castaways, Kelly made no TV appearances aside from some talk show visits. However, she did return for the show's "Second Chance" competition in Cambodia, and was the ninth person to be eliminated. Now 39, Kelly lived in Mexico for a time and worked as a yoga teacher. She now travels the world as part of a travel show called Mana with fellow castaway Joe Anglim.

Richard Hatch

Richard had a varied career going into the show, having worked as a bartender, car salesman, and real estate agent and later studying marine biology. At the time he joined the cast of Survivor: Borneo, he was a corporate trainer living in Newport, Rhode Island. While he was one of the more openly devious people in the game, Richard still managed to gain the trust and respect of several castaways. Early in the game, he let his fellow Tagi tribe members know that he was gay and was relieved to find that it didn't bother most of them. He came up with the idea of forming an alliance, recruiting Sue and Kelly and later bringing Rudy into the mix. Richard further solidified his role in the Tagi tribe when he proved an adept fisherman, using the equipment won in a challenge to bring plenty of food to the camp. He also became known for his comfort with being naked and strutting around camp in his birthday suit.

Richard occasionally found himself in a more vulnerable spot, such as when the Rattana women were able to catch a fish on their own and when the remaining ex-Pagong members made a last-ditch effort to knock him off. However, Richard's strategies were successful in bringing him to the final Tribal Council. In one particularly risky move, he gave up on the penultimate immunity challenge on the belief that whoever won would want to face off against him in the final vote. In the end, he squeaked out a victory as the jurors voted 4-3 to award him the $1 million prize.

After his win, Richard appeared on a number of game shows as well as an episode of Becker. His win was soon overshadowed by troubles off-screen. He was accused of abusing his adopted son during an exercise regimen he had set up, but the charges were later dropped. Not long after, he was sentenced to a year of probation after assaulting his son's caretaker, but the charges were later vacated. Richard returned for Survivor: All-Stars and was eliminated after his tribe lost the immunity challenge where he traumatized Susan. In 2005, he was then charged with evading taxes on his Survivor winnings. Following a trial in 2006, he was found guilty and sentenced to 51 months in prison. Richard's attempts to appeal included allegations that he caught other Survivor contestants cheating and that Mark Burnett agreed to pay the taxes on his winnings to keep him quiet. Richard was released from prison in 2009, but sentenced to another nine months in 2011 for violating his probation by failing to amend his tax returns or pay back taxes.

Between these prison stints, Richard became part of Celebrity Apprentice but was soon eliminated from the show. At the time, his legal troubles earned the sympathies of the show's host, one Donald Trump. But during the the former reality host's bombastic presidential campaign, Richard was critical of Trump on his Twitter account and Facebook page. Earlier this year, he joined the cast of The Biggest Loser, shedding 34 pounds before becoming the fourth contestant eliminated. Richard (now 55) has founded a production company called Moonstone and continues to make public appearances.