Archive for Bay Area

Yul Kwon’s Survivor Strategy

San Mateo’s Yul Kwon is, without a doubt, the ultimate “Survivor” strategist.

Yul Kwon

And he has a great sense of humor. When talking to him this morning, the day after he beat out surfer Ozzy, AKA Monkey boy, for the million, he talked about his parents’ reaction to him going on the show.

His parents, who immigrated to the United States from South Korea, were unclear on the “Survivor” premise.

“My father thought that they put 20 people on a deserted island and the one left alive got the million,” Kwon says. “My parents were actually hoping I’d go on `The Bachelor.’ But at this point, they would like me to show up on the doorstep with a wife and baby.”

So just how did he manipulate himself into winning the million bucks? We’ll let Yul speak for himself.

Yul Kwon

Kwon says he watched the first season of “Survivor” and then rarely watched after that. When he was recruited by the producers to go on the show – they knew about him from his work on Steve Westly’s California campaign – he said he quickly crammed by renting out several seasons of “Survivor.”

Even though he had a plan, and a knack for calculating statistically feasible outcomes, he just hoped that he wouldn’t be the first one ejected from the game.

His first break came when he found the hidden immunity idol on Exile Island.

Yul stripped

“The immunity idol is a gun with one bullet. If I used it that way, it wasn’t really useful. The power is in the potential to use it,” Yul says. “When I found the idol, I wanted to save it to change the flow of the game.”

And so he did. Two other dramatic events could have taken Yul out of the game.

The first event was when team members Candice and Jonathan decided to switch to the other team _ which left their tribe at a disadvantage with only four members in the tribe. It could have meant that they could have been quickly picked off during a tribe merge. They only way they could stay alive in the short term was to win challenges.

Yul embraced Ozzy as the Challenge Master.

Yul and Ozzy

“Ozzy was the best hedge to deflect attention away from me. I had been targeted to get out, but he was my insurance,” Yul says.

Yul says the four bonded into a group and that he worked to keep them together by making them all feel as if they were part of the decision making process.

“We never felt threatened by each other, we trusted each other that we would all get to the final four together,” Yul says.

After the merge, they needed to flip someone in the dominant Raro tribe. Which brought up the one time when Yul believed there might be a tear in the bond of the four.

Jonathan was rational enough to understand that it was in his own self-interest to flip, so he was the obvious choice,” Yul says. “But Ozzy wanted to turn Nate, and I didn’t understand why Nate, who had a strong alliance, would want to go to our side. His already secure for a No. 5 spot in his own tribe. Why flip for the same position in our tribe?

“So I asked Ozzy how he could convince Nate, and he started talking about how he would appeal to him as being an outsider in the (predominately white) tribe, just like Ozzy felt like an outsider in our tribe. As soon as he said it, it was like a bird flew in his mouth and he just trailed off. I realized that he was going to screw us and try for an alliance with Nate against us.”

So Yul went to convince Jonathan that it was in his best interest to flip and at least be guaranteed a No. 5 position. He told Jonathan that he had the immunity idol and if it came down to a vote, Jonathan would be voted out because Yul would use the idol to save himself.

Yul then convinced Jonathan that the reason why Jonathan hadn’t been voted out yet was because his tribe members thought Jonathan had the immunity idol. And if Jonathan told them that Yul had the idol, then they would vote Jonathan out.

“As long as he believed the story about his tribe only keeping him in because they thought he had the idol, I knew we could flip him,” Yul says. “But in addition to the rational arguments, there was an emotional reason for Jonathan to flip.”

Yul had been present at a discussion about body hair between members of the Raro tribe. The discussion turned mean-spirited against Jonathan’s wife.

“I was chopping coconuts and thought `You guys are being really rude and you’re digging your own grave.’ Jonathan was furious with them and didn’t want any of them making it to the final four,” Yul says. “So I told Ozzy that the only way Jonathan would flip would be if we voted Nate out, because he had made fun of Jonathan’s wife.”

In fact, Jonathan didn’t care which one was voted out. Yul just wanted to take away Ozzy’s alternative to sticking with the four.

The other threat to the four was when Becky wanted to vote Ozzy out because she saw him as a threat. Yul says he listened to her and Sundra, but would never let that happen.

“Once you voted out one of the four, the trust was gone,” Yul says.

Becky and Yul became close friends during their time on the island, but it was only a friendship. Yul says that when the Candice/Jonathan mutiny happened, he offered the immunity idol to Becky if she ever needed it.

“It was silly for me to use it for myself and go into the merge alone just to get eliminated. She could have used it and flown under the radar for a while,” Yul says. “When we got to the end, it was a brief conversation about the idol and Becky decided that wasn’t the way she wanted to play the game.”

Instead, under the new rules, Yul caught another break. Three would go before the tribal council instead of two. So Yul, with the immunity idol, was safe and so was Ozzy after winning the challenge. The decision was made to let Sundra and Becky battle it out in a tie-breaker after Ozzy voted Becky out and Yul voted Sundra out.

And then there was that awful fire-building challenge.

Yul says to be fair, it was terribly windy and that probably hurt the two when trying to start fires. But he also says that when Sundra ran out of wood, Becky offered some of her wood to Sundra. When Sundra ran out of matches, she cheered Becky on.

Jeff couldn’t believe it,” Yul says.

In the end, Yul believed it would come down to him and Ozzy.

“I thought about, if I was close, that I would throw the immunity challenge, that way I wouldn’t have to choose between Ozzy and either Becky or Sundra because no matter who I chose, the other would feel burned,” Yul says. “I thought Ozzy would probably chose me because he has a real sense of fairness and I told him that if he went against Becky or Sundra, then the jury would see them all as being the same kind of players. More people on the jury hated me and since he had decimated them on the challenges, they could hold him accountable for them not making it to the finals and vote for Becky or Sundra.

“I didn’t think I would win in a landslide against Ozzy, but I thought I had a good shot.”

The closing arguments before the jury played into Yul’s strength as a trial attorney. But even he didn’t see it coming when Ozzy claimed that he wanted the money to go to college.

Turns out that Ozzy had told everyone he would use his winnings to build a sort of surfer commune for his pals where they could live free.

“I went to the confessional booth after that and said he would win a million dollars over my dead body. What a phenomenal waste.”

Yul won by just one vote, a vote that he had guaranteed when he engineered Jonathan’s ejection.

Adam told me that he would promise to vote for me in the final if Jonathan went before he did,” Yul says. “I knew Adam would keep his word.”

Yul, Becky and Ozzy

So, boys and girls, that’s how you win a million bucks on “Survivor.”

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Romijn Unmasked

Berkeley native Rebecca Romijn has joined the cast of “Ugly Betty” as the mysterious woman behind the amsk who has been plotting to take over Mode Magazine.

We’re happy that Rebecca has joined a good show and that the uneven WB series “Pepper Dennis” is behind her. We think she’ll sparkle as the beauty with the heart of a beast.

And for those looking for a mini-poster for home/office, we offer this:

Rebecca Romijn

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The Cho Brothers fight back

Among the little practical jokes Erwin and Godwin Cho pulled on their fellow “Amazing Race” competitors, the one they particularly savor is the one they did to the Barbies.

Team Dustin and Kandice, who have been doing their own version of the blonde ambition tour during the around the world race, got a dose of the Chos while in Mongolia.

Seems the boys had packed some fake roaches for the trip and decided to drop a few in some shoes while D ‘n’ K were sleeping.

“You should have heard the scream,” says Godwin laughing.

Score team Cho.

By the way, if you go to the Cho brother’s Web site alittlekarma you can support their latest enterprise. The two are helping struggling artists by selling the work on the site and then donating a portion of the sales to do “small acts of kindness.”

“We’re good businessmen, but we aren’t artists,” Erwin says. “And the artists are good, but they may not be quite as good at the business part. So we make a good team.”

For the interview on the Cho brothers, go to my TV Website. If it isn’t at the top, scroll down for the archived columns and stories.

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End of the Chos

Being Polite Sucks Sometimes Godwin Cho

Erwin and Godwin Cho arrived last on the mat tonight, ending their “Amazing Race.”

The Bay Area brothers might have won the race if they hadn’t put other players first. But then, that just wouldn’t have been the Cho boys. The two helped out other teams – and it probably cost them the race.

Just goes to show that winners don’t always come in first place.

The Chos played honorably and even managed to overcome their fear of heights. Let’s just say that I sure wouldn’t have gone face-first down that huge tower.

Here’s to the Chos, who won their own race and did it their way.

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KTVU anchor Leslie Griffith leaves

After months of speculation on where in the world is Leslie Griffith, this press release was sent out this morning:

Leslie Griffith, co-anchor of the KTVU Channel 2 News at 5 and The Ten o’Clock News on KTVU Channel 2 News announced today that she is stepping down from her anchor and reporting position.

“It’s been an extremely exciting and rewarding experience. But as many people can appreciate, my duties have been all-encompassing,” said Griffith. “After many successful years in the profession and at KTVU as an anchor and a reporter, I want the opportunity to continue growing and reaching out for as much knowledge as I can in this life” added Griffith.

“Leslie is one of the most talented and kind people I have known. Her generosity is evidenced by her willingness to consistently contribute her time and energy to improving the lives of others, despite the demands of the profession,” said Tim McVay, Vice President and General Manager of KTVU Channel 2. “The quantity and quality of the awards and recognitions Leslie has received over the years is a testament to the caliber of her work. I am certain Bay Area viewers and all of us at KTVU will miss her very much. We all wish her the very best with her future endeavors,” said McVay.

In looking toward the future, Griffith says “I always thought I would have several careers during my life. I’m excited to pursue other interests that will enhance my life.”

Ms. Griffith has been with KTVU Channel 2 News for 20 years and has been honored with a number of awards, including nine Emmy Awards, seven Radio Television News Directors Association (RTNDA) Awards, two Edward R. Murrow awards, and five Telly Awards. In 2005, she received the Genesis Award given out by The Humane Society of the United States which honored her for her behind the scenes expose’ of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Griffith has also won the 2005 Associated Press Television-Radio Association of California and Nevada Award as the top news anchor in a local market. She also is the winner of the prestigious Casey Award — given to individuals who have helped stop the exploitation of children.

Ms. Griffith has many memories from her KTVU career, including her travels to Moscow during the cold war and in Romania with children released from orphanages after Nikolai Ceausescu’s assassination. Both series earned Ms. Griffith Emmy Awards from the National Association of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS). Ms. Griffith also had high profile live reports from the Los Angeles riots after the Rodney King verdict, for which she received an Emmy award.

Griffith’s charitable work is also well known in the Bay Area. Each year Griffith puts a disadvantaged young woman through college. In November 2003, the California Assembly honored Griffith with an award for her years of work with charitable organizations. On the same day, Concord city officials announced that they had designated November 13th as Leslie Griffith day.

Griffith is quick to share credit for her success. “I would like to say any success I had in my broadcasting career was a direct result of the hearts and minds and determination of those around me. I learned from the best and will always be proud of that.”

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Man from “Mars”

Jason Dohring, who plays bad boy Logan Echolls on “Veronica Mars” says he loves co-star Kristen Bell, who plays the title role.

But only in a platonic way.

Jason, 24, has been married for two years to Lauren. But he says that Kristen, “like the misses,” is someone that you just keep liking more every day.”

Ryan Hansen, who plays my friend Dick Casablancas, is also married and Kristen is in a committed relationship,” Jason says. “So we don’t sleep around much on the set.”

That might rule out the cast from being featured on a tabloid cover – or not.

“It was so safe before bloggers,” Jason says playfully. “Now, you could be YouTubed (relieving yourself) on the side of the road. You can’t do anything about it, so hopefully people show enough of the good stuff about you so that when something bad pops up, it doesn’t seem so bad.”

Jason says he doesn’t have a Web site together yet, but he’s working on it.

“I’d love to go shoot some video with my friends and put that on the site,” Jason says. “Hey, I could YouTube me first.”
Jason Dohring

When Lauren came to sit with us, Jason decided to take the digital recorder and play reporter:

J: So, how old are you?

L: 25

J: How did you meet Jason?

L: We met in high school.

J: I was the Man in high school!

L: He was a nice guy and we were friends for a couple of years before dating.

J: I was a freakin? catch…OK, I paid her to go out with me. We got together up in Northern California. We sat on the dock at Clear Lake and talked for seven hours. We got married 50 feet from there, at sunset with our families and friends.

J: So how do you like Logan Echolls sleeping with all those girls?

L: Not so much.

So how is it being married?

“At the end of the day, it’s great to have someone who is your good friend, to talk to and being able to be around someone you can be yourself with makes for a long-lasting relationship,” Jason says. “It’s just so comfortable.”

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The “Amazing” Cho Brothers

Erwin and Godwin Cho of “The Amazing Race” just proved tonight that nice guys don’t always finish last.

The Bay Area racers made sure that Kentucky couple Dave and Mary didn’t get eliminated by helping them get the fast-forward. The couple came in last the week before and had a severe penalty if they did not finish first.

In order to let Dave and Mary get the fast-forward, Erwin had to conquer his severe fear of heights. And you never saw any human scamper up a ladder as quickly as he did.

This latest sacrifice should prove that the Cho Brothers are No. 1 – even if they don’t win the race.

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“Lost” new season

Last night was really strange, because I just finished watching “America’s Next Top Model” and switched over to “Lost.”

Except I didn’t think it was “Lost.”

It looked more like “Desperate Housewives.” I actually thought I was watching the wrong channel for a few moments, so I was kind of out of it at the beginning.

But it seemed to confirm that there was some sort of atmospheric disruption just before the plane crashed down.

I think the plane did breech some sort of electro-magnetic field. Remember the field went down when Desmond didn’t punch in the numbers?
What happens now with no one punching in numbers?

I have to say it feels a little odd being with The Others. It was creepy to watch Kate have to shower and slip into a sun dress before meeting with Henry Gale/Ben on the beach.

But did you notice the glass dome the camera lingered on? It covered Kate’s breakfast. Come on, how many meals come in a glass cover???

Ok, maybe that’s a reach.

And what’s up with the zoo? And the kid in the zoo? And Sawyer (and now Kate) in the zoo?

Anyway, I’m not sure I want to be away from the core Lost group for as long. I’m only mildly interested in the Others. Some people think that The Others are the children of the original Dharma people, because those people would be much older than the people we are seeing on the island.

Then we have Jack obsessing on his former wife’s boyfriend. The producers have mentioned several times that his identity might be an important story point. But is it?

Jack sure seems to think so. But I got SICK of hearing Jack go on and on about it last night.

And there were too many darn commercials!

Any thoughts?

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McSteamy rises on “Grey’s Anatomy”

The final moments on “Grey’s Anatomy” tonight may have been some of the sweetest ever.

After deciding he needed to come clean with wife Addison about his sizzling prom sex with Meredith, the rather smug Derek tracked Addison down to her hotel room.

He sat on the bed, telling the sensual Addison _ who was wearing nothing but a bathrobe _ that he wanted a divorce. And just when he was at the height of his condescending speech about the sadness of their relationship ending, out walks McSteamy wrapping a towel around his waist.

Yes, the magnificent Dr. Mark Sloan, played by San Francisco native Eric Dane, is back by popular demand.

We’re wondering what lies in store for McDreamy after Patrick Dempsey told TV critics during a set tour last summer that he thought the men on “Grey’s” were emasculated and needed to man up a bit.

We don’t think creator Shonda Rimes took kindly to those remarks.

In any case, there were campaigns to bring Eric’s character back as a love interest _ even if it was with Meredith.

OK, maybe it was just my campaign.

But Eric’s one of the nicest guys in Hollywood, and after his performance last season he certainly deserved more screen time on one of my favorite shows.

So tonight, when he walked half-naked out of a steaming bathroom, we knew it was game on time for McDreamy.

Who may just find himself McSingle.

Eric Dane, wife Rebecca Gayheart

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Where’s the Bay Area bonding????


So Yul (San Mateo) spearheaded the outster Cece (Oakland) tonight on “Survivor.”

What’s up with that Yul?
Yul Kwon

Cece was a great person, a real asset. Instead, you went with Becky??? Becky’s dead weight and no good in the challenges. And we’re all wondering if you would have reallygiven Becky your immunity if she had been voted off the island.


And to think that Cece’s mom said nice things about you. I thought maybe we would see a like connection.

Ba-bye Cece. You didn’t deserve to have your torch snuffed out so soon.

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