1883 novel by Robert Louis Stevenson. Innkeeper's son Jim Hawkins finds a treasure map in a chest belonging to Captain Billy Bones, a deceased lodger. He shows the map to Doctor Livesey and Squire Trelawney, whom he trusts, and they resolve to mount an expedition to the island shown on the map and locate the buried treasure there. Trelawney foolishly hires on a sailor named Long John Silver as ship's cook as well as several men Silver recommends to him - Trelawney not knowing that they are former shipmates of Bones, and pirates all. Hawkins and Silver develop a strong bond, but when he overhears the pirates' plans to mutiny, the peaceful expedition turns into a series of pitched battles for the ship, the island, and the treasure. In the end the heroes prevail with the help of marooned sailor Ben Gunn.

This book rocks.

A New Zealand television show in the same vein of the American show Survivor. Just as in the States there was enormous public interest in the outcome of the show. Unlike its counterpart, the winner of Treasure Island only won NZ$15000 (approx. US$7500). Treasure Island was produced a couple of months before Survivor.

IMHO Treasure Island was better than Survivor for the following reasons:

  • Each week, one contestant from each of the two teams was eliminated by a computer quiz, which was based on the knowledge of the contestants of their peers and their surroundings - not through voting others off. This meant no one could gang up on someone at elimination, and teams would have to put up with members that got on their nerves.
  • Contestants belongings were searched before arriving on the island, and "luxuries" were confiscated. They were not given any extra items after landing on the island, and checks were made for smuggled items, and penalties were enforced for the discovery of smuggled items.
  • Teams had to solve difficult series of clues top find parts of a treasure map that marked the spot where the treasure was buried, rather than competeting in silly immunity contests that were tests of physical skills against each other.
  • Throughout the whole series, we saw no one but the contestants, unlike Survivor who had a presenter at the elimintations.
  • Elimination was simply called elimination, and not the silly name of "Tribal Council".

Given these reasons, the winning contestant of Treasure Island is really much more deserving of the US$1 Million than the winner of Survivor.

An artificial island in the middle of San Francisco Bay. It measures about 1 mile long by 1/2 mile wide and is connected by a small causeway to the naturally-formed Yerba Buena Island which is in turn connected by the Bay Bridge to the mainland. For discussion of physical characteristics, the two island are considered separate but for purposes of social characteristics they are generally spoken of together.

Originally built in the late 1930s as the location of the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition, it was planned that the flat island would be used as an airport. But WWII intervened and the island came to be used as a US Navy base for the next fifty years.

With the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s, many military bases were closed as part of an overall reduction in US armed forces. Although a part of the city of San Francisco, the land itself is still leased by the City from the US Navy.

After a good deal of retrofitting, many buildings on the island have been turned over to civilian use. There are currently around 2000 permanent residents, comprised of youths in the Treasure Island Job Corps Culinary Institute, formerly homeless folks in the Treasure Island Homeless Development Initiative, former drug addicts in the Delancy Street program, and a good deal of market-rate renters, a group which vaguely tends toward 20- and 30-something dot-commies, city employees, and art school students. Market-rate renters are greatest in number and political power, though by no means overwhelmingly so.

Life on the island is overall quite pleasant. The westward view, encompassing the city of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, Marin, Alcatraz, and Angel Island, is perhaps the most beautiful urban view in America. Crime is extremely low and limited almost exclusively to minor graffiti. The physical isolation from the mainland has engendered a strong sense of neighborhood community which adds to the pleasant atmosphere. Housing other than Job Corps is former military family housing, so it is plain but serviceable.

Current issues for island residents include high-speed internet access (DSL {aside from IDSL} and cable modem are not currently viable options), improved bus service (there is one bus with a limited schedule that services the island), the rude behavior of some Job Corps students while on the bus, and the lack of any convenience stores.

Treasure island has recently attracted some media attention with the Treasure Island Experiment, to be found at www.tiexp.com. A major online resource for island residents is to be found at www.94130.net.

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