Sunday, November 9, 2008

New (Sort-of) Blog

This is old news, but several months ago I migrated from Blogger over to Tumblr:

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Goodbye, Conner...

You were the greatest cat to ever lick my forehead.

Who will greet me by rubbing their scent glands all over my legs every day when I get home from work?

Who will stay up with me after my roommates go to bed at 9:30?

Who will sit beneath my chair on the balcony while I read every evening?

Who will sleep next to me and wake me up every hour by crawling around my head and whining?

Who will leave teeth-marks all over my hands and legs?

Who will jump on my kitchen counters and fall behind the refrigerator?
You are missed, Conner, sorely missed. Even though you were named after a B-List superhero. Even though you look like the Firefox logo when you sleep. Even though you didn't have generative glands. Even though you always tried to run out the door every time I left the house, and succeeded about 68% of the time, and then made me chase you around the North End of Greenville until you got so tired you had to stick your tongue out and pant like a dog.

There's an idea. A dog...

(Just to clarify, Conner has not died. He is living with his Grand-Humans for the summer while Joel is working.)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Galaxy No Longer a Four-Armed Freak

For years, models of the Milky Way Galaxy (that's ours) have had four "arms" spiraling out from its center.

Now, scientists claim the galaxy only has two, which is, you know, normal by human standards, unless you're a Vedic deity like Durga or Shiva. Further, the arm that our own solar system was thought to be near, the Sagittarius Arm, was one of the nixed arms, making our little niche in the universe even more remote than we thought.

Conclusions? We Earthlings are even more rural than we thought, galactically-speaking, and the Heavens are now more anthropomorphic than ever.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Coming Soon...

...several posts on this season's Lost finale. I haven't had time to rewatch it...which is necessary.

In the meantime:

Friday, May 23, 2008

This Made Me Laugh

A bit overwhelmed by planning a future in Chicago this week, but I'll be posting regularly again soon...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I read about this... National Geographic a few years ago, but this is the first footage I've ever seen.

Crows are considered one of the smartest animals in the world.

Lost tonight!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

My Lost Dream

I have two kinds of dreams. The first kind is completely abstract and random, like, say, the last 15 minutes of 2001: A Space Odyssey, or the musical numbers in Across the Universe. The second kind has a very clear narrative structure, and I can usually remember them very well. Two nights ago, I had the second kind of dream where I was on the Island.

Ever since Ben and I had the same surgery around the same time in Season 3, I've wondered if I have a creepy connection with the show. Strangely enough, this was not my first Lost-based dream; in the last few years, I've actually had several. This one was definitely the coolest though, because it felt like an actual episode. I wrote down everything I could remember the following morning, as I occasionally do after a cool dream. Here's what happened (I don't remember exact dialogue, so I've done my best to make it more readable):

Alex?The first thing I remember from the dream is running through the jungle and coming upon Alex Rousseau's body. At least, I thought it was just her body. As I sat down next to her to get a closer look, when she suddenly woke up. Obviously, I was surprised, having seen her shot in the head by Keamy a few episodes back. But now she was alive again, and quite panicked.

"Is it still here?" she asked, looking around frantically.

"Is what still here?" I said, confused.

She stopped looking around and met my eyes. She could tell I had no idea what she was talking about. The jungle was really quiet, and she seemed to calm down.

Until we heard a gunshot.

I grabbed Alex by the arm (I guess we're all heroes in our dreams) and we ran for cover as more gunshots rang out and nearby trees were hit. We hid behind a rock. I peeked over the top and saw three men in camo, some of those creepy guys from the Freighter, coming towards us with semi-automatic weapons.

Now, I'm sure you're familiar with the discontinuity of dreams, so it won't surprise you to find out that suddenly, I had a rifle strapped over my shoulder. One of those old lever-action Winchesters. So I checked the chamber (though I should have known that in dreams, no one ever runs out of ammo), and then cocked the lever and blew all three of the Freighter baddies away. I am not a violent man, and have only used rifles to shoot clay pigeons and targets, so do not take my trigger-happy nature in this dream too seriously.

Alex thanked me, and then guess who popped out of the trees behind us? Ben.

"Thank you for saving my daughter," he said.

"I thought she was dead," I said. "I saw it happen."

Ben gave me one of those creepy smiles like he does on the show.

"That wasn't Alex."

Ben's Plan"We don't have a lot of time," he said. He took Alex by the arm and started walking deeper into the jungle.

"Will you cover us from behind?" he asked me. But I know Ben all too well from watching the show.

"Why should I let you use me?" I asked.

Ben stopped and looked back at me. He was annoyed that I wouldn't just be a gullible pawn. "What do you want?" he asked.

"Sixty seconds where you have to tell me the truth," I said, or something similar.

"Deal," Ben said, and carried on.

"Dad, wait," Alex said. "Where are we going?"

"To the Muse."

The Muse
At that point I got pretty excited, assuming he meant some kind of mythological figure hidden somewhere in the mountains of the Island that would give Ben supernatural aid. It turned out he was talking about another Dharma Initiative Station.

Another discontinuity - my dream skipped ahead to our arrival at the Muse, and it was night. The place was obviously abandoned and covered with vines (the picture above is the closest-looking thing I could find online).

Ben led us up the stairs and opened the door. Once inside, I saw that the station was very different from any of the other Dharma installations on the show.

It was kind of like a dark, abandoned museum. I remember strange sculptures, stained-glass windows, and murals covering the walls. There were mannequins dressed in colorful suits of ancient armor. I happened to have a camera (of course), and so I started rampantly taking pictures of everything, especially the murals, because they seemed to tell some kind of story.

What I didn't notice was that Ben had stopped stone cold.

I turned around and saw John Locke pointing a gun at Ben's face.

"Is it true?" Locke asked.

"What are you talking about, John?" Ben asked back.

"All of this," Locke said, waving his arms around the room. "Is it all true?"

Ben made one of his faces, and then shots rang out. Not from Locke, but I assume from some Freighter people who'd followed us.

Locke ran one way, and we ran the other. Ben led Alex and I out of a side door and back out into the jungle. I fired some blind shots behind me, and we kept going deeper and deeper into the trees.

Sixty Seconds of Truth
Once we slowed down to a walk, without looking at me, Ben said, "Your sixty seconds start now."

"What was that place?"

"They wanted to understand the 'hostiles'," he said. "You can learn a lot about a civilization from its art."

"Who are the hostiles? Natives?"

"There are no natives to the Island. There never have been."

"Then who made that art? Who built the ruins I've seen?"

"People have been drawn here for millennia," he said cryptically.

"The Others?"

"We don't call ourselves Others." No kidding.

"What do you call yourselves?"

Ben paused for a moment. "The Elect."

"And what are you doing here?"

"We do whatever She needs us to do," Ben said, and he had a look of pride and dedication in his eyes. I'm capitalizing "She" because he said it as though it should have been capitalized.

"You have ten seconds left," he said, so I pulled out the big guns.

"What is the Island?"

Ben stopped. He turned and looked at me.

"The Island is the Earth."

And that's the last thing I remember.

Maybe, in my dream, the Alex that Keamy shot was just a manifestation of the Smoke Monster that Ben used as a decoy to protect the real Alex. That's the only thing I can come up with.

I guess the Muse was a Dharma station dedicated to studying the Hostiles, and that Locke found something about them that he didn't want to hear.

As for Ben's answers to my questions...I have no idea what he meant. The "Elect"? I'm assuming that refers to the fact that all of the Others/Hostiles are chosen by the Island. "Whatever She needs us to do"? I got the feeling he was talking about the Island. Is the Island female? "The Island is the Earth"? The only thing I can come up with is the Gaia Hypothesis, where the entire Earth is considered a living being. Maybe the Island is the Earth's mind or soul. I don't know. Crazy dream. I only wish I could have rescued Claire instead of Alex. I mean, Alex is pretty, but she's no Claire. At least I didn't run into Kate or Sun.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Incorporeal Cabin Fever

Wow. I doubt many Lost fans will disagree with me when I say that Cabin Fever was a great exemplar of the show as a whole, an amalgam of the various aspects of Lost that make it so great. Basically, that consists of three things:

1. Action and Adventure in the Island’s mysterious wilderness.

2. Revelations concerning the overarching mythology.

3. Further development of beloved characters

In my opinion, there have actually been four of these “exemplar” episodes in this season so far. Other than Cabin Fever, I would include Confirmed Dead, which introduced us to the Freighter Four with on-Island tension and pre-Island intrigue; The Constant, which unraveled the Island’s time-traveling capabilities, introduced a new environment for the show (the Kahana) and deepened the relationship between Desmond and Penny; and The Shape of Things to Come, which solidified Benjamin Linus as a globe-trotting ambiguous Hero and further developed the mythology of the Smoke Monster and the Island’s time-traveling powers.

After four great episodes, two of which have come in just the last three weeks, can the three-part finale top what we’ve already seen? I certainly hope so.

The Birth of a Hero

John Locke’s story is one of the most archetypal, and this episode gave us some of the early chapters we were missing, beginning with Locke’s birth. First of all, let’s note some eerie similarities between Baby Locke and Baby Ben. Both were born prematurely. Both were born to young women named Emily L (Locke and Linus). And finally, both births were witnessed by someone from the Island. In Ben’s case, it was Horace Goodspeed and his wife Olivia (who both figured into this week’s episode, nonetheless). In John’s case, it was my favorite Other, Richard Alpert.

Alpert’s appearance in the hospital was baffling. We knew he was near-immortal, but how did the man get off the Island in 1956, decades before the arrival of the Dharma Initiative and its technology? And how could Richard have known John was special five minutes out of the birth canal? I’m guessing that the answer lies in time travel, and that the Richard we saw at Locke’s birth was really from the future (though ostensibly still from our past, 2008-wise).

Still…what makes John special? Once he crashed on the Island, his chosen-ness became apparent when his paralyzed legs were healed by the Island. But before then, what would make him attractive to the Others? My guess is that present-day Richard Alpert, disillusioned with Ben’s leadership, traveled back to John’s past and tried to get him to the Island earlier, so as to install him as Island-Protector instead of Ben. Perhaps after meeting Locke last season, Richard realizes that he made a mistake in choosing Ben.

“Which of these objects already belong to you?”

This was my favorite scene. It parallels the way a new Dalai Lama is found when the previous Dalai dies. The Panchen Lama searches for a child born around the same time as the previous Dalai’s death, and presents the child with a variety of objects. Some of the objects belonged to the previous Dalai. If the child chooses the correct objects, it is a sign that he is actually a reincarnation of the previous Dalai.

This certainly appears to be the reason Richard is testing Locke. The question is who the previous leader was. Jacob? Interestingly, Toddler-Locke chooses two of the correct objects,a vial of some kind of mineral, perhaps sand or ash from the Island, and a compass. But he chooses a knife incorrectly. My guess? Toddler-Locke just wanted the knife because he liked it. He echoes this sentiment as a teenager, claiming not be interested in science, but instead in “manly things” like boxing and sports.

(For those interested, the other objects that Locke did not pick were an old comic book, a Book of Laws, and a baseball glove. My guess is that the knife, the glove, and the comic book were diversions that Richard brought, thinking that most kids would pick those to keep them. Locke was supposed to pick the Book of Laws (some weird cult book that the Others follow?), in fact he looks at it for a second, but then he picks the knife because he's drawn to it. Locke as an adult ends up being quite the knife expert, if you remember...)

So what are we as Lost fans supposed to gather from this scene? That Locke is a reincarnation of Jacob, or some other previous leader of the Others? The show certainly seems to be telling us that there is an Electromagnetic basis to human consciousness that survives physical death (more on that later). Whatever consciousness inhabits Locke’s mind, it appears to remember a certain smokey entity from one of its past lives…

“You need to go on a Walkabout”

(Doesn't Abbadon look like a velociraptor from Jurassic Park in that shot?)

In the break between Seasons 2 and 3, I came up with a theory that all of the passengers of 815 where subtly manipulated by outside forces into getting onto the plane so that they could be used on the Island. Thank you, Matthew Abbadon. It looks like Abbadon convinced John to go on his Walkabout, which put him in Sydney, which put him on 815. Could ALL of the characters have been manipulated this way? I always thought that Jack’s ex-wife Sarah looked like she was being blackmailed to leave him, for example.

My biggest question is what side is Abbadon on in this colossal chess match? When we saw him recruit Naomi and the Freighter Four, I assumed he was with Widmore. But why would Widmore want Locke on the Island? After all, Locke is apparently going to “move the Island” and hide it from Widmore (remember Ben’s statement in his flash-forward to Widmore? “You’ll never find it…”)

Perhaps Abbadon is part of a third party. Not the Others/Ben. Not Dharma/Widmore. Perhaps he represents a group of incredibly powerful people, some kind of “temporal stewards”, who are attempting to manipulate events in the present so as to create a certain outcome. Other members of this group? Mrs. Hawking, the old lady who told Desmond it was his “destiny” to leave Penny and go to the Island. Brother Campbell, who told Desmond his path lay elsewhere. Perhaps Ben and Widmore are both trying to change the future in their own way. They are tired of the universe being “course corrected” by these temporal stewards. They want a different outcome.

For some reason, when Ben warned Locke that destiny is a “fickle bitch,” it sounded very personal. As if he wasn’t talking about Fate, but about an actual woman. Like Mrs. Hawking…

“I died twelve years ago”

Well it turned out that Horace Goodspeed’s appearance was just an Island-induced dream sent to John in his sleep. I must admit, I was a little disappointed that the Mysterious Cabin was just a getaway house that Horace built for his wife Olivia. However, the writers have assured us that Horace and Olivia are a big part of Season 5 and the overall mythology. Still, I thought this cabin jumped around in space and time. Why would it be where the map said it was? And why didn’t Ben’s ring of ash keep it in place to begin with?

The weirdest part was the way that tree kept coming back up off the ground after Horace felled it. Did you notice that? Horace chopped it down, but then Locke looked up, and there it was again. Horace started over. Some kind of time loop was involved. My guess is that the Island used a real event in its own “memory,” one of Horace chopping down a tree decades ago, and dropped it into John’s sleeping consciousness, adding the part where Horace tells John to find him. Think like the Island for a second. You want to tell Locke that a map to the cabin is in Horace’s dead body’s shirt pocket. How would you do it?

“I can speak on his behalf”

This was the weirdest scene of the night. Maybe of the whole show. I just don’t know what to make of it. Christian Shepherd, as the producers have told us over and over again, is “one hundred percent dead.” His body crashed on the Island along with the plane, but when Jack found the coffin, it was empty. Does this mean that the Christian we saw in the Cabin is the body of the dead Christian inhabited by someone else’s consciousness? And what about Claire? She looked extremely creepy, as though she was privy to some kind of knowledge that we weren’t. She didn’t look like CLAIRE.

The only thing I can come up with (and I don’t even like it), is that perhaps the bodies of Christian Shepherd and Claire (who apparently died when Keamy’s RPG hit her house) have been reclaimed by disembodied consciousnesses on the Island. Perhaps by Horace and Olivia Goodspeed. Perhaps that’s all Jacob is…a disembodied consciousness that, like other people who die on the Island, survived physical death thanks to the Island’s crazy EM field.

I don’t like this explanation. It’s too supernatural. I don’t want my precious Lost Island to be riddled with ghosts, disembodied spirits, or reanimated corpses. It doesn’t fit the show. Hopefully something else is going on. Perhaps everything that Locke saw in the cabin was a manifestation of the Smoke Monster. I might like that better. All I know is that everything I thought I knew about the Island went poof during that scene in the cabin with Dead Jack-Daddy and Maybe-Dead Claire speaking to John “on behalf of” Jacob. I sincerely hope I don’t look back on that scene as the moment when Lost Jumped the Shark…

“He wants us to move the Island.”

My guess? Locke will use the Orchid Station to transport the entire Island through space, and perhaps time. What will that mean for the future of the show, though? Once the Oceanic 6 leave, will the rest of the survivors be transported to the North Pole circa 2910 B.C.? (The Dharma logo above has been seen twice. Once on Ben's stolen parka in Tunisia after he teleported there, and once on Keamy's file from Widmore regarding where Ben was likely to go in a last-ditch scenario. I'm guessing it's the logo for the Orchid, which we'll hopefully see soon.)

Stray Observations:

While Ben seems to be giving up his role as chosen one, I think he’s still manipulating the crap out of Locke.

I really, really hope Claire isn’t dead, and not just because she’s so darn cute.

I was disappointed that all of this anticipation over finding Jacob’s cabin ended in Jack’s dad “speaking on his behalf.” Just show us Jacob. Why wouldn’t Locke demand to see the Man himself? Why would he trust Christian Shepherd (a man he’s never met), and a strange version of Claire who looks like she’s on drugs? Me no sense make of ‘deece.

Why does Keamy have a heart monitor attached to a guitar tuner wrapped around his arm?


I retell the bizarre dream I had last night featuring the Island, Ben, Locke, Alex, a gunfight, a chase, and a new Dharma Station. I’m not kidding. At all.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Cabin Fever

Because of a relatively busy Fri-Sun, I was not able to rewatch Cabin Fever. And there's no way I'm writing about it without seeing it at least one more time. What a great episode.

Tomorrow, I swear.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

My Jewish Theory of Lost

This is probably all completely wrong, but it's a possible interpretation of the Island's original inhabitants, as well as Jacob and the Smoke Monster.

History LessonAncient Israel was attacked and destroyed a long, long time ago. The two tribes in the south, The Kingdom of Judah, where enslaved and became the Jews we read about in the Bible. The ten tribes in the north, the Kingdom of Israel, were exiled and scattered to the East. Today, they are known as the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel.

There are all kinds of crazy theories about where these tribes ended up, from South Africa to India to China. My theory is that they wound up on the Island.

1. The father of the Twelve Tribes was named Jacob.

2. One of his twelve sons was named Benjamin.

3. Ancient Israelite high priests wore chestplates called ephods that held black and white diving stones called Urim and Thummim.

4. The center of Israel was a Temple where a room called the Holy of Holies (or Tabernacle) was considered to be the dwelling-place of God.

5. When sacrificed to, summoned for protection, or angered, the "presence of the Lord" was made physically manifest as something called the Shekhinah.

Exodus 40:35 "And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle."

6. The Old Testament God was a warrior deity... well as a punitive one.Eko: "I ask for no forgiveness, Father, for I have not sinned. I have only done what I needed to do to survive." (Next scene, Smoke Monster kills Eko).

7. We've seen that the Others live by some kind of ethical code:

"Ben has commuted Juliet's sentence. Execution is off the table. He says the rules don't apply. He has, however, ordered her to be marked."
8. They've alluded to being a "chosen" group of people:

"What I meant to say is you are not capable of understanding. You are not on the list. The man who brought me here, who brought all my people here, he is a magnificent man..."9. And they've displayed some kind of culture of their own.
Am I way off? Probably. I don't imagine many people would be happy with the Smoke Monster being Yahweh, but that's not even what I'm suggesting. I'm just suggesting that the Ten Lost Tribes mistook a cloud of ferromagnetic particles embodied by the electromagnetic consciousness of the Island for a deity like El, Baal, or Yahweh.

Anyway, hopefully Charlotte will confirm or deny my theory when she sees this:

JJ Abrams, Damon Lindelof, and Carlton Cuse are Jewish.