Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

I haven't had much time to blog lately, but needless to say my episode reviews will be up as usual following the show. The only difference being it may take me a day or two longer to get them up with my new commute. I also have several half-finished posts I'll try and get up and running as well. Part of the lack of posting is that I'm really, really trying not to spoil myself for the opener, a feat which is becoming increasingly difficult given that several people on the internets have seen it. Note: I have NOT read those two linked articles and they probably contain spoilers!

In the comments of my previous post, Ana has a nice review of some of the extras on the DVD (which I haven't had time to watch yet - maybe Friday since I have it off). But she also asks the following question:
Do you think Walt is a part of the “everyone” that has to go back to the island?
I think this is one of the most interesting questions going into the new season, not just for Walt, but for Desmond too. Neither of them were officially part of the Oceanic 6, yet they're arguably the two most important characters on the show. Personally, I'd be shocked if both of them didn't return to the island at some point, but who knows?

I hope everyone has a safe, happy and fun New Year! Of course, with new LOST being just three weeks away, 2009 is already shaping up to be AWESOME! :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Because You Left

Title of the LOST season opener. There's a preview in the link as well, but I'm resisting. Getting harder each passing day though.

However, my Season 4 DVD has arrived. The only thing I've had time to do with the holidays and all is rewatch "The Constant," which may bump "Flashes Before Your Eyes" off the #1 spot in my LOST Top Ten Episodes list. Need to watch Flashes again to be sure.

How's everyone liking the DVD? Are the extra features great or meh?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

More Season 5 Lost Spoilage

Haven't clicked on it, didn't read it thanks to some out-of-nowhere willpower, but Ain't It Cool News has a full two minutes of the Season Premiere, along with some episode titles.

This is the hardest part of the wait now, balancing my thirst for anything LOST and not spoiling myself for the opener. *sigh*

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Season 5 Tidbits

Link via Fark. Won't comment in case people are worried about spoilers, although I can tell you it's not much (and may not be accurate, though it's supposed to come from Darlton).

Not to mention, with only 32 episodes to go, you know we're going to be getting heavy doses of plot and mythology. Seven more weeks! :)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

This Is What I'm Talking About!

Via Ain't It Cool News (click for biggy):


Also, check out this bizarre LOST thingy (future promo perhaps) with Sayid. Really don't know what to make of it, but it's cool looking, eh?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

January 21st, 2009

Best. Birthday. Present. Ever.

The day our long LOST nightmare is over also happens to be my birthday! Guess I'm going to need an island-shaped cake this year! Woohoo! :)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Wicked Beads

My good friend Missie just started an online store selling homemade jewelry, Wicked Beads. If you're looking for an original little something as a Christmas gift, check it out. :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Welcome To The Presidency, Mr. Obama...

Marvel used to have a recurring headline they often used whenever a superhero team got a new member: "Welcome to the _____, _____ ... hope you survive the experience." The issue that comes most to my mind is X-Men #171 when Rogue joined:

As ecstatic as I am over Obama winning, he's now being given a Presidency that's going to have to deal with a myriad of problems right off the bat, problems that are going to have to be solved (or at very least improved upon) quickly and successfully. It's a daunting task, to be sure, and while I believe that Obama's pragmatism and intelligence will be able to carry him through the mess that's he inheriting, I can't help but wonder if he feels at all daunted at the enormity of the task he now faces. One thing is for sure - he sure didn't show it last night. Simply an incredible moment in our nation's short history.

Couple election observations:

1) I just finished reading Millennial Makeover, which argued that not only would 2008 be a realigning election (I think the jury is still out on that one), but that it would be shaped by the largest generation to enter the voting population since the baby boomers. This year, I think they got it half right. Young voters (18-29), of which nearly all are from the Millennials, comprised 18% of the electorate and went for Obama 66-32%, the most overwhelmingly democratic group of the populace. Obama tapped into them by speaking to them on their level, through the internet and on cell phones, and by calling them into service. But the democratic tidal wave down ballot that most pundits expected really didn't materialize as House and Senate candidates seem to have generally underperformed expectations and several ballot measures were defeated as well.

But the thing to remember here is that the entire Millennial Generation won't fully reach voting age until 2020. In some ways, Obama would have been better off running in 2012 or 2016 since they'll make up a much larger share of the electorate then. But if Obama has a successful first term and lives up to the very gaudy expectations of this group, I think the democratic tsunami could actually come in 2010 (a redistricting year) and 2012, because there will be such a larger portion of the electorate. No pressure.

2) Obama ran one of the best campaigns I've ever seen - he won Indiana on the ground game alone - and it will be dissected, analyzed and likely copied by everyone who runs four years from now. Check out the NY Times' take on Obama's campaign - great read.

3) And if you want something completely different, check out this hilarious roundtable discussion Red State had yesterday while they were killing time (it used to be on their front page, but I guess they took it down). A sample:

An anniversary has recently passed. On October 25, 3018 ThirdAge, Elrond Half-elven, son of Eärendil of the line of Thingol,bearer of Vilya the great Ring of Power, made a critical decisionfor his people.

Rather than allow the last remaining outposts of the Elves atImladris and Lothlórien continue without disruption from theoutside world, he chose to invest the Elves in a grand global fightto rob Sauron of his power permanently, in the process destroyingthe Rings of Power of his own and Galadriel's. At the Council ofElrond, a Fellowship was constructed, representing Elves, Men,Wizards, Dwarves, and Halflings, all united by a supposed commoncause.

But where are the Elves now? All gone West. Was this great actof foreign policy by Elrond a self-destructive act? Would Elves nothave been better off allowing Sauron to remain, acting as acounterweight to the Men, and preventing Men from being anundisputed hyperpower in Middle-earth?


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Lost Season 5 Promo!

Oh. My. God.

Couple things to notice here:

1) Several of the clips are of LOST events way in the past: especially the Beechcraft falling from the cliff and someone coming out of what looks like the Swan back entrance. Juliet also finds a very familiar looking Hatch buried in the ground. Are we seeing all round time travel here?

2) Jack's underground with a mining helmet

3) Hurley and Juliet have guns

4) Locke has a compass

5) Interestingly there's no sign of Desmond. Does he have to go back as well?

I can't believe we still have three more months of waiting! Argh!

The Worst Consequence Of The Oceanic Six Leaving The Island

Remember folks, don't go off on a suicidal bender and forget to vote. :)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Wedding Props

Em and I just got back from our short, but sweet, honeymoon and went back to the grind yesterday. The wedding was, with no hyperbole whatsoever, pretty much as perfect as can be. The only thing that really was a bit awkward was people getting there early and not wanting to sit outside on a crisp October day while simultaneously the reception hall crew didn't want them in the big room while they were setting up. But this was all easily remedied by a quickly opened open bar in one of the side rooms. :)

Because everything went so well, I wanted to throw a couple props out to a few of our vendors who were so wonderful and helpful on our big day.

1) West Sayville Country Club - One could recommend this on the location and price alone given that, while it's not as elegant as some of the other Lessings venues on Long Island, it still provides a beautiful view of the bay and is considerably cheaper. But the real reason to go with West Sayville is because of their sales manager, Stephen Braun, who is not only one of the most professional, helpful and organized people I've ever met, but he and his staff made putting everything together incredibly easy and took a lot of stress off us on the day itself. He also went out of his way to let us personalize our menu (extra passed apps, less chafing dishes, top shelf liquor of specific brands), but he also spent several hours with us on multiple days to go over everything and get everything right. You can't put a price on that kind of attention, but it was worth it's weight in wedding cake. Going to have a LI wedding? Go with West Sayville, absolutely. Additional big props to Dawn, the maitre d’ at our wedding, who was as fabulous and organized as Steve. The day simply wouldn't have happened if she wasn't there directing everything.

2) A Starry Night - Gabriela was our DJ from A Starry Night, a Manhattan based DJ/Live Music company that also handles weddings on Long Island. We booked Gabriela early (actually she was the first person we called) because she handled my brother's wedding two years ago in Manhattan and was simply fabulous. Our wedding was no different. Everything we wanted her to play, she played. Everything we didn't want her to play she didn't (buh-bye, Chicken Dance). We also needed a microphone for our outside ceremony that she graciously supplied. She was professional and a complete delight to work with and I can't recommend her enough. You can check out her bio here along with all the other Starry Night DJs.

3) Laura Ryan Photography - We haven't gotten back our photos yet from Laura, so this is a bit of an advance plug. But she was such a delight to work with and has such a large portfolio of wonderful brides and grooms, I have no doubt they're going to be spectacular. Laura actually had her own wedding at West Sayville on 07/07/07, which is how we found her, so she knew all the best places to take photos backwards and forwards. We really lucked out with the weather, so she took us down to the marina to get a few sweet shots in the remaining sunlight of the day. Highly recommended, especially if you choose West Sayville. She also has a blog you can check out and comment on.

4) The Boathouse B&B - Okay, this isn't one of our wedding vendors, but it is THE best B&B we've ever stayed in. Our room had a gas fireplace, hot tub and balcony overlooking the water. That alone is terrific, but it's really the little details that made it an incredible stay. The fridge, microwave, sink, glasses for wine, cheese board and knife, a corkscrew and ice bucket - all small things that made our stay perfect. We had brought a bottle of wine and some snacks up for our first evening after the drive, planning to relax in the tub and unwind. It was like everything was set up perfectly for us.

And the breakfasts were fabulous too. Joe and Patti run the place - Joe greets and brings coffee while Patti cooks. Every meal had a fruit starter (we had strawberries and cream, honeydew melon, and yogurt and apples), a main course (breakfast "pizza" with scrambled eggs and bacon over flatbread, a fried pancake with sauteed peaches and apples and a fritatta with hash browns and patty sausage) and a fruity, frozen palate cleanser for dessert. Twas interesting conversation too, since breakfast was only served at one time (9am) , forcing everyone to sit down together in sort of a little social experiment. There were a pair of Australians staying there so we asked them what they thought of the American election. Sparked some very fun discussion.

The Boathouse is also only a ten minute walk from the historic Sagamore Hotel and has an agreement with the place so guests can use the Sagamore facilities (mainly the gym and pool) with a card Joe and Patti provide. It also gives you 10% off any of the other Sagamore services (restaurants, spa, gift shops). We ate at the Grill steakhouse one night (the Trillium restaurant was sadly closed for a private party) and had cocktails on the Veranda. Very cool.

I can't recommend The Boathouse enough. It's not cheap, especially in season, but well worth every penny. And Joe and Patti were simply a delight as our hosts. If you're ever looking for a getaway in upstate NY, check and see if they have any availability.

Lastly, in case you're curious, we do have two sets of wedding photos already online by a couple of our terrific shutterbug guests. Now it's back to the grind again, although it's so nice not to have to talk about wedding planning anymore. Only one more month until the LOST Season 4 DVD! :)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Random Thoughts (and a Mets postmortem)

Sheesh, it's been a while since I posted. My wedding's in a week and I'm buried trying to do wedding stuff and preparing at work for my time off. Few random things on my mind, pop culture and entertainment-wise:

* Em and I are almost finished with the fourth season of "House" and IMHO it's really the best season we've been treated to since the first. And while I'm a bit sad at the diminished role Chase, Cameron and Foreman have, I love all the new characters immensely. :)

* Watched Persepolis the other day too. Terrific, highly recommended.

* Now that my wounds from the Mets' second last-day-of-the-season elimination in a row have scabbed over, I thought I'd revisit my Mets thoughts I posted back in June before Willie was fired. Here's a bit of what I posted along with some current commentary:
Pelfrey is starting to look like a bust to me, since he still can't throw a breaking pitch for a strike, but he's young, cheap and doesn't come with a giant, expensive boot on his foot *seething anger at Omar*.
Shortly after I wrote this, Mike discovered how to throw a breaking pitch for a strike and started challenging hitters. He ended up having a terrific season (13-11, 3.72, 200IP) and is really one of the brightest spots of the entire season for the Mets, who now have a solid 25-year-old #2, #3 workhorse starting pitcher under their control for the next four years. Couldn't have been more wrong about Mike.

The Mets do, however, need to purge all the old bench scrubs on their team. Since they currently sport one of the worst benches in baseball, why not bring up a bunch of young guys and give them a chance? It'll certainly be more entertaining to watch them fail than Fernando Tatis and Raul Casanova. Who knows, it might give the team some badly needed energy. Did anyone have any faith in Marlon Anderson when he came up last night in the ninth? I certainly didn't - he's been injured and awful this year. Seems the shine's off Endy too, dead last on the team with a -7.3 VORP (although he at least can still play defense).
Despite Tatis' resurgence (and hustle, have to give him that), I still stand by this. Anderson was awful all year long, Casanova and Endy hit a bit, but got far too many at bats with the injuries to Church and Castro. Their return and the development of Dan Murphy and Nick Evans, however, rectifies this a bit for next season. Anderson will certainly be gone, Tatis and Casanova possibly and rumor is Omar's going to attempt to find some sucker to take Luis Castillo off our hands. Teh bench will be stronger (and younger) next year.

Delgado should just be cut outright and Mike Carp should be brought up. Even if he fails, it's still better than watching Carlos' corpse flail at another double down the line.
Um, yeah. Well, to be fair, everyone else was wrong on Delgado too.

If I were Wilpons, I'd get rid of Omar too. I'm not a huge Willie fan, but I'm convinced Omar is more of the problem than Randolph. Omar simply places too much value on players he's familiar with and is obsessed with going with experienced veterans instead of youngsters. Yes, yes, he can sign the big-name free agent and maybe without him we wouldn't have Beltran or Santana. The trade for John Maine was also a steal. But think about this bench he's assembled. Think about the contract he handed to Castillo this offseason, El Duque last season. Think about Heath Bell, Brian Bannister, Ruben Gotay. Think about his fascinations with Brian Lawrence, Chan Ho Park, and... *shudder*... Jose Lima. I really think the main reason this team is struggling is because of how it's been assembled, not how it's being managed.
I stand by this as well. It infuriates me that Omar was given a contract extension. Omar excels at one thing, luring and signing the big free agent. That's it. His eye for talent is horrible and his fascination with experience over youth backfires more often than not (Castillo, Alou, El Duque, his fifth starter merry-go-rounds). Jerry Manuel did a fine job, but Omar shares a large portion of the blame for constructing an old, expensive roster that kept breaking down all season long.

So what do the Mets do for next year? Well, we know Alou and El Duque's contracts will be up - that frees up about 14.5 million in salary right there. Then they have make decisions on three players: Pedro, Delgado and Oliver Perez. I think Delgado will be back, Pedro will be gone and it's 50/50 whether they re-sign Oliver. If Church is okay and the front office is okay with the Murphy/Evans platoon in left (and I think they are) then the priorities in the offseason will be:

1) Find a pitcher or three for the starting rotation (depending on the status of John Maine and whether they re-sign Perez).
2) Shore up the bullpen (and figure out who's going to close).

If Omar's able to trade Castillo so Murphy can play second, even better, but I'm not holding my breath. Personally, I'd throw everything I had at Sabathia before I gave Oliver a huge contract, but I certainly wouldn't be broken up if they re-signed him.

* Haven't really been following the Lost ARG and though I occasionally click over to Lostpedia's summary page, there really doesn't seem to be much there aside from the Pierre Chang video. Anyone following?

* I haven't seen another "Fringe" episode since the first. How's the season going? Anyone still watching? :(

Hope everyone's having a good fall. Hopefully my life will slow down a bit in a couple (very happy) weeks. Cheers!

Monday, September 15, 2008

"Fringe" Review

Man, this show wants to be the "X-Files," like, SO BAD.

Em and I watched the rebroadcast of the pilot last night. I have mixed feelings.

The Good:

1) Certainly captures the "X-Files" vibe, with an FBI agent getting an excuse to investigate spooky phenomena with hints of a shadowy government conspiracy behind the scenes. Being set in Boston is also a cool plus

2) Very good chemistry between the main leads and an excellent supporting cast, headlined by the evil, bald black guy from "Lost"

3) Anna Torv, the female lead, looks an awful lot like a young Cate Blanchett (I know I've at least got Matt's attention now).

4) The first five minutes of the show featured someone's jaw melting off. Mega cool bonus points

5) One of the (possibly) shadowy evil organization members is a woman with a very cool looking robotic arm. Good villain potential there and the special effects on the arm were top-notch

The Bad:

1) One of the things that I loved about the X-Files is how much of the time it went out of it's way to provide scientific explanations for supernatural phenomena. This show disregards all science entirely openly embracing supernatural phenomena. Okay, fine, I love that sort of thing too.

But the real implausibility of the show is how they dealt with regular stuff. We're supposed to believe:

A) That an insane scientist, committed to an institution for 17 years for experimenting on human subjects, could be easily and casually released by a low level FBI agent and the scientist's son

B) That Harvard would actually keep the insane scientist's lab in mothballs for said 17 years rather than using the space for something else.

C) That the FBI has the power to purchase half a billion dollars worth of lab equipment and set up a lab within 24 hours, including buying a live cow to live on the premises (seriously)

D) That within the same time frame (after the lab is set up) the mad scientist is able to synthesize (not purchase) whatever compounds he needs for his insane experiments.

I know this is all simply set up for the show, but the implausibility of the real world stuff to me greatly took away from the supernatural/pseudoscience stuff. There just wasn't any contrast there.

2) The shadowy conspiracy plot is already sounding like a pale X-Files imitation and the whole show seems to be trying to make itself to be a "new and hip" X-Files - gorier, sexier and more action-oriented. Sometimes that can work well, but I'm not so sure it will here. Depends on how they develop the characters and the plot.

3) At the end of the episode, the camera focuses on a "leaf symbol" on a door inside one of the shadowy organization's main buildings. Two seconds later I get a text from Evan: "The Leaf Station?" Exactly what I was thinking. *sigh*

All-in-all I did enjoy the show for pure entertainment value and eye candy and I'll watch the next episode on Tuesday, but I'm certainly not hooked yet. Anyone else catch it? Thoughts?

Friday, August 29, 2008

What Would Mr. Paik Say?

Looks like Daniel Dae Kim rocked out with Obama last night in Denver. Somehow I don't think Jin's father-in-law would approve. It was so funny seeing his face suddenly pop up on screen last night. That's Kelly Hu with him, by the way.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Who's Not Dying Next Season

That would be Dr. Shephard, who's now getting $225,000 per episode. Looks like Evangeline's in negotiations too.

Of course, this doesn't necessarily mean they won't be killed, especially since it would now be financially beneficial to the show to kill them off. ;)

Incidentally, I finally pre-ordered my Lost Season 4 DVD, which isn't due out until December 9th. I know they want hype to build for the Christmas season and all, but given the show's really, really long hiatus wouldn't one think it would be better to release it around the beginning of the new TV season to dredge the show out of the bottom of everyone's mind? Or am I just being really, really impatient?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Pierre Chang

If you haven't seen the trippy, new video from the San Diego Comic Con yet, Lostpedia has it. In we learn:

1) Marvin Candlemundwax's real name is Pierre Chang
2) He has son or daughter somewhere
3) Daniel (!) seems like he's traveled back in time about 30 years to tell him of the future

It's actually pretty neat - at one point Chang, also wistfully clutches his arm. Nice touch. Go watch it - time IS the essence! :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Anyone out there? I've been overloaded the past month or two - commuting four hours without a laptop (yet) does suck away a good deal of possible blogging time, as does sending out wedding invitations, attending functions every single weekend and starting a new job. *sigh*

There's like nothing LOST related out there at all. Lostpedia blog has a roundup of the Comic-Con happenings, which I haven't really been following. Lost ROFL has a few entertaining things to browse as well. Michael Emerson has a second chance to win a well-deserved Emmy this year (and he so better win). Good to see the show itself unstiffed in that regard as well.

Is it January yet?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Month-Long Musings

Hellooooooo everyone!

Yes, I'm alive. My transition from Sinai to Yale sucked a bit more of my time away than I anticipated. I'm actually still getting used to the long commute, my new environs and having less free time than I anticipated, something which is only going to continue to decrease as my wedding date approaches. I still hope to be able to blog some between now and then, plus considerably more often once it's over (and the new season starts next year). But my schedule's going to be somewhat unpredictable between now and then considering Em and I really don't even have a weekend free between now and our wedding. :P

And boy, there's like noooooooooooo Lost news whatsoever right now, is there? I really wish the DVD set was released in September to at least tide us over. *sigh*

How's everyone's summer going? See any good movies? Going to see "Dark Knight" this weekend?

Friday, June 27, 2008


Chris is right. These may be the two most spectacularly awesome comic book panels in history. :)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


So... very... tired. Work is simply overwhelming right now - I have a ton of stuff to finish before I begin my postdoctoral fellowship, and once that's done I have a postdoctoral fellowship grant to write. Bleah.

But the good news is that I finally got my comics I ordered. Apparently they got the address wrong the first time and they were shipped back, but as soon as I have time to scan them in I can write a few comic posts. I have to say that "Secret Wars," for a cheap marketing gimmick created to tie in with a failed toy line, was just as much fun to read as I remembered. The entire story has its ups and downs, but the last three issues featured Dr. Doom at his very evil best which makes up for a lot of the fluff in between.

Anyhoo, as soon as I emerge from the lab, I'll have a few things up. In the meantime, I highly recommend "Get Smart" - was much, much more fun than I expected it to be and the entire cast looked like they had a blast making it.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Octagon Global Recruiting

Hey, I just got an e-mail from the DHARMA Initiative! Check it out:
Octagon Global Recruiting

Octagon Global Recruiting, on behalf of the Dharma Initiative, would like to thank you for registering your expression of interest in our latest volunteer recruitment drive.

We will be launching in San Diego on July 24th at Comic-Con International offering select registrants the opportunity to take an exciting aptitude test that will give applicants the chance to demonstrate their unique talents.

The Dharma Initiative hopes you will be able to join us to find out more about their ground-breaking new research project. We will contact you closer to the date with more information.

For those not able to join us in San Diego, Dharma's full recruitment program will be made available online to registered recruits after July 27th.

In the meantime, the Dharma Initiative urges you to spread the word. Invite your colleagues to join the team at and take part in this once in a lifetime opportunity.
This message and its attachments are confidential and may contain information which is protected by copyright. It is intended solely for the named addressee. If you are not the authorised recipient (or responsible for delivery of the message to the authorised recipient), you must not use, disclose, print, copy or deliver this message or its attachments to anyone. If you receive this email in error, please contact the sender immediately and permanently delete this message and its attachments from your system. Any content of this message and its attachments that does not relate to the official business of the Dharma Initiative or its subsidiaries must be taken not to have been sent or endorsed by any of them. No representation is made that this email or its attachments are without defect or that the contents express views other than those of the sender.
While I certainly won't be there, I'm looking forward to hearing what all this is about. Anyone going? :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Busy week again. Finished "The Time Traveler's Wife" and I'll have an extended review up eventually, but suffice it to say it was one of the most wonderful books I've ever read.

Turns out they're making it into a movie, coming out this Christmas, with Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams - to me, two very odd casting choices for Henry and Clare, who have become two of my favorite characters of all time. I do hope they're able to do the book justice.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Brown Paper Packages...

With the hiatus upon us, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite things on teh internets and I invite y'all to do the same. I figure it might give all some entertaining things to do since there's not going to be much LOST to write about in the next several months. These are five of my local pit stops on the internet. I have a lot of pit stops, so I tried to pick (non-Lost related) things all on different topics that might interest people - and I also tried to pick stuff that people might not know about.

1. Five Thirty Eight - If you're a politics and/or statistics junkie, this site is like caffeine-laced crack dissolved in Mountain Dew. While electoral prediction sites are abundant on the net, I was thrilled to discover that this one is run by Nate Silver, one of the grand gentlemen who runs my very favorite baseball site on the internet, Baseball Prospectus.

BP uses an incredible statistical model called PECOTA, created by Nate, to predict how a player will perform in a given season based on various parameters (age, past performance, injury history, plate discipline, etc...). Five Thirty Eight applies a similar method to the electoral college, predicting how well Obama and McCain will do in various states using a statistical model based on polls and various demographics. The model held up incredibly well throughout the primary season and now Nate will be gearing up the site for the general election. Can't recommend it enough if you follow politics.

Oh, and how hot is Nate right now? His site just got a write up in Newsweek.

2. Fark, Top Links - I've been a member of Fark for nearly five years now and a member of TotalFark for almost as long (and a Top 100 submitter there, thank you very much). While I don't spend as much time there as I used to (although TotalFark is still the best $5/month you'll ever spend and the TF Secret Santa is one of my favorite little joys of the season), I usually make it a daily stop to check out the Top Links page.

These are the best headlines/articles voted by the TF community. A link can make it either on headline or content alone. At the end of the year, the best annual headlines are voted on to choose both an overall winner and individual winners in several categories (Best Sports Headline, Best Punning Headline, etc...). TotalFarkers can read all the voted headlines (there's a longer list that appears if you're a member) and all the comment thread (Farkers can only read greenlit threads), but anyone can click on the actual associated stories on the left hand side.

Since these are the top voted stories, it's an easy way (kind of one-stop shopping) of browsing popular/entertaining stuff circulating around the web.

3. The Hot Sauce Blog - I'm a serious hot sauce junkie. I use it in place of ketchup (which I oddly can't stand) and my tolerance at this point is pretty much through the roof. One of my former roommates used to frequently wonder how in the world I could even taste anything since my taste buds should have been burned off long ago.

The Hot Sauce Blog takes their hot sauces seriously. They review anything and everything and I've gotten quite a few suggestions on different things to try from them. All their reviews are neatly organized in the sidebar - if you're looking for something new, just click and browse. Bar none, it's the best hot sauce resource on the internet.

4. Baseball Think Factory - This is my one-stop shopping for baseball headlines. The BTF is filled with incredibly intelligent fans (much moreso than i), journalists and columnists (including the fabulous Tim Marchman of the New York Sun and Howard Megdal of the New York Observer) all discussing the pertinent baseball stories of the day. The news headlines on the front page are generally some of the best baseball writing and news on the web. Big stories make it there, but also lesser known stories of interest, generally with a statistical bent.

5. Penny and Aggie - I love webcomics. Lots of webcomics.

Some of my favorites, in no particular order are:

Least I Can Do - Guy humor. Really, really, really funny guy humor.
Questionable Content - Drama and music. With robots.
Scary Go Round - The most bizarrely creative comic on the internet. Pure joy.
Zebra Girl - Beautiful art. Fun story. I wish Joe would update it regularly. *sigh*
Grim Tales/PPGD - Bleedman's art rocks and I love what he's done with familiar characters

But Penny and Aggie has the best current storyline right now and it's probably not as well known as some of the comics above. I wrote a previous review of P&A on StumbleUpon a while ago and said:
Think "Archie," but meaner and nastier - like real high school. Penny's the Veronica Lodge of the comic - rich, beautiful, even smart (although she hides it). She's also an alpha female - vindictive and cunning. Throw in a pinch of non-trashy Paris Hilton (if you can imagine that) and that's Penny.

Her nemesis is the strip's Betty Drake, Aggie - pretty, intelligent, and ambitious. The product of two hippies, she's an uber-liberal too; a political, vegetarian, peace-loving environmentalist who always speaks her mind. She hates everything Penny stands for: The popular Barbie Girl who's more style than substance. Aggie constantly taunts her, which causes Penny to retaliate, which prompts more taunts, lather, rinse, repeat, etc...

Ironically though, if the two of them actually sat down and talked, they'd find they're not as different as they'd like to believe.
I was blissfully ignorant in high school, so I was never really involved in any of the class warfare going on. Just kinda got along with everyone - played poker with the jocks, played video games with my friends - and I really didn't care about being popular, which seems to me to have been the key. But I imagine a lot of you can relate to the strip and the social dynamics of the age.

Right now, the comic's in the midst of it's most ambitious storyline yet, and I find myself looking forward to new strips more than any other I read. I can't recommend it enough. Check out all the archives online to get the full backstory. Fabulous art too.

So that's my five. Anyone have anything sites they want to share? Blog it, post in the comments and I'll provide a link. :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Mets Rant

I don't want to get off on a rant here, but I'm having a crappy enough week as it is without my favorite baseball team piling on with their supremely sucky play. Bugs and Cranks today lists six things they'd do to fix the Mets. I started to write a comment there, but it ended up turning into a longish rant, so I figured I'd just post it here instead. Their six:

1. Trade Carlos Delgado, Aaron Heilman and ___ to Cincinnati for Adam Dunn
2. Demote Mike Pelfrey
3. Trade Carlos Beltran
4. Find another home for Moises Alou
5. Two catchers at a time, please
6. Promote from within

While I agree wholeheartedly with #4, #5, and #6, #3 is just silly, we have no real replacement for #2 and #1 doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of happening. I'd love Dunn on the team, but unless the Mets were willing to give up F-Mart (and they aren't), they ain't getting him. Pelfrey is starting to look like a bust to me, since he still can't throw a breaking pitch for a strike, but he's young, cheap and doesn't come with a giant, expensive boot on his foot *seething anger at Omar*. And trading Beltran doesn't make any sense - he's third on the team in VORP this year at 14.5, low for him but still good, and he's under our control for the next three seasons.

The Mets do, however, need to purge all the old bench scrubs on their team. Since they currently sport one of the worst benches in baseball, why not bring up a bunch of young guys and give them a chance? It'll certainly be more entertaining to watch them fail than Fernando Tatis and Raul Casanova. Who knows, it might give the team some badly needed energy. Did anyone have any faith in Marlon Anderson when he came up last night in the ninth? I certainly didn't - he's been injured and awful this year. Seems the shine's off Endy too, dead last on the team with a -7.3 VORP (although he at least can still play defense).

They also need to start shopping people. Alou, Heilman and Schoeneweis all have less-than-negative value right now. Oliver Perez could interest a contending team. Luis Castillo has actually been reasonably productive and maybe could get a, team to take on that horrible contract of his. Delgado should just be cut outright and Mike Carp should be brought up. Even if he fails, it's still better than watching Carlos' corpse flail at another double down the line.

If I were Wilpons, I'd get rid of Omar too. I'm not a huge Willie fan, but I'm convinced Omar is more of the problem than Randolph. Omar simply places too much value on players he's familiar with and is obsessed with going with experienced veterans instead of youngsters. Yes, yes, he can sign the big-name free agent and maybe without him we wouldn't have Beltran or Santana. The trade for John Maine was also a steal. But think about this bench he's assembled. Think about the contract he handed to Castillo this offseason, El Duque last season. Think about Heath Bell, Brian Bannister, Ruben Gotay. Think about his fascinations with Brian Lawrence, Chan Ho Park, and... *shudder*... Jose Lima. I really think the main reason this team is struggling is because of how it's been assembled, not how it's being managed.

But the biggest problem here is that the Mets are trapped. Aside from Carp (who probably isn't ready yet, but couldn't be much worse than what they've got), they really have no one in the minors they can turn to for reinforcements. And it's too early in the season to start selling off players (although you can start gauging interest now). But the team needs a shakeup in the worst way, so here's what I'd do:

1. Release Delgado, call up Mike Carp from AA
2. Release Tatis, demote Casanova. Call up Chris Aguila (LF, .968 OPS) and the awesomely named Valentino Pascucci (RF, 1.008) from AAA
3. Start shopping

And, if this team doesn't improve by the break, Jeff and Fred need to find another general manager to run the mid-summer fire sale in Queens.

ADDENDUM: Ask and you shall receive. The Mets call up Aguila, DFAing Abraham Nunez. Hey, it's a start.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Work's really busy right now. Should calm down by the end of the week. Here's an amusing Lost link that I don't have the time right now to expound upon. Here's another.

Just started "The Time Traveler's Wife." Only about 30 pages in, but I love, love, love it so far. :)

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Summer Wind...

... came blowin' in... with a new Lost Experience webgame. :)

Looks like it anyway. I mentioned that ABC ad that aired during the finale in my review from Octagon Global Recruiting, which asks you to enter an e-mail for a recruiting drive in San Diego, July 24th-27th.

Turns out, those dates happen to coincide with this year's San Diego Comic-Con. Can you say webgame, boys and girls? I probably won't have time to play given I'll have just started my postdoc, but I'll certainly keep tabs on how it's going. Any of you going to play?

Friday, May 30, 2008

Lost Episode Review 4.13, 4.14: "There's No Place Like Home, Parts 2 & 3"

: "I hope you're happy now, Jacob."

Four seasons down, only two left to go. :(

Overall, I liked last night's episode. It fell a little bit short of my expectations, I think, because 1) by the end, it wasn't a surprise (to me), that Locke was in the coffin and 2) I think I was a bit put off by the way the writers handled the moving the Island bit.

Wasn't it Locke's destiny to move the Island ("Just wait until you see what I'm going to do")? Wasn't Locke the one who spoke to Jacob? Why didn't Jacob tell Locke what he had to do? And why did Ben suddenly feel all uncharacteristically magnanimous? Was he trying to make up for the fact he was responsible for the death of everyone on the freighter? I dunno. To me it just made the whole trip to the cabin feel like much ado about nothing.

But those are minor quibbles. The sun is shining, the birds are singing and Desmond is still alive and reunited with Penny. I'm so happy. :)

LOTS of questions today. Really the finale, even though it tied up a bunch of loose ends and showed us who's in the coffin, still gave us more questions than answers. So...

1. Where did the island go?

It probably traveled in both space and time, given that Ben was transported halfway around the world and ten months into the future. This also means Ben really didn't go to Tunisia with the express purpose of recruiting Sayid, he just happened to see him on TV and took advantage of the situation. So why is this a side effect of moving the island? Does moving the ice wheel open up a wormhole between that cavern and Tunisia? Seems very "Being John Malkovich" to me. :)

But if the Island has now been transported anywhere in space and time, it certainly answers two things: 1) Why Widmore can't find it and 2) likely how the Black Rock became lodged in the middle of the jungle. Chances are, the Island simply appeared out of nowhere underneath it sometime in the past!

Question now is, how are they going to find it again? Fumiko thinks Walt's going to be the key. Of course, if all the dead people on the island can contact the O6, one would think they could get some directions. Which brings us to...

2. What happened to Locke and how did he get off the island?

I'm guessing we won't get an answer to this until Season 6 (see below). Really the "who's in the coffin" question has just changed to "what happened to the person in the coffin" and it took us a full season to get that one answered. *sigh*

But even though we'll still see plenty of Locke through (presumably) flashbacks, I wonder if he's now going to go all Obi-Wan Kenobi on everyone? His character's always been kinda shamanistic, I wonder if his destiny now is really to become Jack's spirit guide and help him find his way. It is kind of puzzling too why the Island even allowed Locke to die. You would think if it went out of its way to protect Jack and the rest of the O6 (I really don't think Aaron survived the helicopter crash by pure turnip baby mojo alone), the Island wouldn't want Locke, its new chosen son, to be dead unless it was for a specific purpose. Maybe Locke HAD to die in order to convince them all to return. And maybe now that he's dead, he's really become "more powerful than you can ever imagine."

It's looking more and more like Jack might be the real man of destiny on the show. After all, Matthew Fox is purportedly the only cast member who knows how the show is going to end.

3. Does everyone have to go back?

If Locke's corpse is needed to get the Oceanic 6 back on the Island, it seems the "everyone" Ben mentioned is rather inclusive. Does this mean they need Ben, Desmond, Frank and Walt to back too? Is there anyone else I'm missing?

And, of course, this sets up all sorts of delicious plot devices for next season. Indeed it's one of the things that I thought the finale (and Season 4 in general) did exceptionally well. Kate's now a parolee that can't leave the state and she's been told by Claire NOT to bring Aaron back. Ben's trying to kill Penny and Desmond likely won't be wanting to leave Penny's side.

And then, in what was best scene of the episode, Sun actually wants to work with Widmore! In the words of the great Dread Pirate Roberts this might put a damper on their relationship.


4. Has Sun really gone over to the side of... *raised pinky*... eeeeeevil?

The scene with Sun and Widmore was simply fabulous. It was the one scene in the episode where I really jumped off the couch with excitement. Dark Sun (which was actually the name of an old Dungeons and Dragons expansion set - yes, I'm a geek) offers so many plot possibilities it makes my head spin! And you just know Yunjin Kim would be simply fabulous in the role. If Sayid and Sun went at it, I'm not sure who I'd put my money on...

And we know Sun has a dark side too; how she got her maid fired to keep herself out of trouble and how she had an affair which not only got her lover killed, but was responsible for Jin becoming her father's hit man as well. But what is she trying to accomplish here? Does she want to get back to the Island? Does she blame Jack (or, possibly, Ben) and want revenge? Does she think Jin is still alive? Speaking of which...

5. Is Jin really dead?

One would think so, but it's possible he was blown off the freighter and into the radius of the island's teleportation perimeter. After which he could have been...

6. What happened to Daniel and the raft?

....picked up by Daniel and the raft. I'm assuming, since Daniel would certainly have seen the helicopter crash if he wasn't transported with the Island, that he was transported along with it. And maybe, just maybe, Jin was transported too and Daniel will swoop by and pick him up. Certainly looks like the raft was in the field, given the light here...

The one thing that makes me think Jin might be still alive is that he's the one person who could bring Sun back from the dark side (and maybe finding out he's still alive will prevent her from doing something horrible at a critical juncture).

7. Where are Penny, Desmond and Frank now? Does Widmore know where they are?

I guess the real question here is how much contact does Penny have with her dad? On one hand, if Ben wants to kill her, you would think Widmore would certainly want to warn her and keep tabs on her so make sure she's okay. But on the other hand, he hates Desmond so you would think they'd want to sever all contact with him and find someplace to hole up and live happily ever after.

And do they take Frank along? You would think he could probably return to his "normal" life if he wanted. But you would also think that if he did, Abaddon would have tracked him down to find out what happened to everyone. Is he living the good life with them somewhere?

BTW, when the chopper went down, I was so afraid Frank and Desmond were dead. I loved how they resolved it with Penny's boat. If it weren't for the Sun/Widmore scene, the Desmond/Penny reunion would have been my favorite of the episode.

8. Was Charlotte born on the island?

Oh, so tantalizing. Two throw away little lines that we'll probably not get an answer to for a long while. I'm betting Charlotte is the daughter of someone in the DI and somehow managed to escape the purge. Does she know Annie, Ben's childhood friend? Is she really Annie herself?

Man, I really want a Charlotte flashback.

9. Where's the real "magic box?"

Okay, so the Orchid isn't the magic box, it's just the DI's boring, old teleportation station. So where's the freakin' magic box then? Is it at the Temple? I bet we're not getting an answer to this one until the final season too. :P

10. How will the show be structured the next two seasons?

Fumiko and I were talking about this this morning. What makes it so difficult is that there are essentially three remaining storylines:

1) How the Oceanic 6 (and their friends) get back to the Island
2) What happened on the Island after it was teleported
3) What happens once the Oceanic Six get back to the Island

The only way I can see the show resolving these storylines given its present structure is if next season focuses on Jack and Ben struggling to get their band back together (#1), along with on-Island flashforwards showing bits and pieces of what they find when they return (part of #3). Thus, next season would end showing how the O6 actually returned to the Island in real time, kind of in parallel of how this past season was structured. Then, in the final season, we get the climax of the show (#3) structured around flashbacks of what happened on-Island after the Island was transported (#2).

Of course, if this is true, we probably won't find out what happened to Locke until Season 6. Bleah. But I really can't think of any other way they can do it unless they eliminate the flashbacks or forwards because the cast is so separated right now and you can't have a full season focusing on only half the cast! Anyone else have any ideas here?

Other Tidbits:

* It was nice to see Sayid kick some ass.

*Missie, over e-mail today:
"I am disappointed with Walt's lack of inquiry about Vincent. In fact, I'm just bummed we haven't seen much of Vincent lately at all"
"My [baseball] fantasy team next year may be called "Time Travelin' Bunnies."
That's just awesome.

* Selected thoughts from Matt, also over e-mail:
I wouldn't have had a hard time with Ben killing Keamy, but I do find it hard to believe that he took him out mano-a-mano with a knife. Keamy had just gone toe-to-toe with Sayid and lived to tell the tale, after all.

Even though I'm sick of "Christian," and more than sick of Michael, I thoroughly enjoyed Christian showing up to give Michael his pink slip.

Juliet, seeing Sawyer climb back onto the beach: "I'm missing Jack a lot less than I thought I would."

Sawyer, seeing Juliet half way into a bottle of Dharma Rum at the end of his swim: "I'm missing Kate a lot less than I thought I would."

Google "Jeremy Bentham auto icon." You won't be disappointed. Perhaps Season Five will be an acceptable substitute for the long awaited "Weekend at Bernie's III."
I just want to say here I thought the Sawyer cheesecase was totally gratuitous. Juliet and Kate both looked fabulous the past few episodes though. Wonder who does Jules' hair on the Island? ;)

* From my e-mail to Missie and Matt:
Could we be witnessing an evil Sun rise? Could the next two seasons bring us evil under the Sun? The punsabilities are endless!
I couldn't resist.

* Dark UFO, via Get Lost Podcast, has a collection of screencaps from the frozen donkey wheel room. Anyone see anything interesting?

* Uncle Fester?

* Sawyer called Jack "Sunshine" and Frank "Kenny Rogers"

* I loved that Hurley was playing chess with Eko, but I'm also saddened they couldn't get Adewale to do a cameo, which would have sent the awesomeness factor of the episode to 11.

* Also loved Jack's "see you in another life, brother" line to Desmond.

* Kudos to the Lost casting department. Not only did they find a toddler who really looks like he could be Claire's child, but they also found someone who has a head like a turnip!

* And speaking of Claire, even Em remarked last night that Emilie de Ravin looked kinda... puffy. Is she pregnant? Seems like a possibility given she's married now.

* I put my e-mail in at Octagon Global Recruiting, which looks to be the start of a possible summer Lost webgame, but haven't received anything back yet. Anyone get anything?

Summary: A solid, exciting finale, but (in my book anyway) still the weakest of the four finales (although that's nothing to be ashamed about). I think it especially pales in comparison to last year's finale whose twist took me completely by surprise and simply blew me away. By the time we saw Locke in the coffin, I had kind of guessed it was either going to be either Locke or some representation of Jacob (i.e. Christian Shepherd), partly due to Hurley's "Dude, why don't you just call him..." statement which just kinda sapped some of the suspense.

I didn't know about the alternate endings going in that, according to Lostpedia, were shot with Sawyer and Desmond in the coffin, but neither of those possibilities really even crossed my mind. I suppose, in retrospect, Sawyer being the messenger of doom could have been cool, but would it have had the same emotional impact of Locke being in there? I dunno. And, given where the show is heading, with an eventual confrontation between Ben, Penny and Desmond, I simply couldn't see them killing Desmond off after he survived the helicopter crash.

So I'm giving the finale a solid 4/5 as we enter the dismal, dark summer and fall of no LOST. My comic book reviews will be up eventually - if I don't receive them in the next week, I can pick up my original copies from my mom's house when I head there for a visit next weekend. I'll also be posting fairly regularly on various things throughout the hiatus though. :)


Man, there's a lot to write about this episode! It'll take me a bit longer than usual to post it - probably a bit later in the afternoon - because I'm still not finished and I have to start a couple things in the lab right now.

The death poll I had up the last couple weeks was interesting given last night. Most people who voted thought Jin would die (69% of you) and probably even more would have picked Michael if I had offered him as a choice (duh). But only one person picked Locke, which speaks to the happy lack of spoiler readers who stop by. :)

Of course, there's still a lot of questions around who's really dead or not. Drop by in a couple hours, certainly before the end of the workday. :)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

One More Day

Hope everyone had a nice holiday! Em and I had a wedding to attend on Saturday, then spent the next three days down on the Jersey shore with her family. A simply delightful gathering that certainly helped whittle away the remaining time before tomorrow's super-awesome LOST finale! I still haven't received my comic books (grrrr - I have to write to the eBay guy again) so my write up is going to have to wait a bit longer.

So how did y'all spend the weekend? Did everyone get as lucky with the weather as the Northeast did? :)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Big Headed Jack

Saw this new Jack action figure advertised on Ain't It Cool News so I clicked over. It's not bad, per se, but doesn't his head look weird? It's almost like one of the aliens from Mars Attacks! crawled inside his skin and is using it like a suit (ala MIB).

But I think this figure especially pales in comparison to the terrific McFarlane LOST toys. That link is to the Series 1 toys, the Series 2 toys can be found here. There was supposed to be a third series of toys that was supposed to come out earlier this year, but I'm not sure it's going to happen now. Any of you guys have any of these? I still would love a Locke or the Hatch... someday when we have a little more room for all my junk anyways.

If you want to see a couple more images of the Sideshow figure, click here, but be warned - Doc Alien costs $99! That's a whole lot of mangoes! :)

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Lost Room (Updated)

Anyone seen it? I wanted to when it first aired, but never got a chance. A week or two ago, I finally broke down and bought the DVD and Em and I watched the first episode last night. Pretty neat. Reminds me a lot of Friday the 13th, The Series (a very, very underrated show, IMHO, which had no relation whatsoever to the movies), but with a neater, more personal, twist. Feels like it would make an awesome video game too - collecting cool objects that create different effects when they're together? Sounds like Legend of Zelda sans elves.

Looking forward to the rest. Anyone know if it's going to become a full series or not? SciFi website for the show is here, if you're interested.

*No spoilers below, but everyone be warned there may be some in the comments*

UPDATE: Finished the series last night. Thought, in general, it was terrific. Simply a fabulous cast, and not just the main characters - all the supporting charaters (Wally, the Weasel, Kreutzfeld, Harold) were wonderfully fleshed out by their portrayers. And the concept was such fun, so original I do wish they had made the series a bit longer. I think 12-26 episodes could have easily been done without the show getting repetitive. And while I do think it has a lot of potential as a full series (provided all of the cast returns), I think there is some risk there given how the show ends. Highly recommended to anyone who hasn't seen it yet.

If anyone wants to discuss plot stuff (Capcom, Memphish), feel free to put it in the comments. Everyone just be warned that there may be spoilers if you haven't seen the series and plan on watching it.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Lost Episode Review 4.12: "There's No Place Like Home, Part I"

: "Haven't you realized by now, John, that I always have a plan."

Ah, what a tease. You just knew the episode would end just as it was getting good. You can't review the first third of an episode, just take it for what it is and give it an incomplete.

Certainly it looks like they're going to be wrapping up a lot of questions in the last two thirds of the finale and it seems that the finale is going to come full circle too; basically ending in present time where the flash forward began at the beginning of the episode, i.e. with the O6 getting on the plane to Hawaii.

Several things I loved so far:

1) Sun taking over Paik Heavy Industries. That must have been quite the settlement Oceanic gave the O6.

2) Hurley not wanting the lottery money and the Numbers appearing in his car. That was awesome

3) Claire's mom (she's awake!) appearing at Christian's funeral and telling him the truth about Claire. Jack gave quite possibly the best Jackface of the entire series at the end of that scene.

4) Jin and Sun seeing Michael again

5) Sawyer's concern for Hurley. Saywer really hasn't done much this season, but I love how when he has been on screen, he's been a caring, thoughtful protector (by and large).

6) I was also touched how, when no one was there to see Kate and Sayid in Hawaii, Hurley introduced Sayid to his family.

So in lieu of a real review, let's do the Top 5 questions I expect to be answered in the second half of the finale.

1. How do all the Oceanic 6 end up together?

It seems that Jack, Hurley, Sayid and Kate will probably take the chopper back to the freighter with Frank. I'm guessing there won't be enough room for Sawyer since he gets left behind (or else he simply chooses to stay).

Once back there, the freighter is probably going to go boom somehow and the O6 are going to escape in the little motorboat (remember, it holds six). Of course, if that comes to pass it makes us ask...

2. What happens to to Desmond, Jin, Michael and the Freighter Four?

I find it very hard to believe that the writers would kill off Desmond, Jin, Michael and all the new guys in one fell swoop. In fact, I'll be completely horrified if they kill off Desmond, period. But we know that, according to their story, eight people survived the crash of Flight 815. Only six returned and Jin wasn't one of them. Who are the other two? Michael and Sawyer?

But another possibility is that Desmond turns off whatever's causing the interference on the (sonar?), so they're able to move the freighter closer to the Island. Then, whenever Locke and Ben do whatever they're going to do in the Orchid and the Island moves, the freighter ends up going with it.

Also interesting to note that in "The Third Policeman" (which I never got around to posting my review of, although Juno does a nice job), the main character also has to take a long elevator underground to get to the "black box" down there. The elevator is constructed so that whatever weight it carries down, it has to carry the same weight back. You can't take anything out that you didn't bring in. Be interesting to see if that parallel pops up in the finale.

And yes, yes, I know, I know. The writers have said TTP has nothing to do with the actual plot of Lost and was really just thrown in there as a red herring (or to possibly make people read a not-so-good, overblown novel, which I happened to like, thank you very much). However, I do think the writers may not have been totally honest there. Certainly the major conclusion they didn't want people drawing from the book is that everyone on the Island was dead. However, I could certainly see how certain aspects of the "black box" could find their way onto the show.

Anyhoo, this all leads us to....

3. How will Locke and Ben move the Island?

The Orchid seems to be the key to the Island at this point and looks to be the crux of the finale. Hopefully we'll discover how it works, what it's capable of and what they're going to do with it. It would also be interesting to know if the Orchid station worked in conjunction with the Swan, since both seem to exploit the natural properties of the Island. Now that the Swan's energy is gone, will that change how the Orchid functions?

And I guess the biggest question is will they move the Island in time, space or both. My money's on both.

4. What will Sawyer ask Kate to do for him when she returns?

You have to figure there will be an overdrawn, emotional goodbye when Kate and Sawyer eventually part ways. Question is, will Sawyer ask Kate to check up on his daughter? Will he tell her to get in touch with Cassidy? You have to figure he'll mention at least one of the two.

5. At what point will the flash forwards end?

The flash forwards seem to be skipping ahead at a pretty decent clip, filling in all the blanks from the flash forwards. Question is, will they end with or after Jack telling Kate that they have to go back? I figure next season's going to be spent with them largely trying to get back to the Island, so will they all get together and resolve to find it? Will Ben appear to help them? Will we finally find out who's in the coffin? Enquiring minds want to know!

Other tidbits

* Fumiko thinks Oceanic Airlines is in on the cover up. Personally I think it's hard to say, given that you could take the flight attendant's comment of "you don't have to talk to the press if you don't want to" either way. Still the size of the settlement Oceanic gave them makes one wonder whether part of the payment was simply to make sure they didn't talk. Also the pilot rubbing the rabbit's foot for luck is also suggestive.

* Great tidbit from Lostpedia: According to the fabricated story, the Oceanic 6 found rescue on Day 108. Coincidentally, this falls on January 8, 2005, or 08-01-2005 - 815.

* Sawyer calls Miles "Genghis" and Frank "Shaggy." Nice. There has been a serious lack of nicknames this season.

* Hurley had a bag of Mr. Cluck's when he arrived at his house for his party.

Summary: Incomplete, until the entire finale has aired. I have a different poll up this week - instead of rating the episode, pick who you think is going to really, truly die in two weeks. You can vote for as many people as you like. :)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Mahha GoGoGo!

Last night Fumiko and I saw Speed Racer on IMAX in the city and I don't think I can properly describe how wonderful the experience was. On one hand, it was pure eye candy, like if you took F-Zero and a Saturday morning cartoon, polished and shined them up for the screen and added a whole bunch of Matrix-y cuts and stylish edits. But on the other hand, it was a loving tribute to a show that everyone involved - from the directors to the actors to the crew - treated with reverence and absolutely had a blast playing on screen.

Many critics didn't like it probably because there are likely only two demographics the movie resonates with: Those of us who grew up with the cartoon and 6-12 year-old boys. It was a bit of a kiddie movie, aimed a crowd much younger than, say, those who enjoyed "Iron Man," and I think it suffered from being marketed to that same crowd. It probably would have done better if it was pitched as a family-friendly spectacle for the screen instead of an action-adventure film for adults (much in the way "The Frighteners" would have likely done better if it was promoted as an action-adventure thriller instead of the next "Ghostbusters"). I can't recommend this film more, especially if you've ever seen the show. It wasn't a better movie than "Iron Man," but it might have been the most fun I've had in the theater since "The Mummy." For those of you who know me, obviously that's saying something. ;)

One last thing, Matthew Fox is in the film as "Racer X" and Fumiko and I couldn't help but laugh anytime he was on screen not just because he's Jack, but because he was Jack with a big black mask covering half his face. And don't get me wrong, Fox was pitch-perfect as Racer X - also looked incredibly buff in the role - it's just that at critical times in the film you half-expected him to bust out with a Jackface-laden "We have to go back, Kate! We have to go back!". :)

Anyway, now we have Part I of the finale tonight! Happy Lost Day, everyone! :)

Monday, May 12, 2008

No Escaping That For Me!

Just to let everyone know, I was away the past four days (in Ithaca, attending a rockin' Bat Mitzvah for Em's cousin, Sydney), so I've just caught up with all my e-mail and the comments in the review. Shortly after my post went up though, my friend Matt sent me an e-mail with "Destiny is a fickle bitch" in the headline. The text?
So, what, Destiny is Kate?
It's funny 'cause it's true. :)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Lost Episode Review 4.11: "Cabin Fever"

Quote: "Because destiny, John, is a fickle bitch."

I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed with last night's episode. Did any of you feel like Locke's meeting with "Jacob" was a bit anticlimactic? I know the whole episode was merely a ramp up to the finale and I know they were probably pressed for time condensing the episode down, but it really just felt like much ado about nothing. There were a few things about the episode I liked, namely:

1) Locke's flashback in general (which, strangely enough, I enjoyed more than the on island stuff)
2) Seeing Richard again
3) Seeing Abaddon again
4) Jack and Juliet's little scene (which I thought was kind of cute)
5) Ben and Hurley sharing a candy bar

But even that last scene seemed a bit out of place, didn't it? Ben's resigned self-pity was entertaining, but so very out of character for him. And while I'm sure Alex's death has shaken him right now, we know he certainly gets his mojo back in the future. I guess I was waiting for Ben to pull a master plan out of his hat and was really, really surprised when it never came.

And the meeting in the cabin was just really strange (although Claire's presence and behavior was genuinely spooky). Anyhoo there is a lot to talk about. First off...

1) Will they use the magic box to move the Island?

I suppose the mere fact the Island can move deserves some comment. I mean, in what way is it going to move, i.e. are we talking space, time or both here? It certainly answers the question why Charles Widmore hasn't been able to find it again in the future.

But then I guess we really have to ask how Locke's going to complete his Herculean task? The only two things I can think of that we know about are 1) The Orchid and 2) The Magic Box. We know that Keamy and the copter is liked headed to the Orchid since that was DHARMA logo on the "Secondary Protocol" Keamy was reading on the ship. And it also seems likely that Jack and company are all headed there too (certainly all of the Oceanic Six on the beach will be).

But it's also possible that the Orchid and the Magic Box are one and the same too. After all, DHARMA built the Barracks right over the ruins which contained the Monster. Seems certainly possible (and even likely) they could have built a station over the Magic Box as well. At least it looks like we'll get an answer to this in the finale.

2) Was Jacob reanimating Christian's corpse?

Was it just me, or did John Terry look positively skeletal in this episode? Maybe it was just the lighting in the cabin. But Christian said that he "speaks for Jacob," which in and of itself is incredibly suggestive. Does Jacob need a mouthpiece, something like the Metatron or the Mouth of Sauron? He didn't seem to need one when Ben and Locke first visited the cabin, but perhaps he needs one for more extensive conversation.

If so, is Jacob reanimating Christian's corpse? Is this why "people on the Island don't stay dead?" It also brings up the question of Yemi. I long thought that the Smoke Monster itself was impersonating Yemi, but maybe Jacob was really reanimating his body and then using the Smoke Monster to do his bidding afterwards.

Even though I thought this scene really didn't tell us a lot, it did bring up a whole lot of questions. Which brings us to...

3) Is Claire really dead?

She was acting far too calm and out of sorts. Creepily so, in fact. And, if Jacob can really reanimate corpses, did he reanimate Claire (or at least keep her going) after her house got blown up long enough to get Aaron to safety? Regardless, it doesn't seem like she's going to be much of a factor in the finale and I wouldn't be surprised if we didn't get an answer to this this season. :(

4) What is John's destiny?

This is kind of interesting to me. I've always thought that the Season 2 John Locke was the real John Locke the Island wanted him to be. As frustrating as it was for us to watch him suffer pushing the button, it was equally frustrating for John, who always believed he had a grand destiny to fulfill (for good reason too, given Richard and Abaddon putting ideas in his head). But John's idea of a grand destiny always seemed filled with adventure rather than something mundane even if that mundane thing was for a grand purpose. And it seems to me that the latter is the destiny the Island has in mind for him.

The Island tested Locke by making him push the button. He destroyed the computer because he couldn't believe that was his destiny. His guidance counselor tried to push him into science, he wanted to explore. Richard presented Locke with three mundane items (sand, a compass and the Book of Laws) and three fantastic ones (a baseball mitt, a comic book and a knife). Locke only got two out of three. All his life, Locke's wanted a grand destiny, something fantastic. But it seems to be Locke's destiny is going to be something he's not going to enjoy, but will end up saving the world anyway. He only needs to finally accept it.

5) What is Abaddon's agenda?

I have to admit I'm a bit mystified at that scene with him and Locke. I thought he was working for Charles Widmore, right? How did he know about Locke way back when? And what is his purpose?

Other Tidbits:

* Horace mentioned to Locke that he had been dead for "12 years," which, if correct, puts the date of the Purge at December 19th (Ben's birthday), 1992. Now this somewhat bothers me since it's much later than I originally anticipated it being. Basically it places the Purge sometime after both Danielle arrived on the Island (1988) and around the same time Kelvin presumably began working in the Swan Station (post Iraq War I). The biggest problem here is Alex, since it seemed like Ben didn't have her (or at least we didn't see her) in his first flashback. Grrrr... I can't believe they killed Danielle without giving us her flashback.

* The six items Richard presented to Locke were: a baseball mitt, a book entitled "Book of Laws", a small vial of sand, a compass, a "Mystery Tales" comic book and a knife.

* The two blurbs on the cover of the comic Richard presented to Locke said "What was the Secret of the Mysterious Hidden Land?" and "Does it Pay to Ignore the Voice of Warning?" Very nice touch. It also has a picture of a floating city (or set of buildings on a cloud).

* Once again, the Island seemed to prevent Michael from being killed.

* When Richard told Locke he ran a school for "special kids," I half expected Wolverine to walk in the door behind him.

* I LOVED 'lil Locke's drawing of Smokey:

I wonder what a child psychologist would make of this? ;)

* Richard certainly didn't look much younger when he visited Locke. This might all just be a product of the casting and such, but at the very least Richard has aged really, really well. Must be that healthy Island living.

* Interesting that most of the eye shots we've gotten this season are of the left eye (although this is the first true flashback we've gotten from one of them).

I'm giving this one a 3/5. It had some entertaining scenes to be sure, but I can't help feeling a bit disappointed about it. On to the finale!

Got "Cabin Fever" yet?

Happy Lost Day! :)

I'm sooooooo excited for tonight's episode, which seems like it's going to be Locke-centric in some form. Question is, will it be a flashforward, flashback or something funky ala Desmond? I'm going with the latter and hoping for lots of Jacob-y goodness. :)

In regards to my comic posts, they'll be up the next week or so. Part of the problem I've had in writing them is that the majority of my old comic collection is still being graciously stored by my Mom (whom I've somehow convinced not to throw them all out). I happened to have the comics from my last post with me, but I don't happen to have any of the others.

Fortunately, I've managed to procure a Secret Wars trade paperback of off eBay and a copy of the one other comic I needed. I'll probably get them sometime next week and will post shortly afterwards. It's kind of win-win for me, since I've kind of wanted a Secret Wars paperback for a while now so I could read the entire series again - it really was a great series for a simple marketing gimmick (let's put all the best Marvel characters together and force them to fight all the best villains), even if it was one of the first of such gimmicks that really started the slow decline of the industry (mainly due to gimmicking ad nauseum during the 90's). But unlike other gimmicks, the story was pretty solid, the ramifications for the Marvel Universe were pretty significant and Dr. Doom was at his evil best throughout the series, actually managing to complete and execute a pretty decent plan to destroy all the heroes, only to fall prey to... well, you'll see.

Anyhoo, enjoy the show tonight! Go go Team Locke!

Monday, May 5, 2008

More About Aaron

My thinking in that previous little post was a bit clouded by some post-Iron Man cocktails, but I guess what I was trying to get at was the following:

1) Now that the "raised by another" mantra has been raised once again (and seems to be important rather than a red herring), we have to ask why it's so important that Claire raise him? In other words, who is Aaron going to grow up to be and what will his destiny be?

2) What exactly did Ben want Aaron for? "Island birthing research," to me, just doesn't sound right given that a) Aaron seems to have a much more important destiny than simply being a part of Juliet's lab agenda and b) Given the nursery they set up in the Medical Station it seems that they planned on raising Aaron rather than cutting him open to see what made him tick.

So my question with that little post was really asking what bad thing would happen in the future if Aaron was raised by Ben rather than Claire? Now Aaron being Charles doesn't really make a whole lot of sense, but what if Aaron was eventually sent back in time and became someone else we already know in the present?

Charles was my first thought since 1) he's one of the oldest people we know on the show and 2) if Ben and Charles can't kill each other for whatever reason (and really aren't one and the same either) then what if Ben knew Aaron was going to grow up to become Charles and wanted to change the future by raising him himself?

But what if Aaron grew up to become someone else? Jacob is the other obvious candidate, but imagine he turned out to be the father of another of the Losties or Others? I kind of like the idea of Aaron actually being Christian Shepherd's father, Jack's great-grandfather, giving the show a Futurama-like feel. I'll talk a bit more about this idea in Part III of my comic book/Lost installment, but I just thought I'd put these thoughts out there now so I can refer to them later. Hopefully Part II will be up this week, but given that I'm going away on Friday, work may intervene. My review will be up on Friday as usual though.

Hope everyone had a great weekend. Here in NY it was gorgeous - really the first real weekend with a summer feel to it. So nice. :)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Sunday Thoughts

1) Iron Man is terrific. See it in the theater.

2) Aaron grows up to become Charles Widmore. Discuss.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Lost Episode Review 4.10: "Something Nice Back Home"

Quote: "You're not supposed to raise him, Jack."

I say my... my slow descent
into alcoholism, it went
to my head, where I really need it
with the views that remain untreated.
-The New Pornographers

I have to say, I'm loving Jack's slow evolution into the addicted, bearded crazy man we caught a glimpse of in last year's season finale. But I still can't believe we've had two straight weeks with no freighter! Arrgh! At least that will be corrected with next week's installment. Onward!

1. What happened to Claire?

Two things here:

1. Claire disappearing does give me some hope that she may survive the season, since there's now a path for Aaron to get off the island without her. Sawyer will bring Aaron back to the beach and give him to Kate and Jack who are leaving. Jack will initially refuse, but Juliet will then drop the "he's your nephew" bomb on him and he'll take him along using Kate as a mommy proxy. Jack certainly seemed to know Aaron was his nephew from his angry "you're not even related to him" remark to Kate.

The only problem with this is Desmond's vision of Claire and Aaron leaving the island together. Was he wrong or did he lie to Charlie to get him to swim down to the Looking Glass?

2. Going back over my previous thoughts on Aaron and Claire, this episode certainly gives credence to the "Richard Malkin wasn't a total fraud" theory, given that the "raised by another" meme appears to be important after all. This means that either 1) Malkin is an actual psychic or 2) he's a fraud who had at least one real vision in his life. I'm still leaning towards the latter given his scene with Eko, but I suppose it's also possible Malkin had a visit from a Christian Shepherd like ghost (or Ms. Hawking, perhaps) who convinced him what needed to be done.

So what did happen to Claire? Where did Smokey or Jacob lead her? Will she show up in Jacob's cabin next week? I hope we get an answer to this before the season is over.

2. What did Sawyer want Kate to do for him?

Presumably, check in on his daughter. And I imagine Kate was talking with Cassidy on the phone when Jack walked in. Sawyer probably tells her to look up Cassidy and make sure Clementine is okay. That'll probably be an amusing scene given Kate already knows her. :)

3. What's the flashforward timeline so far?

Putting together what we know about the post-island timeline so far.

1. Sun - July/August 2005. Hurley visited Sun shortly after she gave birth and, presumably, her due date was sometime in July.

2. Ben - October 24th, 2005. Ben asks the desk clerk at the hotel what the date was.

3. Kate/Hurley - June/July 2007. Aaron's pretty big by the end of the trial. Obviously they used the same young actor, but Jack and Kate must have started hooking up shortly after the trial finished. Hurley's flashforward probably took place shortly afterward (or even during Kate's trial) given that Jack had already started to drink by that point although he didn't seem to be living with Kate at the time.

4. Jack #2 - August 31st, 2007. Date of last year's three game sweep of the Red Sox by the Yankees. This date is fairly certain given the details of the game in the newspaper article.

5. Jack #1 - April 2008? If the newspaper clipping from "Through The Looking Glass" is to be believed, the date for this flashback is April 7th, 2007. However, given this episode's flashforward, that can't be correct considering Jack doesn't have his beard yet and has just started down the long road to addiction. According to Lostpedia, the writers have apparently said not to take the newspaper clipping's details as perfect canon. But April 2008 would seem about right, eight months after Jack's breakup with Kate.

6. Sayid - 2006 to 2008? Would have been at least a year after Ben's, given that Sayid had already completed a couple missions for Ben and he spent some considerable time in Berlin. Could have completely overlapped Jack's last two flashbacks.

4. Are the Island's healing properties fading away?

If so, it probably doesn't bode well for Rose (and I have to say I'm so happy she and Bernard have been given some significant face-time this season). And what of Ben's tumor? Or Locke's legs? Are we going to see Locke's wheelchair again before the end of the season?

5. Anyone else going to die this season?

Well, I guess Danielle's actually dead after all. That sucks. Now who's going to tell her story? Will she become a ghost on the island and tell it to Miles?

But I'm guessing we're probably not going to make it through the rest of the season without losing somebody. After this episode, I'd say both Jin and Claire's chances of surviving increased, given that there are not plausible scenarios for both Sun and Aaron to get off the island without their significant other... people.

However, and this saddens me greatly, I'd say Juliet's chances of getting offed just went up like tenfold given that 1) she wants to get off the island more than anything 2) if she did, we would have almost certainly seen her in a flashforward by now and 3) she's already had an episode this season and it was a flashback. Since from Day 1 she was either going to get off the island or die trying, I'm now starting to think it's going to be the latter.

Boo! Elizabeth Mitchell was robbed of an Emmy nomination last year too. She and her character deserve better (although Juliet deserves better than Jack).

Other Tidbits

* The book Jack is reading to Aaron is "Alice in Wonderland"

* The prescription Jack asks Ericka to write for him is for Clonazepam, the same drug Hurley asked Jack for to stop him for seeing things back in "Dave."

* When Jack was reading the x-rays of someone with a tumor on their L4 vertebrae, I thought for sure they were going to end up being Ben's, given that that's exactly where Ben's tumor was growing.

* Some observations from friends and fiancées more perceptive than I:

Both Em and Fumiko are quite tired of Kate (with Em using much, much stronger language). :)

Em also was wondering if Jack had a scar from his surgery? I couldn't see one in any of the screencaps, but there really weren't any close ups. I don't think Hurley's idea that they died getting off the island was correct (especially given that Ben's flashfoward seemed quite real), but if it was, having no scar would be a cool touch.

Matt was amused by the "smokey-detector" going off right before Christian's appearance to Jack.


Summary: Despite the great flashforward, this episode was a bit of a comedown simply because the whole appendectomy storyline seemed somewhat unnecessary (although, if the island's healing powers are waning, that does change things a bit). And even though I thought Kate was actually pretty good in this episode, I really wish they give her something meatier to do than fawn all over Jack and Sawyer. My hope is that, once the Oceanic Six begin to get the band back together to return to the Island (which I suspect is what Season 5 is going to be about), Kate will have to return a bit to her criminal roots. Remember that, at the very least, she can't leave the state, which may cause a few legal problems in trying to return to a remote Island. Still, I'll give it a 3.5/5 for effort. Greatly looking forward to next week.