Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Losing Touch

When I (finally) graduated college, I told my advisor that I would come back and visit now and then. He looked at me and said ‘I know your type. You don’t look back’.

He was right. I never went back.

If I were inclined towards self examination in a non perverted, intellectual way, his referring to my ‘type’ would imply that there is some part of my DNA that is all about moving forward. Sure, I reminisce about ‘the good old days’ (if there is such a thing), ex-girlfriends, hilarious incidents that are rehashed with the same amount of laughter as when they originally happened, and old friends. I’m just not the one to instigate contacting anyone to do so.

My 25th high school reunion is approaching and I will deal with it the same way I dealt with all the other reunions - by not going. I have a close group of friends I am in weekly contact with that graduated with me. That’s all I need. I don’t need to get stuck in a room with strangers who just happened to have shared a Spanish class with me two decades ago.

I will freely admit that I am a horrible friend. Rarely am I the one to call even my best friends to get together. Usually someone will text or call me to make plans. I am a passive friend: call and I’ll be thrilled to go out. Don’t call and I’ll think of you from time to time but won’t do more than that. One of my good friends works across the street from me and I haven’t seen him in nearly a year. He’s literally a two minute walk from my office.

Email has made things a bit easier and I do occasionally send old friends ‘How are you?’ notes to check in, but email addresses change, people move, contacts are lost. It’s the way of the world and I don’t do much to ease the transition.

I’ve noticed this extends to other aspects of my life. I never read a book twice and have trouble understanding why anyone would do that. You know the story and how it ends, why bother? There are new books I want to read. Same with movies and music. I’m constantly striving to find something new. Occasionally I’ll stumble across a movie showing on cable that I previously enjoyed and watch some of it, but I don’t pop a DVD in of even my favorite films to rewatch. I told Wifey to stop buying them for me because they collect dust on the shelf - shrink wrapped for eternity.

If you’re a regular reader you are already painfully aware of my penchant for music. There is nothing more exhilarating to me as finding a new band or initially listening to a great album. Occasionally I’ll listen to a classic album (The Wall, Back in Black) in order to get a fresh perspective on it, but that is rare. There is way too much great, new music out there to waste time looking back.

Perhaps that’s the problem with my mind set? Why look back when there is so much to look forward to? I can’t say whether this is a good or bad thing, but I’m guessing – like everything – it’s both. I have no doubt that old friends consider my lack of communication an indictment on how I feel towards them.

That’s the confusing part. I have friends I miss terribly. My lack of contact has nothing to do with how I feel about them. I still owe one of my favorite people in the world a phone call in order to have a legitimate conversation. It’s been months since we last spoke, I think of her often, know I need to call, and just haven’t. It sure doesn’t help that there are restrictions on my time – both boys are playing little league which means daily games, work has been crazy, it’s nearing the end of the school year, and life in general doesn’t seem to let any of us breath for a moment.

I suppose I should find it ironic that with more ways than ever to communicate, I still can’t find the time to keep in touch. Or, more likely, I’m just lazy. Keeping in touch takes effort; something I’ve never been fond of.

I know what you’re thinking.

You’re thinking ‘Man, you’re a selfish asshole’ and you’re probably right. You’re also thinking ‘Why don’t you just sign up for Facebook?’ and that answer is an emphatic NO.



A million times no!

I have nothing against people using it. To each their own. But during my brief experience with Facebook I found locating me to be alarmingly easy. I was on Facebook for a total of three days. To be exact it was less than 72 hours. I had signed up simply to follow the group that was campaigning to get Bill Simmons hired as the Milwaukee Bucks’ General Manager. Purely for entertainment purposes.

During that time four girls from work, three dudes I went to high school with and haven’t seen or spoken to since and one ex girlfriend attempted to ‘friend’ me. One of the girls from work instant messaged me when I had not accepted her request within the work day. That was when I learned other Facebookers don’t receive a notification when you click ‘Ignore’ on their stupid faces.

The moment the ex found me is the very same moment I attempted to delete my account. Only, if you’ve ever tried, you’ll know deleting your Facebook account is impossible. You can disable it, but you may need to invent a time machine to go back and stop yourself from creating an account in the first place in order to get rid of it altogether. I’m fairly certain I could login with my email address and the site would say ‘Welcome Back!’ and all that shit will still be there.

I’m so paranoid about online social sites that I don’t even want Wifey (who does have an account) to have my picture on her profile. She is actually friends with MY friends. Since I don’t have an account they figure they’ll just go through her. The problem – as she found out last week – is that people I haven’t heard from in decades are now attempting to ‘friend’ her thinking they can get in touch with me. Take my fucking picture down and she wouldn't have that problem.

A year ago a coworker had a goodbye party because she was moving back to the west coast. The office had a going away party and pictures were taken, fun was had, many beers were drunk and I thought nothing more of it. A month later I was having a conversation with another coworker who hadn’t made the party. She said, innocently enough, ‘It looked like you were having fun’.

Uh, what?

‘I saw pictures on ____’s Facebook and you are all over the place!’

The pictures have since been taken down (at my request), but everyone should know that Facebook still has those pictures somewhere on the endless fields of servers that run their site. They own them now and can use them anyway they please. Fucking great. Now I make sure I never have my picture taken. Like fucking ever! I’d prefer there be no photographic evidence I ever existed by the time I die.

It’s nothing personal (in most cases); I’m just a private person. I don’t give out my personal email address, I guard my cell phone number with my life, write under an alias that implies laziness, and keep my home phone unlisted. The best man at my wedding couldn’t contact me for more than a year because I had moved, changed cell and home phone numbers and made sure everything was unlisted.

He finally tracked me down by finding out where my parents had moved, calling them and getting my new phone number from them. And this is my best friend. I’m closer to him than my own brothers and I went over a year without saying a single word to him.

I suppose it’s possible this is a sign of a larger problem. Perhaps I’m unusually cold and distant, but if you knew me at all on a personal level I don’t think you’d find that to be true.

Quite frankly, I am awesome and you should have to work to earn the reward of knowing me.

Yeah. Let’s go with that.

Today’s distraction: 10 reasons you should quit Facebook. I agree with all of them, especially my first hand experience with number 3.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Lost - Last One!

I would like to first thank the writers, creators, actors and whoever else worked on Lost for six years of the most involving, entertaining, thought provoking, and challenging television viewing years of my life.

No, it wasn’t always easy. At times it was downright traumatizing. Those looking from the outside of this series will usually deride Lost for the use of monsters and time travel and label it a silly and confusing science fiction show. What with the flash backs and flash forwards and flash sideways (which were anything but, as we learned last night) it was impossible to figure out what was going on.

But those people are outside the show for a reason: they never watched. Sure they may have watched an episode here and there, but never fully WATCHED Lost in the way it was meant to be watched. Namely, with others; with debate; with actual thought; with philosophical research; with occasional nose bleeds and spiraling alcoholism.

Lost was like no other television show ever. I’m fairly confident when I say we’ll never see anything like it again. Every detail from milk cartons to books to phrases to character names were created to provoke discussion. Ben introducing himself as Henry Gale, Sawyer reading ‘Watership Down’, the blood on Jack’s neck that kept reappearing this season, the psychic telling Claire her baby should be raised ‘by no other’, Sun’s infidelity all prompted excited and highly entertaining lunch time discussions.

What those outside the Lost universe will never realize was it was never about any of that. It was always about the characters. Characters who were more flawed, complex, troubled and struggling (in a word: human) than anything ever put on the small screen. We’ve been rooting for even the darkest of them to find redemption. To discover out their true purpose. Those were the true reasons those flash every-which-ways were so effective – it gave us an unflinching view into the motivations behind all these people.

Even better, it opened up doors with coworkers and acquaintances that may never have been there otherwise. Being a Lost viewer has prompted discussions and opened up larger (and I hope long lasting) friendships that surpass the actual show. Lost is simply the common ground we used to build on. How many of us have heard ‘Are you talking about Lost?’ and some stranger is now involved in last week’s episode discussion. Or ‘You watch Lost? I never knew that! What do you think is going to happen with…’

While I can’t say what will happen with a majority of my Lost friends, I do know three of them are with me for life (much to their chagrin) and I would pull a Jack to make sure they lived a long, healthy, happy life.

What other television show can say that?

Enough with the syrup and sap, let’s get to the show. I’ll assume we’ve all watched by now so will scrap the recap and give you a highlight – lowlight version of the finale. Thankfully there are many more highlights.

Highlight: All the actors who seemed to bring their A game. Hurley’s terror when he realized what Jack was asking him was heartbreaking as was Hurley’s simple request to Ben to be his second in command. Ben shocked, touched, confused and honored. Fake Locke realizing he could be hurt. Sawyer finally recognizing Juliet. Everyone nailed it last night.

Highlight: Actual suspense. Was I the only one on the edge of their seat when that knife was heading towards Jack’s neck? That it was part of an epic fight was a bonus. There were also a few moments when I thought ‘Is Fake Locke actually going to win?’ and I wasn’t just referring to the fight, but to the entire ‘destroy the island’ plan.

Lowlight: The explanation for the Real World. Not only was I referring to it completely incorrectly in these recaps, but I thought it was a bit of a cop out. Didn’t hate it, but thought they had missed a more interesting take considering it followed Ben and Hurley having a discussion about how to make new rules regarding the island. I thought Hurley creating a new rule that would give anyone who sacrificed for the island a new lease on another life would have been an option.

Highlight: Many goose bump inducing moments: Charlie seeing Claire after coming on stage with Drive Shaft; Sawyer and Juliet’s reunion; Kate’s heartfelt thank you to Charlie (and his befuddled ‘It’s just a towel’ response); Kate’s goodbye to Jack on the island; Richard realizing he got his first gray hair; even Sayid and Shannon’s forced, awkward reunion had a bit of passion to it.

Lowlight: Captain Frank still being alive. I’ve given Lost a LOT of leeway over the past six years – time travel, magical moving islands, smoke monsters who can read minds - and this was the first time I groaned ‘Oh come on!’ regarding a turn of events. Even worse was he just needed a little water and was as good as new. Maybe it was Jacob blessed water??

Highlight: Sense of humor. Usually a series coming to an end – even comedies – tend to get ultra serious, but Lost kept is irreverent charm with moments like:

Charlie waking up with ‘I was shot by a fat man’

Jin and Sun grinning like maniacs while Sawyer interviewed them.

Hurley telling Sayid ‘That’s Charlie’ after dumping his unconscious body in to the back of his Hummer.

Claire looking around wondering what the drugged out bass player of Drive Shaft was staring at.

Sawyer referring to Desmond as ‘the magic leprechaun’ and Hurley as ‘Bigfoot’.

Juliet’s ‘your English is actually very good’ after Sun and Jin became Island aware.

Ben’s ‘I guess things are progressing’ after Captain Frank angrily tells him to stop bother him by radioing in on the progress of the Ajira plane.

Kate: ‘Christian Sheppard? Really?’

Highlight: The final scene which leaves Lost in perfect symmetry.

Lowlight: Fixing the Ajira plane with a new window and some duct tape. Would it really have been possible to take off in that sand?

Highlight: Several visceral thrills that include Fake Locke’s stunning and horrifying realization he is now mortal; Kate’s ‘I saved a bullet for you’; the very final scene with Ajira flying over a dying Jack; the dread when Fake Locke threatens Desmond with Rose’s murder (‘I’ll make it hurt’); Kate and Sawyer’s dizzying cliff diving.

Lowlight: Claire’s self doubt at the exact wrong moment. While I could appreciate her self realization that she’s a loony tune, her whiny ‘I’m not ready to be a mother’ was ill timed and struck me as childish. I was hoping Kate would slap her before dragging her by the hair to the plane. ‘I just lost the man I love and am sick of you pissy attitude, missy!’

Highlight: The opening, dialogue free montage that sets up the people while reminding us Lost is also a powerfully visual show.

Highlight: Leaving the entire show open to interpretation. The entire series was built on viewer debate and theories and guessing. How could it end any other way?

What We Learned

- Rose and Bernard white flashied back to present time, got Desmond out of the well (against their better judgment), found a hair club for men on the island for Bernard, and build one hell of a hut that lasted 30 something years.

- When the golden light goes out, all the rules are off. Jack can kill Fake Locke, Fake Locke can kill Jack and the candidates, Hurley could lose some weight. Anything can happen.

- Real World wasn’t real at all, but a form of purgatory. Can’t help but think that was Lost flipping the bird to all the people who insisted the island was purgatory from the beginning.

- Oh, and everyone is dead. I should mention that.

- Bad things really do happen when the light goes out.

- Hurley becomes Jacob, Ben becomes Richard.

- Jack is not a quick learner. First he lets Fake Locke’s free hand grab a rock and bash him upside the head with it, then he lets Fake Locke’s free hand grab the knife. Diversify, Jack. At the very least kick the knife off the ledge first.

- Desmond survived the island, but not for lack of trying.

- Vincent the dog and Captain Frank are immortal.

- Kate + slinky black dress = pure awesomeness.

- The blood on Jack’s neck and stomach scar are from his fight with Fake Locke.

- Richard is alive.

- Jack’s plan to kill Fake Locke was a surprise. To even himself, it would seem.

- Juliet is Jack’s ex wife in the Real World. Um…Purgatory World?

- Shannon is Sayid’s true love which makes all this Nadia obsession that much more perplexing.

- Nothing is irreversible. Including Jack making a mess of his relationship with Kate.

- Jack was wrong. It was a habit of his.

- Desmond has literally been everywhere on that island.

- Fake Locke doesn’t like the whole ‘Wow, these punches to my face really hurt’ aspect of life.

- Jack is Kate’s true love.

- The golden light is behind a door in some Los Angeles church, too.

- Drive Shaft is a one hit wonder for a reason.

- Faraday is just as odd as a musician as when he was a physicist.

- Smokey is dead. Uh…but not dead and in that Purgatory World, just dead on the island world. Would have been awkward if Smokey snaked his way into the church at the end.

- Claire is going to be a terrible mother.

- Ben would have gone down with the island.

- Juliet knows how to steal from the vending machine.

- Ben is sorry for shooting, lying to, and murdering Locke.

- Hurley was a great number one and Ben was a very good number two. I think Hurley was referring to going number two.

According to Christian:

- Jack is real in Purgatory World, Christian is real, everything that happened to Jack is real (with the exception of those crazy tattoos – unspoken) and everyone in the church is real. This means everyone has died; some before Jack, others ‘long after’.

Unanswered Questions

- Is everyone in that Purgatory World dead? Miles? Faraday? That roadie at the concert? The nurse helping Jack with Locke?

- If everyone is dead but this world looks just like everyday life, how do you know you’re actually dead? I find it depressing that when I die my life goes on like I’m still alive until I become aware I’m dead. If I don’t have to go to work, I want to know right away.

- If everyone is dead, how could they be murdered by Sayid?

- What happens to the people left behind? Will Miles file a missing person’s report on Sawyer? Will Jack’s son wander around calling for his mother and father? Did Ben stay behind so he could nail Rousseau?

- What would Locke have done if he couldn’t walk? That church didn’t look handicap accessible by any means.

- Do you think Fake Locke was kicking himself for not planning out the possibility of becoming mortal when the light went out as he was falling down the cliff?

- What would have happened if the island sank? Would the entire world have collapsed in on itself?

- Could Locke have picked a worse place to moor that sailboat? How about at a friggin’ dock, you moron!

- Once the light was back on, why didn’t the island’s healing power take over and fix Jack? Does it take a while for that to warm up?

- How will Richard adjust to being mortal and in the real world? Is he just happy he’s normal again or will the discovery of the internet ruin his life?

- Why were Sun and Jin so happy when they shared memories of themselves drowning in the sub? That wasn’t exactly a feel good ending.

- How can you be pregnant in Purgatory? What happens if she moves on with the fetus in her belly? Will she be perpetually pregnant?

- Can you gain weight in Purgatory?

- Why did neither Desmond nor Jack turn into a smoke monster like Man in Black did? Didn’t Mother tell Jacob that anyone who goes down into the golden well will never be the same again? Isn’t that how Smokey was created?

- What were all those skeletons in the well? Were those people who died trying to steal the light?

- How long did Hurley run the island and is a spinoff in the works?

- Could Ben and Hurley have opened up the island for tourism and made a fortune by pretending the golden light was simply a manufactured product? Hide it in plain sight, make believe the stories are folktales and sell tours through the cavern for $50 a pop. Nobody would believe it was real.

- How did Boone become Island Aware? And shouldn’t he have been pissed at Locke for setting him up in that small airplane?

- Would Mr Ekko have ended this entire ordeal three years ago? Yes, I think he would have.

- Who was shooting at the boat during last year’s time traveling? Not going to tell us, are you, Lost?

- How did Captain Frank find his way out of Island airspace? Did he just fly around in circles until he got lucky? Did he run out of fuel and crash again? Does the Island mystique end at 20,000 feet?

- You notice how Jack died at the exact spot he landed during the plane crash? Even the sneaker was still stuck to the tree! Is it possible that Jack died during Oceanic 815 and this entire show was his delirious, dying dreams? Or was he revived by Jacob (or Vincent the Wonder Dog) in order to serve his purpose and die where he should have years ago?

Alternate Endings

Since I was disappointed in the explanation behind Purgatory World, here are two other options I thought would have been better.

1: Hurley is in charge and makes a new guardian rule that anyone who sacrificed for the island has a choice of staying or leading their lives in Real World.

2: Fake Locke actually succeeds in destroying the island, only this has the unforeseen effect of erasing everything that happened on it. Time reboots, he and Jacob are never born on the island, never raised by Mother Psycho, Richard never lands on it, Oceanic never crashes and this entire season for our Oceanic friends is how their lives would have turned out if the island never existed.

It also explains why the island is under water in the season opener.

Still, it’s tough to argue with a fantastic episode like last night. Sure, there were some question marks, but it was funny, touching, engaging, exciting and will provoke debate forever.

We wouldn’t have it any other way.

Today's distraction: Another viewer's take on the final episode. I'm sure we've all made up our own minds, but I enjoy another take.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Not A Lost Entry

Apologies for only writing about Lost the last few weeks. Work is kicking my ass. On Tuesday I was awake for nearly 24 hours straight. Up at 4 am for my morning workout, got boys to school, 10 hours at work, baseball game for youngest who spends more time building sand castles in the infield dirt than paying attention, dinner, Lost, write most of the Lost entry while watching second half of Celtics game.

Bed at midnight. What’s that? Twenty hours awake and active?

Being a decrepit old man, I did not get up the next morning easily.

Some random thoughts I’ve been mulling over since last we spoke. And we really don’t talk as often as we should. I do realize that.

- Part of my job is to prepare for any worst case scenario. I mean that literally. If my building falls down it’s on me to get a secondary server up and running as quickly as possible so everyone here can access email and files and porn (I would assume) while someone else finds us another place to hang our coats. I try to think of where something could possibly go wrong and put in place a plan of attack to make sure things are fixed as soon as possible.

Now, obviously, you can never envision every scenario. There will always be some disastrous turn of events that one will be woefully unprepared for. It happens to the best of us.

I’m thinking, of course, of BP and the disaster currently taking place in the Gulf of Mexico. Companies whose main business is a high risk, high reward endeavor like oil drilling should probably have every worst case scenario planned for. Right? Like, say one of their oil rigs springs a leak (or, you know, explodes), I would be fairly certain the engineers working for BP would pull out Plan C for just such a contingency and hop on a boat or in a helicopter and rush to the scene to fix things immediately, if not sooner.

Instead a company that made approximately 60 quadrillion dollars in profit last year can’t figure out how to stop millions upon millions of gallons of oil from gushing into the Gulf. I do realize their rig blew up, but the basic problem is a pipe is broken and they don’t know how to put a plug in it. Putting a block of concrete over seemed to be their best idea and that didn’t work well. At all.

How about a cork? Got a big cork you can use?

In the meantime the Gulf’s ecosystem is reaching critical mass. Yesterday reports started coming out that the EPA is getting very concerned that some of the oil slick could hit the Gulf Stream, spreading all the lovely, expensive oil up the east coast.

Hey, you know who spends a lot of time on the beaches of the east coast? Me, that’s who! Frankly I don’t want to be dodging oil slicks and dead birds because BP was so woefully unprepared they make the Keystone Cops look competent.

- While I’m raging about this, how have we not figured out a way to absorb oil from water? Oil and water don’t mix. They stay separate. So how is it we are in the year 2010 and there is still no way to collect the oil before it destroys our coasts? There is no chemical that will dissolve it or make it harmless to the environment? What about some new fabric we can pull through the ocean and it only collects the oil?

How is it we’ve invented a car that will parallel park itself and I can check Celtic scores from the top of Mount Washington if I have the proper service plan but we haven’t figure this out?

- The one good thing about the oil disaster is the timing of it. In my neck of the woods there has been a bitter, somewhat illogical, debate about installing a state of the art wind farm off the coast of Nantucket. The biggest gripe about how it would affect the environment was a close second to how it would ruin the view for the fat cats that can actually afford a house on Nantucket.

Make no mistake, the view was the biggest concern for most. EPA did many studies regarding it and found – repeatedly – that the benefits greatly outweigh the risks. Don’t think that prevented residents from filing suit or bitching to the press about it, though. Ted Kennedy was even opposed to it before he died, apparently concerned he might bump into one with his multimillion dollar yacht.

Since the Gulf disaster, there hasn’t been a peep out of anyone about it and the Secretary of Energy himself came to Boston to basically say ‘Shut the fuck up, this thing is going forward and if you keep testing me I’ll make your children disappear’. Only in a polite, political way.

Besides, have you ever seen a wind turbine? We have one in my city, there is one towering over the expressway in Boston, and there are several on one of the Boston Harbor islands. They are spectacular, majestic and impressive. They are the exact opposite of an eye sore and I can’t wait to get pictures of the Nantucket farm once it’s complete. Word is this may be the most extensive and advanced turbine system in the world.

Being Boston, however, this fight isn’t over. Nothing progresses easily around here. Just bring up getting rid of Fenway and building a new ball park if you want a taste.

- One of the cuties at lunch informed me that Kate Gosselin (aka Satan) has not one but two new shows coming out. Both are reality shows. One is a continuation of the Plus 8 thing, another is something equally stupid that I couldn’t give one NOR two shits about. I have henceforth made it my half assed mission to organize a boycott across America involving anything Gosselin. If this means those rug rats wind up starving in the street, so be it. Justice must be served.

- I had to talk my oldest son into playing another year in the minors for little league this spring. He complained that his team stunk and he was sick of losing. I told him that most of the same players are coming back and playing with familiar team mates will make the team better. He complained and whined but finally agreed. They are undefeated and every single one of their games has ended due to the slaughter rule. As a father it’s nice to be proven right now and then so your kids think you’re smart.

Even when it’s not true.

- I would like to throw out a few ‘Fuck You’s to some special douchebags:

To Rasheed Wallace, who openly admitted he didn’t try during the regular season. Thanks, Wallace, for mailing it in when I shelled out $350 for my tickets to the Oklahoma City game. I should point out that there is no quicker way to get Boston fans to hate your very being than admitting you didn’t bother working for you paycheck.

To Floyd Landis, who was so adamant in his denial about his positive PED test after his Tour de France victory he had me semi convinced that there was a major problem with the testing policies and/or the overly strict restrictions regarding diet or over the counter medications. Now he’s come forward and admitted that he really was doping back in the day and is ratting out other bikers with absolutely no proof to back him up. How long until the book comes out, Landis? You scumbag.

Jonathan Papelbon who has crumbled so drastically in the past two seasons the memory of the dominant closer he used to be is forever lost. He barely gets above 93 with his fastball which in turn makes him nibble at the corners rather than being aggressive and going after the hitters. In short, the Sox need a new closer.

That is all for now. Will try to get more up here when I can. Back to work.

Today’s distraction: For your endless pleasure here is Instant Fun. The name doesn’t lie. I’ve hit the Benny Hill Theme more times than I can count.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Lost - Part 15

Now that is more like it. My faith has been restored. Big Bad Ben is back and as darkly enjoyable as ever, Fake Locke finally explains why he walks, there were random deaths, throat slashings, Jacob confrontations, cold blooded murders, and empty wells. In short, Lost is back in fine form.

Not to worry, there are still plenty of questions to solve and puzzle over.

Let’s get to it, shall we?

Oh, we shall.

What Happened

Let’s start with the Real World. And I’ll just sum things up to get to the good stuff.

Desmond is scheming and trying to get the Oceanic people to ‘Let go’, only he says it with a cool, Scottish accent. His process of getting everyone to let go includes running down paraplegics, forcing true loves to get together and beating the living snot out of Ben. Gotta admit, he’s got some balls. He even turns himself in to Sawyer to get near Sayid and Kate, also in custody. It was like the bear cages without sex. Yes, I was disappointed.

After his beating, Ben tells Locke all about Desmond’s claim that he wasn’t trying to kill Locke. The ‘Let go’ phrase gets something to click with Locke and he visits Jack in his office to tell him he’s ready ‘to be fixed’. In a surreal moment, Jack channels his island self with the phrase ‘I think you’re confusing coincidence with fate’. Oh, been there before, haven’t we, Jack?

Ben, meanwhile, runs into Alex and meets her mother for the first time in her four year, high school career. Yep, it’s Rousseau who insists on having Ben over for dinner (loved the ‘even if we have to kidnap you’ line), informs him that he is the closest thing Alex has had to a father which gets him all choked up and girly. This is the opposite of Island Ben. He’s a complex dude.

Jack has another bizarre mirror moment that’s almost matched by Ben. Jack has another bloody cut on his neck, though, so he wins. Ben just stares blankly at himself.

But the real story here is the reappearance of Ana Lucia and Hurley. Desmond, being transferred along with Sayid and Kate to ‘county’ (where ever that is) asks if they both want to escape. If they do, though, they need to promise Desmond they will do him a favor. They both sarcastically agree and two minutes later the truck stops, Ana Lucia opens up the back door and lets everyone out of the cuffs. She tells Desmond his friend better show or she’ll claim everyone was trying to escape and shoot.

‘Don’t worry.’ Desmond tells her while Sayid and Kate look on in shock, ‘he’ll be here.’

Sure enough, up drives Hurley in his environmentally friendly Hummer, jumps out and hands Ana Lucia over a hundred grand in cash. Desmond tells Sayid to go with Hurley and Kate will go with him in Hurley’s cool Camaro. ‘We’re going to a concert,’ Desmond tells her and hands her a skimpy black dress I can’t wait to see her wear during Sunday’s finale.

Well done, Desmond. Well done.

By the way, the Celtics are up by eight going into the fourth quarter. Yes, that is why I’m still awake. Well, that and the two cups of coffee I had with dinner. 2 – 0 is looking good. Did I just jinx this?

Island World: While Jack sews up Kate’s wound, they both agree that Fake Locke needs to be taken down. While Sawyer guilty watches wreckage from the sub wash ashore, Jack tells them they need to go find the Desmond well.

While on their hike, Sawyer confesses to Jack that he believes he killed Sun, Jin, and Sayid. Jack assures him it wasn’t his fault and that Fake Locke is the one responsible. Also, Hurley sees teenaged Jacob who steals his own ashes away from him. Yeah, that’s a sentence you will never read while describing any other show in television history.

Jacob burns his own ashes and is suddenly visible and audible to everyone. He invites Kate, Sawyer, Jack and Hurley for a quick campfire story. He tells them that long ago he made a rather huge mistake: creating Smokey. My bad! They are there to help fix that mistake. One of them needs to take over guarding the island. Kate asks why her name was crossed off and, in one of my favorite Lost moments ever, Jacob replies ‘It’s just chalk in a cave. The job is yours if you want it.’

Jack (DUH!) agrees to become the new caretaker and is initiated the same way Jacob was initiated by his mother. Only with swamp water instead of wine. Kind of a gyp until you remember Jack has a bit of a drinking problem so it probably wasn’t the best time to have him fall off the wagon. Jack asks if it’s even possible to kill Locke and Jacob responds with a verbal shrug.

Meanwhile….Celtics lead is down to three with 5 minutes remaining. Is it too late to take back that 2 – 0 comment?

Fake Locke is paddling up to the Dharma barracks where Ben, PAD and Richard are loading up on C4. Zoey and Widmore conveniently show up, realize Fake Locke is coming and tells everyone ‘Quick, HIDE!’. PAD, being the only sane person left on the island, responds with ‘Screw you guys, I’m taking off!’ and takes off. He’s a man of his word.

Richard and Ben decide that the time for flight is over and the time to fight is now. That gets Richard a face full of Smokey and Ben – given the option of taking over the island – again turns sides and fights with Locke. He brings Fake Locke to where Widmore and Zoey are hiding. To the delight of nearly everyone, Locke immediately kills Zoey then grills Widmore on why he was back on the island and why Desmond was around.

F@#*!!! Magic just took a one point lead!!!!

Suddenly shots ring out as Ben guns down Widmore with extreme prejudice. He’s been waiting to do that for a while. Fake Locke tells Ben he has a few more people to kill and brings him to the Desmond Well. Only…whoops…Desmond is no longer there. Left behind is merely a rope. Locke tells Ben that someone did him a favor. See, Fake Locke no longer wants Desmond dead. He now needs him to do something.

Help him destroy the island.

What We Learned

- Real World Rousseau is still creepy and a bit off. She also possesses questionable mothering skills considering Alex has been spending a lot of time with a middle aged man and has never met him before now. You suck, Rousseau. That’s what I‘m trying to say.

- Island Ben is still infected or just a total asswipe. Or both.

- Zoey didn’t have to die to save the island, she was just annoying.

- Richard buried Alex’s body.

- Kate’s name was crossed off because she became a mother but she is still a candidate.

- PAD is interested in surviving.

- Jack is the next guardian.

- Desmond is alive and free from the well.

- Hurley now seems to have full island memories in the Real World.

- Ana Lucia is still trouble.

- Fake Locke walks because he likes the feel of his feet on the ground. It reminds him of being human.

- Jacob created Smokey when he threw his brother into that golden light. It happens.

Celtics pulled out a three point win. I know you were all dying to know that.

- Desmond is luring Jack into his web of…well…whatever he’s doing…by pretending Oceanic airlines found his father’s body. Low, Desmond.

- Ben shooting Widmore did not kill his only chance of survival.

- Real World Ben believed Real World Desmond. Getting your ass kicked can have that effect.

- Teen Jacob is a brat.

- Ben never ceases to amaze Fake Locke.

- Jack will drink anything.

- Not speaking to Locke makes you worthless.

- Island Desmond is the fail safe.

- Jacob picked all of the candidates because they were like him: flawed with messed up parental relationships. They were all looking for something they couldn’t find in the Real World.

Quick sidenote: I loved the Jacob fireside chat. Sawyer protesting ‘We were doing just fine’ only to have Jacob verbally smack him down with ‘No, you weren’t. You were all flawed and alone’ and not one of them arguing that fact. I also thought it interesting that Jacob shared not only his mistake but his one regret – not being given a choice. He lets them all choose who will take over for him. Jack, as we all suspected, took the challenge. Just a well done show over all. I will now excuse last week’s travesty as a fluke. Carry on.

- Jack’s new job will be protecting the light from Smokey. Tall order.

- Hurley’s just glad it isn’t him.

- Jack is like Jacob who is like his mother who is like someone else that came before her. It’s all very confusing and mystical.

- Fake Locke wants to use Desmond to destroy the island. So much for promises.

New Questions

- How is Ben supposed to take Fake Locke’s admission he’s going to try to destroy the island? Wasn’t he just promised it to have for himself before he gunned down Widmore? Will Ben try to stop Fake Locke? I think Smokey just made a tactical error in admitting this to Ben. Ben loves the island.

- Why is it Jack will now be able to find the light? Does the initiation come with some sudden, illumination on what the island is, how it works and where everything is located? Or does Jacob hand him a mobile GPS?

- Does Fake Locke actually succeed in destroying the island? Is that why it’s under water in the season premiere?

- Will Jack contract malaria from that ceremony?

- What would have happened if nobody had a cup for the ceremony? Would the entire thing be over? . Would Jacob have just thrown his hands up, ‘Seriously? Nobody has a cup? I can’t do this with my hands, people!! Man, I picked the worst candidates for this!’

- Why was Jack carrying a cup, anyway? I know he’s obsessive about preparation, but this seems a bit over board

- What is Real World Desmond’s end game? Is he arranging everyone to meet at Faraday and Drive Shaft’s concert? If so, what will that do? Will everyone suddenly ‘let go’ if they are all together? Or are they going to see Jack’s prodigy son?

- How does Real World Hurley suddenly remember everything? He recognizes Ana Lucia immediately and is fully invested in Desmond’s plan.

- If Fake Locke manages to escape the island and – as Widmore said before – everything comes to an end, why was he so concerned about Fake Locke’s threat regarding Penny?

- Is Richard dead?

- Will Ben and Rousseau get it on in the Real World? Am I the only one highly disturbed by that possibility?

- Who is Jack’s ex wife in the Real World? We can assume it’s not Ana Lucia now so it must be Juliet, right? Right??

- Where is Desmond on the island? Is he running around naked again?

- Where are Real World Hurley and Sayid going?

- What do the Oceanic people need to ‘let go’ of?

- What’s with the blood on Jack’s neck again? Is he just a terrible shaver?

- How are they going to kill Fake Locke?

- How does the Real World fit into all of this?

- Will Jack have time to fix Real World Locke?

- Did Ben, Richard and PAD take the long way to the Dharma barracks? They leave at the same time Jack and Hurley go to talk to Fake Locke. In the meantime Sawyer and crew are captured, Jack springs them, they go to the plane, find it rigged with C-4, hijack the sub, get blown up, swim to shore and they are JUST then getting to the barracks? Were they sightseeing? Walking in slow motion? They couldn’t even beat Widmore who paddled to the island?

- Will we ever find out who was shooting at our time traveling friends last season? Remember everyone was skipping through time and they were paddling from one side to the other and suddenly another boat was shooting at them from behind? Who was that?

- Did Jacob really invite Widmore to the island?

- How did Desmond know Kate’s dress size? Did he buy one a size smaller so it’s nice and tight?

- Is Ben really going to attempt to kill everyone for Smokey? Or does he another plan?

THE Finale on Sunday, Lost friends. I probably won’t have time to pull a full recap on Monday, but I’ll throw something together.

Until then….

Today's distraction: A highlight reel of Sawyer's nicknames. My favorites are still Skeletor, Tokyo Rose, Short Round and Twitchy. He'll be missed. These are from the first three seasons, by the way. You can find the rest in the related links section.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Lost - Part 14

Granted, I should know better than to set any sort of expectations when it comes to Lost, but I found myself increasingly annoyed with last night’s episode. One would think with five or so hours left in the entire series a few more answers would have been made available. Not even a name, Lost? You couldn’t give us a name for Man In Black?

With little more than three hours left I have more questions than ever.

Which, I suppose, is exactly the point. Those Lost bastards!

Let’s get to it. I’m skimming over the summary because the questions are going to take up a lot of space. You have no idea.

What Happened

A Claire like, pregnant (read: basketball tucked under her shirt) woman washes up on a beach after what appears to be a ship wreck. She stumbles to a stream, meets a crazy looking woman who teaches her instant English, delivers her twin baby boys, then murders her. But she said sorry, so it’s all good.

Years later we see the two boys trying to learn a caveman’s game that includes light and dark pieces. Like backgammon. Like in the very first episode. I’m dizzy. The boys agree not to tell ‘Mother’, but Jacob is such a wussy momma’s boy he spills the beans within minutes of getting back to their cave.

Mother finds Man In Black…wait…Boy In Black? Seriously? A friggin’ name wasn’t possible last night? Where was I? Right. Mother confronts Black Boy (there we go!) about the game, but tells him he can keep it. ‘Why do you think I left it for you?’ she says. Black Boy seems disappointed it didn’t come from across the sea, but Mother tells him there is nothing there. The island is all there is.

She also implies that he is ‘special’ and possibly immortal. When BB asks about death, she tells him it’s not something he will ever have to worry about.

Of course, her lies quickly come undone when the boys see other people on the island and confront Mother about them. She decides it’s time for them to learn the truth at which point I get all excited until she takes them to a glowing cave. That’s right, a cave with glowing, golden light coming out of it. Or as we call it, a gold mine.

Supposedly this light is source of everything; life, death, redemption, cotton candy. Men will try to take it, Mother tells them, but they can’t. They can, however put it out and if it goes out there it goes out everywhere, which sounds silly until you remember they had no idea electricity was going to be invented someday.

Black Boy is intrigued, but his reality is about to be shattered when his real (and quite dead) mother visits him to tell him the truth. There is an entire world outside the island, the men trapped here are his people and, oh yeah, your mother is a lying, murdering, bitch. Just so you know.

I was hoping to avoid this, but I feel something needs to be addressed at this point. The Mother – who, you know doubt noticed also didn’t age – was a walking hypocrisy and seemed to be a criticism of religion in general. We’re all used to the recurring theme of faith versus fact with Lost. Seasons one and two revolved around Jack’s Man of Science clashing with Locke’s Man of Faith, but Mother took this to an entirely new level.

She spent most of her time criticizing the behavior of mankind with phrases like ‘They come, they destroy, they lie and manipulate and it always ends the same’. Yet her entire relationship with her ‘sons’ was based on a lie. She murdered an innocent woman, stole her babies, lied to those babies their entire lives and had them convinced (another word for brainwashed) that every outside person was evil and not to be trusted. While I don’t have specific numbers at my disposal, I’m fairly certain that is worse than 99.9% of what the rest of the world has done in their entire lives. And she did it in one afternoon.

I know what you’re thinking: ‘True, but she’s doing it to protect the island. She has a higher calling’. One (meaning me) could argue that the worst crimes against humanity were based on a ‘higher calling’. The Spanish Inquisition, The Crusades, The Holocaust, 9/11, The Real Housewives of New Jersey. That she is claiming to protect the island from the destructive forces of men isn’t an excuse for her manipulative and murderous behavior.

I read a book called ‘Under The Banner of Heaven’ which focused on the Mormon religion and the problems they were having keeping their children grounded in the faith because they would learn contradictory facts about the world when they departed and went to college. While their bible says the world began about 5000 years ago, the geology class is showing them rocks that are millions of years old. Only college has proof where religion has faith.

I couldn’t help but think about that when Black Boy heads off to learn about the world and Mother’s reaction was to simply destroy everything and everyone he was working with. Knowledge? I’ll show you what knowledge gets you!

Anyway, by this point Man in Black is fully grown, as is Jacob. MIB takes the death of his friends poorly and goes off to kill Mother. Mother must sense the end is near for her because she finally brings Jacob back to golden pond and initiates him into the Guardian role of the island. This includes drinking some wine after she murmurs some prayer or incantation before. Basically, Mother is a witch with a drinking problem.

When she arrives back at the homey cave, she’s stabbed from behind by MIB who asks why she wouldn’t let him leave the island. ‘Because I love you,’ she answers just before dying. Jacob then comes in, sees what happens and beats the snot out of brother. He then drags him to the golden well and tosses him in. There comes a rumbling sound and out barrels the smoke monster. It heads up and over the jungle.

Washing the blood off his hands, Jacob sees his brother’s body and takes it to be with his mother’s. He sets them up together and places two game pieces – one black, one white – in his hand.

Mother and brother are the Adam and Eve that Jack and Kate find.

What We Learned

- Uh, mother and brother are Adam and Eve. I kinda just said that.

- Jacob and MIB are twins and totally screwed up by their fake mother.

- Mother didn’t age, either.

- Smokey came from the golden cave.

- Jacob and MIB were tight. ‘Go behind crazy mom’s back’ tight. And they loved playing games.

- Jacob would watch the other islanders from a distance to see if they really were ‘bad’. Although how he could judge bad when his mother was the only measuring stick is a huge question.

- The boy we see in the jungle earlier this season is teenage Jacob.

- Mother ‘made it’ so the two brothers couldn’t hurt each other, although Jacob pretty much proved that wrong. Beating MIB senseless twice then hurling him into the cave. So much for rules.

- Dead people were visiting the island long before Hurley showed up.

- Mother and Jacob had an unhealthy fixation with that loom.

- MIB was Mother’s favorite.

- Mother treated her favorite questionably by lying to him about nearly everything and killing his real mother.

- MIB killed Mother (more about this in the questions section).

- There is a cave that contains ‘the warmest, brightest light’ anyone will ever see. This does not mean the sun is under the island because that would be nuts.

- MIB and his friends were some of the first to discover the island’s magnetic properties. They were the ones that dug many of the wells.

- MIB searched for that golden cave for years after he left Mother and Jacob and could never find it. So he dug through the island. Well done, MIB!! That’s showing some ingenuity.

- Jacob wasn’t thrilled about the prospect of protecting the island initially.

- Mother gives home schooling a really bad name.

New Questions

- If the Adam skeleton is actually Jacob’s brother, than who is the MIB Jacob has debates with on the beach? Has the Smokey that was released from the cave taken on many forms of the recently deceased? This leads us to…

- If the Man In Black (aka Fake Locke) isn’t really Jacob’s brother, than why do the rules Mother sets up still apply to him? Is Smokey a conglomeration of all the Jacob’s that came before him, thus he/it retains all the same restrictions and memories of those that came before?

If you recall, Jacob and MIB had a conversation on the beach, as they watched an approaching ship, that echoed what Mother said to both boys. ‘They come, they corrupt, they destroy. It always ends the same.’

Does this mean Mother’s memories and opinions have been incorporated into MIB’s persona? As well as all the other thoughts and memories from the others that watched over the island before her? Remember when Smokey attacked the Temple earlier this year and bodies or souls were visible within the smoke? Were those the spirits of all the other Island Caretakers?

- Was Mother herself a Smokey? It’s the only assumption I can make after she decimated an entire village, burned it down and filled in all the wells in a matter of hours. She was either a Smokey or highly efficient in her work.

- What if the smoke thing is (or was) actually the caretaker of the island? What if when Mother dies, Smokey needed to reemerge from the cave and take the form of the next candidate? Only Jacob screwed that up by throwing his brother into the cave and corrupting Smokey with MIB’s doubts and rage and anger about his mother and not being able to leave the island? What if Jacob created the very thing he had to fight to keep on the island? Or did throwing MIB into the golden cave somehow create or release the monster?

- Are Mother’s rules hard set? Or are they just rules that the brothers are taught to think are unbreakable? For example, she tells the boys that she made it so they can’t hurt each other, only Jacob wails on his brother twice.

- Does the island require a crazy, unwashed, homicidal woman on it at all times? First Mother, then Rousseau, then Claire. Is there some quota needed?

- Does drinking the wine stop the aging process? You’ll recall Jacob had Richard drink from that same jug when he asked to never die.

- Since MIB smashed that jug, how will that trait be carried down to the next candidate? Will beer suffice?

- Once Jacob drank the wine was he able to set the rules of one of them not being able to kill the other? Or that Smokey wasn’t allowed to kill any of the candidates?

- If Mother really wanted to protect the golden cave, then wouldn’t it be in her best interest to let people that crashed on the island leave? Seems to me there would be no better protection then getting people off nearly as soon as they got on. How about this? A bunch of people crash on the island and, instead of killing them all, you help them off and just make it seem like it was just a regular island. ‘Nothing to see here. Just a stupid island. Hey, found a newly built boat for you all. Here, take it and I’ll get the next one. Thanks for stopping by and don’t come again!’ Maybe throw some leis around their necks on their way home?

- Did Mother really leave that game for Black Boy to find or – as I suspect – was she covering up that there was more to the world than just the island?

- What was with the stupid loom and where did all the wool come from? Was it delivered along with the magic wine?

- How did the caretakers pass the time on this island? Other than weaving? Could they get books? Satellite TV? Shuffleboard? You’d think they’d at least learn how to surf.

- When MIB killed his mother I noticed he did it without saying a word to her, nor her to him. Did this somehow follow the rule of not letting the person speak before killing them? Does that mean a certain amount of time could pass before that rule is set back into place? Like 24 hours must pass before you have another chance?

- How long was Mother there before she handed her spot to Jacob?

- And who did she follow?

- Did Mother have magical powers that made her rules unbreakable? And did those same powers make everyone around her speak English?

- How did Jacob and his brother get their hair styled? And how did Jacob keep his beard looking like a four day growth at all times? Does this fall under Mother’s magical powers section?

- Why is boar such a valued food source? Does it taste like pork? Bacon? Can you make cheeseburgers out of it?

- Was one of the other men on the island Jacob’s father?

- How could their mother not come up with a second boy’s name off the cuff? David? Michael? Father’s name? Her father’s name? What if Jacob turned out to be a girl? What then? Talk about failing in the clutch.

- What was Jacob’s brother’s name? And why couldn’t we know it? Is his name the punch line for the entire Lost series? Is it Jack? Is it Locke? Ben? Richard? Claire? Sally? Lucifer? Did he not have a name?

- Is that crappy cave the best shelter Mother could find for her boys? How did one of them not die from malaria or something?

- And since we’re here, how did killing the mother make any sense? How did Mother feed the infants with no breast milk? Did she feed them golden light to keep them alive? Did she crack coconuts against her thick skull and use that milk?

- Should we all be concerned that Lost is straining credibility more than ever the closer it gets to the finish line?

- Should we all be concerned that Lost is now raising millions of new questions when we’re three hours away from the ending?

Today's distraction: How 'Home Alone' and 'Die Hard' are the exact same movie. I love Cracked.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Lost - Part 13

Quite frankly, I’m a little depressed.

Say what you will about Lost, but the main draw of the show isn’t just the mysteries and explosions and trying to figure out who is conning who, but the characters. The survivors who have become so familiar to us they now seem like old friends – flaws and all, we still root for them.

Which is why it’s doubly difficult to take the deaths of many of those friends. What other show but Lost could leave us with one of the most traumatizing endings ever. While I’m still hoping for some sort of ‘happy ending’, it is disturbingly apparent that was never the intent of this series.

Besides, there is something else we need to keep in mind: nothing is irreversible.

Off we go.

What Happened

I’ll just skim over the important parts in each section. Not sure I have the heart to go into the details, anyway.

Real World: For the 175th time in Lost history, we see a close up of someone’s eye opening. This time it’s Locke coming out of surgery with Jack hovering over him. They play nice, Jack offers Locke a chance to walk again and Locke politely declines just as Peggy Bundy enters.

Sidenote: I find it odd that more than 10 years after ‘Married With Children’ ended, Al and Peggy Bundy are in my two current favorite shows. Now I know how Jack feels when everyone he runs into was on Oceanic 815. If Christina Applegate joins the cast of ‘Community’ I’m going to freak, man.

Jack, being the ‘need to help everyone whether they like it or not’ Jack of old, decides to find out why Locke refuses help and tracks down his dentist (uhh…okay). Bernard is his dentist – and also reminds Jack that he, too, was on 815. ‘I believe you were flirting with my wife while I was in the john.’ I miss Bernard and Rose this season.

Anyway, Bernard gives Jack the name of one Anthony Cooper who, oddly, was not on Oceanic 815 with the rest of L.A. Jack tracks him down, runs into Peggy Bundy again and learns that Cooper, still played by Roy Desoto (oh yeah, shout out to all my ‘Emergency’ peeps), is a veg. Comatose and in a wheelchair which is really going to piss Sawyer off.

Jack goes to confront Locke but instead spends quality time with Claire, a music box and our first shared mirror moment. When Locke is leaving, he confesses to Jack that he is the reason his father is a zombie. He was taking his first solo flight, insisted his father come with him and immediately crashed. No mention of whether his instructor was a drunk Captain Frank, but I think we all know the answer to that one.

Jack tries to convince Locke it’s time to let go of his father, but Locke wants none of it. He wheels off and Jack yells after him that he really can help him. ‘I wish you would believe me.’ This causes Locke to pause and, making the quickest recovery from a hit and run in the history of mankind, says goodbye to Jack and rolls away.

Island World: Way too much going on here, so let’s just hit the highlights.

Together are Sun, Jin, Sawyer, Kate, Hurley, Claire and Captain Frank. They are captives of Widmore and put in the bear cages again (go Sawyer!). Fake Locke convinces Jack to help them escape. Smokey cruises in and causes a diversion known to most of us as a massacre while Jack gets everyone out of the cage.

Now the gang is back together again and they all head for the Ajira plane. Only Fake Locke gets there first, takes some bullets for his trouble and finds the plane wired to explode. Can’t take this plane, he tells everyone, it’s not safe. Like anything on the island is safe. Let’s take the sub instead. Sawyer’s plan and no red flags?

They get to the sub to find it unguarded. Too easy, guys!! Sawyer and Captain Frank manage to get on and convince the captain to get moving. On the dock the Wild Wild West breaks out and Kate is conveniently shot in the shoulder. Why the shoulder, Hollywood? Why always the shoulder?

After shoving Fake Locke off the dock, Jack scoops up Kate and brings her into the sub hoping he’ll have to take her shirt off to dress the wound. I would gather, anyway. While still in there, the sub dives leaving Claire and Fake Locke behind. ‘You don’t want to be on that sub,’ Fake Locke tells her while everyone watching responds ‘oh, shit’.

Yeah, Fake Locke handed Jack the backpack with the wired C-4 in it. They discover this when Jack’s looking for a first aid kit. They did exactly what Fake Locke wanted them to do, Jack says. Sayid quickly checks out the bomb, thinks it can be disarmed by pulling the two battery wires at ‘exactly’ the same time.

Jack tells them to do nothing. ‘Nothing will happen,’ he tries to convince everyone. ‘Trust me,’ he pleads with Sawyer. ‘Sorry, Doc,’ and Sawyer pulls the two wires…

…and nothing happens. Horay, Sawyer! Just then the timer beeps and speeds up. Boo, Sawyer!! Sayid quickly tells Jack that Desmond is still alive at the bottom of a well then takes off running with the bomb.

BOOM goes the bomb and Sayid and water comes rushing into the sub. Hurley and Kate swim out while Sawyer, Jin, and Jack try to free Sun who is trapped in twisted metal. Sawyer gets clonked on the head about 5 minutes too late and Jack needs to swim out carrying him. Sun and Jin are now left (Captain Frank ate a steel door earlier) and Sun tries to convince Jin to leave her. No @#%*ing way, Jin says (it was in Korean). ‘I’m not leaving you,’ he says and they drown together in the most romantic way possible.

Back on the island we see Jack drag Sawyer onto the beach. Kate and Hurley run up and learn about Sun and Jin and they all have a good cry together. Back on the dock Fake Locke informs Claire that the sub has sunk. ‘They’re all dead?’ she asks. ‘Not all of them,’ Fake Locke says and heads off.

‘Where are you going?’ Claire asks.

‘To finish what I started!’

What We Learned

- Sun, Jin, Captain Frank, and Sayid’s contracts were up.

- Sun and Jin didn’t really consider the welfare of their daughter while drowning together. Isn’t one parent better than none?

- Sawyer really doesn’t trust Jack.

- Desmond is still alive and probably really hungry.

- Real World Locke was paralyzed in a plane crash that also turned his father into a vegemite sandwich.

- Widmore knows about the names. He mentions Ford, Reyes, and the Kwons and knows that Kate isn’t on the list.

- Jack’s getting freaked out that everyone he’s running into in the Real World appears to have been on the same flight as him.

- Claire has the fakest pregnant belly ever filmed.

- Even Bernard hopes Jack finds what he’s looking for.

- Locke has a moment of dual consciousness in his sleep; talking about pressing the button and wishing Jack believed him.

- The cages weren’t nearly as fun for Kate and Sawyer as they were the first time.

- Jack and Sawyer working together never works out well.

- Claire is going to have some major abandonment issues.

- Jack and Claire are bonding in the Real World like typical half siblings who just met each other. That is ‘awkwardly’.

- Christian left Claire that music box that serves absolutely no purpose.

- Captain Frank was just along for the ride.

- Jack can’t tell the difference between his standard backpack and one loaded down with deadly C-4 explosives. In his defense, there was a lot going on.

- Fake Locke is diabolical.

- Desmond’s pep talk with Sayid really paid off.

- Fake Locke looks like he’s done playing around.

- Sure seems like Real World Locke is starting to wonder what is going on, as well. Anyone else catch the look of recognition he gave Jin when they passed each other in the hospital corridor?

- Locke is a ‘candidate’ in the real world. Only for a highly experimental spinal fusion surgery. Still, better than nothing.

- That pilot episode phrase ‘Live together, die alone’ had more meaning than we ever thought.

- Locke is a terrible pilot.

New Questions

- Why didn’t someone just pull out the other two wires from the bomb in the sub? Not like it would have mattered at that point.

- What caused Sayid to pull the about face and sacrifice himself for the sake of everyone? My guess: Between Desmond making him face his Nadia questions and his realization that Fake Locke was setting them up from the beginning, he finally figured out he was master of his own fate. Enough of what everyone thinks about him, he’s just doing what he feels is right. Also, I wonder if a part of him trusted Jack and also knew nothing would happen when the timer hit 00:00.

- Will Real World Locke knowing how to fly a plane somehow become a factor with the Ajira plane in the Island World? Oh, yeah. I call dibs on that theory! DIBS!!

- What kind of explosion can cause Sun to be so wrapped up in all sorts of twisted metal while everyone else remains nearly untouched? Did the sub just really like her? Is she magnetic?

- What the hell was Bernard doing to those dental molds? He may be a nice guy but I don’t want him working on my teeth.

- Is Widmore somehow in league with Fake Locke? Two guards at the Ajira plane, the sub virtually unguarded. I was expecting Widmore to walk up next to Fake Locke at the end of the episode and give him a man hug.

- Will Claire turn on Fake Locke?

- Speaking of which, where is that dagger that is supposedly the only thing that can kill Fake Locke? Although, judging by Sayid’s attempt it probably wouldn’t do much good, anyway.

- Can Fake Locke really kill Jack and all his friends anytime he wants, like he claimed to Jack? Or, like Jack surmises, are there rules preventing him from doing so?

- And how did Jack figure that out?

- Why do people insist on shooting Smokey?

- Why was Kate’s name crossed off on the cave wall?

- Is RW Locke’s father still the same Anthony Cooper that conned Sawyer’s parents?

- What is with Jack and those candy bars?

- Did Widmore really rig the Ajira flight to explode or could that have been Fake Locke’s own doing? Anyone notice he takes the watch off one of the guards before he finds the explosives? That watch is what is rigged to the bomb in the sub.

- Is Fake Locke all knowing and seeing and just pretends he’s not? He genuinely seemed pissed when he came back to his camp to find Jin had been taken, but he also somehow knew some of the candidates survived the sub bomb.

- Why would it take five minutes for a sub to surface when it just started diving?

- Anyone going to grieve over the captain of the sub who died while he was just minding his own business?

- Will Jack and Sawyer now bond over the decisions they’ve made that have killed untold numbers of people?

- What were Fake Locke and Claire talking about the entire time on that dock?

- Will Sawyer get a glimpse of the Real World while unconscious?

Think that about covers it. Just learned the series finale is being stretched to two and a half hours. That extra 30 minutes will no doubt be used to setup ‘Lost – The Return’ which will bring Aaron, Sun’s daughter, and Walt to the island in 20 years. They should all be sufficiently messed up by the lack of parental guidance to make them perfectly suited to be the next generation of candidates.

Today's distraction: It's the latest fitness craze: The WWW. Triple Dubs, baby. Not exactly safe for work, but hilarious.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Rebuilding The Wall

As most of you know, music is an integral part of my life. I take great pleasure in discovering new music and introducing that music to others. If I discover another music buff (audiophile?) at work, I will quickly try to find out what their tastes are and what we have in common. Often it can bond me to a person for life.

Quick side story: There was a hot, 20 something working with me a few years back. We were cordial to each other, but never overtly friendly. One day we happened to get in the elevator on our way into the office. She was obviously hung over so – as I tend to do – decided to add to her misery.

‘Tough night?’

‘Went to a concert last night. Not feeling so well today?’

‘Oh, yeah? Who did you see?’

She looks at me derisively (something she was extremely skilled at) and replies ‘You wouldn’t know them.’

‘Try me,’ I answer.

Big sigh…’Kings of Leon’.

This was just after they released their debut album, but I had indeed heard of them. My answer: ‘Oh, I have their cd if you need a copy. You should check out the ’22-20s’, as well. They’re really good’.

She was so taken back by this she stood straight up, gave me a long, reassessing look and said ‘The 22-20s opened for them last night. You’re right…they are really good.’

We’re still friends and, every now and then, a burned cd will arrive in the mail with various music on it. Just her way of saying hi. She’s the one that introduced The Futureheads into my world and I am eternally grateful for that. To pay her back, I introduced her to liquid lunches for which she is eternally grateful. Even trade off.

This isn’t a new trend. Back in grammar school I was trying to get other kids involved in music; often loaning friends my Boston (yes, Boston! They rocked once upon a time) or AC/DC albums to get them as hooked as I was. Life long bonds were formed back then. Friends I still see or chat with weekly all share concert memories or cruising around town with Van Halen polluting the summer air. Same with girls; certain songs will always be connected to certain lovely ladies.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Music, in a very real sense, will always be entwined with my memories. One often invoking the other, sort of like a certain scent or taste will always remind me of a place or person.

Sorry, completely off topic.

Last week I was cleaning up the clutter known as my stereo cabinet when I found a CD of Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’. While this is still one of the top five most influential albums of my lifetime, I hadn’t listened to it in years. Maybe more than a decade. I quickly brought the cds to my laptop, uploaded it to iTunes and synced it to my iPod. I have been listening and reintroducing it to my central nervous system and brain all weekend.

During this time I have had several thoughts:

- It stands up incredibly well. Not only is it still better than most of the so called ‘music’ that is released these days, but it sounds like it was recorded yesterday. Granted, the cd is a version that has been digitally remastered from the original recordings, but still. It sounds fantastic.

- It could be the single most ambitious album in our lifetimes. And, yes, I’m including all you young ones who have probably never even listened to it all the way through. Imagine a band today announcing they are working on an album of drug addiction, social anxiety, depression and suicide. And, oh yeah, it will be a double album.

In that same thought

- You can’t listen to this on shuffle. It’s the ONLY album I can think that demands listening from beginning to end to fully appreciate. Songs flow from one to the other, explaining to the listener how someone can bocame entirely fucked up.

Disk one lays the foundation for his personal dysfunction with the second disk picking up after an attempted suicide and subsequent rehabilitation. More on this in a bit.

- There is a subtle, dark humor hidden here. While asking how he should complete his own personal wall started by his parents, the album immediately launches into ‘Young Lust’ (another personal all time fav) which choruses with ‘I need a dirty woman!’

There is also the hilariously disturbing ‘Don’t Leave Me Now’ which includes the lines ‘Don’t leave me now/when you know how I need you…/to beat to a pulp on Saturday night, oh babe!’

- It’s a perfect match of music and lyrics. Even how the lyrics are sung is perfectly suited for the mood. Angry, lonely, sad or defiant depending on what the song is trying to convey.

- Between ‘The Wall’, ‘Animals’, and ‘Dark Side of the Moon’, Pink Floyd not only perfected intelligent, challenging, psychedelic rock and roll, they may have inadvertently invented the tag ‘Alternative’. Let’s face it this shit is strange and dark. There are conversations intermingled between songs that progress the story or introduce an idea that is expanded upon. Just listen to ‘Is There Anybody Out There’ and the subsequent songs that are all incorporated into the theme of rehab, therapy and fighting for some form of normalcy and tell me what current band could successfully pull that off.

- The music is stellar. It’s the entire reason we listen anyway, right? Alternately there are hard rock songs, beautiful open letters to a lost lover, an acoustic give and take between son and mother, angry rebuffs of society in general, mocking odes to teachers nobody ever liked and variations on the same tune. Only all of it is accessible to the average listener. Hell, they even managed to garner some hit songs off this album which, in hindsight, is nothing short of miraculous.

Which brings me to my final, somewhat depressing thought: We will never see another album like this again.

In an age of playlists, single song purchasing and having your computer or iPod randomly select songs for you, nobody ever sits down and listens to an entire album anymore. ‘The Wall’ wouldn’t survive in an environment like 2010.

This is a release that details the descent of a man into his own personal hell. Each song on the first disk sets the stage for his drug abuse and mental instability. ‘Another Brick in the Wall – Part 1, 2, and 3’, ‘Mother’, ‘Young Lust’, ‘Empty Spaces’, ‘One of My Turns’ and ‘Happiest Days of Our Lives’ lays the foundation for his suicide attempt in ‘Goodbye Cruel World’.

Disk two revolves around his full fledged drug addiction (‘Comfortably Numb’, ‘The Show Must Go On’, and ‘Hey, You’ could be the most effective anti drug songs ever written) before climaxing with an internal trial in the head of the narrator.

‘Just five minutes, Worm, Your Honor. Him and me alone…’

There is a glimmer of hope when ‘The Wall’ finally comes down, but this is a quick, quiet ditty about what his actions have cost him and how the remaining people have been irrevocably damaged.

Upbeat this is not.

What it could be is the most intelligent and literary album ever. It’s been more than thirty years since ‘The Wall’ was first released and I’m still trying to interpret what ‘the worms’ are. They are mentioned throughout the songs and are either A: The norms and laws of society, B: the damaging ideas put into young people’s heads from an early age, or C: both.

I get that the bricks in the wall are individual pieces of mental damage; each piling on top of the other to create a barrier of dysfunction, but the worms have baffled me. I thought I had it figured out when I was in college and a light went off in my head, but I was also high as a fucking kite and had forgotten my epiphany by the time I woke up the next morning. I called my friend who was part of the conversation, but all he said was ‘Oh, man, I don’t remember the details but I do remember it blew my mind’.

My guess (after years of intense study) is the worms are both society’s rules AND agents of destruction. That creativity and original thinking are not encouraged by standard rules and laws, but those same norms help keep most people sane and safe. That if you reject all of the rules you risk becoming damaged goods; stuck behind your own isolated ‘wall’ looking for a way out.

Or something.

Personally, I believe that is the greatest aspect of ‘The Wall’; that it’s subject to multiple interpretations and, even after repeated listening, you can still discover something new.

In short, it’s a stunning, timeless work of art and you should listen to it as soon as possible. Maybe I should have just left it at that.

Today’s distraction: Supposedly a Pink Floyd reunion is not in the works. One of the understated effects ‘The Wall’ was on the band itself. They released the subpar ‘The Final Cut’ a few years later before Roger Waters left the band. There was then a legal fight over the rights to the Pink Floyd name and nasty words exchanged between Waters and Dave Gilmour and things just went south from there.

Maybe writing and creating something as epic ‘The Wall’ took the steam out of them. Pity.