Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Smoke Clears

Long silenced by a wish for due compensation, the Long Island Smoke Monster recently spoke out about how Lost producers ran amuck with a misleading caricature. Read more for the LISM's belching, hickoried truth.

I was at the same Hamptons barbecue as J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof back in 2002, and it's always been clear they based the Lost smoke monster on me. Well, I have news for you--it's a totally inaccurate depiction! I never said anything before because I thought the producers would eventually offer me something in exchange--like creative control over my own project, or even just a set visit in Hawaii. Wrong! So now that Lost is coming to an end, there are some things I want to get straight.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Oceanic Six

 10.02: Next week, a new episode, "The Variable," the 100th episode of Lost.
10.02: Vote on ABC.com for your favorite set of love birds: Jack-Kate, Jack-Juliet, Kate-Sawyer, or Juliet-Sawyer.
10.01: What happened to Rose and Bernard?
10.00: James breaks it to the returners that the ones who stayed behind joined the Dharma Initiative.
9:59: Oceanic Six returns to the island, but in different time periods: 1977 and 2007.
9.58: Turbulence. Frank Lapidus (pilot) calls Mayday! Mayday!
9.55: Much to everyone's surprise, the Oceanic Six end up on the same flight. Jack tells Kate that they're "all back together." Kate says, "We're on the same flight, but that doesn't make us 'together.'"
9.53: Ben and Charles Widmore have each other's cell phone numbers programmed. Ben only calls when he is going to enact vengeance.
9.52: I probably could have posted most of this in my Twitter account.
9.51: I sure am looking forward to Friday's lovely weather in Syracuse.
9.50: I flipped back to Lost. Only, instead of Lost, ABC was showing a commercial about what you can get for a dollar at McDonald's.
9.48: Nobody can say for sure whether Jerry Shepard in Eight Below is related to Jack Shephard of the Oceanic Six.
9.46: Alaskan Malamutes are nuzzling each other on ABC Family: Eight Below. Isn't this where, when Desmond turned the key a couple of seasons ago, Penny's crew picked up the location of the island?
9.44: Ah, the Burger King commercial is on Comedy Central, too. "Those pants are square."
9.43: Andrew Zimmern just stuffed his piehole with fermented fish and talked while he chewed about how terrible it all smelled.
9.41: Weather Channel: Due to be sunny and 75 in Syracuse on Friday. Even warmer Saturday.
9.39: Bowling on ESPN2. Fella with a big red and blue star on his shirt just picked up a one-pin spare.
9.38: Commercials.
9.36: Kate is shrewd with faux-cop looking for Aaron. This means that Aaron is in danger.
9.34: Looks like I'm going to have to drum up another entry in the morning to displace this embarrassing liveblogging debut.
9.33: We have to go back!
9.32: I watched five minutes of The Unusuals premier before shutting it off. Found it usual.
9.29: Olay knows how to reverse age my skin (commercial). I think Ben used Olay when he healed so quickly after getting roughed up by Desmond.

9.25: Jack's beard appears to grow faster than Locke's beard.
9.24: Please nominate this as a liveblogging FAIL.
9.22: Remember last week when Faraday got out of the submarine at the end?
9.21: Blue Light commercial. Haven't heard any beer aficionados recommend this one yet.
9.19: Cute. Burger King likes square butts (commercial).
9.17: I wish Jack would quit the dope. I mean, he did, right? Only then he woke up from the second plane *flash* and it was 1977.
9.16: Does Kate love Jack? Or does Jack love Kate? Or does Kate love Sawyer?
9.15: Jack blah blah...putting on his lie upon returning home he eulogizes Christian, his dad.
9.12: I'll try to look at it this way: live-blogging a "catch up" episode makes great practice for next time. Great practice for never doing this again, too.
9.08: Ford Fusion commercial. I had better quit while I'm ahead.
9.07: Get this. The Oceanic Six lied.
9.04: Wow. Weird. "The island was gone." Apparently it moved. I had no idea.
9.03: Worst fears are confirmed: "Special" on the Oceanic Six is ABC's way of pulling a fast one: no new episode tonight. I should have done better research.
9.01: Oh dear. This isn't one of those Lost for Dummies episodes, is it? ABC was advertising a "special" on the Oceanic Six, the Oceanic Six from another perspective.
8.59: *should*
8.57: By the way, I've never live-blogged anything before. Yes, you shoudl lower your expectations.
Liveblogging Lost commences in five minutes!

Monday, December 17, 2007

An Address

Today's Strange Maps shows a map of 'the island' in Lost, and in the discussion, there is a question about naming, an observation that it is peculiar that the island is un-named.  In one sense, the LAT-LON coordinates name the island, locate it, provide it with an address (I would repeat those numbers here but for the jinx). But the island is not named (Formosa!) in the conventional sense of toponyms.

The map itself displays layers of plausible locations (colored dots) and zones (rings) meant to match up with events over the first three seasons of the program. I find the map interesting because it surfaces at the same time I am reading and (sketchily) writing about archives, tagging and keywording, what Derrida in Archive Fever calls the archontic dimension--consignment, the gathering and piling on of signs.

What does the map archive? And where is the imaginary map between commencement (sequential) and commandment (jussive)?

I don't know.  I cannot settle this yet, and I am in no hurry. Lost is not even airing again for a couple of months, and then, only if the writers' strike is resolved. Nevertheless, I am--for these few minutes--taken on a detour through the map as a museum of Lost, of a topo-nomology embedded almost entirely in television (a domain, like many others, about which we must continuously ask, What is lost (er, diminished) in "legitimate hermeneutical authority" (3)?).

Monday, February 26, 2007

Ocean Goes Missing

Spoiler alert (via). (w/ statements about plan-free, collaborative writing).

Friday, February 23, 2007

Solving Three of Lost's Biggest Mysteries

Wednesday's episode promised big returns. Three mysteries would be solved. Kinks from seasons one and two would be massaged flat again, the program's terrain simplified, explained.

What did we get?

  1. Jack's tattoo says one thing and means another. I thought that line was really stupid. A groaner. "It might 'say' that, but that's not what it 'means'." Oy. The entire Thailand backstory felt contrived and disconnected. But good lord a'mighty, did he get roughed up for demanding to be marked.
  2. The Others have yards. Their lives are domestic. They only work on Ben's island (the former zoo/aquarium outpost). The Others, including Cindy, the flight attendant, saw Jack in the cage and didn't do a thing. "Oh, hey Jack, what are you doing in that cage?" The encounter between Cindy and Jack was almost the low point of this episode. First, I figured she and the kids had been mind-scrubbed, drugged into passivity and foggetfulness. But no: "Anna Lucia?" asked the girl. Sheesh.
  3. Alex and Carl are in love. The pan from Alex to the stars to Carl was almost the low point of this episode. They named a constellation together. The plot sellout conspiracy theorist in me thinks this is hokey teenage outreach. Rose and Bernard were too old; Alex and Carl are sort of young. Plus, Carl's brain, like the brains of so many youth these days, is jellied from overloads in the media-barrage room. Poor Carl. Honestly, I might not be capable of caring less about these two characters.

Are these the three mysteries? Or was one of the solved mysteries that there are no longer Dharma-stamped sharks guarding the straits (which Sawyer, Kate, and lazy Carl paddled through uneventfulzzz)? Or was it that Michael and Walt are not coming back? Or was it that Ben's surgery didn't go so well after all? Or was it that Isabelle, the sheriff, knows her Chinese letters but has no real authority? I don't know what the three mysteries were. But, like Collin, I was disappointed. As good as the previous Desmond-centric episode was, Wednesday's episode was a disappointment of equal weight. I didn't buy the line about Ethan being a doctor, and I thought the closing Titanic-esque scene with Jack and Julliette wondering silently at the stars from the front of the tug was corny. I mean, what is it, a fifteen minute tug boat ride? Oh, and I almost forgot, the aloe application scene ("hey, snap me off a sprig from that aloe plant"). I'll count that as the low point of episode 3.9.

Enough grumping. With the three biggest mysteries solved, we need to move on to mysteries 4-6. They're the new 1-3, according to the latest Coaches' Poll. These are the three mysteries I think should be the next big three:

  1. If the island worked its healing magic on John's legs and Rose's cancer, why in the heck isn't it ridding Ben of his tumor?
  2. What of the giant four-toed leg-statue thing we saw at the end of season two?
  3. Is Alex really Rousseau's daughter or Ben's daughter? Both?

Add others to the list as you see fit. Maybe the writers/producers will catch wind of this and give us another answer-filled episode of Solved, Mysteries 4-6.

Thursday, November 9, 2006


I'm down to rationing entries, rationing energies. And because I doubt there will be cause to mention ABC's hit series Lost before the third season picks up again on February 7, I need for last night's highly anticipated Fall Finale, "I Do," to tide me over for several more weeks. Granted, this entry is a day late, but Jeff asked, "What? No Lost commentary?" Here it is, delayed to fill up the time between now and early February (Is that right? We'll see the Colts-Bears Super Bowl before another new episode?)

First off, last night's Kate-centric episode was a real heart-warmer, overflowing with romance. In the backstory, Kate, er...Monica, bought groceries for taco night, then dashed to a phone booth (carrying the groceries in the rain) to call the agent on her fugitive trail and plead with him to discontinue his pursuit of her. No luck. The timer (purchased to get the tacos just right?) went off, and she ended the call so it would not be traced. What's the point of this backstory? Hard to say. It stirs up questions about her loyalties, sensitivities, trustworthiness (and in a peculiar twist, perhaps even her fertility, though that's unclear); the deep-down criminality was off-set by a compassionate and attached Monika(te) who wished to be forgiven for past grievances. Also, Kate's cool with marriage, still married (presumably), and vulnerable, as is Sawyer, to sins of the flesh.

Jack committed a different sin of the flesh when he slipped the scalpel gently into Ben's exposed kidney (liver?). And this led up to the climactic and suspenseful endpoint of the episode. Is Jack willing to let Ben die? Maybe he is. The folk geography of the island is throwing a wrench in the works. Jack knows he's at the water's edge because of the dangerous gusher that foiled his escape attempt a few weeks ago. And Kate thinks, based on Sawyer's explanation, that they're on a separate, second island. Their bearings are all off because the Others randomly drape burlap bags over the heads of our Lost friends. Still, it seems like they would've known whether they boarded a boat after last season's finale. They were on a dock, after all, when their heads were covered. I'm beginning to think that the Hydra (the aquarium station where they're held, yeah?) is not far from the Others' small village. Accessible only by boat? Doubtful. So while it's up in the air about whether we're seeing one island or two, it's not entirely clear how Ethan and Goodwin arrived on the respective crash sites so quickly (unless the village is on the one island, and the Hydra hatch or prison-island is some distance removed). In the episode's tense closing scene, it seems like Kate would go ahead and take the chance, split from the scene, and call Jack on the walky-talky after scoping out the surrounding terrain, except that she's now sweetly endeared to James.

Yet another oddity: Jacob's list. Is Jacob an Other name for Ethan Rom? One of Eko's victims during those early days on the beach? Probably not. I don't think we've met Jacob yet, and we have every reason to believe he's closer to the brainworks than Ben and his grubby cohort.

A few other stumpers:

Feel free to add to the list. I have to end. I think my optical mouse is on the fritz. Maybe it has something to do with this being EWM's diablo entry.

Wednesday, November 1, 2006


Another! Lost! Entry!

Okay, let me not spoil it. This episode, "The Cost of Living," brought back the psychedelic darkfog--the same curious fog? smoke? Are those chains rattling in there? that confronted Eko mid-way through last season in the Eko-centric episode, "The 23rd Psalm." Soon after the earlier episode aired, I recall that the forums were abuzz with screenshots of darkfog's electrically-charged flickers of images from Eko's life, his memories. I admit, I went to the forums a time or two. But it was February (first, to be exact) in Syracuse, N.Y. For kicks and digression: Lost forums. My point is that the psychedelic darkfog, with all its industrial ticks and mystery, seemed to mirror Eko's mind. That is, during that first encounter with the darkfog, it tapped into something that presumably had bearing on the events of tonight's episode, even if that earlier encounter wasn't reintegrated by any of the catch-'em-up moments in tonight's episode ("Hey, what are all of the other monitors for?"). It got to know Eko. Who else does darkfog know?

And then there's the matter of Ben's neck-tumor. Keep an eye on Juliet. She did not play To Kill A Mockingbird in the VCR for Jack.

What would a Lost entry be without glossing meta? Fine: Aside from a few small and loose threads and beyond the most obvious turn of events, tonight's episode made the series seem endable.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Lost Patience

On the commercial breaks during tonight's episode of Lost, "Every Man for Himself," I was thinking that the show is on the brink of its capacity for meaningful ties between characters, and the small container that is prime time's 43 minutes per week isn't quite enough to do justice to the complexity Abrams and crew have concocted. This, of course, is compounded by Lost's signature single-character back-stories as well as the new layers of character information, from the originals, to the Tailies, to the Others. The back-stories alone, although they do introduce coincidence and depth, whittle each episode's real-time action to less than 30 minutes. What does all of this add up to? I'm beginning to feel less patient with the appearance of fill-ins. I mean, who was the fella whacking coconuts into the sea with the golf clubs? I find myself impatient with non-load-bearing characters for the spare seconds they sponge from those who've been there--and been developing--all along.

So while some folks are attracted to the complexity and find complex programming to be far more stimulating, it comes at a price, especially when forced into the tightly constrained mold of 43 minutes for a solitary prime time episode. Just like the feeling I get when my Bloglines account tips above 120 feeds, I suppose it's not preposterous to consider the applicability of thresholds: a kind of Dunbar number for the cast. Too big? Too unstable! Really, the trouble is that when a character is simply abandoned rather than overtly killed off, we can't be sure when to relieve the wondering. Maybe that's it: I could use some relief from the wondering.

I'll continue watching. I'm as hooked/attached/invested as ever. But unlike any other show I can think of (not that I'm the sort of TV buff who can list examples much beyond Gilligan's Island and The A-Team for comparison), Lost is testing the limits of cast complexity, and it demands a patience unlike any other show I can think of. Okay, tha'sit. Time to lay off. My heart rate is approaching 140.

Quickly, just two more things about tonight's episode (I'm tempted to check the forums, but must avoid the time-trap):

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Bad Twin

I finished Gary Troup's Bad Twin this afternoon, reading the last few pages on timeouts during the Pistons-Cavs game. Bad Twin blends with Lost; the book's named author, Gary Troup, is presumed to have perished in the crash of Oceanic Flight 815, the same flight-gone-wrong that opens the first season of ABC's popular TV show. The manuscript for BT has surfaced in a few of the episodes; as far as I can recall, only Hurley and Sawyer have read it. And now I have too.

Keeping loosely with detective fiction, BT is the story of a private eye hired by one brother to track down his twin (their birthdays, 8-15 and 8-16). The writing is, well, stylistically novel-gray; that is, I had the sense all along that what I was reading was drummed up by a team of writers who developed the manuscript to fit with the clues-to-tease plot progression shared with the show. It's not terrible, as novels go, but neither is it memorable for its language or for the hook of getting lost in another's mind at work.

Still, I recommend it to other fans of Lost. It's a fine example of transmedia, and a few of the clues in the novel go beyond the immediate storyarch, tying, as well, to the Lost universe. The Hanso Foundation and Chief Technologist Thomas Mittelwerk are mentioned. "Gary Troup," also an anagram for purgatory, dedicates the book to Cindy, the flight attendant who is also his life's love, and introduces a character named Cindy on a LAX-Sydney flight in the novel. The blending of the Troup's fictive realm and the Lost universe brushes paths for much more speculation than I'll tell here. Don't want to spoil it. Plenty of literary allusions in BT, plenty of themes that entangle with the TV show, and enough pleasure to justify reading it for yourself if you're happily hooked on the show, as I am.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Lost Prepremiere

No, I don't know what's coming in Wednesday's premiere of Lost, but I confess that I'm distracted by how much I'm looking forward to it. And Steven Johnson's entry yesterday along with ABC's commercials roil my anticipation even more.

The genius of Lost is that its mysteries are fractal: at every scale -- from the macro to the micro -- the series delivers a consistent payload of confusion. There are the biographical riddles: why was the beautiful Kate accompanied by a federal marshal on the flight? There are geographic riddles ("why have the rescue teams missed the island, and why does it appear to have a history of attracting castaways?") and historical ones ("why has that SOS signal been playing for so many years?")

Since last season's finale, I've been imagining what's next: will the back-stories continue as before? how long will the cliffhangers linger (esp. Walt's fiasco)? new characters? new/resolved riddles?  No mystery about what I'll be doing Wednesday at 8 p.m. EST.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Lost: A Revisitation of the Season Finale

[Forewarning: Lost spoilers herein.]

Thinking back on it, Walt's abduction by three seafarers in the final episode of the season stands as the single most disturbing cliffhanger.  Poor, poor, Walt.

"We'll take the boy."  Eesh.  Creepy.

Walt's just a kid, but we shouldn't forget the he's a charmed kid--"odd" according to his step-father.  Does he have the power to summon creatures?  The Michael-Walt-centric episode highlighted the boy's fascination with fauna (remember the bird hitting the window?).  And the polar bear? 

The abduction at sea left several issues unresolved.  How's Jin at swimming? Michael? We know Sawyer to be one of the best swimmers among the stranded, but was he injured in the shoot-out?  How many were on the boat?  Three at least.  But who threw the Molotov onto the raft (I didn't see this part clearly).  Danielle's fruitiness--the beachfront pyre, the theft of Claire's baby--and its temporary resolution might move us to think the coming "others" was all a hoax.  And yet the "others" who took Walt acted like they anticipated a boy, which left me wondering whether, when they arrived at the smoke-producing pyre and didn't find Danielle, they motored back to their island (15 miles?).  They might have supposed Walt to be the boy (baby Aaron) they didn't find at the island.  And could Danielle's fifteen year-old child have been on board, perhaps as the hand that cast the cocktail onto the raft?

Granted, this is all conjectural, speculative.  What else happened in the finale?  The science teacher, Arzt, had a mis-hap with the dynamite they found on the Black Rock.  Hurley to Jack: "You've got a piece of Arzt on you."  Nast-asty.  The dynamite-seekers were successful though; they lifted enough sticks to fend off the "security" creature lurking in the woods and blast loose the lid to the mysterious hatch (which we now know covered a steel-fortified shaft into the ground). 

The asides on Hurley rushing through the airport were quite good, I thought; I find him to be one of the more interesting characters on Lost.  Might be something to his exchange with Kate, too (from memory, and probably not exactly right):

H: Twenty-three mean something to you?
K: Twenty-three thousand was the bounty on my capture.  Does it mean something to you?
H: I don't know.  Maybe.

His recognition that the vault bore the unlucky set of numbers that won him the lottery (4, 8, 15, 16, 28, 42) teases us with something, too.

At the abandoned smugglers' plane Charlie grabbed up a hollow Mary statuette full of heroin.  Dang it, Charlie.  What'd you have to go and do that for?

The fate-free-will tension developing between Jack and Locke and also talked out among Claire, Sun, and Shannon was one of the less satisfying dimensions to the finale--for me.  Just didn't find that side of the show very compelling, and I don't think Lost needs to fold the unknowns into an age-old faith-science dyad.  That I'm disoriented and unsettled actually appeals to me, and so I get the sense that the hokey chocolate-in-my-peanut-butter declarations from so many of the characters kind of cheapens an otherwise rich, conflicted complexity. If you happen to read this, J.J. Abrams, I hope you'll take note.

As I was rustling through a few recent pages about the finale, I ran across a weblog entry at Any Questions? about the Oceanic Airlines site.  Interesting front for extending a few features of the show.  I walked through all of the related stuff (all that I could find).  If you're a fan of Lost, you probably should too.


Wednesday, March 2, 2005

Hurley's Jinx

I'm wading through the shallows (where the heck are the depths?) of a draft I'll be stammering through for a colloquium Friday afternoon, the same draft carrying forward to CCCC in San Francisco two weeks from tomorrow.  But I did break for Lost.  Tonight's Hurley-centric episode turned open the millionaire's jinxed numerology.  I was tempted to post the string of digits here, but I passed on that idea for fear that, well...I don't really need to be engulfed by a sphere of bad luck.  The same string that landed him the lottery mis-guided a cruise-liner crashing on the island in question, which explains the odd electrical torture episode involving Sayid a few weeks ago.  None of this makes any sense if you haven't been following the series (why haven't you been following the series?). But Hurley's one of the more engaging characters, and, consequently, I found his episode satisfyingly smart and entertaining for lots of reasons, like when he declared himself "spry" and sprang away from the trap-trigger, releasing the swinging spindle of thorny death, just to name one.

Added: Nixlog's gone and done it.