Sunday, February 28, 2010

greek salad . . .

. . . and funny faces . . .


. . . chicken kabob and rice . .


. . .and playing with iPhone photo filters . . .

Saturday, February 27, 2010

these are a few of my favorite things . . .

Vera-Ellen in just about anything.

She was beautiful, lithe, and radiated good will. My favorite (female) movie dancer.

Friday, February 26, 2010

the sexism of solitaire?

I first learned how to play solitaire by watching my Grandmother play at her dining room table. After she had made us a delicious lunch and we had eaten, and she had cleared the table and done the dishes, she would carefully, deliberately, lay out all the cards. She played a game she called Patience, reminding me that it took patience to play. She taught me two variations, "regular solitaire" and "with the whole deck," which, thanks to computer solitaire, I have since learned are called Klondike and Yukon. Somewhere along the line we picked up a foam solitaire lap stand, where you could deal the cards into the ridges in the foam, so that they would stand up, facing you. We never used it much.

Long after Grandma died and computers entered my life I downloaded the inevitable solitaire games to play. And I now even have some for my iPhone. I have since come to like the games Forty Thieves and Baker's Game, as they are more challenging, at least for me, but it's hard to beat Klondike or Yukon—they still get played the most.

Until I started playing solitaire on my iPhone I never wondered if it could also be sexist. In most games it doesn't matter how many rows you free up. If you can't find a King to start a new stack, you're out of luck. After a while just the sight of a Queen turned over from the stockpile is a letdown. Aces may start the four foundations piles in most games, but finding an ace can seem lucky, random. A King is a real find. Somehow seeing the little available squares on the touchscreen made this more apparent.

According to Wikipedia, Kings high may not always have been the case once the court cards were introduced:

In early games the kings were always the highest card in their suit. However, as early as the late 14th century special significance began to be placed on the nominally lowest card, now called the Ace, so that it sometimes became the highest card and the Two, or Deuce, the lowest. This concept may have been hastened in the late 18th century by the French Revolution, where games began being played "ace high" as a symbol of lower classes rising in power above the royalty.[citation needed] The term "Ace" itself comes from a dicing term in Anglo-Norman language, which is itself derived from the Latin as (the smallest unit of coinage). Another dicing term, trey (3), sometimes shows up in playing card games.

So maybe I'm just thinking too much. But every once in a while it's fun and illuminating to stop and think about even the littlest things. Like why can't I put that Jack in that empty space? Sheesh!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

thumbs way up

I follow Roger Ebert's blog in my reader, but I haven't gone in there lately. Another blog pointed me to a recent Esquire article about Ebert that blew my mind. It is more a look into his current life and how he got there, than an interview, although Ebert would call it one. And as harrowing as his photo may at first seem—unapologetically showing what cancer has done to him physically—it is his words and the strategies he employs to get the most out of life that make the biggest impression. He's still Ebert and he's still out there, watching movies, being a Chicagoan, but primarily, being a writer. Writing, writing, writing. He's also a technogeek and one of the most moving passages of the article for me was Ebert's collaboration with a Scottish company to recover his speech, his voice—something that doctors and multiple surgeries have failed to accomplish.
Ebert is waiting for a Scottish company called CereProc to give him some of his former voice back. He found it on the Internet, where he spends a lot of his time. CereProc tailors text-to-speech software for voiceless customers so that they don't all have to sound like Stephen Hawking. They have catalog voices—Heather, Katherine, Sarah, and Sue—with regional Scottish accents, but they will also custom-build software for clients who had the foresight to record their voices at length before they lost them. Ebert spent all those years on TV, and he also recorded four or five DVD commentaries in crystal-clear digital audio. The average English-speaking person will use about two thousand different words over the course of a given day. CereProc is mining Ebert's TV tapes and DVD commentaries for those words, and the words it cannot find, it will piece together syllable by syllable.

Read more:
In his writing, as always, his voice is loud and clear. In his blog, sometimes he waxes nostalgic, sometimes not even remotely about movies, sometimes even philosophical, but it's still a good read. Rock on, Roger. And I hope you get your voice back, although we can still hear it, strong as ever, in your writing.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

imaginary friends

Some quick impressions of last night's "Lighthouse" (stay away if you aren't up-to-date with Lost)

The sounds of an airplane are heard between scenes of Jack on the Island, Jack sideways. Hmmm. Last week the sounds of the smoke monster linked scenes of Smokey on the Island, Locke sideways. I don't remember if there were sounds linking Kate scenes in her episode.

Jack on the Island—always act first, think (maybe) later. Did the dolt just bust up a peek into the sideways-verse? I wonder what we would have seen if Hurley reached 108?

Jack sideways—still carrying some pain and guilt, but more patient, able to talk things out. Hopeful. And has a grown kid, whose mom is . . . ?

I'm still not sure if Claire is dead or alive but I am sure that she is freakin' nuts. Allo Rousseau nouveau. Make that nuts and dangerous. Jin is playing a very dangerous game and Kate is in for a heap of trouble. Somehow crazy Claire is way creepier than crazy Rousseau.

Hurley, with the power of Jacob behind him, tells Dogen to take a walk. Awesome, dude.

The lighthouse. The producers must have been playing Myst in the nineties.

Jacob is putting his pieces on the board as Locke is set to storm the temple. As much as we are supposed to be following Smokey's narrative of Jacob spying on and manipulating the "castaways," (Jack sure as heck is thinking that way), I think we are actually back to a question of faith. Don't most people who believe in some sort of deity also believe that deity can observe them? Maybe the lighthouse is a physical illustration of just that—how Jacob looks after his flock. Get it, Shephard? Jacob doesn't even need the lighthouse, as he knows what's happening or about to happen back at the temple. Lots of religious iconography.

I think Hurley's got a great soul and a deep spiritual connection. It's no small coincidence that he has been visited by Charlie, Mr. Eko, Jacob, etc. on and off the Island. He is following Jacob by virtue of sharing a taxi ride with him. I'm not sure why people all over the 'net are still arguing who's good vs. who's evil. It's pretty clear to me which side I'd rather hang with. And not the one with the axe-wielding freakazoid jungle girl.

Jacob is interested in Jack (#23), Hurley (#8) and apparently, no one at the temple. Sun & Co. are making their way there. Is the Big Bad Jacob was referring to Smokey, or one of Sun's party?

Smokey has lined up Claire, Sawyer (#15) (he thinks, but I'm still not sold on that) and will now undoubtedly make a pitch for Jin (#42, unless Jacob meant Sun, but my money's on Jin). Sayid (#16) is supposedly "infected" like Claire.

On the loose, numberless Kate (per usual). But she's bound to run into Sawyer, Smokey and Claire any time now. Jack told Hurley it's all finished with her. Claire told Jin if Kate took Aaron she'd kill her. If you look at the screen captures from the scene in the lighthouse it appears as if Kate actually does have a number, as does (did) Rousseau. Just not one of THE numbers.

Looks like next week all roads lead to the temple . . .

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

still lost in thought

Only for those who are up to date with season six...

Maybe John Locke's body wasn't ultimately such a great choice for Smokey to take. As Sawyer said, "Locke was afraid even when he pretended not to be, but you're not afraid." Locke was searching, desperate, for meaning in his life when he hit the Island. Everyone else wanted off the rock ASAP. He would have been far easier to influence than any of the other 815 plane crash survivors.

Witness what happened to Mr. Eko. I think I finally understand why Smokey didn't kill Eko the first time he saw him. He was impressed at Eko's lack of fear. And hopeful that Eko might be a new recruit. Smokey tested him in the form of his brother Yemi, trying to win him over. But Eko was still unafraid, and his own man, unrepentant. He never would have been a candidate to fall under Smokey's influence.

With Jack, Smokey has been more successful. Appearing as Christian definitely freaked Jack out and tapped into his guilt and vulnerability. But Jack, at least at first, was far less susceptible to anything mystical or out of the ordinary about the Island. He couldn't even believe that the Yankees lost the World Series to the Red Sox until Ben showed him the tape (right there with you on that one, Jack—it's still hard for me to accept.)

Now Smokey is focused on Sawyer. Again, I think he's barking up the wrong tree. Sawyer may be wracked with guilt and pain over his beloved Juliet's death, but he's still Sawyer. In fact, I think the fact that he is again "Sawyer" may just save his ass and everyone else's that we have come to care about, and possibly the Island too. I don't want it to stay under water, do you? It's also significant that Sawyer saw young Jacob and quickly took in how spooked Smokey was—both by the kid and the fact that he could see the kid too.

Smokey has made a point of addressing him by his birth name, James Ford. Jacob had him listed that way on the ceiling. Dogen found his name that way on the list stashed in the ankh. I suspect that in the sideways-verse he is more James Ford than Sawyer in demeanor and behavior. But the Sawyer we know from the crash of Oceanic 815 and his backstory was a consummate con man. And while I watched Smokey try to weave his web from the jungle to the cave, I also watched Sawyer. And I think (and hope) that Sawyer is running the longest and greatest con of his life.

In fact, think about who Sawyer was in the three years in the 70s he was with the Dharma Initiative. He was Head of Security. In the sideways-verse he warns Hurley about telling folks how rich he is, as potential prey for conmen like himself. Or is he? Maybe Sawyer is at heart a watchdog, a security man. The perfect person to protect the Island. Time (traveling) will tell . . .

Smokey knows James Ford's got nothing to lose, but so does Sawyer. And I'm betting that the fact that Kate's name wasn't on the ceiling hasn't escaped him (as it hasn't most viewers who searched the screenshots after the episode.) Sawyer jumped out of a helicopter so that Kate (and Aaron) could get back to civilization. He got off the sub because Juliet and Kate convinced him it was the right thing to do. He's full of bluster, always, but he also always looks out for his crew (Jim LaFleur!) and he does the right thing when it counts. Look out Smokey, you may have met your loophole.

Monday, February 22, 2010

marathon night stalker

We recently watched a bunch of episodes of Kolchak: The Night Stalker back-to-back instead of Olympic luge or downhill skiing, or (gasp!) curling. I remember watching the series on television when I was a kid with my dad. He loved the mixture of sci/fi, horror and Darren McGavin's portrayal of the wily newspaper reporter. So did I (and still do).

Watching him flip through the yellow pages, or develop photographs in his darkroom, or pound his typewriter's keys is a definite nostalgia trip, but the show holds up as more than just a period piece or a glimpse into our recent past. There aren't a lot of characters as educated or interesting as Carl Kolchak on television today. Even the minor recurring roles are played by character actors who aren't afraid to crack wise. Each episode feels like a mini-movie. In fact the only television shows that provide as interesting a milieu or characters are made by the British: detective series such as Midsomer Murders, Lovejoy, Kingdom, Cracker, etc.

Kolchak will do anything to get a story. He is a liar, trickster, but also an in-depth occult researcher. Buffy's Giles and the X Files' Fox Mulder can trace their character's influences to this show. The X Files even gave a nod to McGavin by casting him in two episodes, once fans pointed out the strong similarities between the shows. Kolchak is also a crackpot, in the eyes of just about everyone around him. He is undeniably attractive to the ladies, even with his rumpled seersucker suit and straw porkpie hat. By nature of his ascebic personality and the aura of disbelief that surrounds him, Kolchak eventually has to "solve" all the crimes himself, usually by having to put his own life on the line. As obsessed as he may be to snap a photo or get a byline, he is even more concerned about stopping the killing and eliminating the monster-of-the-week.

Scares, clever dialogue, laughs, and the rumbling of the Chicago El in the background all combine for a fun time and a welcome diversion from the endless commercials and boring choices of network and cable television. And not many shows can boast episodes that feature a werewolf loose on an ocean liner, an extremely creepy, 60s-Italian-movie-Barbara Steele-ish female vampire, or a devil worshipping Tom Skerritt. You'll be whistling along with Kolchak after a few episodes . . .

Sunday, February 21, 2010

these are a few of my favorite things . . .

Pee Wee Herman, Tequila

I remember going to see this with my friend Mary at the Eighth Street Playhouse (the one made famous by Rocky Horror midnight shows). The movie is just as funny now as it was then. My daughter got up and danced to this when it was on television the other night, but she fell asleep before he got his beloved bicycle back home . . .

Saturday, February 20, 2010

lucy is a great name

Presents for breakfast. "Grandma I am six now. I'm taller today than when I went to bed last night!" I haven't measured, but I wouldn't be surprised if that's a fact.

Walk to a favorite haunt for lunch. "This is the greatest lunch ever. We have to come here every time." Shopping and a few little impulse presents and then a walk back home. A package waiting for her that she signed for (big girl!) at the front desk. My guess? More presents.

Pie for dinner, with ice cream. "Can I have the green tea ice cream?" Yes, you can. All birthdays should be like this.

Friday, February 19, 2010

now we are six

by: A.A. Milne

When I was one,
I had just begun.
When I was two,
I was nearly new.
When I was three,
I was hardly me.
When I was four,
I was not much more.
When I was five,
I was just alive.
But now I am six,
I'm as clever as clever.
So I think I'll be six
now and forever.

Happy birthday kiddo!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

let's misbehave

I caught Easy Virtue on cable the other night. Another little gem, a la Miss Pettigrew. It isn't exactly surprising that a period comedy with Colin Firth and Kristin Scott Thomas should be fun to watch. What is a very pleasant discovery is Jessica Biel, who easily inhabits the heroine and owns the movie. I haven't seen her in much (The Illusionist) before, but I will be keeping an eye out for her in future.

The other thing the movie slyly does is re-arrange more recent music (Sex Bomb, Car Wash) in the style of the post WWI period, mixing it with more contemporary-to-the-period tunes like Let's Misbehave and they work perfectly. It's almost a musical at times.

At first the mood seems comedy, with some very funny and acerbic scenes, but there is an undercurrent of unease, much like the almost shell-shocked malaise of Colin Firth's character. Growing up in the post-Viet Nam era, I have heard many tragic stories of GIs coming home disillusioned with their country after that experience. What we tend to forget is that all wars are hell, and the people who lived through post WW1 dealt with many of the same issues. Life was not easy for rich or poor, British or American.

The overall result of watching this film is not melancholy however. You will remember the characters and their stories may ring true and even deeply in some cases, but it is also quite fun. If you get a chance, don't miss it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

"hell yes"

This is a fun promo for the first season of Lost—supposedly all the clues to the final season were there in the first . . .

But now to last night's episode . . . don't continue reading if you haven't seen it yet . . .

So Smokey is recruiting . . . Alpert can't be killed by him either, apparently. Nice Smokey-eye view camera work, too.

The numbers represent each of our favorite Losties, all "candidates" for the role of Island protector, according to Smokey. "Protection from what?" asks Sawyer. Smokey obfuscates, but the obvious answer is, "From me, of course." I wonder if Ilana and her crew were scouts for Jacob, looking for candidates.

I have been feeling for quite a while that Jack and Sawyer might be involved in an ultimate Island smack-down. We'll see . . .

Nice numbers tie-in. Could they correspond to each of our favorite passenger's seat numbers? I'm sure that Jacob's numbers are multi-functional (they are on the hatch, radio tower broadcast, Hurley's lottery ticket, etc., etc.)

A delicious moment when Sawyer told Smokey he knew he wasn't Locke. Duh! No one can cut through all the crap and sum things up quite like Sawyer.

Also, nice eulogy Ben.

I have to say that I'm also loving the sideways universe. Locke coming to terms with his situation and able to realize his true love with Helen. Hurley just being happy-go-very-lucky. Ben and Locke as high school teachers—School of Rock! It was great seeing Rose, but sad realizing that she was still sick. Sigh. The more that they show this reality, however, the less likely it seems that it will coincide with the Island reality. We'll see . . .

The absolute creepiest moment for me was when Smokey was chasing the young Jacob across the Island and young Jacob scolded him, saying that he couldn't " . . . break the rules, he mustn't kill him (Sawyer)." For a moment it felt like the show boiled down to just a couple of bratty kids playing god with people's lives in some stupid game with made-up rules. That would be a really bad way to solve the mysteries of the Island. But after the commercial break it was clear that the black stone and white stone rivalry went deeper than that. Smokey told Sawyer the Island was just an island. Richard Alpert told Sawyer not to believe anything Smokey said. These two may have been playing this "game" a very, very long time, but the stakes seem a lot higher than just a game. We'll see . . .

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

lightning with a few sparks

We just caught Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief this weekend. It's been getting pretty so-so reviews, so I wasn't expecting much, and it was . . . O.K. Not bad at all, entertaining, but I'm not sure how avid young fans of the books will feel about it. The kids are cute and the effects were just scary enough without being too scary. I have no problem with the movie being Harry Potter lite, as that is also how the book seemed to me. The mystery was about at a Scooby Doo level of complexity, but again, not too different from the book. I have since read the second book, and although I still have some quibbles with the forced wise-assedness of its hero's dialogue, it is a much better read, and has spurred me on to check out the rest of the series.

I have never had a problem with movies differing from books—two different mediums. And I frankly was relieved at all the cuts and slashes the Potter series received in its cinematic translations, as J.K. Rowling does go on and on and on—that series of books could have benefited from a brave editor, but c'est la vie.

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief changes a few things around, makes the kids a tad older, cuts out some exposition, and thankfully doesn't beat you over the head with the ADHD references—it's explained once and then it's gone—if only author Rick Riordan could have been as economical. What it does do that isn't as cool is downplay some of the Gods-in-the-contemporary-world parallels that Riordan works so hard to include in the books. For a student of Greek myth like myself, these clues can be seen a long way coming, but they're still a great way to introduce Greek mythology to kids and to show them how myth is alive in their own world. Two scenes hint that this may have originally been in the script at some point: Uma Thurman having fun as snake-haired Medusa and Rosario Dawson & Steve Coogan as Mr. & Mrs. Hades, the ultimate Rock & Roll couple. In fact, Rosario Dawson's take on Persephone gives that mythological character a new twist. It is a huge disappointment at the end of the movie to see the gods decked out in togas—what the Hades happened?

So like the books, I would give it an O.K.—check it out. It's never bad to expose kids to mythology. But the whole thing is just a little . . . flat. If you want to have some over-the-top emotional roller-coaster fun in a movie, re-watch the latest Harry Potter.

If you want classic Greek mythology on film, Jason and the Argonauts, with creatures by Ray Harryhausen is still fun, and Ulysses with Kirk Douglas kicks serious ass. For fanciful mythic interpretations as kids get older (and for adults right now), the classic Orphée and Black Orpheus should not be missed. Clash of the Titans was always corny fun, and has been remade and will be released next month with an interesting cast.

And who knows, maybe with the next Percy Jackson film—because there probably will be one—they'll do a better job. Riordan did with the books.

Monday, February 15, 2010

blizzard blanket

I'm using up some leftover blue/green yarn.


A couple of blizzards . . .


. . . and now the Olympics on television should help me finish . . .


Sunday, February 14, 2010

my funny valentine

One more time . . .

I've always loved this song by Rodgers & Hart, especially Ella's version.

Behold the way our fine-feathered friend
his virtue doth parade.
Thou knowest not my dim-witted friend,
the picture Thou hast made.
Thy vacant brow and Thy tousled hair
conceal Thy good intent.
Thou noble upright, truthful, sincere
And slightly dopey gent you're..

My funny valentine
Sweet comic valentine
You make me smile with my heart

You looks are laughable, unphotographable
Yet you're my favorite work of art

Is your figure less than greek
Is your mouth a little weak
When you open it to speak, are you smart?

Don't change a hair for me
Not if you care for me
Stay little valentine stay

Each day is valentine's day

Isn't true love about loving the whole package, imperfections and all?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

these are a few of my favorite things . . .

volume setting = eleven

Friday, February 12, 2010

in stereo

What does it say about me that the best stereo of my adult life is the one in my new car? Seriously, I'm hearing nuances in old CDs, falling in love with new songs.

Gadget geek that I can be, it's never really extended to my music. I bought a CD walkman back in the day which I used on the New York subway on the way to and from work. I was gifted with an mp3 player when they first came out and used it commuting on the bus and metro, but when I hear music I want to sing along, so this could lead to potentially disruptive moments for others. I did use these devices, but have never really liked earphones. Too tinny, with an all-too-obvious tinnitus link. I prefer the iPhone's earbuds, but only like to wear them on a lunchtime walk—no longer than that.

No, home stereo is where it's at for me, but that too, has been problematic. I had a big CD/tape combo unit and downsized when I moved from New York to DC. But the smaller unit, a CD/cassette/radio which replaced it, gathers dust on a shelf. It works as a radio and not much else. Not sure what's wrong with its CD player, but it's all plastic crap, not worthy of repair or replacement. The tape player probably still works, if I still had cassette tapes.

When I was a teenager I had my own portable turntable (bright blue plastic!) that I could use to play records and singles in my bedroom. I think it had a built-in radio as well. Horrible sound. I mostly played my records on my parents' stereo when I was alone in the house. Yes, before my current car stereo, the best sounds I remember came from my parents' original stereo, which was partly constructed by my father. The turntable was a Garrard, which I think I may have "leant" to my cousin, along with my lps, as I couldn't afford to buy a new turntable at the time and he was and still is into vinyl. The tuner and amplifier was built by my dad, down to inserting the last tube, and he showed me how to connect it all up, clean and replace tubes, etc. So if anything went awry - one of the huge wooden speakers lost sound, e.g., I would know just what to do to tighten the wires and get it sounding just right. In fact, learning the "back end" of that stereo system is probably why the maze of wires behind my computer doesn't faze me as much as it could.

I was introduced to some amazing music on that stereo. As a small child I was serenaded to sleep with the Beatles' Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. My Dad loved classical music and played Chopin and Rachmaninoff, but also would throw us a bone with the more kid-friendly Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite, Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf and Grieg's Peer Gynt. My mom's Broadway recordings of My Fair Lady (with the original cast of Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews) and Pajama Game were also fun to listen to, as well as providing glimpses into her pre-married life in New York. But what I liked the best were their Ella Fitzgerald Rodgers & Hart Songbook and Sarah Vaughan Gershwin albums. I like to sing along.

My mom also brought rock and roll into the house with Revolver and the aforementioned Sgt. Pepper. Many years later I played the first albums of the Clash and the Police on that same stereo before I went off to college. And now I'm driving around and playing some of these old favorites and getting lost once again in bass lines and choruses, as my daughter sings along from the back seat. You can't go back in time, but I have been wondering lately if I should invest in a turntable and ask my cousin for those records back . . .

Thursday, February 11, 2010

it seems too easy, but what the heck . . .

. . . I may as well weigh in on the John Mayer douchery debacle.

I don't consider myself qualified to rant on what are being dubbed his racist comments in his recent Playboy interview. It is being discussed by many on BlogHer and other forums. His back-pedaling or trying to blame his statements on pricey Scotch doesn't fly either, because it wasn't just one slip, or inappropriate turn of phrase. He goes on and on, making idiotic white/black analogies. In fact, if he hadn't been so dumb to go down that road, a stray comment might have been lost in the sea of whining, bragging, and general sexist stupidity that makes up the rest of the interview.

talk a lot Pictures, Images and Photos

For someone who seems to be such an unrepentant starf*cker, he sure does want everyone to LIKE him, a la Sally Field's infamous Oscar speech. He may now have fame and all the accompanying trappings, but how crass is it to compare his extremely well-known ex-girlfriends? In Playboy? And then talk about how uncool it probably is to compare them. And then continue. He did everything short of drawing diagrams. Jennifer, Jessica and countless others, consider yourselves lucky for dodging this babbling bullet. I know it's Playboy, but do these ladies (and the rest of us) really need to know his only true devotion seems to be getting down with himself as often as possible (that is when he isn't downloading 300+ crotch shots?)

As hard as he might try, this is hardly an argument against the google-searching of "douchebag john mayer" and the impressive hit results. Apolgias aside, can this be a learning experience for Mayer? Can he grow up and zip it?

I've never been a big fan, I'll admit. I like my rock stars to rock. I find his "whisper-singing" annoying. In fact, singing all "breathy" like that is a technique usually employed by folks who can't really sing. The only one who could really pull it off was Marilyn Monroe. But she didn't always sing like that. It was a persona. And John Mayer, you are no Marilyn Monroe.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

lost time is never found again—Benjamin Franklin

The quote above could very well refer to the extended snowed-in federal "holiday" we've been experiencing, but it also in this case, refers to Lost.

My friend Jane posted this link to a Lost theory, which focuses on Egyptian mythology. I've been checking some other theories out on the EW site. While an entertaining read (but watch out for spoiler-theorizing), the writer seems to miss or misinterpret major plot points (like the truth behind Eloise stage-momming Daniel Faraday.) I had been thinking about Set & Osiris too, but didn't make the Horus/Horace connection. Nice homophone.

I think there are a lot of mythologies being mixed (Greek, Egyptian, biblical, etc.) together on this wackiest island since Gilligan's. The Island is sort of like Joseph Campbell's all-myth's-tell-the-same-story island. Maybe the Island is where myths—or religions—originate?

I have also been thinking about the smoke monster. An episode early in the series called it Cerberus, which was the three-headed dog, guardian of the Greco-Roman underworld. It has been called a temple guardian, too. But sometimes it deliberately does not attack (Eko, John Locke) and sometimes it attacks and kills, or at least tries to (John Locke, countless others.) I do remember a shot of it where it seemed to have three serpent-like heads . . .

There are plenty of theories all over the internet about how this all might end. I don't really want to look that far ahead. I'd rather sit back and enjoy the ride. But I do think that all of the Losties are on the Island for a reason, even if they don't know the reason. Isn't that the basis of all religious inquiry—why are we here, etc?

I do think that Jack will play an even more major role on the Island, like Jacob or Richard. I'm not sure about Locke anymore. He seems to keep auditioning for that part and not getting it. Will Sawyer? Like Locke, he was the only one who, once there, never really wanted to leave. And the Island seems to like that in a person.

. . . . . . .

As to last night's episode, first impressions:

Sexy Sayid, what have you done? Is he or isn't he? The other Others seem to think so, but Ben used to peddle a lot of Island lore that wasn't exactly true. Jack didn't buy what they were selling.

Kate is Born is to Run. She's a fugitive. And a killer. And a hero. She wants to help Sawyer. Or Claire. As Jin asked, "What do you want, Kate?" Good question. She keeps changing her mind on that one, from moment to moment. Not sure what the Island wants with her, except as a catalyst for others. Or someone who is always scrappy in a fight.

My sister's back, and there's gonna be trouble. Claire is back and armed. Is she all spooky like the other Others think? Does this mean we get to see Christian soon? Hope so, I like him.

I'll see you in my dreams. Sawyer is sad and angry and through with the whole damn lot of them. So he's ripe for "Locke's" picking, if the previews aren't fooling us.

. . . . . . .

I watched LA X part deux before this episode and wanted to reach in and slap Jack AGAIN. I was happy to notice that Jin and the rest exchanged glances when the other Others proposed drowning Sayid and warned them that there might be "consequences." There was a huge pause, and then Jack said, "OK. Do what you have to do," or something like that. What? They gave you an opportunity to ask, "What sort of consequences?" or discuss amongst yourselves, and Jack goes diving right in, making a unilateral decision. Tonight Jack also went with his gut and it paid off. Or not. He either made the right decision in staying Sayid's execution, or not. We'll see. But he really hasn't changed much. Death of Juliet, Locke, his dad, etc. guilt or not hanging over him, Jack always moves ahead.

Probably one of the main reasons I find the character of Jack so annoying is, I have to admit, he is an extreme version of myself. I am also a total fixer. If someone is in trouble, I am very empathetic and pick up on it right away and try to see what I can do. I have been told I am equipped with a very good bullshit detector. This has served me well, many times, but the downside is that people don't like when you can call them on their b.s., so you have to exercise discretion. I'm a problem-solver, and a lot of the times can look at a situation and figure out a quicker or better way to do something. But what I will do, and the character of Jack seems unable to do, is listen to others and put myself in their shoes. I'm able to be a team player when the situation requires it, although as an artist I do prefer to work alone.

It's hard to know if Jack's single-mindedness is all part of his being a top surgeon. It may be the characteristic that will make him the ultimate Island decision-maker. He took charge from the moment flight 815 hit the beach. Redemption has been mentioned, but maybe, a la Joseph Campbell, what is really called for is for him to follow his bliss.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

remember that scene in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers?

You know, the one with the avalanche? Well, we live in a swamp, so an avalanche isn't likely, but another ton of snow is on its way, and with the government shutting down a second day in a row and tomorrow looking iffy at best, it sort of feels like being snowed-in in a remote cabin in the woods.

Too bad Howard Keel & Co. aren't around to spice it up a bit, as I don't think I can watch Shrek the Halls one more time. Tonight I am looking forward to being stuck on that wacky Lost island more than usual, as a change of scenery is sorely needed.

The avalanche happens around 5:33.

Monday, February 08, 2010

story time

We have added something new to our bedtime ritual. Now, as I am tucking her in, my daughter asks me if I would like her to tell me a story.

It's unbelievably cute, and actually quite interesting to hear her renditions of Hot Fox Soup or The Three Little Pigs and just the other night, The Little Red Hen.

I can hardly wait to hear what she comes up with tonight. She promised to make up a story, next . . .