Wednesday, March 31, 2010

special delivery

LOST: as much as everything (and I mean everything) and everyone are finally all coming together, if not in one place, at least in one episode, the only way to sort out last night's episode is to write about the separate factions separately. So let's start with . . .

Smokey's camp:

Smokey wants the remaining six candidates off the Island. My interpretation—he wants them dead, so no new Jacob, no Island, no prison. If I'm right, then the Sideways world is actually "hell," with Smokey on the loose. He tries his twinkle smile magic on Jin, who isn't buying any. He checks in with his main evil crew, reassuring Claire that whatever happens, happens to Kate—after she gets the rest of the candidates to come with him. He chats with Sayid, who doesn't feel anything—happy, sad, etc., etc., and feels confused about it. Smokey tells him maybe it's best, instead of the truth, "You're a frickin' zombie, dude! Deal with it." He gives Kate and Sawyer and the rest of the cannon fodder a wide berth, striding off into the jungle, in pursuit of the other Kwon.

Widmore's flunkies knock-out dart everyone in Smokey's camp to get to . . . Jin? Turns out Team Widmore needs Dharma Jin to interpret some old hippie maps that depict Island energy pockets. Uh oh, shades of Jughead . . . Smokey comes back to camp to find it all smoky—now you know how it feels, huh, pal? To walk into camp and see a bunch of bodies of . . . well, not people you care about, but people you need? Lucky for Smokey they are just unconscious. He goes first to his muscle, Zombie Sayid, who typically, knows nothing. Sayid, when you were alive, you were always full of ideas and answers. Sigh.

Sawyer's none too pleased to see Smokey and Sayid setting off for a repeat recon to Hydra Island. He and Kate are left to play a waiting game, similar to what's going on at . . .

Beach camp:

Yeah Jack, tell Sun about Jacob's Lighthouse, and how now you're a destiny junkie, and the cool numbers and the mirror . . . but leave out the part about how you busted up the mirror and any chance of finding out how it might help anyone. Yes, I'm still pissed about that.

Richard and Hurley come back from last week's ghost whispering, to the relief of everyone, sorta. Richard is in full Ricardus mode, ready to pack everyone up and get to Hydra Island to kick some Smokey butt. Sun, after hitting her head trying to escape Smokey in an earlier jungle encounter, can understand everything that is being said to her, but now is only speaking in Korean, just like in the Sideways world. She and Jack have a really nice moment on the beach, where he helps her regain her "voice," by suggesting she try writing things down, which she can still do in English. He also reaches over and touches her—but is it the Jacob touch? Sun is just as confused . . .


Jin & Sun are not married—no big surprise there. They still love each other, but seem less likely to be able to marry in this world, as he is already just a stooge of her father's. She is still lying to everyone she meets in this world, and planning an escape, but this time not away from, but with Jin. Keamy "the heart wants what it wants" may be wanting to cut Jin a break, but we'll never know. Mikhail and that eye are still out of luck. LOST is probably the best actor recycler of all time. Sun isn't quite as savvy about her father in this world. And she may be far more unlucky, as she seems in pretty bad shape after another Keamy-restaurant shoot-out. Oh, and she's pregnant, of course. LOST! Jin learns that he is a father Sideways, but back on the Island gets to see photos of his daughter for the first time while being held at . . .

Widmore's camp:

Smokey is as candidate-obsessed as Ilana. He arrives on Hydra Island to "rescue" Jin, while Sayid takes another dip underwater to perform his recon duty. Widmore faces him across a Smokey-repelling barrier, and seems none-too-impressed, suggesting that he is just a bogey-man, a ghost story, so a petulant Smokey declares war. He is just a brat and this is such a game, isn't it?

Is Widmore on Hydra Island because he can't step foot back on the main Island? When he was in charge of the Others was he just trying to keep the bottle corked? Was Ben's coup actually the result of his being the biggest Smokey dupe/dope of all time? Of course if Jacob had clued his right-hand man Ricardus in a tad more, Richard may not have supported Ben in his efforts. I'm still not clear about the Dharma purge and who, what, and why was behind that. Unless those crazy hippies were just as big a threat to the Island's destruction as Smokey. Maybe the experiment that Pierre Chang was trying to prevent would have uncorked the Island. Was Smokey behind the Dharma folk all along? It doesn't seem his usual modus operandi, which doesn't seem to have changed much since 1857—find someone, scan them for weaknesses and desires, make them an offer they won't want to refuse.

Widmore seems to be one of the good guys, but it's LOST . . . He does want to keep Smokey on the Island and prevent them all "ceasing to be," or in other words, prevent Sideways from happening. He thinks he can do that, with the help of "the package," or Desmond (knew it!) I don't know about the rest of you, but I have been waiting a LONG time to see you, brutha! And it looks like next week will be some epic, Scottish-accented, Island-mythological fun. Fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy ride . . .

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

where's the fire?

Yesterday's Starbucks run included not one, but two enormous firetruck ladders to the roof of an office building, evacuating its occupants to the street below. It must not have been too serious, however—once I was heading back to work about ten minutes later everyone was gone without a trace.




Monday, March 29, 2010

a beautiful death

The fantastic blog, Letters of Note published recently this amazing letter by Laura Huxley, wife of Aldous Huxley, chronicling in great detail the author's death. She also covers his attitudes about drug use, philosophy, and art while trying her best to give her husband "a beautiful death." She also wrote about her husband's death in The Timeless Moment.


It is a moving letter and a reflection of how very different the sixties were. Reading it also brought back echoes of my mother's mother, Grand’mére's, death. I was in my Park Slope Brooklyn apartment watching television one evening when I got the call from my mom, who lived with my grandmother in Florida. It was time, she said. My grandmother, just a year short of 90, had had a series of strokes over the past few years and the latest had left her bedridden.

I visited Grand’mére in Florida for the first time when I was fourteen years old. It was my first solo travel, first solo trip on a plane. It was a great visit. She took me to fabulous lunches with her friends, showing me her world, which was quite different from my teenage life back in New Jersey with my family. Over the years I would visit as often as I could, on breaks from college in New York, and continued to go whenever I would get a break from work. When my parents split up my mom headed down to Florida. Grand’mére's home was her port in a storm. She ended up moving in with her permanently when Grand’mére's husband Paul became ill and they needed help. After Paul died, my mother and grandmother spent some very companionable time together, traveling, etc. As Grand’mére started to become frail, it was wonderful for her to have my mother there, as well as a much-needed day nurse, so that my mother could get out and about and get a break.

As I spoke that summer evening with my mother on the phone, she described what Grand’mére was going through. How her legs were gradually turning purple. She was telling her, over and over again,  that she loved her, and that I loved her, and that my brother loved her, and that she had been a wonderful mother. She told her it was O.K. to let go, that we would be all right. We stayed on the phone for about an hour or so. There was a pause and then she quietly told me that she was gone. We cried a bit together on the phone. We both knew that we had shared an amazing passage with Grand’mére. Then we said we loved each other and hung up, as my mother had some other calls to make, as the business of death was about to begin.

Laura Huxley's letter reminded me of that beautiful death.

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

easter yeggs

I want an easter egg! I want an easter egg! I want an easter egg!

The plan is to dye Easter eggs today. No pysanky this year, I don't have it in me. But hopefully some cool colors and crayon wax-resist designs.

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite . . .

. . . Or waiting around for Friday night or waiting perhaps for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil or a better break or a string of pearls or a pair of pants or a wig with curls or another chance. Everyone is just waiting.—Dr. Seuss
Not incredibly windy at the Smithsonian Kite Festival today, but it was sunny and beautiful, with cherry blossoms and just about everything else blooming—a great day to go fly a kite . . .




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Friday, March 26, 2010

who are you?

I'm a geneaology geek, so the thinly veiled promotional, Who Do You Think You Are? would have had me at hello, anyway. What has been more surprising is how much I have been enjoying it on an entertainment level. The bits of history that are being told through each celebrity's ancestors has been quite interesting, and in some cases, affecting.


I knew I would watch the first episode, which featured actress Sarah Jessica Parker, as she was going to research and discover a link to the Salem Witch trials. I embarked on a very similar journey this summer, when I discovered that one of my ancestors, Sarah Averill Wildes, was among the first group hanged in Salem on July 19, 1692. And how did I discover this? While looking up some other links on The service, if you pay to see the records, isn't free, but it isn't more expensive than hiring a genealogist, which my grandmother did in the 60s. And you can find some interesting stuff. Parker's discovery had a "happier' ending than mine, as her ancestor had been accused of witchcraft, but the court of oyer and terminer was dissolved before she could go to trial, so she was released. She also traced another ancestor to the Great Gold Rush. Her family took part in American history. Most of our ancestors have had a part in their country's history, but we never knew their names, their stories. That's what I dig about genealogy—the chance to discover some of these stories.


The next episode featured football star Emmitt Smith and his search to find his slave ancestors. It was amazing to see how far back they were actually able to get, as records of slave families are spotty at best. Smith also opted to do a DNA swab to trace his roots back to what part of Africa his family came from. I haven't done this, but my uncle has, inspired by the wonderful book The Seven Daughters of Eve by Bryan Sykes.

This past week actress Lisa Kudrow, who is also a producer of the show, traced her great-grandmother to a tragic story of the Holocaust. But she was also able to discover some surviving relatives and bring them together with her father.


In some ways the show is genealogy-lite, glossing over all the work (and frankly, obsession) that goes into finding these connections and more importantly, verifying them. But is a good start, and the show keeps its focus where it belongs—on the fascinating stories that make up all of our lives, and our predecessors'. I'm looking forward to seeing the next show this evening, which hints at Glory star Matthew Broderick finding a real-life link to the Civil War.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

as easy as one two three . . .

. . . not exactly.

One of our photo club assignments (actually initiated by moi) was to photograph letters, alphabet, typography—wherever it struck us. Most of my contributions to the club are results of my afternoon lunchtime walks around town, armed as always, with my iPhone. Finding letter graphics is a bit of a challenge— the "e" came from a moving bus.

But I found it fun to try and catch the abcs where I could. So far I only captured about eight letters. Miles to go . . .


Triangle - Archives

november10 064


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

poor richard's almanac

LOST: As the episode begins, poor Richard's flipping out, spouting internet fan theories ("You're all dead! This is hell!) No one's buying it—not Jack, Sun, Ben, Ilana, or me, either. He strides off into the jungle, presumably in search of Smokey, and in order to give us the flashback we've all been waiting six seasons for.

Ricardo came from the Canary Islands, c. 1857—he killed a doctor (accidentally) who callously refused to treat his ailing wife, as Ricardo didn't have enough cash to secure his services. I think the doc was lying—he couldn't have helped her anyway. But when Ricardo returns home, his wife has died and he is arrested for murder. But hey, he was studying English, so his execution order is commuted in order to become a passenger, er, prisoner, on of course, the New World bound Black Rock. Losties across the world shout, "I knew it!"

Like Gilligan's Minnow, the Black Rock is caught up in a hell of a storm, and smacks into the statue of Tawaret (see everyone, they are explaining even some of the smaller show details), breaking it off at the feet (el diablo!) and ends up in the middle of the jungle where Smokey stops the first mate's "survival of the fittest" killing spree by going on one of his own and massacring the remaining crew members—except for Richard. Last week's pile of bodies had to be a result of Smokey too. The guy likes to mass-murder. Casts some doubt on who exactly masterminded the Dharma purge . . .

Ricardo, still in chains in the hold, has a ghost vision of his dead wife, followed by sounds of Smokey and her death (again). Very reminiscent of Ben, as a Dharma child, seeing his dead mother in the jungle before Richard shows up. Hmmm . . . On the Island, you shouldn't always believe everything you see, and definitely not what you hear. "It's good to see you out of those chains." Are you listening, Richard/Ricardo/Ricardus?

Richard is touched . . . by Smokey, who is still scheming to get off the island, still telling people exactly what they want to hear. Smokey's been playing this scene again and again—major echoes of Sayid's devil's bargain. Ricardo accepts [Dogen's] blade "If you let him speak, it's already too late." and heads off in search of he who lives in the base of the statue. Quick question—Jacob was yakking up a storm and Ben was still able to stab him and kill him—or did he? Is that just a silly, made-up god-killing no-talking knife rule?

Jacob is a badass ninja baptism machine! Maybe that's where Dogen learned his moves . . . He's also still keeping things to himself, as omnipotent beings do. But I still like Jacob, and I like his metaphors. And I like that Richard wants to live. A gentle touch is all it takes.

Back in the now—the moment I saw Hurley I knew who he had been talking to earlier on the beach. When Jack had so rudely interrupted. Beautiful scene with Hurley, Isabella and Richard, right up there with Dr. Linus's scene with Ilana and Ben. Jack schmack, if there was ever anyone to be a candidate to replace Jacob, a benevolent force with a core of iron to keep a cork in a bottle . . . let me just say that if Hurley's looking for a campaign manager, sign me up.

As much as a cross was waved throughout the episode, the Island mythology is not Christian mythology. As I have always suspected, the Island's mythology is more universal. Smokey is primordial evil, kept in check by the Island and Jacob's (or his successor's) presence. But this casts a serious new spin on the Sideways world. If the island, the cork, is under water in the Sideways world, that means that Smokey is on the loose. So is Sideways Locke actually Smokey? Is the Sideways world, which on the surface, seems "better" for our favorite castaways than the Island world, actually hell? Shades of Cocteau's Orphee, complete with mirror clues. I don't actually believe in hell, so I think a world full of Smokey and his particular brand of destruction is a metaphoric hell, rather than the Judeo-Christian concept of it.

I must say once again that I am really am beginning to think that Hurley will be the catalyst for saving the Island—keeping the proverbial bottle corked. As he warned a "saved" Richard, if he doesn't help keep Smokey "Locked" up, they really will all be going to hell—again, metaphorically speaking. So who exactly does Smokey have for sure on his team? Not Sawyer or Kate or Jin. Just Crazy Claire and Zombie Sayid. And some scared, nameless Others who are cannon fodder, let's face it. Seems like Smokey is as persuasive as ever. But look out, he's still recruiting—next week he may be making a play for Sun "Have you seen my husband?" Kwon . . .
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

don't get me wrong, cherry blossoms are cool, too . . .

. . . but what I really and truly love? Tulip magnolias . . .



Happy Spring.

Monday, March 22, 2010

around town

I'm walking around D.C. and trying to document what I like about this town. It's provincial and pollen-laden and full of lovely little details.




Sunday, March 21, 2010

should five per cent appear too small, be thankful I don't take it all

My life is going to be a big bunch of to-do lists over the next few months, I'm afraid.

Starting today, item #1 is to hunker down and finally do my taxes. Wish me luck . . .

Saturday, March 20, 2010

spring has sprung

Makes all that horrible snow just a distant memory, almost a dream . . .




Friday, March 19, 2010

it's a walk off!

"Put a cork in it, Zane."

After a hard day of work, relieved by good company and a cocktail, I was delighted to find that the fun could continue—when we got home one of my favorite guilty pleasure flicks was on, Zoolander.

Ahhh spring!

I know it's evil, but I love this sequence . . .

Thursday, March 18, 2010



I am part of a flickr photo club, One After 909. Every month or so we have themed assignments. A few months back we were tasked to find stripes in our environment. I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed this challenge.


When I was in college, one of my teachers was Sean Scully, whose abstract paintings frequently use stripes. It was impossible not to think of Scully's work a bit while doing this challenge, but I realized that his sculptural stripes constructed out of oil piant were actually quite different from the stripes that ended up attracting me. A stripe isn't a stripe isn't a stripe . . .


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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

tell me the truth

Impressions of last night's Sawyer-centric (!) LOST . . .

Sawyer . . . I knew Sawyer was a cop or something like it Sideways. And partnered with Miles. Psych! Vive LaFleur! And also that Smokey couldn't con a conman. Sideways Sawyer still lies like a rug, but he's conflicted about it.

Date night . . . I'm sure all of fandom hoped for Juliet, but . . . got Charlotte instead. Makes more sense, considering Miles was doing the setting-up. Sawyer seems to have the same sad backstory, but just made different choices.

Running into the running one, Kate . . . I guess these two are destined to share airspace. When she bumped Jack on the airplane she stole his pen to escape. Maybe bumping into cop Sawyer while she is once again escaping from something will get her on the right, non-running, path.

Why exactly does Island Sawyer want to get off this rock? Does he even know anymore? "I'm with no one." He's working Smokey, working Widmore. At first I thought he might also be working Kate, but it was clear he had her in mind with "his people" that he wants to get off the Island. Sawyer talks a good game about only looking out for #1, but he is always concerned about his team.

Smokey . . . "I'm the smoke thing." Smokey is also trying to work all the angles . . . Kate's not buying what he's selling. Is he done with Claire? And could his "crazy mommy" be the Island itself? Or the goddess Taweret? It's definitely sounding like the Losties are caught up in some serious sibling rivalry.

Kate . . . Kate's little quest to "save" Claire has come to a not-so-pretty end. Sayid is still a damn zombie (thanks for the assist, pal.) Creepy Claire and her "baby," holding Kate's hand—even Kate seemed grossed out by the cradle and the pseudo-friendly gesture. And I wasn't quite buying that hug and post-murder-attempt apology. Watch your back, Kate.

Miscellany . . . Who or what's in the locked room on the sub? Desmond? Something that can kill Smokey? There were lots of fun LOST trivia/pop culture shout-outs to fans—Sawyer's reading and television tastes are consistent in both realities—Watership Down, Little House on the Prairie. An Indiana Jones reference when he met Charlotte (Dude!) Sawyer woos with sunflowers.

Next week we will get the what's what on my favorite Island immortal, Richard. SO looking forward to that.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Is knowledge a curse? I have been told by many that I have a good sense for people, that I have a great bullshit detector, that I have great empathy. But when does being able to sense what's what, being open to new things, become a liability? As much as having an inner divining rod may seem attractive, most folks don't want to think that someone else may have a better sense of people, or a situation than they do. As a woman, this "gift" is a double-edged sword, because our voices, when trying to warn, or be stern, or authoritative, are unfortunately most often interpreted as being shrill, strident, or bitchy.

Makes me think of poor Cassandra, who was cursed with the "gift" of foreknowledge, but the inability to make anyone believe her. No one wanted to hear what she had to say. Who wants to hear the bad news that hasn't happened yet? To make matters worse, Cassandra in Greek, Κασσάνδρα, also means "she who entangles men." All because she rebuffed Apollo?

It is crazy to me that it is still hard for women today to get their voices heard. But I know I am not the only person experiencing this, or indeed, that the phenonenon is limited to women. In corporate culture, as companies struggle with new directions, the Cassandra syndrome comes into play:
Foreseeing potential future directions for a corporation or company is sometimes called ‘visioning’.[12] Yet achieving a clear, shared vision in an organization is often difficult due to a lack of commitment to the new vision by some individuals in the organization, because it does not match reality as they see it. Those who support the new vision are termed ‘Cassandras’ – able to see what is going to happen, but not believed.[13] Sometimes the name Cassandra is applied to those who can predict rises, falls, and particularly crashes on the global stock market, as happened with Warren Buffett, who repeatedly warned that the 1990s stock market surge was a bubble, attracting to him the title of 'Wall Street Cassandra'.[14]
I guess the only way to circumvent modern-day Apollos is to be consistent with your vision and choose your battles. What is hard for people is to realize is that the sharing of impressions or new ideas is not an ego-play or an attempt to appear "right." It may just be someone's glimpse into the future—a willingness to move along with a current not everyone else yet sees—with the trends to come.