Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Lost's 100th Episode

Tomorrow marks a milestone in my favorite show: Lost's 100th episode. I stumbled upon this site that has someone counting down his favorite things about lost. It is a good read even if it's not complete (He is writing 20 things per season and is only through season 3 so far).

Check it out here, or I will just copy and paste what he has written so far:

1. The slow pan around Jack that reveals the carnage in the wake of Oceanic 815’s crash. This shot cost more than then first five seasons of “Cheers” combined.

2. Polar bear, FTW! Announced that this show ain’t “Survivor.” It ain’t no disco, nor country club, either. But that's neither here nor there.

3. The backgammon scene between Locke and Walt: still possibly the key to understanding the entire show. Watching this scene takes on new layers after each subsequent season.

4. All of “Walkabout,” the episode that cemented my love for the show and demonstrated the narrative possibilities for it over the long haul.

5. The first of many Locke/Shephard dialogues concerning fate and destiny in “White Rabbit.” Many, many Locke/Shephard dialogues.

6. Meeting Adam and Eve: familiar characters having suffered an as-yet-unknown fate in the Island’s past.

7. Sayid and the audience hear the Whispers for the first time. We still don’t know their true nature; but after “Dead is Dead” we know why Danielle’s been so afraid of them.

8. Malkin’s prophecy to Claire: the first instance in which we learned the oddness in the “Lost” universe wasn’t constricted to the Island. Their scenes started to paint the global picture the show would slowly fill in through “The Shape of Things to Come.”

9. Hurley’s surprising census results. For a while, the sheer number of times the show introduced new people on the Island bordered on the ridiculous, but it’s easy to forget the shock that Ethan’s true nature had on people when this first happened.

10. Jack desperately trying to revive Charlie in the wake of Ethan’s abduction of Claire. Each successive time I watch, I’m convinced it’ll end differently. A good example of how brutal and unforgiving pre-Hatch life was for the survivors.

11. The dead bird outside Walt’s window in "Special." Cree. Pee.

12. The way in which Jin’s flashbacks in “…In Translation” recontextualize Sun’s flashbacks in “House of the Rising Sun.” Storytelling of the highest order.

13. Christian and Sawyer share a drink Down Under. I love reading between Christian’s lines in this scene, especially give his character’s increasing importance on the Island.

14. Leonard’s hysterical cry, “You've opened the box!” As if I wasn’t already freaked out by the large metal box wielded by the Shadow of the Statue acolytes this year, I had to remember Leonard’s frantic cries in Season 1 while researching this list. Faaaantastic.

15. The first chance to actively hate that money-swindling, kidney-stealing, marriage-wrecking Anthony Cooper. This man is so oily, he could have single-handedly solved this nation’s energy crisis before his unfortunate “accident” in Tallahassee.

16. Jin and Sun’s tearful goodbye before he sails away. Also, Vincent running into the water after Walt. A two-for-one bawlfest. Yea, I’m cheating by putting both here. Sue me. Oh wait, you can’t. Free site! Epic win!

17. The music that plays while the Lostaways watch the raft successfully launch near the end of Season 1. Excuse me while I go call my mom to tell her I love her, right after I tip overthis nearby bus.

18. OK, who wants to tell me how that giant slave ship ended up a few miles inland? Anyone? Bueller?

19. Exploding Arzt! I’m already going to hell. Just greasing the already slippery slope.

20. “We’re going to have to take the boy.” I clearly remember watching this scene with my now wife, brother, and his now wife. And all four of us saw this coming about two minutes seconds before the Lostaways did. That was a gut-wrenching 120 seconds, with Tom Friendly’s words hitting us in the chest like a punch.

21. A man in a hatch is way cooler than a d#ck in a box. The answer to Season 1's central mystery proved vastly satisfying, and gives us hope to this day that remaining mysteries will be solved in such a compelling manner.

22. The first mention of the unexplained “incident” that has haunted the show ever since. See Item #1 re: remaining mysteries.

23. Mr. Eko’s Jesus Stick. ‘Nuff said.

24. The Bernard/Rose reunion. Up there with the Des/Penny reunion for me and the future Sun/Jin reunion, which will happen or Darlton will be hearing from me and my Louisville Slugger. A little too much tongue for my general taste, but I was too busy crying to care.

25. The two titans of faith, Locke and Eko, get together for movie night as they watch the director’s cut of the Swan Orientation film. And why is outside contact forbidden, exactly? I have no WAAAAAAALTing idea.

26. Smokey “reading” Eko for the first time, a preview of a technique used to fuller effect in Season 5. The type of moment only possible in the DVR age.

27. Sayid’s brutal initial interrogation of Henry Gale. Can’t help but wonder if Ben was thinking, “This guy’s gonna come in handy later,” in between punches.

28. Hey, hieroglyphics appear when the counter in the Swan goes to zero. That’s peculiar. Wonder if that has any relation to prior civilizations on the Island, the remnants of which still exist in some form or another? Hmmm?

29. Kate, Claire, and Danielle go hunting for answers in "The Hunting Party"“Maternity Leave.” Sistahs doin' it for themselves! All the more poignant now after the revelations in “Whatever Happened, Happened.”

30. The standoff with Mr. Friendly. Our first extended scene with the Others, it imbued an already mysterious group with even more ominous power. Theatrical glue is good like that. Bonus points for Friendly confirming Alex’s existence among the Others.

31. Henry Gale’s speech over cereal at the end of “The Whole Truth.” More delicious that Dharma-O’s, that.

32. Three words: Blast Door Map. No Waldo to be found here; just tantalizing clues left by the man who helped construct the central setting for Season 2.

33. Three more words: off-Island Libby. And yes, those words hurt many a “Lost” fan that fears they’ll never learn her true purpose on the show.

34. Rose’s encounter with Isaac of Uluru. Snuck into a seemingly throwaway episode, this scene contains vital clues concerning the nature of the Island and its relation to the world at large.

35. The double homicide heard round the hatch. And the designated driver policy sent round the cast soon after.

36. “Did Walt ever appear in a place he wasn't supposed to be?” Yes, in a private school instead of Ajira 316.

37. The long pneumatic tube to nowhere. A haunting image that called everything we thought we knew about the Dharma Initiative into further question.

38. “I don’t know what’s more disquieting: the fact that the rest of the statue is missing, that it has 4 toes, or it’ll take three more seasons to finally explain this?”

39. Purple haze, all in my brain, and all around the Island. All for love, or all part of someone’s master plan? Only the Shadow knows. Oh, and Eloise Hawking.

40. Penny learns that her search party has found the Island, and life off it since the crash is confirmed. Welcome news for everyone that feared the entire show was taking place in Chad Allen’s head.

41. The Others have a book club. And somehow this makes them even creepier.

42. Kate and Sawyer help build a runway, which in and of itself is pretty lame. However, in retrospect, the show was building an important piece of the narrative puzzle to deploy years later. Then? Bored to tears. Today? I stand in awe. Long live long-form narrative.

43. Locke’s creepy crazy sweat lodge sequence, in which Boone guides him through an Australian airport full of familiar faces. God’s Friggin’ Gift to Humanity was never better employed than here.

44. “You speak to me as if I am your brother.” Not only creeptastic, but helped provided possible context for the various people, items, and Kate’s horses seen on the Island to date.

45. Ben uttering the potentially most important line in show’s history. In response to Jack’s question, “You want me to save your life?”, Ben replies, “No, I want you to want to save my life.” “Lost” isn’t about mind over matter, but mind INTO matter. And that matters.

46. A bus greeting Edmund Burke at roughly 50 MPH. Fate, Others’ intervention, or Sandra Bullock? You decide!

47. All of “Flashes Before Your Eyes,” an episode that started us down the long rabbit hole towards time manipulation, paradox, and the sense that we would have to recontextualize every event of the show at some point.

48. Hurley, Charlie, Sawyer, and Jin as giddy as schoolgirls riding around in a restarted Dharma van. This came at a point where they audience needed a victory as much as the characters did, and this simple character moment reinvested many of us into the show.

49. Locke’s “Blow Up Everything Useful Towards Leaving the Island ‘04” tour. Personally, I want a t-shirt as a memento.

50. Locke and Ben’s interactions throughout Season 3. Hell, every interaction between these two actors is gold. Try looking away when these two engage each other in verbal and mental combat. Yea, didn’t think so.

51. Smokey CLANGing into the sonic fence. Not only did this moment suggest a history between the DI and the monster, but was possibly the first thing I ever correctly predicted about the show. Also, possibly the last. So I hold this moment near and dear.

52. Hurley’s first scene with Juliet upon her arrival at Lostaway Beach. A touch of humor to start, with Hurley coldly pointing out Ethan’s gravesite to end it. Deftly written, deftly played.

53. Juliet’s mixture of relief and terror upon determining Sun’s D.O.C. Not like I needed this moment to cement Elizabeth Mitchell’s fairly miraculous work on the show as a whole, but damn, it sure didn’t hurt.

54. The almost unbearably claustrophobic confrontation between Sawyer and Anthony Cooper inside the bowels of the Black Rock. I need some air just thinking about it.

55. Speaking of not breathing, how many of you unconsciously held your breath as Benjamin Linus returned to the Barracks to see the aftermath of The Purge? Because I certainly did.

56. Annie’s interactions with a young Benjamin Linus. Oh, Annie, are you OK? Are you OK, Annie?

57. Charlie’s final scene with his best friend on the Island, Hurley. Textbook definition of “heartbreaking,” right there.

58. Jack’s beatdown of Ben after he thinks Sayid, Jin, and Bernard have been murdered. As cathartic as they come, with Jack doing the very thing most of the audience had wanted to do since the end of Season 2.

59. “Not Penny’s Boat.” Moment of silence, people.

60. “We have to go back!” The single most important moment in “Lost” history, the make-or-break scene from which it emerged not only unscathed but emboldened and invigorated.

61. The succinct and fascinating flashbacks for the Freighter Four in “Confirmed Dead.” The height of economical storytelling that invested us in all four characters by episode’s end. Daniel’s flashback, which might not truly be a flashback when all is said and done, especially intrigues.

62. “The light, is strange out here isn't it? It's kinda like, it doesn't scatter quite right.” And THAT would be the moment I fell in love with Daniel Faraday’s character, the strongest addition to the initial cast of characters after Benjamin Linus.

63. “I have a man on their boat.” Of course you did, Ben. Of course you did.

64. The delayed arrival of Faraday’s rocket, confirming time wonkiness in the “Lost” universe. This moment might have sent a million fans to “Law and Order” reruns, but kept those remaining more glued to their TV’s than ever.

65. Ben’s super secret walk-in closet, seen for the first time in “The Economist” then further revealed in “The Shape of Things to Come.” It’s got room for all his clothes, passports, plus a hieroglyphic door leading to a drain that summons Smokey. Also? Universal design friendly.

66. Seeing a broken Sayid have his wounds treated by Benjamin Freakin’ Linus in a German veterinary hospital. If there was one person we thought would never leave the Island, it was Ben.

67. Every single thing about “The Constant,” my personal favorite episode of the show and maybe my favorite hour of television ever. Darlton not only took a complex subject and made it accessible, but above all focused on the human element to pull at our hearts as much as they toyed with our minds.

68. The third iteration of the post-book club scene in which Ben orders Goodwin and BenEthan to seek survivors. In many ways, Season 5 is all about this technique: playing with what the audience thinks they know about a certain event then peeling back another layer.

69. Discovering that there was a hatch containing chemicals that could kill every living thing on the Island. Was The Tempest always a biochemical plant, or did someone change the Colonel’s secret recipe of eleven herbs and spices into something lethal? Looking forward to learning this fact when we finally, finally, finally learn just how The Purge went down.

70. The equally disgusting and equally compelling explanations for how either Charles Widmore or Benjamin Linus could have staged the fake crash in the Sunda Trench. This was a mystery so deep and compelling that only a recap show during Season 5 that most people skipped could provide the definitive answer. And yes, that’s sarcasm. Sigh.

71. Ben waking up with a gasp in a Tunisian desert, with cold air coming off Pierre Chang’s Orchid jacket. Talk about a compelling series of quick camera jumps from Ben’s face to a wide shot showing the cracked earth beneath his prone body.

72. The aching slow shot after Alex’s death showing a seemingly comatose Ben, followed by his simple words, “He changed the rules.”

73. Watching Ben confront Widmore in the latter’s penthouse suite and realizing that everything over the past four scenes is a direct result of the feud between these two men. Season 5 complicates this view, but “Lost” fully exposed the scope of the show in this scene, taking us from a close-up of a man’s eye in the pilot’s opening shot to an expansive, global, decades-spanning war between two titans over the most important piece of real estate in the world.

74. Jack’s appendectomy, which provided the beginning of the end of the show’s love quadrangle and also served to show a Season 1-esque on-Island surgery. Island life’s freakin’ HARD, and even with hatches and pallet drops and bungalows, at day’s end these people are surviving in much the same way as the Island’s first inhabitants. Granted, the extra toe gives the current iteration a slight advantage, but still.

75. The introduction of “Cabin Christian,” the name I assign to the man who walks and talks like Jack’s daddy but wears a brown shirt, not a blue blazer. Whether he’s Jacob’s spokesman (the general assumption) or Jacob’s captor (my assumption), his insertion into the show has never ceased to be provocative.

76. All of Locke’s flashbacks in “Cabin Fever,” the result of a conversation between himself and Richard Alpert fifty years in Alpert’s past and a few days away in Locke’s future. Like I said: LOVE this show! Love love love. I so wanna buy it a smoothie and take it to prom.

77. Hurley and Ben sharing a candy bar. I mean, come ON.

78. The Keamy/Sayid throwdown, which if put atop the card of a major PPV event would leave the viewers feeling they got their money’s worth. Best fight since Xander and Harmony on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” in my books.

79. Ben hysterically loading up the Orchid chamber with everything Pierre Chang insists should not go into it. Kudos to Locke for the great “um, hey, wait a sec” look while Ben systematically goes about his bizzness.

80. Last, but in no means least: frozen donkey wheel. Like this could NOT be on the list. Cool than the other side of the pillow. Literally.

81. Everything in the opening sequence of “Because You Left,” from Pierre Chang’s choice of record through the familiar face he bumps into while leaving the Orchid. “Lost” announced in these few minutes that it was ready to let its freak flag fly. Hell to the yes, replieth I and many others.

82. Richard’s marching orders to a very confused John Locke after the flashes start. Why Richard needed to give these instructions so urgently is one of Season 5’s most fascinating mysteries. Might we see his side of this conversation before season's end? More than likely.

83. Daniel Faraday and Desmond Hume create history, literally, with their encounter outside the Swan’s doors. Why is Desmond uniquely special, and what does that portend as the season/series wind down?

84. Flaming Frogurt! Flaming Frogurt! Flaming Frogurt! Just rolls off the tongue, really.

85. “Libby says hi.” Ana Lucia’s finest moment on the show, and still one of the great quotes this season.

86. The chilling reveal of The Lamp Post, and the druid math performed by Eloise Hawking. I think we have a pretty good idea who the “clever fellow” that conceived of this place is now, don’t we? Mom must be so proud.

87. “Jughead” as a whole, to me the high watermark of the season to date. Widmore on the Island! Faraday states his love for Charlotte! Little Charlie! “Jughead” itself! I mean, it’s not even fair to have that much good stuff in one episode.

88. Sawyer watching Kate helping Claire give birth to Aaron. Seeing the shaft of light pour from the Swan was cool, but this was straight-up heartbreaking.

89. Jin+Danielle=win. As soon as Locke and company saw the French writing on the wreckage, I started to squeal. Throw in my inappropriate man-crush on Daniel DayDae Kim and you had an almost perfect moment.

90. Charlotte telling Daniel she remembers him from her childhood. Just watch the light go out from Daniel’s eyes during this scene. If anyone could understand the implications of such a seemingly impossible statement, it would be him.

91. Frank Lapidus, Pilot, Ajira Airways 316. “We’re not going to Guam, are we?” Hee.

92. Sawyer convincing Juliet to “have his back” and stay with her on the Island at the end of “LaFleur.” My personal favorite scene of Season 5 to date. Just perfection.

93. Radzinsky building the Swan model inside the Flame Station. As if the Swan wasn’t already the spiritual center of the mysteries surrounding the true purpose of the Dharma Initiative, this ornery genius’ involvement in its design took things up a notch or six.

94. Sayid’s drug-induced confession to Oldham. One of the few times “Lost” let itself have some fun with its outlandish premise.

95. The show heard round the "Lost" world: Sayid shoots Ben. Because admit it: you never thought this would happen. Ever. And while this apparently always and ever happened, this moment proved “Lost” had not remotely lost its ability to shock and stun the audience.

96. Miles and Hurley discussing time travel paradox. Gold not only for the dialogue, but the personalities given those words. Not only was this fall-down funny, but proved that the writers had a really, really good shot of avoiding every typical time-travel pothole that plagues stories of this kind.

97. Kate’s reason for returning to the Island: to reunite Claire with Aaron. I’m not the biggest Kate fan, but this one revelation justified her actions in Season 5 and gave her a character-based, emotionally resonant reason for returning to the Island. Now, if we can just give one of those to any of the male members of the O6, we’d be talkin’.

98. Ben steals Alex from Danielle. Some people complained that this scene didn’t show anything new. Really? We all knew that Charles ordered the Island Dauphin to kill them both, only to kidnap Alex and spare Danielle’s life due to his own traumatic past? Really? We knew this? Maybe you did. I sure as hell didn’t.

99. The Altar of Anubis, deep in the bowels of the Temple, showing the statue in some form of engagement with what we know as the Monster. The fact that Ben seemed to have never seen it before only deepens its importance.

100. Hurley rewrites “The Empire Strikes Back.” Then again, I'm biased. We’re going to miss these light moments as the season goes the way of the dark side over the next three weeks.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Burning Down the House: The Story of CBGBs

I had the afternoon free and went down the the Tribeca Film Festival (which is being held mostly at 11th Street and 3rd Avenue, Approximately a mile north of Tribeca....but I digress) to see a movie and take part in the festivities. I got there around 3:00 in the afternoon and all the movies that were playing in the next hour were sold out. I got on the line for if there were any tickets available, and waited in the gorgeous 80 degree sun. With my crazy-luck a woman came to the back of the line and told me she had 3 tickets for the documentary on CBGB which she would be happy to sell to me for face value of $7 since her friends decided to bail on her. I quickly took her up on her offer and bought the ticket.
I went inside and it was already quite full so I had 3rd row. Luckily it wasn't the largest of screens and not a stupid, quick-edited action film so the closeness did not bother me.
The movie was quite heartfelt and a great presentation of the facts as I remember them. Hilly Kristal opened the club in 1973 and it quickly became a cultural hot spot since the only requirement to play in the club was that you had to play your own, original music. Since kids quickly went there to play their original music and then subsequently became popular or at least get a following, CBGBs is considered by many to be the birthplace of Punk Rock in New York and then the Harcore Scene in the 80s.
According to the documentary they had to close the club in 2006 after a heated battle between the Bowery Resident's Committee which seemed to be more of a vendetta from BRC president Muzzy Rosenblatt than about the money that CBGBs may have owed due to back rent.
The sad thing is after the club was closed down, Hilly Kristal died only 2 years later. The place truly appeared to be his love and it was obvious from the way he walked around the place and the anguish on his face as he could see the place falling down around him. He literally got sick and died from losing his baby and it is apparent once you watch this movie.
On a personal note, I had gone to CBGBs probably about 10 times for shows from no-names, to friends to actual acts. I loved the mystique of the place and am saddened that it is no longer a fixture in my beloved east village. You can always pay an exorbitant amount to see U2 or someone, but there are not many places you can go to see a bunch of 18 year olds jump up and down on a stage for $8 or less.
I miss the place. Just knowing it was there made me happy, and knowing that if there was a day when I had nothing going on, I could walk in, have a beer and watch someone scream into a microphone for the sake of art or just to express myself. There was a time when I could have probably gotten a gig in that legendary place, and now that it is gone I am kicking myself that I did not try just a little bit harder to make it happen.
This is a great movie about an important fixture in New York City's past, and why it is sad and unfortunate that it is actually a thing of the past. If nothing else, put this on your netflix queue for when it is released on DVD 6 months from now.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Last Stop for Paul

I woke up yesterday at 7:45 AM just as this movie was starting on Starz. It immediately caught my attention with the horrendous acting. The story follows this guy named Charlie who says he works selling toilet seat covers and he only does so to fund his real ambition in life: Traveling. He works most of the year to go on these extravagant trips and always invites someone, but usually goes alone. Right before one of these trips, his cubicle-mate's best friend dies and he decides to go along with Charlie and sprinkle his friend's ashes all over the world. They buy an around the world in 2 weeks series of flights and pose as Frommer's guides to get free rooms all over the country (they only stop at places where they got the free rooms).
The movie is obviously made on a shoe-string budget, but what makes it even more fun is I read on imdb after I finished the movie was that it was done using locals at all the locations and telling them what to say. The ending credits even had outtakes of people in Thailand that were trying to just repeat what the director was asking them to say.
The movie is badly acted, but I really enjoyed it. Maybe because it reminded me of my good friend who quit his job and left all his belongings behind about a year ago and has been traveling the world since. This is something that highly appeals to me, but I can honestly say I do not think I have the balls to do. I do, however love to live vicariously through him and this movie was just another way to do that.
This film is simply a love-letter to traveling and the things that can happen to you if you just allow yourself to do it. The movie is quite short, but highly enjoyable and would recommend it to almost anyone especially anyone that has an inkling in their heart to live a life of no rules or responsibilities (which I think everyone has a little bit of).


I am usually reading one book, and one comic book at the same time. About 4 years ago, I stopped buying single issue comic books due to cost and now only buy a collection of comic books in a larger format every now and again. People call these "Graphic Novels" now, but they are just a series of collected comic books that tell one continuous story so the adult does not say that he reads 'silly comic books'. I've always felt that comic books are a lot more mainstream than people give them credit for since all they are is a different medium to tell a story. As Hollywood has proven with Spider-Man and Batman and even Hellboy over the last few years, comic books are quite popular with the masses even though not many people read them on a regular basis. They seem interested enough to go to the movies all the time. But I digress....
I am currently reading a book called Starman which I did buy issue #0 of back in 1994 (or so) when I was a hard-core collector of comic books, but due to cost and trying not to get into every book on the market, I did not continue on with the series. Unfortunate for me since it is simply one of the best written books and am happy to know they are now collecting them at a much cheaper cost (thanks mostly to amazon.com) than one could find. It follows the story of the son of an old Hero (Starman) who has taken up the mantle after his brother was killed in action as the newest incarnation of Starman. This newest Starman Jack Knight does not want to be a hero at all, and does not wear a costume in the traditional sense and really just wants to own and operate an antique store, but keeps getting forced into situations that make him fight evil for one reason or another.
That is the main story, but this is really a story of the characters and the rich history and confusion of the name Starman in comic books. It is also the story of a fictitious city called Opal City and the people that live there. It is quite epic in tone and the writing is great. Here is a brief sample that I think anyone can agree that even taken out of any context, this is just good writing:

(The following is a journal entry from an immortal) "...I have not killed an animal in a century. When I was mortal I hated them, but something about me now, how I have changed from the pious, simple soul of my mortality to the creature I am today, has had an inverse effect on my feelings for those who go upon four legs. There are faiths in the East that claim all beasts are lower than man because they turn their backs on God. Having met God once already, I would dispute that.
Furthermore, the animal I once hated most, I now love more than any other. Dogs. I believe...truly believe...that dogs are God's way of telling us that he...she...it...does indeed exist.
For althought something as flawed as evolution could create something equally flawed as manking, only a higher power could conceive something as pure and perfect as a dog.
There is a myth of old that when man and beast were first upon this world they were as against him. A line was drawn, and all the animals of the world stood on one side, with man on the other.
'You are different from us and can never be with us' the king of the animals said. 'You can never be as we are. And no animal will side with you, for if it does, it will be forever cast from the other beasts and its lot shall be the lot of man. He must stay with man and be man's friend and never truly be ally to his fellow animals again.'
There was silence among the beasts as the weight of this decree came to rest upon them. A fate such as this would be fearful, not one that any beast would dare bring upon itself. The silence continued for a moment more; then one animal stepped forward and crossed the line to stand with man - and has, since that day, been at man's side.
It was a dog; and no one who has ever known a dog's love will tell you that the myth did not happen once long ago.
I would have a dog myself, but they live so short a time, and my existence is eternal. The thought of having that purity of friendship for such a whisper of time is too dark even for me. Even for me. Kipling once wrote something along the lines that to have a dog is to know that one day you will cry. One day your friend will be gone and you will be left with a void. I couldn't bear such a void.'

Good writing is good writing and this series of comic books is just that. I have just finished issue 29, and I know I am less than halfway finished. I cannot wait for the rest of the series comes out so I can continue the stories of these great characters, great art and obviously great writing.

Speaking of Books

I spent a few hours the other day going through every book I've ever read since I graduated College in 1999. I had kept a written log of everything I've read (Novels) from 199-2004 and then I got lazy. I was able to piece together most of everything I have read since then, but I'm sure I'm missing many books. Unfortunately Blogspot does not allow you to attach an excel document so I will attempt to just copy/paste everything below. As you can see, I have a very broad spectrum of books I enjoy from classics, to horror, to post-modern literature to comedy. Enjoy at your own risk and feel free to ask me about any since I love discussing books as much as I do movies and TV. Please excuse the horrible formatting :
Book Author Approximate page count
1 Celestine Prophecy John Redfield 300
2 Regulators Richard Bachman 500
3 Desperation Stephen King 700
4 Hannibal Thomas Harris 400
5 Neverwhere Neil Gaiman 350
6 Divine Comedy Date Alighieri 350
7 The Cider House Rules John Irving 380
8 The Wishbones Tom Perotta 290
9 Vittorio the Vampire Anne Rice 290
10 Slaughterhouse Five Kurt Vonnegut 215
11 The Catcher in the Rye JD Salingers 215
12 Good Omens Neil Gaiman 370
13 A Prayer for Owen Meany John Irving 600
14 The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Stephen King 220
15 The Dark Tower: The Drawing of the Three Stephen King 400
16 The Dark Tower: The Wastelands Stephen King 420
17 The Dark Tower: Wizard and Glass Stephen King 670
18 Siddhartha Herman Hesse 215
19 Franny and Zooey JD Salingers 200
20 The Stand Stephen King 1150
21 The Hotel New Hampshire John Irving 420
22 Star Wars: Heir to the Empire Timothy Zahn 400
23 American Psycho Brett Easton Ellis 400
24 Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams 300
25 The World According to Garp John Irving 600
26 The Vampire Armand Anne Rice 385
27 Pop Goes the Weasel James Patterson 420
28 The Talented Mr. Ripley Patricia Highsman 290
29 Star Wars: Dark Force Rising Timothy Zahn 420
30 Star Wars: The Last Command Timothy Zahn 460
31 The Heart is a Lonely Hunter Carson Mccullen 300
32 Fight Club Chuck Palahniuk 200
33 Story of My Life Jay McInerney 185
34 The Virgin Suicides Jeffrey Eugenides 250
35 Bright Lights, Big City Jay McInerney 180
36 The Informers Brett Easton Ellis 225
37 The Crying of Lot 49 Thomas Pynchon 180
38 The Fountainhead Ayn Rand 700
39 Brightness Falls Jay McInerney 415
40 Oranges are not the Only Fruit Jeanette Winterson 180
41 Hearts in Atlantis Stephen King 520
42 Moon Palace Paul Auster 520
43 Harry Potter and the Sorcorer's Stone JK Rowling 300
44 The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer Jennifer Lynch 185
45 The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon Stephen King 260
46 The Perfect Storm Sebastian Junger 350
47 Snow in August Peter Hamill 380
48 Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Lewis Caroll 240
49 Batman: No Man's Land Greg Rucka 430
50 The Mummy Anne Rice 400
51 Dracula Bram Stoker 500
52 The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald 150
53 Bag of Bones Stephen King 730
54 Atlas Shrugged Ayn Rand 1075
55 The Fuck Up Arthur Nersesian 300
56 Carrie Stephen King 250
57 The Fury John Farris 350
58 Conversations with God: Book 1 Neal Walsch 200
59 Conversations with God: Book 2 Neal Walsch 250
60 Smoke and Mirrors Neil Gaiman 325
61 Night Shift Stephen King 325
62 Invisible Monsters Chuck Palahniuk 300
63 Guns, Germs and Steel Jared Diamond 650
64 The Secret History Donna Tart 300
65 The Big Nowhere James Elroy 500
66 Survivor Chuck Palahniuk 300
67 Another Roadside Attraction Tom Robbins 400
68 Glamorama Brett Easton Ellis 550
69 Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban JK Rowling 500
70 Fight Club Chuck Palahniuk 250
71 Still Life With Woodpecker Tom Robbins 275
72 Skipped Parts Tim Sadlin 350
73 Sorrow Floats Tim Sadlin 400
74 Social Blunders Tim Sadlin 300
75 Lolita Vladimir Nobokov 300
76 Sex and Sunsets Tim Sadlin 350
77 Requiem for a Dream Hubert Selby Sr. 280
78 Blow Bruce Porter 300
79 Dreamworld Jane Goldman 300
80 Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius Dave Eggers 300
81 Merrick Anne Rice 300
82 American Gods Neil Gaiman 500
83 Choke Chuck Palahniuk 300
84 The Hobbit JRR Tolkien 300
85 The Fellowship of the Ring JRR Tolkien 380
86 Eyes of the Dragon Stephen King 380
87 The Talisman Peter Straub and Stephen King 735
88 Black House Peter Straub and Stephen King 630
89 Dreamcatcher Stephen King 620
90 Harrry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets JK Rowling 350
91 Blood and Gold Anne Rice 470
92 Roses are Red James Patterson 500
93 Violets are Blue James Patterson 500
94 Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates Tom Robbins 640
95 Adventures of Cavelier and Clay Michael Chabon 640
96 The Two Towers JRR Tolkien 400
97 Panic Room 240
98 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire JK Rowling 660
99 Insomnia Stephen King 660
100 People's History of the United States Howard Zinn 610
101 Everything Eventual Stephen King 460
102 Excelsior! Stan Lee 250
103 Canterbury Tales Geophrey Chaucer 350
104 Good Omens Neil Gaiman 465
105 Midnight Club James Patterson 360
106 American Gods Neil Gaiman 465
107 The Dead Zone Stephen King 400
108 The New York Trilogy Paul Auster 360
109 Less Than Zero Brett Easton Ellis 205
110 Lullaby Chuck Palahniuk 250
111 From A Buick 8 Stephen King 350
112 White Noise Don Delilio 325
113 Coraline Neil Gaiman 160
114 Blackwood Farm Anne Rice 530
115 Four Blind Mice James Patterson 380
116 A Monk Swimming Malachy McCourt 240
117 The Mole People Jennifer Toth 260
118 Lightning Dean R. Koontz 350
119 Return of the King JRR Tolkien 350
120 It Stephen King 1138
121 Taltos Anne Rice 550
122 The Alienist Caleb Carr 600
123 Boy's Life Robert McCammon 580
124 Angel of Darkness Caleb Carr 625
125 Firestarter Stephen King 400
126 The Jester James Patterson 385
127 Thrilling Tales Various authors 400
128 Identity Steven Pizikis 250
129 Dark Tower : The Gunslinger Stephen King 225
130 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix JK Rowling 870
131 The King of Torts John Grisham 300
132 The Lovely Bones Alice Sebold 330
133 Sex Drugs and Cocoa Puffs Chuck Klosterman
134 Killing Time Caleb Carr 275
135 The Girls He Adored Jonathan Nasaw 400
136 Even Cowgirls Get the Blues Tom Robbins 300
137 Blood Canticle Anne Rice 300
138 Dark Tower: Wolves of the Calla Stephen King 650
139 Bringing Down the House Ben Mitzer 200
140 Big Fish David Wallace 180
141 Big Bad Wolf James Patterson 300
142 Fear Itself Jonathan Nasaw 400
143 Skinny Legs and All Tom Robbins 478
144 Down and Dirty Pictures Peter Biskind 560
145 War of the Wolrds HG Wells 200
146 Seabiscuit Laura Hillenbrand 350
148 The Davinci Code Dan Brown 450
149 Deception Point Dan Brown 450
150 Song of Susannah Stephen King 410

Books I read, In unknown order between 2004-2009 Also, I am missing MANY
151 Cloud Atlas David Mitchell 525
152 Into the Wild Jon Krakauer 200
153 Cat's Cradle Kurt Vonnegut 175
154 Next Michael Crichton 540
155 Eintein's Dreams Alan Lightman 180
156 Fragile Things Neil Gaiman 360
157 Anansi Boys Neil Gaiman 320
158 Th Dark Tower: The Dark Tower Stephen King 830
159 Dolores Claiborne Stephen King 300
160 Skinny Legs and All Tom Robbins 420
161 Bluebeard Kurt Vonnegut 300
162 Galapagos Kurt Vonnegut 180
163 Welcome to the Monkeyhouse Kurt Vonnegut 75
164 God Bless Your, Dr. Kevorkian Kurt Vonnegut 330
165 Breakfast of Champions Kurt Vonnegut 300
166 Timequake Kurt Vonnegut 250
167 Slapstick Kurt Vonnegut 250
168 The Heroin Diaries Nikki Sixx 432
169 The Dirt Motley Crue 450
170 IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas Chuck Klosterman 430
171 Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story Chuck Klosterman 275
172 Thumbsucker Walter Kirn 320
173 The Wind-up Bird Chronicle Haruki Murakami 620
174 The Time Traveler's Wife Audrey Niffenegger 300
175 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Mark Haddon 240
176 A Dirty Job Christopher Moore 405
177 Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal Christopher Moore 445
178 Water for Elephants Sara Gruen 350
179 Everything is Illuminated Jonathan Safran Foer 288
180 The Road Cormac McCarthy 250
181 Porno Irvine Welsh 512
182 Fast Food Nation Eric Schlossen 416
183 Middlesex Jeffrey Eugenides 675
184 Angels and Demons Dan Brown 500
185 The Fountainhead Ayn Rand 700
186 The Princess Bride William Goldman 512
187 Rant: An Oral Biography of Buster Casey Chuck Palahniuk 220
188 The Kite Runner Khaled Hosseini 370
189 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix JK Rowling 870
190 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince JK Rowling 650
191 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 775
192 The Picture of Dorian Gray Oscar Wilde 208
193 Good to great Jim Collins 300
194 In Search of Excellence Peter S. Waterman 400
195 Duma Key Stephen King 800
196 Cell Stephen King 480
197 Blaze Richard Bachman 304
198 Cross James Patterson 400
199 Double Cross James Patterson 430
200 Lisey's Story Stephen King 528
201 The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference Malcolm Gladwell 300
202 If on a Winter's Night a Traveler Italo Calvino 275
203 Immortality Milan Kundera 350
204 Heart Shaped Box Joe Hill 376
205 I Love You Beth Cooper Larry Doyle 275
206 Life of Pi Yann Martel 420
207 The Corrections Jonathan Frazen 575
208 The Yiddish Policeman's Union Michael Chabon 465
209 Mysteries of Pittsburgh Michael Chabon 335
210 Villa Incognito Tom Robbins 256
211 Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas Tom Robbins 400
212 Jitterbug Perfume Tom Robbins 350

I Want to Keep track again
213 Just After Sunset Stephen King 365
214 Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking Malcolm Gladwell 320

Tom Robbins

I had the opportunity to get a book signed by one of my favorite living authors. When I like someone I make it a point to become a completist in everything that person does. From Neil Gaiman, to Stephen King to Lost. I read, collect and try and get my hand on anything involved in those mediums. Tom Robbins is the easiest of all to become a completist in since he releases a book once every 5 years or so. I have read every one of his books in the past 10 years. Another Roadside Attraction, Still Live With Woodpecker, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Jitterbug Perfume, Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas, Villa Incognito and of course my favorite: Skinny Legs and All.
Yesterday he was doing a signing for his new book B is for Beer and I felt I had to go there. Even though I was out enjoying a few scotch's with my friend Chuck at 7:30 I excused myself (I felt 4 scotches was the correct amount of inebriation to be on the same level as Tom Robbins) and got on line at Barnes and Noble. It was a long wait, but worth it for the 30 seconds I was able to tell that man how great of an author he was and to personally thank him for the enjoyment he has given me. He was equally thankful to me for reading his novels and I was on my way. How someone can conceive of his thoughts, I cannot comprehend, but I enjoy the readings. I look forward to reading each of his books again since I do not feel they can truly be appreciated in just one read-through. They are too complex and at times too confusing and I'm sure Tom Robbins is not exactly on the same plane of existence as the rest of us, but it seems like a great place to be.
I was most shocked that he is over 73 years old, yet looks no older than 50. Since he only publishes a book every 5 years or so, I can assume he doesn't work too hard and that is half the reason. However, I have read Jitterbug Perfume, which basically describes the recipe for eternal life. So maybe he just follows his own advice of beets, fornication and dancing.
The only negative thing about writing about Tom Robbins is that I know nothing I write can do the man justice since he could write this entire blog post in a better, esoteric way. But I'll just live with appreciate the writing and not compare myself to him.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Rachel Getting Married

I just watched this movie and I have to say I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected to. The father was just a great character. He made me laugh in almost everything he said and I want to eat only 'hungabunga's' from now on, but I will probably forget this at my next bbq.
My favorite thing about the movie is the music. Not just the score of the film which was good, but the musicians that played the groom's friends who were always around the background and sometimes the foreground. I loved all the music and all the musical styles that were represented during the actual wedding: From the rock and roll of the old guy singing to the house beats to the jungle and drum n bass. It was really a lot of fun.
My biggest complaint about the movie were some of the editing choices. A lot of scenes just cut away spontaneously (especially because it often interrupted a really good beat or piece of music I had just really gotten into when it cut away -- this happened 3 times that I can think of) -- Some will say they had to cut for time, or always leave the audience wanting more, but it did disappoint me.
The acting was very good, and shaky cams never bother me (which I know is a common critique of this movie).

The music puts this over the top from being OK, to being quite good. The problem with movies like this is that although I'm glad I saw it, I highly doubt I will ever watch it again due to the deep subject matter, but then again -- you never know. Sometimes these things marinate over time and you have a desire to watch them again. Or- maybe I'll need to after I get out of my next stint at rehab.

Friday, April 10, 2009

More Lost Thoughts for the newest episode

Once again these are taken from popcandy. I do not condone or agree these, but they are good food for thought:

This week's episode of Lost focused on Ben's smoke-filled judgment and introduced us to a "magic toilet." You had lots to say about the dynamic duo of Locke 'n' Linus, but here are 10 comments that intrigued me.

These are posted in random order and unedited:

1. Sister Carrie wrote:

Ben stalks Danielle in order to kill her and is stopped at the moment of truth by the sight of Alex.

Ben stalks Penny in order to kill her and is stopped at the moment of truth by the sight of Charlie.

Is the thought of a mother being taken away from a child the only way to stop Ben? Is it his Achilles heel?

2. lizkpa wrote:

How did Ethan become an Other? Was he kidnapped by the Others as a baby? Or was Amy an Other all along...

3. Nickan8r71 wrote:

so does that confirm once and for all that all the "dead" people other people have been seeing are actually smokey?

4. hurleyburley wrote:

Didn't Ilana and the other guy (not sure of his name) who asked Lapidas, "What is in the shadow of the statue?" seem to be under some kind of spell or sickness... maybe similar to the state Rousseau's shipmates were in?

5. lz449 wrote:

When Ilana asks, "What lies in the shadow of the statue?" it is probably a riddle like "What did one showman say to the other?" I wonder if it is a reference to Ozymandius, the poem not the Watchmen, which is about how fleeting power is? It would be rather appropriate if she is working for Widmore. It seems like there were more than 1 on the plane working for him. Perhaps they did not know one another except by the coded question.

6. calnot wrote:

So Charles rides up to the Other's camp on a horse... now we know why Kate saw a horse in the jungle, huh?

7. tt120 wrote:

Did anyone else notice the special attention Locke (and the camera for that matter) paid to his shoes? These were the same shoes that belonged to Christian and Jack put on Locke before the plane ride as instructed by MS. Hawking. Locke took these shoes off for the boast ride over to the main island and carefully put them on again once on the main island. The camera seemed to spotlight Locke performing these actions.

I don't ever remember somone on Lost careing so much about their shoes!!! I get the feeling subconciously Locke is performing these actions without realizing it.

Are Christian’s old shoes helping guide Locke’s instincts? When he see’s him again is he going to ask for them back? :) Are the island's magic slippers?

8. Chickie wrote:

BTW, someone earlier mentioned Locke and his shoes. It is my understanding that the Bible makes reference to putting shoes ON for a journey, but taking them OFF for mourning, or when entering a sacred place or walking on holy ground.

9. NewsMan07 wrote:

Did anyone notice how the Ajira castaways were treating the metal box on the beach? They were preparing to carry it just like the Ark of the Covenant was transported--using wood, or long trees as pole-like handles. The Ark has a historical connection to Tunis--the same spot where people who are transported "off" the island by turning the "Frozen Donkey Wheel" wind up. Tunis, of course, is located in, that's right: Egypt. I also noticed a small bear skull on Ben's old desk, and thought it was especially humorous that as Ben was on the phone to Charles Widmore telling him he was about to kill Penelope, he walked right by a boat named "Savage," clearly visible in the background.

10. IU Shoe wrote:
When Ben is punched and thrown in the water, he looks as if he is coherent enough to retrieve the gun. I don't know if a gun that is wet with sea water can still function.But we didn't see the end of that segment. Would Ben apologize for shooting Dez or is there more to the ending of that story. Doesn't sound like Ben to apologize when he didn't complete is intended mission......killing Penny.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I Love "I Love You, Man"

I went and saw this movie last night. It is quite funny, and as my friend Dan said right before the movie started, we may be living in a golden age of comedy. I thought the movie would be OK, but it was much funnier than I expected. I am probably the perfect audience for this movie, age appropriate and everything so that helps. On top of that all of the actors are people I normally enjoy like Paul Rudd and Jason Segal (who gets funnier in everything I see him in and unlike many others, he does not always play the same character). I will not rehash any scenes or anything, but I will say there were many laugh out loud moments, and I had tears in my eyes twice from laughing - don't worry, they don't try to get too serious near the end as many comedies seem to. This is a definite 8 on my 10 point scale after the first watch, and cannot wait to see it again when it comes on TV since I'm sure I'll pick up a lot of things I missed on repeat viewings.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

This season of Lost is still awesome

Here is what people are saying (on one website) about this most recent episode of Lost. Also-- remember to always read Jeff Jensen's articles before and after every episode since he always has some insight of things you never would have thought of:

1. SAM451 wrote:

OK, was it just me or did the woman that had Aaron in the supermarket look like an aged Claire!!! It seemed pretty obvious to me right when I saw her!

2. lizkpa wrote:

The conversation between Miles and Hurley had to be the best LOST dialogue ever! The craziest part is that I think I actually understood it...

Hurley may have stumped Miles, but not me! I think that Ben did remember that it was Sayid that shot him when he was 12 years old. That's why he found him years later and brought him "back" to the island on Flight 815. Ben knew that with Sayid he had a ruthless killer at his disposal. After all, if Sayid could shoot an innocent child, he would certainly kill anyone that Ben wanted dead.

I know Richard said that Ben wouldn't remember anything, but Ben is Ben after all...

3. Ainesey wrote:

So then Juliet knew what Richard was going to do to Ben? I mean, I'm guessing she didn't think the Others were equipped for a surgery, so she knew that they were going to save him in another way. So I wonder how much she knew, like that it was going to "change him"?

Furthermore, Juliet must know a crapload of stuff about the island, I wonder if Sawyer or anyone has questioned her about it.

4. CA Steeler wrote:

Kate sang "Catch a Falling Star" to Aaron, just like Christian sang to Claire when she was a child.

dudewhat (0 friends, send message) wrote: 9h 28m ago
This might be an obvious observation but I think it's rather odd that Sayid, a trained assassin and ruthless killer, did not kill the young Ben.

5. Sister Carrie wrote:

Now we have another paradox:

Locke: Welcome back to the LAND of the LIVING.

Charlotte: This place is DEATH.

So which is it? I think in the end we will find that both the Others and the DHARMA scientists were after the same thing: a way to escape death and continually RECYCLE life.

The Others through supernatural means, DHARMA through scientific means.

The Swan orientation tape was hidden in the bookshelf behind Henry James’ “Turn of the Screw.” “Turn of the Screw” is a ghost story, although there is a question about whether the ghosts are real or if the person who sees the ghosts is insane (think Hurley). And the orientation film itself reveals that while DHARMA is involved in the physical sciences, it is also experimenting in PARAPSYCHOLOGY – a big part of which is understanding what happens after someone DIES.

Who doesn’t want eternal life?

6. calnot wrote:

Anyone notice how Kate couldn't hold up under Alpert's gaze. What does he know about her that we don't know? He asked her who she was. Maybe he's like LaFleur... not asking questions unless he already knows the answer.

7, spence425 wrote:

i think ben does remember all of this.

why did he want kate and sawyer ? they were on the list...they were good people because in his past, they helped ben.

why did he have such an infatuation with juliette? because in his past she tried to save him.

why did jack not really belong? because he didn't want to help young ben. if you remember, jack wasn't on "the list" and the presumption is that he is only brought to the others because of his ability to help ben with his tumor.

i think hurley is on to something. wouldn't ben remember? although richard says he won't, perhaps it's a subconcious thing...i don't know...just got me thinking.

8. okgirl_ok wrote:

1. What exactly do Sawyer and the rest of the Dharma Initiative in 1977 know about Alpert and the powers of the island? Obviously, Sawyer knows more than he ever did before, or else why would he have sent Ben to him to be magically/mysteriously "healed"?

2. We still don't know what happened to Faraday.

3. Sawyer had conspicuous and ominous remarks about Faraday a few weeks past.... implying that he knows something about Faraday...

Is it too big a leap to assume that whatever happened to Faraday is also how Sawyer now knows more about Alpert and the others? Could Faraday have joined their ranks?

9. LostntheMystery wrote:

They went to great pains last night to show that Roger Linus is not an inherently evil man. When he realized his mistake he was truly sorry. I think one of the themes on the show is that everyone is redeemable. In fact, I felt all along that even though he was clearly abusing Ben it was only because he loved Ben's mother so much that he didn't know how to deal with her death and he took it out on Ben. It's not an excuse, but a simple understandable human flaw. We all have them. We might even get a flashback showing what an incredible person Ben's mom was and how it was totally understandable that Roger couldn't get over her loss. Who knows?

I'm still intrigued with Ekko's refusal to ask for forgiveness. I got the impression he honestly felt that he was basically a good person who did what he did only because of circumstances. Like Sayid. Is Sayid headed toward a similar fate?

I've felt all along that the show plays with questions of what is good? and what is evil? Is murder always evil or does it depend on circumstances and/or intent? I think it was revealing that Juliet, Sawyer, and Kate basically decided that even knowing what they know about Ben, it still was fundamentally wrong to let a 12 year old boy die. That was the first time I felt the Lost writers were making a definitive moral judgement through one of their characters.

10. lz449 wrote:

...so picking up on a thought I had earlier, if Widmore and Hawking are the co-leaders of the Others, it gives credence to the theory that Widmore is Faraday's dad.

And in the "Come on, you were totally thinking it, too" department:

QC Miss wrote:

How killer were Kate's shoes in the grocery store!!!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Joe Vs. The Volcano

One of my favorite movies of all time just had a great write-up on some random website that i stumbled across. (Or as my girlfriend describes the movie: Watching me watch this movie is her favorite movie) This author also has some good write-ups on some other great, unrecognized (by many) movies like After Hours (probably my favorite Scorsese movie) and Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (part of the Steve Martin Trilogy that is rounded out with The Jerk and The Man With Two Brains.
Read the Joe Vs. The Volcano email Here