Friday, February 29, 2008

LOST - The Constant

Here we'd settled nicely into the whole "flash forward" device only to have the rug pulled out from underneath us again. Last night's episode of LOST didn't use the flash forward technique and wasn't quite a flashback as Desmond--similar to last season's Flashes Before Your Eyes--seemed to toggle back and forth between 2004 and 1996.

So time travel IS going to be a theme related to the island's mystical properties. This raises some interesting possibilities. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly's Doc Jensen, the alternate reality theory was broached:

DOC JENSEN: Another popular theory making the rounds is that we're dealing with alternate realities. For example, there are people who think the flash-forwards are merely possible future scenarios, not written in stone.

CARLTON CUSE: We want people to believe in the stakes of the show. The problem with alternative realities is that you never know when the rug is going to be pulled out from under you. We want the audience to believe that the jeopardy is real. Postulating alternative realities would be an escape valve that would be damaging that as a narrative value.

DAMON LINDELOF: You can get away with it in Heroes, where there is an apocalyptic future you want to avoid. But we're doing the opposite. We want to work toward a future where Jack is absolutely miserable and wants to go back to the Island. Everything we present to the audience has to be factual.

CUSE: We want the audience to believe that is THE future. We don't want people thinking, ''Well, since there are five iterations of this, I'm not going to invest in what's happening to the characters.''
And if that's not enough for you, Daniel Faraday reiterated that stance in The Constant telling Desmond, "You can't change the future." Hmmm, a bit Calvinistic wouldn't you say?

So we can travel through time, and time perceptions are different on the island than off as Daniel tells a worried Jack and Juliette who haven't heard from Sayid and Desmond that, "Your perception of how long your friends have been gone may not be how long they've actually been gone." Add to that the chopper's arrival on the freighter mid-day when they left at dusk and you've got some odd time anomalies. Oddly enough, according to the calendar on the freighter shows that it is Christmas Eve 2004--which is 94 days from when Flight 815 crashed. So obviously freighter time, real world time and island time aren't THAT out of sync...

Very cool how Daniel was able to direct the time-jumping Desmond to his past self--a professor of physics at Oxford--in order to help him with the shifting. A little like Doc Brown and Marty McFly in Back to the Future, no? 1996 Daniel tells Desmond that he needs a "constant" to anchor him in one place. Otherwise he could end up like Daniel's lab rat, Eloise, who suffers from a brain aneurysm and dies. Eloise's fate does happen to Minkowski, who is also suffering from time shifts. So that's it for Fisher Stevens and the mysterious Minkowski? I was expecting more...Obviously Minkowski isn't Ben's mole. And it would appear that Ben's mole is helping the Losties on board the freighter as Minkowski tells Des and Sayid, "Looks like you have a friend on this boat," when the sickbay door is discovered to be ajar allowing them to escape. Did the mole also destroy the phone lines in the communications room?

Looks like we might be getting answers about the Black Rock--a 19th century merchant ship that was shipwrecked on the island in 1845--this season. Charles Widmore purchased the captain's journal at an auction. Could the captain be Richard Alpert? It appears that Black Rock has a Hanso connection as well as the owner of the journal up for sale is Tovar Hanso.

Desmond manages to establish Penny as his anchor and ground himself back in 2004. A tearful phone exchange has Penny promising to find him. She tells him, "I know about the island." So if the freighter people aren't there to help the Losties off the island, will it be Penelope Widmore who rescues them? And with the notation in Daniel's journal that says, "If anything goes wrong Desmond Hume will be my constant," can we expect more time-shifting in upcoming episodes?

To get even more immersed in LOST, check out the recap at Lostpedia, screencaps at Lost Easter Eggs, Jen Chaney and Liz Kelly's Dueling Analyses on Celebritology and other assorted goodies at Lost Media.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Aaarrrgggggghhhh!!!!

That was my day yesterday. A dental cleaning at UCLA School of Dentistry at 1:30 pm followed by a visit to their Dermatology department for an appointment at 3 pm. Sounds easy enough, doesn't it? Think again...

Usually appointments can take up to three hours as the students get faculty to review and sign off on their work every step of the way. But I'd been through a three hour long dental exam where my teeth and gums were tapped, poked and prodded. This was just a cleaning done by a dental hygiene student. Surely I wouldn't be subjected to the same rigmarole . Actually, it was far worse.

I got there early. Explained I had another appointment at 3 pm and sent another hygiene student to fetch mine. That took 5 minutes. Clock ticking, the skittish little student arrived--only to inform me I had a $20 balance on my account. We went to the billing department where we were ignored for several minutes. A staffer printed out the detail of my account and announced that I'd only paid $25 for a $45 cleaning last May. I said I didn't think so. Then after studying my bill for several more precious minutes, she said I'd been charged for the 3 hour dental exam last month. Excuse me, I paid $65 for x-rays for said exam--now they tell me AFTER the fact, that the three excruciating hours I spent being tapped, poked and prodded all in the name of student dentistry. It's not like it was something I signed up for!), the three hours of my life I will never get back, that incurred a charge of $20? I should have charged them for MY time. Net it against the $85. They still owe me $65.

I said I'd get in touch with my dental student and ask her about it. But meanwhile, could we not just get going on the cleaning? The student brought me up to the third floor. Actually, she brought me up to the second floor then looked around lost because her cubicle had been taken, then realized we were on the second and not third floor and then we went up to the third floor. Tick tock. Tick tock. She disappears for ten minutes. Returns with the faculty supervisor who is the smarmiest piece of work you'd ever want to meet so that the faculty supervisor can explain to me that they will not do my cleaning until the $20 charge is paid. And I have to pay in advance for the cleaning. I've been going to UCLA for my dental appointments for THREE years, have always paid the same day I've gotten work done and now I'm being treated like some kind of deadbeat. Lovely.

After contacting my dental student to ask about the charge (she claims it was a "favor"--that usually they charge more for three hour long dental torture sessions. WTF?!!!), I went down to the cashier to pay it. There was a line. Tick tock tick tock. The cashier works like she's in a vat of mud. Sloooooowwwww. After 45 minutes have been wasted, I'm ready to get my cleaning.

But wait--not so fast! The dental hygiene student needs to go over some health questions. These aren't standard yes or no pre-filled form questions. These are inane, unnecessary and highly inappropriate questions prepared especially for me after a thorough study of my records. Questions like "did I eat breakfast this morning?" Now, I know why she asked that. The stupid dental student put a note on my chart requiring that I eat before appointments because I have diabetes. This is because she, being a freaking dental student and not an endocrinologist, is ignorant to the fact that insulins used today don't have the peaks of older insulins and therefore do not require meals. I ignored it at the time not wanting to educate her on subjects that have nothing to do with her field of study. But now I'm faced with dietary interrogation at every appointment.

Even better, the idiot dental hygiene student follows up my "yes" with "what time?" What the fuck is your problem? I ate breakfast--what the hell does the time matter? Then she asks if I've taken my insulin. Of course, asshat. I know how to manage my diabetes. Who put you in charge of it? How much insulin and what time? Seriously--what the fuck does this have to do with getting my teeth cleaned? How would she know what an appropriate dosage of insulin is? Then she asks if I've taken my thyroid medication. OK, enough is enough. There are certain conditions--heart murmurs specifically--that require pre-medication (antibiotics) before treatment. People who require pre-medication generally have that marked in big red letters on their dental records. I can understand checking to make sure these people have taken the appropriate medication. But thyroid meds? What's next? An inquiry as to whether or not I took my vitamins? Ate all my vegetables?

After all the bullshit between the billing snafu and the idiotic questioning (Note to dental hygiene moron: You are not on Grey's Anatomy. Your faculty supervisor isn't going to be all impressed and sleep with you like Preston Burke and Cristina Yang. Get over yourself! You're a freaking hygiene student which means you weren't smart enough to be a dental student. And the dental students are dental students 'cuz they're not smart enough to get into med school! If you were in med school, you might have the right to dive that deep into my medical history. But I wasn't there to have you diagnose me, just clean my freaking teeth!), we ended up with TEN minutes to do the cleaning. She got 1/3 of my teeth scraped before I booked out of there for my dermatology appointment.

Un-fucking-believable the incompetence, unprofessionalism and complete waste of time. For which I was charged $45. Had the dental student properly notified me of the $20 charge at the time it was INCURRED, that would have spared me 45 minutes of agonizing bullshit. And had the moronic dental hygiene student realized I had just undergone an extensive examination, the only question necessary to ask would have been, "Has there been any change in your health since your last visit?" It is not her job to monitor my diabetes control, medication dosages or even my freaking blood pressure (which was sky high not surprisingly...How many of you get your blood pressure taken at the freaking DENTIST?!!!).

It's taken almost 24 hours to calm down--and now I'm getting riled up again just typing this.

Aaaaarrrrrgggghhhhhh!!!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon

I'd read and loved Michael Chabon's The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and I grew up in Pittsburgh so I thought this would be a slamdunk. Like one of Chabon's other novel Wonder Boys, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh focuses its story on three male characters--one straight and messed up, one gay and messed up and one who's not quite sure--and messed up. Both Wonder Boys (which admittedly I haven't READ, but instead watched the wonderful movie version) and Mysteries tell their stories via one main protagonist. The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, however, focuses on two main characters and switches back and forth between their different points of view.

The Mysteries of Pittsburgh is Chabon's first novel and is littered with thematic elements that will appear in both Kavalier and Clay and Wonder Boys: male friendships, homosexuality, fractured families, tortured artists, indecision and finally, growing up and getting on with it. Both Mysteries and Wonder Boys are set in Pittsburgh (which becomes a character in and of itself) where Chabon earned his undergraduate degree. The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay is set in New York City.

Chabon, now married with four children, was quoted in the New York Review of Books about The Mysteries of Pittsburgh saying:

I had just been through, in the years preceding my decampment for the West, a pair of summers that had rattled my nerves and rocked my soul and shook my sense of self - but in a good way. I had drunk a lot, and smoked a lot, and listened to a ton of great music, and talked way too much about all of those activities, and about talking about those activities. I had slept with one man whom I loved, and learned to love another man so much that it would never have occurred to me to want to sleep with him. I had seen things and gone places in and around Pittsburgh, during those summers, that had shocked the innocent, pale, freckled Fitzgerald who lived in the great blank Minnesota of my heart.
That gives you a sense of the book's essence and its themes. Unfortunately, Chabon's elegy on coming of age and loss of innocence may have been mangled beyond recognition by Marshall Rawson Thurber (Dodgeball) who scripted the adaptation and directs the movie version. A quick peek at the IMDB credits shows the elimination of one of novel's major characters. Of the three male main characters, Thurber has cut it down to only two--and one has been completely changed to take on the missing characteristics of the eliminated character. I found a thoughtful review of the script online and now I'm not sure I want to see the movie. Thankfully, Chabon is doing his own adaptation for the Pulitzer Prize winning The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. Whew!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Charlie Bartlett

When I saw the trailer for this, I thought it looked like Ferris Bueller meets Igby Goes Down (If you've never seen Igby Goes Down, rent it! It stars Kieran Culkin who delivers one of my all time favorite lines: "I'm drowning in assholes!" If that doesn't sum up my life, I don't know what does...)--and it is. As well as a bit of Rushmore and several other classic movies about high school and troubled teens thrown in to boot.

The concept of a kid operating a psychiatry practice out of the boys bathroom (with "patients" talking about their problems ala confessional style via the bathroom stalls...) seemed like a smash hit. Unfortunately, Charlie Bartlett is not a cohesive homage to its more clever predecessors, but a mangled and derivative mess than is far less than the sum of its parts.

Charlie is played by Anton Yelchin--who was terrific as the doomed Zack Mazursky in Alpha Dog. Here, however, he seems to be shamelessly channeling Matthew Broderick's performance of Ferris Bueller. Seriously, I would lay odds that Yelchin watched the John Hughes classic at least 100 times in order to copy the deadpan delivery and staccato and stilted speech patterns of the cocky but not quite to the point of smarmy Ferris. Understandably since it is Charlie's goal to become the Ferris Bueller of his high school--but while Ferris was cool and hip without effort, Charlie must resort to pimping out pharmaceuticals to attain his popularity. Or notoriety. They're interchangeable these days (See Hilton, Paris).

Or maybe it was writer Gustin Nash who had the Ferris Bueller obsession. His screenplay straddles the line between quirky comedy and poignant teen drama. There are some moments that are quite touching and authentic, but unfortunately they get lost in the incredible silliness. For example, when Charlie is expelled from his latest private school his mother announces he'll attend public school. This is fine with Charlie, but he wants to take the bus because he doubts the other kids will arrive in a chauffeur-driven limo. A correct assumption--but why then have him stand and wait for the bus dressed in his prep school jacket and carrying an attaché case? Oh, wait--that's what Max Fischer did in Rushmore. But while Max was motivated by his abiding and undying love for his prep school, Charlie's motives aren't quite clear. Unless he wanted to have his facial features rearranged by the school bully.

Hope Davis does what she can with her role as Charlie's childlike mother--but she doesn't have much to work with. Robert Downey Jr. rises above the material giving his usual layered performance as a high school principal whose ax to grind with Charlie may have little to do with the teen usurping his authority and more to do with his own loathing of his life and his job. It is disconcerting, however, to see Downey playing a character numbing his pain with alcohol--given his real life problems in the substance abuse area. A bit too close to home at times...

Anyway, the story lacks focus or narrative drive and meanders along to its inevitable feel good conclusion. A pity. But rather than waste your time on a second rate version of some great movies--rent the originals. Rushmore, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Igby Goes Down. Much better choices...

Monday, February 25, 2008

If I Ran the Oscars...

Apparently not only did people NOT see many of the films nominated for Oscars this year, they didn't bother to watch the show either. According to an Associated Press report the 80th Academy Awards presentation may end up being the least watched broadcast in history. Surprising since we were lacking in self-congratulatory lovefests this year what with the scrapping of the Golden Globes due to the WGA strike. One would have thought people would flock to fawn over celebrities and their couture. But they didn't.

Why is that? Well, the lack of mainstream nominees may be part of the problem. Critical favorites like There Will Be Blood, No Country for Old Men and Michael Clayton fared poorly at the box office (although everyone should really check out the last two--they were, in my opinion, two of the best movies of 2007!). But I don't think that's it. I think the problem boils down to two things:

1. The show is too freaking LONG!!! Seriously, even with acceptance speech time constraints and the revolving door of guest presenters, four hours is a long time for anyone to sit through an awards show. On the east coast, viewers don't get to bed until midnight--much too late on a "school night." While I deeply admire all the talent that goes into producing a film, the fact of the matter is that the average TV viewer really doesn't give a flying @#$% about sound mixing or art direction. Or best short or foreign film for that matter. The work should be recognized and honored, but perhaps not part of the televised show. Give the awards out the day before and then get all the winners up on stage for a televised big group round of applause.

Pare down the telecast to the more known entities: Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor/Actress, Best Supporting Actor/Actress, Best Original/Adapted Screenplay, Best Score/Song. Ten awards, two hours. It could be done...and with time to spare for acceptance speeches as well!

2. Reinstate the element of surprise! The lack of audience could be attributed to award show fatigue--you've got the Golden Globes, the SAG Awards, the DGA Awards, the WGA Awards, Critics Awards, etc. But it's not the excessive amount of awards, but the fact that they eliminate most of the "Who's gonna win?" excitement from the Oscars. Once SAG has given its Best Supporting Actor prize to Javier Bardem, it's pretty much a sure bet that his fellow actors in the Academy will also vote for him to take the Oscar. We all knew the Coen Brothers would win for Screenplay and Director--prior to the Oscars they won the awards with the WGA and DGA. Really, other than the below-the-line awards that most viewers snooze through, the only real mystery was which nominee would win Best Film.

Maybe the solution is for the WGA, DGA and SAG to hold their award ceremonies AFTER the Oscars. It would be anticlimatic for sure--but it's worse to have the vaunted Academy Awards be merely a footnote in my opinion.

Oscar Recap - How my Picks Did

Of course I had my favorites for Oscar winners--let's see how I did:

Best Picture - I was rooting for No Country for Old Men and it WON!!! Thank God the voters didn't do something stupid and award the prize to freaking Juno!

Best Director - I wanted to see the Coen Brothers win and they did! Hurrah!

Best Actor - I thought Johnny Depp deserved to win for his amazing work in Sweeney Todd but the Oscar voters picked Daniel Day Lewis for the overwrought There Will Be Blood. And he didn't even have to sing!

Best Actress - I wasn't too invested in this one. My pick was the consistently excellent Laura Linney for her role in The Savages, but the award went to Marion Cotillard for her performance of Edith Piaf in La Vie En Rose.

Best Supporting Actor - I really wanted to see this go to Tom Wilkinson, but instead Javier Bardem got the trophy. I felt his turn in No Country for Old Men was perhaps one of the creepiest villains EVER (even more so than Hopkin's Hannibal Lector), but 50% of that was the godawful HAIR. The only thing more disappointing to me than Wilkinson's loss, was the fact that Jeff Daniels wasn't even nominated for his incredible performance in The Lookout.

Best Supporting Actress - My money was on Saoirse Ronan from Atonement but the statue went to Tilda Swinton in Michael Clayton. I have no problem with that.

Best Adapted Screenplay - I picked the Coen Brothers for No Country for Old Men and that's who won! Whoohoo!

Best Original Screenplay - My choice was Tony Gilroy for Michael Clayton but the stupid Oscar voters awarded the prize to the highly hyped Diablo Cody and her overrated screenplay Juno. Blech!

Best Art Direction - I loved the whole look of Sweeney Todd and, lo and behold--Oscar voters agreed with me! Yay!

Best Cinematography - Roger Deakins who was nominated TWICE in this category for his fabulous work on both No Country for Old Men and The Assassination of Jesse James by the coward Robert Ford was ROBBED in my opinion. He should have won his beautifully original work in Assassination but instead the Oscar went to Robert Elswitt for the overrated There Will Be Blood. Grrrrr!

Best Costumes - This one was meant for Elizabeth: The Golden Age and thank heavens Alexandra Byrne won for her incredibly luscious costumes.

Best Documentary - My pick was Michael Moore and Sicko--but then again that's the only nominee I'd seen. Taxi to the Dark Side won the Oscar.

Best Editing - My pick, The Bourne Ultimatum, WON!

Best Makeup - My choice of the nominated films (for some reason, Sweeney Todd was excluded) was Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End, but the Oscar went to Ve Neill and Martin Samuel for their work on La Vie En Rose.

Best Score - I was rooting for Dario Marianelli's sweeping score for Atonement and he was the winner!

Best Original Song - With three noms for Enchanted, you would have thought Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz would have been a sure thing. My pick was their Happy Working Song, but the Oscar went to Falling Slowly from the movie Once. Bummer...

Sound Editing/Sound Mixing - Again I was rooting for the fabulous action movie The Bourne Ultimatum and again the Oscar voters agreed and awarded the statue to Karen Baker Landers and Per Hallberg for Sound Editing and Scott Millan, David Parker and Kirk Francis for Sound Mixing.

I believe that means The Bourne Ultimatum won every Oscar it was nominated for?

Visual Effects - I picked Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End but the award went to Michael Fink, Bill Westenhofer, Ben Morris and Trevor Wood for the largely ignored Golden Compass.

So 9 of my 19 picks were winners. I'm only really upset about four of my picks (Best Actor, Supporting Actor, Original Screenplay and Cinematography) losing. Oh well--there's always next year!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Be Kind Rewind

This film has been getting mixed, but generally positive, reviews. With the dearth of decent movies out right now and an overwhelming amount of dreck, it's been a while since I've been in the theater. So I decided to chance Michel Gondry's latest indie creation (he wrote and directed this film as well as The Science of Sleep and directed Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) starring Jack Black and Mos Def.

I was not disappointed.

It is sweet, funny and genuinely touching--and sports numerous whimsical visual touches that are Gondry's trademark. The clever premise--Jack Black's off-the-wall character of Jerry gets magnetized and accidentally erases all the tapes in Mr. Fletcher's (Danny Glover) hole-in-the-wall video rental store causing Mike (Mos Def) to enlist Jerry and other locals to film their own twisted re-enactments of the originals--is wacky but accessible. Who didn't grow up putting on shows, singing songs into a tape recorder, creating whole worlds out of construction paper and cardboard boxes?

But more than just an homage to the individual creative spirit, Gondry salutes the power of the story and the storytellers. Especially in the medium of film, storytelling becomes a collective and collaborative process--both in its production and the experience of viewing it. Not only is Gondry able to capture the magic that is telling a story, but he charmingly conveys how a story told with passion and conviction can enchant even the most disillusioned of audiences. It is a cry out against today's corporate movie-making process to offer something more than the usual slick, formulaic studio film and instead find ways to truly enchant and engage the audience. Because creativity begets creativity--and as humans, we crave to be informed, enlightened and entertained.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream...

I had a dream last night. No, not the awe-inspiring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. kind. My dreams are more of the mondo-bizarro David Lynch variety. Last night, I dreamt that I was hanging out with Jim Halpert (aka John Krasinski) from The Office. We were on some sort of pier on a waterfront and it was getting a little chilly. This was because we were both wearing just pajamas. So Jim suggested we sit on a bench and suddenly pulled out this big, green blanket for us to huddle under. I was leaning up against his shoulder, so the blanket practically covered me up entirely.

Then, who should appear but Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer)! She spotted Jim and walked up to us, chatting in a friendly way. I kept as still as possible hoping she wouldn't spot me underneath the blanket and get the wrong idea. I mean who could misinterpret a completely platonic-ness of two people in pajamas huddled together under a blanket on a bench? But she saw my feet and was a bit miffed to say the least. I whispered to Jim to tell her I was a male buddy who was cowering under the blanket, hiding because I was dressed in drag for some hazing ritual. I can't believe she bought it!

Obviously, one doesn't need to be schooled in the art of dream interpretation to figure out this dream. I'm either anxiously awaiting the return of one of my favorite shows (April 10th!), or I seriously need to get a life.

Or both.

For what it's worth: I would never come between the world's cutest couple--long live Pam and Jim! Or as Kevin would put it: "PB and J." I'm looking forward to seeing what happens with them--as well as the love triangles of Angela, Andy and Dwight and Kelly, Darryl and Ryan. Not to mention Michael and Jan and the rest of the crew. Only 48 more days!

Friday, February 22, 2008

LOST - Eggtown

More revelations in last night's episode of LOST--but the one question I had was: Why was it named "Eggtown"? It did start with John Locke cooking up the "last two eggs" for captive Ben's breakfast. Despite being beat up and locked up, Ben remains uncowed--taunting John by saying, "Just like old times--except I'm locked in a different room and you're more lost than you ever were."

According to Lostpedia, the "Eggtown" reference "is a pejorative term that refers to the days of bartering, during the Great Depression. A traveling salesman would have to barter his candy or tobacco or shoelaces for different commodities. A poor exchange would be for eggs, a relatively common item that is also highly perishable." In other words, it's a bad deal. Perhaps a reference to the bargain the Oceanic Six made?

Speaking of references, during the show Hurley watches a video of Xanudu, the title of which is also a Samuel Coleridge Taylor poem about a tropical paradise.

I liked the line Locke said to Ben when he tossed aside the book John brought saying he'd already read it: "You might catch something you missed the second time around." That's exactly how I feel watching the re-airing of the previous week's episodes with the "enhanced" subtitling. But the best line of the night was again from Hurley when Kate tricks him into revealing Miles' location: "You just totally Scooby Doo'd me, didn't ya?"

Answers and yet new questions from this episode:

1. Miles blackmails Ben saying he'll tell his people Ben is dead in exchange for $3.2 million dollars. Ben has access to $3.2 million? That's a lot of cash... Miles asks Ben, "Do you know who I work for?" Who DOES Miles work for?

2. When Sun says she wants to raise her baby in Korea and Jin corrects her saying "our baby," she doesn't correct herself. Could it be she doesn't believe the baby is Jin's?

3. Locke tells Miles, "I'm responsible for the well-being of this island," and yet has serious doubts about his own leadership abilities. Ben is still able to push his buttons...

4. Daniel Faraday has memories issues. Could this be the reason for the caretaker?

5. Kate is tried for her crimes when she gets back to civilization, but gets off when her mother refuses to testify against her. She is given 10 years probation--which means she cannot leave the state, much less return to the island.

6. When Jack testifies in Kate's defense, it appears part of the lie being perpetuated by the Oceanic Six is that only eight survived the crash and two of them died. And Kate was the big hero saving everyone. Painting Kate as the hero may have been a premeditated plan knowing what she faced upon her return.

7. The "him" that Kate referred to when she said she needed to get back was her son. Actually, not HER son, but Claire's son Aaron. If Kate has Aaron, then Claire must be dead. There's no way she'd let her baby leave the island without her. I doubt Aaron counts as one of the six, since he wouldn't be on the plane manifest as a passenger. So who are the other two? And who is being referred to as part of the "eight" survivors in addition to the Oceanic Six?

8. Jack doesn't want to see Aaron. Does he know Aaron is his nephew? Did he have something to do with Claire's death? Is this why Hurley feels guilty about going with Locke vs. Jack?

9. Sayid, Frank, Desmond and Naomi's body haven't made it back to the freighter even though they left a day earlier.

10. What's up with Minkowski?

For more info, check out the recap posted at Lostpedia, the screencaps at Lost Easter Eggs and Liz Kelly and Jen Chaney's "Dueling Analyses" at Celebritology.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Oscar Suite Swag

I got to tag along with my friend Stevie today to check out some of the suites set up to promote Oscar week. I bet you're thinking--"Wow, how glamorous! How cool!" I bet you're turning green with envy at the fabulous haul of swag that I'm going to gloat about.

I bet y'all had a much more productive four hours of your time...

Let's do the math: Take market value of swag minus usability of swag and divide by time spent plus parking costs and--well, four hours plus $12 for parking all for THREE items of swag is not time well invested. Oh well...

The first suite was at the Beverly Hills Hilton which charges like $90 an hour for parking. Kidding. It's $6 for the first hour and $4 for each additional. I was barely there for more than an hour, but ended up shelling out $10. Sheesh. Although I didn't get much booty, I have to say that the rep for Opalescence, a teeth-whitening system was by far the nicest and most generous. She loaded Stevie and me up with a full-sized kit (Melon for me, Mint for Stevie), a sample of their toothpaste and samples of the alternate flavors (the kits come in Melon, Peach and Mint).

And speaking of flavors, plenty was provided by Dallmann Confections--maker of elegant and delicate gourmet chocolates. Owner Isabella Valencia created a special nine piece box in honor of the Oscars to be given to red carpet celebs. In it there's a dark chocolate truffle laced with buttery caramel and a touch of sea salt inspired by Sweeney Todd, a heart-shaped white chocolate truffle with a layer of vanilla ganache followed by a layer of boysenberry to embody the offbeat romance of Juno while the regal Elizabeth was captured by a 65% Venezuelan chocolate with a hint of bourbon vanilla garnished with real gold dust.

Stevie did a video interview of Valerie Waters, personal trainer to the stars. Waters, who has helped celebrities like Jennifer Garner and Kate Beckinsdale get camera ready, has written a book titled Red Carpet Ready which details a six-week program to reshape your body. In addition to her diet and exercise program, Valerie is teaming with CUUR, a green tea based supplement that helps boost metabolism. In addition to the teeth whitening kit and a box of chocolates, I got a box of CUUR--so I'll let y'all know in a month if my stubborn flabby midsection disappears, or at least dissipates. Of course, the chocolates won't help with that!

The other two suites offered nothing in the way of swag. Bummer. For what it's worth, Fuji appears to be the official water of the Oscar suites. For more of the inside scoop on behind the scenes of Oscar week, check out L.A. Story for a bunch of podcasts and video interviews and pics and stories.

Not Like a Rhinestone Cowboy

Mamas, don't let your babies
grow up to be cowboys...
Don't let 'em pick guitars or drive them old trucks.
Let 'em be doctors and lawyers and such.

With all due respect to Waylon Jennings, perhaps being a cowboy ain't such a bad idea. As long as you're the Naked Cowboy, who according to this article in today's Washington Post is suing Mars, Inc.--makers of M&Ms--for SIX MILLION DOLLARS!

I'm sure you--like me--are thinking, "Go, Dude!" Power to the little guy vs. the big greedy corporation. Except the Naked Cowboy owns an Escalade, can charge up to $10k for a personal appearance and has a master plan for the future that includes a yacht, private jet and several homes.

Too bad I have such a low tolerance for cold. Obviously, I am in the wrong line of work...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Might See Movies

After an Oscar contender induced bloat of movies followed by the New Year dregs (Jumper? Definitely, Maybe NOT!!!), we're finally seeing some worthwhile contenders for our box office dollars. Here are the possibilities I have on my list:

1. Charlie Bartlett - Opens this weekend and features Robert Downey Jr. and Hope Davis. The trailer looked interesting. I'll probably see it next week.

2. Be Kind Rewind - Michel Gondry's The Science of Sleep looked too weird for my tastes, but this time around he's got Jack Black and a really cute premise. Whether or not it can sustain a 2 hour movie remains to be seen. Also opening this weekend.

3. The Other Boleyn Girl - It looks like they've taken substantial liberties with Philippa Gregory's novel, but since she took major liberties with actual historical facts it's probably a wash. I'll go to see it for the gorgeous costumes. Coming February 29th.

4. Semi Pro - I've mixed feelings about this latest opportunity for Will Ferrell to run around half-naked. I loved Blades of Glory, but loathed Anchorman. Let's hope it's more of the former and less of the latter...

5. Penelope - If this "modern day fairytale" gets great reviews, I might check it out. It looks a bit odd but maybe that's a good thing. Opens February 29th.

6. City of Men - This isn't a "might see," it's a definite "must see." From the producers of City of God--which was one of the best movies I've ever seen. If City of Men is half as good as City of God, it will be twice as good as any other movie out there. Also February 29th

7. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day - Well, the sell should be the Oscar-caliber Amy Adams and Frances McDormand, but I'll go see it to drool over cutie patootie Lee Pace. March 7th.

8. Horton Hears a Who! - I know, after the unmitigated disasters that were The Cat in the Hat (Mike Myers) and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Jim Carrey), you would think Hollywood would hesitate before desecrating yet another Dr. Seuss classic. And this one stars BOTH Jim Carrey and Steve Carrell making one wonder how much overtime they had to pay the set crew after the stars' extensive scenery chewing?

But I've seen the trailer and I'm very hopeful they got it right this time. First off, it's animated ala Ice Age so no creepy makeup effects or overacting since both Carrey and Carrell are merely providing character VOICES. Whew! That's a relief. Seriously, it looks very cute. Coming March 14th.

9. 21 - Based on the true story of six MIT students trained in the art of card counting. Starring Kevin Spacey (It's been a while, Kev! Whatcha been up to?) which means it could be L.A. Confidential or (shudder!) K-Pax.

10. Stop Loss - From the director of Boys Don't Cry this opens March 28th. The trailer looks great and I'd watch anything that features Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

11. Leatherheads - George Clooney and John Krasinski. Need I say more? Opens April 4th.

12. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - I've seen the first three installments of the franchise, but this one features a much older and creakier Harrison Ford. If the reviews are good, I'll go check it out. Opens May 23rd.

13. You Don't Mess with Zohan - Adam Sandler starring in a script he co-wrote with Judd Apatow which is directed by Richie Brockelman--I mean Dennis Dugan! It could be really funny...Fingers crossed!

14. The Happening - I'm probably one of the few people who has actually seen and liked all of M. Night Shyamalan's post-The Sixth Sense offerings. With the exception of The Village. Yes, I really dug Unbreakable and was even charmed by Lady in the Water. Love him or hate him you have to give him credit for following his own unique vision. I think he'd do a bit better with a co-writer--especially on dialogue. And if he limited his film acting to small cameos and not supporting roles. Opens June 13th.

15. Get Smart - The casting of Steve Carrell in the role made famous by Don Adams was brilliant. The casting of Anne Hathaway as Agent 99--dubious. I hope it's great. Will wait for the reviews. June 20th.

16. Hancock - Will Smith plays a less than squeaky clean superhero. You've got to hand it to Smith--he really knows how to pick a project! The trailer looked hysterical--it opens July 4th.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Greed

The other day I was contacted by an L.A. Times reporter. She was doing a story on the rental housing market in Los Angeles--specifically on why rents were climbing as the housing market and overall economy in general was tanking big time. She had seen my posting on Craigslist looking for a place and e-mailed to ask if I would comment on the situation with L.A. rents. I told her it could be summed up in one word:

Greed.

I see the same ads posted over and over again on Craigslist. Obviously not many people can afford that Venice Beach studio for $2,300. I sure can't. Even if I could afford $2,300 a month--I wouldn't be spending it on a freaking studio!

This morning I went to the dry cleaner located around the corner to inquire how much they would charge for a minor alteration. I needed a pair of jeans hemmed--but I had already pulled out the old hem, cut it down to the proper length and ironed the seams. All that needed to be done was to run each leg under the sewing machine. Five minutes, tops. The owner quoted me ten dollars. I said, "You've got to be kidding me!" and walked out the door. I usually pay less than ten dollars to get pants hemmed from scratch. I've done more than 75% of the work and he wants to charge me ten dollars!

I walked down the street to another dry cleaner and showed him what I wanted. $4.50 he said. Usually they charge $8.50 (that's $1.50 less than dry cleaner number one) for hemming pants but since I've done much of the work, he'd charge me less than half what the other guy wanted. I can't even imagine how much dry cleaner number one would charge to hem a pair of pant from scratch. $20?

Greedy bastard...

In today's Washington Post, there's an article about oil futures rising above $100 a barrel--even though supply remains plentiful and demand has dropped. In textbook economics, usually when demand drops the price drops as well. But with oil companies posting obscene profits each quarter it seems the market isn't being driven by supply and demand but by corporate greed as well.

But whether it's price inflation by the Enrons and Chevrons of the world or price gouging by Cowan Cleaners, or the stingy boss who won't help you get ahead with a reference or the business associate that hogs all the good assignments for herself or the so-called friend who only offers you crumbs of their time, it comes down to the same thing:

Greed.

And with all due respect to Gordon Gekko, it's not good.

Monday, February 18, 2008

My Converse Kick Collection

Confession time: I am the Imelda Marcos of sneakers. It used to be plain white Keds or the Payless knock-offs, which I wore and wore out every day during the summer months. My sister used to take plain white sneaker and paint them with Maurice Sendak inspired illustrations. Me, I liked them unembellished. Even going so far as to throw them in the washer with bleach to keep them looking nice and clean...

But now I have a serious thing for Converse All-Stars. I currently own half a dozen pairs. I have every intention of buying more. The first ones I got are olive suede with the stars on the side (far left), the most recent acquisition are camouflage (far right)--for when I want to sneak up on people. (Sneak up, camo sneakers--get it?) My retro black kicks are my favorite pair as of now. The pair next to them is made of a tweed material--how cool is that? I actually bought a shirt to match the brown hightops. Most people buy shoes to match their outfits--I buy clothes to go with my shoes.

I missed out on an American flag pair--wrong size. And I have an eye out for a pair in my favorite color: red. At most places, a pair of Converse sneakers cost $40 or more but being the hardcore bargain shopper that I am, I get mine for under $20.

Carrie Bradshaw can have her Manolos--I'll stick with my Converse kicks!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Cleaning Up the Keywords - part 2

I get a lot of hits from people looking for naked pictures. Sorry, folks--I can't help you there! And seriously, some of you really need help! Like the guy looking for "nude slutty cheerleaders" or the the one who had a whole fantasy mapped out with "nasty slutty cheerleaders when the bus breaks down." Um, right. You and the "burqa porn" dude should get together and swap scripts...

I've had someone looking for "Joanna Cassidy topless." Okay--that makes sense, but it was pretty unusual to have someone else looking for "Louise Cliffe wearing shirt." Now that's a first! I had a run of people wanting to see "Mark Cuban shirtless" and as bad as I thought that was, I started getting hits for "Tom Bergeron shirtless" but even that was surpassed by "naked pitchers [sic] of Jon Cainer." Now the only Jon Cainer I know of it the bald, British astrologer (see pic above). Love him, but wouldn't want to see him naked!

Here's a round-up of some of the odd searches that arrive at my blog:

1. Who invented the push-tab on soda cans?

According to my research, that would be Dan Cudzik.

2. Is it legal in CA to have cameras in store dressing rooms?

This was the subject of Adam Rifkin's movie LOOK and according to a Newsweek article, "Most people don't know that hidden cameras are legal in dressing rooms and bathrooms in most states..." According to the movie's website, California Law prohibits video recording of "confidential communications," in which speakers expect that they are not being overheard or recorded, as it is considered eavesdropping and is illegal in California. But there's no mention of video taping without audio.

3. What do Travel Agents look like?

Uh, they look like anyone else--two eyes, a nose, a mouth. Or perhaps they all look like Nia Vardalos' character in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

4. How to give a Ken doll a Mohawk?

Hmmm, this presents a dilemma. Ken has molded hair, so shearing it off won't work. I'd find some flesh colored paint, paint his whole scalp area and then take a strip of fake fur and hot glue it down the center of his head. Why I or anyone would want to do this is another subject entirely. At least you're not searching for "burqa porn."

5. How do I stop my chocolate cravings?

Why would you WANT to?!!! Chocolate is awesome and if you eat the dark kind it's also good for you--with the anti-oxidants and all. I eat it almost everyday!

6. Are left-handed people sexier?

You bet your ass they are!

7. What are the pros and cons of being left-handed?

The pros are too numerous to list (see above for starters) and the cons are mainly having to deal with "righties." And the ink that smudges along your hand when you write...

8. Why do people like sucking things up in a vacuum?

You mean there are others like me? Whew! What a relief...

9. S&M scene in Pittsburgh?

Don't know. Don't want to know. I suggest posting or reading posts in the Casual Encounters sections of Pittsburgh's Craigslist.

10. How to blackmail a drug dealer?

Dude--you don't blackmail drug dealers! They blackmail YOU! Unless you're able to catch them participating in Pittsburgh's S&M scene and hold that info over them, I'd suggest NOT trying to blackmail a drug dealer.

Then I get a lot of "average" inquiries like: average rain in Los Angeles (15"), average cell phone power rating, average woman model, average Santa Claus pay, average amount of bacteria in stomach (Humans are teeming with bacteria throughout our bodies--especially in our digestive tracks! There are some estimates that only one in ten cells in our bodies is actually human...), average commission gym and average paycheck Chili's. I must remind you people, this blog is WELL ABOVE average, so we don't do just "average" here!

And finally, the last keyword search term: "Things to do if you are above average people."

Why, start a blog of course!

Cleaning Up the Keywords

Lately the biggest hits to my blog were from people checking out pics of my tattoos. This is better than all the hits I used to get from people checking out the picture of Jason Lee and the My Name is Earl logo. But I do worry--am I going to go to a party one of these days and run into some random stranger with the EXACT same tattoo? It would be awkward to show up wearing the same dress, top--even shoes. The same tattoo would be more than awkward.

It would be weird.

My review of the King of California soundtrack has been very popular--210 hits to date! Other heavily trafficked pages include my post about the GAP class action suit and the poetic tribute to deceased Desperate Housewife character Ida Greenberg by Karen McCluskey. We are an eclectic bunch here, aren't we?

But for all those who found what they were googling for on my blog, a number went away empty-handed. Which makes me feel bad. So let's try to correct with some answers to the keyword questions:

LOST

1. How did the other mental patient see Charlie?

Several possibilities: One, he is a MENTAL PATIENT after all. Maybe he's always seeing things. Two, the other mental patient didn't specifically point to Charlie--he just told Hurley someone was staring at him. When Hurley looks over, he sees Charlie. But if you check out the screencap at Lost Easter Eggs, there is another in the background that he could have been referring to. And finally, maybe Charlie IS visible. He does tell Hurley, "I am dead. But I'm also here."

2. Who did Sayid shoot on the golf course?

That would be Mr. Avellino aka the "Italian man." We don't know why yet, but we do know Sayid has become a sort of hitman for Ben--to protect his friends (still on the island?). So most likely, Mr. Avellino was a threat that needed to be eliminated. He may or may not be "The Economist." (I sort of doubt he IS--Elsa was very agitated and warning what seemed to be her boss over the phone to find a safe house. I doubt having been warned that the Oceanic Six hitman is on to him, the Economist would breezily be chatting up swarthy strangers on the golf course.)

3. Why should Hurley have stayed with Jack?

We don't know yet. Perhaps something bad happened to the Locke group that wouldn't have happened otherwise. Or he felt bad about his self-perceived disloyalty.

4. Was Pierce Brosnan on the LOST episode "Confirmed Dead"?

Um, no. You may have mistaken the scruffy Daniel Faraday (portrayed by Jeremy Davies) at the beginning of the episode for a scruffy Brosnan. But the former Bond boy did not make an appearance.

For all LOST related question, check out Lostpedia. Everything--and I do mean EVERYTHING you ever want to know about LOST is on that site.

Ugly Betty

1. What actress played Fay Summers?

The character of Fay Summers was killed in a car crash prior to the beginning of the series. But the few recent flashbacks look to me like Becki Newton in a "Fay Summers" wig. Becki's character of Amanda Tanen is, after all, Fay Summer's illegitimate daughter so there would be a resemblance.

2. Who is Renee?

Renee (played by Gabrielle Union), aka "Rhonda", is Wilhelmina's (aka "Wanda") younger sister.

3. What food do Henry and Betty eat on their first date?

Hmm--if by their first date you mean that lunch date they went on at Halloween (Betty was dressed up as a butterfly and still dating Walter), then the answer is sushi.

4. Ugly Betty necklace

I'm not sure what this googler was searching for--but interestingly enough, when I was reading The Other Boleyn Girl, Philippa Gregory made numerous mention of Anne Boleyn's necklace--a pearl choker with a gold "B" pendant. It made me think of the necklace Betty always wears and sure enough, Betty's necklace is modeled after Anne Boleyn's!

Desperate Housewives

1. Which four Scavos does McCluskey love?
I think Karen was joking when she made that comment, but if I had to guess--I'd say she wasn't loving Tom too much when she had to act as caretaker when he injured his back and there was a period when Kayla, Tom's daughter by nasty Nora, was a little witch and McCluskey did act incredulous when Lynette said they were friends--so that would leave Parker, Preston, Porter and Penny.

2. What did Dylan's father do?

We don't know yet, but thanks to the end of the WGA strike we're getting some more original DH episodes this season so perhaps we'll get that answer. My theory: he didn't do anything. Dylan, at age six, accidentally caused his death (perhaps a loaded gun lying around the house?) and her mother Katherine and Aunt Lilly covered it up so that nothing would happen to her. She has since blocked the entire incident from her memory. Katherine's cover-up is that Dylan's father left and that he was an evil and abusive man. But Aunt Lilly wrote the truth on a piece of paper before she died--which Adam found, Katherine burned but Dylan retrieved from the fireplace.

Heroes

When is "Chapter Three: Villains" being televised?
Bad news--due to the strike no more new episodes of Heroes until the 2008 Fall season.

Random Movie Questions

1. Is Michael Clayton based on fact or is it fiction?

Michael Clayton is a fictional script written and directed by Tony Gilroy based on his knowledge of law firm "fixers" and wanting to write a story about what goes on behind the scenes in that world. Here's a link to an interview he did with the Seattle Times about the script.

2. In Michael Clayton, what happens to Arthur Edens when he is injected in the toe?

Arthur is injected with a substance that causes his death and makes it look like the historically unstable attorney committed suicide. They inject it in between his toes because it won't leave an obvious track mark there.

3. There Will Be Blood + age makeup

Well, that was a problem wasn't it? There wasn't any aging makeup done in There Will Be Blood so although the story takes place over a 30 year time period, the actors--particularly Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Dano didn't look as though they aged a day--as evidenced by this shot of Eli Sunday to the right, who should be in his late 40s/early 50s. Looks like a teenager still, right?

4. What's the time period of There Will Be Blood?

The story begins in 1898 and spans 30 years through the late 1920s.

5. What does H. W. Plainview in There Will Be Blood stand for?

We don't know. "Herbert Walker" maybe?

6. In Cloverfield, did Lilly survive?

Lilly, one of the quartet trying to rescue Beth, took off in a separate chopper before the others went up in the helicopter that was smacked down by the monster. It is quite possible she survived. We may find out for sure--apparently Cloverfield may possibly have a sequel.

7. What was the Nirvana song that was played in Juno?

I don't believe there was a Nirvana song in Juno. The soundtrack includes a cover of The Carpenter's Superstar performed by Sonic Youth--a band that Kurt Cobain was a huge fan of and which was a Nirvana influence. Perhaps that's the song you're thinking of...

8. What neighborhood was Juno filmed in?

Like most indie films, Juno was filmed in Canada--specifically Vancouver and Burnaby in B.C. for the most part. I found this info under the filming locations section of Juno's page on IMDB.

Wikipedia and IMDB are your friends, people!

9. Was Charlie Wilson's War fact or fiction?

The Tom Hanks movie was indeed based on a true story.

10. What was the name of the Barry White song Alvin played during Dave and Claire's dinner?

Actually it was Marvin Gaye not Barry White and one of the sexiest songs EVER--Let's Get It On.

Tomorrow I'll post answers to some more non-TV/movie related searches I get--like "How long is the Santa Monica pier?"

Answer: According to its website, it's 1,600 feet long.

Friday, February 15, 2008

LOST - The Economist

Lots of excitement on last night's episode. It seemed like two hours worth of show. Oh, wait--I re-watched last week's episode which aired right before so it WAS two hours worth of show. Turns out pilot Seth Norris WAS the Greg Grunberg character who was the first to be eaten by the smoke monster. Those claiming Grunberg's character was the co-pilot were mistaken. Grunberg was wearing a wedding ring, while the alleged pilot shown underwater was not--which lends more credence to the conspiracy cover-up theory. Personally, I prefer the doppelganger theory...

Last night's repeat was also "enhanced," which helped fill in some blanks. I missed what the subtitles said about Daniel Faraday before mentioning that the woman was not his wife, but his caretaker. Something about having been somewhere before? Did anyone catch that? I wish they had done more subtitles. But I guess they're trying not to tip their hands too much. It would spoil all the fun...

So here's what we know:

1. Sayid is the fourth member of the Oceanic Six. It also appears that Ben gets off the island, but since he wasn't on Flight 815, he wouldn't be included as part of the "six."

2. Sayid continues to have a soft spot for tall, gorgeous blondes. He meets a woman named Elsa who works for an economist in Berlin. Elsa, by the way, was played by Thekla Reuten who had a role in In Bruges. Unfortunately she meets the same fate as Shannon--a fatal bullet wound in her abdomen administered by Sayid himself. She had it coming, though--she shot him first.

3. After leaving the island, Sayid becomes some sort of hit man, working for none other than Benjamin Linus. It is Ben who treats the wounded Sayid in some sort of kennel or laboratory. At the end of the episode Ben asks Sayid, "Do you want to protect your friends or not?"

4. Speaking of Ben, apparently he HAS been off the island--he has a secret closet filled with suits, all sorts of currency and a variety of passports under assumed names. Is it possible that he IS the man in the coffin then? Maybe John Lantham is one of his aliases...It would certainly explain why Kate wouldn't want to go to the funeral.

5. Sayid's hair is not as curly without the island humidity.

6. Daniel Faraday discovers some time-shifting properties of the island when he asks Regina to launch a payload from the freighter and it arrives with a 31 minute time difference.

7. John needs someone (Walt, Jacob, Ann Landers) to tell him what to do. Some leader he is!

Things we don't know:

1. Who was Mr. Avellino--the man Sayid shot on the golf course? And why did Sayid shoot him? I'm pretty sure it wasn't because Sayid is a sore loser over 100 euros...

2. Why do Elsa and Naomi have the same bracelet? And who was the "R.G." inscripted on Naomi's? Possibly Regina who is still on the boat?

3. Why did Naomi have the picture of Desmond and Penny? Desmond goes with Sayid on the chopper back to the freighter to find out. Charlotte and Daniel stay on the island to continue their "work."

4. Is Minkowski Ben's spy? (Minkowski is being played by Fisher Stevens--I guess we'll actually get to see him when Des and Sayid arrive on the freighter...)

5. Who is the Economist? Is it perhaps the Matthew Abbadon character? (The "enhanced" subtitling on the repeated Confirmed Dead mentioned that "Abbadon" meant "keeper of the abyss."

6. Who are the final two members of the Oceanic Six? Sawyer was trying to convince fellow convict Kate to stay on the island, but we know Kate leaves. Did she convince Sawyer to come with her?

7. What happened to the rest of the Others? The ones that weren't in on the failed beach raid, including the mysterious Richard Alpert...

Best line was from Hurley,who, after duping Sayid and company, keeps his distance as Rosseau escorts Sayid to one of the barracks at gunpoint. Sayid tells Hurley he isn't going to hurt him and Hurley replies, "I saw you snap that guy's neck with that break dancing thing you do with your legs. I think I'll hang back here..."

As usual, check out the recap at Lostpedia, the screencaps at Lost Easter Eggs and the Dueling Analyses at Celebritology.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Lovers in a Dangerous Time - Bruce Cockburn

Being Valentine's Day and all, I thought it would be appropriate to post one of my favorite love songs. One of my favorite Bruce Cockburn songs. Heck, it's one of my favorite songs PERIOD. The verse "gotta kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight" is my personal mantra.

Enjoy!




Lovers in a Dangerous Time

Don't the hours grow shorter as the days go by
You never get to stop and open your eyes
One day you're waiting for the sky to fall
And next you're dazzled by the beauty of it all
When you're lovers in a dangerous time
Lovers in a dangerous time...

These fragile bodies of touch and taste
This vibrant skin this hair like lace
Spirits open to the thrust of grace
Never a breath you can afford to waste

{Refrain}
When you're lovers in a dangerous time
Lovers in a dangerous time
When you're lovers in a dangerous time
Lovers in a dangerous time

When you're lovers in a dangerous time
Sometimes you're made to feel as if your love's a crime
Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight
Got to kick at the darkness till it bleeds daylight

Happy V-Day!

Well, I don't have a Valentine this year to give me roses or take me out to dinner or present me with a heart-shaped box of chocolates, but my sister sent me this very pretty heart necklace for Valentine's Day! And the sun's out and I'm not working today (and LOST is on tonight--yay!), so all in all not too shabby for "Single Awareness Day"...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

This is why I channel surf...

Is anyone else skeeved out by the Scope White mouthwash commercial featuring Ryan Seacrest and Josie Maran? Sexiest smile? Who voted on that?!!!

Ryan Seacrest and sexy is an oxymoron. Like jumbo shrimp or military intelligence. Or truthful advertising...

Yeeeshh!

Thom Fleming Skincare

I'm a sucker for skin care stuff, so when I got the opportunity to check out Thom Fleming Skin Care, I was all over it. Currently the line consists of three decadent body scrubs--which contain fruits, natural oils, Dead Sea salts, vitamins and minerals. The scrubs come in Lemon Soufflé, Mochanilla and (the one I got to test drive!) Rainbow Sorbet Body Scrub.

The Rainbow Sorbet is accurately named because you actually get four scrubs in one--apple, raspberry, peach and lemon layered in colorful stripes. I've tried many different body scrubs and Thom Fleming's are fairly unique in a number of ways:

1. It comes in a tube--how brilliant is THAT?!!! Most of the scrubs I've used are packaged in big ol' jars or tubs. A squeeze tube makes it that much easier to get the product out and only use the amount you need.

2. It doesn't separate. I always have to dig into the jar and mix the salt or sugar back up with the oil before I can use it to exfoliate in the shower. It's messy and bothersome--not to mention just a bit unsanitary. The formula of the Thom Fleming scrubs is such that the Dead Sea salts don't separate from the natural oils. So there's no digging in to mix it back up. Did I mention that you can just squeeze it out of a tube?

3. The gentle lather. With most scrubs, I end up using a bodywash first, and then exfoliating with the scrub after. The Rainbow Sorbet Body Scrub worked up into a gentle lather, eliminating that extra step.

4. Not feeling like an oil slick afterwards. I love how soft and moisturized my skin is after using a scrub, but I never did like the residue of oil that remained on my skin. The Thom Fleming scrub left my skin soft without feeling greasy. Just clean and fresh!
The Thom Fleming Skin Care motto is: "When you can't get away...escape." And with these luscious body scrubs it certainly is like a mini spa getaway right in your own shower!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

It Ain't Over 'til It's Over...

And thank god--it's over. The WGA strike that is. Members voted overwhelmingly to end the three month long strike. Welcome back, guys--we missed you!

As for whether or not we can expect the salvation of this television season instead of being bombarded with fill-in crap like American Gladiator, check out this show by show breakdown.

And more good news--no more Carpoolers or Cavemen!

In Bruges

From the trailer, In Bruges looked like a silly crime caper. Two hit men holed up in a picturesque town in Belgium. One whining and kvetching, the other musing over medieval architecture. But the film is much darker and more twisted that that. After a hit gone horribly awry, Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) are sent by boss Harry (Ralph Fiennes) to hide out in a tourist's paradise of canals and churches. Ken takes a liking to the historical and cultural landmarks but Ray is less than impressed saying, "If I'd grown up on a farm and was retarded, Bruges might impress me, but I didn't, so it doesn't."

When Ray complains about Bruges being "a shithole," it's easy to dismiss him as a brooding, moody spoiled prat--until the details of the botched hit are revealed and it would seem Ray's torment has little to do with being forced to sightsee. Farrell does a terrific job of conveying both the loutish boor and the troubled soul trapped inside. Gleeson likewise delivers a nicely nuanced performance as the older, wiser and more culturally inspired of the pair. The story moves a bit slowly, until Ralph Fiennes' Harry makes his appearance. Harry is a strange combination of killer rage and moral integrity and Fiennes plays him with gusto--with a characterization that was reminiscent of Ben Kingsley's Don Logan in Sexy Beast.

Martin McDonagh's well-crafted script and deft direction keep the story moving--by turns comedic, horrific, violent, touching and tragic--the plot veers and twists up rickety bell tower stairs and in and out of alcoves. This is first rate classic dramatic writing--small wonder since McDonagh comes from a playwright background. But with all the stellar performances, my favorite was Bruges itself. The film is as much a travelogue as it is a morality play. I can't help but agree with Harry--it is a fairytale kind of city.