Lost: The End

So here it is.

Finally.

The End.

I’ve been putting off writing this post at least in part because it signifies not only the end of the series, but a significant portion of my blogging activities.

For the better part of the last 5 years (I didn’t start blogging about individual episodes until the Premiere of Season 2) I’ve taken my Thursday (or, as it ended, Tuesday) nights collecting my off-the-cuff results and putting them out there for the world to see, share & comment upon.

It’s been very gratifying and enjoyable, but at times it was also a lot of work.

More often than not, I’d have a long list of comments and theories waiting in my inbox the morning after.

I became an addict of Lostpedia, Dark UFO, FYL, Doc Jensen, the official Lost podcast and several of their alternate reality games.

I got LOST and I loved every minute of it.

Now some folks are using the LOST metaphor to completely justify the series finale, The End. I’m not going to be quite so gung ho, but I did enjoy it very much. It was a fitting EMOTIONAL ending if perhaps not the most INTELLECTUAL ending that many folks anticipated.

First, I’ll dispense with my minor quibbles:

  • Purgatory
  • Using Season 6’s Flash Sideways storyline as a weigh station for our Losties as they moved between their (mostly) Island-based lives and the afterlife was brilliant in one sense. It provided a nice cover/thumbed-nose to all the haters who speculated that the Island itself was Purgatory.

    Well played, Darlton!

    But exactly what relationship did that reality have to the overall story arc of our Losties?

    Some have theorized that each character gave themselves the kind of “life” in the Flash Sideways that they thought they deserved.

    Others (myself included) thought it was another parallel universe/reality/timeline that would eventually merge with the Island storyline.

    Darlton had always said that this wasn’t an alternate/alternative to the Island, but something equally “real”. If that’s the case, if the exposition there served to greater explain our characters, I’m still going to need some time to unravel all the little bits we learned about everyone.

    I’m actually undecided about whether or not we can learn anything new about each character from this Flash Sideways if, ultimately, it was only a rest stop between Life and Death.

    Like I said, a quibble.

  • Eko, Michael, Walt
  • I understand the realities of making a television, I honestly do, but I really wish we’d gotten more closure on the fates of some of the first two season’s BEST characters.

    I could care less about these questions:

    What was Walt’s power?
    Why did Smoky kill Eko?
    Why is Michael stuck on the island as a whisper?

    But I would’ve liked to have known just a little more about those connected to them: Yemi, Vincent the Dog (who looks to have lived out his life with Rose & Bernard [though he wasn’t in the church] & Susan.

    Again, minor nitpicks, but I wanted some of the closure for those outside of the church group.

    We can discuss Ben not entering the church, but I think that’s just an indication that he wasn’t ready (or someone he was waiting on) to move on.

    And I realize that Eko’s exclusion was contractual in nature: they didn’t want to pay him a king’s ransom.

  • ABC’s added confusion
  • I also understand that promo departments have to drive viewership, but I think part of the blame for fan confusion/backlash about the ending stems from the heavily promoted axiom of “answers” as opposed to “closure” or “goodbye” that would have been more in keeping with the timbre of the finale episode and, ultimately, the series overall.

    Phew. What a wreck of a run-on sentence.

    Also, they truly fucked up airing the beach view of the plane crash post episode/over the credits.

    Many mistook this to mean that the Island was not real (contradicting Christian Shephard) and thought everyone died in the initial crash. Not so.

    Others thought this meant Ajira 316 crashed a second time. Also not true.

    ABC had to issue a press release explaining themselves, but they really did marr the ending and mess with the perceptions of the fans, many of whom were looking for some kind of Deus Ex Machina to tie up everything. [Sidebar: the mere fact that episode 19 of Season 1 is named Deus Ex Machina should have tipped you off that maybe they were going to toy with questions & answers a wee bit]

    I think what we got was much more satisfying, gratifying and respectful than Desmond’s Electromagnetism, Faraday’s “Constant” or Mother’s “Light” explanation could ever have been.

    That said, I still want to know where Christian’s body was after the 815 crash. ๐Ÿ˜‰

For those that want closure/exposition/explanation, let me direct you to 2 minutes, 50 seconds of awesome, narrated by nerimon, who closes thusly:

“For me, Lost is a show that isn’t about the story, it’s about how the story is told.”

Amen, brutha.

We had flashbacks, flash forwards, flash sideways, time travel and all things Desmond. We got to see the survivors and their antagonists/protagonists through a huge number of lenses and told to divine (pun intended) our own truth about their natures and ultimate destiny for ourselves.

Brilliant!

On the flipside, there are unanswered questions, which I’m happy to discuss, if that’s the kind of thing you’re in to.

My own take?

I’ll just put out a couple of though-starters:

  • Jacob::Old Testament God; Smokey::Satan; Hurley::Jesus Christ/New Testament God
  • YMMV, and I know there’s enough religion going around on LOST to start our own denomination, but that’s my reading on things.

    Add in Adam & Eve in the cave (actually Mother & Smoky) and maybe the island is some kind of Garden of Eden, minus original sin.

    I don’t know. Makes my head hurt.

    Maybe the Island is just a MacGuffin after all, and I’m OK with that.

    I even thought Mother’s “Light” explanation of things was a bit too squishy for me. Better to leave those Midi-chlorians undefined, IMHO.

  • The symmetry/asymmetry of Lost’s storytelling
  • The first decade of the 21st century gave us both 24 & Lost, two shows that played with the rules/mores or TV storytelling like no other shows had done before.

    While it infuriated new viewers, frustrated current viewers and sometimes confused the Hell out of both camps, the circular, flashing, interwoven storylines are what made LOST great.

    I looked forward every week to reading blogs for Easter Eggs, book & music references and the subtle, hidden connections between each and every character.

    If Jack’s “Live Together, Die Alone” statement was a rallying cry for the Losties, the finale showed us that each one had to “die alone” so they could eventually “live (forever) together”.

    I’d still like to know what happened to Hurley, Ben, Desmond & Penelope after Jack closed his eyes, but that’s a different story.

    Did Sawyer really reform after Ajira 316?
    Did Kate go back to a life of crime (or was she captured) [she survived TWO plane crashes!!!]?
    Did Lapidus get a hero’s welcome?
    Did they start their own “Ajira 6” backstory to explain everything?

    As you can see, my questions aren’t about Dharma (science) or Others (faith) since, to me, those groups were just stand-ins (at times) for various sides to the Island argument.

    Jacob v. Smokey
    Locke v. Jack
    Ben v. Widmore

    All of them explorations of what we saw back in Man of Science, Man of Faith back in Season 2.

    In the end, I got as LOST as the characters, and LOST *in* the characters, as I ever wanted to be.

    No explanation of time travel or the numbers or the light or the hatches would ever be as satisfying as the thought that what mattered, to those people, was spending eternity together based on a few hundred days together (plus three years) on an Island.

    MacGuffin or not, I’m happy that plane crashed and even more happy that the story was told (and eventually ended) with us winding our way back and forth over times and stories to a place where we’d all have to sit back and reflect on what happened.

    I’ll leave you quoting the inimitable Bud Cadell:

    Sorry friends, but the writers didn’t ‘waste’ your time, that community you’re griping to is what they offerred you.

All of this here (and maybe even the show itself) was just my two cents. Agree or disagree, like or dislike, I’ve enjoyed the journey and your company on it.

If you ever lurked or commented or linked, please stop by in the comments and say hello and/or goodbye.

I’ll see you in another life, brutha.

๐Ÿ™‚

Lost: What They Died For

First off, here’s a fan-made trailer for the series finale. Much better than the promo we got at the end of tonight’s episode.

Here are my very brief thoughts on tonight’s episode, What They Died For:

  • Choice
  • Now we hear it straight from the horse’s mouth: Jacob wants the candidates to choose who among them will take his place.

    If Lost is about nothing else, it’s the choices we make as self-defining versus the immutability (destiny) of some outer appearance of the self.

    Good times and I think we’ll see even better choices this Sunday in the finale.

    Which leads to …

  • Secrets & Grudges
  • I loved the fact that Widmore trusted Smoky enough to whisper in his ear almost as much as I really loved Ben shooting him just to get even vis-a-vis Penny & Alex.

    Just when you think all the still-living Losties have somehow learned their lesson and grown personally, Ben goes back to being Ben, at least on the island. His statement to Smoky about “who else do you want me to kill” was almost as chilling as him calling himself Henry Gale that first time. I didn’t trust him then and I don’t trust him know. Love him though!

    Also, interesting to note that even in the revelations of both Smoky and Jacob, there’s still some level of uncertainty. Neither one is omniscient, just very, very powerful. I think there are still some compelling secrets to be revealed and at least one more double-back by one of the main players, likely Desmond.

    Des’ part in the flash sideways is brilliant, by the way. He’s become so much more than that button-pushing, sweaty, Widmore lackey. Happy to see him keep pulling secrets out of his pockets and hopefully that continues on the island in the finale.

  • Regret
  • Jacob seemed to share some regret about “creating” Smoky (Very God and the Devil, don’t you think?

    Widmore seemed at least a little penitent for playing his prior part in the island’s history (not that it stopped Ben from taking his revenge).

    Sawyer regretted the choice (see above) he made about the bomb that ultimately led to Sayid’s death.

  • Duty
  • One of the most under-referenced themes of the show (or maybe I’m just tone-deaf) is folks doing things “for the island”.

    I think a lot of those impulses come from a sense of duty and, some might put it, purpose.

    Good to see Jack drink from the well of knowledge (Adam eating the apple?) and “be like Jacob” but also fun to see Ben accept his role.

    Off island, I really dig Desmond getting the band back together and Hurley as one of the major driving forces. Weird to think that flash sideways Hurley would accept leadership more than island Hurley. Would’ve bet on the other way around. Good on ya, writers.

Other tiny bits:

Good to see Ana Lucia, but now I’m curious how Sawyer gets roped in. Maybe he goes to the concert with Miles after all.

Also happy to see Mira Furlan (Danielle) and Ben get domestic.

Here’s some other random links:

On Lost & Creativity. A great read.

I think I’ll need this t-shirt once I’ve seen the series finale this weekend.

Or maybe I’ll bid on a prop in this auction.

You should also check out The Muppets visiting the production offices of Lost, especially The Swedish Chef. This is “Mostly Muppet” after all. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Until Sunday!

Lost: Ab Aeterno

Tonight’s episode of Lost, Ab Aeterno, was unique for this season in a couple of ways: first, it was told in the familiar “flashback” style (being almost completely comprised of one, long flashback) and it featured Richard Alpert, who hasn’t been featured previously.

A little Latin lesson to begin: Ab Aeterno is “from the eternal” or, literally, “from the everlasting” or “from eternity”.

What I saw:

  • Guyliner
  • In 1867? Seriously, Lost?

  • Hell?
  • I don’t buy that the island is Hell, just as Purgatory has been debunked. Jacob dunked Richard in the water repeatedly to prove he was still alive and, save for Locke & Sayid, no one is dead (or undead).

  • Magnus Hanso
  • Why did the prisoners need to speak English?
    Were they really headed to the New World?
    Was the shipwreck the event that spurred the creation of the Dharma Initiative or were the seeds of that organization planted before The Black Rock sailed?
    Who else feels vindicated in seeing Richard on The Black Rock?

What I think:

  • The Island as Garden of Eden
  • That’s not exactly right, but Jacob as some mixture of Old & New Testament God and The Man in Black as (obviously) The Devil makes a ton of sense.

    The title of the episode also speaks to a place that is out of time or that has existed since before time.

    There’s death on The Island, so we have Original Sin and a state of being after the Fall, but it’s apt enough.

    Maybe the better analogy is a bottle universe or a bottle city (Supergirl fans, unite!)

  • End Game/Oz
  • I’m more convinced than ever that our characters eventually end up in the Flash Sideways. I think that the “reset” button worked in one sense but the consequences of that action – getting out of the Yin/Yang “game” between Jacob & The Man in Black has its consequences.

    I think that, eventually, folks will have one last shot at choosing their fate (free will) before the realities synch up anyway (destiny).

    Clear as mud? Good!

I had some other thoughts, but I’ve forgotten them (and my notes suck).

Curious to hear what you think in the comments.

Until next Tuesday!

Dell Mini 9 Unboxing and Review

So I got my much-anticipated Dell Mini 9 (Inspiron 910) last Friday (they’re on sale until early tomorrow morning, btw) and I’ve saved up a couple of days worth of testing notes to share. The first half of the post is unbox pr0n, so skip down if you don’t want to see the reveal.

FedEx box:
There's a Dell Mini 9 in there!

Creamy Dell center:
Opening the box

Holding it in my arms:
Holding the computer for the first time

Box laid bare:
Dell Mini 9 contents

I was struck by the fact that I got install/recovery CDs despite the lack of any kind of optical drive on the computer.

Funny enough, there’s actually burn/rip software included with the OS (Ubuntu 8.04 – Hardy Heron) if you wanted to hook up such a device, but why would you want to?

Me, I’m planning on using it for light blogging & social networking, some photo uploads (but not full-on picture management though it came with F-Spot and The Gimp), Skype and chat/IM.

The Review:

If you’ve skipped down this far to avoid the pictures (or maybe you like ruining Christmas morning and the end of mystery novels?) here’s the skinny: I love this machine.

For me, I wasn’t going to settle for a plastic computer, no matter how cheap it got. That meant I couldn’t get an ASUS Eee PC from Target or go the route of my mother-in-law and get an Acer Aspire One from Costco.

I knew I still wanted it to be cheap, so I was willing to accept/try Linux and avoid the Windows tax. Thus far Ubuntu has been as inviting and familiar as Windows is.

That came out wrong.

What I meant to say is that, for a Windows user, Ubuntu doesn’t seem foreign or “hard”. It just works and Dell’s launcher application that runs on startup is a really easy interface to jumping right in and “doing” something on the Dell Mini 9.

I’m running the standard Ubuntu interface now, which seems just as easy if you can understand that the taskbar is at the top (like a Mac) as opposed to the bottom.

If you want to see a video of the OS in action, DellVlog has it. You can also see the features of Ubuntu on their official site.

But I’m not here to talk about Ubuntu since there are plenty of other places that recap all the features, tools & community better.

I want to talk about the hardware – the netbook itself, the Dell Mini 9 – and how much fun I’ve had with it so far.

The good (for me):

  • It’s metal and it feels like a real piece of computing hardware; something a grown-up would use.
  • The trackpad is also metal (and part of the solid structure of the clamshell) and it isn’t overly sensitive.
  • The Dell name – at least for me – still carries a ton of value/weight. All my PCs (both work and home) have been Dells and I know their service and support systems.
  • Sound. It certainly wasn’t a big concern that I’d be listening to a ton of music or video, but the placement and power of the speakers really stands out.

The bad (for me):

  • It gets really hot. A fact exacerbated by the all-metal construction. But hey, no moving parts or fans, so at least it isn’t loud, in fact it’s silent.
  • The keyboard is cramped around the edges. Wanna type poetry like e e cummings – all lower case and munged together – you’re in luck! Wanna use the shift key (especially on the right side) or type any kind of quotation (single or double)? You’re gonna spend some time learning the layout and hunting/pecking for a while.
  • I’m not one to complain about aesthetics too much – and I like how shiny/sleek the inner and outer clamshell surfaces are – but the screen really needs an anti-glare coating. Outside on a sunny, Spring Friday it was almost completely unreadable. Indoors and at all the angles I’ve used, it’s fine.

The indifferent:

  • Battery life seems fine. Right around 3.5 to 4 hours on a full charge and using WiFi the whole time.
  • Dell’s webcam/video conferencing software. I installed Skype.

Here are some pretty pictures for making it this far:

My new Facebook profile picture, courtesy of cheese:

My new Facebook profile pic

My Desktop wallpaper, also courtesy of cheese:

The Family

Finally, a list of interesting/useful links related to this post:

Thanks for reading. If you’ve got a netbook or are in the market for one, leave a comment or feel free to ask a question.

Real Ale Review: Hook Norton Old Hooky

In the place of a true blow-by-blow recap of the events of the 360i Digital Media Summit – captivating as that would be – I’m blogging about beer instead. This comes as a huge shock to those who know me, I’m sure.

I’m doing so for two reasons:

  1. Beer is the best blogging topic around. Maybe the only one.
  2. Good beer and a post-conference celebration & discussion are often the key factors in making real connections, learning applicable information and getting things done.

The place: (the second bar we frequented) d.b.a. on the lower east side. [Google Maps streetview for the voyeuristic]

As an added bonus the doorman/bouncer looked like a cross between Roger Daltrey (his current age but his 70’s hairdo) and a pirate. He even had a non-distinct British accent and rings the size of Buicks. Maybe even leather pantaloons of some type (Pants? Chaps? An apron?).

Good place. Good times.

Any place that has a chalkboard for all the rotating beer, wine & spirits AND cask ale is a keeper. Visit. Often.

The beer: Hook Norton Old Hooky [RateBeer reviews of the bottled varietal], a “real” cask ale (pumped, no less).

The verdict: Fruity (mine was almost like fresh grapes), not very carbonated (to be expected from a cask ale) and very refreshing. Mild hop & malt with a good golden color.

The conversation: a little personal, a little professional, a little perfunctory. Still, the connections were made for better collaboration and increased efficiency going forward.

The next steps:

  1. Find a bar here in Atlanta doing cask ales.
  2. Manuel’s maybe?

  3. Find Old Hooky in bottles in Georgia.
  4. Probably not possible.

  5. Drink more good beer.
  6. And blog about it.

Full 360i Digital Media Summit post coming perhaps never.

Monday!