Aug 24 2009

The Show That Stole My Life

A few days ago I made a very very bad mistake. I watched the pilot episode of Lost. The first four seasons of Lost were added to Hulu a couple weeks ago and I originally stayed away from them because I am not normally a fan of TV shows that aren’t comedy. However it consistently hovered in about the #4 spot on the Popular Shows list and one day finding myself with nothing else that interested me in the slightest I watched the pilot episode part one. This was a very bad mistake. It was a mistake because then I had to watch part two, then the third episode, then the fourth, then the fifth, and so on. Now, not five days from when I started, I’m about 2/3 of the way through season 2, close to 30 hours of TV, and I can’t stop. I think one of the things that makes Lost great is its large cast. An episode generally focuses on a subset of the main characters, so you don’t get bored with them because they’re not featured in every episode. The other thing that they do very well is the mythology/supernatural element. It works solely because of their isolation. Many shows, for instance, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, try to mix a supernatural element with everyday society. Buffy does it better than most but even then I still often find myself jarred from a plot line by the thought that people would probably notice what’s going on. With the cast of Lost stranded on an undiscovered island there are no people around to notice. The other reason the supernatural element works is because it’s surrounded with mystery. If any explanations were to be provided it might become a little bit harder to believe but because neither you nor any of the islanders knows what’s going on there’s the possibility of a logical explanation to all of it. It’s something they’ll have to be careful with when wrapping up the show at the end of season six. The thing that keeps me coming back is the way they very slowly reveal little bits of the mystery. It does an excellent job of making me want, or rather need, to know what’s going on, and dangling it out in front of me like a carrot in front of a donkey. There are however a couple things that annoy me about Lost. In every episode they choose a character to do flashbacks to their previous life which of course some how relate to what’s happening on the island and are placed as if they’re memories triggered by an event. I’ve gotten pretty good at predicting them, the most common lead in is a character being asked something after which they stand there with a stupid expression on their face for a few seconds before it cuts away to the memory. The character background stories are normally pretty predictable, and I’m never anywhere near as interested in what happened to them before as what’s happening to them now so when they place one of these flashbacks in the middle of a pivotal moment I get a little annoyed. Sometimes it feels like Lost could function perfectly well as a 22 minute show of just them on the island instead of a 44 minute show with flashbacks and constant “previously on Lost” reminders which can sneak up on you in the middle of an episode and feel placed there just to take up time. The other thing that gets to me a little is that there’s supposed to be 40 other people on the island with them but you almost never see any of them, not even in the background. It’s obvious that in a situation like this people would get together every now and then as one group to make decisions, but I’ve never seen more than 20 people in a shot. The main main character Jack tends to make all the big decisions and then it seems like the verdicts are just supposed to be spread around by word of mouth. The creators of Lost seem to realize this too and occasionally poke fun at it by having all the main characters never be able to remember any of the extras’ names, specifically one guy named Steve who everyone calls Scott who was an extra that died way at the beginning. The only other thing that annoys me is that the picture Hulu put on the Lost main page features all of the main characters standing together. It does not however feature ALL of the main characters, only the ones still alive, presumably at the end of season five, a point I have not yet reached. So I recommend not looking too closely at that if you go to Hulu to watch and don’t want to know of such things. At this point it would appear that I’ve written more bad than good about Lost but I don’t feel that the bad in any way outweighs the good, I just have more fun and find it easier to complain about things than to praise them. On the whole Lost is pretty awesome, if it wasn’t I wouldn’t be unable to stop watching.

Aug 24 2009

The Delivery, Part One

So as promised here is my weekly update, and I think you’re in for a treat. This is part one of my story The Delivery, and I do plan to follow up with a part two, possibly a part three, and I plan to not take a long time about them either because I’m excited about this one. This story has it all: humor, action, suspense, possibly romance. Don’t hold me to any of that though because I’m actually not to sure where I’m going with this. All I know is that it’s going to be awesome.

The Delivery

The night was pitch black, the kind of darkness you find only in tar pitch, and Dick Cheney’s soul. There was no moon, and had it been in the sky it would have made little difference as a thick layer of clouds hung in the air, blocking out what would otherwise have been a spectacularly starry night. It was the kind of night where it felt like if you were to turn your back the darkness might reach out and swallow you, thus Damien stood with his back to the wall under the light next to the garage door, watching the road at the end of the driveway. Damien was a man in his early thirties, with long brown hair and an unshaven face. He was dressed in jeans and a plain white T-shirt, which did little to ward off the surrounding darkness, and looked dingy under the dim yellow light bulb above him, which isn’t to say that it wasn’t dingy in the first place. The house he leaned against was a small bungalow, a similar color to that of his T-shirt under the light, and just as dingy. Damien stood tapping his foot in the pavement and lightly slapping his hands against his thighs, keeping the rhythm to a song, or at least a fracture of one, that was stuck in his head. The tension was getting to him. He stopped tapping when a pair of headlights appeared down the road, but the car drove past and he resumed his nervous habit.

Despite the darkness it was hot, and humid. The warm heavy air surrounded Damien in the same way the darkness did, yet the darkness at least had the decency to hover outside the boundary of light provided by the dim yellow bulb. The moisture on his skin was more from precipitation than from sweat. Damien thought back to the summers of his childhood when every year his mother would take him to Arizona for six weeks to visit her family. The desert heat was of a higher degree, but was of the kind that beat on your back rather than clinging to your skin as was the tendency with this eastern humidity. And it went away at night. Damien had only his mother growing up, had never known his true father, as by the time he was born his mother had taken up with someone else who didn’t last long either. So it had been just him and his mother, living in a trailer park which pretty much made up the entire town of Slacksville, South Dakota. Looking back through the years Damien came to the conclusion that life had not been kind to him. But that was okay, because now he had a chance to return the favor.

He stopped tapping once again as another pair of headlights appeared at the end of the road. He watched intently as the car made its way down the road towards him, looking for any sign of it slowing down as it neared the driveway. He was disappointed when as it neared it did not appear to slow, but then at the last moment it suddenly braked and made the sharp turn into the driveway. The tires screeched a little on the pavement, and Damien flinched, the last thing they needed right now was the attention of the neighbors. The headlights now faced him and he had to squint as the driver had not yet bothered to lower the high intensity beams. The car stopped just in front of him, and with the lights still facing him Damien was unable to see who or what was in the car. The driver killed the engine and switched off the headlights. For Damien, whose eyes had begun to adjust to the glare, it was if all the light in the world had gone out, leaving him enclosed in a cloak of darkness.

Smart people may already be able to figure out my main character’s true identity, figuratively that is.

Aug 16 2009


The title of this post is ironic because the weather around here this summer has been anything but dry. A side note: I really hate coming up with titles. Sometimes I’ll have a great idea for something to write about, open up a new post page and then stare at the title box for a half hour trying to think of something by which point I forget all the clever witty lines that I had prepared for the post and am left with nothing but a general idea which is pretty much square one. Anyway, this post is meant to address the lack of posts in recent months. I want to say that I’ve been busy, but I haven’t, I’ve really just been lazy. As I predicted back in January with my post “Winter” and as I commented on in the post before the one before this one this summer has not been the greatest and as I also said before it’s hard to write when you’re feeling depressed. A big part of the problem is the AP summer work I have this year. Every time I think about updating I think about AP work and how I really should be working on that instead, but then because I really don’t want to do my AP summer work I go back to watching whatever on Hulu. The other day I even resorted to watching Family Guy. Again a side note so I may briefly explain my problem with Family Guy: I admit, I do find many of the pop culture references funny, but they’re hardly ever connected to the plot of an episode, and the character development is shameful. On The Simpsons, the spiritual predecessor to Family Guy, I care about the characters. Homer, although often dumb, is a believable and likable character, as are the rest of Simpson family, and as a result I care about what happens to them in an episode. However on Family Guy the characters are unrealistic and generally unpleasant people and I would not the least bit care if an episode plot involved them all being run over by a truck. But again I digress. I’m going to try to get myself back onto an at least one post per week schedule. I also have some good story ideas that I’ve been delaying getting to work on, so I’ll try to get on with those.