Friday, April 2

Lost Friday - "The Package."

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Season 6 – Episode 10: “The Package.”

Another Lost Friday is upon us. We have much to discuss; the Kentucky Wildcats are not one of these things. I’ve already waited 12 years for another championship, I guess I can wait a couple more.

This last week has been pretty good to me. The weather is finally nice enough for vegetarian barbecues, I’m once again all caught up on The Walking Dead, WrestleMania 26 was fantastic and I’m making inchworm-like progress on my next book. If I’m not living the Good (nerd) Life, I don’t know who is. Furthermore, the nice weather always seems to drench Madison with optimism this time of year. Kids are skateboarding in my driveway, my street constantly smells like steak; things are just fine.

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(Claire Littleton. Castaway. Survivor. Feral as a cat in a hoarder’s basement.)

There still is the issue of my cat piss-soaked couch, however. Yes, Rory is no longer peeing outside of his litter box (I have him firmly seatbelted in), but the couch now has a perma-funk of disinfectant and ammonia radiating from its pores. There is no way to remedy this; the Missus even called a crime-scene cleanup crew for advice, and they pretty much said that if the odor got into the frame of the couch (it did), we were screwed.

She also asked for a price quote on a murder-suicide, “just hypothetically.”

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(Jin’s confused look was all the reason this officer needed to billyclub the tar out of him.)

I took a look at similar-looking couches, but they were mostly in the neighborhood of $750 to a grand. What to do? I mean, I guess we could spring for a new couch, but it seems so wasteful to disregard the current one. It’s in absolutely perfect condition (minus the odor), so there’s this nagging ‘principle of the thing’ argument going on in my head. I guess it’s more of an ‘it’s not fair!’ argument than anything. I seriously wish I could send my cat an invoice and have him figure out how to finance the goddamn thing. I bought $1800 worth of furniture when we moved into our new house, and I just paid that stuff off a few months ago; starting that process over again was not something I was eager to initiate.

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(“One, two, three, FOUR. We’re doing to do it FOUR TIMES, so suck on that, bellhop.”)

This goes without saying, but furniture store salesmen are the worst. They circle the warehouse like wildebeests, work entirely on commission and refuse to leave you alone. Once you’ve successfully escaped one lair, you accidentally stumble into another. The last time I was in a furniture store, I was honest-to-God being pursued by a salesman on crutches. I practically begged him to stop following me around-- that I would come and get him if I had a question. Yet every time I thought I had lost him, I heard the faint click-click-clicking of his crutches on the concrete, and I knew that I had less than 30 seconds to scamper further away so he didn’t find me. I don’t remember looking at a single piece of furniture that day.

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(Taken shortly after moving in; it was a bit sparse.)

As I previously mentioned, I bought a new dining room table and bar when we bought our home. What I don’t think I mentioned is that on delivery day, they brought us the wrong table. A massive, glass-and wrought iron monstrosity that didn’t even fit in the dining room, let alone function for its intended purpose. The dudes in the truck refused to return it to the warehouse until after I sorted it out on the phone, so for an entire week we had to avoid this table at all costs; no soda can rings, no smudges and God help me if I accidentally crashed through it while drunk. It was like having Jesus in your house, and he refused to leave until you were good and humbled. Ridiculous.

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(“Sayid’s really freaking me out, and I’m pure, unbridled evil.”)

What was not ridiculous was this week’s episode of Lost. So much so, that I’m busting out a massive, full-blown, Retro Lost Friday that should satisfy fans new and old. We had intrigue, double-crossing, subtitles, gunshots, tomatoes and bras…are you not entertained?

Let’s get Old School; here comes THE THICK & MEATY!

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WHEN? – Alternate Timeline (2004).
WHO? – Charming Sexbomb Jin & Painfully Gorgeous Sun.
WHERE? – Los Angeles, Where Insecurity And Superficiality Meet And Breed.

At LAX, the Customs Officer is doing what Los Angeles authority figures do best: acting racist.

The $25,000 in Jin’s suitcase is being confiscated until he fills out the correct paperwork. As Jin cannot speak English, the Customs Officer explains this to him in angered, slightly louder English. Jin claims to Sun that while he doesn’t know what the cash is for, he agreed to deliver it with the watch per the orders of Mr. Paik. Due to this airport misunderstanding, Jin has missed the initial meeting at the restaurant, which turns out to be a life-saving mistake, thanks in part to douchebag Airport Security.

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(“And hey, could you at least try not to drink all the malted milk while I’m gone?”)

When Jin and Sun check in at their hotel, we get confirmation that in the Alternate Timeline, they are not married. Like most of us, they’re just getting a little action on the side. Know what I mean, guys? High five. Touchdown. Mad Men.

They’re trying to keep this whole ‘we’re having orgasms together’ secret under wraps, as Mr. Paik would be greatly shamed, and possibly commit an act of revenge so massive and heinous, that it would involve sending Jin halfway around the world to deliver a bounty on his own dumb, rocklike head. Actually, this is exactly what’s happening, as Paik found out about the shenanigans a long time ago. However, Jin and Sun aren’t aware of this yet, so they celebrate their time in LA by being engaging in what I assume to be attractive and gentle intercourse.

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(“Not to be rude or anything, but seriously, how did your head get so square? Did your parents raise you in a milk crate?”)

While basking in the afterglow, Sun thinks that they should run away together, draining the funds from a secret account she has. Just as Jin is about to say ‘ne’ (that’s ‘yes’ in Korean), Keamy shows up, and he’s looking for his bounty. Jin hides in the bathroom, Sun looks at herself in the mirror for about 30 seconds (there must have been some sort of point to that which escapes me) and then lets him in. Sun gives Keamy the watch, but the money is still back at LAX, which upsets Keamy. After a conversation involving two Koreans, two hitmen and Mikhail (there’s got to be a joke buried in there somewhere), they determine that Sun will get some cash from the bank, while Jin will get hog-tied back at the restaurant.

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(“Hey Sun! I was wondering if…woah, never mind.”)

At the bank, Sun finds out that her dad has closed her supposedly secret bank account. Ruh-roh (this is a Scooby-Doo joke, not a crack at how Asians speak English).

At the restaurant, Keamy is collecting cash from both Jin and Sayid at the same time, as he wanted to knock off early for the afternoon and barbecue with his kids. Say what you want about being a hitman, but the downtime and paid leave is worth all the expensive designer suits and murder. Keamy explains to Jin that the $25,000 was a bounty on his own head by Mr. Paik, as he had already found out about the relationship with Sun.

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(Unbeknownst to the castaways, Jack had been puking into the water supply for months.)

Of course, Jin doesn’t understand a word of this, and says ‘thank you,’ which is about the saddest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. That Keamy is a real dick.

When Mikhail and Sun arrive at the restaurant, they see the carnage left by Sayid’s murder spasm. Jin and Mikhail have a struggle, and Mikhail gets two shots off before Jin shoots him twice…in the goddamn eye. When the smoke clears, it appears that Sun has been shot in the abdomen. As Jin picks her up, she confesses to him that she is pregnant. With a bullet baby.

Yet another victim of the Tango De La Muerte.

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(“Did Jack just puke into my bottle?”)

WHEN? – Current Timeline (2007).
WHO? – Locke’s Merry Band Of Oblivious, Evil Death-Marchers.
WHERE? – The Island, Where Kate And Sawyer Met And Bred.

As night-vision glasses spy on Locke’s camp, Locke tells Jin about the names written in the cave. Locke reminds him that only a few names remain, and that ‘Kwon’ is one of them. He doesn’t know if it’s referring to Jin or Sun, but the only way to leave the Island is by rounding up every name that isn’t crossed off and leaving together.

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(In a classy move, Jack hits on Sun while standing directly atop Mr. Eko’s grave.)

We’ve seen this before, and it typically doesn’t turn out well. About 80% of Lost is people in sweat-stained shirts trying to find people to convince them to do something they don’t want to do, but then they do it anyways and wonder if they should have done it or not.

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(“I think that your mouth is a Candidate…for my tongue.”)

Locke’s headed over to check out Widmore’s camp, and he wants Zombie Sayid to hold down the fort. Sayid tells Locke that he feels nothing, which officially makes him the most emo cast member since Jack was a hipster-bearded alcoholic. Maybe when he emerged from that Temple Bath House, Sayid thought he was a member of Sunny Day Real Estate.

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(“I HATE OWL CITY!”)

With Locke gone, Jin’s hitting the road to find Sun. Before he can skedaddle, though, everyone gets hit by poison darts and passes out. Widmore’s team (including Zoe, that woefully unattractive geophysicist that looks like a crazy, homeless Tina Fey) tiptoes in and drags Jin off into the night. She’s a little gross.

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(“I have to show you this spider bite; it’s like a clown nose full of pus.”)

Locke returns to find that Sayid did a terrible job of holding down the fort. They devise a plan to have Sayid swim over and do a little recon on the submarine. Oh, and they want to get Jin back, too. When Locke hits the shore of Hydra Island, Widmore meets up with him and declares war. Locke stays on the opposite side of the pylons to avoid getting exploded, while Sayid looks for any freshly discarded brains.

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(“Wow…bitch just ran into a tree.”)

Back at the camp, Sawyer admits to Kate that he thinks Locke got captured, which is instantly shot down as Locke saunters back into frame. Locke says some cryptic stuff to Sawyer as we scratch our collective noggins. Dude is preparing for war, and major deaths are imminent.

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(“Call me Mr. Flintstone; I just made your bed rock.”)

WHEN? – Current Timeline (2007).
WHO? – Jack’s Merry Band Of Snarky Beach-Combers.
WHERE? – The Island, Where Ilana And Miles Met And Bred (you didn’t know?).

Everyone’s waiting for Richard to return, so they can tell him personally how kick-ass-cuckoo-bananas-awesome his episode was last week. Ilana also remains convinced that he knows what to do next. An angry Sun tromps off to her long-neglected garden as Jack follows suit. He tries to explain to her about the crazy-assed lighthouse that he bludgeoned, but she’s not interested in destiny, candidates or purpose. She screams, “I hate this house!,’ runs up the steps to her room and blasts Justin Bieber until the wee hours of the morning.

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(Kate looks like an absolute angel when she sleeps.)

Locke shows up when Sun is alone, claiming that he has Jin (and he does, kind of), and that he wants to reunite them. Sun, not believing him, hauls ass and runs headlong into a tree; not her most nimble and proud moment, if you ask me. When she comes to, she can still understand English, but no longer speak it.

Oh, brother.

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(When the Smoke Monster sneezes, you’re finished.)

Richard shows back up and tells everyone to pack their shit, because it’s time to scoot. When Jack asks where they’re going, Richard replies that they’re going to destroy the Ajira plane as a means to keep the Man In Black on the Island. Sun says ‘screw that static; I’m not helping with anything.’

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(“Zzzz…evilevilevil…zzzz…killmurderdestroy…”)

That night, Sun and Jack share a conversation as Sun writes in English on a pad of paper. Sun tells Jack that she trusts him and not Locke, to which Jack promises that he will help her find Jin and get them both on the plane. There’s a whole lot of promises hovering around Jin and Sun; most of them will probably go unfulfilled.

I, on the other hand, would fulfill Sun entirely. Or at least try and fail multiple times until I died of five simultaneous heartattacks.

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(Under ObamaCare, this is what your Dentist’s Office will look like.)

WHEN? – Current Timeline (2007).
WHO? – Widmore’s Merry Band Of Armed Submarine Mercenaries.
WHERE? – The Island, Where Zoe Hasn’t Seen An Optometrist Or Wet-Wipe In Months.

Jin wakes up in Room 23, a Dharma Initiative experiment that worked with subliminal messaging (remember when Carl was strapped into it?), but only succeeded in getting people to tolerate Industrial music. Zoe wants Jin’s help in deciphering some old Dharma maps referring to pockets of electromagnetism around the Island (as he helped construct it back in 1977). Jin says he’ll only talk to Widmore, and Zoe obliges, but not without stun-gunning him first, just for the hell of it. She’d make a great cop.

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(This is what an escaped mental patient looks like when they’re trying to blend in with society.)

Widmore’s pissed that things seem to be spiraling out of control, but hushes up when he sees Jin limping about. Widmore apologizes to Jin and introduces himself by giving him a camera that he found in Sun's luggage on the Ajira plane. The camera contains shots of Ji Yeon, Jin and Sun’s daughter. Widmore explains that being reunited with Sun would be short-lived if the Man In Black ever got off the Island, and that everything they knew and loved would cease to be. Widmore has come to prevent this from happening, and he’s apparently brought Desmond along as a bargaining chip, for an as-of-yet unexplainable reason.

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("We just want to build a mini-golf course here; that’s all.")

Meanwhile, Sayid surfaces near the sub as Zoe drags a drugged-up Desmond out through the hatch. He cannot seem to leave this place behind.

Smash Cut; episode over.

As much as this didn’t give away the mythology of ‘Ab Aeterno,’ I still really liked this episode. I feel that it began showing to the fans that the Alternate Timeline stuff is very important when it comes to explaining the end of the series. It’s not a fantasy; it’s vital information. Furthermore, it’s been awhile since we’ve had a full-on Jin & Sun episode; a story that I’ve grown to really appreciate and enjoy.

We’re just getting started; let’s BREAK IT DOWN!

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1 – I have something sort of weird to admit to you. Minutes before it happened, I predicted that Sun was going to take her top off. I’m not psychic, I just have an amazing attention to detail when it comes to breasts.

Permit me to explain.

In the shots leading up to the love scene, Sun was wearing a rather sheer cardigan-esque button-up. When she moved around, it was evident to anyone that looked that she was wearing a straight-up, smooth, white, no-frills brassiere. Okay, fine.

However, when the scene shifted to Sun’s hotel room, the imprint of the bra was different than the scenes before it. It was all creased and glammed out; the cardigan was all bunchy. The no-frills bra had obviously been switched out for something more padded, sexy and camera-ready. I noticed this, put two and two together, and was totally right.

I'm not including screencaps; you're going to have to trust me on this one. And really, why wouldn't you?

I did a decent job of maintaining my composure, but I was mainly excited because I was right in my realization. It was like Bruce Willis realizing that he was a superhero in Unbreakable. This sort of borderline-psychic skill concerning women’s intimate apparel has been fine-tuned over the last 28 years. Much like little things that women notice about men (and other women), this is just one of those things that guys sometimes notice about girls. Fear me, for I notice everything that I should not.

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(In mid-conversation, Locke shoots a guy off in the distance.)

2 – I really enjoyed the Mr. Paik double-cross angle. I honestly did not see that coming. Here we have $25,000 that Jin is unknowingly giving to Keamy to murder him on the spot. Why? Because Paik found out about the relationship. That dude is not to be messed with by any accounts. However, by having Paik close Sun’s personal account, he actually foiled his own plan of having Jin killed. I found that whole thing to be pretty cool. The presence of Mikhail only made things more awesome, because dude loves cats.

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(“Claire, I’m telling you this as a friend. You smell like cat food and butthole.”)

3 – The Man In Black tells Widmore, “A wise man said that a war was coming to the Island.” This man was none other than Widmore himself. It’s unknown if Widmore was quoting someone else or not, but I thought it was a cool little moment between two sincerely evil/bald men.

4 – I’m still a little confused as to why Widmore brought Desmond back to the Island. I mean, I know that Widmore doesn’t like Desmond, but it appears as if he’s using him as some sort of bargaining chip. With who? Who on the Island right now cares about Desmond that much? I’m guessing Penny will get involved somehow, or we’ll get a Desmond-centric episode explaining everything that happened to him up to this point. I certainly hope so; Desmond episodes are always completely insane.

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(“Wow…even my wiener is evil.”)

5 – Zoe tells Widmore that he should have hired a mercenary (instead of a geophysicist) to do her job. The last time Widmore hired a mercenary (Keamy), the plan failed spectacularly. Especially so for Alex. Partially so for Ben.

6 – I find it interesting that while most people look at Kate as the female Sex Symbol of Lost, no main female character has spent more screen time in various stages of undress than Sun, which is still criminally minimal (say that out loud, it’s fun!). The guys? Totally different story. Even Locke has had some shirtless episodes, for Christ’s sake. The multitude of attractive men on Lost is a bench that runs deeper than the 1992 Olympic Basketball Team.

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(“Why don’t I get to take my shirt off this week?”)

7 – It’s amazing how much I’ve been able to tolerate and let slide when it comes to the oogie-boogie nature of Lost, but I was left slapping myself in the forehead when Sun forgot how to speak English. I mean, I understand that this is some sort of terrible foreshadowing (Sun’s in deep trouble), but I still thought it was ridiculous.

Stick with me; we've got some awards to hand out!

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Who Was The Jerk Of The Week?

1. The racist customs guy at LAX.
2. Mr. Paik, for putting a bounty on Jin’s head, and a cheap one at that.
3. The tree that knocked Sun out and made her forget English.
4. Zoe, for refusing to wash her face for any reason.
5. Keamy, for not offering Jin any of his world-famous eggs.

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(“Who has two thumbs and loves eggs? THIS GUY.”)

I’ve come to expect shoddy service at airports, so #1 doesn’t surprise me. Furthermore, Mr. Paik setting up Jin for murder is something we saw coming for awhile now. Also, Keamy not sharing his eggs with a bound-and-gagged guy makes perfect sense, actually. What baffles me to no end, though, is Zoe’s complete disregard for her disheveled, grubby maw. Are all geophysicists this way?

That all being said, ANYTHING that pops up out of nowhere, gives Sun an unwarranted concussion and forces her to communicate by pen and paper is totally unacceptable. Tree That Gave Sun A Concussion, you're a straight-up asshole, and Jerk Of The Week.

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Who Was The MVP Of The Week?

1. Jin, for once again having sex with Sun.
2. Sun, for once again taking her shirt off.
3. Sayid, for actually becoming darker than he already was.
4. The sole surviving tomato in Sun’s long-neglected garden.
5. Desmond, for once again showing up on the Island in a drunken stupor.

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(I get the feeling that Jack’s still drinking a little.)

Jin’s repeated acts of intercourse get a virtual high-five from yours truly, as does Sun’s willingness to show off her tummy. Yet, they both pale in comparison to Sayid, who has taken his already black-as-night character and plunged it off the deep end. Also, the fact that Desmond always seems to pop up completely shitfaced every dozen-or-so episodes is one of Lost’s most wonderful recurring moments.

Yet, I cannot turn my back on hope and perseverance, which is why the lone tomato gets a nod of approval from me. It’s pure, majestic goodness, even if it DOES signal that Sun’s days are numbered. Tender nightshade, you are truly the MVP Of The Week.

Let’s get technical; it’s time for THE NUMBERS!

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4 – This is the first time that we’ve seen Ilana in a change of clothes since arriving on the Island. ‘Bout time.

8 – This is the first time since the Season 3 finale that all credited Main Cast members have appeared in the same episode, a gap of 27 episodes.

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(“I'd be a lot more excited about the sub if it were a sub sandwich.”)

15 – Desmond appears on the Island for the first time since ‘The Economist,’ a gap of 38 episodes.

16 – Mikhail appears for the first time since ‘Through The Looking Glass (Part 2),’ a gap of 41 episodes.

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(“Save…the…eggs…”)

23 – (From Lostpedia): “The main castaways now appear divided by what the audience would have initially perceived as ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ The torturer (Sayid), the criminals (Sawyer, Kate) and the mean husband/corporate footsoldier (Jin) are all with ‘bad’ Locke. The ‘good’ characters (Jack, Hurley, Sun) are in the group guided by Jacob."

42 – (MINOR SPOILER ALERT!) I just found out that the title for the Series Finale will be…'The End.' Perfect.

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(How Desmond made it home from Spring Break is anyone’s guess.)

Well, there you have it. One of the biggest Lost Friday's of all-time for your viewing pleasure. Sound off in the comments section, enjoy your weekend and busy yourself with links to every Lost Friday so far this season. Take care.

Season 6 - Episode 1/2.
Season 6 - Episode 3.
Season 6 - Episode 4.
Season 6 - Episode 5.
Season 6 - Episode 6.
Season 6 - Episode 7.
Season 6 - Episode 8.
Season 6 - Episode 9.
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Wednesday, March 31

Give Me All The Pomade You Have.

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It took me until about the age of 20 before I realized that you could get your hair cut at places that were stationed outside of a mall. As a man that didn’t pay attention or care too much about the quality or well-being of his hairstyle, I had always just gone to the easiest, cheapest place.

For the better part of a decade, this destination was exclusively Cost Cutters.

Going to Cost Cutters deep into in your teen years feels similar to the last few Halloweens you celebrate before you start to become acutely aware of your age. You begin to take notice of the clientele around you; notice the relative age of the stylists versus the customers. Once the realization hits that maybe you should start frequenting a different barber (say, the Master Cuts by the Aqua Massage kiosk, perhaps), it feels akin to being naked in public. All you want to do is disappear.

I remember the last time I ever set foot in a Cost Cutters. I was alone, reading a magazine in the red-and-yellow waiting area (it always looked like a McDonalds in there), when a grown man came shuffling through the door. He looked to be in his mid-to-late 40’s, wiry-thin with glasses and a ragged outfit on.

Hello,” he said to the pre-teen working the counter. “Is Sarah working today?

I’m sorry,” she replied, “But Sarah has the day off.”

Good,” the man muttered back, turning slowly to his left to reveal a massive bald spot that was seemingly gouged out of his scalp by accident. Presumably by Sarah. He took a seat next to me and exhaled deeply.

He was defeated. He didn't care. He was me in ten years.

Without making a scene, I gently set the Store Copy of People magazine on the table and hit the road. It had been a decent enough relationship, but at that moment, I knew that Cost Cutters and I were officially through.

Monday, March 29

CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade 7 Deadline!

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If you are one of the many folks fortunate enough to participate in the CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade 7, remember that today is the deadline to have your Mix in the mail. If you feel that you may be a day or two late, please contact your Mix recipient with a damn good excuse. If you've decided to go deadbeat altogether, I may have to hunt you down and kill you.

Also, any Mixes that are sent to me by the end of March will make you eligible for a contest to win a Free CDP T-Shirt, so don't forget to mail a copy my way. I'll begin reviewing mixes next week, with the winner being announced during Lost Friday on April 9.

Not an incredible amount to report over the last week. Work has been hectic (something it usually is not), home life has been busy in a good way (not a lot of time for writing, unfortunately), and us Wisconsinites are more than ready for the warm weather to show up for good. Following the Mix-Tape reviews of April and wrap-up festivities of Lost Friday in May, I'm looking forward to devoting a large part of the Summer towards my next book. I have a great first draft in the works, but I still want to add about a dozen new essays into the fray. If I stay on schedule, it will give me Autumn to handle all of the editing and compiling, keeping me well on pace for a late 2010 release. I shall remain confident until December 31.

Thanks once again for participating in the CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade 7. From what I've seen and heard so far, the bar has once again been raised due to your creativity and fantastic musical tastes.

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day.