Thursday, January 31, 2008

"The Beginning of the End"

Season 4 of LOST has officially begun. Hooray!

Although I didn't love this episode, I did like it a whole lot and thought that parts of this new phase of the story were very intriguing. I also don't really mind the new time slot. I mean tomorrow is Friday after all and that is great with me. LOST will be a nice appetizer for the upcoming weekend (at least for the next seven weeks). So without further ado...


Let's start with what I liked about this episode:

1) Flash Forward - I really liked the new twist that was introduced in last season's finale and I am glad they came out of the box this season with another flash forward. It seems to have reinvigorated what was getting a little predictable. I mean do we really need an episode to explain what Jack's tattoos mean? On top of that we are given more tidbits about who made it off the island. According to Hurley, there were only six so I expect to learn the identities of the three others in the coming weeks. I love the intriguing wrinkle that this device adds to the show. It is so interesting to see what will become of the these characters in the future and to learn what drove them to it.

2) Hurley - He really is the heart and soul of the show and nothing exemplified it more tonight than his reaction to Charlie's death. The way he broke the news to Claire was just heartbreaking. In a way it's good to know that Hurley won't be dying on the island, because to kill him would be to kill LOST.

3) The Lie - Jack eluded to it in his conversation with Kate in the closing minutes of last year's finale and Hurley discussed it with Jack during his visit to the mental institution in tonight's episode. Hurley has already come to the realization that he can't hide it anymore and we are lead to believe that this is shortly after the Oceanic Six returned to civilization. So what happened to Jack in the interim that caused him to realize that he should return to the island? And why doesn't Kate feel the same way?

3a) Matthew Abbadon - The first new character of Season 4 and someone who seems to know about The Lie. We only see him for a few moments, but his time on screen made me very uneasy. I can only wonder at what he knows and whether he is benevolent or malevolent.

4) Charlie - It was a pleasant surprise to see Charlie again even if it was only Hurley's conscience. I was one of the many who tired of Charlie's character during Season 2 but was saddened by his heroic death in Season 3. Unfortunately we might not see him again for a long time (if ever) but it was a nice moment when he appeared to Hurley.

5) Jacob? - Hurley stumbled on to what appeared to be Jacob's cabin and when he peered through the window, the figure he saw in the rocking chair looked like the same Christian Shepard that we just saw in "So It Begins" complete with the dress suit and white sneakers. So is Christian really Jacob? It's not who Locke saw when he first glimpsed the "man behind the curtain," but certainly Jacob could take many forms. But why would Hurley see Christian Shepard, a man he presumably has never seen before? And who else was in the cabin? Who's eye scared the crap out of Hurley?

6) Ben - For a guy who keeps getting his ass kicked, his sarcasm hasn't yet been beaten into submission. He had some great lines tonight and I just love his attitude towards Jack. The tension is so think, you could not only cut it with a knife, you could spread it on a nice baguette with a little brie cheese and just go to town.

So why didn't I love this episode? There are only a couple of things:

1) Pacing - I know that it was only the first episode but in a season of eight (or even sixteen for that matter) it seemed to be a little sluggish considering we all know what's been going on and don't need a lot of recapping or exposition to catch us up. The producers and actors have been saying that this season is very fast paced, and I'm sure it will be compared to previous seasons, but why not just hit the ground running?

2) Marketing - Why does ABC continue to insult fans with disingenuous marketing? For weeks this has been billed as a two-hour premier when it actuality it was a one-hour clip show followed by a one-hour premier. Call a spade a spade or give the writers what they want. Just quit toying with out emotions, get out of the way and let the producers finish the season!

All in all, a really good episode that I like more and more as I reflect upon it. I am eager to see what will happen now that "rescue" has arrived and what the "rescuers'" motivation truly is.

Find Oceanic Flight 815: The Conclusion

The second annual LOST alternate reality game concluded this afternoon in anticipation of tonight's Season 4 premier. As was to be expected, there were no shocking developments unlike the last Missing Piece, "So It Begins," released on Monday. I'll be back in a few hours to give my thoughts on "The Beginning of the End."


The objective of the main character in the game has been to find out what happened to Oceanic Flight 815. He ended up joining a salvage team looking for the Black Rock and with the help of some anonymous emails, he was able to discover the "wreckage" of Oceanic Flight 815. Of course this is the wreckage that Naomi referred to towards the end of Season 3. No real big surprises, but it did give me a little something LOST related to do every day in the month leading up to the premier of Season 4. Lostpedia has all the details of the game if you just want the Cliff's Notes version.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Another Home Brew

I will finally be sampling my first batch of home brew this weekend as a bit of a Mardi Gras treat. The Continental Light Ale has been aging for nearly three weeks and it should be ready to drink. In the spirit of discovery, I started brewing my second batch tonight and chose to make a Nut Brown Ale. The process was mostly the same although the first step called for steeping the grains in the hot water for thirty minutes prior to adding the malts, sugar and hops. It was a lot like brewing a large pot of tea. The grains were placed in a cheese cloth sack so that they wouldn't escape into the water and after thirty minutes, were removed from the pot and discarded. The resultant mixture was a dark brown liquid that smelled wonderful before anything else was added. As the name implies, this should be a darker, more flavorful beer. I'm looking forward to seeing how this one smells once the fermentation begins in a day or so.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

LOST: Missing Pieces

Dark UFO has put together a really nice interface collecting all thirteen of the LOST: Missing Pieces for your viewing pleasure. Catch up on them all before Thursday!

UPDATE: Dark UFO's player appears to have crapped out. You can still watch all of the missing pieces here.

Monday, January 28, 2008

LOST: Missing Pieces 13: "So It Begins"

As many LOST fans know, the missing pieces have been released on Verizon phones and then a week later on the ABC website. I am not into spoilers but I do not believe in engaging in reading or watching spoilers, but I also feel that once something has been officially released, even if in a limited form, I can view it and not feel like anything has been spoiled. This is the case for the final missing piece. It was released today on Verizon and for me to feel completely ready for the Season 4 premier on Thursday night, I want myself, not to mention any readers of this blog, to be completely informed going into the premier. I would not wait until next Monday to post the final missing piece, so courtesy of Dark UFO, here is the final missing piece...and it is mindblowingly awesome!!!!!


I have thought since midway through Season 2 that Christian Shepard was very important to the show. My friend Luke and I have discussed this topic on several occasions and one of the most notable points is that Christian appears in more flashbacks that any other non-island character. He has had connections and cross-overs with at least four main characters. So is he alive? The producers have stated over and over that once you die in LOST, you are dead. You can come back in flashbacks, but you are dead in the present day. Not to mention that Christian Shepard looked pretty dead in the morgue in Sydney.

So how do you explain this missing piece? It is a generally accepted theory that the smoke monster can take the shape of things from people's pasts i.e. Kate's horse, Sayid's cat, Mr. Eko's brother, Ben's mother...and Jack's father. So is this the smoke monster in the form of Jack's dad? Perhaps, but that doesn't explain the fact that when Jack found his father's coffin it was empty. Perhaps Christian's body was taken by the monster for data collection or maybe Christian was actually reanimated. I certainly can't pretend to know what this all means. All I know for sure is that I haven't felt this way since those final moments of the Season 3 finale. Say what you will about filler episodes and slowly developing storylines, but the creators of LOST have a way of keeping me interested in the overall grand scheme.

UPDATE: The clip I posted has been removed from YouTube, but it is now available on Click here for "So It Begins."

LOST: Missing Pieces 12: "The Envelope"

The penultimate missing piece has been released online and it is the most interesting in a while. We return to the scene in Juliet's house the day of the crash of Oceanic Flight 815 and we see the events that transpired between when Ameila arrived and the rest of the book club arrived. So apparently Ben does have feelings for Juliet as Tom eluded to Jack during Ben's spinal surgery. More importantly, Juliet was prepared to show Ben's X-ray to Amelia. Why would she do this? Is it because she wanted to let someone else know that their leader had cancer even though no one on the island gets sick? Of course, in true LOST fashion, they are interrupted before Juliet can spill the beans.

Click here for "The Envelope."

In other LOST news, both Jorge Garcia and Michael Emerson have recently stated in interviews that they believe the full sixteen-episode season can be salvaged if the writers strike is resolved in the next few weeks. Apparently, there is a date sometime in February that is the "point of no return." I for one am very excited about the prospect of eight new episodes, but I would be ecstatic if the full sixteen episode season could be completed as planned.

Monday, January 21, 2008

LOST Missing Pieces 11: "Jin Has A Temper-Tantrum On The Golf Course"

This weeks missing piece finds Jin doing his best Happy Gilmore impression while Hurley and Michael watch. Not really what I'd call a very eventful missing piece but there are only a couple more to go before we get eight full length episodes!

Click here for "Jin Has A Temper-Tantrum On The Golf Course."

LOST Missing Pieces 10: "Jack Meet Ethan. Ethan? Jack."

This missing piece was released last Monday, but I was pretty much incommunicado as Roxanne and I were on our belated honeymoon in Hawai'i, but more on that later.

In this episode, we see Jack and Ethan interacting shortly after the crash but before Claire is kidnapped. So did Ethan really find a suitcase full of medications in the jungle? I think not. This might just be another hint at how the Others were trying to help keep the Losties alive while investigating them.

Click here for "Jack Meet Ethan. Ethan? Jack."

In other LOST related news, Roxanne and I spent our honeymoon in Hawai'i, more specifically on the island of O'ahu, where most of the filming of LOST takes place. In fact we spent a full day with a tour guide seeing many shooting locations for the show all around the island. We also found a few on our own on other days. Stay tuned to this blog for pictures and videos from our LOST adventures around O'ahu!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Why The WGA Strike Must Go On

"Sadly, it feels like the nerdiest, ugliest, meanest kids in high school are trying to cancel the prom. But NBC wants to try to keep that prom alive." -- NBC entertainment co-chief Ben Silverman when asked about the Golden Globes being canceled

Wake up Hollywood! You've got nothing without the writers! You can't pretend like they are less important than your stupid, self-congratulatory love-fests you call award shows. Most people in Hollywood would be waiters without the people that write the scripts for movies and TV. I would really like to see a full sixteen episodes of LOST this season as well as new episodes of The Office, but until these idiots who wish they were part of the creative process realized that the writers are the ones that get a project started, I would rather no new TV at all.

Monday, January 07, 2008

LOST: Missing Pieces 9: "Tropical Depression"

Another week, another missing piece featuring Dr. Artz and Michael. In this week's installment we don't learn much of consequence but rather get the story of why Dr. Artz was on Oceanic Flight 815. And we get to see him catch the Medusa Spider that ultimately resulted in the deaths of Nikki and Paulo.

Click here for "Tropical Depression."

In other LOST news, Week 2 of the Find 815 alternate reality game kicks off in a little more than an hour. We are down to 24 days until "The Beginning of the End," the premiere episode of Season 4 of LOST, and there seems to be no end in sight for the writers strike. I think that we are nearing the point of no return to salvage what's left of this television season. The Screen Actors Guild and Directors Guild contracts come up for renewal this summer and they are likely to leverage the networks and studios to give in to the WGA demands or else themselves go on strike. The sad part is that the networks and studio heads deem the actors and directors somehow more important than the writers, so will likely acquiesce at that time. The writers deserve more respect than that. It's just sad really.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Home Brew Bottling

I bottled my beer today and it looked, smelled and tasted great. I only tried a small taste because it is not aged yet and it really won't have it's full flavor for another three weeks. I added some additional sugars before bottling so that a little fermentation will take place in the sealed bottles so that it will have the necessary carbonation content when it is ready for drinking.

My completed beer filled twenty-seven 22-oz. bottles for a total of about four gallons of beer. The rest of the volume from the fermenter was sludge from the solid ingredients that precipitated to the bottom during the fermentation and settling phase. I'll be storing the bottles in a dark closet for the next three weeks. Just before Mardi Gras, Roxanne and I will open a few to taste it and come up with a good name. So if you're around for Mardi Gras, you might just get to sample our first home brew.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Find Oceanic Airlines Flight 815

A new alternate reality internet-based game for LOST was launched this week leading up to the rapidly approaching new season. Many people were wondering if such a game would be introduced after The LOST Experience that filled out the time between Seasons 2 and 3. I didn't get on board that game until it was well underway, and by the time I did get involved it had already become very tedious without a payoff directly related to the show. The game was an attempt to give fans something to do during the long hiatus of the show, but not reveal pertinent information to those who were unable or unwilling to participate.

This new game is likely to have a similar outcome, but since it will only last for this final month leading up to the beginning of Season 4, it will probably not have enough time for players to lose interest. And although it probably won't reveal any major details about Season 4, it might just give those who play a little preview.

The game launched with advertising earlier this week announcing that Oceanic Airlines would be resuming flights. The first clue came from The rest of the game appears to be happening at Clues and activities will be released daily from Monday through Friday each week until January 31 when the game will conclude a few hours before the Season 4 premiere. Although the first week is over, it's not too late to catch up. You can even register so that your progress can be saved.

In other LOST news, Matthew Fox did an interview with Entertainment Weekly discussing the upcoming season and some of his other projects. There are a few tidbits, but no real information revealed. Still it is an interesting read and helped further my anticipation of Season 4.

Home Brew Days 5, 6 & 7

The beer finished fermenting three days ago and has been settling since then. All that's left now is to start the bottling process in the morning!

I stopped by the beer store today to get some empty bottles and some pointers for this and future batches. By this time tomorrow, my first batch of beer will be in the aging part of the process.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Home Brew Day 4

Things are progressing on schedule as far as I can tell. This evening, it appears that fermentation has stopped as the foam has almost completely subsided and the air escaping from the airlock is almost imperceptible.

The other noticeable change is again in the color. More sediment has settled onto the bottom of the ferementer and the color of the brew has gotten lighter. According to the instructions, the brew will continue to settle for the next three to four days and then it will be ready to be bottled and aged!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Home Brew Days 2 & 3

As I mentioned on my first day of my home brewing project, fermenting began within a few hours of finishing the preparations for my beer. On the morning of the second day, fermentation was going strong. The yeast was creating a lot of gas bubbles and foam in the fermenter and bubbles were escaping from the airlock every one to two seconds.

The appearance hasn't changed too much today, although I have noticed more sediment at the bottom of the fermenter and that the beer is taking on a slightly lighter color. The tell-tale sign that things are going well though is that there is a definite beer smell being released from the airlock as the fermentation gases are released. According to the instructions, fermentation should be wrapping up in the next day or two and then after the beer settles, it will be ready for bottling!

LOST: Missing Pieces 8: "Buried Secrets"

I'm a little late posting about the newest Missing Piece because of the new years holiday. The new year brings us to a mere month until Season 4 of LOST! In this latest installment, we get more Michael and fuel to the fire for the idea that Michael may be the father of Sun's baby. Or it could just be another LOST smokescreen. Only time will tell...

Click here for "Buried Secrets."