Archive for May, 2007

Lost Purges The Payroll

Friday, May 25th, 2007

Couple days late in tapping my keyboard about the season finale of Lost in large part because of the vast number of characters made dead. I almost can’t count that high. And if the episode’s still sitting on your DVR or VCR tape unwatched, move along because I gotta break down the massive carnage.

Let’s see. By far the greatest bulk of deceased stems from 10 of “the others” who took the bait in invading the survivors’ boobytrapped and deserted beachfront camp. Seven of ’em were dynamited at the outset of the attack and then later the other three were dispatched via a broken neck from a patented Sayid leg lock; a coldblooded bullet from Sawyer and the front end of a VW bus being piloted at speed by Hurley.

After that and in no real order I remember Locke (suffering little the effects of being gutshot at the end of the previous episode by Ben) showing up to throw a hunting knife with deadly accuracy into the back of “rescuer” Naomi (so long, we hardly knew ya); then there was the good chick/bad chick duo in the underwater station, both shot by the mysterious one-eyed dude on orders from Ben but who was then surprised and dispatched by Desmond armed with a crossbow.

But actually old cyclops wasn’t, and lived to die later (or did he?) pulling the pin on a grenade that sealed Charlie’s fate and sent him to Davey Jones’ locker (or did it?).

Did I forget anyone? Well, Jack did beat the tar out of Ben but didn’t kill him so… no. I think the final deathtoll from Wednesday’s show stands at 15. Heck of a bodycount!

Couple odd ends: Walt shows up to rally and rise Locke from where Ben left him to die. I don’t think we’ve seen the kid since the second season and though only 90 or so days have passed for the survivors of Oceanic Flight No. 815, on this side of the TV screen it’s been a couple/three years, the latter half of which is plenty of time for a prepubescent actor to have enough of a growth spurt to make him look hardly like the Walt we remember. Kinda jarring.

And in regards to the writers shuffling Charlie off, I’m troubled by what I see as a bad decision not to have him save himself… especially when the scribes gave him the opportunity to do so. When the not dead one-eyed guy surprisingly appears outside the underwater station porthole window as Charlie’s communicating with the “rescue” boat and pulls the pin on the grenade, Charlie — now armed with a new crucial bit of information to pass on to Desmond — has plenty of time to bolt out of the chamber to where Desmond is and pull the watertight door shut behind him before the explosion. But instead he remains in there and shuts the door between him and Desmond. When the boom breaks the window’s glass and water starts flooding into the now sealed room, he pulls out a pen and writes that aforementioned news nugget on his palm that he then places up against the watertight door’s window for Desmond to read. Desmond makes out the “Not Penny’s Boat” scrawled there and then Charlie drowns.

WTF? Why not just go to Desmond close the door, contain the water and tell him? Or hell, just tell him and then get the hell outta there back up to the ocean’s surface.

I suppose one could argue that as Desmond had foretold it was Charlie’s fate to die so that his beloved Claire and her child might live, and I’m fine with Charlie fulfilling that and sacrificing himself for whatever greater good, but the scene was rushed and there was no real moment of clarity provided in which Charlie makes that decision. He just ran to the door and shut it and then started scribbling on his hand. Feh.

And in regards to the one-eyed man with the crossbow arrow sticking through his chest, why go to all the trouble of swimming out of the station and finding the window to the chamber to blow up Charlie. His grenade would’ve worked just fine or better even lobbed at Desmond and Charlie from where things were dry and oxygentated.

Anyway, endgame glitches aside it was a great finish to a season that managed to keep me glued to the show despite a number of hitches throughout its run, and I’m looking forward to next year!

A Star Wars Moment

Thursday, May 24th, 2007

My fellow Blogging.la contributor David Markland is psyched for the Star Wars Celebration beginning this Friday at the L.A. Convention Center, and wrote that he can track his desire to be a filmmaker back to when he saw the film and then the landmark “Making of Star Wars” special that aired on CBS back in 1977.

Which reminded me of the 2005 posts I wrote during the frenzy building for the release of the series’ much-anticipated final chapter about me actually being in that TV special. So climb aboard my flashback machine and let’s relive that glory:

April 7, 2005

With all the overblown obsession of all the people in line at the Mann’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood planning to wait the 43 days until the next “Star Wars” film opens (but at the Arclight, not the Chinese), it got me kinda nostalgic for those good old days back in the summer of 1977 when my friend Luis DeJesus and I cut summer school at Le Conte Junior High to go see C3P0, R2D2, and Darth Vader get their feetprints enshrined in concrete in the famed theater’s forecourt.

And wouldn’t you know, the website of those geeks who are currently lined up there has an image posted of that very same event:

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I kid you not, Luis and I were standing in the area indicated by the arrow, perhaps 12 feet or so from where the coolest droids and the bestest villian ever showed up to smoosh their tootsies in the Ready-Mix. We were in 13-year-old heaven!

The cool thing was Luis’ mom was working at 20th Century Fox at the time and had scored us each an authentic film crew tee with the distinctive logo on the front — which of course we both wore.

Later, after the ceremony was over and the crowd had dispersed Luis and I were trying to figure out a way to sneak in to see the film when a guy near the box office with a video camera called to us as we stood beneath one of the posters on the right side of the courtyard. We both looked over at him and he held the camera on us for a few seconds before saying thanks and moving on.

We thought it was just a local cameraman grabbing footage, but we later found out it was much bigger than the six o’clock news. Shortly thereafter, to capitalize on the fever the film induced, we heard of a “The Making of ‘Star Wars,'” a documentary that aired about a month later on TV — just after 8th grade had begun.

Of course I watched it, having no idea that near the end when the doc was wrapping up with an exploration of the merchandizing phenomenon the movie had become, all of a sudden there I was with Luis onscreen standing under the poster in our matching “Star Wars” t-shirts. In a blink we were gone, but it was enough for me to come to school (in the shirt, of course) and wallow in some short-lived celebrity from a steady stream of schoolmates who throughout the day would yell at me, “Hey! I saw you on TV last night!”

Man it would be so cool if I could get my hands on a copy of that old doc… but maybe I already have it. I should dive into the special features discs of the “Star Wars Trilogy” that Susan got me for Christmas… perhaps it’s in there. How cool would that be!?

Turns out four days later, bad back not withstanding,
it would be very cool, after the jump.

(more…)

Do You Sea What I Sea

Thursday, May 24th, 2007

So I haul out the my atlas just now to see a proper spelling of the Tyrrhenian Sea, where the image below of the sun rising over the western coast of Italy was snapped May 12 as we made our way to the port of Civitavecchia and then inland to Rome for the day, and in looking around the big boot we boated about I found out that our ship’s course charted us through five seas: the Adriatic, Ionian, Mediterranean, previously mentioned Tyrrhenian and Ligurian.

Makes me wanna get a tattoo of an anchor or something.

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Small photoset of the sunrise in sequence is here  on Flickr.

There Were Giants In Those Days

Thursday, May 24th, 2007

Referencing the debate that’s continuing over on Blogging.la in conjunction with my L.A. Times column, L.A. City Nerd points out how the more things change the more they stay the same via this 110-year-old clip, a very short segment made on Spring Street in Los Angeles by Thomas Edison in 1897* showing the thoroughfare all a-bustle with several types of horse-drawn conveyances, a trolley, some pedestrians and then rolling along comes a lone cyclist, in bike laneless traffic riding like it’s his right to be there (click to enlarge):

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My hero.

* The clip’s webpage indicates the film was copyrighted in 1898, but about 11 seconds in flashes a marker that indicates it was filmed on August 31, 1897. 

 

The Man In The White Linen Suit

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007

You might recall my April post detailing the saga of the linen suit my mother purchased for me as an early birthday present.

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Well enough with the words, there’s some pixels of the outfit with the blue linen shirt from J. Peterman and the white Johnson & Murphy bucks with me cleaned up and inside it all, snapped on our suite’s balcony by Susan May 14 as we steamed toward Monte Carlo from Corsica just prior to stepping out to attend our final dinner onboard the Regent Seven Seas Navigator. Where and when is there a better to sport such an ensemble? Nowhere and never.

The only thing missing from the picture is a martini.

P.S. The calm of the Ligurian Sea behind me belies the surprise night-long 100-kph windstorm we were to plow into beginning a couple hours later.

A Novel Place

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007

I have Susan and her keen hotel-finding skills to thank for allowing us to discover the remarkable Shakespeare & Company. From our room overlooking the Notre Dame Cathedral, the venerable bookseller was tucked in not so much as a stone’s throw away from us, but we didn’t know anything about it until a walk post dinner and post spring shower led us to chance past its storefront…

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…whereupon we immediately detoured to explore its intriguing interior spaces.

Susan, who’d said she was in need of a new book had previously been eyeing the entirely en francais literary selections of the various street vendors we found along the Seine. Not more than a few moments inside this all en anglais shoppe among the wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling tomes the book she needed jumped out at me in the form of Umberto Eco’s The Mysterious Flame Of Queen Loana.

“I found what you’re looking for,” I told her as I handed it over. She gave it a once-over and appreciatively agreed.

I spent the next few minutes wandering around in amazement snapping pix of the place until I realized my desire for a new read as well — moreso because I wanted to support this wonderful establishment and not because I needed one. Currently I’m on the hunt for a killer around L.A. with Jonathan Kellerman’s protaganist in Gone, but he got me pfffting through it early on because he’s refered to our infamous Santa Ana winds as “Santa Susannas” and while his lead character was driving around chasing down leads he made a point of noting the intersection of Sixth Street and La Cienega Boulevard, which does not exist (Sixth ends at San Vicente Boulevard, the border of Beverly Hills that’s a couple blocks east of La Cienega).

But finding my next read wasn’t as easy as finding Susan’s. I eyed stacks of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth and Sun Tzu’s The Art Of War among several other titles until I laid eyes on a paperback titled Rain by Karen Duve. On its cover stood a quote from The Guardian’s review telling me it’s “Not for the squemish… a modern Gothic” and on the back the teaser told me more:

“When Leon lands a contract to ghost-write the memoirs of a dodgy gangster, his worries seem to be over: now he can afford to move to a dream home in the country with his beautiful wife Martina. But the house is by a fetid swamp where it never stops raining, and, like his marriage, is starting to sink. Then he gets writer’s block and he’s already spent his advance. Their attempts at DIY are hampered by a plague of indestructible slugs eating away at the foundation. And then the gangster, unhappy with the pages Leon’s written, starts to get nasty…”

Sold.

After making the purchase we moved on and wandered around and through the city’s fabeled Latin Quarter and I wondered if I was setting foot on streets once trod by the likes of Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Gertrude Stein and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

For a look around and inside the bookstore, visit this photoset on Flickr.

I See Hawks In L.A.

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

The telltale alarm calls of the mating pair of mockingbirds nesting somewhere in the next-door-neighbors’ tree alerted me and could only mean one thing: a hawk was too close for their comfort. So of course with cam in hand I went outside to see if I could spot the trespassing raptor, and by tracking where the fretting mocks were focusing their aggressive attentions, I did:

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The handsome devil flew off after I snapped this one frame.