Thursday, October 30, 2008

So I Decided To Get The Blog Back Together

True story – I’ve started to write this a blog post not once, not twice, not thrice – but whatever the “four” version of that phrase is (fource?)

So what’s the excuse? It just never felt right. I started to write about the Lost ARG from over the summer… but it was so boring I wasn’t really into it. I started to write about the ridiculous highs and crushing lows of the Dave Matthews Band Summer 2008 Tour… but knew that if I posted it without including something about Lost or TV, everyone would be disappointed. I started to write about the Fall TV Season… but so few shows generated any sort of passion for me that I found myself forcing words – which just isn’t my style. I sit and write without thinking.

At this point, I think the best options is to piece together those partial posts from the past four months to “cover” everything I missed so that we can all put the blogless past few months behind us and move on with our lives... and the discussion about the upcoming season of Lost, whose details are slowly beginning to trickle in.

So without further ado, I present to you the half-written crap of the past four months.


July brought us the promise of hope and summery Lost goodness in the form of the new ARG, – but those hopes quickly waned as the website turned out to be frustratingly inconsistent. More often than not, it would freeze up and refuse to load or advance to the “tests” no matter what time of day the user logged on. During the 10% of the time the website actually functioned, it offered some pretty interesting tests – a mix of problem solving, analytical ability, and personality tests.

The problem is, it’s been going on for four months without tying anything back to the greater Lost mythology. Basically, it’s been gathering information on each user of the website, hinting that at some point it will “reveal” some worthwhile information to those who “pass” or are deemed “worthy” of joining Dharma – but here we are in October, and they are currently promising test results to be released on December 15.

While it might be cool to have this thing really take off a month and a half before Lost returns, to get us at a fever-pitch level of excitement right before the season premiere, it sure would have been nice if they would have spread a touch of that excitement out over the eight months between episodes of Lost to help keep us all feed the habit.

But I digress. Maybe it will turn out cool. Maybe it will turn out lame. But up until this point, there’s nothing that has happened worth writing about.

(One last thing – this whole “Dharma Wants You” thing got me thinking – what if they are introducing this storyline of Dharma re-forming as a way to make Lost live on past its well established finale in two short years? Think about it – does anyone really think the grand mysteries and uber-complicated pseudo-science that Dharma is working on in an attempt to save the world is going to be answered by the conclusion of the series? With only 34 episodes remaining, I’m thinking we’ll mainly focus on the storylines of characters, getting some answers to the Island mysteries – but probably not all – and probably not expanding to the much larger storylines about the past, present, and future of Dharma.

But by introducing this new “Dharma Wants You” storyline, it could be a way to let Lost live on. I can envision new storylines – Lost “spinoffs” in a way – that would introduce a whole new set of characters – anyone from past Dharmites to current Dharmites and focus on their mission of saving the world through their funky pseudo-science. Maybe the Island and the events of the Island could play a role, but they could easily proceed featuring the Island as a minor storyline in the vast history of Dharma.

…or maybe that’s what JJ Abrams’ new series, “Fringe” is actually all about – taking the pseudo science to another level and exploring it further.

I’m just saying, if the Lost Powers That Be want to see Lost live on in the form of novels, made for TV movies, spinoffs, comic books, or live-action musicals, Dharma is the key. It’s the storyline that could outlive the show, branch off in countless directions, and give us resolution to the main Lost storyline without closing the door on the Lost universe forever.)


It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

First, a brief background – over the past 10 years, I’ve been to 45 Dave Matthews Band shows. At those shows, I’ve heard 143 different songs – basically hearing every major song the band has played in those 10 years, except for one. The white whale, the forbidden fruit, the elusive tune that fans were chanting for during encore breaks since the band first formed in 1992, the song that had only been played six times during the 10 years I’ve been spending thousands of dollars following the Dave Matthews Band…

A little song, festively titled as “HALLOWEEN”.

On August 5, 2008 – in the most unlikely of scenarios, a band playing without a saxophone player for the first time in fourteen years, they responded to the loud crowd chants for the song and after a short tease of “Everyday”, launched into “Halloween”… and I was there.

Back in the day, as a Senior in college, with my whole life in front of me, I decided it was time to set a few goals for life. They were as follows:

- Make it to level 30 in Dr. Mario (accomplished in 2003)
- Return to Augsburg, Germany (accomplished in 2007)
- Get married (accomplished in 2008)
- Hear “Halloween” live (accomplished in 2008)
- Get a dog (TBD)

At this point, you’re thinking I’m absolutely insane – but hopefully I’ve conveyed what a big deal this was for me. Honestly, I can’t remember a single point in my life where I’ve been so full of joy, pure happiness, relief, and accomplishment (man, I hope the wife isn’t reading this!) – I set my mind on something, worked at it for 10 years, and finally achieved my goal. It was glorious.

I was on cloud nine for weeks. I still think back to that concert and smile, and probably listen to it once a week. This was the best of times.

Then came the worst of times.

As I posted on the Blog a few months back without any accompanying words, LeRoi Moore, the saxophone player for the aforementioned Dave Matthews Band, suddenly passed away a month after suffering an ATV accident. I don’t like writing about sad things, so I won’t relive all the details of me getting drunk in the dark alone listening to DMB music that night – but the Dave Matthews Band is one of the single most positive influences there has ever been on my life. They preach happy music, love, peace, and seizing the day – lessons that I have taken to heart, lessons that we should all take to heart and it would make the world a better place. So even though the death of LeRoi probably doesn’t mean the death of the band (we all hope), it was the death of a large part of something very important to me for as long as I can remember.

Sad stuff. But all good things come to an end sometime – don’t burn the day away.


With September came the official return of the Fall Television Season. One of the unforeseen results of getting married and living with a girl is that you have to share the DVR with someone who may have different interests in television than you do. Sadly, there are a few shows that I would like to be watching – but simply can’t due to scheduling conflicts or time constraints. Also, for some reason I have way less free time now that I own a home and a wife, so even shows that I DVRed for a while never ended up being watched, and I unfairly gave up on without giving them a fair chance. But something else I’ve noticed is that TV isn’t really that great this fall. There are a few good shows on each night, but very few that actually make me giddy with excitement to watch each week.


8:00 pm – Chuck (NBC) – My favorite television show on TV right now.

It’s hard to pinpoint what makes Chuck so great. It’s got action, it’s got humor, it’s got arguably the most attractive female on TV (Yvonne Strahovski), it’s got extremely likeable characters across the board, it’s got an overarching storyline while maintaining entertaining individual episodes – but overall, it’s just pure polished fun entertainment.


What’s even harder to pinpoint is why Chuck isn’t a huge ratings hit. I can understand why some shows I’ve liked over the years haven’t been popular with the average viewer – for either being too complicated, too “weird”, or too intelligent… and not to say that Chuck isn’t smart TV – but it’s absolutely accessible to anyone. If you just want to watch for the Alias-light spy storylines, you can. If you want to watch for the potential forbidden romance between Chuck and Sarah, you can. If you want to watch for the nerdy hijinx of the Buy More staff, you can. Or you can be like me and watch for all these reasons and more.

I love Chuck. Just watch it, okay?

9:00 pm – Prison Break (Fox) – I have no idea how they did it, but they have totally revamped this show into something nearly as entertaining as its first season. Although it’s maybe the biggest case of false advertising since the movie “The Never-ending Story”, “Prison Break” is suddenly more like an Ocean’s 11-esque show featuring our characters pulling elaborate heists to bring down “The Company” and win their freedom (although I’m not really sure why they have to since they were exonerated for their crimes in Season Three, when Lincoln was moving around America free at the start of the season).

Just when I think it can’t go on for another season, those clever Prison Break writers find a way. But I still hope that the end is near. Mindless fun.

10:00 pm – The Hills (MTV) – Yep, I still watch the Hills, but even I am starting to feel embarrassed about it. How many times can I watch Heidi and Spencer make up and break up? How many times can Audrina foolishly go back to Justin Bobby? How is Whitney, the most normal of all of them, the only one without a significant other? How do those crafty editors stretch seven sentences of dialogue into a half hour show? I don’t know – but it’s a show that is quickly losing my interest, even with attractive females, flashy editing, and a hipster soundtrack.


8:00 pm – 90210 (CW) – Wow, I really wish that The Hills and 90210 weren’t back to back on this list. I swear I’m 100% straight and not a 16 year old girl. You can chalk this one up to living with a girl. There is no way I ever would have watched this were it not for my wife’s fond memories of the original 9-0. But after seeing about two episodes, I was totally hooked.

It’s kinda like the OC (Season One, when it was good), but with way more innocence in the storylines. Sure, there’s a “bad girl” doing drugs, high schoolers cheating on each other, and the random fisticuffs, but all the main characters are the most All-American family you could ever find. Also, it features three really hot females, including the never-aging Aunt Becky from Full House, Lori Loughlin. I don’t know what anti-aging drugs she and AC Slater (Mario Lopez) are using, but neither one of them has aged for the entire course of my life thus far.


This past week’s episode was pretty cheesy, and almost made me embarrassed to be watching – but as a whole the show has been pretty damn entertaining. Plus, I can watch it and call it “quality time” with the wife – so it’s win / win.


8:00 pm – Pushing Daisies (ABC) – forget about worrying about the upcoming Presidential Election, there are far more scarier things than 4 years of Obama or McCain – the cancellation of Pushing Daisies.

I don’t want to alarm you, but the ratings for Pushing Daisies have been scary low this season, even though the show has retained the clever high quality from its first season. Unlike “Chuck”, I understand why this show could suffer in the ratings. The voiceover dialogue is tough to keep up with – quick witted, intelligent, and rapid-fire. The storylines are complex, usually involving at least one or two red herrings and a twist that ties everything together over the course of one hour. The premise is a little “weird” for some people.

Even so, I challenge anyone to watch an hour of this program and not have their heart warmed, their mind entertained, and their soul refreshed. If this country wants to watch grisly murders on any of the numerous procedural dramas that score huge ratings instead of watching comical murders in a oversaturated cartoon world, then it’s no wonder there is so much wrong with the world today.

Save Pushing Daisies. Watch it. Force your family and friends to watch it. Mock those who don’t watch it. Here’s hoping.



9:00 pm – The Office (NBC) – It’s still funny, but this season hasn’t blown me away. Once again we have Pam and Jim separated, Michael dating a co-worker, and Dwight and Andy at odds – we’ve been there before. There haven’t been any bad episodes, but there also haven’t been any where I couldn’t wait to get to work to discuss and quote incessantly.

9:00 pm – Grey’s Anatomy (ABC) – Showing huge improvements over the past two seasons, and getting back to pretty enjoyable. Still, if I didn’t live with a girl, I probably would have given up on this show long ago.

9:30 pm – 30 Rock (NBC) – Although it hasn’t aired yet this season thanks to the SNL Election Specials, let’s be honest – it’s going to be great. Great cast, great storylines, great guests, and more laughs per minute than the Office last season. Here’s hoping it doesn’t suffer an Arrested Development-esque fate.

10:00 pm – It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FX) – Over the top, ridiculous storylines, but has made me laugh more than any other TV show thus far this year. I complain about Americans being too dumb for good TV, and yet the poop-centric episode of “It’s Always Sunny” was the funniest half hour of TV I’ve seen all year. I’m a hypocrite.


8:00 pm – Amazing Race (CBS) – the one show I watch on CBS gets special mention here because FOB Nick Spangler is a contestant this season. He Emailed me before the season started to see if there was any type of weekly post I could do about the show, but unfortunately since there isn’t too much to analyze about the show or discuss, and he really isn’t legally allowed to talk about it until it’s all over, I couldn’t come up with much to do with it. But it’s kinda cool to see a fellow Lost…and Gone Forever fan on TV racing around the world.


You should root for him by default.

9:00 pm – Dexter (SHOWTIME) – After burning through the first two seasons of “Dexter” in the weeks leading up to my wedding in the spring, I was beyond pumped to be able to watch new episodes this fall on Showtime – which somehow is still free in my house, even though it was only supposed to last for six months.

The third season has been a departure from the first two so far. It’s been far more focused on the drama and personal lives of the characters rather than on gruesome killings. But it appears as though the writers were simply setting the stage for the rest of the season, and they’ve done a damn good job of doing it. Two of the first five episodes of the season ended with my jaw on the floor – with endings usually reserved for season finales. After being totally confused as to where this season was going to go, I think I finally get it – and it’s a genius idea that I never saw coming. For those waiting for the DVDs after the season ends, I won’t get into too much detail here – but will highly recommend it for anyone and everyone, as long as you’re cool with rooting for a serial killer and wishing he was your friend.

Phew. So there you have it. Four months condensed into one medium length post. I apologize for being such a terrible Blogger over the past few months. Hopefully you’ll forgive me.

First Lost Season Five Post coming soon!